Patricia Phelan Clapp M.A. in Lifestyle, social media training, Social Media Digital Communications/Online Branding Strategist/Social Recruiter/Social Sales • Patricia Phelan Clapp M.A. LLC Sep 27, 2016 · 4 min read · 1.1K

Running for a Cause: A Story about a Fitbit, Writer's Block and a Chance Meeting

Running for a Cause: A Story about a Fitbit, Writer's Block and a Chance Meeting

During breakfast yesterday, I expressed to my good friend Joanne I was experiencing a bad case of writer's block. I hadn't blogged in six months and it was driving me nuts. Being a social media marketing consultant, that's kinda like a mechanic with a broken engine.

Joanne laughed at me and said to me with confidence, "You'll get it back." And off we went sharing my corn muffin talking about our Shark Tank ideas.

Fast-forward to today; I sat in my office with a blank screen on my Mac staring out the window. I just wasn't feeling it. For me to write, I have to really feel the emotion and have this insatiable need to tell a story, whatever it is.

Running for a Cause: A Story about a Fitbit, Writer's Block and a Chance Meeting

My first idea to blog about is what is social responsibility, which is a term I dubbed with how kids use (or should use) social media. Frankly, I want to revisit that topic and think Mark Zuckerberg could should explore having a curriculum in all school systems on how to encourage classrooms to teach pre-teens and teens the good, bad and the ugly about this new way to communicate. But that's for another day.

And I just wasn't feeling it.

Lately, I have been wanting to make more of a difference. Thinking how I can link my skill set in digital communicating to larger audiences talking about real things - whether it was about helping teens or looking to support a deeper cause - has been on my mind a lot.

To me, I think when you reach your 40's, at least in my case, you want to see more how your puzzle pieces fit and how you can positively impact the world. It seems since my kids have left the nest, The Universe or the little voices in my head – I haven't decided who it is yet – are screaming a little bit louder.

So while I was pondering my need to dig a little deeper with my thought-process with the words not being quite there on my blank Word doc, my Fitbit started to buzz on my wrist. I looked down and saw the white stick figure ask me, "Wanna Take a Stroll?"

It was pretty funny.

Running for a Cause: A Story about a Fitbit, Writer's Block and a Chance Meeting

I started to laugh and figured it was a good time to get out of the office. Lucky for me, I have my workout clothes on today with only conference calls to make and projects to work on with no face to face meetings. So I went outside to look for some inspiration while appeasing the little man who sits on my wrist.

All the while, I was thinking of my cause. What would I write about? What will spark my readers to feel inspired to want to spark their mojo and help make a difference in their day – or day I say – life?

As I walked outside I saw my friend, Mark.

And this is what I saw. Mark, who is a veteran, running down River Road holding an American flag.

Running for a Cause: A Story about a Fitbit, Writer's Block and a Chance Meeting

Now if this was The Universe smiling down on me saying, "Hey if you want a cause, I'll show you a cause, alright."

I looked like a lunatic.

Full speed ahead, I ran after Mark - with my Fitbit having a field day - to catch up to him and he started laughing. Actually, Mark has never met the live version of Patti. We met through a mutual friend who took his pic running one morning. I was so inspired by his 1,000 Mile Run – he was running to raise awareness to vets to honor a friend who died as a result of PTSD – that I couldn't wait to see him.

I ran up to him, propped up my sunglasses and said, "Hi Mark, it's Patti. It's LinkedIn Patti!" (Can you actually believe I said that?) He stopped, started to laugh, and came up and gave me a great big hug.

You see, after I read his story about his 1,000 run a few months ago, I told him that if he knew of any vets who needed help with their job search or resumes, I would help them learn LinkedIn. My cousin was in the Marines and I wanted to give back. So, we corresponded a few times and agreed to meet face to face soon – then life got in the way.

Fast forward a few months, and that meeting happened on River Road.

He was bursting with energy, telling me about a run he will be doing in NYC, about other new ventures as well as his plan to do more events and to meet with people to bring awareness to vets and PTSD. I couldn't believe the energy I felt from this one guy who was in his running shoes holding an American Flag.

For a cause.

He was running for a cause.

BINGO. No more writer's block.

In a world that tends to run from so much of what we believe in or hope to achieve – for one reason or another – I saw first hand what conviction, purpose and the sheer faith in helping make the world a better place can do.

