Circle of Genius

Have you ever picked up a good book and after reading the first couple of lines, you have goosebumps?  Or have you been so passionately moved by a speaker that they have you sitting on the edge of your seat as you soak in what it is they have to say?

There are a few authors and speakers who really rock my world.  People who when they speak, I listen.  When they write, I read.  That list is ever-growing but as of right now it includes Brene Brown, Gretchen Rubin, Robin Sharma, Nathaniel Branden and a few others.  I really enjoy hearing what it is they have to share with the world.  They inspire me to be better in everything that I do.

This morning was a perfect example of having my world rocked.  On my computer, I have a file of these amazing monthly coach videos from Robin Sharma.  Each about twenty minutes, they are my daily dose of awesomeness.  On the video this morning, his message was about tapping into my own “Circle of Genius”, in other words looking at the people I choose to spend my time with.

Life is short. My two top priorities in my life are my family and my helping people through chiropractic.  The time I have outside either of those priorities is precious.  And who I choose to associate with during those times is important to me.  I want to spend time with people who inspire me to better at what I do.  I want to talk with people who make me smile, are fun, warm, happy, and think positively. I don’t want to spend time with people who are negative, fear-mongering, energy suckers.  How do you avoid these people?


I have to make sure my Doorman is doing his job.  My Doorman is my “metaphorical Bouncer”, the guy who decides who and what comes into my life.  If someone (or something) doesn’t meet the criteria of who (or what) I want to associate with, then they don’t make it into my life.  Cool concept, if you stop to think about it.  Think of all the people in your life (hopefully there aren’t many) who bring you down.  These people, by the way, are the ones that when you see their name come up on Call Display, you inwardly sigh.  If you had enacted your Doorman when you were first introduced, they wouldn’t have the space in your life they do now.  It’s such a simple idea and yet it works so brilliantly!

Today, I’ll spend time looking at my Circle of Genius.  Who are the people I really trust?  Who are the people who I really love to spend time with?  Is there a way I can connect with them more often?

A New Perspective for Moms

When was the last time that, as a mother, you recognized your impact on your children?

I encourage each and every mom to take a moment to watch this video that I happened across.  And then please take another moment to recognize and appreciate the awesomeness inside of you.  It’s so easy to get bogged down in the negative, the things we want to improve upon, and the stuff we don’t like about ourselves.

But rarely, RARELY, do we take time to appreciate the GOOD about ourselves and how that GOOD impacts our children.  How it imprints on them.  How the smallest of things can make the biggest impact on our children’s lives.

Tough Mudder 2013. Check!

For four years it has been a goal of mine to do Tough Mudder.  It’s been on my bucket list.  And Saturday at 1:20PM I was able to check it off that list.  I had the bruises, a sore right hip flexor, a few scrapes, and an orange headband to prove it.

If you have never heard of Tough Mudder, it’s a sensational obstacle race that is held in different locations around the world.  It’s approximately 18 kilometres (11ish miles) of uneven terrain (up and down ski hills) and 22 obstacles.  I wrote a post about what we were up against on Friday.

With it now firmly behind me, I can say that it was awesome.  One of the most fun experiences I’ve had in a long time.  And if you remember, I wanted to put more fun in my life.  Our team of five amazing women got there with very little time to spare.  We missed our 9:20 start time and ended up starting closer to 9:40.    This gave us a little extra time to get mobile and pump ourselves up.

Team Dirty Skirts pre-Mudder.

Team Dirty Skirts pre-Mudder.

Out of the gate, it was straight up a hill.  Which became a regular theme throughout the day.  Lots of hills, which (as I had been warned) was the hardest part of the course.  I had trained on some hills but not ski hills.  And the combination of the hills and the rocky, uneven terrain that comprises them was a lot on my knees and hips by the end of the day.

Thankfully though there were lots of straight aways as well.  Beautiful trail runs that made the hills bearable.  I remember at about the 8k mark, our team was commenting on the fact that we thought Tough Mudder would be tougher.  We also commented that we shouldn’t hold our breath because we still had more than half of our race to go.  Good thing because the majority of the hills were in the last half of the race.  I suppose that’s why they call it TOUGH Mudder and not Easy Peasy Mudder.

