When Things Don't Go Your Way

I have to go back to working in an office on Monday. Honestly, I’m not too excited about it.

Don’t get me wrong, I love what I do and I love the people I do it with. And having not really seen them over the last 12 weeks that I’ve been working from home, I miss them. It’ll be good to see their faces and talk to them in person.

But I’ve been in a really good space since I’ve been working from home. I’ve always wanted to try it to see what it was like and I have to admit … it’s way better than I thought it would be. I absolutely love it. I don’t want it to end.

I’m eating better and exercising more. I’ve lost weight. I have zero commute which is saving me an hour a day of my life, saving me money in gas, and saving me frustration with other drivers. Meetings at work are shorter. Hugs from my family last longer. I have more focused time where no one is interrupting me which makes me a better worker.

I am in the best place I’ve ever been mentally, physically, and spiritually. Ever.

On Monday that will come to an end.

I’ll go back to an office where there are people I love. Which is awesome. But I’ll also be returning to an office where there are amazingly bright fluorescent lights that give me headaches and conversations that distract all around. I will no longer be in an environment conducive to getting work done. I will be in an environment conducive to being around other people who are all attempting to get work done.

Like I said, I am not excited about it. If I had my way I would extend the work from home ability to everyone from here on out. But right now I don’t have that option.

So What Do You Do?

Right. So what do you do when things don’t go your way? This is a bigger question than just working from home. What happens when your plans don’t work out like you thought they would? What happens when that thing you were doing didn’t turn out the way you wanted? What happens when things in general don’t go your way?

I think we have a few options.

Whining and Complaining

Option 1 is to whine and complain about it. I kind of feel like I was doing a little of that above. People hear this and they recognize it, but it’s not attractive. Other folks will tune you out sooner rather than later. It gets old really fast and let’s be honest … no one wants to listen to a whiner.

Suck It Up Buttercup

The second option is just to deal with it. Things are the way they are and there isn’t much you can do about it. You can’t change anything about the situation so you might as well just be okay with it. Resign yourself to the fact that “it is what it is” and move along.

Be the Change

Option 3 is to create change. If you don’t like the way things went or the way they are then it’s up to you to talk about it. Work to suggest and attempt to implement change. Talk to the people that have the power to enact change where you are. But don’t just whine about it. Bring suggestions to the table. You have to provide solutions, not just problems.

Move On

The last option is to just move on from where you are and find something else that does things the way you want them to be done. If it’s your job and you’ve suggested changes and they won’t budge and that thing that you’re frustrated about is that big of a deal to you, then quit and find something else that does things the way you want. If you tried a thing and it failed and changing how it works is impossible, then come up with a different idea and try that next. Sometimes ideas need to be abandoned and new ones thought up and created. That’s part of the creative process. Just because things didn’t turn out like you thought they would doesn’t mean that the idea you had was a failure. It will probably help you get further down the road in your next idea.


I love what I’m doing right now and I love the people I’m doing it with. I feel like I’m in the right job doing the right thing. During this time of working from home I feel like I have been a more effective employee, a better person, and a better family member.

Do I wish I didn’t have to work in an office? Yes. 100%. I’ve learned that for me, working from home is a reality that I love and want to continue. So you can bet that my first instinct will be to fight for change where I work. I’ll start there and we’ll see how it goes.

And if that doesn’t work? Well, I’ll just come back to this post and figure out the next thing when we get there.

What Do I Say?

I’ll be honest, I’m afraid to say anything. I’m afraid my words will be taken out of context or to mean things I don’t mean. I’m afraid that most people will say that I might as well have just kept my mouth shut rather than speak and hurt more people. I’m afraid of saying the wrong thing in an effort to say the right thing. But I have to say something. Staying silent is not the answer.

Heart Sick

I’ve seen the video of George Floyd. I’ve seen the protests. I’ve seen the rioting and looting and the other innocent lives taken as a result. I’ve seen the President use force to move back peaceful protesters so that he could have his picture taken in front of a church holding a Bible.

