Courageous Kindness

December 26, 2010

When was the last time you took a chance and stuck you neck out to do the right thing?

Here’s the scene. You are on staff of a respectable establishment and notice him as soon as he enters the building. He stands out for two reasons. 1. Because he is carrying a cute little girl on his shoulders and 2. because he seems to be a bit unstable on his feet. He spends 15 minutes browsing around with the little girl. He completes a transaction at the counter with one of your colleagues and lifts the little girl back on his shoulders and seems to stagger across the parking lot to his car.

What questions come to mind? Do you check-in with your colleagues to see if they have any suspicions? Should we say anything? What do we say? How will this guy respond? And who’s going to speak to him?

You have until he straps the little girl into her car safety seat to make a decision before he gets behind the wheel and drives away. Do you risk embarrassment or even a possible confrontation? What do you do?

Here’s what happened. The decision is made to confront him and you’re the one to do it. You walk swiftly out the main door and across the parking lot. The man notices you behind him as he lifts his head after fastening in the little girl into her car seat. You take a breath and ask the obvious question, “Excuse me sir, have you been drinking?”

The pause after that question while the man collects his thoughts at the abrupt nature of the question might have created anxiety if you had time to imagine the consequences of all possible responses.

He replies, “No. I haven’t been drinking.” He assures you and continues to explain, ”I have Parkinson’s Disease and that makes my right foot flop when I walk.”

You reply with the conviction of your values, “If you have been drinking we wouldn’t want you to drive away with that little girl in the car.”

His eyes fill with tears as he thanks you for the courage and kindness it must have taken you to come out and check with him about the safety risk to him and his child. He is obviously profoundly moved by your caring.

This is true story. I know because I was the man and the little girl was my 2 year old daughter Hannah. She loves the library and we had just signed out several Christmas books including, as she calls it, a book on “Crosty the Snowman.” I don’t know the name of the librarian that came out to talk with me. But I do know one thing, that such acts of courageous kindness are what make the world beautiful place. And given the true meaning of Christmas, is much closer to a gift of love than any boxing week sale items we can score.

My heartfelt wish for you as the New Year rolls out is to celebrate life and it’s infinite possibilities for love by embracing opportunities to do the right thing and help others with courageous kindness.

Stay Blessed.


The Gift of The Hit

November 7, 2010

Have you ever been hit with news, events or circumstances that seemingly knocked you flat out?

My hit came at age 45 in 2005 when I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease.
The story is part of a keynote speech I recently shared with the good folks attending the Parkinson’s Society of BC Conference in October, 2010.

View the Parkinson’s Videos Here

Peter Davison Motivational Speaker









If you don’ t have time to watch the various videos here is the punch line.
The “hit” of Parkinson’s changed my life forever and beyond my wildest dreams for the better..I wouldn’t switch my life and abundance with anybody.

See also Dreamweaver Story

With appreciation,


Dreamweaver Invitation

October 17, 2010

I found a sacred place to share with you where dreams really do come true and I can prove it!  This is a long story, but not as long as the time I’ve waited to share it. It’s an invitation to act on making your dreams come true.

April 2005 – The Dream Awakens

The invitation that would change the course of my life happened one April weekend in 2005. I had just wrapped up training with youth service agencies in Belfast, Northern Ireland when my colleague and friend, Tim Chapman, invited me to spend the weekend at his cottage on the North Coast. He grinned with fond memories as he spoke of spending carefree summers as a child in a little seaside village of Castlerock. As an adult he and his wife Alice built a cottage with a spectacular view of the magnificent North Sea.

I arrived on Saturday and strolled around the quaint little community and walked the dogs along the expansive white sand beach the stretches as far as the eye can see. Before supper, Tim and I watched the Grand National horse race, a famous and notoriously dangerous annual steeplechase with a massive $1 million plus prize to the horse and rider who survive first.

Sunday morning was a mild day with partially overcast sky as we walked the path down through a glen and up past sheep grazing in the field surrounding what remained of a once glorious estate castle that was the namesake of the village.

