Not to dampen the Holiday spirit, but 2023 is not shaping up to be a banner year.
We’re heading into a recession. Inflation and wages are still too high. The Fed will continue raising rates near-term. That means continued headwinds for the stock market, the housing market and for borrowers. Meanwhile, we have a divided government. Flu season has returned with a vengeance and COVID hasn’t disappeared. The Russia-Ukraine conflict is likely to enter a quagmire and some of our airlines can’t get their planes off the ground.
It’s good because we have a unique opportunity to get better and there’s less downside risk if our new approach doesn’t work out.
Times like these remind me of one of my last marathons. I was late to the starting line and didn’t warm up properly. The previous night’s pasta wasn’t sitting right in my stomach, and it was unseasonably warm and windy. Not exactly the right conditions for a personal best. Sure enough, by mile 10 I was thinking seriously about throwing in the towel.
But then I remembered what my college track coach, the legendary Art Gulden liked to say: “Anyone can run fast when they’re feeling good; I’m going to teach you to run fast when you feel like crap.” And he did.
So, after a quick pitstop at the Porta-John, I got my head and GI tract re-set, and I came up with some new goals for that day. I’ll get to those in a minute.
Coach Gulden would say: “When your ass falls off in the middle of a race, don’t whine about it. Go back and pick it up, stick it back on, and keep going.” Jocko Willink, the retired Navy Seal, motivational speaker and podcast host would say: “When things are going bad: Don’t get all bummed out, don’t get startled, don’t get frustrated. Just look at the issue and say: ‘Good.’”
Willink says it’s actually good when things suck because you have more time to get take stock of the situation and find a solution. “Don’t throw in the towel,” barks Willink. “Get up. Dust off. Reload. Recalibrate and Re-Engage.”
*** Full 2-minute version of Jocko’s Good episode
Willink believes if you can still say the word “good” to yourself when times are bad then you’re still alive and you’re still breathing. “And if you’re still breathing, that means you’ve still got some fight left in you,” said Willink. “Accept reality, but focus on the solution. Take that issue, take that setback, take that problem, and turn it into something good.”
So, I decided to flush from my mind the first 10 crappy miles of my race and to set a new goal. The new goal was to run the last 16 miles faster than I ever closed out the last 16 miles of a race before. And that’s what kept me going. My overall time was about five minutes slower than my personal best, but thanks to a very strong last 16, I was a top finisher in my age group and felt like I could have run another five miles. Finishing that way was a helluva lot better than quitting at mile 10 and having a big old DNF (Did Not Finish) next to my name.
Nobody has a crystal ball, but I suspect there will be times when we’re severely tested in 2023. Some of you will have the courage to find solutions and push through. Others of you will say to yourself: “That’s Life” or “It Is What It Is” or “Whaddya Gonna Do?” If you say that crap to me, do me a favor and send in your termination notice. I don’t want to work with you.
For the rest of you, let’s get after it in 2023. It’s time to get comfortable being a little uncomfortable. Don’t take a DNF.
What’s your take? I’d love to hear from you.
#JockoWillink, #resolutions, #selfimprovement, #reslience, #stoicism