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Success & Perspective - Shake It Up!

Imagine an iPad children’s book that tells the story about the world war from the perspective of the British.

Now, imagine giving that iPad a good shake, and there is the same story being told from the German perspective.

What would be different about the stories told, and what value would these multiple perspectives give the individual reading them? Even more importantly, how could we use these multiple perspectives in a broader sense as positive motivators for driving human behaviour, and the everyday choices we make as we go about living our lives?

Perspective is our perception of the world around us ... the circumstances we find ourselves in, and how we see them.  You likely know “glass-half-full” people that generally choose to view things positively, compared to the “glass-half-empty” folks that tend to focus on the negative.  It’s critical to understand that it’s not just about how we see things, but how we choose to see them.  And it’s because we have the power of choice that we also have the opportunity to reframe our perspective.  And that’s where motivation theory kicks in!

If we understand the notion of reframing our reality as a psychological event, as a choice that we have the power to make, we are on our way to understanding the psychological value that can drive motivation and behaviour.  Rory Sutherland gives us several examples where the consideration of value, when it includes technology, economics and psychology in equal measure, leads to much improved problem resolution. Having a challenge getting patients to finish their medication in order to achieve better cure rates?  Understanding individuals’ psychological disposition to follow their caregivers’ orders, why not make 24 pills white, 6 pills blue, and instruct the patient to take the blue pills last?  This use of midpoint milestones (or “chunking”) to motivate behaviour can also be seen in places like Disney where wait times for rides can be found posted along the queue.  Customers decide if they’re willing to endure the ninety-minute wait for a ride, or if the threats of their screaming child to run away from home if they don’t get to spin around in a teacup and saucer they’ve dreamed of riding FOREVER are worth the time invested.  The “economics” of the wait may not make sense from a “gotta-cover-the-whole-park-in-one-day” strategy perspective, but the psychological benefits of a smiling, happy child with a dream fulfilled outweigh any rational arguments, as compelling as the numbers may be.

We agree with KK Raghava, that a broadening of one’s perspective builds higher levels of empathy.  It’s about walking in other people’s shoes, and by doing so gaining a new appreciation for what life is like from a place we may not be familiar with.  This appreciation builds respect, tolerance for and acceptance of differences, and resilience capacity as we grow wiser with every experience and perspective we choose to explore.  And that’s a good thing!

How about shaking up your perspective?  Why not have your team walk in someone else’s shoes (maybe another department’s) to see if better ways to work together can be found?  What if we told stories about families led by homosexual instead of heterosexual parents? Are we choosing to tell our stories from a glass-half-empty perspective, or are they full of glass-overflowing sentiments? Contact us about ways we can help your team see a different and fresh perspective!

Be mindful, stay curious, shake’rattle’n’roll your way to a new and inspiring perspective, and enjoy the rest of this crazy wonderful time and space we call summer 2013!


Connecting In The Space(s) Between

Connecting In The
Space(s) Between

How sweet it is to be Canadian right now. 

Thanks to Canadian astronaut and former Commander-In-Chief of the International Space Station Colonel Chris Hadfield, our profile around the globe has reached rock-star status as millions continue to tune in to his latest reflections on the wonders of space.  While certainly his list of accomplishments would be enough to garner anyone’s attention and respect, it’s been his ability to engage so many people through social media that has been one of the most exciting.  Here’s our hero, from a place and space that’s nearly impossible for us to comprehend, not only connecting a world population together, but doing it in such fresh and fun ways that a whole new interest in science, technology, and our nation as a whole has been ignited.  Chris’ passion for his craft, the wonder he still holds for life and its infinite possibilities, his humility and on-so-Canadian approach and demeanor,  his knack for making incredibly complex concepts accessible to everyone ... and if all that weren’t enough, who wouldn’t be proud of a guy who partners up with Ed Robertson of Barenaked Ladies’ fame to pull off the first-ever live performance (complete with on-the-ground choir) of Is Somebody Singing?  Oh, yeah ... our cred as uber-cool Canucks has definitely moved up a few notches thanks to the Colonel.
We love his example of using the space between us to connect as communities of interest to explore, discover, marvel at, and be inspired into action by the world around us, and the people we share our spaces with. 

What do we mean by “spaces”?

