Friday, March 30, 2007

Children and Television

"Children of all ages are constantly learning new things. The first 2 years of life are especially important in the growth and development of your child's brain. During this time, children need good, positive interaction with other children and adults. Too much television can negatively affect early brain development. This is especially true at younger ages, when learning to talk and play with others is so important." –American Academy of Pediatrics

I share this quote for you parents who continue to use your television as a baby sitter, or a way to put your child to sleep, or as a dinner conversation replacement, or as a driving companion, or….well you get the idea. Your kids watch too much TV already which means that they have less human interaction and we now have people far smarter than me looking into why kids are less social and more overweight. I have a guess, not based on science but based off of the idea that 1+1 =2. Child sits at home and watches TV all day (1) + Child takes in calories while watching TV and doesn’t get calories out (1) = Child becomes overweight (2). Let’s try again. Parents don’t put any restrictions on TV for their child (1) + child doesn’t learn how to relate with real people (1) = child has a tougher time adapting to social situations as they get older (2). I know that there is a lot more that goes into obesity and social behavioral issues, but doesn’t this make sense as at least a part of the problem? A part that we actually have control over!!


The University of Michigan did a study and here is some of what they found (to find everything go to www.kidshealth.org/parent/positive/family/tv_affects_child.html).


>On average, kids spend nearly 4 hours a day watching television, DVDs and videos.
>68% of 8- to 18-year-olds have a TV in their bedroom; 54% have a DVD/VCR player, 37% have cable/satellite TV, and 20% have premium channels.
>In 63% of households, the TV is "usually" on during meals.
>In 53% of households of 7th- to 12th-graders, there are no rules about TV watching.
>In 51% of households, the TV is on "most" of the time.
>Kids with a TV in their bedroom spend an average of almost 1.5 hours more per day watching TV than kids without a TV in the bedroom.


On TV and violence:
>An average American child will see 200,000 violent acts and 16,000 murders on TV by age 18.
>Two-thirds of all programming contains violence.
>Programs designed for children more often contain violence than adult TV.
>Most violent acts go unpunished on TV and are often accompanied by humor. The consequences of human suffering and loss are rarely depicted.
>Even in G-rated, animated movies and DVDs, violence is common—often as a way for the good characters to solve their problems. Every single U.S. animated feature film produced between 1937 and 1999 contained violence, and the amount of violence with intent to injure has increased over the years.
>Children imitate the violence they see on TV. Children under age eight cannot tell the difference between reality and fantasy, making them more vulnerable to learning from and adopting as reality the violence they see on TV.


On TV and obesity:
>University of Michigan researchers found that just being awake and in the room with the TV on more than two hours a day was a risk factor for being
overweight at ages three and four-and-a-half.
>The effects can carry on into adult weight problems. Weekend TV viewing in early childhood affects body mass index (BMI), or overweight in adulthood.
>Researchers who investigated whether diet, physical activity, sedentary behavior or television viewing predicted
body mass index (BMI) among 3- to 7-year-old children, found that physical activity and TV viewing are most associated with overweight risk. TV was a bigger factor than diet. Inactivity and TV became stronger predictors as the children aged.
>Children who watch TV are more likely to be inactive and tend to snack while watching TV.
>Many TV ads encourage unhealthy eating habits. Two-thirds of the 20,000 TV ads an average child sees each year are for food and most are for high-sugar foods.
>All television shows, even educational non-commercial shows, replace physical activity in your child's life.
>While watching TV, the metabolic rate seems to go even lower than during rest. This means that a person would burn fewer calories while watching TV than when just sitting quietly, doing nothing.
>Results from recent studies have reported success in reducing excess weight gain in preadolescents by restricting TV viewing.


TV viewing is not a problem in the youth of today, it is a problem with the adults of today who refuse to put restrictions on the amount of time their children spend in front of the television. What ever happened to a parent taking their child out to the park to play catch (yes parents used to even do this after their work day)? What happened to a car ride where you actually had to talk to your children, maybe even find out something new that they were involved in? What happened to the dinner where everyone sat at the table together and talked…with no TV on?
Children don’t have the power to modify their TV time, adults do, so to say that TV viewing is a child problem you’d be wrong. The amount of time children spend in front of the TV is a parenting problem, so start parenting.


Oh yeah, for those of you that say your kid will out grow it, here is one more for you.


>One study looked at adults at age 26, and how much TV they had watched as children. Researchers found that "17% of overweight, 15% of raised serum cholesterol, 17% of smoking, and 15% of poor fitness can be attributed to watching television for more than 2 hours a day during childhood and adolescence."

Thursday, March 29, 2007

A Higher Order of Thinking (H.O.T.) Parts 8 and 9


Welcome back to the 11 stages of thinking, rationalizing, acting, basically stages of living and leading yourself. Today we will be reviewing 2 stages again- stages 8 and 9. To recap, the 11 levels of thinking we identified are;



  1. Need Now
  2. Want Now
  3. Not Now
  4. What Now?
  5. Why Now?
  6. Right Now
  7. More Now
  8. Share Now: This is where we become less selfish and we share what we know, and where we are headed, with those who are important to us.
  9. Love Now: This is the stage of life that not everybody hits (but we hope that you do) wherein you know who you love, what you are passionate about, and why it is good to be you.
  10. Mentor Now: This is where we take the love of what we do and combine it with humility as we teach others to do the same and pass their teachings on. It is about affecting change within the world you live in.
  11. Leave Now: This is the final chapter of our evolvement- self actualization. As a matter of fact, this stage is often not complete until after we are dead, because the key to this stage- is legacy. Leaving a legacy at your job, within your home and community at large, and in the world... making it all better than you left it.

As we defined last week, when someone has seen great success moving themselves, their relationships, and their business forward, and it has been enough time that they now trust what they are doing and have turned lessons into habits, they can say with confidence that they are at the Share Now stage of thinking, rationalizing, and emoting. This stage is a critical turning point because while the first 7 stages of thinking and living involve the self, the last 4 involve impacting others without forcing them to do anything.

To really be sure you are at the Share Now stage of your own life, you must be moving yourself forward, and have been doing so for some time. It does not always come from an "Ah, ha!" moment, or a 'turning over a new leaf' decision, it can come from a high level of trust and faith that doing the right things for yourself will take you to a better place. The difference between the More Now and Share Now stages is that of perspective. More Now is about applying the principles you've learned at a higher level than before; while Share Now is about understanding them well enough to coach someone else based on your own experiences.

The most common problems reported from all kinds of people as they enter the Share Now stage are a) resistence from their families, etc as they try to share their newfound passion, b) frustration from their families, citing they are coming across to their loved ones as a 'know-it-all'

Just as the Right Now and More Now stages involve going back to the drawing board, The Share Now stage involves improving our communication skills, resolve, approach, etc until we break past our current barriers (in this case our ability to communicate selfless desires to our families and friends without coming across as preachy).

