On every job you do, you've got to raise your game. My ambition is to just get better and better every job you do -- you should never stop trying to get better.

Ray Winstone - English film and television actor.
How to Embrace the Challenge and Enjoy your Promotion

How to Embrace the Challenge and Enjoy your Promotion

Posted by martin.parnell |

Congratulations! All your hard work has paid off and you’ve been given promotion at work or even joined a new company, in a better job. Once the celebrations are over, however, the prospect of the responsibilities of your new role, can be daunting.

It will certainly mean that people will assume you have a great deal of knowledge and experience. That is most likely true, but now you have to put your skills to work and convince those around you that your new position is well-deserved.

One of the most important skills to have is time management. If this is not something that comes easily to you, why not make a list of all the aspects of your new role and prioritise.

In her article Shifting Expectations: How to Adapt to New Job Responsibilities, on the 99U website, posted   Nov 29, 2011, Elizabeth Grace Saunders suggests a way to do that:

“First, write out all of the activities related to your job. Then, categorize each of them as an investment, neutral, or optimize activity:

  • Investment: Spending more time on these activities could lead to a significant increase in the benefits you receive. Example: A significant career-enhancing project that helps you grow your skill set.
  • Neutral: These activities give back as much as you put into them. Example: Billable hourly work, where you aren’t building out your portfolio or developing new skills.
  • Optimize: More time spent on these activities results in decreasing benefits. Example: Routine email or paperwork.

As you scan your completed list, you will want to:

  • Complete the “Optimize” activities as quickly as possible.
  • Limit the amount of time you spend on “Neutral” activities.
  • Maximize the time you spend moving forward on “Investment” activities.
  • Re-evaluate as necessary.”

It’s also important to learn how to delegate. Make sure you understand the roles of all of your colleagues and the skills they offer, in order to take full advantage of the pool of expertise available to you. Saunders addresses this under the section More Management:

“Increases in the number of people who report to you should mean that the overall output of your team increases, if you’re delegating properly. But more management responsibility also means, of course, that you have to “let go” of some tasks.

To understand how much of your time different staff members receive from you and what you can delegate to gain back time for your creative projects, try this type of assessment:

  • Make a mind map or list of all of the different people reporting to you.
  • Detail out what each one of these people needs to receive from you such as:
    • Monthly one-on-one meetings (1 hour/month)
    • Weekly feedback on their current projects (2 hours/week)
    • Emotional support when they have a setback (varies)
  • Brainstorm all they could give back to you. The possibilities are endless. Your list might include things like:
    • Absorbing regular maintenance tasks, which could be anything from managing social media to writing blog posts to prepping files to answering customer emails, and so on. (4-8 hours/week)
    • Completing a major research or archival project. (5 days)
    • Taking over leading a committee or a regular meeting. (3 hours/month)
    • Attending a professional conference or seminar on your behalf. (1-2 days)” 

Depending on your type of work, you may find that you have to travel more or, if that hadn’t been an aspect of your previous job, it may be something else you have to adapt to. To limit the disruption of travelling for work, make sure your colleagues know when you will be away and that they are fully aware of what you expect them to do, during that time.

Allow time to prepare properly for any meetings scheduled or presentations you might have to give. Do you have all your information? Do the people you are visiting know what you may need? Are your travel plans all in place?

Also, if exercise is part of your regular routine, make sure you allow time for that on your trip. Do allow for time-zone changes and make sure people in the office and at home are aware, too. Let them know of best times to contact you and times when you will be unavailable. When you return, make sure you are quick to follow up on leads and submit any receipts.

Hopefully, your new job will be exciting, challenging and fulfilling, but if you feel it becomes overwhelming, seek help. There will be people who can support you and if there is skill that you feel needs improving or any area that you feel you are weaker, you can always ask for extra training.

For those of you who find yourselves in a managerial position, for the first time, I’ll leave you with some extra advice from guest writer Samuel Edwards, in the Under 30 network section of Forbes magazine, October 31st. 2016, in his post entitled 4 Things To Do After Landing Your First Promotion:

“When you launch your career, one of the very first goals you set for yourself is getting promoted. While it may take a few months, or even years, to get there, the day will eventually come when you’ll get notified that your hard work has paid off and that you’re moving up.

When you first get a promotion, the number one thing on your mind is how much more money you’ll make. Will it be a substantial pay raise or will you get just a small bump? Will you get a new office or will you remain in the same place? 

But as these details get fleshed out, suddenly your attention will shift to your impending responsibilities: What are your new responsibilities? Who do you report to? What does your new schedule look like? And more.

What you’ll quickly learn is that, along with a promotion, comes a huge learning curve that goes along with a move up the corporate ladder. The key is to understand what you’re getting into and handle it gracefully so that everyone around you feels like it was the right decision. Specifically, heed the following advice:

1. Proceed With Caution in Managerial Positions

If you’ve been promoted to your first managerial position, you need to resist the temptation to move fast and put your mark on everything you touch. You’re going to take on a lot of new responsibilities – many of which you won’t have experience with – so surround yourself with other managers at the company and pick their brains from time to time. Go to them for help when you’re uncertain of how to handle a situation. One thing savvy and experienced managers will tell you is that you need to slow down.

As human resources expert Donald Nickels advises in PayScale “Try not to immediately implement changes unless they’re absolutely necessary. Change is made even worse when supervisors move in and immediately begin scrambling processes that may have been in place for years.”

2. Gain Some Quick Momentum

Your first few weeks will set the tone for the rest of your time in that position. Your boss will be looking for affirmation that she or he made the right decision, while your subordinates and peers will be evaluating your performance and whether they like your leadership style.

You should begin looking for some quick and meaningful “wins” as soon as you start your new position. “When you’re having one-on-one meetings with team members and your boss, try to find out what some of their major pain points are in their day-to-day jobs,” career blogger Celine Tarrant suggests. If you can discover ways to address these points of friction, you can gain some momentum and people will begin to rally behind you.

With assuming your new role, you’ll have to balance taking action and holding back. The key is to find easy opportunities to make adjustments that will please the greatest number of people while saving bigger, more controversial decisions for later.

3. Write Down Your Goals (Immediately)

As soon as you accept your new promotion, things will start moving pretty fast. You’ll be learning new things, meeting new people, shuffling your daily routines, and dealing with problems left behind from the individual who vacated the position. That’s why it’s important that you immediately begin thinking about your goals.

Let’s say you get promoted on a Thursday afternoon and your boss tells you that you’ll be starting your new role the following Monday. On Friday, the following day, gather as much information as possible about the new position, what you’ll be responsible for, and where different matters currently stand. Then, over the weekend, start to set some short-term and long-term goals – both for yourself and for your new position. These goals will obviously change over time, but having some sort of roadmap will help you tremendously when things inevitably get hectic.

4. Respect Everyone

Depending on your personality type and the unique situation that you’re in, getting a promotion may make you feel accomplished – and it should. But it’s vital that you don’t let this self-importance go to your head. If you want to have a successful career, you’re going to need more promotions down the road. The only way to avoid burning bridges – and to keep paving new ones – is to give a little respect.

“Treating anyone like they are beneath you because you’ve gotten a promotion will hurt you in the long run, "writes career bloggers Kate Matsudaira and Kate Stull. Even when others confront you with negativity, attempt to steer things in a positive direction.”

Whether or not you encounter teething problems, as you adjust to your new position, do remember, you were appointed for a reason. Embrace the challenge and accept that you have been chosen for this role because it is felt you are the best person for the job and enjoy the work and chance to prove yourself.

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 have to love what you do, to give your best.

Lailah Gifty Akita - Founder of Smart Youth Volunteers Foundation.
It's not Just about the Money: How to Improve your Work Situation

It's not Just about the Money: How to Improve your Work Situation

Posted by martin.parnell |

On July 23rd. I posted a blog entitled “When the holiday’s over, how to improve your career.” In it, I suggested taking some time to evaluate your career path and increasing your wage. 

At the end, I wrote that I would, in a future blog, write about other aspects of your working life that you might wish to improve on and ways in which to accomplish those improvements. So, here goes. 

There are many factors that can affect people’s working lives. It may be that they don’t have support from family members, they are poor time-keepers, they can’t find childcare, the transit system is unreliable. These are very personal issues and those people need to look into ways in which they can fix these problems. 

However, there are situations and circumstances that are based in the workplace that I want to address.

Some of them are factors that I have written about, in previous blogs, all of which can be accessed on my website, www.martinparnell.com  and I’m going to reference them for you to read, at your leisure: 

Firstly, if you have your own business, you may be anxious about returning from vacation, if you know that your business is failing: See March 14th. 2018  How to diagnose and cure an ailing business and July 4th. 2018 If your business isn’t growing, look for the root of the problem. 

You may have great ideas that you want to share and feel that they would gain you recognition, but you don’t know how to go about it: See March 20th. 2018  How to communicate in a way that is accessible to all. 

You may find that you are miserable at work because, for one reason or another, a close colleague has left: See April 10th. 2018   How to deal with missing your work buddy, when they leave. 

At times, you may feel overwhelmed by the task in hand: See May 23rd. 2018 How to manage a mammoth tasksee it as an elephant. You may find it difficult to accept change: See September 4th. 2018 How to accept change and embrace the positives. 

You may feel terrified of making a mistake: See November 7th. 2018 How to be positive about making a mistake. You may be unsure as to the opinion of others with regards to you work: See January 9th 2019 Why asking for feedback in the right way is of most value. 

Hopefully, some of these ideas will help you address certain issues you may face with regards to work. But, what about more practical issues? 

They may appear pretty basic and of no particular concern, to some people, but can have a large impact on others. I found this article on www.iofficecorp.com, that mentions some of these. The piece is aimed at management but, if one or more of them applies to you, I suggest you point them out to your line manager.

If you are a boss, it’s worth considering these issues and whether or not they are conditions that may be affecting your employees, written by by James McDonald on February 18, 2019, he quotes Kate Lister, president of Global Workplace Analytics, who recommends focusing on improvements in employee productivity, which can have a great impact on the bottom line. One of the most effective ways to do this is by reducing or eliminating poor working conditions:  

“7 Poor Working Conditions That Hurt Employee Productivity:

1) Inadequate Space Utilization

Have you ever heard the term “set up to fail”?  If your employees are lacking the space and resources to do their best work, you are doing just that.  And it isn't just about allocating the right amount of space per person. Your employees need enough space to be able to work comfortably, but they also need the right mix of space to be productive. They need to have access to quiet spaces where they can concentrate on deep work,as well as common areas designed for collaboration. And they need an easy way to find and reserve these spaces. 


2) Ineffective Workplace Technology

Workplace technology is one of the three most important elements that make up the experience, according to author Jacob Morgan. Technology that's slow, outdated, or ineffective is frustrating to use. And over time, that frustration can erode employee satisfaction and even push employees out the door.

A survey of 12,000 employees in 12 countries found that 58 percent of employees at companies considered to be "technology laggards" had negative feelings toward their employer. 

Inefficient workplace technology also hurts productivity in a big way. Consider what happens when you're using outdated software for hosting meetings, for instance. At least a few times a week, you have to restart a conference call, log back in and get everyone back on track.

By eliminating this distraction and others, you give each employee an extra 18 minutes back each day. Multiple that by 500 employees earning an average salary of $85,000, and over the course of the year, this can add as much as $1.6 million back into your annual budget, according to an article Lister published in the January/February issue of Facility Management Journal. 

3) Poor Lighting

If there's one element employees want more than anything else in their workplace design, its access to natural light. Poor lighting contributes to eye strain, fatigue and reduced productivity. On the contrary, access to plentiful light —especially natural light — can improve productivity. 

In a survey by Future Workplace, 70 percent of employees said having access to natural light makes them more productive. Yet more than 33 percent said they felt they had inadequate access to natural light.

4) Inefficient Workplace Processes

Just as it's critical to evaluate workplace technology, it's important to take a hard look at your workplace processes and identify opportunities for improvement. Often times, management and employees will accept a process based solely on the assertion that “this is how it’s always been done.” But times change, and our customers and employees do as well.

Open up a dialogue with your team and ask the questions: “What workflow issues are slowing you down?” You’d be surprised at how much things can change with just a few simple tweaks and the automation of certain procedures.

5) A Lack of Workplace Flexibility and Balance

Times have changed a lot since the Baby Boomer generation entered the workforce. The modern workplace isn’t confined to four walls; it goes everywhere with us. In fact, gallup recently reported that 25 percent of Americans work between 45-59 hours per week, working on commutes or while waiting for dinner to be ready.

Unlike our predecessors, however, a work/life balance is critical. In Gallup's most recent State of the Workplace report, 53 percent of employees said a role that allows them to have a greater work/life balance is "very important" to them.  

In the same survey, 51 percent of respondents said they would change jobs to have flexible scheduling in their work, yet only 44 percent said their current company offers it. A similar discrepancy exists when respondents were asked about having the option to work off-site at least part time. Thirty-seven percent said they would change jobs for that flexibility, but only 24 percent said their employer offers it. 

You can help employees achieve a greater work/life balance by offering flexible arrangements whenever possible. It's also important to make sure workloads are manageable and encourage employees to use their paid time off. A well-rested workforce makes a big difference in both the quality and quantity of work. 

6) Uncomfortable Working Conditions

It's difficult to concentrate when you're shivering or constantly fanning yourself to stay cool. Similarly, issues like broken chairs, wobbly desks or clanging pipes create poor working conditions that can become big distractions. 

They keep your employees from engaging in the type of deep work that produces the best results. Over time, they can hurt morale and negatively impact the employee experience. 

The good news is that you can easily address this issue by ensuring employees have an easy way to submit service requests via a mobile app.

7) A Toxic Company Culture

Your company culture directly influences employee engagement and productivity. In fact, much of today’s workforce will choose to move on to a new job if the workplace culture doesn’t meet their expectations. 

Just like a bad attitude, a negative company culture is contagious. It lowers employee engagement and reduces productivity.”

Whatever the issue or condition is, that’s having a negative effect on how you feel about your working conditions, from dealing with a difficult colleague to having to sit all day in a chair that gives you back ache, do make an effort to address the problem.

Not only will it make you feel better about going to work every day, but you’ll feel the benefit of knowing you didn’t just put up with something that, with a little research and determination, can be fixed. 

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

Write to be understood, speak to be heard, read to grow.

Lawrence Clark Powell - Librarian, Bibliographer and Author
To Communicate Effectively, you Need to Listen

To Communicate Effectively, you Need to Listen

Posted by martin.parnell |

At the end of my last blog, I indicated that I would follow it up with a piece about how the conditions in your workplace can affect your attitude to work. However, I found some information relating to this week in history that I would like to cover. I will tackle the previous topic at a later date. 

If we look back at the events of this week, in history, apart from England winning the soccer world cup (July 30th.1966) and Prince Charles marrying Lady Diana Spencer (July 29th. 1981), three other significant events occurred. 

Firstly, on July 30th. 1935, the first Penguin book was published. Penguin Books was co-founded by Sir Allen Lane, his brothers Richard and John and Indian politician, V. K. Krishna Menon. At the time, it was quite a revolutionary concept, to produce inexpensive paperbacks and, therefore make high- quality fiction and non-fiction more accessible to the public. The books were sold for sixpence through Woolworths and other high street stores. Penguin's success demonstrated that large audiences existed for serious books. As a consequence, Penguin had a significant impact on public debate in Britain It got more people discussing British politics, the arts, and science.

Secondly, on July 29th. 1914. Theodore Vail, he president of AT&T, succeeded in transmitting his voice across the continental U.S. Later, President Woodrow Wilson spoke to an audience in San Francisco from the White House and is quoted as saying "It appeals to the imagination to speak across the continent." 

Thirdly, on July 29th.1958, the U.S. Congress passed legislation establishing a civilian agency responsible for coordinating America’s activities in space. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has since sponsored space expeditions, both human and mechanical, that have yielded vital information about the solar system and universe. It has also launched numerous earth-orbiting satellites that have been instrumental in everything from weather forecasting to navigation to global communications.

According to Wikipedia, the agency was founded in order to “encourage peaceful applications in space science. Since its establishment, most US space exploration efforts have been led by NASA, including the Apollo Moon landing missions, the Skylab space station, and later the Space Shuttle. 

