If you had nothing, what would you want the most?
 by Aaron Solly

 

If you had no home, limited access to food, virtually no money and very few possessions except for the clothes on your back, what would you want the most?

 
I was watching some of the Hurricane Katrina coverage on CNN the other day.  They had a story about some of the people going back to their homes to grab whatever they could before going back to the shelters.  The video footage showed a group of brothers who were about ten years old and the only thing they grabbed were trophies that they had won from sports tournaments such as soccer, football, basketball etc.  The reporter asked them, "Why did you only take your trophies?" and they said that they wanted proof that they had accomplished something. 
 
Another reporter noticed that many people were just wanting their family photos.  I found this very interesting.  In a day and age that puts so much focus on material possessions, in a time of complete loss and crisis, all this people wanted were photos of their family.  They were taking something to prove that they were part of a family.  Money, power, or things just don't compare to this fundamental human need.
 
It is ironic that photos can last a lifetime, but fancy new clothes or the latest electronic device will be old news by next year.
 
An Exercise:
 
Think about your existing short and long term goals. 
Do you feel that they are in line with the things that are important to you and your family?

 

Television's Picture of the World

by Aaron Solly

 

Who creates our picture of the world around us?  Today, we receive information from all over the world through TV and the Internet.

 

I was reminded about the impact outside influences can have on our perception of the world after reading a chapter from a book I was given earlier this year.  The book is called "The 100 Simple Secrets of Happy People" by David Niven.  In this book, there is a chapter specifically on the effects of watching television.  I have provided the content of this chapter below.

 
"For a thousand generations, the Gwinch'in tribe lived in northern Alaska in nearly complete isolation from outside cultures.  Tribal members were completely self-sufficient, surviving on skills taught to them by their parents and elders.
 
In 1980, one of the tribe's leaders acquired a television.  Members of the tribe describe the event as the beginning of an addiction.  Soon the native customs were ignored to maximize TV-watching time.  One researcher said of the tribe's experience, "For these natives, like anyone else, television is a cultural nerve gas.  It's odorless, painless and tasteless, and deadly."
 
What happened to the Gwinch'in traditions that had existed for thousands of years?  In the words of one tribe member, "Television made us wish we were something else.  It taught us greed and waste, and now everything that we were is gone."
 
This story doesn't have a happy ending, however the message is clear.  TV, the internet and other media can change our perspective of our own life.  The more time we spend on our own life, the happier we will become."
 
An Exercise:
 
If decreasing the amount of TV you watch is important to you, try it out for a week and see what happens. 

You may want to start with watching one hour less a day and increasing it the following week. 

At the start of the week, make a list of things that you would like to do instead of watching TV. 
 
After you have made your list, reflect on the story in this month's issue and try to pick activities that will allow you to maintain a positive perspective of your own life and the world you are apart of.

 Be your own cheering section

 by Aaron Solly

 

I have had the opportunity to participate in a fundraising event for the MS Society. 

 
The event involved cycling  125 km in two days from the Tradex in Abbotsford to Trinity Western University in Langley and back again.

 

It was an unique biking event that included stops at local wineries and it was pretty much guaranteed that after about two hours of riding we would have a break to taste some wine.
 
What I found amazing about this event was the attitude of the people involved.  It was amazing to see the support participants offered to each other, throughout the ride and each stop along the way.  There was nothing but positive energy during the two days. 
 
I have seen  this type of encouragement  before at other sporting events.  A number of years ago, my Dad completed the Ironman Triathlon in Penticton, BC.  The spectators would look up the competitors number in the program and cheer them on as they rode and ran by.  They didn't even know the person participating, but I'm sure their encouragement went a long way in helping them complete the race.
 
The volunteers at the MS Society event and the spectators at the Ironman had me reflecting on the idea that we can be our own cheering section.  

We can choose to be a positive encouragement in the lives of those around us or choose to be positively negative.  How you choose to influence those around you, is completely up to you.

 
What if you took a moment  to cheer for yourself or someone who needs it?  (You can use your inside voice if you want.)   

 

What impact could that have?

 

 

An "I Can!" Attitude

by Aaron Solly

 
A few weeks ago, I was taking out the garbage and recycling,  in the back alley of our apartment.  On a daily basis, there are people that go through the recycling bin looking for pop cans, beer bottles etc. so they can return them to the store for cash .
 
I happened  to be emptying our recycling as a man on his bike approached the bin.  He asked me, "Do you have any cans or bottles?".  I said to him, "I do.".  He said, "I prefer to ask people before they put the cans in the bin because I hate having to dig through the bin." I handed him a can and a bottle when he said, "I was working 10 years at the same company and they closed the place down."  I asked him, "When did that happen?" and he said, "In January.  I have to find money somehow until I find a part-time job." 
 
For three months, he had been doing whatever he could to make ends meet.  I was taken by his drive and motivation.  Some days, I find it hard to get out of bed and head off to work.  Here is a man who is not driven by money because he wants to be able to buy fancy clothes, a sports car or a big house.  This man is motivated everyday to collect cans so he can eat and pay the bills.
 
I tried to put myself in his shoes and I found it difficult.  I think maybe because I expect that I will always have a roof over my head, food to eat and a stable job.  I felt bad for this man.  I wanted to help him. I tried to think of way to help find him a job before he rode away.
 
