Friday, August 31, 2007

Rights, Responsibility, & Privilidge

As if it weren’t enough having to listen to all the talk about Michael Vick being involved in dog fighting, we are now subjected to the debate on whether or not he should be reinstated into the NFL when he is done serving his prison term. This potential three year conversation will be carried out for no reason other than to fill air time, sell papers, and reach agendas. The fact that Michael Vick fought dogs is a fascinating look into the power of culture, nothing more nothing less, and to have to listen to the will he or won’t he be reinstated is media hype in its ugliest form.

As I have stated before, we live in a forgiving society where we are blessed with second chances to prove that we are not the person we were when we made the initial mistake. It is also extremely relevant that we must also understand that being granted a second chance is not our choice, but the choice of the person granting the second chance.

This event has now turned into a debate about employment, on whether or not we as people have the right to be employed. The answer is that in a capitalistic society we have the right to seek employment, and I would even argue that we all have the right to be employed, but with rights comes responsibility. Our responsibility once we are employed is to become an asset to our employer, for they have given us employment. Part of this responsibility is to represent our employer, company, and ourselves in a manner that brings positive perceptions on our workplace. When we forgo that responsibility by acting in a manner detrimental to our workplace, then our employer has the right to sack us on the spot and find someone else that will do what we are not capable of. What is not a right of ours is to commit a felony, go to prison, and be granted our job back when we are done paying our debt to society.

Michael Vick is an employee of the NFL; he broke the trust of his employer by breaking the rules, giving his employer negative publicity for his actions, and lying to his boss. It is not his decision, nor is it the decision of the public to say he should be reinstated. His right to work is not in jeopardy, but his right to work for the same employer he disrespected and embarrassed is.

Holding a job, high profile or not, is a privilege we have been granted. When we abuse our privileges we are no longer in a position to demand anything, for we have given nothing positive in return. If you think that Michael Vick deserves to be reinstated into the NFL then I urge you to embarrass your employer, smear the name of the company you work for, go to jail, and see how many people are fighting for you to return to your original position. Employment and second chances are very similar; they are earned rights not demanded rights.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

The Last Excuse?


This blog is NOT about Owen Wilson and his attempted suicide. It is not about Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, or any other celebrity I could care less to meet. I am not judging any of the above celebrities, instead this blog is about anyone and everyone who feels compelled to buy the latest Star magazine to get the latest dish on their "heroes".

While shaking your head at their latest fuck ups, have you ever asked WHY so many celebrities attract so much drama, and appear to be so unhappy even though they have everything society tells us is cool and desirable?

The answer lies in 'the last excuse'. That is, for most of us, there may well be a number of reasons why we are not where we want to be in life. The fact that life is a journey is plain because we have several platforms upon whcih to improve ourselves (career, finances, our own goals, our future legacy, our families, etc). The fact is, without every advantage, the search towards happiness often turns inwards as we search for what truly makes US happy.

The reason so many celebrities are MISERABLE is because the last excuses (money, fame, status, etc) have all been removed. They are faced point blank with the fact that if they are not happy, it is because they are not happy with themselves (who they are becoming, their choices, who they surround themselves with, etc). Whether conscious or sub-conscious, the gravity of the realization that they have not followed the right path to their own reality and happiness can be crushing. The drama, the scandals, the bulshit -- are all the end result as they lash out for help, further acceptance, or resentment of their own existence (and personal choice as to what that entails).

So the lesson we can all learn is - do you need the last excuse removed before you relaize you are not pursuing true happiness? Do you need any excuse?

Or wil you grasp the concept that you can be happy, and it is not what is in your wallet, but what is in your heart that ultimately defines that? For your sake, I sincerely hope so.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Decrease the Risk?

Watching the news in Vancouver lately, you would have heard and seen a lot about this past week and the several horrifying accidents that have happened in the lower mainland. That said, our thoughts and prayers go out to all of the families and friends that were affected by the three incidents below.

Last Friday evening, a group of more than 30 people were walking together towards a home as part of a traditional Indian wedding celebration when they were hit by a truck. The driver of a pickup truck plowed into a crowd of people along a rural road in Abbotsford - killing six people and injuring 17 others.

Also on Friday night, two women, a mother and her daughter, were killed and 11 others injured as a hot-air balloon went up in flames from a unexpected explosion.

And then just three days later on Tuesday, a 37-year-old died when he had complications with his parachute during his second skydiving attempt.

They say that things happen in three's and apparently for the lower mainland these were them! All events extremely disturbing and frightening. Unfortunately, although we will grieve and pray for the families, life must go on. And that is the purpose of today's blog.

When people see this plastered all over the news, the newspaper, on the radio, on the intranet...life is put on hold. People fear. We fear that this could have been us. We tell ourselves that we will never try or do any of these ever again. And we might not. But before we say it...we must evaluate and understand the risk and percentage of incidence.

Looking at these three examples...we might pick a different mode of travel than a hot air ballon but how often are there hot air ballon tragedies? What are the chances that your parachute will not open when skydiving? Or you get hit randomly by a car during a walk across the street?

Well, I can tell you one thing...if you put yourself in a greater risk, you must be prepared for the consequence. So, make sure you understand what you are getting yourself into before you do it...And at the same time, don't put your life on hold because you fear the unexpected. If you do... you will end up fearing the idea of crossing the street!

