Monthly Archives: November 2015

  • 0


The Accidental Run Part II

I had a crazy thought a few years ago. I was in the lobby of a Church talking to Matt Blacklock. Matt is a friend and ultramarathon runner who has tackled some of Canada’s toughest long distance runs. An ultramarathon is defined as anything over 50kms. Matt was telling me how difficult and mentally challenging ultramarathon runs are and I was thinking how I dislike running.

As the conversation continued a common synapse problem occurred which I am familiar with. The problem has happened several times before. As my mind was processing just how much I dislike running, my mouth started talking as if I were not in control any longer and out came the words “I would like to try one of those!”.

What I do like to do is commit myself verbally and unfortunately many years of programming seem to have allowed my mouth to operate independently of my brain. After a few more minutes of conversation I was further committed to a date, a location and a distance. The Cabrakan 100km Ultramarathon in Guatemala. What had I done?

As it happens, Matt is also the base director for local charity FeViva that our Foundation, Rally4Life supports and so there was a natural charity fit. Later, I admitted to my wife that I might just have made a foolish decision and I was going to run 100km. The furthest I had run up to that point was 21.1km. I busily spoke to other ultramarathoners and read about training plans and prepared to do a lot of running and my first marathon.

As we got closer to the date I asked my wife if we should broaden the scope of the trip and see if people wanted to join us and use the event to raise money for FeViva. We sent out a call and were overwhelmed with the response. In total, eight other people, including one of the founders of FeViva decided to participate in the run, not just come with us.

None of these people had ever run a half marathon in their lives, many had never run other than on a treadmill but what was evident was the mental commitment these people made to the event, the charity and their challenge. They had all decided to run 25km and create two relay teams. At the same time a group in West Kelowna decided they would raise funds and run a similar distance on the waterfront in Peachland on the same day!

This whole accidental run started with one sentence…. “I would like to try one of those”.

After the event, which happened last November in Guatemala, the whole team had raised over $80,000 which was used to provide clean burning wood stoves to poor families in Guazacapan and to purchase a school in a slum area of Nicaragua.

Yesterday, I had coffee with Kim Wieler. Kim is one of the Founders of Fe Viva and at 53 years young and after having run his first race last year, here we go again! We decided to repeat the Run4Life!

FeViva and Rally4Life are partnering to create an annual fund raising marathon in Guatemala. The run will take you up a gentle slope with a beautiful view of volcanoes that guard the original capital of Guatemala, Antigua. After 21.1kms you will turn around and head back down to the Pacific Ocean.

Your option is to run a half-marathon or a full marathon. This year we will be raising funds to build infrastructure in the school in Nicaragua. The school is already overfull, needs a kitchen in order to be able to feed the children and washrooms as well as some additional classrooms. For only $320 per child we can provide all of the common area facilities they need to get a meaningful and healthy education.

The Run4Life will happen again this year on November 9th 2013. Many of us will be heading down from Kelowna and we will package a trip that allows you to participate in some charity work while you are there, enjoy the run and perhaps even take a few days off in El Salvador on your way home!

While it has been an accidental journey for me and others who participated, there are many grateful families and children around the world who are more than happy that my mouth is not connected to my brain!

For more information contact me

  • 0


Time managementWhat a crazy summer it has been so far. I am not just referring to the weather either.

This year I decided to do some training, in fact a ten week course that has taken me away from my home and my family and keeps me away until my wedding anniversary!

It is a chance for me to improve on my personal fitness level, grow in leadership skills and better my ability to work with teams. These are all good traits to work on, but frankly it has been a challenge and continues to be.

Like an adventure (which it really is) you try to prepare yourself mentally and physically. The problem, unlike a physical challenge, is that you don’t know how to prepare. What type of coaches/mentors will you be introduced too? How much free time will you have on the course? What style of leadership will they adopt? How will you get on with a broad spectrum of personalities that you are working with? I didn’t know the answers to these questions so mentally, the course has proven to be challenging, but in a positive way. One thing that I have always believed in is that there is always more to learn. If you don’t believe that, I believe you have given up on life’s journey.

Physically, I am not too concerned, I know my limits now, and I know how far I can push my body and also the signs of when it is starting to break. Let’s face it, I am no good to anyone if something breaks, so occasionally, backing off the physical throttle a little to make sure you get to the end or the objective is the better option.

