Monday, January 17, 2011

Where do you want to go from here?


Just over a week ago, my son Nick and I were returning from Mexico.  As we sat on the plane, ready for take off, the pilot announced. "ladies and gentlemen there will be a slight delay, as our flight plan has not arrived yet."  (Kind of important, right?)   So we waited for 2 hours until it finally arrived.  Great, now we can take off.  No, we now have to re-fuel. 
I chuckled to myself and thought...."did we not plan this trip out already?......I think Edmonton was the plan, right???

Does this sound familiar?

Someone just acheived great success.......................they say to them themselves, I don't know where I want to go from here?

On the flip side, they may have experienced great pain and challenge.   They think, wow, I don't want that again, but I don't know where I want to go from here to avoid future pain.

Why is that exactly?

Well, I have a few thoughts...

If you are like most people, you don't set a course/plan with absolute intent.

Gee,.. I didn't know that I would end up HERE!   Where did you want to go in the first place?  I don't know.  Then you may have ended up where you were suppose to go.

Alice in Wonderland......
It's hard to believe that there was deep meaning in this classic novel, but one scene and series of quotes really hits home with this week's topic.

Alice: Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?

The Cat: That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.

Alice: I don't much care where.

The Cat: Then it doesn't much matter which way you go.

Alice: …so long as I get somewhere.

The Cat: Oh, you're sure to do that, if only you walk long enough.

Does this resonate with you and your plans sometimes?  How can you change that?

Like a great road is ok to tour sometimes, (you may use more fuel), but eventually you need to end up at a particular destination.  (It could be where you started in the first place)

The reality in life is that time starts to play a factor.   If we do not establish some form of clarity in our life as to where we want to go from here, we will tour around and waste fuel.  Not a big deal over a weekend, but if you make this a habit for a month, year, decade, it could be costly.

A few examples:

Starting out on a new career path, but you don't know if it is for you.   10 years later, you realize that it wasn't for you.

Working on some form of education to find out it wasn't what you really wanted to do.......oops I changed my mind.

Being in a relationship for many years and as you approach retirement, where you can spend more time together, you want to travel the world and your partner wants to relax at home.

Remember, need to ask the question often.  Where do I want to go from here?  When other people are involved, and they usually are.  (i.e. partners, kids, business associates, etc.) You need them to answer the same question. 

A tip for forward 5 years out.   What do you see your life looking like?  Do you like what you see?  What scares you most? Make some small corrections now to reset your course.  Communicate with others, if necessary. 

Plan and chart Life's journey!  It does not need to be as precise as a flight plan from Cancun to Edmonton, but it must have some tangible details.

We don't want to end up like Alice, do we?

I look forward to connecting with you next Monday.  

"Helping you to the next level"

Monday, January 10, 2011



Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose!

Most of us can relate to the recent loss that the Canadian Junior Hockey team, and the entire country experienced when they were upset by the Russian team....Some say it was unexpected, yet the risk of loss in sports and life is always a real possibility.  There is not absolute certainty with most things in our life.

I know that we have all suffered loss in our life.  For some it may have been small and others life altering.
Whether, it is the loss of a loved one; a job opportunity; your favorite sports team; or loss of a meaningful relationship, it can be tough and very impactful.

It is never easy, is it?

How we respond to the loss becomes more critical and paramount.

We usually analyze how it happened and definitely why it happened.

The part of the program where we actually accept the loss for what is it, or was, is really key!

Most of us tend to dwell alot and it does not allow us the opportunity to step forward and move pass the loss.
I am not suggesting that this process happens over can take a very long time, depending on how significant the loss and the nature of the circumstance.

There are many people in my life experiencing some form of loss at this time and my heart goes out to them.   They will all handle it differently, but over time it will get easier.

Dealing with Loss is much like grieving and there are many sources out there that suggest it is  a process.

The most common include:

Denial-  You are in disbelief........such as, this can't be happening to me. Not accepting or even acknowledging the loss.

Anger- Why did this happen to me?

Depression- You simply feel overwhelmed, frustrated and bitter. 

Acceptance- You have to accept the loss, not just try to cope quietly. Realization that the loss actually happened. Finding the good that can come out of the pain of loss.  (This is not easy, and usually time is the only remedy)

Get help and support from family, friends and professionals. You will survive. You will heal, even if you can't believe that now.

Best wishes for a great week!

"Helping you to the next level"

Monday, January 3, 2011

Hey.......we get a do over!


Hello from Mexico.  (Riviera Maya)

Feliz Año Nuevo a mis amigos, familia y contactos de negocios.

(Happy New Year to my friends, family and business contacts!)....sounds sexier in Spanish, doesn't it???

It is really hard to believe that 2011 is upon us, but wow, we get to accomplish so many things in the year ahead.

Those of you who are golfers can relate to the term, "mulligan".
This occurs when you hit a bad shot in golf and you get to do the shot over, without penalty. (Usually done during a social round of golf, and not for pro's or competitive tournaments)

Well, here is the good news; we get to take another shot at a New Year. 
Whether your past year was played in the rough or you were cruising straight down the middle  of the fairway, called life's journey, (without challenge), you get to start with a clean slate in 2011.   What a cool concept....!

Continuing with the golf theme a little further.  We all will be going with a shotgun start, which means we start this year's round all at the exact same time.  Seems fair, doesn't it?
In addition, I highly recommend a "best ball" format.  In fun golf tournaments this style of play is used to assist each team and balance out all players for speed of play and ideally makes the game as fair as possible.

If we apply this in our life, it simply means that we can have other people assist and support us throughout the year.  A helpful idea!!   It makes the flow of the year go by more smoothly and we usually win more times than we lose, however we still need to take a few shots on our own too!

It is a great feeling when we all get to start at the exact same place as everyone else, and shape our year the way we want to.  But the really great news, is knowing that other people on your team can assist you throughout the year.

I have many amazing things I plan on doing in 2011, and this seems like as good of year as any, but I know that I can't do it all on my own.

How about you?  Are you up for a do over?
What's on the list? 
Who's on your team?

It is common for all of us to get the winter blues in the next 30-45 days. 
Here are some tips to get through it.

-Change or tweak a few habits. 
-Register for a cooking class. (I will be)
-How about taking the dog for a walk every night before dinner?
(If you don't have a dog, walk the neighbour's dog, as he is not likely as motivated as you are)
-Take your sweetie for a movie. 
-Re-connect with an old friend. (I did this in early December and it felt awesome)
-Read a great book.  (well at least look at the pictures...LOL)
-Join a gym.  (ok, perhaps hang with people who go to the gym)  :)
-Go on a warm vacation.

If you want to make this year better than the past year and avoid going insane....think about the words of Albert Einstein.  "Insanity: ....doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."
Click here for some creativity on how to get where you want to go.

As I see it......Life is a team sport....!   Surround yourself with great team mates.

I welcome your comments on this week's blog, in the section below.   Gracias!!

"Helping you to the next level"

Monday, December 27, 2010

Want vs. Need


Good morning from Kamloops, BC.

So......did you get what you want for Christmas?

Was your list long and detailed?

What did you want exactly?

I do hope you got what you wanted for Christmas, but more importantly realize that what you need the most, was not likely under the Christmas tree.

I am finding that the older (and hopefully wiser) I get, my list gets shorter.

Why is that exactly?   Well in most cases, the "things" we want, and usually get for Christmas and Birthday's etc. are not essential.  Nice to have, nevertheless.

Now, don't get me wrong, I enjoy a great gift as much as anyone, and I did receive some amazing things this year.

The words Want and Need come up alot and are constantly interchanged.  When we were young, we wanted everything, but we didn't necessarily need everything.

Definition of want..................and need

"Want" refers to what you absolutely have to have and "need" refers to something that you don't really lust for -- but you just need it. A need is a necessity.
....or A "want" refers to something that you would prefer to have, what you see as a good rather than a bad. A "need" refers to something that is absolutely necessary to your health (both physical and mental). You may not want to eat salt or take insulin (if you have diabetes), but they are necessary to your health.

As I ponder on my short Christmas list, I realized that I received some of what I wanted, but I am truly getting what I need as it relates to items off the list.

I thank my family, many amazing friends and my health for that.

In 2011, there are many things that I want, as my goal list is long and detailed, but I am focused on ensuring that I get what I need.  I need to take care of myself, mentally, physically and emotional.  How about you?
My need list isn't long, but it is definitely essential to my well-being.  It is work-in-progress.
More importantly, I want to help others appreciate that what they need may not be purchased, but rather something that may be a touch away, or at least take only minutes to receive.