Live life. Enjoy Life.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Reading

Statistics suggest that only 10% of people will ever enter a bookstore and purchase after they have graduated. Only 10% of people will continue to read and expand their horizons.

Learning is an imperative part of maximizing your earning potential. Reading, taking courses, newsletters and consistently upgrading your knowledge base will allow you to have greater perspective and take advantage of opportunities when they present themselves.

As the statistics state most people are stuck at graduation level for their knowledge base so to increase your competitive advantage relative to your co-workers reading is one of the simplest and most effective tactics. It hardly takes any time at all to increase your learning relative to the others you work with and by applying many of the things you can take from books and programs you will certainly have a greater chance of maximizing your life, earnings and growth.

Spend one hour a day reading on any defined subject matter and within three years you will be a leading world expert. That is a fact. Cut out television, listen to audio books while you exercise or just simply find time to relax and read. The benefits are tremendous and the chances of you being the person you have always hoped you could be are greatly enhanced. You'll probably be the first chosen for promotion or a raise because the odds are dramatically increased by what you know and how you apply it.

Continue to learn. Just one more of the secrets of the successful and happy.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Confessions of a hypocrite.



Yup, that's me....

1. I have taken a stance on things only to turn them around when it came to myself.
2. I have verbalized one approach while demonstrating the complete opposite through my actions.
3. I have presented as someone who has my shit together, when there were times I clearly did not have my shit together.
4. I believe in Global Warming but drive a diesel truck

I’m not too worried, I certainly don’t spend time beating myself up for it on a daily basis, but I am aware. I try to prevent it by writing (stories, books, blogs), sharing (perspectives, thoughts anecdotes), listening (to opinions, views and reasons) and most importantly taking action and small steps to ensure I stay on the highest road possible.

I encourage those around me to call me on my bullshit. Those who truly respect me do…. and that makes me lucky. Overall, it’s a trait I would one day like to live without. Being able to have views and stick to my beliefs at a high level. Overall, i am proud to know I have done much much more good to myself and the world around me than bad.

I am realistic. If I were not a hypocrite, I would be perfect – and since there is no such thing as perfect, I am ok admitting I have been hypocritical. Sometimes admitting is half the battle.


It takes the pressure off denying.


Are you giving your best effort to practice what you preach?

Friday, August 24, 2007

The Law of Attraction

Widely regarded as the Supreme Buddha, Gautama Buddah, the founder of Buddhism once said, "What you have become is the result of what you have thought". The idea of this is that thoughts introduced into reality can attract like energy, you think positive thoughts and good things will happen, when you fear for the worst, well, that will happen as well. As this theory moved west in the 19th century it became known as the Law of Attraction and was changed to “you get what you think about; your thoughts determine your experience”.

The law of attraction has become the belief that your predominant thoughts, feelings, words, and actions have control over your reality by pulling in the energy you create, positive or negative. Unfortunately we seem to attract more of the negative than positive these days.

Our predominant thoughts are those of fear. We fear that we are not safe, we fear that we will not succeed, we fear that our children will be taken in the night, we fear a lot. Now I’m not going to tell you that through the law of attraction your children will be abducted, but it is obvious that this society is becoming more and more fearful. By our fearing the very world we live in we are creating more to be fearful of, or in other words we are becoming what we have thought.

Our predominant feelings are those of mistrust, a byproduct of fear. We do not trust that our partner is faithful, that our educators are educating, that our government cares about us, we mistrust a lot. This mistrust is leading to a lack of genuine human interaction and acts of good faith. In this current society it is getting harder and harder to create trusting relationships with others because from a young age we are taught that people are inherently evil (see fear). By avoiding the opportunities to form trust within, or to give trust first, we are constantly waiting for someone to prove something to us before we give it to them. When our thoughts are focused on everyone being untrustworthy, we become untrustworthy as well.

Our predominant words are those of blame, so that we are not held accountable. We blame others for our faults, for our failures, for our misfortune, we blame a lot. The blame game has caused a severe lack of accountability in this world and it is bleeding into the way the world is being run. When we teach society that it is not their fault, we create a society of victims. When we teach society about their role in whatever action took place, positive or negative, we create empowerment. By not holding celebrities, politicians, students, et al. accountable for their actions they begin to think that they are not accountable, therefore becoming just that.

Our predominant actions are those of inaction. We allow our children to sit in front of televisions and computers for hours each day, we wait for others to initiate a project at work, we wait for someone else to do it, we are inactive a lot. In the past 20 years there has been a marked shift in how active people become, or in this case have not become. We are raising a generation that prefers to sit down all day and wait for others to fulfill their needs. Because of this we are seeing a new workforce emerge where new employees sit down all day and wait for someone to tell them what to do. We have spent so much time thinking that our children need us to survive and in doing so our children have become dependant adults.

The law of attraction is designed to enhance our reality. In order to enhance our reality we must first begin to focus our thoughts on opportunity, not fear. We need to begin feel trusted and give that feeling to others. If we are to enhance our reality we need to become accountable for the actions we make and not blame others for our faults. None of this will ever happen when we don’t take the time to make action out of our day. The law of attraction can and will work in our favor when we make an investment in ourselves and our surroundings, through our thoughts, feelings, words, and actions.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

It's All Around Us


It's an exciting time to be alive folks... summer is with us for another month, the kids go back to school in about 2 weeks, and most noteably, there are some great causes to get behind to share the wealth, opportunity, and priveledge that bought you the computer you are using to read this right now.