At the edge of the sea was an intact round building, a silent sentinel of days gone by. The Mussenden Temple sat on the precipice of a 200 foot cliff where earth meets sky and ocean. The only manmade objects that separated this view from a thousand years ago in time was a ribbon of rails far below us that support the train from Belfast to Londonderry-Derry that rumbles, quite literally, below us through a tunnel carved through the cliffs.

The surf met the beach far below us like a scimitar of thousands of tiny white stallions, manes flowing wildly, as they charged with pounding hooves into the sand closely followed by the next wave as they to, valiantly took up the charge only to be also lost in the unforgiving sands of time. There are many magical and majestic places on earth and this is surely among the most awesome.

The wind was whispering steadily off the North Sea. As I approached the round building perched on the precipice of the cliff, I recognize that it was out of place for the typical architecture of this land. I was unaware of the rich history of this place at the time of my first visit. All I knew was that it was carefully constructed and placed in the edge of the ocean with a deliberate intent.

The Mussenden Temple was built in 1785 and formed part of the estate of Frederick Augustus Hervey, a wealthy man who was the benevolent Bishop of Derry. It was built as a library and modelled on the Temple of Vesta in Italy. He dedicated the library to the woman loved, Lady Mussenden. I am sure they enjoyed many hours together “reading.” At the time of my visit I didn’t know the temple as inspired by love, nor did I know that it was a popular spot to rent from the National Trust for marriage ceremonies. But I felt it.

We walked up the 14 steps and crossed the threshold and the first thing I saw was an empty round room with brick walls supporting a brick dome ceiling high above us. The first thing I heard was the relentless wind off the North Sea that caresses the building and makes the windows tremble. The first thing I felt was not exactly a feeling but rather an intuitive flash. Do you ever get a notion that you can’t explain, an intuitive flash from out of nowhere? When my eye caught one of the cracked floor tiles, I bent over, picked it up and with out thinking, heard myself utter a dream that would unfold in my life in ways I never imagined.

“What have you got there?” Tim inquired.

“Tim,” I announced, “I have a crazy idea. I am going to place marriage proposal under this stone and bring the woman I love back here to propose.”

Tim replied without skipping a beat, “Great Peter, but you don’t even have a girlfriend!”

“I’ll work on that,” was my best reply.

I have yet to read the best selling book “The Secret” or indeed any of those popular books promoting the “law of attraction.” or those books on manifesting abundance. Quite frankly I was sceptical that the power of intention, simply asking, believing and receiving, was any thing more than a good turn of fortune. Boy was I wrong.

We took a picture of the floor stone and made our way back to the cottage. To be honest, I thought nothing more about it. I never put sticky notes on my bathroom mirror to affirm “I am loveable.” I didn’t watch any more Oprah shows than usual. But in a few short months I did give my romantic intention a booster shot.

July 2005 – Booster Shot

Every first weekend in July I attend the Stan Rogers Music Festival in the far eastern tip of mainland Nova Scotia in a little town called Canso. Eastern most point in the Nova Scotia is surrounded on three sides by ocean so not surprisingly the weather can be wet. It’s an annual sojourn that I take with my long-time friend Oliver. We were sitting on our portable chairs in the front row enjoying the Friday night mainstage concert when, about halfway through the evening, the heavens opened and the rain came tumbling down.

We pulled out our little tarp that was just barely large enough to cover us both and cuddled to stay dry. This situation prompted me to have another intuitive flash.

I said to Oliver, “You know I love ya bud but we really ought to do something about our bachelor situation. And I have an idea. Let’s make a bet that next year we each bring a girlfriend back here with us to share the music and cuddles under the rain tarp.”

Oliver replied, “Yer on! and let’s up the ante by booking separate campsites for next year!”

Little did I realize how I had just gave a booster shot to my dream of an Irish proposal.

July 2006 – Angel in the Mist

When the Stan Rogers Music Festival rolled around again the next year Oliver had actually met Karen and they were going steady but she was unable to attend the festival because of previous commitments.  I joke that he technically did not win the bet because she needed to be here in person to “tarp cuddle” and it looks like he was stuck with me again because I had no luck at all. Oh well, at least the weather forecast was predicting clear skys even though the fog was rolling in.