The course is a pass or fail course. There are a few motivations to get it completed, one of the biggest being the fact that I told my wife I would! Not really a big compromise for me. I have left her with a whole pile of unfinished business, on her own for ten weeks to solve various jigsaw puzzles I started.

So while I may grumble a little about the course I am on, which is physically and mentally demanding, the truth is my wife Jackie is on a much bigger and much more challenging adventure.

Every time I endeavour to do something like this, it is always the same. The unsung hero is Jackie! The constant up-lifter and encourager is Jackie. The glue that keeps the household working is Jackie. As a couple we have spoken about this to a few audiences. The point is that there are people who lead and take on audacious tasks and attack them with reckless abandon (similar to the approach I perhaps take) and then, there are people like Jackie – many of them – who can be considered leaders in their own right, but who lead differently. Their style is to make it easy for their partner/boss/colleague to complete their task seamlessly with as little effort and distracted focus as possible. Often, it is an unrecognised leadership, but it requires a similar skill set to be successful. In my mind, Jackie is a leader.

In an ideal world, my goal is to provide Jackie with the ability to run our charity as seamlessly and effortlessly as possible. That can only be done by overwhelming it with corporate support (which is my goal) so that she can take out a small stipend that does not bear comparison to the work she puts in. I am not there yet, but Jackie faithfully continues to support my efforts to “spread the word” and grow what we have started. Rally4Life Charity will continue to grow and help people around the world. It will grow because of the same selfless determination that Jackie displays day in and day out towards helping other people accomplish their goals, reach their destination, live a life that was never promised to them because of their circumstances or simply live with hope because they now know that someone cares about them.

You see, Jackie is my hero! I have no right to complain. She has constantly devoted her life to helping her husband, raising her children, loving her parents (and  mine) and generally giving much more than she takes.

It is hard to say this on a cell phone, and for those of you who know her or me well, know the truth. For those of you who don’t – Jackie is an unsung hero. She is my unsung hero and I can’t wait to see her again on our wedding anniversary on August 17th when I finally arrive back in Kelowna.

  • 0


SUP AdventureAs I come to a close on the army training project for the summer, my mind drifts to the next adventure.

My body is tired. It has not been a physically stressful 10 weeks, but the work that we have done every day has been very different to what I normally do and that has been a good challenge. Rather than endurance training it has been more strength oriented. I seem to have reached a point where my body hurts less when I exercise than it does when I rest, so there is nothing else to do other than to get up each day and keep going!

I have about 10 days rest back in the Okanagan to spend with my wife and preparing for the Paddleboard around Okanagan Lake. I need to get some time on a paddleboard – every day! My total paddling time amounts to less than the first days leg quite frankly. I know, not unlike this course, I will learn a great deal during the paddling. I am paddling with partner Peter Dodenhoff, a very experienced paddler who will likely be out front wondering where I am, but I will be there, not too far behind and at some point on the paddle, my skills will adapt to the new environment.

Through the planning of the project I have made some new friends. Bob Purdy being one of them. Bob is a really interesting guy and has made a name for himself by paddling close to 1000 days straight. Every single day he gets in the water and paddles, come rain, shine, snow, ice. It is an astounding achievement and when you paddle with Bob, you can tell he has a lot of hours on his board, where as, by contrast, I have a lot of time off my board! He was the first person to paddle the length of Okanagan Lake last year and he did it in less than a day!

Bob is not the kind of fellow I would have spent a lot of time with several years ago! You see, I am a businessman, a developer even at one point and Bob, well, he has a charity focused on environmental issues. It is not that I don’t like environmentalists, but I find many of them to be negative. What draws me to getting to know Bob better, is that he is looking for solutions but more importantly for me personally, his interest is in protecting the planets water resources. His mission and my mission tie in well together. My goal is to take some of the planets water resources and give them to people who are dying of thirst and disease. If advocates like Bob did not exist, I would not be able to fulfill my objective.

So our missions are aligned very well and as we paddle around the lake starting on labour day weekend, we have two messages to deliver, one is how fortunate we are to have such an amazing water resource in the Okanagan. Our watershed provides clean, sparkling, fresh water year after year, yet if we are complacent we can lose it. In contrast, there are countries in the world that are parched and people are dying.

