Coffee, Talk, & a Walk: Elaine Raakman

I'm delighted that Elaine is sharing with us her thoughts on perseverance. She has extensive experience in education and sport, which gives her great insight on these topics. Thank you so much, Elaine! I contacted her earlier this year, as I am interested in positive organizational climates and reducing bullying in sport. I suggest you check out the program after you read her interview below. The work being done is very well needed!

Elaine graduated from Brock University with an Honours Degree in Sport Management. Upon graduation, she developed The Justplay Behavior Management Program, which monitors the conduct of coaches, players and spectators within the youth, team sport environment. As founder and president of Justplay, Elaine has traveled around the world presenting the program and program message of sportsmanship and good citizenship, to stakeholders in the youth sport environment. Elaine has presented at various international conferences, collaborated with respected researchers, and been published in a variety of academic and professional journals. In April 2009, she began her Master's of Science degree at the University of Regina. The support and encouragement, the intellectual challenges and the opportunities to collaborate with respected researchers have re-kindled a lifelong dream of acquiring a doctoral degree. She is also a wife and a proud mother. Despite the demands of school and family, Elaine is passionate about a new project she has developed called Deliberate Acts of Kindness, which is also receiving international support and helping to foster more compassionate, tolerant communities and workplaces. Read Elaine's interview below!

Image (c) Elaine Raakman
Image (c) Elaine Raakman

What is the best piece of advice you have ever received? Who did you receive it from?

‘Practice self-compassion and self-love’ – a dear friend.

How important is mentorship in terms of your success?

As a graduate student, mentorship has been fundamental to my success. My supervisor (and friend) Dr. Kim Dorsch has directed, coached, encouraged, and counselled me with such incredible humility that every aspect of the journey has been amazing. My entire life has been enriched. I wish I had, or could find, a similar mentor for my business endeavors.

What has been the best moment in your life so far?

This is an interesting question. I think the answer might be dependent on my mood of the current moment. For example, I’ve been feeling a little nostalgic today, so I would probably say that it occurred many years ago lying, alone, in the fields above the Cliffs of Mohar, in Ireland. I discovered absolute peace, joy, and Truth in the perfection and immense beauty of my surroundings. Lying still, on my back, in a field – the simplicity of it has never left me.

What tips would you have for living a healthy life?

Practice self-compassion and self-love, be conscious, and treat everyone with kindness and compassion.

How do you motivate yourself to persist despite setbacks?

I always try to find the positive. I do not allow myself to give any energy to negative thought patterns. I meditate daily, I exercise daily, I use affirmations, and I pray.

What has been your biggest setback? How did you deal with it? What did you learn from it?

I don’t look at any particular experience as a setback. Everything happens for my good, pushing me to grow and mature and become my best self. I certainly have had my share of challenges, emotionally, physically and practically. Some have been a result of poor choices, others were a result of my not listening to my inner voice, or not taking enough time to consider all the options, and sadly many arose out of arrogance. Then there have also been challenges that I had no control over. In the end, all that really matters is how you choose to respond.

How do you deal with critics?

That depends on who the critic is, and the nature of the criticism. Sometimes it helps to listen to the critics, sometimes you just have to ignore them. Wisdom is knowing the difference I guess.

How important is social support in overcoming obstacles?

Everyone needs to feel and experience support, whether or not they have obstacles to overcome. Our lives are enriched by the quality of our relationships. Research indicates that people who feel they have a lot of support are healthier, happier, and live longer than those who do not.

What advice would you give others about goal setting?

Set your own goals. Make sure they are your own. Once you’ve decided what they are, don’t let anyone talk you out of them. Don’t be afraid to change or amend your goals.

What life lesson have you learned that you would like to pass along to others?

Simplify. Happiness is not out there; it is in you. It is a choice. You have to cultivate it. Practice deliberate acts of kindness everyday – it will change your life, and the lives of others.

Thank you so much Elaine for sharing your words of wisdom with us! You have inspired me. Keep up the amazing work you are doing!

Thank you for reading and your presence at this beach retreat. You Rock! I'm looking forward to hearing your thoughts in the comment section below.

See you at the beach!