Category Archives: self dialogue

Motivation Lessons from the Man Who Ran for 5 Days (with No Sleep)

By Jarie Bolander

photo by David Heger

Cliff Young is the most famous runner you have never heard of.

Cliff is a legend among endurance athletes. He made his mark in 1983 when – a sheep farmer by trade – he showed up in overalls and work boots to compete in the Westfield Sydney to Melbourne Ultra Marathon.

Yes, you heard me right. Overalls and work boots.

The Westfield is an 875 km (544 m) running race from Sydney to Melbourne. In 1983 most professional endurance athletes were finishing in about 8 days.

The typical technique for this race was to run 17 hours a day and then sleep for 7 hours. Sort of a ‘big leap then rest’ approach. Cliff’s technique was a little different.

He just ran straight – with no sleep – all the way to Melbourne.

His technique allowed him to not only win but set a new course record of 5 days, 15 hours, and 4 minutes – smashing the existing record by 2 days. These days, almost all ultra-distance runners use Cliff’s ‘no sleep’ method and his unique running style – called the ‘Young Shuffle’.

Cliff’s success was based on the incremental – pushing yourself along, one small step at a time – not fleeting leaps like his competitors.

Now, you may not plan to run 875 km in your work clothes, but when you commit to achieving big things with your life, there will be plenty of times when you need a little extra motivation to keep going – and Cliff is the perfect example to draw on for inspiration. Continue reading


Why You Need to Ask More Creative Questions

Image by alpha spirit via BigStock

I love crime dramas, especially ones where the protagonist appears to have a psychological edge over everyone else, such as The Mentalist, Sherlock and Luther.

The way they look at the crime scene from a different perspective and as a result get new insights into the case that ultimately leads them to the villain.

The majority of times what leads the protagonist to get fresh insight is the quality of questions they ask. When I coach my clients, I do so with the understanding that the questions I ask influences the direction of their thinking.

For example, if I ask you “What will ‘X’ get you?” you will tend to think about specific things (more money, less stress, more time). However if I ask you “What will that do for you?” you are more likely to come up with more value based abstract answers (freedom, contentment, acceptance).

The brain is goal seeking

Questions can lead you to more creative insight due to directing your thinking in a way that requires an answer. Your brain is a goal seeking mechanism, so if you ask it a question your prompt it to find an answer. These questions can provide a way of looking at a problem that provides solutions you hadn’t thought about before. Continue reading

Who Do You Think You Are? Why You’re in Control of Your Destiny…

By Mike Robbins


If you had to sum up your life’s story, would you say it’s inspiring? Boring? Tragic? Realize that not only are you the main character in your life, but you’re also the author—only you can determine if you think your story is good and what the next chapter will be!

Sometimes when I’m about to take a big risk, go for something important or step out in a bold way in my life, a judgmental question will pop up in my head: “Who do you think you are?” Does this ever happen to you?

This is one of the many ways the feelings of not being good enough or of unworthiness show up in your life and get in the way of your success, fulfillment and authenticity. Sadly, as most of people know, this question doesn’t come from your true self; it comes from your “Gremlin,” the little monster in your head whose only job is to keep you out of perceived danger. The more you listen to your Gremlin, the more you allow him or her to sabotage your life.
However, this question, “Who do you think you are?”—while often asked in a negative, critical way and is something you allow to stop you from doing, saying and going for important things in life—is also a very important question for you to ask and answer honestly. When you look at it on deeper level, you see that your answer to this question has a lot to do with how you experience life in general.
How life is for you has a lot less to do with your circumstances or situations and much more to do with how you relate to them and the thoughts you have. Some of the most powerful thoughts you think and the ones that have the most impact on you are the thoughts you have about yourself (i.e., who you think you are).
Everyone has a story about themselves and their lives. These stories are often dramatic, funny, scary, inspiring, sad, intense, boring, enjoyable or tragic (usually a combination of many of these things). In most cases, the story you have changes a bit, depending on how you’re feeling about life and yourself at any given time.
One of the things you may sometimes forget, however, is that you’re the author of the story of your life, not just the main character. You may think that your story has to do with all the things that have happened to you, the qualities you were born with or have cultivated, the stuff you’ve done or haven’t done yet. But, when you remember that your story is a function of your thoughts, most specifically the thoughts you have about yourself, you can be empowered to consciously transform not just your story, but your life as a whole.

