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Looking Back …

The Jewish festival of Pesach (Passover) has just finished and I was thinking about some of the lessons that I learnt over the festival to incorporate into a blog.

Without going into details of the festival, on the first two nights we read a book called the Haggadah that recalls the story of the Jewish nation from slavery in Egypt to ultimate freedom.

Post Pesach, I noticed a very relevant quote from Chief Rabbi Mirvis[1]that is applicable to all aspects of our lives “…during Pesach we look to our past in order to gain inspiration for our present and our future.”

I will try to link the 2 topics of looking back and freedom.

On the first night of Pesach, I normally like to do a bit of a speech. Normally I would give an insight on the festival, but this year I focussed on non-religious quotes on the topic of “freedom” that I had heard and read over the last year. I would like to share a few of these quotes that are applicable for business, life and fitness training.

One of the key ideas in this concept of freedom is that even with freedom you have some type of responsibility. Victor Frankl[2]says, “Human freedom is not a freedom from but freedom to[3]”.

Jocko Willink[4]is a retired Navy SEAL commander, bestselling author, and popular podcast host. The mantra that Willink instilled into his men was “Discipline equals freedom,” and it’s the idea that with structure and a strict dedication to it, one can act with more efficiency and find freedom.

Do you want more time for freedom? Be disciplined with time management.

Do you want to be healthy? Have the discipline to train and eat well.

Do you want financial freedom? Have the financial discipline to save and be prudent.

Do you want to free your mind? Have the discipline to read daily.

Dotsie Bausch[5]is an Olympic Cyclist who went from drug addict and bulimic to Olympic Champion. She only started cycling at 26, did road racing for a number of years, changed to track riding and won a track silver medal at the age of 39 at the London Olympic Games. She said , “There is freedom on the other Side”. She says that ‘There is always a way out, there is a pathway to have freedom from… there is freedom.

For the present to have any meaning or influence there must first be a background to help explain it and contrast changing circumstances and times.” – Rabbi Berel Wein

In an essay from Althea Mirvis, she asks “Surely ‘launch day’ should be called the ‘first’ day.”She continues to explain the inherent value of preparation and ends with an excellent quote “The journey to the destination is no less important than the destination itself”. Only if we look back at the preparation that we have put into a ‘mission,’ can we appreciate the success that we can achieve. As Rabbi Berel Wein[6]says “If you know how far you have come it is easier to imagine that you will successfully achieve your goal”.

We all need to accept that we have strengths and weaknesses and accept that at times we may need help, support, mentoring and [7]criticism. Rabbi Jonathon Sacks says that feelings of inadequacy, the imposter syndrome, can be bad news or good news depending on what you do with them. Do they lead you to depression and despair? Alternatively, do they lead you to work at your weaknesses and emerge successful? He ends with a brilliant quote “Our weaknesses make us human; wrestling with them makes us strong.”

Our Sages tell us that from here we learn that it is only when you know where you are coming from that you can know where you are going to.” – Chief Rabbi Mirvis

This week the State of Israel is celebrating 70 years since independence. It is unbelievable what a small country has achieved in this time in the fields of technology, agriculture, science and medicine. But like everything we need to look back at the loss of lives Israel has suffered during this period. During a commemoration service (Yom Hazicharon) in Melbourne, a survivor from the Israeli Defence Force was talking about his 2 ½ years of rehabilitation and made the following comment about his reflections of the incident and his recovery “… it gave me a whole new perspective on life: how we, as human beings, have the ability to change our reality, to dream and make a difference, to create a vision and see it through…

To end in the Chartered Accountant’s magazine, Acuity, Camille Woods[8]is asked why she chose to become an accountant? She answers, “I wanted freedom – freedom to work the way I wanted, the freedom to dream big with the support of a fullback”. She goes on to say that the funny thing about accounting is the further you run away from it, the more it strengthens its grip…

[1]https://chiefrabbi.org

[2]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viktor_Frankl

[3]http://www.pursuit-of-happiness.org/history-of-happiness/viktor-frankl/

[4]http://jockopodcast.com

[5]  http://dotsiebauschusa.com/index.html

[6]https://www.rabbiwein.com

[7]http://rabbisacks.org/weakness-becomes-strength-shemini-5778/

[8]http://acuity.realviewdigital.com/#folio=12

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Shepp 2018 – #DONTCRACKUNDERPRESSURE

You control your destiny, so there’s never room for fear.  Whether it be fear of failure, fear of disappointment, or even fear of success…” – Dave Scott[1]

As in the past I will try give a bit of a post-event Blog. Last Sunday I participated in Challenge Shepparton triathlon. This is a half-ironman distance triathlon. This was the first tri I have done in nearly 2 years. It is unbelievable how time just flies. I was a bit nervous for the event after such a long break and I really had no bench-mark to measure my fitness.

In this week’s Torah Portion Vayeitzei, I read an interesting post titled “Overcoming Fear[2]”. Jacob’s famous dream, in this week’s Torah portion, carries a powerful lesson of hope and confidence – one that can overcome the fear of failure.

Jacob dreamed and saw a ladder standing on the ground and its top reached up toward heaven. G-d’s angels were ascending and descending on it (this week’s Torah portion, Genesis 28:12). G-d invited Jacob to climb the ladder himself. But Jacob was afraid: “Just as the others ultimately descended,” Jacob said, “I fear that I too will fall.”

