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Get a Grip on Your Time and Money (Podcast Bonuses)

Welcome friends and listeners of my time and money episodes on The Wantrepreneur to Entrepreneur Podcast!

Brian is a good friend . . .

. . .  but enough of that.

Here are the FREE spreadsheets and tools I talked about.

Make copies and use them to help you create and adopt systems for getting a grip on your time and money.

Ep 171: Time

Ep 173: Money — coming Wed, Feb 28!

 


[1] Tracking time

Use the Time Tracker for 3-6 months to establish your baseline for how much work you get done in a month.

After clicking the link to access (below) . . .

Log into Google Docs

Go to File >> Make a copy… (if you try to make a copy when not logged in, it won’t work)

 

Add your name to the file name

Choose the folder in your Google Drive for where to keep it

Check “Copy comments”

Press “OK”

==> Click Here to access the Time Tracker

 

Or find a time-tracking app that works for you.

I use Hours.

 


[2] Forecasting time

After using Time Tracker for 3-6 months to establish your baseline for how much work you get done in a month, have a go at the Time Forecaster.

Same as above, open the file and make yourself a copy

Go to File >> Make a copy…

 

Add your name to the file name

Choose the folder in your Google Drive for where to keep it

Check “Copy comments”

Press “OK”

 

Once you have your copy set up, click the down arrow on the “MONTHLY TEMPLATE” tab at the bottom, and select “Duplicate”

 

Then click the down arrow on the duplicate tab, and click “Rename…”

Change the name to something like “MAR 2018” or “APR18” or “18.05” … and then repeat the process until you have at least 6 months’ of tabs to work with.

==> Click Here to access the Time Forecaster

 

If you find a slick time forecasting app, tell me about it!

Just leave a comment below and include the name and/or a link.

 


[3] Tracking revenue

Check back soon!

I’ll post the Revenue Tracker when the second half of my episode posts on The Wantrepreneur to Entrepreneur podcast. The Revenue Tracker complements the Money Tripper (below) with a little more detail.

I’ll also have deets on the invoicing and online payment system I use, which may come with a bonus or discounts when you sign up (confirming details with them right now). It’s a super option for high-ticket items or services where you bill every 2 weeks or monthly … and will allow you the option of escaping 30 cents + 2.9% (or more!) on credit card transaction fees.

 


[4] Managing cashflow

Use the Money Tripper to manage cashflow and stop spending money you don’t have or wondering whether you “really can” afford something.

Follow the same instructions above to make a copy for yourself of my Money TripperAfter.

Be sure to check “Copy comments” so you keep the instructions on how to use the sheet!

==> Click Here to access the Money Tripper

 

A more advanced tool is YNAB (You Need a Budget).

YNAB is designed primarily for personal budgeting, but you can have one budget for business and another for yourself. Just link your business accounts with your Business Budget and your personal accounts with your Personal Budget.

YNAB is built on the same principles the Money Tripper is built on:

  • spend only dollars you actually have and
  • every time you get a dollar, give it a job. Which, naturally is followed by
  • spend dollars only on the job you assigned them to.

Get a free month when you sign up for YNAB with my link.

 

PS If you haven’t done so already, open separate bank account(s) for your business.

It makes bookkeeping, taxes, and all that so much easier. You just don’t want to waste time muddling through personal expenses to find those that count as business expenses. I use Small Business Bank — no fees, no minimum balance requirements, they have an app for mobile check deposit and of course you get a debit card with your business checking account. To get started, that’s all you need.

 


Get a grip on your time and money!

Time is the ONE resource you can NEVER get back once you’ve spent it.

And you’ll succeed faster when you the way you spend and invest money matches your priorities.

It’s easy for time and money to become “the tails that wag the dog.” But you’re the dog. You’re the boss. Be the boss. Take control.

I’ve shared these tools because they are the methods I followed to take control at a time of my life and business when I had it backwards … when I had lost all the freedom I wanted when I struck out on my own, and had become a prisoner to the business I had made for myself. But as I MADE IT, I could UNMAKE it. And REMAKE it. Which I did. And so have hundreds of entrepreneurs the world over.

So give yourself some grace in whatever has happened up to this point, and try these on (one at a time!) to start the process of remaking your business for the better.

Good luck!

 

Nat Harward

P.S. I’m here. Leave a comment below or send me a note and I’ll be touch.

 

By |February 23rd, 2018|Marketing|0 Comments

A frozen banana has a three-fold mission in every shake

The frozen banana has a three-fold mission in every shake.

[1] It cools the shake.

[2] It thickens the shake.

[3] It sweetens the shake.

There you have it.

Frozen banana winter wonderland of thick smooth sweetness in your mouth.

Frozen Banana - 15 Pounds for the Freezer

Why yes, I buy my bananas 15 lbs at a time. A shelf in my freezer is dedicated to bananas. I may even get another freezer and dedicate entirely to bananas.

 

Pro Tips for the Frozen Banana, etc.

If you’re using greens, blend them first with just the liquids. That will allow them to get chopped up in finer pieces without everything else in the way.

Add frozen fruit last. It’s the hardest to blend and will blend easiest when everything else is already liquidy and smooth.

Try my Homemade Protein Shake Recovery Mix. It’s easy and delicious. And a great post-workout nutrition boost for triathletes and endurance athletes.

For endless inspiration of smoothie recipes, check out my friends at Simple Green Smoothies. Tons of recipes. Other cool food and nutrition ideas. And Jen is the bomb. +400k Instagram followers, she must be doing something right.

By |February 22nd, 2018|General Life, Triathlon|0 Comments

Homemade Protein Shake (recovery mix) for triathletes, endurance athletes, and high cardio training

Over the years I’ve sampled various post-workout products and none suit all my desires so I’ve delved into making a homemade protein shake recovery mix — my own blend of powders I can dump into a cup of milk and blend with a banana to make a quick, nutritionally sound and tasty recovery shake.

If you are interested in honing your nutrition knowledge, I recommend Racing Weight by Matt Fitzgerald. Straightforward. Zero fad recommendations. Research based. Field tested by pro and Olympic athletes. Practical. No dogma. Doable.

Why I decided to formulate my own mix (a “NATSTACK” if you will):

[1] I’m not down with most of the whey-based options (e.g. Muscle Milk).

Not a huge fan of the taste (can be chalky), some have artificial sweeteners (part of the taste, and I’d rather give my body real sugar that it knows how to process), I found myself gaining weight when using it (I’m a triathlete and not interested in gaining weight), most have tons of other stuff (for fancy labeling), and I like to keep it simple and raw (if I need an amino or something, I’ll add it myself).

[2] I want something heartier than straight chocolate milk.

