Grit and Letting Go

GritMy current goto for enlightenment is TedTalks, which recently posted an article on Grit. It’s an old term that’s been repurposed as a measure of success. Researchers have found (I love using that phrase) that obvious factors such as IQ, EQ, upbringing, and environment are not the best indicators of whether a person will be successful or not. The real measure is Grit.

In a nutshell, Grit pertains to one’s ability to focus and persevere.  Aha… so that explains why some of my family members, friends and associates who seem to have capabilities are continually foundering on the shores of life. You push, prod, guide, and hand-hold, but they stay caught in the ebb and flow of the waves on the shoreline. They wash in and wash out, but essentially stay in the same place.  If you happen to be one of the prodders, this can be an extremely frustrating experience, because you continue to believe that if you prod enough then they will succeed…. WRONG… because they lack grit!

Lacking grit is not a bad thing. It’s akin to saying that a person who cannot play music by ear is lacking. No…. as my ex-son-in-law would say…. It is what it is.

Yesterday, Hubby and I went on a hike to Penasquitos Park with a determination to get toPenasquitos waterfall the waterfall because the last time we couldn’t make it. Actually, the last time we were smart enough to know that the day was too hot and the distance too far (7 miles round trip) so we turned around. This time we were not going to let a little heat and distance stop us. We were Focused!

Once we set a goal (focus) we will persevere until we reach our goal come hell or highwater! Unfortunately, the goalsetting did not take into account that we were starting late in the day (again) when the temps were already in the 80’s.  We made it to the waterfall, but totally exhausted our energy reserves and put ourselves in a situation that could have resulted in headlines Hiking Seniors Suffering from Heatstroke Were Evacuated to Hospital.

Hubby and I happen to be a 10 on the grit scale and sometimes too much is as bad as not enough. But the real message is to the Prodders (We are also guilty and have spent A LOT of money and angst prodding. So we understand the impulse.) At some point, you have to recognize that we all do the best we can and that pushing and prodding is not only exhausting (for the prodder and proddee), but expensive and non-productive for all parties. It’s not about giving up. It’s about accepting the realities.

Stay tuned.




TEAM USA: The Best of the Best

archery 2

Met a young man training to be on the US Olympic Archery Team. He let us know that he is ranked number 10 (not sure if that is national or world), but either way… it is damned impressive.

In fact, all of TEAM USA is damned impressive. As part of our “do everything now while we can” campaign, we had the opportunity to visit the Chula Vista Olympic Training Center (CVOTC).

The CVOTC is designed to train athletes in outdoor events such as soccer, track and field, biking, running, motocross, tennis, etc. The facilities are superb and we coincidentally got to see the women’s soccer “B” team practicing. The one thing that all the athletes have in common is the absolute knowledge that they will win. The young archer we met was preparing for an upcoming national competition. Apparently, archers must place in the top 3 to qualify for the Olympics. He said with confidence… “I’m ranked number 10 so I expect to make the top 3.”

As if they don’t already have enough confidence, the Center even has an obstacle course designed like American Ninja Warrior to push the athletes to do things they don’t know they can do. Since winning times are often seconds apart… its often the confidence that makes the difference.

It is amazing how one’s confidence grows when accomplishing the imtriathlon 2possible. I had that experience when I completed a triathlon, but that’s another story.

The US does not support our athletes, but these kids work hard for the United States… consider making a donation.

Stay tuned.

Sipping My Tennessee Honey Jack

tempAlways needed to be in charge. To pull the strings. Always knew how to do it better. But that’s okay, because I loved juggling projects, customers, employees and maneuvering through the minutia.

But, being in charge is like the burden of Sisyphus, because no matter how hard you push, there is always a new bolder and another hill. After awhile what used to be a challenge becomes a problem, a headache,  or pain in the derriere.

As a business owner, I operated in the fast lane. Ate problems for breakfast, and asked for seconds. As a university professor I shifted over to the middle lane and problems were primarily caused by coddled students who couldn’t accept anything short of an “A” grade, plus demanding adjuncts who didn’t understand that adjunct meant temp. As a consultant, I eased into the right lane where I took on projects as and when I chose. Life was easy and good as I cruised down the right lane.

One day, while sitting on my back deck working on a cient project and sipping my icetea, I momentarily lost my way. It was as if a blinding migraine headache had struck and I couldn’t think straight. Suddenly I had a need to be a mover and shaker again! Wanted to prove to myself that I still had “it”. Wanted back into the fast lane! Like a mother, I had forgotten the pain of childbirth (aka management).

Took on a killer job only to find that there were too many jockeys and not enough horse, anddd… that I was the horse. Like being on a stage with Penn and Teller, I had been operating under the illusion that I was in charge. When the reality lightbulb went on, I knew it was time to take over the reins and pull back. But the most important lesson was that I did not need to prove to anyone including myself, that I still had it. What a humongous waste of time that was.

I no longer care about the marketplace. I no longer care about customers, contracts, or unintended consequences of self-driving cars. Thinking about Trump and his ignorant follower’s raises my blood pressure.  I no longer care. Yes, these things matter, but I’m not in charge. I am not responsible. It’s not my problem. I don’t have to plan, implement, or sweat it.I’ve seen what’s behind the curtain and it is not pretty.  It’s time for other folk to worry about the minutia.

I’ve now moved off the highway to the grandstand and am immensely enjoying watching the silliness, the puffery, and the inane while sipping my Tennessee Honey Jack.

