Finding the glass half full

Posted by Jan Guenther on Jun 30th 2015

Time to jot down some more thoughts that hit me during my first month of living as a 56 years old and accepting the fact that my soon-to-be senior in high school son enrolled into the ‘delayed entry program” to be in the navy or navy seal. The dimensions of my life are changing; children moving on, mobile retailing, and neck wrinkles.

(Photo - running leg of the 2015 Tri-Loppet.
Lately, I haven't had as much time to train and race as I would like.) 

Yet I am lucky. And most probably anyone reading this entry is pretty darn fortunate. All of my friends and most of my customers have choices in work, play, and relationships. We may be super frustrated at times experiencing age through sore knees, a stiff back, a job that was supposed to become easier, kids who were supposed to sail thru college and be nicer to parents or a relationship where one turned left and the other right... but in the grand scheme of lives to be had, we have more options than most.  Personally I have to remember that it is MY CHOICE of how I look at my little world that is moving by so fast—with grumpiness that some things did not go the way I hoped or, wagging my tail like my poodle, seeing the bright side no matter what the weather brings.

Lately with the choices I made, and the work goals I set, peace of mind has been harder to find.  My balance of work, home and racing life is askew.  I have been struggling more in my 50’s than I ever would have guessed, to make sense and be okay with new goals that incorporate less racing and at the moment, more work.  The building of a new store, to create a Gear West campus and give customers more of a reason to drive to Long Lake, has consumed energy and determination equal to training for an Ironman or racing the Arctic Circle ski event in Greenland.  Just a decade ago, my lay-awake-at-night fear was keeping my contacts from popping out during a triathlon swim.  Now, the ‘risk’ factor of retail failure seeps into my mind at night, as the faceless internet consumer battles the loyal brick and mortar customer. I often berate myself for not being more clever, not thinking of the ‘great idea’ like designing those ugly Big Dog pants of the 90’s, or creating an internet program which launched the website like Back Country.  Retail must always offer what customers want.... so my question that activates my mind daily and nightly is... customers, what DO you want from a Gear West kind of sports store that we are not providing?  (please email me at gearwest@gearwest with any comments on THAT question ☺ )

So I decided my mindset MUST change. Lately when my thoughts creep to the ‘dark side’ and erode the confidence my first 50 years of living created, Lynne Cecil’s favorite quote (Lynne works for Gear West and is a dear friend of mine) “Comparison is the thief of Joy”, sets me straight.  I recognize my life will only be as good as I believe it can be. Positive energy, appreciation of the little things of life, accepting what I cannot change, are all basic, but for me they have to be revisited and reabsorbed continually.

Changing thought processes are hard. You have to keep at it daily, even hourly, be it trying to avoid eating sweets,  to maintain a disciplined training plan, or to just stay on the glass is half full side of life.  On sunny days, it’s easy, but to continue with a positive mental attitude when you’re  tired,  sore or discouraged, is tough.  For me, June 21, 2015, was time to make a commitment make a change in how I view the obstacles in my life. Wanting must turn to action. Action hopefully, involves learning and that can be really fun when efforts are directed with positive energy and appreciation of the daily steps to get there. I have learned to push boundaries in racing and fitness and on expanding my retail business while raising kids.  Now I need to gracefully learn to grow and thrive on what is thrown at me that I am not really good at fixing. Or the way I have tried to fix it does not work.

None of us have it all, life is NOT fair and never will be. Our minds control our attitude.  Love and gratitude, for what we have and for those around us, attract good things. I am writing this to solidify my commitment  to being thankful for all that has been given me, to find creative ways to solve new challenges and to make my next  decade of birthdays special in ways that only wisdom from living 56 years can provide.

(This is pretty heavy, but it’s the way I feel, so comments are always welcome).

I especially want to hear stories of how you find balance in your lives. Sit down, type it up, and email it to It does not have to be fancy. Just your stories.

-Posted by Jan Guenther on Jun 30th 2015