Thursday, October 26, 2017

Prioritize and Manage Your Time

If we all received time in the form of a weekly paycheck, much like we do our money, we would treat it differently. Most of us prioritize our money such that our mortgage and bills are covered first, then we figure out how to spend the rest. Unfortunately, we don’t always treat our time the same way. Time slips away. Money slips away. Unless you plan for it. The answer to planning for your time and money… priorities.

Start With A Vision
Start by asking yourself what’s most important in your life: God, family, work, health, fitness, recreation, travel, community service, material possessions, etc. Think about where you want to spend your time and money.  "If you want to know what a person values, take a look at their calendar and their checkbook."  What would you like your calendar to look like? What would you like your checkbook to look like? Write them down - it’s the starting point for your priorities. "...for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” ~Matthew 6:21.

Define Your Legacy
Now let’s ask a more morbid but very relevant question.  What would you like people to someday say at your funeral? How do you want your children and their children to someday remember you?  What words would you like them to use?  Will they refer to you as loving, caring, kind, generous, Godly, inspirational, leader, present, focused?  Now you have a second list of words for your priorities.

"You can do anything you want in life, you just can’t do everything.” ~David Allen.  I’m sure you’ve noticed that if you want something done, you give it to a busy person.  Busy people prioritize, they’re motivated, and they know how to get things done. Priorities set the stage for making the key decisions in your life - how to spend your time and money. Look at the two lists generated above, and pit them against one another.  Ask yourself if you had an hour to spend on something or $100 to spend on something, what would you rather spend it on?  

Create Your Personal Statement of Priorities
Based on the priorities activity above, create your sequenced statement that reflects how you want to spend your time and treasure as well as what you want your legacy to be.  For example:
  1. My first priority is to live a Christ-centric life in which my love and light shine upon others
  2. My second priority is to be a family-oriented person who is a loving, caring, engaged family leader
  3. My third priority is to exemplify a healthy lifestyle in which my choices are a role model to others
  4. My fourth priority is to be an exceptional leader at work who inspires and motivates others to become their very best
Go ahead, create yours now...

Chances are, the current views of your checkbook and calendar don’t align with what you’d like them to be.  “The most important thing is this: to be able at any moment, to sacrifice what you are, for what you will become!” ~Charles Du Bos. Prepare yourself to live according to your personal statement of priorities.  Stop wasting time and money on things that aren’t important to you. Start investing your time, talent, and treasure in those things that will pay dividends for the rest of your life… and beyond.

Welcome to the new you.  Enjoy the journey... 

Check out Enjoy the Journey on at
Learn more about Dave VanEpps or request a speaking engagement at

Friday, October 20, 2017

Life Lessons from Ironman

Last week I had friends competing in a 100 mile run, a 100 kilometer run, full and half marathons, and full Ironman triathlons. For some, these are bucket-list items. For others, these are routine events. For most, these are viewed as an insane form of torture. Regardless of your opinion, there’s a lot of life lessons that are equally applicable to sports, business, and life.  Let’s take a look at a few...

1. Put One Foot in Front of the Other
Sometimes in life there isn’t a quick fix - you just have to put in the time and effort. My latest Ironman required 2,496 swim strokes, 23,595 pedal strokes, and 47,850 steps to cover 140.6 miles.  There were no shortcuts. Maybe for you it’s a project at work, a promotion, recovery from addiction, improving a marriage, or dealing with a difficult child. Set the direction and just keep putting one foot in front of the other.

2. Anything is Possible
When you were a kid, did you dream of mediocrity?  Or did you have far-reaching dreams of someday becoming wildly successful?  What happened to those dreams?  NBC Sports calls Ironman the toughest day in sports.  I found that exciting, challenging, and terrifying at the same time.  What are your dreams - education, career, athletic, personal, family?  If you don’t have any, start dreaming.  Dream big, and latch onto something that excites you, challenges, you, and terrifies you.  Then hang on for the most exciting ride of your life.

3. Life is a Team Sport
There’s no such thing as an individual sport.  My Ironman effort involved an extensive support system: coaches, training partners, nutritionists, physical therapists, friends, sponsors, and most importantly, family.  Not everyone was as fortunate. You may be phenomenal at what you do, but you’ll never succeed in sports, life, or business without phenomenal people around you. Surround yourself with great people, and be amazed at what happens.

