Sunday, August 24, 2008

Emotions of Olympic Proportions

Man, I'm a mess.

I don't know what it is about this year's Olympics, but from the moment I saw those electronic drums at the opening ceremonies to seeing the huge Olympic flame extinguished tonight, I'm buying stock in Kleenex.

There were so many amazing stories of heart and soul and grit and I felt privileged to be a part of the viewing audience.

I'm a former college basketball All-American so I know what it means to train hard and want to win so badly you can taste it. But I can't imagine everything that goes into the dream that only comes around every 4 years and then see that dream dashed in a heartbeat.

I'm thinking especially of Lolo Jones in the hurdles.

I was SO IMPRESSED with Lolo's interview immediately after her race. She was so poised and gracious after her fall at the 9th hurdle, but when they showed her later under the stadium my heart broke for her as she leaned against the wall sobbing.

Then there was Shawn Johnson who finally got her gold medal on the beam. And her Chinese coach coming home for the Olympics with his star student? Don't get me started. And I literally jumped up when Jonathan Horton completed his routine on the high bar last night.

Well, what can I say about Michael (he doesn't need a last name, does he?)? Here's a great article about Michael's sisters' influence referenced by Dave Rothacker at Joyful Jubilant Learning.

Then there's 41-year-old Dara Torres and her amazing silvers as well as the sportsmanship she demonstrated when she stopped her preliminary race to allow one of her competitors a chance to fix a ripped suit.

Among the other many amazing stories that touched me were these:

Those unbelievable handoffs in the relays that dashed Olympic dreams for at least 3 teams. The men's basketball team draping Coach K with their medals. Debbie Phelps in the stands. Natalie du Toit of South Africa competing with half a leg in the open water swim against able-bodied athletes. The men's volleyball team winning the gold while coach Hugh McCutcheon talks about the joy and the sorrow he's experiencing after winning the gold and losing his father-in-law to a random killer.

I'm so grateful that I had a chance to experience these special moments, even though it meant I didn't get nearly enough sleep these last two weeks.

I don't know what I'll do with myself now that this year's Olympics are over. I'll just look forward to 2012 in London.

And stock up on the Kleenex.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


As many of you may know, I sing with the City of Lakes Sweet Adeline Chorus and we are preparing for the international convention and competition in Honolulu the first week of November (I know, I know - but someone has to do it!).

This post is from a presentation I prepared for this week's rehearsal, but I think it applies to many aspects of life.

I have a simple green journal with the single word "RETHINK" on the front where I like to record thoughts. Here is what I observed last week:

Every result we either witness or produce in our lives starts first and foremost with a thought. And a thought is either a BELIEF or a KNOWING.

What’s the difference? - you may ask. A BELIEF is something that you’ve practiced over time without questioning it until it has become a HABIT. Examples of BELIEFS we may have are “I’ll never be good with money because no one in my family has ever been good with money” or “I’m not expressive because I’m Norwegian” or “That will never work because we’ve tried it before” or “I can’t ____________ because ______________.”

Any time you sense a “BECAUSE” it’s usually a signal that you feel the need to justify a BELIEF.

Many times BELIEFS get perpetuated because we just don’t question them – we treat them as facts without really thinking of them at all. “It’s just the way it is.”

KNOWINGS, on the other hand, may be thought of as those BELIEFS which have been challenged and found to be true. KNOWINGS are not just given to us from the outside, they come from the inside. You may not have proof for your KNOWING, but there’s really no need to prove or to justify what you KNOW.

When you examine the results your thoughts are producing OUTSIDE of you, it’s a really fun experiment to examine which results are produced from your KNOWLEDGE and which are from your BELIEFS.

Results don’t lie. Results just ARE what they ARE.

The really neat thing about realizing this distinction is that your present results are absolutely no indication of your future success.

