30 Days of Boundaries Day 18: Introducing Boundaries in Your Life

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Boundaries are crucial, and I talk about boundaries a lot, but many people may not understand what that actually means. There are several kinds of boundaries that we have in our lives, not just this big boundary order type of thing that we talk about. Personal boundaries are very important. I've stressed that in the past few blogs, but I'm going a little bit deeper today.

One of the first boundaries that comes to mind is physical boundaries. We've heard about that a lot in the news in the last few months with all of the drama that's happened in Hollywood and a variety of other places for varying boundaries being violated, sexual harassment and whatnot. Those are boundaries where someone is invading your space when they shouldn't be invading your space without your permission. Those are definitely boundaries that you want to protect no matter what.

Mental boundaries. Everybody has opinions. Everyone has beliefs. As humans, we need to respect the beliefs and understandings of other people. We may not understand from their perspective, but here's a challenge for you. Try to. Try and figure out where people are coming from, not just people from different walks of faith or different backgrounds, but people we've grown up with and people you have known for a long time. Their outlook and their perspective on things can be different than yours and a boundary is to respect their beliefs, as well as they should be respecting yours.

Emotional boundaries. Oftentimes, people can be emotional when it comes to situations and some people are a little bit more dramatic than others when it comes to things. They may react differently to situations that you say that may upset them, similar to what I shared in a different post about, "No," is a complete sentence. It can be the situation of you said, "No," to somebody and then you get quite emotional about it. They have to respect that boundary and they have to respect your decision to be the way that you are and feel the way you do about a particular situation or matter.

Material boundaries. Ever loan somebody a book or a tool or your lawnmower and they never return it? That's a boundary that they crossed. That's something that they shouldn't do. If you borrow something from somebody, return it. Actually, here's a pro tip for you: Return it in better condition than you borrowed it. If it's something like a tool or a lawnmower, clean it. Return it to them better than when they gave it to you. They're in all likelihood going to loan you something again if you need it or, more importantly, be there for you in times of need.

To establish boundaries, it's crucial that you come to grips with what you want to do. A couple things that I do regarding boundaries is write down how I feel about things. If something is bothering me and it's eating at me inside, then I write it down and I write down how I feel about it, so that way you can prevent those situations from happening if at all possible or understand why those situations arise in the first place.

Technology is another boundary. I'm using technology right now to write this, and in the other room, I have my cellphone. Cellphones, as you know, have all kinds of notification settings. Many of you, I'm sure, have a variety of different apps and they have this little red circle on them with a number. My recommendation to you is to go into your settings on your phone and turn all notifications off except for your phone and text messages. If you get tons and tons and tons of text messages you may want to shut that off too. I don't turn mine off because I get messages from loved ones and business clients and I want to make sure that they can reach me when they need to, but you also have to establish those boundaries on when they can reach you.

Don't check your phone at night. The recommendation of having your phone in a different room when you go to bed, I highly support that. I do, however, I use my cellphone as an alarm clock. I know that's a no-no. Work with me. Help me out. I want to find a really nice alarm clock and then I'll put my cellphone in the other room. Those are a couple things you can do from a technology standpoint.

This is something that I want you to do: The next time you go to a store or a restaurant and you are dealing with a clerk that's taking your order or ringing up a product, or they're serving you in such a way that you are getting something from them, treat them like a family member that you love and adore and look forward to seeing. If you treat everyone you encounter that way, can you imagine what kind of world we would live in? That's my personal challenge to you. From now on, everyone you interact with, treat them as if you're a loved one that you actually love. If you do that, your world will change and so will theirs.

Communicate with your boss. If you're running into work boundary problems, then I think you need to really have a good conversation with your boss, and in the next couple days, I'm going to share more about how to approach your boss if you need to start establishing boundaries and what you do. You don't want to go to your boss and say, "Look, boss. I'm not gonna do things this way anymore, and this is how I'm gonna do it. That's the way it's gonna be because Stone Cold said so." You'll be on the unemployment line if you do that, depending on your boss, of course. There's a better way to do it, and I'll show you how.

Until next time, be well. 


30 Days of Boundaries Day 17: No is a Complete Sentence

Photo by Andy Tootell on Unsplash

Photo by Andy Tootell on Unsplash

The topic is 30 Days of Boundaries about the word no. More specifically, "No" as a complete sentence. Often times when you have boundaries issues, you say yes a lot more often than you should.

