Monday, May 31, 2010

The World Needs Sport

There are a lot of moments in my days, when the attitudes and behaviour of people (ie. society, not necessarily individuals) leaves me ranting away to the nearest wall. Every now and then, though, something happens that actually leaves me speechless.

Such is the case when I hear a parent say "I don't want my son/daughter playing sports. I think it puts undue pressure on them, and competition is unhealthy."

That's right. I usually stand there and find my jaw hanging open before I'm able to close it. And while I'm loathe to ever judge something that many would consider strictly "opinion" rather than fact - I'm going to make the exception here.

If you're one of those people - you're wrong. And this is a fact.

Yes, depending on the coach/mentor/teacher, the competition can become an unhealthy one, just like the pressure can become unhealthy as well - but this is the responsibility of the parent to manage, this isn't an inherent part of sport itself.

Your child needs to play, and that's all sports is until they're in their early teen years. They need to run, jump, catch, spin, hide and throw, and they should be doing it for at least an hour a day. They need to learn how to work as part of a team, they need to learn how to find the inner strength to stop a breakaway, or drop the game-winning free throw. They have to learn what it's like to blow the critical triple lutz, then get up and finish the program with dignity. They need to understand how to forgive their receiver for dropping the perfect pass, and they need to learn how to shake hands in either dignified victory or gracious defeat.

Children need sport. If you are one of the people who thinks it's unhealthy, you need to stop passing your baggage onto the kids.

Put 'em in the game, coach.


Wednesday, May 26, 2010


Today's entry comes in the form of a simple challenge.

Feed yourself as you would feed something or someone you respect.

Feed your mind the way you would feed the mind of your child.

Feed your body the way you would feed an expensive car (in terms of quality fuel, not necessarily the price tag).

Feed your spirit the way you would for someone you know who's gone through a tough struggle and could use a hand up.

Feed your soul with the perspective that the world is bigger than you and your being is connected to the Universe, God, or whatever higher power you believe in.

Feed the planet don't just consume from it.

Feed someone else something from the above, as we all receive from others daily... and it is thus our duty as privileged beings to give back rather than hoard.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Friends Don't Need to Be So Harsh

I had a moment today.

The guy in the picture? "Macho Man" Randy Savage. Yes, I'm serious.

Now, don't misunderstand me - I'm not saying he looks bad... it's just that I wasn't prepared to see him looking so much... well... older.

I've had a few other moments in the last few years, and every time, it carried a bit of a punch. Like when I first saw one of my NHL idols playing in the "Old Timer's" League. Or when I first heard the music I listened to in University actually being sold on a "Retro Album".

But while you can wax nostalgic, and lament for the "simpler" days - you can just as easily put those lessons to good use and create an optimism about the future. Take those past experiences as gifts - something with which you can learn and grow from.

Or maybe Tim McGraw put it better when he said:

"I think I'll take a moment, celebrate my age.
The ending of an era, and the turning of a page.
Now it's time to focus in on where I go from here... Lord have mercy on my next 30 years".

Time. She may not always be friendly - but she's unfailingly honest. And ultimately, isn't that just what you want in a teacher?


Thursday, May 20, 2010

Pack Leader

The most important thing that we have to provide every day is that we are the pack leader, that we set the rules, the boundaries, the limitations and then we love. Most of the people they go to get a dog because they need somebody to love, so they are going after what they need, not what the dog needs. That to me creates instability immediately, and the dog sees the human as a soft energy. They don't follow the lovable or spiritual leader, they follow a dominant one.

~ Cesar Millan

Recently, I was watching the Dog Whisperer and this particular episode was about learning how to establish yourself as the pack leader. I found it interesting listening to Cesar explain a few different ways to do this and realised that they were not only relevant to dogs but to anyone trying to establish themselves in a leadership position.

His first point was, position matters. Walking in front allows you to be seen as the pack leader. If your dog controls you on the walk, he's the pack leader. You should be the first one out the door and the first one in. Your dog should be beside or behind you during the walk.

It's the same for humans. If you truly are a leader or aspire to be one, than you do need to be the first one to put your hand up. You need to come in early, stay late, work weekends, and always try to stay one step ahead of those you are leading. You need to earn their respect and give them a reason to follow you.

The second point was, don't punch out. When you get home, don't stop leading. Have your dog wait patiently while you put away his leash or take off your shoes.

You are never done when you are a leader. You can't leave your job at work, and switch off because it's the weekend or a holiday, you're always on call. This is what separates a lot of good leaders from great leaders - the above and beyond, it's what they do when they are not getting paid to do it because they know it's the right thing.

