You may not realize it, but someone right now is relying on you

Years ago I was at one of the lowest points of my life, both physically and mentally. I was in the 2nd phase of the 3 phase US Army Ranger School and was walking up Mount Yonah. Under normal conditions this 1.7 mile, 1200 ft elevation gain, trail would be a beautiful hike. In Ranger School it’s a different story. I had to repeat the 1st phase, so at this point I was at the 45-50 day mark, only getting 4ish hours of sleep a night and 2 meals a day. You expend more calories than you ingest, so each day you are slightly weaker than the previous. I had probably 50 lbs on my back and was gasping for breath each step I took. The entire time, I was in my own little world of pain and self-doubt. I decided to just focus on the boots of the dude in front of me and step where he did. At one point and instructor called out, “Half way to the top!”. I didn’t have another half in me, the tank was empty. I was like Kramer in the test drive episode, lets see how long we can drive this car on E! I just kept focusing on the feet in front of me. Unbeknownst to us, the finish line was only 400 meters away. The instructors just wanted to see who would quit. That’s when it happened. The dude in front of me, Phil Neel, turned around and looked at me with the eyes of someone who almost quit. It’s an unmistakable nervous look, I had one too. He then said something I’ll never forget. “The only reason I didn’t quit is because I could hear the footsteps of someone behind me.” I smiled in disbelief and told Phil, “The only reason I didn’t quit is because I was following your footsteps just trying to keep up”. You may not realize it but someone is probably relying on you right now. Next time you are at work and questioning if the effort is worth it to do your best, just remember that someone is probably feeding off you. If Phil quit, I might have too. In stead of having a story I can use to keep myself going, I would be telling everyone how the system screwed me over. Somebody is always watching you. Make sure they see your best, because a rising tide raises all boats.

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