Sometimes through other party's attempt to make you feel guilty or make you feel like you're not making a contribution, they try a variety of techniques to make you feel guilty so you will say yes and agree to something, when in fact. This may not be in your best interest or the interest of the parties involved to say yes. "No" is a complete sentence.

Sometimes you don't want to hurt people's feelings. Sometimes you may think you're not being who you're supposed to be when you say "No" and deny a request or disagree with something or not want to do something that the other parties want you to do. It takes a long time to get past that. Especially if you were someone like me that often would say yes, just to make things easier on everybody, but by saying yes, you're saying "No" to yourself. I did that for a long time and I have two stents in my left anterior descending artery to prove it.

What are you saying "Yes" to that you should be saying "No" to? It's important for you to understand boundaries in your life and to stand ground when things come up that deep in your heart and in your gut, you know you should say "No" to, but then you end up saying yes. Maybe you're anti-confrontational. I get that. I'm trained in conflict resolution and you want to try to avoid conflict when at all possible, but sometimes that's it's not possible. Saying "No" is sometimes a necessity. When you do, you have to understand that the other parties involved may not receive that in the way that you would hope, but how they receive it is not your concern.

Your concern is to do the things that are beneficial to you, to respect yourself, your self care, your boundaries, in order to do the things that you need to do. This can be at work. This can be in home life. This can be opportunities that come up. It can be a variety of things, but you have to start looking at the things that you are saying "Yes" to and make sure that they are in alignment with your purpose and your mission. If it's not, then you have to say "No". Do it with grace. Do it politely, but have "No" be a complete sentence.

 Until tomorrow. Cheers.

30 Days of Boundaries: Day 16 - Rebuild From Square One

369 days.jpg

Let's recap. In 369 days, back in 2009 and 2010, I got a heart attack, I lost my job, my car was repossessed, and my home was foreclosed. As I joke with people, if I would have had a dog at the time, I probably would have lost it too. If there's any country music fans out there that knows somebody that can write music, feel free to write a song about it, because I'm sure it would sell quite well. When you have things like this happen to you, for most people, it's going to be a situation where they may have one or two of these types of losses, but not all of these in such a short period of time. It has the potential to really knock you on your butt and make you not want to get back up.

I have always been one to get back up, and a big part of that is part of my background, the fighting mentality. Not fighting like confrontational, but just to fight to get back on your feet and get back into the ring and be able to do the things that you need to do, because we all have a calling to do something to make a dent in the universe. I have that, and it's with boundaries. It's with teaching people how to find their boundaries so that they can have the life they're supposed to have and not be in constant flux or in constant stress or anxiety about trying to accomplish everything when they're actually accomplishing nothing. After all of those events, I was at square one. I had to start from scratch. Clean slate.

Tabula rasa, as I like to say, which, for some, would be devastating. For me, it was a wonderful opportunity to say, "Okay, let's go ahead and rebuild my life," which I have. You don't rebuild a 40-something-year-old life in a couple weeks. It takes time. It's taken me several years after those 369 days to determine what is important in my life and what isn't. What are the things that I want to do with my career, and what are the things that I don't want to do with my career? These are things that are important because once you figure these things out, your life will go a lot easier. When you start off from square one, you have the opportunity to redesign your life based on the skills and the life that you've lived before.

You can pick and choose the things that work, and I was able to do that. I'm in the same job. Different company, but same job that I was in when I had my cardiac event. I'm in the same field. Most people would say, "You're crazy to go back in the field that almost killed you." It was important to do this because I knew I had a lot to accomplish, and my career, and your career as well, would thrive if you design your days the way that you need to. I've referred to my book 369 Days quite a bit. Go to breakfastleadership.com/30days to get a free digital copy.

I think it's important for people to see how I navigated through all of those losses and how I rebuilt my life. In the coming days, I'll share more specific tools and what you can do to make your life better, both at work and at home, and find that balance that's crucial to you.

Until next time, be well.

30 Days of Boundaries: Day 15 - 4th Domino: House Foreclosure

Photo by Steve Halama on Unsplash

Photo by Steve Halama on Unsplash

After the move to Toronto I was up here for about six weeks. I was renting a room in an apartment complex in the northern part of the city. At nights, I was looking for a place for our family to live. Over a period of six weeks, the family came up to look at various places to rent to figure out where in Toronto would make the most sense. Trying to find a place that was relatively close to my new job was easier said than done.

For anyone that's familiar with the Toronto housing market, it's absolutely insane. In parts of the U.S. where a home would run from $150,000 to let's say $250,000 or $300,000, that same home in Toronto would be anywhere from $750,000 to well over $1,000,000. There are bidding wars to get those houses. It's absolutely insane up here.

