Open post
Today (Monday) I put all my work away and walked into the woods to get away from all the busyness and noise and really reflect on life for a change. What a good way to start your week. Over the past few years I’ve enjoyed the privilege of reading snippets of wisdom that my friends and colleagues have shared as they celebrate their birthdays and for once I want to do the same. It’s been one hell of a year! I’ve lived a lot and learned a lot and maybe, just maybe, some of my nuggets will prove beneficial to you. Here it goes: Life is meant to be shared. I’ve learned this one from so many angles this year it isn’t even funny. When I think about all my fondest memories, they involve others. Sure, I’ve enjoyed some pretty incredible stuff by my onesie but those memories don’t tend to stick out as much. Nowhere has this been truer in my life than in training for triathlon (and all the other endurance stuff I do). I’ve struggled more this year than ever with motivation and desire to train and it mostly boils down to training solo so much of the time (weird schedule over here). Community matters so much! There is a lot of joy to be found in time spent with others and I am trying to get back to that place in sport as well as in all other aspects of life. That being said, I encourage you to call some folks. Setup a workout together. Plan a dinner party. Do something. Be intentional - it’s pretty awesome. Play. Have Fun. Why so serious? I feel like it is so easy to get caught up in the fast flowing river of adulthood and forget that inside all of us is still a child at heart. This is the other piece I’ve struggled with this year - when training begins to feel like work instead of play (or stress relief) it turns into a grind. Do that for too long and it can really wear on you. Finding ways to play in all aspects of life is so crucial to living a full life and staying young. What has that looked like for me? Workouts without structure, long hikes, boat rides and playing games with friends. It’s not about the money. I mean it kind of is - you do need to survive, but ultimately pursuing money for the sake of money is the wrong way to go about life. Real and true meaning is found elsewhere. My sister-in-law once gave me some really great advice: “Pursue excellence in what you love and the money will come eventually.” Simple truth. Stated another way by my boy Macklemore: “Make the money, don’t let the money make you. Change the game, don’t let the game change you.” Everything changed for me when I stopped focusing so much on the numbers and just focused on being a better coach and loving what I do more and more every day. I get to change lives with what I do, I mean how awesome is that!? Saying “no” is okay and necessary. I already wrote on this one a bit in a separate blog post, but there is a lot of power in knowing your “why” and sticking to that vision. It’s the thing that excites you - that gets you out of bed in the morning. In a world full of options and distractions it is easier than ever to lose sight of your vision and say yes to too many “good things” that distract your from the great that you really should be chasing after. Tying back into the point above (because everything is a little bit connected) - saying no allows you to be intentional with the things and the people that really matter. Sometimes you just gotta say “yes” and see where things lead. This one might feel a little contradictory and well…tough cookies. It is my birthday after all ;) I operate pretty intuitively most of the time and there are times when you just have to listen to your gut and say yes. This year has been full of some of the best unexpected surprises from saying yes at the right time and leaning into it. There is a BIG difference between knowing something and (truly) believing it. I’ve seen this in my life and in others. It’s funny how much of a disconnect can exist between what you say, how you think and, ultimately, how you act. Often, if you stop for long enough to reflect on the actions you take versus the way to think and speak, you will be surprised to find that there are some underlying beliefs you have accepted without realizing it. These deep beliefs can really hold you back if you don’t take the time to dive in deep with them. To that end: Aim big. This is one I’ve just dug in on more recently. There is that old saying that “if you want something done right, do it yourself.” Well let me tell you something, you are one heck of a big bottleneck and if your dreams stop at you and your abilities, they’re way too small. It takes guts, a little bit of faith and a whole lot of trust in others to dream big and do big. I’m not there yet (at all) but awareness is the beginning of change. It’s okay to be scared. Without fear there wouldn’t be opportunities to be courageous…never beat yourself up for feeling scared. You’re human. If you don’t feel fear there is something wrong with you (seriously). Use it. Reframe it. Be brave. You are far more courageous than you know. What perhaps worries me more than fear itself is fear that we have but are unaware of. In a world where being busy and productive are so rewarded it is far too easy to lose touch with the small voices buried underneath the noise. The more silent fears, the hidden scripts that form the foundation of belief that we act from. Sometimes these more subtle fears (like the fear of failure, of no one wanting to hear what you have to say, etc.) are just beneath the surface but we are too busy to actually feel them and instead do everything we can to numb them away. Normal is lame. Be weird. Seriously. In a world that wants you to be vanilla, be different. Life is so short and you shouldn’t spend a second of it being anyone other than the awesomely unique person that you are, flaws and all. It takes a little courage, but dare to be authentic. Have a little whimsy. Mix in some moxy. It’s freeing and it empowers others to do the same. The world doesn’t need more vanilla, it needs more incredible, authentic, weird people doing great things. There’s some seriously dark stuff in the world. Be a light. Seriously. Take a deep breath and realize we all have our baggage. Meet the world with love and a smile. It goes a long way. Some day you may be the one struggling and a stranger’s smile may change your day. That’s it for now. There are more but these are the best. What about you? What are you learning? Leave a comment! We are all better when we learn together and sharpen each other.

