What I Learned Running My First Half Marathon

About three weeks after the birth of my daughter, one of my best friends suggested I run the Chicago Half Marathon with him. I laughed at the thought. I was sleeping four hours a night – at best – and was in the worst shape of my life. Sympathy weight is a real thing, gentlemen, but I’ll touch on that later.

Peer pressure and my competitive natures got the better of me and I signed up to run. With only 10 weeks to train, I pushed myself and finished the Chicago Half Marathon in 2:20. Definitely not fast by any stretch of the imagination, but under my 2 1/2 hour goal.

Throughout the process of training and running I learned a lot about health and wellness. I never thought of myself as a “runner.” Honestly, I still don’t. But I know that I am much better for having conquered this challenge. Here’s what I learned:

Find the Right Program. 

I came into my half-marathon training with delusions of picking up and running 6 or 8 miles with ease. I found out that running a 5k, while in the worst shape of my life, was no easy task. The first thing I did was get new running shoes. The second thing I did was find a training program. The Nike+ Running App on my phone had a rather ambitious program, with daily reminders to “run 5 miles” or “rest” or suggestions on how to cross-train (I preferred swimming to build endurance). Here is a great program for beginners looking to run 13.1

Join a running group. Running is it’s own little cult of surprisingly nice and friendly people addicted to running. There are plenty of running groups that will push you to train harder and teach you to train properly.

The most important thing I learned in training is to stick to the program as best as I can. Definitely do not skip your long run on the weekends. Though you might dread the prospect of running 10 miles on a Sunday, these runs are the most worthwhile in the course of preparing.

Watch What You Eat a.k.a I Need to Eat Better

I found out very quickly that my diet sucked. As a busy young professional at a large law firm with a newborn child, I didn’t make time to think about what I ate, how it would fuel me and how it affected my heath. I just ate at my desk most days, grabbing something quick and easy and overly processed. Training doesn’t mean you can eat whatever you want. I ate like crap the first month of training. I quickly realized the effect it had on my body and made the switch.

There are hundreds of reasons why eating at your desk is terrible ( you gain weight, your brain power suffers, and your work/life balance sucks) and why you should be focusing on the food you eat but for me it was the mindlessness. I didn’t think about food as fuel. Load up on fruits and veggies, lean proteins and complex carbs, properly fuel your body for performance. Make sure you eat breakfast and always eat something before you run.

My first long run was 9 miles. I forgot to eat before I ran and I hit the wall around mile 7. Your body will run out of the necessary glycemic stores to fuel you unless you eat. So eat more and eat better. This also has had a tremendous effect on my mental acuity.

Get Those ZZZZs

Part of training for any event is getting the proper rest (see below), but what we often neglect is sleep. I’m a night owl. I write late at night, my brain is fired up and I seem to have my best ideas. I also get sucked into the late-nights watching baseball or football or Colbert. I’ve gotten by on 5-6 hours of sleep for years. You cannot get by on this little sleep when you’re pushing your body to perform better. Sleep is the best way to get smarter and faster. 

The science of sleep correlates to better brain function, but more sleep will also make you faster. A study from researchers at Stanford University finds that extra hours of sleep at night can help improve football players’ performance on drills such as the 40-yard dash and the 20-yard shuttle. The same concept holds true with distance running. The more you sleep, the better your body and mind can heal from the fatigue and stress you’re putting on them.

Mind What You Have Learned & Rest Your Body Properly

Do not try to run every single day. Do not try to run more than your program calls for. Sometimes it’s okay to skip a (short) run if you’re feeling fatigued. It is possible to over-train. Listen to your body and rest when you’re supposed to.

I got down on myself the first few long runs when I would have to walk a minute here or there to catch my breath or walk off a cramp. On race day I was shocked to see seasoned runners doing the same thing at various points in the race. Resting properly, listening to your body and knowing the difference between pain and fatigue is vitally important.

On race day, I came out of the gate and ran the first 6 miles faster than I’d ever run 6 miles before. I ignored my training and pace. By mile 10 I was gassed but still going strong. Mile 11 was brutal. You play the way you practice. If you’re fatigued going into the race from over-training, your performance will suffer.

