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The Compass to Finding Your Next Gear

Continuing our conversation from last week, I was recently talking to a friend about teaching people to overcome tough obstacles.

If you read about Navy Seals training and experience they say “when you think you are done, you have 40% more left in the tank.” 

I experienced this in the desert running.

When you run a marathon a day for four days and still have 50 miles left to go, it’s a little bit of mental confusion and anguish.

You are anxious. Many questions and thoughts come into your head:

I am finished! This is tough, I can’t do this, this is crazy, how could they possibly think we could do this?

The challenge:

Crossing the chasm. How can I possibly get there?


Ask better questions.

Get Curious
Get Resourceful
Lean-to Action
Inspire yourself

Reflect: Wow this is really hard, what is the learning opportunity for me?  Life is hard and this is pushing me to the limit of my potential.

Get Curious: What is possible for me at this moment?

Get Resourceful: How do I chunk this out? What would (insert mentor) say if he/she were here?

Lean into Action: What can I commit to in the next hour, 30 min, 10 min or 5 min? If I can do that once, can I repeat that again? and again?

Inspire Yourself: What would I be capable of in the future if I can get this done?

Lastly, many of us worked together while out there to support one another to the finish line.

Find your tribe and win as a team.

Defeating Average.



Everything you need is inside of you

Everyone at some point thinks:

I’m not good enough

I am not strong enough

I am not thin or big enough

I am not loved

I am not smart enough.

But you are.

Everything you need is inside of you.

Like Leonardo da Vinci chiseling away from a block of marble a masterpiece, so lives the best version of you…that is good enough, strong enough, thin, big or strong enough and truly loved.

Defeating Average.



There is never a perfect time

If you wait until everything is perfect before starting a new challenge, you will be waiting forever. The time is now.

– Bill Phillips

We all have wanted to take on a new opportunity, goal and or hobby. There is never a perfect time. 

Can I do it?

Can I afford the time? The money?

Am I too old? Too young?

Doubt creeps in. 

Use powerful questions to outweigh the doubts and get started for the new year!


How to stop the mind turning 

The mind is always turning. The ability to real it back in is the key.

Like a playlist on the radio station of your mind that plays the same five songs and worries, work on noticing and come back to being present.

Acknowledge the tunes, see them pass by and focus on what’s important.

It happens to all of us. It’s what you do with them that makes all the difference.


13 things mentally strong people don’t do

In 2012, I was traveling 80 miles on foot through the mountains in Mongolia with a new friend Tristan from Sweden. He was an experienced diver and runner and was tough as nails. He had a banged-up ankle, and I was feeling nauseous from dehydration.  I was relatively new into the sport and what I clearly remember was he was calm, deliberate, and positive.

I was riding the emotional roller coaster hour by hour and just trying to get by. What I had going for we my ability to breathe through the discomfort. I had trained for it.

Together we pushed and kept one another on track to finish the seven-day ultra-marathon.

Tristan was the leader and I was the young follower. 

Mental strength isn’t often reflected in what you do. It’s usually seen in what you don’t do. This was Tristan.

In her bestseller “13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do,psychotherapist and social worker Amy Morin wrote that developing mental strength is a “three-pronged approach.” It’s about controlling your thoughts, behaviors, and emotions.

Like physical health, mental toughness must be worked toward, Morin said. Knowing how to regulate your thoughts and control your emotions helps build mental toughness.

A great article on the 13 things that mentally strong people do not do, according to Morin.

Article – 13 things mentally strong people don’t do

Something to reflect on over the holiday as you plan for 2020.

Defeating Average.



Fill Your Confidence Jar

Missy Franklin on Finding Mastery

Missy Franklin, 5 time Olympic Gold Medalist Swimmer in this great podcast episode shares how she overcame adversity and depression through injury in order to persevere on the world’s biggest stage.

In Missy words:

“It’s not about whether or not someone’s gone through more than you or whether or not someone’s lost more or gained more, it’s just about being human together and knowing that we all experience these emotions based on so many different things.”

What is one small and yet very powerful way she drives confidence?

A confidence jar.

After every good workout, she wrote herself one comment on how she performed and words of wisdom that would give her confidence in the future.  Before a big swim meet, she would sit down and read a number of comments from the jar.

How a champion thinks.  Genius.

Defeating Average.


Conservation of Energy

“Sir, to what do you attribute your success in life?”

Immediately, Churchill replied, Conservation of energy. Never stand up when you can sit down, and never sit down when you can lie down.”

Churchill conserved his energy so that he never shirked from a task or backed down from a challenge. He would go on to become one of the 20th centuries great heroes.

In his spare time, he was also known for taking on bricklaying and oil painting. He energized his soul by feeling the earth between his fingers and using a different part of his brain.

What can we learn from this?

Anxiety is calmed by finding purpose outside your core job and carving out time for activities that immerse you in nature.  Working harder is not the answer. It’s conserving your energy so you know when to lean in and when to lean out.

I highly recommend Ryan Holiday’s Book Stillness that gives many examples of the world’s great figures and how they achieve it.

Defeating Average.


Feeling each piece of grass on your toes

It’s a really busy and anxious world we live in right now and if you don’t get a hold of your angst, it will strangle you. 

“Try to walk so slowly that you feel each piece of grass on the bottom of your foot.”  That is what my friend Michael Apollo told me.  He was teaching me a walking meditation.

I was 29 and feeling overwhelmed with work and life and had come to know Michael through a local health and wellness clinic. He taught some group mindfulness classes which I enjoyed so I decided to see if I could learn more 1:1.  As someone who was always active, this was a new way to bring some calm into my life.

We were hanging out in a park near a busy street in Toronto. There was construction nearby, and I wasn’t sure how this was going to work.  In my mind, I felt anxious. “How can I concentrate with the construction noise? Is this going to work? Why can’t those people walking by be quiet? We should have chosen a quieter place.”

We carved out a 20-foot walking path in the grass where my bare feet could get acquainted again with the grass and nature. Michael asked me to walk slowly. I walked a quarter of my normal casual walking speed.  He told me to “walk 10 times slower. Slowly lift your foot off the ground, keeping contact with heel, midfoot, palm of the foot and toes, as long as possible. Focus three feet in front of you.”

By keeping me focused on one single task and moving methodically, and slowly, he was slowing me down. My breath naturally followed.

Soon my world and distraction moved from a noisy and disruptive 360-degree view whipsawing me around to a twenty-foot grass track in front of me.  Then from 20 feet down to a focused three feet.  The noise washed away like water off a ducks back.  I was focused on feeling nature and my own breath.

Twenty minutes later Michael pulled me out from my simpler world to my regular world with a new filter and skill set.

He was helping me build the scaffolding of mindfulness.

No action here today other than provoking a different way of thinking about Angst and anxiousness.

In this three-part series over the next two weeks, I will share with you some strategies on reducing Angst and building the scaffolding of Calm.

Before you head back to your next task…BREATHE.

Take 4 deep breaths in and 4 deep breaths out.

Defeating Average.


How to fall in love with your abilities

“We can fall in love with our own abilities and our own potential, then choose to maximize those abilities.”

– Bob Rotella, performance psychologist, New York Times Bestseller author

Thanksgiving is always a good time to evaluate your progress in a year, surrounded by friends and family.

We often focus on the endpoint, the results, instead of focusing on the journey and the abilities and skills that got us there.

Taking time to reflect on how you have grown and how your best performances look and feel like, can often tell you more about where to focus next.

In the spirit of incremental learning, take some time this week to answer these two questions:

1. What does it look and feel like when I perform at my best?

2.  What are two changes can I make in my daily routine to support performing at my best?

Have a great Thanksgiving week.

Defeating Average.


Getting the toxins out

There are many types of toxins in our life.

Expectations are a new one for me.

Drugs, alcohol, too much social media are popular ones.

I’ve definitely been working on reducing my social media and replacing it with reading a good ole fashion book. I’ve journaled the results and it’s clear – I sleep better when I cut social in half and read before sleep.


I have a list of work, family, personal project and health items I want to get done every day. I measure my “feeling of accomplishment” by how much I get done. When I measure against all 10-20 items daily against purely getting done, I would get an F.

When I prioritize out of that list what is important, is usually boils down to 3-5.

I’m not going to speak to prioritization in this post, but instead of reflecting.

We spend 8-12+ hours per day working, doing. How much time do we spend reflecting pre and post doing on if we have used our time well?

A few questions I have added into my end of day journaling (which I have started back up again while away on holidays last week):

  • Is this task necessary for today?

  • What should I not be doing today)

  • What does or did success look like today?

  • What toxins can I release?

If you are feeling overloaded or out of sync, test drive a few of these questions.

It’s within you.

Defeating Average.