Throughout the journey of each of our lives, especially as we embark on a new voyage, we will be shown a ladder. As we are ready to undertake a new challenge, we are presented with an opportunity to climb to higher places. But the most important lesson is this: “No matter how difficult it may be, we must never be afraid to climb, even if it means the risk of falling.”

I would like to share a few other thoughts on the event

  1. Injury

I have been very lucky over my time doing triathlons to not have had any major injuries (besides the breaking of my collarbone) that have stopped competing in an event.

I was very disappointed that my friend and training partner Anton “the Demon” Dembo had to pull out of Shepp after tearing the meniscus in his knee and not being able to compete.

I missed the competitive vibe and a training partner on runs and BRICK sessions.

Even though triathlon is an event for individuals, it is great to have others around to share training stories and our crazy complaints.

Good luck Ant with your post operation recovery.

We all need to be very thankful for our health.

  1. Vibe

IMG_9218After a long break you forget the great vibe at these triathlon events in smaller towns. You can feel the atmosphere wherever you go. Within a few minutes you forget all the organisation and logistics to get out of Melbourne, organise your food, organise your equipment and spend a Shabbos in a hotel.

Another highlight is the post event vibe in the “recovery tent”. Thanks, Challenge, for the free massages and an ice-cold beer.

  1. Weather

Living in Melbourne, you never know what the weather is going to be like. So often was I cursing during my training as the weather was brilliant on Shabbos, and Sunday’s were so crap! This year seemed to be particularly windy! Not my favourite when doing long rides on my own. (My other training buddy Alex was on his own training mission to the Dandenongs every week at very unusual hours).

BUT – The weather on race day was brilliant. I never really complain if it is too hot (unless it is windy).

  1. My Race….

To my surprise I had a pretty good night sleep. This is unusual the night before a race. I still got up early to eat, get ready and prepare my bike (I was allowed to hand it in on the Sunday morning).

Alex and got to the venue (literally 100m from the hotel), set up and got our wetsuits on in preparation for the swim and to enjoy a magnificent day.

In a nutshell:

  • Swim – I just kept it steady and avoided collisions. It was a pretty good swim and I felt pretty good getting out the water
  • Transition 1 – Not great – I went to the wrong bike isle! Larry Cohen – Yes my transitions can improve!
  • Bike – Everyone said that Shepp is a flat and fast course. It may be flat, but that I think makes it harder as you do not get break. On the 2nd lap the wind changed, so it made it more difficult. I was about 50m behind Alex, and it was disappointing to see him get pulled up for drafting and losing 5 minutes in the penalty box. Overall it was a good ride.
  • Transition 2 – Loren said to me that I was fast, so I will take her word.
  • Run – This is truly where the race starts. My first few kms were OK, but then it went downhill. I am normally pretty good off the bike, so was surprised by how I felt.

As an athlete “pain” was never in my vocabulary. During a race, I could (usually) convince myself that it simply didn’t exist. Pushing myself beyond the reasonable boundaries of “extreme discomfort” — and holding my effort there — was always my ultimate goal.” – Dave Scott

I could not hold my effort, every time I tried, I had to back off. I have tried to think of why this was so… Was I undertrained, was I overtrained, did I not have the correct nutrition plan, was it in the mind, did I just “bonk” or was it just not my day.

In Alex Hutchinson’s book, Endure: Mind, Body and the Curiously Elastic Limits of Human Performance that I have just read, he says – “Science has confirmed what athletes have always believed: that there’s more in there—if you’re willing to believe it.”

OR – After talking to ex pro Belinda Granger who told me she cannot run fast anymore. Maybe I am just getting old… (See her thoughts below on retirement[3])

  • The Finish – I was extremely happy to push myself to the end and enjoy the run and atmosphere down the finishing shoot.
  1. Lest we forget.

Being 11 November, Remembrance Day, the organisers of the event held a minute silence at the event. While running I heard a gun salute. The race may not have stopped but others did. I noticed lots of people participating at an event at the towns war memorial to honour victims.

In the same way everyone stopped to remember, I need to reflect and acknowledge the hard work put in by all the volunteers at the event. It is unbelievable that people give up a day with family and friends to help a bunch of crazy triathletes.

As normal, I really need to thank my family for their support. They had to wait for me on a Sunday to eat or get out, while I was on a long ride or  run. Thanks. I am now going to REST!

  1. The End

To end a few thoughts from champions:

  • Dave Scott – “Managing fear and pain are learnable skills. No matter your level, you can refine your ability to deal with anxiety and discomfort through purposeful training and visualization exercises.”
  • Anabel Luxford (Woman’s winner) – “After years in the sport there’s a big bank but there’s still no substitute for the work. There’s no magic formula, just consistency week after week. #noshortcuts”
  • Levi Maxwell (Men’s winner) – “Triathlon can be pretty expensive. But if you consider the DOM[4]‘s as part of the value, then that’s exceptional as I can still feel Sunday’s effort.😝

[1] http://davescottinc.com/vintage-dave-managing-fear-and-discomfort/

[2] https://www.meaningfullife.com/vayeitzei-overcoming-fear/

[3] @Belindagranger – My job……I absolutely love my job. I get to work with the best Triathletes in the world…..more than that, they are good people and good friends. Often I get asked ‘do I miss racing?’ and my honest answer is ‘no’. I’d like to think that I’m a sort of ‘mother hen’ to them all. I feel their pain when they don’t achieve what they set out to achieve and I also feel such adulation when they go beyond their expectations. More than anything I want to be there for them at the finish regardless of the outcome, to provide some honest advice and to help them achieve their wildest dreams. Sometimes I wish I could do more, other days I get frustrated and want to give them a clip over the ears but every day I want to be there to help guide them on a wonderful journey. I know I am a lucky girl. I got to live the life of a pro athlete for over 20 years and now I get to work with other pro athletes and help them achieve their dreams of being the best they can be.

[4] DOMS – Delayed Onset of Muscle Soreness

Busyness: Being Busy is Nothing to Brag About

busy2“Busy-ness is a dangerous trap that relinquishes your control to find meaning and fulfillment in life when you are stuck in the quicksand of being busy.” – Caroline Dowd-Higgins (Huffington Post)

Rabbi Sacks in his weekly Blog titled “In the Diary[1]”, says that 50 years ago, the most widespread prediction was that by now almost everything in the world would be automated, the work week would be 20 hours and our biggest problem would be what to do with all our leisure. Instead, most people today find themselves working harder than ever with less and less time to pursue the things that make life meaningful.

My mother often asks me how things are at work and I say that I am busy. She always responds, “Busy is Good!”. BUT, journalist, Hugh Mackay[2]says “Busyness is the greatest of all excuses…in this culture of busyness … we praise their busyness, we admire it, we respect it…”

In Hugh Mackay’s article he lists 3 problems with our addiction to busyness:

  • Lack of sleep;
  • Fear of stillness, solitude, inactivity and boredom; and
  • Distraction from the needs of the people around us.

Rich Roll asks, “Balance, what is work life balance?” How do we navigate the line between our personal and professional lives? How do we manage this busyness?

In an article by Linda Blair entitled “Embrace Boredom, it has its benefits”. She states that most of us consider boredom to be aversive and something that we should try to avoid but claims that there is evidence that boredom leads to more productive thinking. When it comes to generating creative possibilities (divergent thinking) and when we need to find logical solutions to problems (convergent thinking), boredom motivates us to act.

Linda Blair[3], says that one of the problems of a goal obsessed society that has this narrow focus on achieving goals, is that our lives become unbalanced. She does not say that goals are bad or being goal orientated is a bad thing, but she says that once achieved or completed, we need to allow recovery time. Time to spend with family, friends and doing the hobbies we love.

Time management is more than management and larger than time. It is about life itself” – Rabbi Jonathan Sack. According to Rabbi Sacks, we should all use a diary and not rely exclusively on To Do Lists. He says that the most successful people schedule their most important tasks in their diary, that unless the task is in their diary, it won’t get done. To do lists are useful but not sufficient. They remind us of what has to be done, but not when. A diary connects what with when.

In Alex Banyan’s Book, “The third door: The Wild Quest to Uncover How the World’s Most Successful People Launched Their Careers”, he credits some advice to Warren Buffet. It is alleged that Buffet suggests if you have 25 items on a to do list, select the 5 most important and put them on a separate list called Priority and the rest Secondary.

In a podcast with Rich Roll and his wife Julie, she maintains that we all need to schedule time for our relationships.[4]Your relationship is as important as any other project.

Minimalist, Jonathan Fields in his Blog posts often talks about Busyness. He says that, individuals and organizations all too often wear busyness as a badge of honour[5]. Reactive busyness, pace without a purpose, taking on more than the next person without regard to whether it really matters is how we’re taught we get ahead. Except, it’s a lie. Fields calls this “Reactive Life Syndrome”. He says that “Reactive Life Syndrome” is not a badge of honour, it is a symptom of surrender. He calls this his Unbusy manifesto,[6]your awareness is a wakeup call that shakes you from living on autopilot in a reactive and maniacally busy life into owning the possibility and responsibility to choose your behaviour from this moment forward. It’s a call to reclaim your humanity, live from a place of intention, space and grace.

In a recent Kwik Brain Podcast with Jim Kwik[7], he says that there are times in life where you might find yourself overwhelmed. You might have a long to-do list, insane demands, and not enough time. All these action items may appear to be high priority tasks, and you’re carrying the weight of it all. He says that we need to “… work smart, not just hard …” He goes on and says that you need to become more efficient.

We all need to abolish the busy brag and focus on a life and career with meaning, value, and joy. Don’t forget to add playtime to your day and reach out to your accountability partners for support and encouragement.[8]

So as Hugh Mackay ends, the next time someone asks you if you are busy, consider how you might respond…

[1]Covenant & Conversations – Torah Portion Emor 2018

[2]The Saturday Herald Sun – 21 April 2018

[3]Having a Goal is good but …. – The Age 13 June 2018

[4]The Mind Body Green podcast – Episode 57

[5]https://qz.com/845419/jonathan-fields-the-unbusy-manifesto-how-to-slow-down-chill-out-and-live-life-more-intentionally/

[6]http://www.jonathanfields.com/unbusy/

[7]https://itunes.apple.com/au/podcast/64-work-smart-not-hard/id1208024744?i=1000415081076&mt=2

[8]https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/being-busy-is-nothing-to-brag-about_us_5a4b9a6de4b0d86c803c7971

PERSEVERANCE!

