The hurdles are daring…

written by john c ashworth

My daughter, Ana, has a shirt she likes to wear now . She picked it up at one of her track meets this year. On the back it reads,

“The hurdles used to make me anxious but then I got over it.”

In her case, this message cuts deep for reasons I won’t go into detail here right now. She wouldn’t want me to. She is getting over a lot of things and had a terrific freshman year of high school, especially athletically.

The Hurdles are Daring

Looking down the track from the starting blocks, hurdles line-up in orderly fashion patiently waiting their turn. Patiently waiting for each athlete to approach, building their rhythm, and their timing, and their speed as they breeze down the track. Nothing more on their minds then the next one, and then the next one, and then the next, until they are leaning toward the finish line in a flash of brilliance.

In some cases, you get the impression that those hurdles are coaxing them along. But it’s more than that. Beckoning might be a more accurate word. Because as they draw you in, it seems you begin to discover things about yourself that until now, you could not figure out how to unlock.

You discover that you are strong, and powerful, and not afraid to be called into the race. Not afraid to let go and trust your judgement in a way that places you so close to success and failure that your heart pounds with massive force until you are in the middle of that race, picking up speed, letting go of your fear, and allowing yourself to break free from everything that’s ever held you back in your life.

Because when you decide on this race, and its demand for your precision every time, I believe you have made a very powerful choice about who you are, what you want to accomplish, and what you’re willing to sacrifice and put on the line once you’re set in those starting blocks.

Never have I been in such awe of such a fiercely headstrong and competitive group of young women. They are relentless and humble in their pursuit and as much as I can, I learn from them.


Ana’s 2019 Sectionals Race that qualified her for the State Meet in Wisconsin. Time: 15.9
Ana’s Wisconsin State Meet Prelim 100m Hurdles run. Time 16.4

Click here for WIAA final results for 2019.

After his best friend died, a 12-year-old Michigan boy raised $2,500 to pay for the headstone – CNN


So when K.J. died in May of congestive heart failure after a long battle with leukemia, Kaleb was devastated. And when Kaleb, now 12, learned that Singleton couldn’t afford a headstone for K.J.’s grave, he was determined to help.

Source: After his best friend died, a 12-year-old Michigan boy raised $2,500 to pay for the headstone – CNN

Your Turn…

written by john c ashworth

I’m reading another terrific book. This one is written by Tim Ferris. He’s an interesting character and I’ve been following him on and off over the years. His first book you may remember, The 4-hour workweek. A great title, and another book I recommend, but not because I think you can actually accomplish everything you need to in four hours a week. Because just like ‘Tools of Titans‘ you can pick up a lot of great life strategies from Tim that have the potential to completely re-shape your existence, and set your life’s path on a new and more evolved trajectory.

In ‘Tools of Titans’ Tim pulls all the best stuff he’s accumulated over the years from interviews with the Titans he’s interviewed on his regular podcast over the years. Some very interesting, uniquely engaged human beings who will help you shift your thinking in a way that allows you to believe that almost anything is possible if you are simply willing to defy your current belief sytems and how much they can really hold you back.

It makes me think of that trick we used to pull back in high school where we would walk quietly behind someone and gently put a hand on their back-pack. Applying just enough pressure so that they wouldn’t initially notice. Subconsciously at first, the person would begin to think, “man, I’m feeling a little heavy, slow, like I’m having to work harder than I should.” Then, finally, as slightly more pressure was applied the person carrying the backpack had no othe choice but to turn around and see what might be holding them back. To turn around and see if they had in fact caught their pack on something, or if their mind was once again playing tricks on them.

Your current belief systems are likely holding you back in a similar way right now. In fact, it’s a fact. None of us are perfect. And none of us have it all figured out. The game is just to keep growing. Because remember, if you’re not growing, you’re dying. That’s why I read and write so much. Without this pursuit, I might be locked-up somewhere and receiving my meals through the mail slot.

Whether you decide to read ‘Tools of Titans’ is entirely up to you. In fact, that was the intention of this post when I first sat down to write it. To make the recommendation for this book. But now there seems a much more important message that is coming through…

What’s in your backpack? Weighing you down unnecesarily. What do you need to let go of so that you can break free and stimulate some personal growth. How heavy does it need to get before you are aware enough to turn around?

I know, we have all now been infected with the same virus. The one that attempts to make us believe that all this personal growth and self-improvement stuff is over-played. Over hyped. Over sold. It probably is, but it doesn’t change the fact that it’s still important. Remember, you’re either growing or dying. What’s most important is that you follow your own intuition and feed that intuition with the right informaiton from the right people. You need to construct adequate and intelligent filters. Like reading this post, for example. I’m glad you’re here.

I’ve got to go for now. Need to get to that day job and go take care of the business of the day. Looking forward to getting back to my writing over the weekend. Once again, thanks for being a part of it. It’s not as much fun without you.

Here’s the challenge I want to leave you with today. Dig in to that backpack and look around this weekend or at least in the near future and decide what it is that you no longer need. What’s in there that is weighing you down unnecessarily and often without you being consciously aware that it’s happening. Now, let it go…

In ‘Tools of Titans’ Tim interviews Jason Nemer, cofounder of AcroYoga ( A technique that blends the spiritual wisdom of yoga, the loving-kindness of Thai massage, and the dynamic power of acrobatics. Jason was a two-time US Junior national champion in sports acrobatics and represented the US at the World Championships in Beijing in 1991.

When traveling, Jason always carries a couple Frisbee discs for the Frisbee golf he loves to play. As Jason puts it, “There’s nothing like watching a Frisbee fly through the air away from you for minute or longer. It’s magical.”

Sometimes, rather than play golf, he stands somewhere he can gain altitude and perspective and just launches one of the discs with the intention of letting it go forever.

When he does this, he makes it intentional by asking himself a very important, intelligent and personal question as he watches it fly away…

“What am I releasing?”

Your turn.


Why it’s so hard to blaze your own path…

written by john c ashworth

Have you ever found yourself on the wrong path and wondered how you got there, and felt embarrassed that it took you so long to notice? It’s OK. We are all human. The real question is how do you get back? And if you’re blazing your own path, this question can trigger lots of fear, anxiety, anger, frustration, and even boredom. Because when you’re blazing new paths, it’s harder to find the road when you get lost, and often you find yourself doing nothing as a result. In fact, there is no road ahead of you. YOU are building it yourself, and if you lack confidence and clarity about who you are and what your mission is in this world, action is stymied and you end up doing either nothing or all of the wrong things. Suddenly, you’re in a job you don’t love focusing every day on the pain of your confusion and frustration and unless you take conscious action to remove yourself from this unfortunate loop, you head in to a downward spiral.

The feeling must be similar to that of the pilot who finds himself in a flat spin with no other option but to eject. You must do the same. Find your ejection handle and duck. You don’t want to end up like ‘Goose’ from Top Gun, who smashes himself against the glass of the cockpit and is never to be heard from again. This ejection will be jarring, painful, and abrupt. In the short run, you will likely find yourself in a worse position than you were before…financially, emotionally psychologically. That’s why so many of us decide to just keep going. To follow the path we can see, instead of finding the confidence to choose a direction and blaze one of our own. It takes a ton of courage to pull that handle and live with the consequences of where you land. It takes true guts.

Are you ready?

-Coach Ashworth