Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Life Golf: Working on my short game

I had a wake-up call last week while engaging in self-congratulatory backslapping!

I was talking to Monica and observing how well I handled a recent (but pre-inbox-zero) day of work, email and errands.

    G - You know, I really handled that day of work well.
    M - You sure, you seemed pretty miserable and stressed.

    G - Hmmmm.

    G - Maybe I should have said that looking back it wasn't as bad as it seemed at the time...

If I am internally calm but projecting outward stress then am I calm, or stressed?

I'm not sure of the answer but I know which person I would prefer to hang out with.

This week, I write about three steps I am taking to improve my life "right now".

  1. Declutter
  2. No to non-core
  3. Love something

Decluttering came from a real crisis... the amount of cyber noise in my life was making me stressed.

When stressed I get a strong escape reflex...
...which drives me towards excessive exercise...
...which screws up my nutrition (sugar)...
...which screws up my sleep patterns...
...which, unchecked, ends with alcohol cravings (to knock myself out so I can sleep).

That's my wheel. You'll have your own and I'll bet it tracks back to stress.

By getting to know my triggers, I am able to move further up the chain and gain greater control over the life I want to lead.

I'm less than two weeks into my decluttering exercise and so far it has three main components:

  1. Inbox Zero: a complete game changer for me. Without a doubt, this will change my life as I improve further. 15 hours back into my week and I can probably get another seven hours by the end of March.
  2. Media Lite: I trimmed my media sources last year but realized that they had increased. I don't read print sources or watch TV.

    • (UK edition, headlines)
    • WSJ.Com (US edition, headlines and most emailed)
    • NYTimes.Com (most emailed via iPhone app)
    • USA Today (iPhone app for Top Stories)
    • Google News (headlines)

    I could probably ditch the last two as they don't add much. I'll see how it goes. Right now, my 15 extra hours has taken the pressure off me and I've been reading quite a bit of online material.
    Blogs I like (via RSS):

    • Seth Godin - interesting ideas on marketing, daily
    • Zen Habits - useful reminders about purpose driven living, weekly
    • Paul Graham - a VC investor, more essays than blog posts, monthly

    I have about 25 blogs in my RSS reader and, suspect, that will grow and I'll need to manage my subscriptions similar to how I've done with my media sources.

  3. Clean Up: I realized that I was getting lazy and hoping that Monica would pick up after me. Interestingly, I experienced FAR more satisfaction from sorting myself out and honing down to the essentials. I live in, probably, 24 articles of clothing (helps to rarely wear a shirt...) Having someone follow me around cleaning up all the time would not have addressed the source of my stress (the habit of being a clutterer!).

No To Non-Core
In 2009, I had a large hole to fill in the family finances and I made a decision to accept every offer of assistance (via work assignments) that came my way. That decision worked for 2009, the business swung to profit. However, it had some implications for me.

When we work on areas in which we are good, we are not focusing on areas where we are great.

My 2009 coaching assignments included:

  • Boston Marathon Qualifiers
  • A Mountain Bike Stage Racer
  • Two groups of novice short course triathletes
  • An ultra-runner
  • A novice training for her first Oly distance race
  • A life coaching assignment

I did a good job on the above but:

  • Was I accessing the areas of my expertise where I am world class?
  • How many other people could have done at least as good a job as me?
  • How efficient was this work for the larger goals in my life?

You can probably see where this is leading:

  • If you go non-core then do it for your best clients, even then, it might be a mistake (I'll let you know in 2011...)
  • If you want to make a living from a field then focus on areas where you are, or can become, world-class
  • Repetition, combined with a deep knowledge base, leads to efficiency

It's REALLY tough to say no-to-non-core. There are a lot of neat assignments out there! What swung it for me was realizing that every runner I coached took the energy of ten Ironman Triathletes. The difference isn't the sport, the difference is my personal experience. I'm sure there's a running coach out there that feels a similar way about triathletes.

Know your ideal clients, work smart to retain the ones you have; and market to the the ones you want to have.

I'd say most coaches haven't written out their ideal client. Similarly, I wonder if our athletes know their ideal coach?

Love Monica
I wrote "love something" above because there hasn't always been a person in my life and certainly not a person that is as good a fit as Monica.

Your thing could be: a higher power; nature; exercise; family; kids; spouse; pet...

Caring for, and thinking positive thoughts about, Monica makes me feel good and reduces stress. It's a virtual circle that breaks my stress cycle.

Monica (and Lex) are my Valentines... ....remember to hug your own.

Love your ladies,


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