Friday 5 Spot

Dr. Kenney’s Friday 5 Spot – December 1st

Dr. Kenney’s Friday 5 Spot

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.  

Something important.  I am fortunate to receive frequent compliments from patients about my bedside manner, demeanor, and business practices.  Most like my enthusiasm, empathy, positivity, and straightforward business practices.  This means a lot to me because when I was first in practice, I was bombarded by people telling me what I should do, and how I should speak and act.  Most of what I heard felt disingenuous and fraudulent to me.

It is an important lesson to understand that to be successful, you do not need to change who you are.  Instead, it will likely only require you to change some of your habits, processes, or behaviors.  Using the same chiropractic example, I never compromised my morals or overall personality.  Instead, I improved my skills as a doctor, became better at communicating, and focused on understanding the experience within my office from a patient’s perspective rather than my own.  To become successful, do not abandon who you are, simply adjust certain aspects of how you operate.

Something I believe.  Do you know of any relationships that succeed with one person being completely committed and one person not?  No.  How about successful businesses with owners that focus or care about their business only a fraction of the time?  Of course not. 

I believe commitment is the most essential ingredient in the recipe for any relationship, business, or endeavor to succeed.  Too often, people give up when things become challenging.  True commitment to someone or something is being willing to go through the ups and downs required to get where you want to go.  I also believe that commitment is shown through consistent and meaningful action.  If you want to chase a goal, make sure that you are truly committed before you even start.  If you are, put in the effort every single day to get there. 

Something humorous that helps me.  My late brother-in-law and I were great friends.  I had the privilege of opening and running a business with him and coaching football with him for years.  During those times, we went through many of the trials and tribulations you would expect in business and sports.  Something I remember vividly is anytime I would voice even the slightest complaint or aggravation at something we faced, he would ask me “Are you ok?  Do you want me to get you a cucumber water?”  This was his way of telling me to toughen up, stop acting like a baby, and begin taking action.  It would always make me laugh and get me back on track.

As humorous as this is, I have thought of it for years and it truly helps me.  When I feel overwhelmed, frustrated, worried, or even slightly sorry for myself, I think of him saying that to me.  This has happened in business situations, the toughest of personal times, grueling workouts, 100-mile races, and more.  We all need a way to remind ourselves to toughen up and be more resilient, I’m thankful mine involves my brother-in-law teasing me about cucumber water!

Something important.  Have you ever gotten really excited about a goal and worked extremely hard to make it happen only to be disappointed in the results?  Maybe a promotion didn’t materialize, the scale didn’t show what you expected, you lost when you hoped to win, etc.  Failing when you put in minimal effort is expected, but failing when you are expending all your energies can be crushing.  It feels unfair because we like to believe that when we give our best, we will get rewarded.  In these situations, I have learned two things.

First, giving your absolute best to something is a requisite.  It is not a guarantee of success, but at minimum it provides satisfaction that you have done all you could.  Second, when you try hard and fail, you will want to quit.  It is precisely at that point when it becomes most important to harness your disappointment, keep trudging forward, and not decrease your effort at all.  Personally, I have found that if I can keep fighting after my toughest defeats, God always gives me something better in the future.    

Some quotes I Love.

“Don’t give up.  The hardest battles are given to the strongest soldiers.”

“I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.” – Jimmy Dean

Matt KenneyDr. Kenney’s Friday 5 Spot – December 1st
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Dr. Kenney’s Friday 5 Spot – November 10th

Dr. Kenney’s Friday 5 Spot

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.  

A great reminder.  I attended a wedding last weekend for a wonderful, loving couple.  The officiant of the wedding told their story that included the time it took for the groom to eventually approach his future bride.  He also spoke of the many years during which they had to overcome logistics, distance, and other challenges to continue to flourish as a couple.  It was great to hear their story and it served as a great reminder to me.

Regardless of what you are trying to achieve, the basic formula is simple.  It will boil down to having the guts to pursue it, being willing to face challenges, and having the wherewithal to remain committed during difficult times.  Whether for a relationship, business, or attainment of any goal; I like to think of those three factors as a screening process.  If you’re willing to have courage and face tough times, you can be successful in anything you go after.

Something that made me proud.  One of my sons recently mentioned to me that a player on his team had missed a full week of practice and a game.  My son asked him if he had been sick or injured, to which the boy replied, “actually my uncle killed himself.”  My son could see the boy’s pain and told him that he had also lost his uncle (and an aunt too) at a young age only a few years ago.  My son had true empathy and was able to comfort and be a friend to him in a different way because of similar experiences. 

