Back in the groove!

You’d think my princess self would have figured this out by now but sometimes all it takes is just a whine session to fix things. Or maybe it was the fish at Olympia Café Sunday night. I am of the opinion that the olive tapenade there could fix just about anything.

In any event I woke up Monday morning feeling like myself again, and stronger than ever. I was telling a few people this week that once I got past the initial bumpiness of readjusting, and the fact that my time away wasn’t exactly a vacation, I can now see that the time away allowed me to gain some important perspective. Things that before would bother me peripherally are now front and center, but to the degree that I let some of them slide now it’s not because I don’t care or don’t want to go there but because I haven’t yet prioritised it. Everything in its own time.

Re-reading some of the behavioural psychology books combined with some philosophical and metaphysical discussions this week have got me thinking. Always a danger. Our brain is such a funny organism. We are wired to certain things like looking askance at people who don’t look like us (they might be from another tribe and therefore a potential danger) to wanting to see patterns where none exist. Like religions can tend to do this, but even atheism of the metaphysical “the universe has a plan” variety, which I tend to subscribe to but then I find myself wondering if it’s just my little neurons seeing things that aren’t really there. Then again, we do see what we want to see, and ignore evidence to the contrary. That’s why it can be so startling to be confronted with evidence that rocks our world view, and why we find it so hard to give up on old ways of looking at things that no longer serve us, or friends or jobs or relationships that no longer serve us. But then looking back later, well, there is a reason there is a saying that hindsight is 20/20.

One thing I do wonder about is whether I am different or similar to most other people in how I respond to relationships. Like, my one friend was saying the other week that he told his (now ex) that if she broke up with him that would be it, there would be no getting back together after that. Not sure how I feel about that one. But that got me thinking when my one friend Jules was kicked out of St Paul’s (long story, that one) and then ultimately they admitted they’d done wrong and let him back in for the next year. Hey if that were me, I would never have gone back. I would have taken my sick hockey skills over to Cushing (but I guess he missed his friends …). But this seems to be a bit of a pattern with me: not sure if anyone has ever disappointed me and recovered from it, or any close friend I have drifted apart from and then gotten super close again. I know for a fact that if I were ever interested in a guy and lose that interest (maybe he has a girlfriend, or doesn’t like me back, or makes his move once I’ve already lost interest, or somewhere along I realise I’m just no longer feeling it), it doesn’t come back. Maybe the moral of this story is that human relationships are like market windows: there is a time and a place in which there is common ground and interaction of whatever specific nature is appropriate and going to work, and past that window, no. Or maybe it just means I have a particularly bad case of confirmation bias in my little brain.

Well this is far too deep for a Saturday morning. Seeing patterns again where none exist, maybe.

Busy week, but one in which I did a decent job of drawing boundaries for myself and not staying up to all hours working. I actually got 9 hours of sleep on a couple of occasions (well and that 5 hours on Wednesday night we don’t need to talk about). It was also an odd week because on Tuesday I had an all-day workshop hosted by CPUT about business incubators in the Western Cape, and Thursday afternoon through Friday morning were spent in Gordon’s Bay at a Uconomy offsite.

The business incubator workshop was interesting because I met some interesting people, it actually helped refine my thinking around some of my future plans for our accelerator, and it reminded me of the reputation that we have around Cape Town. So, the foundation on which to build some interesting collaborations. I’m finding myself tired of talk (and I’m an even worse talker than the next person). Time to start doing.

This was Lilian’s first week of interning, and unfortunately I was away for a big chunk of it. Will make up for that next week. But she and Christoph had a very interesting idea that we are going to run with over the next several weeks. Will write about it more once we’ve ironed out the details. It’s great to be surrounded by smart, creative people. It’s a blessing, actually.

The rest of the time when I wasn’t busy socialising (lunch with Christoph & Lilian Monday, ironman Justin Wednesday, Eric after work Wednesday, and coffee with Aliwiya Friday afternoon) I ploughed through some of our paid consulting work, managed our several interns, and planned next steps around acceleration for a couple of our projects. We had a twice-postponed Hub master planning session (but we’ll get to it next week); I am quite excited for that.

On Wednesday after gym I went to another Girl Geek Dinner. Silly concept, but I was super happy to be ensconced at the end of the room with Roger and Juliet (who I met that evening, but I expect we’ll be seeing more of each other). I was underwhelmed by the first one; this one was better although the speaker apparently gave the same speech she always does (but hey it was new to me), and we actually got proper books in our goodie bags. Jury’s out on whether or not I will attend the next one, but so far I seem to be 2 for 2 in terms of either meeting or getting to know better a very cool woman so … we’ll see.

