Category Archives: Health

A Tough Mudder DadStory

What challenges your notion of self-sufficiency?

I’m not a stranger to obstacle course races, but I think a Tough Mudder is going to be a new experience.

My brother and I are set for the Mudder 5k In Nashville on August 12th. Running has been a constant workout activity for me for a long time, but body weight exercises, core conditioning, jumping and sprints have been only occasional activities. In the few obstacle courses I have completed, my physical training has been lacking.

I am not an unfit person; in fact, I do frequent manual labor of medium to high difficulty. But focusing on completing a task is not the same as fitness being the task, and natural ability on its own will not make you a winner, or even a finisher necessarily.

That’s where the real difficulty with training comes in. I’m not alone in feeling like I am insufficient on my own, or in having a real hard time mentally when facing the fact that I’m wrong. Such a realization brought me to running back around 2010. I was 30, had two sons, and after working a desk job for several years, I was unfit. Going back to my glory days wasn’t an option, but I figured I could be alive, healthy, and giving my sons a run for their money long into their teenage years. So I prepared for my first 5k.

Every new challenge requires a different level of preparation. And the start of training reveals just how insufficient you are, which is why all too few people with potential actually take up new challenges. It’s hard, and it makes you feel small.

Nearly a month into dedicated training for the Tough Mudder, I still feel small. But I’m making strides. Just as when I first trained for a 5k, a 10-miler, and a half marathon. Just as when I decided to go back to finish my college education. Just as when I accepted a call to ministry and opted to run for public office. I read this morning that our country was founded on reflection and choice; so are our lives.

Reflect on how difficult the obstacle was, realize you’re now stronger than you were before, and that you will excel even more the next time for having endured the difficulty.

Choose to move forward, whether your most recent attempt was a failure or a success.

I believe your ability to do these two things will not only decide whether you grow and thrive, but it will also determine your legacy to those closest and most important to you.

One week to the Tough Mudder 5k in Nashville at Nissan Stadium. I’ll be posting my thoughts on challenges met and lessons learned through the process of training. Want to have a story worth telling? Read more here and let me know how I can help. Got a DadStory to share? Send yours to glengaugh@gmail.com.

The Making of a Personal Best part 3

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I started writing posts by this title to record and reflect on personal bests that I experience in what have become two very important practices for me- writing and running. Well, it doesn’t seem like much has changed on the running front in the way of personal bests. But I will get back to that in a moment…

In the area of writing- I am on track for a personal best in total monthly views. I have exceeded September already, and will certainly beat my highest month, which is August 2012 with a total of 256. I am very excited about this since I have been considering investing more into my blog. The investment would seem to be worth it. Also, I have been guest posting for Lead Change Group and JoAnn Corley’s 1% Edge App as a subject matter expert on the need for personal balance for professional success. These have been 2 great opportunities to connect with leaders and develop leadership. So writing has been great lately.

One personal best I am in the middle of is a spiritual best. Spiritual discipline can be so hard to maintain, but the reason is the flesh-and-blood man resists it. Jesus is laying a lot on my heart to accomplish and I am seeking direction for all He has in store.

What I am taking away from these experiences is that constant and consistent practice builds Momentum, and momentum is important. I have written less so far this month than in previous months, but people are finding my work and reading it, and then coming back to read it again- momentum. I haven’t ran my fastest or farthest lately, but consistency over the past two and a half months has kept running on my weekly agenda consistently. I’m becoming a disciplined runner and I am getting better- momentum. Spiritually, I started at an early age loving the things of God and building a foundation that has never diminished, though my consistency may wane and my flesh cry out against it. I have to get back on track from time to time, but this foundation grows each time I grow closer to Him- momentum.

Do you know the power of building momentum? Where do you need to start working on momentum in your life? What is your next personal best to begin working toward?

When Is A Man At His Best Spiritually?

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I have quite a backstory when it comes to men and spirituality. My life has been saved by the dynamic of grace between my mom and dad in their spiritual journey together.

I remember my mom becoming a true Christian believer when I was very young. When I was slightly older I remember my dad starting to attend church. It was a long time after that that he actually became committed to Christ himself, though he never missed a church service.

I learned from my dad as an adult that he started coming to church out of a sense of duty to his family. Mom’s Christian upbringing was much different than dad’s, and dad went for years feeling like he was just fine compared to some of the representatives of Christianity he had experienced. Still, he felt his sons should see him in church on Sunday.

Though my dad never was pressured to commit any further than just attending church, he eventually found his way to a deep faith that has been an an anchor for me through the years. More amazingly, my mom has always been rock-steady in her faith and allowed my dad to make his journey from spiritual seeker to spiritual leader as his faith developed.

Men are at their best spiritually when… they can be transparent seekers that become spiritual leaders.

Women have long held prominence as spiritual leaders- reliant on faith practices, teachers of faith in the home, consistent attenders and participants in the faith community. I am persuaded that if men feel that faith and spirituality are the domain of women, there will be little effort to aspire to spiritual leadership in the home. And because men may be reluctant to participate in teaching or demonstrating such a lifestyle, it becomes easy for women to hold on to that role of spiritual leader, which seems to be easier than trying to share it. Having described this dynamic, let me make these points:

Men need the chance to observe, rationalize, and begin to feel the tugging toward a spiritual life.

Men need to be actively invites to participate in spiritual life (at home and in the community).

Men need to know its ok to be transparent and vulnerable, if not with the family or spouse, with someone who can give them guidance.

Men need the chance to grow into spiritual leadership in the home and community.

