Earlier this year I was diagnosed with a rotator cuff tear. Determined to avoid surgery (more specifically, determined to avoid the downtime that surgery would require), I began a physical therapy regiment in addition to my normal workout routine. My physical therapist carefully explained to me the things that I should avoid (weight over my head, for example) in order to prevent further damage to my already-injured shoulder.

As much as I am dedicated to my business, I am equally dedicated to the gym. Working out keeps me sane, and the discipline eases stress and keeps me sharp. I have nurtured this discipline my entire life. As a younger man, I had my share of bragging rights on the bench press, and I enjoyed pushing myself and others to the breaking point. Of course, that was back in the days when bones were stronger, injuries were less feared and recovery time was faster.

Years later, my perspective on the gym has changed. I see echoes of myself in the young men who work out on the bench while I stick to hand weights. I catch glimpses as they load up more and more weight onto the machines. At one time that would have goaded me, but in my more – ahem – mature years, I no longer feel a need to compete with my old self (or with those who represent it). I have already proven myself, and I left nothing on the table.

To quote Clint Eastwood’s iconic character, Dirty Harry, “A man’s got to know his limitations.” As a young man, I believed I had no limitations at all. Life has taught me otherwise, and I am grateful for the lessons. It is freeing now to internalize that I have nothing else to prove. I have paid my dues; and I will quietly observe, with a satisfied smile on my face, as the young men in the gym pay theirs.

-Clifford A. Bailey, speaker and CEO of TechSoft Systems

This entry was posted on Monday, October 31st, 2011 at 8:07 am and is filed under Emotional Intelligence, Musings. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.