Friday, September 28, 2007

Turning a Blind Eye

Michael Oher was born into circumstances that we know exist, but wish didn’t. Michael’s mother was addicted to crack cocaine and his father was murdered when he was young. In Michael’s first 9 years in school he went to 11 different institutions, where he was passed along from grade to grade because it was easier that way, not because he earned the promotion. By the time Michael was 16 he had an IQ of 80, which placed him in the bottom ninth percentile of mankind. Michael wasn’t slipping through the cracks, he was being pushed through them.

The story of Michael is not uncommon. In our lives we meet people, many of which we know need some extra help and guidance, but we convince ourselves that we don’t have the time to do anything about it, it’s not our problem. When we work with children we focus on the ones that we think want our help and ignore those that need our help. Why? Because the ones that need our help usually don’t want it to begin with. In order for us to reach those with needs, we need to seek them out and find ways to keep them in, in essence, we make our jobs harder. Through observation and word of mouth we designate kids “gifted” and give them all the resources they need to refine their gifts and keep them on the right path. We also label kids “troubled” and ignore their needs just long enough so that they can be passed on to the next adult that is forced to meet them.

This practice continues into adult life as well. We look at our employees and label them as having “potential”. Because of this potential we invest our time in them, giving them the tricks of the trade knowing that they ultimately will enhance our bottom line. Those that we do not see potential in are left to figure things out on their own, never really knowing how to excel, because nobody took the time to invest in them personally. These people become expandable for no other reason other than we did not see anything in them that was interesting to us.

By doing this we are missing out on untapped potential. When we as leaders don’t take the time to invest in everyone we miss the hidden talents that are not visible through the naked eye. When we accept external opinions on people we don’t allow ourselves to truly get to know who we are working with or mentoring, therefore missing out on whatever “potential” is hidden. When we pass our problems on to others, we diminish our value as a leader because we show that we are one dimensional in our ability to enhance the lives of others.

Michael Oher is the perfect example of what lies behind perception. This kid that was in and out of foster homes, that was passed from grade to grade so that teachers did not have to deal with him two years in a row, eventually found someone who did not believe what others were saying about him. Michael was given a chance in life because someone actually believed that they could help someone who was labeled “helpless”. Michael was able to raise his IQ by 20 to 30 points, was admitted to Ole Miss, and now is the best offensive lineman in the nation. Next year, after the NFL draft, Michael will be a millionaire, not only because of his hard work and dedication, but because someone decided to do their job, someone decided to invest in someone that nobody else would. Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy decided to extend a hand, not turn a blind eye.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Kelly: Our Service Star of the Week

Today the Law of Attraction brought me Kelly. Kelly is a veteran of the hair business, who runs The Hair Mix in Calgary. The reason I am awarding Kelly the Service Star of the Week is because he is a sure-fire swim-upstreamer. Kelly has worked as a haircutter for 22 years - and he told me he would have gotten out of the game long ago if he wasn't so passionate about it. He now owns a studio that at 6pm had 3 people getting their haircut at the same time and 1 customer buying products.
Lesson- do what you love and the success, the money, the title - will come.

Kelly also scored major points to beat out other service professionals because when he told me he was 45 years old, I would definately have guessed him younger. To this he replied that he still plays soccer and raquetball. He told me a story of a friend of his he went hunting with, and 7 hours of walking later they had to stop because his friend (who is overweight) complained of back pain. He was a big advocate of physical activity because it helped him keep up the energy for his busy schedule (we'll come back to that).
Lesson - Don't count calories; engage in a life full of pursuits that you enjoy and that connect you with people and activities that are fulfilling.

Finally, Kelly let me know that 2 of the girls that were working at the time were his daughters, and he also has 2 other children. His paternal pride shone through as he talked about his kids, and I was blown away by this inocuous looking haircutter who lives out our daily lessons at a high level.
Lesson: Family is a priority. A balanced life includes you passions (work, activities, etc) plus a family that supports those pursuits, joins you for the ride, and learns from your example.
Lesson: You get one shot at life - Kelly is making the most of his, and that should be the simple goal of everyone (whatever that may look like for them).
Lesson: It took Kelly 22 years to get where he is. Whenever you find yourself envious of someone more successful than you, instead of letting jealousy seep in, ask them how long it took them to get there. I have yet to meet a truly successful person who didn't have to work their ass off. Everyone wants the spoils - the successful people work through what others feel is beneath them in order to come out on top.

Lesson: Subscribe to swim upstream now so you can check the blogs whenever you have time - because if you truly buy in, you should be getting busy chasing the life you want instead of following the same routine - starting this instant!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

pointing the finger

If you have problems in your life, be thankful, it's a sure sign you're alive!

