It’s Never as Simple as You Think



heart, where birthday celebrations involve beer at 8:30am.

Trying to get better at listening to my gut. So Sunday night I was operating on extreme sleep debt and hoped to get to bed at a reasonable hour. Didn’t happen. So as I was setting my alarm for the gym I realized it just wasn’t a good idea… so I set the alarm for an hour and a half later instead! Then I proceeded to get 5.5 hours of sleep the next night and go to the gym anyway but that was more a matter of “if I don’t work out now I am literally going to chew off my own hand.” OK not quite that bad but when I’m stressed I *need* to work out. This is the balance I need to figure out how to walk….

But here is the problem. I have talked before about how similar work and CrossFit are when it comes to the mental focus required to do well. By Tuesday evening I was so mentally exhausted that I had what I can only describe as a serious mental fail on the deadlift. We were doing 3 rep max so I do a pretty decent set at 90kgs then I added on another 5kgs and just literally could NOT get my mind in the game. I had about 3-4 fails when I picked it up about 1cm and realized that my back wasn’t straight … finally I picked it up once and my coach congratulated me and I had to point out that my form was bad. It’s not about can I lift the weight, because I can lift a lot more than that with bad form. It’s about the form, and I could NOT concentrate on the form. It actually kind of pissed me off. Well, it happens at work sometimes when I realize I am just not effective anymore and need to take a break but this was the first time I hit a literal mental block while working out. As I said the other night, the two are exactly the same. Luckily the metcon part of the workout only required burpees and resistance sprints, and I had someone screaming at me the entire 3:30 that it took. Then on Wednesday we did bench press and finally, I didn’t run out of time before I ran out of strength! 51kg for a 5 rep max, not too shabby. Well considering my mother has been saying since I was about 14 that I could bench press 100 pounds, it’s about time I actually did it.

So Monday morning I went to the U.S. Consulate in Tokai to pay far too much money to get a notarized document requesting my criminal record from the state of Massachusetts. The first of paying way too much money to get a work permit begins…

Not even entirely sure what all happened after that; the day was a bit of a blur. Met about recruitment issues, went over some of the Purple Heart business case with the guys who work in Purple Heart, and headed down to the V&A Waterfront to check a site that we are pitching building into. It’s funny to see an empty space, and watch an architect look at it. They can just see things I can’t see.

So the unfortunate part about being invited to a co-worker’s house for dinner without being told a specific time is that before I knew it it was 7:58pm and I was still at work! 10 minutes and 1 frantic apologetic text message later I was wondering where all the time had gone! On the plus side I didn’t have to cook dinner and got to enjoy some pleasant company and a nice balcony with a different perspective on the city than mine. But soon enough that all ended and I went home to try frantically to draw up the pictures in my head regarding the idea factory to present to the company the next morning.

Sadly, lack of sleep and proper preparation took their toll and I did not communicate as clearly as I would have wished. The lesson, though, is good (and would have been obvious if I’d paused 30 seconds to think about it beforehand … hate when I make avoidable mistakes).

But then I spent a looong time talking about this model with a co-worker. A few lessons out of this:
1. Just because I’m pragmatic doesn’t mean everyone can remember that when you are talking about something very big
2. You can never assume that another part of the story is just going to work
Interesting, though, I am re-thinking some of the model but more on the periphery and the how than the what. But, of course, it’s just not as simple as you think, and every argument you hear must either help you strengthen your argument or re-evaluate. Because fighting “not invented here” is very, VERY important. It amazed me, by the way, how no one here I have talked to about the NIH syndrome had never heard of it. Not sure if it’s an American thing or just a software thing (or both).

The remainder of the day remained hectic … we had an issue with one of the Purple Heart guys, then status meetings for FoodTents and Wines with Heart. After that talked through some recruitment issues before heading out to Philippi to the site of the FoodTents GrowZone that is going in on Monday. Following this, a rush back to the office to negotiate terms of employment with someone we want to bring on to run one of our businesses.

For my sanity, as noted above, I insisted on hightailing out of there at 5 to go to the gym. Following that I went to Camps Bay for dinner at a friend’s new [short-term rental] flat, and after THAT back to my place for another 2.5 hours of getting the download on everything that has to happen in preparation for Monday’s activation. It is enough to make your head spin, I tell you!

Most of today was spent coordinating various activities around the GrowZone. The details are boring. So now I am sitting here thinking that there is more work to do than time to do it and I know how to get myself out of this mess but it takes time. It’s gotten to the point recently where I’ve become even more blunt than usual (!) with everyone because there just isn’t time to beat around the bush. I am also, to be honest, a little bit terrified for my American friends to arrive because they just won’t tolerate me staying at work to all hours of the night or coming home and working. And that is about the only time that any of my individual contributor work gets done because literally all my time at work is spent working with other people. And even given that there are not enough hours in the working day.

So, I have some things to work on. I also need to stop eating these pistachio nuts…clearly I am stressed! I’ll end with an amusing anecdote from the final Henley dinner. For some reason about halfway through after several glasses of wine we decided to Myers-Briggs each other. One person on the team got me in 3 seconds flat. But that was an exception … I got one of the guys I’d worked with closely but it took me about 30 seconds! And I was laughing the whole time thinking “how Type A are we that we both know our own, and what the criteria area, and, most damning of all, are finding this amusing dinner table conversation!”

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