Unconventional in the hallway

As I struggled with a difficult situation of the heart, a person I respect very much once told me four words that gave me the courage to continue moving forward.  Those words were:

There are no rules

I had to pause for a moment and process the profoundness of this wisdom. She was correct. There are no rules for how we fall in or out of love. In fact, some of the greatest love stories have the most unlikely beginnings. The same can be said for inventions, discoveries and breakthroughs. Most of the time, a brave soul has to withstand monumental criticism and opposition in order to bring something truly extraordinary into existence. This was true for Thomas Edison's thousands of failed experiments before the light bulb, Steve Jobs' journey to inventing the iPhone, and Mick Fleetwood's saga that resulted in the creation of a timeless band that would birth the Rumours album.

Conventional thought can be a deadening of the soul. It can be an excuse for mediocrity. It can sterilize our dreams, our pursuit of purpose and kill love. I am here to challenge each and every one of us to be unconventional, break the norms, and create your own rules when it comes to fulfilling your dreams, living with purpose and finding love. Write your own story, or somebody else will write it for you.

I called upon my friend's advice this past week when I was on a four city tour for my speaking and racing. I found myself in a Marriott hotel room at 6 am. I was scheduled to go on stage in six and a half hours. I always like to run the morning of a talk, as it helps give me clarity of mind and I am able to hone my message. As it turned out, it was 23 degrees Fahrenheit outside so I opted to run on the treadmill in the hotel.  When I arrived at the workout center, I discovered that a lot of other people apparently start their day off running as well. All of the treadmills were taken. I hung out about 10 minutes doing some pushups and ab-work, but nobody had gotten off the treadmills. My only choice was to wait, or so I thought.

I left the work out center a frustrated mess. I didn't want to sit idly by waiting for a person to finish their treadmill run, and I'd lifted weights the day before so that was not an option. I felt like I needed to run. I knew I wanted to run. I opened the door to my hotel room and walked inside.  As soon as it shut, the lightbulb went off. I knew how I could get a run in, despite the fact that it was freezing and cold outside, and all the treadmills were taken. I needed to be unconventional, and step outside the norms and rules.

I had a long straight hallway right outside of my room. I could run up and down the hallway for however long I wanted.  I didn't hear anybody stirring so I didn't have to worry about running into anybody. There was the problem of hotel security. What would they do if they saw a person running back and forth in the hall for an hour? I guess we would have to find out. I turned around toward the door and just before I was about to open it, I got scared. What would people think of me? What would I think of myself? Was it wrong for me to run up and down the hall? Nothing forbade the behavior. Nothing encouraged the behavior. Then, I thought of my friend and the words she told me:

There are no rules

With her encouragement, I proceeded to step out of my room into the hallway and ran for an hour. A couple guests chuckled as they left their room and I ran by them.

In life, there are no rules for how we are supposed to fulfill a dream, live with purpose and be happy. In fact, each of us are unique creatures and each of our paths are different. The great facade of life is that there are "norms" and "standards" for how we are supposed to live it. When we are authentic, we choose to break free from society's norm, and we define our authentic norm. There are no prescribed rules for whether we go to college, or adventure for our lives, or write, or change careers, or change passions. There are no rules for how we fall in love, or out of love. There are no rules for us to evolve and become our beautiful selves, our authentic selves. The next time you are with the person you love,  dance with them......on the street, in a field, in a park, in a home or hotel room. What is your purpose in life. Breathe meaning into your purpose, and if the standard conventions of life are standing in the way, don't be afraid to be unconventional and make your own rules. Authenticity begins and ends inside of you.

The hallway run turned out to be exactly what the doctor ordered, as I modified my talk for my audience that day during my run. I received a standing ovation and many inquiries for future speaking engagements. I think I'm going to make a habit of hallway running.


Jason is an expert at teaching people to transform Dreams into Reality. He has amassed a lifetime of expertise in this field as a General Manager for General Electric leading large teams, where he ran a $400 million dollar business, he was a former leader of Global Operations for a Fortune 100 company, an attorney and CEO of a non-profit that helps children with Autism. In addition to his professional experience, he is a US Paralympian, holds 15 world records in ultra-running and mountain biking, is an author, a highly sought after motivational speaker and is the 1st and only blind person to run across America - 3,063 miles where he averaged 51.5 miles/day for 59.5 days. For speaking and media inquiries visit www.jasonromero.net.


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