Priorities

As a full-time dad AND a full-time business owner, I am scrambling to take care of everything  which the two jobs demand, and still make the time to train as much as I should. When I was a younger man, I would just sleep a lot less, but I’m finding that isn’t an option any more. So I’ve got to re-examine my time management, and this means taking a look at my priorities. A tool I use comes from The Seven Habits of Highly Successful People by Stephen Covey.

There is more “self-help” literature out there than any mere mortal could ever hope to read, and just like all of the dietary and/or fitness advice also available in bulk, much of it simply rehashes what’s already been said. It’s essentially 100,000 different variations of the basics, repackaged in an attempt to cash in on a booming industry. That being said,  Stephen Covey is one that I highly recommend.  His is a basic treatise on the fundamentals of succeeding in whatever endeavor you choose to pursue. It’s been years since I’ve read it, but I make reference to it on a regular basis, when I’m teaching my children, when I’m coaching an athlete, or when I need to re-up my own game.

His time-management system of four quadrants is a great way to break down activities, and best organize one’s time. Being a parent of three children, there’s quite a bit of time spent in Quadrant 1 that is unavoidable, and this list of “needs to be done right now” can be tiring because of it’s urgency. With foresight and planning, however, we can lessen the severity of this. That means effectively spending more time in Quadrant 2. As the girls mature, and can better plan their activities, homework, chores, etc. we find ourselves eliminating many of the crises in Quadrant 1.

matrix-for-job-aidsI am constantly guilty of the simple pleasures that come from participating in Quadrant 4. This is when our whimsical wants of the moment take up our precious time, and keep us from accomplishing what is truly important. My weakness is reading. I continually allow myself to get sucked into yet another topic that I realize I don’t know enough about. I buy a few books on the subject, and dive in.

It’s easy to justify all of the reading I do in the name of self improvement. The real issue, however, is the timelines of that reading. If it’s interfering with other things that I’ve made a priority, then I need to do it another time. I have to re-examine my priorities, or as Covey so succinctly states in his third habit, “Put first things, first.”  Then I need to make sure I’m minimizing the types of activities found in Quadrant 4.

How is your time management helping you achieve your dreams?

See you on the mat!

Giving Thanks

It has been a whirlwind the past six months since Cassio and I started this adventure, and now we find ourselves already wrapping up November, with the holiday season swinging into full-gear. The pieces are falling into place, classes are rocking, and everybody has been “putting in the mat time,” helping to create the energy, the vibe, of an amazing jiu-jitsu school.

This Thanksgiving we are indeed counting our “blessings.” We are eternally thankful for the opportunity to do what we love, to surround ourselves with hard-working, like-minded people, and thereby provide for our families. The magnitude of this does not go unnoticed, nor unappreciated. What an amazing time and place we live in, where people can achieve such a feat!

Of course, this wouldn’t be possible without all of you, the members of our community. We thank you all for your continued support as we strive on into the future, and provide the “BJJ lifestyle” to the families of the Sacramento area. We hope you enjoy your Thanksgiving weekend with family and friends, and look forward to seeing you back on the mats!

Self Discipline

We’ve all been there. The alarm goes off, we reach for the snooze button, and the debate begins.

“I am so tired, I just wanna sleep in.”

“Is it my day off?”

“Perhaps I overtrained yesterday. Do I need a bonus day of recovery?”

“Is that a hint of a cough? Should I call in sick?”

I’ve been waking up at 5:30 am to workout for almost 30 years, and I still catch myself having this internal dialogue nearly every morning. The fact is, I am tired –  I am stiff & sore. I probably could take a few more days off than I do. I really enjoy the one day a week when I get up, take a leisurely walk with the dog, and then relax with a hot cup o’ joe and read a book. Why not do that every day?

The answers to that question are what motivate me to drag my carcass out of bed six days a week.   As a younger man, I wanted to be a bad-ass. I had to get up earlier, and work harder than everybody else. As a member of the over-50 crowd with three young daughters, my purpose has evolved. Now I train to be the best father I can be. I need to be able to protect my family to the best of my ability. I want to be able to play with my kids. We run, we ski, we hike, we ride bikes, and of course, we do martial arts. Staying in shape increases the odds that I will be around to share in their milestones; graduations, first jobs, weddings, and all the other setbacks and victories that await them.

Anybody who’s ever worked in the fitness industry can confirm – it is stupefying the lengths to which people will go, in order to talk themselves out of doing the very thing that will help them achieve their desired goals, or make their life better in the long-run. One can easily come up with an entire litany of reasons not to do something. The people who cave to this list are the poor, miserable souls who continually find themselves short of where they’d like to be. As time goes on, the goals seem further out of reach, the bad habits become more ingrained, more comfortable, and the vicious cycle perpetuates itself.

