• Do You Know What You Want?

    Do you know what you want?

    Not on a surface level like money, fast cars, or fame.

    Do you know what you want on a deep, fundamental level–where your life is meaningful, purpose-driven, and fulfilling?

    If you’re like most people, you don’t. Or you think you do, but can’t put it into words.

    Several years ago while attending a conference in Detroit, I overheard a conversation between two business men who were determining their next steps in a business deal. They seemed confident about their choice, the numbers rang true, the project seemed acceptable, but they started second guessing their choice and said something that struck me "I know this meets our goals, but is this what we want?" 

    Goals are great, but most people make goals based on what they think they should want. I talk about this on our Podcast alot. 

    When your goal doesn’t resonate with you on a deep level, one of three things happens:

    You give up.

    You chose not to be committed to making the sacrifices it’ will take to get you there.

    Or you do reach your goal, but “success” feels empty.

    I have worked with entrepreneurs, and others, who are successful on paper. But despite their success, they weren’t fulfilled by the life—or business—they’d spent so much time and energy building. Without clarity, they were adrift in business and life–regardless of how many on-paper “successes” they achieved. They had this nagging feeling that there’s more to life.

    How could you avoid this fate?

    By first clarifying your Core Value, then developing habits (not goals) that each day get you closer to Thriving in that Core Value.

    Determining your Core Value is naming that one underlying value that unites everything you stand for. It is the thred that runs through  what matters most to you, and the most fundamental piece of what, in your eyes, a life well lived must include. It acts as a compass pointing you toward your true north, where what you do is aligned with who you are. When everything you do is perfectly aligned with your Core Value, you’ll never feel adrift in life or business again.

    Let me give you a personal example.

    Earlier in my life I made the decision to leave job that required me to work 60-80 hours a week. Stress over a large number of personel, budgets, keeping external groups happy and attending numerous public activities were taking their tole. I liked the job itself, I loved the people, respected the company, just not the stress. In fact it led me to have a cardiac event at one point in my life. Having the freedom to spend my time coaching and creating content to help people discover meaningful, purpose-driven work and reaching their potential by building a life, and a business, around what resonates with them is more fulfilling than any fancy salary or title. Why did I do this ? Because previously I had discerned that my Core Value was Productive Freedom.

    Before I make a decision or take advantage of an opportunity, I ask myself:

    “Does this get me one step closer to, or one step further away from, a life aligned with my Core Value?”

    It hasn’t led me astray yet.

    Now doing this is not as simple as asking "Mother Google". Clarifying your Core Value means taking a step back from the busyness, digging deep, and like any task, you need the right tools. 

    If you’re ready to take the next steps and want to learn more about how you can build a fulfilling life and business around your Core Value, drop me a line, I would love to work with you  to #makeitso


  • Summer of Success - “You Can Make it So” Podcast

    Year ago, in a previous role,  I reported to a "Board of Directors". They helped to review my work, provide counsel, give feedback and occasionally, if I am really honest, cause me a little stress. But as I look back on my experience with them, I was grateful, because they were a forum for my ideas to experience a sober second thought. Since starting my own practice, I do not have a formal "Board of Directors", but I have learned from the experience of having one. I believe that the road to "success" is paved not with good intentions, but with wise advice.

    So for a portion of the months of July and August, I am turning to my "Board of Directors" and sharing with my Podcast listeners some of the voices I listen to. Each of them brings unique wisdom "to the board table." There are a few others who sit on my "board of directors", and they will join us in future epsiodes, but here is whose on "the Agenda for this meeting"......

    July 19th - Episode 25 - Jim Reid, Author of 'Leading To Greatness’ | Former Chief HR Officer at Rogers Communications. Named by Report on Business Magazine as one of the 50 Best Executives in Canada. Check it out here

    July 26th - Episode 26 - Tom Storey, one of the top 35 Realtors in Canada under 35 years old and is consistently in the top 1% of all Realtors in the Toronto marketplace. Tom has spoken all over North America about the Real Estate industry and on strategy. Check it out here

    August 2nd - Episode 27 - Norm Bacal, led one of Canada's prestigious law firms and was known as one of the most successful film finance lawyers in the country. He is a TEDx Speaker, best selling author, business consultant.  Check it out here

    August 9th - Episode 28 - David Meltzer, is the Co-founder of Sports 1 Marketing and formerly served as CEO of the renowned Leigh Steinberg Sports & Entertainment agency, which was the inspiration for the movie Jerry Maguire. He is a three-time international best-selling author, a Top 100 Business Coach, and very successful entrepreneur. Check it Out here 

    August 16th - Episode 29 - Howard Behar, former President of Starbucks North America, and was the founding President of Starbucks International. He is a best selling Author of two books and speaker worldwide on Servant Leadership. 

