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Things I’m Learning While Cycling

…and how it relates to everything else in life.

A recent decision to take up cycling at the tender age of fifty-something has been quite inspiring and motivating and crazy!  At this point you may be asking yourself, “Why would any sane person do THAT?”  It started with wanting to ride in a three-day charity run.  So here I am with a determination and conviction to reach my goal – of a 3-day ride without waiting for the sag wagon to take me to the next point.  As I ride, I see some cycling / life parallels emerging.  Here’s what I’ve learned so far:

  • Patience – sometimes the lungs work really well and help the body to keep going with minimal discomfort.  Other times, every muscle, every joint, every bone and even the hairs on my head scream for mercy.  With so much fluctuation in performance, it can be so exasperating especially not knowing what day will be “good” days and what days will be “bad” day.  Accepting myself for where I am at the moment, being kind and gentle with myself in thought is teaching me that delayed gratification is so much better than instant gratification
  • Let Go of Expectations – OK, this one smacked me right upside my head!  It was all planned out (in the secret recesses of my mind that were into chicanery) – I was going to hop on my brand new Cannondale and ride like the wind into the sunset for an entire day.  After all, when I was younger (MUCH younger) riding 25 miles in an afternoon was child’s play.  Yeah, right!  Somebody forgot to tell my body that this was the plan.  Expecting to ride 10 miles on the first outing was ridiculous, at best.  What I learned is that it’s OK to lower expectations a little (sometimes a lot) when those “voices” try to tell me otherwise.  My expectations now are realistic and in alignment with where I am and my current skill level.  As such, I knew that a 2-month quasi-training period was not enough to get me there.  My new goal is to get in shape to ride in next year’s charity event.  I readjusted.
  • Rest – I don’t need, nor do I want, to push myself beyond what I’m capable of doing (see Keeping Up with the Jones’).  Stopping every now and again to hydrate is a GOOD THING!  Or even using the excuse to stop for water is a GOOD THING.  Rest after a ride also allows your body’s muscle memory to kick in and it’s in those quiet times that I can really soak in all that I’ve accomplished on the ride.  Plus, who doesn’t like a nap every now and again?  Hmmm?
  • Keeping Up with the Jones’ (NOT!) – In a group ride, I seldom take the lead.  Oh, it’s not because I don’t like setting the pace or being in front (I have this control thing going on).  What I found is that I enjoy being at the rear and setting my own pace.  I’ve knighted myself “TP”.  LOL.  I used to be all about competing and I’ve been known to do some pretty stupid things back in the day.  These days I’m more into competing with myself.  And all those cyclists that pass me by going 100 miles an hour?  They can just keep on going – just don’t let your wind knock me over, because then I’m pretty sure I’ll catch you.
  • It’s Hard Work – Let me say it again, “Damn, it’s hard work!!”  How could such a small incline when you’re walking seem like Mt. Everest-size protrusions when you’re on a bicycle?  This simply baffles and fascinates me at the same time!  Like anything worthwhile and worth doing, there are going to be some tears involved once in a while, especially when you’re at the cusp of “blowing up”[1].  What I learned a long time ago on a motorcycle ride (yes, I was driving) from VA to FL in some of the most torrential downpours known to man is this, when asked the question what are we going to do (because it’s raining), I answered, “What am I going to do?  Cry?”  So, I put on the big girl panties, suck it up and get on with it.  Why?  Because no one is forcing this on me – I’m choosing it.
  • Rewards are Great – Those great feelings of reward come from many different things.  It can be a small accomplishment like s-l-o-w-l-y riding under the bridge up the curved hill or pushing yourself just a little further, reaching down just a bit deeper to tap those oft unused reserves or staying on the bike and pushing, grunting, groaning your way up the hill.  It can be a great sense accomplishment just going for a ride regardless of the number of miles…or feet.  And, there are many things in between – great scenery, getting yourself out of bed earlier, giving up television for a night, realizing you have more energy (energy begets more energy) to just really feeling good about yourself.  I’m all for that!mountain-biking--woman-on-bike-dolomites-italy