Stay tuned

Take Small Bites…

Bayshore Bikeway 2“Real bicyclists” travel the 27-mile Bayshore Bikeway as a warmup to their century rides. My balcony overlooks part of the Bikeway so I cannot escape these energizer bunnies who I also see at the local coffee shop. They are all ages, shapes, and sizes. In fact, I’ve often wondered how someone can be fat and a bicyclist, but that’s another story.

The Bikeway is well known in the San Diego biking community, and watching the cyclists makes me nostalgic, because somewhere in me is a woman who would easily bike 25, 35, 50 miles or more. This woman, AthLEticA, was an avid racquetball player, bicyclist, so-so tennis player, and skier.

AthLEticA has been responsible for talking me into activities ending in knee surgery’s, back aches, foot sprains, and has caused many dollars in contributions to the medical industry. Therefore, I have told her that under no circumstance would I tackle the Bikeway, but yesterday, she and my husband conspired against me. He suggested that we do 5 miles of the route. At the 5-mile mark the ride turned into a challenge to see which one of us would cry uncle, and turn around.  Since both of us are extremely competitive, we ended up doing the entire 27-mile route.

Message 1… if you want to do something big, break it up into little pieces

Message 2 …. Push yourself to do what you thought you couldn’t

Next Stop…. Appalachian Trail!!

Stay tuned….

Who Am I?

who am i 2Ones’ identity is usually defined by what we do… that produces income. Policewoman, congress woman, business owner, are all nice neat definitions that anyone can understand. But, If ones identity is tied to what we do then who are we when we don’t do anything that generates money (i.e., retired, consultant, artist)? In my past life, my answer would be used to determine my value so as to ascertain whether the questioner would engage in conversation with me.

Unlike those born with a name (i.e., Rockefeller, Hilton) that in itself says they don’t work, I found myself contemplating an answer. Though I would never want to be defined by the police as a “person of interest”, I also don’t want to be classified as a “person of non-interest”.

Rather than be stymied by this question of identification, an opportunity was surfacing. I can define myself! Wow! What a novel idea.  I should have thought of this years ago. In fact, I remember a time when I was in a playful mood while at a B&B, and passed myself off as a travel writer. That was a hoot. I still remember speaking the words out and watching the expressions on the faces around the table. Suddenly, I was a celebrity. I was interesting!

Self-identification is liberating! Plus it offers the added benefit of changing whenever the mood or circumstances change.So I ordered business cards that have the title “adventurer / explorer”. When I wrote that 2 months ago, those two words embodied my dreams. Now… working on making that dream a reality (if I don’t kill myself trying).

Under the guise of adventurer/explorer, I climbed Cowles Mountain, the highest peak in San Diego. It’s a heart-pumping 3 mile vertical climb, but the key word here is “vertical”. I thought I’d never get to the top, but my husband wouldn’t let me give up. It took an hour and a half to make the round trip followed by a 2 hour nap. The next week we went on an urban hike called “7 bridges”.

Who said hiking has to be in the woods? Urban hiking is so cool! It allows you to see the details, hear the sounds and feel the energy that city life vibrates.  Houses and buildings that we previously zoomed past in our car, take on a certain richness and come to life when hiked by. Then there are areas that I would never have seen if not for this hike. It was an adventure and exploration into the heart of the City of San Diego. Unfortunately, the explorer in me pooped out after 5 bridges and two hours of walking over hill and dale. But, since I’m not a quitter, I now have an opportunity to redo the hike to completion!

With my hiking juices flowing, hubby and I hiked a few Torrey Pines trails that started with an ascent as steep as Cowles Mountain, but only about a mile long (whew!). The total hike was about 3-4 miles with the last leg along the sun-dappled Pacific Ocean, which made the hike totally worthwhile.

The adventure continues…..

Stay tuned…

The Yin and the Yang

firehose and little girlYesterday, the force of the water from the hose pushed my back up against the wall and by the end of the day, I sat in a puddle on the floor.  Today, I was able to dial back the faucet to a dribble, and ended the day with a feeling of accomplishment. Tomorrow the hose may be on full force again, but eventually it will slow to a trickle.

I have been told that it will take a year to a year-and-a-half to get this job down pat, but I reject that. How could it possibly take that long! I’ll show them! By year’s end I’ll be doing the backstroke while reading a book on top of the water coming out of the fire hose. Like Superwoman, I’ll use the hose to knock criminals off their feet. I’ll use the water to put out fires. I’ll use the hose as a ladder and climb tall buildings….

The message is clear…. some days it will be Niagara Falls. Some days it will be a lazy river, and some days it will be a slowly dripping faucet, or it could be a dry riverbed.  But that’s the yin and the yang of working on your passion.

Stay tuned

Full of Fear

Fear is a powerful motivator. It motivates me to keep leaping from one tall building to another. For if I stay still too long, I may rust-up. I’ve been called brave, courageous, and inspiring, but what I really am is…. afraid. Afraid I’ll run out of time to do all the things I want. Afraid to stop exercising my brain for fear the Big A will catch me. Afraid I won’t accomplish what I was sent here to do. My biggest fear is that I’ll spend all this time on this earth and my presence will not have made a difference.

So now you know what really drove me to leave my home and my husband to cross the country to a new job. It was to follow my passion before my time runs out and the Big A catches up with me. For the first time in many years, I have stopped chasing the dollar and begun chasing my dreams. I am on my way to making a difference. I am helping people plant their dreams and watch their businesses grow. I have found that which I was supposed to do. After I fulfill my passion (if that’s possible), I will probably still be afraid, but then I can make small steps instead of leaping tall buildings.

No… I’m not brave, courageous, or inspiring…. I’m just Afraid.