Friday, October 31, 2008

Dimensions

“The mind, once expanded to the dimensions of larger ideas, never returns to its original size.” ~Oliver Wendell Holmes

This quote was repeated by Tampa Bay Rays Manager Joe Maddon immediately after losing the World Series in his press conference. The beauty of the use of this particular quote is that he was talking about changing the mentality of one of Americas most dismal sports franchises. Now that the Rays had actually experienced the first hint of success in franchise history, they had transformed their thinking from that of a victim to that of a victor.

Despite defeat, we always have a chance to expand the dimensions of our mind during the process of being defeated. It is in our ability to change our persona through experience that allows us to rethink the way we think; therefore redefining ourselves in the process. Not allowing our minds to fall back to its original size means that we have fostered the skill necessary to transform perception and reality in our lives.

When we look at the state of the world today it is easy to get caught up in the negativity that we are surrounded with; it is easy to stop our mental growth and fall in line with the masses and complain about how hard times are. In doing so we are not a part of the problem, we are the problem, because we are stunting our ability to even consider a solution.

We can sit around the water cooler and find out where to point our fingers when something goes wrong, yet doing so never allows our mind to expand. We can place the blame on others claiming that whatever mess we are in was done outside of our decision making process, but in keeping our ideas in the same dimension we never extend out of the mentality that allowed us to think this way in the first place.

There is nothing easy about overcoming adversity, and history has dictated that in order to overcome any external situation we must be able to overcome ourselves first. As we are all led by our thoughts, it is our essential duty to think ourselves out of whatever negative situation we are in. This is not done by idly waiting for our environment to change or others perceptions of us to change, but by proactively using our ideas to change environment or perception.

The greatest thing you can do for yourself right now is to outthink your limitations and hardships. There is a larger idea available that will create the empowerment you need to move onto the next mental dimension in life, as long as you are willing to search for it and aware enough to accept it.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

My Apologies to the Future Inhabitants of Earth


To: People of Earth circa 2108

From: An Average Joe Earth Dweller 2008

Dear future resident of Earth,

let me start of by saying I apologize. I did not take responsibility over my actions during my lifetime, so all I can do now is share my experiences as a precautionary tale in hopes you do not repeat my mistake or those of my peers.

I don't know if it was ignorance or naivety, but my actions led to the decline of your home, your environment, and likely, your very health as you breathe air that is unfit for a living organism to respire on. It is no excuse, but I want to share with you the circumstances and collective psyche that I believe led the population of my corner of the world to contribute to problems you had no hand in but have the unsavory task of repairing.

1. We didn't really know in 2008, but we placed the Earth at 4.5 to 6 billion years old. We estimated the human race at 1 million years old, and yet despite the fact that we were around for 1/5000th of the time our home was, we only started to consider the concept of our actions affecting our home in the last few decades. We of course had a few brave visionaries who told us we were damaging the Earth and it would come back to haunt us, but we didn't see the trouble right in front of our face so we called these people "tree-huggers" or "hippies". We ignored their warnings and their proposed solutions.

2. We enjoyed the highest affluence of possibly any population before us, but instead of investing for the future in our economy for you and your grandchildren to enjoy, we greedily and frivolously spent more than we earned so that the well collectively ran dry.

3. We came from hundreds of generations of farmers, and then within 4 - 5 generations of what we called the "industrial revolution" we pretty much exploited the soil natural food had been produced in for hundreds of years. The cells in your body are less healthy than mine were despite so many medical advancements because we tried to outsmart nature and created food instead of protecting and harvesting what nature/God/evolution had created for us over thousands of careful years. I sure hope we reversed the obesity epidemic that was raging as I wrote this letter, or else your clogged arteries, back pain, chest pain, and poor health is in part my fault too.

In summary I am sharing with you what has unfortunately become the legacy of my people at the turn of the millennium. I do this because there are actually a number of great people alive in my time who are trying to buck these trends. Unfortunately, there are too many people alive today who think the planet and all it's resources exist to service them, and they have no responsibility contingent upon their consumption.

It is my hope that you can share this letter with as many people in your generation so that my fate does not become your fate. You could actually be the catalyst in having your generation's legacy being saving earth and perpetuating the human race instead of condemning it to death for a number of reasons.

It is also my hope that by the time you receive this letter, hundreds of people would have written similar letters and given them to hundreds of people so that the entitled-misinformed-ravagers of Earth and all it's resources become the minority, and the solutions-providers like you become the majority.

One great thing about the generation I am coming from... I don't have to print this letter a million times and cut down that many trees- you can simply forward it via the internet. The world of today is full of so many brilliant people- we just had our brilliance misguided by some poor leadership in our developed nations, as well as a number of poor personal choices multiplied by millions of inhabitants.

Hopefully you can harness the brainpower of your time (as I'm sure it is plentiful) towards more productive means that will turn the trend from consumption to sustenance.

Yours truly,
an apologetic old fossil by the time you read this

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

De-Evolution



As a species, mankind is not keeping beat. We do a lot of errands and a lot of moving around but we're not getting anywhere. In fact, we're de-evolving, and basically, our de-evolution is our evolution. Physically, this is no more evident than with the "average" American, who weighs way too much, exercises far too little, pops too many pills for an assortment of reasons, eats like crap, pollutes more than any other citizen of the world, and sleeps poorly.

There is a lot to learn from our caveman friend, and not just in terms of diet and lifestyle. But in terms of LIFE. Basically, we have allowed ourselves to be coddled and become pansy’s – we sip sugared-up lattes, we transport ourselves in large automobiles, we sit indoors all day, staring at a virtual reality, under artificial lighting. We persistently surround ourselves in climatically-controlled structures, keeping us from harm's way. We buy too many toys to ensure we remain happy. We are "civilized".

The caveman, as direct descendants, should be looked to with respect and admiration. Times were tough then. Every day was survival. And yet caveman came through. Times today, of course, are not that tough and so some of us will seek to make them challenging by involving ourselves in physical goals (running a marathon , climbing Kilimanjaro, biking across Australia, or running across the transrockies, etc, etc). The caveman didn't have this luxury. His hardship was not chosen - it was real everyday; and often success or failure meant the difference between life or death.

The caveman discovered out that eating certain foods made him sick and that fire was not just dangerous but also of assistance. He learned these things through trial and error and he became smarter and more adapted because of it. But today we seem to have lost that. We're told what's right and wrong and what we're supposed to do, not just by our parents but by our "civilized" society itself - that if you play with fire you will get burned. We accept mediocrity and have gotten rid of our curiosity. We don't think for ourselves; rather, we go to school, take IQ tests, earn our pieces of paper, get jobs, do our jobs, ensure our survival and ask no questions until it's too late, then die (again). Because you're told that if you don't "choose" such a path, someone else will and they'll be the ones reaping the rewards. Essentially, we do what we're told; we're told fire may burn us and we believe it must be true because that's what we were told. Everything for the caveman was experimental. For those of us who challenge ourselves to take the unbeaten path - mistakes will be made (and plenty of them at that), but guarantee you will be better because of them. This is how we learn.

