This Product May Be Defective

If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the last 14 months it’s that we all have character defects. I know that word sounds harsh or unkind but it’s true. I certainly don’t mean you or I are broken people. That’s far from the case. We are just imperfect. But the saving grace – at least for me – is the ability to recognize my defects and begin to do something about them.

“Every day I stand at turning points. My thoughts and actions can propel me toward growth or turn me down the road to old habits. Sometimes turning points are beginnings, as when I decide to start praising, instead of condemning someone. Or when I begin to ask for help instead of going it alone. At other times turning points are endings, such as when I see clearly the need to stop festering resentments or crippling self-seeking. Many shortcomings tempt me daily; therefore, I also have daily opportunities to become aware of them. In one form or another, many of my character defects appear daily: self-condemnation, anger, running away, being prideful, wanting to get even, or acting out of grandiosity.

Attempting half measures to eliminate these defects merely paralyzes my efforts to change. It is only when I ask God for help, with complete abandon, that I become willing—and able—to change.” – Unknown (adapted)

The quote above is what inspired me to take a long hard look at my dreams and desires and compare them to my defects, and natural weaknesses. Some I was “willing – and able – to change” and others I needed help to correct or at least fill the gaps. I won’t go into all the details here – You and I have travelled over that road before – a few posts ago.

So when I registered for the Bataan Memorial Death March (marathon) I knew those defects would be my liabilities in training and certainly during the race. I could not attempt “half measures” any more. That is why along with my current personal development (it’s not the hokey kind, I promise) I decided to hire a coach to help me shore up my weaknesses. I needed someone to be accountable to and their ability to design a personalized roadmap for my success.

I hired Coach Jen Keith. An IRONMAN and IRONMAN World Championship qualifier. While that sounds impressive and believe me it is, what helped me make the decision were three very specific reasons. First, seeing her coaching success first hand with my wife. Secondly, I asked her why she coached. Without hesitation she said, “I want to help you achieve your dreams. I want to see you cross that finish line.” Finally and most importantly, it’s not because she’s an IRONMAN or a rock star athlete. It’s because of what she does for a living. She’s a 5th Grade School Teacher and for me that says all I need to know about her.

I am excited about the journey ahead. I know it will be difficult and I know at times I will take the wrong turn but that’s life and life is never a straight line to your dreams. But know this – I am not content. My life is about progress not perfection. Each day is a new beginning on a new road. I’m just happy to be I’m having fun and not traveling that road alone.

 ‘If you make every game a life and death proposition, you’re going to have problems. For one thing, you’ll be dead a lot.” – Dean Smith

IRONMAN Jen Keith