Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘gold’

Unknown-2

As I sat on my $98/night bed in Kamloops, half working on a course, half tuning in to the Lance Armstrong interview on Oprah TV, Oprah grabbed my attention with the question “Did you feel in any way that you were cheating”.  “Did I or do I?” Lance answered…. Interesting clarification….  “Did you?”.  Lance’s answer first surprised me, then upset me, and finally, forced me to consider my own point of view.

“I went and looked up the definition of cheat,” he added a moment later. “And the definition is to gain an advantage on a rival or foe. I didn’t view it that way. I viewed it as a level playing field.”

So, is it cheating if we all do it?  And what are we really upset about?  The cheating or that he lied to us?

At the end of the day, many people are equally offended if somebody cheats or lies, but what is it about Lance in particular that has unnerved us?  Is it that we trusted him for some reason, or is it that we truly feel that doping is wrong?  In my opinion, the public’s reaction has far surpassed the disappointment of a cheat, but has morphed into something more personal, something that for some reason requires Armstrong to deliver an apology that we believe, in a way that we individually think is right, with proof that he has, somehow, changed, and a punishment that will last long into his life.  For some reason, we require more than is required in most families, workplaces, and churches.  So how did it get to a point that he has hurt us this way? And what can we do about it?

I started to think about times in my life where I had been caught in a lie, or maybe didn’t play as fair as I could.  I know the magnitude is much lower, but maybe some of the conditions were the same – why did I do it?  I knew it was wrong, it didn’t really feel good, but I found a way to justify it in the moment.  I think that the common element was that I felt I had to do it to survive the moment.  Right or wrong, something was at stake… Now I can’t speak for Armstrong, but I can tell you that the world of sport can sometimes feel like everything is at stake. In fact, this is the intention of the organizations that run sport – they need it to feel this important to make money and build the brand.  I remember moments where I felt like I would do anything it took to win, to be successful.  It was the only way I would be able to pay rent, or buy food.  I was lucky in that my world did not include things like EPO, doping, millions of dollars and a reputation that was on the line.  My world was relatively small, and relatively protected.  But what if it wasn’t?  What if I had been approached by somebody that I trusted, and what if it was as common in my world as taking a vitamin C?

I’m in no way saying that I would have taken this path – on the contrary, I grew up in a household that vehemently defended clean sport, and a mother that won a medal clean in an environment that provided that opportunity for her if she was interested… but I can see the conditions that may have led Armstrong (and most others in his sport) to win at all costs, including his own health and potential public fallout.

So in an effort not to defend Lance, but to perhaps understand him, I again ask, why is it so personal?  Do we recognize the dark side of ourselves in him?  Does it scare us that even a hero like Armstrong could fall to temptations and greed – because where does that leave us?

I’m in no way saying that the penalties and fallout are not appropriate – in life there is cause and effect.  Instead I’m hoping that we, as a society, can use this as an opportunity to learn about ourselves and what we do to win, our view of sport and excellence, and how we react and respond when somebody fails – do we turn our backs or do we help them to rebuild?  Because this will be our legacy.

images-2

Read Full Post »

I remember being 8 years old, sitting in front of the tv completely fixated on and enamoured with She-Ra: Princess of Power.  I’m not sure if it was her beauty, her strength, or the idea that she could totally take care of herself, but she was special… my superhero.

For those that don’t remember, She-Ra is the alter ego of Princess Adora and the twin sister of He-Man. She was abducted as a baby and grew up as Adora… a seemingly normal girl (not unlike myself of course…!).  When she discovers her power and transforms into She-Ra her destiny is uncovered and this normal girl becomes “The Most Powerful Woman in the Universe”.

But She-Ra was more than just a warrior.  She was nurturing in nature (as opposed to her brother’s more aggressively-based powers), was empathic,  understanding and was able to communication with animals.

Not a bad role model to have, right?

I don’t think that I’ve thought about She-Ra since I was 12 or so.  Today I walked by a Lululemon bag that said “Unwrap your Super Powers” and of course she came to mind.  Which led me to the question: what happened when I started growing up that I forgot that I once had this character that I dreamt about being and perhaps even truly believed in at some level?  Did I replace it with something else or did I just stop imagining?

