The customer's perception is your reality.

Kate Zabriskie, trainer and designer - Business Training Works
How to see Negative Feedback in a Positive Light

How to see Negative Feedback in a Positive Light

Posted by martin.parnell |

Everyone loves a happy customer and the way we know if a customer is happy is from feedback. This may come in the form of written feedback, a passing comment or just the fact that they come back and use your company over and over again. We all love positive feedback, apart from making us feel good, it lets us know we’re on the right path and we’re doing things well and this is especially pleasing if it comes from customers. 

After all, we all strive to give our best and we know that a happy customer will most likely stay with you and give you repeat business. 

However, even in a perfect world, you really can’t please all of the people all of the time and nobody likes having an unhappy customer. The good thing is, if you are made aware of a reason why a customer is less than happy, at least it gives you the opportunity to do something about it. 

Complaints from customers should not be ignored, but dealt with as quickly as possible. It’s better to nip things in the bud rather than let them fester and grow into something that becomes a greater issue. 

Also, they should be used to identify areas in your business that might be improved. Of course, some complaints may seem trivial, but to the persons making them they are of importance. Peoples’ standards vary and what may seem perfectly acceptable practice to one, may not be to another. 

Bill Gates, Co-Founder of MICROSOFT, once said “Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning”. 

We should learn not to be afraid of a complaint and see it as a sign that we are failing, but be glad that a customer has taken the time to make their feelings known. They could so easily just take their business elsewhere and you would be none the wiser as to the reason why. If a customer complains, it is probably a sign that they wish to continue using your services but in one particular instance they are not happy with your product or service. 

If you do receive a complaint, try not to become defensive, rather, thank the customer for bringing the issue to your attention. If you do receive a complaint, ensure that colleagues, employees and your immediate boss are aware that there has been an issue, this will be valuable information that they too can act upon. It would not look good if the same issues kept arising. 

If you resolve an issue with a customer, do make a point of checking back with them, at a later date, to ensure they were fully satisfied with the outcome. It’s a good idea to have a process by which customers can offer feedback, both positive and negative. You might like to have a space on your website or send out emails to customers asking for their degree of satisfaction with your product and service. 

Some people can be reluctant to complain and so you might consider doing an anonymous customer survey. This will give them the opportunity to give honest feedback without any embarrassment. It may mean that you cannot resolve issues on a personal level, but at least it may bring to your attention certain issues that you were unaware of and enable you to rectify them. It could be that several people will raise the same issues. 

We all see our businesses in a certain light and we hope our customers see us in the same way. It’s important that we make every effort to ensure that is the case and customer feedback can go a long way to making that happen.

About the Author

Martin Parnell is the Best-Selling author of MARATHON QUEST and RUNNING TO THE EDGE and his final book in the Marathon Trilogy, THE SECRET MARATHON-Empowering women and girls in Afghanistan through sport, was released on October 30th 2018. He speaks on having a “Finish the Race Attitude – Overcoming Obstacles to Achieve Your Full Potential” and has written for, or been covered by CNNBBCCBCThe Huffington Post, The Globe and Mail, The National Post, Runners World, Men’s Journal, Canadian Business, and Maclean’s.

In a five year period, from 2010 to 2014, Martin completed 10 extreme endurance “Quests” including running 250 marathons in one year and raising $1.3m for the humanitarian organization Right To Play. In 2016 he ran the Marathon of Afghanistan in support of Afghan women and girls running for equality. Find out more about Martin at www.martinparnell.com  and see what he can do for you in the long run.

Read More

It’s very hard to have ideas. It’s very hard to put yourself out there, it’s very hard to be vulnerable, but those people who do that are the dreamers, the thinkers and the creators. They are the magic people of the world.

Amy Poehler, Actress and Author
Sharing Ideas - How to get Comfortable Outside your Comfort Zone

Sharing Ideas - How to get Comfortable Outside your Comfort Zone

Posted by martin.parnell |

I was recently presenting a workshop on how to implement a Strategic Plan. As part of an exercise, I asked the participants to come up with discussion ideas for goal setting and action plans. Some of the attendees were very forthcoming, but others less so. I think there were two reasons for this. Firstly, they may simply have not had any ideas come to them, at that moment in time, but, secondly, I realise that some people are not comfortable articulating ideas aloud. 

I’ve been thinking about, why some people might find this type of exercise intimidating or perhaps think their ideas are not worth a mention. Contributor, Gabi Mostert, addresses this issue in a post Too Many Creatives Still FeelScared To Share Their Ideas, on thecampaign US website, March, 2018. and suggests these reasons as to why:

“We’re scared that they’re not good enough. We’re scared that if someone else adds to the idea, it’s not 100% ours anymore. We’re scared of negative feedback and sometimes we’re scared of those people stealing our ideas.”

In her article, Mostert is addressing the “creatives” in industry. But, reading it, I feel the content applies to many areas of business. Whether you are working in marketing, sales, IT or any branch of business, changes are constantly being made, with the aim of improving production and, therefore someone has to come up with ideas in order to make progress happen. So, what to do if you have an idea? Mostert speaks to this question and offers this advice:

“Every time you discuss your work with people, you get better at your job. You get better at articulating your ideas and selling them. In that way, when you present them you’ve had a bit of practice along the way.

Sharing ideas leads to a natural exchange, which makes people feel valued and opens a door for them to share their ideas with you. The more minds that come together from all different backgrounds, the better the chances of coming up with new and exciting work.”

This is why it’s important to get your ideas out in the open. Test your ideas on different people outside the workplace, they can often give a different perspective. They may be able to see the pitfalls and positives in a different way to the people you work with. No matter whom you share your ideas with, listen to all their feedback. Well- considered feedback can be invaluable and remember that if someone pitches an idea to you, it’s important you give genuine, thoughtful, constructive feedback to them.

As far as being confident in business is concerned, I did some further research and found some tips on the Entrepeneur website, from guest contributor, Anka Wittenberg. In her piece entitled:  7 Ways to Help Boost Your Confidence at Work,   August, 2015, Wittenberg tells us:

 “Building confidence does not require a complete personality overhaul. Instead, you can take smaller steps to become more self-assured and boost your confidence.” She then recommends some key actions you can take, in order to address the issue:

Push yourself out of your comfort zone.

Volunteer for a project that will help you build new skills. Apply for a job that feels like a stretch but matches your interests. Sign up to present or speak at an event and tackle your fear of public speaking head-on. 

Visualize what you want as a first step to meeting a new challenge.

For example, see yourself in the role you want to achieve. Golfers are routinely advised to picture where the ball should travel as part of their swing. By imagining yourself in the job you want, you can create that vision for those around you, too. Give yourself a head start by getting into character. Want to take an executive role? Be sure to dress, talk, and act like an executive.

Assess your competencies.

Write down all of the skills you bring to the table right now. Don’t forget to include broader talents that can help your organization succeed -- now and in the future.

Create your own environment.

Instead of moving on when a workplace doesn’t meet your needs, reshape it through your actions. Work with your team in a way that feels true and honest, sharing your competencies with complete confidence. In doing so, you will brand yourself within your organization and begin to attract people with similar values to your team. As your team expands to include more people with your mindset, your environment will evolve to one where you want to work.

Have others instil confidence in you.

People who are able to cut through bureaucracy and make decisions quickly are rewarded for having the confidence to get the job done. According to a study from Knowledge@Wharton and SAP, 62 percent of business leaders say they are overburdened with complicated process and this inhibits productivity and performance. Raise your hand to tackle a few of these projects. Once your peers recognize that you are a problem solver, they will instil confidence within you. Having others reinforce this belief will help you realize your potential. 

 Be the change you wish to see.

Once you’ve taken steps to build your own confidence, don’t forget to give someone else a hand up. Through peer coaching, you can partner with others to create a positive change.

Choose someone who works closely enough to see you in action. Each week, give positive feedback to one another on the strengths that you have each displayed. By refusing to accept self-critical behavior and helping one another to erase blind spots, you can enhance one another’s confidence. Better yet, you’ll be helping your peer advance her prospects while liberating talent that will benefit your organization. 

Of course, the reluctance to share your ideas may come down to a matter of personal confidence, or low self-esteem, rather than the ideas themselves. Here are selected extracts from an item Chris W. Dunn in Entrepeneur Magazine September 2016, “10 Things You Can Do to Boost Self-Confidence”, that may help:

“Visualization is the technique of seeing an image of yourself that you are proud of, in your own mind. When we struggle with low self-confidence, we have a poor perception of ourselves that is often inaccurate. Practice visualizing a fantastic version of yourself, achieving your goals.

Affirmations are positive and uplifting statements that we say to ourselves. These are normally more effective if said out loud so that you can hear yourself say it. We tend to believe whatever we tell ourselves constantly. For example, if you hate your own physical appearance, practice saying something that you appreciate or like about yourself when you next look in the mirror.

To get your brain to accept your positive statements more quickly, phrase your affirmations as questions like, “Why am I so good in making deals?” instead of “I am so good at making deals.” Our brains are biologically wired to seek answers to questions, without analyzing whether the question is valid or not.

Some of the harshest comments that we get come from ourselves, via the "voice of the inner critic." If you struggle with low self-confidence, there is a possibility that your inner critic has become overactive and inaccurate.

Strategies like cognitive behavioral therapy help you to question your inner critic, and look for evidence to support or deny the things that your inner critic is saying to you. For example, if you think that you are a failure, ask yourself, “What evidence is there to support the thought that I am a failure?” and “What evidence is there that doesn’t support the thought that I am a failure?”

Find opportunities to congratulate, compliment and reward yourself, even for the smallest successes. As Mark Twain said, “[A] man cannot be comfortable without his own approval.”

Too many people are discouraged about their abilities because they set themselves goals that are too difficult to achieve. Start by setting yourself small goals that you can win easily.

Once you have built a stream of successes that make you feel good about yourself, you can then move on to harder goals. Make sure that you also keep a list of all your achievements, both large and small, to remind yourself of the times that you have done well.

Instead of focusing only on “to-do" lists, I like to spend time reflecting on “did-it" lists. Reflecting on the major milestones, projects and goals you’ve achieved is a great way to reinforce confidence in your skills.

Helping someone else often enables us to forget about ourselves and to feel grateful for what we have. It also feels good when you are able to make a difference for someone else.

Instead of focusing on your own weaknesses, volunteer to mentor, practically assist or teach another, and you'll see your self-confidence grow automatically in the process.

Self-confidence depends on a combination of good physical health, emotional health and social health. It is hard to feel good about yourself if you hate your physique or constantly have low energy.

Make time to cultivate great exercise, eating and sleep habits. In addition, dress the way you want to feel. You have heard the saying that “clothes make the man.” Build your self-confidence by making the effort to look after your own needs.

Learn to say no. Teach others to respect your personal boundaries. If necessary, take classes on how to be more assertive and learn to ask for what you want. The more control and say that you have over your own life, the greater will be your self-confidence.

People with low self-confidence see others as better or more deserving than themselves. Instead of carrying this perception, see yourself as being equal to everyone. They are no better or more deserving than you. Make a mental shift to an equality mentality and you will automatically see an improvement in your self-confidence.”

Hopefully some of these strategies will help. We all have experience and knowledge which we can apply to formulating ideas and we should not be afraid to use these skills in order to share them.

About the Author

Martin Parnell is the Best-Selling author of MARATHON QUEST and RUNNING TO THE EDGE and his final book in the Marathon Trilogy, THE SECRET MARATHON-Empowering women and girls in Afghanistan through sport, was released on October 30th 2018. He speaks on having a “Finish the Race Attitude – Overcoming Obstacles to Achieve Your Full Potential” and has written for, or been covered by CNNBBCCBCThe Huffington Post, The Globe and Mail, The National Post, Runners World, Men’s Journal, Canadian Business, and Maclean’s.

In a five year period, from 2010 to 2014, Martin completed 10 extreme endurance “Quests” including running 250 marathons in one year and raising $1.3m for the humanitarian organization Right To Play. In 2016 he ran the Marathon of Afghanistan in support of Afghan women and girls running for equality. Find out more about Martin at www.martinparnell.com  and see what he can do for you in the long run.

Read More

Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.

Thomas Merton - American Trappist monk, writer and poet.
How to be Inspired and Channel your Inner Artist

How to be Inspired and Channel your Inner Artist

Posted by martin.parnell |

According to the National Day Calendar, January 31st is Inspire Your Heart with Art Day. Art is valued and appreciated for all sorts of reasons. Of the broad spectrum of art created in the world, the pieces that move us to tears or laughter can remain with us for a lifetime. Your Heart with Art Day encourages us to explore the many genres of art and let them inspire us. This is a time to ponder how art affects your heart. 

I know there are certain pieces of music that can make me want to get up and dance and others that can bring tears to my eyes. Some tunes remind me of my youth and others of people I’ve known. There are many books, both fiction and non- fiction that have had a profound effect on me. I enjoy visiting museums and art galleries where I’m often intrigued by some of the pieces that qualify as art. 

It’s good to try new things and so, on my last trip to Cuba I took my wife to the National Ballet to see their rendition of Don Quixote – it was a wonderful performance. I was amazed at the strength and athleticism of the dancers. I would definitely go to another ballet. 

I love to listen to Italian opera singer, songwriter, and record producer, Andrea Bocelli. Celine Dion has said that "If God would have a singing voice, he must sound a lot like Andrea," and record producer, David Foster, often describes Bocelli's voice as the most beautiful in the world. I was lucky enough to see Andrea Bocelli, in a one-night-only concert, in Las Vegas and both my wife and I were greatly moved by his magnificent voice. I’ve never been to an opera, but intend to do so in the near future. 

