Are You Getting Enough Vitamin N?

Coal Creak Trail and Falls in Lafayette, ColoradoVitamin N.  You may not have heard of it.  In fact, if you go to your local drug store, you won’t find a bottle of it on the shelf.   That’s because vitamin N is something we get for free just by going outside and admiring the grass, the trees, the clouds, and the sun.

Vitamin N is nature.  With more and more of the population living in cities and high-density apartment/condo buildings, nature is becoming more and more distant in our daily lives.  While humans have dominated the earth and learned to control fire, extract resources from the planet and make some pretty incredible things with those resources, we must not forget that we are part of nature.

Just like we bring plants into our shelters, we must also make it a point to step out into nature itself.  Here is how:

  • Seek out parks.  While hiking isn’t available, you can still sit under a tree and take in the sunshine, the rustle of the leaves, and the wind in your hair.
  • In the urban environment, seek out well landscaped areas.  Newer shopping areas typically have streets lined with trees.
  • Do a Google Search for trails near your house.  Even in urban areas like Denver, more natural recreation paths are available like the Speer Blvd aqueduct.
  • Plan a weekend in the mountains.  Get out and explore areas within a half day drive to a day’s drive from home.  Plan time hiking and exploring the area.
  • Sign up for a community garden plot.  Sites like Growing Gardens might have a plot in your area.  There is nothing like dirt under the fingernails and a fresh tomato!

Getting your vitamin N fix is easier than you think.  Experience the birds, the leaves, and the sun.  They are all a part of your soul.

 

Reframing a Dysfunctional Life

Reframing a Dysfunctional Life

Patterns and Creativity of a Dysfunctional LifeIt can be risky letting yourself by vulnerable.  It can hurt at times, but it can also be superb.

As I embark on a new project to write a book, I ask for your patience, acceptance, and open-mind.  As I look back over my life, I see some awesome experiences, some not so great times, and I see a childhood rooted in dysfunction.  This dysfunction made me who I am today, for good and bad.

In “Patterns and Creativity of a Dysfunctional Life”, I hope to share my life along with some educational and restorative exercises to help anyone who is willing to try them.  Having grown up with the false sense of what a perfect life was supposed to be, I struggle a bit to create the life I want and dismiss this concept of perfection.

While we are all different with varying needs, various interests, and equally varying skills and personalities, defining success isn’t so hard as it is time consuming.  The life you create does not have to be based on the learned behaviors of a dysfunctional environment.  In fact, the life you create must be based on your true soul, your true passions, and not from any other source.

Join me on Patreon as I begin this journey.  It seems a bit scary, but the product of being vulnerable will have an impact on our society.  A positive impact, I hope.

Saying Goodbye to 2017 with Inspiration From Roy Underhill

Roy Underhill has been working with wood since I was a tiny little kid.   In 1979 he started the “The Woodright’s Shop” which has turned into PBS’s longest running how-to show.   For 38 years, Roy has been inspiring generations with his passion for woodworking and keeping the old methods of hand planes and good old fashion skill alive.   In fact, in episode 37 episode 6, Big Ash Mallet!, Roy pokes fun at the inability to find a quality mallet for sale.  He goes to say modern manufacturers truly want woodwright’s to make their own mallets because the glued mallets for sale are worthless. Go Roy!

Goodbye 2017

As we exit 2017, we all need to heed the lesson of the Big Ash Mallet and look toward 2018 with a bit more passion, self-sufficiency, and simplicity.  Without a doubt, 2017 was a rough year with a horrible president-elect being inaugurated, countless legislative terror attacks on the American people by the Republicans, and a number of personal challenges I personally had to overcome.  As I reflect back on 2017, I say goodbye and good-riddance.  The roughness is inspiration for us in 2018.

2017 Highlights

The best moments of 2017 are worth celebrating.  They provide a foundation of fun for 2018.

T6 Texan  Seattle GrumpyThe best moment was riding on Grumpy, a NAA B-25D bomber operated by the Historic Flight Foundation.  We flew from Paine Field in Everett, Grumpy’s base, south down the coast to downtown Seattle.  We made a flyby of Boeing Field and the Museum of Flight before returning to Paine Field.  I say “we” because a NAA T-6 Texan was flying off our wing at all times, remarkable!

The second best moment was my August road trip to Colorado from Seattle.  After a tumultuous start to the year, a job change and the decision to move away from Seattle, I gave myself a vacation after a number of years.  Driving through Montana and visiting Missoula, Bozeman and Billings made me appreciate the wonderful beauty of our country, the value of fresh air, and even reminded me how confining the Seattle region really is.   The short visit to Little Bighorn Battlefield was nothing short of breathe-taking. On this trip, I found the curious soul who had been hiding while living in Seattle.  The decision was made on this trip to relocate to Colorado.

Other moments include sleeping with the cat in the car at a rest area outside of Boise, Idaho on our last trip to Colorado.  I also enjoyed my visit to the Old Idaho Pen.  Moments from Seattle include spectacular sunsets from my deck, rainbows in Snoqualmie Pass, and having lunch in Mukilteo, watching the ferries come and go.

Over the past few weeks, I have been suffering from the flu, pneumonia, and bitter cold.  It is a parting gift from 2017 which was unnecessary, miserable, and unproductive.  As soon as this cough subsides and I begin breathing normal again, I will donate to scientific research with the hopes of exacting revenge an we eradicate the flu bug altogether. lol

CoSt2 Exercise

I decided to use the “CoST2” concept to consider what I should be continuing, stopping, or starting as actions as we move into 2018. CoSt2 is an exercise where you evaluate what you will continue doing, stop doing, and start doing in the new year. I heard about it on a podcast on my road-trip and decided to give it a try.

CONTINUE:

  • Being Curious
  • Regular Walks
  • Promoting and working to remove Trump (his admin & family) and the Republicans from office
  • Planning your Day
  • Laying the foundation for financial diversification (Patreon, Spiral Analytics & Saalun)

STOP

  • Binge watching TV
  • Eating Junk Food – Getting Food at Starbucks
  • Isolating
  • Using social media and technology so much
  • Letting anxiety rule my day

START

  • Exercising daily
  • Eating good, quality food
  • Planning meals & workouts
  • Exploring Colorado history and Crazy Horse
  • Going out more to workshops, coffee houses, and local events

Overall, the idea for 2018 is to stop being so dependent on technology and start moving a bit more, leading to a healthier lifestyle.  All the while, staying curious and trying to save America.

My Three Words for 2018

Every year I pick three words which guide my values, principles and actions for the year.  They almost create a theme or lens to see the year around.

In 2017 I chose, connect, learn, build.   It worked well, I spent a lot of time connecting with myself and my community.  I spent a lot of time learning about local history, python, and data visualization.  I also spent time building a foundation for 2018 which included setting blogs, building strategy, messaging and laying the groundwork for a focused 2018.

With 2018 right around the corner, I’ve been thinking about a new set of three words.  Some words which came to mind: explore, plan, visit, authentic, responsible, fun, simplicity, simple, bricks, legos, and active.    The three which I settled upon include:My Three Words 2018

  • Active – not only being more active physically, but also more active in my business and local community
  • Plan – do your research and create a plan so I am prepared.
  • Explore – I now live in the beautiful state of Colorado and have a lot of exploring to do.  I also need to explore more options for the future.  There is also a certain amount of exploration to do within my own social community.

So, active, plan, and explore are the words to live by in 2018.  These are also consistent with my CoSt2 exercise for 2018.

Roy’s Message

So what does Roy Underhill have to do with this?  He is a reminder of what we need to recognize in 2018.  We cannot let the wonderful methods, skills, and people who built this once great country with their hands and ingenuity be overlooked.

