Thank You Everyone – But Seriously – I’m Just a Regular Guy

Dear Family, Friends, Strangers, Future Associates, and World Wide Web,

Earlier this week, I posted about my experiences running a Piggy Back Spartan Race with my sister Carden.  It was an extraordinary experience, taking a stand against muscular dystrophy and not letting it define what can and can’t be done physically.  That post, and some of the facebook photos, have gotten quite a bit of web traffic and social media attention, and for that I’m very grateful of the power of the web and sharing.  I’m also extremely thankful for those of you who have donated to our mission – we set out with a $500.00 goal and raised $690.00 – awesome stuff.  People I haven’t connected with in years are reconnecting and reaching out and that is a wonderful thing.  Simultaneously, I’m being flooded with personal emails, comments, and speaking face to face about how inspiring that story is, and for that I’m incredibly thankful and we feel the love and support from each of you.  So much adoration this week, it honestly feels like Carden and I can do no wrong in this moment.

cw-sw-spartanrace

So Here’s The Thing People…

I am a regular guy who does regular guy good things and regular guy bad things and I fail quite often, usually in a forward direction, or so I think.

The reason I’m sharing this is because I can see (ever so slightly now) how a ton of “overnight” attention can get into a person’s head and mess with their psyche.  I also don’t want to be portrayed as this super great brother guy who can do no wrong and has it all figured out.  Yes I love my sister, yes I struggle with the fact that she struggles every single day, yes we ran an extraordinary Spartan Race, but that doesn’t mean I’m this Golden Child either… I have tons of faults that I’m working on.  And personally, I don’t want to have any Kony 2012-ish meltdowns of my own – so I’m writing today with the intention of self inflicting some humility on myself and giving my audience some more honest truths about me.  I’m really nervous about sharing all of this, but I think that’s a good place to be.  Some people might even respond back to this and say, “Spencer – you shouldn’t share all of your faults, insecurities, and misbehaviors online because now people will perceive you as those things.”  To that I say, maybe they will, maybe they won’t…  I consider this as a step towards living my life with full transparency.  If I have nothing to hide, there’s nothing anyone can do or say to break me down or have against me.  This post is a test of strength, and most of the time those tests are uncomfortable and difficult – so here goes…

List of my Not So Perfect, Often Disgusting, Just a Regular Guy things I do:

I sometimes leave the seat up after I pee standing up… OK, most of the time I leave it up.

Sometimes when I pee standing up, it splashes everywhere – and sometimes I clean it up right then… but sometimes I don’t.

Usually I brush my teeth twice a day, sometimes it’s only once, there was a time in my life where it was less often than once a day admittedly…

I have really bad smelling farts and they reload often… particularly recently.  I think it’s because my nutrition and gut health hasn’t been top notch recently.

My feet smell after a long day of being in socks and that only gets worse if you throw a workout in the mix.

I drink alcohol, typically only on weekends – beer, wine, whiskey, tequila

This morning, I had Oreos for breakfast – that was before finally getting motivated to going to the store to buy eggs and bacon.  This is not completely out of the ordinary.

I will pick my nose, usually in the car or when I’m deep in thought at a computer.  Most of the time I don’t realize I’m doing it, but sometimes I do, but then I keep doing it anyway.  It’s super gross, but sometimes I eat those boogers too.

I used to have an addiction to pornography – the temptations are still there and I give in to the temptations occasionally and then feel bad about it afterwards like an AA person who slips up.

I stress all the time about money – how I don’t think I’m making enough or worried that I won’t have enough to live the lifestyle I want to live or support a family.

I’ve smoked marijuana, I inhaled it, and I still do in moderation.

I’ve never been in a fist fight and often wonder how I would do in one… that being said, I have been hit in the face by a punch – but I don’t remember how or why it happened… I was probably being a dick at the time which brings us to the next point…

I’ve been to jail 3 times – all three were misdemeanors, all three were alcohol related, all three were expunged.

