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Archive for April, 2009

Suzy Welch & Her 10-10-10 Decision-Making Formula

[ 0 ] April 28, 2009

As it often happens, I come across great things, people and events by chance.  After confirming with Suzy Welch via Twitter (!) that she would be at Indigo Books in Toronto, I headed down last night for her booksigning.  There she was, being interviewed by her husband, the legendary Jack Welch and Heather Reisman, CEO of Indigo Books.  Her book, 10-10-10, A Life-Transforming Idea made the New York Times best-sellers list and is poised to enter the Top 10 next month (under the advice category).

Suzy Welch and her 10-10-10 approach to decision-making.

Suzy Welch and her 10-10-10 approach to decision-making.

I haven’t read it yet but judging from the buzz it’s getting, it seems the former editor-in-chief of the Harvard Business Review and mother of four has come up with a concept that resonates with many women (and men) struggling to be everything to everyone.

Last night, she told a poignant story about a woman who went through most of her life living her parents’ dream of becoming a doctor (a story quite common in the Indian community, btw).  However, in her 40s, she decided to reclaim her power by (1) finally telling her parents that neurosurgery was making her miserable and (2) following her true passion of becoming a photographer.

Many of us (especially women) can relate to that story.  Ok, not neurosurgery but trying to please others often at the expense of our own happiness.  There has to be balance and according to Welch it can be achieved.  When faced with a dilemma she says she employs her 10-10-10 method.  It involves thinking about how a certain decision will impact your life in the next: 10 minutes (the present), 10 months (the near future) and 10 years from now.  She believes that will encourage us to maintain our core values rather than fall victim to societal pressures or the desires of others.  Welch says this helped her survive some serious challenges in life, namely the public scrutiny of her relationship with Jack and the blending of their families after marriage.

Talked politics with Jack Welch at his wife's booksigning in Toronto.

Talked politics with Jack Welch at his wife's booksigning in Toronto.

I had an opportunity to chat politics with Jack Welch too.  His message to the President? “Put more stimulus in the stimulus package!  Focus on creating more jobs than social programs.”  He says more people are embracing frugality in these tough economic times and that even he has made some changes, taking taxis instead of limos!  Welch is as charming as ever and alongside his formidable partner, still able to captivate an audience.

Celebrating Earth Day: From Obama to Starbucks

[ 0 ] April 22, 2009

I never thought of myself as an “environmentalist”.  For me, the term evokes images of hippies hugging trees and chanting Kumbaya (not that there’s anything wrong with that).  With this being Earth Day, however, I’m thinking more about my role in helping to preserve our land and make it better.  Like most people, I already recycle and tote around reusable shopping bags.  I also shop more frequently at bulk food stores to cut down on wasteful, and often unnecessary, plastic packaging.  While I’m vegetarian for spiritual and health reasons, it’s good to know my “lifestyle choice” helps reduce my carbon footprint too.

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The idea of Earth Day was first proposed in 1969 by peace activist John McConnell. The Iowa native made the pitch at the national UNESCO conference in San Francisco.

It’s only fitting that, four decades later, Barack Obama returns to Iowa to make the push for a greener economy.  Tending to his “political garden” in the state where his presidential ambitions were first “rooted” (I’m finished with the puns now!) the U.S. President is using Earth Day to promote his message for a plan he believes will help alleviate the country’s environment and economic problems.

Everything counts on Earth day from sowing seeds in your backward garden to promoting a national job plan.  The business community is embracing the concept too.  While many are cynical about their role, I think it’s great if it draws attention to the cause.  If they make money while doing it – good for them.

Starbucks in Canada is offering free java today as long as you bring in your travel mug.  After today, you’ll get ten cents off when you bring your own mug.

LUSH Cosmetics has an interesting campaign as well.  Their Seed the Nation Contest encourages us to make a difference in our community whether it’s planting vegetables in the garden or mending a neighbor’s fence.

Whatever you do, have a fantastic Earth Day!

Golf On A Budget: Making It Affordable & Fun

[ 0 ] April 22, 2009

golfer2

A new season of golf is here for those of us just putting the snow shovels away.  After letting it go the past few years, I am getting back into the sport.  But with the current state of the economy can one golf – on a budget?

According to Teaching Pro and creator of Swing Machine Golf, Paul Wilson, the answer is yes.  I met about him about ten years ago, when he was the Director of Instruction at the prestigious Angus Glenn Golf Golf Club just north of Toronto.  He taught me the basics of the game and helped make my swing look spectacular.  I don’t have a lot of power but I can drive the ball straight down the fairway, thanks to Paul.

Paul now works in Colorado but took some time to provide some tips and advice on how to get ready for the season.

Anita:  In this current economic climate many are looking to cutback wherever they can.  How can golf remain an affordable hobby/sport?

Paul:  There are many ways to keep golf affordable:

1) If you want/need new clubs, I recommend buying them from eBay.  YOu can get last year’s top-of-the-line clubs at about half price.  Sure, they are slightly used but the way equipment manufacturers make clubs these days, the wear-and-tear will be almost unnoticeable.

If you absolutely must have the latest and greatest clubs, you can find them on eBay too, perhaps not at the start of the season though.  Give it a month or so before current models start showing up after golfers try them out – and don’t rule out your local golf store.  When you account for online shipping charges it may be cheaper to buy in your neighborhood.