Remember the bumble bee story: how scientists come to the conclusion that it is incapable of flying---its wings too small and too slow and its mass too great---yet somehow no one ever relayed this message to the bumble bee, who goes about his business soaring from flower to flower, seeking the fruits of his labour.

In life, don't be afraid to occasionally take the caveman approach and find some stuff out for yourself. After all, where's the fun in playing it safe? You need to think like the bumble bee or the caveman and do what it takes to learn for yourself. This is the best form of learning and it's called EXPERIENCE. We learn from experience and we gain experience from making mistakes. Go out on a limb (ie: take a RISK!), because as any Neanderthal can tell you, that's where the fruit is found.

As a species, it doesn't look like we'll ever turn back the clock, but as individual you can. Start thinking "backwards". Eat like man used to. Sleep like man used to: when it was dark. Exercise like man used to: by staying predominantly aerobic with the occasional brief sprint. Try to pollute like man used to: not at all. These things may all seem difficult to do, but only due to a vast freedom of choice. Here is some general advice to find your ‘inner caveman’:

1) Eat like a caveman. This means avoid eating food in packaging or food that contains more than one ingredient. It does not mean drinking tea or coffee or smoking something that grows in the ground. If you can't get through a single day without coffee, a drug, something is wrong.

2) Train like a caveman. Go out all day and see what you can discover for yourself; go primal! Discard the ipod and wathc. Shun all electronics and get in tune with your own frequencies.

3) Get in touch with your fears. Fear is that little darkroom where negatives are developed. Cavemen were full of fear and theirs were far more tangible than yours likely are.

4) Make some mistakes. They will likely not cost you your life, so go on, make them. Then, more importantly, learn from them. If you're too afraid to make mistakes, you'll never grow.

5) Get lost. Go somewhere new, somewhere unfamiliar, and get acquainted with it and with yourself. Leave the city of comfort!

6) Sleep outside, under the stars. Talk about feeling insignificant! If you don't think this will have an affect, you haven't tried it. Those same stars are the very ones your caveman cousins gazed at each night and I'm willing to bet they knew more about them than you or I do.

7) If you lack raw physical talent, try making up for it with lots of long and hard training. If you fail then, at least you gave it an honest effort. Throw hard work at almost any problem and the problem is no longer a problem. Of course, it's the hard work that then becomes the problem, but only if you abhor it.

8) If it can't be done, give it a shot. Find out for yourself whether it's true or not. Those who repeat that it can't be done are almost always interrupted by someone doing it. Just as it was back in the days of the caveman, rules are constantly rewritten.

See if you can do all of this once every so often and perhaps more than just a day; maybe a week, a month, a year, a lifetime. I’m not suggesting giving up on society but rather to not let it suppress you or shape you or your decisions. Don’t buy for the labels, give up on your daily starbucks, walk to work, open-water swim, play with fire, throw caution to the wind, or spit straight into it. Don't settle for someone else's lessons or their experiences. Write your own story, even if it's in hieroglyphics!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Show Me the HUmility

Back in the 80's, as the world seemingly crumbled around the United States, Ronald Regan's right hand man [yes, George Bush Snr.] suggested that America could and possibly should become "a kinder, gentler nation."

Like a prophet, as so many leaders are [love them or hate them], it took 30 years for that statement to ring true. We have landed at the point where arrogance will no longer rule the day. The young people are now leading the old and wise. Humility will be the characteristic of our new world champions and it will be closely followed by simplicity. [And I don't mean "The Simple Life."]

Our young people are challenging the world to be better as their collective psyche yearns for peace, togetherness and connectivity, and everyone with equal opportunity. It has been built into them. While we have gone on about the negative side affects of "the watched over" generation, there is also a good side to their existence.

For every child that received a blue ribbon in school or was told they were perfect, there is now a collective cry amongst them for their countries and the world to be better and NICER. Seriously. However gallant or ignorant we may see them, they look to their leaders to actually do what they say. Hyperbole won't cut it anymore. Show me the nice, show me the real, show me the blue ribbon and I will be happy to live in your country, do business with you, or even promote you on my facebook page. Lye to me and we won't be friends. Charity is more important than profits. Green is more important than ideas and everyone that does come out with something new is celebrated. Again, good and bad.

Don't kid yourself. It was not the elder generation that has brought the economy crumbling. It was a collective youth psyche that said we aren't going to stand for it anymore. Take your stock exchange and shove it. We don't care. We are fine if we stick together. Show me the humility.

Look at your business. Look at your life. Look at what you have collected and then ask yourself if you are moving with the times. Material goods or just being good. Which is it for you?

For every ying there is a yang. Our young generation has a tremendous amount to offer starting with creating a "kinder, gentler nation".

Monday, October 27, 2008

What Stops Us From Moving Forward?







One word - FEAR.

Fear can destroy our psychology and immobilize us from taking action. All of us experience fear in some context during our lives whether that be:

  • Fear of rejection
  • Fear of failure
  • Fear of success
  • Fear of love
  • Fear of being alone
  • Fear of the unknown

In fact, most of us feel a combination of these fears over the course of our lives. Fear is hard-wired into every one of us at different levels and for different reasons and nothing we do will ever take fear away from us. The secret is learning how to use fear instead of letting it use you!

While we all experience countless variations - there are two primary fears that all human beings have:

1. The fear that we are not good enough

Have you ever experienced that nervous feeling before getting up to speak in front of a large group where the outcome of that speech determined your success or failure? What happened? Did you step up and deliver a knock out presentation or fall flat on your feet? In either case - you would have grown personally based on what you learned in the process because of taking on this fear head on.

2. The fear that we won't be loved

Have you ever been in a situation with a significant other or family member where you found yourself going out of your way over and over again to please that other person in hopes they reciprocated and showed you love? It happens all the time in relationships and is a determining factor in many relationship successes and failures. Everyone wants to be loved by someone - it gives us a purpose and comfort that we are not alone.

The biggest thing you can take from this is that the more you combat your fears head on, the more you will overcome them and in turn continue to grow within the circle of life.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Recognition

In a time when everyone who participates is a winner, something interesting happened in the Nike Woman’s Marathon in San Francisco this past weekend. Arien O’Connell ran the fastest time, didn’t cheat, and was not declared the winner because she did not enter the event as an “elite” runner. Arien defeated the field by 11 minutes, had a personal best marathon by 12 minutes, and her reward for being the fastest runner in the race was stripped because of a technicality.

It is just as important that we learn from others as we do from ourselves and this is a perfect example of even when we are the best in class, we won’t necessarily reap the rewards we deserve.

Going unrewarded is something that happens every day in life, and should never be an indicator of how we choose to perform the next time. On a daily basis we perform hopefully at our highest level in every sphere in life and our reward does not have to be handed to us in an external form of recognition. In fact, the greatest reward we can claim is the internal satisfaction that we achieved a personal best as a worker, parent, friend, significant other, athlete, etc. When we choose to perform for ourselves and not the recognition of others, we gain a heightened sense of personal satisfaction that no trophy can provide.

