Thursday, May 20, 2010

Lessons learned

I have learned recently that its very important to match tactics with your goals, or you may end up spinning your wheels and getting nowhere. First a bit of background:

I frequently bike to work for a variety of reasons. Mostly because its fun, and one of the few ways I enjoy getting exercise. My company also has a program where they donate money to a charity of my choice when I "self power commute", which biking qualifies for (I am up to >$150 for the year so far - not bad for something I would do anyway), so there is an incentive there as well. I am also lazy by nature, so when I set my Q2 goals at work (See: Goal Setting At Google for more info on how we set our goals), I added a personal goal to log 350 miles by biking or walking.

So most days (weather permitting), I biked to work, and since I am a GPS geek, I kept track of distance traveled, travel time, and speed (both average and maximum) using a GPS unit mounted to my bike. Notice that I keep track of distance, time, and speed, but my goal only deals with distance. This is where I went astray.

I started to focus on my speed more than distance, and I started pushing myself harder and harder to get faster average speeds. As a result I pushed myself to my absolute limits (which granted is not that hard to do) and I wore out my legs faster, and as a result couldn't bike every day. My legs simply couldn't take it. The end result is that I was not putting miles on my bike, and my goals started to slip. I also wasn't having as much fun.

To fix this I have simply stopped using my GPS on routes where I know the distances already, and stopped keeping track of the time. I have found that I enjoy it a lot more, and I am not killing my legs every time I get on the bike.

The life lesson I learned here is that it is very important to align short term tactics with long term goals. It can be very easy to hinder the ability to reach your goals by taking the wrong path along the way.

Another tangential lesson is be careful of the metrics you use to determine your actions. I only really care about distance, but the metric I followed the most was speed. This caused me to make bad decisions. The metrics being followed need to lead towards hitting the goals. Either the metrics or the goal has to change if one is to see success.

I am not saying one should never explore the alternate path, or try new things. I firmly believe that exploration and risk taking is an important part of growth both as a species and as an individual. However when the goals are set, and you have no intention of changing them, you need to be careful to make sure the steps you take don't lead you to a place where the goal becomes impossible.

Important life lesson there. Glad I learned it.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Rock On!

Ever since Zeke was born I have rocked him to sleep to the soothing tones of rock music - bands like CCR, Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith, The Eagles etc. I sing to him, and play air guitar on his belly, and he laughs, snuggles, and falls asleep. For the last couple months I haven't done this very much.

A couple nights ago Zeke was fussing in his crib, fighting sleep like the crazy man he is. I went to check on him, and decided it was time to rock out with the lad. So I sat in the rocking chair in his nursery and cranked the tunes. First song: Dream On by Aerosmith. The moment the first note played, he looked up at me and smiled as if to say "Oh yeah, this is the good stuff now. We're gonna have a good time tonight!"

Yes, its true. My 7 month old son is already nostalgic for good ol' Rock and Roll. I am definitely doing something right.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

To my wife: Happy First Mothers Day!

Normally I don't buy into Hallmark holidays, but this year is different, for this year is the first time my darling wife gets to sit in the hot seat on Mothers Day.

I know my wife is a wonderful friend, creative, beautiful, kind, loving, and an all round wonderful wife. I also knew she'd make a good mother. It turns out she is an absolutely fantastic mommy. Her skills as a mother never cease to amaze me. It gives me a whole new area of life for me to love her for :)

My dearest wife, both Zeke and I are amazingly blessed to have you in our lives. If Zeke could talk I am sure he would say the same thing: I love you!

Happy Mothers Day.