Thursday, 12 July 2018

Lose Yourself - Eminem

Grab those 'Sliding-Door Life-Moments'.

Look, if you had one shot, or one opportunity to seize everything you ever wanted. In one moment would you capture it, or just let it slip?..

Yikes, it’s 16 years since Marshall Mathers (AKA Eminem) hit the UK charts with the double-platinum selling #1 Single – ‘Lose yourself’. I feel it’s a great fit for today’s blog as I want to discuss a very hot topic in my ‘Average2Awesome World’ right now – namely ‘Weight-loss’. 

You see, the question I’m asked over and over again is ‘What’s a Good Amount to lose per Week?’  with a close second being, ‘How long will it take to get to my goal weight?’ Two tough questions, and not so easy to answer as no-one lives in a perfectly controlled nutritional environment.

But I’ll share my thoughts as how long is that piece of string? I mean, what is a ‘Good Amount to lose per Week?’. According to some of the well-established, weekly weight-loss clubs, it’s 1kg per week or about 2lbs. Is this limit as a health precaution or is it because they are looking for a slower weight-loss process to maintain their revenue stream? I’ve always been cynical about that one I’m afraid as I believe that a ‘Good Amount to lose per Week’ is more than that.

Let’s look at a couple of examples. Take a 100kg man - 1.83m tall looking to be 80kgs and a 70kg woman – 1.67m tall wanting to be 56kgs - I wonder how the 1kgs loss a week theory works out? Who gets to their goal first? 

Before you try and work it out, I’ll tell you the answer, the man takes 21 weeks and the woman 15. It’s a long time to stay super-vigilant and focussed and that’s why, I believe, folk get caught in the weight-loss yo-yo doldrums. Poor food choices and cheating breed nicely in these conditions and one of the slimming clubs even has a big picture of a bowl of chips on their promotional material to entice more dieters… no comment needed on what I think of that one? The success rate can’t be high with this encouragement.

With this in mind a 1kg a week loss is far too optimistic.

In reality a 1% weight-loss per week might be more realistic - but it’s an even longer period at 23 weeks for both sexes.

I therefore try and speed things up with a very strict diet and aim for a 2% a week loss for my clients to complete their goal in around 12 weeks – perfect timing in my book, and just the right time to keep folk posted.

But he keeps on forgetting what he wrote down…

Having that goal, really helps as folk never write their goals or vision. It means over time, they lose their way, get distracted and lower their bar of expectation. Even one week can be a deal breaker but with even the slightest amount of encouragement, the fog clears, and the weight-loss merry-go-round starts again.

Snap back to reality. Oh, there goes gravity…

And failure – what a killer yet funnily enough, the ‘Reality’ of what’s needed is there all the time, just like ‘Gravity’ it’s just that it’s ‘chosen’ to be ignored. Snapping back to it, well with the right team-talk, it’s easy. The right mindset is easy to reactivate and with the right encouragement, everyone can reach their target weight.

You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow, this opportunity comes once in a lifetime…

Everyone’s a winner, as after plucking up the courage needed for change, the open goal of success is there. A winning goal in the ‘Cup Final of Life’ there to be enjoyed every morning when you look in the bathroom mirror and catch the slimmed down version of yourself looking proudly back.

Without the courage and single-minded approach needed the ‘Good Amount to lose per Week’ question is immaterial. I’ll leave Marshall Mathers to put it to you in his own no-nonsense approach. 

And these times are so hard, and it's getting even harder, success is my only motherfucking option, failure's not…

Lose it, not necessarily to the book or at a particular rate – just lose it yourself. It’s a good message and I agree with him whole-heartedly.

