A Recipe for Success

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Olympic gold medallist Marnie McBean outlines a strategy for setting and achieving goals that can be applied to business – or any aspect of life

By George Hartman | June 2012  for Investment ExecutiveHow often have you set a goal and achieved it? Chances are this has happened to you a number of times. Feels good, right? Now, how often have you set a goal that others have said was too high for you – beyond your grasp and capabilities – and achieved that one? Not as often, I bet. But how good would that feel?

Marnie McBean, three-time Olympic gold medallist and winner of numerous other championships, knows all about setting audacious goals and, more important, what it takes to defy the limits that are imposed on us, either by ourselves or by others.

In The Power of More: How Small Steps Can Help You Achieve Big Goals, McBean describes her journey to world dominance in the sport of rowing – the dreams, the challenges, the pinnacles of success and the depths of disappointment. Part autobiography and part confessional, the book also is invaluably instructional and inspirational for anyone who has set their sights on personal accomplishment in sports, business or life.

As the title suggests, the book’s theme is about breaking large goals into smaller pieces and doing “just a little bit more” when the task seems too difficult. That is, pushing yourself one notch closer to your goal, whether it is connecting with that elusive new prospective client, perfecting an important presentation, completing a tedious project, climbing the CN Tower or running your first 10-kilometre race. (Which, coincidently, I did one week after reading this book, with McBean’s words – “Just one more step” – carrying me to setting a personal-best time.) Continue reading

Lucerne and its lion

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I’m in Lucerne for the weekend to watch a World Cup rowing regatta. So so nice. So many friends and familiar faces – the last time I was here was in 2004 – but Lucerne is like mecca to a rower. There is something very special about racing here… it is like our Wimbledon.
On the way to the Rotsee where the regatta takes place is one of my fav places on earth. There is a monument – the Lion Monument that is a memorial to the Swiss guard who stood to protect the French king that they’d been hired- and swore to protect. (Louis XIV of the Marie Antoinette – Let them eat Cake fame… ) Of course the mobs overwhelmed and killed the Swiss Guard.  The monument is carved into an impressive stone wall – a cliff almost and shows a Lion who has been mortally wounded in combat. He is dying a valiant and brave death. Part of me always thought that high performance sport, and I guess specifically rowing, is like that. Before the race you know that you will need to throw yourself onto the sword. We choose to go into a battle that will feel like it’s killing us – and yet we do it anyway. In it’s peaceful way, it is brave and valiant. I used to stop here on my way to races that I was nervous about and somehow it made me feel brave and valiant too.

The joy of a local adventure – on a bike

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Kevin Wallace and his Gears team set me up on my new Cannondale Super6

More and more I’ve been getting on my bike. Around Toronto I’m mostly on a beat up old mtn bike because I think it handles the cracked up roads and sidewalks while allowing me to defensively ride amongst the cars. (Please Mayor Ford- don’t give up on dedicated bike lanes!) Recently, my partner and I got road bikes and we’re loving the freedom and the workout that they provide us. Urban, sub-urban and country rides – we’re having a blast.

My good friend Kevin Wallace (featured in all of my adventure racing stories) and the gang at Gears Bike shop have set me, and some of my Olympic peers up on some sweet Cannondale bikes. Gears hopes to show everyone how much joy and adventure can come from a bike – we all use them differently – for travel, transport and play… but almost everyone has ridden a bike with child like joy. If you haven’t been on one lately… give it a try.

I absolutely love this video (and the whole series of others) that Gears has put together.