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.