Take a hard look at the message we are sending people today when it comes to recognition. You participate; you are rewarded. You run a company into the ground; you are rewarded. You lie, cheat, and make promises you have neither the ability nor intent to keep; you are rewarded. And we wonder why the next generation of leaders, workers, and followers believe they are all entitled to the same rewards/recognition in the name of equality and fairness.

Reality creates rule in life, and we must create an understanding that even your best will not always produce recognition; it will eventually produce recognition. The only guarantee of recognition in life is the internal recognition you gain from knowing what you did; even if others weren’t looking or a rule prohibits you form being recognized.

Through continual personal excellence, our external recognition will come whether it is through a good deed being returned to us, through verbal and tangible rewards, or in Arien’s case public outcry (notice I did not say Arien’s outcry). Even Nike eventually came to their senses a little bit and declared Arien “a” winner of the marathon even though she was “the” winner.

Arien’s response to her finish was pure joy followed by “personal best” tears, not anger and demands. This is something that only happens when you are focused on the journey and therefore allowed to relish in the outcome; recognized or not.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Noble Ability To Forget

Advice.
Everybody has some to give
We often don't follow our own
Lots of people give it out when it's neither asked for or wanted
But every now and then you get a few gems.
That tangible, can-use-it-tomorrow tool that is far from cliche.

One of the best pieces of advice I got right before I was married was that the key to ANY successful ongoing relationship was the ability to forget. No, not forgetting anniversaries and birthdays or how you met or picking up the kids after soccer...

but forgetting the other persons' wrong-doings.
We are all human
We all make mistakes
It is easy to bring up the past in an argument
Sometimes it's hard not to bring up the past in an argument

But it is always easier in the long run to allow other people to be human and not judge them for the rest of their life because of one mistake. I'm not saying forget every time- if someone abuses your leniency or trust on a repetitive basis- that's a from of abuse and taking you for granted and you should cut the cord on said relationship. Certain mistakes are 'deal smashers' (such as physical abuse, etc) and should not be tolerated past incident zero.

But saying something harmful, failing at something, being human... these acts must be forgiven.

As a parent, spouse, leader, coach, etc - you are going to see those you lead, coach, or love in a vulnerable position. Vulnerability leads to strength if one is allowed to push their comfort zone and be supported through that process.
Vulnerability leads to weakness if people are attacked at their lowest point.
Make sure you know the difference because attacking someone when their down will almost always lead them to develop resentment regarding said incident, which inevitably leads them to kick you when you're down and a dysfunctional relationship.

We can turn around the state of any relationship at any time if we are a) aware of our input to any given out put and b) we have commitment from ourselves and the other person(s) to change. We will get B if we change A for ourselves and are openly accountable to our part in that process.

Anybody can be supportive when you are winning the lottery, leaving for your honeymoon, handing our raises, or winning the national championship. The health and long term potential of any relationship is often defined during the not-so-good times; hence the ability to forget and not judge others for their shortcomings as such a cornerstone in leading your part in any relationship.

Want to learn how great you can be and how your relationships can flourish?
Learn to forget.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Journey to Fulfill a Purpose


Somewhere high in the mountains of Idaho runs a creek too remote to have a name. The water flows shallow and cold, clear and swift. In this creek a reddish brown female salmon idles under the rushing waters. The female has deposited 5000 bright pink eggs into a gravel nest that is then fertilized. Of the 5000 eggs laid only 750 grow to be a ‘fry’ that will attempt the downstream swim to the Pacific – a 900mile swim with predators and natural perils along the way that take the number down even further. Only 200 of the fry’s who left the creek make it to become a healthy 6-inch smolt ready for the salt water of the Pacific.

During its time at sea, each salmon will come into contact with other predators. If lucky enough to avoid the hooks of fisherman and the bite of seals and larger fish, a salmon will cover nearly 5000miles and can develop into a healthy 21lb fish that measures 2 and a half feet long with a blue-green back and silvery belly. The two-tone color conceals her from enemies. Seen from above, she blends with dark ocean waters; from below, she blends with the lighter sky. Every salmon has its own time to return back to the fresh water. Some stay in the ocean for as long as 5years while most will stay for two of three years. Once this time at sea has been accomplished she begins the swim back to the river mouth that first landed her into salt water and as enters the mouth of the Columbia River she is at her prime, weighing 28lbs and just less 3-feet long. Of the 200 smolts that made it to sea, only nine managed to avoid the ocean dangers and make it back to the Columbia to begin the swim upstream…

I took the long way home tonight. I thought about our individual lives and our own swim upstream. Out of a million sperm we made it this far. If you are reading this than consider yourself extremely lucky to be where you are right now. If you were to look at a pie chart of where you could have been born you will see that being born in countries like Canada is comparable to winning the lottery. You have a greater chance to have been a starving child in Africa or living in a corrugated metal shantytown in South America. We are not unlike the salmon that have such a slim chance of making it back to the river.

...The female salmon returning to spawn in the creek where she was a born is one of life’s magnificent journeys. She wastes no time in mouth of the Columbia River and starts the race upriver to get back home - eggs are growing inside of her. She finds an entrance to the fish ladder at Bonnerville Dam. She climbs up the broad, flat, smooth-flowing water stairs. Each step is a small accomplishment towards her goal of heading home. There is some fishing along the way but it is restricted and mostly Natives taking fish for food. The returning salmon does not stop to eat and along this swim she becomes haggard and skinnier. She comes upon a fork in the river and with her homing instincts remembers the river that carried her years before. She enters the middle fork of the Salmon River and finally makes it the 900miles back to the shallow no-name creek in which her life first began.

Of the nine that made it to the Columbia only 5 have made it back to back to the creek. These salmon are not just the luckiest, but also among the fittest. Only the genes from a good strong fish will be passed to the next generation. The female salmon has returned to lay her eggs. After laying the eggs, a male salmon covers them with a white cloud of sperm that fertilizes the eggs. With one last effort the female covers the eggs for protection and the journey of the magnificent journey to sea and back upstream is complete.

Like the salmon swimming upstream to fulfill its life purpose of spawning we too have a purpose in this life we live. Accomplishing our purpose in life is not always easy. We have a vision to get to where we want to be but along the journey we swim through strong currents of setbacks, obstacles and other forces that try to hold us back. We live in a society driven by money, power, greed and people telling you that you cannot do it. The world truly is a tough place to survive in and getting to your end destination is even tougher.

Our purpose in life can be achieved through series of smaller more attainable goals or steps. Like the challenging steps of the salmon ladder we have our own challenges that we need to overcome. It is hard work but we have the ability to feel a sense of accomplishment with every small step we take. Whether it’s a Tuesday run leading to a marathon, a University course needed for a degree, a role at work towards management or money put aside for a house, these are small attainable accomplishments that will give us a greater sense of achievement to a greater purpose. When swimming upstream, be prepared for those currents that will try to hold you back. Perseverance is a virtue and when you fulfill life’s mission you will not only be luckier than the rest but one of the fittest who will pass on genes of strength and success to the next generation. What upstream battles do you face in life? Don’t go with the flow, be strong and swimupstream.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Put The Ball In Play

Every Monday night hundreds of thousands of armchair football coaches settle into their Lazy Boys for the game of the week.

