Friday, May 13, 2011


Perspective is a wonderful thing. And it is one of the primary contributions a coach offers to a client - the benefit of another perspective, often a more empowering one.

Wednesday morning I met with MY coach, Karen Graham, to discuss what I had (and had not) done over the past couple of weeks. It has been a very busy and rewarding stretch, but I was also acutely aware that I had not followed through on several actions to which I had clearly committed in our last meeting. As I started to catalog all the things that had steered me "off track", I could hear the frustration building in my own voice. Karen let me ramble on, allowing me just enough line to get myself good and tangled up. Once I finally ran out of steam, she smiled and asked me why I was being so hard on myself.

I explained that I did not feel focused or disciplined or efficient, and that I felt like I was letting too many things get in the way of what I "should" be doing. I seem to start every morning with a list of things to get done, and invariably find myself scrambling through it at the end of the day - sidetracked by all the things that come up along the way.

Karen asked what I was not getting done. "Well", I replied, "It all gets done eventually, but I haven't blogged in over a week, my home could use a good cleaning, and I really need to get on the phone and generate some new business."

Then she asked me what I have been doing that has kept me so busy.

"Ok, on the weekend I drove to Vermont, ran an ultramarathon and did a Death Race training camp, sleeping two nights in my truck and spending a glorious Sunday morning in Burlington, VT. I got back Sunday evening and met with real estate clients to help them prepare an offer for their dream home. Monday, I started the day at the gym, training a fitness client, before driving 2 hours to Toronto, where I stepped in to help a friend successfully negotiate the end of a nasty three year divorce, before heading back to Orillia in time to present the house offer and then hit the office for a few hours of client follow up calls. Tuesday started with the gym, of course, then my real estate office for a few hours. Next I raced up to the high school in time to see Jack win his 100m heat in his elementary school's track meet (hoooora!!). Then a trip to the mall to replace my deceased BlackBerry with a new HTC Incredible. Back to the school to see Jack NOT win his 800m race, but put in a gutsy showing - finishing strong despite an awful side cramp. Then a late lunch with a friend for whom I have just negotiated a lease for the perfect office space within which to grow his business. A few hours at my hypnosis clinic, studying, then two real estate appointments and home to make some incredible veggie bean burgers for a late dinner and a movie with a great friend. That brings us to today - Wednesday - I slept in, taking a gym rest day, and am now here for my coaching session."

"What is your blog called?" she asked.

"Um, it's Living Myself To Death."

"Exactly!" she replied. "That is exactly what you are doing! It's not "Blogging Myself to Death" or "Working Myself to Death" or "Cleaning Myself to Death" is it?"

"No, it's not."

"It sounds to me, Johnny, like you are very much practicing what you preach. You are absolutely living yourself to death. Granted, it must be exhausting and sounds like a pretty wild ride, but would you honestly have it any other way?"

"No, I guess I wouldn't"

"And most importantly," she continued, "look at the people you are helping all the way along. And spending time with your kids. And paying the bills. And taking on a challenge like the Death Race that inspires so many more people. Doesn't that beat the hell out of putting ticks on your daily checklist? And to top it all off, you still have the self-awareness to recognize the importance of stepping back and assessing what's working and what's not. Sounds like we can do some fine-tuning but you sure shouldn't change much."

Suddenly I actually felt pretty great about myself again! She is right. That IS exactly who I am. And I honestly could NOT imagine being any other way.

So, I gave myself a bit more credit the rest of the week...

Wednesday, I enjoyed a sunny morning showing prospective investors through a lakeside resort/cottage compound. Tied up some real estate loose ends through the afternoon. Spent a hugely rewarding 90 minutes with a coaching client, helping her come to some very important realizations about what she wants to do next with her life. Then a chiropractic appointment to work on my beat up body (especially my feet right now) and then dinner out with Katy and Jack (lots and lots of laughs!!) before bringing them home and rewatching Kickass together (such a great movie, though some may justifiably question its appropriateness).

Thursday. Kids to school with top-notch lunches (by a dad standard anyway) and helped Katy make French Toast for her French class. Got offer accepted. Productive afternoon at the office. Picked Katy up from school, as she'd injured her knee at soccer, and dropped her to her Mum's house, where I got to see Jack's beloved new paintball gun. Back to the office for a bit, then home to enjoy my own homemade chili, garlic bread, salad and a beer. Started writing a presentation I am giving Sunday, and stayed up much later than intended (posting some fantastic bits and pieces to Facebook as I worked).

Today was equally busy, but I will spare you the play by play. It ended, though, with my picking up the kids and friends, making everyone a big fettuccine dinner, and setting them up with a movie while I wrapped up my speech and then wrote this blog.

In the morning, I am driving Katy and 2 of her teammates to Milton for a 2 day Ontario Development Team wrestling camp and then bringing Jack and his buddy Jackson to The Monkey Vault parkour gym for the day. Then heading to Cambridge for a relaxing night in a great hotel before presenting to three groups of baseball umpires Sunday morning - 50 minutes each - on the topic "Stepping Up to A Bigger Game", based upon my work in hypnosis and coaching, and designed to help them make the leap to the next level of umpiring.

So, when someone asks me what I do for a living, I usually just tell them I am a bon vivant (a title bestowed on me personally by one of Canada's all-time greatest writer/musician/artists, Paul Quarrington, R.I.P.).

All of those other things are my "side gigs" ;)

Thanks for the perspective KG!

PS ... Five great reads of very recent posts from my friends :)



  1. It's amazing how we can be doing exactly what it is we set out to do but since we're too close to "it," and too emotionally connected to "it" we don't even realize how amazing of a job we're doing. One thing that stands out to me, in addition to all the great things you are doing to actually live your life, is the involvement and dedication you have with/to your children. I know it seems like a given that they would be a priority, but in today's world, with the hustle and bustle, kids get pushed to the back burner all too often. Have a great weekend and thanks for the great read!

  2. Really enjoyed the post today - sounds like you've got a very full plate. It is SO easy to spend life wishing you could do more - hoping to check off the stuff on the to-do list... the funny thing is, when you get older and reflect on what you've done in your life, you won't ever remember a thing you had on the to-do list but will remember all of the cool stuff that took up your time instead. :) Thanks for the great post and keep on keeping on!