- PR Day giveth, and PR Day taketh away – the weather was moody, like Aretha (RIP) without a Snickers moody. I feel you, girl.
- In related news, I’m positive no one PR’ed except our new traverballing friend from DC.
- In what might’ve been the most positive exchange of the Positivity Award (Tivy) ever, Angela and Virva couldn’t stop complementing each other in a symphony of “My dear”, “Baby”, “Honey”, and “Love”. If you haven’t been complemented by either of them, you probably need a Snickers.
- Julia would’ve had her baby yesterday if we did a full round of Sally Squats, or Squat Squat Poo, or really anything at all involving more than 5 squats. Is she grateful? Is she late-term-been-pregnant-forever-emotional about it? Hard to say.
- According to Laura Green, per Wisconsin Notes podcast (shameless plug), having a baby is just like taking the biggest poop of your life.
- A 7-10 pound poo is terrifying to me.
- Effective squatting may be helpful in some birthing scenarios. Please consult your physician.
I started this blog this morning, after Hayes was awake, which was a rookie #dadmistake, and why it’s taken so long to post. Hayes has picked today to skip crawling almost entirely to teach himself how to pull to standing without help – so I’m busy.
It also turns out that I’m much better, or at least more comfortable, speaking off the cuff with a general idea. Give me a computer and leave me with my thoughts, and I freeze. Of note: Hayes has not yet grasped the magic of sitting quietly alone with one’s thoughts, which has also prolonged this process. Let’s just continue to blame Hayes for most of this, shall we?
I’ve made no secret about the fact that when I first discovered November Project, I was enthralled by Aaron Epps moving at stampede speed in a cow costume. It could’ve been Halloween or Easter, I didn’t care, I was going to show up the next chance I got. I hated social norms, and as much as I live a few of them now, I’ll always enjoy stepping outside the lines at any opportunity just to make people curious. It’s a little bit like living as if you’re buzzed most of the time. That’s what initially hooked me. Not only were these yahoos working out in the morning without a gym membership, which I will always love, they were doing it in costume and they would’ve done it all the same if the park was full of people in the middle of Summer. There was something that appeared just a little “off”.
My first workout came a few months after moving back to Denver from Wisconsin. I had been holed away in the really, really North woods for PT residency for a year. I knew maybe 6 people in the town where I lived and hadn’t really been able to scratch my extrovert itch or do much of anything to buck social convention. I needed an outlet. I needed people. I needed accountability for working out. November Project seemed perfect.
When Dan stepped down from his baby and I was asked to step in, I was equal parts excited and terrified. Excited because I had grown to love this group and movement deeply. Terrified because Dan was an icon – not just in Denver, but in the entire movement, which had grown considerably by October 2015. I had no idea how I was going to fill his shoes. I had no idea how I was going to mesh with Molly and Matthew. I had no idea how I was going to live up to the position which I had put on a pedestal. I was excited, but I was clueless and completely unsure of myself. The learning curve was steep, but Molly and Matthew were extremely gracious. It took me a full 4 months to feel like I had found my stride with them at the front. If I showed any confidence as a leader in that time, it was more trumped up bravado and hype than anything. Eventually, I warmed up, and you were patient with my process.
The list of things I’ve learned while standing in front of you all for the last 3 years and 600-some odd workouts is long. This list is not exhaustive, but stick with me.
- There is a time and manner in which to heckle your co-leader. Dan Berteletti, Matthew Sellen, Molly Thayer, Chad Christoff, and Mike Bell are pros at this. (See: any bounce I’ve done, ever.)
- There is a time and manner in which to yell bloody murder at your tribe to push harder. This I learned from Molly and Troy.
- There is a very limited window for pre-workout poo. Matthew and Molly, thank you.
- Clean, well-lit public restrooms are scarce before 8am. (See: #3).
- There are great workouts, good workouts, and less good workouts. Every single NP co-leader has taught me this.
- Trial and error is okay, so long as you don’t repeat the errors.
- Some things are objectively funny. Some things are not. Poop jokes are objectively funny.
- Self-confidence and humility are like peanut butter and jelly – good on their own, but always better together. Thanks Dan, Molly, Matthew, Erin, & Gabby.
- There is no replacement for hard work, consistency, and commitment. Every. Single. One of you.
- If you want to understand something or someone more deeply, talk less, listen more, ask questions.
- In understanding you better, I’ve learned to become the most unadulterated version of myself.
- Icebreakers – Not just for your corporate retreats anymore. I’ve learned to introduce myself to new people in 1,000 ways, none of which includes asking what they “do”.
- I’m so much more than the races I run and the miles I log.
- Kindness, Caring, Weirdness, Humor, Humility, Self-confidence, Grace, Authenticity, Social and Self-awareness, Hard work, Endurance, Self-care, Compassion, Empathy, Time management, Internal motivation, Nutrition, Justice, Patience.
That last one? I’ve learned every single one of these virtues, and so many more, from each of you. I got home late from a friend’s Halloween party last night, and with Cathy and Hayes already in bed, I stayed up and carefully read every letter you gave me at the workout that morning. There was a theme sewed throughout all that I seem to have accidentally taught most of you something, or at least imparted some wisdom at some point or another. This wasn’t by design. What I want to emphasize is how much you all have taught me. I’m a better husband, a better dad, a better friend, a better physical therapist, a better HUMAN because of you. For all of it, thank you.
Don’t lose that vibe, don’t fake that funk. The vibe is the tribe and the funk is the attitude. Who are the people and how are they coming to the workout. That dictates everything – how hard you’ll work, how much fun you’ll have, with whom you’ll connect, and on and on. To me, the vibe and the funk are everything.
Do The Work
Whether you’re leading or following, community takes work. It doesn’t materialize out of thin air and never has. If you really do want to build a community, if you want November Project to leave its mark on Denver, you have to do the work. You have to come with a humble curiosity, listen, listen some more, then ask questions. Be willing to get uncomfortable. Be willing to take “No” as an answer, but don’t let that keep you from listening or asking questions. You have to talk with people whom you normally wouldn’t – at the workout, or in the city.
To ALL of you, whether you’ve been to 1 workout or 100. Thank you for letting me lead you and for following along on what sometimes probably sounded like the dumbest thing you’ve ever heard.
To Dan, Molly, Matthew, Erin, and Gabby – Thank you. For thinking I was the person for the task. For teaching me how to be a better, smarter, more organized, more compassionate, more thoughtful leader. Erin & Gabby, I couldn’t be more excited to be a part of your tribe!
To Cathy and Hayes (feeling the feelings) – Thank you, more than everything, for letting the tribe borrow me for awhile. You giving me the space to engage so deeply in this thing will continue to make me a better husband and dad. Your patience, love, and understanding have been immeasurable in ways that could fill several blogs. Three years of brownie points is a hell of a lot, but you deserve every single one, and more.
It’s been a privilege and an honor to be able to stand in front of you these last 3 years to have one of the coolest experiences of my life. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for allowing and causing me to grow with the tribe. I love you all!
PS – Give ’em hell, Erin & Gabby!
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