The Power Of More

Hanging with my personal hero, Marnie McBean, at the Cypress Snowboard World Cup in 2009.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

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Comments

  1. Val says

    Wow! This post really resonated with me. I have been following your blog for a short amount of time…maybe a month and half or two. I have been looking at other websites/blogs about minimalism. Just this morning I was having a conversation with my husband about looking forward to our weekend project of clearing out unwanted/needed items in our house. I asked him if he was also looking forward clearing out the “junk” and getting some clarity. What the heck did I really mean by that? He looked at me and said “I am not sure it will give me clarity, but it will get rid of stuff”. I was trying to figure out a way of explaining that I felt like we would be able to create more “space” in our life the more we de-clutter it (with both tangible and non-tangible things). What I really should have said to him was pretty much what you summed up in your post:

    “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.”

    De-cluttering our “life” is going to allow us to have these moments…more relaxed family time, less time worrying about the condition of my house, able to focus on those that are important to us…..

    I am emailing him your post right now! Thanks……..

    • says

      “I asked him if he was also looking forward clearing out the “junk” and getting some clarity. What the heck did I really mean by that? He looked at me and said “I am not sure it will give me clarity, but it will get rid of stuff”.”

      That actually made me laugh out loud! Your husband seems to already have clarity. ;-)

  2. Linda says

    There’s nothing like a deadline to motivate me: the neighborhood garage sale next weekend, and our son’s graduation party 2 weeks after that. As a procrastinating perfectionist, life will be stressful for a few weeks. And then I’ll be a slacker until the next big thing comes up. But is this the way I want to live the rest of my life? “A rich life with less stuff” says it all for me. Your blog has been so helpful, Rachel. The books I’ve been reading and the 2 Bible studies I attend all point to the same thing – less material things = more contentment. The more I let go, the easier it gets to let go of more and the less burdened I feel. I’ve been talking about it for too lone – it’s time for action!

  3. says

    I think that’s a wonderful way to look at it. The goal really isn’t less stuff… it’s more space, time, freedom and clarity. Having fewer belongings is only a tool for getting more of what we really want.

  4. says

    I have a favorite motto that expresses this sentiment: “Give me something better to love.” It helps me remember that I’m seeking something better for my life, and that’s why I let go of nonessentials.

  5. says

    Really enjoyed the post Rachel, although you had me with the photo alone. Sucker for a bit of snow am I…
    Definitely going to be checking out the book! We talk so much about less, but ultimately it is to create more of what is truly important.

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