Weekly Workout

Weekly Workout

Happy New Year! After taking a short break from running, I’m finally back at it this week. I’ve signed up of the January Great Run Solo Accumulator, which calls for 21 days of exercise. I know I said I wasn’t going to do a January challenge but I can’t help myself!🤣 I think it’s been made easier by the weather, as it’s been dry and sunny but incredibly icy! ❄️

I’ve also started my new year training to get ready for the Kintyre Way Ultra Relay in the hopes that it might go ahead. Here’s how the New Year so far has shaped up:

New Year’s Day:

We went for a walk around the harbour, taking our time as we met others doing the same, so we enjoyed a couple of distanced chats too. That was lovely! 4.1 miles in glorious sunshine.

2nd January:

We decided to dig the trail shoes out and headed up to the Cairn for today’s fresh air. The views really are incredible looking over the village. 4.3 miles and 715ft of elevation.

Monday:

It’s a new week, and it’s high time to dig the trainers out again- they’ve been in hibernation since 23rd December. It felt good to run so the break was definitely the right call. I only did around the harbour but it was still tricky and icy in places.

Distance: 4 miles

Time: 44m 27s

Pace: 11.06/m

Elevation: 36ft

Tuesday:

Back to work, so we went for an evening walk around the harbour. After a busy day I completely forgot to take a photo!

Distance: 2.9m

Wednesday:

Working from home has its benefits, including being able to fit in the occasional lunchtime run. That’s what I managed to do here, with a short harbour run again. It’s repetitive and I really want to be in a trail, but it’s just to slippery underfoot and I don’t fancy driving in icy roads if I can avoid it!

Distance: 3m

Time: 32m 4s

Pace: 10.35/m

Elevation: 43ft

Friday:

Another lunchtime run, and I had two meetings cancelled meaning I had a little extra time available than usual. I thought I’d get my longer run done and set out to do 5 or 6 miles. My first plan was to run the Castle loop but when I got to the kissing gate at the orchard it was just too icy for me, and no one knew I was heading out there. So I abandoned that plan and headed back to the harbour. I fitted in some extra hills, though, just for good measure, and ran my first 10k of the year. Woo hoo!

Distance: 6.2m

Time: 1h 11m 27s

Pace: 11.30/m

Elevation: 328ft

Saturday:

Since I managed my longer run yesterday, today was a wee shake out run. After an incredibly cold night I knew it would be icy- and it was. But then it started to rain mod way through the run, which was certainly a change!

Distance: 3.1m

Time: 33m 3s

Pace: 10.38/m

Elevation: 46ft

It’s been a pretty solid start to running in 2021, though I do want to get back on the trails as soon as I can. 7/21 days done of my January Accumulator too. Yay!

Weekly Workouts

Weekly Workouts

If we were in any doubt about what season we are in, this week was a stark reminder that we’re definitely easing our way through autumn, with some pretty relentless wet and windy weather at times. Perfect running weather, of course! I had lots on this week between work, Fèis, prepping for AGMs and so exercise took a little bit of a back seat. I did manage some runs, of course.

Here’s how my week worked out.

Monday-

It was very dark by the time I finished work, but I was determined to start the week well with a run. I also had new reflective Sweaty Betty leggings to try out! My head torch had another outing and I ran 4 miles around the harbour. It was incredibly mild, and it was great to see other runners out too, despite the showery weather. My verdict on the leggings? Incredibly reflective, great pocket, not quite as comfortable as my Lululemon leggings but a close second.

Distance: 4 miles

Time: 44m 34s

Pace: 11.09/m

Elevation: a whole 30ft!🤣

Wednesday-

Well, on Wednesday evening it wasn’t just damp, it was pouring down, and the thought of heading out wasn’t filling me with joy. But, as is often the case when I got out there I loved it. I really do love running in the rain! The photo is of Tarbert Castle- the picture doesn’t do how it appeared any justice, it was only half lit, creating an eery shadow across its harbour front.

