How Can I Help You?

My mission is to create a community of emotionally connected leaders and inspire men to feel more, be more, and do more.

I don’t know about you, but I get immense fulfillment from helping others achieve their dreams. I think we all like to help others get ahead. Have you ever noticed that most people are willing to help you once you have articulated your dreams and your vision? I see this a lot. But even though I am good at sharing and describing my passion, I often stumble over the question, “How can I support you, Mike?” 

Do you relate? Have you found yourself unable to respond when someone responds to something you shared with, “That sounds amazing! How can I support you?” For me, it feels embarrassing not to have an answer to such a generous question. I feel like I let down the person offering help. It’s like I have boasted about having yummy cookies, but when they ask to have one, I close the box and say, “No!” 

That is not the kind of man I want to be. 

When I don’t have an answer to a query from someone offering help it’s like I’ve bared my soul, shared my passion and inspiration, drawn in the listener, and then yanked the rug out from under them because I could not answer a simple question.

I have given this conundrum a lot of thought and come up with an answer to questions regarding how to support my mission of creating a community of emotionally connected leaders and inspiring men to feel more, be more, and do more.

If my mission excites you as much as it does me, I can offer a clear path for you to support it. I can also offer ideas for crafting a purpose statement of your own to share with others, enabling them to help you pursue your purpose and achieve your goals. 

Times of Transition

Exiting the business I spent sixteen years building was bittersweet.  Although I was excited about starting on a new path and proud of my accomplishments, the sale marked a big transition. My business began as a one-person show in my basement office and blossomed with the help of my business partner into one of the preeminent mortgage brokerages in the country. I was proud of what we had built, but something was missing. What used to fill my soul no longer hit the mark as it once had. 

Circumstances changed, “life happened,” tragedy struck, and my passion and priorities shifted. After the murder of Karissa, my drive to make an impact in the mortgage industry morphed into a commitment to make an impact on the world. I had achieved “success,” but it was time to find “significance.” 

In November 2019, I published my first book, Becoming a Better Man: When Something’s Gotta Change, Maybe It’s You! In December 2019, I sold the business, intent on hitting the road on the speaking circuit for 2020.

First, though, I took a little time off early in 2020. I traveled to New Zealand to run a 100-mile ultramarathon for my 52nd birthday. In March, I returned to Canada refreshed, rejuvenated, and ready to #MakeBeautifulShitHappen. 

You know what happened next. My last live engagement was March 6, 2020; then COVID shut down the world. The Covid shutdown made for a challenging time as I transitioned to a new reality. At the same time, it created some possibilities I might otherwise not have considered. As a result, I spent the next two years refining my mission and ensuring it was clear, concise, and actionable. 

To create a community of emotionally connected leaders and inspire men to feel more, be more and do more.

Armed with a clear vision, my next challenge was to align my business pursuits with both my vision and values. I made my speaking business virtual thus saving time that would have been spent traveling. I also continued to expand my executive coaching practice with an eye toward  developing emotionally connected leaders, one by one. 

Since March of 2020, I have been invited to participate in, develop, and execute various educational events. In addition, supporting some of my business clients in their technology requirements showed me a gap in the digital media space, which led to my investing in a digital media company with my adult son. 

Writing has always been something I enjoyed. Covid-related travel restrictions freed time for me to partner with my editor and offer a sixteen-week writing workshop. This partnership was incredibly satisfying and successful. In early 2022, I invested in Cup and Quill Editing and Publication services, becoming a full partner, and helping execute some aggressive expansion plans. 

As a guy who likes to be intentional about what I do, I knew the reactive nature of the last twenty-four months was reason to pause and reflect. Mindful that focus is sometimes challenging for me,  I took time to ensure my mission was still clear and my various businesses were serving the objectives tied to my mission.  

With the help of my coach, I clearly and succinctly defined the overall mission. 

To create a community of emotionally connected leaders and inspire men to feel more, be more, and do more.

Then, I reviewed my various activities, making sure none were mere distractions and all served the primary purpose. The result was a graphical representation of the mission, the businesses, and summaries of how the latter supported the former.

I had it printed as a poster that I framed, and hung in my office; I stare at it daily. The process leading up to my creating that poster helped me craft straightforward responses to people who ask how to support my work. All revenue generated by these income streams serve and expand the reach of my work. 

So, if you love my mission and are looking for ways to support it, consider whether you have needs that my businesses can help you meet. I take great pride in the quality of our team’s services.

What about you? When someone says, “I love what you are doing. How can I support you?” How do you answer that question?

What Gets Measured Gets Managed

Audio Blog

Peter Drucker is one of the most often quoted business management guru’s. He has been referred to as “The founder of modern management.” I have learned to appreciate his wisdom over the years and often look to his work in order to help me “Get things done”. 

This week I want to unpack the following quote that often gets attributed to him.  

“What gets measured, gets managed”.

Peter Drucker

As someone who is not much for budgets or plans and who often will “wing it” more than I “plan it” I want to tell you how I have found this phrase to be useful in my business. 

If you have followed my work you know that I am absolutely not a fan of goal setting in the traditional manner. In fact I think that much of the challenges we have as a society stems from putting the wrong things on the scorecard. With this in mind I will add the caution that needs to come with the “What gets measured gets managed” statement. 

Before we start with any program of improvement we need to make sure we are measuring the right things!! 

Trust me that I know full well that many of the important things in life are incredibly difficult to quantify. However, when you marry “What gets measured gets managed” with Eckert Tolle’s “With awareness comes choice” you get a powerful combination. 

I have long maintained that in order to achieve success you need to be more committed to the process than you are interested in the outcome. This means that when I set my measures I set them based on how well me and my team have committed to, and executed on, the process rather than how well we have achieved our desired outcome. 

I certainly need to make sure I am paying attention to the outcomes in order to be able to tweak the process if needed; however, my primary focus is on tracking how well me and my team adhere to the process. Outcomes are not always under our control, our process almost always is. 

In my 25+ years of business, more often than not, any failure to meet outcomes came as a result of a lack of adherence to the process rather than a flaw in the process itself. Understanding that this is the case, it became clear that I need to spend more time measuring the process rather than the outcomes. 

In order to ensure that I am measuring the right things I always make sure that all of these measures are weighed against the organizational (or individual) purpose. I also make certain that they are always aligned with the core values. 

One of my biggest challenges is a struggle with focus. Another quote I am quite fond of is one from Steven Covey. Covey says: 

“The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.”

Stephen Covey

With this in mind I have created a weekly scorecard that I use for myself as well as share with my clients in order to ensure that what matters gets measured and that I have a clear direction at any point in time to understand what truly matters. Below is a breakdown of what I put on my weekly scorecard. This is always an evolution and I would encourage you to find your own measures. You can use this template I created as a starting point. Simply fill in the form at the bottom of this page and I will send you a copy.

Here is a brief summary of what I put on my scorecard. It may be useful to follow along with the template. 

Date/Period: Understanding that the measures on these scorecards are point in time measures and they do not become part of my personal or organizational identity.

Purpose: What is my/our bigger purpose as an individual or as an organization?

Why do we exist as an organization?

Having this front and center on every scorecard is paramount. When we stay true to our purpose it makes it that much more likely that we continue to measure the right things.

Values: Our values give us the foundational “how” we achieve our purpose. They provide us with our north star, our guiding light. They are the measuring stick against which all of our processes are held up against.

The Main Thing: For me this is a weekly objective. Often the current ‘main thing’ is one of many various projects that need to be accomplished. When I clearly identify what the “Main Thing” is then it actually gets done. As a guy that struggles with focus and in fact thrives on variety it can be challenging to finish projects. I am an excellent starter! Can you relate? I am great at getting things 90% complete, however it is that final 10% that I really need this section for.

Process Score: This is where I will list the actions or activities that need to be done on a regular basis to ensure success. While the specifics of the tasks may vary from week to week I generally know the type of thing that needs to get done. 

Humanity Score: These are the things that all of us as human beings need to thrive. These can be as simple as a happiness score from 1-10. Asking the question “Was I happy today?” can be incredibly powerful. If I look back at my scorecard and see that I am consistently answering this question with a ‘2’ then it is clear I need to make some adjustments.

What am I grateful for today? This is another question that I have on my scorecard as it allows my mind to search for the things that I am truly grateful for. Gratitude is the antidote to anxiety, worry, envy and fear. What good is a “high score” on the scorecard with no peace in our life or business. 


Meaningful Connections: Here I spend a little time and recap any and all meaningful connections. Whether personal or business. This allows me to catch any action items I may have committed to out of those connections and ensure that I schedule appropriate follow up actions if I have not already done so. 