As we pass this plateau, and become more effective in communicating and impacting others, we come to an important conclusion: our time, and a place in our own lives, is worth something. When we know this, the next logical step is to evaluate who is our life, why they are invited along for the journey,a nd whether or not that invitation should continue to be extended. This marks the journey of the Love Now stage... deciding who we want in our lives and why as it relates to the big picture of who we are and who we want to become.

It is important to note, at this point, that this journey does not take place on a yellow brick road. People may hate your guts if/ when you tell them that they are not leading you where you want to go, and are no longer an influence you want in your life. Leading yourself by swimming upstream can and often is a difficult journey. That is why it is called swimming upstream, instead of just 'the way'.

When you really embrace the 'Love Now' stage, you will concentrate your time, energy, money, and passion, on those things and those people that bring positivity and abundance of joy and opportunity back into your life. If you stay here for the rest of your life, the world is a better place than before you entered it. The more people who reach the "Love Now' stage, the better off we all are.

The only way we can get more people to the Love Now stage though, is if we have more Mentors. Mentors create future leaders (in this case, lovers). Tune in next week to learn how to become a mentor as we uncover stage 10 of our 11 stage journey.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Creating a Healthier World.


If you were to look at any statistics, the major causes of death and disability in North America would be the following:
  1. Cardiovascular Disease (accounts for approx. 39% of all deaths)
  2. Cancer (accounts for approx. 23% of all deaths)
  3. Chronic Respiratory Disease (accounta for approx. 5.1% of all deaths)

And it's no secret that cigarette smoking, improper dietary habits (and obesity), and inactive lifestyles contribute to these very large problems. In fact, a good portion of these lifestyle-related diseases can and should be prevented...as health maintenance is a

personal responsibility.

Being active all my life and having a career that helps individuals make more positive lifestyle choices (through physical fitness), leads me to think of ways to create a world where it would be easier to live more healthfully.

What could we possibly implement in this world of laziness?

Well how about these for starters:

  1. Tree climbing for physical education - appropriate and daily physical activity in the school system is still more a dream than a reality. There are far too many children that enter school happy, healthy, and fit from doing daily outdoor activities such as treeclimbing and playing tag AND leave 12 years later unfit and uninterested in their overall health.

  2. Showers, lockers, and covered bicycle parking in all office buildings - this would create more commuting cyclists and make the current ones happier. Employee-runners and employee-exercisers can squeeze in and share the showers with the cyclists, while they also could incorporate group classes to stay more motivated!

  3. No tax on selected sports and recreational equipment - currently there is no tax on books, so why not the same on sports equipment! A fit mind goes along with a fit body. Things such as bathing suits and bicycles go tax free. Golf clubs do too...if you don't ride a cart!

  4. Higher tax on 'zero' foods - there is a tax on alcohol and cigarettes...so let's do the same for non-nutritious food. And if the tax on alcohol or cigarettes tell us anything, this new tax won't get too many people to give up their favorite goodies but at least it will collect money from those that will suffer from obesity and require more medical attention down the road.

  5. Well leave - too many employees look to take 'sick leaves' where they get compensated for being unhealthy! It is those that are healthy, fit, and away from work less often (if not at all) that should be rewarded...if anyone is!

And you might think these ideas are unrealistic...and they are if you are thinking this. Why? Because the world is continuing to move in the complete opposite direction due to skeptics such as yourself, that don't think positively and help find solutions to the causes of the top three causes of death in North America.

We can continue to raise money for research, development and cures for these diseases OR we can be proactive and learn how to prevent them!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Fear

“But I’m afraid to ask because maybe I won’t get what I want. Maybe they’ll say ‘no’.”

It is probably the strangest statement yet one of the most common in the world today. Myriads of dating websites all dedicated to helping you choose a mate and most of these websites catering to the idea that people live in fear; the fear of rejection.

Sure the business owners and employees are doing something to help others find their right person and I’m equally as sure that the people on the websites are not as scared as this blog makes them sound. However, it is human nature to fear what we don’t know.

Take the statement and put it in any context. A sales context; sales are lost by the second by the salesman afraid to ask for the money. A relationship context; people refuse to ask for the treatment they want because they fear the response. People fear what they don’t know and they let their assumptions rule.

Take the above quote and look at it for what it is.

The ridiculous thing is that people are afraid to ask because they are scared of the response yet without asking they are already stuck without…..The worst that could happen if they did aim for what they wanted would be no different than where they were.

We are a strange bunch.

Would it kill you to try?

How much would your life change if you rejected fear and became courageous enough to take action. Remove what you FEEL the result will be and go find out what the result WILL be.

Monday, March 26, 2007

abbotsford



there's a town in rural british columbia called abbotsford. over the years i have grown to like the suburb and its residents more and more. main reason: LIKE MINDED. yes, that's right, completely up my alley in terms of people i would likely call my friends and here is why.

1. generosity. in canada, per capita the most generous group of people in the country.

2. real people. none of the 'tude' that's closely associated with a few of the other boroughs in vancouver.

3. community. a quickly eroding adjective used to describe a group of people living in close proximity actually interested in helping, supporting and looking out for their neighbours.

4. humility. even with the rapid expansion, most generous city, and home town mentality you will be hard pressed to find someone there trying to be someone they are not.

5. loyalty. every week we have a loyal following of swimupstream readers from abbotsford. in fact, they are the most dialed in geographic region of them all (although you have held strong, our one Beijing friend!) and we appreciate that.

so although none of you people would ever request it, and most would prefer it we didn't even mention it, we want to say THANK YOU to the swimupstreamers in abbotsford... just for being YOU!

you should know that we are trying to make your town the official "final leg rally point" of our cross canada bike tour in september. we hope you will save the date and ride fellow swimupstreamers matt & willie into stanley park after our 9 day record setting epic adventure. http://www.h2vpushthepace.com/.

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on a separate note to all swimupstream enthusiasts, we are going to be blogging from monday to friday now and not the weekends. yup... we know... what will you do saturday & sunday morning? the main reason is, most people don't get to check the site until monday anyways, and we want to create an aura of excitement around your swimupstream blog. as well, the group will now also be blogging on our new hire me site throughout the week.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Fear & Fearlessness

I watched my niece last week perform in “Stone Soup”, her preschool play, and if you were there you would have thought her role was the stone. In a 10 minute play she might have sang 1 minute worth of music and spent 9 minutes looking for a way to go unnoticed. She is not a shy girl by any means, but in this situation she was frozen by fear. After the show she received flowers for performing and a picture of her in the play, which coupled with all the praise she received, she went to bed feeling like an Oscar winner. No, I’m not going to say we should have been honest with her and gave her a realistic view of her performance, it actually was pretty cute. What came out of the play and why I’m sharing this is because it was an interesting view of fear and fearlessness.

