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Vloggers Challenge Week One Questions

Friday, August 27, 2010


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

EDWINA172 8/29/2010 8:16PM

    John! Stomach?! Say, "Abs, abdomen". Its just a little pet peeve of mine. While I was in nursing school, our instructor would not permit us to say stomach unless it pertained to the organ that digests our food. Therefore, I have passed that on to our clients. 5 Push ups for saying stomach when you mean abdomen!
By the way, you are charming! (I don't know if you mentioned that.) LOL!
My favorite sound is a child laughing.

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YOGINI_JACKIE 8/28/2010 12:59AM

    Wow, 6 kids! Holy Cow :)

I love freshly mowed grass too!

I think you did pretty well on time! I'm working on my part three!

Karaoke contest! You should do a singing vlog :)

Thanks for sharing, hooray

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MIBELLALUNA 8/27/2010 11:21PM

    I'll add my 2cents, your charm is a special talent! hahah

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SPACELION 8/27/2010 10:03PM

    Awhh I loved this, it made me smile a lot and I agree with the other sparkers, definitely charming! :D

I love this challenge, it's so interesting to see other peoples answers :)

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WANDAH3 8/27/2010 8:11PM

    Again you made me smile and chuckle. Thank you for being a bright spot in my day.

Congratulations on your trainers remarks. Woo Hoo! Definition!

Have a fantastic weekend.

Give Joan a hello from me.


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SPCLLADY02 8/27/2010 7:29PM

    So nice to learn all about you. Would be nice to meet you in person. emoticon emoticon emoticon

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KSGROTHE 8/27/2010 2:41PM

    How fun! Thanks for sharing!

- Karen

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MKPRINCESS007 8/27/2010 11:16AM

    Totally charming! Yes you are! :)

Loved it!

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ROGUE_RUNNER 8/27/2010 10:43AM

    Yay! I was hoping you would participate! It was fun hearing all of those things about you :o)

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DANAB1106 8/27/2010 10:25AM

    I love veggie pizza. I love learning new things about you. I am so glad you decided to participate!

I love your favorite sound haha. Charming does count and you are! will definitely be up for singing then!

That is awesome you know exactly how long you have been married.

Good Job John!!!

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DOLLBABE56 8/27/2010 10:14AM

    This was so "insightful". emoticon

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Food and Customer Service (This One I Have Never Quite Figured Out)

Friday, August 27, 2010

The part of training that I most enjoy is the training event itself. It has always been a form of performance art. If you are entertained in you will be likely to remember what you learned. I use story telling as a vehicle to impart a message. That’s the fun part. Then there is all the preparation that goes into making a program effective. There is making all the physical arrangements with hotels and conference centers and catering groups. If those experiences go as they should eighty percent of the time I am usually ecstatic. I have never done a public training event that everything has gone as it should have. That’s life.

This past week I had more challenges than normal and I was unhappy with some of the changes that were made at the hotel, without anyone calling and saying, “Hey John………..” While we had a break on Tuesday the catering manager sat down with me and gave me the “It’s my entire fault John.” Speech complete with sack cloth and ashes.

The hotel neglected to tell the restaurant that there would be twenty five people for lunch on Tuesday at 11:30. They only had one server. We didn’t get our food for close to an hour. The hotel usually cuts back on staff when they are below forty percent occupancy. I wouldn’t have had an issue with any of this had someone told me up front. I would have adjusted earlier in the day. And BTW don’t blame it on the new person who’s been out of school for two months. She’s the trainee!
If something goes wrong and it is past fixing I’d like to know what measures are going to be put in place to make sure it’s not going to happen again. If it’s going to happen again then I am going to go elsewhere. I don’t get upset, angry or bent out of shape. I don’t expect to be pampered or waited on. I just expect to get I was told I was going to get.

The catering manager says “What can we do to make this right, John?”

Nothing. What are going to do in the future? I am pretty much a pragmatist.

That’s when the catering managers smiles and says “I know what!!! We’ll send up a big plate of cookies!!!

No you won’t. I was preaching health and well-being as part of the success equation. People in the class who knew me asked what I had done to start getting healthy. I was spreading the Spark in a covert manner. I was telling them about all the epiphanies I’d had in the past nine months or so. A plate of cookies? No thanks. Just make sure it doesn’t happen again.

An hour later there is a rap on the conference room door. I open it and there stands the poor trainee carrying a massive tray, (I’m not exaggerating here.) laden with brownies, cookies and chocolate covered strawberries. I wouldn’t be stretching the truth a bit if I told you that the tray may have weighed more than poor little trainee Kara. She looked at me with one of those “This wasn’t my idea looks,” smiled set the tray down on the table and made a quick exit. Everyone is looking at me and at least I am wise enough to know when I have lost control of a situation. To my credit I didn’t eat any of the goodies. I was tempted, but I didn’t.

So I ramble on to raise this question: Why do people think food solves a problem? Give them a massive sugar rush and they will be okay? Is it any wonder we face an obesity crisis in this country? If things go awry shove a cookie in their mouth and at least the near diabetic coma will mask their frustration?

Thank you Spark. I mean that sincerely. Nine months ago this stuff never would have crossed my mind. Now I’ll take my business elsewhere. A friend who used to work at that venue moved to another venue and she’s already emailed me. Bad news travels fast.

We need to stand up. I have zero credibility with my students if I preach the values of self-worth, the value of deserving success and the importance of who you hang around with and then allow my actions to show the exact opposite. When I endorse a product, a company or a venue whose actions go directly against what I am trying to do, what does that say about me?

You may think I need to chill, but then I have to ask, where do we draw the line? This stuff isn’t easy by a long shot, but when it works and works the way it should work, then it is well worth it. I still do not understand why food is the “great equalizer.”

Have a great day

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CATHERINEL66 8/29/2010 2:39PM

    Ugh, I think it's because, in the hospitality business, it's what they CAN give without having to explain to higher-up corporate management about why they screwed up and had to comp part of the bill.

I do events as part of my job (used to do many more and on a much larger scale) and it's frustrating from a professional perspective when you have to worry about the venue/caterers doing their job (which is often the biggest part of the event expense). I understand your frustration. I want to be able to focus on my guests experience and what they're *supposed* to get out of it, not babysit the venue (which comes with its own professional staff).

Next time, ask for the cash discount when they suggest cookies. :0
"Cookies? How about cash?"


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    I think that I would told the caterer that when I told him no cookies I meant no cookies. What was wrong with this man??? Very rude.

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    That is so true! I don't know why people can't understand when we say "no cookies," that's what we mean.

Great blog, John. Thank you for sharing this.

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AJDOVER1 8/27/2010 12:14PM

    I just attended an Emergency Responders Class where a lot of emphasis was placed on keeping "familiar comfort food" in our emergency food supply. If there's an earthquake we may lose everything but weight!

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CARTOONB 8/27/2010 12:06PM

    Can't tell you why food is the great equalizer, but I do agree with your decision to change venues. The manager obviously didn't listen to you or your wishes. Sounds like it's time to move on.

Great job, btw, living what you teach.

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LOOKY-LOU 8/27/2010 11:05AM

    Huh, I would have never thought of that if you hadn't blogged it!

I however have found's like treasure hunting with a GPS...I keep telling people about it because all age groups can do it, it involves at least walking and more strenuous hikes if you want to, but mostly....THERE IS NO FOOD INVOLVED!!!

Blog on my friend!

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MUSTANG_SALLY2 8/27/2010 11:03AM

    I was raised in a family where food was the “great equalizer.” That same family then got upset when the “great equalizer” started walking around with me as body fat. Um, 2 and 2 is 4 right???

I hated the teasing and the nasty names but I hated them most from a certain brother. I though family was suppose to be on your side? Ugh!

The “great equalizer” and I are learning to live on the same playing field and not be enemies. I want the world to learn this too.

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TXRMOM 8/27/2010 10:00AM

    Great story. Thanks for sharing it, and good for you for realizing what was going on. Food is the great comforter- whenever I had a disappointment in school, mom made cookies or ice cream. No wonder I have a problem today!

Like you, I have been affected by what I've read on SparkPeople, and as a middle school teacher, I no longer give out candy or other edible treats as rewards. I keep granola bars for kids who haven't had breakfast, and I hand out stickers as treats. The scratch and sniff kind are particularly popular:)

It really is amazing to realize how deeply ingrained some of this stuff is!

