Tag Archives: faith

Whats Awesome About Running and Racing?

Brad Running on the treadmillWhat I love about running and triathlon is the competition, not just against the other runner though, I compete with myself more than anyone. I like to work, I love pushing myself, and I get excited about the little improvements I see in my performance and how I feel. The other thing that excites me though is that I know in a big race some of the best in the world are out there with me, and I’m running with them, competing and doing my best. I KNOW I’m not going to win, but I enjoy knowing that some of the very best are out there sweating and trying just as hard as I am.

Marathon running, like golf, is a game for players, not winners. That is why Callaway sells golf clubs and Nike sells running shoes. But running is unique in that the world’s best racers are on the same course, at the same time, as amateurs, who have as much chance of winning as your average weekend warrior would scoring a touchdown in the NFL. – Hunter S. Thompson

Remember dead last still beat everyone who never started! Run for your own enjoyment. For me, it’s a competitive outlet and my opportunity to commune with God. I meditate and pray when I run. It’s how I clear my head and focus my heart. I also run to stay fit and healthy. With a wife and 5 kids, I have a commitment to stay healthy and strong so I can support them for many years to come.

Remember dead last still beat everyone who never started! Run for your own enjoyment #running Click To Tweet

If you are thinking about doing your first 5k you really should check out Run For God. It’s a 12 week 5K (3.1 miles) training program with a Christian focus where Mitchell Hollis will help you grow not only as a runner but spiritually as well. I hate to list a price in my posts because Amazon prices change daily, but I was shocked how inexpensive this book was used so please check it out.

For discussion:

Why do you run? 

Leadership. It’s all the Time!

Let's Discuss LeadershipYou are a leader in everything you do. Not just the moments you have positional authority over others. Every second of the day presents the opportunity to lead. This is true whether you are a CEO, receptionist, father, child, coach, or athlete. I’ve been thinking about leadership a lot because it is popping up in my personal life with my wife and kids, at church,  and at work. I’ve also recently transitioned into project management and for the first time in my career, I am managing processes almost exclusively and not directly supervising people. I still deal with a lot of people and I still use essentially the same skill set. However, nobody does anything for me now because of any true authority it’s 100% relationship oriented. I’ve always lead in a way that was dependent on developing relationships. However, it’s still a small adjustment and it started me thinking about leadership in general and how it’s a bit different.

Being a Leader With Your Family:

I was talking to my wife Shawna the other night and she reminded me of something I do consistently that comes straight out of one of my favourite leadership books of all time: The 360 Degree Leader. It was about doing something trivial that everyone knows I do not want or like to do, but I do anyway because I know it is important to set the right example.

“As a leader, the first person I need to lead is me. The first person that I should try to change is me”.  – John C. Maxwell

I’m going to be honest here and say I HATE green beans. I don’t just dislike them, I detest them. However, I am aware they are good for me and I have some picky eaters in my family so I eat them without complaint. Part of it is so they will eat something healthy and see me do it too. Another part of it is so nobody can say: “Dad doesn’t eat green beans so I’m not either!” I was smart enough to know that asking them to eat something they don’t like when I would not, was hypocritical at best and a poor display of leadership. Knowing this, I suck it up and eat them anyway. My wife was using this as an example to one of the kids about doing things you don’t want to do because it is the right thing. Whats funny is this kid knew I did that and acknowledged it. I’ve never mentioned that I do this and I don’t make a big deal out of it, but I can tell you beyond a shadow of a doubt that they know I don’t like them, that I eat them anyway. Honestly I was a bit surprised, but it reinforced the idea that your kids watch and listen to everything you do.

“A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” – John C. Maxwell

Another example that is a bit more serious is related to dealing with my Adult ADHD. I had gone 42 years and never been on any sort of ADHD medicine. I didn’t want it and honestly, didn’t think I needed it. Both my ex and current wife encouraged me to try something for years and I just refused for a number of reasons. If I’m being honest, I was aware I had some annoying issues,  but I had learned to live with them and I had what was in my mind a reasonable expectation everyone else would as well. 