We all have unique lives that take us in many directions, some good and others not.  Those experiences may not allow us to relate to everyone but give us the blessing of being able to relate perfectly to some.  As in the case of my son with his teammate, sometimes we can become a shepherd for others.  We can show them things will get better, offer hope, or just relate to their situation better than most.  Regardless, experiences that once were a burden may one day put us in the position to help someone just like us.  I believe that is important and something to be proud of. 

An interesting interaction.  I was recently speaking with someone who is in overall poor health and has been for years.  At one point in the conversation, I mentioned the importance of maintaining good habits to create better health and was basically mocked.  This person began to tell me that I wasn’t healthy because I was not visiting doctors enough, that my health was based only on genetics, and that healthy people die just as easily from diseases/conditions as unhealthy people.  This type of thinking is sadly very common.

Genetics play a role in certain aspects of health and there is nothing wrong with having regular checkups to establish and monitor baseline aspects.  However, that is a tiny part of anyone’s health.  The overwhelming majority consists of the quality of decisions made in in terms of how we do/don’t move our bodies (exercise), what we ingest into our bodies, and how we care for ourselves mentally.  When those decisions are consistently positive, you will be far less likely to be sick, injured, immobile, hurt, and requiring visits to doctors constantly.  There is not a doctor on the planet that is more important to your health than the decisions you choose to make for yourself physically, nutritionally, and mentally.

Something I learned from football.  I’ve been around football for many years both playing and coaching.  Obviously, being such a violent and physically demanding sport, it is common to see bigger and stronger people playing the game with the most success.  However, there are instances where I have seen very undersized players make up for their lack of size with aggression and thrive.  They run at full speed into collisions relying on passion and courage when other bigger and more talented players often hesitate or will not do so.  Sometimes these smaller players get run over or embarrassed, but they keep coming back for more.  Seeing this always influenced me. 

This same premise has applications in daily life.  We are all given a set of basic talents, skills, and genetics.  On their own, they can only take us so far. However, those gifts can be enhanced greatly through a combination of courage, aggression, determination, and grit.  As a result, what may seem out of reach based on ability can become attainable. 

Some quotes I Love.

“Only those that see the invisible will do the impossible.”

“Half the world is composed of people that have something to say and can’t, and the other half who have nothing to say and keep on saying it.” – Robert Frost

“If the voice in your head is mean to you, remember someone manipulated that voice and instilled it in you.  Kill that fake voice and find yours.” – Gary Vaynerchuck

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances.” – Victor Frankl

“It’s not a bad thing to ask for help, it’s a sign that you want to win more than just protect your ego.” – Dr. Josh Handt

Matt KenneyDr. Kenney’s Friday 5 Spot – November 10th
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Dr. Kenney’s Friday 5 Spot – October 27th

Dr. Kenney’s Friday 5 Spot

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.  

Something that I found important.  Eric Thomas is one of my favorite speakers and I heard him use an analogy this week about roots, branches, and leaves.  Roots are the most important part of any tree and the hardest to grow.  For people, our roots are our principles, behaviors, and actions.  Branches and leaves on the other hand are noticed more, easier to grow, but far less important to the overall integrity of a tree.  His belief is that our society puts a premium on worrying about our own leaves and branches while ignoring the roots.  I have found this to be true as well.

When we are not grounded properly, we squander opportunities.  We ruin relationships, finances, and anything we touch.  Often, this is a result of paying attention to trivial or superficial things.  The work it takes to grow strong roots is often difficult and not glamorous but vital to a good life.  When I was younger, I focused only on my leaves and branches, was insecure, and my life was often in turmoil.  Later, my roots were grown by facing my insecurities, doubling down on my strengths, addressing my weaknesses, accepting failures that occurred, and being brutally honest with who I was.  That created a much happier and more consistent life for me.  Build your roots, and the leaves and branches will take care of themselves. 

A great reminder.  I was speaking to a fellow chiropractor recently that is struggling to build their practice.  They mentioned it was “inconvenient” for them to see multiple new patients in a day and that they sometimes didn’t like to see too many people in a certain window of time.  This was confusing to me.  I asked how they ever expected to see the amount of people necessary to grow a business if it was “inconvenient” for them to do so.  I pointed out that if their goal really is to build a thriving practice, they would have to make the time to see those patients regardless of whether it was the perfect time or not.   

This type of attitude is common.   We want the big goal, but not the discomfort that comes with it.  Whether it’s business, weight loss, improved fitness, better finances, or anything else, you will have to grind for it.  The path to success is never going to feel perfect, comfortable, or easy.  Much of it will require our best efforts at a time when we least feel like giving them.  The litmus test of how badly you want to achieve a goal is whether you are willing to go the extra mile when it’s most challenging and least convenient to do so.       