Here’s a look at stuff I mix in (if it doesn’t show below click here):

A post shared by Nat Harward (@natharward) on

[3] Non-whey options are good but pricy as a food staple.

I’m looking at you, Orgain, Skratch and peanut butter powders like PBfit and PB2.

[4] If money were no object, I’d have Core Power ship me crates every week.

There’s nothing I drink faster than a bottle of their Chocolate High Protein blend right after a workout, but at $2.50/11.5oz bottle, that racks up so I make it a luxury here and there, or I grab one at a gas station when I’m in a bind and can’t get home to get nutrients in me before heading on to my next thing. Also, see above — I want something heartier than plain chocolate milk.

I want to blend in a banana, peanut butter, strawberries, almond butter or other items, so a bottle of anything alone won’t cut it.

It might tide me over, but it doesn’t give me the satisfaction of a meal.

[5] I like control.

‘Nuff said.

 

Enter “NATSTACKS”: Homemade Protein Shake Recovery Mix(es)

I looked at a couple mixes I liked and reverse engineered the recipes from the ingredients list, nutrition facts, and generic nutritional info about each ingredient.

Homemade Protein Shake Recovery Mix – Formula 1

  • 250g powdered milk
  • 75g powdered sugar
  • 75g table sugar
  • 75g cocoa powder
  • 10g vanilla powder (yes it’s a thing)
  • 5g salt

Drop all these into a container, shake it up and boom you’re good to go with your homemade protein shake recovery mix. I don’t have the $ ready for you at the moment, but I am sure it is near 25% the cost of equivalent stuff in bin with fancy packaging … and you know exactly what’s in here:

Homemade Protein Shake recovery mix

Put a heaping tablespoon or two (25-40g) into 8-12oz of your choice of fluid (rec: almond milk or whole milk), add a frozen banana, honey, cacao nibs, a pinch of cloves or nutmeg, a spoon of peanut or almond butter … whatever you want to spice it up.

  • For the sugar you can mix and match powdered sugar, table sugar or baking sugar (which is finer than regular sugar but still grainy and not a powder). Just net out at 150g of sugar.
  • Cocoa powder can be dialed up or down for however chocolatey you like it.
  • Vanilla powder can be swapped for liquid extract as the poweder isn’t common in grocery stores. 1 tbsp. Put that in last. It will make things a little clumpy, which is why the powder is better. You could skip the vanilla and be fine.

 


Handy Tool for Scaling Your Batch:

Want to try a little this time and scale up to a huge batch next time? Easy.

Use the ==> Homemade Protein Shake Recovery Mix formula calculator


 

Plans for Homemade Protein Shake – Formula 2+

  • add glutamine (hands down, here’s your best bang for your buck glutamine offer) (also, why glutamine)
  • suggest swaps for peanut butter powder in place of all or some powdered milk
  • suggest amount of peanut butter powder as an addition (choco + PB flavor)
  • suggest amount of ground nuts and/or cacao nibs to add for fun
  • set precise amounts of cocoa powder for low/medium/high chocolatey-ness
  • experiment with dextrose (glucose equivalent from corn) in place of some table/bakers/powdered sugars

Enjoy.

 

Oh yeah — you’ll want a kitchen scale:

Homemade protein shake recovery mix (kitchen scale)

It’s easier to manage this process by weight than volume, so that’s how I did it. Any of these scales will do. Seriously, don’t go nuts making this decision. Super accuracy is not important here. Fwiw, I got this one, which handles up to 15lbs or 7kg.

Disclaimer: all my nutrition knowledge is informal and experiential from the field of my own training. I have no license or qualifications from a governing body to dispense personal nutritional information. I also share this taking no concern for anyone’s allergies or specific dietary restrictions. That’s up to you to figure out. Consult a doctor, registered dietician or nutritionist. That will do you some good anyway.

By |February 21st, 2018|Triathlon|0 Comments

Are we related? We could be cousins . . .

Are we related? Over Thanksgiving I found out I’m related to 12 of the 102 Mayflower passengers (5 directly), so if you have any connections there chances are good we could be cousins.

Are we related? We could be cousins.

How did I find this out?

www.RelativeFinder.org

Join my group and lets find an answer to the question “Are we related?”

The password is my first and last name together (this website without the ‘www’ and ‘.com’) — all lowercase, no spaces.

Even if we aren’t related, Relative Finder will show you if you’re related to a large basket of famous authors & poets, saints and popes, composers, entertainers, movie stars, sports figures, U.S. Presidents and their families, signers of The U.S. Constitution, signers of The Declaration of Independence, European royalty, scientists and technologists, and more.

FYI, if you’re a family history / genealogy noob . . . “3rd cousins twice removed” explained:

Your first cousins are the children of your parents’ siblings, i.e. your aunts & uncles’ kids. First cousins because you are the first generation down from the sibling connection.

Your second cousins are the kids of your parents’ cousins, or your grandparents’ siblings grandkids. Second cousins because you are two generations away from the sibling connection.

Now, your second cousins’ kids, what are they? Your second cousins, once removed. “Removed” just means however many generations off from the sibling connection. The smallest number of generation lines to the sibling connection is the “___ cousin” and the “___ removed” counts the rest.

So when my second cousins’ kids have kids … they will be my second cousins twice removed.

My Grandpa Doug‘s line goes way back to early U.S. colonial days so I’ve got some cool connections, a lot of which are through him. People including Oliver Wendell Holmes, Emerson, Thoreau, Steinbeck, Elvis, Harry Truman, Jefferson, the Bushes, Johnny Carson, Carrie Fisher . . . lots of people.

Pretty cool to find these things out.

If you need a hand getting into the group or set up with anything, post a comment.

Have fun, cuz.

By |November 26th, 2017|Faith, General Life|0 Comments

Pound The Rock

Pound the rock.

It’s in the footer of my website.

It’s in my email signature.

It’s the first phrase of three I have littered all over the internet. (The second and third being “Do good” and “Have a great time.”)

It’s the motto Gregg Popovich uses at the San Antonio Spurs. Their fan club is named after it. In fact, I’ve been told, it’s the only quote/motto/words-of-inspiration that appear anywhere inside the Spurs’ facilities.

So what about it? Why pound the rock?

This:

When nothing seems to help, I go and look at a stonecutter hammering away at his rock perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the hundred and first blow it will split in two, and I know it was not that blow that did it, but all that had gone before. — Jacob Riis

Pound The Rock - Jacob Riis

We love telling “overnight success” stories.

They aren’t true.

Every “overnight success” story is … just a good story.

A story designed to get us to believe “we too” can be as successful as the “overnight” success.

Well, we can.

But not overnight.

Because they didn’t get there overnight.

These stories, so it seems to me, often are told to sell “the overnight method.”

