Category Archives: Leadership

The art of being humble….

Out trainer said today that Olympic Lifting, really training for this sport and putting in all the technical “work” to make your lifts better, can be humbling…..I looked up the word humble to get a good idea of what it meant before I tore into this blog entry….it can be used as an adjective or a verb.

I’m not fond of this definition: Thinking lowly of one’s self (adjective); or this one: To make humble or lowly in mind; to abase the pride or arrogance of; to reduce the self-sufficiency of; to make meek and submissive (noun).  Neither definition is how I take the word in the general sense.

Despite the definitions, I understand where he was coming from.  Knowing your weaknesses, or your limitations, makes you a stronger person.  To me, being humble means that you assume nothing.  The world owes you nothing, people owe you nothing, the weights owe you nothing….you have to show up and do the work, treat people with civility, and lift the weights with the best of your ability, without wanting any reward.  If a reward comes, then so be it.  To me, this is strength.  You don’t need the reassurance of the world, or people, or of material things to make you a whole person.  You are a whole person because you know your edges, and that’s where life happens.

Lifting weights for this class these past six weeks or so has been a tough challenge for me.  I approach everything to do with strength training with a sense of humbleness….i.e. this could be really good for me, or this could be where the train let’s me off.  I never know which one it’s going to be, I just keep hoping that it’s not my stop yet.  I progress very slowly because I know my limitations acutely – I am humbled by them.  I’ve been living with them longer than I haven’t and my funny little back is like a friend and an enemy all at the same time.  I want to be stronger, and to be able to do things more quickly, but my back forces me to slow down.  So, where I might be able to think and write faster than my fingers can keep up, when I’m in the gym, my back requires that I take things slowly.  That’s a gift.

I never expected to be able to do any of this – what I’m doing now.  I knew I could get stronger, but I have to always be careful of my back.  We did lots of work today, and tonight my back is tight and sore.  Not in a bad way, but it’s noticeable more than usual.  A good night’s sleep should cure it.  My arms are also very tired, since I started lifting heavier weights and pulling up weights in a different range of motion that I’m also not accustomed to.

I’m likely never going to be an “athlete” in this sport – I know that.  Doesn’t mean that I can’t get better at it, and even push it a little bit, to add it to my repertoire of exercises.  Not everyone who signs up is going to be good at it, or will even continue on….but my will is pretty strong, and I’m stubborn, so keeping up with it, and pushing my edges, will happen until I find something else I like more.  It happened with Lean&Fit, and it will likely happen somewhere down the road for this too.

When you’re through changing, you’re through.

Be humbled by your limitations and in knowing the fact that there will only ever be one of you; that you have been given the cards in your hand for a reason bigger than you will likely ever know; and, life happens at your edges, because if it didn’t, none of us would ever change or grow beyond where we are today.


115lbs for a new PR for the sumo deadlift…

…on Saturday, and then I stalled.  My brain shut me down.  It’s happened before.  It will happen again.  It’s like my back became unhinged and I shutdown.  It’s a protection mechanism, I know, and it’s a warning sign.  Still I managed to get the bar up once with 115lbs.  That’s a 20lb improvement over where I was just two weeks ago.  I can’t be too sad about that. Work my way back up again slowly.  I lost my focus.  It’s in the legs and when I try to lift with my arms, it all goes to hell.  Learning….all the time.

As for the rest of the PT session on Saturday, my legs and arms are in moderate amounts of discomfort today.  I know I did something, like the 100 squats and the hold and hang for the chinups.  Those are coming along.

On a side note, I went to see The Social Network last night with a friend.  At the root of it, the way it’s written, it’s a love story – boy meets girl, boy makes a mistake and loses girl, boy is upset and rebels, boy tries to get girl back (in the meantime, making a shitload of money).  I find it amazing that the most socially inept and brilliant person, could understand the human condition so well, that he designed something that would fuel the needs of so many to be the “rockstar” among their group of friends.  I find socially awkward people, who also happen to be gifted or slightly evil, very fascinating.  All of the “success” books would tell you that you need to be charismatic to be successful, or at least be good at influencing people to follow you.  In some cases, you need to be the total opposite.  You need to be so self involved and so confident in your own direction that it takes precedence above all else.  There’s another school that says you need to be observing and open to new ideas all the time.  I think that is almost more important these days than being charismatic.  You never know where the next great thing will spring up.

I’m reading: Crafty TV Writing.  What a great book.  Learning so much about TV writing.

Linchpinning is like strength training…

I went to a pretty cool event on Monday night (in lieu of strength class).  Met a bunch of people, who like me, are following Seth Godin’s work (see the link to his blog on the right).  It was a Linchpin Meetup event.  Great bunch of guys.  My friend Cheryl came too, otherwise I would have been the only woman there.

As part of the meetup, the community is producing a Linchpin magazine, both print and online.  Sales of the magazine will go to support a charity called Seeducation.  More about Seeducation:

Seeducation will provide young talents who do not fit into traditional education systems with the opportunity to take part in a FREE 1 – Year course (CORE Programme) which will focus on development through creativity and practical involvement in real-life projects, with the help of mentors, trainers and experts in their respective fields.

They may not publish all submissions in the magazine, so here’s mine anyhow:

I met a whole gaggle of great new people on Monday night.  It was wonderful to talk to the like-minds and to hear everyone’s story.  There were many similarities between us and I look forward to meeting up with them again.  I was especially interested in hearing about Seth, as one of our members went to the launch of Linchpin in New York.  It sounded like a pretty cool experience.

Coming away from the event, and as I reflected upon the evening, I came to the realization that “linchpinning” is alot like strength training (another one of my interests!):

1.  You can always use a good coach.
2.  You have to have faith that you can do what you set your goal to be.
3.  The more you practice, the better you get at it and the faster you grow.
4.  You will no doubt change because of what you are doing.

That’s all from me.  I look forward to being part of this community for a long time to come!

MIA – but not for much longer…

I’ve been missing in action this last month.  Too much going on, and out of the discipline of contributing to this after each session.  I’ve been sick too, and trying to get some living and writing in, so that contributed to my tardiness.

I promise – Wednesday I will have an update.

As for tonight, I am attending the local Linchpin meeting.  Should be an interesting time, if nothing else.

Also reading the book Talent is Overrated.

Oh, but I did get my PT Certificate last week!  All shiny and new….anyone want to hire me?  🙂

Greco PT Certification

Today I started shadowing Brad for the Greco PT Certification.  I have a much greater appreciation for the amount of work he puts into all of us, every day, to help us realize our goals.  He has so many different clients, and with so many different approaches for everyone, I’m not sure how he keeps it all straight.  He even has partner training, whereby two people come in with differing goals or expectations, and to manage both of them within a very short period of time can sometimes be very challenging.  I think he should be getting paid to be a trainer, coach, counselor, nutritionist, mentor, etc.  He certainly does wear alot of hats, and it shows that he really likes what he does.  I don’t think you could get by with a job like that if you didn’t enjoy yourself and genuinely like people.  Where are you going to hide out?  The gym IS your office.  You are accountable to the people that show up.

I think back to when I had all those projects at work – juggling all those balls – but they weren’t people with expectations, emotions, lives and histories.  That’s what he works with everyday.  Everyone wants to achieve something different and everyone brings different cards to the table.

Most of training, as I am finding out, is a mental game.  Who’s gonna win?  And it depends on how you talk to yourself.  If you believe you can or believe you can’t, you’re always right.  The trick, for me anyway, is to no longer think about limitations on things.  I think, why set yourself up for disappointment?  Believe that there are no limitations and slowly work on progress.  That’s what Brad has taught me.  It’s mostly how the world works anyway.  If you had asked someone 150 years ago if future generations could be sharing information around the planet in nanoseconds and flying someone to the moon, most likely nearly everyone would have said “YOU’RE CRAZY”.  However, the people who believed that the earth was a sphere were right too, despite others telling them they were wrong.  What we tell ourselves, we believe.  And we generally become believers of our own mythologies which are a hard habit to break.

After shadowing, I snuck in a PT session of my own (so I could play hookey for hockey tonight).  Best results yet.  Pushed everything.  Did 50 pushups from Pin 1 and 50 chinups in just about 55 minutes or so.  Then we worked on the Sumo deadlift technique for about 10 minutes.  I have the up part, feels better, but the down part is more like a Romanian deadlift, and that’s the trouble I get into.  I will keep working on those over the next few weeks….

Oh, and due to some discipline and some luck, I got down to 158 lbs today.  I weighed in early in the day, but still.  At some point today my body weighed that.  I’ll take it.  Only 3 lbs to do to get to 155lbs.  I’ve got about 6 weeks.  I imagine my weight will go up again over the next week or two, but that’s okay.  I know what I have to do.

Tomorrow should be interesting with a whole new set of clients!

Paul Graham has some good ideas….

Check out Paul Graham’s essays.  He is a smart dude.  I especially like:

The Anatomy of Determination

After Credentials

Disconnection Distraction

Lies We Tell Kids

There are a ton more….equally brilliant.

The Olympic Potential – 0-14 in 17 days…..and on a Virgo full moon!

The Full Moon went into Virgo at about 11:38 EST today!

I don’t remember ever watching any other Olympics with such enthusiasm.  I wasn’t more than a few years old when Montreal’s ’76 was in play.  I do remember watching Figure Skating and Canada’s sweetheart – Liz Manley –  in ’88, but in 34 years, the world has become a much different place.  We are “on” 24/7 with social networking, multi-media/portable broadcasting.  Hell, the modern Internet didn’t even exist for the other two Olympics.  We were not only exposed to more this time around, and could keep instantaneously updated on more (sometimes without really needing to), but we also came together as a Nation in a more patriotic way than ever before (according to what Brian Williams keeps telling me and from all the high-fives I got on Elgin Street tonight).  I’m pretty sure I’m not the only person who lost countless hours of sleep watching Curling either (who knew it was so riveting!)….and it wasn’t just because I thought John Morris was pretty cute.

That being said, all of the athletes are to be commended on their performances.  Those that came in first, second, third, fourth, fifth, or somewhere else down the line.  They represented us, our country, Canada.  Many, many hours of dedication and work go into such accomplishments.  I think the money distributed for the “Own the Podium” campaign (about $117 million from what I can gather) is a drop in the bucket for what it has brought back to this country.  A drop in the money bucket.  If future leaders of this country have any integrity at all and value Canadian unity as much as they say they do, they would keep the money coming.  Canada really is a nation full of all kinds of talents, but it seems at times like these, that it is our athletes that we gravitate around, who can inspire us to reach further, go faster and accomplish something we never thought we could, in any discipline.

I thought the Olympics were great from beginning to end.  Being “great” does not mean above controversy or adversity.  From the Georgian Luge athlete who lost his life, to Joannie Rochette losing her mother only a few hours after arriving in Vancouver, the opening ceremony cauldron mishap, the Women’s hockey team enjoying a win “like the boys” and finally to those athletes who wanted so desperately to place, to make their country proud.  A production on such a large scale as this isn’t going to be easy or clean.  I’ve been brought to tears more than a few times in the past 17 days.  So much emotion.  So much heartache.  That’s what LIFE is.

And who can forget, Alex Bilodeau, our Golden Boy, and his brother Frederic.  And Sidney Crosby…with the shot that got my heart beating again.

The Olympics, beyond the media and merchandising windfall it is on the outside (I bought my $20 shirt the last time I was in Vancouver which I proudly wore when going out, any chance I got), is a few days in time to celebrate people who have given everything to achieve their potential.  Some may have more humble beginnings, some may have bigger paychecks, but all of them, no doubt, have the same drive.  To be the best and to get to the top.


They are estimating an $11M shortfall from corporate spending this year to Own the Podium. If everyone who watched at least 1 hour of the Olympics this year (and I know 26.5M estimate watched the last game) chipped in $1, less than a coffee, the shortfall would be taken care of and then some for at least two years.