60 Day Challenge

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I started the 6 week challenge at Crossfit Unbreakable​ this morning. I like how various elements of the workouts scale down so you can start about anywhere and move forward. And of course since I told Coach Jim my first CF goal, he gave me an extra workout to do 4 days a week… can’t say I didn’t ask for it!

I also met some new people and tried saying their names several times to remember them… and so I’ll write them down here for when I forget…

Todd. The guy who’s newer to CF than me but can probably kick my butt on anything involving a bar.

…Drat, I already forgot the other ones. And I’ve also noticed I forget how to count the more tired I am… which is not good when you’re counting to 30 over, and over, and over again.

Today’s WOD:

  • 30 Air squats
  • 30 ab-mat situps
  • 30 pushups
  • 30 box overs

I made it through one round and 65 of the second round, doing my pushups on my knees because I’m just not there yet… but I wll be.

Also did 50 reps training for pullups:

  • 10/10/5 ring things
  • 10/10/5 bar things

 

My first Crossfit Goal is…

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… to do two or more unassisted pull-ups or chin-ups, whichever is easiest, within the first 6 weeks of my Crossfit Experience. If I find I progress faster than I expect, I’ll revise this goal to add more reps or get both exercises going.

This was an exercise that I could never do as a kid during gym class or on that day when all the kids took The President’s Challenge. It discouraged me, embarrassed me, and gave me another thing to give up and not try again until many years later.

A few years ago while working out at home I was able to get my chin above the bar a time or two and it thrilled every part of me. It didn’t last too long, though, and when I saw both chinups and pullups on the WOD today at Crossfit Unbreakable, my heart didn’t sink like it has before. Well, ok, it did a little, but I decided then and there not to live in that. I may only get one one (instead of the 64 that were on the board?) or maybe I won’t even get any, but I’ll give it my best.

I didn’t get a single unassisted one done. In fact, I could barely do it with the tightest band they had helping me. But through that I gave it all I had, held nothing back, and tried each set. There were at least 3 people that helped, encouraged, and kept me from flipping over on my back when my foot got caught in the band. I walked away a success and with my first real goal.

Feeling Strong

There’s a quote from Into the Wild, the story of Christopher McCandless that I really like:

“It is important in life not to be strong, but to feel strong, to measure yourself at least once. If you want something in life, reach out and grab it.”

I’ve watched the Crossfit “phenomenon” for quite a while over the last years. The first Crossfitter I met was a guy from a men’s retreat I went to whose story would knock your socks off (even if you’re wearing those knee-high’s they so often wear at a Crossfit “box”). As I watched him and others talk of the community they’d found in it, I related that to my own experience of community at the Daily Audio Bible.

crossfit unbreakableI’ve tried to accomplish many things alone in life, and one that has never worked well for me is growing in strength – not just the ability to lift more weight today than I did yesterday, but knowing my limits, pushing them, setting goals, and growing. Frankly, it’s been frustrating for years.

What I did today is no magic bullet, and it may not even be a good fit for me after the month and a half I signed on for, who knows. But what I did do is do something I’ve wanted in life – I joined a community of people set on finding their limits, pushing through them, and doing all of that, together.

My arms and chest ache tonight, and when my friend Keith texted me asking if he’d see me again tomorrow, I could think of quite a few reasons to rest up for a day… but I could think of even MORE reasons to simply show up again, because not only did I have a blast, but even this first day, I did things I didn’t know I could.

My Family, My Priority

“I am a loving husband and involved father, who places my family above all other relationships in my life.”

So goes one of the key “statement of truth” affirmations I have written on a post it and hung in my bath room mirror. One of at least three that I read each and every day, have now memorized, and am finding out that there are sorts of situations in life where reminding of me of that statement makes a decision much more black and white.