The episode was an hour and there were many other tips, trick and treats at the end, but the above points were the most important (and relevant) to becoming a great 'pack' leader.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Be One of the Good Guys

I'm not a huge reality t.v. watcher. I enjoy "The Amazing Race", but haven't really watched it for a few years now. I also really enjoyed "Survivor" when it first started, but haven't watched it in almost 10 years, since the second season took place in the outback of Australia.

So, this season actually got me into it again - Heroes vs. Villians. They took 10 of the most beloved players, and 10 of the most hated - all of which were good players, with most of them being at least top finishers, if not former winners.

Interestingly, much like real life, the top three finishers all came from the "villians" - but, again in a mirror of real life, there were heroes who played more like villians, and villians that played more like heroes. I'm happy to say that in the end, the winner was the one player that didn't lie, didn't make promises she wouldn't keep, and, in fact, made a sincere effort to get the "heroes" to align themselves with her (numerous times).

I think that every now and then, we need to do a gut check. Ask yourself - when the chips are down and you have to choose a between what is easy, and what is right... are you a hero? Or a villian?


Friday, May 14, 2010

Who's on your team?

In Canada, the geese fly in a V-shaped formation with one side of the 'V' longer than the other. There are scientific and practical explanations for this and we should use this nature's wonder to understand the need for synergy in effective teams.

During the flight, each bird's wings create an uplift for the bird behind it. This enables the entire wedge of geese to fly 71% further than a bird flying alone. By tapping on the collective strength of individuals with a common goal and direction, we all stand to benefit.

When a goose starts to leave the formation, it can feel a drag resistance of a solo flight and will quickly get back into the 'V' formation. The lift and thrust of the flapping birds in front lighten the burden of the birds behind. In the same manner, we can be special and choose to fall out of line, but it will make our journey to success a much tougher path to travel as we do not enjoy the support of the people around us.

Just like our leaders, the leading goose may feel the strain and pressure in taking charge. When it drops back another goose immediately takes over the helm. In perfect terms, the mindset should not be one of 'your job' or 'my job' but 'our jobs'. The responsibility is shared and each team member should be prepared to cover each other when the need arises.

Geese do not travel in silence and we hear their honking in flight. Maybe it is their merry singing, but it could very well be their way of encouragement to those in front to keep pace. We don't have to go to the extreme of a cheer leading team. However, words of praise, encouragement and support go a long way in raising the morale of our team members.

Can geese fall sick? Yes, they can and when that happens, at least two other geese will follow a sick bird to the ground. They will protect the bird and when it is well again, they travel together to join the rest of the flock. We should not forsake our team members who need our help, especially during difficult times.

Which are you - are you the leading goose? The number two who is always able to take over the number one? A noise maker and morale booster? A ready helper? Does you team fly in a 'V' formation in the first place?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Choice is Daily

Choice is Daily

C: Character (values, principals)
H: How (plan; if you choose to be successful - how do you plan to get there?)
O: Obstacles. When adversity strikes - do you choose to see failure or an obstacle?
I: Intrinsic. The only lasting source of motivation and MUST guide the big choices
C: Candid (saying what you mean)
E: Effort. You must apply willpower to the plan after you set mindpower to the decision

I: Initiative. No one's handing out applications for President. You MAKE it be.
S: Strategy. If one great one fails, another one must be created. Hundreds if need be.

D: Do what you say you're going to.
A: After. Be sure to gauge effectiveness of the plan & path after all big choices
I: In the moment. Even if you're still on the journey; you have to love the now.
L: Legacy. Live to create the kind of memories of you want others to share of you.
Y: Year after year the momentum of small choices & changes = a lifetime success

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

SUN RUN 2010

Sun Run by Cory M.

As far as 10km runs go, you can’t go much bigger than the Vancouver Sun Run. Each year more than 40,000 people participate in one of North America’s biggest runs and this year the race registration numbers topped 60,000 people. With that many runners, joggers and walkers of all skill levels clustered onto Georgia St at the start line, it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of a run as fun as the Sun Run. At some points it may take over an hour for racers to even get to the start line with so many people funneling through the streets, but the experience is worth the wait. The entire length of the run is lined with enthusiastic fans cheering you along the way as well as bands playing every couple of blocks to keep the spirits high. When the weather is as nice and sunny as it was on Sunday, it makes the experience just that much more pleasant. Like any good run it has it’s challenging moments, such as the hill to get onto the Burrard St Bridge, or the ramp up Cambie St Bridge in the last kilometer. But where would the fun be without a little adversity!


