Monday, August 31, 2009

Cyclebetes




As many of you might be aware of there are groups riding across Canada raising money to find a cure for Juvenile Diabetes. An incredible feat, inspirational journey, and an amazing cause!

The group that was riding across Australia for the same cause just finished up this weekend (the Canada group still has a few more weeks to go!).

4400km from Cairnes to Melbourne - 3 Canadians (Richard, Matt, & Curtis) and 2 Australians (Cam & Steve) rode across in 7 days! If you've been following you may have seen the video footage and photos.. if not take a look below - pretty amazing! Full Race reports and riders experiences to come shortly!


Video 1:






Video 7:

If you don't have a facebook account, we'd suggest you get one.. lots more pictures (and other cool things!) from the event posted on the Innovative Fitness page: http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/innovativefitness Anyone is welcome to join the group!

Friday, August 28, 2009

3 Things

If there are three things you can do today to change the path of your life they would be to believe, to ask, and to try. For those of you who do not wish to change your path it is most likely because you are already constantly achieving these three aspects.

To believe is to accept something as true and is the creator of direction in our lives. Our ability to believe gives us the chance to eventually act by allowing us to move forward with conviction. Without conviction we don’t have firm belief and cautiously move in a direction that we are persuaded to go, not meant to go. Our belief can be within ourselves or in others, the important part is that we are invested in our belief and know with certainty that while we might fail, we are moving towards something not in spite of something.

To ask is to inform. The reason children are better equipped to learn than an adult is because they are not afraid to ask questions. Through information we create choices based on knowledge and not on hunches. We can act on feelings but without information we will question why we are doing something and not how we will do it. In asking we begin the problem solving ability that leads to educated movement which is always better that movement for movement sake. In asking, we also let go of our ego and come to the realization that we do not know as much as we think we do and reach the understanding that there are people out there that are smarter than us. If we are lost we need to ask for direction from multiple sources and then decide whose information suits our personality and ethical code the best.

After we have created belief and asked the right questions to the right people we then have given ourselves the chance to try responsibly. Every successful person in the world got there by generating the courage to try. Every significant achievement in the world came from someone who did not buy into odds or naysayers and took a chance on themselves. There has been far more failure than success throughout history but in order to empower yourself and find out your own answer you must be willing to make an attempt. We all have something to prove to someone and the answer to find that proof comes with our ability to simply create effort.

The closer we get to where we want to be the harder the process gets because we are faced with tougher decisions. Our ability to believe in greatness becomes more difficult because we leave more people behind us. Our ability to ask the right questions becomes more difficult because we have less people to educate us. Our ability to try becomes more difficult because we have more to lose. What doesn’t become more difficult is our lives because in believing, asking, and trying we finally become champions of our own destiny where we are empowered enough to know that failure is a temporary state when we have the internal fortitude to expect excellence.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Kelowna Tri.



The Kelowna Apple has long been one of my favourite races... key reasons?

- The organizers understand Paratriathlon and make it easy to compete
- The venue is perfect - lake = beautiful / bike course = fun / run course = flat
- Kelowna is easy to get to from Vancouver and the weather is always good

It's nice when the National Championship is hosted by one of your favourite races two years in a row!

Anyway, I spent my last post telling you all about how I was staying in my van, and enjoying the lifestyle of a traveling triathlete.... so I'll get down to race day...

Pre-Race: I woke up early and enjoyed two of those flattened multigrain buns with peanut butter, and a fair amount of Gatorade. This worked really well for me - the buns/peanut butter are calorie dense and easy to eat, the gatorade helps top up the hydration level and assists with washing down the buns. I usually hate eating in the early morning but this I can handle.

Note: It's kind of awesome waking up in the "kitchen" with the food right at hand, then moving 4 feet to the driver's seat and driving straight to transition with all your stuff. The van rules.

   
Morning in the van... timer shots... (what a nerd!)

Swim: I was looking forward to the swim this year. I have never done as much open water swimming as I have this year and I felt confident. I was happy to see a little chop on the surface of Lake Okanagan, as I felt it gave me an advantage since I swim through chop all the time in Batchelor Bay.

As always we Paratriathletes had our own wave, all 3 of us. That makes for a pretty smooth start and within 25 metres I was all alone. I settled in and worked. At the first buoy the chop became quite significant and I took a mouthful or two... I was a bit surprised and humbled. I didn't expect to be gasping and snorting h20... I got my rhythm back and went hard until I was catching the stragglers from the Sprint wave that left 5 minutes before us. It's fun to pass people like they are standing still (it's not that I am that fast - they actually were sort of standing still).

Result: 25:56 (2008 = 26:06).

I would have hoped for a lot more than a 12 second improvement but the conditions were tougher this year with the chop, and last year there were no Sprint waves in front to pick through...


Bike: There's not too much to say about the bike. It went very smoothly. I definitely lacked a bit of power heading up Knox Mountain (especially on lap 1 and 3, 2 felt good.) There was also a fair amount of wind to deal with on the out-and-back section and the flat section heading back into town....


With the wind and the injury earlier in the summer I am not too disappointed with my time.

Result: 1:15:27 (2008 = 1:14:20)


Run: I was openly nervous about the run. I have done almost 0 running for the last two-and-a-half months due to my injury. I also have a growing history of slow runs at the Apple. I was ready for anything from pain and walking to a surprising, smooth run.

In the end it was painful, not injury pain, just untrained pain. Simple fact - if you don't train for the run it will hurt. I was constantly mad at myself for not going faster but unable to conjure any extra speed from my legs. I wasn't wearing a watch (deliberately) but felt that I was going only marginally faster than a turtle. I even walked a couple of aid stations and failed to deliver any sort of "kick". It was lame.



Result: 51:04 (2008 = 53:00)

You'd think this improvement would make me happy but really it just made me realize that I sucked even more in 2008. In my report last year I said something to the effect of "I need to focus on this more".... yeah, that's still true.

OVERALL:

Result: 2:37:33
1st Paratriathlete

(2008 = 2:36:59)

Even though I was faster in two out of three disciplines I still ended up 34 seconds slower overall.... I was WAY slower in transition this year and that was mostly due to the fact I had my own helper last year (Deb). It makes a big difference when all the leg changing etc. goes smoothly.  I am also prepared to admit I just didn't bother rushing things...  I didn't bother putting elastic laces on my Nikes, I pulled on a sock, I just kind of took it easy...  it would have been different if someone had been breathing down my neck.  If I had any idea it would end up that close to last year I might have moved my a$$ a bit more.

All in all, I was pretty surprised that I was so close to last year's time - the conditions were tougher this year and my summer was far from ideal in the training department.

Conclusions: I will say it here and now: SUB 50 for sure on the run next year. It has to be or I'm just not learning....



More: I placed first in the Paratriathlon Category. There were only two guys in the category and we have different disabilities so it doesn't mean a whole lot.... but for the record I am a three-time National Champion. I will have another post coming soon about "what it all means..."

Thanks for reading - hope it wasn't too boring. These posts are mostly to help me remember what happened so that I can compare year to year, and race to race.

Ashley - Huge PR, and he won a trip and some new Oakley shades at the awards ceremony. Some guys have all the luck... Other great performances were turned in by Chelsea Raymond and Cindy Krampl from IF - unfortunately I have no photographic evidence though...

Jordan Back (we swim together at Batchelor Bay), unidentified female, and Mick Maguire getting the calls right from the announcer's booth.


I've seen people kill for these.... just kidding...


Congratulations Meyrick and thanks for sharing your story

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Learn with a short memory

Yesterday I received an email from a teammate who had made a mistake. It was by no means a fatal error, and one that was very, very easily corrected. The reason this email became the backdrop for today's entry, was because of the emotions and patterns of behaviour it represented... ones that we see played out all too often.

One of our recent additions (who is a great addition by the way) had felt she was having an off day and it affected my training session. After re-iterating that my heart rate still got to 184 at one point (98% of my max. HR), I realized it wasn't the performance but her perception of the performance - that was the issue.

The fact is, good people often beat themselves up and are way too hard on themselves after they make mistakes. Mistakes are inevitable, because we are not perfect. If the sun failed to rise one morning, we could all justifiably freak out, because the precedent thus far is 100% of the time - the sun rises in the morning. When people make mistakes, however, it's part of life and learning.

While it is important to take personal responsibility for our mistakes at a high level, and while we must learn from our mistakes at the expense of repeating them - we can't hold onto mistakes that we make. In hockey if the goaltender lets one goal bother him, likely a second goal will follow (probably easier to save than the first, too!)

In pressure situations, and in positions that require us to perform - mistakes offer us an opportunity to improve if we own them (not blame others) and we adjust our performance based on knowledge of how we could have done better.

After that, those who are truly successful are those who have the confidence to risk again un-jaded by the fact that they have made mistakes in the past. In fact, the person who hired me for my current position once said that as the manager of the company, they made more mistakes than anyone else in the company. As the general manager of our company, I am now inclined to feel very much the same way.

Own your mistakes, only make them once, and forget that you made the mistake as you remember the lesson that mistake brought you.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Money vs. Passion


A few 60minutes interview clips from last sunday have been going around recently and thought I'd share them here.
Mike Vick vs Coldplay

**those of you that aren't familiar with Vick, he is the NFL player that was convicted of bankrolling an illegal dog fighting operation and was sentenced to 2 years in federal prison. More recently, he has been released from prison and is looking to rejoin the NFL but is on conditional suspension.**

  • vick surrounded himself with the wrong people that were looking out for their best interest not his
  • vick doesn't seem to truly know who he is, what makes him happy or why he's doing what he's doing (or was doing, being the nfl)
  • vick took his talents and gifts for granted and thus, had a shitty work ethic
Coldplay:
  • coldplay has been together for over 10 years and each one knows what their role is and is comfortable with that
  • coldplay understands what they do well and what they don't all the while having a very clear idea of what they're in the 'game' for
  • coldplay clearly have a burning passion and desire for what they do which is why they are always working at it...because it's not 'work'

How does this relate to all of us? It's as simple as questioning what are WE going to do with our talents?

Chris and Vick can remind of us money vs. passion. What are we going after, and what's going to bring us more in the end..

Vick has all the natural physical ability in the world without working out or practicing hard. He had very poor focus to what his goals were and made some horrible decisions. Leading him to prison as well as losing his 130 million dollar contract with the Falcons.

Chris Martin however proclaims that he can't sing like Usher, dance like Byonce, or write songs like Elton John, but they "do the best with what they got". They have a relentless work ethic writing songs and creating a new album while still on tour. Setting themselves up for further successes down the road. In a time of economic crisis they continue to sell out concerts all over the world.

Watch them both and see what you think..


Friday, August 21, 2009

Kinesics

93% of human communication has nothing to do with the words coming out of our mouth; rather it is based on how we speak with our bodies. Body language is non-verbal communication that consists of pose, gestures, eye movements, and tone/rate of speech. Through the behavioral elements of our communicative message we will give a better impression of our intent than we will from our actual words spoken.

The study of communication and body language is called kinesics and it has found that humans move their bodies when communicating to ease the mental effort of difficult communication. Kinesics has found that crossing of the arms across the chest is an expression of opposition during a confrontational conversation and thinking deeply during an amicable conversation. Eye contact can mean that the person is positively thinking about what the speaker is saying or can mean that the listener doesn’t trust the speaker enough to take there eyes off of them. Head tilt can mean boredom, disbelief is shown through a touch of the ear or scratch of the chin, lying is indicated by excessive blinking or no blinking at all, and on and on.

The point of understanding kinesics is to become better communicators with the people we interact with. Anthropologist Ray Birdwhistell first coined the word kinesics and through his studies found that all meaningful body motion patterns are to be regarded as socially learned. If this proposition is true then we must assume that our communicative habits are influenced by the people we most commonly communicate with or observe in communication.

Since we all have people in our immediate lives that we see as poor communicators, we must assume that we have taken some communicative cues from them and use these forms of body language when we are interacting with others. Learned behaviors are the toughest behaviors to modify because we have most likely used these behaviors for long periods of time rarely knowing that we exhibit such traits.

Since communication is essential is all spheres of our lives it is of great importance that we understand how we communicate with others, what learned behaviors we exhibit through communication, and if our body language is sending off messages that are contrary to the meaning of our words.

In our pursuit for excellence our internal messages must align with our external messages and if we are unable to effectively communicate our intent through kinesics then we inhibit our ability to truly excel. Like all aspects of change, we must learn how before we can show how, and in order to learn we must be able to realistically look at ourselves and accept our faults through self recognition. Once this has happened we can then look to others as models, follow their lead and integrate the best of them into our individual personality so that we can become our best self.

Since only 7% of others understanding of us is through spoken word, there is a heightened sense of urgency placed on aligning way we convey the message with the message we are speaking. Actions speak louder than words is not just a message of judging by what I do not what I say, but by understanding what I say and how I say it.

We are the ones who can create a new pattern of socially learned communicative behaviors, and if we choose to be understood through both our actions and our words we must make the effort to align them.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Make a small change


There are days, like today, that the stories of those achieving great things can inspire. For some, the stories of huge accomplishments can make them feel like whatever they'll inevitably do won't amount to anything.

On a day when 3 rockstars from Vancouver have set out to Australia to begin their epic cross-Australia ride for Juvenile diabetes awareness & fundraising; and an entire nation gets ready for the biggest bike relay in the world here at home- it is understandable how others may keep their efforts to themselves, or feel that the effort isn't worth it and may pale by comparison.

Hence- a subtle reminder that Matt, Curtis, and Richard did not hop on a bike for the first time with a goal of riding cross- Australia with local movie stars and camera crews in tow... they probably wanted to ride for an hour - and then loved it.

For everyone out there who feels like their accomplishments may be less than consequential, or that it might not be 'worth it' - remember that small changes add up. If you make 1 deliberate small change today and stick with it - the impact will be with you the rest of your life. Let's look at a few practical examples...

By spending $25 less a month on clothes, movies, beer, etc and investing that money (for example in mutual funds returning 10% on average per year) - in 5 years you will have over $2000 saved instead of $1500 spent - a difference of $3500!

