Using Coaches as Guides To Achieve Greater Success

3 Hikers In SnowHave you ever found yourself stuck and not sure how to improve your business? Have you thought about getting help from a business coach?  Coaches are guides who’s outside perspectives help those they assist reach their goals and improve their skills. In essence they are facilitators. Coaches have been an important part of my life in athletics, business and life.  The first coaches I can remember were the parents, including my dad of Jackrabbits. Jackrabbits is a cross-country skiing program for kids aged 3 – 12 years old.

For those unfamiliar with Jackrabbits it is a program similar to scouts and girl guides, but on skis that takes place in the winter.  We even had badges for accomplishing different skills and milestones; mine are still tucked in a box for safe keeping.   Since then I have had many coaches for different purposes and at various stages of athletic and business development.

A fire lit inside of me in 2007 that was so strong that I knew it was time to make the transition from employee to business owner. Unsure of where to start I enlisted the help of two coaches.  With one we were focused on developing the business strategy and figuring out how to manage the re-branding of a sole proprietorship to a new corporation and the switch from employee to entrepreneur. The other guided me through the business plan creation and successful negotiations with the gym owners.

It was with their help that I navigated my way from working for a major private fitness gym as a Personal Trainer, to owning an independent business that operated as a strategic alliance within the same gym in less than five months.

Coaches provide a non-partisan sounding board for ideas,  help elucidate resolutions to problems, celebrate successes and keep you on track.  There is no doubt in my mind the start of Lifemoves was accelerated because the coaches provided the pilot light with their of years of business knowledge that perhaps, without coaching I would have found on my own but over a much longer period of time.

While competing in biathlon the importance  of having a diverse number of coaches became very important.  When I attended a Junior Canadian national biathlon summer camp the coaches there were able to pick-up things I needed to work on that my local coaches didn’t see. This was because they had their unique perspectives and knowledge base.

Over the years I have had a few more business coaches all with different areas of specialty, such as financial management or purpose and vision.  Each coach was sought to help find a solution to a major stumbling block in my business.

If private coaching seems difficult to afford try starting with group coaching or think of coaching as an investment for greater future earnings. Next week I will be attending a business coaching group for the first time with many other entrepreneurs.  This excites me because I will be with a group of like minded individuals all interested in accelerating their business and learning from each other as well as the coach.

What are your thoughts on business coaching? How have they helped you?

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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?

5 Reasons To Climb the Grouse Grind

A client asked me the other week “What brings you joy?”  At the time I had difficulty answering, perhaps it was because it was the end of the day and week and I was a little tired.  There are many things that bring me joy including the Grouse Grind® which provides a close by escape from the city.
Since picking up the timer card in 2009, I have climbed the Grouse Grind® over 125 times.  Last night the trail was quieter and more relaxed with several sections where I was alone. On rainy days it is mostly those who are dedicated Grinders who visit the mountain.
There are several reasons that I come to Grouse every week during the summer and crave it during the winter when it is closed.

Reconnect with Nature – Get Grounded

We get so busy during the day that we can lose contact with the beauty that surrounds us in Vancouver. Yesterday, was no exception. The rainforest canopy last night was absolutely gorgeous after the rain stopped.  My family travelled from Saskatchewan to Alberta during the summers for overnight week long hikes in the Rocky Mountains. Now living in Vancouver I appreciate the landscape this city has.  It would be a shame to neglect the beauty that is in my backyard.   Each climb provides time and space to be my introvert self, reflect, and calm my nerves from running a business while reconnecting with the earth.

Increase Physical Conditioning and Stamina

The 2,800 steps offer an unparalleled opportunity to challenge my physical capacities. I grew up competing in cross-country skiing and biathlon; it was the hills that I was able to catch people on. Each season I continue to push myself to see how fast I can get on the Grind®, with the aim of being the fastest in my age group. 
It is a set course that is measurable. The timer card combined with a heart rate monitor makes it very easy to see changes in fitness as well as chart age group progress.
Being among the fittest in my age group will keep me physically younger, prevent injuries and chronic medical conditions while continuing to inspire others to challenge their own physical limitations. Increasing my stamina leaves  with me more energy at the end of some of my long work days which are often both mentally and physically taxing.