4. Plan Your Work; Work Your Plan
"If you don't know where you are going, you'll end up someplace else” ~Yogi Berra. Would you ever go on vacation by just driving and not having a pre-planned destination?  For most people, no.  Ironman required a very specific training plan over the course of many months just to get me to the starting line. Whether you’re training for an athletic event or planning a career, a vacation, or a life, start by creating a plan.  Execute against that plan, tweaking it along the way as you encounter life’s curveballs.

5. Attitude is Everything
At mile 15 of the run, I watched the person in front of me collapse while another dropped on the side of the course and puked. The heat was wearing on all of us as dehydration became a real challenge. I wanted to quit. I also wanted to succeed. Sports are mental - so is business, and so is life.  Every goal will be met with issues and barriers.  Whether on the race course, in your job, or in your daily life, you need to adopt a winning mindset that enables you to rise up and rise above.  Your attitude determines your altitude - make yours a winner.

6. Dig Deeper
There were times I was doubting I could make it to the finish line.  Ironically, as soon as I heard cheering fans, airhorns, and cowbells, I had no problem picking up the pace.  It was a fresh, new energy source. Often in life, we think our tank is on empty.   Maybe it’s an endless project, a difficult boss, an illness, or an addiction that has taken us to our physical, emotional, and mental limits. Dig deeper, find a new energy source, and realize there’s always something more in the tank.

7. Make Your Own Fun
In my last Ironman, a group of fans said they voted me biggest smile on the course.  If you’ve read the blog to this point, you know it was hard and painful.  How could I be smiling?  It was easy - my top goal was to finish and my second goal was to enjoy it. Again, choose your attitude. Life’s filled with challenges.  Do you approach your job with a goal of having fun?  How about every other aspect of your life? Life’s short - make it fun.

Welcome to the new you.  Enjoy the journey... 

Check out Enjoy the Journey on at
Learn more about Dave VanEpps or request a speaking engagement at

Friday, October 6, 2017

Embrace the Impossible

Prior to 1954, it was “proven" to be physically impossible to run a mile in under 4 minutes. Prior to 1962 it was impossible to go to the moon. Prior to 2014, it was impossible for me to complete an Ironman. All of those have since been done, multiple times. Here are three reasons to embrace the impossible:

1. Program Your Mind and Body for Success
The body always moves in the direction of your dominant thoughts. Your subconscious controls 95% of what you do. The messages you receive and believe, whether from yourself or others, are what shape your destiny.  Once you truly believe in something, it programs your mind and body in a positive way that drives success.

2. Listen to the Best Motivational Speech
Tell me I can't do something, and I will prove you wrong. I was over 250 pounds, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high sugar, and a high risk for cardiovascular disease. I never swam, hadn’t biked since I was a kid, and had sustained a severe running injury years prior that left health care professionals saying, “You will never run again.”  So why sign up for an Ironman triathlon, which consists of a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, and then a 26.2 mile run?  Easy, people told me I couldn’t do it. That's all the motivation I needed.  Next time someone says you can’t do something, take it as a challenge.

3. Destroy False, Man-Made, Self-Imposed Limitations
If babies were like well-trained adults, every single one of us would have stopped trying to stand and walk after their first 100 failed attempts.  Babies would fail repeatedly and say, "This is impossible."  But they don't.  It's not until they self-impose limits of what's perceived to be possible, or not.  Luke 18:27 says, “What is impossible with man is possible with God." In Matthew 17:20, it says, “…if you have faith as small as a mustard seed ... nothing will be impossible for you.” Each and every day, miracles happen, and the impossible becomes possible.

Carve out 10 minutes alone. Turn off your cell phone, get away from the barking dogs, and no TV.  Just you, your thoughts and a place to take notes.  Ask yourself the following questions:
  • What self-limiting beliefs have you (or others) imposed upon yourself (e.g., I can’t wake up early, I can’t lose weight, I can’t run a mile, I can’t earn more money)?
  • What are some things you’d like to do but don’t believe they’re possible, and why don’t you believe they’re possible? 
  • Pick your top item and figure out how to make it happen. What belief(s) will re-program your subconscious mind for success? What action can you take to start to change that paradigm, right now?

Welcome to the new you.  Enjoy the journey... 

Check out Enjoy the Journey on at
Learn more about Dave VanEpps or request a speaking engagement at

In the Zone

Only 19 miles to go to the finish line. I just need to focus, one step at a time, pace, form, hydration, nutrition… hey there’s a bird!  Bac...