Category Archives: Inspiration

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TITAN Arctic Challenge – My Five Lessons To Get to Where You Want To

The TITAN Arctic Challenge

This past week on the TITAN Arctic Challenge I had the opportunity to drive the ice roads to our most northern community that you can drive to in Canada – Tuktoyaktuk.

It was a journey fraught with danger, cold weather, unpredictability and frankly, a lot of miles.

Titan Arctic ChallengeWe departed southern Canada in mid May knowing that we had several thousand kilometres to get under our belts quickly in order to be one of the last groups to ever drive the ice roads to Tuktoyaktuk, a remote Inuit hunting and fishing village in the far northern reaches of Canada.

The project, TITAN Arctic Challenge was in actual fact a driving project with Nissan. Promoting the hashtag #TITANarcticchallenge was going to keep their social media department happy and we were to put two Nissan Titan XD trucks through their paces on the way north to prove they had what it takes to compete with the North American truck market.

So off we want with all my pre-conceived notions of what the journey would be like – long, boring and flat. I thought I knew where I was going. How wrong I was!

Our first real port of call was the northern BC community of Terrace. It was really a service community for other smaller towns and villages in a remote northwestern corner of BC. Again, I had never been and I assumed Terrace was too remote for many people to want to live in and had a couple of nice mountains. Other than that I wondered why people would live there.

Getting to where you want toHow wrong I was!

The approach to Terrace through the smaller community of Smithers in the Bulkley valley and then the Skeena River valley was astounding. Towering coastal mountains shimmered in the evening alpenglow as we drove in to what was in fact a bustling community.

I met with a friend who had moved back to what was her home town. She was enjoying spending time in the community again and shared a story with me that amazed me. Her grandfather was the first person to build a home there. He returned from the Gold Rush in the Yukon and looked down on a valley that had enough lumber to build a few homes and founded what we know today was Terrace. Now I had known this person for ten years but never knew that story.

For the second phase of the TITAN Arctic Challenge, we pressed on through remote and wild, rugged mountains, north in to the Yukon. Our initial destination – Dawson City, the gold rush town itself. I immediately fell in love with Dawson, a charming, eclectic city that oozed pioneer living, individuality and freedom from a system that binds most people. The community here was just different – and that was OK by me. We only stayed for an evening but vowed to return.

Next on the agenda was the Dempster Highway – which I had researched on YouTube and knew to be flat and boring. A long arduous 700km drive from Dawson City to Inuvik. How wrong I was!

dempster highwayThe Dempster highway winds it’s way through the most stunning and beautiful mountain range I Have ever had the privilege of seeing. The Richardson Range is often confused with the Rockies but is really a sub-range of an Alaskan formation. In the arctic circle the permafrost ensures that the snow is maintained from the bottom of the valleys to the top of the peaks and so we were treated to approximately three hours of the most stunning white scenery you could ever imagine. My jaw was on the ground for the whole trip, dreaming of climbing, hiking and skiing trips in this extremely remote corner of the world.

We were now in to the final phase of the TITAN Arctic Challenge.

Arctic CircleNext up, Inuvik and the ice road to Tuk as it is affectionately known.

I knew all about that – or so I thought. 170kms of ice on the Beaufort Sea that would be exciting but featureless and we would end up in Tuktoyaktuk with 800 people who probably did not want to see us there. How wrong I was!

Our first spectators as we stepped on to the ice with the trucks was a pair of foxes sunning themselves on the northern bank of the road, simply watching vehicles pass them by. Driving up the McKenzie river we passed abandoned camps that had been used and were being restored for Caribou hunting. The ice retained a mesmerizing sea green colour as the sun on occasion lit up the bottom of the river bed for us. The road was busy but dull it was not.

On this day, the Arctic Ultra was running. A collection of hardy adventurers from around the world were trying their hand at running 350 miles in arctic conditions. The handful of tired runners that were still pushing to the finish in Tuk dotted the road as we cheered them on.

Just as I was beginning to wonder if we were lost or would ever get to Tuk a small cluster of coloured roofs appeared on the horizon. Prior to that, even standing on the roof of the truck all you could see was a white blanket of snow on the Beaufort Sea. We were about to reach the ultimate destination of the TITAN Arctic Challenge.