When we buy that method, we get burned. Expectations fall unfulfilled, and we don’t succeed overnight — because we need to pound the rock:

To pound out our weakness,

To pound in our dedication,

To pound out non-essentials,

To pound in our focus,

To pound out dead weight,

To pound in muscle memory.

The true backstory of every success (“overnight” or not) is years of trial and error . . .

. . . effort on effort, and upset and defeat followed by persistence and consistency … all of which finally yield a win.

I’ve long said the most important attribute for any marketing campaign is consistency. You can blog once a day or once a year. If you stick to your schedule, people will accomodate whatever pattern you establish … if you stick to it. What doesn’t work is rush then stop. Publish then quit. Launch then disappear, only to relaunch with flare and pizzaz in 6 months quickly followed by flame-out, just as before.

And see that all these things are done in wisdom and order; for it is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength. And again, it is expedient that he should be diligent, that thereby he might win the prize; therefore, all things must be done in order (Mos 4:27).

This isn’t bad news.

Success isn’t in one-trick ponies or luck-of-the-draw rewards.

Success is in being adept at producing desirable results again and again, at will.

Success is in knowing “the wisdom and the order” of how things work, the present limits of your strength (your lactate threshold, for example).

Yes, part of success is arriving at the destination, a destination — of finishing or winning a race.

But grander elements of success are:

falling in love with getting there

knowing you can get there when you decide you want to

knowing what it takes to get there, how to command the elements and the circumstances to combine and align in getting you there

in other words, knowing how to get there again, on command … without assigning any piece of arrival to luck or chance

experiencing your personal capacity to do work every day, to conquer in the face of resistance, and to survive or even thrive in the face of calamity.

“Pound the rock” is a motto to succeed every day.

Between each sunrise and sunset, put.in.the.work.

99 of 100 blows of the hammer end with the rock uncracked.

In a darker moment, the uncracked rock may seem to laugh or scorn.

“What are you doing? Does your work even count? You’re not strong enough. You have the wrong tools. You can’t do this. You’re not making a difference at all. What a waste. Now this, what you’re doing, this is insanity!! You keep swinging, expecting me to crack. I’ll never crack. The outcome is the same. And always will be. Move on … move on to easier ground.”

It’s tricky.

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over, seeing no results, and expecting a different outcome.

Yet that definition is insufficient.

There are some tasks that are … a pound-the-rock scenario. A scenario where is just does take 99 repeated blows of no-difference-at-all results, which, when followed by the 100th WHAM! everything changes.

It may seems just one blow counted. One blow must have been different from the others. But no … all 99 changed the structure, strength and integrity of the rock until on the 100th it cracked. All 99 up to that point took mental grit and steadfastness and belief that the work was worth it.

I’m not a “good” runner.

I’m not “gifted” or a “natural.”

I don’t have lean thighs.

My VO2 max, when I’m not fully trained, is super average.

My calves are huge, the extra weight doesn’t help.

My calves also don’t connect high on my leg, so their biomechanical leverage is . . . average.

My knees rotate out and my tibia & fibula bow in to compensate, so some force from every step gets wasted in non-vertical, non-forward vectors.

My early years of swimming made my ankles super flexible, and early years of gymnastics trained them to act like absorbers; but great runners have stiffer ankles, trained to act like springs.

Yet my half marathon times keep coming down:

1:42:09 (7:47/mi) — 2008

1:40:26 (7:40/mi) — 2014

1:28:27 (6:45/mi) — 2015

1:24:35 (6:27/mi) — 2017

Why is that?

Because I pound the rock.

There’s nothing special about me.

Sure, I’m learning better form. As I pound the rock.

Sure, I’m in overall better shape … because I pound the rock.

Sure, I’m more flexible and less prone to injury … because I pound the rock (and rollll out, thanks TriggerPoint!).

Sure, I have better run gear and better workout routines … because I pound the rock.

I just pound the rock.

And anyone can pound the rock.

This much about life seems so simple and clear: when you work hard under the direction of people who understand the mechanics of how things work, you get results.

That’s why I put “Pound the rock” everywhere.

To remind myself of, and to stand for, the ethic of putting in the work.

“In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground” (Gen 3:19).

“Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” (Gal 6:7-8).

Mastery thru repetition.

Affinity through consistency.

Results from no work are empty gains.

Dreams with no work are naught but wishes.

Gains from shortcuts are, eternally speaking, hollow.

Unearned upsides can be wonderful blessings and grace from heaven, but if converted in my mind and heart to expectations or views that “I don’t have to work because good things simply come my way” or “I will succeed because I am deserving of success” … those attitudes diminish my soul and others’.

Which brings me to another reminder baked into those three words:

To touch base, to make contact with, The Rock … every day. That rock being the “lowercase” rock of revelation and the “uppercase” Rock of Revelation who is Jesus Christ.

To meekly remember I am able from the gift of choice.

To meekly remember I am forgiven and cleansed from His gift of mercy.

To meekly remember I am empowered beyond my natural strength by His gift of grace.

So . . . I pound the rock.

By |October 24th, 2017|Faith, General Life, Marketing, Triathlon|0 Comments

Export ROTOR FIT Files: How to get data off the app and into Training Peaks, Strava

As per my new whip write up, I upgraded to a ROTOR 2INpower MAS (pictured below) and it took some time to figure out how to export ROTOR FIT files from the app and get them into Training Peaks and Strava. I thought I could do it from the app on my phone, turns out (at this point in time), you can’t. A little wonky, but whatever. Here is the solution.

Export ROTOR FIT Files - 2INpower

Not really useful to have the data unless it gets to TP. And if it isn’t on Strava, it didn’t happen!

Ha.

While I can sync the ROTOR to my Suunto Spartan Ultra via Bluetooth (which would then send watts to TP), only the total power number gets sent. The ROTOR app captures L/R power, OCA, OCP, torque effectiveness, pedal smoothness . . . a bunch of custom stuff that no watch is set up for (yet).

How to Export ROTOR FIT Files from the ROTOR App (iPhone + iTunes) [3:03]

If the video doesn’t display, view it here.

No idea what the Android corollaries are, but probably similar.

If this changes or you find some better way … leave a comment. Will update.

Power on.

# # #

More info on the additional data captured by the ROTOR Power app

Why I say use the ROTOR app then export ROTOR FIT files to another program

Left/Right balance

Different leg lengths, hip disequilibrium or simply stronger/weaker muscles in one of your legs lead to left/right irregularities. Here you have the chance to optimize your pedal stroke to the extent that both legs deliver 50% of pedaling performance.

Pedal smoothness

This function demonstrates the fluidity of your legs’ movement. It’s the relation between average and maximal force during a pedal stroke, measured in percentages. Pedal Smoothness is simply average power versus maximum power.

Torque effectiveness

The ratio of total torque versus positive torque. During a complete pedal rotation, data gets sampled to measure force and crank velocity. Resulting values will determine your torque effectiveness.

Torque 360º

Represents your distribution of force throughout a pedal rotation. This metric reveals how your force is applied to the pedal during 360º of pedaling and yields your Optimum Chainring Angle.

Optimum Chainring Angle

Your OCA value indicates the angular position where the work from pedaling is concentrated. This will help you understand how you pedal and will enable you to optimize the position of your Q-Rings.

By |October 16th, 2017|Triathlon|0 Comments

Got a New Whip … Meet Ceevee, My P3

As I prepared for the 2107 season I knew I had 17 tris under my belt, and with another 6 planned … and with a 14-year-old bike … it was time for a new whip!

Here’s my old whip, Betty, on the road to Cape Cod in 2014.

New Whip - Old Whip Betty

My first road bike, Betty. She’s a 2003 Giant TCR Aero-2. She’s a “compact road frame”; halfway between road and time-trial (TT) geometry. Betty’s rear wheel is slightly tucked in, her seat tube is a little more aggressive (forward) than a road bike, and she’s not designed for riding in aero position all the time.

Opposite to how I bought Betty — scoured NYC Craigslist for something about $500 that also “looked good” (i.e. didn’t have round, silver, 24-spoke wheels), took her for a fast test ride then plopped down a wad of cash — I planned to follow a long methodical process to nail the perfect bike for me this time around.

While it took all season [8 MONTHS!] . . .  totally worth it.

Here’s the scoop. (Want to skip the story and jump straight to the gear list & summary? Click here.)

 

Shopping for a new whip — ya don’t “just buy” a TT/tri bike

Step 1: Pre-fitting for frame selection

In February [MONTH 1], I went in to see Jeff Sherrod, aka The Bike Whisper and genius at Precision Bike Fit, to get a quick set of measurements done.

Probably the biggest mistake people make in buying a bike is getting the wrong size frame. They may base the frame size they need simply off height. There’s more to it than that. Best to talk to a bike fitter about what and how you plan to ride, take measurements, and then narrow down what types and sizes of frames can work for you.

Step 2: Strategy conversation

Also during that visit, I ran by Jeff my idea of how I wanted to get a bike. I thought I’d get my hands on a frame, have it custom painted, work connections to get a deal on a component group, get wheels from ENVE as part of my gig with sister company Suunto, etc.

Jeff nixed my piece-by-piece strategy really fast.

He suggested I look at Garneau’s tri bike since they do custom colors, so I started considering that.

Step 3: Frame shopping & Pre-purchase fitting

While continuing to think about the Garneau, I asked Jeff to clue me in on used bikes he knew of that were up for sale.

By the end of March [MONTH 2], there was one for sale by another member of my tri club. I ran the idea by Jeff, he said it would probably fit well, so I picked it up and took it in for a pre-purchase fit.

Thumbs up from Jeff.

Step 4: Offer, Negotiation, Purchase

Convo with previous owner.

Do I want the:

  • pedals?
  • seat?
  • stock seat?
  • yada yada

I drop the “so what’s your training-club-friend and alma-mater-fellow-graduate price?” and saved myself a couple bucks.

This time I wrote a check and took delivery.

Step 5: The Real Fit

It’s now April [MONTH 3] and I’m back at Precision Bike Fit (shares a wall with The Bike Shed where the repairs and upgrades happen) getting a real fit.

Rather than starting on the bike, Jeff takes me into the physical therapy room, has me sit on the table and runs through a series of measurements to check flexibility, mobility limitations, weaknesses or other injury-related factors to consider in the fit. He checks my legs for flexibility, measures the resting rotation in my ankles, and more.

I have no idea this is part of the process. That’s why I go to Jeff to expert to fit my new whip.

Measurements recorded, Jeff rigs the bike up on his stand. Next he takes my shoes and adds shims, of specific thickness for me, between the shoe and the cleat to account for the natural rotation/angle of my ankles.

Up on the bike now, I get a bunch of vecro dots tagged on me all on my right side at each joint — ball of foot, ankle, knee, hip, shoulder, elbow, hand (maybe more). So that Jeff can get a live measurement of all these angles as he makes adjustments, he then attaches sensors to each of the velcro dots.

My geometry on this bike is now on display on a TV in the fitting studio, and the work begins.

We spend 30 minutes or so moving things up/down, forward/backward … raising the stem, moving the elbow pads, sliding the seat in different positions. While we do this, Jeff is watching the numbers and moving my angles into optimal ranges; hips aren’t closed leading to tighter hip flexors, but not so open that I lose power; as I pedal, my ankles aren’t stiff or stuck in a firm position; and on. I don’t remember, but I know it counts.

Conclusion: I’ve got a great fit, now time for several real rides to see what else needs to change.

Step 6: Confirm the fit

I started riding her and my first race came soon, the RaceTRI Ice Breaker where I had the 2nd fastest bike split all day.

New Whip - first race

Click to watch.

I started feeling the need to re-gear on this race. On even gentle descents, I was spinning out in top gear.

Later I figured it out:

My old whip had 53 teeth on the big chain ring and 11 on the smallest cog on the cassette.

The new whip, however, limited my speed with just 50 teeth up front and 12 in the back.

That’s a HUGE difference in gearing on the top end.

Gearing aside, the fit was good.

I knew I was still getting used to the more aggressive geometry, but everything else checked out. No pains, just a little discomfort with the shift.

Step 7: Paint the new whip

As you saw in the first picture, Betty was white.

And so was the new whip.

White bikes are hard to keep clean.

Everything shows. And every mark leaves a mark.

Furthermore, the new whip wasn’t just white, she was matte white!! Almost ANY dirt on your hand will transfer to a matte finish. Woof.

Example: look at all the fingerprints on the down tube and top tube from when previous owner Skye had to scramble to get the seat-post jam out (what’s in her hand) when it fell into the bottom bracket . . .

New Whip - before she was mine

Now, Skye took great care of her and kept her clean. The bike was in fact white for me to start with. Which was great. Thanks, Skye. (She’s a pro triathlete, check out her blog here.)

I just didn’t want to do white again and have to work as hard as Skye did to keep that matte finish clean.

ALSO – I’ve been racing for TeamTriggerPoint and our colors are black, lime/acid/neon green and silver. The bike was white, black and red. Not a good match for my race kit.

And I’m a BYU fan … our rivals are red. So red’s gotta go.

Therefore, all signs pointed toward: “Time for a paint job.”

I found plenty of shops that paint metal frames, but not carbon ones.

Much as I pounded Google for an answer, it was Jeff who knew a guy who knew a guy . . . and that brought me to dropping my new whip off at the paint shop a week or two after that first race.