“In reading the lives of great men, I found that the first victory they won was over themselves… self-discipline with all of them came first.” – Harry S. Truman, 33rd President of the United States

Simply stated, self discipline is the ability to do that which needs doing, even though it’s difficult, inconvenient, or uncomfortable. It’s doing what you know you should, even though you don’t feel like it at the time. It’s putting off the temptations of immediate gratification for greater reward at a later date.

As adults, we demonstrate self-discipline by going to work every day, even on the days we don’t feel like it, in order to put food on the table, provide a home, and save for the future. By being self-disciplined, we can avoid the financial pitfall of never-ending debt, by postponing those purchases of the shiny, new whatever, until such time as we can afford to pay without borrowing.  By being self-disciplined, we can manage our time more effectively, focusing on what’s important, and leaving for later, that which isn’t. By being self-disciplined, we can improve our diet, work out more, and be more fit.

I tell my girls, self-discipline means, “Dinner before dessert.” Do what you know is the best for you, then you can afford to splurge a bit. Work hard in school, and the knowledge will make life a bit easier later. Train hard at track practice, and you’ll have greater success at the meet. Drill those pirouettes as much as you can, and your ballet performance will be amazing. Get your homework done and keep your room clean, and you’ll have more free time to play with your friends.

Self-discipline leads to more freedom. In the end, you will have more time, more money, and better health to spend on the things you want.

See you on the mats!

Take a moment

On this anniversary of 9/11, we’d like to take a moment to contemplate the magnitude of such a tragedy, and all of the innocent lives lost. Our thoughts go out to the friends & family of those who perished on that infamous day.

Our gratitude goes out to the 1000’s of men and women who chose to run toward the danger that day, instead of away from it, many of whom lost their lives trying to save others. We have great appreciation for all of the first responders, firefighters, and police who go to work every day, to protect and serve, not knowing whether they will return home to their own.

It’s also a good time to consider the ensuing war we are are still engaged in, and all the lives lost fighting that war. Our gratitude goes out, as well, to all the military members, past and present, who put their own lives second to fighting for their country. We owe you and your families a debt that can never be repaid.

Please take a moment to consider all that people have given to make this country a great place to live. Make the most of the day.

See you on the mat!

Happy Independence Day!

(Note: We will be closed Tuesday, July 4 in observance of Independence Day)

The month of July brings us into our fourth week since opening. It’s been a whirlwind, with classes in full swing, many little build-out projects still being completed, and firming up all the behind-the-scenes, administrative tasks that are needed to keep the place humming like a well-oiled machine. All of this is set against the back-drop of being a family man; making time for family to enjoy the girls’ summer break can’t be forgotten, even in the midst of all the chaos.

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These guys are working on their game this summer. What are you doing?

You parents know: family life is busy. Maintaining a household, with all the cooking, cleaning, and laundry is a full-time gig. Throw in the daily shuttle service, transporting the kids to and from school/ballet/baseball/gymnastics/piano, and you’ve got a sixteen hour workday. All the while, we’re trying to raise our children the best we can, and hoping we don’t mess them up too much.

Why would ANYBODY ever consider operating a small business while raising a family? Small business owners wear the hats of CEO, Manager, and Employee, and the responsibilities that come with each position. There is no time clock to punch. You carry the job with you everywhere. Even if surrounded by a great team, as the person in charge it’s all on you and the decisions you make. So when you’re not at work, in the back of your mind, you’re still running through the list. “What needs to be done?” What did I forget to do?” “Can we pay rent and make payroll?” “Have I done everything I can?” “What can I do better?”

I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love the challenge of making a martial art school successful. It’s a ton of work, but seeing all the pieces “fall” into place, creating a positive environment for families and their children, seeing the students have fun while growing into strong healthy adults, (or adults who get stronger and healthier) and being part of a winning team is worth all the effort and risk.

Some people think I’m crazy. Still others get it.

The fact of the matter is, not everybody is meant to be a parent, just as some people are not wired to be in business for themselves. We human beings really are a diverse lot, with varying skills, perspectives, strengths, frailties, and desires. This diversity is our greatest strength, in my opinion, for it is through that broad filter that we, as a species, continue to come up with improved ways of getting the job of living done.

Allowing for this diversity has been one of the reasons for the United States’ continued success. We are a beacon of freedom and prosperity. People continue to come here from around the globe for those two, inextricably intertwined ideals. The Wernecks are shining examples of this dream. They were able to immigrate here and make a good life for their family, passing on Cassio’s expertise in, and passion for, the art of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. This is what makes our nation great.

When the Founding Fathers ratified The Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, they understood the value of the individual, and the importance of freedom.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”

We hope you enjoy the National Holiday. While you’re celebrating The 4th of July this week, please take a moment to contemplate the magnitude of what it’s all about.