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I participated in the 2022 Toronto Carnival Run, a Caribbean-inspired run encouraging health, wellness, and active living. The 6th edition was held on Saturday, July 23, 2022, and I ran a personal best of 47 minutes for a 10 KM run. The run started at Sir Casimir Gzowski Park and heads East along the Martin Goodman Trail. The run/walk distance options of 5K, 10K and 1K Kid’s run

The Toronto Carnival Run takes place annually in downtown Toronto one week before North America’s largest cultural parade, the Toronto Caribbean Carnival (formerly known as Caribana), along the same route. 

Toronto Carnival Run® is not only about encouraging active living but bringing the community together in celebrating and promoting the beauty of Toronto’s cultural diversity in a positive and healthy way.

Personal Best

I ran a personal best of 47 minutes 35 seconds for a 10 KM run. It was great training for my upcoming 42.2 KM marathon later in august. My position was 27th of 281 participants and 22nd in the male category.

So far this year have participated in the Vancouver Marathon (42.2KM), Ottawa Marathon (42.2KM), and I am preparing for the Edmonton Marathon (August), Montreal Marathon (September), Toronto Marathon (October) and the Dubai Marathon (December). The next couple of months is going to be marathon and travel-filled. My goal is to run a sub 4 hours Marathon, I am getting very close.

 “We don’t rise to the level of our expectations; we fall to the level of our training.” –  Archilochus

I started running marathons in 2013 as a coping mechanism after the loss of my closest cousin. Running is now part of my daily routine and has been a lifesaver, especially during dark days. There have been many dark and trying days in the past couple of months, but my routine, regimen and activities such as running, swimming, reading and meditation have made the storm, trials and tribulations easier to navigate. As the Scandinavian says, ” There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes.”

“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass… It’s about learning to dance in the rain.” -Vivian Greene

All the best in your quest to get better. Don’t Settle: Live with Passion.

The 2022 Toronto Waterfront 10K was held on Saturday, June 18, 2022. I participated and finished with an official time of 50:02 (sub-one hour time). It was a great warmup for the upcoming full marathon in a couple of weeks’ time. The 2022 Toronto Waterfront 10KM Marathon had 3974 Participants in total with 1949 women and 2015 men participants.

2022 Toronto Waterfront 10K Result

  • Men: Lee Wesselius (29:52)
  • Women: Cleo Boyd (33:11)

All the best in your quest to get better. Don’t Settle: Live with Passion.

I participated in my second marathon for the month of may after running the BMO Vancouver Marathon on May 1st, 2022. The Tartan Ottawa International Marathon 2022 was my second time running the Ottawa trail. I finished with a time of 4:37:39, an improvement from the Vancouver Marathon where I finished with a time of 5:00:31.

For the first time since 2007, a Canadian woman won the top prize for the women’s section. American-born Canadian long-distance runner Kinsey Middleton finished with a time of 2:30:09 and Ethiopian Andualem Shiferaw set a new marathon course record with 2:06:04, the fastest time set on North American soil in 2022.

Top three in the men’s and women’s categories are:

Men

  1. Andualem Shiferaw (ETH) 2:06:04
  2. Abdi Ali Gelchu (BHR) 2:09:24
  3. Yuta Shimoda (JPN) 2:09:50

Women

  1. Kinsey Middleton (CAN) 2:30:09
  2. Elissa Legault (CAN) 2:33:27
  3. Katja Goldring (USA) 2:33:58

As author Napoleon Hill famously noted: “Whatever the mind of a man can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” Running the Vancouver and Ottawa Marathon was super tough from logistics to actually running the race. But I am glad I did run both races and was able to reduce my finish time a bit. Preparing for the next marathon in a city near you.

All the Best in your quest to get better. Don’t Settle: Live with Passion.