For those of you who have followed Tim Harriman's journey (www.spokemantour.com) across Canada to raise money for the Children's Cancer Foundation, he is finishing his 7738km journey tomorrow! Over 3000 people have signed his petition to name September Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, and nearly $100,000.00 has been raised to those efforts! During Tim's ride, he cycled with 2 other riders doing the same thing - rasing money for the same cause!

In 3 weeks time, the brave souls of Team H2V (www.teamh2v.com) will host the kickoff event that precedes their 6000+km journey non-stop from Halifax to Vancouver in an astonishing and record-breaking 9 days!!! This monumental event will hopefully lead to over $1,000,000.00 being raised to fight juvenile diabetes; an affliction that one of the riders' daughters' is currently suffering with.

There is money being raised for the victims of Hurricane Dean (and you can bet more will be raised if that Class 5 Hurricane reaches the United States)...

the list goes on. The point is, I've spent considerable time with each of the brave and noble souls behind these legendary events, and the one thing that grabbed me was; exceptional as they ALL may be - NONE were so different than you or I that we can't do something great too.

The thing that separates the aforementioned heroes is not that they were born more athletic... it is just their unwavering care and dedication to take time from their lives and give of themselves to help their fellow mankind. THAT is what I hope you will take from today's blog, and give to a charity close to your heart; be it kids or cancer or adult reading campaigns or women's shelters... there are countless ways to give.

The great news is - you don't need to be overwhelmed at how many people need help. There are 6.5 billion people in the world; and we all have our own vested interests. Pick something close to your heart... and give (time, energy, money, yourself, whatever).

But Give - because we all can.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

stop to smell the roses.


There are times in life that we get so focused on our professional or physical goals, we forget to look at the whole picture. In many cases, our focus on the goal itself obscures the other parts of our lives. Instead of taking a moment to stop and smell the flowers along the path, we walk as quickly as we possibly can toward our destination. In some cases, we literally kick those flowers out of the way trying to reach our goals.


We’re all guilty of ignoring things we shouldn’t be in favor of other things, but it’s a hard habit to break. For example, maybe you don’t have time to spend with your family throughout the week in favor of spending all of your time together on the weekend. The problem with that scenario, though, is that you’ve spent so much time ignoring your family during the week, they no longer want to spend time with you on the weekend.

Unfortunately, you can't always predict what life brings, and in order to be flexible enough to reach your goals and stop and smell those flowers along the path to that goal, these tips may be helpful.

1. make your to-do list or your schedule as rounded as possible. life isn't just about business. it is also about family/relationships, physical fitness, social interaction, spiritual/relaxation time, etc. don't forget to enjoy other great aspects that life has to offer.

2. prioritize. while you shouldn’t procrastinate, you should remember that tasks that can be held until the next day should be if necessary. for example, if you have to choose between taking 2 hours to watch your son's little league baseball game and finishing the power-point presentation that needs to be done in a week - choose the little league baseball game.

3. learn to multi-task. if there are activities that can be combined, then do so - as it will save you time in the long run. for example, if you are able to go for a run with a friend to catch up with life while having a great workout at the same time...then, kill two birds with one stone to save that time.

4. plan ahead. the more time you give yourself (as well as others) to plan around things, the more time you will create for yourself. don't wait until the last minute to book the appointment or to complete a task. think long-term and work towards it as opposed to feeling out of control and panicing last minute.


Remember, completely being able to take control of your time is just not possible. Other things will intervene, but ultimately the more organized, you are, the better you’ll be able to handle everything you need to accomplish in an effective manner. It’s possible to smell those metaphorical flowers on the road to reaching your destination, but you must plan ahead to make it happen or you will miss everything along the way!


Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Things I Have Learned

Listen more and talk less.
You may never find out what useful piece of wisdom was coming when you interrupt or don’t pay attention.

Quality and quantity are important when raising children.
Your attention will be treasured and your presence will always be felt.

Always trust first.
It is greater to be open and true to yourself than to never learn from others.

Laughter is the greatest medicine.
Taking time to laugh and have fun will put years on your life and, more importantly, life into the time you have.

Fear is the real Cancer.
Being paralyzed because of an unknown outcome is no way to live. If you fear it you must overcome it.

Nature vs. nurture.
It is both. Stop arguing about it and handle what you can. Nurture is in your control. Nature is not. Get over it.

The job is never done perfectly doesn’t mean stop trying to do it perfectly.
It is much better to start and fail than to never have started. See Fear above.

Balance is not an every day act but it is an action of sacrifice.
Balance is a lifetime act; it ebbs and flows and gives and takes. You must give to get and conversely those around you must understand the same concept for a successful partnership.

You can’t control how others think.
It is only you that you can control. Stop trying to control others. However, I have learned to never let lack of control stop me from attempting partnership. See Trust above.

Attitude is everything.
How you think is how you play. It’s as simple as that really.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Who?

Who is going to replace Merv Griffin & Elvis; entrepreneurs, entertainers, creators of good things for people?

Who is going to take a hit for Tony Gwinn & Cal Ripken Jr. Baseball players and sports legends who inspired many out of nothing more than the love of the sport?

Who is the next Lucile Ball, Mary Tyler Moore, Jane Fonda, Oprah Windfrey, Tina Turner, to inspire & empower woman by being nothing more than themselves?

