Tough Mudder & WWP

It’s important that we take the time to remember and honor our more then 22 million military veterans.It’s because of their selfless service and sacrifice that we live in a free country today. Tracing Veterans day back to it’s roots, U.S. President first proclaimed Armistice Day for November 11, 1919. In proclaiming the holiday, he said

“To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day (now Veterans day) will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations.”

I think it’s safe to say that almost everyone has family and friends who are proud veterans of our country. Saying thank you is something these men and women probably don’t hear enough and I hope we can honor and recognize them each and every day.

This Veterans day, I’m trying to do a little more than the usual and go above and beyond. It involves three things:

  • The Tough Mudder Race
  • Wounded Warrior Project
  • Your Support

I signed up to run a 12 mile obstacle course race in February 2013. Not just any 12 mile walk/run race, but a grueling 12 mile course with every imaginable obstacle out there (seriously, view some of them here), called Tough Mudder


Tough Mudder has partnered with the Wounded Warrior Project so that each event provides support and awareness for WWP. However, I also decided to personally set a goal of raising $150 in support. That’s where you come in. This pledge will all go to The Wounded Warrior Project and I wanted to see what extra I could do to help (besides trying to just make it thru the race).

Here are a few reasons why you might consider supporting me in this:

    • It goes towards a great cause and one that is largely needed
    • I’ll be more motivated to train and run knowing there are other backers and supporters that have supported me in this
    • There will be a special thank you for all those who donate
    • And it’s tax deductible (just saying, but it is)

While it’s easy to think that if I just get 15 cents from every Facebook friend then this goal should easily be accomplished, I know that won’t be the case (also because donations can only be made in $1 increments). But I do ask that you might consider joining me in this adventure and helping me reach my $150 goal. You can donate on my race page here.

If you want to learn more about Tough Mudder and the Wounded Warrior Project, check out their websites, or watch the video below.

Thanks again to all our Veterans.

Visit my support page.

 

Disclaimer, this a bit of an exclusive post, meaning that it directly effects Biola grads. So while I was in no way, shape, or form, paid or asked to write this. The opportunities are for Biola grads. But I hope all readers can still find value from it. So Biola grad or not, you’re welcome to read.

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Alumni. It’s a word that causes many different feelings for people. Typically though it sends us into a highly reflective state, looking back at the memories of the school, team, or program that we are alumni of.

For a season of life, you shared that time with people who are now, fellow Alumni. Many hours in classes, lots of practices, enough reading and homework to satisfy us for life, late night food runs and way too many video games.

Meeting someone who is a graduate of the same school is supposed to be an instant bond, equivalent of a family like relationship. Some schools have great alumni networks, others, not so much. Either way, I’m proud to call myself an Biola Alum. Was it a perfect time, no. Was it a learning time, yes. Would I have done things differently looking back, maybe, but I’m pretty happy with how it’s panned out. It’s impossible to change the past anyway, which is why I’m excited to see what Biola is doing to help connect the past to the present.

Through talking with friends and connections, I’ve learned Biola is investing in ways to stay in touch with their alumni (and not just so they can ask for donations). Rather, through trying to reconnect and strengthen the Alumni network. At Biola, many of us dreamed of unique ways to influence, change, and impact the world. After graduating though, the reality check that is life and the real word sometimes changes things and it can be very encouraging to walk along side and connect with Biola Alumni working with the same fortitude and hope that you are. Biola is beginning a unique string of events to help foster Alumni relationships, and the first one coming up is the Annual Biola Weekend, October 5-6, which should be a pretty sweet time.

So if you are a Biola Alum looking to attend the event, here are two quick action steps to help you:

  1. Take 30 seconds (actually, maybe 45) and check your calendar for the weekend of October 5-6. When you see that you have nothing scheduled, give someone around you a high five. If it’s booked, then select the events you have scheduled and press the delete key (pretty easy right?).
  2. Once you do that, take a look at some of the events going on below (or visit the website). I’m not going to say you should go to all of them, but I will say there are a few that will probably be great to attend. Personally I vote for Punk N’Pie, The Reunion Receptions on Metzger Lawn (they’re raffling off Apple products for goodness sakes! Which is enough to get me there), and of course the volleyball game (Go Eagles!).

I hope you can join me ,and many other Biola Alumni, that weekend. And if you’re a little on the fence about going, let me just say this,

You’ve probably experienced all the awkward conversations you could’ve just going to Biola, so you should easily be able to get thru this weekend. Second, if you’re worried you won’t know anyone or will feel out of place, then bring a fellow Biola Alum with you or feel free to come hang out with me, I’d be glad to see you!

Here some other events going on if they’re more up your alley, but it should be a great weekend. Be sure to visit the website too as some events require registration (register here)

 

FRIDAY

12:00 – 1:30 p.m. Dine and Dialogue: Lunch with Bible Professors

Join some of Biola’s most beloved Bible professors for lunch. Hear their stories, along with the stories of students and alumni whose lives they’ve touched. You won’t want to miss this opportunity!

Guests are $10

 

12:00 – 3:00 p.m. Residence Halls Open House Hours 

Parents, are you curious how your student has added their own special flair to their dorm room? Alumni, do you wonder if Sigma still has those burnt-orange countertops that were so cool back in the 80′s? Take this opportunity to visit the residence halls and give the occupants a reason to make their beds!

 

2:00 – 3:15 p.m. The Best of Cinema & Media Arts Short Films

Enjoy a showcase of recent student and faculty short films from the Cinema & Media Arts Department. View three short films and learn from the directors about their motivation and purpose for creating these stories.

 

4:30 – 7:00 p.m. Biola Street Fair and Family Barbecue

Gather the family for an old-fashioned barbecue and street fair! While you enjoy grilled chicken, picnic salads and homemade biscuits, browse the rows of arts and crafts booths* at the street fair. We’ll have a DJ, balloon artists and a whole lot of fun going on! The Street Fair is free, but items are available for purchase.

Barbecue tickets for guests are $10

Children 5 and under are free

Students with a meal plan can swipe their Biola ID card**

 

7:30 – 10:00 p.m. Punk n’ Pie

They can sing! They can dance! You’re sure to be entertained at this fast-growing Biola tradition as students compete in a top-notch talent show performing their most ridiculous and amazing tricks. And true to its name, everyone is welcome to enjoy FREE pie following the show, courtesy of Associated Students!

 

8:00 – 10:30 p.m. Coffee House and Art Walk

Relax and reminisce with a cup of coffee in front of the fireplace. Then stroll through the outdoor art gallery featuring student, faculty and alumni pieces of work. It’s the perfect time to catch up with old friends and make some new ones while you enjoy a cup o’ joe on us! Sponsored by the Alumni Board.

 

SATURDAY

8:00 – 10:00 a.m. 2nd Annual Biola Weekend 5K Run/Walk 

Join President Corey in a fun run around campus to start off your Saturday morning. Participants will receive an event t-shirt and enjoy live music as we run to raise funds for Biola’s Social Justice Ministry in partnership with Prison Fellowship Ministries. Prizes will be awarded for best male and female times, best alumni and parent times, in addition to some other fun categories – stay tuned for details! A ministry fair featuring student and alumni ministries will await you at the finish line.

Guest runners are $10

Children 10 and under are free

Check-in begins at 7:00 a.m. at the Bell Tower! All guests must provide a release form to participate. Click here to download the form and don’t forget to bring it with you to the race!

 

10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Brunch with the President

Whether you ran the 5K or slept in a little, you won’t want to miss this late morning breakfast with our beloved president, Dr. Barry H. Corey. Guests will enjoy a plentiful buffet of egg frittata, breakfast potatoes, apple-wood smoked bacon, and a variety of fruits, pastries, and breakfast beverages while they hear the President share his dreams for the future of Biola.