Your job is not to figure out how it’s going to happen for you, but to open the door in your head. And when the door opens in real life, just walk through it. And don’t worry if you miss your cue because there’s always doors opening. – Jim Carrey

Be careful what you ask for, you might get it. As author Napoleon Hill quipped in his 1937 book, Think and Grow Rich: “Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve”. We all want the same things at some basic level: Wealth, Health, Success, Peace of Mind, Relationships, and Happiness. Our definition of these aspirations may vary but at some level, we are all striving for happiness. The power of manifesting and willing your heart desires is one of the great insights shared by most successful people such as Oprah Winfrey, Jim Carrey, Drake, J.K.Rowlings, Steve Harvey among others.

I think everybody should get rich and famous and do everything they ever dreamed of so they can see that it’s not the answer.” – Jim Carrey

A Vision Board is a visual representation of your goals. It is a collage of all the things you want to get done, places you want to visit, and goals you want to achieve.  It is a tool recommended by some of the most successful people in the world such as Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Steve Harvey, John Assaraf, and Jim Carrey among others. By Visualizing your goals, you impress them on your subconscious mind but you have to first set the goals and write down your goals. As author Napoleon Hill said in his 1937 book, Think and Grow Rich “Whatever your mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.”

Be careful what you ask for, you might get it. Our belief system drives our behavior. By impressing your goals on your mind constantly, and seeing your goals continuously, you stand a greater chance of achieving them. One of my favorite examples of the power of visualization is from a story shared by Comedian Jim Carrey. In a 1997 interview with Oprah Winfrey, Carrey described how he used visualization to earn $10 million through a check he had written earlier for services rendered.

The 2022 BMO Vancouver Marathon was held on Sunday, May 1st, 2022 and it had a record 18,500 registered participants. The 2022 edition was special as it was the 50th Anniversary of the Marathon that began with 32 finishers in 1972. It was my first Marathon since the Global Pandemic and I was super delighted to participate in the event.

We started the Marathon behind schedule as a suspicious device was spotted near the Science World on the Half-Marathon track. The Fastest Male was Canadian Chris Balestrini who finished with a time of 2:23:56 and the fastest female at the BMO Vancouver Marathon was Canadian Olympian Dayna Pidhoresky who completed the run in 2:34:30.

Although I did not finish in the time I wanted, it was a very great experience.

I was aiming for a 4 hours 30 Minutes time but it was not meant to be. I finished with a time of 5:00:31. The Vancouver Marathon was my 12th Marathon after previous participation in five different cities: Accra, Cotonou, Lagos, Nairobi, Toronto, Ottawa, and Vancouver.

The finish line of a marathon is one of the most delightful experiences of participating in a Marathon.

After finishing the Marathon, I stayed in Vancouver to explore the city for like a week and it was a great adventure. Vancouver is a beautiful city with lots of great places to visit. I visited the Vancouver Central Public Library, Vancouver Aquarium, Capilano Suspension Bridge, University of British Columbia Main Campus, and the Vancouver Museum of Anthropology, at UBC.

Vancouver Public Library Rooftop

Vancouver Aquarium – A center for marine research, ocean literacy education, conservation, and marine animal rehabilitation.

Vancouver Aquarium

The Capilano Suspension Bridge – Vancouver, Canada

The Capilano Suspension Bridge is a suspension bridge crossing the Capilano River in the District of North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The bridge is 140 meters long and 70 meters above the river.

Capilano Suspension Bridge

University Of British Columbia Vancouver Campus

Vancouver Central Public Library

Preparing for my next 42.2 KM Marathon in a couple of weeks, would keep you posted.

All the Best in your quest to get Better. Don’t Settle: Live with Passion.

Indra Nooyi had just been named the president of PepsiCo with a seat on the board of directors. She was filled with excitement about her accomplishment. In her autobiography, My Life in Full: Work, Family, and Our Future, she recalls a statement made by her mother on the night of her promotion. The story contains lots of insightss such as work-life balance and staying humble among others.

