challenges

Visual Cues

Today’s visual cue is my time tracker. It’s been in a drawer for a good while now as it had served its need for a past project.

Now here we are today, in the present. A new project of sorts has taken flight. A new visual cue and tracker was just what was needed. The timer was set for 180 days or six long months. It was a pain to reset but it worked. It had be dusted off to get ready for the action.

Now the fun part begins. It’s the journey. The 180 days of possibilities. The many triumphs. The possible failures. Basically everything in between. These days are where memories will be made. Progress to document. Trials and errors to tweak along the bumpy road. Adventures will be had I’m sure.

The point to this story is to share my method. My method of holding myself accountable for a duration of time. A timer I won’t touch or change. A timer I will refer to when I need to know how much longer I must endure. How much success I already accomplished just in the form of time invested. It’s a process. This is just one piece of the accountability pie that’s involved in the new project. It’s part of the vision. The intricacies.

Rome wasn’t built in a day. We have all heard that. Millionaires are not born over night. There is a process. Patience is built into the equation. Time is normally a factor. Measurement is a key ingredient as well in any recipe for success. And we can’t forget the planning. You need to have a plan and work your plan.

At the end of the day I’m chipping away at a tedious task-driven project. One I will want to bang my head against a wall a time or two but I will have my visual cues to help me over the speed bumps. One step closer to the finish line.

We all need a push now and then. Today my push is time. The time clock. Not so much a sprint rather a long-distance race against the mind. Who will win?

My money is on me. I only take the sure bets. I’ve said it before: the mind is a powerful tool. Do you use your mind to maximize your time and efforts?

Did you notice the stickers? They add emotions to my visual cue because I know there will be trying times ahead. To combat that future desire to fail or quit, I hope the humor of the emoji stickers will remind me of why I accepted the project. Just a tidbit of my thought process or note to my future self.

perspective

Reflections

What do reflections tell us or teach us? If you look at your reflection in the water, the image may be distorted. If you look at your reflection in a mirror it may also be distorted. However if we reflect upon a picture, not much is hidden. A still moment of you. Marked in time.

Photos are often snapped by others. Said photos may show you a side, an angle, or a view of yourself you are not used to seeing. Or maybe it’s a version or portion of yourself you ignore purposely. It may even be a rude awakening of how you really look to others.

When you look at a picture you see you. The good. The bad. The ugly. How you reflect upon the visual image is completely up to you. 

You can focus on the negative or find the positives in any photo of yourself. For me, I have my moments where I look at the aesthetic piece and say ugh… but then I shift to what I can control. My attitude. My desire to improve. My ability to create change.

Can you look at your reflection and do the same? It’s a challenge of sorts. Take the blurred self-image and create the you that you want to see all the time. The look you want others to see of you. 

Maybe you want to smile brighter. Maybe you want to dress sharper. Maybe you want a new hair color. Maybe it’s a fresh haircut. Whatever you reflect on, you can change if you so desire.

My reflection inspired me recently. I won’t bore you with the details as the point of the post is I reflect on myself to improve. I mapped a plan in my mind to execute the improvement.

I did that! I invoked the desire to change. I charted the path. I put the work in. I valued me. I valued my time to change what I wanted to change in my reflection.

My change could be physical but it doesn’t need to be. It could be a spiritual change. A mindset change. It could even be an emotional change.

I noted in a previous post about how others are watching. They may watch whether you strut or walk timidly. That’s right your gait can tell a lot about you. It used to be the handshake in business that defined you but now thanks to corona and the digital arena we live in today we must adapt. Adapt our reflection to meet today’s demands.

I did just that. I asked myself or my reflection how I can up my game. What can I modify within to recreate, repurpose, reposition or redirect to suit my forward-thinking self.

I’m a work in progress. An artist piece that is moldable and remoldable. Never boring. Never stale. Dynamic. A modifiable masterpiece.

My reflection is shifting. Just like life.

mental health, perspective

Take A Chill

Sometimes we all need a moment to chill out. Just relax and really not do anything. For me that was a visit to my back deck one morning.

It was not too hot out, just right before 8am. The birds were chirping away and cars were passing by in the distance. Just some slight background noise.

A brief time out from life. A break from the computer. A break from today’s masked world. A little frisbee with pup before the sun hits the deck.

As I sit here and contemplate my day, my life happenings and the world as a whole I think about peace. I am at peace with where I am, where I am going and who is on board for the ride. It’s good to take inventory of life from time to time.

We all need to make sure our co-pilots are traveling to the same destination. We need to know our cheerleaders in life are truly there working with vs. against us. We need to make sure our mindset is in tune with all of the above.

This is sometimes a reset, refresh, recharge moment for people. It sometimes needs to be done multiple times a year. It may even require one to put a wall up, exclude, or ignore the Negative Nellies of one’s inner circle who are circumventing success. That’s a lot for some to overcome.

I am in a peaceful state in life. Maybe it comes with age. Maybe it’s maturity. Maybe it’s luck. Whatever it is, I am thankful. I am thankful for the bumpy roads in life that have taken me to today. I look forward to tomorrow. I look forward to the memories, milestones, and bumpy roads.

