Archive for June, 2010

I am well into my cross Canada tour, London, Montreal, Ottawa, Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton, Victoria and Vancouver, waking up each morning wondering what city I am currently in, and checking on the time for my next flight. Each evening is punctuatued with a new group of health care professionals and observing the fun they have with their Insights Discovery profiles. Laughter ripples through the room as the envelopes containing the profiles are torn open and eyes are cast on the opening paragraphes of the profile. “You called my mother!” Yes I have had a number of participants say that to me as they see the story of self described.

I am in the process of crossing the country delivering a wonderful program call Insights Discovery to health professionals who work in the field of rheumatology. These individuals have demanding jobs supporting a patient population with Rheumatoid Arthritis and associated diseases, a population where the illness and the treatment is complex and difficult. My role is to facilitate and coach the Colour of Communication Program we have developed with our sponsor and which is designed to support participants professionally and personally. It is a program I enjoy offering as it gives individuals the opportunity to see themselves as the unique person they are and to understand how to connect more deeply with others, including their co-workers, and more specifically their patients.

Of course as I teach, I witness many roadSIGNS. I have the pleasure of observing participants interact with the material and the fun that this creates as individuals read their Insights Discovery profiles and drill down into the truth of who they are. In my view people get so caught up in the busyness of their days; they don’t claim time to pause and understand themselves. Have you noticed how sometimes you simply find yourself spinning your wheels, caught up in doing and failing to assess what it is within you that is driving you?

Insights Discovery is certainly not the whole answer. It is however, a piece of the puzzle, a source of feedback which allows you to look in the mirror and take a good long look at yourself.

In this program I teach the four colour energies of personality, what Carl Jung referred to as our personality preferences. What is a preference? Take a moment and write your name on a piece of paper. Now switch hands, and with your non-dominant hand write your name again. What is the difference? You’ll notice that when you write as you normally do, it is natural, easy and free flowing. By comparison, writing with the non-dominant hand requires concentration and effort. In a very simple way this describes personality preference as well. There are preferences which are easy and natural for us and there are preferences that require energy and concentration.

What are the color energy preferences of personality? Red, yellow, green and blue. A red energy preference has the following characteristics: competitive, demanding, determined, strong-willed and purposeful. It is what I refer to as a ‘fast energy’ and the hallmark descriptor is be brief, be bright, be gone. It is an extraverted energy and it is founded in logic. Yellow is the sister energy in extraversion. The difference is it is a feeling preference and is driven more by values that by logic. The characteristics of yellow energy include: sociable, dynamic, demonstrative, enthusiastic, and persuasive. Those having a yellow energy preference are the ultimate networker and fun-lover. 

Green and blue energies come from the introverted side of the house, and as such appear as quieter energies, more reflective. I always remind extraverts that for the introvert, the party is going on inside even if there is no outward expression of this.

Green energy is expressed as caring, encouraging, sharing, patient and relaxed. I often describe them as the integrity of the team, home or organization as they remind us of the promises we have made and hold us to them. Finally we have the blue energy, again driven by logic, only in this case wanting all the details. Blue is described as cautious, precise, deliberate, questioning and formal. It is very process oriented. You want your accountant or your IT consultant to have plenty of this energy.

All of us have all four color energies within us, most of us have a preference for two or more in our daily lives. When I teach this material I remind participants that no one is just red, yellow, green or blue; each of us is a color combination and it is this combination that makes each of us unique.

On this journey of life, tools such as Insights Discovery offer a valuable opportunity for self assessment and knowledge – they are a door opener to a deeper conversation you may want to have with yourself, an opportunity to become more consciously aware of who you are.  This may be your SIGN to dip into one of the many opportunities that exist for self-assessment and dive in!

Until next time….


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As I ready myself for another week on the road, planning what to take with me as the summer temperatures we have been experiencing dip back to the mid to low teens, I am experiencing the anticipation – a mixture of excitement and anxiety. I think ahead to each group I will meet, imagine their faces and their response to the Insights presentation, their laughter when they read their Insights profile and recognize themselves and the spirit which fills the room. I am grateful to be called to this work, and to observe others as they see themselves. It is an apt beginning for the ME FIRST journey, an opportunity to acknowledge themselves.

Each day I set an intention for sending a tidal wave of ME FIRST energy around the world and back to me. I have been doing this for several months now and it is always interesting to observe just how this intention manifests. This is one of many ways.

At the end of June we head to Prince Edward Island to offer two ME FIRST Retreats, which appear to be fully booked, host an evening of ME FIRST as well as attract new clients. I have always loved the island and have previously worked there – warm, fun, a little more low-key than my neck of the woods. As we plan these events I have this question in the back of my head – how can we create that tidal wave I spoke of?

I know and accept that the answer rests with the Universe and I am watching and listening for the answer. A few roadSIGNS have appeared including some recent ‘big AHA!’ moments we have coached with clients and workshop participants as well as a story on CBS radio – The “Jessica Effect’. Years ago there was a young girl trapped in a well for several hours/days. The event drew interest from around the world as TV watchers held their breath and cheered on the rescue team. At that same time the genocide in Rwanda was occurring which basically went unnoticed. Thousands died as the world focused on saving one child from a well. Why is that?

The psychologist interviewed explained that most of us can focus only on one small act at a time, that the magnitude of something like Rwanda is simply to big for us to take in. This made me think about our dream for ME FIRST and the meaning of influencing one person, or a small group, at a time. Is it this that leverages ME FIRST into the world?

Margaret Meade said, “Never doubt that a small group of committed people can change the world, indeed this is the only thing that ever has”. Likewise Mother Theresa understood that she could only influence the poverty and homelessness in Calcutta by beginning with one child.