All of it makes my heart hurt.

That Mr. Floyd went through what he went through at the hands of people who are sworn to serve and protect makes my heart hurt. That people still have to protest for equal rights and against police brutality makes my heart hurt. The fact that people pillage and plunder and take more innocent lives while protesting the taking of an innocent life makes my heart hurt. The fact that our President would use violence as a means to stand in front of a church to be seen taking a picture with a Bible in his hand makes my heart hurt.

That we’re 155 years removed from the end of the Civil War and this is still a problem makes my heart hurt.

I don’t have words of comfort. I don’t have words that I feel like will help. I don’t know what else to do except to say “I’m sorry.”

I’m sorry for all the things that you have to go through that I will never know.

I’m sorry you can’t wear hoodies and feel safe. I mean, there’s nothing quite like a good hoodie.

I’m sorry that you have to fear for your life if you ever get pulled over.

I’m sorry that you get pulled over for no other reason than the color of your skin.

I’m sorry that you can’t go out running if you like to run.

I’m sorry that you have to teach your children how to handle situations like this.

I’m sorry that you can’t just live, work, grow up, and love in peace and safety.

I’m sorry for every time that I’ve ever made a joke or laughed at a joke that was derogatory or inconsiderate.

I’m sorry that I’ve probably said things in my life that would be considered racist.

I’m sorry for never speaking up and seeking justice where it needed to be sought.

I’m sorry that for the majority of my life I’ve just been unconcerned or indifferent about your reality.

I’m sorry that even though you are my friends I’ve never just sat and listened to your struggles.

I know it’s a big ask, but I am asking you to please forgive me for all the ways I have hurt you. I am so sorry.

Let’s Move Forward

Now I know saying “sorry” doesn’t make up for the many hundreds of years that you’ve lived marginalized and oppressed. But it’s what I have and it’s a start.

Moving forward, I want to take action.

I pledge to you that I will vote in ways to help remove the bad, bring in the good, and in ways that will bring us closer together.

I will sign petitions that lead us toward reconciliation. If you know me you know that I’m a 9 on the enneagram (a peacemaker). I just want everyone to be happy and live in peace with each other. So taking a stand one way or another is something that’s out of my comfort zone for sure. But I will do my best to do what I can, when I can, and put my name on it.

I will listen, as often and as much as I can. Being indifferent to you is just as bad as being against you. I don’t want to be against you. I commit to better understand what I’ve so long ignored. To educate myself where I lack education, to ask questions where I need to, and to shut up and be there for you when all you need is someone to listen.

And if it helps, I will gladly use my words to speak life and love, equality and justice on your behalf.

This is what I have to give. I hope you will accept it.

10 Rounds: A Review

Disclaimer: I’ll admit … I have no idea how to write a product review and make it interesting and fun. So here’s to giving it a shot … and hoping it’s not too dry and boring. Thanks for reading!

I revealed to you last week that I finished an online, at-home workout for the first time ever. This was (and still is) a huge deal for me. After years and years of trying and failing to finish, after so long of thinking I was a failure, I was finally able to complete a program. It’s a big deal not just to my body, but also to my spirit.

I thought I’d write up a little review of the program that finally got me over the hump.

Soulmate Workout?

If there is one thing I’ve learned over the years through my attempts at physical fitness, it’s that there are just some types of workouts you enjoy more than others. I’ve heard it called your “soulmate workout.”

For me that type of workout has been weightlifting. I can get more excited for and more enjoyment from a good weightlifting workout than I can almost any other kind of workout.

Side note: I’m a secret bodybuilding fan. I actually follow some bodybuilders and watch their YouTube channels and for a while there even got into watching some competitions. There’s just something about bodybuilding that motivates me. Now granted I don’t have the genetic structure to be able to do what they do, but the motivation is there nonetheless.

I think if I had to pick a second favorite workout type it would be something with punching and kicking. I remember back when I was trying to do P90X that I really enjoyed the Kenpo workout. That one was fun.

