Thursday, November 10, 2022

Podcast Insights...

 Over the past year I have gotten into listening to a bunch of different podcasts. Heck, I even started my own. I remember years ago my friend Rick was always listening to a podcast. I just figured he was a nerd or just locked in on getting better at sales. Either way it wasn't anything that interested me because it seemed boring at the time. Maybe I'm just late to the party. The podcast world is a place where you can get more of whatever you're looking for. Whether it be personal development, pure unfiltered entertainment about just about anything, or something very specific. I guess I could credit the podcast arena with connecting me to The Contractor Fight and the many people I've met over the last year from that organization. I think I was out on a walk one day and was scrolling through and probably typed in "contracting" and The Contractor Fight podcast came up and off I went. Next thing I knew I was learning all about how to be a better contractor.  Anyway, it's good stuff and whatever it is you're looking for you can probably find in that area. One of the podcasts I really enjoy is called The School of Greatness. Lewis Howes interviews a guest just about every day and he asks them about their life and talks about the good the bad and the ugly. Today I wanted to share some things that I heard back in February when he was interviewing Matthew McConaughey.  I actually took notes which means I viewed it as important.  If I remember correctly the podcast was framed around happiness and how to improve your life. I got the bullet points from the show but the thoughts that follow are me expanding on each one. 

1.    Eliminate bad people. Not literally of course, because that will probably get you in a lot of trouble. Don't get me wrong, there are some people on that list for me (if you see me headed for the Allagash pulling a wood chipper ...nevermind) but I digress. If you think about it there are probably some people in your life that are not a net positive. I've come across guys like this on the job site from time to time. Have you ever had someone in your life that when you ask them "good morning, how are you today?" They launch into a long diatribe about how terrible their life is? You come away feeling drained and puked on. I learned from that, now I just simply say "hi". I have found as I've gotten older that I just don't have the bandwidth for it. Because we all know that nine days out ten you're gonna get the same response from this person. I called them Eyore's. It's probably not nice but in the interest of protecting my own happiness I have to keep people like that at arms length. It doesn't mean I don't wanna help someone, it just means that I'm not going to continue to pour into a bottomless cup when it's clear someone's general persona is to be negative. Anyway, do what you can to remove these people from your life. It's hard when they are close to you but you need to do it. At a minimum you can filter the input. In other words, you have more control than you think. You can control how you respond to the negativity, and you can control how long you subject yourself to it. Being aware of this kind of behavior from a person is a blessing and a curse. Once you're aware of it it seems more prevalent. So if you know that going in, just frame your conversation around more positive things. Keep pulling the train back onto the track. Most of the time the negative person will tire and go find someone else to puke on. Fair enough!

2.    Eliminate comparison to others.  This is huge. In a world where social media reigns supreme, comparison is the thief of joy. You only have to log onto Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, LinkedIn, you name it, to see what everyone else is projecting. You can be whoever (Whoever?WHOMever?  crap..) you want on these platforms. No one ever puts a video of their crying miserable child on Facebook. No one ever says "yeah I did a really shitty job at work today, totally mailed it in, I just wasn't feeling it" And you certainly don't get this one, "yeah I've thrown on 20 pounds over the winter and I hate myself". Instead we get filtered photos of fake happiness and images that represent a life people want versus one that they have. So, using any of this stuff as comparison to where you are at in life is literally fantasyland. Compare yourself to where you were yesterday. Look back at your notes from January, your New Year's resolutions, and see where you are lining up with those. Be accountable to yourself, no one else. Because in the end the only person you have to impress is you.

    Eliminate bad places. Control your environment. Stay out of bars and fast food joints if you are looking to improve your health. Limit your time on social media if you are looking to not be frustrated with everyone else's fake happiness. I turned off the news about a year ago because I just couldn't take it anymore. I flipped it back on during the election season and literally nothing has changed. Both sides still hate one another and no matter who is the president half the country is unhappy. So don't go there, control the inputs. If going somewhere puts you in a bad spot don't go there. Going to camp puts me in a great spot. That's why I'm heading there tomorrow.

