This Post is Wobbly

August 15, 2017 v4 p31

When you aren’t standing firmly on all of your bases, your life gets a little wobbly.  Lately I’ve noticed that I haven’t been firm on all four of my basis, and it has become noticeable.

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For the longest time I thought I only need three footings to build my foundation on.  Those were family, friends, and fitness.  I have always put my family first.  When my oldest son was born I did everything for him.  When my wife and I reconciled, I did everything for her and our son.  When our youngest child was born I did everything for all three of them.  I tried to maintain a social life through that period, and really only ended up with a few very close friends.  I wouldn’t have it any other way.  There are people from the past that I still maintain contact with, but it’s not at the level of friendship that those close friends have.  There are some people that I don’t maintain contact with that I wish I did get in touch with more often.  But we’ve all gone our separate ways, and when we do reconnect it is always good.  My fitness wasn’t really a big focus for me other than not really eating too poorly.  I certainly didn’t follow any specific diet, but I tried to maintain a fairly balanced diet.

A couple of years after we moved back to my hometown I began going to the gym.  That really had an impact on me.  Fitness was now the number two focus of my foundation, and I actually dropped to weights that I hadn’t seen in almost 20 years.  It felt nice to be able to put jeans on that were smaller than the size I wore in high school.  Granted I think the fashion industries measurements aren’t the same as they were 20 years ago.  I hadn’t felt that trim since I was a teenager.  Then I began running.  That doesn’t sound like something that would cause weight gain, although it isn’t uncommon if you’re training for long distances.  What running led to was injuries.  That always led to excuses.  Which in turn, would lead to more injuries.  For the past five years I’ve started a solid workout routine, only to injury myself and have to take weeks off.  That is always followed by a tough time getting back in to a routine.  This is where I’m at right now.

Then my manager encouraged me to reconnect with my faith.  It was the single most life changing event in my life.  The more I allowed myself to follow where I was supposed to go, the easier everything else became around me.  I’ve seen in my own life how the power of prayer has worked.  That’s why I continue to pray every day.  Sometimes I feel like my prayers are getting a little stale, or that I’m praying for the wrong thing.  Then, as He always does, He reveals to me that I’m praying for exactly what He wants for me.  That is always enough to remind me that no matter how stale my prayer may feel, it’s always enough for Him.  I never thought that anything would become a more important footing for my foundation than my family.  I truly believe that my faith is the most important of those footings.  It is the basis from which all of the other footings are formed.  I brought my family with me, and began making more friendships at my church, building a strong foundation.

Then I read “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey.  Of all the professional development books I’ve read, this is a top three influencer for me.  One of the last principles that Covey speaks about is the four parts to your foundation.  This was an eye opener for me.  The first one he speaks about is your faith.  I’ve put that first already.  Then there is your family, they are what drives me and encourages me to do what I need to get done.  At the time I was going to the gym five days a week, so that was covering my fitness foundation.  With all of that going on it didn’t leave much time to build on those friendships.  I’ve made a few that I fully hope will become stronger, but nothing yet like the ones I have with those few close friends from my early adulthood.  Between church, sports, and scouts almost all of my evenings were booked up.  It didn’t leave a lot of time for socializing.  My wife and I didn’t get much of a chance to go out without the kids, and some of the other socializing went by the wayside.  So I knew it was that area that I needed to work on.

I still haven’t figured out how to fully transition to a four footing foundation.  While always concentrating on my faith and family, I tried to focus on friends, and that has caused my fitness to fall off.  Well, at almost 42-years-old it doesn’t take long for your fitness level to drop off.  I rehabbed my recurring injury and was able to start running again.  I continued with the simple strength exercises that I had learned through PT and was able to run at a good pace.  I trained for and ran a 5k last October.  Then I stopped.  Not sure why, but my GPS watch tells the story.  There was a four month period where I was running three or four days per week.  Then nothing.  I started back up in the spring some, then twisted my knee coaching my son’s soccer team.  Again, nothing.  The stress of having your oldest child graduate from high school and then get ready to go off to college is really starting to show.  It’s starting to show every time I look down.

I’ve always had a hard time controlling my eating.  In the past I didn’t eat a lot of junk.  There were always donuts, and ice cream, and candy bars.  Before I would have only one of those three in a month.  Lately I haven’t been doing so well.  Then there is the issue with my portion sizes.  About 10 years ago we made the conscious decision to switch to the seven inch plates in our cabinet for dinner, unless we were having a big holiday meal.  That helped some.  It still doesn’t stop me from piling the spaghetti higher, or getting a second helping.  A few weeks ago I started doing some speed and footwork drills with my youngest son to get ready for the soccer season.  We do those two days a week, then run around the neighborhood three days a week.  After the first week I determined that my knees are going to hold up to that schedule, so I started adding more distance to my running.  Last weekend I was able to go two miles without stopping.  It was the slowest two miles I’ve run on pavement in six years.  I don’t like it.  This may be the kick start I need.  If I can get my diet straightened out it will help a lot too.

