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Dr. Kenney’s Friday 5 Spot – December 20th

Dr. Kenney’s Friday 5 Spot

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.

Do you ever eat fast food?  I never eat anything from the fast food chains like McDonald’s, Burger King, KFC, Taco Bell, etc. because the ingredients are so low quality and, in many cases, harmful.  To me that’s not food.  However, I will eat at fast casual places such as Chipotle and Tokyo Joe’s where I can get something healthy and quickly.

Something I do at home for exercise?  Something simple that I will do at home are burpees.  For those who don’t know this is a combination of a pushup, squat and squat jump and is an excellent overall exercise for your body.  On days that I want to exercise but don’t have a lot of time I will do a 10-minute burpee challenge.  Basically, I set a timer for 10 minutes and see how many burpees I can do.  My record is 135 but usually I’ll get around 120.  If you’re new to burpees start out with 10 to 20 and you’ll still feel them!

What exercise advice do you give regularly?  I have plenty of answers for this, but I’ll give my top three here.  First, you DO have time.  I don’t care who you are or what your schedule is, you have time to do something.  Second, find some form of exercise that will be convenient for you.  If you’re going to work out at a gym for example, make sure it’s convenient to your house or job otherwise you’ll never do it.  If you know that getting to classes or a gym won’t work for you then research things you can do at home.  Finally, a great majority of the time you won’t feel like exercising and those are precisely the times when you must.  You will NEVER regret showing up and before long you’ll never even think about skipping.

Do you adjust children?  If so, why?  Yes, I do, and I have adjusted thousands throughout my career.  The spine protects a major piece of our nervous system so we need to keep it healthy.  When adults have issues with their spine, they often experience pain.  When children have spinal misalignments in their spine, they tend to get more visceral symptoms such as ear infections, colic, reflux, constipation, poor sleep, etc.  So just like children need dental care, all children should ideally have chiropractic care to facilitate proper growth and development.  Adjusting children is far easier than adjusting adults and in my humble opinion, those adjustments are the most important that I perform.  All three of my children have been adjusted by me since they were minutes old, receive checkups regularly and show amazing benefits as a result.  I understand that this may be not be intuitive to some but if you ask any parent of a child that gets adjusted, they will confirm how beneficial it is.

Quote I love?  “Don’t let a win get to your head or a loss to your heart.” – Public Enemy, He Got Game

Want More?  Don’t forget to follow Dr. Kenney on Instagram @Coloradochiropractor

Matt KenneyDr. Kenney’s Friday 5 Spot – December 20th
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Dr. Kenney’s Friday 5 Spot – December 13th

Dr. Kenney’s 5 Spot

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.

Are there ingredients in food you won’t eat?  Yes.  For space reasons I won’t go into the specifics of why today, but I will not eat any artificial sweeteners (sucralose, aspartame, acesulfame-K, saccharine), hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils (these are trans fats) or any artificial colors.  These are all extremely toxic to the nervous system and body so they’re not worth it for me.

A piece of advice I give to my patients?  Most people understand the importance of regular dental checkups.  Checkups detect problems before they begin or get too far, and the regular cleanings help maintain the teeth to remain healthy and strong for longer.  I recommend people follow the same principle with their spine and chiropractic care.  You certainly don’t need to be adjusted every single week if you don’t wish but even somewhat regular “tune-ups” will go a long way.  90% of the worst conditions I see could have been prevented with basic preventative care.

Something I admire?  Have you ever watched someone that’s excellent at what they do?  I’m talking about someone that takes time to put all they have into what they do and how they do it.  I call that being a “craftsman” and it’s something I really admire.  Some recent examples of this that come to mind are a gentleman that selects and fits people for hats, a football coach, a waiter and a lawyer.  I love to observe people like this and learn from them.

A lesson I believe in?  As I mentioned a couple weeks ago, I coach two football teams.  One of the things I try to do with all my players is find something they do well.  Some kids are very gifted and it’s easy.  But others may not be and so with these kids I really search to find their “thing.”  Once I find it, I over-emphasize it in practice, get them to take great pride in it and then allow them to utilize it in our games.  What I’ve found is that once they can contribute what they do well, their confidence grows and I’m able to expand their roles and teach them more.  There is a player I’ve had for 2 seasons.  In his first, he struggled with everything but eventually I detected a strength.  This season I got him in a position to utilize that strength and he blossomed.  By season’s end he was one of our defensive MVP’s and went from a quiet kid to a vocal leader and great teammate.  I believe that this lesson is true in life and sports:  double down on your strengths and as your productivity and confidence grows, you can then begin to produce even more strengths.

