Life is a rollercoaster (or CRM 101)

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I’ll spend the first four sharpening the axe.” – Abraham Lincoln
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) 101: Under-promise and over-deliver. Or, don’t set expectations you can’t necessarily meet.
I always cringe when I hear a leader make a promise like ‘we’ll never have more layoffs’ (yes, one ex-CEO once said that!). Don’t promise sh*t you can’t back up.
Over and over and over again, people get more upset when their hopes are raised and then dashed. It’s kind of the opposite of “‘twas better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.” Old Honest Abe (and, I suppose, the infamous Jay Bolgatz) had it right … measure twice, cut once.
It’s a lesson so easily forgotten. We all KNOW that being present, being respectful of others, making people feel heard and useful (even when their ideas are silly and their ability to deliver questionable) is more important in the long run both for us and for them, than the actual subject being discussed or work product being delivered. And yet. We’re so busy doing what we do or focusing on the end goal that we do in fact neglect to pay attention to how we’re making people feel, or the expectations we’re setting that we can’t necessarily meet.
So here I sit without a kitchen sink or washing machine (actually that’s a bit of a lie, I can turn the tap on just the drain is not hooked up), halfway into a long weekend. Now, yesterday I was in the mode of ‘let’s laugh at the lame-o contractor’ because I thought it would be fixed up today. Now that he’s screwed up yet again and I am faced with the reality of doing dishes in my bathtub, I’m a little peeved. But still smiling.
Less so a couple of my friends, who are less than thrilled at the moment. Oh well, life goes on I guess. Rather like a rollercoaster – one day you’re up, on top of the world. The next you’re down. At the end of it all, you have a sour stomach and a massive headache (at least that’s my lesson from having only two cups of coffee prior to riding on a rollercoaster!). Believe it or not, I’d actually never been on a rollercoaster before. Not sure how I avoided that all these years.
The weather in Cape Town has also been schizophrenic these last few days. Sunny, then foggy and cloudy then raining, then clear, then back to raining. This weekend was the Two Oceans half-marathon and ultra-marathon. A lot of people I know ran one of those two races. Not me, I was happily in bed during the pouring rain. I love trail running in the lousy conditions, but I hate road running in the best of weather. Power to the people who did it, though.
I was hoping for a nice chill acupuncture session Thursday. Instead I got a needle into the top of my ankle that felt like a red-hot poker. And my elbows were so tender afterwards that even sitting at qigong was a bit painful in some of the poses. This is why it’s so critical not to train after acupuncture!
Speaking of training, I had a session with Rika Thursday morning during which she tremendously improved my squat form. I can’t really see how I look different but I can FEEL that it’s much smoother (and according to Rika, I’m getting much better depth). Now to practice. I also practiced pistols (one-legged squats), which had the unintended consequence of making me slightly sore the next day. Call it an active rest day. I restrained myself from anything more strenuous, which was hard and easy at the same time. I was asking Chris what he had planned for the day and he rattled off some long list of things. Everything after ‘clean’ and ‘snatch’ sounded like a whole lot of work, but I actually can’t wait to get back.
Starting tomorrow – gonna hit it hard! Something one of my friends said made me realise that I hadn’t been pushing myself hard enough recently. Your mental willpower can get tired, too, and you get the biggest gains when you push yourself just to or even past the edge of what’s comfortable. Ideally, you should push yourself 100% every day at training. But I just haven’t been recently. 95%, sure. But that’s my goal for myself these next three weeks before the pre-Regionals resting … don’t leave anything on the table. Will be interesting to see how that goes.
I am desperately wanting to go to a track and do some crazy 400m repeats …. But I know perfectly well it’s silly at this point to train my strengths. That can wait a few weeks; I have a plan for what I’m working on outside of my scheduled CrossFit training, and suffice to say it doesn’t include running or kettlebell swings. Speaking of, I am officially registered as part of my team for Regionals. On our team the women are (or so rumour has it, there has yet to be an official announcement so maybe this is BREAKING NEWS for the few people in the world who care!) me, Lynda, and Natalia. Given this composition, my explicit role is likely to be that of the strong girl. Had Tammy been on the team, who is pretty strong, I would have played more of a utility role depending on the workouts.
Now we wait to see the rosters for the opposing teams, and the most exciting date of all: April 18th when they announce the Regional workouts. If waiting for the first Open workout was like the night before Christmas then this is more like …. Geez … um, maybe Super Bowl overtime kickoff? Oh, crap, bad memories. Um …. Maybe more like a first date. Or … something like that.
OK moving on! Friday a bunch of us from the gym met up to go to Ratanga Junction, an amusement park about 10 minutes outside of Cape Town. One of the girls had free passes, so we started off on the aforementioned roller coaster before moving on to such other things as the baby rollercoaster, the Viking ship, and various water rides (my favourite). I didn’t do the human slingshot because my stomach was not happy from the other rides. Who knew I had a weak stomach? I blame the coffee. The best was the water ride where you get really wet, and our rule was that you’re not allowed to move to avoid the waterfalls. We went around this ride three times in a row. Garth got slammed by the water on trips 2 and 3, and I got a good chunk of waterfall myself on the third trip. Epic.
Saturday’s entry in the ‘thing that makes me smile’ category was as I was driving to Sea Point I’m stopped at a traffic light and one of the cars in the next lane is a bakkie (pickup truck) with a covered back. Inside are at least three people all beating away on drums or with some variety of percussion instruments, having a full-on concert. As I said, in the back of a bakkie on Buitengracht Street. I mean, how can you not smile a bit at that??
Smack dab in the middle of a holiday weekend at the moment. Friday after the amusement park, stopped by Deer Park Café (my pal Keith is off traveling the world for 6 months … lucky!!!), then home to clean up a bit and hit up Caprice for dinner. The burger wasn’t quite as good as my last one … Saturday morning Sandbar breakfast then to Tammy’s for paleo banana bread (sigh … my diet starts tomorrow evening, after her birthday brunch!).
Just about to hit the wine country tour. Back to the scene of the crime, as it were. One of my most vivid memories of my first trip to South Africa in June 2009 was waking up before dawn, being freezing cold, standing in bare feet in the kitchen and looking out the open window of the Waldenhof apartment block in Stellenbosch at the wet, dark street below, and smelling the air. You know how air has this particular smell when it’s cold and has just rained? It can be difficult to pinpoint that exact moment when you fall in love (if there even is such a thing as a point on a line that is a continuum), but if there is, it might have been that moment when I felt more distinctly alive than I had in years.
  • “Just because you lift like a boy doesn’t mean you get high-fived like a boy.” – Richie
  • “I’m not moving. It just looks like I am.” – Richie
  • “Everyone loves a designated driver.” – Ellie (true!)


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