It’s Halftime!

There won’t be any racey ‘costume malfunction’ to talk about ’round the old water cooler on Monday morning; no half-time show, no marching band, no dazzling commercial break.

There won’t be any balls that drop or clocks that flash or hats to wear or horns to blow.

It’ll slide by quite unnoticed.

And the end of this month: Half the year. Gone already.

Remember way back when… when you thought about the year ahead? Your hopes and goals and dreams and aspirations? That new job, the fitness program, the book, the painting, the weight, the product launch, the relationship that was gonna get fixed, that trip you wanted to take?  halftime-series

Yeah, I’m talkin’ to you… .

Where you ‘at?’

If you’ve been doing the work… if the game’s gone well: CONGRATULATIONS. Enjoy this half-time… Revel in the rewards of your hard-fought efforts; take in the view and celebrate your successes. (Certain achievement freaks I know aren’t very good at this… and time for rest and reflection are so critically important to the work we do.)

If, though, you’ve woken up and wondered where the time has gone, why it seems to be the same ol’ same ol’, you’re not alone…

But don’t despair: there’s still time.

Here’s the mistake most folks make though: They look at the calendar… it’s summer… vacations… kind hot in the northern hemisphere… (winter…cold in the southern… ). A lot of distractions; days off; kid activities; too humid to exercise; people tough to get a hold of; meetings, conferences difficult to convene…. way better to put that ‘thing’ I’ve been meaning to do off to September… yeah, fall is a much better time to start… Kids will be back in school. New beginning then… .
And the months will slide by… and September will come… And there will be other distractions and reasons not to begin.

The time is now.

In every moment, there is a chance to begin again.

If you haven’t started, start now. (Click HERE for our exclusive template that will help jump start you.)

Small consistent steps over time lead to magnificent results.

Live deeply into these long summer days ahead.

Don’t miss a one.

Go To The Well

This is an encore of a piece first published in September 2011. Apropos as I re-visit the well… .

When this blog posts, I will be at the well.

For me, it’s a little place in West Cork perched on a hill overlooking the North Atlantic.  There is no TV, no Internet, no cell phone. There is the sound of the sea, and the wind in the trees. Nothing else.

It is the place I go – not often enough – to rest and rejuvenate; to re-create.

All of us have these places – maybe far away – maybe close at hand – always too seldom visited – where we can refresh our spirits.

  • a quiet litttle corner in the local library
  • the mountain bike trail just outside of town
  • a little church on Sunday mornings
  • the coffee shop in the village an hour’s drive from here
  • the beach side cottage; that little place in the mountains

We avoid these places because

  • it fells unproductive
  • there’s too much to do
  • we don’t have the time right now
  • we haven’t done enough to give ourselves a break
  • tomorrow will work better than today

And tomorrow stretches into next month. Into not at all.

When I came to the well this time ’round, I slept for two days – a sure sign I had been away too long.  And now I sit and soak in the silence –  and read and write and run  and rest. And yes, still battle the demons within myself: am I wasting time?

A dear friend of mine confessed to me recently that he hadn’t gone to his well in quite awhile because he hadn’t “earned it” – he hadn’t done enough yet to justify going there.

Here’s the paradox of the well: It is the place – the Source – from which we draw our strength, not a just reward.

There is a truism in mountaineering: hydrate or die.

Go to the well. Go there today.

Use It or Lose It

Yeah, I’m talkin’ to you… and I’m talkin’ about your summer vacay.

Use it!

Did you know that the average American worker leaves 9.2 days of vacation “on the table” every year?

I used 13 weeks of vacation last year… and if you’ve got nine or ten more days that you’re not going to use, I’ll take them! I’m not bashful… and when it comes to vacay, I’m damn greedy.

I remember vividly my very first day at the “big firm.” Fresh out of law school, I was about to launch the career I had been working toward for so long. My mentor-to-be was reviewing the “expectations” of the firm with me. When he came to the vacation policy, he said, “You get three weeks of vacation every year… but nobody really takes them.

That seemed pretty screwed up to me. I immediately booked three weeks of vacation. vacation1

Taking time away is a fundamental tool for success.

I know this sounds paradoxical, but it’s not.