Lessons from my 28th

Today (Monday) I put all my work away and walked into the woods to get away from all the busyness and noise and really reflect on life for a change. What a good way to start your week. Over the past few years I’ve enjoyed the privilege of reading snippets of wisdom that my friends and colleagues have shared as they celebrate their birthdays and for once I want to do the same. It’s been one hell of a year! I’ve lived a lot and learned a lot and maybe, just maybe, some of my nuggets will prove beneficial to you.Here it goes:

Life is meant to be shared.

I’ve learned this one from so many angles this year it isn’t even funny. When I think about all my fondest memories, they involve others. Sure, I’ve enjoyed some pretty incredible stuff by my onesie but those memories don’t tend to stick out as much.

Nowhere has this been truer in my life than in training for triathlon (and all the other endurance stuff I do). I’ve struggled more this year than ever with motivation and desire to train and it mostly boils down to training solo so much of the time (weird schedule over here). Community matters so much! There is a lot of joy to be found in time spent with others and I am trying to get back to that place in sport as well as in all other aspects of life.

That being said, I encourage you to call some folks. Setup a workout together. Plan a dinner party. Do something. Be intentional – it’s pretty awesome.

Play. Have Fun.

Why so serious? I feel like it is so easy to get caught up in the fast flowing river of adulthood and forget that inside all of us is still a child at heart. This is the other piece I’ve struggled with this year – when training begins to feel like work instead of play (or stress relief) it turns into a grind. Do that for too long and it can really wear on you. Finding ways to play in all aspects of life is so crucial to living a full life and staying young.

What has that looked like for me? Workouts without structure, long hikes, boat rides and playing games with friends.

It’s not about the money.

I mean it kind of is – you do need to survive, but ultimately pursuing money for the sake of money is the wrong way to go about life. Real and true meaning is found elsewhere. My sister-in-law once gave me some really great advice:

“Pursue excellence in what you love and the money will come eventually.”

Simple truth.

Stated another way by my boy Macklemore: “Make the money, don’t let the money make you. Change the game, don’t let the game change you.”

Everything changed for me when I stopped focusing so much on the numbers and just focused on being a better coach and loving what I do more and more every day. I get to change lives with what I do, I mean how awesome is that!?

Saying “no” is okay and necessary.

I already wrote on this one a bit in a separate blog post, but there is a lot of power in knowing your “why” and sticking to that vision. It’s the thing that excites you – that gets you out of bed in the morning. In a world full of options and distractions it is easier than ever to lose sight of your vision and say yes to too many “good things” that distract your from the great that you really should be chasing after.

Tying back into the point above (because everything is a little bit connected) – saying no allows you to be intentional with the things and the people that really matter.

Sometimes you just gotta say “yes” and see where things lead.

This one might feel a little contradictory and well…tough cookies. It is my birthday after all 😉 I operate pretty intuitively most of the time and there are times when you just have to listen to your gut and say yes. This year has been full of some of the best unexpected surprises from saying yes at the right time and leaning into it.

There is a BIG difference between knowing something and (truly) believing it.

I’ve seen this in my life and in others. It’s funny how much of a disconnect can exist between what you say, how you think and, ultimately, how you act. Often, if you stop for long enough to reflect on the actions you take versus the way to think and speak, you will be surprised to find that there are some underlying beliefs you have accepted without realizing it. These deep beliefs can really hold you back if you don’t take the time to dive in deep with them. To that end:

Aim big.

This is one I’ve just dug in on more recently. There is that old saying that “if you want something done right, do it yourself.” Well let me tell you something, you are one heck of a big bottleneck and if your dreams stop at you and your abilities, they’re way too small. It takes guts, a little bit of faith and a whole lot of trust in others to dream big and do big. I’m not there yet (at all) but awareness is the beginning of change.

It’s okay to be scared.

Without fear there wouldn’t be opportunities to be courageous…never beat yourself up for feeling scared. You’re human. If you don’t feel fear there is something wrong with you (seriously). Use it. Reframe it. Be brave. You are far more courageous than you know.

