Deciding Who’s To Blame

sharing

Today’s picture is my seven-year old sharing her birthday candles with her siblings.

Watching unconditional sharing in my oldest child showed me that I am not seeing things as they are.

My daughter has far more kindness than I perceive.

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bigbearListen to people discuss their difficulties and you’ll hear about the shortcomings of others.

How I can counter my tendency to fool myself within my key relationships?

Acknowledge stress – illness, injury, financial hardship, noise, lack of sleep – when I am under duress, I’m much more likely to “blame” people, rather than owning situations.

A house filled with little people is a stressful situation, certainly if you’re not used to it. Be watchful that you don’t form a negative view of others, simply because you’re under duress.

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2015-10-10 10.48.53Slow down – stress, combined with rushing, is my optimal state for making mistakes!

I can cut my error rate in half with well-placed pauses and noticing when I am holding my breath.

How often do you hold your breath? In what circumstances?

As I coach, I would teach cyclists to corner better by breathing-through-the-turns.

Like a nervous athlete descending a mountain road, we might not realize when we are holding our breath.

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happyChange externals – When I am falling out with people, consider if “people” are the problem.

If I want to make things work with an individual then focus on frequent small actions to reduce their stress.

With every person I see (especially my internal life), what is the scorecard of negative vs positive interactions?

A simple way to improve my interactions with others is to improve my own attitude.

What kinds of emotional fingerprints do I leave?

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Go deep – remember that it’s rarely about what it’s about.

External circumstances and basic needs drive most of our behaviors. What’s the unmet need that’s driving this behavior?

When you get the hang of manipulating others with the above… ūüėČ

…then you can tweak your key relationships

…and, perhaps, yourself

Aging Athletes on the Kokopelli Trail

FullSizeRender 2I spent early October riding the Kokopelli Trail in Utah.

I enjoyed the trip more than I expected and want to share ideas to increase your athletic satisfaction as you move into, and beyond, middle age.

High performance is not about health, but long-term athletic satisfaction is most certainly correlated to health, strength and mobility.

As a cohort, our group of 40 to 60 year olds was the healthiest population that I have ever trained alongside. I am using health in a classical context Рbody, mind and spirit.

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Here in Boulder, I see many friends¬†“age-down” their training partners, seeking younger and younger peers. Heck, we even race our kids as soon as they are fast enough to give us a push.

If you feel compelled to hang onto your youthful performances then be sure to try the opposite, at least some of the time. Age up your pals, teach children and be kind to beginners. Pay close attention to how this makes you feel.

As one of the the “youngsters” on the¬†trip, I learned a lot from listening to the veteran athletes talk about their lives.

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Usually, a training camp involves a 5:30am alarm, wolfing down a breakfast, training all day, eating two massive dinners and sweating myself to sleep. Repeat for six to ten days.

Dropping into a guiding company that was celebrating 25 years of trips, I realized how little I knew about what (normal) people want.

On the first morning, the¬†guides had a chuckle when I arrived in the lobby with my helmet, shoes and full riding kit. It was POURING rain and they gently broke it to me that we weren’t riding for a while.

2015-10-05 11.32.21This pattern, of gently breaking it to me, would continue for the week. Eventually, I capitulated and decided to (attempt to) be a model guest.

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I was surprised by the aspects of the trip that I enjoyed the most — the relaxed mornings and evenings.

I commented to a friend, “This trip is¬†a good workout spread across a great day.”

2015-10-09 08.18.50Bottomless coffee and massive fruit salads in the mornings. As Wes-the-guide can attest, there is something truly satisfying about eating out of a mixing bowl.

FullSizeRender 3Casual dinners and beers around the campfire in the evenings. Our guides taking a well-earned break after a 13-hour day taking care of us.

FullSizeRender 5Stunning camping venues. Wine and cheese at a remote desert campsite.

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I should remember that¬†the health, strength and mobility required to enjoy unique experiences in nature¬†is FAR less than what’s required to train alongside high-performance¬†athletes that are half my age.

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Old habits die hard.

I’m changing slowly.

Wealth Habits: Capitalizing Luxuries and Time

IMG_4160Over the last year, I’ve sold two paintings and a piece of jewelry. My family had owned these items for a long time and they have given us a lot of pleasure. However, each September, an insurance bill arrived and gave¬†me a fair amount of pain.