Who is taking the torch from Vince Lombardi & Bobby Knight and leading boys to men through the proven system of challenge, adversity & victory?

Who do we see taking over the roles of Lady Diana, Desmond Tutu. Mother Teresa, Nelson Mandella, JFK ignoring ‘policy’ for integrity & belief?

Who is singing to the next generation like the Beatles & the Rolling Stones with a purpose and lasting impact?

Who’s going to hold the jock straps of Robert Redford, Paul Newman, while they continue to teach men how to be men?

Ans: If you are reading this, the answer is likely you or me. So lets get started, because none of the aforementioned stood around asking “who?” and it seems like an entire generation has missed the script.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Reinvention

One of the greater gifts given to us in this life is the ability for us to reinvent ourselves no matter what mistakes or errors we have made along the way. We live in a forgiving society where in most cases we are two steps away from regaining our credibility. The first step is to actually take accountability for what we did wrong and apologize sincerely to those we affected both directly and indirectly. The second step is to actually make the changes necessary in your life so that people will believe your words are genuine through your actions. Time alone will not heal all wounds, but time and actions will allow you to get more people back on your side in less amount of time.

There are two reason people choose to reinvent themselves, 1) because they have hit rock bottom either personally or emotionally, but still have some fight left in them, or 2) because they are not satisfied in their immediate position in life and recognize that they are at a standstill (not always rational). The reason for reinvention is far less significant than the reasons that we don’t reinvent. Anyone can say that they are going to make changes in their lives that will create a new self, only to continue the same habits and behaviors that allowed them to hit rock bottom or become stale. This happens more than not because in order to make significant reinvention steps we must be able to address our personal demons.

Fear is the most common reason we fail to do anything because it is an emotion we choose not to confront and deal with, an emotion we would rather avoid all together. In order to step out of the comfortable and in to something new we must feel fear, it is necessary in letting us know that we are moving in the right direction. In relation to the reinvention process, if you are not feeling fear then you are not making changes that are of any significance. Reinvention is getting out of the normal/comfortable standards and actions that you have set for yourself, so when you decide to change these norms it should and will create fear, stress, and anxiety. What we need to do in order to successfully get past these fears is to know exactly why we are making the changes that we are making and recruit others to help us along our way. Motivation is the combination of direction and intensity of actions, so when we have an exact direction to move in and help from others to continue with passion and energy we will negate some of the fear response change creates.

Our inability to learn is another reason why we fail to reinvent. Every action we take in life creates either a positive or a negative consequence, and when we fail to recognize or learn from these consequences then we stunt our ability to make the changes necessary to reinvent. We can play blind or unaware and get by, but in order to succeed we need to continually learn about ourselves and our situational behavior as well as how others respond to us in these arenas. When we choose not to learn, we choose to remain static, which is the antithesis of reinvention.

Whether you are forced into reinvention or you have made the choice to reinvent yourself you must understand that like life, this is a process. A process that is available to you when you want it and on your terms. Reinvention will not be successful if it is for any reason other than internal reward. There are no shortcuts or magic bullets you can take if you are to do it correctly. Internal prospective, perseverance, and genuine sincerity is your best bet in not just reinventing yourself, but in getting those around you to embrace and support your efforts….even if they are the ones you are trying to regain credibility with.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Another Example


This is a picture of the car that one of our bright young stars drove to work every day... past tense. That was until this past Tuesday night when a group of assholes decided it would be fun for 5 minutes to smash someone's car (all 5 windows) and then laugh about it later. That 5 minutes is going to cost her close to $1000.00.

The moral of the story, however, is not that assholes exist- we already know that because we see them almost every day... The moral of the story is what happens when we embrace a positive championship mentality amidst a shitty situation, because we also will all have to face those from time to time.

So this young girl who normally comes in with a GREAT attitude was noticably distraught. When she explained the situation, she immidiately got her game face on, and then greated the customers and gave them again -- GREAT service. In her words, "people don't pay good money to hear my problems". SO TRUE!

The moral continues in that the same girl could not have known that today she walked in, and was presented with 3 opportunities for new responsibility, greater income, and a chance to pursue her passion(s). We focused on 1 (that we had in mind for her from the start, but did not impose upon her) and after she picked that exact one. Now her employer is back to work to come up with a compensation model and teaching plan to give her what she wants, that she never even had to ask for.

The moral finishes with... if she came in with the WRONG attitude, we would not have put more on her plate for fear of overwhelming her "at a tough personal time".

Quite simply, the moral is -- you can either focus on your problems, or on solutions... and today we saw a practical example of where each line of thought gets us in the real world.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Never Give Up.


If you have been following major league baseball lately, you would have deinitely heard of one particular amazing story…possibly the story of the year…and it’s not the draining controversy surrounding Barry Bonds' summer-long chase of Hank Aaron's mystical home run record…but the story of Rick Ankiel and the St. Louis Cardinals.


As a teenager, Rick Ankiel was both the High School Pitcher of the Year and the Minor League Player of the Year. At the of age 20, his first full year in the big leagues, he won 11 games for the Cardinals, struck out over a man per inning, and logged an ERA a run below the league average. He possessed a mid-90s fastball and a devastating curve and his future seemed unimaginably vast.