4.    Stop overthinking your failures. I could write a whole blog about all the things that haven't gone well in my life. I'm the common denominator. But lately, I've been trying to examine all the ways that I've been successful versus dissecting all my failures. I love a good clichΓ© so here's one. The windshield is bigger than the rearview mirror because we are supposed to be looking forward, not backward. No charge for that one. Lol. But seriously, ask yourself how you can replicate your success versus how you can stop having more failures. Something is only a failure if you don't learn from it or if you quit. In my book, you haven't failed yet if you keep on going. You have just tried a bunch of times. You're just not done yet. When I look back at my Ironman races some of my favorite memories are the ones where I had the biggest screw ups. Where I missed my nutrition plan or got off course. Heck my favorite race memory is probably the one where I was lined up to finish seventh overall in a large Half Ironman. I went the wrong way toward the end of the race. I could blame it on the volunteer but it was really my fault. At the end of the race I had to let the Race Director know that I had gone off course and effectively disqualified myself. But that is not what I think of when I remember that race. I remember the feeling of coming back into the bike transition area and only seeing three or four other bikes. I thought something bad happened, I didn't realize I had basically out biked the field. Out on the run I saw all these 6 foot tall 140 pound guys flying along looking at me like I was lost and I thought maybe I had missed a lap somewhere or something. I hadn't, I was running with the big dogs and having the race of my life. So the best race? Or the worst race?  Only I can decide what shelf to put that book on.

5.    Eliminate instant gratification. This is a big one. Today, if you want something you just go get it. If you want to watch a movie you just flip on Netflix, or VooDoo, Roomba or YooHoo or WHATever. When I was a kid we used to have to go to the video store where they rented VHS tapes. Your big concern was whether or not you rewound the tape before returning it. Now you just press a couple buttons on one of your 27 remote controls and BOOM, you are enjoying your favorite show. We don't have to wait a week to watch the next part of a series, we just binge watch it all in one three week hole of time in our life we will never get back. We can fly anywhere in the country almost instantly, we FaceTime and Zoom and text. If someone doesn't get back to us in .08 seconds we figure they died in a fiery crash somewhere. Yesterday I was sitting at my desk trying to punch out a couple contracts and my phone kept buzzing.  It's all important stuff right? But I found with my diminished ability to focus at age 53 that I kept grabbing my phone and then looking back at my computer trying to figure out where I was. Eventually I put the phone on do not disturb and finished my work at the computer in a very short amount of time. And, everybody lived. Lol.  That makes me think of the acronym FOMO. Fear of missing out. I think that is quite prevalent in our society today. Everybody has to be part of everything or they feel left out. Don't be afraid to unplug. I'll probably unplug this weekend. I think it's gonna rain most of the weekend but I'm gonna throw a log on the fire and sit back and enjoy myself. A little solo time never hurt anyone. Anyway, I think I got off track on this one but my main point was to fight the cravings for instant results with delayed gratification. Save your money, skip that meal out and make something at home, get to bed early, shut the phone off. I'm doing better with this, during the World Series I decided to turn my bedroom TV on and watch as I fell asleep. I had to reenter all my passwords because I hadn't turned the TV on for so long. I guess that was a good thing.

So I'll leave you with this. Are you happy? Are YOU controlling whether you are or are not? Who are you allowing to impact your happiness? What environments make you happy? How could you reframe how you think about your failures? Do you spend any time thinking about your successes? What could you delay today for more enjoyment tomorrow?

Go forth and conquer my friends. Well, don't conquer my friends, they are good people. Just go conquer. 

6.    Work on my grammar. πŸ˜†

Crush the Day! I'm out!


NOTE:  You can listen to

MY podcast at

It's called "Ordinary People Doing Extraordinary Things".  I try to connect with people doing cool things, and people that have done or been through a lot. Check it out and let me know what you think!

Sunday, November 6, 2022

Owner's Mind. Do YOU have it?

 I'm back.  I think this is a record.  Doing away with the five year gap between blog posts.  I have lots to say lately I guess. 

When I was kid I was the one looking to shovel your driveway for five bucks after a storm. In High School I needed a way to make some money while playing sports so my dad helped me start a lawn mowing business. We called it Yard Busters.  Luckily we never got sued by the Ghostbusters people. We wrote a letter introducing me and then I spent a Saturday stuffing mailboxes with a friend. By the time I got home I had eight or 10 phone calls and I was off and running. For the rest of that summer I could be found driving around my hometown with a couple of lawnmowers and a Weedwhacker sticking out of the back of my 1977 Chevette. My first piece of "rolling stock" was an old boat trailer my dad and I morphed into a leaf trailer. It was just heavy enough but not too heavy to pull behind the car. Once  had that, I could offer yard cleanups as an expanded offering. I got my friends to work for me for $5/hr and then charge them out at  $7.50/hr. I was printing money. Lol. I learned a lot of early lessons about business with that small operation. I learn how to talk to people, hire people, have tough conversations and how not to manage money. Lol. After high school I wasn't all that interested in college and just wanted to work. The pull of owning my own business never really went away. My dad likes to joke that ever since he helped me start a business I haven't been right since. πŸ˜‚ Maybe that's where the concept of having an owner's mind came from. And looking back, when I have punched a time clock I have always tried to work like an owner. I've always felt anything worth doing was do it worth doing well. That was probably instilled in me at a young age. Never half ass it. Always go all in. Presentation is everything. Those are some valuable lessons. It really showed me the value of calling your own shots, doing what you want do and not necessarily being tied to punching a time clock if you didn't want to be. It's never been easy, there have been ups and downs and I have questioned my path many times along the way. But I wouldn't change anything, I wouldn't trade that journey for the world. It's made me the business owner I am today. I'm fair, accountable, always trying to do the right thing and I still have a ton to learn.

