Good Enough, Not an Imposter

Welcome to my weekly Operation Melt update where I share progress updates from my continued fitness journey and the important lessons it is teaching me about life.

Another Half Marathon

This weekend I completed my second Cap City half marathon in Columbus. This virtual half marathon was my fourth organized half and my tenth overall run of the distance since I started my personal transformation project.

My first half marathon run was this week in 2018. This means I have done ten half marathons in about two years. All this after having just started running less than a year earlier.

This weekend’s half was not easy but I was prepared. I properly fueled my body and trained for the run. I had a strategy for how to pace myself. I had a good route planned that I had run before. I was ready.

The first half of the fun felt great! I was way ahead of my expected pace, I had tons of energy and wasn’t tired at all.

The second half got a little rougher, especially starting at the ten-mile point. But I knew I could do it and I pushed through. This is where I would have normally relied heavily on the energy from the crowd to push me, but no such luck in a virtual half. I was out there by myself.

The last mile started with a significant uphill run and it felt horrible. But I knew how to push through this pain and strain and did a lot of walking to finally finish. Again, a crowd and better course planning at a normal half marathon would have made this better.

I ended with a pace time of 10:13 which was a personal record for me. I was shocked, happy and proud of this time. This was faster than my first 5k run and very respectable.

Imposter Syndrome

I am a runner. I am an athlete. I am not afraid to say those things. Even more importantly, I am not afraid to think and believe those things… now.

It is a big step to get to this point because imposter syndrome is a real thing. It is the psychological condition where you doubt your status or your accomplishments. You hesitate to allow yourself to identify with the things you have earned. You are afraid to been seen or exposed as a fraud.

Let me tell you, going from 325 pounds and a lifetime of obesity to sincerely viewing yourself as an athlete is full of imposter syndrome. But I am not an imposter, I am a rock star!

Good Enough

One of my tricks for overcoming my imposter syndrome was the magic of two little words: “good enough.”

Did I do good enough to meet my own expectations based on where I am today? I am not really trying to make anybody else happy. If I am comfortable with my performance, status and accomplishments then that is all that matters. But don’t forget the “based on where I am today” part of this. I cannot measure my success in a vacuum, I need to temper it with the reality of my situation.

When I ran my first half marathon my pace time (the average time per mile) was 12:35. When I was crossing the finish line I was being passed by people crossing the finish line after having run the FULL marathon, double my distance. But, none of those people were running their first half marathon and none of them were 325 pounds just 14 months earlier.

This weekend I was 20% faster than my first half marathon just 18 months before. Could I be faster than my 10:13 pace? Absolutely. Will I get faster? Absolutely. But this pace, at this stage in my running journey, in a half marathon without a crowd is more than good enough. It is downright impressive.

This “good enough” approach works in a variety of scenarios. This week I was leading a meeting at work. I walked away feeling like I did a bad job with it. I didn’t bring the expertise to the table that I thought I needed to bring and there were some participants who just didn’t get to where I thought they should get in the meeting.

Then I considered the reality of the situation. I just took over a very large program in the middle and have only been on the team for about a month. This was a highly technical meeting and it would have been impossible for me to have been an expert. I did plenty good enough and we got to where we needed to get.

I am not an imposter, I am a good project manager – particularly based on my version of what is considered good enough to be a “good” project manager. Just like I am not an imposter, I am an athlete and a runner.

I want to get better over time. But I don’t need to be any better than I am today to be good enough. I am good enough.

What are you “good enough” at that you can stop feeling like an imposter?

I want to hear from you!

I’d love to hear your thoughts on today’s post, your goals or anything else on your mind. Send me a note via my Contact Me form above, on Facebook, on LinkedIn or via Instagram.

Get my Operation Melt updates delivered to your inbox weekly by adding your name to my email list by clicking the Email List link above.

