Desire – the emotion that sparks action

04-10-2009 | steve | Uncategorized |

To desire; such a basic emotion but one that shapes the world we live in.  It arouses the imagination, it is filled with hope, and it recognizes a gap that exists.  Desire is the spark that moves us forward but what can you do if the spark is snuffed.

Recently, I read about Camp Kindle.  It is a camp for kids (and families) with cancer.  A place where kids have a chance just to be kids.  It is also a story about the desire Christine Wandzura had over twenty years ago when her son, Derek, passed away with cancer in here Calgary.  He loved going to camp but it was located in BC.  It was then that Christine desired to create a place where kids with cancer in Alberta could go and she saw something that was missing, she dreamed of such a place and she worked towards that goal.  Without that desire, a burning desire, Camp Kindle would not have happened.

Another story about a dream, a desire and the conviction to make it happen.  How about your story?

Take a moment, stop and think of your greatest desire.  Does it make you smile or warm your heart?  Awesome!

Can you see what the impact will be have once you have reached that destination?  The faces, the emotions, the sense of accomplishment all mixed in together.  Fantastic!

So what’s next; what needs to happen today to take you closer to fulfilling your desire?  Has desire left the building?  Do you wonder if it will ever happen?  Is the fire only flickering?  How do you turn it into a raging campfire?

I have been pondering this myself.  The desire to have an impact on those around me has waned.  I have wondered why I even bother.  It would be easier to pack it in and live a much more quiet life.  Sound familiar?  YUCK!

So here is what I did to avoid just existing and move to realize my desire to ignite lives daily – my tagline and mantra.  Perhaps it will to serve to help you re-kindle the  flame.

1)    Recognize – acknowledge that you may be off course.  There is nothing wrong about admitting that you may be lost in the moment.  Have faith that you will be able to continue the journey forward.

2)    Reconnect – take stock of where you are; what inspired you and why this is important to you?  Re-visit the moment when desire was first ignited.  What happened to set you on the path you are now taking?

3)    Recruit – spread the word and talk to those people who are closest to you.  Be frank.  Ask for their help.  Let them know where you are.  They share your passion and they will not let you down.  They want you to succeed.

Finally, TAKE ACTION, even if it is a small step.   Build momentum; create enough sparks that will build into a fire.  Who knows, the next story I read to inspire me could be yours.  That would be absolutely thrilling!

What is your greatest desire?

What will ignite you to action?

Why not now?

Gratitude is Contagious

29-07-2009 | steve | Uncategorized |

Ah, another year under the belt (in terms of age) and a chance to stop and reflect.   I do not do this often enough.  Today, I decided to stop and recognize all the wonderful things that have happened during the past few months (I could go back longer but then I would be writing a book).

Let’s see,

There was the recognition from eKzact Solutions as the Entrepreneur of the Month for May

Challenged myself and continued the lifelong learning cycle by completing my six month Fast Track Program from the Canadian Association of Public Speakers (CAPS) in early June, how to successfully challenge my fear of objections (especially when making a “cold” call) with the master, Alice Wheaton as my guide and completed my coaching accreditation through the Certified Coaches Federation (WOW, I can add letters behind my name IF I wanted to)

what else…

My first public advertisement, on the side of a chuckwagon no less (someday I will have the whole canvas – it’s on my bucket list) supporting the Banff Jasper Relay for the Brain Tumor Foundation of Canada

(look over to the left, I know it is a small one...for NOW!)

(look over to the left, I know it is a small one...for NOW!)

There was the blogtalkradio interview with Stuart R. Crawford focused on the Toxic Workplace.  That was really fun to do.  Stuart was a great host and helped to draw out many key points that support what I do.

I was also welcomed by Janet Salopek to speak to her University class on employee engagement.  The group was keenly interested in hearing my story and oddly, sparked this blog entry.  I was very fortunate for the opportunity to be a call centre manager.  We had a great team, the environment was positive and the learnings that I took away have provided a wealth of experience for the work that I do now.