    By the way, copies of selected books by our guests will be available to our Full Service Clients as part of 22 Books in 2022. and as a Full Service Coaching Client you will have access to additional materials from our guests in your #Makeitso Platform.

    In the Summer, it can be easy to let leisure turn into lazy, but with these episodes we will let these months encourage us to avoid that with the challenge and wisdom found within these episodes - designed to help you "live in a way today that will help you thrive tomorrow". 

    Let's Get After it - #makeitso


  • What Really Does Progress Look Like?

    Progress is a funny. It typically comes up with my clients often when they hit road blocks over their apparent lack of improvement. They feel as though they aren’t improving as fast as they’d like, and are getting frustrated.

    So I ask them, “What does progress look like?”  It was a question I myself had to struggle with recently following a slight injury during a workout. My shoulder was hurt and for the first time in my life I had to go see a Physiotherapist. Being very new at it all, I honestly thought that I might need 3-4 sessions and back to 100% I would be. When a 12 week plan of care was described to me I truly wondered about it all.

    The first couple of weeks were fantastic. I mean, the sessions and follow up wasn’t exactly easy, but I felt I was making clear progress. Each time I went I sensed some more mobility. So I assumed it would continue, nay, it didn’t.

    Every motion was torture. My arms felt heavier. The exercises were impossible. It was all I could do to drag myself around my office. Each time I set off thinking, this time it’ll be different. And it wasn’t. I went from optimism that in 4 sessions I would be fine, to full of pessimism at about even 12 weeks. But then it changed. All of sudden things were suddenly easier again. Much easier. I had made a (smallish but) significant quantum leap in my fitness.

    And that’s one of the secrets of progress. It isn’t linear at all. 

    We experience a period of improvement, and think it’s great. But then it tails off. It feels like we’ve stalled. It can even feel like we’ve gone backwards! But what is really happening is that we are mentally and physically putting the final pieces in place so that we can enjoy the quantum leap to a new level of improvement.

    The plateau period feels bad, there’s no doubt about it, and we can have no idea of how long it will last. But we can be certain of one thing. If we are doing the right things in the right way, we WILL improve. 

    A new book by the psychologist Paul Bloom, called The Sweet Spot, speaks a great deal about finding the moment where growth occur. His thesis is that often it happens through pain, (and my time at the physiotherapist can atest to that), but he also says this growth (or progress), happens only if we are consistent and if we are less focussed on the thresholds of others, and more so on our own target and outcome.

    Consistency

    If you want to understand Progress, then you must comprehend consistency. Small, seemingly inconsistent improvements, made consistently over time, will create huge results. See, progress is infectious. If you start eating healthier, you start sleeping better. If you have more energy, you start producing better work. When you produce great work, you’re given opportunities to be the best. Soon, you become the best.

    If you want truly big success, make “progress” the ultimate priority, but make “consistency” your runway. Everything else will take off from there.

    Your Threshold

    In his autobiography, billionaire Warren Buffet shared the following insight about living a good life:

    “The big question about how people behave is whether they’ve got an Inner Scorecard or an Outer Scorecard. It helps if you can be satisfied with an Inner Scorecard.”

    When you live your life by an outer scorecard, you give your power to others. “Pleasing other people” becomes your life goal. People are harsh critics; they can be judgmental, blunt, even cruel. Living your life according to their standards is a recipe for an empty, hollow life.

    Instead, choose to live by an inner scorecard — doing things that make you happy.  Do not let them judge if you are making progress – let your inner scorecard make the determination. Yes listen to others input, and get the advice of sage counselors along the way, but focus on your inner scorecard. Do things that make you proud — don’t do things that make you ashamed, or to please other people. Trying to get everyone to like you isn’t a worthy goal, yet it’s one countless people across the world focus on every day.

    So let us go back to “What does progress look like?”  Well maybe this is a good definition “Progress, is to move from where you are now towards to an improved or advanced place.” Be consistent with it and allow your threshold to determine that "improved or advanced place". Get the counsel of others as you set the target, and even someone to accompany along the way to help you get there, but you set the terms and then go ahead be consistent and #makeitso.