  • You CAN Conquer the Mountain (Fear Has No Place Here) – Seeing that mountain in front of you (OK, it’s really a hill – still feels like a mountain) and purposefully engaging in self-motivating talk – yes, talking out loud is acceptable and encouraged – gets you up that mountain.and the next…and the next!  It’s one full stroke of the pedal after another.  If you do one, you can do another.  Rinse and repeat until you’ve reached the top.  What’s the worst thing that could happen?  I walk the bike and myself up the hill.
  • FUN – Call me crazy – I promise I won’t hold it against you – this cycling thing is fun.  I get to feel like a kid again!  I get to ride around with some great people where we ride a trail, stop for lunch, and ride back.  I’m having some great conversations and meeting new people – even making a new friend or two along the way.  Learning about all the different things involved in cycling, the different styles of cycling and trying out new things are all part of the fun.  The one thing that would make the experience more enjoyable is a clothespin and a playing card.  Alert the neighbors – there will be more noise on the block!
  • Falling Down is Part of the Ride (sometimes) – You know you’re going over the handlebars if you suddenly apply the front brake without assistance from the rear brake.  If you try to get “fancy” with a move here or there, you’re going down.  If you find yourself in a situation where you’re going a bit too fast for conditions and you suddenly have a case of the doubts, guaranteed road rash is in your future.  So, what do you do?  Cry?  No!  (All right, sometimes you might if it really hurts.)  You get up, assess the damage, repair it / bandage it / stop the bleeding / put the chain back on the derailer, put yourself back on the bike and keep going.  What if the bike is demolished?  You call someone to help.  You take a risk – sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.  Thing is, you’ll never know what works and what doesn’t unless you DO it.
  • Slow is Good – I’m not out to break any speed barriers or do I want to intentionally hurt myself.  I learned that in cycling, like most all things, whether it’s the first time I’m doing something new or rediscovering something I’ve done a long time ago it’s good to take my time until I get my “balance.”  Once I’ve got that going pretty well, then I can pick up the pace a bit.  Slowing things down, taking my time, savoring the moment is an awesome experience.
  • Going Fast Can Be Scary-Good – What goes up must come down. 🙂  This is what gets me up all the mountains and hills – knowing that the ride down is going to be a blast!  There’s nothing more exhilarating than being at the crest of the climb (it definitely helps with those last few pushes of the pedals) knowing that the best part is about to happen. [Insert music here… Carly Simon’s song, “Anticipation”] For me, the feeling of flying down that hill is like nothing else in the world – scary sometimes – yet definitely good…very, very good!
  • Breathe – On occasion, I find myself holding my breath.  That usually happens when I’m feeling a bit stressed.  That stress can be something work related, in my personal life or struggling for breathe on those long climbs.  On the long climbs it’s a bit more evident – gasping for breath and feeling like there’s not enough oxygen getting in my lungs to help my muscles perform.  This is where I consciously remind myself to breathe.  If I’m fortunate enough to have a yogi with me on the ride, she’ll remind me to practice my Ujiayi breath – a controlled manner of breathing where you actively use your mind to override the feeling that you’re running out of breath.  The feeling of losing your breath can create a state of panic, which becomes cyclical.  I may not use the Ujiayi breath every time I’m stressed, yet focusing on my breath for 15-30 seconds when I’m in situations where I’m feeling a bit stressed goes a long way in reducing the stress, fear or panic I may be experiencing.

I’m sure there are many more things I’ll learn on this cycling adventure I’ve undertaken.  I can hardly wait.

Bring it on!

Until next time…

P.S. — Want to learn more about YOU can adopt and apply these lessons in your life, business or career?   Schedule your private, confidential complimentary discovery session or send an e-mail to to learn how.  Invest 30 minutes today to change your life forever.

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Over the course of the week, you’ve read a little bit about what the coaching profession is, what it has to offer you and/or your organization, as well as the value that coaching brings to your development, whether professionally or personally.

Hopefully, what you already know about coaching was reinforced or you became more aware of how you will benefit from engaging a coach.  And some of you still have more questions and a few of you are ready to hire a coach!

A Guide to Hiring a Professional Coach (click on title to download) will give you additional information and insight to get you started with the hiring process.

Thank you for celebrating with us this week!  The official celebration may be ending, yet it doesn’t have to end and the celebration can continue for you each time you come back and visit the Roots of Thought blog.

Take a moment to share your thoughts and comments.

Until next time…

P.S. — Still have questions?  Schedule your complimentary coaching session or send an e-mail to to learn how.  Invest 30 minutes today to change your life forever.

As we wind down the week-long celebration of International Coaching Week, one question that comes up very often is, “How effective will coaching be and how will I know if it will be effective for me?”  This is a great question and it lets me know the person and/or organization is giving some thought and performing due diligence ensuring their energy, time and money are well invested.

The answer is not a simple one beyond, “Coaching is very effective and you’ll know because you’ll start doing things, thinking about things, and approaching circumstances in your life differently.  You’ll make better decisions for you, which in turn, can increase your earning potential, put you on the right career path, develop leadership skills, build more meaningful relationships with colleagues, co-workers, customers, friends and family.  And so much more!”

Sometimes what a person is really asking with the “effectiveness question” is, “How much more will I make?  How quickly will I get promoted?  How do I figure out what I want to be “when I grow up”?  How do I increase sales?  What do I do to get back on track with ______ ?  How do I get it all done?”  And the list of questions goes on, and on, and on.

Rather than try to convince you that coaching is very effective, here’s a presentation from the Lore International Institute given by Terry Bacon, Ph.D. and Anna Pool, MA, OD titled Can Coaching Effectiveness Be Measured? (Click on title to download)

In their presentation, effective coaching is defined as “…coaching that creates the right behavioral changes that lead to improvement in the client’s ability to impact bottom-line results.”

After you’ve read the report, take a moment and share your comments and thoughts.

Until next time…

P.S. — Want to discuss how coaching can help you become more effective at what you do or what you want?  Schedule your private, confidential complimentary discovery session or send an e-mail to to learn how.  Invest 30 minutes today to change your life forever.

Continuing our celebration of International Coaching Week, here are some thoughts and reflections.

It’s a bit of a snowy Wednesday here and I find myself thinking about some CHOICES that I’ll make a bit later today.  Like most of you, I’m going to do things based on what I feel is best in the moment I’m making those choices.  And if I’m not careful, I may even get “hung up” deciding what to do because certain thoughts might be flying in my brain space that would make it difficult to stay focused on what’s important.  Or, I may be supported by certain thoughts.  Rather than ramble on, here’s something that will help.

I’m reminded of an often told story, the Cherokee “Legend of Two Wolves”

One evening an old Cherokee looked into his grandson’s eyes and asked,  “My son, I see fear in your eyes what is troubling you.”

The boy responded, “Often I feel as if two wolves are living inside me, one is good and does no harm. He lives in harmony with all around him and does not take offense when no offense was intended. He will only fight when it is right to do so, and in the right way. But…the other wolf… ah! The littlest thing will send him into a fit of temper. He fights everyone, all of the time, for no reason. He cannot think because his pain and fear are so great.

“Sometimes it is hard to live with these two wolves inside me, for both of them try to dominate my spirit and are always struggling against each other.”

With tears streaming down his face the boy looked intently into his Grandfather’s eyes and asked, “Which one will win Grandfather?”

Grandfather smiled and quietly said, “The one you choose to feed.”

When life’s daily occurrences and events disrupt your schedule or get you out of balance, which wolf will you feed?

When there is conflict during your meeting and everyone is out of agreement, which wolf will you feed?

The next time someone interrupts you, which wolf will show up?

What will you reaction be when a customer is unhappy about a product or service you or your company provides?

When presented with a challenge, how will you respond?

Is your wolf one of exhaustion overwhelm, or chaos?  Perhaps your wolf is self-doubt, disbelief, and negativity?

Or, is the wolf of happiness, balance, order and structure showing up?  Is it the wolf of optimism, confidence, generosity and enthusiasm?

Which wolf will you feed today?

It’s a choice…YOUR choice.

Until next time…

P.S. — Want to find some great-tasting wolf feed?  Schedule your private, confidential complimentary discovery session or send an e-mail to to learn how.  Invest 30 minutes today to change your life forever.