It’s (Mostly) Mental

The thought of running 10 miles was daunting to me, much less 13.1. I couldn’t imagine 26.2 or an Iron Man. I hit the 10 mile mark of my half-marathon and thought “only 3.1 to go….holy s%$! that’s another 5k.”

Running and finishing a half marathon is a mental game. You have to push past pain, fatigue and the little voice in your head that says “that’s too far, you can’t possibly do that.” Running a half marathon proved to me that my mind is tougher than my body. Mental toughness was an important tool I developed during training and during the race.

The Navy SEALs have a saying: “Get comfortable being uncomfortable.” You can’t get stronger if you stay in your comfort zone at all times.

Stress-Busting 101

Running, like most exercise, feels good. It makes you feel mentally and physically strong. We’ve all heard of “runners high” that exhilarated feeling you have when you cross the finish line or finish your long run. I can attest, it’s real. Don’t believe me? Ask science.

Researchers in Germany, using advances in neuroscience, report in the journal Cerebral Cortex that the runner’s high is real: Running does elicit a flood of endorphins in the brain. The endorphins are associated with mood changes, and the more endorphins a runner’s body pumps out, the greater the effect.

If you, like many of us, live a high stress lifestyle, running can be a great way to wring out that stress. Make the time early in the mornings to run with the sunrise or over a lunch break (since you’re not eating at your desk) or in the evening with your family. Group running also ads to your social interaction and reduces stress.

Overall, running a half marathon isn’t for everyone. But I can attest it was the most difficult and most rewarding challenge I’ve posited upon myself to date. I grew in physical and mental strength, bettered my heath and diet, my overall well-being increased. If you’re looking for a healthy hobby, running is for you. I’ve already signed up for another race.

Victim Culture is Killing Our Manhood

Victim Culture Is Killing American Manhood

Tailgate Gear: The Imperial Tailgate Collection

Get ready for game day and start off the 2015 football season with a hat from Imperial Headwear’s new Tailgate Collection.

The Collegiate color-ways represent some of the most well-known colleges in America. The states included in the collection are:  Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.

Each hat featurshow-me-x210b-jxx-fes the state outline with a defining characteristic of each state. The Tailgate Collection styles include preppy cotton hats, as well as Imperial’s signature Tour Visors and Oxford Bucket hats.

For more information on the Tailgate Collection head over to https://www.imperialsports.com/product-category/tailgate-collection

I personally am rocking “The Show Me” in hopes that my Missouri Tigers can show me something better than I’ve seen through the first four weeks of the season. Imperial brands itself as the perfect fit from Club House to Beach House.

These breathable cotton hats are comfortable, fit well and look sharp on the golf course and at your tailgate. They’re also a great conversation starter.

While their Tailgate Collection is impressive, their full line of clothing includes items you’ll want to incorporate into your work day and weekend attire. Go to Imperial Sports to check out the full collection.

Rule No. 4: Expect Greatness

Image result for michael jordan quotesThe difference between wanting something making something happen begins and ends with expectation. Expectation is the mindset that you will achieve your goals, no matter the difficulty. This isn’t to say that working your ass off won’t get results. It will. Expectation is all about the mindset to match the hustle. This mindset is what sets apart the mediocre from the great.

The notion of expectations is well-known in medicine, where doctors have  known the power of the “placebo effect” for a long time. It turns out that this same psychological machinery of expectation holds sway in many realms. The expectations which we bring to a situation can, in some sense, bend reality.

I know, that sounds like some nonsense, but hear me out.

Expectation can trick the mind into believing that a certain outcome is more likely. Science has proven this time and time again. It’s called the Pygmalion effect, or Rosenthal effect. The Pygmalion effect, named after the Greek myth of Pygmalion, a sculptor who fell in love with a statue he had carved, is the phenomenon whereby higher expectations lead to an increase in performance.

Chris Berdick, author of “Mind Over Mind” explains:

In medicine, there’s no evidence of placebos curing diseases, shrinking tumors, or mending broken bones. In athletics, there are physical limits that no amount of positive thinking will supersede.

But subtle and conditional effects can make a big difference, because expectations bend reality in so many areas of life. Our minds are constantly jumping to conclusions about the world we live in and who we are. Instead of just accepting them, we can examine some of those expectations and maybe put them to the test by trying out some alternatives.

So how does it work?