From our situation anyway, we had to rent because of course, coming right off of the losses and everything that was going on. We weren't prepared to be able to get another mortgage because we already had a mortgage on the house that we had down in the Windsor area.

After six weeks, we were able to find a place. We loaded up moving trucks, which there's nothing more painful than dealing with moving. I'd rather have root canals done on every one of my teeth than move. It is absolutely painful. I hate it.

Long story short, we moved everything up to our place in the east end of the city of Toronto. After we got everything moved in, we realized that we had forgotten the ladder for our daughter's bunk bed.

I was going back to the Detroit area in a week or so and I was going to stop by the house that we were going to be putting on the market to sell and pick up the ladder because I knew where it was. It was in the basement or somewhere. Maybe in the closet. It was in one of those two places.

Visited my brother in the Detroit area. Then, after that I was heading back to Toronto, but I swung by the house to go pick up the ladder and anything else that we may have missed with the move.

When I approached the house, I pulled up into the driveway and then I opened up the screen door and I saw the largest padlock I have ever seen in my life and a note indicating that our home was in foreclosure. At that moment, I felt the greatest amount of peace I have ever felt in my life. I know that may come as a shock to many because that is an emotional component. You go home and you realize that the bank has taken it away from you.

The reason I felt so much peace was because I knew that was the last domino. I had a heart attack and survived. I lost my job. I found a new one. My family vehicle was repossessed. We still had a vehicle that was paid off that we could keep. Then, finally, the home that we loved and thought that we would be spending several years at was no longer ours. I thought, "I've survived everything to this point. What else can they take away from me?" Short of my life, which I dodged that bullet, there was nothing else for me to lose. There's a certain element of confidence that comes when you are in that place where you've survived so much.

Since then, we have a beautiful place that I live in now. It's convenient. It's close to work. It's close all that Toronto has to offer. Again, it's been a challenging journey these last years after these events. I still learn from it. I think that anyone that goes through any type of loss or, hopefully not to the extreme of the losses that I had in 369 days, that you learn from it and you figure out ways to navigate it.

I was interviewed for The Mindfulness Mode podcast recently. We talked about how I navigated through those 369 days. For me, it's just the spirit of getting back up and doing what I need to do to get past this. It's something that I've had to learn in my adult life because my childhood was freaking awesome. I know many people, unfortunately, have had lousy childhoods. Mine was absolutely amazing. I have zero complaints about it. Got everything I ever wanted. My parents were able to provide. Even though they were struggling, you don't know that as a kid, but financially they had challenges with jobs and everything else under the sun just like most of us, but I have this spirit about me that just says, "I'm going to brush myself off and I'm going to pick myself up". That spirit is within you as well. You may not know it. You may not sense it, but it's there.

Oftentimes, we refer to this as "The Hero's Journey". It's used in movies and books a lot where someone faces adversity and then they come out of it stronger and better than they were before. That's within you. A way to find it is with boundaries, is to really protect yourself, protect how you go about your living, protect the choices you make, learning how to say, "No" and learning how to say, "Yes". It's not something that's learned overnight, but I have learned it and my life is amazing now. Yes, there's challenges in my life. I face them daily, but I know I can get through them because I've gotten through so much before.

Think about the losses that you've had in your life and how you've been able to overcome them because I think we're all in this together and we can learn from each other. Over the next few days, I'll be sharing more and more tips on how to introduce boundaries in your life and how to recover from setbacks or losses.

Until then, be well.


30 Days of Boundaries: Day 14 - 3rd Domino: Car Repo

Photo by Etienne Martin on Unsplash

In my book, 369 Days: How to Survive a Year of Worst Case Scenarios, I basically have four dominoes of things that happened in those 369 days. If you look at the cover, you'll see what they are. What I found probably the most frustrating of the four dominoes, because I was not in town when it happened, was the car situation.

Back story: in 2009 I had a heart attack and then after 17 weeks of recovery, I lost my job. And then I had to relocate to Toronto to find work. So, going back to that time frame, I was in my new role for about six weeks. Then, I received a phone call from one of my daughter, and she was crying quite strongly on the call. Once she was able to compose herself, I was able to get information that our car, family vehicle, had been repossessed by the bank.

