A run for fun.

Thursday, I was able to attend a presentation from Paul Van Den Bosch. I think most of you will know him as the coach of cyclocrosser Sven Nys. He shared his vision about moving and sport.

Unizo Limburg organised this session with Paul so that he could explain the importance of moving for entrepreneurs. Fortunately, non-entrepreneurs like me could subscribe too. So thursday 5:45 pm, I stepped into the car to drive from Brussels to Hasselt. Plenty of time to get there. At least, I thought so. Leaving Brussels went slow but the worst was yet to come… Getting past Leuven was like hell. I think I stood there for one hour and moving 1 km. But since I left on time, I arrived at 20:10 pm. Five minutes before the start of the presentation, lucky me. Or was it the margin I took that saved me?

To be honest, I was a bit disappointed with the number of people that were present. I expected a big room with hundred people, eager to learn how to become as good as Sven Nys ;). Instead, there were 20 people present. All from Limburg, but that was not a problem friendly as they are.

We started immediately and Paul told us that he would not explain how to create a training schedule and what to eat. He would bring us a story about how to make sure you move with the correct motivation. Ofcourse everyone was surprised, no schedules? But this surprise quickly dissapeared.

I’m not going to tell you everything Paul has told us. It’s up to you to go listen yourself, it’s really worth the time!

A run for fun. That is my sentence to summarize his story. You should enjoy moving. Moving should be fun, it should give you energy. Energy you need to live your life and fight the stress of your work. I think there is a difference between why you run and specific goals. I run because I like to run. It’s a way to build up energy and to get rid of stress. Starting in june I will add a specific goal to this. I want to be ready for the start of soccer season end of july. I think it’s ok to set a goal. As long as you keep the fun. If you have to force yourself to go running or cycling, you do not have fun anymore.

Paul told us that the reason why we want to move is the most important. If you don’t have a why, you will give up sooner or later.

After reading this post, have you thought about your why? Please let me know in the comments.

Why?

Podcasts all over the place.

I think it must be one year ago I discovered podcasts. I read something about it on Lifehacker and wanted to try some out. Now I’m subscribed to almost sixty podcasts and it’s my main source of knowledge.

What makes podcasts so attractive?

Well, they are mostly free, easy to follow and exist in all sort of topics. The main reason for me to like podcasts is that I can listen to them while driving to my work or when I bring my birds to the various tournaments in Belgium. They’re also handy while I’m feeding my birds. I can’t read a book or watch television when I’m busy, but my ears are always free. When I take everything into account, I listen at least 15 hours of podcasts every week. That is 15 hours of valuable information to gather while traveling or doing something else. There are worser things in life ;).

How did I found so many podcasts?

It’s like reading blogs. You read a post that links to a related post and the train has left the station. Before you know, you can’t keep up anymore. Every day, new podcast episodes are waiting for me to be listened.

How to keep track of all those episodes?

Most of the time, I listen to a podcast episode via my iPhone which I always have with me. I started with the Podcasts app from Apple itself. This app was another trigger for me to start listening podcasts. Early on, I discovered that the Podcasts app from Apple could not fullfill all my wishes when I started subscribing more podcasts. I wanted an app that could download new episodes automatically, create playlists and rank them by priority. Based on reviews and recomendations in the podcasts, I chose Downcast which I shortly discussed in a previous blogpost. Up until now, I’m really pleased with my choice. I use the app on my iPhone, iPad and now a couple of weeks on my MacBook Air. It costs some money, but you get bang for the buck. Everything is synced on all my devices via iCloud. Allthough I sometimes have a problem an my iPad or MacBook Air since I don’t open the app that much on those devices.

Which podcast do I listen to?

My alltime favorite is Mac Power Users, hosted by Katie Floyd and David Sparks. As the title says, it’s all about Mac and iOS and they has cost me quite some money ;). I love the tips and tricks they share and I’m pretty sure they’ve saved me a lot of hours by automating as much as possible.

This Is Your Life with Michael Hyatt is the podcast that inspires me the most. It is great to learn from someone with his experience. I’m able to lift both my personal as my work life to a higher level by applying his lessons.

The iMore show is my way to keep track of all new things in techworld. They cover mostly Apple devices but always with a blink to the other players in this market. Quite often, they’ve also lead me to a solution for something that went wrong with my Apple device. Thanks for that!

There are a lot more podcasts but there is one I want to mention as an extra: Entrepreneur On Fire with John Lee Dumas. I don’t listen to every episode but his enthusiasm is inspiring. It’s a daily podcast where John interviews an entrepreneur everyday. A great quote or a good book is always nearby.