We were sitting on our portable chairs in the front row enjoying the Friday night mainstage concert when, about halfway through the evening, I went for a walk to stretch my legs. As I came to the back of the crowd I noticed an Angel walking towards me. Her blond hair peeked out from under her hood as she strode eagerly towards me, emerging from the fog and mist as if from a Wuthering Heights novel, and gave me a big hug.

Her name was Andrea and we had dated 18 years ago. We first met at church sponsored Friday night young adults group. We meet every Friday night to socialize with the group of like-minded young adults.  We had some great times, I was very fond of her but I was also working for Greenpeace at the time and I was a self-righteous vegetarian activist.  She recalls one date when I criticized her for wearing leather. I’m sure that had something to do with us going our separate ways. The time was just not right.

But this moment her hug was warm and welcoming and I invited her and her friend Lynnette to join us in the front row to listen to music. We enjoyed the music and conversation that eve and the next day. She shared that she had separating from her husband after 14 years. By the end of the weekend it felt like we were rekindling the fire.

I had two thoughts pop into my mind that weekend. The first was, “Yes! ” and the second thought was, “Does this mean that I won the bet with Oliver?”

We started dating and as the old expression goes, “going steady.” We were growing closer in heart and commitment so we planned for a trip to Costa Rica together in January of 2007.

January 2007 – Near Proposal

We planned half of the two weeks in Costa Rica to be a guided eco-adventure. The first half we were on our own. Noting my love of trekking up mountains, Andrea researched that there was a trail to the top of Costa Rica’s highest mountain, Mount Chirripo at 12,500 feet.

The trail was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced, including my trek base camp of Mount Everest. The route was only 14 kilometres long but the trail has a heart pounding vertical ascent of 5000 feet over that 14 kilometres distance.  We started at sunrise, paced well and 11 hours later, well after the sun had set and I was wearing socks on my hands for the cold, we made it to the base camp lodge.

The next morning we set off up the last 5 km to the summit peak. The trail was gradual and forgiving except for the last 300 metres of which was “all hands on” climbing. Challenging to go up and terrifying to descend as we tried to plant our lead foot below us seeking a toe hold where we couldn’t see below. We did it !

At the top on a clear day you can see both the Pacific and Atlantic Ocean. The clouds rolled in below us and enveloped the protruding summit leaving us above it all and with the sensation that we were in fact on cloud nine.

It was with this magnificent backdrop that I realized Andrea was the woman I would spend the rest of my life with.  After all is said and done, the person to spend your life with is the one that walks best beside you every step of the way through the joy and sorrow, the doubt and discouragement, the peaks and valleys on the trail of life as was so wonderfully miniaturized by our adventure to this place.

I had two thoughts in this order 1. What a romantic place to ask for her hand in marriage. That notion was trumped by another, “Doh! What about Ireland and the Mussenden Temple proposal?”

I bumbled my way through a conversation balancing these two heartfelt but contradictory possibilities. I fumbled with my intent to have both and actually said, “This would be a beautiful place ask for your hand in marriage, but I’m not going to.”

Before she kicked me off the mountain I partially recovered and blurted, “But I love you. Would be enough for you to know I want to spend the rest of my life with you?”

I told her I had something else in mind for a romantic proposal, if she could just trust that and be patient. This was a promise that I currently had no opportunity to deliver on.

We made up songs as we hiked back down the mountain in half the time and returned to the capital city of San Jose to join the eco adventure tour folks. When I checked my email at the hotel and found an invitation to speak at the Irish Travellers Association!  The event was this coming April. With a cosmic grin I promptly invited Andrea to join me on this trip to make it a vacation. I said it casually but inside I was bursting with delight. I now had the means to hatch my romantic plot.

Footnote: For some reason every room we stayed in for two weeks had the number 7 in it. We started to think that July 7, 2007 might be a good wedding day with or with out formal proposal.

April 2007 – The Proposal

We flew all night to arrive at 6am London’s Heathrow Airport and then skipped across the Irish Sea to land at the delightful Belfast City Airport. I drove the rental car on the “wrong side” to take us up the North Coast and arrived at noon in Tim’s cottage in Castlerock, I noted that the cottage was number 7 Shore Road.