Dinstance: 3.14m

Time: 33m 58s

Pace: 10.49/m

Elevation: 39ft

Friday-

I had a day off and a trip to the hairdressers planned, so I wanted to get a run in first. I’d been looking forward to a daytime run all week, but when I got out there I just wasn’t feeling it. As soon as I started running I was kicking myself for not heading to a trail, and I think that was the start and end of enjoying it! Ah well, you’ve got to have tough runs to appreciate the fun ones.

I also received my Great Run Solo Halloween medal, which was pretty cool!

Distance: 3.18m

Time: 34m 04s

Pace: 10.42/m

Elevation: 30ft

Sunday-

And just like that, back to loving it! On Sunday morning I headed out for a socially distanced trail run, which I was looking forward to. The plan was to get in 10k to cover both run 9/13 of my November Accelerator and my virtual 10k MoRun. During the week I had received my 10k medal, so thought I’d best get my run in to earn it!

We started out with dry, mild sunny conditions and after about 1.5 miles they quickly deteriorated when the heavens opened and we were absolutely soaked within minutes! All I could think about was my poor new hair colour! 🤣

But, it was a lovely run, it made a lovely change to chat and run, and the miles ticked by. Medal earned, even if it was a slower, chattier way of earning it, I loved it!

Distance: 6.22 miles

Time: 1h 25m 7s

Pace: 13.41/m

Elevation: 935ft

Another pretty solid week of running, here’s hoping the momentum remains!

Wednesday Wisdom

Wednesday Wisdom

In my post last week, I alluded to the fact that everyone sees themselves as the main protagonist in life. Look, I’m blogging, so doesn’t that demonstrate that principle? Assuming what I have to say is important, has value and is of interest, aren’t I?

Anyway, I digress. We do position ourselves as central to our stories, and if we are able to be empathetic we can better understand how other people see themselves. I think that when people lose hope, or lose confidence they still retain an element of this but it is diminished. And it’s our job to help them recover that.

Everyone is ‘selling’ something, promoting something or trying to get others to better understand their point of view, and earlier this year I read Don Miller’s essential read How to Build a Storybrand. This book should be on your to-read list if you haven’t gotten to it already. As a writer, Don understands the power of storytelling and this book reframes how we can use that storytelling to improve our engagement with customers and with others more widely, all people we engage with. He uses some great examples to demonstrate where this does, and doesn’t, work well.

There are clear steps to achieving this but the one step that has stuck with me above the others is that customers don’t care about your story or your brand’s story. They care about their own, and want to know how your products can help them achieve their own story arc.

I’m simplifying the message, but this small snippet has stuck with me, and over the past few months I’ve been seeing this everywhere, and watching how people and businesses position their own story in comparison to how they centre their customer’s story.

I can’t recommend this book enough. Spoiler alert: Don tells you early in the book that he will spoil movies for you as he talks you through how the basic narrative construction works. It hasn’t ruined anything for me, but I have found myself putting his framework to the test when watching films! Try it!

Wednesday Wisdom

Wednesday Wisdom

Over the past week I’ve read a lot. And as a result of that I have lots and lots (and lots) in my head, bursting to develop into fully formed thoughts. But they’re not there yet. I’ve also been catching up on podcasts, covering everything from change to different mindsets to blaming people rather than systems. Whoa. Pretty full on, right?

But over and over, this past week has led me back to thinking about making mistakes and using them to grow and learn. I’ve also been thinking about what a journey to success looks like from the outside: linear, with no bumps. Yet we all know that’s just fantasy. No journey to success is without many mistakes, bumps in the road, full scale disaster, redirection, unsettling people (including yourself) and so on.

I was reminded of this Liz Wiseman quote:

For those who haven’t read Liz’ book, Multipliers, I’d highly recommend it.