    P.S. Take a listen to this week's Podcast on "What is Ugly Progress"  it is Episode #22 of the "You Can Make It So" Podcast

     


  • Discerning between "Good Progress" and "Bad Progress"

    I am giving a talk at a roundtable this week. It is a big deal only because this is the first time since Covid 19 that it will be "in person". A welcome event, but a nervous activity. When you have been in hiatius and are out of practice for something by over 2 years, you wonder if you still remember how to do it well. So to prepare, I took some time away from my desk, my routine and my residence and went to a local library near my home here in Toronto. I thought it would be an uneventful step - not so much - let me tell you why.

    As I walked in, the smell of the Balzac Coffee was super distracting. Maybe it was my small breakfast, or my weak will power, but I decided a minute to get a coffee (and maybe a pastrie) would be alright. I stood in line and the young man ahead of me, who had ordered, struggled to find his wallet. His discovery that it was not on him caused him to become ashen in colour and akward in gesture. I stepped forward and said "what did you order?" His announcement of a rather small order led me to say "that is fine, I will cover it". You would think I had saved his life. His reply, and what followed, though shook mine. "I will pay you back...some how I will". I smiled and said "its all good... enjoy." He quickly insisted: "Sir, I wanted to give you the money." I smiled and said, "its alright, just pay it forward." He took his coffee and scone and off he went. I ordered the same, and went to find a table not far into the narthex of the library. There is a quiet corner near some light provided by the spans of windows.

    My work began, writing and reading. Then, came a moment that shook me. I looked out the window. There was the young man. He had obviously finished his coffee and scone. But something else. He had found his wallet. He went upto a stranger in what seemed to be a gesture of kindness, and then walked back into the coffee shop, returning moments later with a coffee and a scone. He handed it to this individual who externally demonstrated traits of homelesseness.  I am sure the sound that I heard was that of my chin hitting my table top... "he paid it forward", I audibly announced.

    So often in our lives the measurement of Progress is hitting the goal ahead. This is good. But when the goal is met - then what? As I have mentioned before, "Goals get you there but Habits Hold you there." This young man had his goal of "caffeine and a scone met". His day could have continued forward. His progress would have been "good". But to him, an instilled habit told him that if he did not do what he said he would, then it would be "bad progress". His habit? To not forget where his "success" came from. In this case, generosity from an equally cafeine starved pilgrim on the journey.

    If we have forgotten where our "success" has come from, where our "richness" was derived from, where our "possession" originated from, then we have not progressed. This young man achieved his goal - he got his coffee and his scone. But his day was not a success because he walked away with them, his success came because of what he did - he paid it forward.

    Discerning between "Good Progress" and "Bad Progress" is a measurement not so much of the outcome, but the result. What will do you with success? Why do you desire the success? How will get to the success? And who will you remember when you hit success?. The answers to these questions deserve some reflection and pondering, if for no other reason, then they may indeed motivate your success faster and make the sense of success longer and more satisfying in the end.

    This week - ponder the above questions in light of your answers to these......

    Personally – where do you want to be?

    Professionally – where do you want to land?

    Experientially – where do want to see and know thriving?

    Spiritually – where do you want to be rooted?

    But then add one more - Name the people you want your progress to benefit. 

    These will be all be pivotal questions as we continue in the month of June, and the six month mark of 2022.

    #makeitso 

    P.S. Take a Listen to Episode 21 "What is Bad Progress" - on our weekly Podcast - "You Can Make it So"

     

     


  • Are you making progress or just changing?

    When I was a young boy, my dad was often fond of saying; “that is a top shelf move”. Now, let me give you the background. You see the top shelf was always the place where the valuable stuff went in our house. In part, because it was hard for us as kids to get to them, but it was also a goal. When we desired a “toy” or something, my dad would buy it for us and put it on the top shelf. When we had done the things that went along with “earning” the “toy” we desired, we would hear him say “that is a top shelf move”. In time with enough of those actions, well we got what was on the top shelf! It was an invaluable lesson – work for the top shelf !!  I have been truly blessed to work as a Coach where I have met some of the most dedicated and talented people – truly as my dad would say – “Top Shelf People”.

    Many of these "top shelf people", I have also had the opportunity to help mentor the companies they lead, and continue to do so currently. One of the things that I tell them is that just because a business or organization is getting bigger does not mean it is progressing. A serious challenge for businesses large and small is to progress—and not just change.

    In business, “change” can relate to initiating something significant which can include anything from altering work culture to embracing diversity to modifying an individual’s work tasks. The goal of “initiating significant change” is solid, and many times well founded, but it does not always mean it is “Good Progress”.