NASA is supporting the International Space Station and is overseeing the development of the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle, the Space launch System and Commercial Crew Vehicles. The agency is also responsible for the Launch Services program which provides oversight of launch operations and countdown management for unmanned NASA launches.”

On the NASA website, it states “Every NASA mission has a communications system to receive commands and other information sent from Earth to the spacecraft, and to return scientific data from the spacecraft to Earth. The vast majority of deep space missions never return to Earth. Thus, after launch, a spacecraft’s tracking and communications systems is the only means with which to interact with it. In addition, any issues with the spacecraft can only be diagnosed, repaired, or mitigated via the communications system. Without a consistently effective and efficient communications system, a successful mission would be impossible.”

In my role as a communicator, in my professional work as a speaker and author, these events hold particular interest to me as they all relate to aspects of communication. Communication is a key aspect of any business. The ability to communicate well can have a significant effect on the impression you give to employers, employees, colleagues and clients.

In her article, How to Communicate Effectively on The Story Exchange website, January 1, 2019, certified life and career coach, Ann Mehl, writes about the importance of the ability to communicate effectively, in work and life and offers tips on how to develop those skills.

I have selected a number of quotes from her article to share with you here:


“Effective communication is the most important skill in life. But it’s a two-part skill. The first is the ability to clearly articulate our own thoughts and feelings. The second (and more difficult) part is the ability to listen while others do the same.”

“According to some experts, about 50 percent of what is said in the workplace is not what is actually heard.”

“While most of us learned to talk at a young age, very few of us received any actual training in listening. Most of the time we’re too busy formulating our own thoughts and opinions, waiting impatiently for our turn to speak. As a result, there is no real connection happening, just two competing monologues. But really listening to someone, with your whole being, can be transformational.”

“It is impossible to talk and listen well at the same time. Give the other person space and permission to speak without fear of interruption. You’d be amazed at what you’ll hear when you can do this”

 “Most of us listen through a very selective hearing filter, based on our own experiences, bias, frame of reference and autobiography. Our mind is like a busy computer, constantly evaluating what we hear, looking for cues, openings, and connections that bring the conversation back to us. What we know to be true. But truly empathic listening requires that we abandon that filter in order to fully understand another’s perspective. Doesn’t mean that you have to agree with that person, but only that you can deeply see and feel where it is they are coming from. You are no longer listening to evaluate or judge. You are listening to understand.”

“What people say and what they mean are often two very different things. Leaving aside gender, cultural and language differences, there are many obstacles to good communication. The key to uncovering the meaning behind the words is to remain curious and ask the right questions.”

Reading Mehl’s piece, there is one thing, in particular that stands out for me. In these times of ever-increasing use of personal communication devices and social media, it’s even more important that we look at the ways in which we communicate and not lose the skill of listening.

So, do take time to listen to the people you interact with, whether at home or in the workplace, it’s a valuable skill and one which we should continue to develop, unless we lose it altogether.

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 need to do a better job of putting ourselves higher on our own 'to do' list.

Michelle Obama – Speaker and Author
When the Holiday's over, How to Improve your Career

When the Holiday's over, How to Improve your Career

Posted by martin.parnell |

During the Summer months, many people take their annual vacation. Hopefully, it’s a time to relax and forget, at least for a while, about the pressures of work. However, sooner or later, the time comes when they have to think about returning to their job. 

For some it’s a time to go back to a routine they enjoy, a job that gives them satisfaction and a good salary. However, that’s not the situation for everyone. Others may dread going back to what they may consider a grind. Whichever of those categories you fall into, why not give some thought to just how you regard your work situation and perhaps ways in which you can improve it? 

I was thinking of reasons as to why it’s worth making an evaluation and actions that might be taken to make improvements, when I heard an item on Sunday’s Daybreak Alberta, with Russell Bowers, on CBC radio. A guest speaker was talking about the issue many people face of living pay check to pay check and she suggested ways in which they might look to earn more and have the opportunity to save, either for a rainy day or their future. 

Two of the ideas she shared were: 

“Update your skills” – is there a course you could take that would bring you more up-to-date in your field. This may apply to the technology being used in your workplace. Does your company offer extra training? 

“Are you being paid fairly?” – Take a look at what other companies are paying their workers who do the same job as you. 

For a more comprehensive look at this issue, I’d like to share this post from July 12th. 2017, on the FORBES website, by contributor, Liz Frazier, entitled  9 Simple Ways To Make More Money In Your Current Job, in which she gave the following advice: 

Ask for a raise - Don't wait until your boss offers more money, because that may never happen. Be prepared and show them your specific achievements.  Research comparable salaries and give them a specific number. It should be on the high end of the range so you have room to negotiate, but not unrealistic. The worst they can do is say no. If they do say no, ask them for the specific goals needed for you to qualify for a raise. 

Ask for a promotion - If there is an opening, be prepared to show you are qualified for it with your resume and accomplishments as it pertains to the new role. If there is not a specific role, show your ambition and loyalty to the company by creating a new role and present it to your boss. Make sure the discussion is open and straightforward. You need to communicate that you want to grow with your company, are a valuable and engaged employee and are ready for the next step. However, make sure you treat this as a two-way conversation. Present your ideas, then ask for feedback. If your idea isn't accepted, ask for suggestions on other possible career opportunities. 

Continue your education - Always look for ways to improve your set of skills or learn new ones. This can be an evening or online graduate course, industry webinars, a new certification or additional training. Ask your manager and colleagues for suggestions. 