A quote I love: “It’s not what you preach, it’s what you tolerate.” – Jocko Willink

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

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

Want More?

  • Please follow Dr. Kenney on Instagram @Coloradochiropractor
  • Find us on Facebook by searching New Body Chiropractic & Wellness Center
Matt KenneyDr. Kenney’s Friday 5 Spot – December 6th
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Dr. Kenney’s Friday 5 Spot – November 29th

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?  As you read this it’s probably the day after Thanksgiving so I’m probably eating leftovers.  The day after turkey day I like to get out for a good, long run and then from there, I do not skimp on the leftovers.  Normally I like to eat very clean but not today.  I mention this because many times people think eating well means perfection.  This is simply not the case.  My goal is to eat well the vast majority of the time but treat myself from time to time as well.

Something I’ve been enjoying for exercise?  I’m really enjoying running right now.  As an ultramarathon runner you may take that as a given but it’s not.  Near the end of my training for the Leadville 100 it felt like a job at times.  As I have begun preparing for my next 100-mile race I’ve changed my mindset to simply focus on being fortunate to be outside in the mountains, seeing the sunrises, etc and this has made a tremendous difference.  With that simple change in mindset the miles are flying by and I’m running better as well.  Plus, this is when I’m at my best in terms of generating ideas, working through problems and alleviating stress.

A book I love?  “Extreme Ownership” by Jocko Wilink and Leif Babin.  These two Navy SEALs use real world experience in life and battle to demonstrate how taking more responsibility for our actions and decisions can dramatically impact outcomes in all aspects of our personal and business lives.  My oldest son recently did a project for school after reading this book and I was amazed at the lessons even a 13-year-old got from it!

A recent source of inspiration?  For over 8 months now as I walk my dog, I have seen the same woman running on a high school track near my home.  Rain or shine she is always out there running on her own.  Due to her weight and age she was initially barely running, and I imagine it was not a whole lot of fun.  However, she has now lost quite a bit of weight and is moving well.  Regardless of what excuses she could have given, she’s been out there making it happen.  The quiet commitment to progress I’ve seen in her is inspiring to me.

Quote I love:  “You can’t read a book about push-ups.” – Gary Vaynerchuck

Matt KenneyDr. Kenney’s Friday 5 Spot – November 29th
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10 Lessons I learned from my Leadville 100 failure

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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5 Common patient mistakes I often see

Being in practice for almost 14 years you see a lot of things.  Sometimes it’s the rare things that stand out but more often it’s the repetition of certain behaviors.  Today I’d like to discuss a few of the most common patient mistakes I see regularly.

