Many of us do not get to do what we are best at every day.  I was so dramatically reminded of this today when I met Hank.  Hank was the most engaged, most enthusiastic and most passionate individual I have seen In a very long time.  And here is what’s really amazing to me, Hank was at work.  To make matters more unbelievable, I was informed that Hank was shot in the back at his place of employment just over a year ago and nearly died. His recovery was slow, but he is back on the job.

To say watching Hank at work is inspirational just doesn’t do it justice. It is moving at a deep level to see the art of what he does. You are moved by the mastery of it.  You begin to believe there is order to the universe that unites artists with canvas and musicians with sound.  Some things are just made to be. Hank was made to do this. He was bred for it, he was born for it, he was trained for it and you can tell that he wants to do nothing else.

Hank’s job? He is a pointer at one of the countries best upland game hunting habitats called Ringneck Country in Western Kansas. You get a sense from this OFA certified hunting dog that nothing else on the planet is more important than the hunt. His excitement is contagious, and if you ever miss a shot at a bird that Hank has flushed, you can sense his disappointment in you not fulfilling your end of the bargain. Not in a judgmental way, but in a way that inspires you to be better at your part, because Hank is perfect at his. And even though he was shot just over a year ago by a careless hunter, Hank is back in the field with no less enthusiasm and passion.

It is a joy to watch something fully engaged in the thing that they love. Find what you are passionate about, what you were made to do, and do whatever it takes to see that through. Your purpose is something that no one else in the universe can aspire to, and you were created to do it


Travel Light

January 9, 2012 — Leave a comment


I am in Seoul Korea this week visiting colleagues with Compassion International.  On this trip (as with most of my trips) I am traveling with nothing but carry on luggage.   It has taken several years, but I have a pretty reliable system for traveling for any length of time with a few (but very versital) number of items.  It has taken a lot of thought and requires effort for each trip, but my ability to be gone for an indefinite amount of time and really “be ready for anything” is quite satisfying. There is a great temptation, however, to pack everything that I “might” need. To be clear, this is the the difference between the successful global traveler and an unsuccessful one. Successful world travels ask “what is the minimum that I will absolutely need?”

It becomes especially apparent when you are backpacking. In these cases, what you put in your backpack at the car is what you will carry for the entire trip. When I say “carry”, I mean literally that you will endure that weight on your back for every step of the journey. So, if you have placed something in your pack that weighs one pound, and you return to the car several days, and dozens of miles, later with that thing unused, you have carried it for nothing. At the end of each trip it is a common practice to ask “did this item add any value to me during the trip? Or, was it just extra baggage that I did not need?” If it did not add any value, you leave it behind on the next trip.

Often we carry a great deal of extra emotional weight around with us that is really not adding any value to our lives. But, we rarely pause to ask “Is this anger/fear/anxiety/etc. adding value during my trip?” Try this; reflect back on the past 2 or 3 very emotional times over the past few months and determine if there were any emotions that did not add value to the process as you moved from BEFORE to AFTER the event. If so, during your next crisis, leaves those emotions behind.

Travel light. You will go further and you will enjoy the journey more…I promise.


Suicide is Painless

January 5, 2012 — Leave a comment

Few people know that the opening song at the beginning of the TV series M.A.S.H was titled “Suicide is Painless” by Jonny Mandel.  Even fewer know that the song actually has lyrics.  Here is an excerpt from the song: 
“the sword of time will pierce our skin
It doesn’t hurt when it begins
But as it works it way back in
The pain grows stronger…watch it grin, but
Suicide is painless
It brings on many changes
And I can take or leave it if you please
The game of life is hard to play
I’m gonna lose it anyway
The losing card I’ll someday lay
So this is all I have have to say
That Suicide is painless
It brings on many changes
And I can take or leave it if you please
…and you can do the same thing if you choose”
Now some song lyrics are full of deep truth with great meaning.  Other song lyrics are steaming piles of feceses.  This song falls soundly in the latter group.
I attended a memorial service today for my friend’s Wife who had taken her own life.  This was one of the most difficult services I have ever attended since the way her life ended was in such contrast to the way that her life was lived.
Suicide is a permanent solution to temporary problems.  The real devastation of a life which is ended by choice is the trauma that it leaves behind.  In addition to the cavity that is left by the loss of any loved one, it is made constantly deeper by the constant excavating question of “why?”.  Those closest to the person incur the deepest wounds, forever asking if there was something more they could have done.
No, suicide is anything but painless for those left behind.

