Blog2021-09-19T11:49:18-04:00

Compounding Efforts

September 20, 2021

Similar to yesterday, the earth made a full rotation. We didn’t feel it but we know it happened. We are back to the same spot where we started.

But are we?

The sun may be hanging in the sky but it’s in a slightly different position. Incremental but different. The weather is too. And so is that tree you might be looking up at. 

It’s all changed. But it’s so small we don’t even see it. 

Warren Buffet once said, “Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a seed a long time ago”. 

That’s how growth looks. It’s small, almost microscopic, that we don’t realize it’s happening at the moment. But it’s happening to us and around us. 

The book we’re reading might inspire us to start something new and magical which leads us to become happier. 

The garden we wanted to start might soon become a banquet of nourishment for a local shelter. 

The person we mentored might go on to create something important that impacts the world positively. 

Our actions today can create a better world tomorrow for ourselves and the others around us. 

We must be willing to plant the seed and keep watering it every day. We may not be able to see it grow quickly but we know the work we are doing is generous and necessary and will produce fruitful results, one way or another. 

We don’t always know what those results will be but we’ll never have the chance to find out if we don’t start today.

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Reppin’ It Out

September 17, 2021

As a beginner learner, it is highly important to focus on the number of repetitions (reps) you get versus making the motion perfect.

Far too often we try to critique the technique and that can limit us from trying and learning over and over and over again.

We are better off shooting 100 shots however we feel is best for us versus getting say our footwork perfect or the proper knee bend or extension of the arms through the shot, etc.

Sometimes, letting people use their natural ability to figure it out by themselves is much more effective in the long run than telling them exactly what they need to do.

Experience is the elixir that can set our success in rapid motion and put us on a path toward accelerated learning.

Dueling Perspectives

September 15, 2021

Some people see a wall color as green. Others see it as blue. The exact same wall on the exact same day standing in the exact same place.

We have only two choices.

We can argue that we are right and the other person is obviously wrong, flawed, and shouldn’t be trusted.

Or, we can agree that our perspectives are different. We may not be sure exactly how they came to that conclusion but either way we respect where they are coming from. Their vantage point may be different than ours because we come from different backgrounds, different experiences, and different belief systems.

It’s not that it’s wrong. It’s just an alternative viewpoint.

It’d be an interesting and curious world if we took the latter option more often.

Progress Isn’t Perfect

September 13, 2021

We can often get discouraged if we compare ourselves to what others are doing. It’s easy with the access we have to social networks. We get a glimpse of how everyone else appears to be prospering while we are paddling like hell in a circle.

We read their books, see their bodies, admire their art. We convince ourselves that in some way they are better than us and it causes us to question ourselves and our mission.

What we fail to recognize is they once started from a blank canvas, they had a shitty first draft, they couldn’t do a pull-up. At some point, they were a beginner. They struggled. They had to tear down their castle many times in disappointment and rebuild it better and stronger than before. They have the calluses to prove it.

Progress isn’t perfect and there is no stopwatch on when you might be done.

Progress can be slow but slower movement in the direction we want to head is better than being stationary with no plans to get started at all.

It doesn’t have to be big or bold, it just has to be something you care about that can strike that first flame to start the fire.

So maybe down the line when someone is admiring our work we can pause and reflect and raise a small grin and remember the time we stared at a “blank canvas” and weren’t sure where to begin.

But we did.

We have the calluses to prove it.

Benefits of a Morning Routine

September 10, 2021

My focus over recent years has been to improve my overall bedtime routine as I’ve found that if I get to bed properly it allows me to form better sleep habits and wake up feeling energized and ready to tackle the day.

Here’s the Bedtime Routine I’ve put in place if you were curious https://brianondrako.com/blog/benefits-of-a-bedtime-routine

However, in recent months I decided to get intentional about my mornings and evaluate how those were structured and what was working or not. I realized through the pandemic with not having to waste time driving into an office or dropping my son off at school allowed me to sleep in more. Definitely not a bad thing but it wasn’t working for what I needed in this next phase of my life.

***If you wanted to listen to an audio version of this and some more depth feel free to check out my One Mic Session on the Just Get Started Podcast here – Listen Now ***

What I found was that each day was very inconsistent as I’d wake up at varying times and I never had a set routine. I felt that I was getting through the morning with little accomplished especially important personal time for myself.

So, I decided to make a change. It wasn’t easy. Waking up earlier for me is always a chore but when I put it into the context of improving my overall health and wellness, it helped make it stick.

After some trial and error with various morning activities here’s what I’ve settled on that has worked well for me for the last 2 months.