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STORMTMB 8/27/2010 9:40AM

    Well John, most "comfort foods" aren't great for us. As a society we've learned to make food a part of every bonding activity, whether it's a loss like a funeral or a celebration like a birth or wedding. I particularly like the phrase that says if food is not part of the solution, why am I looking in the fridge? I do that waaaaaay too often. As a culture, we need to change our way of thinking (and comforting ourselves).

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MKPRINCESS007 8/27/2010 9:21AM

    Life does not ever cease to amaze me. My first thought, since this is the way this rolls out now with "customer service" is that even a massive sweet tray is cheaper for them to "offer" you than some kind of reduction in the fees you were being charged or anything like that. That just doesn't happen these days. Since it was the catering manager, my guess is that was all the cards he had to play. Sad. If he had been listening to you, he could have made it a fabulous fruit tray and call it a day. Sigh. That would be thinking outside the box.

Customer service is a rare, rare event these days. I get an attitude at the drive through when I am trying to get an unsweetened iced tea. People talk like heck to others, who are paying for the privilege. So, I would love to say I am surprised by what you went through, but I am not really.

Food is the great equalizer, in my opinion, because it is a basic human need that culturally is equated with hospitality. A good friend of my mine is Irish, born and raised in Belfast. It is highly insulting to not accept a specially prepared cup of tea in her world. Highly insulting. So, I think the equation goes back from the beginning of time. Now, to just change the mindset to healthy sharing. That is the challenge.

As always, you are awesome!

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NICOLEMC2 8/27/2010 9:12AM

I never really thought of it that way but it does happen.
When something happens, the first thing we think to do is throw food at it!!

I work for a bank and when we've made a mistake (which we will gladly admit when it happens) we give them a gift card for for a grocery store or a basket of goodies...

Wow now that it's in my head....that's all I will focus on *G*

Thanks for a great blog!!

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DOLLBABE56 8/27/2010 9:10AM

    One of the earliest memories I have is when I was sick with measles and my mom brought me a pastry to help me feel better. Food was always the comforter.

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HDHAWK 8/27/2010 9:02AM

    I think you did the right thing. If more people did that sort of thing, we may not have such an obesity epidemic as a country. We treat our kids when they do something right or when they have a bad day. We do the same with ourselves. Every time I'm with friends, it seems there's food involved somehow.

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ELIZABETH525 8/27/2010 8:55AM

    Awesome job on sticking to things!! I think people as a whole seem to think food will fix things. It is just how society thinks...which is why we as a society are obese. Think about scrape your knee as a child...mommy gives you a cookie. You go to the get a sucker. A resturant messes up, they give you a free meal. It just seems that food equals making life better. So you end up with emotional eaters, stress eaters. But by being on Sparkpeople, you are breaking that cycle. We all are. We just have to keep spreading the word and hopefully, if enough of us do this, the world will not be as obese as before.

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JECKIE 8/27/2010 8:40AM

    Great post!

Food is the "problem solver" because we are less likely to be angry when we get that sugar rush. It makes us feel good, in turn making us more amenable towards those who "wronged" us. Same reason we go out for drinks/dinner on a first date - it relaxes us.

NOT a great thing for our waistlines or more importantly our hearts! I'm with you - I'd rather know what the plan of action is to ensure the event never occurs again. I don't want an apology, I want a plan!

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YOGINI_JACKIE 8/27/2010 8:28AM

    "A plate of cookies! No you won't" A little LOL to that one. The same thing would happen to me every Christmas when all of my students would bake me something. At least it gave me something to bring to parties.

I don't have a problem with food for celebratory purposes, but as an apology? Poor form. I think it's amazing that you were able to hold off on temptation and practice what you preach. Here's to a great weekend!

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EDWINA172 8/27/2010 8:23AM

    One of my favorite quotes is-

"If my actions don't align with my words, I have no idea who I am." Coach Joe Downie

I don't know why food is "the equalizer". I'm thinking it started when we were infants. Our crying promted mom to try everything to soothe us? The bottle worked. (how could we cry with a bottle in our mouths anyway?)

Great blog John. Stick to your guns. You are a man to be proud of. I am proud that you are my friend.

