There are several things I have learned while working with Mayor Jim Darling. First, he is high energy, and his kinetic engagement is high, which means things are going to move fast. Second, he is always trying to find solutions and ways to get to “Yes.”
As an attorney, his approach has always been to find a way to get to “Yes,” as opposed to many attorneys who tell you “No” because it is easier and the safest way to avoid challenges.
Third, you better be ready to talk about several different things in one conversation. Mayor Darling is quick and agile in his thought processes, so it is best to be ready to handle lots of different ideas.
Finally, I have learned not to stand next to the mayor if you are close to stairs. He is a health enthusiast that believes motion and movement are the best things for a person. You can be standing there having a conversation when he will say, “Let’s take the stairs.” So up the stairs you’ll go.
Health data shows that 66% of adults in this country are overweight and 31% are obese. I think the mayor’s efforts to take the stairs is a reminder to keep moving and be healthy.
More importantly, I think it is Mayor Darling’s way of showing there are no shortcuts in life. I think too many of us look for ways to take the easy path. We like the get-rich-quick idea of the lottery or the weight loss plan that does not include exercise or eating less. We love instant satisfaction, and in today’s society, we get it all around us. We are even instilling that in our children. As parents, we tell our kids through our actions that you don’t have to work hard for things, we will make the path easier for you.
Mayor Darling’s active lifestyle is a reminder that there are no shortcuts and no easy ways to reach a goal. If you want to lose weight and be healthy – take the stairs, not the elevator. If you want to be successful – pay the price. Do the things that are hard, not easy. Break from the ordinary and change the routine. There have been a couple of times when the mayor has said, “Come on Steve, let’s take the stairs,” and I am thinking, “I don’t feel like taking the stairs.”
And therein lies another lesson. Feelings are to be mastered when it comes to doing the hard things. We love the easy path and we often allow our feelings to dictate our actions. When my kids were teenagers and they did something dumb, I would ask them why they made that certain decision. Their response was always, “Because I felt like it.” Truth be told, adults are much the same way. Feelings set the direction and tone for many of us.
Mayor Darling reminds us, “Don’t let your feelings dictate your actions.”
So, the next time you are standing next to Mayor Darling be ready for quick conversations, problem-solving brainstorms – and of course – taking the stairs. Because he is no ordinary mayor and he wants to do things that will push you out of your comfort zone. Hey, Mayor Darling, “Let’s take the stairs.”