Start/Stop/Continue: The last thing I keep on my scorecard is the good ole start/stop/continue exercise. Simply having a placeholder for this on the weekly scorecard ensures that I am always taking a look at what is working as well as what may need improving.  


I remember when I worked for one of the big banks and every year we would host our TEL/TOL (Team Effectiveness Lab/Team Organizational Lab) events. It struck me that in the 6 years that I worked there the same issues were raised every single year. This clearly demonstrated that there was a disconnect between what employees were saying and what management was actually doing. We left these events with scorecards in hand, feedback given, yet somehow there was still a gap. 

Today I keep these scorecards simple and actionable on an individual level. If we want performance at the organizational level it ultimately comes down to how well each of the individual team members execute on their objectives. If you are a solopreneur these scorecards can help ensure that you focus on the main thing while you continue to execute all of the little pieces you need to daily.   

Get the template here

Scorecard Request

Everything is Sales: Simple sales tools for everybody, everywhere

Most people think sales is icky

The truth is that sales is a part of everything we do.

I love selling. I think it is one of the most underrated skills on the planet. Everything is sales and today I am going to tell you why you need to be a better salesperson. I’m also going to tell you how you can do that.

WAIT!! Don’t go! I can imagine what you are thinking right now. “Um, hell no Mike. I hate sales. I never want to be THAT person. I’m outta here!” 

Let me tell you why you should change that mindset and give you some sales tools you can actually use. I recognize that most people think of “selling” as a bad thing. There is this visceral feeling that sales is all about manipulating someone into buying something they don’t need. Take a pause. Take a breath. Let that feeling settle.

The truth is that all of us sell. All the time. In all facets of life. We can’t avoid it. Sales is all around us and it is part of our life. Let’s look at a few examples that we don’t immediately think of as sales. 

Non-profit Organizations

Do you do volunteer work? Do you donate to charities?

At some point you had to be “sold” on those organizations worthiness of your time and or money. 

I do a lot of volunteer work in the nonprofit sector. It is one of the ways that I give back and find some meaning in my life. I serve on committees and boards, I discount some of my professional services in order to make a contribution to the fabric of our society.  

I come from a 25 year background in sales and business. I often see things differently than those who have spent their life in the non-profit sector. I often hear “We’re non-profit. We don’t sell anything.” Wrong!

I’m here to challenge that way of thinking. 

You see as a non-profit with a cause you are 100% in the business of sales whether you want to acknowledge it or not. Whether we are talking about fundraising, grant requests or something a little less obvious like having the clientele you serve buy into your message or service. You are constantly selling people on getting behind your cause. We are all vying for the same limited resources. There are private, for profit corporations that spend billions of dollars to gain the time, attention and dollars of the same consumers you serve. 

Isn’t the “product” you “sell” more valuable than a Coca-Cola? Then you better gain at least some skill in selling what it is you do. 


If you are a parent you know this. As a parent you are selling all the time. 

You are ‘selling’ your kids on the idea of doing their homework. 

You are selling them on the idea of cleaning up their rooms. 

As a parent I definitely had things I enjoyed doing with my kids more than others. I also had the things I really disliked doing with my kids. 

Anyone remember Caillou?? If you know, you know. 

If you have ever had to sit and watch that TV show you know exactly what I am talking about. I became very adept at the art of selling my kids on the idea of an alternate TV shows.

My kids are now 18 and 20. Both graduated from high school and both unsure about what path to take. Clearly I have a little bit of experience figuring out which path to take. My challenge today is to “sell” my kids on listening to the wisdom of that experience as they debate career paths and schooling choices. This may be the most difficult thing I have ever had to “sell” and I certainly do not have the magic formula for “closing” this “sale”. 


In your intimate partner relationship there is always a modicum of sales. Again understanding that sales isn’t about persuading someone to do something they don’t want but rather it is about helping people with their buying decision. When you and your partner are making decisions on vacation destinations, options for your kids, or even where to go on date night you are actively engaged in the sales process.  

The truth is that I make an effort to ‘sell’ my partner on the ‘value’ of being with me every day. You may feel that I shouldn’t have to ‘sell’ my partner on being with me. You are right. I shouldn’t HAVE to, however how much better is my relationship because I choose to make that effort?

How strong would your relationship be if you sought to actively demonstrate your value every single day?

Engaging Men and Boys in Violence Prevention

If you have followed me for awhile you know that I am an advocate for the prevention of violence against women. For those who I work with in the violence prevention space the question often arises “Why should we have to ‘sell’ what we do? Doesn’t it just make sense? Doesn’t everyone want a world with less violence?” 

Obviously the answer is an emphatic “Hell Yeah” The reality is that for those who are not living with the direct impacts of domestic violence the message is pretty easy to tune out.

We live in a noisy world. If we want our message to be heard we have to constantly demonstrate the value of listening to what we have to say.

My Sales Pitch 

When Colleen was murdered, I started looking hard at how I could best make an impact in the world. How I might somehow make a dent in the problem of violence against women. I reflected on her experience with the justice system and where things could have been done differently to prevent such a tragic outcome. There were certainly a lot of areas where how the ‘system’ handled her case could be improved. 

However, it became clear to me that the best way to prevent violence against women was not by improving the justice system. It wasn’t about building a better restraining order. These were simply symptoms to a bigger problem. The real question for me became 

“How do we prevent men from getting to this point in the first place?”

I know that if you asked men about violence against women the vast majority of them would tell you that it is not OK. Ever. Period. End of story. However we know the reality is that violence still happens and that the majority of violence in any domain is perpetrated by men. So how do we engage men in the conversation when most of them are not directly part of the problem or at least do not believe that they are part of the problem?

For me the answer is pretty obvious. The solution ties back to a field that I have studied for 25 years in the context of sales and leadership. For decades I have studied the impact emotion has on human behavior. 

When violence occurs It is not often an overt desire to be violent.  More often than not it is a burst of unmanaged emotion that drives an undesirable behavior. I talk about the science behind this a lot in my Keynotes as well as my TEDx talk

We make decisions based on emotion, if we do not understand the underlying emotion that drives the decisions we make then we have little hope of living a purposeful life. 

I come back to the statement that emotionally connected men do not abuse their partners. 

Emotionally connected men do not kill people. 

  • Emotionally connected men do not kill themselves. 
  • Emotionally connected men make better fathers. 
  • Emotionally connected men make better leaders.
  • Emotionally connected men live richer lives and do less harm.

The man that killed Colleen was a man that made a decision with very permanent consequences based on a very temporary emotion.

Teaching men to become more self aware when it comes to emotions is not necessarily a compelling sales pitch to someone who does not believe that he currently does not, nor will ever  be in an abusive relationship. 

A more identifiable problem however is the truth that men everywhere are hurting. Suicide rates, depression, anxiety are at all time highs. Men are seeking solutions to these challenges and I can assure you that there is overlap in the solution. 

So the sales pitch, if you will, is for men to become more emotionally connected for their own benefit. For them to become more emotionally vulnerable and to take stock of their feelings and how those feelings impact how they show up in the world. 

If you were to ask men if they would like a “product” that will alleviate violence against women most will shrug their shoulders and say “meh, maybe. As long as it doesn’t cost too much”.

However if you ask those same men if they would like a “product” that will fill that gaping hole in their soul, a ‘product’ that will lift the crushing weight of the world off their shoulders, I can assure you that the answer will be a resounding “Hell yes!”

For me it becomes very clear that preventing violence against women is only part of the sales pitch. The more compelling sales pitch for most men is about helping them deal with their own shit. Many men are feeling lost, alone, stuck and unsure how to navigate the world. Many men would be loath to admit that for fear of repercussions from the rest of our kind. 

Bell Hooks, an american feminst author says it well. 

“The first act of violence that patriarchy demands of males is not violence toward women. Instead patriarchy demands of all males that they engage in acts of psychic self-mutilation, that they kill off the emotional parts of themselves. If an individual is not successful in emotionally crippling himself, he can count on patriarchal men to enact rituals of power that will assault his self-esteem.”

Bell Hooks

You see if we can help men to deal with their own shit, teach them to heal their past traumas, insecurities and get comfortable with who they are, then much of the violence in this world goes away. Period. End of story. 

Sales Tools to take with you

The bottom line is that I am here to sell you on the fact that everything in life is sales. That whatever you want to achieve or whoever you want to be in this world likely relies on your ability to convince (aka sell) another human being on a thought, an idea, a service or a product. 

