Weekly Message

Get the Weekly Message
from the Wealth Coach


Get an Inspiring & Personal note
delivered to your inbox each week
along with links to great
resources for personal finance.

Share on facebook

Get Started

Wealth Health Check-Up™
Complete Financial Review
meet in office or web-based
fee - $397

Wealth Health Check-Up™ Info

Social Media

Follow the Wealth Coach

ALTUS Wealth Solutions
on Facebook

Latest Posts

Taking Advice PDF Print E-mail
Written by John Buerger   

John Buerger

Do you like to follow someone else's orders?

Not me. Now maybe I'm just a control freak ... OK, I know I am a control freak ... but it just seems against the basics of human nature to deny free will and just do what other people tell you to do. I don't wish that on my children, my friends or my clients. I don't even wish that upon my enemies or the people I disagree with.

So why are so many financial advisors surprised when their clients don't do what the advisor tells them to do? Beats me, but most financial planners are perplexed by this.


I don't go to the movie theater often - it's pricey and uncomfortable and in most cases I prefer to see a film in the comfort of my own home. Thanks to services like Netflix streaming video (or others) and Blue Ray, the big-screen theater model is in for some serious changes.

But every once in a while I'll bite the bullet, put down the money and go see a first-run movie in the theater. On Sunday, Austin (my son) and I took in the 12:30pm matinee of "The King's Speech."

What an incredible film about the true story of the Duke of York (who later becomes King George VI of England - played by Colin Firth) and how he deals with a stammering problem in the years just prior to World War II (radio was just becoming a common communication tool). The story is about his work with speech coach, Lionel Logue (played by Geoffrey Rush).

I'm not a movie critic so I'll leave that analysis to others (although it is well reviewed and nominated for many awards). I will tell you that the matinee was packed. I will also say that I found great pleasure in hearing and watching great actors deliciously deliver wonderfully rich lines (David Seidler deserves honors for the screenplay).

The film tells a difficult story with enough humor and sensitively to keep the audience engaged.


In addition to wonderful entertainment, I was most fascinated with Lionel Logue's techniques for helping his stammering client. His methods were quite unusual for the day (and probably unusual even for today). In fact, he had no certification in the profession.

He never once told King George VI what to do.

Instead Lionel Logue guided his client. He was a coach who offered tools that would help. More than once, the Duke balked and walked away from getting that help ... and Lionel let his client make those choices even if he knew they were not the best ones for the person in the long run.


Lionel Logue was a coach, not an advisor. He gave his client, the most powerful man in England (and they became very good friends), the tools to make better choices and overcome some very challenging circumstances.

I see similar parallels in personal finance. You cannot learn to make smart choices with your money by having an advisor tell you what to do in each situation. I can't (won't) be by your side every minute of every day, but I CAN give you some powerful tools that will help view every spending or investment decision in a different way - a way that is in alignment with YOUR goals, your dreams, your life mission and values.


There are some great tools for you to view on our Video Wealth Health Tip blog. Each week I post a new tip, but these are not like anything else you have ever seen. These tips are ways for you to understand WHY you make the choices you make (you're hardwired that way) and how you can make better decisions in the future - just by knowing how those choices are influenced by your surroundings.

I'll also cover specific places where you can save hundreds if not thousands of dollars just by looking at your situation through a different lens (or "framework"). And while I suggest exercises you can go through to begin making that shift to smarter choices, I'll never tell you explicitly what to do.

After all, I know you wouldn't do it anyway - at least not as long as somebody else is dictating your actions to you. I am a Wealth Coach, not your typical financial advisor.


Share This Article on Facebook

Add your comment

Your name:
Your email:
  The word for verification. Lowercase letters only with no spaces.
Word verification:
Last Updated on Saturday, 30 April 2011 23:00
Choices PDF Print E-mail
Written by John Buerger   

John Buerger

This past weekend I took my wife down to the LA Gift Show for a buying trip for a retail business.

We have owned Accents (custom picture framing, home decor accessories & gifts) for almost 18 years - longer than our son has been alive (we signed the purchase papers on Valentines Day, 1993 when Allyson was four months pregnant - very romantic, huh?).

