“Oh, no! Someone’s terribly hurt!” are the words that went through my mind last summer. My husband, Richard, and I had just returned to our campsite after fly fishing on the beautiful Taylor River near Crested Butte, CO and were happily ensconced in our chairs with mugs of strong tea and juicy camp novels. Above an enormous boulder flanking the backside of our site was what is considered to be one of the most challenging bike trails in the Rockies. To get to the top, bikers take car rides up, and then hold on for dear life as they plummet at lightning speed down the steep trail to the bottom, landing right near us.
It was fun to get wind of the biker chitchat now and then, but our attention was really snagged when a LOUD crash permeated the still air. In a split second, I thought, “Oh no, someone’s terribly hurt!” but before I could barely register that thought, I heard a 20-something female voice belt out, “WOW!!! You really know how to fall well!” Admiration was clear but, frankly, it was not what I expected to hear. Fortunately, no one was hurt and the young woman who had fallen said to her riding buddy “Thanks. I’ve trained myself to jump off of the bike in the opposite direction of the fall at just the right moment, so the fall’s not so bad.”
I have to say, being a basically Sunday-afternoon neighborhood biker, it had not occurred to me to put any forethought into how to “fall well.” But it struck me as a smart tactic, not only for this young woman, but also for all of us, especially if we want to push the limits and improve on what we’re already doing in our lives and work.
After “Ring Around the Rosy” giggling when we fell to the ground at the end, to, in just a few years, stark terror at the fear of falling while trying to master our first two-wheelers. I remember telling my father (picture a tearful pout), (Read more…)
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Having just come off one of my busiest spring speaking schedules, I was celebratory about meeting all of my deadlines and aspirations. At the same time, I was also dreaming of when I could escape to the Rocky Mts. with my tent, with no demands other than: what time I wanted to get up (answer: when I WOKE up!), when we wanted to have dinner, and if we’d rather go fishing or hiking on any given day.
It’s no surprise, then, that I wore a smile as wide as the Grand Canyon when my husband, Richard, and I finally loaded up the car and headed for the hills. With every mile clocked on our drive to Nirvana, I felt a new glob of tension being left on the pavement. By the time we arrived at our campsite, set up camp,
Our Campsite Visitor
and popped the cork of a good zinfandel, I was darned near giddy. After all, this was V-A-C-A-T-I-O-N and I’d been lusting for it for several months.
Summer is the time of year when the majority of us in the U.S. take our vacations. Or, at least we take them in theory. The sad truth, as shown by a recent poll by TripAdvisor, the largest travel site in the world, is that 77% of U.S. respondents reported that in the last year, (Read more…)
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Have you ever noticed that when you need to write an article, a report or a presentation, or even come up with a new and original idea or a better way of doing something, your brain often wants to play hooky? It will take you on many different desultory paths, revisiting where you went on your last vacation, thinking about Aunt Lulu’s upcoming birthday party that you’re hosting or even recalling that golf game where you almost got your best score ever. It will go anywhere but where you need it to go. When this happens, do what you would do with a child who wanders away from the homework table: gently and repeatedly take her by the hand, bring her back to her chair and help her refocus.
The truth is, however, that this wandering mind syndrome is part and parcel to the creative process. As all artists know, some of it is a good thing, as it can take us to places and ideas we might not have directed it to go. But too much of it can just keep us away from our objective, i.e., to get that article written, the painting finished or that new method figured out. Know the difference.
As you create, keep your end goal in mind and persistently maintain your focus while also paying attention to the quality of your mind’s wanderings. All the while remember: one wandering ain’t the same as the next.
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CRASH!**#?!! BOOM!*#♫@?!! BANG!#*?*@!! Sorry for the loud intrusion, but those were the sounds interjected into the end of my two-week speaker tour in late fall. After a very enjoyable convention-opening keynote of “The Art of Masterful Networking” in Orlando, followed by a fun poolside barbecue dance party with the dedicated healthcare attendees, I was heading for the shower before flying home to Colorado. But . . . not so fast! Suffice it to say that the half-open design of the high-end shower door was literally my downfall. It sneakily lightly sprayed water off of the shower wall onto the floor, and before even entering, I turned to get shampoo from my room, slipped and was catapulted upward, crashing down hard and strong. An ambulance ride confirmed a compression fracture to my L1 vertebrae and a five-day stay in one of Orlando’s finest hospitals (and without even having a reservation!).