I can be a jerk sometimes, usually unintentionally, and there are times when I feed into other people’s gossip or create gossip – I’m not proud of it and am getting better at putting out those unnecessary, destructive fires.

I have taken psychedelic drugs before – but haven’t done so in years.

I have taken a picture of my man parts before and sent it to someone full well knowing it will probably live somewhere on the internet forever.

I can get really angry, but most of the time keep a cool head and am good under pressure.

I get down on myself pretty easily and often because I constantly have high expectations for my accomplishments.

That’s all I can think of at the moment – there’s probably more – but for now, weight lifted.

Why did I just share all this?

Because you needed to know and it strengthens me to share it with you.  The truth is, I want to be an inspiration to others and educate masses of people along the way, and that mission is a journey… and it would be undeserved, irresponsible, and untrustworthy of me to just accept current and future adorations without sharing my faults that make me (and You) human.  So that’s where I’m currently at in my human process – I hope you see this post as an act of courage versus a chance to judge, ridicule, or start your own gossip cycle.  The things I’ve shared might close some doors, and I’m ok with that.  However, as God as my witness, I think the doors it will open will be doors I’m more interested in walking through.

Thank you for your support and your readership.  More great content coming to you soon.

-Spencer Wyckoff

25th Post – A Reflection of My Blogging Journey

Earlier today, I made my 25th blog post about how I Love Teaching – and it’s already been getting really nice traffic.  What is nice traffic you ask?!?  Well for a tiny phytoplankton in this giant internet ocean like myself, that looks like about 35-50 views – nothing earth shattering – but I’m loving the experience and the internal insights.  Writing is coming very naturally, and it’s really helping sort out my version of the human experience and organize my thoughts.  Sometimes it might look like ramblings – however some posts feel like the makings of some really quality content.  Usually, it’s just close family and friends finding it entertaining.  Whatever it is, it’s a good thing and this post is about reflecting on my last 25 blog posts, 3 personal transformations, and my favorite posts to date.

3 Transformations Since Starting to Blog:

      1. Two weeks ago, I began volunteering two nights a week to teach children, ages 13-18, how to code in HTML & CSS.  This has been tremendous, seeing kids light up about embedding a YouTube video or listing out their favorite foods and attaching pictures on a web page has really sparked some curiosities in a few youngsters that might grow into something great.  This has ignited a passion for educating people, and particularly youngsters that I want to seek out further.
      2. Started a Morning Routine that I’ve been consistent with 90% of mornings.  This one practice is BY FAR the most important key to my recent performance and productivity improvements.  Why report about a 90%? Because I’m human and want to emphasize how nobody is perfect, and there have been days I’ve woken up and not felt up to my hour-ish long routine.  The one thing I have noticed is this: The days where I don’t complete a morning routine are the days I’m typically least productive, which is a great thing to know about one’s self.
      3. Meditate for ~20min per day.  Doing this in the mornings helps me come alive and focus on the task of the day.  Doing it in the evening helps clear my mind of the day and prepare for a restful night sleep.  Overall, the benefits to my mood and mental stability have been phenomenal and I would recommend this practice to anyone who is setting aside even just 2-5min a day.

My Top 7 Favorite Posts Thus Far (in order):

why 7?…. why not…?

    1. My Morning Routine – It’s the one I link back to most and have edited the most, it’s my best work in progress.
    2. Oh Snap! That’s a Cold Shower! – Entrepreneur on Fire’s John Lee Dumas commented on this post and really inspired some great confidence about what I’m doing.
    3. 1 (More) Reason I Love my Mother – This has been, BY FAR the most visited post.  That’s because thanks to my mother’s Facebooking abilities, she was able to share it and attract nearly 900 unique visits to my site that day.  Even WordPress told me the post was, and I quote, “Blowing up.”
    4. Preparing to Ignite – This was the post right that inspired the morning routine.  I realized on this day that turning 30 was 1,282 days away and I wanted to transform.
    5. Just keep swinging, just keep swinging… – This post was a great personal reflection about overcoming the difficulties and frustrations of learning to code and the learning process in general.
    6. “I am Groot” – surprisingly, this post got me about 3 or 4 follows (like 30-40% of my followers at this time…)  It was a reaction to my experiences watching Guardians of the Galaxy and a metaphorical analysis of the Groot character.
    7. Group Therapy: Lessons from our 1st Group Project – We’ll round out the list with a reflection on what I learned from completing our first group project between back end, front end, and iOS developers.  It’s an honest post with some good takeaways.

