Blog Post # 192 – Lead and Lag

I am no economist.

But I have heard the phrases “lead indicators” and “lag indicators” for many years.

Never really understood them.

Turns out a lead indicator is “a measurable economic factor that changes before the economy starts to follow a particular pattern or trend. “

A lag indicator is “a measurable economic factor that changes only after the economy has begun to follow a particular pattern or trend.”

Seems straightforward enough.

These measurements help forecast future revenue in the business context.

A lag indicator would be how much money your company will generate in a particular month. A lead indicator would be how many appointments with potential new clients you meet with.

If you get sophisticated enough, you could be able to accurately estimate your lag numbers by tracking your lead numbers and seeing the ratio.

What does this have to do with us?

We can apply this concept to our personal lives as well.

Specifically, to exercise and weight loss.

Too often, when it comes to weight, we get caught up in the lag indicator. How much do we weigh?

But in reality, we cannot simply “control our weight.”

Weight is ultimately a lag indicator.

Many lead indicators can be tracked and analyzed to get to our lag indicator – weight.

We can track our calorie consumption.

We can track our exercise.

We can chart these lead indicators.

And it is the lead indicators that we can control.

The things that we have power over.

The beauty of this is that if we take care of our lead indicators – the things that we can control – the lag indicator (our weight) will take care of itself.

Hope this framework helps. It has helped me lately as I have been tracking my lead indicators for a few weeks now.

Blog Post # 191 – A Place of Clarity

Clarity is our natural state.

Seeing clearly is how we start.

Life clouds our vision.

Our bad choices accumulate and our mind befogs.

We get lost, distracted, displaced.

Our job, then, is to find our way back to our natural state of clarity.

No magic formula.

No gurus directing the way.

Just us – charged with the directive of returning to the path of clear vision.

Too often, we get this backwards.

We think that there is something fundamentally wrong with us.

Something we must change.

But this misses the mark. Turns everything on its head.

This life calls upon us to find the answers within us.

To listen to our heart, our gut and our mind to find our way home.

Our inner, centered home.

No more books to read.

No more e-courses to take.

No self-appointed wisdom providers to lead us.

Just us. Listening to our rhythms, finding what is undeniably true.

To return to the natural state of clarity that we came into this world already having.

Shedding that which distracts us and denies us.

A place where everything is clear.

Blog Post # 190 – The Tightening

Sometimes, we make an impulsive and poor decision before we think.

More often, however, we have at least a few seconds to think things through.

We feel ourselves start to get anxious.

To tense up.

We experience the tightening, according to Pema Chodron.

The tightening represents the thought patterns that occur before a binge, unkind words or any other behavior which is ultimately self-defeating.

The pattern usually goes – stimuli … tightening … unhelpful response.

Example – we run into someone who really knows how to push our buttons and they say something that we find objectionable …. we start to feel like perhaps saying something equally objectionable … on the fence … what do we do …. say something unkind back.

For me, my biggest struggle goes like this – food thought … ooh, I’d like to have that food, even though I know it is unhealthy, even though I have tasted that food many times and know the exact taste sensation that it brings … hover back and forth … what to do, what to do … feeling of an inability to say no …. ahh, screw it … eat unhealthy food.

May treat it as a reward. May tell myself it is just this one time. May do it just to make the tightening go away.

Tough to talk about. Tough to admit.

This pattern of stimuli – tightening – poor response is old. There is a ton of hard-wired responsive behavior tied into this.

So we should not expect to be able to change the pattern overnight.

Old habits die hard and all of that.

For today, if we experience a bad situation and feel the tightening, let us not run from it, let us not simply give in to the unhelpful binge or response.

Instead, let’s look at the tightening as a pathway to where we really are in the moment and just sit with it.

To recognize it. To see what it really is.

To know that other people experience the same tightening.

To breathe and reflect as long as possible before deciding … actually deciding … if/how to respond.

We do this in order to one day be free of the negative response.

Free, indeed.

Blog Post # 189 – What the Children See

The children.

They hear what we say.

They see what we do.

If we say one thing, yet do another, they know it and they see the hypocrisy.

It is all being recorded – the good, the bad and the ugly.

They take it all in.

And it impacts what type of person that they become.

Are we a source of light, inspiration and positive modeling?

Or are we negative, frustrated and unkind?

For it is our day to day interactions with the children that make the biggest impact on them.

How much time do we spend looking into the child’s eyes?

More, or less, than we spend looking at our cell phones.

When the children try to talk to us, do we listen? Really listen to what they are trying to say.

They may not be asking us for an answer, but simply want to be heard.

As they grow older and more independent, the children may say that they don’t need us anymore.

In many ways this is true.

But make no mistake. They still need us.

And we need them.

For today, let’s commit to positive, healthy and true interaction with the children.

I bet we will have a better day.

Blog Post # 188 – A Disconnect Inside

How do we center?

When the world is swirling around us, how do we center?

How do we get to that inner space where we find our truths?

Deep breaths help.

A quiet room, away from distraction.

So much vies for our attention here in 2016.

We must affirmatively find our space or the world will run us over.

The lure of gadgetry, of a new iOS update, of being “connected” 24/7.

We understand. It is an amazing time to be alive.

But is all of this electronic gadgetry causing a disconnect inside?

We can’t reach our intuition with an iPhone.

