Friday, December 17, 2010

40. Raise $2,500 for a cause

Continuing with the Outside The Life List I also picked 40. Raise $2,500 for a Cause.  However, because 9. Overachieve also appeals to me I decided to double that to $5,000.  I have signed up with Team in Training, started in 1988 and often credited with creating the cause-fitness model of people raising funds for charity while competing in an endurance event. Team in Training is a fundraising program that benefits The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society ( Each year, they train 40,000 people for marathons, half marathons, century bike rides, triathlons, and hike adventures.  Team in Training participants have fundraised close to $1billion.

In all honesty, this goal is selfishly tied to getting in the best shape of my life.  In a 2008 study published in the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine it was found that motivation increases the more an individual meets three criteria: autonomy (self directed), competence (measurable improvement), and relatedness (a purpose and connection with something larger than oneself).  That last item means that if I let up on my fitness and fail to complete the triathlon that all my donors expect me to finish, I will not only let myself down, but others as well.

So with the addition of the tote board to my blog counting down my fundraising progress as well as an easy link to donate, my first three goals of writing, getting in the best shape of my life and now giving back are linked with the synergy that is often sited as so crucial to being successful in a holistic well being sense.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

29. Get in the Best Shape of Your Life

In the September issue of Outside magazine, they published The Life List which is “51 dream trips, daring quests, essential skills and exalted states of body and mind.”  They said they published this list “because you really can do it all.”  While many of these like 29. and  40. raise $2,500 for a cause (which I will discuss in my next post) are within my reach, I think it will be a while before  5. Become a bush pilot or 12. Talk to a wild panda, make my list.

Plus this item should be something I can do while keeping balance between the other aspects of my life.  With a regular weekly fitness habit (I have worked out once a week or more every week this year, but one before an October lapse), I am not out of shape, but that still does not leave me in my best shape.  Towards that end I signed up in November to train for a triathlon with the Team in Training program.  While not my first triathlon, or I hope not my last, I do feel that this time with 29. as my guideline I want to do more than finish.

However, I learned yesterday that you can’t get in the best shape of your life in one day, although I tried.  I started with my first ski day of the year at Breckenridge, which had some of the best December snow it has had in years.  I then followed that up with a kickboxing class and a Team in Training swim workout.  Although today I can walk, pacing which is always a struggle for me, is something I need to consider as I pursue this goal.  So you will see a lot in this blog on finding balance in my training, sharing tips, as well as trips, I make along the way.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A New Title?

Author of the Year, Sports Editor, Rocket Scientist, Professor, Triathlete, Dream Chaser Program Manager….

All titles from my past to my present, but the one I keep coming back to is that first one earned in third grade “Author of the Year.”  I have always been drawn to writing whether as a young elementary student to my days as the sports editor of the Columbine Courier in high school to Sigma Chi Chapter Editor during my college days to Colorado Daily sports columnist in graduate school to a college professor writing professional papers and now writing proposals for the replacement for the Space Shuttle.  Thing is I have shown a little talent to follow up that initial award, earning the honor of Top Colorado High School Sports Story from the Colorado Women’s Press Association, a national fraternal award for chapter publications, and a year ago helping win $20 Million dollars from the first round of NASA’s Commercial Crew Development program.

Writing proposals, while often much more rewarding, is not the same as seeing your name in print, physically or on-line.  That is why I have craved getting back to those early days as an author and writing a book.  While having plenty of ideas for both fiction and non-fiction works, I have not had the time and the commitment to realize those best sellers.

So this past summer as a part of a goal setting exercise, I set a goal to blog and now what you have is Aloha Fridays.  Sure it is not a book, but these days it is not that uncommon for a blogger to land a book contract.  I mean if, which collects pictures of cats with kooky captions, can become a book and make the Top 50 of USA Today’s Best Selling books in 2008 then surely with continued improvement on my book contract can’t be too far away can it?

For now I may have to settle for blogger as a new title, but maybe soon I will get back to being an author again.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Resolving to Find Wellbeing

As the New Year’s approaches it is natural to start thinking about resolutions.  I tend to do this a little earlier in November when I continue to turn 21 every year finding that birthdays tend to make me reflect more than a ball dropping in New York.

As a part of thinking about what I would like to change in my life I read the book Well Being by Tom Rath and Jim Harter.  They define wellbeing as not “just about being happy”, but rather five interconnected elements: Career Wellbeing, Social Wellbeing, Financial Wellbeing, Physical Wellbeing, and Community Wellbeing.  Supported by Gallup research in more than 150 countries they found these five different aspects to be universal.  They also emphasize that they are holistic.  It is not good to just do well in one such as dedicating an excessive time and energy to your job (Career Wellbeing) at the expense of your personal relationships (Social Wellbeing), but rather to find a balance in all five.  As you continue to follow my writing you will find that I like to look at all things systematically so the fact that this book’s approach to finding happiness looks at life as a whole system appeals to me will come later as no surprise.

While it is very common that resolutions about losing weight (Physical Wellbeing) or saving money (Financial Wellbeing) often are the top 2 made each year, 88 percent of people fail to keep their resolutions according to a 2007 study conducted by Richard Wiseman, a psychologist and author of The Luck Factor.  It is my theory based on the research in Well Being that this is because these resolutions often emphasize just one or two areas of the five Wellbeing elements over the whole set.

So to test that theory I am going to try and make five resolutions that I will discuss in this blog going forward.  The first is “Write” which starts with this blog and one I see as Social Wellbeing using this to extend conversation virtually.  The second is “Get in the Best Shape of My Life” in an attempt to improve my Physical Wellbeing.  The third is “To Give Back” by finding a way to be more involved with community through a fundraising program I have joined.  The fourth is “Live Aloha.”  I actually see that as Financial since the book Well Being gave financial advice of buying experiences rather than things.  Soon everyone will be treated to the adventure of my family’s upcoming Hawaii vacation as a very strong example of this resolution.  Finally the last one is “Chase Dreams” which is what I get to do at work every day.  More will come on that this week as we are at a big moment for the space program I currently manage.  Finally another key lesson I learned from Well Being is to try to interconnect these different aspects so you will learn how I have founds threads to tie these five resolutions together.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Call to Adventure

To start this blog, I asked what it would be about and came up with the following description:

Seeking balance in the adventure of life

So let me break that down a little.  My personality is that I often have the “propensity to overemphasize work life to the detriment of home life.”  In fact when reading about my personality in the outstanding book “Do What You Are” by Paul D. Tieger and Barbara Barron-Tieger the final weakness of my personality type states that exactly.  Thus I will spend many a blog post trying to address that work-life balance that so many of us busy professionals with a marriage and family struggle to achieve.

“Adventure” according to Wikipedia is “an activity that is perceived to involve risk, danger or exciting experiences.”  That pretty much sums up life to me, but most often these days adventure is associated with extreme sports.  For example climbing a 14er or skiing a double black diamond a few of the many activities available in Colorado where I live would be considered adventuresome.  In posts that will follow I certainly will talk about adventures such as these, but everyday life can involve adventures that don’t require a trip to REI.

I consider raising children and staying married (now for 20 years) to be some of life’s biggest adventures so you will find this blog covering these topics as well. While to the single outdoor types these may seem mundane, they in fact can be every bit as harrowing as a steep cliff drop off or car-sized moguls in your path.

So welcome everyone to start of my latest adventure writing a blog.  Adventures are always more fun with friends so I hope you will come along for the journey.