Archive for Advice

From “The Top of the World”

// March 9th, 2017 // No Comments » // Advice, Skiing

View of the Gore Range from near the end of the Commando Run

View of the Gore Range from near the end of the Commando Run

The Commando run is a 15 mile ski tour through the high backcountry of the White River National Forest near Vail. The high point, just above 11,000 feet, is called the “Top of the World.”  Yesterday I was able to complete this trip for the x-teenth time with two old friends, and one new one.  Along the way it impressed me that even though I had not seen these friends in a while we pulled this off in a very respectable time with very little planning, and a lot of laughs along the way.

It served as a reminder that when we take care of our bodies, keep our skills sharp, and have each other’s backs, we are ready for adventure at the drop of a hat.  So whether at work, with family, in our organizations, sports or hobbies, keep those skills sharp, stay fit, remain selfless and have fun because adventure awaits.

P vs p a Strategy for Success

// November 2nd, 2012 // 3 Comments » // Advice, Leadership, Reflections

David Baker mile 70 of 100 on White Rim Trail Utah.

What makes a person successful?  What is success?  Is it achieving a goal which has been set? Perhaps this is a good place to start but it is not the end-all.  I think success and its definition run through deeper waters, but for today’s thought I will keep it parked here.  Pondering this perplexing question recently, looking at people whom I respect and whom I consider successful as measured by a variety of criteria, I came up with 6 powerful precepts for success:

1. Passion – a person must possess passion for what he or she is doing and plans to pursue.  My pastor is a great example of this as he is so passionate about serving the                      Lord and serving others that it just bubbles out in an uncontainable manner.  It is contagious and gets others motivated to live out their faith as well.  We’ve all seen burnouts who seem to suck the life out of others instead of giving it.  We must have and exude passion.

2. Purpose – If the question why poses a problem and you are perplexed, perhaps it is time to reexamine what it is you are doing.  The purpose for which one begins the journey can get lost and muddied along the way – don’t forget why you started.  A runner runs a race to win the prize.  If the race is long and difficult and the competition stiff, maintaining that starting attitude is a challenge, so we must run the race with endurance while seeing the purpose for which we started.

3. Practice – nobody is going to win the New York marathon or the Olympic 100M dash by just showing up with a positive attitude and a passion for winning.  It takes practice.  Even the most naturally gifted among us need to polish that gift and work hard to train the mind and body to be prepared for the rigors of one’s chosen race. Elite athletes train a minimum of 24 hours a week, not to mention nutrition, study, visualization and other techniques they employ to have a winning edge.

4. Prudence – This comes down to having a little wisdom and the ability to see yourself for who you are and the gifts that have been bestowed upon you.  I can’t sing.  No amount of passion, purpose, practice or perseverance is going to change that.  I won’t quit singing, especially in the shower, because it brings me joy, but I certainly am self-aware enough to know that this should not be something the public should need to endure as I pursue it as a profession.  If you can pass this test move on to the next bullet point.

5. Possibility – Believe in the possibilities that exist for you and seek them out: Join a band, enter a race, submit a resume, apply to that school, get creative and do that thing you have always dreamed of doing.  It won’t be easy so be ready for…

6. Perseverance – maintaining the mental stamina to persist in that which you have passion and in which you see purpose.  Don’t give up, don’t let obstacles turn you around, instead use them as steps to lift you higher (unless of course you can’t sing, run, dance, play music, read, write, think, move, breathe…).

What will bring you down in this pursuit? Aiming at the wrong target.  Looking for position, power, or mere possessions.  Essentially it is pride, or these symbols of pride and vain glory that will turn that original passion into merely a pursuit.

As the apostle Paul said “…let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us…” Hebrews 12:1

we rejoice in our sufferings for we know that suffering leads to perseverance; perseverance character, and character hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” Romans 5:3

 

Deflated to Elated

// June 18th, 2012 // No Comments » // Advice, Cycling

The other day I was riding my bike up a rugged, steep, loose, dusty dirt road.  We have had a dry spring and summer which has left the road in a powdery, dry, dusty state forcing us mountain bikers to ride through this moon-dust like dirt sometimes up to two inches deep.  The pace, the hot sun, and the conditions make for a heavy sweat which can quickly soak one’s clothes.  Dripping in sweat I was not too thrilled when I heard that dreaded hissing sound of a tire rapidly going flat.  Dismounting my bike to survey the damage my feet were immediately engulfed in moon-dust and turned a dark brown.  The dust floated up my legs and soon they too were a muddy brown as the dust mixed with sweat.  The sun continued beating down and as I engaged the project of fixing this tire it seemed as though this dust and these circumstances were getting the best of me.  Sitting down and wrestling this tire in the dirt was beginning to look more and more like a mud wrestling match.  Covered in sweaty dirt-mud I looked up to wipe my brow, and as I did saw a fallen aspen timber lying near a small, cool creek with lush green grass all around in the shade of other trees.  “Now that is where I wanna fix a flat!” I exclaimed.  It was not a race so why was I trying to change it right where it happened?  It was time for a change of position.  Grabbing all my gear I picked up and moved thirty feet over to the lush, green, shaded goodness by the creek and propped myself on that sweet smooth log.  Soon the frustration went away and an aggravating ordeal turned into one of pleasure and joy.

