3 Serious Lessons I Learned About Taking Shortcuts When I Cheated My First 5k Race

 

I learned this lesson the hard way when I decided to cheat the Cleveland, Ohio 5k race at Thanksgiving about 10 years ago. (It’s embarrassing to even tell this story but it was quite a learning lesson for me.)

My father is an avid runner and has been his entire life. As for me I didn’t get those genes – I’ll run if my life is in danger or the food is ready. So, as a “bonding” experience I opted to run a yearly race he does at Thanksgiving in Cleveland Ohio called the “5k Turkey Trot”. I showed up completely out of shape. I hadn’t done ANY training for this race – I was overly optimistic and completely unprepared.

I remember staring with my dad and hundreds of others at the starting line. When they said go – we were off. The first half mile was bearable and then it started to get a bit tough. My dad was just cruising and it wasn’t long before I couldn’t see him. Before I knew it, I was already at the back with all the stragglers. I was a straggler.

Halfway into the race my mind started to give up. I found myself justifying speed walking, then justifying regularly walking and then I had the bright idea of taking a shortcut back to the finish line. Haven’t I run enough? Who will know? Who would really care? It’s just a dumb race. I’m not even a runner. (It’s always amazing to me how willing we are to justify our own lies).

So I did it. I took the next side street and headed up toward the finish line. About halfway up the street I turned around and literally about died. People were following me.

I have to say that in that moment I felt like the worst human being in the world. First I had convinced myself to cheat and then I had unknowingly brought innocent people along with me. Could it get any worse?

Yes. I am not proud of my next action and it’s crazy to even think I made this choice as a twenty something “adult”. What did I do when I saw I was misleading others? I ran ahead and hid behind a car. Even typing that makes me feel scuzzy. I-hid-behind-a-car. And when the other runners came around the corner I remember peeking and seeing how bewildered they were that I had “vanished”. Eventually, they ended up running back the way they came and found the course they should have been on.

I’ve thought of this story many, many times and there are 3 lessons that stick out so clearly:

Shortcuts don’t work. They just waste our time and resources.

Not only did I give up on my goal of finishing the race and let people down – I ended up actually getting lost in Cleveland and going further than I would have if I would have just finished the race out. Shortcuts in life, business, relationships all have some kind of appeal in the beginning but in the end we wind up with wasted time, efforts and resources we will never get back.

Our shortcuts hurt other people even if we don’t see it. 

We like to think everyone else is isolated from our decisions. It is one of the great lies we spin. It is not true. Everything we do has an impact on the people closest to us – family, friends, etc. EVERYTHING. Positive and negative. When we opt to take a quick route or shortcut we will effect their lives and it rarely in a positive way.

Shortcuts hurt us even if we don’t want to admit it. 

The emotions I felt from this experience didn’t stay in the race. I felt guilty for a long time because I cheated myself. I felt ashamed and embarrassed because I had quit so easily. I wound up lying to others about it, my results, what happened,etc. because I felt so bad. Negative emotions take a serious toll on us and rob of us joy and energy. This internal damage comes out in our attitude and behavior with others. No one wants to feel like that.

Make sense?

Guess what? I’m going back at it this year – Thanksgiving 2016. No shortcuts, no gimmicks. I’m going to finish it (run,walk, limp, crawl – whatever) and rewrite this chapter. :)

 

NET OUT: Essentialism By Greg Mckeown

“Essentialism by Greg Mckeown” Notes…

ASK: “Is this the very most important thing I should be doing with my time right now?”

Pursue less but BETTER

Determine where the highest point of contribution lies and then make an execution of those things almost effortless.

If you don’t prioritize your life, someone else will.

Focus on what is absolutely essential by eliminating everything else.

ASK: Will this effort or activity make the highest possible contribution towards my goals?

We can choose how to spend our energy and time

Almost everything is noise and a very few things are exceptionally valuable.

We can’t have it all or do it all.

The right thing AT the right time THE right way.

Choice is an action

Certain types of efforts yield higher rewards than others. LESS BUT BETTER

The Law Of The Vital Few – You can massively improve the quality of something by changing small key elements.

An “Essentialist” discerns more so he can do less.

ASK: What is the trade-off I want to make- What can I go big on?

Playing is key part of life. DO NOT ignore play.

Overachievers- The real challenge for those who thrive on challenges is NOT to work hard.

Rest is EXTREMELY important.

Do fewer things no so you can do more tomorrow. (long term mentality)

Pursuit of something should be a HELL YEAH! or its a No. Has to be a definite yes.

Give things a score from 0-100 if its less than 90 do not do it.

ASK: If we could truly be excellent at only one thing, what would it be?

Learn to say NO frequently and gracefully. ONLY say yes to the things that truly matter!

Avoid the “sunk cost bias” – not cutting something off because you’ve put too much in it.

ASK: If I wasn’t already invested in this, how much would I invest now?

ASK: What else could I do if I pulled the plug now?

Comfortable with cutting losses

Making things better means SUBTRACTING

Get rid of options or activities that get in the way!

Every additional moment we have gained can be spend on something better.

Pursue less efforts to get results.

Eliminate meaningless activities and replace them with meaningful activity.

Restrain for stepping into issues or things that will burn time and energy.

Create Buffers – things that keep us from coming into contact with things that harm us. Money can be buffer, time processes, etc.

Use extreme preparation – prepare FAR in advance.

Add 50% to your time estimates.

Make a one time investment in removing “slow hikers” or things that get in the way of your processes.

Start small and celebrate small progress.

Progress is the number one form of motivation

DESIGN A ROUTINE THAT MAXIMIZES ALL ABOUT YOU AND MINIMIZES THINKING, TIME AND ENERGY.

