When I go to the gym, I expect to push myself. I expect to have to choose to increase the weight for the bench press (especially for my weak flimsy arms.) I expect to increase the weight I use when I am squatting. I choose to increase the weight I use when I do curls.

I also choose to increase the slope of the treadmill or elliptical to continue to maintain my size and weight. Sometimes I think I will fall over dead afterwards or there is no way I can finish my time.

As I push myself to make these increases, I also increase the amount of resistance each one of these exercises has on my body. And ideally the increased resistance leads to the desired results of weight loss/maintenance, toned muscles, chiseled abs (it is harder to chisel a keg than a six pack. It is really insurance against dying a death too young.)

Increasing the resistance is important. I have to increase the resistance in order to continue to develop and maintain physical health.

Then there is creativity and productivity. I have to focus on developing my creativity too. It comes with its own resistances.

Tiredness: I’ve been up too long and I have already done so much.

Boredom: this part of the project is lame and I don’t like it. I should something that doesn’t take so long or is more entertaining.

Distractions: I know I need to come up with some ideas, but I would rather check my email, Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, YouTube, or listen to a podcast. Those are easier and quicker than making myself be creative.

Excuses: It can wait.

At the end of the day, there are all these resistances I am pushing against when it comes to focusing on doing work that matters. Making a difference in the long term projects and getting real work done. Whether or not I will do anything worthwhile is directly related to my ability to lean into these resistances in the face of excuses.

What are your excuses for not doing something that matters? What are your resistances? How can you lean into them to do work that really matters to you and to others? How can your friends know what you are capable of if you never lean into your resistances?

“Resistance is futile.” - Ancient Borg Proverb

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Revolving Door

Last week I was in New York City. I was blessed with a vacation by my in-laws. The thrust of the trip was rest, relaxation, touristing, and celebrating my sited-in-law’s college graduation. I believe I did these things well. During this trip we saw all the sights and did all of the things. Honestly, ask me if we did whatever thing it is you think we absolutely HAD to do and I’m guessing we probably did it.

Also during the trip, I had a couple days to myself to run around the city, see what I would want to see, and generally enjoy the city in such a way as I would prefer. I took some time to reflect about me and what I think and how I feel about life during these days. I was looking for the unexpected. Truly, looking for what I was missing about myself. Nothing struck me as I was sitting with a few strangers, all us relaxing in an 85 year old establishment titled, ‘Nat Sherman International.’ After a bit of relaxation, I departed the Nat Sherman and ventured around the city to go shopping. I found my way to my corporate coffee shop of choice to get a delicious iced black tea. 

On my way out of the coffee shop, it struck me. In the face, it struck me. The revolving door of the coffee shop struck me in the face *almost* and I had an epiphany simultaneously. Funny how often these two things coincide. 

I think the revolving door almost striking me in the face reminded me of the truest reality of life, teamwork, and success. The idea I was struck by was how a revolving door works. It is both simple and incredibly profound. When I step into the door, I am usually stepping in behind someone else. This person is probably pushing the door in front of them to keep the doors revolving. When I step in, I am unconsciously faced with a decision to start pushing right then or ride on the laurels of the person in front of me. If I take the latter of these two options, then I will be left in the turnstile after the person in front of me exits. Upon their exit, the revolving door will continue to move, centrifugal force; eventually, the door will stop moving with me inside of it.

I am then faced with my final choice, I can either stop here, count my losses, and wallow, or I can start pushing. It will be much harder to start pushing from the dead stop, I will have to build up the momentum again and there is always friction around me. But it can be done. I will push until I am all the way through the door. As I exit, I am faced with the last decision.

How hard am I pushing as I exit?

Am I pushing just enough to squeeze out a crack for me, a crevice through which I can exit? Or, am I sprinting through the exit? Am I pushing until logically beyond my capacity. The door is around the corner and about to hit me in the back of the head, but I am still pushing so the person behind me is able to build more momentum then I have.

In my life, I am not dying any time soon, as far as I know, however, there are a dozen different situations and contexts for my life. 

My vacation being one of them. As I left for NYC, did I leave pushing extra hard and farther than I needed to so the people still in the turnstile would be able to carry on the momentum while I was gone? Or, did I leave and they were left to deal with the leftovers as I snuck out of the crack the door provided for me.

As you are at work, as a parent, a friend, or a confidant you are growing and other people are filling in the gaps you are creating. Are you pushing the revolving door with all your might as you exit? What do you need to do to push a little harder, and make the door swing a little farther than before?



Ashes to Ashes

What is it about the underdog story? The story of the gal who rose from the ashes and put her life back together. Or the guy who recovered from addiction and 7 years later is now happily married, stable, and has his second kid on the way. What about these stories resonates so much with me. 

Why is it now that I’ve risen from my comparative ashes that I now feel pseudo invincible. Not in the sense I’ve adopted some risky lifestyle or behavior where I’m on the edge and always looking for my next plane to jump out of or mountain to climb. 

I’m taking risks in relationships. I’m pushing boundaries where I would’ve gone with the flow.

I relate to these stories as I feel as if I have risen from my own ashes. I do not think on the imperial scale my low is the lowest of all lows. However, on the relative scale I do think my low was as low as I’ve been. Now I have the opportunity to rise. I get to be resurrected from the ashes and push forward.

I now get to decide when the pushing stops. I deci whether or not I am going to face the next challenge. I may not always choose or create the challenge. I will decide whether or not I’m going to step up to the plate or take an excuse. 

What excuse are you taking instead of stepping up for the next challenge?