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Support: The missing ingredient

Why Winning is a Team Effort

The other day while I was on patrol… I met up with a friend who was taking a little break with a co-worker.  My friend Dwight introduced me to the other gent, Tom,  who looked like he could be a nose guard for any NFL team of his choosing.  

During the conversation Dwight mentioned how I do triathlons and have a back ground in jiu-jitsu.

It was obvious that this guy was curious about my age… so when I told him I would soon be 67… his jaw hit the floor and our conversation turned to seniors and exercise.

Tom said his father… who is 73 and retired five years ago… just sits around on his duff, watching TV, and really doesn’t do anything else.

Tom told me, “ I tell him to go for walks and stop eating fast food but he just won’t listen.”

“Tell him” what to do?

I knew the second I heard those two words, this is where Tom went wrong.

I’ve been around a little while… and I can tell you… I can’t remember meeting many people who like being told what to do.

Obviously… that’s all I really needed to hear to get me going.

I said, “Tom, that’s not how it works… most people need support… not a drill sergeant. It was that support from my friends and family that kept me motivated to keep going.

I can’t stress enough how important this is…

Without support I wouldn’t be where I am today… and just as important as getting support… is knowing that sometimes, you have to ask for it.

For a lot of people of my generation, the idea for asking for a little help is as bad as asking for directions when you lost.

But without that little bit of help… you’re never going to get to where you need to be.

I said, “ Tom… when you get home tonight… don’t tell your dad to go for a walk. Walking doesn’t have to be exercise… it can just be quality time spent together, instead say ‘Hey dad, let’s go for a stroll’,  and I’ll bet you get totally different results.

Because there’s a huge difference between telling somebody what to do… and them actually doing it.

If somebody would have told me what to do all the time back when I was just getting started… it may have derailed my progress completely.

I said that if he wanted to put his father on the path to fitness… the quickest route would be for Tom to start initiating things to do with his dad… or in other words, show him a little support.

“And don’t let him get away with that I’m too old crap. Does he like sports?”

Tom nodded, “He likes them all.”

 “Good!” I said, “Take him to watch a game or event…then park way out in the lot and walk to the arena.”

That’s pretty crafty,” Tom smiled.

And I have to agree… as there are many ways to get people off the couch and moving, but it’s hard for some of us to do it alone … support is a very important ingredient for success, I mean hey, it worked for me!

But when you finally get a lazy loved one out of the house (and that lazy loved one could be you!)… it’s very important not to criticize… let them start at his or her own pace and build from there.

But our conversation didn’t stop there…

“But how do I get him to eat right,” Tom asked.

I simply smiled and said, “Same philosophy… that magic word… ‘let’s’.”

Tom looked at me a little weird with this one, so I explained a little further,

“If you’re not eating healthy… why would anybody listen to you about what they put in their body? When I first started… my wife and I worked together to find healthy alternatives to our food choices. Try this…start by making something healthy to eat,  like a fruit salad or a veggie plate,  and then offer some to dear old dad.”

“Yeah, I could do that,” Tom said.

“Even better,” I suggested, “Walk into the room with two bowls, one for you and one for him… it’s harder for him to refuse…even my dog Jake enjoys having fruit salad with me. But the most important thing is getting your dad to eat healthy with you, making sure he gets plenty of fresh vegetables and fruit.”

I told Tom that if Rosemary, my lovely wife,  and I eat any processed food at all…our rule is it can’t have more than three ingredients and we have to be able to pronounce all of them.

I will always believe that exercise along with fresh fruit and vegetables is the reason I’m alive and kicking butt today.

We talked a bit more…and Tom thanked me for the advice and said he was going to start working with his dad that very evening.

It doesn’t matter which side of the couch you’re sitting on… the most important thing to remember is everybody needs love and support from their family and friends.

Try it today…

After dinner, ask the family to join you for a walk around the neighborhood… this will work even if it’s just you and the missus or mister… go out and enjoy the evening air.

And please… when you need it… ask for help!

Because in order to move forward on the path of life… support is the only way to get there.

Never say “I’m too old” or “I can’t”, because you can be an example at any age!


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