23 Sep

Red Tape and Ruby Slippers

It’s been a while since I’ve posted. Somewhere along the way, I ended up running a municipal government campaign and it’s been a bit busy. Somewhat ironic that tonight’s post is talking about red tape – something you see a lot of in all levels of government.

Maybe I’m a dreamer but I truly believe that we have the knowledge to solve most of the world’s problems and one of the major things that stop us from doing so is red tape. Our planet has an abundance of water and the ability to grow food for all. Yes, logistics are an issue but not an impediment. What is needed to solve water and hunger issues is already available but simply not put to use. Homelessness and affordable housing could also be virtually eliminated with cooperation of government  and private/public funders. One simply has to visit FastCoexist to see some of the amazing ideas already invented but not put into use.

And then there are the innovators: the ones with ideas, thoughts and new perspectives on how to solve issues around the world. But, without cooperation of government and relaxation of some rules & regulations, their projects may not come to fruition.

Consider some of the innovative building ideas such as repurposed cargo container apartment units as vieweable in this Popular Mechanics article or by googling “Repurposed Cargo Containers”. These units could quickly be developed into affordable housing units. But, add by-laws, fire safety rules, strict building codes and other bits of red tape not designed to allow flexible for innovation and creative ideas, these units become difficult to develop and enact in various communities. Our codes are created by government to protect us but the “written in blood” rules limit new ideas from coming to light without undertaking incredible time and expense.

Other barriers to innovation and implementation of world-changing ideas include issues and regulations between countries (or even provinces), financial requirements, support of local communities and access to and sharing of information. i firmly believe there are people who possess great answers that would change the world if the knowledge was shared with the right people.

Governments and individuals need to think differently. We need to share our ideas, collaborate with others and put our plans in motion. Government needs to support innovation by evaluating rules, codes, bylaws and requirements to allow experiments to occur. Reduce the red tape within reason.

I can sympathize with the government’s need to reduce risk, to reduce possible lawsuits. North America is sue-happy – even Canada is starting to see more law suits due to people taking less responsible for their own actions and putting it on others. We also need to stop being a bubble-wrapped society and over-protecting everyone and everything. Maybe you shouldn’t run with scissors but do we really need to label a see-through bag of pecans as pecans? Do we really need to be told “Caution: Hot” when we order a hot beverage?

Financial risk through legal issues is huge! Many instances of legislation have been enacted simply because someone has sued and the corporation or government now seek to minimize future risk.

I understand.

But, we can’t simply click our ruby slippers and wish our problems away. We need to act!

We need to encourage governments to allow exemptions to legislation and other rules and regulations to allow experimental projects to occur. We need to take calculated risks. We need to examine what is working in other countries and apply it to our own.

We need to work with each other on a global scale, and not just in our own area. While each community is unique, our problems are shared. When we share our issues, we help each other by providing new perspectives. Some of us have already been there before and now have the knowledge to help others. Share.

When we share our dreams, our goals become closer to reality. The Cowardly Lion only needed to believe in himself to achieve braveness. Like the Cowardly Lion, we have to take risks and be brave as we innovate. It is up to us to cut through red tape and make our dreams come true.




11 Sep

Living Life With Less Fear

less fear more joyFear is a good thing.  It keeps you safe from harm. But, are you letting fear hold you back from something great?

Fear of failure is a common fear that prevents people from moving forward and achieving goals. But, failure is not something to be afraid of. Failure means we have tried something different. Failure is a learning experience.

When we are young, we are not afraid of failure. We do not fear taking our first step. We do not fear rolling over. We just do it. We try again and again until it works.

But somewhere along the way, we start to fear the unknown and we begin to worry about failing until we simply stop trying. And when we stop reaching, our goals become dreams, and our dreams, wishful thinking. The fear of failing has limited us. Our fear has also limited the joy we may have received had fear not stopped us.