    "Good Progress" is when the initiative is leading toward not such a productive altering, but one that is faithful to the wider vision, to the greater culture and the longer lasting success you, or your organization wish to experience. In business for something not to just be ‘change’ but rather be ‘good progress’ – I suggest it must have the following:

    Vision

    Perhaps the greatest sign of "Good Progress" is the ability to see in the development, the big picture of where the organization or team is headed, what it's capable of, and what it will take to get there. Does your change have in mind a wider, bigger, larger, longer lasting picture of your company, your organization or your team or does it just "fix" a problem you are seeing today?

    Inspiration

    As important as having a vision is, the ability to convey that vision to others is vital. "Good Progress" means maintaining a positive yet realistic presence within the organization helping team members stay motivated and engaged, and remember what it is that they are working for. Do you take the vision of the progress you wish to make and keep it before those you serve, and those who aide you in service?

    Flexibility

    "Good Progress" also means being adaptable when the situation calls for it. Nothing ever goes according to plan - whether you encounter minor roadblocks or large obstacles, you will need to be prepared to stop, reassess, and determine a new course of action.  Sometimes we believe progress is a single step, but "Good Progress" in fact is many strides. Some of these steps and strides go well, and others, well not so much. Are you ready and flexible? Do you embrace that as you commence? Are you ready to revisit the altering step you wish to take and refine it some more?

    Continuous Improvement

    Like with Flexibility, "Good Progress" will always be “underway”. It is not one single step, chapter or moment. It must be willing to find ways to develop new skills or improve upon a weakness, be able to identify and implement strategies for helping the organization as a whole grow, and, perhaps most importantly, be able to look inward and identify the areas the one beginning the “change” may need to work on - and then act on them. Are you ready for this continuous improvement not only in the idea or concept, but also in the means of how it is delivered – the people involved – including you?

    Moving our focus from “change” to “good progress” - that is a top shelf move. It can be an intense time for a business, its leaders and all those associated with it. Often the one beginning the “change” can be tempted to just tell people what to do, but if it contains the above qualities then the people we desire to inspire to action (lead, do business with, etc.) must believe that our ideas, our products, our services, our leadership and our initiatives will help them to move forward – then it will really be “Good Progress.”

    #makeitso

    By the way – check out Episode 20 of our Podcast “You Can Make It So” on "What is Good Progress?"  - go ahead take a listen! 


  • 7 Ways to Stay Motivated As You Make Progress

    One of the reasons people give up too soon on their goals and dreams is because it can feel like it’s taking longer than it should to see the expected results.

    You could be moving along as fast as possible towards your goal but because you have a big goal, it could feel like it’s taking an eternity to get nowhere! 

    I am reminded of the story of the “Bamboo Tree”:

    For five years after a bamboo seed is planted, it seems like not much is happening. On the surface, only a tiny shoot sprouts from the seed, and it stays like that. Little would you know that an elaborate system is taking root all this time underground, weaving deep within the Earth and creating a complex foundational network. At the end of these five years, the bamboo suddenly starts growing over three feet every day until it is around 100 feet tall—making it seem like the fastest growing plant out there.

    No matter what you’re trying to “grow”—be it a professional development goal, a project you’ve been championing, or progress towards a promotion—if you’ve been putting in hard work without seeing any immediate results, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your efforts have been in vain. Just consider the things you have gained along the way, like building an arsenal of relevant skills, expanding your network of contacts, and redefining your priorities for your aspirations. These are the roots that will give you the strength to succeed when you ultimately do reach your goal.

    But what do you do, when you HAVE set yourself some goals? When you DO KNOW where you would like to be? Except it feels like nothing is happening.

    You cannot see any signs that you are making progress. You feel like you are still at the starting gate, not making progress and your goal seems unreachable?

    How do you stay motivated to keep going, to stop telling yourself you should never have tried?

    How do you stop your negative talk that deciding to go after a progress was a silly idea?

    There are 7 Ways to Stay Motivated As You Make Progress

     

    You notice the small not just the large – We often look for the obvious or the large signs of progress – but what about the small ones? Are you getting up/going to bed earlier? Have you stopped buying that daily coffee to save some money? Are you saying no to invitations that take you away from your goal? Are you eating healthier/exercising more to increase your energy while working towards your goal? Have you reduced your time on social media or watching TV, so you have better focus? These small changes are slowly steering you to where you want to be. Notice them – they are signs of progress.

