Going the Distance in 2011

by GK on December 29, 2011 · 10 comments

So, 2011 is just about to become history. But before we look ahead to a 2012 full of wine, women and great Spotify playlists, I want to look back on what this year meant to me. Perhaps it’ll give you something to chew on for next year’s goal-setting.

First, let’s talk party real quick. If you’re new to my blog and want a quick primer on how to make your New Year’s Eve a memorable night, here’s a hookup guide I wrote a couple of years ago. Enjoy, and always use protection.

Now, back to the deep stuff. Well, deep for me, anyway. I’m going to be talking about “Rocky” here.

It was the day after Christmas 2010, and I was at home, jet-lagged from a month-long vacation to Australia and Asia. I had the time of my life out there, but I also knew I’d been escaping some things. Now that I was done with social coaching as a job, I wanted to get back into my original career as an editor. But such work had proved scarce for me in the post-newspaper era, and I was anxious about it as a new year loomed.

That night I was on my bed watching the original “Rocky,” which is still the best sports movie ever made. People confuse the cheesier sequels with the fine craftsmanship of the original, and it holds up over 30 years later.

And for all its entertaining and thrilling moments, the movie offered my greatest inspiration when Rocky, who was picked for the fight because he was a nobody, admits he can’t beat Apollo.

As he lies on his own bed the night before the fight, Rocky says the following to Adrian: “It really don’t matter if I lose this fight. It really don’t matter if this guy opens my head, neither. ‘Cause all I wanna do is go the distance. Nobody’s ever gone the distance with Creed, and if I can go that distance, you see, and that bell rings and I’m still standin’, I’m gonna know for the first time in my life, see, that I weren’t just another bum from the neighborhood.”

That’s what makes it such a unique sports movie. People forget that Apollo beats Rocky by a split decision, but that’s not the climax of the movie. The real climax is near the end, when a beaten-senseless Rocky gets knocked down and his own corner tells him to stay down.

But somehow, and to Apollo’s astonishment, Rocky stumbles around and gets on his feet, and he finishes handing Apollo the worst beating of his life as the bell rings. Damned if I don’t get choked up every time I see it.

And this time when I saw it, I made the rare New Year’s resolution that actually means something: I couldn’t control what kind of work I found in ’11, but I would hold nothing back in reinventing myself and finding it, no matter what kind of rejection I got. I would go the distance, only without the boxing shorts and orchestral music.

The year got off to a rough start. I lost a friend in Dirk Manley who died senselessly at the hands of a drunk driver. Then I lost a woman who I was very interested in, and it was because she disapproved of this blog and my coaching past. This caused me to briefly delete some of the blog’s contents over fears that other women or employers would disapprove the same way, and it was only after friends, readers and a career coach encouraged me to restore the content that I did.

Looking back, I’m so thankful for the experience, because I was confronted with the importance of embracing all I’ve done to help guys over the years, and to OWN that experience the same way I tell guys to own what they do. If a woman or employer disapproves, we were a bad match anyway.

Once I emerged from that funk, I put my game face on. With no income and my unemployment checks run out, I sharpened my job-seeking skills, took a class and networked as my resumes continued to go unanswered. (Unfortunately, this also meant halting my work on the logistics book I’ve promised you, and I apologize for that. I still hope to get back on that once my career is more settled.)

I also started telling women I dated about my blog right away, and what do you know? They thought it was dandy, and I had some great times with them.

Somehow, with some help from a former co-worker, I got a job interview with a huge company. I even mentioned this blog during the interview. And since July, I’ve been producing content that’s read by millions while earning more than I ever did in newspapers.

Can I get an “ADRIAN!!!!” from the congregation?

It’s just a contracting job and I can always lose it, but just like with Rocky, that’s beside the point. I won a greater battle. And as you set goals, whether they concern six-pack abs or six-figure salaries, I think it’s something to consider. The greater glory isn’t in winning or losing each battle — it’s in the determination and follow-through.

Happy New Year, everyone.

{ 10 comments }

1 Casual December 30, 2011 at 5:23 pm

Love the Rocky movie… the story behind the movie is pretty amazing too:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ywuse55qU2A

2 Aaron December 30, 2011 at 10:21 pm

Greg,

This blog and many entries like the one above transcend dating and love advice. I believe this is one of the many reasons you continue to find students and followers nearly 2 years after the spidey suit was tossed into that back alley trash-can. Guiding normal guys into a more fulfilling life than they had before by being honest and real.

A big thanks and good luck from myself, and your loyal following.

Rock on man and Happy New Year!

3 GK December 31, 2011 at 7:47 pm

That’s a very inspiring story, Casual. Thanks for sharing it.

4 Gavin January 1, 2012 at 5:39 pm

Awesome post, Greg. I can relate to a lot of what you are talking about.

Also, something that really stuck out for me in this post was the following:
“…it was only after friends, readers and a career coach encouraged me…”
It’s nice to know that even the coaches need coaches sometimes :)

5 GK January 1, 2012 at 6:49 pm

Indeed, Gavin! It was surreal getting coached by someone else, because I practically knew what he was going to tell me before he said it. It’s like putting two magicians in the same room. :)

6 Erich January 3, 2012 at 11:44 pm

Glad you’ve kept this blog going GK. Happy new year!

-Erich

7 Erich January 4, 2012 at 7:08 pm

Oh and fyi, Stallone’s Rocky Balboa (aka Rocky 6) movie that came out a few years ago was great. A great sequel with a lot of heart, like catching up with old friends.

8 SW January 8, 2012 at 4:50 pm

As many others have already said, thanks for all you do, GK. I hope I was one of those people who encouraged you to continue to write, because sometimes we all need a little coaching. Even if it is just to reaffirm that our gut feelings on how to approach situations are correct. Happy New Year!

9 GK January 8, 2012 at 8:22 pm

Indeed you were one of those people, SW! As was your Philly buddy. Thanks to everyone for your support and for reading; you make it all worthwhile.

10 hunter May 8, 2015 at 2:23 pm

do you mind if i use this picture?

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