Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Thank you from the SUS team

As it’s a great time of year for reflection, it’s only appropriate to reflect on 6 years of Swimupstream. SUS began with a challenge; cease being a victim of circumstance, take a stance on the issues that bothered us & share those thoughts. It wasn’t important if the opinion was right. It wasn’t important if the opinion was absurd. What was important was there was a vehicle for the opinion to be exorcised. We are big believers in moving anything that can be remotely negative away from one’s person in order that it not manifest itself in something else.

From an empowerment standpoint it was important SUS harnessed the contributions from many authors. Those who (in our opinion) shared like perspectives on the world at large, possessed a vast array of life experiences and had a willingness to put it out there without fear of scrutiny. We encouraged team mates to become authors, speak up & speak out and inevitably they would become more confident in their day to day interactions. Thank you Neil, Scott, Willie, Stan, Curtis, Kris, Guy, Sasha, Meyrick, Yoshia, Matt, James, Gillian, Josh, Justine, Isabelle, Richard, Mark & Jason for all of your contributions to date.

More importantly is the law of attraction, without which there is no point in penning & sharing. Thank YOU all for reading, following, providing positive and constructive feedback on a wide variety of topics. Whether we impact 1-20 or 100 people / post, to us....

It all starts with 1. 


Friday, December 21, 2012

Holiday Tips & Treats You Don't Have to Burn off in January!

It is that time of the year where everywhere you go there is more to eat, and more to drink and we all just think..."I'll get rid of it in January". Well not only does that not sound like fun, it is also not healthy.

When you eat unhealthy and drink an excess of alcohol you are doing much more to your body than just adding calories. Here are some ways to prepare for the holiday parties, brunches, lunches and more!
  • Eat normally! Depending on what time your gathering is, try to have a moderate size meal with loads of vegetables before you go, so you are not famished when you get there. When you arrive at your holiday party with some food in your belly, you can enjoy a bit of the food provided and avoid over eating which happens easily when you let yourself go too long without food.

  • Plan! Keep healthy food in your home that will allow you to have regular food before you go out. If you are going shopping take a piece of fruit and nuts so you can keep shopping and avoid the food court in the malls.
  • Alcohol! Keep this to at least a moderate amount and avoid binge drinking. Having excess amounts all in one go can be more detrimental than having one drink each night.
  • Follow the 2 bite rule! After the first two bites you know what it taste like, so you can stop and enjoy a little bit of something else!
  • Stay hydrated! This helps with feeling hungry when you are likely needing water. 

If you are the host there are loads of healthy options that taste great and will impress your guests.

  1. Try a bean based dip instead of a cream based dip.  You can make or buy a bean dip and you can use black or white beans (or both). Use baked crisps instead of deep fried chips to dip with. Try the recipe below!
  2. Delicious alternative to traditional desserts high in sugar are Coconut Cocoa Date Balls. Still sweet with natural sugars! Recipe for coconut-cocoa-date-balls
  3. Vegetables dipped in homemade hummus or guacamole. Store bought is an option too if in a hurry! These are great alternatives to cream based, or high fat traditional vegetables dips. 
  4. For a great hot appetizer try baking your own yam fries or wedges and avoid deep fried foods. Make a curry and yogurt dip to use with them!
  5. For a great cold appetizer go for shrimp cocktail! 

Black Bean Dip

2 cups (500mL) cooked black beans; or 1 14oz (454mL) can black beans, drained, rinsed
Optional: Use equal parts Aduki beans instead of black beans
½ cup (125mL)                        sugar-free mild tomato salsa
2 Tbsp. (30mL)                        lime juice
2 Tbsp. (30mL)                        fresh cilantro
¼ tsp. (1mL)                           ground cumin
Sea salt to taste

* In a food processor, combine the black beans, salsa, lime juice, cilantro, and cumin. 
* Process until smooth. 
* Season with salt and transfer to a small bowl. 
* Garnish with cilantro, green onion or red peppers. 
* The dip can be stored, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

Enjoy your new treats and happy holidays! 

USA. You're broke!

Dear USA.

