Archive for the ‘Creating Breakthrough’ Category

Adventure

August 26, 2010

I have been blessed by a life full of adventure.  But what exactly is an adventure?

Dictinary.com says….

1. an exciting or very unusual experience.
2. participation in exciting undertakings or enterprises: the spirit of adventure.
3. a bold, usually risky undertaking; hazardous action of uncertain outcome.
When I think of adventure, the key elements that come to mind are:
1) the outcome is unknown, and cannot be fully controlled.
2) my limits will be tested, and therefore I will better know what my real limits are and what are perceived limits.
3) I will get to know myself better.  mentally.  physically.  emotionally.
4) I will discover and know my true power and experience deep “aliveness.”
At this moment I am at the airport, about to depart on an Adventure.  A 6-day, 560 mile (20,000′ of elevation gain) bike ride across the Rocky Mountains (Missoula, MT to Lander, WY).  One of my buddies just arrived and I can just feel his aliveness and excitement.  He is almost glowing.  He was telling me a story about getting ready for our journey when he paused and said, “there was this moment where I just had to let go.  And then everything was fine.”
There you have it.  Wish us luck.
Do you have enough adventure in your life?  What would you have to risk or give up to step into something that scares and excites you?  What might you gain?
<<click on link below to download a map of our ride>>
Tour de Rockies map
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Adjusting Expectations

July 23, 2010

This was to be my summer.  I had spent several years meticulously re-habbing several nagging injuries.  I had gained strength and set ambitious goals for climbing, biking and mountaineering.  Then one little moment changed that.  I was on a climb in Squamish when I pulled and twisted in an awkward movement.  At that moment my summer, and my plans, were changed.

The injury isn’t severe, but enough so that I was in bed for a week and now slowly nursing myself back to health.  At first I was really bummed.  What about all my goals?  I had worked so hard…blah, blah, blah.  I was feeling pretty sorry for myself and rather depressed.  Then it hit me.  The source of my suffering lay in my expectations.  If I had different expectations then I would have a different experience.

So, I have adjusted my expectations.  I have set more modest goals and I am choosing to see this as an opportunity to become more at home in my body, to learn to listen to the signs/symptoms of what it is telling me.  I am still disappointed by what I won’t be doing this summer, but the sting of those disappointments is greatly reduced.  And I am welcoming the opportunity to achieve some of my other goals…like learning to slow down and enjoy relaxing in the hammock and reading a good book!

This reminds me of a quote that I have on my wall….

This is the way to your inner most home:

Close your eyes

And surrender.

~ Jalalludin Rumi

Questions: What expectations (explicit or implicit) do you have that are creating suffering for you?  What/who is the source of those expectations?  Are those expectations serving you?  What do they produce?

Laughing While Falling

March 4, 2010

I just returned from my annual ski trip with some buddies.  We had a few days of skiing in beautiful Telluride, CO.

the boyz in Telluride

My objectives when skiing are generally to: Have fun and enjoy my friends.

When I take a closer look, however, I see that I am also trying to:

1) Look good, and…

2) Avoid falling down

When I do fall I tend to get frustrated.  I try to analyze what I did wrong, I make excuses to myself, or think “I should ski something easier so I don’t fall.”

JK having fun, falling or not!

This changed, at one point during our trip, when I took a minute to watch my friend and colleague Johnny K as he skis.  I noticed something really strange.  HE LAUGHS WHILE HE FALLS DOWN!  He is actually having fun in the midst of crashing!  Check him out in this picture…he hasn’t even finished crashing and he is looking up and laughing!  And then it struck me — this is consistent with how he lives his life.

Seeing him laugh while crashing — he really goes for it when he skis — opened up a whole new possibility for me.  First, I saw that if I wasn’t falling I wasn’t going for it.  Second, I saw that in trying to look good and not fall I was undermining my ability to ski at my best — trying NOT to do something makes me tense, tight and fearful.  Most importantly, skiing this way is less fun.

So, in the spirit of a good Johnny K head-over-heels crash, I ask you:

1) where are you taking yourself too seriously?

