How to Rewire Your Brain from Being Angry to Celebrating Success

Rewiring the Brain

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In June 2013 I was suddenly faced with moving my business.  Being asked to leave our previous location unexpectedly was shocking,disruptive and nearly devastating. The move meant a significant loss of revenue,  loss of my employee and a loss of marketing inertia.

There were parts of me that were extremely angry and stunned while other parts of me went into immediate action mode. Although it only took a couple of weeks to find a new location my anger towards this situation and the person who initiated the move stayed with me until last week.

While I knew this anger was not healthy or useful I wasn’t certain of how to switch my thoughts. Initially I explored counseling, but thought I would try to research techniques on rewiring my brain to achieve more resiliency and less anger.

For my birthday last month I received a gift card to a bookstore. That same day I found, purchased and read “Bouncing Back: Rewiring Your Brain for Maximum Resilience and Well-Being” by Linda Graham.

Bouncing Back CoverThe detailed neuroscience with practical meditation mantras was what I needed. Our brains are plastic. We can switch the negative rewiring by replacing those thoughts by positive ones. When I feel anger towards this situation I send a positive out to the universe and acknowledge the pattern that makes me angry. It has taken a few weeks for this to stop feeling forced, but now those wishes are more natural and genuine.

Last weekend helped me discover that I don’t celebrate enough. My current clinical space came about because Lifemoves needed a new home.  Now every time I unlock the door I celebrate and welcome myself home. Celebrating each small success by replacing negative thoughts with positive reframes has drastically reduced my anxiety while improving my happiness. I am also very grateful for the opportunity such a previously negative situation presented.

How are you going change your thoughts? How are you going to express gratitude and celebrate your successes today?

Finding Confidence Climbing a Mountain

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)

Breaking Barriers: Achieving a Sub 40 min Grouse Grind and Business Excellence

Several weeks ago I ran into someone who mentioned that my blog and advice on the Grouse Grind have been quieter this summer. So, here I am today to tell of how I broke the magical forty minute barrier on the Grouse Grind (2.9 km, 2,800 ft elevation) and how these lessons apply to business. 38:59 minutes in the 30-39 age group within the top 12% of all who use the Grind Timer. First, if you think grinding away by completing many climbs will get you results, it won’t. If you think ” if only I work harder, I will achieve my business results, ” you might, but probably only mediocre and not excellence.

To break barriers it is necessary to have unwavering commitment to building excellence working diligently and smartly. Working smartly means consistently evaluating your current environment and what you have achieved so that you can adjust your strategy as need. You also need to firmly belief that you will and know how to achieve your goals.

Over the last several weeks I have always known that I would break the 40 min barrier; there were several times when I came close. Each climb there was a plan, some days it was to push my limits, usually Fridays while other days it was to finish faster than my average of 43:30 min. On Wednesday I had a guy trying to keep up with from about the ½ way mark, there were several times when he went of course to try to pass me, however by following the path I was able to keep ahead of him. My goal for the Wednesday climb was to keep a steady pace, so when he finally did pass me just after the last staircase I didn’t flinch, I kept to my game plan.

I am committed to finishing my 100th all –time Grouse Grind at the BMO Grouse Mountain Run in October, so no matter what is happening I am determined to three climbs per week. On the other days I am in the gym completing several power lifts or plyometrics for the legs and strength lifts for the upper-body. Plyometrics and power-lifts fatigue the central nervous system (CNS) and designed to develop quickness on the trail. The power-lifts are 3-6 reps with as much force and quickness I can generate (all with excellent technique). They might feel and look slow, but because they recruit the central nervous system, I recover fairly quickly the next day without too much muscle soreness. Upper-body strength helps me climb up and over the rocky sections, especially that last bit at the top, just before the timer.

Execution follows preparation and planning. Each climb I learned a little bit more about how to my Grind barrier. I broke my each quarter into timed sections, so that I knew that when I achieve all four lap-times and few markers in between I would be beeping in at less than 40 minutes. Last night I set the intent – “Friday, I will finish under 40 minutes!” I prepared by making sure that I completed all my fascial stretches and self-myofascial releases so that my hips, legs, back and spine were aligned and feeling easy to move. I also made sure that I hydrated well with an electrolyte drink (Nuun tablets) the night before. Just before bed I checked to see that my heart monitor watch was fully charged. Yes!

An entrepreneurs need to be engaged in what they are doing. Recently I have been very excited about what is happening at Lifemoves and what is in our future. I woke up this morning very excited. To achieve excellence athletes need to find the right level of what is called arousal, too much or too little is detrimental. I had been experimenting with different gels and discovered for cost and what my body felt was right – Hammer nutrition’s are appropriate. A Cliff bar 3 hours before, 500ml of Nuun-water up to 30 min and one Hammer Espresso Gel 30 min, with 50 mg caffeine was my energy preparation.

When I arrived at the mountain, I changed, put on my heart rate monitor and made sure that my shoes were fitting snugly around my feet, but also double knotted. There is nothing worse than sliding around in your shoes during a trail run or having to break your momentum to tie up a shoe! After dropping my bag off at the back-check I headed out into the sunshine ready start my mission. A proper warm-up is essential before the Grind, because of how steep the new beginning is. The point is to raise your body temperature, stimulate your sympathetic nervous system, get more elasticity out of the fascia, elevate your heart rate to its level during the climb and mentally prepare you for the task.

After a setting my watch to 9:45 min intervals, for the quarters and a 5 minute run around the parking-lot that included heel kicks, hops, cariocas, knee-hops and tuck jumps it was time to get going. I always time myself from the start to the big warning sign. My arrival time usually tells me how I am feeling and what my likely time will be; 2:17 min, a new record. “Ok, today is the day!” I said with a big grin on my face. Keeping my focus on keeping a steady pace while periodically speeding up places where the terrain allowed I found myself at the first quarter (the painted signs) in just under 8:30 min. “Wow, another PB!”

While everyone has their own pace it is difficult sometimes not to get caught up behind someone and slow down. What you are trying to be innovative and build an excellent business sometimes you get stuck in rut behind companies doing the same as you, just OK. This was the same as the Grind, I had to keep passing people. Yet, I was having so much fun that in a slightly exasperated way I always asked them how they were doing and encouraged them to keep it up. You can still be friendly while leading the way.

Finishing the second quarter in 9:43 min was amazing. My next unofficial target is the left hand turn, just after some stairs, up some rocks and near the waterfall. To be on track I had to be there in less than 27 min. I looked at my watch which read about 26:30 min. Yes, my mind did wander to different places including work and family, however my mantra that I kept repeating was “nothing but here and now matters, keep your mind, body and legs focused on the task at hand.”

The third quarter came flying by in 9:43 min, another quarter personal best for the season. At this time I knew I was on track, but was also wary that I had at least another 11 minutes to go. There was a temptation to push myself even further, however I learned during Seek the Peak that by pushing hard when I was fatigued meant a calf-cramp, which surely would slow me down even further.

“Stick to the plan, stick the plan. Keep a steady pace. Time will take care of itself. Concern yourself with what you are doing, not how you will finish,” I repeated to myself.

Bound up the last staircase, I could feel that I was going to be under 40 minutes. However, I resisted temptation to look at my watch until the very end. I avoided the fondly remembered rock sticking out of the gravel that I so graciously tripped over a few weeks ago. Huffing and puffing I had the final timer in my sights! Beep! “What is your time?” an older gentleman asked me.

I told him as humbly as I could that I think it was under forty minutes. He replied explaining that he was now finishing in less than two hours. We all go at our pace, be proud of what you accomplished,” was my response. While still catching my breath, I walked up the stairs to the chalet to look at the timer screen. To my delightful surprise – 38:59!

This set me grinning internally and externally for the rest of the day. Each quarter was a season personal best. Remember the sum of the parts equals the whole.

What I do in business and sport is collect and analyze data. Take a look the information collected using the Garmin Forerunner 305, including heart rates, intervals, pace and GPS – click here

More info on the Grouse Grind

As Seen in Impact Magazine! Writing as a Local Expert

It took a little perseverance and patience, but I am now published in the Canadian magazine IMPACT and can officially call myself an author. Impact, is a multi-sport magazine published in Vancouver and Calgary which recruits local health, fitness and sports medicine experts to write articles for their bi-monthly magazine. I am honoured to be able to now say “as seen in Impact Magazine.”

This article took awhile to get published. I first noticed Impact a couple of years ago because it is distributed to major gyms, fitness events and medical offices. The idea of writing for them came about because many of the articles were written by local experts and I wanted to write more often to share my knowledge.

Lifemoves has advertised with them in the past. In April 2010 we were invited to attend a fabulous client appreciation party at Monk McQueen’s near Granville Island. There I had the pleasure of meeting their publisher and editor at the time.

It wasn’t until I attend my first editorial meeting in November that the ball got really rolling. The evening turned into a fun time of sharing and pitching ideas to the Editor, Chris. The challenge was making each idea relevant and relative to the reader.

I was really excited when an email request came in for TWO pieces. One was a book review in the and the second was a more complete article published in the July/August issue. Thank you to all who assisted with the fascial stretch therapy article including client Liam Firus, Athlete Model and Canadian Jr Figure Skating Champion; Dr. Carla Cupido, Baseline Health; Graham Stamper, RMT; Chris Frederick, Stretch to Win Institute.

If you missed the hard copies:

Stretching for Recovery and Performance: How Fascial Stretch Therapy Can Raise Athletic Performance



The Runner’s Edge Book Review (scroll down)

Kinesiologist Gains International Spotlight on Physioguru.com

Marking my tenth year as a Kinesiologist came with being interviewed for the Spotlight section of Physioguru.com. It is an unexpected honour to be recognized for my innovative approach to active rehabilitation, my efforts as an entrepreneur to improve the quality of life of people with disabilities and chronic medical conditions through exercise and lifestyle interventions, and my leadership in the field of rehabilitation.

Physioguru.com is a comprehensive resource for Physiotherapists around the globe aimed at enhancing their clinical practices. Each month it highlights one practitioner. It is nice as a Kinesiologist to be recognised and appreciated as part of the worldwide rehabilitation team.
Read the entire interview. Thank you Devdeep.

Shift Your Thinking: Grow Your Business By Getting to Know Who Sits in Front of You

“Who sits in front of you?” asked Dr. Edward Crispin, a colleague of my grandfather’s and a family friend. I recently met Dr. Crispin, a family physician who shared some basic health care philosophies with me.
Dr Crispin’s words made me think: Who are our clients, patients and customers? Are they really ours? When did they stop being people and how did they become “ours”? They are people with lives lived, with families, with stories to tell and with experiences to share. If we listen, we will learn from each other.
We are not here to close the deal, or make the sale. Payment is a way in which others express their gratitude for their education and for being taken care of in the health and fitness industry. Money is also used in exchange for goods and services of equal perceived value.

During my 10 years of being a health and fitness professional, I have always focused on taking care of others, whether they are clients, members or the staff I lead. I strongly believe that keeping focused on taking care of others and developing relationships with people have enabled me to become successful, both financially and professionally.
Recently two former clients who are sisters brought their aging mother in to see if I could help her sustain her independence and quality of life. Their love and caring for their mother is what touched me and I am honoured. In another instance, a client who I helped educate on health and fitness for nearly eight years and who is still maintaining this lifestyle, referred his friend to me.

Shift your thinking and get to know who sits in front of you. When you get to know them, your business will flourish. You will also learn as much from them as they will learn from you. This conversation re-energized me and will shift some of Lifemoves’ metrics of success, as well as how I measure my own. I am looking forward to keeping in touch with Dr. Crispin.
Please share with us how will you make a positive difference in someone’s life each day. How will you connect with them on a deep, personal level today? Who sits in front of you?

Contributing to a Family and Olympic Legacy

During his Unleash the Power Within seminar, Tony Robbins described one of our human needs as the need to contribute. Volunteering for the Olympics fulfilled this need for me in several ways.

I was fortunate enough to be at the same venue as my father. As an only child, family is very important to me. Just knowing that he was out there somewhere filled me with a sense of pride, comfort and joy. During our time at the venue, we were able to see each other several times in the workforce break tent between events. I really enjoyed sharing this experience with him and knowing that we both contributed to the success of the Vancouver 2010 Olympics.

At the end of the biathlon events, I was dismissed from my role in Anti-Doping, but before I went home I overheard that the stadium and range were going to be dismantled. To me, this was a call to action. Even though I was not part of the Biathlon Range or Stadium crew, I knew I had to lend my two hands and capable body. It was outstanding how well everyone worked together as a team to accomplish this significant goal in about one and a half hours.

Afterward, I stood in amazement on the range with my dad and thought, “Wow! I am at the Olympics with Dad.” I held on to my vision of participating in the Olympics; to me it did not matter that it was not as an athlete. We also took a group photo in the penalty loop, with a bunch of us standing on the podium, including myself.

These are stories and memories that Dad and I will continue to share and reflect on together for years to come.

I took my role as an Anti-Doping Chaperone very seriously, not because I was involved in Doping Control, but because I knew that our interactions with athletes, coaches, officials and team doctors would be part of shaping their Olympic experience and the stories they told when they went home. The feedback we had about Doping Control was that everything went very well. I am proud of our team at Biathlon.

I also spoke with athletes who were at Turin in 2006, who thought our facilities and athletes village were much better. I was also honoured to witness the pride of someone receiving his first Olympic medal. As volunteers, we are referred to as the “Blue Jackets” by John Furlong. We all had our roles and without them, the games would not have succeeded. I am also extremely grateful for all the spectators and residents of Vancouver and Whistler who I met. I noted the enthusiasm and pride they had for the athletes of their home nations, Canada or otherwise, and I was touched and amazed. Thank you to everyone who surrounded me and embraced this unique experience with me.

The legacies of the 2010 Olympic Games are many. Not only do we have new facilities to use for generations to come, but we also have a renewed sense of Canadian pride and memories of all those who journeyed here to participate (athletes, spectators, and athlete families). I hope that this pride carries over and the athletic accomplishments of the Olympic and Paralympic athletes inspires our nation to dig deep and become the champions they have inside themselves.

What are you going to do today to find and unleash your inner champion?

Excitement Building for Olympic Games Volunteer

In late November I invested a whole day in games time training for my volunteer role in Anti-Doping for 2010. I am very excited that I have been chosen to help make Biathlon, the sport I competed in for BC, a fair competition during the Olympics.

During registration we received a deck of playing cards marked Anti-Doping. They are still in the wrapping. I don’t think that will ever change. We started with an ice-breaker game to meet each other, we ended up with our our own cheering team. It started by each person challenging the individual sitting next to them to a Paper, Rock, Scissors game, with the winner continuing on and the loser cheering on the winner in the next round. It didn’t take long before I found myself as part of the final two. Which thankfully was a best of three. The eventual winner, a Doctor from Calgary won the first round, I won the second round and she won last one. The championship was a small gold plastic cup with “Golden Cup” scrawled in permanent marker on the side. (I will challenge her to a re-match when I see her again).

During the rest of the day we were shuffled from room to room for various topics and a well-catered lunch. Some of the information was very general to our role in Anti-Doping, including role playing difficult situations, while others material covered was very venue specific.
I have my shift schedule for the Olympics and know when I will be picking up my uniform, but have still to fully figure out transportation. One thing is for certain, transportation to Whistler is from BCIT, not far from where I live (phew). The organizers have been kind enough to leave us with at least one day between our long shifts to recuperate. VANOC is very good at ensuring that we are well prepared for our roles and that we will be supported at the venue.
As a former Biathlete, I am very excited to be assigned mainly to the Biathlon venue at Whistler Olympic Park. As an Anti-Doping Chaperone we get be on the field of play and interact with the athletes. These will be memories I will cherish for a long time.
Recent News – December 3rd, 2009 Top Ten World Cup Finish for Canadian Biathlete
Are you volunteering or hosting volunteers? I want to hear from you, so leave your thoughts and share your experience below.

Unveiling Business Excellence in North Vancouver

After several months of anticipating October 29th, it was time to attend the North Vancouver Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Awards held at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver. Each year they have a theme. This year’s was a masquerade.
Not knowing where I could get a mask, my girlfriend volunteered to make my mask for me. She is studying Prosthetics and Orthotics but also enjoys creating things and is very good at doing so. This mask was made to fit and is a masterpiece I cherish.
All day Thursday I nervously waited for the evening’s festivities to begin and the reception of my mask. I kept focused on each client during their session with breathing and mindfulness mantras. The pre-event started at 6:00 PM, but due to unforeseen circumstances I was unable to get there until 6:45 PM, not long before dinner started.
Drink in hand, I made my way to my table of ten, “Table 27.” I made a very good connection with Dave, a father of one of the nominees. Throughout the gala we joked and predicted who would be the winner of each award. This was only to help me calm down. The awards were presented in alphabetical order with Best in Business and Business Person presented last. As a “Young Entrepreneur” finalist, I was one of the last to find out if I had won.
Each award was presented by the different sponsors who had the opportunity to speak about what it meant to them. The finalists were announced again by wonderfully done short-films produced by Capilano University Film Students.
This was a great project for the students and gave each finalist an opportunity to showcase their business. Thank you John Morrison and Charlie Caanan for a well-edited version of our one day of filming.
I sat on the edge of my seat, with my thank you speech in hand (we were asked to write one, just in case). Unfortunately, I was not the winner. However, I would like congratulate Laurie of Carol’s Costumes who said, “Thank you, it is great to be young!” after which the crowd erupted in laughter. It was clear that everyone was enjoying the evening, which ended by celebrating the top three short-films with generous monetary awards and applause.
Even though I did not win, I am grateful. It is an honour to be recognized among such outstanding business owners on the North Shore. Among many other things, I am grateful for all the support I received starting Lifemoves. I am grateful for our clients, I am grateful for having Sahba as an employee and I am grateful for being able to pursue my dreams.
I have been involved in the North Shore Chamber of Commerce for less than a year, but have been welcomed with open arms. Being a Young Entrepreneur I appreciate the family feeling and I look forward to getting to know everyone at future events. Thanks to the NVCC and Fairmont Vancouver Hotel Staff for hosting a lively event.