Outside of punching and kicking, I’ve never really enjoyed any other form of cardio. I don’t enjoy running, or swimming, or jumping, or … you name it. I know cardio is important. I want a healthy heart after all. But none of it interests me.

One thing that my wife has taught me is that you need to find the things you like and that keep you motivated to do them over and over again. That’s when fitness will “stick” and you’ll be more likely to continue to do it for a long time into the future.

Enter 10 Rounds

As the title of this post suggests, the workout program I completed is called 10 Rounds. It’s made by Beachbody, the same company that produced the world famous P90X, Insanity, 21 Day Fix, and many others.

When I read up on the program before purchasing it, what I found was a boxing-inspired workout program with some weight training. As we just discussed, I like lifting weights and if I’m going to do cardio, I might as well be punching, right? This program sounded like a win from the beginning.

What is the Program Like?

10 Rounds is a 6-week program in which you workout 5 days a week. 3 of those days are boxing and 2 are weightlifting. No two workouts are the same. Every day is something different and you never do the same workout twice. This is great for all of you who get bored doing the same workout over and over again.

Over the course of the 6 weeks you learn all the basic boxing moves. You’ll learn 6 basic punches that you will use in different combinations over and over again. You’ll put those combinations together with movement as well. Stepping forward and back, stepping side to side for starters. Then shuffles, fans, slips, rolls … you’ll learn it all.

It’s important to note that this is a progression. You build up slowly over the course of the program. They don’t expect you to know it all from the opening bell.

Boxing Days

The boxing days are, like the name of the program implies, broken up into ten 3-minute rounds. The rounds go like this:

  • Warm-up
  • Boxing
  • Boxing
  • Conditioning
  • Boxing
  • Boxing
  • Conditioning
  • Boxing
  • Boxing
  • Core

Now the boxing rounds are where you do your … well, boxing. 😄 The conditioning rounds are basically just cardio. But it’s boxing-based cardio. So that’s helpful. And each workout ends with core work.

Weight Training Days

You do 2 weight lifting workouts each week. One is upper body and the other is lower body. The workouts vary from week to week. Some weeks it’s one body part at a time until your done and then you move on to the next. Other weeks it’s supersets. Sometimes it’s a circuit. I found the variety of exercises and types of workouts to be fun.

Modifying

I did want to mention that there is no modifier. A lot of Beachbody’s programs have one … this one doesn’t. Everyone in the cast does the full workout the entire time. Joel (the trainer) does explain and demonstrate any modifications should you need them. This usually happens in the conditioning rounds and during the weight lifting workouts. Boxing is just boxing. Throw those punches!

Overall

This program is so much fun. Coming from a guy who has always wanted to be fit but never really wanted to work out all that much, that’s saying a lot. If you like punching and weight lifting like I do, this just might be the program for you. Here’s a trailer for the program so you can see just what you’re getting yourself into:

If you think 10 Rounds might be something you’d like to try and haven’t already got a Beachbody coach or account, you should contact my wife. Heather has been a Beachbody coach for a long time and can help set you up with all the things you need to make it happen and answer any questions you might have. She’s @intentionallyft on pretty much all the social media things. Also, you can find out more information about the program through this link. Note that this is an affiliate link and if you sign up to do the program from here you will be automatically assigned to have Heather as your coach. Which is definitely not a bad thing. She’s awesome.

What’s Next

Rest assured, I enjoyed this program so much that I will do it again. I do think I’m going to try something else before I go back to it though. Right now it’s looking like my next program might be LIIFT 4. This is a combination weight training and HIIT (high intensity interval training) program with the same trainer as 10 Rounds. I think I’d like to give this one a shot.

So if you get going and do 10 Rounds now then in 9 or 10 weeks we could both do our second rounds of it together! Who’s in?

A Fight to the Finish

In my life, I’ve come really close to finishing a lot of things. It’s just been my M.O. to be that guy that almost finishes stuff. I’ve pretty much accepted it as my identity. I’m a really great starter but not that good of a finisher.