    Your circle is changing – Is your social or professional circle changing? Are you striking up more conversations with people on similar path in life? Do you find yourself being drawn into conversations with people who you feel understand your goals? Talking with others who are willing to talk things through with you? It is one of the reasons many join our Mancave sessions - connecting with people who inspire you on your new path - notice them – they are signs of progress.

    You’re willing to modify – As you receive more information, and talk with more people, you are more likely to discover new resources and new ways of hitting your objective. Maybe it is a new piece of technology, or some shared experience from someone who has followed a similar path, or maybe some sound advice from a mentor or coach? Discovering new information helps you to refine how to reach your goal. - Notice them – they are signs of progress.

    You are Not giving up – There is probably only one thing harder than progress – it is perseverance. Yes, setbacks dampen your spirit, but usually only momentarily. Often, when you really look at what did not work, you realise that it is an opportunity to learn. You are using setbacks as lessons without even realising it - notice them – they are signs of progress.

    You choose who you listen to – When reaching your goal is taking longer than expected, there will be lots of questions, opinions and (unwanted) feedback. When you are focused are reaching your goal, you learn to ignore the comments and simply keep moving and working towards your goal. This may lead you to reassess how much information you tell some people. You start to realise you need to conserve your energy as you continue moving - notice them – they are signs of progress. 

    You choose to be happy – Knowing where we want to go is better than wondering – working on your goal, creates inner satisfaction. Even though your life circumstances are not as you wish them to be right now, you remain quietly confident there will be a positive result - notice them – they are signs of progress.. 

    You say “#Makeitso” Daily - Despite the setbacks, your focus remains the same. You have set yourself a challenge - be determined to #Makeitso. You have moments when you just get up and you get after it - notice them – they are signs of progress !

    Above all, what is important to remember is working towards a goal is a time to be kind to yourself. To give yourself a pat on the back and congratulate yourself. Deciding to make a change is progress. Taking steps toward action or change is progress. Riding the highs and lows of your journey is progress. These are all signs you are indeed making progress towards your goal. Do not just glare at the “big signs”, take hold of the “small ones” too. Notice them – they are signs of progress!

    #makeitso

    By the way – check out Episode 19 of our Podcast “You Can Make It So” on "What is Progress and Why It is Important, plus 4 reasons you might NOT be making any - go ahead take a listen! 


  • Progress begins with a basic

    Recently, during a quiet weekend, I received a frantic text from a client whose company I serve as a consultant; it simply read: “Got a 911 matter – call me”. I dropped what I was doing, and sure enough called. It was a pretty urgent matter. A pivotal customer was about to leave because an employee of my client had dropped the ball in a major way. Now what?

    Well, we problem solved and some 12 hours later, the emergency was solved. I have been reflecting on what saved it – and it came down to a basic we sometimes forget - the foundations of a good relationship are built on communication.

    Each month in this Blog, and on our Podcast, in our group coaching platform Mancave, and with my One to One coaching clients, I try and focus on a theme – in June it is Progress – but before we can make progress we have to ensure the basics. So let’s tackle a key element - good relationships are built on communication.

    Hear, don’t just Listen  

    Most of us, especially us guys, are ready to draw conclusions once we’ve got the gist of what someone is saying. We believe “we know” what someone wants or how we can best serve them. We tend to prefer to be "the mechanic", rather than the "service advisor",  we like to "fix it". However, “hearing”, not just “listening” is fundamentally key.  So often as we are “listening”, we are filled with distractions and making our own conclusions on the next best steps. Instead, make sure you aren’t distracted (e.g. by your phone or laptop or by a previous task or just the desire to "get it fixed") while someone else is speaking. Let them know you’re paying attention by asking relevant questions. Ensure you are truly getting the gist by paraphrasing what they are saying. It may take some deliberate practice to do this, but this practice is worth it. A little hearing can go a long way toward making others feel respected and supported. If you haven’t been a good at “hearing” in the past, it’s never too late to begin honing your skills.   

    Be Clear and Concise

    People will be more attentive to you if most of what you’re speaking about is relevant and concise. Be mindful of everyone’s time. Are you looking for feedback or collaboration? Are you presenting something new or reminding them of something past? Having discipline around what you say and how you say it makes engagement more meaningful.  

    Preparation will allow you to be short and to the point.  Be determined that your goals are specific and attainable. Being specific is crucial for healthy relationships and making sure there aren’t miscommunications. If you haven’t clearly communicated your expectations, people will start filling in the blanks themselves and there’s no guarantee they’ll get it right.  

