Doug Ament doesn’t have all of the answers, but he asks excellent questions. In the heyday of the late ’90s, he was a partner in the San Diego based most successful yacht dealerships in the World. Until it all went sideways, and they shut it down. His lessons provide us anchor points for how to navigate uncertainty when we lose sight of the shore in life and business. In this episode Doug Ament walks us through how he survived the 2008/09 professional downturn.
Doug Ament: The cost of leadership is self-discipline
Key personal takeaways from 2008/2009
1. Spiritual Development: Who am I and where do I get my sense of security and purpose?
2. Exercise: After his 2008/09 career upset, he decided to do my first Triathlon to have something productive to pour his energy into.
3. Key mentors and directors: He relied on a small group of key mentors and directors to help keep him sane providing him sound direction and encouragement.
4. Family, humor, and remembering what is truly important.Doug Ament’s survival guide to uncertainty, upsets and difficult seasons in life and business.
OneThree12 is led by a founding team of committed, seasoned coaches and professionals. Our team has decades of shared coaching, executive leadership, service, and discipleship experience.
OneThree12 is inspired by the coaching journeys of the founding team. After decades of watching the impact that intentional coaching had on the lives of men and women in business, ministry, and at home — the founding team came together with a vision for an affordable, multiplicative coaching experience.
As the stories of impact increase, people want to become coaches and bring others along. This cycle of sharpening, growth, and replication is what Jesus envisioned in Matthew 28 and is fundamental to what we do.
About Doug Ament
Doug Ament spent four years on Young Life staff before starting a 23-year career running a multi-location yacht sales company. During the last eight years in business he was coached through Building Champions and experienced the powerful impact coaching can have in every area of his life. Since 2009 Doug has been involved in coaching other individuals. He is committed to giving back to others through the OneThree12 model of discipleship. He currently lives in San Diego with his wife of 35 years. They have 3 kids, 5 grandchildren, and are loving this season of life.
Welcome to work life play. I'm your host, Aaron McHugh. I'm here to help you find work. You love. Learn to play live. Adventurously become curious and live your life with joy and purpose. Ready? Set. Go. Eric Eaton.
Welcome to the work-life play podcast, man. Super stoked. You're here.
Eric Eaton :
Thank you very much here. And I'm glad to be here.
Yeah. We're where are you calling from?
Eric Eaton :
I'm in Crested Butte, Colorado.
Come on. Tell people what Crestview it's like this time of year.
Eric Eaton :
It is absolutely gorgeous and all the leaves are changing. The sun shining bright. And so it's one of the prettiest places you can be this time of year.
Yeah, for real. Before you hunker down for a long winter's nap though, right?
Eric Eaton :
Next couple of months, we'll be kind of bare. And then, then the lifts open, then we can get into the skiing season.
Yeah. So, Eric and I are friends and as two friends, we're going to share a conversation with you guys. So listeners today, and Eric just came out with a new book. And so I wanted to have him on the podcast and give them a chance to tell some stories and tell him, tell you guys what he's up to. I think you guys will be interested in what he's doing and what I call his, his dent in the world. So Eric, tell us about what you're doing and tell us about your new book.
Eric Eaton :
About last year, probably about this time last year, I was actually working on a book that I wanted to write, but it was more kind of a spiritual disciplines type book. And in the process of doing that, you know, if I was going to do this, I really wanted to do it well. So I started just doing a lot of research, started following a lot of webinars and, and listening to the podcast and following, you know, a lot of these thought leaders about how to do this well. And I started to get frustrated because it was the realization that I live in chronic pain and I live in a life that's very different from a lot of these highly caffeinated individuals that I talked about and caffeinated, I like that very high energy, you know, the people who shoot videos out when they're out on a jog, you know, those type of people that would never happen with me.
I just started getting frustrated cause it was like, well, if this is what it takes, I can't do it. I mean, I don't, I don't have that ability. I don't have that energy. And had a hip reconstruction when I was 26 left me with chronic pain and nerve damage had a hip replacement when I was 40. And so, you know, I moved slower than the average individual, I have a lot of pain every day and I never really know what my days are going to be like when I get up. It just kind of sent me on this process of, okay, so if this is what success looks like, then what does it look like for someone like me? And I know I'm not alone in this situation.