When you're unemployed for nearly a year and you're not getting any income for a period of time, it's amazing how quickly things can go sideways. Once I finally had received a paycheck again, I started catching up on some things. Mind you, I didn't have a drug coverage, so my medical expenses for the prescriptions for my heart medication were close to $700 a month. So, I kind of needed that in order to stay alive. Those were the priorities; food and medications to keep me alive. Car payments, obviously, would take a back seat to other things. We had negotiated with the auto loan organization a delay in payments. But, that timing had come to an end and over a period of time, once I got a normal paycheck coming in and finding a new place to live and everything else, we would have been able to start making our car payments again and start catching up.

Unfortunately, we ran out of time. I was in Toronto, family was in Windsor. When the car, our family vehicle, was repossessed, I was four hours away. It was probably one of the most powerless feelings I've ever had as an adult, knowing that I had zero control, that I wasn't there to try to deal with the situation. Thankfully, the tow truck company was kind enough to allow the family to empty the contents of the vehicle before they towed it away. I can't imagine what that visual was like seeing the family vehicle being taken from us. I know that was a traumatic experience for my daughter and I'm sure for the rest of my family as well. It was traumatic for me being so far away and not being able to do anything about it.

As with everything, it was probably the best thing that ever happened because based on income levels and all of that, that was a very expensive car payment. It was a very expensive lesson. The hallmark for you, is I want you to look at what you're spending your money on. This is not a financial course by any stretch, but you need to look at how you spend your money and what your budget looks like. You need to be able to control what you spend. We're all on fixed incomes, so you need to be able to spend accordingly on the things that are important. I'm not saying that you're spending money that you shouldn't be spending. We work because we want to be able to do things and have things, there's nothing wrong with that.

You also have to make sure that you're able to pay your bills and take care of the things that you need to do. Personally, it was an embarrassing period of time. Frustrating for sure, because we were hoping to be getting back on our feet to be able to pay our bills again. Unfortunately, the bank had lost its patience and decided to take the vehicle back. Hopefully, you've never experienced that. If you have, I know how you feel. It was not a pleasant experience. It was, however, one of growth, on where I focus on what's important and what's not. You don't need the brand new shiny car. You need a vehicle that can serve you and the needs that you have.

The next story I'll talk about, is our home. That one is something that is definitely a worst case scenario for many, many people. I hope that you can take and find inspiration in what happened to me and you can make the changes in your life so it never happens to you.

Until tomorrow, be well.

30 Days of Boundaries: Day 13 - Saying Yes to a Previous No

Yesterday I talked about my job search and how it took forever to find something until I finally changed my mind and opened up the opportunities of working in a large city such as Toronto. Background information: I used to work in Chicago for about six years and that is a very busy city. I'd become accustomed to working in the suburbs so I really wasn't down, I guess, for lack of a better term, with working in the concrete jungle again.

However, when you are unemployed and you're recovering from a heart attack and you are in an economic period where there's not a lot of jobs to go around, you can't be picky. I had to loosen up my boundaries, as false as they were, to open up to Toronto. It was the best decision that I ever made because I was almost instantaneously getting job offers and I took a position in the healthcare field, ironic, as that was the field that nearly killed me, but I knew that I wanted to do something differently. I wanted to go back and do something the right way instead of the way that I was doing it before.

I want you to ask yourself this question, What are you saying no to that you should be saying yes to? I was saying no to working in the big city. I was saying no to working in Toronto. Are you saying no to opportunities that would actually be beneficial to you? Figure out why you're saying no and then take a look at and see if you said yes, what would it mean to you and to your family and your career.

Toronto is an interesting city. There is a ton of people here, millions of people. I left a community of 23,000 and went to a community in the GTA that is close to six million the last time I heard, maybe seven. That's a lot of people when you get on the roads and you have a difficult time getting around but, it is an area that has a ton of opportunity. It is an area where I have been able to flourish both personally and from a career standpoint. I've been able to get accolades, sit at government tables that are designing and redesigning how healthcare is delivered in this province. That's not something I take lightly. It's something that I find very fulfilling. I don't take advantage of that opportunity to the point where it gets neglected. I make sure that my contributions are for the greater good and not just for me as an individual because we have to help as many people as we possibly can. Doesn't matter if you're in healthcare or any other field. You wanna be able to make an impact on as many lives as you possibly can. And that starts with you.

Again, in your boundaries exercise I want you to start thinking about things that you're saying no to that you should be saying yes to whether it's exercise, whether it's changing how you eat, whether it's where you work, maybe it's a case of the relationships you have. They are never easy questions but, you have to protect yourself. Your boundaries are the most important boundaries you will ever encounter.