On arrival in Tuk, we were greeted by a few young children and their dog. The hamlet, primarily Inuit is focused on hunting Beluga Whales and Caribou. It was an immensely friendly community with people stopping us and asking if we needed any help. They proudly told us to tour an igloo which one of the local pastors had built for visitors to the town. In all, we were there for a about three hours, driving around, talking to a few people and exploring the remnants of a long gone oil and gas boom in the region.

Tuktoyaktuk ice roadsI was completely surprised by the nature of this remote community. The destination was extremely special for me. I am not sure I would ever have a reason to visit Tuktoyaktuk again but I have a wonderful memory of being one of the last people ever to drive across the Arctic Ocean!

The TITAN Arctic Challenge truly was a big eye opener for me.

So you are probably wondering what my five lessons are for getting to where you want to go!

My Five Lessons On Getting To Where You Want To

Some of the points I learned on the TITAN Arctic Challenge are here, in no particular order:

1. Two degrees of separation In business there is a saying that it is all about who you know not what you know. The truth is, many of us spend so much time talking, we forget to listen. The art of conversation is cleverly crafted around asking someone questions about themselves and letting them answer. If I had done that with my friend I would have known sooner about her family history. In business the more you know about the people in your circle of influence the easier it is to get an answer to a question you may have. This of course would allow you to move closer to your chosen destination.

2. Don’t confuse the journey with the destination Sometimes we get so wrapped up in the destination we pay less attention to the journey. It is important to keep our eyes on the prize but frankly it is the journey where we learn and grow the most as leaders. I truly had no clue about the scenery we would be driving through even though I had done some research. In fact, all the team members were in the same position. We were in awe at the scenery as we drove north to Tuktoyaktuk.

3. Sometimes, you are just wrong! Lets face it we can’t be right all of the time. Being wrong simply presents an opportunity to learn and grow. Several times on this trip I was wrong in the planning phases and with my assumptions. While it was not critical on this trip in business making a wrong decision can be critical. The important thing is that you learn and adapt. You must learn to change a bad decision quickly. You own it, you made it, admit the mistake and fix it before it impedes your journey too much.

4. Give it 100% While this is obvious, it is probably the biggest reason for failure. So many business people are indecisive leaders. From #3 you can see that mistakes if corrected are not a problem – they are part of business. Being indecisive is a problem. If you do not commit to the plan 100% then you will fail. It is your plan – you had best be the biggest salesperson of that plan. The extreme example is the military. When an Officer prepares his or her orders and presents them to their leaders, they had better believe in their plan 100% or nobody will follow them in to battle with confidence. Likewise in business, your financiers, investors and subordinates will not be inclined to follow your lead.

5. Believe in good things When we initially left our homes, the ice road to Tuktoyaktuk was closed. We left in total confidence, believing in our plan and believing that the roads would be open. As we ventured further north the ice road did in fact open, however the Dempster Highway closed due to Blizzards. We left Dawson City for the Dempster at the same time it was closed. We did however believe it was going to open. By the time we arrived at the gas station by the snow gates there was a big line up of traffic. We sat down had lunch and by the time we finished the gates had opened and we were on our way. Would the gates have opened if we did not believe in good things? Of course they would, be would not have been there because we would have believed that leaving while the gates were closed was foolish!

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Living the dream

Living the dream | Leadership Training

Many people say to me “You are living the dream”, do you provide leadership training?. For sure, I get to participate in a lot of different activities and businesses and because of that, I am always on the go.

Part of the reason people perceive I am living the dream, is because of the fact that I am always on the go. I keep my plate full. In fact, my business partner does too!

Even though we work together we often have to question what continent we are on in the coming week to coordinate various schedules.

For that reason we have decided to create a Leadership Training program to help people reach their biggest goals in life.

Leadership Training

For many people Leadership training is an expensive undertaking and sure enough if you are one of our fortunate One on One coaching client, there are typical commercial fees. But we have a variety of programs to help you.

If you register at you will immediately get access to three very powerful training modules. They will give you a brief introduction to what we have done in the past.

If you join our Inner Circle, you will be part of our bi-weekly training webinars where you will hear the most current business development viewpoints and get a chance to put us on the spot. Find out more about our Inner Circle by registering at

Finally, if you want a chance to be considered for a one on one business development coaching program, please fill contact us to be considered for an interview through our office.

Our bottom line is no different than yours. We are in business to “do business” but in the process if we can add some tangible value to your life or business, it would be our absolute privilege.

Feel free to connect with us, or reach out to me personally to find out more information.