I realized from this short  conversation that the man had continued to keep a "I Can" attitude, even at the worst of times.  He could have spent his days blaming his past employer and others for the situation he was in.  Instead, he kept believing that a part-time job would arise and was doing what he needed to do until that job was made available to him.
 
Exercise:
 
For the next few days, count how many times you use the words "I can't" and make a list of the things that you "can't" do.
 
Review your list daily and think of ways that you can change each "I can't" into "I Can!".
 
People successfully reach their goals when the believe that they can achieve them

 

Activities That Lead to Achievement
By Aaron Solly


 

A few years weeks ago, I attended a course on "Personal Development

Planning".  

 

There was one part of the course that I wanted to share with you that

explained how  specific activities can help people achieve their goals.

 

The activity types were broken down into the following four categories:

 

1. Self Directed

-activities that you initiate such as reading books, doing research,

online courses, attending Toastmasters etc. 

 

2. Project Based

-activities that involve a specific project that helps you achieve your goals

 

3. Formal Training

-taking a course at your local college or university that is related to your

personal development

 

4. Developmental Relationships

-building relationships with others that are doing what you want to do

or people that can help you kept on track to reach your goals

 

 

An Exercise...

a. Pick a goal that you want to achieve this year.

 

b. Decide on one activity within each of the four categories

listed above that you can do to reach your goal by year end.

(4 Activities Total, one per category)

 

Have you heard this Christmas story before?   

 by Aaron Solly

In the spirit of Christmas, I want to share with you a Christmas story that a good friend of mine, Joe Roberts, would tell youth when visiting high schools in the Lower Mainland.

This is a wonderful story of hope.  Prepare to be inspired after 5-7 minutes of reading.

The pastor and the tablecloth

"There was a pastor in Brooklyn, New York who had taken over a new parish.  He was fresh from seminary college and his job was to rebuild an urban church community.  The church was very run down, it had graffiti on the walls, some of the windows were broken, and it definitely needed a paint job.  The young pastor wasn't discouraged; he got some volunteers and began in early October restoring the wonderful little community church.  His goal was to have his first service on Christmas Eve.  Things were going well until, about three days before Christmas Eve, there was a terrible rainstorm in the New York area.  The rain seeped into the church through the walls and the leaky roof. When the pastor showed up one morning, he noticed a large piece of plaster had fallen from behind the altar.  He was quite upset and heartbroken at the site of a large hole in the wall, but he began cleaning the mess right away.   

Later, he was on his way downtown when he noticed a rummage sale for charity and he decided to support their cause.  He was going through some old boxes when he found a beautiful handmade tablecloth. As he pulled it out of the box, he noticed it was very old and yellow with age.  He held the tablecloth up, it was about five feet wide and ten feet long -- it was the perfect size to cover up the hole above the altar.  He offered them a fair price and made his way back to his church.  As he approached the church steps, he noticed an elderly woman waiting at the bus stop.  By now, the rain had turned to snow. He knew there wasn’t another bus due for at least an hour, so he invited the elderly woman in for a warm cup of tea and they began to chat.   

As the pastor went up the stepladder to hang his newly purchased tablecloth, he turned around and noticed that the elderly woman was sitting in the front pew and had a strange look on her face.  In fact, her complexion had turned completely white. He asked her what was the problem, and she said to him, “Pastor, 35 years ago, I lived in Austria when the Great War broke out. My husband and I were captured. I was sent to a work camp and my husband was sent to a concentration camp. We never saw each other again.  That tablecloth hanging on the wall looks just like the one my mother and I handmade the Christmas before the war broke out. Tell me pastor, in the bottom right hand corner, does it have the initials, ‘RGB?’”  The pastor reached down, held the tablecloth up and to his amazement, there were the initials, “RGB.”  The pastor was tremendously moved. He took the tablecloth down and offered it to the old woman but she said, “No, it belongs here in your church.” They talked late into the night about how, over such a vast amount of time and great distance, this table cloth had united this woman and this pastor. The woman had shared with the pastor that she had never lost hope and that one day she knew she would be reunited with her husband.  The pastor wanted to give her something and the only thing he could think of was a ride home, so he walked her to his car and they drove off to her house in South Queens.

Two days later, it was Christmas Eve - a beautifully joyous evening.  Many people from the community came and sang Christmas carols. It was truly a blessed night.  Afterwards, people came up, shook the pastor's hand, and told him how much they enjoyed the service and that they planned on joining him on a weekly basis.  As the pastor was closing up, he noticed a man sitting at the back of the church.  He walked to the back of the church where the little old man was sitting in the pew.  He was staring aimlessly at the tablecloth hanging above the altar.   As the pastor turned to the man, he noticed that his face had turned completely white. He asked if he could help him. The old fellow said,  “Pastor, 35 years ago, I lived in Austria and the Great War broke out.  My wife and I were captured. I went to a concentration camp while she went to a work camp. I haven’t seen her since.  As I look at this tablecloth today, I'm reminded of the hope that I never lost.  Pastor, that tablecloth above your altar looks just like the one my wife and her mother made the year before the war broke out.  Tell me pastor, does it have the initials, ‘RGB’ in the bottom right-hand corner”?  The pastor was speechless.  Tears began to stream down his face. He grabbed the little old man, helped him into his car and headed toward South Queens.  That evening, the little old man and the little old lady were reunited after being apart for more than three decades. "

The story is a great example of what can happen when you never lose hope in something you believe in.  You can end up impacting other people's lives in ways that you never would have imagined, just like the pastor in the story.