Fear is an unpleasant feeling of apprehension or distress caused by the presence or anticipation of danger. We all feel fear at one point or another and we all respond to fear differently. Fear ranges from mild discomfort, or butterflies in the stomach, to severe discomfort or freezing of the muscles and joints. The one thing all fear has in common with everyone is that it creates stress and anxiety. What we all fail to recognize is that stress and anxiety only exist within our own minds, therefore we create it and either allow it to freeze us up or get us focused. Simply put, fear is controlling us because we gave it the power to.

The overwhelming feelings of stress and anxiety brought on by performing in front of a large group of people simply got the best of my niece. Should she have been able to regain control of her emotions? No, she is 5 years old and doesn’t have any experience with her emotions; let alone how to control them. We on the other hand should be able to control these emotions because we, as adults, can associate feelings with emotion. We are capable of recognizing our emotional state, but unfortunately don’t always do what is necessary to overcome our fears. How often have we seen someone freeze up when confronted with a challenge at work? How often have we let our emotions get the best of us when talking to our superiors about a raise, work conditions, or perceived injustice? How often do we ignore our loved ones when they do wrong simply because it would be tough to simply have that difficult conversation? It is simple to let our perceived negative emotions dictate our behavior, to ignore something or someone because we fear our, or their, response. In order to truly perform, we must look beyond fear, therefore creating a more powerful self. We need to become fearless.

Fearlessness is being courageous in the face of dangers or challenges. This doesn’t mean ignoring fear, because fear is essential in creating arousal and focus. What this does mean is that we have to recognize our fears, put them into perspective, and then act in a manner that sees the reward beyond our fears. By looking past our fears while realizing that they are there, we allow ourselves to gain control over our emotions where the reward (internal and external) is our primary focus and takes precedence over our current emotional state. True fearlessness isn’t blindly running into a burning building to save a cat, it is recognizing the risk involved and letting our instincts and trust in ourselves control our states of stress and anxiety. Fearlessness is creating a controlled state of mind set on performance while the environment around us is unpredictable.

There were plenty of other preschoolers singing and dancing along with the performance, there were a few students that ran into the crowd to be with their parents, and there were a few kids like my niece who just stayed in place trying to be invisible. All of these kids were in the same situation, while the majority of them responded differently. Look at the people you associate with and honestly tell me if your group responds differently. My answer is unfortunately no, there are people that get on board and perform, people that run away, and people that you will never hear from. For us to enhance our lives and the lives of those that we associate with, we must look beyond our fears, recognize the fears of others, and present everyone with a situation where the can become fearless; then we can truly succeed as individuals as well as a group.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

If at First

Thomas Edison was told he was too stupid to learn anything. It was suggested he move into a field where his pleasant demeanor would allow him a meager success.


Micheal Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team.


Isaac Newton did poorly in grade school and wasn’t considered someone that success was destined for.


Einstein was a poor student and was a child that never uttered a word until he was four years of age. Some even felt he was mentally challenged.


Beethoven’s music teacher told him, “As a composer, he is hopeless.”


Winston Churchill has to repeat grade 6 because he failed to complete all the necessary tests for promotion.


Walt Disney was fired by a newspaper editor because he “lacked imagination and had no good ideas.”

How many times have you been told that you aren’t what we are looking for, that you don’t have it together and or that you just are a failure?


You will make mistakes, you will hit road blocks but it is only when you begin blaming someone else and stop believing that “they” become right about you.


To succeed you must believe in yourself, work hard, never give up, meet someone that sees greatness within you, expects that greatness from you and lets you know that is what they want.


It is a true key for success.


If at first you don’t succeed, then try, try again.

Friday, March 23, 2007

accept and grow...deny and plateau

it is positively given for a reason - to encourage people to repeat their actions.
it is constructively given for a reason - to make people better.

If you are in that leadership role - you must acknowledge and understand that people WANT to be lead...24/7. They want others to make them better instead of looking for it themselves. So, do not be stingy with the ONE thing that is necessary for growth and development.
FEEDBACK

• If you think you give plenty already - give more.
• If you think you give ample feedback but are not seeing results - ensure it is not too general to be of any use.
• If you fear and avoid difficult conversations - you are in the wrong role.
If you are an introverts - you must become an extrovert.
• If you know what people want, but don't know how to tell them exactly how to achieve it - educate yourself to learn how to teach it.
If you find yourself so darn busy and you just don't get around to talking with those that you are leading - you better find time or else you will continue to run around and wonder why nothing has progressed and changed over time.

Remember, unlike giving a raise, feedback is something you can give and provide with very little effort and cost.

LIKEWISE

If you are in that coachable role - you must acknowledge and understand that people WANT you be successful...24/7. They want you to be better than what they were at the same stage. So, do not deny the ONE thing that is necessary for your growth and development.

FEEDBACK

• If you think you accept plenty already - accept more.
• If you think you ask for feedback but are not grasping a concept - seek the specifics.
• If you think you fight it and have excuses when it is given - you are not understanding why it is being given.
• If you know you need to hear it, but don't know how to implement it and how to achieve it - ask the person that is delivering it.

Remember, unlike getting a raise, feedback is something that makes you better as a person in all aspects of your life and not just finacially.
hard work and good ideas get you started...
and feedback keeps you going -- and growing

Thursday, March 22, 2007

The New 3 R's

Last week, we covered 2 levels in our Higher Order of Thinking model. As such, we will take a brief hiatus and resume next Thursday. Today we relive and old anecdote and inject fresh meaning.

Many of us can remember the 3 R's....


Reading, wRiting, and aRithmatic. Certainly, all 3 are valuable, and necessary for our success (although with spellcheck, MSN messenger, and scientific hold-your-hand claculators, we are forgetting all 3).


The time may come when all of these are nearly obsolete (with the exception of reading). When that time comes, it will be very important for you to get to know the NEW 3 R's....
  1. Being the Right person
  2. Doing the Right things
  3. Being in the Right role or organization.

Being the Right person means learning humility, learning to work with others in a team, taking accountability for your actions, and leading yourself. Basically, it means being a better person, and helping move yourself and others forward. Being the Right person is not easy, but it is so worth it that it actually becomes easy once you start seeing the benefit of being that person.

Doing the Right things means doing the job you signed up for, following through on what you said you would do, and doing right instead opf wrong; serving others and yourself instead of just being selfish. Doing the Right things should move yourself and others ahead. If you are moving other people forward, and yourself backwards somehow, you are doing the wrong things.

Being in the Right role means working towards a position that takes advantage of your skills, interests, and passion, and provides you with a means of reward, all the while doing good and giving something back to the world. This could be a paid or volunteer position, because although ideally the Right role pays the bills for you, sometimes the rewards are internal and intangible. Often if you are skilled in the Right role, you may find yourself promoted into the wrong role. This is where we need to remember the other 2 R's... have patience and humility as well as ambition (be the Right person), and ensure you are doing what you are good at, not just what pays more money in the immediate term (do the Right things).

The 3 R's can and should be used in relationships, at work... you name it. Here's hoping we can add some fresh excitement to an old expression, and get and give all that we want with one simple and useful letter (times 3)...