I grew up in the LA basin and learned to drive on LA freeways and with LA traffic so there were no surprises in the time delays and congestion on a Friday afternoon in the city (the Gift Show is at the Convention Center in downtown LA).

Still, I could not help but think about what life would be like if I had to deal with that traffic ... that feeling of being packed into a location with millions of other humans like a can of sardines ... all day, every day. I even mentioned it a few times to Allyson, "I cannot imagine dealing with this every day."

And yet, that is exactly what millions of people do.


How you choose to live your life is really just a choice. Nobody puts a gun to your head in this country (at least not yet) and says, "you must deal with a 90 minute, 25 mile commute every day" and live in this part of the country and do this kind of work. Those are all choices we each make.

Granted some of us know of more alternatives while for others that 10 block radius of concrete may be pretty much all they have ever experienced. Also there are fringe benefits to being near the big city - culture, concerts, theater and just about any other human experience being nearby - and many choose those benefits and "pay for it" with more traffic and congestion.

Still, the reality is that you are wherever you are in your life because you made a series of choices to be in that place at that time.


The best part about this weekend was that it gave Allyson and I two full days to talk about and re-define the business of Accents. Who are we? What do we stand for? What kind of experience do we want our customers to have? How do we market that experience most effectively?

A retail business IS the products that it sells as well as the experience that customers enjoy when they are in the store. Yes, personality traits, systems and processes do all matter, but the one long-lasting reminder of a retail business is that product that the customer takes home. As such, buying products is a critical component.

Having owned the store for 18 years, we had fallen into a common trap where we started to take the whole business for granted - just keep doing what we've always done. We stopped being conscious about our choices - making buys based on habit rather than some well-thought-out plan - and the business has suffered for that.

So while the trip was ostensibly about buying product ... it ended up being a very quick and intense, deep level business mission makeover and a truly energizing experience for both of us.


I offer a service called the "3M Process" where we go through and completely re-define a business mission and marketing statement (I created this process 10 years ago when I was a business consultant before I became a financial planner for business owners and professionals). I have worked through this process a half dozen times in the past several months with business owner financial planning clients, most of whom are service based businesses, (professionals, doctors and B-to-B operations) not retail.

In all cases, whether retail or commercial, product or service professional, the objective is to help biz owners really define WHO the business is and WHAT it STANDS FOR.

My point in mentioning this here is that these are also choices - made consciously or unconsciously. Just as in regular life, the business's success with clients, customers and patients completely depends on those choices by the business management team.


Right now, you are making choices - you might as well be making good ones.

The work you are doing right now - that is a choice or the result of a series of choices you made in the past. Whether you continue to do that work tomorrow is a choice you make today and every day.

The business you own or manage ... The place you live ... the people you associate with ... the food you eat ... and the way you spend your time, these are all CHOICES. True, your current reality is the sum of all the choices you have made in the past ... but your future is defined by the choices you make today.

Something to think about - you can define your future to be anything you want. Then you must make the choices today to make that a reality, but it will only happen when you are willing to make these choices consciously and in the moment.


Share This Article on Facebook

Add your comment

Your name:
Your email:
  The word for verification. Lowercase letters only with no spaces.
Word verification:
Last Updated on Saturday, 30 April 2011 22:53
Your Dream PDF Print E-mail
Written by John Buerger   

John Buerger

Today is the 2011 version of Martin Luther King day, but rather than celebrate the day by a review of his dream, let's spend some time talking about your dream(s).

What is YOUR dream?

I have to believe that you have one. It would seem a critical part of the human experience to have some kind of aspiration. Your dream doesn't have to be global or even substantial on the local level. You don't have to tell everybody what it is, but if it really is your dream I would think it would feel GOOD to share it. So go ahead. Share your dream with the rest of this community. Someone out there can help you realize it.


I contemplated the above paragraph more than usual.