When we are held back by our fears – however rational or irrational they may be – we are also limiting our joy. Remember how joyous you felt when you completed a challenging task? Yes. That joy!

If fear has held you back from moving forward on something, what have you lost? Some may say nothing because you didn’t take the risk but the truth is that you have lost an endless amount of joy that could have been felt by completing a difficult task or taking the leap of faith and experiencing the unknown.  The question to ask yourself is not whether you can do it but rather, what are the consequences? What is the worst that can happen?

In many instances, the worst that can happen is really not that scary. No one is injured or will die.  You might get embarrassed. You might lose some money but overall, you are alive and you have learned.

Of course we need to be fearful of some things because these fears set reasonable limits. Fear of fire or hot surfaces protects us from burns. Fear of getting hit by a vehicle will keep up from walking in front of a moving car. These fears are the fears that keep us safe and free from injury.  If the worst that can happen is damage, death or serious injury to you or others, perhaps it is a valid fear.

When you start to let go of limiting fears, you start to open up possibilities. You experience more joy. You learn. And then you learn again! By facing our fears and learning to live with less fear, we increase our potential joy quotient exponentially.

So ask yourself – What is the Worst That Can Happen – and face your fears head on!



10 Sep

The Power of Brainstorming

I first learned the power of brainstorming in elementary school. Back then, we were not trying to solve world issue, we were simply looking at different ways to approach issues.

Really, the premise is the same anywhere, just the scale changes – or the name. Brainstorming may also be referred to as a brain dump.  Basically, you take a problem or issue and you think of all the possible solutions or related ideas until you find answers. Brainstorming can be done in groups or on your own. Simply grab a white, board, glass screen or table, or a good old-fashioned flip chart and let the ideas fly!

Along the way, you will also discover many far-fetched ideas. The great thing about these ideas is that something far-fetched often leads to something that fits. In essence, that crazy, out of the box idea may actually be an idea that you can pivot for ultimate success!

Once you have a bunch of answers or ideas, review same with your team (or on your own) and eliminate the ones that simply don’t make sense or do not apply to the situation. Then discuss the remaining responses taking time to consider if the answer applies to your situation. Does the answer offer other possibilities? One can start another round of brainstorming based on a viable idea that could be altered to fit your purpose.

Brainstorming encourages you to think outside the box – to explore all options (even the crazy ones) and to use your creativity to develop an idea, to find the perfect solution or, to create something amazing!

Einstein once said “Creativity is intelligence having fun.” To me, this perfectly sums up brainstorming. The best brainstorming is done in groups with some laughter or ridiculous ideas.  This is not to say that you shouldn’t take a brainstorming session seriously but rather, where possible, have some fun with the process.

Brainstorming can change the world. Imagine what could happen if a team of motivated individuals around the world met to brainstorm a common problem? And, imagine that one of those people had the key, the answer, to a problem you need solved. It is a powerful tool when combined with global communication.




08 Sep

Overcoming Constraints of Society Expectations

societal expectationSometimes what we love to do simply doesn’t fit what society expects us to be. Simply put, what we want and desire is often outside the normal expectations of work.

The average person works a 35 – 44 hour work week and has somewhere between 2 – 6 weeks vacation a year, depending on the occupation and level of employment. Many of these hours are spent at a desk or at a counter working for others under a strict set of rules.  You are expected to show up for work each day, complete the tasks assigned to you and tow the company line. You live to work, not work to live. Your work life rules you.

In 2012, only 19% of people were satisfied with their jobs according to a 2012 survey by Right Management. This is a very sad statistic. Shouldn’t we, as a society, seek to live fulfilling lives by working in satisfying careers?

What if we lived our passion free of societal expectations? What if we lived for our work and our lives and work intertwined to fulfill our passions, our desires, our dreams?

Some businesses, such as Zappos and Google, are starting to recognize the need for encouraging passion and exploring outside the box thinking. Google even provides employees time for working on side projects with amazing results! Employees are more satisfied and innovative ideas are developed.

