Fuel Your Brain and Fuel Your Body

Make it a habit fuel your brain and fuel your body and you will find that you can do just about anything.  If you are starting to think about a new you for the new year I certainly recommend looking here.  Running and reading have been two major contributors to my success.

Fuel your brain by reading.  Choose books and magazines that are motivational or educational.  I know that we are all time crunched.  Let me help you with this.  If you read 2-5 pages a day you can complete most books in 8 weeks and 6 in a year.  You can find the time to squeek in 2-5 pages can’t you?

Fuel your body by running. Training for marathons has done more for me than just get me in shape.  The benefits carried over in all areas of my life; helping me to become more disciplined, more confident, and providing me with the energy I need for my extremely busy life.  Sticking to the schedule; knowing that if I skip a run I won’t reach my goal and learning that the only person I have to beat is myself are two great lessons from this experience. 

You have to ask yourself, what good is skill if you don’t have the energy to do the job?  We need some type of physical exercise, a healthy diet, and a good night’s sleep to keep our energy levels where we need them for peak performance. 

I love this message from Will Smith who just so happens to agree with me.

Three keys to help you: free, fun, and friends.

FREE -Find out what you enjoy before you make a costly investment.  You can start fueling your energy by stepping out your front door and taking a walk; it costs absolutely nothing.  If that’s not your thing look for “next to free” sports equipment on Craig’s List or Ebay.
Fuel up your brain at your local library.  You can find books, magazines, videos, and recordings at no cost.

FUN – If you’re not enjoying it chances are that you won’t stick with it.  Choose activities and material that keep your interest.  My favorite “fun” authors for business are Patrick Lencioni and Jon Gordon.  They both write business lessons as fables that are easy to read and memorable.

FRIENDS – You might let yourself off the hook, but your friend won’t.  Get an exercise buddy or start a reading group.  When you make the commitment to others you’ll find that you’re more likely to follow through on it.

Obsessed With Excellence

I just finished a new book that I think has a little of something for everyone; Everything Counts, by Gary Ryan Blair. 
I know, the title sure seems kind of counter-intuitive.  Most of us have come to the conclusion that if everything is important then nothing is. So how can everything count?  “Everything” really boils down to just one thing.  Being obsessed with excellence.
Here’s the author’s Golden Rule of Excellence, “Everything you say; every thought you entertain; and everything you do has a direction, which serves as an advance or a retreat in respect to your pursuit of excellence.  Everything, regardless of size or intent, has bottom-line consequences; therefore, everything counts!”
I love that.  Most of the time when we hear the word “consequences” we tend to think of negativity, but every action has a reaction.  Positive actions will spur positive reactions or positive consequences.  While negative will only bring negative.
Why I like the book:
-there are 52 chapters.  You could focus on one strategy per week over the course of a year if you wanted to.
-each strategy gives us a call to action; directions on how to move forward to apply what we just read.
-each strategy also gives us a real life example of either a person or a company who exemplifies the trait.
The strategies are also broken into 3 categories: professional, personal, and universal.  You will find that there is repetition in some areas.  For example, being a lifelong learner is similar to personal development.  I look at that as a double positive.  The first bonus is that it is pretty inconceivable that if you improve your professional traits that it won’t carry over into your personal traits and vice versa.  The second bonus is that we learn through repetition.
The chapter I am going to work on first is Resiliency Counts.  Here is the call to action for this section.
  • Do you understand the benefits and purpose of resiliencey?  Do you consider yourself a resilient person? No, this is not a strength of mine.  I don’t quite react like the book describes, I loathe victim mentalities, but I do stress out.
  • Do you believe that everyone should embrace resiliency as a career and life skill?  Why do you feel this way?  Definitely.  The stress created by this rubs off on the people around us in the form of negative energy.
  • What step will you take to sustain good health and energy when under constant pressure?  I will slow down and prioritize better.

What are you working on to improve?


We did it!  We finished our 4th marathon yesterday in Detroit.  Chris had his 3rd best time and I had my 4th.  Not that we are really out there for speed, but a PB would have been nice.  We did accomplish what we set out there to do and that is finish. 