A couple of examples:

  • When I was in Boy Scouts I was 2 merit badges and a service project away from being an Eagle Scout. So close and I just couldn’t finish.
  • When we tried to redo our bathroom at our house in Macon, I was really great at demo, but really poor at the construction part. We never finished the bathroom before we moved. We lived in construction for what amounts to years.

And then there’s the health and fitness part of my life.

When it comes to fitness, I’ve always wanted to be fit, and would start something only to see it all fall apart somewhere around half way through. I’m the guy that wanted to buy some dumb exercise video from an infomercial that ended up being the reason why my wife is now a Beachbody coach. I never finished it, but she did. And it changed her life.

I don’t know what it is about me or my life but I can’t seem to finish anything.

That is … until now.

Yesterday, I became a finisher.

I Identify as a Finisher

For the first time since we started buying Beachbody workout videos (back when Power 90 was a thing) I finished a program.

I never thought I would see this day. I never thought I would be able to say that from start to finish I did something like this. I think I’m a little emotional about it.

Yesterday I finished a workout program called 10 Rounds, and I couldn’t be happier. I’ve learned so much about myself over the last 6 weeks. I’ve learned that I can do hard things. I’ve learned that in the right environment and with the right motivation and the right community I can do just about anything.

But bigger than even those things, I’ve learned that I am not someone who starts things and cannot finish them. My identity has changed.

I know that my life no longer has to be defined by incorrect labels and lies. To say that I am not a finisher is a lie. I don’t have to live with that lie anymore.

It doesn’t even matter what my final “results” are. It doesn’t matter what the scale says or if I did everything perfectly. What matters is that I finished. And in finishing I have proven to myself that I am not what I once was. That I am better than I’ve always thought I was.

I have what it takes to be a finisher.

And So Do You

This isn’t just for me. It’s true for you too.

You might be believing a lie about yourself today. You may have labels on you (whether from yourself or others) that you have bought into and you’ve made your identity. There’s probably something in your life that you hate about yourself but you have no idea how to change it.

I hated being the person that never finished a workout program. I feel like it became a joke any time I would try to start one because we all knew (myself included) that it wouldn’t be long before I wasn’t doing it anymore.

This is your moment. You can change whatever that thing is that you hate. You no longer have to be defined by lies and labels that hold you down. You can rise above.

Don’t kid yourself though. This will not be an overnight transformation. It will take time. It will probably involve some pain (and not just the physical kind). It will be hard. But hard things are worth doing.

This is a fight. Stay in it until the end.

I promise you it’s worth it.

Where Do We Start?

The ceiling fan in my daughters room hadn’t worked in a while. Well, the fan part worked but the lights didn’t. I know next to nothing about ceiling fans but being “the man of the house” I felt like it was my job to try to fix it.

The first step was to do what any real man would do who had no relevant experience or knowledge about how to fix a thing: Google some relevant terms and watch a number of YouTube videos about how to fix the particular problem.

After doing this I felt pretty confident that I knew what the problem was and how to fix it. All the videos I watched said basically the same thing: “If you’re having this problem, do this and it will be fixed.” Great.

So I did exactly what they described in the videos. I pulled the part of the fan off that needed fixing. I cut and spliced wires. Everything looked just like the videos told me it should. Can you guess what happened when I put it all back together?

Yep. The lights still didn’t work.

Frustrated, but not ready to give up quite yet, I gave it another go. I googled some more. I watched some more videos. I ordered a part from Amazon. I followed the videos and replaced that part just like they said.

It still didn’t work.

So with no other ideas left to try and no where else to go, I reluctantly gave up and ordered a new ceiling fan.

I accepted defeat. I walked away with my tail tucked between my legs. I felt defeated and very much less of a man than I did before I started. If I can’t fix a stupid little ceiling fan, how am I going to rescue my family if they ever needed anything really important? Not being able to fix something as simple as a ceiling fan has me questioning my manhood yet again.

It’s Not Just Ceiling Fans

There are so many places where I don’t feel like I measure up. So many times when I feel like I am failing as a man.