One of the major mistakes most advisors make is always telling other people (clients or anyone else who will listen) what to do. We're paid for advice so we're going to give as much of it as possible. This "command-and-control" trap leads those of us who are professional advisors to come off as insensitive, know-it-all types.

When it comes to personal development in general - and your dreams in particular - I am definitely NOT a know-it-all. However, as a financial planner and Wealth Coach whose whole process is geared towards helping others achieve their goals and dreams in life (at least the financial part of that equation), I do spend a fair amount of time in conversation with others about their life aspirations.

Would it be OK if I shared some of those theories? I do so in the hope that you'll feel more empowered to articulate your dreams (maybe here in this space) ... and make a more conscious effort to turn them into a reality as a result.


From my perspective, there are three necessary components for a dream to be anything more than a hope or a wish:

--- It must be beneficial (to yourself and/or to others).
--- You must believe that it is within the realm of possibility.
--- It must be in alignment with your own values (what's important to you).


Your dream should be beneficial to yourself and/or to others with the least amount of damage possible for anyone involved.

This comes from my own optimistic, abundance mentality. While I don't want to force that perspective on you, I cannot get my head around any philosophical reason why one person's dream should ever be another person's nightmare. I believe that - at the core - human beings will opt for the choice where everyone's result is either neutral or positive with "positive" being the desired result for the greatest number of people.


One connotation of a dream is something that you can wish for but could never become a reality - that a dream is no longer a dream if it CAN become real.

Personally, I believe this is a self-defeating construct imposed on people by others who fear that one person's dream will become their nightmare. Martin Luther King's dream of a color-blind society was viewed as a threat by many Anglo-Americans. That was what made his "I Have a Dream" speech so much more noteworthy - he inspired millions of Americans of every color to believe that it could become true.

In Martin Luther King's mind, the dream was well within the realm of possibility. As a society we have made great shifts in that direction over the past 50 years.


This last component is an extension of the first. Your dream should be in alignment with your passions, your mission and your values (those things in life that are most important to you). Without this alignment, the odds of your dream every becoming a reality are greatly reduced. Besides, for your dream to be YOUR dream, it would almost have to be inspired by your own passions at conception.


My work is part of my dream - a world where people work more effectively together to increase prosperity for all. I help clients articulate their dreams and then make financial choices that are in better alignment with their aspirations.

If we could spend just 5% more of our time, money and energy working towards our own dreams rather than feeding our basic unconscious impulses, our lives would be so much richer, healthy and rewarding ... and we would have less stress and disease (dis-ease).

Help me fulfill my dream ... by helping you realize yours. Share your dream and then tell me what I (or any other reader) can do to help you realize it.

What's your dream? Share with us in the comments or send me an email.


Share This Article on Facebook

Add your comment

Your name:
Your email:
  The word for verification. Lowercase letters only with no spaces.
Word verification:
Last Updated on Saturday, 30 April 2011 22:43
An Inspiring Life PDF Print E-mail
Written by John Buerger   

John Buerger

If everything in your life is absolutely perfect (and you wouldn't change a thing) then DON'T read this blog. Instead, please send me a note and share with us all how you do it.

If on the other hand, you DO have occasional thoughts about how parts of your life could be better and more fulfilling, then read on. This week's musings are for you.

I hope you'll find some inspiration in this week's post, but do let me know what you think. That is what the comments section is for ... or you can send an email to me:


It all starts with gratitude. What are you thankful for?

This past week was one of THE most rewarding weeks I've ever lived to enjoy - and it was all because of the people with whom I was able to spend time and the work that I get to do as a Wealth Coach.

The week began with the release of last week's personal notes blog post, a new Economic Observer to start off 2011 and my weekly email. If you don't get that email, you can register for it here. The feedback I got on Monday was incredible and I thank you all for the emails, Twitters and Facebook comments.


Then my first meeting of the week was a business Mission Message Makeover (what we call the 3M Process) meeting with long time business owner financial planning clients. The 3M Process is all about understanding the emotional components of a business operation and then articulating those concepts through a Mission and Marketing Message. The end result will be for their business to soar in 2011 and beyond.