Every habit is made up of a “Cue, Routine and Reward”.

Enjoy the “Present”. Be present where you are.

There is no way to “Concentrate” on multiple things at once. NO WAY

Make existentialism something you are.

The more items you pursue, the harder it is to follow up on all of them.

NET OUT: Monk And The Merchant by Terry Felber

“The Legend of the Monk and the Merchant by Terry Felber” Notes…

*Christians have a responsibility in business. Everything we do as believers can and should be done from a paradigm of ministry.*

Principal 1 – Work hard and God will prosper you.

Principal 2- Financial prosperity is often connected to soul prosperity.

Principal 3- Man must do whatever he can to provide for his family.

Principal 4- Trials develop your character, preparing you for increased blessings.

Principal 5- Take responsibility for problems that are the result of your own bad decisions. Don’t displace the blame.

Principal 6- See challenges as stepping stones, not as obstacles.

Principal 7- Be meek before God but bold before men.

Principal 8- Live debt-free and below your means.

Principal 9- Always keep to your budget.

Principal 10- Loaning money destroys relationships.

Principal 11-Set aside the first 10% to honor God.

Principal 12- Understand the power of partnership.

NET OUT: Next Generation Leader by Andy Stanley

“Next Generation Leader- Five Essentials Fro Those Who Shape The Future by Andy Stanley” Notes…

Pg.11- Leadership Principals that are ESSENTIAL for Next Generation Leaders:

Competence

Courage

Clarity

Coaching

Character

Pg.17- The less you do, the more you accomplish. The less you do, the more you enable other to accomplish.

Pg.19- Only do what you can do.

Pg.21-Identify the areas in which you are most likely to add unique value to your organization–something no one else can match- the leverage that to the max.

Pg.22- Don’t strive to be a well- rounded leader. Instead, discover your zone and stay there. Then delegate everything else.

Pg.22- There is no need to become an expert in, or even to understand, every component of your organization.

Pg.23- There are things you are responsible for that you should keep your nose out of.

Pg.27- Great leaders work through other leaders who work through others.

Pg.28- Delegation means growth, both for individuals and for organizations.

Pg.35- 80% of productivity comes from 20% of time spent.

Core Competency Questions:

What do you do that is most effortless from your perspective but may seem like a daunting task to others?

In what arenas do people consider you the “go to” person?

What do you enjoy most about your current job?

What do you wish you could delegate?

What do you do that elicits the most praise and recognition from others?

What environments do you look forward to working in?

What environments do you avoid?

What kind of advice do people seek from you?

If you could focus more of your time  and attention on one or two aspects of your job, what would it be?

Pg.44- Delegating is perhaps the single most powerful high-leveraging activity there is. There are people who love what you hate.

 

4 Amazing Lessons I Learned When I Lost Everything

 

Early on in 2006/2007 I found myself in the middle of the economic boom. Literally in the right place at the right time with the right set of skills. Money came quick and easy and for a 24 year old who grew up in a lower middle class Pastor’s family – I had no clue how to handle it. Everyone was so focused on themselves – buying stuff and having a good time. ( I cringe looking back at what a waste of life that chapter was).

I decided to build my own business in the same niche I was doing well in. So I Invested a ton of money on credit, but I ignored basic business principles and went at it completely over leveraged. As they say, I “bet the farm”. I also had an untouchable ego to boot.

Then the economy tanked and the recession hit.

From there everything just got worse and worse. Business died, payments mounted up, debt collectors started calling, had 2 cars repossessed. On top of that I had no income coming as I wouldn’t even consider getting a job because I couldn’t make what I was making before (stupid). The IRS audited me and I owed a grip of cash with interest that was compounding daily. I was a rock bottom and it felt like when it couldn’t get worse, it did. That year I had married the love of my life and I felt guilty as she was a part of all this struggle even though they were my bad decisions. It was a painful, hopeless and dark season of my life but looking back it was the most valuable thing that has ever happened to me.

Here are the 4 life lessons I learned through all this:

Humility

Going from having everything you want to not having what you need is a very humbling experience. It makes you realize that everyone is an inch away from losing it all. I had gone from what I felt was the top of the mountain to the bottom of the valley- very fast. It completely put my character and ego in check. In fact, my first job after I finally humbled myself to go find any work I could find ( we were so desperate) was making $7 an hour doing construction and I drove 80 miles roundtrip to get to the jobsite each way in a new car with expired registration that was behind on payments.

I love this quote – “From humble beginnings come great things.”

Thankfulness

When you truly have nothing you are thankful for anything. There was a night my wife and I didn’t even have food and no money to buy any. I felt so trapped with no options. As we sat there with no idea what we were going to do, there was a knock on the door. A lady from where my wife was working had just randomly decided to bring us a bag of canned goods and food. This was such a miracle for us. I’ve never been so thankful for a can of salmon in my life! If you are thankful for the little things, your life will be rewarded with constant positive perspective and joy.

It Gave Me A Heart For Those Who Are Struggling

Those who have gone through something identify with those going through that same thing. You can feel the same emotions and understand the same thoughts and struggles. My heart now just breaks for those who are struggling and I’m committed to making a difference. That was not the case before all this happened.

It Taught Me More Than Any Measure Of Success Could

Pain is a great teacher. When we touch a hot stove and get burned, we learn not to not do it again. Successfulness unchecked can falsely prop up our expectations, egos and blind our perspective. The lessons I learned from losing everything has made me a better person, husband, father, businessman, friend and more. Still it took me 8 years to correct all that happened in this season and it was painful for a long time.

In the end I wouldn’t change anything. I’m better today because of it AND I won’t make those mistakes again:)

 

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