Something I believe.  My family and I stopped at Smash Burger a couple of weeks ago after a football game.  It’s a fast casual place, and the young man bringing the orders to the tables looked barely old enough to work there.  As we waited for our food, I was impressed with how he operated in such a busy environment.  He was hustling and working extremely hard, all while remaining calm and being nice to everyone he encountered. 

I told my family that if I had a business that needed it, I would hire him in a second and they asked why.  My thinking is that work ethic and grace under pressure while in a busy or stressful environment are rare qualities.  If you possess those simple traits, you can handle anything.  I’m certain that kid was not getting rich doing that job, but he was giving it all he had regardless.  I am someone that believes how you do anything is how you’ll do everything, and it was great to see someone exemplifying that. 

Something sports has taught me.  There is a common phrase in sports that states “You want to maximize your minutes.”  The meaning is that whether you are a starter or bench player receiving three plays per game, you want to show your best when called upon.  By doing so, the hope is that those minutes will turn into more playing time, an expanded role, and greater chance for success.  I believe this to be true in life as well.

We only get so many opportunities in business, relationships, and everything else.  Thus, we need to be ready when our chances arise.  I believe the best way to prepare for those times is through a combination of hard work, discipline, routine, commitment to processes, and a positive attitude.  If we faithfully pursue those areas, we are creating a better version of ourselves daily.  Then, when we can “get some minutes”, we are able to take full advantage.

Some quotes I Love.

“Kindness is loaning someone your strength rather than reminding them of their weakness.” – Mark Mero

“One of the few things that can’t be recycled is wasted time.” – Sean Covey

“Monsters exist, but they are too few in number to be truly dangerous.  More dangerous are the common men, the functionaries ready to believe and act without asking questions.” – Primo Levi

“Empathy without boundaries is self-destruction.” – Silvy Khoucasian

Matt KenneyDr. Kenney’s Friday 5 Spot – October 27th
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Dr. Kenney’s Friday 5 Spot – October 13th

Dr. Kenney’s Friday 5 Spot

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.  

Something I believe.  One of my sons plays on a football team that has been good but not great for years.  They run an outdated offense and have success against lesser teams but struggle against tougher competition.  Worse, when they do face the better opponents there are no adjustments made to try varying the game plan, utilize strengths of their top players, or challenge whoever they are facing with anything unexpected.  After the inevitable loss, the coaches will tell the players they need to do better, and the pattern will be repeated once again the following week.  There is an important life lesson here.

We all have goals we want to attain, habits we want to correct, and relationships we desire to improve.  If we continue to take the exact approach that has never gotten us the result we want, are we truly serious about achieving it?  I would argue no.  Furthermore, just because we think what we are doing should be working, doesn’t mean it can or will.  Life is a results-driven endeavor.  It’s a waste of time and energy to repeat the same things and expect a better outcome.  It’s vital that we scrutinize the methods we are using so that we can adjust and improve. 

A great reminder for me.  I had a morning this week that was out of character for me.  I set a later alarm than necessary, did not prepare for the day as I usually do, was not moving with much purpose when I did get up, and basically just started going through the motions.  At first, I comforted myself with excuses about how hard I always work, that I never miss a single day of exercise, and the like.  That lasted for about 15 minutes before I got sick of listening to myself and left to go on a run to break the cycle.

This reminded me of the importance of playing offense rather than defense, especially in our morning routines.  For me, offense means waking up early (usually without an alarm by 5am), reading my Bible first thing, preparing things for my day/my kids, spending time with my little ones, exercising intensely, eating healthy, and heading off energized for my day.  When I follow that approach, I go on the attack and never have a truly “bad” day.  Conversely, if I do not follow those guidelines, I fall to the mercy of where the day takes me.  I feel defensive, less in control, have more potential to feel anxious, and my production can suffer.  Trust me, if you play offense and attack your mornings, you will quickly see how much better your days go!

Something I loved.  One of my sons made a comment about a teammate recently that I found significant.  Though this boy is extremely talented and successful, the comments were about his leadership rather than his performance.  My son told me “He’s honest about how the other players play, how the coaches are coaching, and he’s honest about himself.  I respect that.”

I thought that comment was very telling and important.  We become hypocritical when we expect behavior we don’t follow ourselves.  When we are willing to hold ourselves and others to the same high standard, great things can occur.  We are less likely to make excuses, accept low performance, or allow people we shouldn’t into our circle.  It is crucial to be honest about what we are seeing from others while at the same time being willing to do so with our own actions.

Something that motivates me.  I have four children.  My oldest is almost 17 and my youngest is only 3.  Something that gives me great motivation is never wanting them to say, “Dad used to.”  In other words, I never want them to see me as someone that fell off in terms of my effort physically, mentally, as a father, businessman, or anything else. 

