Thursday Thought: So Can You (Friday Edition)

by Dian Reid-Jancic· Follow Dian on

If they can do it, so can you.

A couple months ago I ran the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon in Chicago and saw a sign that read, “If Trump can run, so can you!” While that was bit bit of a play on words, it got me thinking about the whole, ‘if they can ____, so can you!” idea.

Which can be true. Except when we’re not willing to do what it takes in order to make ____ happen.

Take for example: If my friend Heather can finish a half marathon in under 2 hours, so can I. We’re roughly the same age, neither of us have kids, we both work out, and we both like to run.

Except … Heather works out twice a day. Heather makes different food and beverage choices than I do.

So I can’t just start training for a half marathon and expect that I’m going to beat my best time by nearly 10 minutes without a LOT of hard work. I need to be willing to commit to working out a bit harder and longer. I need to be willing to commit to changing my eating and drinking habits. I need to be willing to stick with these changes for the whole of my training, even when it’s hard or hot or cold or there are 10 other things I’d rather be doing.

It’s not that I can’t run a half marathon in under 2 hours. It’s that I can’t just say, If she can do it, so can I! There’s more to it than that.

I have to be willing to be honest about who I need to be to accomplish that goal. I have to be willing to realize that what works for Heather to achieve her goal may not work for me. I need to be willing to make adjustments. I have to be willing to do the things necessary in order for me to stretch to meet that goal.

Or I have to be willing to update my goal to fit something that works for me.

Maybe I update my timeline. Maybe I update the goal itself. Maybe I shift the goal in a new direction. Maybe I decide to change the goal itself entirely. Or maybe I decide that goal isn’t really important to me and I want to work toward something that I can truly commit to for a defined period of time.

So yes, it’s certainly true that if they can, so can you. And also:

Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.

Community and Conversation

by Dian Reid-Jancic· Follow Dian on

Another black man shot and killed by police. Another hashtag.

More anger in the black community.

More deflecting in the white community.

More fear in every community.

I understand the inclination to rage against the machine.

I understand the inclination to bury one’s head in the sand.

I understand that nothing is truly black and white.

I understand that there are always many sides to the same story.

I understand the complete and utter lack of belief that anything will change.


We need to be able to talk about our experiences openly. With curiosity and without shame. With humility and without judgment. With a true desire to hear, see, embrace something we’ve been missing all along.


I’m reminded of an India.Arie song, Better People:

there are skirts of information
That you can only get in conversation when…

Young People, who talk to
Old People, it would make us
Better People, all around…
(Yes it would)


If black people
Would talk to white people
It would make us
Better People
All Around….

If Republican people would
Talk to Democratic people
It would make us diplomatic people
[laugh] All Around…..

But not just talk, listen. Really listen. The act of taking in the sounds, the words, the emotion, the meaning of what someone is saying without trying to formulate an immediate response.

I don’t know how to change the world, I only know that when the world has changed before it’s rarely been by the act of one man, one woman doing a single big thing. That change has come from many people doing many small things that contribute to big change.

There is not one way forward, but many. There is so much we can do by way of active dialogue. If only we would listen during this dialogue, we might be able to make forward progress.


This conversation needs to continue and progress.

Thursday Thought: Reality

by Dian Reid-Jancic· Follow Dian on

Last week a client brought this 2005 Kenyon College commencement speech by David Foster Wallace into my awareness:

Can’t view the YouTube video above? Watch it here:

I’ve been thinking about the content of this video all week. Considering realities that are not the default reality I’m habitually inclined to run to and believe at first experience.

Creating awareness around when I snap to judgement based on my habitual reality before considering any other possible reality.

Being mindful about accepting that one or more of those realities is truly possible, even if not probable.

And then being inspired by those potential realities to adjust my actions in a way that makes me feel good about who I am and how I’m behaving.

That last part, I’m still working on. I’m striving for practice making me better, not perfect–and even that is a work in progress.

What reality are you accepting today?

Thursday Thought: I Am A __________

by Dian Reid-Jancic· Follow Dian on

Your shoes don’t make you a runner, running does. 