This week in my coaching experience I am exploring my family life development. As I walked through the initial survey, I found more positive things than I presumed I might. I’ve heard over and over and over again that “time” is perhaps the best thing thing you can offer your family, and it seems to be one of the things I have tremendous opportunities to offer my family, either because of “must do” types of things each day (i.e. feed the baby) or “can do” things, such as the rather flexible schedule I have that allows me to work at home a couple days a week and cut out an hour and a half of commuting time each day. What I found myself asking, though, was something along the lines of, “even though I have all these opportunities, am I taking advantage of them to their fullest?” As I explored that, I believe what I’m finding is what I’ve found in many other areas of my life… I have great opportunities, but for the most part, I spuratically take advantage of those opportunities. I don’t have too many established habits, although there are some, and even though they may “seem” small, I think they are probably much greater than I’d allow myself to think. Things like:

  • I have gone for 11 years of marriage without a TV in my bedroom. It has provided the opportunity for numerous conversations that could otherwise have been zoned out or cut short by the evening news or weather. While not an end-all solution in itself, I can’t deny the impact this decision, and stick with it, have had.
  • I eat dinner with my family every day of the year. Well, not every day. But probably at least 300 – 325 meals a year. Whether it’s gathered around the kitchen table, cramped into the car in a parking lot wolfing down sandwiches, or a special night at the park, spending this time together matters. I don’t think it matters if there is a specified agenda to discuss or a rule that we can or can’t have the TV on… again, it’s the time that matters. What I wonder, though, is how this will “stick” or become more of an effort or forced occasion as our kids grow up. I don’t exactly want a Leave it to Beaver existance, but at the same time, I want my kids and wife to know what is important to me, and to know why. And I suppose that means I should make sure I know that as well.
  • I go to bed at the same time as my wife. This one’s caused some headaches… literally. I love opportunities to get my sleep in and start my day before the first hint of dawn, and my wife makes a great night owl. I enjoy the night life too, but there are those days when you know your morning will suffer if you stay up late, and that the only reason your staying up late on that particular day is because of something you’re really not personally invested in. I’ve given my wife a hard time on it, almost forced her to go to bed without me sometimes when she (or I) is sick or something, but again, for the most part, this is an unwritten rule in our home. And I should probably quit fighting it and recognize it for what it is: a blessing. I know many families that don’t even have the opportunity for this type of shared life with their spouse because of work or other obligations. I also know families who consider it quite normal to fall asleep in the chair and wake up in the middle of the night, TV muted, and spouse in the opposite corner of the house, in bed, alone.
  • My family has gone on several adventures together. Whether it’s a week long trip to Disney or our first roadtrip with the second child, we’ve done a lot together. There are some freedoms we haven’t achieved or made happen yet, such as a two week vacation or one completely free of the business email check or cell phone… but in all honesty, I think we do a lot together. There’s a lot of room for improvement, but as I look into the future, I don’t want to sell ourselves short. Besides vacations, we’ve ventured into horse ownership and mini-farm / garden adventures together, for example.
  • My wife and are committed to our marriage, and we’ve seen that commitment tested. Trials will come. So will tests. Whether they are by outside forces pressing in or personal failures and weaknesses raising their ugly head, all these pictures of a nice little world, including the white picket fence around the front yard, will be put to the test. We’ve been down this road. We’ve seen how close a family can come to falling apart, and the critical decisions at critical moments when it really is do or die, make or break.

All those good things considered… Where are we? Where do we want to go? Having dinner together, going to bed together, or not watching TV in the bedroom are good and dandy, but WHY? What is the bigger story they’re part of? What do I want to accomnplish with my family?

The “Where are we” question is a good one to start with. I think we have a lot of good habits, but we’ve probably got our share of bad ones as well. For myself, things like body language, looks, and sarcasm that I give without consideration to how it will come across can become a big blow to those I love most. The same could be true with plain worn-out-edness from work at the end of the day, and coming home to a wife who is also worn our from her more-than-full-time job of being a mother. As I look into the future, I see how coming up with specific things that I, and we, want to accomplish as a family will help us find the push through those hard times, as well as the motivation for the bigger things in life.