As I age, I want my kids to continue to see me as someone that never slows down.  If I can do that, it is my belief that they will be more willing to follow the example I set physically, emotionally, in faith, in parenting, financially, as a leader, and in other areas.  My desire is that by doing so, my children will pass that on to their children and a new generation can benefit.  I do not take myself too seriously, but I take that responsibility extremely seriously. 

Some quotes Iove.

“Victory is always possible for the person who refuses to stop fighting.” – Napoleon Hill

“On poor teams, captains lead by popularity.  On great teams, captains lead by example.  They arrive early, stay late, train hard, and apply the same high standards off the field.” – Gary Curneen

“Do not let your empathy for others stop you from maintaining the boundaries that you set to protect yourself.” – Michell C. Clark

“Never throughout history has a man who lived a life of ease left a name worth remembering.” – Theodore Roosevelt

Matt KenneyDr. Kenney’s Friday 5 Spot – October 13th
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Dr. Kenney’s Friday 5 Spot – October 6th

Dr. Kenney’s Friday 5 Spot

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.  

Something I believe.  Boring basics

The way I view health.  When you visit a grocery store, the healthiest items are those that are perishable such as produce, meats, and dairy products.  These must be treated properly, sold quickly, and then used in a timely fashion by the consumer, so they don’t spoil.  Conversely, non-perishable items like cereals, soda, canned goods, and more can sit there forever and require little attention to be maintained.   I think this is similar to how our health works. 

Perishable habits include too much TV, lack of exercise, poor nutrition, over-consumption of alcohol, and more.  Sadly, these are easy to continue because they require little to no effort.  Conversely, every positive thing you can do for good health is perishable.  This includes what you eat, exercise, stress management, relationships, etc.  These areas are challenging to maintain and if they are ignored even for a small period, things can quickly go bad.  Examples include weight gain, becoming sedentary, development of diseases, increased stress, poor relationships, and others.  Therefore, it is crucial to have processes and habits in place that allow us to repeat the positive behaviors that will lead to better outcomes.  Try viewing your health habits like a grocery store and fill it with more good stuff than bad. 

Something important.  I was speaking to someone this week about the importance of forgiveness.  My belief is that the act of forgiving someone is a gift we can give to ourselves.  It helps us unburden ourselves of negativity, resentment, hatred, and the like.  It allows us to drive forward looking ahead rather than staring into our rear-view mirror. 

That said, forgiving others does not mean we must compromise our boundaries.  We teach others how we desire to be treated by what we do and do not allow.  Therefore, just because we don’t walk around hating others does not mean we must accept poor behavior from anyone in our lives.  When I feel people have wronged me, I tend to let it go quickly and move on.  However, I do not allow these people (or anyone else) to bring that behavior around me again.  Forgive people, but don’t forget to pay attention to your personal boundaries of what you will/will not tolerate.  This will create a far happier and less stressful existence for you.

Something I want you to remember.  I have failed a lot in my life including marriages, businesses, relationships, sports, races, and plenty of other things.  When this has happened, it has tended to affect me mentally.  I am extremely hard on myself and feel shame and embarrassment when I don’t succeed.  In many cases, it has caused me to feel like less of a person.

What I slowly came to realize about failure is the importance of separating the act of failing in an endeavor from who I am.   Now if I fail, I can feel badly about it without believing I am a terrible person.  For example, if I fail in a race, I now view it as a learning experience.  I consider what I can do differently going forward rather than hating myself and forgetting the good I bring as a father, husband, or doctor.  I keep the result separate from who I am as a person.  If you are the type who gets down on yourself after a failure or misstep, I want you to try this.  Gain experience from your losses and try a new path forward without allowing it to shatter the positive vision you have of yourself.  The act of failing does not make anyone a failure.

A great reminder.  My oldest son is almost 17 years old.  Last weekend he slept over at a friend’s house and we had an early commitment to attend the following morning.  I reminded him of it but did not harp on him about making sure he was there.  What I was curious to find out was whether he would show up on time on his own accord the next morning or not.  I am happy to say that he did.

This reminded me that a huge aspect of trust is whether you come through when called upon.  If you are being relied upon to display a certain action and you do, you are actively developing trust.  More so than words, promises or anything else, the act of stepping up when necessary, displays our value to others.  I recommend taking this seriously in our own behavior as well as that of those around us.

Some quotes I love.

“If things go wrong, don’t go with them.” – Roger Babson

“High standards protect you from low quality experiences.”

“We struggle with the complexities and avoid the simplicities.” – Norman Vincent Peale

“The only cure for grief is action.” – George Henry Lewes

Matt KenneyDr. Kenney’s Friday 5 Spot – October 6th
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Dr. Kenney’s Friday 5 Spot – September 29th

Dr. Kenney’s Friday 5 Spot

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.  

Something that helps me.  “Stay or get?”  This is a simple question I ask myself frequently that helps me quite a bit.  The point of the question is to ask myself whether I want to “stay” where I am/as I am, or if I should “get” moving toward something else.  For example, do I want to stay doing what I’m doing physically or do something to get stronger or faster? Do I want to stay where I’m at in business or get working on ways to improve my service and profitability?  Essentially, I want to ponder whether what I’m doing is my best effort or whether it could or should be improved.

To some, this may seem like a silly thing.  However, I can tell you from experience that complacency sets in faster than you’d imagine.  This happens physically, mentally, in relationships, in businesses, and more.  If you are not careful, you will wake up one day to find that you’ve slid down the hill rather than continuing to climb it.  Therefore, ask yourself regularly whether you want to stay where you are or get moving toward something better.

Something I do.  I am a huge fan of the Rocky movies.  Most of you have seen when he runs the steps in Philadelphia and reaches the top, he raises his hands overhead in triumph.  I always thought that was inspiring, so for years now whenever I finish a grueling run, workout, superset, or anything else; I raise my hands just like that.  The reason I do so is because it trains my mind and body not to seek the comfort of rest by placing my hands on my knees or sitting down.  In short, it strengthens me physically and mentally because when my body tells me I’m tired, I act triumphant.

This same premise applies to daily life.  Your toughest challenges in relationships, business, personal matters, and more can make you feel like quitting.  You will want to give up, lie on the floor, or stop moving.  Instead, make the decision to keep going, endure hardships, refuse to have a pity party, and make the most of your situation and opportunities.  Those actions are the equivalent of raising your arms overhead in triumph and will lead to successes you once thought unattainable.

A lesson I have learned in chiropractic.  Most of the patients I encounter are wonderful, nice, respectful, and enjoyable to be around.  However, there are always people that come to me who are not.  Many of them are negative, unkind, disrespectful, standoffish, and more.  Interestingly, these same people often make a big deal to me that they may not come back.  They try to hold it over my head in a manner that suggests they want me to cater to them in a way I don’t to my other patients.  This never bothers me because their presence does not bring value to my business and it’s fine if they leave. 

Whether in chiropractic or your personal life, toxic people will bring you down.  They will never be happy, satisfied, or reciprocate your efforts, affection, or love.  It will never be worth your time, energy, or money to deal with them. When people such as this come into your life, let them leave.  You will add far more to your life by subtracting them from it. 

Something I love.  I’m a huge Gordon Ramsey fan and enjoy watching him on various shows.  One of the things I enjoy and respect most about him is his insistence on high standards for any chef or restaurant he works with.  This includes the quality, temperature, taste, and appearance of food.  It also holds true with cleanliness, business practices, interactions with customers, and much more.

This is something I feel we should all utilize in our lives and our endeavors.  If our standards are low, we are not holding ourselves accountable and will be performing at a low level.  Conversely, if we have high standards, we are setting ourselves up for success.  It does not mean that we will succeed instantly.  However, it sets a tone that when we fail, we will do whatever necessary to get better.  As we repeat that process, our results will improve and soon, we will experience more success.

Some quotes I love.

“True friends are like stars; you can only recognize them when it’s dark around you.” – Bob Marley

“Whoever is trying to bring you down is already below you.”

“Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear – not absence of fear.” – Mark Twain

Matt KenneyDr. Kenney’s Friday 5 Spot – September 29th
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Dr. Kenney’s Friday 5 Spot – September 22nd

Dr. Kenney’s Friday 5 Spot

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.  

Something that impressed me.  Two weeks ago, I was at a football game for my middle son.  Sadly, a player on the opposing sideline suffered a seizure (unrelated to an injury or contact) and the paramedics had to be called.  Parents and players alike were worried as this boy remained on the ground waiting to leave via ambulance.  As things got quiet, one of the players on my son’s team asked his teammates to pray for this boy.  At first there was no response, but he was insistent, and soon they were all on one knee in prayer for their opponent.

The boy who asked his teammates to pray is probably the smallest on the team by far.  He does not play a ton and in most cases, would likely not be noticed.  However, when he saw someone in need, he instantly became a leader in whatever way he could.  His teammates respected his conviction, and he led them in prayer in a way that I felt showed great strength and empathy at the same time.  Leadership is all about stepping up in times and ways that may not be expected, and that young man did just that.   

A good reminder.  I was speaking to my best friend last weekend about some issues he is facing.  They include work, ending a relationship, logistical issues going forward, and more.  I have been there myself and understand how difficult times like this can be.  My advice to him was to go “micro.”  In other words, facing the entire picture and every issue at once is going to be too daunting.  You’ll be instantly overwhelmed, so it makes sense to focus on one thing at a time.

