How do you make a career so special it makes Hall of Fame Status?

Tessa Virtue, Marnie McBean and Scott Moir at the Ice Dancers induction into Canada's Sport Hall of Fame
Tessa Virtue, Marnie McBean and Scott Moir at the Ice Dancers induction into Canada’s Sport Hall of Fame 2023

Congratulations to this year’s inductees to Canada’s Sport Hall of Fame

I love listening to speeches; wedding speeches, acceptance speeches, team bonding speeches – all speeches. They are such a great opportunity to peak into people’s hearts and minds regarding building relationships, performance, values and resilience. Last week in Ottawa – at the presentation of the Order of Sport – the induction ceremony into Canada’s Hall of Fame – there was such an abundance of thoughtful reflection. Here is some of what I heard;

Hiroshi Nakamura, Judo Coach, Builder
“The importance of ambition AND objective” …. This one really stuck with me…. ambition is great — but it needs an objective! When you’re confronted with challenge, it’s not enough to know what you want. Resilience is nurtured by WHY you want it.

Danielle Peers, Para Wheelchair Basketball, Athlete.
“Advocacy is a team sport too” … It takes the support of many to make change happen. Allyship takes many forms – Be an ally and an advocate as often as you are able.

Tessa Virtue Scott Moir, Figure Skating/Dance, Athletes
Whether you hear this as a parent or a leader….This nugget is all about building the next generation… ”They took timely steps back so that we could step into our power. You trusted us.” As part of their thank you to their families Scott and Tessa recognized the importance of trust.  (Thank you to Scott and Tessa for the wonderfully kind things you shared about my support of your careers, it’s been quite a ride since 2009!)

Georges St Pierre, Mixed Martial Arts, Athlete
“I am alone in the octagon but not in my preparation. (Thank you) to my friends who were there for who I am, not what I do.” Authentic and transparent support was what GSP appreciated from his friends and inner circle.

Randy Ferbey and the Ferbey four, Curling, Athletes
Another comment on the value and importance of the team behind the team came from Randy Ferby as he spoke on behalf of his curling rink about their spouses, “Thank you for believing in our dreams and goals more than we did at certain times”.

Oren Lyons Lacrosse, athlete, Builder
I’ll close with simple yet powerful perspective about our place and our goals from 93 y old Indigenous elder Oren Lyons; “Try hard. Do good. Be a good example. In our cosmology lacrosse has been played on the other side of the stars when this earth was still covered with water. (It’s not just sport) It is part of our creation story”

Try hard. Do good. Be a good example.

full video of the ceremony

Your Goal Achieving Path

I had another great conversation recentlty about the difference between goal-setting and goal achieving; which starts in the difference between your dreams and your goals.

That big idea you have for what you want for yourself, or where you want to be in the future, is just a dream until you pick a path to achieve it. Once you set a path….. your dream becomes a goal.
What are some of the things that you need to do to get closer to your goal? The first draft of your path doesn’t need to be detailed or even complete, but picking even a few steps is important because this is your goal-achieving path. It’s your guide to closing the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It’s your first and then your next step… this provides us with momentum.
As you progress, your goal-achieving path will fill out, adjusting as you learn. Yes – your “to-do” list will become long (even very long), but so will your “done” list! And you’ll be moving forward step by step.
Our goal-achieving path, not the goal, is our journey. Go for it!

Motivation is like a Puppy (a second look)

Recently I was in Whistler BC on a ski vacation and ran into Alexa Loo, a 2x Olympic Snowboarder (2006, 2010), a CPA and now Member of City Council for Richmond BC. It was awesome to see her again, she is doing great work for her community. She reminded me of a message that I had shared with the Olympic team back in 2009. I love with this happens… a) it’s very flattering to hear that a message had such a long lasting impact – and b) it’s just fun to have ideals like this brought back to the top of the pile! In a nut shell – as you work on improving – don’t get stuck focussing on only the things you aren’t doing … be proud of what you are doing, work on that, build on that. Be motivated by what you can do, AND be motivated by the desire to do the things that you can’t (yet!) do. hmmm… maybe this is where my thoughts on focusing on your “Done List” started?!! Here it is again….

Apparently getting motivated and inspired is easy. Staying motivated and inspired… that’s the hard part!

Off-season training is a back-to-basics time; lots and lots of volume designed to build and support your strength and fitness. If you get much intensity (fun!), it comes on the back of lots of the volume and fatigue, often making the effort feel sluggish and heavy. But this is not the time to go mindlessly through the motions – it is a prime opportunity to break bad habits and entrench new efficient motions. But we all know this is easier said than done.

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Expectation is it the Enemy of Play? (Is Experience the Enemy of Joy?)

In the past – I was asked to give a Walrus Talk. The theme that the speakers were given was simply “Play”. I could do anything I wanted to from there.

I knew I could have addressed the value of play in the way that structured-play is used by Right to Play around the world to build communities. They use play to educate and empower children and youth to overcome the effects of poverty, conflict and disease in disadvantaged communities. Through Play one can teach important lessons such as disease prevention (HIV, Malaria, and other waterborne illnesses) and inclusion of those are living with those illnesses. 

I could also have discussed the importance of more unstructured-play for kids (and adults!) in our own communities. Our overly scheduled and observed lives leave less and less room for our imaginations and/or creative problem solving.

But I decided to address the play that should exist in, but to often is missing from, our work.

We all work. Whether that be in the form of a job from which we earn a paycheque, or work as school, sport, raising a family…  I don’t believe that work should always feel like a burden or a grind, there should be (must be?!) some part of it that is enjoyable – and even fun.  The people, what you get from it (intrinsic), what you get for it (altruistic), the mere act of doing or completing a task.. on any given day it might be different, but when we can recognize some element of what we are doing as enjoyable and even playful – the quality of not only our work – but of our lives goes up exponentially.

For my Walrus talk on play, I spoke about about my Olympic bronze medal, the one of four Olympic medals that I have that is not gold. I shared my observations that what was missing from that race was joy.

Play can exist in the hardest most challenging things that we are doing. It doesn’t have to be all skipping and smiles, it can be as competitive and focused as you choose. Try not to feel burdened by the expectations that come with work, but rather lifted and inspired by those expectations. Learn to frame joy and play as YOU like it.

It’s only 7 minutes… well – okay – I failed there… It’s about 11minutes, but it’s fairly short and to the point.

Expectation is (Can be!) the Enemy of Play