Personal Development


Chapter LIII – The Valley Harvest 10Km

I am Jude. I ran my first race during the Valley Harvest Marathon Weekend. 

Typically I run alone and I have never participated in a competitive race before, so this was quite a challenge. 

However, leading up to the event, I was completely relaxed.

I continually reminded myself that, for me, this was just a run and not a race and that there were no expectations except to finish. 

I didn’t time or measure any of my previous runs and I had no magic number to beat – I was just running. 

The only fears I had were related to nagging injuries and whether they would present any pain or discomfort. Other than that I was ready. 

And it didn’t disappoint.

The other runners, friendly volunteers and well wishers along the course brought a level of excitement to the race. 

The conditions were perfect. The morning was crisp and clear, there was no wind and the sun was shining. 

And to top it off, I ran well. I didn’t struggle or really tire. My legs weren’t heavy and my back was fine. 

The More you Give the More you Receive 

The universe continues to bless me with unexpected opportunities to learn and grow.

Early on in the race I realized that offering other people encouragement provided me with a corresponding surge of energy. The more I gave, the more I received.

It was a beautiful metaphor about the very real benefits you obtain from giving to others.

Everytime I told someone to keep going or that they were doing great, my run became a little easier. It somehow reduced my fatigue and allowed me to run faster. 

It is a practice that I will take with me into every subsequent race I enter. However, I also need to make better use of this power in my personal life.   

My favorite moment of the race came just after the halfway mark when I had a short interaction with another runner.

I shared with her that children smile up to 500 times a day, that the happiest person we know smiles 50 times a day while the rest of us only average about 20 meager smiles a day.

She laughingly committed to smiling 51 times a day. I hope she gives that daily gift to herself and the world. We need it. 

The Results 

I finished 191st out of 538 runners and 18th out of 45 in my division with a time of 54.50. Not bad for my first race.  

I never envisioned this six months ago. In fact, I was questioning whether I would ever run again after the back surgery. 

And I just completed a relatively pain-free 10k. 

Overcoming everything I did affirms the undeniable, irrefutable truth that I Can Do Hard Things

And so can you! 

Every one of us has been endowed with the seeds of greatness and I believe it is both our birthright and personal responsibility to manifest it, By Doing Hard Things. 

I am already considering my next challenge. I know I will run another 10k in the spring and use this time as a benchmark. That’s a given. 

However, I want to do more. Maybe a half marathon? A trail race? 100km bike ride? I can’t wait to see what’s next. 


I bought some new sneakers at the Running Room a week prior to the race. 

I figured it made sense knowing adrenaline and my ego would push me to overexert myself. 

The kicks fit perfectly although they are a full size larger than I usually buy. They aren’t Nike’s and I’m not really feeling the design – but I love my comfortable new clown shoes. 

They have already made a difference during my runs and they feel great. Apparently, our feet swell in length, width and height when we run.

Who knew? Pierre, my sales agent knew. 

In the 30 minutes I spent with Pierre, I learned a wealth of information about ‘forward motion footwear’, running in general and the importance of finding the right shoe. 

He was knowledgable and a marathon runner and that made a world of difference. 

To be honest, I don’t know if I would ever go anywhere else to buy running or walking sneakers again. 

Why would I? 

I have never gotten that type of personal service and satisfaction from a shoe store before.

Side Hustle – Unshackled Solutions Life Coaching and Consulting 

I’ve realized that we can have more joy and fulfillment in our lives. Happiness is a choice, regardless of your circumstances. 

It simply requires a shift in your thinking, small incremental changes and determination. 

I believe that we are truly capable of anything. 

The human mind is almost limitless in its capacity once we align it with our passions.

However, we must overcome fear and take the first tentative steps and that requires that we square our shoulders and confront resistance. 

Courage, consistent effort and the right intentions guarantee a positive outcome.

Here’s the great thing, you have the power within you to Break Free from whatever is holding you back and Be Better. 

Sometimes you just need some reflection and assistance finding perspective. That’s where I can help.

Let’s work together to help you find clarity, motivation and discipline in the pursuit of a better life. 

“You have to do it by yourself, but you can’t do it alone.”

If you are interested in finding out more about life coaching or exploring what working with me would look like, please contact me directly at to schedule a discovery call. 

The Benefits of Life Coaching

Your Next Best Read – Peace is Every Step by Thich Nhat Hanh

Thích Nhất Hạnh was a Vietnamese Buddhist monk, teacher, author, poet and peace activist who passed away earlier this year.

He was considered one of the most influential recent figures in Zen Buddhism.

Peace Is Every Step contains commentaries and meditations, personal anecdotes and stories from his experiences as a peace activist, teacher, and community leader.