  1. Waiting for acute pain before coming in for a visit. Most people don’t wait until they need a root canal before visiting a dentist, they go in for regular checkups to prevent problems from beginning.  But when it comes to the spine, far too many patients believe they must run it into the ground before addressing it.  Your spine absorbs pressure daily and letting it go too long will cause problems.  A regular checkup provides numerous health benefits in addition to keeping you out of these episodes of pain.
  2. Not following up after an initial visit. I cannot tell you how many times I will adjust a patient for the first time, tell them to return for a follow up within a week and then not see them for months.  Once they return, I usually hear how great they felt and how well they did in the days following the adjustment and then how it slowly came back over months.  Many of the problems that patients see me for began over a period of weeks, months or even years.  When you experience immediate improvements, but symptoms return it is your body providing feedback that your problem can be fixed but it may take some time.  When you gain weight, it won’t come off in a day, if you took years to create a spinal issue it won’t be fixed in a visit.
  3. Thinking all chiropractors are the same. I had a patient this week that had been under chiropractic care off an on for years.  I evaluated him and did what I would consider a basic, hands on adjustment.  He was amazed at what I did and raved about it to everyone in my waiting room (we never hate that!).  The reality is that it was not anything fancy or elaborate but his previous chiropractor used a different method and my treatment was different.  It’s not that mine are better but not every chiropractor or technique is the same and some may be more effective for you than others.
  4. Not wanting a thorough assessment before treatment. My office is on a busy road and from time to time we’ll get someone that stops in asking to “get their back cracked.”  There’s nothing wrong with wanting the satisfying feeling of an adjustment but before that happens you really do want a solid evaluation.  Properly evaluating an issue can save you time, visits and money and get you feeling great far faster.  My evaluation process is thorough but not time-consuming and involves a great history, physical exam and x-rays in-office if necessary.  A few extra minutes to find the true cause of an issue is invaluable in the short and long term.
  5. Not playing a part in your own health. I love helping people, it’s one of the reasons I do what I do.  However, an adjustment is not a cure-all for your health.  When people visit a dentist, they understand that brushing and flossing between appointments will help them maintain their treatments.  However, when it comes to chiropractic, people often expect one adjustment to last them forever and solve all their issues.  An adjustment can absolutely help but you need to care for yourself when you’re not here getting adjusted as well.  Stretching, exercising, eating better, improving postural habits, etc. are all examples of this.  When you take an active role in your own health the treatments you receive will only magnify in effectiveness.
Matt Kenney5 Common patient mistakes I often see
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4 Uncommon ways to break through your comfort zone

My belief is that going out of your comfort zone helps reset what you see as normal and what you perceive to be possible while also making you more resilient to life’s challenges.  Today I’d like to share some of the methods I use to get myself more uncomfortable to help sharpen my body and mind, endure any challenge and stay calm under pressure.  I’ve used these techniques for benefit athletically, personally and in my business.

  1. Cold training.  In my experience, there is nothing that destroys a person’s drive and motivation quite like being exposed to the cold.  Therefore, if you can learn to make cold your friend you will develop a mental and physical edge that others only dream of.  I employ cold training by running in frigid temperatures with minimal clothing, standing barefoot in snow for 5 minutes or more while wearing only shorts (this is the Wim Hof method that I’ve begun using recently), ice baths, frigid showers and more.  As extreme as this may sound to some, you will be amazed at the physiological and mental benefits it provides.  When things get hectic in my life and I have tons going on I will often think back to races or training in the cold and immediately whatever I’m facing in the present doesn’t seem as daunting.
  2. “Alarm clock” challenges. We’ve all had the experience where we’ve gone to bed excited about getting up early to accomplish something in the early morning only to hit the snooze alarm for an hour and avoid doing it.  I challenge myself to get up earlier than I must and perform exercise, go for a run or get something accomplished for my business.  Empowering yourself over your alarm clock will help you begin your day with a win and help you gather momentum throughout the rest of the day.  I also think accomplishing something when others are still sleeping tends to make you feel great.
  3. Sign up and suffer. No matter what your ability level, there is a race out there to challenge you.  I had never run more than a mile until I was 35 years old.  I then jumped into obstacle course races which led to half marathons which then led to 24 hour races and ultramarathons.  The key is to select something that you feel will be difficult for you.  If you must dig deep, overcome the urge to quit and accomplish a lofty goal you will be amazed at the confidence and resiliency you acquire from it.  When I face stress in my life now I often think back to a grueling stretch of a race I’ve done and think “well this is nothing compared to how I felt at that time.”   Remember the quote “if it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.”
  4. Get around people that inspire you. Whether in business or in my personal life I have derived great value from being involved in groups.  I believe being a part of a group helps keep you accountable, motivated and the camaraderie can be excellent.   As a recent example, on Facebook I have become a member of Jesse Itzler’s #2017ofEverything group.  The group accepts a monthly physical challenge to be performed over a series of days.  Though I do all my workouts on my own I have found the group to be amazing.  The group members range from elite athletes to people that are using the challenge to exercise for the first time.  Reading posts about their progress inspires me to go beyond my comfort zone.  Getting around others that are hungry for success I believe can be a great tool as we strive to improve as well.
Matt Kenney4 Uncommon ways to break through your comfort zone
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Chiropractic and Pregnancy – 7 Things I’d like you to know

There is almost not a day that passes that I’m not asked about whether chiropractic can help a woman during pregnancy.  For over 11 years I have helped pregnant women and continue to do so each and every week.  Today I would like to share 7 interesting facts from my experience of caring for pregnant women.