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Goals and Success

Thursday, August 26, 2010


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DOLLBABE56 8/27/2010 7:15AM

    John, I have been pondering the question "what makes me successful" since yesterday? I still have no idea. I suppose I will keep pondering.... emoticon

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HDHAWK 8/26/2010 11:29PM

    John, you sure do throw out some tough questions. Don't get me wrong, they make me think! I appreciate your insight.

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AQUABUNNY 8/26/2010 3:52PM

    Great vlog, John! I decided my answer to that question is: Success for me is accomplished if I use my experience and knowledge to benefit myself (such as knowing how to make my workouts more challenging based on what I have learned from fitness trainers and sparkpeople) and in turn at least one other person (helping a friend, colleague, student, etc.) EVERY day of my life.
Thanks for posting this, great things to think about!

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EDWINA172 8/26/2010 3:11PM

    You sure do make me think! I guess my definition of success would be that I learn daily or do something that is a little scary, challenging. I love goals and achieving something new feels like success to me. I want to be a little bit better than the me of yesterday.

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STORMTMB 8/26/2010 3:05PM

    For me, success is mainly about using my talents and strengths to make a contribution where ever I am, whether it's at work, at home or in other activities or helping my friends. I haven't felt successful at work in a long time because I haven't been allowed to use my strengths - and my boss knows that!!! I stay in thejob for reasons much more important than money (yes, a conscious decision). I know when I've done a good job, whether it's a project, a work-out or doing something to help someone else. I feel good about it and almost always others do too. That's success to me.

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JPRICE217 8/26/2010 1:51PM

    enjoyed your blog John. It really made me stop and think about what success really is and how I am successful

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LUVMYK9S 8/26/2010 11:58AM

    What a great blog John! And what a difficult exercise of defining success.

I'm sure the definition is different for everyone, but to me it would be learning something every day, being inquisitive and still being able to find wonder in life.

I guess this is something I will have to really ponder for a while ...

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MIBELLALUNA 8/26/2010 10:15AM

    Hey, be sure and pick up an air/filter/white noise machine for the wife before she has to stay in the noisy hotel!! My sister carries a desktop/table side sized one but I'd be inclined to bring my giant one if it meant getting better sleep! :)

"To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.
This is to have succeeded."- Emerson

The above was my fave quote that made me exhale and feel proud of our animal rescue work. I think I felt relieved that 'success' didn't have to mean saving EVERY animal, b/c no one can. HOWEVER..hmm..I think the fact I am still curious about life everyday is equal to success, as long as one is living and learning and growing, you are successful, imo. Like they always say, if you aren't GROWING you are dying...just ask my plants! :)

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YOGINI_JACKIE 8/26/2010 8:35AM

    I am also an early riser, so trash trucks (and the occasional ambulance) don't bother me!

I really like your success exercise. I feel as though success and learning are intertwined. If you never change or evaluate the way you do things, you will experience less success. In other words--as a teacher, I want to continue to be innovative; if I am still spouting out the same lesson plan 30 plans from now, it will not be as far reaching.

Hehe, you being the 7th child. Joan must be a patient woman :-P 57 is not old in my book.

Hope you have a good day as well!

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TEDYBEAR2838 8/26/2010 8:25AM

    emoticon I enjoy your video blogs, John. You are doing Great!

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"Why Do You Do It?"

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Availble on YouTube @

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

IFDEEVARUNS2 8/26/2010 3:18PM

    Great blog/vlog! I would add to this that I do it because I can, and that's a powerful thing to acknowledge. I'm just beginning to realize how much mind can triumph over matter.

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DEE797 8/26/2010 2:09PM

    John, I am so glad I came across your blogs/vlogs. They are thought provoking and insightful. The "Why do I do this" and "How do you define success"; have given me some things to think about for sure. Thanks again for sharing them with us. Wishing you continued success on your journey! emoticon

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JPRICE217 8/26/2010 2:00PM

    Thank you for the great blog as always, I am on this journey for me!

