Friday, February 26, 2010

Do You Get It?

When you go through life, you want to ask yourself, 'Am I one of those who just doesn't get it? And if so, sit down and think about it. Don't spend your whole life working for what you don't want, instead of for what you do want.

Sometimes it takes risk, it gets scary, but if you're going to do it, work toward something that matters to you.Saying you don't have a direction is like saying there is nothing in your life that you are excited about. You have to figure out what that is, and you have to make a plan to get to it. And the plan has got to have a timeline. You have to choose something that you can afford to do and then lock it in and passionately do it. Be committed, do what it takes, and you'll have what you want. Be, do, have. Be committed, pick something out that you're passionate about.

Are you really living or just existing? Existing is instinctual; it is involuntary, reactive self-preservation, with the primary goal of just getting from one day to the next without regard to quality. Living, on the other hand, is the exercise of certain learned skills, attitudes, and abilities that you have acquired and honed to a sharp and focused edge.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

2 Feet In.

We've heard the expression "time waits for no one".
Have you ever stopped to think why?

Scientists explain that the Universe is literally expanding at the speed of light (186,282.4 miles per second). If we are moving at 0 miles per hour because we are afraid to try anything new, or afraid of missing opportunities, we need to remember that...

- opportunity comes as a result of progress
- progress comes as a result of growth
- growth is not stagnant; it is as a result of change, initiative; in short- movement.
- if opportunity comes as a result of movement, it will makes it's way to THOSE WHO ARE ALREADY MOVING. Sitting, waiting, for your 'ship to come in' is almost sure to lead to disappointment.
- sometimes when we are moving, it seems that progress, change, and opportunity can't come fast or often enough... however we cannot predict when opportunity knocks; just that if you keep trying with the right attitude, and you keep adjusting your strategy to implement lessons you learn - you will eventually succeed.

In the collective experience that makes up swimupstream (thousands of personal training hours and thousands of hours managing people), we have yet to come across an individual, business, or society that highly values indecision and inaction.

If you are not sure if the job, city, committee, club, or relationship you are currently in is right for you - the only way to know for sure is to dive in with both feet and be the best employee/ friend/ advisor/ parishioner/ spouse/ etc that you can be... and trust the other parties enough that you allow them to fail you. Not blindly, not without good judgment or against your intuition... but trust and assume that this is the right place for you. Work your hardest to produce the best results you can.

If you find then that there is a disconnect between your input (effort, attitude, time, money, skill, insight, experience) and your output (experiences, money, advancement, acquisition of new skills, etc) than you are either not the right person for the job (etc) or the job (etc) is not right for you.

At that point, you can bring the same formula to another role, job, partner, etc until you find the right synergistic fit.

Sometimes the disconnect can occur over time... in this case, we still start with personal accountability over our side of the equation, then it comes to skill managing our relationships, and managing changing roles and work dynamics. It is possible to outgrow your role, even your organization - however most people that feel this way don't realize they are actually being impatient and change jobs before they have truly been rewarded. They may quit after a raise they feel was insufficient, only to later realize there was also a promotion in the works behind the scenes. Again - TRUST.

If we have one foot on the shore, and another in the water - we're not soaking up the sun drinking a beer enjoying the view, and we're not swimming with the dolphins in the ocean either... we are at the crossroads of 2 great potentials; at the threshold of neither.

Jump in with both feet - if you don't like the view from the water (what the unknown has to offer), there's always a cold beer and a great view available from the beach (you can always go back to what you know).

Thursday, February 18, 2010


"When a team outgrows individual performance and learns team confidence, excellence becomes a reality".

Joseph Vincent "Joe" Paterno, Football Coach.

The concept of teamwork is self-explanatory; a group of people working for one goal, where each individual brings forth his/her skills in a concentrated manner and coordinates it with others skills, to produce a desirable end. One can understand how paramount this concept is, almost everywhere one applies for a job the ability to lead or be a team player is acknowledged as an essential skill, and a pre-requisite too. The importance of teamwork is ingrained in us since childhood. As children, siblings are often taught to work and share; as students we are taught to work on projects together or win games together, even a marriage is believed to be a team and finally our workplaces where our 'fitting in the team' is constantly expected. Working together all the time sure must be taxing, but there is a reason why teamwork is emphasized upon at every stage of our life. But this not to say that individual talent and skills will lay to waste without teamwork, it won't. What teamwork does is to build one's personal skills

Importance of teamwork is not only reflected in the team's wins, but also in individual growth. A team in its true sense cannot be built in a day, every member needs to learn and understand each other, as well as individual limitations.

Teamwork is important for an endless amount of reasons. There are so many things that are virtually impossible to take on without the use of a team that knows how to work together. The importance of teamwork is something that should be touched on during team building events. If this concept is not understood and carried out at work, your team will not be running as a solid unit. Understanding your team and the many facets of it is just the beginning.