Seriously, many people fail to understand that life is a series of problems and challenges to be overcome. The more you have the more you grow through overcoming the challenges that life throws at you.

Unfortunately, many people always point to others when they experience issues. They always look outward and point the proverbial finger at everyone else, never turning their attention inward to see what things they may have done that contributed to the challenges they face. Yes, often problems we experience are not of our own making, but more times than not we could have acted differently, acted more quickly, more slowly or more thoughtfully and it would have resulted in a different, perhaps less challenging outcome. By looking at ourselves first, we will find ways to strengthen ourselves such that the next time a certain set of circumstances comes our way we might act differently, achieving more and experiencing fewer setbacks.

As humans we are surrounded by those that are more talented than us and those that might be less talented. However, sometimes those that struggle in a certain environment is not due to their natural talent but possibly a drawback that will ultimately hold them back from achieving as much in their lives as they might otherwise achieve. These people that I am talking about are those that always look at challenges that they encounter and view them as a result of someone else's shortcomings, unfulfilled promises, or someone else's weaknesses. These people never stop to look at themselves as possibly having weaknesses that contributed to, or indeed were the main cause of, their troublesome situation. It is a shame because if they looked inwardly...they might actually gain more power and knowledge to not only overcome the challenge that is presenting itself but future ones in life as well.

When you encounter a challenge objectively evaluate ALL the facts, put aside the ego and self-pride, and be willing to admit your own shortcomings. Stay the course, evaluate your personal strengths and weaknesses along the way, gradually learn from self evaluation and you will eventually find yourself making great progress.

Whenever you experience challenges -- welcome them and look inward. LIfe would be too boring without them.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

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Monday, September 24, 2007

Let this be a beginning.

Saturday - 3 swimupstream members completed a trans Canada cycling event for charity. This is the last post of that journey.

If you are still reading this blog, then you are keenly interested in what’s going on and “what’s next”. Well, use the inspiration you have gathered from this feat and take a personal step / role & or responsibility in making sure this legacy continues. YOU are what’s next. YOU dictate the pace and many YOU’s make light work because they turn into WE. Thank you in terms of action would mean a lot to us and we know there are capable people out there.

Act now while the light is on! Rally people to take action with you. After all, that’s exactly how this event metastasized into the epic proportions it has / did.

We have the relay idea and now we need regional and local leaders to continue to communicate and collaborate (again while the buzz is here) and pull something together. No shots at the JDRF, but like any charity and organization there is way to much red tape to get something moving with the degree of efficiency & effectiveness. Do not make the mistake of believing the JDRF will take this and run with it. The infrastructure must be created / set and put in place by a group of willing participants after which the JDRF lends the support they can. Hopefully next year, it will exceed the 07 support 20 fold.

In 08, we need cross the country, hitting all the major chapters. You already have a stationary cycling event in the curriculum and this should be amalgamated into the cross Canada cycle as well (it’s all the same kilometers) and would be a very easy add on. People can cycle inside, or people can cycle outside – but the scope of inclusion would be significant and the existing infrastructure may help expedite the organization.

Regardless, you need to tale responsibility and be the champion for this. No idea is a bad idea, we have the general scope of what we want to & can do and now its time to add a little infrastructure and “GO”!

To everyone, who cheered, blogged, supported, thought, prayed and helped the 2007 H2V event unfold, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

Friday, September 21, 2007


I read a story the other day about a civil war soldier who would walk into battle and at the first sign of bloodshed he would run away to perceived safety. After the battle was over, he would join his unit and swear that he would do better next time, only to repeat the process over again. The question posed was “is this soldier a coward or did he act with courage?”

We look at certain jobs and assume that the people in those positions are courageous, or we hear stories of amazing feats and say how courageous that person might be. We generalize that some people are more courageous than others just by our perception of what they do. A fireman is more courageous than a teacher, right? Even if that fireman works in an affluent neighborhood that only goes on one call a month, while the teacher works in a high crime neighborhood that resembles a war zone? Both voluntarily put their lives in danger, but if you put anyone in a uniform they suddenly look a lot more courageous than the plain clothed person. Don’t get me wrong here, I have a lot of respect for people that wear uniforms, but courage is not how we are perceived externally or defined by external actions, courage is an internal state of mind, where our ability to act upon our thought is all that matters.

Courage is defined as the ability to face danger, difficulty, uncertainty, or pain without being overcome by fear or being deflected from a chosen course of action. This means that courage is more about facing and overcoming fear, and less about what we are seen doing. Every battle we have with fear is originally fought between our ears first and then brought to physical action. Because of this courage is never seen in its real state. What we define as courage is not the courageous moment, for the courageous moment is in the choice not in the action.

