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The Journey Plan

December 28, 2017

Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.” Steve Jobs

Torah Portion (“Parsha”) Vayechi in a nutshell from http://www.chabad.org

Jacob lives the final 17 years of his life in Egypt. Before his passing, he asks Joseph to take an oath that he will bury him in the Holy Land. He blesses Joseph’s two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim, elevating them to the status of his own sons as progenitors of tribes within the nation of Israel.

The patriarch desires to reveal the end of days to his children, but is prevented from doing so. 

Jacob blesses his sons, assigning to each his role as a tribe: Judah will produce leaders, legislators and kings; priests will come from Levi, scholars from Issachar, seafarers from Zebulun, schoolteachers from Simeon, soldiers from Gad, judges from Dan, olive-growers from Asher, and so on. Reuben is rebuked for “confusing his father’s marriage bed”; Simeon and Levi, for the massacre of Shechem and the plot against Joseph. Naphtali is granted the swiftness of a deer, Benjamin the ferociousness of a wolf, and Joseph is blessed with beauty and fertility. 

A large funeral procession consisting of Jacob’s descendants, Pharaoh’s ministers, the leading citizens of Egypt and the Egyptian cavalry accompanies Jacob on his final journey to the Holy Land, where he is buried in the Machpelah Cave in Hebron. 

Joseph, too, dies in Egypt, at the age of 110. He, too, instructs that his bones be taken out of Egypt and buried in the Holy Land, but this would come to pass only with the Israelites’ exodus from Egypt many years later. Before his passing, Joseph conveys to the Children of Israel the testament from which they will draw their hope and faith in the difficult years to come: “G‑d will surely remember you, and bring you up out of this land to the land of which He swore to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.”


Well another year is gone… Time to plan for the new year, set new goals and challenges. Part of the process, I think includes reflecting on the past. WHY do we set goals and challenges? I suppose we set them to try and achieve success. Success can be defined in many ways. Our ‘goals’ may be family, work & business, personal, financial.

In a newsletter post by triathlon coach, Simon Ward[1], he says that for an athlete, it is about setting challenging goals and achieving them, regardless of your ability level. Achieving these goals makes you a ‘winner’.

Yaacov Avinu blesses all his children and two of his grandchildren, but does not bless them in order of age. Rabbi Elozor M. Preil[2] says that this message of Yaakov speaks to us today. Rabbi Preill says “It does not matter where in the family line-up you happened to have been born. Whether you are the oldest, the youngest, or anywhere in between, your destiny is in your own hands. You can achieve your goals to the degree that you are willing to dedicate yourself to achieving those goals. It is all is up to you.”

Simon Ward has come to the conclusion that we all need 4 things to be successful. He calls this our – Journey Plan. His journey plan is made up of 4 steps. The first 3 steps are pretty obvious and easy to understand, but what caught my attention was the 4th step on his journey.

  1. DreamThis is the result you want to achieve. This could be anything from running your first 5k, swimming the channel to representing your country. It doesn’t have to be athletic. You could also choose running your own business or buying a house. Some people suggest that goals/dreams should be big and scary and that might be right but not so scary that they put you off. Big and scary enough to excite you and install a bit of fear at the same time. Something that is going to get you out of your comfort zone. You could call this the destination of your journey
  2. PlanIn order to get to your destination, you need to have a plan. There will be the most efficient way to get there or the scenic way – the one where you don’t have accurate guidance and you keep making wrong turns. The military are fond of saying that “no plan survives contact with the enemy” so you must expect obstacles, but keep moving forward
  3. Workthe route to the destination still needs to be traveled. At some point, you are going to have to do some work. A big dream requires constant drive and resilience. Assuming your dream is taking you into the unknown then your obstacles will also be unknown to you and likely to be bigger and tougher to overcome than previously. There will be times when you feel like quitting. That’s OK…as long as you don’t.
  4. Environment Finally even in the solo endurance sports that I am connected with no one is on that journey alone. Everyone needs a team and one within an environment designed to allow success. That team will contain coaches to guide and inspire and to be accountable to and to challenge you. You will have supporters to pat you on the back when things go write and to console you when they don’t. And you will have training partners who you can share the load with, who will drag you out when you don’t want to go and will push you harder when you do.