The obstacles were the fun part.  There were a few that were nerve racking.  I have an intense fear of heights.  So the three obstacles that made me take a deep breath were Walk the Plank, Smoke Chute, and Everest.  Smoke Chute was actually the worst because I was  jumping into the unknown.  I had to jump down a chute that curved like a slide at the end.  But it was the approximate 8 foot drop until you got to the slide that was the gulper.  It looked like you would hit your head or land on your butt in a way that wouldn’t feel good.




And to boot, I was screaming as I dropped down the shoot, so that when you hit the water it’s a nice mouthful of dirty muddy water.  Yum.

Team Dirty Skirts post Mudder.  Much dirtier.

Team Dirty Skirts post Mudder. Much dirtier.

Tips for future Tough Mudders?

1.  Ditch the gloves.  Mine attached to one another and so I clipped them around my bra strap and they were out of the way the whole time (on my backside).  But I didn’t use them once.  Although many of my teammates used them the entire time so I guess to each, their own.

2.  Pants or capris.  Save the knees!  All of the mud obstacles have gravel in them (or small rocks, which my bruised right knee would attest to) and so as you climb and crawl through the muddy obstacles, you’ll want something to protect your knees.

3.  Don’t sweat the shoes so much.  I didn’t have trail runners, just used some minimalist runners and it was fine.  They are going to get muddy, slick, and dirty.  Granted you want some tread but I can’t imagine it being that big of an advantage.   I donated mine at the end of it.  Many people say you can wash and use them again but I’m happy to donate them to a good cause and not carry them home.

These were grey when I started.  Now soaked with water, filled with pebbles, and caked with mud.

These were grey when I started. Now soaked with water, filled with pebbles, and caked with mud.

4.  Practice on hills.  You’re likely not going to run them.  I didn’t.  But know what your body feels like going up and down them at a fast walk.

5.  Drink a ton of water the night before.  I was well hydrated going into the race.  I think there were plenty of water stations (more than I expected) but it was good to feel like I went there without worrying about cramping up because of dehydration.

6.  Don’t think through the obstacles.  Just do them.  If you give yourself even a second to think about it, you will second guess yourself.  I almost talked myself out of the Smoke Chute.  It was honest to goodness peer pressure that put me through as two of my teammates made the jump.  So I followed.  If I had been on my own, I might have chickened out.

I can honestly say I didn’t think Tough Mudder was as tough as I expected it to be (sorry for the letdown).  Am I sore the next day?  Yes, sure.  My hamstrings are feeling the hills.  But at no point during the challenge did I feel completely winded.  I chalk that up to some great training (both running and CrossFit) ahead of time.  Was it fun though?  Absolutely.  And I will definitely do it again.  I loved the challenge.  I want to do better.  The 30 monkey bars got me and I ended up in the water.  I look forward to smoking them next year.  Now to just convince the other members of Dirty Skirts to join me….

Me & my rewards - a beer and the orange headband.

Me & my rewards – a beer and the orange headband.

More Power Hour goodness

I was really excited to see that an article I wrote on the awesomeness of the morning power hour was published on the Experience Life website this past Thursday.  You can check it out HERE.

On the same day, there was a great article that came through my Inbox from Robin Sharma.  If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’ll note that Sharma is one of my favourite authors.  I’ve listened to his podcasts, read his books, followed his blog, and seen many of his interviews.  This is what Robin had to share this morning about HOW to get up for a 5AM power hour.

He shares an awesome video at the bottom.  Enjoy and if you haven’t already, I highly encourage you to jump on his email list.  I have yet to be disappointed with his message and I think it will be a huge boost for you too.

Did you know we collectively spend 100,000,000 minutes a day playing Angry Birds on smartphones?

Did you know that most people spend 2 hours or more each day being distracted from doing important things that will deliver their dreams by watching dancing cats on YouTube?

Did you know that the more you allow yourself to be interrupted, the more you actually develop a brain that can’t focus?

It’s just unbelievable how many of us are spending the best hours of our days chasing trivial pursuits that add zero value to our lives.

It’s the #1 success destroyer these days…all these distractions that have invaded your best hours…

So how can you break free of “The Addiction to Distraction” so your days become WILDLY productive? And so you create a life you adore?

One of the absolute best ways I know of is learning how to wake up early. Get this one habit right and you’ll achieve more in one day than most people get done in one month.

FACT: From 5 am to 8 am are “The Golden Hours” that the most successful achievers in the world use to set up their days for success. The way you begin your day really does determine how you live your day.

These 3 hours are the hours of least distraction in your day. And when your energy is at its peak.

