Set Up Your Own Blog In Three Easy Steps

First, allow myself to introduce…myself. My name is Dax and I design and manage the Larsen Global blog, the Larsen Global website, our USANA site, and most of the lead generation for Larsen Global. This year, I plan on contributing to our Larsen Global blog on a more regular basis.

Last week, I conducted an online training on internet marketing where I gave an introduction on customizing websites and also offered some advanced tips for online marketing.

BloggerFrom the question and answer session after the presentation, I learned that not many people participating had a blog. I am surprised that more people in USANA don’t take advantage of blogging as a resource to tell their story. It is a free and easy way to reach new people and it can be set up in about five minutes. So, in this post I would like to teach you how to set up your own personal blog in 3 easy steps.

Step One: Choose a blogging platform. Go with blogspot.com if you are an absolute beginner, or wordpress.com if you have a little more experience and/or want the option for more functionality and control of your blog. Pick one, follow the link, and follow the instructions to sign up for your own blogging site.

Step Two: Customize your site. You choose the look and the feel of your site, add color, add a picture, create a custom title. These are all simple steps that are done within the site. Both of these blogging platforms have templates that are pre-designed with graphics and color combinations. Play around with this until you find one that you are happy with. Don’t worry, you can change this as often as you like without affecting the content of your blog. Think of this as picture frame and your content as the picture. Speaking of content…

Step Three: Create. Start telling your story. It doesn’t have to be about USANA (in fact, you should review the Compliance Dos and Don’ts for Social Media before you start blogging about USANA). The web awards creativity and relevance, so get creative. What makes good content? If you have good content, people will want to share it and eventually, you will have people that you have never met leaving comments, following your blog, and looking forward to your updates. You will have created an entire network of people interested in you and what you have to say.

That’s it. It’s simple, free and everyone can do it. People tend to get scared off by creating a blog, but it shouldn’t be scary. Really, the hardest part of building a successful blog is creating regular content, and a simple solution to that problem is to recruit your sons to become regular contributors.

If you have questions or tips you would like to share, please do so in the comment section below (I will answer them there).

Good luck and happy blogging.

Here are some useful blogging resources:

Copyblogger — A great content resource. This is one of the few sites I visit on a daily basis, well this one and People of WalMart.

What’s Up USANA’s Social Media Tips — especially this one and this one.

Bloggerbuster — some advanced tips and tricks.

When I’m not staring at the computer screen, you can usually find me on the trails. You can read about my adventures on my own personal blog at Dirty Running.

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Lessons Learned On My Journey to Mt. Everest Base Camp – Part 3 of 6

Learn and Love

In June of last year – 2010, I determined to write six articles based on my experience of trekking to Mt. Everest. I wrote two of those blogs and then got blindsided. Forty of us (mostly USANA distributors) embarked on the Everest quest and although we had a group of incredible guides and sherpas that helped us every step of the way, there was a young man who stood out. My guess is, he was everyone’s favorite: Prakesh – the one with the ready smile, the encouraging word, the stories about his sons and dreams for his future.

During the USANA convention in August, we got word Prakesh – along with thirteen others who were planning to trek to Mt. Everest Base Camp – had perished in a tragic plane crash on the mountain. We were devastated. How could such a bright light be extinguished so soon?

Prakesh

Prakesh and his umbrella

We all mourn in different ways. Although I’d only known Prakesh a couple weeks, I felt I’d lost a dear friend. In addition, the peril of the mountain became more real to me than when I trekked in its shadow. That could have been us! I went from wanting to talk and write about my Everest experiences non-stop…to quiet reflection.

It’s now time to continue what I started. Throughout 2011 I will finish the series of six articles I originally outlined; the lessons I learned on our epic adventure. This blog, however, will most likely contain the most important of the lessons.

I believe when all is said and done, what matters most will be how we answer two critical questions:

Did you learn?

And even more importantly…

Did you love?

Every time I see a picture of Prakesh I stop to reflect on mortality’s fleeting nature. Once again I’ve been reminded that in the pursuit of all that’s possible in our industry, what I believe we’ll ultimately take with us are the memories we make and the lessons we learn.

At the beginning of each year I set my intentions. They’re listed on the front flap of my daily planner and have included many things…ranks I plan to reach, financial benchmarks, the number of books I intend to read, places I’m going to visit, items to be crossed off my bucket list, etc.