For a while there I thought I had 4:17 in the bag.  I would have beat my best time by 5 minutes.  Legs felt great; energy was good, but then I had to make a break for a pit stop at mile 17.5.  I tried to get back on pace, only having lost 2 minutes I still would make my best time.  Feeling good I took off, but it didn’t last.  I crashed on Belle Isle at mile marker 19.  The legs just didn’t want to run any more.  I watched the 4:20 pace group pass me and I thought I could get it going again; nope. Then the 4:25 group passed, and then another, and then another.  I never recouped.  I did manage to muster enough strength to jog the last .2 miles across the finish line and finish in 4:42.

Even with my worst ever results there is no way to be disappointed when you finish a marathon.  To know that you accomplished something that most never will is still a crazy high.  I am a little sad that the training is coming to an end, for now, but I am anxious to select the next event and get going again.  The commitment, the determination, and the time training with my husband all make the pain of the 26.2 miles worth it.

Fall Beauty

We Michiganders may complain a lot about the winter, but without our glorious 4 seasons we would miss out on this . . .

You don’t have to travel that far to witness these fall beauties.  I made a trip up I75 to Saginaw the other day and it was beautiful.  I started to see colors like these around the Frankenmuth area.

Get the up north experience without going all the way.  Plan your day trip from the metro Detroit area.

Start out at Don’s of Traverse City in Novi.  Take yourself back to the last time you visited the Grand Traverse area without the travel.  My favorite is their real fruit cherry shakes – yummy!

Head west on I96 to US23 north.  Take the Clyde Rd exit (Exit 70) and visit Spicer’s Orchard.  You can pick your own or they have them ready to go.  My faves here are the cinnamon donuts and the honey crisp apples.  They have lots for kids to do so plan on staying a little while.  Your kids will have a blast on the climbing activities, bounce houses, pony rides, and they will love climbing the giant dirt pile.  Ah, the simple things in life.  Oh, I almost forgot the corn maze.  It’s a lot of fun, but we almost always seem to visit Spicer’s the same day as our 20 mile training run. Ugh.

Here we are at Spicer’s September 2011

 When you leave Spicer’s continue to head north on US23 until it turns into I75.  Continue on to the Birch Run/ Frankenmuth exit.  If you aren’t stuffed full of donuts turn left and try Tony’s.  I hear they put a pound of bacon on their BLT’s.  Otherwise, head into town for a day of shopping, site seeing and fall colors.  With the unseasonably hot weather you have no excuse to stay inside.  Get out and enjoy the beautiful state we live in and get your 10,000 steps without even knowing it.

Steve Jobs Was Fearless

Steve Jobs had too many good qualities to list, but one of them that most people are talking about today is his fearlessness.  He was able to be the great success that he was because he dared to be.

Let’s all honor him by showing no fear in 2012.  If we repeat what we did this year then we will get the same things we got in 2011.  If we attack the world bold and unafraid, if we dare ourselves to try new things, then we will get new outcomes; positive outcomes. We will find more fulfillment in our relationships, in our careers, and in ourselves.

How do we go about it?  Remove all of the roadblocks.  Remember that it is you driving your own bus and fuel your ride with positive energy.  See yourself as winning.  See yourself getting everything that you want.  Ignore people who tell you that you can’t.  Always stir your pot with optimism and remember the glass is always half full.

-reading positive books
-listening to positive podcasts
-saying positive things about other people
-knowing that you can do it
-working to make relationships positive
-walking and build up to running
-asking to be paid your value
-asking that girl/guy out to dinner

-watching negative news programs
-looking to blame other people
-listening to people who tell you that you can’t
-doing less than you are capable of
-living life without a purpose.  Find it!
-keeping inside what needs to be out

“I’m as proud of what we don’t do as I am of what we do.”
-Steve Jobs

Make 2012 your best year yet.  Brave to be your best.
You have to see this . . . Steve Jobs commencement speach at Stanford.

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