With the technological revolution in the past ten or so years, we are starting to forget the feel of wood in our hands.  We are starting to forget the smell and wood shavings and the joy we get from making something with our hands.  Technology does play a vital role in our globalized world and offers many conveniences.  But we cannot let it steal our past and dictate a boring future of sheer convenience.  After-all, when the power goes out for good, who’s going to be able to make a chair, let alone a 2×4?

See you soon in 2018!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lessons in Customer Experience

Today I had the pleasure of seeing both sides of customer experience; the good and the bad.

First, the bad.  I received a voicemail from the membership department of the gym I am a member of (Goleta Valley Athletic Club), announcing that I had won some free personal training sessions.  I was stoked, especially after spending many thousands of dollars with one of their trainers over the past few years.  Finally, something free. Not quite.  After speaking to the gym and informing them of my history (they didn’t know who I was and never looked at my account), they said I was ineligible because I had already been training.  The drawing was for new members only. Make sense, although the gym just shot themselves in the foot.  Here’s why:

1) No where was there fine print to announce that current members already training with a trainer were ineligible.
2) Pronounced me winner before getting their facts straight.  How hard is it to look up a name?
3) They announce me as a winner and then revoke the winnings, never offering any type of compensation.
4) At no time prior to the announcement did the gym bother to check my history, which would have eliminated my entry, prevented the phone call and I would have been none the wiser.
5) Even after knowing my membership status and becoming aware of my value to their, did they seem to care.

While apologetic, the gym has burned one of their more valuable members.   I have a call into the general manager to discuss the problem further, so I will keep you all posted.

(Update 9/5 – I was at the gym today and they clearly changed all the signage and wording around their alleged drawing to “win free personal training.” The entry forms clearly state that the drawing is for first time clients only.  I am happy to see the gym being more transparent with their eligibility rules.)

Now, the second; the good.  On the heals of being treated poorly by the gym, I went to a popular, health food eatery here in Santa Barbara.   I was so impressed with the service, I couldn’t help but leave a $3 tip in their tip jar.  The gentelman whom took my order was courteous, answered all my questions, and showed sincere interest in helping me make the right salad choice.  They even gave me a discount because it was Labor Day weekend (not quite, but I’ll take it).  Not only that, but the food was brought to me with a smile and a huge Thank you for choosing them. They even shook my hand.    In addiiton, the receipt not only has coupons that I will actually use, but it details the nutritional value of my meal.  The transparency, service, and food blew me away.  I am so happy that good people and good companies still exist. (Check out Silvergreens – Santa Barbara)

It is interesting to me that both of these experiences happened back to back.  After getting burned by my gym, I was not happy to have to order food.  But the food experience was so good, I left smiling! After sharing these experiences, I hope you walk away with the power to think about your day to day experiences with the people you choose to do business with.  Please make your own decisions based on the customer experience.  If companies value you, they will show it.  If they don’t, walk away and give your money to the ones that do value YOU.  It is the power of the consumer.

Finding the Meaning of Life

It hit me one day and made me cry.  They say that it makes you cry when you find it, so I knew that this was the answer and it came down to two words.  In the past, I thought the meaning life was something so complex I began writing long essays and over-analyzing events that I totally missed the simplicity of the answer.

To Inspire

These two words are why I exist.  They are the simplest commonality behind everything I have accomplished in the past.   From building electric cars in high school, to studying abroad, to my passion for understanding human behavior, past, present and future, to inspire is the lens through which I found meaning in all of the events, I just didn’t know it.   I find myself inspiring others through ground-breaking, pioneering acts. As I move toward customer modeling and personal training, these two components of my life further solidify the meaning of the two words.   Customer modeling allows me to inspire others in the company to make smart decisions by providing a new view of the customer they never had before.   Personal Training allows me inspire those who want to change. As my journey from couch potato to triathlete continues, I firmly believe that the answer to sky rocketing health care costs is proper nutrition and exercise.  By using my story, person-skills, and passion for fitness science, I will make the world healthier one person at a time.