Bob is hoping to join us for a few days paddling and I am really looking forward to the conversations. He is a world changer for sure, someone who cares enough to selflessly give of his time and resources to spread a message of caution that we should not take for granted what we have today. That our responsibility is to protect those resources for future generations.

My hope is that we can raise $30,000. That will be enough to provide two safe water solutions in Northern Kenya and give approximately 3,000 people the chance to live a life they could not have hoped for. It will be a chance for them to send their children to school, be a little less transient with their wildlife and perhaps even start a business. They will have better health and they will be able to live their lives instead of simply surviving every day.

You can support us by clicking this link. The SUP4Life event has been supported by Naish using the Naish One inflatable line of boards.

How much do we take for granted? More than we care to believe…

  • 0


Getting to the endThis morning, I opened up my Facebook profile and was immediately impressed by the feat of British rower, Sarah Outen. She has just finished a mammoth row from Japan to Alaska. A tremendous success, but not without adversity.

Here is a quote from her most recent blog “The final 48 hours to land was huge and exhausting and very challenging. I didn’t sleep for 30 hours but just emptied the tank. Again and again. I didn’t see land until I was less than a mile off – through thick white fog. There was a point at around 6.30 in the morning where I wondered if we could make the final 4 miles in. My muscles had nothing left and the current was taking us away from the original landing waypoint. I sat in my cabin and cried and wondered what to do”

Often times, when we take that first slightly brave step towards achieving a goal, the world seems to transpire to prevent us from getting to our destination. I have often experienced similar emotions whether it is in business or on my adventures and the key thing to always remember is that, like Sarah, there are ways to overcome those feelings.

In a similar vein, I have a couple of friends who are about to accomplish some incredible challenges themselves. I am sure, along the way they have been challenged with moments where they wondered if they were going to make it to their intended destination.

Bob Purdy, Kelowna paddle boarder and conservationist is today paddling for his 1000th continuous day. For the celebratory event he decided to head out to the west coast and paddle in style but make sure you give him a cheer on his facebook page. I don’t think he needs too much encouragement because he has already decided to carry on. I do know personally however, that those private words of encouragement mean a tremendous amount to the individual, just like Sarah who was sitting teary eyed in the capsule of her boat wondering if she could even make the last few “long” miles to shore. Perhaps she received a text or a facebook message just at that time, I know I have on my trips!

I have another good friend in the UK, Steph Jeavons who is about to embark on a life changing adventure. I met Steph in 2008 on a motorbike enduro in South Africa. She was relatively new to motorbike riding at the time and was tested time and again on some pretty harsh South African terrain including multiple river crossings and hill climbs each day, but I saw her time and again dig deep and get the job done. The next time I rode with Steph was in Morocco for some “Dakar training” with British motorbike star Mick Extance. The improvement in Steph’s riding was remarkable and you could tell that she was hooked.

In six months time, Steph departs the UK on a solo round the world motorbike trip. It sounds easy when you say it like that, but I promise you, it will be fraught with challenges, nervous moments, loneliness and sometimes even doubt. But the great thing is, the journey is so rewarding. You can follow Steph’s adventures at

Although these may be examples of “big goals”, many of us live our lives with goals each day and often we may find ourselves wanting to “hide in a corner” for a few minutes.

I would love to hear from you on how you find ways to move forwards from a sometimes challenging moment. Is there a favourite routine you have, maybe the simple act of going for a jog, or preparing a nice meal can be the distraction that free’s up that part of your brain that can help you to find a solution. Send me an email to with your ideas and perhaps we can publish a few ideas on this column to help others!

  • 0


Learn how to handle stressFrom time to time, we can all be accused of having a small (or sometimes slightly larger than small) pity party. The “woe is me” conversations that seem to permeate many dinner table conversations at the moment. The man’s version of the discussion is often a little different to the woman’s version. The man is on an adventure and has taken some risk to fix things and the future looks great. The woman knows that there is not enough money to pay the bills at the end of the month and can’t sleep at night because of the sense of insecurity.

There is a natural conflict, not simply between a man and a woman in terms of how their minds work, but also between personality types. A sense of order that is required by one personality type is seen as a burden by another and the perception is the organisation simply clutters the pathway to progress with additional administration.