I’m not sure what the answer is, but something tells me that it’s a combination of both.  I have a feeling we are encouraged to get “realistic”.   Do we stop believing in the magic of transformation and do we cease to see our own unlimited possibilities? Maybe we start to succumb to the societal assumption that we can only hope for that which our parents had, only experience 50% of our marriages being successful and grind our way through our 30’s,40’s and 50’s in hope of security only to realize that we forgot to truly live life along the way.

And while I had a relatively awesome childhood I still struggle to see past some of my own limiting beliefs about myself. I notice that I sometimes buckle to my own insecurities and the more I do it, the more normal it becomes.  Many of the people around me do the same thing and  it becomes so engrained in who I become that I stop seeing that it is not true, it’s just the reality that I’ve surrounded myself with.

See, the thing about She-Ra was that I let her into a place in my imagination that defied my own reality.  And I think I knew deep down that I didn’t have the magic that would transform Spirit into Swift Wind (a talking winged unicorn), but it opened up a part of my mind to start believing in things outside of my own experience, circumstances and existence.

One of the most unusual and creative sport psych tools I have ever heard about was with the sliding team prior to the 2010 Olympics.  They individually met with a Shaman who helped them connect with their own spirit animals.  John Montgomery, skeleton Gold Medallist had a turtle.  With the symbol placed on his helmet, he visualized the turtle sliding with him down the track- smoothly, effortlessly and quickly…

I think there is something about stepping outside of what we consider our own limits, our own bodies and our own minds.  In times where our inner excellence is tested, a fear is being realized or a limit is being set on us, what if we connect to our own inner superhero?  Whether it is one that already exists that possesses all of the qualities that we yearn to have, or perhaps one that we create on our own, why not step into their world, even just for a moment, and see if solutions appear and goals are met.  AND at the same time creatively play in this world!

So in my life, She-Ra has been rediscovered.  I see her differently now than I used to.  Where I used to take her battles at face value, I now see how similar they are to my own.  I see how she never uses her magic sword on the offensive, but only to defend herself if need be.  She never hurts human beings, and she always finds time to connect with family and animals.  Sure, she is beautiful, but it’s no longer about her long blonde hair- her beauty is more about how she finally knows who she is.  And lastly, where I used to notice what she was doing, I now notice how she was doing it.  There is an art to the way she moves and the way she handles a challenge.

So what is my Super Power?  Today it is unleashed imagination!  I’m not sure that Swift Wind will show up on my doorstep, but the fact that I don’t know what will show up means I’m on the right path…

Read Full Post »

So the Olympics have come and gone.  For many people it’s a massive crash after 7 years of planning, organizing and creating.  It’s the calm after the storm, and even though everyone is exhausted, there is this energy and life in Vancouver that I’ve never seen before.  It’s patriotic, it’s proud, and it’s powerful.  It has reminded me of who I am, and who WE are.  A nation of excellence, of freedom, of anything is possible.

And so where to go from here?  In my opinion, we are only a success if we can bring the spirit of the games into our normal lives.  Not that we hold onto the past three weeks, clinging to a reason to feel the way we do, but that we see that the real reason that we were so inspired was that we came together as one to support our athletes.  Win or Lose, Rise or Fall, we had their back.  We were all one team, whether we were stuck in line waiting for a bus, cheering on our most talented Canadian Olympic team in history, grieving for Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili, or sitting at Canada Hockey Place watching Crosby score the game winner, we were one.  And maybe that’s the point.  Maybe we finally got it.  When we are there for each other (as Canada was for our Olympic team the past 4 years), amazing things happen for everyone.  THAT is what the Olympics are about.

And so I’ve learned a few lessons that will definitely make a difference for me as I pursue my own Olympic dream.  First of all, I need others.  I need to invite people to go on this journey with me – to cheer me on, laugh with me, cry with me, heal me and guide me.  And in return, I will give everything I have to this dream and I hope in some small way it will make the world better and will create opportunities for all of the people that I am lucky enough to have in my life.