May you explore your refreshing moments like me on my back deck. One day or two. Make the time. You are a priority.

 

fitness and nutrition

Follow My Lead

I’d been on this mountain many times. I grew up in its shadow. One summer I worked at a restaurant near the foot of it and climbed it every afternoon when I got out off my shift. In peak shape I would scramble up then jog down. My fastest round trip was 28 minutes back then.

I don’t do it nearly as often or as quickly these days. I live 30 minutes away and my life practically never sends me in that direction. But I try to do a long bike ride every Sunday, so I pegged Stone Mountain for today’s ride.

There’s a hilly 5-mile loop popular with bikers that circles the bottom of the mountain. I pushed through that loop more than once before my legs begged me to stop, or at least to make a change.

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I still had time, so then, in a crazy last-second heat-addled decision, I decided to climb just like old times. I had my AirPods in, I was in the zone. A bit slower than I wanted, but I already had some miles on those legs so I wasn’t too mad. Just one foot in front of the other.

It’s not too bad a climb until you hit StairMaster hill. Suddenly the granite just kicks up from manageably rocky to sheer and steep. Like lean-forward-at-a-45-degree-angle-while-you-shuffle-up steep. I passed several people on the hill, taking breaks. My steps were small but I just kept going.

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Maybe 20 yards after the hill I needed a minute to catch my breath. I don’t usually need breaks on the mountain, but I listened to my body and stepped aside well off the trail under some trees for a quick breather.

I turned to look back at the view and was stunned when, instead of hazy skyline, I see 4 people walking directly behind me. They all stopped suddenly and looked up at me. I had never seen any of these people in my life. Two men, two women, staring. But from their pull off the trail and stunned looks, it was clear they had been following my lead. After about 10 seconds of awkwardness, they moved back into the path and continued toward the top of the mountain in two separate pairs.

It’s not surprising that I was oblivious to the people hot on my heels. Music on, mind adrift, solo exercise is my zone-out time. What I couldn’t understand is why? Why follow me? It’s a clear path with dozens of people on it. I do have that nerdy, friendly librarian look where people ask me questions all the time in all kinds of contexts. But this was a no brainer. Just keep going up.

Maybe it was my pace, I thought. Maybe I looked like I knew what I was doing. I will never know.

What stayed with me is that there are times when we are leading but we may not know it.  We may not ask for it.  We may not see ourselves as leaders.  But, at times we are leading nonetheless.  

Maybe it’s not a literal mountain.  Instead, it might be going public with struggles, with triumphs, with progress, with challenges. Just living your life on purpose is leadership. No title needed. A neighbor stopped me the other day to tell me I inspired her to get moving because she sees me out walking the neighborhood. My daughter’s childhood youth group leader recently messaged me from out if the blue to ask about CrossFit, after watching my changes.

The people following you may not know your whole story.  They probably have their own goals, even agendas.  It could be they just like your pace.  Or you look like you know what you’re doing.  

You’re leading even if people don’t tell you. Near and far, people are watching. Think for a moment. What are you leading them to?

perspective

Is Life Fair?

Life isn’t fair on most days to many. If you took a poll of 100 people, I feel confident that the majority would share some stories of how life is unfair to them.

Is there even a fairness card somebody could get when they are born? I guess this is funny to mention.

Life is full of many ups and downs and twists and turns. On any given day one person could be celebrating a victory while another person is crying over a loss. Is this fair? I doubt it.

A woman may get a government contract over her male counterparts due to a government set-aside stipulation. Is this fair? Probably not if you ask the male.

A boy gets a better rate on health insurance compared to a girl the same age because she is in her child-bearing years. Is this fair? Not if you ask the female.

Life is what you make of it. You can’t compare yourself to others and you can only try to do your best with whatever options are available to you at that moment in time. If you get a flat tire your car you need to change it if you want to keep moving. On the flip side if you want to keep moving in life you need to change your attitude to I can vs. oh woe is me.

I referenced a moment in time above as time can change things for many. As you get older you may be wiser and have more financial wellness today in comparison to 5 years before. Is this fair? Not to the 18-year-old applying for their first loan.

Sometimes I think my kids think they should get the latest cell phone because their bestie has one or they should be paid the same wage per hour to do the same job as a coworker with years of experience. I’m not sure where they got this train of thought as I never taught that.

In life, fair doesn’t mean equal. Everyone can hope for equality but that doesn’t happen in all scenarios. Life is full of variables. Take the old saying is this glass half full or half empty: your perspective may differ from mine. That’s the beauty of life.

Life’s uncertainty leads to lessons learned. Lessons foster growth. Having a growth mindset allows you to change your surroundings, your future, your present and many benefits I can’t list.

This post is about the word no. Sometimes you need to hear no many times before you hear yes. It may not be fair but if you are consistent you may see more yes in your life.

Today I said no to somebody. Yesterday I said no to another. I don’t always like hearing bad news but sometimes the truth is what one needs to hear to grow. To step outside their box. To find another way. To enable them to shift their mindset into how to do vs. who can do for me.

If we always found yes answers we would have a weirder society than we have now. I had this little yellow book on a table in my house for years. I think many could read it and grow from it.