There are no fast tracks. Lasting achievement takes time. You can never get there by the shortest road. The harder it gets, the stronger you become.” – Rabbi Sacks

Torah Parsha (Portion) Vayikra in a Nutshell from http://www.chabad.org

G‑d calls to Moses from the Tent of Meeting, and communicates to him the laws of the korbanot, the animal and meal offerings brought in the Sanctuary. These include:

  • The “ascending offering” (olah) that is wholly raised to G‑d by the fire atop the altar;
  • Five varieties of “meal offering” (minchah) prepared with fine flour, olive oil and frankincense;
  • The “peace offering” (shelamim), whose meat was eaten by the one bringing the offering, after parts are burned on the altar and parts are given to the kohanim (priests);
  • The different types of “sin offering” (chatat) brought to atone for transgressions committed erroneously by the high priest, the entire community, the king or the ordinary Jew;
  • The “guilt offering” (asham) brought by one who has misappropriated property of the Sanctuary, who is in doubt as to whether he transgressed a divine prohibition, or who has committed a “betrayal against G‑d” by swearing falsely to defraud a fellow man

The ideas for this Blog have been formed over the holiday period where I had time to relax, spend time with my wife Loren, discuss things with her, read, watch movies and listen to Podcasts. The ideas apply to all aspects of our lives.

In Antonia Garcia’s biography of Elon Musk, he talks about Musk’s perseverance “…the harder it gets, the better he gets. I’ve never seen anything like his ability to take pain.[1]

Twice over the holidays, I questioned whether I should persevere with something:

The first was a movie that Loren and I watched called Mother[2]. We decided to give it a go as it had a very good cast, as the movie got weirder, we considered stopping, but continued… WHY? To make matters worse, the next day we tried to discuss what the movie was actually about. After our discussion, I decided to look for a write-up on the internet and found a post that said the movie had these biblical themes and compared the movie to the creation and the characters, to Adam and Eve. Loren and I both said – really? There are definitely times when it is not worth persevering with something… You just need to know when to stop or give up.

The second was listening to a Podacst[3] with Shaman Durek. Shamans[4] typically work with the spirit or the soul. Shaman means, one who know or sees. After a few minutes, I thought this guy is wacky, and I am going to give the Podcast a miss, but he had such a gentle, calming voice, that I decided to persevere. This perseverance was very worthwhile as he shared many great lessons. He does not like words that keep you in limbo and he says you should try to avoid them. This state of limbo is an intermediate or transitional state. He talks about two types of Limbo. The limbo, where you stop to either observe or to stop to make better decisions. The other limbo is where you are, what he calls, desecrating yourself, by thinking of all the bad things that may occur and you get stuck. He says that there are words that we use that keep us stuck in limbo. These include: – Maybe (Rather be honest, you need to commit), Hope, I think So, I don’t know (Means we don’t have power. Rather say that I will go find out! He spoke about religion and shared some general thoughts on religion. He asks the following overriding questions about Religion – Does it lead to love? Do you have more connection to people? Do you feel more devotion or service? Interesting thoughts to consider.

In an article[5] on cricketer Glenn Maxwell he said that he had to focus on being the cricketer he wanted to be “… with a concerted effort to not just train hard, but also maintain the path regardless of the roadblocks

I love to do endurance events. Normally after doing an event, I do a post-event Blog on some of the lessons that I have learnt from the event. During the holiday period, I did two very tough events, that needed lots of perseverance to get through.

In January I did a 56 km trail run called The Two Bays Trail Run. It is a run from Cape Schanck on the Mornington Peninsula to Dromana and back. I have to say this was one of the hardest runs that I have ever done. Besides being very long, I did not have that much trail experience and some of the hills, climbs and steps were very tough. It really took grit and determination to get through this. I am not one who likes to walk on a run, but I just had to walk at times. Doing these events really gives you time to think and reflect.

You need to smell the roses and enjoy the views, enjoy the atmosphere and acknowledge the support on the route. I could never have done the training on my own and I most definitely could not have done the event without my training Buddy, Aubrey. Without Aub’s support, I am not sure I would have got through this. In an excellent Article in the Age in January 2018, Caroline Wozniackis, fiancé, the ex NBA basketballer, David Lee questions these individual sports, like tennis “…you know, it’s gotta be a lonely feeling out there…” He goes on to say that in a team sport, you can say, “…my coach didn’t do this, or my teammate didn’t do that, so it’s a little bit of a different situation in a team sport.”[6]

 “Perseverance is also key to success in any endeavour, but without perseverance in combat, there can be no victory.” –  Jocko Willink

Earlier this month, I joined a group of fellow cyclists from Sydney and Melbourne to ride in the mountains near Bright in Victoria. Bright is a really beautiful part of the world. Day 1 included a climb up to the top of Falls Creek. The 30km climb from Mt. Beauty to Falls Creek is one of the longest in the Victorian Alps and also one of the most picturesque. While there are several downhill sections and plenty of opportunities to rest in the middle section of the climb, the overall length means you need good endurance to get through this climb. Yip, it took looks of endurance and soul searching to stay with the group to the top. The final 6 km was the real killer. If you stop peddling, you will not get to the top and if you keep peddling, then you will keep moving. You need to turn the big goal into small steps. I read an article titled “6 lessons one CEO learned from biking with Richard Branson”[7], it highlights the following:

  • Focus on yourself – “…you have to trust your own instincts about the right plan for you…
  • Get advice from others – “Listen to people who have done it…” or in my case, just stay on their tail and hold on for dear life.
  • Focus on the present – “Looking over your shoulder or dwelling on the past doesn’t get you anywhere”
  • Smile – “For whatever reason, just smiling and having a sense of humour about an outrageous endeavour works” or in my case, just trying to be talkative as it numbs the pain.