So in response to the thousands of requests, I took the time to shoot a new training video that shares the next piece of my formula for extreme achievement. It will teach you exactly how to get up early.

Follow the steps I share and you’ll be getting up early within a few days (so you can achieve important things).

Watch the “How to Get Up Early” video now

Enough with the Excuses

There is one thing I know for a fact about being a mom.  If I don’t take care of myself, then I can’t take care of the rest of my family.  If I’m sick or if I’m laid up due to injury everything goes haywire in our home.  And here is the second part of what I know – if I’m sick or I’m laid up with an injury it’s because I wasn’t taking care of myself properly.

It’s not because of bad germs, bad genetics, or bad luck.  It’s because of bad choices.  Let me make that really clear – people get sick because people make poor lifestyle choices.  They don’t take care of themselves properly.  They eat crappy foods.  They don’t get enough sleep.  They don’t exercise enough or properly. They don’t stretch or work on their mobility.  They don’t take time for ourselves to support their mental emotional health.  They don’t make sure that their brain-body connection is clear with the help of chiropractic adjustments.

Speaking as a mom and a chiropractor, I have the unique and humbling opportunity to work with a lot of families.  I feel that I resonate well with families.  I can relate to the stress and frustrations (and on the flip side, the wins!) of wanting the absolute best health for your family.  Ensuring that kids get exceptional health care, healthy foods, enough exercise, good sleep, support at school and home, good relationships, and all else that as parents, we want for our children.

But here’s the thing – sometimes we put all of our energy into our children and we forget to put any energy into ourselves.

One of the many concerns I hear is “I don’t have time to exercise.”  I’m fortunate in the fact that I have created a lifestyle that allows me to get into the gym three mornings a week as well as set aside time to walk and/or run two days a week.  I realize and appreciate that not all moms or dads have the ability to get to a gym due to special circumstances with family, work, and more.  But for the large majority of people it doesn’t mean that time can’t be carved out each day to get a workout in.

Last week was a little crazy.  On Friday we left at noon for a long weekend away.  I knew I couldn’t get to the gym that morning because I wanted to get the kids down to the park to let out some energy.  So, while the kids got their shoes on, I threw on my workout clothes.  Off to the park/gym we go. 

This is what I love about kids.  They can workout and have fun at the same time.

photophoto copy 2

While my kids swung, climbed, dug, slid, and hung around I got a twenty minute workout in.  Admittedly Caleigh was my photographer and I think that if I asked for “one more photo”, she might have lost it.  She kept going back and forth between taking pictures and making sand pies.  They were really good – both the pictures and the sand pies (chocolate flavoured, yum!).

Here’s how to fit in a quick workout at the park.  Warm up with a 2 minute jog/run around the park.  Then get down to business.

1.  LUNGES.  Do a specific number on each leg.  Start off small and add more each time you work out.


Lunges – make sure your knee doesn’t forward of your ankle.

2.  SQUATS.  Keep your back up (my form is horrible in this picture).  I put my hands behind my head to help keep my form clean.  Try to get your bum as close to the ground as possible.  Start with a minimum of 10 and work up to 100 over a few weeks.



3.  PUSH UPS/PLANKS.  Women can do “mens” push ups as well as men can.  Focus on keeping your core strong and it will prevent arching of your upper back (see top photo).  A plank is holding the up position for as long as you can.  Work up to 2 minutes over time.

Push Ups & Planks

Push Ups & Planks

4.  SIT UPS.  Fun to do with a baby!  Put your little on in between your legs and play peek a boo each time you come up for a sit up.  Plant a kiss on the top of their head so that you make sure you’re breaking 45 degrees at your waist.

sit ups

Sit ups

5.  STEP UPS.  Pretty simple.  Step up onto a park bench.  Make sure you completely open your hips.  If this hard to remember, clap your hands above your head, which will automatically open up your hips in full extension.

Steps Ups

6.  JUMP UPS.  The next level up.  Jump up onto the park bench.  Start on two feet and end on two feet.  Remember to fully stand up so that hips are open at the end of the jump.

Jumps Ups

Jumps Ups

7.  TRICEP DIPS.  Keeping your legs slightly bent, bend at your elbows.  The deeper, the better.  Repeat.

Tricep Dips

Tricep Dips

8.  INCLINE PULL UPS.  Grab a bar at the park and pull yourself up over and over.

Incline Pull UpsIncline Pull Ups

There you have it.  If it takes you 20 minutes, I’d be surprised.  Kids can help by counting off the number of repetitions you do.  Or they can join in on the same moves.  They’ll have fun and the more they laugh, you’ll have fun too.  Promise.

