The power of silence

About four years ago I was sitting down with my cousin at Tavern 29 in Gramercy. I was debating the pros and cons about making a job change. Talking about what the change of pace would look like. How a new salary would impact my living situation. My financial situation. My attitude. After deciding that I was going to make the leap, he gave me a piece of advice that I feel like keeps coming back into my life, lately. "After you tell your boss that you've accepted a new offer, stop talking. Be silent. Listen, and see what she has to say. Because when you stop, listen, and leave space for silence—that's when some of the most progress happens."

... he was right. It's an approach that I've taken more and more as I've progressed throughout both my career and my personal life. Granted, when passion is at an all-time high, it's hard not to speak up. When I sat down with an upcoming Hurdle guest a couple weeks back, he offered similar words of wisdom. 

Reacting to life is a mistake, responding is not. 

"Not giving yourself a moment to breathe can be a ruiner. If you see me in a board meeting, no matter what position I hold, I say very little. That's because I know how important it is to take a step back, maybe for an hour, two hours, a night even before respond to something that could be paramount for your career. Open up the window, let some air in, see what happens." 

Next time something gets you fired up; next time you feel compelled to fight back; next time you want to scream from the rooftops—just take a second. Silence speaks volumes. And when you do, let me know how that goes for you. 

Finding my fast

Back in November I had a major breakthrough. I ran a 5-miler on Thanksgiving (affectionately known as a turkey trot), and I did it fast. Well, fast for me. At a 7:49/mile pace, it was astronomically speedier than any other race I've ever run. 

Surprising myself, I decided to test myself again the next day. I went to the trail in my hometown that I ran my first-ever consecutive three miles on. And I did it again. Except this time, 8:00 splits for 4.5 miles. 

I was digging it. Understatement. I was proud of myself. When I hopped on the treadmill the following week, I knew that running sub-8 minute miles on a hamster wheel would be a whole other ballgame. I dialed the speed up slowly. 6.0. 7.0. 7.2. 7.4. 8.0.

At 8.0, I was running a 7:30 mile. After three minutes there, I hadn't died. In fact, I was sort of ... cruising. In that moment, it hit me like a ton of bricks: the effort's hard, but isn't that part of the fun? I thought to myself. For the past five years, whenever I wanted to run sans intervals, I've been a 6.6 (9:05 pace). I'd hop up on the machine, instinctually set it, and forget it. On this day in early December, I challenged that. On this day in early December, I said no thanks to 6.6. 

For years, I had been unintentionally self limiting. It wasn't that I was newly capable of running 7-something miles. It was that I never really tried before. And while there's nothing wrong with 9:06 miles (or any speed miles, as every mile is a victory in itself if you ask me), these faster miles felt invigorating. These faster miles made me wonder what else I was unintentionally sabotaging for myself. 

We do that sometimes, right? We think things are supposed to be a certain way, so we don't experiment. But I say screw that. I say maybe it's about time to scratch that well that's how it's always been mentality. Shake things up. Try something ... different. 

When I woke up this morning, my quads ached. I foam rolled. Then, I went to Equinox. I got on a treadmill. I ran three 9:06 miles. And you know what? Those felt pretty great, too.