You can do anything you set your mind to…

1,020 Marathons - 246 Ultras - 15 Marathon des Sables - 9 Guinness World Records

Friday, 29 June 2018

Don't You (Forget About Me) - Simple Minds

My word, 1985 only seems like yesterday (If you take a look at Simple Minds lead singer, Jim Kerr you'll understand) but I wonder if your ‘values’ and ‘life-goals’ are the same as they were back then? I wonder if you are even the same person. Maybe you weren’t even alive 33 years ago but in that case why not think back to a younger version of yourself and see if you’ve ‘Forgotten’ your previous incarnations.

In 1985, I was a very young and ambtious 23 year old, with a whole different set of values, living in a completely different world. Looking back, I knew the future was bright but didn’t know how to achieve the personal happiness that I now feel. Dismissing the thoughts and bad behavioural patterns I had, took time and there wasn’t the support that there is today for anyone wanting to turn their life around. The main theme is the same though, that you have to realise where you are going wrong, and then take a new direction and then stick to it, no matter what – through thick and thin.

What is it that makes people ‘Forget’, ‘Give Up’ or ‘Dismiss’ their new direction.

Tell me your troubles and doubts...

I love helping folk and it’s fascinationg how everyone that comes to see me wants to change, yet sticking to the plan can become so challenging AFTER things have already started to change for the better. It's amazing how dangerous people become the further they get into the programme...

Giving me everything inside and out...

You see people are very honest about where they are at the start of the process about their dishonesty – that is to themselves and of course for how long they’ve been duplicitous. Their duplicity manifests as we work together much to my amusement.

Slow change may pull us apart...

It’s a hard hit that kick starts the change yet it’s the slow change of time that delivers the goal and that’s what folk hate. I call it 'The Wait'. It's a kinda ‘Mission Statement’ we love to create at the start of any project that a few months later folk have forgotten.

When the light gets into your heart...

And yet when the green lights start going your way, momentum builds and you know deep down that change will happen.

Will you recognise me?

Will you recognise yourself more-like! That happens a lot as folk take time to get to know the new person looking back at them in the mirror. And even though Colleauges, Friends and Family will say you look amazing, they might also say you are looking thin or gaunt which can halt the whole process well before your weight goal for instance, purely because you don’t match their image of you - or you don’t match your own. A 1.83 metre man should weigh around 80kgs – if you’ve been 130kgs, 90kgs might look thin yet it’s still overweight – and 10kgs too heavy.

Good enough? Maybe but not in my book… and if it’s getting tough, reach out there’s a lot of help out there – I’m here and I don't forget...

1,020 Marathons - 246 Ultras - 15 Marathon des Sables - 9 Guinness World Records

Sunday, 24 June 2018

Stripsearch - Faith No More

Pretty stripped bare I'd say...
Bit like buses these Faith No More songs, and I’ve again been blown away, this time by ‘Stripsearch’. What a complete belter and best listened to in the largest expanse of landscape and blue sky available you'll find. You see, that’s where I heard it for the first time and had the feeling of being a very small dot on a very big planet.

And somehow, still fully clothed, stripped to the bone.

‘The heat is gone, time is gone, F for fake’...

It’s a bit of a weird feeling, mildly euphoric and slightly out of body if you know what I mean and sensual rather than sexual. I really did have a feeling of being stripped bare though which was very exciting and only heightened by the music.

‘I feel no wrong, hide no wrong, I love this place’...

You never know it could be heatstroke or mild senility setting in but being stripped back I felt good about life, (life without much wrong in it) and feeling genuinely at peace with the world.

‘Only way to change, Give yourself away, don't be ashamed’...

Now I’m not saying get out there and find a big field, get your gear off and be at one with nature. It might help though and if you do, you can then use it as a reference point for when things aren’t so complicated.

‘In these days, I'm breathing stone, crying stone’...

You see, we all have those kinda days, weeks, years and even lives in some cases hoping for change that never comes.

And what I do know is it’s all down to each and every one of us to make the most of who we are and what we’ve got. Most folk start off with a working brain and 206 bones only to go downhill from there - without ever having a 'Stripsearch Moment'... which is kinda tragic as I’ve had far too many now over the years.

