Friday, July 30, 2010
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Today would be as good a day as any to question our perceptions.
When you go to work, is it 1 more day suffered through before retirement, or is it one more opportunity to add to a legacy, knowing one day you might miss where you are right now?
When you consider what you want to achieve for your own happiness, do you make this calculation as though you are an island, or do you consider how you contribute to others' happiness as a direct contributor to your own happiness, knowing we're all connected?
When you finish reading this, do you shift immediately to the next email or task, and resume 'autopilot'; or are you going to take a moment to allow a difference in perspective to sink in and potentially improve your habits? Will you spend the rest of the day in the rat race, or will you do 1 thing that will make you remember today as worth waking up for?
When you approach conflict, do you get louder and louder, and firmer and firmer in your view; or do you decide to be the bigger person and take Steven Covey's advice and "seek first to understand?"
Basically, can you connect the dots and realize that we are all connected, or do you cause disconnect in relationships (and even in your very health) by disconnecting yourself from others through your actions, views, and how you approach others?
Just as the picture above can be interpreted in 2 almost opposite ways, it is very possible that in times of conflict, there is another valid (possibly better) way of doing things. Our ability to see it is limited to our willingness to consider seeing it.
Monday, July 26, 2010
So it was, that for the first few weeks of school, I would often just sit and sob for the entire school day. I feel badly for my teacher (Mrs. Helpling - if you're out there I'm sorry about this) - it couldn't have been easy to deal with... but I have absolutely no recollection of her ever losing her temper.
Now, on one day in particular (and the reason for this post), I actually hit a point of such complete misery (for a six year old, anyway), that I didn't even make it to school. I stopped on a bridge (I still remember this quite clearly) and sat on my bike bawling. I also remember a car pulling up, and a man getting out and starting to walk towards the corner store, doing a sort of double-take as he went in. On his way out - he saw I was still sitting there; he dropped his purchases in his car and walked over to me. "What's wrong, buddy?" he asked. I just cried. I don't even know if I was coherent.
"Do you live around here?" he asked. I was able to nod. "Okay - let's get you home. Why don't you show me where you live...". To which, against all previous instructions and warnings... I did.
Well, as badly as this story could have turned out, it didn't. I walked my bike, crying all the way, and he escorted me back home. My mom virtually jumped out of her skin when she saw me walk up with a stranger, but he just said "Hi - your son was crying on the bridge, and I thought I should get him home before something bad happened...". There was a flurry after this - my mom called the school, who got me an appointment with the counselor, who reiterated what a knuckle-headed idea it was to go anywhere with strangers, and how lucky I was to have met one of the nice people, and not one of the bad ones. And this brings me to the point of this post.
In all of the rush and confusion of my bad choice, my emotional state, making sure I learned my lesson from all of this - I don't know if the guy who got me home safe was ever thanked. He certainly wasn't by me...
So I'd like to do my best to rectify it. I don't know who he was, and realize the likelyhood of him reading this is pretty remote - but hey, less-likely things have happened. On the off-chance he is reading, or someone who knows him is - I would like to take this chance to thank him. For getting me home safe, for getting to me before someone who might have wanted to do me harm...
Basically, for being one of the good guys. Thank you.
Friday, July 23, 2010
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Champions in business, sport; heck - in life- always look to get better. That is why feedback, and the ability to give and receive it - are so important. Feedback has been called, "the Breakfast of Champions".
Ver batum, our stance on feedback is as follows;
The Feedback Cycle
1. Fighting: Taking personally/ not taking ownership (personal accountability) – ignoring the message because of who it comes from or your interpretation of their intentions
2. Blaming: Justify/ Rationalize – blaming someone else or giving excuses for why you did this or failed to do that.
3. Implementing: Subconsciously – on a barely conscious level following the advice or systems
4. Results: Begrudgingly – hating to admit that your boss, co-worker, or even parents- were right. Seeing results through a process that you fought but now begin to see may be true after all.
5. Advocacy: agreeing/ telling others/ showing others. – following systems A – Z and reaping the benefits; teaching others how to do so.
At all times we must be advocates or else we limit our own and others' growth. They won't accept the straight goods if we can't, because we won't be delivering it properly and tying the feedback away from the person and into the performance only.
Types of Feedback
1. Positive Reinforcement: “Great job on client retention John, you hit 100% client retention this past term because you were so consistent following the systems”
2. Constructive Criticism: “The reason your client retention was 75% John is not because you’re not a good personal trainer; it’s because you didn't follow systems and your clients had no direction (ie program) or destination to inspire them to train and stay. This is why the systems are so important – it’s not just about our personalities it’s about providing a tangible, proven plan of attack”
3. Negative Feedback: “John 75% retention sucks – that was a terrible job and you better shape up!”
You will only receive (and we only tolerate hearing) the 1st 2 kinds of feedback. If you ever receive negative feedback, please inform your manager. If for some reason it is from your manager, ascend the ‘chain of command’ until you can discuss what has happened and why and ensure you are at all times a) challenged b) supported c) learning and growing and d) treated with respect.
Feedback makes us better, period. We grow largely through our ability to improve giving and receiving feedback. On a great team, anyone can give anyone else feedback without fear of ‘pulling rank’ or being seen as a ‘pot-stirrer’. Championship teams concern themselves with solutions (feedback) not blame (pointing the finger).
If more people learned to accept, even ASK FOR feedback - the speed, effectiveness, profitability, productivity, and even enjoyment of our businesses, our teams, our relationships, and our lives flourish. Like all great lessons, feedback is meant to be shared. Knowledge that is not shared - dies with you, and that is not leadership. Go be better, and help make somebody else better today too.
