I Love Myself, I Love My Life…

One day my girlfriend said “You know, I am not changing; I like myself.” 

That was a game changer comment in my world.  I reflected… Could I honestly say that?  Honestly?  I looked in the mirror and asked…”Do I love myself’?“ Well maybe not. So I asked “Do I like myself?”  Yes…kind of. The next question was “What would it take for me to ask the question…Do I love myself? And without hesitation or but; but; but; say “YES.” ”

Skip Downing, in his well-designed personal growth work, On Course, talks about our inner critic: I beat myself up, our inner defender: I beat others up, and our inner guide: I am kind to myself; and about the conversations we have with ourselves in our heads. 

I attended a conference and heard of this tale from the Keynote Speaker:

"Two Wolves" A Cherokee Legend

An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. "A fight is going on inside me," he said to the boy.

"It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil - he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego." He continued, "The other is good - he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you - and inside every other person, too."

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, "Which wolf will win?"

The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."

Here is the same story, but it is called "Grandfather Tells" which is also known as "The Wolves Within"

An old Grandfather said to his grandson, who came to him with anger at a friend who had done him an injustice, "Let me tell you a story.

I too, at times, have felt a great hate for those that have taken so much, with no sorrow for what they do.

But hate wears you down, and does not hurt your enemy. It is like taking poison and wishing your enemy would die. I have struggled with these feelings many times." He continued, "It is as if there are two wolves inside me. One is good and does no harm. He lives in harmony with all around him, and does not take offense when no offense was intended. He will only fight when it is right to do so, and in the right way.

But the other wolf, ah! He is full of anger. The littlest thing will set him into a fit of temper. He fights everyone, all the time, for no reason. He cannot think because his anger and hate are so great. It is helpless anger, for his anger will change nothing.

Sometimes, it is hard to live with these two wolves inside me, for both of them try to dominate my spirit."

The boy looked intently into his Grandfather's eyes and asked, "Which one wins, Grandfather?"

The Grandfather smiled and quietly said, "The one I feed.”

Note: this story can also be found at: http://www.firstpeople.us

My challenge certainly was deciding which voice to listen; to or which wolf to feed.  AND getting to a place of saying “Well, either stop doing that - or stop beating myself up.”  What might I be beating myself up for? Eating too much; not getting up in the morning to exercise; not calling my mother enough; not handling things right at work; or having an extra glass of wine.  I am sure it would be easy for each person to make their own list.

I’ve invested the time in my life to make small course corrections.  Over the last few years I’ve worked continuously and consciously to teach myself to have nicer conversations with myself, about myself in my head. Now I am able to say “I love my life” and mean it! And each and every day I am getting closer to saying, authentically, “I love myself!”

Recognition Gone Bad

Why do we bully others?

Why do some people feel bullied and others just laugh?

What is destructive?

What is constructive?

My girlfriend and I decided to offer entrepreneurship in Drayton valley to our local school students.  We printed flyers and mailed them to every student ‘s home that were between grades 9 and 12.  Junior Achievement offers many financial literacy programs that volunteers teach in schools.  We wanted to teach entrepreneurship so we chose to offer the Junior Achievement Company Program where students learn to start a company, produce a product, take it to market and then wrap up the company all in 17 weeks.  This is a really fun well designed program that is taught to 90,000 students worldwide.  (We can help you start a program in your community)

Things were going pretty well and them wammo…a reported incident of bullying!  Dealing with that was not part of the curriculum.  Being a graduate of 21st Century Leadership, and a graduate of On Course for facilitators and a life long learner I scrambled for a mature way to deal with this without raising defenses and making it personal, seeking to create value for all participants.

So for that evening, we defined BULLYING as “getting your need for recognition met destructively” by making someone else look bad so you could feel better…basically getting your need for recognition met destructively. 

First, we all agreed that at some level we had a need for recognition.

Then we broke into small groups and talked about hurtful or mean things we had done.

We agreed that for the short term we might have felt powerful, but we never did feel very good for very long.

Second we brainstormed a list of several ways we could get our need for recognition met constructively:

1. Be kind to others

2.  Do a favor for others

3.  Just do things that need doing

4.  Volunteer

5.  Teach Sunday School

6.  Babysit for free

7.  Do things without being asked

This is a group of students who are in grades 9-12…their list was lengthy and amazing.

Then we sat each kid up at the front one at a time and got the other kids to say all the nice things they could think about this person and gave each of them their list…this process may be uncomfortable for some…but educate and encourage them to relax and enjoy the recognition and say thank you, not deflect the recognition.

Then they took their list of words and made themselves an affirmation: 

I am a kind, peaceful passionate leader!  I am!

Next…they each read their affirmation out loud.  No comments, no words, 1 person at a time.  When everyone was finished we stood smiling in silence for a minute.  The energy level in the room just kept rising. 

Our final comment was for each person to invest the time in them-selves to get their need for recognition met constructively. ALWAYS.

The person next to you … (flashback part 2)

This is a poem I found hidden away in my employee folder. I honestly don’t remember when I received this or even reading it! However I am glad that I was able to “re-discover” it. It is a bit long, but I hope you still enjoy it.


