What Does it Take to Motivate People?

trail 1

If you could eat and drink and not exercise, yet still stay healthy….would you?  “Umm ya.”  I’m guessing is what most of you are saying. Well you can’t, so you need to find some form of exercise that works for you and that you will stick with.

For the past eight or nine weeks I have been going to a trail based boot camp run by my friend Donna.  Just for the record, I do not do the 6:00 am class.  I drag my sorry ass to the 9:30 am class.  So what motivates people to get out of bed and go to a workout, outdoors, occasionally in the rain?  Maybe the first time would be easy, but what would bring people back week after week?

I’ve spent 33 hours in a van with Donna.  Twice.  And I would be happy to do it again.  Both times she has passed a sweaty slap bracelet on to me with a smile and encouraging words. She has also told me to “suck it up bitch” when I’ve whined about running up a hill.  She’s one of only a few people who know that if I put my hand up while I’m running it means don’t talk to me I’m not having fun right now.  It’s called giving them “the hand”.  We can laugh about it now.

Fitness has always been a part of Donna s life and in high school and university she joined any team she could find.

“I found strength in belonging to a team and my self-esteem was created through my success in sport.”

100 steps of death

That feeling of inclusion and teamwork is evident in the way she runs her boot camp. Yes we are all moms, but we are all at different fitness levels, some have injuries and some are brand new moms with a totally different set of needs.  “She is always on top of alternative exercises for those with injuries – and keeps the class moving a good pace!” One bootcamper commented.  Her energy and enthusiasm keeps you going and before you know it the hour is over and your are done your workout.  Sometimes you don’t even realize how hard you have worked until the next day.

Donna originally wanted to study marine biology and has a BSc in Biology from the University if Windsor.  But living in Windsor, next to the Detroit River, didn’t do much to inspire that career. In 1998 she moved out West and entered the Exercise Science program at Langara College with the end goal being a kinesiology degree at SFU.  But, as often happens, life changed course and she found herself working as Head Brace Fitter at Paris Orthotics.  For the next nine years, after obtaining a diploma in Prosthetics and Orthotics from BCIT, she would work in the orthotics industry.  In 2006 she became a mom and focused on raising two active boys.  With more time on her hands now that her boys are older she has started a series of trail based boot camps.

“I find group training to be a lot like belonging to a team.  You can lean on members to help you stay motivated to continue your fitness journey.  There will always be someone in the group that helps challenge other members and I myself, find motivation through these members as well.”

cates bootcamp

We live in an area with an abundance of great trails and scenery and Donna has developed a program that has us sweating up and down those trails using rocks, trees and strategically placed water jugs full of water.  We have done plank with owls swooping over our heads.  We have conquered the 100 steps of death.  We have crawled like crabs in the sands of Cates Park.  We have challenged Old Buck and lived to tell about it.  We have laughed and we have commiserated over sleepless nights and school yard drama.  And we have sweat.   A lot.

“We laugh and have fun, I see progress in many and I love to show people that finding a place and time to exercise can be easy!”

With three time options on three different days Donna’s sessions accommodate lots of moms. Not everybody wants to go to a gym or run by themselves so this is a great option.  “No matter what you’re ability or fitness level, Donna makes sure everyone is getting what they need!”  She is a strong believer that staying fit and exercising is just as much for your mental health as it is for your physical health.  Her approach is educational and she is constantly introducing new exercises to challenge us.

“We love Donna – she rocks…even if she’s making us carry them up hills…LOL!!!”

So back to my original question.  What would motivate people to get out of bed and workout outside?  Donna would.

Educational, inclusive, naturally gifted, motivational.  Just some of the words fellow boot campers have used to describe our fearless leader.  “It also never rains during Donna’s boot camp…must be her super natural powers! LOL

The Best Thing in Life would be having Donna’s boot camp available to everyone!

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Coincidence or Kismet?

piano

Do you every think that things are just meant to happen when they happen? That the universe has a plan and you just don’t know about it? Today was one of those days for me. At a time when I was lacking motivation, questioning my decisions and wondering if the direction I was going in was leading me the right way, I had an Oprah moment. You know the one. The quintessential “aha” moment. I wasn’t unhappy, I was just unsure of where things were going or if they even needed to go anywhere. Should I soldier on or reevaluate and make a change? I felt I was lacking a focus. Then I had lunch with a very wise and lovely friend that I had been trying to connect with for months. Coincidence?