Learning how to associate with the different personality types is key to your future success and personal development. As a keynote speaker and presenter, I always strive to present a topic to the four basic personality types.

The Choleric or controlling personality doesn’t want me to tell them what to do, they want to know what the options are so they can choose.
The Phlegmatic or easy going personality wants to know what to do. They will willingly follow advice even if they may not enjoy the activity.  Interestingly, their personality is one that makes them want to “please you” so if it makes you happy, they will do it!
The Melancholy personality wants to know that the plan has been thought through… that the numbers prove the point. They would like to see the spreadsheet and the tacit examples before they commit.
Finally, the Sanguine personality wants to know, whatever they do, it will be fun.

Understanding the interpersonal challenges between these types also helps you understand as a leader or manager, how each character relates to stress.

As we continue to evolve our work habits, budgets, personal and corporate planning to reflect the new realities we find ourselves in, it strikes me that perhaps a few people have been here before. We can all talk about the challenges we face as if we are taking on some unique struggle to grow to our next level of development, however, history would tell us otherwise.

I picked up a book from my bookshelf this morning and sat down to read after my daily exercise routine. The first chapter was about a pair of brothers who became successful in the takeout food industry. The McDonald brothers reinvented the way food was prepared and sold in North America and became the darlings of the food industry for a while. Their concept was so popular that they decided to sell the “concept” to other entrepreneurs who with their guidance would be able to copy their success.

You probably know the rest of the story but just in case…. Their ability to execute their “franchise opportunity” was limited by their leadership skills. After several years of attempting to duplicate their success, only a handful of restaurant owners had benefitted from their plan.

It was at that time the real power behind the McDonald’s empire entered the picture. Ray Kroc was a supplier to the McDonald brothers and after realising they had become his largest account he visited the business and immediately saw the opportunity in duplicating their restaurants. Ray decided to put everything he could into growing the business.

Ray Kroc was a visionary. In my mind one of the key aspects of leadership is vision. Without vision you can only manage. Ray decided at the age of 55 years old to risk almost everything. He cut back on his lifestyle and put energy, finances and resources in to growing the MacDonald’s empire under a newly formed corporation, McDonald Systems Inc. He borrowed money from the bank, pledged his life insurance policy and gave up golf to fulfill his dream. He sacrificed most of his lifetime success at an age where most people are contemplating retirement. In 1961 he purchased the entire business from the McDonald brothers for $2.7 million. After 8 short years, Ray Kroc had opened 500 restaurants, created a foundation for an empire that today exceeds 33,000 restaurants around the globe.

So today as we worry about having to trim our budgets to afford to enjoy a meaningful life, sacrifice is often temporary and life my daily workout, necessary to advance to the next level of success in your personal life. It is in the troughs of life that we learn lessons, allowing us to enjoy the peaks and surf for a little while.

  • 0


Leadership styles Do you use Push or Pull leadership

Studying leadership is fascinating. Whether you read books, attend seminars or learn from real life examples, witnessing different styles and their effectiveness can be very enlightening.

Many larger, bureaucratic institutions have entrenched leadership styles that dictate how people will lead others. Other smaller entrepreneurial endeavours are naturally influenced by the style of the entrepreneur themselves.

There are two main styles of leadership:

Positional Leadership and;

Influential Leadership

There are naturally sub-categories of these two styles, but lets look at the fundamental differences.

Positional Leadership is very common in larger organisations and to some extent, military organisations. It is a style of influence that is guided by a hierarchy, a system of submission. It is dictated by the philosophy that one person has more authority over another, either by position or title. “You will do this task because I am in a position of authority”. It certainly has it’s place in many circumstances and definitely in some critical emergency type of situations there needs to be a person with “positional power” who can lead people to a successful resolution.

Influential leadership however, is very different (sometimes referred to as Person Leadership). It requires somebodies persuasive abilities to convince someone to do something. It is a leadership style that often uses the example of the leader to assist in creating a desire to follow. It is a very powerful style that often suits the personality of a charismatic leader. Once understood, it is the style of leadership that has won wars, and frankly, started them!

Many military commanders will talk about the small number of soldiers that actually “lead” a group in to battle. It tends to be of the order of 5% to 6%. Frankly that number is probably very similar to the number of people who are charismatic/influential leaders in the world.