I have a weed eater that won’t start. I have no idea why. And no skillset from which to pull from in order to fix it. So you can almost bet that I’ll just order a new one when I need it.

I want to build a bigger shed so that I have a place to store things (and maybe keep the snakes out). But I have no building skills. I have no idea where to start. I’ll probably just end up ordering one of those prefab ones and have it dropped off. Or … more than likely … I’ll just live with the one I have because who wants to admit they can’t build it themselves?

Oh … and then there are the snakes I just mentioned. I hate the snakes. Why do we have snakes? Why am I afraid of them? Why can’t I just “man up”?

No Retreat, No Surrender

And there it is right there. Why can’t I just “man up”? When life calls for me to be a man, I retreat. It’s easier for me to play video games or eat or read comic books then it is to learn and lean into what it means to be a man.

Again, I’m not just talking about ceiling fans here. This is in pretty much every area that requires something of me. I mean sure, it’s in the fixing things I have no idea how to fix. There are parts of life that just call for a man to step up and do something. And it’s in those moments where I feel like I fail all the more. I run when I should step in.

Why do I retreat? Men, why do we run when we’re called up to something higher?

There are many reasons we don’t feel like men. I think a lot of them come down to things that feel a lot like incompetence. “I don’t know how to do this or that” but feeling like we should.

We most feel like men, like we have it all together and are at the top of our game when we know what we’re doing.

Men in Media

There are 2 types of men I see portrayed in media. There are those men that don’t know what they’re doing. These are the men that are on the sitcoms we watch. They are the ones that get made fun of for their incompetence. We laugh at them because they don’t know what they’re doing but deep down we realize we are those men.

The second type of man you see is the “man’s man”. The man who actually has the “know how” to do just about anything. They can fix a sink, dig and pour footers for a building, and raise animals. They love their wives, spend all their time with their kids, have enough money to take vacations and live in giant homes and never have to worry about budgets. They do all of this while still getting 8 hours of sleep a night, finding time to look like a Greek god, and hang out with the boys for poker night every week.

This is the example we’re meant to strive to, isn’t it? So it’s easy for us to fall into the trap of believing that to be a man of any value (and to not get laughed at) we need to be this way too.

Even David, the “man after God’s own heart” in the Bible, could write songs, lead armies and countries, and knows how to take care of flocks and herds … killing lions and bears with his hands.

Let’s be honest: I can’t sing, I’ve never really led much of anything, we have a dog that doesn’t really listen, and the last thing I killed was probably a fruit fly.

How can any guy measure up?

You Can’t

I think it’s best if we just take off the mask, put away the pretense and come out with it right now:

That will never be us. At least, that will never be me.

And that’s okay.

I don’t have to be able to do all those things in order to be a man. I don’t have to know how to fix a ceiling fan. I don’t have to know how to raise herds. I don’t have to know how to fix my car.

What you see portrayed in front of you as a “man” is really more a myth. It’s Hollywood. It’s someones dream of what a man should be. It’s not real.

I don’t think they exist.

So What Do We Do?

I think where we start … what’s important right from the beginning is that I listen to God and follow Him into what He has for me “as a man.”

Since the dawn of time God has been offering us an invitation to follow Him into masculinity. It looks different for each of us. There’s no one size fits all way to be a man. But I think we find it when we open our hands, our hearts, and our lives to God and ask Him to father us and show us how to be a man.

I could be terribly wrong. Remember, this is a journey. We’re headed into unknown territory. There might be twists and turns in the path. We might get a little lost and need to backtrack. All of that is okay.

But I think if we’re going on a journey to manhood then that’s where it starts. It’s been my experience that it’s always a good idea to start with God.

If you’re struggling with what it looks like to be a man, may I humbly suggest that you start by asking God what manhood looks like for you and asking Him to father you. I think we’ll all learn some pretty important stuff as we surrender our idea of manhood to what God says it is. I hope you’ll join me and head out on the journey.

The Desire to be a Man

Some videos just know how to get you, you know?