A classically trained pianist who grew up in, of all places, Prince George, Stephanie and I met when our kids attended the same pre-school. She started playing the piano when she was two and her piano teacher recognized her talent early on. By the time she was fourteen she was flying down to Vancouver once a month for lessons. She was accepted to Juliard, Peabody and Eastman – the creme de la creme of music schools in the US. After choosing and studying at Eastman she was destined for a career as a concert pianist. She, however, had a defining moment when her panic attacks started to get the best of her. She also never felt the pull that many performers feel for an adoring audience or a standing ovation. Many performers continue for the ego boost, but she realized that the direction she was heading was not meant to be. What was meant to be, was to bring the pure joy of music, that she felt, to others. As a teacher.

Her approach to teaching is truly organic. As I ate the delicious spicy Mexican soup she had made us for lunch, I listened to her explaining how learning music is not just about the notes and the technique, but the feeling you get from playing. She has been known to tell a student to “go and watch water”. The point being, to teach the lightness and finesse of playing the notes. To mimic the way the water flows and bubbles. “Some kids get it, some don’t”. She went on to say, that teaching young kids comes with a unique opportunity to mold the way they approach playing and practicing. Most would start with the easy stuff and go on from there. She encourages them to start with the most challenging part. That is a difficult thing for anybody to do at any age.

water

The most important thing she tries to instill in her students is that music should come from a place of happiness – not from a place of ego. You could win a hundred music competitions and still not understand the meaning of the music you have played. Some of the best musicians play for the pure love of it. If they are able to make a living doing it, then it really is just icing on the cake. The need for a gold star or, in my case, verification that somebody is reading my blogs and that I am making a difference, is a huge stumbling block for me. She reminded me that perhaps there was somebody out there reading my blog and thinking “wow, that’s exactly how I’m feeling too”. I could be making somebody think a different way or see a different side to something. Maybe I’m just allowing somebody to steal a few minutes from their day, read a story and enjoy the way it makes them feel.  Like a piece of music.

As usual I went into this situation with one idea and came away with a completely different point if view. I started out being envious of my friend’s passion for music and the way that she had been able to take that and use it to teach children and left feeling like maybe, just maybe, I too had a path to follow. An opportunity to catch up and learn about her music career turned into a life lesson for me. Go figure. I left her house feeling inspired, rejuvenated and happy to have reconnected with such a kind and insightful friend. Even if nobody is reading my blog, I am doing what makes me happy. Perhaps I am not “over achieving” but my family is happy too. I need to live my life for the joy and not for the gold star. The Best Thing in Life is just letting things happen the way the universe wants them to happen and enjoying the kismet.

Finding my Thing

I recently left my job. I had worked for the same company for eleven years and while I liked the company and the people, I didn’t really like my job. Sales was never really some thing I was good at or aspired to get better at. My oldest child is graduating from high school this year and getting ready for college (fingers crossed), my youngest is navigating the grade one playground and exploring every activity we will allow her and my husband travels a lot. And I mean a lot. So when the opportunity presented itself I decided that this was just the right thing for me to do at this point in my life.

I had been thinking about what I would do with my time now that I am a lady of leisure. I’m almost fifty and with the kids in school I have a few hours every day to fill. While running and yoga will be high on my daily list of things to do, I feel that having another focus might be a good idea. So I thought that I would join the thousands of others out there and create a blog. Only problem is I wasn’t sure what to write about.

I don’t really have a “thing”. I’ve often wondered what my “passion” is. Never found my “niche”. Getting the picture?  I do, however, have an abundance of friends who do have a thing. From high school friends to mom friends to family acquaintance; I seem to know a lot of people who do really cool things. If ever I need advice, products or just a connection to another friend I know exactly where to go. The majority of these people have managed to create a business from their passions and are thriving in life. Whether creative or practical they are doing what they love with amazing dedication.

So where does that leave me? It leaves me with a wealth of stories and connections for great people and cool jobs, hobbies and passions. So here’s what I’m thinking. I’m going to spend the next few months ( maybe years) exploring those connections and those people. This may involve lengthy conversations over coffee or on the running trails or may even involve some wine. I’m willing to do whatever it takes to find out how they knew what their thing was and where it’s taken them. Maybe they didn’t know right away and have some cool back story about the day they discovered it. Then I’m going to share it with you.

I’m also going to try and discover what my “thing” may be by exploring all that life has to offer.  New experiences with family and friends are definitely in my future and, of course, will be well documented right here.

Here’s to discovering what the best things in life are.

Susan

P.S. I would love your feedback and comments.