That’s it, time to listen some podcasts!

Morning run.

Saturday, I went for a morning run. Just because it sounded like a good idea. A lot of people say it gives you a kickstart of the day so I wanted to give it a chance.

I’m used to run in the evening after work. That is just the easiest thing to do. You come home, eat something and go for it. It’s a good way to forget what happened that day and get some mental rest. The problem is that it’s hard to avoid the temptation of watching TV after dinner. After a long work day there is nothing so easy and welcome as just laying around in the sofa. But is this really what your body wants? Does watching TV give you the mental rest you want? I don’t think so.

I can hear you thinking: ”Wasn’t this blogpost about going for a run in the morning?”. True. But until now, I’ve always been running in the evening since that fits better in my schedule. And to be honest, during soccer season I don’t run that often besides soccer training. Soccerplayers are lazy you know…

Since I’ve injured myself two times this season I was able to run a bit more than usual. Mostly between 6 and 8 in the evening. I liked it but one time I went for a run immediately after arriving home from work. I had a bad day at work and needed something to release the stress and frustration. A 7k run seemed like a good idea but that didn’t go that well. First, it was dark and I needed to wear a fluo jacket which I do not like at all. Since I wanted to survive my run, I had no other choice but to wear it. Second, I went before dinner and got hungry after 3k.I can assure you that running with flat legs is not a great experience. But the worst of all was the traffic. I live in a quiet town with a lot of fields and woods but cars were all over the place. I even had to jump in the field one time to avoid an accident. It seems there are a lot of grumpy drivers on the road in the evening. After all, I survived. The experience was not that great but I managed to think about something else than work. At least that’s something.

So last saturday I left home at 7:55 AM and what an experience it was. I agree, it’s not that early but I can assure you that a lot of people are still sleeping then. It’s a different feeling, running in the morning. executive_morning_routines1The head is still fresh, just as the legs. During your run, it’s real quiet outside and you can see the world waking up. Stores are opening, lights go on and people go get their newspaper. It was cold when I left but by the time I got home, the sun was shining and the temperature was nice. This wakening of the earth really gives you a boost. It let’s you feel energized and gives you that kickstart you’ve always dreamed of.

Since I enjoyed my morning run, I’ll take this even further the coming weeks by going for a run before I leave for work. That means getting up at 5:30 am, leave home at 5:45 and run for an hour. We will see what it brings. If I like it, I’ll have to reschedule my morning ritual a bit towards my ideal morning… Step by step we are getting closer. I’ll keep you posted!

Get noticed.

We live in a social noisy world. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram… A lot of ways to express your message without leaving the door. But how do you make sure your message get’s noticed by other people?

The book ‘Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World’ from Gary Vaynerchuck explains you all the secrets about telling your story in this social noisy world. He tells his own story and shares his experiences with real life examples.

Do you want to get noticed? Gary is convinced that you should invest in the way you bring your message. A lame tweet every day will not convince people to focus on what you’ve got to say. You should adapt to the channel you’re using. A good tweet has other requirements than a fabulous Instagram photo. Think about your message and how to bring it to the people. The most important thing stays the core of your message, but spending a little bit of time on the package will make a difference.

I’m convinced that Gary’s book will give you an advantage on those that didn’t read it, so grab the book. It’s worth it!

Stop calling in your car.

Have you seen them last week? Those driving their car without their hands? You see them everywhere and they do not seem to realize it’s dangerous.

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It’s unbelievable people still do not call handsfree in their car. Carkits, bluetooth, headphones and all the technology that is available and we still risk the lives of the people around us. You’ve got a simple choice: call handsfree in the car or do not call in your car. Simple, isn’t it? I know that carkits and bluetooth are not standard options in a lot of cars and that they cost money. But I am convinced that the life of other people is more valuable. Yes, it’s not only your own life that is in danger. You are not alone on the road and one simple phonecall can ruin someone else his life.

What will it be? Want to keep making phonecalls in the car? Drive to your garage and ask for a carkit or use a Parrot. At least, use you headphones with build in micro. It’s better than nothing. This does not mean that you are safe all the way. The road is still the most important thing in your car along with the people around you.

Do you like to achieve?

I do. Ofcourse I like to. I want to achieve a lot in my life. From being a director of a big company till saving a PDF without margins.

I guess everyone likes to achieve things. It is in the nature of people to hunt for achievements. You want to cook the best dinner, score the winning goal in an important soccergame or just get your room cleaned every week. Achieving something does not always mean that you’ve set a goal for it. It can be as simple as reaching the gas station with no fuel left in the trunk. Maybe you didn’t notice it, but you achieved something by finding this blogpost. It will make you notice your next achievement.

We always strive to get noticed. That’s difficult. Look around you and you know why. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, podcasts, books and a lot of other media make it easy to get noticed. But the overflood of media also make it easy to stay unnoticed (I’ve just read ‘Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World’ by Gary Vaynerchuk). That is why you need to value your own achievements. As little as they are. The social attention does not make your achievement, it only hypes it.

Last week I created a document in Microsoft Word (Yes, I know I shouldn’t…) and wanted to save this as a PDF. Unfortunately the PDF contained an annoying margin at the bottom I wanted to get rid of. Several Google searches and experiments later I still got the margin and I felt bad. How stupid could I be? I went to bed and started with fresh energy the next day but without luck. Until I was reading a blogpost from David Sparks. Watching his screencast just gave me a final idea: remove my printer from my MacBook Air. Guess what?! The margins were gone. It felt like such a big deal and I was really happy. It costed me two evenings but it was worth it. I smiled for the rest of the evening and was able to send the document.

This was just an example of how simple an achievement can be. We often neglect this legal drug but it really can motivate you. You should use this whenever you can. Having it difficult or struggling with a project? Use your imagination and look for your achievements. It will help you to get on and reach that big achievement everyone dreams about!

It’s not that simple.

It will only take a minute. That’s easy, I’ll finish it today. We shouldn’t do it like that, there is a quick way to do this. Isn’t it finished yet? You hear these sentences every day, but why does everyone think everything we do is simple?

I hate it when someone says it’s simple. It makes me feel stupid when I don’t get it right within a minute. But that’s not the only problem. Because people say everything is simple, we are all overbooked. We start the day with telling what we’ll do and overestimate ourselves. When you believe the others, all you’re doing is simple. So what do you do? You take up some extra tasks, to fill your day. You don’t want to be the one who’s slowing down the team because he doesn’t understand those easy tasks. But we are not helping ourselves by doing this. We promise stuff we can’t deliver. That easy task takes longer than expected and before you know, you are making extra hours.

At work, it’s part of my job to make estimations of the work I do. Every task that is assigned to our team, should be estimated. Most of the time, we do this together. What you see is that some people always have very low estimations and others go for the higher ones. I am always tempted to go for low estimations, since you don’t want to disappoint your bosses. You know they have a plan in their head and high estimations will ruin that. But the more we underestimate, the more people will stop believing in us. Underestimation means delivering only part of what you promised and makes people angry. Unfortunately, those angry people sometimes force us to lower our estimations. Their smile, their puppy eyes or just their words ’It’s simple as that’ makes us soft and lower our estimations.

It’s like an addiction you need to get rid of. I try to conquer this by doubling estimations. If I think I can do it in one day, I ask two. I know that sounds crazy but it is reality. There are always things that pop up, things that interrupt your workflow and make you lose that precious time. You should also stop saying it’s simple, because it isn’t. Try to remember this: ’It’s not that simple’. Starting you computer is simple. No more battery power, problems with your harddrive, is it still that simple? Before you know, that one hour you needed for an easy task has passed by calling IT-support. And the next five minutes will be spend explaining your boss that the task hasn’t finished yet. Funny isn’t it?

Next time you estimate the duration of a task, think twice and avoid disappointment.

’Mijn leven. Sven Nys’, a book about cyclocrosser Sven Nys.

I know, the book ‘Mijn leven. Sven Nys.’ is in Dutch so a lot of you won’t be able to read it. Still, I think this book deserves a place on your bookshelf. Mijn leven. Sven Nys.Like I said in a previous blogpost, it made me read again.

Who knows Sven Nys? I think a lot of you do. But I suppose that a lot of people think that he’s just a cyclocrosser with a lot of talent. Well, that’s not completely true. Wait, don’t panic. He is a great cyclocrosser but only because he worked very hard and still does.

In the book you can read that he trained so hard that he sometimes forgot that there is more in life than cycling. After some disappointments in the big championships, he learned from his team that he needed to relax from time to time if he wanted to have a long carreer. That was more than 10 years ago…

Besides his passion another thing that jumps out in the book, is the importance of his team. Not only his teammates in the cross itself, but his family, his son, friends and so on. Without them, he would not be who he is now. They help him to become better. They help him when something goes wrong. Ofcourse he has the legs that need to perform but without the mind and support of his team, he would be lost.

That should be a lesson for everyone. Not only for those of you cycling are playing soccer. All of you need a team that you can count on. You need people that are there in difficult times.

Buy the book.