Learn more about how I used project management as a tool for success in my weight loss journey? Pick up your copy of my book Operation Melt: How I Used Life-Changing Project Management to Lose Over 100 Pounds In Under a Year.

About Operation Melt

Operation Melt started as a blog to share my personal transformation and weight loss story. After achieving success with that goal, Operation Melt has evolved into a platform that to help inspire, motivate and equip people to achieve their own personal and professional goals so they can live their best lives. My vision is to build a world where no goal ever dies of loneliness.

Acknowledge Fellow Humans

Welcome to my weekly Operation Melt update where I share progress updates from my continued fitness journey and the important lessons it is teaching me about life.

Way to go… keep it up!

Next weekend I am running my second Cap City half marathon in Columbus. This will be my fourth “real” half and tenth or eleventh total since I started my weight loss journey. Unfortunately, because of the COVID pandemic, this year’s Cap City was delayed from April to August and then switched to be a virtual run. This means I will be out there running 13.1 miles all by myself. Not the best way to run a race because of the total absence of energy and electricity from the crowd, but certainly understandable.

Just because I am running this half marathon alone doesn’t change the fact that I have had to train and prepare for it this summer. I have spent the past couple of months trying to run a quarter marathon distance, in the summer heat, every Saturday. Not the most comfortable running but important given my August half marathon. So I have been out there pushing myself and sweating like crazy.

Last weekend, at a particularly sweaty point in my run, I passed by a couple who I had seen a few other times during my run. They knew how long I had been running and, just then, the couple cheered me on.

“Keep going, you’re doing great!”

Their cheering gave me a little boost of much-appreciated energy that helped me keep going. I am hoping to get some of that love from strangers while I am running my half marathon next weekend too.

This moment reminded me that, while getting cheered by strangers is good, just the acknowledgment that a fellow human is out there is pretty valuable.

Acknowledgment is Important

In the country town where we have a lake house, it is customary that people wave to and greet each other in passing. When I am out there running or walking and a car drives by I usually get greeted with a wave.

I appreciate that acknowledgment from my fellow humans.

This same thing has always been important to me in an office setting too. When walking down the hall in the office I always appreciate when a coworker says “good morning” or gives me a smile or does anything other than look at the floor and avoid eye contact.

Acknowledging our fellow humans is a fantastic way to say “you matter to me as a human” even if you have nothing tangible to gain from that person. Humanity is more important than utility.

Acknowledge Fellow Humans

In this time of unprecedented isolation and loneliness, you never know how meaningful your acknowledgment of a fellow human can be. I will share a couple of the many techniques that have worked well for me.
 
First off, it is very easy to acknowledge the humans around you. But it starts with being present in the moment and being aware of your surroundings. Heads-down on your phone is a great way to miss an opportunity to acknowledge a human. It doesn’t matter if you are having a bad day, you just got a text message, you haven’t had your coffee or any other excuse. The choice is yours and in your control. Be present in the moment.

The first technique is very easy and costs you nothing, including your time. When you pass a person in the hallway, while walking, while running and at any other time, just acknowledge that you see that person. Smile at them. Wave hello. Say good morning or hello. This basic level of acknowledging a fellow human is easy and impactful.

Next, and this one is big for me, genuinely respect and value service industry workers. Your server, bartender, barista or anyone else who works every day to give you good service are all good people. They are fun. They work hard and the work they do is the backbone of our society. So treat them that way.

Don’t respond to your morning barista’s “good morning, how are you this morning” with “I’ll have a large latte!” Failing to at least say good morning discounts their existence and makes you sound like a jerk. Can you tell this is one of my pet peeves?

Talk to your server, as long as their time permits it, and treat them like the person they are. But be careful to be genuine about it. Every server can see through your semi-condescending “customer service” voice. They are a person doing a hard job. Treat them like you would want to be treated and make the job a little easier.