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KATRIONAH 8/26/2010 2:47AM

    John...I am new to your blogs...and I watched and left feeling pretty good. You are so right bout things. After watching I asked myself "Why Do I DO THIS?" Sadly at this point in my journey I feel I have to. I am not very good at it and don't have any stamina. HOWEVER....I Do what I can do. AND....I hope that one day soon like you...I can say I do it cause I like it. That I want to do it. Your blog was very motivating. Thank you......Karen emoticon

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MKPRINCESS007 8/26/2010 1:03AM are definitely making me cry now! I feel so honored that you mentioned our conversation in your Vlog! I have been thinking alot lately about power, ummm, ok influence, and how people influence one another. I am a student of human nature I guess. You are right in so many ways, we MUST do this for ourselves. We need to find what lies within us that is the "crisis" , the turning point. Once you reach it, truly reach it, you don't go back. The guy that asked you why you do it..........well, he hasn't reached it yet.

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1WALKINGMAN 8/25/2010 11:06PM

    Good thoughts.

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HONORINGGOD 8/25/2010 10:25PM

    another great blog thank you my spark buddy emoticon

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FLUTTER-BY)L( 8/25/2010 7:00PM

    You are right on thanks for posting

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TEDYBEAR2838 8/25/2010 6:03PM

    Thanks for the good blog, again. :)

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KSGROTHE 8/25/2010 4:44PM

    Thanks for another great vlog, John!

I'll join the chorus in saying that I don't think 57 is old. The thing is, I think how old one seems is based on how they act. My mother seems older than she is because she is not active at all and mostly seems to prefer to sit around and maybe read. Her older sister seems younger to me because she is very active and enthusiastic. "Old" seems to be more an attitude than an actual age! And you do not have an "old" attitude to me.

Keep up the good work!

- Karen

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WANDAH3 8/25/2010 4:28PM

    Hope your day was good too!


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OUTDOORSWOMAN 8/25/2010 3:57PM

    Is it possible to set your video blogs to not load and play when the page is accessed? I know on other video blogs I've seen elsewhere, you have to press Play or Start before it begins. The way you currently have it set up causes problems with my ISP.


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SPCLLADY02 8/25/2010 1:30PM

    Thank You John!!! I keep falling of the "Wagon" but after listening to this Vlog, I asked myself "Why do I do it?" and posted my thoughts on the bathroom mirror and the refrigerator door so I won't forget when I fell like I am falling off again. I look forward to listening what you have to say tomorrow. I am going to go for a walk before the heat starts soaring. Have a GREAT DAY..

emoticon emoticon

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VAMPIREQUEEN1 8/25/2010 12:17PM

    Love the Vlog! After I watched this I asked myself the same question "Why do I do this?" It opened my eyes to my true reason for losing weight: To feel better about myself! I know those other answers are true to, but not the first and most important reason, though! Thanks! You inspired me!


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LUVMYK9S 8/25/2010 12:07PM

    Thanks John for another awesome vlog!

You are so right that I do this because it makes me feel good about me! That is not only the best reason, but the only reason!

57 is certainly NOT OLD ... I have an aunt that I have NEVER thought of as old and still don't ... and she is in her 70's! Still works part time and is very active.

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DANAB1106 8/25/2010 11:27AM

    Makes Me Feel Good About Me - That is it right there. I think that is best reason in the world to do something...anything. This was another awesome blog! And 57 is NOT OLD...that is coming from a 33 year old.

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ROGUE_RUNNER 8/25/2010 10:41AM

    Im so glad I found your VLOGS :o) You make me smile and giggle. Thank you for your wisdom! I think it's AWESOME that you listen to Kelly Clarkson and Lady Gaga :o)

You know, when I first started back at this (I lost 70 lbs 2 years ago and then gained most of it back) I decided that I needed to figure out WHY I was doing this so that I could be successful. I decided that "To look good" wasnt a good enough reason for me. I couldnt determine a "good enough" reason so I stopped thinking about it for a while. This vlog has helped me re-visit that. You are right, my reason should be "because it makes me feel good about me". I need to feel good about Adrienne and the woman that she has become (and is becoming). Thanks for this!

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STORMTMB 8/25/2010 10:34AM

    I said to my doctor yesterday..."I want to get old and to be in the best health possible." I am doing the work now to get things straightened out so that I will be one of those spunky old women still extremely active in her 80's, 90's...

emoticon emoticon emoticon

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DOLLBABE56 8/25/2010 10:21AM

    I really like this blog John. I do this because it does make me feel better about myself. I can't believe how great I feel when I've completed a run/walk on the treadmill. I never, ever thought that I, of all people - and 53 at that - would be able to run. I surprise myself every time I get on the treadmill. I can't wait for the cooler weather so that I can take the training outdoors. We have a wonderful nature trail that I can't wait to try. Anyway, great blog.