That's when I started writing this book that I called the raging sloths. So I came up with that term because you know, there are days I feel like it's lot. I mean, I'm slow moving. It's slow going, but no matter what, and no matter what, when I feel this way, I still have this burning desire in me to do more. You know, I still want to write books. I still want to be out in the world and do things. I don't want to be defined by my circumstances or limitation. Now I want to be able to control them and live life on my terms. It was one of those interesting experiences that once I started writing, it only took me about three months to get everything written and ready to go, because it just started flowing from me and trying to offer a resource to people that are in similar situations that have a plan to kind of get out of their funk and get out of their ideas of what chronic pain or living with the limitation is like to live an extraordinary life and live something differently.
And so that's kind of where this whole process started and how I came up with this idea for this book.
Yeah. I really loved when, when reading through, I remember how you did a lot of reframing is even like you just mentioned, like here here's these highly caffeinated individuals who are a lot of my, I find is like, they're advocating, they're preaching, they're prescribing methodologies and approaches and ways and tactics and strategies and all the stuff. And then yet here, you're saying like, like that, that doesn't work for me. I can't, I can't do it that way, but it doesn't change the fact that I want, I want to make a difference. So, I want to offer what I have to offer, but you've had to go about it a very different path.
Can you be specific about what does that mean then for you waking up on a Friday with, with chronic pain and said this limitation, what are the things that you've begun to learn that, to manage your energy, to budget things out, or talk us through what, how you've had to approach things differently, but still trying to provide something that you extracting that meaningful art from inside of you and offering it to the world, but how have you had to go about it differently?
Eric Eaton :
When we're looking at these people and father individuals the reality is our content is solid. What they had to offer, what they had to say is really good, you know? And I can't deny that and just say, you know, that I can't do that. I have to look at that kind of methodology or, or that structure or content and say, okay, how do I, and I liked the way you said that, how do I reframe that for my life? How do I create a space where I can work in and be successful and be productive? Being productive really for people living in chronic pain is one of the biggest issues they suffer with is because they don't feel they have any productivity.
What I've learned over the really the past 18 months is I kind of what I call it, the sprint method. And I hope to have this more outlined, a little more, it's not in the book, but I kind of touch on it, I'm not a marathon runner. I need to go through my days in sprints so I can work in like two hour chunks. And that's really what I've learned to do is just, you know, I can sit down and write for two hours and I need to go for a walk. I need to, then I can come back and sit down and do some more work for a couple hours and I'll do some of my stretches or therapy. Trying to create a day that works along those lines.
I think that's something that people in my situation don't do enough. You know, we, we try to, and this is what I did for many years. I try to just push my pain aside and not, not realizing the effect it was having on my life. I was trying to live life like everyone else in my career with my family when I had this kind of overarching elephant in the room that I would discuss. Cause I didn't want to admit that I wasn't paying an effect in my life to the, to the level that it did. So, when I finally came to that realization of, okay, I can't overcome this pain, how do I engage it head on and deal with it appropriately? And one of the ways I realized like doing that is okay, I need to create these kind of what I call input strategies.
When I have a bad day, you know, what can I do to still be productive and things like that, or, you know, can I listen to a podcast? Can I listen to a book on audio? You know, can I just kind of jot down notes that I can kind of you know, flush out at a later time, but you know, it's not that I completely shut down. And there's a, there are days where I need to completely shut down, but you know, I can't be productive from the standpoint of creating, you know, the, the outputs I want to, but how can I still be productive and kind of growing myself, you know, because I can still listen, I can still absorb information. I can still kind of push content a little further, not the way I wants to, but creating this space every for my life that if the pain comes, how do I still be productive and creative in many different ways. And that was really a kind of an epiphany for me that that really opened up my ability to be more productive because instead of fighting something is fighting this pain every day, I was realizing that it is a part of my life and I need to deal with it accordingly so that I could be productive. And that was kind of a paradigm shift in my thinking and being able to be more productive in my life.
Eric, do you mind taking us into the pain itself and for, for people who don't experience the chronic pain, or significantly impacted by some limitation. And I think that's where a lot of people can relate, but take us into specifically, what does that, when you say chronic pain, what does that actually mean?
Eric Eaton :
Yeah, so for me specifically through my hip surgery, so I have pain in my hip and groin every day. Just kind of flares up at different times during the day. So my, my right foot is constantly flaming and in pain. And those are kind of the constants I deal with on every day, everyday life. And then unfortunately I've become a middle aged man. So I gotta deal with all the, all the aspects of my body falling apart in general.
What do you deal with that? Just even having this conversation, the people I know that deal with chronic pain, it's still always present. It's not, it's just how to, what degree it's present. And then on the pain Richter scale of one to 10 tens being unthinkable unbearable ones, like just a mile little tweak, where does that plot for you even now?