  • Wake up at 7 am – Hopefully without an alarm but the alarm is set if necessary.
  • Make coffee – The smell of the coffee always wakes me up and this also helps have the coffee ready as I finish step 3.
  • 10-20 minutes of Yoga – This is not to get in a strenuous workout but just enough to move the body and loosen these old bones up a bit. I feel relaxed but energized after completing this.
  • I pour myself a cup of coffee and sit for 30-45 minutes and think. I don’t put pressure on myself at this time. Sometimes I just sit and ponder, sometimes I write a blog that pops in my head, sometimes I want to post a thought on social media. I don’t judge myself for how I am feeling that morning. Research suggests your most creative moments are the first couple hours after waking so I’ve tried to prioritize myself and my well-being over giving it to others that early.

I generally have been doing this Monday-Friday and occasionally on the weekends depending on planned activities. By 8:15-8:30 am I am ready to start tackling the day and already feel like I’ve gotten some things accomplished which motivates me even more.

There are 4 main learnings from doing this Morning Routine: Intention, Accomplishment, Movement, Creativity

Intention: I am making a point to commit to something every day, to start the day with this intention allows me to get out of bed and work toward something.

Accomplishment: Little wins add up. Whether it is the act of getting out of bed, completing yoga, or other things I might do, that accomplishment gives me the momentum to excel the rest of the day.

Movement: I’m getting older and flexibility and pliability are important to me. When I move I feel energized. although I don’t like doing big workouts this early, yoga and stretching are great ways to get my body moving and waking up my brain. Plus, it’s short enough to be able to commit to it every day.

Creativity: When I can get moving and let my brain wake up a bit I find I am super creative. The momentum I’ve built in the time prior to sitting and thinking and the energy flowing through my body gives me good vibes and the “juices start flowing” much more easily.

There is no silver bullet to this stuff. We have to try and test what works for us and be happy with how we want to structure our day. If we feel we are missing something or could be doing things that make us feel better it’d be advantageous to explore that and try it for a week. See how your body responds. Don’t feel like you have to make some long-term goals for yourself. Try it out for a bit, tweak it, and make it work for you. Certainly, there may be some uncomfortable moments as you try to reach outside of the status quo and be open to these new feelings and what they can do for you.

I’ve discovered that routines are one of the building blocks to happiness because it wipes away a lot of uncertainty in our lives. Whether it is morning, bedtime routine, or something else, prioritize yourself and your well-being and you’ll be able to tackle the world and bring your most positive and energized self to it each and every day.

Less Than Or Equal To

September 8, 2021

Imagine a world where we have less than what we have today.

What could be taken away to still make us feel like we have enough to have a happy life?
What can we do without?

Even more important to ask is if we had less than we have today would we be grateful for everything we have today? Would we complain about that little thing that didn’t go exactly perfect? Would we overthink things that are out of our control? Would we respect the people around us that have differing opinions and leave them be?

In a world where we’re always thinking more more more, have we ever stopped and considered what if we had less?

Calendaring

September 6, 2021

When it comes to productivity, there isn’t much better than time blocking in order to keep yourself on track and completing the work you know you’d like to get done.

Resistance to these types of activities can help us become distracted or worse yet drop the task altogether for a less meaningful but more urgent one.

We have to be prepared that these things will happen regularly and combat them with specific documentation of when we will get our project done. Whatever it might be chances are it is important to an idea or plan you’ve developed to help at an unforeseen time in the future.

Help that future self out by recognizing the important work we must get done today and schedule it out on the calendar and then hold yourself accountable. Block an hour out and go hard for that hour. Block 25 minutes, take a break, and then go for another 25-minutes. Test out some different things for a week to see how you work best. Break it up another way depending on the tasks you have to complete. The strategy you use is not as important as the consistency of using it.

If we don’t stay consistent, we’ll get down the road and be filled with regret that we put off that thing we really wanted to do and feel like we are further behind. By building a great habit of time blocking you’ll be much more prepared to achieve your goals and feel a sense of accomplishment that you had the foresight to chip away at these projects because you knew what the grander strategy was all along.

This Too Shall Pass

September 3, 2021

Life ebbs and flows. Some days we are on the highest of highs and others it’s the lowest of the lows.

Rarely, on the best days, are we ever thinking about despair or loneliness or how we are ever going to get out of this feeling. It’s only on the bad days

Rarely, on the best days, are we ever consumed by the passing watch hands and can’t wait for something to change and get us out of this nightmare. It’s only on the bad days.

Rarely, on the best days, are we ever comparing ourselves to others wishing we were smiling and laughing and being loved by everyone around us. It’s only on the bad days.

“Comparison is the thief of joy” as the great quote goes.

It’s always in comparison to others or to what we don’t have or to what is absent in our lives, that sucks the joy out of it. We all go through this and we know it’s not easy.

But, this too shall pass. 

How quickly it passes can be directly related to our efforts in recognizing our triggers and our emotional state when those triggers come to fruition. 

We can’t blame others. We have to take ownership and look in the mirror. We can fix this.