What perhaps worries me more than fear itself is fear that we have but are unaware of. In a world where being busy and productive are so rewarded it is far too easy to lose touch with the small voices buried underneath the noise. The more silent fears, the hidden scripts that form the foundation of belief that we act from. Sometimes these more subtle fears (like the fear of failure, of no one wanting to hear what you have to say, etc.) are just beneath the surface but we are too busy to actually feel them and instead do everything we can to numb them away.

Failure is necessary.

It builds grit. Grit is good. I wouldn’t change a single thing! The lessons learned from mistakes are invaluable.

Normal is lame. Be weird.

Seriously. In a world that wants you to be vanilla, be different. Life is so short and you shouldn’t spend a second of it being anyone other than the awesomely unique person that you are, flaws and all. It takes a little courage, but dare to be authentic. Have a little whimsy. Mix in some moxy. It’s freeing and it empowers others to do the same. The world doesn’t need more vanilla, it needs more incredible, authentic, weird people doing great things.

There’s some seriously dark stuff in the world. Be a light.

Seriously. Take a deep breath and realize we all have our baggage. Meet the world with love and a smile. It goes a long way. Some day you may be the one struggling and a stranger’s smile may change your day.

That’s it for now. There are more but these are the best. What about you? What are you learning? Leave a comment! We are all better when we learn together and sharpen each other.

Open post

The Secret to Success is Failure

The Secret to Success is Failure

Are you ready for some backwards advice from me today?

To succeed, fail. To succeed more, fail more.

It almost feels weird to write that. I’m sure it feels a little strange to read.

Typically, I despise those articles that position themselves as the magic formula for success (or this or that) because they are so very often too simplistic and completely miss the point, but if ever I were to credit one defining attribute to success, it would be the ability to fail and fail often.

Despite being a young buck, I have been fortunate enough to work with and learn from many very successful people. If there is one key thing that I have taken away from them it is this: they have all failed more times than most people care to even try.

You see, success is a long and windy road. It is not linear. Despite what TV and newspapers may make you feel, very few people are just immediately successful. And hardly ever is it one steady win after another until you someday reach “ultimate success.”

No. Success is born of victories and failures; of learning from both and getting back out there.

Rinse, lather, repeat.

It’s not fun. It’s not pleasant. And it’s not really what you want to hear of think about but it is a reality.

For example, think of a salesperson. He reaches out to lead after lead, working hard to close deals. To some degree his success is based on his ability to persuade others to buy. To a different degree it is reliant on how many times he is willing to reach out to leads and be turned down. Regardless, the more time he spends putting himself out there, the better he will get at closing and the more chances he will have to successfully make sales. In short, the more a salesperson is willing to fail, the more opportunities he allows himself for success.

So, to succeed more, be willing to experiment and fail more often. Mistakes and failed attempts are only negative if we fail to learn and improve from them. Your mindset is 100% yours to control. You can choose to empower yourself or demean yourself. Your move.

Before I go I just want to leave you with some tangible thoughts on how to apply this right away in your life:

1) Define success for yourself. Success looks different for each of us. To some it may mean advancing their career to a certain level. To others it may simply mean having highly fulfilling relationships. Success is yours to define. That’s pretty awesome if you ask me. And freeing.

2) Once you define success, be relentless and pursue it with objectivity. The key to learning and improving depends on your ability to see your mistakes and change course accordingly. If you don’t have some idea where you went wrong, you will spend a lot more time stabbing at things in the dark. Make your pursuits as objective and measurable as possible and help yourself see as steady of improvement as possible.

Relentless Attitude + Objectivity = Steady Improvement

3) Reframe it. Thoughts shape action. Just a simple reshaping of a thought can do a world of good for you. For example, instead of calling things mistakes or failures, call them lessons. Lessons empower and embolden you rather than break you down. Go for the win.

So there you have it folks, my attempt at a “secrets to success” rant. If you want to taste sweet success, fail first and fail often.

Dedicated to Your Success,

Shawn

P.S. If you are curious as to how this all looks in relation to a building a healthy lifestyle or improving your sports performance, drop me a line.

Open post

Addition by Subtraction – My Year of Saying No

NO. Such a simple word, really. Just two letters long, yet it has been such a difficult word to master.

N. O.

Why is that so hard to say sometimes?

Some days I look at my two year old niece and am just astonished by how quickly she learned the word no. It’s incredible, really. She’s good at it – uses it without hesitation.

NO. 