At the same time each week equal numbers of baseball, soccer, basketball and hockey fans do likewise. Every four years in both Canada and the United States millions of people do likewise with the elections of their country.

They get comfortable, make incredulous remarks towards others, have bizarre opinions and absolutely know exactly what the players, coaches and politicians should be doing.

Thousands of people KNOW what they want done but very few DO enough to see it happen. We are nations full of spectators, hoping our dreams come true.

Meanwhile, examples of those that take a chance and put themselves out there continue to exist as only pie in the sky dreams. Singers, movie stars, business owners, and creators come from normal people like us. The trick is getting out of the stands and getting in the game.

Team H2V, a bike team made of five normal guys, raced across Canada setting a Guinness Record and also raised just under $1,000,000 for Juvenile Diabetes. By saying they would ride across Canada they got off the couch and into the game setting. Just by being on the field other people were able to help them reach the stars. They left the stands.

Writing a book, sending your script to the movie studios, or going for the interview are things that get you in the game and put the ball in play. It doesn't take intervention from a higher power to be successful but, if it did nobody can help you if you are only thinking of doing something. You still need to make the leap and tackle the fear of failure. you still need to get into the game.

Put the ball in court and get going. Something out there is waiting to happen to you and without playing you will never know what.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Feedback



“If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all”

Do you remember your mother or father telling you this when you were a young child. I can still remember fighting with my older brother in the back of the family mini van and hearing those words come out of my mother’s mouth. As I get older, I am finding it harder and harder to listen to this age old saying. As a personal trainer, I often find myself in situation’s where I have to have the “hard talks” with a customer. The hard talks include telling someone they really need to lose 50lbs because they are putting themselves at risk for type 2 diabetes, cancer, osteoarthritis, cardiovascular disease, heart disease and stroke. Telling them is hard because they do not realize that they are in “that bad of shape” and you risk hurting their feelings. I have had to tell people that I can not help them anymore until they start to help themselves. Some customers ask you to make them a program, to hold them accountable to their program, for them only to repeatedly not follow it. They will give you every excuse in the book as to why they just couldn’t do it. You put all your time and energy into that person and they give you nothing back. As someone who hates making people feel sad, it is part of my profession and I am only doing it to let that person realize their reality. I want them to be happy and healthy and if I risk hurting their feelings, then so be it. I know in my heart I would be mad at myself if I didn’t say anything at all.

“You want to know the truth, you can’t handle the truth”

It is sometimes challenging telling someone what you really think about them. Sometimes it goes over well and sometimes it doesn’t. You risk having that person be angry with you. Being able to take feedback is one of the most important things you can do. I remember being a young child and having coaches and teachers give me feedback. I always fought it and I always denied the truth. I think most of the time I did this because in my head I knew it was true and that made me sad. I look back now and I know they were just trying to make me a better athlete and student. If I had realized it back then, I would have saved myself a lot time and tears. I used to be afraid of conflict. I was afraid of people disliking me. I lacked self-confidence and self-esteem. The last thing I wanted was a friend to be mad at me.


As I have gotten older I have developed a great sense of self and am full of self confidence. I have my own values and beliefs and I belong to a wonderful support network of friends and family. I am much more willing to take risks. If I have to provide a friend, co-worker, or family member with feedback, which I know they may not like, I have the ability to do it without worrying what my outcome is. If they dislike me after, then fine. It is truly not my loss. That person needs to take a good look in a mirror and realize what they are truly mad at. Most of the time, they are mad at themselves. They know what you said was true and they just weren’t ready to handle it.

When receiving feedback here are some tips that might help:

- Listen to what the person is telling you
- Say thank you for the feedback
- Do not react with emotion, you will regret it later
- Take time away from the person to think about what they said to you
- Understand that what the person was telling you was intended to help you not hurt you
- If you really didn’t agree with what was said, communicate that back in a calm and controlled manner and work through the problem and come up with a solution.

In today’s society, no one is perfect and we all make mistakes. To become better at what we do, we need constant feedback from friends, family, and employers. This Feedback will allow us to grow both personally and professionally. It is important to use this valuable information to improve on what we already know. Don’t fight it; use it to your advantage. It’s basically free information on how YOU can be better.

Nicola Gildersleeve

I coach to win.



one of the joys of being a parent with skill acquisition teaching experience is coaching my son's teams. It doesn't matter which team, we simply break the sport down into it's fundamentals; catching, throwing, running, hitting, skating, shooting, handling the puck or dribbling, kicking and running into open space.

first thing is that the kids learn the skills to become proficient at the sport. this is nothing more than time and repetition (regardless of their inherent level of skill). the trick is to incorporate enough variety within teaching those skills that the children don't become bored. there are great methods of teaching this - skill & drill for one is great.

second thing is that the kids apply these skills in game situations. it really comes down to how well you can distract their focus from the 'score' and point them towards the 'skill' eg: did you see johnny's throw to 1st - that was great, or joanna kept the puck on her stick and her head up the whole time she skated down the ice. most leagues do a great job of setting criterion that don't mimic the actual game until such an age when kids are ready to handle it and have learned the fundamentals and their implementation.

third stage if you will is getting into a game and regardless of sport or age - when you are recreating the game situation, the focus should be on applying 1 & 2 for the purpose of winning. sure, you can tell them the score doesn't matter, and you can ask them if they had fun - but i'll burst your bubble and assure you they know. ever ask a kid who didn't win if they had fun? what was their answer? NO. ever ask a kid who did win if they had fun. HELL YA.

bottom line here is there is nothing wrong with coaching kids to win when the minute they are in the situation that mimics 80%+ of a 'real - game' situation. all of this feel good stimulus like base chase after the game, shootouts after the game, hot chocolate at half time, snack breaks here and pizza parties there will not mask the realities of a win or a loss. they are aware.

i'm certainly not suggesting winning is the only thing - but it is an important thing because the matrix of a win (or loss) are essential to ones development through life; team work - responsibility - graciousness - humility - defeat - thrill - agony - upset - triumph and to throw all of these very important emotions and experiences into a catch all phrase 'did you have fun', diminished their specific impact and importance on young people's development.

i'll never forget the 60 minute clip of the highschool students who claimed something to the extent of 'everyone's a winner - it's a joke - we all get a trophy for "having fun" so if that's what works for our parents... why bother trying'.

so i coach to win. not at the expense of, not for any personal triumph, but because i firmly believe in winnings importance towards character development. winning in a team sport setting requires a team effort that is objective. having fun doesn't require a team effort and therefor is subjective hence less conducive to the overall development of the child. for those who lob the rationale 'my johnny will have plenty of time to be in game situations later in life', i homer.... "great, then start teaching him how to handle them now" because if you don't - i assure you they won't be 'having fun then'

play to win - coach to win - and feel good about it.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Fear

Joy, anger, grief, and fear are the four primary emotions we have as human beings. Because of media outlets, political ramblings, and reality, it seems that in today’s world we can narrow the primary emotions down to just fear itself. Everywhere we look or listen we are told that the sky is falling and there is nothing we can do about it except hope that is does not fall on us.

