Sometimes the only appropriate response is to laugh... a good reminder.

It all happened in a split second... like with many things it seems.

An incident happened about three hours into a short road trip with Syd and Big Red. As I was making a lane change, I had to veer back to the safety of my original lane as another car quickly sped by. Everyone was a little startled but there were no injuries or coffee split.

Seconds later there was an onslaught of comments, corrections and instructions regarding how I could improve my driving.

  • "What are you doing, trying to get into an accident?"
  • "Aren't you using your mirrors?"
  • "You are supposed to look over your shoulder before you change lanes?"
  • "We could have been in an accident... are you sure you can drive all the way?"
  • "You aren't just supposed to use your mirror, but actually look over your shoulder." (There seemed to be some disagreement with this point among my critics)

As my tolerance started to wane and it became apparent neither of them where going to self correct, I just started to laugh, rather loudly I should add.

As they quieted I asked, " So you two are lecturing me because I did everything correctly?"

I went on to say, "There was a car in my blind spot; by using the mirrors and then looking over my shoulder I was able to see the car and turned away before I side swiped it". I ended with, "Didn't I do everything you two were saying I should be doing and avoided an accident?"

Almost in unison they said, "Yes". I laughed some more.

As I look back at this smiling, I am reminded of some lessons I've earned over the years.

  1. People generally do not like surprises... constant and predictable is the way they want it. A General Manager once offered me sage insight telling me that leaders do not like surprises; bad news may be hard to deliver, but surprises are disastrous.  
  2. There are many people who are waiting for the opportunity to tell you what you are doing wrong. Constructive criticism should be welcomed and encouraged; it serves everyone well - Simple criticism serves only the few.
  3. When something happens, it is best to start with the question, "What just happened?" Or some derivative of this, depending on the situation and context.
  4. Laughter is a natural "attention grabber". In one form or another, people will ask, "What's so funny?" - And then you can tell them. Granted, depending on the situation and who is asking, it may be a tense conversation.
  5. Laughter and doing serious business are not mutually exclusive; in fact laughter may just be the only thing to get you through the difficult times.

As an aside, my ability to drive didn't come up the rest of the road trip.

Keep on laughin'.


The lessons learned from writing 100 blog posts.

"This is my 100th blog post; hurrah for me! Cue the band and let the celebration begin."

Why am I celebrating an arbitrary milestone of 100 blog posts that frankly has been surpassed by many, many others? Admittedly, 100 is a nice solid number of accomplishment, but the reason for celebration is because of the lessons learned from 100 blog posts. I have learned so much!

The necessity to blog was born with GPEStratagem and a need to develop my position as someone who can help leaders of small and medium sized businesses solve their commercial problems with clever solutions; I soon found myself writing about Change and Adaption, Creative Problem Solving, Execution, Leadership, and what I affectionately call The Human Condition (all designed to progress my desired position) - Blogging has allowed me to articulate my thoughts and what was originally a necessity to blog, has become a desire to write.

I estimate that I have written in the range of 50,000 words so far, and with each blog post I've developed my own unique process of writing, editing, rewriting, smiling and frowning... all in the hope that I've expressed my thoughts well. The words would come easy sometimes, although not as much as I would like; I may put a topic aside but I would never walk away, and have for the most part published two blogs a week. I have adopted the saying, "If you want to be a writer... then write" and it has motivated me to keep writing even when I may not feel so inclined. Looking back on my earlier posts I do see how I have become tighter with the words I use and I most definitely have become a better editor when looking at other people's writing.

What I have found with all of these words, and it seems to happen when you go to upload your post, are those whispers that say, "the post isn't ready", "it's not perfect", or "just a little more wordsmithing"... you need to click publish anyway; blog posts are meant to be read, elicit feedback, inspire social comment and invite feedback. 

And what have I gotten for my 50,000 words and a year's worth of blogging efforts?

Some of the data looks like this - An average of three web visits a day; on average, about 50 views per post on Linked In (with most views being 4,982 and the least views not even reaching 20); a 1:10 "like" to "view" ratio on Linked In; 5 retweets; 16 web subscribers and about 40 comments, with most coming from one post.

Thank you to all those who have read what I have written - It is greatly appreciated!

I will admit I would be ecstatic to have 4,982 views each time I posted a blog but in reality I'm just as ecstatic to get one. I am quick to remind myself that before I build out a bog and started to publish 500 words twice a week, my number of views was zero and week after week it was the same. My activities are having an impact, and although they may not be where I would like them to be, it is never zero.

I am also quick to remember, as humble as it is, I am adding to the conversation... where a year ago I was silent on the sidelines - Nothing happens unless you put yourself out there. I came across a Gary Vaynerchuk video a while back entitled 1 > 0 which speaks to this point and more. It is a video I have referred back to on more than one occasion.

I would be remiss if I didn't mention how easy it actually is to get into the technology, build a website, and push your content out to your favourite social media networks. It's even easier if you take the time upfront to review all the instructional videos that make it really straight forward - I'm not sure if it's a guy thing or me?

Here's to putting yourself out there... definitely something to celebrate!


How you define a good day...

This starts with shoes, more shoes, and quite literally rows and rows of shoes.

A friend of mine is part owner of a wholesaler that specializes in high end footwear mainly from Spain; the name of the company is the U4ik Agency ( This is a relatively new endeavor for her and the days are long as she shapes the company, builds the brand, and works to generate a profit - This brings us to what in the shoe business is affectionately known as a Sample Sale.

As a layman that was just happened to be driving his daughter who was helping out, a Sample Sale looks very much like a room with a vast variety of shoes, boots and accessories (in limited sizes) where the shoe lover can check out the latest fashion trends. If you like what you see and they have your size, substantial discounts are available that would satisfy any battle hardened bargain hunter. My daughter, who is taking visual merchandising at school was excited with the possibilities of the day - I on the other hand had somewhere else to be and left them all to their own devices.

After the obligatory text message at the end of the day to pick up my daughter, we were driving home and I happened to ask, "How was your day?"

To that she responded, "It was a good day...

"I made some money..."

"I learned some things I didn't know..."

"and I met a number of new people."

I could not help but smile as it did sound like a good day.


PS: I am incredibly proud of my daughter's accomplishments and here is an example of her work from a recent photo shoot.