Eric Eaton :
Six or seven. I didn't have bad days and worst days, I have a hard time remembering the last good day I have. And I kind of hover between the six and seven pretty much every day.
So just having to have that constant kind of pain behind me. That's one of our issues is my mind is always trying to suppress this pain or kind of push it aside so I can have these conversations so I can kind of appear normal. And so that is very draining of my energy and of my mental fortitude in trying to do this on a constant basis. But it's just something I have to realize is a reality in my life.
Going back to then I wanted to create a baseline before I go back into these other questions for what you mentioned earlier. So if your baseline then is a six or seven, and then for other people listening again, you may not have chronic pain, but you may have some other limitation. And let's just say, so substitute chronic pain for your challenge limitation that's ever present. Then you went back and you were describing as part of this refrain, this paradigm shift about talking about a sprint versus a marathon, but the title of your book being raging, sloths, like even your sprint, which is a smaller stretch of time, upwards of two hours, you mentioned even that is probably pretty strategic and budgeted, I would guess too. So if you can, you're gonna wake up. I'm guessing, you know, when your best hours are of maybe they're not the first thing in the morning, maybe it's noon to two. So walk us through what a sprint means again, on a Friday where your best blocks and then, then move into then affording some time for recovery in between the sprints for allowing room for the pain that you mentioned, say more about those.
Eric Eaton :
I think it is broader than just my chronic pain is, is a limitation, is anything that's been placed upon you that you didn't ask for, but it's changed your life. You can't ignore it. A lot of people fall in that category in different ways, shapes and forms of disabilities with different aspects of their life that they're trying to deal with, that, that they didn't ask for. Within the book and some of the bonus materials is I kept on going through these kind of life plans and daily planners and things like that. And again, they were kind of frustrating me because if I had a bad day, you know, I would, I didn't get done everything I wanted to get done.
That would just leave me frustrated. So, I created my own kind of daily planner. I get it fairly early in the morning. Mainly just cause again, it's, it's not comfortable to stay in bed too long, so I'm up early and that's what I do most of my work. And one of the things I do every morning is I sit down and kind of write down my, to do list. And then I, like I write down my limitations and my breaks. So if, if my limitation is kind of flaring and I have a bad day, then I write down on that space, what I'm going to do if that happens. So I'll write down a specific podcast, I'll listen to maybe a knee book. I want to read a book on tape, on to listen to, or put on tape, how old am I you know, a, an audio book, an audio book or something along those lines, and then also put it in their breaks.
What am I going to do in my breaks? And that may be go for a walk that may be just topic with a friend, just some time relaxing on the couch or whatever it may be, but I specifically write those out so that when I'm, I'm hitting my, my sprint and I'm in and out, I may go, I may only go an hour and make it three hours. I don't know. But when I get to that point, I specifically what I'm going to do in those break times. So I'll get up really, I'll write all these out. And then, so I'll start my day. I'll start writing, then I'll stop and know I need to do my stretches or exercises. I'll go a little more, you know, stop and go for a walk and then go some more time.
I know it's lunchtime. When I get to the afternoons, I'm a little less productive. I'm not as good in it and the creating content space. I'm trying to do more organizational administration. I'm trying to work on those aspects of what I'm trying to accomplish during that time period. The biggest thing is to write it out for me every day so that I know what I want to accomplish. And I know that if I can't do it, what I'm going to do to still be productive and then just move those to dues or those items in the next day and keep going forward and give myself the grace in order to allow that to happen.
I'll put guilt on myself that I didn't do it, but just knowing that's just, that's just how I have to function in order to be productive. And in shifting this mindset, it's given me the ability to actually be far more productive than I ever imagined, because I've given myself that grace in order to essentially, as soon as he drops something on any given day and then just pick it up the next day. Cause you know, that's the next day I may feel great all day, so I can just barrel through the day and keep going. But I have to be able to give myself that kind of space to maneuver depending on how I'm going to feel that day or what's going to happen in that given day. Cause I don't know how I'm going to feel or, or what the pain is going to be like on any given day.
Hmm. So as I'm listening to you, Eric, I'm wondering when you began to make the shift from sound like the old way was you just became skilled at toughing it out. Now you said like the people around you may have that differ. You know, how well, how well, how well you were masking it or how well you were managing it, but that was your selling key. That what's your strategy of just I'm going to attempt to live like everyone else. I'm just going to find a way to tough it out and try and you know, not, not show my hand of cards of what's really I'm being played here. And I'm curious by contrast, now that you have this different strategy for managing a limitation again, it's unwanted, undesired, not the life plan that you had hoped for. How much have, how much were you before?