‘I'll leave alone, arrive alone, love this place’...

So, why not give it a go as you’ve got nothing to lose - especially if you want to know what it's like to have nothing covering your inner soul.

‘Stripped to the bone, truth is my name, give yourself away’...

And let me know how you get on. You never know, you might find the person you’ve been looking for all these years.

1,020 Marathons - 246 Ultras - 15 Marathon des Sables - 9 Guinness World Records

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Land of Sunshine - Faith No More

It’s a long time since I listened to any songs by Faith No More. I associate them with a very angry and aggressive period in my life when I was out of control in the early 90’s so tend to avoid. However, ‘Land of Sunshine’ popped up on ‘random play’ whilst out running today and the lyrics instantly grabbed my attention and are a perfect accompaniment for today’s blog.
They were written by Mike Patton during a sleep deprivation experiment (I can empathise having two youngsters here myself so I know where he’s coming from) and include lines taken from Chinese Fortune Cookies all of things.The messages were used virtually unchanged and appear throughout the first and second verses of the song. As Fortune Cookies, they are of course full of great promise and are as follows:-
‘Life to you is a dashing bold adventure’
‘Sing and rejoice, fortune is smiling upon you’
‘You have a winning way, so keep it’
‘You are an angel heading for a land of sunshine’
‘Pat yourself on the back and give yourself a handshake’.
I believe we all have a desire to live in the ‘Land of Sunshine’. The promised land. The place where everything is going to be just right and just perfect. Only, in the real world the ‘Land of Sunshine’ has a more ‘Temperate’ feel to it – more of a mixed bag of ‘Sunny periods and Scattered Showers’ perhaps.
‘You have a winning way, so keep it’…

I love people making promises of goodwill and desire, maybe making promises is a British thing eh? Declaring one’s intentions on Facebook for instance is a given if you are taking on an usual challenge or feat a 21stCentury development. Funnily enough though, it’s also the place to write the excuses for f*cking it up when things go wrong and for others to say ‘There, there but you are still AWESOME’ (one of my pet hates, as you know).

The interesting thing is that the ‘Land of Sunshine’ is a lot nearer for most folk than they can imagine, if only they realised how short the journey could be. For those seeking new personal bests and faster race times, well they can really be just by-products of not drinking alcohol or eating a cleaner diet. For those seeking absolution from their demons, well they are in fact only one step away.

Cutting out one bad behavioural trait is enough of a platform and a win for most folk to attack the rest of their problems, great or small.

And to be honest, I’m more impressed by folk’s abstinence and weight-loss nowadays that any race performance that folk achieve. I mean a sub-3 marathon is great if that’s what you’ve been chasing and I’m only too happy to help but a 25kgs weight-loss in 50 days (a BIG WELL DONE to Phil Miller) or 8.5kgs in just over a month (a BIG WELL DONE to Cat Savage too) is a life-changing and an amazing process to be part of. I’m so chuffed for them and if they never run a step I don’t give a damn as I believe they have now have the ‘Winning Way’.

‘You have a winning way, so keep it, your future’…

We are currently working on ‘Teamship’ with one of our Business Clients and it’s interesting how the whole notion of morale in a body of people works. I’m not too sure if it’s possible to list all of the ingredients but there is a magic ingredient, we’ll call it ‘Ingredient X’, that everyone needs a sprinkle of from time to time to keep them motivated and inspired by those around them to succeed both individually and collectively. Finding ‘Ingredient X’ well we are well on the way to finding out it’s DNA.

‘You are an angel heading for a ‘Land of Sunshine’, and fortune is smiling upon you’…

There’s no magic pill and maybe it’s just a collective feeling of ‘Pride and Hope’ that helps make the journey a whole lot more fulfilling and satisfying – maybe that’s ‘Teamship’. That’s the best part of ‘The Marathon des Sables’ in my opinion where people are pushed out of their comfort zones and taken to new limits of human endurance. The transformation in people for a week or possibly two on their return (before returning to type) is most refreshing and incredibly empowering – if only I could bottle it!

