body shaming olympians, is this really what we do now?

Unless you are currently living under a rock you know that the Olympics are under way. While we should be reveling in the athletic accomplishments of amateur and professional athletes the world over, the attention instead has been the most ridiculous stuff. 

body shaming & gender 

I grew up in love with the Olympics. It has always been one of my favorite things ever. It represents so many wonderful things. Countries who may not agree on politics, religion or general world views come together in peace to compete. Each time the Olympics roll around we get to see and hear the most inspiring stories of grit, determination and the ability to overcome obstacles. It is empowering, inspiring and intensely riveting.

Sadly, this year, social media bullies are taking all of that away. 

Instead of celebrating the achievement of these athletes and the hard work that got them to the pinnacle of sport gets shoved aside and instead we mock them and belittle what got them there in the first place.

are you kidding me?

Here are a few examples of the body shaming that has occurred in just this first week of competition. 

Translation:  “Exclusive pictures of Alexa Moreno at the end of her gymnastic routine.” (this tweet has been deleted)

Translation: “Exclusive pictures of Alexa Moreno at the end of her gymnastic routine.” (this tweet has been deleted)

Click Alexa's picture for a great profile on her and learn more about this powerful athlete.

Click Alexa's picture for a great profile on her and learn more about this powerful athlete.

Let's talk about Alexa Moreno. She is a 22 year old gymnast ranked 31st out of 54,866 gymnastic individual all around. She is ranked 12th in the world in her signature event, the vault. She has won medals in the Pan American Championships, Pacific Rim Games and more. She even finished 7th in vault at the 2014 World Championships. She competes for Mexico, a country not typically associated with gymnastics. Oh and by the way she is 4'11" and 99 pounds. I would never have told you this except for the fact that we are now body shaming people under 100 pounds. The whole concept of shaming an athlete near the top of their game is ridiculous in and of itself but shaming one under 100 pounds and implying that they are a "pig"? I am at a loss.

Here's the thing. We have all seen someone in person or even someone on television and thought to ourselves "did they gain weight" or "man they lost a ton of weight" or even "they look kind of strange to me". Anyone who says they haven't done that before is lying. Plain and simple. 

That being said, with the democratization of social media, the things we once said in the privacy of our living room are being shared on a global forum.

is it really that big of a deal?

Yes, it is. Social media creates the opportunity to turn a random observation into a weapon. People don't stop at asking a simple question, they beat the concept to death and suddenly something seemingly innocent turns into body shaming and worse still bullying. It also changes our perception of reality. 

Robel Habte who has been called the "Tubby Ethiopian"

Robel Habte who has been called the "Tubby Ethiopian"

"and in a shocking turn of events, this body shaming has now gone cross gender.

It almost looked like this body shaming had crossed genders and it kind of did but the shaming was different. Robel Habte has been called the "Tubby Ethiopian Swimmer" or Robel "the whale". While Robel faced quite a bit of his own body shaming online after coming in dead last in his swimming heat in Rio there were also people who cheered him on as having a "dad bod" and being relateable.

Yes, both experienced body shaming. Yes, they were not the only ones. Yes this is ridiculous.

These people made it to the OLYMPICS. There are only so many medals to go around, some people don't win. Some people don't look like our idea of a typical athlete, that doesn't mean they aren't. 

Bill Bowerman used to say "If you have a body, you are an athlete". This sentiment is what makes sports such a big deal. Because we can all do it. Okay, so we can't all do it well. Trust me, while I dream of standing on a podium, I basically trip trying to tie my shoes on the way to a race. 

Because we have tried though, we can put ourselves in these athletes shoes and we appreciate the effort and work it takes for someone to do it at such a level. So why then do we insist on tearing these people down who have reached the pinnacle.

Who cares what they look like, they are pushing the limits of what the human body can do and for that we should be cheering them on and celebrating the bodies that got them where they are just as they are.

a red rubber ball, coffee breaks and other musings

I thought I would end this week talking about advice. Advice can be tricky. Everyone has an opinion but what really makes you listen to one person more than another?

I am not sure I have a "real psychologically proven" answer for you on that. I can only speak from my experience. I think that the advice we take is the kind that speaks to us because our inner voice was already headed in that direction to begin with. You have probably felt it before. It is that gut feeling you get that something is just right. You have those ah-ha moments that Oprah always talks about. 

man i love those moments

I had one of them years ago that feels relevant to what so many of the people who email into me are going through right now. Let me set the stage for you.

It was the late 90's, early 00's. I worked at Nike. Sounds like the dream, right? Yes and no. At this point I was working in customer service. If any of you have worked in customer service then you know how taxing that type of work is. You answer hundreds of calls a day and a large majority of those people are mad at you. I mean technically it isn't you that they're mad at but they are focusing all of that anger at you. The only way to explain it is to just say it.

it sucks

On a random Friday while I was on the job, our team was called in to a meeting in the Steve Prefontaine building. Most of us entering the room had a bad attitude. It wasn't that we wanted to feel that way, but the job had gotten to us. They brought in a man by the name of Kevin Carroll. If you have never heard of him before, don't fear. I will share one of his videos after this post. Kevin Carroll is an amazing person who's job title is simply "katalyst".

catalyst - noun
a person or thing that precipitates an event or change:

a person whose talk, enthusiasm, or energy causes others to be more friendly, enthusiastic, or energetic.