In Proverbs, King Solomon writes: “For as a man thinks within himself, so he is.” (Proverbs 23:7). Henry Ford put it even better when he said, “Whether you think you can, or think you can’t, you’re right.”

The mindset of expecting greatness is a mindset you must train yourself to have. Here are three quick ways to train your mind to expect greatness.

1. Positive Affirmations or “Self-Talk”

Athletes and business people have been known to use “self-talk” or positive affirmations to pump themselves up. They convince themselves that they are great, that they are the best at their job or sport, and that they will succeed.

Science has shown that this actually improves performance. In a report for the journal Perspectives on Psychological Science, sports psychologist Antonis Hatzigeorgiadis conducted a meta-analysis of 32 sport psychological studies with a total of 62 measured effects. The research confirmed that self-talk and positive affirmations improve sporting performance.

Try this self talk from fiction business tycoon Jack Donaghy:

2. Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness is the newest business buzzword I heard in every podcast I listen to and every leadership article I read. Meditation and other zen-practices may seem silly to some, but these practices have been used for centuries with tremendous results.  Jon Kabt-Zinn, a world renowned expert in this subject, defines it as, “Paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non judgmentally.” The idea is that we take a break from our constantly connected lives and take a breath and focus on the moment.

This might mean taking fifteen minutes to meditate or simply taking a walk around the block. For me, mindfulness is running. Disconnecting my email and putting my phone away and just getting outside. Being in nature, exercising, focused on the moment. Find time for yourself to focus on getting your mind in a place where you can make great things happen.

The scientific benefits of mindfulness are awesome. In a study published in the journal NeuroImage in 2009,researchers compared the brains of 22 meditators and 22 age-matched non-meditators and found that the meditators (who practiced a wide range of traditions and had between five and 46 years of meditation experience) had more gray matter in regions of the brain that are important for attention, emotion regulation, and mental flexibility. Increased gray matter typically makes an area of the brain more efficient or powerful at processing information.

3. Move the Needle One Percent

Have you ever met people who seem to have it easy? They get the big promotion, have the dream job they’re passionate about or have the perfect family life. Everything is perfect for them. The more we look at them and envy them, the more we hate our own lives. This is the problem with perception. We see and live life from the outside looking in. We see how people frame their lives on social media. The picture is distorted.

As a result we expect that things should be easy for us. That results will come quickly. We look to others and see what we don’t have. Instead, start small and focus inward. Focus on doing one thing today that will make you better tomorrow. That’s it. You don’t have to make huge strides daily. Just focus on moving the needle one percent in the direction of your goals.

Focus on what you are truly passionate about. Then take one step in that direction. If you can simply focus on what is most important to you, believe you will achieve that goal and move the needle 1% per day toward that goal, you will achieve it. Find a way to make yourself one percent better today than you were yesterday.

Expectation is a powerful force, but expectation alone cannot get us to where we want to be. We must have great expectations, push ourselves to get better daily and find best practices like self-talk and mindfulness that move the needle and make us better. Expect greatness, but put in the work to deliver the results.

Become a Millionaire in 3 “Easy” Steps

We all want to be millionaires. We see the luxury vacations, nice houses and fancy cars and think “wouldn’t that be nice?” But what we really want is financial freedom. Money doesn’t buy happiness, but it certainly buys freedom. The more money you save, the earlier you can retire, the more accessible your hobbies, dreams or guilty pleasures may be. The road to being a millionaire (absent the rare skyrocket to the top) isn’t as complicated as you think. Follow these easy 3 steps and you will be well on your way.

1. Treat your savings and retirement contributions like a bill

Repeat after me. Auto pay. You auto pay for Netflix or your credit card, utilities come directly from your account, you have auto pay on all of your bills. Why not savings.

The rule has always been pay yourself first.

So do it. Treat your savings like a mandatory bill you MUST pay. Choose a set amount for each pay period to be direct deposited into your Roth IRA (this is on top of your 401k and employer match). You want to chose a Roth because this money can grow tax free.

Treating your Roth contributions like a bill will ensure you maximize your contributions and allow your money to grow tax free. If you force yourself to pay your retirement like a bill, every single month, you will drastically increase your chances of making it to millionaire status.