This year my intention is simply: Express Love Daily.

Thank you Prakesh, my friend, for the most valuable lesson learned on my trek to Mt. Everest Base Camp.

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USANA Voted Best Company in Network Marketing 2010

USANA voted Best Company 2010We at Larsen Global would like to congratulate USANA on being voted the “Best Company in Network Marketing” for the 11th straight year by MLM Insider Magazine. USANA was also voted Editor’s Choice as the Best Company in Network Marketing for 2010.

We are so proud to be a part of this company and contribute to its success.

Read more about the award here.

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Happy New Year

Happy New Year, Everyone!

On New Year’s Day my son Dax organized the second annual run/hike up the Elfin Forest Trail near my home.  As we were working our way back down the demanding course my six-year-old grandson Beckett sprinted by me, calling out, “Guess what Grandma, today is next year!”  It was one of those pure joy moments that will stay with me – watching my grandchildren running the trail, relishing the crisp, cool morning – hiking with my husband, sons, grandchildren and about thirty other souls who wanted to welcome the New Year by pushing themselves up a steep incline in spite of celebrating the night before.  Dax has christened this run the “Annual New Year’s Day Elfin Forest Try Not to Puke on the Trail Run.”

Collette with Sophia and Beckett

Collette on the trails with Sophia and Beckett

Beck was right…today IS next year…the first Monday of 2011 – a perfect time to express my gratitude to each of you, the members of Larsen Global Alliance and our extended USANA family. Today, as I look forward and clarify my intentions for 2011, I can’t help but think back to 1994, the year I decided to embark on my USANA journey.  The road was unmarked…I truly had no idea what I was doing but I was determined to do it anyway!  The rewards of that journey have been immeasurable.

My New Year’s wish for you is that you will listen to your own voice, chart your own course and continue to make a difference on this planet.
Happy New Year to each of you and may 2011 be filled with love, joy and personal fulfillment.

Blessings!

Collette

As you might expect, USANA has lots in store for us for 2011.  So, I want to start with two items that might be of interest to you:

1.) Dr Wentz’s new book The Healthy Home and webcast on Jan 5, 2011

2.) The Grand Slam Contest starting Jan 1, 2011

Please see the details below:

1.) Dr Wentz’s new book The Healthy Home and webcast on Jan 5, 2011

Learn All About Dr. Wentz’ New Book, The Healthy Home

Have you heard the latest news? Dr. Wentz and Dave Wentz have written a book titled The Healthy Home. We are so excited about this book that we can’t wait to get on the phone and share the details with everyone! Not only do we have EVPs Mark Wilson and Kevin Guest joining us to share the Home Office book buzz but we also have best-selling author Robert Allen who will share his tips on how to best use this publication to your business buildling advantage! Join us.

Wednesday, January 5
Time: 7:00 p.m. MDT
Call-in Number: 712-432-6527
Conference ID: 87262
LiveMeeting Link:  https://www.livemeeting.com/cc/usana500/join?id=ESSNTLS&role=attend
Guest Speakers: EVP Mark Wilson, EVP Kevin Guest and Robert Allen
Topic: The Healthy Home Book Tour

Audio on the Web conference training will be available through your computer speakers. As a backup or if you aren’t participating by Web conference, please dial into the phone number 1-712-432-6527, Conference Room: 745837 for the audio portion of the training.

2.) The Grand Slam Contest starting Jan 1, 2011

Grand Slam USANA Contest
January 1–February 11, 2011

You must register (opt in) to participate in this contest.

Go to USANA.com for registration.

It’s back—the contest that rewards winners with a chance to attend a specialized training, and watch world-class athletes at one of the premiere sporting events in the world.

That’s right, it’s Grand Slam USANA! Win tickets to the BNP Paribas Open—a premiere event of the WTA Tour in Indian Wells, California. Join members of the USANA management in the USANA suite for an incredible chance to network with other rising Associates and see the WTA/USANA partnership in action!

Go to http://www.usana.com/Main/myUsana/page/CONTESTWTAGrandSlam2010 for more info.

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Oh, What a Night!