Build relationships, in and out of your department - This is a good practice in general. If you want to move up and / or make more money, you need cheerleaders. When asking for reports from accounting or materials from marketing - walk over and ask them (if possible). It's easier to build a relationship by putting a face to the name. Treat everyone in your company (and in your life!) with respect: from the CEO to your assistant. By building relationships and a good reputation across your company, not only do you create support for roles you seek out, but it may open up opportunities in other departments down the road. 

Make yourself indispensable - I do not necessarily mean take on extra work. I mean make yourself indispensable through your character and hard work. Be honest, helpful, adaptable and positive. You will become indispensable simply because your colleagues and management will want to work with you. 

Put yourself out there - Opportunities are not going to walk into your office. You have to be out there to find them. Even the most social of us sometimes dread the company picnic or the awkward 3rd floor birthday celebration. I get it, but these are the times when you meet people in other departments and hear company chatter; not just who is secretly dating, but projects and opportunities you may not hear about otherwise. There are opportunities everywhere, but you have to be present and available for them. 

Push yourself before you're ready - One of my favorite quotes (think I've already used in several articles...but it's that good!) is from Richard Branson. "If someone offers you an amazing opportunity and you're not sure you can do it, say yes - then learn how to do it later!" Nuff' said. 

Have a Plan B - If you are 100% dependent on a job, with no other options, you may accept less than you deserve because you are scared to lose it. Keep informed on industry trends, opportunities with other companies and business opportunities. Get additional training and education, even if not needed in your current role. Most important, keep a strong database of past colleagues and business partners across the industry, who can provide insights and opportunities. 

Switch jobs – One of the most effective ways to increase your salary is by getting a new job. If you stay at a company, you start at a base salary, and every raise is a % of that base - employees who stay in one job can expect about a 3% yearly salary increase. Switching to a new job allows you to start new and renegotiate a higher base – on average those switching jobs will receive 10 – 20% increase. 

Of course, it’s not just about the money. You may be in a situation where you are happy with the pay you are receiving, but your working conditions are not great. 

That’s a topic I will address in my next blog – watch this space!

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

If you’re not representing properly the available pool of talent then you’re missing an opportunity.

Alex Wilmot-Sitwell, EMEA President at Bank of America Merrill Lynch
How to be Flexible and Diverse when Developing a Strategy for Hiring

How to be Flexible and Diverse when Developing a Strategy for Hiring

Posted by martin.parnell |

I have just returned from a trip to Ontario and, whilst waiting for my flight to leave Sudbury airport, I picked up a copy of Northern Ontario Business. 

In it, I read an article by Lindsay Kelly, entitled “Employer toolkit promotes hiring by design” andsubtitled “Recommendations to aid Timmins employers close labour gaps”. Kelly reports that “The Timmins Employer Council has published a new guide to help local employers find and keep workers.”

I found the piece very interesting as the report addresses issues relating to the recruitment and retention of employees. Launched in May 2019, the Employer Toolkit outlines strategies employers can use to help close a widening labour gap.

Apparently, “Statistics show attracting and retaining workers is a growing problem in the area. According to a 2018 report published by the Far North East Training Board, 40 per cent of Timmins’ current workforce will retire in the next decade.”

Although the report focuses on the problems employers are experiencing in this area of Ontario, I know there are other communities where the same problems arise. Therefore, I thought I would share the rest of the article with you:

“Council co-chair Mike Resetar said there aren’t enough workers to fill current gaps, and businesses are struggling to expand because they don’t have the staff required.

"We've been seeing it over a few years with the number of retirements that were happening, and we were quite alarmed when we saw what the statistics were,” said Resetar, vice-president of human resources at the Timmins District Hospital.

“We're looking at 1,100 workers leaving the workforce, so in order to maintain current productivity or service, that's a lot of workers that need to be replaced.”

Jessica West, project coordinator, said that successful employers are seeking workers from diverse groups, including Indigenous people, persons with disabilities, newcomers and young workers.

“The general public, or many employers, may not realize how valuable these employees can be,” West said. “They shy away from targeting or attracting these groups, when they’re really valuable employees and they have great things to bring to the table.” There are sections of the toolkit dedicated to each demographic.

For example, hiring Indigenous people can mean lower recruiting costs because workers already live in the community and are likely to remain long term, the toolkit suggests. Having a more diverse workplace can also help create an inclusive community and bridge cultural gaps between Indigenous and non-Indigenous organizations.

To make a workplace more attractive to Indigenous workers, the toolkit suggests implementing meaningful inclusion practices, training staff on cultural awareness, encouraging Indigenous employees to take on senior roles, and understanding traditional practices and community obligations.

Resetar said it really comes down to employers shifting their mindset during the hiring process. “We always want the perfect candidate with the five to 10 years' experience,” he said. “Maybe look at individuals with not as much experience and invest those monies in terms of training them on the job.”

Though the toolkit is still newly released, Noella Rinaldo, council co-chair, said what’s most important is that the community is now aware of the issue and talking about it. "I think there needed to be a realization of the problem first,” said Rinaldo, executive director of the Downtown Timmins BIA. “I think people were in the trenches and they weren't taking a breath to kind of look at the big picture, and this gives them the realities of the big picture.”

The hope is that now that people are aware of the issue, they will start to change their approach to hiring and work a little differently, she said. “We’re dealing with different age groups and they all have something that makes them tick and makes them want to stay,” Rinaldo said.

As a follow-up to the toolkit, the Timmins Employer Council is in the process of forming a task force, which will plan and implement city-wide projects to attract and retain a more diversified workforce. “It’s already attracted representatives from 38 groups, and new members continue to come on board.”

