Skip to content

Foundations of Trust for Life

wpid-wp-1396889724888.jpeg

I hope that the weekend treated you all well! Between Captain America, smoking my season triathlon opener, many delicious meals, and a great road trip, I was pretty swamped. Also, there is an inkling of warm, spring weather on the horizon. Did someone say great training weather!? It was a great and yet exhausting weekend, and left me time while in the kitchen cooking to think about trust and patterns established around it. Trust is integral in our lives from all aspects between work and play

Trust Your Training – Whether you’re an engineer, astronaut, or triathlete-wanna-be-ninja, your training will (and should) serve you well. Training helps to establish patterns, create positive mindsets when confronting the unknown, and instills confidence for when times get sticky. The ability to press forward even when your body or mind fight back is a skill worth having, and one not readily sought after. It’s uncomfortable and can be very not fun pressing forward through the thick of things. There are times to turn back, but more often than not there are opportunities to continue onward! Trust your overall goals not how you feel within a single moment. Emotions can be tricky things (the sneaks!)

Trust Your Instincts – If it walks like a duck and looks like a duck and sounds like a duck then clearly it’s a triathlon! Errr, that’s not it… I would not by any means say that your instincts are always accurate, however, their track record is rather impressive.  When the sun lasers into your eyes in between buoys one and two and your instincts tell you to find your bearings and then press on, you should listen to them! And who knows, perhaps you’ll lose most of the swim field and streak ahead out on top. Instincts are a result of your training and your life experiences, and while they may need to be taken with a grain of salt, many could argue that more often than not they will serve you well.

Trust Your Heart – The heart is an absolutely incredible muscle, especially in regards to how it can transform and adjust to the activities in your life. Jam enough fat soaked fries into your gut, and your heart plugs up like a sink full of shaved Wookie hair! But push yourself to new limits, constantly mix up your physical activities, and feed yourself heart-healthy foods and your cardiovascular pump of life-fueling goodness will be rock solid, cranking out the red (or blue) stuff in a fascinating manner. Americans are very stressed these days, and I’m certainly one of them, but I find that taking your stress out through physical activities is the healthiest (emotionally and physically) way to maintain balance. Your body adapts to almost anything you can throw at it and I find that I can be more productive in the other areas in my life when my stress is managed.

image

Here’s to a great week and a productive Monday. “Remember, concentrate on the moment. Feel, don’t think. Trust your instincts.” Name that movie!

Picture credit 1.

4 Ways Successful People Use Plans

wpid-wp-1396371048303.jpeg

Tacos!!!! YES! The yumminess that is Mexican food has a warm place in my heart (and tummy) and I plan on making a mountain of the scrumptious treats tonight.

Naturally, the first day of April brings snow to the mountains and cold weather to the valley. Better late than never. Triathlon season will kick off in fashion on Saturday so one can only hope that it warms up to at least the 70’s to make for a more enjoyable morning. While the vast majority of racing is between May and September, these early season races always keep me on my toes.

There’s a faint buzz and hum associated with April. Each year I dust off the wetsuit, prep my slick steed of wheeled, powering, aerodynamic fury, and equip my retardedly expensive running shoes with laces that don’t need to be tied. It’s tradition. It’s superstition. It’s my favorite time of the training season!

So, what is it that successful people do?

