Presents or Presence?

As the calendar year ends, we enter the holy season—the holidays—and magically begin to open ourselves to more giving and receiving.  When I stop to think about the gifts that mean the most to people, I think of connection, wisdom, acceptance, understanding, compassion and love.

The other day I was running my fingers through my daughter’s long hair while she laid beside me.  In that precious moment, I realized that having my children close to me is my greatest gift. … Hearing their voices come in the door, …watching my dog whine crazily for them when they walk in and having them present with me, is the greatest gift I could ask for.

You too are valuable.  Be the present that others need.

In your workplace – Can you be more tolerant, more disciplined, more patient or more engaged?

At home?  Can you be more emotionally available? More open minded? Can you listen deeper, and seek to understand?

Think about who you’re a gift to at this very moment in your life, and what is it that these people need and want from you.  The answers to these questions are precisely where your presence makes all the difference in your world.  This is where you are the hope, the miracle, the blessing and the love to those who need you the most.

So this season, don’t look for the gift; be the gift.

Don’t look for the light to shine on you; be the light.

Don’t look for the love; be the love.

Rather than looking for the blessing, be the blessing.

Don’t ask for hope; be the hope.

Don’t expect the miracle; be the miracle.

Give your pure presence to others.  There is no better gift.  Life is short, and relationships are everything!

Merry Christmas, and Happy Holidays,

inspirational speaker, self help author


Relationship Marketing

I’ve always said that when two people WANT to do business together the details don’t stand in the way.  Businesses of all sizes rely on relationships with their prospects and existing customers to prosper.  If you think that you have a good relationship with customers just because you’ve done business in the past, think again.  The good news is that you can retain and grow your existing customer base with relationship marketing.

What is Relationship Marketing?

According to, relationship marketing is “marketing activities that are aimed at developing and managing trusting and long-term relationships with larger customers”, and I’d like to add, smaller customers too.  I’ve tested relationship marketing out for years, and it’s been my golden ticket.

Here’s an example of no relationship – no future business.  In the mid 90’s I bought a home.  I spent hundred’s of thousands of dollars through my agent, and he and I were pretty close during the transaction.  Three years later it was time to sell, and I couldn’t even remember his name, or brokerage.  So I called another agent to help me list and sell.  No relationship, no future business for him.  Had he stayed in touch, or created a lasting impression, he’s of had my future business, but I couldn’t even remember him.

If you’re a business owner or professional, you want to make sure people remember you in a good way, so that you’ll be the first one they think of when they’re ready to buy again, or they have the opportunity to refer clients to you.

It’s All About Relationships

To help with this concept, I’m hosting a complimentary two hour lunch and learn to demonstrate how to keep costs down and existing customer engagement up.  You will gain tips to increase referrals by 30% in the next 90 days, and have past customers remember and rave about your service.  Learn secrets of the top 3% in your industry and strategies to improve and secure profitable relationships for your business.

The session is complimentary but only limited seats are available, the purchase of lunch is required, and you must register at this link.  Register One or More Guests

Cecils Eatery & Beer Society – Map Room – 300 Wyld Street North Bay, ON P1B 8K3 CA – View Map

We’re already half full, so register and commit to learning a few tips that will ensure best relationship marketing practices.

Here’s to bigger and better business!



Mother’s Day Words

If you are a mom, Happy Mother’s Day.  If not, you definitely have a mom, whether she is with you in body or just in spirit, you can tap into the abundant love that she has or had for you, where you feel unconditionally loved, nurtured and safe.


Motherly love is … affectionate, careful, caretaking, comforting, devoted, fond, gentle, kind, loving, maternal, nurturing, protecting, protective, sheltering, supporting, sympathetic, tender, warm, watchful

Motherly love is energy for both genders to consider balancing.


Read more about how men in positions of power are eager to learn the vocal strategies of women.


“I believe in love at first sight because I’ve been loving my mother since I opened my eyes”


What does International Women’s Day mean for you?

March 8th every year is International Women’s Day, where the focus ranges from generalities of respect, love and appreciation to social, economical and political advancement of women.  What does this mean for YOU?

Gentlemen, today is another day like Valentine’s Day or Mother’s Day where you can make a special effort to show the women in your life how grateful you are for them.  As well, in the workplace, you can honor the special skill set that women bring.  Consider these points:
•    Women are more intuitive and bring in all points of view, which allows for more collaboration and ultimately, win/win situations: an essential skill in today’s complex working environment.
•    Values are more empathic from a woman’s perspective, especially when conflicts between work and life appear, women tend to be more supportive.
•    Fostering a stronger support system, women tend to be solid networkers who help each other out, assist and support more than men do.

One of the most prevalent weaknesses of women in the workplace is their lack of confidence in their ability.  Gentlemen, here lies your opportunity to leverage the woman power in your life and your workplace.  Compliment them with genuine examples of how their intuition, values or support makes your world a better place.  Be specific with your examples, and celebrate with them.  By doing this, you will be tapping in your own feminine energy, which is an important balance to your masculine self.