So now the items are gone and last week my insurance bill arrived. I noticed that my insurance savings are enough to take my wife to visit any museum in the world, annually, forever.

By getting through the pain of change (the sale)… I created a situation where we could¬†share¬†experiences together (future trips).

The cost of the status quo is often hidden.

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Similar story.

I’ve been thinking about buying a boat, a sprinter van and/or a truck.

Despite evidence to the contrary, at some level, I think these assets will make it easier to spend time with my kids.

These assets are expensive to own, depreciate and require time to maintain.

How to counter the urge to purchase?

Assume depreciable assets are free to own, lease, keep receipts and track total time/spending in a year.

Cat SailAn example for the boat:

  1. As a teenager, I spent many summers working on the water. In those years, what was the total number of days that I would spend on the water? My peak days were 60 per annum. This year was closer to 25 days.
  2. Based on my rental history for the last two years, what’s the average cost per day of renting, rather than owning?¬†Let’s assume it is $1,000 per day.

Based on actual days on the water, how many years expenditure would I capitalize with a purchase? In my case, it is 10-25 years of expenditure based on how you slice the numbers and the size of vessel. Also, worth noting that I was on seven different vessels in 2015.

The above analysis is essential before you buy a vacation home, consider becoming a ski-family or purchase a large depreciable asset.

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Think back one decade, or two… have your preferences changed? Mine have changed tremendously and I have discovered that I am a lousy judge of what I’ll want in ten years’ time!

How might a large capital purchase impact the freedom you have to allocate your time?

By staying variable in the family budget, I can:

  1. free significant time in my daily schedule
  2. finance childcare
  3. budget for shared experiences
  4. immediately ratchet down spending, when required

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2015-09-20 17.53.02The final¬†step is to pay attention when you are enjoying a¬†“luxury” expenditure.

Notice the changes (if any) with your inner experience.

My benchmark is the way I feeling during a walk in the forest that’s ten¬†minutes away from my desk.

Live where you don’t need to leave.

Family Cycling

2015-09-04 08.22.00Here is the link to my last piece about cycling with babies and preschoolers – also the Endurance Corner article about Active Parents.

Roll forward 18 months and the kids are¬†aged 7, 4 and 3. The four year old just transitioned from a strider and the three year old is comfortable on her strider as well as a three-wheeled scooter. I wouldn’t have expected some of the changes.

One of my rules-of-thumb is to consider selling anything that I don’t use for a year. So, I sold my racing bikes, race wheels, powermeters and Garmins. When I need a road bike, I rent a top-of the line model. Considering maintenance, upgrades and airline fees – a net savings of more than $1,000 annually for the family.

2015-09-10 16.03.31I spent $5,000 and bought a haul-a-day and a family tandem from Bike Friday. My main bike is a 29er and the 20-inch wheels on the Friday bikes were an adjustment. Disc brakes and front/rear flashing lights with both bikes. Flat pedals for me and shoe cages for my daughter on the tandem.
2015-08-27 18.41.29Most the cost (above) was in the tandem but it’s a game changer for exercising with my oldest. She¬†loves it and we’re up to 20 mile rides. If I remove a second row seat in my Sienna then it fits inside my van and we did several trips this summer. Now that school is back in session, we use it as a commuter to/from her climbing.

When I got the cargo bike, I expected to be able to sell our second car (my Sienna van) as well as our double bike trailer. It’s not going to happen.

Turns out that the second car was useful, it’s now the sitter’s car. The adjustment to not having a car of my own left me a little grumpy. I¬†went so far as to price out what a third car would cost the family. When I calculated¬†the costs associated with a new car, a third car and my existing car… it got a whole lot easier to adjust my life. My effective savings are¬†$5 per city-mile not driven. Human powered whenever possible and treat Uber like a free service.

The cargo bike gets the kids up high and in the air. They love it… when it’s warm. I have kept the trailer for cold and wet mornings, when I bundle up and take one for the team.

2015-09-04 08.11.37SAFETY – it turns out that I don’t enjoy riding on city roads with my kids on their own bikes! This shouldn’t have surprised me (but it did) because¬†I was a nervous boyfriend when Monica and I would train together. The kids and I prefer bike paths, even if they double our travel time.

We didn’t go electric as I have the horsepower (just) to get a hundred¬†extra pounds up¬†the local hills.¬†If you aren’t a strong cyclist then consider front-wheel power assist for the cargo bike.