No matter where you are in your life, find your purpose. Have a cause. Mix your passion with your profession. Use your network to help build bridges and connect and help people. Find a reason beyond your 9-5 job to get up in the morning. Think about this young guy running mile after mile simply to show you what he believes in.

If you feeling unfulfilled, going through a time of transition or find yourself wanting to get more out of life – whatever. That is the PERFECT time to find your cause.

Both my kids have left the nest. Work has been great. I love what I do. But I needed something outside Patti the Mom and Patti the Worker world to give depth and meaning to my life.

Running for a Cause: A Story about a Fitbit, Writer's Block and a Chance Meeting

Today, in REAL TIME (not on a computer screen) I saw the live version of someone running for a cause.

It moved me and made me want to do something big even if it meant a tiny step in different direction today.

The good news is that my writer's block has gone away today. Funny thing is, it started with my tiny guy on my wrist telling me to get up and move. Little did I know that it would move me in many different directions.

Let Mark Otto inspire you to figure out what you stand for, what moves you and how you can use where you are today – the person you are right now – to make the world a better place. You don't have to run 10,000 miles or need a Fitbit on your wrist to remind you, but decide what matters to you and pay attention.

The cause you are running and rooting for could change your life as well as the lives of others.

One things for sure, the little guy on your wrist will be glad you did.

Keep running.


**In addition to supporting Mark's cause, Team Red, White and Blue, I am proud to be chosen to be part of an amazing team which supports Rett Syndrome called Girl Power 2 Cure. Please click on the link below for information about their latest fundraiser. #dreambigforher

Running for a Cause: A Story about a Fitbit, Writer's Block and a Chance Meeting

#3 - Hi Pascal - I'm trying to get up to running speed. So far, it's gotten my WRITING up to par, but now its time for me to buy a new pair of sneakers and get serious. :)


#4 - HI Lisa - Thanks so much! I am trying to get in touch with Fitbit to tell them about the story. I think it's good timing with Veteran's Day around the corner. Yes - I highly encourage you to wear your Fitbit. It makes me laugh when I am deep in thought at the computer and it starts to shake, I look down and this little stick figure says to me, "You wanna stroll?" The forced unplugging is creating some pretty fun opportunities beyond exercise. It's fun!

Lisa Gallagher 28/9/2016 · #4

How inspiring @Patricia Phelan Clapp M.A.. I love that you called yourself Linkedin Patti! Major kudos to your friend Mark! Extremely admirable. I think its time for me to wear my fitbit again, who knows where it may lead me?! Thanks for sharing and glad your writer's block has lifted

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Pascal Derrien 28/9/2016 · #3

running is good for writer's block unblock :-) Keep running :-)

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#1 - Hi @Laura Mikolaitis - Thank you so much for sharing your insights and kind words. I think the Fitbit can be a metaphor for how sedentary we can become in our lives - and not just physically. I think it is so important that we see beyond our routine with work, etc., and see how we can give back. I have seen Mark Otto, the young man in this picture with me, a few times now running up and down our main road. He has literally run over 1,000 miles to raise awareness for a cause he believes so passionately in - veterans and PTSD. It was truly the Universe speaking to me as I was feeling a bit off today when I sat down to write my blog. How lucky I am to have been in the right place at the right time. Thanks again for sharing your thoughts. Have a great day! Patti

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Laura Mikolaitis 27/9/2016 · #1

@Patricia Phelan Clapp M.A. I'm glad that your writer's block has gone away and it is clear from the liveliness in your writing that you are fueled and ready to go again. I love this story and I am glad that you shared it with us. It's important to have a life outside of our normal 8-5 and home life, and by that I mean something that continues to fuel our get up and go beyond the normal expectations. I'm still searching for mine, but I know I'll meet it soon enough. I have a Fitbit too and most days I'm thankful for it's buzz letting me know I need to move. It's a reminder that we can become sedate when we are so engrossed in everything else around us. Sometimes finding that passion you speak of means taking the time to find ourselves too - and what will give us that fulfillment. I know I too often can get sidetracked by what I have to do and what is expected of me, instead of something I want to do. Thanks so much for sharing this post and giving me some perspective and initiative this afternoon.

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