We were exhausted from the all night flight so Andrea took an afternoon nap while Tim and I watched the Grand National horse race. I stayed awake because I wanted to confirm with Tim that every thing was ready. I had mailed him a photo of Andrea and I taken at sunset in Costa Rica and asked him to slip it under the floor tile as was the plan from two years earlier. As it turned out it was exactly two years ago this very weekend.

“Tim,” I inquired, “Is everything ready?”

“Yes,” he assured, “I put the photo in a wee plastic bag to protect it and slipped it under the floor tile as planned.”

“Tim,” I pondered, “How am I going to get her to pick up that stone?”

“I have no idea,” was his first reaction, but tried to offer a solution, “Maybe you can make a game of it by talking about leprechauns and looking for treasures under the floor. We’re in Ireland after all.”

“Not high on the romance scale but it might have to do,” I conceded.

At dinner that evening Andrea suggested that we take an early morning hike the next day up to, “that castle you’re always talking about.”  Yes!

Sunday morning was a mild day with partially overcast sky as we walked the path down through a glen and up past sheep grazing in the field. I was a bit distracted by some the visitors who were already checking out the building so I stalled going up the 14 steps by suggesting that we take in the view. When we crossed the threshold I had the thought of taking a picture of us using the timer. I bent down and placed the camera on the window sill but it sloped down to what would be a photo of our feet. Without thinking, I asked Andrea to grab something to prop up the camera. Of all the things she could have used she bent down and picked up that floor tile.

There is a quaint British term for what Andrea experienced, it’s called “gobsmacked.” After all, we had just walked through the door and there she was holding a photo of us she had just found under a floor tile she had just lifted. On the back was I had written the proposal. Good thing too because when she turned around I was on my knee and I squeaked out (my voice cracks when I get emotional) the proposal as written on the back of the photo. It was good to have a backup.

“Will you be my partner in life, will you watch the last sunset with me. Will you marry me?”

Fortunately she said yes.

Back to the cottage for some Ulster fry breakfast as the phone continued to ring from villagers who were curious as to what happened.

The next day, Monday, we bought our wedding rings from Steenson’s jewellers on Bedford Street in Belfast. We appreciated the synchronicity that my cousin’s boy is named Steen and live in Bedford, NS.

Once we selected our rings, the salesperson noted the number of diamonds embedded in Andrea’s ring before resizing. We hadn’t noticed the exact number. He counted seven.

We were married at the waterfront park near our home in Bedford on July 7, 2007 at 7 o’clock in the evening with seven attendants standing with us.

May 2008 – Bolder Dreams

I returned to Northern Ireland to offer a series of leadership development and good relations building programs in the communities of Derry and Newry. And, as tradition has it, I spent another weekend at Tim and Alice’s cottage in Castlerock.

Tim and I had fun as usual including some boyish adventure walking back from Mussenden Temple through the train tunnel, and getting caught half way through by an oncoming train! We pressed our backs to the tunnel wall and lived to tell the tale. Good thing because I had just committed 4 new dreams for a bigger life to a paper under the stone.

During this visit to the Mussenden Temple I felt encouraged by past success to write up a bolder, bigger dream list. This intention setting session also called on me to be more creative than I expected because the building was locked. I slipped my dream sheet under a foundation stone in the outside casement of the basement window. Close enough, I mused. And was it ever.

I wrote four intentions and forgot the actual wording but remember the spirit of them all. They were:

1. I Dream of a baby to love.

By May of 2008 Andrea and I had lived many months on an emotional roller coaster of anticipation and disappointment since we miscarried in September of 2007. When I returned from this trip we were scheduled to start in vitro fertilization.  As it came to pass we didn’t succeed through step one of this invasive biological process.

As a couple, we took on the perspective that we would be “child free.” As coincidence would have it, several weeks later we both called the Bichon dog breeder within hours of each other on the same day to inquire about the availability of new puppies. So much for surprises. We took 6 week old Millicent home on the Labour Day holiday weekend 2008.

That same weekend we received the phone call that changed it all. Andrea’s twin sister Angela called and asked us a simple question, “If a baby dropped in you lap would you keep it?”

We sat stunned and hung on every word as Angela explained the story that had been unfolding behind our back as orchestrated by her and her husband’s sister Nancy. Through a work connection, they had found out about a pregnant 16 year old who had decided to make an adoption plan for her baby due to be born at the end of November.

Over the summer, Angela and Nancy had written and sent the birth mother a glowing profile of Andrea and I. The birth mother must have been impressed because she approved us to be the adoptive parents! We had never considered adoption because it takes many years of waiting to succeed through, “The System.”  And here we were invited to adopt baby through a specified private adoption to be born in less than three months! Did we ever hustle to get ready!

I was working in the South of Ireland and flew back November 27, 2008. Andrea met me at the airport and we went directly to the maternity hospital. Hannah was born at 3:42am Friday morning November 28. We held her 15 minutes after she was born and took her home with an over whelming sense of gratitude.

The birth mother and birth father and their families visit from time to time because we chose to have an open adoption. We were honoured to be we invited to the birth mother’s high school graduation party in June of 2010. She wanted everyone who helped her graduate to be there. Our gift of Hannah was also a gift to her in knowing her baby had a safe and loving home so she could to follow her career dreams and get a higher education.

The birth mother asked me when she was pregnant about what our girl’s name choice Hannah meant. I told her that I didn’t know but I’d just loved that name for as long as I could remember and dreamed that if I ever had a daughter I’d give her that name. I later looked up the origin of the name Hannah in one of those baby name books. Hannah: “Gift of grace from God” We have our baby to love.

2. I Dream of financial freedom

I was surprised at the form this took but the short version is that I received an unexpected windfall that hit me in late 2009. I have emerged with no debt and very few financial worries and have the freedom to dedicate more of my speaking to charities and particularly offering free talks to Parkinson’s chapters across Canada.

3. I Dream of a bestselling book

I realised later that I hit the 5000 bestseller mark for copies sold with my first co-authored book published in 1994, The Healthy Relationships Curriculum. But what I really had in mind was a new book that was yet to be conceived.

My creative muse inspired me in 2010 to start two book ideas. The one that has the most passion and gets people most excited is, “The 10/90 Principle.” It’s about how life experiences can be seen as 10% events – stuff that happens to us on the outside and 90% how we think about and perceive what happens. Our two choices within the 90% that we control are “gratitude attitude” and “stinking thinking.”

It’s designed like a reverse book that looks at numerous life events from each of the two perspectives.  For example, the event in Chapter 7 is the hit of my Parkinson’s disease diagnosis. The gratitude attitude side of the book explores the amazing gift this disease has been in my life. Flip the book over in your hands to the stinking thinking cover and the same event, also Chapter 7 is told from the perspective the recounts shock, shame and sadness. Choose your perspective because we don’t get to choose the events of life that are going to happen anyway.

If everyone I told about the book that got excited by the concept were to order then I may well have a best seller. We’ll see how this dream gets fulfilled in it’s entirety in 2011!

4. I Dream of better health discipline

Since my Parkinson disease diagnoses in 2005, the one consistently proven factor for thriving with the disease is exercise! In the scheme of things, this dream was really more of a goal because it involves 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration. To date I have ramped up my Yoga routine, take regular dog walks and have more Hannah in the backpack adventures. Fixing the elliptical exercise machine before winter sets in is next.

Perhaps not all dreams drop into our lives as a gift from an abundant universe. Sometimes to get what we desire requires hard work. But one thing remains the same whether we seek the manifested intention of a dream or the results of dedicated work in the direction of a goal. It’s a truth that underpins the entire success formula of Conceive, Believe and Receive. That truth that runs through is the degree to which we allow ourselves to celebrate life and it’s infinite capacity for love.

October 2010 – Share the Joy

I was blessed to receive a participant’s bursary to attend the World Parkinson’s Congress in Glasgow, Scotland. To add to my good fortune, the wonderful women at Women’s Aid Northern Ireland said yes to an Energizing Unsung Heroes workshop which enabled me to pop across the Irish Sea to support them and revisit Northern Ireland and my favourite cottage.