'Prepare for a series of a comfortable miracles, from fasting to feasting'…

Miracles happen every day. From the moment the daylight emerges from the shadows. Every day is full of opportunities - right here, right now and right under our noses - not in a far off make-believe land where it’s always sunny. It’s already Sunny and ‘Fortune Cookies’ don’t really say enough about what lies ahead for each and every one of us.

‘And life to you is a dashing, bold adventure, so sing, and rejoice’…

I’d like to add some words of encouragement and a ‘Fortune Cookie’ type message of my own but I don’t think that’s the right thing to do here as the ‘Faith No More’ lyrics speak volumes and have more than enough positivity within them (Take a look and listen here and see what you think) until you write your own message perhaps.

‘Pat yourself on the back and give yourself a handshake’…

My word, when was the last time you did that? When was the last time anyone else gave you a pat on the back or more recently have you even disserved one in any aspect of your home, work or leisure life?

'Does life seem worthwhile to you? Do others push you around?'...

You tell me… Does life seem worthwhile? And do you get pushed around in situations because you haven’t got a voice or the balls to say ‘No’ because you don’t want to appear to be rocking the boat? In my experience, folk get pushed around less and noticed more when they communicate their feelings more to those around them.

So in the ‘Land of Sunshine’. The place where it’s a sunny 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks of the year and where we already live is it time to think about YOUR future.

'Does emotional music, have quite an effect on you?'

It does on me. J

1,019 Marathons - 246 Ultras - 15 Marathon des Sables - 9 Guinness World Records

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

The Voice - Ultravox

Without Question - A Great Coach
‘The Voice’ was released on 29 October 1981 (which now feels like a very, very long time ago) and peaked at #16 in the UK Charts. It’s one of my all-time favourite Ultravox tracks and provides an easy choice to accompany my blog today which hopefully shows ‘Why I believe that everyone can benefit from having a Coach’.

‘Native these words seem to me, all speech directed to me’…

If I’m being honest, the words of ‘The Voice’ have ALWAYS spoken volumes to me, and now after mentoring and coaching a lot people over the years to their goals and aspirations, it’s highlighted the fact that I’ve become a ‘Voice’ that’s encouraged, pushed and even dared them to go ‘Faster, Higher and Stronger’ - Something that I’ve been very privileged to be part of.

However, in more recent times, I’ve become the inner ‘Voice’ of help and hope for people overcoming challenges of addiction to alcohol, drugs and food. Addictions that have simply infected our world and that are now wreaking havoc in many of the lives that I’m now invited to be part of - Something I’m super-excited to be part of.

The situations people get into make me wonder why they’ve become deafened to their own inner ‘Voices’ leading to poor ‘Lifestyle Choices’.

‘I've heard them once before, I know that feeling’…

It’s not like I’m telling people something they don’t already know. Maybe, I’m just the honest appraisal kinda ‘Voice’ that’s loud enough to wake people up so they can start their bad-habit exorcism.

I mean, everyone has a good idea of how much they weigh, how much they really drink, smoke and which drugs they might be using to get high – it’s how to ‘Un-Mute’ that inner ‘Voice’ that’s the problem and where I feel Coaching helps. 

I’m not saying that people are deaf to all of their conscience. Weirdly it’s only the volume on certain parts of people’s behaviour that gets ignored. I know that feeling myself only too well and have buried my head in the sand many a time in the past, happily ignoring the already over-inflated elephant in my room. 

‘Stranger emotions in mind, changing the contours I find’…

Changing contours, I like that line and it’s a great analogy. Smoothing off some of the big up and down curves, to look up at a fresh horizon and re-orientate in a fresh direction – that’s really exciting. I’ve also found that ‘Coaching’ is only the starting point of many people’s journeys and it’s a fascinating as their lost ‘Voice’ returns and I can pass them their own remote control back to them.