Oh Snap! That’s a Cold Shower!

My great grandmother, Genevieve, God rest her soul, lived to the age of 96.  She was widowed during World War II and raised her son Toby Maxwell, my grandfather, by herself and was a very mentally strong woman.  I remember distinctly a moment when she pulled me aside and asked me the question, “Spencer, do you know what my secret to long life is?”  I must have been 13 years old at the time and politely responded, “Of course!”  She gazed directly into my eyes, paused for a moment and built up my suspense, and calmly stated, “Cold showers.”

Quick aside… I am a millennial born, American-raised male who enjoys the comforts of our the first world as much as anyone – my smart phone, laptop, pillow top mattress, etc.  So the thought of deliberately taking an uncomfortable cold shower was nonsense and was cast away for over 10 years… until 2 weeks ago.  I was in my normal morning routine, listening to Entrepreneur on Fire episode #848, where Ben Greenfield shared how he was fired up about cold showers.  When he was asked the question, “Why do you take cold showers?” he listed off 6 or 7 different physiological and psychological benefits to cold showers and he ended his statement by saying, “and because it makes you tougher.”

benefits_of_a_cold_shower

Sure, cold shower physiological benefits are great, but what really resonated with my soul was the “it makes you tougher” part – and not this Macho Man, WWE image of toughness, but specifically “Mental Toughness.”  Being able to overcome and conquer the variety of troubles life throws at you is a learned skill, and my personal goal is that of stoicism.  Stoicism, by definition, is the endurance of pain or hardship without a display of feelings and without complaint.  So in my path towards this goal – cold showers are being added to My Morning Routine.

My Cold Shower Approach:

So… I’m not all the way in on this yet, and don’t want to portray that I am.  My current approach is the first 50% of my shower is lukewarm (half hot, half cold) and then for the last 50%, I turn it to all cold.  I think this is a great start for the beginner looking to make a transition.  You can adapt it to be 90% lukewarm and finish the last 10 seconds of the shower all cold and get a similar effect.  Doing this is better than a cup of coffee in the morning, guaranteed.  I find I’m much more alert the rest of the morning and feel much more present in the moment.

The first time I turned to all cold, holy crap, I was screeching like a little girl, gasping for breath, body clinching, fighting the overwhelming sensations that were robbing me of all happy thoughts in the moment.  Now, after nearly 2 weeks of practice, I find myself accepting the coldness and almost welcoming it with much less body clinch.  You can do this, and it will get better.

Ok… so the panda represents me. The water represents the shower. And the panda’s facial expression represents my first time in a cold shower.

In time, I see myself fully committing to a 100% cold shower, but for now it’s still in the testing phase and I feel progress has been solid thus far.

Some extra inspiration:

One of my role models is Rich Froning – 4 time champion of the CrossFit Games, and he has an entertaining video of one of his workouts called “Mental Toughness.”  During “Mental Toughness”, he and a training buddy complete a workout, in the snow, that finishes with a swim in an icy cold pond – furthering demonstrating my point from above.

 

My Morning Routine

Heard another great podcast today, courtesy of EntrepreneurOnFire, and it was a bit of an epiphany moment.  Specifically it is episode #589 with Hal Elrod, check it out if you’re looking for inspiration.  Hal is the author of The Miracle Morning, which I have not read, yet has already changed my life (I plan to read the book, so don’t be ugly).  During the podcast, he goes into the power of the morning routine and how it changed the course of his life when he was in his darkest place.  And his evidence is VALID.

