Did you prepare well? RE: Life

When you start off on a journey, how do you know if you have done all the right preparation for the trip?  Did you prepare well?  So many times in life when I have prepared well, I do not even think about not preparing well because I am ready for what life throws at me.  But how many stories do I have where I did not prepare well and it came back to bite me?  Many. When I am running it usually takes me about 3/4 of a mile to know if I have worn the right clothes on that run.  When it is warm it is easy to know this, unless I am overheating I usually picked the right outfit.  But, when it is cold, I need to start off feeling cool and be able to warm up just enough to feel comfortable but not hot.  If I have layered correctly it will put me in the sweet spot of that not hot not cold place I like to be as a runner. The South Side Wind - it bites! The other day I was out for a run and it was around 22 degrees outside.  Did I prepare well for this run?  Yes and No.  After the first 3/4 of a mile I was in great shape, felt warm, not hot or cold.  I continued along my winter running route (away from the cold north wind) and made my way through miles 2, 3, and 4 - when I hit the one part of my run that is on the south side of Lake Calhoun here in Minneapolis this is near the end of my run.  This part is wide open and just a wind tunnel.  It always is a tough place to be the recipient of a north wind.  The wind was blowing between 20 and 30 miles per hour and the wind was stinging my face.  For that quarter of a mile my running gear did not measure up and I was cold.  Even though I did some good preparation, I was not prepared for the high winds that kicked up.  I toughed it out and made it through but was happy to see the end of that part of the run. The Snowy Climb on Sacajawea A few years ago Danielle and I wanted to climb to the top of...
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Grateful & Thankful: No need to shop today

Happy Black Friday everyone!  The picture above is my family and I from last year sometime in the fall.  JD (our son) is so much taller and leaner now, but still has that magnetic smile.  Danielle (my wife) still looks as good or better than the day I met her in 2001.  I am a blessed man.  I am grateful, and really lack for nothing in my life. Over the past few months I have started a process of giving away anything that is not being used regularly in my life.  Clothes, shoes, sports equipment, whatever.  There is less in my closet and storage areas and I cannot tell you how good that feels.  Why? For years in my life I would use shopping as a way to feel better about whatever I was going through in life.  Not feeling that great?  I better pick up that new Ipod.  Tough day at work?  I bet Target has something I need.  You have to understand that I did very little of this consciously, it just happened.  Over time I realized this pattern and have really taken a step back from the needless consuming that I did for so many years. Now I ask questions, do I really want something, and do I even need it?  Quick illustration.  I am an Ipod killer.  I routinely destroy Ipods in the wash, and other fun ways.  I have had a few in the past few years and not only have they not lasted (because of me) I also had thought I always need to newest one.  At some point is the 8 GB Ipod from three years ago still plenty of Ipod or do I really need the 16 GB Ipod to upgrade?  If it works, and it serves your needs, just use what you have. Do not get me wrong here, I still shop.  It is just that I apply different screens to buying things now then when I did not think much at all about dropping money on things that were not that important - even if I thought they were at the time. As today is Black Friday, I chuckled to myself earlier as I looked at Amazon.com and browsed the 'deals.'  I realized I did not really need anything and was glad that I did not.  That fun family and I are headed to the...
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StrengthsFinder: Not a formula or a prescription

The first time I took the StrengthsFinder instrument was my first year in graduate school, in the Fall of 2000.  It was part of a battery of assessments we were going through to help all of us understand more how we were wired, and how we might put our graduate degrees to work at some point during or after school.  I never had much experience at all with personality tests, temperament indexes, emotional measures, etc.  So, the whole process felt a bit like being a lab rat with scientists poking me and watching my every move.  We took this test, and that test, and tests that asked you if you heard voices.  It was quite the process. After each test we would have a group interpretation of our results, or a one on one session with a licensed counselor who would walk us through how we tested.  As I started the process of self-discovery and increased self-awareness the immediate question asked was: "Ok, how does all this information translate into helping me answer the question, "What should I do with my life?"  Really specifically, "What job would best fit my personality traits?" Fast forward 12 years later:  After having worked with dozens of organizations and thousands of individuals around their strengths and personality results, there is something I have realized:  Everyone is asking the same question! Everywhere I go people inevitably ask me, "So, you have seen my strengthsfinder results, so, what job should I do so I can apply my strengths to the larger part of my day?  This usually indicates to me that these people may not be completely engaged in their current role, and a lot of their day is spent doing tasks that are not in their exact sweet spot and they are trying to improve this situation. I am generalizing a bit, but this happens often.  Why?  Because many people would not say a majority of their day they get to do what they do best.  What does this mean?  This means that we have a lot of people in the workforce who are not highly engaged. Back to the beginning When I first started taking people through their strengthsfinder results, the temptation for me was to try and make the results into a formula and say A + B strengths = C job, or life change.  That was easy,...
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5 reasons StrengthsFinder training can help your team