She writes:

Roger and Bob Morrison would serve on the board as vice-chairmen. Steve and Roger also decided together that I would be named president of PepsiCo and join the board. I was in my office late on Friday, December 1, when Steve called me from Dallas to share the news.

I was over the moon. This was major. President of PepsiCo. The board of directors. Wow!

To sour with the eagles, you don’t flock with the chickens. The eagle is a special kind of bird, it flies at high altitudes where no other birds try to fly. If you do what you have always done, you would get the same results. To get a different result, you have to change your approach. As theoretical physicist Albert Einstein once quipped “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.” Our natural state as a human is homeostasis (sameness/certainty). Homeostasis is from the Greek word “Homeo (similar/same) and Stasis (standing still). It is our tendency of staying the same. It is a process we use to maintain stability and survival.

Good fences make good neighbors. – Robert Frost

You got a dream. You got to protect it. People can’t do something themselves… they want to tell you, you can’t do it. If you want something, go get it. Period. – Pursuit of Happyness Movie

On your path to achieving your goals, dreams, and aspirations, you would have to deal with the following sets of people: naysayers, critics, experts, killjoys, dream killers and stealers, the spiteful, frenemies and foes. You’ve got to find a way to protect your goals from these sets of people, especially when they do not see your big picture.  Dreams are somewhat fragile, exposing your dreams to any form of negativity can be detrimental to achieving them.  When you were young, your dreams were wild but as you grow older, the world beats it out of you.

It is the people closest to us who first indoctrinate us with self-limiting beliefs such as “You can not become successful because you are a person of color”, “Money is the root of evil”, and “You need to live cautiously” etc. Your spirit gets dampened by people you thought had their Sh**t figured out. But the reality of life is that: Everyone is trying to figure it out. It is ok to get feedback from people but you need to be mindful of who you share your dreams with. 

All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake up in the day to find it was vanity, but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible.― T.E. Lawrence

The real test of your resolve for achieving your goals and aspirations lies in how you handle the tough and somewhat messy middle on your path to getting things done. When you first set a goal, especially New Year resolutions, it is set with much pump and enthusiasm. As we all eventually find out around mid-march, staying motivated all year round can be tough and challenging.

The Messy Middle shows up when the going gets tough like they often do, when you don’t feel like getting up from bed, not wanting to go to the gym because of bad weather, not reading the book because you are tired, dropping out of the online course or programming class because it is getting tougher, stopping swim class because you are not really seeing the progress. The Messy Middle can be a good excuse to stop but it is when you need to remember why you started or set the goal in the first place.

As British writer C.S.Lewis once noted “You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.” The road to achieving any worthwhile goal is usually rocky, messy and somewhat chaotic. The distractions are always there, especially in our social media, fear-inducing and anxiety creating 24/7 news cycle. There is always something ready to grab our attention- comedy skits, tweets, trending topics, insta stories & reels, tiktok videos etc. Energy & attention goes wherever your focus goes.

There are no unrealistic goals; there are only unrealistic deadlines

S.M.A.R.T is a mnemonic acronym for goal setting. The letters stand for Specific Measurable Achievable Realistic and Time-bound. One of the great tools for achieving your goal is to make it SMART. A goal is a dream with a deadline. There are no impossible goals, what we have are unrealistic timelines and expectations. The human mind is the most powerful force in the universe. As author Napoleon Hill noted in his book, Think and Grow Rich “Whatever Your Mind Can Conceive and Believe, It Can Achieve.”

All men dream; but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds Awake to find that it was vanity; But the dreamers of day are dangerous men. That they may act their dreams with open eyes to make it possible. – T. E.Lawrence

In a 1981 November Issue of Management Review, consultant and former director of corporate planning for Washington Water Power Company, George T. Doran published a paper titled “There’s a S.M.A.R.T way to write Management’s Goals and Objectives“. In the paper, Doran describes the difference between goals and objectives, and he introduced the SMART Acronym. Doran emphasized the need to focus on the action instead of mere quantification. He writes:

Goals vs Objectives

In some cases, goals are short-term and objectives are long-term. In others, the opposite is true. To other organizations, goals and objec­tives are synonymous. Time should not be wasted in the debate over these terms. The important consideration is not to have the label get in the way of effective com­munication.

