Driven

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In life, we have to do things we don’t necessarily want to do. There can be any number of reasons as to why we don’t want to do things, but if we want to succeed, we must be driven.

In my line of work, I do a lot of driving. I fly when I must but drive when I can. I go through tires like old people go through jars of salve.(As we all know, old people use a lot of salve.)

I had a speaking gig in Huntsville around noon last Thursday, so I drove up Wednesday afternoon. I chose to take US 431 the entire way so I could bypass Birmingham altogether, because that traffic can be nauseating. The drive up 431 is interesting. I got to see the Haunted Chicken Farm and everything.

On the way up, I was reminded about a future article that I’m supposed to be working on for the “Observer” about a World War II veteran who is approaching his 100th birthday. Although a fixture in Opelika for most of his life, he now resides in Athens, just a short drive from Huntsville. I’d planned on sleeping in the next morning, but I needed to go see this gentleman while I was within close proximity, so I did just that. I was driven, because the stories of these heroes need to be told.

My gig went just fine, but I didn’t have time to sit around to chitchat with people like I usually do. I had to get back to Opelika for an event for East Alabama Medical Center at Saugahatchee Country Club. I timed it perfectly so I would miss the nauseating Birmingham traffic – or so I thought. Even at 2:45 in the afternoon, I got held up for a considerable amount of time.

Before going to Saugahatchee, I had to run by the house to change clothes. I had to meet up for a quick photo shoot for the upcoming Wine, Women, and Shoes event benefiting the EAMC Foundation. After the photos were taken, I scooted on over to the country club and told a few jokes where a good time was had by all. I hope.

On Saturday, I drove up to Pulaski, Tenn., for a gig at the American Legion. It was their annual membership drive, and I was proud to be a part of it. I was the only person there not smoking. When asked if the smoke bothered me, I told them that I grew up in the back seat of a smoke-filled ’72 Impala with the windows rolled up. I was good.

There weren’t very many people there, maybe 25 or 30, but we had a great time. When it comes to veterans, no crowd is too small.

I had to be in Chicago for a luncheon at the National Guard’s annual conference. Because of time constraints, I decided to drive. I slept about three hours on Saturday night and left my luxurious hotel, the Relax Inn, about three in the morning. I was tired, and I was sleepy, but I had a place to be and a time to be there. Nothing would stop me.

At 8 a.m., I pulled over for a 10 minute power nap and then was good to go. I didn’t run into any traffic until I was about four miles from the venue, the Hyatt Regency. There was a triathlon going on downtown, and they had streets blocked left and right. The lady on my GPS was getting ill. I told her it wasn’t my fault.

I finally made it, just in time for lunch, and gave a 40-minute show to approximately 400 spouses of National Guardsmen from all across the country. I think it went rather well. As soon as it was over, I got back in my car and started driving south. I didn’t get very far. I was tired.

Today, I wrote two articles.

Success isn’t easy. I’m still trying to get there. It takes hard work. It means not giving in when obstacles are placed in your path. It means sacrificing things that are important to you – things like sleep. It means not getting frustrated when your progress is halted or slowed down, and that includes Birmingham traffic.

To be successful, we must be driven. What drives you?

Jody Fuller is a comic, speaker, writer and soldier. He can be reached at jody@jodyfuller.com.

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