Another Random Thoughts Post

I’m hoping it’s over.  For the last 48 hours I’ve been sick in bed and running to the bathroom not knowing whether to sit or kneel in front of it.  I was finally able to eat something for dinner so I think I’m on the mend.  While I’ve been in and out of consciousness, 2 things became apparent to me.

First, my wife is a rock star.  I was reminded over these last 2 days that being a stay at home mom is harder than other job known to man or woman…especially a mom of 4 kids ages 7 and under.  Having spent the last 2 days in my bedroom quarantined I could only watch and listen as to how hard she works.  Getting kids ready in the morning, preparing lunches, cleaning the house in preparation for Tuesday Family, and being the family bus driver shuttling kids back and forth from activities.  I was out of breath just witnessing it.  So to Julianne, I say “thank you” for everything you do for this family.  I love you!

Second, I hate it when I don’t work out.  If you’ve connected with me on Twitter, Facebook, or this blog, you know that I completed P90X last year.  That kick started my fitness passion more so than any other program I’ve done.  Looking for another challenge, I recently started Insanity, another product from the folks at Beachbody.  Having to take time off really got to me.  Obviously my body needed to recover but I really was itching to feel better so I could resume the program.  It’s amazing how grumpy I get when I miss a day!  Just ask Julianne and the kids!

Lessons learned?  Value the people that you love. Don’t take them for granted and make sure you tell them how much you appreciate them.  Small words of encouragement and praise can do wonders.  This also applies to business too!  Appreciate the people you work with, work for and/or work for you.  Build them up and serve them.  You’ll be amazed at how well things can work.

Get off the couch. I’m not just talking about working out.  In order to make change, get up and do something.  If you want to change your body, exercise.  If you want to make a difference in the lives of your kids, stay involved.  If you want to make change in a community, DO SOMETHING!  Nothing is going to happen unless you get off the couch and do something.  What you hope is that people will be motivated by you and follow your lead or find their own way to make a difference.

Not bad for 2 days of being sick, huh?

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In The Zone

Looking back over the last month, I’ve felt like my life has been out of control.  Not that we can ever really “control” our lives, but I’ve just felt a sense that I’m reacting to whatever the current emergency of the moment is or the next thing on my “to do list.”  Don’t get me wrong, I have a ton of things going on and can get through them but the difference I’m seeing is that I’m more panicked about it.  I’m not focused and I feel like I’m living each day without a clear purpose.  Throughout all of this, the people in my life and the things I’m passionate about didn’t get my best.

Here is another way to look at it.  Michael Jordan often made remarks in post game interviews that he was “in the zone.”  It’s that feeling you get as an athlete where the game is moving so slowly around you and you’re able to anticipate your next move.  When Jordan was “in the zone” his opponents didn’t have a chance.  It wouldn’t matter what the defenses threw at him or whatever else was going on in the game, MJ could perform and execute with purpose because he knew exactly what it was that he wanted to do…win.  He had a focus and a determination to carry his team on his shoulders and win an unbelievable 6 world championships with the Chicago Bulls.

In my self evaluation over the weekend, I discovered what I needed to get back “in the zone.”  My morning devotional time.  Time spent reading my Bible and getting into God’s Word.  For me, this set the table for my day ahead.  No matter how busy I was, life just came to me and I could anticipate my next move or thought with a calmness and confidence.  This really hit home after the weekend services at Kensington Community Church.  Dave Wilson quoted Joshua 1:8-9 and it was a simple reminder for me as to what I need to stay focused daily.

Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.

So today began my training to get back “in the zone.”  Ironically enough, I was pretty good about my daily devotional time when I was doing P90X, so I started that up again too!  I deserve to give everyone my best and this is the one way that helps me get there.  More importantly, God desires it, I need it, and my family and friends benefit from it.

Your turn…what do you do to get “in the zone”?

How strong is your core?

