Finding Your Voice

Seven weeks ago I started a brand new position in a brand new industry.  After six years of being on my own (self-employed) the transition was..er…has been..umm..continues to be…challenging.  For starters the culture is like nothing I’ve ever worked with.  The culture kicks major ass.  Jeans.  Individualism.  Speak People.  As soon as I became comfortable with the idea (ok I admit I am still not there…) of wearing jeans to work everyday I have settled into my new environment like settling down for a Sunday morning cup of coffee.  It just feels right.  There is a bar on the 3rd floor, they give away box seats to major musical shows every week and the people are amazing.  Also the opportunity to work in the field of Oncology now and moving forward….priceless.

The major challenge I was not anticipating is finding my voice. After 15 years in the insurance industry, speaking everything insurance, knowing THAT game like the back of my hand, how in the world to I translate into Oncology? Genomic testing.  Chemotherapy.  Indications.  Telling stories through brand building.  Websites and journal ads.  PCA reviews and FDA compliance.  Yeowza.

I compare this new journey to that of a first date…or the first couple months dating someone new.  You’re on your best behavior.  You don’t know when to speak up.  You have several ideas but don’t know if they fit into the current situation.  During conversations and getting together in group settings you are playing off the dynamics of the other(s).  Everything is awesome. (Ok, for those that know me well – everything is always awesome.) You can never imagine being anywhere else.

And then it happens.  You find your voice.  No more fear of saying the wrong thing.  The confidence is there.  All the medical acronyms finally make sense (and boy was that a learning curve…ha!).  People begin to see your value and why they hired you (or started dating you…ha!) in the first place.  Time.  It takes time.  There is no prescription (…see what I did there…;-)). There is no rule book.  It just takes time.

Just like with running (and you thought I was just going to skip right over the correlation…shame on you…).  You have to find your running voice.  In running you can’t cheat (thanks Rita Jeptoo…hope it isn’t true).  You can’t cut corners.  In all the seasons (15 years and counting…yes I’m old) I’ve been running each is different.  Each has a new voice.  Each has taught me more about myself than prior.  Running is a beautiful teacher, will always give exactly what you put in and is always there.  Like riding a bike.

Find your voice.  In whatever you have passion.  Whatever is in your heart.  Your desires.  Find that voice.  Speak up.  And get ready for a whole new world of opportunity. 🙂

“The one thing that you have that nobody else has is you.  Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision.  So write and draw and build and play and dance and live as only you can.” – Neil Gaiman

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In Due Time

Time.  24 hours a day.  168 hours a week.  How we spend that time is our choice.  We allocate most of that time to work and sleep.  The remainder is divided into driving, eating, playing and hundreds of other distractions.  In the end, we still have 24 hours to get ‘it’ all done.  Time also changes us.  We develop different habits, passions and one thing is certain, we all change in due time.

Fear.  Anxiety.  We all have a comfort zone.  A place we know we will not have to face uncertainty.  A place we know we will not be judged.  A place that rids us of any opportunity to get hurt, deal with conflict and change what we personally call ‘normal’.  Over time, we can become paralyzed based on past experiences and that comfort zone becomes the only ‘zone’ we know.  We miss opportunities, experience less out of what life offers and become complacent in due time.

For most of my life, fear has dictated my life.  I feared failure the most.  Interestingly enough, tough times recently and running have completely changed my outlook on life.  Running has taught me I am so much more capable and stronger than I ever have thought possible.  Completing distances that only the most dedicated attempt, inspiring more people than I ever thought I could and I am now in the best shape of my life.  Tough times have taught me that anything is possible and regardless of how much you prepare and think you know what is coming, you have no idea or control of the future.

The past cannot be changed however can be a learning experience.  So live in the now, make decisions that make you smile and just let the future happen.  The best may be right in front of you but you will miss the opportunity if you are only focused on the unforeseen.

“The greater part of human pain is unnecessary. It is self-created as long as the unobserved mind runs your life.”

~Eckhart Tolle

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Rooted in Running – Robin Williams

Overwhelmed.  Speechless. Sadness.  So many emotions felt and feelings shared over the recent death of an amazing comedic actor, Robin Williams.  When the cause of death is of our own, it amplifies the scenario.  Leaves more questions than answers which leaves many of us questioning – How can someone so successful and has touched so many not be happy?  So complicated.  And left with the thought – Who was the real person?

After digging a bit into the life of Robin (not hard if you are on Facebook or Twitter these days) I learned so much including his love for running and cycling.  At Redwoods HS in 1969 he ran a 1:58.8 800 meters… A half-mile in under 2 minutes are you kidding me?  His relay team held the record for the 4 X 400 meter.  He also had a 20 year involvement with the Challenged Athletes Foundation, an organization that provides support for athletes with disabilities.  Funny how death is the catalyst that brings light to someones life.