So rather than resist “selling” because you are “not that person”, perhaps it is in your (and the world’s) best interest for you to start to learn to be more effective in the art of persuasion regardless of your formal role or title. 

There are thousands of books written on how to be a better salesperson. Hopefully I have convinced you that sales is a skill you need to have in your arsenal. Today let me leave you with a few of the most powerful sales insights that I have come across over the years.  

Sales is a listening proposition

This one is important. Especially if we are talking about selling something you are passionate about. It is very, very easy for us to get caught up in promoting our message. In espousing the virtues of the service that we offer. The problem is that when we get wrapped up in vehemently sharing our message, regardless of how powerful it may be to you, we can easily miss what is important to the person you are talking to. The mantra below is one of my favorites when it comes to sales. When I am at my best I use this as a reminder to do more listening and less talking. 

Mantra: If you are telling you aren’t selling

Simple Sells

The more complex the idea the more difficult it is to get communal buy in. The less complicated you can make your idea, request or product the easier it becomes to demonstrate the value that it holds. This means that it makes a lot of sense to spend some time breaking down your message into simple, bite-sized, digestible pieces. Get intentional about this so that you have your sound bites ready when an opportunity arises. Sit down and write out a simple version of the message that you want to convey. Then experiment. Watch how people react and respond to your message and refine it based on what you notice.  

Mantra: Uncomplicate

We buy on emotion, justified by logic

We discussed this earlier. There is a ton of scientific evidence that supports the fact that as human beings we make decisions based on emotion. Find ways to make an emotional connection between the person you are persuading and the idea you want them to embrace. When I am on stage I will often tell the story of how, at the age of 26 years old, I bought my first Porsche. The sales person at the dealership knew this insight well. 

It didn’t take him long to help make a powerful connection between me and that car. He illustrated how I would feel as a young, up and coming businessman driving around in this fancy car. We buy on emotion. I can assure you that there was nothing logical about buying a Porsche at 26 years old.

I still remember the first time I shared that purchase with my Dad. “What do you think?” I said. He looked at me and said “Yes, it is very nice. Only slightly more expensive than our first house.”

Stories are the most powerful sales tool 

Stories are an important part of our culture. It is how ideas are passed from one generation to the next. When it comes to creating a meaningful connection with another human being it turns out that stories are a powerful way of doing that.

People are more likely to remember a story than a fact, or even an idea. I remember when I used to teach an affordable housing workshop. At one point I would share some ideas on how to pay off your mortgage faster. These tips included increasing payment frequency and making lump sum payments.

I demonstrated the ideas by sharing the story of how I removed a single expense from our household. I would tell them about how we used to have a water cooler in the house that we paid a monthly fee to have refilled and maintained. I got rid of the water cooler and immediately applied the monthly savings to our mortgage payments thus carving a few years off of our mortgage.

One day I had a woman come up to me in the grocery store. She had taken the workshop five years earlier. She approached me and said “Hey, you’re that water cooler guy aren’t you?” You see, all those years later, she remembered the story. I wrote another piece about this a few years ago. You can read that here…

Mantra: Sell it with a story 

I’ve spent 25 years practicing the art of persuasion. There is always more to learn. Let me know what has been valuable to you in this article. Consider sharing it with someone you know that would find it valuable. Most importantly please share with me some of your favorite insights when it comes to sales and the art of persuasion.

Ted Talks

My Favourite TED talks of all time

During the winter of 2012/2013 I spent a ridiculous amount of time in my basement either on the treadmill or on the bike trainer as I trained for triathlon that year. In preparation for the winter hours of indoor running and cycling I set up a 50″ SmartTV with a TED app on it directly in front of the treadmill and bike trainer. I watched dozens of hours of TED Talks and I can honestly say that changed my life. I was out on a run this morning talking with a friend about TED and promised I would put together a list of my favourite ones. Since I love sharing with you all so much I figured I would share with you and ask for your help in rounding out the list. Let me know what some of your faves are.    

What is a TED Talk?

If you have not taken a few minutes to watch a TED talk I would highly recommend that you do so. TED is a non-profit organization devoted to the spread of ideas. Their tagline is “Ideas Worth Spreading”. They have a collection of ‘talks’, presentations of 18 minutes or less from some of the best minds in the world on a variety of different topics. You can visit the main TED website here at

Some of My Favourites

Here is a list of a few of my favourites with a brief overview on what they are and why I liked them.

Brene Brown – The Power of Vulnerability

Brene is a researcher who studies shame, vulnerability, courage and authenticity. She talks about worthiness and is an incredible story teller. She has an absolute knack for taking complex ideas and concepts and distilling them down into easily understandable anecdotes. Her willingness to share herself in an incredibly authentic way makes a powerful connection with her audience. I have watched this one likely a dozen times.

Drew Dudley – Everyday Leadership

Drew is a gifted story teller and incredibly amusing presenter. He reminds us that leadership is not some giant colossal feat reserved for CEO’s and politicians. It is a gift all of us have to give on a daily basis. We had Drew come and speak at one of our Axiom Mortgage conferences and since then he has become a good friend. Take a few minutes and learn what it means to celebrate the lollipop moments in your life. 

Derek Sivers – How to Start a Movement

In 3 minutes Derek dissects what it takes to create a movement. He discusses the importance of the first follower in any movement. His comedic, straight forward approach is entertaining and educational. This is an easy watch and contains some great lessons.

Ken Robinson – Do Schools Kill Creativity?

In this 19 minute talk Ken makes a compelling case for nurturing creativity in our school systems. I really enjoyed his style of delivery as well as the message. It is equally applicable in business where ‘mistakes’ are often ‘punished’ stifling the use of creativity. 

Simon Sinek – How Great Leaders Inspire Action

Simon’s concept of “Start with Why” is an extremely simple concept that he outlines with his ‘Golden Circle’ framework. He dissects the success of Apple, Martin Luther King and the Wright Brothers to demonstrate how this works. This talk has become one of the most watched talks on the planet. “People don’t buy what you do, people buy why you do it.”

These are just a few of the talks that I really enjoyed. There are hundreds more that are excellent as well. I would encourage you to explore them. If you are committed to ongoing learning make a commitment to watch one per week and see how it changes your way of thinking.

Tell Me What You Love!

Let me know some of the talks you love so that I can add them to my playlist as well! 