By walking to work once a week, even for 6 months during the warmer seasons, a man of 200 pounds who lives 2 miles away from work and takes half an hour to walk can expect to lose almost 3 and a half pounds by doing nothing else with their diet or exercise plan! If they did this for the same 5 years they were investing they could afford a vacation to the beach and would be 17 pounds lighter when they took their holiday!

If bottled water is consumed in the home (even 4 500ml bottles a week), by switching to a Brita system or reverse osmosis tap system, $235 a year could be saved on water alone, plus 208 bottles won't end up being consumed which helps the environment in a few pounds less waste each year. After the same 5 years, you'd save over $1500 for the spending money on your vacation, plus a noticeable difference in waste facilities and greenhouse gases would be made.

There are countless other examples, from making small changes to the stressors in your life positively impacting your health, to financial, philanthropic, charitable, or exercise-based examples...

The point is - start small, start now, but start! If you can be inspired to ride across a country for charity - you are amazing and we will be singing your praises. If you have the ability and commitment to start small - if we all did this the world would be a much, much better place!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Be the best of whatever you are



Fall Splendor

If you can't be a pine on the top of the hill
Be a scrub in the valley--but be
The best little scrub by the side of the rill;
Be a bush if you can't be a tree.

If you can't be a bush be a bit of the grass,
And some highway some happier make;
If you can't be a muskie then just be a bass--
But the liveliest bass in the lake!

We can't all be captains, we've got to be crew,
There's something for all of us here.
There's big work to do and there's lesser to do,
And the task we must do is the near.

If you can't be a highway then just be a trail,
If you can't be the sun be a star;
It isn't by size that you win or you fail--
Be the best of whatever you are!

Douglas Malloch

Monday, August 17, 2009

What's the Point?


There was a guy who was building a pond in his back yard. In the pond he was placing Japanese Koi fish. He placed two of the Koi fish on the ground next to the pond; then he looked at them for a moment. He thought, what dumb creatures, can’t walk, can’t talk, can’t fly, but when he put the fish in the water… swoosh …swoosh …swoosh …they began to swim exquisitely.

What’s the point…when you are where you are supposed to be… no one can compete with you…
We are all like those Koi fish, we may not be good at everything, but there’s something that we can do better than anyone else. That something is our unique purpose; we must discover that purpose, so that we can succeed.

What’s Your Difference?
We go to the Ritz Carlton Hotel because it reminds me of the Hilton Hotel, I don't marry our husband/wife because they reminded us of our last girlfriend/boyfriend. There’s something unique about them that separates her from the rest.

Your difference is what makes you priceless. You must discover this difference (know thyself?) and work with it because it’s essential for your success.

You Must Fulfill Your Purpose..
In the movie the Lion King when Simba the male lion forgot who he was, everyone who depended on him began to struggle. Eventually Simba received a vision, in which he was told, “You are more than what you have become.” Upon receiving this vision he realized that he was not being the leader that he was born to be; he then went on to fulfill his destiny.

There are people who are waiting for you to wake-up and discover who you really are. Figure it out and shed the persona of who you are not - only then can you fulfill your purpose.

Everything Created Solves a Problem
A hammer solves a problem, but if that hammer went around doing the job of a screwdriver, it wouldn’t be very productive. Why? It was created to solve another problem. Are you solving the right problems? Are you solving the problems you were created to solve?

You belong somewhere; there’s something that you can do better than anyone else. There is a problem that you were created to solve, a problem that you will love solving.

Just like those Koi fish, there’s a place where you can swim freely.

Get into Action
You need to get into action; your purpose won’t just be realized…you can be a hammer sitting in a box never to be used!

Even if you’re not certain what your purpose is, begin to move in the direction of activities that you enjoy, eventually you will get clarity on your true purpose, if you stay in action.

Focus
You must be able to say what your purpose is, in a word or two. If you don’t know what your purpose is, then no one else will know either


In conclusion, dedicate your life to discovering your purpose and fulfilling it. There’s a quote that goes, “everyone is born an original, but most die copies,” don’t let this happen to you!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

West Coast Trail - 3 days








West Coast Trail - By Kelly Thompson


The West Coast Trail is an experience of a lifetime. No matter how much you research it whether it be by book, word of mouth or the internet nothing can prepare you for the sheer beauty of one of North America’s more treacherous trails. Over 75 km we crossed 108 bridges, more than 50 ladders and 5 cable cars and traversed some magnificent tidal shelves.


