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In a recent “Great Work Blog” Michael Bungay Stanier shared this quote and his thoughts:

“We do not rise to our expectations, we fall to our level of training.” Bruce Lee

Which begs the question – what are you training yourself for at the moment. (And sure, you might consider formal courses you’re signed up for. But consider also the daily practices and routines you have. What are those training you for?)

I like that spin on preparation. Thinking about our daily practices/routines as training. It’s more palatable than creating big hairy goals requiring intense learning and discipline. Bite-sized daily routines can also lead to an ultimate goal in a more sane and enjoyable way. So, I started thinking about my daily habits. It could be more like “training light” but I do see some clear patterns that are leading toward a life of:

  • Health. I’m more consistent than I’ve been in years about exercise, although it’s still a challenge to maintain, let along increase my efforts. Still, I’m running several times a week and starting to add in some cross-training options. I know I could be more disciplined about my diet, but it’s not awful.
  • Simplicity. Many of you know about our efforts to reduce. The “big picture project” is slow going, but only because I’m also taking advantage of spontaneous opportunities to see my kids, friends or enjoy an unseasonably warm day (all of which I consider simple pleasures). Still, we’re making strides and that feels good. And there’s no reason to stress out by creating false urgency. I like the pace at which we are weeding out our stuff.
  • Personal Growth. My efforts to blog/write daily are mostly to improve my writing skills and learn more about my strengths, interests and potential offerings to others. At work I’m frequently discovering something that makes me think in new ways or helps me to refine my focus. I’ve been learning new concepts that offer opportunity for deeper thinking and application more broadly than work (the recent “Undoing Racism” workshop is one example).
  • Strong relationships. When my kids call about getting together, I generally make it happen. They’re very busy, with jobs that require evening and weekend hours so when they’re free, I try to be too. It matters to me. I know how quickly life stages change and realize their availability could get worse or better, so I relish the time I can spend with them now. My husband and I spend a lot of time together in the evenings and weekends. I also enjoy social exercise (which is my trick to sticking with it). Running with a friend is also a great way to stay connected when the rest of life makes it hard to do so. And, I try to talk or Skype regularly with friends or family who live at a distance. I’m glad technology allows us to stay better connected.

Perhaps my daily routines would reveal other things too (I’m clearly NOT training to be a culinary chef or great musician, for example). And I know I could be more disciplined in all areas. However, I’m finally enjoying a more mindful pace to life. And I believe that will help me sustain these routines. Also an important aspect of training.