How One Olympian Turned Devastation into Inspiration

Yes, gymnastics is about perfect performances — but it’s also about getting back up after you fall, over and over again. When gymnast Jordyn Wieber failed to make the all-around finals at the 2012 Olympic Games, she was devastated. But two days later, she helped her team win gold. She shares how she’s learned to be resilient through life’s toughest moments and what it takes to move forward. [This talk contains sensitive content.]

This talk was presented to a local audience at TEDxUCLA, an independent event.

Jordyn Wieber, Olympic Gold Medalist, looks at the moments of devastation that at times are part of the fabric of life, and how to turn these into transcendent​ moments of inspiration​. Jordyn Wieber is an Olympic gold medalist and American gymnast from DeWitt, Michigan. This teenage gymnastics phenom caught the world’s attention by becoming the World Champion in 2011. A key member of the “Fierce Five”, Jordyn helped the U.S. Olympic Women’s Gymnastics Team capture the team gold medal at the London Olympic Games in 2012. In 2017, Jordyn graduated from UCLA with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and currently serves as an Assistant Coach for the UCLA Gymnastics Team. As a former Olympic gold medalist, Jordyn has expansive knowledge of how to succeed in gymnastics, but her influence extends beyond the confines of her winning combination of physical prowess and determination. Jordyn is still one of the top influencers in gymnastics and also serves as a motivational speaker and vocal advocate for preventing child sexual abuse in sports. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at

Frog In A Blender

“Frog In A Blender”

“Mental illness. What comes to your mind, pardon the pun, when you read the words mental illness? I know some people just rush to the quick verbiage of a “crazy person.” And I’m okay with using those descriptors because this particular writing isn’t about what’s accurate or appropriate and description is much as the trueness of your thoughts. I also not naive and I realized several years ago that the mentally ill will continue to be a marginalized group that is misunderstood by the general populace and greatly ignored. The mentally ill tend to be part of the dredges of society. A unique cast system of broken individuals not seen valuable.

After I was diagnosed my heart broke in several pieces. You knew something was wrong with yourself You felt these different thoughts, urges, sensations, and sometimes confusion, and yet as if a paralytic trying to will their legs to move, you yourself or unable to act or think in a normal way.

You know it’s funny as I reflect on a lot of the different relationships throughout my life of coworkers, colleagues, clients, business associates, friends, & lovers. All the while I never felt okay. I felt like I was doing my best to keep a deep dark secret. Who I am must not be found out.

It’s funny, living years with the mind of someone with borderline personality disorder, you think I wouldn’t be nearly so ignorant to what people would think in regards to my behaviors. And yet I felt like I was able to sort of fool people. That I too could be normal. I wasn’t fooling anyone. As the cliche goes I was only fooling myself.

One thing for sure, an individual that struggles with something like borderline personality disorder has his work cut out for himself BUT so do the loved ones who also experience that diagnosis as witnesses. In some ways, it feels like collateral damage and your personal shame grows exponentially because in the normal stable moments of your thought process you’d never want anyone to be harmed with what you struggle with. But that’s not how it works.

So, of course, a lot of people would think with my own life I would use my diagnosis as an enabling tool. That I too am just a victim of something outside of my control. My divorces, broken relationships, personal debts, suicide attempts are things that happened to me.

Man! I would love that excuse! I’d take it and run with it if that was possible. However, my actions are still on me. Even the unknowns in my life are my responsibility to uncover and understand.”

(Excerpt from book)

Why Having a Pet (of Any Kind!) May Boost Your Mood and Keep Your Brain Healthy

Therapy animals have long been the trusted companions of people with disabilities. Now, animals of all kinds are proving their value to individuals with dementia as well as to those hoping to reduce their risk of brain disease.

Physiology helps explain why animals are such effective therapists for all of us, says Marwan Sabbagh, MD, Director of Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health: “Simply petting an animal can decrease the level of the stress hormone cortisol and boost release of the neurotransmitter serotonin, resulting in lowered blood pressure and heart rate and, possibly, in elevated mood.”
Man is by nature a social animal

Depression is common in individuals with dementia, a byproduct of the isolation and loneliness they often experience. Likewise, caregivers can feel alone and overwhelmed by their responsibilities. In both cases, bonding with an animal can help fill this void with social support and, from dogs in particular, with unconditional love.

In addition, dogs foster human connections for their owners. Take Rover for a ramble, and strangers who would never dream of approaching you in other situations will strike up a conversation centered on the animal. Even a mere smile from a passerby is a connection that can brighten your day.
Get your six legs out there!

Walking the dog yields a second, equally important benefit: physical exercise, which is also key to a brain-healthy lifestyle.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, adults need at least 2½ hours a week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity for good health and double that amount for greater health benefits. Brisk walking (at least 3 mph — that’s 20 minutes per mile) qualifies as moderate-intensity activity. The payoff extends beyond enhanced brain health to weight control, improved cardiorespiratory fitness and muscular strength, and reduced risk of chronic diseases and killers such as heart disease, stroke, cancer and diabetes.