It's really powerful to be a part of a process that brings out the passions in a person. The ALTUS Planning Process™ (a proprietary process developed over the past several years) is completely based on helping people realize what is most important to them and then operate their lives in alignment with those values. Since successful business owners are naturally passionate about the work they do, anyway, I get a double-dose-release of inspiration, passion and purpose when helping business owners as their Wealth Coach.

It doesn't hurt that this particular couple (a husband and wife team) are two of the nicest, most sincere and driven people I have ever known. Put it all together and the 90 minute meeting left all three of us amped up and ready to accomplish incredible things.


The week ended with a Values-Clarification meeting with a different couple. They are NOT entrepreneurs, but rather are career government employees. The work that they do is challenging, stressful and (for them) very rewarding. As she said, "we worked very hard to get these jobs and while we won't do this work forever, we love what we do."

Values Clarification exercises are often emotional as these conversations reveal those things in life that are most important to the client. There is often some soul searching, crying and laughter in the process. They are equally rewarding for the clients and for me because it allows us all to connect at a very intimate level - like a deep discussion you might have with a really good friend.

In this particular conversation, the wife suggested that she wanted to always be able to "savor every moment."

"Savor Every Moment."

I love that phrase. While I believe most of us are pretty good at it, the hustle and bustle of everyday life can be very distracting. There is so much to do and so many pressures, it becomes difficult to take the time to actually savor EVERY moment.


There were many other meetings this past week that were equally valuable but these two were symbolic of the week and my work in general as a Wealth Coach and fiduciary financial advisor.

On purpose, I only engage with clients that I appreciate and can truly help so I have plenty to "savor" and be thankful for. If I can't really help you, I don't want to waste your money or my time trying. That's how I've always done things and it means my practice has grown more slowly and organically than many of my peers.

My tendency is to attract business owners and entrepreneurs because they are passionate, driven and willing to be accountable for their decisions. In all truth, though, I am constantly surprised by how much good is in most people. There are many folks who are clients today who I would never have guessed from first impressions would be such a great fit with our process or my style. As they say, "You cannot judge a book by it's cover."


Genuine thanks go out this week to every person who has agreed to become a client of ALTUS Wealth Solutions. Thanks for trusting me with your money and all the intimate details of your financial life ... but more important for trusting me with your goals, dreams, values and even fears.

Special thanks to the two clients who bookended this past week with such rewarding experiences for me. I look forward to building on those in the weeks, months and years to come.

What are you thankful for? What part of your life is inspirational, fulfilling or meaningful? Share with us in the comments or send me an email.


Share This Article on Facebook

Add your comment

Your name:
Your email:
  The word for verification. Lowercase letters only with no spaces.
Word verification:
Last Updated on Saturday, 30 April 2011 22:38
Getting Control PDF Print E-mail
Written by John Buerger   

John Buerger

I was in KMart yesterday and thought it was interesting to see the display - right there where you walk in the store - of all the fitness and weight programs they had to offer folks who made New Year's Resolutions to improve on those things.

So I thought I would start off our blogs this year with one about how you can improve your financial fitness and wealth health. No matter what shape you're in, there is always room for improvement, right?

I think you'll find these musings helpful, but do let me know what you think. That is what the comments section is for ... or you can send an email to me: jdbuerger@altuswealth.com.


God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
--- Reinhold Niebuhr

While originally untitled, this prayer (used by Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12-step programs) is commonly known today as the "Serenity Prayer." But let's change one word in it (from "wisdom" to "sanity") and apply a great concept from Albert Einstein:

"The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."

The end result is that last line now reads "... the sanity to know the difference" which brings me to a thought I have been mulling over the past several weeks. That thought boils down to:

Financially, our society is an insane asylum.
We endlessly try to modify financial behavior that will not change and ignore the choices over which we do actually have control.


Unfortunately, the bulk of financial advisors out there (including me - although I'm working on it) have done a really poor job on this issue. We know the academically "correct thing to do" and instruct anyone who will listen to take those action steps.

But nobody listens!

OK ... a few people do - and they happen to be the richest 3%.