Secondly, I learned that excellence is a state of mind, and not a result.  I think we could all tell when an athlete was going to perform well.  They had this energy about them – an unshakable confidence, laser focus, and yet a lightness in their eyes.  They could smile, even when the pressure was on.  And that’s what I am taking from these unbelievable Canadian athletes.  They had humility but it was different than before.  Where we were once afraid to be great and somewhat uncomfortable on the top of the podium,  we now BELIEVED  that we were meant to Own the Podium.  And yet we were still “Canadian humble” but our humility was in who we were afterwards- Gracious winners. 

So now, bring on the Summer Olympics.  Bring on the sun and sand and bikinis.  Bring on the GOLD.  Ready for the ride of a lifetime?

Read Full Post »

The infamous crop shot... signs of happier times???

So after my last blog https://leahallinger.wordpress.com/2010/01/11/no-you-dont-complete-me/ I said that in order to be successful we must be completely fulfilled regardless of the outcome.  Yes, a little altruistic, and a very simple ingredient to probably a much more complicated recipe.  Ali left me a comment that read

“so think you are on to something – but all I can think of after reading this is HOW. Yes, it all sounds great to live as “fully complete and fulfilled people” – but HOW do we do this? I would challenge that this is the hardest thing to do in relationships, as most people are significantly more emotionally invested in relationships than work. How do you retrain yourself from thinking that you do have something to win (happiness with someone else) and/or lose (confidence, a support system). Tackle this for your next blog”.

So yes, I’m tackling that question on this next blog – thank you for the inspiration Ali 🙂 

I want to start with my disclaimer… The truth is, I don’t know the answer to this question.  If I did, I’d save my answer for writing a book, it would be made into a movie starring Meg Ryan and Hugh Grant, and I’d be able to fund my beach volleyball career, sponsor free for the next decade…  BUT, I am committed to trying so here goes!

I think that the answer to this question comes from another question.  Are you playing life to win, or are you playing life not to lose.  It’s the same situations, same people, maybe even the same words and actions, BUT there is a different intention behind it.  I remember the most significant volleyball moment in my life.  We were in the semi-final at the National Championships.  I was in my 5th year playing for UBC and we were down 14-11 in the 5th game.  I was up to serve and my coach signalled for me to jump serve (a really risky but effective serve).  I really felt like I had nothing to lose – the game seemed out of our hands as we were one point away from defeat.  So I went for it – I hit the ball as hard as I could and I scored an ace.  14-12.  I did it again and they passed it over the net where one of my teammates hit it straight down back at them.  14-13.  And then something happened.  I started to think about what may happen if I made the serve, and what would happen if I missed.  And I tossed the ball up in the air,  a perfect toss- jumped up, and decided to take a little bit off the speed, just to be safe.  Just to make sure the ball was in.  So what happened? When I “took a little bit off”, the ball topspinned a little bit higher, which caused it to fall an inch out of bounds.  15-13 Manitoba.

Ironic that the one thing that I tried to prevent is what happened.  And it’s like this in EVERY aspect of my life.  That which I focus on, I create.  Good or bad, positive or negative.

So if you are afraid to be hurt, you will be hurt; if you are afraid you will fail, then you will fail; if you believe you have good parking karma, you will get the last spot.  This is the law of attraction, right?

So how does it apply to real life – how do we change our minds so that we play to win, rather than playing to serve the ball in the court?  While there are many ways to transform our thoughts, I’m going with a tried and true method called “fake it till you make it”.  Act AS IF you are the way you want to be and AS IF you feel that way.  Pretend your life is a play or a movie.  You are the director and you are the star.  What would the ending be, what type of conversations would you have, and what type of action would you take to get the job of your dreams or find the love of your life?  Would you be driven by risktaking, having fun, inspiration?  Or would you be worried about what someone thought of you, and how hard something may be and what you might lose if you didn’t succeed?  Remember that it’s YOU that has to watch the movie, so what would keep you sitting in the theatre?  The characters in the movies that I am moved by are not perfect and do not have it all figured out, but they always go out on a limb and they often fail before they succeed.  It’s not because of the job they get or the girl they marry… it’s that they played full on and there’s something so  real and so powerful about that. 

