How my trust was lost, ignored and won

How my trust was lost, ignored and won

We live in a world where trust is a huge factor in many of the things we do. 

But we don’t often talk about it.

When we read online reviews for people we need to hire for something, there are lots of words to describe the provider and the service provided. But one sentence you hardly ever see is, “I trust this person.”    

That’s because it’s really hard to generate complete trust using only written words.

Trust is a feeling.  It’s something we build with others and others build with us.

This post is about three trust experiences I had within a relatively short period of time: one where my trust was broken; one where gaining my trust was not a concern; and one where my trust was sincerely earned.

Why giving is the best thing for you to do.

Why giving is the best thing for you to do.

When I was a kid, my morning routine involved getting up at the crack of dawn and doing my farm chores. One of my favourites things about that was being mobbed by the animals.

As soon as I would crack open that old barn door each morning, they’d come running toward me, almost knocking me over in the process, like I was some long-lost relative.

It didn’t matter whether it was the goats, pigs, puppies, or chickens.  They were all gathered around me within an instant of my arrival.

Of course the reason they treated me this way was because, most times, I came in carrying a bale of hay or a couple of buckets of food.

I had something to give them.  

The funny thing was that if I came into the barn without food, they’d react the same way.

Why you need to forget about “that’s not fair’.

Why you need to forget about “that’s not fair’.

Have you ever thought that something in your life is just not fair? 

I know I have, and it’s not a good thing.

I think that most of us have some kind of fairness meter built into our psyche.

Truth is, though, it’s not a good way to go through life - worrying about what’s fair and what’s not - because it can send you into a tailspin. It can cultivate negative thinking. It can lead you to say some stupid and hurtful things to people.

For myself, I feel I can turn off the fairness meter, although it can come back on by itself, at which point I have to hit the breaker again.

I have found that the best way to turn it off is to look to others for inspiration.

Why being supportive is the best thing ever

Why being supportive is the best thing ever


The other day I was at the final game of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League playoff season, known as the Clarkson Cup.

It was kind of a big deal.  The Premier of Ontario was there as was the Mayor of the city, and TSN was there to put the game on TV. 

The stands were packed full of grown-up supporters like myself as well as hundreds of little girl hockey players (like my daughter) and other young women who have a passion for the sport and were there to support their heroes.

It was a great game filled with athleticism and fantastic end-to-end action, but there is one thing about that day that will stay with me for years. And it happened even before the puck dropped.

There was a young girl (sorry, I didn’t get her name) who came out on the carpeted ice to sing the Canadian National Anthem. She was maybe 10 or 12. How brave, I thought.

As the crowd hushed and the first nervous notes came out of her, it was obvious that the largeness of the moment was on her mind. 

I’m pretty sure you don’t get picked to sing the national anthem if you can’t sing. And sing well. But that day, in that moment, she was having trouble staying on key.

Sympathy for her rose up in my chest.  How was she going to get through this? 

Then it happened. The crowd just started to sing along.

And not the pseudo-singing you hear at church or in a school gym full of parents.  It was full on.  Jumping in by the third line, the crowd supported her with a cushion of in-tune notes. 

A smile crossed her face as her confidence grew with each word. It was one of the most wonderful moments I have ever seen take place in a large crowd.

That’s the power of support and it made me think: What if support existed in more places, particularly at work?

What I learned about team chemistry that you need to know

What I learned about team chemistry that you need to know

Does your team have chemistry?

You know, that “thing” that many of us look for in our personal relationships, with our friends, or even where we work.

In our personal relationships, it’s what we look for to know that we’ve met someone special. It’s often more of a happenstance – we meet someone and it’s there - or it’s not. We can tell. It’s almost instantaneous.  We have chemistry with them. We’re on the same page; it’s as if our minds are connected. There’s a certain ease.

However, chemistry is much more difficult to achieve at work.  

We’re on the lookout for it. That’s because people don’t want to be on just any team, they want to be on a team that has chemistry.

Why? Because having chemistry between team members allows special things - things that surpass the ordinary - to happen. These are the things that get you excited about going to work everyday.

Having chemistry on your team is like having a team on steroids.  You know it will be successful. You can conquer anything. 

But it’s elusive, hiding somewhere.  Can you make it happen?

Maybe.  Just maybe…

Why you need to get comfortable with change.

Why you need to get comfortable with change.

I hate to break it to you but you’re getting old.

Ok, ok… me too!

I don’t like to think about it and most people I know are too nice to say anything.  Most people except for my kids, that is.  

