It’s Monday – Happy Monday. Started the day at the gym and while on the treadmill watched a recap of the weekend’s sports. Congratulations Rory McIlroy for capturing his second straight major title, fourth in his career. So proud of him. He positively represents the Irish grit, just as he positively practices mindfulness.
This ESPN interview with Rory highlights his wisdom beyond his 25 years. He talked about the importance of a strong, clear mindset.
He was at the 10th hole, down by 3. His game was ugly. Then he became mindful – he needed to trust in what he was doing. In the end he learned this Major win could be “ugly”. His playing wasn’t beautiful, still to success he needed to hang in there, be mentally strong and get the job done.
Whenever I get my head right, I have clear thoughts and able to make good decisions on the golf course … I don’t get ahead of myself, and that’s when I play my best.
What’s the take away?
To counter balance our crazy lives – emails, family obligations, Ironman training, building a business – being mindful is like giving a massage to our tight schedule.
Want to give mindfulness a try? Here are three steps I learned from Chris Lowney, who went from being a Jesuit seminarian to a managing director at JP Morgan. He suggests applying this technique in the middle of our day and again at the end of the day for a quick mental “check-in”.
First, remind yourself why you are grateful as a human being.
Second, lift your horizon for a moment. Call to mind some crucial personal objective, or your deepest sense of purpose, or the values you stand for.
Third, mentally review the last few hours and extract some insight that might help in the next few hours. If you were agitated, what was going on inside you? If you were distracted and unproductive, why?
Always Tri. Never stop.
Last weekend while in San Luis Obispo managing a paper shred event for Fidelity National Title, I left feeling nostalgic.
It was a reaction from meeting people who talked about the difficulty of shredding. They were letting go of medical records for a child or a parent, divorce papers, cancer documents, mortgage records., notes from a beloved wife who died a few years back, business contracts – all were (as one father said) “recorded moments of life.” He later expressed a need for an emotional boost to get past his “good bye” moment.
One man deeply affected me. I’ll guess he was 85. Before shredding two boxes of paper he sat on a plastic box and studied each envelop, each folder, each picture. After 30 minutes he waved his hands and said, “Take it away.”
It was a success by way of shredding nearly 8,000 pounds of paper, enabling clients and homeowners to participate, having the media cover it, and being supported by other community businesses .
Still, the greatest benefit was meeting wonderful people who shared memories and reminded us that life is about connecting and spending time with one another while we recycle the circle of life.
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:
2 a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
6 a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
8 a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
Yesterday a fellow athlete and overall amazing person, Vaughn Ripley, introduced me to a new word, a new concept, one that I instinctively learned by racing Ironman – Kaisen.
Kaisen is a philosophy about continuous improvement or self-changing for the best of all.
From what I can tell, Kaisen is primarily applied to manufacturing, engineering, business management or any process that improves all functions (logistics to legal), and Kaisen involves all people (CEOs to assembly line workers).
Here’s a perfect example: Toyota.
Toyota applies Kaisen to deliver small improvements that yield large results, which according to 27/7 Wall St. the results include making Toyota the world’s most profitable car company in the world. I’m guessing they’re singing Kaisen all the way to the bank.
Now think about this …
How would your life change if you applied Kaisen to your personal life?
- Want to loose weight? Eliminate sugar or eat desserts with low sugar calories.
- Want to improve a relationship? Being kind to that person.
- Want to save money? Pack a daily lunch instead of eating out.
How do you want to change your life? You can make it happen.
Always Tri. Never stop.
It’s a Happy Monday. Admittedly at some point everyone has faced this day with dread. Maybe the weekend sapped your energy, or your workload is chaotic and overwhelming the senses to paralysis.
No matter the reason way, to make this day productive we need to focus and discipline. Those two little acts can bring a sense of joy, and joy brings a sense of peace, and having peace and joy is called thriving. That’s what I’m talking about.
So, let’s embrace a thriving life like it’s an Ironman training day
- Prioritize your top three “must do” projects.
- Tackle the hardest project first.
- Remember food is energy. Eat well and hydrate.
- Schedule time to re-energize. Take a 10-minute walk @ 10, or empower your mind with a 15 minute meditation retreat after meeting, or relax with a cup of green tea a 3 p.m.
Lastly, finish the day strong by preparing for tomorrow – prioritize, clean your desk, recharge your car, put the gym bag in the car, make your lunch etc.
Think about it …
Embracing little details shows love for the challenge, so when life is overwhelming make little, positive and productive changes.
Always tri to thrive.
Just got back from interviewing Greta Andersen, an 87-year old swimming instructor who is also a gold and silver medal winner from the 1948 London Olympics, and who also won 13 world championships and set 72 amateur competitive swimming records and who is also multi-time member of the 24-hour club. Needless to say, she is an amazing woman.
More than anything, I wanted to understand her mindset when swimming in the open water, and wondered if her insight could help calm nerves during any triathlon swim?
The interview went well, however technically I had a few challenges. Darn those kids playing in the pool laughing and splashing so loudly that the audio couldn’t be heard. They really made me want to jump in and splash along. So, until I get a better recording, here is a quick recap of Greta’s tips for success.
- Everyone is born with a gift. Find yours. Interestingly, Greta didn’t know how to swim until she was 14, and at first feared being in water.
- When swimming (and I would bet with all adventures) relax and learn how to breath correctly.
- Have passion for what you do.
- Be in love with the challenge.
- Never whine.
You have this one lifetime to achieve happiness. You’re a fool if you don’t go for it! ~ Pascal Finette
Truth be told, I’m not sure Pascal authored the above quote, but since he sent it to me I’ll give him credit.
In October 2012 I met Pascal at the TEDxOC event. Afterwards we shared a dinner table and compared notes about giving a TED Talk and endurance sports – he’s a crazy 50+ mile ultra-marathoner.
Pascal is also a business coach who helps entrepreneurs, and I love reading The Heretic , his straight talk, no bull shit, keep me focused newsletter (subscribe if you can).
Clearly, Pascal knows how to engage and embrace life. During his TED Talk, The Participation Culture, he shared ideas on how to participate in life. Those who do change the world by coming together for the greater good of mankind. Try to embrace these four principals for they provide a good base.
- Make something superior than the status quo
- Empower people
- Allow people to participate
- Treat people as a community
Pascal also talked of the need to “Let go of something to make room for something else.” That resonated with me for as a child some French relatives had a similar saying. Pascal’s reference is a good example for not letting your life be ruled by things, people, events. In essence, by letting go you are more free to participate in life, and that (I believe) cultivates happiness. Thanks Pascal.
Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated. ~Confucius
No matter the day or the race, it feels great to end it feeling positive and productive. To be productive is easy. Just create a simple plan and take action.
Here are a few tips to get you started. Continue reading