This picture brings back such great memories for me.  I was an assistant coach at Saint Catherine University and this was some of our team from 2007 or so.  What a fun bunch of ladies to coach and steer towards improvement as a team.  Our head coach, Nicole, was a big factor in turning around a program that was going nowhere, and it was fun to be a part of that building process. Along the way we took our team through the StrengthsFinder personality tool as a way to help players understand more of who they were and how they were wired.  We also learned how to better motivate each player, based on who they were, and who they were not.  A player high in the theme of Competition?  Great.  Put them up against another player in a competitive drill and let them shine.  Before a match?  Make sure that high Competition player knows how they can personally 'win' during the match.  The flip-side is also very true, another player low in the theme of Competition?  They might be offended if you put them up against another player and tell them to 'beat' that other player.  Knowing how players are wired helps coaches know how to push their buttons and manage them in a positive way.  Everyone will appreciate this.  Coaches, and players. What we learned in volleyball has applied to so many of my clients over the past decade.  Whether it be in athletics, corporate, or non-profit teams, organizations and teams benefit from everyone having a high level of self-awareness based on their unique giftedness.  Is it not about time that we started to focus on what is right about people and less about what is wrong with them? There are so many reasons why I think StrengthsFinder training and team building can help any team, but here are my top five. 1.  Everyone gets along better when everyone knows their own strengths and the strengths of their teammates. 2.  All teams have a better chance of success if their members can increase their engagement or buy-in.  StrengthsFinder training can help people be more self-aware and engaged. 3.  Managers and Leaders who know their team's strengths are more likely to position people in areas where they can be most successful.  They have a distinct advantage over those managers and leaders who do not. 4.  If team members are positioned in...
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Running & Endurance & Living Life

Part of my job requires me to travel to San Diego, California four to five times per year.  I know this is engendering so much sympathy from all of you - tough duty right?  No, not really.  San Diego is fantastic.  I love being in meetings with my team in San Diego and looking out the window and seeing palm trees.  We have no palm trees in Minneapolis so their novelty never wears off on me. I am a runner.  I have been a runner for the past twelve years and probably logged 12,000 miles during that time.  I travel frequently, and wherever I go, I run.  It is a fantastic way to explore cities and places - most of the time in a safe way.  Running has taken me through ancient cemeteries in London to the cliffs of the ocean in San Francisco.  I am passionate about finding somewhere to run while I am traveling. When I am in San Diego I have three routine runs that I try and do while I am there. 1)  Mission Beach - running up and down the beach is a great 5.5 mile run and the people watching is fantastic.  This is a go to for me while in San Diego.  Parking is easy on the south end of the beach near the channel.  Thursday morning early was just me and all the surfers. 2)  Mission Bay - just east of Mission Beach this is the bay off the ocean that has a great trail to run on.  This run can be very long if you include the island as part of the run.  This is well lit and can be a good run if you are running out of daylight but still want to be by the water. 3)  Coronado beach, and the entire island.  There is something about running on Coronado.  The picture above is from one end of the beach on Coronado, often cited as one of the best beaches in the world.  I prefer beaches with warmer water, but I am not there on Coronado to swim, I am there to run.  You can either run up and down the beach, which can go forever but at some point you get into an area where the military may or may not like you being there - I think you can still run...
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