With the Sun Run being around for so many years and so many people participating every year, it’s awesome to see so many 1st still occur on race day. I saw a number of customers who have never participated in a 10km run before participate in their very first Sun Run and LOVING the experience! And each time I see that excitement of someone completing their first event, or achieving something that they previously thought was impossible or not for them, it gets me excited too. It’s the greatest part of my job.

I saw a number of customers come back to the Sun Run with goals of crushing their previous year’s time. Although the distance hasn’t changed, the challenge becomes pushing the body harder through the distance and leaving nothing left in the tank at the end of the race. Pushing through pain and coming out stronger mentally and physically on the other side of the finish line. One customer was set on running the entire race without stopping and no walking, something they have previously never been able to do. A slow steady pace the entire way, but as big a victory as winning the entire race itself.

Personally, the best part of this year’s Sun Run was being able to bring my 13 year old nephew down to the race with me as I took photos and wished everyone from IF good luck in their run. He was able to meet some of the people I work with on a daily basis and catch a glimpse of what I do as a training coach. He was there to overhear how excited everyone was to be at the race and to see the magnitude of what these runs that his uncle has been doing over the past 4 years are all about. He finally got why I’m so addicted to what I do. For a kid who spends most of his time reading or playing video games, he was genuinely interested in what he could do at his age to become more active. He was asking me questions about my job as a trainer and wanted to know more about what it felt like to do one of these races. I was so happy and proud of everyone’s infectious attitude on race day that as a group we were able to reach him in a way that his family has been trying to do for a while now. And hopefully his desire to take care of himself and challenge himself is a lesson that he can take with him for the rest of his life… now only if I could convince his mother to let him play football!! But that’s another challenge altogether.

Monday, May 10, 2010

What if?

Two words.

What if?

In these two words, depending on the context, you can convey hope, passion and dreams... or regret, remorse and missed opportunity.

What if?

Sitting in high school, looking out the window at the gym class playing soccer in the field, asking yourself: "What if I took a year off before university to travel? What if I went into creative writing instead of biochemistry? What if that girl I have a crush on actually notices me this morning?"

What if?

Your 50th birthday, sitting in the same bar you went to every weekend in university, with the same people, playing at the same pool table, laughing at the same jokes and reliving the same memories, asking: "What if I had just given that last bit of effort in the championship game? What if I hadn't chickened out of that job interview when I was 20? What if instead of marrying a person I could live with - I waited until I found the person I couldn't live without?"

What if?

Stop. Stop wondering, postulating, thinking and hesitating. Stop missing opportunity because you're afraid you won't measure up. Get out there - seize the moment, give it everything you've got... leave it on the dance floor.

Remember: losing and failure are two different things.

What if?

For your own sake - while it's still a possibility, and not a reflection of the past - get out there and find out.


Friday, May 07, 2010

Are You Responsible?

Remember, with great power, comes great responsibility.

~ Spiderman (2002)

What makes a great leader? Are great leaders born or are they a product of circumstance? I believe that a great leader is someone that when called upon, steps up to a challenge created as a result of circumstance, and stays when they realise what is actually required.

I think that many people who strive to be great leaders are attracted to the power associated with being one, and forget about 'powers partner', responsibility.

A sense of responsibility is what separates good leaders from great leaders. Being a great leader is hard work. Great leaders strive for infallibility, and are constantly in the pursuit of knowledge. They work harder, longer and smarter than anyone else - they have to. No one will be led by someone that works fewer hours and knows less, and rightfully so.

Just because someone has stepped into a position of leadership, it doesn't mean that people will blindly follow their lead, nor should they - like trust and respect, it needs to be earned. You can't ask of others what you are not willing to do yourself. Great leaders inspire others to follow by having a vision, and each and every day, working the shit out of that vision. They don't shirk their responsibility, they own it.

In the words of Robert Brault, 'You can awaken each day to obligations you never chose - or you can decide now to choose them'.

~ Sasha

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Understand marketing.

Tell yourself the same lie for long enough and you will start to believe it. The same goes for others and it better because business marketing depends on it! So what happens when people start to think for themselves and outside of the box? They win. And they win big.

A fairly successful man was quoted as saying ‘I normally do the exact opposite of what everyone else does. When they buy (based on greed) I’m selling and when they sell (based on panic) I’m buying. Warren Buffet. Another recognizable figure stated something to the effect of ‘intelligent people make & base decisions on facts, not emotions’ Bill Gates. I think these two have reached a level where their advice could be deemed credible and what’s synonymous with all successful people, is the fact they’ve usually achieved it by doing something different than the rest of us.

