60 Day Challenge

http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/2554691

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…

http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/2554691

… 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.

 

My Ecclesiastes – Motivation

The past year has been quite a journey for me, and I expect that the trip is nowhere near over. As I read the book of Ecclesiastes recently, I was reminded again about how even the wisest man who ever lived had to walk a path full of “wrong turns” in order to get to the destination. Solomon tested knowledge, pleasure, power, and a host of other sources for the meaningful life that his heart ached for, but in the end, here’s what he comes to:

Now all has been heard;
   here is the conclusion of the matter:
Fear God and keep his commandments,
   for this is the duty of all mankind.
               (Ecclesiastes 12)

I believe that. Wholeheartedly. The search for “life” ends in God. There is nothing else that will fulfil, noone else who can validate us (me) to a place where it’s all “worthwhile.”

I’ve also come to understand my role in this life. Well, that may be a bit bold. Certainly, I don’t know everything about what I’m supposed to do for the rest of my life or see the exact image of how I fit into the puzzle, but I see a good portion about how my uniquely created heart fits into the body of Christ. I’m learning what makes me “come alive,” and I’m going and doing that. I’m catching visions of what God is asking me to do, short and long term. That’s amazing. It’s something I’ve never experienced in life. It’s something I want to experience for the rest of my life. I never want this to go away again.

But… yeah, you knew what was coming, right? But.

But what I fight is the day-to-day. I’ve received some great coaching and mentoring along the lines of goal setting, strategic planning, and personal development. I know how to set goals that art attainable, measurable, and all that. I even find my life centered much more around that way of life than it used to be. It’s the motivation thing that gets me…

Motivation to…

…get to bed on time and get up early like I need to.
…make my followup and sales calls on a regular / daily basis, instead of letting them pile up
…make plans for big things that will never happen by themselves or with a single week’s worth.
…step up and let my voice be heart, even though it’s not as confident as I wish it was.

I even hopped over to Wikipedia, and it starts off right where I’m at:

Motivation is the driving force by which humans achieve their goals. Motivation is said to be intrinsic or extrinsic. … Motivation may be rooted in a basic need to minimize physical pain and maximize pleasure, or it may include specific needs such as eating and resting, or a desired object, goal, state of being, ideal, or it may be attributed to less-apparent reasons such as altruism, selfishness, morality, or avoiding mortality. Conceptually, motivation should not be confused with either volition or optimism. Motivation is related to, but distinct from, emotion.

I watched this documentary the other day about Seal Team 6, the guys that raided and took out Osama Bin Ladin. “Extremely Self-Motivated men,” this show called them. “Is there even such a thing,” I wondered? I hear that put in a variety of forms… Self Motivated, Type A, Driven…. all of those things. And that’s not ME. I don’t WANT it to be me, in fact. And in reality, I doubt it’s really anybody. Something is motivating those who seem to need no motivation other than a tap on the shoulder… self, pride, determination… something.

And this is my little ecclesiastical moment. I may not be searching for meaning in life, but I am searching for something… something that will drive me, motivate me.

I don’t want to figure that all out. I don’t want answer. But I want to understand my heart. I want to know it. To take captive the realm I have been given and put it into the service of the king.

That’s really where this all boils down to. S.D.G. Solo Deo Gloria. All Glory to God. That phrase captures it for me as a barometer, because when I measure what I’m doing against it, I can see the difference between what’s driven by my own pride and selfishness and fear and what’s driven by an all-out-craziness to see God’s name lifted up.

I want to keep that in front of me, all day, every day. In the back of my head and right in front of my eyes. I must. I’m not sure what will “work” for me, and perhaps a life of dissatisfaction with my own status quo is not a bad thing. On the other hand, God is doing great things, and He’s doing many of them right around my little realm, and that’s exciting to watch right now. Not because of me. Not even necessarily through me. Often in spite of me. But certainly around me. I am so thankful for eyes to see, and I pray for a heart to continue to follow, chase, and one of these days capture that wild goose called “what motivates chet?”

