Dog Bath.

We try weekly to bathe our dog June, there are times we skip a week and there are times when she gets multiple baths. It all depends on how dirty our dog is after playing outside, and how ambitious we are feeling. Today was the day to bathe the beast and help her smell a little better.

Every time we try to trick our dog into jumping into the tub she catches on to what we are doing then tries to evade us at all costs. She runs around the house as if it is a game of tag, with her heart and mind set on avoiding the suds of cleanliness. Once we are able to catch her and talk her into climbing into the tub she sits down in the back of the tub as far away from the showerheads reach as she can.

June hangs her head in defeat while she is bathed and seems to hate every minute of the bath. As soon as we are finished with her bath she shakes twice in the tub, then leaps from the tub and is ready to zoom around the house scattering water wherever she goes. We’ve trained her to run to the living room and roll around on a blanket, which she does with more stoke than a Fin taking a winter swim then dashing back to the sauna. As much as our pup pretends to hate baths she does enjoy the ten minutes after when she rolls around and dries off on the blanket.

The reason I share this story of the weekly dog bath is that many of us are like my dog, we dislike the tasks that will improve our quality of life but are often energetic after we buckle down and do what needs to be done. It’s never easy to dive into a challenge, we have to build ourselves up to the task often playing a little tag till we get there. Yet, once we commit to the idea and just do the thing, we are rewarded with good feelings all around for accomplishing the tasks.

Consumption

It seems that everywhere we go we are faced with ads and marketing campaigns that are designed to do one thing, get us to make a purchase. This buy-in might be to visit a local lawyer if we’ve been injured, visit a local car dealership because they listen, donate to a cause because you care, or purchase a product to change your life. We live in a world that is built around you or I spending money after being advertised to. We are a generation of consumers.

Some are in constant search for the newest item that will make them appear smarter, trendier, and more tech savvy than others. Some build their self worth and esteem based off the brands the shop and use on a day to day basis, this practice can be freeing for many and depressing for some. Not only are we surrounded and influenced by the consumer culture we are built or broken by it at times.

For those who have extra funds to buy the premium products they are easily able to attain their desired status amongst their peers and are often early adopters of the latest fads and trends. For some their path to attain products to boost status can be lengthy and combined with a uphill battle as they attain the products later and they may attain them well after a newer iteration of the product arrives and others mat remind them of how “behind the times” the late purchaser might be.

As consumers, we need to be better at finding satisfaction with the products that we have. I mean do we really need the latest and greatest or will what we have do for another year or so? What does a new product in our hands really change about us? For many it is all about the self confidence and self esteem that comes along with the items, but this is not the case for everyone.

Finding happiness with what we have could pay off in the long run if we are willing to be okay with having things for a long time. It could allow us to be happier in the current moments we have and less focused on the fleeting moments ahead. As a consumer, you should remind yourself that things don’t define your actions and personality do.

Best.

As often as we can my dog and I go out hiking in the mountains and hills near our house. As soon as I mention the phrase “Let’s hike” my dog immediately runs to the door and begins an impatient session of whining to go and running to me as I prepare to venture out. Once we get in the car she eagerly awaits our adventure with her paws on the center console and eyes peeled on the road. Once we arrive at our destination she begins a little dance to get out and begin smelling everything, running to and fro, and keeping her stoke high. June lives her best day ever each time we go out.

That’s one of the best things about having a dog is that every moment seems to be the happiest moment she has ever had. Whenever go out she lives those minutes with bliss as she experiences the world around her. I think we could all take a life lesson from dogs by living our best days every day and every opportunity to do something is an opportunity to smile and be fully invested in what we are doing.

Too many people drag themselves from one place to another and go through the expected motions we lack enthusiasm as we go along and often do not enjoy our lives. We need to enjoy our lives more, by finding a better life balance that allows us to do the things we want to more often. Whatever we enjoy doing we need to find time to do it. Allowing ourselves to become distracted with too many other things that a corporate society demands of us. We need to spend less time following the rules for life that others have created for us and more time creating the life we know we want to live and actually believe in living.

Be like a dog heading out to hike and live your best day ever every day.

Rest.

There are days when we need to rest a bit and recharge our mind and body. These days of rest and relaxation are different for everyone, for some these days might involve an activity outdoors getting a little sunburnt and having new adventures in new places. For others, it may involve a comfy spot on the couch a book, movie, or binge-watching session of a new tv series. Life is very different for everyone as rest has a different meaning from person to person.

If you think about it life keeps us on our toes so much that when we finally stand still for a moment with our feet on the ground we are able to recognize that we need a moment or two of rest. For three straight years, I felt that way. I was always running without a break from work to school, school to work, and found a few minutes each week to spend doing the things I am most passionate about, time for adventures in the mountains and a few hours with my wife.

Throughout those years I felt that something was missing. I was never rested, always rushed, and short-fused. I believed I was happy because I’d forgotten what work-life balance was, and how it felt to be rested. After I was dismissed from my employer I decided that I needed that work-life balance back that I had forgotten about. I took a week and rested up and began looking at new employment options.

While I was looking I kept two things in mind Work-life balance was important and that I wanted to work someplace that would allow me to rest nightly and be at my best every day. I interviewed at a variety of different places and found that for many of these places the balance I wanted was not probable and the idea of being rested was also not something that we would be able to come to an agreement on as they would require work from home almost nightly. I decided to review my options and applied at a few other places and found a place that fit my goal better than most.

I currently work less than 50 hours a week and am paid well for anytime over 40 I spend at work. I am encouraged to have a good life balance and to seek opportunities within and outside my company for personal and professional growth. I love that I am able to work hard then go home. It allows my desired work-life balance and allows me to rest up and show up with a mind ready to put my best foot forward daily.

Running.

Heavy steps as you move from place to place at an increased speed for what real purpose? Is your reason because you are afraid? A little out of shape? Or because you simply enjoy running from place to place letting yourself experience new things. Many of us in life are these different types of runners and when we run we run with purpose because running for any other reason seems pointless to most.

Do you run out of fear? Are you running from someone or something? Is it your past, your parents, or your present? Whatever is chasing you might be causing you stress and anxiety as you go leaving you restless and unsure of your footing as you go. Some spend their whole lives running from ideas of what might happen instead of facing the reality of what is happening and owning it.

Are you a runner to stay fit or to shed those extra pounds? Do you run to stay trendy and up to date on the latest fashions? Have you fallen prey to the idea that you need to run with those who pose for the cameras and record their workouts on social media? Have you allowed yourself to let the fitness aspirations of others smother your self-esteem and worth? We live in a world surrounded by double tapped celebrities who are pushing their ideal lifestyle on others, and everyone chases them in their own way.

These people who are encouraging you to join them in their followings and lifestyle can be extreme on all angles with the various amounts of fad dieting, exercise routines, or sheer laziness. THose who run the trends on social media may smile in front of the camera but are running wherever they think the likes might be and living less of their genuine selves.

Finally, there are those who run simply because they enjoy it and it makes them happy. These are the people who often smile for no reason, go on adventures with friends and family, and test their limits one step at a time. Often they may not be fancy or trendy but just interested in optimizing the life they have to live.

What type of runner are you?

Avoid.

Ever avoided something? Ever veered clear of taking an action or saying something that needed to be said? If you said yes, you’re not alone, people everywhere experience similar feelings as humans tend to avoid uncomfortable situations. It’s a natural thing to avoid the difficult tasks we need to accomplish due to our fears of upsetting others and disrupting a safe balance.

I have plenty of situations and conversations that I tend to avoid out of fear of making a mess of life’s good balance at that moment. I do this at home and at work and I hate myself at times for this behavior. I know that I would be better off if I just made the decision to say what needed to be said but I have an overabundance of concern for the feelings of others. I often allow this concern for others to walk over my feelings and grind them into the ground.

It’s a fault that I’m not alone in ownership of. We are more concerned than we want to admit about the feelings of others. It’s the real humanity in us, our ability to fear upsetting others that makes these hard times difficult to speak to and easy to try to avoid. We need to learn how to speak up without fear and skip avoidance altogether.

Think about what would make you happy, think about what you could say to someone else that would help make your life better. Now, look at the action that needs to be taken to get to where you need to be happier, prepare yourself to speak up for yourself. As you speak up for yourself say what needs to be said with empathy towards the person you are speaking with, remember to be honest and straightforward though as that will help all parties involved understand the changes that you hope to happen.

Don’t avoid speaking up when things need to be said, take some time and think through what you want to say then find a moment to share it. I cannot say the outcome will be ideal but you will feel better in the long run after speaking up for yourself.

Effort.

When you want to accomplish something you have to put in the work or the effort to get the desired task completed. An effort is a hard thing to have at all times, the willingness to put your best foot forward and making things happen can be compared to a wave, rising above the rest, cresting, then falling back lever with the rest of the water around it. Often when we set out to accomplish a goal we are fully invested in seeing it through and can easily see ourselves at the finish line of our desired goal. Yet, after a few weeks of struggle as you find momentum within the challenge the finish line can be hard to visualize.

I am this way when I start out working on different projects, I put forth as much effort and work into the motion as I can and after a few short weeks start feeling the burnout. My efforts began to fall a bit less than desirable and my attitude changes from one of delight while working on my goal to one that has a little drag in the step. I’ve felt this on both personal pursuits and professional work done for different companies I’ve previously worked for. When you realize you are drained and unmotivated to continue with the project your output falls short of your regular quality work as does your attitude in general.

Am I alone in feeling this way? I doubt it. I’d guess that I’m not alone in feeling this way after putting in the effort in full at the start and attempting to sprint to completion and end up sprinting to burnout. We need to set our efforts at a pace that can be sustained and build endurance. Gary Vee has explained it best as he consistently reiterates putting in the work and preparing for a marathon and seeing the long game. I think he is right in reminding everyone that we can be better prepared mentally for the tasks and challenges ahead if we escape the mindset of the sprinter and build the mindset of a marathon runner. We’ll be able to stay on task longer and have a greater output if we do.

So be smart how you use your efforts, set up for the long game and the struggles and add them to your strengths as you grow.