6 Practices to Becoming a Better Listener

So we all know, or should know, that one of the keys to a successful relationship on any level is to be a good listener.  Whether we are talking about sales, family, spouse or friends our ability to truly hear what the other is saying is a critical component for a healthy relationship. For someone like me who likes to take stock of where they are in the hierarchy of things this begs the question… How do we know how good a listener we are?  I mean let’s face it I’m fairly sure that we all believe we are good listeners. I know that if you ask me if I am a good listener I will tell you emphatically yes, yes I am. If, however, you were to ask my ex wife the same question you might get an exceedingly different answer to that question. So is there a way for us to have an unbiased measure of how well we listen? Can we ask friends and family?  Will they give us the truth?  Can we have a conversation with someone third party and have them assess our listening skills?  This last one seems unlikely to provide good feedback. I mean how many of you fart?  How many of you fart when you know someone is listening?  Never mind on that first date.
When we know we are being measured we tend to perform at our best therefore losing the objectivity of the assessment. So if we can acknowledge the importance of listening and we think we are in fact good listeners yet we have been told on occasion that we are not, how do we move forward? It would be simple to blame the assessment on a disgruntled ex, and while it may be partially the case, there is likely also at least a glimmer of truth to the allegation. So if we know that there may be a bias in the feedback yet we still are uncertain that we are a good listener what can we do to measure our listening ability in order to learn and grow.  For my money it is less about hearing the words that someone is speaking and more about how ‘present’ you are with them at that moment in time. As someone who surely would have been diagnosed with ADHD in my youth, remaining present and focused is something that I definitely struggle with.  Over the years I have come up with a few tools that I employ in order to improve the practice of presence. It is important to realize that it is just that, a practice. Some days you will do well, others you will struggle. Here are a few things that I have come up with to assist.
  1. If you cannot be present, disengage!
    Let’s face it, there are times when we have other priorities on our mind, other things that we need to do or we simply do not care about what the other person is saying. In an effort to be polite we pretend to be present with the other party but really all we want to do is get the hell out of there. If this is the case then you are better off simply explaining the situation up front, cutting the conversation short or postponing it til a time when you truly can be present. If you are engaged in a conversation where all you can think is “Could you please shut the fuck up I have no interest in what you are saying.” You are not only wasting your time but you are wasting theirs as well.   
  2. Repeat what they are saying in your own words to clarify that you understand what they are saying.
    In a business context I often ask people to repeat what I’ve told them. I don’t do it to belittle but to ensure what I think I said and what they actually heard are the same thing. So many times this is not the case. 
  3. Visualize what they are telling you.  Use their words to paint a mental image.
    I am a much more visual person and when I can paint a mental image of what someone is telling me then it tends to stick better. Enabling this into a daily practice also helps to ensure you are really listening.
  4. Make eye contact
    Nothing more engaging than making full eye contact with the person you are conversing with.
  5. Pretend you are writing an essay on what it is they are saying. What if you had to describe the scene in detail?  What are the nuances of their facial features?  What does the tone of their voice tell you? What do you see in their eyes?
    This practice will ensure that you listen, not only with your ears but also your other senses as well.
  6. If conversing with an intimate partner or even close friend practice speaking only with your eyes. Take turns with a simple message and see if your partner can ‘listen’ to your eyes. This can be a very powerful exercise, especially with an intimate partner. Be forewarned that depending on the environment, this one can often lead to one listening with lips, tongues and hands. Reading your partners eyes can be an incredibly connecting exercise.
All of this is relatively easy in theory, and great if you just whip out this article before you start any conversation.  Unfortunately the sad reality is that even the most well intentioned of us will forget this checklist most of the time. We need to ensure that this becomes a habit. That it becomes something so ingrained in our subconscious that we do not have to think about it and it simply happens automatically.  In other words we become unconsciously competent at listening. 
So this then comes back to the question how to effectively build a habit.  Many years ago researchers at MIT identified what has been coined ‘The Habit Loop’.  The habit loop consists of A Cue, A Routine (the habit), and a Reward.  Charles Duhigg wrote an excellent book called The Power of Habit that explores this in detail if you want to read more on the habit loop.  For simplicity sake let’s just say that The cue is ‘thing’ that triggers the behavior (Routine) and the Reward is any kind of satisfaction that is derived from performing the Routine.  Therefore if we want to change our listening routines we are best to find the Cues that lead us astray and reprogramming them with better Routines.
It all begins with awareness. Once we become aware of the things that distract us from listening well, we can replace them with a practice from the list above. So while I am not certain I have answered the question on how we ‘score’ our listening abilities I think that we have a number of practices that we can incorporate into our conversations. The next time you are in a conversation with someone choose one of the practices from above and try it on for size. Let me know if it works for you or better yet share something that isn’t listed that works well for you.

Worried about your sales pipeline?

The other day someone asked the question in the Facebook group, I love Mortgage Brokering, “At what point do you start worrying about your pipeline. I happened to be the first reply. I talked about how unproductive it is to even fret about it at all. I don’t give any merit to paying attention to your future sales at all. The problem you run into when you even start to count, is that when you are counting it distracts from what really matters.

What really matters is not what you’ve got in your pipeline. What really matters is the activities you are focusing on today. What activities are you performing on a consistent basis. If you look at your pipeline and it is full you may be tempted to take your foot off the gas. Bad idea. If you look at your pipeline and you realize it is empty you start to panic. You start making decisions based on fear and panic. Again, equally bad idea.

The key is to focus on the activities that you need to do today, not what you have in the pipe for tomorrow, nor even what you have done in the past. You need to consistently bang out the activities that you know you need to do to drive success.

This little conversation got me thinking. We all have these trite little sayings, these truisms that we bandy about so much that they become platitudes. The become meaningless mantras that we regurgitate ad infinitum to fool ourselves into feeling like we are actually making progress. Let’s stop kidding ourselves and lets really look at what tools we need to make shit happen.
We need to focus on the activities and the results will follow. That said how do we find the activities that we need to do to achieve the desired results? Queue the bullshit platitudes.

Success leaves clues.

Find what has worked for others and practice those same things. If they don’t work for you, adjust or abandon. In my presentation on “Bad Ass Brokering” I talk about building a sales process by design.

Consistency is key.

If you have ever embarked on a weight loss or fitness regimen you know how this works. If you are not consistent in your approach it does not work. You know that if you start a weight loss program that has you follow a strict diet it becomes all about the discipline. You can’t eat right for two days a week and fall off the wagon for the other five and actually expect successful results. If you start a strength training program you know you are only going to be successful to the degree you are consistent. Have a look at those around you that have achieved a level of fitness that you aspire to. Chances are they work out consistently, not sporadically. Chances are they are careful with their diet consistently not sporadically.

Early in my career as a mortgage professional I had the privilege of working in the same city as the number one producer in our organization (I was a specialist for one of the big banks). Now this was a guy that was number one, year in and year out. It was pretty amazing to watch. I remember the year that he lost his in-house Real Estate office relationship. I think we all felt that would certainly cause him to drop in numbers. It did not. He found a way to make up what he lost when he lost that relationship. He was generous enough to let me shadow him when I first starting working for the bank.

Being the inquisitive little fuck that I was I would follow along at his heels, chirping questions at him along the way. The one answer that he gave me I think changed my life was also probably one of the simplest things I have ever heard.

I said to him “Larry, what is it that sets you apart? What is it that makes you number one over and over and over again?” Ever the bright eyed rookie, I waited for his answer, pen poised ready to jot down whatever nugget of wisdom leaked from his mouth. He paused, as if to contemplate. I impatiently awaited the profound answer feeling incredibly grateful to share my time with such a dominate, yet unassuming sales professional.

I think I was simultaneously disappointed yet awestruck by the simplicity of his answer. He said “I don’t know Mike. I guess I just do what I tell people I’m going to do. If I tell them I’m going to call them back at 3, I call them back at 3. I don’t call them at 5 with a bullshit apology stammering over what a crazy day it’s been. I simply do what I tell them I’m going to do and I think they appreciate that.”

Now if you are disappointed with the sheer simplicity of this concept I want you to think about it for a minute. What was the last thing you told someone you were going to do? Did you do it exactly as committed to? How about the time before that? Did you then? My guess is, if you are anything like me, you won’t have to go very far back to find a time where you did not deliver on something exactly as promised. It likely wasn’t a big thing, likely wasn’t earth shattering, time stopping or life altering and whomever you made that commitment to may not even have noticed or called you on it.
Want to set yourself apart from your competition in a big way? Do what you say you are going to do when you say you are going to do it. Consistently. Period. End of story.

We all tend to want to come up with these gimmicky little nuances to set us apart. We come up with clever names, slogans, outfits, mascots or accessories, but what if, stay with me here, what if we simply became known as the guy or gal who ALWAYS does what they say they are going to do, when they say they are going to do it? How powerful would that be?


When I decided I wanted to take my fitness level up a notch, I realized that while I exercised a ton, I still ate like crap. In order to improve, clearly I was going to have to start eating better. I found it interesting that while clearly I knew what I needed to do I still did not manage to make it happen on a consistent basis. The first thing I did was download an app called MyFitnessPal and started logging my consumption. It was quite the eye opener for certain. I knew i did not eat well but I was quite surprised to see just how bad some of my favorite meals were. I spent two weeks simply tracking everything I ate and made no real effort to change what I ate.

Once I finished tracking for two weeks I became very aware of the good the bad and the ugly of what was going into my body. It was then that something remarkable started happening. With very little conscious effort I started to shift my eating patterns. Now armed with the knowledge of the ‘cost’ of everything I put in my mouth I started to make better choices. Realizing that that Texas Skillet I so loved for a ‘healthy’ breakfast was actually about 50% of my daily caloric intake and chocked full of fat, made it so much easier to choose the oatmeal or fruit cup for breakfast.

So how does that apply to your sales pipeline? We often talk about time-management as an important skill when it comes to the self employed entrepreneur but the practical reality is that we can’t manage until we know what it is that we need to manage. We cannot manage what we are not aware of. We need to become aware of what activities we are actually spending time on. Not the ones we tell our colleagues we do when we are having that Friday afternoon beer.

Fortunately there are a ton of simple methods to do this. I’ve been using an online tool called Toggl to track what I am spending time on. You can have a look at this article for more ideas. If you are not tech savvy then grab yourself a notebook and just make a list of what you do in the day and how much time you spend on each activity. Don’t worry I won’t make you share it with anyone. This is simply for your own edification. If you are like me when you start seeing where you are actually spending your time you can stop kidding yourself about how ‘busy’ you are and start to really focus on the activities that matter.


If you want to take it up a notch, start sharing that exercise that we just ran through., Find a colleague you can trust and who will support you through the process. Set aside a designated time weekly where you will get together, either live, or on the phone or Skype and review your ‘Awareness list’ together. The combination of these two exercises alone will skyrocket your success. If you can’t find someone you are comfortable doing this with a professional sales or business coach is always a great idea. While they tend to be expensive they are great at keeping you on track and accountable.