Ok, first of all can we just talk about what an awesome word that is? My goal is to one day be a catalyst for change in this world. I want to make the world a better place. So does Kevin. 

Back to the story...

On this particular day, our managers had brought Kevin in to motivate us. He did that. He did it in a way that in it's entirety would not translate for anyone who wasn't there. But there was this one part...

I am paraphrasing but, he said some version of the following: "If you are unhappy with what is going on then you need to take a look at your situation and make a decision. Look at what you are doing and ask yourself,

"is this my life?"

"is this what I want to do?"

"is my job the whole of who I am or one part?"


"is this a coffee break on the way to what I want to do?"

It was that simple. Instantly my eyes flooded with tears. While I do enjoy a good cry, these tears surprised me. I was in the first row so of course Kevin saw my tears, which was quite frankly mortifying. In that moment though I felt connected to him and what he was saying. It wasn't even the meat of what he was talking about. It was this small side note that just resonated with me so strongly. The meeting ended and I am sure I eagerly approached him afterwards and blubbered something incoherent. Afterwards, I went home and I started to image...what if? 

Those words he spoke started me on a completely different path. Look, change didn't happen over night. Trust me, I still had a lot of battle scars to endure but this was the "CATALYST" for the journey. I am still on that journey but I have figured out what I want to do. I stopped taking so many coffee breaks and I am working towards my purpose.

So in an effort to be some small form of a catalyst for others, I ask you this?

is this your life?

is this what you want to do?


is this a coffee break on the way?

what is your red rubber ball?

Put the coffee down, leave the coffee shop. It's time to get to work. It is time to do what you are are meant to do. Stay tuned because Monday we talk about the "naysayers, haters and confused admirer's" and learn how to fight them off as we chase our own "red rubber ball". Till Then, have a safe Fourth of July weekend.


P.S. Kevin Carroll speaks all around the world. His focus is on the idea of PLAY and how play can change the world. His mission surrounds a story of a red rubber ball and a never say never disposition. To learn more, check out Kevin's website 

P.PS. I want to clarify that I am NOT endorsing this Where Dreams Meet Reality group that sponsored these videos. I am not familiar with them in anyway and tried to research them but found no site available. So ignore the parts that speak to that and really listen to the message Kevin is providing. That is what I am speaking to.


Image source:

tips on how & why brands use manifesto's to connect with consumers.

Last week I shared The Optimists Manifesto. A great manifesto for an even better philanthropic organization. I found it while at a Dutch Bros. Coffee.

Many brands build a manifesto to let people know who they are. It is a way of getting up close and personal with consumers with the goal of transparency. They figure if you why they do what they do. You will want to join them thus becoming a customer of theirs.

"discretionary spending"

is now a very common phase, one our parents probably rarely if ever heard. With more money than ever before, and more power in the hands of consumers, brands have to relate to them in different ways. It is no longer just about necessity. It is tapping into the consumer psyche to create loyalists to a brand.  Let's face it, we have a lot of choices and brands know that, so they push even harder to know more about us. It is no longer just demographics.

Brands now have to look at Psychographics.

Analysis of consumer lifestyles to create a detailed customer profile. Market researchers conduct psychographic research by asking consumers to agree or disagree with activities, interests, opinions statements. Results of this exercise are combined with geographic (place of work or residence) and demographic (age, education, occupation, etc.) characteristics to develop a more ‘lifelike’ portrait of the targeted consumer segment.

I created this image to showcase some research that listed out the top 5 ways men and women spend their money. You will note, that they actually spend it quite differently. (click on image for source site). 

The problem is that most brands or brands of the past didn't consider gender differences. They marketed one and only one way. As the facts come out and companies saw sales decline, they used the tools to gather consumer information. The brands who really dug in would have found out that..

Women account for 80% of all purchases in the US.
— Why She Buys - Bridget Brennan
Millenials have now surpassed Baby Boomers as the largest generation in history and they are also more diverse. 87 Million MIllenials and only 56% of them are white.

The tastes and preferences of these two powerful demographics put more of an emphasis on connection to brands. Quite frankly, they expect more of everything 

Today, the brands that last and are ahead are doing so by appealing to the psychological side of how and why people buy. They work to draw connection and loyal consumers throughout life. The goal is to catch them young and keep them as they age.

But Dawne what the heck does this have to do with Brand Manifesto’s?
— Probably You My Blog Reader Right at this very Moment

I will tell you what. As I said at the start of this post, a brand has to connect with these new consumers and one way to do that is to appeal to them by focusing on the same things they care about. I have shared a couple brand Manifesto's below from brands that continue to grow because of their ability to connect with their consumers on a deeper level.

There are even companies and brands out there that start from a manifesto and use that to connect with people, no product necessary. Here is one of my favorites from Live in the Grey where I am lucky enough to be an ambassador for the program.

So, if companies and brands can have a manifesto, and so can organizations then why can't we as individuals? So, today I want to challenge myself and you to come up with our own manifesto. Maybe you already have one...but for me I need to dust off a pencil and get to work.

What is your manifesto? Is it something you just know but have never written down? Have you never thought of one before?