My kids are at the stage where they’re still asking for permission to go to the bathroom.
That will change.
When it does, I want to be ready for a chat on family leadership.
As a young man, I was a passionate believer in advancement based on merit. Merit being (solely) a function of competence and output. This suited me because what I lacked in tact was overcome by effort. I’m guessing most teams have members with weaknesses that are overcome by high output.
When we ask the world to judge us solely on output, we’re setting ourselves up for problems.
We are going to find most people confusing. This confusion will manifest in our families and relationships.
What’s my emotional output?
- How do people feel after they interact with me?
- How do I treat people that have no recourse against me?
- Do I stand ready to do what I’m asking you to do?
Thinking back to how I would have answered these 25 years ago…
- I don’t care
- No idea
- I use other people’s time and money to accomplish my goals – they are free to do what they want
I’ve found a large return from small adjustments.
As my kids age out of preschool, it’s proven easier to build a relationship with each of them.
Each of my kids has different capacities for emotional, social and physical intensity.
I’ve made a few unforced errors when I forget this reality.
Our kids’ training is similar but he’s taken a shine to the following:
- Indoor Climbing
- Family PT (push ups, chin ups, burpees, sit ups, dips)
- Hiking Uphill
- Skiing Bumps
I happen to like #4, #5 and #6 so we do those together, a lot.
I get a lot of satisfaction from developing competency, then mastery, of physical pursuits.
He’s the same way, and gets to demonstrate his developing physical power to his dad.
When we’re out in the field, parents ask “how’d you get him to do that?”
In the moment, I’m simply a “proud papa”.
On reflection, I think the following are the core of what works…
- Be the brand
- Share an active life in nature
- Meet the kids at their level
Time and attention are precious to all of us.
…and the kids will get my attention one way, or another!
Twenty-five years ago, I heeded a call to be a better person.
Just a bit better.
Frankly, at the beginning, it would have been tough to see the “better.”
My changes were, essentially, being less unhealthy and less of an asshole.
Even small acts of improvement are not easy.
They are challenging because, inside my head, I only “see” one side of life.
In the moment, my only experience is discomfort.
They are challenging because, I had created a life that supported my poor decisions.
Remember, what we don’t see.
Avoided Setbacks and Unforced Errors.
We never experience avoided health problems, relationships not falling apart, sidestepped addictions, bypassed financial ruin…
I’m grateful the 20-something version of myself was sick of being sick and decided to go for a walk.
The first principle is you must not fool yourself — and you are the easiest person to fool.
— Richard Feynman
If you self-medicate with drugs or alcohol then you’re going to have a story wrapped around your usage.
My story is beer helps me fall asleep. It’s easy, and wonderful, to knock myself out with a couple of beers. Across 2017, I noticed a habit forming.
As two beers became four, I remembered Doc Evans’ video about alcohol and health. I also sensed that my reason for drinking was weak.
So I decided to make changes, for 30 days:
- wake up 30 minutes earlier (5:30am is my new normal)
- ditch the beer
- pay attention
Similarly my earplug usage was up to 100+ hours per week and a sense of panic would arise when I found myself without plugs. I’d been using plugs for years and they helped, greatly, with not lashing out in the face of my kids’ whining.
How’d it work out?
I lost 8 pounds.
The earplug adjustment happened so quickly I forgot I needed them.
I haven’t forgotten about beer.
We often have habits that hold us back and forever seems daunting.
…long enough to expose my faulty thinking
…short enough to get me to start.
One final sleep tip, I lie beside my son for 15 minutes when he goes to bed.
Our favorite part of the day
Our pediatrician said we should write a book — let’s start by sharing our best idea.
Start as many meals as possible with a plate that looks like this…
Here’s the best thing I learned this year.
If I am faced with a challenging situation — traffic, parenting, difficult people, the inconveniences of everyday living — then it is easy to wish my difficulties away.
For many of us, Christmas means we will be spending a lot of time with our difficulties.
It can be an especially challenging time and we fall into a pattern of hurry, hurry, hurry.
Or, in my case… a mindset where I simply want “it” to be over.
In two weeks, I turn 49.
I remember a handful of (birth)days from the last 40 years.
Life’s going to be done soon enough.
Careful if you find yourself wishing “it” away.
Everything about my life is better when I am strong.
I wanted to pass along what worked across my six month campaign of Getting Strong.
#1 – the biggest change, and challenge, for an endurance athlete… cap your cardio sessions at an hour and drop all group training. No more than two cardio sessions per day but you can walk around as much as you like! This is the only way I save the mojo to truly push myself in the gym and get-it-done.
#2 – add plyometrics // the leg blaster program that I used is here – combine with traditional gym work (focused on squats and leg press) – total time investment for the plyometrics was 12 hours over six months – outstanding return on investment!
#3 – track total movements // my plyometric routines built up to 420 movements in 15 minutes – during base training, my traditional exercises were focused on getting to 100 movements per exercise (sets of 20-25 reps with short rest) – the total gym session would be 400-500 movements (during base/prep training) – I did best my splitting plyometrics away from lifting days.
#4 – use a four-day cycle // for example…
- Base; Cardio; Plyo; Cardio
- Heavy Legs; Plyo; Cardio; Cardio
- Upper Body Blaster; Maintenance Legs; Plyo; Cardio
#5 – gains come from working the legs // my entire body benefits from improved leg strength. I didn’t focus on my upper body until I had been focusing on my legs for 20+ weeks. The upper body gains came fast from a month of adding push ups, burpees and the PT Pyramid.
Most my gains are hidden: better range of movement in my knees, improved energy and being able to toss my kids around.
It was a lot of fun and I ended this block feeling jacked, rather than exhausted.