When we are facing challenges on multiple fronts, it’s like looking at a map and knowing we need to reach multiple destinations nowhere near one another.  Since it’s impossible to get to each place simultaneously, we must choose one.  Once we have the goal, we can direct our attention more effectively toward it.  This includes taking daily actions steps as well as making sure we don’t neglect ourselves physically, mentally, nutritionally, or in terms of sleep.  In tough times, pick a single problem to begin working on, try to make daily progress toward it, and care for yourself as you do so.  This will help.

Something I hear often.  I’m often told by patients and friends the different things they “struggle with.”  In general, these involve bad habits, poor decisions, and repeating the same behaviors over a period of years.  There are exceptions, but in most cases these wounds are self-inflicted.  Furthermore, there is usually great thought given to the issue and the hold it has over us, but less consideration is given to how to resolve or improve it.

When someone tells me that they’ve been struggling with something for years or decades, it tells me they have either done nothing, not enough, or the wrong things to address it.  There is no shame in having a struggle, we all do.  However, if we’ve had them so long that we talk about them constantly and they have become part of who we are, it’s time to start wondering if we’re approaching it correctly.  If you have been facing an issue for a long time, be open to a different approach.  Sometimes, it’s not that the problem cannot be fixed but rather that we haven’t found the best method to address it.  The answer is likely to include an honest evaluation of ourselves and some hard choices, but it can be accomplished.

Something that resonates with me.  I love to watch competitive shows.  These include everything from cooking to enduring in the wild.  What strikes me is that there are always a group of contestants that seem to “lose” yet come away winning more than anyone else.  In other words, they fail to win the prize but leave happier than anyone else with what they gained through the experience.  This truly appeals to me as a man who has always tried to be his best. 

I’ve won a lot in my life athletically, as a business owner, coach, and more.  In some instances, anything less than first place would have felt like a failure.  However, there are times when going through an endeavor taught me so much that I didn’t care where I finished.  For example, I finished a 100-mile race in about 400th place and gained a lifetime of lessons doing so.  I can think of sub .500 teams I have coached that I feel more pride in than championship teams because of how they over-achieved and grew as young men.  In life, there are times when you can contend for the top spot but other times when you are nowhere close to doing so but have an opportunity to learn and grow.  Both should be valued and respected because they are crucial in their own ways. 

Some quotes I love.

“If you don’t separate yourself from distractions, your distractions will separate you from your goals.” – Steve Harvey

“When you tell people that the delusions they are experiencing are grounded in reality and that it’s everyone else’s job in society to reflect those delusions back at them, you’re not doing them any favors.  In fact, you’re engaging in cruelty.”

“The truth is, it’s always too soon to quit.  Keep going.” – Sally Mcrae

Matt KenneyDr. Kenney’s Friday 5 Spot – September 22nd
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Dr. Kenney’s Friday 5 Spot – September 15th

Dr. Kenney’s Friday 5 Spot

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.  

Something that resonated with me.  David Goggins is a former Navy SEAL and someone that inspires me.  I listened to him speak this week about his “1 second rule.”  He explained that regardless of how motivated, talented, or driven you may be, success will boil down to how you react over a single second.  The example he used were guys around him that quit during BUDS training because they were so cold.  They sought comfort and in their “1 second” quit, whereas the people that completed SEAL training persevered in theirs.

I find this way of thinking to be accurate.  Some of my biggest triumphs have come when I felt close to quitting but continued.  This premise applies to every important decision.  Deciding not to drive drunk, holding our temper, remaining calm in a stressful situation, attempting something that scares us, and so many other things are examples of this principle.  Take the 1 second rule seriously because you will be faced with it many times throughout your life.  The years of your life will be guided by how you react in those crucial seconds.

A recent reminder.  On Saturday night I went to bed about 9:30 stressed out.  My mind was thinking extensively about how I was going to help someone very important in my life.  I woke up only a few hours later just past midnight and couldn’t turn my brain off.  At first, I tried to get back to sleep but after an hour I decided just to get up and start mapping out what I would do to resolve the issue.  I took a couple hours to think through everything and wrote out a plan.

Foregoing the sleep was worth it for me.  Rather than continue to feel anxious and uncertain, taking the time to face the problem gave me peace and a path forward.  The second I finished writing out my thoughts I felt clear-headed, sure of how to proceed, and more energetic than I would’ve been from sleep.  This was an excellent reminder of the necessity of facing our problems head-on.  The longer we avoid them, the more daunting they become.  Therefore, deal with them as directly and as soon as possible. 

A useful skill.  Do you struggle to wake up on time, eat what you know you should, exercise regularly, study enough, watch less TV, etc.?  Things of this nature are often not completed or done properly because they are challenging.  Also, they are often far less fun and certainly less gratifying in the short term than their alternatives.  Earlier in life, I was not great in many of these areas myself. 