2. Early and Often

Compounding interest is a wonderful thing. Take the example of Joe and Steve. Joe saves everything he can and by age 30 has contributed $100,000 to a retirement account. Steve starts saving at age 30 and saves $100,000 per year until retirement. Assuming a 7% rate of return,who has more at age 65? If you guessed Joe, then congratulations you understand how compounding interest works. For a closer look see the chart below. If you started saving at age 20, you would only need to save $361.04 per month to get to a million by age 65. If you wait until you are 30, that number nearly doubles to $698.41 per month. Start saving early and often and let compound interest take its course.

monthly savings chart new

3. Trim The Fat

Take a look at your monthly expenses and see where your money goes. You can use simple programs like Mint or Personal Capital to see your spending in action and track your money. Know where every penny goes.

I like to use Tim Ferriss’ Monthly Expense Calculator

Next go through the list of expenses and put a star next to necessities. These are rent or mortgage, debt payments (student loan or credit card debt). utilities and food (except eating out at restaurants). Add these numbers up. This is your fixed necessity cost. Multiply this amount by three. You should have that amount set aside in an emergency fund for a rainy day.

Next take a red pen and circle all of the expenses that you know to be frivolous. Add them up. All of this is money wasted. Find little things you can eliminate right off the bat. Do you buy lunch every day? Brown bag it a few days per week. Enjoy a few beers at happy hour? Find a bar with great drink specials. Have to eat out at the best restaurant? Look for Groupons or use gift cards where you can. Be frugal and start small. Awareness of how you spend your money will lead you to saving more. The less you spend, the more you can save. The more you can save, the more you can compound.

This may not sound like fun. Saving and building wealth is a process. I highly suggest reading up on the topic. A few books on the topic that I recommend are:

  • Thomas J Stanley, The Millionaire Next Door (2004) and Stop Acting Rich… and Start Living Like a Real Millionaire (2009)
  • Alexander Green, The Gone Fishin’ Portfolio.

While the road to becoming a millionaire is difficult, it is achievable. You have to live below your means, be meticulous about your saving and spending and ensure that you are making the best choices for your future. That often means forgoing instant gratification for a more stable and financially free future.

Advice for Graduates: 3 Tips You Won’t Hear at Commencement

Jeff Goins is an author, blogger, and speaker. He believe words make a difference and great ideas can change the world. After working for seven years in the nonprofit world as a marketing and communications director,  he now writes and speaks full-time. His blog Goinswrites.com was voted one of the “Top 10 Blogs on Writing” by WritetoDone.com

Advice for Graduates: 3 Tips You Won’t Hear in Any Commencement Speech

by Jeff Goins

It’s that time of year again. The birds are chirping. The flowers are in bloom. And graduates everywhere are wondering what the heck they’re doing with their lives.

Listen here, graduates. Plenty of people will tell you to enjoy this time and not worry about what’s to come. That’s bad advice. This season of life ahead of you is important. Don’t waste it. At the same time, don’t drive yourself crazy with the fear of missing out or the stress of making the wrong choice. You will miss out and you will mess up. This season is all a delicate balancing act.

The difference between squandering this time and making the most of it is understanding what to do with what’s ahead of you. So here’s some advice I’ve pulled together, much of it from my recent book, The Art of Work (which a reader recently pointed out makes for a great graduation gift).

Don’t worry about what to do

When my friend and former roommate Andrew Chipman was getting ready to graduate college, I asked if he was excited about completing his education.

“No,” he said. “My education will never end.”

He told me the one thing he was looking forward to was deciding what he would learn. He was eager to get back to reading what he wanted to read, not what he was told. His education hadn’t ended; it just changed shape.

Andrew was right. You never really leave the classroom. There’s always a new lesson life has to teach you, if you’re willing to listen. So don’t worry too much about what to do. Worry, instead, about who you are becoming.

“Don’t worry about what to do. Worry about who you are.”

Whether or not you’re continuing your education, never stop learning. Become a student of the world around you. Travel to new places. Meet interesting people. Read as many books as possible. Pray and meditate, reflecting on who you are and are becoming. These practices offer your soul the quiet it needs in a world where such practices are becoming obsolete.

As Parker Palmer once wrote,

Before I can tell my life what I want to do with it, I must listen to my life telling me who I am.

Spend some time learning who you are and what you’re supposed to do will become more clear.

