Unproductive days at work

If you take a few minutes and browse through my archives, you’ll notice that I’ve been MIA for months now.  My last post generated a ton of hits, and really engaged my audience…  Since then, I’ve been unmotivated and uninspired to write another post.

One of the biggest challenges I have in almost all areas of my life is consistency.  Take this blog for instance.  I will write a couple decent posts, interact with my audience, then a couple weeks pass and another post, and then nothing for months.

I want to be a blogger, and not just some lame blogger that blathers on about meaningless dribble, but someone that brings value to the lives of their readers.

Today I read and article by Michael Hyatt titled 5 Reasons Why People are Unproductive at Work 

Reading through those 5 points, the one that stuck out to me the most was point number 3.  I am faced with so many distractions.

Most of this is all my own fault really.  By nature, I have a hard time saying no, so as a result, I often take on more projects at work, than I can really handle, agree to sit on boards that I don’t have the time for, decide to start a home based business(you can check that out here), start courses, books, etc…

This past month, I really took a big breath and gathered my thoughts.  I found that taking a big step back and looking at everything that was on my plate, helped me to identify what I needed to be focusing on.

Through all this one thing I found that was not getting the priority it should was my faith.  Yes, I still read my morning devotions and prayed each day, but once I closed the Bible, that was it for the day.  It’s through the small moments through the day where I allowed worry and stress to enter.

Over the last month, I have learned to re-focus on what really matters in the end, and have found that although the circumstances may not have changed, I have a new peace and calm about it all.

Take a look at the other 4 items in the article by Michael Hyatt and comment below with what speaks to you the most, and what you plan to do about it.

Till next time.

Jason

Graduation Season: Can We All Give a Deep Sigh of Relief?

It’s graduation season and like many parents I’m getting a little emotional about it all. Our first of three children just completed her final day of high school on Friday. Collectively, we all gave a huge sigh of relief.

You see, we were never sure that we would find ourselves in this place. Our daughter, like many others struggled with mental health issues that seriously jeopardized her completion of high school.

Can we all agree that we hate mental illness? It’s so widely misunderstood by most, unless you have gone through it yourself or have been close to someone who has. What’s really nasty about this particular beast is that it portrays itself in so many different ways. Some are suicidal, depressed, reclusive, obsessive, paranoid, etc…

For most of her childhood, I misinterpreted her illness as her just being lazy and irresponsible. As a father I said some horrible things to my child in frustration. In so many ways I failed her, because I simply did not recognize the signs.

In 2014 we decided to seek out the services of a psychologist and had a psycho educational assessment completed. It was at this point that we received a diagnosis and explanation for her behavior. She was diagnosed with generalized anxiety, ADHD in the executive functions and a math learning disability.

This was the moment that I realized just how much of an a–hole I had been.. How could I have not known? Why didn’t we seek professional help sooner? Did we leave this too late to ensure her future success? My wife, having dealt with her own mental health issues, felt that it was because of her that our daughter suffered the same fate. We felt guilty, and a little bit like failures as parents.

Are you a new parent? I promise you, at some point you’re going to feel like you’ve failed. After talking with many others with grown children, it’s not uncommon.  It might be cliche to say, but they did not come with a manual so we’re all doing the best with what we know.

So, knowing what I know now, my goal is to help and encourage other parents. It’s important that we learn from others experiences.

So, here are 4 steps that I believe will help you be a better parent when dealing with mental health issues

1. Talk with your children (and don’t over-react)

This is hard and requires an immense amount of self disciple. Your kids should feel 100% comfortable telling you anything, and that will only happen if you process the first thought that pops into your head, when you hear something shocking – before verbalizing it.
For example, when your child tells you that a classmate snorts cocaine at parties, do you freak out and tell her she can’t hang out with that person anymore, or do you have a calm conversation about what your child thinks of this?
When your child is comfortable talking to you about big issues going on around them, they will be comfortable talking to you when they have big issues in their own lives.


2. Talk to other parents (not just to complain about your kids)

This is your first time parenting, so find other people that have been through it. Find people you can trust, that will not spread gossip if you discuss specific situations you’re dealing with.
First, you’ll have to admit that you have no idea what you’re doing. Be okay with that. The sooner you do, the sooner you will be open to some really helpful advice.


3. Mental health is not an excuse

When we first received the diagnosis, we made it very clear to our daughter that it was in no way to be used as an excuse to not be successful. Knowing the diagnosis will help you develop strategies to overcome obstacles, but success is never off the table. The route to get there may be harder and a bit longer than you expect, but always be looking forward.
As parents, we suddenly became accountable to change our approach with our daughter. We had to learn to be compassionate and understanding despite our frustrations.


