The Joy Of Giving Gifts…

So rapt that mum really enjoyed her present today…

To find out what I gave her click on the picture below:

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Hope & Glory… Something Old And Something New…

Hope & Glory recently had an article published about their amazing store in the Wairarapa Times Age.  I was so excited I had to share it with you all.

Make sure you check out Hope & Glory online or in person!

Art By Deborah Kerly… Using an iPad

Many years ago I had the pleasure of meeting Deborah Kerly whilst living and traveling around Italy.  One of the first things I picked up was Deborah’s flair for the Arts.

Recently Deborah started using an iPad and I have taken the time to squirrel away some of Deborah’s work and wanted to share it with you.  The work you are about to see has been released with Deborah’s approval.

Experience ING New York Marathon…

Sometimes pictures speak louder than words so I have decided to let the photographs below tell the story…. I placed a yellow circle around me so you know which runner I am… can be hard to work it out in some photographs.

After the initial bottlenecks the runners started to spread out...
Coming up to the 10km mark... was feeling okay and running steadily...
Keeping a steady pace and making sure I had a drink at each station offering water and a sports drink...
Beginning to feel it...
Another check point crossed...
Pushing through and trying to stay focused...
And the walking begins... I have hit the wall....
I decided to mix it up (walk/run) and keep it positive....
Telling myself to keep going.... I'll get there in the end!
Left quad kept cramping up... not nice!
Still breaking into runs.... but it hurts...
Trying to walk my cramp out... didn't really work...
So close I can almost taste it, so I'm busy zigzagging around other runners so I can make it to the finish...
I can see the finish and it's looking pretty good!
I made it... and under the time I did the Flora London Marathon in 2009 (4 hours 59 minutes and 2 seconds)
Ready to pass out... it's been a very long day!
It's beginning to dawn on me that I've got at least an hour walk home yet after I pick up my bag from my numbered truck.
Better go pick up my medal...

ING New York Marathon 2011…

Over 47 thousand people would cross this bridge.... but not all would make it to the finish line...

Back in 2011 on Sunday the 6th of November I joined over 47,000 other runners in the ING New York Marathon.

Those that kept up with my training blogs and videos watched me go through the many ups, and then downs from injuries, which in the end meant my training all but stopped 5 weeks out from the actual marathon.  Not ideal, but that’s how it rolls, so we just get on with it.

New York is an exciting place to be!

So here I was in New York, the city that never sleeps, a very exciting place to be, as it turns out too exciting!  I realize now that the night before the race is not the time to have too much fun.

Unfortunately, upon our return to the hotel we popped into the lounge bar.  I of course, with a race to run the next day was to  have a non-alcoholic drink.  Everyone knows that drinking before a race is not advised as it certainly won’t help you run the next day.   But alas I spied what looked like a rather scrummy cocktail called  the ‘Stress Reliever’.  Fantastic I thought, I’ll only have one; famous last words!

I ran along the bottom section of the bridge, a lot less people!

The next morning when I awoke at 5.15 am I certainly didn’t feel like getting up (for obvious reasons).  But this was not a day to lounge in bed, it was a day to run a marathon.  However, I did make a note to self… never drink before a race again!

I grabbed my gear and made my way down to the lobby where a group of us walked a short distance to catch the buses which would take us out to the starting point.

So many people!

The bus ride seemed to take forever and lurch over every bump…. but maybe that was just me in my fragile state.  Once we were cruising over the Brooklyn Bridge I knew it wouldn’t be long before we got to see where the start line would be.

After the bus dropped us off, it was a short walk to the entrance point.  Once we were cleared by the security officers we we made our way to the designated start areas.   The officials had erected a big TV screen so as we waited we would be able to see our wave come up to tell us when to make our way to the starting pens.

The officials had everything running like clockwork and I thought the needs of the runners were catered for extremely well.  There were loads of portaloos and due to the nature of the day, people were happy to talk to complete strangers as they waited in the coolness of the morning.

To combat the morning chills I had popped out the night before and bought two bright yellow towels and I utilized the plastic poncho from home.  They did their job and were very easy to dispose of later on.  It’s good to note that if you are a first time runner you have to hand your bag to the trucks quite early on, so the articles of clothing you are left wearing you either run in, or leave by the side of the road.

I had a quiet wait as I sat there contemplating what was ahead of me.  I had decided the night before that I wouldn’t wear my iPod and I am so pleased I made that decision.  The bands and people around the course were amazing and I would have been disappointed to have missed the energy they created.

Here we come....

Before I knew it, I was standing on the Brooklyn side of the bridge ready to go.  My fragile physical state aside, I was excited about the prospect of seeing so many boroughs of New York.

As we began our run, they played ‘New York, New York!’ an excellent motivator for what was to lay ahead…..

Not Everyone Makes A Good Leader….

Do I think everyone makes a good leader?  No I do not.  Do I think everyone has leadership potential?  Yes I do, with the right training combined with the ability to reflect on the way a person communicates with others.  My views may have you jumping up and down at the mere suggestion that not everyone makes a good leader, and so I invite you to read on and watch the video below.

Let me shed some light on why I believe not everyone makes a good leader.   For the past 20 years I have worked for several bosses, a.k.a. ‘leaders’.  Some have been awful, some moderate and a couple inspiring.   Over the years I have noticed that many managers have arrived to their position by a natural progression of attainment.  People often end up as leaders or managers because they have been in a role for so long and or show a high level of competence at it; and I commend them for this level of achievement in their given role.

I’ve also worked with some very educated people, as in they have many letters after their name, who are also very competent, and at times outstanding in their knowledge.  BUT… being a leader is not about how you complete a task, nor is it about the letters after your name.  Being a good leader goes beyond this.

Imagine for a moment that we have been put into a leadership role.  To lead effectively it makes sense to understand the role of a leader and of course some of the key qualities needed to be effective.   So let’s put on our leadership hat for a moment.  Imagine yourself in the current role you hold, but you are now the ‘manager’.  Below are some of the key qualities a leader must be able to demonstrate if they are to have any hope at inspiring their colleagues to work to their potential, which of course benefits the business or area we manage.  And to keep us honest let’s also pretend the staff that we are managing answer the questions about us:

  • Is your manager trustworthy?
  • Are they self aware about their impact on you and others?
  • Do you they treat you with respect by treating you positively?
  • Is your manager excited about life and ready to keep on learning?
  • Are they confident and believe in themselves?
  • Does your manager have the ability to keep themselves and the team focused on the goal?
  • Can your manager break a task into manageable steps and make progress towards it?
  • Are they committed to excellence?

How do you think your colleagues would rate you?  Did you pass?  As nice as it is to know that we have some of these qualities I can tell you that I did not learn most of these skills at school, nor at University.   I developed these skills from living life, taking chances, setting big goals and achieving them, listening to others, getting excited about topics and researching them for interest, sharing my knowledge with others just because if felt good and MOST importantly having a few amazing mentors (good leaders) that showed me how to do things better or some would say, more tactfully; the ability to get on with others to reach a common goal.

What I am trying to demonstrate is that a leader is only as good as their ability to get on with people and inspire them using their personality and sound people strategies to attain success.  They are also people who consistently use words of kindness, appreciation and encouragement to inspire loyalty, enthusiasm and a team spirit.

How many mangers have you worked for that have given this to you?

If you have been as lucky as I have to experience this on more than one occasion, then like me you will have gone beyond what you thought you were capable of achieving.  If you have not yet experienced a good manager, maybe it is time to find a new job or business opportunity where you can be that leader for yourself and the people who work with you.

2012 is just around the corner…. what is your year going to look like?

Come and join me on: