Saturday, January 25, 2014

A Letter From Abby

I've always kept the house pretty clean as far as snack foods go.  When the girls are over, I always try to recommend a banana or apple for snack.  Unfortunately, they think deserts are mandatory after every meal.  I get it, they're 7 and 9 and ice cream is awesome!  But I still try to sneak in the healthy options and they usually don't know.   A couple weeks ago, I added some veggies to the morning smoothie and they sniffed that out real quick.
Recently, my dad decided to start a more healthy approach to his nutrition and cleaned house.  No cookies, no chips, no ice cream.  Snacks became strawberries w whipped cream.  I thought that would go over w them real well. but...

then I received an email...

from my 9 year old.

Since you always say that we're not at mommy house, so they're not the same rules at your your house. So why can your rules spread to everyone's houses but not mommy's? Because now the fun treats at Pappaps house aren't there any more because you keep saying NO THIS NO THAT. And it's not fair. We used to be able to have ice cream or candy for dessert now we have strawberry with whip cream or bananas, what kind of dessert is that? And I'm still mad at you about the smoothie, what kind of a chocolate smoothie has vegetables in it ? I'm tired of going to grandma and Pappaps when you can't just grab any snack or have a real dessert for once again . Now I'm getting scared that if I don't look at what I'm grabbing, I might take out a vegetable protein dipped granola bar instead of a chocolate chip dipped granola bar. I know that you want us to eat healthy but can't you just trust that we aren't going to McDonald's for dinner every day and maybe let us have a real dessert rather than strawberries with whip cream or bananas or peaches or an Apple and maybe something more like candy or cookies or ice cream? Pappap won't even buy ice cream any more we asked and he's like "there will not be ice cream in this house." And it made me mad . It's not our fault and we can't fix it, only you can. Because if I tried to explain it won't be pretty. But because you did it you have to fix it. We don't care if those are your rules because it's your house. But do you really have to spread it around the world? You will have to fix it sometime soon and you'll have to do it yourself. Haven't you ever watched one of those super hero movies where the person who started it,fixed it and apologized ? Well now it's your turn to be like that super hero character who goes out to set things right. I know you can. And I personally know you will even if is hard. I love you.
Love abby

Some sales pitch, huh?
I eventually caved a little and said they could have ice cream once per week.
She emailed me again and said "Did you get the moral of the story?"  I said "There was a moral?"  She said "Yep, did you figure it out?"
I said no.
She replied, "Don't try take away girls ice cream."

Lightening Bolt

(No, not an album review... I don't think.  One of those entries where I ramble and not overly concerned w proper grammar.  And it's a kinda heavy thought so if you're uncomfy w it early, that's ok.  I think I can shape it up and save it for you before I hit PUBLISH.)

I heard a story today that kinda stopped me and made me reflect, and flash forward.  
A man was in the attic, cleaning things out and "ooh, something bit me."  24-48 later, fatal.
And I thought... Because my thoughts go here from time to time... "What if..."
And my first thought was, I hope these entries would give the girls some good reading one day... Or many days, I don't know.   I hope I've done some things that'll last, that they'd be proud of.  That they'd one day do and have similar thoughts... To create things that last, that improve situations, atmospheres and help people.
Then I wondered and thought about how important it is for us to leave or make an honest attempt to leave, a mark, in some way, in our way, in your own way.  I heard a guy say "I don't have to reach 1,000,000 people but I'd like to reach the guy that reaches 1?00,000 people."  And in a way, we can do that, or we do do that.... If we shared and brought it all out and left our mark, we could reach 1,000,000 people.  I reach 3, those 3 reach 6 and so on...
And now that I keep thinking about it.... It's definitely more meaningful to think "ya, they'll read this one... Better make it a good one."

I worked for a company once and I ran the training and our little slogan was "training for performance, training for life." And I meant that and still use it and think about it.  Even when I'm speaking to the young girls, I want the knowledge to stay with them in some way, even if they ignore me now, I want them to hear it again in 10 years and think "damn he was right," the way I do.  I have that voice.  I'm 36 and I'm still have moments where I hear my dads my voice or Nacks voice and it's like I'm still a kid learning these things. So when you get a chance to share and reach people, do it and do it responsibly and with empathy.   Talk to people how you want to be talked to, coach people how you want coached.  And then vice versa, when talking to yourself, do it w care and empathy.  Talk to yourself the way your dream coach would talk to you and so on.

I encourage people all the time to write a blog.  Even if no one reads it right now, doesn't matter.  Does it?  

I heard a guy say "Fate, is what we do by doing whatever.  Our destiny is to be fought for, our destiny is our dream, we fight our lazy fate to reach our destiny."

