You Know But You Don't

(Contributed by Mitch Greene)

Have you ever had a day when you literally had nothing you had to do? I mean like truly no responsibilities at all? 

It’s probably been a while, but I bet I know what you chose to do with at least one of those days. 

Nothing. 

Everybody loves a lazy day… at the beginning. By the time you finish binge-watching Game of Thrones… excuse me, sorry, I’m a millennial. Maybe, This Is Us. You feel like you’ve been asleep for the winter. You feel like crap and super unproductive. You walk up your steps and you’re winded. The funniest thing about all this is that most of us, including me, are wondering why we feel like crap! Let’s just be honest. 

Sometimes, we suck a little bit. 

Let’s circle back on that original question from above.  Have you ever had a day when you literally had nothing you had to do? I mean like truly no responsibilities at all? 

Yet, you chose to be super productive and read that book you’ve been putting off, get in an awesome workout and go for a hike? It’s probably been a while, but I bet I know just how you felt after all that. You felt awesome! You probably felt like you could take on the world! If you ran a marathon, you’d ask for more! 

My point is that no matter how good a lazy day sounds, in the end, a lazy- less day will feel so much better.

Pathologically Repetitive Mistakes (Who I Am)

Sometimes I’m an idiot.  And the frequency seems to be increasing…

I’m no stranger to lower back problems. I’ve had sciatica that led to surgery, repeated sciatica again, thankfully clearing up through physical therapy.  And I continue to deal with lower back pain to this day. Much like some of you.

And yet…

About 2 years ago I was using the pull-up bar in the doorway to our utility closet.  This closet happens to have the water line that feeds the pressure tank directly from the well.  It’s the first point of entry into our home. And that’s important.

For whatever reason, while doing a few pull-ups, I decided to pull up hard and switch my hands. Again, what an idiot! Do you know what happens when you have a pull-up bar in the doorway and you release the pressure? Yep, that’s right, no pressure, and no stability.  I was sailing in the air immediately – in a fast downward and highly awkward motion. I hit the pressure gauge on the pressure tank – hard against my back ribs – and instantly, the flood erupted.  Not a drizzle or simple water leak. This was a full out, high pressure and constant explosion of water. I was soaked, and by the time I figured out to turn the well pump off at the fuse (another story there) and the tank was finally emptied, the utility closet had several inches of water in it. 

Remarkably, with my wife and son’s quick action, they managed to build a pretty good levy around the closet entrance, keeping much of the water at bay.   Despite having to run fans for a week, the carpet survived, as well as the closet and even my back. Though I’m pretty sure I broke or bruised a few ribs.

I could look for and develop a variety of lessons from this.  But as I reflected on the situation, I realize or just choose to believe, that this is who I am.  I can work to be more prepared, more cautious and maybe a little more proactive – knowing what to do right away when I break my fall with pipes!  And I do strive to do all that.  I really do – trying to minimize my own weakness.

But in reality, this is who I am, and I just lean into it. Somehow there is a strength in here – one that probably was the catalyst to help me step into entrepreneurship over that last ten years.

By the way, I managed to repeat the situation a few months later.  Somehow, I managed to release the pressure on the bar and down I went.  But this time I had a folded yoga mat that sort of broke my fall, and a board in place that protected the pressure gauge and piping.

You’ve heard the phrase, “Ready, aim, fire!”  For me, it’s almost always just “Fire!”

The Lifestyle of a Broken Clock

(Contributed by Mitch Greene)

I have come to think about the way I live my life as a clock. As soon as one thing is out of place, the clock doesn’t work. Sounds pessimistic, but it makes sense.

When I started college, I didn’t think like I do now. I had to wake up at 5:30 in the morning so that I could have time to watch my morning show before going to school. Because of this, I didn’t give myself the time to pack food. At college, I had a two-and-a-half-hour break where I would go sit outside and relax while listening to some music. I would finish my classes and be home around 4:00 and, at this point, I would be very hungry, so I would eat — a lot. Afterward, I would feel very sluggish from overindulgence, so I would skip the workout and do all the homework I didn’t get done earlier. After this, I would hang out with my girlfriend until maybe 2:00 in the morning. Every day I would keep this same routine, and I felt like absolute crap.