The more courageous choices we make the more we expand our opportunities in life. By facing our fears and deciding to take them on, we in turn create opportunity for ourselves which opens us up to future success. In the case of the Civil War soldier mentioned above, he was courageous, because he continued to choose to face his most primal fear; death. During the Civil War desertion was punished by court-martial and/or death, but not for this soldier, he was given the opportunity to continue to try and fight. In facing his fears, he was allowed to live therefore expanding his opportunity.

Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage. - Anais Nin

Thursday, September 20, 2007


Today I propoose that that is the single greatest question we can ask ourselves: WHY?

WHY? Ellicits purpose, and it ellicits connotations of outcome. That is, it gives us a reason to DO something, and a reason to avoid doing something else. Put another way - WHY drives us, and WHY holds us personally accountable for our actions.

WHY am I so pumped about this 3-letter word? Because - today the WHY of 1 Dad and his 5 friends, and their 10 support drivers, and their hundreds of supporters, is spreading more positivity, hope, and life to the world, and simply by knowing their WHY - I couldn't sleep last night.

WHY? Because Team H2V is rolling through Calgary today - on their World- Record setting ride across Canada to help raise money and awareness of Juvenile Diabetes. Simply watching the passion that those directly involved share is enough to create excitement and purpose for those around them. I know the 1-2 hours I get to spend riding or even watching them and taking pictures - has created immense purpose in my day, and gave me a reason to wake up this morning, and a reason to take care of my body (personal accountability) yesterday.

WHY should you log on to You'll never know untill you're there. WHY should you care about whether or not each day has purpose? Because you know how much different a Thursday feels with something to look forward to other than just another Friday.

WHY are you still reading this? Go give your day a kick in the ass right now and find a purposeful venture (doesn't have to be a cross Canada ride either)... but do it now.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Where's your mask?

In the world today, there is ample opportunity to be a leader. It actually isn't as challenging as you may think. Look at the odds.

We are surrounded by an endless number of people that are waiting to be led - children, peers, co-workers, teammates AND there are an endless number of tools to teach you on how to become that fearless leader - courses, books, and leaders themselves.

What is missing is the number of people that want to become that front runner and be that example for others. These type of people go above and beyond to teach others what they have learned, to be that mentor to lead them in the right direction, and invest the time that is required to bring someone under their wing.

And as we have demonstrated amongst our numerous blogs - it is a personal choice.

There is also ample opportunity to be that hero. And another thing that isn't as challenging as you may think.

Let me explain.

People tend to believe that in order to be that hero there must be an event that has preceded their moment of heroism; helping someone from a car accident, save someone from a burning house, assisting someone overcome alcoholism or attempted suicide, etc.

This is not true. And these last two weeks I have been a witness to that.


1 father making a promise to his 12yr old daughter that he will do anything in his power to find a cure for Juvenile Diabetes - a disease that she was diagnosed with when she was only 18months old.

5 friends that have stepped up to the plate to ride across Canada in a record breaking 9 days to raise awarness on Juvenile Diabetes and raise money to help find a cure - 1 Million is our goal.

16 volunteers devoting 10mths, 2 weeks, or even 1 day to make this promise come true and ensure this goal is met.

Ordinary people, doing extraordinary things. No superhuman strengths. No capes or masks. Just the determination to make a difference.

And as we are coming to the final leg of this epic adventure...there is one thing that people must realize - anyone can make a difference. So don't wait for something to happen or before it is too late. Make a difference while you can. Be that HERO.

Donate now -

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Reason Is Enough

When approaching the subject of whether to take on a challenge one is always contemplating why.

Why would I go back to school? Why should I train for a triathlon?

We look for reasons to justify doing something. We look for love instead of just giving up our love because it is the reward we seek. We seek the returned love. We seek the spotlight and we always concentrate on the result. Why should I go back to school is met with a, "so you can finish your degree."

Maybe it is time to take a different approach. Maybe it is okay to just do without need for a result. Maybe just taking part in something is reason enough to do it. The end results, the socially accepted variety, may come but they don't have to be the reason to take part in the first place.

Take a chance, rush into something, go somewhere different for breakfast, just DO it.

Why? No reason.

Monday, September 17, 2007

What was your time?

Unsure why people's first rection to news someone has comlpeted an event is what was your time, but it reinforces the dangerous principle of outcome over journey.

Sometimes, it's nto about 'the time' and although we are conditioned to 'do better than last time', 'beat our old scores' and continually better ourselves, it doens't have to come at the expense of the overall experince.

It took me a long time to come to this realization. Typical AAA type, I would only venture into an event for the prupose of bettering my time. It became all about me. If I didn't i was grouchy, made excuses or trashed the event. Having ventured into so many events with the explcit purpose of seeing other people through, I was comfortable enough to realize it wasn't an illness - rather a quirk. A quirk I needed to fix.