Stop trying to find the perfect job

One of the great illusions in our world today is the idea that there’s some perfect job out there, waiting for you. You can’t find the perfect job, but you can create it.

“You can’t find the perfect job, but you can create it.”


The world of work is changing. Companies are getting smaller, not larger. Organizations are shrinking, and employers are outsourcing more and more, hiring contractors instead of employees as they look for ways to decrease their risk. And this is actually a wonderful opportunity for those entering the workforce.

When I interviewed hundreds of people who had found their calling – people ages 18 to 80 – one recurring theme was almost every person was a business owner. From the college-aged computer programmer, to the couple in Burundi starting a coffee company, to the Singaporean doula – each person understood their life’s work would not simply be handed to them. They had to create it.

The job market isn’t great, and it probably won’t be getting any better in the foreseeable future. If the studies are true, by the year 2020, we will see over half the workforce functioning as freelancers, with no steady job but a portfolio of gigs that provide a living.

This may not sound like good news to everyone, especially those who are less entrepreneurial. But it is. If you embrace this reality, you won’t have to settle for a position that doesn’t fulfill your potential. You can create the perfect job for yourself.

Don’t chase your dream (yet)

I often hear older people tell young people that the best thing they could do is chase their dreams. Hogwash. Blindly pursuing your passion is the fastest way to the unemployment line.

The world is full of dreamers who hate their lives and blame their bosses. Passion won’t save you from failure and it won’t protect you from economic hardship. Deferring your dream, though, as the proverb says, “makes the heart go sick.” So what do you do?

“Serve someone else’s dream first,” my former boss Seth used to say. In other words, become an apprentice. Stop wasting your time in search of the perfect mentor and instead help someone else’s dream come true. I did this for seven years, and it taught me more than a master’s degree.

“Don’t chase your dream yet. Serve someone else’s first.”

The world doesn’t owe you anything, least of all the privilege to do work you love. And chances are, there are already people out there doing it. So find them, help them, and learn from them. Don’t chase your dream; serve someone else’s.

via Advice for Graduates: 3 Tips You Won’t Hear at Commencement.


Rich Roll: Where to start when you want to transform your body

In 2009 Men’s Fitness named him one of the 25 fittest guys in the world. He’s a Stanford University and Cornell Law School graduate who, at age 40, transformed himself from a sedentary, overweight father to an ultra-distance endurance athlete (and lost 50 pounds in the process). Rich Roll inspires people worldwide. He’s a living example of the power to transform. He’s had top finishes at the Ultraman World Championships, was the first of two people to complete the Epic5 Challenge (five Ironman-distance triathlons on the five separate islands of Hawaii in under a week), and is the author of the best selling memoir Finding Ultra.

Today, he’s the centre of his own brand of healthy living. He advocates for plant-based eating, hosts a successful podcast and travels the word as a public speaker. We asked him what the average person can do to begin their journey to feeling amazing. Here’s his most basic advice:

“I certainly don’t have a monopoly on feeling amazing. Everyone has the right to feel great, and it’s my mission to help people access the more vital, authentic, energized and positive version of themselves locked inside, but yearning to come out.”

1. Start your day with something green

Nothing makes me feel better than my morning green juice or smoothie. Drinking a blend (or juice) comprised primarily of dark leafy greens like kale and spinach is the true breakfast of champions.

2. Move your body

It’s not about the gym. And it’s not about suffering. But you do need to find something physically exerting that you enjoy doing, and create a daily habit of doing it. Healthy food is only half the battle. If you want to feel your absolute best — enhanced mental function and quality of sleep; improved sex, heightened alertness and overall mood elevation — then daily exertion outside in nature is a must.

3. Unplug

We think we use our gadgets to stay connected. But somewhere along the line they have become the best way to isolate ourselves. Commit to more real-life interactions with friends and make a rule that all gadgets get turned off at least two hours before bed. The result will be an increased calm and more restful sleep, which translates into an increased vitality and connection with the world during the day.

4. Be of service

Each day, set aside your problems and take a few moments to help someone else out. This doesn’t mean you have to go serve food at a soup kitchen (although that’s a good option); it can be as easy as calling a friend and checking in. You might just be amazed at how much better you feel when you get outside yourself.

