Heart of Courage

Some days require an extra dose of courage. Some days the tasks at hand seems to large to handle. Some days we (I) need to be reminded that awesome things are ahead if we (I) just dare to embrace the adventure. Some days we (I) need to take heart and realize we (I) are Two Steps From Hell instead of in the fire.

This YouTube clip is my morning reminder to do Epic Shit. It will be looped all day if that is what it takes to get the message.


Flight to Middle Earth


I fly a lot.  In fact I fit into that class of workers commonly know as “Road Warriors”. Although the term brings up rugged Mel Gibson images of someone gallantly fighting through obstacles while moving from place to place, that couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact the tedium of travel, especially in the current age of security lines, cattle car airlines, and cramped seats, can be quite tiresome.

Flight safety instructions are without a doubt one of the most boring parts of flying often delivered in a rushed monotone. Snoring is often induced by the well meaning, but also bored flight attendants who are required to read from the script. I can count on one hand the number of times these instructions were delivered with any kind of personality.

Finally one airline recognizes this problem and is doing something about it.

And if that one isn’t good enough, here is the latest flight safety video for your enjoyment.

New Day Resolutions

808January has flown by in a blur. Just yesterday it seems we were wrapping presents, enjoying the holidays, and anticipating a fresh start with the new year.

How about those fresh start new years resolutions? Have they survived the month? If you are like me a few are moving forward, some have fallen off track, and others are still sitting in the starting gate.

Why do we often struggle accomplishing our goals and resolutions? One reason is because the goals we set are too big, or at least they feel that way. We take Jim Collins’ advice to create Big Harry Audacious Goals (BHAGs) but then don’t know how to achieve them. Whether it be a goal to lose weight, open a business, or complete a Toastmasters manual, the amount of work involved can feel overwhelming and ultimately become a demotivator.

Recently I had a conversation with someone who was almost paralyzed by the goal she set for herself. As we talked I began to realize she was trying to tackle the entire goal at once, focused on the end result instead of the steps it would take to achieve success. In other words she hadn’t full deconstructed the goal to the monthly, weekly, and daily activities required. We worked through this together and now, while still at times overwhelmed, she is back on track with a set of daily goals and activities that build toward accomplishing the larger goal.

How about your Toastmasters goals? Does completing your CC manual feel overwhelming? How about getting to DTM – does that feel completely out of reach?

The same principal of deconstruction can work for you. Break your speech projects down into small manageable steps. For instance you could plan to do research one week, followed by collecting examples the next week, followed by writing a rough draft on the the third. Each of those weeks can be further broken down into actions which can be checked off your list each day.

Don’t allow the size of you goal to become discouraging. If you need help deconstructing Toastmaster goals, any of our experienced Top of Texas members would be glad to help.

Create New Day Resolutions and take small daily steps toward achieving your goals.

This post first appeared in the Top of Texas Toastmasters members blog.

Between Times

Long Dark Shadows

This is the time between here and there.  This is the time between arriving and leaving.

This is the time where life is lived.  Its where we grow, suffer, learn, experience joy and experience fear.

It is the time where God engages people through scripture.  It is where people encounter God through prayer.

It is where religion is formed into discipleship, or completely abandoned for thirty pieces of silver.

It is where temptation reigns over the unguarded.

It is the quickening where wisdom is acquired by those who seek it; it is the road to despair for those who do not.

This is the time between prayers where desire is both fulfilled and left wanting, where reward is sweet but doesn’t quiet the souls longing.  It is the time when blisters form and walking is painful.  It is the time when aloe reminds us of Gods grace.

This is the time where our story is discovered and from whence our story is told.  It is the alpha journeying toward the omega.  It is the time of shadows where light defines the path for those who become sensitized to its frequency.

Photo Credit: Micky** via Compfight

5 Finger Running

8024355003_8ff02a91f8Let me be honest, I am not a runner.  It hasn’t ever been an enjoyable activity, even during the year spent running 400m events on the 8th grade track team.  Until the “Flabby Forties” set in I would have called myself a swimmer.  That activity more than any other leaves me with a long-term post workout endorphin high.  For the most part, running just hurts.

However, yesterday morning started out with a 3 mile adventure in my Vibram 5 Fingers.  What I immediately noticed was a lightness that isn’t felt in my professionally fitted running shoes.   The pavement seemed to fly by as I moved through the neighborhood. Even though there was increased impact on the balls of my feet, it was not uncomfortable. I was able to run farther and faster before slowing to a walk than at anytime in recent experience.

Another pleasant surprise was a complete absence of shin splints.  That constant running companion took a vacation for this 3 mile trek.  My calves did get worked a bit more and were tender later in the day.  But it was welcome trade off from the normal in motion pain.  That fact alone has me wanting to repeat the experience.

I’ve started a working theory about running shoe fittings.  The standard treadmill stride analysis isn’t sufficient.  It takes a short snap shot of pronation under ideal conditions.  From my own experience though, it appears fatigue (and pain) can significantly impact the stride and pronation.  So a shoe fit to correct an over pronation in a treadmill test may not be the best shoe for long term road running effort.   Vibrams effectively solve this problem by dynamically adjusting to the changes your feet experience over the length of the run. I haven’t done any research on this yet, but I am willing to bet there is evidence to support the theory.

One thing to note.  This was not my first time wearing 5 Fingers.  I’ve been doing CrossFit WODS’s (variations of squats, push ups, weight lifting, etc.) either barefoot or in the Vibrams for a while.  But in the blistering record high temperature Texas Summer, the pavement was simply too hot for the running attempt.  Yesterday morning however started out at a nice 55 degrees – perfect for running.  My point is that this jump into near shoeless running wasn’t cold turkey.  The supporting muscles in my feet had some experience working in a shoeless condition.

So I am wondering if there are any other 5 Finger runners out there. What was your experience with the “shoeless” running transition?  I would love to hear your advice.

Photo Credit: Maggie Osterberg via Compfight cc