Yes, those babies whose diapers I changed in the wee hours of the night just a few years ago have realized I’m never going to play in the National Hockey League or face Federer on the ATP tour.  

Now, they not only remind me of change by how they are growing and acquiring new skills but also by ribbing me about my lack of ability on the ice or the tennis court. What happened to respect for your elders, anyway?

They are my walking and talking reminders about how constant change is, and that’s probably good for me.   

It’s probably good to be reminded that we are not the same as we once were; that change is always there despite our intense desire to ignore it

Most of us are guilty of trying to hold on to the way things are for as long as possible, when what we need to do is to keep up with change.

How to make the best from what you've got!

How to make the best from what you've got!

Wouldn’t it be great if every person you worked with was simply the best at what they do?

If they had all graduated first in their classes at school and had received awards and glowing letters of recommendation?

If they all had years of business experience and know-how, and were unflappable in the face of challenge?

If they had all come from generations of successful business people?

If they had no demands or distractions from family and could just concentrate on work all the time?

Aside from the potential egos of such a group of people, it’d be pretty interesting. It could be really great. But it’s pretty unrealistic.

Most teams are not made up of the best of the best.  They’re made up of the best you could get and sometimes it’s a far cry from the best.

You may have star employees among you but you probably also have a good number of folks who are pretty average.  You may even have some folks who are not quite as good as you’d like. 

This is most people’s reality. It happens on sports teams; it happens at work and pretty much anywhere you have a group of people who need to accomplish something together.

You’d think that, since this is a common reality for most people, we’d be pretty accepting of this and just go with it, but no.

What can often develop is some pretty negative talk, instead of figuring out how to make the best of what you’ve got.

Why you need to create more moments.

Why you need to create more moments.

It was many years ago, a night like so many others.

I was on stage playing a concert with a local symphony orchestra being led by a guest conductor.

I was dressed in my usual orchestra concert attire, a black tuxedo, complete with black cummerbund and bow tie  (à la James Bond, I like to think).  The strange thing about this time was that I was seated behind a drum set.

I say strange because when you study to be a drummer, you don’t necessarily see yourself wearing a tuxedo while you play. You also don’t imagine yourself playing behind a 60-piece orchestra at the back of a large concert hall filled with people.

I was playing the same drum set that I had played many times while dressed in jeans and t-shirt, the same set that I would “rock out on” in jam sessions with friends. 

But this night was different.  This night I was playing in an orchestral pops concert and it was the first time I was hired not as a percussionist but as the “drummer” for such a thing.

I had done my practicing, been to rehearsals, but I was nervous. There’s just something different about show time. On top of that, it was a big program. But I have to tell you that I don’t remember one single tune I played that night.

I remember one moment only, and how it felt. The moment I remember was near the end of the night, in the last tune.  It was a fast up-tempo number and I was busily keeping time when the conductor looked up from his score and looked me straight in the eye. Then with a broad smile, he raised his hand and gave me a big thumbs-up. 

I am going to guess that that particular moment was about 20 years ago now. Yet I remember it as if it were yesterday. I remember how great it felt, how happy I was.

I’m not sure if the conductor meant to make me feel as good as he did, but in that one moment, he validated my hard work, my years of practice, my musicianship and how I played that night.

And the thing is, he didn’t have to do it.  There’s no rule about that. I have played many concerts where it seems the conductors don’t even know you’re there. So for one to make an effort, that really stood out for me, and his timing was right on. 

That was a great moment! That’s the thing about special moments.  They can have a profound impact on people.

My 10 best articles of 2017

My 10 best articles of 2017

Happy New Year!

When I started writing a blog about a year-and-a-half ago, I have to admit I was scared…

Scared to put myself out there.

But, through gentle prodding from my coach, I got into a new early morning routine and after these many months, I have to admit it’s been fun and rewarding.

One of the best parts of that quiet early morning hour I take each day is that it has really made me think - think about what I can write that might help someone.

So today, I want to share (for the very first time – Woo-hoo! -  Drum roll please) my 10 best articles, based on their popularity.

From their humble beginnings as posts on my website, these articles have been shared on LinkedIn, Facebook, Google + and more.  People have tweeted about them and shared them.

And then there are the comments. Thanks to all of you who take a moment to say something.  I really appreciate that.

While no one tends to make critical comments, I want you to know I’d be ok with those too.

Because those are the ones that help me get better. 

In 2018, I’ll continue to write about teamwork, collaboration and leadership because I am curious about those things and am always looking for the magic that happens when those things are working at their best.  

So here we go with My 10 Best Articles of 2017.