The calendar makes suggestions as to how we might observe this National day:

  • Visit an art gallery.
  • Read a good book.
  • Listen to music.
  • Attend a ballet performance
  • Start your masterpiece.
  • Teach someone how to play an instrument.
  • Attend an art lecture.
  • Explore a new technique.
  • See an inspirational film.
  • Share your art with others.  

You may not get around to doing most of these on January 31st. but maybe you could put some of them on your “to do” list for the coming year. You might even consider creating your own piece of art, alone or with a friend or family member. In the words of essayist, Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Every artist was first an amateur”

About the Author

Martin Parnell is the Best-Selling author of MARATHON QUEST and RUNNING TO THE EDGE and his final book in the Marathon Trilogy, THE SECRET MARATHON-Empowering women and girls in Afghanistan through sport, was released on October 30th 2018. He speaks on having a “Finish the Race Attitude – Overcoming Obstacles to Achieve Your Full Potential” and has written for, or been covered by CNNBBCCBCThe Huffington Post, The Globe and Mail, The National Post, Runners World, Men’s Journal, Canadian Business, and Maclean’s.

In a five year period, from 2010 to 2014, Martin completed 10 extreme endurance “Quests” including running 250 marathons in one year and raising $1.3m for the humanitarian organization Right To Play. In 2016 he ran the Marathon of Afghanistan in support of Afghan women and girls running for equality. Find out more about Martin at www.martinparnell.com  and see what he can do for you in the long run.

Read More

O bliss of the collector, bliss of the man of leisure! Of no one has less been expected and no one has had a greater sense of well-being than... a collector.

Walter Benjamin – German Jewish Philosopher
How Building a Collection can be Good for Mind and Spirit

How Building a Collection can be Good for Mind and Spirit

Posted by martin.parnell |

The other day, I received a belated Christmas card from a cousin, in Australia. On the envelope was a very attractive Christmas-themed postage stamp. It reminded me of the stamp album that belonged to my Grandfather and was passed down to me when I was a schoolboy.

Unfortunately, it must have been mislaid during one of my many moves, as I no longer have it. The collecting of postage stamps is related to philately, which is the study of stamps and you may know someone who has, at some time collected stamps, as a hobby.

 I wondered if stamp collecting is still popular and whether or not the use of email and the diminishing of letter writing has affected this hobby. Well, according to lifestorage.com, stamps are one of the most collected items. Others include: comic books, coins and currency, vinyl records, classic cars, trading cards, dolls and toys, wine, fine art and jewellery.

Which led me to think about how other hobbies may have been influenced by changing times. I know some of the toys my siblings and I played with, as children, would now be highly-valued. Many things have become collector’s items due to their increasing scarcity, others due to their novelty factor. I know people who collect various objects, from theatre programmes to beer mats, old cameras to thimbles snow globes to blue glass bottles. 

The only thing I now collect are the number bibs from the various races I have completed. Fortunately, these can be put into a ring binder and only take up a small amount of shelf space. Tom Hanks, however, collects typewriters and has written a book about them. In 2017, he said “I probably have 250 plus typewriters in my collection, I would say 90 percent of them are in perfect, working order.”

I was interested to read an article on theodysseyonline.comJune 2017, that gives reasons as to support collecting things as a pastime, entitled Why Collecting Things Is A Good Hobby,.  

“For centuries, collecting has been a favourite hobby for many. When describing the definition of collecting as a hobby it includes locating, acquiring, seeking, cataloguing, organizing, maintaining and storing objects that are important to the collector. Plus the ranges of items that can be collected are infinite. In addition, collecting things is a good hobby and is very beneficial academically.”

Other parts of the article go on to explain some reasoning behind this, for example:

 “Often writers and artists are inspired by certain objects, walks on the beach often correlate with collecting items such as shells or driftwood which can lead to the creation of works of art.

Collecting certain items requires sorting items into categories or groups. Prime examples are coins and stamps. Organizing and categorizing skills are useful in many areas of academics like research work, studying for exams and large work projects.

The collecting of certain items can make history fun and exciting and give you an appreciation for art as well as increasing a person’s knowledge of history, politics and geography.”

Also, you may have to actively go and search for the items you collect. It may mean you have to make contact with others in order to acquire certain items. There may be a group of enthusiasts who share the same hobby as you. I wonder what items you might collect and what is their appeal?

Do you know someone who collects objects that were once considered commonplace, everyday items? Which items that are everywhere today but could become collector’s items for future generations?

You may not even collect objects, perhaps your passion is gathering experiences, like tackling challenging hikes, running a series of races, visiting certain places.

Whether it’s building a collection or some other hobby, it’s good to have an interest outside of your regular, everyday experiences. It expands the mind and can, in certain circumstances, lead to meeting people and being proactive.

Whatever your hobby, I hope it gives you as much pleasure as stamp collecting obviously did for my Granddad.

About the Author

Martin Parnell is the Best-Selling author of MARATHON QUEST and RUNNING TO THE EDGE and his final book in the Marathon Trilogy, THE SECRET MARATHON-Empowering women and girls in Afghanistan through sport, was released on October 30th 2018. He speaks on having a “Finish the Race Attitude – Overcoming Obstacles to Achieve Your Full Potential” and has written for, or been covered by CNNBBCCBCThe Huffington Post, The Globe and Mail, The National Post, Runners World, Men’s Journal, Canadian Business, and Maclean’s.

In a five year period, from 2010 to 2014, Martin completed 10 extreme endurance “Quests” including running 250 marathons in one year and raising $1.3m for the humanitarian organization Right To Play. In 2016 he ran the Marathon of Afghanistan in support of Afghan women and girls running for equality. Find out more about Martin at www.martinparnell.com  and see what he can do for you in the long run.

Read More

Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.

How to Look After Yourself and Look After One Another

How to Look After Yourself and Look After One Another

Posted by martin.parnell |

I was looking through some documents and came across a series of notes I’d made for a presentation I was to give to Cochrane Town Council, during their Health and Safety week. The title of my talk was “Look After Yourself, Look After One Another.”

I was aiming to convey the importance of taking care of your own  health, both mind and body as well  the well-being of those around you, whether those people be at home or in the workplace.

Reading them through, I realised that the messages I was sending are still as relevant today as they was then. For that reason, I thought I would use the headings as a basis for this week’s blog:

Look After Yourself

H - Healthy minds are as important as healthy bodies.

E- Eat a well-balanced diet, everything in moderation.

A- Achieve your goals, one step at a time.

L- Listen to your body.

T- Take time for yourself and learn to relax.

H- Help yourself and you’ll be helping those you love.

Look After One Another

S- Set an example in the workplace, by following guidelines.

A- Actions by you will affect others, so think of your co-workers.

F- Follow your instincts and use your initiative.

E- Experience counts, pass on your knowledge.

T- Teach your family safe practices, both in and outside of the home.

Y- You can make a difference!

All are important aspects to consider, but I’d like to concentrate on two specific areas.

The first is mental health. Fortunately, people are becoming increasingly aware of how mental wellness is as important as physical wellness and I’d like to share some suggestions from the UK’S Mental Health Foundation as to how to improve mental well-being:

1) Talk about your feelings

Talking about your feelings can help you stay in good mental health and deal with times when you feel troubled.

2) Keep active

Regular exercise can boost your self-esteem and can help you concentrate, sleep, and look and feel better. Exercise keeps the brain and your other vital organs healthy, and is also a significant benefit towards improving your mental health.

3) Eat well

Your brain needs a mix of nutrients in order to stay healthy and function well, just like the other organs in your body. A diet that’s good for your physical health is also good for your mental health. 

4) Drink sensibly

We often drink alcohol to change our mood. Some people drink to deal with fear or loneliness, but the effect is only temporary. When the drink wears off, you feel worse because of the way the alcohol has affected your brain and the rest of your body. Drinking is not a good way to manage difficult feelings.
Drink in moderation.

5) Keep in touch

There’s nothing better than catching up with someone face to face, but that’s not always possible. You can also give them a call, drop them a note, or chat to them online instead. Keep the lines of communication open: it’s good for you!

6) Ask for help

None of us are superhuman. We all sometimes get tired or overwhelmed by how we feel or when things don’t go to plan. If things are getting too much for you and you feel you can’t cope, ask for help. Your family or friends may be able to offer practical help or a listening ear. Local services are also there to help you.

7) Take a break

A change of scene or a change of pace is good for your mental health. It could be a five-minute pause from cleaning your kitchen, a half-hour lunch break at work, or a weekend exploring somewhere new. A few minutes can be enough to de-stress you. Give yourself some ‘me time’.

8) Do something you’re good at

What do you love doing? What activities can you lose yourself in? What did you love doing in the past? Enjoying yourself can help beat stress. Doing an activity you enjoy probably means you’re good at it, and achieving something boosts your self-esteem

9) Accept who you are

We’re all different. It’s much healthier to accept that you’re unique than to wish you were more like someone else. Feeling good about yourself boosts your confidence to learn new skills, visit new places and make new friends. Good self-esteem helps you cope when life takes a difficult turn.

10) Care for others

‘Friends are really important… We help each other whenever we can, so it’s a two-way street, and supporting them uplifts me.’ Caring for others is often an important part of keeping up relationships with people close to you. It can even bring you closer together.

As this is, primarily a blog aimed at the field of business, my other area of emphasis is on the workplace.

In 2017 Julie Copeland CEO of Arbil, recognised that “The foundation of any successful workplace safety effort is one that encourages employees to identify unsafe behaviors and opportunities for improvement while also making well-informed safety decisions during daily routine tasks” and went on to post, on their website, “Top 10 workplace safety tips every employee should know.”

1) Be aware of your surroundings

This step requires knowing the particular hazards of your job or workplace. Once you’ve learned these risks, you are able to keep clear of potential hazardous areas, and potential hazardous situations. Also, always be alert of machinery.

2) Keep correct posture to protect your back

If you work at a desk, keep your shoulders in line with your hips to avoid back problems. If you’re picking things up, use correct form so your back doesn’t get hurt. Avoid stooping and twisting. If possible, always use ergonomic designed furniture and safety eqiupment so everything you need is within easy reach.

3) Take regular breaks

So many work-related injuries and illnesses occur because a worker is tired, burned out and not alert to their surroundings. Taking regular breaks helps you stay fresh on the job. One trick to staying alert is to schedule the most difficult tasks when your concentration is best, like first thing in the morning.

4) Use tools and machines properly

Take the proper precautions when using tools, and never take shortcuts. Taking shortcuts is one of the leading causes of workplace injury. It’s a huge safety risk to use scaffolding as a ladder or one tool in place of another for a specific job. Using tools the right way greatly reduces the chance of workplace injury.

5) Keep emergency exits easily accessible         

In case of an emergency, you’ll need quick, easy access to the exits. It’s also recommended to keep clear access to equipment shutoffs in case you need to quickly stop them from functioning.

6) Report unsafe conditions to your supervisor

Your supervisor needs to be informed about any workplace safety hazards or risks. They are legally obligated to ensure their employees have a safe working environment and will take care of the unsafe conditions and make them safe for you and your coworkers. 

7) Use mechanical aids whenever possible

Instead of attempting to carry or lift something that’s really heavy in an attempt to save a sliver of time during your workday, take the extra minute to use a wheelbarrow, conveyor belt, crank or forklift. Too many injury risks are involved with trying to lift something that weighs too much.

8) Stay sober

Around three percent of workplace fatalities occur due to alcohol and drugs. When a worker’s ability to exercise judgment, coordination, motor control, concentration or alertness is compromised, this leads to any number of risks for workplace injury and fatalities.

9) Reduce workplace stress

Stress can lead to depression and concentration problems. Common causes of workplace stress include long hours, heavy workload, job insecurity and conflicts with coworkers or managers. Take your concerns about workplace stress to your supervisor to see how they might help you address them.

10) Wear the correct safety equipment

If you’re not wearing the correct safety equipment for a task, you may get injured. Depending on the job, equipment like earplugs, earmuffs, hard hats, safety goggles or a full-face mask greatly reduce the risk of workplace injury.

Keeping safe and well is important because if we don’t it can have an impact on not only ourselves but those around us, both at home and at work. Some illnesses and accidents may be unavoidable, but if we try to be vigilant and actively work to take care of ourselves and others, at least we know we’ve given it our best shot.

About the Author

Martin Parnell is the Best-Selling author of MARATHON QUEST and RUNNING TO THE EDGE and his final book in the Marathon Trilogy, THE SECRET MARATHON-Empowering women and girls in Afghanistan through sport, was released on October 30th 2018. He speaks on having a “Finish the Race Attitude – Overcoming Obstacles to Achieve Your Full Potential” and has written for, or been covered by CNNBBCCBCThe Huffington Post, The Globe and Mail, The National Post, Runners World, Men’s Journal, Canadian Business, and Maclean’s.

In a five year period, from 2010 to 2014, Martin completed 10 extreme endurance “Quests” including running 250 marathons in one year and raising $1.3m for the humanitarian organization Right To Play. In 2016 he ran the Marathon of Afghanistan in support of Afghan women and girls running for equality. Find out more about Martin at www.martinparnell.com  and see what he can do for you in the long run.

Read More

We all need people who will give us feedback. That’s how we improve.