Here are a few things to think about and do to enhance your thoughts about yourself and therefore enhance your experience of life:

  • Notice when your feelings of being not good enough or of unworthiness show up.
    In other words, pay attention to when the question, “Who do you think you are?” stops you in your tracks and takes you out of the game of your life. When you’re able to notice this, be honest about and have some compassion for yourself, you can take your power back from your Gremlin in those moments and step more fully into who you really are.
  • Ask yourself more deeply, “Who do you think you are?”
    Go deeper with this question, beyond the judgment, and really inquire about how you relate to yourself. What’s your story? The more honest you can be about the story you have about yourself, the easier it is for you to acknowledge it, own it and ultimately change it. Remember, these stories are not “true”—they are simply your interpretations, judgments and beliefs. You created them, so you have the power to transform them at any time.
  • Upgrade your story about yourself.
    In the specific areas of your life where your story is not empowering, inspiring or fulfilling, see if you’re willing and able to “upgrade” it in an authentic way. This basically means you change your thoughts, words and feelings about your story in a genuine way. Because people often get so attached to their stories and tend to defend them passionately, this upgrading process can be challenging. It sometimes takes support, feedback and coaching from others in order for you to move beyond your story and remember that you have the power to upgrade it whenever you’re ready.

Who you think you are is one of the most foundational aspects of how you relate to life and yourself. As Henry Ford said in his famous quote: “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.” This simple quote is so wise and profound. And, whether you think you’re great not, you’re always right—it’s a function of who you truly think you are.

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Expectations really are funny things. They surround us and our society seems to need them in order to know how to function day-to-day. I never thought there was anything wrong with expectations until I realized the problem isn’t what other people expect of us, it’s the expectations we put on ourselves and others that are so dangerous. We’re frantic to be anything and everything other than simply who we are, where we are, right now. The constant internal and external voicing of “should” perpetuates the endless not enough-ness that lives inside our heads and hearts. When we’re going fast, we “should” slow down and when we are slow, we “should” be more productive. We “should” be in a relationship, be single, get better grades, do more, weigh less, fight harder, live longer, be stronger, smarter, and more popular. I don’t know about you, but I’m exhausted.

It’s been 28 years and I’m just now really aware of the critical voice inside my head. She makes me feel bad for being vulnerable or for not being more successful. When my body needs rest, she calls me lazy. And when I prioritize myself over others, she calls me a bad friend. She tells me that in order to have value and keep friends, I better use my gift to lift people up. If I’m not feeling particularly positive or high-energy, I “should” probably just fake it or stay home all together. The word “should” immediately implies that it’s not enough simply just being. You can imagine how easy it must be to live in constant disappointment of ourselves and I wonder how many of us do.

Well I’m here to tell you (and myself) that I’m fed up, so I’m eliminating the word “should” from my vocabulary. I’ll replace it with phrases like, “I’d love to” or just omit the term altogether. You’ll be truly shocked once you start to listen for that word just how often you hear it from people around you and inside your own head. So, I’m going to practice loving myself exactly as I am right now on a daily basis.

Can you imagine if we all agreed to give it our best shot and when we fall short, just call it what it is? “I’m being lazy and eating food that doesn’t give my body what it needs.” “I’m not motivated and my success will be affected by that.” “I’d really love to meditate today because I know how good it makes me feel.” How about some self-compassion? “I’m sorry, self that you don’t feel optimistic right now and whatever you’re feeling is causing you pain, but I know we will get through this.” How revolutionary!

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