  • Goals represent unique executive beliefs and philoso­phies. They are usually of a form that is continuous and long-term.
  • Objectives, on the other hand, give quantitative support and expression to management’s beliefs.

“The establishment of objectives and the development of their respective action plans are the most critical steps in a company’s management process.”

How to write objectives

The critical question then becomes “How do you write meaningful objec­tives?”-that is, frame a statement of results to be achieved.  Dorna suggested using SMART for setting organizational goals and objectives, he stated:

Let me suggest, therefore, that when it comes to writing effective objec­tives, corporate officers, managers, and supervisors just have to think of the ac­ronym SMART.

Ideally speaking, each cor­porate, department, and section objec­tive should be:

  • Specific-target a specific area for im­provement.
  • Measurable-quantify or at least suggest an indicator of progress.
  • Assignable-specify who will do it.
  • Realistic-state what results can realisti­cally be achieved, given available resources.
  • Time-related-specify when the result(s) can be achieved.

It should also be understood that the suggested acronym doesn’t mean that every objective written will have all five criteria. However, the closer we get to the SMART criteria as a guideline, the smarter our objectives will be.

Setting a SMART Goal: The Key to achieving your DREAMS.

Whether it is reading more books, losing weight, skydiving, learning a new skill, saving, writing, or running a marathon. The key to achieving any worthwhile goal is to make your goals: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound. At the start of the year, we set new year resolutions with much enthusiasm but as the day goes by, we relent on achieving the goals. The beginning of most goals is set with enthusiasm but the middle is usually messy.

Whatever would go wrong would eventually go wrong. The hallmark of successful people is that they keep showing up day in day out. Even when they don’t feel like it, they are the first in the gym and last to leave the gym, studio, workout session, training, practice. They understand that “We get rewarded in public for what we diligently practice in private”.

Setting SMARTER Goals

New York Times Bestselling Author and Speaker Michael Hyatt describes a SMARTER system for setting and achieving goals based on the SMART acronym, in his 2018 book: Your Best Year Ever: A 5-Step Plan for Achieving Your Most Important Goals. The SMARTER system is based on insights from the best goal-achievement research available and are designed to drive results.

Hyatt writes:

We can make our goals more attainable by ensuring they check the right boxes. Write goals that are specific, measurable, actionable, risky, time-keyed, exciting, and relevant.

Attribute 1: Specific

The first attribute of SMARTER goals is that they’re specific. Focus is power. You can drive the same amount of water through two pipes and create greater force in one of them just by reducing its diameter. That’s similar to what happens when we narrow our goals. What the studies show is that the tougher and more specific the goal, the more likely we are to engage our focus, creativity, intellect, and persistence. Vague goals don’t really inspire us. And it’s hard to know where to put what little effort and creativity we are willing to invest.

Attribute 2: Measurable

The second attribute of SMARTER goals is that they are measurable. In other words, they have built-in criteria you can measure yourself against. This is important for two reasons. The first is the most obvious. How do you know that you’ve reached the goal? It’s not very helpful or inspiring to say that you want to make more money this year than last. How much more? There’s a big difference between a small cost of living raise and driving your commissions up 30 percent. Same with getting fit. Saying you want to exercise more often doesn’t do much. It’s not objective. Saying you plan to go to the gym four days a week is different. When the goal is measurable, we know the criteria for success.

Attribute 3: Actionable

The third attribute of SMARTER goals is that they’re actionable. Goals are fundamentally about what you’re going to do. As a result, it’s essential to get clear on the primary action when formulating your goals. How? It may sound simplistic, but I find it’s best to use a strong verb to prompt the action you want to take. You don’t want something like am, or be, or have. You want a verb like run, finish, or eliminate.

