Ringing in the New Year

It’s safe to say I’m not the only one reflecting on 2019 and planning for the upcoming year. I think, for the most part, we know what didn’t work, what did, what sucked and what didn’t.

We make a plan and adjust.

We make promises and resolutions to try harder and some will pan out and some won’t make it to February. Par for the course, come 2021 we try again.

Here’s the interesting thing. In my planning, I realized something. I looked far enough ahead – 10 years – to see what life would be like. My children would be adults, the dogs I have now likely won’t be around, I may live in the same home or not and I know what position I’d like to be in at that time.

The tricky part came to the plans for my business. I don’t have a clear vision. I don’t know what it would look like or even what I want it to look like. Generally, the “bigger the better” is a default, but I also respect that success doesn’t necessarily mean big huge things.

Success could mean putting on my shoes and going to work every single day. And having gratitude for a business that allows me to do that.

The thing is I don’t think I want either. I would never be happy with just doing a job and not having any growth. I also don’t think I am capable of being a high profile CEO either. So where does that leave me?

When I got on this train, I knew there would be lots of unknowns and definitely a LOT of learning. Being 3.5 years in is an accomplishment, but coasting time is over. I need to decide if this is enough or if I want to expand – which means bringing in more sets of hands (which terrifies me by the way, and is likely the cause of my resistance).

I’ve uncovered even more than I’m writing here, but I’ll leave it at this: What does your life look like in 10 years and does it fit your ideas of success?

Friendsmas: Christmas Reflection

After two days of feeling icky and a full day of sleeping, I felt somewhat normal today. I’m still not 100%, but having a holiday party at the end of the day forced me to get my butt in gear. I showered, popped some Sudafed and prepared myself for holiday festivities with our neighbors.

In addition to Friendsgiving and Easter, our holiday gatherings are the kind where memories are made. Music can be heard from the kids area and the music in the adult area gives them a run for their money. There is laughter, Electric Slides and the occasional food being flung playfully. Photos are taken and we witness the rare moments where “the ones who don’t dance” are dancing.

It’s no secret that our neighborhood is the last of its kind. It’s the one where kids can play hockey in the streets, ride bikes to the neighbors, catch bugs and puddle hop like nobody’s business. It’s the kind where the adults help each other with an unruly lawnmower, move a shed or say “hey, is that your shovel at my house?”

I dreamed of a place like this. Even though I didn’t think places like this still existed, I wished for it. Moving away from family was one of the hardest decisions we had to make, but it was the right choice for our family. I am so thankful, we are surrounded by people who are like family and our actual family is still within a 90 minute drive. Seriously, it’s the best of both worlds.

As I settle in for the night, I decided to take a moment to reflect on these moments. I am so grateful for where we have landed and the people who are around us.

As a side note: I have noticed that the goals I set for the new year often start before the year begins. 2019 served as a big growth year for me (mentally, physically, spiritually) and I’ve been thinking hard about 2020. In this next year, I’d like to continue my personal growth, but also turn my focus toward deepening relationships as well. So far, I’m off to a great start.

How to Fight Fire with Fire

I lead a very fast paced life. It’s been described as nuts, crazy, too much and has been described as “intimidating.” When running obstacle course races (OCRs) and attending heavy metal concerts is considered your down time, yeah I guess I would agree with that statement.

The concern I get from others is honest and real. I take it seriously and I know they are looking out for my best interest. Sure, I think some are truly concerned but, it’s possible some are just uncomfortable.

Making people uncomfortable has been a constant thread in my life, but we’ll talk about that another day.

It might appear like these activities are fueling the fire and I am certainly aware of the possibility of burnout. I have noticed, if I’m unbalanced in other areas of my life, there is danger in this fuel if everything else is spinning out of control. However, if other areas of my life are balanced, the flame is contained and these activities serve as a release. There is no spillover.

Describing what these activities do for me has been difficult, because at first I didn’t fully understand it. Running 10+ races in 6 different states (some of these races lasting 11+ hours) this year has given me some time to think and now I get it.

It has everything to do with the task at hand.

My life is busy. It’s loaded with things to do, places to be and things to create. Nearly all of these activities are susceptible to interruption and distraction. (Even as I write this, I have two dogs getting in my face and trying to lick my hands. Like why?) Aside from OCRs, I can’t remember completing a task from start to finish without some form of disruption. I have a young family and a young business – it’s just the current season of my life. I accept it.

Racing provides me with a task at hand. I pack my bag with the necessities: water, fuel, mustard (for cramping), chapstick and likely an extra layer for unexpected weather. The clothes on my body is carefully chosen, right down to the socks that cover my ankles during rope obstacles and hopefully prevent poison ivy (yeah, right).

The night before a race is when I turn inward. I get my game face on and my mindset in place. It’s all about laying out the gear, packing and stretching out. Oh and the obligatory Instagram photo. My busy life fades away and it’s shear focus on the upcoming event.

I’ve done enough Spartan races to know where to go and what to do that even those actions become part of my pre-race prep. It’s methodical and routine. I enter the starting area and the MC gets the crowd going. I participate and go through the paces, but I’m still turning inward and preparing for what I’m about to tackle.

Before I know it, we give our final “AROO!” warrior call and we’re off. This is where the magic happens.

It becomes all about the task at hand.

There are no emails or phones to answer. No questions asked. No interruption. It’s about the Here and Now. Right Now. What’s right in front of you, what lies ahead and what you’re about to overcome.

This is where I find peace. Ok truthfully, after the race is where I find the peace. Certainly there were courageous attempts, successes and failures. It’s an accomplishment no matter what happens. I might be bumped and bruised. I may walk like I’ve ridden across the country on horseback, but I am lighter.

I am lighter.

I am lighter because I have left everything out on course. I’ve pored my heart into the task at hand. I’ve sweat and grit my teeth. I’ve experienced thirst and hunger. Pain and pure victory. And that fire jump finish ignites my heart. It solidifies, “I can and I will.”

Peace lives at the finish line.