Posts Tagged 'goal'

Burning Yourself from the Outside

Sometimes people require a kick in the ass.

I have a problem delivering one when the time comes. It is beyond me to comprehend the necessity of a fiery speech. In fact, laying down the gauntlet with a verbal tirade is one of the few times words consistently fail me.

The way I see it, motivation can be internal or external.

One can, without a doubt, serve to amplify the other for a few moments, yet only the former can generate and maintain the focus required to produce sustained success. I’m certain each of us has been buoyed by impassioned rhetoric of some kind–whether in a locker room or from a stage–only to find our energy wane within days (if not hours or minutes).

This is why I am quite laissez-faire with my students.

In my mind, their will to achieve is what matters, as “babysitter” was left out of my job description. I can muster all the histrionics a grand performer might hope for and it is of little good when their mindset is lacking.

When drive is absent, it follows–“as the night the day“–that results plummet.

A fire burns within us all.

As individuals, we must seek our own fuel to ensure the flame stays alight. A strong motive emanating from within glows bright in all weather. Regardless of life’s storms, our soul must be able to warm its hands from the inside.

Others can only stoke the blaze.

There is a mistaken belief in the power of another. We like to think someone will pour gasoline on our desire and really get us going. Reality is we–the people with the dreams–are solely able to create our wildfire.

Inspiration and meaning are sparks, ignition dependent upon a waiting fuel source.

Begging for fire and brimstone to help manifest your idea is foolish.

This is not to say, you shouldn’t ask for help–we all need some from time to time.

Relying on someone else, though, is asking to be burned.


Driving Inspiration

Choose Your Mission

4 Rules for Inspiration

Top Posts, July 2010

It’s a few days late since the 31st of July fell on a Saturday, so I apologize.  Here are the most viewed posts for the past month:

5. 5 Steps to Your Best Apology

4. Running into God

3. Looking at Life from the Threshhold of Death

2. The Fear Soliloquy

1. 1 Difference Between “Trying” and “Doing”

3 Reasons for a Short Run

I continue to be amazed by the parallels I find between running and life.

Yesterday, I headed out into the afternoon sun set on covering six miles (four had been my self-imposed limit for nearly five years). Like the bullheaded former athlete I am, I made this decision fully aware of my current lack of conditioning. I just wanted to test myself.

I think a lot while I run.

Most of the time, I’m focused on maintaining proper form as I fatigue. As I’ve said before, I’ve changed my technique in the last few months and still find it necessary to remind my body what it’s supposed to do periodically.

Occasionally, a host of experiences crystallize into a message.

I figured out when my movement had degraded to the point it could do more harm than good and stopped short of my goal.

I made it at least 5.25 miles, give or take a few steps, more than 25% farther than I’ve run since September of 2005. No mean feat. As I walked the remaining 1.5 miles home, I pieced together the reasons I was unable to complete my task.

I connected the dots between my abbreviated (but still pretty far) jaunt to checkered parts of my history.

I came up with three reasons for my disappointing results, disparate as they would seem:

1. The individual is unprepared
I’ll be blunt: I’m really in no condition to be running like that. There is something to be said for the necessity of will power during exercise, sure, as long as it is used with intelligence.

I’ve only run twice since I hurt my lower leg several weeks ago, yet came to the conclusion running 50% more than I have in half a decade was a good idea. (This is the opposite of smart.)

To push myself so far was to demand my body do what it can only struggle to right now, a situation begging for injury–or worse.

2. The conditions are unfavorable
I smiled at some rainclouds in the western sky as I looked over my shoulder on the way out, pleased to know a cool rain would aid my second wind during my trek.

To my chagrin, the dark greyness ended up tracking north instead of east, denying me the boost of splashing through puddles instead of melting under oppressive humidity and blazing sun–taxing weather for anyone, let alone someone rebuilding fitness.

3. The favored path is unreachable
I love winding through a small wildlife preserve nestled between a couple of housing additions to take a break from the din of passing cars. The stillness is a welcome respite from the always-visible bustle of civilization on the sidewalk. Due to heavy rains over the last two days, the creek that bisects the park has swollen over its banks.

Instead of being able to take the scenic trail I like to, I made it about a hundred meters inside before I encountered thigh-deep water.

I had to turn around and climb hills I’d just breezed down.

Sometimes the way you would prefer to go is simply unavailable.

It all adds up to ending before reaching the target.

Even though we leave the house with the best intentions and a commitment to go the distance–regardless of how long it takes–sometimes circumstances conspire to keep us from making it that first time.

It’s no excuse to quit.

I’ll put in the work tomorrow and the day after that and the day after that until 6 miles feels like a warm-up.

Chasing the goal another day is merely another step toward a great run.


Wipe Away Failure

Aiming for Imperfection

Running into God

An Amazing End Begins with a Bold Story

Boldness is the calling card of independence.

On September 5, 1774, fifty-six men convened in Carpenter’s Hall to discuss the proper response to the Intolerable Acts of British Parliament. Representatives traveled to Philadelphia from 12 of 13 American colonies (Georgia sent no one) and focused the debate on a very basic question: to boycott or not?