So, what does perseverance mean to you?

It is defined as “continued effort to do or achieve something despite difficulties, failure, or opposition.

“The effort you put into something does not just change the object: it changes you. The greater the labour, the greater the love for what you have made.” – Rabbi Sacks

[1] The Saturday Herald Sun – 10 February 2018

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mother!

[3] https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/mindbodygreen-podcast-motivational-interviews-covering/id1246494475?mt=2

[4] Shamans work with the spirit or the soul

[5] The Saturday Herald Sun – 10 February 2018

[6] http://www.smh.com.au/sport/tennis/2018-australian-open-caroline-wozniackis-fiance-david-lee-talks-about-individual-pressure-20180126-h0ou1d.html

[7] https://www.cnbc.com/2016/10/14/6-lessons-one-ceo-learned-from-biking-with-richard-branson.html

The Journey Plan

Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.” Steve Jobs

Torah Portion (“Parsha”) Vayechi in a nutshell from http://www.chabad.org

Jacob lives the final 17 years of his life in Egypt. Before his passing, he asks Joseph to take an oath that he will bury him in the Holy Land. He blesses Joseph’s two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim, elevating them to the status of his own sons as progenitors of tribes within the nation of Israel.

The patriarch desires to reveal the end of days to his children, but is prevented from doing so. 

Jacob blesses his sons, assigning to each his role as a tribe: Judah will produce leaders, legislators and kings; priests will come from Levi, scholars from Issachar, seafarers from Zebulun, schoolteachers from Simeon, soldiers from Gad, judges from Dan, olive-growers from Asher, and so on. Reuben is rebuked for “confusing his father’s marriage bed”; Simeon and Levi, for the massacre of Shechem and the plot against Joseph. Naphtali is granted the swiftness of a deer, Benjamin the ferociousness of a wolf, and Joseph is blessed with beauty and fertility. 

A large funeral procession consisting of Jacob’s descendants, Pharaoh’s ministers, the leading citizens of Egypt and the Egyptian cavalry accompanies Jacob on his final journey to the Holy Land, where he is buried in the Machpelah Cave in Hebron. 

Joseph, too, dies in Egypt, at the age of 110. He, too, instructs that his bones be taken out of Egypt and buried in the Holy Land, but this would come to pass only with the Israelites’ exodus from Egypt many years later. Before his passing, Joseph conveys to the Children of Israel the testament from which they will draw their hope and faith in the difficult years to come: “G‑d will surely remember you, and bring you up out of this land to the land of which He swore to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.”


Well another year is gone… Time to plan for the new year, set new goals and challenges. Part of the process, I think includes reflecting on the past. WHY do we set goals and challenges? I suppose we set them to try and achieve success. Success can be defined in many ways. Our ‘goals’ may be family, work & business, personal, financial.

In a newsletter post by triathlon coach, Simon Ward[1], he says that for an athlete, it is about setting challenging goals and achieving them, regardless of your ability level. Achieving these goals makes you a ‘winner’.

Yaacov Avinu blesses all his children and two of his grandchildren, but does not bless them in order of age. Rabbi Elozor M. Preil[2] says that this message of Yaakov speaks to us today. Rabbi Preill says “It does not matter where in the family line-up you happened to have been born. Whether you are the oldest, the youngest, or anywhere in between, your destiny is in your own hands. You can achieve your goals to the degree that you are willing to dedicate yourself to achieving those goals. It is all is up to you.”

Simon Ward has come to the conclusion that we all need 4 things to be successful. He calls this our – Journey Plan. His journey plan is made up of 4 steps. The first 3 steps are pretty obvious and easy to understand, but what caught my attention was the 4th step on his journey.

  1. DreamThis is the result you want to achieve. This could be anything from running your first 5k, swimming the channel to representing your country. It doesn’t have to be athletic. You could also choose running your own business or buying a house. Some people suggest that goals/dreams should be big and scary and that might be right but not so scary that they put you off. Big and scary enough to excite you and install a bit of fear at the same time. Something that is going to get you out of your comfort zone. You could call this the destination of your journey
  2. PlanIn order to get to your destination, you need to have a plan. There will be the most efficient way to get there or the scenic way – the one where you don’t have accurate guidance and you keep making wrong turns. The military are fond of saying that “no plan survives contact with the enemy” so you must expect obstacles, but keep moving forward
  3. Workthe route to the destination still needs to be traveled. At some point, you are going to have to do some work. A big dream requires constant drive and resilience. Assuming your dream is taking you into the unknown then your obstacles will also be unknown to you and likely to be bigger and tougher to overcome than previously. There will be times when you feel like quitting. That’s OK…as long as you don’t.
  4. Environment Finally even in the solo endurance sports that I am connected with no one is on that journey alone. Everyone needs a team and one within an environment designed to allow success. That team will contain coaches to guide and inspire and to be accountable to and to challenge you. You will have supporters to pat you on the back when things go write and to console you when they don’t. And you will have training partners who you can share the load with, who will drag you out when you don’t want to go and will push you harder when you do.

