Sunday, January 31, 2010
I started jogging many years ago and I love it. It is empowering. It is freeing. It is spiritual. But it didn’t always feel that way. Years ago while living in California I began to jog. I used to run 6 out of 7 mornings a week. I ran, a man made lake covering 155 acres of land right in the heart of Oakland. I’d always park my car in the same place, walk the same distance to warm up, start my slow jog on cue and feel as if I could not run another step in the same place. I used to call it, the “poop point.” It was the place where I would allow myself to quit.
"The place where I would allow myself to quit" -WOW! That’s scary isn’t it?
Do you have poop point?
Anyway, I thought that I was pretty good up to that point. For when I was in High School I ran track. 110 yard low hurdles to be exact, won many medals, but couldn't even make it one lap around the track at practice for the warm up. And that was just a quarter mile. So now running ten times that distance, I’m thinking was pretty good.
Okay. So one morning I was sitting on the side of my bed feeling thick, wishing I could find a trainer to work with. You see, by not altering my work out, I had hit a plateau, and it had long since stopped yielding any further weight loss. Deciding to do something different I chose to warm up on the stairs which were about a city block long or high, if you will. I passed this guy I'd often seen floating around the lake like a gazelle, he ran so effortlessly it was beautiful to watch. I said good morning to him and he responded by asking if I were going to run. Yes I told him. Then he said "I'll run with you."
Well, I was immediately intimidated. I mean, what I had planed to do, and what he did were two entirely different things. I said, "Oh no I don’t want to slow you down." He told me not to worry, that he would simply run with me. Man, I thought there is no way I’m going to be able to do this- but off we went. I swear I had defeated myself even before I had started, but I was determined to make it. Well at least to my poop point. And so I did. But once there, I began to slow to a walk. "What’s the matter ?" he asked. "Well, I always stop here" I told him. He asked why. "Cause I get tired!" I said, really wishing he'd just leave me alone so I could crawl to my car and go home- never to say good morning to him again. But he did not leave me, instead he too stopped running, and walked with me. I’m thinking, man, leave me alone! But he stayed.
Then after about a block he said "okay lets run again." Well why would I want to do that?!" I asked, and he said "because we are almost there!" And because he would not leave me, I started to run again. I was surprised that my energy was renewed and making it to the end wasn't that hard.
Upon reaching my car he said "now sprint to the traffic light" (about a half block away), and without even thinking that I couldn't, I took off so fast that I actually beat him. When he caught up with me he told me "You can run this whole lake (3½ miles) if you have this kind of energy at the end of a run!" Immediately I thought of my poop point, the place where I allowed my self to quit. But I did not protest when he told me to meet him there tomorrow at 6am, so we could run again. I ask him what his name was, he said "call me coach". And so I did (let me remind you to be careful what you ask for). I met coach every morning and by the end of the first week, I was no longer stopping at my poop point.
Then one day he said "you can run the lake 2x’s around" by now I knew that arguing with him was futile, but that's 7 miles I thought. Long story short, one month to the day that we first started, I did it. I could see him peeking at me from the corner of my eye, we ran the entire second lap in silence. I think he thought if he told me what I was doing, I might stop. But you see, I had simply removed my poop point and replaced it with a
. I ran with coach all that Fall. We'd run 10½ miles each morning. Though he could run circles around me, he always stayed by my side.
And to think in high school (at 15 years old) I could not run ¼ mile, but at 35 I was running 10+...
Where is your poop point? I suppose the better question would be, how far could we go if don’t stop ourselves?
And so this is what I know so far;
I learned a very important lesson about possibilities that day. I learned a very important lesson about myself. I learned, and that was just the beginning of seeing how far I could go. I’m sill going. Will I see you at the finish line?
Remove your poop points and meet me there!
Saturday, January 9, 2010
By now we’ve all heard that no plan at all is pretty much a plan to fail. Still many of us are creeping along the road of life with no plan at all. But the beginning of each new year brings with it the optimism of resolutions. In other words we’ve got a made-up mind (at least on that day) for change. Now change is a good thing. Growth in my opinion even better. Still neither can happen without a winning plan...
The high ranking resolutions are around improvements in ones health and finances, often without a clue as to how to see it through. In other words we make noise or resolutions without the strategic steps, or how- to-do’s, or even a plan. So then what’s so hard about planning? Well, it dose take some thought, okay a lot of thought, and it takes work. Okay, okay a lot of work. But what are we doing that is so important that we cant take time to put effort behind thought for ourselves?
So much of how we operate is in the mind. Everything, at least for me starts there. I believe that with focus and discipline, any and I mean anything can be accomplished. Yeah? But that’s me, what about you? Does your life look like what you thought it would? Did you hold true to your resolutions made Jan. 1st 2009?
There are any number of ways to make a plan. Many of us set time lines. And I think that that’s fine. Does this sound familiar?, By the end of___, I will have achieved____. You can fill in the blank. But the truth for many is that’s where the plan stopped. We give the thought, but not the effort or action.
By now you know that I believe that words are things, and that they have power. The words we say could, and can create situations which then prompt or move us into action. Even more powerful than words is thought. In order to make changes we must first give thought to where we are and why. What are our habits? What are the patterns we habitually fall into which keep us stuck? Equally important, what are our triggers? Those things, when they happen, make us revert back to our old behaviors. I’d advise you to write them down and then give thought and language to what it will take for you to move from where you are, to where you want to be. What will you do instead? This is the beginning of a winning plan.
We live in an amazing time, a time where we have access. We can obtain information quickly and easily. This is another crucial ingredient to a winning plan, for it could be that you have not known where to start- but remove this excuse. Plan to get the information you need. I mean if you don’t know, you should ask somebody. For we all have our strong suits, things we are better at than others. Create accountability by working your plan with a trusted friend to get the things that you are less able to do, done. Use the individual talents of many, therefor stressing no one. I mean, if you truly Plan to Win, do so by any means available. It should be a way of life. Embrace it, and encourage others to do the same. This can simply be done by asking, “Do you have a plan?” I love to ask young people this question, gets them thinking early, lets them know it is a good thing to have!
Now as I’ve said, as I see it [and remember, it’s just my opinion that with focus and discipline]- any, and I mean anything can be accomplished. Let us take a look at focus. For those of you like me with a short attention span could find this to be challenging! But I make focus a part of my day, like prayer, meditation and journaling. I plan Cassandra. I tell her she’s deserving of all good things. I encourage her to be real about what she thinks, does, and why. For without knowing oneself there is no hope of growth. Therefore I’m honest about the areas where she needs to improve, and I’m always compassionate with her. She is trying after all. Then I ask her what she wants. I visualize it, feel it and own it.
I set aside time each morning to do these things before I do anything else, and the doing of this is the discipline. I believe that human beings are creatures of habit. The more we purpose ourselves to do anything the easier it gets- and the better we get at it. Its like exercise for your life. It is in fact, working it out.
So let me ask you this; What are you doing for the rest of your life? Do you have a winning plan? I PLAN TO WIN! I also plan to have a good time and enjoy my life. I’ve got other plans too, but it’s not really about me, it’s about you! Do you have a winning plan? Might I encourage you to plan and plan big. For if you can conceive of it, and hold the thought you will find in front of you the appropriate steps to take. And if you can see yourself at the back end of a winning plan when the path presents, you will be ready and able to follow it.
This is what I know so far!