The CF Foundation did Frankie Valli proud a week ago… “Oh, what a night…late September back in ’63…” well, close. It was late September 2010, and it truly was very special to me.

USANA tableMy daughter Sharlie, who spoke at the event, has documented the Gala on her blog. I’ve often mentioned the feeling of family that permeates USANA. Family was out in full force for this fundraiser – my immediate family as well as my USANA family. A very special thank you to Dr. Wentz and Prudence, Denis Waitley, Bud and Bunny Barth, Majid and Kahnoush Mokhbery, Laura Brownwood and Kelli Lessie for being in attendance and supporting this cause that means so much to me. Also, thank you to the USANA distributors who acknowledged my efforts in the annual CF Yearbook: Steve Netherby, Sylvia Adler, Marian O’Neal, Michelle Manner, Rosemary Serafin, Ed Cimler and Alicia Bedoya. Read all about the spectacular evening on Sharlie’s blog, or you can read her entire post (including her inspirational speech) below.

The annual C.F. Breath of Life Gala this year was definitely a night to remember. With my mom being honored and presented with the Breath of Life award by Robert Beall and my speech, it was a very eventful night. Having so much of our family and friends there made it even more special!

Arriving at the Aviara Park Hyatt

Congregating with some of the Larsen women!

My mom accepting her award, she’s is my angel!

Giving my speech…

and being COMPLETELY surprised by Harrison afterwords!!

Then being surprised and humbled by Uncle Dallin’s generous donation. He is a true hero!

A happy family filled with hope for an incredible future!

My mom bought TONS of raffle tickets to try to win me an Electric Bike. Little did she know…

the owner of Green Cruiser was there that night and already planned to surprise me with a bike!!
(my mom said she attracted it and I TOTALLY believe her!) It was an AMAZING surprise!

The night ended on the dance floor with my little guy. A perfect ending to a perfect night!

Here is a copy of the speech I gave:

Nine years ago I spoke at this very event, the Breath of Life Gala. I was a nervous 22-year-old; partly because my boyfriend and his parents were in the audience. When I finished speaking, my boyfriend started walking towards the podium. I thought he was coming to escort me back to my seat so I was confused when he came up on the stage and took the microphone…until he dropped to one knee and pulled out a gorgeous ring. It was an emotional, magical moment. Of course, I said YES!

When Ryan and I first started talking about marriage, I remember having mixed emotions and frankly, being frightened. I asked Ryan if he was really okay marrying someone with Cystic Fibrosis. I loved him so much and would understand if he wanted to be with a woman who didn’t have my physical limitations and who would be able to have children. I will never forget Ryan’s words to me that night. He told me that he couldn’t help who he fell in love with and CF was a part of who I was. He told me he loved all of me.

Ryan was right, CF is a huge part of who I am. Because of the way I was raised, I learned I can choose how to view my disease. My mom has the most amazing way of finding blessings in every situation. She instilled this in me and so although CF remains my toughest challenge, the lessons and blessings that come from living with a life-threatening disease have not been lost on me. I recently read a quote that struck me so powerfully, especially because I’ve been battling another serious lung infection.

“While you can’t shut out illness entirely, you can make your body a place where health thrives.”

I’ve learned there are many people without symptoms or illness that don’t experience and enjoy true health. Until there is a cure for CF, I can’t shut out illness entirely but every day I can strive to make my body and soul a place where health thrives.

The irony is that living with CF has actually taught me the lessons that have been so valuable in facilitating healing. Without the perspective CF has given me, I’m not sure I would be so uniquely conscious and grateful for every breath of air I take into my lungs. That awareness is a blessing!

I’m not sure I would love with the same intensity and capacity. I held my little sister Lexi in my arms as she passed from this life to the next after her struggle with CF and transplant and you can be sure I do not take a single one of my precious relationships for granted. What a blessing!

I don’t know that I would celebrate life as I do now. I’m never going to be one of those people who dread birthdays and fib about my age. When I was diagnosed at 14 months the doctor told my mom encouragingly that I may even live to the age of ten. I celebrate every birthday and want to shout from the rooftops…I am 31! Another blessing!