It was typical cloudy day when Tim and I once again hiked up to Mussenden temple. I had three goals in my heart. The first goal was to retrieve the dream list I had placed some two and a half years earlier. When I retrieved the paper it was soggy and a bit mouldy from 2 winters of storms that blew under the sill even though the window was on the leeward side of the building. I had actually forgotten the exact wording of the dream list and was astonished at how accurate it had become.

The second reason was to offer another dream sheet to slip under the manifesting magic stones. The dream was simply. I want to bring a group of 12 people to the Mussenden Temple in the Fall of 2011 as a way of helping them make their dreams come true.

The third reason was to create an invitation video for folks curious about the Dreamweaver’s Tour 2011. We hope you enjoy as you consider this invitation.

View the Invitation Video Click Here


This is my dream come true story so far. There is more to come, as always…and it may include you. I humbly share this big life journey with the sincere hope that it inspires you to release even greater passion towards what which you desire for your life, your career and your family. Thank you for reading this far, that is meant to be. What happens next is for you to discern…

Perhaps your soul will be satisfied by reading this as an inspirational blessing story that wells up a heartfelt sense of gratitude for your own life. You can never be too grateful.

Perhaps you are thinking of a friend, colleague or family member who might benefit from this story and the Dreamweaver Tour opportunity. If so, feel free to forward the link to this story with a personal “thinking of you” note.

Perhaps now is the time for you to enrol in this adventure yourself. Perhaps you are thinking of reasons why you can’t, barriers, real or imagined, that are all too familiar. Perhaps it’s time to grow anyway.

Trust that you know what is next. I Iook forward to the possibility of supporting and challenging you on the Dreamweaver’s Tour 2011 journey.

Stay Blessed,

To join the tour – click here

Support if you can’t go to Ireland

Simple Gestures

July 22, 2010

Have you ever hear from a friend who was having a bad day, taking on a tough challenge or feeling discouraged in the face of a difficulty to surmount?

I recently read my friends daughters blog entry. She was feeling discouraged and started her blog with, “This world is not made for someone like me. How am I supposed to really live being allergic to the sun, and all light.”

Alyssa is 17 years old and lives with a chronic and incurable disease where even brief exposure to sunlight causes severe a skin reaction and pain. Imagine that in light of the weather we’ve been having this last week in Nova Scotia. (For my international readers – clear blue skies and 30 degrees plus)

When I read her recent blog entry at first I felt helpless and could not think of anything to say that would help.I sat with that helplessness for a while until I had a flash. Do you ever get an intuitive flash? I just had a simple thought and with the simple gesture of a flick of the mouse button I sent her a short note to “check this guy out” with a YouTube link to a very inspiring fellow who thrives regardless of limits.

As you can see by her next post at the link below what was a simple gesture seemed to really brighten her day, in a healthy way. Maybe sometimes a simple gesture works better than words because we can say it best by saying nothing at all.

This summer I invite you to act on any intuitive flashes and follow through with a simple gesture that says thinking of you. It might just brighten someone’s day.

To read about Alyssa’s brighter day and maybe sign her guest book as well as copy the link to the deeply moving inspirational video CLICK THIS LINK BELOW

Read About Alyssa’s Brighter Day Here

Body Vibes

June 8, 2010

What’s your favorite body part? No not on them….on you. Your favourite part?

This is a leadership series on the four dimensions of successful servant leaders I wrote and published with Youth Action Northern Ireland.

Four Dimensions of Inspired Leaders

Successful leaders engage four dimensions in holistic attempts to be their best and bring their best in everything they do in the pursuit of excellence. The four dimensions explore the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual aspects of everyone’s life as we pursue health, well-being and success.

1. Physical Dimension of Leadership

Do you every find your self to busy driving to stop or gas? Physical dimension is about personal self-care and honors the physical body as a harmonious electrical organism that requires charging and tuning. As a leader you cannot lead with a drained battery. You can’t start the car and doesn’t go anywhere if the batter is dead. Think of the car as your organization think of you as the battery and that current jumpstart currently gets things going make things happen. Your commitment and dedication to supporting your physical dimension of energy will keep your personal health in order for you to do good it work day after day.

