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Readiness For Action

Readiness For Action.

The Power of Gratitude

The Power of Gratitude.

Jenna Martin, an Olympian who inpires the next generation of athletes graciously

“DeeDee Trotter of the U.S. and Jenna Martin of Canada run their women's 400m heat in the rain during the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium”;

“Excellence is not a singular act but a habit. You are what you do repeatedly.”  Shaquille O’Neal.

I was inspired to write today after a long lapse because I was so impressed with Jenna Martin, a 400M track Olympian who touched the lives of up and coming young sprinters yesterday at a practice in Dartmouth Nova Scotia. 


My daughter is a 100m and 300m hurdler and was practicing with her Halifast track and field club yesterday when out of the blue Jenna Martin and her fiancé, Cincinnati Bengal DeQuin Evans, showed up to get a last practice in before the 2013 World Track and Field Trials in Moncton June 20-23rd, 2013.  It was interesting to watch the very talented provincial level athletes slowly become aware of Jenna’s presence on the field as she began her own individual warm-up.   Both male and female sprinters immediately stepped up their intensity with their practice drills.  Their age and calibur didn’t matter, everyone stepped up their game.  Just her presence alone provided the motivation to perform at the top of their ability.  While this is impressive, it was Jenna and DeQuin’s personal interactions with the athletes that inspired me to write today.

Let’s start with DeQuin who stayed at the back of the practice area, quietly watching Jenna.  My daughter recognized him as an NFL player and went up and asked him if she was right.  He confirmed he played in the NFL and they had a 10 minute conversation about how she loved the Alabama Crimson Tide and how he had played for their rival team Kentucky.  He was relaxed and very engaging and my daughter introduced DeQuin to a another sprinter who plays on the provincial Football team.  Apparently they talked for a long time and DeQuin was very inspiring and helpful to this up and coming athlete. 

Now back to Jenna, she was completing her very thorough warm-up routine but as the Halifast practice was coming to an end, she stopped her warm-up and casually talked to a number of the sprinters as they were heading off the track.  My daughter and her friend were clearing up the hurdles and Jenna stopped to talk to them for 2-3 minutes. She asked them questions about their next meet. She asked how they were doing and Jenna confessed she was nervous about the world trials.  They both told her she didn’t have to worry.  Jenna was so casual and real it was incredible.  She is an accomplished athlete, but she was still “one of the girls” on the track.  She is exceptionally pretty and very fit.  Both my daughter and her friend were inspired by Jenna’s fitness level, her performance level, her beauty but most of all that she took the time to chat with them.  

We all get very busy, and Jenna is no exception with World trials starting tomorrow but she took the time to give back selflessly.  That is graceful leadership in motion.


“In the end, it’s extra effort that separates a winner from second  place. But winning takes a lot more that, too. It starts with  complete command of the fundamentals. Then it takes desire,  determination, discipline, and self-sacrifice. And finally, it takes a  great deal of love, fairness and respect for your fellow man. Put all  these together, and even if you don’t win, how can you lose?”  Jesse Owens.

My journey of exploration and discovery, of mistakes and learning life lessons

“Life is a journey, not a destination”… Ralph Waldo Emerson

Usain bolt</a
100 meter girls

I had a chance to really experience and reflect on this quote in January 2013. It takes 10,000 hours to be an expert according to Malcolm Gladwell’s “Outliers”…. if I translate that into a sprinter’s world where the pinnacle race is won in less than 10 seconds…. enjoying the journey has great significance.

My life as been spent chasing gold medals, speeding through the training to get to the next big event and I have been very successful in achieving my goals. I have wonderful supporters, great mentors and excellent pride in my own accomplishments. It’s my most recent accomplishment of recognizing my own ability to bounce back from life’s setbacks that gives me the greatest learning. I was also “touched” today to find a similar story of my own in another blog “Deep thinking”, and to my surprise to find out it was written by a 15 year old boy. It reminded me that everyone has their own journey and when that “learning” takes place is not specific to age or experience but it is an individual journey blessed with individual mistakes and accomplishments.

This takes me to January 2013.. my own lessons in life. I faced great individual challenges through the Fall of 2012 and I survived them, I learned from them and I also succumbed to some of the challenges. I recognized that at times you have to crash to accept the learning at a deeper level. In January I was blessed through a “bizarre” set of circumstances on January 2nd at 2pm (22 – my favorite number) to get another chance to explore the marvels of life’s journeys with a wonderful partner, with fabulous kids and with life’s ever impending left curves. I used my new understanding of limitations, my expectations of myself and others to slow down and enjoy the journey and not chase the destination. I didn’t do this alone. I have wonderful “wise” friends and family who have supported me through every step and I thank them. I also recognized the significant value of professional help. I sought out expert advice through a fabulous psychologist who has helped me to understand my codependent behaviours as a mother and mate. One of my biggest learning’s is that it is not my responsibility to “fix” people, it is my responsibility to “fix” myself. I can support others, I can be the tough supportive parent but ultimately they have to take responsibility to fix themselves. In taking that action I am providing them with one of the elements that I cherish the most.. RESPECT and an opportunity to develop their own resiliency skills. I respect that they are on their own journey and have the ability to face their own challenges and where I can help is to be there, to listen, to support when needed.

So I leave you with these thoughts and words from my own experience. Never underestimate the power of listening……true listening without judging and doing can really make a difference.

Happy Mental Health Month – February 2013.
Mental Health Awareness


Cultivating Creativity in Business Students


Two Worlds collide

The following video from CTV News (Professor Judy Haiven & Business student Kaitlyn Touesnard – Saint Mary’s University) is a perfect example of developing students creativity and critical thinking skills through multiple forms of expression and evaluation driving student engagement and resiliency.