You’re just watching this thing and then all of a sudden you’re crying or you’re mad or you’re ready to go charge the enemy. They just know how to twist that one emotion inside of you that’s aching to come out.

That happened to me the other day while watching a commercial for a knife company. A freaking commercial. Watch it below.

Obviously they are trying to advertise for their company and sell you a knife or two. But the story they are telling isn’t just about a knife. They are reaching for something primal. Something deep within. Much more than just “buy a knife,” I think what they were really saying was:

“If you have one of our knives, you can be a man like the men we’re showing you in this video. You see these men? These are MEN. If you have a knife like they do then you could be a man too.”

That speaks to me. It speaks to a core desire I have within me. I want to be a man. Many times I don’t know how, but the “want” is there nonetheless.

What that video said to me was that they know the secret to being a man. And they will sell it to me.

So now I want a knife.

Not because I need one. I literally have no reason for buying or carrying a knife. I’m a web developer and a writer for goodness sakes. I work on lines of code all day. I write words in my spare time. What could I possibly need a knife for?

I want this knife … no, I need this knife because something deep inside of me is calling out to be a man.

At the end of the day, it’s not the about the knife at all. It’s about the desire to be a man.

I think just about every man, if he were to dig deep down inside himself, would say that he has a desire to be a man. To be able to stand up and do what men do. But I think there are two things standing in the way.

What is the Definition of a “Man”?

One is that we don’t have any earthly clue what “being a man” means. We get mixed messages from the world around us. We get messages “from men for men” and “from women for men” and they couldn’t be further from each other. Like complete opposite poles.

Is it the burly bearded guy who knows how to work on cars and can build things with his hands? Or is it the guy who is in touch with his emotions and can be emotionally present in relationships?

Men say “Hunt. Fish. Wear flannel. Bleed.” Women say “Sit still. Don’t get so dirty. Be careful. Don’t play with guns. Or axes. Or anything that might hurt people.”

Men say you’re not a man unless you can start a fire, fix a sink, or win in business (wearing that suit and power tie, you dapper man you). Women say men should be more like women.

Which one is it? We don’t know. And that’s the problem.

Where is Our Heart?

The second thing is that even if we did know the definition of “manhood”, we’ve hidden our hearts so far down and away from us that we couldn’t do anything with it if we wanted to.

When we watch videos like the one for the knife company, there is something inside of us that stirs. A little inkling of something dangerous inside of us that brings an emotion we’re not familiar with. I don’t think I could name it. But for just a brief moment something is there that isn’t usually there. And it scares us. What was that? Where did it come from? I better hide it before someone else sees it and accuses me of being too macho or tries to insult me for being “manly.”

So we do. We push our hearts further down and try to hide anything even remotely resembling manhood - by whatever definition we use to define it.

We don’t know what our hearts are telling us because we don’t know where our hearts have gone. They’ve been hidden and starved. They’ve been stolen. They’ve left the building.

If we had our hearts perhaps we could process what we’re experiencing. But we don’t. We’ve been told that we can’t be vulnerable so we push our hearts down a little. We’ve been told we can’t cry. So our hearts go a little deeper. We’ve been chastised for being too loud, or brash, or wild. In response we stand up on top of our hearts and jump on it, shoving it down as far as it will go.

Things just seem to go smoother when we don’t bring our hearts into our life. Less people get hurt. Less arguments abound. These are true. But also … less life happens. Less living from the thing we were meant to live from and more deadness of our souls.

We need our hearts if we’re ever going to understand this desire deep within us to be a man.

I Know Nothing

I don’t have all the answers. I don’t even really know where to begin. But I am going on a journey. To discover the heart of what it means to be a man. To find where my heart went and how to get it back. To learn what we think a man is and then to relearn what God says a man is. Then to see if I can’t put some of that into practice in my own life. Intentionally.

Maybe I’m just getting old. I’m past 45 now so maybe this is just a mid-life crisis. Like I should be further along in “manhood” at this point. But I don’t think so. This is a question I think a man of any age would ask … or better, is asking. I hope we can all figure it out together.