  1. Chiropractic is completely safe during pregnancy. I have personally performed more than 200,000 pregnancy adjustments.  The same care I gave to the mother of my children during her pregnancies is the same care I give to my pregnant patients.  Widespread research over many years also confirms the safety and benefit of chiropractic care during pregnancy.
  2. Chiropractic care helps relieve spinal pressure during pregnancy. In order to accommodate for the growth of the baby, a woman’s center of gravity will begin to change.  This causes more pressure (and thus pain) within the lower back, sacral and hip areas, especially during the first trimester.  During the 2nd trimester as the baby grows larger a woman may begin to have more thoracic (mid back) pain.  Neck (cervical) pain is also common though usually not as severe.  Chiropractic adjustments alleviate this pressure and pain.
  3. Chiropractic care provides proper nerve supply for the baby to aid in growth and development. When a woman’s spine is misaligned it will pressure her nerves.  For example, the nerves that leave the spinal cord in the lower back not only power the surrounding muscles but also control the reproductive areas as well.  Removing nerve pressure leads to pain relief but more importantly it allows for proper nerve supply to the baby to aid in growth and development.
  4. Many women receive chiropractic care throughout their entire pregnancy. Growing a human life inside of your own body is no small feat.  As a result most women experience more discomfort with each progressive week.  Chiropractic care makes the experience of pregnancy more enjoyable by allowing for less pain, better mobility, improved sleep and more.  This is also why of all my patients; pregnant women often leave the happiest.
  5. My evaluation for a pregnant woman is completely non-invasive. My examination process during pregnancy (or women attempting to become pregnant) involves a detailed history, postural evaluation, range of motion and orthopedic testing, spinal and muscle evaluations.  This provides ample data for me to use in order to help the patient.  X-rays or other more invasive procedures are never performed on expecting moms in my office.
  6. Pregnancy adjustments lead to immediate results. As women progress through pregnancy their bodies continue to produce more and more of the hormones necessary to facilitate childbirth.  Many of these hormones cause ligaments to relax which allows for extremely easy, low force adjustments to be performed with great ease and instant improvements.  Other than children, pregnant women are the easiest adjustments I perform.
  7. Many medical doctors and mid wives refer their patients to chiropractors. I have personally received countless referrals from these practitioners throughout my career.  I believe this is due to trust that I’ve built up with these experts after helping so many of their patients.  One of my greatest referral sources at my previous office was from a doctor that recommended her patient not receive chiropractic care at my office during her pregnancy.  I called her to respectfully ask why and we ended up having a great discussion.  Once she understood better my approach to pregnancy care she began recommending chiropractic care for all of her patients, many of which I was fortunate enough to care for.  These types of referrals are common.

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 or to schedule an appointment please visit, find us on Facebook (New Body Chiropractic & Wellness Center) or call (303) 347-9906.  

Matt KenneyChiropractic and Pregnancy – 7 Things I’d like you to know
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3 C’s of Success

Below are 3 concepts I believe lead to success in life, business or almost any endeavor.  I call them my 3 C’s to success.

Create outcomes through action.  Something I observe regularly is the correlation between someone’s efforts and their success.  This can be physical efforts, business efforts or efforts at self improvement.  My experience is that those that take fewer (or half hearted) actions tend to create lesser results while often having the most excuses.  Conversely, those that are constantly putting in sincere effort create better outcomes.  I believe that energy is either created by action or diminished by lack thereof.  As an example, a deal that falls through may be initially disappointing but then lead to a better opportunity later.  The effort and desire produced results.  Quite simply, the more positive actions you take the more you will be rewarded in one form or another.

Consistency. There is no substitute for making correct choices time and again.  I’ve witnessed people begin to pursue proper diet and exercise, savvy business practices or positive personal enrichment only to revert back at some point to old, unsuccessful habits.  The problem was not that their actions were faulty but rather they failed to follow them consistently.  Often the lack of instant results causes doubt at which point we may fall back on habits we see as comfortable or familiar.  Much like a flower requires water, sunlight and nutrients before it breaks through the soil; we need consistent actions often over a long period of time before we reap the rewards.