My first experience of influential leaders was when I was working for a large printing company during my summer holidays as a college student. I was given a task of getting some information from the employees who were working the printing equipment on the “shop floor”. I went through the staff and asked a series of questions but was unable to get the answer I had been looking for.

Dejected, I went back to the Vice President I was working for and explained that I had failed and was unable to get the answer to the question. He told me not to worry and asked me to wait in his office. Lo and behold, a few minutes later he returned with the information we needed.

As I questioned how he managed to get the information, he simply replied “You simply had to re-phrase the question until they wanted to give you the information”. It was a valuable lesson for me, one that involved communicating differently but was also a demonstration of influential leadership. Where I had been “shutdown” in terms of getting the question answered, my colleague had been able to access all the information we needed. He had led people to a pre-determined conclusion that he was interested in!

John Maxwell, is probably one of the most prominent authors on Leadership and I would highly recommend any of his books.

  • 0


How to planThere is the odd occasion for many of us when we are not exactly sure of which road to take. We are not sure how to resolve a particular situation or we may be feeling a little low because our productivity has been poor. Sometimes we are staring so hard at the problem that we are distracted from the solution.

I think it is human nature to react in such a way, but if you want to continue to progress, you need to use the principle of self discipline to ensure that you can process a problem rather than focus on it.

As the heading suggests, sometimes we are so focussed on a problem that “we can’t see the trees for the forest”.  When I used to consult to companies that had problems with lack of sales, it became evident that they were struggling with the same syndrome.

As a consultant you can get a “birds eye” picture of the problem and solutions come in to focus quite clearly. The solutions were always there, but somehow the company or individual is literally blinded by problem.

Personally, I need a distraction from the problem to refocus. It’s a little like looking at the 3D Stereograms where you have to stare at a pattern and change your focus to see a picture within a pattern. Problems are just like that. Within lies a solution but often our focus is wrong. I need to go for a run or bike ride to empty my head a little and return to the situation with renewed clarity.

Remember, next time you are feeling a little overwhelmed, that you have to look at a problem and make sure you are staring past it to find the solution, just like the 3D stereogram.

  • 0


Many times, people find themselves wondering why they are feeling a little isolated from their friends or why their organisation has lost it’s “morale”. It is very easy in this situation to point the fingers at those around you. You may have heard that when you point a finger at someone, three are pointing back at yourself?

Yesterday, I was listening to the radio. The host was discussing a particular situation where a caucus had decided to attempt to overthrow their political leader at a time when the leader was out of the country. Perhaps an unusual situation but in reality it is not that uncommon although not usually as extreme. Later in the interview the political leader shared their viewpoints on how this situation arose and calmly said that there were often  times when there was acrimonious debates in caucus and it was normal to have these heated debates. That was perhaps the leaders perspective, but was it shared by everyone at the table?
Learning how to leave people good after a meeting or encounter with you is a skill, but it is one that you must learn to adopt! Many years ago I had a business where I was required to counsel people in my organisation to assist them in their progress. Thankfully, my wife would often sit in on these meetings. I remember talking to a lady in my organisation about how she could improve her performance. I listened to her situation and the many excuses that seemed to roll of her tongue and while I did not use the phrase “suck it up Princess” that was how she received my rather clumsy advice. Thankfully, she had a tough constitution and although tears were welling up in her eyes, she resolved to roll up her sleeves, get stuck in and try and overcome her stumbling blocks.

Obviously, you can see that I may have changed a little over the years and the situation was in actual fact out of character for me personally as I am usually considered to be an “uplifter”. My attempt at “tough love” ended up being an exercise in stupidity. My wife however, pulled me aside after the meeting and indicated that my technique, while perfect for the local football team, probably wasn’t going to be so successful with a single female? As she observed the quizzical look on my face, she also had the answer to my obvious concern and shared with me a book. It was a book about relationships and how to improve them.

At the end of the day, the answer was simple. That lesson taught me a great deal about how to leave people feeling better after their meeting with me than before. I was reminded of this yesterday.

I am helping my sons open a new restaurant, a family business in Towne Centre Mall. It is a lot of fun and reminds me of my early days as an entrepreneur. Yesterday afternoon, a couple walked in to the restaurant to say hello. It was a surprise visit and yet in a short exchange we were left feeling better about the rest of the day. It is possible to add value to someone’s life simply with a smile and a kind word. It is also possible to “fire” your best friend from your business and still be friends, but that, perhaps is another article.

