Ann DeLuca - The Wisdom of the Sticky Note

Fitness For All Podcast: Episode 6

Welcome to another edition of Fitness for All with Cam Jenkins, and sponsored by Lebert Fitness. In this episode, Cam talks with Ann DeLuca, who is a certified coach and Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP) Master Practitioner, shares her own experiences of shifting her mindset over the course of two years. Writing and reflecting - One Sticky Note at a Time - to inspire you to make the changes you know you want and need to make but have not been able to. With consistent and persistent practice you can change your life - one small sustainable step at a time.

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Show Notes - Episode 6

Welcome to another edition of Fitness For All. It's sponsored by Lebert Fitness. And on today's show, we have Ann DeLuca from Stepping Stone Coaching. 

How did you did meet Marc Lebert?

So it's going to go way back because I was thinking about that just before I got on the phone - I'm going say about 23 years come September, and the reason I know that is because my son will be twenty-four in September. I worked at GlaxoSmithKline and Marc came on as a trainer. Not sure exactly what year, but before I went into my maternity leave with my son, I had started working in the gym as a personal trainer, so I'd watch him from afar. I was interested, but obviously not in a position to start a new type of training at that point. When I got back from my maternity leave and went back to the gym, six months later saw him again and started noticing his clients and the work they were doing. They always seemed to be having a lot of fun and I could see that they were getting results, getting stronger, looking good. I approached him one day and I still remember sitting down with him because I was so nervous. I didn't know about weight training. He really put me at ease, explained a lot about it, and started there. So was in late 1997 and, it was amazing. I learned so much about how strength training is just so useful, not because of the fact that it actually makes you look good, that's a nice side benefit but the strength to do day-to-day activities that I got and how powerful it made me feel.

I worked with him through the gym at GlaxoSmithKline and fast forward, about three and a half years later I decided to leave that company as I got an offer from another company. I have to tell you right now, having a fitness centre at my next company were was one of my top criteria because of the experiences I had at both Glaxo, Wellcome, and Merck.  I left there at the end of 2000. Marc and I kept in touch. There were a few times that I tried to maintain training with him but at that point, my kids were 4 and 7 and with a full-time big job and 2 young children, it just wasn't feasible. What did happen was I was able to take all of those tips and tricks and tools and learnings I had and I was able to apply them myself. So for several years, I trained myself, I did weight training, and then I started joining classes at the gym at the new place I was working at and then about 7 years ago, almost probably to this very time, ironically, I was in a place where I was bored.

My husband and my son and I had been doing some boxing and we had gone to a place that after a time it got very evident to me they weren't really interested in challenging or really interacting with you, quite frankly.

That's when I looked Marc up again. I literally showed up at the gym. When there were long weekends, I would get a four day weekend. So it was a Friday off on the long weekend. The night before had found a gym called Fitness Nation. I called up and spoke with a woman at the desk.

There was a class at 9:00 the next morning and I showed up and there was Marc. I did that class. Loved it. I went home and said 'That was a really great class'. I knew very quickly that this is the place for me to go. Interesting all the time. Fun all the time. Marc's energy all the time, which is a little bit cuckoo but that's kind of what makes it pretty special. I still remember I talked Mike and Austin to come to a class with me. I said, "just come to one class". You get a free pass, you have nothing to lose.

We were warming up and maybe 10 minutes into the class, my son turned to me and said, I'm coming back to the class' and that he did as well. He came back for, I think, four years. He trained with Marc and Mike joined as well. So we still are a part of the club there. That's my story with Marc.

It's a great story and what is your favourite class at Fitness Nation?

Depends on my mood. I love strength training. I love hitting the weights. I know cardio is important and of course, I do that, but I love hitting the weights. So I come in fits and starts when it comes to boxing because I've been boxing on and off now. Mark got me into a bit of boxing back in the late 90s and then I got reintroduced to it again about nine years ago, I've been doing a long time, so with boxing, I come and go, but I definitely love weight training and the reason I love it there so much is that it's always different. Each trainer there has a different perspective, a different style. They never repeat. It's not like you go in say 'oh, we're doing this today. It's that element of surprise that I guess surprises me both mentally and physically, which is huge for me. Not being bored, you ask anybody that knows me well and does not do well bored. I wouldn't be there today if I was bored with workouts. They're so interesting and fun and challenging all the time. So it keeps me coming back.

When Marc was your personal trainer compared to the group training, which one do you prefer?

Working with Marc was such a confidence builder for me in the fact that I can do this. I still remember vividly - I can picture it now. The first chin-ups I did with Marc and going, holy smokes. I never in a million years thought I'd be doing chin-ups. There I was. I think I was able to do 3 unassisted at first. So training with Marc gave me a whole foundation that I still rely on even today. So that's very different than working with a group. Working with the group you get energy from other people. It is almost like having personal training, but not the same. What I love about the group idea is the energy I get from other people and the energy I bring there. So very different ones. But working with Marc was a huge confidence booster and I highly recommend personal training for people to get familiar with all the exercises so you're actually doing them right. 

Let's get into a bit about your company, which is Stepping Stone Coaching - Fitness for your mind.