Was there some degree of anger, resentment, victim mentality, like versus today, how it feels to be you and has that shifted at all in terms of you have just your gratitude meter, because now you're saying I'm producing far more productive than I ever imagined. That could be some just trying to get in your head a little bit about what it was like and what it's like now from a, this isn't fair or cause I would be pissed basically what I'm saying, hearing what you're saying. I would feel very differently today as you've outlined these strategies for productivity and trying to make the most of what you have this limitation, but the way it was before I would have been pretty pissed looking around me by comparison. So I'm just curious what that was like for you.
Eric Eaton :
Yeah. I think part of it, I grew up in the South, that kind of typical just tradition, mentality. I mean you just, as a man, you grow up, you work, you know, you, you tough it out, you know, no matter what was all football coaches in my head, no, you're fine. Keep going, you know, nothing nothing's too bad. And so when you carry that over into adulthood and something like this happens, you know, there, there's never a different narrative given to you or a different approach, you know? So, you know, even when my hip started going out to me, I was 26 years old and it was just in my mind, I'm like, okay, let's fix this so I can keep going. You know, just, you know, I was kind of skyrocketing in my career in the consulting and the business world and I just wanted to keep on that pathway.
Even through the pain of that surgery and trying to get rehabilitated and back into the, to the game, that was just my mentality. The reason was, is because I didn't know there was an alternative, this was the only narrative given to me growing up is, is this is what you do. This is how you work. And this is, you know, you just tough it out and you just, like you said, you just keep going. And I think the biggest two emotions I experienced with that is frustration and anger, but I didn't know why, you know, I kept on hitting these walls, you know, I could, I could fake it, you know, for a while, but sooner or later, you know, it would catch up with me and it would become too much. And I would, I was essentially over committing to a tasks or projects that I would eventually would not be able to deliver on because I was, you know, overestimating my energy or my, my bounds.
And so, yeah, I mean, I was very pissed for a long time because I didn't know what to do. And in the process of writing this book, I essentially wrote it to my, you know, myself 15 years ago. Like this is the book I wish I would have had 15 years ago to guide me through the process of like, okay, this is your circumstances. You need to deal with it. And this is how you can deal with it effectively in order to, to increase your productivity. Because I, for me, I have my frustration was I kept on failing. I kept on failing at what was doing you know, even in relationships and, you know, with my wife and children, I felt like I, you know, cause I wasn't living up to the, the attitude or mindset of the father. I wanted to be here with the husband.
I wanted to be. So I viewed that as a failure and in reality it wasn't a failure. I just had to look at it differently and kind of move that frustration and anger out of the way that do address life as it really was, you know, this is my reality, this is how I'm going to live life. I need to change the narrative of my story in order to live it appropriately. And that's kind of what, you know, that dealing with those emotions and, and they, you know, they come and go and they still come and go, you know, I, I can't say that I fixed it. Everything's rainbows and unicorns now there's still days I get frustrated, but, but they're, they're less, you know, because I I'm giving myself that grace where I wasn't before and I'm seeing the reality of where I am that, you know, okay. I can't, I can't function in that way. I can't move in that way and that's okay, what can I do to be productive? And how can I find my purpose and give back to those around me in a productive way. And it's completely different than what I imagined or, you know, like you said, the life plan I put for myself growing up, but that doesn't make it any less wonderful or any less you know, rewarding to what it is. It's just different. And that's fine.
As you're talking Eric, so listeners, Eric and I have known each other since, I guess we were like 19 or 20 probably. Right? Yeah. So we, we, we went to Baylor university together and didn't know each other real well, but lived, I think we were always just one block away or two blocks away on those corner houses that we were in, in Waco real close to two blocks. And Eric lived in this big cool house with like five or seven roommates or something. And they were always like, there was motorcycles and cars and skateboards and good looking women. And it was, it was a cool place. And so it was on my path to ride my bike to campus or walk to campus every day. Subsequently my wife ended up, she was one of those good looking women coming over to Eric's house and hanging out over there.