At the paint shop at the end of April [still MONTH 3] . . .

Now from the beginning I had the possibility of painting in mind, so I held off on getting new shoes, a helmet, and wheels to match until I knew what the color scheme would be.

The plan was to go all black, and all b/w lettering be graphite, and everything red to become green.

Step 8: Shoes

The bike green ended up being shiny black with graphite and a few touches of classic green (like inside the fork and seat stays), and the TeamTriggerPoint kit “green” is almost yellow, and the color of MAVIC’s gear (the cycling gear sister company to Suunto) IS yellow . . . so I went with yellow for shoes and the helmet (hadn’t arrived for the race below).

Also a throwback to my high school colors (Sycamore, Go Aves!) which were green and gold.

(Also, I’ve been running on Newton’s Distance Elites which are yellow since Sept 2016)

The first pair of MAVIC tri/cycling shoes arrived in May [MONTH 4], but at Jeff’s advice I sent them back for a smaller pair. Glad I did. Power transfer decreases when feet shuffle around inside a not-snug cycling shoe.

I got these ones and picked up the new whip from the painter in June [MONTH 5] just in time to zip off to Vail for the GoPro Mountain Games.

First pro pics on the new whip: Lining up for the Volvo Time Trial, a 10-mile sprint up Vail Pass at the GoPro Mountain Games. Photo by Myke Hermsmeyer for TeamTriggerPoint.

Step 9: Wait on Gear

While I ordered my wheels in May and helmet sometime around then, I waited all of July [MONTH 6] for them to arrive … and they didn’t until August [MONTH 7], and even in August they all came AFTER my big race of the month!! Bummer. I wanted so bad to be fully kitted on the new whip for this race. And the timing didn’t work this time.

The helmet order got funky and I ended up getting both MAVIC’s aero helmet (left) and their leading road helmet (right).

As a result of a bad batch of raw carbon, ENVE’s production fell way behind through the summer so everyone was getting wheels late. Tough situation for their manufacturing, glad I found out what they were dealing with. So that’s why it took 3 months for them to deliver. But deliver they did!

First pic of wheels out of the box . . .

ENVE has GREAT packaging by the way — not shown here. Felt like unboxing an Apple product.

To get the wheels to work, I cannibalized tubes from other wheels of mine. I started the wheel install late on a Friday night to prep for a group BAM ride in the morning, and I really wanted to give them a go.

Because the rims are so deep, most tubes need valve extenders to get the valve nipple outside the rim. And valve extenders only work on valves with removable cores. But the last time I ordered a box of tubes from Amazon, I got the best deal I could find and those tubes … have solid cores. I didn’t even know that was a thing.

I had ONE new tube with a removable core, but I shredded it trying to get the new tire on! Gah!

I pulled one from another wheel and got it on.

But I needed one more! I looked and didn’t see another. So even though it was after 10pm, I went to Walmart and Target desperately searching for a tube that would work — nada!!!

Called a guy in my elders quorum presidency who also cycles … he didn’t either!

Gah again!

Went home in despair.

Checked all my wheels again in a last-ditch effort.

BEHOLD! One more removable core!

Pulled that tube and got it in. My TV room was a mess with open wheels and tires strewn everywhere … but I was ready!

Or was I?

Nope. I needed wider brakes.

I removed the brake pads and let all tension out of the brake calipers just to get the wheels ON. And I jerry-rigged a one-ride solution that relocated some of the brake pad washers just to get the pads back on. I did what I could to get as much clearance as possible. Not pretty, but I wanted to ride!

With a little MacGyvering I was set for my first carbon-frame-on-carbon-rims ride EVER.

New Whip - new wheels

My new whip the night before her maiden voyage on the ENVE 7.8s.

Step 10: Component upgrades

Since the stock brakes weren’t going to work long term, I called up Jeff to figure out a solution.

And since I was ordering new brakes, and I had ridden enough to know I wanted to re-gear, and I because I knew training and racing with a power meter would elevate my game big time . . . I handled all my new whip’s component upgrades/swaps in one swoop.

I got new:

  • Brakes (my old ones are up for sale) … because wider clearance is needed for fatter rims
  • Chain rings … Q-rings! for smooth power transfer and more teeth up front
  • Cassette … for a smaller small gear in the back for more top-end speed
  • Chain … because a new whip with a new cassette just needs a new chain
  • Crank arms with integrated power meter … because training and racing with power is a better read on work than heart rate alone
  • Bottom bracket … because #maintenance

Because Jeff has a whiz technician, Adrian, he passed me over to him to take care of all this.

Adrian called in the orders, installed everything in a day, and bam!

On September 2 [MONTH 8] my new whip was finally done!!!

New whip - with upgrades!

Ooooo shiny gold chain! Rotor crank arms! Oval chain rings!

My master mechanic, Adrian, tuning the new whip’s angle between the crank arms and the oval-shape of the Q-rings:

Step 11: Fine tuning . . .

I took off the saddle that came with (an older ISM) and put my previous saddle back on. In the fall of 2015, I picked up an ISM Adamo Time Trial. So that’s what’s on the new whip now. I just couldn’t settle into the other saddle and had been happy with my previous one so I went back to it.

I also decided to upgrade the worn-out aero bar pads. So I ordered a pair from Ceegees that came highly recommended from my coach Andrew, aka Bamdrew. They are indeed great. Go for it.

And then I:

  • dropped the stem
  • wanted to extend my reach so I moved the bar ends out a little and put on my old stem, which is longer
  • made my elbows and shoulders happy by adjusting the aero bar pads to where they wanted them
  • tried a ton of seat angles and finally moved it back about an inch and that did the trick

And after collecting tons of data with the ROTOR app on a few rides, I had Adrian adjust my chain-ring angle. Glad I got the micro adjustable spider (MAS) option.

From all this finagling, the new parts, etc. it’s time for . . .

Step 12: End-of-Season-New-Whip Re-Fit

Now you might ask, “Why now? Why not wait until you ride outdoor again in March or April?”

Because I’m going to train on it at least 2x a week all winter!

Very important to dial in the fit again now.

Jeff! I’m calling ya soon.

Step 13: Be very excited for 2018

Fo’ real. Having taken all season to get the new whip outfitted all the way, I’m super stoked to train all winter on the same geometry that I’ll race on in 2018. The bike is more aggressive, the fit is more aggressive, the gear is more aggressive . . . with a season piecing the gear together, with only ONE race with everything in place, and now with a full winter ahead to super dial in all the new stuff, I can’t wait to see my splits next year.

Pains, gains & growth. Onward and up.

I’m no salesman for the bike industry but if you’re now inspired to get ya own new whip I won’t be surprised.