Preying on our fears works because it plays on our feelings elicited by tangible, realistic dangers. The more our media outlets reinforce what we have to be fearful of, the more likely we are to tune in and wait for a time to be less afraid. The more our politicians create an atmosphere of fear in us, the more likely we are to vote them back in office because they claim to have the answers (US congress has a 13% approval rating, yet 94% of congress will be reelected). In reality, the more we fear the more things will stay the same because we eventually gain comfort in a continual state of fear.

Science dictates that we first experience fear at the age of 7 months old. The younger we are the more fears we have and the more intense the feeling of fear is. Eventually, fear becomes a learned behavior that facilitates our self preservation. As we are exposed to more fears, or are flooded by fear, we eventually become desensitized to the emotion and accept it as a part of our reality. In some cases we actually become motivated by fear and utilize it in the form of strength (yet true strength is never derived from a negative).

It is no secrete as to why we are inundated with a societal perception that the world is coming to an end tomorrow; because we will do whatever is necessary to make sure that we see the next day while others thrive off of our emotional fear.

What we don’t have to do is drink the cool aide and succumb to our predators. Like any learned behavior, we can overcome our fears and actually become independent empowered thinkers who are committed to putting control in our lives back where it belongs; internally. If we actually take the time to stop fighting our fears and actually embrace them then we can gain control over them. Essentially this is the moment where we don’t allow others to tell us what we are afraid of, instead we let fear pass through us and define it as either a real fear or a climate created fear. If we can define fear as climate created, then we can redefine our reality and control the fears others so badly want us to hold onto.

In defining our fear as out of our control we can actually create the focus necessary to get ourselves out of the fear state we have learned to embrace. This will allow us to move beyond the debilitating effects of fear and become results driven instead of fear driven. Once we are able to internally rid ourselves of fear, we can then eliminate all of those that spend their time instilling fear in us.

It is essential that we understand fear is real and there are many things to be afraid of, but in order to thrive in a fear driven society we also must make it essential to not let our fears define us, instead we must define our fears. In defining our fears we now have control over them and with control comes power.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Newsflash: Idiocy is NOT cool


It turns out that common sense just isn't that common after all.

Amid a global economy on the brink of breakdown due to quantity and frequency of stupid decisions (excess lending, an uninformed and over-stimulated population, poor North American workplace productivity, not looking ahead to compete with the emerging world powers, etc), we see more and more examples of this as people are not clue-ing in.

Some people feel an economic recession that we linger on the verge of will not affect them. Some just can't relate. They're too young, too hip, too cool. Well then, let's look at an example of stupidity drawn from popular culture (it's not hard to find examples).

There is a Calgary radio station the last 2 weeks promoting a contest dubbed '2 strangers and a wedding'; with the tag line "nice to meet you... I do!". And yes, that about sums it up.

A 2005 report (The state of our unions 2005) cited that 63% of all Americans grew up with both parents, the lowest figures in the western world. With 3.6 divorces for every 1000 people (married or unmarried) in the US for the same year, can we afford to be cavalier with the notion of marriage? Does making a joke out of dysfunctional family and setting another one up as a media event sound like a good idea?

With an unemployment rate (as of Sep) of 6.1%, divorce rates high as they are, and our productivity and competitiveness amongst the world stage all slipping, it's time we wake up and realize things like this are not a joke. WE ARE if we keep engaging in such events, cheering them on, and volunteering for them.

Otherwise, I will puke if the groom and bride for such event end up divorced and jobless after spending their workdays on facebook and entering into marriage half-assed and then asking, "how did this happen?". Don't kid yourselves, people all around you are repeating the same stupid mistakes day in and day out and asking how they ended up in a negative situation... it's that prevalent, and that important that we take notice.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Changing Your Personal Probability



There was a study done at Yale University in the 1920s. It was a probability experiment that involved rolling dice and testing whether the simple laws of probability could be influenced by thought alone. In theory, if you roll a dice enough times, each face should show up an equal amount of times. Each number has an equal opportunity and chance to get it’s turn to play.

First the team built a machine and had everyone leave the building. The machine rolled the dice over and over and low and behold the faces showed up according strictly to probability laws – 1 in 6 chance that a particular number would appear or each number appeared for 16.67% of the rolls.

Next they had the machine roll the dice but with someone present in the room and thinking and willing a particular number to appear. This time, not so black and white as the particular number, lets say ‘3’, came up slightly ahead of the others. Not a lot to be convincing, but enough to draw a bit of interest.

Next, the dice was put in a cup and the experimenter was told to roll the dice in the cup with his own hands while thinking of the number 3 and willing it to be rolled.. and not just willing, but truly believing with absolute conviction that a 3 would appear.. . again the ‘3’ showed up slightly more than the previous experiments.

Finally, the experimenter held the dice between his own two hands – felt it being rolled, and again believed with absolute conviction that the 3 would be rolled. And (I’m sure you can guess by now) the 3 showed up a higher percent of the time than any other numbers. In fact it's odds were greatly increased with this experiment that it could not be concluded to be a coincidence.


Basically, the experimenter was able to find a flaw in the law of probability. By having a direct influence (dice in his hands) on the outcome and positively directing the situation (believing with absolute conviction a 3 would roll) he could influence the result in his favour.


Interesting to say the least. So what to make of this experiment? Well, it’s very similar (if not the same) to something called the secret. Which is not really much of a secret at all: any situation can be made in your favour with the simplicity of choosing how your thoughts are directed. At any moment what are you are trying to accomplish and achieve – do you realize the potential of your thoughts and deep beliefs? What effect they could have on the outcomes of your actions? Kind of like, if you can dream it and believe it, you can achieve it. If you’re having a bad day/good day, this can be simply changed by changing your thoughts. In essence turning the odds towards your favour or changing your personal probability laws. By believing in your preferred outcome with absolute conviction, visualizing it happening, the probability of it occurring are greatly increased. Not to say it will happen, but the chances are greatly improved.


It’s not just a concept that has no ‘scientific research’ because I’d say Yale university is almost as scientific as you’ll get. This was a simple experiment, yet showed us much more on the laws of human nature. So when you’re going about your day today, pay attention to your thoughts, surface and deep – are they going in the same direction as you? Don’t be the dice being rolled by the machine, allow yourself to be influenced by you – what do you want, where do you want to go – increase your odds, increase your probability, start thinking and believing it’s going to happen.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Forgetting Our Roots

We are rushing towards are goals with lightning quick response times and incredulous capacity for multi-tasking. Recession, depression, portfolio, management, stock options, upward mobility, 401K, RRSP's, condominium, mortgage rate, heart rate...the words enter our psyche like a haiku but they leave us breathless and fraught with nerves.

Somehow, in the troubled times that we are witnessing we forget that there is comfort in the regular structure of our lives. The calendar should remind us to take a moment.

Thanksgiving [in Canada] came and went without even a whisper for many. We are too worried about our future, what with the votes on both side of the border and the global economic melt down absorbing all the weekly banter at the water cooler, that we forget about what we actually have today.

Did you reach out and give thanks to those that love you?

