Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Teaching isn't always Telling

Up to a certain point in my career, my success was defined largely due to my ability to find creative and often changing solutions to difficult problems. With this strength in mind, I found that when working with others I often jumped past a lot of the detail and rapidly offered solutions and alternatives. The sheer volume of options I can provide means many did stick and work. However, using this approach risked those seeking support or assistance becoming dependent on my problem-solving rather than developing knowledge and learning to solve problems themselves.

When I became responsible for other staff I recognized that many of the strengths that got me to that point were not appropriate to leading or coaching others. I had spent little time learning basic coaching skills such as coaching through questioning and other simple tips and rather gave people the answers or did the work myself – which led me to be overwhelmed and unable to scale the business. 

Having led a number of teams, managed a full spectrum of staff, implemented organizational programs and most recently was responsible for company-wide challenges and strategies, my coaching skills have become more and more critical to the role that I have played. 

The Lesson.

So here’s the thing I’ve learned. Just because you’re coaching doesn’t mean you should only ask questions, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t direct or tell and it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get to have the fun of solving problems for (or with) others. You just need to understand more clearly when it’s appropriate to do so and when it’s not. *And although I am not a parent - I assume the same theories can apply. 

Learn to spot when you’re “telling” when you should be ”coaching” and vice-versa. This can be really tricky to achieve when you have all the answers and ideas.

Fortunately for me, I learned a lot from several resources that included management & leadership courses, systems like “True Colors” & DISC analysis, as well as, from mentors such as  one of our founders who really invests in our franchisees & staff. All managers are trained and encouraged in doing just this…

The Tools.

Recently I stumbled across a coaching and leadership model that is based on “Situational Leadership”. Without being able to cover the full depth of the model in a blog, here’s the basic conceptual framework – this should be plenty to help you recognize when to coach and when to “tell”.

There’s a direct correlation between the style of leadership you (as a coach/leader/mentor/manager/team member/person) use and the development level of the coachee/seeker/mentee/staff/team member/person/team.

This is termed as the four “Development” levels (D1-D4) and 4 corresponding “Styles” (S1-S4) (see below in diagram)

As an analogy, consider learning to drive a car. Most new drivers are really keen, think this is going to be easy and can’t wait to be out under their own steam (Level D1). As an instructor, you need to let this play out, give them the space to try and succeed (or more often fail) but you do need to be quite prescriptive in what they do for their own safety (and that of others) (Style S1). When things get hard and motivation wanes (Level D2), you continue to tell them what to do but in a coaching style (S2). As competency develops, the trainee becomes more competent (D3) and your style will need to follow. Eventually they will (hopefully) become self-sufficient (D4).

There’s a few really important points that help us use this as a thinking tool.

  1. The model applies to each specific task. If a person has never performed that specific task before, re-assess their development level. Some complimentary skills may apply but don’t assume competence in one area translates directly to the task at hand.
  2. Watch for transitions in motivation as a guide to levels of support to offer. When individual motivation is low, the coach/leader must be more supportive – more guiding and questioning. When motivation is high, less support is needed.
  3. When individual competency in the specific task is low, the coach/leader should be making the decisions on the course of action (even if leading through questioning). When individual competency is high, the coachee makes the decisions but may still occasionally want to validate these with the coach.
  4. A mismatch between leadership style and development level can be harmful. The further apart the difference, the more dissonant the leadership style will be.


There are a couple of important extensions to the model that need consideration.

In many work environments, there are times when a person may have high expertise in an area but not be motivated to actually work in it. Similarly, someone who reached a high level of competence in an area but is ignored may lose motivation. In these instances, they have actually regressed around the model (from D4 to D3). Your leadership style needs to change!

In other situations, you may have someone with little or no motivation to work on a new task and little or no competency. Rather than starting at development level 1 (D1), you’re actually starting at D2. You need to work with the other person to build motivation and competence. At this point they either develop to “D3″ or first to “D1″ and then back through the cycle.

And Finally.

Like all frameworks, this is a tool only. Use with caution. The more you understand how to use this, the better you’ll manage with it. 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Eating for Exercise

There is a lot of information out there about what to eat before, during and after exercise. Much of what is published is done so by companies trying to sell products, many of these products are great, while some of them are terrible and full of chemicals. In this post there will be an attempt made to describe what you should be eating and when with regards to exercise. 

It is important to note that how people fuel is very individualized. There is no substitution for experimentation. Make sure that you try a few different things to figure out what works best for you! 


“Pre workout” is a very broad term. The general rule of thumb is that as you move closer to your workout your intake should get less and less and move towards simple carbohydrates. If you are:

The day before your average workout you should eat as you normally do, unless you normally eat fast food in which case STOP and eat something healthy. If you are the night before an event you should be eating a carbohydrate based meal that consists of primarily complex carbohydrates (brown rice, multigrain pasta, quinoa etc..). Most events will have a big pasta dinner the night before for all the competitors, but this is something that you will want to attend at your discretion. Often the day before a big event you should stick to things you know and cook yourself to minimize the chance of any gastrointestinal issues on race day. 

2 or more hours away from your workout: you want to eat a whole meal. Preferably a balanced full meal consisting of primarily carbohydrates (50-60%), but also including some proteins and fats.

1 hour away from your workout: At this point you should be eating simpler carbohydrates. This can consist of fruits, seeds, nuts, juice or a meal replacement bar of some kind (preferably something healthy!). 

30 minutes or less away from your workout: Now you are in pre workout mode. Either driving to the gym, trail, track etc... and if you need to eat at this point you are probably in a rush and did not have time to eat earlier. Simple carbs are key here and should only consist of things that will break down in your body quickly. A good rule of thumb is juicy fruits! Mangoes, pears, grapes, raspberries, oranges and pomegranates make great pre workout snacks. 

There are many pre workout products out there and many of them contain stimulants. The stimulant varies from caffeine to ginseng, but they all have the same goal, which is to get you excited before your workout. Very few of these products are actually beneficial to the workout itself and can often have negative effects; however many people like to use them to get themselves psyched for what is to come. 


60 minutes or less: you don’t need to consume anything during a short workout except water. If you have eaten properly throughout the day then your body has enough stored carbohydrate to get you through a hard 60 minutes. 

Over 60 minutes: your bodies store of carbohydrates will be depleted after about an hour of hard work. It is important to make sure that if you are planning on continuing on beyond this point that you are fueling. Again this is going to consist of primarily simple easy to digest carbohydrates. While your body is working at a high level your digestive system slows dramatically to save energy for your muscles; therefore if you eat anything heavy or hard to digest while your exercising you will most likely not feel very good and the food will simply sit in your stomach and take up space!

Eating for endurance sports is very individualized and there are numerous products out there. These products are usually gels, drinks, bars or chomps (candy like substance that is usually full of quick burning carbohydrates). Again it is very important to experiment with different things before committing to one or another. A general rule to follow is consuming 3-400 calories per hour of exercise. This will leave you in a calorie deficit for the event, but will maintain your ability to work at a high level for a long time. 


What to eat after a workout is the most debated subject in this topic, but the research is fairly conclusive in that the 20-30 minute window after exercise your body is trying to restore the muscle glycogen that it has lost, therefore the best thing to eat after your workout is carbohydrates. Most people that will argue this point will say that you need protein. While it is true that protein is the building block of all cells and is necessary for muscular recovery, the window immediately following workouts is a time for carbohydrates. Protein is not a bad thing to have after a workout, but it is not what is required for immediate recovery. 

Longer than an hour or two after a workout your body will start to catabolize and break down muscle tissue if there is not enough substrate (food) for it to break down and use to facilitate the cellular repair. It is essential that you eat a full meal (or have a meal replacement type drink) within 90 minutes of your workout. This will decrease muscle soreness and increase muscular recovery. 

All of the above information is based on the current working theories of exercise physiology. There are movements that swear by one trick or another, but the bottom line is that the above method is tried, tested and true and works very well for the vast majority of people. Experimentation is key due to our individual differences and tastes. Use the above as a general guideline to work from and you will be on the right track! 

~ Yoshia

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Our proximity to healthcare implosion.

Perhaps the greatest liberty bestowed on Canadians is our access to free healthcare. This privilege draws respect from countries worldwide and is a hallmark of Canadian citizenship. We are not just in jeopardy of losing this privilege, we are free falling towards it’s conclusion. Perhaps the most disturbing part of our race to the bottom is our laissez-fare attitude around understanding the severity of our inaction. Lets take a look here 

  • *Note gun fatalities (deaths amplified the loudest at the highest daily frequency) are at the BOTTOM of the death list with 1 death every 6 days.
  • Conversely health related deaths are occurring at the frequency of 1 death every 13m – 2hrs and hold the top FOUR positions on the death list at over EIGHTY THOUSAND.
Do we shut down a city in an effort to save millions from killing themselves? Do we press criminal charges on parents for aiding and abetting the shortening their children’s life spans? Of course not.

Why don’t we take action? That answer is simple. We don’t need to take action because there is zero accountability around our inaction.

Our health leadership is failing us.

  1. It’s a race to the bottom for everyone who thinks THEY have the silver bullet answer to repairing a broken system. This is not leadership, it’s not even follower-ship. There is no silver bullet solution. We will require a silver buckshot solution and until such time where the researchers, policy makers, marketers, influencers, educators and implementers understand and embrace the need for multiple skill sets to solve this challenge, we will continue to operate in silos & flood the landscape with excellent projects that end up in the great tool graveyard. What’s particularly frustrating is the fact we have the intellectual, social & financial capital to right this ship if we were just able to park the ego’s.
  2. Leadership policies are designed to satiate our instantly gratified society. A four year term is too short to see the deployment of an effective upstream strategy. Our sick care system is reactionary; more beds to take care of more people who are burdening the system (largely) because of their choice of poor health habits. The stats are staggering and the investment borders on negligent. Yet, who has the courage to stand before the people and let it be known we are no longer flogging this generational-dead-horse in order to preserve our future? No one.
  3. It’s all about the money. Not the long term ramifications of the spend, rather the immediate spend. How many times can we hear the phrase, 'how can we justify the investment in upstream prevention when we’re facing the level of crisis that requires our immediate attention'. If we wanted to find the money we could. Banks found a way to charge for convenient cash. Soft drink companies found a way to charge for the containers our sugar is delivered in. Countries find ways to spend billions discovering remote planets,  liberating other countries from tyranny and spare no expense entertaining us. The money we are investing in preventative healthcare is being directed towards way too many self interested - low producing initiatives. We should be less focused on promoting and more focused on affecting.
Our education system is failing us.

  1. There is zero accountability around ensuring physical education is a bonafide pillar of education. Reading, writing & arithmetic are. It would not be acceptable to see a teacher who’s not proficient at math delivering a math class. It would not be acceptable for Johhny to jot a pile of incorrectly spelled words with no particular context in an essay and receive an A in writing.  
  2. There is zero accountability around teaching physical literacy. 99% of all preventable issues begin with education and Canada, with all of it’s promise and prospect cannot align it’s provinces to agree to ONE consistent curriculum around physical literacy. There’s only 10 of us + 3 territories... but we need to be different in the interest of? We’re not even being different well, case in point our failing grade in terms of the report card on our children’s health.
  3. There is zero accountability over those charged with the implementation of the curriculum we have created. No individualized baseline metric, accompanying progressive program and then subsequent reevaluation of the baseline metric to determine progress. Instead, physical health education curriculum is being delivered more & more by generalist teachers which means we are rolling the dice when it comes to our children’s health education.
We are failing ourselves

  1. When we do not pay our taxes, there are consequences. When we drive excessively fast, drunk or recklessly, there are consequences. When we intentionally bring harm to others in a manner that jeopardizes their safety, there are consequences. Yet, there are no consequences for living an unhealthy life and stealing from a broken system.
  2. We defect responsibility. I vote my leadership in to.... I pay my educators to... I pay our coaches to... Parents fly into the school in a nano-second to debate that low mark on reading, writing or arithmetic, yet there’s no rush to the physical education teacher? Why? Because mom & dad are inherently aware of their child’s attitude & aptitude relating to healthy habits after all, THEY have been modeling the behavior. On an individual level we pay into the multi BILLION dollar lottery called the fitness gizmo industry searching for the magic pill & easy way. Ample stats prove, that doesn't work either. 
  3. We’re a nation of well intentioned talkers. We’re RIDING the elephant in the room and have it all figured out... right up to the point of action. It’s not what we know. It’s what we do with what we know and historically we will not take action until we reach crisis mode. Are we not there yet?
    • 1 in 3 Canadian children are overweight
    • Millions of unhealthy people are entering their ‘golden years’  
    • Countries, provinces, communities & businesses are going broke. 
       It’s time to shut our mouths (literally & figuratively speaking), lace up and start moving.
Healthy living cannot be optional. The statistics indicate the growing majority are choosing unhealthy lifestyles over healthy ones. This is unsustainable and at many levels unacceptable. If we are not able to manage the issue on our own accords, it’s obvious we need an intervention of accountability. Nothing else will save our system. Nothing else will preserve the privilege of free Canadian healthcare.

We need accountability and we need it now.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Progressive Overload Principal of Life

In the big wide world of exercise science there’s a training principle called Progressive Overload (PO). PO is pretty much the cornerstone of any training program designed to produce performance improvements for the individual who is following the program. In layman’s terms, PO simply means consistently graduating the intensity of the workout by manipulating the training variables – sets, reps, weight, recovery time, range of movement, speed, time under load, distance travelled, gradient, revs… and so on.

In terms of producing results, the sad reality is that…
  1. The majority of people that have gym memberships don’t train at all (upwards of seventy percent) and once the initial emotion and motivation subsides, so too does the commitment, the sweat and the results (for many people).
  2. The majority of people who do work out – and not just in gyms – are essentially “going through the motions”. That is, maintaining (at best) but not seeing significant improvement, adaptation or change.
Change… almost.

Naturally, most people who exercise are looking to create some kind of physical improvement via their training program; leaner, lighter, more strength, flexibility, speed, power, aerobic endurance, muscular endurance and of course, change in appearance. It’s also true that most people won’t achieve and maintain their exercise goals – and not because they don’t have the potential to achieve great results – but because they won’t get uncomfortable enough, often enough and keep doing it enough. Great at starting, crappy at maintaining.

Working Against Resistance.

If we want to see significant positive physical change with our exercise program then we need to be prepared to work against resistance consistently – because that’s where the improvement lives. No graduated resistance, equals no improvement. Maintenance perhaps, but no significant physical change. This resistance might come in the form of a heaver weight, an extra rep or five, a steeper gradient on the treadmill, a faster speed on the bike, a different activity, less recovery time between sets, a higher target heart rate… and so on. Our body won’t adapt / change unless we give it a reason to – and most people don’t.

PO in our Head.

This concept of Progressive Overload, adaptation and improvement is also true for life beyond the gym, beyond the running track and beyond the physical realm. Just like we subject our biceps, abs, thighs, heart and lungs to a certain level of stress in order to create particular desirable physical outcomes, so too do we need to subject our psychological and emotional muscles to a type of PO in order to become stronger and more effective at dealing with the realities, challenges and speed bumps (all forms of resistance) that life presents us. Here are some of the muscles that can only be strengthened and developed by injecting some sensible and strategic PO into our world:
  1. Decision making muscles
  2. Dealing with feedback muscles
  3. Standing up for yourself muscles
  4. Self control muscles
  5. Doing what scares the crap out of you muscles 
  6. Perseverance muscles
  7. Attitude muscles
  8. Problem solving muscles
How do we begin to address our fears? We do what scares us – that is, we work against emotional and psychological resistance; we lift that mental dumbbell. And then we lift a heavier one. Once we face our fears, we become stronger, we develop new skills, our mindset shifts, the “weight” seems lighter and we move to the next (heavier) dumbbell on the rack. This is PO of the psychological variety. And it works. Very effectively. How do we build our attitude muscles? We consciously and consistently choose to find the good, to ask better questions and to deal with “challenges” in a positive and pro-active manner. We choose to work against the resistance that people, circumstances and situations might provide and to do what most people won’t. Lift the heavier dumbbell.

Decision Time.

There comes a time when we all walk to the dumbbell rack and we ask ourselves a question; do I keep lifting the same (comfortable) weight, repeating the same behaviours and producing the same less-than-desirable results in my world, or do I give my body / mind / potential the workout it actually needs?

Monday, April 22, 2013

Do minimalist shoes last as long as regular runners?

By Ryne Melcher

Unlike wine, shoes do not get better with age. While a collector may keep a pair of Nike Air Jordan 11s buried somewhere in the closet and they would have huge EBay value, those shoes from a performance and usage standpoint would be worthless.

Shoes have a lifespan typically of around 400-500 miles (650-800km for the metric system folks). This total is not just relating to the miles you spend running in the shoe.  If you use that shoe for other activities and as your daily walking around shoe, that mileage gets added to your running tab!  

A common question asked is how much time does it take to hit 400-500 miles.  That answer is very unique to you.  For a marathoner or ultra distance runners, some hit that benchmark after 4-6 weeks.  For the weekend warrior working towards an occasional 5km or 10km run, that number pushed closer to 6-8 months.  If you keep a running log making a note of the miles you put on certain shoes naturally gives you a clear idea of when you hit the magic number when it becomes necessary to replace your shoes.

At Kintec one of the recent systems we have implemented is a shoe expiry email trigger.  The system automatically sends you an email reminder a few weeks before your shoes are set to expire.  How does it do that is a perfectly logical question!  Our fitting experts factor this into determining when that email gets sent when you are in seeking to purchase shoes from us.  Along with an array of questions about your athletic intentions, history etc our trained staff will be picking your brain about the amount of usage you intend to put on the shoes thus doing the equation for you!

What happens at that 500 mile mark?

Don't worry, mile 501 isn't anything that will land you in the hospital with a career ending running injury because you didn't make it back to get new shoes in time.  As you draw closer and closer to the 500 mile (800km) mark the cushioning and the support systems in the shoe become less and less effective.  The shoes may still look in usable condition but without the support and/or cushioning the shoe just isn't performing to it's best capabilities.  And if you are planning on doing an event or race, don't run the final few miles of your shoes race day, have a newer pair slightly broken in.  Like a car, mile 50 is a lot smoother of a ride than mile 500.

Does a minimalist shoe last 500 miles too?

Less is more!  Or is it less is less?!  Short answer, no, typically your more minimalist/racing flat type shoes are a shorter life span somewhere in the 300 mile (500km) range.  There is less to those shoes so naturally they break down faster.

Does having multiple pairs of shoes help?

Absolutely!  Shoes need a rest just like your body does.  It takes up to 24 hours for the cushioning system to rebound to its full value after a lengthy run.  Naturally if you wear that shoe to do your coffee runs, shopping, work etc, you are breaking down that shoe much quicker.  

While I could write forever about shoes, I will sum up with the following take home messages:
  • Shoes DO in fact expire
  • Different shoes work for different people
  • Wear athletic shoes for athletic endeavors and casual shoes for casual endeavors
  • Ask questions to your knowledgable trainers at Innovative Fitness, or drop by Kintec to chat with a Fitting Expert.
Happy trails!

Ryne Melcher is Kintec's Running Clinics head instructor. He has been at Kintec for over 5 years and has managed our Vancouver, North Vancouver, and Port Moody locations. Ryne has also been running ultra marathons for over the last 18 years, and represented Canada 7 times at the World 50 Mile Trail Championships. He is also the Canadian record holder for fastest 50 Mile Trail Runner, and a member of Montrail's Ultra Marathon team.

Friday, April 19, 2013


One of the questions I get in training with sports teams is "Can you make our players tougher and more physical?" My immediate thought is "Yes of Course," but the more I think about it the more uncertain I am. Physical of course but tough???

What makes a player tough? Is toughness necessarily a good thing or something that could hinder you in athletics. How does the situation you are in dictate your toughness and or ability to be tough. I'll illustrate and example.

A few years ago I was coaching a youth minor football team. It was our first year of being a team and we had many raw players who have never played football. I saw a team that didn't look tough or didn't know how to push themselves out of their comfort levels. So we began doing drills to see who would step up. Some of them did and some of them kind of hid behind others, as to be expected. But what I noticed more was toughness was directly related to a few key things: Pride, confidence, and attitude. When we would be losing games, at a certain point, many of the kids would go down with injury. Multiple times in the ladder parts of games. Not because they were physically hurt but because they were losing and their pride, confidence and moral was low. Interesting!!!

In college, I played many seasons with multiple shoulder seperations, broken ankles and fingers and multiple concussions. I played with others who were very similar to myself. But those are pains that we had to endure physically. Mentally that did not ever stop me. Nothing could keep us out of games. If we were losing, we would be still fighting back. The mentality was you can keep knocking us down but we'll continue to get up...Now sport has changed...For the better...If I knew then what I do now...

In today's sports world it is very different for amateur and professional athletes. I read recently that in the 6 years that the Chicago Bulls won their championships, Michael Jordan sat a total of 6 games over those years. 2 were for suspensions I believe. Now I watch sports and teams are resting their players in the weeks leading to playoffs to rest and recover.

So let's get back to our original question. Can you make players tough. I believe that you put them in situations and give them the opportunity to be tough. It's within each of us to fight or flight at any situation. Sport is the perfect setting for these opportunities. With structured training and practice, you can develop work ethic, drive, motivation, and passion. Which can lead to toughness. The situation is the game played. If an athlete has the drive, passion and work ethic to succeed then each opportunity/game/practice will improve confidence and make them tough. And by tough I mean a drive to be the best, to never back down, to play until the last whistle, and to give it everything you got. So yes you can make players more physical and yes you can teach toughness, at any level.

(Chris Spielman played Middle Linebacker with a broken neck. Tough??)

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Show us... the value?

I love sports. I mean I am a nerd. I will watch the games, read the story after watching and catch the highlights at the end of the day. I will phone friends to dissect that certain play and give my opinions when asked about style, jersey colors and even what I would have done if I’d have been coaching. I take my kids to the stores and I view replays online.
First class sports nerd. Not ashamed.

What I don’t do is spend time online or offline where I don’t get bang for my buck or anything back for my time. I’ll switch the channel to a different personality if I think you are trying to sell me. I’m not interested in a female sports caster if she doesn’t know her stuff. I’ll watch her all day if she’s the best. No fluff please. I don’t go to stores to see the latest jersey if I know you only bring in the latest, greatest stuff in size medium. Once. I want to see retro stuff and new stuff. Rare and fun stuff too.

You’ve got to look like you care as much as I do. I’m not subscribing to your online newsletter if you don’t add something to my knowledge bank. I’m not looking for a glorified article that tries to get me to click-through to your sales page. I know who scored because I watched it. I want more.

I want value.

And so do your customers. They want something more and they really want a reason to keep coming back to throw some money in your jar.

Your donors don’t want to know how much you have raised. They can see that on the brutal thermometer on your website. They want to know what you’ve done with their money and what you will keep doing to solve the problem. Your loyal customer wants to know what else is going on. There are thousands of ways to add value and support your fans.

There’s the pub that puts on a brew-fest or has a taster’s evening for their loyal customers. Those customers that know more than you about all things beer.

There’s the playhouse that does a tour backstage for the upcoming season or show. Just to season ticket holders.

The sport team that does the same thing and finishes with an autograph session.

The newsletter that goes so deep into the stats that only the fervent few even get it…but there is value. Real value.

We want value. And you are the expert.

You have so much to offer. So much to share. So much to keep our excitement and enthusiasm going.

Give us everything you’ve got and chances are we will give you our attention, our time and our money.

Simple trade really.

What can you provide us?
What’s your value?

Go. Make a difference. (credit to Willie Cromack @ the Age of Impact http://ageofimpact.com/)

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Be Your Own Community HERO

On heels of the recent Boston Marathon bombing incident, the air is filled with mixed emotions; from the disgust towards the people behind such a thing, to the prayers & support for all the victims and their families, to the appreciation & recognition for all the volunteers, health workers, police officers, bystanders, etc. that are still helping as a result from the disaster. Which may leave some of us thinking…
What would you have done if you were standing in the crowd near the bombing? How would you have reacted?
Do you ever daydream that you are the one to save the day? Perhaps you are the passerby who dives into the water to rescue a drowning child. Maybe you are the person who deftly persuades the robber to put down the gun, just in the nick of time. Or in this case, the person that comes to the rescue and save the lives of innocent victims.
It is human to want to make a significant difference in the world…and you can.
The day-to-day acts of community leadership are usually not as dramatic as described above, and they usually don't inspire a chorus of recognition. Still, as a community leader, you can make a profound contribution. Caring for your elders, increasing job opportunities in your community, getting rid of garbage & litter, or empowering others to lead are all activities that are heroic in their own way.
And we need many community leaders.
There is room in this world for more community leaders. The model of one leader at the top with everyone else at the bottom just doesn't work for communities. One or two leaders can't possibly solve all the complex problems that our communities face. With more community leaders, our communities will do better.
The more people become leaders, the more problems we will solve. We need community leaders to think about and organize around many issues: youth development, economic growth, substance abuse, crime, the environment, health care -- the list goes on and on. Each issue will require a group of skilled leaders to handle them. We need leaders who are women, young people, low to high income people, immigrants, people with disabilities and many others that have been told that they should follow others, not lead. We need leadership from all walks of life in order for our surroundings to be exactly what many of us wish – safe, clean, progressive, respectful, and organized to name a few.  
At the end of the day, we may not all establish our own foundations by the time we are eight, but we can make a significant difference if we put our minds to it. So, don’t wait for disaster to hit – you can put on your cape and be the community hero that you may already aspire to be. Doing so can be infinitely satisfying.
Until then, may our thoughts be with friends & family of those impacted by the Boston Marathon bombing.