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Live the adventure of childlike trust.

How To Choose Healthy Release Valves

Life is stressful. In order to deal with the stress of life you need some healthy release valves. If you don’t proactively choose healthy release valves, you’ll find yourself enslaved to destructive ways of coping with stress like over-drinking, over-eating, over-consuming media, etc.

Consider this an essential component of good leadership. Healthy leaders have healthy release valves and realize that time spent with their release valves enhances their leadership and ability to care for others. When a leader is refreshed everybody wins.

Choose A Release Valve

Everybody is different, so everyone will have different release valves. How do you choose a release valve? A healthy release valve meets three essential criteria:

1. LOVE. Ask the question: Do I love to do it? Mark Sanborn says, “One of the quickest ways to burnout is to stop doing what you enjoy.”

2. REFRESHMENT. Ask the question: Does it leave me feeling refreshed? A release valve will leave you feeling better (less stressed) than you felt before engaging the release valve.

3. GOD. Ask the question: Does it glorify God? A release valve must honor God.

Prioritize Your Release Valve

Once you’ve decided on a handful of release valves, make sure you structure your week to prioritize time with your release valves. It’s that simple. Step 1: Choose a healthy release valve. Step 2: Make it a priority.


To jumpstart your thinking, below are some of my favorite release valves.

-Trail Running.

I love to run. I do 95% of my running on the forested trails throughout the Bay Area. I run short distances, medium distances, and I have run a marathon and an ultramarathon. I am a different man without running. Running keeps me sane. I run 3-4x per week. Below is a video of Western States 100, one of the most famous/difficult ultramarathons in the world.


When I lived in Santa Barbara I surfed once in a while. That was 11 years ago. I haven’t surfed since then, but 3 weeks ago I bought a surfboard and I now surf a minimum of 1x a week with some of my buddies. We head out at 6am, before the work day gets started. I think about surfing a lot now. It’s so fun. One of my buddies sent me this video of big wave surfing today:

Billabong Pro Tahiti Episode 4 – Code Red from Billabong on Vimeo.


Enough said. No videos here. For more on this, read Date Your Wife.


Most men my age (33) have no friends. I can’t do life without friends. I love time spent hanging out and goofing off with friends. My wife is my best friend, and then I have many men I call close friends who I love to be with. If you need help figuring out friendship, this 1 minute video will get you started:

Take Action

Before this week is over, figure it out. Choose some healthy release valves and adjust your weekly schedule to prioritize these release valves.




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