Tuesday, May 31, 2011
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Monday, May 30, 2011
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Tuesday, May 24, 2011
A friend called to thank me the other day. He’d just received his bachelor’s degree. When I answered the phone his first words were, “I called to thank you for helping me learn how to set goals the right way.” Tim had been out of school for twenty three years before he made the choice to return to college almost five years ago. He made the decision when he attended a budget meeting at work for the very first time and didn’t understand what was going on. He and I talked that afternoon and he told me that he was giving serious thought to returning to school. I asked him what his main motivation was. He told me it wasn’t about work, or promotions or the like. He was going to do this for himself. The meeting at work was the push he needed to get going on his goals. If good things happened as a result, even the better but he was doing this to improve himself. I smiled then and I smiled when he called me to let me know he’d reached his goal.
I thought a lot about that journey and I came away with a question: Whose goals are my goals?” It’s a pretty popular practice to read an article or a blog and get so motivated by someone else’s success that I become convinced that I need to follow their path. Don’t get me wrong, I believe in hanging around with motivated, successful people. But how do you think the world would be if everyone looked and acted the same way? How often do I take a deep breath and take stock of John and where he is going, how he plans to get there and what his motivation is for all the hard work and effort. I can be motivated by your desire to participate in an Iron Man. I will applaud you and grin from ear to ear when you achieve your goal, but personally, it has no meaning to me. Yet, how often do I go careening down the path of following someone else simply because ………….. Well I guess because I want to be like everyone else. When I think like that I usually don’t reach my goal because it has no personal meaning.
Personalizing our goals and objectives super charge them. My friend Tim reminded me of an exercise I had him do in class one day. I gave each person a poster board and a twelve pack of colored pencils. In the center of the poster board I asked them to draw a goal that had special meaning to them. I encouraged them to make it personal. In the four corners of the poster board I asked them to create four benefits of reaching this goal. I asked them to take it home use it as a guide. Tim told me one the benefits he derived was stressing the value of education to his son. He wanted him to attend college after high school and felt by setting a good example his son might follow suit. (You are who you hang around with!!)
My dear friend MSSUNBUG competed in her very first triathlon Saturday. I was so happy and proud for her. A group of friends had lunch Saturday and after she posted her blog I passed my phone around and showed them her results. They were impressed to say the least. I was happy for her but she and I lead different lives. I can share in her joy but a triathlon isn’t on the near horizon for me.
She and Tim caused me to look at something I wasn’t really comfortable looking at ---- ME!!! I discovered that when I go off willy-nilly pursuing YOUR goals I am simply delaying the inevitable process of examining myself and working on John’s issues. Lord knows it’s easier to work on yours!!! When I set up unrealistic goals for myself I am all but writing failure across them.
MSSUNBUG probably didn’t think about a triathlon before she shed one hundred thirty pounds. She took small incremental steps towards reaching personal and meaningful goals that she designed for herself. It was only then, that a triathlon became a possibility. Tim didn’t go out and buy a cap and gown the day after he started school. He made the goal his own and earned it.
When I won’t look at my own goals critically I am basically saying I’m not worth the effort. It’s easier to fail at your goals than to succeed at working hard on my own.
So, whose goals are your goals?
Monday, May 23, 2011
I often remind myself to "live in the moment." Between me and you, I achieve it about forty percent of the time. Mostly, I'm regretting past decisions or worrying about a date circled on the calendar three weeks into the future. Rarely do I simply stand on the back porch, take a deep breath and just let the moment wash over me.
Did you ever find yourself secretly investigating one of those "fad diets?" You know what I am talking about, the ones that show a person who shed two hundred pounds in just six weeks and suddenly their lives changed dramatically. I have to admit to you that sometimes I wish that person was me!!! I wish everything would change at the snap of my fingers. I close my office door, access the internet and wonder if the latest rare fruit found in the jungles of Brazil may be exactly the boost I need.
It's boring drinking eight glasses of water every day. Tracking my food gets to be a hassle and a half and when I forget to be perfect and track every last morsel that enters my mouth I get frustrated. My legs and gluts burn when I exercise. I keep this image in my head of a sleeker, trimmer John and honestly I just dont always see him.
I get tired of reading blogs from people who live on dandelion root and fresh water and have this quasi Zen like experience with the Universe and by the way, they never cheat. Not crumb one of cookie, cake or pie, cross their parched lips. It's daunting at best.
But I am here this morning like I am every morning because the minute I boot up I know I have at least one thousand friends here who share my predicament. I'm moderately successful at what I do and that puts me in the same category as many of you. You fight the good fight, battle hard and some weeks it seems like victory is a word you need to look up in the dictionary. But you are here for the very same reason I'm here. You're here to be better. The cool thing about being better is that it means so many different things to all of us.
Living in the moment, in today, gives me hope and joy and while I am probably a lot more critical of myself than I should be at times, it gets me over the hump. So I've decided that today is simply one of those days that I acknowledge me, just as I am.
While I'm at it, I'll include you too.
Sunday, May 22, 2011
Observation: My thirty three year old son and I had a late supper Thursday night. He usually works second shift so the opportunity to sit and talk is far and few between. Half way through dinner he looked across the table and commented: “You know dad, the problem with you baby boomers is that you won’t embrace your mortality!! You people think you are going to live forever. Get over it, you’re gonna die someday. “Well hopefully not anytime soon.
Update: As I write I have been soda free for twelve days. Tuesday will make two full weeks. I am proud. In a way, I am glad I had the tobacco withdrawal to go through six years ago. This is very similar in how it presents itself. I am not a coffee drinker, so diet soda was my caffeine boost in the morning. I crave one every morning, no matter what I am doing. It lasts about fifteen minutes and then it gets bored and goes away. It returns between four and five in the evening. Very odd, lol. Like tobacco I can be blind-sided without warning. This morning after church I went to the grocery to get eggs. As I passed the soda display I was over whelmed with this craving that can only be described as passionate. The freaky thing was that immediately thereafter, I wanted a cigarette.
Observation: Do you know that no one knows what is in MSG? I have always had sensitivity to that additive. It will manifest itself with a head ache or a very dry mouth. I had lunch with one of my daughters Thursday and had what appeared to be a harmless turkey sandwich, with tomatoes and lettuce. About two hours later not only was my head pounding and my mouth feeling like a candle wick but I would have robbed Kroger for a diet soda. I had this image of me backing out the door with a twelve pack of Coke Zero and a loaded gun pointed at the clerk muttering, “Everyone relax and no one gets hurt.” So I went home and Google searched MSG and aspartame. There is a connection but no one can definitively say why because no one knows what is in MSG. It’s a secret.
Update: Our basement is dry. Well ninety percent dry. I am waiting another week to make sure the walls are totally dried out before we paint, carpet, vinyl and get a new toilet. It appears that my insurance will pay nothing. The clearest explanation I received goes something like this: FEMA covers front water. The Ohio River would have to over flow and end up in my basement for FEMA to cover my damage. Given my distance from the river in order for that to happen the whole town would be under water. Home owners insurance covers back water, or water that backs up from the storm sewer. Ground water is covered by me!! Guess what invaded my house? Yup, ground water.
Observation: You are all wonderful people.
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