Until tomorrow, think about what you're saying no to that you should be saying yes to.

Be well.

30 Days of Boundaries: Day 12 - The Buffalo Bills of Job Searches

Yesterday, I talked about my job loss back in 2009 and how after 17 weeks of recovering from my heart attack, losing my job during the time of an economic recession is not exactly the best time to be unemployed, so I had to do a job search.

I was in the Windsor, Ontario area, which was a sister city to Detroit, Michigan, which at that particular time was definitely going through some challenges. The auto sector was on its last legs. Houses, and mortgage collapse, and banks, and all of that stuff. It was not the ideal time to be without a job, so I started going on interviews. Now, with my background, accounting, IT, management, healthcare, pretty diverse background, I have a lot of transferable skills.

I was able to use those skills to land a lot of interviews. I probably had 35 to 40 types of interviews and I was looking in the area that I was living as well as closer to London, Ontario. I had a pretty big footprint as far as where I was searching, even as far as the Kitchener Waterloo Region.

For those you that aren't aware of that area, Blackberry was huge in that particular area back in 2009, but they were soon to be running into some challenges, too, that we're all well aware of. How many of you are using a Blackberry device now compared to an Android or an iPhone? iPhones only came out in 2007, so do the math.

I was going on job search, after job search, after job search, and finding interviews, and getting interviews, and getting second interviews, and even third interviews. But one of the problems I was having is I kept coming in second place. The organizations would hire somebody else because they had slightly better experience or there was something else that in particular was a better match for those organizations.

f you recall, back in the 90's the Buffalo Bills went to four straight Super Bowls and lost every one of them. I was feeling like the Buffalo Bills of job interviews, always coming in second. Always a bridesmaid, never a bride.

I kept going on interviews and I was getting a little frustrated, but I was spending nights and weekends in hotels trying to find work. I was looking anywhere between Waterloo, Ontario and Windsor. I was looking in the Detroit area and there was absolutely nothing there, again because of the economic problems. I'm sure many of you have lost your job before, and I know that looking for a new job, especially when you're not prepared for it, is not a fun adventure. I'm curious as to what did you do to keep yourself motivated, as well as what did you do to keep your spirits up?

Because there's a lot of pressure that we put on ourselves when we don't have a job we tend to assign our self value to the job that we have and we need to quit doing that. We are more valuable than what our job title is. Yes, it's how we make money, it's how we earn our living, but too many of us associate ourselves with what we do instead of who we are. That was definitely an issue that I did as well, a personal boundaries violation, as I like to call it.

Have you had job nightmares? How were you able to overcome not having a job, and finally landing a job, especially if you were out of work for any particular part of time? One of the things that I wish I would have done during my job search is expand it a little bit further and by further I mean Toronto. Toronto is an international city, it's one of the largest cities population-wise in the world, and I ignored it during my job search. I didn't want to live in Toronto. I'll talk more about that in the blog. When I finally did look at Toronto things changed, and changed for the better.

Until then, enjoy your day.


30 Days of Boundaries: Day 11 - Second Domino, Job Loss

Getty Images

Getty Images

Have you ever lost a job? Fun, isn't it? It's never an entertaining situation. You may find yourself in a role that, quite frankly, wasn't a match for you and it was probably the best thing to ever happen. At the end of the day, if it's not the right job for you, you want to get out of it. 

Yesterday, I shared about my heart attack. To kind of continue the story, I had 17 weeks to recover after the cardiac event. Then, when I went back to work, I was promptly let go. Now, mind you, there were some circumstances and some things that I did while I was employed there that my employer didn't particularly care for. Was it worth of losing my job? I'm not the right person to ask that question. However, I realized that the job was no longer mine to have.

I want you to put yourself in the mindset of where I was. Seventeen weeks prior, had a heart attack, nearly lost my life. Then, just as I'm starting to get back to normal, I find out that I don't have a job. This was in 2009. If you recall, that was right during the time of the economic recession of the United States and Canada. When General Motors and Chrysler were bailed out by the government in order to survive. There were many, many, jobs being lost, and mortgage challenges, and homes were being foreclosed left, right, and center. It wasn't exactly the best time to be unemployed. Being in the Windsor, Ontario, area, which is a sister city to Detroit, you can imagine the number of jobs that were available were not bountiful by any stretch.