As I have learned from my experiences, I thankfully have been able to pass on some of that knowledge to my children. From an early age, I explained to them that whenever they meet a person, they must remember that when the meeting finishes, you either made that person feel better about themselves, or worse. The interesting thing is that you control the outcome. All you have to do is decide wether you would like to add value to someone’s life or detract value.

Ratan Tata, the Indian billionaire has lived his life by ensuring that when his head hits the pillow, he has done his best to make the right decisions and that nobody is upset by their encounter with him that day… if it works for him, perhaps it can work for you too!

To understand how simple it is to control that encounter, I recall one of my adventures where a partner explained to me that at the end of the adventure, we would likely not be friends because that is just normal. Teams on adventures don’t get along he stated. I countered with my opinion that if we want that to happen then likely that would be the case. Sadly, after a successful trip, three of the expedition members are good friends and the fourth is perhaps not as good a friend.

It is a very unfortunate circumstance and of course as you can see it was a self fulfilling prophecy, but the important take away is that the outcome of any meeting is determined by your desire for the result. You choose.

  • 0


Winning is not overnightThere is a saying that goes something like this – “You can’t stop a quitter from quitting and you can’t stop a winner from winning”

At first glance, like many things which are taken out of context, it seems to contradict the heading of this column a little. The truth however, is that Winners will always find a way to win, even after they have lost.

The sense of persistence that a winner brings to the table is something that really should be studied and appreciated.

Many years ago, as a young entrepreneur I remember reading stories in the newspapers in England of other business people who had become an overnight success. The problem I discovered was many people believed the stories.

As people began to read more stories, they lost faith in themselves. Their dreams shrank, their belief in their future became more foggy and in reality, they started to see themselves as losers. The unfortunate circumstance though was that they didn’t realise how many losers learn to win.

The simple fact is that before people succeed, they fail… a lot! Look at Edison. How many times did he try and invent the light bulb. Not once did he consider himself a loser, more of a winner on a very long journey! So once again, we have a choice. We can choose to believe we are destined to lose, or, like Edison, we can believe we are on a longer journey than we expected to be.

Most of the successful people I know are also some of the largest failures I know. It comes from the fact they have become accustomed to aiming for the stars and reaching the moon. If you know that your personality type can handle the disappointment of only landing on the moon – go for it. You may miss the mark the first few times but at the end of the day you will be further ahead than many other people.

  • 0


Winning is a habitI think we are all aware that winning is a habit. Do you remember that person at school – always on the honour roll, a permanent fixture on all the top sports teams and to boot, given a place on the Provincial or National team also. Like you, I always wondered what drove those types of people to an uber-competitive lifestyle.

What I have learned in my own endeavours is that winning has a lot to do with consistency. We can get thrown off course a little by reading the headlines about a person getting an award or winning an event. In reality, you don’t have to win anything to come first.

OK so that sounds a little confusing, but follow my train of thought here.

At the end of the day, we all have an objective to achieve something. Whether it be our personal life, a goal for a relationship or an athletic endeavour. The one take away I want to leave you with from this article is that consistency is the key. Now importantly, with consistency you create a habit, and remember the first paragraph – winning is a habit.

Consistency in the way you train, prepare, the amount of time you dedicate to a project and the amount of research you commit to, all create positive habits.

What consistency leads to, is a culture of improvement. It can be viewed a little like a gym membership. With physical training, the commitment to the routine, the consistency, is more important than the intensity of the occasional work out. Winning is the same. Consistently applying the same principles over and over again can help you win your objective.

My experience in rally driving is what created the  for this article. On two occasions I have won the Western Canada Rally Championship and yet, I have never stood in first place on a podium for a race. Many, many times I have come second. Am I frustrated. Not really because I understand the power of consistency. I know the limitations of my vehicle and my skills and I know I can battle for second. I have to be lucky to get first. The great news is that if I consistently place second I can win a championship… how cool is that. If you are a REALTOR® or a sales person in any industry, do you realise that you can win major national awards without ever being recognised in your office on a monthly basis. That is right, you too, can win big by coming second!