I don't know if that is because listening to a professional makes you rich or just because those of us doling out advice know the richest people will pay the most for that advice so we target them for clients. My guess is that the second reason is more likely since even those who DO pay for financial advice rarely act on that advice (only about 1/3 of financial plans are ever implemented).


I am reminded of a phrase I have heard parents say to their kids many times, both in movies and television shows as well as in real life. "I'm telling you this for your own good ... because I love you. Why won't you listen to me?"

The answer is because the person on the receiving end perceives the act of taking that advice to be more painful than the gain that they believe could come from it. Change is never easy. Doing something that somebody else tells you to do often means accepting that what you were going to do was wrong - and nobody likes to admit they were wrong.

I run into this challenge every time a new person is referred to our firm for financial planning advice. Their perceptions of the work we do are different from the reality of how we really operate (which is substantially different from the process used by most financial advisors).


This whole concept has been on my mind especially while I have been developing our Weekly Wealth Health Personal Finance Video Tip program (next week will be the first issue - register for our weekly email and you'll be the first to know when it is up). I have been writing out scripts and shooting test video for the past several weeks. I have also been looking at what else is out there including the big-name financial "gurus."

There are a lot of people who will tell you what to do, but nobody is out there helping you to (a) be inspired to embrace change and (b) work on those areas of personal finance over which you actually do have control.

There are lots of videos talking about budgets (which are really painful to implement), NOT spending (sacrifice) and what will happen when you are injured or die (or any number of other bad things). These are all downer subjects delivered in a sobering, almost depressing and often dictatorial way.

Where's the fun in all that? Who wants to subject themselves to that kind of misery? Not me!


So with all of that in mind, here is my New Year's Resolution. Tell me how you like it:

I am going to spend more time, money and energy on the things in life that are most important to me and stop throwing away valuable resources at the stuff that doesn't matter.

What do you think? Is that a concept you can embrace? Do you want to join me on this journey?


Share This Article on Facebook

Add your comment

Your name:
Your email:
  The word for verification. Lowercase letters only with no spaces.
Word verification:
Last Updated on Saturday, 30 April 2011 22:29
Christmas Wish PDF Print E-mail
Written by John Buerger   

John Buerger

As I write this (on Sunday night as usual) it is absolutely pouring rain (again). The Christmas decorations are out and Allyson (my wife) and I knocked out the bulk of our Christmas shopping this morning before the crowds hit. As shopping goes (and I don't like to shop at all, much to Allyson's frustration), today was pretty painless. So I guess it was a good day.


One of my favorite Christmas tunes is "My Christmas Wish." While that song has a pretty deep message, it at least captures some of the essence of the original holiday and gets away from the commercial messages of "buy stuff, go to parties and watch out for reckless reindeer on the roads."

It also led me to thinking about Christmas wishes for this year and I am wondering what are your wishes?

What one gift would make this the Best Christmas Ever?

Tell me with a comment on this blog or through an email. I would really like to know.


My Christmas wish this year is a little more esoteric than usual, but not much. It isn't as deep as the lyrics to the "My Christmas Wish" song. I am not looking for world peace or even a miraculous economic recovery. Life is full of pain and suffering and while we all wish there was less of it, I am practical (or cynical) enough to realize that my wishing for such things won't do a lot to fix those problems.

My Christmas wish IS to have many more people let go of their natural resistance and embrace the services that I provide as a fiduciary financial advisor, wealth coach, financial planner and college funding specialist so I can continue to fulfill my mission to help everyone make smarter choices with their money.


The resistance to asking for (much less taking) the kind of help I provide people is only natural.

Most people have been burned in the past by a bad experience with a financial salesperson who likely sold them a product they didn't need and couldn't afford. Those experiences make people much less likely to trust anybody else in financial services.

Once burned, twice shy.


A second challenge is that for someone to work with me, they have to be willing to stand "financially naked" in front of me, their new (and relatively unknown) money doctor. That can't be a pleasant experience.