The importance of teamwork is found in all of the things that cannot be done alone but require the focus and effort of a group. Teams have accomplished more throughout history than solitary man alone has.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Saving Campbell Soup Company

In grade 10, I remember my Global History teacher telling us that if someone has said what we wanted to say already, (and better) to use it. So I would like to share with you, the President and Chief Executive Officer of Campbell Soup Company, Douglas R. Conant’s words about engagement. To read the full article please visit,

If you take a look in your kitchen cupboard or maybe even in your office desk drawer, you'll probably find something produced by the Campbell Soup Company.

Early last decade, the company was struggling. The stock price was down, the company wasn't meeting earnings expectations, and Wall Street was whispering that Campbell was for sale. That's when Douglas R. Conant stepped in.

He signaled his intent to change the company's culture by shaking up the leadership team. Conant courted employees' trust, building bit by bit, until he created an extraordinarily engaged company.

You have to engage in the work, and when the challenge gets bigger, you have to pick your game up a notch. You have to lead from out front and be ready to engage in the challenges of the day, especially in tough times.

The essence of my leadership philosophy is very much the same as it was before. We have what we call our Campbell Leadership Model, and we drive off of that. It basically says you have to inspire trust, and once you earn people's trust, you have permission to do some amazing things.

I strongly believe that you can't win in the marketplace unless you win first in the workplace. If you don't have a winning culture inside, it's hard to compete in the very tough world outside. Our mission is to build the world's most extraordinary food company by nourishing people's lives everywhere, every day. You can't ask employees to achieve extraordinary results if they're not fully engaged. I said it wouldn't be a top-down culture -- it would be a high-engagement culture. That's why we focus a great deal on getting the workplace right so that people are engaged and proactive -- so that people are moving forward arm in arm and competing with a spring in their step. As they become more engaged, they find ways to win in the marketplace that are sustainable. You do have to shift your tactics every once in a while. You always have to bring something new to the engagement mix to bring it to life again. It can be a big thing or a little thing.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The What and How in your life

There is a lot of world to see, and a lot of life to be lived.
There are so many things we'd all like to accomplish, however most of us are going to read this today while we're at work. We need to work to afford the lifestyle we want to enjoy, and if we're really on the ball - we've created for ourselves a workplace that allows us to see and do some of our life's goals while we get paid.

That being said, while the few may already be on course to see and do the things they've planned in their lives - where can you start if you are in need of some inspiration and some enlightenment on how to get there?

Glad you asked...



These are all, of course, helpful ideas if you haven't found them on swimupstream yet... here are just a few from our archives;

After this much ammo, the only thing standing between you and achieving any goal you could possibly imagine (and even some you didn't that you'll come across in the readings) is your own will-power. THAT, my friends - requires no reading.

If you have the will and you do the work; you will research the strategy and the universe will conspire to make your dreams a reality.

If you lack will and don't work - you will not move forward, and that is the universe's way of rewarding your input. No work = no right to complain about outcome or your 'lot in life'.

Get engaged in your own life to create whatever you want as your reality - it really is that simple.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

buntzen Lake hike

Buntzen Lake is about 10 minutes from our new IF facility in Port Moody. The loop around the lake makes an awesome hike of about two hours if you are moving steadily.

On Sunday, (pre-Superbowl) 22 customers and friends, 3 IF staff, 3 dogs and one baby took on the hike around the lake. It was a little rainy so I thought the turnout might suffer but nobody was deterred - great start!

We are one week into the facility Nutrition Challenge (essentially a cleanse combined with a challenge to increase your exercise) - it lasts 28 days. This hike was worth a solid 20 points, so 22 out of 40 Challengers were in attendance... solid.

The hike is approx. 10km and there are some steep uphill and downhill sections. Some great lake views, great people and lots of time to chat away from the facility made it a awesome start to the day.

I did the hike with Viggo in the backpack - he's getting a bit heavy for this type of distance... but it was a great workout! My glutes, quads and calf are all sore this morning. Feels good!

Enjoy the pictures!

Jen breaking down the route... 

Off we go...

The trees are epic around the lake - moss covered and towering

Viggo's backpack... It distributes the weight really well... HIGHLY RECOMMEND to any parents looking to get out with their kids. Also please note V's olympic spirit - Quatchi hat and Team Canada jersey... he's a proud Canadian!

Posted by Meyrick. 

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Being Engaged

Becoming successful in reaching our goals is not something that just happens, rather it is something that we have to work hard to make happen. It all begins at the self-level and how engaged we are as individuals in the pursuit of our vision. When we are engaged we are more likely to discipline ourselves to follow through with better planning, prioritizing and managing our time efficiently. One of the biggest keys to reaching our goals is having clarity in what we “want” to do versus what we “need” to do.

Becoming organized is the first thing anyone must do to be engaged. Clear your work area and get rid of everything in front of you that does not serve a purpose in you accomplishing the task at hand. Have a day planner open in front of you at all times so that you can be reminded of your schedule and be able to write things down that come up while working. When you write it down it will happen. Making a personal plan by writing down your goals is one of the most important steps in managing ourselves to reach our goals. If we fail to plan, we are planning to fail.