Then one afternoon everything fell apart. You may know the story: he started Game 1 of the 2000 NLDS against the Braves, was sailing along with a big lead in the third inning, then walked four of the next eight hitters and uncorked five wild pitches. His throws hit off the catcher’s glove, hit the backstop, hit everything but over the plate. It was a disaster, an agonizing meltdown on national TV. These five wild pitches began a downward spiral to his career that would ultimately see him decide to walk away from pitching in 2005.

Although he would no longer try to pitch, Ankiel also dealt with a number of injuries in addition to wildness, he would not quit on baseball. Because he looked like a solid left-handed hitter, Ankiel decided to have the confidence to try to become a position player.

The effort to switch positions was not going to be easy. In fact, if you know anything about baseball, pitchers aren't supposed to hit or be good at — specifically even in the National League. And little did he expect that this effort was going to include a trip to the low minor leagues and a slow process of working his way up the Cardinal minor-league system. However, he did just that, and there was progress every step of the way.

Ankiel’s turnaround has been amazing. Throughout all his difficulties, Ankiel never cried or complained about his fate publicly. He took responsibility and then decided to do something about it.

The transition from pitcher to slugging outfielder is phenomenol. And that is the beauty of this story. Watching someone having early success in the professional career to witnessing them battle through all the adversity with his pitching career, as well as his injuries, to experiencing the victory of not only playing in the major leagues one more time but making an impact…is remarkable. That is never giving up.

So, if you get knocked down…have the confidence, belief, and work ethic to stand up to the plate and give it one more try. If it worked for Rick…there is no question that it could work for you!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Your Butterfly Effect

Stats suggest that 2 out of 3 people are effected by low self-esteem issues.

This problem, perhaps more than any, has a dramatic effect on how our organizations perform and how our families interact.

With that in mind it is time to build your self confidence because we at swimupstream believe you are better than you think. Let us show you how great you are.

  • You are important. When you decide that you need a day off because you are tired, exhausted or just want to hang on the beach people miss you. They miss you doing your job. They miss you because they don't want to do what you are responsible for. They want you to be there so they can do their job and build their self-esteem by performing at their highest level. You should see how much people talk about you when you decide not to do what you said you would.
  • The work you do is recognized. When you were given a job to perform you decided to get paid for it and we all expected your best. When you do your best we notice. When you don't we talk about the potential you have rather than the effort you have given. My goodness you are great when you do what you are capable of.
  • You have voice. We all know you have something to say and that what you say is important. If what you said wasn't worth hearing then how could your whining and moaning about how hard you work and how tough your life is affect others or your mood. But it does so what you say must be of consequence.
  • You are capable of great things. Your influence is incredible. When you complain about things either in person or online people pay attention. People are so attracted by your dramatic word that you must be a great leader. Your influence is strong.
You are a somebody and we can't wait for what you will leave as a legacy for this world. You are strong, vibrant, a doer and someone that we can all look up to. Just look at the influence you have.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Marcel Da Silva

Ladies and gentlemen, meet the player of the week last week Marcel Da Silva. We met Marcel through doing business with a great marketing firm Myron Creative. Marcel is our definition of a consummate professional.

1. Punctual
2. Pleasant
3. Invested
4. Positive

Each time you walked into the business, Marcel would welcome you with a big smile and be as interested in what you were up to as he was at showing you what he had created. He wasn't putting time into doing the job, Marcel was living out his passion.

So why is Marcel the player of the week?

Well, last week was Marcel's last day at this particular firm. Another offer from another agency, opportunity and time to change things up a little. Change is good. This would be the true test for Marcel, not how he acted when he was an employee of this firm, but how he would conduct himself on the way out. Rival business in some sense, number 1 guy at his current firm, we know how things could pan out because we've seen it before.

But not this time.

I got the call from Marcel on Wed afternoon, It started with him stating today was his last day, he enjoyed the time we spent working together, liked our projects, and would be following the swimupstream content and keeping in touch. No mention of the company he was transferring to, no ingenuine pitch to call him at this number, no negativity what so ever. In fact, probably nothing to a man who already lives his life this way anyways.

I saved the message for a few days, shared it with my friends, managers, co-workers. It serves as an important lesson on moving on with class.

There are many Marcel's around the world and we need to thank and recognize them for the level of enthusiasm they bring to the table. If we are going to focus on the shortcomings of those who are doing it wrong, then it's important to focus on those who are doing it right too.We can all take a page out of Marcel's chapter on integrity.

Marcel Da Silva. You did it right. It was recognized and we invite you to hold your head high as you find your place amongst a small percentage of people who maintain their level of class as they move from one opportunity to another.

BRAVO.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Who Have You Stepped Over?

In 2006 a British mountaineer named David Sharp attempted his goal of climbing Mount Everest. At 28,000 feet David struggled for life as 40 other climbers set on the summit passed him by without even offering help. Ultimately David died in that very spot. How many of the 40 made the summit? I don’t know. How many of the 40 have some accountability for the loss of a human life? All of them. Somewhere throughout time our focus has shifted to “me” rather than “us” and in doing so we have begun to diminish the act of achievement, therefore weakening the spirit that exists in humanity.

As humans we have an essential need to achieve, to set and reach certain goals that help define our existence to us and those we associate with. This essential need however, does not give us the right to overlook and step over those that have greater needs than ourselves, or those who set the original goal in a fair and just way. We all have goals in life and have different reasons for achievement, but in order to truly achieve there needs to be a greater emphasis on how we achieve rather than simply achieving.