Lately I’ve been having a lot of trouble getting motivated to run.

  • It’s hot
  • It’s raining
  • I didn’t sleep well last night
  • It’s so comfortable in bed
  • All the sports are on
  • Eleventy billion Netflix, HBO, and Amazon Prime shows to watch
  • It feels hard right now and I want easy
  • I’m playing a game on my phone
  • I feel lazy
  • My calves still hurt from running a few (seven) days ago
  • I’m hungry
  • I’m down an interweb rabbit hole
  • I don’t have enough time right now
  • I drank too much yesterday

In the past I’ve usually found a way to get past each and every one of those road blocks by remembering that I’ll feel better if I just get up and get the run done, even if it’s shorter and/or slower than originally planned. But lately I’ve been allowing myself to treat each of these as the final thought.

Sometimes thinking about how good I’ll feel afterward does the trick and I get moving. Sometimes it takes my wife suggesting that it’s okay to go for just two miles instead of six. Sometimes it’s just putting the shoes on and walking out the door to see if a run will actually happen.

Today I don’t have a great deal of wisdom to share as to why it happened, only that I did get up and go for a run.

As I cooled down while walking back to the house I thought about a poll I answered a few weeks ago on twitter about how many pairs of running shoes I go through in a year. The answer: 1-2 pairs.

And then the thought came to me: your shoes don’t make you a runner, Dian. Getting out there for a run does.

It’s the same with everything in life, really. You don’t need 20 pair of running shoes to be a runner. You just need to get out there and run. You don’t need 20 books or blogs under your belt to be a writer, you just need to write. You don’t need ______ to be a _______. You just need to ______.

How’s that for wisdom?


Thursday Thought: Sleep

by Dian Reid-Jancic· Follow Dian on

Silence is the sleep that nourishes wisdom.”
~ Francis Bacon

Yes, yes. I’m reminded of this, even when I don’t get the sleep I need for stretches at a time.

Reminded that sometimes being silent, rather than tossing and turning and trying to fall asleep, it’s okay to simply be still, silent.

Reminded to take in the silence I can find within myself, even if it’s the lack of silence that’s keeping me awake.

This way, even after getting only a few hours of sleep I don’t feel (wholly) horrible. Part of that is a conscious choice and part of it comes from manufacturing silence within.

It’s a tricky bit of business, to not fight insomnia. To be still and allow the body to rest, even if not in a sleeping state. The part I find most maddening is releasing the anger I feel around not being able to drift off.

Deep breaths help. Netflix helps. Purring cats help (sometimes). It’s about learning which distractions are helpful and when so. And also about getting to a place where I can say, “Sleep will not come easily tonight and I will be okay because I always am.”

And the truth is that no matter what does not come easily today or tonight or tomorrow or the next day, we will be okay. Even if it doesn’t feel like it right now.

Thursday Thought: Joy (Friday Edition)

by Dian Reid-Jancic· Follow Dian on

In my mind I feel like I don’t experience joy terribly often. Minds can be tricky like that.

It’s not every day we graduate or get new jobs or embark on new adventures or laugh a belly laugh so hard the people passing by you can’t help but laugh, too. My mind tries to trick me into believing that joy is only experienced in big moments that everyone can see.

But the reality is that I can find tiny moments of joy in just about every day. A lot of them.

There’s Sly pawing on the window where four pigeons are perched without a care on the other side of the glass. Sometimes joy is the wonder of nature and getting a tickle out of a misunderstanding of how things work outside of one’s natural habitat.

There’s catching a glimpse of Jackson’s paws moving while he sleeps, as he dreams about chasing a bunny or a squirrel around the neighborhood. Sometimes joy is watching those you love, simply enjoying their presence, even if it’s only in sleep mode.

There are the texts and IMs and FaceTimes with my wife when she’s traveling for work that often include tiny bursts of laughter because we know that sometimes humor is the only way to get through a rough day when a hug and a kiss just isn’t possible.

So while there may not be the huge rocks of Joy on a daily basis, it’s important for me to remember that these tiny grains of Joy are the sandy beaches connecting those rocks, no matter how much space or time is in between.

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