Now as I reflect on the past couple months since my lay off, I can admit that my routine in the morning has been anything but productive and systematic.  Sleeping in, late starts, snooze button… I was not actively creating a great future for myself, I was stalling and dreading the hunt… then I got hungry.  I kickstarted my metamorphosis with the front end engineering course at The Iron Yard, which forced me into a daily and weekly schedule.  Everything happens for a reason and began to falling into place and this new schedule led me to find this particular realization that is…

SPENCER NEEDS A MORNING ROUTINE.

EVERYDAY – NO EXCEPTIONS.

not like I needed HIS approval…

Sounds simple, and you’re thinking duh! Spence, but the point is I wasn’t doing it AND had never really architected one that I loved and stuck to routinely.  So, I’m here to share my morning routine and I hope it inspires you to take action on creating a morning routine that’s personal to you and helps you towards the success you seek.

-side note: I’ve been adhering to this for the last 6 days and my routine has evolved.  I’ve added elements and taken some away – but the core framework and foundation has been laid – it’s ok to make alterations, in fact it’s encouraged.

-update (2/11/14): added positive affirmations

-update (2/18/14): added cold showers to the routine – testing its effectiveness

-update (2/26/14): cold showers are here to stay – really enjoying the positive effects 


 My Morning Routine [~1hr]:

  • Wake up at 6:30am – go pee.
  • If Dani is with me, hold her for 15 min.
  • Calm.com for 2-10 minutes
  • Brush teeth, floss, scrape tongue, down a 16oz glass of water.
  • Shower-time – 50% of shower is lukewarm and last 50% is cold (added 2/18)
  • Shave (if needed)
  • Put on underwear
  • Exercise (~5-7min)
    • 30 push ups into a 1 min downward dog
    • Stand up into 15 slow toe touches and hands high reaching
    • 30 air squats, slow at first – increasing speed
    • Deep lunge, hip flexor stretch (30 sec each leg)
  • Say my positive affirmations (added 2/11)
  • Get dressed and pack my daypack
  • Make bed
  • Downstairs to eat breakfast and listen to the EOF podcast
  • Out the door or starting activities by 7:30am

And that’s it!… For now.  I’ll leave you with my first thoughts every morning as that alarm goes off.

Preparing to Ignite

Yes my title is from my new favorite podcast, Entrepreneur On Fire.  I’ve always been a fan of listening to podcasts for gaining knowledge and have always had an entrepreneurial spirit, so when my close college buddy Evan turned me onto to EOF, I was sold instantly.  Evan also turned me onto his own personal blog and story – 1k Day Change.  Exactly 100 days ago, Evan asked himself, “I wonder how many days until I turn 30?”  When he googled it, he found that it was EXACTLY 1,000 days away – and it changed his entire world.  He immediately took a snapshot selfie in his bathroom mirror and set off on his 1k Day Change Adventure to becoming a brew master.  Over the last 100 days, he has quit his unfulfilling day job as an electrical engineer, microbrewed and bottled hundreds of holiday beers, sold those beers and donated the proceeds to charity, enrolled in a beer brewing academy in Chicago, and is currently taking a multi-month trip to China before he starts that academy.

This is not my friend Evan… but he will be the token white guy in China.

So I’m joining his 1 man army because his cause is inspiring.  I am making a small change to his 1,000 day change concept and making it my own.  On August 3, 2018 – I turn 30 years old – that is exactly 1,282 days away from today.

This is the actual Evan, on day 1 of 1,000!

Currently, I am in coding school learning Front End Engineering, web & app development, and JavaScript.  I have an undergraduate business management degree from Georgia Tech and have held 3 different positions since graduating in May 2010.   I’m totally on fire about becoming an entrepreneur and learning more about business, web development, creating functional applications that help people and businesses become successful.  That’s all for now, class is about to start.  Here is a snapshot of me on day 1 of 1,282 until I’m 30.

Day1-1282
and dis is ME!