Sunday, July 19, 2015

Perfectly Not Perfect

"My two favorite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything. The perfect day: riding a bike to the library."
~Peter Golkin

If you could design your perfect day what would it be? If nothing was impossible, you could speak with someone who has passed or do something incredible that you would have never thought possible? Or you could ride a bike to the library?

My daughter's perfect day would include a great new book series and a comfortable chair. My son would pick an awesome new video game and my husband would pick golfing with his great friends in Spain like he used to. Speculating on all three of course.

My perfect day would include a ride on my old horse (now passed) William. As I'm back to looking at horses I was discussing this great fellow that I rode the better part of 12 years. Here's the amazing thing: I never once fell off of him. For those of you in the horse world, a gasp was just let out. Twelve years of jumping crazy things and not one fall. I can't say that about any other horse I've ever owned.

But he was far from perfect. He had a funny jump to the right, only got 50% of his lead changes and had a strange back issue that would make him "flip-flop" on occasion. But he was safe, sound and sweet.

And nothing is perfect right? There is no perfect child, spouse, dog, vacation, home....etc. Everything comes with it's headaches, heartaches, and hassles. It's how you handle it that defines you. You can obsess, worry, overthink and discuss until your ears bleed or you can take things as they come, with grace and poise, and conquer one by one without losing hope.

I try to do the latter. I'm a private overthinker but a public "let's not discuss it until we have to" kind of person. And I can often revel in the imperfections. Imperfections are what keep our lives interesting. Don't get me wrong, sometimes they just completely SUCK (as we get ready to dump a small fortune into new siding for our house or the retirement of a great horse who will forever hold a piece of my heart). But if we all were Stepford people with Stepford lives we would all crave something to shake things up (I suggest you watch or rewatch the movie Pleasantville-classic and super funny).

So what would your perfect day be?

"Too late, I found that you can't wait to become perfect, you got to go out and fall down and get up with everyone else."
~Ray Bradbury, Something Wicked this Way Comes

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Begin as a Beginner

"You wanna build your IQ higher in the next two years? Be uncomfortable. That means, learn something where you have a beginner's mind."
~Nolan Bushnell

Begin at the beginning. Seems obvious, right? But so often we want to skip a step, a beat, a task or cut corners to get to our goals.

We try the fad diet that promises fast results. We buy the "seen on TV" tricks that make anything super easy. We start an exercise plan too quickly or in a way that leaves us frustrated or injured. We live in a society of fast information and quick fixes to any problem.

So when was the last time you began as a beginner? Really took your time and learned a new approach to something? When have you slowly built a foundation for a lifestyle change or activity that would grow in a healthy and sustainable way?

A few years ago I was discussing teaching some beginner riding lessons (not at the place I ride) as it was something I had done in the past. Concerned that the pay was too low I was told that they only needed someone with half of a brain to say "up down" (posting rhythm) to beginners. That ended the conversation.

The foundation for any sport, especially one involving a large animal with ideas of it's own, is THE MOST IMPORTANT part of any new endeavor. There is so much that goes into a beginner anything. In photography, you have to really understand all of the complexities of the camera. With weight lifting, you must make sure your form is correct and your progression is at the right pace to prevent injury. Learning to play an instrument involves reading music and knowing how to make something pleasant out of sound. It would be like taking a handgun class where the most important concept was pulling the trigger.

We are never too old to begin again. But go into it holding as much knowledge as you can. Research, ask questions, and keep your mind open to learning something new and create that good foundation. Whether it's a new diet, exercise, hobby, relationship (yes-online dating or blind dates), career, whatever, go into it with all of the information you can gather and do it in a solid, safe way.

Even with decades of experience I get on any new horse the first time with the mentality of a beginner. I need to learn about him or her slowly or else there may be a surprise I'm not prepared for. I don't bounce like I used to and if I build an understanding of that animal it makes for a greater chance of success.

Build a strong foundation in all areas of your life so that nothing fully crumbles. There will be cracks now and then, after all, each one of us, every day, is dealing with other creatures with ideas and minds of their own. That's life. That's why we have patches.

"You can learn new things at any time in your life if you're willing to be a beginner. If you actually learn to like being a beginner, the whole world opens up to you."
~Barbara Sher

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Hopes and Dreams

"If you don't like where you are, then change it.
You are not a tree."
~Jim Rohn

Do you have a goal, a dream, a plan or even a fantasy? If I were to ask you to quickly name the first thing that you are unsatisfied with in your life what would it be? Don't think abut it, follow your gut reaction.

What is keeping you from trying to change it? Most of the time it's typical excuses.

I don't have time. I don't have the resources. I'm too scared to shake things up. What if I fail? It will be too hard.

With eight years in the fitness industry, I would hear excuses all of the time about exercise. I should lose some weight before I go to the gym. I'm always too tired to work out. My schedule is too busy.

We all know that exercise boosts your energy, metabolism and mood. Waiting to get fit until you drop pounds is like waiting to change the oil in your car until your engine locks up. It makes no sense.

I hear the "lack of time" excuse in my coaching practice about everything from healthy meal preparation, exercise, business development goals, relationship issues....the list is endless.

If I were to tell you that you had an extra hour every day what would you do with it? Now, if I tell you there would be one less hour in your 24 what would you give up? Now swap one for the other. Does that seem too simple?

I understand the pressures of work, family and personal time balance. When it comes to your health, what is more inconvenient; extra time on healthy meals and fitness or type two diabetes and cardiovascular disease?

As far as your happiness, who else is more important? If you have a goal, whether it be professional, personal or outright crazy in nature, isn't pursuing that goal, chasing happiness, better than staying stagnant and stale? What is happiness worth to you?

"A dream is a wish your heart makes," according to Disney's Cinderella. There seems to be a shortage of Fairy Godmothers. Without a Bipity Bopity Boo answer, the only alternative is to fight for our dreams, work for our goals and accomplish something.

What are you willing to fight for?

"A goal is a dream with a deadline."
~Napoleon Hill