I am thankful and lucky for my family of loved ones.
I am thankful for my ability to walk and run.
I am thankful Stan's child and wife are safe at home after birth.
I am thankful for the inspiration my friends give me with their incredible writing each day.
I am thankful to have the opportunity to be in a business and earn a living.
I am thankful I can help others.
I am thankful for the food I eat and the people I can share a meal with.
I am thankful to have real friends.
I am thankful for so many things that my rushing brain need not worry about the world.

For I am rich already.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Meltdown Advice


Last week, we went through one of the scariest downfalls in stock market history. Financial institutions who previously thought they were invincible have been brought to their knees and in some cases are going bust. Trillions of dollars have been wiped off the value of global stock markets and a quick turn around is no where in sight.

Savers in the US, Canada and worldwide, who are terrified their bank will be next to fall, are sticking savings under mattresses. What is the most ironic part about this? The US, who has taken the world into this downspin, has had its currency rise!

Others are buying gold in large quantities. It interesting to think that if this continues to get worse, we may see gold being used as the common currency just like in ancient times when you would go to the local farm to buy a loaf of bread with a gold coin.

So, what can you do to protect yourself? Here are some tips I have researched to survive the meltdown.

CREDIT

· Paying off high-interest debt such as credit cards, store cards and personal loans is an absolute priority.

· It's never sensible to be paying interest rates of nearly 20 per cent. But in a slowing economy, when unemployment is forecast to rise and getting a decent pay raise out of your employer will be tougher and tougher, ditching fixed debt is more important than ever.

· There are plenty of credit cards around offering zero per cent on balance transfers for six months or more, which means that every penny you repay during that period goes towards repaying the capital and not towards servicing these high rates of interest.

· Try and dump as much debt as you can on these zero per cent cards. Apply for multiple cards from different banks if necessary because one card's limit may not be high enough.

· But always make sure you only use these cards as a way of saving interest and do NOT spend on them. Put a very low cap on the credit limit if necessary to prevent you getting deeper in debt.

Mortgages

· Here's one area where the crunch has already arrived and virtually all homeowners have felt its fury.

· For all you first time homebuyers, it is harder to get a mortgage right now and banks are not willing to take the risk they might have 6 months ago.

· Bank funding costs have also risen and they have been quick to pass on the cost to borrowers.

· Remember, the bank’s intention is to put more money in more pockets to help encourage us to spend and boost the economy.

· Even so, it might be a good idea to have a broker look at your current deal and see if you can't save a few more dollars by getting a more competitive rate.

Savings

· Interest rates are on the way down and they'll continue falling to stave off a recession, but there are still good deposit rates on offer.

· Given these rates are only likely to get lower, it probably makes sense to lock into a high rate by investing in a term deposit account. You can fix your interest rate for up to five years, although you can't touch your savings for the whole term otherwise you will lose some or all of the interest. The best one-year term deposit accounts are paying around 8.6 per cent.

· If you want to retain access to your cash then you'd need an online saver account, which would give you a lesser rate but still give you the flexibility you may need.

· But if you're really nervous and want to prepare for the worst, advisors are all talking about buying gold. If you look at any financial information these days, the only currency on the rise is gold.

Property

· As the global slowdown intensifies, more people are laid off and more people worry about how safe their jobs are, fewer people are prepared to stretch and buy a new property. Demand and prices fall.

· As for renters, the lack of supply of new properties because of lack of affordability will mean a continued shortage of apartments and a continued rental squeeze.

Now is the time to be sitting back with your cash in hand and watching to see what happens next. It is a time where all those visionaries who saw this market crash and got their money out early, will be in a great position to make some serious money by buying low, sitting on it and watching the market rise when it does eventually turn…

During these turbulent days financial advisers really earn their money. A suggestion is to call, set up an appointment and get advice immediately.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Debt Clock

In several US cities there are National Debt Clocks which are electric billboards that show the money owed by the government, the most famous being located in Times Square. This particular clock was created by Seymore Durst and is now owned by his son Douglas Durst. The reason this clock is of interest is because recently the clock has run out of digits and cannot properly display the amount of debt we currently are in. In true US fashion, our solution is to add digits to the clock so that it can remain accurate, instead of trying to find ways to eliminate digits from the clock.

The relevance of adding a digit on to the clock instead of figuring a way to take off digits is that this is exactly how we live our lives on a daily basis; we continually add on things before we look at how to lighten our load.

Think about how something as simple as a clock that counts our debt and compare it to how we live our everyday lives. At work we take on new responsibilities before we ever check anything off of our lists therefore adding hours to our workdays. Socially we over commit ourselves and add more functions than we can handle therefore burdening ourselves with a herculean schedule that can’t possibly be kept up. Emotionally we take on the role of “fixer” to the point that we never really take care of our own needs. Educationally we add on extra work for our children and selves so that we never truly master any one subject. Physically we add on extra work in less time so that we never allow ourselves to experience the true physiological benefits of a healthy lifestyle. Continually in any sphere of life we spread ourselves so thin that we become transparent and fail to add depth to who we potentially can become.

Adding an extra digit to the National Debt Clock is a microcosm of life in North America where taking something off of our plate is not an option because we are too worried about being everything to everyone.

What our focus needs to be is on how we can eliminate responsibilities; actually see something through completion before we make the decision to take on more. In our quest to become everything, we never become something because we fail to actually take care of what is most important, us.

By continuing to add on, we eventually reach a point where we will collapse, much like the market, and are left to speculate how far that fall will be until we are able to pick ourselves up off the ground. Our reality dictates that the heavier the load we carry the further we will ultimately fall. If your intention is to excel, it is essential that we stop looking for things that we can add onto our lives in order to enhance them, and actually decide to take things off so that we can thrive. Remember, it wasn’t long ago that the Durst’s clock was deactivated because we were in a surplus. How much better would your life be if your personal debt clock was in a surplus as well?

Thursday, October 09, 2008

A Mission Shared Is A Mission Dared

Ever kept a goal to yourself because you were either a) afraid of failing at it and having others see you, or b) afraid of achieving it and stepping out of the comfortable definition you have for your life?

It's like the old adage- the only stupid question is one that isn't asked. I bet you have some goals you've considered but never told anybody.

I've worked in the fitness industry for about 11 years now, and the goals almost everybody repeat are 'lose weight', 'tone up', 'get stronger', 'have more energy'. All well and good, except a) they aren't tangible or specific enough, and they lack timelines, and b) they are too 'safe'.

Do you really want to achieve a goal? Let's review some brave folks who acted as an inspiration to others based on only 2 simple traits.

AC: Came into training at about 330 pounds. Needed convincing to walk in our doors, 5 months later he was down 50 pounds and hiked the Grand Canyon.

SM: Came in wobbling with multiple sclerosis and could not walk for 1 minute. Later walked a 5 kilometer race and made the newspapers

DL: Came in 'ton tone up' and later opened their eyes to new possibilities, lost 50 pounds, and recently rock climbed a 1200 foot national monument in Wyoming that 40% of all who attempt it fail at.

DD: came in to rehabilitate after a car crash, and later hiked Cascade Mountain in Banff (11 hours and 10,000 feet) as well as the Grand Canyon within 5 months of each other, plus did her first ever race(s) in between. Got inspired to change jobs and live more passionately for herself as well.

