reframe, renew, repeat

The bleeding edge is sexy as hell, and important. But it's not where most of us live, and it's not how most of us learn. 

Instead, we need the important stuff to be reframed, dressed up and trotted out for a second, fifth, or fiftieth time. While leading or teaching or coaching, we need to be courageous enough to keep saying the things that are true while being empathetic enough to not just say them the same way. 

It's easy to get trapped by the need to make new things. To be so novel that you will astound the masses. But it's enough to be patient and steady, and merely offer a reminder of the good stuff that came before. You may freshly cloth it, and express with soul, but what was true then will be true now--and that is enough. 

In fact, it is the only way any of us really learn. The first time groundwork is laid, but the follow-up is where the magic happens. Truly, the gradual process of connecting past experience with fresh insight is where the best things come from. By tilling the ground behind us, we find meaning where it had been lost and we select for the best while leaving the rest.

We juice today's fresh fruit with our trustiest machines, and make something worthwhile. 

the garden grows this fast

I planted a garden this spring.  It is thriving like no garden ever before in my life, and I am struck by the speed with the which the bean plant climbs it's trellise and the cauliflower plant (bush, really) spreads it leaves. Even after a month of watching it, I was still surprised to find it had again transformed after a recent trip east. And yet, for all that growing, if I sat for an hour or a day or a week straight with eyes propped open, watching, I would never see it change.

When it comes to doing the thing, it's always easiest to imagine the phenomenon as an event, a threshold situation. That is, one day we're on the side of not having done it yet, and the next day we have done it. Hallelujah. 

But of course, that's not how changes work. Necessarily, changes happen at the speed at which they can't be readily noticed, and that's because true change is a process of gradually becoming. You don't receive change, you earn it. 

And those who really get this law of nature, this speed-limit of delta, are shaped by it. The superior athlete cultivates a routine that allows them to train at their best, day-in and day-out; the true musician carves their life up to find moments of calm, where single-minded focus may reign; the dedicated writer faces the blinking cursor and blank page every day. No excuses, no fantasies, no distractions--especially not the ones called "success" or "failure". 

So when change does happen--and for those who really buckle-down, it always does--that moment of clarity, in which we realize that the threshold has finally been crossed, the success ceases to matter in the same way that it did all those months or years ago. The goal has faded even as it has been accomplished. The garden sprouts, grows, bears fruit, and is turned into next years soil. 

Time for replanting. 

food tracking is pretty much BS

A past client of mine recently wrote to ask about what I think about online food trackers/apps, and which one I recommend. It's a great question, and deserved a thorough-ish answer;

For most of us tracking food intake doesn't really help with effecting health/body comp/etc, even while making people FEEL like they are improving their diet. In contrast, the work I do coaching folks on nutrition is mostly around gradually paying greater attention to specific aspects of intake, and starting to help them understand what is optimal for them/their goals. For example, if you JUST pay attention to your protein intake, and really nail minimum quantities while learning a little more about different types/viability in your body, etc. you effect a major part of your nutrition in a lasting way, without being distracted by a million details.  On the other hand, with most food trackers, the premise is that fixing your diet is a process of just fixing all those the same time. This is overwhelming at best and totally useless the rest of the time, at least for most busy people. 

Tracking food DOES make you more aware of what you're eating, which is why food-journaling works (information is power). However, the only journaling I really have people do is taking pics of their meals and then discussing them with me. I don't use a food tracker personally, except when I want a snapshot "guess" (as you say, the estimates are not that great) of what my intake over a short-term period looks like, and even athletes I know who have extremely adherent diets rely much more on their own knowledge of intake and HABITS around eating that are in-line with their goal. I guess it boils down to, "information is power, IF you know what the information means, for your body."

Do you track your food intake? Is it helpful? Tell me more!