Control what you can. At any given time there are thousands of things to stress about, lose confidence over or waste time on.  I believe it’s important to direct our efforts into the things we can control and avoid worrying about the things we cannot.  As an example, in business I can directly affect how I set up and offer my services to the public.   Therefore, I try to create a welcoming environment that is professional, efficient and customer friendly so that people feel comfortable seeking care within my office.  Does that mean that everyone will use my services?  Of course not, however that aspect is out of my control and if I were to obsess over it would make me a less effective doctor and businessman.  Focusing on the things we can directly affect leads to greater confidence, self esteem and productivity.

Matt Kenney3 C’s of Success
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The beauty of comebacks – in races and in life!

2,076.  Out of just over 2100 people, that’s where I was predicted to finish in my race by the “race predictor.”   For someone that is extremely competitive and has tackled some very challenging races throughout the years this was very humbling.

The race to which I’m referring is known as the Pikes Peak Ascent which is slightly more than a half marathon distance although more challenging than any marathon you’ll find. It begins at about 6,000 feet above sea level and after 13.3 miles and 8,000 feet of elevation gain over rocks and rough terrain eventually delivers you to the top of Pikes Peak, one of Colorado’s famous “14ers.”  I competed in this event for the first time last year and with 4 miles to go got altitude sickness – which both literally and figuratively made my race extremely ugly (here’s a LINK to my blog from last year about overcoming it –  Based on that performance I was seeded 2,076 this year.

Since I crossed the finish line last year resembling something out of The Walking Dead, I’ve been anxious to attempt it again.  However, as the race grew closer it began to appeal to me for reasons other than just completing it again.  I saw this race as a metaphor for a specific time in my life.  A few years ago I moved across country with my family to a state where I knew no one and had to start over in my career.  Within months I was divorced, living in a small apartment, had little money and had to adjust to only seeing the loves of my life – my two young boys only 3-4 days per week.  As challenging as that was, I made the decision from the start to never complain, to never quit and always keep moving forward.  As difficult as things were, I saw it as an opportunity to reinvent myself.  Years later I am now a business owner, financially stable, have a nice home, am engaged to an amazing woman and have a closer relationship to my boys than ever before.   I transformed difficult times into a life far greater than I’d ever experienced.  In other words, I made a comeback.

As I lined up for the race in the 21st (and final) group of runners this past weekend I thought back to those times and embraced the strength it gave me.  Not only did it motivate me at race time but it made me train harder and smarter in the months and weeks leading up to that moment.  I was blessed because my failures motivated me, gave me passion and there I stood with an opportunity to earn a new outcome.  I even took it as a sign when the night before the race my 9 year old gave me his advice “Daddy keep reeling them in (passing other runners) and stay hungry!”  Those words were profound to me and exactly what I needed to hear.  Throughout the race I repeated them in my head hundreds of times and I did exactly as he told me.

In the end, the race was one I consider my best ever and of which I am the most proud.  I didn’t win; in fact I wasn’t even close (or even close to being close) to winning.  However, I came from dead last at the beginning and finished in the top 50%.  Just as my son told me, I reeled people in and stayed hungry for 4 hours and 43 minutes and finished 90 minutes faster than I did the previous year.  I gave every ounce of effort I could while embracing all the fatigue and challenge the race presented me.  As the elevation got higher and the miles got exponentially tougher I became even more determined to prove to myself what I could achieve.  It was very similar to how things had gone for me a few years back in my personal life – start from scratch, keep moving forward and eventually create a greater outcome.

One of the things I will always remember about the race is finishing the last ½ mile with a group of about 5 people.  The closer we got to the top the more emotional it became.  As I crossed the finish line the woman behind me grabbed my arm, smiled and while crying said “we did it!”  This was another reminder to me of how after we’ve endured pain or disappointment, how amazing it feels to attain a personal victory.  At the top of the mountain I had an hour to enjoy the amazing views and reflect.  I felt blessed to have experienced in that race what I had in life – the satisfying feeling of a great comeback!

Matt KenneyThe beauty of comebacks – in races and in life!
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