I wrote a business plan about the possibility of a merger between an Arts College and Business School to develop a Master’s in Applied Creativity Program. I would love to see as an example, NSCAD and SMU join forces to leverage the wonderful open creativity generated with NSCAD fine arts students with the problem solving skills of SMU business students.

I have found that when you introduce a new concept to fine arts students and faculty the response is YES, followed by a list of brainstormed ideas. When the same concept is presented to business students and faculty the answer starts with either a No, this has been done before or a moderate YES followed by BUT…. On the flip side business students have incredible abilities to implement great ideas that could be adopted by the creative spirit of fine art students. A match made in Heaven for today’s competitive marketplace.

Our students have great capacity to express themselves through a variety of mediums these days with the digital technology explosion and huge social media uptake. This should be incorporated into our teaching curriculum in Colleges and Universities. Not at the expense of the learning objectives but in an effort to increase student engagement. When students are engaged, they learn — they thrive — they stay connected. It should be measured to ensure the methods actually deliver on the desired outcomes but we need to start thinking outside of the box….

Part of the process of building resiliency in students is to provide an environment that engages them, that makes them want to learn so that when they have a setback they have the drive to want to overcome it and get back into class.

Enjoy the video… Heidi

Positively Reinforce Your Child

Little athletesWe have a huge impact on our kid’s self-esteem and journey in life…. what we SAY and DO really does make a difference in how our kids bounce back from setbacks.  I am sharing this message from  Bruce Beaton, author of ‘Little Athletes Big Leaders’ (Dec 7th, 2012).

Children who receive excess criticism from parents think about negative results, and develop a fear of failure.  Parents often mistakenly choose criticism to improve their child’s results. Usually it has the opposite effect.  Children exposed to excess criticism learn to focus on negative results, and because the brain can only focus on one thought at a time this negative reinforcement reduces the time the child could be spending on positive results.  Excess or poorly timed criticism is a great way to raise a critic and a spectator.  If you want to raise an achiever, a striver, a doer and a leader, encourage your children to be proactive, to strive, and to occasionally take positive risks.  Positively reinforce actions they take, including the effort they put forth at practice.  As a sport parent, you are a powerful influence in your child’s life, particularly in the early years.  You determine what they focus on, and thoughts that are reinforced become beliefs, beliefs become habits, habits become results, and results become destiny.

“I never looked at the consequences of missing a big shot….when you think about the consequences you always think of a negative result.” – Michael Jordan

For more information see Bruce’s posts


“I can accept failure. Everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.”

-Micheal Jordan

An athlete’s mental toughness determines their character. Preparing mentally is just as important as preparing physically. Your attitude determines everything.

To have mental toughness in athletics an athlete must be able to conquer the fear of losing. Losing is only losing if you fail to get up and try again. Sports visualization can help you conquer that fear.

12 Steps To Turbo-Charge Your Sports Visualization and Mental Toughness

1. Every night, half an hour before retiring, go to your room, where you can be entirely alone and as remote as possible from noise and distraction.

2. Seat yourself in a wide and comfortable chair, or, better still, lie down on your back at full length. See that your clothing is loosened, so that you will suffer no distressing annoyance on this account. Compose yourself as if for sleep, assuming a position of restfulness, abandon and utter relaxation. Close your eyes, letting the lids rest lightly on your cheeks.

3. Shut your mind resolutely against every form of bodily sensation. Forget for the time that you are encumbered with a body.



4. Bar out of your consciousness every memory, every thought of the past.

5. Build a mental picture of the thing you want to have, to do or to be – the one thing that you immediately desire first and most of all. By this we mean nothing indefinite. We do not refer to ultimate aims that can come only as the result of long periods of effort. We mean something specific, something that can be yours tomorrow, something that in itself constitutes the next step in your chosen career.

6. See yourself finding the ways and means of realizing your desire, overcoming obstacles one after another, all the obstacles that can possibly arise. See yourself called upon to display, and displaying, alertness, promptness, courage, confidence, resourcefulness, patience, push, enterprise, expert knowledge, insight, shrewdness, tact, self-control, decision. See yourself face to face with the situation that confronts you in real life and manifesting the qualities and doing the things necessary to your purpose. Put yourself body and soul into this picture. Multiply details. Rivet your mind upon it.

7. Advance step by step, logically, wisely, consistently, to the climax of the drama. See yourself winning out. See yourself solving the problem, getting the thing you want, acting the part you desire to play. Detach your spirit from the flesh of this world and incorporate it in the mental image of yourself. Live the victory mentally until a sense of its reality permeates your soul.

8. Make your dream picture as delightful as possible. Dwell upon it with joyful satisfaction. Warm your heart with a feeling of thankfulness that that which you have so long desired is really yours. This feeling of gratitude, this emotional element, will bring forth associations that will give life to the picture and will animate your faith. Keep yourself tight shut in this dream world for at least fifteen minutes.

9. Arise and make your preparations for the night. Then upon retiring once more close your eyes and let your mind dwell upon your vision for five or ten minutes or until you fall asleep. Let it be the last thing in your thoughts as you become unconscious.

10. Every time you are awake during the night call the mental picture before you and keep it in consciousness as long as you remain awake.

11. In the morning, immediately upon awaking, repeat the procedure set out in the third, fourth and fifth instructions.

12. The more of your spare time you spend in this way, the more promptly will you actualize your ideals. By repeated concentration, every detail of the image of your desire will be so deeply engraved upon your mind as to exert an influence throughout the day. It will inhibit wasteful emotions and impulses. It will give you poise and self-possession. It will so inspire you with its promise as to awaken an energizing response in the profoundest depths of your sub consciousness.

By Colin Joss © 2006

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