I suppose being on the outside and looking at someone else’s journey is a difficult thing to do- we are all the heroes in our own lives and on our own journeys, so we have to remember to reframe that, and to recall that everyone is on their own messy, imperfect path with its own pitfalls and misdirection- and remember to be there to support each other along the way.

Wednesday Wisdom

Wednesday Wisdom

Downtime is so important, and I’m already at the midway point in my week’s leave. So far it has been lovely: some reading (not yet as much as I had planned), good food, running, stitching and listening to podcasts. And some wine, too. I think that’s why I haven’t read as much as I had planned: I’ve been catching up on a huge backlog of podcasts that have built up since I’m not driving a great deal.

When I was on my run on Monday, I listened to Whitney Johnson interview Molly Beck, the Podcast Whisperer, and it was fascinating! But the quote that leapt out at me was from the host, not the guest:

I just had to capture this as soon as I heard it, and I thought it was well worth sharing.

So if you need to hear it, please listen. Your effort won’t be going unnoticed.

Wednesday Wisdom

Wednesday Wisdom

Although I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and reading about staying curious, part of the reason that I’ve restarted my blog with a focus on my Wednesday posts rather than my running is because I’ve also been doing a deep-ish dive into becoming more comfortable with being uncomfortable, and not painting my exterior persona as being without flaws – it’s ok to just be.

And, with the trajectory we are all on this year there’s one thing I’ve been saying all too regularly: none of us has all the answers, so I’m also trying to open my horizons, share thoughts and let conversations happen. And given my penchant for unleashing my advice monster and demonstrating my ‘save it’ drama persona, I’m also trying to be more vulnerable.

A few months ago I read Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek. Several of the lessons resonated with me, and I was nodding a lot as I read it. It probably helped that that first section focussed on our desire to feel safe- and given the pandemic, I think that has been borne out over the past few months.

But the book also talks about how leaders have to be honest, open and need to keep in touch with reality in order to stay authentic.

This quote is one that I keep reflecting on:

So, when was the last time we admitted to weakness, or to not having all of the answers, or allowing ourselves to be vulnerable?

Probably not often enough.

It’s a journey for many of us.

Wednesday Wisdom

Wednesday Wisdom

Since sharing my thoughts about The Advice Trap two weeks ago, I’ve continued to think a lot about the way we coach and use questions, and how curiosity is such an important, but often neglected, aspect of leadership. I’ve continued on the Year of Living Brilliantly journey and I’m finding it both helpful and challenging.

Yesterday I received an email from MBS works that really struck me. It talked about the recent full moon being known in China as the Hungry Ghost Moon, and later in the email asked us to thank our hungry ghosts.

And that really resonated with me. I’d had one of those sleeps the previous night which was disturbed, and I couldn’t get back to sleep because my brain kept wandering to those times in my past where I hadn’t lived up to my own expectations. MBS says that perhaps your regrets are there to remind you of a time when you acted to betray something you stand for. So the very next time I have the opportunity, I’m going to thank that ghost, get that lesson ‘in my bones’ so that the ghost can leave me alone. Hey! I’ve got it! Thank you! Now leave!

I’ve also found my brain recalling some earlier podcasts and TED talks, and I remembered hearing Tasha Ulrich talk a couple of years ago about transitioning our questioning from Why to What. She explains that why questions have a direct correlation with negative emotions, and they draw us to our limitations.

On the other hand, what questions keep us curious (that word and emotion again!) and they can help us to create a better future. They can lead us from victimhood and into growth.

She suggests that when you are journaling, spend less time on why things happened or why they happened the way they did. She suggests that we can start this new focus on what by asking three questions of ourselves in our journal:

1. What went well today?

2. What didn’t go quite as well today?

3. How can I be smarter tomorrow?

What journaling techniques do you use to shift to a positive focus?

Are you managing to stay curious?

What are your hungry ghosts asking you?

