The theme for 2010: Training for Tomorrow

In Business Class, New Year, uhm on January 10, 2010 at 8:46 pm

It’s only taken me 10 days, but I finally have defined my “theme” for 2010.

Last week, I wrote about a friend’s alternative to New Year’s resolutions: the creation of a “theme” for the new year. Since then, some of you have shared themes you might use; I, however, had not yet conceived mine.

It’s not that I didn’t have an idea; on the contrary, I had a pretty good “sketch” of my theme in my head. What I didn’t know was how to describe it concisely – in a way that would allow me to conjure it up easily when I need immediate inspiration but in a way that, at the same time, could fuel the pursuit of a longer-term purpose.

That’s how I landed on the theme, “Training for Tomorrow” – and how I landed on a process that I think a lot of individuals and organizations could use to guide a year, project, program or initiative.

I admit that “Training for Tomorrow” is not particularly earth-shattering, but “earth-shattering” isn’t the point. The point is to remind me what I hope to achieve this year. And what I hope to achieve is continual growth – not growth for growth’s sake, mind you, but growth that will position me to do more of the things I want to do.

For example, I would like to write more for publication. As a former journalist and freelance writer, I enjoy writing and getting published, but I’ve not had time to focus on that lately. In order to get back in the game, though, I need a collection of “clips” that I can use to “market” myself. So I must investigate, pursue and cultivate writing opportunities – this blog is part of that effort – and make sure that my writing is in a place and form that editors can see easily.  

I also enjoy teaching and speaking in public. In order to do that, I need to gain credibility as an “expert.” In part, blogging and writing for publication will help me do that; thus, one goal becomes the means to another.

Other desires will have similar goals and processes attached to them.

Process is important for me. My mind works best when I break things into steps or bullet points. So, I have broken my “training” process into a series of steps. (For the record, I did not seek alliteration when I started this; it just sort of happened.) Following are those steps.

  • Prayer. I am a Christian. As such, I am called to preface and surround everything I do with prayer. I don’t always succeed with this and, when I do, I don’t always see a cause-and-effect relationship between prayer and outcome. But I do believe in prayer, so I’d be a fool and a hypocrite if I didn’t make that my first point.
  • Preparation. For much of my life, my desire to “be” one thing or another often has been insufficiently supported by a willingness to do the work required to become that thing. I’ve learned, though, that preparation is essential. For a tangible example, I look to my September participation in a 150-mile bike ride. I could not have done that ride without many shorter rides in the months leading up to it – from May to September, I averaged roughly 100 miles a week. Without that preparation, the 150-miler would have been impossible.
  • Positioning. I’ve often told my son, “If you want something, you have to put yourself in a position to get it.” My simplest analogy is that you can’t drive in the left-hand lane on the interstate if you plan to take the next right-hand exit. Another analogy comes from basketball, where you are taught to “get position” in order to get a rebound – the process of rebounding has a lot less to do with height or leaping ability than it does with establishing position. I have ot “position myself” to reach my goals.
  • Pace. Another lesson learned from cycling: If I try to keep up with the fastest riders, I won’t make it to where I want to go.  If I lag with the slow riders, I’ll not get there when I want to. To get where I want to go when I want to get there, I have to ride my pace. If I decided to speed up or slow down, I must do so with a purpose and with the understanding of what benefits or pain (risks and rewards) I’ll have to accept as a result.
  • Persistence. This is simple but important. On the bike, I know I’ve got to push myself up a hill even if my legs and lungs are screaming, “Quit!” And if I can’t get up that hill this time, I’ll come back and do it again, and again, and again until I get to the top. And each time, I’ll get a little stronger

Of course, all of this begs the question, “What am I training for?” A lot of things – but the list is not important right now. What’s important now is that, each time I set a goal, I challenge myself to “train” for that goal. Because if I’m not willing to “train,” then I’m not really serious about the goal.

Happy 2010.


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