I wrote this ramble for LinkedIn but decided to put it here, too.
What has Covid19 taught us? Most of the things that people are posting as learnings aren’t from facts that could not have been known before the pandemic. A lot of musings are about appreciation, fear, inequity and a myriad of other things that were there and were visible, if you dared to look.
So why did it take the current crisis? The human mind is a strange thing. As the Heath Brothers said in their book Switch; “Your brain isn’t of one mind.” Or put another way, modern day sage Robert Perry was fond of saying “It’s a long way from the head, to the heart”.
Sometimes (often, even…) it takes a jolt. It’ a shame, but there you have it. And when this is over, we’ll forget and it will get buried in a puddle, beyond reach.
I get why. After all, If we let it to the surface, all of it; every problem exposed, we’d be in fight-or-flight all the time. And that’s not sustainable. What is sustainable? I know it’s a word that hardly seems to belong on LinkedIn (or Instagram)!but here you go: it is LOVE. Not the romantic sort (although I am a fan of that too!), but the love Aristotle spoke of that requires seeing other as equal. In fact, I would argue seeing other as…. Not other at all.
We are linked & not just economically.
Whatever you feel right now, that itch that compels you to change; start that process now. Pick the thing that you can contribute anew, and make it a habit, quick, before your heart forgets…..
To start, how about I spell out what I mean by those terms?
As you can see from my venn diagram, I think it also applies to more than muscle, joints and sinew. We all have varying degrees of strength, stability and flexibility. Moreover, each depends on the circumstance and context.
Are you full of grit and able to withstand pressure? Great; but maybe you miss a chance for growth.
Are you quite open to change and people naturally follow you where you lead? Careful pied-piper; that you do not criss- cross the land dragging a merry but aimless band.
You try: I would love to hear your thoughts and experiences on when you have seen these deployed really well and not so well. As with so many things, its about balance and deploying the right things at the right time. That means reflecting on the circumstance you find yourself in. For some, this is natural. For others, you may need all three just to take the time to dig deep….
Don’t get me wrong: I love being right, too.
But as a curious person who thrives on growing and learning, exchanges that include that moment of ‘oh, well I might have been wrong’ or ‘oh, I didn’t know that’, are the only ones where I grow.
Being found to be right might be a nice ego boost, and it is certainly necessary when designing solutions for my clients. Nevertheless, when it comes to interpersonal relationships, moments of realization are the only ones where I leave the exchange a least a bit different than I went in. And if I always leave exactly the same as I went in, ….well what a shame.
Everyone we meet has an opportunity to help us learn and grow. To waste that just so you can be “right”, doesn’t seem very right, at all.
A few weeks ago I launched a small quantified-self project. It’s origins flow from increasing generalized anxiety...thinking about ways to manage that. My Dr. directed me to a website and I ended up (eventually) at https://welltory.com It aims to measure stress, energy, and productivity. I love me some measurements!
It’s interesting, for example, but not surprising... to see that in comparing my sleep and my energy - there’s a correlation. And I can make choices that help with quality sleep. Simple and logical enough.
What was more surprising is the Welltory suggestion that I would benefit from continued measurement even if I don’t follow their suggestions. Huh? As it happens, simply being aware of how you feel and how your body is reacting (or is that the other way around?!?) is a good start to managing stress.
I don’t see myself doing any knitting or sudoku as meditation. But hey, you never know ....
Thank you. Thank you for everything you did for me this year.
Yeah, the whole acid/stomach thing was and continues to be a bit of a piss off. It’s keeping me from doing some of the things that I love. And I really hope that we can sort that out together next year.
That’s a minor inconvenience compared to everyplace I got to see because you took me there. To every awesome concert and show ... I am able to sit for hours in the uncomfortable tightness of the Massey Hall seats. Able to dance (or a reasonable facsimile) for hours on the concrete bar floor.
You treated me pretty good this year. I treated you pretty good too. I guess it only seems reasonable. But some people, even with the greatest of care, don’t have the strength and health I am lucky enough to have. So, Thank you.
Another year under the bar has increased my respect and admiration for everything you can do and all that you tolerate, enable ...and enjoy. 😉. And while you occasionally lie to me (yes, I probably DO have one more rep in me) ; I promise to get better at listening to you before you have to yell.
You and me; we’ve got a pretty good thing going....
Yes, another Powerlifting/Work Life analogy.
I am very close to benching 135#. Lifters know that this is less arbitrary than it sounds, as it means that I will be using a full plate on the bar. It’s a milestone! And in a sport based on tiny incremental progress, these milestones are major. And it’s very likely within 3 months or less from being achieved.
Some things that have struck me during this last bit of effort towards my big lift:
1) It’s on my mind. And it’s going to be the same incremental progress when I hit it. I go up in 2.5# increments every time. This will be the same. And yet… it’s different. Just like other progress, we often celebrate what seems like progress, but not recognize all the other exactly equal steps we took to get there before.
2) I’ll miss a few times before I get it. Because it’s really at the edge of what is possible for me, I won’t know if I can do it until I try. So I will, inevitably, fail. I have already. And I will again. In fact, even after I get it the first time, there are no guarantees that I can the second, because for that moment, I am playing at the edge of possible. And if I chose to wait until I knew for sure I could do it without fail… until I was strong enough to make it certain? Well, then for sure it would happen way later than it will by trying whenever it just might be possible.