As we celebrate International Coaching Week, it’s a great opportunity to re-acquaint with our foundation…our strengths…our VALUES.  Some might relate to this in terms of characteristics or attributes.  Whatever you call your “internal drivers”, today’s a great day to identify the basis for living your life.  And remember, your “life” encompasses all components and roles, such as your job, career, business, and areas of your personal life (not an all-inclusive listing), and the values you use in each and how you incorporate your values into all areas of your life.

Perhaps you’ve never taken a moment or five to actually go through a values-identifying exercise.  Now’s a great time to do just that.

Haven’t dusted off your list in a long time?  Today is a great day to do that.

Want to work on strengthening some of those values to become a better you?  There’s no better moment than right now!

Here’s something to get you started;  to help you re-evaluate; to give you some ideas about what you believe are your VALUES.  Click on this link, JTSample Values List, for your complimentary download and discover what matters to you.

Until next time…

P.S. — Want some assistance identifying and strengthening your values?  Schedule your private, confidential complimentary discovery session or send an e-mail to to learn how.  Invest 30 minutes today to change your life forever.

The first full week in February is designated as International Coaching Week (ICW) and it’s a week-long global celebration designed for coaches and clients to educate others about the value of working with a professional coach (business, career, life, personal, development…and the list goes on) and to acknowledge the progress and results achieved through the coaching process.

I will be commemorating the event by participating in some pro bono activities throughout the week, of which you are the beneficiary!

Check back with the Roots of Thought blog often over the course of the week to take advantage of the great opportunities that will be presented.

To kick off the week, here are a few often asked questions about coaching:

  • What are the benefits of coaching?

Individuals who engage in a coaching partnership can expect to experience fresh perspectives on personal challenges and opportunities, enhanced thinking and decision making skills, enhanced interpersonal effectiveness, and increased confidence in carrying out their chosen work and life roles.

Consistent with a commitment to enhancing their personal effectiveness, they can also expect to see appreciable results in the areas of productivity, personal satisfaction with life and work, and the achievement of personally relevant goals.

  • What is the a coach’s responsibility in the coach-client relationship?

A coach should:

  • Discover, clarify, and align with what the client wants to achieve;
  • Encourage client self-discovery;
  • Elicit client-generated solutions and strategies; and
  • Hold the client responsible and accountable.

Professional coaches provide an ongoing partnership designed to help clients produce fulfilling results in their personal and professional lives.  Ultimately, coaches help people improve their performances and enhance the quality of their lives.

Coaches are trained to listen, to observe and to customize their approach to individual client needs.  They seek to solicit solutions and strategies from the client; believing the client is naturally creative and resourceful.  The coach’s job is to provide support to enhance the skills, resources, and creativity that the client already has.

Coaching honors the client as the expert in his/her life and work and believes that every client is creative, resourceful, and whole.

Until next time…

P.S. — Want some assistance going from reflection to resolution?  Schedule your private, confidential complimentary discovery session or send an e-mail to to learn how.  Invest 30 minutes today to change your life forever.

As the year speeds to its end, we begin to mentally prepare for next year.  But don’t forget to take time to assess your personal and professional challenges and accomplishments THIS year.

Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  1. What have I accomplished this year?  Be specific. Write it all down. Schedule some time to celebrate this!
  2. What have I learned this year?  What skills did you pick up? What emotional lessons?
  3. What got in my way?  This is where your work will be next year.  Be honest if it was your own self that got in the way.
  4. What are my immediate next steps to achieve these goals?
  5. What did I learn from those things that didn’t go as I expected this year?  When you take the time to absorb the lessons that the events in our lives come to teach us, you will not repeat the same mistakes repeatedly.
  6. What am I grateful for this year?  Make a list of at least 100 things that you are grateful for and watch more good things start coming into your life.
  7. On a scale of 1-10, how satisfied am I with how I spent the year?  Why?
  8. What do I want to accomplish next year, such that it’s my best year ever?
  9. What does it take to make me feel a 10/10 satisfaction level at the end of next year?
  10. What new habits do I want to cultivate that will help me achieve my goals in 2012?