“It isn’t the mountain ahead that wears you out; but the grain of sand in your shoe.” – Robert Service

There are three main areas of challenge that hard-working leaders often neglect during their demanding days.

A. Diet: It is well known that the quality of the food and liquids you consume has profound effect on your bodies capacity to thrive and function at an optimal level of energy. Eat as fresh and as local as you can and hydrate the body with good water and use common sense. For more complex considerations consult a health care practitioner or nutritionist for professional advice and remember dark chocolate is good for you!

B. Exercise: The simple rule is “move it or lose it.” Movement stimulates natural chemicals in the body called endorphins that give you a feel sense of well-being and help reduce stress. You can get this natural high by committing to some form of exercise at the style and level of challenge that’s best for your body and personality. Spend between a minimum of an hour each day dancing, walking, riding, laughing, swimming, or other creative ways to get moving. Link Here to Laugh More

C. Sleep: Many people talk about life balance and think of balancing work versus home life. Unfortunately many people forget about one the greatest balance relationships. This is the balance between giving energy during the day and restoring energy at night through rest and sleep. Don’t under estimate the importance of sleep. The average persons spends 26 years of their life in bed so do the best you can to make what ever is left the best sleep possible. Download a free guide to better sleep at

William Shakespeare underscores the value of deep restoring slumber, “Sleep that knits up the ravell’d sleeve of care, the death of each day’s life, sore labor’s bath, balm of hurt minds, great nature’s second course, chief nourisher in life’s feast.”

I See You!

March 29, 2010

When I was a kid I watched my fair share of television on our 3 channel (including the French channel) black and white TV. One of my favourite shows delighted as much as it disappointed me. The show was called Romper Room. It had a 40 year run starting in 1952. Simple concept. Have a proper looking “Miss Betty” dressed in the fashion of the decade entertain a handful of polite, cute and active, but not too active, kids in a playroom on a TV set.

The best part was when the hostess would look into the camera and talk directly to me, and of course countless other kids at home. Thanks to the magic of this mysterious technology we kind of in the room with our TV friends. When it came time to wrap up the show, Miss Betty held up her magic mirror and looked directly into the camera lens. The screen went all psychedelic and then faded back to her looking through a ring with a handle. That’s when the anticipation would start to build.

“Time to see our friends at home. Romper Stomper Bomper Boo. Tell me, tell me, tell me, do. Magic mirror tell me today did all my friends at home have fun at play?”

As that question was formed untold thousands of kids sitting in front of the blue glowing box would sit tall, stop squirming or poking their sibling and wait. And wait. Would Miss Betty say my name? Would she see me? I would shift to the edge of my chair or even slide onto the floor closer to the box as if that might prompt her to get to the names that start with “P” faster.

“Who do I see today? I see Bobby, and Erin, I see Jacob and Sally, Betty, Suzie and John, and P… woo this is it, P…aul.” Ahh nuts.

Each episode the survey contributed another handful of lucky ones to the elevated status of the chosen few and left the ignored masses to hope for another day.

It saddens me to this day to report that during my entire career as a TV kid Miss Betty, or the Miss Whoever’s that followed her, never uttered the sweet rhyme of a simple two syllable name – Peter.

There’s an old adage that reminds us that our greatest voids become our greatest values. Hard to say how this profound disappointment in the formative years of healthy social attachment have shaped thousands kids in the club we could call, “Never mentioned my name on Romper Room.” (Facebook group anybody?)

I did come across a telling comment left on YouTube (Yes, there are Romper Room clips on YouTube) by one bereft soul who, while somewhat tongue in cheek, expresses the angst of generations. “She never said my name. And that’s why I had to become a serial killer to get any validation….SIGH…”

Who really knows what combination of experiences shape our values and personality. But as one recovering unseen child my adult passion to see and be seen has become a cornerstone of my professional offering as a thought leader on recognition as a key to employee engagement and service excellence.

