Tuesday, June 18, 2013

What I Learned From Richard Simmons

Many of you consider Richard Simmons the Clown Prince of Weight Loss, and you're right. He'll tell you you're right. ABC News' Nightline saw something more, and they gave Simmons a sizable segment back in 2009. I never forgot it, simply because Simmons has a few lessons for life, slim or otherwise.

Have a mission. GOD gives us tools and gifts, but HE leaves it to us to find and use them. Richard found his gift in motivation. He told Nightline: "I don't have to work anymore. I don't have to make a phone call anymore, I don't have to do one more leg lift. This is my passion and this is my mission. And I've never deterred from it. And people have watched me over the years do what I do and you can't fake this. Either you really care about what you do or you don't. ... I eat, breathe, sleep, do everything for this, and it makes me happy." On the surface, it sounds hedonistic, until you see what he actually does.

Simmons starts his day on the phone, making calls to people with mass quantities of poundage to shed and convincing them they can do it. His eyes fix upon a photo of the other person on the line, as if he's talking to him or her in person. At 60+ years, he's still looking younger and buffer than a man his age should expect. He's still making TV appearances, going on the road, and making weight-loss videos.

Know where you've been. Simmons has been there and done that. ABC reported that he "grew up large but not in charge in New Orleans, surrounded by the caloricly colossal Creole restaurants of the French Quarter. Before a nurse's intervention got him healthy and looking trim, he'd put away enough to become a 250-pound teen."

He got it off. He kept it off. He's become a star at helping others keep it off. But for all his success, he's still teaching fitness classes at the Beverly Hills studio he founded back in 1974. And he only charges $12 for the chance to sweat off the pounds with him. That's $12 in Beverly Hills.

Don't waste time on those who aren't plugged into your mission. I've seen Simmons on The Late Show with David Letterman take more than a few cheap shots. It would be one thing if success had spoiled the fitness guru, but in the context of everything else, the jokes bomb. Simmons just brushes it off and gets on.

He even took ribbing for donning a suit and tie, instead of his trademark tank top, when he went before Congress to testify on childhood obesity. "I have to tell you I was a bit afraid that they would laugh at me," Simmons told ABC News. "'Cause they see me on television and they see me crazy and silly, and I wanted to make sure that they knew the other side of Richard Simmons and I put a suit on when I went to Washington and people told me I looked good. And I sounded good and I made sense. And that is going to be my legacy for the rest of my life."

Know that GOD will help you, if you help others. "I will hang it up when everyone is healthy, when everyone is a perfect ideal weight," he told Nightline. "And then I'll open up restaurants. Huge Italian feasts. ... When people don't need me anymore and GOD has asked me to come back. That's when I will stop."

Hebrews 6:10 (NIV) puts it another way: "GOD is not unjust; HE will not forget your work and the love you have shown HIM as you have helped HIS people and continue to help them."

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