When you take the time to answer these questions thoughtfully, you are taking the time to invest in yourself and your success.  Remember that ‘why’ that motivates you and use it to push you beyond the obstacles that will always pop up in your path.  True success is found only when you are willing to keep getting up after every setback.

“Year’s end is neither an end nor a beginning, but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us.” ~ Hal Borland

Until next time…

P.S. — Want some assistance going from reflection to resolution?  Schedule your private, confidential complimentary discovery session or send an e-mail to to learn how.  Invest 30 minutes today to change your life forever.

(From the national bestseller Who Moved My Cheese?)

The Handwriting on the Wall

Change Happens

They Keep Moving the Cheese

Anticipate Change

Get Ready for the Cheese to Move

Monitor Change

Smell the Cheese Often So You Know When It Is Getting Old

Adapt to Change Quickly

The Quicker You Let Go of Old Cheese, The Sooner You Can Enjoy New Cheese


Move with the Cheese

Enjoy Change!

Savor the Adventure and the Taste of the New Cheese!

Be Ready to Quickly Change Again and Again

They Keep Moving the Cheese

What do you do when something unexpected occurs in your life?  In your business? In your job?  At your workplace?  Do you resist the change, perhaps even rebel against?  Do you pretend there is no change hoping it’s nothing but a bad dream?  Do you sit back and do nothing thinking the “cheese” will come back to you?  Do you embrace change?  Do you look for the “cheese”?  Are you willing to try a different type of “cheese”?

Of course, cheese is a metaphor for whatever you want to have in your life – a good job, a successful business, a loving relationship, spiritual peace of mind, money, less stress.

When you reach the point to where you can see The Handwriting on the Wall, you will begin to take whatever steps necessary to help you be more successful in your life and your work, however YOU define success.  What is holding you back; preventing you from having the successful life YOU desire?  Bad habits?  No habits?  Habits of thought?  Feeling stuck?

Be the Change – Define YOUR success; the things that YOU want to be different in your life and begin to take steps to prepare you for change.  And when you ask yourself “Who Moved My Cheese?” when things start to change, whether expected or unexpected, you will see “The Handwriting on the Wall” and be better equipped to adapt to the situation and enjoy something better!

Until next time…

P.S. — Want a better understanding of how a coach can guide you to discover your untapped gifts and strengths?  Schedule your private, confidential complimentary discovery session or send an e-mail to to learn how.  Invest 30 minutes today to change your life forever.

We’re wrapping up our week-long celebration of International Coaching Week; however, it’s not the end of educating, sharing, encouraging and inspiring as each opportunity arises.  Each day this week, the information has been a little different with the idea that coaching, whether it’s life coaching, development coaching, achievement coaching, career coaching, etc., is available to everyone and there’s a type and style of coaching just for you…and your company…for whatever you want to achieve.

Today’s feature article addresses the question, “Why is the use of coaching increasing?”.  One reason, and perhaps the most important reason, is that it impacts a company’s bottom line.  What would you do with an 88% increase in productivity?  Click on the above link for 9 drivers that create a need for coaching.

What kind of results would you like to achieve?

Until next time…

P.S. — Want a better understanding of how a coach can help you increase your productivity and impact your business?  Schedule your private, confidential complimentary coaching session or send an e-mail to to learn how.  Invest 30 minutes today to change your life forever.

As part of our week-long celebration of International Coaching Week, we’ll be sharing some information throughout the week about the coaching profession.  Each day, the information will be a little different with the idea that coaching, whether it’s life coaching, development coaching, achievement coaching, career coaching, etc., is available to everyone and there’s a type and style of coaching just for you…and your company.

business people

Today we’ll take a look at how coaching impacts leadership development and their organizations.  Did you know anyone can be a leader?  Even you?

Click here to read the white paper “Coaching and Philanthropy”.

“Through coaching … I have a sense of owning this job and a sense of competence and assuredness about doing the job that I think would have otherwise taken years and years (and lots of heartache and not great learning experiences) to gain.”

Until next time…

P.S. — Want a better understanding of how a coach can help you acquire better leadership skills or improve leadership within your organization?  Schedule your private, confidential complimentary coaching session or send an e-mail to to learn how.  Invest 30 minutes today to change your life forever.

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