Recalibrating the GPS

It started as a simple conversation about running, pace, and times. We both opened up the app on our phones and talked about some of the struggles, successes, and challenges ahead while scrolling through the history.

Then it came out.

“I must need to recalibrate the GPS, I am not that fast.”

As I heard those words, I couldn’t help myself.

“Really? You have been training hard, staying on schedule, and when you make progress, why does your first thought assume something is wrong with the GPS? Why do you discount your achievements?”

Pause.

Another Pause.

“Well historically…”

“In the past…”

“I used to not…”

All of next few statements were not about the present reality, or celebrating the accomplishment. All were focused on the past.

Past limits. Past thoughts. Past obstacles.

I listened for a few minutes.

“Sounds like is not your GPS that needs recalibrating.”

When do you discount your achievements? When does your past invade the present to take away the things you accomplish? When does your first thought assume that it must be the equipment or a false reading because it cannot be you that reached the goal?

Maybe we could all use a recalibration.

What are you training for?

“What are you training for?”

A few years ago a friend posed this question when we decided to go out for a run together.

I wasn’t sure how to reply. I was just running. No plan, just running.

“Nothing really, I am just running.”

Their question stayed with me after that day. I couldn’t seem to shake it.

Later that day we talked about goal setting, and how important creating a set of goals can be to focus our lives, our activities, and our energy.

In the past year I set a goal to run a “longer than my normal” race.

A goal that would require discipline, time, and a plan.

A goal that would require activity despite the weather, feelings, or attitude.

A goal that would require moving past obstacles and fear.

That day is almost here, and the race will end. So will the training. My mind and body are looking forward to a little rest.

But, part of me doesn’t quite know what to do when the goal is complete. There is a strange sense of loss when you return to a normal routine after you have been pursuing hard after a goal. The training that once felt like a burden, is now savored because the end is near.

Maybe I just need to keep asking my friend’s question, but not limit it to running.

“What are you training for?”

Having an answer to that question for additional aspects of life may be just what we need.

 

A Little Further?

Screen Shot 2014-12-22 at 6.44.17 AM

(Image courtesy of Google Maps and Screen Capture)

A planned team run.

A simple goal. 10 miles. A longer run.

The long route concludes on our regular course.

The roads we run on each week.

A Little Further?

Three simple words.

Three simple words posed as a question.

Three simple words posed as a question to push yourself.

Three simple words posed as a question to push yourself and stretch your goals.

A choice.

Go straight and meet the goal.

Go left and stretch.

A Little Further?

Yes.

Tired.

Comfort running on familiar roads. Knowing every little crack, sidewalk, and turn.

New equation: 10 + 3 (words) = 12.

Imagine what those three words could do for us.

Imagine pushing a little more with your job, life, relationships, family, clients, customers, partners, friends, and goals.

A Little Further?

Yes.

 

 

 

 

I Am Trying

I am trying

Breakfast with close friends is a favorite thing. Great food, great coffee, and great opportunities to talk and connect.

Typically these talks include catching up on life, work, and our goals for both.

On this particular morning we were discussing my goal of posting a blog once a week.

As soon as we started discussing it, I blurted out.

“I am trying.”

This friend would not let my words pass without intervention.

“You are not just trying. You are doing. I see your posts once a week, that is not trying that is doing.”

They were right. My old narrative of “trying” did not match the current reality of “doing.” That narrative, and those words came from a time when I was struggling with writing. Instead of writing, I told myself that I was “trying.”

My friend’s words stuck with me since that day. The recalibration of the narrative was helpful. I realized that a lot of the time when I am not actually accomplishing my goals, I use “I am trying” as an excuse for not doing an unpleasant or hard task.

“I am trying to call my family more often.”

“I am trying to connect with friends.”

“I am trying to find time to schedule that.”

“I am trying to be more organized and clean up my desk.”

“I am trying [and the list keeps going].”

I have become more aware of how often “I am trying” made its way into my life.

How often has this narrative kept you from the harder tasks? How has “I am trying” created an obstacle for you?

For me, the choice is simple. I am no longer trying. I simply have to do.

 

 

The Decade of Training

Wander Tag(Image Courtesy of Etsy.com)

Through a combination of coaching conversations, and reflections on my own life I have noticed a pattern. Many of us wish we were further along in our lives, careers, or relationships. We speak as if there is some place we should be, but we are behind in the race. We speak with regret and sadness as if we are currently missing out and life would be somehow different.

“I have been in this job for 6 years now and am in a rut and it feels wasted.”

“I didn’t really know what I wanted to do, and moved from job to job and didn’t make progress.”

“School was not a focus for me, and I wasted those years.  Now I have to go back again.”

“Just imagine where I would have been if I didn’t squander those years.”

These conversations made me think of that quote from J.R.R. Tolkien. Maybe it is okay to wander for a little while, because those years are not always lost.

Instead of seeing those years (however long it has been) as a waste, maybe a perspective change would help. Perhaps we could view that time as the Decade of Training.

The Decade of Training helped form who we are today.

The Decade of Training helped us create goals and start to pursue them.

The Decade of Training helped us try different things.

The Decade of Training helped us know that failure is part of the journey.

The Decade of Training helped us learn to get back up and keep moving.

Those years in the Decade of Training are not necessarily lost, unless you give up and assume that it is too late to pursue the goals for your life, career (or second career, or third career), or relationships.

Most of us today will live into our 90s. To put that in perspective, when we reach 60, we will still have 1/3 of our lives ahead of us.

The real question is now that you have been trained, what will you do with it?

Internal Customers

Customer Service Word CloudA few weeks ago, I was teaching a customer service class. One of the exercises split the group into small teams and they were asked to identify all of their customers. The lists grew, and the flip charts filled.

As I walked from group to group, I began to notice something. All of the lists were outwardly focused. I stayed quiet, but kept walking around the room. The lists continued and so did the focus outside of their organization.

Focusing on the outside customer is not a bad thing. We all need the customers outside of our organization. However, once the teams got up to present their lists to the rest of the room, they realized that there was an entire customer base they had missed. They missed their internal customers.

The teams went back to their lists. The lists rapidly grew and so did the realization. These various organizations or departments didn’t exist by themselves. Each team had an array of departments, individuals, or people that they provide customer service within their own operation. Some realized that a majority of their work is providing service to internal customers.

One team in particular had an interesting observation.

“We wonder if our continued focus outside, and essentially ignoring our internal customers, is a major reason why our external customers are not completely satisfied.”

That observation hit home with all of the teams. As we set customer service goals later in the session, each team began with goals to increase their internal customers’ satisfaction first, before tackling the other customers.

As I drove home from this session, I began to make my list of internal customers. The list included my co-workers, other departments, my wife, my kids, my family, and my friends. As I set goals for my external customer’s satisfaction, I also wrote down a few goals for my internal customers.

We all have internal customers. Do we focus on them? Spend a few minutes today making a list of your internal customers. A little focus internally may be just what we need to be better externally.