I Envy Kevin

January 2, 2012 — Leave a comment

This great story by Kelly Adkins first appeared in Christianity Today.

Click HERE for the original article.

Kevin’s Different World

My brother Kevin thinks God lives under his bed. At least that’s what I heard him say one night. He was praying out loud in his dark bedroom, and I stopped outside his closed door to listen. “Are you there, God?” he said. “Where are you? Oh, I see. Under the bed.” I giggled softly and tiptoed off to my own room. Kevin’s unique perspectives are often a source of amusement. But that night something else lingered long after the humor. I realized for the first time the very different world Kevin lives in.

Kevin was born 30 years ago, mentally disabled as a result of difficulties during labor. Apart from his size (6-foot-2), there are few ways in which he is an adult. He reasons and communicates with the capabilities of a 7-year-old, and he always will. He will probably always believe that God lives under his bed, that Santa Claus is the one who fills the space under our tree every Christmas, and that airplanes stay up in the sky because angels carry them.

I remember wondering if Kevin realizes he is different. Is he ever dissatisfied with his monotonous life? Up before dawn each day, off to work at a workshop for the disabled, home to walk our cocker spaniel, return to eat his favorite macaroni-and-cheese for dinner, and later to bed. The only variation in the entire scheme is laundry, when he hovers excitedly over the washing machine like a mother with her newborn child.

Kevin does not seem dissatisfied. He lopes out to the bus every morning at 7:05, eager for a day of simple work. He wrings his hands excitedly while the water boils on the stove before dinner, and he stays up late twice a week to gather our dirty laundry for his next day’s laundry chores. And Saturdays—oh, the bliss of Saturdays! That’s the day my Dad takes Kevin to the airport to have a soft drink, watch the planes land, and speculate loudly on the destination of each passenger inside. “That one’s goin’ to Chi-car-go!” Kevin shouts as he claps his hands. His anticipation is so great he can hardly sleep on Friday nights.

And so goes his world of daily rituals and weekend field trips. He doesn’t know what it means to be discontent. His life is simple. He will never know the entanglements of wealth or power, and he does not care what brand of clothing he wears or what kind of food he eats. His needs have always been met, and he never worries that one day they may not be. His hands are diligent. Kevin is never so happy as when he is working. When he unloads the dishwasher or vacuums the carpet, his heart is completely in it. He does not shrink from a job when it is begun, nor does he leave a job until it is finished. But when his tasks are done, Kevin knows how to relax.

Kevin is not obsessed with his work or the work of others. His heart is pure. He still believes everyone tells the truth, promises must be kept, and when you are wrong, you apologize instead of argue. Free from pride and unconcerned with appearances, Kevin is not afraid to cry when he is hurt, angry or sorry. He is always transparent, always sincere. And he trusts God. Not confined by intellectual reasoning, he approaches his faith as a child. Kevin seems to know God – to really be friends with Him in a way that is difficult for an “educated” person to grasp. God seems like his closest companion.

In my moments of doubt and frustrations with my Christianity, I envy the security Kevin has in his simple faith. It is then that I am most willing to admit that he has some divine knowledge that rises above my mortal questions.

It is then I realize that perhaps Kevin is not the one with the handicap – I am. My obligations, my fear, my pride, my circumstances – they all become disabilities when I don’t trust them to God’s care. Who knows if Kevin comprehends things I can never learn? After all, he has spent his whole life in that kind of innocence, praying after dark and soaking up the goodness and love of God. And one day, when the mysteries of heaven are opened, and we are all amazed at how close God really is to our hearts, I’ll realize that God heard the simple prayers of a boy who believed that God lived under his bed. Kevin won’t be surprised at all!

