Results and Letting Go - Weekly Review: 5/3/2020
This week flew by. Between work projects, celebrating my fiance’s birthday, and time for self-care, it was a great week. The past couple reflections highlighted work struggles but this week brought plenty of good news, just as predicted. I’m learning to separate myself from my need to feel productive (slowly but surely) and that’s paying off personally and professionally. That said, I wasn't able to make as much progress on work projects as I would have liked which was a source of frustration.
Financial Dashboard: My partner (and our finance assistant/bookkeeper) integrated our Quickbooks account with Fathom which provides an awesome visual dashboard for our financial records. Our dashboard was set up a few weeks ahead of schedule and I’m excited to make strategic decisions based on hard numbers. I’ve been told that having a visual dashboard is a game changer compared to looking through a monthly P&L so I’m glad we got it set up!
SBA Approval: Again, great work by my partner. Jake worked tirelessly over the past few weeks to ensure that our application was not only complete but by managing the relationship with our bank, he was able to ensure that our application was processed towards the front of the queue.
Taking time off: It’s very difficult for me to step away from work. There are incomplete projects, tons of projects I haven’t gotten around to, and new ventures I’d like to explore. This week I overextended myself during the first couple days of the week and by Thursday I was spent. I drove up to Asheville to pick up a bike and spent the afternoon on some trails. It’s important to me to show up in my personal life and if I try to work myself out of things to do, I end up crashing harder with little to show. Taking time off feels indulgent but self-care is necessary. I’m glad I was able to “honor cycles of work and play” as they say in 15 Commitments of Conscious Leadership.
Highlights / Most Fun
Mountain biking is definitely my new “thing.” After riding a couple of times with a friend, he offered me his extra bike which was beyond generous. I drove up to Asheville to pick it up and went for a great ride in Pisgah. I got Kelsey a mountain bike for her birthday and we went to Little River in Rougemont, NC and did a nice 5-6 mile ride.
Last weekend was over before it felt like it started. As much as Kelsey and I work, we need our weekends to at least partially recharge, which didn't happen last week. This weekend, we made a deliberate effort to plan our “fun stuff” this weekend which turned out great. Plenty of time for mountain biking, yoga, barre (Kelsey), meditation, reflection, long walks, and a little bit of work.
How can I let go of the doer identity? Most people, from what I understand, have a running conversation in their head. Usually that conversation goes on and on and on. The mind is always trying to find a place to rest, i.e. once I complete this project, I’ll quit worrying about work. The thing is, once you complete whatever it is (sometimes it’s just figuring out what’s for dinner), a new problem that you must solve arises. This continual process makes me feel like a human-doing instead of a human being; there seems to always be a background anxiety that doesn’t allow me to just be, and often the anxiety moves into the forefront of my awareness. Is it possible to trust that without engaging in non stop internal dialogue, things will work out?
It’s a tough question. If you, as I often do, define yourself by what you can accomplish and what problems you can solve, it seems ridiculous to shut off this problem-finding-problem-solving (PFPS) function. Through thousands of hours of meditation, I’ve come to realize that it’s not ‘me’ thinking the thoughts -- they’re arising in my consciousness. So, does that mean that I’ve been successful in letting go of anxieties around work, my partner, or any host of other things? Not at all. But a shift began last September when I was reading The Surrender Experiment and going through a perilous financial situation at work. Since then I’ve realized that results, far from being correlated with stress and/or effort, may be inversely related. The PFPS function feels useful, maybe even necessary but it isn’t. Problems will continue to arise and they will continue to be solved but there is a way to step out of the anxiety loop and just watch it come together. My challenge is to step back and trust that things will work out, to quit engaging in circular thinking and to trust in some more intelligent source of wisdom (I really despise how woo-woo that sounds).