As we all process through the detrimental effects of depression that Robin and so many people go through daily it brought to light in my life two points – You never really know what is going on in someones life (never judge a book by its cover) and in turn, don’t ever be afraid to reach out.  Reach out if you are feeling down and reach out if you see someone struggling.  It may save a life.

I recently read an article that outlined the ’50 things to do daily to experience pure happiness’…oh just 50 things eh?!  What a load of crap…but of course I clicked on the link and found so many great points.  Of course it was written by a tenured psychiatrist who has written several books on the subject, won awards etc.  So there was more than enough credibility. Several points spoke volumes to my life personally and how I can help those I love dearly.  Here are my favorite 5:

  • Exercise – Did you really think this would be anywhere but first?  Engaging in physical activity daily is proven to heighten mood, relieve stress, be happier..fitter…feel better…I think you get the point.
  • Today – Only take on today.  Yesterday cannot be changed.  Tomorrow is not a guarantee.  Live in the moment and only bite off what you can chew in 24 hour increments.  Be thankful and grateful every night.
  • Play – Regardless of your age, go play.  Find a playground and swing.  Play kickball with your kids.  Be goofy.  Join a softball team.  Experience the innocence and playfulness of a 6 year old.
  • Smile – Start every morning with a smile.  Regardless of what is happening, think of something that makes you smile and smile.  Smile at your kids.  Smile at your significant other.  A smile is an amazing healer.
  • Touch – Cuddle.  Kiss.  Snuggle.  Hold hands.  Hug.  The power of touch is amazing.  It connects us emotionally and physically. Actions speak louder than words.

While there were many more I could list, the gist of article is simplicity.  The KISS method.  Keep It Simple Stupid and don’t sweat the small stuff, because it is all small stuff.

As I spent the day with my son yesterday getting him ready for his first day of middle school, I asked him what his biggest fear was going into a new school.  His answer? Bullies.  Broke my heart.  I endured many painful years in middle school as a bullied kid.  Dropping him off this morning was tougher as he (smaller than most 5th graders) quickly became lost in the crowd of 5th – 8th graders.  I prayed he would connect quickly with someone familiar.  We talked yesterday in regard to not worrying about what wasn’t there (he has never had a run-in with a bully) and to only focus on today.  We of course talked about what to do if confronted by bullies (which as a dad I said kick him in the nuts and run!…just kidding just kidding…)

Be hopeful for what tomorrow brings, content with where the past has brought you and feel at peace with the present.  You did not get here by accident.  Your choices will continue keeping you where you sit unless YOU change.  To honor the late comedian, here is a quick minute stand-up clip Robin Williams did (warning – language) about running a marathon and cocaine:

May the ground always rise to meet your feet!  Happy Trails!

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X-1 Audio Review – Pure “Awesomness”

Well it has been a less than normal summer here in Central Ohio.  Temps are not as hot as they have been in recent years however one thing still remains – HUMIDITY.  And with humidity of course turns on the sweat machine.

I was fortunate enough to be chosen in April to represent a great company, X-1 Audio.  Hands down the best sweat proof/waterproof audio equipment for athletes on the market today.  Here is a snapshot of the various products I own and have been thoroughly tested in the sweatiest conditions Ohio can dish out:

  • AMPHIBX FIT FOR SMARTPHONES W/ WAIST EXTENSION BELT – Hands down the best audio/iPhone/iPod holder I have found in the 15 years I’ve been running.  The versatility between using it on my arm or waist is great.  It does not move or jiggle and the Velcro strap stays as tight as you need it to stay.  Keeps your audio device dry as a bone and is easily to clean.

  • MOMENTUM ULTRA-LIGHT HEADPHONES – As a runner, my favorite feature of all the X-1 headphones?  They.Don’t.Move.  There is nothing more frustrating than always messing with your headphones.  Another great feature – the controls are on the cord so you don’t have to keep looking at your phone to adjust the volume!!  And of course the sweat does NOT destroy these headphones.

  • SURGE MINI WATERPROOF SPORT HEADPHONES – What could be better than listening to your favorite music while swimming, surfing or any water activity?!  These headphones stay in place, have the best sound on the market and again, the water/chlorine does not destroy them.

All X-1 headphones also come with changeable ear pieces to ensure a great fit regardless of ear size.  They offer free-shipping (restrictions apply – see website for complete details) and have the best customer service around if you need to make an exchange, change an order or get a new pair as a gift for your best friend!