The road to the top is difficult no matter how you look at it, and there is responsibility on our path. Yes, we will drop some of our competitors along the way, but when we resign to dirty tactics and immoral ethics, we lose the internal and external respect that comes with major accomplishments. Business and sports share many similarities because the need to achieve is great in both arenas. When things are done correctly, both business’s and athletes are celebrated for their ability to be great, but when ethical questions arise out of how they achieved their success you are faced with questions about the authenticity of their accomplishments (Barry Bonds and Enron). It needs to be understood that doing something the right way should be and will be celebrated by the masses. If you choose to cheat and compromise the spirit of achievement you should be scrutinized and questioned by the masses, because you took the honor out of your achievement.

Ultimately when you achieve you will be recognized, and for many, that defines their chase. When external recognition becomes greater than the idea of internal accomplishment, we run into others that are willing to compromise in order to be immortalized. When we leave others for dead or cheat our way to the top, we will gain recognition and in some cases immortality, but we will never gain the respect that was earned by those that achieved ethically.

For those 40 people that walked passed David Sharp, to the new home run “king”, and to all of you who have cheated your way to the top, enjoy your accomplishment because you are the only ones who will. The rest of us just think that you are selfish assholes who deserve all of the negativity that surrounds your accomplishment.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Inside the Quotes: Church Speak

As leaders, we are tasked with coming up with as many mediums with which to provide our messages as is necessary until our students, subjects, staff, colleagues, hell; the world -- get it. Leaders come in all shapes & sizes, and across all sectors of society.

This week, we are hit with some truth from our brothers from a church in Red Deer, AB. While I do not profess to be a deeply religious man (not going into that debate today), I do know that wisdom is wisdom; wherever it comes from.

While taking 2 of my friends from Vancouver on a fishing trip to my grandfather's cabin, the Law of Attraction was hard at work. My one friend works for the BC provincial fitness regulative organization. While he and I were discussing the challenges of getting people on board with a mission (albiet a change) that would be in THEIR OWN BEST INTERESTS (still ironic that some people need to be convinced what is good for them before hand which they resist and then bitch about the outcome later) when it hit us....

Call it a sign from above- it read,

"Experience is a hard teacher. It gives the test before the lesson"

And what a deep and meaningful saying. Imagine if your teacher gave you the final exam on the first day of class. After you got 12% on an exam because you knew nothing going in, but you knew you'd have to ace that exam by the end of the semester, how much harder would you try, and how much more would each lesson sink in?

That's life folks. We are hit with the challenges first, and then, with the proper mindset, we come to the lessons second after we ask ourselves what have we learned from our failures, struggles, and ultimate triumphs.

That is, unless we continue to coddle our children and prevent them from having the same experiences we did and thus learning the same valuable lessons. Experience may be a hard teacher, but as such it's one of the best we've got. As an employer, employee, parent, child, HUMAN BEING; keep this valuable tool in your reportoire, and any time adversity strikes (which hopefully it will) ask not "why me?"; ask "what now, what am I learning?"

And it is no mystery that this perspective amongst adversity is what separates victim from victorious.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Being Our Own Worst Enemy...

We have all been guilty of it! A couple solid performances (in business, personal decisions, physical accomplishments, etc) and then think we are the shit! Even if it temporarily goes through our minds...it still is taking place. And this isn’t to say that being successful isn’t worth patting yourself on the back, because a little self-congratulating is always helpful when you’ve put a lot of work into something.

The problem is that when a little self-congratulation takes the form of an ego, we tend to make careless errors on a much bigger scale than we would have before we picked up an ego. If it’s dealing with business and working with people, we may decide that we can make a better or smarter decision than the person that is actually more capable to deliver. If we’re dealing with sports, we may decide to try and be that ‘hero’ to get something done that actually puts us further behind.

The trick is to stay grounded. This means being accountable with yourself at all times.

So how?

One of the best ways to stay grounded after any form of success is to give yourself a fair assessment of what you did right, but always find areas to improve. If you can let yourself enjoy success but never be satisfied with it, you’ll set yourself up for even greater victories in the future. Of course you can take the time to smell the roses, but think about it - successful people in vastly different areas are never satisfied with the successes they have, they just don’t let it go to their head. Think about Tiger Woods, he keeps winning, breaking records, but he also keeps finding areas to improve. It’s really no surprise that he’s consistently at the top of his game is it?

So…don’t be your own worst enemy.

If you have or think you have an ego - drop it. And even worse, if you don’t think you do…look at yourself and evaluate because unless you have taken time to do that, you probably have exactly that.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Letter From God

To: You
Sent: Today
Subject: Your Life

Hello it's God. I am here to help you resolve all of your problems. Please realize that I do not need your help but you most certainly need mine. If you are having some difficulty and cannot handle a particular situation, do not attempt to resolve it. Kindly place a memo in the OGTD [Outbox for God To Do] box. Once you have placed said memo in this box please refrain from holding onto these thoughts and move on with your life.
  • If you find yourself stuck in traffic; don't despair. There are people in this world for whom driving is an unheard of privilege.
  • If you have a bad day at work; think of the person who has been out of work for years.
  • Should you become heart broken over a relationship gone bad; think of the person who has never known what it's like to love and be loved in return.
  • If you shudder at the thought of Sunday evening coming to soon and missed opportunities for your precious weekend; think of the woman in desperate need, working twelve hours a day, seven days a week just to feed her children.
  • If your car breaks down, leaving you stranded miles from help; think of the physically disabled who would love nothing more than to have to take that walk.
  • If your child should annoy you one more time; think of the families that would pay any amount of money to have the ability to have their own child annoy them.
  • If you should lose in a sports match; be thankful you have the time and ability to play as others could only hope to walk.
  • Should you find a grey hair; think of the cancer patient in chemo who wishes she had hair to examine.
  • Should you be annoyed at excessive reading for school or work; think of the person who never had the opportunity to go to school and advance their position in life.
  • Should you be frustrated that it is raining; think of those without eyesight who could only wish they could see the drops as they hit an open lake.
  • Should you find yourself the victim of other people's bitterness, ignorance, smallness or insecurities; remember, things could be much, much worse.
You could be them.

Monday, August 06, 2007

In good times! But in bad?

Yup, 2 blogs today, why not... its the long weekend.

End of last week i heard the 245th stupedist thing of the year. CUPE leaders rationale for why Vancouvers inside city workers went on strike. [as an aside, the % raises you guys get from striking barely cover your wages lost during your lock out - does anyone realize how futile this effort is?]

"There has been a surplus in business due to better economic times and we feel the labour force deserves a share of that surprlus".

Really?

No seriously.... really?

Ok, Einstein - that's a deal i would ink in 1 second, right after your DUMB ASS signs off on the labour force assuming financial responsibility for losses incurred for the past 10 years when there wasn't a surplus. Surely in your name of team - sharing - all for one, you also deserve to have your wages garnished to help pay off massive debts companies incurred.

What's that? "Not your responsibility", ya, that's what i thought. Put your hand back in your pocket where it can massage your brain a little longer before you speak.

They used you.

Dear Brittany, Paris, Lynsday, Nicole and other aspiring jackasses of all trades.

Hollywood doesn't care about you.

I know, I know.... some agent strolled up to you at some pageant your parents stuck you in because they are pathetically attempting to live vicariously through you and told you "you're the one".

They went home, and developed a brilliant marketing scheme that vaulted you from nobody to somebody in a matter of 2 years. They put their arm around you and told you since you could, sing, you could probably act, launch a clothing line, own a restaurant, get paid to party, create nude video's, have a reality show, be above the law. even if you burned out in less than 3 years, they could still get you a gig on the Surreal Life and strip you of the last little shred of dignity you may have.

You hopped on that gravy train and made a shit load of money. it happened so fast and with so much force you began to believe you were invincible until....

One day, there was a new flavor ushered in by your peoples. a new train wreck waiting to be thrust into the limelight for the calendar year. a sucker who would also be judged, graded, slammed, critiqued, criticized and who's every move would be so closely monitored that they couldn't win. in the end, we would all step back in shock when they imploded exclaiming "poor thing".

and to your parents. it's really to bad you can't fire your parents - because THEY SUCK AT THEIR JOBS! (facilitating their kids enduring this) what are / were you thinking (nevermind you published a book mrs spears - we know what you were thinking).

profiting from your children's tragedy. only in America could we do this with such disregard and blind frequency.

so, now you are a has been at 25, waiting for another 5 years until you get the call from people magazine for the where are they now issue. well, i for one hope the answer to that is rebounding off rock bottom, because you couldn't be digging yourself into bigger holes than you already have and its a crying shame, because not for one second would i infer you weren't talented at your (original) craft.

you are simply not talented at surrounding yourselves with the "right" people.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Rome Didn't Fall in a Day Either

The fall of the Roman Empire was a multifaceted combination of errors, many of which today are continually analyzed, studied, and debated; in part because there are similarities to what the US is experiencing currently, as well as the fact that if you don’t know history then you are condemned to repeat it. One continuing theme that is recognized as a reason for the fall is the decline in morals and values of the Roman people. Near the end of the Roman Empire large cities were generally unsafe because of crime, prostitution was rampant, gluttony was common place, and the main form of entertainment were gladiator fights. Now, I am not going to try and convince you that the Roman Empire fell because of this, or that the US will fall because of their current society, but it is interesting to me that we are seeing similar societal declines from generation to generation.

Crime rates in the US are highest in the big cities, mostly because that is also where the most people reside which has a trickle down effect on the amount of crime, but not just a coincidence. While prostitution is not rampant, it is prevalent. More notably, children are having sexual relations and showing sexualized behaviors at a much younger age than ever before. Gluttony is common place; in fact it is the norm. Super-sized meals are creating the greatest generation of obese people the world has ever seen and if you think our gluttonous nature is just related to food, think again. Young Hollywood is a great example, but so far beyond normal it doesn’t count, so just look at what the average young person has in material goods. Nearly every teenager has a cell phone, television, gaming system, computer, and a wardrobe that includes….yes those magical $400 pair of jeans. Even our entertainment has become more and more violent with the increasing popularity of Ultimate Fighting and more current to the news, dog fighting.

Much like the last generation of the Roman Empire, this current generation of young people has been exposed to these behaviors at a young age and understands them as the norm. Turn on any television for more than an hour and you are bound to see crime, sex, gluttony, and violence. Today’s children are on average watching more than 4 hours of television a day, so imaging how much exposure they are getting before they go on the internet and see what is uncensored. Crime on television used to be saved for late night programming when the adults were watching, sex went as far as kissing unless you had premium channels, meals were prepared at the home because eating out even at a fast food chain was a luxury, and boxing was the only live violent entertainment where we saw people hit each other (or hockey for you in Canada).

