Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Raise the Bar

Right after graduating from college I thought it would be cool to run a few road races. The running would keep me in shape, and allowed me an outlet to do something competitive, even though the only person I was competing against was really myself.

For years I was my own personal trainer, and did not seek others for advice. I typically would finish right in the middle of the pack for each race. I did learn a little from each race, and eventually checked out a couple of running books at the library. Reading those books gave me a guideline, and did help me raise the bar a little bit, but nothing earth shattering.

Then for fun, I asked the cross country coach at the school I work for if I could run with the cross country team for a few weeks. The coach agreed and even encouraged me to run with them, proclaiming that it was good for the athletes to have another set of eyes and someone to support the athletes besides him.

Little did I know they would teach me a lot more about life then I what I could offer them. They gave me an awareness of where my goals were, and where they could be.

I started out that mid-August in fairly good shape and was running a 5K race at 23:00 minutes. I would finish the month of August running a 5K at 20:00. Which was a gigantic leap in a short amount of time. How did that happen? My bar was raised. By a lot. Metaphorically I was jumping 4feet, when my potential was much higher.

This cross county team supported one another, and kept striving for improvement. More importantly I was taught that running the same mileage at the same pace would keep giving me similar results. This team switched it up, they ran shorter distances at fast tempos, they went very long distances at a very slow pace. They optimized each practice run. I figured out real quickly that I was shooting for an mediocre goal, when I had the ability to run faster than I had ever realized. Funny thing is, these students weren't more gifted or talented than me, they just formed a tribe and worked at their craft to do amazing things.

So are there areas of life that you finish in the middle of the pack? Are you going through those areas alone? Why settle for being average, why raise the bar a few inches, when you have the ability to raise it a few feet! Find a few like minded individuals and watch the bar go higher than you ever imagined!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Sobriety Tests, New Cars, and Coffins

I just started reading "A Purpose Driven Life" by Rick Warren. In one of the beginning sections the author talks about eternity. We all know someday we will die, and from the book Warren (and myself) believe that after you die you will either spend eternity in heaven with God, or you will be separated from his love.

The time spent here in your life is very short compared to where you will be in eternity. Which translates into... live a life using the talents and gifts God gave you, establish a relationship with God, and remember the problems we all experience in life are only short term.

The very next day after reading the eternity section, I got in my car and drove to work. On the highway I encountered a handicapped man behind his car given a sobriety test by two policemen. As I continued on my drive into downtown Le Sueur I see a brand new Ford vehicle that must have just ran into a telephone pole causing extensive damage. Then about a mile before I reach the office, a hearse pulls out in front of me. It was carrying a casket to the church for a funeral service. I followed the hearse a few blocks before I realized the rarity of this morning commute.

The message to me was clear. We all make mistakes in life, just like the drunken handicapped man, and we all are given raw deals like the damaged Ford car. But eventually we will be taken away, our bodies will remain in the ground while our souls go to heaven.

Don't lose perspective, don't lose sight of your purpose, and remember your place in eternity.

Monday, March 1, 2010

I don't need help.

I feel greatness calling me every day, instead of exploring what that greatness is, I waste time on facebook, email, and reading the latest in sports.

I don't focus on what my greatness might look like. I don't spend time examining that gut feeling, what the possibilities may be, instead I stay comfortable in the rut I've created.

At Thursday morning prayer group, I prayed for God's purpose for my life. One of the prayer group members said, "Just ask God, he will tell you. But you have to believe in him." I believe, I just need to ask.

My gut and my heart tell me that community ed. is the right place for me. So I've got my friend John to help me through. We will begin each week with what we want to accomplish. I think a little push from John will provide a ton of momentum.

When I played basketball in college my coach, Will Rey, helped us define what can be accomplished when a team plays like one, and plays for each other. Not everyone got that message, and we ultimately had a long losing season. But those lessons from coach Rey stayed with me.

Motivation is necessary, passion is necessary, working together for a purpose greater than yourself is necessary beyond words. Those elements need to be in place to achieve greatness.