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Mental Prowess Part 3: Alchemy of Turning Mistakes into Knowledge

Check point three was 45 miles into my Shenandoah Mountain 100 ride. It is located at the base of a downhill run that rides like a wooden roller coaster: tight turns, stomach altering elevation changes, and near misses of low hanging tree limbs. The descent was several miles of thrills that set the mind racing with norepinephrine and gave me a sense that I can walk on water. I felt great rolling into the stop! I took very little time to eat and refill my water and felt like the remaining 55 miles were mine.

Things turned quickly in the next section of the ride.

The course to check point four starts with several miles of flat highway riding. It can be a spot to pick up ground and I thought that was what I was doing when I put my head down to draft off of a guy passing me. We took turns pulling to the trail head. The pace was high and I kept some of the steam up into the notoriously technical climb in the woods. Eventually I succumbed to the grade, the roots, the rocks and my rising heart rate. I hiked a good portion of the final ascent, but alas the summit came.

I took a breath, took in the view and giddily I mounted my metal stead.

Something was wrong. I could not maintain my line on the single track. I found myself off course and unable to sustain any meaningful speed. Each root and rock sent a shock wave through my bike and into my body. After a miserable few miles of down hill, I slow pedaled the final mile of flat into checkpoint four. A volunteer made eye contact and asked if I was alright. I was not alright. I tried to avoid verbally acknowledging the anguish but my body would not hide the truth. She persisted and brought me food, filled my camel bak and made sure the mechanic lubed my chain.

I did not know if the next 18 miles to checkpoint five were possible, let alone the remaining 43 to the finish.

There is a good chance the over exertion on the highway clouded my thinking. I did not listen to the cues of my body, or even the voice in my head, until I started THE DESCENT of the day 20 miles later. Several hundred meters into what should have been my entrance to euphoria, I encountered the same sensations of the previous down hill. This time I stopped. I decided to check my machine and behold I found the problem! My suspension was locked out by mud. I spent a few moments cleaning and working the parts and got my bike operating much better. I remounted and proceeded to find a state of flow far beyond my typical daily existence!

Processing the experience allows me to see a lesson I can take into life beyond the saddle. Your brain and your body are finely tuned machines, particularly if you have done your homework or practiced. They can provide you with incredible information that you just need to pay attention to. I rode 20 plus miles on faulty equipment. It cost me time, it cost me energy, it could have lead to a DNF and it could have damaged my nearly-new-shamefully-expensive bike.

 

Space to think turns mistakes into the gold of knowledge!

Mental Prowess Part 2: Joy is an Energy Pool

Joy in an image

Shenandoah Joy William Ward [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)]

I am reading Tribe of Mentors. The concept for the book is quite simple. Well known life guru Tim Ferriss decided there are a large number of people he wants to get to know better. To do so, he made a unique proposition to highly successful folks within and slightly beyond his network.

I, Tim Ferriss, am publishing my next book and I want to include you in the book, all you have to do is answer these questions.

Being published in a book with a widely read author is a pretty valuable proposition for just about any one. Needless to say he elicited responses from incredible people.

There are a few themes that show up consistently throughout the dozens of responses from highly accomplished individuals: fitness and meditation.

It is not surprising to see these things prioritized for folks. But if you think about it, for many of the respondents neither is “billable” nor directly contributes to their work.

Why are they valuable; so much so, that one would taut them in writing in a very public way.

Fitness and meditation are spaces to think! This post and the following three; is my take on what makes mental liberation so valuable.

Joy
In mountain biking you often see sights that are only accessible by trail and therefore cut off to many viewers. Please keep this a secret, but the western edge of the Shenandoah Valley is gorgeous! There are hues of blues you can only imagine, a rainbow of wild flowers popping on the horizon, and expansive mountain vistas. My Shenandoah Mountain 100 ride this year also packaged some magic.
Hours of rain the night before created less desirable traction conditions but also produced fantastical atmosphere. As I gained elevation I literally began to float among the clouds. As I maintained a pedal cadence, I could feel the beat of my heart radiating through my body, and the air was hazy making my view of trees and other riders seem to be apparitions. The trance like state put me in new dimensions of euphoria!

