Be More Creative

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It’s come to my attention that I am pretty wasteful with my time.

It’s not that I am lazy or unproductive by any means, but lately I’ve noticed that there is some serious room for improvement. There have been so many moments where an idea has come to me and I’ve just let it float on by or put it  on “the list.” That list of things is becoming a novel, it is time to turn this book of dreams in to a collection of realities. So this is the moment where I draw a line in the sand and step across to become an improved individual [I literally did that].

Exploring my creativity is something I plan to focus on for this next chapter of life. Reading, writing, photographing and sharing more is my plan to increase the value of my time. I don’t just want to spend time wisely, I want to capture it well. Stories are my passion and it’s about time I started to tell my own. With that being said, the plan is to produce more—and then just see what happens.

Here goes everything …

 

 

“The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago, the second best time is now. Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree.”Anonymous

Photo Taken in Downtown Austin by Johnathan Haynes 

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VLOG 1: A Winning Mentality

Recently, I decided to start a new project. I want to document more of the things I see and experience—be it through videos, photos or regular blogs. My hope is to tell so cool stories, create a conversation or just entertain myself. You are welcome to leave notes and make comments.

On this VLOG I sat down with Michael Winchester, Head Coach of CrossFit Central’s competitive program, to discuss his experiences and thoughts. My goal was to discuss what is was like for him to transition from a competitor a team that has been to the CrossFit Games to a coach of a team that would like to experience that for the first time.

If was pretty fun to sit down and reflect and talk through things. Listen up and let me know what you think.

Warning: Turn up your the volume and a bit of your patience. I am slightly soft spoken and the camera mic was a little far away (noted for next time).

A Momentary Reflection

Life is a collection of moments — thoughts, feelings and actions. It can be broken down in to a much more detailed description or scientific explanation but I intend to keep this short. This is the time of year for resolutions … declarations of the desires for the coming year. I think this time of year has the potential to be pivotal in life. But it all depends on the actions taken after the new choices are made. Resolve without action is just speculation.

Whether I want to or not, I am constantly collecting moments in life. Some pass by and are wasted others are capitlized on and a handful have beendefining. My goal is to be a better curator of my moments — to look back at my collection and be proud of what I have expierenced.

Let the adventure begin.

What’s missing from your collection? More importantly — what are you going to do about it?

Photo Credit: Brian Sullivan

Survival of the Fitness

Finding Balance in Daily Chaos

Each day brings new challenges. They are patient teachers with valuable rewards for those that can master them.

My current teacher is balance — between my work and training. I have a passion for what I do and I dive into it face first and allow it to consume me for long periods of time. For seasons this is productive but it is difficult to maintain. Fatigue and a loss of creativity leads to dissatisfaction and frustration. I have found balance in my CrossFit workouts. Training brings it’s own set of demands and expectations. Movements require focus, intention, skill, determination and host of things that can not be articulated. It is a constantly challenging activities, yet it feels like playtime.

CrossFit asks me for my best and leaves me at my absolute worst — it is an invaluable asset.

Despite the value of varied movement, it is still hard to get up and train after working long hours. Sometimes I am too tired, other times I just don’t feel like it. There are times where I force myself to workout and it pays off. Other times it is a lost cause and more than I can handle, causing me to shut it down for the day. I leave my workouts exhausted, but pending work deadlines have no mercy … at times deadlines become as hit-and-miss as my workouts. I use those times to justify skipping my training, but that leaves me feeling sluggish from sitting at a desk all day … As you can see I’m quite the mess times. However, I came across some thoughts on how to choose between work and working out.

So Which Side Wins — Passion or Play?

I have been a competitor for most of my life so I have a engrained desire to be highly active. CrossFit has recently become my patient teacher. The lessons that I learn in the gym directly apply to my world beyond the gym. Pushing hard through a 20 minute AMRAP helps me lock-in and finish a design at 1 a.m. when I really don’t think I have the energy. There have been so many times that I have walked into a workout a mess and walked out with absolute clarity. I am realizing that each side unconsciously relies upon the other.

[My truth]: I must pour everything into everything, in order to maintain my balance. My workouts are vital because they keep me sharp and alert because I force myself into discomfort and learn to be happy there. My work is equally as vital because it is my creative outlet, keeps the lights on and inches me closer to my goals. The balance of pushing so hard on two ends of the spectrum helps me to advance evenly and survive the demands of both avenues. It is a daily adventure in progress.

 

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Change the World

This video has been ringing in my ears for a few weeks now.

It is easy to get caught up in the struggle and strain of trying to change your life. The challenge is to stay focused and remember that your dreams were given to you as a gift. You have a purpose and dreams are possible.

I hope this message reaches and strikes the people that need to hear it.

Anyway

People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.

If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Do good anyway.

If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies.
Succeed anyway.

The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.

Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.

The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.
Think big anyway.

People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.
Fight for a few underdogs anyway.

What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
Build anyway.