Ignore the Critics

Some people will always be a critic.  A critic justifies their deficiencies by telling you that you’re wrong.  Regardless of what you choose to do, how well you succeed, and regardless of all the amazing things that come into your life as a result of your choices, they will be critical.  They will point out what they would have done differently.  They will claim they could have done it easier, faster, better.  And they’re not going to change.  They will always be a critic.

You’re not going to silence them.  But you can ignore them.

I hear about these critics when I practice.  Stories from people I have the opportunity to work with.  Stories from people who are making BETTER choices in their life to create a HEALTHIER lifestyle.  Stories from people who are no longer willing to live a life that is less than that that they deserve.

“My co-worker thinks eating by design is wrong.  She thinks it’s just a fad and that any ‘diet’ that eliminates food is wrong.”

“My husband doesn’t believe in chiropractic.  He says it’s a sham.”

“My best friend heard that CrossFit causes too many injuries.”

“My wife thinks it’s pointless to wake up at 5AM just to work on myself.”


All you can do is ignore these people.  Because even when you do see the success come into your life that is a direct result of all the hard work that you do to create more exceptional health for yourself, the critics won’t care.  So just ignore them.

I’m more proud of the way I feel, the way I look, and the way I function NOW more than any other time in my life.  I’m healthier.  I’m more vibrant.  I’m feeling awesome.  My body is working better than ever before.  I’m stronger.  I’m happier.  I’m all of these things because I choose to make better lifestyle choices.

I move by design.  I move every single day.  And I lift heavy stuff at the gym three days a week.

I eat by design.  I don’t eat grains.  I limit sugar and dairy.  I eat  protein, vegetables, fats, and a bit of fruit.

I think by design.  I get up for a morning power hour.  I read.  I journal.  I play.  I practice gratitude.  I serve.

I am powered by design.  I get checked, and often adjusted, weekly by a chiropractor.  My brain-body connection is optimal and my mind and body loves me for it.

So critics can be critics.  They can look at the my lifestyle and think it’s for not.  But in my own life, I see the outcome.  I see how much healthier I am.  And so to the critics who think that it’s too much work, too strict, not backed by research, and crazy….keep on with your thinking.  It’s okay.  I choose not to listen to you.

But have an awesome day.

Increasing my level of awesomeness

I love the word “awesome”.  I’ve loved it for a long time and there is something about it that makes me smile.  It’s such a perfect response to so many beautiful things in life.

“Dr. A, I’m functioning so much better today!”  That’s AWESOME!

“Mom!  I scored a goal!”  That’s AWESOME!

“My baby slept through the night for the first time after her last adjustment!” That’s AWESOME!

And so with my profound love of the word AWESOME, I am constantly acknowledging ways that I increased my level of awesomeness in a day.  Which is honestly just ways to live a healthy, vibrant, most fantastic life.

  • I didn’t eat sugar today.
  • I got a solid 7 hours of sleep last night.
  • I read another chapter from “The Charge” by Brendon Burchard
  • I played tag with my kids
  • I drank nothing but water today
  • I wrote in my journal
  • I spent an hour with my mom
  • I listened to an inspiring podcast
  • I set a personal record at the gym
  • I went to the gym, despite feeling tired

….the list can go on and on and can incorporate your own ways.  I started off my day with a bit of a sleep-in as I’m feeling under the weather.  Scratchy and sore throat.  A sign that my sleeping patterns have been in the tank with Maggie’s teething and so I needed an extra hour this morning (increasing my level of awesomeness).  Fried up three eggs with some cracked pepper along side a handful of fresh raspberries (increasing my level of awesomeness).  Journaled about my awesome date night with my husband last night where we got to connect and spend time together and how AWESOME that felt (increasing my level of awesomeness).  Then threw my stuff in a bag and walked a mile to work (increasing my level of awesomeness).  Get to do what I love to do today by adjusting a number of families this morning and then get adjusted myself (increasing my level of awesomeness).

So, I ask you.  What did you do today to increase your level of awesomeness?

My walk to work this morning.  The sun at my back, the moon out in front.  It was beautiful!

My walk to work this morning. The sun at my back, the moon out in front. It was beautiful!