Owner's Mind. I was having a discussion with someone I respect a great deal last week and this topic came up.  Maybe I was whining about people not wanting to work or something like that.  I can't remember.  But we ended up talking about Owner's Mind and how rare it is to find an employee that has it. I would define someone with an owner's mind as "someone in your employ that conducts themselves as if they owned the business".  If you are a business owner and you find one of these unicorns hire them immediately. 

Here's the catch though. It is exactly this mindset that creates business owners. These people are driven. They are accountable and they are WINNERS. Often times they end up starting their own business. Sometimes this is because they are simply driven to become an entrepreneur but it can also can be due to not being challenged enough in their current environment. Sometimes they just "top out". They've moved all the way up the ladder to the #2 spot and there's nowhere else to go. At that point they have also benefited from working closely with the owner and have essentially been groomed to own their OWN business. There is ONE exception to this.  The Holy Grail of "employee that thinks like an owner" is a former business owner. They are the ones that have already been the business ownership route and decided for whatever reason that it's not for them. They show up with work ethic, accountability and a high level of respect for what it takes to own and operate a business.  They are doers and they can handle a ton of responsibility. 

SO, how do you find these unicorns, keep them challenged and retain them long term? 

1.    Network.  You have to hunt for these people. They are NOT sitting at home on the couch.  And they aren't on Indeed. You have to get out there and let everyone know what you are looking for. Talk to fellow business owners, go to lunch with your biggest competitor, think outside the box. Write a job description and be super specific about what you are looking for. Crush your social media game and brand yourself well. Show your work environment and highlight some projects. SHOW what it's like to be part of your team. Display what you want to attract. Walk the walk. 

2.    Challenge Them.  These are not your infantrymen. They are the officers. They are leaders. If they don't feel challenged they will go somewhere else. They typically need very little direction and will NOT be micro-managed. Consequently, you can outline a task or broad vision and they just go to work carrying it out. Be prepared to tuck your ego in your hip pocket though, often times these folks come up with a better way! Don't be intimidated by them, embrace the fact that you have a legit baller on your staff. Don't mess it up by saying "yeah, hey GEORGE...we kinda have always done it THIS WAY around here...". Be flexible with your processes and procedures, these people bring a lot to the table. Give them the room they need. Show them the way to the top. Our unicorns are movers and shakers and get bored easily. They want to know the distance between where they are and the top. Lay out the process to get them there. Mastery Ladder, Organizational Chart, whatever works, but define it.

3.    Pay Them.  Pay them well. They'll earn it back for you ten-fold. I have routinely paid my key people as much and at times MORE than I have paid myself. I valued what they brought to the table THAT much. I have never felt short changed and cheated by it either. If you do this with the right people you'll end up with someone that feels more like a partner than an employee. They become invested, they believe in the mission and they think like an owner!

Are YOU a unicorn? Owner's Mind is quite literally the reason I ended up becoming a business owner. Any place that I worked I worked like an owner. It served me well most of the time.  It also was the reason I chose to leave a few different situations.  I have moved on due to not being fairly compensated, being micromanaged, and in one situation due to the owner being intimidated by me. So the unicorn life isn't always a bowl of cherries but should you find that you are one, look to either own your own business or work for someone that understands your need for autonomy. You need to be in an environment where you can grow and feel like you have control of your own destiny. The alternative to that is, you guessed it, own your own business. That's where you trade your 9 to 5 job for a 24 seven job. The risks become real but you reap what you sow.I'll take that deal any day. πŸ‘Š

Go forth and conquer.  But take a minute to think about whether you NEED a unicorn or you ARE a unicorn.  It can save you a few ups and downs along the way!

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Working on Mindset

(Warning, strong language)

(Also, I write like I talk - that’s intentional.  You literary buffs know the term for that. 

Grammar Police need not apply. And don’t talk to me about ONE space or TWO spaces after a period.  I dabble in both, lol!)

It’s been awhile.  If you have to restart your blog all the time do you really even HAVE a blog?  I HAVE been blogging regularly, in my mind.  Unfortunately these thoughts rarely find their way to paper…errrr digital media.  I really should at least write down ideas when I am in the truck or when ideas for a blog topic pass through my mind.

Lately I have been doing some work on my mindset.  Yes, me…Mr Motivation…working on how I receive information and taking a good hard look at what comes out of my mouth.  All that starts with what is going on from the neck up. 

Perception / Self Image:

We all have an opinion of ourselves.  Some are realistic, some are way off base.  And SOME are self-deprecating.  The last one is something I didn’t ever think I would experience but it seems that lately I have either just started it or have become aware of it.  I think it’s the latter.  So I have been exploring that with the help of some close friends and business coaches.  You might ask how I could possibly be exhibiting this behavior.  Me too!  Here’s an example.  You guys know I play guitar.  I have messed around with it for years.  I took lessons a few years ago and stopped for a bit.  I played guitar for a friend the other night and her response was “You’re REALLY good at that”.  I responded with “Well, thanks…but it doesn’t come easily….I really have to work at it and my goal was to be able to play around a campfire and I guess I have kinda done that… but I don’t really sing that well…”.  I could tell by the look on her face that she was confused.  I had just ripped off about seven songs and had a blast doing it.  Her response was something like “why do you do that?  You’re good at it. Own that.”   So I thought about it and I thought about what it’s like to be around someone who exhibits that kind of behavior.  It’s not super attractive.  And Good Lord, the REALITY is that I KNOW I am good at it.  Shit, during a trip to Nashville last year I grabbed the guitar from the guy in the band, jumped up on stage and played and sang a SONG in front of 100 people. Who does THAT?  ME!!!  I had a blast!  Was it perfect?  Hell no.  But did I have the guts to get up there and to know that I could pull it off?  Hell YES!  So in looking at the negative self talk / self deprecating behaviors I think I have confused it with humility.  See, nobody wants to be around someone that is arrogant or egotistical.  I want be humble. So I think that as I have had success in different areas of my life whether it be triathlon, business or say, playing the guitar, I have tended to downplay the accomplishments at times.  Am I proud?  Damn right. But I think somewhere on along the line I forgot that many people view me as motivational and inspirational based on some of these accomplishments and how I generally “roll”.  The self deprecating stuff comes across as weak, and I am anything BUT that.

Getting back to ME:

So I have decided it’s time to get back to being ME.  The guy that gets up and kicks ass every day and asks YOU if YOU are kicking ass.  The guy that says “ F yeah, I can do that, watch me.”  The guy that gets all up in your business and doesn’t let you mail it in.  The guy with all kinds of motivational cliches and quotes. The guy that gathers people and shows them that they too can do epic shit.  I’m gonna get all up in my OWN business and start calling myself out on this bullshit behavior of not walking tall and acting like the freakin' badass that I am.  There.  FLAG PLANTED!  The same person that ripped into me about not owning my abilities on the guitar also told me “NOBODY wants to hang out with a Pu$$y”. They are not wrong! I think that the quote below sums up the way I feel pretty well. I am going to make a poster out of it and hang it in my office.

We get MORE of what we focus on:

So if you have read this and it has you thinking about what comes out of your mouth or what rolls around up in YOUR mind then it has hit it’s mark.  They say the easiest way to help yourself is to help someone else.  I hope that in some way this has done that.  So don’t let me hear you talking down to yourself or mailing it in - I’ll be all up in YOUR business!  Take a few minutes and replay some of the things that have come out of your mouth lately and examine where they come from.  Respect yourself if you want others to.  Be proud of what you have accomplished, tell someone about it.  Don’t hide that stuff, it’s powerful and it just might be the one thing that someone else needed to hear that day to turn their day around.  A speaker I listened to recently shared that “our brain gives us back more of what we give it” or something like that.  In other words, if you constantly tell yourself you suck, then your brain hears that and fires more of that back at you.  Practice some positive affirmations and turn that shit around.  “I am good at the guitar” “I am a successful businessman” “I am kind and empathetic”.  Try it, recognize the difference.

I hope you have enjoyed reading the random thoughts that come out of my mind.  I’ll call it a win if I’ve made you think about ONE thing you could change. As always, I promise to blog sooner and I hope to go good on that!  Now….where did I put that guitar? 

Yours Truly,

Eddie Van Halen 

Monday, January 10, 2022

Bringing the Ironman Focus to the Business World. 

Been thinking… again.  Shocker, I know. I have been asked a few times recently if I was going to race another Ironman.  My last one was in 2019 and I gutted out my slowest performance over the six that I have completed.  I have always prided myself in getting across the line before the lights came on and they start handing out glow sticks.  I have managed to do that but in 2019 I went into the race knowing I would at some point be walking on the run due to a nagging foot injury.  I was also carrying an extra 20 pounds for this one and it showed in my finish time.  Oh well, I got it done but it didn’t leave a great taste in my mouth for signing up again.  Ironman is ALWAYS painful but the more prepared you are the less it hurts.  

Lately it seems my focus has shifted to a higher level of attention on Gross Profit, Net Profit and building my business.  In getting back to business I was able to put together a fantastic 2021 and we are well positioned to kick some serious a$$ in 2022.  2021 was tough though.  We had some tough projects, challenges with material pricing and availability as well as some struggles with sub contractors.  I found myself extremely stressed at times, like I was on a hamster wheel and I just couldn’t get off of it.  I wanted to build the business, create something sustainable, but I knew we needed to walk before we took off at a full sprint.  At times it was flat out chaos. By year end we got our arms around things and had learned some lessons. However, there is much to be done in 2022 before I can say we have a finely tuned machine, positioned for growth and ready to be scaled.  

Some of you may know that my daughter moved to Texas last year.  She’s out there doing well and making her mark so that has this proud Dad on a plane a few more times per year than I am used to.  As a result I have had a lot of time to think and reflect.  On this last trip I spent a lot of time thinking about the business and also whether I would train for another Ironman.  In that thought process I realized something.  What if I could take the same approach to my business as I have to Ironman? As a business owner I am often too lenient, too forgiving, not charging enough and overdelivering.  Now, some of those things certainly will keep you “top of mind” with your customers but it doesn’t do a heck of a lot for your bottom line.  Sometimes we take too long to complete jobs because we are doing a little extra (for free) and not getting to the next project on schedule.  We (I) sometimes interpret daily challenges as stress, and it is cumulative, adding up over the course of the week or months or the entire year.  So if my WORK was an Ironman how would I be handling things differently?  As an Ironman competitor I am sizing you up from the minute I see you at 5AM.  I train for a year, sparing no expense on a good coach and training plan.  I am up early, training and preparing.  On race day I am all business, picking people off all day long, rolling through an internal dialogue not fit for print.  I race ANGRY at times, I am laser focussed.  I look at adversity on race day as a challenge to be dealt with.  I WELCOME it. If the weather sucks I love it even more.  I tear through the  course BELIEVING I am the baddest MF’er out there, that NO ONE is tougher than me and if you are going to beat me you are going to earn it. I am no one you want to tangle with late in the race because I am NOT going away.  I once DOVE over the finish line in a Half-Iron race just to beat a guy that wasn’t even in my age group.  I go hard.

So how do I bottle that shit up and open it up over here in the business world?  I think if I figure THAT out it’s GAME OVER.  I am going to start by making sure I am getting uncomfortable, taking care of the shitty stuff.  My Mom always says “Do the worst FIRST” and I believe she’s right.  I will knock down the most challenging stuff first and then attack the rest of it the way I do a 140.6 mile race.  I’ve also asked for help.  I am working with a business coach and we are going to make some huge strides in 2022.  Funny, over the years I have had all kinds of coaches.  High School sports, triathlon coaches, nutrition coaches, Personal Trainers, Guitar teacher, you name it.  But never ONCE did it occur to me to hire a business coach.  Someone that can take a 30,000 foot view of what I am trying to accomplish and work with me to implement strategies and tactics to get me where I want to go.  I am excited about this and I can’t wait to see where things go.  I have done a lot of good things over the years but I have made a lot of mistakes too.  It’s time to bring it all together.  

As for the question of whether I will race another Ironman, well, I can say that I am going to go all Ironman on my business first and see where that takes me.  I am enjoying some weightlifting and a variety of other activities like hiking, fat biking and working to find a better sense of balance than Ironman training affords.  I may try some ultra running. If I feel the pull back to the Ironman race course you can bet it’ll be with a full vengeance and I’ll be looking to put my foot on someone’s throat. (figuratively of course) :) 

Stay tuned, it’s going to be a great year! 

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Mental Toughness Reboot

Mental toughness is an interesting concept.  I have been diving into some reading and podcasts lately and I always seem to gravitate toward this topic.  I think it is because I have dealt with some challenges over the past few years.  Some have been physical while others have surfaced in that empty space between my ears.  I have always considered myself “tough”.  I was the kid diving all over the court or ball field and doing whatever it took to get the job done.  And let’s face it, with a mouth like mine and a face people like to hit, you either get tough or spend a lot of time running.  I carried that mentality into the working world and overall I think it has served me well over the years.  But I got to thinking…. What makes someone tough?  Are you just born that way? Maybe.  I think some are tougher by nature than others. But as I have aged I have come to realize that the more you go through the tougher you become.  I sit back and think about it and realize I haven’t really been through that much compared to most.  In short, I’ve had it pretty good.  I was sitting and chatting with my neighbor Jimmy (he’s 76) the other day on the anniversary of his son’s passing eight years ago.  I looked at him and couldn’t even begin to imagine his pain.  They say you never get over losing a child, you just learn to live with it. So we just sat.  And talked. And in the process I realized that over the course of the last three years of us being neighbors that I in some small way have unknowingly helped to fill a huge void.  He comes over a lot and I bring the dog over a lot.  We sit on his couch in the garage and he tells stories.  Some about the Navy, some about his days at UPS. Some are repeats but Tuck and I don’t care.  He offers advice and always says “not to sound like your DAD or anything…” .  I share about work and life and we fill the dog full of treats.  I call him my Tuesdays with Morrie.  If you don’t know what that is then grab the book by Mitch Albom and sit down.  Jimmy is my dog walker, Head of Security and my Friend. I couldn’t be luckier to have landed next to he and his wife Jackie.  Funny thing about life how sometimes what we need is right in front of us if we just open our eyes.

I guess I got off track there  a little bit (SQUIRREL!) but it was worth it.  So, Mental Toughness.  I always thought it was defined by just carrying on, pull up your bootstraps and quitchertbitchin’.  Don’t be a wuss.  All that.  But I think it’s more than that.  It think it’s taking care of yourself, knowing when enough is enough and when to pull back and focus on YOU.  We have been so conditioned to worry about everyone else that we sometimes forget to check our OWN oil so to speak.  I recently had blood work done and was horrified at my levels.  Without getting into too much detail I can tell you it has taken me a long time to get my Vitamin D back where it belongs.  We get run down, we persevere, carry on.  We put everyone else first. Sometimes you just need a break.  I am certainly guilty of the “more is better” approach and “get up one more time than you get knocked down”.  I’m all about it. BUT, at some point you have to rest and refuel and let that fight or flight mindset go.  Otherwise you fall into a deep hole and no matter how much you throw at it you are NOT getting out.  Three things I have always viewed as a tremendous waste of time - sleeping, eating and stopping for gas.  I’m now taking time for all and not trying to rush through my day.

Stress can kill you. It presents in different ways and we all combat it in our own way.  Some smoke, others drink, some exercise and some lash out at others for no apparent reason.  And some of us keep it inside, withdrawing, never talking about it or sharing how we feel.  Sometimes just TELLING someone can help alleviate it.  I take lots of deep breaths and as my mom says “Don’t react”.  I’m a work in progress on that one. If you fire a shitty email at me I have been known to fire back a shittier one in under eight seconds.  That accomplishes nothing and helps no one. 

How about that person that is ALWAYS stressed?  I ask them what they are doing about it.  What are you changing? What causes the stress?  How can I help? Is it going to be the same tomorrow?  That must be awful.  I try to make adjustments, change behavior or environments and even change who I surround myself with.  Again, a work in progress over here.  As part of working on ME I am doing “75 Hard”.  It is a simple mental toughness program created by Andy Frisella.  It’s not a fitness challenge but more of an Ironman for the brain.  You have to do the following things daily. 

  1. Complete TWO 45 minute workouts. One MUST be outside.  And they can’t be back to back, there must be a few hours in between.  I have been walking, running and strength training to meet this requirement.
  2. Follow a diet.  Any diet, just follow one.  I am meeting with Mike Foley weekly.  It’s working. Down 15#
  3. No Cheat Meals.  Not one.  Zero
  4. No Alcohol.    Easy.  Don’t miss it, and I feel better.
  5. Drink one gallon of water.  NOT easy.  This one kills me but I’m doing it.
  6. Read 10 page of a non-fiction book.  Something in the personal development area.    Piece of cake.
  7. Take a progress picture every day

For 75 Days.  Miss one day or don’t get something in and you go back to day one.  Today is day 40 for me.  I started on my birthday.  Is it hard?  Yes, it’s hard, that’s why it’s not called 75 Easy.  But I’m doing it and I’m getting there.  About the time Covid hit I went down with a herniated disc in my back.  I had already put on some weight and the injury only made it worse.  So I am chiseling the chub off and lifting weights.  It’s been fun to see the results.  My back is better and I FEEL better.  A couple people have said to me “ why are YOU doing 75 Hard? You’ve done Ironmans and Marathons and all that stuff….isn’t it easy??”  To some extent yes, but only because I am mentally conditioned to do a lot of exercise.  But the daily grind of having to knock out these six or seven specific things is what is hard.  Life happens and all of a sudden it’s 9:30 PM and raining, I haven’t gotten workout #2 in yet and it needs to be outside.  So somebody is about to get wet.  So, 35 more days.  Piece of cake,  ;)

On the business side I am working hard at improving my game as well.  This week I am spending a few days in Denver with a bunch of like minded individuals at The Mile High Summit.  It is put on by The Contractor Fight, a group I joined awhile back as a way to work through some of the challenges of owning and operating my own contracting business.  I have lots to learn but I also bring some experience to the group.  I am enjoying it, meeting new people and elevating the game. 


Saturday I am going to shoot over to Texas “while I am in the neighborhood” and see my Girl.  She’s over there setting the world on fire and blazing her own path - which makes me a tremendously proud dad. 

Alright, I’m out for now.  Been a bit since I have written.  Remember to be TOUGH.. but not TOO tough ;)


Sunday, September 29, 2019


I'm back.  As promised.  Not gonna let five years click by before throwing some more thoughts together.
It has been an interesting week.  Couple of observations.  The first five people I heard from after writing my last entry were highly accomplished people that I respect greatly.  They said KEEP GOING.  So here I am.
The next bunch of folks I heard from ranged from people I hadn't heard from in years to folks that I see or interact with every week. They ALSO said KEEP GOING...So here I am.
Here's what I learned.  People are watching. And just because someone doesn't comment, doesn't mean they didn't notice... or read what I wrote.  Diving deeper... It's possible I helped someone and I don't even know it.  I ran into someone today that said " pssst... I read your blog thingy.. it was good... and it really hit home, so thanks!"   Wow.  Cool stuff.  So there... motivation to continue. It takes a lot to "put yourself out there" but what the heck, gonna roll with it.

Some other highlights from the week....and I thought about these as I was coming home last night in the Jeep, top down and heat on.... "The Big Chill Soundtrack" ripping through the speakers....
I talked with someone that quit drinking and had lost ten pounds and was feeling great.  One that finally got his small business spun around and is back feeling like he's in control.  Heard about a friend that found out her biological mother has ben looking for her for 43 years and they JUST connected.  Think about THAT one for a minute.  πŸ˜³.  My daughter got the job.  Was there any doubt? Heheh.  She is now in the Scholars Program at Unum and on her way to getting some very good work experience.  Very proud Dad. Oh yeah... That Pat's released Trump and we are going to impeach Antonio Brown.  Something like that. πŸ˜‰ Sox stunk it up, bring on the Celtics and Bruins. I have a few friends doing Ironman Chattanooga today and it's gonna be a hot one.  The Dempsey Challenge is today.  I did that once.. rode 100 miles in the rain with some friends to support cancer research.  McDreamy was there... They say he's good looking..... WHATever.... lol.  Fryeburg Fay'ah starts today.... Hot Apple Crisp anyone?

Here's one.... I ate SUPER CLEAN all week.  Did awesome.  Hopped on the scale and exhaled deeply JUST IN CASE air weighs something.....Didn't lose an OUNCE.  JUST about gave the scale  a "Bruce Lee"  right out the window.  HOWEVER.... I haven't exercised... still going easy on the heel... and... let's be realistic here... I didn't GAIN.  SO... as much as I would have liked to see some progress, it just didn't come in the form I was expecting.  So I will keep at it and realize this is a marathon, not a sprint.  I'll just gloss over the trip to Portland Pie last night ... let's not talk about that this time, deal? Rome wasn't built in a day right? On a more serious note though.  I ran into a friend tonight and was telling him about my foot... and weight... and being frustrated... blah blah sob story.... He nodded.  But then I said how funny it is that when you have an injury... a setback.. it can affect you mentally as well as physically.  For instance, I can't run right now.  I CAN swim.  I CAN bike and I CAN control what I eat.  I have not swam... haven't biked... and on balance could have eaten much better over the past few months.  So there you have it - control what you can control.  Easier said than done.  It's hard to sweat the small stuff when there is a dark cloud overhead.  I'll do better with this stuff this week.

Random thought.  Ever go to Hannaford and get started out in the deli section and you just don't have a good vibe about the people around you?  You know... you got this one guy clogging up the works at the deli counter... another lady with three little crumb snatchers running all over the place...then you get outta there and see the whole crew again in the next aisle over and you just know this whole trip is going to be a shitshow.   I mean, these are your "people", you're gonna be with them the whole way and you know that if it's not a good start it's only gonna get worse.  Like, if these guys can't navigate the Avocados and tomatoes, what am I gonna be dealing with when we get to frozen foods?  And the EGG WHITES???!!?  Good lord I'll be there an hour... get me out of here now..
Here's what I do.  I jump forward about 3-4 aisles... maybe hit the chicken and turkey burger.... shoot down toward the whole grain Scoops and then cut left and BOOM.... RESTART.... they are all GONE and voila' ... you have new people!  Works every time.  But just be sure to drag your feet a bit through that initial section to make sure they are gone... maybe check out the Kombucha or something.... peek around the Organic aisle... make sure they are gone.  Worst case, stop and grab some haddock, that'll tie you up for a few and let things stretch out a bit. LOL!  SEE?  it ain't easy being ME!   And lastly... the checkout line jockeying... I have heard that human nature is to go to the right in a crowd... so work your way LEFT... take a gander and see whatcha' got.  Don't be the "27 items in the 14 items aisle" person, but don't hesitate either.  Because the second you have a LOCK on the cashier you want (it's you and me boss, we are gonna DO this) sure enough, someone else will try to squeeze you out.  And DAMMIT if it ain't that lady with the three crumb snatchers!  LOL... I guess this could be whole post.  I could get into " Cart skills", "Parking in the middle of the aisle".... and WHY DO WE HAVE to bag our own stuff?   AND.... WHY in God's name is the Tomato PASTE not with the Tomato SAUCE???  All of it.. OK... moving on...