I have heard people say that “we can’t change our circumstances, but we can change the way we respond to them.”  I don’t think that this is always true, there are indeed times when we can change our circumstances – we just have to be willing to get up and move.  Why do we allow ourselves to wallow in sweaty, loamy, dusty misery when just a little effort and fresh perspective can move us to the comfort of a log and a cool, clean brook in the middle of tasty, lush, green, shaded goodness?  Sometimes it is because we are in a race and we can accept those conditions, but beyond that why not look up, take a step to the side, do something different, make a change, find something better, whatever you do don’t just accept that the  place you are in is all that there is.  Most of the time there is something better if you take a second to just look.

10 Easy Ways to Get Tough Today!

// November 16th, 2011 // No Comments » // Advice

Ever feel that you are becoming soft?  Spending too much time in the recliner eating Twinkies by the fire?

Well, if that is you, I’d like to challenge you to get creative and think of small ways to challenge yourself each day to get tougher.  Push yourself out of your comfort zone, still keeping safety in mind, and see if these things don’t add up to make life’s daily little trials a little easier to manage and your feathers a little harder to ruffle.

1.  Shovel the snow out of your driveway wearing only flip flops on your feet.
2.  Go to an Occupy rally (your city of choice here) wearing a Newt Gingrich T-shirt and a corporate logo on you ball cap.
3.  Start your day with an icy cold shower and an ice cold beverage.
4.  Run as fast as you possibly can until you lose one of your lungs.  (This can be done after number 2)
5.  Choose not to use the AC in your car on the hottest day of the year.
6.  Choose not to use the heat in your car on the coldest day of the year.
7.  Skip a meal, two meals, or a whole day of eating.
8.  Give away something you hold dear.
9.  See what pepper spray feels like – also done in conjunction with number 2

10.  Ski to the top of a peak in midwinter when the winds are blowing 30 mph or more.  If you want to make it tougher do this with an Oakland Raider fan and tell them all the merits of Tim Tebow.

11.  As a bonus if you are still not challenged – substitute pine cones in place of your TP.

 

Predictive Affirmation

// October 27th, 2011 // No Comments » // Advice, Getting biblical, Leadership, Reflections

What is predictive affirmation?  These are words that foresee and encourage others towards a future filled with hope and expectation.  Backed by another’s stated belief in oneself, one’s skill and virtue, a person will often go forward in life fulfilling those statements like some sort of prophesy.  This is the idea behind predictive affirmation: more than just a positive attitude or a belief, or speaking fluff into someone’s life, predictive affirmation takes stock of a person’s character qualities and lays out a roadmap of where those could lead in the future.

On a recent trip to Orlando I got to use a little bit of this with a global organization which was setting goals for the next year.  Knowing the mission, the vision, and the values they had at their core, I was able to speak truth into their organization that by getting back to those roots and applying some fundamentals of success (things that they already owned) they would not only find the success they were looking for, but that they would be a stronger community in the process.

Since we were near Disney World I took advantage of the gift store to bring home two little Minny Mouse dolls for my twin daughters.  Disney characters had been a staple for me in my youth and I wanted my daughters to share in the joy that I had also found from the Magic Kingdom.  With boxes of toys, however, how would I get these little mice to stand out or stand a chance?  Predictive affirmation.  I found that by giving Minny Mouse ownership of some human traits and abilities, and then sharing those in a special way with my daughters Minny has not been out of their grasp, and has become the go to doll of choice.  When Minny arrived in our home I told my girls that she was special, that she loved them and travelled all the way from Florida to see them.  I told my girls that Minny wanted to play with them, sleep beside them, dance with them and be a friend.  It has all come true.

What I have learned is that if I speak that same way to my daughters they more than likely will become those things too – friends that love each other, look out for each other, are polite and kind with grateful, courageous, adventurous and laughing hearts.  My hope is that if I can speak of my girls as I did Minny Mouse, that they too will be loved because they first loved others.
Are you speaking this kind of affirmation into the lives of others?

Have you ever had the blessing of someone speaking this way about you?

Can the cycle of of negative affirmation be broken?  I know it can by the promise of Jeremiah 31:3 …I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving -kindness.  I will build you up again and you will be rebuilt… .  Also 29:11 – “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

May your future be bright and filled with hope and expectation.