According to the article, the group’s first task came on June 25 when it met to develop a community-based labour force attraction and retention strategy.

If you are having problems recruiting new employees, it’s worth thinking about some of the comments made and one in particular by Noella Rinaldo: “You have to be very flexible. You can’t be a one-trick pony; you can’t do just one thing. You have to be able to work with every employee that’s there.”

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

Surely, anyway, a working day of eight or nine hours which is not split by a nap is simply too much for a human being to take, day in, day out, and particularly in hot weather.

Anon.
How to Deal with Summer's Challenges in the Workplace

How to Deal with Summer's Challenges in the Workplace

Posted by martin.parnell |

In many parts of Alberta, we are still waiting for summer to properly arrive. Where I live, we’ve experienced plenty of rain and not many of those glorious, long, hot summer days. Still, whereas some of us are longing for those lazy, hazy days, for some, Summer can be quite stressful if they have to endure a daily commute and work in sweltering conditions.

I found an article by guest writer Jesse Wood, CEO, eFileCabinet on the Entrepreneur website, who addresses some of the issues that might arise during the summer and solutions to dealing with them. Entitled The 6 Worst Office Problems Employers Will Face this Summer and How to Solve Them, I’ve picked my top three: 

 “1. Auto commutes on hot days

Hot weather has been scientifically proven to increase levels of aggression - hence the terms "hothead" and "heated" and their relevant connotations.

Given the uptick in summertime temperatures, commuters can expect to both display more bouts of road rage and to be on the receiving end of these tantrums more frequently come summertime.

This is no small problem, AAA reports that eight out of every 10 drivers has expressed "significant" road rage, including but not limited to, deliberate tailgating, purposeful blocking of other vehicles and intentional thumping of other cars’ bumpers.

And that’s just the beginning: Between commutes to and from the office, there are eight or more hours of workplace labor subject to the residual effects of road rage, threatening to escalate tensions among coworkers.

Solutions? Meditating during your lunch break can prevent a bout of road rage on your return commute, which is likely to be more stressful than its morning counterpart. Step outside, sit down on the grass and focus on breathing deeply for 10 t-15 minutes. This will lower your heart rate and give you a good dose of sunshine before your return to work for the afternoon.

2. Thermostat wars

Contrary to popular opinion, thermostat wars aren’t just a problem in households - they also cause disagreements in the workplace. And although many employees remain silent on the issue, everyone has a very different idea of what constitutes an ideal temperature at the office.

The differences tend to be split between the genders, as well, with men preferring cooler temperatures while women prefer warmer ones -- further fueling the age old battle of the sexes.

If you work better on the cooler side of thethermostat and others don’t want to turn down the temperature, you’ll have to implement a solution to not be that guy (or gal) who applies deodorant at his or her desk.

This will involve exerting as little energy as possible. Although research suggests that sitting too much at work can be harmful, summertime demands we preserve our energy for staying active outside the office and fully enjoying all the season offers.

Solutions? Try to use the fax machine, printers, scanners and any other device that requires you to move around the office as little as possible. Another strategy is to move closer to these items in the office, provided space is available near them.

However, one study suggests that centralized printers and work devices can lower productivity, rivaling the water cooler as the location of choice for office banter.

Solutions? A case can be made to HR directors that workers should have access to a greater number of printers, scanners and fax machines. This will not only reduce the likelihood of distracting conversation and the number of steps employees must take each day to complete tasks, but also help employees not work up a sweat while jaunting to and from centralized printers, fax machines and scanners.

3. The countdown to leaving the office to enjoy the weather

If you’re watching the clock at 4:50 p.m. in the wintertime and counting down the seconds until you can leave, imagine how intense the urge to leave will become when the summer sunlight pours through the pellucid clouds and beams through the window pane by your desk.

If work circumstances allow it, put on those headphones and listen to a wintertime playlist while crunching numbers or drafting up that report. This will keep you focused on what’s in front of you at your desk, not the sunshine you’re missing outside.

Additionally, reserve your paid time off for summer. It may be tempting to schedule time off as soon in the year as possible, but you’ll thank yourself later if you save it for summertime.

Solutions? Try closing the blinds while at work. This can prevent you from being enticed by the beautiful distraction of sunlight, and suffering the potential sunburn that comes with it, given how windows allow the passage of light.

Additionally, make an extra effort to simplify your workspace to streamline workflow; this can mitigate the need to stay late to wrap up projects. Changing the way documentation is handled in the office is another good place to simplify your workspace.

Poor workflow can lead to increased time spent on administrative work, forcing employees to work longer hours. Keeping files organized and in a secure digital format can significantly improve this. It saves employees from having to sift through endless stacks to find files, as well as losing files or having to reproduce the information from the lost documents, only to find they’ve just been misplaced. The more efficiently employees work, the more likely they are to leave the office on time to enjoy those beautiful summer evenings.”

Hopefully, you won’t have to deal with any of these issues, but just in case, I hope this proves helpful and with reference to the quote, at the beginning of this piece, see my blog posted on June 12th. 2018 Why Sleeping On The Job Can Be A Good Thing

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

God, it was hot! Forget about frying an egg on the sidewalk; this kind of heat would fry an egg inside the chicken.

Rachel Caine - American writer of science fiction
If you can't Stand the Heat, you Need to Have a Plan

If you can't Stand the Heat, you Need to Have a Plan

Posted by martin.parnell |

Most of us look forward to the long, warm, sunny days of summer. However, it’s not so great when the temperatures rise to such a degree that it’s a challenge to perform everyday activities. 