When business and passion are combined, we open a world of possibilities and unending opportunities for innovation. By breaking free of constraints in normal business society, businesses can allow their staff to follow their passions.

Or, break free of society yourself and become an entrepreneur. Take your passions to the next level and live for work instead of working to live. You only have one life so spend it wisely.


05 Sep

The Triigo Project Journey

We are a good month into the Triigo Project and I must admit that writing a blog post every day simply did not happen – life got in the way. But, I am going to continue updating daily (most days) until I run out of pictures. I need your help to make sure this does not happen so please read on.

This project started with one person and became part of the World Domination Summit experience. Ironically, launching the project at the start of the event fit nicely with many of the speaker topics over the next few days. Jadah Sellner spoke aBravebot bout taking imperfect action – the need to take an imperfect step forward. Well, my photo project is just that – an imperfect step forward on a journey to connect people, encourage collaboration and create change.  Gary Hirsch then talked about the need to be brave and presented us all with our very own bravebot – this little guy helped me to keep asking questions, to keep being brave when it would be so much easier just to stay in my seat and do nothing.

Throughout the next few days, I carried around a whiteboard and several markers asking everyone I met: “What is the Change You Want to See in the World?”

The answers were varied with very few alike. And, the answers were unpredictable. When I started this project, I expected more answers relating to poverty, hunger or clean water. While I did receive a few of these answers, the majority of answers involved other issues and beliefs. Overall, education seemed to be the most common answer.

What was also exciting was the people who started following me just to see what the next person would write. Overall, I loved having an opportunity to talk to more people – everyone being unknown to me until the moment we met.

It has been very exciting to review the answers and the next step in the project is to not only identify the answers but also to hold people accountable to their answer. If you see education as a needed change, we want to know how you are going about making this change? It is not enough for us to simply want change, we must be the change we want to see.

Think about what your answer would be? What is the Change YOU want to see in the world? How are YOU helping to make this change happen?

I will be continuing to ask questions at different events around the world. I would also love to hear from you and receive pictures with your answers.

Until next time,





04 Sep

Just a Little Respect

self respectAll we need is just a little respect – self respect.

When you respect yourself, you feel more confident, have more courage and dream bigger. Self-respect is an important key to success as without self-respect, others may not value you.

We are all worthy of respect – especially self respect – but it does not come easy to everyone.  Mental and physical abuse, assault, sexual assault, victims of crimes, bullying, mental illness and other indignities can all rob us of our self-esteem and reduce our worthiness in our own eyes. It can take years, decades even, to regain self-esteem and finally start to respect yourself again.

We are all worthy of respect.

Self-respect starts with you. Remind yourself.  Know that you are valuable. Know that you matter. Know that your future is yet unwritten and is only waiting for you.

Respect yourself.

02 Sep

A Back to School Wish for Kindness

children acting kindlyAs the kids get ready to head back to school, Erica’s answer to my question “What is the Change You Want to See in the World” seems to fit well – Erica wants to see people and children acting kindly toward each other.

This doesn’t seem to be a huge request. Most of us were told by our parents early on to be kind to others. But, as evidenced by bullying in schools and the workplace, somewhere along the way we forget to be kind…

Or maybe we did not? Has the world reached a place where parents no longer encourage their children to be kind? Do we lack the manners of our fore-bearers? Is life seemingly so busy that being nice to someone or helping someone out is no longer something we have time to do?

Is kindness really that difficult?

I was raised to use my manners, to help others, to provide service in my community. I was taught to be kind but I also learned from example. Maybe kindness was more evident when I was growing up?

As our kids head back to school tomorrow, I know that leading by example has not been enough. However kind they are to others, however empathetic, my kids risk unkindness from others.