You know, I never thought of it that way and yet, at the same time, it's totally, totally linked because the big foundation of the work I do is a mindset.

So if your mind isn't in the right place, and you're not thinking in a more optimistic way then your glass is always gonna be half full. That's kind of the truth. Right? We have the ability to change how we think about things. That's a lot of the work I do with clients is letting them discover that they have all the skills, strengths, and capabilities they need right inside them. It's just sometimes they go dormant and I help them tap back into that. It's really powerful to witness people that get that moment of, 'I can do this', or I never saw it that way before and reintroducing it basically to themselves. So it's really powerful work that I'm able to do and I'm so honoured to do it all the time. 

How are you able to know what is best for your clients?

You know, it's interesting. My clients feel something before they meet with me. So it's all about where they are now, where they're stuck where things are going well, what they see for their future - all those things to frame the first session with me. That gives me a bit of an idea of what they're like.  Getting them to get clear of where they are right now, putting the pin in the map that really dates me, doesn't it, putting a stand in your navigational app, so to speak. That's what that does. It helps them go, oh, this is where I am.

Ok, cool. And there are some gaps here. I don't really know anymore where this is or that is, but this is basically where I am right now.

So when they come in, it's about talking to them, listening, that's a big part. I always pause when I say that because listening is not given the credit that it should be because my job is to listen. It's not to tell people what to do. So when I listen, I'm able to hear the things that they're saying, that they don't hear themselves say.

So there are two things that usually happen. Someone's talking, talking, talking. And then I go, Oh. I never said that before. Or they're talking, talking, talking and I notice I'll say, you know, every time you see me, you say this. It's those moments where they get that instinct or information that's always been theirs, a pattern that they've been, like patterns are we repeat things. Getting insight to what their patterns are, allows me to do some of the work I can do around moving forward.

So shifting that pattern, if that's what they want, once they recognize it and notice it, that's half the battle and then if they want to shift it, so if it's a mindset or whatever the case may be, they can go "That's where I am. That's the thing I want to work on right now." That can happen in one session on what they want to work on, sometimes it takes like three sessions when someone finds us. Boom. That's it. You can actually see them physically land if they're sitting down to consume, just settle on their chair and it's really cool. My biggest job is to be fully present and listen to whoever is in front of me. They're going to let me know what they need. If I listen, I'm going to help them tap into what they need to, tap into their skills and strengths and capabilities. They're going to lead the session, even though it doesn't feel that way for them. But they really do. They tell me what to do.

What are some of the cues that you look for to realize that, to give them that aha moment?

Sometimes we're in a conversation and maybe it's not even the first time we've had a conversation around a specific subject and a theme is coming up because the brain doesn't do random. So whether they tell it to me in a story about someone else or they tell it to me about themselves, in fact, usually I encourage people to. I'll get them out of whatever they're talking about. You can't solve a problem or an issue from within it. I think that was Einstein that said that. But I could be wrong. So I get them to tell me about whatever is an interest to them. And then off they go to the races. I've heard this said that stories can't tell lies. So what that means is when someone's telling you a story about something it is directly related to what they're working on,  even if they don't realize that. So what I can do, because it's a pattern, again, what they're shifting into a story. That's just how our brains work. So they'll start telling the story. I can work with them in that story, make suggestions, ask questions. Often at the end of a session, we'll take a break or we'll do whatever. Then I'll say, "you know, that story you told me about X, think about your current situation for a moment", then I'll go get a coffee or I'll go to the bathroom, go do something. Let it settle for them and then they'll go, "Oh Oh, that". So that is how it works almost with everybody. It is just how much length of time it takes to go from where they are to getting to that point.

That can vary for sure. We all work that way, right? It's universal. That's how all humans are. We're pattern-making machines and we do things in autopilot. That's good stuff. So when you can stop autopilot, like, slow it down to slow motion, let people see the different moving pieces, that's when they're able to go, oh, that piece. If I just change that one piece and it'll affect everything. So one tiny change in one aspect of someone's life can and will have a snowball effect for the rest of your life. Because your brain isn't like little chunks, I always use the analogy of an orange. People don't come in and say, oh, here's this chunk of orange. That's my executive V.P. job. Let's talk about that. It just doesn't work that way because everybody else comes along. Your family, your finances, your home, your health, your fitness. They're part of you.

So it's really interesting that one little change in one aspect of your life can have that effect, a ripple effect in your whole life, which is really powerful. 

Once people have that aha moment or they're starting to change for the better and they notice it and you noticed it. How does that make you feel?

I try to be careful about that. I'm blown away sometimes. It's very humbling to be part of that and be able to witness people who come to me with things that are very deep and profoundly personal. The fact that they come to me and sat across me the first place is always something I can't tell you how much that matters to me, their trust. So the fact that I've come into the door, they put their trust in me to guide them and then they have that moment and it's often an emotional moment, depending on what they're working on. It's humbling and my whole heart, I'm touching my heart right now because my whole chest is full of joy for them. When they can make that connection and make a change, and it's hard work, and to see them do all that work and get a change that they've been looking for is really rewarding.

Your published book is called The Wisdom of the Sticky Notes. Can you talk a little bit about that and how that came to be?