5. Practise gratitude

I don’t know about you, but gratitude is not my default emotional state — I have to practise it to feel it. But when I do, I feel better about just about everything in my life. Before you go to bed each night, take five minutes to write down a list of things you are grateful for that day. It might seem silly, but it’s quite powerful.

6. Understand that true health is an inside job

You can exercise and eat a super-healthy diet, but if the rest of your life is out of balance, then you’re not truly healthy in the holistic sense. In my opinion, the key to true health and happiness resides deep within all of us. Make meditation and mindfulness a daily top priority in 2014 and you will be amazed at how much your life will change.

For more on Rich Roll’s personal transformation click here.

Gillian Mandich is currently completing her doctoral studies at Western University in Health and Rehabilitation Science, with a focus on health promotion, specifically physical activity, childhood obesity, nutrition, and diabetes. Gillian is a holistic health advocate, yoga and Yoga Tune Up teacher, co-host of  “The Holistic Health Diary” podcast, and contributes to numerous print and online media. Follow her on Twitter or Instagram @gillianmandich.

via Rich Roll: Where to start when you want to transform your body.

via Rich Roll: Where to start when you want to transform your body.

Rule No. 3: Complacency Kills

There are two choices in life. You either move forward you you move backward. If you believe you are staying the same, you are moving backwards. This is true in your career, relationships and with your health. Complacency kills.

I learned this lesson early in life. I played high school football for three years, mostly acting as a tackling dummy for kids much larger and more athletic than I was. One day, while in the midst of an Oklahoma drill – a tackling drill between two players, while encircled by their teammates, forming a ring around them – I had been beaten by one of the harder hitting linebackers on the team. The linebacker coach grabbed me by the face mask and yelled at me, “Don’t  be complacent, get back up,” and tossed me back into the circle. I made the hit and actually won the drill.

While this was not the start of a prolific football career, it was an important moment in my life. I learned that defeat is easy to accept. It is much harder to get back up and choose to be better. Complacency is easy. It’s not challenging. It does not better you.

Complacency comes quickly and easily once we leave the friendly confines of college and enter the real wold. We may have had grand notions of climbing the corporate ladder, writing award winning movies, or starting our own businesses. Instead of following our dreams, we do what we have to do and take a job to pay the bills. We stop dreaming, stop planning, stop pursuing our passions. We stop going to the gym because we are too busy. We stop being romantic or loving with our partner, treating them more like a roommate than the person we love. These are all examples of complacency.

So how do you get past the complacency and re-capture your life?

1. Choose to be Brave. 

Complacency is easy. It is easy to listen to the voice in your head who tells you not to take risks. Not to dare greatly. I could have easily walked away from the Oklahoma drill. I could have hung my head and accepted defeat. Instead I stood back up and dusted myself off and got back in the ring.  Teddy Roosevelt gave us the perfect blueprint for overcoming complacency and choosing to be brave. He wrote:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

2. Do something every day to better yourself. 

Take out a piece of paper right now and write down ten things you want to accomplish in your life. Don’t worry if you can’t come up with ten, just write down as many as you can think of. They can be as large or as small as you want. Some of mine include “buy a vacation home,” or “publish a novel.” Now look at your goals. What processes do you have in place to achieve them.

I recently heard a podcast interview of Arnold Schwarzenegger in which he claimed that the process of success that he got from bodybuilding, applied it to other areas in his life, made him a success. In bodybuilding, there are big goals such as winning a major competition like Mr Olympia; there are medium-term goals like reaching an ideal weight of 235 lbs with 6% body fat ratio; and there are hundreds of short-term mini-goals like turning up at the gym, doing 12 reps of squats with 200lbs or cutting cakes from your diet. There is a deliberate process of discipline in achieving these goals. Everyone understands this process for your health.

Find a way to put the same processes in place for your goals. You want to buy a house? Save part of every pay check for the down payment. You want to write a novel, write a page every single day. Before you know it, you will have a pile of cash or a stack of pages. Martin Luther King, Jr. reminded us we don’t have to see the entire staircase, we just have to take the first step.

3. Be Deliberate about your Processes.

Everyone needs a break. Take a beat, recharge your batteries and then return refreshed. Even body builders and marathoners take rest days to recover. But don’t forget to be deliberate about your processes until they become habits. If they don’t become habits, the likelihood you fall victim to complacency is high, greater than 50%. Don’t believe me? Take a look at New Year’s Resolutions.

