Sunday, July 24, 2011

Day 8: Rocky Starts are Good

Climbing Mount Whitney

3434938524_a110311e83_oToday was a fantastic day!  My food intake was right on target, eating every 2 to 3 hours and taking in just the right stuff, with no simple carbs.  Loved it.

Day 8 also means Day 1 on the P90X Lean routine: Core Synergistics.  It was all about the band of muscles between the pecks and upper thighs.  There was ab work, push ups, lunges, and some minor shoulder work.  I was very happy with the results.  The first time I tried this routine, on the current cycle, I could only do 35 minutes of the 57 minute routine.  Today, I completed 53 minutes.  Woohoo!

All of this made me realize how  the initial steps for climbing Mount Whitney are no different than starting a new job search or business:

  1. Set Goals
    Every journey has an impetus and a start.  It may be the want to challenge yourself (my case for climbing Mount Whitney), a bad boos or layoff leading to the need to look for new work, or realizing that to best way to serve society is for you to just run your own business.  No matter how you come to the realization, you need to set a goal of what you want to accomplish, even if you end up changing the goal later.  More on that later.
  2. Do Your Research
    Once you set a goal, you’ll need to figure out how to get there.  Start out by first thinking that you’ve already reached your goal. You’ve found that perfect new company to work for, or established your business and are overflowing with customers clamoring to buy your products or services.  What does that picture look like?  How does the end result affect every aspect of your life?  What characteristics does the successful you have? Write these down.

    Now, think about what it took to get there.  What does a successful business owner do, or what attributes does he have that you need?  He needs to understand the market well, know how to negotiate contract terms with customers and vendors, have a clear understanding of accounting and cash flow, be intimate with his industry, be really good at creating and maintaining relationships for himself and amongst others, among many other characteristics.  Do you have all of these traits?  If not, gaining them are some of the steps in your plan to reaching your goal. 

    If you don’t know what success looks like, think of and talk to your mentors.  Use their example to determine which of their traits you’d like to have.  Don’t have a mentor? Think of people you admire, may be people you’re read about.  This may be your brother, sister, mom, dad, coworker, or neighbor. Imagine you’re having a conversation with them.  What would they tell you?
  3. Adjust Goals
    Likely you’ll find that you have to adjust your goal at this stage.  I did when I was thinking of climbing Mount Whitney.  I originally thought I could do two things right away.  First, I thought I could just show up and climb.  Wrong!  Research told me I need to apply for a permit and then only between February 1 and 15 of the year when I want to climb.  Second, I originally wanted to climb, not hike, Mount Whitney.  As I learned what type of physical stamina the climb requires, and that it’s recommended to do the hike first, I adjusted the goal so that I would graduate to the climb.  You’ll find similar obstacles while researching the steps to achieve your plan.

    The key is not to give up if you hit obstacles.  The most interesting and rewarding achievements in life require you to forego your initial plans and come up with a more creative solution.  That means starting out knowing full well that your goals and plans WILL need to be changed or adjusted. 

    But again, that’s most of the fun: the exploration and the problem solving you do while you work towards you goals.
  4. Develop a Plan
    So, you’ve adjusted your goal and have quite a lot of research.  It’s time to plan.  The plan is your roadmap.  Just like a street map, filled with roads, highways and biways, you can have many options.  In fact, you want to have many options to achieve your goal.  Likely, you’ll hit a snag like I did last week.  When on the road, I didn’t stick with my workout routine.  Instead, I filled in with other hikes around Seattle or calisthenics to help me stay active. 

    The point is that you should definitely write down what you need to do to get to your goal and know that you’ll need alternate paths and steps to get to your destination.  Each of the skills you need to learn are milestones along the way.  The plan’s intent is to help you detail out what it takes to reach each milestone.  I recommend breaking it down to monthly and weekly mini-goals.  Then at the end of each week assess your progress and adjust your plan for the following week.  More on that later.
  5. Execute Plan
    This is an enormously important step.  It’s what separates the day-dreamers from the doers.  You’ve developed a plan, even if your plan has only five steps, it’s still a plan that needs to be executed to get you to the finish line.  It has no value by itself.

    You may take the first step and realize you missed a whole lot of steps that come before or after it.  That’s GREAT.  This means you actually worked the plan and found what else you need to do to take you over the finish line.  That takes us to the next point.
  6. Review Results and Adjust Plan
    It’s time to rethink the plan after your initial execution.  You’ll want to do this frequently.  On your daily tasks, do this at the end of each day.  For your full plan, review your plan and results for the week.  Are you on-target?  If not, why not?  What additional steps do you need to take that you hadn’t thought about?  How else do you need to adjust your goal?  This is all good.  Any changes you make to the plan means you’re making progress. Good job. You’re on your way. 

    Adjust your plan based on the findings.  These lessons help you better plan the following weeks and months ahead, and better achieve your milestones leading to your final goal. 

As you can imagine, items five and six just get repeated until you reach the goal.  As a friend once told me, “just rinse and reuse.”

On that note, I’m going to hit the sack and get some rest since a part of the adjustment to my plan is to get 8 to 9 hours of sleep each night so that I don’t run out of energy each day.

What Do You Think?

It’s your turn.  Feel free to share your comments below.

Photo Credits

Alan Vernon