I could go on for a long time, but what these 4 (and hundreds of other great examples) share, is that;
a) they communicated a goal out loud- they put their intent out their in the universe
b) they worked their asses off consistently towards that end goal.

NONE of these people fed the B.S. meter by complaining "I want" without working for it. ALL of them said "I will" and they DID.

Keeping goals, fears, and perceived fodder for others to judge you to yourself, all leads to a self-limiting prison of the mind. It becomes a disease of self-debilitation.

Sharing your goals (and committing to them through planning and smart, hard work) is a great exercise in smashing boundaries that would otherwise limit all others.
Remember that a secret goal leads to a weakened soul, whereas
a mission shared is a mission dared (and most likely, achieved).

It may be easy for others to talk about how you tried and failed... but in their heart of hearts, they will forever be envious that you had the guts to try when they did not. And the world does not remember the pessimist... only the achievers.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Developing Clarity


“What do you want to be when you grow up?”
Remember being asked that question when we were young and in elementary school? I certainly do. I remember the girls wanted to be veterinarians and the boys wanting to be firemen. I wanted to be in the NHL because playing hockey was the most fun and watching Hockey Night in Canada would get me as excited as Christmas did. Around the same time I also remember wanting to be a businessman like my Dad. I never knew what being a businessman was about except that you got to wear a suit, be in meetings and go on ‘business’ trips. I must not have been older than 10years when I thought of these brilliant life plans. If you asked me the same question in my teens I probably would not have given you an answer. The truth was that I had no idea as to what I wanted to be when I grew up. At that time the only thing on my mind was the sudden involuntary changes in my voice or the pubic hair I was growing. Yet like many of us who were fortunate enough to have parents, coaches and teachers that cared we were steered in the right direction by them to practice activities and disciplines that would keep our doors open for the future. My parents were my guidance and support. They encouraged me to keep life options available by enrolling in music, sports and eventually taking University preparatory classes like ‘Science Math’ as it was called – a harder class which would ease the transition into the University programs. It’s funny to think that I had more clarity when I was a child than I probably did when I was a teen.

Developing clarity in ones future direction is not always as easy as it may be for others. We have all met the person who always knew what they were going to do when they ‘grew up’. As a child when I got together with my cousin we would always go on a search for ‘Fool’s Gold’. We would spend hours trying to find the biggest piece of gold. During these days I recall how my cousin always said he wanted to be a treasure hunter. Today he is doing just that - he spends 6months of the year on a boat with a reputable company looking for treasures from the past that were lost in the oceans of the world.
He knew right from the beginning what it was he would be doing while for me, finding clarity was something that I struggled with in my teenage years and for most of my twenties. I had a million ideas that I wanted to do at once yet none of them presented me with the path that I knew I was meant to follow. It was like standing at a 10-way intersection (can you imagine) in a city you have never been to before and in your pocket you had everything needed to be the best no matter what road you chose. I convinced myself that clarity would come to me one day. I just had to give it time and until then pass no door of opportunity that presented itself to me.

Time is just what it took and it was not until I was 28years old that I was standing at a 2-way intersection compared to the 10-way intersection just a few years earlier. Things were falling into place and how natural and right it was beginning to feel. There is nothing wrong with taking the time to find out what it exactly is you will be doing when you are ‘grown up’. During much of my twenties I was headed in a direction that felt good, but still I had my doubts about what the future held because of all the roads before me. I wanted to be a movie director, a graphic designer, a teacher, a physiotherapist and a doctor all in a period of 5 years and boy, was I confused. Though life felt right, I still was not the person who could say with a 100% certainty what it was I would end up doing in the future as a career.

During this somewhat frustrating time (I wanted clarity so bad) I did however possess the virtue of patience that would allow me to figure it all out in due time. Remembering the support and opportunities presented to me by my parents and teachers I knew that though on my own and working for a company, I had to still be someone willing to keep my doors open and accept the guidance and prospects before me. I was having fun trying new things at work and why would I turn it down knowing that with every new challenge there was something to learn and the chance to develop a clearer vision while doing so. I left many doors open at the same time – I continued with a documentary film I was creating on the side, reading material on physical therapy, constantly educating myself all the while taking on the challenge of new roles at my workplace. I enjoyed everything I was doing and realized that my twenties were a very productive time in my life

The twenties were a time filled with uncertainty but in the end, actually yielded much to be thankful for. During these years I had accomplished a lot and through these experiences gained a greater sense of clarity towards a path that I would soon be taking. Today I am 30 years old and up to this point I have no regrets about anything I did because there was something valuable in each experience that helped develop my own sense of clarity and certainly did I not envy my cousin who was someone that had this figured out way before me. Yes it took a little longer for me to figure it out - but alas, my time has come. By embracing the opportunities that came my way, I was able to find out what it is I wanted to do when I ‘grow-up’. Today if you were to ask me what it is I want to be I will tell you that I am going to be a business owner and excel in the field of Health and Fitness. I am developing into someone that I had not thought of as a child or teenager. I also realized that I never would be a ‘grown-up’ because really we never stop growing in the figurative sense and though I have clarity for the next chapter in my life I am unsure of my 40’s or 50’s. I will take my core values and vision into the next 10 years, embrace all the challenges and opportunities that come my way and this will create new clarity for me into the next chapter.

Our lives like a book can be broken into chapters. We should strive to make the chapters flow and continually evolve into something great. Some chapters can be longer and with less clarity but once we develop a sense of purpose it makes writing the next chapter that much easier. Clarity will come when we are patient all the while allowing opportunity to come our way, embracing challenges and simply by jumping in and getting your feet wet. Give 100% at all times and each chapter will therefore as exciting as the next and in the end develop into a great story.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Purpose followed by Process

Websites and blogs get added to the web-o-sphere at such an alarming rate that the world wide web is becoming harder, and not easier - like it professes, to find what you want. Thankfully companies like Google exist to make our jobs easier. Yet no matter what they do to continue making finding a needle in the haystack easier, their job is extremely challenging.

Google desperately wants you to find what you are looking for and they work increasingly harder to refine your search so that you are successful. Search words, intuitive search boxes that try to think for you, tool bars within your web browser and email accounts that gather information from you to help make their searches better and better.

Results
Results make you go back to Google. Without each and every one of us getting what WE want Google is next to useless. We need to see a result. That is why Google exists and why it continues to thrive.

They remain focused on what they want YOU to achieve. So the questions is:
Does your business know what your customer wants?

What Is the Purpose?
Google is the perfect web example of having a singular purpose. They want YOU to find a result. To get you there they use a simple process that is people friendly. Their website doesn't flash and tell stories. It doesn't have pictures [although you can get them if you want], there aren't options cluttering up their web page [although they have a few different sections you can choose from in the top corner], and they have kept the same look and feel since the day they started. In our minds Google is the wonder search engine that helps us research and find the answer. In reality Google is just a little white box within a big white screen.

Confusion Is A Result You Don't Want
The rest of us look to make our website flashier, more interactive, give our customers more choices and they respond by leaving our websites faster because they are confused. Google has the most choices in the world but they help our simple minds through a process so we find out what we want...exactly. Do your customers find their exact answers within your business portals [brick & mortar or web based]?

