Day 20: Excellence Always

In this blog:

  • Mindless Meandering…
  • Day 20: Excellence Always – a video recap
  • Week 1 Day 1 – 1.5 Miles
  • 2015 – Future Runs

Mindless Meandering…

Lately, I have found that when I take things from my mind and write them down – say, in an email to my brother, for example, that I can add greater life to those thoughts and somehow, that simple act of writing those things down brings me a step closer to taking action.

Getting Serious is still fresh in my mind as is the daily list of 10 prioritized items we write down and send out each day from the 100 Day Challenge.  I mentioned Karate & Piano previously but, Career Goals & Objectives would probably be of a greater pragmatic importance.  I’ve got about 7 months until the Part IV Board Exam which, in most people’s eyes would make it seem as absolutely Not Urgent but, I can’t think like that.  There’s too much to know and it’s too important relative to the rest of my life.  We need a score of 375 to pass but I’m thinking a goal of scoring a 475 would be fantastic and allow me to be eligible to practice in any state and get paid by all insurance companies.  Passing the first time is important because it’s such a ridiculously expensive exam.

just remembered, I need to follow up on a great job I applied for a couple weeks ago….

Scheduled, consistent action/study is necessary to get through Part IV and, if by chance Part III doesn’t go through I’ll also be totally ready for that again.


Day 20:  Excellence Always

Video definition of Excellence

Video definition of Excellence

is what i'm doing

Excellence

Some people perpetually create for themselves a condition for their own dissatisfaction.

 


Week 1 Day 1 – 1.5 Miles

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Went to the park in the morning to get in either 20 minutes or 1 lap (1.5 miles) to start off my training program again.   I also ended up having to walk around a neighborhood for work so I kept track of that also ;)  All told, 3.5 miles for the day.

I’ll be repeating the original 26 week program, at least as far as the basic weekly sequence of 2 short, 1 medium, 1 long run per week is concerned and will probably be sticking with the 6 week buildup built into the program as well.

There is far less excitement for this second round – during the first round I could tell myself – and others, I was training for a marathon and, quite frankly, I believed I was but, the results didn’t pan out to that level of achievement but ….there were results and some very positive changes.  I’d say I’m a pretty solid 5k runner right now in that I can go out and actually run that distance pretty much whenever I want.  …probably 80% of the time anyway.

I’ll have to ponder over this program.  I have three full days vacation scheduled after KC and will devote more time to the specifics of the program then.


2015 – Future Runs

For right now – I’m already signed up for the St Louis Rock n Roll 1/2 marathon on October 18, 2015.

I was also looking at two 1/2 marathons in April of 2015 – the Go! St Louis and the Lincoln Presidential 1/2 marathon in Springfield, IL.  I would like a giant lincoln penny as a medal… :)

OK – now I’m signed up for the Go! 1/2 in April as well….

OK – I’m signed up for the Lincoln Half Marathon which is a week before the Go! 1/2 in April – very cool – productive blog today :)  I got some of that excitement back :) :) :)

My training thinking here is that I’ve got 6 months until April (for my 2nd training bout) and then another 6 months until October (and a 3rd bout of training)  :)

 

 

 

 

Success Requires Inconvenience

In this blog:

  • 100 Day Challenge recap to date
  • Success Requires Inconvenience
  • Sacrifices

100 Day Challenge recap to date

Today is the 19th day of the 100 Day Challenge and today’s video is Success Requires Inconvenience.  There are a few things which are sticking out in my mind as perhaps being key to greater success in my own life.  The very first video was Grow Up, Get Serious.  The grow up part doesn’t resonate too much in my life but, the Get Serious part does.  Karate and Piano are two areas in my life that could benefit from being more serious.  With karate, I know simply attending the classes can only do so much in helping me advance and I have to practice and review my katas & yakusoku’s outside of class, i.e., get more serious.  Piano is one of those things which tends to cross my mind on a daily basis but absolutely nothing is being done in regard to playing at a level I could appreciate.  Again, this is another area where I either need to eradicate further thinking about it in my head which will never happen or, instead of random fleeting thoughts, simply do it.  Practice.  Play.

I’m sure if I dwell on other areas of my life I’ll be able to come up with more ways to get more serious and thus get better results in any of those areas.

