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From Sucking to Success

 

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One of our favorite places to stay in Bali is a town called Canggu.

We’ve been there a couple of times and always said we would love to go back to do a yoga retreat.

Canggu is a mecca for healthy living. There are many yoga studios, organic restaurants, and world class surfing.

We stayed at a really quaint and quirky place called Serenity Guesthouse. It truly lives up to its name. It is a peaceful place mostly made of bamboo. There are organic gardens around the whole property, a healthy café with homemade Kombucha, a few yoga studios, a meditation room, rain collection bins for water, and they recycle everything.

I have been practicing yoga on and off for years. I started doing yoga about 8 years ago when I was in chiropractic school.

To this day, I still remember the first class I did. I always had a negative view of yoga. I thought it was a lazy form of exercise. I viewed working out as lifting a lot weight – period.

I decided to give a class a try after suffering from shoulder issues for a while. I figured it would be a relaxed way to work my body with minimal effort.

Boy was I wrong!

That first class I did was incredibly humbling. I struggled through the entire thing. I had to take rests more than anyone else in the class. I couldn’t touch my toes, my shoulders were on fire, and every muscle in my body was burning.

I was hooked.

I decided to make yoga a regular part of my fitness regime. I have struggled with keeping it a regular practice at times but like a home base, I always find my way back at some point.

Lately, my yoga practice has fallen a bit by the wayside. I have been doing much more calisthenics work like gymnastics as well as rock climbing and weight lifting.

I decided a great way to get back into the practice would be to do a yoga retreat where I would take 2 classes per day for 5 days and have a really immersive experience.

In short, it kicked my butt. It was very humbling.

I remember one class where I thought I had really advanced my practice until I looked over to my left and saw a guy making me look like it was my first class. He was doing moves I had always dreamed of doing.

At first, I started to doubt and mentally deprecate myself.

Then I realized this guy was where he was because of a ridiculous commitment to his craft. My mind shifted from putting myself down to admiration for the hours, days, weeks, months, and years he committed to molding his mind and body into the ability to master some very challenging moves.

Many times we only see what is on the surface. We see the successful person and assume she was just lucky.

We see the person with the great physique and chalk it up to genetics.

We see the musician, the speaker, the leader, or the athlete, and we ignore the fact that they put in countless hours of work, sleepless nights, and an unwavering commitment to excellence.

If we want to reach excellence in anything, we must remember it takes an extraordinary commitment.

First, stop beating yourself up if you aren’t happy where you are. Accepting yourself is the first step to transformation.

Then decide where you want to be. What is the result you are looking for?

Then decide what you need to do to reach the outcome you are looking for. Who do you need to model? What do you need to read? How much do you need to train?

Lastly, commit to taking massive action.

Speaking of which, time for me to practice some yoga. I have a lot of work to do.

– Matt Westheimer

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The Cure for Always Wanting More… 

 

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Phoenix Hotel, Yogyakarta, Indonesia

The world has been going through so much change over the past 10-20 years. Through globalization, there are very few places that still retain the essence of the “good old” days. Western culture has permeated much of the Eastern world but there are still some places that have retained quite a bit of the Eastern charm.

Yogyakarta was one of those places.

I sensed it the moment we stepped off the plane onto the tarmac and faced a small old building that they call their airport.

Inside the terminal there was the hustle and bustle of locals and very few Westerners. Things were old, worn, and had lots of character. Just the way I like it.

We hired a driver from the airport to drive us to our hotel. Our hotel was spectacular. It was an old Dutch mansion that was built in 1918. It was fully renovated but still held the essence of the old world. We had a gorgeous room overlooking the pool which was an amazing site to see.

The floors and bathroom were marble. The bed sheets were soft and the pillows perfect. It was like being in a palace.

But do you want to know what we appreciated most about the hotel? Not the lavish rooms, picturesque pool, the outstanding service, or the old world charm. Don’t get me wrong. We loved those things.

But the thing we appreciated the most was the shower.

I’m not talking about the beauty of the shower either. I am talking about the water pressure.

Eighty percent of our trip had been showers that were either unusable, freezing cold, or plagued with water dripping out at a pace that resembled a leaky faucet.

It is amazing how you begin to appreciate the little things when you know longer have them.