Bill Gates
Why Asking for Feedback in the Right Way is of Most Value

Why Asking for Feedback in the Right Way is of Most Value

Posted by martin.parnell |

Last Thursday, I attended the monthly meeting of the Cochrane Public Library Book Club. The members had read my latest book, The Secret Marathon and I was invited to go and speak to them about the book, the upcoming movie of the same name and to answer their questions. 

For me it was an enlightening experience. Usually, I meet people at book signings and other events where I am selling my books and the purchasers have not yet had a chance to read them. 

At the book club, I was hearing what people thought of the book, its contents, the layout and how the chapters from different contributors enhanced the story. I also heard about what things might have been added e.g. a map of the area in which the story occurs. I heard about which aspects of the book resonated most with people and which ones gave them most food for thought. I listened to suggestions and comments which will be of great value if the publisher should choose to opt for an updated version. 

I was delighted to hear that some people had been affected, emotionally, some had been inspired to take action and others had learned things they had not previously been aware of. 

All of the comments and observations were invaluable to me. They gave me an insight into how a diverse group of people perceived my work. It made me realize how important it is to ask for feedback. 

However, for some people that may be a little intimidating. If you ask for feedback, you would hope to get some constructive criticism, i.e. valid and well-reasoned opinions about your work, usually involving both positive and negative comments, in a friendly manner rather than an oppositional one. 

In the workplace, it is important to find out how others evaluate your work and services, whether they be employees, colleagues, bosses or clients. The important thing is the way you go about asking for feedback and ensuring it is going to be valuable and help you improve. 

About the Author

Martin Parnell is the Best-Selling author of MARATHON QUEST and RUNNING TO THE EDGE and his final book in the Marathon Trilogy, THE SECRET MARATHON-Empowering women and girls in Afghanistan through sport, was released on October 30th 2018. He speaks on having a “Finish the Race Attitude – Overcoming Obstacles to Achieve Your Full Potential” and has written for, or been covered by CNNBBCCBCThe Huffington Post, The Globe and Mail, The National Post, Runners World, Men’s Journal, Canadian Business, and Maclean’s.

In a five year period, from 2010 to 2014, Martin completed 10 extreme endurance “Quests” including running 250 marathons in one year and raising $1.3m for the humanitarian organization Right To Play. In 2016 he ran the Marathon of Afghanistan in support of Afghan women and girls running for equality. Find out more about Martin at www.martinparnell.com  and see what he can do for you in the long run.

In an article in the Harvard Business Review, December 2014, entitled How To Ask ForFeedback That Will Actually Help You, Peter Bregnam recommends you take these steps, in order to help others provide the sort of feedback that would be of most value: 

Be clear that you want honest feedback. Let people know they’re doing you a favor by being truthful. “Don’t be nice,” you can tell them. “Be helpful”. Explain that you want to get the most out of the conversation, and it won’t work if they hold back. 

Focus on the future. Ask what you can do better going forward as opposed to what you did wrong in the past. When you ask people what you can do to be more effective in the future, they tend to be more honest. 

Probe more deeply. Don’t just ask once. Give people multiple opportunities to give you real feedback, to increase the chances they’ll feel comfortable doing so. It can be helpful to ask about specific situations — for example, what could you have done better in a particular meeting? 

Listen without judgment. Try not to judge any feedback you receive, whether it’s positive or negative. Thank people for being honest with you and let them know that you find their observations and opinions helpful. If they think that you really want the truth and you won’t react poorly to negative feedback, they’ll be more willing to be completely honest. If you get defensive about anything, they’ll stop and be polite. 

Write down what they say. This tactic accomplishes two things. A little silence communicates that you’re taking feedback seriously and it gives those offering it time to think about what else they might say. Often they’ll volunteer a second — and very important — thought while waiting for you to finish writing. 

I was most grateful to the members of the book club for their honesty and insight. I learned a lot about what really resonated with a group who are avid readers and are happy to share their opinions. 

If you are an author, I would suggest you seek out your local book clubs and offer to go and speak about your work, if they were to put your latest book on their reading list. Not only is it a unique way to get feedback, but it gives the members a chance to meet the author and put questions to them in person. For me, it turned out to be a most enjoyable and worthwhile experience.

Read More

Alice: How long is forever? White Rabbit: Sometimes it’s just one second.

Lewis Carroll – Alice in Wonderland
How Giving Up Time can Change your Life for the Better

How Giving Up Time can Change your Life for the Better

Posted by martin.parnell |

As its New Year’s Day, I wasn’t planning on posting a blog but an item on a recent radio program put a thought into my head and I’d like to share it with you. Radio listeners were invited to call in and say what they aim to give up, for their New Year’s Resolutions. 

Usually, when people think of giving things up,  at this time of year, they talk about those things that are generally regarded as bad for them e.g. too much alcohol, smoking, sweet or fatty foods etc. 

I was thinking, what if we tried to give up something that is very precious to most of us? I’m talking about time. I’m sure if you take a look at yourself, your friends, family and colleagues you’ll find most of them lead busy lives. Juggling things like work, housework, childcare, shopping, social activities, exercise, visiting friends and family................ The list goes on and it all takes time. 

But, what if we made a real effort to give up just a few minutes a day to ourselves? To escape into the pages of a good book, to enjoy a soak in the bath or take a short nap. There are so many things that just take a few minutes but can be of benefit to our well-being. We could also try and use some time as a chance to benefit someone else. 

You could call someone you haven’t spoken to in a while, make sure you have time to read that bedtime story to your child or make the time to listen to what your partner has to say about their day. I’m sure you could come up with your own ideas as to how you could spend those precious minutes. But, just like giving up anything, it can be challenging. 

However, it’s something that can prove to be positive and if it becomes a habit, nobody’s going to complain about that. It’s funny how, once you make the effort to find time to do the little things, it can grow into finding more time for bigger things in your life. 

You may find you have an hour or two you could spare. This can be great for doing those extra things with family and friends, but also do think about volunteering. That’s something you could perhaps do together and is invaluable to those seeking support.

 However many spare minutes you may find in your busy day, I hope you’ll look back on them as time well spent. 

Happy New Year to one and all.

About the Author

Martin Parnell is the Best-Selling author of MARATHON QUEST and RUNNING TO THE EDGE and his final book in the Marathon Trilogy, THE SECRET MARATHON-Empowering women and girls in Afghanistan through sport, was released on October 30th 2018. He speaks on having a “Finish the Race Attitude – Overcoming Obstacles to Achieve Your Full Potential” and has written for, or been covered by CNNBBCCBCThe Huffington Post, The Globe and Mail, The National Post, Runners World, Men’s Journal, Canadian Business, and Maclean’s.

In a five year period, from 2010 to 2014, Martin completed 10 extreme endurance “Quests” including running 250 marathons in one year and raising $1.3m for the humanitarian organization Right To Play. In 2016 he ran the Marathon of Afghanistan in support of Afghan women and girls running for equality. Find out more about Martin at www.martinparnell.com  and see what he can do for you in the long run.

Read More

Even beyond that sphere, the number 12 is ever-present. From a dozen eggs to the 12 ribs on the average human to the 12 inches that comprise a foot.

CBC News - Dec 12, 2012
On the First Day of Christmas, I Thought it was the Twelfth!

On the First Day of Christmas, I Thought it was the Twelfth!

Posted by martin.parnell |

If you’ve been out and about during the past few weeks, whether it be in stores, restaurants, cafes etc. you’ll have been aware of the tendency for the playing of Christmas music. One song that I have heard several times is The Twelve Days of Christmas. I must confess, I always thought this related to the last twelve days leading up to Christmas day itself. But I was wrong.

Apparently, the 12 days of Christmas is the period that in Christian theology marks the span between the birth of Christ and the coming of the Magi, the three wise men. It begins on December 25 (Christmas) and runs through January 6 (the Epiphany, sometimes also called Three Kings' Day).

Nevertheless, whether you relate it to the early days of the holiday or after 25th. it is still associated with the Christmas period. Now, as those of you who regularly read my blogs will know. I do enjoy taking a titbit of information and looking for a way I can relate it to business practices.

However, try as I might, I couldn’t think of anything to replace those seven swans a-swimming, let alone those 10 lords a-leaping. So, I decided to take a different tack and concentrate on that number 12.

Lo and behold, I found an article on the Job-Interview-Site entitled: The Qualities of a good Employee which “lists and discusses the 12 top qualities an employee has to possess.” Perfect! 

Now all you and I have to do is concentrate on one of these for each of the 12 days of Christmas and try to ensure that we put them in to practice each day of our working lives. 

Here they are: 

1. Communicator: Employers love to hire employees who have the ability to communicate well and express themselves in a clear manner, whether in writing or speaking. Inaccurate/inappropriate communication between employees can cause many problems to the company.

2. Self-Motivated: A good employee never hesitates taking responsibility or a more responsible position. They are also ready to work beyond the call of duty in order to meet goals or to solve problems, even if the job in discussion is not one of the regular works she or he is usually assigned.

3. Hard worker: There is no substitute to hard work. Although everyone seems to say that they work hard not many keep on working after being at the job for a while. So, one has to keep reminding oneself about the importance and significance of working hard as an employee.

4. Adaptable/decisive and effective learner: Employees who know how to adjust themselves to new environment, willing to learn new things (quick learners) and perform their best in changes are likely to be the best performers in any organization.

5. Team Player: Many companies consist of teams. Any company requires an effective team effort. An employer who can contribute is an ideal worker. Someone who is like a fish in the water (of the organization), who can perform well in a team will become a factor sooner or later.

6. Helping others: everyone appreciates a helping hand every now and then. Do not hesitate in helping out others. This make the person establish friendly relations with the coworkers and keeps the office running smoothly which in turn is appreciated by the employers.

7. Honesty: A good employee is honest about his/her work and qualifications. Self-criticism and willing to receive feedback (bad as good) is essential to become a good learner.

8. Ethical: Work rules are made to be followed. There is decorum of every place that ought to be kept. A good employee follows the policies of the company and inspires others to do so too.

9. Give credit where it is due: One of the most prevalent practices doing the rounds in offices today is stealing the credit of a job well done. A good employee will not only truthfully let the right co-worker have her credit but also share her own accolades with his team.

10. Polite: Being friendly and approachable will never harm. A good employee greets her co-workers a ‘good morning’, says little courteous things like ‘thank you’ and ‘you are welcome’. These things may appear insignificant but go a long way in establishing the person as favorite employee.

11. Disciplined and punctual: Every boss loves a punctual, disciplined and conscientious employee. Time is money. Coming late to office, taking unnecessary breaks, procrastinating and leaving earlier than the usual hours cost money to the company. No employer will ever appreciate this.

12. Avoid gossip: The person should always remember that she came to the office to work, to make a career. Do not spread office gossip or rumors. Respect the privacy of the co-workers. Safeguard and protect the confidential nature of office business and transactions.

I won’t be posting a blog for the next two weeks, as its Christmas and New Year’s days. I’d like to take this opportunity to wish you and yours all the very best for the holidays, wherever and however you may be spending them and all the very best for 2019.

About the Author

Martin Parnell is the Best-Selling author of MARATHON QUEST and RUNNING TO THE EDGE and his final book in the Marathon Trilogy, THE SECRET MARATHON-Empowering women and girls in Afghanistan through sport, was released on October 30th 2018. He speaks on having a “Finish the Race Attitude – Overcoming Obstacles to Achieve Your Full Potential” and has written for, or been covered by CNNBBCCBCThe Huffington Post, The Globe and Mail, The National Post, Runners World, Men’s Journal, Canadian Business, and Maclean’s.

In a five year period, from 2010 to 2014, Martin completed 10 extreme endurance “Quests” including running 250 marathons in one year and raising $1.3m for the humanitarian organization Right To Play. In 2016 he ran the Marathon of Afghanistan in support of Afghan women and girls running for equality. Find out more about Martin at www.martinparnell.com  and see what he can do for you in the long run.

Read More

Even though being a good speller has lost its ranking in school, we can hope there is one group of artisans that still finds spelling important…the tattoo artist.

Nanette L. Avery - Author
K is for Knowing When you can Help

K is for Knowing When you can Help

Posted by martin.parnell |

You may well have heard of the best-selling book P Is for Pterodactyl: The Worst Alphabet Book Ever, written by Raj Haldar and Chris Carpenter and illustrated by Maria Beddia. Published on November 13 2018, it takes an amusing look at the way so many of the rules of spelling the English language are broken. 

The New York Times described it as "A raucous trip through the odd corners of our alphabet." And, according to Foreword Reviews, STARRED Review, it enables us to "Explore the many quirks and anomalies of English spelling and pronunciation in an A-to-Z tribute to some of the most unconventional words in the lexicon.” 

Having browsed through some of the pages, It really does make you realise how difficult the English language is when it comes to learning to read or write it. It gives wonderful examples e.g: T is for Tsunami, K is for knight, G is for gnat etc. It made me consider how tricky it must be if someone is trying to enter the workplace when they come here from other countries and English is not their first language. I wondered if there is a way that, as work colleagues, we might help. 

I spoke to my wife, Sue, as she was an elementary school teacher and has taught hundreds of young children to read and write. She told me that when it comes to these anomalies, you have to forget about  the rules, like vowels in syllables, the silent “e”, consonant diagraphs and blends etc. because there are certain words that just have to be learned individually as none of the rules apply. 

She did say that telling  her pupils that to think of the letter “Y” as an extra  vowel sometimes helped and making list of words that didn’t follow the rules and have them on display was a useful visual aid. But she admitted, that’s not something that would really be appropriate in the workplace. Then she reminded me of something some friends of ours did, which helped the husband with his spelling and better command of the English language, when he arrived in Canada from Tanzania and was looking to gain employment. 