Look Around You, Who Is the Person Sitting Next To You?
                                                                                      -Author Unknown

Look around you…
Who is the person sitting next to you?

The person next to you…
is one of the greatest miracles you will ever meet at this moment
- and the greatest mysteries.

The person next to you …
is an inexhaustible reservoir of possibility
with possibilities which have been only partially realized.

The person next to you…
is a unique universe of experience
seething with necessity and possibility
dread and desire, smiles and frowns
laughter and tears, fears and hopes
- all struggling to find expression

The person next to you…
…is surging to become something,
…to arrive at some destination,
…to have a story and a song,
…to be known and to know

The person next to you…
…believes in something…something precious
…stands for something
…counts for something
…lives for something
…labors for something
…waits for something
…runs toward something

The person next to you…
…is more than any description
…is more than any explanation
…is more, much, much more.

The person next to you…
is searching…
…for meaning
…for inner-peace
…for self-esteem
…for something they already have - they just have to realize that

The person next to you…
has problems and fears, just like you
…wonders how he or she is doing
…is often undecided, disorganized and painfully close to chaos
- but endowed with great toughness in the face of adversity, able to survive the most unbelievable difficulties and challenges.

The person next to you…
…has something he or she can do well
…something she or he can do better than anyone else in the whole world
…has strengths they do not even recognize
…needs to talk to you about those abilities
…needs you to listen
…but do they dare speak them to you?

The person next to you...
…needs a friend
…wants to be a friend
…can comfort you
…can care for you
…can understand you
…and love you.

Isn’t that what you want?
It’s what they want.

The person next to you…
is a special human being
…and so are you!

You will want to get to know this person!


I think this is a great reminder that people are a combination of the experiences and of the people they have met in their lifetimes. You never know what great things you may uncover with each person you interact with!

Life Lessons

As employees in the emergency response field, we are reminded daily of how fragile life can be. I am grateful for this, as it supports us to live our biggest lives. When your career is constantly reminding you that everyday could be your last or a close friend or relatives last, it only fuels the desire to live your life to the fullest.

Intercon Messaging as a company is committed to fueling our aspirations as well. With educational opportunities always available to employees whether they are in the telecommunications field or for emotional intelligence, Intercon would never deny an employee the opportunity to better themselves, professionally or personally.

Through the many traumatic situations I have been faced with through my career, one of the most valuable lessons I personally have learned is take pleasure in the simple things and always make time to spend with those you love. I have grown in my relationships with my family in large part to my career. When I was having difficulty communicating with my family, Intercon Messaging gave me the great pleasure of attending a seminar called 21st Century Leadership by Extraordinary Learning, and my life has not been the same since. My eyes were opened in a way they never had been before, and I have been grateful everyday Intercon gave me that opportunity.  

How many people can say that about their work environment? Not all that’s for sure! That’s just one reason why Intercon Messaging stands above the rest!





Get On The Road

Thank you to Bobby Ng!  Last night in Edmonton we roasted Bobby Ng.  Bobby immigrated to Canada in the 70’s with his young family.  He left his celebrity life in the Philippines and came to Canada, ready to start over.  He achieved a celebrity life in Edmonton as a radio host on CHQT 880.  In his recent past he invested his time in us.  He passionately hosted and facilitated The Excellence Series:  “In Pursuit of Excellence”, “The Wall” and “The Advancement of Excellence”.  Upon completion of that series he hosted an introductory session for 21st Century Leadership to educate and enroll participants who wanted to continue their journey of personal and professional development.

In 1991 Bobby married my sister Mary Lou and they have a son Brent.  Bobby’s older boys, Ron and Chris are wonderful big brothers for Brent.

Back to the roast…Bobby is facing health challenges, so he invited 50 people to attend his roast. Anybody who wanted, had an opportunity to speak.  Those of us who had the privilege of attending and participating in the roast had an opportunity to share how he’d made a difference in our lives.

Some life lessons I identified during the experience of clarifying my thoughts while preparing to speak at Bobby’s roast were: 

  1. Even if you think you verbalized a thank you, repeat it.
  2. Send a written thank you.
  3. Not asking is saying no for the other person without educating them; Bobby asked me several times over a 5 year window of time to attend 21st Century Leadership (I finally went in September 2002 and have been 3 more times since; yes Doreen; I am a slow learner!).
  4. Lifelong learning is not optional unless you want to become obsolete or are ok with becoming one of the people that the world says, “Oh, he’s dead he just hasn’t fallen over yet”.
  5. What I don't know about myself is what is holding me back; The Excellence Series and 21st Century Leadership are great ways to uncover some of the things I do not know about myself.
  6. Personal and professional development is a journey that never ends. Get on the road; it's a worthwhile trip!

Several of the Intercon Messaging crew enjoyed participating in The Excellence series and 21stCentury Leadership.  Collectively the crew at Intercon Messaging thanks Bobby for his passion and dedication in helping us on our personal and professional development journeys.