A Very Merry Christmas! Reflecting on the Past and Looking Forward
From all of us at Minneapolis Running, we want to wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas and an amazing New Year! We feel so privileged to be able to help you become happier, stronger runners for another year. Sometimes “stronger” requires evaluating more than simply the number of miles on our feet.
If you have turned on the radio at least once this time of year, you’ve probably hear John Lennon’s “So This is Christmas” a couple dozen times. This song seems perpetually stuck in my head right now. Two of the stanzas jumped out at me,
So this is Christmas
And what have you done
Another year over
And a new one just begun
The line, “…what have you done…” is what caught my attention. What have I done this year? Reflecting on the past before looking forward carries tremendous power. Without reflection, we run the risk of repeating mistakes, or getting stuck in routines that could (or should) be improved.
At my day job, we have a process of reflection we facilitate with teams. A few of the questions (paraphrased here) seem especially appropriate this time of year. Ask yourself;
- What has given you the most energy in your life this year?
- Who have been the most influential people in your life this year?
- What moments are you most proud of this year and why?
As the new year rolls around, there will be plenty of looking forward. But today, I challenge you to look back at your year. Use these questions to reflect and think about things you are thankful for, and the ways this year have been truly amazing.
Leading by example… Being with people always gives me energy, but it is when I am working towards accomplishing a goal with those people that I am most energized. Brian, Mark and Drew are three of the people who are hands down the most influential, and all challenge me in very different areas. What moments am I most proud of? This is harder to succinctly articulate, but in short, balancing work with being a parent. Email me if you want to know more.
Without Any Fear
There are words in the second stanza that catch me every time I hear them.
A very merry Christmas
And a happy New Year
Let’s hope it’s a good one
Without any fear
Fear is often irrational, and almost never productive. Sometimes fear paralyzes us, and prevents us from taking action. Sometimes it forces us into action before we are ready. Fear is often a motivator away from something, rather that towards something. Do you run because you fear gaining weight, or do you run because you have more mental and physical energy when you’re lighter?
Fear is ugly and dangerous. In my own life, I tend to fear things I cannot control. That isn’t healthy, and not the type of person I strive to be. Instead, I try to control fear itself – I can choose the things I want to fear, and make sure they are fear worthy (like sharks, bears, cramping during a marathon, etc).
In the epic nerd novel Dune, there is a litany against fear that I’ve thought about countless times in the 20 years since I first read that book. My favorite is this:
I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.
Whether your are battling through mile 20 of your next marathon, or simply trying to get motivated to begin running after some time off, keep this in mind. If you’re struggling at work, home or in other areas, my hope for all of us in the coming year, is that we approach it without any fear, and are filled with hope for new opportunities.