I’m not certain I would have recognized all the miracles in my life. Albert Einstein said: “There are two ways to live: you can live as if nothing is a miracle or you can live as if everything is a miracle.” When I look at my 3 ½ year old son, I can think of all the medical reasons why I should not have been able to carry, deliver and take care of a baby and now an energetic toddler. I am so grateful for the indisputable miracle of not only being alive but of being a wife and a mother. This has been the greatest blessing!

I might not have the relationship I do with my mom. She is my hero and I love her so deeply. Ten years ago my mom qualified for a trip to Hawaii. I wasn’t feeling 100% and she was hesitant to go, but I insisted. I didn’t want to ruin the trip she had been so looking forward to. However, after she left, my health spiraled downhill quickly and I was admitted into the hospital. I knew my mom was in the air but I left a message on her cell phone so she’d know what was going on. That night I went to sleep wishing she could be with me. When I woke up the next morning she was sitting on my hospital bed. I gasped… I could not believe it, I couldn’t even understand how it was possible! I just stared at her with this amazed, confused look on my face. She leaned over, kissed me on the forehead and while putting a beautiful lei around my neck, whispered, “I’m sorry I wasn’t here for you yesterday…I had to fly to Hawaii to get you this lei.”

She arrived in Hawaii, listened to her messages – and when she heard mine, went right back to the airport, flew through the night and took a cab to the hospital. This is the kind of mother she is. I have never ever felt alone…she has been beside me during every trial and every triumph.

She is being honored tonight and although I know she is uncomfortable receiving an award for something she says any mother would do, she is so deserving and I am so proud to be her daughter and so grateful to be the recipient of her love and devotion. My relationship with her is another of my greatest blessings.

As I look around this room I want you to know that each of you bless my life. You are helping me along this journey in ways you might not even realize.

After Lexi received her double-lung transplant she went into rejection and was put in a medially induced coma that left her legs paralyzed. After about three months she was weaned off life support and able to come home but the paralysis remained. The young men and women in our church were going to go on a bike ride up to San Onofre and Lexi was heart-broken that she couldn’t participate. The plan was for Lexi to ride along with some of the leaders in a car. When we got to the meeting point, a dear friend of ours who happened to be a very good cyclist told Lexi he had a surprise for her and pulled a tandem bike out of his van. He said, “Lex, we’re going to do this together!” Lexi was nervous that she would slow him down and be too much of a burden for him but he just helped secure her feet to the pedals and then told her to peddle her hardest and he’d make up the difference. That bike trip meant the world to Lexi and I’ve never forgotten the kindness of that wonderful man.

You’ve done the same for me. Despite all the blessings, the burden of living with Cystic fibrosis can sometimes seem too much to bear. I feel all of you behind me pedaling, pushing, cheering me on. The emotional, physical and financial support you so unselfishly provide give me countless reasons to keep pedaling with all my strength.

I am not cured yet. I desperately want that and pray daily for that miracle for me, for my 9-year-old nephew Ben, for my 6-year-old niece, Lauren and for all who are fighting for every breath. But there is a reason I can stand in front of you tonight with 18% lung function and feel vibrant. I am healed by love, faith and hope. That is what tonight embodies. My cells are abuzz at a soaring frequency with the energy of generosity, determination and pure love in this room.

Because of you, I not only see a cure…I can feel it. Thank you for being here tonight and God bless.

16 comments

In Your Face!

social mediaIn February 2004, Facebook was launched from a Harvard dorm room, and by December of that same year over one million people were active Facebook users. Today in 2010, there are over 500 million active users on Facebook with the average user spending close to an hour a day on the site. Bob Dylan got it right…the times they are a changin’.

I’d never even heard the term “social media” in 2004, yet today – just six years later – Facebook and other social media outlets allow me to connect with thousands of USANA associates across the globe on a daily basis.

