Yearly Focus

2020 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 2020 focus here (read that first if you want more context) & did a quarter year and half year update as well.. Here is how I’m progressing. 2020 Theme: Action Economy 2020 Challenge: Develop a Strategy Evaluation Model I’ve started to get some ideas into a draft blog post but need to sit down for a few evenings to get it ready to publish. The themes that are emerging are the ones I wanted to think about: leverage, prioritization, compounding growth and delegation. 2020 Habit: Run 13 Projects & 52 Common Tasks Through the Model I haven’t made any progress

Physical Challenges

What Makes a Good Challenge

Over the past decade I’ve completed a handful of bucket-list-type challenges that I really enjoyed. This post is about the characteristics of those challenges that I believe made them so engaging. I hope that by documenting them I can continue to find great challenges for myself in the future, and hopefully you can benefit from my experience as well. Across a wide range of challenges, I’ve found that I have the most fun when they hit on most of these attributes: A binary goal that can clearly be marked completed or not Some amount of risk that I will fail, endure physical harm or need to be rescued Unknown unknowns, things I don’t yet know I don’t know about A new location to get to know The need to learn some new skills in order to complete it The need to train and get in some sort of peak shape

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

Physical Challenges

Adventure Report: The Wonderland Trail 2019

“It’s not an adventure until something goes wrong” -Yvon Chouinard, Founder of Patagonia “You must put your head into the lion’s mouth if the performance is to be a success” -Winston Churchill, Prime Minister of the U.K. during WWII — The full moon hangs overhead. It is 4am and the temperature is dropping into the 30s. I am sitting on the concrete floor of an outhouse on the north side of Mt. Rainier as the fumes of fecal matter, previously left baking in the sun, waft through the air. My feet are pruned, blistered, and bleeding. One of my toenails has started the process of falling off. My legs ache from a day covering 48 miles and 12k ft of elevation – equivalent to taking the stairs up to and down from the top floor of the Empire State Building 12 times in a row between running two marathons. My