It may seem hard to accept the reality that phone company cares much less about your well being than it does upgrading you to 3G’s over a 5 year term, $400 for a pair of jeans is just stupid or car brands aren’t truthfully interested in making you feel relevant as much as they want you to just buy the damn car. The ‘you deserve a break today, no money down & don’t pay a cent until... and most famous 90’s mantra: “the lifestyle you’ve earned” are nothing more than marketing ploys that appeal to your emotions in order to get you to spend your money on that brand. They actually do not care about you. (Sorry). But year after year, after year some of us line up like sheep and spend on what's 'in'(to the tune of accruing the biggest personal debt in over a century). Anyone connecting the dots?

Here’s a taste of reality that’s less than the ‘OMG’ $500 bottle of Sauvignon [crushed grapes]: the American Dream wasn’t meant to be purchased. It was meant to be earned. Tune out the noise, know what you need and prioritize what you want.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Vancouver marathon by Ivan M.

As I reflect on the Vancouver Marathon, and think of the thousands of people enduring the same discipline, on the same course, at the same time – I ask myself: what’s it all about?

To me, running, especially running in an event,
 is all about people.


Think about it:

-The hundreds of people running alongside you – and the current of quiet motivation that flows with them.

-The friend running with you – whether you’ve known them for 5 years, or met them 5km in – the camaraderie is the same.

-The massive support crew - handing off water, Gatorade, or gels as you haul along

-The crowd – bringing moments of effortless energy as you see and hear them cheer

-Those “back home” - they may think you’re crazy, they care to hear of your experience.

The friend or loved one who came out to support you – Providing practical help on race day – someone who is putting themselves out there for you, taking their time: waiting, cheering, watching for you on the race course. They call out your name, they believe in you, they are inspired by you.

-YOU, as in ME, as in 
SELF – proud but not puffed up, disciplined in caring for yourself with planning, training, nutrition, sleep, rest, all the race prep items and finally, the run itself: one step at a time, one foot in front of the other; the gradual push, the constant fueling; the mental fortitude, the perseverance; through the pain, through each drop of sweat and rain; fighting to believe in yourself, from start to finish.

Monday, May 03, 2010

We All Need to Continue Learning

Experts are dime-a-dozen. Trust me.

On every street corner, you're going to find people who are "experts" in something - and it seems that more and more of them are talking out of their backsides, and actually have no idea. In fact, these people are usually individuals who have, through some series of events, found themselves to be successful in some sort of venture (financial, athletic, etc), which may be the result of natural talent, some hard work or, quite frankly, luck. But whatever it is that got them there, these "experts" usually turn around and start preaching their "system" as the be-all and end-all approach.

But here's the rub - they may not always be right. Or worse, they may actually be wrong. There's always the possibility that, if they'd done something a different way, their natural talent would have gotten them there even faster. Or alternatively, that they accomplished something to a lesser degree than they could have if they'd followed a different system.

In my experience, I've found that anyone who calls themselves an "expert" - is usually the farthest thing from it. Personally? I prefer to learn from "teachers".

"Teachers" are not infallible - and they know it. Teachers have their own mentors, and continue to be "students of the game" - still involved with what they're teaching, always listening to alternative ideas, examining different approaches, and seeking others' opinions in an effort to advance their own knowledge and experience. As well - they speak with humility, and a recognition of their limits - thereby making what they are teaching you that much more valuable.

It is because of this that I try to enter every situation, every conversation and every debate with as open a mind as possible - because even if I vehemently disagree with the other opinion, there is always something to be learned.

The last thing I ever want to be is an "expert" - but every day, I try to learn how to be a better teacher.


Sunday, May 02, 2010

The point of no return.

hardest word in the world is change. change requires the intelligence to alter a course of action, behavior or habit before it reaches the point of no return. we see daily examples of people conditioned & content to repeat the same behaviors, habits and practices while expecting a different outcome.

there will not be a different outcome.

running away leads us to the same PONR…. somewhere else. blaming leads to the same PONR….. someone else. managing the symptom vs. addressing the source is nothing more than a pee break, gas up and snickers bar before we get right back on the road to no return……something else.

if you’re ever wondering “why is this happening to me?” it’s likely directly related to your inability to understand, embrace and /or create change.

change is defined by actions like vision, confidence, thinking, planning, acceptance & patience all of which are counter intuitive to the actions we advocate; chaos, dependency, reaction, impatience & intolerance. each day we perpetuate the latter is a day we inch closer to the gravity & reality of the consequences of our poor decision making.

there are a minority who realize the spoken words. those who realize the severity of the existing climate. those who see the cliff at the end of the road to no return many are rushing to drive off . that minority will always have an abundance of options vs. only two…

change or die.