Most of you know I’ve spent the last few months doing the P90X workout.  Well I’m proud to say that last Thursday, May 6th, I finished it!  Many of you have asked me to post pictures and I’m still considering it.  In the meantime, here are 2 facts that I’ve been telling people when they ask me, “does it work?”

First, I lost 2o pounds over the course of the program.  I’m now within 5 pounds of my weight when I graduated from high school.  Second, at the beginning of the program, I could maybe do 2 pull ups.  By the end of this, I was able to do 111 pull ups over the course of an hour and 8 sets.  Yes, the program works!

As I look back on this accomplishment, I was thinking about what I learned from all of this.  Dedication and perseverance were certainly prevalent, but what has jumped out at me is the focus this program had on your “core”…abs, thighs, chest, back, etc.  It’s this core that is the basis for physical activity.  For example, if you hurt your back (like I did part way through), you are unable to do anything.  I was out for a week before I could pick back up and continue with the program.  Now that I’m done, my core is the strongest it’s ever been and anything I do in the future will maintain and strengthen it (get ready…next generation P90x is due out this fall!).

Our “core” is more than something related to our bodies.  It is your beliefs and what drives you.  For me, it’s my faith in God that is central to everything that I do.  Particularly over the last 18 months, I’ve spent my time growing my faith.  I’ve also tried to weave this into every aspect of my life…family, friendships, work, etc.  If my “core” is strong, I’m able to persevere through every peak and valley life throws in front of me (see GM bankruptcy last year).  I’m also able to see and pursue new opportunities to grow my faith.

This may seem so simple but I’m surprised at how many people or businesses forget about their “core” and immediately focus on execution and tactics.  For me, P90x was a fantastic reminder to remain centered on my faith (my core) and look for ways to grow it and strengthen it.

So I ask you…how strong is your core?

I can do everything through him who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:13)

Caring is underrated

The SXSW (South by Southwest) Conference in Austin just wrapped up on March 21st and some of the highlights are starting to make their way onto YouTube.  I came across Gary Vaynerchuk‘s (@garyvee) presentation from this year and my mind got to thinking about how powerful the consumer is.

In his talk, Gary said that we (consumers) now have an audience through tools like Twitter and Facebook.  We have a voice and people are actually willing to listen to us.  They care about what we have to say otherwise they wouldn’t be our “followers” or “friends”.  As an example, most of you know I’ve been doing P90X for over 2 months now.  I can’t tell you how many times people on Facebook and Twitter have asked me, “does it work?” or “is it worth it?”.  My answer in all cases was “YES” and I’ve convinced people to buy it and do it!  Now if you work at Beachbody (the company that created it), you love this type of word of mouth endorsement.

Gary goes on to say that we all are in the customer service business.  I completely agree.  If you are using Twitter and Facebook to market to consumers (I’m guilty of that) then you’re missing the basic principle of why these tools are in place to begin with.  Maybe I should re-read my post, “It’s all about relationships.” If brands begin to care about their customers, then that’s a big deal.  Think Zappos.  Think Best Buy.  These companies get it.

Now the question I have is this…can an automotive company do it?  Are Buick and GMC too big to take an interest in their customers?  Some may say “yes.”  I say “who cares, why don’t we try?”  In the beginning of Gary’s speech he says he is most interested in DOING the things we say we AREN’T going to do because that’s where the opportunity is.  I’ve said this before…there are no second chances for us as a company.  It’s time to do things differently because what we did before didn’t work.  We need to think differently, act differently and just try.  Try new things.  We won’t know until we just try.

What do you think?  Is it possible for Buick and GMC to change perceptions by focusing on the customer?

“People need to start caring or they are going to lose.” ~ Gary Vaynerchuk, SXSW 2010

James 1:19 “…Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak…”

Do you lead and are you led?