New topic... I had a conversation w a friend about their toxic work envriement.  I smiled because I've kinda written on that topic lately.  It's hard to say "get away from the toxicity," when your mortgage is at stake.  So if you can't get away... Smile at them.  Keep doing what you love.  Remember that your light will eventually outshine their darkness and not only will you maintained your YOU, but you'll have also turned them into better versions of themselves.
And remember, when people change, when people improve and evolve and grow... Let them.  Don't box anyone into who they were 3, 5, 10 years ago.  Or even 3 months ago.  People change all the time and you never know when it's going to happen. 
 This is a simple world w crazy people :) I say that in a good way... Well, unless we're talking about politicians, law makers, and somebody these big corporate ceo's/presidents and the rest of the gang.  

 So be nice (but don't let people push you around either).
Be useful.  

He said "what should I do?"
Do what you love and do it every day.  

Pearl Jam 

Everyone's a critic looking back up the river
Every boat is leaking in this town
Everybody is thinking they can all be delivered sitting in a box like lost and found

But I found my place and it's all right
We're all searching for a better way
Get this off my plate
It's all right, I got my own way to believe

Find a lighthouse in the dark stormy weather
We all could use a sedative right now
Holy rollers sitting with their backs to the middle all alone and sinking the bow

And if you want to have to pray, it's all right
We all be thinking with our different brain get this off my plate
It's all right, I got my own way to believe, it's okay

Sometimes you find yourself having to put all your faith in no faith
Mine is mine and yours won't take its place
Now, make your getaway
Science says we're making love like the lizards
Try and say that fossils ain't profound
Silence says we're not allowed to consider
Silence says stand up sit down you're out

But I found my place
And it's all right, I'm bearing witness to some better things, get this off my plate
It's all right, I've got my own way to believe
It's okay, sometimes you find yourself being told to change your ways
There's no way, mine is mine and yours won't take its place, now make your getaway

It's okay, sometimes you find yourself having to put all your faith in no faith
Mine is mine and yours won't take its place
Now make your getaway, it's okay
Sometimes you find yourself being told to change your ways
For god's sake, mine is mine and yours won't take its place

Now, make your getaway

Thursday, January 16, 2014

"3 days, and maybe longer"

Prerequisite; She asked "What's this Primal thing?"

It's a little silly but not too far off base... depending on your beliefs on evolution.  

Is it fair to blame our jobs?  
Is it fair to blame technology?
Maybe we look to point the finger and place responsibility or blame on anyone but ourselves.
But what are we blaming anyone for?  We're all pretty happy, right?

I was talking to a friend the other day who lost his second job and was kinda bummed about it... Can we pause right there and think about how crazy that is in itself.  He lost his second job and was bummed about it.  Anyway, I said "This is a great opportunity.  Now you can reset what and think about what you really want to do."  He just stared at me, which happens often.  I think most of the time he thinks I'll shut up and go away if he doesn't prod me along... but I'm annoying like that.  I said "If money isn't an issue, what would you do for work?  What is something you would do for free?"  He answered, "Teach guitar lessons."  We went back and forth from there, talking about how great it would be and he might give it a shot.   
But my thoughts after were, how many of us work a job, either first or second jobs, that aren't "us?"  Do you know what I mean by that?  How may of us work jobs that don't represent us in anyway?

In "Whats this Primal thing?" I referenced the cubicle and how it would feel like a cage to me, and it would.  But I think we have more cages than we know, than we see or feel.  So lets look at it from a negative light type perspective, from the outside in or inside out.  
Never mind how many of us work jobs that aren't us... Ask yourself "How many moments in the day are we our true selves?"  How many moments are we clear of the titles and roles and ego's and bullshit that distracts us?   
For arguments sake, lets say the 40 hour job is definitely not "us," and say we sleep 8 hours at night, and we drive 1.5 hours per day and it takes us 30 minutes to get ready for work, maybe longer if you have a full head of hair to take care of, which I obliviously don't, then an hour for dinner prep and eating... we're at about 19 hours right there, do your own math and figure out your day.  That leaves 5 hours for YOU, IF you don't work a second job.

What do you do with it?
What do you do to tap into the true you?
Because you need to know, the true you, isn't the title you happen to have at the day job.  
I always tell my friend when we get to talking about the ego and these crazy titles that we all get so hung up on, "Some day, the roles will be dissolved and none of this (work nonsense) will matter... All the titles we attach our identity to will be washed away... then who are you?"


I recently moved out to an area that is surrounded by a fairly good amount of tress and I'm looking very forward to getting lost in the spring.  I think technology is an issue, our demanding jobs/careers are an issue, all the distractions we've either created or allowed to be created, is an issue.  

What are you going to do to quiet the bullshit and find more time for yourself to be you?

I think we've greatly underrated ourselves and what we should be experiencing.  
I think we keep it all too tight, too structured, too confined.  Rules and order, I get that in terms of society and law (most) and the structures we need to keep it together, but personally or individually, its too uptight. "It," being the set of rules we put upon ourselves.   

Lets say your 25 or 35 or 45 or 55, it doesn't matter if you're 95... what are you going to do crack the shell, to dissolve the mask you wear and be you on a more consistent basis?