I believe, all that anyone really needs, is to be heard. To be listened to and understood, not by close family or friends but by someone that can forensically assess their predicament and offer some light at the end of a perilously dark tunnel.

‘Oh, the shape and the power of the voice, forceful and twisting again’…

Watching people’s improved version fly is such a beautiful thing to witness and for most the short sharp shock of realisation is enough to re-establish life’s natural sinus-rhythm. 

For others it can be a ‘Life-long’ process of development where a friendly arm around the shoulder or plain instruction is what’s needed to verbalise life’s route ahead ‘Tom-Tom’ style or in this case ‘Rory-Rory’.

‘Wasting the perfect remains, sweetly the voices decay’…

My voice seems to speak constantly about missed opportunities and wasted time, especially if you are a regular reader of my blog. Both seem to produce the white noise that drowns out the inner ‘Voice’ of reason. I didn’t have that excuse back in 1994 when life was merely analogue and a lot less complicated, but I did meet a great Coach that guided me onto some amazing life achievements and shared his values and vision with me that I still practice today.

‘In strong low tones’…

And I’m still being Coached – now by the people I meet and engage with every day. You see as people regain their ‘Voice’ they speak just as loudly back at me, inspiring me to improve too.

As isn’t that what it’s all about? And isn’t that why everyone needs a Coach?

1,019 Marathons - 246 Ultras - 15 Marathon des Sables - 9 Guinness World Records

Sunday, 27 May 2018

Across the River - Peter Gabriel

The Flood in Darling - Piguenit 1890
This rare Gabriel collaboration was written with guitarist David Rhodes, Stewart Copeland from The Police and violinist Shankar for the 1982 WOMAD compilation ‘Music and Rhythm’. I particularly love the 1994 Secret Life’ tour version which builds to a dynamic climax, featuring drummer Manu Katche. It’s well worth a listen as then you’ll understand where I’m coming from in today’s blog.

You see, I think you really get the idea of a journey in the song. And yes, I know I write a lot about ‘journey, ‘change’ and getting the most out of ‘life’, but I believe that the notion of crossing a river, can conjure up so many positive thoughts. For me, it’s as if I’m standing on the bank of a river, somewhere in my own imagination, pondering if and how I can get to the other side.

I’ve been on that riverbank a few times too both mentally and physically. Once in the Atacama Crossing Multi-Stage Ultra, at high-altitude, before plunging into waist-deep, ice-cold melt water wondering what the hell I was doing. I mean, there was no choice really as the only way to the finish the stage that day and the race for that matter, was to cross that particular river well over fifty times it turned out.

Not knowing how deep the water was, how limb-numbing it would be, being melt-water and how fast the under-current was, took a leap of faith. A leap of faith that would stop some folks in their tracks perhaps but in real life can prove to be a complete barrier to progress.

Being frightened leads to uncertainty, procrastination or plain nervousness and making decisions a proverbial nightmare.

The thing is, the more you know – the easier the right decision is to make. Thinking about my river analogy, knowing how deep the river was, that it had been recced, that it was safe to cross and that I wasn’t alone meant it was a simple decision to make.

It does amaze me however that people will throw themselves into the deepest raging flooded waters without a hope in hell of surviving. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve dived in where others have feared to tread and regretted the decisions I’ve made at leisure but over the last few years I’ve stood and pondered rippling the waters for a long time before diving in or retreating to higher ground.

I’d like to think I’m very sure of which rivers I cross nowadays and how solid the bridges I build can get me to the other side.

How are you getting on crossing your own River?