 

Aiding Others  

by Aaron Solly

One weekend my wife, Mandy, and I took a two day course on the basics of first aid and CPR. 

The instructor was a little old fashioned, but we definitely learned a lot.

 

Some of the things we learned about were: 

  • What to do if someone is choking
  • How to help someone who is not breathing
  • How to help someone whose has a heart attack or stroke
  • How to help children and infants
  • What to do about burns, poisons, allergies and certain medical conditions
  • When and when not to call 911
  • When and when not to give first aid to someone
  • The basics on how to handle an emergency situation

This course made us think about the times when first aid would have been good to have.

 

When I worked at The Bay many years ago, I came across a customer who had collapsed

in the entrance of the store.  I immediately called the staff first aid attendants, but I kept thinking that it would have been good to know more about first aid.

 

A few years ago on our way to my parents' cabin, Mandy and I came across a young girl who had been in a car accident.  She went from seeming fine to feeling nauseous, cold and needed to lay down.  We were thinking back about how we instinctively did some of the basic first aid techniques, however the course has given us more to use in the future.

 

The course also made me think of my good friend Fluit and the day his knee popped out at a baseball game.  I remember someone there wanted to pop it back in before the ambulance arrived.

 

At this course we learned that that is a major no-no.  Lucky for Fluit, there was enough of us

there to tell this person not to do it.

 

It made us think about Mandy's nephew and the times that we look after him.  We learned how to resuscitate an infant and small child if they are choking or stop breathing.  Overall, this course reinforced to us that accidents do happen, and will happen when we least expect them.

 

For a small amount of money, we were afforded immeasurable confidence that if we happen to be at the scene of an emergency, we have the basic skills to help anyone in trouble and could even save a life.  These skills have no price.  

 

Traffic Jams Can Get You There Faster

by Aaron Solly

 

I had an experience one Thanksgiving weekend that I wanted to share with you.

 
On the way home from our trip to our cabin, the main highway was backed up to Chilliwack with everyone returning from their weekend adventures. Many drivers were getting impatient and decided to exit off the freeway and take the side roads that run parallel to the freeway. 

These cars traveled about 5 kilometers down the side road before encountering a barrier.  The side road on our right hand side ended up being closed due to a bridge being out.  A huge line of traffic had to turn around and travel back to the previous exit and get back on Highway 1.  The side road on our left hand side, ended up having a car accident resulting in a traffic jam.  The line up looked similar to the line up we were in already.

 
The traffic jam allowed me and my fiancée, Mandy,  to hang out together for an extra hour or two.  We got home later than we wanted, but we viewed the line up as something positive rather than negative.
 
This trip back made me realize that short cuts are not always going to get you there faster.  The long way might be slower, but it is more familiar with fewer surprises.  A short cut can get you there faster, but there is the risk of encountering an unexpected challenge. 
 
At times in our lives, we can be tempted to take a short cut to achieve a goal faster.  I have a goal to learn to play the guitar.  Over the past few years, I have looked for ways to learn how to play the guitar without having to pay for lessons.  I have bought an automatic tuner and a number of books that promised to be quick guides to help me learn "faster".  I have also invested many hours on the internet trying to find ways to learn how to play, such as websites and software.  I have realized that these short cuts probably cost me the same as ten lessons, which would have put me a lot further ahead.  Life really is about learning. :) 
 
I have found that taking the extra time to accomplish something ensures success sooner than later.
 
Something to think about...

What are the benefits of taking the long way to reach your goals?

 

The “I see it everywhere” phenomenon

 by Aaron Solly

 

Have you ever seen something once and then find yourself seeing it everywhere? 

 

A few years ago, I was looking to buy a car.  Once I had it in my mind that I wanted a Honda, I started seeing Honda's everywhere I went.  

 

I figure that the “I see it everywhere” phenomenon can help us achieve our goals as well.

 

The more you focus on your goals, the more clues you will see to show you that you are on the right path to achieve them.  It might be a bumper sticker, it might be an email or maybe someone you know who is also planning their goals at the same time you are.

 

If you want to be a police officer, you might find that you notice police cars more often.  (and it might not be from speeding :)  )

Or if you want to travel to Greece, you might notice travel deals in the  paper or overhear someone talking about their recent trip to Athens.

Perhaps, you are looking for a new job and you start to be more aware of job openings and good companies to work for.

 

It's the weirdest thing.  After watching The Apprentice, I see Trump hair everywhere. :)

 

It is amazing how once you have an idea, your brain will make you aware of things related to that idea.  A good friend of mine mentioned a quote that he had seen before that said "The world is conspiring in your favour."  So keep putting goals in your mind and watch them come true. 

 

 

Exercise...

Pick something to keep on eye out for during the next few weeks that relates to one of your goals such as buying a home, saving for a vacation or going back to school.   

 

Go For the Gold

 by Aaron Solly

 

The Summer Olympics in Athens reminded me of something that I was told when I was in high school. 