And so it is, I continue to ponder the road ahead for us and how to best serve. What I know for sure is that ME FIRST, this work, makes a difference and we are only beginning – baby steps first. It means setting an intention that every act we as roadSIGNS engage at truly makes a difference for someone else and that it is always sourced from love.

Back to the trip ahead, I will cross Canada in the next five days visiting five cities and meeting five unique groups of health care professionals. They above all groups, need ME FIRST, at least in my view. Having worked myself in the Canadian Health Care System for 25 years, I know the demands and how these have changes through the years. I also see the lack of respect that those of us outside the system have for our health care professionals, complaining about our health care system. I agree, there are aspects which could be improved, yes and, has anyone looked south of the border where millions have no access to health care. How fortunate we as Canadians are.

Time to pack…

Until next time,


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Back off the Road

Last week I began a two-week hefty travel schedule visiting London, Montreal and Ottawa to deliver Insights Discovery Programs to nurses who specialize in Rheumatoid Arthritis. This is being sponsored by one of my pharmaceutical clients. Next week I will travel to Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton, Victoria and Vancouver in five days. I am quite excited to be offering this program within health care as it fulfils one of my business intentions to work once again with health care professionals. To date I have had lots of fun.

This past week ended with a day with Leadership Ottawa where I am serving as a coach and cultivator. This has been a special gift to me as I am working in a program which supports all my personal beliefs regarding leadership. The days with this group are very organic and unfold fully through self-discovery.

The Original Authentically You Group

Finally, I received photographs from friend Rita of our fifth Authentically You Reunion (see above), a group who has travelled with me since 1998 and who have always supported my work. When I first began my business, it was this group who gathered to help me test some of my ideas. ME FIRST has its origins from these initial days.

More from the road next week…


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Universe ME

It’s been just over thirty days since I turned sixty; one of those ‘big large’ moments of life, and as little or large as you make it. There was no great transformation, no wings sprouting from my back and certainly no halo appearing above my head, yet it feels transformative.

I heard on the radio today that our youth oriented culture is also changing with the orientation turning to older generations, perhaps to the dismay of the younger generations who point to us as the responsible villains for creating the world we live in. I am left wondering what this world will look like and in this wonder I asked myself what would be perfect for me? Here’s what I came up with:

–          more wrinkles and less botoxed masks

–          less fashion and more natural wear

–          fewer perfect slender bodies on magazine covers and more ‘real women’

–          fewer young models and more models of all ages, cultures and creeds

–          fewer stories regarding the famous and infamous and more stories about everyday heroes and heroines

–          fewer stories filled with violence and turmoil and more stories which are inspiring and heart warming

–          more emphasis on health and less emphasis on weight or body size.

I could continue but you get the drift.

Just after I wrote this I picked up the Globe and Mail – Life Style Section. Featured on the front page was a story: Universe ME – The Empathy Gap; a study of university students, average age twenty, known as the millennium generation. The study found, that compared to a similar study on 1979, there was a 40% reduction in empathy, that is, the ability to see the world from another person’s perspective. This was matched with a dramatic increase in narcissism and materialism. They are known as the ‘ME Generation’, which is interesting as I believe our generation of Baby Boomers were also once known by this name. Regardless, the current culprit for this shift in human behavior is apparently the rise in social networking, a form of communication where deep face to face relationships can be avoided and communication kept at the most superficial, self-focused level.

Back to my list of what would be prefect for me as a newly minted sixty year old – I see my generation as a significant source of coach/mentors for the younger millennium generation. It is interesting that I authored a book called ME FIRST – If I Should Wake Before I Die which is anything but narcissistic and all about understanding yourself and how you are called to service. Very different from Universe ME although sounding like kissing kin.

I see this article as a personal roadSIGN, a wake-up call and invitation for generation 60ish. Is it really time for us to retire or is it time for us to Re-Tire, put on new treads, and breathe new life into our days? I believe my generation of soon to be or already sixty year olds are being called to action. If this study is true, if empathy is lapsing and narcissism gaining ground, generation sixty can influence this. We are, after all, the generation who witnessed the Vietnam War, the civil rights movement, feminism and gay rights, and more. We grew up at a time when we touted our values as being upper most in our lives. And yes, then we all went to work and yes, many of those values we espoused were parked in the corner of some room. Yet those same values are there; they ground us and perhaps it is time to retrieve them and dust them off. Perhaps this is the time where we, as a generation, can make our greatest contribution.

There is, in my view, much work to be done to nurture younger generations. It is time to cast judgment aside, for it is easy to judge them. As I was journaling on this topic I was in transit from Montreal to London, Ontario. In Toronto I met a younger colleague attending the same meeting. In the three hours or so we spent together, two were spent sitting beside me ‘thumbing’ her messages on a blackberry. The third hour was on the plane. She exchanged a few words with me but as soon as the little box vibrated, her response was immediate. Somewhere in between texting her messages, she asked me if I had a Blackberry. I said NO, that I was currently evaluating my technology options. She smiled and quipped, “they’re addictive” and returned to the little black box that now seemed to rule her interactions. It occurred to me that she did not know how to converse with me. Wow!

So for those of you reading this, who are of or approaching generation sixty, there is much work for us to do should you choose to accept the challenge. I am not willing to forfeit my work, teaching people how to communicate effectively with themselves and with others, to the rise in social media and the ‘crackberry’ devices that surround me. I believe this study, while limited in scope, is the canary in the coal mine, a warning of what is to come unless we act. Are you up for the challenge? Will you join me?

Until next time,


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