As for playing golf, courses are experiencing a downturn too, so look out for discounts especially for foursomes and those who can play at off-peak hours/days.  The best thing is to call the golf course and ask what discounts they are offering.

Also, think about getting a golf card http://www.golfcard.com.  It offers some great 2-for-1 discounts on courses that are part of their network.

If you have extra money and are thinking about buying a membership at an exclusive club, now is the time to get in.  In times like these, clubs discount the initiation fees making it easier for you to join the club of your dreams.

Anita:  What is the one thing every golfer should have in his bag?

Paul:  Beer!  Just kidding.  All golfers should have clubs properly fitted by a professional club fitter.  This ensures you are playing the clubs that match your ability.

Anita:  What are some ways to get in shape for the upcoming golf season?

Paul:  I recommend taking it easy on the first day back at the course.  Hit no more than one bucket of practice balls before your round.  After the round, do not hit more practice balls.  You don’t want to overdo it this early in the season.

If you are not going to play again for a few days or until the next weekend, do practice swings at home on a daily or nightly basis.  This will keep you loose for the next time you play.

As you regularly go to the golf course, gradually increase practice sessions until you are back into a normal routine.  You really have to be careful because it’s exciting to get back into playing again but after a long winter layoff, try not to hurt yourself.

Getting in shape for golf season also means doing some stretching before the game.  Stretch for about 20 minutes to a half-hour at home, before you head out.  Do some light stretches just before tee off too.  This way, you reduce the risk of pulling a muscle or straining your back which can put you out for weeks or even months.

To avoid having to get back into the swing of things in the future, set up a practice station at home where you can do practice swings on a regular basis.  This will help you jump right into the season without having to find your swing and get your body conditioned again.

Anita:  I know your teaching method is a little different.  It’s based on a machine called Iron Byron. How can that improve your game?

Paul: Iron Byron is a machine designed to test golf clubs and balls.  It was actually modeled after the late, great Byron Nelson’s golf swing and it hits the golf ball perfectly every single time.

paul-byron

When I started golf, I was a scratch golfer by the age of 17.  Two years later, I went to Florida and decided to change my swing – big mistake!  I totally messed up and lost my swing.  I struggled for more than ten years trying anything and everything to get it back but nothing worked.  Then, one day I saw Iron Byron hit a ball and the light bulb went off.

Next time I went to the course, I got to the 11th hole and remembered the machine.  I did three practice swings imagining I was the machine.  I then proceeded to hit my drive 300+ yards absolutely dead straight.  This continued for the rest of the round and still does to this day.

After it helped get my game back on track, I decided to incorporate it into my teaching.  I figured, this machine is modeled after one the best golfers of all time and it hits the ball perfectly with only three elements to it.  So, why not copy it?  It’s helped me and my students enormously.  By following this technique, we understand exactly how the golf swing works and why it leads to amazing results.

Anita:  For someone who can’t fly out to Colorado Springs for golf lessons what is the next best way to help golfers improve their game?

Paul:  Well, there are tons of books and videos on the market that can help golfers take their games to the next level.  The thing is, you have to be serious about following them.  This means sticking to one method and working on the drills and lessons that are provided instead of jumping around from method to method, trying tips from golf magazines and listening to your friends.

To date, I’ve sold more than 16,000 copies of my books and DVDs to golfers of all abilities and I’ve had more than 2,000 people send in testimonials.  If your readers are interested in my method, they can check out my website www.SwingMachineGolf.com .  I also have tons of free golf tips on my blog.

Anita:  Paul, thanks for this.

Paul:  My pleasure.  Good luck out there and have fun!

Healthy Hummus Recipe: High-Protein Snack

[ 0 ] April 20, 2009

It’s a chilly, rainy day here in Toronto.  On days like these I crave comfort food.  Instead of reaching for something with empty calories though, I want a healthy but tasty snack.  Hummus fits the bill.  My recipe has an East Indian influence with the addition of coriander (instead of mint) and green chilies.  I also prefer roasting the garlic.  It becomes sweeter and loses most of its strong aftertaste and odor.

Hummus with Tahini and Yogurt


hummus-recipe


Yield:  Approx 2 cups

Ingredients:

1 can chickpeas/garbanzo beans (rinsed, drained)

1/4 cup tahini (sesame paste)

2 tbsps lemon/lime juice

2 tbsps extra virgin olive oil (use cold-pressed for better flavor)

1/4 cup natural, unsweetened yogurt

4-6 cloves roasted garlic

1/4 cup fresh coriander or mint for a traditional taste (wash thoroughly)

1/2 green chili (or more if you can take the heat!)

1/2 tsp sea salt (or to taste)

1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper

1/2 tsp paprika

In a food processor, combine all ingredients except coriander.  Just before reaching the desired (smooth) consistency add the coriander and blend for another half-minute.  Give it a taste – you may wish to add more chili, lemon juice and/or yogurt.

Spoon hummus into serving dish, drizzle extra virgin olive oil on top and sprinkle with some coriander sprigs.

Hummus is excellent as a sandwich/wrap spread or simply served with tortilla/pita chips and crisp, raw vegetables such as red peppers, carrots or celery.  Have fun!


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