Every evening they would play Scrabble. They allowed themselves 9 tiles, as opposed to the usual 7, so that they could complete the game more quickly and it really helped him in reading, writing and most of all, spelling. If you have colleagues who need help with spelling, why not spend part of your lunch break over a game of Scrabble or maybe invite a group to a Scrabble evening in your home? 

If you do know someone who could use a little help with their spelling, here’s an article you may want to share with them. Entitled 19 Practical and Fun Ways to Improve at English Spelling, it was published inJuly 2014 by Oxford Royale Academy. 

“English is often cited as one of the hardest languages to learn, and one of the aspects that gives it this reputation for being tricky is its spellings.

English spellings are full of contradictions and exceptions, meaning that it’s sometimes difficult to apply logic when you’re unsure how a word should be spelled. For example, the word “phone” sounds as though it should begin with an ‘f’, and the word “knock” doesn’t sound as though it should have a ‘K’ at the beginning. The shortcuts can seem few and far between when you’re trying to learn spellings by rote, but a combination of plain old repetition and the tips and tricks in this article should help you make rapid progress.

1. Learn the rules

Because of its aforementioned exceptions, learning the rules of English spellings may be easier said than done, but you can at least start to identify common patterns and combinations of letters so that you can begin to guess how a word might be spelled. These could include common endings such as “-een”, “-ough”, and “-tion”, words beginning with a silent K or G, and even homophones (words that sound the same but have different meanings and/or spellings).

2. Learn the exceptions to the rules

Once you’ve learned a rule, make sure you also learn its exceptions. For example, an oft-quoted rule is “I before E except after C”. This is not universally applicable, however, so you’ll need to learn the exceptions to avoid tripping up, such as “weird” and “height”. Unfortunately, there’s no easy way to learn these exceptions – it’s a matter of being aware of them, trying to remember that a word may not conform to the rule you’ve learned, and memorising the words that don’t.

3. Crosswords and code words

Puzzles are a good way to make your brain work harder and improve your general knowledge, but they’re also a good way to improve your spelling. Crosswords give you a series of clues that you must fit into overlapping horizontal and vertical boxes, while code words look similar to crosswords, but involve working out which numbers stand for what letters (meaning that you have to make deductions based on known recurring letters, such as words ending in “-ing”). If you get the spelling wrong in either a crossword or a code word the other words won’t fit, so it’s a good idea to have a dictionary beside you.

4. Watch English television with subtitles

You can get better at spelling without even realising it by learning while you’re watching television in English. Simply switch the subtitles on and you’ll see how the words you’re hearing should be spelled. They’ll be moving too fast for you to make notes, but you’ll learn through osmosis, and this will help you identify instances in which a word you’ve written “just doesn’t look right” – so you can then look it up to find the correct spelling.

5. Read

Another fun way of learning spelling without even realising it is to read plenty of things in English. Simply being exposed to English words on a regular basis will help new spellings sink in and improve your vocabulary, but reading things you enjoy will make it much easier to absorb this new information. You could start by trying to read the English version of a book you already know and love in your own language, as the plot and characters will already be familiar to you, freeing up some of your mental capacity to concentrate on unfamiliar spellings. Then you could introduce even more English into your daily reading by keeping up to date with English-language magazines and newspapers, or news websites.

6. Mnemonics

Memory aids – or mnemonics – are a useful way to help you remember trickier spellings, although if you try to remember too many of them you’ll probably end up confusing yourself. When it comes to memory aids, the simpler and more memorable, the better. For example, you could remember the word “separate” by reminding yourself that it has “a rat” in it. Another mnemonic helps you remember how to spell the word “piece”: “a piece of pie”. And yet another helps you with “hear” (as opposed to “here”) – you “hear with your ear”. You could even make up a little song to help you with particularly difficult spellings. You probably learnt the letters of the alphabet using a tune when you were little, so you could try a similar approach by setting the letters of a difficult word to music to help the spelling stick in your mind.

7. Break it down into syllables

For longer words, it can sometimes be helpful to break the word into syllables to help you remember the spelling. Many people get confused with the word “several”, for example, because it looks and sounds similar to “separate”. We’ve already seen how to remember “separate”, but you could remember “several” by breaking it down into “sev-ER-al”. “Desperate” is another tricky one because it sounds as though it should be spelt in the same way as “separate”, but breaking it into syllables helps you remember that it’s “desp-ER-ate”.

8. Word of the day emails

Word of the day emails are useful for learning new words, but they can also help you learn spellings. Such emails are generally geared towards helping you learn more unusual words – words that most British people don’t even know – but there are some dedicated to learners, such as this English \learner’s Word of the Day from Merriam-Wester, which teaches you the various meanings of words and the contexts in which they can be used, as well as the spelling and pronunciation (click on the red audio symbol to hear it spoken). Collect your Word of the Day emails in a dedicated folder on your computer so that you can look back over them, or add each new word to a Post-It note and stick it to your mirror so that you see the new words when you’re getting ready to go out each morning.

9. Spelling competitions with friends

Do you know anyone else who’s learning English? If so, why not challenge them to a spelling competition? Take it in turns giving each other a word to spell and you’d be surprised how much this cements your knowledge. The competitive element will make it more fun, as well as helping things sink in more easily. You could start by each making a list of the spellings you find trickiest, using a dictionary to help you compile the list if necessary; then try to learn them by heart, and finally swap lists to test each other.

10. Online spelling quizzes

If you don’t have a friend to hand who’s willing to have a spelling competition with you, you could instead try one of the plethora of online spelling quizzes to put your spelling skills to the test. Here’s one example from The Guardian, but if you Google “spelling quiz”, you’ll find plenty more. Don’t forget to look for the correct spellings of any you got wrong, and perhaps make a note of them for future reference.

11. Don’t rely on the spellchecker for the answer

Spellcheckers may not find all the errors, as they won’t pick up things you’ve spelt incorrectly but that are still valid words. For example, you might have written “four you” instead of “for you”, which is incorrect but still won’t register with the spellcheck because “four” is still a word. Similarly, you might try writing a word, see that red squiggly underline and get the spellchecker to correct it for you – but it might not be correcting it to the word you intended!

12. Put posters and flashcards up in your room

A quick search of Google images for “English vocabulary poster” reveals hundreds of posters designed to help you get to grips with English vocabulary, and these will also help you learn the spellings. If there are certain spellings you’re particularly struggling with, you could even try making your own poster for tricky spellings. Put it up in your room and study it for a few minutes each day. Try covering up each of the spellings and attempt to recall them without looking.

13. Writing spellings out several times

It sounds dull, but one tried and tested method of learning spellings is to write a word down several times. You can look at the original word for the first two or three times, then cover them up and try to write the word again two or three more times without looking at your previous attempts. Sometimes there’s no substitute for such repetition when learning spellings, boring though it may seem at the time!

14. Learn plural versions

Learning the plural version of a word sadly isn’t as simple as adding an ‘S’ to the end of a word. You can get better at spelling plurals by learning rules for the different plural versions of words, which vary depending on the ending of a word and its origins. For example, the plural of the word “berry” isn’t “berrys”, it’s “berries”, and the plural of the word “knife” isn’t “knifes” (“knifes” is the third person present tense form of the verb “to knife”), it’s “knives”. This handy article from Oxford Dictionaries will help you learn the rules.

15. Get the pronunciation right

Sometimes, mispronouncing words can lead to spelling errors, because you try to spell the word in the way you think it sounds. Many English people are guilty of this too, so don’t despair if you find yourself doing it! For example, many people think that the word “espresso” – the coffee – is pronounced “expresso”, and spell it as such, or that the word “clique” is pronounced and spelled “click”. Even if the pronunciation is correct, it can still land you in trouble. For example, some people struggle to spell “Wednesday” because it’s pronounced “Wensday”. In this example, the tip we mentioned earlier about breaking it into syllables may prove useful: “Wed-nes-day” might be easier to remember than the word as a whole.

16. Write lots

We’ve already recommended reading regularly earlier in this article, but writing regularly in English is important too. If you don’t use the spellings you learn, you’ll quickly forget them. Look for opportunities to write in English, such as writing letters to British friends, blogging, or writing essays in English. Look up any spellings you’re not sure of as you go along. The more you use the words you’ve learned, the more confident you’ll become.

17. Don’t read bad English

Internet forums and social networking sites are a hotbed of poor spelling and grammar, so frequenting English-language sites like these will do you as much harm as good. People make less effort with spelling and grammar when they’re on the internet, and pick up bad habits from other users, perpetuating common spelling errors and creating new ones. If you’re trying to learn English and get better at spelling, it can seem a good idea to hang out on English-speaking sites and chat to English-speakers, but in fact you may end up learning incorrect spellings without even realising it. So, try to limit your exposure to English to high-quality written sources, such as newspapers, magazines and books.

18. Keep a notebook of spellings

Keeping ongoing notes will help you see how far you’ve progressed. Every time you encounter a word you find difficult to spell, jot it down in a notebook. This gives you a quick reference guide of spellings you know that you personally find hard to remember, and it’s probably going to be quicker than trying to find the word in the dictionary”.

Some great tips that reinforce the idea that although English spelling can seem a struggle at times there’s no need to despair. The more a person is exposed to English, the more they’ll learn, and the easier it will become and, as a friend or colleague, you can help them in the process.

About the Author

Martin Parnell is the Best-Selling author of MARATHON QUEST and RUNNING TO THE EDGE and his final book in the Marathon Trilogy, THE SECRET MARATHON-Empowering women and girls in Afghanistan through sport, was released on October 30th 2018. He speaks on having a “Finish the Race Attitude – Overcoming Obstacles to Achieve Your Full Potential” and has written for, or been covered by CNNBBCCBCThe Huffington Post, The Globe and Mail, The National Post, Runners World, Men’s Journal, Canadian Business, and Maclean’s.

In a five year period, from 2010 to 2014, Martin completed 10 extreme endurance “Quests” including running 250 marathons in one year and raising $1.3m for the humanitarian organization Right To Play. In 2016 he ran the Marathon of Afghanistan in support of Afghan women and girls running for equality. Find out more about Martin at www.martinparnell.com  and see what he can do for you in the long run.

Read More

You will never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.

John C. Maxwell - Author
Can Carrots on Tuesdays help you Focus?

Can Carrots on Tuesdays help you Focus?

Posted by martin.parnell |

As someone who works as an author and speaker my days are pretty varied. For most of the time I work alone and the rest of my days are spent making individual and conference calls or going to meetings with clients. My speaking engagements are usually in the evenings and my writing can be done wherever I happen to be, as long as I have my computer. Most days, I can fit in my running and other exercise and don’t even have to leave the house. I don’t have a set routine. 

But, for some people having a set routine is essential to getting their work done. It helps them prioritise and avoids procrastination. They can determine times of day when they are most productive and by keeping to a routine it relieves the mental stress of when to do certain tasks. 

However, there are people who take having a routine to another level. A recent article, posted by staff on the Love Money website, entitled  The world’s most successfulpeople's surprising workplace habits tells us about some company leaders who have quite diverse routines which helps them concentrate on their work. These include what they wear, what they eat and other little idiosyncrasies. 

Here are just a few of them: 

Many top bosses choose to simplify their work day by opting for a 'uniform'. Fashion designer Michael Kors, for instance, likes to sport the same style of black crewneck sweater every day. Other successful people who appear to wear the same clothes to work every day include Mark Zuckerberg, Segway inventor Dean Kamen, Chanel creative director Karl Lagerfeld and director/producer Christopher Nolan. 

Dr. Anna Akbari, the founder of sociologyofstyle.com,  keeps things simple by eating the exact same breakfast and lunch every day, which helps her free up time for more important decision-making. The late Steve Jobs had a similar approach and would often eat the same foods for weeks on end. At one time, the Apple CEO's skin reportedly turned orange from eating too many carrots. 

Jack Dorsey, the Twitter co-founder and CEO of Square, works ridiculously long hours but manages his time super-effectively by theming his days. Monday is Dorsey's management day for instance, while Tuesday is devoted to product development. 

Mark Parker, the CEO of Nike, has a little trick to ensure he's using both sides of his brain during brainstorming sessions, meetings and so on. The sportswear boss uses a notebook in which he devotes pages on the left-hand side to formal business note-taking and the right-hand pages to sketch whimsical creative doodles. 

Dan Brown, bestselling author, has a unique way of coming up with ideas when he's working on his novels. The Da Vinci Code writer hangs upside down. Brown is a big fan of so-called 'inversion therapy' and believes he comes up with his best story ideas while hanging precariously on his trusty inversion table. 

Although many successful CEOs will mull over ideas while sitting comfortably at their desks, Virgin boss Richard Branson likes to walk around to generate his best ideas. Branson's way of working is actually backed up by science. A study conducted by Stanford University researchers in 2014 found that people's creative output increased by 60% when they were walking.” 

I’m not suggesting you change your wardrobe or eating habits and I, for one, have no intention of trying to work while the blood drains to my head, but there is one idea that may prove more accessible to those of you in positions where you have people in your employ: 

According to the same article, “Flipping the conventional hierarchy on its head, one of the biggest names in technology today,  SendGrid CEO, Sameer Dholakia is an advocate of 'servant leadership'. Coined by business guru Robert K. Greenleaf, servant leadership is all about sharing power, being humble and putting the needs of others first.” 