The Pace-line (in honor of bike to work day)

// June 22nd, 2011 // No Comments » // Advice, Cycling

Are you feeling deflated, cold, lonely, as if the ride is all uphill with no sign of relief?  Join the crowd.  Really, join in.  So many times we try to do things on our own, under our own strength and find our motivation lacking, the hill too long and too steep, the battle too hard.  What we really need is to let go of a little pride and find a pace-line to join.  In doing this we take turns cutting through the wind, we can find a place in the slipstream to regain some energy and strength in the legs.  It is seldom that the solo breakaways make it to the finish line first for the victory, but those that learn to ride in concert with others ride faster and last longer.  It works in cycling so why wouldn’t it work for me if I happen to be battling cancer, struggling with alcoholism, lapsing in my faith, or just plain wanting to give up?  The best support I have found is when I find others that are stronger, that lift me up, until I am strong enough to support the ones needing my help.  At first maybe I am not the one to lead the pace-line, but just finding my place inside a strong group until I find my riding (or character/resolve) has been elevated to the point where I can now lead.

With today being bike to work day and gas costing close to $4/gallon, a lot of people are probably going to try to make a resolution to start riding/commuting everyday.  Certainly a good thing to do for health, finances, and environment, but many will find it hard to keep this going for much more than a week.  The best thing we could do to help us with our resolve is to invite others into the pace-line.  This is the cyclist’s version of car-pooling and with a little accountability we can keep each other “back in in the saddle” (check out iMap My Ride for a great way to share ride info with others).

“Two are better than one for they have a good return for their labor: if either of them falls down one can help the other up.  But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up…Though one can be overpowered, two can defend themselves.  A cord of three strands is not easily broken.”  Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

Happy Father’s Day

// June 17th, 2011 // No Comments » // Advice, Leadership, Reflections

My Little Melons

As a fairly new dad with twin daughters I am constantly living in a fog and state of flux, and I find it hard to look forward, set goals and priorities.  One of my top priorities is to be a good dad to my girls.  I was going to write a note about father’s day and how important dad’s are, when I received this great e-mail from my friend Bob Shueman (Coach Shue) with The Gathering www.gatheringpb.com.  Thanks Bob for these great words and this reflection.

- As we approach Father’s Day…I encourage you to reflect on:  Your role as a father in the lives of your children and/or the role of your dad in your life.

Happy Father’s Day     Coach Schue

5 Things Fathers Do Best*

Fathers teach us empathy
Fathers give us confidence
Fathers increase our vocabulary
Fathers protect us from crime & violence
Fathers promote better treatment of women

This Father’s Day, instead of handing dad another tie, thank him for making a difference in your life-in ways you may not have known about…until now.

A good father is one of the most unsung, unpraised, unnoticed, and yet one of the most valuable assets in our society. Billy Graham

By the time a man realizes that maybe his father was right, he usually has a son who thinks he’s wrong.

Charles Wadsworth

* Focus on the Family


 

The REAL Job of Dads        by Tim Stafford 

A dad’s primary, underlying job isn’t control. It’s to validate every one of his children.
To validate means to let your child know over and over and over, through words and actions, that the following are true:
“Hey, you exist and you matter to me.”
“You’re good enough.”
“You’re an okay kid.”
Psychotherapists sometimes talk about the looking-glass-self principle. It’s the idea that children get their earliest, most lasting impressions of who they are from what’s reflected back to them by their parents.

The best time to begin validating is the day you bring your baby home from the hospital. Parenting a teenager begins when he or she is born. 

When he or she is born. Really.

 

But it’s never too late to start. Do it often enough to cut a record in your teen’s jukebox that says, “I’m okay. I’m good enough.” If you can do that, trying to compensate with control won’t be such a temptation.

Read the article here:

www.focusonthefamily.com/parenting/parenting_roles/successful_parenting/real_job_of_dads.aspx

 

Want to be a better dad?….Be a Good Husband First Jim Daly

It is no secret that parenting can be difficult. The secret to being a good dad is being a GREAT husband. Your children are constantly watching your relationship with your wife. As your children observe your marriage relationship, they’ll learn about respect and about what is important to mom and dad.

+ Have a regular quiet time as a couple
+ Regularly share deeply about life’s experiences.
+ Weekly Date Night..show the kids how much you value your spouse.