Eric and I have known each other for a really long time. And then when you got engaged and Leith and I got engaged when we were still at Baylor, I think we spent some time hanging out and then you guys lived here in Colorado Springs for a while. We hung out. So we've had some seasons and then Eric actually reminded me he and I were talking what probably like, was it probably two or three months ago? We were talking about this writing deal. And you were reminding me of a conversation that we had in your truck heading somewhere, what, six or eight, 10 years ago, or something about me saying I wanted to be a writer. Is that something, does that sound right?
Eric Eaton :
Yeah. We're I think we're going mountain biking or something like that. And we were just talking about riding and we were both like, yeah, I want to write a book one day, but you know, one of those distant dreams, you're like, yeah, that'd be cool.
Here we are. Here we are. So when I'm listening to you, I just provide all that as, as back drop for the listeners. What I would just frame as, or describe as a more mature seasoned viewpoint of the current, the current reality. So here it's, it's what I wrote down is that just like an honest assessment, about the reality of your limitation, and I'm wondering if re in writing your book for the you, that you were 15 years ago, do you think you would have had the maturity and to actually buy it, like actually believe that that was a helpful beginning place is to start to get honest and real about the limitation that you do have.
Eric Eaton :
That’s a really good question. There's one reason why I kind of named it the raging slot. Cause I figured it, you know, 15 years ago I at least would have picked up the book because of the title, what got my attention. I don't know if I would add the maturity or not, you know, it's because part of me was denying this existence that I had. And it's been interesting because there's a few people that I've been talking to who picked up the book and they would say the only reason they read this, they live in chronic pain and they feel like I hate these types of books, I never would pick up a book with a strategy or a nine-step blueprint.
And I was like, you know what, neither would. Then they say once they got into it, they, it started making sense, you know, the, the realization. And I think that's, I think that would have been my biggest hurdle is like, okay, I got this book you know, let me dig into it and let me see some of the realities. And I think if I, if I could have seen the plan, then that would have opened up a lot in my eyes of, okay, this is, this is truly where I am and this is a pathway out. And that's, that was something I didn't know why I needed at the time. And I would've, I would've needed some type of guide or some type of a mentor to help me get through that process, to see the realities.
I've known lots of the pieces of the story, but not maybe drilled this deep before with you on it is. I'm just envisioning that for any of us with unwanted limitations, however they got there. And whether that's an unwanted limitation, again, I'm not trying to normalize the specifics of chronic pain and pretend that they're the same, but just for other people as that might not be their dialect directly relatable piece is that whatever's unwanted and poses significant limitations. And I know people with health issues, I know people with mental health issues. I know people with physical issues. I know people with, you know, story of family of origin issues. I know people with financial, severe issues and, they are all significant provide significant impact.
And I think the part that I am clinging to is just listening, thinking there is there's a sobriety in just getting honest.
Eric Eaton :
I just had a conversation with a guy right before we get on this call together. And he was asking me , about things that have come to us in life, come to me in life. And I told them, I said, I spent a 42 year, 43 years trying to out run them basically. And just trying to not let the full weight of them. I didn't want to feel the full weight of them. Because I just thought the degree of grief that was waiting for me and loss and all that, which felt super inconvenient. Like I don't want to stop down and deal with this, or I'm too busy or Wednesday is a good time for me to ever have a bad day when everybody else around me is having bad days or bad years.
What I realized was that, and I listened to this this podcast from Rob bell and he did it on honoring the immensities was the name of the podcast title. And it was about stopping down and feeling the weight and doing an honest assessment, essentially feeling the weight of the immensities of our life. And he framed it in the reason is so that you can move on to thriving and not just survive. Cause a lot of people survive, unwanted limitations, whatever those may be, but not many people thrive. And I think that's what I hear you outlining is you came up with this plan where every morning you go through and you script out blocks of your day and you don't really know how long each block will last, like, okay, here's my productivity block from seven to nine, but you may not make it to nine, but you've already budgeted and carved out a recovery hour or maybe it has to be three, but you've just done an honest assessment. Like I'm going to need to recover. I can't go from seven to two and pretend I can't get up and walk around or go have a cup of coffee or change your strategy
In the days that you said earlier that the days are bad and terrible. Is that what were the two extremes that you mentioned?
Eric Eaton :
Yeah. Bad or worse.
