Dr. Kenney’s Friday 5 Spot
On Fridays I like to share some of the experiences I’ve had during the week with patients and in my personal life that I’ve found significant in some way. I like to share them in hopes that you might find value in them and have something resonate with you in your life.
A nice moment recently. This past season one of the boys I’ve coached for several years has had a very tough go of it. It’s been especially frustrating for him because he was coming off an amazing season last time out. He went from catching everything and making big plays to dropping pass after pass. We worked with him a lot, but it never clicked like it had for him and after a while the quarterback lost faith in him, and the ball went to him less. You could just tell his confidence was gone.
During our last game this past weekend we got near the goal line and the other team called a time out so my team (and oldest son who was my fill in assistant for the day) was surrounding me waiting for me to call the play. I told the player I just mentioned to look me in the eyes, and I said “I’m calling this one for you because I believe in you. I want you to believe in yourself, catch it and score. Can you do that?” He said he could. And he did. I then had a nice moment with him as he ran off the field. Later, my older son said “You’re usually so fired up when you’re coaching but that was a nice heartwarming moment and I’m glad I was there for it. That was cool.” I certainly didn’t throw the pass or catch it, so I deserve no credit, but I think sometimes it’s important to let someone who is maybe a bit down know that you’re still there for them.
A great reminder about exercise. I finished coaching my team for the season on Saturday and it’s always a let down for me when I’m done and it’s over. After the game, my wife mentioned that she started an email address for my late brother-in-law (her youngest brother) so that we can email him as kind of like a shared journal for us to keep of him. That night I wrote to him, and it was emotional for me. Sunday morning, I woke up and feeling overwhelmed, anxious, and not myself. I decided had to do something, so I put my daughter in the jogging stroller and off we went for a 5-mile run.
Almost immediately during that run (and especially after), I felt like a different person. The anxiety had subsided, and I felt clear-headed and myself again. This was a great reminder for me about. The physiology of exercise is truly amazing and does so much more than tone our bodies. Rather than dwell on feeling sad or try and numb the pain with substances, get out and get some endorphins (the feel-good chemicals) going and you’ll notice an instant improvement in how you feel.
A great question to ask yourself. In the book “Atomic Habits” (excellent book!) the author makes the point that our habits form our identity. As an example, if you regularly write each week, then part of your identity is that of a writer. If you don’t write, this would not be the case even if you wanted to think of yourself as one. So, the question to ask yourself is as of this second right now, what are your most common habits? What do those habits say about who you are?
I like this simple viewpoint. Regardless of where your life is at, you can begin changing your identity through habits at any time you choose. If you’re out of shape and have 50 pounds to lose but are now trying to exercise and eat better, then your identity is that of someone who is getting in shape. If you’re broke, start following habits that someone with money might. Give real thought to your habits and what they say about you and what you’d like them to say about you.
A valuable lesson I I’ve taken from my races. Due to COVID, I have not had an opportunity to compete in a legitimate race since March 2020. This week I registered one that will take place in late July and am excited again. I was speaking with someone who is doing the same race and competing in an ultramarathon (generally 31 miles minimum up to 100 miles or more) for the first time and they asked me quite a few questions. One of the things I expressed to them was that these types of races mirror the feelings and emotions that everyday life gives us. In other words, you’ll physically exert and challenge your body but will come away with many valuable lessons that apply to life in general. I was then asked to provide an example.
The most valuable lesson I’ve learned in these types of races is that things will always get better, and things will always get worse. The trick is to just accept this and never get too high or too low. When you’re going great, enjoy the heck out of it and take full advantage. When you’re in a low spot, keep fighting and realize that things will soon improve somehow. Both extremes are equally valuable and necessary. There are times in races where I’ll feel horrible for hours and then great for hours, it just depends. Life is no different – there are ups and downs and ultimately the key is to just keep moving forward. Sometimes this will happen with speed and enthusiasm. Other times it’ll be slow and begrudgingly. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter so long as you’re putting one foot in front of the other and making progress. True in races, even more true in life.
Some quotes I love.
“Talk about your blessings more than you talk about your burdens.” – Tim Tebow
“When they say you can’t do it, do it twice and take pics.”
“Most people don’t really want the truth. They just want constant reassurance that what they believe is the truth.”
“Either I will find a way, or I will make one.” – Philip Sidney
“Sick until proven healthy is the same as guilty until proven innocent.”
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