There was a list of things the other day about how to help empower one’s life and among that list was something along the notion of being uncomfortable and striving for more discomfort.  I know this is a simply adage about getting out of your comfort zone but, really applying that in day to day situations and everyday life on a consistent basis can be a little different since it can mean cutting into time normally spent engaging in behavior patterns which may simply be coping mechanisms for ones life.

I guess some coping mechanisms can be better than others.  Some may be downright destructive while others may be more benign and simply a waste of time.  I suppose mine would be more in the benign, time wasting camp.  I recall in another blog that I’d mentioned it being very easy for me to be content – A cup of coffee and an internet connection can easily turn into a pot of coffee and mindless tangential Internet surfing.  This leads me into thinking about Steven Covey’s book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People where he illustrates a Cartesian coordinate system with Importance on one axis and Urgency on the other.  Things in a person’s life are either important or not important and they are either urgent or not urgent.  This is how the four sections of the graph are filled out and in order to spend more time on things that are Important but not necessarily Urgent, we take time away from those things which are Not Important and Not Urgent …which, as one example, could be my coffee & Internet Surfing.


Success Requires Inconvenience

Success Requires Inconvenience

 

High performers understand that the road to success is filled with acts of discomfort and sacrifice.  They choose what needs to be done regardless of the inconvenience.  But, if they don’t like to be inconvenienced then why do some people embrace it?

Successful people are influenced by the desire for pleasing results.  While the overwhelming majority of people are influenced by the desire for pleasing methods.  That is the distinction, successful people are driven by pleasing results while the majority of people are interested in pleasing methods.  That’s where the excuse of convenience comes into the equation.  The vast majority of people are inclined to be satisfied by such results as can be obtained by doing things that they like to do or simply that they find to be convenient.

appetite

 


My first notable sacrifices while trying to adhere to this program would have to be skipping going out to watch the Cardinals baseball game to take care of other more important matters.  Listening to the game on the radio while taking care of business was the substitution.

The biggest inconvenience was similar for both me and my brother this past weekend.  I have to admit – on Saturday morning, physically, the last thing in the world I wanted to do was get up at 5 a.m. after having so little sleep the previous two nights.  The thought of skipping both the 5k and karate testing crossed my mind.

Our testing was a little premature due to an upcoming trip to Okinawa for many of our dojo members.  One person never showed up for their testing and another couldn’t get through the testing.  I talked with people afterwards and without exception, everyone of them had considered skipping.

I know over Thur, Fri & Sat night, my brother had only 10 hours of sleep himself which was about the same as me but still managed a trip to New York for a talk and a flight back and then a totally butt kicking 2:07 time in the half marathon on Sunday morning.

So, there’s definitely effort going out – just looking to further tweak situations for greater productivity – looking to embrace more inconvenience for greater results and, i would think, a happier life.

 

 

St Louis Rock n Roll Half Marathon

This race was a total blast.   Partly because it was so close and mainly because I ran it with my brother.  The race started at 7 a.m. and we hooked up and left around 6:10 a.m. and still had plenty of time to get there, park and get to the starting line on time.

Originally, I had requested off work for today but since I’m heading out of town again this week I thought I’d pick up some extra hours …as I sit here and my legs tighten up, I’m not sure how smart of an idea that was.

The spinning medal was totally cool and looked much better in person.

My brother & I being a little goofy before the run.  He was a little chilly

My brother & I being a little goofy before the run. He was a little chilly

less goofy ...i think i liked the goofy one better :)

less goofy …i think i liked the goofy one better :)

Our view during the first mile - really awesome! :)

Our view during the first mile – really awesome! :)

We ran by the YMCA ...apparently it stands for Young Men's Christian Association.  I didn't know that....

We ran by the YMCA …apparently it stands for Young Men’s Christian Association. I didn’t know that….

My brother getting prepped for the run - mental focus is very important ;)

My brother getting prepped for the run – mental focus is very important ;)

SPINNING MEDAL! – The *real* motivation for getting out this weekend!

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The guitar pick in the middle of the medal spins! – and I’m easily amused so – this did it for me :)  We got that medal for running on both days of the St Louis Rock n Roll Marathon Weekend (5k yesterday morning and 1/2 marathon today)

unnamed

5k medals handed out yesterday :)

5k medals handed out yesterday :)

 

Karate Promotion & Rock n Roll Weekend!