40 to 45% of American adult make one or more resolutions each year. By far, the top resolutions include weight loss, going to the gym or quitting smoking.

Based on several studies, the following shows how many of these resolutions are maintained as time goes on:

– past the first week: 75%
– past 2 weeks: 71%
– after one month: 64%
– after 6 months: 46%

That’s right, after 6 months only 46% of people are following through with their resolution. Complacency kills your progress if you let it. Be diligent and make your processes habitual.

When John Grisham was a fledgling lawyer, with a small law practice, he knew he wanted to be a writer. Instead of focusing on “paying the bills,” and ignoring his passions, he made time to write. He would wake up at the crack of dawn and write for hours before appearing in court. He would steal away time to make sure he followed his passions until writing every day became a habit. This is how we fight complacency. Through habit.

4. Express Gratitude

My wife used to tell me that I always focused on the negative. I would find ways to make the best situations seem gloomy. Part of my reasoning was that I like to play with a chip on my shoulder, but she was right. It’s easy to find the negative. It’s easy to look at your paycheck and say “that’s not enough.” (Maybe it isn’t, but that’s another discussion). It’s easy to look around at your friends and be envious of their successes, instead of celebrating them. The easy route is complacency.

Instead, find the silver lining. There is a silver lining in every single scenario. Find something, even if it is only one thing, to be grateful for. Is the sun shining? Do you have food, shelter, clean clothes? Then you’re doing better than a lot of folks in this world. Odds are, if you’re reading this, you live in America. You already won the lottery so to speak. The only negative in your life is what you bring into it with your own choices. Choose to be grateful, express that gratitude to everyone you meet. You will find that it is life changing.

How do you battle complacency? Let us know in the comments.

Relocating for Work: Negotiating Your First Job Transfer

While many of us long to climb to the top of the corporate ladder, there are many occasions in our lives where we must simply pick up and move. Of course you know how to pack your things and leave, however, there are many nuances when it comes to moving for a job that are very different when a company comes after you to relocate. Our generation, on average only holds a job for an less than five years. We will also, on average, move more than ten times in our lives.  When a company approaches to you to work for them, or relocate on their schedule, and to pack your life and go, there are several things that you need to ask for, because you have the leverage.

  • Ask for a new offer letter

This first part is immensely important because it will affect much of your decision-making. You will always need to provide an income statement to purchase a new home or to move into a new apartment. If you haven’t figured out by now, living in New York City is different than living in Wyoming, and you need to be compensated accordingly. Most companies offer cost of living adjustments if you are moving somewhere more expense. Further, the fact that you are willing to move should come with a significant bump in pay. If it doesn’t, negotiate one.

  • Relocation Expenses

At this point you probably have at least moved from your college town to your first job, and realized how expensive moving can be. This is your chance to get some money to help defray those costs. If you have a lease that you are unable to break, see if the company will pay to break it for you, sometimes they will even buy your house and resell it on their own.

  • Dates & Timing

Logistics is a billion dollar industry for good reason. Moving people and things takes precise timing. You also need precise timing. You need to know how your move affects your vacation time. Make sure the company allows time for you to adjust to the new city, new office and new home. Everything is going to be somewhat foreign. Make sure you have your logistics in order.

  • House Hunting Time

If you are moving within the same company, they will typically  give you time to go look at homes and apartments. It can be difficult to find something online sight unseen, and can often lead to finding a horrifying apartment. Moving to a new city means there are certainly areas that you should not live, and sometimes you really do get what you pay for. Also be prepared for sticker shock. A one bedroom apartment in a major city can cost as much per month as a 3-4 bedroom home in smaller Midwestern towns.

The most important thing to remember is that there are two moves when you relocate for a job. The internal and external move. Internally, you want to ask for salary, perks, benefits to incentivize your move things, however keep in mind that you are still working for this company going forward. You want to be seen as  helpful and as cost effective as possible.

External factors can be different  because this company is likely selecting you based on your reputation within an industry. They are asking for your expertise in improving an area of the company that needs improvement and you can be a little more demanding than with internal moves.