    Don’t Forget About the Goals of Others  

    Sometimes as leaders we have become stellar at hearing and communicating clearly, but we forget about the goals of others. Having this flexibility shows that you want to accommodate their needs, but even more crucial to the long term relationship, that you value them and see their unique personal worth.  Be curious, ask questions, and be attentive to what people are saying and what they are asking for.  

    In the case of my client, he had worked diligently over years with his customer, and on his own skillset, establishing both a good relationship and clear communication patterns. The progress he has made was preparing him for this day. Even a major “fumble in the end zone”, which required some cleaning up, did not call for  a “hail mary”, or a "new strategy", it just required creativity and reminders of a well-established precedent of service.

    Communication isn’t a skill we can just master and move on from. It’s a daily commitment to learning and improving. So often we think "progress", means something new all the time (a constant reinventing), but so often it means beginning with a basic and moving on (making progress) from there.

    Practice won’t make you perfect, but it will make progress.

    #makeitso  


  • Procrastination: The Next Action Habit

    This month on our Blog and Podcast we are featuring a deep dive into the world of Clarity.

    One of the struggles to having clarity, and probably its biggest hurdle, is often the practical realities of a tendency to procrastinate. Now, I know that it’s human nature to put off uncomfortable or undesirable tasks, or to make the easy choice in the moment, but the reality is something will have to get done eventually — and sooner is better than later. So how do we deal with the tendency to procrastinate?  

    First off, I invite you to listen to this week’s episode of our Podcast “You Can Make it So”. Episode 17 discusses 4 Ways to “Put Away Procrastination” – check it out here. If you are a Full Service Coaching Client then you also can access additional resources on this topic in our #Makeitso Platform. If you are not a Full Service Coaching Client then just know it is never too late to join.

    In this Blog post though, I want to do a deep dive into one of the 4 Ways to Put Away Procrastination that I mention in the Podcast …… The Next Action Habit—focus on something do-able.

    In his book, Getting Things Done, David Allen discusses the power of figuring out your very NEXT ACTION for any given thing you’re working on. It’s one of the most powerful ideas in the book — just figure out the next specific action you need to take in order to move yourself closer to completion, then DO IT…

    Now, it’s no secret that procrastination causes lots of stress and pressure… but the way in which we relieve this pressure is where the secret comes in.The key to this tip for avoiding procrastination is to figure out the very next physical action—no matter how small—you need to take to move something forward; be it a task, a project, a phone call, or whatever else.

    Want to learn how to stop procrastinating? Learn how to shift your focus. Shifting your focus to something your mind perceives as do-able makes the difference that makes a difference. Let me explain:

    Think about something you’ve been procrastinating on; like, finishing a presentation for work. Now FOCUS on how it makes you FEEL whenever you think about how you have to do that presentation. Think about all the work involved. Sucks right? How’s it make you feel? Overwhelmed?

    Now shift your FOCUS to ONE SIMPLE thing you can do right now to move this presentation even the tiniest bit closer to ‘done.’ Maybe you need to google some images to include in the presentation. That’s do-able, right?

    Make that you’re NEXT ACTION. Do it.

    The rationale behind this Next Action method is simple: when you do something your mind perceives as do-able, your energy will go up, your sense of direction and drive will increase dramatically; and you’ll be able to motivate yourself to get whatever you need to get done—DONE!

    Here is a practical tool: Anytime you feel the procrastination creeping back up again, you should take it as a trigger to CHUNK down whatever you feel like procrastinating on into something simple and do-able… Even if it’s something as small as naming your presentation…

    One small step leads to another… and another… and another… and before you know it, you’ve got momentum.

    It’s human nature to put off uncomfortable or undesirable tasks, or to make the easy choice in the moment. But if we want to Start Living in a Way Today that will Help You Thrive Tomorrow, then we have to accomplish the meaningful goals and tasks (even the ones we are not too keen on doing)  — and #Makeitso.

    BTW – You may also want to check out Episodes 1-3 of our Podcast “You Can Make it So” where we discuss Habits – an important foundation – these episodes also contain our Podcast Guide and discussion questions as a special bonus.


  • Ask the Coach

    What is your morning routine?

    I’ve become an increasingly early riser, currently waking up at 5:00am without an alarm. After waking, I meditate for ten minutes, then prepare a cup of coffee.  While the coffee is brewing I drink twenty ounces of water and make something light to carry me into my workout. As I sip my coffee, I write whatever comes to mind for ten or fifteen minutes. When writing, I use pen and paper (no laptop – yep old school).