What makes a great leader? Leadership traits can be adopted to better engage ourselves to reach our goals. Characteristics of great leaders are leading by example, sacrifice, accountability, vision etc. Leading by example means that we are willing to do what we expect others to do. Sacrifice is willing to surrender short-term pleasure for long-term gain. Being accountable is always reviewing our goals and adhering to the plan set out. Vision is being able to see into the future what has not yet been done.

John Miller wrote in his book QBQ: “Long-range vision and strategic planning are all great tools, but we need to get some things done before lunch.” The most important step in being engaged is doing. We can see, hear and plan all day long but nothing will get accomplished until we simply DO. Procrastination will add to stress and feelings of being overwhelmed. Avoiding this is easy if we just take action. Get up, move, do what it is you have to do to get you to your goals. Goals are written down for the purpose of being accomplished. Follow your plan by acting because time flies and before you know it the end of the year will be here and we will be asking ourselves “where did the time go”?

Saturday, February 06, 2010


╬ŁO ONE CAN ADVISE or help you - no one. There is only one thing you should do. Go into yourself. Find out the reason that commands you to write; see whether it has spread its roots into the very depths of your heart; confess to yourself whether you would have to die if you were forbidden to write. This most of all: ask yourself in the most silent hour of your night: must I write? Dig into yourself for a deep answer. And if this answer rings out in assent, if you meet this solemn question with a strong, simple "I must," then build your life in accordance with this necessity; your whole life, even into its humblest and most indifferent hour, must become a sign and witness to this impulse.

-Rainer Maria Rilke

When I was younger, I loved watching movies. My particular favourites were Pretty Woman, Dirty Dancing, The Cutting Edge and Sister Act 1 and 2 (there is no accounting for taste). I really enjoyed one scene in particular in Sister Act 2 – it was when Whoopi Goldberg overheard Lauryn Hill singing and realized how talented and passionate she was and that she was not going to pursue her dreams due to her defeatist attitude (and overbearing mother).

She cornered her one afternoon on her way home from school and said:

I went to my mother who gave me this book called Letters To A Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke. He’s a fabulous writer. A fellow used to write to him and say: I want to be a writer, please read my stuff. And Rilke says to this guy; don’t ask me about being a writer. If when you wake up in the morning you can think of nothing but writing, then you’re a writer. I’m gonna say the same thing to you. If you wake up in the morning and you can’t think of anything but singing first, then you’re supposed to be a singer girl.

Purpose is the thing in your life you will fight for. It is the ground you will defend at any cost. Purpose is not the same as ‘incentive,’ but rather the motor behind it, the end that drives why you have energy for some things and not for others. Purpose is the sail on the boat, the yeast in the bread. Once you know your purpose – that is, what matters – then everything else can fall into place. Getting your purpose clear is your defining truth. What is the purpose of your life? Whatever it is, it had better be something for which you will cross a narrow plank 175 feet above the ground, gusts of wind or no gusts, seven days a week no questions asked.

And, by the way, Lauryn Hill ended up being an amazing singer.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010


Normal (in terms of behaviour) is defined as conformance to an average
Normal (in terms of sociology) is defined as social norms, expected patterns of behavior studied in sociology.

Norm, the root word of normal, is defined (philosophically speaking) as sentences within philosophy with practical implications. Sociologically speaking, a norm refers to social norms, expected patterns of behavior studied in sociology. statistical norm, actual patterns of behavior studied (evident) in sociology

The reason examining this word becomes important today is because the word has taken on connotations that have become confused with it's definition. Nowhere above did we see the words or definitions;
- belonging
- acceptance
- popularity
- success
- happiness
- confidence
- ability
- worth

According to Maslow's Hierarchy of needs, belonging falls under 'social needs' and these come to the forefront of our wanting as soon as our survival and safety needs are met.

The point is, we NEED to belong; to feel connected to each other and to our communities. We do not NEED to be like everybody else. We do not NEED to match behaviors and do, say, think, act, live like other people or established patterns set without consideration of our uniqueness.

If we think of 'normal' in these terms - no one should want to be normal because 'normal' in a practical sense, means average (at best).

If we want to be accepted, that's different. Here are some words that ARE NOT 'NORMAL', but are highly accepted...
- excellent
- above average
- different
- new
- fresh
- innovative
- trend-setter
- entrepreneur
- stand-out
- leader
- visionary

"Normal" then, is easy - do what others do and say. This leads to acceptance by the masses, reverence by none, and remembrance by few at best.

"Exceptional" is hard - do what you want that takes work and sacrifice to manifest. This leads to acceptance by masses, understanding by few (which may feel like loneliness at times), reverence by many, and remembrance by many, perhaps generations, to follow.

It's not just verbage. Choose what you want to be and make it so. Add purpose to your days and years by waking up on a mission. If you wake up just to make it through another day - you are the only one who truly loses out in the end.