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Here are the top articles/posts that I’ve seen over the past week that interest me, and hopefully interest you!


As many of you know, I went through a big health and fitness transition a few years ago. I had a major illness ten years ago (burst appendix that wasn’t caught, leading to peritonitis and getting close to death) and after that, this man who had just completed the Boston Marathon three years earlier couldn’t exercise and ballooned up to 196 lbs.

Ken at his heaviest - 2006

That might not seem like much compared to other overweight people, but I’ve got a rather small frame and that’s a lot of weight on me (as you can see by the picture).  After my divorce and a lot of inner work, I managed through exercise and working with a nutritionist to lose 43 lbs., getting down to my lowest at 153 lbs.  This whole process was an issue of my taking control of my life and saying what was important and working toward that goal. I had a little set back from my illness about a year ago, and I’m about 10 lbs. over that weight, but I’m working to get that off again and get down to where I can get back into my 30″ pants.

Ken in 2009

I’m not much of a TV watcher, but one show I do like is The Biggest Loser.  While there is a lot of twists and turns to the show, that part I like about it is that people are facing the things that have been keeping them back, making good choices for themselves, and working consistently to make improvements to their lives.  It’s sometimes hard to watch, but it shows it’s not easy.

Last night on the show, one contestant, Arthur, who topped out at approximately 645 lbs., was voted off the show.  It was a very emotional time, as everyone there knew that he really needed to be there to help him live, but Arthur had also made a lot of bad decisions and had really upset a lot of people.  As Bob Harper posted today on his blog, Arthur made a lot of decisions out of fear, and usually those weren’t good decisions for him overall.

I see with my clients that many times people make a lot of bad decisions in their careers because they come out of a position of fear. What if another job doesn’t come up?, I should take this job because the economy is bad., I’ll never get a good job with my experience., etc.  Granted, I’m a firm believer in reality, and understand that you sometimes have to make compromises in your life, but what I’ve found many people do is shy away completely from the possibilities when it gets rough.  You have to know what you are facing, but that doesn’t mean you can’t move forward.  If you know what you want and know what you need to do to get it, then all you have to do is follow your plan and take the action steps to do it.  This is living out of personal power instead of fear.  I think many people would have much happier lives if they worked this way.

So, as Martin Luther King Jr. said, what happens to a dream deferred, and what are you doing to take control of your dreams?

Last week, I was watching one if the two shows that I tend to watch on TV,  The Biggest Loser (the other is Dancing with the Stars). Both of these are favorites because people are doing something positive for themselves, and I’ve got a personal connection to the activities: I used to do a lot of couples dancing when I was younger (and still love it) and I lost 40 lbs in the past few years. I still have to work at exercising and eating right so this show is good motivation for me.

This particular show had a session with Suze Orman, the personal finance guru. What was interesting is that they showed that she picked Danny as the winner of last years contest purely by his FICO score and credit rating. Her reasoning was that this was a man who had control of his finances, and could then therefore be in control of his weightloss.

It was ringing bells for me as I’ve found that after I was able to show the discipline to lose the weight, I have been able to tap into that skill and bring it to other areas of my life. My meditations have become a part of my life now. I’m blogging and Twittering pretty consistantly, and I’ve been doing more presentations than I have in a long time. It feels good to move forward on the things that I want in my life.

Today is Marathon Day in Boston, and there will be lots of people streaming into Boston from Hopkinton doing what they weren’t positive the would do, but have been working through discipline to accomplish. I did the marathon in 1998 and remember the dedication that it took to complete it.

What areas do you have in your life that you aren’t moving forward in, and what areas have you mastered?

One of the things that I’ve been working on is consistency. I lost 40 lbs. last year through working with a nutritionist (go to Nutrition for You for more information about their program) and really had to be very consistent in watching what I ate. I’ve also been a race walking coach, and a musician (both singing and playing the hammered dulcimer). For all of these things, I had to practice to get better at things.

Practicing for me is more than just doing something over and over again, but also about the intention that goes in with it. I have to think about what I’m doing and decide if I’m going to do it a certain way or not, regardless of the activity I’m practicing. In order to get better at something, you’ve got to do it a lot so you get past the intentional part about it. You just do it. Malcolm Gladwell stated in his book Outliers that you need to practice something for approximately 10,000 hours in order to be an expert in a field. I’d be doing something by rote after that amount of practice.

So, what am I practicing? Well, as my goal is to merge this professional and spiritual development realm, I’m looking at what I can do to practice both at that same time. Here are the things I’m focusing in on (for the moment).

  • Daily Meditation: I get up every morning and meditate for about 25 minutes.  I pull a tarot card and read up on what some interpretations of that card, and then reflect on what’s going on in my life now.  Then at the end of the meditation, I tweet about it.  Yes, tweeting as a spiritual practice. I’m getting better at tweeting, and I’ve gotten some great responses to my tweets, so I’ve got to keep the fan base happy. (Note: if you see some characters at the end of each tweet, it’s the tarot card I pulled that day.)
  • Health: I was really good at entering everything I eat into an online food log, and have gotten off the wagon.  I’m also trying to get back into the gym and get some more exercise (which has been harder since I’m still recovering from my illness/hospitalization a few months ago).  I’m being more consistent than I was, so it’s all about the improvement.

I practice so that I can hopefully do these things at times when my mind doesn’t have the capacity to think about them and make the right choice.  I want it to be automatic.

So, what are you practicing?


Ken Mattsson

Ken Mattsson

Ken Mattsson

I am a career consultant who specializes in the connection between what your spirit wants to do in the world, and how to marry that to the work that you do in order to support yourself. While I work with people in all fields, I specialize in working with "creative entrepreneurs" and the LGBT community.

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