    1. Make a Plan – You don’t need the perfect plan. Far from it! You just need a plan that gives you a basis for establishing your base and one which allows you to set off on new and dangerous adventures from there. I like having a plan for the week, the month, and the year, after that it’s a little too hazy. At that point I line up goals along my wall and start tossing darts…
    2. Follow the Plan – Plans are there for a reason! They are meant to be followed. In this instance, I would argue that it’s best to follow the spirit of the plan not necessarily the letter of the plan (business law anyone?) because life happens. Work gets in the way. Family emergencies occur out of the blue. And sometimes you just need to deviate for your own sanity.
    3. Adapt the Plan – If I had to guess, I would say that approximately 99.9732546% (ballpark figure) of the time, my plan will change long before I get close to the end of my action items. Usually, my plan changes 10, 20, or 40% of the way into it. It happens! I’ve written about change a rather disgusting amount and for good reason, life is just jam-packed full of change! Let it happen.
    4. Abandon the Plan – Perhaps the toughest thing to do in life is admit when you have a lousy plan, acknowledge that your plan has you in over your head, or that in order to save your sanity you must abandon ship with the gumption and integrity required  to admit your failings while still salvaging the situation. The best laid plans so often EXPLODE IN YOUR FACE! Now, I won’t suggest that you drop your plan like a bad nail biting habit, but it may require some serious re-evaluation. Plans won’t always happen how you assume (or hope) and the ones that do, well, congratulations. For the rest of us strapped into reality, additions, subtractions, and the overall game plan will change – and it will change often!

image

I hope that April and the second quarter of the year brings you great things. The ride is about to get bumpy but it’s going to be a freaking riot! Hang on to your britches!

 

Spring Inspiration for the Uninspired

wpid-wp-1395333736736.jpeg

It’s the first day of spring and it is less than glorious outside. Sure, it will be in the 60s, but there isn’t a green, fresh batch of flora springing up from the dessert landscape, and I certainly don’t feel energized. Swim days are usually the shot in the arm that always gets me charged for tackling work and other responsibilities. Today and Tuesday, however, I just want to crawl back into bed and hide from the world.

It’s very unlike me to be dragging through my morning workouts like this, but I feel as if I can hardly function today. Needless to say, one of my friends is more zombie-like than I today with his “whole” 2 hours of sleep. Maybe I won’t complain as much…

Here’s some steps to finding inspiration when I’m feeling bleak.

  1. Plan Something in the Future – There is nothing quite as refreshing as establishing a new finish line or two for yourself as you plow through the daily chaotic jungle of Cubicle Land, surviving tax season, or even just  keeping a careful balance between friends and family. We all need a dose of freshness in our lives, and while Febreze is a great start, that won’t quite cut it.
  2. Sharpen Your Saw – When life is drab and boring, find new ways to build knowledge, create a new skill, or just indulge in a great new book. The downtimes in our lives, rare as they are, are incredibly underappreciated. We (myself too) typically cram 13 billion tasks onto our to-do list when really we only have an opening for five (not billion). Next time you get 15 free minutes, research a new book worth reading, take a stroll to ponder how cool the cyclical nature of seasons is, or go talk to a coworker about their courses as they pursue their JD.
  3. Don’t Forget to Live a Little – Work is wonderful, amazing, and a necessity – but it also isn’t the end all. Make sure that you are living life outside of the office whether it’s a great new hiking adventure, cooking fajitas with friends, or breathing in fresh air along the river, find your place and spend time there. Just be sure to make it your time. I find that turning my cell phone off is a welcome relief and so empowering. Nothing is as stress-free as a four hour bike ride that quickly turns into a half day of not checking my phone, even once, because I’m busy. I even highly encourage turning off your phone several hours before bed. It’s great! Distraction free winding down time.

image

Friday is nearly here. Will your weekend be crazy busy like last weekend or will you at least take a few minutes to find some calm solace for the madness in your life? Fortunately, race season is nearly upon us. What a relief that will be …

Picture credit 1. Picture credit 2.

Bravery and the Victor

wpid-wp-1394815910376.jpeg

You don’t have to be better; you just have to be braver.

I am horribly embarrassed at my lack of writing the past week and will do my best to make up for it. I feel like spring is here, and the arrival of Daylight Savings Time is none too soon. I can’t even believe my good fortune when I get off of work and I have an hour of two of glorious, training-ready sunshine! Not just that but it is WARM. YESSSSSSSSSSS!

The coming of the Days of Longer Sunlight ushers in a whole new experience for the “outdoorsy type.” It limits the feeling of Vitamin D deprivation, provides an instant emotional boost, and makes you feel more alive. The beams of golden sun warm the blood coursing through your veins as you strap in for new adventures, and the first inklings of spring are in the air.