So how does this relate to our chorus? Well, it may be obvious to some of us that we need to BELIEVE in ourselves, in our abilities and our talents. But to others that BELIEF may be something that has been handed to us from someone else. We know we are SUPPOSED to BELIEVE in ourselves, but we’ve never really taken the time to examine those beliefs. There may be some of us who have never really thought about what our results are showing us. We know we are SUPPOSED to believe that we can do anything, but our results aren’t proving that out. There may be a disconnect between what we BELIEVE (this is what someone else tells us we SHOULD do) and what we KNOW (this is what our gut … our intuition … tells us). Sometimes our KNOWING doesn’t match our BELIEFS – or our SHOULDS. There’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, that awareness gives us a lot of power because we get to make different choices.

So let’s say I’m new to the chorus and I really have no idea what all this competition stuff is about. I just don’t really know whether or not I can do everything the leaders are asking me to do – I don’t know what choreography is or how it fits into the entire picture. I might tell myself – based on some old conditioning – that I can’t move or emote or put it all together because, after all, “we didn’t do that in my high school choir.” I don’t really BELIEVE what I’m doing and I know I should, but I can’t seem to get it all together.

Or, let’s say I’ve been in this chorus for 10 years and I’ve heard this same stuff over and over. “They keep telling me to sing technically correct, but also to feel what I’m singing. I have to put my hand up here and get the arm extended at just the right angle. I know this stuff, but I just can’t do it good enough.” That’s a BELIEF – and it’s come from what you’ve told yourself over and over. “I’m not good enough.”

Or, let’s say I’ve been in this chorus for 5 years and I am totally excited about singing and emoting and being the best I can be. I just KNOW that our leadership is giving us every tool to succeed and if I just put my heart in the singing, everything else will take care of itself. I know WHY I come to rehearsal and I’m just letting that KNOWING carry me through. I don’t have to question every detail because I trust that if I put in the work to learn my music and my choreography, the music will sing from my soul. I KNOW that – I don’t have to have someone tell me that.

Sometimes what we say and what we really know are in conflict. If I tell myself I BELIEVE we can win the gold medal but I don’t really KNOW it (it hasn’t made it from my head to my heart), that will not produce the results I want. It will produce results, but they will be less than what I say I want – they will be congruent with my conflicted knowing.

If we challenge our old BELIEFS – those things that were told to us by someone else, even if it’s someone in this chorus telling me that I have to BELIEVE in us and in myself – we may find that we really did KNOW this stuff all along. And when we come to trust our KNOWING despite what someone else tells us or what we’ve told ourselves, that’s where the magic happens. When our KNOWING and our BELIEFS are in harmony, that’s when we make the most beautiful music.

What do you BELIEVE? What do you KNOW? Is there a difference? Challenge your old beliefs and start to get in touch with what you KNOW.

The RESULTS will speak for themselves.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Are you a HUBBIE?

I have become very interested in a new organization called H.U.B. which stands for Humanity Unites Brilliance.

H.U.B. is a unique business model that delivers the answers to the Question,: “How can I GIVE to others and RECEIVE total abundance for myself?”

H.U.B. has assembled an action organization to move each of us, and our world, from survival to self sustainment and even abundance. Shifting out of the current “lack” paradigm of existence and into the “abundant” sustainability model is the single most significant decision we must each face today.

I'm embarrassed to say that I've been focusing locally for so many years that I haven't been really awake to global situations. What I'm learning is that if we want to raise awareness in our local communities - even down to the individual and personal development focus - we need to start making the shift in places where they just don't have access to the same information we do - places like Africa, for example.

I'm excited about H.U.B. for many reasons, not the least of which is my passion for learning and growing. I love that this organization sets up a marketplace where I can sell my books and connect with others who share similar passions so that I can learn globally and share globally.

I've written before here how enthusiastic I am about Peter Block's new book "Community." H.U.B. takes the concepts from Peter's book and blows them up to a worldwide perspective and that really resonates with me.

If you're interested in more information about H.U.B., click on the logo above, or let me know how I can give you more information.