 

When I was in Grade 8, our principal used to say at the beginning of our school assemblies - "Go For the Gold".  It was a phrase that didn’t make a lot of sense to me at the time, but today I have a better understanding of its meaning.  

 

I remember at the time that it seemed quite odd.  It was odd to me because our principal never shared what it meant. 

 

I had a lot of questions about its meaning.

  • What is the "Gold"?

  • Does is involve gold panning? 

  • It is a gold medal? 

  • Do we have to be in sports to "Go For the Gold"? 

  • What does it have to do with high school anyway? 

  • Why isn't he telling us a story about what it means? 

 

Looking back, at the time I would have agreed that the message failed one important feature – What does it really mean to a high school student?  One thing that would have added more impact would have been a story about someone that we could relate to that went for the gold such as an athlete, a rock star or maybe a student. 

 

Today, I know that my school principal succeeded with his message.  He knew that we wouldn't necessarily understand what it meant at the time, but I believe he hoped that over time the meaning would become more obvious.  "Going For the Gold" had everything to do with high school students.  He was telling us that we can be the best at whatever we want to be.  He wanted to start sharing this message early to inspire us during our journey throughout high school and beyond. 

 

For me, he truly succeeded because his message impacted me well after high school.  "Go For the Gold" is a message that I have remembered for the past 16 years.  It may have taken me awhile to understand it, but it stayed with me all these years.

 

What does "Go For the Gold" mean to you?

  • A university degree?
  • A vacation?
  • A new career?
  • Volunteering?
  • A good public speaker?
  • A good parent?
  • A good friend?
  • Buying a home?

Here are some "Go for the Gold" stories to inspire you to go for your own gold.

Click on the names below to see their story.

 

 

Rick Hansen

 

 

Michael Jordan

 

 

Michael J. Fox

 

 

Steve Nash

 

Take a Break From Planning Your Goals

by Aaron Solly

 

It’s ok to take break from planning your goals.  Just like a vacation is a great reason to take time off of work to relieve stress.  Have you ever worked on something really for a long period of time and then hit a mental wall finding it hard to continue?  Authors go through periods of writer's block where they have trouble putting their ideas on paper.  Especially, if this is your first time working on your goals, after a few weeks you may feel overwhelmed.  A good strategy to help overcome this is to take a break.

 

Taking a break could mean a day or maybe a month, it’s hard to say.  You might want to say to yourself, I will take a break from planning my goals for three weeks.  After the end of the third week, you can go back to your notes and make changes or any additions.  You might even find that within a week or two, your ideas now seem more organized and you want to work on things some more.    

 

A break allows your mind to organize your thoughts.  Half the time you don’t even know it’s happening because you are busy spending time with friends and family, camping, golfing, reading, watching movies etc.  Taking a break can help you in all aspects of your life.  It amazing how our views about things can change by listening to our brain say “Give me a break!”
 
Exercise...
Take a Break!

 

With the Moves Day

 by Aaron Solly

 

Have you ever experienced a day when everything went right? 

 

I recently saw a PowerAde TV commercial and they showed a basketball player making some unbelievable shots all in a row.  It made me remember a very special day in my past known as "With the Moves Day".

 

My friend Fluit (pronounced Flute) and I, named March 28th, 1992 – “With the Moves Day.”

 

On this day, we could do no wrong on the basketball court in my backyard.   It was a gorgeous sunny day, we were hitting every shot we took.  It was amazing.  We didn’t even have to look at the basket and the ball would go in. 

 

I want to help you experience your own "With the Moves Day." 

 

Looking back on that day, I have realized that “With the Moves Day” was created because we were happy that we didn’t make any mistakes.  The reality is both my friend and I have made many mistakes since that day.  Where we are today is because of challenges we have faced and overcome.  Making mistakes is part of life and they are as natural as eating and breathing.

 

Perfection is truly impossible to strive for.  If we were perfect, we wouldn't have to go to school, we wouldn't have to learn how to drive, we would basically know everything.  Failure is something that we are guaranteed to experience, and through these experiences there is opportunity to learn.

 

Everyday is a "With the Moves Day" because the moves you do today will define where you end up tomorrow.  You don't have to have a perfect day to feel good.  Plus, you are in control of changing your moves if you are not achieving what you want to accomplish.

 

An Exercise...

 

Over the next few weeks, right down all the challenges you face. 

 

When you write one down, write beside it "Way to Go, I learned something today!"

 

The better we recognize how we respond to negative situations, the easier we can take control of our reaction and change the outcome.

 

An Inspiring Moment

 by Aaron Solly

 

I was flipping through the channels one night after the Canucks tied in overtime
against Nashville (They had the win, but it got away from them) and I stopped on a
channel that I don't normally watch, KCTS 9 - PBS.   The last time I watched PBS was
when I was younger when Mr. Rogers, the Electric Company and Reading
Rainbow were on. 
 
On this occasion, a middle aged bald man was speaking to a large audience from
a theatre stage.  At the time I was quite involved with Toastmasters so I was interested in watching others speak in a public setting.  

Within a short period of time, I became not only impressed by his speaking, but also by his message.

 
He quoted Albert Einstein who said - "Imagination is more important than knowledge." 
Repeat that line 3 times to yourself.  It is a powerful statement.
 