Day one: Bamfield.
We started our journey in Vancouver Harbor and flew by floatplane into the small town of Bamfield. From Bamfield we checked into the ever-so luxurious Trails Motel and we spilt up things such as tents and first-aid kits between the 10 of us. One piece of advice to those who take on the trail next year: don’t bring more than you will actually use, having a heavy pack makes the hike that much more grueling each day. Our next mission was to get to the Park Canada Orientation about 6 kilometres away. The orientation covered what to expect from the trail in the way of wildlife, washed out bridges and creeks, the ever important tide tables (key for the hikes along the beach) and finally who to call if we need to be evacuated. The lady who gave us the presentation was quite possibly the most awkwardly funny person I have ever come across in my time. …. Just kidding. The latter two words seemed to be our cue to laugh after a few weak jokes. After orientation we headed to the local hotspot. The Hawksnest was the only pub in town and it promised us open mike and live music at 8pm. So after a great dinner and a few cold ones a few of us trekked back to witness Bamfeild's finest perform, only to be told the nights act was actually the bartender and that the manager was not going to be letting him perform on her time and so after a few more games of pool and foose-ball we headed back to our rooms in anticipation of our 4:30 wake up call to get to the trail head.


Day two: Bamfeild-Nitnat Narrows.
After our first driver had some issues with slashed tires a few days prior we hired the local waitress from the diner to pick us up and drive us to the trailhead for 5am. After quick ride in the back of the truck we headed off along the beach to get on with the adventure. The first portion of the hike was through dense forest and was relatively flat and uneventful and our group of ten spilt into a few different sub-groups depending on speed all agreeing to meet at the 10 kilometre mark, where there was a Sea Lion “haul-out” rock where quite a few of these smelly, loud creatures like to beach themselves, lucky for us though the wind seemed to be blowing in our favour so we did not have to endure the aroma of the animals. After a 15-minute stop to wait to for everyone to catch up, grab a snack and some water we were off again. About 20 minutes later the trainer in my group, Justine and I heard a large crash in the forest off to our right this was our cue to start clapping our hands loudly, walk quicker and talked even louder in hopes of warding off any hungry bears. After this we did not hear any more signs of life other than a few birds. Our next stop was the Pacheena Point Lighthouse where we got to admire the sweeping views of the islands western coast. The next 22 kilometres of hiking were a mixture of boardwalk, debris covered paths and beaches. The walks along the beach were by far the most enjoyable part of the trip, however my calves may not agree with this statement currently. Along the beach we walked well below the high-tide line amongst tidal pools and sandstone shelves that had been carved out by years of erosion. Walking along the shelves is much more fun that slogging through the wet sand and your legs will thank you for it at the end of the day. By the time we reached the Nitnat Narrows we had traveled more than 32 kilometres and were relieved to sit down on the dock and take our shoes off. Our boat driver, affectionately known, as “Hippie Doug” was a great host, feeding us fresh crab and salmon and supplying us with cold drinks, for a small fee of course. Doug was also nice enough to let the group sleep on the dock for the night as it was too dark to make it to the next campsite on the trail. That night Alison, Justine and myself all got to go out on the open ocean with Doug to go crab bait fishing. In total we caught 11 fish, Alison caught the most with 5 and I caught the least with 0. After we headed back to the dock it was time to wind down and relax by playing the puppies Doug had to scare bears away and get ready for sleep and another early morning with another 30 kilometres looming in the near future.


Day 3: NitNat- Campers Bay
Day 3 started out with a nice stroll over some boardwalk and an adventure through some pretty deep mud. By this point I realized it was easy just to walk right through the mud than it was to hop from tree root to tree root. We sped through the first 10 kilometres by heading down the beach at Cheewat and getting a good run in along the hard sand. The beach also handed us our first interesting obstacle other than the tides, a smaller cliff that you had to climb up with nothing to help you other than your upper body and a small rope. We quickly decided to climb up without our packs then have the last person tie them to the rope for us to pull up. At kilometer 46 there is Chez Monique’s the classiest restaurant you will encounter on the trail, where for $20 you can buy the biggest, juiciest, best burger you will ever eat. This was our next meeting place for the entire group. Chez Monique’s was also the place where we saw a whale in the bay just swimming around, feeding as the tide started to change. Our next big push was the next few kilometres where we needed to beat the tide or risk having to sit in the bushes for an hour while we waited for it to go back down. This section of the beach is the hardest on your calves with the looseness of the sand. After this section we headed back into the forest where we encountered cable cars and numerous ladders, hello cardiovascular system! The ladders stretch anywhere from 5 rungs to over 200 rungs. By the time we reached Campers Bay to set up our tents the sun was quickly setting and the air was cooling down quickly so gathering firewood was the first plan of action. After we had a good fire going we started boiling water for the delicious variety of freeze dried food we had packed in followed by a few hot drinks made even better by a few shots of our favourite liquors. Soon after it was time for bed again as the final push for the last 13 kilometres lay ahead in the morning.


Day 4: Campers Bay to Gordon River and Port Renfrew.