Stop talking about it and start doing it. Don’t wait until next week. Don’t wait til after that next conference. Don’t wait til after the weekend. Start now. Take one little step immediately. I don’t care what it is.

Buy a notebook.  Download a time tracker app.  Send me an email and tell me you’re getting started. I’ll keep you accountable.

So often we get all fired up when we read, hear or are reminded of concepts yet we lack the self discipline to get off our asses and actually make it happen. The key is getting started and getting consistent.  Forget about how successful you are on any given day. Simply practice. Practice over and over and over again. Build the habit.

I always come back to the fitness analogy. I practice fitness every day. Trust me there are many days where I do not feel like doing a damn thing. On those days, more than any, I make sure I do something. It might be 10 minutes on the treadmill. It might be as simple as ten push ups. The point is to keep the routine going. To practice the habit of consistency.

What would your business look like in a year if you took this advice and applied it consistently for the entire year?  What would your business look like if you started now?

Expectations: The key to a stellar customer experience

This article will change your life.  No seriously, I mean it.  This article all by itself will in fact change your life.

At this point in my career if I have to get involved in a file it’s likely because it has gone sideways.  I can’t tell you how many files I have had to intervene in but let’s just say that if you stacked up all the files (I know.  A paper file metaphor??  Really Mike.  We’re all digital), they would be bigger than a bread box.

I can equally assure you that the vast majority of problems that I have had to deal with have come as a result of unmet expectations.  The simple reality in our business is that if you meet everyone’s expectations you are going to have happy suppliers and happy customers.  It really can be as simple as that.

Think about it.  Whether the expectation is around price, service or product when you make any kind of financial transaction you go in with certain expectations.  I like to buy my suits from Harry Rosen, or Henry Singer.  They are substantially more expensive than buying a suit at Moores.  One of the things that I enjoy about buying my suits there is the level of customer service that I receive.  Check that.  The level of service I expect to receive.  You see I’m not really that much of a fashionista and not really all that proficient at selecting items of clothing that work well together.

I expect that when I go into one of the high end clothing stores that I will be greeted by a sales person who is extremely skilled at selecting outfits.  I expect that I can raise my hands in the air, let them know the type of outfit I am desirous in attaining on any given day and have them “set me up”.  All I should have to do at the end of the experience is look in the mirror and say “Damn I look good”.  OK, I know clothes can only do so much but humor me would you.

I also expect that the quality of clothing that I am going to receive is going to be substantially above average, will feel good while I wear it and will stand the test of time.

These stores have spent a a lot of time, effort and marketing dollars to set my expectations.  If they deliver, I am happy.  If they exceed my expectations I am thrilled.  If they do not meet my expectations they likely lose a customer.

It is this last point that I want to touch on.  The setting of expectations.  In almost all sales courses I have ever done they talk about “going above and beyond:”, about “exceeding customer expectations”.  These are noble endeavors to be sure.  The piece that sometimes gets missed is this:  What if your customers have unrealistic expectations?  We never seem to discuss this.

Please do not get me wrong I am not saying that if you fail to meet your customer expectations that it may be their fault.  I am suggesting that if you fail to meet customer expectations it may be because YOU did not set their expectations properly.  How many times do I see mortgage brokers advertise that they are available 24/7?  Really?  So if I call you at 3am I should expect a call back by 3:15?  I don’t think so.

I understand.  I know what you are trying to get across.  You are trying to point out that they are not working “bankers hours” and are available at their clients convenience.  This may be a poor example because I don’t really think many customers would truly expect a return phone call at 3:15 am (and if they do you should probably fire them).

There are a few reasons why you should be intentionally setting customer expectations at every part of the process.  From your initial marketing, to the taking of an application and all the way through the closing process.

Your customers may not know what to expect

This is especially true with first time home buyers.  If they have never been through the process then they likely have little or no frame of reference to set expectations.  If you don’t then they will always be left wondering “what next?”.

There can be an immense amount of discomfort when you do not know what to expect.  Think about your hair dresser or barber.  This is a person that you visit on a somewhat regular basis.  If you have been going to the same establishment or individual for any length of time you know exactly what to expect when you walk in the door and it is a very comfortable experience.

For me the experience is always the same.  I have been going to the same stylist for over 15 years.  I know exactly what to expect.

I walk in the door, Louise greets me, takes my coat, leads me to the sink where I sit for a hair wash and a scalp massage.  I then make my way over to her chair where she cuts my hair, throws a little gel in and voila!  We’re at the payment counter booking our next appointment four weeks later.

If for some reason I had to go to another establishment or individual, while the end result may be the same, I can assure you that the experience is going to be far less satisfying.  I don’t know exactly where to sit and wait.  I won’t know the layout of the shop.  I won’t be certain who I have made the appointment with.  Where do I go for my hair wash?  Do I even get a hair wash?  What about the scalp massage?

Ugh, I’m getting stressed out even thinking about it!

Now what do you think that new hair dresser experience might look like if, when I walked in the door, the stylist greeted me and gave me the quick run down of what to expect.  “Welcome Mike.  My name is “so and so”, I’ll be taking you to our hair wash station over there.  Give you a quick rinse and a scalp massage and then” with the wave  of her hand, “we will move to my chair over there.  When we are done we take Visa, Mastercard or cash at the counter and we can schedule your next appointment then if you like”.

Which experience do your customers get?

Your customers may have unrealistic expectations.

As we discussed previously, you may have inadvertently set unrealistic expectations with your marketing, they may have been misinformed by that Uncle of theirs that had a mortgage once 20 years ago.  They may have gotten the impression that a mortgage broker can get any file complete and do it fast.  You simply have no real way of knowing what their expectations are so your best bet is to set them early in the game.  The first contact you should start setting their expectations and reinforce them all along the way.

Take a few minutes to give them the 30,000 foot overview of the entire process from application to funding.  Keeping in mind that they may be overwhelmed with the process and not retain all of what you tell them.  You need to consistently reinforce what happens next.  Remind them throughout what they can expect from you and when.

Communicate your expectations of them 

This is another one that many professionals forget to do.  This relationship is a two way street.  We cannot deliver what is expected of us if our clients do not deliver what we expect of them.  It is incumbent upon us to let our customers know what we expect and require from them and what they should expect in return if they do not deliver.

Remember, if you do not let them know what you expect from them, how could they possibly know?  I have heard many a broker lament the fact that their client would send docs in piecemeal with no sense of urgency.  When I asked if they explained the need for a complete package in a timely manner, I could always tell by the bewildered expression that briefly flashed across their face that, no matter how much they stammer that they had, they had not.

If your customer has a condition removal in five days and your lender is taking 24 hours to commit and then another 48 hours or more to review docs you need to ensure that your client knows you expect timely delivery of their down payment verification, income verification and any other documents you know you will require based on their specific application.

Setting expectations around competition

This one is critical as well.  You can diffuse so much of your competitions clout by setting your clients expectations there too.  We all know that we are likely going to end up in a competitive situation to some extent.  Whether they come across a lower rate online, return to their bank or have a family member enter the business, it is almost inevitable you are going to feel some competitive pressure.

You can do what most brokers do, close your eyes, squeeze them tightly shut and pray to god that your client manages to circumvent the landmine of information in the competitive landscape that is 2016.  The alternative however, in my opinion, is somewhat more proactive.  Since I do not really believe that “hope” is a sound business strategy I would always set my customers expectations about the competitive landscape they were about to enter.

“You will likely go back to your bank.  They will likely match my rate.  If all my clients went back to the bank when they matched my rate, I would soon be out of business and what type of rates do you think the banks would offer if brokers did not exist?”.

“You may see lower rates online.  Many of them have restrictions.  We want to make sure we are comparing apples to apples.  If you see something you think is interesting give me a call and we can discuss whether this is really a sound option for you”.

You see if you set the expectation up front it minimizes the impact that it has on the customer when they run into it.  It also sets you in a much better position to address it when they bring it back to you.  If you hadn’t set those expectations and they come back to you with a ‘matching’ proposal or a low rate online then you seem to be on the defensive when you have to react to it.  You lose credibility.  When you have set the expectation up front and dealt with it before it happens you look like a pro.

The bottom line.

Set expectations early in the game.

Do the high level run through at the first conversation.

Always make sure the client knows what to expect next.  They should never be left wondering what or when the next step is.

Do not use words like ‘should’ or ‘soon’.  For example: “I’ll let you know soon”.  Soon as in this afternoon?, or soon as in early next week?  Be precise and deliver.  “I’ll get back to you before the end of the day.”,  “I will let you know by noon tomorrow.”  Whatever it is be specific.

“They should get back to me shortly”. “We should be OK with this document”.   What the hell does that even mean?

Avoid being vague at all costs.  Ambiguity breeds contempt.

Set yourself and your clients up for success.  When you set expectations you can expect a positive outcome.

Mortgage Forum 2015 Recap

Wow!! Where to start with Mortgage Forum 2015.  This year for me was certainly a different experience than ever before.  First off let, we have one of the most incredible industries on the planet.  

On the heels of the greatest tragedy I have ever experienced in my life, I knew Mortgage Forum 2015 was going to be interesting to say the least.  I am so grateful to have so many wonderful people in my life.  

Those 5 days in Toronto reaffirmed what I knew about the people in this business.  Freaking AWESOME!!  The amount of love and support that I received made me feel like a small child wrapped in a warm blanket nestled in a mother’s arms.  If you could imagine what it might feel like to have a long, drawn out, 1,200 person group hug, that is what I experienced at Mortgage Forum 2015.  I will do my best to capture some of the actionable take-aways from the conference however, this year was more of a working conference for me than I have in the past.  This is my third year on the Board of Directors and first year as Treasurer.  We have had many changes this year at the association and there was much work to be done around the conference.  I was also selected to present this year which was a first for me at this event.  

Wellness Component

This year we introduced a fitness component to add options for those that would like a different kind of networking opportunity.  The activities were hosted by yours truly.  On Sunday and Tuesday of the conference we hosted a 5km run.  Monday morning, before the opening ceremonies, we hosted a beginner yoga class for those that would like to get their Zen on.

Opening Ceremonies

We have been alluding to a “big” announcement for several months leading up to the conference and did not disappoint on the big day.  On Monday morning we announced the decision to rebrand the organization.  We changed the name and freshened up the visuals of the association.  We are now, Mortgage Professionals Canada.  You can see the opening ceremonies video, where we made the announcement here:

A brand new Mortgage Professionals Canada YouTube channel has been created and includes our new Value of a Mortgage Broker videos for you to use and share for your consumers:  

Broker Panel

As I mentioned, this year was hard for me to take in all of the sessions as I was presenting as well as my board duties.  I did not see the broker panel though you can see it in the webcast of the opening ceremonies.

Breakout Sessions

This year Mortgage Professionals Canada went with broker based breakout sessions.  These sessions were largely by broker for the broker.  My session went at 10:30 and I was drained after it so did not stay for the next sessions.  You can see all of the sessions that were presented here:

Overall the feedback I heard was extremely positive.  A lot of “feet on the street” information that was directly and immediately applicable to your brokerage business.  

Badass Brokering: Proven Keys to Sales Success

I had my session professionally video recorded.  I will let you know as soon as I am able to get the footage up for you to viewCAAMP 0850-small.  I will try and write a full recap of my session as well but the coles notes was this.  We discussed the art and science of sales and looked at providing a framework for you to build your sales process.  The three major points that we discussed were illustrated with a variety of real life stories to demonstrate their application.

The framework is very simple:

  1. Ask Questions
  2. Tell Stories
  3. Be YOU!

Ask Questions

There is science behind how asking the right questions can actually change an individuals way of thinking.  It is our thoughts that control our actions.  If we want to change a client or referral sources behaviour we need to first change their way of thinking.  Questions can do this for us.

Tell Stories

Stories create a connection, a neuro-coupling, between the speaker and the listener.  Our brain activity actually start to mirror.  Using this knowledge we can effectively deepen the connection with our clients, referral sources and lending partners by telling relevant stories.

authenticBe You!

If you are your authentic self you have no competition.  Find your style, find your talent.  Be true to that and build your questions and stories around that.







  • Build a list of the behaviours/thinking you run into that you would like to change
  • Build an inventory of questions related to each one
  • Experiment, Rehearse, Repeat


  • Create a list of objections and points you need to illustrate
    (Bank matching, Term length, Payoff sooner)
  • Build a repertoire of stories around each of them


Be unapologetically you.  Find your unique style and run with it.  Do not try and present like anyone else because the people around you will feel it.  Be you no matter how quirky, different or similar.  Just be you.

Monday Lunch

This year’s keynote at lunch was Randy Bachman and he absolutely killed it!  He brilliantly demonstrated both the art and science of storytelling as he wove tales of his songwriting between performance of the songs themselves.  He was masterful and a delight to watch.  I was worried my presentation early might have gotten emotional.  It did not.  Watching Randy did.  He was amazing and a performance Colleen, as an artist, would have loved!  I could have listened to Randy all day long.

I had meetings to attend after lunch so was not able to attend the afternoon session with Dr. Sherry Cooper.  The reviews I heard however, were very positive.

The Art of Leadership

Tuesday was the Art of Leadership.  You can find the full roster of speakers, their bios and their messages here:

I will not try and recap them all but I really enjoyed Amy Cuddy.  I understand Captain Phillips was amazing although I had to leave for the airport so was not able to see him speak.

The Parties

If you have ever been to Mortgage Forum in any city you know that the social events, the parties are second to none.  This year did not disappoint.  While it was impossible to get to all the events, the ones I did attend were spectacular.  Certainly part of the beauty in the social events is simply the quality of individuals in attendance.  I thoroughly enjoyed reconnecting with many from across the country.  I particularly enjoyed experiencing the conference through the eyes of someone who had never been before by hanging out with some of our WIMI winners.  Reminded me how particularly blessed we are in this business.

Jim Cuddy, of Blue Rodeo fame, at CAAMPfest was a particular highlight on Monday.  I’ve listed as many of the social events as I could recall below.


Mortgage Professionals Canada (formerly CAAMP) Cocktail Reception
National Bank Cocktail Reception
TD Bank Reception


B2B Broker appreciation event
Mortgage Hall of Fame Gala
CAAMP After Dark Party
CMLS After Party


D & H
First National
Scotia Mortgage Authority

Bottom Line

This years conference had more energy than any that I have ever attended.  The staff, conference team, Board of Directors were absolutely jacked about the big launch of the new branding of Mortgage Professionals Canada.  This one was an absolute high for me.  Having the opportunity to hang out with seasoned veterans to brand new associates was simply wonderful.  The opportunity to speak this year was a highlight as well as you likely know, speaking is a passion of mine.

I look forward to getting feedback from our own Julie Cooper, Sandra Forscutt and Krista Rumberg for their take on the conference.

Episode 37: Bob Burg – The Go-Giver; The 5 Laws of Stratospheric Success

Can a subtle shift in focus really make that big of a difference in your business and in your income?

Our guest says, “Absolutely, yes!”

Bob Burg is a sought-after speaker at company leadership and sales conferences. He regularly addresses audiences ranging in size from 50 to 16,000. He has shared the platform with notables including today’s top thought leaders, broadcast personalities, Olympic athletes and political leaders including a former United States President.

He is coauthor of the international bestseller, The Go-Giver and Go-Givers Sell More and author of
Endless Referrals and numerous other books (more than a million copies sold in total). The Go-Giver has been translated into 21 languages.

Bob is an advocate, supporter and defender of the Free Enterprise system, believing that the amount of money one makes is directly proportional to how many people they serve. He is also an unapologetic animal fanatic, and serves as Vice President of the Board of Directors of Furry Friends Adoption & Clinic in his town of Jupiter, Florida.


In this episode we talk about Bob’s origin story.  We talk about how he got his start as a professional speaker and what lead him to write the book The Go-Giver.  Bob talks about the importance of systems to produce predictable results.  

You can watch a more recent video interview with Bob here.

The Five Laws of Stratospheric Success

  1. The Law of Value
    Your true worth is determined by how much more you give in value than you take in payment.
  2. The Law of Compensation
    Your income is determined by how many people you serve and how well you serve them.
  3. The Law of Influence
    Your influence is determined by how abundantly you place other people’s interests first.
  4. The Law of Authenticity
    The most valuable gift you have to offer is yourself.
  5. The Law of Receptivity
    The key to effective giving is to stay open to receiving.

Book References

Bob Burg: The Go-Giver

Bob Burg: Endless Referrals

Tom Hopkins:  How to Master the Art of Selling

Michael Gerber: – The E-Myth

Episode 35: Richard Robbins – Delivering the Unexpected

Richard Robbins is Co-founder and CEO of Richard Robbins International, a global sales and business coaching organization that amassed over $50 million dollars in revenue worldwide in its first ten years alone. The organization’s explosive 3000% growth is attributed largely to the transformational impact Richard Robbins’ unique methodologies have had, and continue to have, on the businesses and lives of thousands of sales professionals, entrepreneurs rich robbinsand leaders at all levels worldwide.

“lead his successful brokerage of only 20 agents to achieve the “highest production per agent” of any brokerage within its trading area.”

After a successful start as an agent Richard decided to open up his own real estate brokerage and soon found it to be a little more challenging than he thought.  On the recomendation of others and despite an affordabiliity issue Richard took a trip to a self help seminar hosted with legendary entrepreneur, author and motivational speaker Jim Rohn, That trip changed his outlook on the concept of value dramatically.  It was after this paradigm shift that he started focusing on how to provide more value as opposed to focusing on how to make more money.  This translated into a change in philosophy around the brokerage and they moved to a heavy focus on training their sales agents.  This compounded and as his agents became more successful he attracted the type of agents that he wanted.  This culminated in the eventual sale of the brokerage and Rich’s move to his coaching and speaking business.  Richard is the author of “Deliver the Unexpected: and 6 other new truths for business”.  In this conversation we talk about  an umber of concepts:

  •  If you want to be successful in any business you better love it.  “When it’s no longer fun, you better run”
  • Anyone can be taught to succeed but you need to learn to succeed in your own way.  It starts with awareness and understanding who you are
  • If you spent as much of your day thinking about how to provide more value as you do thinking about how to make more money you’d be rich beyond measure
  • We have to allow ourselves to become more of who we are
  • Find what energizes you – do more of that
  • Giving starts the receiving process
  • How to bridge the gap between your thoughts and your actions
  • How to stay motivated on a consistent basis.  Even when the seminars are done ;0)

Richard explores his Be. Do. Have model of living and talks about the importance of the order of how we process this.  He uses some great concrete examples of how to reverse engineer your goals into who you need to BE in order to HAVE all the things you strive for.

Richard shares his morning ritual that he has done consistently to control his thoughts and stay motivated, focused and make sure he is living on purpose.  We talk about training your thoughts which will ultimately affect your feelings and your feelings control your actions.  The process Richard follows takes him about an hour a day and looks something like this:

  1. Journal
    What happened yesterday?
    What went right?
    3 to 5 things you are grateful for
  2. Review living legacy
    All the thoughts he wants to retain, might be quotes or thoughts
    Look at goals – review them and ensure you are on track
  3. Review behaviors – Focus on behaviors not results because you can
  4. Reading – feed your mind with positive
  5. Exercise – Get your head right first then your  body right second

The 7 myths and corresponding truths from Rchard’s book, Deliver the Unexpected

  1. 1. Future myth
    Myth: goals bring success by telling us where to arrive tomorrow
    Truth: goals create success by telling us what to do today.
  2. Knowledge myth
    Myth: success comes from knowing what to do.
    Truth: success comes from doing what you know.
  3. Failure myth
    Myth: failure is the opposite of success.
    Truth: failure is a means of progress. The path to achieve success.
  4. Abundance myth
    Myth: abundance is the way to success. ‘We should get to get’
    Truth: abundance is the result of success. Give instead. Reframe your interactions as opportunities to create abundance for others.
  5. Value myth
    Myth: there are two forms of value

    1. Price
    2. Added Benefit
      Truth: actually three forms of value the secret to increasing value is in adding unexpected value.
  6. Attraction myth
    Myth: we attract into our lives what we focus on.
    Truth: we attract what we are
  7. The happiness myth
    Myth: you HAVE happiness
    Truth: you have to BE happy …Happiness is the state in which we are our true selves.


Day One journalling app


Jim Rohn

Sell More with Sales Coaching

Episode 34: Peri Shawn – Profitable Conversations

Peri Shawn is an award winning author who specializes in working with leaders who want to get better results.  She works on helping people think better so that they can do better.  She is known as a profitable conversation expert and I think you will find this conversation will be extremely profitable.  Sales is both a science and an art and we explore the art and support it with the science that backs it up.  As sales people we know that we have interactions that are better than others both as sales people and as consumers so why not have the positive interactions by design.

peri shawn bioPeri tells the story of what triggered her passion for learning and teaching and that it was in fact the learning dichotomy between her two brothers that lead her down the path that she took.  As a high school teacher she became fascinated and discontented with the fact that her students were learning at a consistent level and decided to look into how she could help them better.  She started exploring the neuroscience behind the learning and started to see immediate results in the classroom.  At one of the teaching conferences she spoke at someone from the corporate world approached her and talked about the value of what she was teaching and ultimately convinced her to take her work and passion into the corporate world.  She became an action researcher and spent time looking at what actions were actually having the biggest impact.

The short answer was that questions that were the best way to get optimal results.  There is ample neuroscience that supports this. Jeffrey Schwartz  studied the impact of questions on the brain.  Questions actually build new neurological connections in the brain.  You can find information about his work and studies on his website at

Challenge your thoughts and find those universal truths.  Experiment with the truisms and axioms that we hear.  We are all moving forward and we all have the resources to ‘get there’ we need to find what works the best for us as individuals.  It all starts with our core values.  Our values shape the lens in which we see the world and we can improve our selves while we are helping others.

By changing our thinking we can change ours, and our teams behaviors, the alternative is that we try and coach or teach behavior and we simply become behavior cops.  We change our thinking by analyzing our past results and reflecting on the thinking behind the behaviors recognizing that if we don’t like the results we need to change the behavior and in order to do that in a sustainable manner we need to change the thinking.


Peri’s definition of Selling is “Helping people with their buying decision”.  The sales business is substantially different today then it was even five years ago.

  • As sales people we need to understand where our customers are in the buying process.
  • Listening is critical to the sales process
  • Sales decisions are made on emotion justified by logic
  • Can we design the emotional experience of the buying process
  • We need to get our customer emotionally engaged
  • Stories are a key factor to emotionally connect with your client
    • Create stories that relate to your sales process
    • Create an experience that your clients will tell as a story to others and they become your best sales people
    • We discuss the neuroscience behind this
  • We talk about addressing client concerns or objections

The 10 common sales mistakes sales people make

  1. Not being clear on who is buying
  2. Forgetting why people buy
  3. Being self focused
  4. Telling mistruths
  5. Being ill prepared
  6. Taking too much of clients time
  7. Sharing what is not relevant
  8. Missing buying cues
  9. Acting like a traditional sales person
  10. Treating clients as enemies

Connect with Peri on LinkedIn:
isit Peri’s professional web site:
uy Peri’s book:
Dr. John Demartini 

Neuroscience Research

Uri Hasson publications
Jeffrey Schwartz


What if you were born with super powers but nobody showed you how to use them?

** Note: This article had the potential to go off on a number of different tangents.  Rather than try and explore every concept in detail I have highlighted my takeaways and provided links to further information where appropriate.  Listen to the podcast in it’s entirety **

Do you believe strongly in life long learning?

Do you try to cram as much information into your brains as possible in as short a period of time as possible?

What if there was a way to increase both the rate we learn at as well as the amount we retain?

What if I told you that there was a man that has spent over two decades finding, not only ways to enhance our brain performance, but also finding ways to teach those methods to others?  Let me introduce you to Jim Kwik.  I was introduced to Jim via the James Altuchers podcast and I would highly recommend listening to the interview in its entirety.  As you will see, one of the techniques Jim talks about for learning is writing and teaching.  That is exactly why I thought I would summarize and share what I took away from the interview.

Your brain potential is unlimited, that we need to tap into our inner super hero and he shares some insights on exactly how to do this.  Unleashing your inner superhero though is more than just about tactics and techniques, it is largely about mindset.  We need to stand guard of our inner self talk.  How often have you bragged about how bad you are with names, or how you have to write your grocery list in triplicate.  Remember, your mind is always eavesdropping on your self talk.  Be cautious about your negative self talk.

Jim talks about the difference between being a thermostat or being a thermometer.  We need to be the thermostat not the thermometer.  The thermometer reacts to the environment and a thermostat is one that sets the standard and responds to changes in the environment to adjust and correct.  Start by deciding you want to be a thermostat.  Challenge your meta beliefs.  Those overarching beliefs about who you are.  Your beliefs define your behaviours. He covers a variety of techniques to change your beliefs ranging from hypnosis to Emotional Freedom Techniques.  Achievers have a locus of control on the inside and don’t simply react to their external environment.  Some of the things explored in the interview are :

  • Take control of your thoughts
  • Emotion tied to information becomes long term memory
  • 1/3 of your memory is genetic
  • 2/3 is under your control
  • Questions are the key to learning
  • Leaders are Readers
  • “The same level of thinking that got you into a problem won’t solve your problem” – Einstein
  • Your brain consumes 20 to 25% of the oxygen you breathe and the nutrients you ingest.
  • Three parts to memory: Intake, storage and retrieval

Learning is a forced multiplier, meaning that the same level of input will get you a greater output.  Some of the things to focus on:

Jim teaches you some memory techniques including the Location technique.  Basically you take an environment you are familiar with and associate items you want to remember with them.  Mentally ‘storing’ these items in the imagined physical location.  You can then mentally walk through the environment retrieving the ‘items’ as you go.  Jim actually walks you through an example of how this works.