The middle aged man also talked about how we are all geniuses in our own special way. 
He stressed the importance that the more we see ourselves as geniuses, the more
we will accomplish in life.  He challenged the audience to start looking at
themselves and the people in their lives as geniuses.  Every person is a genius in
there own unique way.  What geniuses do you know?
 
He also talked about someone who had applied for 300 jobs and still hadn't found 
a job. He told them GREAT!, you have made a huge accomplishment by
applying for 300 jobs.  He said that those who say they can't find a job or that
there isn't any jobs available need to see pass this.  The moment they stop telling
themselves that there are no jobs available and learn from their results, they will
find a job.
 
This man talked about how we never fail, we achieve results.  He used the example
of putting a golf ball on a tee and swinging a golf club to hit the ball.  If you barely hit
the ball and it stumbles off the tee, you didn't fail - you created a result.  What is
important to remember is that it is what you learn from your results.  
 
I have to say I was truly inspired and motivated by this man's talk.  His name is

Dr. Wayne Dyer and he has a book called "The Power of Intention".  He was participating
in one of PBS's campaigns to raise money for the station.  It has made me consider
sending in a donation at some point because not enough TV is inspiring like this
program was.  Also, it has provided me with some new ways to look at things. 
 
I thought you might be interested too.
 
An Exercise...

 

During the next month...

 

1. Notice the number of geniuses that you know.  Remember everyone is a genius

in their on unique way.

 

2. Remind yourself that you can never fail, you can only achieve results. 

You can always change your activities to achieve the results that you want.

 

Vision is More Than Everything 

by Aaron Solly

I have a business background so my perspective is somewhat bias, but hear me out. 

What is one thing that all successful businesses have in common? 

- A mission or vision statement. 

Why? So when challenges arise or they hit a fork in the road, they keep things on track to reflect the long-term vision of the organization.

Questions that businesses need to ask themselves when creating a mission statement are:

  • What business are you in?

  • What market do you want to be in?

  • How are you going to get there?

A mission statement should be clear and concise.  It should be socially meaning, measurable and long-term. 

 

Here some examples of mission statements:

Mary Kay Cosmetics
"To give unlimited opportunity to women."

 Wal-Mart
"To give ordinary folk the chance to buy the same thing as rich people."

Walt Disney
"To make people happy."

Business aside lets take a look at the English meaning of these words:

Mission:

An inner calling to pursue an activity or perform a service; a vocation.

 

Vision:

Unusual competence in discernment or perception; intelligent foresight: a leader of vision.

 

Statement:

The act of stating or declaring.

 

So what is your inner calling?

What do you love to do?  

 

We can look at our own life from a similar perspective. 

 Ask yourself questions such as:

  • Where are you at in your life right now?

  • What do you want to be?

  • How are you going to get there?

If you can sell yourself on the idea of where you are headed, you can do anything.

 

Exercise...

Take some time to write some ideas of what you would like your mission statement to look like.   If you get frustrated, congratulations you are human.  This is not an easy task. 

 

A mission statement is like a rerun of your favorite TV show.  Every time you see it, it makes you feel good.

Here is an example of my mission statement:    

  • I am honest, reliable, friendly, compassionate, and forgiving to myself, my family and others in my life. 

  • I  strive to reach my goals each and every day.

  • I am healthy and active.

  • I  give back to the community.

 

Give it a try and see what you come up with.  Keep in mind that it may look differently over time after you make adjustments to it.  Eventually, you will have a clear statement or group of statements that reflect your own vision.

 

Bye Bye Fears – Hello Dreams

by Aaron Solly

 

My brother Bryan gave me a book on leadership for Christmas in 2003.  One of the sections is titled “Facing Your Fears”.  I wanted to share a portion of this with you.

 

“One of the great leaders of our time came from a ‘dysfunctional family.’  His mother died when he was young.  He grew up in poverty and had to drop out of school, but taught himself to read and loved books all his life.  He tried to make money hauling cargo on a Mississippi floatboat, but was unsuccessful.  He ran for the state legislature, but lost the election.  He opened a general store with a friend, but his partner was an alcoholic, who then died, leaving him so deeply in debt that he had to close the store and auction off all his possessions.  This man was finally elected to the US state legislature, but his personal life was filled with heartbreak.  His friend Ann – some say was his one true love –died at age twenty-two.  He courted the sister of a friend for over a year until she rejected him.  After a troubled courtship, he finally married, but his wife was subject to temper tantrums, crying fits and episodes of mental illness.  His little boy Eddie died.  He himself was plagued by recurrent bouts of depression; some say he was manic-depressive.  Yet he rose above his troubles, determined to develop his talents and serve his country.  He educated himself and studied law, ran for Congress, lost, was elected, and then was voted out of office.  He ran for the Senate, but was defeated twice in a row.  Elected president of the United States in 1860.  Abraham Lincoln was strengthened by adversity, educated by years of disappointments.”

 

*Book Title- ”The Tao of Personal Leadership” – Diane Dreher

 

I share this with you to demonstrate that no matter what challenges you have or fears you face, it is possible to carry on and live your dreams.   

Run Run Everybody Run...5..4..3..2..1...Let's Run!

