Tuesday, 30 July 2019

Change your Mind - The Horrors

'Mindset' is a concept that's been around since the early 1900's, according to Wiki. It's a word that's become part of my daily vocabulary when speaking with clients and I thought I'd investigate the philosophy behind the terms 'Fixed' and 'Growth' Mindsets, as I try and evaluate my own 'Mindset' traits.

However, I'm a bit confused to which 'Mindset' set I belong to. You see, I believe I'm in the intersecting part of a 'Venn Diagram of ‘Fixed’ and Growth Mindset' where the two circles intersect, if that makes sense.

To help clarify things, I looked to the expert in the 'Mindset' field - Professor Carol Dweck. Her primary research is in motivation, personality and development and speaks volumes - if I had the right 'Growth' Mindset, I could read all about it in her 2006 book 'Mindset: The New Psychology of Success' but as a ‘Fixed’ Mindset non-reader, I was a bit at a loss but luckily Wiki helped again...

Dweck states that there are two categories (Growth Mindset versus Fixed Mindset) that can group individuals based on their behaviour, specifically their reaction to failure. Those with a 'Fixed Mindset' believe that abilities are mostly innate and interpret failure as the lack of necessary basic abilities, while those with a ‘Growth Mindset’ believe that they can acquire any given ability provided they invest effort or study. Dweck argues that the ‘Growth Mindset’ will allow a person to live a less stressful and more successful life'.

Now, as soon as I see 'Failure', I immediately identify with the ‘Fixed Mindset” character trait as the 'F' word (Failure not ****) is like Kryptonite to my inner soul. Yet my ‘Mindset’ isn’t so myopic that I don’t believe that investing effort and study won’t bring results – well apart from swimming or triathlon as my mindset has been ‘Fixed’ by having the same buoyancy qualities as a house-brick. But then again, I’m pretty much stress-free and have had enjoyed many successes over the years which swings me back into the ‘Growth Mindset’ group.

So you can see why I’m confused. Or perhaps it’s how we like to label people nowadays and maybe I’m just someone that you can’t label. Or group, or even want to group. And maybe you are the same? No-one needs to be anything really – you just need to know who you are, where you are going and what’s needed to get you there.

And that’s all that matters…

1,044 Marathons, 244 Ultras, 9 Guinness World Records & 15 Marathon des Sables

Wednesday, 17 July 2019

I Surrender - Rainbow

Giving in is really not part of my DNA. Instilled at an early age, I’ve always thought that it’s a weakness. A weakness of mind. A weakness of personality. Pure Coleman-Kryptonite. Having been this way for 57 years’, and having lived life pretty close to the limit of human endurance with some personal and mental challenges that would have had most reaching for the white flag, I thought long and hard as I struggled for the first 20km of day two of Race to the Stones, last Sunday.

You see, post Guillian-Barre Syndrome, my legs are pretty much destroyed for a week following a fast Parkrun or Marathon as my leg muscles just aren’t strong enough anymore – it feels like I’ve already run the race-distance before I’ve even started you see. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not after sympathy or making excuses as I loved both days of Race to the Stones and that first 20km taught me once more that nothing of worth is ever given, and that if you want something enough, you have to work super-hard to achieve it.

I’ll admit I did question my sanity but after three hours of battling the GBS legacy, my legs finally started behaving and downhill it felt like they wouldn’t go from under me, which is what really plays with your mind at the time. The hardest and most frightening part for me – as it is for everyone that has to relearn how to stand and walk again. A sobering thought.

Sure, what I’m doing nowadays isn’t pretty and the times isn’t great but hey I’m out there still recovering. This year I’m a good two plus hours quicker over the 100kms and finished feeling like I’d given it my best – Well the best I can now give, if that makes sense.

Those days of learning to stand and walk seem a long time ago right now and maybe these days of weakened legs will also pass as my recovery continues. What I do know, is that I’m stronger mentally than ever and I’m going to push my recovery as far as possible. What form that takes, well watch this space as it’s just like when I started running. It’s a self-build-and-design-project that only people who’ve have had GBS and have gone on to run a further 66 marathons will understand.

