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Do Better

By now, you may know that the Fitness Quest 10 family lost one of its own two weeks ago, and I lost one of my best friends: Ken “Sawman” Sawyer. Sawman’s memorial service and celebration of life barbeque were held on the Fourth of July. A fitting choice for a man who loved nothing better than hotdogs and hamburgers on the grill. I had the honor of delivering the eulogy and began by remembering a conversation Ken and I had had a number of times over our 15-year friendship. It would go something like this…  Ken: “How do you do it?  How do you do it all?” Me: “You just DO it. I do the same thing YOU do. You suck it up and DO it.” How ironic to learn last week that Ken kept a sticky note attached to his computer screen: Do Better. Two words. Powerful inspiration.

Do Better

Todd Durkin, MA, CSCS

When you lose someone – someone close – your world shifts. It takes a new shape to accommodate for the person missing. Your new world will be different. But for a time, you’re in a kind of limbo where there is less light. Less joy. Less laughter. Just plain less.

I’m in the limbo state right now, but I know I’m not meant to stay here forever. When I’m ready, I’ll move forward. Into the new world where my friend is missing. I learned this lesson in college when my dad died. You’ve likely learned it too.

For over a week now, I’ve been thinking about the two words Sawman left behind: Do Better. They’re pulling me forward out of this funk. Making me think. Challenging me to figure things out. Not what the new world will look like without my friend, but what I will DO without him.

It’s pretty obvious. Because like everything he ever did: Sawman sent this message loud and clear. DO BETTER. I need to do better. We all need to do better.

If you’re like me, when it’s time to take inventory, you see your life in categories. Like pieces of a pie. My family life: immediate and extended – but especially my wife, Melanie, and our three children. My work life: my FQ10 team, my clients, my industry colleagues and professional associates. And my personal life: body and mind – my health, my conditioning, my faith and my spirit.

What categories do you identify in your life? No matter what they look like or how you cut them into pieces, I’ll bet you don’t have to look far to see where you could do better in each. I know I don’t.

So, with all the thinking I’ve been doing, I worked up a short “How Can I DO BETTER?” list for myself. Some of my questions might be good for you too. What matters most is that you make a commitment to think about how you can do better. And then make a list for yourself. Here is mine.

“How can I DO BETTER in my family life?”

  • Do I tell and show my family how much I love them? Do I do it everyday?
  • Do I find time every week to spend precious minutes or an hour alone with each of my children?
  • Do I spend too much time telling and not enough time asking?
  • Do I listen? Really listen?
  • Do I remember often enough that I was a son and a brother before I was anything else?
  • Do I count time I spend in my home office the same as being at home?
  • Do I remember to save some of my best for my family or do I leave work spent and exhausted every night?
  • Do I spend too much time on my phone when I’m at home?
  • Do I get on the floor and PLAY with my kids even half as much as they would choose?
  • Do I treat my wife like the love of my life?

“How can I DO BETTER in my work life?”

  • Do I say “thank you” enough?
  • Do I show how much I value every one of my clients?
  • Do I lead with vision, integrity and honor?
  • Do I model the communication skills I want my team to use?
  • Do I spend too much time telling and not enough time asking?
  • Do I listen? Really listen?
  • Do I reward the right behaviors?
  • Do I trust enough?
  • Do I offer people a job or a career?
  • Do I take the time to teach?
  • Do I develop leadership in others?
  • Do I remember I am still learning?

“How can I DO BETTER in my personal life?”

  • Do I practice what I preach?
  • Do I do what it takes to find 10 minutes everyday to nourish my spirit and get my mind right?
  • Do I have balance in my life?
  • Do I PLAY at work and at home?
  • Do I take the time to BE with friends?
  • Do I workout with intensity and purpose?
  • Do I allow my body to recover?
  • Do I take the time to reflect and renew?
  • Do I nurture my faith? Do I find time to pray?
  • Do I count my blessings everyday?
  • Do I live a life of gratitude for all I’ve been given?

It’s pretty clear that a list like this could go on forever. But here’s the key: This isn’t a life critique. This is an inventory of what matters most and a challenge to wake each day and DO BETTER. Create focus from complacency, energy from lethargy, and a tomorrow that’s BETTER than today.

Suffering a loss is probably the most painful reminder there is no way of knowing how much time anyone has on earth. So, WHY WAIT? It’s time to step up and be the person you want to be. Start your DO BETTER list today.

Together, we’ll DO BETTER!

Peace and love,


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