The secret to longevity, as I see it, has less to do with diet, or even exercise, and more to do with the environment in which a person lives: social and physical. What do I mean by this? They live rewardingly inconvenient lives.” Dan Buettner[3]

liferadius760x428I really found this idea of ‘environment’ very interesting. This applies to the people we train with, our homes, workplaces and the places we live. There seems to be a link between reaching or achieving our goals and success and the environment in which we work, train, play etc. In Dan Buettner’s book “The Blue Zones of Happiness”, he links our happiness with our environment. He describes environment as your ‘life radius[4]’. Your life radius is your surroundings and he says that you can shape your surroundings. He says to achieve or goals, success and happiness we need to set up our home, workplaces, finances, social network, training partners and inner life to favour happiness and success. Without being in this ‘happy place’ we cannot succeed.

If you haven’t yet started planning your journey for 2018 and beyond then please take a moment to think about…. the Dream, the Work, the Plan, the Environment. You must own these.” – Simon Ward

Simon Ward goes on to say that along the journey, you may need a mentor, coach, help, support and you may need to make adjustments if you go off course (like satellite navigation) but you must do the driving to your destination.

Dan Buettner uses this word “Moais” (pronounced mow-eye). Moais are social support groups that form in order to provide varying support from social, financial, health, or spiritual interests. Moai means “meeting for a common purpose” in Japanese and originated from the social support groups in Okinawa, Japan.

In the MBG Podcast with guest GT Dave[5] (The king of Kombucha), GT Dave talks about energy. In a way this ‘energy’ is similar to the environment, as without this energy, you won’t succeed – He says, “Energy is everything…Energy around us plays a role in everything…the people you surround yourself, surround yourself with great energy… invite great energy… grow.” He links this ‘energy’ with the ability to grow and I suppose achieve success?

You may come up with other traits and skills that you need but regardless of your particular journey everyone needs these four items.

You see, it’s never the environment; it’s never the events of our lives, but the meaning we attach to the events – how we interpret them – that shapes who we are today and who we’ll become tomorrow.” Tony Robbins

0a194acd-1700-43ab-bfe8-6817f29ee73fMy first goal for 2018 is to do the Two Bays Trail Run. It’s a 56km trail run on the Mornington Peninsula, from Cape Schanck to Dromana return. My mate Aubrey had the dream to do this event and I have joined him on the journey. We have had a training plan and have put in the miles, now we just need the support of our fellow runners on the day to complete this epic ultra-run. Should be lots of fun. (Yip, I had to qualify to do this run!)

To end a quote from Kayla Itsnes “Set a goal, Make a plan, Do it!” – She says – “This is something I talk a lot …. Don’t just set goals like “get fit, read more, go to gym” … actually make a PLAN for your goals. Set a goal, make a plan on HOW you are going to get there. Write down something that MAY get in the way of that plan and find ways to overcome those. Once you have done ALL of that… THEN you will be ready for 2018!!

I loved this thought for 2018 from @thinkgrowprosper

“In 2018, I hope you get rich.

Rich in knowledge.

Rich in adventure.

Rich in laughter.

Rich in family.

Rich in health.

Rich in love.”

[1]http://www.simonwardtriathloncoach.com

[2]https://www.ou.org/oupress/excerpts/coming-of-age-an-anthology-of-divrei-torah-for-bar-and-bat-mitzvah-parshat-vayechi/

[3]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dan_Buettner

[4] The life radius—the environment where people spend about 80 percent of their lives.

[5]https://www.inc.com/magazine/201503/tom-foster/the-king-of-kombucha.html

#Wellness

“I’ve always wanted to be in the health and wellness business. I try to encourage people to live a healthy lifestyle.” – Mark Wahlberg

This week’s Parsha, Mikeitz in a nutshell from www.chabad.org

Joseph’s imprisonment finally ends when Pharaoh dreams of seven fat cows that are swallowed up by seven lean cows, and of seven fat ears of grain swallowed by seven lean years. Joseph interprets the dreams to mean that seven years of plenty will be followed by seven years of hunger, and advises Pharaoh to store grain during the plentiful years. Pharaoh appoints Joseph governor of Egypt. Joseph marries Asenath, daughter of Potiphar, and they have two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim. 

Famine spreads throughout the region, and food can be obtained only in Egypt. Ten of Joseph’s brothers come to Egypt to purchase grain; the youngest, Benjamin, stays home, for Jacob fears for his safety. Joseph recognizes his brothers, but they do not recognize him; he accuses them of being spies, insists that they bring Benjamin to prove that they are who they say they are, and imprisons Simeon as a hostage. Later, they discover that the money they paid for their provisions has been mysteriously returned to them.

Jacob agrees to send Benjamin only after Judah assumes personal and eternal responsibility for him. This time Joseph receives them kindly, releases Simeon, and invites them to an eventful dinner at his home. But then he plants his silver goblet, purportedly imbued with magic powers, in Benjamin’s sack. When the brothers set out for home the next morning, they are pursued, searched, and arrested when the goblet is discovered. Joseph offers to set them free and retain only Benjamin as his slave.