Now, as you know, I have a tendency to take everyday issues and try and relate them to a business setting. So, I looked at Health Canada’s website to see what advice they give for dealing with a summer heat wave. Maybe I could apply them to situations in the workplace when “the heat is on”? 

Under their section on Safety Tips, I came across these words of advice: 

Prepare for the heat - In business, there should always be a plan in place to deal with times of crisis – if you don’t have one – make one. 

Pay close attention to how you and those around you feel - In business, see how times of stress are affecting your employees. By keeping them in the know as to what is going on and how it’s being dealt with can alleviate some of their anxiety. 

Stay Hydrated - In business, keep providing the support that’s needed, so that employees don’t flag and become overwhelmed. 

Stay Cool - In business, this is not a time to panic. Look at the situation calmly and tell yourself it’s just a hitch and with a calm head you can get through it. 

Avoid exposure to extreme heat when outdoors - I’m not sure about being outdoors, but, if you can pre-empt any issues that might occur, try and nip them in the bud, before you enter the crisis stage. If you don’t see it coming, stay focused, get advice and above all, be flexible. 

One other thing I feel worth mentioning, for some people this time of year can cause an increase in symptoms for many conditions. As Lauren Gelmen writes, in The Reader’s Digest, these include Eczema, Asthma, Migraines, Rosacea, Autoimmune Diseases and even kidney stones. 

Try to keep this in mind, some of your employees may be dealing with more serious issues than you know and not everyone is rejoicing in the thought of those long, hot summer days and nights.

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

Some people have a way with words, and other people...oh, uh, not have way.

Steve Martin-American actor, comedian, writer, filmmaker, and musician
How to Make the Right Impression with the Correct Use of Words

How to Make the Right Impression with the Correct Use of Words

Posted by martin.parnell |

As a professional speaker and author, I always endeavour to ensure that I am making the correct use of words and phrases. Therefore, I was interested to read the issue being addressed by The Media Coach, Alan Stevens, (alan@mediacoach.co.uk) in his latest post on 21st. June. 

Alan is well known for his sound advice and insight into the workings of the media and the ways in which speakers can improve their presentations. His posts are always enlightening, amusing and well-worth a read. These are his thoughts on this particular subject:       

Are you a pendant? No of course not, since that's a piece of jewellery. However, you may be a pedant, concerned about the correct usage of words. I admit to slight tendencies in that direction, though the fact that every week someone spots a typo or grammatical error in this ezine means that I'm not too fussy at times. Anyway, here are some words that speakers use incorrectly from time to time (not you of course). 

  • Disinterested/Uninterested. The former means impartial, the latter means unconcerned. A football referee should be disinterested, but not uninterested. 
  • Flaunt/Flout. Flaunt means to show off, Flout means to ignore. 
  • Imply/Infer. You imply something by your speech or actions, but you infer omething from what you hear from others. 
  • Tandem/Parallel. In tandem means one after another. Parallel means side by side or simultaneously. 
  • Literally/Figuratively. Literally means something actually happened, so "I literally died" is clearly not true (unless one listens to ghosts). 
  • Bated/Baited. A fisherman waits with bated breath to see if a fish takes a baited hook. 
  • Foreword/Forward. A foreword is the introduction to a book. Forward is a direction. 
  • Appraise/Apprise. If you make a judgement, you appraise. If you are simply informing, you apprise. 
  • Principal/Principle. The former means most important. The latter is a fundamental belief. 
  • Ironic. This is commonly mis-used to mean co-incidental, when it actually means "counter to expectations" Here's a perfect example, from Peter Sellers in Dr Strangelove: "Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room." 

Of course, you may, already, be aware of all of these, but it’s always worth checking a correct pronunciation too. Even if you are using the right word, it matters that you say it correctly. 

Another issue is the common misuse of phrases. On The Inc.Life website, contributor, Christina DesMarai addresses this in her post on July 11th. 2017, entitled 43 Embarrassing Grammar Mistakes Even Smart People Make. Although, as the title suggests, DesMarai gives 43 examples, I will share 10: 

1. First-come, first-serve
It should actually be "served." Without the d, the phrase above suggests that the first individual who arrives will be the one who serves everyone, which is not the idiom's intent.

2. Irregardless
This is not a word. It's simply "regardless," as in "Regardless of what you think about grammar, you'll look silly if you use it incorrectly."

3. "Me" as the first word in a sentence.
I hear people saying things such as "Me and Brandon met at Starbucks this morning" all the time, even though it's always wrong. "Brandon and I met at Starbucks this morning" is correct.

4. Emigrated to
"Emigrate" and "from" always go together, as do "immigrate" and "to." To emigrate is to come from somewhere, and to immigrate is to go to somewhere. "Colin emigrated from Ireland to the United States" means the same as "Colin immigrated to the United States from Ireland."

5. Slight of hand
A "slight" is an insult, whereas "sleight" indicates dexterity or cunning. It's why "sleight of hand" is commonly used in the world of magic and illusion.

6. Baited breath
When I think about bait, worms and lures come to mind. The first word should actually be "bated," which stems from the verb "abate," meaning to stop or lessen. So, if you're trying to say that someone is holding his breath, you can see that "bated breath" makes the most sense.

7. Wet your appetite
"Whet" means to sharpen or stimulate. As such, the latter spelling is more appropriate.

8. Make due
"Due" means "owed," and that's not the intent with this idiom. "Make do" is the proper way to say that you're going to get along with what you have.