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SARAWALKS 8/25/2010 10:16AM

    57 is certainly not old! I am 65 and that's not old either! LOTS of life left to enjoy! It's funny how sometimes we can be blind to that. Doing it for yourself - the best way since you will be your own closest company for the rest of your life and the more you like yourself, the better company you will be! emoticon I think that's way different from "self-ish!"

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Defining Success and a Big Thank You

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Availible on Youtube @

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GEEMAWEST 8/26/2010 12:26AM

    You sing much better than I do. LOL

Great blog, as always. I love being involved in beta testing. Sounds so technical!

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DOLLBABE56 8/25/2010 9:43AM

    Well thank you too John! I think I'll go check out your BlogSpot!

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HDHAWK 8/24/2010 10:20PM

    I hope your presentation was a success! I'm sure it was! Enjoy your time in Nashville!

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KELLEA927 8/24/2010 6:58PM

    Thank you! What a great message and so true!!

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WANDAH3 8/24/2010 6:17PM

    Thank you for another wonderful blog John. I believe that your session today was a complete success...because you are a success in my eyes and in the eyes of many of us here on SP. If in someway we contributed to your are welcome and on the same have contributed to ours.

Enjoy your time in Nashville,

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TEDYBEAR2838 8/24/2010 4:47PM

    I know it's gonna be emoticon

You are such a positive person!

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LUVMYK9S 8/24/2010 4:28PM

    I hope your seminar was well received this afternoon as I am sure it was! Thank you for sharing.

"If you're telling the truth it isn't bragging." Love it!

Sometimes its hard to give yourself credit for your own accomplishments.

Have a great Tuesday and a great trip!

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JENNY888 8/24/2010 10:30AM

    I hope your presentation today is everything you want it to be and that I know it will be.

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DANAB1106 8/24/2010 10:01AM

    I knew it! I knew as soon as I "meet" you what industry you were in because I used to represent motivation speakers and corporate trainers. I am so glad you do that because you are so so talented.

Oh I so needed this today! I have the biggest self worth issues, but I am getting better. It's one of those where I have acknowledge the issues.

Thank you John for each of your posts and all of your comments. I really hope you have a great trip.

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YOGINI_JACKIE 8/24/2010 9:47AM

    Hehe, I loved the singing. I totally agree with your sentiments about self worth and saintliness. Oh, I am right there with you that Spark is for so much more than diet and exercise. Thanks as always for your words of wisdom, and I hope you enjoy your time in Nashville!

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SARAWALKS 8/24/2010 9:39AM

    Thanks, John! Your 5K experience inspired me last night! Happy Tuesday to you too! emoticon

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NJMATTICE 8/24/2010 9:32AM

    Good Luck with you presentation this afternoon. I look forward to hearing how it is received. Have a good one!

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SWEETMOMMY41 8/24/2010 9:29AM

  thanks so much for sharing,John. you are welcome! have a wonderful day!

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ELLYN63 8/24/2010 9:22AM


Good morning, and thank you for starting off my day well! emoticon

Good luck on your seminar this afternoon.

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ZURDTA- 8/24/2010 9:04AM


"If you're telling the truth - it isn't bragging." Excellent motto!

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WISEONE68 8/24/2010 8:48AM

To bring back an old phrase, and I may date myself here--"You are the BOMB!!!"
I have found through my journey--since 2001 when I first started Weight Watchers (my first REAL effort at weight loss) that there is SO much rich information, encouragement, and REAL caring out there. In the WW meetings I received so much info; as an employee for WW, I learned even more; and, here at Spark, even more.
If you can find a way to "bottle" that, and present it in a way to help others---then GOOD FOR YOU!!! Sounds like you are using what you have learned, put it alongside your talents and gifts, and are using it to help others. That is what this is all about, right??? Wonderful!
I am proud to call you "Friend"! Hope your day goes well and the new seminar is well-received!!!

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