The last day was the one where people laughed at us in amazement or out of sheer disgust. We heard many times that there was no way we would finish in 3 days and the last 10 kilometres alone would take 2 days. Well we finished in 5 hours for the whole 13 kilometres. The last 5 kilometres of the trail are by far the hardest, not just physically but mentally. You skirt the inlet for the entire 5 km while essentially doing the Grouse Grind over and over again. The kilometre signs seem to be much farther than a kilometre apart and they taunt you. However you get the 75 kilometre sign and it is a quick run down to the river to raise the signal for “Butch” the ferry driver to come pick you up. The feeling you get when you reach the river is short lived when you find out you have another 25-minute walk to the Park Canada centre to check out. However this can be avoided if you find a nice Park Canada worker unloading a truck load of wood at the dock who is willing to drive you there for the small fee of helping unload the wood and a round of drinks later that evening at the only pub in town. The hotel in Port Renfrew is home to the best shower you will ever have. After the shower some of us headed down to the pub the chow down on some food and drink before heading back to the hotel to trade massages. The rest of the night was spent making new friends in the town before heading to sleep to catch the ferry in the morning.

Over all I would not change one thing about trip and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys hiking 11 hours a day and peeing in bushes. As someone who has not had too much experience camping I still enjoyed myself so much I cannot wait to try the trail again and take less time doing it. This trip is for anyone who wants to push themselves to the limit and have a blast while doing it. Just remember though, don’t bring more than you need and you can always borrow from your fellow hikers who are always more than willing to help a fellow trekker on their adventure.




Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Simple.

Today's entry is simple, because it is about being simple.

In two words - be yourself.

In a few more words...

Be someone and something you decide to be. Be intent and be intense in the pursuit of that intent.

Be with and be like those who exemplify the qualities you desire, admire and want others to use in sentences that describe you.

Avoid situations, people, careers, and everything else that you don't want to become and that are not in line with those things that you do want to emulate.

Realize that no choice can still be a choice. Even 'not thinking' for a second, or failure to think about how being in certain situations can lead to unwanted impact or results - does not remove our ultimate control over these situations. Awareness is akin to intention when we have set a clear path we wish to travel.

Don't try to be everything to everybody. Don't worry about what others think.
Think about what you want, and what you are doing to get there.
Think about what you may be doing that is sabotaging your own journey, and change those behaviors.
Think about your relationships and every other aspect of your life... and make sure it is all aligned enough to feel simple to you.

After all, the path to success and happiness may involve hard work - but the road map is anything but rocket science.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Black Tusk hike




Black Tusk Hike

Event: Black Tusk
Location: Squamish/Whistler Area

Duration: 14km – Round trip approximately 8hrs or a overnight trip
Extreme Factor: 8/10 
Cost: Free
Recommendations: BUG SPRAY

 

It the midst of the late July heat wave that Vancouver was experiencing, 2 groups from Innovative Fitness decided to take on the challenge to hike up the Black Tucks.

 

The hike starts at Rubble Creek parking lot, approximately 45min north of Squamish. The hike is split up into 3 parts. The first part involves a 4 hour climb of switch backs up to the beautiful glacier lake called Garibaldi Lake. The trail is very popular, so my advice would be to get there early in the morning to not get the true feeling of being in the back country. After a quick rest stop and swim at Garibaldi Lake you journey along the 2nd part of the hike though a beautiful wild flower meadow. Utterly spectacular!


The last and final part of this hike is the climb up black slate and loose rock to the base of the tucks. The most technical part of the hike, but once you get to the top the view is simply breathtaking. To think that you are only a couple hours away from the city and you do truly appreciate the beautiful province we live in.


There were two groups from Innovative that partook in this hike. There was a group that did the whole hike in one day which took approximately 8hours,  round trip including lunch and rest stops along the way. The other group decided to do an overnight trip. They hiked up to Garibaldi Lake on the 25th, stayed and camped at the campsite and then met up with the one day hikers the next day. If you like camping and the outdoors, this is an excellent option. To wake up to the morning sun coming over the mountains and then to enjoy you breakfast on the glacier lake, definitely a trip worth taking.


thanks to Kate P. for sharing.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Relationships and Growth


I have heard someone say: “Don’t spend time with anyone unless you or the other person is getting something out of it.” This seemed harsh to me at first but after some thought it made more sense to me. I thought after all, why spend time with anyone in this life if there is nothing to be gained out of it from either side. If there is nothing positive coming from a relationship then we are wasting our own and the other person’s time. We should break away from these relationships as soon as possible because life is short and there are others out there eager to grow with you and ready to give something to move you forward.

The healthiest relationships are based on give and take. They require both people to meet 50/50 both giving continuously to the other. This goes for relationships with spouses, partners, friends and co-workers. Using the workplace as an example, as much as we truly want to help people succeed, bring them along and truly believe in them, there MUST be an equal and opposite desire from them to want to do the same. As teammates and leaders we should all be demanding this reciprocation and respect from our teams each and every day. In personal relationships it is a similar situation, we must take action to bring those we care about along on our journey, they must want to come along as well as bring us along into their own lives. When this reciprocation occurs, mutual growth between two people occurs. Both sides achieve personal fulfillment for being able to be the person they wish to be by having the trust, support, respect and commitment from the other as well as giving it back.

In our work environment, we must tell people when things are done well and when they are not. We must continually demand more to avoid stagnancy. When more is demanded from you, understand that the intention is not a reflection of a power trip or just to benefit the deliverer but rather because you have potential. As individuals we all have potential yet we must understand that when those we trust who want our best challenge us to be better it is up to us to want it as well. The tools and support are there to get better with but ultimately it is up to you and this is when we see a relationship become 50/50. In personal relationships as well, we must be open to communicate what we expect from others and what we expect for ourselves. Continually demand the best because in life we deserve the best and if you are not getting it or giving it then you are wasting your time. Think to yourself if your current relationships are give and take.

Something important to consider as part of growing into great relationships is that a foundation of trust must exist first (see book, Trust Me). This takes spending time with people and communication through personal inventories and experiences. Trusting relationships will foster positive growth if both sides are ready to communicate, sacrifice and support each other to become better. This is very important because whether at work or with a spouse for example there is a common goal to be achieved. If we find ourselves in situations where people do not want to join our journey, bring us along in theirs or want to become better with the tools and support we provide then we must recognize this and stop wasting our time and theirs. If someone does not want to grow then spend time with someone who wants to. If someone close to you does not support you and bring you up then you could be wasting time. This can be considered in all areas of our lives from work, family to friends and something I have been giving lots of thought to as I am about to enter a marriage in one week. I will follow up on this topic with additional insight at a later date. In the mean time, thoughts are welcome by adding your comment to this page.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Confidence





Throughout a myriad of experiences working with people of all ages (youth sports to high school students to adults) the one constant character deficiency lies with confidence. One would think this would make sense at a young age, but having and coaching young children (5-9) who often border on overconfident points to lack of confidence being a learned trait that falls somewhere between grade 9 and 12 (ages 13-19) and negatively reinforced thereafter.

This is not an attempt at blaming or pointing fingers in one direction or the other, however it is strange with the amount of money & resources directed at education, a core fundamental of human competency lags so far behind.

Confidence is a learned characteristic garnered from putting oneself in positions where outcomes & responses are unknown and experiencing a successful outcome. It must be an individual experience, meaning others shouldn’t interfere by bridging the gap of success or failure for the learner. If I had to put my finger on ‘a’ flaw in the system, it would be this. The ‘feel good’ bridge.

The 'feel good bridge' is usually dropped in good intention to accelerate the learner through periods of adversity and usher them safely to the other side. The intention is to preserve their esteem (from a potential failure), thus preserving their self-confidence. The reality is the learner a) knows they are not responsible for the decision-making or outcome and remains unconfident or b) develops a dependency on others to continually bridge uncomfortable gaps for them throughout their lives and ...remains unconfident.

Enabling & encouraging learners to take ownership and responsibility for their actions and decisions (inclusive of ‘good or bad’ outcomes) is essential for personal and professional growth. Instead of bridging feel good outcomes, those in positions of influence (parents, teachers, coaches, managers, leaders) need to articulate the benefits of both success and failure as developmental opportunities and support repeated attempts towards desired outcomes without simply providing them. It is during these processes, confidence is built. Translation: stop ‘doing’ things for others and let them do it for themselves.

For those reading who feel they may lack the confidence to do x, y or z, it’s as simple as ‘just doing it’ in many cases. Trying, in itself, is a great 1st step in the right direction because after the initial attempt (succeed or fail) valuable information gathered will put you in a better position to refine or repeat at a later date.

The only thing that is certain is if you continue to avoid situations of uncertainty, you will never develop the skill set needed to survive in a consistently uncertain world and eventually and inevitably… you will be exposed.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Alchemy

Sandpaper was first created in 13th century China where crushed shells, seeds, and sand were glued to parchment paper. This abrasive product is used to remove small amounts of material from surfaces with the intent of making them smoother or to remove a layer. Sandpaper comes in many different grits designed to smooth out even the toughest and most coarse materials.

In life we all need sandpaper, we all need an antagonist, and we all need friction. There isn’t a one of us that is silky smooth and if we plan to get the best out of ourselves we need someone who will oppose us. While motivation is at its best when it is internal, we do need something to rub us the wrong way in order for us to achieve our potential.

The greatest harm we can do in our quest for excellence is to surround ourselves with others who think exactly like us. When we only interact with likeminded individuals we only get the answers we want to hear. When excellence is at stake we need an abrasive individual that will cause us to question our motives and evaluate our reasoning. It is through the roughing up of our ideals that we can find the way to smoothly experience greatness.

The bigger the idea we have the tougher grit we need to surround ourselves with. Big ideas are not materialized without friction, big mistakes are. If we are to minimize the amount of mistakes we make through transitions it is essential that we assess all ideas, especially the ones we don’t agree with. Somewhere between the emotion that is produced from an antagonist and our original idea is the opportunity for excellence. This opportunity is not available when we are not challenged personally, emotionally, socially, and spiritually.

Excellence is a form of alchemy, the transformation or enchantment of power. Alchemy is both a philosophy and a practice with the aim of achieving ultimate wisdom through change. In order for us to make the necessary change that has the potential to reach ultimate wisdom we must use the old woodworker’s philosophy of “going through the grits” and progressively remove scratches until our surface is perfectly smooth.

It isn’t until we embrace ideas that go against our grain and create scratches that we will be able to see the opportunity that will generate excellence. Without abrasive others we will not create enough thought to achieve alchemy and without alchemy we will not create enough change to achieve wisdom.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Who are YOU?


Lately it has struck me that we are so busy, so influenced at a subconscious level by marketing gurus, and so pulled in so many directions- it's not that we forget to spend time on us - it can even get to the point that we don't know who WE are!

We know that no matter how old you are - peer pressure can be an issue; from the playground and trying smoking to going on a vacation you can't afford to keep up with the Joneses. How do we know what we want when we make decisions based on other people's agendas?

While it is true that it's not just about us; many leaders, parents, teachers, coaches, and other helpful souls go so beyond the call that they spend little to no time helping themselves. Charity work is supposed to be about sharing your talents and your (relative) wealth. Helping others should not be a life sentence nor should it put you under house arrest or make you more of a charity case than those you donate to. It is about sharing your great life and more importantly... YOU.

One of the most dangerous things any of us can do during our day is to slip into autopilot or the rat race. When we mindlessly take in the hundred thousand or so messages aimed at us daily, we become victim to subliminal advertising and this can replace our inert desires and even how we motivate and reward ourselves. If you never seek out quiet times or places; if there is no time for reflection - than how do we ever become self aware enough to know what makes us happy and what we want our life to look like? It becomes virtually impossible to manifest that life!

If we surround ourselves with people who we aren't proud to be involved with - we start to look, act, and think like those people. We either emulate the same values or we allow ourselves the same short-cuts.

If this is getting through to you at all and you start to question who you really might be, good for you- let's take it to the next level.

If you don't know who you are - look around you. The state of your relationships, your house, your career, your finances, your health, your stress levels... they're not accidents - they are YOU.

If you want to know where you are going - think hard about any proactive decisions or changes you've recently made. No proactive changes on the inside lately? Then exactly where you have been going is where you're most likely going to keep going.

The great news is that if you have access to a computer and the ability and time (as well as freedom) to read these words, then you have the fundamental ability to make any changes you desire to the direction and eventual consequence of your life.

Second to the Bible, the next best selling book of all time is the Lord of the Rings trilogy. J.R.R. Tolkien did not write his work to please others, to make money, or to be cool. He invented the characters, concepts, and genesis of his 'Middle Earth' during the first world war. He took one of the most horrifying realities of recent history - and he manifested something else that became legend. That is the power we all have IF we do it for ourselves and those we love.

Learn who you are and how to make yourself happy, and the other 'mysteries' of life become a lot more clear.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Carpe Diem


Seize the day! The latin phrase Carpe Diem comes from the longer Carpe diem quam minimum credula postero – "seize the day and place no trust in tomorrow", and the ode says that the future is unknowable, and that instead one should scale back one's hopes to a brief future, and drink one's wine. Written by Horace, an ancient Roman poet we see it as dark and without hope. If we were to take carpe diem the way Horace intended we would spend all our resources and drink all our wine. In essence, we would just consume and be reckless leaving nothing for tomorrow or the next generation.

Carpe diem as it stands alone can lead to extraordinary depending on the way you look at it. While it makes sense to make the most out of each day, it is in this authors opinion that its meaning can be misleading and potentially serve no practicality with respect to life long fulfillment. Seize the day is up for interpretation, for some it may mean making a difference in the world each day you are alive and for others it may mean spontaneous decisions to abandon responsibility to go have fun. The trouble with the latter is that while everyone likes to have fun, abandoning your duties or action plans will not get you to where you want to be in life. Chances are that tomorrow will arrive and you will be paying for the risk you took the day before.

With the above interpretation we likely would not reach many of the goals we set for ourselves. We all have personal goals and goals achieved are the results of actions founded on personal values. Your values may be education, family or humanitarianism and are reflected in the goals you choose such as earning a degree, raising a family or building schools. If we were to live today as if tomorrow were not coming we would not be achieving our dreams. Furthermore, living today without placing trust in tomorrow does not warrant any prudence in our actions and without good sense we make wrong decisions that can be seen as destructive, harmful and even selfish.

Rather than seizing the day without regard for tomo rrow we should instead practice daily discipline in accordance to our values. That means doing the things that are important to us as individuals and in doing so we will naturally experience joy and fulfillment. This can only happen by doing what it is we love and by doing so this is the true essence of what carpe diem is.