Friday, June 25, 2010

Summer of Change?

Things are starting to happen, opportunities are knocking on the door, and I'm thinking I'm ready for it! To update the goods:

Team in Training - I LOVE COACHING!! I may be the WORST. COACH. EVER. but I think
I'm getting the hang of it. Second hike went well, didn't lose anybody! The boot camp
style workouts we're doing on Wednesdays are really cool. I love seeing people who've never worked out like this really get in to it! Yeah, they're moaning and groaning but they're having fun and appreciating the fact that they're being pushed out of their comfort zone. I think its building a good team relationship through shared suffering as well. I think Crossfit Certification is definitely in my future. I'm really looking forward to seeing this group develop over the next several months.

On the day job front, finally wrapping up the Hays County Plan, a project that's been out there over a year. Its been a great project, lots of learning on my part which is always a good thing. Facing a big challenge on a plan we're starting up in a community facing some major issues that I don't even know where to start to address. Love that though because it keeps the work fun.

Had a great lunch with my friend Kristen Carney, co-founder of Cubit Planning. Kristen is such a great inspiration about doing what you're passionate about and also knows the questions to ask about making a vision into something viable. She is very cool, and I appreciate her insight.

Finally, there is a new professional opportunity arising that may be a way for me to have more flexibility to follow the things I'm really passionate about while still paying the bills.

I set some goals at the beginning of the year for the I am Crossfit Challenge, some I met, some I'm still working on, but I know now I'm moving in the right direction. God doesn't always give you an easy answer or clear path, but he always provides a way if you have faith and are willing to work.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Summer Challenge

Alright, most of y'all probably know about this, but we have ourselves an old fashioned throw down happening this summer. Its a straight up battle of the cults between Triatheletes and Crossfitters! That's right, its almost like the whole Vampire vs Werewolf thing, but totally not cause that's just weird.

My former Sister-in-law has poked fun at me for being in the cult of Crossfit, talking funny, eating differently, working out at odd hours, etc. Well, she's now drunk the Kool Aid of Triathlons and has become somewhat obsessed herself. Given this reality, I offered the challenge in her own chosen sport of Triathlon. I spoke out of bravado and unrealistic confidence. On Labor Day, she and I will face off at the Avia Triathalon to see whose fitness routine will reign supreme!!

So, now I'm pretty sure I've bitten off more than I can chew. At least I now have a goal to work for all summer. I'll be spending some time in the pool on top of the Crossfit and Boot Camp and will need to find time to ride some as well. If nothing else, its going to force me to work my ass off this summer.

So, there it is, will a Crossfit-centric workout be enough? Stay tuned and see how this challenge turns out!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Observations on a Birthday

I turn 37 today, not an exciting birthday by any stretch, but I think they're all downhill after 21 anyway. June is a big month, its my birthday, Father's Day, I got married and divorced in June. I also started my job at LCRA on June 1st. I've been there 11 years, nearly 1/3 of my life and virtually my entire professional career.

I've realized that I need to make a decision about what I do with the rest of my life. Crossfit has introduced me to a range of people who are totally passionate about what they do and have found a way to make their passion their job. I'm completely in awe of people who can do that, people with the courage to turn away from what's easy and comfortable and make a dream their reality.

One thing I'm really excited about is the TNT Hike trip, serving as coach. I'm totally stoked about the opportunity to plan a trip, the events and activities leading up to the trip, and work with the participants to prepare them for it. There is definitely something here, my challenge is to take this kernel and turn it into something bigger. The good news, I've met people who have taken a kernel of an idea and turned it into a business. I need to reach out to these people, learn from them, and create my own future.

So, over the next year, I need to figure out what my passion is and how I can make it reality. It may be staying at LCRA, but if so, I need to regain the passion I once had for what I do. If its something else, I need to figure out what that is and how to make money doing it. I think there's potential with this adventure travel thing, but I need to spend some time and energy to learn about it and what opportunities it represents.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Values Based Planning

I've been working on a plan for the City of Dripping Springs, a town facing significant growth pressures just west of Austin. The public input from surveys, town halls, focus groups, etc. indicate that residents are very considered with this rapid growth and want to preserve the 'small town' character of their community.

This is pretty typical of what we see in these communities. People move out there and then want to close the door behind them. Austin faces the same attitude among its residents. Those who moved here in the last 10 years are often the most rabid anti-growthers. So, this is what we're dealing with.

We started with a traditional planning approach, identifying goals and objectives based around typical plan topics of economic development, housing, community development, parks and recreation, infrastructure, etc. This follows the pattern we've used on many plans and is the go to approach for many comprehensive plans. Well, to be blunt, this didn't work for Dripping Springs. Working closely with the Steering Committee, we decided on a different approach.

Many comp plans contain vision statements, something I tend to shy away from. Why? Because they tend to be fluffy, meaningless statements along the lines of 'Our Town aspires to be a community of diversity, opportunity, blah blah blah.' About as meaningful as Garrison Keillor's 'Where all the women are strong, the men are good looking, and the children are above average'. We decided instead of a Vision Statement that wouldn't really drive anything, we would identify key values of the community and use that as the basis for the plan.

So, we have a Values Based Plan. The values we identified include: Dripping Springs is an Active Community, Dripping Springs has a Vibrant Economy, Dripping Springs is a Community that Cherishes its Unique Heritage, and several others. The goals and recommendations of the plan are organized within this structure. Its a little different approach that works well with the community and provides a unique plan for Dripping Springs.

As planners (and with life in general) its easy to get in a rut and turn to boiler plate solutions that worked in the past. Its easier to be uncreative and utilize what worked in the past rather than thinking in a new way and taking a different approach. Our communities, and our profession will be better off if we look to new solutions, new opportunities, and new ways of approaching the problems facing our communities.