The Third Day

Welcome to the Innovative Leadership Newsletter brought to you by the Innovative Leadership Institute, where we bring you thought leaders and innovative ideas on leadership topics each week.

This week’s article is written by Dre Baldwin, author and host of the Work On Your Game Podcast. It is a companion piece to his interview on Innovating Leadership: Co-Creating Our Future titled Ignite Your Leadership Game, which aired on August 15th, 2023. 

Intro from “FauxMo:”

Short clip from the interview:

Link to the entire interview:

Listen to the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership: Co-Creating Our Future via Apple PodcastsTuneInStitcherSpotify, Amazon Music, AudibleiHeartRADIO, and NPR One.

I worked as a membership salesperson (and sometimes personal trainer) at Bally Total Fitness in Cheltenham, PA, shortly after college. My friend Trelana wanted to get in better shape but didn’t know how to go about it. I offered to train her and show her some stuff she could do on her own.

From the first day, it was clear that Trelana wasn’t too thrilled about any aspect of working out. Nonetheless, she soldiered through the first two sessions. I introduced her to burpees and planks and showed her how to use many of the machines in the gym.

Trelana texted to tell me she wouldn’t be making our third session. Unlike most people who missed gym sessions, Trelana offered no excuse or explanation — just a simple “I’m not coming.” When I finally got in touch with her two weeks later, Trelana told me the deal.

“I don’t like working out, Dre. I make myself do it. The first couple days are OK, but that third day is when I just don’t feel like it anymore.”

Trelana was the first to articulate this to me, but she wasn’t the first (nor the last) to go through it. If you’ve ever joined a gym or re-started your workouts after some time away, you know The Third Day.

The First Day

You feel great.

New gym clothes, new sneakers, a new trainer, a 20-session pack of boot camp classes… new everything!

The workout is tough. You’re out of shape. But it’s fun to be back and doing something for your health.

You drag yourself to the bathroom mirror afterward and enthusiastically say, “I’m DOING this!”

The Second Day

There’s soreness in body parts that you didn’t know could be sore.

Your body is reminding you of how long it’s been since it worked this hard.

The second-day workout kicks your butt. Combined with the first-day fatigue, it’s even harder. But you push through it, and you’re still excited about this new experience. It’s only the second day, after all. A new car still smells new on the second day.

You drag yourself home afterward and say to yourself (with just a bit less enthusiasm), “I’m DOING this!”

The Third Day

Already, things are… different.

You snooze your alarm a time or two. Your workout sneakers — set next to your bed, as the motivational blog post told you to do — feel like they’re made of cement.

At the gym, you barely acknowledge the happy, bubbly front desk attendant. You don’t want to hear your trainer’s mouth. Your body and mind are not feeling this discipline thing right now. You seriously consider quitting this whole getting-in-shape scheme. You remember that you’re still within the 10-day no-questions-asked cancellation period for the gym.

Your discipline (or lack thereof) is saying (loudly), allow me to reintroduce myself!

The Third Day isn’t confined to the gym. The Third Day is any situation where you know there’s work ahead of you, and you question if you’re willing to be fully present and do that work.

You Know It’s The Third Day When…

● Your alarm clock goes off — and you’re not quite done sleeping…
● You had a rough day at work, and you know the next day will be even rougher…
● You accomplish a goal, realizing that it was a lot harder and took a lot longer than you initially expected. Now you have to decide if you’re willing to put yourself through it again to repeat your success…
● Your child wakes up crying in the middle of the night, and it’s your turn (or always your turn) to quiet the baby…
● You had a tough game or practice last night, and there’s another one today…
● You have a trainer, and the warmup alone is harder than the full workouts you’re used to doing on your own…
● Expectations are higher and more ambitious than what you’re comfortable with…

It’s much easier to be motivated to handle challenges when your mind and body are up for it. Nobody feels motivated about work every single day. When you’re a professional, though, the work is every single day, and it’s not optional. Your job can be one long Third Day in and of

That’s what you signed up for. Are you in or out?

From The Third Day: The Decision That Separates The Pros From The Amateurs by Dre Baldwin.



In just 5 years, Dre Baldwin went from the end of his high school team’s bench to the first contract of a 9-year professional basketball career.

While playing professional basketball, Dre pioneered new genres of personal branding and entrepreneurship via an ever-growing content publishing empire.

Dre started blogging in 2005 and began publishing videos on YouTube in 2006. He has published over 8,000 videos to 137,000+ subscribers, his content being viewed over 73 million times to date.

Dre’s daily Work On Your Game Podcast MasterClass has over 1,700 episodes and more than 3 million downloads.

Dre has given 4 TEDxTalks on Discipline, Confidence, Mental Toughness & Personal Initiative and has authored 29 books. He has appeared in national campaigns with Nike, Finish Line, Wendy’s, Gatorade, Buick, Wilson Sports, STASH Investments, and DIME magazine.

A Philadelphia native and Penn State alum, Dre lives in Miami.



Maureen is on the radio! If you’re in the Cleveland area, tune in to WKSU (89.7 FM) this Tuesday night at 10 pm EDT for the radio version of our Innovating Leadership: Co-Creating Our Future podcast. They’re broadcasting Maureen’s first interview with Pauline Koelbl about her ShEquity venture in Africa.  Far from Cleveland? Listen to WKSU’s live stream at



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Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-Creating Our Future via Apple PodcastsTuneInStitcherSpotify, Amazon Music, AudibleiHeartRADIO, and NPR One. Also, stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute on LinkedIn.

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