My life in Singapore was really good. I had a really good shower. The water pressure was excellent and I never had an issue with hot or cold water. Do you know what happens when you have a perfect shower?

You find other things to complain about. We always find things to complain about. That is just who we are as human beings.

We get comfortable with the luxuries in our life that we call “necessities.” But really, if you are part of the 1 percenters of the world, which you are if you are reading this, what we call necessities are really luxuries.

I was complaining to my friend about having to go a week using a bucket of water to bath with. He started laughing and said, “You call that roughing it. I call it how I grew up. That’s how I bathed my whole life growing up.”

It takes effort to look at our life and realize what are luxuries and what are necessities.

It takes an even bigger effort to practice conscious minimalism. Get rid of some of the stuff you don’t need anymore. Take a cold shower. Stay at substandard accommodations for a week or go camping. Minimalize the distractions in your life and learn to appreciate more.

Every time we increase the standard of living in our life, it becomes the new baseline.

The things we once appreciate we no longer do as we up our game. This way of living can be really exciting but you have to look out for the downside, and the downside can be really big.

We lose ourselves. We lose our happiness, joy for life, and our appreciation for the little things.

Life becomes about achieving more and having more and we lose our sense of self in the process.

I am not saying we should ever lose our drive for achievement or that having more is bad. I wholeheartedly believe we should look for the harmony of drive for achievement and appreciation and gratitude for the little things.

But just think about how much better your life would be if you had a deep sense of appreciation for a nice warm shower with good water pressure.

Sincerely,

Matt Westheimer

El Nido, Palawan, Philippines

How to Be as Happy as a Woman Dying from Cancer…

El Nido, Palawan, Philippines

El Nido, Palawan, Philippines

Let me paint the picture for you. 

We just arrived at the first destination of our long-awaited trip around the world. We arrived at a place that has been on my bucket list for a really long time – El Nido in Palawan.

It landed on my bucket list a few years ago when I had a conversation with a billionaire who loves to travel. He had been to over 80 countries around the world, and when I asked him what place was his favorite, he said without hesitation, “El Nido.”

That was good enough for me.

The journey to get there was not an easy one. We had to fly from Manila to Puerto Princessa and then take a 7-hour van ride to El Nido. 

 Once we arrived, we got settled into our “villa.”

I use that word very loosely. It was more of a cardboard box with a tin roof. No air conditioning, non-working shower, and filthy. But it was right on the beach with spectacular views which made up for all of that.

One of the cool things about the villa was it was part of a local “baranggay,” or community, so we got to interact a lot with the locals.

One such local had a major impact on my life. 

We decided we wanted to explore the surrounding islands, pristine beaches, and hidden lagoons so we were directed across the dirt road from our villa to a lady named Ezra. She was a really sweet middle aged lady who ran a small business out of her very modest home. Think a whole family in one room, a tiny kitchen, and doubled as an office.

She owned a small boat and had a guy that operated the boat to bring guests for tours around the islands. We walked over to her house and inquired about the different options for the tours and then told her we would discuss it over dinner. We asked if she had a small scooter for us to rent so we could get around town.

Her reply, “You can take mine. It is free for friends.” Friends, I thought? We just met two minutes ago. I was speechless, which doesn’t happen often and graciously accepted.

I was moved that this woman who barely has enough money to take care of her family was offering and trusting a stranger with her only mode of transportation. 

That was lesson number one. Find ways to give with no expectation in return. 

The next lesson after dinner I learned from her was even more powerful.

We arrive back at her home to confirm the tour we were going to take with her. She was no longer on the porch so I called for her from outside, and she asked us to come in.

As we entered her home, she apologized for not being able to come out to meet us, but she has difficulty walking due to bone cancer. This lady is raising 3 young kids with stage 4 bone cancer and she was one of the kindest and most generous people I have ever met.

The whole experience was wonderful with her and her generosity continued throughout our stay in El Nido.

She was more concerned about everyone else rather than herself. And under the circumstances, she would have been more than justified in focusing on herself. 

She never made anything about her. She was present. She was peaceful. She was loving. She was compassionate. 

She immediately became a role model for me.

When interacting with her, I realized I need to be kinder. I need to be more present. I need to be more loving.

Because if she can do it, I can do it.