One year, I took the entire year off of "sanctioned events" and participated in hikes, rides, outings and things that didn't have a time associated with them. I participated with my spouse, my kids and my friends and found I enjoyed those experiences at a disproportionate level than the timed ones.

Now, don't get me wrong, I do like the element of betterment and fulfillment, what I am suggesting is that a balance of both is very very rewarding.

If you are an A or AA or maybe even AAA try to find a way to experience things that force you to look 360 instead of 180. Chances are you will be surprised at what you see, which you may not have before.

Have a great time... by not paying attention to time.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Self Reflection

Recognition of self knowledge is the distinguishing mark of authentic human existence, because no other species has the ability to know themselves internally. We are set apart from other species by a practice that is routinely ignored as our focus continually extends outwards, therefore bringing us down to the level of lesser species.

“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom”.

Self reflection is our greatest tool for advancement in life, for without it we are subjected to either continually make the same mistakes over and over again, or become a puppet to someone we empowered to do our thinking for us. If we are ever to reach our potential we need to have the ability to do more than know ourselves, we must understand ourselves. Until we understand our action/reaction relationships from an internal perspective, we will continually be searching for what we want and not working towards what we want.

If we are to believe that Aristotle is correct, that our search for wisdom starts with knowing yourself then we must believe that without knowing yourself you will be unable to be wise. According to Erik Erickson, a personality theorist, wisdom is the last stage of his eight stage theory of psychosocial development. Within Erickson’s theory, wisdom is an optimal potential outcome of the human experience. What these two great minds are telling us is that our inability to self reflect, to look inward, is preventing us from getting the most out of our human experience.

In order for us to move forward, we need to look inward. Taking this look into us allows us to find the reason why we are where we are and how we influenced our way there. Self reflection shows us the roadmap of our life, it gives us insight to our situational responses, and holds us accountable for the decisions that we have made. Self reflection is a necessary component to empowerment, which ultimately is our ticket towards personal achievement.

“He that will not reflect is a ruined man”.
Asian Proverb

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Freedom Through Structure

Straight to it; this blog is about planning, and how doing so can help you achieve more than you thought possible. The goal of the onset of exploring planning strategies is to help ensure you have more time to play; to live.

Of all the planning quotes or idiums there are out there, here a few of my favorites...
4. Plan the work, and then work the plan
3. Right now you are exactly where you planned to be 3 - 6 months ago. (this says a lot about where you are if you didn't do any planning to get there)
2. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail
1. Those who have the most fun in life, and who achieve the most, and who have the most free time - plan the most; while those who never plan are the ones who complain they're too busy.

So above we have some reasons why we should plan. Despite the power of quotes 3 and 2 above, I placed number 1 where I did because far too many people make the same fatal error all too often...

...they think planning is boring, and is only done by nerds, workoholics, and assistants' to busy professionals. This couldn't be further from the truth! Some of the best professionals are great planners, yes - but so are some of the best athletes, coaches, parents, etc etc. Think of your favorite rock band (someone I'm sure you think is cool). Doi you think 4 months of touring to promote their latest CD happens without planning every single detail? Hell no.

The reason we have a disconnect with planning is because it is a process, and we rarely every see the process glorified... we only see the results glorified (in the above example, give us the light effects and the concert, not the laborious set up details). We only glorify an athlete's intense training regimen if that athlete is a media mogul and marketable commodity. The list goes on, but there is a common link with another huge cancer we are facing in our society... entitlement; the desire to have more and the feeling that we don't need to work for it because we are above that. The result without the planning is like money from no work - empty, meaningless, and no purpose in the end.

Getting back to planning, by now hopefully you get the WHY... now the HOW. Some of the most effective strategies I have used (or seen used effectively) are as follows;

1. daily planner: allows us to keep track of our appointments, to do list, people we need to follow up with, etc. The only way to go inb my books is a planner that hgas the whole year at easy convenience- such as a week-a-page Quo Vadis.
2. email organization. If your mail server allows this (and most do), add folders within your inbox that allows you to keep your inbox relatively empty, and similar types of mail organized. You might decide to organize your folders such as a) awaiting reply b) follow up c) personal d) non-urgent. However you structure this process, it is important you do not forget these iotems, hence a non-urgent folder - these are the emails you can come back to later in the week (or even month) so that you can focus on the more urgent emails. Make sure that once an email is no longer needed it is deleted. This will save you valuable time every day because you won't have to scroll and search every time you are looking for a specific email.
3. Back up your data. Have an electronic and hard copy (as well as an easily accessible copy within your planner) of all addresses, phone numbers, emails, etc. Back up your work files, back up your to do list, etc. While people may sympathize, if your computer crashes, the world keeps on spinning and you'd be left behind. An important client can never wait if we don't have ourselves organized.
4. Write your plans ahead of time. I write my yearly plan in Nov/ Dec; I write my quarterlies 2 weeks before the next quarter starts, and I write my weekly plan on Wednesday or Thursday for the following week. This allows us rhythm of goal achievemnt and prioritization, and lets us have a more realistic picture of where we can and need to be in the next 1, 4, 12, or 52 weeks. Be detailed, be thorough, and plan your business, social, family, and workout tasks and plans rather than just work.
5. Plan what you want before you die. If you don't do this, you will have regrets on your death bed - I never want to go that way. Refer to Matt's blog on Monday for a great example, anbd remember that at least one of these items must be in every quarter, if not in the week plan.

