As I was leaving Planet Fitness the other day I noticed a line of women waiting for the Weight Watchers office to open.
I don’t know much about Weight Watchers, but my guess is that each of the women in the line were facing some challenges related to diet and nutrition. But rather than face that challenge alone, they decided to publicly acknowledge the issue and use the power of a group to help them through the process.
I’m sure it could not have been easy to make such a decision, and perhaps they had all tried to take care of things on their own, but without success. So I silently congratulated and wished them the best with their program.
I then started thinking about all of the other times people show the courage to take on a challenge, and do so in a very public way.
So here’s a shout-out and two thumbs up for all of you:
- to politicians for your willingness to go through the rigors of a campaign, where you will likely be criticized, heckled, and made to look foolish. And on top of all of that, you face the possibility of losing. And if you win, it doesn’t get much better.
- to those with physical challenges who make us aware of the strength and potential we all have.
- to the stand-up comics for your willingness to stand on stage all by yourself and try to get people to laugh.
- to any one who is an artist – a singer, a musician, a photographer, a writer; for the courage to share such a personal part of your self with the world
- to those working in retail who need to deal with customers in a very public setting. I know that sometimes it’s not easy dealing with customers.
- to athletes who are willing to let other people watch you perform, when there is a very real chance of failure
- to the teachers in our k-12 schools where it seems your every move is scrutinized by the children, the parents, the administration, the school board, local community members, and the general public. Thank you for what you do.
Underlying most, if not all of these examples, is the willingness of all of these people to take on a challenge where there is a great deal of uncertainty about the outcome, and there exists the possibility of failure or of being hurt in some way.
It’s one thing to fail and no one knows that you’ve failed.
But it takes an extra level of courage to face a challenge where you could fail in a very public way.
I’ve used the following quote from Teddy Roosevelt before, and it seems to fit here as well:
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
So good luck to those Weight Watchers, I’ll be rooting for you.