Being Bruce -: August 2011

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Should I Work Out Every Day? Yes. Should You?

My commitment to myself and my health is that I will work out every day.

It may sound odd that I speak of myself and my health as two entities because indeed my health is inextricably part of who I am. However, I can ignore my health, I can abuse it, I can maintain it, and I can improve it. Because the sense of each of those states is one entity doing something that effects the other, it works for me to consider them separate entities.

Having established that duality, it's more clear for me to see how I have responsibility for my health. Health isn't something that just happens. Like happiness or success, my health is directly affected by my actions, my thoughts, and my state of being.

I'm highly conscious that my mind can, will, and in the past has worked against my overall good, and that includes my health. It's easy for me to use my mind to justify having a second piece of pie, or not trying something new, or skipping something I know is good for me.

I don't go through life all tightly wrapped and controlled (at least I don't experience myself that way), but I am aware that I can slide into behavior patterns that, if observed objectively, are clear signs that I'm not being a good steward of my personal health. For example, skipping exercise two days in a row easily slides into weeks off, having extra helpings at dinner or two desserts for lunch one time can become every day practices - I can even trick myself into a twisted sense of "living in the now" to justify each instance of neglect or overindulgence.

So, for me, working out everyday is the  best course. I don't need to do the same type of workout every day (in fact, of course, that's not good for you either). So some days I'll work on strength training, other days cardio, some times flexibility with stretching or Yoga, I'll do plyometrics, or pilates, or Zumba or ride my bike, or whatever. The point is, not to skip.

Because here's what I've learned about how my mind will work against me. If I take a day off from exercise, then  automatically my subconscious learns, "Ok, a day off is part of Bruce's exercise routine."

Can you see the trap I set for myself? Since my subconscious (just like yours if you're human) is trying to protect me and tends to resist change or effort or struggle or pain, if I give it permission to consider days of no exercise as good for me (i.e., part of my exercise routine), then my subconscious, I've figured out, will continuously try to influence my conscious mind to take a day off because working out is work and it can be hard and it does take me away from other cool, fun, or necessary stuff I could be doing, but since days off are part of my exercise routine anyway (see how devious my mind works? .... as does yours), then I'll suddenly realize that I've gone four days, or two weeks, or three months, or even years without working out. And that I know is not good for me.

Sometimes the only way to break that pattern is for something bad to happen. Like a doctor telling me I need to lose weight, or some bad blood test results, or seeing myself in the mirror and thinking, "Huh? How did I let myself get like that?"

Granted, often the wake up call that moves me back to good habits is somewhat (or all) related to vanity and self-esteem, but in that case I'm served well if I'll re-establish a good habit.

So that's why I work out every day. Your minds (conscious and subconscious) may work differently, but I've learned I need to take charge of my actions and my conscious mind or otherwise my subconscious mind will work against my health and well-being.

I am fascinated  to hear your thoughts on this. Has anyone else reached the same conclusions about working out daily or more generally about keeping up good habits not only for your own good but also to harness the potential self-destructiveness of your subsconcious?

Monday, August 29, 2011

Notes on Mastermind Groups

I currently belong to two Mastermind Groups.

While there is no single definition of what a Mastermind Group is or how it should function, but all Mastermind Groups are based on the expectation that two or more people focusing on a common purpose will result in greater understanding, insight, or progress than the individuals can achieve separately or in smaller groups or pairs.

The two Mastermind Groups to which I belong have different purposes. One focuses on personal purpose and philosophy and each individual's state of "being". The second group was formed to assist its members in achieving specific life goals. So the former is highly subjective and the latter group is objective. There is overlap in the groups in the sense that the members of the first group know of the occupations, people, and activities of the others but focus on being true to oneself while the members of the second group have a sense of the various members' life purpose and philosophy but focus on getting things done. I personally find this a nice mix.

Here are a few other notes about the Mastermind Groups in which I'm proud to participate:
  • Each group is comprised of members with common background or experience. For example, the members of my  first group went  through the full Klemmer & Associates ( leadership and personal development training - each of us is a Compassionate Samurai, complete with ceremonial sword. This group has been going since 2006. The members of my second group, only a few months in duration, are all active members of Brian and Alexandra Johnson's en*theos Oasis for Goddesses and Philosophers ( Because we have those experiences in common we can speak from shared ground and understanding (it saves a lot of time and tends to engender trust). 
  • Trust is a huge factor in Mastermind Groups. When you're sharing your life purpose or your career plans with others it sure helps to know that they will 1. be on your side and 2. keep your information confidential. "What happens in Mastermind Groups stays in Mastermind Groups." Trite, but important in this context.
  • Size matters. Three is too few, more than eight is too many. Four through six is the optimal group size. Too few and there's not enough shared energy - plus if people miss the meetings the dynamic change is significant. With more than eight people, individual focus is too diluted for significant benefit for all.  
Logistics (notes on when, where, how, etc.):

  • The Mastermind Groups I'm in meet by phone on a conference line. That way members aren't restricted by location or transportation (as long as time zone issues are worked out for the calls). Both of my Mastermind Groups have members from different countries. I was for two years in a group that focused on Internet Marketing and that group, too, had international membership.
  • One hour per week is optimal. It's regular enough to keep everyone on focus and up to date but isn't an immense time burden. If there's a mix of employees and self-employed people (meaning folks who may or may not have control of their time) the scheduling can work but be more difficult. 
  • Leadership - it's best that once everyone understands how the group operates that the responsibilities shift on a regular basis, perhaps weekly. 
  • Meeting Structure - it is imperative to have an agreed upon structure. With structure you can drift a bit but still be able to get back to insure that everyone gets her or his share of the time and that the group focus is kept. Without structure it's much too easy to get social or to have one  or a few people dominate the time and attention of  the group. 
I've not experienced a live Mastermind Group. Because my personal experience and benefit of telephony-based Mastermind Groups has been so positive and beneficial, I've not felt any loss.