While they are baring all to me, they also must accept their own financial reality for what it is - so they see their own naked truth in the mirror as well. This pushes that unpleasant feeling into darn right fear. Then to have to pay for the privilege of subjecting yourself to all of this ... and it is a wonder that anybody comes in to see me at all.


Don't get me wrong. 2010 was an awesome year for me, my work and family. I have helped almost as many new people this year than I did in my previous 7 years as a financial planner. I am thankful to all my new "friends" this year for trusting me and letting me help them on their journey to a rich and fulfilling life.

But I have also run into more cases than ever of people who could have benefited greatly from getting help from a professional like me. Some have attended our free workshops (which will be free again in 2011. Yeah!). Others have requested information on the Wealth Health Check-Up but never scheduled the meeting. Still more have been referred to me through clients, friends and other professionals. They have visited the websites (RichAndFulfilling.com and AltusWealth.com), seen me on FaceBook or heard me on the Dave Congalton Show or Sound Off on the radio.

From my perspective it is sad and a little frustrating to see someone who clearly needs help, know you can help them ... and have them to be willing to ask.


A few of those people from years past finally bit the bullet in 2010 and got started on planning out their financial future. Every one of those new clients have told me their only regret was that they waited so long.

So my Christmas Wish is to see a few more people ask for help and a few less stare the gift horse in the mouth (what a bizarre phrase that is).

What's your Christmas wish?

Let me know how I (or someone else reading this) can help you.


Share This Article on Facebook

Add your comment

Your name:
Your email:
  The word for verification. Lowercase letters only with no spaces.
Word verification:
Last Updated on Saturday, 30 April 2011 22:17
Coaching is Forever PDF Print E-mail
Written by John Buerger   

John Buerger

As I write this (on Sunday night as usual) it is absolutely pouring rain. The Christmas decorations are down out of our storage area and over the next few days the elves (my wife and daughter mostly) will decorate the place and turn it into a Christmas haven.

Meanwhile, high school soccer season is in full force. Alexa traveled to Bakersfield on Saturday for a 3-game tournament and Austin played four games over two days (Friday and Saturday) in a more local tournament. They are both sore and tired but no worse for wear.


I absolutely love this time of year. It reminds me of those days when they were younger and I was their rec-league coach - going to tournaments, etc. In many ways I miss being a part of the growth and evolution of a team of young players and wish I had more time to be a part of that today. Alas, duty calls and my coaching today is limited to helping adults make better financial decisions (rather than better ball-distribution and personal effort choices on the field).

By far the best part of the weekend was the game my son played (he goes to Mission College Prep - a private school in San Luis Obispo) against our home town (Atascadero - 15 miles north of SLO) high school. What made it so good was to see all the kids that I had coached over many previous years.

Now I'm a staunch supporter of MCP sports so my allegiance never was in question, but I couldn't help but have a great feeling when an Atascadero player made a great play or showed some extra hustle on the field. It made me proud.


Once you have coached a person (big or small), you are invested in their success whether it is now or in the future. It is one of the most rewarding aspects of coaching in general - and a big reason why I have chosen to approach my financial planning practice as a form of coaching rather than being an advisor. Telling people what to do and/or dictating their financial choices is no where near as rewarding as helping them realize successes that they may have never thought possible.

Anybody who has ever been a successful teacher or coach understands exactly where I am coming from on this.


When folks come in to do a Wealth Health Check-Up or any other initial meeting with me, I know that their preconceived bias is that I am going to be like every other financial person they have ever met. They think that all I care about is doing things my way or buying the products that I want to sell them.

That couldn't be further from the truth.

What I care most about is helping folks make better choices so they have a better chance of getting whatever they want in life. That might be to retire and travel ... or it might be to spend more time on missions to South America or Africa ... or it might just be to get out of the Rat Race Trap and make some fine wine that others can enjoy (I've helped them all realize their dreams).

Then again, it might just be to coach kids in soccer (or any other sport) and teach the next generation that you can do just about anything you want if you put your mind to it and believe it is possible.