When you lose your job, you have the opportunity. I know this is going to sound weird, but work with me here. You have this opportunity to reflect on what worked well and what didn't. I definitely had a lot of time to do that because my job search lasted a long time. I picked up a lot of ideas and options of what I wanted to do differently because whenever you have a change in your life, such as a job loss, you have this opportunity, and you should take it, to really look and see what did you do well? What didn't you do well? What do you need to work on in order to learn from this experience? Because I had skin the game, and I lost that job. I was to blame for that. I was responsible for that.

Whenever something like this happens, yes, it's natural to be upset or potentially excited, because you hated that job and you got out of it. It was the best thing that ever happened to me to lose that role, because it was a big component to my heart attack. The way I was going about the job, being so driven and not taking care of myself, I didn't establish any boundaries when I was working there. I was checking emails from 6:00 a.m. till 11:00 p.m. every day, including weekends, because I was getting emails at 6:00 a.m. in the morning and 11:00 p.m. at night.

When you are working and you're in your job, you need to take a long hard look as to how you're doing your job and what you're doing at your job. Do you leave your job at home or is your job your shadow? Is it constantly following you?

If you work from home, obviously, it could be a problem because you're home and your job is the same place, but you have to establish boundaries around your job and your work ethic. To the point, I actually worked remotely for a few months in that job that I was let go at and to the point of making sure that I tried to establish boundaries. I wish I would've stuck with them because I didn't last long.

I would literally leave for work, I would go out the back door of my house, and then I'd open up the front door of my house and start working. Then, when I finished my work day, I would do the reverse. I did that for about three or four days, and I thought, "This is corny. I'm not going to do it anymore." I probably should've kept doing that, because it provides a clear beginning and end to your work day. For entrepreneurs, and people that work from home, and even people that actually go to the office, when you go to the office and you get in that door, start working. When you leave, leave. We're not robots. We're not machines. I wish somebody would've told me this years ago. Would've made a gigantic difference. 

If you are like me and you've lost a job before, your homework is to write down in the emotions that you felt. They could've been happy, sad, maybe you're still dealing with a job loss and you're trying to work your way through some of those things. Are you taking the time to learn and reflect from the things that went well? If there's some areas that you want to change, we can take a look at that too.

Tomorrow, I'm going to talk about the job search world. Obviously, after you lose your job, unless you're able to not work because you have boatloads of money, you have to find another job to provide income. I had an interesting job search. I will talk about it a little bit more tomorrow. The spoiler is I'm calling it the Buffalo Bills of job search. I'll explain more on that tomorrow.

Until then, cheers.


How to slow down


Running like a hamster on a wheel is not good for you, long term.  Here's some ideas on how to slow down.

5 simple ways to reduce your stress level this year.

$300 Billion.  That's what stress costs the US every year.

One way to battle stress and burnout is to find inner peace.  Here's how!


Do you want a better start to your day? I have a free e-book on six easy steps to a better day, that I personally follow after I experienced a significant health scare. If you would like this free e-book, please click the link below.


30 Days of Boundaries: Day 10 - First Domino, Heart Attack

Photo by Daan Stevens on Unsplash

Photo by Daan Stevens on Unsplash

In May of 2009 I had a heart attack. One of the biggest reasons why I live and breathe and talk about boundaries is, I did not have the boundaries that I needed in my life back prior to my cardiac event, as I refer to it from time to time.

I was in the middle of a start-up organization, building it from scratch, I was employee number one. I was hired in August of 2007. I would say that it turned out to be pretty well, it was successful. It definitely was an organization that's serving the community well. It provided employment for several people made lives better for the people that use that facility day after day.

It was a start-up organization and the challenge was, I felt like I had to do everything. While there was support staff there that could help me with some things, I took it upon myself to do it because, well, I felt like I was Superman. Even though I like Batman, I was definitely acting like a Superman. I was basically playing with kryptonite and eventually that kryptonite hit me.

I have two stints in my left anterior descending artery. If you Google anything about that particular artery, it's often commonly referred to as the 'Widow Maker' because when people have blockages in that artery, the likelihood of survival is slim. Well, I'm still here. So, I don't take that for granted. I get a daily reminder of my heart attack when I have to take medications every day. I'm thankful that I have prescription drug coverage to cover the cost of the pills because they're not cheap.

Because I didn't have boundaries in my life, because I didn't take care of myself, because I was burning the candle at three ends, I now have to take certain types of medications for the rest of my life. It's gets pricey. It's not cheap. When you're thinking about things, and you're taking care of yourself, and you're not protecting yourself and establishing the right boundaries in your life, there's going to be a cost, or several.

