All posts by Jason

I’m a computer nerd by trade, but I have found a second calling as a half- and full-marathon coach.

I found that I like to motivate people to do things beyond their initial belief and feel that I help them achieve a better perspective on their natural abilities.

Better

Better

 

Yesterday, I saw a commercial for bottled water.  In that commercial, they said that ‘better’ is what drives us.  ‘Better’ is what’s inside.  I’m sure they were talking about THEIR product being better than other bottled water products, but it made me think….and that’s a scary concept.

What does drive us to be better?  And what exactly does ‘better’ mean?  In order to be better, you must have a baseline.  You can’t be better if you haven’t already been something, right?

As the picture in today’s post says, be better than you were yesterday.  Again, a very simple concept.  There is always room for improvement, but sometimes people get lost in the enormity of it all.  In doing so, they get overwhelmed and end up giving up trying to succeed.

But if you just take it one day at a time, then incrementally you make the changes come to fruition.  Don’t be disappointed if you’re not the best ever.  Just be the best you can be.  You don’t have to be twice as good as you were yesterday, just try to be a little better than you were.  The scale begins with you and your expectations.  Don’t expect too much, just expect what’s achievable.

Getting better each day, accomplishing small goals each day, will lead you to a happy and more fulfilled life.  Try it and you’ll see.

Examine.

Elbow Grease Side Effects

Elbow Grease

 

It’s amazing what a little hard work will do.  It’s also amazing what a little physical/manual labor will do.  This past weekend was filled with both for me.  Outside of my son having a spontaneous teething situation, this weekend was a lot of sweat, fun and sense of accomplishment.

We started by painting our office/guest room.  If you haven’t painted or had a room painted, it is simply astonishing what a new coat of paint will do to a room.  It transforms it into, hopefully, what you are looking for and give you a sense of moving forward.  There are many lines that we can draw between ‘painting a room’ and ‘painting your life’, but that will have to wait for a non-Quick Shot post.

On Sunday, we did a lot of yard work.  We cleared and leveled an area of the yard that we are going to use to extend our patio and lay bark down.  We installed an arbor in front of our shed to make it look nicer and we dug up a dead tree.  YAY, you’re saying…this post is really interesting me….YEAH RIGHT.  Okay, so what’s the point…

Well, as we were working, and when our son was not fussy because of his teeth, he started to explore our back yard by himself.  He started to really independently play.  He would carry on conversations with the trees, the dog, the grass and the fountain.

All of a sudden, when mom and dad were working, he realized that he had this whole world to himself and we could see the endless possibilities in his eyes.  When we did have to finally go back inside, he was not a happy camper.  He’s always been an outdoor kid, but it moved to the next level.

Family time outside is now going to be a part of our routine, which it probably should have always been, but now that the weather is a bit nicer, it’s much easier to start forming that habit.

Sometimes it’s the ‘needs-to-be-done’ moments that create the ‘what-a-great-memory’ moments.  Don’t dread what has to be done, because sometimes it brings out one of the best things ever.  Inspiration.

Examine.

The Right Answer

The Right Answer

 

When looking for solutions to problems, it is often thought that there is no right answer.  I’ve come across this concept many times over the past few months.  It seems like with every decision that is made, there are Pros and Cons without any clear definition of absolute.

Then again, that is the world we live in.  There are no absolutes.  Every good thing comes with a price.  Every bad thing has a silver lining.  Of course, I said ‘every’ in those statements, which sound a bit absolute.  So, MOST things fall into those categories.

What I have also found is that some people will hesitate on a decision or solution because of the ‘Cons’ associated with it.  Not necessarily the items that fall INTO the ‘Con’ column, but just the fact that there ARE ‘Cons’ is reason enough to hesitate.  While there are situations where this is appropriate, more times than not this is the worst reason to not make a decision.

It’s all about tolerance.  How much of a price are YOU willing to pay for the decision you are about to make.  If you are presented with a problem, finding a solution should be paramount to what EVERY possible negative repercussion can come from said solution.  Don’t get me wrong, all perspectives should be considered, just not dwelled on.

So, what is the right answer?  The right answer is the one that fulfills your need to progress.  The right answer is the one that gives you the best shot of success.  The right answer may not be the one that your gut, your heart, your mind all agree on, but if you know it’s the one that will get you to tomorrow, then it’s the right answer.  Go find it.

Examine.

Problems and Solutions

Problems and SolutionsSometimes when problems arise, it is the first instinct to run.  Run away from the problem until eventually it goes away.  However, a very wise person said “Running away from your problems is a race you will never win.”  They are always there and will be there until you face them.

Then how about this?  Instead of running AWAY from your problems, run TOWARDS a solution.  I mean, heck, you are still running in a metaphorical sense, right?  At least, this way, you are making productive use of your time and energy and life is too short to waste either.