    I tend to work out first thing in the morning. This involves going to the gym in my building (mostly cardio) or walking about 5 kilometers around my neighborhood here in Toronto. I probably should give more time to this but I am usually back before 7:00am and at my desk.

    With coffee in hand, I give myself 60-90 minutes of uninterrupted time to focus on deep work. This might include reading or researching something for a client, following up on client connect documents I sent from the day before, it might be writing script for a webinar, Mancave session or blog post, preparing for a meeting or interview, or just something for one of the other projects I am involved with. I then take a break, grab breakfast, listen to the news, review messages from clients, make note of ideas that came to mind that I want to revisit or research.

    Focusing on deep work first thing in the morning won’t work for everyone, especially if they commute or have conflicting priorities; however, I’ve realized that I’m most productive and focused first thing in the morning. Having a few more hours in the morning to do my work is a huge benefit. I feel more accomplished than I used to feel!

    This takes me to about 8:30am, when I begin my workday. I take a look at emails, moving quickly through them. I then begin my coaching work promptly at 9:00am with client meetings.

    I schedule them in blocks, two in the morning, one in the afternoon and the two in the evening. I try to be done by 8:00pm and a busy day would have 4-5 client calls. Most of client calls are Tuesday thru Thursday. These are usually one hour each, and they are pretty intense focus events. On the other weekdays, I have other appointments or respond to inquiries, or take a day to do a creative project like a podcast or prepare for a presentation. Weekends tends to be more “fun” time (if you call laundry, shopping and house cleaning fun).

    How has your morning routine changed over recent years?

    I don’t check email first thing. This was a habit that I consciously had to break. I do send a morning text to some family once I get my phone, usually a bit before 8:00am  If we got up in the morning and the first thing we did was check email, we’d be allowing others to dictate our priorities for the day. The important projects I want to focus on would get pushed back to later in the day, and I would be spending my most valuable mental energy time answering emails that could easily wait for a few hours.

    What time do you go to sleep?

    The key to waking up early in the morning is going to bed early in the evening! I tend to be asleep by 10:00pm. My morning is easiest when I have a good night’s sleep and don’t stare at any screens the hour before bedtime. I really try to powerdown the TV and my laptop an hour before bed (in honesty I don't always succeed but I try).

    Do you do anything before going to bed to make your morning easier?

    Before bed I identify the 2-3 projects that are most important for me to focus on the following day. Essentially, I write out my schedule for the next day. Scheduling keeps me on track and allows me to be conscious of how I spend my time rather than being reactive.

    Meditation has become part of my evening routine, besides my ten minutes in the morning. Having mediation in the evening helps me calm my mind after a busy day and get a better sleep. It also includes journal time which leads me to reflect on my wins, woes and wants from the day. I find when I invest here, I sleep well.

    Do you use an alarm to wake you up in the morning, and if so do you ever hit the snooze button?

    I wake up naturally. If I sleep past 5:00am, it’s because I didn’t go to bed on time, I did strenuous exercise, or I ate a poor diet the day prior. Most days I wake up without trouble.

    How soon after waking up do you have breakfast, and what do you typically have?

    I eat breakfast around 7:00am, a few hours after waking up and my workout is done. It’s a predictable bowl of bran, sometimes a piece of toast, and some fruit.  It keeps me satiated until lunch.

    Do you have a morning meditation routine, and if so what kind of meditation do you practice?

    Meditation is the greatest life hack that most people don’t use. I meditate for ten minutes each morning and again at night, I guess in total I give about an hour of my day to this. I also live near a place of worship and sometimes in my morning walk, or during an afternoon outing,  I will drop in.

    My meditation practice started when I was a young child. I stopped meditating regularly when I was in my late teens but then started up again in my twenties. I begin by focusing on my breathing, eventually transitioning to some traditional prayers that have deep meaning to me. I then ponder events and people I have experienced. This practice has been with me for a long time! It’s a profoundly important practice to me.

    Do you answer email first thing in the morning or leave it until later in the day?

    I go through a round of emails in the morning, responding to client emails first. Then, later in the day, I do the same thing. I get about a hundred emails a day. So there are two types to me. First are messages from clients that I coach. They have a unique “ring” on my phone so they get my attention right away. One of my clients got me onto responding to clients email with a voice memo as a reply; it’s a lot more personable. I like that now a lot more.

    The others, well, to be honest I do make a point to read all of them eventually but those don’t get read or answered until late afternoon. I schedule in time for emails during my day, it’s an actual 30 minute “appointment” in my calendar.

