Wednesday, December 31, 2014

I challenge you to make a difference.

You don't have to wait to be someone special to change the world. 
In most examples, you just have to be you.
It begins by identifying your passion & skill set
Continues through the confidence in yourself, conviction in your ideas & consistency in your action
Let's change the landscape in 2015 starting with ourselves.
Happy New Year.

*See you Jan 2016. I've got work to do in 15. 

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Be grateful during the season of giving.

Picture speaks 1000 words. We must remind ourselves how fortunate we are. Particularly during the Christmercialization season. Teach your children how to be grateful. If they don't learn it from you, they won't learn it from anyone else.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Business success IS the right process.

    Something great happened 4+ yrs ago when a good idea forced me out of my management  comfort zone. For the previous 15 yrs, I was quagmired in our operational routine. Because there wasn't a successful out of the box personal-training-by-appointment-boutique-business-model to emulate, we were forced to create our own processes through trial & error. We would pioneer our way through varying degrees of success & failure but quickly realize our biggest struggle was going to come from people management.

People management is challenging because no two people are the same. What motivates one may not motivate the other(s) and regardless of how many 'how to manage' books you read, leadership courses you attend or personality characteristics you understand, there's 100% of a 2 person relationship you cannot control. We concluded the right person in our organization, was the person who followed the right process on a consistent basis. No more. No less. This forced us to change the original process of hiring friends and people 'with potential' and as you can imagine, few made it to the next level. Our key take away? There's the process.... and then there's the right process. The two are very different.

Regardless, I hated them both. My personality wasn't process oriented. I wanted us to be able to do what we wanted, how we wanted, when we wanted like the old days. I didn't need to be held accountable, hated feeling like I was being micro managed and blamed and/or avoided those who were giving me the Q&A I needed to hear vs the Q&A I wanted to hear. But as we continued to grow, I began to see how much more work my short sightedness was creating and subsequently taking us further away from our organizational goals. This was a reality I had not previously understood.

Enter The 60 Minute Kidsclub. A business suggestion to differentiate ourselves at the next level by creating a charity more closely aligned with our company values. I took the challenge two feet in and in doing so, entered an entirely new level of what/why & how the right process works to create business success. First, the process of setting up a charity, then the process of charitable governance, then governments (*process at it's absolute best AND worst).

By far, my greatest learning came from working along side Canada's #1 Charity; The Heart & Stroke Foundation and Canada's #1 Philanthropic Telco; TELUS.

At the outset I was constantly being told to slow down, be patient, allow the right process to play out and eventually because it was coming from people who I knew had the same end goal and much more experience than myself, I had to shift my mindset from talking to listening. From pushing through to flushing out. In doing so, this would eventually pave the way for me to move from being a liability, to becoming an asset. Meetings began by clarifying outcome goals, feedback wasn't sugar coated and NO DETAIL was ever left to chance or let slide. After an idea left that room, it would be vetted by comms, legal, back here, over there and tweaked by someone else prior to being released. An exemplary model of the right process in action time & time again.

I gleaned 5 critical lessons from this experience.
  1. The right process is critical for business success. Establish, follow and do not deviate from it until a better process has been tangibly proven, piloted and implemented. 
  2. The right process is essential for anyone who aspires to move from the mom & pop to larger business size. This includes internal and external expansion.
  3. The right person, is she or he who quickly, efficiently and consistently implements and executes the right process as they are drawn up.
  4. The wrong person / people must be held accountable to the right processes until they reach the acceptable level of compliance or, they depart.
  5. The wrong people & process will eat your time & suck your energy inhibiting your ability to reach your ultimate business success.
     There's a reason these organizations are #1 in their respective spaces and in our country and I'd been very fortunate to apprentice under this process centric WHY.

Don't do your own thing in an ecosystem. There is no need nor time. Contribute to creating, implementing & following the right process so you can enjoy a much greater level of  business success. 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Are you emotionally strong?

There is a particular aspect of mental strength that is the deciding factor of whether or not you will have a good life. There are many levels to mental strength and all are needed to be successful and happy. The one particular area of mental strength that has the greatest impact is that of emotional strength.

Emotions are, of course, a part of our psyche, yet nevertheless, can be distinguished from the remainder of mental qualities because they most directly influence our physical body. They affect the way our body functions and they drive every single one of our actions. Without emotion, we would have no reason to act, to do anything with ourselves.

Emotions are our greatest motivators. Unfortunately, they can motivate us to act in any direction, even the wrong one. For this reason, emotional strength is essential. There are countless situations that emotionally strong people avoid and many actions they never take. Here are 15 of them:

1. They Don’t Beg For Attention

Needing attention is directly linked to emotion. Those who feel the need for recognition only find themselves experiencing feelings of worth when others make them feel needed; it’s as if these people are uncertain of their value, or if they have any ounce of self-worth. Feeling unsure of your worth is a self-fulfilling prophecy; if you don’t know you matter, then no one will ever believe you do.

2. They Don’t Allow Others To Bring Them Down

Emotional strength requires resilience. This world is filled with haters and trolls. There are jealous eyes lurking around every corner. The unfortunate truth is that often the people who hold us back the most are those closest to us. Getting rid of these people is often the best solution, but also the most difficult. If you can quietly remove these people from your life, that’s one fewer bridge burned and much less of an emotional trigger.

3. They Don’t Hold Grudges

If you’re holding a grudge, then you already care more about a situation than you should. If a person apologizes genuinely, forgive him or her. If this person doesn’t apologize, then don’t interact with him or her, but don’t hold grudges. People with whom you seek to alienate and hold grudges against take up too much of your mental energy, doing more harm than good.

4. They Never Stop Doing Their Own Thing

Emotionally strong individuals do what they do because they love doing it. They don’t plan on slowing down or stopping for anyone who deems their happiness inappropriate.

5. They Never Stop Believing In Themselves

Those who love themselves and understand themselves — those who aren’t afraid or proud to be themselves — never doubt themselves. You amount to your own self-worth, not a shilling more.

6. They Don’t Act Like Bitches Or Assh*les

People are mean. But we wonder, why? Being a jerk is only good as an intimidation factor, and if you’re trying to intimidate people, then you better be a negotiator by profession; if you’re intimidating just for the sake of it, you’re obviously overcompensating for a lack of confidence. Do you also drive a very large automobile, perhaps? I hear they make pills for that.

7. They Know Better Than To Let Just Anyone Into Their Lives

The emotionally strong are emotionally strong for a reason: They don’t expose themselves to people who break down their defenses and crush their morale. Most people in the world are lost and will be more than happy to take you along with them. Don’t let an awful acquaintance ruin your happiness.

8. They Aren’t Afraid To Love

If you’re afraid to love, you don’t have enough confidence in yourself. You obviously think you can’t be in a lasting relationship, but only in one that is doomed for disaster. You don’t want to get hurt again because getting hurt really sucks. There is no reason for you to get your heart broken again because you are awesome. If things don’t work out, it’s not you. It’s the two of you together. Unless, of course, you are an awful human being; in that case, it is you.

9. They Don’t Lie In Bed Dreading The Day Ahead Of Them

The best part of your day should be the moment you wake up and realize you’re still alive. We take life for granted too regularly.

10. They’re Not Afraid Of Slowing Down

Emotionally strong people aren’t in need of constant action and excitement. They don’t need to run around all day and keep moving in order to avoid their demons. They appreciate a slow moment because it brings them closer to what it feels like to do nothing but living, breathing. This is not to say that they don’t enjoy excitement in their lives, but they aren’t junkies and are more than happy to just go for a walk and smell the roses.

11. They Don’t Do Things They Don’t Want To Do

We all do things that we don’t love to do, but we should never do things that we don’t want to do. The emotionally strong understand that and almost always manage to figure out a way to focus on what they love, which allows them to figure out what they need to do, in order to do what they love. Although they may not love every second of it, they like doing what they are doing because it’s bringing them one step closer to what they would love to do.

12. They Have No Problem Saying “No”

If you can’t say “no,” you will get abused. You’ll be considered a pushover and no one will ever ask you for your opinion or take it seriously when you give it. Saying “no” reminds people that they don’t have control over you.

13. They Don’t “Forget” To Give Back

We’re not too busy or too poor to donate our money and/or time. We don’t forget, either. Some people just choose to ignore our responsibilities as human beings. The stronger you are emotionally, the more you come to appreciate others and life itself. You give life more worth and you begin to empathize with those who were dealt a bad hand.

14. They Don’t Feel The Need To Fit In

The stronger you are emotionally, the more independent you become. You don’t feel the need to fit in because you fit in where it matters: the world. People form smaller social groups that are often skewed and unhealthy. Wanting to fit in doesn’t say much more than “I’m afraid to be myself.”

15. They Don’t Forget That Happiness Is A Decision

Most importantly, the emotionally strong have learned to understand the power their brains have over both the mind and body. They understand that emotions are reactions, not reactions to direct physical causes, but to the way we perceive those causes. In other words, our emotions don’t reflect reality; rather, our emotions reflect the way we interpret reality. Understanding this gives us near-full control of our emotions and, therefore, our lives.

Written by Paul Hudson. 

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Why It's Time to Legislate Physical Activity for our Kids.

Today’s kids are not active enough. And they are becoming less active every year. Apparently this is a concern.

I say “apparently” because after years of discussion and debate about how to get kids active, we are still losing the battle. The data presented in the 2014 Active Healthy Kids Canada report card tells us as much. According to the latest report, only 7 per cent of Canadian kids ages five to 11 years are active enough to meet Canada’s basic daily physical-activity guidelines.

The reasons for our failure to reverse the inactivity trend are myriad: the perception of unsafe streets, the allure of computer screens, registration costs for youth sports, and access to programs, to name a few.

Where do we turn now?

One thing that we know for certain: Telling the kids to “just go outside and play” doesn’t work. We need to stop dragging out that blithe statement. It completely fails to acknowledge the complexity of the issue, and it’s not getting us anywhere.

If we are serious about getting kids active, the first step is to recognize what Brazilian public-health researcher Pedro Hallal stated in his 2012 commentary in The Lancet: We need to make physical activity a public-health priority.

But what does that mean? And what does that look like?

History shows us how it works. Successful public-health campaigns are large-scale and comprehensive. With polio, mumps and measles, we did something big. We vaccinated, saved tens of thousands of lives, essentially eradicated these illnesses and no doubt changed the course of human history in ways we can never measure.

In other words, we mandated a preventive cure. We didn’t make it optional for people.

In today’s context of video games and bubble-wrapped children, if we are truly serious about getting kids active, we basically need to legislate physical activity and provide the resources to support it.

That probably sounds draconian and frightening to many. Please take a moment to think about it.

Educators, health practitioners and governments can’t control whether or not kids choose to engage in unstructured free play. Nor can they control whether or not parents do the things necessary to ensure their kids are active in their spare time. But there is one place where, as a society, we can make a big impact.

First and foremost, we can guarantee quality physical education in schools. We can mandate it. Just as we currently mandate math. For all grade levels and for the entire school year. Over the past two decades, PE has practically disappeared from school curricula, and we need to change that.

School sports and physical education are anathema to many. But so is math, and we still teach math in schools. Are we ready to stop teaching math just because kids don’t like algebra or they struggle with fractions? Or because their parents have decided that their children are destined to be poets and not engineers?

Quality physical education is not a great mystery. We know how to do it. Some corners of Canada are already doing it very well.

The P4A school sports program in Prince Albert, Sask., has thousands of children in Grades 4 to 8 learning and playing different sports every year. P4A does it through efficient cost-sharing between schools and inclusive, “no cuts” policies that give all kids the opportunity to play.

St. Patrick’s Elementary School in Victoria has comprehensive activity programming that seamlessly blends year-round PE classes for all grades, daily physical activity (DPA) breaks, lunchtime intramural sports and after-school seasonal sports teams where no one is cut. All of it is overseen by a dedicated PE specialist who keeps all of the 350 kids from kindergarten to Grade 7 hopping – and running, jumping, kicking, throwing and catching – all year long.

Again, it can be done. It just takes planning and political will. The question is, are we serious?

We know that quality physical education costs money. However, medical treatment for heart disease, cancer and diabetes also costs money. Big money. We’re talking billions.

According to the Health Council of Canada, public and private health-care spending in 2012 was around $207-billion. The Canadian Institute for Health Information projected that costs would exceed $211-billion for 2013, or $5,988 per person.

It’s tempting to think that a small portion of these sums, spent on quality school PE programs, could do much to increase physical activity among our children and to curb future health-care spending. Pay now, save later.

Are we serious about getting kids active? Then part of the solution is to address the issue as we have addressed other public-health crises in the past. We need to make physical activity a public-health priority. And then we need to create comprehensive programs that serve every child in Canada, regardless of family income, parenting or geography.

Health Advisor contributors share their knowledge in fields ranging from fitness to psychology, pediatrics to aging.

Jim Grove is a senior contributing editor at Active for Life, a not-for-profit initiative committed to helping parents raise healthy, happy kids who are physically literate. He is a consulting editor to national sports organizations on physical literacy and long-term athlete development. He holds a degree in education and certification as a youth soccer coach. Married with three children, he has 15 years experience coaching children and youth ages five to 18. Find Active for Life on Facebook and Twitter.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

What will I teach my kids?

I will teach my kids life isn't fair and with that, there will be more than less occasions where they will not be treated equally.
  • Someone will get the job ahead of them because their dad knows the owner. 
  • Someone will make the team before them because their parents lobby harder.
  • Someone will pass judgement on them because they are un/athletically inclined.
  • Someone will stereotype them based on the color of their skin, and their friends on theirs.
  • Someone will judge their faith and beliefs if they don't line up perfectly with theirs.
  • Someone will question their intelligence being they are 'just little boys'

I will teach my kids that none of the aforementioned will likely be in their control. 
How they chose to react to it, will be.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

When individuals outgrow their team.

Cliche football analogy I realize, but this happens all the time in sport, business & life. If it has not happened to you in a management position yet, rest assured it will.
  1. individual is welcomed, embraced & empowered into a system
  2. receives the mentorship & guidance, and then suddenly.... 
  3. begins believing their own hype & press
  4. becomes smarter & better than the team mates, coaches & systems.
  5. throws them under the bus.
....and it all ends the same way. Sometimes there are things you can do to prevent it & sometimes there are not. This was a decent overview of what could and should have been done along the way from people who are/were very smart.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Death by Profit.

I had the chance to watch a recent documentary produced by the BBC called The Men Who Made Us Fat. Little in this documentary was surprising vis a vis, our obesity epidemic was, is and will continue to be fuelled by profitability.

Food & diet:
  1. profitability by governments to encourage mass farming movement creating cheap fructose to be the food additive de jour. 
  2. profitability by food companies to capitalize on the reduced fat movement, by swapping in sugar & more dangerous additives (mid to late 80's)  
  3. profitability by food companies to capitalize on organic food movement, which if you had a half a brain in your head you'd realize 'organic', by it's definition couldn't & shouldn't be mass produced
Health & fitness:
  1. opportunity for the fitness industry to become a billion dollar / yr industry selling miracle cures & dreams 
  2. evidence showing the direct correlation between the heath & fitness boom and the obesity epidemic  
  3. profitability by research after research after research confirming the problems, yet stopping short on sustainable solutions.
 All of the above can & has been vehemently denied.  What cannot be denied? The statistics.

My reality is that I'm IN this. I'm not hopping on some bandwagon, talking out of my ass.  I see, hear, debate, endorse and lobby for change. I lay awake at night thinking about the future of health of our kids, communities, province & country specifically trying to come to terms with 5 things.
  1. How a few people at the top (of an organization, of a government) can stifle any hope we have at fixing this very fixable problem. 
  2. How ignorant we chose to be (on mass) with respect to believing what we're being told / marketed. 
  3. How uninformed we chose to be when it comes to the health & well being of ourselves & our children.
  4. How complicated we chose to make things which, at their core, are actually not that complicated. 
  5. How reluctant we are to implement any sort of regulation (government) or accountability around our practices.   
History is not on our side. We will wait until we've hit absolute rock bottom before we take action to remedy a crisis. Until then, "it's not my problem" or we stand behind the fence criticizing / idolizing / ostracizing 'fanatics' like David Suzuki, Jamie Oliver and Paul Watson who've got the fortitude and tenacity to make a difference. 

It was time to DO SOMETHING about the decline of our health & wellness... a decade ago.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Conforming to the look.

Had a lengthy conversation with a good friend on the topic of plastic surgery last week. It was interesting to hear the perspective relating to woman, from a woman and learn about the various forces & pressures at play that lead to the decision to and/or not to embark on the procedures. Sheer coincidence, I came across a news clip on the same topic from Frances McDormand who seemed to share the same views.

As a male, I can't accurately hypothesize about how I would feel or what decisions I would make. I generally advocate doing things that make you feel good or better about yourself. With that, I also agree it can become a slippery slope and wonder about the forces that drive the decision to have repeat procedures. What's really going on here? After more thought & discussion, I came up with five conclusions, not specifically relating to plastic surgery and woman, but society as a whole through this example & lens. 
  1. We've become shallow. We formulate decisions and project judgements on things that don't matter at the same time as dismissing important things that do.
  2. We've become less confident. Strip away the bullshit bravado, we spend a great deal of time being "educated / conditioned" to think, act & behave according to a prescribed norm. That's not how to gain confidence.
  3. We're a product of dysfunction. How can we gain confidence, if it's not being modeled on a consistent basis during the formative imprinting & learning years? Dysfunction normally begets more dysfunction.
  4. We're programmed to tune into headlines & highlights so think that's what we're supposed to be doing too. We spend time ON the present, but are we really maximizing our learning IN the present or is there always something better around the corner?  
  5. We tend to sacrifice the magic and beauty of who we are, for the unknown allure of who we think we're supposed to be. In doing that, we take ourselves further from authenticity and what made us great in the first place.
Back to my limited experience in working with many woman, I saw & listened to some of the insecurities, fears & pressures relating to what many described as a loss of identity. It's unfair, it's unfortunate and I would not trade my beer drinking, jean wearing, stomach extending simple man's life for it. Ever. I think society can be hard on a lot of people, but it's particularly hard on woman. 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Anchor your focus & achieve success.

    Each year, I drop the anchor by way of creating a personal mission statement. A personal mission statement is a concise statement of intent which all actions & outcomes must meet prior to engaging. If actions & outcomes do not support the personal mission statement, I don't engage them.

I craft this in Oct / Nov for the upcoming year because I found floundering and waiting for the clock to strike midnight on Jan 1 was a waste of precious time. I hate wasting my time. I draft the PMS based on input from trusted business and personal peers who provide me with need to hear vs want to hear feedback on how I can improve. It becomes a cathartic and effective process.

This past years PMS was Next Level, meaning actions and outcomes must be purposefully and intentionally leading my physical, emotional, social, spiritual and intellectual spheres to the next level. Does this practice work? It does. While I'll spare the humble brag of achievements accomplished from Nov to Nov, I will broadly share it was one of the most productive and enjoyable years I've had to date. All of the planning was done up front and then it was simply a matter of execution (which is actually not that simple). 2015's personal mission statement is efficiency, meaning the focus will be to become even more efficient with time & energies invested across the five spheres to achieve the outcomes I'm after. *Note. I did not invent this process, I simply execute it at a high level.

I'm obviously big on goal setting & time management as a framework for success. Where there's no plan, there's no purpose and no point. It's like getting in a car to drive to a destination that you have no idea where it is and wondering why you're wasting time, driving aimlessly & getting frustrated. This practice starts with a personal mission statement and then follows up with specific goals (with timelines) down the personal and professional verticals. If you've found yourself struggling to get ahead or stay on track give it a try. You will not be disappointed.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Realities of Being an Entrepreneur.

I'm often surprised when I talk to people interested in starting their own businesses. When asking about my experience as an entrepreneur, they'll say, "You're so lucky," or "It must be great to be out of the rat race." Statements like this make me smile because they couldn't be less true. Luck has nothing to do with it. As for the rat race, while different, it's faster than ever.

That's why I wanted to share the realities of being an entrepreneur. First, a disclaimer: At the end of every day, I wouldn't trade my current situation for any other option, and I'm grateful to be able to do what I truly love. However, being an entrepreneur isn't the easy, carefree career path that many believe it to be; it's actually quite the opposite. When everything is invested in your own business--time, money, passion and creativity--it can border on obsession. And when you work from home or your spouse or family members work with you, you rarely, if ever, leave the office--at least from a mental standpoint.

Let me start with a few hard truths of being an entrepreneur:

1. It's stressful. If you think meeting a boss's deadlines or demands is tough, try meeting your own, especially when your personal savings are on the line. Maybe you've already taken out a second mortgage and your credit cards are maxxed out. Or maybe you've borrowed money from family and friends and you're on the hook to pay them back, ASAP. This type of pressure lights a fire under even the most laid-back personalities. Not only will you feel the pressure to get your business off the ground, but you'll also feel the added pressure to do so quickly to regain some semblance of financial security.

2. It's never-ending. Yes, it can be thankless to work for someone else, knowing your skills and talents are ultimately making someone else a bundle. But in most jobs, you can leave the work behind when you go home to enjoy your family, friends or hobbies. As an entrepreneur, the workload can be intense, especially during the early stages when you are the CEO, CFO, HR person, sales staff, marketing guru, tech guy, office manager, and janitor. With all these roles, there's rarely a moment that you feel your work is "done" for the day. There's always something more you could be doing, like researching new markets, writing press releases, contacting new media, cold calling new sales outlets, developing new products and the list goes on. And that can eat away at time formerly devoted to family, leisure activities, workouts or relaxation.
It's a difficult balance to strike.

3. It's frustrating. Maybe you've partnered with someone who doesn't have your best interests at heart. Or you've received a shipment of damaged products that you need for a trade show the next day. Or the media appearance you spent days preparing for is suddenly cancelled due to a natural disaster. As an entrepreneur, these types of situations happen on a regular basis. (I speak from experience; all of the above happened to me.) The truth is that you never know what's around the corner and it can be extremely frustrating when you've planned to spend a day on product development, only to find out that you have to repair the cases of product packaging that came apart during shipping.