Recognition: The experience of appreciated belonging

One fun exercise I share in my workshop is a personal applause session. I invite someone who’s had a tough week to come up and answer a few questions. Simple questions like name, roles, hobbies, etc. The group is instructed to applaud and cheer every time the volunteer speaks. After a while everybody is in a great mood. Why/ Because it feels good to see and be seen.

Comedian Ellen Degeneres says it beautifully in the opening line of her comedy stage act. As she comes on stage to the thunderous warm and appreciative applause her first line is, “Thank you, what a great way to start work.”

If you were named on the show then you can well imagine a work culture or community where everyone you connect with could feel seen and recognized for who they are. I believe there is a deep longing for such simple gestures of recognition by far more people than us Romper Room orphans.

This desire to be known by others is likely what Director James Cameron was appealing to when he created the movie Avatar. The Na’vi creatures, who are steeped in deeply spiritual and a nature-aligned lifestyle, approach each other with the simple, yet profound, greeting, “I see you.”

I had the honor of sharing recognition exercises with leaders in early childhood education. While the applause action is meant to be a metaphor, I was delighted when one preschool director emailed me after the program and said that they started to quite literally applaud their 3 to 4 year old’s who had great separation anxiety at drop off time. Soon the parents and other kids cheered as well and distress at transition time has all been replaced by celebration!

Do you see the people in your life as much as they would like? If not, it might be time to dig out the modern version of the magic mirror.

Footnote: I researched several archived Romper Room episodes on YouTube and actually found a clip from 1953 where Miss Nancy actually said “Peter!” Six years before I was born! After all Peter was among the top 10 boys names the decade I was born so the odds were in my favour. Sigh…

Flash back to Romper Room 1984 Courtesy of YouTube

Resolution Flops

February 16, 2010

How are you doing sticking to your New Year resolutions? If you are like most people, myself included, that 30 min daily workout you promised yourself has slipped to 20 min and every other day.

The common refrains start to utter forth from our cheatin’ lips: “I’ll start again next week”, “Just one couldn’t hurt”, “It’s too cold out today”, “I’m too tired today.” And so the rationalizations and justifications on the slippery slope heading to a resolution flop have begun.

Why do resolutions flop?

People are motivated in two directions. A. To “move away from” or B. to “move toward.” Both light the fires of determination and both have a soft underbelly that can sabotage success.

“Move Away From” motivation is typically faster, reactive and happens over a short term. Examples include anything that related to getting away from painful, uncomfortable or unhealthy experiences, people or situations.

The problem can arise because the further you get away from the pain, etc. the more your motivation fades in proportion making it harder to stay on track with discipline.

Enter the balance driver to take you over the hump to the bright shiny future.

“Move Toward” motivation is typically slower, proactive and unrolls over time. Examples include anything with a future visioning caring that something that could be yet to come.

Tap into the juice of “getting away” in the short term but be sure to also tap the dream to deliver desired results over time.

Here are 5 additional causes of resolution flops and what you can do about them. If you want the full meal deal I have an DVD resource that will take you beyond what you imagined possible. Check it out here

Resolution Flop Cause #5
Lack of Helpful Role Models in Your Circle of Influence
Anti-flop: Invite people to help form a circle of advisors and or read about inspirational people like Helen Keller.

Resolution Flop Cause #4
Unaccountable to no one for success or failure
Set Trackable Intention Today by setting a future date tioaccomplish a measurable goal. Write and date a cheque for $500 for that day for a trusted friend who promises to cash it if you do succeed.

Resolution Flop Cause #3
Lost Self Worth – Reclaim Personal Magnetism Today
“Everything you have done or not done is worthy of love”

Resolution Flop Cause #2
Luke Warm Heart of Desire – Get Passion Fire
“Someday, after mastering the winds, the waves, the tides and gravity, we shall harness for God the energies of love, and then, for a second time in the history of the world, man will have discovered fire.”
– Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Resolution Flop Cause #1
Fuzzy Vision – Get Crystal Clear Today
Be, do and have with clarity of purpose

Anti-flop antidote available here