 

 

Dreams

Dreams

 

Do you remember when you were a kid and had so many hopes and dreams.  Remember what it felt like to think about ‘what you wanted to be when you grow up’ and ‘all the places you want to see’.  More importantly, remember that feeling of ‘anything is possible’ that would wash over you when you thought about those hopes and dreams?

Driving to work the other day, listening to Pandora, I had a flashback to that time.  In my very eclectic music channel, between Evanescence and The Beatles, a Harry Chapin song came on.  It was a song that I don’t even know if I’ve ever heard, but I know Harry enough to know when it’s him singing.

Immediately, I was sent back to when I used to listen to Harry Chapin in my parents car when we would go places.  I would be sitting in the back seat, staring out the window and would always start to daydream about all sorts of stuff.  It would always put me in a good mood.  Driving to work that day, listening to Harry Chapin, made me realize that I usually turn to his music if I need a pick-me-up.  It always reminds me of that ‘feeling’ that I would have when dreaming.

A lot of us, as adults, lose sight of dreams and goals.  We get jaded by life, knowing that NOT everything is possible.  Therefore, we stop dreaming and hoping and wishing.  Worse, we stop feeling that ‘feeling’.  Furthermore, we don’t necessarily realize we’ve stopped doing that or stopped looking for hope until we get reminded, like I did on my drive into work.

The realization that I came to, is if I can start finding that feeling again on my own, I can regain the motivation that at times may have seemed to be lost.  We all have those moments in life, in memories, of when we thought the sky was the limit, we just need to find that again.

The seasons are changing, the sun is shining more, what better time to improve our outlook on life.  Go out and find your ‘feeling’ and make today (and tomorrow) better!

Examine.

Right Now!

Right Now!This morning I heard the Van Halen song, “Right Now” and it struck a chord!  No pun intended.  It reminded me that yesterday was nice and tomorrow is coming, but the here and now is the place to be.  The moment to make the most of.  The time to make the change.

When tomorrow comes, will you regret waiting?  Do you look back at yesterday and think, ‘Gosh, I wish I had done something different?’  If you have, that’s fine.  It happens.  Every day, we make the choice to either let it ride or change the course.  There is no need to regret the decisions of the past.  We should always look toward the future, but remember that the future means nothing if we don’t take full advantage of today.

As the first month of the new year rounds the end of its time, it’s a great opportunity for you to look inside yourself and figure out what you would like to accomplish this year.  Make the goals today.  Start working on the goals tomorrow.  There’s no reason to hesitate any longer or soon you will find that the year has blown by without any success.  Don’t like today slip away.  Make it real.  Make it happen.

Hey, it’s your tomorrow!

Examine.

 

Transitions

Transitions

 

There comes a time in everyone’s life when they have to make a hard decision.  This decision will invariably change the course of their lives forever.  There are a lot of factors that go into making such decisions, but in the end, it comes down to which provides the most “pro” weighed against the least “con”.

I have made two such decisions in the last year.  Last Spring/Summer I made the decision to stop coaching for a while.   For the foreseeable future, that is.  This was a huge step for me because I loved it so.  I enjoyed helping others reach their potential and see their (running) goals to fruition.  The reasons for making the change are not necessary for the point of this blog entry.  Let’s take it for granted that they were the right reasons.  I don’t regret giving up coaching, but I sure do miss it.

More recently, I accepted a position with a company that I used to work with.  It is a management position and will allow me to get closer to a future that I have worked very hard to get.  A future that I want so badly, I’m willing to make certain sacrifices for.  Many people will see this opportunity that I am taking and say, “That’s an easy decision”.  Heck, even I said that.  However, upon reflection, it means a BIG change for me and my family and we will have to make adjustments.

So, here I am in the midst of a transition year.  On the running side, I am now a participant…with my very own coach!  Okay, he’s not my personal coach, but he coaches the team that I am now training with.  On the professional side, I am going from a technician to a manager.  See the duality?  It strikes me as a very harmonious synchronization within my life.  I even feel that one may have begat the other in some sort of cosmic, karma way.

Basically, I am trading the opportunity to help mold and shape the personal goals of others for the opportunity to mold and shape the professional goals of others.  I have always felt myself to be a decent mentor to those around me who have asked of it.  So, I relish the opportunity.

So, there you have it…a personal story of a life in transition.  I’m not worried about any of it, because I have the support of my family behind me and the encouragement of my peers in front of me.  Transitions are not to be feared, rather to be taken advantage of.  If an opportunity presents itself don’t regret passing it up because of fear.  Face the fear and make the leap.  That’s how you succeed.

Examine.

Value of Life

Value of Life

 

I listened to the President of the United States speak today about the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting.  First of all, I was watching a VERY important football game that was interrupted by this special presentation.