From some of the most successful people I have met, 45 minutes a day is the requisite amount of time per day you should spend planning. This is of course an average, because every wed/ thurs I spend longer, and every new quarter it is hours. The truth is, I have made leaps and bounds in my planning, and I still have a long way to go. I used to fight it at every turn... and then I realized I was going to keep going where I was going unless I planned the path myself. The good news is, I have made major improvements, and still don't spend 45 a day. I can improve, which means my life is going to get simpler and more stress- free. That's great!

There is many reasons above, and countless other ways to plan. The point is, without a WHY you are passionate about, nothing will happen. Hopefully, that passion comes from a passion for life, and a desire to see, do, and achieve more with the one shot you are ever going to get at having a great life. PLAN ON IT!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

no job is too small.

The sense of importance for many people is usually measured by the job duty they are asigned or their rank in an organization. So many people strive to be in the lime light and work hard to have the attention on them...yet fail to realize that when they are there, they will want the exact opposite.

At the same time, many people forget that there is a job for everyone. Whether small or large, ALL tasks that need to be completed in any organization, on any team, within any society, etc. are equally important as the next. That is what makes the world work. Different people with diffeent abilities suited for different tasks.

Walt Disney used to believe that the person that cleaned the streets of Disneyland was just as important as the mascots (Cinderalla, Snow White, Alladdin, etc) themselves. He believed that if guests from all over the world were able to step foot on a clean street to enjoy the magical experience of Disneyland, it is as equally as important as the impact that the mascots have on making a young child smile. Walt Disney was right.

Not everyone can be the Cinderalla from Disneyland or the Lance Armstrong on the Discovery team, but everyone can have an impact on their teams pursuit of victory. So the next time you think that your job duties are too small and lack importance - think again. Because if you are cleaning the washrooms at an aiprort, someone will notice. Or, if you are a part of the support group of a sports team, one of the members will thank you. Or if you are the person pouring the coffee at Starbucks in the morning, you are impacting more than one person on their day to work.

Whether the job is small or large - any job is important. So make a difference and know that at some point you will receive some sort of recognition...whether you hear it or not.

Every role is important.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Commitment from Cause

One of the more overused words and also a concept that few people are able to grasp.

Few of us ever realize what full and true commitment is because we never gain the necessary perspective by having a cause. A cause will show us what we need to do. A cause will show us how deeply we need to dig and how much we are willing to do.

Commitment is only truly realized when you find the cause that resonates within your heart and soul. Commitment is the part of you that you find when you are willing to do whatever it takes to get a result.

So where does one start to discover a cause and learn how to commit.

Start by looking at the things you have done, look within your family, explore hobbies and passions and talk to others you feel are committed in different areas of their lives. You may find others will help you move forward finding something that resonates for you.

The start of this process, and of course you can be committed in many different areas, is the key. The passion that drives you when you discover a cause that gives you energy is what will allow you to take the next steps. The cause is the energy necessary to get the wheel moving. Once it is moving it is hard to slow that wheel down.

Commitment is the willingness to do what ever it takes at any time and under any circumstance.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

What do you want to do before you die?

[matt young and fellow swim upstreamer willie cromack]

awhile back, i took the time to make a list of all the things i wanted to accomplish before i died. i thought of this exercise as a way of focusing my energies and daily directions towards worthy things, shared it with my closest friends and invited those with parallel goals to join me in my pursuits.

wow. the response was overwhelming. more importantly, i would recieve their ambitions and plans and find out how many we shared in common and how many i was missing from my list. as we depart for halifax tomorrow morning early, i want to leave you all with some inspiration (hopefully) on what can happen when you surround yourself with like minded people.

if you have not taken the time to do this sort of thing, you should. i am more than happy to share mine with you. as well, if anyone on this swimupstream team see's something that i am doing that they would like to... please, don't hesitate to come along!

BID Goals.
* denotes completed.