X-1’s technology is waterproof, sweat-proof, rinsable, securely fit, reflective, allows ambient noise for safety, waterproof remote and mic, touch screen friendly AND the case FLOATS even with your phone inside!  What more could you ask for?!?

Log-on today www.x-1.com and explore all the great products they have available for any athlete.  Oh and if you are looking for an extra discount, message me for a special code and I will save you an additional 20% off today!

Cheers and happy trails!

Drew262

Pause, Schedule, Write & Repeat.

“Pause long enough to think about the things you love, the things that make you feel authentic and untethered. The things that help you rise above and open up your view. Pick one. It doesn’t have to be expensive, complicated or extraordinary to anyone else. Then consider your calendar and find time to do it.  Afterward, if you want to taste it twice, write about it. That way, when you occasionally get lost, you have notes to remind you how to find yourself again.” – Kristen Armstrong, Runners World

I am often inspired by words. Groups of letters. A phrase. A paragraph.  I am in awe of a great marketing slogan. The simplicity of how powerful they can be.  “Just Do It.” – Nike.  “Run Happy.” – Brooks.  “Where Dreams Come True.” – Disney

As Anais Nin once said, “We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.”

Kristen nailed it.  Inspiration.  Authentic and untethered.  The article she wrote was (of course) about a 5 mile run with a friend. Oh the simplicity of a run yet how powerful and everlasting 40 mins out of a 24 hour day can become.  Everyday, we wake up, and have the opportunity to be authentic and untethered by something we love.  A run. A person. A hobby.  Whatever that ‘love’ may be, find time to schedule, do and write about that love.

Do not take ‘no’ for an answer.  What makes you Authentic?  Genuine? Untethered?  Pause, schedule, write & repeat.

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Runners Block

Similar to writers block, we all come to a point where a complacent, monotonous mood will strike and we feel we cannot get back to where we were.  Or propelled forward.  Motionless.  Looking for an idea.  Inspiration.  Perhaps an injury caused a stumble.  Or we are coming off a race high and feel we are ‘owed’ to do nothing.  It’s raining.  Maybe the summer heat and humidity has stopped us in our tracks…our bodies craving a good run but our minds telling us otherwise.  Your mind will quit a thousand times before your body does.  How can we beat runners block?

1. Run Fast.  How can you ever start if all you focus is the end?  Quit analyzing every mile you have yet to run and just run.  You’ll be done before you even realize you started.

2. Put down the music.  And the energy gels. The Garmin. And the…and the…  We over complicate the run with so many accessories.  Run ‘Naked’. Nature is an amazing symphony.  Listen.  Invite someone and talk for miles.  Shed yourself of the ‘stuff’ and remember it is just one foot in front of the other.

3. Watch Others.  It is amazing how inspired you can become to do something when you take a moment to look around.  Join a running group.  Volunteer at a local 5K.  Google ‘Inspiring Runners’.  Go watch a marathon.  Draw energy and get over your hump by helping others.

Next time you feel ‘stuck’, turn off your mind and listen to your body.  Amazing things will occur.  Happy trails!
Cheers!

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Sir Isaac ‘Newton’ Review – Butt Tear, Pure Form & Faster Speed

Well it has been about two months in the new Newton Gravity III running shoes.  After tearing a muscle in my right butt and taking the better part of June off running, I am deeply in love with these shoes.

After week two during running group I noticed a sharp pain and what appeared to be a grapefruit growing out of the side of my right hip.  It was painful to sit, stand, sleep and generally anything that had to do with breathing.  Alas I still ran not knowing exactly what I had done.  Of course as runners we suddenly become an MD and can diagnose anything.  The last words we never want to hear are “You need to take a break from running.”

Aside from the tear and monster bruise from my knee up to my waist the size of Texas, the shoe performs like something I have never experienced.  Comparing the Brooks Pure Flow to the Newton, the Newton puts me more on my toes than any other shoe.  It also only allows for an upright, hips out & legs behind you running form.  I can feel the ‘Lugs’ working by ‘spraying’ my toes out allowing for a pure forefront toe strike.  As the Brooks performed, the Newtons create a faster recovery time, and quicker turnover.  I feel more confident in my form than ever before.  The Newton’s also engage more of my core and upper body which is great to see all the Insanity training finally paying off. 🙂

I would highly recommend these shoes however not for the lighthearted or someone new to toe running/heal drops.  Newton also designs other shoes without such a drastic heal drop as the Gravity III which I would recommend starting with first.  I give Newton two thumbs up!  Cheers and Happy Trails!

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