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Distractions to success – My five tips to stay on task

How to simply avoid Distractions to Success

Distractions to Success are something that at one time or another we all fall foul of. They are like little white lies. No such thing exists. We try and rationalise our bad habits like texting or abundant amounts of time on social media as if they were acceptably non-productive – but in truth it is an oxymoron.

As streamlined as we think we have made our lives, it appears to me as though we have just jammed in more tasks to the already limited time we have.

As I speak to audiences about productivity and time management it becomes clear we don’t distractions to successneed time management practices so much as a clear focus on what tasks we need to achieve.

What ever way you cut it, the jobs which really need to be completed will always rise to the top of our list, but often at the wrong time… just as you realize you don’t have enough time to complete them.

So how do we avoid distractions to success?

In a sense it is simple. We need to shake the jar and see what rises to the top.

You have probably heard the analogy about how many rocks can you get in a jar?

The story goes like this…

Add some big rocks until the jar is full. That is then all you can add right.

No because you can add some pebbles in the cracks and fill the jar. Then it is full right?

No, because we can add sand and really fill the jar.

Wow, now we have a lot of stuff in that jar.

That, my friends is how we go so busy. That annoying analogy of how we cram our workday is what has lead to a chronic and systemic distraction to success.

Something the size of a grain of sand can stop us, and does, from focussing on the real task at hand.

But how do I find the big rocks?

If you have been to a town in Western Australia called Kalgoorlie, you will know that despite all of the massive amounts of underground mining, some of the biggest nuggets of gold are found where? Right at the surface. Right under our noses.

The problem is that we are so focussed on moving sand that we forget to look on the surface. We get too deep in to the administrivia and distractions we let the world throw our way.

Sorting out the important from the distractions can be as simple as shaking the jar.

Technically, it is a process called granular convection.

You see if we put all of those mixed sizes of rock in one jar and shake it, the big stuff rises to the top. Right where we need it to be.

So you need to get used to shaking your day up a little.

In a productive world we give 20% of our time to the important tasks. That is it. Pareto’s principle in effect right there.

So what if we were to reverse the principle and give our important tasks 80% of our time… wow, what a concept.

It is possible, and it has little to do with time management. It has a lot to do with focus.

How to avoid working in the sandbox.

We encounter numerous distractions to success because we have a habit of focussing on a grain of sand more easily than the critical task.

Those grains of sand could be:


Social Media

Coffee meetings

List writing



But to be truly productive we need to isolate the most critical tasks – the big rocks.

A friend of mine calls them the MIT’s, (Most Important Tasks).

He gave up writing exhaustive lists of tasks that never were completed and led to guilt and frustration, in favour of writing a list of five MIT’s. It is kind of like the big rock analogy. The typical task list includes the grains of sand – the stuff we truly don’t need to worry about to be successful.

So here are my five tips to focus on what is important to avoid distractions to success.

  1. Identify your big rocks – what are your MIT’s
  2. Keep the big rocks at the top – shake the jar a little and analyse what sandbox you have been wasting time in
  3. Purposefully cut back sandbox time and if necessary play in the sandbox during unproductive times of the day
  4. Watch out for the big rocks floating to the top – analyse your MIT list to make sure it is current
  5. Never put more than 5 MIT’s on your list

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Think BigYou may have read the book with the same title. I did many years ago and it supported the way I have always tried to make decisions.

In his iconic book, The Magic of Thinking Big, David J. Schwartz leads the reader through a discussion on how to be successful using a lot of mental techniques that we all use daily. Sometimes however, we forget to use them in the most important areas of our life.

Often, when the going gets tough, we want to roll over, go to bed and close the drapes, believing that problems will evaporate. Not so. The only way to tackle problems is to charge head on at them.

Anyone who has watched the action movie Bravo 20 with Sean Bean will have watched the gripping scene of an SAS patrol, vastly outnumbered, yet charging towards a much better equipped foe with all the gusto they can muster in the circumstance. In the end, they terrorise their enemy with the ferocity of their attack – they thought big.

So, taking a leaf out of the SAS book, my life is often head on, full tilt and for many, including my wife, a little fast paced.

At the moment I am heads down with my business partner, Andre Voskuil planning what will likely be the biggest expedition of my life. To date I have had some great adventures, but the best (and biggest) is yet to come. I have had the privilege of climbing, flying and racing with some of the most amazing adventurers. The next chapter of my life however, will be very different.