    Checking email constantly throughout the day breaks concentration and throws off any possible state of flow.

    Do you use any apps or products to enhance your sleep or morning routine?

    No. I’m not really a fan of trying to solve common life problems with apps and software programs. Some basic, old-school planning and discipline do the job fine. And if you don’t have discipline, an app won’t help.

    That’s just my take. I’m sure some people find value in the apps and stuff. There’s a certain amount of technology fetish-ism that creeps in. How the heck did John Grisham write 37+ novels, 7 Children’s books, 3 non fictions books and 4 short stories without an app? He created a routine and stuck to it. Your habits become comfortable and customary and they lead to productivity.

    How soon do you check your phone in the morning?

    I try not to. If anything I’m working on or doing is high priority or if there is an emergency, people will know how to get hold of me. Again my clients, close family and friends, have a unique ring tone. Otherwise, I try to keep it aside and not let it distract me.

    What are your most important tasks in the morning?

    Definitely shower. That’s an absolute must. Meditating, writing, reading/studying, and drinking a cup of coffee!

    What and when is your first drink in the morning?

    I enjoy a cup of coffee (I keep it at two – use to be a lot more!). I drink my coffee black.

    Do you also follow this routine on weekends, or do you change some steps?

    Absolutely! I do the exact same thing! Sometimes, I wake up a little later (5:30am-6:00am), but that would be the only difference between a weekend and a weekday. During the weekend I do not have client appointments, but I do a lot more writing and recording of our Podcast “You Can Make it So” for example happens on the weekend.

    On days you’re not settled in your home, are you able to adapt your routine to fit in with a different environment?

    Yes, it’s not an issue. My breakfast might change, but the overall routine will stay the same!

    What do you do if you fail to follow your morning routine, and how does this influence the rest of your day?

    I try again tomorrow. Don’t get into the habit of thinking it’s “all or nothing” - just get back on track immediately. I tell my clients often "successful people don't shame, they strive." So if you "fall" on something - get back up and try again. 

    When I wake up early, I end up having a lot of time to take care of myself and think about things (which ends up being a fun exercise for me!). So if my routine is disrupted, I miss out on that. The good news is that I get to start again the next day and pick up my routine again. That’s the cool thing about designing a morning routine - you get to practice it daily!

    Anything else you would like to add?

    Remember that it’s a good day if you go to bed smarter than when you woke up.


  • WHAT DO IF I AM IN A RUT?

    We all have moments when things overwhelm us. So what do we do – well here are 10 things we can do if we are in a rut

    1. Work on the Small Tasks

    When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Do your laundry, make a snack, take out the trash. Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

    2. Do a Fun Task

    Get yourself away from anything that weighs your down, maybe its your desk, your room, and go take a walk. Go for a short walk (even just to get the mail), go out and get a snack. Take a Bike Ride or check out the mall. Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away.

    3. Upgrade Yourself

    Consider learning something new. Lots of apps and webinars are short. Consider a language, a new task, or watch a video about an area of your life you always wanted to learn a bit more about (eg a hobby, task or talent). Does this work – yes, the modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration? Check out this great article by Entrepreneur Magazine

    4. Talk to a Friend about something except what is getting your down

    Talk to someone and get your mind off stuff for a while. Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

    5. Forget About Trying to Be Perfect

    If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies. Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

    6. Paint a Vision to Work Towards

    If you are continuously getting in a rut, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward or you have forgotten the one you already have. Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind? Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.  I did a Podcast episode on this - take a listen to Episode 14 here 

    7. Read a Book (Or Blog)

    The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials. Check out our 22 Books for 2022. My weekly E Newsletter offers suggestions of books, movies and apps to check out – look them up or drop me an email and I will send you a full list.

    8. Discern the Reason for the Rut

    You might recognize that you are stuck in a rut, you might not know what the next step should be. One thing to remember is that not all ruts are the same. Figure out what's causing your discontentment before you make any drastic changes in your life. Consider working with a coach. Don't criticize or berate yourself once you understand the root cause of your feelings.

    9. Remember Why You Are Doing This

    Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started will help.

    What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your reason. Simon Sinek has a great Ted Talk on this - check it out here 

    10. Find Some Competition

    Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. Set for yourself small reasonable targets as part of the bigger goal and work toward those small targets and don’t let the big picture overwhelm you. If you want to know if your targets are on track drop me an email.

    Always know that you are not alone…. I am here to support you in One to One Coaching - drop me a line

    #makeitso