It has been a while since my last Blog, apologies to all those who have missed my Blogs. With the year coming to an end, lots of people have New Year resolutions or commentators come out with predictions for the new year. As someone who loves a #healthylifestyle, MindBodyGreen’s trend for 2018 has caught my eye.

In 2017, the definition of “wellness” shifted. At mindbodygreen, we know that wellness is bigger than any individual’s journey. We are banding together to heal one another, our communities, and the planet. …., and so is our new mantra, one we hope will illuminate the way to a better, brighter 2018: You. We. All.”

 Being Chanukah, I thought I would share a thought than links in with these themes of wellness. The miracle of Chanukah is not just about a little bit of oil lasting eight days. It is about the inner healing light within each of us. Chanukah is a time when we can celebrate this inner healing light as we move toward wellness. Chanukah is also about the miracle of survival against all odds, about hope, courage and belief in one’s ability to overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles[1]. What I really liked in the article was a list of wellness thoughts for each night of Chanukah:

First night:

…, we light this candle for the health and wellness of our bodies.

Second night:

…, we light this candle for the health and wellness of our minds.

Third night:

…, we light this candle for the health and wellness of our souls.

Fourth night:

…, we light this candle for the health and wellness of our children.

Fifth night:

…, we light this candle for the health and wellness of our parents.

Sixth night:

…, we light this candle for the health and wellness of our communities.

Seventh night:

…, we light this candle for the restoration of health and wellness to those who are ill, suffering, or grieving.

Eighth night:

…, we light this candle for the health and wellness of our world.

Michaela - Flying Fox 2.jpgWe are all very critical of the Millennials and there is a lot written about their attitude to work, friends, relationships, technology, religion etc. BUT what amazes me about the millennials that goes against so much that is written about them is that the Millennials have become more “civic-minded” with a strong sense of community both local and global. They are socially aware and care for the wellness of others and the world. Over the last few years, I have watched the growth of the youth-led organisation, Flying Fox. Flying Fox is a network of fun and life-changing opportunities that connect people with a disability and the community. This year I was very proud of my daughter, Michaela and a few of her school buddies who volunteered as “buddies” on their Camp Sababa. Camp Sababa Junior is a camp for 8-16 year olds with special needs. Campers are supported by Flying Fox trained year-12 graduates and professional support staff on the camps that have the aim of providing kids with the most fun time. Well done Flying Fox team and Michaela.

GP_82Birthday_PLANK4PLAYER-copy-1600x807There is so much that can be written on wellness, but I would like to share a thought on a true ‘wellness warrior’, Gary Player. Gary has a passion for health, fitness, wellness and nutrition and has pioneered the way the modern golfers prepare themselves for tour golf. Gary is showing us by example how to remain ‘ageless’. I noticed on the Wellness Wednesday! Podacst[2], that in honour of Gary’s 82nd birthday people are planking for 82 seconds when they wake up in the morning and posting to Instagram & Twitter #Plank4Player – Go Gary!

#plank4player • Instagram photos and videosAs we come to the end of each year we need to spend some time on reflecting on the past year and planning for the new year. What is your wellness plan for the new year?

“It’s time to use the incredible practices we have established to make the world a better place for ourselves, our children, and our planet. Here’s to a progressive 2018!” – MindBodyGreen

[1] http://mochajuden.com/?tag=chanukah

[2] http://debbienigro.com/wellness-wednesday-mikes-organic-delivery-and-gary-player/

Autism Speaks

..sometimes, the greatest dreams are the ones your heart fears.” – RM Drake[1]

This week’s Parsha Chaya Sara in nutshell from www.chabad.org

Sarah dies at age 127 and is buried in the Machpelah Cave in Hebron, which Abraham purchases from Ephron the Hittite for four hundred shekels of silver.

Abraham’s servant Eliezer is sent, laden with gifts, to Charan, to find a wife for Isaac. At the village well, Eliezer asks G‑d for a sign: when the maidens come to the well, he will ask for some water to drink; the woman who will offer to give his camels to drink as well shall be the one destined for his master’s son. 

Rebecca, the daughter of Abraham’s nephew Bethuel, appears at the well and passes the “test.” Eliezer is invited to their home, where he repeats the story of the day’s events. Rebecca returns with Eliezer to the land of Canaan, where they encounter Isaac praying in the field. Isaac marries Rebecca, loves her, and is comforted over the loss of his mother.

Abraham takes a new wife, Keturah (Hagar), and fathers six additional sons, but Isaac is designated as his only heir. Abraham dies at age 175 and is buried beside Sarah by his two eldest sons, Isaac and Ishmael.


 

Out on my bike ride on Sunday, I was reflecting on a Drosha that I had read on Parsha Vayeira and had shared with my family at the Shabbat table. A few things had brought me to reflecting on this including a presentation on Asperger’s in the workplace at the Institute of Chartered Accountants, advertising at David Jones for a new hand cream promoting the charity Autism Speaks and TV programs such as Atypical[2] (on Netflix) and The Good Doctor[3].