Is our worth tied up in others? Are we doing things that make us come alive? Have our decisions put us in stressful situations? How can we learn at this moment to make future moments more manageable? 

These questions and others around it can help us focus on the problem areas of our life and address the parts that we need to improve. Generally, there is a “self” before them. We need to have more self-love, self-awareness, self-observation, self-control, etc.

Life can be hard a lot of the time but once we choose to make the effort to approach it in a way where we are in control instead of situations and people controlling us, we have a wonderful chance to lean into happiness more often.

Take a deep breath. We’ve been here before. 

This too shall pass.

It’s never about the money and rarely about the power and influence. Even the celebrities that live on in history are there because of how they made us feel. There was a connection.

That means something. 

It means we have the same opportunity to make an impact on the world but it’s our choice to decide if that’s going to be a positive impact or a negative one. 

  • Our posts and comments on social media
  • Our attitude during meetings
  • Our words in an argument
  • The values we instill in our children

All of these, and many more I’m forgetting, are up to us with how we choose to project ourselves to the world as with the growing digital age, many of these actions will outlive us by many years. 

Positivity breeds positivity. If we think it, speak it, and show it; it catches on. Unfortunately, the same can be said for negativity. 

We control the imprint we want to leave behind on this planet.

We get to decide how we will be remembered throughout the history books.

How will you be remembered?

We can’t expect to get most things right the first time. That’s the whole essence of learning. By putting ourselves in situations that make us beginner learners, we get the opportunity to experience all-new types of emotions and feelings that we haven’t felt this exact way before.

That is a form of freedom.

We don’t pressure ourselves by thinking we know it all and therefore have to perform at the highest peak of our talent. Instead, we get the chance to mess up, look silly, and learn from all of our mistakes

Our ego may get tested by having us shed this cloak of confidence but in the end, we’ll be more prepared for the journey ahead because most of the time we don’t know it all and we don’t know what will happen.

Having the freedom to be okay with that is one of the more liberating things we can do for ourselves.

In any planned first encounter, it can be highly important to spend some amount of time preparing. This can be true on a first date, an interview for a job, a podcast interview, etc.

First impressions are everything as they say. In our world, as it exists today, not preparing is lazy.

Years ago it was perfectly acceptable to take this approach because it might have been uber-difficult to search for any information. The people who went above and beyond and did some reconnaissance work prior often had the upper hand.

There is so much information available that starting at “square one” makes the person receiving our message or question feel like we don’t care as much. Like we didn’t put any work into this relationship. Like we are just treating them like another number.

That doesn’t fly anymore. We know less is more. High-quality conversations with high-quality people are what we are striving for. 

Next time, remember that the more we are prepared with knowledge on the person, company, or otherwise, we are getting a head start to help build confidence, connection, and respect on a much deeper level with the person on the other side.

And who knows, maybe they prepared for the conversation with you, too.

We’re all weird. I’m most definitely weird.

There are a few definitions of the word but I’d lean toward what the masses would articulate as weird and that is by using another word; Different.

That’s what kids mean when they say something is weird. They mean they don’t understand it, it’s new, it’s unlike anything they’ve seen before. It’s different. 

Kids generally tell it like it is. They speak their mind as the stream of consciousness flows. And that should inform us of something. 

Weird isn’t bad, it’s just different. 

We should consider our “weirdness” a gift we can share with the world and look upon it as a benefit.

Have you ever watched a Sci-Fi Movie or Show where everyone dresses the exact same and basically looks the same? Can we even imagine how boring and limiting that must be? We can’t express ourselves, we can’t find people who share our values or our interests, we can’t find our tribe to belong to. To me, that seems like a sad way to go about living.

When we truly discover ourselves, find self-love, and detach away from the outside noise we can start to find where we belong. We can do the things that make us feel good, bring us joy, and allow us to express ourselves. We can find belonging with people who accept us for who we are and what we bring to the table. It doesn’t mean someone has to always agree with us or won’t challenge us but it’s someone who is there to be supportive and generous with their time and effort in the relationship.

We should consider changing our perspective on what weird is and why it’s important. The problem we see with the world is that we want everyone to have our weirdness and think like us and if they don’t it must mean there is something wrong with them. 

Deep down we really know that’s not true. 

Deep down we know it’s an “us” issue and not a “them”.

Deep down we still have work to do.

They may not be the people you connect with or form a strong bond with but it doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have their own voice. Acceptance of others and gaining perspective on how others may think, feel, and act as the first big step to growth and being comfortable with who you are and knowing it’s okay if others aren’t exactly the same way.

I’m weird and I think being your own kind of weird is really cool.

I wouldn’t have it any other way.

The disappointment of taking the shot and missing is never even remotely close to the regret that comes from not taking the shot in the first place.

Go for it.

What do you really have to lose?

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