Returning home, I was sequestered to my hospital bed on the main floor with doctor’s orders to spend the first three weeks flat on my back. Lest you’re not familiar with this “flat-on-your-back concept,” this does mean 100% undeniably flat. This does not mean propping up to watch TV or to read all of the tantalizing novels that have been waiting on your bookshelves. This requirement calls for creativity and makes one stop and reflect on many things that our usual hustle-bustle schedules don’t always provide the opportunity to think about. Now that I’m healing and mostly vertical again, I am pleased to share with you my:
TOP 6 REFLECTIONS FROM REPOSE: (Read more…)
Posted in Courage, Creativity and Innovation, Excellence & Success, Gratitude, Habits, Happiness, Human Potential, Intention, Mastery, Peak Performance, Personal development, Success | 1 Comment »
The USA Pro (Cycling) Challenge was held in our beautiful state of Colorado last week. Racers from all over the world competed and Colorado was mighty proud when the winner, Tejay VanGarderen, was one of our own, hailing from Boulder. This was no small feat, as the seven-consecutive-days route, starting in Aspen and ending in Denver, was lauded as “American Cycling’s Most Difficult Professional Race Featuring Lung-Searing Altitudes (higher than they ever had to reach) and the First-Ever Mountaintop Finish Route.”
Needless to say, the competitors did not jump into this race on a lark. On the contrary, thousands of hours of grueling training precede the race itself, from Interval to Circuit Training. In addition to building up physical stamina, a certain amount of finesse is also required.
Here are 3 tips from the USA Pro Challenge that could be helpful to all of us, whether we’re a biker or not:
1. CROUCH DOWN: When riders surge past both sides of you, crouch down a bit to stay upright and balanced.
In Life: Even if you’re a confident person, usually striding tall through life, sometimes it could be of benefit to pull it in a bit so you can be in better alignment with others around you.
2. LOOK FOR THE DIAGONALS: Riding right up, straight between two riders can be an instant invitation to (Read more…)
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This 4th of July weekend, my husband and I were on a glorious 6-day tent-camping trip in the Colorado Rockies. The peace and quiet and sheer beauty of the surroundings calmed our minds and opened our souls in the way that nature can do.
As a bonus, about two minutes from our campsite, we discovered the gorgeous alpine Lake Monarch. Around the lake was one of the most splendid hiking trails, winding us under the shading trees and through exquisite columbines and wild roses. As much as we enjoyed hiking around the lake, we also enjoyed being on the lake in our IK (inflatable kayak).
Monarch Lake Colorado
Being fairly new to kayaking, we’re still flexing our beginners’ muscles and so, amidst hearty paddling (synchronized as well as we neophytes could), we often found ourselves going into a spin out of which we could not come, no matter what. Although we tried our darndest, we realized that at a certain point, we just had to relax and surrender to the circular spin, smile and enjoy the stunning views and refreshing water––Nature’s Masterpieces.
We all live in such a linear society where we’re so often rushing to get to some straight end point that it’s nice sometimes to just step off the grid and happily go in circles . . . to realize that “going in circles” does not have to have the rather negative connotation we usually give it, but that it can be a positive endeavor.
There’s a freedom and a relaxation in the circular pattern. In art that’s often what brings about unity in a painting or sculpture’s composition: everything coming together as one. I think that’s exactly what we were feeling: being one with nature and the world. And if that’s what “going in circles” once in a while brings about, a betterment for both our lives and our work, sign us up again!
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Harrumph! WHAT ARE YOUR INTENTIONS?
Every time my aunt’s zany brother-in-law saw any of my boyfriends at a family event, the first thing out of his mouth was, “Harrumph! SO, WHAT ARE YOUR INTENTIONS?” Naturally, the first time he said this I was mortified, but since my boyfriends thought it was a hoot, I learned to laugh it off, too. The query, however, became a family joke, emerging here and there.