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I started rebuilding my life on my faith foundation.  I’m almost done rebuilding my family, and I’m just starting to rebuild my fitness.

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This Post is Selfish

July 13, 2017 v4 p27

Whether it’s in someone’s personal or professional life most people are always looking out for one thing.  Usually that one thing is themselves, but that usually isn’t what gets the best results.

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nytimes

One of the most transformational books I’ve read over the past couple of years is “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey.  One of the biggest principals he teaches is to begin anything you do with the end in mind.  I took that to mean for me to see the whole picture, not just how things would look when I was done.  In that whole process you must take in to account how your actions will end up effecting other people.  To me if you get something accomplished, at work or at home, and it caused more work or a hardship for other people, then it really didn’t accomplish what needed to be done in the first place.  If you only do what’s best for you to achieve a (your) desired result then you haven’t done what’s best.  I put the word “your” in there because often times what is best for you isn’t often the best for the whole.  If you aren’t trying to make your efforts improve everything for everyone then your efforts are selfish.

The CEO of Service Express Inc., Ron Alvesteffer, will tell you that one of his favorite quotes on leadership comes from Zig Ziglar.  It goes, “You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want.”  This has far more implications than just in leadership within the business world.  One of the reasons I help out with so much at my church, volunteer with the Boy Scouts of America, and do all of the charitable work I do is because I see how what I do makes things better for others.  It truly is a great feeling when you see that.  I try to do that at work too, but not everyone seems to see things the way I do.  Having spent almost a decade in a manufacturing environment it was common practice not to cause a stir.  If you were to point out ways that people were causing the systems to fail it would put a target on your back.  Regardless of if you were right about that or not, you were just better off to adjust your attitude and move on.  I’ve been given the assurance that isn’t the case at my current job.

I’ve been doing a lot of studying lately on Lean processing and other supply chain management tools.  All of the principals that I have been reading about are right in line with what I have been trying to implement at work.  I’ve been focusing on my own department, finding small areas that we could improve throughout the warehouse.  As I have been helping my team to be more efficient I am starting to see how other areas of the company that I have to deal with are causing inefficiencies.  The problem is that the main culprit doesn’t seem to be aware of the extra work he causes.  Any other time I’ve seen people try to approach him about changing work habits it hasn’t been received well.  The biggest principal about all of this process improvement I’ve been studying is that it’s most difficult to get people to buy into the fact that there is a need for change.  Most people are set in there ways and don’t want to admit that they may be wrong about something, or that someone else may have a better solution.  I get it.  Nobody likes to be wrong.  Nobody likes to be corrected.  My guess would be that if you asked them if they like to create unneccesary work for others they would say they don’t.  Unless they’re just out right selfish.

So that whole paragraph kind of sounded like a rant about one of my coworkers, and it kind of was, but it is something that will be addressed.  The issue with all of this self-centered thinking is really what it causes outside of the immediate action.  When people leave those situations and then continue to have a selfish attitude it translates to other areas of their life.  It causes them to be short tempered in areas like driving.  I’ve made it clear that I believe road rage is a root cause to a lot of problems in our society.  When you carry a selfish attitude into other areas it really starts to compound.  If you’ve ever read “The Compound Effect” by Darren Hardy you know how this can apply.  For those of you who haven’t, let me sum it up.  The compound effect is the principal that says if you take one penny and then double it every day for 30 days you would end up with more money than if you had taken $1,000,000.00 on day 1.  Most people are looking for the quick answer and aren’t patient enough to see the effects of this principal.  This can also have a negative effect as well.  If one small, negative thing doesn’t get corrected right away then over enough time it will become a bigger problem.  There is no way around that fact.  I’ve seen it happen to myself.  I’ve seen it happen to others.  I’ve seen it happen in both directions for businesses as well.

This brings me back to a lot of what I’ve been writing about lately.  When we act in this selfish manner we don’t live the way Christ taught us.  The more people force everyone to give them what they want without giving anything in return, the more self-centered out society becomes.  This leads to women dressing in more immodest clothes.  When men ridicule women who don’t dress that way it’s for their own selfish reasons.  What that can lead to is a dark path towards the wrong thing.  Men force women to do things they don’t want to do, maybe not physically, but emotionally.  When women give in to what the men want they usually do it to get attention.  This isn’t the true love that they are truly seeking.  When the men realize that they only like a woman because of how she looked when they met they will eventually get bored.  Without that emotional connection that is gained from courtship they will move on to the next “shiny” object that catches their eye.  This causes the first woman to then ask what it was that she did wrong to cause that, often spiraling out of control.

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otlfitnessdotcom

Jesus gave us the 11th Commandment to “Love one another as I have loved you.”  Not to love one another only if it benefits you.