 
Over the past few weeks, I have been learning how to run at a local running clinic.  Sound funny?  At first we thought so.  After a couple of weeks, we realized that there is more to running than just going out for a run.  Some things that can impact your ability to be able to run on an ongoing basis are your posture, your shoes, your eating habits, walk breaks and stretching.  One day a week we run with the running club and then our homework is to run two more times in the week.  Each week we run a little more than the previous week.  The ultimate goal is to run 5 kilometers at a St. Patrick's Day run in Burnaby.  
 
I wanted to share with you the progression of running at the clinic because it is a perfect example on how a series of little steps can result in reaching a big goal. 
 
Here is how the program works:
 
 
10 Week Beginner's Running Program

Week #
Run - Walk Ratio (20 Minute Total)
Total Run Time
1 Run 1 minute, walk 2 minutes - do 6 sets, followed by running 1 minute

 7 min
2 Run 1 minute, walk 1 minute - do 10 sets 10 min

3 Run 2 minutes, walk 1 minute - do 6 sets, followed by running 2 minutes

14 min
4 Run 3 minutes, walk 1 minute - do 5 sets 15 min

5 Run 4 minutes, walk 1 minute - do 4 sets 16 min

6 Run 5 minutes, walk 1 minute - do 3 sets, followed by running 2 minutes

17 min
7 Run 6 minutes, walk 1 minute - do 3 sets 18 min

8 Run 8 minutes, walk 1 minute - do 2 sets, followed by running 2 minutes

18 min
9 Run 10 minutes, walk 1 minute - do 2 sets 20 min

10 Run 20 minutes  20 min
 

Each week the goal is to run the same Run-Walk ratio three different days in the week.  For example, in week three we ran 2 minutes and walked 1 minute.  We did this ratio six times in a row and then ran an additional 2 minutes for a total of 14 minutes of running.  We then did this same Run-Walk ratio on two other days of the week for a total of 42 minutes of running for the week.  The 5 kilometer run seems a little unreachable at the beginning, however, we were surprised to find out that in week 7, we ran close to 3 kilometers.  We are over half way there!

 
This same structure could be used for goals that you may have.  If you wanted to exercise more, you could start by working out 10 min three times a week and increase gradually until you are exercising for 45-60 minutes.  If you wanted to play the guitar, you could use this structure to go from being a beginner to being an intermediate player. 
 
What do you want to accomplish in the next 10 weeks?


 

Da Plan is Good!

by Aaron Solly

Let’s take a look at planning…

The most important thing to consider when having goals is a plan.  Having a plan increases your chance of achieving your goals.  If you are just starting a plan, it is a good idea to keep things simple.  Start with short-term goals and work your way up to long term ones.  Remember these are your goals so you can define what constitutes a short-term goal and what defines a long-term goal. 

An idea could be to take a long-term goal such as buying a house in five years and splice it into attainable short-term goals.   You may want to start out by saving $25, $50 or $100/month for your purchase.  That can add up in five years!  Next you may want to talk to existing homeowners to learn about tips and tricks when buying.

Now you can break your goals that you wrote down from the What are Goals Anyway? article:

The goals you would like to be accomplished within the next 1-2 years. 

The goals you would like to be completed in 3-5 years.

The goals you would like to be achieved in 6-10 years. 

Now that you know when you would like to achieve these goals, you can now break them down into smaller goals that can be accomplished on either a daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly or annual basis.  When you break things down into small attainable chunks it makes big goals look not so big anymore.

Another idea is to look at things over a 90-day period as opposed to 30 days.  A month can fly by before you know it.  If you plan for accomplishing things within 90 days, it can alleviate some pressure and allow you to accomplish more.

Remember that these are goals that you “would like” to accomplish.  If you tell yourself you “need” to achieve these goals, the pressure can end up being too much to take. If you are not able to achieve a goal within your plan always look at the things you did accomplish.   

For example, if you planned on going to the gym 3 times a week and this week you went once.  Good job you went to the gym this week!  Next week try 2 times and see if a third time is possible.  Just thinking about accomplishing a goal is a great start.  

If you find that you are getting quite annoyed with yourself because your goals are not getting accomplished, ask yourself this – “Do I continually get angry or annoyed like this with a friend, relative or colleague?”.  Treat yourself just like you would treat a friend or relative. 

Another thing to recognize is that your goals may change as your life changes.  As you get older, some goals become not as important and new goals become more important.  Reviewing your overall goals once a month or once a quarter can help in tweaking things if there are changes.

An Exercise…

Keep working on your list of goals and start breaking them done into small attainable goals. 

 What are Goals Anyway? 
by Aaron Solly

Goal: The purpose toward which an endeavor is directed; an objective

Goals are applicable to our careers and our personal lives.  Have you ever been told by someone that you need to have some solid goals?  It may have come from your parents, your teachers or maybe a manager at work.  Has anyone ever offered to explain to you what goals really are? 

I remember my junior high school principal saying at the beginning of our school assemblies, “Go for the Gold!”  Looking back now, this made sense to students in sports or other activities like band, but what about the majority of students that may have not been able to relate to achieving a gold medal?  My principal had a great idea.  He was trying to help us all achieve our goals and dreams.  The problem was we were given the desired result without a map on how to get there.  When you go on a trip to somewhere new, you tend use a map (or you are told to use one J) to know where you are going.  If you want to reach your goals, a map is great tool to reach your destination.