Better or worse. Right. So did slip up earlier and you said good, which I wanted to correct you, but we'll say, all right. So you're, you're good, equals bad for the rest of us and that, but even on a bad day, you've done an honest assessment and said, listen, I don't want to just lay here and feel like shit all day. I think I can actually I'll turn on a podcast. I'm going to listen to my audio book of me when I can actually do something about it and then begin to reshape what your future is going to look like. And your day looks like and all these other things. So I just think it's really, I think there's a lot of meat in what you just talked us through. And when I go back to maturity, I'm saying that about myself really is where that question's coming from is could I have, I wouldn't have believe me if I would have said, Hey, Aaron, you need to get real about some of your honest limitations and live a more authentic, realistic life. I think I would have just ignored it.
Eric Eaton :
I think that's where a lot of where I came from it is, you do just survive. I mean, because you don't know when you don't know how to get through it. And, and then if you do figure it out, then, then there's that huge wall of fear. And I think that fear comes in several different ways is I was the same way as I feared admitting I was disabled or I had a disability, you know, I did not want that label. That prevented me from being honest and taking that on as a sense of my life. And the second part of that was I had no idea what life would look like if I went through this and made and admitted it, you know, and that's, that's frightening, you know, as, as awful as life may seem right now, we're comfortable with it and we're comfortable in that space because we're used to it.
We don't take that step and we don't take that honest assessment because we don't know what's on the other side. And that limits us in a lot of different ways because, and unfortunately, a lot of it comes from this, you know, we spend too much time watching, you know, romantic comedies and television where, you know, there's always a happy ending at the end. Isn't it. We always want the happy ending and that's, you know, that's not a reality and it's not a bad thing. It's just not a reality. It's just, you know, I love the way you said that, you know, that that's that honest assessment. And that's what it took is just, you know, finally sitting down and going, okay, this is, this is a weight in my life that will never be removed, you know, and as much as I was looking forward to the next surgery, your next physical therapy, your next medication, that would take it away, you know, after, you know, almost 19 years now and you know, it never happened, you know?
So I had to sit down and take an honest assessment and say, this is my reality, what am I going to do about it? And then be open to what life is going to look like when I, when I go through the tunnel, because I don't know, you know, you don't know what it's going to look like because it could take several different directions. So it was just being, I think the key word in my life, and my days is flexibility. You know, just being flexible to what the day unfolds or what life unfolds and just kind of going with it, you know, and not being, not setting my expectations, too, solidly setting my goals high and high. I want to achieve them. But letting that pathway, you know, be very flexible, we're going to get there so that I don't live in frustration and anger and be pissed off at myself and not being able to finish what I started. And that's been key in trying to not only do that honest assessment, but create a good life out of it so I can thrive instead of just survive.
And to me, I think the operative there is thrive and that was what really struck me. It struck me in listening to that podcast struck me in the invitation for what's possible and then strikes me in what you're describing, because I mean, what I would just what I've observed now. And I remember seeing you with your cane. You actually really that kind of maximizing what you do have and, and being able to turn what you do have, like you wrote a book, how cool is that?
Getting honest and getting real is, has changed my whole life. I have a better life now that I've gotten honest and real. And one of the things that was most painful for me at the time was to be honest with other people about my limitations and to start at myself and just say, okay, maybe this is true about me. Maybe I can't just beat my brains in all the time. Like I did all through my twenties and most of my thirties and maybe this is not working, but then to actually have to say it to other people and start using the words. Like, I can't like just saying, I can't, I can't do that, but I've learned like there's a maturity in that too, of being able to say I'm not, I'm not able to do that or no, that won't work for me. And I've learned like a gracious way to do that.
Some of that basically a gracious way to say no is what it comes down to in learning that, like, by doing, saying nos, or I'm not able to, or man, I really wish I could, but that's not gonna work for me then it also, that basically allows me to live in a more honest life. So I can do what you just mentioned in your schedules, like build blocks. So I know for me personally, like these hours right now are really good until two o'clock and then I'd kind of drop off a cliff from an energy standpoint. And I don't, I really, I load it in some ways. I'm so frustrated by myself, like really like, how come it wasn't like this, or was I just suppressing it and I live beyond. And I think a lot of it was, I was living beyond my capacity and what was honest for a long, long, long time.
And now I just realized, man, come to two 30, I am, I need to phone it in like, even like you mentioned to an admin tasks, I hate it. I just think I'd much rather just like six 30 to two 30 and then just do nothing after two 30. But all that said it comes down to, I think there is a deep amount of wisdom in living, honestly, within our assessments, within our limitations, within these constraints that we're all faced with. And I think it's really cool to hear how you've learned and become a student of yourself to learn how to maximize and do some really cool stuff with your life yet. It's just in a totally different frame work than you would have ever imagined or wished for or hope for. But I think it's really cool to see what you're doing with it.