For me, triathlon season is perfectly timed to coincide with the arrival of sunlight and warmth. Just as spring and summer kick into gear, the race season begins, and it is full steam all the way through fall, which is far and away the greatest time of the year EVER. Any good athlete will tell you that emotional training is just as important, if not more so, to the physical training. Granted, you need to get out there whipping your tendons and muscles into shape, but without a fortified mental approach as well, you’re toast!

I was on a trail run yesterday and my mind drifted off towards the mental exercise of visualization that always precedes my races by many, many months. I imagine myself pushing through a course hour after hour balancing the mental negativity that inevitably crushes someone into the depths of unknowing defeat saying I can’t do it, I’m going to give up, it’s curtains with the flip side of saying things are wonderful, I did my homework, and I am prepared. It really is true that the tortoise will beat the hare (big hair? hahahah , sorry inside joke) but perseverance, guts, and being brave will drive you further than someone who is simply fast. Of course it helps being faster than your competitors, but races aren’t won on speed alone.

I am slowly learning the lesson in life to worry less about speed and more about savoring moments and enjoying my journeys. I’ve had a few disappointing experiences since the beginning of the year which ironically taught me lessons that were sorely needed. It’s not always fun or exciting but usually the outcome is impactful and useful. I encourage you to make your weekend more about enduring, trying new things, and being brave, than blitzing, hurrying, or zooming through life. I know…I know, easier said than done!

Aside

It’s All About Perspective

wpid-wp-1393959348735.jpeg

The joyous weekly ritual of Taco Tuesday has arrived! Yum.

Madness is once again filling our lives. Russia and Ukraine are butting heads, Daylight Savings Time is fast approving (thank goodness), and we are bombarded more and more each day with media, social or otherwise, and news channels full of crap. It’s an interesting time to be alive, isn’t it?

The theme surrounding my life, and that of my friends, is that of great uncertainty and WHAT THE DEVIL ARE WE DOING WITH OURSELVES?! Everyone’s perspective seems to be skewing, mostly as I have hypothesized because we are entering our late 20’s, and the relationships that were so sure and stable in our early 20’s are changing in drastic and sometimes unrecognizable ways. College is officially a thing of the distant past, and although our foundation remains, change is a comin’.

As any good optical illusion will teach you, there is always more than meets the eye, and even the slightest change in perspective can impact the entire picture that you see. For me, the illusion is that everything will always stay the same. I expect change in careers and life but it is always friendship changes that sting the most. Not all changes are bad and some are necessary, even critical, but it always feels difficult as people ebb and flow throughout one’s life, sometimes passing through in the blink of an eye and other times lingering like a massive ocean.

I keep in touch quite regularly with one (1) single friend from 1996. Prior to that, not so much. It’s a joy to see him kicking ass in law enforcement, growing and developing as a human, and making the effort to stay in contact with me as well. High school buddies have come and gone, although they are all technically within reach of the interwebs at the flick of the wrist, but it is so easy to let those relationships slip. Even from my college days, people have moved, gotten married, had kids, done all three, and just spread out and away from my normal communication circles. I don’t think that I resent the changes, but I would argue that no one has really figured out how to adjust.

image

So the moral of the story is I am learning to change my perspective. Instead of things being great or awful, lame or wonderful, I’m aiming more for just enjoying it all. I seem to tackle these great revelations in waves, and often three or four times a year, which simply means I either A) I am a slow learner or B) I haven’t actually understood how to implement this in my life. I suppose both are equally viable.

Perspective is one of the most powerful tools one has in their possession. An IRONMAN is simply a combination of swimming, biking, and running, work is a combination of tasks, projects, menial and high skill items, thinking, and communicating, and hobbies consist of a shared activity that lights up your creative juices and gives you insight into a realm you aren’t normally exposed to. In the blink of an eye your perspective can swing like a crushing pendulum, but it’s important to keep it as aligned as possible. Ups and downs are normal. A life full of change is normal. Growing up is normal. Feeling confused is normal. EVERYTHING IS AWESOME! Outbursts from the Lego movie are normal.