Ladies, today is the day to reflect on the special women in your life who have helped you get to where you are today.  Reach out and verbally share your gratitude.  In prayer, in words, in a hand written note, a card, an email, text, blog post, facebook post,  twitter feed … Honor the amazing acts of feminine heroism that has been the wind beneath your wings, and also, honor yourself.

I will never forget the words of my baby nurse, Anne Smith when I delivered my first child.  “Isn’t it amazing how giving birth changes who we are as women?”  From that moment onward, day after day, my feelings of being a woman have grown stronger.

To my Mom, grandmothers, aunts, cousins, friends, sister-in-laws, nieces, daughters, colleagues, coaches, energy healers, mid-wife, nurses and audience … thank you.  I wouldn’t even be one tenth of who I am today without your love, lessons and support.

Happy Women’s Day!!

a)    Our Canadian theme for IWD, 2013 is Working Together: Engaging Men to End Violence against Women 
b)    My charity of choice is the Nipissing Transition House.  Donations are appreciated.  Read more about how you can help.
c)    More research and video from



Love is something you DO

Valentine’s Day isn’t just for lovers.  It’s a day to celebrate your love for all people, including your family and your work family.  Traditionally we buy cards, flowers, chocolate, even dinner in restaurants to show people how special they are to us and how much we appreciate them.

There are other ways to show love, and it only requires taking action.

Love  is something you do.  It’s the small and big things: the random acts of kindness, surprises, extra support, smiles, conversations, pats on the back, compliments, patience, kind thoughts, compassion, and many other acts of doing something for someone else.

Read 10 ways that you can love people and strengthen your team at work this Valentine’s Day week.  I guarantee you that these respectful ways of appreciating others, or working together as a more cohesive team will deliver results long after the occasion has passed.

Forward this to a co-worker and get the whole office on the band wagon of doing good things for each other.  I would love to hear your stories, so please comment on how you’ve used love to enhance your team’s bonding this week.

Sending you all BIG love, and appreciation for your readership, frequent comments and encouragement.


Do You Give & Receive the Gifts that Matter Most?

When I stop to really think about the gifts that mean the most to people, I think of the gifts of connection, wisdom, acceptance, understanding, compassion and love.  For example, when we believe in someone, see them for who they are, and understand them to a point of feeling compassion and unconditional love we are truly giving them the gift of our love.  That is the gift that people seek beneath the materialism of good gestures and presents at this time and any time of year: to be loved, noticed, heard, understood, and felt.

Are you able to truly receive the gifts that other people bring to you, or are you too busy finding their short falls and what they are not giving to you?

Be present with people this year, rather than just giving presents (gifts).  Read my December article, Presence or Presents to find out how.

Be blessed this Holiday season, and treasure the gifts that matter most.


Honouring a Leader

We lost one of the world’s great human beings, July 16th, 2012. Stephen Covey’s impact on the world is said to be “incalculable” and his influence will continue to touch the lives of millions of people for many years.

Stephen was a mentor to me; his teachings are reflected in so much of my written material and curriculum that I don’t think I ever deliver a training session, keynote speech or mentoring session without mentioning his name and recommending his books.

One of the activities from his wildly successful book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, I remember vividly as one that shifted me permanently.  He asks you to sit quietly and imagine you are at a funeral, sitting at the back of the church.  Watching your friends, family, colleagues and community members enter the church you come to a growing awareness that it is YOUR funeral.  Four people stand up to deliver a eulogy about you: one from your family, one of your friends, one from your workplace and one from your community.  What would you want them to say about you?  Write it down, and then live your life that way.

On the fundamental principal that the most important thing is to get a clear understanding of what your life is about, and create a personal mission statement, Covey also taught about mastering interdependence, (relationships with others) and how to use your time very effectively.

Dr. Stephen Covey founded the Covey Leadership Center, which merged with Franklin Quest in 1997 to form FranklinCovey Co, a company famous for their day planners & time management tools to help people get organized & productive.

Only in his 79th year, he died from complications of a brain injury after falling from his bicycle.  This certainly teaches all of us that we do not have time to waste.  Life is fragile, and can end at any minute.  How do you want to spend it? Plan it, and live it every day.

I chose Covey as a mentor, because I saw him as a man who was truly who he said he was, on and off stage.  His mission was not to entertain people, rather to really make a difference, and he lived it himself.  He was consistent with his message in his personal and professional life, which proves the power in personal planning.

May you make time to plan and stay true to your mission,


I invite you to learn more about this amazing man, and to internalize his wonderful work in his books:

  • The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (which sold more than 20 million copies in 38 languages)
  • First Things First
  • Principle-Centered Leadership
  • The 8th Habit: From Effectiveness to Greatness
  • The 3rd Alternative


Receivers Make More Money

I received this email from, Bob Harrison International Ministries, and wanted to pass on the message to my blog readers.

