Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Lucky Schmucky

From my Facebook status earlier this week ..
"I realized something important this morning. I am not any more blessed than anyone else. For years I have thought I had so much more to be grateful for than most people, because of the health and family and love in my life. But, even ignoring the many gifts others have that I may not (musical talent comes to mind), it has nothing to do with how many or how much. We ALL have 1,000,000+ things to be thankful for at any moment. The difference isn't whether it is 1,000,001 or 1,000,008. I am just deliciously aware of them all, and usually blissfully ignorant of where I am 'missing out'.
Two things come to mind ...
1. "There's only one reason why you're not experiencing bliss at this present moment, and it's because you're thinking or focusing on what you don't have. Otherwise you would be experiencing bliss. You're focusing on what you don't have. But, right now you have everything you need to be in bliss." ~ Anthony DeMello
2. Rob Brezsny's "Glory In The Highest" ... http://www.revealingthesilence.com/lessons/glory.html
Life is Good <3"
So, on that note, enjoy this wonderful YouTube video :)
The Holstee Manifesto ... http://www.youtube.com/embed/QDmt_t6umoY

Monday, August 27, 2012

I'm fucking AWESOME, Thanks!

Wow! It has been a LONG time since I posted to this blog, and the last one was just the bizarre story of a senior citizen drugging me at a Tim Hortons (how do I keep ending up in weird situations involving my being assaulted by senior citizens?!!)

There have actually been a couple of abandoned posts recently. 

The first is about my failure to complete this year's Death Race. It had been vacillating between self-flagellation for quitting and a straightforward recap of the race. Ultimately my takeaway from this year's event is a very positive, affirming one. When I arrived in Pittsfield I was surrounded by people who liked, even loved me. I then went out and utterly shit the bed in the race (people want to remind me that there is no shame in going 34+ hours and 50+ miles on limited food and water and no sleep, but I am not holding myself to the "participant ribbon" metric - I have to compare 2012 Johnny to 2011 Johnny who was still going much longer, in much worse shape with two broken feet and open strap sores and a huge smile). But, after quitting, I was STILL surrounded by people who liked, even loved me! I realized that whether I finished or not did not mean nearly as much as who I was being while finishing or not. I had amazing conversations with other defeated racers, wonderful support crews, locals. And I got to stick around and cheer on incredible finishers like Dan Grodinsky and Morgan McKay and so many others. Plus, after two ego-swelling back-to-back finishes, a bit of humility was probably in order, and humbled I was (though the title of this blog may not suggest that - ha!).

FYI - for anyone interested in reading some fantastic race reports from DR2012, check these links out!

A second abandoned post was about my being my own worst coaching client. It was written in a tongue-in-cheek style, but still continued the theme of self-deprecation. This seems a bit confusing, as I think I have been my usual happy, optimistic self. Being completely truthful, though, I do feel that I have been coasting a little of late and that, no doubt, is effecting this perspective.

So, having acknowledged that unflattering energy, I have decided to take stock ...

What is my "complaint"?
Well, I have not grown my coaching business as quickly or as substantially as I would like to have.
Ok, is that all?
Yes, actually. That is all. Everything else is truly crazy good.
Yes, really!
Then why is that one area, the growth of your business, lagging behind?
Because I have not focused my energy on it. I have been doing so much else.
And why have you not focused your energy on it?
Well, reflecting very honestly, I still have a story in my head that coaches tend to think they have the answers for what a good life looks like and are biased towards teaching people how to "play that game". And I don't want to be like that.
Are you like that?
Great. Then what are you "like"?
I am committed to helping people develop a plan that is truly, authentically their own. So they can forget about living "The Dream" and live "Their Dream". In fact, the more "out there" it is, the better! ("Some people never go crazy. What truly horrible lives they must live." ~ Charles Bukowski) 
Perfect. So are you ready to give up that story and start helping people like you know you can?
Good. Then get to it. (By the way, Johnny, stop being such an asshole, assuming you know what other coaches are "like". They are as unique as you are!)

Great. That takes care of that. I guess the next thing to look at is this - "If I have not been focusing enough energy on building my coaching business, what have I been spending my time doing?"