We need, instead, to physically carve out space in our calendar to just be.

To be bored.

To dawdle.

To think things through.

For today, let us find a few slivers of space. Let the world swirl.

But keep some small chunk of space for our own thoughts.

Who knows what we will say to ourselves when we let that happen?

Blog Post # 187 – A Small Experiment

What if …. instead of calling it a diet, we called it “an experiment?”

What if …. instead of calling it quitting smoking forever, we called it “an experiment?”

And instead of committing to a lifetime without alcohol or unhealthy food or excessive time on the internet, we simply committed to running our “experiment” today.

Does this not seem a bit more doable?

Instead of swearing off diet soda a few weeks ago, I labeled it a 30 day experiment.

This freed me up of the mental stress associated with “swearing off diet soda forever.”

Made the endeavor seem more attainable.

So far, the experiment is going fairly well.

Each day, I simply remind myself that I am running an experiment.

To determine the results.

To see if life without soda is calmer and whether I sleep better.

So far, so good.

For today, let us look at our challenges not as life-changing events – big, hairy audacious goals – but rather as a small, discrete experiment that we are free to continue or discontinue as we see fit.

Would love to hear about any experiments that you decide to run.

Blog Post # 186 – A Life of Meaning

Do we fear the eventual end of our days on planet Earth?

Or do we embrace it?

Sometimes, we worry about the future.

About the end of our life.

We wonder what will happen next.

We may think we know,what happens next but we don’t really know.

Herein lies our faith.

Yet these thoughts may also cause us some anxiety. Some uncertainty.

The one thing that is certain, of course, is that we will not live forever.

This brings me back to one of my frequent thoughts which is – if we could know the date of our eventual demise, would we want to know?

If someone could slip us a piece of paper with a date on it, would we ask for it?

Of course, this is fiction. There is no piece-of-paper-hander-outer.

What are we left with?

Living as if we have that piece of paper in our wallet or purse anyway.

Living as if we know our last day on Earth.

We will eventually exit this life.

The only recourse we have is to live today as if the date on our piece of paper is fast approaching.

To get done as much as we can today and to live a life of meaning.

To tell those that we love that we love them.

To celebrate the moments – happy, sad, funny, difficult – as they come.

And to be here with each other. To really be here. With love for those around us.

Blog Post # 185 – Goodbye, Eeyores.

Forget the naysayers.

The Eeyore’s trying to hold you back.

The negative folks who don’t believe in you.

Their worldview defines them.

But it has nothing to do with you.

Some of us were blessed with supportive parents.

Others, not so lucky.

Negative recordings of things that people said to us years ago can be harmful, particularly if it came from a parent or sibling.

Time to clear those tapes out.

They serve no purpose.

If the people that you hang out with are negative and grumpy, change your crowd.

Otherwise, you will be brought down to their level.

The truths we tell ourselves are so important.

The way we view the world and the way our friends view the world can have a deep impact on the trajectory of our lives.

We should be grateful for the positive people in our lives and to spend more time with them.

Everything else is just wasted energy.

For today, let us move away from negativity. To the extent that we cannot, let us recognize it for what it is.

Put it on a shelf somewhere and leave it there.

Share the love, forget the rest.

Blog Post # 184 – PBR (no, not that one)

Pause. Breathe. Relax.

I’ve been thinking about a pause, a slight break, a gap.

Between what happens and what happens next.

Too often, I respond to an event with a curse word.

Better, perhaps, to pause – wait a beat or two – and then respond.

Take a second before responding.

Take a second to breathe.

Try and relax for just one or two seconds before responding.

When someone says something that I don’t like, if I pause just a second or two before responding, I am usually happier with the way that I respond.

It also gives them a chance to take it back.

When confronted with something stressful, a few deep breaths helps me return to a sense of balance.

Breathe in, breathe out. Breathe in, breathe out.

Back when I did a lot of trial work, I would tell my clients that if they were giving sworn testimony and the court reporter was transcribing everything, they never wrote in “Witness took three seconds to answer.”

This is a good lesson for us – to wait before responding – especially with anger.

The breaths help us to relax a bit. Our first response may not be the right one.

If we respond too quickly, we won’t be able to take it back.

Pause. Breathe. Then, and only then, respond.

I think I will be a lot happier with myself if I try this approach.

Blog Post # 183 – Halfway Home

Halfway home.

We are halfway through the year of daily blogging.

I have really enjoyed the rhythm of blogging each day.

Helps me clear my mind and check in as to where I am exactly.

The vast majority of posts stem from something that I’ve been thinking about, that I want to change or that I’ve noticed.

The feedback received has been a real boost and keeps me motivated.

Please keep it coming.

We have been at this for six months now.

The flow of ideas from my brain through the keyboard and onto the blog is a whole lot easier now than it was at the beginning.

I feel more in touch with where I am each day.

And I’m happy to share that. And to share my struggles, failures and shortcomings.

Thanks for being along for the ride.

The real-world interactions that I have had with readers of the blog have been the greatest reward.

I hope you find something that challenges you every day. I‘m not talking about the blog challenging you. I’m talking about something that you decide to do for you.

That helps you pause and reflect.

This blog has done just that for me.

I am really glad that Seth suggested doing this.

For today, let’s take up the challenge that stands before us. Let’s do it together.

If I can help, let me know.