So what are some categories of goals I’d like to accomplish with and through my family? Here are a few, based on what I’ve considered recently, as well as a brief look back through my ever-increasing dream inventory:

  • Reach out to kids without a stable home environment through love and hope.
  • Develop an intentional use of time together each day so that all recognize it’s value.
  • Take a two week vacation to a place far, far away.
  • Develop methods to better “leave work at work”, both during the week and on vacation.
  • Plan our future together – short and long term – money, time, goals, etc.
  • Be a couple known for listening, understanding, and even giving counsel to other couples and/or teens.
  • Spend more planned time one-on-one with my wife.
  • See my children come to know (and be known by), love (and be loved by), and serve their Creator.
  • Develop regular one-on-one activities with my children.
  • Encourage my children to find and pursue their dreams, even at an early age.
  • Encourage and help my wife find/rediscover and pursue her dreams, no matter how far-fetched they may seem.
  • Understand my own need for personal discovery, and recognize that each of us will have to make some journeys on our own.

I believe the next step I’ll be doing here later on this week is coming up with some actual goals and steps to pursue and achieve some of these areas I’d like to see us accomplish as a family. So I’ll probably be coming back to this shortly. But for now, that’s us, where we are, and some of the places I’d love to see us go.

This was originally written in September of 2010, but I’m bubbling it back to the top as it’s still sooo important to me.

Rockefeller Habits: Mastering a One Page Strategic Plan

Well for starters… www.gazelles.com is a great source of downloadable forms to walk you through what can seem like an elephant sized project… and remember – How do you eat an elephant?

One. Bite. At. A. Time.

“A Vision is a Dream with a Plan.”

“Nothing ever gets done in any organization until it shows up on somebody’s weekly To Do list – and I do mean weekly! Quit thinking in monthly increments and drive all measurements, deadlines, and deliverables down to weekly increments. It may be painful in the doing, but it needs to be done.”

Being responsible and being accountable are two different things. Many people can be responsible to see a task completed, but the accountabilty can only fall on the shoulders of one. This is the person who gives VOICE to the task or goal.

Resist the temptation to revise or wordsmith. The point is not exact wording, but using a single sheet of paper to say it all for your cmopany, no matter how imperfect. You need something that can be used daily to help the company reach it’s potential.

“You must remember that this process is 1 percent vision and 99 percent alignment. The lion’s share of your effort must go not into meeting, talking, and wordsmithing, but toward getting your people aligned to do what needs to be done.”

2012 Dream List

I’ve got a list of life-long dreams around here somewhere, and it’s about time I get it out and look it over again, but today I spent some time thinking through some of the things I really want to accomplish this year. The list below is preliminary and probably needs to be whittled down or refined for the 10.5 months that remain of 2012, but it’s a starting point – which, by the way, was an action step toward the goal of developing key goals to accomplish this year… STA

  1. Run an obstacle course, probably the Warrior Dash.
  2. Launch the me2u website
  3. Give myself a raise.
  4. Organize and help lead a youth retreat.
  5. Bring in someone – hire or contract – to do a good bit of our programming / coding work.
  6. Go for a whole weekend camping / horse trip.
  7. Remodel a room in our home.
  8. Hit a home run at softball, as in a home run where the ball goes over the fence.
  9. Lead someone to jesus.
  10. Take each of my kids on an overnight trip, just the 2 of us.
  11. Take my wife on a trip, just the 2 of us.
  12. Take a step towards learning becoming a counselor for families and teens.
  13. Find a training partner with similar goals (at least on the physical side, but who knows, others as well)
You know, maybe that really ISN’T that bad of a list. It covers a very broad spectrum of my life – most of the “pieces of the pie” if you can all it that, and none of them are all that “pie in the sky” dreamy, either. Drat. Now I have pie on the brain. It’s a good thing I’m settled on limiting myself to a bowl of cereal for the rest of the night.
So yeah, I’m putting this out there. If you’d like to share life with me by helping me develop these, by holding me to my goals, or even by coming along side me and achieving them together WITH me, I’d love to have you along for the ride.