This obviously works for Dholakia as he is one of the tech world's most admired bosses with a 98% approval rating on Glassdoor, a website where employees and former employees anonymously review companies and their management."

Nat Berman, on the Money Inc. website, writes, in his article “10 Things You Didn’t Know about Sameer Dholakia”,  SendGrid culture revolves around the four H’s – Happy, Hungry, Honest, and Humble. Though Dholakia has stated that “Humble” is his favorite H, he protects all of company culture. He even calls himself a Chief Cultural Officer, and views the preservation of company culture as one of the main jobs of the CEO.

Another of Dholakia’s traits that we all might try to emulate, he “Strives for a Balanced Life. The days of a CEO are incredibly busy and he travels all over the country. Of course, he also has a family that he must devote some time to. This is why he picks out a few activities to do with his kids, and sets aside an uninterrupted time to do so. This helps him renew his focus for when he returns to the grind of being a CEO.” 

So, whether you work alone or with others, lead a company or are just starting out, having a balanced life is one routine we can all strive for, whichever way we achieve it.

About the Author

Martin Parnell is the Best-Selling author of MARATHON QUEST and RUNNING TO THE EDGE and his final book in the Marathon Trilogy, THE SECRET MARATHON-Empowering women and girls in Afghanistan through sport, was released on October 30th 2018. He speaks on having a “Finish the Race Attitude – Overcoming Obstacles to Achieve Your Full Potential” and has written for, or been covered by CNNBBCCBCThe Huffington Post, The Globe and Mail, The National Post, Runners World, Men’s Journal, Canadian Business, and Maclean’s.

In a five year period, from 2010 to 2014, Martin completed 10 extreme endurance “Quests” including running 250 marathons in one year and raising $1.3m for the humanitarian organization Right To Play. In 2016 he ran the Marathon of Afghanistan in support of Afghan women and girls running for equality. Find out more about Martin at www.martinparnell.com  and see what he can do for you in the long run.

Read More

The volume of your impacts is measured by the direction of your movements, the passion with which you inspire and the attitudes by which you make an influence!

Israelmore Ayivor - Author and inspirational blogger
Challenge your Business to Make an Impact on the World

Challenge your Business to Make an Impact on the World

Posted by martin.parnell |

Today, November 27th. was the birthday of  both film actor and martial artist, Bruce Lee and musician Jimi Hendrix. Whether or not you were fans of theirs, one cannot deny that they made a memorable impact on the world of entertainment.

Sadly, neither are still with us and neither is someone else born on this day, whose work had a significant contribution to the world. I am referring to Swedish astronomer, physicist and mathematician Anders Celsius.

Celsius was born in Uppsala, Sweden on November 27th 1701. In 1730, Celsius was the first to suggest a connection between the aurora borealis and changes in the magnetic field of the Earth.   He founded the Uppsala Astronomical Observatory in 1741, and in 1742 proposed the Celsius temperature scale which bears his name. In 1725 he became secretary of the Royal Society of Sciences in Uppsala, and served at this post until his death from tuberculosis in 1744. 

These men worked in very different fields, but each made an impact on the times in which they lived. When I look at the world today, it is interesting to consider those men and women who are making an impact, both diverse and wide-ranging, and will probably be remembered for their work in years to come. 

I’m sure we could all name some in politics, the arts, sport and other areas.But I am going to focus on businesses where people are making a big difference. 

I looked at the Inventshift website and found an article by Kerry Needs, posted on November 28th. 2016, entitled “Conscious business: 10 social enterprises that are making a lasting impact”.  Needs chose these particular organisations as they are “making some serious noise in the world, and changing the lives of thousands of people worldwide.”

I have chosen five of them to share with you:

TOMS

TOMS was created in 2006 when Blake Mycoskie befriended children in a village in Argentina and found they had no shoes to protect their feet. Wanting to help, he created TOMS, a company that would match every pair of shoes purchased with a pair of new shoes given to a child in need, creating their famous ‘One for One’ mantra. So far, TOMS has given 60 million pairs of shoes to children in need.

Charity: water

Charity: water is a social enterprise that allows access to clean, safe drinking water for developing countries. Scott Harrison, a former club promoter, decided to solve one of the world’s biggest problems - that there are 663 million people on the planet that don’t have access to clean water. Charity: water have recently developed their own virtual reality film, The Source, with more than 10,000 people viewing the premiere.

Envirofit

Envirofit is less than 15 years old, but has revolutionised the developing world by changing the way energy products are developed. With a goal of improving harmful traditional cooking methods, Envirofit innovated a product line of aesthetic, high performance cookstoves tailored to the needs of customers. Envirofit improves fuel use by up to 60% and reduces carbon emissions by 80%, a benefit that is now serving over 5 million people worldwide.

Terracycle

Terracycle has become a leading force in the recycling industry, by transforming hard to recycle waste. They do this by reusing, recycling or upcycling the products, instead of using it for landfill or incinerating it. They partner with brands around the world to offer free recycling programs, and then use the money for charitable projects. To date, 63 million people in 20 countries have helped to collect and recycle enough waste to raise over 15 million dollars for charities around the world, and Terracycle has won over 200 social enterprise awards worldwide.

d.Light

d.Light was founded by Ned Tozun and Sam Goldmun in 2004 after Sam witnessed a teenager get badly burnt by a kerosene lamp in Africa. d.light is a global leader in solar power, having sold more than twelve million solar light and power products in 62 countries, and is improving the lives of over 65 million people. Their aim now is to reach 100 million by 2020.

Of course, for many people in the workforce, they are not in a position to make a change that will have a global impact or that will reverberate around the world.

But, it is worth looking at your business and see if there is even a small step you could take towards improving things for those around you. It’s from thinking of ideas that might improve things on a small scale that ideas for a wider impact can grow. What simple action can you take? How could it benefit a wider group? Do you consult others with regard to making improvements?

It’s surprising how inventive people can be when asked. Who knows from where or from whom the next great idea might come? An idea that will not only be of benefit now, but have a lasting impact on the lives of many.

About the Author

Martin Parnell is the Best-Selling author of MARATHON QUEST and RUNNING TO THE EDGE and his final book in the Marathon Trilogy, THE SECRET MARATHON-Empowering women and girls in Afghanistan through sport, was released on October 30th 2018. He speaks on having a “Finish the Race Attitude – Overcoming Obstacles to Achieve Your Full Potential” and has written for, or been covered by CNNBBCCBCThe Huffington Post, The Globe and Mail, The National Post, Runners World, Men’s Journal, Canadian Business, and Maclean’s.

In a five year period, from 2010 to 2014, Martin completed 10 extreme endurance “Quests” including running 250 marathons in one year and raising $1.3m for the humanitarian organization Right To Play. In 2016 he ran the Marathon of Afghanistan in support of Afghan women and girls running for equality. Find out more about Martin at www.martinparnell.com  and see what he can do for you in the long run.

Read More

The Right To Play Red Ball is a symbol for the power an individual can have in inspiring and mobilizing a community.

Johann Olav Koss, Norwegian Olympian and Humanitarian
Acknowledging Those who Inspire can Lead You to be an Inspiration

Acknowledging Those who Inspire can Lead You to be an Inspiration

Posted by martin.parnell |

It may come as a surprise to many, as it did to me, that yesterday, November 19th. was International Men’s Day. Celebrated in over 70 countries, Men's Day was conceived on February 8th 1991 and inaugurated in 1992. The longest running celebration of International Men's Day is Malta, where events have occurred since February 7th 1994. 

According to Wikipedia, "The Six Pillars of International Men's Day, include focusing on men’s and boys’ health, improving gender relations, promoting gender equality, and highlighting male role model. It is an occasion to highlight discrimination against men and boys and to celebrate their achievements and contributions, in particular for their contributions to community, family, marriage, and child care. The broader and ultimate aim of the event is to promote basic humanitarian values.” 

When I read this, it got me thinking about some of the people I have met who have held up these values and there is one, in particular, I would like to mention:      Johann Olav Koss.

At the 1992 Olympic Winter Games in Albertville, Koss won the gold medal in the men’s 1,500 m and a silver in the men’s 10,000 m. Two years later at the 1994 Olympic Winter Games in Lillehammer, Koss won three gold medals, setting world records in the men’s 1,500 m, 5,000 m and 10,000 m events.

In 1992, the Lillehammer Olympic Organizing Committee launched Olympic Aid, a humanitarian program created to support children in war torn countries. In 1993, Koss traveled, as their ambassador to the country of Eritrea in northern Africa.

Koss dominated the 1994 Olympic Winter Games in Lillehammer, and donated $30,000 to Olympic Aid. In an emotional press conference, he asked his fellow Norwegian Olympic teammates to donate as well. In all, he received $18 million from the Norwegian people over the next 10 days.

Koss returned to Eritrea in 1994, bringing a planeload full of sports equipment (over 10 tonnes). Although he was criticized at first by the Norwegian press for bringing soccer balls to a country in need of basic necessities, Eritrean president Isaias Afwerki thanked him: “This is the greatest gift we have ever received. For the first time, we are being treated like human beings — not just something to be kept alive. For the first time, my children can play like any child.”

On 19 December 1994, having retired from speed skating, he was named a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, as the organization’s “special representative for sports.”

In 2000, living in Toronto, he took over Olympic Aid from the Lillehammer Olympic Organizing Committee and moved the organization to Toronto. Koss transitioned Olympic Aid from what was essentially a “fundraising vehicle” to an international non-governmental organization (NGO), renaming it Right To Play and was the chief executive officer  from 2000 to 2015.

 By the time he retired as CEO, the organization was running programs in 19 countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America, North America and the Middle East. With over 300 volunteer athlete ambassadors from more than 40 countries, as well as a staff of specially trained coaches, the organization uses play to educate and empower over a million children, using play and sports, both inside and outside the classroom.

Right To Play focuses on quality education, life skills, health, gender equality, child protection and building peaceful communities. In addition to working with children, Right To Play advocates with parents, local communities and governments to advance the fundamental rights of all children.

I have been privileged to meet Johann, through my work as an athlete ambassador and fundraiser for Right To Play. Hearing him speak passionately about the power of sport as a way to educate has been a great inspiration.

Of course, there is a long list of men who have had a positive influence on me from childhood, to the present day. Some have been on a personal level and some through business or my fundraising activities.

Whatever gender you may be, please take a moment to consider the men who have had a positive effect on your life and, if you have the chance, tell them.

Best of all, think of ways you can incorporate the “The Six Pillars of International Men's Day,” into your personal and business lives and become an inspiration to others.

About the Author

Martin Parnell is the Best-Selling author of MARATHON QUEST and RUNNING TO THE EDGE and his final book in the Marathon Trilogy, THE SECRET MARATHON-Empowering women and girls in Afghanistan through sport, was released on October 30th 2018. He speaks on having a “Finish the Race Attitude – Overcoming Obstacles to Achieve Your Full Potential” and has written for, or been covered by CNNBBCCBCThe Huffington Post, The Globe and Mail, The National Post, Runners World, Men’s Journal, Canadian Business, and Maclean’s.

In a five year period, from 2010 to 2014, Martin completed 10 extreme endurance “Quests” including running 250 marathons in one year and raising $1.3m for the humanitarian organization Right To Play. In 2016 he ran the Marathon of Afghanistan in support of Afghan women and girls running for equality. Find out more about Martin at www.martinparnell.com  and see what he can do for you in the long run.

Read More

Art and science have so much in common- the process of trial and error, finding something new and innovative, and to experiment and succeed in a breakthrough.

Peter M. Brant - American industrialist, art collector and philanthropist.
From War Hero to Nobel Prize winner, Discover the Artist in the Man

From War Hero to Nobel Prize winner, Discover the Artist in the Man

Posted by martin.parnell |

This past weekend, people across Canada have been commemorating the lives of those who fought, died and still serve in the armed forces. November 14th. is the anniversary of the birth of a well-known Canadian who was not only a pioneer in medical research, but also a war hero. 

According to his biography, as posted on The Nobel Prize website: “Frederick Grant Banting was born on November 14, 1891, at Alliston Ont. He was the youngest of five children of William Thompson Banting and Margaret Grant. Educated at the Public and High Schools at Alliston, he later went to the University of Toronto to study divinity, but soon transferred to the study of medicine. In 1916 he took his M.B. degree and at once joined the Canadian Army Medical Corps, and served, during the First World War, in France. In 1918 he was wounded at the battle of Cambrai and in 1919 he was awarded the Military Cross for heroism under fire. 

When the war ended in 1919, Banting returned to Canada and was for a short time a medical practitioner at London, Ontario. He studied orthopaedic medicine and was, during the year 1919-1920, Resident Surgeon at the Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto. From 1920 until 1921 he did part-time teaching in orthopaedics at the University of Western Ontario at London, Canada, besides his general practice, and from 1921 until 1922 he was Lecturer in Pharmacology at the University of Toronto. In 1922 he was awarded his M.D. degree, together with a gold medal.”

However, it was earlier, that Banting had become deeply interested in diabetes. Dr. Charles Best, then a medical student, was appointed as Banting’s assistant, and together, Banting and Best started the work which was to lead to the discovery of insulin, for which he received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for 1923, which he shared with J.J.R Macleod, Professor of Physiology at the University of Toronto,

When the Second World War broke out, he served as a liaison officer between the British and North American medical services and, while thus engaged, he was, in February 1941, killed in an air disaster in Newfoundland.