For the final technique, I am going to share a brief story. Girls on the Run (GOTR) is a nonprofit organization for 8- to 13-year-old girls that promotes girl empowerment by teaching life skills through lessons and running. This organization has a phenomenal mission and hosts a variety of runs in Columbus every year. The girls take to the street and muscle it out to finish their race that they have been training for and it is a fun experience for all.

This past year I happened to find myself out for a walk in Downtown Columbus as a GOTR race was being run. This race, like most races on public streets, included blocking the streets and a heavy presence by Columbus Police to ensure that the street closures are honored and that the participants, volunteers and spectators are safe. These special duty officers are only paid to be there and to keep things safe so most of the time they are pretty disengaged from the actual action of the event. This time was a little bit different.

I watched one female officer whose assignment was to stand in one intersection to control traffic and ensure safety, but she was doing more than that. She was vocally cheering every one of the girls that ran by her. She was super positive, super encouraging and brought a smile to many of the girls’ faces and to mine.

One of the top ways to acknowledge a fellow human is to cheer for a stranger and honestly want them to succeed. I can tell you from my own experience that it makes a big difference.

How have you acknowledged a fellow human today?

I want to hear from you!

I’d love to hear your thoughts on today’s post, your goals or anything else on your mind. Send me a note via my Contact Me form above, on Facebook, on LinkedIn or via Instagram.

Get my Operation Melt updates delivered to your inbox weekly by adding your name to my email list by clicking the Email List link above.

Learn more about how I used project management as a tool for success in my weight loss journey? Pick up your copy of my book Operation Melt: How I Used Life-Changing Project Management to Lose Over 100 Pounds In Under a Year.

About Operation Melt

Operation Melt started as a blog to share my personal transformation and weight loss story. After achieving success with that goal, Operation Melt has evolved into a platform that to help inspire, motivate and equip people to achieve their own personal and professional goals so they can live their best lives. My vision is to build a world where no goal ever dies of loneliness.

Silencing the Haters

Welcome to my weekly Operation Melt update where I share progress updates from my continued fitness journey and the important lessons it is teaching me about life.


Messages from the haters

When you set out on a journey of self improvement and transformation you are going to hear some things from the haters. The haters don’t want you to succeed. They don’t want you to be “better” than them. They don’t want you to make them look bad. They don’t want any risk to their comfort.

What are some of the messages you hear from the haters?

Your goal is stupid.

You are never going to be successful.

Who do you think you are?

Are you ready to quit yet?

What do you mean you’re a runner? How dare you think of yourself as an athlete? You are never going to finish a half marathon so why waste your time?

These messages are so harsh that most haters won’t say them to you directly. But one hater, the most insidious of all, will say these and even worse things directly to you. And not just once.

Just who is this hater and how can you stop them? Read on…

Hearing Voices

Each one of us has a little voice inside us.

This inner voice we have can be super helpful. As our conscience, it can help guide our decisions. As our intuition, it can tell us what our gut is telling us. It can even be that little inkling that something around us isn’t quite right and help us keep our guard up.

At its best, our inner voice can be a big motivator. It can be that voice that says “I can do this” when facing a challenge. It can also be that voice that pushes us to go further by saying things like “I bet I can get to the finish line faster than that other guy.”

But this voice isn’t always this helpful and positive.

Negative Self Talk

Our little voice inside us can be our biggest critic. Our biggest doubter. Our inner voice can be our biggest, meanest, rudest and most hurtful hater. It can complete shake our confidence and convince us to give up. Even worse, it can convince us not to even try to accomplish our goals or make our dreams come true. This little voice is the main reason that goals die of loneliness.

This happens when this inner voice transitions to negative self talk. This is when that voice makes us question ourselves and believe that we can’t accomplish our goals. Even worse, negative self talk makes us think we aren’t worthy of accomplishing our goals. This inner voice can be completely unfiltered and more hurtful than any other hater will ever be.

Have you experienced negative self talk?