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Can NEVER Be Too Humble

For most people, if they really knew anything about humility, they wouldn’t like it.

Why?

Because the art of humility is a selfless act. It is recognizing that ideas can come from other people, is the willingness to change your mind, is being able to admit mistakes when you make them, and is being willing to learn from the mistakes of others, rather than punishing them. Often it means doing what you always don’t want to do. Sometimes it means going down with the ship so that others may live. And always, it means killing the egotistical, self-centered person inside all of us who wants to be comforted, petted and admired. That is why so few people practice it – because they want it to be about them and find it difficult when it isn’t.

So, what is the first step to humility?


It is is to realize that we lack it.

It does not mean to recognize and admit, “I am proud.” Because it is not that simple. It’s like the old joke, “I won a medal for being humble, but I wore it so they took it away.” If you claim to be humble, then by necessity you are not. And if you think you are not conceited, it means you are very conceited indeed. That is the paradox of humility: If you think you have it, you don’t. Because imagine someone bragging about how humble they are?

You might as well look up the definition of an oxymoron.

It is also not to say that you must admit you are prideful solely because if you don’t, you will not be considered humble. And at the same token don’t feel you must admit you are at wrong when you have never to anyone’s knowledge, including yourself, been wrong – because then it is doubtful if you are truly that. So, don’t read too deep into the art of humility.

Real humility is more than a gesture - it has to come from the genuine belief that serving others matters more than serving ourselves!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Goals

Not a day goes by without my thoughts drifting towards the Rocky Mountains. I dream of what it will be like to ride up to the top and crest the peak of one of the mammoth passes. I continue to train and on hard days when the feeling for working out is just not there I dream of how hard the mountains will be. I dream of how small they are compared to people that live with disease or illness. I dream of how my team will compete on behalf of others and it fills me with enough juice to keep moving forward.

What fills you with the energy to keep going? What are your goals?

The reason these are important questions is that without a goal there is nothing to work toward. There is nothing to strive for, find challenging or work towards. Without a goal life just keeps passing by.

Find out what your goals are by making time to think about what you want and where you see yourself. There is nothing better than dreaming about where you will be while you enjoy the journey getting there.


p.s. My team will be racing across Canada in aid of Juvenile Diabetes. We hope to finish the entire journey in less than 9 days and raise as much as $1,000,000. If you want to help out, find out more or are interested in what we are doing please take a look at our new website, www.h2vpushthepace.com. Thanks and good luck with your dreams and goals.

Monday, March 19, 2007

few things are better left unsaid.

it hit me at the family round table this past weekend. the classic situation of family dynamics where elder parents were pissing their kids off with some of their behaviors without being called on it because "they were not going to change anyway".
this led into the classic cliche, some things are better left unsaid.

but are they?

the points illustrated in the conversation we spoke about, all revolved around closure for the kids, not the parents. it wasn't about trashing them or making them feel bad, or disrespecting their 'way' rather, articulating how some of the behaviors made the kids feel (more as an fyi). if we broke down the percentages, i would venture to guess more people would like to know how their behaviors are impacting others than less.

so many times, we venture through our lives, days and weeks unaware of the impact of our words and actions on others. naturally we can & will take it too far at times and become offensive or inappropriate to others. its at those times where its critical for someone to say something. intenralising information and remaining mute, only serves to increase our levels of frustration and although the m.o. doesn't need to be lashing back on the offensive, few arguements will come from articulating "hey, in thinking about what you said, it didn't make me feel very good and this is why".

no further explanation or continuation of the argument is necessary, people just need to know how their actions and inactions affected you. by articulating your feelings, you ensure that other's issues don't become your issues. its like handing it right back to them and again, it doesn't need to be malicious. if further grief ensues, simply state, "not looking to engage an argument, simply telling you how i felt, take it or leave it... but it's now not in my archive".

life is to short to harbor damaging, negative or corrosive goods - keep it light and keep them at arms length from your psyche.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Hope & Confidence

Any accomplishment starts with the hope that we will succeed and the confidence that we have the skills necessary to achieve. Hope and confidence follow each other in an upward linear motion until the task is completed. When we don’t achieve, it is usually the result of a disruption in this linear relationship where hope begins to exceed confidence. When this gap presents itself, we begin to rely on the “stars being aligned” in order for us to be successful and lose the control that we have over our quest. By relying on outside sources for our success we open ourselves to stress and anxiety which ultimately disrupts the journey.

In relation to success, hope is “a chance that something desirable will happen or be possible”. The key word is chance because chance means that something other than yourself has to happen in order for you to succeed. When we put our success to chance we are facing the same odds as a roulette player, sometimes hitting big, but mostly falling short because of the odds. Hope is a necessity in any outcome, because it creates our goals, but when hope is all we have to work with we are constantly fighting the odds therefore making us vulnerable to a negative experience.

Confidence on the other hand is “a belief or self-assurance in your ability to succeed”. The key words here are belief and self-assurance because they are empowering words. When you believe you can do something and you have the self-assurance that it is possible, you have created the internal drive necessary to eliminate vulnerability and to consistently put the odds in your favor. Once we are able to empower ourselves with confidence, then, and only then can we keep the linear relationship with the hopes that we have. The longer we maintain the relationship between hope and confidence the greater exposure we will have to excellence and achievement.

The challenge facing us all is maintaining this relationship as a linear one. When hope begins to exceed confidence it is essential that we stop in our tracks and reevaluate what we are trying to do. Often times this means that we have to adjust our hopes so that they come down to our confidence level, therefore creating a more realistic challenge. On the other hand, when our confidence surpasses our hopes, we often find ourselves in a situation where we actually are taking the easy road and not challenging ourselves appropriately.

When we can find the right balance between hope and confidence we can achieve more, become more productive, and regain control over our own success. This is essential in empowerment where internal efficacy means everything. When faced with your next challenge in life remember; anything can happen with hope, everything can happen with confidence, and nothing can happen without either.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Where have the great leaders gone?

Perusing the archives of those we have lost over the years past, we see recognizable examples of people who have made an impact on society. Actors, activists, sports celebrities, philanthropists, heads of state, educators and pioneers and names who have left a legacy that carries meaning to generation after generation.

In stark contrast, we have spent the last 3-4 years listening to headline after headline about the ‘new generation’ of the same group who are focussing less on carrying out meaning to others and more about elevating the status of themselves. As this is happening at the expense of others, it begs the question, where have all the great leaders gone?

Defining what makes a great leader may be the first step in re-educating a resurgence which, if started early, could change the direction of the future of society.

1. Unselfishness. Unselfishness is an attitude & mindset that serves as the foundation of every great leader. Over time, we have forgotten that the role of any leadership is to elevate the performances of others, not the self. Greed, pride and ego have greatly impacted the leadership ability to stand in the background while we push others into the spotlight. Interestingly, we ponder why teams and businesses don’t grow. Growth happens from the bottom up, not the top down.