Those spaces where there are opportunities for connection ... the public spaces we frequent, the private spaces we have within ourselves, our personal physical spaces, our mindsets and intellectual spaces, our emotional spaces ... anywhere that we choose to invite others in.

When we reflect upon the spaces in our lives, what stories do they tell about our connections, and the alignment between who we are and why we do what we do?  What core themes emerge?  Are they consistent between our spaces?  Are they good themes, or not-so-good?  Are there connections in one of our spaces that we wish were in all of them?  What themes did we expect to find, and didn’t?  What about themes that we used to have, but don’t anymore?  Or themes we never had, but wish we did?

 “It’s about connecting the dots.  There is a thread that runs through all of our lives, and when you can  figure out what that thread is, what connects the dots, you’ve figured out your purpose.” Beyoncé

We couldn’t agree more.  Always, we start with our why, our purpose, what gives meaning to the things we do, day in and day out.  Understanding why we are here helps us identify our spaces, motivating us to seek out and discover all of the glorious opportunities we have to connect within them  – individually and collectively -  in the pursuit of things that matter to us.

Here’s something to contemplate ... “Actions don’t speak louder than words. Actions ARE the words, just shouted out loud.”

Stay curious, make a paper airplane with someone you care about, please join us as we extend a heartfelt and amazed-by-you salute to all of the wonderful Dads out there, and have fun frolicking in space!


A Boston Strong Reality Check


Talk about a moment.

We’re talking one of those slap-in-the-face-reality-check kind of a moments that literally stops us in our tracks, demands our attention, and makes whatever worries we had before seem trivial in comparison.

We’re referring, of course, to the Boston marathon bombings.   So many of us recall exactly where we were when we first heard the news, and how surreal it felt watching details of the tragedy flashing across our screens as we hugged – either literally or figuratively - our loved ones a little closer.  In the same moment, we mourned as we celebrated ... saddened by such senseless loss, yet inspired by the courage and incredible acts of humanity which we were so privileged to bear witness to.

Some moments in our lives can matter more than others ... like the moment those bombs went off in Boston, and our whole world took a collective tilt.  The impact of these moments stays with us for awhile, as we find ourselves pondering those big life questions that come to call when our realities have been shaken.  What really matters to us?  Are we living lives that let us spend our time where we most want to spend it?  If not, how can we get closer to where we want to be?  Is the legacy we’re building one that will make us and the people we care about proud, now and long after we’re gone?

Let’s start with asking ourselves a simple question ...

Before I die, I want to _____________________ .

How would we fill in the blank?  It’s funny, how thinking about death has the power to influence how we choose to live today, right now, in this moment and in the ones that follow.   We love the idea of purposeful thinking, the kind that gets us pondering possibilities, and collaborating together to come up with a better way to be in the realms we move.  And we particularly love the outcomes from this kind of creative reflection when it's applied in practical, meaningful, and obtainable ways.  Meet Candy Chang, and watch this short clip featuring her work utilizing public spaces as community communications boards and connection hubs.   Can you imagine using this approach in other change/transition processes?

What else can we learn from our neighbours about staying “Boston strong” in spite of our realities?   How can we get to a place where we’re able to pack up our pouts, pull up our big boy/girl panties, and put the twirl back into our two-step?

Here’s a few other thoughts to help get us through our reality moments ...

1.       Focus on the positive
In amongst all the tragedy and horror we heard, amazing stories of heroism emerged, important reminders that in spite of the all the bad people, there were more good ones working together to help make our world a safer place.  Read these stories, and celebrate the strength and courage of the angels among us that helped turn “Boston Strong” into much more than just a rallying cry for Bostonians.  These words, and what they represent, give us all a way to express our love of humanity, to show the resilience of our spirits, and to shout out loud our belief in better days ahead.   What’s your rallying cry when the going gets tough?
2.       Pause for a “Pick-Me-Up”
With so much doom and gloom, why not send someone you care about, and who you know is going through a tough time, a surprise “Pause For A  Pick-Me-Up” care package in the mail?  The items do not need to be expensive, or extravagant ... we’re talking small things that may give the recipient a little lift, or an excuse to smile, or even just a brief pause in an otherwise hectic day.  Think about things they enjoy, or don’t make time in their day for, and you’ll be off and running!  Some suggestions ... a teabag, a scented tea candle, a cartoon or crossword puzzle clipped from a magazine, a pressed flower, an inspirational quote, a recipe (or restaurant menu) with a post-it note inviting them to join you at a future date, tickets for a movie night ... the options are endless, and cheap’n’cheerful are the best.  While you’re at it, why not create a “pause” for yourself?  What things would you put in your package?
3.       Do something that honours and celebrates life
Mother’s Day is coming up, and Father’s Day shortly thereafter.  Who better to celebrate life with than the folks who gave it to us?  Whether our parents are here with us, or somewhere else, spend a few moments “together” reminiscing about the good times.  Someone we know leaves a golf ball at her Dad’s gravesite every time she visits, her small way of remembering and celebrating the many “walk’n’talk” sessions they enjoyed on the greens when he was still living.
Stay open, be courageous, honour all the Moms in your life, and sing along with a few of the “Boston Strong”.
We Are One. 


Off Balance On Purpose: Using The Discomforts Of Reality To Motivate Performance

It’s uncanny, really ... just when we think we’ve got our ducks in a row, something comes along and upsets our realities.  We’ve worked so hard to get some semblance of control over our lives, we’re just beginning to enjoy the fruits of our labour, and once again we’re blown off course.  Have you ever found yourself seriously contemplating putting a Spock lock on the next person that tells you “everything happens for a reason”?  Please, we’re thinking, enough with the Positive Pollyanna treatment already ... good reason or not, this sucks!

Okay ... we’ll be big enough to acknowledge the sentiment behind these words of infinite wisdom, but what if there really isn’t a lesson to learn?  What if it’s just the way the world works, and today just happens to be the day our cookie has been scheduled to continue its crumbling? Or maybe there is a lesson to be learned, but we won’t know what it is for another three years.  And we don’t even know, in the here and now, that there’s a lesson to be learned at all!  Feeling motivated yet?

Let’s face it ... when we’re off-kilter, hearing words like “this too shall pass”, or “you may not know why this is happening now, but you will” can seem really dumb, incredibly insensitive, and even downright condescending when we’re scrambling to figure out the latest curve ball that’s been thrown our way.  We look at the 300 million responses that pop up when we google the word “balance”, and we feel even more overwhelmed.

So, what to do?  Here are three suggestions to help you make the most out of your discomfort ...

1)       Recognize and accept that being off-balance IS the new reality
... to think our personal universes will remain on track while the rest of the world continues its rock’n’roll journey around us, is delusional.  Getting comfortable with the discomfort of change is a competency we call resilience, and every leader would be wise to invest some time and attention on developing this critical skill in themselves, and in their team members.  And if you’ve got three minutes, check out this clip for more discomfort motivation therapy!
Start with mindset ... we’ve tapped it before, and we’ll tap it again ... it’s how we react and respond to what’s going on around us that determines how we experience our respective realities.  We cannot control what’s going to happen, although we can control how we think about and respond to it.  Welcome to the world of change management, ladies and gentlemen!
3)      Recognize discomfort and a lack of balance as powerful motivators for change
.  Progress relies on people possessing a desire to make things better than they are, and steps taken to lessen the pain can often lead to the best outcomes, with benefits far beyond the confines of the situation itself.   For a great example, check out this blog post courtesy of our friends at HBR ... have you ever had a moment of obligation?

Looking for a few small ways to get more comfortable with change by developing stronger resiliency?  How about ...

1)       Taking a different route to work tomorrow morning?  You’ll be more attentive as you navigate your road less travelled, and a new awareness and appreciation of your surroundings and community will provide a renewed perspective, turning the old and familiar into new and exciting;
2)      Looking for one thing you can be grateful for each day?  When you’re primed to find something positive, it’s amazing how such a small shift in thinking can make such a positive and lasting impact on your overall health and well-being;
3)      Replacing one of your morning coffees with an herbal drink?  Small steps/changes count, so if the thought of cutting out caffeine leads you to break out in a cold sweat, go slow and celebrate whatever progress you make;
4)      Taking one bio break per day, and spending it with a colleague or co-worker you’ve never spent much time with before?  We’ve all heard the old adage, “Know Thy Customer”, right?  Well, how about getting to know one of your internal customers better?  It’s amazing how one new discovery about someone you work with can foster a stronger sense of commitment between co-workers as perspectives broaden beyond the walls of the workplace;
5)      Facing your biggest fears head-on through “what if” scenario playing?  Thinking about the absolute worst thing that could happen, and spending some time brainstorming possible responses, allow us to be more prepared and equipped to handle whatever challenges may arise.