While I’m hear, I searched my blogs for posts I’ve made about motivation, and there certainly are a few. Here are a couple links…

Letting go of what's good to accept what's best

Yesterday I sat down to a meeting with one our larger clients to talk about planning for the future. We talked for a while about some upcoming issues that we’ve been working on for awhile and needed to get on the calendar. I’ve recently been able to do some on-target work for this client as we’ve developed some unique solutions, and it’s been good. The guy I report to at this company is a V.P. of sorts, and wears many hats. He’s H.R. He’s I.T. He’s Operations. In other words, he’s always on the move. While necessary for the business, the computer systems seem to have become much more of a liability or necessary evil to this company instead of an investment, an asset. This led us a few months ago, as we were starting to look for new lines of business, to offer up services to allow this guy to step back from I.T. and hand us the reigns… basically, to outsource their I.T.

We’re good at this. We’ve been doing it for years at our VERY biggest client that recently closed it’s doors. It’s “natural” for us, if natural means it’s something you do every day. But it’s not where we are wanting to go with the business. Should this opportunity come to fruition and we take over this role, it would require someone on site for at least 20-30 hours a week, an on-call structure that demands a large commitment from me and my staff, and, while it would be profitable and a nice amount of “guaranteed” income each month, it is not the kind of profitable and fulfilling work we’d like to found ourselves in for years to come.

“But it’s WORK,” my head told me. Pursue it! Chase it! Negotiate yourself into it. But we didn’t. We laid our offer on the table, several months ago, and it went largely dormant.

Yesterday, after my meeting with the I.T.-guy-slash-multi-hat-wearer, we went over to meet with the president of the company as well. All good; we do this from time to time; he’s a good friend and involved in what I do there. About 5 minutes into the conversation I got the “AHA” moment as to why we were meeting… here… today… “We’ve decided to hire a full time I.T. guy. We thought long and hard about the proposal you gave us, but in the end, this is the way we are choosing to go.”

I felt like I did the moment I did when I heard that my monster client was closing earlier this year. Not anger, but peace. Not stress, but relief. I could truthfully concur that their undstanding of where I was taking my company was not “outsourcing IT departments.” That’s not what we want to do. It’s good, but it’s not best. It’s something we COULD do, but not what we SHOULD do. In fact, should this opportunity have worked out for us, it would have tied our hands once again and kept us locked into a line of work we weren’t meant to be in.

It’s enjoyable to sit across the table from someone who’s just delivered what they it looks like they thought you’d think was “bad news” and be totally fine with it, even happy with it. I’ll still have work with this company… probably a lot of the same server and networking work I’ve had before, but not “big contract.” No “big commitment.” But that’s all good! Because that’s not where I’m supposed to be. I, and my company, exist to equip and empower small businesses to step forward as a company through the use of technology. I don’t exist to just maintain equipment, fix problems, and recommend purchases. Someone has to do that, but that’s not me.

For the first time in a while, I’ll have the opportunity to look into the future with my contact, with their new IT guy, and PLAN ahead. To look at I.T. as an asset, instead of a liability. To find areas in their organation where I do have something unique to offer, and where what we offer truly IS valuable, special, and worth investing in. I’m looking forward to it.

So anyways… that’s my life lesson / reminder from a business encounter. I’m finding more and more of these, and I’m loving it. What I do each day is becoming less and less of an obligation, of a job, and much more of something I’m meant to do, something where I have a role to play. And as I encounter this, as I explore this, I’m discovering that in order to say YES to what I could do, I will at times need to say NO to what I could do. In order to say YES to what’s best, I may ned to say NO to what’s good.

How true is this in the rest of life? Oh, so very, very, very true. I’ve seen it popping up in what I do or don’t do at home, what I get involved or back out of in at church, the friends I invest myself in and those I let go, the hobbies I throw myself into and the ones I toss in the trash can regardless of their initial investment.