It is that time again, when people are thinking of new beginnings and starting fresh. However, according to the New York Times 4 out of 5 people will not stick to their New Years resolution in 2012. Here are some tips for making your resolution stick and for turning that desired behavior into lasting change.

1. pick a meaningful goal
In order for your resolution to take effect, it must be meaningful to you. Don’t pick something that others want for you, but it has to be something that you genuinely want to change and have a strong enough desire to do something about.

2. Be specific
Rather than simply stating that you are going to work out 3 times a week, you should be much more specific than that. To state your goal as “I will work out on Mon, Wed, and Fri between 6:30 and 7:30 AM” would be much better. The more detail that you can put around you goal, the higher the likelihood that you will actually do it.

3. Go public
Allow yourself to be held accountable by both you and others. The more public the declaration, the more pressure is on you to actually deliver and not just proclaim “oh well, I gave it a shot”. Ask others to hold you accountable and give them permission to ask you about how you are doing with your goal.

4. Aplril Fools
It takes 21 days for a new behavior to become a habit. However, at 1010 Living, we prefer the “90 day plan”. By repetitively doing the same thing each day (or week) for a full 90 days, you dramatically increase the shift in behavior from a one time event to a habit that you do without having to think about it. Once you hit this point, you are golden…new behavior is now a part of who you are.

5. Plan for your setback
Setbacks will happen; it is a part of life and a sure part of developing a new behavior. If you have a plan for how you will recover from your setback, you will be able to work through it and accomplish your goal. One helpful thing to change is to reset your “starting line” for your new bahavior. So many people look at New Year’s day as the starting line for new beginnings. If you transition that to “every morning a new start”, then any failure you may have experienced yesterday, will not prevent your success today.

It is snowing today in Colorado. I am sitting in the house safe, warm and comfortable. But looking outside gives me a chill. The trees are snow-covered, the road is thick with snow and a lone set of tracks from some neighbor who braved the elements to head out to church early on this Sunday morning. The forecast is for continued snow and perhaps as much as a 1/2 inch per hour until mid-night.

Having grown up in California, I am still not sure what to make of the snow. It is beautiful and fascinating and great to look at out of a frosty window when there is a fire in the fireplace, coffee in my cup and a great book on my lap. However, having to drive in the ice and snow is still quite the challenge. And, if I am honest, I frequently have a a tinge of anxiety anytime I actually have to venture out in a storm. Perhaps I still have some residual memories of the night (10 years ago this month) that I rolled my 4-Runner down an embankment and was left hanging upside down, held in place only by my seat belt.

But, thinking back on that moment, I am reminded that this was a pivotal moment in my spiritual growth. First off, not one swear word left my lips as I rolled down the hill. Now, to some this may not be important, but for me I was relieved to know that if I had died that day my first words as I entered heaven would not be ones for which I would be eternally embarrassed. Second, and more importantly, I had a very strong sense that God was with me and I had a peace which simply defies explanation. You see, wrecking my vehicle in a snow storm was in the top 3 of my fears since we had moved to Colorado. And in the 5 years preceding the accident I had lived in fear of each snow flake. But I had peace In the actual moment. Everything was fine, and there is life after an accident.

Sometimes I think “If I could just choose the weather then I could avoid a lot of inconvenience and unpredictability”. For me, about 76 and sunny would be nearly perfect. Of course, 76 and sunny all the time means no rain and no snow which means no green grass, no flowers, no trees. Then I realize that I apply this concept not just to the weather outside, but also to the “storms” of my life. Most of the time I live my life trying to avoid any type of inconvenience. I work very hard to create “76 and sunny” emotionally every day.