In a home or community where men have not been active in spiritual life and leadership, it can be a drastic shift to allow a once apathetic or reluctant man to have a meaningful role. A mother and wife who has always been the spiritual leader can easily feel put-out by a husband/father who wants to take a role in spiritual leadership and development in the home. The idea is not for women to give up anything but to become a partner with the man in leading their family spiritually.

As in my experience, it takes so much grace to allow a man to go from observer to seeker to leader, but it is worth it in order to help a man be his best spiritually. The effects will be extremely positive for him, for the family, and for the community.

I have more to say about men with children who are not married to their children’s mothers. While difficult, these men can develop spiritually and provide value to their children through spiritual leadership.

What do you think? I would like your stories and feedback!

When Is A Man At His Best Mentally?

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(I think this picture my wife took represents God’s purpose for man above and beyond our daily, busy activity.)

Don’t some people just seem to know the reason they’re alive all throughout their lives? The ones that seem to be catching all the breaks and making the most of opportunities? I know I have had a real issue with comparing myself to men like that through my life.

“On the other hand, most people don’t start getting a true sense of what gives the greatest return for their effort until they reach their thirties- sometimes even later in life. And what is most rewarding to a person often changes during different seasons of life.” John Maxwell, Leadership Gold.

This quote resonates with me because I am now in my thirties. I’m finding it to be true. I remember a time, however, when I faced a lot of uncertainty and fear about changing seasons and shifting priorities. I went to my mom one time as a kid, on a Saturday morning, crying about a time in the future when I would no longer want to watch cartoons. She motioned to my dad, who was sitting motionless in front of Bugs Bunny and said, “Don’t worry about it, your dad hasn’t given it up yet. You have a long, long time before you have to worry about that!”

A man is at his best mentally… when he knows his purpose in life in each season.

There’s no reason to worry about changing seasons or shifting priorities, like I did as a kid. Times do change, but there is a reason in every season. I assume most men who may be reading this post aren’t yet fighting the battle of “generativity vs. stagnation”, but there are always internal questions to answer and battles to be won in the purpose we are each called to.

This scripture says a lot to me about how men have a strong purpose in life, throughout life:

“I write unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the wicked one. I write unto you, little children, because ye have known the Father.” (1 John 2:13).

Praying every man, every father, to have peace of mind about what is most important in your lives and to know your purpose.

(This post is 3rd in a series- read the previous post here.)

What do you think? When is a man at his best mentally? I’d love to take up the conversation with you! Leave a comment and follow @glengaugh on Twitter.

The Making of a Personal Best

I have been blessed with a couple of personal bests recently.

In the month of July, I had my highest number of total views on this blog. I can’t measure number of unique visitors yet, but 207 views made me ecstatic!

Just today, I ran 4.6 miles at a pace of 9:15 mins./mile. Until today I had been focusing on making 2 miles at the best time possible, but I knew I needed to lengthen my run in order to improve. But I didn’t know I would run so far and at the same pace I have been running my 2-mile route in. I was thrilled!

There have been some difficult circumstances lately too, don’t get me wrong. But I was actually meditating on the subject of “What factors into a personal best?” as I was finishing the last leg of my run today, and here are some things I have learned from these 2 positive experiences that I definitely want to apply in other areas of life:

You have to PUSH yourself in order know how far you can go, and then go farther. Can’t stop when the “feel-good” is gone!

You have to visualize where you are going and not stop until you get there. It definately beats running aimlessly until you get tired!

You have to put forth daily, or at least regular, regimented effort in order to improve.

Momentum means the drive to succeed exceeds the fear of failure- and it builds as a result of the 3 previous points.

A lot of support goes into the making of a personal best- no one does it on their own (thanks Juju, E, and J for your patience and support!)

I’m applying these thoughts from my writing and running to keep those two areas growing, and to improve in other areas of life- wont you join me?

I’m a novice in both running and writing- so what have you learned that could be added to my list?

If I Were Honest, I’d Have To Say…

“Honesty is the best policy. If I lose mine honor, I lose myself.” William Shakespeare (quote source).

While yet to be reviewed and published, the “Science of Honesty” study was presented at the American Psychological Association’s 120th Annual Convention in Tampa, Florida. The study reports that participants in a “no-lie” experiment group experienced fewer mental health and physical complaints, and experienced relational improvements when compared to a control group that made no change to their frequency of lying.

By the way- they determined Americans lie on average 11 times per week…

Surprised? I was. Well, a little bit. Ok, not really surprised.

Lies create stress. Dishonesty erodes relationships and ruins careers. Distorting the truth leads to a delusion- a false narrative that person actually begins to believe.

Just as unsurprising to me as the number of lies we tell, is the statement that lies are bad for our health. Truth is freedom and life.

And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. (John 8:32 KJV)

When is a Man at His Best Physically?

Between the research that says adolescence ends in the early 20’s and the radio ads that say testosterone levels start dropping at age 20, I started asking myself- if we mature so late and begin aging so early,when are we men at our best physically?

The Tennessee Men’s Health Report Card has several indicators of men’s physical health that are alarming. While great progress is being made in preventing deaths from heart disease, it is still the number one cause of death among Tennessee men. The report cites obesity, lack of exercise, smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and poor nutrition as major contributors to heart disease. African American men seem disproportionately at risk for prostate and colorectal cancer, while white men are affected greatly can liver disease, cirrhosis, and lung cancer.

I don’t know about you, but my experience overall with my fellow males, and myself, is that physical wellness too often takes a back burner to other things, especially for seemingly fit and active men.

So when are men physically at their best? Here’s my list:
When they pay attention to their bodies.
When they eat right and stay fit.
When they take wellness seriously.
When they put their pride aside respond to physical issues that threaten their longevity and ability to contribute to their families.

What do you think? And what are your tips for men to be at their best?
(Read the next post in this series here. For the previous post, click here.