Build Self-Confidence

For years I struggled with depression due to school bullies. They thought that biathlon was a sissy sport – though we were skiing 10-20km per race, with a rifle on our backs and competed in two races per weekend; this was until I skied circles around my classmates during a PE outing to Cypress.  I strongly believe that this lack of self-confidence prevented me from reaching my potential in the sport.
Just cresting the top always makes me feel great and like I have really accomplished something. This endorphine kick lasts most of the day and spills over to other activities. Setting new Personal Bests, doesn’t happen every climb, but when it does I feel fabulous for several days. It provides something to celebrate; it gives me more confidence and belief in myself.  This renewed confidence assists me with feeling like I can do what is necessary to grow my business.
I climb to show those who thought that I wouldn’t accomplish much that I am physically capable of great things.  I might not be able to win a marathon, but I believe I can be among the fastest on the mountain.

Make Friends

Although I am in introvert and I like to climb alone part of the reasons I come to the mountain is to see friends who share a common interest. There is a group of us who go up multiple times per day (something I once thought was CRAZY). We all encourage each other to push our limits, support each others’ goals and celebrate our accomplishments. We catch up between Grinds at Startbucks or on the Gondola.
 When you ascend the Grind® as often as we do – you get to know the wonderful Grouse Mountain staff. Also, it is always nice to say hello and encourage people on the trail who are sharing a similar experiences, but might be climbing for their first time.

Fundraise for BC’s Children

This year I am participating in the Grind for Kids fundraiser because the Children’s Hospital was a big part of my personal well-being and I want the kids today to able to experience the same joy I do when I am moving outdoors.  My goal is to raise $1000 in 50 Grinds with 25 of those under 40 minutes. I am half way to my Grind goals, but need a little help with the fundraising.   
If you enjoyed reading these blog posts please consider making earthier a pledge per Grind or a direct donation on my behalf – click here to donate.
 Why do you climb the Grouse Grind®?

Other Grind Articles

4 Ways to Simplify Your Growing Business

Keeping things simple in an increasing complex environment is quite challenging.  In the beginning my business was quite simple, because everything was completed by me and I was the only person involved. However, as it grows it becomes increasingly layered with more complexity because there are more people and more processes to manage.  Even the concept “Open New Studio,” which seems simple has many steps and more things to consider than I initially thought.

My goal is create a culture where we are always striving to find new ways to eliminate steps so that our business becomes more efficient and less physiological and well as less psychologically taxing.  Moving, hiring new staff and opening a new space have made become acutely aware of the levels energy required when things are complex. So, this week I took some steps to regain control and simplify.

1. How to Create a Consistent Brand Image

 Our brand image is very important to me. Everything has to have a consistent level of professionalism, clean design and colours to it.  So, creating templates for our staff to write reports and programs was part of this. These templates are in word and include a style sheet.   We have particular colours, so those colour numbers (pantone, RGB and CMYK) need to be communicated to everyone who uses them.

 Paint companies don’t use pantones so, last Thursday I went to Dulux paints and colour matched three colours that are part of their permanent colour collection with our Pantone colours. This made it easier for the painters to pick up specific numbers and easier for us to match in future locations while increase my confidence that I would be happy with the overall design.

2. Hire a Payroll Service

I have been doing all our payroll which includes adding everything up, creating the paycheque in Quickbooks, sending out statements and paying payroll taxes. All of this takes time away from other activities I could do like gain new clients.  This week I decided a payroll service would suit us better because all I have to do is enter the pay information in the system and then enter a general ledger statement into our accounting system.

3. Pricing, Services and Product Offers

If you have more than one SKU – then you know how complicated it can get.  Last Friday we sat down to figure out our pricing schedule for new and current services. Making it as simple and straight forward as possible makes it easy for new staff to sell and deliver. Also,  our clients will more easily understand what we offer.  Alleviating confusion and reduces chances of someone being over or undercharged.

4. Electronic Funds Transfers for Better Cash Flow

To manage cash flow, make it easy to pay bills and have invoices paid. Often regular clients means that you have regular cash flow.   This is especially important in the fitness club and personal training environments.  With EFTs clients have a predictable payment schedule and you, the business owner can build your EFTs up to point where it at least meets your fixed expenses.   We also decided to have one of our third party payers complete EFTs so that our payments are not delayed by mail delivery or having to go to the bank to make the deposits. It is also possible to set-up direct debits for vendors and employees or sub-contractors  (you don’t have to wait for them to receive and cash the cheque).

These are just a few ways to simplify your business. Can you think of any others?

Thank you for reading my 75th article on this blog. 

Facing the Cold Hard Truth for Enough Growth

While supporters of the Occupy Wall Street movement complain of excess spending and compensation packages of corporations and banks I have been wondering what is Enough?  Part of question comes from trying to figure out how to protect my business and myself from the financial Aftershock.  To answer this I have to continually be ok with facing the Cold Hard Truth about my particular situation and the economy. To succeed I have to come to Common Purposes with my fiancée, my family, our clients and my staff.

All of these are books I recently read that have given valuable insight into how prevent personal and business financial crises, grow my business and lead into the next few years.  Does my business need to grow to become a large organization like some big box gyms with twenty or more locations? No, but a business does need to grow, evolve and remain profitable as the markets, society and environments change. This growth needs to be done at manageable so that the owner and staff stay sane and don’t have their own meltdowns.

Achieving Common Purpose

The original vision of Lifemoves, locations in at least one Fitness World in each community is no-longer. Fitness World’s new ownership and I were unable to come to agreement in May, so we are looking for new space and a new direction. This new direction has been set (which will be revealed in the appropriate time frame).  Engaging your team in discussions based on the question “what is next?” or “how can we improve?” leads to a two major values: 1. team members feels more valued because they are making distinct positive contributions; 2. the conclusions of the conversations become the common purpose.

On Friday, we had a very productive team meeting at a coffee bar that lead to an understanding of what our long-term goals and challenges are as well as knowledge of the steps needed to get there.

Facing the Cold Hard Truth

Growing up with parents who were both librarians (information junkies) and one who understood the power of databases (he created a school library system) means that I know the intrinsic value of having accurate searchable data. Our records give of an idea of what has happened in the business.  Accurate records enable a business to make appropriate analyses and decisions. Sometimes this data can be chilling.

Last year I hired a couple of new Kinesiologists with idea of floating the hourly rate with the current session fees that my other Kinesiologist was booking until the new hires were fully booked.  That all crashed when the original employee quit less than a month later taking much of that business with them. Action should have been taken a lot sooner to right this situation because it put Lifemoves in a financial hole that we dug out of, but it was an arduous and long task.

As we move from a single location to several remote locations I am thinking more and more about our records management system. How can maintain communications, accurate information and financial control?  I am always aiming to build this company so that we are mobile.  Adding more employees and more locations adds to the complexity of our systems. However we still need to continually evolve our records management system towards Canadian and ISO standards (which I discovered recently) while keeping it as simple as possible.  
Gaining the perspective of your employees also helps the business improve, create new initiatives and understand our strengths as well as our weaknesses.  Although, Aftershock primarily describes the future of the U.S. economy Canadians can still take home a few lessons from it.  The major one for me is how to position my business in the future. Health care will take hit in the coming years however, it won’t be as bad as discretionary spending such as retail. We need to shift further from a fitness company to a health care provider to continue to grow in a “melting economy.”

Figuring Out What is Enough?

Everyone will have their own determining factors for what is enough when it comes to life, money and business.   
  • Enough is being a market leader in several municipalities. 
  • Enough is being able to pay our accounts receivable on time.
  • Enough is being to able people full-time in a career which they are passionate about and in a company that they are thrilled to work for.
  • Enough is being able to provide appropriate benefits for our employees so that they are taken care of.
  • Enough is having zero commercial credit card debt – business and personal
  • Enough is having a flexible work schedule to enjoy recreational pursuits when I desire
  • Enough is being and to contribute more to my community
  • Enough is have $1.00 more than I need.
  • Enough is feeling like my family and I are financially secure and will be secure as we age.
  • Enough is having loving, trusting, mutually supportive and meaningful relationships.

Please share what enough and the cold hard truth means to you? How are you going to protect your business and yourself from the financial meltdown?

References

David Wiedemer, Robert A. Wiedemer and Cindy S. Spitzer Aftershock: How to Protect Yourself in the Next Global Financial Meltdown

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)

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)

Banishing Depression with Energy Management

Last year I discovered that the instesinty of my depression related to my mindset and how I managed my energy. This year I am getting unstuck from letting my work get in the way of my physical training. In 2011 I am taking a very different approach to training for Seek the Peak and the Grouse Grind while maintaining a busy Kinesiology practice.

In November I really started to monitor various volumes and intensities of exercise with how tired or depressed I felt afterwards. My depression symptoms were clearly related to how much training stress, how much work stress I was under, how much exercise I did and how much I reconnected with the outdoors. In the summer I discovered trail running and this winter I am snowshoeing.

If I had not balanced the high fatigue days with proper recovery strategies including nutrition and recovery or off days my symptoms would become worse. Last year I thought depression was something “I had to live with for the rest of my life.” Not so, it can easily be managed. It is not a life-sentence; I know believe that my depression is gone. When I feel the symptoms I know it is time to down regulate my stress a variety of ways including alternate nasal breathing, Yoga, a recovery walk, nutrition, stretching, a day off, vacation, more sleep and/or the infrared sauna.

When I look at my work schedule it is clear that most Tuesdays and Thursdays are usually full 10 hour days while I have been able to carve more time on Mondays and Wednesdays. Fridays and the weekend have less going on so that it is possible to complete more fatigue inducing training on those days and have a bit more space to recover before getting back to writing, business development and spending time with family and friends.

During the week there is a lot of fluctuation in terms of demands and scheduling, so my workout times are slightly less rigid. Though, I will always find time to fit a training session in. Anything that requires more creativity or detailed work I need to do it in the morning when my mind is clear; this means a training session before lunch. Lunch is a perfectly timed hour when I can replenish my mind and body. When 1:00 PM rolls around I am ready to tackle what needs to be done. The confidence gained from completing each training session keeps me happy and energized.

These days I am focused on managing my energy by finding ways to keep it consistent and at its peak, this included getting off the stress train of caffeine. It has now been over two weeks since I quit drinking coffee. Too much stress was contributing to my depression.

Do you manage your time or your energy? Too much stress, including exercise stress combined with poor nutrtion makes depression symptoms worse. Reduce stress by being flexible with your exercise times and quantity to stay on track with your fitness goals. For example if your day went side-ways and you couldn’t go for your 45 min walk at noon, but you have time and energy for only 20 minutes in the evening go do it, because you still receive many health benefits.

Breaking Through Plateaus to More Growth

This past week I hit a very frustrating brick wall and plateau and I was all out of ideas of how grow my business. I know this brick wall I am facing is a big opportunity to refresh my business model, but how to do it remains unknown. Lifemoves® is very successful thus far and I am confident that we have an outstanding concept, however just like athletic training, we have hit a bit of a plateau. When I hit plateaus in my career and training I know it is time for a change.

It is time to break the plateau to achieve even more outstanding results. This means breaking out of the mold and trying something extraordinary that challenges myself, my team and the industry. When I am fresh out of ideas I read or go to continuing education sessions. Can-Fit Pro this weekend in the spectacular Vancouver Convention Center was the perfect opportunity to meet up with fitness industry experts and regain some perspective so I could figure out how to break our current plateau.

Our minds are much like spider webs as each piece of new knowledge weaves itself into our current knowledge as we make connections and becomes a new ring on the web. This weekend I felt like an explorer, searching for some answers. Since this weekend was a last minute registration my session choices were more intuitive than deliberate. Each session had its own nugget or two which I could take away and apply. I still haven’t found the way to break this plateau, however I know that I am close.

I need to take some time to digest all the information I received, review my notes and attend “Building a Thriving Wellness Practice” on November 27th. All the stimulus of conferences with 1.5 hour sessions on different topics and then networking with colleagues takes a lot of energy. I will be taking time to recharge by going to the infrared sauna and yoga during the next week. After that it will be time sit down in a quiet space and re-write my business plan.

I know change is needed, I know change is happening. What does change look like? I will know when I am there. To achieve great change and break plateaus we need to disrupt our regular patterns. What do you to create disruptions?

Seeking the Peak: Being Happy With Your Accomplishments – Stop Living in the Gap

Ever since I was bullied in high school, I have had trouble being happy with my accomplishments. The art of being happy is connected to the gap between our actual self and our ideal self. How often do we live in the gap between these two when we don’t meet our goals? Entrepreneurs tend to set these wild and somewhat unrealistic ideals, invest their life savings and then come out on the other side with nothing but bankruptcy.
We need to mitigate our risk by evaluating our goals as being realistic while still pushing the boundaries. Ever watch Dragon’s Den on CBC? Some people have some very interesting ideas, but no sense what their idea is truly worth or whether there is a need for their widget or service.
When I started my training for Seek the Peak, my ideal was a sub-2-hour time which, with my knowledge and endurance training background, I could achieve with the appropriate training. However, this training was promptly side-tracked by my adding staff to Lifemoves in May and June.

We base our goals on what we know. Early in June I knew that my ideal time had to be adjusted or I would end up feeling frustrated, defeated and sad. However, this did not stop me from going after my original plan of participating and proving that I could complete the 16km and 4,100m journey from Ambleside Park to the top of Grouse Mountain.

A few weeks before July 4th, I completed a couple of Grouse Grinds and my time was around 44-46 minutes. So, based on this, I predicted a finish of 2:30. A few days before, I came up with a race plan of warming-up properly then, as the race started, gradually increasing my pace using an increasing heart rate as the race progressed to ensure that I didn’t fatigue too quickly. My background as a Strength and Conditioning Coach gave me skills to have a plan for my heart rates, but the missing part of it was a detailed nutrition plan.
I only ever looked at my watch to see that I was at the appropriate heart rate — not going too slow or too fast. Sticking to the plan was crucial. About 10 years ago, one of my coaches gave me sound advice: Run your race. In other words, stick to the plan no matter what others are doing. You can control yourself — not others. Only you control your reaction to the environment around you.
My mantra the whole way was, “race your own race.” Prior to the race, I had not trained on the sections before the Grouse Grind, so I was really unsure of the terrain which, in the end, slowed me slightly. The trails on the North Shore are beautiful and I am looking forward to running more of them this year.
The first two stages were very nice and everyone was fairly spread out. Once we hit the Grind, my legs were starting to fatigue and we encountered all the other Grinders who were not racing. I struggled to get my heart to 175bpm; it averaged 165bmp instead, with a time of 53 minutes for this section as the traffic kept me at a good pace. At the end of each stage I felt really good and very happy with how much I was able to push and keep going.
Going up the last portion from the top of the Grind, around the chalet, and up to the top of the mountain were the toughest parts. We were encased in clouds and not able to see more than 10 feet in front of us. My mind wanted to run this portion, but as many experienced trail runners before me have said, “you will be walking steeper sections,” which I did.
Looking at my watch as I scurried around the pylon to make my way down, I saw that I was on pace for my goal. Knowing that it wasn’t too far to go, I picked up the speed and pushed myself until the end.
Near the Capilano Dam, someone said, “Pain is only temporary.” I responded with, “Victory is a lifetime.” It feels great to have completed something as strenuous as the Seek the Peak in a time of 2:24 hours. If I had not shifted my goal, I would have thought my time was awful and not experienced the joy that this race offered.
The gap would have been 30 minutes, and looking at it as a percentage, it still would be 80% which, in university, is a very good grade.
So what if you don’t reach your goal? Are you going to be unhappy and morose? Instead, think about how much progress you did make towards it and what lessons you learned. I stared from not being able to run for more than 10 minutes without stopping, to running 16km UPHILL non-stop.
Ideal – Actual 1 (start) – Actual 2 (end) = Gap (1). Ideal is perfection which we never reach. How often do you live in the gap instead of celebrating getting to Actual 2 knowing that you put your in your best effort? Time to take this new philosophy into my business goals. Stop measuring yourself against an ideal and perfection.
Stay Happy and Avoid the Gap.
1. Sullivan, Dan. “Learning How to Avoid the Gap: The Skill of Building Lifetime Happiness. 2004