The reality is that life is seasonal. Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall apply not just to the time of the year, but the times of our lives. And these seasons bring not only the richness that life has to offer, but also the rain and snow and hail and wind. Let’s face it; a divorce, the death of a child, the loss of a job, the news that you have cancer…these qualify as the hurricanes and tsunamis in our life. As much as we would like to avoid these things, they happen. Your character is defined, not by the absence of storms, but by who you become on the far side of the experience. Without storms in our life there would be no growth, no renewal. Don’t hate the storm. Determine that you will come out the other side better, stronger and not defined by the storm, but changed by it for the better.

Every year the American Counsel on Exercise (ACE) produces a list of trends that they expect to see for the coming year. According to ACE’s Chief Science Officer Cedric X. Bryant, Ph.D. “Consumers are ready to focus on improving their overall health. We will witness an increase not only in personal training, but in value-added wellness services such as nutritional counseling by registered dietitians at gyms and fitness clubs, corporate wellness plans and youth-based fitness curriculum. Additionally, we will see a continued trend toward working out with a buddy or within small groups for motivation, as well as continued interest in boot camp-style workouts, unique activity options like Zumba, TRX Suspension and interval training.”

  • Economic Upswing: In general, consumers are preparing for an economic upswing that is motivating more individuals to resume their personal training and fitness regimens. This promising shift was also observed in ACE’s 2010 Fitness Professionals Salary Survey, which showed an overall increase in annual salary rates and benefits for full-time fitness professionals across all categories this past year.  
  • Added-Value Wellness Services: More gyms and clubs will begin to hire other allied healthcare professionals to serve the expanding needs of their health-conscious members. ACE’s partnership with NuVal™ LLC, creators of the NuVal Nutritional Scoring System, a nutritional ranking system that guides consumers to more nutritious food choices, recognizes the need for people to take care of their physical health by also monitoring their dietary intake.
  • Stress Reduction Through Fitness: With the increased knowledge of how stress negatively affects the body, gyms and clubs will start offering wellness programs so their members develop effective strategies for managing their stress levels. Consumers can expect to see new and improved programming to help alleviate this all-too-common by-product of our time-pressured lifestyles.
  • Technology Becomes a Support Resource: Although there have been a great deal of technological advances within the fitness industry, online interactive classes will not proliferate in 2011, demonstrating the desire for human contact with fitness professionals. However, social networks like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube will become increasingly popular serving as an online motivational support system to complement personal training sessions.
  • Buddy System: Healthy support groups will become a more popular offering in gyms due to peer encouragement and increased potential for success. This thinking also holds true for older adults, with the majority of them seeking group classes to stay fit.  ACE’s Trainer Program for AARPincludes a number of new benefits to address the unique needs of this population, which remains dedicated to living healthy lifestyles.
  • Most Popular Workouts: Boot camp-style workouts will remain popular among consumers based on its intensity and efficiency. Zumba classes will continue to offer a fun alternative to more traditional dance classes, while TRX Suspension training and interval training both offer intense workout experiences with impressive results. Consumers will learn about the effectiveness of interval training in an upcoming ACE study in 2011.
  • Small-Group Workouts:  Small-group sessions remain a very popular way for individuals to exercise. Whether through personal training, strength training, cardiovascular exercise, or sessions for older adults, small-group sessions will be “in” as a way to socialize, cut costs and stay motivated.
  • Youth-Based Fitness: Expect to see more youth-focused classes and clients popping up in gyms thanks to the national attention and focus on childhood obesity. Schools and fitness centers will also incorporate more exercise curriculum for the youth population and, as such, take advantage ofACE’s Operation FitKids curriculum, which has recently been revamped and expanded with a new program targeting students in grades 6-8.
  • Corporate Wellness: Whether it is through the hiring of in-house personal trainers or discounts and incentives offered to employees that join a health club, corporate wellness programs will emerge country-wide to help encourage healthy lifestyles among workers, especially time-crunched consumers.
  • Elevated Professionalism: There will be a significant increase in the hiring of personal trainers that hold a NCCA-accredited certification at gyms and fitness centers. With consumers becoming more educated and fitness-savvy, they understand the need for fitness professionals to have the proper education and high-quality certifications.

Click HERE for the full article. Copyright© 2011 The American Council on Exercise.