In last week’s Parsha, the Torah describes how Avraham rushed to prepare a meal for his guests, the angels, and tells us that they ate while he “stood over them under the tree” (18:8). In a Drosha from Rav David Silverberg[4] he says that the angels came to Avraham to deliver the message that Sara would soon conceive, and this necessitated their descent into this world and acting as human beings, partaking of a lavish meal.  This resulted in a “vacancy” in the heavens, as their heavenly roles went unfulfilled.  Therefore, Avraham “stood over them” – he rose to the heavens to serve the angels’ roles.  As they had come to earth and acted like human beings, Avraham rose to the heavens to fill the roles which the angels would normally have filled.

Rav David Silverberg says that just as these angels were sent away from the heavens, far from their normal surroundings, to engage in our world, similarly, we human beings are capable of extending beyond our familiar “worlds” and reaching higher.  Too often, we assume that we are who we are, that we are restricted to our current lifestyle, routine, habits, character and religious standards. Amazing Race presenter, Phil Keoghan in a Podcast[5] called this a “Mental Leap”. “Because you have taken a mental leap with something that is quite primal and quite physical, you’re more likely to take another challenge.” – Phil Keoghan

Write about the emotions you fear the most.” ― Laurie Halse Anderson

After hearing an author tell me he had failed English, I told Michaela that once she is finished her VCE exam, it is up to her to reach higher or do things that she never thought that she was capable of. She is going to have to morph from this life as a school student – Good Luck!

It takes a village to raise a child. It takes a child with autism to raise the consciousness of the village,” Coach Elaine Hall

BUT, what I was thinking on my bike was how Sam had in effect swapped roles this week at school. Throughout his learning and schooling, he has had to be helped and supported by his teachers, aides and school friends. This process has not been easy for us, and as we have learnt it has not been easy for him. There are so many things that he battles with – Sam loves to socialise, but battles socialising. Over the last few weeks as he has learnt more about his condition, Sam, the school and us have been working towards Sam talking to the boys in his year level about his ‘trials’. Last week Sam swapped roles and became the teacher. Sam made a PowerPoint presentation about his condition and what he battles with. I wish I had a YouTube video of his speech that was apparently brilliant, but I will share the actual PowerPoint[6].

On the side, walking in David Jones on Friday I noticed this display for a hand cream with the wrapping designed by actor Matthew McConaughey in aid of an organisation, Autism Speaks. Autism Speaks is dedicated to promoting solutions, across the spectrum and throughout the lifespan, for the needs of individuals with autism and their families through advocacy and support; increasing understanding and acceptance of people with autism spectrum disorder; and advancing research into causes and better interventions for autism spectrum disorder and related conditions. Autism Speaks enhances lives today and is accelerating a spectrum of solutions for tomorrow.

So often when thinking of a blog, I come across so much material on the topic including a brilliant 20-minute short film[7] titled “Jeremy the Dud”, the new short film that flips disability on its head. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qFcFpWzIQNk While ‘Jeremy the Dud’ takes a tongue-in-cheek approach to subverting the typical stigma and judgement that people with disability may face on a daily basis, at its core has a beautifully heartfelt message.

Lewis - Untitled-design-54During the month of November, men are asked to make a more conscious effort to improve ‘their’ health. This is diet, physical and mental health. Men need to ‘swap’ their roles or as Lewis Howes[8] says, “Unmask their masculinity”. I listened to a brilliant Podcast[9] with Lewis on unmasking masculinity and another brilliant Podcast[10] with Movember founder Justin Coghlan (“JC”) on The Men’s Health Crisis, Mustaches & How To Save A Life.

The story of the angels thus challenges us to set our sights higher, to carefully examine what we perceive as our limits, and see which of these boundaries we are capable of breaking in the pursuit of greater achievements.” – Rav David Silverberg

To end a quote[11] from golfer Ernie Els’s wife Lizl “Ernie’s relationship with (his Autistic son) Ben has gone from, ‘What am I going to do with this kid?’ to ‘When can I spend time with him again?‘” she said. “It’s been a beautiful evolution.”

Watching our kids grow and change has been an evolution!

NOTE: Rav David Silverberg brings another beautiful idea to this week’s Parsha, which is worth reading[12] “…Just as Rivka’s family was shown that Rivka was, in fact, chosen for the distinction and challenge of joining Avraham’s family, we, too, may at times be shown that we are capable of more than we had previously thought.”

[1] https://twitter.com/rmdrk?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atypical

[3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Good_Doctor_(TV_series)

[4] https://mizrachi.org/breaking-glass-ceiling/

[5] http://theforwardpodcast.libsyn.com/phil-keoghan

[6] https://www.dropbox.com/s/cnd402pyaxbnwi2/171107%20-%20PowerPoint%20-%20About%20me%20and%20how%20you%20can%20help%20version%202.pptx?dl=0

[7] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qFcFpWzIQNk

[8] https://twitter.com/LewisHowes?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor

[9] http://www.richroll.com/podcast/lewis-howes-3/

[10] https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/jc-of-movember-on-the-mens-health-crisis-mustaches-how-to-save-a-life

[11] Read more: http://www.afr.com/lifestyle/health/ernie-els-discovers-his-inner-voice-is-quietened-by-a-son-slow-to-speak-20160613-gphwui#

[12] http://etzion.org.il/en/salt-sunday-16-cheshvan-5778-november-5-2017