So give the cat a cuddle, then grab the leash and whistle for the dog. Get moving with your faithful companion by your side. You’ve got nothing to lose — and the potential to add years of healthy life ahead.


Total hip replacement Pt 1

On Wed, August 22nd 2018 I had a total left hip replacement conducted here in Utah.  The symptoms leading up to the need for surgery started a few years ago.  First, external rotation of my hip would cause a sharp pain in the join.  I also started favoring my other side which likely is why my Quadratus lumborum or QL muscle was injured at the IPL World Cup in 2016.  I also developed more low back pain as the hip was putting more pressure on the spin being unstable.  Last Spring of 2018 I started getting sharp pains that would make me collapse and scream in pain.  The pain was assumed to be the last of my labrum tearing in the narrow sockets.  Movement from that point was very painful where I would limp while causing more damage to the low back and the unstable socket would inevitably pinch my sciatica leading to more pain.

The spacing or lack off on the left is similar to my own joint.  THERE IS NONE.

Walking was almost unbearable  while sitting and standing both cause me pain.  My comfort pose was laying flat on my back with ice packs but it helped me get through the last few months leading up to the surgery.

My hip socket
Similar hardware in my hip now

Vitamin D: Truth & Hype

What is Vitamin D?


Eh, Hype. Cancer?  Come on man!

UBER KNOWLEDGE BOMBS has this to say: 

An improvement in muscular control in the elderly.
  • Vitamin D supplementation is strongly associated with a notable decrease in the risk of colorectal cancer, with some possible decreases in risk of other cancers such as breast. The Lancet meta-analysis assessed outcomes for those already diagnosed, and did not look at risk of cancer.
  • Appears to be a significant protective factor for the development of multiple sclerosis.
  • Usage for improving mood pertaining to seasonal affective disorders.
  • Potential (albeit thought to be minor) benefits to glucose control via aiding pancreatic function.
You can ready more of there research here:

Fear Factors

“You can live your dreams or live your fears” – Les Brown

I use to struggle with anxiety that would manifest into panic attacks to the point I had a seizure type episode and black out. Every episode’s epicenter manifested from fear that would run wild through my mind. Understand, fear at times does demand respect particularly for our human survival. But there is a profound difference between having fear and the fear having you. My panic was nothing short of fear running me into the ground. I had been had!

Fear is not real. The only place it can exist is in our thoughts. Sure, danger is real enough but fear is a choice. I believe it was Zig Ziglar that said, “F.E.A.R is known as false evidence appearing real.” Fear is similar to anger in that it is a symptom of a deeper issue. Insecurities, past traumas and experiences, negative self talk, fight or flight responses are all the causes of fear. Even success can lead to fear. I remember the movie “Chariots of Fire” where one of the characters Harold Abrahams won the 100 meter dash in the 1924 Olympics. Just before the race he said to his friend, “ Aubrey, I’ve known the fear of losing but now I am almost too frightened to win.” It makes sense in many ways because we do truly fear the unknown. That bump in the night. The stoic stare of a peer. The police car driving behind you. And in this case for Harold what would he do after years of chasing the gold medal?

What are you afraid of?

My clients are fantastic and so unique. I enjoy the relationships that I have established with each and every one of them. This past week, failure was a central theme with several. Failure manifests itself into fear which freezes our foundational freedoms to fly free! Failure has a deep relationship with self worth; often having been created from past experiences. “Shawn if I try to lift that weight I could fail.” And? “Shawn, I never keep with my eating plans and always rebound.” Ok? On my chalkboard in my studio it says: “Every time you fail is a step toward success.” I want you to understand that the partnership between failing and fear can be broken for your benefit. You must know and accept that it is fine to fail because it has the potential to take you to the next step toward success. Often times I like to refer to failing as learning. There is an opportunity to grow in the moment you fail. When you accept this truth, the bond between fear and failing is weakened if not broken totally.

What are you afraid of?

What is the benefit of allowing fear to have its way in your life? Fear will kill your dreams. Fear will murder your hopes. Fear will age you. Fear can paralyze you. Fear is fed a regular dose of negativity to flourish. Negativity many times is about your environment. Who do you connect with? What do you listen to? Where do you spend time? Negativity and cynicism will fight you so decide to invest in what fuels your spirit with hope, joy and passion. What do you need to change in your personal inventory? A simple approach: if you want to keep on getting what you are getting, you can just keep doing what you are doing. So do things differently! Starve fear with hope, joy and passion to move ahead in life. Spend time with positive people. Listen to positive messages. Speak positive words. 87% of self talk is negative! Can you imagine that? We walk around saying no to ourselves, our dreams and our hopes. Do something different! Be honest with yourself regarding the past regarding what you have done and what has been done to you. It’s over! It’s in the past! The only thing that matters is what are you going to do about it now?

Start making goals. Getting rid of negative people. Take chances. The movie “Yes, Man” really has a profound message of what can happen when we say yes to life. Everything that the main character did also took action so be ready. None of this will be easy to work through those fears but as you face those fears over and over, life will get better. Remember, do something different. You didn’t face those fears and where did it get you? It will be hard. Acknowledge and accept that fact but buttress that truth with faith to endure. You can do this!