Now, my approach is to do my best to become a master at what I don’t want to do.  This is accomplished through consistency and a mindset where excuses are not tolerated.  As an example, if I set the goal to get up at 4am and run 10 miles, I don’t see how I feel when the alarm goes off.  I go no matter what.  It is imperative to view the difficult things you know you must do as an opponent.  You can’t allow that opponent to get the better of you, you must keep fighting back until it becomes easy to do so. 

Something I noticed.  I was around one of my son’s football teams recently and saw two examples of behavior that interested me.  The first was a coach that showed up for the game complaining about how far a walk it was from his car to the field (barely a quarter mile at most).  He kept going on about it, sounded wimpy, and then spoke to his players about showing determination and having heart.  The other example was a coach that is horribly out of shape preaching to the kids about how important it is to be well-conditioned and in shape.  In both instances I was struck by how what they were saying clashed badly with the example they were setting themselves.  This is common.

Often, we have a set of standards we know are important but do not follow ourselves.  We become great at telling others how to behave but we fail to do it.  For this reason, it is crucial to ask what our behavior, habits, and actions say about us.  Are they congruent with what we are saying?  If not, it is time to make some adjustments.  Remember, don’t talk about it, be about it.

Some quotes I love.

“When they can’t touch the person you’ve become, they’ll dig up who you used to be.”

“Even when I was close to defeat, I rose to my feet.” – Dr. Dre, Still D.R.E.

“There are only two options regarding commitment. You’re either in or out. There’s no such thing as a life in between.” – Pat Riley

Matt KenneyDr. Kenney’s Friday 5 Spot – September 15th
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Dr. Kenney’s Friday 5 Spot – September 8th

Dr. Kenney’s Friday 5 Spot

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.  

A saying I love.  “We came to prove it.”  This is a simple statement and one I love to use for myself and preach to my oldest sons.  This is a way of saying that we do not want or expect anything to be handed to us.  Instead, we are fully expecting and willing to put the time, effort, and heart into what we’re doing to become successful. 

In essence, all we can hope for from a coach, employer, etc. is an opportunity to show what we’ve got and display our value.  It is important to expect that such an opportunity will arise, and our job is to be ready when that occurs.  That happens by being proactive and training our bodies and minds intensely daily so that we are strong and ready when our number is called. 

Something that has stuck with me.  When I was playing high school and college football, I remember coaches constantly telling players “You can’t make the club in the tub.”  That meant that if you were hurt and sitting out (in the hot or cold tub), you would not be moving up the depth chart and showing what you could do.  Coaches would say this because they had an idea of who was truly injured and who might be milking it to avoid the tough practices.  To some, this may seem harsh, but I love it and it has stuck with me.

When we aren’t at work, on the field, at the gym, or doing what we should be doing, we lose ground.  Progress stalls, opportunities are lost, and we must begin playing catch up.  Sometimes it is obvious that we can’t do something, perhaps we’re very sick or truly hurt.  Those situations are easy to identify.  However, sometimes we magnify a small issue and pretend it’s something serious because deep down we are tired, nervous, self-conscious, scared, worried, etc. and so we stop what we should be doing.  Those are the times when we absolutely must trudge on because they are the moments that display our capabilities and create grit.  You can’t make the club in the tub, and you can’t be successful in an endeavor in which you take yourself out of. 

A frequent reminder for me.  I work out every morning, usually before 5:30am.  Sometimes I will head into my home gym and not know exactly what I’m going to do for a workout.  I’ll pace around, come up with ideas, spin my wheels, and fail to get started.  This happens a few times per month, and I have found a solution.  The second I feel myself wandering mentally and getting off track, I just begin doing something.  It doesn’t matter what it is or if it’s the best thing, I just start doing anything.  Without fail, each time I take this approach my mind clears immediately.  I can come up with a better approach after thirty seconds of activity than I do of ten minutes of over-thinking it.

This same principle applies to life as well.  Sometimes we wait forever for the right time, motivation, knowledge, permission, and the like.  We get nowhere and become frustrated quite easily.  Instead of doing this, just get started.  Don’t worry about anything other than putting in a bit of energy and effort.  That simple action carries a profound benefit.  It removes a barrier your mind creates that prevents you from progressing toward a desired outcome.  Once you begin, positive things will start to happen, and you’ll be on your way.

Something I believe.  We all encounter pain.  It may be physical, mental, or emotional but at some point, we all experience it.  Two things I believe to be true about pain are that most people are so soft they will do anything to avoid even the slightest bit of discomfort and second, pain can be recycled into something greater.