I have 3 kids with ADHD all three of whom benefit tremendously from taking their medication. I’m not sure what sparked it but two of them were occasionally resistant to taking it and saying it didn’t help. Everybody knows this is simply not true and I had told them how important it was for months but gaining little ground. I had spent a lot of time thinking of ways to show them how important this was and was getting nowhere fast. Finally, one day I woke up and said: “self, you need to take the same stuff they do.” I had finally realized what a hypocrite I was being. Nobody had to tell me, I just reflected one day and realized I was a huge jerk if I insisted they do something I refused to do. That same day I told Shawna: “I think I need to start taking Intuniv too.” Honestly, it was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I am so much happier now and I am able to relax in a way I have never been able to in my entire life. I wish I had done it years ago. Besides feeling better, by taking it myself I was able to show that I was 100% bought into the process of dealing with not only their ADHD but my own as well. My entire family is happier because of it. If you are a parent, you have probably already realized that your children are watching everything you do. Because of this one decision all three of my kids are now happily taking their medication and we have a calmer happier home because of it.

“If you are a parent, you have probably already realized that your children are always watching what you do. And just as children watch their parents and emulate their behavior, so do employees who are watching their bosses.” – John C. Maxwell

Being a Leader at Work

One of the most fun things I use to do as a sales manager was to jump on the phone Saturday morning during our phone-a-thons and set some appointments. It was fun for several reasons. First, I’m a great salesperson and it’s fun to do things you are good at especially if it’s out of your norm. Second, I’m competitive and I wanted to set more appointments than anyone because it’s fun to talk a little smack with my top performers and work hard. More importantly, my mid and low performers saw me demonstrating skills I had taught in training and it reinforced that training because I could prove I not only talked the talk but could walk the walk. Finally, I dialed because they LOVED it. Seriously, everyone likes to see their boss do their job and it’s good leadership to join in on Saturday morning when nobody wants to be there.

Opportunities to lead are everywhere if you are looking for them. in everything, you do someone is watching and learning. My goal every day is to make sure they learn something positive.

For Further Study:

If you are looking to improve yourself and be a better leader in every situation I recommend you buy John C Maxwell’s The 360 Degree leader. 

For Discussion:

Tell me about a hidden leadership opportunity you found in the comments!

John C Maxwell Leadership Quote

Like a Boss Photo. Feet on desk. leadershipLeadership isn’t just telling people what to do. In fact, it’s hardly every that. Real leadership comes from example and establishing a track record of truth, knowledge, and fairness. 

A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” – John C. Maxwell

Remember wherever you are or whatever you are doing you are likely leading someone even if you do not realize it.

 

Long Time No See

It’s Been a LONG Time!

Long time no seeWell, it looks like I haven’t written anything here since April 10, 2013! That’s 4 years, 3 months and 11 days ago today. It’s crazy to think about because honestly blogging is something I really enjoy and I generally create time for if I can. A lot has happened in that time, so I guess I need to catch you up on some history. There is nothing worse than reading someone’s older posts and thinking: “Wait a second… what happened here?” This is a personal blog after all and with that comes a few small details of my life occasionally that are generally there to help you better understand my thought process.  So… without any unnecessary drama, I’ll briefly fill you in on the history of this blog and last 4 years.

My blogs – A brief History

Up late bloggingI started blogging on WordPress.com in mid-2006 as Brad Trnavsky Sales and Management Blogger. This blog started out as a way for me to share some ideas and just connect with others and learn. It didn’t stay that way for long though. I saw some fairly rapid success on that blog, met some great people there, and ultimately it lead to the Sales Management 2.0 blog (You can find some of the archives of both of these blogs in the Business tab of this site) and eventually a podcast and social network under the same name. The social network was a lot of work that despite being cool and fun didn’t provide many benefits financially or socially that I was not already getting in other places. After about 2 years I decided to focus on my core brand and shut it down to focus on blogging, podcasting, and doing some coaching and consulting. I met some great guys during this time many of whom I’m still friends with today. Honestly, a bit of the reason I relaunched this blog is to go back to those roots and start sharing some thoughts on leadership, management, sales, marketing, etc. and hopefully reconnect with some old friends.

Working out and runningMy blogging didn’t stop there though. In April of 2011, I got the bug to get competitive again and I started obstacle and endurance racing. I started another blog called Running for 365 Days because I wanted to learn and share information with others. For me, blogging and learning go hand in hand because I do a tremendous amount of research when I write. This blog was basically a workout journal but I also shared products I liked, recipes, and other information related to running, fitness, and Paleo eating. I really enjoyed writing this blog and made some great friends and connections. Unfortunately, my career got a little crazy and it was unsustainable for me to continue writing every day so I ended up pausing that project in January of 2013. Fortunately, the archives of this blog are still available under the Fitness tab on this blog as well.