Is It Easy To Walk Down the Aisle With Your Company?
The two things you can work on within your business are deciding what the purpose of your business is, or what your customer should be accomplishing, and then the process that best allows them to accomplish this. Read that line again. Allows them should stand out...the purpose and process are about them.

Purpose lets you simplify your overall objectives and process allows you to decide if your customers are succeeding or not. If they can't follow along then they leave and you can see where that is happening.

Find out what your purpose is and then work out the exact sales or delivery process so your customer is thrilled to come back again and again.

Copy the Giant
Be like Google. Deliver to your customers what you said you would do and then relentlessly try to make it easier and easier for them to accomplish their goals.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Staying connected



In the new era of blackberry’s, I-phones and all other forms of instant communication, people are now able to stay connected 24-7. On one hand it is an excellent, time efficient way to stay in touch and respond to work related issues while away from the office. On the other hand it can start becoming an issue as people actually now expect you to be available all the time and the work-a-holic does not know when to put the blackberry down.

According to the latest Pew Internet research on networked workers, people who own BlackBerrys and similar devices pretty much never stop working.Some findings from their research (in America) include:



  • 62% of employed adults use the internet or email at their job, and many have cell phones and Blackberries that keep them connected even when they are not at work

  • 45% of employed Americans report doing at least some work from home

  • 18% of working Americans say they do job-related tasks at home almost daily

  • 70% of device owners check work-related emails on the weekend

  • 55% check work-related email on vacation

  • 70% check work-related email when they’re taking a sick day

  • 43% check work-related email when they’re shopping or commuting

  • 49% of workers say that technology has made their lives more stressful

  • 71% said it has increased their flexibility

Surprising? Not anymore.

It's a digital life - and there's no going back. The key is to success and staying real is to ensure there is a structured balance between work and personal so you know exactly when to shut the phone off.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Cleansing

In an attempt to rid the body of harmful substances that create a negative effect on individual health, some people opt for a body cleanse or detoxification to achieve this goal. Cleansing consists of altering the diet, ingesting herbal supplements, and employing physical treatments to rid the body of supposed harmful substances and build up. Whether cleansing works or not is widely debated, but the idea of clearing out waste in the body is generally a good idea, yet we only focus on the physical body when we discuss cleansing.

If cleansing does work the way it is intended, we will have to repeat the process many times over because we seldom think of cleansing the mind, which ultimately made the decision to ingest the toxins we wish to cleanse.


The search for immediate results without making personal sacrifice has led us to spend billions of dollars a year on quick fixes and snake oil. In doing so, we have placed an extreme amount of importance on a “healthy” body while neglecting the mind, which has led us to become “a mile wide and an inch deep”. So what exactly does this mean? Ultimately it means that if you are not cleansing your mind, re-patterning your thought process, and changing your behaviors, you will never attain depth.


If we really wish to cleanse ourselves of toxins, we must begin with the brain because it is the organ that makes decisions. The physical, social, emotional, and spiritual toxins we carry with us has everything to do with the past, present, and future decisions we have made and will make. Despite this, we focus on the “mile wide” first impression where we can tell everyone of the holistic approach we now take in life, while continuing to pollute ourselves through negative life decisions. In doing so we remain stagnant and “an inch deep”, so caught up in ourselves that we actually believe that people can’t see right through us.


The greatest waste you collect in life is accumulating in your brain, not your bowels, and the only remedy to “cleanse” it is to cognitively break it down. Your initial urge is just your past telling you the easiest way to achieve instant gratification. Reality is in the thought that comes after the urge, when you can actually understand cause and effect.


Your real cleansing will come when you create the power necessary to understand that depth far outweighs width, the mind leads the body, and you are far more transparent than you actually think you are. In “cleansing” we must first clean out our soul, clear our minds, and then make the decision to add depth in our lives. This way we can actually back up our claims of creating a new lifestyle, one that is free of toxins and has no cost, only returns.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Time to put my money where my mouth is


This photo signifies the official end of the luxurious time when I had a choice to be a leader or not to be a leader. I prided myself on more often than not making the former choice. Yesterday at 5:50pm MST, my wife Maria and I welcomed into the world the primary reason that leadership is no longer 'an option'. We prefer to call that reason Chase Peake, whose middle name will eithe rbe after his Uncle Scott (my brother) or Grandpa Sawyer.

Chase is 6 pounds, 1 ounce, and is already making mom & dad proud... he came into the world a little aerlier than we'd anticipated after mom had to have an emergency apendectomy and emergency cesarian section in 1 operation. Looks like together, mom and baby are making dad look like a wimp. Time to come up with a crazy destination for myself (over and above fatherhood!)

After spending even the 45 minutes with my little buddy, I realize even more that the world owes the good parents out there a big shout out. Going to keep this blog super positive, so I'll wait for another time to rant about parents that don't put in the time or effort.

Peace all, hopefully in 20 some-odd years, Chase can be sending you some uplifting thoughts!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

How did you end up here?



Right now, today – how did you end up where you are? What if nothing was by chance and every moment of your life was carefully calculated to bring you exactly here – every choice and every cross road - right to this moment.

Choose the right path – the one that brings you personal happiness and satisfaction and you will receive nothing but abundance in return. But what is that path exactly and how do you know if you are on it? By paying attention to your world you have created, this can be determined. Are you happy, are you satisfied, do you enjoy your job, and are you able to give back, relax and have fun. Are you surrounded by positive people? Or are you pissing your life away in an ‘unhappy, hate my job and the world’ life. Who do you choose to surround yourself with - and why are you still subjecting yourself to be in this presence when it’s as easy as making a choice.

This all sounds fine, but there are many excuses as to why we choose to be in an existance of perpetual unsatisfaction. We all have these excuses - and for some reason, these excuses of why you are not living the life of your dreams, becomes a justification for you to, instead, waste your life? But, But.. no, there are not buts - it is a choice and that is all. Very simple and fundamental. We all choose how we live our lives; we make the choice every day when we wake up. What if every day you were to start doing the things most important to you, and to stop doing the things that you have been conditioned to do.

If you truly believed that every previous moment has brought you to this moment, what would you do differently? How and what would you change? How would you take control of your life so that in the years down the road you can be thankful for all the previous moments to bring you to where you are now (in the future). I, for one, would start working, acting, and behaving smarter. Taking advice and applying learned knowledge that has been passed down from those who have been there, done that. I would start putting my efforts towards activities that are meaningful and allowing forward progression - in every realm life, I would start living and stop dying.

This is all very related to something we’ve heard of many times before: Karma – a law that spells out very meticulously that everything has its implications; every thought, word, and deed has an effect. Everything, absolutely everything, we think, say, or do makes a difference. Wrap your mind around that thought. Karma implies conditioning and repetition. This is a liberating message because every moment we are presented with the possibility of changing the future. We change, and our future changes too. This is the truth. This is karma, and karma is basically the message being conveyed above: we are responsible; the lever of our own destiny remains in our hands.

So, where are you today? Exactly where you should be at this very moment.