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Never Arrive

So Steph and I are training a group of athletes this evening.  We start it off with a couple warm up laps and its usually pretty clear what kind of mindset they have right off the bat... lackadaisical.  Then we get into the dynamic warm up and its a little better but not nearly good enough for me.  I'd say only about 40% of them were pushing themselves, the rest were coasting.  So I give a quick pep talk to lock them in and we continue.
Then I send them for water after a few more minutes and it hits me.
When I was a young "athlete,"... Lets stop right there and clarify.  I do not consider myself an athlete or ever been athletic.  I was a guy who knew how to play games, and could move well with intensity, that's all.  However, I was once dubbed "the most athletic 6' 250lber in Lake County," by a very prominent area coach.
Anyway, when I played, I never remember NOT feeling the burn in my lungs or NOT feeling my legs turn to rubber.  I really don't remember getting attention or knowing I was going to make a team or be a starter.  I remember going into my senior year, my head coach started me off on the 2nd team.  Somehow, I was the only guy on the team that didn't realize what he was doing to me.  My coach felt that I had assumed a role that I hadnt earned... so he put it out there and made me go get it.
So as I'm thinking about things while training these pretty high level high school athletes... I'm wondering where their challenges are.  They know they're good.  They're all already starters at every age, at every school and most will have an opportunity to play college ball, if they want it.  They can come into every session and only work at 75% effort and still start.  They wont get cut, the coach wont demote them and they'll continue on thinking "good enough," is good enough.

So I start pushing the pace.  I speed up the session.  I start barking drills and pushing with a fun, energetic level that I knew they'd get behind and they stayed with me.  I even got down and started working with them and challenging and making some games out of it, and they responded w excellence... the way they usually do when they're "awake."

The session ends on a high note with a core circuit and I bring them in to talk.  I'm always honest with them, I never lie.  I don't tell them they're awesome if they're average and I don't tell them they're average if they're awesome.  Today, after a wake up call, they were awesome.
Paraphrasing, but I shared what I referenced above, "You're already good, you're already starters and people already know your name...  All the kids in school know you, people around town know you and all that... So what?  Here's what I want you to imagine... imagine you haven't even made the team... imagine no one knows you... imagine your brand new and you need to earn it again... imagine this is try outs and every drill, every rep, every moment is being judged and every single thing you do counts for something.  Be great.  Work to be great at everything and always work to earn your spot, wherever that is, whatever its for... work to earn it every single day."

And I'm driving home thinking about how I'm going to write this, thinking about how it relates to life.  How it relates to the jobs we work or our relationships or our training.  Are we just punching a clock or are we going hard?  Are we taking it for granted because we think we've already earned it or we earning it every single day?

Every time I start to wonder if I'm getting too old for this....

Sunday, January 12, 2014

...just enjoy the strawberries.

I was recently listening to The Joe Rogan Experience podcast and he had on one of my favorite guests, Aubrey Marcus, who is also the CEO of one of my favorite companies, Onnit, and also has his own awesome podcast titled "Warrior Poet."
They're talking about everything and anything and somehow Aubrey tells his favorite Buddhist short story -
A man was walking through the jungle and is encountered by a lion.  The man turns, runs and the lion is chasing.  The man comes to a cliff, and begins to climb down to safety.  As the the lion above stares at him, the man notices that another lion is waiting below.  And what else?  Two mice have begun to chew away at the vine the man is holding onto.  Lion above, lion below, mice slowly taking away his options... but the man notices a strawberry vine growing near, so he reaches over, grabs a strawberry and enjoys the most excellent strawberry he's every tasted.

I heard that and thought about a few different things... I thought my "To Do," list, I thought of life stresses and anxieties... I thought of that awful list of SHOULD'VEs that really don't do us any favors... I thought about the goal lists, the bills, moments, the days, time...

The lion chasing and staring down represents the past.
The lion below represents the unknown future.
The mice... time.
So what can we do?          Enjoy the strawberries.  

Stress, anxiety, the future, the past, time... it's all around us.  We want to do things, we want to see things, we want have certain things, we want to do for others, we want and want and want.  We really do.  We can say "I'm a simple person, I only need "x," but that's not entirely true.  I can say that, i think I'm pretty simple, but I hate my car.  I'd enjoy driving a better car.  Right?  So we all have items like that rolling around in our mind.  Maybe its a vacation or a house or whatever, the point is, SOOOOOOOOO much isnt really in our control.  Can we grab the wheel and steer the ship?  Maybe slightly, probably a lot less than you'd like to think.  But we really cant guarantee complete control over every single intangible, to completely land where we think we should be.
And that's ok.
I need to tell myself that often, in my day job, in training people, in coaching, in life.

Do everything you can, but know the outcome is not guaranteed.
So enjoy where you are, who you're with and what you're doing.

This Is Blue Chip