Eric Eaton :
I think you bring up a key point there is that ability to say, no, because I think all of us, have this innate desire in us not to let other people down and you know, from my standpoint I don't look like anything's wrong with me I'm six, three, 210 pounds. You know, I look like I'm the guy, you know, I'm not the person people come through to solve, you know, complex mathematical equations. You know, they, they look at me, you know, they want to move out their boxes and I mean, you hit the nail on the head there, it's, you know, it's being able to say, Hey, you know, I just can't do that. You know, and you know, just being gracious about it. And you know, it's unfortunate that, that I I've lost friends because of my ability and my inability to be who they wanted me to be or do the things that they wanted me to do.
And that's heartbreaking, but it's, but I can't put myself in a situation where I'm going to be something I'm not a do something I cannot do in order to please someone else. And those are those. And I think it's that maturity and knowing that this is my life, this, these are the guard rails where I need to stay in and I need to drive on that road and stay there because if I don't, I'm going to go off a cliff. You know, if I help someone move, man, I'm going to be totally flat, flat on my back for a week and that's not worth it to me. It's not fair to my family. You know, it's having to make those tough calls and being able to say no, so I can do the things that I want to do exactly. Right. And it's, you know, I've always looked at it as a kind of cause and effect, if I want to hike with my family, I'm going to pay a price.
But as a price, I'll pay every time because it's, it's worth the time to spend outdoors, to spend with my family. And you know, I'm going to be hurting for a while, but it's something I'm willing to do. And so I have to calculate and budget that it sounds like correct. So I count the cost of those things and I include them, you know, and I do have good days and I try to take advantage of those. And that's one reason why I kind of wrote a whole chapter on play in there. Cause I think it's so important when you're living with the limitation because you can kind of, it's easy to kind of suppress that side of our lives because we don't feel we have time for it or we don't deserve it. But you know, if I have a good day, I'm going to go ride my bike.
I'm going to go hike. I'm going to go snowboard. It's not like I used to do. It's a very slow-moving process, it’s something I enjoy and it's something, if I can get out and do that, I'm going to do it. And I give myself that time to do it and to play into joy, the company of others and to, to be around with others because we need that in our lives. And if we exclude that because we think we don't deserve it, then we're just adding extra layer of pressure or pain or, or circumstances in our life that don't need to be there. And so that's, I think been one of the, you know, again, honest assessments of my life, knowing this is where I am and this is how I function. So I'm going to do it the best that I can so I can thrive and live an extraordinary life.
Yeah. I love that. This story of play for me is the irony is I thought play was something I would say early in my thirties, let's say late, late twenties to early thirties. So called 10, 15 years, I thought play was for children. Now I would go do activities. You know, I'd go for a run, go for a mountain bike ride, go climb something. I'd go. But I didn't view that as play. I viewed it in the category of adventure and I, but I realized that the interesting thing, and that's this work-life play story. This narrative that I'm finding my way through really is about getting back to learning how to just be playful and, and cause life doesn't always go your way, like as we're talking about. And just to be like, just to be silly, like I realized like one of the reasons I love riding my bike and I'm going to hop on it here in a couple hours, is it, I feel like I'm 12 now I get a workout in and that's all cool, but it's like, you get the jump puddles.
It's super fun. Like, you know, and it's like wind in your hair and listening to music. And I just realized like, this is so fun. And I took a, I used to have a little, a speedometer and you know, kept track of mileage and speed and cadence and all this measurement and all these metrics. I took it off my bike, so I don't have it anymore. So I just ride my bikes for whatever I want to ride for. However fast I'm riding for however long I'm riding. And I'll, I'll use a watch. Like how long am I gone or something. But learning just that the playful piece. And again, this is me at 44, not me at 34, but I'm learning that. It's a really cool thing to just make sure that plays part of it. And I, I would imagine too, in some of these limitations in the chronic pain, like you just spent, I personally, in my seasons of pain and hardship, I've just spent too much time in my own head and play really helps me get out of that and just see the world differently from a lighter viewpoint.
