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 liked. I listened to someone use the metaphor of roots versus branches recently. Our roots are what keep us grounded but go unseen. Branches are visible to everyone but less important to the stability of a tree and require the roots to even exist. As your roots grow, so shall grow the tree. Thus, we must focus on building the strongest roots possible.
Strong roots are built in things others cannot see. This includes solid principles, good habits, consistent behavior/actions, learning from mistakes, willingness to learn, and much more. The roots that are grown in the dark when no one is looking, are the ones that produce the beautiful branches that everyone can see in the light.
Something to always remember. Think of any major accomplishment you have had in your life in business, athletics, personal life, or anything. Looking back, would you say that it was easier to attain then you’d expected? We tend to look back and realize that it was far tougher than we ever would have imagined in attaining that goal. In fact, if you knew hard it was going to be, you may not have even begun at all.
That is why it is important to remember that we often must go through the toughest challenges to achieve our greatest goals. If it matters to you, you will do whatever it takes to get there. That may require more exertion, time, problem solving, and faith than you ever thought necessary, but if you want it, that’s what it will take. As an example, my goal is to finish a 100-mile run in February. I will run over 1,000 miles in 6 months before I even get to the start line and will need to run 27 or more hours straight to complete the actual race. I accept that it will be even more challenging to complete that goal than I thought when I signed up to do it. If it’s a goal you care about, just get started and understand it’ll be a tough road to get there, but worth it in the end.
A piece of advice I give often. I am asked regularly what my advice is for people that want to get up earlier and exercise. My answer is always two parts and simple.
First, don’t ever use the snooze button. Though it may seem it, I promise you are not gaining anything from an extra 5 minutes of sleep. Honor your commitment to yourself and get up on time, no “snoozing.” Second, when you’re trying to build the habit of getting up and exercising, just focus on waking up and doing something (weights, run, walk, hike, etc.). Do not worry if it’s your best effort or not when you’re just starting out. Simply waking up and doing ten push-ups is better than sleeping in and doing nothing. Focus on building the habit and worry about the intensity as you go along.
A great lesson from someone I admire. My father-in-law is one of my favorite people, and I love being around him. He was a teacher at Chatfield high school for 47 years and had a unique style that combined fun, teamwork, and breaking through comfort zones. That style made him a local legend, and I rarely go places with him where someone doesn’t yell out “Mr. Clark!” and ask to take a picture with him. Before he retired in 2019, a film crew made a short movie about him that showed him in action teaching and being interviewed as well. Two things stood out to me that I think are great lessons.
The first lesson is to utilize your own personal gifts whatever they may be. His style was not traditional, but it worked because it was genuine and authentic. When you’re not yourself, people sense it and don’t respond positively. The second lesson is, if we can focus on the little corner of the world that we control, we can make an enormous difference. My wife posted the movie about her dad on Facebook, and I spent 30 minutes reading amazing comments from his former students. They mentioned repeatedly how his class helped and influenced them. Do the best you can with what you have, and you will have a positive influence on others, who in turn will carry it forward.
Some quotes I love.
“The truth will set you free, but first it will make you miserable.” – James A. Garfield
“Your mind has to be stronger than your feelings or you’ll lose every time.”
“You want to know the difference between a master and a beginner? The master has failed more times than the beginner has even tried.”
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