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Upgrade your friendships

It is often said you become the average of the five people you spend the most time with. Motivational speakers often talk about upgrading your circle of influence and it seems like sound logical advice. So how do you take actual steps to upgrade your five?
You don’t have to make it a two-way relationship! Find an amazing podcast to listen to. Just because Tim Farris, Rich Roll, Lewis Howes, and Trish Blackwell don’t know who I am doesn’t mean I can’t build a, “relationship” with them while I empty out my dishwasher or when sitting in traffic. Listening to motivational podcasts from people who are making a difference and crushing it in their fields puts me in a productive, inspired mindset that is necessary to achieve success. This can also be done with books and other publications. Find someone who is an expert in your field of interest and follow them on social media.
Look to social media for private groups in your area of interest. For example, I am part of a few indoor cycling Facebook groups that share music and relevant, “hot topics” cycling instructors are facing. These groups keep me current on the pulse and my industry and provide endless suggestions for challenges I am facing. Join a group in your field of interest and you will find others who are just as passionate as you are.
Give unconditionally! What you give you receive back ten X. I love finding a special gift for someone. It does not have to be expensive. It can be sharing a book, article, or podcast you think they would enjoy. A hand-written card of appreciation or a small gift with special meaning. Finding unique ways to contribute to someone else’s day is a great way to build a deeper connection.
Plan it out! It is way to easy to get into the routine of work-dinner-chores-tv-repeat. Find a yoga, cooking, or theater class in your area and invite a few friends to join you. It is crazy how hard it is as an adult to develop friendships. Chances are it will happen if you are willing to put in a little work.

Want Sustained MOTIVATION? Answer these 3 Questions!

Have you ever used lack of motivation as a, “beautiful excuse” for not reaching your goals? Let’s face it, it is easy to find distractions that are comfortable and provide short term satisfaction with social media at our fingertips 24/7. A shift in perspective is essential to find lasting motivation.

Let’s start with 3 essential questions:
1. BIG PICTURE: Why is this goal important to you and what impact will it have once achieved?
2. FOCUSED ATTENTION: How often do you reflect on your long-term goals?
3. DETAILS: When faced with a stair case or elevator, what one will you take?

BIG PICTURE: The roots of motivation are found in the WHY! For a real change to take place the outcome must be worth it to your sole and not just some superficial desire! Clearly defining your why leads to investing in the outcome so start by writing out your goals and link them to your core values. This connection must be made for lasting change to have a fighting chance.

FOCUSED ATTENTION: Step two is how often do you reflect on your long-term goals? It must be daily and possibly multiple times! One suggestion is to attach your goals to a morning habit. Before brushing your teeth read over your goals while you brush your teeth and plan out what you can do today to get 1% closer to your goal. Plan out how you will face possible roadblocks you might encounter. Once you finished brushing, write down your 1% plan for the day. At the end of the day when you brush your teeth write down 3 things that were great that day and one thing you could have done better. This reflection in the morning and evening are essential because it keeps you focused on daily actions that are the building blocks to achieve your big goals!

DETAILS: When faced with the comfort of mediocracy will you choose long term satisfaction vs short term comfort? What small decisions do you make when no one else is watching? Remember MOOD follows MOVEMENT! Expect you will feel like it after you start – not before! Motivation is sustained by making daily conscious decisions to step away from temporary comfort.

Finally when you look in the mirror at the end of the day celebrate your clean teeth and all the decisions you have made to be 1% closer to your goals!

Letting go of Martha Stewart

Have you ever found yourself standing in the grocery store checkout line looking at the beautiful cover of the Martha Stewart magazine and thought how awesome it would be to make everything look so pulled together? Or do you pull up Instagram and wonder – how the heck can I replicate that? Once upon a time, I thought my ideal holidays would include perfectly carved pumpkins, white lights without any cords showing and a beautiful hand-crafted Fall wreath on the door. My home is anything but this! THANKFULLY!
My husband and two girls taught me the joy behind yard blow ups, paper cut out bats and ghosts that adorn the garage, and creative pumpkins that have ill shaped eyes. The joy is in the mess and the fun that goes into putting up this festive display together. It is time for me to set aside the dream of perfectionism and embrace this beautiful imperfection!
There is still something to the way we look on the outside reflects how we feel inside. HOWEVER, it is NOT the fancy clothes or the size of our pants that the world really is looking at. What people really see is the love in our eyes, the joy in our smile, and the kindness in our words.
I hope every time someone passes our house this season they see the joyous imperfections and anything but the cover of Martha Stewart.

Rear Ended – Rage or Love

Rear Ended – Rage or Love

It was a GREAT DAY!   You know the type when you accomplish something that was a little scary and it went better than expect?  You find yourself smiling without effort and feel charged.  That was me this past Sunday,  I was driving home after certifying 16 new Schwinn indoor cycling instructors when things went way off course.
I stopped at a traffic light that was out and within 5 seconds the sharp sound of crunching metal and force of the impact took me by surprise.  For a brief moment there was rage – SERIOUSLY – my car just got out of the shop a month ago when someone in the grocery store parking lot backed into me!  NOT AGAIN!
Within moments something quietly took over from inside.   The rage melted away and grace filled my heart.  I took a deep breath and made the choice not to let this inconvenience rob me of joy and I was going to turn this around.   I took a deep breath, checked for safety, got out and walked to the car behind me.  The driver was a women in her mid 40’s with a young child in the car seat.  I asked if she and her baby were ok and she nodded with tears in her eyes.  I looked straight in her eyes, touched her arm and said, “this is going to be ok!  You are safe, your child is safe, cars don’t matter and they can be fixed.  I asked if she was ok to drive to a near by parking lot to exchange information and she nodded with the tears now streaming down her face.   When we got to the lot she was nervous.  I reached out and gave her a hug deciding that this is not the time to be “professional”  this is my time to step up, show compassion and love.   She was a bit stiff and taken by surprise but the tears had stopped.
The absence of anger I felt was almost alarming!  The younger version of myself would have led with rage. If you know me, I can be “passionate”,  fly off the handle, overreact and be judgmental.    So WHAT the WHAT happened that allowed me to choose grace over anger?
Reflection tells me that it is a combination of things I have been working on for the past few years.  I’ll call it embracing the positive.  Specifically reading motivational books, listening to uplifting podcasts, setting goals, journaling, spending time with positive people, embracing positive social media, and maybe most important, finding ways to serve others.
I believe this accident was a blessing to show me that I am on the right path.  I am FAR from perfect but this experience has given me the muscle to fight the next “rear end” that comes my way.   Some people will laugh at me and call me, “Suzzie Sunshine” but it won’t stop me from loving on others and continue to strive for joy, and become 1% better everyday.
My hope in sharing this story is the next time you are “rear ended” and find yourself at the crossroads of rage and love you choose the path that serves your heart.

What finishing an Ironman REALLY taught me about GOALS

What do you think it feels like to be done with a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, and 26.2 mile run?

I imagined it would be a massive high, epic joy, pride, gratitude, and a sense of accomplishment like I had never experienced before.  To be honest, painfully honest, it was just a sense of relief that it was over and anything but the, “high” I expected.  I never had the courage to admit what I really felt.  I would like to unpack a few things about this experience to help you understand why it was doomed from the start.  My hope is sharing with you how I have grown from this experience you can avoid the trap I fell into and experience the joy you deserve from accomplishing your goals.

History:

I started participating in triathlons the summer of 1996 in San Francisco and was instantly hooked.  I started with a sprint triathlon then 0lympic distance, ran a few full marathons, and did many half ironman distances.  I loved the thrill of standing on the start line wondering if I could accomplish a new distance for the first time.  I completed the escape from Alcatraz triathlon and thought where do I go from here?  Was it time to go for the granddaddy of them all, the IRONMAN distance? In July 1999, I finished the Vineman half ironman and got on a plane the next day to Seattle to start a new job.  In Seattle I joined a cycling team and enjoyed bike racing for a few years.  However, the ironman distance was something I had not checked off my bucket list.  Ironman Canada had a reputation of being the ideal first time Ironman course so I signed up for the 2002 ironman Canada race and started my training.  This meant I could not race with the bike team because ironman training is specific and you are a team of 1 on ironman day.

My first problem was I did not work hard enough to find a triathlon training group.  In San Francisco I was part of a triathlon team and I undervalued how important the social aspects of training with a group can be.  I started to resent the training.  The most significant thing I did wrong was signing up for the race to prove to others that I could do it.  It was a bucket list item that was more for my fitness resume than something I wanted deep down.  It was a superficial goal and something I wanted to say I finished.  The third mistake was being disappointed in myself for not running the full marathon.  An ironman athlete I trained with once told me he was sick of the posers on the ironman course who had not trained hard enough to actually run the full marathon.  He felt the walkers were unworthy of the ironman title.  When I started to walk on the course, I heard his words in the dark spaces of my thoughts and at the finish line questioned if I really deserved the title.  I know, ridiculous but it is honest.

It was not until I achieved an audacious goal of becoming a Master Trainer for Schwinn Indoor Cycling in 2016 that I realized everything that went wrong with my Ironman goal.  I submitted my application to Schwinn because I truly wanted to serve other instructors and provide them with the confidence and knowledge necessary for success.  Teaching indoor cycling is my true passion and my intentions are 100% to serve others.  When I received the message that I would be the next Master Trainer I did not feel the need to post on social media that I accomplished this goal. I felt the massive high, epic joy, pride, gratitude, and a sense of accomplishment I hoped to experience from the Ironman.

My take away is audacious goals fueled by passion and service can be fully celebrated. I hope this message might inspire you to live out yours!

ELEVATE!

How awesome is it to witness sportswomanship at its finest!  My 6th grade daughter took up lacrosse this year.  The experience is exceeding all expectations and providing many opportunities for discussion and growth.  A personal favorite ritual happens after each game that warms my heart.  The teams huddle post game and the girls pick two members from the opposite team that represent sportsmanship and effort.  The teams then face each other in a line and two girls from each side are awarded game balls.  I love that the girls – not the adults are in charge of determining who is recognized.  I love that sportsmanship and effort are rewarded not just the team member with the most goals.

What a bright future our girls might have if they continue to focus on more than just winning.  The importance of elevating each other in the context of competition is something everyone can work on.  As a parent, it is essential to remember actions speak louder than words.  Looking in the mirror and asking what am I doing to elevate people in my circle?

Goals for May – elevate others!

Goals:

1. Set up and schedule charity ride for cycle the WAVE (women against domestic violence)

2. Mentor two women who are interested in becoming cycling instructors.  Help with music, class design, and contacts.

3. Practice lacrosse with my 11 year old daughter and soccer with my 8 year old.  Discuss how making mistakes is part of learning.

4. Look for daily ways to be silly, laugh, play, joke, and spread more joy.

The most important tip I learned while racing my bike

One of the most important tips I received when learning to race my bike was to focus on where you want your front wheel to go.  NEVER look at the pothole, rock, or obstacle in the way.  if your focus is on the obstacle you will hit it.
This tip is universal for life.  Ever find yourself so focused on the obstacle?  This can lead to a spiral of negative, helpless, fixed thinking.  Breaking free and looking for the way around your, “personal potholes” sets up the road to progress.
I know, easier said than done.  Just take a minute to see your road ahead full of new adventure and possibility!

To get UNSTUCK – 5 Minute Journal Solution

To get UNSTUCK – 5 Minute Journal Solution  

Just look at the cover of any magazine or title of many blogs and you will find tips/tricks/hacks to become healthier, happier, and more productive.   I know I should cut out all sugar, mediate, get 8 hours of sleep, and drink warm water with lemon first thing in the morning.  However great these ideas sound, I have failed to implement them on a consistent basis and it makes me feel weak and disappointed in myself.

Something I have found that makes a positive difference in my daily outlook is writing in a journal.  I was surprised how just 5 minutes of journaling can be a game changer.  My  journal starts in the morning where I list three things I am grateful for, three things that would make today great, and a daily affirmation statement that starts with I am…    In the evening, I list three amazing things that happened today and one sentence about how I could have made today better.  When I do this, I find myself happier and more productive throughout the day.    You can find this journal online at the five minute journal on Amazon for $9.99.   I think this makes a great gift for someone who is going through a challenging time or for yourself.

Failing Forward

Failing Forward

Frozen by fear I silenced myself and questioned who am I to be sharing my thoughts.  I totally failed in my mission to put out a weekly blog post.  Today I say enough and start again!   I wonder how many of us feel failure and get stuck because it seems too much time has passed or feeling we are not competent enough.   I have chosen to fail forward today.  My commitment is to share something I believe will bring value to others on a weekly basis – the goal being every Wednesday.

On the topic of fear, I faced it head on in leading my cycling class today.  My Wednesday 9:15am group is full of successful, hardworking, fit, and kind people.   The majority have been cycling for years and have strong opinions on what they like and don’t like.   They all sit in the same spot and interact with a just a few people.  I decided to shake them up today and put together a team drill that would force them to interact in a new way.   This could go wrong in so many ways!   I was prepared with a focused plan and even brought prizes.   Prizes were for the winning team and the most encouraging members in class.  By the end of the drill people pushed themselves harder than ever and the room was full of conversation.   My measure of success was big sweat and bigger smiles!

The thing I noticed is by facing a few fears today I feel more confident and ready to try again.   My hope in sharing this story is that you will think about a fear that is holding you back.  It is time to lean into it and fail forward.   Build your plan, put some prizes in place, and know how you will measure your success.  If it works out great, if not you failed forward and learned something.

You just might be on the verge of something special.  Fail forward friends!

 

What Path to Take?

What path to take?

I can’t run – Or – I can’t run YET!
Sad but true, I can’t run due to plantar fasciitis. I am missing the freedom and joy running provides and not doing it can send me into a dark place.
When we find something that is taken away from us due to injury, finances, or life challenges we pick a path. The dark path of why me, anger, depression, and resentment. Or, we can choose another road. The path of healing and the belief that we can learn something from this obstacle and get better. It is time to get creative with the negative and find another way to celebrate what we can do. There are plenty of things we can do and it all comes down to PROGRESS! Tony Robins says the secret to happiness is progress. When we feel trapped, we choose to take the uphill road towards progress town or the downhill easy street where the unfulfilled reside.
I am wondering what is your I can’t statement? Can you make it a I can’t YET statement?
For me personally, it is time to commit to the stretching, icing, and sleeping in a boot. I can swim, cycle, lift, and get creative with my cardio. I can feel I am on the right road now. Come join me!