In the Summer of 2012, I started Just My Life in Words as a fun place to share random things and blog about whatever I wanted to say without the confines of a more topical blog. I had a lot of fun with this, but by April of 2013 things were just too crazy in my career and personal life to continue blogging. With the intention of returning to blogging again at some point, I consolidated my sites and set up re-directs for my other blogs to pull all of my content to Just My Life in Words where it would be easier to keep up on autopilot.

So… What happened? Why did I stop?

Drama

Sad BradOk, enough about the history of the blog… What the heck have I been doing for 4 years? Well, it’s tricky to talk about without hurting anyone’s feelings or “oversharing” so I’m going to give the highlights. I said earlier there was some “drama” in my life that made blogging difficult and that is very true. It all started with my (now Ex) wife having what she calls an “emotional affair” (Is that actually a thing?) with two different people in two years. This really hurt me deeply on many levels. I’m sure I didn’t respond in the best possible way at the moment because I was upset, but I tried diligently to fix things with her. I spent a lot of time in prayer, focusing on self-improvement, and reading things I thought would help me to get over it. I’m not sure I ever truly got over it though. I was, however, able to forgive her and move forward eventually.

Career Changes

About this same time, I also started a new job at DeVry University so the combination of emotional drama and a new job positioned me in a tough spot to do anything extra. That meant that running, blogging, coaching, and consulting all fell by the wayside while I focused on my marriage and career. In June of 2013 I found out my new job (a little over a year) at DeVry was going away because they were shutting down three locations in my state and mine was one of them. I was offered an opportunity to work at the Seattle location or take a severance.

We moved to Texas

MovingI have always believed that God makes you take some small test of faith before he blesses you. I also believe that everything that happens to you happens for a reason even if it isn’t evident to you at the moment. With that in mind, I prayed a few days and decided that my best option was to take the severance and trust that the job I was supposed to have would somehow find me. The DAY AFTER I told DeVry I was going to take that severance I got a random call from a head hunter about a job in Texas. He asked me if that was someplace I was interested in going, and I told him it was. I also said that it was funny he called because my Dad was in Texas right now looking at houses and seriously considering moving there. He laughs and asked, “Where?” I told him somewhere in the Piney Woods. His answer shocked me when he laughed and said, “That’s funny because of this job is in the Piney Woods!” Knowing nothing else I scheduled a phone interview later that day and two weeks later I was in Texas house hunting with my (ex) wife. I worked nearly a year at Vista College before I decided I needed to spend more time with my family and made a radical change in careers to teaching and coaching (football, Basketball, and Track).

More career changes and drama

Football coachingI taught and coached (Football, Basketball, and Track) for three years, expecting things to get better (It did for my relationship with my girls). What I didn’t expect was, somehow, my sudden increased presence in the home had made things far worse. A tension I thought was gone had returned full force. Eventually, I started noticing a weird vibe with my ex and another guy. I just wasn’t comfortable with their relationship. I approached her about it, but she insisted there was nothing to worry about. Trying to trust her I “ignored it” to some extent but kept a careful eye on that situation. We had several other conversations, but she insisted nothing was going on. In the winter of 15/16 though, my neighbour told me there was a guy coming to my house every day after I left for work and that they were pretty sure what was going on based off careful observation and I've had it up to here! conversation. I confronted her and calmly said “look, I know what’s going on, I’ve been through a lot, and I don’t know if I can get over this. If I can’t this is what I want/need.” She vowed to try to fix things again, but there was not a substantial change in behaviour that I could see. I knew in a few weeks it was over and started mentally preparing for what was to come. We basically lived like roommates for MONTHS before she took a long vacation with the girls and finally moved out. We filed for divorce, and somewhere in the middle of all that I started powerlifting as a way to reduce my stress and ended up losing about 50 pounds that I firmly believe were gained primarily, because of stress and unhappiness. Through the divorce process, I was blessed by getting custody of my beautiful girls and we really had a blast all summer just playing and doing fun stuff together. It was a tough period in my life, but surprisingly I was truly happy for the first time in a very long time.