Goals come in all shapes and sizes.  Some goals get us through the day like getting out of bed or eating healthy.  These are habits, which happen on their own because they have become part of our lives.  Others may be based on dreams that we want to accomplish in the future such as owning your own business, paying off debt, buying a house or traveling the world.  These goals may need to be reviewed from time to time.  This reviewing will help you allow goal planning to become one of your habits.

Everyone has different goals and different expectations on when to achieve them.  No matter how simple your goals may seem they are your goals and you get to accomplish them. 

Examples of goals:  

Paying off debts

Quitting Smoking

Getting up earlier

Keeping in touch with family and friends

Being on time

Exercising 3 times a week

Earning $100,000/yr

Losing 10 pounds

Bringing a lunch to work

Meeting new people

Going to school

Helping the needy

Traveling

Having kids

Getting a promotion

Getting married

Opening your own business

Buying a house

Going on a date

 

 

An Exercise…

What do your goals look like?  

 

Make a wish list of goals that you want to achieve in the next few years.   

 

How to Record Your Goals

by Aaron Solly

What is the best way to record goals? That is a difficult question to answer because not everyone is the same when it comes to retaining information.  Some of us can keep a visual picture in our head and not have to write ideas on paper.  While others prefer to keep a list and refer back to it from time to time.  Writing your goals down on paper or using your computer can be quite effective because it forces you to take some action in thinking about your goals.  You could use a spreadsheet to track current, completed and future goals.  Another method is to record yourself on tape.  Hearing yourself saying your goals out loud can also be a powerful way to bring life to them.  Try a few different ways and see what works best for you.

Recording your goals is a great way to put your goals in motion.  Especially when you are first recording your goals, it is important to not be hung up on whether a goal is realistic or not.  Record it anyway.  Brainstorming is a great way to put all your ideas on the table. You have the power to decide whether that goal is something to achieve or something to review later.  No matter how unrealistic the goal may seem, if you have a passion to achieve it, record it and see what happens.  Once your goals are recorded, you can review them on the day your have selected as Goal Day!  

An Exercise…

Get a pen and some paper.  Spend an hour or two and put all your goals on paper.  Be sure to write anything and everything that you dream about achieving in your life.  

 

If you want to be a pro wrestler or a reality TV host, write it down.  Your list of goals from a previous exercise may grow from doing this exercise.  

 

Once you have worked on a good long brainstorming list, you can now start to separate your goals into short, mid and long term goals.  You may want to divide them into personal and career goals as well.  Way to go, you have successfully recorded your future.  It may not be possible to predict the future, but a plan can sure help you get to where you want to be.

 

Bad Days Don’t Have to Exist  

by Aaron Solly

We have all experienced days where things don't go according to plan. 

A bad day could involve a driver yelling at you for cutting them off. Your boss’s bad mood could come across as a personal vendetta towards you.  An injury may seem like the end of your sport playing days.

These “bad days” can have a huge impact on whether or not we continue to be positive and believe in our abilities.  We can end up thinking about an incident that happened weeks ago. Ultimately, we can be affected to the point of losing interest in pursuing our goals.  However, it is our own attitude that will allow us to be realistic about a situation and keep our goal planning on track.

To help put things into perspective you could ask yourself some important questions about the bad experience or bad day.

What are the long-term implications of this event?

 Is it realistic to believe that things will always happen smoothly?

What are the positive things that happened on my so-called “bad day”?

If you recognize that uncontrollable events will arise while pursuing your goals, you will be more prepared to overcome challenges and continue on your way.

An Exercise…  

The next time you feel that you have had a “bad day”, ask yourself the questions above.  Write you answers on paper and review them.  You can work on looking at the positive aspects of the situation and see if they out weigh the negative.  Remember that challenges are a part of life and they can actually help you get to where you want to be.

 

Balancing Goals

by Aaron Solly

So what do you really want?

An Exercise…

 

1. Make a list of 20 material possessions that you have been dreaming to have.

2. Make a list of 20 things that you want people to remember you by.

3. Compare the lists.  Which list was easiest to do?

 

You may have found that the first list was quite easy to complete.

If so, ask yourself why this was the case.

 

Did you find the second list more difficult?  If so, why would it be so difficult to list attributes about someone you know really well?

 

The great thing about our goals is that we get to decide what they are, however is important to be aware of balance.  If your goals are heavily focused on your career, you may find challenges with your health.  If you goals are focused on giving to others, you may miss out on things that you personally want to achieve.  

 

To help balance your goals, you could separate them into categories such as: 

  • Personal

  • Family

  • Career

  • Health

  • Spiritual

  • Community

 

Reflect on the Positive Stories in Your Life 

by Aaron Solly

How many times have you said, “I should of done this instead of that” or “I would have done that, but this happened”?  Most of us have all have been there and done it.  What does reflecting on a past mistake or misjudgment really accomplish?  Failing is normal, it is how we learn.  I know we are told this time and time again.  Maybe the reason is because it is true.  Just think how it would be if we didn’t make mistakes.  You could pass every test without trying. You could drive a car when you were two.  You could be a Canadian Idol without the tryouts.  How fulfilling would life be if it were like this?  Mistakes allow us to grow as individuals and allow us to experience the realities of life.  

