Friday, December 31, 2010

Make yourself heard.

Lets start with the qualifier that we believe ‘perfection’ to be a subjective measure. Despite this reality, people seem to constantly chase ‘perfect’ and in doing so are reminded of how difficult the process can be. Add volunteers and youth sport into the mix and you’ve got a recipe for chaos. Some parents seem to be either way out in left field or way out in right field and are easily distracted by opinions driven by emotional biases and/or worse self interests.

This year, two examples came up during our youth sport experience. 1 little league baseball & the other rep league hockey. Only one of the examples adversely affected our families experience, yet both examples warranted us asking the tough questions to those in positions of authority. While we are not ‘that family’ who feels the sun rises and sets on the backs of their children. Having said that we’re also not ‘the other family’ who talks a big game, rallies the troops on the sidelines.... And actually does nothing about it. We feel there is great lessons in adversity & we also feel it’s fair practice to bring issues directly and only to those who can solve them.

The approach is not a tirade or series of baseless accusations, threats and the like. It’s questions based on information provided by the league that (for some reason) have not / are not being followed, that adversely affect the kids.

People don’t like feedback. Period. Few people want to hear they are doing a sub par job or they are not doing what they said they were going to do. In both instances, our requests for clarity were not immediately returned. This forced the decision to follow it up... Or “let it slide”. We are not those people who “let it slide”. Upon further requesting it became apparent the ‘we welcome your feedback’ statement was more of a formality than reality. Yet we persisted all the way up the chain in getting answers to our very simple questions. Months later, after finally getting on the in front of the powers that be, apologies were issued and long term changes were made to the systems in place in order it functioned as it was intended to function.

Nothing dramatic here, but one can’t help but ask what the result would have been had we not kept pursuing this course of action?

It’s important in any case like this, that one makes themselves heard. Best way is to lay out the concerns in a reasonable manner, present it to those in power, request a phone or face to face meeting and follow up. Complaining in the stands, to other friends, or worse yet doing nothing is not being in left or right field – it’s not even being on the field. In this instance, youth sport requires money, hence there is a level of accountability associated with it’s implementation. In any instance, if what you has been articulated / promised is not being implemented, we must stand up and say something to those who need to be accountable.

Remember no one’s ‘perfect’ but any organization that aspires to be better than average is going to appreciate it.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Why Leadership, Winning, and Success are all the time or none of the time

Innovative Thinking is coming to you late tonight folks, and for that I apologize, however it presents an opportunity for a lesson...

Do what you say you're going to for no other reason than because you said you were going to.

Leadership, Winning, and Success (could all be considered the same thing but do have different connotations) are all ALL-IN, ALL-OF-THE-TIME things.

How many people want to be successful at work and miserable at home?
How many people can afford to be great parents but not pay the bills?
How many people would trade finances for life experiences?
How many claim to want all of the above, but don't plan, work for it, or understand let alone demonstrate that to be great in one area requires sacrifice in at least a few others?

In my humble definition, success means being happy with what you have, with where you're headed, with who you're with, and most of all being able to look yourself in the mirror in the pursuit of all of the above.

By this definition, you cannot go "all in" in one aspect of your life, and then 'switch off' in others. The principles of success, if they've truly been applied, transcend the platform within which they're being exerted in any given moment of time.

That's why you can somehow make more money being a philanthropist
that's why you have more energy even if you expend a lot of it exercising
that's why if you've learned to do one thing well it becomes so much easier to do the next thing well.

The saying "it takes money to make money" is wrong (in most cases). That is the viewpoint of the pessimist justifying "why not me". A better saying is "success begets success".

And why? Because the only true path to success is to take your lumps, sacrifice, struggle, seek outside council of those you deem successful, and to dive in with both feet never allowing failure to become an option.

If you really did that at work, could it even be a possibility that you'd allow yourself to be a less than great mom or a sub-par brother?

I don't think so.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Legal blood doping for athletes!

I am not talking about the blood doping we have heard and read so much about over the last few decades to promote endurance performance, but rather a method to treat soft tissue injuries that are traditionally very challenging to heal.

This method is known as Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) therapy, and has been found to be very effective in
stimulating recovery in non-healing injuries, for example Achilles tendon injuries. Although not 100% clinically proven, it has been found to speed up the healing from soft tissue injury as the platelet component is full of healing factors

Platelets, found in the blood, are introduced to stimulate a supra-physiologic release of growth factors in an attempt to jump start healing in chronic injuries. Growth factors found in the bodies blood, release a supra-maximal quantity of these growth factors to stimulate recovery in non-healing injuries.

Examples of these Growth Factors include:

Platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF)
  • Stimulates cell replication
  • Promotes angiogenesis
  • Promotes epithelialization
  • Promotes granulation tissue formation
Transforming growth factor (TGF)
  • Promotes formation of extracellular matrix
  • Regulates bone cell metabolism
Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)r
  • Promotes angiogenesis
Epidermal growth factor (EGF)
  • Promotes cell differentiation and stimulates: re-epithelialisation, angiogenesis and collagenase activity
Fibroblast growth factor (FGF)
  • Promotes proliferation of endothelial cells and fibroblasts
  • Stimulates angiogenesis
The process of PRP is a fairly simple one: doctors basically take some of your own blood, run it through a centrifuge and then pull out the platelet rich part from the top and re-inject it into the damaged tissue.

It is clear that PRP provides a promising alternative to surgery by promoting safe and natural healing. Great news for anyone suffering from that nagging soft tissue injury.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Follow Up

Okay, so this is truly not meant to be an inflammatory or provocative blog - hardly. I just spent a wonderful holiday with my immediate family, and this always leaves me so, so rested and peaceful.
No, rather, just a reflective follow up on a blog I entered a few weeks ago, wherein I argued that although the phenomemon of "slacktevism" definitely has a down side, the up side is the increased awareness that may (or may not) generate an increase in actual activity. This raised quite a debate, which is good - similar to the aforementioned slacktevism, or the oldest cliche in Hollywood - no PR is bad PR.
And that brings me to this final note that I received from the Kids Help Phone:
Thank you for your donation to Kids Help Phone in response to the recent Facebook campaign to stop child abuse. Please know that your commitment to the Kids Help Phone is truly making a tremendous difference to the hundreds of thousands of children and youths who reach out for help and hope every year.
If you have any questions about how your donation is being used please feel free to contact me at *** *** *****, or via email at jennifer********************.
Sincerely, Jennifer Sheppard
So this year, remember - every little bit helps, and every action needs to start with the smallest push... the more of us who take a chance to be that push, the more likely it is to happen.
Happy New Year - now let's go out and do good.

Friday, December 24, 2010

'Most of the time ...'

On a day to day basis, I hear a lot of reasons why people aren't able to get what they want and I have started to notice a trend which starts with the phrase, 'most of the time ...'. To me, 'most of the time ...' means about 70 percent of the time.

It's above average but it's not enough to get you what you want. If you want to see results, you need work harder than 70 percent. Can you imagine a professional athlete complaining that they don't understand why they are not winning games, when they are working hard 'most of the time ...'?

It's laughable, but so many of us use that phrase and fail to understand that hard work is hard work, not some of the time but all of the time. If you ever want to see results whether it be in fitness or your life than you will need to work harder than 'most of the time ...'.

~ Sasha

Top Ten Tips for Time Crunched Athletes

Let’s face it - the number one problem that we all have with sticking to a program is TIME – there never seems to be enough of it. What it really boils down to is time management.

If you are committed to your goal, and if it is challenging enough, your priorities will shift and you will find the time to get in the mileage. Challenge is the key here because without it commitment will be tough.

The best piece of advice that I can give endurance athletes is that it is always better to arrive at the start line well rested and under trained, versus over trained and over reached.