Silencing Your Inner Critic

While your inner critic, your inner hater, is very powerful it is far from invincible. There are strategies you can employ to stop the inner critic from destroying your happiness.

Highlight Reel: last week I talked about your personal highlight reel and this is a time when that reel becomes super helpful. Reflect on your past victories, you have probably had many of them. Think about how hard fought these battles were yet you prevailed. By reflecting on these past highlights you can remind yourself of your strength and ability to succeed. If you did it then, you can do it now and you aren’t asking your inner critic for input.

Affirmations: while reminding yourself of how strong and capable you are you have another option. By seeking out inspirational and motivational quotes, sayings, photos and videos, you can put your brain in a can-do place which is the enemy of the inner critic. Seek out these things and keep focusing on moving the right directions. Here is one of my favorites that I often listen to while running to get that extra boost of confidence.

Cheerleaders: the final way to silence that inner critic is by enlisting help from others. There are plenty of people out there who want to see you succeed and want you to be happy. Surround yourself with these people. Their positive energy will help give you that extra push to help make your inner voice stopping holding you back. I have several cheerleaders, especially my wife, and I rely on them a lot to help me keep moving forward.

How have you learned to silence your biggest hater?

I want to hear from you!

I’d love to hear your thoughts on today’s post, your goals or anything else on your mind. Send me a note via my Contact Me form above, on Facebook, on LinkedIn or via Instagram.

Get my Operation Melt updates delivered to your inbox weekly by adding your name to my email list by clicking the Email List link above.

Learn more about how I used project management as a tool for success in my weight loss journey? Pick up your copy of my book Operation Melt: How I Used Life-Changing Project Management to Lose Over 100 Pounds In Under a Year

About Operation Melt

Operation Melt started as a blog to share my personal transformation and weight loss story. After achieving success with that goal, Operation Melt has evolved into a platform that to help inspire, motivate and equip people to achieve their own personal and professional goals so they can live their best lives. My vision is to build a world where no goal ever dies of loneliness.

Highlight Reel or One-Hit Wonder

Welcome to my weekly Operation Melt update where I share progress updates from my continued fitness journey and the important lessons it is teaching me about life.

A Moment to Brag

May I please have a moment to brag? Ok, some of you may think that this entire site is me bragging, but that’s not the case. I want to talk about my story for a second.

My story is impressive! I lived a life of obesity from the time I was a child until after age forty. Then, after reaching three hundred and twenty-five pounds, I made a decision to change my life.

I set a big goal, or a BHAG for you Jim Collins fans. I was going to lose over a hundred pounds in under a year despite not knowing how to do it. Bigger than that, I was going to lose the weight my way and was not willing to give up things that I liked so it all had to fit into my plan.

I turned to the things I knew to achieve my goal: project management and data. I lost twenty-five pounds in the first six weeks of my project and just kept going. I just melted away, which led to the title of Operation Melt.

I reached my initial goal of losing one hundred pounds in just nine months but didn’t stop. At the pseudo conclusion of my sixteen-month journey, I was one hundred and thirty-one pounds down. I had also become a runner and finished my first half marathon just fourteen months after weighing in at over three hundred pounds.

In addition to the weight loss journey, I also started a blog to help people and wrote a book to do the same. Plus, I built confidence and really transformed my life.

But, that was then.

I know my transformation was impressive. I have heard that from many people who followed along and supported me through my journey. I am also impressed with myself. It made me feel really good hearing all of this support and knowing so many people were impressed by me.

Importantly, this happened at a time in my life where I really needed that validation. Sometimes you get what you need, right.

I am now more than two years past the point where I reached my weight loss goal. I lost a job during my journey and am now in my third job since I started my journey, so I have had two new sets of coworkers since starting my journey.

Between the job change, the world changing from COVID and a variety of other factors that I might discuss in a future post, I have lost many friends. This means that many of the friends I have now are different than when I went through my journey.

