Taking the Stairs

By: Paul Terranova

Now that the hugely successful (for most) Livestrong Austin Marathon and Half Marathon are events of the past (other than via photos, medals, race reports, etc.), it’s time to start looking forward…already you say?! Indeed, some of the best laid plans for our next endeavor(s) are born here, during the glowing feeling of a task accomplished yet well before the regret of having recovered for one too many weeks takes over. It’s this opportunity to begin anew, to commit (or recommit) to something else, something better, something smarter, something more efficient, something untried that keeps you and me engaged season after season and coming back for more.

This commitment may also take the form of not doing something that has kept you from reaching your goals in the past: not hitting the snooze bar that 3rd time, not skipping that workout because you just didn’t feel like it, not signing up for that race because you didn’t know if you’d be ready. The road to success is not paved with one giant boulder, but rather paved with lots of little sacrifices, lots of little things done right, and simultaneously lots of little avoided mistakes.

So, what does this have to do with stairs?

A few years ago, I frequently traveled out of town for work. I made a point to book my hotel rooms on the 3rd or 4th floor, and forced myself to not take the elevator, and to take the stairs instead. Yes, it was a royal pain carrying my luggage and cooler of food for the week up and down the stairs. However, the daily ritual of ascending and descending a couple of measly flights of stairs was a symbolic reminder of the little sacrifices we need in order to reach that next level.

Today, I happily work in a downtown Austin office that has an accompanying parking garage extending 4 levels down from the ground floor. While I can’t take the stairs from the ground floor up to our 6th floor office (as the above-ground stairwell is locked except during emergencies), what I can do is take the stairs from the garage up to the ground level courtyard, inhale one last morsel of fresh air, and then tackle the work-day.

So, here’s my challenge to you today. Next time a co-workers holds the elevator for you, just tell them, No thanks, I’m taking the stairs.

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