The ten keys to unleashing your inner super hero

  1. Diet
  2. Kill the A.N.T.s; Your automatic negative thoughts.  Your mind is a super computer and your thoughts are the program that runs it.
  3. Excercise
  4. Brain nutrients; supplement where needed
  5. Positive peer group:  It’s not just your neural network but also your social network that determine how smart you are.  Are you spending time with people who encourage you, challenge you, who you can learn from.
  6. Clean environment.  Simple things like cleaning your desk. The magic art of tidying up
  7. Sleep.  Rest for your brain.  Just like working out you need time for recovery and rest
  8. Brain protection.  Be cautious in extreme sports or anything that could impact your head
  9. New learnings:  Your brain is plastic.  New learning creates new connections, create neuroplasticity.
    Most people have 60,000 thoughts per day.  The trouble is that 95% of them are the same thoughts they had the day before and the day before that.
  10. Manage your stress: Learn to shut down.

The four keys to learning F.A.S.T.

  • Forget
    forget what you know about the subject
    forget about what you know situationally
    forget about limiting beliefs
  • Active
    Be active; we learn through movement
    Learning is not based on consumption it is learned by creation
    Take notes, recite, repeat and share
    As your body moves, your brain grooves
  • State
    Emotion tied to information becomes information
    There is a learning curve but there is also a forgetting curve
    The more you can add emotion the more you can hard code into a long term memory
  • Teaching
    Learn to teach
    If you knew you had to teach something would you listen differently?
    When you read something you learn it twice
    Read, Write, Relate

The three steps to an incredible memory all starts with M.O.M.

  • Motivation
    There needs to be a reason to remember.  What is your motivation.  When you meet someone ask yourself why you want to remember their names.
  • Observation
    If you have a problem remembering something, it’s not because of a retention issue, it’s because of an attention issue
    Charisma is more about being interested than being interesting
    Powerful presence comes from being powerfully present
  • Mechanics
    The tips, the tools and techniques that we talked about above

Phew! OK, that is my ‘T’ in the F.A.S.T method of learning.  I hope you find as many take aways as I did but make sure you listen to Jim’s entire podcast.  He has some very cool super hero stories involving Stan Lee and the X-men.  Even my kids enjoyed it!


#26 Fred Sarkari: Adventures of a Pyscotherapist

In this episode I talk to Fred Sarkari who is a licensed Psychotherapist.  We talk a lot about human behavior and how to shape the behaviors that we want.  Fred takes a scientific approach to behavior patterns and looks at how we can understand why we do what we do.

Whether we are talking about personal or corporate behaviors, we explore character traits of some of the most successful leaders in the world.  Self awareness gives you control of your environment and allows you to avoid being reactive to circumstances.

Fred is the author of three books, two of which are best sellers:

  • “How the Top 5% Think! – Principles of Great Leaders”
  • “Courage To Be Naked – Guide to Communicating and Presenting Your Message.”
  • “101 Exercises To Change Your Life / Business”

You can find Fred online at:

Episode 23: Gloria Roheim McRae – Playing with the possibilities

Gloria-fullI had the pleasure of meeting Gloria and her husband Ricardo at the Starting Point Entrepreneurship Conference at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax this February.  Gloria is a remarkable young woman who has done all of the things that you are “supposed to” do to notch success in this life.  Then finding that unfulfilling struck out to spread her message and carve her own path.

Gloria earned her B.A. at McGill University and an M.A. in International Affairs from The University of Toronto. She speaks four languages fluently, is a regular Huffington Post columnist and a HuffPost LIVE commentator. You’ll see her in the media too, from Rogers TV to Chatelaine Magazine, Glow Magazine and CTV. Her first book BYOB: The Unapologetic Guide to Being Your Own Boss became an best seller in entrepreneurship and self-esteem in October 2013, less than one month after publication.gloria

In this episode we talk about playing with the possibilities.  We talk about desire mapping vs. goal setting and growth through experimentation.  Gloria shares some of her habits for success.  We also discuss how to overcome that negative noise in your head when you set out on a new adventure.  We talked a lot about philosophy and left enough room to have Gloria back on a future episode to talk more tactical strategies.  I really enjoyed this one and I hope you do too.

Wedge15; Gloria’s business

BYOB The Unapologetic Guide to Being Your Own Boss

The Desire Map

Episode 18: Cold calling is dead, Long live the cold call

As we head into the new year and start thinking about the things that we want to accomplish in 2015, I thought I’d share an experience that presented it self to me all wrapped up with a pretty bow on it -yes, just like a Christmas present!  You’ll have to stay tuned to my upcoming Connecting the Dots episode with Warren MacDonald for the entire discussion about how “When you change the way you see the world, you change the world”.  In brief, the concept was at the forefront of my mind when I had a paradigm shift when it comes to ‘Cold Calling’!  Here’s my story.

Cold calling is something I talk about often.  It is one of the most dreaded tasks of all sales people.  It was also something that I used to dread as well but over the years I have actually come to love it.  I know, I know, you’re calling bullshit right now but it is true.  You see I have long believed that in sales if you want to sell more of your product, service or whatever it is you sell, then you need to talk to more people.  It is as simple as that.  If you want to sell more, then you need to talk to more people about what it is you sell.  It is this belief that has led me to embrace the cold call as part of my business.  Don’t get me wrong, I hated it at first.  The first cold calls I ever made were as a telemarketer in my late teens soliciting donations for the hearing impaired.  I HATED it.  I think I lasted two weeks.  The straw that broke the camels back there was when one of the people I called told me that they themselves were deaf and appreciated the call.  Well, being young and naive I thought they were just mocking me so I got all sarcastic and likely fairly rude only to have them  continue to explain that they had some type of TDD (Telephone Device for the Deaf).  I was so embarrassed at my ignorance that I quit that afternoon.  Flash forward to my introduction to the mortgage business and I was put in a call room making phone calls out of a Target Marketing directory calling senior level executives soliciting funds for investment into mortgages.  Again, I hated the idea but my ambition was greater than my fear so I made the calls.  Gradually as I started to have some success (and much more failure), my confidence grew and the prospect of picking up the phone dwindled.  Fast forward to the holiday season of 2014 and my story.

You see, even up until this day, while I enjoy the outcome of cold calling, I still looked at it largely as a one way proposition.  I made the call and tried to convince the person on the other end that my offering was worth exploring further.  Part of my role today is to find mortgage brokers that can benefit from the services that we offer as a brokerage network.  If you know me you also know that I am far from a “hard sell” kind of guy and that my approach is much more about getting to know my “prospects” needs and seeing if I have a solution that might fit the bill.  Some of my most valued relationships today have come as a result of a direct cold call so the value, not only to my business but to my life, has been immense.  That said a conversation that I had at our company Christmas party this year really put things in perspective for me.  You see Dave is an individual that has recently joined our organization.  My first introduction to Dave was by way of a phone call.  I picked up the phone and called him to introduce myself and over the course of the conversation identified that he may have some gaps in what he needs and what he was currently getting from his brokerage.  After a series of further discussions with me and the rest of our team Dave made the decision to come on board.  The first time Dave and I ever met face to face was at our Christmas party in Calgary.  It was obviously a festive atmosphere and we had a glass of wine together and some great conversation.  The thing that really struck me during that conversation was when he said to me “That phone call changed my life”.  Now I know we’re not talking about world peace here but the impact that that cold call had on both us as an organization and him as an individual really spoke to me.

Here is an activity that many of us consider intrusive and undesirable that had the net result of making a significant positive impact on an individuals business life.  With every connection we make we not only create opportunity for ourselves but we also create opportunity for those that we touch.  Changing your mindset about how we view an activity like cold calling can help make the difference between taking action and not.  You never know the impact that you might be able to make on someone else’s life by simply reaching out.

As you sit down to plan out your 2015 goals try to find a way to shift the way you look at things.  You will be amazed at the possibilities that open up with you simply take another perspective.

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