Share This Article on Facebook

Add your comment

Your name:
Your email:
  The word for verification. Lowercase letters only with no spaces.
Word verification:
Last Updated on Saturday, 30 April 2011 22:13
Value of Effort PDF Print E-mail
Written by John Buerger   

John Buerger

Both of our children, Austin and Alexa, have picked up on Cross Country as a sport.

Now personally, I don't understand it. The thought of running for three or more miles just for the heck of it makes no sense to me. If I were chasing a soccer ball, that would be totally different but Cross Country is a battle against your own mind and all the signals that your body is sending to it (like "I'm tired. My feet hurt. Can we rest? I want to throw up now.") with no distractions.

This past weekend, however, the sport of Cross Country gave me many perfect examples of one of the main principles of success - whether in business, sport or personal life.


We were in Fresno for the California State Cross Country Finals to root on Alexa and the Mission College Prep girls team. It was a cloudy and rainy day, but a perfect day for running.

Alexa started running in the Fall of last year. In those early meets she was posting times for 5km in the high 20's. By the end of last season, her Personal Record (PR) was around 25 minutes. Understand that the fastest girls at this age run the 3.1 miles in 17 minutes, but even still Alexa was no longer in the back of the pack having improved her placement substantially.

Fast forward to this year. Alexa's training efforts (running almost every day plus other conditioning) had helped her trim more than another minute off her PR as she was flirting with the 24 minute mark. This brings us to race day in Fresno where she posted a time of 23:10, almost a whole minute off her personal best. And while there was nothing left in the tank when she was done, she looked strong throughout the race.


The above story is just a proud father relishing in the success of his daughter, but there were plenty of other stories that day in Fresno at the State Cross Country Finals including many races where the winning runner completely dominated the field. They looked so strong hitting the finish line while the number two runner was dragging those last few hundred yards. In each of these cases, you could see who was ready to win a mile before the end of the race. You could see it in their eyes and their stride as they ran.

These runners excelled because they worked hard in preparation. They trained hard for many many years. They love the sport and would do it even if they weren't being encouraged by their families and coaches. Mission Prep phenom Jordan Hasay, who is now running for the University of Oregon, is a perfect example of someone enjoying success because of the efforts they put in over the years.

Jordan trained hard because SHE wanted to, not because her coach demanded it.


In one race this weekend, there were two girls vying for first throughout the race. One was from Mira Vista. The other was from Saugus. I had a discussion with one observer about who was going to win. Mira Vista looked loose and strong. Saugus was starting to shuffle her stride. The other observer predicted that the Saugus girl would win because her coach is notoriously tough and demanding, that the runner would be better trained and wouldn't want to deal with that coach's disappointment if she lost the race.

It seems sad to me that any athlete would be expected to respond at the top of their potential to a coach who was demanding, tough or mean in any way. I've been in sports most of my life and have coached youth for close to 20 years. In all those years of coaching (including more than 10 years in coaching adults in business and personal finance), I have never seen humans respond as well to demanding, loud or mean coaches as they do to someone who can help them capture their own inner drive and inspire them to work hard, train strong and reach for their potential.

Nobody more represents this concept than Jim Tracy, the coach of the San Francisco University High School Cross Country program who is also fighting ALS. If anything, his battle has inspired his runners to work even harder. The effort shows. The program dominates the Division Five field (and won again at the State meet this year).


I am ever thankful that the coaching staff at Mission Prep are both positive and encouraging forces. Maybe that is why the program has done so well for such a small school. They help their runners find the inspiration to make the greatest effort throughout the season. In the end, that always pays off.

It paid off for Jordan Hasay who will someday represent the United States in the Olympics. It pays off for Jim Tracy's teams ... and it paid off for my daughter.

It just goes to show you can do whatever you put your mind to doing ... as long as you make the effort. Making that effort often depends on having a good coach help you along the way.


Share This Article on Facebook

Add your comment

Your name:
Your email:
  The word for verification. Lowercase letters only with no spaces.
Word verification:
Last Updated on Saturday, 30 April 2011 22:13
<< Start < Prev 1 2 3 4 Next > End >>

Page 1 of 4