Guests are $15

Children 5 and under are free

 

12:30 – 1:30 p.m. Biola Heritage-in-the-Making Walking Tour 

Biola’s campus has gone through a lot of changes, including the most recent additions of Talbot East, the Biola University Center for Christian Thought and the Fireplace Pavilion. Join us for a walking tour of campus, hear the stories behind these beautiful new spaces and learn what’s on the horizon.

 

12:30 – 4:00 p.m. T3 Talks

Intelligent talks by accomplished alumni from an array of backgrounds and professions. Interact with six high-profile Christian communicators: a filmmaker, a published authority on Victorian literature, a medical entrepreneur, a sought-after fashion designer . . . and more.

1:00 – 2:00 p.m. USTA Tennis Play Day

Kids ages 5-10, in celebration of Nickelodeon’s Worldwide Day of Play, join us for some tennis on Biola’s beautifully refurbished courts! Play Days are designed to give kids court time in a fun, low-pressure, non-elimination setting where they can develop and enhance their tennis skills. To register your child for this free event, click ONCE then and complete the form.

 

2:00 – 4:30 p.m. PRISM Concert

The PRISM concert is consistently one of the most popular concerts of our conservatory’s season. Featuring a wide range of music and performers, including large and small ensembles, and instrumental and vocal soloists, it is the opportunity of the year to see and hear the complete spectrum of the Conservatory of Music as it is refracted through the creative energy of its students and faculty. Tickets must be purchased through the Conservatory. Please visit their website at academics.biola.edu/music/events or call (562) 903-4892.

 

4:00 – 5:00 p.m. Reunion Receptions

Enjoy a time of reconnecting and catching up with former classmates and Biola alumni. In a weekend full of memories and friends, this will be a formal time set apart before the main banquet to enjoy refreshments, pictures and mementos from Biola’s rich history while you get reacquainted with alumni from your time at Biola. A prize drawing for those in attendance along with a chance to see old friends and meet new ones makes this an event not to miss!

 

5:00 – 7:00 p.m. “Best of Biola” Dinner & Silent Auction

“What’s for dinner”, you ask? Biola Weekend’s Spotlight Dinner & Silent Auction is the culmination of the “Best of Biola” activities, and you won’t want to miss it. Spend time reviewing our selection of auction items, then bid generously – your donation will directly benefit student scholarships. Engage with students, alumni, parents and families over a delicious student-served meal and enjoy moving stories spotlighting challenges and triumphs of alumni, students and faculty experiences. Keynote address from Talbot’s new dean, Dr. Clint Arnold, and entertainment by talented alumni and student musicians.

Guests are $25

Children 5 and under are free

7:00 – 8:00 p.m. Dessert Reception

Cap off your dinner with coffee and dessert in our outdoor coffee house under the stars. Enjoy a laid back atmosphere complete with comfy seating and an outdoor fireplace as you continue your conversations from dinner.

 

7:00 p.m. Biola Eagles Women’s Volleyball Game

Cheer on our Eagles’ Volleyball team as they go up against conference rival, Concordia University. Both teams are ranked in the NAIA Top 10 and the winner of this match will have the inside track to the GSAC Title! Limited Tickets are available atathletics.biola.edu/tickets, so be sure to get yours today!

Guests are $6

 

7:30 – 10:00 p.m. PRISM Concert 

The PRISM concert is consistently one of the most popular concerts of our conservatory’s season. Featuring a wide range of music and performers, including large and small ensembles, and instrumental and vocal soloists, it is the opportunity of the year to see and hear the complete spectrum of the Conservatory of Music as it is refracted through the creative energy of its students and faculty. Tickets must be purchased through the Conservatory. Please visit their website at academics.biola.edu/music/events or call (562) 903-4892.

 

 

Every year as summer winds down I replay the back-to-school scenario in my head where you go to your first class and the teacher has you write on essay on “what you did during summer.” Thankfully I’m not going back to school, nor do I have to write any essays of the sort.