So with this kind of stress, pressure and workload, why, then, would anyone subject themselves to being an entrepreneur? The answer is simple: the positives outweigh the negatives:

1. It's rewarding. When you're successful, you reap both financial and emotional rewards. There's no better feeling than seeing a product you've worked hard to develop on store shelves, or when you've provided successful service for a grateful client. It's exciting to make a sale or win a new client when you know it's from your own hard work; it's gratifying when customers tell you that your product, service or example has made a difference in their lives. And of course, turning a profit and knowing your business is financially stable are extremely rewarding as well.

2. It's flexible. Once you work for yourself, it's common to feel you could never work in a conventional 9-to-5 environment again. I believe it's mostly due to the flexibility. Yes, you may work more hours, but you can do so on your own terms. You can stop work at 3 to pick up the kids from school without asking your boss for permission. You can work from midnight to 4 a.m. if you're a night owl. You can work from home or your own office with daycare on-site. When you're the boss, you call the shots, and the new freedom can be exhilarating.

3. It's the chance to create. Many entrepreneurs are driven by the need to build something great, help other people, or leave something behind. Perhaps it's a business that your children can join and grow; maybe it's the legacy of creating something that will be around long after you're gone. No matter what the motivation, creating something from nothing that grows and develops through the years can be almost like raising a child; it's your baby, and you've nurtured it to its current level of success. That type of fulfillment is difficult to duplicate in most other career paths.

Written by Tamara Monosoff 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Why Innovative Fitness is AWESOME.

    Yes, I'm absolutely biased in this assessment of this business, but to be involved in something that brings so much empowerment to so many, is something to be proud of. Founded over 20 years ago, IF emerged after many hours of planning during our French 400 class at UBC. Two young, ambitious, business-raw athlete's determined they wanted to match their innate & learned skill sets with their passion for helping people achieve their goals.

The name "Innovative Fitness" was tongue in cheek as it came at a time when the industry was trying to revolutionize health & fitness. Twenty years later, we still know there to be few sustainable short cuts to healthy living and Innovative still thrives on old school fundamental principles of goal setting, eliciting support, working through adversities and achieving personal victories.

Here are the top 10 reasons Innovative Fitness is AWESOME.
  1. We're TEAM centric. While our industry & society vaunt the "celebrity trainer", IF is able to scale further, faster for you vis a vis a team mentality which means we can positively affect more people.We bring allied health care providers together. It's not about "listening to me vs them", it's about your health at the epicenter and all of us ensuring you are well taken care of. Ego's left at the door please.
  2. We're focused on the bigger picture. Ultimate health is not simply physical prowess. Ultimate health is a combination of emotional, social, spiritual, intellectual AND physical well being. We're big on the mental as well as the physical.
  3. We strive for excellence. Excellence is consistently doing the little things well day in and day out. Excellence is what everyone deserves from every business in the service industry.
  4. We encompass personal development. The goal for our incoming team mates is to have them leave our organization (inside or out) better than they started. Confidence, competence & contacts for life.
  5. We're all about engagement. Unlike most 'gyms' who set up shop to sell memberships they hope very few use, we want to see you early and often. In fact, we'd love to see more of you... working on you.
  6. We will challenge you. Without challenge, there's limited adversity. Where there's limited adversity, there are few genuine personal victories read: limited growth. We all know, you're either getting busy living or...
  7. We give back to our communities. That's right. We started our own charity supporting physical literacy. If we can help kids move mor confidently and competently out of the gates, we eradicate many downstream diseases.
  8. We focus on you. It's not about 'us', we can all be replaced (if we're doing our jobs right). What matters is you, your needs, wants and goals. There are trainers out there who may forget that from time to time.
  9. The people you meet. From all walks of life, from all athletic abilities, from all spans of goals. The people you will meet and share experiences with are some of the most generous, best, caring, savvy men & woman in our communities.
  10. The places you'll see. Yup, from local hikes you never even knew existed to remote corners of the world. We'll help you pick a goal, draft the plan and get you there safely with a 10/10 fun factor.
So there you go, Innovative Fitness: Empowering people since 1995. 

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

How to handle not making the team.

It is that time of year and you've just found out your kid didn't make the level / team they aspired to. If you're a rational, intelligent human being who views youth sports a social experiment that teaches young kids valuable lessons about teamwork, feedback, adversity, communication, rules, systems, failures & success, you're probably ok with whatever level / team they are on... and by default so are they. If you're an over-invested, egotistical, neurotic, human being who views youth sports as a hierarchical statement of your kid's (and self) worth, you're probably experiencing sleepless nights scrolling through the rosters of those who did make it, wondering how it is even remotely possible  your Johny or Jenny didn't.

As a coach, allow me to share some insights that can help you, and yours... but mostly you, move on. 
  1. Stop comparing. The minute you begin comparing who made it vs. who didn't is the minute you expose your lack of sport IQ. The quickest way to find the answer you seek; ask the coach. Not the parents, not your spouse, friends or Zamboni driver. You'll be surprised to learn that most times, the coach has a plan, system & strategy that may not have anything to do with what you're assuming it does.
  2. Focus on improvements. It's straight out comical how the first questions relate to who made it & who didn't when what they should be asking is "hey coach, can we get candid feedback re: what johhny / jenny can do to improve". If you didn't / don't do this, your athlete may very well repeatedly... miss the opportunity to improve.
  3. Don't think out loud. The worse thing you can do is repeat your illogical rationalization & thoughts in front of your child. Give them a chance to formulate and understand outside of your influence (which likely sounds like - don't worry, coach is an idiot & you're better than x/y/z). Again, this takes the athlete FURTHER away from learning what they need to be successful. You are your kids hero/heroine, understand that responsibility and avoid overcompensating. 
  4. Remember your skill set. Unless you're a professional coach, don't comment on the decision making, methodology and strategy YOU THINK is being deployed by a professional coach. We know it's difficult to differentiate between your glory sport playing days and present reality but there IS a difference that you need to accept & appreciate. Stick to being an awesome parent vs. a shitty parent-coach.
  5. Move on. In every defeat (if that's how you chose to view & define it) lies an opportunity. Have the tough chat, swallow the pride, absorb the lessons and focus on making the best of the situation at hand. Acting the spoiled brat through the duration of the season doesn't move you forward. It sets you back.
Youth sport is a marathon, not a sprint. Stats don't lie when they cite a high % of kids leaving sports in early teen years because they were burned out or not having fun. Stats also point to the real reason why kids quit youth sports and low and behold, that is one area parents excel. The primary responsibility of any good/great coach is to have players complete a season better than they started. The primary responsibility of any good/great parent is to have your kids progress their physical, social, intellectual, emotional & emotional EQ & IQ better than they started.

Let's stay away from being 'that parent'

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Don't forget to turn the filter on!

    I received an FB invite yesterday from a friend who I'd thought was already a friend. As I've experienced this before with spam I double checked with her to see if she'd indeed sent the new request to which she replied she had. Curiously, I asked why she'd created a new page to which she replied "I'm re-establishing my authentic self". I liked the honesty of that answer so much that it prompted me to devote an hr of time during a youth sporting event to filter my friend list. *What's important to articulate is the people I had accepted friendship from or engaged friendship with are/were all good & great people. There was no sour grapes or c-ya attitude, simply a conscious decision to better control information I share & who I share it with. While the process was cathartic, it made me think about the volume of unfiltered information we tend to share.

Given the nature of social media, I can't help but wonder if we'll look back 10-20 years from now and wonder what the f*@k were we thinking. There are fewer precious & private moments as it's become more like a race to share information with as many people as we can than savor those private moments. I mean, if we want to learn how to make a bomb, its two clicks away. If we want to find out about more than we need to know about someone, it's a search engine & see all.
On a deeper more conscious level we've all seen and heard people rushing to take the selfie that "will make a great photo for facebrag". I think that is as sad as it is great, because we've become less focused on being in that moment and fully embracing that than we are about sharing what we've half absorbed with others. Sometimes strangers.

I think it's also similar to the self imparted real world pressure we face to have to be friends with  everyone we meet. We don't. And there's actually nothing wrong with that. I admire those who are not frequent fliers of social media or the mainstream cliques. Ironically, most of those people happen to be some of the most accomplished, influential and successful people I know. So perhaps there's something here (read : value) through the example. And while I don't profess to have all the answers, I can share how appreciative I was of this random filter reminder.

Don't feel the need SPAM yourself to everybody - filter it and get the people and results you're really after.

    Wednesday, September 24, 2014

    There are no excuses for success.

         I've got a neat twice a week dialogue with a young man who requested leadership advice in exchange for his crafts six months ago. Over those six months I've listened to him describe various work situations and his accompanying perspective. Yesterday we had an AHA moment but up until yesterday, this young man did what every single LEVEL THREE LEADER does when provided with feedback; #1. blame others & #2. make excuses. I finally asked him if he was consciously aware he was doing this, to which he replied he was not. This time, I listened to a story that was followed up with what he could, should & would have done to take a leadership role in bringing about the desired success he sought. Eureka!

    There's so much talk about how to be successful it's almost deafening but regardless of the good & great intentions the real test comes when it's time for the rubber to hit the road. We've said it before, the book of success does not need re-writing, it's contents simply need to be executed. Consistently.

    Below are 10 tips to success we've benefited from implementing over two decades of business. 
    1. Maintain a clear focus. We're an easily distracted species, yet those who achieve a great level of success share a common goal; focus. They do not let themselves get sidetracked from the end goal until they have achieved or surpassed it. 
    2. Be willing to embrace failure. Failure is a precursor to success and if you're not one of those people who can take the lessons and apply them forward, you'll limit your ceiling of success.
    3. Take full responsibility for both failure & success. Blamers & reluctant leaders are not usually successful people. Successful people own both the failures and successes which enables them to learn & grow from their experiences.
    4. Be prepared to work smart & hard. With the volume of people on the planet, success often comes down to who wants it most. We seldom read stories of those who made it big because they were gifted success, with admiration.
    5. Master empowering others. Very few successes come from solo missions. In the professional ecosystem, you must hone your ability to lead & empower others to be as or more competent and confident than yourself for things to scale. 
    6. Master consistent. There are way too many examples of people being consistently inconsistent. Success is a formula that needs to be applied every day, across every play in order to work long term. 
    7. Say what you intend to do and then do what you said. The quickest way to differentiate yourself in a big-talking marketplace is delivering on your word. Make the statement that engages and then go out and get the job done. 
    8. Be prepared to go & do what the majority will not. Delay gratification, get up & go to bed early, treat your body well, and apply 1-10 across as many examples as you can. There's no traffic jam on high road to success. Believe me. 
    9. Be confident. Really successful people have a quiet confidence to understand what others may not; vision, process, zig-zags & solutions. There's a big difference between confidence & arrogance. Learn it.
    10. Master execution. A high percent of success-inhibitors stem from an inability to execute plays, processes & systems they way they are drawn up. Successful teams & organizations MASTER the art of execution. 
    If you want to taste success, and become a LEVEL FIVE LEADER, you're going to have to be wiling, at minimum to master most of these basic yet essential fundamentals.

    Wednesday, September 17, 2014

    Seek to be informed ourselves vs. entertained by others.

                            If we are to evolve, we must learn to think for ourselves.

    The past couple of weeks have been a steady diet of drama in the media. Drama that boosts ratings, sells magazines and flat out consumes time and energy. I dislike drama. If it doesn't affect myself or those close to me, I'm inclined to pretend I'm paying attention while not really not paying attention.

    I think drama, and it's perpetuation is like junk food for those who are to lazy to prepare healthy meals. Drama is normally associated by other people thinking for us and drama is BIG business. Here are five strategies to avoid getting sucked into the drama vortex.
    1.  Stay focused & busy. Busy, focused people don't have time to entertain drama because, well... they're focused & busy. 
    2. Avoid reacting to drama. Once people understand you're not their audience, they will (hopefully) get lost and find someone else (more like them) to share their perils of bullshit.
    3. Don't pay drama forward. Drama makes a living by virtue of mutation as it passes through the desired networks. It quickly becomes blown out of proportion.
    4. Challenge what you're being fed. Challenge it by being non judgmental and putting yourself in the shoes of those at the center of the conversations. We've all got faults.
    5. Invest in other forms of entertainment. The same mindset that's used to find drama can be used to find goodness and greatness. (and there's a lot of it).
    Big business and small people bank on us subscribing to their entertainment. It's called fear mongering and it presents an opportunity to up-sell more bullshit. Let's entertain a new approach, something novel, requiring a little bit of work. Let's think for ourselves.

    Wednesday, September 10, 2014

    The key to success is execution.

         Whether in sport, business or the sport of business more times than less, the key to success lies squarely on people's ability to execute. Execute the plays as they are drawn up or the operation systems as they are configured. So if there are only a finite number of  championship teams across any league and one in five businesses makes it to the five year mark what are the factors limiting our ability to execute.
    1. Experience. Experience is something that comes with time & tenure. As we venture further into mature business life, systems & operations become more complicated which take more time to learn. The better the plays & systems have been configured and communicated, the flatter the learning curve. Given the transient nature of our modern work environment, our ability achieve stability & consistency adversely affect our ability to achieve consistency which affects our ability execute. 
    2. EGO. So much time & effort are spent building people up in the early stages of their lives & careers that sometimes they begin to believe their our own hype. Suddenly they convince themselves they no longer need the support & expertise from those in coaching & managerial positions. Further, with the access to information, we have WAY more know it all's believing they can build better mousetraps than those before them. This begins the race to the bottom and impedes our ability to execute.
    3. Outdated operation manuals. There are many times when the play books or operations manuals are simply out of date yielding a competitive disadvantage. If left unchecked, this deeply hurts our ability to execute to the extent we'd like to become that winning team or organization.
    4. Distractions. There are too many distractions in our modern day work environment vying for our focus and making it difficult to stay on task. In most cases, few of us have learned and then  demonstrated the discipline to compartmentalize our focus and attend to the immediate tasks & responsibilities. Our minds wander, our actions follow as we are taken further away from the desired execution outcomes. 
    5. Bigger Picture Attitude. More than less, the ability to field a championship team or organization relies heavily on the teams ability to operate outside of themselves. Team success, is the sum total of the individual parts. When we introduce unmotivated, self serving parts into the team scheme, it brings the machine to a halt quickly and stops our ability to execute. 

    Ask yourself if where you'd like to be is where you actually are? If the answer is no, chances are it's an execution problem. The good news is YOU have direct control over it. 

    Wednesday, September 03, 2014

    Please don't bandaid a broken system.... Again.

    In the midst of this years teachers strike, I was forwarded what I thought was a well written article (authored during the 2012 strike). While I do not profess to have all the answers to what is obviously a complex problem, I would suggest the manner with which we continue to address this issue across multiple public sector examples may warrant a revisit in the name of sanity for all involved. I though the article written by Herbert offered a decent alternative to how we're addressing things now. 

    Like most striking workers, BC teachers tend to believe they are underpaid and overworked. And like most employers today, the BC government is facing tough economic times and can’t afford to be generous with its workers.

    It’s a classic labour relations standoff that stems from attitudes deeply imbedded in human nature and driving the almost universal belief that one’s work is not valued properly.

    In market economies this belief is tamed by the invisible hand of competition. Employers who have unfilled vacancies pay more. If they are swamped by job applicants, they pay less. In the end, workers find jobs with the highest pay they can get and employers can afford to pay.

    The market solution to the determination of workers’ pay was damaged when governments passed legislation allowing workers to form unions and permitting them to strike without having to pay for damages.

    In the private sector, the ability of unions to extract benefits for their members through strikes is limited by market forces.  If union demands are excessive, employers go bankrupt and the workers lose their jobs. 

    However, in the public sector, unions face no such limits.  Politicians typically put up some resistance to union demands, but in the end give in and raise taxes to pay for the increased costs. Small tax increases do less electoral damage than do public sector strikes. 

    As a result of this game, public sector union members now enjoy compensation levels much above those for comparable private sector work. But the game is now over. Deficits are unsustainable, debt has become excessive, and the public opposes higher taxes. Politicians everywhere are looking for ways to deal with this new reality.

    In British Columbia they have chosen to freeze the salaries of public sector employees. This policy has been accepted by all public sector unions, except that of the teachers. 

    Fights between the BC teachers union and the government have a long history and transcend party lines. They will always be there.  Give people the power to decide what they should be paid, they will always try to use this power to get what they want.

    The only permanent solution to this problem therefore is to deprive teachers of the right to strike. The government that granted that right can also withdraw it.  Such a policy is consistent with the widely held view that anyone who does not want to work for an organization that is prohibited from striking is free to work for one where the right exists. 

    The policy will restore the role of market forces.  The government as the employer will rationally set wages so that there are neither unfilled vacancies nor teachers looking for work. School curricula and working conditions for teachers will be set in response to demands from parents and the political pressures they generate with input from teachers.

    To prevent only strikes but also increase the effectiveness of the educational system, the government should change the current system further by giving all parents vouchers that they spend on schools, which through competition are induced to provide the type and quality of education parents believe their children need.

    Under this system, governments continue to meet their commitment to provide universal access to education.  The big difference is that parents indirectly hire teachers that meet their standards, replacing the current system which sees teachers hired directly by government agencies that are much less sensitive to their children’s needs than are parents. 

    The use of vouchers will end some current practices that make contributions of questionable value to teaching effectiveness as determined by parents.  Such practices involve time for preparation, further education and other conditions negotiated by the union.  Merit will take the place of seniority in setting the pay of individual teachers.

    The special needs of some students are readily accommodated under the voucher system by providing them with vouchers that compensate schools for the extra cost they need to incur.

    There is no time like now for at least a debate, if not action, on the possible prohibition of strikes by teachers union and the universal use of vouchers. The public is tired of strikes, the deficits and debt caused by excessively generous wage package in the past and never-ending demands for better and costly working conditions. The public is looking for political leadership to deal with these problems, not just the band-aid solutions offered by the type of legislation now used.

    Author Herbert Grubel 
    March 14 2012. 

    Wednesday, August 27, 2014

    Weighing in on Ferguson.

    Much discussion has taken place re: the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson. Was it justified, racially motivated, warranted, an example of the obvious racial & socioeconomic divide that's eroding our society? Was it a life & death reaction to a series of dire events? Was it both or was it neither? Let's start with the obvious. When someone loses their life, it is a tragedy that transcends race, gender, age and religion. Regardless of the investigative outcomes that life will not be replaced and that is about as unfortunate as it gets.... that is, unless we take / learn nothing from it. Here are the top five things I've learned (so far) from the tragic Ferguson incident, not meant in any way shape or form to trivialize the unfortunate events.
    1. Each time incidents like this happen, society takes ten BIG steps backward. In life, the second the blame game begins is the same second the learning stops. Blaming only assures situations will more than likely be repeated.
    2. We rush to judge people & events. We're so impatient, we can't even wait for due process to run it's course before we formulate (and share) our opinions. We want it right but we want it right - right now.
    3. We're quick to play our cards when it suits us. The race, religion & gender cards. We seem to avoid the realities of life cards which state that sometimes terrible shit happens that has no bearing on ANY one of those things.
    4. We seldom put ourselves in other people's shoes. That would be difficult when whats easy is to wonder why everyone else doesn't think / act or react like us. Why didn't he/she just...
    5. More than less, the reaction to these instances, merely serves to reinforce the very stereotypes we seek to eliminate. Rioting, looting and... shooting at police as a solution?
    The only positive that can come from this tragic incident, and incidences like it is a better understanding and clearer management of 1-5 above. Until then, history is very likely to continue repeating itself.

    Monday, August 18, 2014

    Suffocating under the weight of ignorance.

    First things first let's meet Jim.

    It was interesting to read the backlash to this very real, very honest infomercial. "Oh yeah, blame the parents", "This is prejudice against overweight people" and on and on. Here's the reality folks. Obesity is a controllable death sentence that's also crippling global economies. Millions have been spent trying to passively & non offensively educate the population on the adverse ramifications of obesity. For the most part, we've chosen not to listen (eg: statistically trending towards unhealthy populations). But why would we / should we listen or take action?
    1. there's zero tangible accountability for living an unhealthy lifestyle eg: healthy lifestyles are optional. 
    2. we don't view this global epidemic as 'our problem' eg: I know MANY PEOPLE raising obese children who would watch Jim's video and hope other people 'get it'
    3. we've justified & prioritized profiting from the obesity epidemic over solving it.  
    • The research industry receiving MILLIONS in grant after grant for study after study validating how being overweight is negatively affecting our productivity. Thanks.
    • The health & fitness industry profiting BILLIONS promising those who want to keep doing what they're doing can achieve better health with this pill, that membership, this miracle cure
    • The pharmaceutical industry making BILLIONS creating drugs that manage the symptoms of obesity to provide 'better quality of life'
    • The fast food industry profiting BILLIONS in serving up cheap, processed food while placating us with their 1-15 ratio of healthy-to-processed food choices
    • The technology & gaming industry generating BILLIONS from feeding our addictive & insatiable appetite for instant gratification
    • The medical industry continuing to invest BILLIONS in downstream medical care vs.  investing in upstream prevention. 
    • *ever wonder a) if we invested 50% of these total monies into a solution, we would make great inroads to solving this epidemic or b) why don't we mandate these organizations contribute to a health care solution using a percentage of their profits as they are clearly part of the problem? 
    With all of the above, the 64 Trillion dollar question remains, do we (as a majority population) stand a chance of living healthier lifestyles? The answer to that is a sum total of the parts, beginning with us. 
    1. Do you know what healthy choices are? Do you make them 80% of the time? Do you have consequences for making and/or not making them? 
    2. Did you decide to have children? Do you understand what that responsibility entails pertaining to their health? Do you parent to make your children 'feel good' now or do you parent to make your children 'be empowered' to thrive later? 
    3. Did you choose to live in a community? Do you simply live and take from that community or are you contributing to it's sustenance, growth and preservation? Do you voice your opinion to those who can make change?   
    4. Do you pay attention to what's going on in your province? Do you vote? Do you do your diligence on the candidates you're voting in and their platforms? Do you voice your opinion to those who can make change? 
    5. Do you reap the benefits of living in your country? Do you pull on a red & white jersey every four years and become vocal when we win hockey? Do you vocalize your opinions to those who can make change?
    Until more than 50% (17.44M of Canada's 34.88M population) can answer yes to all 5 questions above, we will continue to suffocate under the weight of our ignorance. 

    Wednesday, August 13, 2014

    Differentiate your business brand.

    "We're not trying to be better than the competition, we're trying to be different". Steve Jobs.

    There's little argument about the impact Steve Jobs had on.... the world really. His vision redefined the manner in which we communicate across multiple mediums. But lets get back to his famous quote, a quote which defines ANY entrepreneur's / new businesses success. I'm no Steve Jobs by magnitude nor am I  attempting to draw any comparisons to his accomplishments, however like many entrepreneurs I identify with his lengthy battle to switch the team focus OFF of what the competition is doing and ON to what we are creating.

    Here are five reasons why that is critical to the success of any business.
    1. You can't control what others are doing. Focusing on others takes your attention off of what you're supposed to be doing. More, if you're attempting to replicate what others are already doing it means you're already behind / following.
    2. It exposes your lack of business IQ. Extremely successful business people remain focused on the execution of the worthy. While they are aware of the competitive landscape, they're not in reacting to it. They're defining it. 
    3. You risk losing your unique value proposition. I've been in too many meetings that propose we operate like everyone else IN THE SAME BREATH as the demand to uphold our unique value proposition. You can't have both.
    4. It becomes a race to the bottom. Eventually, it comes down to who can deliver the best service for the cheapest price. As the saying goes, you get what you pay for. Apple decided they would be a premium brand, which carries a premium price and guess what? People not only expect that, they line up city blocks to get it. [see below]. Be great enough with your proposition that you can demand the supply. 
    5. All of that energy and focus will only make your idea, business or value proposition better. You will stand APART from the rest of the businesses in your space and THAT is what consumers want. Not more confusion about the same thing. 

    The book on how to be successful need not be re-written, it simply needs to be read and implemented.

    Wednesday, August 06, 2014

    Why we think we're owed something.

    Ever wonder why so many of us live in this perpetual state of naivety constantly believing we're owed something? 'Ya... she doesn't talk to me anymore', 'I've been working there for five years now', 'I deserve a break' and the list goes on.

    I think the reason is threefold; a) our self worth has been greatly over inflated & over exaggerated b) it's a byproduct of compensating (and over compensating) what would otherwise be considered routine behaviors & c) we lack the practice hence skill of taking personal accountability. 


    The reality of life's law suggests many of us are getting what we're giving and reaping what we've sewn. If our phones have stopped ringing, it's because we have stopped calling. If our flame has dwindled, it's because we're no stoking the fire and the cause / effect list goes on should we be mature & honest enough to own it.

    One of the better books I've read was written by John G Miller called QBQ; the Question behind the Question. It was a helpful resource in re-framing many of the victim questions I was asking myself. At the end of the day all of my life's magic and mayhem start & finish with one person; me.

    Don't blame. Own S!!t 

    Wednesday, July 30, 2014

    Support as many of the right things as you can.

    I'll begin this weeks post with an apology for my horrendous (at times) grammar eg: last weeks misspelling of primadona. I took it on the chin from a few people and notably one mate who wrote "FOR CHRIST SAKE MATT, USE SPELL CHECK" in the subject line of an email. There's no hiding the fact I'm guilty of rushing my thoughts and hitting publish before I've given articles a third & fourth re-read. The fact is I'm actually humbled (and surprised) people even read my weekly babble, designed to get my thoughts out of my head more than anything, however I will make an attempt to improve (slowly). Please accept my apologies..... and may I direct your attention to this cute new puppy. 

    Next; Where's your support?
    It's easy to support things when they have direct impact and meaning to/for/on us, we're all over it with passion and sizzle. Yet this is often not the case when it comes to support initiatives and endeavors of others. Why is that & how could we become better supporters? After all it would
    stand to reason if we were asking people to be interested in what we were doing, we would extend the same courtesy. Here are five tips we can use to become better supporters.
    1. Support the right things vs just your things. If you read or hear of something that resonates with you, jump on it because you believe it's the right thing to do.
    2. Create a yearly budget for things you would like to support. That budget can be comprised of money, time and energy. Share that with your circles so they know where you stand.
    3. LIKE EVERYTHING your circle of friends are doing. It's the least you can do, requires very little effort but goes a long way. 
    4. Get over yourself. We're often critical of others because we're jealous ourselves. That's not team think, it's me think and that's lame. 
    5. Encourage others to be better supporters. There's nothing more powerful than a network of positive supporters who can feed off one another.
    We can get burned out from being asked to support so many someone's somethings however, there will come a time when we need to make that call. Let's remember, we'll likely get what we give.

    Wednesday, July 23, 2014

    Putting the I back in TEAM.

    I've got a lot of respect for NHL'r Johnathn Toews. He's a bonified champion who's achieved the highest level of hockey excellence with Olympic Medals and Stanley Cup Victories by putting the TEAM 1st. What makes JT special, is his work ethic and humility. You won't likely hear of him calling a press conference to make a decision around his contract, you will not likely see him acting like a primadona with respect to his team &  coach nor will you see his play reflecting anything other than the end goal / greater good of the team. I think many amateur and professional sports players could borrow a page from JT's playbook. Further, I think many employees / employers could borrow a page from JT's leadership as this example can & should transcend sports.

    We've entered an era where many put I & ME before the team. The ideology has become so commonplace, sometimes we're not even aware it's happening. We'll do one team oriented act over here, followed by 10 Me/I acts over there and think we're square. The reality is there is no I in any team that consistently demonstrates excellence. We've been witness to two fantastic examples through the recent NBA Finals and the FIFA World Cup. In both cases, the TEAM trumped the much hyped individuals (all respect to those individuals). More than less, it's how it's meant to be which is why we're drawn to TEAM movements. Here are 5 solid suggestions on how we can make sure we practice team.
    1. Stay humble. We all started somewhere, so don't forget that when, how and who helped you get to your place of success.
    2. Attitude of Gratitude. The sooner you abandon the mindset of 'when I'm going to get mine', the sooner and more bountiful, you'll likely get yours. Be grateful for what you have in the team your on. 
    3. Keep the perspective. Don't be the loser that has to be reminded of how / where and who helped you get your start. Could you do it on your own? Well, if you didn't start on your own, you haven't really done it on your own. 
    4. Pay it forward. The world doesn't need another know it all tool who takes for him/herself without consideration of paying it forward. Across all of our tribes, we were meant to be a team.
    5. Focus on the cause. That's right, the mission of the job, team, tribe, group, etc vs your own preconceptions. The greater effort you invest in the cause, the more visible you become, not vice versa.
    All of the TEAM acronyms are true. The best memories are usually memories shared with others vs. a 1 on 1 with the self. Don't do solo. TEAM it up.

    Wednesday, July 16, 2014

    i sold a technology company

    Five words I can assure you no teacher across 17 years of my education would ever associate with my name. But come on... a humblebrag 1st thing Wed morning? Not exactly. This is a quick true story being shared to inspire you to go for your gold through five 'secrets to success'.... which every one of us have access to if we chose.

    Step 1. Find your passion
        My passion is sports, health & fitness. I discovered the physical, emotional, social, spiritual, intellectual & benefits at an early age and knew it was for me. I chose Kinetics in University, played varsity sport and continue to challenge myself with new physical pursuits on a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly basis. Finding my passion helped shape a career that's not a job.

    Step 2. Identify your skillset
        I think my skillset includes the ability to bring people together towards a common goal. I'd also like to think I'm able to look at complex problems and propose KISS solutions to provide the outcomes we're after minus the drama normally lobbed up as reasoning for not attaining our goals.

    Step 3. Roll up your sleeves
        NOTHING is coming without solid, hard work. NOTHING is guaranteed until there's a signature on a contract. NOTHING is going to be gifted, granted or guaranteed while pursuing your passion (even with your skillset). NOTHING has an arbitrary ROI that cannot usually be predicted and normally out of your control. What's in your control is how much effort you're willing to invest each day.

    Step 4. Sacrifice & stay confident.
        I remember going into a bank after University, applying for a credit card and being declined *(they give credit cards to students). Went back to another bank for a business loan and was declined. Missed the 1yr travel 'find myself' period,  post University party period and living la-vida-loca 25-30's period (though I have managed to carve out copious amounts of fun). I've invested good money in bad concepts stared criticism (just & unjust) in the face. I've been told no - can't - shouldn't - won't etc from respected business associates to know it all / know-nothing assholes who wanted to see me fail..... and kept on going. If you're not willing to sacrifice to achieve your goals, you're not going to achieve your goals. You must also remain confident when detractors try to bring you down. 

    Step 5. Attract / Embrace & Empower TEAM.
        NONE of any success I've achieved has come from being 'the man'. Life is meant to be an ecosystem of collusion & collaboration and ultimate success is very difficult to achieve without the support of good & great people. We've found, empowered and aligned with good & great people throughout our journey.

    So I sold a technology company. All the process reinforced was the reality that my other passions, given my skillsets, desire to work hard & smart, ability to sacrifice and surround myself with good & great people are also attainable and that means so are yours!

    Don't settle, guess, wait, doubt or go it alone. Plug yourself into the formula that's worked for many and accomplish your Shi!!

    Wednesday, July 09, 2014

    The Power of Tribes

    We've all heard "be yourself", "be authentic", "don't try to please others", and many more sentiments that go along with that.
    While I agree with authenticity, self-expression, and being consistent if not the same across many different situations - it's not quite that simple.

    The famous maxim 'know thyself' predates even Plato (some give Thales the credit, around the 10th century). But what does it mean to 'know thyself'? What do we even include in the definition of 'self'?
    Without opening a lengthly and potentially pointless philosophical debate, I will simply put forth that very few if any environments nurture the whole self.
    - Spend a week with your best friends and you can't wait to get back to your family you miss
    - spend too much time with your kids and you long for adult company and a glass of wine, not neccessarily in that order.
    - spend too much time in leisure fulfilling your hobbies, and you might end up in an existential funk, wondering what mark you will leave on the world
    - spend too much time working, even in pursuits you are truly passionate about, and you can be quite out of balance.

    Enter the notion of 'tribe'. Though the term tribe may often refer to family clans, it is most often used to define a social group. It is in that context that I am suggesting tribes can lead to greater personal fulfilment, self discovery, and perhaps even personal mastery.

    Just as one person may have several roles and responsibilities (as well as diverse interests), a person who is looking to grow and fulfil each aspect of themselves that matters will likely have more than one tribe. Allow me to elaborate;

    The tribe that matters the most to me is family. This is one of the tribes within which I can be most vulnerable, one in which I don't need to tread carefully to operate with my other members, and one I would defend most passionately.

    Having said that, there are aspects of myself that might show up in the tribe of 'the boys' that wouldn't with my wife. There is common understanding, shared experience, and common values that aren't opposite to those I share with my wife & son, just different. I do not have to (nor should I) be a different person in this tribe, simply allow a different side of me to show.

    Yet another tribe would be my coworkers. There is a common bond around our very unique work environment that very few others could possibly understand.

    The same is true for other tribes;

    - my former football teammates
    - my leadership tribe from Royal Roads University
    - my close-knit group of neighbours who are also friends and share similar parental values
    - a small but close group of friends I worked with in Vancouver years ago
    - volunteer groups, church groups, or any other close association

    The point is, it is ok to feel like you 'change' slightly when moving from one social or family group to another. As long as you are being authentic and honest, you aren't being a chameleon; you are shifting from one tribe to another. When this happens you ebb and flow from different groups whose common bonds differ from one another, thus the discussions, common threads, perhaps even shared values change from one tribe to another.

    People are complex social and emotional creatures. That being said, it should be no surprise in a world where people can have 2000+ Facebook friends that one size doesn't fit all in a social setting. If you truly do 'know thyself', then by now you've identified what tribes there are in your life, and how each one of them charges and refuels a different part of what makes you whole.

    Wednesday, July 02, 2014

    Wednesday, June 25, 2014

    The long road to our goals.

           It was late spring 2007 and the stage had been set for a 5 rider, 6000kms, relay-format-cycle across the country in 8 days. We had been diligently training but nothing really long (and by really long I refer to the 7+hr multiple days in the saddle), so the next step was to incorporate that into the routine. The Destination: Mabel Lake, a medium sized lake situated between Salmon Arm and Sicamous in BC's Interior. We would depart on Thursday, attempt to reach Merrit BC @ 250k, overnight and continue to the lake & remaining 250k Friday morning. As luck would have it our new-out-of-the-box carbon fiber bikes arrived a few days prior to the ride and we thought it would be a good opportunity to familiarize ourselves with the hardware. However, as we made our way towards Hope BC the 1st challenge presented itself in the form of a broken derailleur. We would kill valuable time trying to single speed it, until finally giving way to a cycling shop in Hope where we would kill 5hrs and replace not one, but two derailleurs. Once fixed we would try in vain to press on but were forced to upload at the toll booth (approx 190k in and hitch a ride to Kamloops - 140k away). From there we would cycle to the lake, however in our hearts we knew..... we had unfinished business.

    Lesson: Don't test out new gear on the front end of any event.  

    I would drive that road 10-12 times each year knowing it had got the better of us and it bothered me so much so that 3 years later, with the support of a good riding mate, we would set out to complete the entire ride. This time we had a plan. Food, extra supplies and were making pretty good headway when an errand bike lean ended up breaking a specialized spoke that could not be repaired without a mechanical aid. As we couldn't true the tire and were tackling significant ascents and descents, we one again uploaded and were driven to the next town where we would rent a car and continue to Mabel Lake. This was strike 2.

    Lesson: Sometimes S#i!! happens and you just have to deal with it.

    Again, for the next 3 years I would drive the same highway, recalling the previous two attempts as my BID (before I die) goal seemed to slip further and further away. I needed to do something, so I sent out the call. The call to competent riders who would (together) power our way across the mountain ranges into the interior. The ride would have a support driver who carried all the supplies and had extras of everything. In my mind this would be the grand finale to a goal unaccomplished! Challenge was, when the time came to ride the weather didn't care about my personal vendetta. It had an idea of it's own and lashed out with a record days rainfall. The crew was great but it got to a point where a) it was not fun and b) it was not safe. Again, we would make it to Hope where the some would turn back and others would continue to Kamloops and ride the remaining 170k.
    Once again... another years worth of preparation and efforts had been lost.

                              Lesson: Sensibility must trump EGO if we want to reach our goals.

    Enter 2014. The PMS (Personal Mission Statement) was simple; "next level" meaning nothing more than every undertaking for the year must be moving towards a higher level of challenge, adversity & victory. A quick scan of the BID goals would highlight the obvious; a ride requiring completion. There would be no support vehicle, other riders or set schedule. This was going to be 500kms of non supported man vs goal. I would wake up at 4am on Sunday for a 5am departure and while I had a vague idea of time frames, this ride would be a ride vs. a race. Ironically, with that mentality, getting off the bike, taking in the scenery and properly fueling I would arrive ahead of every schedule. By the end of day 1 I entered Kamloops BC, 16.5hrs & 330kms after beginning. A quick (and sound) sleep led to another 6am wake up call & 7am departure for the final 170k leg of the trip.

    Where there once was impatience and forging ahead, there was breakfast stops and conversation leading to the desired outcome. Mabel Lake....... SEVEN YEARS LATER!

    Lesson: As it relates to life's personal goals, it matters not when they happen as much as that they happen.