Debra Swersky
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I climbed a building last weekend. 70-floors. It was the #BigDClimb which took place at the Bank of America building in downtown Dallas. I had heard that one could climb the building in as little as 12-minutes and did my usual scoff: “12-minutes? That’s crazy. Who does that?!” But then, I started thinking about it… 70-floors in 12-minutes, averages out to 10-seconds per floor which is not as insane as it sounds.

You just have to maintain the pace. 

My co-crazy-building-climbing-friend and I started running. After a couple of flights she says to me, “how many flights are you going to run?” I responded, “I don’t know. Until I get tired.” Then I saw a sign for the 5th floor and I cheer, “Holy cow! We’re already on the 5th floor?! We’re like… um… halfway there!” (I’m not numberphobic, I just don’t do math quickly in my head.) I run on. The next thing I saw… several floors later… was the 5th floor and I yelled to anyone who could hear me: “This isn’t so bad!... You can do anything for 12-minutes!”

I remember taking this mentality when I was running half-marathons: Just 2-more miles, that’s 7-ish minutes per mile… you can do anything for 14-minutes. Anything! At which point I would proceed to think about all of the other things that I could do in 14-minutes… like not run. This would trigger my next thought: If you stop, the race is over and you won’t start running again.

One foot in front of the other.

Every week at 1 Million Cups after the pitches, the coordinators ask: What is one thing that the community can do for you? This is typically the last question from the audience before the entrepreneur gets off stage. I appreciate the consistency of the question and regularly contemplate my response. This past week I was asked in the context of ‘when one door closes, another one opens’: “What is one door that I have the key to open? And what is one door that I would like opened?” I struggled to (and didn’t) respond.

My counter questions are: Why is it that doors have to be closed? Why can’t all doors open? If a door was closed, can it be re-opened? I understood the question from a community assistance angle, but had to wonder to myself: What is one thing that the community can do for me? My response: Keep being a community. Keep asking questions. Keep supporting each other. Keep making connections. Keep opening doors for yourself and others.

You can run as slow as you want, but you can’t stop. 

If I stop, the race is over and I won’t start running again. I have to keep opening doors. I have to maintain my pace. I have to keep reminding myself that I chose this crazy 70-floor, 12-minute insane race to run. It’s my door to open. It’s my race to stop running. But I won’t... I can’t... I didn’t.

12:07. #crushedit

Debra Swersky