Mastermind Groups are best when they serve to multiply the mind power, meaning the insights, knowledge, intuition, and creativity of the individual members by working in shared  purpose with like-minded people.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Why Would You Want Just One Strong Muscle?

Variety, variety, variety.

If your goal is the be in the best physical shape you can, for the four big reasons (to be healthy, happy, hot, and fit, right?), then you've got to mix it up.

If your training routine keeps you in your comfort zone, change it fast, because you're losing ground.

Too many people find one exercise they like, whether running, spinning, swimming, weight lifting, pilates, yoga, or whatever, and then just "do" that all the time.

Without getting into loads of detail here (happy to if you'd like, just contact me), our bodies are amazing adaptability engines. We can very quickly adapt to something we do repetitively. This is a great benefit when learning something new, but it can work against  us in fitness training because once we know how to do something and do that something (and only that something) repetitively, the fitness benefits diminish.

So cross training is clearly the answer, working the same and different body parts and functions in different ways, but many of us can still settle into a comfortable routine. And once again our body's amazing adaptability works against us.

So vary constantly. Variety, variety, variety.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

How and Why I Use Social Media (the short version)

Full disclaimer: I totally dig social media.

As a life-long connector who spent his college years in coffee houses and now spend much of his working time in the same types of places (but now with a wireless Internet connection), social media empowers me to connect with old friends, current contacts, and new folks around the world, 24-hours a day.

I love it when I get up early and can simultaneously share thoughts with friends I've made in Australia, the U.S, the UK, Finland, Portugal, South Africa, Dubai, and India. And they write back!!

So for me that's the big WHY, I have a passion for connecting with people.

I also love to think and write and share thoughts, those of others who inspire me or make me think as well as my own daily inspirational thoughts that I attribute to "Being Bruce". I've been sharing those thoughts daily for almost three years and it's a privilege as well as a discipline that serves me well. I can talk about the mechanics of how I come up with them each day and will in another post, but the discipline of centering, focusing, and expressing is for me a meaningful daily ritual. I also like to hear when others find them helpful as well. And I learn when people react however they react.

I'm a fairly active participant in several of the major social media, sometimes with greater emphasis on YouTube videos, sometimes in NING groups, particularly we.en*, other times tweeting away in mad fun on Twitter. I probably spend more time in Facebook than any other social media plane now, with Google+ a rising second place.

Each of the social media in which I participate has a different thrust or strength, but I bring the same person to each. I show with as much openness, sharing, and integrity as I can. I realize and value that who I present serves myself and others if I show up in  full integrity, so I work at that.

I also try to stay positive all the time, to be encouraging, and offer help. At times I attempt humor, which sometimes works, and other times, especially cross-culturally, falls pretty flat.

I'm grateful for many things in my life and one near the top of my list is my ability to write like I speak and think, and to write rapidly. It's a gift I do not take for granted. So the time some attribute my contributions on social media is generally much more than I actually spend. That said, I probably spend about two hours a day with social media.

Part of my purpose engaging in social media is business and marketing. Because I am living and working in alignment with my passions and purpose, sharing what I do for fun and for work feels very natural to me.  Sometimes I put up blatantly commercial messages about a group or a book or a product or opportunity or whatever, but more often I'll just share my excitement and enthusiasm. Not everyone likes that. And I get that. It's really none of my business what others feel, but I do pay attention if social media comments drop off or if someone complains; it's sometimes good feedback that I'm leaning too much in one direction - though again I'll take responsibility for what I write and state that I  share what I'm excited about and enjoying and want to share and at times it's more one thing than another. If people get nasty or always negative or offensive or  want to go off on something I find distateful, I have no problem unfriending or unfollowing them, and I'll do the same with someone who is always and only selling (whether it's business, religion, politics, or anything else).

I don't play games on social media, nor do I engage in mass surveys that are really like games. I do, however, very often get involved with significant discussions about philosophy or marketing or business or fitness or dogs or parenting or cooking (all of which I really dig). I've made numerous close virtual friends on four continents in this way.

I'm still learning about social media, as are we all, it's a new form of expression and interaction. However, so far, I embrace it enthusiastically.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Where Am I Going?

Wow, what a ride Marge and I are having!

In the past 11 years we've made (for us) an unprecedented number of transitions and transformations. We have learned a lot. We tried many new ventures, some of which were moderate to great successes and others amazing learning opportunities. We have opened our minds and hearts to the world and the universe as we've grown, been tested, and grown some more. This process will hopefully continue.

It's fair and accurate to say that we are now happier, certainly healthier, and more sure of our individual and joined paths than ever before in our marriage (coming up soon on our 41st!), our respective passions and life purposes, our business directions, and our plans for the next decades.

I am extremely grateful for Marge, for all of our (growing) family, our rapidly growing number of friends (a greater wealth of which we've never had), and for the opportunities to help others and to develop ourselves we see before us.

I am making a new commitment to this blog, to use it as a very personal and open space to explore and share who I am being in the moment and in the process of becoming.