A life full of high hopes and big dreams is one worth living. I hope you’ve got at least a few huge goals for the next year or two. It makes life so much more… refreshing.

Picture credit 1.Picture credit 2.

Why Friday is F#@%1ng Awesome

wpid-wp-1393605869290.png

Oh, it’s Friday and the rain is coming down! Hip hip hooray!  Friday, in and of itself needs no introduction, and we have arrived in fantastic style. Here are some reasons today is just phenomenal:

  • There’s a dash of rain that is providing some hope to the parched northern Nevada/California area
  • The new “300” comes out in exactly one week
  • U2 is playing on the bloody radio
  • Everything feels sexier on Friday
  • My huge project at work is off to a flying success
  • I broke 37 hours of triathlon training for February
  • My peanut butter and jelly sandwich is delicious
  • Volbeat is only 40 days away
  • It’s Friday
  • You know you have a loyal companion when you’re in the kitchen stuffing your face with a midnight snack out of a Tupperware and your furry friend is right along side you mopping the floor with their tongue. Ahhhh, it was meant to be :D

Enjoy your weekend people! Stay safe. Don’t do anything stupid. File your taxes on time. Play video games with your friends. Take naps.

3 Attributes of Successful Teams

Happy Hump Day!

February is rapidly coming to a close, and yet there are still no signs of February type weather. It was 67 yesterday for heaven’s sake! Ugh! This probably means it will be snowing smack dab in the middle of peak triathlon training. Great…

It’s been a big week at work with the production release of our six month project, and it’s been quiet. Almost too much so for my taste but I guess that means things are going well. I suppose I should be taking notes from last week’s blog about the journey being more important than the destination, and what a path it has been. For those of you not familiar with insurance, it’s freaking complicated! If you are familiar with insurance, you know just how incredibly complicated! ACK! It’s enough to drive someone insane. Regardless, here are three key factors of successful teams.

  1. Synergistic Team – I would not be a good insurance IT worker on my own. Frankly, I would probably just end up inadvertently lighting a system on fire or melting down a server somewhere, but the teams you are surrounded with are often the gateway to our successes. There are colleagues who know about 75,000 years more insurance knowledge than I do, and I have a different approach to problem solving than some of them may. It’s a wonderful approach and one which spells success in an organization.
  2. Enthusiasm and Passion – In my experience, it’s not what you know (or don’t) it’s how you approach those knowledge gaps that defines the outcome. A team without enthusiasm or a desire to learn may not fail outright, but their successes will be far less reaching and impactful. A team that explores, brainstorms, and compares notes together in a passionate way may fail at first (in spectacular fashion) but their outcomes are nearly guaranteed to be greater, more powerful, and longer lasting. There’s nothing that kills a work project buzz like someone who just doesn’t care.
  3. Willingness to Learn by Making Mistakes – I am a huge proponent of learning from botching tasks in a royal fashion. Note: I don’t encourage you to intentionally drop the ball, eff up, or do something stupid and then play it off as learning a lesson; however, the intent of this idea is not to be afraid of making well-thought decisions for fear of messing up. EVERYONE MAKES MISTAKES! Everyone! 100% of the entire population blows it time and time again, but it’s the method of your madness and how you recoup your sanity post error that defines A) what you’ve learned B) the responses from others around you and C) what you take away. There is nothing more humbling than timorously slinking into your bosses office to admit you blew it… it burns for a bit but if you come prepared to not only admit what you messed up on but how you have begun to fix/address the problem then you are a step ahead of the rest. Perhaps my favorite quote from one of my supervisors is this: “Everything is able to be fixed, short of loss of life or limb.”

image

We are over the week hump! Crush it for the next two and a half days and maintain these three principles for team success. Teams surround us, and penetrate us… it binds the galaxy together. 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,514 other followers