2. Self-awareness. Great leaders are very aware of their influence through action as well as the spoken word. When we assume the role and subsequent rewards of a leadership position, we assume the responsibility of being the example for our team mates. Many lessons are taught and reinforced through example and if we succumb to the copout ‘do as I say and not as I do’, we instantly diminish the credibility of our leadership.

3. Education. Few great leaders seek the opportunity to re-invent themselves through continued education. As we evolve, coaching strategies and styles must also evolve to keep up with the dynamic nature of people and empowerment. When we reach the stale mate of implementing outdated styles, we reach the plateau of stagnant performance. Great leaders must work to stay ahead instead and abandon the ‘my way’ mentality in lieu of the best way.

4. Politics. Political conflict is perhaps the greatest irony of leadership. If we are electing someone to table new ideologies, motivate people towards self actualization and set the table for renewed growth throughout, they must be able to operate on their own agenda without being bullied, biased or influenced by others acting in self interest. We may think it is the leaders responsibility to stand up for this right, yet if we take a look at where leadership is started, youth we can see that charisma & individuality are being replaced with formalization and a pressure to conform. For a ‘free’ society, we certainly have many unwritten restrictions.

If the main reason we are hearing less about great leadership is because of societies shift towards marketing less about what we can do for others and more about what we can do for ourselves, it will take a combined effort (many levels, many institutions) to reverse this process.

There are thousands of documented examples of leadership done right, and it is those examples that need to be highlighted instead of consistently endorsing the athlete holding out for the big ticket, the c.e.o. cooking the books, or the child being punished for non conforming behaviour. As we continue to deplete the leadership pool, we will suffer the effects of standardization and stagnancy which will reach into all levels of our life.

We need more great leaders and each of us has the potential to start that process within ourselves.

Friday, March 16, 2007

The Right Job?

Last Friday, I discussed (with an article from Coaches Corner) the importance of recognizing when your job setting is more than 'normal' and if it isn't, to take the opportunity to make it more.

This week, it is about narrowing the job selection process down and educate how to find a place (for you) faster with a less mysterious process.


So, what are some general signs that you can look for to ensure that your selection has a higher percentage of being a 'good fit'?

The people - ensure that you get a 'good vib' from the people that you are going to be surrounding yourself with. Also, ensure that you can relate to them and that you could see yourself genuinely enjoy their company. Because everything else about a job can be perfect - the task, pay, location - but if you do not enjoy your colleagues on a day-to-day basis...work will be a lot of work. And lastly, if you feel that you will need to put on a persona at work, it is definitely not the right fit.

The opportunity - find the job that will provide you the opportunity to grow as a person and as a professional. Look for a job that you get the feeling you will learn things from and that you would have the drive to continue your own learning through what is being presented. Any job you take should feel somewhat challenging going in...because that is what will keep you engaged and energized. Not to mention - promote personal growth and development.


The ownership - understand the intentions and the motivations of the person(s) that you are pulling for. If you have the ability to understand where the company is going and the drive of the people at the top, you will have a better understanding of the opportunities that come from the job that you are considering.

The work content - you want to find a job that you love and are passionate about. Every job has bad days/months/years and there will be times that you work mainly to make meet ends...but at the end of the day if you love the work...you will be a part of the solution to get out of the rough periods. You want to find at least something about it that you love...and it could be anything - from the customers, the travel, the camaraderie or the sheer challenge of the job.


Unfortunately, at the end of the day it is virtually impossible to know where any given job will take you or where you will take it. Chances are, it will not be the first job you take. You will discover what you like and what you don't like about it, along with what you are good at and what you are bad at and then eventually find something that is a closer fit.

However, when you find that place/job that you are passionate about - one piece of advice - when you become bored and in a routine, don't think by leaving and changing jobs that the grass is always greener...because you have probably forgotten that the challenge and motivation to get better has to eventually come within...

yourself.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

A Higher Order of Thinking (H.O.T.) Parts 6 and 7



Welcome back to the 11 stages of thinking, rationalizing, acting, basically stages of living and leading yourself. Today we will be reviewing 2 stages again- stages 6 and 7. To recap, the 11 levels of thinking we identified are;



  1. Need Now: The lowest level on Maslow's Pyramid of needs. Basically, the way a baby cries for a bottle, or a toddler wants their mommy and doesn;t stop to think that they are blue in the face and whaling at the top of their lungs in Wal-Mart.
  2. Want Now: Selfish, "me, me, me" attitude combined with a hint of what they actually may want. No idea where they are headed because they are focused on the now.
  3. Not Now: As these spoiled kids get older, and responsibility hits them in the form of their first job, or chores, etc... the first reaction is often to shirk away from that responsibility.
  4. What Now?: "I have a job" or "I went to school", now what? This is that wonderful transitional period when children become adults because they stop doing what they were told, and start identifying for themselves what they want out of life.
  5. Why Now?: This is the fighting getting older/ responsibility/ having to think on their own stage. Much like the "not now' stage, only you have more money and can do more damage to yourself without any direction.
  6. Right Now: Once they truly know where they want to go, this is the first step towards truly growing up and maturing- seizing opportunities and getting busy living because it is what they want.
  7. More Now: This is where we start to increase our acheivement, desire, and effectiveness by implementing more/ better time management strategies, we improve our skill sets, and we allow ourselves to want more out life.
  8. Share Now: This is where we become less selfish and we share what we know, and where we are headed, with those who are important to us.
  9. Love Now: This is the stage of life that not everybody hits (but we hope that you do) wherein you know who you love, what you are passionate about, and why it is good to be you.
  10. Mentor Now: This is where we take the love of what we do and combine it with humility as we teach others to do the same and pass their teachings on. It is about affecting change within the world you live in.
  11. Leave Now: This is the final chapter of our evolvement- self actualization. As a matter of fact, this stage is often not complete until after we are dead, because the key to this stage- is legacy. Leaving a legacy at your job, within your home and community at large, and in the world... making it all better than you left it.

The Right Now and the More Now stages are very similar. Some people never get to the More Now stage, or at least, they spend very little time there and do not arrive there through the usual channels.

Most people enter the Right Now stage with such blind abandon, and such fervor, that they eventually hit the wall, or come to a few difficult roadblocks because in all the excitment of really living their life for the first time, little has been done in the way of planning or at least long term planning.

When the rate of return on their effort dwindles (that is when more than ownership over their own decisions and enthusiasm over the process is required to advance their lot in life), people may go through a period of frustration (though not neccessarily), and they most often do go through a period of re-invention.

The re-invention defines the More Now stage; when people combine an excitement for leading their own lives with the persuit of new knowledge, and the aquisition of new skills, in order to move farther up the food chain. By this point, people are basically equipped to handle most of the challenges they will face in a day because if they cannot answer a challenge in real time, they can a) go back and learn b) take greater personal accountability over their place in said situation or c) implement better strategies or implement the same ones at a higher level.