And behind the scenes, (and most important) the unsung heros in my life.  Those people who support me in my business (the list would be long, but you know who you are); the hearty souls that push me to the edge (some much more than others); the brave ones that challenge my comfort zones (and ask me to question why); those that laugh easily, smile often and carry themselves with grace and strength.  All of whom have become a part of my “being” especially those who love me with all their hearts and seek little in return. (MUAH!)

Words, although strong, cannot express my gratitude  for all the people and experiences in my life.  What I can express to you is that this feeling of gratitude is very contagious and worth every moment to recognize.

So during the time of writing this blog, I was very much in a place of positivity and that energy (yes, for some this may be stretching you) affected my behaviour, my words and my disposition.  So much so that I began to notice how others were behaving and the results were also positive.  That left me wondering, maybe there is something to be said about just being grateful and being conscious of it.   I am not talking about brass bands or humorous jokes but just being grateful, it is personal and subtle.   A work in progress, I will let you know and until then,

THANK YOU!

So let me leave you with this thought and see if you experience the same things that I did. Let me know, we could be on to something (a collective of grateful people making noticeable changes in the lives of othersvery cool!)

What is the one experience or person that you are most grateful for?  Why?

Looking forward to your story.

CREATE a great day (thanks for that too!)

Take a Risk and Face your Fears

08-07-2009 | steve | Uncategorized |

COLD CALLING, Networking events, TV/Radio interviews…

All three excellent opportunities to reach out and connect with people, clients and customers.  Yet, three activities that produce various levels of fear in each of us.  Well, sign me up as I admit that each of these trigger my fight/flight response.

WHY?

I recognize that it is tied to my pre-conceived notion of the risk involved and the fear built into that risk.

“What?  Steve you love meeting people, you deliver and speak to rooms filled with participants and you relish in telling your story”

True enough, but that does not diminish my self imposed high risk setting when I engage in these activities.  And for many, they share the same “setting” whether these three or:

  • looking to address an audience;
  • speaking with their boss;
  • dealing with customer issues.

The consequence of encouraging this risk is that a gap forms.  The greater the perceived risk, the greater the fear, the larger the gap.  A gap between playing it safe or “stepping out of the box” and that can freeze people in place.  So depending on where you are on the continuum will determine the impact of your actions.

Chris Argyris (business theorist/guru behind learning organizations) studied how people take action in difficult situations and thought the gap to be a new learning opportunity that creates reflection and dialogue.  He believes (yes, he is still alive and kicking at 85) a person cannot not be truly effective without this awareness.  In turn behaviours could be seen as controlling, fearful of being vulnerable, overly concerned with self (ego) and manipulative…to name a few (and more than enough to make my point). Certainly not attributes I strive for.

After my last post,  I put on my coaching hat and challenged myself; one cannot expect others to move forward if you are not willing yourself, thus the challenge.  I made a choice to face my fears.  I registered for a workshop on cold calling (fear of confrontation), followed by my first networking event – where I did not know anyone (fear of rejection) and was asked to speak to a radio audience about what I do (oh my gawd, they will discover I am a fraud).  These are age old fears and I wanted to listen to their cry to stay put and not take a risk.   Nothing ventured, nothing gained and damn, if they were not as bad as I anticipated.  As a matter of fact, I felt more at ease and actually enjoyed the process.   Potential clients were open to my call (and I secured a couple of meetings), I met new people with a variety of skills and I am looking forward to my interview (Listen online to Bulletproof Business Radio).

“Everything you want is on the other side of fear” is what Alice Wheaton (www.alicewheaton.com) shared with us during the cold calling workshop and that stuck with me (Thanks Alice).   Am I “healed”, have I broken out of my box, have I chased the age old gremlins away?  NO but I made a choice and so far it is not so bad.  I am glad that I decided to make the move forward.

What will move you forward?

  • What fears have you locked in place?
  • What actions are you taking?
  • When will you do it and why not now?

My blog is at your disposal.  You may just want to reply and share your story here,

Until my next post…

CREATE a great day!

Risk Compensation – Who Knew…

07-06-2009 | steve | Uncategorized |

Imagine a dark comedy club and George Carlin at the mic -

RISK, Risk Aversion, Risk Management, Risk Assessment, Risk Avoidance, Risk Reduction,  Risky Businessthe Movie,  RISK, THE BOARDGAME of Global domination, then there is Risk Compensation, who knew that there was another subject on Risk.  I risk even talking about it.

