Have A Good Run


Tucked back in 22A.

Fully caffeinated and slightly irritated.

I was in the perfect state to smash my laptop keys the entire way from LA to New York.

Then someone joined me in 22B.


Steve Was Alive

Not like I am alive or you are alive.

Head down, thumb swiping left and right, refreshing every app in our phone. Begging for distraction from the life in front of us. Drifting without intention. Wasting our one finite roll of the dice.

But not Steve.

Despite having lived what looked like 75 years, this guy was vibrant.

He had clear, blue eyes that expelled giant bursts of energy.

I could see laughter and pain and concern and focus in the deep tan wrinkles under his eyes.

Those brown scars on his bald head… I can guess what he would have said had I asked,

“The doctors got worried about skin cancer, so they had to do some surgery. But it’s really nothing, Mike! You don’t have to worry.”

Bronx born, ‘when the Bronx was the Bronx’ Steve was 31 years a college football referee, a two time superintendant for two different school districts, and a health and gym teacher.

Yes, you would have thought he won the lottery when I told him I worked in fitness.

Steve derived real pleasure from simplicity.

At one point, he told me he had a story for me.

He shifted in his seat. Grinned ear to ear. Connected his right fist lightly with my left shoulder. And said, “Are you ready for this Mike?”


“you may now use portable electronic devices…”

One hour later, after taxiing and take off, the flight attendent brought me back to my world.

With clients depending on me, an article to write and 569 miscellaneous unread emails, my obsessively driven side was unable to shoot the shit for an entire five hour flight with prepaid WIFI.

I pulled my computer out.

“That’s a great laptop Mike. Do you like it??”

Steve and I chatted Apple versus PC briefly before I told him that I do my best work on airplanes. He understood.

Eminem filled my ears and Virgin America coffee dripped into my veins.

90 minutes and 116 emails later, I felt a slug on my right arm.

“You’re really working Mike! That’s great!”

Steve smiled. I smiled back.

Then went back on the grind.

Over the next few hours my productivity dwindled. We chatted intermittently. Joked about 22C having to deal with our overly hydrated bodies.

Steve showed me pictures of his grandsons and the apartment across the street from Yankee Stadium that he grew up in.

I told him about refereeing peewee hockey back in the day.

Then, I dosed off into a deep nap that lasted until our tires hit the asphalt.


And as we sat outside gate A7 of the John F. Kennedy International Airport Terminal 4, the setting sun hit my face.

I gazed out the window at nothing. Thinking about something innocuous, like how to increase my marginal output by either using the cab ride to make phone calls or to design Gary’s next training block.

My meaningless lizard brain was interrupted as Steve patted my shoulder one last time.

He extended his right hand.

I removed an earbud and met his hand with mine.


“Have a good run”

They were unusual parting words.

He immediately began to explain himself.

But I cut him off quickly. Thank you, I said with an appreciative smile.

I knew what Steve meant. And I liked it.

Have a good crack at this life son. Do it fully and do it completely and do it right.

They were words I will not soon forget.


JFK to Manhattan. June 9th, 2015.

From the back of my Uber,

I try to make sense of it all.

Life. Steve. How to maximize time on our seemingly long but single run.

And I catch a glimpse of the skyline I know too well.

The skyline that inspired me to rise from the ashes. That reminded me a single man’s hands can build greatness. That stirred a fire in my belly and led me from a bad breakup and shitty desk job to a penthouse apartment on the west side of New York City.

But this time, those skyscrapers don’t have their usual energy.

They seem flat compared to Steve.

I don’t know.

Maybe I should slow down.

Comments for This Entry

  • Shreeca

    Slow down?? Or keep running!! Take time out to enjoy your accomplishments and great company!! Balance it out ane keeping running!! Love your writing

    June 9, 2015 at 11:53 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Doc Sheldon

    Great piece, Mike! I don't think "slow down" is necessarily the solution... more like "expand your view". I think we tend to focus so much on what we're doing at any given moment, that we miss what's going on around us. Some people seem to have that natural ability to be aware on many different levels, but most of us approach things with tunnel vision. I know I used to struggle with that a LOT... still do at times. But it's a skill that CAN be learned - it just takes practice and a conscious effort. Your seatmate, Steve, seems to have been the sort of guy that has learned to enjoy the present, making a good run out of every moment. We should not just envy that... we should emulate it. It's not hard to do, for most of us, it just involves a new mindset.

    June 10, 2015 at 11:51 am | Reply to this comment

  • Will

    Thanks for this, Mike. For someone struggling with trying to reinvent their life and figure out what/who they truly want to be, pieces like this and your recent videos help instill a calm focus to the process. I appreciate you being a part of the solution.

    June 10, 2015 at 3:25 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Brian Z

    mike, able to send you an email question about macro counting issue? One that is essentially keeping me from really counting my macros. or should i just leave it in the comments?

    June 11, 2015 at 10:08 am | Reply to this comment

  • Angela

    If you are so focused on one thing, do you miss out on miraculous stuff? Maybe your true calling or a relationship or something as simple as a sunset. Maybe there's a balance between driven and lax. It's difficult to maintain. My biggest regret of 55 years is not exploring people more and getting so out of shape. Life is about re-evaluation and reinventing otherwise you are alive. My worse enemy and gift is multitasking. I am making an effort to be in the moment. At 55, how many are left?

    June 13, 2015 at 9:25 am | Reply to this comment

  • John Caravalho

    Mike, great article. Might I suggest both. Your contribution to humanity is very important, so important that you were given an opportunity to hear from someone who's contribution to you might be one of the greatest things you and your clients have been given. I have learned that great leaders are even greater learners, and you are a great learner. Thank you for sharing you experience with us, for now I too have a different view of my skyline. Peace.

    June 18, 2015 at 9:31 am | Reply to this comment

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