I did have to rush out of the restaurant to get home for a Skype call with the lovely and even-more-shockingly-intelligent Caitlin, a blast from my Ask Jeeves-days past. She is working on a very fascinating concept for rural development. Maybe someday I’ll be cool enough for my project to make The Economist. Anyway she wanted to pick my brain and I was happy to let her, as well as to catch up just a bit.

The Uconomy offsite was also very valuable to me. They are formulating a product & service value proposition and go-to-market approach, and it was helpful for me to go and ask a lot of questions, play informal devil’s advocate, ask a lot more questions, and point out risks. Also quite cool to meet their two interns, one of whom is from Cameroon but staying here now, and the other one South African. Two obviously intelligent although quiet ladies. We had a very pleasant and chill evening, although it was too cold to braai (much to my chagrin). The Friday afternoon drive back to Cape Town reminded me of how much I love the drivers here when there was a car broken down and taking up half the fast lane and traffic still managed to flow around it, at 60km/hour. In most places I’ve lived in America, that would have been a half hour backup!

I had a very disappointing experience with Fran on Monday night. I think the problem was that first of all I was too nervous for it, and second of all I taped my hands. I had VERY bad grip issues and was reduced to doing single pullups for the entire round of 15 and 9. Needless to say, I didn’t set a PR and was 38 seconds slower than my time at the cert last month. But, I didn’t rip my hands! Oh, and by the time I got back from retrieving my paleo chocolate cake from work where I’d left it all the food was gone, so that was a bummer. Tuesday was also not good when I strained my right hamstring doing back squat (tied my PR though), and then my toes-to-bar were not very good on that day, and my pistols have deteriorated (another goat to work, *sigh*).

Wednesday was somewhat improved as I set a PR for max kipping pullups without dropping off the bar (19 … didn’t quite get the chin over on the 20th and then I lost my grip). Well my goal was 20. New goal: 25. Then I was super tired during the workout which was 7 rounds of 5 pullups, 10 burpees, and 15 steps walking lunge. That was way more hectic than it should have been BUT I managed all rounds of pullups without dropping off the bar.

Friday brought 1 rep max deadlifts. I was excited but apprehensive since I haven’t been deadlifting really at all so I knew my PR was months old and aching to be broken but I have felt like my deadlift is pretty weak so I was afraid that I would only be able to get a few kgs more. In the end, 19kgs more and form deteriorated a bit on the last lift but actually given a bit more time and fewer attempts at intermediate weights, I feel I could definitely get more weight up. Then, to add injury to injury our lovely coach Chris decided to have us advanced athletes do an all-out 500m row which we had to complete within 3 minutes of finishing our metcon. I knew my 500m row is below 2 minutes so I rested 3 minutes and then went and I set a PR by over 3 seconds: 1:45.7. One of my other goals is a sub-1:45 row which I now know I can get if I’m approaching it fresh.

However after this rowing attempt I had some issues walking. My poor legs. Seriously, I couldn’t get up for a few minutes then I walked across the room and collapsed. Believe it or not, I’m bragging not whining.

Dinner was at Cattle Baron in Constantia with Mona. It was a necessary catch-up, and this lady has similar instincts to me. They say that your gut feeling is nothing more than your emotional brain processing the data around it (which is why emotions are guides to the things we perceive more broadly than with just our rational brains). But when she told me she had a gut feeling and my gut had been telling me the same thing, even if neither of us can explain it; well, we very well might be right. Or not.

If you want something and don’t actually take concrete steps to go get it, either you don’t really want it or you don’t deserve it.

Anyway! Things are going so great with work and I’m refocusing on my diet and training now. Also, the weather is turning. Spring is arriving, and I’m excited for that and all that it brings: flowers, beach workouts, swimming in the ocean, hikes amongst the blooming fynbos.

By the way, funniest referral string of the week: “crossfit and social entrepreneurship.” Close second: “rich froning peanut butter.”

 • “I can fix it, but it’s going to be the hardest thing I’ve ever done.” – Ellie
 • “You seem like the sort of person where when you decide to do something, it happens.” – Charlotte
 • “She seemed normal enough. And then she started talking.” – Christoph
 • “Most people are babies. They don’t know how to clean …” – Catherine
 • “How would we get out of bed in the morning if we actually saw the world as it really is?” – Ellie
 • “It [social enterprise] is like pornography. You can’t define it but you know it when you see it.” – Ellie
 • “Yes. I love the term ‘institutional sedimentation.’” – Johannes (me too!)
 • “I think you’ll find that you are very well positioned.” – Eric
 • “It’s attitude.” – Juliet
 • “I think it takes longer to change attitude than to change reality.” – Florian

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