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

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The Gathering Restaurant hosts an *ICONIC* evening

What an iconic evening!  The Gathering Industries have teamed up with Atlanta Mission to launch their first joint project: The Gathering Restaurant – a 501c3 restaurant that exists to reemploy and provide new direction to the Atlanta Mission’s community of program participants.  Let’s just say, these two organizations have a big mission… and last night, they backed it up and did it BIG… like green Lambo BIG.

“Is it worth it? let me work it…”

Last night’s fundraiser/press party reminded me of an episode of HBO’s show How To Make it in America and simultaneously supported a fantastic cause – creating new, inspiring work possibilities for those who are ready to take that next step in getting their lives back from addiction.  For more on this, refer to my previous post: Introducing: The Gathering Restaurant.  And if you didn’t get the “How To Make it in America” reference, just know the show is awesome and the parties were often upscale and awesome too.

After experiencing the evening, enjoying the conversations, and speaking with co-founder chefs, Lake Dawson and Alex Reethof, I better understood the vibe they are creating for The Gathering Restaurant.  This concept is not going to be an Applebee’s or a Houston’s people – The Gathering Restaurant is shaping up to be one of Atlanta’s finest dining experiences, and it just so happens that its true north is relentlessly supporting the revitalization of homeless Atlanta Mission patrons.  Here’s how I’d describe the vibe last night…

The Vibe:

  • Upbeat, yet not too loud, smooth, eclectic, disco/club playing female dj
  • Upscale furniture, nice art on the walls, perfect room temp, early evening lighting
  • The Food: 10 Atlanta based chefs/restaurants serving specialty or devours
  • Oh my goodness, the food was amazing – had to repeat it…
  • Radio Emcee keeping the event lively
  • Professional photographers keeping the event flashy
  • Crowd size of between 200-300 people total
  • It was pretty glamorous, not gonna lie – I walked out feeling very Mark Wahlberg

During one point, the founders made a short presentation thanking the guests, staff, and benefactors for their support and asked them graciously for their participation in the silent auctions and at the pledge tables – it was in fact a fundraiser.  Yet I would say the pinnacle of the evening was a short, inspirational speech made by a woman who completed the Atlanta Mission’s program several years ago and has since regained her life, career, and sobriety.  She was nearly brought to tears, sharing how far she has come since her darkest days of addiction, and seeing such a dazzling event in support of helping others like her former self.  She had a ton of courage to stand up in front of a large audience and share her story like that – and I realized, in that moment, that’s the caliber of people The Gathering Restaurant plans on hiring, those that are courageous enough to restrain their addictions and get through the effective treatment programs.

This was the first of many entertaining nights ahead for The Gathering Restaurant.  They have many next steps to take and I look forward to keeping a finger on the pulse of this great concept.  Next steps include finding the right space to plant roots and everything that goes along with that.  We’ll keep you posted.

So Did I Give?

I certainly did, even as an underemployed student, because I give to causes I believe in and I can vouch for the integrity and spiritual fortitude of the people starting this non-profit.  Their vision is clear, they have joint support with Atlanta Mission, and they’re certain to gain momentum through their partnership together.  If you support fine dining and transforming the lives of God’s people, consider giving to The Gathering Restaurant today and let’s start building new relationships and making employment possible for those who have demonstrated a readiness to take the next step in their healing transition.

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Just keep swinging, Just keep swinging…

Yes, tonight I had to take a chill pill.  I got really frustrated and hard on myself when I left the Iron Yard today because this week overall feels like it’s just not clicking.  It’s even more frustrating because the beginning of this week started on such a hight point with the creation of my first JavaScript game Five Die.  Through building that game over the weekend, everything was clicking and I broke down a lot of barriers and mental blocks to get it done.  This week, it’s just cloudy, difficult, and tough to focus – my girlfriend, who 99.9% of the time is right 😉 ,  told me I’m just overthinking things and once again she’s right.

So what did I do when I left Iron Yard?  I went to the gym to sweat it out.  Going to the gym is such a great mental and physical escape for me, and I love the people and community we have there.  Tonight, I was able to catch up with my preacher, #FittestPreacherOnEarth, and have a conversation about what I was experiencing.  And as I’m explaining myself to him, a giant wave of humble epiphany consumes me.  What I’m experiencing with coding, is the same exact experience most newbies feel when they start CrossFit classes at our gym.  They’re inexperienced, sometimes really out of shape, and in the beginning they struggle with the most basic movements… then the cycle goes something like this… they get discouraged, start comparing themselves and their progress to other people, get down on themselves, miss a couple days, fall out of the routine, and sometimes just stop showing up all together.  This will happen within the first 4-8 weeks of their journey – so they weren’t patient enough to stick through the mucky times.

I find myself experiencing the same exact hardships 4 weeks into coding with JavaScript.  Last week I had a big win.  This week I’m in a classic hitter’s slump.  So, who better to ask about slumps than one of the greatest batters of all time and the true Home Run King – Henry “Hank” Aaron.

Knock! “There’s a drive!”

 

My motto was always to keep swinging. Whether I was in a slump or feeling badly or having trouble off the field, the only thing to do was keep swinging.

Hank Aaron

Boom Steak with a side of Wowwy Sauce!  That’s why he’s the King and an ATL living legend.

If you find yourself experiencing hardship in a new activity – whether it be learning a new language, starting a gym routine, starting a business, or whatever…! Just know that it’s completely natural to have the days where stuff juuuuust aaaaain’t clickin’.  The thing you must do in these times is to relax, keep your eye on the ball, and keep swinging… it will get better.

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.