Give Thanks

November 24, 2010 — Leave a comment

During this season, we have a tendency to start to get caught up in the “holidays”. It is far too easy to begin feeling the anxiety associated with getting the whole family together, ensuring that everyone has what they need to have the perfect holiday or to just be moving with the busyness that is associated with all of the shopping, eating and visiting.

But are we truly thankful? I often feel a sense of gratitude when everything is going my way. It is so easy to say that “I am blessed” when I look around at all that I have and all that I have experienced in my life. But would I still be thankful if I had nothing? Thankful when I am happy? Sure! Thankful when the world is falling apart around me? Not so much. And yet the core of being thankful has less to do with your circumstances, and much more to do with your heart condition. It is surprising how different the world seems when you have a thankful heart.

The White Line

October 10, 2010 — Leave a comment

It’s 4:45 a.m. on a Saturday morning as my alarm goes off. I can feel the very cool fall Colorado air blowing in the window that was left open the night before. I hit the snooze and decide to snuggle down under the warm blankets for another 9 minutes. I say to myself, “hey, it’s Saturday, I deserve a few extra minutes.” As I lay there, my mind quickly begins to remind me of all I have to do that day. As the brisk air hits my face, I am reminded that today is a long run day. “It is going to be a cold run,” I think to myself. It is probably only 40 degrees outside right now.   I have this love/hate relationship with running. I love it while I am doing it and after I am done, but hate it when I am tired and have a long run staring me down. Getting out the door is always the hardest part. As my body is enjoying the warmth of bed, I am trying to conjure up enough motivation to drag myself out into the cold morning for my 15 mile training run. I remind myself of how much I enjoy the fresh air, the sunrise, and the sense of health and accomplishment as I glide down the road. I also remind myself of the upcoming marathon I have signed up for and how amazing it is going to be as I cross the finish line feeling strong and victorious. In order to accomplish my goal, it is critical that I don’t miss a long run. I have this small window of time before my wife and four children wake up. “It is now or never,” I tell myself as I reluctantly turn the alarm from snooze to off.

After a delicious latte and enough breakfast to sustain me through the endurance run, I fill up my water bottles, get on my running gear, and head out the door. The light of dawn is just beginning to show some early signs on the horizon. Everything is quiet in the neighborhood. Everyone is still warm in their beds sleeping. I, however, am grabbing hold of this day.

The only sound I hear is that of my shoes gently hitting the blacktop as I move down the road. All the cares and stresses of my day begin to fade away as I focus on the white line running down the side of the road. My heart is pumping, and my lungs are breathing the fresh fall air. All at once, in that moment, I feel healthy, strong, and fully alive. I am grateful that I was able to pull myself from the comfort of my bed to experience the peace, tranquility, and exhilaration of running along the road as the sun breaks forth over the horizon. This is what being fully alive feels like.

Nugget: Most times, we are only able to experience memorable and fulfilling moments like theses when we deny our normal comforts, press through, and seize a potential opportunity.

42. The answer is 42. The answer to Life, the Universe and Everything is 42 according to Douglas Adams of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy fame. In fact he describes 42 as follows:

“a completely ordinary number, a number not just divisible by two but also six and seven. In fact it’s the sort of number that you could without any fear introduce to your parents.”

Today is 10-10-10 (October 10th, 2010). Now as you can imagine, 10-10 has a special place our heart here at 1010 Living. And 10-10-10 even more so. But when we were educated about the mathematics of the date by Bill Petro (our favorite neighborhood historian we were even more impressed. Here is the date October 10th, 2010 in binary:

[(1) x 25] + [(0) x 24] + [(1) x 23] + [(0) x 22] + [(1) x 21] + [(0) x 20] =

[1 x 32] + [0 x 16] + [1 x 8] + [0 x 4] + [ 1 x 2] + [0 x 1] =

32 + 8 + 2 = 42

And, in keeping with Douglas Adam’s train of thought, if 42 is the answer to life, the universe and everything…then WHAT IS THE QUESTION?

Going Further:
(click image to look up)