Let's see. In the past few years I have ...
  • incorporated Alter Ego Life Adventure Coaching Inc.
  • become a Certified Hypnotherapist
  • opened a private clinic and worked with 100+ clients
  • become a certified Personal Trainer
  • completed my Crossfit instructor certification and begun coaching at Crossfit Orillia
  • become a Certified Life Coach
  • head coached multiple Self-Expression and Leadership Programs at Landmark Education
  • attended Mike Dooley's Train the Trainer Conference and become an Infinite Possibilities trainer
  • written 100+ blog posts at Living Myself To Death, read over 36,000 times
  • completed two Spartan Death Races (and failed to complete a third one)
  • completed a Go Ruck Challenge in Indiana
  • completed a Tough Mudder
  • run 3 straight Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathons (4th coming up)
  • run in 100 mile Haliburton Forest Ultramarathon
  • initiated a Rim2Rim2Rim run at the Grand Canyon that has turned into a group event for this Fall
  • spoken to over a thousand high school students about my experiences and philosophies
  • skydived twice - once in tandem free-fall and once solo - as well as organized jumps for 12 others
  • completed my Open Water Scuba Diving certification
  • coached hundreds of youth wrestlers, many winning city, provincial and even national championships
  • raised over $6,000 for Pediatric Oncology Group of Ontario
  • hosted 2 seasons of a cable television program showcasing the Arts in my community
  • presented my leadership and mindset management philosophies to Ontario Provincial Police headquarters - TWICE
  • been a speaker/instructor for the Ontario Baseball Umpires Association : "Stepping Up To The Big Games"
  • been hired to be a keynote speaker at the leadership conference of a major Canadian university this Fall
  • completed a 10 week Mindfulness Meditation program and sustained ongoing practice
  • registered www.lifeadventurecoaching.com and launched website
  • launched successful "ELEVATE ORILLIA - Uplifting Film Series", a monthly movie night showing inspiring films with all proceeds going to The Sharing Place Food Bank
  • signed on as "resident hypnotherapist" for Inochi Spa
  • been a founding member of the Orillia Wellness Network - a group of Natural Health Practitioners who meet to support one another in our respective practices
  • shared countless inspiring stories and links on my Facebook page, with regular feedback that it has made a positive difference in the lives of many people
  • written for Spartan Race
  • made hundreds of new friends in the obstacle racing, Crossfit, coaching communities
  • gone on annual canoe trip with Jack and Downie & Price-Jones families
  • attended almost every one of Katy and Jack's sporting events, teacher interviews, special occasions
  • sent Katy to compete in Pan-American Wrestling Championships in Mexico and training in Poland and Germany
  • maintained a truly extraordinary, close friendship with my ertswhile-wife, Karen, as well as being very friendly with her great boyfriend Shane
  • played in annual Father And Three Sons Golf Classic with Dad and brothers
  • stayed very close with all of my extended family, spending lots of quality time with my parents, siblings and their spouses, and nieces and nephews
  • skied every winter, usually with Katy and Jack
  • geared up and started kiteboarding
  • trained my way into the best shape of my life, running regularly, lifting/Crossfitting 4 times per week
  • continued selling enough real estate and Versapay services to finance my life, pay fair support to Karen, race, and build my coaching business
As you can see, I have really been sitting on my thumbs! Ok, Ok!! So I HAVE been actively coaching and building up a phenomenal life! I may not have monetized it as effectively yet as I would like, but I have certainly been living in harmony with what is important to me.

Thinking back a few years, I also did something enormous that was very scary and difficult. I chose to give up a life that was perfectly fine. I had a good career with solid income. I had a beautiful wife whom I loved. I had a nice house and nice cars. I received tons of awards and recognition for my professional and civic work. I was a great Dad (still am, despite not living together full-time). And, yet, it did not feel like the life I was meant to live. I was successful by every definition of the word, but I did not feel authentic. Just this week I received my copy of a documentary I helped fund through Kickstarter, called "I'm Fine Thanks". It describes, almost to a tee, where I was at. It will not resonate with everyone, but some of you will see yourselves in this trailer.

People often tell me that it was a classic mid-life crisis. And I say, "You are goddamned right it was!!" And I am eternally grateful for having it. The other thing that I will always be grateful for is this - after Karen and I had determined that our core values were not in synch (hers being "comfort and security" and mine being "growth and adventure"), and I had decided that I needed to leave, she said to me, "Johnny I do understand. I hate it but I get it. Please just promise me that you WILL go out and live a life of adventure and growth and contribution like you want to. Don't just fall into the same comfortable life with someone else. I am giving you my blessing to be you - please do something amazing with that."

That is absolutely one of the highest expressions of love I have ever known.

And I think I have done that, to a degree. Admittedly, I have taken some baby steps where I would normally dive in head first - but I think that is understandable given the huge life changes I was navigating, and the evolution of my responsibilities and role as a father, ex-husband, friend. It would have been selfish and irresponsible to throw caution completely to the wind and put everything into an untested venture. Instead, I straddled both worlds - one foot in the safe, known world that I knew would allow me to provide for my kids financially, and the other solidly on the path of adventure and innovation. Looking at the life I have today - especially the unique and amazing friendship I have with Karen (and I am SO happy for, and proud of, her for the amazing life she has built - beautiful home, fulfilling work, amazing blog, and her own awesome adventures) and the ridiculously loving, fun bond I have with Katy and Jack - I don't think I would change a thing.

And now I am poised to "boom" again! All of the pieces are in place to make a massive difference in the lives of a great many people and to really kick out the jams with Alter Ego Life Adventure Company. In fact, it is already happening. Since I began this blog post almost two weeks ago (yep, crazy huh?!) - in addition to running the Tough Mudder, MCing a wedding of great friends, canoeing north of Temagami with Jack and playing in the Father and Three Sons Golf Classic with my Dad and brothers - I delivered a day-long "Infinite Possibilities" workshop with rave reviews. Have fielded numerous inquiries to set up similar events with other groups. Taken on three new coaching clients. I have been contracted to speak at a college next month. I have been asked to help organize a broader regional workshop for natural health practitioners. And I have firmed up a contract for the largest single paycheque of my life. Not bad for a couple of weeks, most of which were spent having fun and living my awesome life!

Why? Because I simply decided that this is how it is going to be. I reaffirmed my belief in myself. I set my intention. I put myself out there. I trusted the Universe (if you don't think it works, read this!)

Nike says Just Do It. This was put more eloquently in the following quotation ...
“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.”
~ Universally misattributed to Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, but powerful nonetheless!

And a more contemporary expression of the same idea, IS definitively attributable to Ben Lee :)

And the VERY BEST PART! My dream, my job, my driving passion ... is helping other people find and act on theirs. How great is that?! As I often wrap up my Facebook posts ... "LIFE IS GOOD!"