You Know It’s Been A Good Summer When Your Feet Are Tan

It’s hard to believe that summer is winding down.  Here in Minnesota the Minnesota State Fair starts soon and wraps up on Labor Day.  Nothing in Minnesota signals the end of summer than our State Fair.

Take a look at your feet and notice what shade of color they are.  Do they look like they’ve been exposed to the sun?  Are they a darker shade than normal?

You know it’s been a good summer when your feet are tan because that is a  sign you’ve been outside.  Not only that, you’ve been barefoot and your feet have been connecting with the earth, the sand, and water.

Is that so important?  If you think about our evolutionary history, we have spent more time as a species outside than in.  We have spent more time barefoot, connecting with nature, than we have been with shoes on.  We have been exposed to fresh air, sunshine, and solid earth below us.  We are wired to be outside. But most of the time we are relegated to being inside most, if not all day.

This summer I’ve made every attempt to be outside. That’s easy on weekends and on vacations, but I’ve given my best effort during the work week too. Over lunch, I’ve walked outside in the park behind my office complex and I’ve taken most of my conference calls outside as I walk.

I’ve found that I get more out of my conference calls when I’m walking. When I am at my desk, it’s too easy to check my email, surf the web, or look at updates on LinkedIn. (You know you do this too) But when I’m walking while on the calls, I’m more focused and find it easier to pay attention. I think it’s because I’m outside and I’m moving.

This summer my feet have been exposed to the sun, earth, and water through spending time sailing at the family cabin, walking barefoot at the park, and swimming in both lakes and pools. My feet have a healthy glow (even though my arms still have that farmer’s tan).

As Summer winds down I want to encourage you to get outside every moment you can. Walk in the mornings, at lunch, or after dinner.  As the days get shorter, take a flashlight if you need it. Go to your local park or trail system. Walk, hike, or run.  Regardless of your ability, get outside.

I’m a stickler for being outside because it’s so good for our mental and physical health. My goal is to get outside regardless of the season and temperature.  For those of you that live in cold country like I do, you’ll understand the challenge with that.  But I find even when it’s cold, its great to be outside as I shovel snow, cross country ski, and take winter walks.  It’s all good (but I do prefer warm weather).

My feet will start to lose their tan as the days start to grow colder here in MN. That’s OK and I’ll look  forward to being outside in beautiful  MN fall weather.

 

(What questions or topics would you like me to write about?  Send your ideas to dennis.robert.bird@gmail.com)

The Tangible Benefits of Health

Credit:tpsdave

Credit: tpsdave

I spend last week with my family hiking through Southwest Utah at Zion National Park and the amazing state parks around St. George, Utah.

At Zion we completed the Observation Trail hike that takes you to the highest point in the park with the most panoramic views of the canyon. Simply amazing.  It’s an 8 mile round trip event, with an elevation change of over 2100 feet, with steep inclines and drop offs.

Observation Trail is considered to be one of the most strenuous hikes and after completing it I understand why.  You need to be in good health and have overall general conditioning to do this hike or you may be putting yourself at risk.

Not to be over dramatic, my 13 and 11 year old boys completed the hike too, but they really worked for it as well as I did.

Throughout the hike I was encountering people who were  struggling because I  could sense  they have not kept up their conditioning or were carrying too much extra weight. This does not mean they weren’t able to complete the hike, but you can tell that the experience was not as fun as it could be.

On top of this, there were many people who could not complete even moderately difficult hikes due to poor health. Some were relegated to the trams that drove through the park and looking  out the window.

I am not disparaging anyone’s trip to Zion. Regardless of what they did or did not do, they were spending time in one of the most beautiful parks in the world. I do wonder, though, if people missed out on some amazing experiences due to their lack of health.

A truth that I’ve come to over the years is that we are all going to pay for our health.  We can pay up front through a healthy diet and exercise or we can pay later through decreased health and vitality.

When you are paying up front and taking care of yourself you see tangible results like feeling better, having more energy, and being able to push yourself physically so you can accomplish important goals in your life.

If you are paying later, you also will have tangible results but the pain, lack of energy, and disease puts you in a precarious position that most people don’t want to be in.

There so many beautiful places in this world, and I know  I won’t be able to travel to most of them. The good news is there are beautiful places everywhere, close and easy to travel to,  but you have to get out of your car and walk, bike, or hike to see them.

As I get older I realize that if I want to experience more out of life, I need to stay as healthy as I can. I cannot predict disease out of my control, but I can prevent much of the disease that affects our world through a healthy lifestyle.

My encouragement to you is implement small actions each day to improve your health. What are examples of small actions you can take?

  • Take the stairs any time you can
  • Walk over lunch
  • Add  a few more veggies and fruits to your meals
  • Drink more water
  • Stand more during your day
  • Run for 10 minutes
  • Take a few deep breaths

There are countless small things we can do each day to improve our health. You know what they are for you, so implement a couple of small steps each week until they become habits.

My experience has been that as I have made small steps to improve my health I am able to work into bigger steps along the way. It was through those small steps that I gained confidence and momentum.