 

Have a Happy Father’s day!  “A good man obtains favor from the Lord.” Proverbs 12:2

Looking Past the 8 Ball

// June 11th, 2011 // No Comments » // Advice, Events

Recently I had the opportunity to watch some of the craziness of the Teva Mountain Games.  One of the events, called 8 Ball,  is like a demolition derby on water.
In watching this event it made me think of life and the goals I set for myself and how at times those goals are seemingly impossible because of the obstacles that threaten to derail me.  In fact at times I find myself more focused on the obstacles than on the goal itself.  In 8 Ball Kayaking the goal is to be the first across the finish line with the least number of bruises.  From what I could discern it was not just the fastest kayaker that would win, but the one that had a little strategy and was able to focus downstream and not on the attackers.  The winners seemed to have the ability to keep the 8 Balls in their peripheral vision and paddle right through them staying focused more on the gaol than the obstacle.  This week I want to renew my vision and focus more on my goals, really going after them and focus less on the 8 Balls that threaten to turn me over.  I know the obstacles will still be there and that they need attention, but I will not let them dominate my focus or my attention.  Paddle on!

 

iPad 2

// April 26th, 2011 // No Comments » // Advice, Events, Stress Donations

Just Another Tool

I travel a lot and give a lot of presentations.  I love photography and am always looking for better ways to share what I am able to capture.  Trying to merge these two pursuits into one lightweight device has been a challenge, one that I had hoped the iPad 2 could resolve.  New technology always captivates me and appeals to my lust for bright new shiny things – usually expensive, and often a let down.  The iPad 2 seems to be fitting right in.

I thought the iPad was a glorified iPhone – after using it for a week, I feel I was right.  The display is amazing, the battery-life incredible, the design is indeed sexy, however it leaves me wanting much more.  This device is not a replacement for a laptop – especially not today’s lightweight powerhouses.

If Apple would allow my iPhone to run Keynote and Pages, I would have no need for the iPad as my phone really seems to be just as capable and it makes phone calls (still my favorite app).  The iPad is great for email, so so for web browsing because it does not support flash (even though apps allow you to get around this), and terrific for displaying photos and videos though the worst part about this is that like most Apple products you must use iTunes and allow it to run your digital life.  The fact that the iPad can’t think for itself and act independently from a computer is a real letdown.  Speaking of letdowns – I have my own digital projector and when I tried to play a movie I purchased through iTunes, it would not allow it in fear that I would be showing it to hundreds of people and charging them each $8 I’m sure.  That’s like not allowing me to play music I purchase over the air in fear of others hearing.  I bought it Apple, let me do as I please.  My two year old girls are not a threat to your market share or copyrights.

In terms of presentations: I can run Keynote and an app I found called 2Screens.  Through the VGA adapter the pictures look great, the movie clips run smoothly, but the only way to advance slides in Keynote is to swipe the display or use a blutetooth keyboard.  Wireless networks are not always available or reliable and bluetooth maxes out at 30 feet or so.  2Screens allows for a connection to the iPhone for remote control of the slides but only in the 4:3 aspect ratio and does not allow for video playback at this time.  I thought an easy way around this would be my Apple remote using IR technology, but only the dock for the Iphone allows for IR.  AAARRGGHH!!!  (I can’t even charge it with my phone cable/ if Apple makes me buy one more adapter dohickey thingy… I swear…).  If this is the entertainment device Apple claims it to be, then make it more friendly, give it more goodies.  I would gladly sacrifice a little sleekness, weight, size for a little more  function and user friendliness.  My conclusion is this: for small casual audiences it can be a great presentation tool, but for a big room with a lot on the line a laptop is still going to allow a presenter to give a more professional delivery.

If you want to show pictures, facetime, tweet, blog, email and surf then the iPad and iPad2 will be good travel companions for you.  If your work and travel require more – go with a small laptop and save yourself the aggravation of trying to find work arounds for what seem to be design flaws, but are actually probably more purposeful engineering, giving the buyer just enough to get by, but not enough to get the job done.  Why?  So you will need to purchase one more big ticket item from the Apple store to get the job done right.

I will find ways to make the Ipad2 do what I want it to do over time.  Perhaps the best thing about these devices is the open source programming and apps that are available.  Soon I know I will find a way to use an RF remote to advance slides and be on my way to traveling lighter and giving professional presentations without hauling a beasty laptop or relying on someone else’s virus infected, balloon popping, slow running, underpowered, Microsoft bugged and bogged down machine.  Thanks for letting me rant, I do like the thing.

Alpine Starts

// February 28th, 2011 // No Comments » // Advice, Climbing, Interviews

This is the first in what I hope will be a continuing and improving series entitled “Alpine Starts”.  An alpine start is when climbers rise before the sun to set off on a long days climb.  I took the opportunity on one of these alpine starts just the other day to ask my friend John Davis(a professional counselor working with at risk teen boys) to give a few insights into these relationships and help us better understand how to relate.

(Please forgive the rough nature of the video and edits.  It is hard to belay and shoot video at the same time.  I am also new to video editing.  The next one will be less shaky – I promise.)