4. Seek professional help (it’s not a sign of weakness)

Some people think that professional services are only required in serious situations, but I disagree. The diagnosis that our daughter received was incredibly minor compared to many others that we’ve talked to.
We’re so thankful to have received the professional help when we did but had we received it even two years earlier, her high school career would have been so much less painful.
So, if you suspect mental health issues, or feel that you just don’t understand your child. Get help, and don’t delay.

Mental health is incredibly complex, and there are so many facets to it. I will not pretend that we got this all figured out. I’m sure there are some ways that we’re screwing up the next two coming up through their childhoods.

You will make mistakes as a parent. You can’t change them, so face them and determine to do better. Have honest conversations with your kids, and you’ll be ok.

Oh, our daughter, is leaving in September to go to College. Yes, college!  Her path to success was difficult, and never looked like we imagined it would, but she got there.

Have you dealt with mental health issues in your family? Encourage someone today!

Leave a comment below with your thoughts.

What Does Trust Mean to You?

This week I was asked, to do a voice recording for a presentation on trust. The question posed was, ‘What does trust mean to you?’

At first I was like heck yeah. I can do that no problem, but it required much more thought than I expected.

It’s a word we use often, and really think that we understand what it means, but when asked to explain, the words don’t come as easily as you might think.

After some research I came across two definitions of the word trust. The first is the noun form:

trust
trəst/
 

noun 

1. firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something.”relations have to be built on trust”

For many, myself included, this is where we go in our explanation of trust. We talk of the ideal, and how things should be.

It’s easy to say “good relationships are built on trust”. We all know it to be true.

Intimate relationships are created when confidence, belief and faith are present. Someone who has trust, is assured, convicted, has credence and is reliable.

We all want to be trusted, right? This is the ideal.
The second definition of trust, the verb,  is where I got to the heart of what trust means to me personally.

trust
trəst/
 

verb 

1. 1. believe in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of.”I trust him with my life”

Trust is certainly an ideal that we strive to achieve in our relationships, but it cannot be achieved if we don’t individually put it into action!

When we decide to rely on, depend on, bank on, or be sure of another, it takes a great deal of risk in many cases.

We all make mistakes.  God knows I’ve made some doozies over the last 40 years of my life, but there are still people in my life that have placed their trust in me. In some cases they took a big risk in doing so. I like to think that’s paid off for them.

So after much more thought than I figured I would need, I came up with my answer to the question”what does trust mean to you”:

Trust is a daily decision to give others the benefit of the doubt and believe their intentions are good. I strive to demonstrate to those who have placed their trust in me, that I am worthy of their confidence in my intentions and abilities.

This is not a blanket statement for all situations. There are evil people in this world that you should not be placing your trust in.  So be wise.  Use some discernment when it comes to trust.

Trust is a short word, but carries a lot of power behind it.

How do you define trust?

Share your thoughts and leave a comment below!

Are You Funding Your Children?(Why Not Invest?)


Some may say there’s no difference between the two and it’s just semantics, but there is so much more power behind our words than we sometimes thinks. 
If you’re a parent, I’m sure at some point you’ve at least thought, or most likely verbalized how much your children cost you. Many parent’s bank accounts are depleted and they’re run ragged and worn out. Am I right?
Our oldest child is graduating high school this year and preparing for college in the fall, the expenses are piling up with tuition, and living expenses. Our youngest daughter, is a figure skater, and plays almost all other high school sports, with the exception of basketball. Our son plays competitive hockey at the Peewee level, so if you’re finding your pocket book stretched I promise you, I empathize with you. 
We’ve just completed the winter season of sports, and most days our bank account is a bit depressing to look at, so my natural inclination when my kids ask for something more, is to complain and remind them how much they cost me. 
Recent studies show that 42% of Canadians list Financial concerns as their top stress factor, and we’ve all heard that most spousal arguments are over money or financial decisions. I know from experience that when cash flow is strained in our home, you can feel the tension rise. 
I don’t believe it’s wise to keep your children in a bubble from the real world, so it’s important for them to understand how to budget, how to live within your means, and how to deal with tough situations with regards to finances. 
The difference in terminology may seem slight, but a simple change in mindset from paying for your children’s activities to investing in them, can be life changing. Not only for you, but also for your child!  
You are making an investment into your own future, the future of your grand children, into the future of the world. Our children need to understand the difference. 
I fail in this area so often, but I believe these 5 points can help to ease the stress.
1. Inspire your children
There are so many ways you can inspire your children today without spending a fortune. We live in a country that has a broad range of programs to ensure our children can have access to arts, music, sports and education.
Do your research and get them into programs that inspire them. 
2. Stop complaining about how much it costs
This one is hard, and God knows I struggle with this, but our kids(although it’s true sometimes) should not be left to feel like they are a burden. 
Our children understand more than we give them credit for. Have an honest conversation with them about the costs associated to their activities, and maybe apologize for how you’ve made them feel. 
You might be surprised, and see a new passion and dedication to their chosen field. 
3. Joyfully remind them that you’re happy to invest
I believe it’s important for you to remind your child how happy you are to work on their behalf, and that you see the long term benefits of their participation. 
We are, or at least should be, our child’s strongest advocate and biggest fan. 
4.  Be patient for the returns
Understand first, what the short and long term benefits are of their activities. 
These could range from having fun, learning to work as a team, keeping fit and active, learning to being coachable, etc..
Not all kids are going to become Picassos or professional athletes, but there are so many other benefits to enriching their childhoods
Be ok if there is no return. Not all investments are a sure thing. As with the stock market, there is risk. 
5.  Teach your kids to invest in others
I think this is where you will find the biggest reward. If you’re a parent that has coached your child through any sport, or helped teach lessons or techniques, you know the rewarding feeling you get. 
Your children will one day invest in your grandchildren. The ripple effect of your investment into your children will continue for generations. 
We can all agree, I’m sure, that our children are worth our investment. Personally, I’m going to do a better job at ensuring my children understand that I am not just funding their activities, but rather investing in their future. 
Has this been a help to you? In what ways are you investing in your children today? 
Leave a comment below with your thoughts!

Love languages: Are you speaking your child’s language?

In today’s social media crazed society, we are seeing more and more of an actual real social disconnect. We have hundreds of “friends”, but almost all at a superficial level. From what I have observed, this is affecting relationships at all levels, and I believe that’s it’s a result of a lack of understanding of love. 
My wife and I have been discussing a lot lately about love languages and how we each feel loved by the other. We’re improving in this area and can say with much certainty that we have a much stronger marriage after 19 years than we ever have
The last couple of weeks we’ve been talking about what our children’s love languages are, and I’m sure if you have more than one child you’ve come to the same conclusion  THEY’RE ALL DIFFERENT!!! Not only do they feel loved differently from one another, but they feel loved differently than we do. 
This week our youngest child(12) wanted to spend time with his oldest sister(18), while she watched TV. Grey’s Anatomy of all shows. I know it’s not his preferred show, but his primary love language is Quality Time. After a heated argument he left the room upset. 
Now my love language is not quality time, so it can be difficult for me to understand, but I recognized what was happening(by divine intervention I’m sure). My boy was feeling unloved in that moment, so I needed to act. 
When he went to the trampoline to wallow in his sorrow, I followed. Now trampolines can be hard on a 40 year old body, but I persisted. He talked, and talked and talked. I’m convinced, that just that 20 minute time on the trampoline filled up his love bank. 
When he realized I was tired out we came inside. Then I started talking to him in my love language ‘Acts of Service’. I made him a snack. I didn’t receive much of a thanks for it, but it was a pure expression of love to my child. 
It helps put into perspective for the times when I want to be left alone, but he is hanging by my side, or non stop chattering. He is expressing his love to me. He’s not trying to annoy me. So when I don’t receive thanks for the endless service to my children, it’s not because they don’t love me, it’s simply cause they don’t recognize it as an expression of my love. 
The five love languages by Gary Chapman are:
  1. Physical touch
  2. Quality time
  3. Acts of service
  4. Words of affirmation
  5. Receiving Gifts
He’s authored several books on the matter
When we recognize something as powerful as this it doesn’t just help the other, it helps you!  You begin to realize that this world’s definition of love is skewed. It is not an emotional response, but rather a continual decision to act. 
Here are 4 ways that I’ve found help develop more love in relationships. It’s working for me.!
  1. Identify what your love language is
How well do you really know yourself?  Our natural inclination is to always point out external reasons why we experience hurt. Often we’ve experienced hurt from others not because of them, but sometimes because of what love language we’re filtering it through. 
  1. Identify your spouse, children, friends love languages
This forces us to take our eyes of ourselves.  Despite what love language you want to speak, you will find so much reward in connecting with someone on their level. 
Selflessness is a hard discipline to practice especially in our ‘Me First’ society, but it is actually fun. 
  1. Recognize when the other is loving on you
It’s so important that when you recognize what’s happening that you acknowledge it. If you’re a man, this is hard. I get it. We’re pretty dumb at times, but there will be times you clue in.  Don’t let the opportunities slip by. 
It’s such a reward when you’re aware of what’s going on, and you’ll come to realize that you’re loved more than you think. 
  1. Respond with love not only in your own language, but in the others. 
The easy thing to do when loving on someone is to resort to your own preferred language, but don’t be lazy!  Put in the work to find ways that will make a difference to the one you love. 
With three kids this can present a challenge. Today we try to fit everyone into the same box. Look at our education system. We feel like we can’t give one child a gift without giving all them an equal gift, but if your child would feel more love by going on a date with their dad than by getting a new shirt, why do we doubt ourselves?
Yes, often we feel love as an emotional response, but is that really all that love is? I’m convinced that it’s more than that! Love is demonstrated through action. Daily!  
I won’t pretend to be an expert on relationships, but this is what’s working for me. 
How about you? In what ways do you love others? In what ways have you seen love from others?

