Mainstream media is busy these days with all the hard and troubling news to report. Buildings are burning down. Typhoons are destroying villages. Men and women struggle for life and justice is blurry. 2014 has come with much heartache but it has also come with some sweet moments. For example, one videographer captured the moment with runners in the San Jose 408k marathon left the course to shake hands with a WWII veteran who had come out to cheer them on. Runner after runner paused to grasp his hand with both of theirs and left him all smiles on the sidewalk. Continue reading
A few weeks ago, I wrote a post, Are you a tortoise or a hare about work? It was about the question of whether you’d prefer to work fewer hours over more days, or more hours over fewer days. I’ve been thinking more about this distinction. First point: I’m re-naming these categories “marathoners and sprinters.”
A larger point: one reason that I’m a marathoner is that I really dislike deadlines. I really, really, really don’t like to have work hanging over me. For instance, when I was in law school, I had two major writing requirements to fulfill by the end of my third year, and I completed them both by the end of my first year. (Sidenote: perhaps my eagerness to write big papers could have been perceived as a sign that I would rather be a writer than a lawyer, but that’s another story.)
I know I could never be a journalist, because I wouldn’t be able to take the deadlines. Having a big deadline at the end of a very long period–as with a book–is fine, because it gives marathon-me plenty of time. I like to do a little work over a long period of time, with a lot of opportunity to reflect and research and refine, and ample margin in case some emergency prevents me from working. However, I know that many people need deadlines to work. Sprinters, am I right in assuming that deadlines are important to your process? Is it too much of a stretch to call you deadline-dependent–that is, you won’t start your sprint until the deadline looms?
Also, it seems to me that there’s a difference between sprinters and procrastinators. Agree, disagree?
From my observation, sprinters deliberately wait for the pressure of a deadline to help clarify their thinking. For instance, a friend told me, “I never prepare a talk until right before I have to give it–I mean, people are in their seats and I’m standing waiting to go out to a podium. It drives my staff crazy, but that’s when I get all my ideas.” Another friend has a book to write, but she won’t start until a few months before it’s due. She likes to sprint, and she knows how long it will take her to write the book, so she doesn’t want to start until she’ll feel the deadline pressure.
This approach seems different from procrastination. With procrastination, people feel as though they should be working, and they wish they could work, but somehow they can’t make themselves. They aren’t choosing to hold back; they can’t force themselves forward until the deadline is so urgent that they must act. (Want tips to stop procrastinating? Look here.) How do procrastinators feel about the marathoners and sprinters? Many procrastinators seem to wish they could be marathoners, but maybe that’s not a good fit for their natures.
I’ve just started to consider these distinctions, however. What do you think? Marathoners, sprinters, procrastinators, or any combinations of the three, please weigh in.
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Photo credit: FindingTheObvious
By Dawn Gluskin
In light of the recent events in Boston, many of us are walking around with heavy hearts. We search for answers. Why? How can such evil exist in our world? We grieve for the lost lives and suffering felt by our one human family.
While me may never get all of the answers we seek, and despite the senseless tragedy, it’s important to keep our faith in humanity and our spirits lifted. Yes, while some people out there have lost their way, we are all generally good at heart and this goodness far outweighs the bad. Now, more than ever, it is important that each of us do the work to be the change. Only light can drive out darkness. You matter. We all do. Everything in this world around us is made of energy. You better believe yours affects the world around you. Even seemingly simple actions can help raise the vibrations we emit around us, and thus contribute to collectively raising the consciousness of the world.
Here are a few suggestions that can help us be responsible for the energy around us in a positive way:
1) Limit the amount of news we intake. Yes, it is important to stay informed, and we all want answers and updates. However, our media tends to focus on the very negative. Balance your need to know with your need to keep your own spirit lifted. Instead of focusing on gruesome details reported over and over by the hyped-up media, seek more uplifting and heart-warming stories (yes they do exist!). In Boston, many put their own safety aside to run towards the explosion to help others. Think about our brave first responders and how selfless they are every day of their lives. Make a conscious effort to turn the channel or surf to another page so that you can fill your mind with more of the goodness that surrounds us all.
2) Mellow out. We can all get overstressed at times, which tends to bring out our very worst. Maybe it manifests in laying on the horn in traffic and giving a one-finger salute to a fellow driver, or perhaps it’s a grumble and a furrowed brow at the grocery store when somebody gets in line a split second before us. In any case, it feels so much better to just be happy and is also better for the world around us. Try some proven funk-lifters:
- Practice deep breathing, which sends a message to your brain to calm down.
- Go for a walk and soak in some nature. Exercise is a natural mood-lifter and being close to earth helps you to feel more grounded.
- Do yoga!
- Jam out to your favorite music.
- Laugh it up. Call up a funny friend or watch a silly video. Studies show that laughter reduces stress hormones.
3) Let it go. When we bottle up our emotions, the pressure builds up inside. If we don’t let off some steam… it’s not going to be pretty! A journal can be your best buddy to confide in. Let all of those toxic emotions out via pen or keyboard before somebody else feel the wrath of them. Just the act of outwardly expressing our feelings can help to heal the hurt.
4) Practice random acts of kindness. Even something small can have a huge impact as the ripple effect ensues. When you do something nice for someone, they are touched and want to pay-it-forward and do something nice for someone else and so on! Here are a few kind gesture suggestions to incorporate into your routine.
- Stop to hold the door open for someone.
- Make a point to smile at everyone in your path
- Let someone in front of you in traffic
- Buy a stranger a cup of coffee or pay for the order of the person behind you, if you are feeling generous and have a little extra cash.
5) Power of Prayer. Even if you don’t consider yourself to be religious, there is a great power in surrender, the acknowledgement that there is a force beyond us all. Whatever your beliefs, it can’t hurt to take a few moments to visualize sending your light, love, and blessings out to those who need it. Ask for guidance on what you can do to help make your own positive impact on the world.
6) Be love! This can manifest itself in so many ways. Call an old friend out of the blue, let your loved ones know how much you care, reach out to someone in need, hug your family a little tighter and be totally present for them – turn electronics off and really be with each other.
These are just a few suggestions. I’d love to keep this list growing. What are some of your thoughts on keeping the vibrations ringing high? Please share some of your own ideas in the comments below!
Photo credit: Getty images
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Dawn Gluskin is a multi-passionate entrepreneur and author. Despite her experiences as the founder & CEO of a technology firm that has experienced rapid-growth and national press recognition, her definition of “success” is not defined by these accolades, which have oftentimes come at the price of high-stress and misalignment. Instead, she believes in listening to the whisper of our souls which gently tug us towards our life’s true purpose. She finds much joy in her writing and coaching, sharing her journey and truth with others. She feels blessed to be “mommy” to two sweet little girls who teach her so much and she lives with her loving family in sunny Florida.
Why? That’s the leading question from many when they think about the Boston Marathon bombings earlier this week, especially since there still remains much speculation around the reasons for this event. What possible level of anger, madness, or beliefs could justify inflicting such horrible pain and harm on innocent people? Though we await answers to some confusing and difficult questions, one thing we do know is that in the moments after the explosions, our best as human beings showed.
We are programmed with a fight-or-flight response when presented with danger or change; it is there to keep us safe. But on April 15, more people disregarded this impulse and, instead of running away, ran toward the explosion to help the brave first responders. Badly injured victims had strangers holding their hands, talking to them, crying with them. From the darkness of tragedy can come greatness. We find our courage. We stay instead of run.
Americans are tough. Though we may get upset and raise our voices, we quickly forget ourselves and focus on the ones in need when one of our own is hurt, challenged, or needs help. We run to the scene, not from it. We become selfless, responsive, and more aware of others. We show up. We find our grit and resolve. This is who we truly are.
In tragedy we unite. It was that way on 9-11. It was that way when the tornado destroyed much of Joplin, MO. It was that way with the shootings in Tucson, Columbine, Aurora and Sandy Hook Elementary. It was that way with the
Boston Marathon bombings. At our core, we Americans are amazing, selfless and compassionate people.
But why does it take a tragedy for us to step into our greatness? We are obviously capable of this response on a daily basis. We can choose to respect and care for one another, even when their house hasn’t been destroyed, their limbs damaged, or their loved ones lost. We have the ability to be powerful, bold and courageous in dealing with differences and challenges without first needing a tragedy to compel us to a greatness response.
Regardless of our backgrounds, we are connected; we are Americans. And as Chad Finn, Boston.com Columnist wrote, “No, we are not all related. But in times of trouble you’d better believe we are all family.” As a family, we instantly come together to lessen the pain and help in any way possible. Our collective effort, genius and spirit response can be epic. So how can we rally with this same energy, focus and passion in our everyday lives?
Last week, I spoke to 120 teens at a Rotary Youth Leadership Assembly. I shared how these teens could start to find their personal greatness road in life – to show up as a leader of their own lives. Start young to strike out violence and hatred as the automatic or conditioned response. Start young to care more about others, in every moment. We can choose to build a world that solves its issues and challenges through discussion, mutual respect and ideas, not bombings, violence and vitriol. They truly saw this as a possibility.
Boston, my college town and home to many family members and friends, and the determined athletes and enthusiastic spectators are the latest victims in a violent world. A violent world considers violence as a legitimate solution to challenge and conflict. This behavior fills our television shows, movies, video games, and Internet. This is how many see the world because this is much of what we see in our world.
In response to violence and tragedy, we impose few limits on our support. We find the energy, the strength, the courage, and the commitment to stay, help, inspire, and deliver – we bring our A-game. In many of the daily events of life we show up with our B-game – our petty, small-minded, and selfish responses. We fight with each other. We blame and attack each other. We forget we are family.
In moments of tragedy we see how capable we are for empathy, effort, tenacity, support, love, compassion, and resilience. Without tragedy, I know we are still capable of the same powerful emotions. We can learn ‘daily greatness’ responses from life’s tragic circumstances. We have it in us. We can choose to always bring our A-game, to all events in life. The result can be a more compassionate and responsive world. I want it to be possible. I believe it is possible. I know it is possible.
The horrible events at the Boston Marathon on Monday, April 15 will never be forgotten. They’ll change the way everyone thinks of this historical day in Boston, and next year, as Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick said, the marathon will “be bigger and better than ever before.” Bostonians banded together. Americans came together. Our greatness showed. We weren’t heroes; we were just family, doing what families are capable of and what they do best. My thoughts and prayers are with the runners, their families, spectators, volunteers, the first responders, and all of us who watched in horror from other parts of the country. May we all heal from this pain, and unite in our commitment to support each other more often as family and commit to creating a more peaceful world.
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Jay Forte is the president and founder of The Greatness Zone, an organization providing practical tools, programs and resources to help us know ourselves, find our fit and transform our world. He writes and speaks on living our personal greatness and is an advocate for raising the collective consciousness about and the responsibility for showing up to our work and life with passion and purpose.
Photo credit: Charles Krupa/Associated Press
Photo credit: Bill Greene/The Boston Globe via Getty Images
" The Marathoner": A Parable by Mark N Bodo
A marathoner, who was left paralyzed from the waist down as a result of a car accident dreamed of participating in the Boston Marathon. Even though he had been left with a handicap that ended his career, he refused to let his dream fade away. After training for several months, he was able to participate in the race, but in a wheelchair. The morning of the race, he prayed that he would just be able to make it across the finish line.
Due to his handicap, he had to watch as all the other runners started ahead. When it was his turn to move, he did just that. Quicker than a sprinter from the blocks, he was rolling through the streets of
During the last mile, the former marathoner’s muscles began to give out. Deep inside, his spirit was still pushing, and his wheelchair was still moving. His exhaustion had grown so severe that he had to stop for several minutes just to roll a few yards at a time. He did this over and over and over again. He did this, until he was only a few hundred yards from the finish line. The finish line was in his sight, but he no longer had the strength to make it. The crowd was cheering him on, but it didn’t help him. His mind, body, and spirit were exhausted.
He thought that he had failed. His head sank down, his heart dropped, and his spirit shrunk. With no energy left, he was forced to just sit there in the middle of the course as the other runners passed him by. Although the other runners saw the man stranded in the middle of the course, none of them stopped to assist him. The man began to cry, but no tears came out, because he had become so dehydrated from the race. With the little bit of strength he had left, he raised his head up and prayed again. "Please, all I want to do is to finish this race. Please give me the strength to move forward. Please help me."
Suddenly his wheelchair began to move slowly and the crowd erupted loudly in cheer. The man turned around and saw an elderly man behind him, pushing his chair ever so slowly. The elderly man was running the marathon as well, although he had to walk several of those miles. The old man leaned over the marathoners shoulder and said, "I’m just giving you a little push to help you get rolling again. I know you can make it and I am going to make sure we cross that finish line together."
The marathoner’s spirit soared. Where there was once no energy, he suddenly felt renewed. He had enough strength to give a few turns of the wheel. It was a painful struggle to move forward every inch, but he pushed on. Any time he would slow down, the old man would give him another nudge and some words of encouragement.
Finally, after all of the hours of pain and anguish, they crossed the finish line. The crowd cheered, the marathoner wept, and the old man whispered, "We made it." The old man gave him a squeeze on his shoulder and then walked away into the crowd. The marathoner never got his name and never saw the man again, but he realized at that moment that the race is never run alone.
- The human existence is not about who finishes first or wins the most, but how much we all support each other to cross that finish line. For we are all running the same race and trying to reach the same goal. We all may run the race differently, but we all run the race together.
- It is from our challenges that our character is defined and it is our ability to overcome adversity that defines our success.
- Never eat spinach with a stranger 😉
So I ask you this today, "Are you the marathoner looking to cross the finish line and only concerned about yourself? Or are you the old man that realizes that we are all in this race together?" Think about it. If you consider yourself to be the latter, then open your mind beyond labels of right and wrong, conservative and liberal, pro and anti, and see the world, your community, and yourself in a different light. We all must help each other, for Unity leads to prosperity.
Blessings on your journey.
Week 2. Check. 50 remaining.
I’ve decided that the The 2011 LA marathon and I are married. We will be there for each other in sickness and in health. Last week there was a bit of sickness. The marathon was there for me, but was I there for the marathon?
Terrible allergies threw my body into a tizzy of sneezes, coughs and other strange face postures and noises. I kept contemplating whether or not I should power through it even though I felt continuously exhausted from the histamine. I went from “Go team go” to “whoa team whoa” every few minutes. “But I can’t get behind and miss out!” Uh Sahara….reality check (voice by inner wisdom). Your official training doesn’t even start until July dear. You are fine.
Right. The conclusion for me once again? Pace.
I worked out lighter and less frequently to let my body rest and my immune system settle itself. And in the end I actually found that like my inner wisdom suspected, I was fine.
We are definitely back to “Go team, go!” Thank you pace and inner wisdom. You rule. And when you don’t, you should! And will. I’m learning.
I thought you might enjoy this article from my friend Josh Crosby (Pro Tri-athlete extraordinaire and creator of Indo-Row). He really nails what it means to pace yourself and cross that finish line.
Ok, now off to get my rear-end signed up for one of his classes! If you haven’t tried it, I can’t recommend it more!
Adrenalin can be your best friend and your worst nightmare. It can make you feel super human… nature’s drug.
I’ll share something that happens frequently in an Indo-Row class. Let’s say I call for a 2 min. push at Full Pressure (hard but not breathless). A new excited rower starts pushing hard with everything she has… hair is flying, eyes locked on her monitor, a competitive grin on her face. She gets about 1 minute into it and that grin turns into a grimace with a little drool to boot. Her energy and performance start to fade. Eventually she is so out of sync with her team that if they were on the water, their boat would be doing circles. She still has 30 seconds to go. This is what many athletes call… Flying and Dying. She has spent all her “change” but still has to pay. Her team is tired (of course) but can still finish the race with technical integrity and gusto.
The question then becomes…when should you push it? When is it too much? How do you still go past your limits but maintain your athletic (or professional, or personal or artistic) integrity? Perhaps it’s on a run, with work, a creative pursuit. I always appreciate seeing someone go after “it” with unstoppable passion. But sometimes we get so caught up in our mission – a race, a business deal, a love interest – that we forget to pace ourselves. Learning to channel excited energy into pace and steady progress is what is key. Doing something for “speed” sake doesn’t necessarily get you across the finish line. We forget that through pacing we can actually commit our energy to reaching our goals, closing the deal, finding our soul mates…crossing any finish line in our lives.
Week 1. Check. Only 51 remaining. I would insert a big, appropriate “Bring It On!” right here, but truthfully today it’s more of a gentle “Let’s Do This”. Well, maybe something in between because I do feel frisky and excited for all this unknown stuff.
Saturday evening I volunteered to take photos for the annual L.A. Leggers dinner and awards program. Not a bad gig for me considering I will soon be armed with ponytail and Brooks stability shoes ready to take on their marathon training program. It was actually a great way to meet folks and get the chance to talk to them about their running experiences. Now let me put this into perspective. I was hanging out in a crowd where one man finished LA in 3 hours 4 minutes, another woman walked it (yes, walked it) in 5 hours 35 minutes and one more guy had just finished his 171st marathon. Huh? And those were only the ones I knew about!
My personal highlight though occurred when speaking to a ‘longtime Legger’. I asked him how this all worked because it appeared a tad bit daunting (understatement) to think of running 26.2 miles at this point. He gave me a bit of a smirk and basically told me that new runners needed to think of it as 1 mile done 26 times instead of seeing the 26.2 as a whole. And they are looking for the pace at which you feel you can run 1 mile several times over.
“What’s your pace?” he enthusiastically asked. Perhaps a runner inside pick-up line? I had a quick internal giggle before answering an honest, “I don’t know. But I can see the finish line. I just don’t know how I get there!” (Basically I did not answer his question). 🙂
He laughed and I remembered AGAIN of course that this whole marathon thing is such a metaphor for life goals. Set them, see the finish and don’t get caught up with the in-between ‘hows’. That’s the job of the universe. Just take it step by step (in this case literally) with deliberate action and intention…and find YOUR pace. Then keep your pace. Then improve it.
When I walked into spinning class this week after my last post announcing my newest adventure, my teacher high-fived me with excitement and support and said, “Why not?!”
Exactly. Why run the marathon? Well…why not?
Thanks Reilly and LA Leggers. Now it’s time to say, BRING IT ON!
Oh, and Mr. Legger man also reminded me that he too started at the beginning. The place where everyone starts……
So I am sitting here writing this post thinking…WTF have I gotten myself in to?
Let me back up.
Sunday (4 days ago) marked the 25th Anniversary of the LA Marathon. Until this year, that would have really meant nothing to me. Don’t get me wrong, I deeply admire marathoners. I just hadn’t really thought too much about them because in my mind they were “out of my league”. They do run 26.2 miles after all! And I have never witnessed a race in person, though hear about them on TV periodically.
This year not only did I have friends running in it, but the course wound practically right past my front door, just before mile 22. One of my friends running was my neighbor, Shannon. She plays a significant role here because she recently coerced, uh I mean gently persuaded me to join our neighborhood run club. She and I are spinning buddies, but I have always told her I hate running, so she smartly only mentioned the club once in a blue moon…until I joined no doubt.
So, a slight (very slight) curiosity about running has been developing over the last few months. But nothing could have prepared me for this week’s whopper of a decision! Yes, I have committed to running a marathon! Let’s discuss.
Sunday I walked down to my neighborhood Lululemon store that hosted the mile 22 80’s cheering dance party. Folks, this is RIGHT up my alley. So me, my neon pink sparkle skirt, green retro glasses with attached earrings and pretty in pink flip flops had the time of our lives dancing and cheering on the runners as they passed. What I didn’t expect is to feel is, well…feelings. I thought I was just in it for the cheesy music, energetic rah rah’s and the occasional sip of champagne. But as life would have it, I had a tremendously deep, personal and opening experience. And the beautiful part was that I wasn’t ready for any of it.
As the runners began to pass, a sense of intense admiration welled up inside me. Every part of my being was cheering them on, and each of my dance moves for them showed my enthusiasm. I was SO proud of them that I could barely stand it. And they were happy! Actually happy as they passed, and were fed by the sound of the music and our voices. At mile 22? This was astounding to me. I pictured people dropping left and right by that time.
Then IT happened. In the midst of an attempted break dancing sequence, I had a flood of my own beliefs pass right before my eyes. And I realized I had a CHOICE whether to buy into them or not. These runners cruising by were waking me up to my own self-imposed limitations. I had actually bought into the belief that I could NEVER run 5 miles, let alone 26.2. And even if I did happen to run, I would hate it, my body would break down, I would fail, etc, etc. Geesh, no wonder I’ve avoided the sport all these years.
I went home from the marathon that day feeling so exhilarated and inspired, and I began to literally feel belief after belief fall off me. The freedom in that is almost inexplicable. I became curious to find more illusionary beliefs to challenge and question and extended my gratitude for the realizations I was having.
So, here’s how it went after that. I kept this all to myself Monday and let my inner world grow and prosper, and actually process the events of Sunday. I felt a strong push to say YES to this inner journey…so did. I completely began to see that running a marathon for me is probably 95% mental and 5% physical. And I started translating those statistics to anything in life I have had “fear” of. It’s almost as if my mind was beginnign to re-program itself.
By Tuesday, I made a scary (and let me reiterate scary!) yet freeing decision to run the 2012 marathon. In fact, I made it real by tweeting it out to my friends at Lululemon and making it my status on Facebook.
MY ACTUAL TWEET:
Ok @lululemon, I’m gonna run the 2012 LA marathon. Just decided! This will b my 1 thing a day that scares me 4 the next 2 years! LOL 4:14 PM Mar 23rd via TweetDeck
See how the time says 4:14pm? Well, by 6:15pm that same day I was at run club and found myself volunteering to run the 4.5 mile course as opposed to the “safe” 2 mile one. WHAT? Who was speaking those words? I thought I didn’t really even like running! Not only that, I vowed to myself that I was going to enjoy the experience and actually relax with each step.
And I did! Who is this new person?
By 7:30pm a few friends of mine encouraged me not only to run the marathon (with them), but to do it next year in 2011 instead of 2012. Yowza! Alright-y then! I say YES! I can do it! Now don’t think I am any less afraid here. I am just choosing not to give that part of myself the energy, because the part of me that DOES know I can do it is much more interesting to me now.
And today I changed my tweets and FB status to match the even more, as Lululemon stated, “big hairy audacious goal” to solidify the new 2011 reality.
I share this story because this is an insightful community of people who are looking inward to create from the heart, not the mind, and I feel you can relate to aspects of this story that are “between the lines”. Whatever your “marathon” may be, I encourage you to say YES and follow what Lululemon says….“Do one thing a day that scares you”. It certainly is freeing and worth it.
I intend to spend the next year blogging about the inner and outer journeys of preparing for the marathon, which is a daunting 361 days from today. It won’t always be pretty, but it will be my “yes”.
I leave you with my favorite sign held by a spectator on Sunday:
Glad the marathon is only 26.2 miles.
26.3 would be CRA-ZY!
Training for a marathon can be grueling, but occasionally it’s also delicious. Turns out, things like carbs, salt, and sugar are not just permissible, they are necessary. Got that friends? Muy necesarios. Here’s one of my favorite "recovery" foods after a long weekend run. The recipe came to me by way of my friend, who coincidentally goes by the moniker Dish Gal, as she’s the anonymous foodie behind the mouth-watering blog DishThisBoston. This cookie recipe originally appeared on MyVeganCookbook.com; however, I’ve adapted it just a smidge, here. This variation of the crowd-favorite peanut butter cookie tastes amazing and packs a healthful punch, thanks to whole grains, salt, sugar, and even ground flax seeds (to protect a runner’s vulnerable joints), not to mention peanut butter, which fuels 90% of all runners. OK, I made up that statistic, but I bet it’s not far off! Bear in mind, you need not log any miles to enjoy this wholesome treat. In fact, I’ll do the running for you; you just enjoy the cookies!