You’re broke. There it is. Someone told you straight up. You can interchange fancy slogans and catch phrases, but at the end of the day: You. Are. Broke. The reason you’ll stay broke is because you’re looking to blame him, her or them for how you got there. Why not take a week or two to reflect on how you all got here so you don’t do what history suggests you’ll do, which is repeat this again.... And again....

I think you’re broke because you have done such a great job feeding the primary human motivators; fear & greed. People are FAT as hell with fear and greed. You do this intentionally & consistently in the name of commerce & capitalism without fully understanding it’s long term effects. [insert cliché what goes up.... here]. Re-read that last sentence three times and try to understand it has less to do with actual moneys and more to do with the mentality you’ve created in your culture [insert cliché live by the sword.... here]. 

Until that culture changes - nothing changes. Until a lot of really smart people start educating everyone on why that needs to change – nothing changes . You all seem to agree there needs to be change and accordingly elected one person to DO IT FOR you. Does that make sense? Is that sustainable? Are you seriously this naïve or have you just given up? Are you still telling yourself it doesn’t affect me? Because it does. It affects everyone and we’re seeing those affects across a wide spectrum of social issues that you’ve elected one person to solve.

We’re Canadian eh and while we may lack much of the POW / BAM / WOW factor that’s come to define everything Americana.... we’re not broke. Apathetic?... we prefer conservative. Don’t get me wrong, we’re not without our own issues and the easy money mentality is also pervasive here but we seem to have a slightly better handle on long term strategy (I can only assume, or we too would be broke too). There are other countries that are also not broke? Could they be doing something worth looking into?

I think the day Ask not what you’re country can do for you... was gunned down & eventually replaced with show me the money was the time frame in which you had people lining up en mass for their  $1.99 tickets to never land. Diverting the fiscal cliff has much deeper implications than where you’re pulling more money from. Until you get that – you will continue to (en mass) be broke.


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Exercise Vs Training

Contrary to the belief of some people, there is a big difference between exercise and training. Both have their place and both have their merits, but they are not the same thing. Everyone who trains is exercising, but not everyone who is exercising is training.
Exercise is anything that makes the body work. This can be running, jumping, walking, swimming, playing sports, lifting weights, zumba, crossfit, cycling, or really anything that makes your muscles work and gets your heart rate up (yes, I said the word "crossfit". Crossfitters, please refrain from sending me hate emails...I get them every time I even breathe the word; apparently you are a sensitive group!). There are a lot of merits to exercise. It can be fun, it can be good for the body, and it can make you healthier than you currently are. However, exercise can also be harmful - if the load is too extreme for your body, if you are doing the same repetitive movements over and over again building muscle imbalance, or if you are doing something incorrectly in terms of movement or what is actually good for your individual body.
Training is different than exercise in that it is an intervention strategy. In order for a program to be a true training program, it needs three things.


The first thing is a proper assessment. This is not just fitness testing; it must also include some kind of movement screening and postural examination to determine which muscles are weak and which muscles are strong. If we are going to build a training program, it is essential that we first know the baselines of that individual body. If you don’t know how a person's individual body works, how can you expect to make positive changes to it?


The second thing training needs is a plan. A proper training program should have a series of progressions starting with what you are capable of doing immediately and ending with the final goals for a specific movement. For example, if you cannot do a perfect squat, you should not be jumping. A proper training program for a jumper would first identify the movement patterns involved in that person’s squat and then take them through a series of planned out progressions to get them to squatting with perfect form. After this is achieved, they are ready to jump. This training plan should incorporate all forms of a person’s movement from where they are at the start to where they want to go. Stage 1 of a movement (whatever your stage 1 is) should not be preceded or overlapped by stage 4. This is often overlooked because stage 4 is typically WAY cooler than stage 1. Let's ditch the "cool" and be smart instead!