Work from home day

As you may have already found out from my previous post, I have recently joined an MLM company…

The journey has been slow, but still early on.  I’m the type of guy that wants to see results right away. I don’t want to wait for people to decide to join.  I want people to jump in with both feet…  
Patience has long been a challenge for me, so this is testing.
As I take to social media, I’m treading very slowly.  I want to make sure that I’m not hitting up my friends, family and followers for selfish reasons.  My goal is to help people, and I believe the products I’m promoting will do that.  Ultimately, I want to be a source of information and support for others.  I am not just looking for your money.
So, I will be patient and wait for people to be able to see the results in me first…
Social media is increasingly screaming for my attention.  New followers, that I want to connect with… I’m pretty much addicted to the likes, comments and activity.  
On my journey, I will need to find that balance soon, or it will consume me.  
Thankfully there is so much support in the community.
We have plumbing work being done at our house today, so I’ll be working from home.  Today will be the real test of whether or not I can focus on work, with all the distractions around me.
It’s a rare day that I’m given this opportunity to work uninterrupted, so I need to take advantage of it and get the 2017 Performance Plans completed for my team today.
Better go get the coffee on, the diffuser going…
Wish me luck

I am one of those people now…

Image result for direct marketing

You know you dread it when you see the random message from the guy you graduated with 20 years ago that it’s coming… The pitch for a great direct marketing opportunity.  I mean really, what other reason would anyone have to reach out after 20 years….

This past week, I decided to join a direct marketing company.  I added a page on my site here to explain, but that’s not really what this post is about.

When it comes to social media, I sometimes get annoyed by the amount of posts you see, or inbox messages you receive, pitching the latest and greatest opportunity.  I completely understand a person being excited about their new product or opportunity, and fully and wholeheartedly believe that if you’re not truly excited about what you’re involved in, and cannot stand behind the product, then you won’t succeed.

In my own short journey, I’ve had to really pause to think before I post.  I question myself on my motivation for posting.  Why do I want the world to know about this???  Is it because I truly believe that it’s a great product or company, or am I wanting to post for selfish reasons like just making more money, or hitting that next level?

Am I posting just stuff about my company, or am I sharing my life, of which this new company is a part of?  Surely we are defined by much more than what we’re selling right?

So if you follow me on any social media sites(links in header), please know that I am trying very carefully to not cross that line of being obnoxious.  If you are a friend, then please call me out if I am.  I commit to not being that jerky direct marketing guy that only wants to talk to you about an opportunity, but to be someone that is interested in you, and sharing with and helping you along in your journey of life.

Are you involved in direct marketing?  I’d love to hear your stories, tips and tricks for maintaining a healthy balance on social media, so please leave some comments below.

Till next time.

Jason

Focus

For the first time in what seems like ages, our entire family was able to go out to a restaurant together.  We do eat out occasionally, but it’s rare that we all get out together.  It’s also important to note, that even eating a ketogenic diet, I was able to find something reasonable to eat.

Jacob our almost 12 year old, just got his first cellphone on the weekend, so you can imagine what gets his attention these days.  He has reminded everyone(several times now), that his phone is newer and better than theirs.  His favorite feature is how the phone wakes up when you pick it up, without having to click on the home button.  Ask him, I dare you….  He’ll show you.  At least a few dozen times….

We met the girls at the restaurant after Jacob’s practice, so on the way to the restaurant, I asked him if he could do me a favor, and keep the cellphone put away while we were there.  I didn’t have the opportunity to ask the same thing of the girls before we got in, so early on in the meal, he looks at me and says, why can’t I use my phone?  I explained to the girls what I had asked him, and much to my surprise, their phones were put down.