If I did though, it would simply be titled Weddings: time, money, travel and all the crazy components that are involved (or as my coworkers would probably say, Weddings: Always the bridesmaids, never the bride…yea they think they’re funny).

funny-wedding-cake

I’ll be honest, to a degree it can be easy to complain about all the weddings I’ve had. I mean, just this summer alone I’ve tallied up:

  • 3 bachelor parties (including 2 in Vegas)
  • 6 weddings (1 out of state, 2 in Nor-Cal, which should basically count as out of state)
  • 2,500 miles by plane (hello Kansas City!)
  • 6 airports (Vegas, Ontario, Salt Lake, San Francisco, Orange County, Kansas City)
  • 5 hotels
  • 1,900 miles and over 35 hours of driving
  • Way too many awkward conversations with people I’ll never see again (sorry if that’s you).

That doesn’t even include gifts, tuxes, suits and all that jazz. So you see, it could be very easy to view all of this in a rather cynical perspective.

Instead, there’s been a lot of great things to takeaway form all these weddings. For one, I’ve built up quite a solid wedding rating system (similar to the new ESPN quarterback rating system). Everything from the best man speech, the pastor officiating, walk in and walk out approach of the wedding parties, and of course the  DJ (who can make or break the whole wedding) and many other things, but we’ll save that breakdown for a later post.

However, the most enjoyable thing about all these wedding, and the one things that trumps anything that might remotely seem like an inconvenience, is simply being able to witness and celebrate great friends stepping into marriage.

As one best man said, “in a day when marriage needs redeeming, it’s a blessing to be apart of weddings that reveal the truth behind man and woman becoming one.”  I revel in the joy that it has been to be apart of such special moments and witness that starting point of what will be great marriages for these friends.

And that, was my summer…or at least most of the weekends…

What did you do this summer and how many weddings did you go to?

 

This weekend I had the privelage to take part in thee World Famous Camp Pendelton Mud Run. As I told a friend, it wasn’t necessarily on my bucket list of things to do, but you can be sure I added it, and crossed it off! Now, don’t let the big grin, mud mustache and goatee fool you, this picture below is indeed a smile of satisfaction, unfortunately it’s also one of regret…let me explain why.

Mud Run

I had two goals for the event. On the broad scope, I wanted to finish (hallelujah, goal achieved!). More specifically, I wanted to finish in under an hour (goal NOT achieved, finished in 1:03…so close).

Finishing the event was a weird balance between the excitement of actually doing it, and the frustration of not having been able to shave off those three minutes. However, as I stopped and thought about the event as a whole, it humbly reminded me of two very important things.

  • The only thing greater than accomplishing a goal, is the feeling of satisfaction in knowing that the preparation paid off.
  • Regret is a feeling you only experience after failing to do something you know you should’ve done. 

Yup, I said it, regret. I regret not training more diligently for the event. I had a schedule, planned it out well, but I didn’t have a goal (1 hour) until it was too late, and therefore along the way I allowed myself to succumb to the natural excuses that we often tell ourselves when it comes to preparing and training for big events, projects, and presentatinos. Excuses such as, “I can do it tomorrow, it’s so far away,” or “I’m too tired to train and feel a little sick, better rest up.” You ever used these lines before?

Benjamin Franklin said, “failing to prepare, is preparing to fail.” He never said how long preparation should take though. Well, I now know for certain that the ratio of preparation or practice, to actual performance, is far greater then one to 1:1. Sure, I would’ve loved to run 6 miles, and be ready for the race, but of course that wasn’t possible. Now you’re probably thinking, “Andrew, of course you couldn’t do that, that’s just dumb.” But how many of us are failing with the exact same logic in other areas of life, whether work or personal ambition and goals?