The secret to longevity, as I see it, has less to do with diet, or even exercise, and more to do with the environment in which a person lives: social and physical. What do I mean by this? They live rewardingly inconvenient lives.” Dan Buettner[3]

liferadius760x428I really found this idea of ‘environment’ very interesting. This applies to the people we train with, our homes, workplaces and the places we live. There seems to be a link between reaching or achieving our goals and success and the environment in which we work, train, play etc. In Dan Buettner’s book “The Blue Zones of Happiness”, he links our happiness with our environment. He describes environment as your ‘life radius[4]’. Your life radius is your surroundings and he says that you can shape your surroundings. He says to achieve or goals, success and happiness we need to set up our home, workplaces, finances, social network, training partners and inner life to favour happiness and success. Without being in this ‘happy place’ we cannot succeed.

If you haven’t yet started planning your journey for 2018 and beyond then please take a moment to think about…. the Dream, the Work, the Plan, the Environment. You must own these.” – Simon Ward

Simon Ward goes on to say that along the journey, you may need a mentor, coach, help, support and you may need to make adjustments if you go off course (like satellite navigation) but you must do the driving to your destination.

Dan Buettner uses this word “Moais” (pronounced mow-eye). Moais are social support groups that form in order to provide varying support from social, financial, health, or spiritual interests. Moai means “meeting for a common purpose” in Japanese and originated from the social support groups in Okinawa, Japan.

In the MBG Podcast with guest GT Dave[5] (The king of Kombucha), GT Dave talks about energy. In a way this ‘energy’ is similar to the environment, as without this energy, you won’t succeed – He says, “Energy is everything…Energy around us plays a role in everything…the people you surround yourself, surround yourself with great energy… invite great energy… grow.” He links this ‘energy’ with the ability to grow and I suppose achieve success?

You may come up with other traits and skills that you need but regardless of your particular journey everyone needs these four items.

You see, it’s never the environment; it’s never the events of our lives, but the meaning we attach to the events – how we interpret them – that shapes who we are today and who we’ll become tomorrow.” Tony Robbins

0a194acd-1700-43ab-bfe8-6817f29ee73fMy first goal for 2018 is to do the Two Bays Trail Run. It’s a 56km trail run on the Mornington Peninsula, from Cape Schanck to Dromana return. My mate Aubrey had the dream to do this event and I have joined him on the journey. We have had a training plan and have put in the miles, now we just need the support of our fellow runners on the day to complete this epic ultra-run. Should be lots of fun. (Yip, I had to qualify to do this run!)

To end a quote from Kayla Itsnes “Set a goal, Make a plan, Do it!” – She says – “This is something I talk a lot …. Don’t just set goals like “get fit, read more, go to gym” … actually make a PLAN for your goals. Set a goal, make a plan on HOW you are going to get there. Write down something that MAY get in the way of that plan and find ways to overcome those. Once you have done ALL of that… THEN you will be ready for 2018!!

I loved this thought for 2018 from @thinkgrowprosper

“In 2018, I hope you get rich.

Rich in knowledge.

Rich in adventure.

Rich in laughter.

Rich in family.

Rich in health.

Rich in love.”

[1]http://www.simonwardtriathloncoach.com

[2]https://www.ou.org/oupress/excerpts/coming-of-age-an-anthology-of-divrei-torah-for-bar-and-bat-mitzvah-parshat-vayechi/

[3]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dan_Buettner

[4] The life radius—the environment where people spend about 80 percent of their lives.

[5]https://www.inc.com/magazine/201503/tom-foster/the-king-of-kombucha.html

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One Comment
  1. Mom permalink

    Great blog, some very worthwhile ideals & goals to focus on for 2018. Well written & GOOD LUCK to you & Aubrey for achieving your 1st goal & challenge.

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