The Middle – A fog between start and finish

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10×10 Challenge – Day 7 Days 4-7 are usually the toughest.

Yesterday was day 7 of my latest 10×10 challenge. For those of you that don’t know, this running challenge involves running 10 miles a day for 10 straight days. That’s 100 miles over a week and a half. I’ve done 2 of these over the past 2 years, and I thought this was a time in my life that I could go at this again.

I’ve learned a lot over the course of these 10×10 challenges – I’ve worked through personal struggles, job challenges, goals, and a myriad of other thoughts. With today’s post, I want to focus on the middle miles (days 4-7) and how those relate to life.

Why is the middle hard?

For me personally, the first days and the last days are easier than the middle. When I set goals, the start is easy. I can get up at 4:15 a.m. on days 1 and 2.When I hit days 8-10, I can see the finish line, and it’s easier to get out of bed and hit the road.

The challenge usually comes in the murky middle. For me, running 10 miles on days 4-7 is tough. I’m tired. I know I have another week of this madness. I realized that when we set goals and start working towards them, this MIDDLE is the hardest part of accomplishing anything worthwhile.

How do we fight through after the newness wares off?

How do we stay focused on the goal and take concrete steps when the end seems so far away (or maybe nowhere in sight)?

I realized a couple of things during miles 40-70 of the current challenge.

The middle is necessary to get to the end. 

Anything worthwhile has a middle.

The middle is necessary to accomplish anything of substance.

If you go from start to finish with no middle, you may not appreciate what you accomplish.

Right now, I’m in a season that I would call a MIDDLE. My job ended in December and my new adventure starts at the end of the month (February). The middle has been a place of unknown and a wavering between hope and fear.

The lessons I’ve learned about the middle are real. It’s not easy making it through the middle to the place where you can catch a glimpse of the finish line. And many times it is faith and grit that gets us to a place where we can know the end is within our reach.

For me, the end is now in sight. I can see the finish line, and I know I can make it 2 more days – 20 more miles. If you are currently in the middle – between your start and your finish – keep moving forward. Keep your eyes on the goal, and remember that the MIDDLE is what makes the END worth the fight.

 

 

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1095 Days and Counting

8F661017-9499-4A82-B2C7-F20D961072EEThere are some things that I’m pretty good at doing on a daily basis:

  • Eating
  • Checking twitter
  • Looking at my phone
  • Eating sweets
  • Checking Facebook
  • Late-night snacking

I’m pretty solid as eating, but as you can see, running did not make the list of things that comes easy for me on a daily basis.

Some folks eat so that they can run, I, however, run so that I am can eat (and I do that very well).

On Saturday, February 16th, 2013, I started on a goal to run at least 2 miles every single day for 1 week. Little did I know that that 1 week would turn into 2, and then into a month…and then a year. 1095 days later and the running streak (#RunStreak) is alive and well. Today starts my 4th year of running every, single day.

Over the last 3 years, I’ve seen a lot of early miles and a few later in the day. My wife, Chelsea, deserves most of the credit as she has put up with my absurd idiosyncrasy. She tolerates my leaving right before dinner or after work to squeeze in a quick run if I’m not able to get it in during the early morning hours.

For the last 60 days, I’ve been joined by our puppy Lily. She’s been a trooper, and we’ve averaged 4-5 miles a day. Today she put in her longest run – 10 miles as I’ve kicked off another round of 10×10 (running 10 miles a day for 10 straight days).

It’s been said that what we are doing here (Running Streak) is not a mark of intelligence, and that is probably true. It is however, a sign of perseverance (and probably a hint of stubbornness – a quality my wife would attest to).

I’ve run at 4 a.m. and 10 p.m. My job requires travel so I’ve had to think strategically to plan my runs. Some are on a treadmill, but most are on the road. I’ve run in Vegas, Albuquerque, Jackson (MS), El Paso, Dallas, Houston, Austin, New Orleans, San Antonio, and many other cities. Some runs have been hot and some have been cold, but most have one thing in common – you have to be intentional in order for it to happen.

Two months ago I lost my job. It was quite a shock, but these daily runs have been therapeutic and helped me work through my emotions. We’ve read the research on how exercise gives us a boost and helps us physiologically and psychologically, but it’s not easy to hit the road in the middle of a struggle. My RunStreak has helped me heal and allowed me to look forward to the possibilities of a new adventure.

As you think about your daily endeavors, what’s one thing that you’d like to do every single day? Exercise. Reading. Prayer. Find an area and challenge yourself to do it every day for a week. Who knows exactly what your 1 week might turn into…

Margin – 3 Ways to Transition to Home from a Home-Office

Most people hate the idea of a commute. I admit, being stuck in rush hour traffic is frustrating. However, when you travel to an office or a location outside your home to work, you create “MARGIN” in your life.

Margin is the cushion lets you be your best possible self. When you create a boundary between work and home you can process what you’ve done at work and start to focus on your family who’s anxiously awaiting your arrival at home.

When you work from home and you exit your office door at 5:00 p.m., you are thrown directly into the excitement and drama that can be your family. Without margin in your life, you gone from calling on clients to calling your kids out of the tree. From closing million dollar deals to closing pantry doors. From planning marketing events to planning dinners that may or may not be appreciated.

So how do we create margin when working from home? Here are 3 quick tips.

  1. Go through the motions – Shut down what you’re working on, leave the office, go outside, and come back in. The physical action of stopping one thing and starting another can help your mind transition and your energy level increase.
  2. Work with your spouse and kids – Let them know that your plan is to give them 100%, but explain in order to do so you need 5-10 minutes. My wife, Chelsea, has done a great job of encouraging (requiring) me to break after work and before I’m present with her and the girls.
  3. Exercise – The most powerful way I’ve found is to get in a workout right after work and before being home. Even if it’s just 2 miles when I finish work, those 20 minutes (I’m slow) give me an outlet and let me recharge my battery. Do some push-ups or burpees. Go for a walk. It won’t take long, and the benefits will make you a better spouse, parent, or friend.

I’ve worked from home for the last 3+ years, and we are still adjusting to some of the challenges. I’ll address some of the other challenges in subsequent posts, but in the meantime, understand that creating margin leads to stability and gives you the ability to give the people that mean the most to you what they deserve.

What are some of the ways you’ve been able to create margin in your life?