A fresh start

I really didn’t take all that long to start casually “dating”. I think this is at least partly because I had already been processing what was happening for about 6 months and by this point was just happy to be moving on with life. I really wasn’t looking for a serious girlfriend (I found one though). What I wanted was a break from day-to-day life and an opportunity to get out by myself and do something fun like catch a movie or go mini golfing with another adult. In mid-July, I met a girl I really liked and by August she was really the only person I wanted to see. We went on a joint family vacation (separate hotel rooms because we are good kids) in August and I (accidentally) got my first taste of what a BIG family could be like (really kind of fun). I had a bit of an unexpected mental gear shift on that trip and started asking myself if this was a girl I could spend forever with (not that I told her that yet).

Football season was pretty rough as a single dad, but Shawna was really good to me and took care of my girls every Thursday and Friday night all season long. This was a blessing because I’d only known her about 6 weeks and I wasn’t getting home from work until close to 10 pm for Thursday games and about 1 AM after Friday games. She really impressed me during this time with her faith in God, a strong sense of morals, honesty, loyalty, and willingness to help me. I was also fairly certain she is one of the most beautiful people I’d ever met.

I got Married (again)

Marry meBy mid-fall, we were seriously talking about marriage but keeping it on the down low because of a number of issues. We considered eloping for a while because we were in love and thought that would be fun, (we are both rule followers) but eventually decided against it (sadly we are rule followers) because we knew with 5 kids there was a lot for them to process and our parents would want to be involved as well.

In February of 17 though we got married and it was beautiful. Truly beautiful in a way I can’t accurately describe. Not because we spent a lot of money (we didn’t) or because of the venue (a barn). It was just beautiful to me. The pastor was fantastic and this ceremony affected me in a very different way than my first marriage. Shawna was beautiful and she surprised me by walking down the aisle singing to me. It was honestly one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen (I love her voice) and I tear up a little now just thinking about it. We had a lot of well thought out symbolism that included our kids in what I think were some fairly unique ways and I surprised everyone with a small butterfly release at the end (Shawna and I both have a thing for butterflies and they are symbolic as well).

The girls and I moved in with Shawna and her 3 kids the next week. It was a bit rough at first, but we all slowly adjusted (honestly, we are still adjusting to some degree). After 3 or 4 months of living like that, we decided our house was way too small and we opted to look for a different place to live. In a rush, we placed offers on a few places and nearly bought two, but I’m glad we didn’t because God truly blessed us with the home we eventually found.

We bought a new house

Shawna saw an estate sale around the corner from where she works and called me at work to tell me I needed to go to this address as soon as I got off. I agreed to, and I saw what I thought was a weird house that was full of REALLY cool stuff. There were a lot of things that looked like they came right out of my great grandmother’s house, and we bought several items that day. Shawna told me the house had gone on the market THAT DAY and told me the price. I said, “We need to make an offer.” Fortunately, she was already on that page. We placed a full price offer that was accepted later that weekend. It was still a rough process though because now that I was married again I had decided that I needed to get a regular job and transitioned back to “normal” work at a full-service marketing and advertising agency. I did this because I would have a more family friendly schedule and get paid a bit more with a substantially better long-term upside. It was tough, but Shawna and I with a great deal of patience and a lot of prayer and help from God pushed the deal forward and we ended up with a beautiful home that we are now in the middle of renovating for less cost than the house we were living in. That’s right we got more space for less money. How often does that happen? I feel truly blessed by our home.

Life is good

Things are settling down a little now. We have a house that fits, I have a fantastic job, kids all seem to be doing great, and Shawna and I are on a healthy eating path. Life is good and with that comes the free time I need to be a bit of a writer again… so here I am. I’ll be writing about some of the things I did before but as I’ve grown in my faith I’ve decided I need to let that come out here a bit more than I have, so you will see a bit more of my personal life and my thoughts on faith, love, and parenting, as well as the business, leadership, and fitness content I have done in the past. I hope this helps and that you now have a good sense of what’s been going on and why

See YA later!

I write some of what I write. Hopefully, I didn’t offend anyone too deeply here or share something that hurts anyone in my personal life, but sometimes you just have to put things out there. I make no excuses or apologies for what’s happened none of it can be undone. I am exactly where God wants me now doing exactly what I feel lead to do, and when I do that, good things happen. I hope you enjoy my little corner of the internet.

 

Knowledge will set you free… Or will it?

What is the Function of a School?