And it isn't so serious and such a big deal and high stakes and all this like super intense stuff, which I probably be prone to be. I just find that the play is a really help helpful release valve, I guess, is maybe a good way to describe for what I found
Eric Eaton :
That sounds like maybe that's what you saying as well. Yeah. And that's what I love about what you've been doing here and with your work life play, because it, it, it is so important, you know, cause you know, I was the same way, you know, mountain bike, rock climb. I was an avid runner. I was doing all these things and then all of a sudden I'm laid up for four months and I can't move and I'm in so much pain. And in my head, everything that I used to be able to do everything I consider play or fun was taken away from me. And it was, you know, and it was, I was fearful. I was fearful of doing these things again. And it was, it was an awful place to be because you know, that, that release that, that I think it's a, it's a need buried inside of all of us to be able to just enjoy life or, or just, you know, when I get on a bike, I just kind of forget about everything and just enjoy being out on the dirt and the mountains.
And, and I need that, it's a part of my life and when all that was taken away, man, I was devastated because I didn't know what to do. And it was and this is also kind of where your community comes in because it was, it was through my friends who kind of came in and said, Hey, let's go for a mountain bike ride, Hey, let's go rock climbing, which I was scared to do. And I didn't want to do, but someone took me back out and I know it was like, Hey, that wasn't, that wasn't so bad. You know? And I remember when we first moved to the Springs, man, you took me a Pike's peak. I thought I was going to die. I'm going to jump and down the road that didn't yeah.
I just moved up from sea level. You're like, Hey, let's go for a bike ride. We rode from the summit all the way down. Right? Yeah. It was like a week nuts. But you know, it's, it's people like you and your friends, my life that's, you know, Hey, let's go do this. You know, something I wouldn't have done on my own, but you know, it's, it's, it's having that community around you to kind of play with and push you and, and, and take you further than you think you can. And that's been instrumental in me kind of rediscovering play rediscovering community and rediscovering those, those aspects of my life that I enjoy. And like I said, I'm not going to go out on our mountain bike and rage like I did 10 years ago, but it's just for me, just whatever I can do, whatever trail I can ride is, is enjoyable. And I try to make the most of it. So tell us about in, let's wrap up on this question here. Tell us, speaking of play, tell us about your VW project. Oh yeah. So my, my daughter's 13 and we purchased a 1971 in the VW bug. Come on in about the worship. You can imagine. Picture is awesome. Yeah. So we so we are stripping it down and slowly putting it back. So when she turns 16, she'll have a, a VW bug.
Yeah. Sure. So tell so where are you at in that project right now? And like, have you done something like that before? Or are you just braving it and going for it?
Well, I rebuilt a Jeep a few years ago kind of tore it down and put a lift kit and tires and actually swapped out engine and transmission. So you can do this. Yeah. I have some familiarity where I'm kind of stuck right now. Cause I, I gotta replace the floor pans and that requires a welding and that's something that's beyond my skill set. So once we get that back then we just started rolling again, but it's great. You know, again, it's, it's one of those things that, you know, a way to connect way to spend time with my daughter. You know, not, not in a way I anticipated or expected, but she's enjoying it. She's loving it. And you know, something I can do slowly and you know, you, you, you try to be creative, you know, you try to think of new things and live life differently. And so you can live an extraordinary life. And so that's, that's what we're doing.
That's cool. That's really cool. Yeah. I've really found that with ours. So I had a 74 super beetle back in high school and it was, you know, it, it ran basically it was about, but that was about it. And then I put money in a stereo and nothing else. So you had like rusty floorboards and all that fun stuff in the back and with my daughter now as we're working on our, our joy bus together, as you're mentioning is it's just this really, again, it's playful of, I find that I'm, I'm learning to live my life with a longer view and not make everything so hurried. And so deliverable and outcome-based and you know, I, I could, I couldn't have taken on a project like this and thought of it as like, Oh, we're going to do this over a couple of years. And I don't know where we're going to, and we're going to go and what we're going to do and what we can afford and what we're just going to do it.
We'll just kind of meander our way through this thing. I would have been so much more intense and uptight about it. Okay, we're going to do this. Then we're gonna do that. And we're gonna say this much money and then this calendar. And then like, I took all the fun out of it because really what it came down to, I made it this intense thing that was all about conquest and achievement and the play and the life and the fun and the relationship and just the saunter of it just got lost. So I'm, I'm really grateful that now at 44 and you know, last kid at home that we're, we're doing it differently.
You've been listening to work life play. If you like what you've heard, please do us a favor and rate us on iTunes. It really does help. You can get more information about this and other firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for listening. Thanks for being part of this adventure for being part of braving, the pioneering work of discovering sustainable work life, play rhythms, love your work, live your life, and play a whole lot more.
*We’ve done our best for this transcription to accurately reflect the conversation. Errors are possible. Thank you for your patience and grace if you find errors that our team missed.
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