February 29th, 2012 is National anti-bullying day, known as pink-shirt day. A day started several years ago by two kids who decided to stand up for someone who was being bullied because he was wearing a pink shirt. It has since become a National day of protest against bullies.
In 1988 we moved to Vancouver from Regina and I started Grade 7 the following September. Even elementary students have built friendships and cliques starting in kindergarten which solidify by Grade 7. To this day it is difficult for me to accept people who want to be friends or have me be part of their group as being genuine.
I commit to a bully-free life. Do you?
The trails and mountains in North Vancouver are where I go when I need a boost of self-confidence which was soaring after setting a new personal best on the Grouse Grind on Wednesday and then receiving the bag check No. 111 on Friday, just before attempting my second triple multi-Grind.
Businesses have their ways of measuring growth and success often in sales or profit. Even those of us who complete athletic events have our own measures. What we measure is usually what brings us personal intrinsic meaning while keeping us striving for our goals.
In business circles it is well know that what is measured is managed”. A business can only change, adapt and grow if it is measuring itself against some type of standard.
Confidence is built each time a goal is reached, however we often end up lost if we don’t know what that next goal is, especially after major accomplishments.
I remember the months of dedicated training to complete the Vancouver Marathon as vividly as the mixed feelings of elation and disappointment as my finisher’s medal was placed around my neck. The standard of finishing the marathon was achieved. The Marathon was a way to prove to myself that my previously sore knees (which took years to rehabilitate) were strong enough to endure 42.6 miles of running. I had forgotten to set the next goal; it took several years to find another athletic endeavour. A couple of years ago I discovered the Grouse Grind’s timer card.
Each climb renews my sense of accomplishment while each descent on the tram reminds me of the beauty of Vancouver. Trail running is often a way for me to reconnect with nature on my own. If there are any days I am in need a boost of self-esteem I know the mountain is not far away.
One thing that keeps me going is the knowledge that my fitness level is increasing on an easy to measure standard which my self-confidence.
Between my second and third ascents and during my second gondola ride down on Friday a woman asked “why do I do the Grind? Am I training for anything?” I replied “to keep the comb webs out.” I kept thinking of Fuaja Singh who finished the Toronto Marathon at 100 years old, surprising himself with a time of 8:26 hrs. It is the active agers who keep me inspired to keep moving and challenging my own abilities as I age. My tram conversation also inspired further reflection and analysis.
I am training to be the fittest I can be and in comparison to those in my age group. My season goals include single climb time, average heart rate reductions for the climbs, total number of climbs in a day and 100 climbs for the season. Every outing I wear my Garmin Forerunner, both as a back-up to the timer, but also to measure my heart rate and set quarter interval times for my pacing and motivation.
Each outing I measure the duration for each quarter, total duration and average heart rate for the entire climb; this is then compared to previous days with similar times.
Last week I accomplished three milestones:
Personal Best – 37:58 minutes (top 30 in my age group)
95th Lifetime Climb
Second Triple Multi-Grind
Wednesday was just one of those days when my body felt fluid and like it was moving fast. After looking at my second quarter time of 9:11 (a new PB), I knew that if I could do the same for the third quarter in a similar time I had a good chance of getting under 38 minutes. Looking at my watch it was 9:15. Yes! Now it was time to push to the top.
From that point it was about going as fast I could and repeating to myself that I could do this. Swiping the card then pressing the lap button my watch – I carefully looked at my watch. There is a notice of the last lap time to covers the current time – I could see it was 38, “did I do it?” The timer is the official time. Flying up the stairs I cautiously looked at the computer screen as it scrolled towards my name – 37:58! Yes, with a fist pump. Even with having to tie my shoes once I broke the 38 min barrier three weeks before I hit 38:04 in 2010 so, clearly there is an improved level of fitness.
Looking back over the season I found out that Friday’s triple was accomplished in 9 minutes less than my first one and each ascent was on average was 3 minutes faster than my first triple and a slightly lower average heart rate than on September 3rd, 2011. The third climb on Friday even felt stronger than my third one in September. I started out pretty fast, but then remember – the goal for the day was really about crossing the finish line.
Next was getting up on Saturday morning to finish my 95th climb. Maybe the fatigue set in, I am not quite sure but I forgot to double knot my shoes again – so there I was pulling off my magic gloves to tie my shoes in the cold, twice, once for each shoe. I clamoured over the top in 40:05.
What does it all mean? The rest of Wednesday I was elated. This confidence spilled over into the rest of the day at work and with clients. Saturday’s climb left me confident that I can finish the remaining five to reach my one hundred and most in less than 40 minutes each. It is also really motivating to group my times and look at very similar times to see that the average heart rates are dropping for those times. The confidence on the mountain flows over to the rest of life. It builds self-belief and self-esteem.
I climb the Grouse Grind because it reminds me that I am getting fitter and how lucky I am to live in such a beautiful city with mountains and forests in our backyard. Each climb I know that I that I am making some progress and that with diligence there will be the occasional breakthroughs. This week there were several. After last week’s successes on the Grind, I am feeling more focused to tackle what needs to be done in my business this week.
If you are struggling with confidence in your business or feeling unsure of yourself go out and do something that you know you can complete – big or small. Keep doing the day-to-day things that will lead to success and greatness.
What do you do when you are looking for that extra little bit of confidence? For me, it is climbing a local mountain.
(photos top to bottom: Grouse Mountain Grind Timer and bag check card; West view of the Lions and tram tower; north view of Seabus docking at Waterfront Station)
Over the last two seasons of the Grouse Grind I have met some wonderful people who are also in the unofficial multi-grind group. The over forty people of all ages who are in this group complete at least two grinds in one day or more on a regular basis. I was inducted into this club when I finished my first double grind last year.
The support and accomplishments of this group inspired me to take on a “Triple Grind,” or three climbs in one day. September 3rd, 2011 I challenged my mind and body to this challenging task which would also mean finishing my 80th of all time.
I have been talking about this day and planning it for several weeks. Letting others know of my plans really meant that I was accountable and couldn’t shy away from it. A massage therapy session on Friday calmed my nerves and helped loosen up my hips, lower-back, legs and diaphragm in preparation. The day before I set out my strategy and made sure I had one energy gel every to ingest at 30 min for each climb and one cliff bar in-between. To hydrate I filled my water bottles with water, one Nuun tablet and glutamine to replenish my electrolytes and reduce any muscle breakdown.
Due to a later night I had to start one hour later than I anticipated, sunny weekends, especially long weekends are busy times at Grouse. While chatting with some tourists on the bus up they asked me how fast I do the Grind and how often I do it in a week. Though they seemed impressed by 40 minutes and three times per week, little did they know my plans for a triple!
Wishing them all the best for the day, we parted ways so that I could go to the washroom to change and put my heart rate monitor on.
It was nearly go time when I ran into Oliver and Mark, two other multi-grinders as I was dropping of my bag to the back check (one benefit of using the timer card). They gave me words of encouragement which helped bolster my belief that I could actually do it.
Grouse Mountain staff have a large drawer full of bag check cards with a couple of hundred of numbers on them, today they pulled out no. 47!
I am not usually superstitious, however 47 is my family’s lucky number. I smiled and thought excitedly to myself “this really is going to be the day to finish three.”
Climb Number One
What limits us more in physical pursuits, our mind or our body? Knowing that this was my first climb of three I didn’t set out on a blistering pace, but went at what I thought was a moderate pace that I could sustain. Every once in awhile I checked into my breath to make sure that it wasn’t out of control and looked at my heart rate to ensure it was around 160 bpm, which is 15 bpm below my anaerobic threshold. The painted quarter markers provide a good sense of pace and a place of encouragement. Passing the first one in 10:30 min, I felt pretty good. Near the half you point a I passed this guy who decided to be my shadow all the way to the top, despite giving him every opportunity I could to pass me, including staying as far right as I could, he just couldn’t manage it.
When my timer chimed 30 minutes, I tore open the pack of Cliff gel vanilla and gradually sucked it empty while still keeping my feet going one in front of the other. These a couple of swigs of water washed some of the sweetness away. Despite really wanting to push and shake this guy off, I was able to clear my head enough to stay focused on a steady pace finishing in 43:52 minutes; just a little bit slower than my average time. So far on pace for three sub 50 minute climbs.
After retrieving my bag I head to the washroom to change my shirt. In between climbs I had about 4oz of Nuun water and one cliff bar. I knew that if I had too much rest time between each ascent I wouldn’t make it number three. Also, leaving my bag up top added a little extra incentive.
To view climb #1 – click here
Climb Number Two
This was one the one where I wasn’t sure of how to pace myself because I really didn’t want to empty the fuel tank and not have enough for the third. There is a 3-4 minute section from the gate to the big warning sign that I use as a gauge to see how my body is feeling. Words of self-doubt started to creep in and I wondered if I was crazy to be attempting three. Then I remembered all those people who would be asking if I had done it and how great it would feel to accomplish this goal.
The trail was more crowded than on the first climb, but still manageable. There more tourists stopping at the blue signs to take photos and few people sitting in the middle of trail resting. Just like the little engine that could, I was the “mountain goat that could.”
I broke this mission down into manageable parts, thinking that once I hit the ½ mark, I would be only 1.5 more climbs. The count down in time, elevation and ascents really helped. also figured that since I finished Seek the Peak (16 km and 4000 ft) in just over 2hrs that I could easily finish today. The second climb of my first double I felt quite dizzy and almost needed to stop. This time was different. I crested the top to see the finish timer and sprinted to swipe my card – 48:24, average hear rate 151 bpm.
With the sun out I decided to some dynamic hip, low-back and leg stretching on the grass before my last climb. Sometimes if I stretch or shift in the right way I can get my scarum to release, which actually gives me some relief and little more movement in my hips, Theses stretches are important to reduce any joint compression and length any fascia and muscles that have been shortened during the previous climbs. It turned out to be the pivotal break my body ns seeded.
To view climb #2 click here
Climb Number Three
I was eager to start because I knew it was my final climb of the day and I could push my pace in some places. At 11:40 AM, the trail was really starting to get busy with many groups starting. My legs felt light at the beginning and my mind was all fired up ready to get my body to the top. Even though I wanted do this one for time, I also wanted to finish. Time takes care of itself, we don’t have any influence over it. What do have influence is on the process of whatever we are pursuing.
This last one was all about getting to the top, the rest was gravy. Hitting the timer after first quarter, I noticed 11:14 minutes, on pace for around 45 minutes at that time. As I continued to climb the trail became more congested. Long weekends around noon are not great times to be trying to set personal records that are time based. There were people littered all over the trail, sometimes not unknowingly stepping right in front of me; just like driving – stick to the right unless passing. There was one younger gentleman who looked like he was going to pass, then held back.
After about a minute of this, I decided to accelerate just to get passed him. There were several places where traffic jams almost put me at a complete stop; if I stopped, I might not get going again. The trick was to find a safe path around the gaggle of people without forcing them to move suddenly, which would make it unsafe. I saved the Hammer Espresso with 50mg of a caffeine for the 20min mark of the last climb. Delightful.
There were moments of speed that lasted only 30 – 40 seconds then my legs wouldn’t pick up anymore. Surprisingly there were only a few spots where I miss-stepped losing my footing momentarily. The second and third quarter were completed in 11:55 and 11:56 minutes, respectively; these were very even times. When my watch chimed 40 minutes during the fourth quarter I knew I could finish this one in less than 50 minutes.
It was only the last 5-10 minutes where I really felt my body getting ready to give in. The last set of stairs before the rocks, where you can either go steeply up or around to the left then right arrived more quickly than I chuckled and smiled to myself “you have to be kidding.” When I step on the rocks, I know the finish is really close. My excitement rose as I bounded through this next section, scrambled over the rock face to see the finish time in my view. Pushing myself a little bit more to the finish timer I swiped my card and stopped my watch. Astonished I read “47:24.”
To view climb #3 click here.
All three climbs in less than 50 minutes and one of my season goals completed. Yes! Yes! Yes! Booyah! Now it was time to get a chicken burger and a chocolate milk to enjoy the glory on the deck overlooking Vancouver. One of the things I really enjoy about Grouse Mountain is the view of the city from the top as well as on the gondola ride. There is nothing quite like it to help you appreciate where we live.
What is next? A business coach asked me once, “What is the goal beyond the goal?” I still have a 35 minute single climb and 100 climbs overall to finish by the end of the season. Happy trails!
Building a thriving and growing health, wellness and rehabilitation business is something I am always striving for.
As a Kinesiologist I know that we graduate from our Kinesiology or Human Kinetics programs with very few business skills; they all learned as we practice. During the last ten years I have had to learn through weekend workshops, business coaching , reading and watching videos or listening to podcasts as well learning from what succeeded and what didn’t.
This weekend I attended an all day workshop on how to build a thriving wellness practice at the Vancouver Yacht Club, organized by Lotus Counselling Services and Chasidy Karpiuk & Associates. This series of seminars started with accounting and bookkeeping, progressed through business planning and finished with building and branding. We also had the unexpected pleasure of having our headshot photo taken. I think it was well worth going to as an opportunity to network with a variety of health and wellness professionals including another Kinesiologist from Fort St. John. This was really a quick business bootcamp which gave wellness professionals a kick start and some of the tools to build their practice.
I remember being in the same place as some of the participants who were starting to transition from being employees to being the self-employed. This was when I was having great difficulty finding work in my industry so I decided to start my own business. This business struggled even after I participated in a Small Business BC Self-Employment program. I still didn’t entirely understand what it was going to take to succeed. Lifemoves® is my second business which I am very focused on making it a success. I folded my previous one I rebranded in 2007 the company brand no longer met my current personal brand’s needs.
Whether or not they stay on their own or build to multiple practitioners is up them and what they want to get from being self-employed. Building a thriving practice is a continual process of trying different things, searching for new knowledge and continually making changes as you progress towards greater success.
Keys to Building a Thriving Practice
- Pay attention to your financials, in the beginning every month. This enables you to make adjustments as needed.
- Maintain good bookkeeping habits. This helps your accountant at the end of each year to complete your taxes.
- Set Goals, create a business plan with strategies to achieve them. Re-evaluate.
- Be clear on who your market is and isn’t.
- Save money by doing a waste audit. Sometimes it is time to pull the plug on a project that is draining resources
Be aware of your billable and non-billable hours. Earnings / Non-Billable + Billable Hours = Hourly Rate
- Look for ways to be more efficient during your non-billable hours
- What are your political, environmental, social and technological constraints?
- Define your strengths and weakness. Play to your strengths.
- Understand key threats and opportunities.
- Build a story around your business which is the core of your business brand. Communicate that in as many ways as you can, but stay consistent.
- Ace customer/client service – this is how you gain long-term clients as well as referrals.
- Use social media as one portion of your 7 touch points: Facebook, LinkedIn, Blogs, YouTube, Twitter are just five ways to contribute to the conversation and communicate with your clients.
- Have a website and blog at a minimum. Referred clients will search for you and evaluate your level of professionalism and whether or not you can provide the appropriate solution for them. This is part of brand a reputation building.
- Use images that are appropriate to your market and that create emotion and connection. Ensure these are consistent with your brand’s story.
As an entrepreneur I always set goals, create a plan, evaluate progress and then redefine the goal or the plan. During these sessions we shared our goal and suggested different strategies to meet them, mine is develop a team of 5 Kinesiologists at the Steve Nash Fitness World in North Vancouver. This weekend’s workshop helped me to identify some areas where I can focus to take Lifemoves® to the next level. I do recommend that this workshop to anyone who is trying to start/build a wellness practice; click here to find out when the next one will be held.
Did you attend this workshop at the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club? Can you think of any other ways to create a thriving health, wellness and rehabilitation practice?
Many people have difficulty appreciating themselves or being proud of what they have accomplished. Each birthday (today) I conduct a yearly review. It is important because it helps me take stock of where I was at the start of last year, get a good sense of what I achieved and set a new path for the year to come.
- Personal credit card debt significantly reduced – completed
- Business in a more sustainable financial situation – completed
- Being the fittest I have been in 5 years – completed
- Having enough cash flow that I am not living month to month – completed
- Personal best on Grouse Grind 39:56 2009 – completed today new PR 39:13, this puts me in the 90th percentile of Grouse Grinders!
- Business growth of 30% – not complete – we did grow by 15%
- Run the Seek the Peak Grouse Mountain – completed
- International professional recognition – completed
- Healthier nutrition habits – 1/4 of the way. I am more conscientious of my choices and aware of the choices I need to make. I have had weeks where my nutrition habits were excellent. progress
- Give back more to the community – hosted a Cystic Fibrosis fundraiser, participated in Movember, contribute regularly to the Grouse Grind Facebook group. completed
- Write a book – I have several ideas which I am testing with the blog posts. This year I am looking forward to actually doing the research and putting something in writing. I have great ideas for multimedia books. progress
- Write at least twice per month for my blogs. – completed
- Volunteer at the 2010 Olympics – shared with my Father completed
- Participate in more outdoor activities on the North Shore – progress, I have the Garmin and I have completed the Grind twice per week since June 12th.
- Complete Seek the Peak in under 2 hrs – benchmark is 2:24:00
- Complete Grouse Grind in sub-36 min – benchmark is 39:13
- Compete in two additional trail running races.
- Publish an e-resource that includes videos.
- Retire my personal credit card debt.
- Grow Lifemoves more organically, but again by 15%.
- Eat 70-90% of meals at home.
- Cross Country Ski again at least twice this winter.
- Snowshoe biweekly during the winter.
- Participate in or create more fund raising activities.
- Get at least 30 minutes more sleep per night.
- Strengthen and deepen personal relationships.
- More in depth implementation of Getting Things Done method (GTD)
Using the Garmin Forerunner 305 for the first time up the Grouse Grind came with a little troubleshooting. In business, I often find I have to do this because most often something comes up that we didn’t anticipate or plan.
Staying on track with the 80/20 rule to maintain my Seek the Peak Training has not been easy. I work right down the road from the North Shore mountains and in a gym! Imagine my excuse being, “I don’t have enough time.” What will our clients think?
I am finding that growing my business while maintaining my fitness and training for Seek the Peak is the toughest thing I have done in a long time. May brings spring flowers and university students looking for work after final exams.
As we aim for our peak performance or being the best at something, many of us get wrapped up in comparing ourselves to others. But, when it comes down to race day or the day we are making an important presentation, we can only manage what is under our control.