When any of the above fail, then we know that the challenge is too great for someone at the More Now stage of thinking, or that someone who thinks they are at the More Now stage is still just getting their feet wet in the Right Now (eager) stage.

When someone has seen great success moving themselves, their relationships, and their business forward, and it has been enough time that they now trust what they are doing and have turned lessons into habits, they can say with confidence that they are at the Share Now stage of thinking, rationalizing, and emoting. This stage is a critical turning point because while the first 7 stages of thinking and living involve the self, the last 4 involve impacting others without forcing them to do anything.

Basically, from here on out, we are going to learn how to be a leader. In order to really take these lessons to heart, you should already be leading yourself using the lessons from stage 1 to 7.

Tune in next week to learn how to get what you want out of others without manipulation....

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

It Takes One to Know One

There are a number of people that have the 'sound judgement', the 'business intelligence', or the 'street smarts' but there are fewer that have more of a complex dynamic - those that are able to create an atmosphere that demands, recognizes, and rewards these attributes. That is the next level of intelligence and leadership - however...


it takes one to know one.

Not only that, but being an individual with a high level of intelligence (combined with common sense) cannot reach their own peak performance unless surrounded by others with a similar level of skill and ability.

It is a reality - everyone's performance is enhanced or limited by the quality of talent surrounding them.

Regardless of how strong one person's thinking is, without the help and support of others - to skillfully identify an idea's merit, to help improve it, and then disseminate and implement it - that individual's best thinking will be lost. Very similar to sports, when you play along side skilled individuals you tend to rise to the occasion and unconsciously improve your level of play. And if you participate at a lower level of play, your skillset and performance drops to the level of that group.

Grasp this concept.

Understand that when you surround yourself with the best people, you become better. And the quality of the people in any collaboration can have a profound impact on the final product - on a business project OR on your life.

Just as you cannot merely throw groups of people together and encourage them to challenge and stimulate eachother's thinking, you cannot put a group of individuals together that have a variety of intelligence, life experience, and positive direction and expect everyone to come out on top. Because the presence of unskilled thinkers and negative motivators can diminish the quality of discussions and often serve as impediments to getting optimal results - this goes for business and for life.

So...Don't surround yourself with garbage when you want something better.






Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Seven Day Sights, Sounds, Speculations and Stargazing

I am waiting for my baby to come so consequently I am learning about patience. So rather than have a baby delivered we will deliver the Seven Day Sights, Sounds, Speculations and Stargazing from our wonderfully challenging world.

Things I Have Learned: Mostly the Hard Way

1. You should not confuse your career with your life.

2. Nobody cares if you can’t dance well; just get up and give ‘er!

3. People generally can’t see the pimple you feel is the size of Everest.

4. When you are afraid of what people may think of you chances are they are more fearful of what you think of them. What a conundrum.

5. Never lick a steak knife.

6. The most powerful force in the universe is gossip.

7. You will never find anyone on God’s green earth that can give you a true reason for why we utilize daylight savings.

8. A person that is nice to you, but rude to the waiter, is not a nice person.

9. Your friends don’t care how cool you think you are. They will laugh with you and at you regardless. Then they will still love you anyways.

10. Never under any circumstances take a sleeping pill and laxative on the same night.

11. Never put chafing cream and tiger balm next to each other in the medicine cabinet.

12. If you had to identify, in one word, the reason why the human race has not achieved, and never will achieve, its full potential, that word would be “meetings.”

And finally:

13. You should never, ever, say anything to a woman that even remotely suggests that you think she is pregnant unless you can see an actual baby emerging from her at that very moment.

The lessons that life can bring you when you are paying attention are often greater than the courses you take and the t.v. shows you watch. We will see you next week, hopefully with a healthy new addition to the swimupstream family, for some more Sights, Sounds, Speculations and Stargazing from our wonderfully challenging world.

Monday, March 12, 2007

"Balance" is a long range word.



people often ask the question of how to fit everything in on a daily basis and although i am no expert, the advice i give is to think about balance as a long term pursuit rather than a daily right.

if we listen to the radio each day, it tells us we deserve to take a break, work less, enjoy a vacation and purchase x-y & z because they can offer us that elusive "lifestyle" we all yearn to have. what we don't understand is the sales grab on the back of that message. they are not sharing that message because they actually believe it, rather they know it appeals to our collective sense of 'most for least'.

let's face it, we all want to make our lives easier and there is no shortage of marketing companies willing to show us how. however, balance is not always a day to day thing and if you haven't got a plan, all that will happen is you will quickly find yourself out of balance whether its now or later! our plan was to put our heads down for 5 straight years, in order that we could enjoy the next 10. to a large degree it worked. as willy eluded to saturday, you get nothing for nothing.

awhile back, we spoke to a young group of people using an example of how quick it is to get out of balance vs how easy it is to maintain homeostasis. we used the example of coming home to your house.

you come in, throw your coat on the chair, shoes off in the hallway, head for the fridge to grab the can of coke, crack it while you hit the send / receive tab on your computer to see if you have mail / myspace / or anyone is online etc. you click it to see there are 100 (too much) you just got home, so instead, you head to the living room, sit down and watch mindless tv. when you are finished, you look around the house. its a mess and you have shit all over the place and 200 emails in your in box. too much to get to after a tough day's work. you eat, leave the dishes in the sink get half way through your things and become depressed bcs your house is such a mess.

vs.

walking through the door and hanging your coat up, taking off your shoes and finding them a home (everything has a home). pouring yourself a coke, in a glass, with ice and throwing the can in the recycle bin. siting down to relax. not with mindless tv, rather a paper, or news of the day, or your family to TALK. after you have had a chance to wind down, get on your emails during your scheduled time and get through them all. respond to the ones that need to be responded but stay on task. when you are done, finish the night with entertainment, or even better, read a book that will get you ahead intellectually instead of behind.

what's the difference between the two approaches. mindset & attitude. you see, people are all searching for this elusive 'balance' without understanding it's yours to create on a short term and most importantly long term basis.

plan.

plan to work, plan to rest, plan to live.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

The Influence of One

About a month ago I had the opportunity to speak to a group of Little League Baseball coaches on the topic of what children want from sports and how coaches can motivate them to achieve. I have provided the training in years past and what tends to happen is that a group of coaches take the advice I provide and make changes in the way they coach and how they relate to the children they are coaching. Then there is the group that goes to the training because they have to and walk in knowing that they will not make any changes, or listen for that matter, because they know everything. To me, if you listen great, you will walk away and have the ability to make your season memorable for the participating children. If you don’t listen, then great, you just spent two hours that you will never get back because you were unwilling to even think that you might be able to learn from someone else who has ideas different from yours.

What I want to talk about today are those people who are willing to listen and actually try something new. There was one coach in particular at the training that came up to me when it was done and asked if I would come out to help with an idea he had. He spent the month from the training to last Friday coming up with a plan to get all of the teams in his league out for a baseball day where the focus was on skill development. Think All-Star weekend in any major sporting venue where they have a day of skills competition and then add in skill development.