- Matt

Sugba Lagoon, Siargao, Philippines

Their Highlight Reel to Your Blooper Reel

Sugba Lagoon, Siargao, Philippines

Sugba Lagoon, Siargao, Philippines

If you just looked at the pictures I have been posting, you would think this around-the-world trip has been all sunshine and rainbows.

This assumption could NOT be further from the truth.

Yes, the trip has been an amazing experience, but for every beautiful photo I post on Facebook, there is an equal and opposite experience that I can’t post or would be inappropriate to post.

I remember reading a great message a while back: “The problem with social media is that it isn’t real. Everyone just posts their highlight reel. We get depressed or feel bad because we compare our blooper reel with everyone else’s highlight reel.”

A powerful message that I need to remind myself of often.

While we have done amazing things like paddle boarding in secret lagoons on pristine islands in Siargao and had a breathtaking scuba diving experience in El Nido, we have also had many challenges that we couldn’t or would be inappropriate to take pictures of.

I couldn’t take a picture of 2 weeks of cold and barely usable showers. For a week, I had to bath using just a “tabo,” which is basically using a small bucket to dump water over yourself because our shower was not working.

I couldn’t take a picture of the heat we had to combat for a whole week because our villa had no air-conditioning and the screens for the windows were so dirty, they would barely let any air through.

I couldn’t take a picture of the fact that I have not had a good night sleep in over 2 weeks due to the heat, pillows that felt like they were stuffed with a handful of cotton balls, scratchy sheets, barking dogs, and loud motorbikes and honking cars, and many times a combination of the above.

I couldn’t take pictures of the re-arranged flights and nasty weather that kept us from surfing which was the main reason we went to Siargao. On the plus side, we did get to do SUP in the Sugba Lagoon which was amazing.

I couldn’t take pictures (or I guess I could but that would be gross) of the dirty clothes I have had to re-wear because I ran out of clothes and couldn’t find any place to wash them.

As we all go through life, we have choices we get to make.

Do we run our own race or do we run some else’s race?

I notice that many times when I am unhappy, frustrated, or depressed, I am comparing myself to someone else; I am focusing on what I don’t have rather than what I do have; I am focusing on what is missing rather than what is present.

Run your own race. Be present. Practice gratitude. Meditate. Continue to refine your core values and live congruently with them more and more each day.

And please stop comparing your blooper reel with everyone else’s highlight reel.

– Matt

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The Highs and Lows of My Philippines Adventure

I extended my arm overhead with Bluetooth head phones in hand and flung them across the room smashing them into the wall. I immediately regretted my decision, but the damage was already done.

As with everything in my life, I always self-reflect and self-evaluate. I think it is a really important trait if you want to continue to grow.

Let me paint the picture for you to bring this scenario into better context.

I am here in Siargao, Philippines, a beautiful island known for its seclusion, crystal clear water, and world-class surfing. It has been on my bucket list for the past few years when I saw pictures of a good friend of mine who had come here to surf. I am staying at a beautiful villa with a great view of the ocean.

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Getting read for my first surf lesson

Do you want to know why I whipped my headphones across the room as if I was a pitcher for the New York Yankees?

It was because I was all set for a stand-up paddle boarding session behind my villa, but first I couldn’t get the headphones to sync with my computer so I could upload an audiobook and then I couldn’t get them to even turn on. Combine that with a WiFi connection that was taunting me with full signal yet a complete inability to work as if the full signal was a vestigial monument of the room and my patience had enough.

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SUP behind the villa. The water was like glass.

I know this is not painting a great picture about myself and my ability to remain patient in the face of chaos, but I had a complete alternate to this response in the beginning of the trip.

Due to a bit of a scheduling snafu, instead of flying directly from Cebu to Siargao, I was flying from Cebu to Surigao then having to drive to the port and take a 3 hour boat ride from Surigao to Siargao. It certainly wasn’t ideal, but I made peace with the situation.

The challenges began at the airport in Cebu. The domestic terminal at Mactan Airport in Cebu is certainly nothing to write home about. There are a couple of stalls selling really basic local food and that’s about the extent of the airport.

The airline I was taking was notorious for being late. I think every flight I have ever taken with them over the years was delayed. My first leg of the trip from Singapore to Cebu continued their perfect track record of being late.