Monday, July 19, 2010
"What's the best way for me to lose weight?"
At this point, I tell them that it's actually quite simple - eat better.
From here, the responses go from denial ("But I eat well") to justification ("I'm just too busy to plan my diet") to blame ("Oh, my wife/husband eat badly, so I wind up eating badly too").
The truth is, I have a response to each and every one of these - but out of social courtesy and/or a effort to be inspirational rather than demotivational, I don't point out that they're all just excuses. See, the thing is, while some might argue that they are doing everything right but they just can't lose weight - if there's a medical cause, they could find out by seeing their doctor.
But most don't even check, because that would take away their excuses.
Or, if it's genetics, the simple answer is that while this may contribute anywhere from 25-40% of their potential - they can still take control over the majority of it themselves. Some people will simply have to work harder than others for the same result - but hey, that's life.
The problem is, people want an easy solution - one that's not there. Even as a trainer, while I can help you get stronger and faster, help improve your cardiovascular health, balance and flexibility - when it comes to weight loss, if you don't eat properly, you're not going to see the changes in your body composition that you want. Which is why the title of this post is a question, and one that you need to answer honestly before you ask me what you need to do to lose weight - because you might not like the answer I have for you.
So - how far are you willing to go?
Flagel, Katherine M., Carroll, Margeret D., Ogden, Cynthia L., and Johnson, Clifford L. (2002). "Prevalence and Trends in Obesity Among U.S. Adults 1999-2000." Journal of the American Medical Association 288(14):1723-1727
Friday, July 16, 2010
Monday, July 12, 2010
But I'm not writing this to operate as a tourism advertisement for Alberta. No, rather to address something that happened with regular occurrence. You'll note the sign I took a picture of to the right - and where it says "Please Stay on Path", followed up with pictures of staying off the dinosaurs. Now, have a look at this picture, taken moments later in the same place:
Yes, you're seeing correctly. An entire family of tourists, climbing all over the rocks that they've been clearly asked to stay off of, behind the fencing, while other families below are trying to explain why the others are up there when they have to stay on the path. What makes this worse is that, not only are all of these kids up there - so is Dad, with Mom taking pictures and telling them where to put themselves.
If one of the parents of this family happens to be reading this - or someone who's behaved similarly - I have a question for you: are you completely ignorant, or just that selfish?
See, it's people like you who ruin and eliminate possible experiences for future generations. You and your like are the reason that the rest of us can no longer see Angkor Wat up close, can't climb the pyramids of Chichen Itza, can't explore Stonehenge... the list of things you've vandalized and destroyed simply through your self-serving and egocentric behaviour goes on and on. These rules aren't in place to oppress you and your freedoms - they're there to ensure that others can continue to enjoy these experiences long after your gone. And you're taking this from them. Seriously - shame on you.
In fact, on behalf of all the people of the world who have not, and never will, experience these things because of behaviour similar to what is seen in the picture above...
Thanks for nothing.
Friday, July 09, 2010
For those of you that watched the So You Think You Can Dance results show last night, you would have heard one of the judges, Mia Michaels, apologizing to contestant AdeChike Tolbert. The evening prior, she had offered a particularly harsh and controversial critique of his performance which created quite an uproar with both the audience, and viewers.
I'm not sure what happened behind the scenes from the time she made the comment to her apology, however, assuming she wasn't asked to apologize, I appreciate her taking the time to do so last night. It showed strength of character - it takes courage to admit you were wrong, especially in front of millions of viewers.
Furthermore, the contestant who had previously appeared broken in spirit seemed visibly lifted and relieved. It's never easy to apologize but it's always worthwhile. Something to keep in mind the next time you make a mistake, or someone is looking to make amends with you.
Monday, July 05, 2010
Now, I know there will be people (likely from Grouse Mountain) who say "This is the first increase in 13 years" and "they simply need to stay on top of costs" - which yes, I get. My issue isn't the price increase, but how much it has increased. First off, unless they are now paying the employees double what they were being paid in 1997, and all other costs have increased by 100% over the same time - this increase is out of whack. I understand that they need to match inflation (though I think this increase is completely out of whack with it, but then, I'm not an economist) and that price increases are inevitable. Maybe they handled it badly - small, incremental increases every two years, with a note about "why" to maintain transparency, etc....all of these things would have helped.
But frankly, that's not what I find disappointing. What really troubles me is that by doubling this cost, we're creating an even larger obstacle to the people of British Columbia getting themselves into shape. At $5, you could hike a family of four up to the top and come down again for only $20. Pack a healthy lunch from home, and this is an unbelievably healthy way t spend an entire afternoon - and for only $20. You can't even get two full tickets to the movies for $20...
The point is, the BC government needs to be looking at situations like these as opportunities to really make a difference. I would much rather see my tax money be used in a pro-active way like subsidizing the Grouse Grind, rather than being spent reactively to help people who have already developed Type II diabetes or heart disease because of inactivity, smoking and poor eating.
Now, before I get angry emails about health care for all, I'm not suggesting we, as a society should only be looking after people who are active, healthy and eat properly (although, ironically, these are also the same people who don't need as much help). No, what I'm saying is that maybe, just maybe, if our province's (and the whole country's, in fact) politicians would just start thinking a) outside the box, and b) forward, then maybe we'd have more people who fall under the "healthy" category, and therefore have to spend less money reactively.
Reactive health care isn't working - it costs us more and more each year, and we continue to fall behind. Maybe the proactive approach wouldn't save us money - maybe it would cost the same - but then we'd have a whole province/country of fit, active and healthy individuals for the exact same price.
I'd still be happy with that....