Alright.  I'm all out of "wisdom" for the moment.  Heading to Fatbike with friends.  It's a beautiful day. Get out and do something.  It's going to be a long winter so I am going to soak in these great Fall days while I can.  Have a great day! And if Hannaford is on your list... well.. you know what to do!

Monday, September 23, 2019


Wow.... 5 Years goes by in a hurry. Where do I start? OK.. I got to thinking about how many things have happened since my last blog post and it was overwhelming.  Life is HARD. Sheesh.  Here are just a few things (some of which are a blog post all on their own) that have happened since I last logged on.

I turned 50.  Whoah!  I REALLY thought I would have my act together by now. 😳

My parents continue to be the most supportive loving people you'll ever meet.  I'm a lucky guy. Both are retired, Dad is loving camp life and Mom is excited for football season and especially The Pat's.

My daughter turned 21.  Whoah! She is a Senior at USM.  First big job interview is tomorrow. She's got this.

Shut down my contracting business and joined MGM Builders, bought a condo and two Jeeps... sold a Jeep.  Completed 3 more Ironman races, some "halfs", two marathons and got lost on Katahdin... well, we weren't really LOST... well maybe just a little bit lost.  Went to Arizona four times. Won the Crank the Kanc bike race with Jared and Rick, climbed Mt Washington a few times.  Went to the Boston Marathon twice as a spectator having intended to be running it.  I tried to qualify and almost DID but it wasn't meant to be.  I might try to tackle that goal again at some point but for now I will go and support friends/athletes/clients.  Pretty proud of them too.  Opened "The Speed Lab" where we do our 207 Coaching and off season cycling. Gained 20 pounds... lost 20 pounds... gained 20 pounds.  And so it goes.  There's a lot more but honestly, my memory is terrible and it's probably GOOD for me to write stuff down so I can enjoy the memories again.

I have had folks ask me why I don't write more so I guess maybe there's something to it.  I enjoy it and it's a good way to keep people informed on things that I am involved in, adventures I take on and maybe have a laugh or two - mostly at my own expense. In the past I have shared mostly race reports and training stories when I have felt it was worth sharing.  I may begin to dive into some other topics from time to time but we'll see how that goes.  No politics or preaching, just whatever I find interesting and worth a closer look.  I drive a lot and things just pop into my head, so I will try to keep a list and be more active about sharing. I try to stay more with the motivational or uplifting stuff and not get into anything negative.  Life's too short!

In the short term, Rick Durgin and I are beginning year number 5 (I think) in The Speed Lab at the Dana Warp Mill in Westbrook.  We have been running off-season cycling training classes for cyclists and triathletes, successfully paying the rent with proceeds from the classes.  We are excited about getting rolling on October 1st and looking forward to a strong winter of good friends and training.  If you are looking for a place to ride regularly this winter then come and check us out.  Online we are at  First trip for first timers is free so come and see what it's all about.  I lead the Tuesday and Thursday evening classes and Rick does the Wednesday and Friday morning classes.  We are both in the mix on Saturday mornings.  If you have any questions feel free to email me at

So there you have it.  First ramblings in five years.  I'll be back soon and I'll have something fun to share or discuss.  Until then, keep swinging for the fences and focusing on what's out in front of you, not behind!  Oh .. one last thing.  One of the things that kicked me over the edge on starting back at this blogging thing was a nice note I got today from my buddy Pete Finkle.  He's a musician and one hell of an entertainer.   He'll tell you he's no athlete but the picture below says differently.  I love this stuff.  Here's Pete out ripping up some road race just having a ball. LOVE this guy!  He always sends me notes about my Ironman races or whatever I am doing and how it keeps him going.  :). THIS is the good stuff....and the funny thing is... stuff like that keeps ME going.  And I'll tell you what, if I could do triathlon as well as he plays guitar, I'd be in Kona.  ;) Thanks Pete!

Alright.  No really... I'm out.  Until next time.  Keep showing up. And remember, anything worth doing is worth doing well.  
Thanks for reading. πŸ‘Š