Island hopping

Island hopping

When I arrived in Cebu the first thing I did was find the Cebu Pacific desk to make sure my flight was on time because it was already cutting it really close with making it for my connecting boat. I was relieved when they told me the flight was on time, yet I wasn’t going to hold my breath yet.

To my non-surprise, an announcement came over loud speaker about an hour later that said the flight would be delayed. I started doing all of the calculations in my head about the reality of whether I would make the boat or have to spend the night in Surigao and miss my reservation at the villa.

Fortunately, the flight was still going to make it in time to Surigao for me to connect with the ferry.

The plan was to land in Surigao and then take a motorbike taxi with an extra carriage attached to it called a tricycle. I needed to stop off at a money changer to exchange my Singapore Dollars for Philippine Pesos. With money in hand, we head across town to the port to catch the ferry to Siargao. It was the last boat of the day leaving for Siargao, but we were going to make it right on time.

Things looked ominous as we approached the ticket counter. There was a sea of people all crowding around with outstretched hands waving their money back and forth. I immediately knew this could only mean one thing. There were limited tickets and everyone was vying for the last ones.

I took a breath knowing there was nothing I could do at this point but hope I was one of the chosen ones. If not, I had no idea when the next boat would be. I patiently waited yet firmly held my ground as we all were aware that every ticket that was handed out that wasn’t ours could mean us losing our seat.

Fortunately, luck was on my side and I got a ticket. I raced to the boat, found the last seat I could find on a crowded bench. With luggage between my legs and backpack on my lap, we were off.

The whole trip was a cycle of extreme highs as well as big frustrations. Looking back on it, it was a total gift because the challenges added a new dimension to my character and the highs in comparison were extraordinary.

The trip to get to the villa in Siargao was no joke. It began with a 12:30 am wake up for a flight leaving Singapore at 3:30 am and I didn’t arrive to my villa until 4:30 pm. If you are doing the math, that is a 16 hour journey on 2 hours of sleep. I arrived exhausted and wet from the boat ride.

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Then things did a total 180 the next morning with my first day of surfing. My villa connected me with a wonderful instructor, Lohloy. When we arrived to the beach, I was blown away. I had never seen water for surfing so clean and crystal clear. It was amazing. If I knew the water wasn’t full of salt, I would’ve wanted to drink it. The moment I caught my first wave and rode it all the way in, I realized the journey was worth it.

Sometimes we don’t appreciate challenges until we experience the light at the end of the tunnel. For me, this was different. I chose to exercise extreme gratitude and patience on this trip. Other than my head phone incident I described earlier of course (LOL).

From the extremely temperamental weather to the wrongly scheduled travel plans to the loss of my GoPro on the first wave of the third day of surfing to the last experience of the trip which I will describe in a moment, I chose to see the gift, the lesson, and the gratitude in every challenge. I chose to focus on my breath rather than frustration. I chose to see what I could be grateful for rather than to see what was missing.

Feast on Guyam Island

Feast on Guyam Island

I really got to meet some extraordinary people on this trip. From a wonderful Iranian man I met on the flight from Surigao to Siargao who I became really good friends with to people from Holland, Russia, Australia, Spain, and Philippines, I learned a lot and got to connect with a lot of people from different religions, cultures, and backgrounds.

On the third day of the trip, I guess Lohloy thought I was good enough to take my surfing game to the next level so he organized a small boat to pick us up at the beach of my villa and take us out to Guyam Island for some bigger waves.

Guyam Island is a really cool island off the coast of Siargao. There is actually nothing on the island except for a couple of barbeques and sheltered tables. There is no electricity but there are still about 200 people who live on the island. It is certainly a different quality of life than I am used to.

Boat ride out to the surf spot

Boat ride out to the surf spot

Anyway, back to the surfing.

The boat dropped us off in the water and we paddled out to the surf spot. These waves were much bigger than I had experienced the previous two days. At one point, I was the only beginner with an instructor left. Everyone else was much more experienced than me.

The surfing was extraordinary. Some of the waves I caught were as tall as myself and continued for 150+ meters. I have a bunch of friends who are surfers and are totally addicted to the sport. I now can see why.

I continued surfing for a few more hours on the fourth day and on the fifth it was time to leave.