I knew there was something wrong, so one by one I changed things. First, I stopped watching my morning show and started packing lunch instead. This helped a little but didn’t solve the problem. I went back to my old ways, but this time tried to fit in my workout. Once again, no dice. Took out the workout and got more sleep. Good but not good enough. Went back to very little sleep and did homework over my break so I had more time at night to relax. Still not enough. It wasn’t until I completely revamped my entire schedule so that I would get proper sleep, nutrition, exercise, mental stimulation and leisure time. After all of that, I felt amazing!

See, I believe that my lifestyle was one of a broken clock because, although I would fix one of my broken cogs, there would still be ten more that needed repair. I expected to see the time with an almost functioning clock. The clock would never work properly until every last aspect of my most basic needs was met. Fixing one cog was simply not enough.

If you want a change in your life, then start by asking yourself how many of your cogs are broken. Think about a time when life just worked for you.  Your clock was running smoothly, all the cogs in place.  It’s time to bring that back.  And if you never had it, you can still get there—one cog at a time.

Finishaphobia

We diagnosed our 24-year-old daughter with a strange, but harmless, disease a few years ago. 

She has this unusual tendency to leave drinks around the kitchen with about a ½ ounce left.  I’m telling you, it’s uncanny – she just doesn’t finish, ever.  We see her pour a glass of my favorite, cranberry juice, and inevitably we’ll see that glass after she’s gone to work and, yep, there it is –  ½ ounce left! 

Sometimes we just leave it there for the day, hard as that is, and all we get is another two or three almost finished glasses to add to the collection.

Even if we call her out when she gets a glass, telling her about her “finishaphobia” issues… doesn’t change anything. The nearly finished glass will be there to taunt us a few hours later.

Fortunately, Madi’s issue of finishaphobia, while a little frustrating to us, is pretty tame compared to what it could be. 

One of the greatest examples of finishing is demonstrated in the 2006 movie Facing The Giants. The scene was set with the football team at practice. The kids were complaining about losing their best player. The coach pulled his top defensive player, Brock, and challenged him in a death crawl.  That meant bear crawling blindfolded with a player on his back for as many yards as he thought he could. Brock said he could go to the 30-yard line, but the coach challenged him to go to the 50.  They got in position, and the coach urged him to go.  The scene was pretty powerful as he provided some great motivational insights while he was crawling down the field.  Amazingly, the coach talked Brock all the way across the field, all 100 yards. 

When it comes to finishing, we’re all clearly more capable than we think.  We just need the right internal, and often external motivation.  Finishing helps us gain self-confidence, a belief critical to success.  After all, beliefs tend to drive behaviors.

How many marathon runners finished the race even if they were nearly ready to give up at the “wall,” only to build great personal confidence by fighting to finish? Most of them, including me.  There’s not one Olympian who is not a finisher. Finishing is an excellent trait for us to have and to model to others. What if you had a team – in business, sports, or your family – made up of excellent finishers? A team of finishers would be hard to beat.

By the way, give Madi a good craft beer and “finishaphobia” is no longer a problem. Hmmm… maybe priorities are the real issue here.

The Half Times Mirror Squared Theory

 (Contributed by Mitch Greene)

Believe it or not, you directly affect the moods and attitude of the people around you by how you act. It goes the other way as well. People are really just like mirrors; if you smile at someone it’s more than likely that they’ll smile back at you. The amazing thing about being affected by others is that you can force it.

No, I’m serious. You can force yourself into a specific mood using others, and you don’t even have to tell them!
 
I’ll give you an example. When I was about thirteen and I had to start being more social my dad would tell me to act 50% more confident than I actually felt. My dad’s words were like the law to me, so I did it with no question. I would go out and when I would talk to someone I would pretend to be 50% more confident than I actually felt.
 
The thing that was weird to me was that they bought it.
 
People actually thought I was a confident guy. They treated me like I was extremely capable. After seeing people look at me like I was so confident I realized something: I am confident.
 
I wasn’t just faking it anymore. It was honestly how I felt, and, oh boy, did I love it. Ever since then I’ve built a habit of acting in a way that I wished to be, slowly becoming what I was pretending to be in the beginning.
 
From my experience, the saying “Fake it till you make it” is more truthful than most might think. So do me a favor. When you wake up tomorrow and feel intimated or overmatched, choose to be 50% more confident. See how it feels.