It’s simplicity is beautiful. She’s not trying to please anyone. She’s just stating how she feels and what she wants in that moment. Is it lacking a little tact? Yes, but that’s to be expected of a 2 year old.

No is a powerful word, capable of shaping the very direction of your life, yet saying no can be such a chore. It comes loaded with a certain amount of fear that no two letter word should possess – fears of offending or disappointing others, of missing an opportunity, or of being improperly judged as being selfish or self-centered.

Continue reading “Addition by Subtraction – My Year of Saying No”

Open post

Run in Crappy Weather – An Ode to Mental Toughness

It’s 5 am. Your obnoxious alarm is going off. It’s 15°F out and snowing. What person in their right mind wants to get out of bed to go exercise in that mess?

I mean, honestly, it’s so cozy and warm in bed. This HAS to be a poor life choice.

But you do it. You peel yourself out of bed, layer up and get it done.

Why?

Continue reading “Run in Crappy Weather – An Ode to Mental Toughness”

Open post

There Is No Try: Believe in Yourself

Do or do not. There is no try. It’s cliché, and yes, Yoda said it, but if you remember anything I ever tell you, remember that. Better yet, don’t just remember it. Believe it.

In my time as a coach, I have picked up on many behavioral patterns. The most interesting are those that make or break people as they pursue their goals. The pattern I want to discuss today is belief.

Beliefs Are Powerful

Beliefs are extremely powerful and hold the potential to shape outcomes. For example, I believe humans are incredibly capable beings. I believe we all have potential to learn and adapt to just about anything if we put our minds to it. These beliefs shape how I act and how I treat my clients. When you treat people as remarkably capable, they tend to become that, sometimes despite themselves.

In this game called life, our outcomes are largely shaped by what goes on between our ears. The most successful among us are those who have mastered their minds. What we choose to believe is such a vital part of that mastery, but it often starts on an almost imperceptible level. Let me get more specific.

Self-Talk Is Poppycock

We constantly talk to ourselves, often without realizing it. There are a hundred different names for it: self-talk, hidden scripts, inner monologue, etc. Whatever you call it, it happens, and it shapes what you believe, how you act, and what you accomplish.

“I believe we all have potential to learn and adapt to just about anything if we put our minds to it.”

All too often I overhear phrases that start with “I can’t do this…” or “I’m no good at that.” To be fair, sometimes it is 100 percent true. But most of the time it is total poppycock.

Continue reading “There Is No Try: Believe in Yourself”

Open post

Supertip #1: How to Nail Your Daily Hydration

Proper, consistent hydration is crucial to successful weight loss and performing at your best. Today’s video covers a quick tip to help you make sure you nail it on the daily. For those of you who would rather read, here is the run down:

1) Grab your go-to water bottle. Anything works. Carry it with you as often as possible. This helps remove any hurdles, both mental and physical that may be holding you back.

2) Measure. If you don’t already know how much it holds, measure it using a pyrex container or anything else that is graduated in ounces.

3) Do some math. Take your daily intake goal (lets say it’s 80 ounces) and divide your the volume of your container into that amount (let’s assume 20 ounces for a result of 4).

4) Grab some rubber bands (4 in this example) and stick them at the bottom of the bottle. Whenever you finish a bottle, move a band up to indicate your progress. These rubber bands will serve both as a visual and physical reminder of your progress throughout the day.

5) Establish a time each day to check in on progress. I usually do this around midday and try to be half way to my goal. If I’m not, I take action right away to get back on track. Don’t wait to take action.

Need help figuring out how much you should be drinking on a daily basis?

Rules of thumb are okay, but to really dial it in to your body type, activity level and environment, reach out to us and we can assist you in setting the right goals for your hydration.

Get More Great Fitness Information Like This!

Open post
Thanksgiving Pumpkin Pie

The Thanks Giving Habit

Pause.

As the holiday season kicks off with Thanksgiving tomorrow, many of our lives are about to get a whole lot crazier as we juggle all sorts of obligations and traveling. 2015 will be here before we know it! In the midst of the coming whirlwind of activity, I encourage you to try out the habit of pausing throughout the day. It will change you if you let it.

Tomorrow, when you wake up, pause for a few moments. Push away any negative thoughts, worries or checklists for just a minute or two and really ask yourself what you’re thankful for. What makes your life awesome? Write it down.

Later, as you are about to tackle your big Thanksgiving meal(s), pause. Tune in to how your body feels. Slow down and thoroughly enjoy what you are eating. Pay attention to how full you are feeling. I bet you you’ll eat less if you really take time to savor all the incredible dishes in front of you.