Most people are so scared to feel even the slightest discomfort in their mental or physical state that they hide from pain.  They seek out pills to mask it, withdraw from situations, avoid challenges, and more.  I understand no one wants to be hurting and there are situations where these things are necessary, but by and large as a society we fear even basic discomfort.  My belief is that all pain can be transformed into greatness if utilized properly.  It can be used for motivation, as fuel to alter stagnant or ineffective routines/habits, a catalyst to gain knowledge, and so much more.  I can’t think of any triumphs I’ve had that weren’t preceded by a period of pain, it’s just part of the process.  If you are experiencing a difficult time, do your best to recycle it into something better and make that pain worthwhile. 

Some quotes I love.

“Tell me I can’t.  Watch as I do.”

“People do not decide their futures, they decide their habits, and their habits decide their futures.” – F.M. Alexander

“The master has failed more than the beginner has even tried.”

“Continuous improvement is better than delayed perfection.” – Mark Twain

“We are not bestowed with inherently good or bad lives.  We are granted a life, and it is within our control to determine whether it becomes good or bad.” – Marcus Aurelius

Matt KenneyDr. Kenney’s Friday 5 Spot – September 8th
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Dr. Kenney’s Friday 5 Spot – September 1st

Dr. Kenney’s Friday 5 Spot

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.  

Something I believe.  There are rumblings that a return to COVID lockdowns, masks, etc. is on the horizon.  As a result, I am being asked frequently how I plan to handle it.  For the sake of space, I will just say that I will not do, follow, or allow anything for myself, family, or business that I do not wholeheartedly believe in.  In other words, I am guided by what I feel is right rather than what I’m told.

As most of you know, I never gave into the hysteria the first time around (in my business or personal life) and had no issue accepting the consequences of standing up for what I felt was right.  I was patient with others, but firm in my convictions.  If the same situation is to arise again, I will take this same approach.  My focus will remain on being proactive about my health and that of my family, and I will never allow fear or public pressure to interfere with those responsibilities. 

An important concept.  Priorities are what we consider to be most important.  The easiest way to see what someone’s priorities are is to see how they spend their time.  For example, a person that takes the time to exercise, prepare healthy food, and take nutritional supplements would show an obvious priority of improving or maintaining their health.  How we spend our time and direct our activities reflects what we prioritize for ourselves. 

It is crucial to understand that when we do not set our priorities and direct our actions accordingly, they become set for us.  Sadly, when this occurs our priorities usually become the most unhealthy, unproductive, least useful, and non-rewarding things we can find because they are so easy to fall into.  For that reason, it is vital that you decide what is most important for you to have in your life and then implement habits and processes that jive with that.  Set your priorities before they become set for you.

Something I hear often.  Friends and patients often praise me for not complaining.  They’ll tell me how refreshing it is to speak to someone that doesn’t bring them down with negativity.  Sometimes they ask what my secret is for doing this and my answer is quite simple.

I cannot even stand myself when I complain so I don’t do it.  It’s completely fine to work through issues and confide in others but there is a difference between doing that and whining.  Complaining about things is the ultimate waste of time and energy.  Give yourself a zero-tolerance policy on complaining and embrace the battles you face.  If you do, your life will get simpler, you’ll feel better, and success will find you easier.

Something I reflected on.  Three years ago this week my brother-in-law passed away suddenly.  I recall receiving the call at 6am on a Friday morning that he was in a coma, and we all had great faith and hope he would recover.  That Monday I remember getting a text that there was some type of eye movement seen by his nurses and felt certain my buddy was on his way back.  When I walked in the door that night from work my wife told me her brother was brain dead and would never recover.  I literally just fell over and cried.  It was devastating.

I’ve made some grand gestures to honor my brother-in-law, Sam.  I spread his ashes on the fields where we coached together on, run ultramarathons, and so on.  What I reflected on this week, was that with everything I have done to honor him, I feel he would be most proud that I still consider him to be so important to me.  As an example, when my sister slipped into a coma and died last year, I sat alone in the airport talking to Sam trying to hold my world together as I flew out to say goodbye to her.  There will be people in your life that will have a greater impact on you than you could possibly imagine.  When they’re here, treasure and appreciate them.  If they’re not, keep their memories alive. 

Some quotes I love.

“The simple step of a courageous individual is not to take part in the lie.” – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

“Non-compliance is not bad behavior.  It’s a critical life skill.”

“No matter how you feel, get up, dress up, show up, and never give up.” – Regina Brett

“Don’t give advice.  Live your advice.  People get your message by watching you.” – Dr. John Delony

“Those trapped in ignorance often refuse to acknowledge their lack of knowledge, and when confronted with the truth, they reject it or respond with hostility.” – Shaun Zimmer

Matt KenneyDr. Kenney’s Friday 5 Spot – September 1st
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