• Get pilots license (1998)*
• Renew pilots license
• Get FAC certification(firearms) (1998)*
• Get NSCA certification
• Get Padi Certification (1998)*
• Own Suburban (1997)*
• Own pick up truck (2005)*
• Bring jeep back down from lake (2006)*
• Drive Jeep in city (2006)*
• Purchase Mac computer*
• Own motorcycle (1997)*
• Own ski boat (2004)*
• Own skidoo (1997,2003,2005)*
• Own atv (2000)*
• Overnight boys trip on atv’s
• Own a dirtbike
• See a Nascar Race (2006)*
• See a World Cup game
• See a Grey Cup game (2000)*
• See a Superbowl game
• See a National championship (2002,2006)*
• See a county concert (1998)*
• Drive a Nascar
• Skydive (1998, 2006)*
• Bungee Jump (2006)*
• Hang glide
• Parasail
• Fly in fighter jet
• Visit Sweden
• Visit France & Italy
• Visit India
• Crash a wedding
• Dive trip to Australia
• 2 day 40th b-day party!
• Surround self with great friends (2006)*
• Volunteer time with kids or elderly

• Canada West all star (1998)*
• run 10k (1997)*
• run 10k under 40 mins
• run ½ marathon (1998)*
• run ½ marathon under 1:30
• run marathon (1999, 2003, 2004, 2006)*
• run marathon in 3:30 or less
• complete duathalon (1998, 1999, 2000)*
• complete triathlon (2002, 2003, 2005, 2006)*
• complete ½ ironman (2005, 2006)*
• complete ironman (2003, 2005)*
• complete ironman in under 11:30
• complete adventure race (1997, 1998, 2001, 2004)*
• place top 3 in an adventure race (2004 *2)*
• complete 24 hour adventure race (2006)*
• complete 3-5 day adventure race
• sub 4hr test of metal (2006)*
• complete the ultra test of metal (2004)*
• cycle from Vancouver to Kelowna (2006)*
• cycle Seattle to Portland (2006/ 07)*
• cycle across Canada 07*
• cycle from house to the lake
• cycle mt Haleakula (2004)*
• cycle Moab (2006)*
• cycle l’Alpe Duez (tour de france)
• cycle la-ruda (Costa Rica)
• cycle Trans Rockies (Alberta)
• cycle tyax lodge (vancouver)*
• swim Mable Lake (2003, 2004, 2005 / 2006 / 2007)*
• hike Macchu Piccu
• hike Mt Kilimanjaro
• hike Everest
• hike Seymour (2006)*
• hike the Chief (2006)*
• hike Black Tusk (2006)*
• hike the Lions (2003, 2004, 2005)*
• hike Grand Canyon (2004, 2005)*
• See 7 natural wonders of the world [Grand Canyon*, Great Barrier Reef*, Mount Everest, Victoria Falls, The Northern Lights*, Paricutin Volcano, Harbor of Rio de Janero]
• See forgotten natural wonders of the world [Angel Falls, Bay of Fundy*, Igacu Falls, Krakatoa Island, Mount Fuji, Mount Kilimenjaro, Niagra Falls*]
• See 7 wonders of the Modern world [Empire State building*, Itaipu Dam, CN Tower*, Panama Canal, Channel Tunnel, North Sea Protection Works, Golden Gate Bridge*]
• Skidoo in Yukon Teritories (2005/ 06 / 07)*.
• 1 monster event with Joan
• hike mt Rainier
• hike the West Coast Trail

• Write personal inventory (1998)*
• Create balance and reside (2006)*
• Continue to learn how to love (2006)*
• Remain even keel (2006)*
• Put past to bed (2006)*
• Communicate, communicate, communicate

• Be perpetually thankful. (2006)
• Study Buddhism
• Learn how to meditate
• Learn how to fly fish
• Visit Taj Mahal

• Sporting trip with son’s
• Habitat for humanity
• Overnight camping trip with boys
• Take boys up Grouse Grind (2006/07)*
• Accomplish one of my goals with my mom
• Organize an entire family trip
• Take boys in Vancouver Sun Run (07)*
• Take boys to Club Med
• Dive trip with wife (2007)*
• Family to Egypt & Rome
• Be at all sports & academic events
• Coach kids sports (2006 / 07)*
• As many family trips as possible
• Plan yearly visits
• Stay on top of weekly calls
• Better effort with in laws.