Talk a little bit about the procedures that were done after I had my heart attack. Because of the challenges of the healthcare system in Ontario, Canada, I was in the hospital for almost a week. Now, if I was in the United States I probably would have been in and out of the hospital a little bit faster, but then I would have had a nice little thing in my mailbox a few weeks later called a bill. Where, I did not get any type of bill, I didn't pay anything out of pocket. Now mind you, we have this thing called PST and GST, which is sales taxes, and we basically pay 13 cents on the dollar for a majority of products and services that we purchase. So we're paying for it, anybody that says healthcare is free in Canada has no concept of what free is.

The benefit of going through what I did would be that it was probably the best thing that ever happened to me because I would have not survived if that didn't happen to me when it did, the way that it happened. I would have been continuing down the path of what I was doing and my hunch is I would have had another heart attack. It would have been much more severe and I wouldn't be here with you today.

When you are laying in a hospital bed and you are vice gripped to the bed so that you keep the bleeding under control for a period of seven hours, you realize that you have to make some changes in your life.

Are there changes you need to make in your life? A

re you virtually fastened down to something that's really creating problems in your life?

Think about that. It's important that you really focus on taking care of yourself. Not just from a diet and exercise standpoint, but also from a point of living your life the way that you were designed to live it. Finding that sweet spot, finding what you're good at, finding what you want to do, and ultimately what you don't want to do.

When you have a heart attack you get to carry this badge of a cardiac patient. I have a chronic disease. I don't tend to walk around with that, saying it, but it is a reality. It is something that I will be dealing with for my remaining days. I don't let it get in my way, but I do let it motivate me to say I don't ever want to have that happen again. I see too many people living lives where they are approaching their own potential heart attacks or strokes or challenges that their facing and they're not really doing anything to address it.

It's crucial for you have boundaries in your life. If I would have had boundaries I would have avoided having this cardiac event. I would have avoid the astronomical cost of what transpired after that heart attack, which I'll start sharing tomorrow, and I wouldn't have to deal with the side effects of taking heart medications and all kinds of other things that end up really impacting on your life and the things that you want to do.

Your homework for today is this, take a long, hard look at how you're living. Take a hard, long look on the types of foods you're eating, the activities you're doing. How active have you been today? The things that are on your mind. Are you resting? Are you sleeping well?

All those were a huge contribution to my cardiac event and it could have been prevented. I know that. A majority of heart attacks are preventable. So tomorrow, we'll talk about the second domino of my 369 days and it caused dominoes three and four to really be impactful.

Until then, enjoy the rest of your day


30 Days of Boundaries: Day 9 - 369 Days Intro

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

You woke up this morning and you were already contemplating how you were gonna get through your work day. Wondering if you were able to get the things done that you needed to get done. As well as the ability to relax and rest.

If it's a Friday then you're looking at the weekend but those two days are not long enough to recover from the pain that you're feeling from being overworked, underpaid probably, as well as the challenges that you're facing just in living your life. Life is no longer fun. You're trying to do too much. You're not resting, you're not taking care of yourself. You are not living the life that you were designed to live. If any of what I just said has resonated with you, I know how that feels. That describes how my life was prior to May 2009.

Over the next few days I'm going to share about what I refer to as 369 days. It was a year and four days of my life that dramatically changed everything. Later on you'll realize why I say it changed everything for the better. I'll be getting into some really personal and deep things that happened to me. The reason why I'm sharing it is not for pity. I don't want you to feel sorry for myself. That is not the intent. The intent is for you to possibly connect with some of the pain points that I was dealing with. To see if there's any similarities and I trust that there will be. In those situations, this is where we can work together and really figure out how to help you avoid your year of worst case scenarios and get you back on the path of the life that you want and are designed to live.

Over the next day, start thinking about the things that you're struggling with in your work life. Write them down on a post-it note, use Notepad, Evernote, whatever works for you. We're gonna work off of that list. 

We'll work through some of the techniques on how to address those things and get you to the point where you're able to again, design the life that you are supposed to live. We're not supposed to work all our lives in a life of misery and pain and worry and anxiety and depression. That's not what we're here for. We're here to make a contribution, do the best that we could do and do the things that only we could do. Because if everyone is working on the things that only they can do, what a wonderful world it will be.

Be well.

30 Days of Boundaries: Day 8 - How to Recognize Burnout and Stress

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

Burnout and stress. It's impacting so many of us. It really made a dramatic impact on my life a few years ago and starting tomorrow, I'll start to fill you in on my back story as to why I do what I do and the reasons that caused 369 days of worst case scenarios.

