Tuesday, November 29, 2011

About Attitude

In this, the second post in our series on  "Positioning Yourself For Success", we begin by reviewing our first post's message on "Responsibility", or rather stating the awesome fact that if you are here reading on, you have taken the first step towards helping yourself achieve your goals; you have declared yourself "responsible" for your own actions.

So, we move on.  Today we will discuss:  Attitude.

"Ability is what you're capable of doing.  Motivation determines what you do.  Attitude determines how well you do it."  ~ Lou Holtz.

Everyone has an attitude.  Good, bad, positive, negative or indifferent.  We carry it with us wherever we go.  We let it guide us, bring us up or tear us down.  There's no escaping it.  We have it.  It's ours.  In most cases, our perception of said attitude is somewhat different than the perception others have of it.  But it's our, and that's what matters.  We must live with it.

Or do we?  Can we change it?  Should we change it?  Well, that's a question only you can answer.  But let me help you take a good look at yourself to help you decide.

When you look in the mirror, are you happy with what you see?  Is the person looking back at you someone you would be happy to hang around with?  To call your friend?  Do you see a smile?  A frown?  Is there a happy face staring back at you?

I don't remember when, I don't remember why or even how it happened.  What I do remember is that one day in the somewhat distant past, I had to change mine.  My previous lifestyle has been carefully documented so I will not waste precious time discussing this again, I will tell you though, that after taking full responsibility for my actions, or lack thereof, I took full responsibility for changing my attitude.

I found that a positive attitude helps you cope more easily with the daily affairs of life.  That it brings optimism into your life and makes it easier to avoid worry and negative thinking.  I found that by adopting a positive attitude as a way of life, it brings constructive changes into your life and makes it brighter, happier and more successful.  I found that with a positive attitude you see the bright side of life, you become more optimistic and expect the best to happen.  I found that it's a state of mind well worth developing and strengthening.

I have also found that having a positive attitude helps you achieve goals and attain success, faster and more easily.  I have found myself to be happier, with more energy and with extra inner power and strength.  I have found the ability to inspire and motivate myself and others.  I have found fewer difficulties along the way and able to surmount those that I did find.  Life has been smiling at me and I have found a new level of respect towards others, and from others.

So, are you in need of an attitude adjustment?  Have you been exhibiting a negative attitude and experiencing failure and difficulties?  It is now time to change the way you think.  It is time to get rid of all those negative thoughts and behavior and lead a happy and successful life.  Why not start today?  Have you tried and failed?  It only means you haven't tried enough.

Starting today, choose to be happy.  Look at the bright side of life.  Choose to be and stay optimistic.  Find reasons to smile, often.  Have faith in yourself and those around you.  Contemplate on the futility of negative thinking, behavior and worries.  Associate yourself with happy people ("like" my facebook page).  Read a lot; inspiring stories, inspiring quotes.  Repeat affirmations that inspire and motivate you.  Visualize only what you want to happen.  Become a master of your thoughts.  Learn to concentrate and meditate.

Positive thinking is not just saying that everything will be okay, as a lip service, and at the same time thinking about failure.  In order to bring beneficial changes and improvements into your life, a positive attitude has to become your predominant mental attitude throughout the day.  It has to turn into a way of life.

The choice is yours.

On the next post, I will discuss "Passion".  In the meantime, head on over to this blog's facebook page and click "like".  Thanks!

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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

About Positioning Yourself For Success

What is Success Positioning?

It's an ongoing strategic process. It is compared to carefully constructing a building.  It begins with a strong foundation.  The stronger and deeper the foundation, the stronger and taller the building will be.

Success in life comes to those who are committed, serious and determined about achieving their goals.  I have been able to accomplish some amazing things only because I have followed this simple rule.  But it hasn't always been easy.

It all begins simply and innocently.  For me it was the desire to loose weight and get off the couch, which evolved in time into a desire to become an Ironman.  Again, it hasn't always been easy.

And because it really has not always been easy, I had to Position Myself For Success.

I took to this the same approach I had been following in business.  I figured, if it worked there, it should work here.  And it is my estimate, that it has.

Through trial and error, I have identified 15 elements that when put to work together, create a solid foundation in which to build our future, pursue our dreams or simply perform at a higher level.  Not any one element is unreachable by anyone; they're all within your grasp with a little effort and dedication.

No element is more important than the other, therefore I will presented them in no particular order... except for No.1 and No. 15.  I will explain each in detail and how I adapt it to my fitness, running and triathlon goals here and in upcoming posts.

Everyone is different in their approach and no formula is a "one-size-fits-all."  Chances are extremely high that you have heard some of these before but chances are also high that you will pick up something from this series of posts.  If you adapt just one element into your approach, you will be that much further ahead.  At least that is my wish for you.

So, without further to do, lets get started.  Here we will discuss the first element:  Responsibility.

The good news here is simple. Nothing else that will be discussed in this series is of any value if you don't take Responsibility for your own actions.  Nothing.  If you're not willing to do this, you might as well quit now and go on doing what you're doing.

"It is easy to dodge our responsibilities, but we cannot dodge the consequences of dodging our responsibilities" ~ Josiah Charles Stamp.

I sat in front of my couch for a lifetime.  I gained weight and felt terrible.  My cholesterol was sky high, my back hurt like the dickens. If you don't count complaining and bitching about the aches and pains, I was doing nothing about it.  I was just content letting life pass me by.

I could have blamed anything and everything.  I could have sat there and continued with what I was doing, did I mention mostly complaining and bitching.  After all, it was easy; it required no effort.  I could have waited for life to pass by me and been content.  That is until I took Responsibility.  It was my fault, my own doing.  No one asked me or forced me into that rut.

Then a swift kick in the butt or a slap on the back of my head woke me up.  It was time to grow up and take Responsibility.  This is when the metamorphosis began to take place.

You too have to take Responsibility.  No one can do this for you.  Not your spouse, not your kids, not your friends.  It has to be yours.

If you've read this far, I thank you and invite you to look forward to the next post:  "About Attitude" as I continue with this series on Positioning Yourself For Success.

In the meantime, please visit this blog's Facebook page and click "like".  Thanks!

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Friday, November 18, 2011

About Mantras

We all know that in sports the mental game is 90% of the battle.  And as they say, the other 10% is all in your head.  And we all know that this is so close to the real truth that it's almost scary.

We train for months at a time to improve our swim stroke and speed.  We train for miles on out to ensure our cadence is just where it needs to be and we hit the pavement for what seems eternity just to make sure our stride is just perfect.  But that, my friends, sad to say is not enough.

Over the past several years, I have mastered the use of the power of self motivation.  I've put it to good use in my professional world as well as my personal life.  I've had tremendous success in both, mostly attributed, in my opinion to the self learned ability to look for and find the good things in everything and to realize that with the proper attitude, just about anything is possible.

When I started running and competing, or rather participating, in triathlons, I found it very helpful.  I would "talk" myself through to the finish even when the cards were stacked against this.  As the years went by I found that the messages came from different sources, there was no constant to these, but they all seemed to work.

It was on the drive to Ironman 70.3 Steelhead in July 2010 when I began to discuss with my wife, as I often do, the concerns I had with this race.  Most everything I had created were issues that after further consideration merited no place in my pre-race preparations.  And this is when and where my personal mantra came to life.

"You have to have FAITH in your training" she would tell me when I expressed concerns about my preparation.  "You have to have FOCUS all day long" she went on to say when I explained the concerns over the bike portion of the event.  During Ironman 70.3 Augusta, the bike leg was mishandled and caused tremendous pain and discomfort during the run.  "You do this and you will FINISH with a smile on your face" she concluded.

So there it was,  "FAITH. FOCUS. FINISH."  My mantra.

During all events, of any length, I wear a necklace with a stainless steel pendant with these three words engraved.  Often, and I do mean often, I find myself grabbing the pendant between my thumb and index finger and rubbing it gently.  This serves as a gentle reminder of what I must do.  It hasn't failed me yet, and I don't expect it to.

I am very happy to share this with one and all.  I have sent it as friendly motivational messages to friends prior to races.  One friend even found it worthy of engraving it into her Road ID.

No matter the sport of choice, most athletes have a mantra they go by.  What's your mantra?    When and how did it come about?  Share your story by commenting on this post, or on this blog's facebook page.  We'd love to hear your story.


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Monday, November 14, 2011

About Obstacles To Overcome

I have been a very luck person.  During this journey through my new lifestyle I have had no serious injuries to deal with.  A bout with ITBS a couple of years ago was quickly and swiftly dealt with.  When it first showed it's ugly side, I had three weeks before my first full marathon.  I finished it with no consequence. Today, I know what I must do to keep this from returning.

Some six weeks before Ironman Louisville my heel started hurting.  At first I thought that I had changed my running stride and was striking on my heel more than before.  I went to a shoe store and purchased new shoes with special inserts.  This seemed to help the issure, but not eliminate it.  As it appears, that was not the problem.

During the home stretch to Louisville, the pain did not go away.  It did not get worst, but it did not go away.  During the marathon portion of the Ironman, I knew the pain was there, but at that point it really didn't matter.  Nothing would keep me from crossing that finish line.

As it turns out, the pain in the heel just got more intense the weeks following Ironman.  Each and every time I would run, I would be rendered unable to barely walk for a day or two after.  An appointment with the doctor was made.

The diagnosis was, as I suspected, Plantar Fasciitis.  I was told that amongst other things I needed total rest from running.  The Plantar Fascia would need to heel and running would prevent this from happening.  I had a half marathon on my schedule for November 12th.  This I needed to run.

I had not run a step for two weeks prior to the Hard Rock Cafe Run For The Party Half Marathon in Nashville.  I had been swimming and spinning, but no running.  I was not sure what kind of a day I would have.  I had never showed up to the start of an event as I did that morning.  I felt the endurance would be there, that was not the issue.  I was not sure how the heel would behave.  It didn't.

The first eight miles were great.  I was running a 9:20 minute mile steadily.  I was feeling great.  And then the wheels, as they say, fell off.  The pain was so intense that by mile nine, more or less, I could hardly walk, let alone run.  But in true fashion, I ignored the pain as much as possible, and continued through.  I had to finish.

My original goal, when I signed up for this event, was to run my first sub two hour half in over four years.  With a plan from my coach, I started training for this and in my perception I was doing just fine.  That is until the pain started getting the best of me.

I adjusted my plan.  I wanted to do the half in 2:15.  Through the first eight or nine miles I was in pace to do just that.  By that was not to be.  My finish time was 2:22:43.  Missed my goal by seven minutes.

After the race I couldn't walk two steps without taking a rest.  By late afternoon walking was almost impossible.  Some ice, a foot massage and plenty of stretching helped the issue.  In the morning, the heel was rested so the pain was not as bad.

I have a very aggressive schedule on my wish list for next year.  I have already registered for the St. Jude's Country Music Half Marathon and there are plenty of others, amongst them the Gasparilla Half Marathon in Tampa, Fl., which I'd like to run with my brother.  This one is in early February.  Not sure this one will be possible, will have to wait and see.

As obstacles come and obstacles go, this one has to be addressed wisely.  I have been told that continuing to run on a damaged PlantarFascia could result in serious damage to my plans.  So the advise of the experts I will follow.  There will be no running for me at least through the end of the year.

So, in my immediate future I see plenty of swimming; not bad because my form could use lots of help.  Plenty of spin classes; not bad because I need to build my bike strength.  Plenty of visits to the weight room, not bad because this I like to do.

So, running and I will be reunited again in early 2012.


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