The journey back to Singapore began at 4:30 am with my suitcase and I piled on to the back of a habal habal, which is a motorbike with a slightly longer seat and a rudimentary roof.

Boat ride back to Surigao

Boat ride back to Surigao

As we arrived at the port, I was optimistic. The weather was beautiful and I bought a ticket for the faster boat that was only supposed to take about 2 hours. I stepped on board and the boat was packed. There was only one seat that was available but a gentleman was lying down on it. I was going to ask him to move and make room for me when upon closer examination, I realized this guy was in serious condition. He must’ve been in some horrific accident because he was bloodied and looked badly beaten and had an IV with saline hanging above his head. I knew at that moment I would gladly give up my seat if it meant him being a bit more comfortable.

With absolutely no space left inside, I realized I would have to find a space outside on uncovered walkway of the boat.

I used the power of ingenuity and found a plastic chair and parked myself on the side of the walkway with a beautiful view of the clear water, untouched jungle islands, and sunrise starting to appear in the sky.

Remember earlier when I said there was one more challenge I needed to face.

About 30 minutes into what turned into a 3-hour boat ride (so much for the ‘faster” boat), the seas began to get much rougher. Nothing that bothered me until a massive wave came over the side of the boat and soaked my sneakers, clothes, and bag. I managed to preserve a small portion of dryness to my stuff until about 15 minutes later when an even bigger wave came over and hit me again. This time even my socks were soaking wet. As if things weren’t bad enough, it started pouring rain and I tried to huddle myself under the tarp that was draped over the railing to attempt to provide some shelter from the rain. It just so happened the portion of the tarp I huddled myself under had a tear in it and provided little protection to the down pour.

Here is the thing. Every time I found myself wet, cold, uncomfortable, and frustrated, I looked over at the suffering man sitting inside and it immediately put things in perspective. I actually smiled at one point and just enjoyed the adventure realizing it would be a great story to tell someday.

Remember when I told you earlier how I lost my GoPro on the first wave of the day. What I didn’t mention was it was a really bad wipeout. When I fell into the water I was tumbling under the extreme force of the wave, I felt my body brush up against the underlying reef. Luckily, I came up with only a tiny mark on my arm. I was just so grateful to be unharmed. I knew at that moment my GoPro could be replaced. A broken arm or worse could not.

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Cafe at Surigao Airport

As I sit here at a local outdoor café in Surigao awaiting my flight back to Manila and then Singapore, I am really grateful for such a great experience. I am grateful for the highs and the lows. I am grateful for the opportunity to learn more about myself and challenge myself in new ways.

Until next time Siargao. I will most definitely be back.

Sincerely,

Matt Westheimer

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Do you get overwhelmed? Yea, me too!

There is a popular quote I remember once hearing that goes something like this “If you want to get something done, give it to a busy person.” At first, I thought that was crazy. If I want something done, I am not going to give it to someone who has a lot on their plate. I am going to give it to someone who has a lot of free time.

The reality is that as I get busier and busier, I know that quote to be very true.

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I am at a point in my life where I have more and more added to my plate: I run a very busy chiropractic clinic. I have a website. I run the Ultimate Achievement Show podcast. I have a relationship. I have a social life. I have an intense fitness and movement practice. I love to read and write. I have other things in the works that I haven’t even listed here.

Is it overwhelming, you ask? At times, absolutely! I find that when I get overwhelmed, it helps to ask a few really powerful questions.

1 Is this important to me and my growth?

2 What is the lesson here?

3 How can I be more efficient?

Here is the key: I have to answer YES to number one, and if I don’t, I scrap the idea or project. I don’t even move on to number two.

I remember in the past when one or two of the things on my list were overwhelming and now it feels easy. As long as I continue to ask the right questions, continue to persevere and grow, and look for more ways to be effective and efficient, the things that are overwhelming today will be a cake-walk tomorrow.

Lessons:

If things are important to you, don’t give up just because things are hard.

Find ways to become more efficient so you can accomplish more in less time.

Look for ways to delegate things that don’t require your full attention and that will maximize your time and progress.

The terrible affliction that many of us suffer from is being in the same place in our lives today that we were 5 years ago.

