April 16, 2017

She stood for 13 hours straight…

Senator Wendy Davis had a long, challenging battle ahead—and she was determined to win.

The stakes were high. A new bill was being considered—if passed, it would create sweeping abortion restrictions in Wendy’s home state of Texas, severely limiting a woman’s right to make decisions about her own body.

Wendy’s goal: block the bill from being passed, by any means necessary.

To achieve this, she needed to stand in front of her Senate colleagues and speak—nonstop—for 13 consecutive hours. After 13 hours, the clock would strike midnight, the bill would expire without a vote, and women would retain their reproductive rights.

In the Senate, this “speak nonstop” strategy is called “filibustering,” and it’s a tiring—but very effective—way to prevent a bill from being passed.

There are numerous rules when you’re filibustering. You can’t drink water. You can’t eat. You can’t pause for a bathroom break. You can’t sit down. You can’t even lean against a table. You can’t stray off-topic. If you do, the filibuster is over.

Wendy knew that her 13-hour filibuster was going to be mentally and physically exhausting. She ate protein for breakfast to give her strength. She wore comfortable sneakers for back support. She asked a doctor to fit her with a catheter so she could urinate secretly. She worked diligently with her team to prepare stories and statements from women so that she could speak persuasively for the entire day.

And… she did it.

She stood, spoke, and ran out the clock until 12:01 am. A vote could not proceed, and the bill was dead.

Later, in an interview, Wendy explained that she couldn’t have completed her filibuster if she’d been out of shape. Running, weight lifting, and yoga gave her the core stability and endurance that she needed to stand all day long—and block the bill from being passed. Wendy explained that physical fitness has always been a crucial part of her life. She takes care of her body—so she can take on the world.

I’ve met so many women who think that taking care of your body is a frivolous indulgence—vain, silly, stupid, a waste of time. “I’m an activist.” “I work full-time.” “I’ve got kids.” They tell me, “I don’t have time to work out. I’m busy doing things that matter.”

But this type of thinking is misguided. If you’re busy changing the world, then you—especially you—need to take excellent care of your body. You need to be well-rested, awake, alert, fueled, hydrated, with tons of stamina. Or how will you keep going?

The point of taking care of your body is not to have a “cute butt” or “toned arms.” (I mean, those are fun side-effects, sure.) But the real point is to keep you STRONG.

Strong enough to stand up for what you believe in. Strong enough to take on the world. Strong enough to march, rally, write, debate, mentor, coach, teach, and keep persisting, day after day. Strong like Wendy.

You only get one body. Like it or not, it’s your home for the duration of this lifetime. Take good care of it. Make your health a priority. Because when you’re healthy, rested, and physically strong, it makes it a little bit easier to tackle the world’s biggest problems—and win the day.

PS. Incidentally, Wendy loves listening to Madonna, U2, and Beyoncé while she’s at the gym because obviously, she’s got great taste.

P.P.S. Bosses take care of their bodies and their businesses. Here’s how I can help.



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