In 2012, Steve Nash wrote the the foreword to my book, The Power of More. I remain so grateful to this amazing Canadian. This week we learned that he has retired as a player from the NBA. In an article about Steve’s incredible legacy, The Globe and Mail columnist, Cathal Kelly wrote, “At 41, Mr. Nash had fully inhabited his imaginative space in NBA history. He was the skinny kid from Nowheresville (i.e. anywhere in Canada) who’d willed himself to the very top. He was a guy who’d outsmarted the game.” (full article)
Steve’s ability to “will” himself to the very top was because he, as he wrote in my book, believed in “taking the time to lay out your path in measurable steps, a practical approach can instill a beautiful confidence that comes from knowing you can actually achieve what you’re setting out to do.” Steve’s incredible work ethic is legendary – he always broke things down to their base details, drilled on those details until he mastered them and then used them to his greatest advantage. As Mr.Kelly also wrote “What Mr.Nash did in his prime…was marry the cerebral with the kinetic. His primary gift as a player was that he thought at speed. That’s what the best players do in any sport. They slow then bend time.”
Anytime you set a goal for yourself, you create the possibility of success; with Marnie’s book, you also create a plan to see it through.
When I was writing my book, The Power of More, I can’t tell you how thrilled and honoured I was when Steve agreed to write the foreword. Of all the global champions that I know from professional and olympic sport, and all the philanthropists, business people and politicians who have made their incredible successes seem easy – Steve was my first and best choice to ask. Knowing his attention to detail and dedication, I was sure that he would also embrace my concepts of breaking things down into manageable steps – and he did, and still does.
Steve’s foreword wraps up with him saying, “It teaches you that you can be excited about what comes next, and that you get to dictate so many of the terms for yourself. So read it, and then, as Thoreau said, “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams.”” Well Steve, I hope the same for you now. I hope that you will be excited about what comes next. Like the mythical phoenix (Phoenix Sun ?), from the ashes of the “1st death of an athlete” will rise something spectacular. Once you figure out the terms that you want to dictate to yourself – go confidently – I’ve no doubts your next career will be something pretty awesome.
Good luck and – thank you Steve.
Here is the foreword that Steve wrote for The Power of More – How Small Steps Can Help You Achieve Big Goals.
I’ve known Marnie since I was a teen, when she was training at the Victoria City Rowing Club in my hometown, and I’ve run into her at two Olympics since. Read on…
Believing that we can achieve success and big, seemingly infinite, goals can seem impossible for us “normal*” people. For the likes of Super Hero Buzz Lightyear, who will readily leap “To INFINITY and Beyond!!!” it’s a breeze. How do they do that?!
This weekend I spoke at a TedX event at the University of Toronto’s Scarborough campus. I titled my presentation “What Super Heroes Don’t Tell You” and had a lot of fun delivering my message.
I used a few big-event examples from my rowing career that tended to push my ego to believing that I was special. It’s easy to think that crossing an Olympic finish line in 1st place can make a person believe in their own Super Hero status! But almost invariably for me, something happened immediately after each of my big achievements that served to remind me to put my feet back on the ground. I was just a normal person who was doing some pretty special things; not a special person, and certainly not a super hero.
Eventually I figured it out. Read on…
I often cite a particular Ernie and Bert skit as one of my favourite examples of Art Imitating Life. I’ve wanted to write about it for a while – but I’ve found it tough figuring out how to approach it. If I’m not careful it will look like I’m suggesting that people can be ungrateful for what they receive – but that’s not what I see as the nugget in the discussion between these two Sesame Street icons. It’s more about the importance of knowing what it is that you want so as to avoid a sense of entitlement that you deserve everything that is available.
In the skit, Ernie has two pieces of pie. He’s going to give one to Bert, but first, he takes one for himself. The two pieces aren’t the same size, one is much bigger than the other and Ernie takes the bigger one. Bert is surprised by this and suggests that Ernie has made a selfish decision. The reason he provides for why he thinks so gets right to the heart of dangerous side of a blind pursuit of more.
I believe in more. I talk and write about it a lot. I firmly believe that in the presence of an ambition to achieve something there is always more that I can try, learn and do. The pursuit of more can be limitless. But it gets tricky if you try to apply this philosophy of more to things that you want to get (versus want to do,) and trickier still if you don’t know exactly what you want or why you want it.
Knowing what you want is the best way to be happy when you get it. Knowing why you want it provides you with some perspective when you achieve it and—as importantly—in case you don’t. It is the why you want something that helps you reassess, realign and if you choose – try again. Read on…
One of the benefits – theoretically – of aging is that as we gain experience and wisdom; presumably we become more competent. However, I believe that sometimes experience can also weigh against us. As we progress into a comfort zone of routine with the feeling that we know what we are doing, we run the risk of becoming less curious about all that we aren’t doing. At some point, because of our experiences, we inadvertently become closed off to the challenge of new or changing ideas. We begin to listen less: Been there, done that. But have we?
I wrote last month that I wanted to flesh out communication and this entry is from the listening side; specifically, what we are listening to. If we have ambition to improve on our status quo (and one could argue even if we just want to maintain our status quo) it’s not enough just to listen – we must ensure that what we are listening to is from more than just our own perspective.
The trick to learning/improving is to make sure that we are putting ourselves in conversations where, at times, we either don’t understand or don’t agree with what we are listening to. Why? Because if we don’t, then we find ourselves constantly preaching to our own choir, letting them preach back, and learning absolutely nothing new.
“My biggest challenge is myself. At 23 years old, it’s not really easy to know yourself that well.”
Ah – the wisdom of youth. Wait what? Milos Raonic, the rising tennis star, made this comment at a Canadian Club event recently. In the last 3.5 years he’s made the jump from an impressive world rank of 37th (which might not sound like much until you realize that it was the highest ranking ever for a Canadian in men’s singles tennis) to 8th, and absolutely no one thinks he’s topped out yet. This player has a lot of game left in him and if this statement accurately reflects his personal awareness – it will come as no surprise when he becomes the 1st ranked player and holds that rank for some time.
Here is what I get from Milos’ quote. As much as he already knows and feels about himself and tennis, he is aware that to improve he must listen to what others know and see too. Having been coached to be world leading for almost 20 years myself, I can guarantee that Milos won’t always like what he’s being told to do or change but to get as good as he has, and to get even better, he knows that he has to crave this type of critical and creative feedback and be ready to try to apply it. Read on…