All of this means that I am meeting lots of people. These are people who didn’t know me before I started or during my journey. Those who have stuck with me through the journey are likely burnt out on hearing about it too.

This means that my journey is no longer impressive to most of the people in my life today.

The Al Bundy Effect

If I continue to assume that people are going to be impressed by the journey that I completed long ago I risk becoming Al Bundy.

For a little background, Al Bundy was a character in the sitcom Married With Children, he was the dad of the family. He was very unhappy with the turns his life had taken. He was a star high school football player and believed he could have been a college and pro football star. But a broken leg ended his football days and he was stuck in a life he hated. But that is just setting the stage and isn’t 100% relevant to my point.

Al Bundy always looked for the opportunity to tell people about his high school accomplishments. He was proud that he scored four touchdowns in a single game. He knew that was impressive in high school and still bragged about it every day at least twenty years later.

Al Bundy was trying to impress people he met by living in the past and hanging onto his past accomplishments.

If I continue to think that my impressive weight loss journey will still impress people today as much as it did when people watched me melt away I am just Al Bundy living on my four touchdowns in one game. Yes, some people will still be impressed, but it is in the past and nowhere near as relevant as it once was.

Highlight Reel vs. One-Hit Wonder

It is great to be proud of our accomplishments, we all should be. We worked hard to accomplish big things in our lives and they are important. Nobody can ever take away the accomplishments that make us proud of ourselves.

But we have to make a choice about our biggest accomplishments: highlight reel or one-hit wonder?

A one-hit wonder will have a single big accomplishment and try to build their lives in that one event. They are the Al Bundys of the world telling everybody about their four touchdowns in one game. They live only in the past and may not accomplish much after their one big hit.

The other option is that our accomplishments can become part of our highlight reel.

A highlight reel shows the best moments for an athlete (usually) and the best athletes have a long highlight reel. The long highlight reel is because they keep having new highlights all the time. They don’t rely on a single accomplishment as the highlight of their performance or career.

Choosing the highlight reel approach is harder for sure, it means we have to keep producing additional highlights. This means we need to work hard every day to keep growing, developing and performing. This is uncomfortable and it is definitely hard to do.

While creating new highlights is hard, it is also rewarding, helps us to live our best lives and is continually impressive. It also keeps is from always living in the past and lets us control our inner Al Bundy. That’s totally worth it in my book!

What choice are you going to make? Are you going to work hard and achieve a new personal best or are you going to live off those four touchdowns in high school football?

I want to hear from you!

I’d love to hear your thoughts on today’s post, your goals or anything else on your mind. Send me a note via my Contact Me form above, on Facebook, on LinkedIn or via Instagram.

Get my Operation Melt updates delivered to your inbox weekly by adding your name to my email list by clicking the Email List link above.

Learn more about how I used project management as a tool for success in my weight loss journey? Pick up your copy of my book Operation Melt: How I Used Life-Changing Project Management to Lose Over 100 Pounds In Under a Year.

About Operation Melt

Operation Melt started as a blog to share my personal transformation and weight loss story. After achieving success with that goal, Operation Melt has evolved into a platform that to help inspire, motivate and equip people to achieve their own personal and professional goals so they can live their best lives. My vision is to build a world where no goal ever dies of loneliness.

I’m Drawing the line!

Welcome to my weekly Operation Melt update where I share progress updates from my continued fitness journey and the important lessons it is teaching me about life.

Bad Measurements

Sometimes the things I measure don’t go the way I want them to go.

My weight is up…

Rain kept me from running…

My run was slow…

I over-consumed calories…

I couldn’t lift as much as normal…

All of these things are real things that have happened to me over the past few weeks. So, as you would expect because of how numbers-driven I am, I was pretty frustrated when each of these things occurred. Nothing feels worse than eagerly stepping on a scale or finishing a run and looking at the result only to be disappointed. It sucks!

