TN50#123, Are You On The Right Ladder, Another Lesson Learned from My First Ultra Trail Run, 03 July 2023

Hi Team,

Happy Monday, Happy 4th of July and welcome to The Next 50 #123.  I like to think of personal performance in 3 components: physical, mental and emotional.  My frameworks focus on 4 Buckets: Eat, Sleep, Move and Think.  This blog is my sandbox for sharing information that you might find useful regarding your personal performance.

If you haven’t done anything hard in a while, a Trail Run may be the way to go.

I mentioned last week that I ran the Cuchara 50 Miler on Saturday, 24 June, I also mentioned that I would write about some mindset realizations this week so let’s go.

We’ll start with a question:  Are you climbing the right ladder?

Now pretend you are in a “John Wick” scenario and you are completely out of ammo…

Got it?  Ok.

…The sun is setting as you are being chased by 100 bad guys through NYC and you’ve just run into a dead-end ally.  There are ladders reaching to the roof tops on both sides of the ally, the sun casts your long, creepy shadow on the 20-story brick wall that blocks your escape ahead.  The villains are hot on your tail and you’ve lost your since of direction in the confusion of the 500,000 round gun battle, ensuing knife and fist fight and chase.  You know that the freedom and joy of: relationship, purpose, service and hard work are to the North and the shackles of: pride, victimhood and emptiness are waiting to trap you to the south.  You have 2 seconds to choose a ladder…

Which do you choose?

OK, back to me, here’s some background: Since racing BMX and losing every heat as a tiny 12-year-old I have always been interested in chasing improvements in the “physical” space more than any other domain.  This stems, somewhat, from being a runt.  In the 1980’s I had a bad case of, “little man’s disease”.  Instead of realizing I was just late to the party known as puberty, I took it as a personal flaw that I needed to do everything in my power to change (speaking of change; I wouldn’t change a thing in my past because a lot of great things can come out of an adolescent inferiority complex along with many other perceived obstacles – seriously).  By the time I joined the Army at 20-years of age I was all caught up on the physical competence requirement for a new Infantryman, and then some.  Many things I chose to do in the military took a lot of physical and mental stamina which I was able to demonstrate when needed.  Have I mentioned that I think God has a sense of humor.

Fast forward to 2023, I’ve been a business owner for 5 years and this business has been my family’s primary income for just over 2 years.  A few weeks ago, during one of the many long training-runs I needed to complete preparing for my first 50-mile trail run, I saw clearly, 2 ladders.  I mentioned this was a long trail run so think Slow Motion, with lots of time to consider the 2 ladders.  We are no longer in the imaginary John Wick ally situation.

  1. The Physical – Do Hard Things Ladder:  For me comfy, worn, I know exactly how it works and I’ve been climbing it regularly for over 3 decades, it’s a hard ladder to climb for a lot of people but I’ve made a career out of climbing this ladder.
  2. The Uncomfortable – Build My Business and Love on My Family More Ladder: I do ok with the family piece but I could do better with my crew if I was spending more time and energy getting better at business and business development instead of all the long training sessions and depleted energy reserves and the business development part of this ladder is very uncomfortable and still somewhat foreign to me.

For those of you who are only sort of paying attention that haven’t sorted out all the ladder metaphors yet, I apologize I know we’re already about 700 words in.

Here’s my realization:  Since completing the 7xpedition in February of this year I have been focused on climbing the wrong ladder.  I keep climbing the “physical – do hard things” ladder meanwhile my business isn’t where it needs to be and my family is not getting all they should be getting from their patriarch.

Now back to my question, are you climbing the right ladder?  Here’s your assignment:

  1. Assess the ladder you’re on, just because it’s an impressive ladder to climb doesn’t mean it’s the right ladder
  2. If you have a few good ladders as options, here’s a good filter.  Make sure the relationships that will last a lifetime are at the top of the ladder you choose.  The purpose, service and hard work will be up there too.
  3. Don’t think for a minute I’m saying to stop working out, nice try(-:  You always need a strong body to support a strong mind; every ladder better have a personal performance improvement plan!

Do you need help with this assignment, let me be your guide:

As always share the post with your team and anyone who might find it useful and let me know what you think!

Have a good one, Alex

PS. If you can’t figure out which ladder to climb in the “John Wick” scenario let me know.

PPS. If you or someone you know (individuals, teams, businesses) needs personal or team performance support please reach out and let me know or introduce me, I can help with Better Basics frameworks that will improve your individual and team performance and I can provide the mindset coaching support that’s always required on an individual or team journey like this.

PPPS. If you are already providing business specific or tactical training opportunities that could benefit from a personal or team performance training block added in, please reach out and let me know.