• Never aim for monetary goal!
• Be debt free
• Own a house (1998)*
• Own a cabin (1999)*
• 1 million to charities (2006 / 2007)*

• Own our own p.t. studio (1997, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2004)*
• Over 1 million in revenues (1998)*
• Expand into the USA (2000)*
• Franchise Innovative’s (2006)*
• Hire Me lectures and presentations*
• Parent companies self sufficient*
• Launch Events company (2005)*
• Create IF clothing line*
• 10 Innovative Fitness franchises.
• 100 000 prehab kits
• 250 000 hire me books

• Feature in paper (2005, 2006, 2007)*
• Feature in magazine (1998 / 2007)*
• Feature on television (2006/ 2007)*
• Feature in movie (2000)*
• Write a book (2006 *2, 2007 *2)*
• Create a blog (2006)*
• Write a weekly or monthly published column (2007)*.
• Public speaking (2007)*
• Write a screenplay
• Appear on Oprah or 60 minutes.
• Write book #3 (2007)*

Friday, September 07, 2007

The Limbic Brain

One of the things we as mammals have in common is that we have a limbic brain. The limbic brain is the part of the brain that allows us to respond to touch, proximity, and other people’s emotions. In short, the limbic brain is the emotional part of the brain. Development of this part of the brain, which happens mostly after birth, is essential in our ability to function in this world, because it allows us to connect with others.

As children, when our limbic brain is still developing, the need to connect is great. When that connection is not made children have changes in their ability to consume oxygen, their immune system is impaired, they have changes in sleep rhythms, and they produce less growth hormone. Emotional growth is also stunted, most notably in their ability to respond to other people’s emotions and in their ability to care for others; essentially they become unable to show empathy.

As adults, our need to connect is still great, and essential in our ability to show self-control, self-command, reciprocity, trust, and love. Our ability to continually connect with other people is the foundation our conscience needs to continually expand. The need to connect is what allows us to procreate and keep our species alive, it helps us fill our most basic and essential needs. Without a properly developed limbic brain we lose the ability to read people as well as situations, therefore exposing ourselves to potential dangers.

Despite the importance of the continued development of the limbic brain, we still look for ways to disconnect from people, when what we need more of is connection. Why? Because we no longer appreciate human contact in this world. We are constantly given new ways to communicate so that we don’t have to actually interact with the person we are communicating with. We settle for email, text messages, phone calls, and web cams instead of having the power lunch or friendly meeting. By doing this, ignoring our physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual well being, we are stunting our ability to feel emotion. Humans are designed to connect, in fact they need to connect, and when they don’t have the proper connections there are potentially serious mental health issues that can arise.

By choosing to stunt the growth of our limbic brains we stunt our ability to really live. Our limbic brain allows us to feel, which is what part of life is all about, feeling emotion. Highs actually are euphoric and lows are actually tragically painful, but we get to feel them and learn how to deal with them. Disconnecting our children and ourselves from the rest of society, depriving our need to connect with others, is essentially sucking the feeling out of life. Our quest for perceived convenience through electronical advancement is destroying our need for personal growth and human development through personal connections. These personal connections are what we need not only to survive in life, but to thrive in life; you can’t say the same about your Blackberry.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Pay It Forward

This is a picture of Kitsilano Beach Park in beautiful Vancouver, B. C. It is also a picture of the end result of ordinary people making an extraordinary impact on their world by 'paying it forward'. I had the opportunity to meet one of the catalysts behind this picturesque setting on Tuesday of this week. Sitting on 'Kits Beach'; as the locals have dubbed it, I ran into Alex.

Alex is definately a swim-upstreamer. While I was enjoying the calming sensation of waves crashing, I caught Alex out of the corner of my eye picking up trash on the beach. I watched her until she got closer to where I was seated. "Why are you picking up garbage on the beach?" I asked her.

"Because I saw another woman doing it" was her plain and simple reply. She continued, "and look over there... since I started that gentleman asked if I had a spare bag so that he, too could pick up litter!" and sure enough, there was a fellow on his cell phone asking someone if they had spare trash bags at home.

Her shining example was even more impressive when I offered her money to buy herself gloves (as she was handling the trash with her bare hands), she refused. "I don't need those" she refused... and so, if she didn't need gloves, neither did I. I left the beach in a meandering fashion, picking up any trash I saw.

The collective effort led to the beautiful beach shown above, where in 10 minutes I saw "pay it forward" be passed down 4 times. The reason for sharing this story is because we often have trouble associating our actions with any sort of tangible outcome. This tangible outcome was amazing to see in person, and it left me with an inspired feeling that one person really can make a difference; whether it is in cleaning up the environment, raising better children, or improving the whole world around us and everything in it.

KNOW that you can make a difference; because (we hope) that yopu ALREADY KNOW that you should.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Find the Hidden Opportunities.

Latley, more than ever, I have found myself be bothered by so many people in this world that fail to see the opportunty to grow, to be better, to succeed, and to live. And yet...this is entirely out of my control...or is it?