Thrive on five…that’s how I operate. So here is my top five list – the reasons I’ve become hooked on social media:

  1. Using social media is a wonderful way to build and foster a sense of community. I’ve always considered USANA associates my extended family, and now, through Facebook, blogging and Twitter, I feel more connected than ever. An added bonus: I can now put faces with names!
  2. It’s all about the links – and USANA apps are just around the corner. We can share information immediately and there is a plethora to choose from allowing us to customize information to suit each potential business partner. The follow-up can occur within hours. Closing that gap between knowing and doing is a critical element in building a thriving organization.
  3. It’s free! Postage used to be a major expense for Larsen Global. We’d send packages by priority mail nearly every day…newspapers, DVD’s, CD’s, product catalogs, etc. Using social media to introduce, explain and follow-up has increased our effectiveness while cutting our expenses. How cool is that?
  4. Social media gives us quick access to thousands of people. For example, if we’re going to do a webcast, I can dramatically increase attendance by posting a status update and tweeting fifteen minutes prior to the broadcast.
  5. Brand awareness. Let’s face it, the more we put the name USANA out there, the better for all of us. There is a rising tide of positive information about USANA on social media sites and it’s floating all our boats!

Now – a tip and a reward.

The tip: Do yourself a favor and listen to the 2010, Volume 7 LifeMasters CD. Tim Haran – USANA’s social media guru, Kevin Guest and Dan Macuga from our corporate team along with associates Kate Northrup Moller, Deanna Waters and Christa Maclellan all share valuable information on tapping into this revolutionary way to build your business and stay connected with your team.  I also strongly suggest you check out the Social Media Tip series at whatsupusana.com (I especially like #9 and #15).

LifeMasters 7The reward: We are going to choose a few lucky readers that will receive a social media gift pack from Larsen Global.  We are giving away USANA social media t-shirts, social media pamphlets, a number of the LifeMasters CDs mentioned above, and some of the new products USANA introduced at convention.  We will pick random winners from people who press “Like” at the top of this page, people who comment on this post (let us know how you use social media), people who re-tweet this post, and people who share the post on Facebook.  That’s four chances to win — increase your odds of winning by doing all four.

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Caution! Wearing USANA Logo Gear Could be Hazardous to Your Health

Beckett wearing his USANA shirt on his first rollercoaster ride -- click to see the trauma up-close.

Beckett wearing his USANA shirt on his first rollercoaster ride -- click to see the trauma up-close.

I love USANA logo gear. I use it, wear it and basically flaunt it whenever possible. Not only does it allow me to proudly announce my affiliation with USANA – it’s just really good stuff. My carry on suitcase, laptop bag, new black leather purse, my favorite raincoat, dozens of “wick moisture away” t-shirts, the hats and visors I use while hiking, even a wrist watch and my handy binoculars all carry the USANA logo.

As a result, I’ve had numerous conversations around, “what is USANA?” and I’ll never forget a visit to Monticello, Thomas Jefferson’s estate in Virginia, walking along wearing my favorite USANA sweatshirt and enjoying the gardens with my daughters Chelsea and Sharlie, when suddenly a very nice, albeit aggressive, woman rushed up to me and said,…”oh my gosh, USANA, I need some of those vitamins…do you sell them?” Uh…yeah, you could say that. I took her order on the spot!

Okay, so the point of this quick blog post today is two-fold:

1 – Wear and use your USANA logo gear with pride.
2 – It’s a grandma thing. I need to have an excuse to share this awesome picture of my grandson, Beckett. It is a family classic! Would he have stretched this far out of his comfort zone were he not wearing his USANA t-shirt? I don’t think so!

USANA gear on Mt. Whitney

USANA gear on Mt. Whitney

Collette, Kathleen Rockney and Eve Smith

Me, Kathleen Rockney and Eve Smith entering the Whitney Zone

USANA Logo hat

Ryan Kaltenbach, me and Zak on a training hike in our USANA gear

USANA Beanie

Dax wearing his USANA beanie during one of the colder days on the Everest Trek

USANA Logo gear

Me and Dax on the Everest trek

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Looking for 1,000 Heroes

Dear friends and family,

It is my intention to raise $18,000 for Cystic Fibrosis research in July.  My sons and I did something a little different this year for Great Strides – the annual CF fundraiser.  Dax, Zak, Ryan and I hiked to Mt. Everest Base Camp in May, reaching a breathtaking elevation of just over 18,000 feet.  We climbed in memory of my daughter Lexi who lost her battle with CF in 1995; in honor of my daughter Sharlie who continues to amaze us all with her courage and tenacity; and with hope for Ben and Lauren (my two grandchildren with CF) and the other 70,000 children and young adults worldwide who, because they inherited CF, fight each day to breathe.