But each of these metrics is likely to fluctuate from day to day so there is a better approach to prevent this daily frustration.

Nerd Alert: Charts and Graphs

Being the data nerd that I am, I have recently created 2 spreadsheets with corresponding graphs.

The first compares my weekly calorie consumption vs. total weekly calorie burn vs. average weekly weight.

The second spreadsheet captures my total weekly running distance as well as my fastest and slowest run times through that week. Year-to-date 30 weeks have elapsed so I have quite the sampling of data and it tells the story about how much things change from week to week.

In addition to the weekly measurements, I added one more important item to each graph: a line. On the first graph, I added a line that tracks my rolling weekly calorie deficit (calories consumed minute calories burned). On the second graph I added a line tracking my rolling average miles ran per week and another that tracks my fastest run per week.

By looking at these trend lines I have learned a lot about these measurements that were so disappointing when I looked at a couple of bad days.

I am actually continuing to run more miles week over week. This especially increased when the COVID lockdown started and I reinvested my work prep and commute time into my exercise goals.

My average weekly calorie consumption has increased since the COVID lockdown in March. But my weekly calorie burn has increased by twice as much as the consumption. So I am not only maintaining a strong calorie deficit each week but I am overdoing it which likely has actually led to my weight increase. Counterintuitive for sure, but I need to start eating more each week… of all the bad luck, right?

My runs are not getting slower, but they also aren’t getting much faster. I am consistently (over the past 3 months or so) averaging a pace of between nine minutes and nine-and-a-half minutes per mile. I am happy with this pace, but would like to see continuous improvement. Unfortunately, I heard that we lose a little speed every year after age forty, but I refuse to accept this.

Lines vs.Points

What I have learned through this exercise is that we need to keep the right perspective on points versus lines. An individual data point is important. It tells a story. My weight today reflects my choices from yesterday. Ironically enough, my running speed today also tends to reflect my choices from yesterday. These individual measurements, these points, are very important.

Individual measurements, single points, are not sufficient by themselves. To really understand performance you need to look at a line. A line tells the story of performance over time which is way more important than any one point on that line.

Without looking at my lines, I would not have really known if I am getting slower, lazier, fatter, weaker or any of these things. Ok, that’s not a healthy way of looking at it, but it made me chuckle a bit so I liked it!

But lines are comprised of all the individual points so they are still important because the points are what I can manage every day.

What do your lines say?

Do you have a goal that you are pursuing? Are you tracking your progress? What does your trend line tell you?

Are you trying to become a millionaire? What does your net worth trend line say? Ignore today’s measurement, it could be heavily impacted by day-to-day changes in the value of your investments. What does the line say about your net worth over time? Is your net worth increasing over time?

Are you trying to lose weight? Today’s measurement from the scale will be impacted by yesterday’s food, drink and exercise. What does the line tell you? Is your weight decreasing over time?

When you are chasing a goal, every single measurement point matters. But individual points don’t tell the story. When you start looking at the line of your points over time you can really see the story unfold before your eyes. This may mean that you need to make a change and take action, then do it. The line may also tell you that you are on track despite one bad day or week. Wouldn’t that be nice?

I want to hear from you!

I’d love to hear your thoughts on today’s post, your goals or anything else on your mind. Send me a note via my Contact Me form above, on Facebook, on LinkedIn or via Instagram.

Get my Operation Melt updates delivered to your inbox weekly by adding your name to my email list by clicking the Email List link above.

Learn more about how I used project management as a tool for success in my weight loss journey? Pick up your copy of my book Operation Melt: How I Used Life-Changing Project Management to Lose Over 100 Pounds In Under a Year.

About Operation Melt

Operation Melt started as a blog to share my personal transformation and weight loss story. After achieving success with that goal, Operation Melt has evolved into a platform that to help inspire, motivate and equip people to achieve their own personal and professional goals so they can live their best lives. My vision is to build a world where no goal ever dies of loneliness.