 

Gear & Upgrades Summary for the New Whip

Bike: Cervélo P3

Name: Ceevee

Power meter: ROTOR 2INpower with MAS (Micro Adjust Spider)

Power data receiver: Suunto Spartan Ultra (sometimes use the ROTOR app to grab ALL the data)

Shoes: MAVIC Cosmic Ultimate Tri Shoe

Helmet: MAVIC CXR Ultimate Helmet (yellow)

Wheels: ENVE SES 7.8s (clinchers, DT Swiss hubs, Shimano 11spd)

Brakes: Shimano Ultegra Dual Pivot SLR EV Brake (BR-6800)

Brake pads: ENVE Black

Chain rings: ROTOR Qarbon 110BCD (52/36)

Bottom bracket: ROTOR Press Fit 4630

Cassette: Shimano Ultegra HG EV Cassette Sprocket (11-Speed, 11/28, CS-6800)

Chain: KMC X11SL Ti-N

Aero bar pads: Ceegees (CY3T01)

Saddle: Adamo Time Trial

Fitter: Jeff, Precision Bike Fit

Mechanic: Adrian, The Bike Shed

 

WAIT. ONE LAST THING.

All the work wasn’t complete until I did this:

New whip - with BAM stripes

. . . spot it?

Curious what you see that’s different. Let me know in a comment.

Wheels up and happy trails,

Nat Harward

By |October 1st, 2017|Triathlon|0 Comments

Metabolizing Anxiety: Highlights from Ask a Mormon Sex Therapist (Ep 20)

If the mere mention of Ask a Mormon Sex Therapist in my bio hasn’t prompted you to listen, maybe these selections on metabolizing anxiety will.

Btw, these interviews are all Q&A based — usually two Qs per episode, this one has three. To get the backdrop on this metabolizing anxiety conversation, jump to the start of the third question and Dr. Jennifer Finlayson-Fife’s answer at @ 22:00.

What follows are loose transcripts from the episode. I cut “you knows,” “I thinks,” and so on, and added content (in parentheses) that I believe accurately connects allusions to previously mentioned ideas so that it’s easier for you to follow the excerpts.

 

@ 34:33 – Giving people space to grow

To tolerate the discomfort of another’s discomfort is part of what it is to actually give people the space that they need to really grow, and to manage your own anxiety.

 

@ 35:59 – Metabolizing Anxiety

If you’re going to actually grow, you have to metabolize more anxiety within yourself and not use the people around you to manage what is your work, or what is your job, or what is your responsibility.

What is of virtue is to take 100% responsibility for exactly what your responsibility is — in a marriage, or in a family, or in any group — and 0% responsibility for what isn’t your responsibility.

That sounds very selfish, but that’s actually one of the most virtuous things you can do: to really do what your job is in any situation.

It also frees up other people to grow in the ways that they need to grow.

When we get in trouble is when we rush in to kind of get anxiety to go down in the moment, but then we stabilize and mature our destructive patterns.

The virtue in creating goodness is tolerating difficulty up front. That’s what sacrifice is: you take your difficulty up front to create something better ultimately.

It’s against our human nature (to do that, to sacrifice, to tolerate difficulty up front) — it’s natural man to not to do it (to avoid difficulty up front, escaping to an easier path). But what creates goodness and godliness is doing that (tolerating difficulty now).

 

@ 40:15 – When’s the time for metabolizing anxiety?

It’s when you’re having a hard conversation, and they’re pushing on those buttons on you that you like to react to, that you get all self-righteous about.

Instead of getting self-righteous and reacting, you calm yourself down and you stay constructive. That’s what I’m talking about in the “real time”: that you don’t (use) your losing strategies, which are the reactive things we do that feel good in the moment but that keep suffering alive.

You have to really track what it is you do (habitually) so that you can push yourself to do the better thing in the face of a lot of pressure to do the thing that’s familiar. (Catching yourself before you do the familiar thing) is what development is all about.

 

@ 42:56 – The effect of metabolizing anxiety

When you step into new action, or action that’s driven by a sense of what you believe is right, even if it’s hard, you literally expand your capacity as a person, and you expand your sense of self.

 

@ 43:52 – Metabolizing anxiety includes not doing the familiar thing to get validation

Many of us prefer to kind of just do and deal with the (familiar) things that (have, in the past, managed to get us) validation from the other person, and so we constrict our relationships (to doing just those things, even if they are losing strategies that perpetuate suffering) to our detriment.

We have to work against that natural-man tendency.

 

Ask A Mormon Sex Therapist is a sub series of the Rational Faiths podcast.

Have a listen.

Metabolizing Anxiety

Dr. Jennifer Finlayson-Fife

By |October 1st, 2017|Faith, General Life|0 Comments

Why Isn’t My Heart Rate Monitor Working? Because It’s Dirty

Why isn’t my heart rate monitor working today?

That’s a question I never want to ask myself yet I have several times this year. I have two Suunto watches — for tracking my triathlon training, mountain adventures, and navigating in the backwoods — the Spartan Ultra and the Spartan Sport Wrist HR.

Heart rate monitor cleaning

The Suunto Spartan Ultra.

My Heart Rate Monitor: Suunto Smart Sensor

The Suunto Spartan Ultra (SSU) doesn’t have HRM on the wrist, so I always wear a chest strap with it.

While the SSSWHR model has an optical heart rate monitor on the wrist, I wear a chest strap heart rate monitor all the time with that one too since chest straps are slightly more accurate … by all the time I mean except swimming, since pushing off the wall nearly always has enough force to slip the chest strap out of position and that’s mad annoying.

Multisport Heart Rate Monitor - Suunto Smart Sensor

The Suunto Smart Sensor Multisport Heart Rate Monitor

Anyway, things were going swimmingly … two watches, one heart rate monitor strap synced to both, connected quickly and flawlessly every time … for 7 months until one day in July things between my SSU and my HRM went south.

Heart Rate Monitor Frustrations

At first how it went is I’d go to the “pre-start” screen where the watch is locking in connections just before starting an activity, and the screen would show a connection to the Suunto Smart Sensor HRM (which connects to the watch via Bluetooth), even indicating my present heart rate. But as soon as I started the activity, the watch showed my heart rate as “—-“, and when I later finished the activity synced the data to Movescount, there was no heart rate data. Annoying.

So I tried stuff like unpairing my watch and the heart rate monitor. And repairing. And the same thing would happen.

And then it got worse … my SSU just stopped finding my HRM at all whenever I tried to re-pair.

I replaced the battery, hard reset the watch, un-paired the HRM from every other device and on and on … all to no avail. But there’s a good ending to this story.

In case you’re wondering, yes, I was soaking my chest strap as well to ensure there was enough moisture to conduct electrical pulses from my skin and so the chest strap had something to read and data to relay through the device.