I think many of us like to plan, but I don’t think a lot of us like to prepare. Think about the last big project, event, or presentation you had, how much time did you spend preparing? Here are some interesting facts:

  • In his book, Outliers, Malcom Gladwell refers to the law of 10,000 hours. In that it takes 10,000 hours of doing something, to become an expert (that’s 3.5 years, if you worked 8 hours a day for 7 days a week!)
  • Michael phelps swims on average 50 miles per week (85km. Yet he never competes in race longer than a 1/4 of a mile (400m). That’s a 200:1 ratio
  • According to Toastmaster, the best way to prepare for a speech is to practice it 30-50 times…yikes
  • My race was 6.2 miles, in the course of 2.5 months leading up to it, I only ran 40 miles…not exactly a staggering amount (Coincidence to being 3 minutes over? I think not)

You get the idea though. So where do you begin? How to you take the 30,000 foot view, the big dream, and break it down into an actual goal to be accomplished? Here are 5 simple ways.

  1. Define success: from what you know now, what will success look like when you’ve finished
  2. Clarify goals: now that you have success defined, what are the goals and benchmarks required to achieve success
  3. Break it into Bite-size Pieces: this is key and where most people fail. Don’t trick yourself into thinking if you just had two weeks straight to get it done, you would. Accept it will take time, and take baby steps along the way (and reward yourself when you complete parts of it)
  4. Set a Training Schedule: if you’re like me, than this is huge. Nothing better than a calendar and visual reminder to service as a slap in the face of work you need to get done. It can also be equally exciting to track the progress being made.
  5. Envision Completing It: every now and then, step back and think about the end. Sometimes we get our head stuck in the sand working away, but recalibrate and go back to the vision and the end goal.

The most encouraging thing aside from finishing the race, was the humble reminder that despite not achieving my goal, remembering that preparation, when done right, is always worth it. Especially when it helps facilitate success and greatness in the moments that matter most, because regret only occurs after it’s too late to change.

When was a time you didn’t prepare enough and how did it end up?

Routines are merely a compilation of a multiple types of habits that are regularly followed. Whether we recognize it or not, we cherish our routine as it helps keeps us sane and give us what we feel like is some control in our lives. Just because we have a routine though, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a good one. The saying goes “failing to prepare, is preparing to fail” and some of us have routines that prepare us to fail in our daily activities. If routines are a compilation of habits, then the focus must go to how we can change the habits and recognize that some of the habits that fill our routine aren’t exactly productive and can use a bit of an adjustment. Experts say it takes 21 days to create a new habit. Sites like habitforge.com will even help you develop these new habits with daily reminders and check-ins on how you did for the day in order to help you achieve the goal and entrain the new activity into a daily accomplishment. Let’s take a look at it from a different angle though. Rather then trying to change thru creating a new habit, is it possible to achieve equal or greater results thru “losing a habit?” And how would one go about losing a habit? 

I recently had a two week hiatus (some might call it a vacation), but I spent two weeks with no computer, no social media activity, and besides photography and researching the trip, minimal tech engagement. Even more so, the way the culture and time worked where I was at, it completely thru me off my routine. Gyms were none existent, dinner’s didn’t start until 9pm at the earliest, and I was definitely going to bed in the AM hours. It was impossible to keep my normal routines! What I found even more revealing is that when I returned home to my “normal” working and living schedule, I felt lost and confused. My normal routines of sanity seemed distant to me. Instead of soaking in the feeling of forgetfulness and going back to the normal way of doing things, I realized I now had a fresh start at crafting some new habits of routine. All the sudden, coffee in the morning wasn’t the most important thing, following along with the daily activity on twitter wasn’t a desired distraction, and procrastinating and wasting time on my computer was greatly decreased. So the experts may say it takes 3 weeks to start a new habit, but I’m convinced it only take two weeks to lose one.

I’m sure I could’ve easily picked up my daily habits (some of which are better than others), but I decided to take advantage of a chance to start some new routines and be intentional about changing the way I go about my day, rather than succumbing to what is usually the norm. Despite the current plan we follow, I do think there are still things we can change and improve in our day to day activities to make us more successful. I know for certain there are dreams, ambitions, and projects on your “after-work” to do list that you haven’t yet accomplished. What can you do to help reach those goals and lose a habit that is preventing you from getting there? The first most important thing though in this process of evaluating your routine, and changing habits, is to recognize that part of it is admitting failure. This alone often prevents changing what we should or need to. Men will probably be faulty of this more than women (or at least I am), but sometimes the need to change a routine is the acknowledgment that we don’t have enough self discipline with the way it’s being managed now and is thus a sign of weakness. Be free from those chains and get excited for ways to take action and change those areas.