In this blog

  • Karate Promotion
  • St Louis Rock n Roll Expo
  • St Louis Rock n Roll 5k Race

I think Wednesday morning was the last full night’s sleep I had.  A post karate Thursday night trip to the ER unit at Children’s Hospital for one of my little nephews didn’t end until 4 a.m. Friday morning which normally wouldn’t be so bad except I had to meet some guys at the gym early Friday morning to practice our katas for Saturday testing!  :)

After I finally got home from the Expo on Friday I slept 6 to 9 p.m. Friday and again from 3 a.m to 5 a.m. Saturday morning….then had a nifty little 5k Rock n Roll run in downtown st louis at 8 a.m. and karate testing starting at 10 a.m. :)

Karate Promotion

That test went well :)  Out of the 10 people slated for testing today  – I was among the 8 that passed :)

From left to right - Sensei Bob Seibert (7th Dan), myself, Sensei Xian (8th Dan), Marty (5th Dan)

From left to right – Sensei Bob Seibert (7th Dan), myself, Sensei Xian (8th Dan), Marty (5th Dan)

The three black belts pictured above made up our testing board.  As a group, many members of the dojo are going to Okinawa, Japan next week.  Usually we’ll get about 3 years advanced notice so everyone has time to save up, this year was a little compressed with only about 8 months notice.  Anyway, I’m pretty happy about this.  I’ve been at this for so long – first promotion May 5th, 1982 so, to look down at that certificate and see 2-kyu was kind of emotional.  One of the higher ranking black belts that tested ended up showing a fair amount of emotion towards the end of her testing as well.  I think she may have been going for her 4th degree which, is the highest that can be tested for outside of Okinawa.

2014-10-18 13.27.13 - Copy (2)

5K – Rock n Roll preview – might just toss some pictures up here – really tired….

St Louis 2014 Rock n Roll Expo

inside the expo, at the entrance

inside the expo, at the entrance

We were allowed to sign up for next years race for $55 and they threw in this extra t-shirt ....can't have too many of those... ;)

We were allowed to sign up for next years race for $55 and they threw in this extra t-shirt ….can’t have too many of those… ;)

the date for next years run is actually 10.18.15 and the shirt says 10.20.15 but, it’s still pretty cool

5K t-shirt & bib

5K t-shirt & bib

1/2 mary t-shirt & bib.  The black band is worn during the 1/2 so, after the run we go to a special tent to pick up our Extra Spinning Guitar pick medal for running Sat & Sun :)

1/2 mary t-shirt & bib. The black band is worn during the 1/2 so, after the run we go to a special tent to pick up our Extra Spinning Guitar pick medal for running Sat & Sun :)

back of the 1/2 mary t-shirt

back of the 1/2 mary t-shirt

common logo on the backs of all three t-shirts

common logo on the backs of all three t-shirts

Saturday 5K Race Pics

The Ribbon was really nice on this medal and I've never had one before that said 5K on it like this before :)

The Ribbon was really nice on this medal and I’ve never had one before that said 5K on it like this before :)

5k Start Line - I think I heard the announcer say there were over 1,500 people in this race

5k Start Line – I think I heard the announcer say there were over 1,500 people in this race

Looking back at the finish line :)

Looking back at the finish line :)

Had to get my picture taken with Captain America!  :D

Had to get my picture taken with Captain America! :D

and now ….6 full hours of sleep await until tomorrow’s 1/2 :)  my brother will also be doing the half which is pretty cool  :)  My goal is to finish within an hour after he finishes :)

10 Strategies to Empower Your Life

In this blog:

  • Day 14:  Say No – 10 Strategies to Empower Your Life
  • Week 39 Weigh-In
  • 5K – Karate Testing – Half Marathon
  • Future Plans & Death
  • Week 2 – After Action Review

Start Saying No.   The Day 14 Video is called Say No.  There is a pretty detailed 10 step list which can help a person empower their lives.

A short Yes List and a long No list.

10 Powering and Productive Strategies you can use to empower your personal & professional life.

  1. What strategies, initiatives and activities will you say “No” to?  List the activities that can slow down or prevent progress from happening.  Everything is fair game – nothing is sacred in this exercise.  Simply put, if an activity does not advance you forward, then say no immediately.
  2. What meetings will you decline or delegate?  List every meeting you have in the remainder of the challenge and determine which you will NOT be attending.  Meetings consume large chunks of productive time and most can be declined or delegated to someone else.
  3. What relationships will you not keep?  The way you manage your relationships has an enormous impact on your ability to perform at high levels.  Identify the top three energy draining relationships you are committed to saying No to then, focus on creating strategies to free yourself from each of them immediately.
  4. What competitors will you not follow?  Too much time is lost by following and focusing on too many competitors and so-called gurus.  Identify the top 3 and immediately remove yourself from all of their email distribution list, blogs and other related communications.
  5. What websites will you not visit?  Websites are like magnets & vampires they draw you in and suck away your productive time.  Pull up your list of favorites and delete most from your favorites and keep only the ones of greatest value.  You must institute a “No Surfing” policy and stick to it.
  6. What money will you not spend?  Put yourself on a fiscal diet – every dollar spent should be thought of as an investment towards greater operating income even petty cash.  With this in mind, what things or entire even budget categories will you not spend money on.
  7. What foods will you not eat?  We are all reservoirs of energy and everything we do requires that we use it wisely.  So, it’s imperative that you focus in on your nutritional intake and exercise.  Eliminate any food or drink that compromises your energy levels.
  8. What thoughts will you not entertain?  Remember, that which does not move you towards your goal, takes you away from it.  Therefore, remove those thoughts that are limiting, defeating or downright negative and consciously replace them with thoughts of abundance, optimism and positivity.
  9. What television shows will you not view?  If there was ever a time hog that needed to be slaughtered, television tops the list.  If you stop to think about it those tv hours don’t take long to add up.  Even in a moderately tv watching household, it’s amazing how many hours are spent in front of the box.  The solution — go cold turkey and focus on making huge performance gains.  Take control of those previously lost hours and put them to good use.
  10. What will you no longer tolerate from yourself or others?  Identify the standards you wish to measure your life by and reuse to lower or negotiate at any time or any reason.  No is a tool of liberation and empowerment so use it with absolute authority and conviction.

That’s one heck of a list!


Week 39 Weigh-In

While updating my weekly weigh-in wallpaper for my computer, I realized my weigh-in isn’t until tomorrow BUT …I’ve already done it and we’ll just say it’s close enough for this week.  For today I’m weighing in at 263 pounds which is a 2nd consecutive week of declining weight.  Overall, still maintaining +/- 3% of that 260 weight I started at from a week after my winning weight loss contest so – ….27 weeks of maintaining a weight loss is fine by me!  :)

Week n - 2nd 12 Week Session Weeks 39-27 - Copy

…maintaining a 50+ lb weight loss for over 1/2 a year – 27 weeks :)


5K – Karate Testing – Half Marathon

This should be a really fun weekend….

On Saturday I have a 5K in downtown St Louis at 8 a.m. – and ….as soon as that is over I’ll need to get my butt to the dojo back over in Illinois because Karate testing starts at 10 a.m.  On Sunday, the St Louis Rock n Roll half marathon starts at 7 a.m.   Packet pickup for these events ….I’ll do that Friday – there is supposed to be a wrist bank in the 5k packet that I wear during the half marathon then when that run is finished there is supposed to be a tent where I can get my Spinning Guitar Pick medal for participating in back to back runs :)   …just remembered – since this will be my 2nd Rock n Roll half marathon of the year I’ll also be getting some kind of repeat performance medal… I think i have pics of these somewhere …. all told, I’ll net 4 medals from this weekend.

obtained for running back to back races in the same weekend

obtained for running back to back races in the same weekend

obtained for running two Rock n Roll runs in the same year

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HalfMarathonMedal Sat5k_Medal


Future Plans & Death

Running – Here I’m looking at repeating the 26/30 week program I was doing for my 3rd full marathon. It was originally a 26 week program and I added four blank weeks so it would end on the date of my 3rd marathon (November 1st) and, ironically enough, I pretty did exactly what was listed during those extra four weeks …nothing – pretty close to nothing anyway but, I did get in a good 1/2 year of training and made running progress.  When I started that 26 week program it was kicked off by a couple half marathons so I’m going to let this week’s half marathon be the kick off for my next 1/2 year of running.