Are you curious about the benefits of being off-balance on purpose and with intention?  Are you interested in learning how discomfort can provide the motivation you and your team members need to achieve your next level of collective success?   Give us a call, and we’ll explore some of the exciting options we’ve developed to help you make the most out of your reality!

Be mindful, stay curious, celebrate the peas under your mattress for the motivators they are, and be sure to celebrate Associated Country Women of the World Day on April 29th (for more information, check out!


The Tension of Suspension

"The Tension Of Suspension"

While the calendar may be telling us spring is officially here, many of us continue to enjoy our Canadian winters at record-setting temperatures. Mother Nature, so gifted in the art of anticipation, shows us again her knack for suspending gratification in order to score maximum effect ... thank goodness we’ve had hockey to help pass the time and keep our faith in better days ahead!

The tension we find in delaying an outcome can be both exhausting and energizing at the same time (did we hear “Leafs” fan somewhere out there? J).  It’s like our “Grama And The Fork” story ... we know the best is yet to come, and we’re eagerly awaiting its arrival, yet we may be growing weary of the wait.  Where are we?  Did we intend to be here?  How much effort did it take to get here?  Where to next?  Why there?  And where’s that piece of Grama’s homemade apple pie, anyways?

As we ponder these questions, it’s important that we include our own selves in this review.  How are we feeling emotionally physically and spiritually?  Are we generally in a good place?  Wherever we are, do we understand why we’re there?  How have we actively invested in ourselves as our most important, and undeniably most irreplaceable asset?  Have we been smart about maintaining ourselves, recognizing we cannot serve others if we don’t?  And what about that inner voice that’s been trying to make “self-aware”, “self-manage”, and “self-develop” sound like “self-ish”?

What A Self-Review Looks Like

Ten Dot’s 4H model allows us to assess ourselves within each of four realms (heart, head, health and hands) which, together, help us be and contribute our best selves.  So what happens when we combine our four realms with the benefits of suspension?  AND we factor in the time constraints all of us have?  If you could suspend your technology for the next ten minutes, we promise we’ll be quick ...

Heart ... Suspense That Kills (With Kindness)

Let’s ponder our first realm, and the brilliance of a simple concept which our U.K. friends introduced to us awhile back, where coffee shop patrons place orders for “suspended” food and beverage items which owners then offer to any future down-on-their-luck customer that can’t afford to buy on their own.  This pay-it-forward practice has moved beyond beverages to food items, and whole meals in some instances ... imagine seeing someone enjoy something we helped make happen in the moment, and it’s as easy as “two double-doubles, one suspended ...”!  Even without the word, we know a lot of you out there already pay it forward in similar fashion ... talk to your favourite coffee shop people, tag them on Facebook, and let the beans roll! 

Health ... Cheers To Our Local Food Fans

While we’re on the topic of food, check out this short (by “short”, we mean 2:42) Youtube clip (found here -   courtesy of our friends at on eating locally, and some small mindful actions we can take as individuals right now when making our food buying decisions.  Beyond the matter of our health in consuming locally grown produce/products, the impact these small rituals can have on our planet is immense ... just thinking about the four thousand miles that the average food item in our local grocery store has traveled, when our own farmers and food growers may be struggling, should get us thinking ... we can do better.

Hands ... Rainbows and Recovery

Are anyone else’s fingers suffering the after-effects of creating baskets full of multi-coloured Easter eggs?  No worries ... check out our no-bake recipe for yummy Easter bark.  And don’t be shy with those sprinklies!

Head ... The “10 Minutes: 10 Things” Time –Out

Finally, let’s give our mindset a little exercise as we contemplate the words of wisdom written by Charlotte Preston of the Hanna and District Agricultural Society, found in the pages of a fifty-year-old recipe book handed down by our “eastern Mom”.   Words to live (more mindfully) by!

Do you or your team members need more tension in your suspension?  Are you looking for quick and easy ways to invest in yourself for renewed energy and higher quality output?  Get in touch ... we’ve got pit stop workshops revved and ready to go! 

Be open, stay curious, hug your mechanic, and Happy Easter!