The third thing that you need (not the third most important) is a proper end goal. Exercising with the goal of “getting healthy” is a never-ending process. You will never reach a point in your life where you can say “That’s it! Now I am fit”. It is always going to be an ebb and flow. Times where you are either more or less fit or healthy based on a host of factors. Instead of training just for the sake of training, come up with a goal. This can be anything from losing 20 pounds to doing an Ironman, but it should have a beginning and end point so that you know if you have been successful. Future training programs can then be based on the success of the one you have just completed.
Why we need both exercise and training
A lot of training coach purists want people to only train and not to exercise, but the fact of the matter is that we need both in order to be truly successful. We need to have a goal and a plan to get there if we want to see results, but we also need to have some fun. So while it is important that we have an intervention strategy, it is also important that we are trying new things and having fun with our fitness. Go for a random run, cycle, snowshoe, circuit class, or swim, but make sure that what you are doing is within the limitations of your body’s specific needs/wants so as not to set your training program back.
The most important take away from this post is that just because you are exercising does not mean you are training. Just because you have hired somebody to build you a “training program” does not mean it is anything more than guided exercise (which can be helpful or harmful). Without proper assessment and fitness testing followed by a training program that addresses the issues found in the assessment, it is not a training program; it is simply exercise. 

          ~ Yoshia

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


“A prudent question is one-half of wisdom”. Francis Bacon

Erick Erickson’s eighth and final stage of psychological development is wisdom, yet many of us have conflicting ideas about exactly what wisdom is. According to Erikson in the last stage of human development, from approximately 65 years to death, individuals must resolve a psychological conflict between integrity and despair, which leads to wisdom.

In the US, the average life expectancy is 77.8 years, which means that we only have 12.8 years to really utilize whatever wisdom we have spent 65 years obtaining. What this means for the large majority of us is that we might be intelligent, we might be smart, but we are not wise.

Erickson’s theory does not guarantee us that with age we will become wise, because wisdom is a process not a right. So how do we become wise? According to Confucius, "By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest."

Reflection is a process of careful thought where we act on situations by reconsidering the results from our previous actions, events, and decisions. Through our ability to reflect we gain clarity in our motives and can expect certain results, which are hopefully more favorable than the previous time we were in similar situations. This is considered the noblest method because it potentially creates high ideals and excellent moral character internally.

Imitation is our ability to use someone else as a model. This is something we are hopefully looking to do on a daily basis; see someone act in a way that we would like to and then copy their methods of operation until we can personalize the actions and make them our own. We all have mentors and role models, and by acting out the traits that we admire in these people, we allow ourselves to gain wisdom by walking in someone else’s shoes. This is the easiest of the three methods because it requires no skill, just observation put into action.

Experience is where we gain knowledge by being exposed to certain situations over time and creating automatic favorable responses through our actions. This involvement over time is where Erickson theorizes that wisdom will not appear until the age of 65. Why is this the bitterest method? Because experience also means that we will have to fail many times in order to see success. Bitterness means that we will have to accept becoming angry and resentful, and bitterness means that we will have to confront hostilities both external and internal.

We become wise because we learn over time, not through just living, but because we ask questions that create awareness. These questions we ask ourselves are what creates the conflict between integrity and despair because if we are asking the right questions we will have to decide between completeness and hopelessness. In some cases we will have to accept hopelessness with the intention of making our hopes complete. In wisdom we will have to eventually choose the difficult path towards enlightenment because the light will not come to us unannounced. Half of wisdom is the prudent question the other half is the prudent action.

Written by Scott Boyle

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

10 Tips to be your Healthiest in 2013!

Every year people tell us how hard they try to get fit only to fail, the secret is “how” you do it. No matter what your resolution is these tips are sure to help.

  1. Set realistic fitness goals. Set goals that are within your ability to achieve, if they are too big it will de-motivate you.
  2. Be specific. Don't resolve to "get fit" or "lose weight"; that's too vague, be specific "Lose 10 lbs" or "Learn to run 5km’s”
  3. Attach a destination. When you add a physical destination to your plan, you’ll make your exercising more enjoyable.
  4. Identify short-term goals. Smaller or short-term goals stemming from this long-term destination will keep you focused and on track.
  5. Establish timelines & tangible measures. Staying on track will be hard with out specific timelines to support your goal.
  6. Write them down. Only 3-5% of people write down their goals & construct a plan to achieve them - about the same percentage of people that actually achieve their goals every year!
  7. Hold yourself accountable. Tell other people like friends or family to help make you accountable for success and failure.
  8. Review your goals or your “resolutions” constantly. If your resolution is buzzing through your head, it's easier to stick to it.
  9. Stay on track. Keep your resolution every day and don’t give up if something interferes with your deadline. Weirdly, it's often easier to do something every day (exercise, eat healthy, etc) than every few days.
  10. Ask for help or seek professionals. A professional such as a personal trainer will provide advice, knowledge and accountability to ensure you achieve your health and fitness goals.

Monday, December 17, 2012

High time for a change

To the next nobody who hopes to become a somebody by opening fire on the innocent...
One day our governments and media will grow up and act responsibly, thus no longer sensationalising unforgivable crimes.
When that day comes, your only hope of being remembered as somebody goes out the window.
When your name and picture are no longer plastered on the TV and in the press after your heinous crime, then you will simply remain a nobody.
Sad? Unfair? That's life. Once you face those realities, you can begin to become an adult. Once you do that, you can begin to take control of your life and make it what you want.
Want to make something out of your life and your name? Work tirelessly to help kids, or the sick, homeless, or anyone else instead of lashing out against those who did nothing to you.
Heroes should be celebrated & remembered, not cowards.
And to be a hero, you need to take whatever adversity contributed to the massacre you caused and stop the cycle. Nothing excuses your behaviour, but if you were abused, tormented; whatever as a kid and you stop yourself from passing that behaviour on to anyone else - then you would be a hero.

To the media, perhaps let's endlessly post the face of Connie Sullivan, a hero who hid her Newton, CT students in a closet and gave her life to save them; instead of the spineless wimp who took her life and 25 more. As the institution we rely on for information and world events, you have a responsibility to be part of the solution rather than a big part of the problem.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Get your Ass in Gear

The title of this blog literally describes its topic: getting your gluteus complex working properly. Doesn't seem quite as exciting when it is said that way, however! There are a few stages of muscle dysfunction that tend to happen in order. The first such stage is atrophy, the process of a muscle getting smaller and weaker because it is not being used. The body has decided, since you are not going to use it, why bother to keep it big and strong. The second stage is neurological communication deficits; this is when the brain has decided to get in on the action and, since you are not using this muscle, not only is it going to get smaller and weaker, but now the brain is also going to stop communicating to it in an effective way. The third and final stage is complete and total communication shut down. Now that you and your butt, in this instance, have stopped talking for a while, it is going to become non communicative when you need it. By the way, if you get to this stage, you are in big trouble! Usually people sit and stay in stage 2 when it comes to their glutes.

What does it feel like to have your butt stop communicating with you? Well, for this, we need to do a small demonstration. Sitting upright with your feet and knees together, contract/squeeze your glutes. Things to note are if one cheek contracts before the other or if it feels like the muscle “jerks” to attention as opposed to a slow steady contraction. To feel what a properly communicative muscle feels like, flex your bicep. It is likely that you can do it fast or slow and you can contract right and left at the same time. This is because you are in constant communication with these muscles and they are attuned to your needs accordingly.

The natural question at this point is why. Why is your ass not in gear? Most of us (people in the modern world) spend most of our time sitting. While we are sitting, this muscle is lengthened. Then, when we exercise (for those of us who do), we are typically in a bent forward position: running, cycling, playing sports, etc. As a result of this, the gluteus complex becomes lengthened and then unresponsive and the first of the three stages begins.

The next natural question is how do we correct it! Happily, that is an easier answer than people think. The first step is simply sitting and squeezing our glutes. While doing this, focus on contracting them slowly and together. You will see how hard this is once you get past the first few repetitions (if you didn't notice it on the very first one). This should be done several times a day, especially if you work at a desk. It is also important to train your gluteus medius, lesser known but very important partner to gluteus maximus. For an excellent exercise that will help you get in touch with glute med click on "shell exercise" and perform as described in any number of online videos. 

The next step is to start glute bridging (laying on your back with your knees bent and your heals as close to your butt as possible, then push your hips into the air and squeeze your glutes). Make sure that you are feeling this exercise primarily in your glutes and not in your hamstrings or lower back. Beyond bridging, there is a never-ending series of progressions, but master these two before moving on to more advanced stuff!

What are you waiting for? Get your ass in gear!
          ~ Yoshia

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Boiling Lobster Phenomena

    A well documented fable tells of Lobsters dragging one another back into the boiling water and certain death in the event one tries to escape being served on the dinner table.  It’s known as the Boiled Lobster Phenomena and it is a metaphor relevant to more than fine dining. We may experience this phenomena in our own lives; be it taking bad advice from a friend, dragging someone else down because we’re going through a challenging period or subscribing to the pack mentality as we revolt against the one who got away. Without introspection and intervention it can become an inadvertent act of selfishness.
    The message in today’s post is short, sweet and simple; be sure to push those close to you up & over the edge independent of your circumstance. After all, the ultimate act of selflessness is putting others needs before yours!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

It's not about amassing the followers.

Leadership seems to be on everyone’s minds these days. Educators talk about “teaching leadership”, charitable organizations host “leadership development” programs, businesses invest heavily in “leadership training”. But what is leadership, exactly & how do we implement it into our lives? 

Leadership is about bringing out and mobilizing the best in the people around you. It’s about helping a group of people work together towards a shared goal or set of goals. When leadership works, it creates leaders, not followers. (*which is a key point)

Leadership is often confused with power or control. The common idea is that leaders speak, and followers do. But while leaders may also hold a certain kind of power or control, in some senses power or control is the opposite of leadership: power is what we resort to when leadership fails. Another misconception about leadership is that it flows from charisma. While history does offer us the example of charismatic leaders like Martin Luther King, there is no necessary link between charisma and leadership.

So what is it? And what do we have to learn to practice leadership ourselves? Here’s a short list of ways that leaders exercise leadership.

What Do Leaders Do?

  • Leaders listen. Listening is not waiting for your turn to speak. Listening is an active engagement with the person you are talking with. Leadership grows out of knowing the strengths and weaknesses of your colleagues, their fears and victories, what motivates them and what turns them off. 
  • Leaders empower those around them. Leadership is not about controlling everything. What separates leaders from the merely powerful is that leaders involve everyone around them and welcome their contributions, however small. Leaders help the people around them feel comfortable putting their ideas forward and acting on them. This is why actively listening is so important — it lets people know that what they say is valuable and important. If leadership is about making those around you into leaders, you have to let go and trust others to move your shared projects forward.
  • Leaders recognize others’ strengths. Empowering others is bound up with recognizing what they are good at and encouraging them to develop those strengths. Then taking those strengths and directing your teammates into positions and areas that will not only maximize those strengths but they will enjoy doing things that they are naturally good at. It’s called ‘strength-based leadership’ and it’s very effective, productive, and rewarding. 
  • Leaders remove barriers. It really doesn’t matter if you are leading an army or leading an ice cream shop, leaders need to spend their time removing obstacles for their team. They are the leaders. If they don’t remove obstacles that prevent their team from doing their best work, who will?
  • Leaders are trustworthy. There’s a reason people get so upset when prominent figures are exposed as hypocrites: it calls into question everything they came to believe about themselves and their goals. People may not believe you when you compliment them the first time, but as you build a consistent track record of honest and fair dealing, they will come to believe. Likewise, when you always do what you say you will do, when you act in accordance with the values you espouse, you become an inspiration to those around you.
  • Leaders are confident. Good leaders are sure of themselves and their goals. Certainty is infectious — it conveys not just our wishes but our passions and makes them appear real and inevitable. It keeps us focused on our goals and not on the difficulty of attaining them.
  • Leaders make decisions. People generally do not like to make decisions. They much prefer routines, known processes with known outcomes, and there’s a great deal of value in reducing complicated situations to a set of routines. But leadership is, by definition, about change, often disruptive change, and change demands decision-making, often between bad options. Leadership lies, therefore, in the wiliness to step forward and make a decision, and in taking responsibility for the consequences of our decisions.
  • Leaders recognize the value in other perspectives. Leaders recognize their own limitations and the power that other people’s knowledge and life experience have to expand and push us past our limits. Leadership means trying to see the world from the perspective of those around you, even those who are working against you or working underneath you.
  • Leaders commit to action. There are a lot of smart, thoughtful people in the world who know exactly what needs to be done to change the world we live in, yet their worlds never change. Leadership means taking the next step and actually doing it. Leaders convert future goals into immediate actions and either do them or inspire others to do them.
  • Leaders demand commitment from others. In any project, there are lots of “hanger-oners”, people who are interested in the goals being worked toward but not really invested in the process of attaining them. Leadership lies in helping those people to become invested, generally by asking them to take responsibility for some action or set of actions. People who have made a commitment to doing something concrete are not only much more likely to do it but they come to view the overall project as their own — and to feel responsible for.
  • Leaders share ownership. Leadership is about making those around us into leaders; ultimately leaders get out of the way. Good leadership lies in creating in others the sense that the goals they are working towards are their own — as are the rewards. By giving up control and sharing ownership of their goals and passions, good leaders help to insure that the changes they envision will endure beyond their own active participation.

To end. 

True leadership is not about amassing followers, it is about building teams, it is about creating social structures that effect change, however small or great, in the world. Followers are for people who want the thrill of being adored and of exercising power over others, people too selfish and too weak to share.  Real leadership is about real change, not personnel shifting.

Monday, December 10, 2012

38 things I've learned in 38 years…in no particular order…

-a smile goes a long way
-please and thank you like your mum said
-open doors for girls
-look in someone’s eyes when talking
-never turn down a gift
-don’t mix alcohol
-read what you are interested in
-plan before it’s too late
-touch base with friends
-take holidays and mini retirements
-pause before the first kiss
-learn how to massage
-make mistakes
-toilet seat down
-get back on the horse
-ask questions
-take new routes to same destinations
-eat candy
-cook for women
-sleep well
-stress less
-don’t wait
-learn how to build
-drive standard cars
-tell people how you feel and think
-respect anyone older
-pay it forward
-buy a wig with friends
-work for yourself
-try new things
-stand up for what you believe

Friday, December 07, 2012

Keeping Children Focused

After spending today in several elementary schools, and experiencing how difficult it can be for teachers and myself to hold their attention, it brought me back to a fairly debated topic. How much does diet play a role in our ability, and especially our children’s ability to focus and hold their attention? There are several possible triggers that we should be aware of that can make a big difference. 

Sugar is number one on this list and should be avoided at all cost when kids are growing up. These are critical years when young people are establishing number of fat cells and metabolic rates based on diets and activity levels. White flour, preservatives, artificial flavors and colors should also be avoided. 

Special attention on what labels are reporting and if there are numerous ingredients, and especially if the ingredients are words that are not recognizable then it is better left on the shelf. 

These items on this list can contribute to an array of imbalances in the digestive system such as the inability to properly digest food. When this occurs there is the chance that large undigested molecules can enter the blood stream through the intestines and lead to allergies and inflammation in the body. Sugar is a double-edged sword in that it requires extra nutrients to deal with it and it can also block nutrients from being properly absorbed. 

One option is to use a Rotation Diet to find out which foods a child may be sensitive to and then they may be foods that can be avoided entirely for a period of time. During this time your body has a chance to heal from inflammation caused by the food or foods that are causing the allergy or food sensitivity. 

Often foods that you eat often or tend to “love” are often the same foods that are not being broken down properly. Here is a list of common allergy culprits:
1. Dairy products 
2.  Wheat products, which includes wheat, oats, and barley. 
3.  Meat, fish, or poultry 
4.  Oranges 
5.  Chocolate 
6.  Refined sugars, which include white table sugar, brown sugar, cane sugar, beet sugar, and    honey. 
7.  White flour or anything made with white flour 
8.  Corn 
9.  Potatoes 
10. Eggs 
11. Soy

In addition to eliminating foods from the diet it is important to increase certain nutrients. One important one I would suggest is essential fatty acids such as omega 3. 

The time you should eliminate a food or foods from your child’s diet anywhere from 4-6 weeks or until you notice the symptoms have lessened. 

When it is time to try a food again, only introduce one food item at a time. Wait 1-2 days before doing this again with another food item. Sugar and white flour should always be avoided, as there are no health benefits to them. 

As close to a whole diet as possible should be followed by the whole family and especially when a child has difficulty with paying attention or concentrating, the diet should be a main focus.

The ability to pay attention and to concentrate can be a major player when it comes to how well children do in school, and ultimately in life.

Give them the kick start they need to be a participant! 

Thursday, December 06, 2012

What is your Legacy?

There are a lot of people who think their own personal athletic accomplishments are their legacy. They are under the impression that if they can run the fastest marathon or be the best Ironman that they are leaving a legacy. A true legacy is not what you do, however, but what you inspire others to do. How many people have you led to the next level? How many kids have you taught and coached to be better people as well as athletes? How many staff members have you encouraged and assisted to better themselves? 

Being an athlete and accomplishing personal goals is fantastic and indeed has merit unto itself, but the real "legacy" you leave is about who you were as a person. Nobody remembers for long if you were fast or slow; what they remember is who you were while you were being fast or slow. They remember what impact you had on them, not what you accomplished for yourself. This, of course, has its exceptions. There are a few transcendent athletes who are the best of their generation or perhaps of all time and their accomplishments leave a legacy by themselves. For 99% of athletes, though, the legacy you leave has nothing to do with your athletic achievements.

Challenging yourself everyday and trying to accomplish great things in your life is a wonderful motivator, but it is not leaving a legacy.  It's when you are challenging others and leading them to accomplish good things that you are leaving a lasting impression. When you are developing your next goal or challenge, why not take somebody else along for the ride? Why not leave a legacy by working with charities and kids? Take the time to help someone else accomplish something amazing for themselves and you will leave a legacy. Work with others to develop their motivation and complete their goals and they will remember you forever. When you accomplish something amazing yourself, you have a legitimate reason for pride.  The impact is for you, however, not for others. When you work with others, the impact is aimed toward them. The beauty of this partnership is that you get an enormous surge of pride for them (which often feels even better than self-pride) AND you are building a personal legacy in the hearts of others. That's the legacy that will not be forgotten.

~ Yoshia

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Incentive in pride?

Back in the day we did things because we were told to do them. It was extraordinarily simple and there was no negotiation, lengthy discussion or cost/benefit analysis. Hesitation & insubordination were closely followed by an unpleasant consequence. Times have changed, but is it for the better?

  • It wouldn’t be strange to hear a kid asking their parents ‘what do I get’ after a routine request. Our old answer usually contained lists like; allowance, some token toy or cool experience. The new answer is a copyright infringement of the Nike slogan.... [Just do it]
  • It wouldn’t be strange to hear of companies providing extra incentives for employee’s to meet the criterion already outlined in their contracts. Our old answer usually contained lists like; profit share, rewards points and cool trips. The new answer is to the effect of you get to keep your job. 
The point here is twofold.

  1. once you begin incentivizing behavior, you’ve conceded power & set a precedence that is very difficult to manage (eg: the stakes simply get higher and higher).
    • Most children lack the experience or reference to negotiate, hence should not be in an incentives conversation in the 1st place.
    • Employee’s need to understand their relationship with performance – profitability – debt servicing & profit sharing. Smart organizations will be tuned in. Broke organizations will fall prey to  believing they have to give more than they generate to keep everyone incentivized. 
  2. incentives don’t have to be monetary.
    • The very complaint handed down from generation to generation points to the ingratitude of the next. Gratitude is learned the same as ingratitude, meaning – if we teach it - we will see it, if we don't - we won't. If we fuel the greed, the beast gets hungrier. If we highlight the pride, we empower leaders!
    • There have been numerous studies done on intrinsic vs. extrinsic rewards in the workplace and it’s been shown that intrinsic rewards are more meaningful & powerful in bringing about desired outcomes. Naturally many will believe they are worth more than they are being compensated and naturally many will elevate their spending based on their earning and make that problem the problem of the employer. That is human nature. But the right people (as raised per the standards above) will present differently because this has been reinforced early & often.
It’s time we added a good ole fashioned sense of get er done & give er my best to our rewards programs because it stands to reason that's what families, businesses and economies at large are in dire need of.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

The Upside to Downsizing

This past Sunday, I spent several hours with my family at an old-age home celebrating my grandmother’s 92nd Birthday; an afternoon that turned into something more enlightening than the boring & uneventful dinner party that I thought it might have been! And although the evening didn’t include adventure, alcohol, or a room filled with friends, it included much story telling, reflection, and time with our family. After about three hours, I left dinner feeling reunited with my family, as well as, being provided with a further appreciation of life. 

Prior to going down for dinner, we sat around listening to my grandma tell stories of the past, to my dad’s perspectives to many of those memories, and in turn had more than a couple of laughs. As we listened patiently to this 92yr old voice, I also spent the time gazing around at her small 1 bedroom ‘condo’ and everything she had around her. She had everything she needed and on this particular evening she also had a majority of her family with her to enjoy this special day. But that was it. That was the ‘light bulb’ that turned on… ‘she had everything’ she wanted or needed in a mere 300 sq ft. place. And that’s the swimusptream lesson of the day. 

In life, it has been engrained in us that we spend the first forty years of our lives working hard to enthusiastically accumulate stuff and the next forty trying desperately to get rid of the excess. The word “stuff’ uses the dictionary meaning of “household or personal articles collectively; belongings, worthless objects; refuse or junk.” Let that speak for itself.

As young adults we start out with purchasing the trendy clothes that are in style (only to go out of style in months), the latest sporting equipment (only to realize that new ice skates don’t make us any faster), or the next new gadget (only to find out that it is obsolete momentarily after Apple releases the next generation). Soon after we find ourselves are quickly acquiring furniture and household accessories either donated by family and friends (gratefully accepting anything free) or racking up our newest Visa. Weddings generate gifts, often in multiples; sometimes items we didn’t even realize existed. Once we have a place to live we head to our stores of choice, buying everything we’ve been told we must have; new cars, new furniture, more gadgets, and the list continues. And we keep on accumulating until, one day, we realize that we have been buried alive, that too much of our time is spent managing stuff or just trying to find it. It may not be until a major life change or transition happens (and it will happen) that forces us to take action against our stuff.

Our relationships with stuff are like any other relationships; they must be managed and maintained. Newly married, beginning a family or as a new homeowner, we love our lives, our home, and all of our pretty things. We can’t imagine feeling otherwise. And then we get older and one day something shifts - we realize that our relationship with our stuff just isn’t the same anymore. Because everything we had purchased & filled our time with, really just attempted to mask the critical things that are important - the time with friends, family, our significant others, and our children. It wasn’t the next new gadget that was fulfilling us long-term, it was the life experiences & memories with those we care about. 

Bigger isn’t always better. There is a pervasive prejudice in our culture that more is preferable. That building up is preferable to scaling down. It is the same mentality that assumes that moving to a smaller place is a step downward, that having fewer luxuries makes you appear less successful as a person or that taking a step back in your career to focus on the important things in life (health, happiness, and family) is a ‘demotion’. It is actually a heightening of focus on the things you love and that are important. It means stripping away the clutter of what no longer fits or does not contribute to making your life easier. 

And as I sat listening to my grandma and witnessing the simplicity of her life, I realized that the most important accumulations in her life were not the possessions she owned but the memories that she had created. So, as we enter a New Year in less than a month, let this spark some motivation and encourage you to be confident and comfortable on the upside to downsizing your life. Because the more we get rid of clutter and its’ maintenance, the more we gain in time - our one truly non-renewable resource.

Monday, December 03, 2012

When is the light appearing in your tunnel?

15months ago I was run into and crashed bikes with a couple other competitors on the final corner of the whistler fondo. I finally made it to the last surgery. I woke up last week to have the metal plate removed from my shoulder. Now can focus on the plan and the other healing needed. Really can just focus on the next light in my tunnel.
Since that change of plans last September, my course has been adjusted, re-calibrated and re-established. Just that last sentence could be the biggest take away – switch it up and adjust. But…
With being faced with forced time off from business and physical pursuits, one is given time to reboot. A refreshed attitude can be obtained by this or I suppose the less desirable downward spiral one can choose to go through when something important is taken away. Getting cycling taken away bites but not enough to acquire a substance abuse problem over. Best to fall back on the basics and plan the small successes to guide myself to the bigger picture.
Really, just need to approach it with the systems and turn out a plan that can be followed. Build my rehab program and fit it into my personal plan – done. Turnkey and schedule follow ups in the plan to keep you moving in the right direction – done.
Don’t drop anchor at the sight of challenge. Plan through your adversity and run towards victory.

So jacked because I see fast moving snow in that light coming up for next week!