A lot of people doing a little bit can change the world.  I am humbly asking you to support my efforts. I intend to find 1,000 people willing to make a tax-deductible donation of $18.00 (one dollar for each foot of elevation) to this worthy cause.  Will you be one of my 1,000 heroes? The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation is consistently listed in the top charities in the nation.  Your contribution goes where it’s needed – to help CF stand for Cure Found.

Here is the link:  http://www.cff.org/Great_Strides/ColletteLarsen

You will see a yellow “Click To Donate” button at the top of the page and another yellow button that will allow you to forward the page to others who might want to support our efforts.

Thank you – and please, in order for me to reach my goal I need you to become a CF ambassador.  Please forward this message on to your address lists.

In Gratitude,

Collette Larsen

A few facts about Cystic Fibrosis:

Cystic fibrosis is an inherited chronic disease that affects the lungs and digestive system of about 30,000 children and adults in the United States (70,000 worldwide). A defective gene and its protein product cause the body to produce unusually thick, sticky mucus that clogs the lungs and leads to life-threatening lung infections; and obstructs the pancreas and stops natural enzymes from helping the body break down and absorb food.

In the 1950s, few children with cystic fibrosis lived to attend elementary school. Today, advances in research and medical treatments have further enhanced and extended life for children and adults with CF. Many people with the disease can now expect to live into their 30s, 40s and beyond.

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Lessons Learned On My Journey to Mt. Everest Base Camp – Part 2 of 6

Focus on the Formula

You probably already know the formula.  It’s certainly not a secret. I’ve read various versions, most recently in the book The Lotus Code by Mark Yarnell and Valerie Bates. I’ve put my own spin on it because I like to choose words that have personal meaning and I thrive on five…one word for each finger. Simple, I know.

Thoughts + Words + Actions + Habits = Results

This is the story of how “The Formula” got me to Mt. Everest Base Camp. More importantly, this same formula will help you attain your heart’s desires.

It starts with a thought…and it’s just fine if that thought is wildly improbable. After all, a dream that’s too big is just the right size, right? At the International Convention last summer, we were encouraged (even if we were veterans in USANA) to go through the newly introduced e-Apprentice. I don’t expect others in our organization to do what I’m not willing to do myself so upon returning home I signed on and earnestly began doing the assignments. I nearly skipped the Dream Builder Wheel in the Business Lab because frankly, my life is wonderful and I felt satisfied. Or maybe that was complacency I was feeling. At any rate, I thought “why not?” and started typing in wildly improbable goals for myself including seeing the tallest mountain on the planet. Of course, I figured that someday I’d FLY to Nepal to see Mt. Everest. It hadn’t occurred to me that I’d actually trek to that notable landmark. Note:  the Universe listens to thoughts and in some incomprehensible way, starts things in motion.

Four months after having that thought I received an e-mail from one of my heroes, Werner Berger – the oldest North American to ever summit Mt. Everest. He told me about his intention to take a number of USANA Associates to Base Camp in May of 2010 and wondered if I’d forward a message to my extensive database to assess any interest. Hmmm…I remembered that dream wheel. But…(isn’t there usually a “but?”) there was no way I could attempt such a thing. To make certain, I actually put the thought into words and ran it by my husband and yes, he pretty much agreed…no way. Can I just interject here that oftentimes it’s helpful to your cause if a few people whose judgment you respect, tell you what you’ve just verbalized is impossible. It happened when I started building my USANA business and it has happened since. For some reason, having someone tell me I can’t do something always gives me just the nudge I need.

On New Year’s Day I sent an invitation to my sons to join me on the trek. Three of them said, “Yes!” There are several important lessons in my purpose for extending the invitation and in their response. Stay tuned for a future installment.

Well, I not only forwarded Werner’s original e-mail, I wrote back to him and told him I’d like to be the first on his list. I shared my concerns about my fitness level, my fears, etc. I received a lovely message in return and I’ll share a bit here:

“I’m not surprised you’d be intrigued, dear Collette. You will absolutely adore the people and the amazing landscape. I can understand your fears, especially because you have never trekked before.

There are two keys to success. One, of course, is fitness. Four months of training can get almost anyone in shape. The second is speed. Going too fast at altitude is ill-advised and can totally destroy the experience. We will take time to soak in the majesty, the spirit and uniqueness of one of the most beautiful and breathtaking places on earth.”

