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Returning to the present moment

I was presenting my Defeating Average conversation to our Melbourne, Australia office last week. It was special to connect with some people we visited on our paternity leave in 2018 when we took Tess on a road trip for a month through New Zealand and Australia, including Melbourne.

As we talked about being present in moments of conflict and crisis, we talked about how we can calmly breathe and think through any situation life throws at us. Many of us have taken on journaling to get ideas or angst down on paper and out of our heads. There is an opportunity in this crisis.

Getting your thoughts down on paper in COVID not only serves as a mental release but will provide you with a rich perspective when you are able to read and look back from the safer shores of 2021.

We are all in this together.

Defeating Average.



(Image from Time Magazine)

There has been a flood of support honoring Ruth Bader Ginsberg. Especially in this time of divide, she was a shining example of courage, truth, and serving others.

In addition to that, she has been fighting for women’s rights and equality for decades. She has inspired millions of people.

Crisis creates opportunity.

It was never going to be easy to get this country back on track. 

In passing, she has left us a north star to aspire to. A responsibility to act. To vote.

Obstacles were coming in the next 60 days. There are more coming. How can you meet them as an unbreakable force?

With her example, what action will you take today and in the coming weeks to overcome obstacles and defeat average?

Like all the kind accolades for RBG in her passing, you deserve them to when you pass.

How do you want people to remember you when you die?

What would you like them to say about you?

Are you honoring those words and the path to get there?

Can someone like RBG or another person you admire be your north star?

Have a great week.


Doing what you hate to do, but do it like you love it

(Image by Glenn Francis)

“Doing what you hate to do, but do it like you love it”

– Mike Tyson 

Coming back to box at age 54 and he hasn’t sparred in 15 years. When asked on the Joe Rogan podcast about the experience of coming back to box and why he’s doing it he said (my summary):

I was out of shape and wanted to feel better. Getting back in shape was the first step that leads to the next. More energy and more fire inside. Once the fire was lit I wanted to see how far I could push myself. 

When asked how it’s felt:

Painful, humbling, exhilarating! In order to train at that level you need to do what you hate to do, but do it like you love it!

Wise words

What is in your way that you hate to do but know it’s necessary to get to your big hairy audacious goal?

Defeating Average.


You are your own obstacle

The Biggest obstacle I ever faced was my own limited perception of myself.- RuPaul

My wife and I were watching Queer Eye Season 5 about the “anxiety activist.” It was about a young 18-year-old girl in college leading a climate change group called sunrise and the episode focused on anxiety. There is always an uplifting ending and in this time of division, we enjoy watching something positive.

I think we all limit our own potential at times comparing ourselves to others. How can we widen our lens?

A few questions I have found helpful:

1. What’s possible?

2. What brings me energy?

3. What brings me life?

4. What advice would my (add 20 years to age) self tell me to focus on?

Just like Abby in this episode, we all have HUGE potential and sometimes need others to help us see it.


A Centering Question that Drives Value 

What does this person value above all else?
I was listening to a great podcast from linked in founder Reid Hoffman on Masters of Scale
The conversation was with the Peloton founder John Foley and the original challenge getting funding. 
When approaching venture funds and angel investors Reid recommended asking yourself this question:
What does this person value above all else?
Then look at your plan and answer, am I offering something that provides that value?

Great advice for life. 


Do this one thing to be effective

Don’t multi-task. Focus on one thing at a time and move to the next.

I was in a training class a couple of years ago on how our company uses an agile method to build software.

The trainer had us do an exercise where we took sticky notes and write out everything we needed to get done for a sample project on the board.

Then we put all the sticky’s above a line (and the rest below) for the piece of the project that had to be complete in week 1.

Finally, he taped a square 4 x 4-inch box on the whiteboard and we put the most important thing to get done first in that box.

Once that was done we removed it put it on the table and put the 2nd most.

As he described “I use this in my regular work life as well. What is above the line is what you will do during the day. What is below you are saying no too. It feels good to be clear and say no. What is in the square box is my biggest rock of the day. Getting that done first relieves pressure on everything else. By using the box method it keeps you from multi-tasking which has proven to be inefficient.”

How can you use the square box and the agile software method to approach your week?

Defeating Average


What’s in your confidence jar?

We all waiver in our confidence.  Leverage when you are at your best!

I was listening to an Olympic athlete last year talking about her confidence. In two separate Olympic games, they were at completely different levels.

As she transitioned from one to the next she did two things.

1. Create a confidence jar
2. Create a confidence highlight reel

She wrote down moments that she was at her best and revisited them prior to big events.

Second, she created a short 3-minute video reel of her best games and also watched that before big events.

How are you leveraging your confidence?

Defeating Average.


Win The Day

In a recent podcast (Finding Mastery with Dr. Michael Gervais), Cap Ripken Jr was asked what he focused on each day. 

Calvin Ripken Jr., nicknamed “The Iron Man”, is a former major league baseball shortstop and third baseman who played 21 seasons for the Baltimore Orioles.

Ripken holds the record for consecutive games played, 2,632, surpassing Lou Gehrig’s streak of 2,130 that had stood for 56 years and that many deemed unbreakable. 

His answer “Win the day.”

You can play the long game both with a great vision for your career and taking it one day at a time. 

On a recent day during PTO, nothing was more important than lying down in the park and watching the sunset with my wife and daughter.

Win the day. 


One step, One Day at a Time

30 min walking, sunlight on your arms and fresh air will get you going. 

I was talking to my trainer on Friday and I asked him how his clients were doing in the pandemic. He said those who usually push hard are slowing down and being more methodical. They are focusing on mindfulness, moving, and being grateful for what they have. 

His newer clients that are getting back into shape are focusing on foundational bodyweight exercises. In between workouts, he is recommending three things for them.

30 min walking / sunlight on the arms / breathing fresh air. 

Move, get nature’s energy, breath in, and tap into your frequency. 

I talked to a number of people who have been leveraging walking in the pandemic. Starting at 30 min a day and now they are up for an hour walk a day. Walking with family or taking business calls has been key to feeling energized and losing a few pounds. 


Set your time goal or the number of steps per day and increase 5 percent each week. You’ll get the energy you need to overcome inaction and anxiety 

Defeating Average.


What is your self talk?

Life is the story you tell yourself.

Do you believe in yourself?

Do you have the confidence to achieve your goals?

Are you focusing on what you can control?

The theory of self-efficacy (contributed to by a world-class psychologist who grew up an hour from where I grew up!) refers to “an individual’s belief in his or her capacity to execute behaviors necessary to produce specific performance attainments. Selfefficacy reflects confidence in the ability to exert control over one’s own motivation, behavior, and social environment.”

Albert Bandura is widely described as the greatest living psychologist, and as one of the most influential psychologists of all time.

With that in mind, here are some questions that have helped me.

What is the learning opportunity here?

What does success look like today?

Who needs me on my A-game?

What brings me energy and life?

Defeating inaction, and status quo and the average inside.