And if your life is a movie, you can always make a sequel, or a prequel if you prefer 😉  The movie is just that… 2 hours out of your life, and then more life comes.  It’s hard to take something so temporary seriously, right?  And that’s a good thing because the second we get too serious and too intense we lose perspective and that is when we start to play not to lose.  It might be like that Biggest Loser episode I saw last night where the girl was 3 steps away from immunity then started to think about it, and fell into the water; or maybe you are like me with your very own “Jacob” and you start to notice all of the things that may not work out in the future, so you kibosh the whole thing. (https://leahallinger.wordpress.com/2010/01/03/twilight-the-metaphor-for-the-modern-day-relationship/)  

As for the question about how to not get emotional about things that have an emotional investment in, I don’t think that’s possible.  Emotionally connecting with somebody is natural.  But the key is in remembering that moments come and go and change… it’s easy to remember an old flame and all the awesome memories and it’s easy to look at someone and imagine all of the possibilities, but that is only part of the story.  That’s the part of our brain that keeps us coming back for more!  Because if we really thought about the shit we go through in relationships, would we ever want to be in one??!  It’s like we have an erase button on all things negative about love – which, I believe, is a good thing in the long run but we have to keep perspective so that we aren’t disillusioned when we are dating and building a relationship.

So, after all this, my final answer to your question is:  Make sure, in every situation in your life that you ask yourself if you are Going For Gold or if you are  just trying not to be 4th.  And if all is aligned, go for it, and if not, force yourself to make a different choice, no matter how uncomfortable it is.

* check out the amazing things that are happening at www.vivvos.com.  We are going for gold in sexy brazilian swimwear!

Read Full Post »

Today was a long day.  It’s Wednesday and the 3rd day of my new job, which, along with training, has somewhat kicked my ass 😉  I need to figure out how to… a.  get up at 5:30am so I can train in the morning or b.  be able to unwind enough after training at night to fall asleep at a reasonable time… any suggestions?!

I think that in the past in times where I have felt stretched to my max, I’ve sometimes found reasons to give something up – to stop doing some of the things I know I need to do to feel great.  Reasons why I should be feeling stressed and why it is justified.  I think we often do that when we take on big projects or multiple projects- we want people to understand why we are a little moodier, a little more tired, a little more flaky, a little uncommitted to the “extra” things like eating well, working out, returning calls, and making time for the people we love.  And then we get into this spiral of feeling crappier, and doing more of the things that are making us feel crappier, and feeling more and more justified in feeling crappier each day as we are working so hard!

So I was swimming today for a workout -it was supposed to be 45 mins and 60 minutes later I realized I had been completely lost in thought the whole time – I could barely even remember the past 10 lengths!  In my life, this has been the signal that I am distracted and that my priorities are geting mixed up.  It usually is followed with giving up something that is important for me to be successful.  I was “thinking” about what I did today, what I needed to do tomorrow, who I needed to talk to etc. etc. etc. and it masked the mindlessness that my workout was.  I needed to be thinking about my strokes, my times, my rest and my program for that one hour, which would have refreshed and revived me, getting me ready to tackle whatever problem would come my way in the future.  Instead I spent the hour consumed in the “what ifs” of the future. 

I know that to be successful, both in beach volleyball and in my job, I will need to be able to create balance, to focus in on exactly what I need to focus on in that moment.  Forget what happened, and what is coming.  Do what I need to do right now.

I saw this really cool quote that I am going to stay true to…

“Most successful men have not achieved their distinction by having some new talent or opportunity presented to them. They have developed the opportunity that was at hand.”
Bruce Barton

When things are busy, or difficult, or trying, we have to remember that there is an opportunity to be great.  It’s an opportunity to be great in everything we want to be great in, no matter what the circumstances, and these long days of work and training and designing with www.vivvos.com are a perfect way for me to develp the opportunity at hand 🙂

Read Full Post »