I have much to learn in this area. There are lots of things that I need to let go. There are others I could ditch so easily that really wouldn’t make a difference. As I continue to explore what I’m here for, I am coming to understand it very well may not be some “big” thing. It may not any “one” thing. It may just be to live my life, to find where I am to give to the world what I have to offer, and to give it wholeheartedly.

While letting things go is tough, there’s another side of the coin as well. I have to jump fully INTO what I AM supposed to be doing. This may mean doing things in ways I’m not used to, taking steps to achieve goals that don’t seem all that enjoyable, but are necessary to do in order to achieve what IS enjoyable. As I say often, the journey often IS the destination, as as I look at my entire life, all the little steps, in light of the big picture, the big goals, the huge dreams, it all begins to fall together… not into a completed puzzle, but into one where I’m starting to find pieces that fit together, then big blocks of those pieces, then a key corner, then the entire outside boundary… and soon, it all starts to come together.

Where I stand now – Organization

This is an area where I see a huge need for improvement, and I can tell that I’m holding out. From mapping out my “ideal week” or day to planning each day before the previous day is done, I am consistently NOT doing what I believe I should. I’m doing better in some areas, yes, but I’ve fallen short on doing what I know I must do to make my days work for me, instead of the other way around.

Mark Sturgell, my business coach, has told me several times that successful peoples PRIORITIZE THEIR SCHEDULE, as opposed to SCHEDULING THEIR PRIORITIES. (crap – or is it the other way around?) The point is that you don’t just throw something important on a calendar and that’s it; it will get done. You must know each day what’s important to get done, and THEN go about planning your day around that. That may mean some things get done first before anything else, or it may mean that the day can’t end until I finish what I set out to do.

Right now, that’s not happening as it should. I want it to, but it’s not. My schedule is so haphazard right now that it’s quite apparent that what my days look like right now is not what they looked like 3 months ago and is not what they’ll look 3 months from now. Change is definitely occurring, and I am in a better place than I was before – I at least know what IS important to do – so now we’re coming upon matters of choice, of habit development, and of true character development. Do the things I do match the person I claim to be? I want the answer to that to be YES, every time.

There are some specific things I want to work on here. Here’s a few:

  • Develop an ideal week for my work day. I say “week” instead of “day” because my schedule DOES vary day by day right now, both because of the variety of hats I wear in the business and the nature of my schedule – 3 days in town, and 2 at home office, for instance.
  • Develop a method of tracking what I do each day. I don’t feel the need to capture this detail every 15 minutes or so, but really, is that THAT hard? That’s only 30-40 times of taking note of what I’m doing during the work day, and that’s not too bad. There are other ways to keep track of it as well. The new time tracking software I’m using is a much need help in this area.
  • Develop a good contact management system that works for both existing customers and tracking sales. I need something that helps me VISUALIZE my sales funnel and the state of potential customers. Reports and sheets of paper stacked on top of each other don’t work for me.
  • Develop a method of prioritizing goals, and relating the small goals to the bigger ones that truly keep me motivated. Again – a stack of Goal Planning Sheets doesn’t work for me. I’ve thought of an outline of sorts, but don’t know how to make that work yet, because I’m not really sure of the deep motivators that are at the top of the chain.
  • Fit other areas into my “work day” rather than just time spent serving customers of the business. Bookkeeping, Sales, Business Planning, Networking, all that stuff is pretty easy. But what about exercise, motivational reading or listening, use of commuting time, etc. This stuff relates to my business life in less tangible ways, but I want a way to work it ALL into an ideal week, including the personal time I have with myself and family (although possibly not as specific here).

So those are some organizational things I want to work on. I’ve identified several and they are doable. They need to be done. They MUST be done. It’s easy to say life doesn’t depend on it, but the life I want to live DOES, which makes them worth pursuing and achieving.