Over the coming months we will make some announcements as to how you can follow along, join in and support what is sure to be a world changing event. A global first in the realm of aviation.

As usual I want to support the charity that my wife and I founded several years ago… . With your help and support we will be able to bring more families around the world life saving water.

In the meantime, we have to get planning, training and preparing for a long, audacious and frankly, massive project.

First on the list of jobs to do is to get a pilot’s license… stay tuned as we fill you in and join us as we progress towards this exciting project.

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Self loveIf you got this far unscathed, congratulations. I believe it is going to be an awesome year.

My column in the local news media is now titled “It’s All About…. You may think it is a little self absorbed to write a column that looks as though it is all about me. However, those of you who know me will understand that is not the case.

I want to focus in numerous topics that often have an obvious root and talk about the root. Perhaps it will be about starting a business, perhaps about staying focussed, whatever it may be, I am looking forward to the journey.

2015 is looking very exciting. I am entering a year where I have more bookings for keynote presentations than I have ever had and new business projects to keep me busy. What would life be without an adventure? A little less interesting as far as I am concerned, so I have a few of those planned too. Either way, I hope you find the musings in 2015 engaging.

To start off I wanted to talk briefly about new years resolutions. I saw the attached graphic on the internet and it made me think about how self absorbed resolutions tend to be. What if we tweaked the intent to spend more time with others we love and care for or would like to care for…

Instead of “Eat like you love yourself” we could vow to “Never eat alone”

Instead of “Move like you love yourself” we could perhaps vow to “Make new friendships by getting out of our comfort zone and learning to dance”

Instead of “Speak like you love yourself” we could perhaps vow to “Spend more time listening to others as they speak rather than waiting for our turn to speak”

Instead of “Acting like you love yourself” we could “Ensure that we tell people we love them”

After all, what good is it to accomplish something and not be able to share the accomplishment with friends.

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Life coachingHave you ever thought about why many people fail to get to the finish line? Frankly, kudos to those people for even starting, because most people never take the first step. However, once you have taken that first step, every step after is one more closer to the end. At some point many people simply stop walking.

 A good friend of mine always says that in an endurance physical event, 90% of the struggle is mental, the other 10% is in your head! I have always found this to be very true. Just keep moving.

 It doesn’t negate the fact you need to be prepared to execute your project, whether an Ironman, an ultra marathon or a new start up business venture.

Recently, I have had the chance to witness my son and daughter-in-law start their first business. I have lived vicariously through their adventure and occasionally planted a seed with regard to where they may find a solution for a particular problem.

 I have started many businesses since I was eleven years old. Every one seems to have a very similar strategy. You start with an idea, you get it on paper, you promote it to some partners or investors, the plan is perfect and then you step off and at that particular point, you learn to be very dynamic and creative. Somehow, the plan did not work in its entirety. 

It never works quite like your plan. Determination is the key to your own success or failure. You need to know ahead of time that your initial plan may not work. The strategy may be perfect, but the tactics will always flex.

For them, I have witnessed them dealing with delays in permitting, negotiations with contractors, learning to do much of the work themselves because of budget restrictions. At a tender young age, they have learned a lot of lessons. I have seen them have sleepless nights because they were not sure their plans were going to work out the following morning and yet, every time they felt like that, the plan did come together because they did not quit, they are determined.

As a result, North America’s first ever Viking themed, nerd eatery will open at 575 Bernard Avenue before the end of January.

Their concept is very cool and is getting a lot of engagement from consumers online. People are anxious to see the now infamous “Viking Boat Bar”, literally a Viking Boat which dominates the eating area (

 Their food will be somewhat eclectic pub food (since Viking Food was not particularly palatable – think rotten fish and burned sheep’s head!) at a great value together with a fine collection of Ales for the beer connoisseur – at a great price too.

Heavily constructed cedar tables will provide the perfect environment for friendly conversation without the interference of a noisy sports TV in the background and benches will be covered with furs for a little extra comfort.

Expect discounts for showing up looking a little like a Viking or for dropping your cell phone in to the “technology box” at the end of your table – but be careful, don’t even look at a text or you will lose your discount… Oh and there will be board games – lots of them.

It will be fun, different and overall, affordable. Muninn’s Post (The Post) is going to be the latest exciting addition to the Downtown Kelowna core and they are tenacious because at the end of the day, it is all about determination. Don’t ever tell them “they are just lucky”, luck has nothing to do with success.