What caught my interest as I read about Frederick Banting, was not only his experiences in the First World War or achievements in the field of medicine, but the fact that he was an artist of note. I found a detailed post entitled  The determined painter: Sir Frederick Banting by J. Lynn Fraser on the CMAJ website (October 05, 2010) which  gives details about the way in which Banting applied his observational skills as well as his penchant for detail and note taking, as both scientist and physician, to a variety of artistic pursuits. 

Fraser writes: “He had hoped to pursue art full time after his 50th birthday, but died in an airplane crash in Newfoundland at the age of 49. What remains of Banting’s artistic efforts is a legacy of hundreds of paintings and sketches of wilderness scenes, rural and town landscapes and the human form. They demonstrate Banting’s capacity for intense observation and his desire to improve his skills as an artist even under harsh conditions. 

In 1923, Banting stated that “If a man thinks hard enough he can accomplish any rational task.” Banting’s achievements in science, and in art, were founded on hard work and the belief that he could overcome obstacles. In the case of art, the obstacles included learning the necessary skills.” 

We learn that “As a youth he became interested in pyrography, the art of burning images into wood. His great nephew, Bob Banting reports that his uncle made objects from wood throughout his life and was constantly whittling, as well as sketching. Banting began painting water-colours in 1920 to pass the time while waiting for patients. After his scientific success, painting became an escape from the fame and attention that the reticent he disliked so intensely.” 

We are treated to some fine example of Banting’s artwork and Fraser ends by saying: “Banting embraced challenge both in his scientific research and in his art. In both realms his methods were methodical, determined and inspired by a love of discovery. “Scientific research,” Banting said “is nothing more than the endeavour to unfold the secrets of nature. When once the law underlying natural phenomenon is understood, we are placed in a better position to govern those phenomena.”  

Art, like science, was another secret landscape Banting wanted to explore.

About the Author

Martin Parnell is the Best-Selling author of MARATHON QUEST and RUNNING TO THE EDGE and his final book in the Marathon Trilogy, THE SECRET MARATHON-Empowering women and girls in Afghanistan through sport, was released on October 30th 2018. He speaks on having a “Finish the Race Attitude – Overcoming Obstacles to Achieve Your Full Potential” and has written for, or been covered by CNNBBCCBCThe Huffington Post, The Globe and Mail, The National Post, Runners World, Men’s Journal, Canadian Business, and Maclean’s.

In a five year period, from 2010 to 2014, Martin completed 10 extreme endurance “Quests” including running 250 marathons in one year and raising $1.3m for the humanitarian organization Right To Play. In 2016 he ran the Marathon of Afghanistan in support of Afghan women and girls running for equality. Find out more about Martin at www.martinparnell.com  and see what he can do for you in the long run.

Read More

Remember, making mistakes is part of the process. The key to success is to make mistakes quickly, and recover quickly, and keep forging forward.

Kevin J. Donaldson Business Coach and Author
How to be Positive about Making a Mistake

How to be Positive about Making a Mistake

Posted by martin.parnell |

Every day, my wife and I eat our meals sitting at the dining table and enjoying the view across the Bow River. The only exception to this ritual occurs on Saturday mornings, when I’ve been for my long run, soaked in the hot tub and had a shower, whilst my wife cooks up a wonderful full English breakfast.  Along with our mugs of tea, we put our meals on trays and head downstairs to sit by the fire and enjoy one of our favourite pastimes i.e. watching Premiership soccer, from England. 

We are both keen soccer fans and support different teams. Although we love to watch the games, which we prerecord, sometimes, it can be extremely frustrating when you see the chance of a goal wasted, especially if the team you are rooting for loses, as a consequence. Even worse is if a player is unfortunate enough, as we saw in a game last week, to score an own goal! 

However, despite their obvious disappointment, all the players can do is learn from their experience, be gracious in defeat and look forward to the next game. I’m sure there have been times when most of us have  missed that opportunity to do something amazing or made a mistake that has affected an outcome and if not, I’m sure there will come a time when that may happen. But, it’s how we deal with it that really counts. 

Firstly, it’s important to accept your error, owning up to something can be very cathartic. Secondly, instead of dwelling on your mistake, you need to see if there’s a way to put it right. This may be easier said than done, but it’s definitely worth a try. Thirdly, if there’s no way to make things right, you will just have to accept the situation and move on. 

Also, it’s important to learn from your mistake. How would you do things differently? If there is a lesson learned from the mistake, why not share it with others? Not only will it help them from making the same error, but it will let them see that to be at fault isn’t necessarily the worst thing that can happen. 

Of course, if the mistake affects a client, it’s even more important to be up front about it and to show that you are making every possible effort to rectify things.

If you are a leader it is especially important to be upfront about any errors you have made. It shows that it can happen to anyone and can be a chance to discuss ways to fix things and might be a way of allowing employees to help you come up with solutions. 

If, however you have an employee who continually makes the same mistakes, it needs intervention, perhaps additional training and some mentoring. Looking on the bright side, sometimes, a mistake made can lead to some creative thinking, when it comes to fixing the problem. It could even lead to a better way of doing things. Whatever happens, fortunately, it’s not often that a mistake is so devastating that it can’t be rectified and a solution found. Especially if you share the problem and look for support. 

My team may have lost last Saturday, but I’m sure they’ll look at the reruns, identify where they could have done better, rectify their mistakes, bounce back and score that winning goal, in the near future.

About the Author

Martin Parnell is the Best-Selling author of MARATHON QUEST and RUNNING TO THE EDGE and his final book in the Marathon Trilogy, THE SECRET MARATHON-Empowering women and girls in Afghanistan through sport, was released on October 30th 2018. He speaks on having a “Finish the Race Attitude – Overcoming Obstacles to Achieve Your Full Potential” and has written for, or been covered by CNNBBCCBCThe Huffington Post, The Globe and Mail, The National Post, Runners World, Men’s Journal, Canadian Business, and Maclean’s.

In a five year period, from 2010 to 2014, Martin completed 10 extreme endurance “Quests” including running 250 marathons in one year and raising $1.3m for the humanitarian organization Right To Play. In 2016 he ran the Marathon of Afghanistan in support of Afghan women and girls running for equality. Find out more about Martin at www.martinparnell.com  and see what he can do for you in the long run.

Read More

It’s OKAY to be scared. Being scared means you’re about to do something really, really brave.

Mandy Hale, The Single Woman: Life, Love, and a Dash of Sass
How to Embrace Being Scared at Halloween and in Business

How to Embrace Being Scared at Halloween and in Business

Posted by martin.parnell |

This week, people in many countries, including Canada, will be celebrating Hallowe’en. According to Wikipedia: “Halloween or Hallowe'en (a contraction of Hallows' Evening), is a celebration observed in a number of countries on 31 October, the eve of the Western Christian feast of All Hallows’ Day. It begins the three-day observance of Allhallowtide, time in the liturgical year dedicated to remembering the dead, including saints (hallows), martyrs, and all the faithful departed.

On the night of October 31 they celebrated Samhain, when it was believed that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth. In addition to causing trouble and damaging crops, Celts thought that the presence of the otherworldly spirits made it easier for the Druids, or Celtic priests, to make predictions about the future. 

It is widely believed that many Halloween traditions originated from ancient Celtic harvest festivals. Others believe, however, that Halloween began solely as a Christian holiday, separate from other ancient festivals. Traditionally, Halloween activities include trick or treat, attending costume parties, carving pumpkins into jack-o’-lanterns, lighting bonfires, telling scary stories, and watching horror stories.”

 So, what is it that makes people want to dress up in crazy costumes and either scare or be scared? I read a post from the WebMD archives entitled “Why do Thrill Seekers Love Being Scared? “ It explains that “Virtually everyone knows what it's like to feel really scared: A pounding heartbeat. Faster breathing. Nervous perspiration. Butterflies in the stomach.

But whether that fright is caused by watching a nail-biting horror movie, listening to a spine-chilling story, or prowling through a dark-as-night haunted house on Halloween, some people actually revel in feeling frightened.............. Experts believe that it's not uncommon for individuals to push the envelope, seeing how much fear they can tolerate, and ultimately feeling a sense of satisfaction when they're able to endure the anxiety.”

Frank Farley, PhD, psychologist at Temple University, tells us "There's a long history of people being intensely curious about the 'dark side,' and trying to make sense of it. Through movies, we're able to see horror in front of our eyes, and some people are extremely fascinated by it. They're interested in the unusual and the bizarre because they don't understand it and it's so different from our everyday lives."

Farley, former president of the American Psychological Association, has studied people who have what he calls "type T" (thrill-seeking) personalities. These men and women thrive on the uncertainty and the intensity associated with activities that most people consider to be hair-raising -- from riding roller coasters to bungee jumping. According to Farley, “some people enjoy the physical sensations that can accompany being scared -- from the adrenaline rush to the racing heart to the perspiring palms.”

For more than two decades, Glenn Sparks, PhD, has studied the way men, women, and children respond to terrifying images in the media. "Some people have a need to expose themselves to sensations that are different from the routine," he says. "While experiencing a frightening movie may have some negatives, individuals often derive gratification because the experience is different."

Several studies have shown that males like scary films much more than females do. "It's not that they truly enjoy being scared," says Sparks, professor of communication at Purdue University. "But they get great satisfaction being able to say that they conquered and mastered something that was threatening. They enjoy the feeling that they 'made it through.” Quite commonly, at the end of the terrifying movie, an individual may walk out of thetheater with a profound sense of relief, adds Sparks. "He may just be happy that the film is over."

As for children, an event like Halloween can provide an enjoyable and safe way to explore and experience fear, knowing that the goblins and witches stalking their neighborhood are only make-believe. Leon Rappoport, PhD, describes Halloween as something akin to an exorcism, allowing children to work through and release pent-up emotions and anxieties.

"They're being given the license to probe at least the superficial anxieties about magical transformations, which, in the imagination of a child, are not completely foreign," says Rappoport, professor of psychology at Kansas State University. "The experience provides a sort of relief in much the way that an exorcism could be said to do."

Research from David Zald, professor of Psychology and Psychiatry at Vanderbilt University, shows that people differ in their chemical response to thrilling situations. One of the main hormones released during scary and thrilling activities is dopamine, and it turns out some individuals may get more of a kick from this dopamine response than others do. Basically, some people’s brains lack what Zald describes as “brakes” on the dopamine release and re-uptake in the brain. This means some people are going to really enjoy thrilling, scary, and risky situations while others, not so much.” 

In business, things can get scary too. You only have to Google “The Scary side of business” and you will find pages and pages of articles about the scarier aspects of being in business or creating a new one. But there must be a reason why so many people are prepared to confront these issues.  

Perhaps you know someone who thrives on the scarier side of business? The person who will leave things to the last minute, take the extra risk when pitching an idea, push the limit when negotiating a contract? Whether you are involved in business, running your own or thinking of starting a new one, aspects of it can be scary. 

But there may be a positive side, for instance, if it forces you to be more creative, work collaboratively to reach your goal, invent new ways of doing things, perhaps use skills you didn’t know you had. Also, that rush of Dopamine helps in focus and attention. 

None of us can live without encountering some fearful situations but maybe, like those who will be enjoying the spirit of Halloween, we should embrace them and enjoy that rush of Dopamine, though for some, once a year may be enough!

About the Author

Martin Parnell is the Best-Selling author of MARATHON QUEST and RUNNING TO THE EDGE and his final book in the Marathon Trilogy, THE SECRET MARATHON-Empowering women and girls in Afghanistan through sport, is being released on October 30th 2018. He speaks on having a “Finish the Race Attitude – Overcoming Obstacles to Achieve Your Full Potential” and has written for, or been covered by CNNBBCCBCThe Huffington Post, The Globe and Mail, The National Post, Runners World, Men’s Journal, Canadian Business, and Maclean’s.

In a five year period, from 2010 to 2014, Martin completed 10 extreme endurance “Quests” including running 250 marathons in one year and raising $1.3m for the humanitarian organization Right To Play. In 2016 he ran the Marathon of Afghanistan in support of Afghan women and girls running for equality. Find out more about Martin at www.martinparnell.com  and see what he can do for you in the long run.

Read More

Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.

Charles Swindoll, Author
The Pace Bunny of Afghanistan: Supporting Girls in their Quest to Run

The Pace Bunny of Afghanistan: Supporting Girls in their Quest to Run

Posted by martin.parnell |

Arriving in Afghanistan, I was looking forward to running with Zainab, the first Afghan woman to complete a marathon and the person who had inspired me during my recovery from a clot on the brain. However, two days before the race I had been told by Taylor Smith, Program Director for Free to Run, that Zainab had other commitments and would be unable to participate in the race. I was very disappointed. However, I knew there was a large number of Free to Run Afghan girls running their first marathon and I wondered how I could help. 

Then a brain wave hit me, why not be the very first “Pace Bunny” in the Marathon of Afghanistan. I put this to Taylor and she thought it was a great idea. The night before the race I made a set of bunny ears and a time placard. I knew that was going to be an incredibly difficult course. The maximum elevation is over 11,000 feet (3,360m) which means the oxygen level drops from 21% to 13.7%. Also, the course is extremely hilly and the elevation gain / loss over the 42 km is 3,723 feet (1,135m). This would be a challenge for me and the girls. So with the cut off time being 8 hours I made the “pace bunny” time 7 hours. Go Bunny Go. 

The next morning, at the Band e-Amir National Park race start area, I met up with Hassina, Free to Run Kabul Field Officer. She agreed to be my “Assistant Pace Bunny” and pointed to a group of girls who would be running with us. We got together and I gave them a pre-race talk. 