And it’s a difficult lesson to learn.

Here’s the scoop: Computers are built to keep running all-day and all-night; 24/7, 365 days a year. Humans: not so much.

We need to rest; we need to recover; we need to stop.

Of course, culturally we’re told otherwise… We’re told that in order to succeed, that in order to thrive in business, we need to put in more time; that we need to work harder and longer; that something’s wrong with us if we can’t keep the pace; that time off is for sissies.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

I learned this the hard way when I started training for marathons and ultras. Being a goal-oriented, success-driven, Type-A, trial lawyer kinda guy, I presumed that the secret for optimal training was to run more miles every day.

What I discovered was that the training actually had a much different rhythm to it:

  • there was a mix of short and long runs;
  • the long runs got progressively longer;
  • after pushing out the miles, we’d dial back the distance;
  • then the big surprise: there were days that we didn’t run at all!

Rest days! Imagine that!

And not only that, but I learned that the rest days were integral parts of the training; that you’d get injured if you didn’t rest; that rest and recovery actually helped to build the strength and endurance! That you could run further and faster after you had rested!

That in order to go the distance, you actually needed to stop.

The same is true in business.

Tony Schwartz in his ground-breaking book Be Excellent At Anything, says: “We’re guided by a fatal assumption that the best way to get more done is to work longer and more continuously. But the more hours we work and the longer we go without real renewal, the more we begin to default, reflexively, into behaviors that reduce our own effectiveness – impatience, frustration, distraction, and disengagement.”

We’re designed to “pulse” Schwartz says. “We’re hardwired to make waves – to be alert during the day and to sleep at night, but also to work at high intensity for limited periods of time and then rest and refuel.”

And there’s hard science to back this up! Rest and recovery are as essential for productivity and achievement in business as they are for athletic success.

So if you really want to be a super-achiever: Schedule your vacation this summer… and take it!

(p.s. Oh, by the way: Vacations are away from snail mail, email, voicemail, texts, tweets, links in and other social media updates… otherwise they don’t really count.)

You’ve Been Framed

“I cursed the fact I had no shoes until I saw the man who had no feet.”

— Persian proverb

Our frames of reference can so distort our vision.

“I have to go to the gym,” my buddy kvetched. This after finding out about a medical condition that will weaken his bones over time.

“No, Sam,” I said,  “You get to go to the gym.”

We teach what we most need to learn, of course. I’m as good as a kvetcher as the next guy.

Especially on these hot summer days going out for a run… or “having” to work in the yard.

It’s especially irritating when I “have” to vacuum the pool again.

It’s so easy to forget how very blessed we are.

We get to:

➢ Go grocery shopping;
➢ Work on our health and fitness;
➢ Take care of our homes;
➢ Sit through another elementary school band concert;
➢ Care for our relationships;
➢ Go off to school or work.

There are a billion and a half people in the world who subsist on less than two bucks a day.

A quarter of the world’s population is without access to electricity… so if you’re feeling irritated about last month’s electric bill, take a breath.

I’d like very much to rant about this week’s car repair bill… until I remember that, of the 6.76 billion folks in the world, I can count myself among the lucky 9% who even have a car.

If you’ve had to shell out a few bucks for a plumber lately, you’re actually pretty lucky. Sixty percent of the world’s population has no toilet!

The young daughter of a colleague was hit and killed by a careless driver a few weeks ago. If you’re having an argument with a teenager today, say a silent prayer of thanks.

Joan Didion writes, “Life changes in an instant; in an ordinary instant.”

Don’t miss this instant.

Yes, step up; think bigger, play bigger.

Want more; envision more; strive for more; be more. Don’t settle.

But never lose sight of how you frame the world. 7e3c3e4d-d917-42c0-b13e-e1963abc4db0

In living for the next moment, a better moment, don’t miss the magic of this moment. This very moment.

The sands slip quickly through the glass.

“Somebody is in the hospital begging God for the opportunity you have right now. Step into your moment,” said Bishop T.D. Jakes.

Yes, step into your moment… and hold it dear.

And next time you find yourself kvetching, as I most surely will before this day is out, why not try on a new frame?

What is this thing that you get to do?

And how wonderful it is that you get to do it!