George would have had a heyday with this one!

Well, I for one did not know about Risk Compensation and SURPRISINGLY, I discovered this concept in an article in the April edition of Smithsonian, the official magazine of the Smithsonian Institute in Washington (where I would like to visit and is on my bucket list – until then, I live vicariously through the magazine).   This wonderful magazine highlights the arts, history, science and popular culture of our times.

In the article, “Buckle Up and Behave”, William Ecenbarger celebrates the 50th anniversary of the three point seltbelt, first developed by Volvo (The inventor’s name is Nils Bohlin for those excited by trivia).  Besides saving millions of lives, Mr. Ecenbarger counters with the notion that people are more daring because they are wearing seltbelts.   The feeling of greater security tempts us to be more reckless, the basis of risk compensation.  He states a few examples;

  • improved parachute rip cords did not reduce sky diving accidents due to overconfident sky divers hitting the silk too late
  • workers who wear back-support belts lift heavier loads
  • wilderness hikers take greater risks knowing trained rescue squads are on call
  • and if you are a sports fan, players who wear more protective gear engage in rougher play (one of hockey’s current debates – does wearing visors encourage more high sticking – Don Cherry would argue – yes!)

What made the article very interesting is it goes one step further and takes a closer look at our current economic meltdown.   Did bankers take greater risks because they were paid to do so and the negative consequences would not impact them personally?  Ultimately, that consequence would fall upon shareholders and drive a different mental attitude.   Columist George Will posed this theory, “Suppose that the American government had not engineered the first bailout of Chrysler in 1979: might there have been a more sober approach to risk throughout corporate America?

In light of the current bailout of the automotive makers,  it may have had a huge impact knowing that the safety net of government money would not be there.   It may not have stopped the economic tsunami but could have altered personal beliefs systems and ensuing behaviours.  To risk is human, that is what takes us forward.

That started some personal reflection.  Where is my “risk thermostat” set?

  • Am I taking the appropriate level of risk, personally or in business?
  • Am I “playing it safe?”
  • Am I taking greater risk without consideration of the impacts of my actions because of some perceived “safety net?”
  • Are my actions aligned to my beliefs?

Looks like the journey of self discovery continues, time to “buckle up” as the answers will drive me forward (no pun intended) and that is a good thing.

How about for you?

What setting is your “risk thermostat” currently reading?  What discoveries have you made?

    Picnik anyone?

    18-05-2009 | steve | Uncategorized |

    pic4_fullWhether creating a powerful presentation or merely clean-up the family photos, you need to visit Picnik.  This is one awesome photo editing application and worth setting aside some time to investigate.

    While in the process of creating my website, the designers from Ekzact Solutions introduced me to Picnik and I was blown away by the simplicity of this program.    Picnik is so easy to use you can forget about Photoshop or any other high end software packages.   I can tell you that I am not a graphic artist but I was amazed at what I created in only minutes.

    Picnik allows you to import images from a wide variety of applications including FaceBook, Flicker, Webshots and those that you have filed away in your hard drive.   Once uploaded, you have a library of photo-editing tools (red eye, saturation, cropping) as well as a wide range of really cool effects (cinema boxing, puzzle pieces, matte).  Add in some fancy fonts and frames and you have an image worth sharing and posting.

    Tweak to your heart’s content.  Enhance an image for a website or blog, create marketing material or enhance a presentation, Picnik will be a welcomed addition to your tool kit.   One warning – once you start using Picnik you will be hard pressed to contain your creative juices.   Even the pictures of your latest vacation, or family function will become targets for change.

    The best part is that the online application is free though I chose to pay the small yearly fee of $24.95 (US) to have access to the whole library including the premium applications.  The designers are always adding to the site and the latest and greatest become the premium apps to start so it’s worth the few pennies a day.

    I would recommend this online application and have added it to my Resource tab.  If you would like to see a short Youtube video about Picnik then pop over to the Ekzact Solution Blog site to see their take on Picnik.

    Give it a whirl and let me know what your thoughts are.  In the meantime…

    Create a wonderful day.

    Steve