Having been subject to various taxes on goods of all kinds, the delegates wanted to hit the mother country in the pocket book as hard as possible–a long philosophical distance away from any concept of separation from her. Considering a ban on imports or exports or both, they went about the diplomatic business of appealing to King George for redress.

These are the early days of the American Revolution, some 22 months before the Declaration of Independence, when tensions on this side of the Atlantic just started to simmer.

This First Continental Congress sowed the seeds of an inconceivable idea.

Thomas Jefferson’s autobiography describes the agreements reached during the meeting. Among the many resolutions passed, 25 prescient words foretold the future:

…France & Spain had reason to be jealous of that rising power which would one day certainly strip them of all their American possessions…

These men could hardly agree to refuse British ships entry into their ports, let alone come together to take up arms against the best trained and most experienced fighting force in the world.

This handful of words–out of thousands recorded–are the first reflection of what we know today, a republic stretching from sea to shining sea.

Appreciate the audacity: a few dozen men proposed that potential allies–two old monarchies competing with England for supremacy in the Western hemisphere–might be put off by the prospect of helping a nascent nation out from under tyranny because it represented a challenge to their own territories.

The concept is not far-fetched, until you consider the “rising power” had no army or navy to speak of.

Though it may have been intended to puff out the chests of colonists riding the fence, it amounted to a rough sketch of the result possible when “government for the people, of the people, and by the people” was given free reign on these shores.

The formation of a more perfect union arose from a more perfect vision.

The lesson reverberates through the ages: those willing to proclaim the fruits of their labor will harvest them.

The challenge was great, yet the opportunity was unmatched.

Pulled from the heart by the promise of unrestrained freedom, an unpolished rabble defeated all the King’s men.

This “light of the world” shines bright because someone first thought it might.


One Thing’s Wrong

The Value of an Ideal

Dress Like George Washington

Top Posts: June 2010

The end of the month has arrived and it’s time to recap. June 2010 will go down as the month MeBuilding had a tremendous boost in popularity thanks to being featured on WordPress’ home page as “Freshly Pressed.”

Here are the five most-viewed posts:

5. 5 Ways to Make Others Better

4. 1 Difference Between “Trying” and “Doing”

3. Dress Like George Washington

2. 289 Words to Start

1. 6 Lessons from a First Class Leader

Pave the Way

New paths are always under construction.

Like any other project, plans are required. The distance between current location and destination requires crossing some distance. Having directions makes the journey much easier.

Before that, though, ideas must be collected and research–or even calculations–done.

Your thoughts are crucial in shaping your road map.

On any journey, you anticipate traveling through several known points to ensure the shortest possible mileage.

You plot these landmarks out and use them to measure your progress.

More often than not, you’ll confront many changes to your route along the way.

Power lines will be down.

Debris will be blocking traffic.

Two lanes will be closed while a crew performs maintenance.

You may slow to a crawl while new cement is laid.

What would have been a quick trip turns into a long haul.

Your desire is tested.

Your patience is tried.

The wide-open interstate to your goal has yet to be completed.

Work gets delayed by rain or other circumstances.

Take detours so it can be finished or find another way entirely.

You must be willing to choose other methods to advance, even if it’s well off the straight line you hoped to traverse.

Be confident and calm in the face of setbacks.

Your destination is still there.

You will arrive.

You just may have to pave the way yourself.


The Tao of John Wooden

Aiming for Imperfection

Average People Live Average Lives

A Late Goal is Always On Time

A million things can go wrong but all it takes is one to go right.

Yesterday, the American soccer team salvaged victory after dangling on the edge heartbreaking defeat.

Nearing the end of a tumultuous 90 minutes, having missed chance after chance to achieve a positive result, four men sped forward across acres of green grass to score the goal they had given their all to secure, guaranteeing passage into the knockout phases of the world’s largest sporting event.

The miracle came at the end of a long struggle.

Having managed to overcome early mistakes to make something of the previous two matches–and robbed of a win by a disallowed goal against Slovenia last Friday in the process–it would have been easy to give up.

As the clock ticked towards the end of regulation, near misses mounted.

A post was hit here and open goal missed there.

Yet the eleven men in white continued pushing for the breakthrough, urgent though unhurried.

Persistence was key.

Dogged determination in the face of all that would tell you it’s not your day (or week or year) yields amazing results.

Maintain your spirit and dig in for the challenge.

Fight on as your efforts meet with unsatisfying returns, show the world your commitment.

Life is full of good and bad breaks.

What you do with both determines how far you go. Scott French of connected the beautiful game and human experience in his article late last night:

…it’s not always fair, that you’re not always rewarded for good work, that the better side does not always win…it does not matter how big you are or where you’re from, that the anticipation (and denial) of success makes success, when it comes, all the more sweeter.

Keep plugging away.

In the end, you’ll win.


Wipe Away Failure

The Best Won’t Come While You Wait

“Hammer and Forge” Your Greatness…your-greatness/”

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