Right now, I’m on a fairly long stretch of days off from my day job (Hallelujah!). Nine days in total to do as I please (it’s Day 3). That means: 1) focusing on my running and hitting (or hopefully exceeding) my weekly goal of 50 kilometres; 2) making significant progress on my writing projects (I’m working on two books at the same time); and 3) taking time to recharge. But I’ve never been good at really slowing down or the art of rest. [Read more…] about Primal: The Art of Slowing Down
At the end of 2019, I took a break from social media. Overwhelmed and approaching burnout, I needed to take charge of my daily schedule. And, most importantly, I wanted to stay focused on what matters most: writing. Not just that. I realized I spent too much time reaching for my phone, scanning the headlines on BBC.com, checking the likes and comments on Facebook posts, or my blog stats.
On 1 December 2019, I began a social media blackout. I deleted the Facebook, Twitter and Instagram apps from my phone. I used Freedom — an app that blocks distracting apps and websites — to restrict access to social media and news sites between 12:01 am and 8:00 pm daily. Why did I choose that time frame? As a morning person (rising between 3:30 and 4:00 am), it was crucial that I didn’t have access to the sites and apps I wanted to avoid as I started my day. And I’m usually beginning my bedtime rituals around 8:00 pm.
How we use the time gifted to us is our choice. Going dark reinforced that for me. [Read more…] about The Inside Scoop Behind My Social Media Blackout
Growing up isn’t easy. And Scott Davenport must choose: live his life or run away from it?
Raw and rich in emotion, Broken Man Broke is a thought-provoking coming-of-age story about identity, belonging, and purpose. Lopés reminds us that not everyone sees us for who we are and that sometimes — amid the chaos threatening to destroy us — we’re not sure who we are or what we stand for.
A powerful coming-of-age story coming November 21, 2019. Pre-order today!
What would you do if you were given a 5% chance of ever walking again?
Some people might give up. Rob MacDonald proved the odds wrong.
I met Rob last Saturday (19 October 2019) after participating in the International Friendship Run at the Running, Health & Fitness Expo that was part of the weekend events for the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. When I’d signed up for the race in July, it was to check off another item from my bucket list. I never liked fundraising or asking people for money. In the past, if I had to fundraise, I’d set a goal that — outside of a few donations — I could cover personally. So, my plan for the Toronto marathon was to donate to a couple of charities, but not run for a team.
That all changed the day before the race when I met Rob. Here was a guy, who been given a 5% chance of ever walking again, about to run his second full marathon. Inspiring. Motivating. Empowering. I decided to join ‘Team I Will.’ The Toronto Rehab Foundation gave Rob a second chance. I’d love for you to learn more about Rob’s a story and how you can help. Read more here.
Making it Personal
I was in university when my grandmother was rushed to the hospital. She was in her mid-seventies (75 or 76) and had to have her leg amputated due to diabetes. The doctors weren’t convinced she’d make it off the operating table. But she did. I believe partly because of her unwavering faith, partly because she had a strong will to live. I spent time with her every day for the four months of rehab that got her out of the hospital. The dedication, training and encouragement from her rehab team gave her a second chance. While she chose not to walk with a prosthetic leg, she was still an active and outgoing person with a positive attitude. She knew the power of ‘I Will,’ and showed me I could do whatever I set my mind to with will and determination.
Getting it Together
I spent fifteen weeks training for the Toronto Waterfront Marathon. The power of ‘I Will’ was never more present on those mornings when, at 5:15 am, I’d set out for a 30 km run. Or when it was raining. Or when, with the humidity, it was close to 38°C. Some runs were a struggle, but I told myself I could do it, to keep on keeping on.
On race day, I was excited, confident and nervous. Would my training pay off? I worried about tapering in the last few weeks because I wasn’t sure how not running as much would help. Could I really run 42.2 km? The most distance I’d covered during training was 37 km, and that run hurt. What if I got injured during the race? Would it sideline me? I didn’t want to be the person you sometimes see being treated by medics along the race route.