In the NFL, free agency is bringing big paydays for receivers.

National Football League wide receiver Vincent Jackson just signed a five-year contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for $55 million. Wide receiver Pierre Garcon is joining the Washington Redskins and will be paid $42 million over the next five years.

In the professional football arena, the ones who appear to be making the big money are the receivers. However, in life, that is not the case. Based upon many years of personal observation, I have noticed that people who experienced supernatural breakthroughs and continued blessings were not those who were focused on receiving. Rather, it was those who were focused on giving.

Throughout the Bible this life-principle is revealed. For instance in Proverbs it states…”The liberal person shall be made rich; and he that watereth shall be watered himself.” (11:25) In Galatians, the Apostle Paul wrote about this key to increase stating…”he that soweth bountifully shall also reap bountifully.” (9:6b)

I have seen numerous times where this cause-and-effect relationship has taken place. Sometimes the breakthrough has happened over time. Other times it has happened almost instantaneously.

Such was the case with Reverend Silas Malafaia of Brazil. Years ago, he felt inspired to take his teachings about God’s delivering power on the television airwaves. Needing $100,000 to purchase television equipment, he started a special fund for that purpose.

While at a meeting, he felt God directing him to give all that was in that account ($10,000) to another person’s ministry. He put the check in an envelope, walked up front and placed it in the offering.

Before he got back to his seat, a lady came up to him and said, “God just told me to give your ministry $50,000.” Then a minister handed him a note stating…”I am sending you $40,000.” Within 24 hours, he had his $100,000. Today, Pastor Silas has the biggest television ministry in the country of Brazil.

Years ago, best-selling author and noted speaker Norman Vincent Peale summed up this phenomenon when he stated…

“Giving creates a magnetic force field that attracts money.”

Might your breakthrough be on the other side
of a change of focus?

“The liberal person shall be made rich.” Proverbs 11:25a

Marley & Me

8 Life Lessons from a Good Old Dog

8 Life Lessons from a Good Old Dog

My dog Marley taught me 8 great lessons in her amazing life.  Today I am honouring her by sharing what she taught me.

What if we could live our days as authentic people, real and true to ourselves and our loved ones?   How would our lives be different if we could be patient and trust that everything is exactly as it should be?  How much more efficient would our lives be if we were obedient to the rules that have been established for the safety of ourselves and others?  What kind of family or work environment could we create if we gave one hundred percent of ourselves in service, and received from others what they have to offer us?   How can we be more loyal to the hand that feeds us?   What kind of love could we experience if we placed no conditions on people?

Valentine’s Day is a day to remember those who touch our hearts, and those who help shape us to be who we are.   Marley made my world a better place and I bless the time we shared and the lessons you taught me – just by being YOU.

Read my latest article, a tribute to my loyal golden retriever.

Karen’s Story – Give with a Heart of Gratitude

I personally have experienced the give and grow rich principal many times and it has nothing to do with chasing the almighty dollar. Its an attitude and an awareness about gratitude and love.

One thing that my Dad taught our family about abundance is very basic: Give with a heart of gratitude and you will be showered in blessings.  No matter how difficult the customer or how small the amount he profited, he always treated everyone the same.  My father was a farmer who struggled during the era where there was no insurance for his crops when family farms were totally dependent on the weather.  After 3 years of loss, he sold the farm and started a family business.  This was a transportation business where he built long and lasting relationships.  One of his methods of giving back was to plant a huge garden, which he loved because he could still enjoy growing food while providing for his family.  My Mother could never figure out why “he planted enough food to feed all of huron county”. He had two large gardens where he spent his spare time (many hours) tending to vegetables and he even grew cantelope and watermelons.  We knew he gave away produce to the neighbours but we didn’t know how much he gave, until he passed away.  At his wake, many people appeared and we had no idea who they were. There were families that came in gratitude and told us that they loved our Dad because of his generosity and he basically kept their family from starving.  We were told many stories of how my Dad had made up care packages of fresh produce, packages of meat (as he never lost his love of raising livestock) and distributed them to low income families in the war time housing on the base. He often would leave the food on their doorstep and the family knew it was from “Earl”.  Needless to say, when the priest spoke of my father’s genuine love and generosity, there wasn’t a dry eye in the church.  My father was not interested in wealth, he only wanted to provide a loving and secure home for his family and to enjoy his hobbies.  His whole approach to give and grow rich was being rich in the love from his family and friends and knowing that some of his small acts of human kindness would make a difference in other peoples lives.  When I return home to visit my family, I often drive around the neighbourhood on the old air-force base and think of my Father and the families who’s loads were a little lighter due to these wonderful acts of human kindness.  My Dad was the epitome of “give and grow rich”.