This coach got the support from other coaches and volunteers to create a venue that made an impact on children, parents, and volunteers alike. Basically the day looked like this:
70 children decked out in their team uniforms ready to play.

20+ adults spending their Friday afternoon making sure that their children spent time outdoors playing.

6 stations that teams rotated to where they learned skills relevant to their sport

Skill challenges where the focus was on mastery first and outcome second

Two hours where families were out together as a community being active

FUN!

So, what is the point? The point is that one person, I will repeat, one person had an idea based off of information that he learned and made life better for over 100 involved people. Today we hear a lot about childhood obesity, youth sport participation levels declining, and TV viewing at 30 hours per week for the average child, and still we actively do nothing about it. The reality is that we can do something. One individual recruits others to help them with a vision, the vision is made into a reality, and the benefit is immediate and obvious. The plea is that each one of you who come across this message be the one individual, because apathetic children are a direct result of apathetic adults.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

You Get Nothing for Nothing

A disturbing trend is upon us; a trend that turns into a pattern that will ultimately turn into a norm.

Employers are desperate for employees so they are dropping their pants to make them happy. The result is that greed, a fundamental trait of the human nature, begins to drive our work force.

“They’ll offer me weekends off and buy me a trip to Hawaii for a week every year. What will you do?”

What if the answer was “We’ll push you harder than you have ever been pushed mentally and physically before but we’ll make you realize your full potential”?

Do you think people would opt for the vacation or the potential of enlightenment?

I actually don’t know what people would decide because our businesses aren’t standing firm and letting people decide for themselves. They are competing to be the biggest idiots. We can give more and give it faster than you. Thus they are setting themselves up for failure. They are teaching potential employees to ask for more and probably plan to have them do less. In a tighter and tighter market place that can’t afford to have inefficiency businesses are dropping under water level and the snorkel is getting shorter. They do it to themselves because they live with fear. Fear that they will have to do everything. Fear that this is the only person that can help them be successful and fear that nobody better is walking in the door.

The flip side is that the employees actually believe they are the best available person and deserve the accolades before they have earned them.

Give me a break. You aren’t as good as you think and you aren’t as bad as you think. For businesses that means someone who wants to earn their living is either in your system or wants to really be there and for employees that means you aren’t actually irreplaceable.

The precedent has been set where the bar is so low that it is going to be hard to raise it again. Why would you bother if someone is willing to throw you more for doing less?


One reason: because you want someone to help you be the best you can be.


Find companies that treat you fairly, challenges you [even if it frustrates you it will make you stronger and better], and want to help you reach your full potential.

Like my father said, “you get nothing for nothing” and companies are short changing their staff by letting them “do” nothing to get paid. Only in doing something will there be a reward.

Get on the bus and take the challenges that are out there.

Friday, March 09, 2007

just another job?


Below is an article that was written in February of 2006 from The Coaches Corner Magazine. It demonstrates that you have the ability to make it more than just that - for yourself and for others.



Dear Colleague,

I wasn’t real sure what I was going to write about this week until a phone call with a client a short while ago that left me smiling, happy, inspired and impressed. Here’s what happened:

For those of you who have been around this magazine for a while, you have heard me speak and/or write about the number of people who hate their jobs. I just did a yahoo search on "People who hate their jobs" and I got 755 hits. Apparently, lots of people fall in this category.

About a year ago, there was an article in USA Today reporting on two studies that produced startling statistics.
  • Only 11% of workers surveyed reported that they were strongly engaged at work. Wow. That’s only 1 in 10.

  • Even worse, only 49% of senior managers said they were strongly engaged at work and 9% said they were actively disengaged. Pretty scary.
So why so many people are not fully engaged, not inspired, not thrilled about their jobs?

Why is Monday blue, Wednesday the hump of the week and then thank God it’s Friday?

Lots of reasons. And rather than just listing them, I think I’ll explore a number of them in detail in this and the next few issues.

To start to get to the bottom of the problem, you must understand the nature of human beings. As human beings, we thrive on being related. Even further, we thrive on being intimately related. If this were not the case, why would we be so driven to have significant others, marriages, rich friendships, and strong families and why would we suffer as much as we do when those things are not present?

You’ve all heard the stories about babies who do not survive if they are not held and nurtured after birth. And what happens to people when they are held in isolation, like when prisoners are captured and kept in those conditions.

Now, map that reality onto the typical workplace. Is building strong, nurturing relationships typically stressed as essential? Are people encouraged to take such action? Do companies make consistent efforts to create a sense of team? Hardly.

More and more, people go to work. They are expected to do their jobs, there is often very little interaction, and, to make matters worse, most communications these days take place via e-mail. Face-to-face contact is almost a thing of the past. Who has the time? Is it any wonder why people aren’t thrilled about being at work?

Look around. How much of your day is spent building and maintaining strong, rich, meaningful relationships with the people around you? If you’re a manager, how much emphasis do you place on that? You really ought to give that some thought. It could just be the thing missing in your organization.

Now to my phone call earlier today. I don’t usually do this and I’m going to make an exception. My phone call was with Dan LeVeque, President of Gundlach Champion, and a construction company headquartered in Houghton, Michigan. Gundlach Champion is one division of the Champion family of companies centered in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

I had the privilege of working with Dan and his fellow officers last year and it was truly a joy to see them totally embrace the principles of Making Work Work you read about here.

What Dan is doing is having monthly meetings of essentially all of the people in his company to talk about anything other than work. That’sright; work is not a suitable subject for conversation. In the last meeting, the subject was attitude. Dan had shared with everyone theprinciples of success I wrote about last year and started the conversation by re-emphasizing the importance of gratitude, thankfulness and appreciation, and then opened the floor for discussion.

Someone wanted to know why a particular person always had such a great attitude. She shared a story about her relationship with her father which inspired her to always have a positive attitude. This opened the door for someone else to talk about the recent loses of his father and on and on.

Dan’s comment to me was that the conversation was often gut wrenching and tears were even shed. Can you imagine that? A group of people at a company meeting on a regular basis just to be with each other, to share stories, to be intimate, to be at risk, to be vulnerable, to care about each other? Can you imagine a meeting where it’s not about productivity, the latest company initiative, how to beat out the competition, how to get everyone working harder, and why they aren’t?

I wish I could take credit for this but I don’t. I didn’t tell or suggest that Dan do this. He came up with this on his own. But it came out of his commitment to create a sense of team, to build strong, rich, meaningful relationships among the people in his company, to not be one of those leaders that employees gossip about, and to create a company where people look forward to Monday and personal satisfaction is the norm.


So, if you have a job environment that functions this way already...appreciate what you have as this is NOT the norm! And, if you don't, what are you implementing today to have this for tomorrow?