Emerge, recently, it did. I was having a lovely summertime garden lunch outside one of my best friend’s art studio. This friend is a highly decorated artist. No, not with a lampshade on her head, but with top prizes from just about every juried art show she enters. Before lunch we had looked at the painting she is currently working on.
IT’S AN UPFRONT THING
As we talked about life and our work during lunch, I told her how beautiful I thought this new painting was. She said, “You know, I think I have finally learned something about painting: if I decide what my intention is at the beginning of a work, I end up with a much more successful result.” I couldn’t resist and asked her, “For this new painting . . . what is your intention?” She said, “My intention was to capture the fresh smells and sensations and dewiness of a field of newly mown grass and hay in the early summer—when it’s so strong and liquid you can almost bottle it. . . . I didn’t want to just ‘paint a pretty picture’ that showed how it looked (which was more what my early paintings were about). I want it to have a richer feeling and deeper connection to my intention . . . and I won’t sign off on a painting now unless it does that.”
This got me to thinking about intention and how we can apply this to our work and lives to end up with a “much more successful” result, too. (Read more…)
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One can hardly pick up a magazine or newspaper, go online or listen to the news without hearing about “time” and our relationship to it. How to get more time, how to save time, how to produce more in less time, how not to waste time, how to be on time, how to better manage your time . . . and the list goes on. In fact, with springtime here, many of us just adjusted our
Dali's "The Persistence of Memory"
clocks to Daylight Savings Time, gaining us more time with daylight. So with our 21st century near obsession with time and all things time management, I dare to propose that we diligently try to lose track of time!
Now I’m not talking about the “losing track” habit that my dear 2nd son developed while he was growing up (in fact, our neighbor still chuckles over the image of me standing in front of our house, warbling, “Collin, what’s the delay?”). No, I’m talking about deliberately and consistently losing track of time. Yep. On purpose. Now I know this sounds counterintuitive in this fast-paced and demanding world we live in, but it does have merit.
Having studied the habits and strategies of the Master Artists through my whole adult life, I am very aware that losing track of time was one of their keys to success. Their objective was to (Read more…)
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Today, January 9, 2014, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper delivered his annual State of the State address to the Colorado Legislature and the people of Colorado.
Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper
One of the statements the Governor made that really jumped out at me was this:
“Colorado is at her best when we are connected to one another, working together.”
Whether you are a Republican or a Democrat or even a resident of the beautiful state of Colorado, it doesn’t matter when it comes to acknowledging the wisdom of this statement. Collaboration and connecting yield exponential results time and time again. I assume most of you would agree with that. However, the truth is that since we all have different backgrounds and behavioral styles, collaborating and connecting come naturally to some people; to others, not so much. So while we might think that networking and collaborating are great ideas, we often don’t really know how to make them happen.
To help you deepen and strengthen your own connections, collaborations and networking in this New Year:
▪ Take the time to build relationships with your colleagues and those outside of your circles. While most people think of networking as something one does outside of one’s organization, internal networking and collaboration are just as important. (Read more…)
Tags: Colorado, Government, Governor Hickenlooper, Organizational Development
Posted in Business Growth, Education, Entrepreneurship, Excellence & Success, Habits, Healthcare, Human Potential, Leadership, Mastery, Networking, Peak Performance, Personal development, Success, Teambuilding | 50 Comments »
I recently heard the classic 60s oldies tune What’s Your Name? by Don and Juan on the radio and the well known words,
What’s your name? Is it Mary or Sue?
What’s your name? Do I stand a chance with you?
. . . made me think of the holidays.
I know, it’s a little odd, with nary a “Jingle Bells” or “Silent Night” in sight (or, er, sound), but, still, holidays-reminding it did. That’s because this is the time of year when invitations arrive in our mailboxes to holiday festivities. (Okay, stick with me here.) Some of us are delighted by these invites; others, not so much. Either way, when we accept an invitation, we have some “pre-event” preparations of our own:
• Select an outfit
• Purchase a host gift
• Get a baby-sitter
• Line up mode of transportation
. . . and so forth.
These are the logistical matters. One of the aspects we often don’t give much thought to, however, is (Read more…)
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