So if you are going to start training for your next event late into the game - ie after Christmas, this would be my advice for you;

  1. Get a heart rate monitor so that you know what energy systems you are training.
  2. Your first priority in endurance sport is building your aerobic engine (zone 2 and 3) – do not miss the long slow distance workouts (Z2) – it builds your ability to burn fat as a fuel.
  3. Get the quality workouts in when time is short – the midweek interval sessions (Z4/5a). Use your heart rate monitor to make sure that you are working around your anaerobic threshold on harder efforts. You need race pace practice, but don’t over do it – cut warm up and cool down time around the efforts.
  4. Start slow -make sure to increase your long days gradually – mileage or time.
  5. Back to back long days are great for boosting endurance on race day.
  6. If you build your total weekly hours to twice your predicted race time you will have plenty of mileage in your legs for the event.
  7. Do not skip the resistance training (gym) sessions – they improve your ability to produce force/power, and they improve resistance to injury.
  8. Practice fueling and hydrating in all training sessions with what you plan to race with – how many calories, grams of sodium, liquids or solids, how will you carry it all?
  9. Do not under fuel - track your daily calorie intake to make sure you are getting enough to support your training – Daily Plate on is a good resource for this. Also make sure that you are getting 2-300 calories per hour while training also – individual needs may vary so dial it in with practice
  10. Use the 30-60 minute window after all training sessions to replenish your glycogen stores – a 4:1 ratio of carbs to protein works best – chocolate milk!

If you want more training tips feel free to contact me –

Train smart – get a program and stick to it to maximize the efficiency of your training time!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Today's Most Important Item of Business is...


It's Christmas in 3 days and while work still needs to get done - time waits for no one and your happiness is your responsibility. Steve Jobs asks himself, "If I knew I was going to die today, would I be happy with what I have planned?" - and if you say 'NO' more than a few days in a row... it's time to make a change.

It's time to do something, anything, even 5 zenful minutes - for you and those you care about.

Get away from your desk or phone, get some fresh oxygen in those lungs, and be thankful for what (and who) you have in your life. Now get busy showing your appreciation!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Fatigue and performance

From my days of playing sports at school, the topic of fatigue is one that has always interested me.

I can remember at one especially tough rugby practice trying to better grasp why, even though I was in fairly good condition, I was still puffing and panting, my muscles were on fire and my brain was trying to force me to quit.

As I progressed through my university years of studying I developed a better appreciation and understanding of the mechanisms of fatigue - better known as the theory of Peripheral fatigue.

Peripheral fatigue states that as the body works harder, certain physiological changes take place leading to distress and fatigue and ultimately a decrease in the level of performance. The accepted reason for this fatigue was said to be an increasing concentration of Hydrogen ions, causing an increase in the bodies acidity levels.

This led to muscles "shutting down" or not functioning as they should - commonly experienced as a sensation of heavy, tight and tingling muscles throughout the body - mostly in the arms and the legs.

This paradigm has been accepted for decades, but now there is a another school of thought. It is called the theory of Central fatigue.

In simple terms, the theory suggests that fatigue during athletic activities is actually regulated by a center in the brain, which is where the information from both the external and the internal environment is .

The external environment includes factors such as temperature, humidity, altitude, while the internal environment includes factors such as: level of hydration, fatigue state, glycogen store levels and more.

A continuous stream of information is gathered by the bodies many receptors and then sent to the brain, where it is integrated, evaluated and assessed.

The result: the amount of output (watts, beats per minute, minutes per mile etc) being produced by the body is closely monitored and controlled to avoid a "catastrophic" event taking place for example: death, in the most extreme situations, or not completing a race.

(Click on image to enlarge it)

The central "governor" aims to ensure the bodies survival under the many challenging situations we are faced with every day.

Something which has intrigues me to this day is the bodies ability to moderate and adjust levels of output through the course of an activity.

At the start of a race, an analysis of data acquired via our bodies various receptors, provides information necessary for this "governor" to make subconscious calculations as to what it will allow you to do.

It will, for example, allow you to run an 8:30 / mile, for 13 miles, because your level of training is sufficient, you are hydrated and your energy stores are optimal. The temperature is not to high or low and the humidity just right.

As you move through the course, continuous feedback reveals you are not under any dire physiological, psychological or anatomical distress, and with 5 miles to run, you feel capable of increasing the pace to 7:30 / mile.

1 mile to go and pick up the pace to 6:30 / per mile.

The mind feels comfortable that for 1 mile you will not sustain any catastrophic damage running at 6:30 / per mile. Would you be able to run at 6:30 / mile for 13 miles? All things considered likely not - and the mind is 100% cognitive of this.

This is how we are able to "kick" at the end of race and elevate our performance to beyond the output we were doing at the outset of the race.

