After the longest duration door-to-door I’d ever experienced, I finally got back to my lovely Cape Town apartment just after noon on a Friday. It was about 90 hours door-to-door, but that included a day in the Bay Area and 24 hours of flight delays due to missing my original departure out of JFK.
A very heartfelt thank you to Virgin Atlantic for not only getting me on the first possible flights home (both were full), but putting me in an exit row on the LHR-CPT leg. That was a lifesaver.
JFK – free Wi-Fi in Terminal 5 but no decent restaurants outside of security.
LHR – restaurants with power, and couches, but you had to pay for the Wi-Fi.
Honestly, which did I prefer?
I jumped right back into it, by unpacking, a 90-minute conference call, and cider at Beerworks on Long Street with Jaco, one of my favourite favourite people. Since I hadn’t eaten anything to speak of all day, the two ciders pretty damn near wiped me out. Oh, it’s going to be a long few months. On the walk back to the car, I did take a few minutes to collect myself and appreciate just where I was in this world. This city is beautiful.
It’s normal to be out of sorts when away for a bit. You wake up and don’t know where you are. I feel groggy, like I’ve just woken up from a several week-long dream; except, like in The Matrix, you’re not quite sure which is real life and which is dream life.
It’s a very good thing that I like what I do, and that the biggest complaint I have is there not being enough hours in the day to be an individual contributor, a manager, and then give all my various stakeholders and partners enough due attention. But hey, no one has ‘enough’ time if you think about it that way.
I know I’ve just come out of a holiday, and my body is ten hours behind local time and slowly catching up. But I’m tired. I’ve now shopped for my flat, gotten my cat to stop her hunger strike (drama queen! I swear to God!), done all my laundry and I’m even making bone broth.
Exciting? No. Necessary, yes. Except for the lack of chili powder in the stores (seriously, WTF was I thinking? Who in South Africa makes chili??), I’m pretty much ready to go.
Sport is the best metaphor for a lot of things. They say it’s not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog. When the dog doesn’t want to fight any more, either it’s nutrition is off, it’s overtrained (aka under-recovered!) … or maybe it’s just lacking motivation.
Jen and I were talking about how when we once had a Jeeves offsite ‘team-building’ the executives cheated. Like they wanted to be top even in such a meaningless thing, combined with being caught out just not mattering to them. Win at any cost. This puzzles me, but it’s probably just another form of insecurity. Funny how much of that you see, in some unexpected places. The manager who demands respect. The model who thinks she’s fat. The athlete who won’t practice stuff he sucks at in case someone sees.
And all the time the little devil on our shoulder not only telling us ‘you’re not good enough’ but, more troublingly, ‘why should you even care?’ But hey, if my world champion friend has the same demons that means we’re all just human. And, after all, I do have a shirt that says Diablo on the front that I wear with pride.
Karl Marx had it wrong for many reasons, but the new theory I’m testing, with as many people as possible, is that at the end of the day you either fall into a category of person who will put your team (family, company, etc.) first, or you put yourself first. Depends on what team, of course.
But at work there are the guys who will always look at what’s best for the company, to hell with what’s best for them as individuals. Then there are the guys who run little fiefdoms or look at the problem of some other division as a chance to score points or political power. It’s all about what they can get out of the situation.
My work experience has indicated that about 85% of people fall into the latter category. They work for the paycheck, and sure they will sometimes work extra hard but when push comes to shove they’re in it for them. The other 15% will sometimes put themselves ahead of the greater good, but those crazy bastards are the one to throw themselves in front of a moving train if you give them half a chance.
I am honestly not sure which is better. I look at my staff members, and, heck, even quite a few of our partners and other stakeholders, and of course my CrossFit people, too. I have an opinion as to into which category everyone fits. Not so oddly, the ones I identify with the most are the ones most like me.
At the end of last year I was lacking some CrossFit motivation. I found it in a strange kind of place. Not exactly so strange, I suppose; these things don’t come out of nowhere. Now that I’ve been removed from the situation I’m a bit more ambivalent. The details don’t really matter, but the point is this: sometimes you’re running as fast as you can, and when you stop to ask yourself why you’re running, you may not have an answer.
That’s OK, too.
[Coach] JJ wrote a post recently about goals. He says waiting for the ‘right’ moment is procrastination at its most devious. There’s a reason I call the man a genius. There usually ain’t no such thing (hence my ‘you are never ready’ post).
I read this other interesting article about goals vs systems. I think I like it.
What they are both saying is something that really resonates with me: that how you do what you do is of at least equal importance to what you do.
I am afraid that the calm before the storm is now approaching its end. And just like [Coach] Chris once told me: ‘You may not feel like it now, but you’ll feel like it when you’re on the starting line.’
And you know what? If you don’t like the heat, stay out of the kitchen.
I’m off to try and construct some chili powder. One thing I will say: watching the NFL playoffs, by myself, on the laptop and with no alcohol? Just. Not. Right.
Funny, that other than my family and friends I probably miss football the most. But heavens it’s a beautiful game.
And this is a beautiful city. I spent Sunday at brunch with one friend, coffee & lunch with another, working, blogging, and, soon, watching football. Through this process I drove literally around Table Mountain, from Vredehoek to Kirstenbosch to the Twelve Apostles via Hout Bay, and back to Vredehoek. I’m lucky to have spent so much time here, and to be here now.
I always try to feel lucky, because your emotions control your thoughts, and both together control how you see and react to the world. No one likes grumpy, crotchety, rude, or insulting people. And that’s what happens to me (and to most people) when we wake up on the wrong side of the bed.
To be positive and have some sympathy for everyone else: these are probably the two most important reminders we should all wake up to every day.
Even if nothing I do all year matters to anyone else, it matters to me. That alone is enough reason to focus on doing it right, in every sense of the word.