That was my accidental author saying that happened. Sticky notes are my way of unloading my brain or I realized that's what happened. So a couple of years ago, I was encouraged to increase my visibility on social media because, at that point, I had been hiding in terms of, Facebook. I think I had 17 private friends that were just my relatives and Linkedin, I was sort of being active, but not very much. Someone challenged me, said, "look you need to know in your role in your own business, you need to get on social media". So I made a commitment in 2018 in January to post just for January every day I was gonna put something on my platforms. So I did. And whatever popped into my head I put it out there. Usually, I was using the banner for my business and then whatever came to mind and maybe a question for whoever's reading it. One day in that first 31 days, I was in a workshop downtown Toronto for some reason I was really inspired in this workshop. I wrote something down on a piece of paper, took a picture of it, posted it. One of my friends in the workshop turned me, said, 'I think you're really onto something here'.

So there it was. That's when it began. It wasn't just sticky notes that at the end it was all the time, but it was on napkins or whatever was available at the time. If I got an idea, I would write it on something and take a picture. I realized, looking back, as you know, 20/20 hindsight, I really was processing my own journey through those sticky notes because they were my own thoughts. Towards the end of last year, I was talking with somebody about another project they're working on with me and saying, I've always wanted to write something. The more I spoke, the more I realized, "holy smokes already I have my book written" and I really did. There were 16,000 words. Yes. 16,000 words already and the sticky notes, I just had to kind of decide what I wanted to do with it. What I had noticed through a bunch of conversations I'd had in 2019 was that there were three key themes that seemed to come out. When I spoke with people and the one is fear that was always getting in the way of doing something.

So the first section of the book is courage over fear. The second one was mindset. So we talked about that earlier and how important that is, but how mindset is a choice and often people like, "what do you mean it's a choice?" So we talked about that one. The third one is about trusting ourselves. So the third chapter is trusting yourself, because the fact of the matter is, when it comes down to it, we get it. We get the nudges in our heart and our gut. Those are the ones I look for more so now than in my head, my head's always there. It'll give me the logical check. I don't need to worry about that, but it's paying attention to that nudge that you get in your own heart and gut that gives you information that no one else can give you. Learning to notice it again and then pay attention to it and heat it rather than what everyone else all the noise around you that you get, which is normal people we love, people that want to mentor as people who care about us are always gonna give us their opinions. But at the end of today, it's us to make that call.

So I ended up working with a designer. I basically had my first draft done from start to finish. From the first discussions of doing this book to having my first draft ready took me five weeks. That's how quickly it happened. Now here it is. So it's been really crazy, actually, to hear people tell you that they're using it as a resource right now.

I had an unsolicited message in LinkedIn from someone I met once. So I met this gentleman two years ago at a coaching conference and we had not communicated since. I think I sent him a note last year and I didn't hear back. I get a random message last week in my LinkedIn saying they had worked their way through the book.

How relevant it was in these times. What a great resource it was and how they're going to be referring to it again and again. It just blows my mind. I know it's out there. I know I've sold. I mean, I haven't checked recently, but I know I've sold more than 70 copies now.

It's not about the sales because Jeff Bezos makes some money, not me, but it's about the fact that someone is picking up my book and it's making a difference for them. Again, mind boggling, humbling to think that it's useful for someone. I think if we can create something that at the end of day, someone else finds useful and helpful, that to me is what it's about.

I'm trying to make a difference whether it's with clients one on one or what all the work I do. When I know that this book now, people have told me, people have messaged me that it's made a difference. Again, another moment of holy smokes. I did that. I'm an author.

What sticky notes resonate with you? I'm sure all of them do but are there are one or two that resonate with you?

I don't have the book in front of me, but it's a favourite of mine because it clears up stuff before it can even happen. If you're going to laugh about it later, you may as well laugh about it now. I don't know the exact words, but the gist of it is that we or I can take myself too seriously. We all can take ourselves too seriously or a situation too seriously or conversations too seriously, whatever the case may be. Sometimes it's important or all the time is. My litmus test now is if I'm getting upset about something or anxious about something or whatever the case may be, whatever that emotion is, I will stop myself and I will say, are you going to, you know, a week from now, a month from now, whatever year from now, you can be laughing with this. Is it gonna be a source of amusement for you? And if it is, laugh about it now. Why wait? Why stay and be angry or frustrated or whatever you are? If you know later on it's going to be a source of amusement. Laugh now, we don't get enough chance. We don't laugh as much as we should as adults in particular. That is the one that I try to remember when I'm in those moments for sure.

How can our listeners reach out to you and maybe if they want to talk, how they can do that as well.

My book is on Amazon and is called The Wisdom of the Sticky Note. So you can search on Amazon and it'll pop up or my name Ann DeLuca. So you can get the book that way, or you can go to my website which is and a banner comes up so you can click on it to get the book and you can also connect to me that way.

There is a contact link that they can click on and that will bring them directly into my e-mail and then they can take it from their.

Thank you so much for being on the podcast of Fitness for All, which is sponsored by Lebert Fitness, and I wish you good health and I'm sure that we'll be chatting again soon.

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