Monday, April 30, 2012
Friday, April 27, 2012
I cannot take credit for a single word written below (although, I wish I could). This was an amazing blog post written by Thomas Plummer last week. I just have one question for you after reading it, are you letting them get away with it?
Don showed up to the club everyday, six days a week and had been doing that for 11 years. He became a member the third month the club opened and he considered himself one of the original members in the club. The only day he missed was Sunday, and that was only because his wife said she would divorce him if he didn’t at least go to church with her once a week.
The group always met in the big chairs in front of the shake bar every morning. The average age of all the guys, which sometimes numbered as many as six, was about 60. Everyone in the gang ambled in for morning coffee around 6:30 a.m. carrying gym bags, or if they were retired, they sported every old, tired tee shirt and short combination imaginable. No one wore new stuff, unless it was after Christmas and you had to wear what your wife gave your for at least a week, because new stuff wasn’t as cool as wearing the same beat up workout shirt for 10 years in a row. There was status in a tee shirt that was old and most of the shirts were either acquired free or were from some long forgotten vacation.
These guys were gentlemen loved by the staff and the other members. If one missed, the group was concerned and if anyone needed help the gang was usually there moving furniture, helping with a home project or doing whatever was needed.
Sometimes these guys even worked out. Most of them did the same circuit, using the same reps and same weights, year after year. On off days, they all walked on the treads slowly talking to each other up and down the row, but never fast enough where you couldn’t hold a good conversation.
Don died of a heart attack at age 60 and he died because we failed him. He died because we all knew that what he had been calling fitness for the last 11 years was in reality nothing more than a gentle stroll on the tread followed by a circuit that hadn’t challenged his body since the first month he started as a member.
We failed Don, and all the other guys, and all the other members like Don, because we knew that what he was doing wasn’t good for him or enough of a challenge and we let him get away with it.
Of course there might be other reasons associated with Don’s death, but for 11 years, six days a week, we knew that what he was doing in this gym was working against him and we definitely did not do our job and intervene.
The real issue is how hard do you want to push the Dons in your business? Even trainer gyms have clients that do as little as possible and after a few years we just let them get away with it. We love them, take their money, and make a few suggestions that they should work harder, but mostly we accept that fact that this client just isn’t motivated and he just keeps moving at his own speed.
We do not do the clients, members or ourselves any good by ignoring what we know to be harmful behavior. If you have these members, you have to do whatever possible to change the behavior and at some point you might be better off pushing enough that the client either changes or leaves. We can justify ourselves and say that at least Don was moving a little every day, but in reality we could also show how much we care, and how much we believe in what we are doing, by pushing hard to get more out of the people who give us money, but don’t get what they pay for in exchange.
We owe guys like Don our best attempt to give them more then they sometimes get from us. We have to remember that we are in the fitness business, not the clubhouse business and if we know that what the member is doing is detrimental to his own well being then we need to sit the member down and have the talk.
If you accept the money; then failing the member is not an option, and the responsibility becomes ours to do what we can, and beyond, to help every member live a long and healthy life.
~ Courtesy of Thomas Plummer
Thursday, April 26, 2012
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness" - Mark Twain
After returning last week from hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, taking a day hike in Ollantaytambo, a day tour of both Cuzco and Lima, and spending time with the porters who carry almost all of our stuff, one can't help but leave with some fresh/ refreshed perspective. Things I learned or remembered in Peru.
1. Someone who is busier than you is running right now. We've probably all heard that quote or 'liked' the post on Facebook. What does it mean? It means 'comfortable' is dangerously close to 'complacent'. Our guide, who spoke 3 languages and hikes the Inca Trail 4 - 5 times a month during the peak season; has a degree in tourism and is finishing a second degree in law. He is going to define the spirit of capitolism and what can be acheived if we never stop working for our dreams.
2. Less is more. No TV for at least 5 of the days, no email access most of the time, no phone calls meant all we were able to do is be truly alive more moments of the day.
3. We were meant to move. 5 cities and 4 historic sites in 8 days (2 of which were entirely spent travelling), poor sleeps every night and yet I return at peace. In our constantly plugged in world our brains & parasympathetic nervous systems are on all the time, yet our spirits rarely see any stimulation. We witnessed food storage areas that would be 20 minute (or longer) hikes away from where people would eat or prepare food, but the Inca's were anything but lazy. Machu Picchu remained as an Incan site undisturbed by the Spanish because "who would build a settlement way up in the mountains?"
4. The greatest legacy you can give your kids are life lessons and opportunities to demonstrate what they've learned. Most of our porters worked solely to pay for their kids' education to give them a better life than they had. In many cases this meant living in different cities & rarely seeing your kids. How many of us could be that unselfish?
5. We are most alive in the pursuit and attainment of our goals. No matter how old or young you are, it's never too late, to early, or too frequent (depending on your roles & responsibilities) to be getting busy making the most out of your one shot at life.
There are many, many more lessons that the Inca Trail can teach - but the one thing I can say for sure - is that these lessons can only be learned by living life, not reading about it. Get busy living!
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
|Cartoon from: www.aperfectworld.org|
My sense of the typical Swimupstream / Innovative Thinking reader is that they are currently employed. Therefore, this post is likely one for you to send to your teenaged son or daughter, or maybe file in your memory banks to teach your child before they go for their first job interview.
There are a thousand (actually 13,900,000) websites on "how to ace a job interview" so I'm not wading into the mix with a definitive reference manual on the topic. I'm here to give a single tip.
In a job interview there is only one question you have to know how to answer really well. If you have a well thought out response to it, you'll be able to handle any question the interviewer comes up with. That question is:
It's pretty basic, and it's not a trick question... however I'd say 9 times out of 10 when I ask that question the candidate looks at me blankly as though I've asked a real 'stumper'. That look is usually followed by a stumbling, overly humble answer or an answer that in no way separates the candidate from the competition.
When prepping for an interview EVERY SINGLE ANSWER a candidate rehearses should be designed to contribute to answering that single question.
If I was in the business of coaching people to ace job interviews I would get them to list all the reasons why they should be hired for the job in question. If there are any less than 10 reasons you probably aren't right for the job or your confidence / self-esteem needs work.
After the list is created and committed to memory you are ready for your interview. When the questions come you simply relax, and tell the 'boss' why he should hire you - sharing facts, (appropriate) stories and experiences that convey as many of your reasons as possible. (Note: Take care not to come across as overly full of yourself!)
I'll use everyone's favourite question as an example:
Question: What are your biggest weaknesses?
Potential Answer: I'd say the biggest professional challenges I've faced to date were to do with time management and organization. When I first entered the workforce these were areas where I was ill-equipped to succeed. Since then I've searched and found methods that work for me - like this daytimer that is my bible, and my smartphone where I keep voice notes and lists... but it's an area that I have to be very vigilant and hard-working because I don't have a mind that keeps every detail organized without these tools.
In this case the question has provided an opportunity to convey several answers to "Why should I hire you?"
1. Because I am able to analyze myself and draw valuable conclusions.
2. Because when I have a weakness I view it as a challenge to be worked on.
3. Because I am (now) very organized.
4. Because I (now) have excellent time management skills and have given you examples.
5. Because I have a great work ethic that I use to shore up any weaknesses.
Monday, April 23, 2012
Back when the Kyoto Accord was first being debated, I remember an analyst saying something that really resonated with me - "There are no 'good' policies and 'bad' policies... there are only policies with pros and cons that must be weighed".
I realized then that this applies to most of the decisions that we're confronted with - rarely is there a black and white, right and wrong comparison. More often than not, we have to weigh the cost and benefit of our decisions, and decide not only which one is right for us, but which one is right for us at that time... knowing that, at some point, everything could change.
This isn't mean to cause people to second-guess themselves, but rather to have a little more understanding when someone takes a different view than they do - and to potentially create a little more empathy to them. Because although the cost/benefit analysis makes perfect sense to you, doesn't mean it will to another - and if your job is to convince them that you are correct, then understanding what makes something better or worse for someone else can only help you to strengthen your position.
Friday, April 20, 2012
This one is for the ladies. We (on the whole) are excellent muti-taskers, it's one of our greatest gifts and biggest pitfalls. How many of us can relate to this I Don't Know How She Does It? We need to learn how to be the master and not the slave to our "To Do Lists," then and only then, will we be able to harness our power for the greater good.
We need to develop the one thing that will make us more effective multi-taskers, that which will strike fear into the hearts of "to do list tasks" everywhere, and that's tunnel vision. In the words of Johann Von Goethe, "Things which matter most should never be at the mercy of things which matter least."
In more practical terms, what one thing will have the biggest impact on what you wish to accomplish? We have the tendency to start with smaller tasks in an effort to make ourselves feel more productive, and wonder why we still feel stressed at the end of the day. Duh. It's because the big task is being carried over into tomorrow, looming overhead.
One of the greatest pieces of advice I ever heard was when you have your "To Do List" for the day, rank each task in order of most important to least, and that's your plan of attack. Develop tunnel vision. Get focused. And, learn to say "no" if something doesn't fit into your big picture.
And, after that,
Pinky: Gee, Brain, what do you want to do tonight?
Thursday, April 19, 2012
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Since I don't know how to make a catchy Canuck parody of a top 40 song, I will dust off my 7th grade poetry skills to mark this day...
Vancouver on the Brink - April 18, 2012
In Ornskoldsvik the children play hockey all day,
"I wanna be like Danny and Hank" they say.
Art Ross, Hart, and President's Trophies, all won at a clip,
One gap on the mantel, one cup left to tip.
Enter Duncan Keith and the Blackhawks. Why, I oughta!
Thought that series last year woulda taught ya.
That cheap shot started players a sparring,
When Danny's frontal lobe took an unfortunate jarring.
Now our hopes seem to rest on Kassian and crew,
Forgive me if I ask, "sorry... on who?"
Yeah, you remember - Cody Hodgson was traded,
Sami and Zack were paraded (we'll call it "Playoffs Take 2!")
Three games now without the twin magic,
Shakespeare himself would call it quite tragic.
Sure, together the sum exceeds two,
Alas, results show one red-headed Swede just won't do.
Word on the street is that Lu and Schneids just ain't Quick,
And that Burr and Lapierre, well... they're pricks.
Round the league our Nucks are widely hated,
At home our Cup dreams for now are abated.
And thus Canuck Nation leaps off the bandwagon,
When one short year ago we "slayed the dragon".
Now those dreams of a rematch with Chara,
On hold like a cheap shirt at Zara.
Condo dwellers in a rainforest unite!
This deathly pall on the city's a blight!
Back on with your jersey and paint your face blue,
Cuz this series, remember, ain't through...
However, If tomorrow we rise and it's over,
Let's hope we kept ourselves sober.
Burning squad cars, broken windows and tear gas,
A fading memory of a playoff long past.
~ Meyrick Jones
Monday, April 16, 2012
Do you all hear that creak? It's the sound the bandwagon makes as everyone jumps off.
Not me. I'm still a Flames fan first (despite the fact that I have absolutely no idea what the end-game is for management, as they seem perfectly happy to hover around mediocrity or something below), but generally a fan of most of our Canadian teams. I say "most" because I just can't bring myself to cheer for Toronto - though that's a different subject.
That being said, I had a bit of an argument with my brother about how the Vancouver series has gone. See, I feel that for all the criticism that is (inevitably) lobbed at the Canucks - some of it deserved - I don't think people are giving credit one the LA goalie for the role he's playing. Some of the comments I hear are that we're shooting straight at him, we're not making him work, etc etc... but, quite frankly, I think that the fact he doesn't look like he's working is more a credit to the quality goaltender he is. You don't make 46 saves in one game, then follow it up with 41, just because the other team is "shooting at your chest" or is "unlucky" - it happens because you are playing just that well.
And Jonathan Quick is playing that well.
Yes, games 1 and 2 were not our best efforts, and no, our goalies have not been to blame (I'm squarely in the "trade Luongo and keep Schneider" camp). Indeed, the Canucks haven't gotten a bounce, and their powerplay is just rancid. But, particularly in game 3 - I have to say, I don't think it's as simple as seeing the team losing because of these things... I think a significant part of it is that we're being beaten by a very good goalie as well.
Can the Canucks come back? Statistically - no. Does that mean I'm giving up? Nope.
I figure I just have a little more elbow room on the bandwagon.
Thursday, April 12, 2012
Strong comes in all shapes and sizes. The very definition of strong is: (1) Physically powerful; capable of exerting great physical force, (2) Marked by great physical power and (3) In good or sound health; robust: a strong constitution; a strong heart. As a woman, and a Professional Training Coach I wholeheartedly embrace the trend of ‘strong as the new skinny,’ however, my concern is that we (women) are embracing a body image, and not an ideology.
Please don’t misunderstand me; I don’t want to take anything away from the ‘uber-fit’ woman who appears on the cover of the latest fitness magazine or whose picture is used with the inspirational quote super imposed over her fit form (I love those!) And, let’s be honest, unless she’s been gifted with some incredible genetics, she’s worked her butt off to own her fine form, and we should respect said work.
What I think needs to be understood (by all of us) is that the woman mentioned above is only one version of strong, and we need to be careful not to embrace her body, so much as what she stands for. Let’s not let the message of ‘strong as the new skinny’ become so garbled that it turns into an obsessive quest for the ever elusive six pack because that’s ‘what’s in now.’
We’re smarter than that. We’re more than an image, and it’s time we realised it. Let’s embrace the message, and not the body type - strong comes in all shapes and sizes. ‘Strong as the new skinny’ is about changing your view of what’s possible to find out what you’re really capable of. That’s strong.~ Sasha
Tuesday, April 10, 2012
As the players take the ice for the 3rd period the timekeeper plugs 7:00 into the clock – an abbreviated period to stay within the allotted ice time.
Scene II: Final buzzer. Home Team LOSES 5-4 after surrendering 4 straight goals in a spectacular collapse featuring ZERO back checking and substandard efforts from every player.
Scene III: Home Dressing Room. Kids seem totally unfazed by the loss, laughing, fooling around, smiling… As parents enter and greet their children the following phrases are heard, "Great job out there!", "You guys played great!", "Nice effort!"
Background: These are kids (9-10 years old) who take hockey seriously, have a coach who teaches them break-out plays, has players arrive in shirts and ties with jerseys on hangars 60 minutes prior to game time for warm-up.
Question: You walk over to your son/daughter who, like everyone else, showed little effort in the third period, what do you say and why?
Monday, April 09, 2012
It's a funny world we live in. It seems like every time something comes through that is perceived as "good" for us, there will be an initial period where a few outliers try it out, maybe see some positive results... and then the marketing and hype get a hold of it and suddenly everyone is doing it all the time, and touting it as the best thing ever...
The thing is, there usually is a tipping point where it becomes too much - but generally, by the time it's discovered way too many people are using/loving it, and the evidence to the contrary is dismissed... at least for a while. It seems much harder to eliminate things from our collective consciousness than it is to implement it.
A couple of examples come to mind - the first being barefoot running. A lot of the research shows that putting some barefoot training into the program allows for a certain degree of correction to your gait that may help to lower the incidences of knee issues... but this means a slow integration of barefoot running, and potentially just doing short (500m) repeats on a soft/grassy surface - not dropping the shoes for a pair of vibrams and hammering off a 5-10km the first time you try them.
Similarly with long distance running. Being able to run that 5-10km (usually in shoes) is good for your heart health - when you start adding in volume, distance and generally taking it to a higher/more intense level, you begin to see issues on the other end of the spectrum. In fact, this study demonstrates that competitive endurance runners actually show scarring and damage to their heart from the trauma of the training and races that they're doing...
To be clear - I'm not suggesting people "shouldn't run", or that we "should always be wearing shoes" - or any other absolutes. All I'm saying is that no matter what, extreme activities produce extreme results (on both ends of the spectrum) - but the extremes don't always create lasting effects and will sometimes create a "robbing from Peter to pay Paul" turn of events.
I find keeping Newton's 3rd law in mind to be a good check and balance to my days and activities: for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.
Friday, April 06, 2012
I recently read an article in SUCCESS magazine called, 'Decoding Zooey Deschanel,' and in it, the author talked about how 'The New Girl' star's natural appeal could show you a simple way to increase your own. I was intrigued, what do myself, and Zooey Deschanel have in common? (Side Note: For those of you that don't know, Zooey Deschanel is an American actress, musician and singer-songwriter. Her older sister, Emily Dechanel, is also an actress and stars in the TV series Bones).
Right now, Zooey Deschenel is the hot knife to everyone else's butter. Every man wants her and every woman wants to be her. To men, she's hot, funny, girl-next-door. To women, she's independent, smart, relatable. So what is the core of her appeal? She's unconventional - the opposite of all things logically popular - yet we are still drawn to her.
"And that's something interesting to think about. Perhaps we could all do with a little unconventionality in our delivery, our appearance our air. Maybe it's as simple as allowing that one trait you bury to breathe again. You know the one I mean. In our quest to stand out, we all try to be something a little different than what we really are, which ends up making us exactly what everyone else wants to be: unintentional clones."
What we all can learn from Zooey Deschanel is how to let our freak flags fly. Stand out, stand proud, eccentricities and all.
Monday, April 02, 2012
Happy Monday everyone!