This is an opportunity to educate and add perspective in hopes it reaches at least one person...and that is what this group at swimupstream try to on a daily basis.

Opportunity happens all around us, all day long. We just don't see it. Growing up, we're inundated with input, so we learn to tune things out. Unfortunately, that also teaches us to not see opportunity even when it's staring us in the face.

For example - Have you ever thought of buying a particular car only to then begin to notice it EVERYWHERE?

It's not that there are more of that type of car out there, it's just you now you have a reason to notice. Your brain becomes 'aware' of it. So... When we believe that there are opportunities everywhere, when we believe that we deserve them and when we are willing to jump in and do something about them, then we'll actually start to notice them more and more.

This is called the Tipping Point.

It's when life goes from struggle-struggle-struggle to a life of its own, perpetuating its own motion. You ever notice that a project or cause can have no one for the longest time, and then suddenly more and more people get involved? Or the right people come along for help as soon as you start foucsing on doing and not focusing on finding where to go to have it done for you. That will also seem like the Law of Attraction (which it is) but that too is not a surprise.

You see, there are an awful lot of people who want to be successful, but don't want to do all the work. So they're busy scanning all horizons for someone/something to attach themselves too. If your neighbor is successful, these same people would attach themselves to the neighbor. If you're the one, then you can expect them to come around just as soon as you succeed.

So what's the point?

1. Opportunities are never hidden. People are just blind to see them.

2. The Law of Attraction DOES exist. For some, it will be about love, light and positivity, but maybe for you it'll be about logic instead. It doesn't matter. However, what does matter is that it would be a real shame to miss out on opportunity because you think you can't think your way to success. That doesn't happen - so think again.

Newsflash: You ARE the Sales Department

There is not a single organization or business on the planet that can avoid this fact:

**Every Single Employee IS a Part of the Sales Team

We have all experienced the rather odd lack of service at a typical service or returns counter but it is the every day interactions of the accountants, book-keepers, phone directors, government agents, customs officers, public servants, machine operators [to name just a very few] that leave a mark on how we all perceive a company or organization. It is the regular interactions that people judge you on.

A customer or relationship is built from the every day little interactions where each of us has but one expectation: a little respect. Unfortunately this is how we are as a society now...looking for just a hint of something rather than the whole enchilada of great service [but that's another blog all together].

To go and purchase a new television we already expect to receive decent customer service and knowledge but when we receive treatment at a hospital all we are looking for, beyond our minimum expectation of expertise, which lays beyond our realm, is someone to respect us.

How often do you take little interactions for granted? Are these nonchalant relationship killers stopping you from moving forward?

Swim-up-streamers live by the mantra that reminds us how we should be living:

"Every day, every play."

There aren't any times that you can take off, your day is never done and you are never allowed to disrespect or treat someone in a manner you wouldn't deem acceptable.

You are a part of selling your organization, helping that person, treating them well and this attitude will move you forward, if not financially definitely spiritually, so that you can conquer the hurdles in your life. Every interaction is a reflection of what you personally represent.

Every day, every play......make it your mantra and remember you are the sales team for how people remember you, act towards you and treat you.

How do you want to be remembered?

Monday, September 03, 2007

Holy Terror

(that's Chucky)

Had the recent misfortune of spending time with parents who’s kids direct them on a daily basis. Telling them what they want, when they want it and how they want it. Demanding where to go and for how long. And worse of all protesting with temper tantrums when they don’t get what they want.

At the end of the day I looked at these two people (absolutely exhausted)… and couldn’t help but thinking – what the fuck are you doing?

The day starts off with a question to an avg age of 5 – what do you want for breakfast. Right there, the tone is set. What do they think their kids are going to say? Whole wheat toast with honey, 3 orange slices and one omega 3 enriched egg sunny side up?
No. they are going to ask for a bowl of sugar covered in chocolate and when you don’t deliver, the debate starts.

Every debated with a 5 year old? A) it makes no sense because they don’t have a basis of reference for arguing and B) you will not win. Instead, the better approach would be something like would you like cottage cheese and cereal or scrambled eggs and toast. This way, they are still in on the decision making process and you achieve the result you are after as well.

For every negative action, there should be an unpleasant reaction and the opposite for good. Our job as parents isn’t to negotiate and facilitate friendships with our 5 year olds, it is to lead them to the desired response which will empower them towards better decision making in the future.

Each time our children wail and we entertain coddling that wail, we give them every reason to continue to wail. Which they will. And then we reach the point of no return and wonder why? I’ll tell you why and my name isn’t doctor phil. You enable them to be little assholes. So they will.

Conversely, if you enable them to be well mannered, pleasant, confident individuals…. They will likely meet that challenge too.

Time to raise the bar folks. Right now!