I will be going back to Kansas City for a week long review for my part IV boards exam which is scheduled for May of 2015.  Part IV is interesting and once you pass you can never take it again and whatever score you get is what you live with for the rest of your life.  It determines which states you can practice in and even which insurance companies will pay you.  It is quite important so – KC review beats out my trip to Wynne Arkansas.

There is a nice half marathon on Sunday, November 2nd which I have run in before – maybe I’ll make that my 2nd kick off half.

Scrolling through media to find those upcoming medals reminded me of several events I want to do in 2015 – Macklind Mile, Tour de Belleville, Moonlight Ramble, Tour de Donut, Lincoln Presidential 1/2 mary, Go! St Louis 1/2, etc.

New Spreadsheet plan – shorter distances but maybe faster times.  I want a much higher percentage of running as opposed to walking … I almost forgot what the Future Plans referred to but I think I remember it mainly pertains to setting up a new program and creating a new spreadsheet.  I think I’ll start a new weigh-in wallpaper with that new spreadsheet.

Death – I’m still pondering this concept – this reality.  I went to another Masonic Funeral last week for a fellow Mason who had been a master mason for 61 years and 9 months.  I remembered during my first Masonic Funeral that one of the higher ranking members of the lodge tried explaining to me that one of the objectives of freemasonry was to overcome the fear of death.  What exactly does that mean, I’ve wondered.  I suppose ….well, I can’t speak for everyone but thinking about dying isn’t a constant thought in my head.  I suppose it’s just ignored but even my awareness level of an impending death but, at this point, I know one thing.  I know partly how my funeral is going to look.  I know there will be Masons present and I’ve heard what they are going to be saying a couple of times now.

I think part of this Masonic teaching kind of embodies that Carpe Diem notion which was briefly mentioned in a previous blog.  Some of the lines from the Dead Poet’s Society such as…. “did these boys wait until it was too late to take one iota from their life of what they were capable of?”  …just paraphrasing from memory there.   or that poem – To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time by Robert Herrick – “Gather ye rosebuds while ye may, Old Time is still a-flying and this same flower that smiles today Tomorrow will be dying.”

I’ll keep learning.  On a kind of related note, it looks like I’m going to be an officer in the lodge come 2015 or maybe starting in December of this year so… still more to learn.

Week 2 – After Action Review (AAR) phone call – 

compare & contrast….  wow, what a difference a week can make.  week 1 of this 100 Day Challenge was fraught with poorly defined objectives and mainly only served to provide a greater awareness of what a loser I was in certain aspects of my life.  Week 2 AAR – huge difference – yesterday was a simple day consisting of work, karate and then coming home and kicking butt around the house with various endeavors but, at the end of it all, I could honestly say that I had lived that day about the best I possibly could.

Anyway, each week at Noon (CST) there is an AAR phone call with Gary, the guy that made up this 100 Day Challenge and in that 40 minute phone call he mentioned a list of 12 things to help improve our lives so, I took notes in this blog to share with others who might be interested.  My list has 14 items but I wasn’t able to completely differentiate between all the items so …there is a two item bonus in my list.

Also – I mentioned previously that this was a $147 course but there was an offer extended for me to be able to add up to 3 people to the program for $47 each.  Not that I would pay that but, if anyone is interested I’ve still got two extra people I can add to the program.   Leave a message – paypal me $47 to my email address of dukowitz@gmail.com and we’ll set you up.  I’ll probably shoot out a mass email to the 300 or so Masonic brothers in my lodge, maybe one or two of them will be interested as well.

