All posts tagged: overcoming adversity

Dr. Kenney’s Friday 5 Spot – December 6th

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I interact with hundreds of patients each week and get asked a lot of questions.  On Fridays I like to share some of the answers I give and hope it has value for you.

Something I’m eating?  I enjoy eating quinoa (pronounced keen-wah for those that don’t know).  Usually I’ll make a pot of it using vegetable broth as the liquid.  Then throughout the week I’ll put some in a bowl and add chopped up veggies, avocado, walnuts, kale chips, chia seeds, feta cheese, kalamata olives or any number of different things to it.  I also sometimes eat it for breakfast with berries, walnuts, almonds, cinnamon and fresh honey on top.

A recent observation?   On Saturday of the Thanksgiving holiday weekend my two older sons were playing a lot of video games and began to aggravate each other easily.  This is unusual for them, so I asked them if they’d like me to put them through a short workout.  We went to the garage and I had them doing some simple but tiring stuff for probably 15 minutes.  After those 15 minutes they were like different kids – relaxed, more patient and calm.  Our bodies produce a lot of energy each day.  With physical activity we can burn through the portion that hinders us, makes us anxious, less productive, etc.  Once that occurs, we are then able to be more driven, productive and energetic.

A common chiropractic question I receive?  “Why does my spine go out of place?”  I receive this question daily.  The spine can certainly suffer immediate traumas that cause it to misalign such as slips and falls, sports injuries and car accidents.  And those traumas can also make us more sensitive to misalignments later in life (depending on the severity and whether they lead to arthritic changes or not).  Most commonly though, misalignments of the spine come from what I call micro-traumas – posture, gait, sleeping position, ergonomics, exercise (or lack thereof), too much sitting, not enough stretching, consuming too many inflammatory foods/drinks, etc.  With these micro-traumas it is not one specific thing that causes the misalignment but usually rather a buildup and combination of many over time.

Something I recommend everyone do?  Once a month I have a friend that I get together with that’s an entrepreneur.  We have lunch together in my office and we talk through anything and everything in our business lives (and personal lives as well).  He’s a high energy guy like myself so this process really gets me pumped up with ideas, motivation, etc.  By the time we finish lunch each of us have a bunch of ideas to explore and motivation to as well.  I think it’s important to have someone like this to meet up with that inspires you in some way (and/or that you inspire as well).  Talking to positive, motivated people is an excellent way to fuel progress in any endeavor.

Quote I love: “Every next level of your life requires a new version of you.” – Inky Johnson

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Matt KenneyDr. Kenney’s Friday 5 Spot – December 6th
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10 Lessons I learned from my Leadville 100 failure

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As many of you know, I competed in my first 100-mile race in August, the Leadville 100.  I entered the lottery for the in December race (yes, a lot of people WANT to do this!) and began training before I was officially accepted into the race in January.  In all, I trained hard for 8 months to prepare.  I gave it everything I had and left no details to chance, I was ready.  But in the end, I failed.  I was not fast enough and missed a cutoff based on my time.  So, after 8 months of training and 14 straight hours of running, my race was over.  It hurt and it bothered me.  The good news though is that it taught me some incredible life lessons that 4 months later I am now ready to share.  I hope you’ll find them meaningful.

  1. Either win or fail and learn. In terms of my goal for the race, I was unsuccessful.  However, I gained invaluable experience within the race itself as well as training leading up to the race.  The journey strengthened me physically, emotionally and spiritually.
  2. Go all in. Only about 50% of people finish the Leadville 100, so from the start I was either going to publicly triumph or fail.  In the end it did not all go as I planned.  However, I believe there is honor in giving a complete effort, taking your shot and missing but no honor in being afraid to even try.
  3. Grow flowers, not weeds. Have you ever noticed that you need to be diligent to get flowers to bloom but that weeds will grow through concrete with no effort?  Your mindset is the same – negative thoughts grow easily so you need to focus on manifesting the positive ones that fuel you.  25 miles into the race I came up next to another runner and we began to chat.  Everything he had to say was negative and as I listened (trying to be polite), I felt my internal fire decreasing.  He was in mid-sentence when I literally ran away from him.  You can’t allow negative thoughts to halt your progress.
  4. Look for inspiration everywhere. There was a small aid station at about mile 36 to which I arrived feeling horrible, thirsty and with legs seemingly attached to cinder blocks.  As I stood there trying to regain some energy, I realized I had 4 miles to get to the next aid station and at my current pace would not make it in the allotted time.  As this was happening, a woman ran into the aid station excited and pumped up.  She got some fluids and ran off, but her enthusiasm inspired me.  I decided then that I would try and keep up with her no matter how badly I was hurting.  For the next 4 miles I ran as hard as I ever have, made up a ton of time and made the cutoff with time to spare.  I passed that woman with about a half mile to go and she cheered me on.  I told her that she inspired me and saved my race and I could tell that made her extremely proud.
  5. Cherish the good stuff. At mile 40 there is an aid station called Twin Lakes that feels like a huge party filled with hundreds of loud, cheering fans all routing on the runners.  As I came over the top of a steep hill, I saw my wife and oldest son waiting for me (I was an hour behind schedule at this point) and they looked so excited!  After fueling up I walked with my son through a sea of people yelling out my number, cheering for me and high fiving me every five feet.  I could tell my son thought this was cool and that he was proud.  I will fondly remember that forever.
  6. Set an example you’re proud of. At this same aid station, I arrived really hurting.  I had to eat and drink while on my knees due to the pain I was in; all while my son watched.  Thankfully an amazing volunteer got me upright and on my way.  During the time this took, I personally saw and heard probably 10 people give up and quit.  As I walked away I put my arm around my son and told him “It hasn’t gone the way I expected, I’m in a ton of pain and it’s probably going to get worse but I want you to remember that we never quit.  I will give this everything I have and because of that I can live with the outcome, but I couldn’t live with quitting.”  Having my son see me so physically destroyed but still trudging forward provided a real-life example of something I’d told him many times.
  7. Own it. After running for half a day, I missed my cutoff time by less than 10 minutes and my race was over.  When I tell people that, many feel like I should have been allowed to continue or that it wasn’t fair to make me stop.  As much as I would have loved to keep running, I don’t feel I should have been allowed to.  There was a standard set forth and I didn’t meet it.  Accepting personal responsibility for ourselves and not making excuses or blaming others is good practice for everything.
  8. Remember to smile and laugh. Something I’ve always noticed during my toughest races is that as bad we all feel, we all still talk about how cool it is, make jokes and laugh.  This really helps us to keep moving forward.  I think in life we often get wrapped up in our problems and the simple act of smiling or laughing at ourselves can put things back in perspective and help us march on.
  9. Keep your promises. After mile 50 in the race you are allowed “pacers” which means you can have 1 person at a time running with you.  My 12-year-old son was supposed to pace me from mile 87 to the end of the race but unfortunately, I never got that far.  After the race, he and I were sitting in my car and I was feeling ashamed.  He looked over at me and said “We said we’d run 13 miles together.  Will you run those 13 miles with me tomorrow?”  The following morning we did, and I felt like we’d honored the promise we’d made to each other.
  10. Take a loss without losing faith. After my race I was feeling down and told myself I was done attempting runs this long.  However, shortly thereafter I began to realize that I still wanted to complete my goal and just because I didn’t succeed this time didn’t mean that I never could.  Within 48 hours after the end of my race I was already signed up for another 100-mile race in March because I believed in myself enough to keep going after my goal.
Matt Kenney10 Lessons I learned from my Leadville 100 failure
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Are you committed to a great outcome? Ask yourself these 4 questions.

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In life there are goals we know we can reach and those that we have a desire to reach but will not come easily. For the latter there are steps that must be taken and questions that need to be asked if we’re ever to get there. Today I’d like to share 4 steps I feel are crucial to achieving any major personal, professional or athletic goal.

1. Find your why. Motivation and inspiration are great for getting started. However, they are often easily forgotten once things start getting challenging or serious. Before you set out to achieve any goal you must honestly answer the question of why you want to achieve it. Is it money? Family? Self satisfaction? A desire to improve yourself? Once you’ve nailed down your why, quitting no longer becomes an option because your goal is personally tied to you in a more profound way which makes you willing to do whatever is necessary to achieve it.

2. Be willing to pay the price. To achieve anything worthwhile you’re going to have to sacrifice. I’ve had people ask me to help them lose weight in one sentence and then tell me they’re not giving up certain foods or habits in the next. These people will never succeed. The people that accomplish big things are those that are willing to adopt new strategies, eliminate old habits, adopt new ways of thinking, work harder, eliminate certain comforts and take risks.

3. Challenge your limit. Our society is set up for comfort and to a degree we all need it. However, overcoming challenges that fall outside of our comfort zone is ultimately what makes us more resilient and helps take us from “good” to “great”. Each and every time you push yourself out of a physical or emotional comfort zone your capacity for success grows by re-defining what you once thought of as difficult or normal. For example, your body tries to budget your energy output so it begins producing signs of fatigue at about 60% of your max physical output. If you never challenge that limit you will always get tired around the same time. However, if you aggressively push through that threshold and do your best to expend every bit of energy possible, your body develops a new frame of reference for what tired is. This will train your body to go past that 60% mark allowing you to create more speed, endurance and power going forward. Challenging any limit physically or emotionally works exactly the same way.

4. If you’re stalled, get help. On the path to a goal it is not uncommon to find ourselves stuck due to lack of knowledge, lack of experience, personal baggage or old habits. Sometimes we simply just don’t know what we don’t know. Rather than quit or begin making excuses, enlist the help of someone that can help you. Those with experience that have overcome problems you’re having are excellent examples of people that can assist you when your momentum stalls. Admitting you need help to achieve a goal does not make you weak; rather it is a sign of how committed you truly are.

Dr. Kenney has won multiple awards for “Best Chiropractor” and specializes in helping patients achieve their goals of better health and pain relief. For more information please visit www.NewBodyChiro.com, find us on Facebook (New Body Chiropractic & Wellness Center) or call (303) 347-9906.

Matt KenneyAre you committed to a great outcome? Ask yourself these 4 questions.
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What my worst race and your worst day will teach you

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I run difficult races often and am used to pushing my limits. I’ve competed in 24 hour events, run ultra-marathons, endured hypothermia and pain. At the end I’m usually left feeling satisfied with my performance. This past weekend I did a race that was different for me. It was a 13.4 mile race that started on flat ground (by Colorado standards) and then climbed about 8,000 feet before finishing at the top of a mountain 14,115 feet above sea level.

For the first ¾ of the race I had my “A-game”, felt great and was enjoying the experience. Then at about 13,000 feet with about 3-4 miles to go, it began – acute altitude sickness. Apparently my East coast upbringing did not like me being so high up. From that point on I couldn’t go 50 feet without vomiting which then led to excruciating muscle cramps from an electrolyte imbalance. I had zero energy, couldn’t even hold down water and try as I might, could not generate any momentum. It felt like a combination of exhaustion mixed with having the flu so bad you want to sleep on the cold bathroom floor. Even worse, once you’re up that high there are no trees or shelter so I could only drag myself to the side of the path and listen to “are you ok?” about 1,000 times as runner after runner passed me. It took me 3 hours to trek those final 3 miles and all the goals I had for the race were gone except one. I finished.

On your best day things will happen almost effortlessly and produce tremendous results. The question is how will you react on your worst day? How will you respond after a failed relationship, loss of a job or a business venture gone bad? Will you give up or defiantly keep moving forward? I felt embarrassed after that race until my 5 year old asked about it. I told him I got very sick and ran slow and he responded “but I know you finished, because you never quit.” That changed my perspective instantly. I wasn’t embarrassed anymore; I was proud. Your worst days will teach you much more than your best. You’ll learn what you’re made of, become more resilient in daily life and appreciate the good times more. So the next time you’re forced to endure one of those days, embrace what it will teach you; I did.

Dr. Kenney has won multiple awards for “Best Chiropractor” and specializes in helping patients achieve their goals of better health and pain relief. For more information please visit www.NewBodyChiro.com, find us on Facebook (New Body Chiropractic & Wellness Center) or call (303) 347-9906.

Matt KenneyWhat my worst race and your worst day will teach you
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