As we study the body in more depth over the coming years I am positive new theories and facts will certainly surface giving us an even better understanding of the relationship between fatigue and human performance.

Monday, December 20, 2010

You Get Back What You Put In

Okay, I'll start off by acknowledging that something is better than nothing. I realize that in your mind, you're probably thinking that this is how you can make exercise tolerable, but seriously - if you're reading while you're walking on the treadmill, you're probably doing a pretty bad job of both.

It's frustrating to me when people say they're willing to do "whatever it takes" to succeed at something... but in fact, what they're willing to do is everything except what will really make a difference... because that's usually the hard part.

Like the healthy guy who uses the elliptical because he doesn't like running - but what he doesn't like about running is that it's hard, and he can just glide away on the elliptical. Or the girl who tells you she'll add in three more days of exercise to fit into her vacation outfit - but won't give up the drive-through food because she just doesn't have time.

Anything that's worth getting needs to be worked for - earned. If it's hard to achieve, then it's that much more worthwhile an effort. Stop looking for the easy way - there isn't one. Maybe if we, as a society, can accept this... then nonsense like the "Shake Weight" or "Hip Hop Abs" will finally find their place at the bottom of the trash heap where they belong.

"Anything worth having, one must pay the price; and the price is always work, patience, love and self-sacrifice." ~ John Burroughs (1837-1921)

Couldn't have put it any better myself.


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A Year of Paid Education

It has been said merges fail on culture much more often than on concept.
Tomorrow will be exactly one year since my business partner and I decided to merge with another company with a very similar vision, one that demonstrated great care for people.

They had great people... we had great people
They had a clear vision... we had a clear vision
They treated their team with respect & care... we treated ours with respect & care
They had clear difference makers within their target market... as did we.

Yet for all the aligning principles, for how much sense it made on paper, for how much it made 'common sense' great people would come together to find a common purpose...

We were right... and the amount of extra work, unforeseen resignations, tough decisions, fires to put out... they have all been nothing short of overwhelming.

We are now positioned to release a great, multi-faceted and comprehensive service offering unique to our industry come Jan 4th... however not without great sacrifice and many tough lessons.

Imagine if we were wrong.

The point of today's entry is not to promote our new business, nor is to write a "how-to" in merging similar businesses (I don't profess to have that advice).

Today I am sharing how much work it is if you do your due diligence, put your personal and family finances at risk, sacrifice time away from family and friends, and force yourself to grow as a leader (even in a case where the two merging businesses had a combined 45 years of expertise). It is an enormous amount of work if you have a great vision, a great plan, great skill, and great opportunity.

People have quit, people have been laid off, budgets have been cut, and changes made to the plan JUST TO GET TO THE START LINE.

But that's what it takes to be successful. Just wanting something doesn't make it so. Saying you want to make more in no way, shape, or form, entitles you to it.
Earning it is the only way that's possible, through hard, smart work, applied over time.

You can either view me as the scrooge delivering this message, or realize the longer you fight this reality, the harder it will be to get where you want to be when you do start swimming upstream.

Life isn't fair, and it's only getting more competitive... but having said that we can all get busy sharpening our axes, or continue hitting trees with a dull blade wondering why we're falling further and further behind.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The world is getting bigger

We have been bombarded by statistics concerning the rate of obesity in North America. Over the last 2 decades an extremely disturbing trend of increasing caloric consumption and decreasing amounts of physical activity has led to an explosion in the size of population.

It is interesting that the results of a new study by the European Commission and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (E.C.D), found in a research study called Health at a Glance Europe 2010 report, is recommending that European kids learn to eat better and become more physically active.

The reason for this study and publication: The research found that the incidence of obesity had more than doubled over the past 20 years, in most EU member states, and that just over 50 percent of Europeans are now either classified as overweight or obese.

The report also found that only 1 in 5 children is physically active and the majority of these children are between the ages of 11 and 15.

There is a direct correlation between children who are obese or overweight and an increased risk of various health related issues during adulthood, such as:
  • suffering from poor health later in life
  • developing heart disease
  • developing diabetes
  • suffering from some forms of cancer, arthritis, asthmaa
  • reduced quality of life
  • premature death.
According to BBC, the five "fattest" countries include the UK and Ireland:

Five "WORST" countries:
  • UK - 24.5% of adults are obese
  • Ireland - 23%
  • Malta - 22.3%
  • Iceland - 20.1%
  • Luxembourg - 20%
Five "BEST" countries
  • Romania - 7.9%
  • Switzerland - 8.1%
  • Italy - 9.9%
  • Norway - 10%
  • Sweden - 10.2%
This is extremely worrying because the issue of obesity and weight gain has now become a world wide epidemic.

Africa and the far east too populations facing obesity and other weight relates issues
A United Nations conference stated that diseases such as diabetes and obesity are becoming as great a cause for concern for the African continent as malnutrition.

Research suggests that more than one-third of African women and a quarter of African men are overweight.

We need to accept responsibility for our health and wellness, but more importantly, we need to guide our children, providing them with the understanding, the tools and the skills to better manage their health, wellness and body composition.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Don't Make a Resolution...

...make a promise. To yourself.

Then ask yourself what you're willing to do - how much are you willing to give up or sacrifice to get what you want? Be realistic - understand what needs to be done, then figure out what you want to do.

We see it every day in the gym. People want to get in shape, so into the gym they go. They work through set after set of exercise, they run miles in the rain, they flip tires, throw medballs, climb mountains... BUT... they keep eating badly.

Then they do another fitness assessment. And they're faster, stronger, more coordinated, more flexible, more balanced... but they still weigh the same. And their waist is the same size. So they start asking how they can be working so hard, and not losing weight? And they start to look for someone or something to blame ("Obviously my program needs to be changed", or "Well, life's just to stressful for me to worry about counting calories"). And they just get more and more frustrated, fall off the exercise wagon, and three months later they've actually gained weight, lost their cardiovascular/strength/mobility/agility/coordination... and they are more unhappy than when they started.

So I've started laying the truth out for people right from the start. When they've told me that their goal is weight loss (or... *shudder*... to get a six pack), then the first thing I'll ask them is this: what are you willing to do? Usually they'll start listing off all the exercise that they're going to start doing... but rare is the individual that says "I'm going to change my eating completely". To which my response is "What's more important to you - changing your body composition, or maintaining your current lifestyle"? Because the harsh reality is - you can't do both. And if you're not willing to make that one, significant change... then you're not going to get the one thing that you really want.
So look towards 2011, and maybe start now by shifting your paradigm. Just like you have to work to make money, you have to work to lose weight... and it's not in the 3hrs of exercise that you make the greatest progress. It's in the other 165hrs of the week. Remember, as Denis Waitley said - Life is not accountable to us... we are accountable to life.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Fundamentals First

The truth could not be simpler when it comes to beginning a new training program. It does not matter if you are an elite athlete looking to improve performance in your sport, or if you are completely new to exercise. The reality is that it is human nature to want focus on developing our strengths instead of addressing what we are not effective at.

Consider this – the purpose of training is to;

  1. Improve efficiency (skill or movement based)
  2. Improve durability/prevent injury
  3. Improve performance

Where do we always gravitate to immediately? Performance, which usually translates as strength and power exercises.

But where do we begin then? How do we establish a starting point?

The answer lies in understanding the foundation of human performance – functional movement.

The requirements are simple – please read carefully because these are the fundamentals of movement and therefore training;

  1. Mobility – which includes joint ROM and muscle extensibility
  2. Stability
  3. Proprioception

Our bodies were designed to work as a stack of joints from the ground up with an alternating pattern of stability and mobility.

When dysfunction disrupts this pattern we develop movement inefficiency and compensations. This leads to micro trauma and pain with the volume and repetition of movement.

Injuries are the result and these do not get anyone to the start line. And guess what? The higher the level of the athlete the greater the stakes – athletes are mentally driven, physically strong, and frequently have higher pain thresholds. This is a recipe for pushing through compensations until something gives

What if we could objectively screen for these dysfunctional patterns, and then work on correcting them before we move into strength and power work?

Clearly we would be able to reduce the incidence of pain and injury, right?

But we would also get the benefit of free speed with improved movement efficiency. That dear reader is improved performance.

So why then are we so quick to skip over the fundamentals when we are looking to improve performance?

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Who are you marketing to?

Start Point: You have something to say
Step 2: you identify who you want to say it to
Step 3: You start to ask what is the best way to reach those you're interested in marketing to, and how best to language or present you efforts.
Step 4: You actually speak to/ phone/ email/ tweet/ Facebook/ etc the person(s) in question repeatedly and in a number of ways because we know leadership is often saying the same thing over & over again in different ways until it really sinks in.

Sounds simple.
Turns out it's a never ending process, and the reason why marketing consultants can cost a lot of money.

The fact is you can save time, frustration, money, even your business - if you can remember one important lesson.

Even if you haven't identified you target market properly...
Even if your languaging, branding, logo, and website need work...
Even if you get it all right...

In most companies the people responsible for most of your marketing, good or bad, don't have 'marketing' in their job title.

They are your employees... the lot of them. The ones who interact with customers every day, especially.

How do you market to your team?
Really, truly ask this question.
You cannot (and of course, should not) attempt to brainwash the team into saying what you want.
You cannot allow your team to trash the company in front of your customers if you happen to have disgruntled teammates working in the front lines.

So, what can you do?
Well, for starters, invest in your people. If they are to be invested in the company, the company must be invested in them. It must be a 2 way street.
Next, develop your people to the best of your abilities. Work with your team on their reasons for working with the company, their goals, and their talents, and make sure each is being developed to the best of your capabilities within your abilities & resources.
Next, develop your team to the best of the capabilities of those outside your business. Lululemon uses Landmark Forum. Even bringing in a guest speaker who is skilled in an area you are not is a great initiative.
Lastly (in the space we have today) make them part of the process. A good idea that has the momentum of the team is always better than an idea of equal or even better quality that has no legs. Not to mention - who's to guarantee the boss has the best ideas?

The more heads the better
The more mouths (saying the same thing in different ways) the better
The more opportunities for success as a result of both of these, the better.

Let your team do your marketing for you. Traditional marketing mediums do not carry nearly as much weight. An ad that runs in one paper on one page one day is nothing compared to a bought in teammate who is willing to tell a thousand stories to a thousand prospective customers.

So, who are you marketing to?

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Time for a little old school?

Admittedly I am from the old school where you said what you were going to do and then did what you said.
We were compensated on what we had brought to the table after we brought it. YEARS after we brought it.
We could look a man in the eye, shake his hand and proceed to give it our best.
We feared failing & being replaced. We had a collective goal, there was accountability and then follow up.
Six figure salaries were part of 20 year plans.

We were always active. We played outdoors, stayed out late and walked everywhere. We were not obese.
We grew what we ate, reaped what we sowed, took what we needed and shared with our neighbors
I called your dad mr. and those who I didn’t know sir.
I shook their hand hard while I looked them in the eye.
We communicated in english not short form consonants.
We spent time speaking with our parents nightly at dinner & hiking on weekends.

Things are a little different now and we’ve had to adapt. I’m willing to be flexible if you can prove the new system is better. Tell me how it's better because I'm just not seeing it.

I’ve heard hours of ‘big’ talk, followed by seconds of effort.
Seen huge front end payouts, and poor back end performance.
When times get tough there’s no, rolling up our sleeves. We pop in our headphones, power up the ds's, quit and sue.
We don’t fear or respect our parents, elders, superiors, managers, owners or leaders. “They work for us?”
We don't listen to those who’ve walked a mile in our shoes before us. We’ve got a better way based on ????

Technology was heralded as the ‘next best thing’ with the capability of bringing our world together.
Yet the world has NEVER before been so far apart. Rich & poor, religiously, idealistically, intellectually and politically
The American dream used to have to be earned through sweat equity. Now it can be downloaded, with low interest credit.
Once thriving ecosystems of forests, lands, waters, species, economies are being decimated by the get-miners.

If you can prove how it’s better, I’ll welcome your input, embrace your systems and follow your lead.
But things like unemployment, personal debt, divorce & bankruptsy can’t be at record highs with nations collapsing for the new way to be right.
Maybe there’s not supposed to be an ‘easier way’. Maybe there is something in the old school fundamentals.

WE are facing adversity.
Time for an OLD plan.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Everything Starts with Something Insignificant

Some of you out there may not be aware of it, but over the past few days there has been a little activity on Facebook. Someone, somewhere, got the idea that they might be able to start something by suggesting we take a collective stance against child abuse by changing our profile pictures to our favorite childhood cartoon character. Some of us did it, some didn't - and some decided that it was a good time to get up on their soapbox.

Frankly, there have been no end to the snide and self-righteous comments that have popped up, criticizing the entire process as a passive non-starter that accomplishes nothing - and while there's some validity to the comments, they are just as useless as those who changed the avatar and then did nothing else.

So let me ask - for those of you who chose to not post a cartoon character, how many of you put your money where your mouth is and actually made a contribution to an organzation that fights child abuse as a result? And for those of you who did change their picture, how many of you followed through with a donation? Personally, I feel that if even ONE person made a contribution that wouldn't have otherwise, then to all of the naysayers, guess what: it was a success. It's simply a matter of degree. Maybe next time this happens, five people that otherwise wouldn't think to donate are moved to do so... then ten, then a hundred, then a thousand, and so on... or not. Perhaps this is just a small step that goes no further - but its still a step, and its still more than there was the day before.

So for anyone who regularly contributes - thank you. For those who changed the picture AND made a contribution - thank you. For those who made smart-ass comments while not changing the picture but actually donated after all - ironically, the whole process still worked, so thank you. Finally, for those of you who did nothing but stand on the sidelines making comments - you still may have helped contribute to positive action by pushing the dialogue further.

Maybe we can all keep this in mind in the future, when we're next asked to change our profile picture to show support for a worthwhile cause... or wear a yellow bracelet, a black armband, a pink t-shirt, or just to make sure we wear jeans on a certain day... and not fall into one of two traps: either criticizing without action, or taking part in "slacktevisim"... doing some token action with absolutely no concrete follow through.

Change begins with awareness, but it seems to me that awareness without action is actually worse than inaction through ignorance...


Friday, December 03, 2010

Blown Tire Syndrome

If you had a flat tire on your car that caused you to pull off the road, delaying you from getting where you want to go, would you (a) fix the tire and get back on the road or (b) go around and flatten all the other tires making absolutely sure you would never get to your intended destination?

I was watching a lecture being given by Rachel Cosgrove, a fitness professional, the other day and she was discussing common nutritional set backs she sees time and again from her customers. She spoke about how many of them will come into the gym after the weekend and admit that they fell off the clean eating wagon. They started out with a plan of action to eat well, said plan was diverted, so they decided that instead of getting back on track the next day, that they would throw the plan out the window and eat their way through the rest of the weekend.

She called this blown tire syndrome: They blew one tire; they might as well blow them all! Not too logical. I imagine that most of you answered (a) to the question at the beginning, you would fix the tire and get back on the road. So why do so many of us do something that is so illogical, not only in terms of our nutrition but also our life. How many times have you experienced a setback and just given up on your plans because it was not working out the way you anticipated?

Next time you blow a tire, fix it and get back on the road to where you want to go instead of flattening all the other tires making absolutely sure you will never get to your intended destination.

~ Sasha

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Work for tomorrow, but love today

Let me begin today by asking you - yes, YOU - to take 10 seconds to look at the room you are sitting in right now. How much abundance is in your life right now? Are you sitting in a home you can afford to rent or own? Do you own the computer or smart phone you are reading this message off of? Are you lucky enough to have a job that lends you opportunities to computers you use for both personal and professional purposes?

Take another 10 seconds and ask yourself what you have to appreciate in your life right now.

So many books, courses, blogs, shows, etc are focused on how to get what you want.
How about today we take a moment to reflect on and appreciate what we already are fortunate enough to have?
Instead of focusing mental energy and planning strategy on "get" and "more"... it would do wonders for our sanity if we spent a bit more time on "keep" "give" and "appreciate".

Tomorrow is not guaranteed. If every day is spent sacrificing for the next, and every effort based on advancing oneself to be able to afford more consumer products... than we have missed the greatest gift we'll ever get. Do yourself and a friend a favor, pass this on, go get some oxygen outdoors (no matter the weather) and treat your body and your friends and family well... they're all part of the life you HAVE RIGHT NOW... which is the only thing you're guaranteed in life.

Maximize it, plan for improvement, but don't we dare miss out on what today has to offer us.