Werner Berger
Dax, Werner, Me, Zachary, and Ryan

That vote of confidence from Werner and the picture he painted in my mind set me in gear. I knew I had to put action behind my words. I went to work. I began my training on New Year’s Day and hiked, climbed, went to the gym or worked out with my personal trainer five days a week for the next four months.  Before long I realized the first thought in my head when I awoke each morning was centered on what I was going to do that very day to improve my fitness level. My actions had become habits and I could literally feel my body transforming itself.

Training hike on Mt. San Jacinto
Training with Ric

On May 12, 2010 I stood (after walking every step of the way) at Mt. Everest Base Camp with my three sons and a dedicated group of USANA distributors and friends. My wildly improbable thought that became those tentative words that turned into massive, focused action which in time became a habit had ultimately produced results. That moment – exhausted, freezing, tears streaming, bursting with love, joy and gratitude – will dwell in my heart forever. I don’t know when I’ve ever felt more proud – or more humble.

Focus on the Formula.  I promise…it works!

P.S. If you would like a day-to-day account of what it was like on the trail, you can check out my son’s blog at dirtyrunning.blogspot.com.  You can also see more about our group trek on USANA’s blog.
Our group preparing for the climb to Namche

The yaks always have “right of way”
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Lessons Learned On the Way to Mt. Everest Base Camp, Part 1 of 6

First off, let me explain WHY.

I gave birth to five children, two of whom struggled from infancy to do what I take for granted…breathe. Lexi, my youngest daughter, lost her battle with Cystic Fibrosis after rejecting the lungs that had been transplanted into her fragile body when she was just 14-years-old. During that brief window of time – between receiving new lungs and those transplanted lungs being rejected by her body – Lexi would get this amazed look on her face and try to explain how different it felt…being able to take a deep breath. I remember one day as she was sipping water through a straw. “Mom,” she explained, “this is what it’s like!  If you try breathing through a straw…it’s just what it feels like to breathe when you have CF.”

Lexi

Sharlie, who is now thirty-one years old, married, and a mother herself, continues to fight her battle every single day. I watch in awe as she paces herself, carefully monitoring her breathing. I watch helplessly as she stops halfway up the stairs to catch her breath and as she struggles to keep up with Harrison, their very active three-year-old son. I marvel at her propensity for joy in spite of her diminished breathing capacity.

Sharlie doing a breathing treatment at Sanoviv
Sharlie and Ryan holding their son, Harrison

Ben who is nine-years-old and his little sister, six-year-old Lauren, were also born with this genetic disease. They are two of my precious grandchildren and so far, thanks to the advancements in treating CF and the loving, constant care of their parents, they’re doing relatively well yet still spend a considerable amount of time each day doing “breathing treatments” to help them keep their lungs clear and free from infection.

I live in Elfin Forest, a magical rural community in San Diego, California that sits at sea level. My oxygen saturation is about 99%.  For me, breathing is effortless. I never give it a second thought…or at least I didn’t until recently. At 17,590 feet, Mt. Everest Base Camp is a rugged other-worldly landscape at the base of the top of the world. And with only about half as much oxygen at Base Camp as there is when I’m home in San Diego, I felt certain this experience would help me understand what it feels like to struggle for every breath. My assumption was correct.

So, that is why a 57-year-old grandmother who started out on January 1st at a fitness level of about 2 (on a scale of 1 being not fit at all and 10 being extremely fit) decided to stretch way out of her comfort zone to join Werner Berger and 38 other brave souls (almost all are USANA distributors) on a three week adventure…a trek through the Khumbu Region of the Himalayas with a goal to reach Mt. Everest Base Camp.

Stay tuned for five additional installments explaining five of the most pertinent lessons I learned from this experience. And since pictures tell the story best…I’ll share lots.

On a Sherpa trail with our group

The Nepali flag

On a Sherpa trail with Ama Dablam in the background 

Carved prayer stone…these were everywhere
A short video I took in the beautiful Monastery village of Tengboche, Nepal

Namaste,
Collette

P.S. If you would like a day-to-day account of what it was like on the trail, you can check out my son’s blog at dirtyrunning.blogspot.com.  You can also see more about our group trek on USANA’s blog

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