Categorized | Career Development

Les Brown on Motivation

Getting Maximum Benefit from That Treadmill

In the spirit of good health, I’m sure all readers have been on a treadmill. You know, the machine where all you do is walk or run, incline, speed up the pace or slow it down. The best part of using this machine is being able to see how far you’ve gone, how many calories you’ve burned and, best of all, the “cool down” alert indicating that your time is almost up.

One thing I’ve noticed about a treadmill is that you get a great workout, but you are stuck in one place, on automatic, just running until your time is up. How many times have you happened onto someone after several years and you ask them how they are doing and they say “Same old same old.” Really? How depressing! Life should be full of challenges, adventures and individuality.

What happens when we find ourselves running through life on automatic — not pushing our limits, but just running, until it’s time to retire or die? Well, we just keep on going aimlessly, leaving our true selves camouflaged by our J.O.B. (just over broke) occupation, running fast enough to keep from falling off the treadmill, but scarcely working up a good sweat.

Come on, let’s get off the treadmill and move into something new…

Get Moving on Something New

I once heard a quote, “The road to success is dotted with many tempting parking places.” You know, we can get real comfortable and want to park. I experience this all the time. My goal was to buy my mother a house; I bought it and could have stopped there. My goal was to make a million dollars; I earned it, and was tempted to stop there too. But what would have happened to my life, career, the people’s lives I had an impact on, if I’d parked? Have you parked? Did you earn your degree, get a good-paying job, improve your way of life, and stop looking for ways to push yourself harder? Don’t let this be your story. Make an assessment of yourself. I’m not suggesting that you get a new job or change careers. If you love what you’re doing, that’s great — but look outside of your comfort zone. What impact can you make in the community? Whom can you mentor? What can you learn from someone? Whom are you destined to meet? There are countless ways to spread your wings and grow.

Create Uphill Battles

Put a treadmill on incline, and you’ll be surprised at how many more muscles you’ll engage and how much harder you must work. Why not push the incline button on our lives? Challenge yourself to do something that you think is unreachable. Robert Schuler once said, “Inch by inch, anything is a cinch” Gradually move into something new. Carefully take on new challenges. Do it with precision, caution, and a confident attitude, and you can achieve the unthinkable. I create uphill battles for myself all the time: read more books, explore a new way of thinking, exercise differently, take on new career challenges. All these things are uncomfortable for me, but new challenges help us grow stronger and build resilience.

Develop Endurance

Creating a better life requires stamina! When I was living in the office tower of my company in Detroit, I had to constantly remind myself, “No matter how bad it gets, no matter how hard it is, I’m going to make it.’ It wasn’t easy being the butt of the jokes when I would talk about living my dreams and becoming a multi-millionaire. It wasn’t easy being the company CEO with five employees and trying to hide the fact that I wasn’t staying at work late to work overtime; I was staying because I was living there. Time and time again, I received letters from the building security reminding me that the office tower was not an apartment building. It took endurance to get through this. I questioned myself and my ability to accomplish my dreams when creditors were calling, when I needed to provide for my children and put gas in my car. To say the least, it was tough! But I learned that endurance and faith will see you through.

Know When to Stop

If I had never gotten off the treadmill, I never would have reached my full potential. Working as a television salesman and a sanitation worker kept me on a treadmill. I was able to pay my bills, but never had enough time to enjoy life or enough money to splurge on the things I loved. I had to move faster and work harder to get there.

You can, too. Keep moving in life. Put the treadmill on incline whenever you need the challenge. And once you’re in good shape — get off, get off, get off!

Les Brown is a noted author, speaker, television and radio host. Visit or send e-mail to: