You don’t have to see the whole staircase just take the first step ~ Martin Luther King Jr.

Emerald Lake
Emerald Lake – British Columbia

For a long time I have had a dream on my heart but had no idea what to do with it. I think this is common of many people. We have dreams, we know WHAT they are but have no idea HOW to make them a reality. And that’s usually where it ends and why people stop short of achieving their dreams, especially the big scary, messy ones. The ones that we don’t fully understand.

It has always bothered me that people struggle with money. Personal finance isn’t taught in school, it’s a topic that just isn’t talked about and people are left to struggle silently. I worked in Finance for many years. My job was to create budgets. I have always thought I have this knowledge and interest, I should do something to help people. I wanted to do something but I had no idea what to do. 

The crazy thing about dreams is, once they are put on your heart, they never go away. Months would go by and I wouldn’t really think about this dream to help people but it would always come back. A few years ago I started talking about it. I started telling people about this dream. I would tell them that I wished there was some way I could help people. This knowledge to improve their financial stewardship would save people’s lives, it would make their lives better. 

 Despite the fact that I had NO idea how to make this happen I would talk about it and think about it. Last year I even put it on my vision board.

If you can’t stop thinking about it, don’t stop working for it

And the beauty of acknowledging my dreams is that once I am mindful of them, the opportunities appear. The timing is never known and the opportunity may look entirely different from what I had imagined but the opportunities do appear.

Last year, my brother, who I had talked to about this dream, called me to tell me about a program new to our church – a Money Course. As I was very mindful of wanting to educate others on personal finance I saw this as my opportunity and jumped on it.

After a year of meetings, planning and training. Our first Money Course happened last weekend!

To be honest, as much as this is something that I have always wanted to do, as the days approached I didn’t want to do it. I was hoping it would be cancelled, I was hoping something would happen so that I wouldn’t have to go. That’s the thing about working towards dreams, it’s not easy. It’s called a comfort zone for a reason. But I know that I need to step out of it to make great things happen and so I showed up on Saturday morning and the day was amazing!

I don’t know what the next step is but I am grateful that the opportunity appeared and more importantly that I took action!

Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world ~ Harriet Tubman

 

Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny.” C.S. Lewis

This past Sunday I ran my 6th half marathon in Ottawa. As I was running I was writing this post in my head. The weather was great, much cooler and less humid than what I had trained in this summer. I felt strong and my first 5K was faster than I expected. The story was going really well and I couldn’t wait to write it… and then I hit kilometre 16! In all of the runs I have done I have never “hit the wall” like I did at kilometre 16, and it was literally in front of the kilometre marker sign. My head was telling me I only had 5K left but my legs were telling a much different story. My hip flexors stopped working, the forward motion of my legs was barely happening. I had no idea how I was going to finish those 5 kilometres. I did finish but it was S L O W. 

So, as much as I couldn’t wait to write this post at the beginning of the race, by the time I finished I had zero interest in writing it. Why? It wasn’t because I had a tough race or because I hit the wall. The reason I didn’t want to write about this – EGO. I was very unhappy with my time and I didn’t want to talk about it, I didn’t want you to know. I knew going in that it wasn’t going to be a personal best but this run was significantly slower than any other half that I have done. My ego didn’t want me to write this post because people would know how slow I really was. I thought, if I just don’t write about it I can just forget about it. 

The other night I was putting my nephew Alexander to bed. He did really well in his recent cross country meet. As I was leaving his room I said “Good Night Mr. Third Place” and his response… “Good Night Miss Half Marathon”. 

As the week has gone on, I have been a little kinder to myself about the run, thanks in part to Alexander.

I RAN 21.1 kms.

I pushed my body when it resisted.

I had a difficult run and got through it.

I know most people have tough runs at some point. I’ve witnessed others go through it and thought more of them for facing the adversity than I might have if they had an “easy” run. And so I’ve decided to be proud of myself and stop beating myself up. 

So what was my time? 2 hours and 23 minutes.

When you run the marathon you run against the distance, not against the other runners and not against the time. ~ Haile Gebrselasie

Thank you to everyone who is reading this. Having this avenue to express myself helps push me out of my comfort zone. I would have much preferred to ignore how I felt about this run, it would have been easier. But the result of being uncomfortable and writing this is that I gain better perspective, I am less angry and I realize I can run another one anytime and the next one WILL be better.

Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.” Mahatma Gandhi

Don’t let uncertainty talk you into pursuing a back up plan instead of your purpose ~ Bob Goff

IMG_1215
Saranac Lake, NY

I was at a transformative coaching seminar this past weekend. Removing myself from my daily routine for a few days and spending time in a beautiful setting allowed me to think differently and more creatively. Add to that being surrounded by incredible people and great things happen.

In a conversation with a friend this weekend I was reminded of my vision and realized that while I had been working towards it, in the past year I have slipped back into my comfort zone and have not been pushing forward. Why? Because it’s easy to sit in my comfort zone… it’s well… comfortable. I am really good at planning, and I even execute the first couple of steps, but then I stop. The next couple of steps are hard. I don’t like hard. I don’t like the idea of failing. As much progress as I have made on it, I still worry about what people will think. I don’t know exactly what I am supposed to be doing. And so I stop.

I like things neat and organized. I like tangibles. Ideas in theory don’t resonate with me as I am task oriented. I struggle with taking those really big ideas and breaking them down into action. It’s not that I don’t work towards my goals and dreams but what I am good at, is taking tangible goals and dreams and accomplishing them. Running a half marathon – buy running shoes, register for the race, follow a training schedule, run – all of that I can do, I understand it. The big intangible goals are my struggle. The dreams that I don’t quite understand.

I complete a coaching form every month and one of the questions is “what are your fears?” Every month I have the same answer – I am afraid that I will quit before I achieve greatness because there will be some failures along the way.  In the past year this fear is real, I have quit on the vision. 

So here we are – day 1 post seminar and I am putting it out there. I am being real and vulnerable. I am telling all of you to hold me accountable to continue on this journey.  This post is my first step.

You’re going to feel uncomfortable in your new world for a bit. It always does feel strange to be knocked out of your comfort zone. ~ Jojo Moyes

Healthy discontent is the prelude to progress ~ Mahtma Gandhi

IMG_0101

10 years ago today I ran my first marathon. Sometimes when I look back I amaze myself with the things that I have done, what I have accomplished. I am very goal oriented and so I am usually focused on the future and not on the past. I need to do this more though, I need to look back and acknowledge what I have done and not put so much emphasis on what I haven’t done (yet). Nothing happens overnight and everything I’ve done, all of the little steps that I’ve taken, especially the ones that might seem insignificant, are what have gotten me to a place where I have reached the goals that I have achieved so far, and towards those that I will achieve soon.

It’s really easy to give up on things because they seem monumental and become overwhelming but I’m trying to focus on progress, on moving forward rather than the many steps that it will take to get me to the dream. Life isn’t all about the big moments, it’s about every day and the little steps that I take to get me to the big achievements. My daily habits have been slipping lately as work has gotten busier. My mindset has changed to be happy with any small step that I have time to take, as I adjust to the increased workload. Progress not perfection. Progress not perfection. Progress not perfection.

When I read the quote by Gandhi ~ Healthy discontent is the prelude to progress. It clicked. I am in a constant state of being uncomfortable, of being discontent. I realize now that this is how I continue to move forward and it’s not a bad thing, although it feels… well… uncomfortable! I do also realize that I need some contentment in my life too and that’s where looking back and acknowledging what I have done, how far I have come is important. Today I will appreciate that 10 years ago I ran 42.2 very long kilometres. I trained hard that very hot summer and I did it. And I never have to do it again 🙂 Time to go for my run!

The number one reason people give up so fast is that they look at how far they still have to go instead of how far they’ve come.

It is literally true that you can succeed best and quickest by helping others to succeed ~ Napoleon Hill

IMG_1468
Team 57 – True North Strong & Fast

Being part of a team changes the dynamic of competition. Running with eleven teammates who are encouraging and supporting one another creates an environment where the individual has a greater need to succeed then when competing alone. This past weekend we participated in our second Ragnar Relay. 36 legs, 12 runners, 2 vans and 200-ish miles. We ran from Cobourg to Niagara Falls. It’s far… look at a map!

Many people ask us “Why?”. Why would we run so far, why would we spend 26 1/2 hours in a van, why would we run through the night with very little sleep. I’m sure each of the 12 runners on our team has a different answer to that. My answer – because working together to run 200 miles with these other 11 runners made me push myself harder than I would if I were alone. It made me want their success on their runs even more than I wanted it for myself and because I alone couldn’t run 200 miles but with my team I could (and did)!

Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much ~ Helen Keller

I set a goal for myself at the beginning of the year. It didn’t fit the criteria of goal setting as it was neither specific nor measurable but it was important to me. Last year when I ran my first overnight relay I suffered terribly on my third leg. In fact it was the worst run I have ever had. If it had been a training run I would have just quit but I was in the middle of the Adirondacks, by myself and I had no option but to complete my run and get to the next exchange point. I hadn’t fuelled properly and had no energy. I was up all night and I hadn’t eaten since I finished my last run 8 hours prior. The goal that I set this year was to run this Ragnar more prepared. So I adjusted how and when I ate and it worked. My third leg was one of the fastest paces that I have ever run. I used that terrible experience from last year and overcame the issues of lack of sleep and weird eating patterns. I ran my third leg 26 seconds per km faster than the first two legs. So despite my goal not being specific or measurable I certainly accomplished it!

I watched in awe as runner after runner came in under their anticipated pace times. Seeing the determination on their face and knowing that they left nothing on the course. It was truly inspiring and pushed me on each of my runs, as to not let my teammates down. Not all of the runs were perfect though. There were struggles in the middle of the night. There was a strong head wind, it was dark and there were directional signs missing. But rather than these factors causing defeat, they created a stronger bond, with the team stopping on the side of the road for encouragement to get the runner to the next exchange point. The team did what they needed to do so that every runner knew, that while they struggled, they were not alone.

As our final runner came across the finish line I cried. Partly because she was crying but mainly because I was so proud of our team for getting us so far.

And finishing 18th of 209 teams and 1st in the mixed sub masters category was an added bonus!

We even made it into Canadian Running Magazine’s online photos of the event (Second day of Reebok Ragnar Niagara – 3rd last picture with the caption “Finish” that’s us!)

Now that’s its over I am missing my teammates and wondering what’s next?!?

“We believe that being a Ragnarian is more than being a runner; that misery loves company and happiness is “only real when shared”; that there is a badass inside all of us; that everyone deserves to be cheered at the finish line; that tutus make you run faster; that what happens in the van stays in the van; that adventure can only be found if you are looking for it: and that a little sleep deprivation is a small price to pay to watch the sunrise with our friends. Together we ran 200-ish miles. Together we can accomplish anything. WE ARE RAGNARIANS.”

IMG_1458
View of the Niagara River from Exchange Point 34
IMG_1463
The Finish Line!
18489719_10158694189200293_6956477457835019772_o
Why we really run! The beer tent at the finish line in the most spectacular venue – at the top of the Falls!

Don’t dwell on those who let you down. Cherish those who hold you up.

bullying-quotes-ignorance-hate-drama-negativity

I make it a habit to surround myself with positive, successful, kind people. Just by me having this mindset, I have created an environment where at this point, I rarely deal with negative people anymore. Until this week!

This week I was in an unfortunate situation with a person who is an aggressive, egocentric and very angry bully. He had an agenda and was out to hurt innocent people to fulfill his goal. I think because I really don’t come in contact with this kind of person regularly I was shocked that someone could be this negative and hurtful. It’s not that I don’t know that these type of people exist but they are not in my life so I don’t give them any thought.

The situation has been resolved but it was a very stressful two days where I felt anxious and angry. Feelings that I try very hard to stay away from. And based on how I felt this week, will try even harder to avoid.

I don’t understand how someone thinks that their life will be better by treating people disrespectfully or intentionally hurting them. I appreciate that this person obviously has some issues and insecurities but intimidating and threatening others is not the way to deal with them.

I know that I am a better person because of the amazing people that I surround myself with. I have always realized this but through this incident it has become even more clear.

What a wonderful thing that happens when good people get together.

A man is but the product of his thoughts, what he thinks, he becomes. ~ Gandhi

you-cant-live-a-positive-life-with-a-negative-mind-black

The news is full of such negativity and hate that I just don’t participate in it. I don’t read newspapers and I don’t watch the news (I don’t even have a tv!). Am I uneducated about some issues? Yes probably, but I would rather fill my time reading and watching things that are inspirational and positive, things that are going to make my life better.

I met a women in Florida a few weeks ago and she wanted to talk politics. Do I like our Prime Minister? What do I think about Trump? I told her politely that I don’t follow politics and that I spend my time on things that I can control. Trump being president is not something that I can control. I didn’t even get a vote. I’m Canadian. I told her that I can put positive things in my head or negative things and I choose positive. She paused for a moment and agreed that I had a very good outlook on life.

I respect that people have interest in discussing politics and being informed on all of the issues. I just don’t have that interest and the “discussions”, particularly online, get pretty nasty. Spending my time reading or hearing this puts me in a negative mindset which then affects the way I think about everything.

We can’t control who is Prime Minister or President (once the decision has been made) but we can put more positivity into the world. If we want to make the world a better place, and I think that’s what we all want, than we should engage in positive activities. Hold the door, give compliments, help someone in need, smile, give blood. Do something that is going to add good to the world rather than complaining about what you don’t like about others. Just think of the ripple effect this would have if everyone was acting in kindness. Continuing to give time to the issues fuelled by politicians and the media is just feeding the negativity.

And let’s read more stories like this one about Reddy and Jax…

Boy has his hair cut like his friend. Now he thinks they can’t be told apart

Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be. ~ Abraham Lincoln