My wish for you, for your children and for your future is to lead and set an example for your children. Demonstrate kindness in front of them. Talk to your kids about unkind acts such as whispering about others, gossiping, bullying and more. Talk to your kids about standing up for others who are victims of unkind acts. Teach your children about the power of kindness.

28 Aug

We Need People to be Known and Loved

People Are Known and LovedWhen I asked Jenna Forstrom “What is the Change You Want to See in the World,” Jenna said “That people are known and loved.” Thank you Jenna for letting us know a little about you.

Jenna was one of the wonderful volunteers at World Domination Summit. As you can see by her amazing smile, she radiated energy and love!

We often fail to get to know others in society and to make everyone feel loved. Acknowledging each other is a simple thing we can do each day. A smile, a wave, a compliment – all things we can do to to connect to others around us. But this alone is not enough.

Let’s take time to really get to know people in our community, our families and our workplaces by asking them to share their interests, goals and dreams. Take an active interest in others and let them feel your love and support. Lift their spirits and encourage their dreams. A little encouragement will go a long way.

When we take the time to find out about others, we also discover a new understanding about what makes a person tick. This added insight may lead to finding common goals or helping one another with an issue. And, when you take the time to get to know someone, that person will also feel more valuable.  People may feel invisible at times but by paying a little attention to other, we can provide a boost of self-esteem and likely learn something interesting about the other person.

Take time this week to talk to someone you know little about. Help people around you feel known and loved.


22 Aug

A World Without Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

Today was A & W’s Cruisin’ to End MS Day  – an annual fundraiser to raise funds to cure Multiple Sclerosis – a suspected autoimmune disease that affects the central nervous system (credit Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada).

Just a few short months ago, it is a disease that I learned to fear as I underwent testing for it due to numbness in my face. As I read more about MS, I was saddened to learn how much suffers are affected and the lack of a cure for this crippling disorder. Though my face numbness was eventually attributed to neck damage and migraines, the severity of MS has touched me deeply and I want to see a cure for those who are suffering today.

The cure for MS won’t be found overnight, nor will cures for many other diseases. As a global community, we need to encourage and support the science community to continue researching these life-affecting diseases in lieu of researching the next big diet pill. Big pharma needs to help too. Unfortunately, the money to be made from “trendy” medical pills and procedures can be much more attractive to researchers (and to big pharma funders) than underfunded scientific research on disease elimination and prevention.

But, through encouragement, support, awareness campaigns and fundraisers for medical research, we can conquer major diseases and help others live a long, healthy life. Together we can help find a cure.

No More MS

21 Aug

It’s All About the Dance

IMG_20140713_205418 Dance like no one is watching. Dream like anything is possible.

When you let yourself go through dance, you release negativity, you feel re-energized and you mind clears and refocuses. Dancing is something that can bond strangers even when language barriers exist. Some form of dance is found in almost every culture around the world.

Many of the Triigo Project posts to this point have been fairly serious topics but tonight’s answer is all about the need for dancing. It is a change my new friend Maureen and I both wanted to see in the world. Dancing frees the spirit and the mind. As you bounce, spin and jive to the rhythm of the beats, you start to feel uninhibited – you get lost in the music.  Stress and problems dissolve away. You smile. You may even forget reality for a little while. And, it’s exercise. Exercise of any type is bound to get the endorphins pumping and this evening certainly did.

The music at the start of the closing party for World Domination Summit was popular upbeat music most of us know and love. Your feet started tapping and you may even have sang along. Then, it became Bollywood dance party. As if that wasn’t amazing enough, add in colour party! Many of those dancing did not know each other. We were from different cities across the world but we all danced together. We all had fun, let loose and laughed. And danced!  By the end of the night, it looked a little more like this:


See those huge grins? The laughter and joy we were feeling shines through in our smiles. Though we barely spoke to each other, we now share a bond – a common thread of a happy memory.

Dance unites us globally. It is a part of virtually every culture and a wonderful way to connect with people who don’t share your language. Get out and dance!