2) where are you trying to look good or not fail, at the expense of achieving your dreams, goals and aspirations?

3) what could you gain if you brought a focus of fun, laughter and learning to what you are doing?

Have fun…and go for it!

John M finally having fun in the midst of a wipeout.

Client Profile: Ginny Hutchinson/Better Because

February 12, 2010

In June 2008 we took a magical trek to the Himalaya in India in the form of a Leadership Journey to India.  This unique adventure is an integration of our leadership journey curriculum embedded in a 10 day trek to the base of Nanda Devi — the highest mountain in India (to see a video/slideshow of our journey visit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jjktxnz3rbA)

As a result of the journey, one of our participants (Ginny Hutchinson, on far left) decided to begin a transition from successful Chief Marketing Officer to starting a positive media company.  Within one year of her return from India she has started a company, published a book, and filmed the Dali Lama.  She is off and running!

Ginny has been an inspiration to me and many others with her enthusiasm and her positive attitude, not to mention her courage to leave the safety of the known and to plunge into her dream with fearless energy.

Her vision with Better Because is two-fold: Spreading joy to make the world a better place; Helping educate children in need throughout the world.

I want to salute Ginny and her business partner Cathy Haffner on their accomplishments, and to point you toward their book “Better Because of You.”  Many people find it to be an energizing read, a great gift, and good way to get grounded in a positive attitude.  Below Ginny says a little more about her book and how to find it.

Bravo Ginny and Cathy!


Better Because of You shares true-to-life stories, thought-provoking quotations, and life strategies that can help readers do small things each day to make a big difference in their lives.  This fun book is essential reading for anyone looking for simple insights on leading a happier life – and it makes a special gift for special people you value.

Available at: Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/Better-Because-You-Cathy-Haffner/dp/0982519109/), Nordstrom Gift Department, University Book Store, or local book store everywhere …just ask.

Check it out:    www.BetterBecause.com <http://www.betterbecause.com/>

If you want to contact Ginny you can reach her at ginny@ginnyhutchinson.com or 206.696.3243.

Surrender to Destiny

February 11, 2010

Have you read the inspiring true story of Greg Mortenson’s journey from dirtbag mountaineer to builder of schools in remote parts of Pakistan and Afghanistan? If you haven’t, I recommend that you give his books a read (first “Three Cups of Tea,” then read “Stones Into Schools”).

From my perspective, his story is one of being in the flow of his life, of paying attention to what emerges, and of following his heart and his instincts when opportunities presented themselves. Mind you, these “opportunities” came in form of unplanned, unwanted, and uncomfortable events.  Yet he surrenders, again and again, to what feels right, to the next thing he sees to do.  He often doesn’t know exactly where he is going, he just knows the next step.

It would be easy to say he simply let’s his destiny unfold, but I think it is more accurate to say he keeps being a fierce stand for the possibilities that his destiny has presented to him.  This process takes courage — as in the courage to know who we really are.  It takes conviction — as in being unstoppable in the face of circumstances.  It requires us to look beyond our own comfort and desires — as in true impact and deep fulfillment always come when serving others rather than our own personal preferences.

What is your destiny?  Why are you here?  What is the contribution you see that you are here to make?  How is that aligned with what you find most fulfilling?  If you surrender to the gifts you have, and the callings you feel, where will that lead you?  Are you willing to let go enough to allow this path to unfold?

Declaration in Action

November 2, 2009

Arriving at the rock climbing gym a few days ago I found myself wondering what role fear would play in my climbing on this night.  Fear is a relevant and necessary part of climbing for all climbers.  At times it takes center stage and limits my ability to climb at my best.  Other times I am able to center myself such that the fear is simply in the background helping me stay alert to risks, neither limiting my abilities nor my enjoyment of the experience.

As I walked into the gym on this particular evening a crystal clear thought popped into my head.  “Tonight, I will climb without fear.”  This simple commitment set the stage for my evening of climbing.  At the beginning of each climb I repeated this mantra in my mind.