1,018 Marathons - 246 Ultras - 15 Marathon des Sables - 9 Guinness World Records

Friday, 18 May 2018

Why Worry? - Dire Straits

I see this world has made you sad, some people can be bad, the things they do, the things they say…

Taken from the 1985 Multi-Platinum DDD (Digitally-Recorded, Digitally-Mixed and Digitally-Mastered) Brothers in Arms, this track is a great opportunity to take 8 minutes and 31 seconds out of your day to consider the simple question, ‘Why Worry?’ Or perhaps you can ask yourself more directly, ‘Why do I Worry?’

For some, even the word ‘Worry’ can be ‘Worrying’ enough to avoid the question without investigating the reasons why we waste so much of our time over something that is totally out of our control. I mean, throughout life, there are so many things that really do matter, there’s hardly time to waste on things that simply just don’t IMO.

I'll wipe away those bitter tears, I'll chase away those restless fears, and turn your blue skies into grey…

I’m sure the lyrics here should be more about turning ‘Grey’ skies into ‘Blue’ Mr Knopfler! - I meet a lot of people who live with very cloudy-grey outlooks on life, that after some deep soul-searching with my help, lead to a much bluer sky with prolonged sunnier periods and fewer scattered showers.

It’s getting to the root cause of ‘Worrying’ that’s interesting for me and as someone that genuinely doesn’t ‘Worry’, it got me thinking why the emotion has escaped me or is in fact ‘Worrying’ an emotion that I plainly ignore to admit to and something I believe I don’t suffer from.

I mean, what is there that I need to really get ‘Worried’ about? Even when I was really ill with GBS a couple of years’ ago, I can’t say that I was ‘Worried’. Was I scared? - Perhaps. But it’s hard to remember if I was or if I wasn’t and that’s where the waste of energy in ‘Worrying or being Anxious’ is highlighted for me.

Sure, I’m not without any form of trepidation or fear, I’m not made entirely of steel, but if I really think deeply about what’s driven my desire to compete and complete, you could say it’s ‘Fear of Failure’. And that’s my ‘Deep Driver’, it’s the thing that keeps me heading full-steam ahead, still wanting to achieve and maintain the world I’ve created that surrounds me.

It's done me proud too and I'm happy to admit when I need to change things and be prepared to do something about it, rather than soldier on.

For instance, I know folk that are in ‘love-less’ marriages where admitting to their failure and the cost of divorce both to their children’s well-being and also to their finances are keeping them in a constant state of flux and ‘Worry’, rather than battling the ‘Elephant in their room' that will create a much happier, more care-free world for all concerned. The action is less painful than the 'Years of Worry' hoping for a solution that is in fact always there.

There should be laughter after pain, there should be sunshine after rain, these things have always been the same…

Because there is always a solution, there’s always a future. And there’s no need to ‘Worry’ if you are prepared for change and open for things not going to plan and willing  to adjusting plan to accommodate life’s ups and downs as they happen.

Things nearly always turn out for the best I’ve found or even better than you thought they might. I’m someone that believes it’s better to regret having done something, than regret not having done it at all. Okay, there’s always a risk attached but standing on the edge ‘Worrying’ whether to jump, doesn’t get you anywhere.
But baby, just when this world seems mean and cold, our love comes shining red and gold, and all the rest is by the way…

How right Knopfler is, as I’ve found out. There’s always someone or something when everything had turned brown and hit the fan, that comes along and changes your world for the better. I’m not saying it will happen today or tomorrow, if that’s where you find yourself today – but take it from me, it will and when you look back you’ll know exactly when that moment was. I know when that was and can't say I've ever 'Worried' since.

And you'll find, the World isn’t mean and cold, people are. And a lot of time we are scared of what folk might think of us and that's what stops us taking the plunge. But take it from me that the sun will shine again for you and go and chase your dream, it's right there within your reach waiting for .

Try listening to the track and see if the 8 minutes and 31 seconds can make a difference to how you see the world around you.

So why worry now…

1,016 Marathons - 246 Ultras - 15 Marathon des Sables - 9 Guinness World Records