There are 77 days left in the 2014 -

  1. Elevate your conversations
    – High Achievers talk about Big, Bold, Better Ideas
    – Average People talk about common events
    – Little People talk about other people – gossip, etc
  2. Elevate your Beliefs -
  3. Elevate your Actions
  4. Elevate your Attitude – expose your mind to a better life.  expose yourself to excellence – surround yourself with it
  5. Elevate your expectations by demanding more from yourself and others.
  6. Elevate your discomfort by elevating & challenging your discomfort zone.  it’s inconvenient to workout when you’re tired – reality is it’s convenient and easy to make an excuse.  it’s inconvenient to make a good meal and convenient to buy fast food.  expose yourself to discomfort.
  7. Elevate your value by raising the bar and going the extra mile.  the difference – go the extra mile -
  8. Elevate your gratitude by elevating your consciousness.
  9. Elevate your future by focusing on key priorities.  What we think, know or believe is of little value compared to….
  10. Elevate your joyfulness – it’s perfectly fine to have fun in everything that you do.  joy is a virtue that hides in plain site
  11. Elevate your reputation by delivering exceptional results.
  12. Elevate your network
  13. Elevate your Focus by saying No and Setting Boundaries.  Have a short Yes list and long No list.
  14. Elevate your Fun by laughing more and worrying less.   outlook not determined by circumstances (reminds me of Victor Frankl)

Your thoughts your words and your actions & beliefs can help improve your situation.

77 days left in this year and Each One Counts

– Everything Matters –

Everything Counts

Your thoughts, words, action, beliefs are like an elevator that can either help bring you up or take you down.  Well said, Gary :)

Always Move Forward

Day 13:  Always Move Forward

The odds that you’ll succeed in achieving any of your goals in the 100 Day Challenge without taking action are about the same as winning the lottery without buying a ticket.

For those times when you feel trapped, stressed or in a prison of your own making, you must take massive, intentional, purposeful goal directed action.  It is the ultimate silver bullet.

In Real Estate, it's all about Location, Location, Location

In Real Estate, it’s all about Location, Location, Location

In Goal Setting and going about achieving your goals, it's all about Action, Action & more Action

In Goal Setting and going about achieving your goals, it’s all about Action, Action & more Action

You can’t just stick out your thumb and hitchhike your way to success.  You have to roll up your sleeves and do the work that needs to be done.

it's like those 10 two letter words... if it is to be it is up to me.

it’s like those 10 two letter words… if it is to be it is up to me.

idk

 

Days 11 & 12: Carpe Diem & The Power of Focus

The 100 Day Challenge found at http://www.100daychallenge.com cost $147 and isn’t something I would normally join on my own.  My brother is familiar with the guy who put the program together and he joined it then was able to invite one other person to participate in the program free of charge which is how I got involved with the program.

I have to say, I would recommend this program and while $147 seemed like a heck of a lot a couple weeks ago, it doesn’t seem like as much today because I’ve gotten so much value from the program.

As far as lofty, flashy or impressive goals …well, I don’t have any that I’m currently working on other than perhaps some actions I’m taking for my Part IV boards which may ultimately lead to a better life.  Back in high school is when the flashy goals, like getting a Lamborghini existed ;)

Today, and especially for the short term it’s more about responsible living and taking care of business at hand.  The preceding 6 years of my life was a bit abnormal due to school but I can see and am working to get much of my old life back because …it was pretty good to begin with :)

Starting each day with a worthwhile video and empowering message has been beneficial.  Having to prioritize my activities, commitments & deadlines for each day and sending that list out to other people in the program is something pretty new to me but has had some nice effects.

On a pragmatic level, I’ve limited my laptop/internet time by allowing myself two 45 minute sessions and one 30 minute session each day on my computer.  I even set a timer on my phone now to help hold me to those time slots.  Otherwise, I can spend hours on YouTube or building fantasy cars or reading Quora.  I don’t think I would have thought of using a timer while on the internet if it wasn’t for this program.  It has forced me to ask different questions and come up with different strategies.  It takes good stuff which may or may not have already been in my brain and pushes it to the forefront and helps make that good stuff become more of your everyday living.

My brother passed along another course that comes with a free hardcover book (free means only paying $7 in S&H) and some kind of 12 week course is included.  The book is called The Motivation Manifesto: 9 Declarations to Claim your Personal Power.  For anyone interested that course and book can be found at http://www.motivationmanifesto.com.

The Day 11 video on the 100DC was about Carpe Diem or Seize the Day.  The gist of that video can be obtained by watching Dead Poet’s Society.

Today’s Day 12 video was The Power of Focus.  Winners are the most focused people in life and losers and the least focused.

focus