As you get ready to drift off to sleep, pause one more time. Reflect on the day and all the good that it held. Cherish these memories. They are precious.

Why pause? When life gets hectic, it provides just enough time to bring yourself back into the moment and reframe what is in front of you. It can be so easy to get caught up in a to-do list, what lies in the future or on a string of worries. When you’re on autopilot like this your entire perspective can shift without much conscious thought.

In fact, I found myself in just this situation this morning when my body decided it was time to be awake well before my alarm. Before I knew it my brain took off like a rocket on a multitude of thoughts about the day and the future. I caught myself in a very negative frame of mind before I put my boots on the ground. No good!

Thankfully, in situations like this you can fight back and improve the quality of your thoughts and, in turn your quality of living. All you need to get started is to pause and be grateful. Reframe yourself in the moment and get back to the day in a much more positive light. It can be hard to make the shift at times, but stick it out. There is so much good in this life if you take the time to look for it.

So friends, with that, I want to start off the holiday season here by saying that I am so very thankful for who you are, imperfections and all. You make the world a better place by being here and giving your best to this one precious life you have. I have learned and grown so much from getting to know you. Thank you!

If you care to read more about adopting the habit of gratitude, I encourage you to check out these two excellent articles from Leo Babauta at Zenhabits.

The Thinking Habit That Changed My Life

Why Living a Life of Gratitude Can Make You Happy

Get More Great Fitness Information Like This!

Open post
breakdance

Bust a Move or Busted Movement: Why You Should Treat Movement as a Skill

Hey! Coach Shawn here. I’ve been meaning to have a serious talk with you. Lately you’ve been missing a lot of practices (I mean A LOT). That’s no good. I mean how do you expect to perform well without practicing? Seriously? I mean, yes, you’re talented and all, but you’re going to make a lot of mistakes if you keep this up…You’ve got a lot of work to catch up on.

What on earth am I talking about?

Practicing and developing good movement patterns, of course. It’s important stuff! Moving well is a skill, that when incorporated into your daily routine can make you feel better, increase athletic performance and help you to avoid a whole truck load of injuries. Unfortunately thinking about and bettering how you move often falls pretty low on the priority list, if it’s even there to begin with.

Lost in the Shuffle

For the vast majority of us, our day begins simply. The alarm goes off. Maybe you hit snooze. Maybe you don’t. Eventually you roll those good ol’ legs of yours to the edge of the bed, plant your feet on the ground and get on with waking up and getting ready for the day. From here, the routine varies from person to person but generally includes things like general hygiene, getting dressed, eating breakfast, taking care of the kids. Maybe you squeeze in a workout before heading out the door, maybe not. After than most of us are off to work, where, unfortunately, a good majority spend eight or more hours sitting down.

What I’m getting at is this: it’s easy to get caught up in the shuffle of life and all its lovely details. What gets lost in this hustle and bustle, though, is a legitimate awareness of the fact that our body is highly adaptable and will adjust to the movements and postures we adopt most.

Think about it. In all honesty how much do you really stop to consider your posture, how your muscles feel, and how you are moving throughout the day?

For many, the results of less daily movement and sitting so much are frightening: lack of ankle mobility (both dorsiflexion and plantar-flexion), weak hips, poor hip flexion and extension, knee problems, back problems, shoulder problems – you name it. A lot of problems can be tracked back to how we have allowed our muscles to adapt, oftentimes beginning all the way back to about first grade when we started sitting a whole lot more.

Continue reading “Bust a Move or Busted Movement: Why You Should Treat Movement as a Skill”

Open post

The Single Secret to Becoming a Better Runner

Do you want to know the secret to becoming a better runner? Become more efficient. That’s it. Overly simplified, yes, but that is it.

An Example of Excellent Running Technique

All that training you are doing develops efficiency in one way or another. For example, those countless hours of training work to better your heart’s stroke volume, teach your body to efficiently metabolize fuel, and adapt the nervous system to fire your muscles in the most effective manner possible. The foundation for improving as a runner revolves around the idea of maximizing efficiency.

Continue reading “The Single Secret to Becoming a Better Runner”

Open post
No Motivation

Mysterious Motivation: How to Get Stuff Done

Some days you feel like you can climb a mountain, while others, not so much. Sometimes all you want to do is hit that snooze button, roll over, and forget all about your morning workout. We’ve all been there. So what can you do to minimize these motivational slumps? Is there a way to conjure up motivation in moments like that? You betcha! Here are 10 tips next time you find yourself struggling:

Continue reading “Mysterious Motivation: How to Get Stuff Done”

Posts navigation

1 2