This was my first full marathon; I’d last run a half-marathon in 2010. When I registered for the race, I had to pick a finishing time so I’d start in the right corral. I arbitrarily picked 3:50. I had a three-tiered goal: 1) Finish, 2) Run the 42.2 km in under four hours, and 3) Aim to finish in 3:50. The more I trained, and after I’d joined a running group, the more I came to doubt myself. Seasoned marathoners hinted my goal was ambitious for a first-timer. Others readily shared horror stories of how their friends trained and trained, and then injured themselves two days before a race. I started to doubt myself. But during my runs, I told myself, ‘I will do this. I can do this. I won’t allow anyone else to limit what I can and cannot do.’
The Power of ‘I Will’
The gun went off and I started to run. For the first ten kilometres, I stayed with the pacer who’d get us across the finish line in three hours and fifty minutes before pulling ahead slightly. Maybe it was that race-day high, but I wondered if I could even come in a little under of my 3:50 goal. Even with my training, there were times during the race when I struggled. I reminded myself that just getting across the finish line was a win. And I had a moment, around the 32 km mark, when I wasn’t sure I could do it. That was when I started repeating to myself, “I will do this.” And at that point, the pain in my right foot hurt so much I wanted to stop. Every time my foot hit the asphalt, the pain shot through me. But I pushed on and said, “I will do this. There is no pain, only joy. Marcus, you’ve got this.”
And I did do it. I crossed the finish line, completing the race in 3:49:18.
As Rob told Team I Will at the post-race celebration, ‘I will…’ can carry you through any goal — physical, creative, professional — that you set out to achieve. Let ‘I Will’ be your mantra. Let it help you become the best version of yourself.
Are you struggling to achieve a certain goal? Can you take one action right now that would move you and your goal forward? What is it? Click Reply to let me know. I love hearing from you!
Twenty years ago, “I don’t know” was my standard answer to two questions: What do I want to do in life? And who do I want to be? And it would have been a lie. Back then, I was scared — ashamed, even — to admit I wanted to be a writer. Expectations had been set. I was supposed to secure a steady, nine-to-five job, settle down, and live happily ever after. Not chase a ‘silly’ dream. Not do something with no guarantee of success. No, I wasn’t supposed to do what matters to me.
Fast forward to now, and that silly dream is alive and kicking. Because I believed in it, believed in who I could become. Around my day job, I’ve built a regular writing routine. I realized it didn’t have to be one or the other. When I made writing a priority — cut out the noise around me — my dream began to take shape. Focused, I was able to do what matters most to me.
Life is busy, and there are huge demands on our time. Sometimes we convince ourselves that there’s not enough time to pursue a dream or our heart’s true desire. Yet we’re constantly picking up our phones and checking in on social media, bingeing on Netflix or Prime Video (despite my best intentions, that’ll be me when season 2 of Jack Ryan debuts on 1 November), or hooked on series like The Bachelor and The Bachelorette.
Do What Matters Most
What if we wake up twenty minutes earlier or stay up twenty minutes later to put a little time in on our dreams? (Some may think I’m crazy, but I’m at my desk by 4:30 am at the latest, and in bed before 9 pm.) What if we take the time slot for one of our favourite TV shows and dedicate it to writing that book or starting the series of paintings? (When my partner flips to Entertainment Tonight at 7 pm, I put in my earplugs and read.) What happens when we carve out that little bit of time in our day to do what matters most? (Sometimes I slip away to a coffee shop to write.) If we don’t make time to do what matters most, we end up watching someone else live their dreams instead of building our own.
Did you progress your dream today? What one small action could you take that would help you make that dream come true? Click Reply to let me know. I love hearing from you!
Run to, and around the perimeter of, Hyde Park.
Finally, it’s crossed off my bucket list for London. You know, it wasn’t the distance from my hotel in St. John’s Wood to the entrance near Marble Arch (2.5 km) that held me back. Besides, when I get out for a run these days as I train for the Toronto Waterfront Marathon, I’m putting in a minimum of 10 km. No, it took me a long time to scratch this challenge off my bucket list because running through the streets of London terrifies me. [Read more…] about Slow it Down