Yearly Focus

Yearly Focus

Thoughts Before My 150+ Mile SUP & Trail Run Adventure

This week I’m departing on my longest challenge yet. Longer than the 140.6 Ironman (11 hours), longer than the 152 mile RAMROD (13 hours), and longer than the 98 mile Wonderland (48 hours). This will be a grueling, multi-sport test of my skills and endurance. But also, it will be a relaxing 150+ mile frolic through the backcountry. I’ve come a long way in the last year since my first ultramarathon – a self supported 98 mile run around Mt. Rainier. I was reading back on my pre-adventure post from last year and reflecting on how nervous I was about a lot of things that didn’t end up being that big of a deal, and how not-nervous I was about a few that did. Unlike last year where I had a specific route I wanted to finish, this year I’m just going to go have some fun in the wilderness.

Yearly Focus

2020 Focus: Half Year Update

With the start of a new year, I take the time to set my focus for the coming year. I believe that by being selective about where I direct my energy, I can achieve results that are exponentially greater than if I split that energy across many different goals. I detailed my 2020 focus here (read that first if you want more context) & did a quarter year update as well.. Here is how I’m progressing. 2020 Theme: Action Economy What a strange second second quarter. My theme this year is action economy which is about achieving more in life while using fewer resources. I am relating to board games as a metaphor to think through this topic. I didn’t achieve much in life over the last few months, but I did play a lot of board games. That seems counterproductive to the goal, but in a funny way I think I’ll

Yearly Focus

2020 Focus: Quarter Year Update

With the start of a new year, I take the time to set my focus for the coming year. I believe that by being selective about where I direct my energy, I can achieve results that are exponentially greater than if I split that energy across many different goals. I detailed my 2020 focus here (read that first if you want more context). Here is how I’m progressing. 2020 Theme: Action Economy This theme is all about accomplishing as much as possible with as few resources as possible. It is basic economics – scarcity & objectives. For me the limited resource, at this point in my life, tends to be time and so that is my focus for the year. I’m using ‘action economy’ a concept from boardgames as a paradigm to think through this theme. With that in mind, I’ve been playing a lot of board games over the first

Yearly Focus

Sabbath Year – A Year Later

A little over a year ago I finished our sabbath year and began the process of reentering normal life. After taking that sabbath year to rest and reflect, I had learned a few lessons which I documented in this blog post. Now, a year-ish later, I want to reflect on how those reflections have aged. The following line up with the decisions & changes I discussed in the aforementioned review post. 1. We decided that the next few years aren’t a period for taking on big risks or flirting with overcommitment. This has held true. It turns out the role I took at Google was a lot more involved than I had originally envisioned, but this is mostly in my control. I tend to dive into things head first and put myself in the center of the action, which I’ve done here. Despite that, our lives feel fairly maxed out,

Yearly Focus

2020 Focus: Action Economy

With the start of a new year, I take the time to set my focus for the coming year. I believe that by being selective about where I direct my energy, I can achieve results that are exponentially greater than if I split that energy across many different goals. More details about the process are in this blog post and you can review the results from past years (2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, & 2019). 2020 Theme: Action Economy My theme for 2020 is action economy. This is a phrase I’ve borrowed from board gaming where it describes the ability of a player to utilize their limited turn actions to maximize their ability to score points. The real life application of this is efficiently using my resources (time, skills, knowledge, network, money, etc.) to achieve the goals that I’ve selected for myself. This is the second full year of my sabbath cycle focused

Yearly Focus

2019 Focus: End Of Year Review

With the start of a new year, I take the time to set my focus for the coming year. I believe that by being selective about where I direct my energy, I can achieve results that are exponentially greater than if I split that energy across many different goals. I detailed my 2019 focus here (read that first if you want more context). I’ve posted a few updates throughout the year (quarter year, half year & three quarters) and now is the time to do a final review. 2019 Theme: Long-Suffering Self Grade: 9/10 2019 was my best year ever for executing a yearly focus. Part of this is certainly due to everything I have learned from having mixed results in the past. I kept my challenge, habit, exemplar and bucket list item all tightly nested with a topic that I was getting plenty of time to think about from everyday life

Yearly Focus

What I Learned About Long-Suffering

My theme for 2019 was long-suffering. I selected it because it stood out to me as an important quality in shifting my focus towards goals with longer horizons, which has been a growing priority for me. I’ve found I’ve done quite well at taking on projects that last from months to a year or so, but I don’t have many goals I am specifically working towards that have longer in horizon than that. I am at a point in my life where I want to have more of those though, hence this focus. Throughout this year I took on various efforts that would help me learn about different aspects of long-suffering in order broaden my understanding of the topic. Here are some of the things that I learned. 1. First I should define what long-suffering means to me. I really like the definition: ‘patiently enduring lasting hardship’. The one thing

Yearly Focus

Fast in the Wilderness: Complete

This year as part of my Yearly Focus I challenged myself to fast in the wilderness for an extended period of time. On December 10-12, 2019 I did so and thus completed the challenge. Here is the writeup. Purpose This challenge fit into this year’s theme of long-suffering both in that I would be suffering a bit as I sat there hungry and that the time away would be a good time to clear my head and think about the goals I was willing to suffer for over the coming years. I challenged myself to walk into the backcountry, find a comfortable spot and sit there for an extended period of time, on the order of 2-3 days, without food, any entertainment, company, etc. Just me, my clothing, a tent, some water and a few ‘break glass’ emergency items. Fasting in the wilderness is a tradition that crosses cultures and

Yearly Focus

2019 Focus: Three Quarters Year Update

With the start of a new year, I take the time to set my focus for the coming year. I believe that by being selective about where I direct my energy, I can achieve results that are exponentially greater than if I split that energy across many different goals. I detailed my 2019 focus here (read that first if you want more context). Here is how I’m progressing. 2019 Theme: Long-Suffering I have recognized two things about long-suffering this quarter. One thing is that it is much easier to grit through the difficulty if there is a known finish line. Or at least a check in milestone where I know I’ll have a place to rest. Our minds (mine at least) don’t deal with the notion of infinite very well, so the idea of pushing forever is mentally untenable, but the idea of pushing until a specific milestone seems possible. I’ve

Yearly Focus

Nelson Mandela – Exemplar Review

This year I picked Nelson Mandela as my exemplar. Today would be Mandela’s 101st birthday (he passed away in 2013) and is internationally recognized as Nelson Mandela day, so I decided it would be an appropriate day to publish my exemplar review. Each year I follow a review template to help me get the most out of the process of having an exemplar. Below is my entry for Nelson Mandela. What did Nelson Mandela achieve? Nelson Mandela was a Nobel Peace Prize winner, the first black president of South Africa and a leader in the movement to transition that country to a true democracy where all people had a vote, regardless of race. He was a lawyer, a revolutionary, the leader of a terrorist organization and a political prisoner for nearly 30 years. His life was just about singularly devoted to ensuring people of all races had equal freedoms in South