Thursday, March 08, 2007

A Higher Order of Thinking (H.O.T.) Parts 4 and 5


After a hiatus last week, we are back onto the 11 stages of thinking, rationalizing, acting, basically stages of living and leading yourself. To recap, the 11 levels of thinking we identified are;


  1. Need Now: The lowest level on Maslow's Pyramid of needs. Basically, the way a baby cries for a bottle, or a toddler wants their mommy and doesn;t stop to think that they are blue in the face and whaling at the top of their lungs in Wal-Mart.

  2. Want Now: Selfish, "me, me, me" attitude combined with a hint of what they actually may want. No idea where they are headed because they are focused on the now.

  3. Not Now: As these spoiled kids get older, and responsibility hits them in the form of their first job, or chores, etc... the first reaction is often to shirk away from that responsibility.

  4. What Now?: "I have a job" or "I went to school", now what? This is that wonderful transitional period when children become adults because they stop doing what they were told, and start identifying for themselves what they want out of life.

  5. Why Now?: This is the fighting getting older/ responsibility/ having to think on their own stage. Much like the "not now' stage, only you have more money and can do more damage to yourself without any direction.

  6. Right Now: Once they truly know where they want to go, this is the first step towards truly growing up and maturing- seizing opportunities and getting busy living because it is what they want.

  7. More Now: This is where we start to increase our acheivement, desire, and effectiveness by implementing more/ better time management strategies, we improve our skill sets, and we allow ourselves to want more out life.

  8. Share Now: This is where we become less selfish and we share what we know, and where we are headed, with those who are important to us.

  9. Love Now: This is the stage of life that not everybody hits (but we hope that you do) wherein you know who you love, what you are passionate about, and why it is good to be you.

  10. Mentor Now: This is where we take the love of what we do and combine it with humility as we teach others to do the same and pass their teachings on. It is about affecting change within the world you live in.

  11. Leave Now: This is the final chapter of our evolvement- self actualization. As a matter of fact, this stage is often not complete until after we are dead, because the key to this stage- is legacy. Leaving a legacy at your job, within your home and community at large, and in the world... making it all better than you left it.

Today we are discussing stages 4 and 5 of the HOT paradigm, What Now? and Why Now? stages of thinking and rationalizing. This is to keep us on pace after a hiatus last week, but also because these stages of thinking are highly related.


In the What Now? stage, people enter a plateau in their maturity, their relationship, their job, or for many people, their life stage after completing university and landing their first career- oriented position. Why does it happen? Simple. It happens because there is no manual for how to live your life. It happens because most people need to be told what to do or what to want rather than identify it for themselves... I myself, plead guilty to doing this even this very week!


Basically, the What Now stage is focused around one thing: the search for meaning in our lives. Often if we find it (or if it finds us) we step into the Why Now stage, because we do not feel ready to accept the responsibilities that go along with the meaning we have uncovered. For instance, if you decide being a parent will bring deep meaning to you, and that is what is missing in your life; you may not want to accept the fact (Why Now?) that this means you will be cutting back on your social life, new expenses must be incurred, and your life must immediately shift from an inward (selfish) focus to an outward (selfless) focus.


Pewople will remain in the What Now? stage until they find meaning for themselves, and people will remain in the Why Now? stage until they can accept and even embrace the responsibility that goes along with their chosen life path. When this happens, life gets VERY exciting. The Right Now stage comes next and it is all about action (sometimes even too impatiently), but you will have to wait until next thursday for that message.


Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

A Winning Hand

Whatever happened to appreciating what we have?

So many individuals are too busy focusing on what they don't have (the cars, the jewelry, the purses, the mansions) and seem to forget the things they should value the most, which are right in front of them - friends & family.

Tonight, a good friend came up to me and pulled me aside to discuss - the appreciation of life. Not long ago, his mother was diagnosed with cancer. Initially it was a shock for him (and other friends and family members) to comprehend but with positive thinking and hope he began to convince himself that everything would be ok. After several months of chemo and medication, he has witnessed someone that is so close to him, go through so much pain and fear. Yesterday, he was notified by the specialists that after all of the treatment that his mother has gone through, the tumor is still growing.

Can you only imagine?

Can you imagine feeling the sense of doubt and helplessness? To watch the very person that put you on this earth...slowly pass. The fact of the matter is - it happens and it is a reality. People go through these types of challenges in life. When this happens, your perspective of life and how you live it can change that very moment.

When you live with the shadow of your own death, you automatically re-prioritize life and it enhances the potential to be more "present moment." Really, all unhappiness comes from an attempt to live in some other moment than now. Yet most of us have difficulty living in the moment because our fear keeps us attempting to plan our future to "be safe". I can't be pre-occupied with my future and be enjoying the moment at the same time. Most of us spend a lifetime being preoccupied with and planning the future. But, when the "future" arrives we can't really enjoy it because we're pre-occupied with the next future.

Don't allow fear to prevent you from living life. You have one. Make the most of it. Hit the ball out of the park. Make your dreams come true.

Get shit done.

And always remember, you can either:
  • whine about the cards that you have been dealt (which probably isn’t that bad compared to others in this world - such as suffering from an incurable disease like cancer)
  • Or, appreciate the things that you have and maximize the hand that you have got!

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Sights, Sounds, Speculations and Stargazing

For most the extra long winter has been a trying affair and it is with that sentiment that we bring you the equally trying Seven Day Sights, Sounds, Speculations and Stargazing from our wonderfully challenging world.

This week we want to illuminate a particularly telling piece that helps to back up some of swipupstream’s assertions when it comes to hiring.

This week confirmation that too much undeserved positive reinforcement when we are young leads to unrealistic expectations of our work places and bosses came from the paper. The cover page of The National Post declared, “Me generation comes of age.” The article went on to confirm The Hire Me book’s declaration that young people are coming into the work force expecting to receive a blue ribbon for plain old work, just like sports day at school and whether they deserve it or not. The article continues that many experts believe this is and will continue to be the biggest problem for companies as the “me” age group graduates from both high school and university. Conclusion: it is perfectly fine to discipline your child and let them know that they won’t be the best at everything. That is a reality and they will be better off for it when they truly earn their first blue ribbon in whatever they are really good at.

We live in a blame culture. Everyone wants to look elsewhere to point the finger. I continue to look at the media and the latest spin on environmental problems is that China is to blame. North Americans continue to look abroad rather than take their own actions to become accountable. Page 12 of the Province today is a clear example of news that is only part of the story. “Asian smokestacks spew weather-changing smoke” reads the headline. The truth is it is dramatic and those people that still read the paper daily long for the days when the evil red army was our enemy. It’s half the story. Take a look at your own environmental protocol. I bet just like my business you can find someone every day that escapes punishment when they can’t even be bothered to recycle. Asia is the least of our worries. We are our own worst enemies.

And with that we b ring the whole sordid affair to a close. We will see you next week for some more Sights, Sounds, Speculations and Stargazing from our wonderfully challenging world.