They are teenagers, so they didn’t get put away, but they were set down while the meal was happening.  I was impressed.  I was proud.

There was a point in the meal, where the stories were getting grand, and being told with excitement and much laughter…  For a moment, I thought, I need to tell them to quiet down, but then something stopped me.  I couldn’t do it.  This was one of those moments, that you sit and enjoy.  Watching your kids smile as one tells a story.  We were all focused on the story teller.  We laughed.  Together.  As a family.  A moment I will remember forever.

This year our oldest, Eliza, is graduating high school.  It’s hard to believe that it’s been 18 years already.  Where has the time gone?  I would be lying if I said raising her(or any child), has been easy.  There have been some very big challenges, but when I look back on her childhood, these will be the moments that will wash away all those bad memories.

I pray that she tells stories that make people laugh.  That she remembers these moments as I do.  That she remembers where she comes from, and has a clear path for where she’s going.  I pray that her family remains an important part of her journey.

As parents and siblings, I pray that we help to create memories for her that wash away any hurt or pain that we’ve caused.  When she has her own family, that she can talk about us with warm memories, learn from our mistakes, and be ok with her own mistakes.

I recently subscribed to an email devotional from Steven Furtick called Walking in Faith.Today’s message was titled ‘What are you Magnifying?’, and the question posed was, what are you magnifying?  The good? The bad? The ugly? The gaps?

As the sun sets on our children’s childhoods, I promise to magnify the good.  If my focus is on the good, it will multiply in our relationships.

If you’re interested in the Waking Faith devotional, you can subscribe here.

What area in your relationships are you focusing on today?

Till next time.

Jason

We survived….

After over 90 hours without electricity, you quickly find out what you’re made of…  turns out we’re pretty resilient.  We toughed it out at home for a couple of days with no power. As stated in my last post, it was cold enough to see my breath in my house.

Day 3, the power was back on at our cottage so we packed everyone up, except the cat(he’s too miserable) and headed on out. The cottage was warm and we had lights, but no internet or TV.

It was refreshing to be able to sit around and play board games, and to chat without distractions.

It turns out that we actually like each other.

Our middle child missed all the fun, as she was in Newfoundland for a synchronized skating competition.  It was at this event that they qualified for Nationals, which take place in Calgary next month. Their routine was a tribute to a teammate that passed away earlier last year, so it was a very emotional victory for the team.

Our son(the youngest) had a great weekend of hockey. They never made it to the semi finals, but he had felt unfairly treated by his coaches the last couple of games and it appeared to be affecting him. I was very proud of him for sitting and talking to his coaches about it, and clearing the air. There was a noticeable difference in his game play after that chat. The things they learn playing a team sport that goes far beyond the game.

Our Oldest is preparing for exams this week, and seeing her focus through this amazes me. I see a girl that has struggled with mental health issues learn to rise above them. I have no doubt she’s going to be successful.

This past week I was invited to a spiritual formation class at Kingswood University by a good friend of mine, who teaches the class. The class was on change and transformation, and knowing my story he asked me to come and share with the class.

This was the first time that I shared my story with such a large group. After that class on Thursday, the amount of people who have heard it was quadrupled.

I realized during that class that perhaps it’s time to tell my story of my change to a broader audience. Maybe someday you’ll see that story here.

How was your week?  Were you affected by the ice storm?

Till next time

Jason

I can see my breath

Two days ago our area was hit with an ice storm that knocked power out. We’ve now been 36 hours without power and our house is freezing. It could be much, much worse. Yesterday was 4 degrees and today the forecast is the same. So for having to be without heat, this is tolerable.

I’m sitting on the couch wrapped in a blanket, longing for my hot morning coffee. I am, however, extremely thankful for many things through this ordeal. The many offers from those with heat for others to come and warm up.  Several of the local area gyms have offered a place for people to come and shower. We have malls and libraries where we can go to get warm, find something to eat, charge our mobile devices and access the internet.

I love seeing people come together in times like theses. The times are tough, but it gives you such a warm feeling inside when someone shows kindness. The times you can sit together as a family with the forced attention. No cellphones, tablets or TVs to distract from one another. Last night our oldest daughter went to a friends house to play board games. We were at home with the two youngest and played a card game. It was fun. Even if I didn’t win.

As much as I can see the blessings through this challenge, I’ll be very happy to have the power back on. According to NB Power there are only ~88,000 customers affected and 80% of our area is expected back on by tonight. Sure hope we’re part of the 80%

Until the lights are back on, stay warm my friends, and try to see the good through the bad…

Jason