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been looking at Lent and what it means to me.  Growing up Catholic, it was just the 40 days prior to Easter where we didn’t eat meat on Fridays and gave up something as a “sacrifice”.  This year, I’m looking at it differently.  You’ve heard me mention Kensington Community Church and some of the cool things they do to really get individuals to think about their own faith and what it means to them.  This year, they’ve given us a guide through the 40 days leading up to Easter with each day having a passage to read in the Bible.

This morning I read through the book of Judges (chapters 1 – 5).  This book covers a period of about 350 years and recounts the stories of Israel’s heroes, called “Judges”, who played an important role in their history.  These Judges were leaders who basically rescued Israel after a fall from grace and renewed their focus on God.

Why is this important?  It got me thinking about my own life and responsibilities as a husband and father and how important my role is in my family’s life, especially my kids.  I’ll share one statistic with you that I heard at church.  The percentage of children and families that have a strong faith is dramatically increased when the father is the spiritual head of the home…90% of the time, the children develop a strong faith of their own when their father leads them.  If you ever wondered how important fathers are in a home, there is an example!

This idea is just as important for me.  I need to have mentors to guide me and educate me whether it be at work or in my spiritual life.  I need people to hold me accountable for my actions and steer me in the right direction.  Case in point was my post about my P90X workout.  I asked people to hold me accountable because I was starting to lose interest in the workout and before long, people began to encourage me to stick with it and it has definitely helped to keep me motivated.

That is how I’ve been “Rethinking Lent”.  What do you think?  Are you leading people?  Are you being led?

P90X…my continued test in perseverance

Many of you know that I’ve spent the last 2 months going through the P90X workout from Tony Horton.  This is my second time through this workout and I can honestly say it’s the hardest workout I’ve ever done.  The first time through it, I lost 15 lbs. and felt great.  Unfortunately, I didn’t finish the last month and probably could have seen even better results!

I sit here through 45 days of my second time through and I’m finding the same excuses as I did the first time starting to creep up.  I’ve lost 13 lbs. this time, I feel stronger and I can see results.  My challenge of late has been the motivation to get up at 3:30am to do my workouts!  Yes…I know getting up that early is crazy to some of you but given the schedule I have for work and the desire to spend evenings with my kids and wife instead of working out, I sacrifice some sleep and early mornings for my health and fitness.

This 90 day work out is a test of perseverance.  Am I able to continue with this schedule and achieve the results I set out for myself when I began?  If you ask me what my goals are now in the final 45 days, I’d tell you is to lose another 12 lbs., get stronger and more definition.  This is where all of you can come in and support me.  Would you be willing to support me by holding me accountable by making sure I’m following through with this?

For those of you that are still wondering what this workout is all about, see the video below from the P90X YouTube Channel.  There are a ton of other videos and testimonials that will make you believe this work out is for real AND effective.

What’s your purpose?

“It’s not about you.
The purpose of your life is far greater than the your own personal fulfillment, your peace of mind, or even you happiness.”
~ Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Life

What is your purpose in life?  It’s a question that has come up a lot for me lately.  What is my purpose?  What is the purpose or mission of my marriage?  What is the purpose of the job I’m currently in?  What about the purpose of the brands that I work for…Buick and GMC?

To help me think through some of these questions, I asked a friend if I could borrow a book…The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren.  This will be a 40 day journey to help me discover “my purpose.”

As a side note…not really sure what it is with me and 40 day programs or 90 day programs.  If you’ve been following me on Twitter or Facebook, I’ve been updating everyone on my progress through one of the best workouts I’ve ever done…P90X.  I just finished a book called The Love Dare.  This was also a 40 day journey on marriage.

Everyone has a purpose in life.  I know it has nothing to do with me but others.  How can the gifts and talents God gave me be used to help others?  It’s a question we all should be asking of ourselves.  Once I discover what that “purpose” is, I need to share it with others…

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”
      And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” (Isaiah 6:8)

What is your purpose?  If I figure it out, I’ll let you know mine in 40 days…