Processing the experience allows me to hold onto this blissful moment. It will linger in my mind as a pool of beauty to tap into when I need to be reminded of what is wonderful in this world! I have expanded an internal source of energy that no one can remove from me and is available at any time. Space to think allows momentary happiness to turn into life-long joy.

Building your Business: Saying NO to Clients

Time is our most valuable resource. Unlike money, we will never be able to produce more of it.

We likely have to think differently about how to find ourselves with more time.

In the early stages of growing a business we particularly feel the limits of time. We are likely the sole employee of our enterprise which means all tasks fall upon us. We are the visionary, the salesmen, the manager and the labor. We also have to do all the admin that has no one to bill for the service other than ourselves when we do not do it. Time is furiously present when deadlines loom yet always absent when rest and play are needed for the entrepreneur.

So what can you do?

The answer is very simple to state, it is actually one word, we need to say NO. But what do you say no to, everything feels eminant. No visionary time no distinction. No sales no revenue. No management no efficiency. No labor no invoices. No admin, no foundation. It is not a matter of saying NO to any of the overarching hats on the whole, it is matter of saying NO to the circumstances encountered while taking on the role.

To win back time, one of the best places to consider saying no is in your SALES. Yes saying no to customers is one of the most important steps in building a flourishing company. Customers dictate not only the pipeline of revenue coming in, but also the time spent creating revenue. If the cost of serving a client exceeds the amount of revenue in, it is hurting your business.

You can be reasonably accurate in determining the revenue that a client might bring in, how many widgets will they buy or how many hours might you bill them determines your top line. The more challenging consideration is what will it cost you to do so.

Here are a few things to assess when consider the cost of serving a client:

Are they competent? Do they do what they say they will do well? If they are unable to add value because of thoughtless work efforts internally or externally they will not be in business long and will not be an account you will receive funds from. You will spend time and see no return.

Competence shows up early in building a relationship. There is a good chance that if someone can not manage their own schedule to show up prepared and on time they probably can not handle scheduling a rigorous project calendar let alone a company trajectory.

Are they able to communicate? There are very few things that are in our control. Circumstance will almost always create situations where things do not go as planned. Not to mention high achieving people will push limits of their ability and mistakes happen. An ability to articulate what will happen, what has happened, and what can be done saves everyone time and just as importantly saves on everyone’s stress account. Remember communication is not only about the words that are said, it is also about the timing and the manner in which they are said.

Communication skills show up early in building a relationship. You certainly have to set up a time to meet. You can recognize when a client abuses a medium. 6 three word emails to schedule a lunch likely means there will be waste when launching a new marketing campaign.

Are they a nice person? You would think that in a rational business the ability of someone to extend empathy to humanity is not important. It is. Humans are not only rational, they are also emotional. This means energy and effort are consumed when emotional experiences are encountered. An email that is egotistically crafted likely causes a mental pause for the recipient that is far longer than the thought required to step down off the pedestal. Mean people cost a business a lot of time and also tax the emotional accounts of others who have to work with them. Besides do you really want your day to be spent with people you do not like.

It takes time for underlying colors of a client to come out. However small interactions say a lot about the character of someone. Thank you is very cheap to say but incredibly costly to forget. Recognizing the dignity in all humans does or does not happen as someone walks down the street. If lunch focuses entirely on the work and life of your table opposite, what might a meeting talking about the collaborative project look like?

Being selective of your customers early on in building your business will serve your accounts well. Saying no to people that will cost your business more than what they bring in will grow your receivables faster than your payables. This is true for your money, your time, and your emotional well being. And all of them will need to grow if you are going to build a flourishing business that you love.