Attribute 4: Risky

The fourth attribute of SMARTER goals is that they’re a bit risky. Hear me out. Normally we talk about setting goals that are realistic. That’s usually what the R in SMART refers to. But if we start by asking what’s realistic, we’re likely to set the bar too low.

Attribute 5: Time-keyed

The fifth attribute of SMARTER goals is that they’re time-keyed. This could be a deadline, frequency, or time trigger. For example, if I just had the goal “Read more,” it’s missing a sense of urgency. It could happen over the next ten years. It could happen over the next twenty years. Even if I assume it’s a New Year’s resolution so it means sometime this year, it’s still just out there somewhere. I can put it off and stop thinking about it. But when I say I want to read two books each month, I’ve not only created a challenge but also focus. Deadlines demand attention and spur action. I’d better get in motion because the clock is ticking.

Attribute 6: Exciting

The sixth attribute of SMARTER goals is that they’re exciting. They inspire you, in other words. Researchers say that we stand a better chance of reaching our goals if we are internally motivated to do so. External motivations might work for a while, but if we’re not getting something intrinsic from the goal, we’ll lose interest.

Go with what excites you. If you don’t find your goals personally compelling, you won’t have the motivation to push through when things get tough or tedious.

Attribute 7: Relevant

Effective goals are relevant to your life. This is about alignment, and it comes at the end of the list because it’s a good way to gut-check your goals before committing to them.

If we’re going to succeed, we need goals that align with the legitimate demands and needs of our lives.

Talk they say is cheap, anyone can say they want to climb Mount Everest but the people that eventually achieve their goals are those that consistently show up daily through practice and execution. You do not have to be great to start but you have to start to be great. Every multinational started with a simple idea, every best-selling author started with a single word, everyone starts somewhere but you would set yourself up for success by setting SMART goals and executing relentlessly.

A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week. George S. Patton

All the Best in your quest to get Better. Don’t Settle: Live with Passion.

The Coronavirus has disrupted our lives and nothing would ever remain the same again. One of the unintended consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic is the lockdown giving us the opportunity to spend time with ourselves, self-reflect and forced reset of our lives. The lockdown has been one of the most transformative period of my entire life. It’s been a roller coaster of emotions, grief, anxiety, loss, relationship recalibration, self-assessment and constant improvement.

it’s been extremely tough to deal with the challenges and also exciting to have more time to self-reflect as a result of the downtime. During this challenging times, it was also an opportunity to form new habits, regimen, and routines. One of the surefire way of achieving any goal and avoiding overwhelm is to take it one step at a time. As Greek Philosopher Aristotle once quipped “We are what we repeatedly doExcellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” Gaining momentum through daily small wins is the key to achieving any worthwhile goal.

He who has a strong enough why can bear almost any how. – Friedrich Nietzsche

 German Philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche once said “He who has a strong enough why can bear almost any how.” Whether is starting a new business, setting a new goal, starting a regimen/routine, going on an adventure, or navigating the roller coaster called life; having a compelling why goes a long way in how far you go. Anyone can feel great and enthusiastic when things are going according to plan, the real test of your resolve/resolution shows when things are not going as planned. As former Boxing heavyweight champion, Mike Tyson once quipped |Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face.”.

“The real test of a man is not when he plays the role that he wants for himself but when he plays the role destiny has for him.”― Vaclav Havel

The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones – Confucius

No matter how daunting a goal feels in the beginning, if you stick with it; you would eventually figure it out. It can be tough and overwhelming to execute on some goals but with the end in mind, Everything Is Figureoutable. As  American industrialist, Henry Ford once noted “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t–you’re right” Everything is impossible before it becomes possible. What the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve. It all starts with the mind, a single step, baby steps that has compounding effect in the long run.

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