Wednesday Wisdom

Wednesday Wisdom

Over the past five months as we have navigated through this initial pandemic emergency and transitioned into recovery (or at least I think that’s where we are), I’ve heard lots of people say they are ‘crazy-busy’ or ‘flat out’. Me included.

I’ve enjoyed working at pace, delivering results, responses and projects at speed and I think we have a lot to learn from the compressed decision making processes we have benefitted from in recent months. I’m much more comfortable than ever before with picking up the phone to people I need answers from, or challenging people to get things done quickly.

I know I’m a productivity ‘diva’, and I would have said, until a few weeks ago, that I felt my productivity is valuable to my work, my organisations and my personal values. And I do still think it is critically important. But I’ve been reflecting recently on whether I should value myself in terms of being productive. Is that worth defining myself over? What does it say about me as a person?

Right now I’m trying to determine how I get everything done that I need to, that I support and deliver on my promises to others, and on holding fast to my boundaries. Saying no does not come easily.

A big resource for me over the years has been David Allen’s epic book Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress Free Productivity. It helped me to crystallise how to get to a point where I get things out of my head and to stop thinking about ‘things’ and feeling overwhelmed. I think it has been a critical approach that has enabled me to cope over the years, but as these are now my intrinsic behaviours they have absolutely come to the fore in recent weeks and months. That, and managing my inboxes and social media notifications to stop the overwhelming feeling of having things I haven’t done!

I’ve read this book at least three times, and I’ve recommended it numerous times to numerous people, probably more so recently than ever before. And now I’m recommending it to you.

If you are feeling overwhelmed and can’t get unstuck to get things done, please read this. It will made a positive difference to you, your mental health and your productivity.

Find out more about Getting Things Done here.

Wednesday Wisdom

Wednesday Wisdom

I love Michael Bungay Stanier. He has a great voice, which is easy to listen to on a podcast. I really value his books, as they are so easy to read, to dip in and out of, and- unusually for business literature- they are actually fun to read.

I’ve read ‘Do More Great Work’, and I’ve read The Coaching Habit’. Twice.

But he unsettles me too. Why? He sees me. Flaws and all. And he know exactly why I have these flaws. To make things worse, he also tells me clearly what I can do to tackle those flaws, and spells it out that hard change is just that- hard to do, but worth doing.

He drills into leadership models I use every single day, including transactional analysis and the Karpman Drama Triangle. I work with someone (not directly) who helps me see when I’m wrapped in a drama triangle, which is really helpful.

And, Michael Bungay Stanier’s latest book calls out something I do all the time. It’s called ‘The Advice Trap’. As a rescuer (he describe my preferred style as ‘save it’ , my default problem solving persona is to offer advice to help others out, rather than developing more productive coaching behaviours.

But the subtitle of the book intrigued me even more than the title, because it outlines two characteristics I think I do display (at least sometimes: ‘be humble, stay curious’ and the remainder of the the subtitle is my aim: ‘and change the way you lead forever’.

To find out more, I headed over to his website, and what do I find? Not only really useful downloads and exercises, but Michael has an online free course: The Year of Living Brilliantly which looks right up my street…. so I have signed up! I’ve watched the first two videos, and already I’m challenged to engage better. I’ll no doubt keep you posted with progress and my thoughts about the course.

The Advice Trap is a really easy book to read, and I found myself nodding, and clearly picturing times when I’ve fallen into unhelpful patterns of behaviour. But the time is now to do the ‘hard change’ and to practice, so that everyone can benefit.

Practice, practice, practice.

Read the book. You won’t regret it. And find out more about The Year of Living Brilliantly here

Wednesday Wisdom

Wednesday Wisdom

It’s been a while! Yesterday evening I listened to Whitney Johnson interview Susan David for her ‘Disrupt Yourself’ podcast. Susan’s take on emotional agility and her belief that no emotions are good or bad really made me pause.

This quote in particular really resonated with me, so much so that I had to pop onto my blog to share it:

What have you done recently that has made you uncomfortable?