To be transparent and provide some examples, here are some of the recent changes I’ve implemented since being back and why I chose to do so. Disclaimer (a lot of them focus around eliminating distractions and creating a clear path to eliminate even having to say no, thus having things never appear. Principles of this come from the book Switch, one of my all time favorites). 

1. No more early AM coffee

Those that know me closely must surely be thinking I’ve gone crazy, as I’m one of the biggest coffee snobs out there. The words morning and coffee are usually inseparable. Since coming back tho that has drastically changed. Even better, I’m drinking a lot more water, and have found to have more energy during the days. Why? Simply because any person with common sense knows that anything not used in moderation is a bad thing…me and coffee/caffeine fit right into that category.

2. Removing all push notifications from my iPhone

It’s nice to feel popular and the facade that we’re cool having our phone go off consistently with new messages and alerts, but honestly, they’re a distraction and I’m willing to admit it. I do need to have email on my phone, but I don’t need to have it ping me every time a new message comes in. Why? I have better focus on the more important priorities and can better time block and batch activities for items like email and social media. (For explanation of batching, check out Tim Ferriss’ book the 4 Hour Workweek, or his blog on it here).

3. Making my iPad a true “learning device”

The only thing worse than a bunch of notifications, is a bunch of notifications on multiple devices. So I have adopted this on the iPad as well, but also taken some more extreme measures in removing email completely and only using my iPad for reading and learning. Why? I told myself (aka, justified the purchase) when I bought my iPad I could use it as a great learning and teaching tool. So time to enforce that and use the beautiful screen that it has to track blogs, read e-books, etc. And that’s exactly what I’ve done.

4. Computer Adjustments

A blessing and curse is that I have a personal and work laptop, which are the exact same computer. It can be great, because at times I have the ability to work from anywhere. I also have the ability to work, from anywhere. As a result drawing the line on stopping work emails and tasks can be difficult, and I’ll be the first to say I have work-a-holic tendencies. I’ve taken little steps again, aimed at email, and shut my email program off every night before going to bed. That way when I open my computer first thing, there is more action required to get to email, thus more opportunity to resist.

5. Goodbye to the radio

I use to be a chronic audiobook listener, but over the last year I have found excuses not to engage and use them while driving to and from work. I told myself excuses like sports talk in the morning was “too important” and I was “too tired” at the end of the day to want to think that much. So I just listened to the radio…and lots of commercials. I’ve since kissed those goodbye and enlisted the amazing iPhone app Downcast. It does an awesome job at easily managing different podcasts and I just plug those into my car and listen to either those, or audiobooks, to and from work. It’s much more stimulating than the commercials I hear on the radio.

6. Prioritizing and time blocking tomorrow’s activities, the day before

There are obviously certain tasks and big projects I’m aware of that need to get done. However I’ve realized that once work starts, I jump right it, and sometimes lose the discipline to effectively step back, and prioritize. I believe time blocking and prioritizing is one of the hardest activities to do (and most valuable), only because it’s the epitome of 1 step back for like, 4 steps forward. The idea that I’d spend an hour organizing and planning what work to do, rather than just doing the work can seem outrageous and foolish at times. But it’s invaluable to do, and I’ve learned I effectively get it done by doing it the night before. It makes waking up much easier and the day far more productive.

Those are my 6. And i’m hoping that by continuing to successfully implement them, it will create more margin to accomplish other important dreams and goals of mine, one of them which is continued attention to this blog.

Not everyone can take a two week break, so what are some ways you lose your habits and more importantly, trade them with a new routine of positive replacements?