I found out that I failed today.
Just over five months ago, I walked out of a managing and training position at a gym. I left behind many clients and members for whom I cared a great deal. Lately I had been thinking about one member who's life I had been working on helping to make just a little bit better. It had taken me a month to get her to not swear at me when I would say hello to her. She did not like anyone and was pure attitude if anyone got in her way. Aggression and sarcasm like that do not come from confidence, they come from pain. I knew her biggest chance to change her life would be in finding friends. She didn't always feel comfortable working out by herself, at 22 years old and I'd guess around 300 lbs, so her Sunday workouts when she came in without her trainer were always light and lacking motivation. So Sunday, which was my Friday night as manager, I would close the gym up, strip out of my work clothes, and I would drag her with me into the training room. I didn't train her, I didn't sell her, and I didn't teach her. Once a week she and I would sweat our faces off, together, music blasting in the back room. I'd give her the scaled version of exactly what I was doing and she would keep up. She would drill me into the ground actually. I knew she felt powerful when she left. Maybe I did a little to.
When I left the gym it was sudden. I ignored my old work accounts for five months while I resettled into the Walla Walla area to start my new business; I didn't want to challenge the already difficult position my clients were in in finding a new trainer. Having to suddenly leave your client/friend base is never easy.
Today I saw an e-mail from this beautiful, hilarious, and wildly inappropriate young woman. It just said "you left me." It was sent a week after I had left the gym, on our Sunday. I found out today that two months after leaving the gym, she died of sudden heart failure. At 22 years old.
More than any other day I am aware of how desperately important this work can be.
I ask you today to please, value your health, value yourself. There are loved ones out there for everyone and I promise they will miss you dearly.