Make every year – scratch that – make every DAY better than the day before. Make every day more efficient, more passionate, and more meaningful than the day before.

It is the pursuit, not the destination, where true fulfillment resides.

All the best,

Dr. Matt Westheimer

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How To Make Your Resolutions Last

It is the time of the year where resolutions are made to transform your health and get into better shape. People form resolutions around everything from waking up earlier, eating healthier, connecting more with families and friends, and devoting themselves more to their faith or religion.

This time of the year gyms are packed, people load up on healthy groceries, and relationship goals are set. Then something comes along and derails everything. Something unavoidable occurs that we can’t hide from. It affects everyone around the world and doesn’t care how old, young, poor, or rich you are. It’s called February!

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Find a setting that inspires you to set goals.

I am only slightly kidding! The truth is that in January the gyms are full and by February or March they’re empty again. Why is that the case? Why do we form resolutions and so few people actually stick to them?

This happens for 2 reasons:

1 They were a “should” and not a “must!”

2 There was no initial plan. And even if there was an initial plan, there was no contingency plan when things get difficult which things most certainly will!

Ultimately we get our “must do” things done, and our “should do” things don’t get done.

Do you ever walk out of the house naked even if you are running really late? Heck no, because getting dressed is a must. Do you ever skip going to the bathroom or stop eating? No to those as well because they are a must.

How would your life transform if you made movement and fitness as much of a must as breathing? How much better would you feel if eating healthy was as important as getting dressed in the morning? How much better would your career look if you made learning and growth on a constant basis as important as your morning trip to the bathroom?

I think I’ve made my point by now.

Do you finally want to make this year’s resolutions stick?

Find out a way to make them a “MUST.”

All the best,

Dr. Matt Westheimer

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Two Keys to World-Class Customer Service

In today’s fast paced environment where everything is ruled by technology, there is a piece to business that is becoming increasingly more important. It used to be good enough to have a superior product or service, but not anymore. It used to be good enough to be the most efficient, but not anymore. While both of these things are still goals worthy of excelling at, the critical component to business that makes all the difference in the world is the customer experience.

Here is a fact. No matter how good your product or service is there will be times when that fails. No matter how efficient you are, there will be companies that are more efficient or there is a breakdown in your company’s efficiency. While you can bet on failing in those areas from time to time, the thing you must strive to never ever mess up is the way your customers experience you.

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Phuket, Thailand

This point was driven home to me last week while on holiday in Thailand. My girlfriend and I were staying at this beautiful hotel with villas built into the hillside with picturesque views of the ocean and landscape. The food was spectacular and the ambience was serene, which was exactly what we were looking for.

But that was not even the best part. The most memorable part of the trip for me was the way they made us feel and their attention to the customer experience.

There were two things they did that made the biggest impact on me:

#1: Every person, from the person who was pulling the weeds and sweeping the walkways to the housekeeping to the general manager would stop what they were doing every single time we walked by and gave us a massive smile and a Sawadee Ka(p) (‘Hello’ in Thai). There is certainly a reason Thailand is widely known as ‘The Land of Smiles.’ That personal attentiveness was a welcomed gift every time and never ceased to put a smile on my face the entire trip. The icing on the cake was that it was sincere. It may have been something the senior management trained them on, but you would never have known from its level of authenticity. And that’s what made all the difference.

#2: They did more than I ever could have expected. One of the activities we tried for the first time on this trip, and was a blast by the way, was Muay Thai which is Thai kickboxing. They treated us like pros. We hired a private trainer one day to train us on the beach and he did not shortcut anything. They could have easily just given us a pair of gloves and a couple of pads to punch and kick and that would have been fine, but they took the experience to the next level.

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Our trainer, Man (Yes, that is his name), took the time to professionally wrap our hands before we put the gloves on. He then proceeded to teach us basic technique and made sure we had a fantastic time throughout the process. We enjoyed it so much, we decided to do it another day. By the time we finished the second day, we were already researching Muay Thai gyms in Singapore that we could continue our training at. We decided a great souvenir would be to purchase a pair of hand wraps that we could use when we got back to Singapore.

