Catching the Run-off

It was a while ago that a friend and I discussed an email going around called 40 Tips for a Better Life.  It’s a hodge-podge list of small obtainable goals that, although they promise to enrich our lives, are easy to shrug off.  One of them says “Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day.”  Another encourages “Make time to practice meditation, yoga, tai chi, and prayer. They provide us with daily fuel for our busy lives.”

Drops

This same friend introduced me to Washington DC’s River Safe Homes program.  (Yes, I know this seems like a non sequitor, but hang with me. You want to see where this is going.)  Continue reading

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From a place of joy

– She doesn’t get eaten by the eel at this time.

– WHAT!?

– I’m explaining to you because you look nervous.

– I’m not nervous. Well, maybe I was a bit…concerned but that’s not the same thing.

– The Princess Bride

Before we continue with Part 2 of our story about self-trust, I want to set you at ease.  The journey to renew your enthusiasm isn’t all crazy head work.  Sometimes you have these ridiculously sublime unguarded moments. Continue reading

Self-trust – Part 1

“Trust thyself; every heart vibrates to that inner string…Self trust is the first secret of success.”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Climbing has about as many layers as an onion.  And if you’ve been as wound up as tightly as I had been, it can make you cry as much, too.  At least until you realize the problem is inside you.  Your inability to trust yourself.

Climbing is about 1/3 technical, 1/3 physical and 1/3 mental.  There’s also the equipment, rope systems, knot-tying, physics and other elements that were previously thought to be beyond the capacity of this liberal arts major to understand.  What jazzes me most is the movement, the technique.  What has impacted me the most is the mental training. Continue reading

Workaholism and the Head-Fake

To understand where Renewable Enthusiasm is coming from, you’ll need a quick bit of back story. Prior to 2010, I was a workaholic. I was Exhibit A that Clayton Christensen described in his Harvard Business Review blog entry, How will you measure your life?

“When people who have a high need for achievement…have an extra half hour of time or an extra ounce of energy, they’ll unconsciously allocate it to activities that yield the most tangible accomplishments. And our careers provide the most concrete evidence that we’re moving forward.”

It wasn’t just about working a ton of hours and taking my work home with me. I craved that immediate feedback and sense of gratification. Maintenance of my self-worth required it. How else would I know I was succeeding in life but through the kudos, the evaluations, the challenging assignments, the being needed and called upon by important people?

The author being bad-ass while rock climbing

The author being bad-ass in June 2011

The only problem was, my work was becoming the sum total of my personality. That wasn’t making me happy. Enter in a need for something different. In early 2010, having settled into a regular 8-hour-a-day job that I loved, I set my new year’s resolution: I would do something bad-ass. I didn’t know what that would be at the time, except that it would not be work-related. I soon found rock climbing.

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Reflections on Steve Jobs

There’s a ton of information floating around about Steve Jobs.   Since last night,  I’ve been reflecting on his life lessons and what they mean for technology, design, management and personal leadership.  What it means to really commit yourself to a vision.  I’ve absorbed every kernel I can.

Yet, it’s The Onion that really brings it home:

Last American Who Knew What The Fuck He Was Doing Dies

Damn, the Onion is brilliant.  They know – they know our psyche!  They know our doubts.

I haven’t yet earned the right to write this irreverently in my own blog.  This is only our second time together.  It’s supposed to be inspirational.  Renewable Enthusiasm.  But maybe it’s time, on this second date, that I let you know that I’m the youngest child of family of Irish descent.  I’ve got red streaks in my hair.  I’m a Taurus.  Born in the year of the Ox.  I can be all diplomatic, but when it comes down to it…

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Committing to the start

I’ve got a commitment problem.  I have ideas coming out my ears.  Including ideas for this blog.  But something is holding me back.  It’s these wild skittish horses in my head.  Powerful creatures, yes.  And they frighten easily.  They’re asking, “Who are you?  Who do you think you are to write a blog about passion?  About renewing enthusiasm?  Look at all the other blogs out there.  Passion.  Ideas.  Innovation.  It’s all out there. What do you have to add?” And then the whole herd starts running straight for the barn.

I’ve learned not to take these characters too seriously.  I’m used to them by now, and have been practicing reframing their negativity.  Alright, I tell them.  I call your bluff.  What’s my imperative?

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