Have a great week with family and need it..!

"Helping you to the next level"

Monday, December 20, 2010



It is that time of year when I start to reflect on the past year.

For some, they write annual letters and send cards to family and friends, to share the events of the past year.

I was speaking with a Coaching client last week and they commented that they had many great things that happened to them in 2010, but they didn't write the details down.

There is real advantage of this for many reasons. You can reflect all all that you have accomplished, even if it is small and insignificant at the time.  

Another aspect of reflection for me is what may have went wrong and how did I handle it?   In hindsight, were things as bad as I actually thought that they would be at the time?   In many cases, they were not as bad.

I too reflect on my actions....or lack of action.

The definition of reflection is:
Given to reflection or serious consideration; reflective; contemplative; as a reflecting mind.
Throwing back light, heat, etc., as a mirror or other surface.
Click for image

Upon reflection for me:

I have many amazing people in my life, including family and wonderful friends.

It's ironic that I am today sending out my Blog post later than normal, largely due to the fact that I was away all weekend and just arrived home this morning.    I had an amazing experience that just happened to me less than 60 minutes ago.  As I was driving I saw an elderly couple walking to their snow covered car, and as they walked straight down the road, I thought, "perhaps I have met these people for a reason" as they further delayed my morning schedule. As I looked in my rearview mirror, I looped back to their vehicle, as I discovered they were now stuck in a solid, snowed packed ridge of snow.  I pulled over and started to assist, but realized it would take more than just me to make it happen.  Within minutes there were 4 of us helping and strategizing to get them out (without shovels in hand).  As we collaborated a moment we managed to push the couple out and they were on their way.   The truly amazing part of the story was when all four guys (including me) said "great job guys" and wished each other Merry Christmas and shook hands and went on our way.

As I drove away I reflected on the experience and thought, I am sure glad that the elderly couple delayed my morning schedule.  Upon reflection, I was pleased with the man in my mirror.

I will end with a powerful message from the song "Man in the Mirror", by the late Michael Jackson.....

I'm Starting With The Man In The Mirror
I'm Asking Him To Change His Ways
And No Message Could Have Been Any Clearer
If You Wanna Make The World A Better Place And Then Make A Change

When you look in the mirror and see your image reflecting back, are you happy with the reflection?

I welcome comments in the section below.

Happy holidays and Merry Christmas to those of you celebrating! 

"Helping you to the next level"

Monday, December 13, 2010

I am glad I did! ... Do you wish you had?


Life can offer many regrets.

The following line impacted me when I first heard it. (approx. 15 years ago)
At the end of my journey, I want to say..... "I am glad I did vs. I wish I had"

The premise here is that at the end of our lives we will reflect on the past.  The visual in my case, when I first heard of this, was a Basket full of "I wish I had's."

What's in your basket? 

For some, they may regret not furthering their education.
Others may regret not taking that exciting job offer.
We may wish that we spent more time playing with our kids.
Perhaps we wished that we built meaningful relationships.

I see this to be different from our "bucket list", as in many cases they are smaller things (significant nevertheless) that we can do, or decide not to do, yet can make all the difference.

Is there still time to ensure that the "I wish I had's stay out of your basket?

There are many examples of how I have applied the title of this Blog in my about you?

What are you glad that you did?

What do you wish you had done?

As for me....

I am glad that I called my Mom on a regular basis when she was living.
I am glad that I travelled to visit my Dad a few weeks before he passed away.
I am glad that I text my kids to keep in touch, so they know that I am there.
I am glad that I said hi, and met amazing people that impacted my life.
I am glad that I made a difference in some people's life.
I am glad that I read The Alchemist. (It allowed me to take risks and understand the miracle of life, by allowing the unexpected to happen.)
I am glad that I started my Blog that allows me the opportunity to stay connected with so many people.

The upcoming weekend will offer another opportunity to say "I am glad I did", when I travel 6 hours to visit a long time family friend to share in her 75th Birthday celebration.  Darlene Neuman of Lethbridge, Alberta is like a Mom to me and I have known her for 20 years.   I had other plans this weekend with Christmas parties, etc.  My thought process was very simple.   After I visit her, I know, with certainty that I will say, I am glad I did.   Not going, was simply not an option!

The reverse of this is, if you didn't take action, what do you wish you had done?

We have an opportunity to decide if we want to live with regret, or be glad we made a decision to take action, regardless of the outcome.

At the end of the day, none of us want to say................."I wish I had......."

Here's the happy ending to this week's Blog.   Create a list of I wish I had's and take action to be glad you did them before it's too late. 

I welcome your comments in the comment section below.

"Helping you to the next level"

Monday, December 6, 2010

Goals vs. Resolutions


Hello from sunny California!  (back to chilly Edmonton tonight)

Tis the season to be planning!  Fa la la la la la la la la.

With less than 30 days until the New Year, I thought I would give you a heads up.

It is statistically proven that less than 3 percent of New Years resolutions are acted upon and achieved.

Why exactly?

Well as I see it, many people make the common mistake.  They start to reflect on the past year and realize that they want to make changes.......a good thing!  But, they don't know what they want, why they want it, and how they can get it....

In my Coaching practice I talk about Goal Setting constantly......not just once per year.  This can apply to anyone when it comes to achieving objectives in 2011.  The key here is that a goal is not a resolution.  (The definition of a resolution, "a decision to do something or to behave in a certain manner")  Think about it!   It is just a decision to do is only the first and very basic step.

In light of the fact that we have some time (less than 30 days, assuming you want to get started on January 1st) to articulate our Goals for 2011, here are a few tips for you. (Thanks to one of my mentors, Anthony Robbins)

What is your OUTCOME?  (What do you want? could be several things)
...some examples

-make more money
-lose weight
-write a book
-plan a dream vacation
-improve relationships with your kids
-open a flower shop
-complete an MBA

(TIP:  be specific with Goals.  eg....I want to lose 20 lbs by March 31st, 2011)

Some Goals can be accomplished in a relatively short period of time, but some take longer.  Chunk out the goal so you show progress along the journey.  Losing 20 lbs may take 90 days, or longer.  If you break this down into 30 day time frames it is easier to show progress.  You have to lose 5 lbs before you can lose 20 lbs.

What is your PURPOSE?  (Why do you want it?....make this very compelling!)

For every Goal (Outcome) you need to write down why you want to accomplish it)

..example   I want to lose 20 lbs so I can fit into my new bathing suit for my spring vacation to Mexico.  I want to lose 20 lbs so I can have more energy and vitality and be healthier overall.

In my words, I believe that "wimpy why's" getting wimpy results.

If your why is...."just because", you are less likely to achieve your goals and outcomes.  Trust me on this!!!

The third and final step....
What ACTION will you take?  How will you accomplish the goal(s)?

This is obviously a key step, but usually the following things happen.  We know WHAT we want?  (The goal/outcome)  We may know WHY we want to accomplish the goal/outcome.  We don't know HOW we are going to accomplish it, so we wimp out or stop believing we can do it.  The second issue, is that we do not make the Action specific and measurable.

My son Nick has an awesome goal when he is 25 years old.  (he is now 19)   He knows why he wants it too.  His concern,"but I don't know how to do it"  The exciting part for us (I say us, because I want him to achieve his goal as much as he does, and he will likely get some complimentary coaching through the years.  LOL.  It's what I do!)

Ok....Back to the 20 lbs weight loss goal.   I will go for a 30 min walk 4 times per week.  I will stop eating snacks after 7pm.  I will replace my soft drink habit with water, etc.

I highly recommend that you write all of the above on paper.  Track it, measure it and share your goals with others.  It is always helpful to have other people in your corner to support you.

Revisit your goals often.  For some of you it may be weekly.  For others it may be monthly. (this is at the minimum) 

As I reflect on some of my past goals that were accomplished, I realized that I looked at the goals, the purpose and my action on a very regular basis.  Top of mind can make all the difference.  Back burner doesn't get the attention it needs.

Remember Dr. Stephen R. Covey's book, "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People"...  Habit 2  "Begin with the end in mind"  
What does it feel like and look like when you accomplish your goal?  Put yourself in that place.  It will help you get to where you plan on going.

As always, I welcome our comments in the section below.

"Helping you to the next level"