With any negotiation, however, remember to be humble and thankful for the opportunity. This is a two way street and while you want to maximize your gains, you also want to leave the company feeling amicable toward you. This is your employer now. Keep asking until they say no, remember they are choosing you and it is on the company’s time, and not yours. At the end of the day, this can be a new exciting opportunity, in a new city, with the opportunity for job advancement, which will undoubtedly progress your career.

Retiring Google CFO Writes The Best ‘Spend More Time With Family’ Memo Ever

After nearly 7 years as CFO, I will be retiring from Google to spend more time with my family.  Yeah, I know you’ve heard that line before.  We give a lot to our jobs.  I certainly did.  And while I am not looking for sympathy, I want to share my thought process because so many people struggle to strike the right balance between work and personal life.This story starts last fall. A very early morning last September, after a whole night of climbing, looking at the sunrise on top of Africa – Mt Kilimanjaro. Tamar (my wife) and I were not only enjoying the summit, but on such a clear day, we could see in the distance, the vast plain of the Serengeti at our feet, and with it the calling of all the potential adventures Africa has to offer. (see exhibit #1 – Tamar and I on Kili).

pichetteAnd Tamar out of the blue said “Hey, why don’t we just keep on going”. Let’s explore Africa, and then turn east to make our way to India, it’s just next door, and we’re here already. Then, we keep going; the Himalayas, Everest, go to Bali, the Great Barrier Reef… Antarctica, let’s go see Antarctica!?” Little did she know, she was tempting fate.

I remember telling Tamar a typical prudent CFO type response- I would love to keep going, but we have to go back. It’s not time yet, There is still so much to do at Google, with my career, so many people counting on me/us – Boards, Non Profits, etc.

But then she asked the killer question: So when is it going to be time? Our time? My time? The questions just hung there in the cold morning African air. A few weeks later, I was happy back at work, but could not shake away THE question: When is it time for us to just keep going? And so began a reflection on my/our life. Through numerous hours of cycling last fall (my introvert happy place) I concluded on a few simple and self-evident truths:

First, The kids are gone.  Two are in college, one graduated and in a start-up in Africa. Beautiful young adults we are very proud of. Tamar honestly deserves most of the credit here. She has done a marvelous job. Simply marvelous. But the reality is that for Tamar and I, there will be no more Cheerios encrusted minivan, night watch because of ear infections, ice hockey rinks at 6:00am. Nobody is waiting for us/needing us.

 Second, I am completing this summer 25-30 years of nearly non-stop work (depending on how you wish to cut the data). And being member of FWIO, the noble Fraternity of Worldwide Insecure Over-achievers, it has been a whirlwind of truly amazing experiences. But as I count it now, it has also been a frenetic pace for about 1500 weeks now. Always on – even when I was not supposed to be. Especially when I was not supposed to be. And am guilty as charged – I love my job (still do), my colleagues, my friends, the opportunities to lead and change the world.

Third, this summer, Tamar and I will be celebrating our 25th anniversary. When our kids are asked by their friends about the success of the longevity of our marriage, they simply joke that Tamar and I have spent so little time together that “it’s really too early to tell” if our marriage will in fact succeed.

If they could only know how many great memories we already have together. How many will you say? How long do you have? But one thing is for sure, I want more. And she deserves more. Lots more.

Allow me to spare you the rest of the truths. But the short answer is simply that I could not find a good argument to tell Tamar we should wait any longer for us to grab our backpacks and hit the road – celebrate our last 25 years together by turning the page and enjoy a perfectly fine mid life crisis full of bliss and beauty, and leave the door open to serendipity for our next leadership opportunities, once our long list of travels and adventures is exhausted.

Working at Google is a privilege, nothing less. I have worked with the best of the best, and know that I am leaving Google in great hands. I have made so many friends at Google it’s not funny. Larry, Sergey, Eric, thank you for friendship. I am forever grateful for letting me be me, for your trust, your warmth, your support, and for so much laughter through good and not so good times.

To be clear, I am still here. I wish to transition over the coming months but only after we have found a new Googley CFO and help him/her through an orderly transition, which will take some time.

In the end, life is wonderful, but nonetheless a series of trade offs, especially between business/professional endeavours and family/community. And thankfully, I feel I’m at a point in my life where I no longer have to have to make such tough choices anymore. And for that I am truly grateful. Carpe Diem.

via Retiring Google CFO Writes The Best ‘Spend More Time With Family’ Memo Ever.