At some point we as adults need to stop talking about censoring what and how much our children are watching on television or the internet, and actually follow through with our empty promises. We need to spend time with our children and educate them between right and wrong instead of expecting a teacher or a PSA to parent for us. Parenting appears to be more of a hobby than an actual responsibility and using the television as a babysitter is commonplace. We now sit our children in front of a T.V. during homework, dinner, bedtime, and on car rides, so when are we actually talking to our children and parenting? For those of you adults that don’t think that television relates to the behavior of society, put down your poker cards or get off of your poker website, and pay attention. Since poker became a television show the game went from a weekly man’s getaway to one of the most popular games played today, one that which I’m sure you have played recently.

A society with no morals or values is a society that has no value. If the US is to fall in the same manner as the Romans then our inability to teach moral responsibility and values to our children puts the blame on us. My father had this conversation with me when I was young, his father had this conversation when he was young, and now I am having this conversation with you. Why? Because my Grandfather is a part of what is considered the greatest generation, and we are currently a generation that pales in comparison to their morals, values, and integrity. If you don’t see this as fact, then unfortunately we might be too far gone.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Do You REALLY Want It?


Today's blog is about you. It is about me. and it is about choice, and more importantly, action.

Above we see Maslow's hierarchy of needs; often just called Maslow's pyramid. What is truly striking about this schematic is how many of these levels we have acheived as a society, and yet how unhappy we all seem to be.

At the base of the pyramid are physiological needs (hunger, thirst, and sex). The first 2 (especially for most of us in North America) are an afterthought. We already have them. The third one, well that's just complicated, and while we may WANT more, our needs are basically met.

The next level (Safety Needs) includes shelter and protection. While homelessness is a major issue, and public safety also; the percentage of people whom share this as their primary concern day to day is remarkably low.

The third level is of social needs; a sense of belonging and love. We'll come back to this...

The fourth level is esteem needs - self esteem, recognition, and status.

The fifth level is self actualization. That is, the acheivement of one's potential or purpose.

So, especially for anyone who will actually read this - having a computer and the freedom to peruse self - actualization pursuits means the first 2 levels have inevitably been acheived.

Here is our problem at stage 3. A sense of belonging and love. What does that mean? Solid family values, a close knit family, strong social ties, and a sense of community are what this level is all about. Let's face the facts - straight up- our society is fucked. Being that society is the collective entity of our community interests and state of well-being; if society is fucked than so fucked must be our communities.

So we start out as lost souls searching for self esteem, status, and belonging. And how do we acheive this? We play right into the hands of the corporate machine, and we buy what Paris or Lindsay wore to their latest social gala. We iPod and Blackberry and Gucci our asses into an empty void that was supposed to fill us with a sense of belonging. Esteem maybe - "that pretentious asshole paid a compliment to my $400 jeans, so now I feel a temporary sense of esteem!"

and then we wonder at the lack of a sense of purpose we feel, or how self actualization is a buzz word thrown around by philosophers and psycology majors, not for a Dad with bills and a job.

Are we listening to ourselves??? We deviate from the path that is clearly laid out, we don't reach our destination, and then we call bullshit on the road map. And why? Because our forefathers who never had as many 'esteem' material goods as we do busted their asses to provide the first two levels for us.

The funny (and by that I mean sad) part is, broke as many of them were, their selfless, yet purposeful work led many of them to a state of fulfilled happiness (and self actualization) while their decendants reaped the spoils (materially speaking) and have no idea how to do the same for ourselves, let alone our children.

But go ahead and support the "save Lindsay" campaigns as we collectively become enablers instead of obeying the law of natural selection that (as Scott has pointed out the last 2 Fridays) must apply to every species BUT us....

...or you could take a closer look at the road map and realize that in order to get to stage 5, you need to learn a few lessons at stage 3 to set you on the path again; thus bettering you and your offspring to never forget the lessons our forefathers assumed we would never forget (let alone never learn in the first place). If you fail to read the map or pay attention, you don't get there and the world passes you by (as it should).

The last point is- I bet Maslow used a pyramid because in order to reach the top, each previous level must be built on a solid foundation, and thus in order to reach the top(self actualization) no step in the process can be skipped. But if you know something Maslow didn't, keep buying the $400 jeans, because maybe they will fill your life with a sense of deep and meaningful purpose after all...

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

BE the conductor of your band.


if you bring SELFISHNESS to the table - know that
you either already are OR will become the root of all failure!

Selfish people might have money and material possessions.
Selfish people might be very talented individuals.
Selfish people might portray success.


However, true success is not represented by selfish behaviors.

In reality, leaders can be developed with good role models, leadership development, and encouragement to be true leaders. But before any nurturing can take effect, the leader-in-waiting must start with one essential outlook - the understanding that it is about everyone but YOU.

When it becomes about YOU...groups, along with yourself, will fail to reach their full potential due to selfishness. Businesses will fail due to greed. Families will break and see children suffer. And careers will be ruined for the pursuit of selfish gains. There is truly no good in selfish desires.

So...

Become the conductor of your band.
Take on the role to coach, encourage, support, and occasionally push.
Be that person that get's the best music out of the musicians.

And then be that conductor that NEVER makes a sound.