The Start 

There were six other girls, 2 from Bamyan, 2 from Herat and 2 from Kabul and I explained to them that we would let the other runners go ahead. I also explained that as we did this we would shout “Hey Ho, Let’s Go!” They were all very excited. There were speeches from Stephanie Case, founder of Free to Run and the Governor of Bamyan said a few words and then at 9.10am, James Bingham, Race Director, did the countdown 5….4….3….2…..1 and we were off. 

The first part of the race was a 2 km out and back and at the completion of each km I yelled out “Hey Ho” to which the girls replied “Let’s Go!” Then we headed up on the first of many steep climbs out of the numerous valleys in Band e-Amir. 

7km Check Point 

Check points were located every 7 kms and things were going pretty well with the group as we approached the first aid station. The route had been tough. My only concern was that one of the girls was complaining of back pain so I suggested she drop out at the next check point but she said no. I knew there was a sweep vehicle behind us and that she would probably take that before the next check point. The group kept moving forward and were on track up to the 10 km point. The course was marked with wooden planks, laying at the side of the road, with black arrows painted on and we had been following them diligently. 

At a fork in the road we followed the arrow pointing left and continued for 2 kms down a path. Then we heard yells from across the valley and people were waving at us to come over. The girls and I trudge across a marshland and met up with the race volunteers. They told us that someone had turned the plank around and that we were going the wrong way. 

14km Check Point 

This was a disaster and I was pretty mad. There was no way we would complete the marathon in 7 hours. It would be tough enough for the girls and I to even make the 8 hour cut-off without this, as some of them were, by now, struggling with the terrain and physical issues. At the 14 km check point I shared my feelings with the volunteers. I asked that they pass along a message to James Bingham, Race Director, to extend the cut-off to 9 hours.

21 km Check Point 

We continued on and reached the 21km, half way check-point in 4hrs 30mins. However on my GPS it said 23kms, due to the detour. I knew at this pace we had a chance. The first half had been brutal, stunning views but it had been a tough slog up and down the steep, dusty hills. We had been told that the second half would be easier but I had my doubts. James Bingham had said the course had “Rolling Hills”.

As we left the 21 km check-point, I noticed the group had become smaller by one. I had lost sight of the girl with the bad back and another girl had started to lag. 

A key milestone on the route, at the 26 km point, is the arched entrance to Band e-Amir National Park. It was a long straight climb from there and as I reached the top of the hill I looked back to the arch and couldn’t believe my eyes. There, in the distance, was the girl with the bad back. It had been 20 kms and 4 hours since I had seen her and she had kept going on her own and not given up. I decided there and then that I would try and get her, and the other girl who had fallen behind, across the line before the hoped for 9 hour cut-off. 

28km Check Point 

I continued to the 28 km check point and told Hassina that I was going to wait there for the two girls and that she was to take the rest of the group to the 35 km check point and wait for me there. 20 mins later the two girls caught up and told me they wanted to continue. The girl who had been way back could speak a little English and she said her name was Sonya, she was 14 years old and lived in Herat. She told me that the other girl was Anita, 16 years old, also from Herat and her sister. Unbelievable. 

We had 3 hours to do 14 km. The girls were struggling but they plodded on. We arrived at the 35 km check point but no Hassina or the other runners. She had done the right thing and not waited for us. Every so often we would do a “Little Run”, maybe 100m just to keep some momentum going. We had an ambulance following us and I asked the girls on a number of occasions if they wanted to get in but they always said no. 

The Finish 

The last 3 kms were downhill and we had 55 mins complete it. The girls were getting excited and wanted to get their medals. The sun was setting as we rounded the last corner and then we heard the cheers and yells. The three of us ran across the finish line with hugs and tears all round. Sonya, Anita and myself had finished in 8 hours 46 minutes and were told that race director James Bingham had approved the 9 hour cut off limit. We had finished with 14 minutes to spare. I saw Hassina and the other girls and we were all extremely happy and relieved. 

It had been an amazing day and in total 20 Free to Run women and girls completed the marathon. The resilience, persistence and determination shown by these women and girls is an example to the rest of us. 

About the Author

Martin Parnell is the Best-Selling author of MARATHON QUEST and RUNNING TO THE EDGE and his final book in the Marathon Trilogy, THE SECRET MARATHON-Empowering women and girls in Afghanistan through sport, is being released on October 30th 2018. He speaks on having a “Finish the Race Attitude – Overcoming Obstacles to Achieve Your Full Potential” and has written for, or been covered by CNNBBCCBCThe Huffington Post, The Globe and Mail, The National Post, Runners World, Men’s Journal, Canadian Business, and Maclean’s.

In a five year period, from 2010 to 2014, Martin completed 10 extreme endurance “Quests” including running 250 marathons in one year and raising $1.3m for the humanitarian organization Right To Play. In 2016 he ran the Marathon of Afghanistan in support of Afghan women and girls running for equality. Find out more about Martin at www.martinparnell.com  and see what he can do for you in the long run.

Read More

We must open the doors and we must see to it they remain open, so that others can pass through.

Rosemary Brown, Canadian politician, activist
Why October is the Time to Celebrate Women and Girls

Why October is the Time to Celebrate Women and Girls

Posted by martin.parnell |

I am always noting the different celebrations taking place nationally and internationally , so I was interested to learn, on the Government of Canada website, that: “October is Women’s History Month in Canada, a time to celebrate the achievements and contributions of women and girls across the country and throughout our history.

This year’s theme is #MakeAnImpact, in honour of the women and girls who’ve made a lasting impact as pioneers in their field. Whether as business leaders, politicians, researchers, artists or activists, these women of impact have helped shape Canada into a thriving, diverse and prosperous country through their achievements and desire to make a difference.

As part of this year’s celebrations, we will be launching Women of Impact in Canada, an online gallery that celebrates the achievements of more than 100 women and girls through photos and biographies that capture some of their many successes.”

I will be interested to see who they include in their online gallery. If you look at the Canada’s History website, some of the Canadian women who made an indelible mark on history include: 

Doris Anderson (1921–2007)

Doris Anderson was a long-time editor of Chatelaine magazine and a newspaper columnist. Through the 1960s, Doris Anderson pushed for the creation of the Royal Commission on the Status of Women, which paved the way for huge advances in women’s equality. She was responsible for women getting equality rights included in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and sat as the president of the National Action Committee on the Status of Women. Anderson was also an officer of the Order of Canada.

Ga’axstal’as, Jane Constance Cook (1870–1951)

Kwakwaka’wakw leader, cultural mediator, and activist. Born on Vancouver Island, Ga’axstal’as, Jane Constance Cook was the daughter of a Kwakwaka'wakw noblewoman and a white fur trader. Raised by a missionary couple, she had strong literacy skills and developed a good understanding of both cultures and legal systems. As the grip of colonialism tightened around West Coast nations, Cook lobbied for First Nations to retain rights of access to land and resources. She testified at the McKenna-McBride Royal Commission of 1914 and was the only woman on the executive of the Allied Indian Tribes of British Columbia in 1922. A fierce advocate for women and children, she was also a midwife and healer and raised sixteen children. 

Viola Desmond (1914–1965)

Challenged segregation practices in Nova Scotia. Long before the modern civil rights movement in the United States, a black woman from Halifax took a stand for racial equality in a rural Nova Scotia movie theatre. It was 1946, and Viola Desmond, a hairdresser, caused a stir by refusing to move to a section of thetheatre unofficially set aside for black patrons. Desmond was dragged out of thetheatre and jailed. While officials denied that Desmond’s race was the root of the issue, her case galvanized Nova Scotia’s black population to fight for change. In 1954, segregation was legally ended in Nova Scotia. 
 

Margaret Laurence (1926–1987)

One of the giants of Canadian literature. Born in Neepawa, Manitoba, Margaret Laurence graduated from United College (now the University of Winnipeg) and lived in Africa with her husband for a time. Her early novels were about her experience in Africa but the novel that made her famous — The Stone Angel — was set in a small Manitoba town very much like the one she grew up in. Her work resonated because it presented a female perspective on contemporary life at a time when women were breaking out of traditional roles. Laurence was also active in promoting world peace through Project Ploughshares and was a recipient of the Order of Canada. 

Agnes Macphail (1890–1954)

First woman elected to the House of Commons. Agnes Macphail was born in rural Ontario. While working as a young schoolteacher she became involved with progressive political movements, including the United Farm Women of Ontario. She also began writing a newspaper column. She was elected to the Commons as a member of the Progressive Party of Canada in 1921. Her causes included rural issues, pensions for seniors, workers rights, and pacifism. She also lobbied for penal reform and established the Elizabeth Fry Society of Canada. She later was elected to Ontario’s Legislative Assembly, where she initiated Ontario’s first equal-pay legislation in 1951. 

Nellie McClung (1873–1951)

Novelist, reformer, journalist, and suffragist. Nellie McClung was a leader in the fight to enfranchise North American women. Her efforts led to Manitoba becoming the first province to grant women the right to vote in 1916, followed by Alberta and Saskatchewan. After a move from Manitoba to Alberta, she was elected to the Alberta Assembly as a Liberal member for Edmonton in 1921. In the legislature, McClung often worked with Irene Parlby of the governing United Farmers of Alberta party on issues affecting women and children. Both were members of the Famous Five. McClung was also the first female director of the board of the governors of the CBC and was chosen as a delegate to the League of Nations in Geneva in 1938. 

Thanadelthur (1697–1717)

Peacemaker, guide and interpreter for the Hudson’s Bay Company. Thanadelthur was a member of the Chipewyan (Dene) nation who, as a young woman, was captured by the Cree in 1713 and enslaved. After a year, she escaped, and eventually came across the HBC York Factory post, governed by James Knight. Thanadelthur stayed to work for Knight, who needed a translator to help make peace between the Cree and the Chipewyan for trading purposes. Accompanied by an HBC servant and a group of friendly Cree, she went on a year-long mission into Chipewyan territory. She brought the two groups together and — alternately encouraging and scolding them — brought about a peace agreement. The HBC records refer to her as “Slave woman” or “Slave woman Joan.”

Justice Bertha Wilson (1923–2007)

First woman to be appointed to the Supreme Court of Canada. Born into a working-class family in Scotland, Bertha Wilson trained in law in Canada. When appointed to the high court in 1982, she already had a track record as a justice with the Ontario Court of Appeal, where she was known for her humane decisions in areas such as human rights and the division of matrimonial property. During her nine years on the Supreme Court, she helped her male colleagues to understand that seemingly neutral laws often operated to the disadvantage of women and minorities. She thus helped usher in ground breaking changes to Canadian law. 

And there are many more, writers, politicians, artists, explorers, athletes, artists and entrepreneurs, all pioneers in their field, who have helped shape Canada. 

October 11th. will be celebrated, internationally, as the Day of the Girl. The International Day of Girls initiative began as a project of Plan International, a non-governmental organization that operates worldwide.

The observation supports more opportunity for Girls and increases awareness of gender inequality faced by Girls worldwide. This inequality includes areas such as access to education, nutrition, legal rights, medical care, and protection from discrimination, violence against women and child marriage. The celebration of the day also "reflects the successful emergence of girls and young women as a distinct cohort in development policy, programming, campaigning and research.”

International Day of Girls was formally proposed as a resolution by Canada in the United Nations General Assembly. Rona Ambrose, Canada's Minister for the Status of Women, sponsored the resolution; a delegation of women and Girls made presentations in support of the initiative at the 55th United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. On December 19, 2011, the United Nations General Assembly voted to pass a resolution.

On October 4th. I will be acknowledging not only the women and girls who have played an important role in the history of Canada, but of all the women, through history and across the world, who have fought to improve the lives of others, in a variety of ways.

I will also be thinking about the women I will be meeting as the flight I am on will take me first to Frankfurt, then to Istanbul and finally to Kabul, where I will meet up with an inspiring group of women who are trying to make a difference in the lives of women and girls, in Afghanistan.

These are the inspirational leaders of the future. Women like Zainab Husseini, who overcame numerous obstacles to become the first Afghan woman to run a marathon,

I will meet up with Stephanie Case, whose organisation Free to Run, is providing access to sport in areas where it would normally be unavailable to women and girls.

October is here so let’s all take a little time to pay tribute to all the women and girls who make a difference in our lives and the lives of others.

About the Author

Martin Parnell is the Best-Selling author of MARATHON QUEST and RUNNING TO THE EDGE and his final book in the Marathon Trilogy, THE SECRET MARATHON-Empowering women and girls in Afghanistan through sport, is being released on October 30th 2018. He speaks on having a “Finish the Race Attitude – Overcoming Obstacles to Achieve Your Full Potential” and has written for, or been covered by CNNBBCCBCThe Huffington Post, The Globe and Mail, The National Post, Runners World, Men’s Journal, Canadian Business, and Maclean’s.

In a five year period, from 2010 to 2014, Martin completed 10 extreme endurance “Quests” including running 250 marathons in one year and raising $1.3m for the humanitarian organization Right To Play. In 2016 he ran the Marathon of Afghanistan in support of Afghan women and girls running for equality. Find out more about Martin at www.martinparnell.com  and see what he can do for you in the long run.

 

Read More

Big results require big ambitions.

Heraclitus Greek Philosopher
12 Actions Result-Minded People Implement

12 Actions Result-Minded People Implement

Posted by martin.parnell |

Result-minded people know where they are, where they want to go and how to get there. Will there be challenges, set-backs and obstacles along the way? Probably, but that doesn’t stop them. 