Almost the whole time through this, I could still get my SSSWHR to connect … almost.

For awhile, my heart rate monitor performance was unpredictable, and I couldn’t stand it.

I mean really couldn’t stand it.

I count on heart rate data in my workouts to track how much work I’m doing and how much at what intensities. Without the HR data, my data has gaps and I my aggregate numbers get off. Since I really want that data, and I couldn’t get it from my SSU, it became almost unusable for me for awhile even though it is an amazing watch and can do so many other things.

This was no good.

It’s supposed to be a great watch! It IS a great watch! I’m the U.S. Endurance Community Manager for Suunto!!! … but my watch, within year 1, isn’t working!!!

Not a good situation.

Trolling the Internet for a Heart Rate Monitor Solution

Through my various attempts to getting a connection to happen, I did clean my strap. But not really clean it.

In trolling the internet for what people do about their HRMs, I found a forum post where someone went into depth about cleaning it. I decided to go Type A and clean every single thing I could to see if that would work. Because if a deep clean didn’t work, then it truly was a product defect and I’d send it back for a replacement.

How I Cleaned My Heart Rate Monitor

Prep: disconnect, un-pair, “forget” or otherwise completely sever the connections between your HRM and your watch, phone, bike computer and any other device you’ve connected it to. Get a bowl, dish soap, rubbing (isopropyl) alcohol and cotton swabs / q-tips.

Step 1: Fill a bowl with warm water and some dish soap. Place the chest strap into the bowl. Let it sit overnight.

UPDATES:

[1] Liquid dish detergent and laundry detergent are best.

[2] By “warm” I mean less than 100F (<40C). So, like “the middle” of your hot and cold settings. Very lukewarm or maybe a tad on the “when I put my finger in to test it, it feels slightly chill.”

[3] Yes, a bowl and not the laundry even though that’s what’s in the user guide.

Why? According to my biochemist bro:

For dish and laundry detergent: they don’t have any moisturizing additives that leave non-conductive deposits behind. The whole point of washing is to get rid of the non-conducting oils.

For water temp: hotter water will do a better job cleaning, BUT above 40C it will damage the elastics & stretchy fabrics in the band. And that breakdown is no good. (Fwiw, 40C is the hottest recommended temp by Suunto in the user guide.)

The crud that builds up on the electrodes and makes them non-conductive (so you stop getting accurate readings consistently) is a mix of greasy skin materials. Sweat is bad for your HRM band and the electronics because sweat includes oils and salts. That combination loves to stick to smooth, rubbery surfaces like the electrode pads. Detergents are their enemy and will wash them away.

And my take on why soak overnight instead of tossing in the laundry machine per the user guide (English PDF, other languages): less wear and tear. I’d rather my band sit in a little bit of water than get tossed around with my jeans.

H/T to Dimitrios Kanellopoulos for starting a convo with me that lead to adding this info! He’s active in this Suunto users group on FB. Join us.

Step 2: While the chest strap soaks, open the HRM to replace the battery. And then clean the battery with a q-tip and rubbing alcohol, on both sides. When the alcohol has evaporated, put the battery in. Using the q-tip and rubbing alcohol, swab around the sealing edges of the case but don’t swab directly on the electronics board. If the battery connectors look dirty, carefully swab those. Swab the entire removable casing/shell/battery cover. Finally, reinstall the cover.

Somewhat risky step … not liable for anything that may or may not happen if you do this: if you are still having data consistency issues after all this, some people say to put the battery in upside down for about 20 seconds. Not recommended because reverse voltage can damage electronics, and while the sensor probably has some voltage regulating safety bits, it’s best not to stress them with a battery the wrong way.

Step 3: Clean the connector terminals on the sensor. Whatever brand of HRM you use, there are likely two metal posts on the sensor that “snap” into the chest strap. That’s what I’m talking about. Swab those super clean with a q-tip and rubbing alcohol as well.

NOTE: Rubbing alcohol will also damage the elastics. So be careful where you swab (same in Step 5).

Step 4: (Next morning) Remove chest strap from water and dish soap solution. Rinse out the soap.

Step 5: Again with a q-tip and rubbing alcohol, swab out the receivers on the chest strap where the posts on the sensor snap in. Really get in there to wipe them clean.

Step 6: Let all the alcohol evaporate, run the chest strap under water or apply electrode gel. Put the strap on. Snap your sensor in. Reconnect to your devices, one at a time.

Step 7: As a result of your cleaning efforts, enjoy a HRM that works!

I Cleaned It. That Worked. Heart Rate Monitor Restored.

So after all that my SSU found and successfully paired with my HRM and hasn’t skipped a beat since.

So . . .

Yeah . . .

(Chest strap) Heart rate monitors need clean electrical lines to sense the electrical pulses of our heart beats and clean lines to send all that info from the strap to the sensor. If those lines (in the strap) and connections (from strap to sensor) get too dirty (easy to happen when you train daily and jump in a lake now and then), then they need to get cleaned.

OK! Now I can stop ranting about my HRM not working … because I know it’s my job to clean it.

New ritual: HRM deep clean every 2 months.

Between Deep Cleans, Try This:

Put a small drop of dish soap on the soft side of a kitchen sponge, and then quickly swipe the contact pads. This will keep the contact pads cleaner so you can go longer between deep cleans.

By |September 30th, 2017|Triathlon|1 Comment

Dating Feedback: Got Asked for Some and Said This Instead

Recently got a request for dating feedback.

Dating Feedback

A few things before getting to my response . . .

[1]  I don’t think her request means anything about me, but I think it does mean something extraordinary about her heart, her desire and her humility. Not pathetic at all. All good things that I believe will serve her well generally in life and more specifically in dating and nurturing a relationship.

[2]  Pretty sure this has never happened to me before . . . that a date got vulnerable this way, asking for this sort of response. At least not at this early in the game. The rarity of the event is also worth noting.

[3]  The one and only date we shared was Tue, July 11. About an hour together. More like a casual meeting to determine whether a proper date would follow. Anyway, the math is then that her request came 7 days and a morning later. IMHO, a little long to ask, but that’s OK. No rules on that.

[4]  There was no communication between the end of our date and this message.

 

All right.

 

Why am I sharing the “dating feedback” I texted back?

I believe in sharing stuff that others may find useful.

I believe in writing my own story, including being clear on the ground where I choose to stand.

In November, I shared my first draft of The Pillars of Our Partnership and here’s a where-the-rubber-hits-the-road followup to some elements of that.

And because if I ever have the thought to ask someone after a first date / first meeting for feedback … I’m drawing a line in the sand that I won’t. And if I were to say to you or to my future self,

  • “I want to ask her why she didn’t call back . . . “
  • “I want to know why she blew me off . . . “
  • “I wonder what happened, it seemed to be going so well?!?!”