There is a lot of talk about education right now and a lot of blame cast on the schools for not doing their job but I think it’s important to consider what the job of a school is. Most people would quickly agree that the job of the school is to impart knowledge. I read a very interesting article that talked about the difference between knowledge, wisdom, and insight and I had a bit of an a-ha! moment… if the following is true:

Knowledge VS Wisdom VS Insight

Knowledge is the accumulation of facts and data that you have learned about or experienced. It’s being aware of something, and  having information. Knowledge is really about facts and ideas that we acquire through study, research, investigation, observation, or experience.

Wisdom is the ability to discern and judge which aspects of that knowledge are true, right, lasting, and applicable to your life. It’s the ability to apply that knowledge to the greater scheme of life. It’s also deeper; knowing the meaning or reason; about knowing why something is, and what it means to your life.

Insight is the deepest level of knowing and the most meaningful to your life. Insight is a deeper and clearer perception of life, of knowledge, of wisdom. It’s grasping the underlying nature of knowledge, and the essence of wisdom. Insight is a truer understanding of your life and the bigger picture of how things intertwine.

via What Are the Differences Between Knowledge, Wisdom, and Insight? – Lifehack.

The Function of the School in Education

Then the job of the school is to present the student with facts and information and help them develop some research and investigation skills. That’s really all they are on the hook for. It’s our job as parents to teach values, impart wisdom, and hopefully, help them develop insight. The gamer in me is going to come out here for a second… In Dungeons and Dragons Intelligence (knowledge) and Wisdom are the two primary character statistics related to intellect.  In application: a knowledgeable character knows a situation is dangerous and what type of danger is present. A wise character has a solid strategy based on experience to deal with that situation, and an insightful one knows how to either avoid it all together or benefit from the danger.

The function of the school is to present the student with facts and information #education Click To Tweet

The Role of Parents in Education

I started thinking about parents I know and students I see at the school where I work and it got me thinking about the fact that many parents rely on the school to teach not only knowledge but to also values and wisdom. The trouble with that is that simply isn’t reasonable or wise.

It is not the school's purpose to teach your child a new set of values. #education #parenting Click To Tweet

Knowledge is simply not enough to ensure success in life. You must have the wisdom to apply that knowledge for it to do any good. That wisdom can only come from experience and our job as parents is to provide that. Moreover, I do not think it is smart or wise to rely on strangers to impart a value system on my children. I want them to have their own strong, well-developed value system to the point that they can stick up for their own beliefs.  I do a lot with my kids. We play games, work out, talk, read, and travel together. I also try to expose them to the arts through film, theatre, and music… and you can see when talking to my kids they are very bright. They figure stuff out quickly… That’s what it takes to be successful. and they do this because they have actively involved parents.

Knowledge is simply not enough to ensure success in life. #education #parenting Click To Tweet

What I am Doing

I do a lot with my kids. We play games, work out, talk, read, and travel together. I also try to expose them to the arts through film, theatre, music and museums.  Because of this, you can see when talking to my kids they are very bright and capable. They figure things out quickly on their own and are effective problem solvers even in unfamiliar situations. That is what it takes to be successful. and they can do this because they have actively involved parents.

What My Parents Did

When I was a kid my dad took me hunting and fishing. I spent time in the mountains, we sailed, played sports, and built and repaired things. He spent a lot of time talking and teaching with me. This was not him talking AT me but really talking TO me, and I think that is a big part of what made me successful despite their lack of formal education. My parents owned my success and failure in life and viewed the school system as a tool… I’m not sure as a society we do that anymore.

I have some BIG plans for my kids: backpacking trips, hunting, fishing, vacations, sports, church, volunteering, etc… varied experiences where they learn about themselves and where I can help them apply the knowledge they have gained to be not only wise, but god willing insightful.

For Further Study

There are two books I recommend parents take a look at if you are interested in raising smart wise, godly children. The first is Shepherding a Child’s Heart and the other is Instructing a Childs Heart. Both of these books are going to challenge you as a parent to re-examine your thinking and make changes to how you do things. However, the long-term benefit of purposeful parenting is well worth the effort.

For Discussion

Without overtly slamming the public school system, I’m curious to hear what other people think about this idea. How are you helping to prepare their kids for life? I have not had time to fully develop my thought on this and am interested in the conversation so please leave your thoughts in the comments below.