Below are 12 actions these people implement and how they can help you to become more result-minded:

1. They set a challenging goal 

Decide what it is you want to accomplish. Goals come in various sizes and there’s no “one-size-fits-all”. You don’t want your goal to be too easy, as that will leave you with little sense of achievement. On the other hand, one that is unrealistic could well lead to lack of completion and a total loss of confidence. My rule of thumb is a 50/50 chance of success.   

2. They establish the “Why?” of the goal 

Having a strong reason for setting your goal is critical. You may want to earn a promotion, move to another job or accomplish a personal ambition. I have always found that people get more satisfaction when they set a goal that will also impact others, whether it’s helping them move forward, proving a benefit to the company or your colleagues. A strong “Why” will get you through the tough times.

3. They determine the “Gap” 

The Gap refers to the measurement of where you are now to where you want to be. When you are considering this, it is always wise to give yourself a timeline. Make sure you know when you want to have completed your goal.

4. They make a comprehensive  plan 

Planning is the key to success. What resources do you need? Where can you find them? What are potential road blocks? You may not be able to plan for every eventuality, but being extra diligent, in the planning stage, will give you confidence as you move towards beginning your action. Do your research.

5. They ask for support 

Results-minded people don’t hesitate to ask for help. The key is to take every opportunity to share your vision with individuals and groups who can have a positive influence on the outcome. If you do your job they will want to be part of your team.

6. They “Chunk-Down” the goal                                                            

Sometimes a task can appear to be so overwhelming that it’s hard to get started, but, I believe almost anything is achievable if you take it one step at a time. Rather than be daunted by the whole task, look at it in doable, “bite-sized” chunks.

7. They measure their progress 

Keep track at each stage. Are you on course? Are adjustments needed? Reflecting on your progress will help you in the difficult times when things are not going to plan.

8. They communicate their progress 

Share your progress, whether good or bad, with your team and supporters. Communicate on a regular basis. People are invested in you and your goal. If things are off track they will want to help.

9. They deal with obstacles and set backs 

Result-minded people know one thing for sure, there will probably be obstacles and setbacks. In fact they accept this as part of the process, not an anomaly. What matters is, how they deal with them. You need to stay positive, ask for support when appropriate and don’t lose sight of the end goal. 

10. They celebrate their achievements 

Don’t get caught up in the “Results-Treadmill”. Take time to celebrate each milestone along the way. Share these success with people who are involved in your journey.

11. They learn from failure 

Result-minded people aren’t afraid of failure. As Nelson Mandela said “I never lose. I either win or learn.” What did you learn? How would you do things different next time?

12. They look for what’s next 

After a goal is completed there can be a period when you experience a feeling of deflation. So much work went into achieving your goal, but now what? Result-minded people take time to reassess their position and look at making plans for the next step on their journey.

About the Author

Martin Parnell is the Best-Selling author of MARATHON QUEST and RUNNING TO THE EDGE and his final book in the Marathon Trilogy, THE SECRET MARATHON-Empowering women and girls in Afghanistan through sport, is being released on October 30th 2018. He speaks on having a “Finish the Race Attitude – Overcoming Obstacles to Achieve Your Full Potential” and has written for, or been covered by CNNBBCCBCThe Huffington Post, The Globe and Mail, The National Post, Runners World, Men’s Journal, Canadian Business, and Maclean’s.

In a five year period, from 2010 to 2014, Martin completed 10 extreme endurance “Quests” including running 250 marathons in one year and raising $1.3m for the humanitarian organization Right To Play. In 2016 he ran the Marathon of Afghanistan in support of Afghan women and girls running for equality. Find out more about Martin at www.martinparnell.com  and see what he can do for you in the long run.

Read More

Recognition is the greatest motivator.

Gerald C. Eakerdale author
How a Little Recognition can make a Big Difference

How a Little Recognition can make a Big Difference

Posted by martin.parnell |

On Sunday, I was excited to read the following headline, on the CBC website:

Eliud Kipchoge sets new world record in Berlin marathon win.

I continued reading: Olympic champion Eliud Kipchoge set a new marathon world record, winning the Berlin race in two hours, one minute and 39 seconds. The 33-year-old broke the previous world record set in Berlin by fellow Kenyan Dennis Kimetto in 2014 by one minute and 18 seconds.

"I lack words to describe this day," Kipchoge said after becoming the first person to finish a marathon in less than 2 hours and 2 minutes. "They say you miss two times but you can't miss the third time," he said in reference to his two previous failed attempts to break the world record in Berlin.

As a marathon runner myself, I was awed by this man’s achievement. I know that there is always a team of people, behind the scenes, that are needed to help make results like this possible. Unfortunately, these people, rarely get a mention. I decided to find out who, in Eliud’s case, those people might be.

I read about Peter, a physiotherapist and life-long friend of Eliud’s who looks after his well-being, in Kenya. I read about his coach, Patrick Sang, who obviously deserves a great deal of credit for ensuring that Eliud is prepared for race day. Also, Kipchoge has diet plan which was in part developed by Andrew Jones professor of applied physiology at the University of Exeter.

I then turned to Eliud’s Facebook page and was delighted to see this entry:

Today the 16th of September 2018, I ran a world record in Berlin, it couldn’t happen without the support of the following: My gratitude and honor goes to:

1. My family: I thank my wife (Grace) and my kids (Lynne, Griffin and Jordon) for the overwhelming support they gave me for the last 4 months of training, you always inspire me and you are my ignition key.

2. Coaches: My coach Patrick Sang is my all-time coach and supporter, he is my life coach not forgetting his two assistants (Meto and Koech). You made this day realizable.

3. Global Sports Communication: This is a wonderful management, led by director Jos Hermens and Valentijn Trouw, and all entire team, you are such a wonderful management company.

4. Nike: Nike company led by Phil Knight and sports marketing Capriotti, not forgetting the innovation and design team. On the other hand the physiologists led by Brett Kirby, thank you for the support for over 15 years

5. NN Running Team: You are such a wonderful team and the spirit of bringing teammates to the sports is overwhelming.

6. My training mates: Kaptagat team, you are such a wonderful family, I like you all, I wish everybody all the best in the coming races. Cheers brothers and sisters, teamwork is the key.

7. Isuzu company: It’s a wonderful local and international car manufacturer, you gave me another leg to train on by providing all my transport. I will always be with you. Tuko Pamoja Safarini.

8. My fans: I totally respect all my fans across the globe, from Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and all social media. You always push me ahead.

In one word ‘Thank you’ all and God bless you all. 

This was very heartening to see that Eliud had taken the time, on this very special day, to recognise and thank those who support him. 

As someone who is frequently in the public eye, I understand the importance of giving credit to those people who may never be seen as part of what I do, but, nevertheless provide an essential support system that enables me to undertake my initiatives, follow my dreams and succeed in completing my goals. 

I always try and make sure I give them credit for their input, whether it be for a sporting activity, my coach, Malcolm Kent, my family doctor, Bill Hanlon, my physiotherapists, Serge Tessier, my chiropractor, Greg Long etc. or in my professional career as a speaker and author. I thank them at each opportunity. 

This is important. People invest time and effort to ensure we have every chance of success. It is essential that we recognise this and put it into practice, in the workplace. Whether you are working on a project, setting up new initiatives, planning an event or any action that requires the efforts of more than one person, no matter how small their contribution, they need to be recognised. A thank you goes a very long way to creating a positive atmosphere, a sense of well-being and will encourage continued support in the future. 

Let’s face it, there are not many people who work totally alone. Most of us receive support in one way or another. It may be from a colleague or team member, a partner, a parent or other family members. 

So, take the time to thank them, whenever you can.

About the Author

Martin Parnell is the Best-Selling author of MARATHON QUEST and RUNNING TO THE EDGE and his final book in the Marathon Trilogy, THE SECRET MARATHON-Empowering women and girls in Afghanistan through sport, is being released on October 30th 2018. He speaks on having a “Finish the Race Attitude – Overcoming Obstacles to Achieve Your Full Potential” and has written for, or been covered by CNNBBCCBCThe Huffington Post, The Globe and Mail, The National Post, Runners World, Men’s Journal, Canadian Business, and Maclean’s.

In a five year period, from 2010 to 2014, Martin completed 10 extreme endurance “Quests” including running 250 marathons in one year and raising $1.3m for the humanitarian organization Right To Play. In 2016 he ran the Marathon of Afghanistan in support of Afghan women and girls running for equality. Find out more about Martin at www.martinparnell.com  and see what he can do for you in the long run.

Read More

If 13 is unlucky, then 12 and 14 are guilty by association.

Mitch Hedberg American comedian
How to use the Right Number and be Lucky in Business

How to use the Right Number and be Lucky in Business

Posted by martin.parnell |

Today is my 13th. wedding anniversary. Some people consider 13 to be an unlucky number, but I have to say that wasn’t the case, as far as the past year was concerned. Sue and I ticked along as normal and, I’m happy to say, nothing untoward happened in our lives (Unlike 2015 which, to quote Her Majesty the Queen, was our “annus horribillis”). 

I wondered why the number 13 is considered unlucky, in certain countries, so I turned to Wikipedia to find some answers:   “The end of the Mayan calendar's 13th Baktun was superstitiously feared as a harbinger of the apocalyptic 2012 phenomenon. It is also considered unlucky to have thirteen guests at a table and any Friday the 13th has been considered an unlucky day. 

In fact, there are a number of theories as to why the number thirteen became associated with bad luck:

The Last Supper: At Jesus Christ’s last supper, there were thirteen people around the table, counting Christ and the twelve apostles. Some believe this is unlucky because one of those thirteen, Judas Iscariot, was the betrayer of Jesus Christ.

Knights Templar: On Friday 13 October 1307, King Philip IV of France ordered the arrest of the Knights Templar and most of the knights were tortured and killed.

Full Moons: A year with 13 full moons instead of 12 posed problems for the monks in charge of the calendars. This was considered a very unfortunate circumstance, especially by the monks who had charge of the calendar of thirteen months for that year, and it upset the regular arrangement of church festivals. For this reason thirteen came to be considered an unlucky number. 

Fear of the number 13 has a specifically recognized phobia, Triskaidekaphobia, a word coined in 1911. The superstitious sufferers of triskaidekaphobia try to avoid bad luck by keeping away from anything numbered or labelled thirteen. As a result, companies and manufacturers use another way of numbering or labeling to avoid the number, with hotels and tall buildings being conspicuous examples. Some will not have a thirteenth floor and hence no 13 button on their elevators.” 

Zoopla  found that more than a quarter (28%) of streets in the UK don't have a number 13 address, and some local councils have banned the use of number 13 in new housing developments. But while new streets can be built without a number 13, changing or removing it from an existing property is against the law.

In sports, the number 13 has a mixed reception: The number 13 was not used in the Indianapolis500 from 1915 to 2002.E.J.Viso, driving for HVM Racing, the 2009 IndyCar series season, drove a green number 13 car full-time, despite terrible superstitions about it in motor sports. The number 13 was not used in Formula One from 1977 to 2013. In triathlon, the number 13 is not used. As such, the numbering goes 11, 12, 14, 15 under the current numbering system. 

In some countries, different numbers are thought to be unlucky:  In China, the pronunciation of the word for the number 4 is similar to that of the Chinese word for death. Many buildings in China skip a fourth floor.  The number 9 is feared in Japan because it sounds similar to the Japanese word for torture or suffering. 

So, one might want to consider some of these facts if you have employees from overseas. Could you find out about unlucky numbers in other cultures? Also, if you have customers from those countries might it be worth avoiding days with certain numbers for doing business?   

Of course, one might also bear in mind the fact that countries, traditionally, have their lucky numbers, too. For instance, in China, the numbers 3 and 8 are very lucky are associated with wealth and prosperity. Could this mean the 8th. is a great day to conduct business with your Chinese clients? Who knows? 

And, not everyone considers the number 13 to be unlucky. In Italy, for example, it is considered good luck (whereas some Italians are superstitious about Friday the 17th because rearranging the Roman numeral XVII can create the word "VIXI"—translated from Latin to mean "my life is over").   

In the United States along with the UK, France, and the Netherlands the number 7 is considered to be lucky and, if you happen to know a Star Wars fan, remember to wish them a Happy May the 4th! 

Whatever your views on these numbers that may or may not be considered lucky or unlucky, in the workplace, it may just be worthwhile being sensitive to some of these beliefs and superstitions. 

As for me I’m going to celebrate my Anniversary by taking my wife out to lunch and remember the wonderful day we married –and today’s date?............. 9/11.

About the Author

Martin Parnell is the Best-Selling author of MARATHON QUEST and RUNNING TO THE EDGE and his final book in the Marathon Trilogy, THE SECRET MARATHON-Empowering women and girls in Afghanistan through sport, is being released on October 30th 2018. He speaks on having a “Finish the Race Attitude – Overcoming Obstacles to Achieve Your Full Potential” and has written for, or been covered by CNNBBCCBCThe Huffington Post, The Globe and Mail, The National Post, Runners World, Men’s Journal, Canadian Business, and Maclean’s.

In a five year period, from 2010 to 2014, Martin completed 10 extreme endurance “Quests” including running 250 marathons in one year and raising $1.3m for the humanitarian organization Right To Play. In 2016 he ran the Marathon of Afghanistan in support of Afghan women and girls running for equality. Find out more about Martin at www.martinparnell.com  and see what he can do for you in the long run.

Read More