You know what?  I didn’t mind.  Not one bit.  I feel that means I’ve grown as a human being over the past few years.  Anyway, enough about me…

President Obama said something early in his speech about us, as humans, needing one another.  And earlier today, a good friend of mine posted a saying on Facebook that we should stop talking about controlling guns, and start teaching the value of human life.

I think these two concepts are connected in a big way.  I have stated before that the only way to start the ‘prevention’ of such tragedies is to teach our kids respect, love and courage.  But the question is can we do this by ourselves?

The answer is no.  We need to help each other out.  Create our communities and look out for each other.  There will be time that we will be high on life and our neighbor will be down in the dumps.  That is the time that we need to step up and offer assistance.

However, we must also remember that we can ONLY offer.  It’s a two-way street and once the offer is made, the offer must be accepted for it to be affected.  So, we must also remember that we need help and be open to the offerings of others.  That’s the only way it will work.  That is the way we realize the value of human life.

In this crazy journey we are all a part of, we only get what we put in.  So, let’s all make the conscious effort to put in a lot.  Be there for your neighbor, they will be there for you and BOOM both lives are enriched, thus increasing the value.

Show this to your kids and guess what happens?

Examine.

Unspeakable

UnspeakableAnd then it happened…

20 kids killed in their classrooms.  At a place where everyone tells them they are safe.  7 adults killed at their workplace.  Teaching and aiding today’s youth in their quest for knowledge.

A community torn apart by an unspeakable act of another human being.  A nation thrown into a flurry of anger, hatred and doubt.  Some people saying, “It could never happen here.”  Some of those people were probably Newtown, CT residents who saw the Virginia Tech, Columbine and Aurora shootings.

And then it happened…

It is simply amazing to see the outpouring of emotion and the ease of access we have to both express our thoughts and see others in their way of thinking.  I’ve seen posts ranging from “Take away all guns” to “How can this happen in a public school?” to “Why?”  I’ve seen anger, I’ve seen compassion, I’ve seen a lot of different take aways from the horrible incident that happened in Connecticut.

I wish I could sit here and give you a reason ‘why’ this happened.  I wish I could say that this would never happen to me or my community.  I wish I could say “Follow these steps and we can prevent this from ever happening again.”  But as is the reality of life, there is no simple answer nor is there a simple explanation.

The holidays are a great and wonderful time but can also be a very hard and depressing time.  There are always two sides to every coin.  Now, for 27 families, the landscape of the ‘holiday season’ has been changed forever.  For many more, this is just one more reminder at how short life is and how sometimes there is nothing we can do about it.

Can there be anything done?  I believe so.  Let me first say that I believe that there are random acts every day that we cannot change.  I don’t think there was anything definitive that would have stopped that man from walking into a school and opening fire.  The debate can go one about gun control laws until the end of time, but the fact of the matter is that there is no law that would stop a madman from killing innocent people.  We cannot change that sort of randomness.

What we can change, what we can do, is help each other and show love and compassion.  I can’t take away the possibility of this happening at my son’s school, but I can give my son the tools he needs to give him the best chance.  I can show him that he can trust me.  I can show him that as a child, he can trust the adults in his life.  I can show him how to gain the courage to be quiet, stay still and wait until danger passes.  I can tell him that running towards the sound of danger is not the right choice, but to band together with those around him is the way to survive.

No, I’m not going to be putting my 2-year-old through survival boot camp.  But over time, I will shower him with love and teach him respect.  I will show him what it means to live a good and fair life.  To treat others as he would like to be treated.  To not take advantage of the weak and to learn from the strong.

It is my belief that if more kids are taught core values and given love and shown respect from an early age, they have the best chance of not putting themselves into dangerous situations…let alone get the idea of taking a gun to school.

My heart goes out to every affected, directly or indirectly, by the events of Newtown, CT.  I will honor their loss by being thankful for my son and his opportunity to be a great person.

Examine.

 

Knocking on Opportunity

Knocking on Opportunity

 

This is a quick follow-up to The End…  I woke up with a little inspiration and felt like I had a bit more to say.

The popular theme is to make sure you are ready for when opportunity knocks.  Take advantage and go for it.  Right?  Well, why are we waiting for opportunity to knock?  Go knock on opportunity’s door and say, “Hey, I’m ready, let’s go!”

In my experience, we as a society do ‘wait’ a lot for things.  I’m not saying that we should always take action 100% of the time, but more like make sure we aren’t waiting unnecessarily.

Is the opportunity for a better life not here yet?  Go make an opportunity.  Go out and see what’s out there.  Moving to a different state, looking for a different job, whatever the scenario might be, if you don’t go look for it, you may never find it at all.

So, don’t wait for opportunity, go make opportunities happen for you.

Examine.