Meditation: This continues to be the focal point of my self-development / self-realization efforts. While there are days that I still feel ‘stuck in my head,’ I’ve been learning to shift out of egoic rumination and enjoy the present moment. I continue to see great benefit from short glimpse practices and periods of silent meditation.
Ashtanga: My back finally started feeling close to 100% on Friday so I had a couple of practices that were more enjoyable than the past couple weeks. Now that I’m not nearly as concerned with the asana achievement aspect, I’m enjoying how the primary series gets me “in my body.”
Running: Definitely didn’t hit my goal of 12 miles, but I didn’t totally scrap it either. I ended up just running twice (two-miler and a six-miler), which I blame in part on the rain and getting mountain bikes.
Reading: I continue to struggle to find enough time to read. Ideally, I’d get to read for at least an hour each day but it’s probably more like 30-45 minutes these days.
Dynamic Systems Theory and the Complexity of Change - Esther Thelen, Ph.D.
“Why do humans, at some ages and under some circumstances, make rapid and easy adjustments to their environments but, at other times, seem ‘stuck’? Where do such novel behaviors originate, and how are they incorporated into the behavioral repertoire? How do complexity and integration emerge?”
“A dominant metaphor in cognitive science is that the mind is like a computer, a characterization that evokes images of machines, programs, and interchangeable parts.I suggest another metaphor for human behavior: a mountain stream. This is an apt comparison to keep in mind, because a stream is moving all the time in continuous flow and continuous change.”
“It is a tenet of dynamic systems that they must lose stability to shift from one stable mode to another (attractor states). When patterns are very stable, there are no opportunities to explore and reassemble new solutions.”
"Current research on leadership shows that over the course of our career, four competencies trump all others as the greatest predictors of sustained success: self-awareness, learning agility, communication, and influence." -15 Commitments of Conscious Leadership
15 Commitments of Conscious Leadership
I continue to get a lot out of re-reading this book. A couple of my colleagues have started it and will be discussing one chapter each week -- something I really look forward to participating in.
As I re-read commitment three, feeling all the feelings -- I started to realize how often I treat emotions as “getting in the way” of getting things done. My meditation practice has shown me that there is an alternative mode for functioning, one that isn’t solely thought-based. Over the coming days and weeks, I’m focusing on viewing my emotional state as an alternative source of information; i.e. if I’m feeling fear or anxiety, it’s probably pointing to a lesson that I can learn or some bit of information that I haven’t processed. When I’m stuck in anxiety loops, it’s typically around some future state that I’m trying to control (which likely won’t even come to be).
Falling into Grace: Insights on the End of Suffering - Adyashanti
Weekly Goal Review & Look Ahead
Meditate 80-90 minutes/day - COMPLETE
Practice yoga six days/week - COMPLETE
Use mindful glimpses throughout the day - COMPLETE
Finish reading 20 Minute Guide, Mindfulness Based Relapse Prevention for Addictive Behaviors, and continue reading 15 Commitments - COMPLETE
Run 12 miles - INCOMPLETE
Take at least one morning or afternoon off from work to spend time with Kelsey and relax. -
Complete outline for updated family program (table of contents, schedule, etc.) - INCOMPLETE
Complete community program glidepath - COMPLETE BUT INSUFFICIENT
Clean up CRM - INCOMPLETE
Develop one lesson for our mindfulness curriculum - COMPLETE
Develop one lesson for our personal growth curriculum - INCOMPLETE
Meditate 80-90 minutes/day
Practice yoga six days/week
Use mindful glimpses throughout the day
Read one-hour/day (1/2 of Beyond Addiction)
Run 12 miles
Time off with Kelsey (Beaufort)
Complete outline for updated family program (table of contents for one section)
Check in with all insurance contracting (BCBS, Optum, Cigna, Aetna)
Draft Green Hill vision for health / medical program
Complete 50% of CRM clean-up.
Develop one lesson for our mindfulness curriculum
Develop one lesson for our personal growth curriculum
If you've read this far, I appreciate your time.