From this commitment I noticed that I moved more gracefully, breathed more freely, and remained relaxed in the midst of the efforting.

At one particular junction I was faced with a move that felt a little dicey.  A fall from here would be a bit scary and the holds felt tentative and difficult.  Typically at a spot like this my attention would go to my fear (“this hold doesn’t feel too good…a fall from here could be bad…I could just stop and rest on the rope…”).  Instead, the commitment “I will climb without fear” rang in my mind and I returned my attention to making the move.  Absent the hesitation and “monkey mind” that happen when I focus on my fears I moved decisively upward, easily making the move.

After I lowered off the climb both my climbing partner and I noticed that I had climbed with unusual grace and power.  The big grin on my face said it.

A simple declaration.  A powerful result.

Question: What simple declaration will call forth your best self and focus your attention on what you are committed to?  This could be a larger commitment like “I am a commitment to being an extraordinary leader.”  It could be very concrete: “I am a commitment to doubling my gross income.”  Or it could be something simple like “I am a commitment to having fun and laughing today.”

Banks Lake DWS

Deep water soloing (climbing over water), Banks Lake, WA.

Less BRAKING, more TRUSTING

August 5, 2009

The Tour De France, the most grueling event in sports (2241 miles ridden over 3 weeks), completed last week with an exciting finish in Paris.  The British sprinter Mark Cavendish had won some sprint stages but had never won the final sprint into Paris.  He wanted it BAD!  As they riders approached the last corner before the final straightaway Cavendish was in a virtual tie with the other top sprinters.  Coming out of that turn, however, he launched into the lead and ended up winning by 20 yards — in a race where the victor usually wins by inches.

How did he do this?

Looking at the video it becomes clear.  Cavendish did not touch his brakes as he rounded that final corner while his competitors lightly touched their brakes to maintain a feeling of safety and to hedge their bets against crashing.  This reflects a commitment to win and a willingness to live with potentially negative consequences.  By not braking he ran a higher risk of crashing and losing, not to mention possible injury.

After watching this race I went mountain biking.  As I was riding, I noticed how often I was touching my brakes as I went into corners.  Occasionally this was a necessary check on my speed, but often this was merely a way to FEEL more comfortable.  So I began to experiment.  To my amazement I found that on about 75% of the corners I was braking unnecessarily.  Better yet, this resulted in greater speed, fluidity and JOY in the experience of riding!  Paradoxically, this did not make me more scared, it made me less scared.  Why?  Because less of my focus went into focusing on my fears.  Thoughts like: “oh boy, be careful here, you might be going to fast, look out for that obstacle…”  Instead, I placed my attention on trusting my body’s ability to set up for each corner with the appropriate speed.  As a general rule, we have more wisdom, knowledge, and capacity in our body than we tend to trust.

Questions: Where do you see that you are riding the brakes in your life?  Where are you playing it safe rather than playing to win?  What result do you stand for with such conviction that you would be willing to go for it rather than hedge your bets?  What would you be doing if you believed that you couldn’t fail and/or were willing to live with a few bruises?

I AM a blogger…now

July 27, 2009

I have been thinking about blogging for awhile now.  I kept thinking, “I would like to write a blog.”  And, “I should really write a blog.”  And then there was “I’m really going to try and blog.”

But the fact is, I had never written a real blog, so it was just an idea.  It wasn’t who I AM.  The words in my head were a combination of “wish-ing” and “should-ing.”

While trying to get myself to write today, I had an epiphany.  My story of who I AM in this world includes “not a blogger.”  And that story creates my reality.  And I can change that.

Then I remembered why I want to blog.  To be known, to share who I am and what I am up to.  To inspire, to listen, to learn, to move and be moved.  That sounds fun.  Less like work…more like play.

So, now I AM a blogger.  Expect to hear from me.  From the heart.  Sharing what I’m learning and experiencing.

My Question: Who are YOU?  What is your story about who you are and who you aren’t?  Is that story serving you?  If not, what story would you write about yourself?  If you “want to run more” consider changing your story from “I am someone who struggles to stay in shape” to “I AM a runner.”