It’s time for you to grow!

What does it take to achieve what we want in life, lose weight, rebuild a relationship, reach a financial goal, or accomplish a black belt? Are there any common principles? We think so…

If progress equals happiness what does it take to constantly improve and make never-ending progress? Master Don Alley and I share some quick thoughts. Please watch for the surprise guest at the end of our talk. : )

I look forward to seeing you soon at an upcoming event!

God Bless.

A lovely stroll

Running an ultra marathon is one of the hardest physical feats a person can accomplish. Imagine running for 24 hours or more without a break, over a terrain of sharp stones, sticks, stumps, fallen logs, streams, and mud all competing for the last bit of your energy. Imagine your entire body being slammed against the ground thousands of times while you use an extraordinary amount effort in a futile attempt to comfortably absorb the repeated shocks to your body. Ankles hurt, knees are in pain, hamstring muscles cramping, thighs are burning.  The big toe was throbbing until you slammed it into that rock earlier, and now you can’t feel it at all and you can’t help wonder if it is broken. You picture blisters appearing all over your feet.

What possesses people to do such a thing? Wasn’t the car invented so we didn’t have to torture ourselves in such a grueling manner?

Today I tasted what this experience must be like and what I am in for when I reach my long range goal of running an ultra marathon. A yearly event, the “Deep Hollow Half Marathon,” traverses Liberty Mountain in Lynchburg on trails that must have been made either for or by the devil himself. The name really doesn’t fit seeing that your trek begins by climbing straight up the side of a mountain. “Deep” and”Hollow” are not two words I would use to describe the path. The word “hollow”  means “valley,“ but for 13 miles, we ran up and down and all over a mountain but never anywhere in a valley! I’m convinced the name is part of the evil plan to entice people to actually run this course.  Who wouldn’t want to take a lovely stroll in a “deep hollow?”

Despite strong inclinations to skip the whole idea, I began this run that a friend had so wittingly talked me into. “It will be fun”, he said.  I can only conclude that some people have a seriously twisted view of fun.

During my race, I had the honor of running beside an ultra marathoner for several miles. And I quickly became his biggest fan. This guy runs 50 miles just for the heck of it! Gleaning knowledge from experts is one of my favorite pastimes, so I asked, “What do you know that could help me run better?”  His advice changed not only the way I run but my entire perspective on life.

His guidance was simple: save your energy: don’t fight the downhill and don’t waste your energy killing the uphill. You can “rock and roll” on your way down, but on your way up save energy by taking it slowly. In other words, “go with the flow.” Some of the best things in life are simple, and this counsel was one of those things!  

My obsession with making an application of everything to life didn’t fail me here. The other day I was stressing over something that was totally out of my control, demonstrating the opposite of “going with the flow”. How many times do we worry, fight, stress, or obsess over things that we cannot control even if we wanted to? How often do we hold ourselves back on the downhill, while wearing ourselves out fighting and pushing on the uphill?

This week, take command of what you can control, but not fight the rest.  In the words of the great tennis player Andre Agassi, “Control what you can control.”

He made this his mantra.  You and I should do the same.

God Bless!

Vacation Wonders!

This picture only begins to touch the breathtaking views and amazingness of the Colorado mountains that I witnessed recently while on vacation.

Last week I had the unique privilege of visiting Crested Butte, Colorado and mountain biking on world class trails over 12,000 feet in elevation! It was one of those experiences that gives you a fresh perspective on life!

On the way there, I also had the privilege of meeting a very nice lady in the airport. I assumed she was 60 to 65 years old by her young looks, her high energy, and the fact that she was texting on her phone. I mean really…how old could she be?  You can imagine my surprise when she told me that she was 75 years old! A bit too old for me…darn.

Wouldn’t we all like to be fit, young looking, full of passion and energy for life at the age of 75?! I know I would! So I asked her, “How do you look so good and have so much energy at 75 years old?” She responded right away, “Well, I drink beer”. Of course, I thought, how has this secret avoided me so long? But then she became serious and gave me the answer I was looking for: “I love life! I enjoy what I do every day! I still can’t wait to get up in the morning to work with the children in my practice. Stress is what kills people today.”

A 75 year old women who has this much passion and love for life?!?! It was right then and there I decided that I wanted to be like her when I grow up.

I couldn’t get the words out of my mind: “Stress is what kills people today!”

How true this is. How many of us are stressed out of our minds? How many of us can’t focus on what’s really important because little things keep getting in the way? Why is stress so prevalent in our fast-paced, push-button, “have-it-now” society and how can we deal with it?

Maybe the answer is the same as to why we feel so refreshed after a great vacation? Or why we feel as if everything comes back into balance and perspective after a walk by ourselves in the woods, spending an hour in silence, or doing something just for me.

Maybe what we are missing in our everyday routines is time for ourselves. Isn’t our life full of constant demands on our time, energy, love, and attention. We manage to keep our business, school, or home appointments, but have we scheduled and kept a consistent appointment with ourselves? When was the last time you took the time to love yourself, to remind yourself of what truly matters in life, or to do something that refreshes you at the deepest level? What works for you? Is it reading a book, having Bible time, taking a walk, getting a pedicure, or enjoying a meal at a nice restaurant?

The Good Book says, “Love your neighbor as you love yourself.” Doesn’t this assume that you must love yourself a lot before being able to love another fully?

My challenge for you this week is to drop your story as to why you can’t take time to love and de-stress yourself. I know you hear the excuses all the time…maybe even from your own mouth? “I have too much to do?” or “My life is just way to busy” or “My life is just about serving others” or “It would be too stressful for me to leave.”

But can you really love someone else fully, if you don’t love yourself? Can you really give to others if you are empty inside? Can you truly inspire others if you aren’t inspired? Can you truly help and serve others in outstanding ways when you are over-stressed?

For a higher quality of life, take time for yourself, and make this week great!