People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.
Help people anyway.

Give the world the best you have and you’ll get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you have anyway.

― Kent M. Keith, The Silent Revolution: Dynamic Leadership in the Student Council

This resonated with me. I’m going to work with this concept for 90 days and see what happens. 

Perspective

From time to time, I struggle. With life responsibilities and self imposed pressure to achieve the things I want. To say the least I live uncommonly, almost to a fault sometimes. Mainly because too many incredible individuals have invested in me and I refuse to half ass my life. I am focused and driven to achieve my goals. Despite my motivation, I still struggle sometimes. I slip into this deep place of heaviness to where it feels like an inch is a marathon away. These times don’t last very long, but they are not the best of times.

Oddly enough, I am starting to look forward to these moments. The times where I push myself a little bit too much and momentarily loose sight of my vision. Why? Because of what comes next… It seems that when you push yourself beyond your limits and feel like you cannot move another inch, you receive a simple reminder and then you break through. Mine reminder was Fran.

[Quick Snapshot]

Francisca Mardones aspired to make the Olympic Games, she spent years on her craft. An injury sustained during a landslide left her with a broken back and severely damaged spinal cord. She fought through a years of recovery rehabilitation to be able to have use of her legs. [That alone is a feat I could spend a year talking about]    I remember meeting Fran after a workout and learning how she had competed in the 2012 London Paralympic Games, entering ranked 25th in the world (Austin 360). Aspiration achieved, in my opinion.

[Don’t Water this Down]

This isn’t about “what’s your excuse,” feeling sorry for anyone or anything like that. I look at Fran and see a champion, I see what I want to be. She was dealt a challenge and from what I can see, she is kicking its ass. She shows up to our gym and works harder than most, training for her next tennis endeavor ( I think she is ranked even higher now). On this past tuesday I was gasping for air after finishing a portion of a workout and I look up to see Fran with sandbag attached to her wheel chair, dragging it across the gym floor. She then proceeded to do work with the conditioning ropes and even a barbell movement. Seeing that changed my whole posture – mentally and physically. I stood up straight, composed myself and moved on to the next phase of training. It is a privilege to be able to CrossFit. Fran does’t take it for granted and neither will I.

There are many things in this world that will push against you, pull you down and try to take you out. If you have an aspiration for greatness, it is guaranteed to be in your path. The question is: What will you do? Do not get lost in doubt, instead realize that you have been brought to the edge of a cliff because you were meant to build a bridge to the other side. 

 

Fran with her coach, Nyki Helmcamp 

Reflections: What do You See?

The story of the 2013 CrossFit Games is a week old and I am still trying to unpack what I saw. This was my third year in attendance and every time I feel like the week flies by… All of a sudden I am on my feet and it’s time for the finals. In that moment, I look around and view a sea of CrossFitters cheering on the fittest, in anticipation of crowning the best in the world. It is my favorite moment of the whole weekend, but it has nothing to do with the whats happening on the floor. The competitors are why we come to Carson, but the crowd tells the real story.

[Lets back up]

The first year I attended the Games I had no clue what to expect. The following year I qualified with a team for Regionals, gaining a new level of understanding. This year, I had the opportunity to travel to four different Regionals and see different CrossFit communities take on the competition. Every Regional was different but a familiar passion and fire always surfaced. The Europe Regional was an out of this world experience. Watching an International CrossFit competition go down on a Regional level is quite a show. If you have the ability go to Europe, go see that Regional. South Central is my home Region and full of friends, the connection to the story lines gives that weekend a feel similar to homecoming. The North Central was a showdown, point blank. And then there was the Mid Atlantic, the final trip on my tour. The signature moment of that Regional was during the final heat of team Event 6. The pairs were nearing the final portion of the event which capped with fat bar shoulder-to-overhead and a lunge walk to the finish. As the leading teams worked to complete their final S20’s the power went out.

In an instant, PA’s, clocks, music and broadcasts vanished…

As soon as that happened I remember a collective pause              and then the CrossFit community reacted — The Crowd erupted (I mean it felt like the roof blew off with the amount energy that was expressed in an instant), the judges kept their teams informed on the time, and the MC’s cued the crowd by standing in front of the leading team. It was powerful, one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen. The more CrossFit I see the more I realize that the composition of the community is rare.

[Unparalleled]

People come from all over the world to watch the CrossFit Games, more and more are beginning to tune-in from around the world. What blows me away is that these people aren’t randoms, they are CrossFit people. The sport continues to grow every year and with that comes bigger crowds. In other sports and communities, growth normally results in a dilution of “the fanatics,” introducing t-shirt fans and people who are “just there”. It is a true phenomenon that the crowd, despite the size, remains highly (if not purely) concentrated with CrossFitters. For three days the StubHub Center hosted a potent concentration of the beautiful, strong, fit and healthy individuals. The crowd is a true showcase of what CrossFit can produce. A growing collection of people committed to wellness.

What do you see?