To all those situations, my present-self response to my future self is:

“Doesn’t matter. Continue the search, my search.”

It’s not that asking for feedback and pursuing learning about myself isn’t valuable. It is. And I would totally ask for feedback after several dates or well into a due diligence process. But I wouldn’t ask right off the bat because that sets up a situation where someone else’s POV and/or values become more important than mine.

Would I ask career advice from a recruiter who declined to grant me a second interview … and that was our only interaction?

Would I ask fruit advice from someone I ran into in the produce section who’s not a store employee and otherwise a perfect stranger?

Would I ask someone swimming in the lane next to me for pointers on my stroke, unless I were well aware of their approach to swimming and their history coaching swimmers?

Would I ask color advice from the paint clerk at Home Depot who hasn’t taken the time to ask many questions about my house/home/style/family?

No. No. No. and No.

In these situations and so many others, the other person has so little information about me and what I value that I would never put them in a position to suggest what I ought to be doing. They might know. They might have amazing advice … but asking for it at this stage is out of order! They don’t know me well enough. I don’t know them well enough. What’s most likely to happen in these scenarios is that I’ll get a summary of their biography, rather than seasoned, tested, sage counsel that is actually useful for me, given my situation and my values.

I recognize that through the voice of anyone the Holy Ghost can whisper important promptings, and I recognize an element of humility is willingness to learn from anyone. That said, I choose my teachers/coaches/mentors with discretion. I don’t spend all my time learning, so when I am learning, I seek learning from people whose lives I wish to follow, whose values align with mine, whose performance is consistent with what I wish to do, and whose followers/students/proteges conduct lives I wish to emulate or who are otherwise people whose company I seek.

So there’s that. I choose my teachers carefully and won’t ever expect someone I barely know to be aware of my values and therefore offer feedback / guidance / advice that works inside my value system.

And then there’s this:

I believe — and I think this is apparent in the dating feedback I gave — is that when I am crystal clear on what I am offering and what I am looking for (before going out to meet people and go on dates), then I don’t need dating feedback after a first date. I know what I want well enough to make a sound decision right away: “this isn’t a match” or “this is worth continuing to pursue.” YES I mean “this” rather than “she.” Why? Because I’m not acquiring a person. I am looking for a person who wants to work at “this” … a relationship. The “this” is the connection.

Also to Note: “this is worth pursuing” simply means I am clear it’s worth going to the next round of due diligence, or “getting to know someone”, or whatever label works for what is next. These are not the same as: “All in! Show me the dotted line, and I’ll sign today.” (When to do that, to formalize an agreement, is an entirely different conversation. This conversation is simply about dating feedback or other feedback being unnecessary at or immediately after initial contact.)

Said another way, I’m telling my future self that if I ever find myself wanting to ask for dating feedback at the early stage of a first date (or professional feedback after a first interview), my present-self suggestion is that doing so is a misdirected use of energy.

Instead of pursuing that angle, what I do and will do instead is use my “why didn’t this go forward?” energy to inquire more about myself and what I want/need/desire/am looking for so that I can make a sound judgment … “wait, what am I looking for? What am I offering? What am I looking for someone else to be offering? How will it be clear to me that that is what they are offering? What will they say? What will they do? How can I tell quickly and rapidly upon meeting someone whether there’s enough potential to pursue, or if it’s best to walk away?”

Enough. To my response.

My “dating feedback”:

Hey [her first name], replying here to your request for feedback. Mad props for your willingness and humility to open the door for it.

I’m hesitant to say much as I believe at the end of the day everyone writes their own book on love. Rather than feedback, I’ll tell you about my approach. I spent a good deal of time investigating what my values are. There are a lot of things I value, but I boiled those to a short list of what’s most important to me. These encompass my beliefs. That’s Part 1.

Part 2: also spent a lot of time considering my strengths. What am I good at. What am I inclined to do first or without thinking about it. What do I like doing. Because I value a relationship type & structure that is complementary in nature (vs reflective in nature — both being good at the same things), I also have a short list of complementary strengths I’m looking for in someone to date. I’m good at XYZ, she’s good at ABC…and together, we cover the whole alphabet. There are some behaviors that I watch and observe for as indicators of the presence of these complementary strengths I am seeking. And I trust my intuition and connection with God to help me see these in others, while also listening and looking for a presence of matching and similar values — AKA life priorities. What does she put first? Of all choices, where in the hierarchy does she place dating & creating her own family? (To me, this is a nuanced difference from participating and contributing to her nuclear family.) Is that position the same as mine?

So … I could tell you what I’m looking for. But it’s personal, and only valuable to me as I did the work to arrive there. Would be up to you to arrive at your own choices and short list. Also, I usually don’t share it as well because I don’t want to introduce observer bias … “I know that I am being watched for particular behaviors and because I know that and want to be seen as having them, I am going to perform them … but because I’m being watched and not necessarily because that’s what I what normally do.” You know?

There’s not a rightness or a wrongness about any of it. This is not a good-person bad-person situation. Or a “I like/ don’t like.” It’s a … “what’s the healthiest and strongest combination?” I’m impressed by the goodness of most people I meet, including you. And … that doesn’t mean that their strengths are a good match *for me*. Where I’m strong … I can help her. Where she’s strong … she can help me. If we’re strong in the same areas, we don’t need each other as much … and then we’re also mutually blind and weak in the same areas.

All I can really suggest with confidence is come up with your list of values for life. And put them in linear order … what’s #1, what’s #2. I max out at 5 right now. Everything else is on a tier below. No ties either, “these are equally important…” And then … think about your strengths. What do you want to contribute to a dating relationship / partnership / marriage … and what kind of strengths in a man would be complimentary to yours? What things would he not be good at (the things you are good at), so you can support him … as he supports you where you aren’t as strong.

Having that stuff crystal clear … what do I value, what are my strengths to offer, what complimentary strengths am I looking for … that’s all been a game changer for me. I meet people and I have a few things to look for rather than a huge picture of everyone else’s advice about what makes a good relationship work. And then I’m really clear and ok walking away from something or being OK if someone is non responsive or not interested. “She’s not what I’m looking for.” “I’m not what she’s looking for.” Or both. This is way more peaceful for me to handle than … “could this have worked?” “What happened?” “Why didn’t this go forward?” Or whatever other wondering thoughts I may have. Which I do have. Like anybody. And then I fall back on … “was she what I was looking for?” Or, “she gets to choose what she’s looking for. And it’s OK if it’s something other than what I’m offering.”

I don’t think I’ve answered your question. But this is what I have confidence in as a worthwhile response.

Fwiw, here is her reply:

By |July 26th, 2017|General Life|5 Comments