“It shows us how to make positive use of the very situations that usually pressure and antagonize us. A ringing telephone can be a signal to call us back to our true selves. Dirty dishes, red lights, and traffic jams are spiritual friends on the path to “mindfulness”—the process of keeping our consciousness alive to our present experience and reality.”

This is an excellent book for novice meditators. It is simple and straightforward and provides exercises to increase our self-awareness through conscious breathing,

I love the way he applies Buddhist principles and practices to our contemporary realities. I would recommend it to anyone exploring mindfulness and meditation. 

Positive Reflections – What’s Good?

Do Hard Things

I am convinced that we ALL have the potential to accomplish amazing things. There is unlimited potential within each of us

However, it requires a number of contributing factors including: an ‘I can’ attitude, faith, determination and consistent effort.

In short, we need grit

There is a cost for creating a higher version of yourself. It demands sacrifice, dedication  and discomfort. 

Setting goals, meticulous planning and the best of intentions are all critical, but they mean nothing if there is no concerted action. 

We need to DO HARD THINGS. It’s the inescapable tribute that must be paid to Be Better. 

Doing Hard Things will mean something different for everyone. We all have our own obstacles and internal resistance.

Negative emotions, feelings and thought patterns create formidable obstacles in our minds. Whether it’s self-doubt, hopelessness or something else, we all have our own shit to deal with.

I’m not __________ 

I don’t have enough __________

I can’t ___________

If I ____________

They prevent us from believing in our greatness and from putting in the requisite work to  become higher versions of ourselves. 

However, we only need to take the first hard step and then the next

Get up early, go for a walk, eat healthier and engage in some form of personal development – and then do it again the following day. 

Sure you may be a little tired and sore. Absolutely, you will crave snacks and junk food and you would probably rather watch Netflix than read a book but doing these things will slowly change your life – one hard thing at a time. 

The results will astound you. Believe me. I am living proof. 

Personal Development

Getting Disconnected

After posting my blog last Tuesday, I have been completely unplugged from social media. No Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or LinkedIn. 

I took this break to help me gain perspective and to regain control over these time-thieves.

What I learned from my week away from social media?

  • Put your phone down. Break the instinctual habit of having it in your hand or on your person. 

I have gone a step further. When I am trying to focus, I take it out of the room. It has too much gravity. Just the sight of it is enough to trigger a reaction.  Remember Pavlov!

  • We are always concerned about not having enough time. It’s been one of my biggest complaints for as long as I can remember. 

However, I am realizing that this is just a story I have been telling myself. 

I am busy, and purposely so. In addition to my family obligations, I am an active volunteer, I coach, I write a weekly blog and I am a small business owner. It’s a lot.

In the past, my life has felt overwhelming. However, small incremental changes in my personal habits are redefining my concept of time. They are providing relief from the mental demands I have placed on myself.

I have enough time. It’s more about where I am allocating it.

  • There is FREEDOM once you get beyond the unconscious habit of scrolling and the misconception that you are missing something. Believe me, you are not.

I felt a tremendous sense of accomplishment overcoming the constant urge to check my feeds. 

  • There are a lot less distractions without social media. 

A study by the University of California, Irvine found that it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to get yourself back on track after being interrupted. 

Imagine you have to complete a task and every time you check a notification it takes you 20 minutes to regain your refocus. 

Think of how much more productive you would be without them.

  • I am addicted. My truth is that it was difficult. Consequently, I need to stay vigilant and fully aware of the time I spend on-line. It’s an ongoing battle between purposeful use and getting lost in it. 

I encourage you to consider your use of social media and how it is serving your goals and aspirations. 

Just think. Minor changes could free up valuable time that could be used to invest in your mission, express your unique gifts or fulfill your destiny. I am Jude.

4 replies on “BOOK OF JUDE – CHAPTER LIII”

Excellent chapter Jude. Congrats on your effort and risk-taking regarding the marathon. Very impressive. Your comment about smiling struck me as I have been told that I don’t smile enough and have always found that odd because I am not unhappy. I am taking that to heart with a commitment to smiling more. Thinking positively is not automatic or easy but I am going to focus on it.
Would you be willing to consider coming up to Truro Middle at some point to do a short motivational presentation/talk to kids in Gr.7/8. I feel that having a local person who has put some of these life-coaching tips into practice would be great for students to hear about. Sadly, I think you know our budget line so I understand if this might not be an option for you. Let me know. Thanks and congratulations again! Love the Book of Jude!

Thanks Bryan. Your father was certainly onto something with Eastern philosophy. Keep smiling – it truly makes a difference. Check out Thich Nhat Hanh on Youtube – love his understanding of Buddhism. Be happy to come up to the Middle school. Let’s connect to discuss a date.

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