One of the biggest challenges we face is when those around us make negative comments when we make a mistake.  Has this ever happened to you?  There is nothing worse than having someone witness your mistake and then tell you all about it.  A lot of us get to experience this in high school.  This time in our lives could be seen by some as one of the most difficult.  They are probably quite right, however, the challenges we faced in high school or any other time period helped us define how we want to live our life.  Also, there is probably a whole bunch of positive stories from our past that we might have forgotten about if we were focusing on the mistakes.

An Exercise…

A great exercise is to take a period of your life - high school, college, summer holidays, Christmas, birthdays etc. and write down all the positive stories that you have from that period.  You will know that they were good times because you may start to smile as your remember or your heart rate may increase from excitement. You might find that you will almost start to relive that time period as you try to remember what happened then.  The exercise may take a day, it may take a week, a month or maybe six months.  Take as long as you need.  You can then pick another time period of your life and repeat the same exercise.  Pretty soon, you will a pile of stories from the time you were a kid to where you are now.  These stories made you who you are today.  The next time you make a mistake remember these stories and then try to turn that mistake into a positive memory.  

 

 

Bonus Exercise...

Another great exercise is to pick a day and write down all your positive and negative thoughts throughout the day.  Try this for a whole week and write down every positive and negative thought that enters your mind.  Now you can have raw footage of what is going through your head.  Ask yourself the question, are these negative thoughts realistic?  You may find that you had ten positive things happen and only one negative thing that in your opinion ruined the whole day.  How important is that negative moment to your overall dreams and goals?  How good did it feel to review all the good things that happened to you that day?  I bet it felt amazing!

 

Share Your Goals

by Aaron Solly

A great way to make your goals come true is to talk about them with others.  This may be tough to do.  Our goals can be quite personal and not something we want to share.  This is normal. You may feel that if you say your goals out loud, it will jinx them and they will not come true.  

One thing I know for a fact is that dreams do not happen unless action takes place.  Dreams, goals, passions can be talked about forever, but can only happen if put into motion.  Dreams can sometimes seem unattainable, but if you translate that dream into those small attainable goals – anything is possible.

The best thing to do is share your goals with others that are interested in sharing theirs.  People that are passionate about achieving their own goals are a huge asset to be around to reach your own.  Be aware that when you share your goals others may not react as excited as you are.  Remember that everyone has their own unique goals and not everyone is striving to achieve the same thing.

An Exercise...

A great exercise might be to start off with your friends, family or maybe a small group from work.  Have everyone choose one thing that they want to accomplish over the next 90 days.  It might be to go to the gym, join a course, learn a language, or get a job.  

Setup a goal day meeting that is consistent over the 90 days( once a week, bi-weekly, or monthly).  When you meet, you talk about what you did to try to reach your goal.  What worked? What didn’t work?  

By sharing, you may find that everyone is experiencing similar challenges in achieving their goals.  Perhaps something came up or things got busy.  We all share the same routine of having to sleep to be able to function (some more than others :) ).  

If you continually talk about your goals whether with yourself or others, it has a greater chance of becoming a routine.  Once it is a routine, you are on track to achieving it.  Way to go!

 

Setting Goals is a Waste of Time, Not!

by Aaron Solly

We all have routines in our lives  - getting up for work or school, TV shows we love to watch, driving the same route to work each day, eating the same foods, going to bed at a certain time, regular weekend tasks etc. 

  • So why do these things become a routine so easily? 

  • How many different routines do you complete in a given day? 

  • How many of these routines just happen without you realizing it? 

Does this sound familiar? Early in the morning the alarm clock goes off and you hit snooze.  Then 9 minutes later, you hit snooze again.  Finally, after a few dozens snoozes you manage to get out of bed.  You have a shower, eat breakfast, brush your teeth and maybe make coffee.  These are little things that a lot of us have been doing all of our lives. 

So are these little things a waste of our time?  What would happen if we didn’t do them?  In the short term, the effects may not be as noticeable, however if you didn’t brush your teeth over the long term, you might find dentures are needed much sooner than you had planned. 

  • Think about the routines or habits in your life that you do on a regular basis. 

  • Can these routines help you to reach your goals? 

  • Are there routines you can adopt that will help you along the way?

The hardest part of any new routine, is getting started - just like the Canadian Tire ad says, "I start with you".  Yes, your big goals in life at times may seem impossible to achieve.  Start by doing one thing a day and over the next few weeks, watch what happens.  Next, increase to five daily things that bring you closer to reaching those goals you wrote out from an earlier  

I can't help but laugh when I hear people tell me that their plan is to win the lottery and retire young.  That’s a great goal, but in order to win the big lottery you will need to actually start buying lottery tickets.  You can talk about it all day, but in the end if you haven’t made the effort to buy the ticket you are no closer to winning.  Furthermore, what about the unlikelihood of actually winning?  There is a higher probability of someone retiring young from opening a successful business then winning that jackpot. 

If you are having trouble setting goals and maintaining a path to achieve them, you have options.  You can reassess the reality of achieving that goal. Your expectations might be set too high.  Can it be reworked into smaller steps?  Another great thing you can do is ask for help.  Mom always said to ask for help whenever it is needed. 

Look at the people in your life that are seeking their dreams.  What would be the worst thing that would happen if you asked them for help? 

To quote Winston Churchill, "Never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, give up. Never give up. Never give up. Never give up."