On Fridays I like to share experiences I’ve had during the week with patients and in my personal life that I’ve found significant. I like to share them in hopes that you might find value in them and have something resonate with you in your life.
An important lesson I have learned. Most of you know that I have competed in multiple 100-mile runs. These races require a slow guy like me to be on my feet for more than a full day continuously. Throughout the race there will be aid stations with volunteers encouraging you and offering everything from fluids to pancakes and bacon. When I reach these aid stations I eat, refill my supplies, share a laugh, then head back out. It may only take 5 minutes, but it energizes me whether I am 7 miles into a race or 95.
The lesson is that even during a major challenge, there are moments that offer a ray of hope and encouragement. Those times do not mean you have reached your goal, but they are important and should be enjoyed. Last Saturday we left one of my son’s football games and he scored an amazing touchdown and played great. We came home as a family and had a nice dinner with lots of laughs and smiles. To me, that is an aid station in life. It doesn’t mean things will never be challenging again, but those moments energize me like nothing else and keep me going. Celebrate the small victories regardless of where you’re at, they are pointing you in the right direction.
Something I believe. Most of us would love to be in better shape, have more money, improve certain relationships, have less stress, and the like. Often, we hyper-focus on one thing and think that if that goal were to come to fruition, our lives would be bliss. For example, if we had a certain amount of money, six pack abs, or a loving partner, everything would be perfect. While those things may be helpful and wonderful, there is a better way to approach things.
My belief is that whatever the goal, the best method is to start by working on ourselves. When I got divorced a decade ago, my self-esteem was low, I was broken, was starting from scratch in my career, and was anxious about being a single dad. I saw no perfect path to solving all these issues instantly so I began to simply try and become a better man in every aspect I could. I exercised more, studied business more, focused more with each adjustment I performed, was more present with my children, and many others. Slowly I began to feel better about who I was. Within a few years of that period, I was married to the woman of my dreams, had amazing relationships with my sons (with another on the way at that time), owned two businesses, and was saving money for a new home. The only reason that was possible was because I worked on me rather than just hoping one thing would change my life. If you make creating a better you the goal, you will find successes in areas you never expected.
Something I follow. When one of my children falls or hurts themselves, I tell them to “take a deep breath and drink it in.” I do this because many times, it is the fear of the pain that is worse than the actual discomfort. The act of breathing in is meant to reduce anxiety and refocus the mind while the “drink it in” is a reminder that what is being felt can be overcome if we relax and face it. This works with far more than just injuries.
Have you ever had a bill you didn’t want to open, a call you dreaded making, or a task you were too anxious to pursue? We all have. In those instances, it is the fear of what may happen that paralyzes us. Thus, we do nothing which is ineffective and counterproductive. Instead of doing so, it is far better to simply take a deep breath, remind ourselves we can handle it, then proceed. Next time you’re faced with a challenge that scares you, take a deep breath, drink it in, then get after it.
A story I love to tell. Five years ago, my oldest son was 12 years old and selected by his school to attend a week-long leadership conference at DU. He was staying in a dormitory with other kids from around Colorado and attending classes and activities all week. My youngest son happened to be born that week, so I picked my oldest up and brought him to meet his brother. He was gone for the night and when he returned, another boy had stolen a lot of his food from his drawers.
Rather than tell an instructor or call his parents crying, my son confronted that boy in front of everyone. He asked for his food back and when that was not possible (it was eaten), my son set a price and demanded payment, which he received. I could not tell you two things my son learned at that conference, but that act told me everything I needed to know about his leadership abilities. When faced with an uncomfortable situation, the best leaders display guts, step up, take charge, and demand results. I was extremely proud that my son displayed those qualities (and continues to do so)!
Some quotes I Iove.
“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, ‘I will try again tomorrow’.” – Mary Anne Radmacher
“There is never any need to get worked up about things you can’t control.” – Marcus Aurelius
“Children must be taught HOW to think, not WHAT to think.” Margaret Mead
“First, it is an intention. Then a behavior. Then a habit. Then a practice. Then second nature. Then it is simply who you are.” – Brendon Burchard