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When we asked the head of recreation at the hotel about purchasing a pair of wraps, he proceeded to tell us that they do not have any extras but he insisted on driving into town to pick a couple of pairs up for us. I tried to tell him that it wasn’t necessary and way too generous of a gesture but he insisted. The next day upon check out there were two packages of hand wraps waiting for us at the check out counter with a personalized hand written note. Wow.

Imagine if in business we put as much focus on the customer experience as we do on budgets and the bottom line. Imagine if we look more and more to not just meet expectations but to exceed them. Imagine if we treated our customers, clients, or patients with the level of attention where our goal was to make every experience with us the best of their life.

All the best,

Dr. Matt Westheimer

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The Key to a Great Career

“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” Apparently this quote is attributed to Confucius on many sites on the Internet. I am not sure if it’s accurate or not but I am going to have to disagree, at least the way most people interpret that quote. Sorry, Confucius!

When many people hear or read a quote like “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life,” the common interpretation is that your job should always be fun and happy. That’s much like trying to chase the end of the Earth. It’s never going to happen.

Let’s be honest with each other here. Even if you do love your job, career, or business, there are days or seasons where most things feel like “work.”

I absolutely love my job. I love taking care of people. I love writing. I love speaking. I love leading people. While as a whole I love what I do, there are aspects of my job I very much dislike.

I do not enjoy doing paperwork, dealing with unruly people at times, suffering from writer’s block, or when my creativity is being stifled.

But recently I had an epiphany: Life is not about finding a job that is easy, fun, and happy all of the time. Life is about finding a job that is fulfilling.

career quote

Life is about finding a job where the highs are great, yet there is meaning and fulfillment in the lows. If you are ready to give up when things get difficult, you probably should. Then you can move on to finding something that is worth sticking with.

When I was learning how to podcast, there were times that I was so frustrated with the process. First there was the technical side of things that were difficult to get going and even more difficult to maintain. I remember at one point I recorded an entire podcast with an interviewee for over an hour only to find out the audio was too low and it had to be scrapped and re-done. There was another one where I recorded a solo podcast episode where I felt like it was one of the best performances I had ever done, and guess what? I never had the microphone turned on. I had to get back into an empowered state and do it again. This list could go on and on.

The point is that much of your job or career is going to be frustrating and not always fun. The true pursuit is to find something where the love and the fulfillment is so great and inspiring that you are able to persevere and find the lesson in the midst of everything being in utter chaos.

If you found it, embrace it.

If you have yet to discover it, don’t give up. The journey is worth it.

All the best,

Dr. Matt Westheimer

Sunset over Panwa, Thailand

Lessons from a World-Traveling Photographer

Many of us get stuck from time to time. Many of us feel like our dreams are too big and we should settle for less. Many of us get taught that you should settle for what everyone else has. We get taught you should get good grades, settle down with a good job, and live a comfortable life. Adventure and risk are usually way out of the question!

One of my favorite quotes by Jim Collins is from his book Good to Great and perfectly illustrates this idea:

“Good is the enemy of great. And that is one of the key reasons why we have so little that becomes great. We don’t have great schools, principally because we have good schools. We don’t have great government, principally because we have good government. Few people attain great lives, in large part because it is just so easy to settle for a good life.”

Sunset over Panwa, Thailand

Sunset at Panwa, Thailand

While on holiday in Thailand this week, we met a couple who gave me hope in a future where people will live life on their own terms, decide what they want, and go out and make it happen no matter what it takes.

The wife is a professional photographer. She is one of a very few people in Canada that specialize in a dying art: the art of plain film photography. It is a special look and feel when you shoot with plain film. It is a different technique and you get the negatives to pass down for generations that you don’t get with digital.

She decided a while ago that she wanted to not only specialize in plain film photography, but she wanted to be the go to photographer for destination weddings. This dream has become a reality and has taken her all over the world. That is how we met here in Thailand. She was hired to fly here and shoot a wedding on the southern tip of Phuket, and we happened to be staying at the same hotel. Her and her husband shared their story with us over a bottle of wine on the beach as we watched the pastel-colored sunset over the ocean. Her career has taken her to Greece, Italy, all over Europe, and now Asia.

Don’t let anyone tell you that your dreams are too big or not worth chasing. Surround yourself with people who are going to support you and inspire you to dream bigger and chase more. As Howard Thurman once said, “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

All the best,

Dr. Matt Westheimer