You control your destiny – You design your future – No one does it for you – Fight – With everything you’ve got.

1,042 Marathons - 254 Ultras - 9 Guinness World Records - 15 Marathon des Sables

Monday, 8 July 2019

Go - Public Service Broadcasting

Go, Go, Go, Go, Go...
On Saturday I was lucky enough to see the excellent Public Service Broadcasting play at Caerphilly Castle. I’m not sure what Gilbert de Clare, the 7th Earl of Gloucester would have thought about his 13th Century Castle creation being used for such purpose but hopefully he would have marvelled at the songs and videos featuring the story of the Titanic, the Race for Space and the rise and fall of coalmining in South Wales.

I came away with my mind working in overdrive. A lot of the songs and footage captured events that have happened in my lifetime. A fifty-year span where Man land on the Moon, industry changed forever and the world went digital.

Has it all been worth it and are we any happier as a result?

Has the immediacy of the modern world enhanced our lives or made it as even tougher place to exist? I believe the world has changed more in the last ten years than the previous forty. I mean, when did you last play a Cassette, CD, DVD or take a photo using a camera? The notes in my wallet have been there for weeks as I simply don’t use much paper money these days. Banks, Shops, Cars, Life...there's a massive revolution taking place. One that when we look back in a further ten years wish we'd been part of as I believe that people are missing out not only on their future but also on their present.

You see, I went to the gig, sober, stayed sober and then drove home. However around me, some folk were completely legless, whilst others smoked endless joints throughout. And hey, it's a free-world and people are there for a good time but there's a whole world out there to create, enjoy and feel part of - and not to miss out on.

The grainy 60's footage of the Apollo Missions highlighted just how long it was since I was a seven-year old boy looking skywards in wonder at the heavens - what I've achieved so far and what I have yet to achieve with my time left on this amazing planet of ours. 

Take some time and think about whatever it is that you are doing today. If you are not doing it very well, do it better and if it's not good for you, don’t do it at all.


1,040 Marathons, 242 Ultras, 9 Guinness World Records & 15 Marathon des Sables

Wednesday, 3 July 2019

Who are YOU? - The Who

Today’s blog title is taken from the 1978 Who Classic album of the same title ‘Who are you’, the last album released by the group before Keith Moon's death in September 1978 - which feels a very, very long time ago.

Anyway, on listening very closely to the song, it got me thinking, ‘Who do we really think we really are’, ‘How do we project ourselves?’ and ‘How are we perceived by others?’. It’s something that became more and more apparent to me as I spoke to a fresh batch of clients this week. On hearing their stories, I learned how they fitted into their worlds. How they were perceived by their family, friends and colleagues – how unhappy they are. 

You see, it’s amazing how we come over to others, what it means and how limiting that can be on our progress for instance within the corporate world. Some people will hold out for years in a job ever hopeful for promotion or even a redundancy package only never to reach their goal because they just don’t ‘look’ the part or have a ‘perceived’ value – or don’t fit in.

The lyrics go, ‘I felt a little like a dying clown’. I’ve seen it many times as I’ve coached people that will joke and laugh their way through their day when inside they are literally ‘dying’ inside – crying later alone at their predicament.

They continue, ‘I know there's a place, where love falls from the trees’– and it’s such a sweet place. Feeling you’ve got there is one thing, getting there a whole different story as for many that journey is literally limited by their outlook and by what they project.

The person that knows it and feels it the most is you. And when you know it, the doubt sets in as the sing continues,‘How can I measure up to anyone now’. It sounds like a modern-day social media message reaching out, looking for reassurance and love from anyone that can be bothered to reply. For the record, self-worth doesn’t come in the form of a Facebook reply – it comes from within. 

From setting goals, sending out the right signals and cleaning up one’s act. And when you do that – you’ll find out who you really are – and you’ll find out it’s not as bad as you think and everyone else (well the majority anyway) will think you are okay too.

Have a think: ‘Who are You?’

1,040 Marathons, 252 ULTRAs, 9 Guinness World Records & 15 Marathon des Sables