Don’t let beautiful places pass you by because you are too out of shape to experience them. Start today and implement those changes you know you need to make.

The tangible benefit is that you’ll be able to experience the beauty of this world and feel better doing it.

 

 

If there are  topics or questions  you’d like me discuss, you are welcome to email topics and questions to dennis.robert.bird@gmail.com.

 

Everyone Needs A Coach

Elite athletes know it. Executives know it. But what about the rest of us?

If you want to accomplish more out of life, get a coach.

I used to wonder why elite athletes hired coaches. In fact athletes at the top of their sport often have multiple coaches: one for technique, one for strength and conditioning, and one for mental performance.  Why so many coaches if they are elite?

Because elite athletes know that the difference between winning and losing is often fractions of a second.  Think about Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps. His gold medals were often won by a 100th of second. That’s tight competition and any extra performance an athlete can get out of their process is worth the coaches they employ.

Leaders in organizations get coaching. If they are so talented, why do they need coaching?  It’s because of what we all know but sometimes forget, it’s hard to live inside yourself and outside yourself at the same time. Executive coaches can give feedback for greater clarity on goals and performance and they can challenge people to become better leaders with improved communication and vision.

Coaches work with us to become our best selves and champion our process by holding us accountable and giving us necessary feedback.  Sometimes coaches are experts and can help in the things we don’t know but need to know. Sometimes coaches help us create better plans of action so we can accomplish out of life what we haven’t been accomplishing.

I’ve been coaching people for what seems like my entire life. I was working with elementary students when I was in junior high, when I was in high school I mentored 7th and 8th graders, and when I was in college I worked with high schoolers. I worked in student development at a university after college. I’ve coached thousands of people to build their careers, transition from one job to another, and most importantly, to become their best selves.

This year I hired a coach.  If I’m such a good coach (and I am) why in the world would I need a one? For exactly what I said before, it’s hard to live inside yourself and outside yourself at the same time.

For the last couple of months I’ve been working with Sid Garza-Hillman (www.sidgarzahillman.com). Sid is a nutritionist, author, speaker, and podcaster.  I found Sid though another podcast and he sounded like the exact person I wanted for a coach.

So what did I need help with?

In the last 10+ years I’ve made some significant lifestyle changes resulting in a 70+ pound weight loss and improved health. What I’ve learned over the last year is that while I’ve lost a lot of weight I haven’t changed my relationship to food. Food at times still seems like my enemy and I wanted to sort that out.

It would seem that from the issue I wanted to work on, that Sid and I would focus mostly on food and my diet. Actually, it was the opposite. Sid worked with me on establishing small steps of action to create new habits in other areas of my life. The idea is that if I can establish new patterns of behavior in small ways (like playing my guitar 5 minuets every Friday) I can translate that strategy to improving my relationship with food.

It seems counter intuitive, but it’s actually brilliant.  When I work with people, often the presenting problem, is not the real problem. For example, sometimes people want to improve their careers, but by improving their health first, their careers improve as well. Improving one area of life will have a ripple effect to others.

What was helpful about working with Sid is that he helped me create new patterns of action but without adding stress to my life. Sid’s philosophy is that if a new goal stresses you out, then you are likely not to work on that goal.

After working with Sid, has my relationship with food improved? Yes and no.  I am more relaxed about food than before, but old patterns of thinking are hard to break. The work that I will do now is to continue working on the goals in the other areas my life and make small steps each week to improve my relationship with food. I have more confidence now than before that this change will happen.

Having a coach is a powerful experience because you are working with someone who is working for you. Coaches give you feedback that others won’t. Coaches give you accountability and encouragement. Coaches provide insight. With that type of help, it’s hard not to move forward in life.

Does everyone need a coach? Absolutely. Do you always have to hire one? No.

You can access help through books, podcasts, and videos. You can gain insights from friends and family.  You can follow the path of successful people and learn from their examples.

At times, though, nothing can replace the work you’ll do with a coach. Many people will balk at the cost, but the reality is we spend money on things that will have no lasting value. The money I spent with Sid has incredible value, because I’ve learned new strategies and have had new insights that are leading me to the change I’ve been wanting for a long time. I’ve shifted my thinking and I’m moving my health to the next level.

If you are wanting to make changes in your life and are frustrated by your lack of progress (like I was) it may be time to hire a coach.

Make sure you vet a coach before working with them.  Before working with Sid, I read his book, Approaching the Natural: a Health Manifesto, listened to him being interviewed, and listened to his podcast.  His ideas were appealing and I liked his style. A brief conversation about his coaching approach solidified my sense he would be good to work with.

Here’s something you need to know about working with a coach: sometimes they will ask you engage in a process that doesn’t always make sense to you at first. This is why you need to trust the person you are working with.  Remember that you are always in charge of your process, meaning that if you don’t like what’s going on, you end the relationship.

I highly recommend that you check out my coach Sid on his website, www.sidgarzahillman.com. He has a lot of great resources for free. Sid has a wry humor and is engaging to watch and listen to. His coaching style is encouraging, straightforward, and friendly. I highly recommend working with Sid.

Like I’ve said before, I’ve been coaching people for the majority of my life and if I didn’t believe in coaching, I wouldn’t be one and I wouldn’t have hired Sid.

Invest in yourself and become the excellent person you are.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why Does 2 Day Shipping Seem Like An Eternity?

Credit: Ruben Bagues

Credit: Ruben Bagues

Two day shipping? Can’t I have it now?

When I slow down enough to look around at how my expectations are changing, I’m amazed that I’m not more frustrated. The way we get our information, products, and services is rapidly speeding up and our expectations for delivery is shortening.

Amazon is working on same day shipping and delivery and their competitors are trying to keep pace. But is that a good thing? I’m not sure.

For those of us old enough to remember dial up internet, think about how long it took to access the web compared to today. Now if I have to wait more than a few nano seconds for a website I’m annoyed.

I have no wish to go back to old days of slow service, but I think we need to understand that this push for faster and faster service is causing problems in other areas of our lives. It often leads us to take short cuts to get what we want.

I’ve had the frustration of having knee pain the last couple of weeks. My initial impulse was to take ibuprofen and run through the pain.  That’s a short cut mentality.  The reality is that the pain is a symptom of something larger, maybe overuse or a mechanical issue with my running form. What I’ve done now, is to take time off running and focus on building the muscles around my knee, stretch, and do some other conditioning while it heals.

My knee is getting better, slowly, but I  don’t want slowly, I want to feel better now. That frustration can lead to more injury if I’m not careful.

Where else do we take short-cuts?

  • In our relationships
  • In our health
  • In our careers

There are times I want my relationships to improve so I make the needed phone call. That helps, but for my relationships to really improve I need to make those phone calls on a consistant basis. There are no short cuts to good relationships.

I have attempted many shortcuts to my health with crazy diets and products that produced short term results, but long term failure. What I’ve learned over the years is there is no short cut to good health. Good health takes consistent, day in and day out, lifestyle change.

At times I see people who are frustrated that their career is not growing fast enough. But it takes time to build expertise and it takes more time to build a reputation around expertise.  We have all heard about those who seem to have a fast rise to success, but if we dig deeper into their story, we’ll see there were many years of struggle and effort. There is no short cut to success.

We live in a short cut culture, and what I’m working on is to live a process oriented life where I take small, tangible steps each day to be my best self.

I encourage you to slow down, live in the moment, and ask yourself this one simple question:

What can I do right now to be a better human being?

This isn’t about winning the Nobel Peace Prize, it’s about taking small steps toward your best self.

 

 

(Let’s work together on becoming our best selves. If you have a problem or topic you’d like to hear my take on, click on contact and send me an email. If this is on social media, respond by making a comment.)

 

Pay Attention To What Grabs Your Attention

 

153We encounter so much information in a day. Thousands of messages, news items, and advertisements flow through our day and if we had to pay attention to all of them our brains would overload.

The good news is that our minds filter out much of this and we naturally gravitate towards information that interests us, aligns with our values and beliefs, or is potential solutions to a problem we are working on.

When we are busy, stressed, or emotionally taxed we sometimes close ourselves to good ideas and information. When you have a problem in your health, your relationships, or your career my coaching is to pay attention to what grabs your attention.

Bring awareness to what information pulls at you, interests you, or challenges your life.  Embedded in this information could be ideas to improve your career or a relationship.

In this podcast, we’ll delve what it means to  paying attention to what grabs your attention and how to apply that information to creating effective solutions for life.

 

 

If there are topics for this blog or my podcast, click on the contact page and send me an email with your ideas.

Have a great day,

Dennis

Hungry For Happiness: Interview with Robin Silverman

Robin L. Silverman JPEG

It’s not uncommon that we are searching for happiness in all the wrong places.  We are hungry for happiness.  If we can find the root of what makes us truly happy and fill our lives with meaning, significance, and love we will find ourselves on a road to happiness that lasts.

In this podcast we talk with author, speaker, and Fullistics coach Robin Silverman who delves into the false traps that we fall into when looking for happiness. We’ll explore finding happiness by uncovering the core of what what we value and where we find meaning.  Robin uses a unique coaching approach she developed called Fullistics where she combines multiple disciplines to help people break through the barriers to greater physical, mental, and spiritual health.

You can find out more about Robin at www.dearenergylady.com and www.fullistic.com  To learn about Robin’s upcoming seminars and events go to:  www.fullistic.com/events.html

In this podcast we also mentioned Robin’s book, “Something Wonderful is About to Happen: True Stores About People Who Found Happiness in Unexpected Places”

We also mentioned the Ayerveda six tastes which can be found at www.chopra.com/the-six-tastes

Also check out Hollywood director Tom Shadyac’s documentary I AM where he travels the world to ask key leaders and thinkers two questions:  “What’s wrong with our world?” and “What can we do about it?”.