3) The best version of me will be needed. Again, because it’s on the edge of impossible, when I try, I have the best chance when I had a good night sleep, and have been eating clean and feeling focused.
It’s this last one that really sticks with me. It’s very clear to me that to deliver this lift, I need to be at my best, and that comes not just from my intent at that moment, but what I have been doing in the hours (even days) prior to it.
And that makes me think about my other endeavours in life, especially at work. For sure most of my job is not playing on the edge of impossible. It’s certainly not a walk in the park, either. So when it’s not easy…. The very best me ensures the best outcomes. And the best me does not just come from that moment, but the moments leading up to it, including what I eat, how I sleep and how I recover and play.
So the next time I am at the gym, or resting, reading, or eating optimally, I will remember that what’s good for me is good for the best me at work too…and taking that time and effort is an investment in work as much as it is in life. And not doing it? Well that’s just not an option, now that I know, is it?
First ever un-spotted 115lbs #benchpress. I’m pretty sure I have never NOT used a spot on anything over 100lbs.
It’s not that I can’t safely move the weight. But I let fear prevent me from trying without a safety net.
I would stand there at the bar, trying to reason with myself that there was no need to be afraid. And even though I knew it was true I could not convince myself. So I would ask for a spot.
Today I tried something different. I figured since I wasn’t going to be able to reason myself into NOT being afraid... I’d just do it no matter how I felt. And the results.... you can see for yourself. I wasted a lot of time trying to reason with the part of my brain just doesn’t reason.
I’m done with that.
The chart mostly speaks for itself. But I also told Jerimiah that I'd really like to be a bit brave on a last attempt in 2018. Not that the last on any of these above were guaranteed, but they had been done before a few times.
And we aren't currently setting a date target other than "next year". We'll just work on progress and keep checking in and when it seems within reach, sign up for a meet and to a 3 month (probably) prep cycle.
I said the same last year, but by November was desperate to get signed to a meet to have it firm. I'll try to exercise patience and remember that more meets are added regularly and I won't miss out. Then I can try to be a bit more organic with the planning, which may be helpful given my travel schedule can be hard to have any long term insight into or control over.
HERE WE GO!!!!
Some smart ladies have been telling me the same thing lately: it's coming from multiple places,.... that it's not events that make up your story, but rather it's the narrative that you make of those events. And that is the story of YOU... that makes you who you are.
It's a powerful notion. And I have been practicing. Jessica recently said when we were having our ritual Pho...."It's interesting that you would frame your story that way".... and it was a punch in the gut. She was right. I was undermining an accomplishment by the way I framed it. It took some thinking to figure out why I would do that, but the greater win for me was that now when I tell a story, at least sometimes, I hear Jessica's voice.... "interesting way to frame it", and then I consider whether the story I write serves me. And while being TRUE is the most important, there are ways to be truthful that still lack honour. Everyone has blurted out something ... out of a feeling, perhaps. And for that millisecond it was true, but.... it was not really TRUE. But you've said it... it can't be unsaid. I am practicing writing my story in consideration of this reality. Practicing that requires that I check my initial story to make sure that I am honouring the deeper truth. The text message with Jerimiah, above, is an early example of my new practice.
My life. My story. My choice.
I had a Personal Trainer for over a year. And then I had a coach. It was an easy transition because it’s the same guy. Let’s call him Jerimiah… (Because that’s his name….)
In March 2016 , spurred on by a growing love of powerlifting and Jerimiahs recent place (the TOP) at Nationals…. I decided to participate in a summer Powerlifting meet. The London Open, to be specific. Initially, I only asked him to help get me ready. But when I eventually (reluctantly) asked if he’d be there to support me, he was surprised I had considered that there’d be any other option. And at that moment, it started feeling just a bit different.
In the past, when he said “we”, I often laughed. “We can do this”, he’d say. And I’d think “We? I don’t see you picking up the other end of the barbell! Is that some training-speak to encourage me?” But not long after we started prepping for the meet; it really felt like WE! And now, the value I put into this relationship is kind of shocking. Personally, in some ways he remains nearly a stranger. But I trust him with a lot. I rely on his guidance, support and feedback. So how did it become “we”, exactly? Well, here is what I see now:
So has his approach changed? Actually, I have to sheepishly admit that it probably hasn’t. Those things actually didn’t start when I committed to the meet: they were there before. It was my perspective that changed. Yes, I did specifically ask for him to ‘have my back’ and got his commitment. But the only real change in approach was mine. So I had a coach all along, but didn’t know it. My bad.
And now I look around at people giving me feedback in my personal life or at work, and think: Maybe they are my coaches too? The push to own something. Or the encouragement to give it up. The dialogue to help me sort out how I feel, and what’s on my mind. Suggestions to consider modifying my approach. A pat on the back for a little win...... Sound familiar? It’s the SAME things I listed above that I value in my relationship with Jerimiah. I don’t always take the feedback from others as easily as I do with Jerimiah. Maybe its because it does not feel like “personal coaching” because of their approach. But maybe it’s also because of my perspective. And that, I can change.
Icon made http://www.flaticon.com/authors/nikita-golubev