But today I want to talk about burnout and stress. Specifically the warning signs so you can recognize that you are approaching burnout or, worst case scenario, you are burned out.

The first warning sign of burnout, you are in a work environment and you are burning the candle at three ends, you are going all out. You are giving your all, you're spending nights and weekends on work, you're constantly thinking about your work. You're accomplishing a little bit and you're getting some success. But you are so driven to be successful in what you're doing that you are ignoring everything else around you.

Now, this is noble, especially if you're in a startup and it's almost, I don't want to say a necessary evil, but it's definitely something you have to focus on when you're in a startup. But over time it's going to catch up and it's really going to create some huge problems for you both physically and mentally.

The second warning sign of burnout, is a lack of wanting to do anything. If you're in a situation where you're working really hard and you're doing a lot of things and there's a lot of things going on at work or at home and it's keeping you occupied, that's one thing.

Sometimes though, when you're in this mode for too long, when you actually do have time to be able to do some other things like, go to sporting event, or a concert or out to dinner with friends and you don't feel up to it. That is definitely a warning sign if it's happening more than once.

If you're feeling a little under the weather, you're tired, that's one thing. But if it's time after time after time, then you're going to have some issues and it's definitely a warning sign that you are definitely under a lot of stress, or burning out.

The third warning sign is similar to the second one, but it's worse. You have given up on life. You are going to work, you're doing things, but you are irritable, angry, bitter, frustrated with everything and you are not a nice person to be around. All three of those things happened to me. I was not a nice person to be around or to be dealing with even to the point where the organization that I was working with gave me a week off to rest.

I'll talk about that in a few days on what that was like and how it didn't really help me, because, quite frankly, when you are in a burnout or high stress situation, you forget how to relax.

I'm going to share about 369 days in tomorrow's blog. I'm going to give you the introduction and over the next few days, I'm going to paint the story of what transpired in my life and how, quite frankly, it was the best thing that ever happened to me.

Have a great day, be well.


30 Days of Boundaries: Day 7 - The GREAT Purge


This television show that was on a few years ago called, Merlin, talked about the Great Purge. I always try to say it with an English accent 'cause I think it's cool in my messed up American Canadian accent. It tends to be a little wonky, so it's always good to toss in some English accent when I can.

A great purge, for me, was all the belongings that I had over the years. They were just collecting and taking up space in the basement, in the garage, or anywhere we could find space. These items weren't serving. They were actually creating a clutter-type situation, which was impacting me from a stress situation and a health situation.

There's been countless studies on how clutter impacts your health and in the next few days I'll start talking about the health challenges that I faced eight years ago and how it traumatically changed my life. Quite frankly, for the better.

The great purge is something that I think everyone needs to do from time to time. Literally go through all of your things and say, "Is this serving me?" And if it's not, then donate it. Or if it's not something that can be reused, then recycle it. Or if it has to go in the trash, so be it. That goes from clothes to belongings and collectibles, trinkets, DVD collections, CD collections, all of these things. If they're not serving you, you're not going to use it, don't want somebody else to benefit by having it, then donate it or toss it out.

There's a rule that I follow called the 20-minute or 20-dollar rule. If you can replace it in under 20 minutes or under $20 and you're not using it currently, donate it. Get rid of it. If you're not using it, it's taking up space. The more space you have in your life, it gives you the flexibility of freedom to be able to do things you wanna do or be working on right now.

Tabula rasa. is Latin for clean slate. Oftentimes, that's what you need to do. You want to get to a clean slate and really start from scratch on something. I think it's something that you will find helpful in this year and in your life.

Your homework is look at an area of your life. Not your entire life. Don't try to do everything at once. But look at an area of your life, whether it's your closet, maybe a room, or your desk at work, and just clear it off. Then put back the things that you really need on a daily basis. It might be a case where it takes a few days for you to start grabbing things to put back on your desk, or in your closet, or your room. After a period of time, you can donate the rest of that stuff because you're not using it. It's just taking up space.

Another area where you need to look at this, and this is something that I've had to do personally this week. A great purge also covers attitude, and thoughts, and beliefs, and indicates, for me, a couple of situations where there were things going on in my life that is creating a kind of an anger take with it. I've cleaned it. I recognized it. Now I'm addressing it. I'm dealing with it.

The homework for you is look in an area in your life. Just one and create a clean state and slowly put things back that are truly serving you. Either donate or get rid of the rest.