What do you call a personal hero that eventually became an acquaintance?
Marnie McBean is a big deal in Canadian sport. She has a bunch of Olympic medals. She’s now retired from sport and is a public speaker, mentor and now, author. Her book, The Power of More, has just been released.
When I was 14 I took a learn to row course at the Vancouver Rowing Club. It was 1992. Canada has just won a shed load of medals at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. Marnie was one of those rowers. In my complete love and geekery over the sport I spent days at the library reading books about rowing and looking up newspaper articles. I was hooked. I knew all the names of the women on the 1992 Olympic team, I knew their hometowns and how tall they were. I idolized them.
A few years later I was a promising junior rower and started training at Burnaby Lake with the well known (in Canadian rowing) coach Dick McLure. Dick had coached on the national team and had coached a few of the women from the 1992 Olympic team. My training sessions were filled with lessons and stories from all of these amazing rowers, their technical strengths and weaknesses, how they prepared for races along with lots of fun and inspiring anecdotes.
When I went to my first National Team training camp in 1997 I got to meet some of these athletes in person. Most of them were nice if distant. I was a small fry, an insignificant development athlete. I wasn’t surprised that few of them took the time to learn my name.
I was surprised when Marnie McBean walked right up to me, introduced herself, asked me my name and shook my hand.
Marnie is everything I hoped an Olympic gold medalist would be: gregarious, charming, inspiring and kind. She worked very hard. Very, very hard. But she also gave her time to newbies like me, even if it was just for a quick hello. That hello often made my day as I struggled to learn the ins and outs of the training centre. It was something good to report to my mom on the phone at night. Yes, I got my ass handed to me in the workout but Marnie McBean acknowledged my presence.
Over the years I got to know Marnie a bit better. She retired in 2000 but always made time to visit the national training centre and give us pep talks. She is a fantastic speaker. Goose bumps, tears, laughter. She has it all.
In the lead up to the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics I was lucky to run into Marnie a few times at sport events. She has created a wonderful career for herself post-rowing and is an inspiration to me as I pursue a writing career.
So I had to laugh when I read that Marnie’s new book is called The Power of More.
Really? More? I’m so focused on less in my life, how could more be powerful?
I took a look through the first chapters that are available for preview online and was happy to read this:
It’s not about having more – it’s about being able to do more. – Marnie McBean
The more Marnie is referring to isn’t stuff. It’s actually what I write about here: losing the unneeded to you can focus, and find more of, what you really want.
Some of the section heads really spoke to me. From The Power of More:
- Simple beginnings can lead to incredible things.
- Normal people doing special things.
- Comfortably Uncomfortable
The book title also made me think about simplicity and minimalism in another light.
Embrace more of what nourishes and inspires you.
I’ve read a few comments here and on the blog Facebook page from people beat down by getting rid of things. They empty out closets and sell things but it never seems to end. They feel like the path to less is never ending.
So, maybe instead of focusing on getting rid of things, focus on bringing more of what you want into your life. More reading so you shop online less. More sleep so you need less coffee. More relaxed family time and less rushed weekends with multiple commitments all over town.
I read a story once about a woman that was trying to lose weight. Instead of focusing on all the foods she couldn’t eat she set a goal to eat more fruits and vegetables. Every week she added another cup of fruit and vegetables to her daily diet. Eventually she hit the tipping point of having so much good stuff in her diet that she didn’t have room for any junk food.
There is a power to having more if it’s more of what you really want and need.