9. Peaked my interest
To pique means to arouse, so the correct phrase is "piqued my interest," meaning that my interest was stimulated. While the incorrect way it's written in the heading may suggest that someone's interest was taken to a high level, it's still wrong.

10. Per say or persay
Both are incorrect because the Latin phrase which means "in itself" or "intrinsically" is spelled "per se." The best communicators speak and write clearly and concisely and probably avoid phrases like this one anyway.

DesMarai asks the question: “When someone uses grammar incorrectly do you make an assumption about his or her intelligence or education?” She comments that “Like it or not, words, spelling, and punctuation are powerful and can leave a lasting impression on others.” 

Something to think about next time you’re writing or speaking and you want to get it right!

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

Renewal requires opening yourself up to new ways of thinking and feeling.

Deborah Day, Canadian film director and writer
How to Rejuvenate your Business if you Want it to Flourish

How to Rejuvenate your Business if you Want it to Flourish

Posted by martin.parnell |

At breakfast, this morning, my wife and I were looking out across our back garden and commenting on how lush everything is looking. It seems such a short time ago that the smaller trees were just spindly sticks, looking quite forlorn in their brown surroundings and now they are covered in rich foliage in a sea of varying shades of green. 

This should come as no surprise as it is something that occurs year after year with the deciduous trees, and yet it never ceases to amaze me how this transformation takes place. Of course, this couldn’t happen if the roots and trunk of the tree weren’t healthy. 

The whole process is a rejuvenation. New branches and fresh green leaves that keep the tree growing and spreading. It’s also something that happens in a healthy business. Core values and basic ethos may stay the same, but a company needs to rejuvenate, in order to grow and flourish. 

Trees need the right soil, light (sun) and water (rain) in order to flourish. Your company needs the right environment too. So, you need to provide that if you wish to develop and succeed.

Firstly, you may need to do an assessment of where your company is, at the present time. You could ask yourself the following questions. In order to help you with some answers, I have put references to previous blogs which can be found on my website: /blog/ 

Are you well situated, both physically and technically, to compete?

Is your premises coping with demand? Is it time for a re-design? (Apr. 17th. 2018). Is your online presence up-to-date, providing the right information and will it appeal to potential customers? The introduction of new technology can be daunting for some employees See my blog entitled - From bins to strategies, how to accept changes in the workplace (Apr. 10th. 2017). 

Do you have the right staff to make progress happen?

Are your team leaders and other employees fulfilling their roles? Do you need to make changes – bring in more staff, offer incentives? - Count on the things that are worth counting (Feb. 13th. 2017) and Good management requires the skill of communication (Apr. 4th. 2017).

Are you keeping up with or surpassing the competition?

Are you gaining more customers or are stuck in a rut and need to make some changes as to how the company is promoting itself? - Take action now and boost your company’s success (Sep. 11th. 2016) and Juggling ideas to make you get noticed (Sep. 19th. 2016). 

Never be afraid to seek out the opinion of others, your workforce are a valuable resource when it comes to finding out what’s working or not. Don’t be afraid to ask for their input as the feedback can prove invaluable, even negative feedback can be of value - Why asking for feedback in the right way is of most value (Jan. 9th . 2018) and How to see negative feedback in a positive light (Feb. 12th. 2018). 

If you come to the conclusion that your business is ailing, don’t give up, as with that ailing tree, rather than just chop it down, see if it may be worth salvaging. After all, it may just need a little pruning or extra nourishing – How to diagnose and cure an ailing business (Mar. 14th. 2018).

I hope some of these blogs may be of use and may your business and just like the trees in my garden be rejuvenated and continue to flourish. 

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

Time is a created thing. To say 'I don't have time,' is like saying, 'I don't want to'.

Lao Tzu, Ancient Chinese philosopher and writer
How to Make Time for Success

How to Make Time for Success

Posted by martin.parnell |

One of the services I provide, in my professional capacity, is a workshop entitled “Unlock Your Potential”.  During the course of one of the sessions, participants are asked to set themselves a goal and to consider how they might achieve it. They are also asked to think of any obstacles they may encounter in the pursuit of that goal and what they might do to overcome them. One of the most common answers to this question is that they might not have the time required to complete their goal or, in fact, even get started. As with all things, if we truly want to accomplish something, we have to find ways to face the challenges they may incur and solutions for overcoming them.

When thinking about this blog, I remembered a quote I had seen some time ago that gave me pause for thought. It was written by H. Jackson Brown Jr., an American author, best known for his inspirational book, Life's Little Instruction Book and its sequel Life's Little Instruction Book: Volume 2 both of which made it to the New York Times best seller list. It reads:  “Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo Da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein”.

On theEntrepreneur website, software engineer, author, blogger and founder of WanderlustWorker.com, R.L. Adams wrote an article entitled 15 Time Management Tips for Achieving Your Goals. I have selected 5 of them to share with you here: 

Schedule email response times.

Turn off your email throughout the day. When your email is pouring in, it's easy to get distracted. Schedule time to read and respond to emails. If there's something urgent, someone will call or text you. But when you have your email open, those distractions interrupt your thought flow and it's harder to get back on track.

Eliminate bad habits.

One of the biggest time-wasters we have are our bad habits. Whether it's Netflix binge-watching, excessively surfing social media, playing games, going out frequently to drink with friends, or so on, those bad habits take away the precious little time that we do have. Use your time wisely by eliminating your bad habits if you're serious about achieving big goals in life.

Take frequent breaks when working.

One study suggests that you should work for 52 minutes and break for 17. You might not have the luxury to do that. But you should take frequent breaks. If you're an entrepreneur working for yourself, this is crucial. It's easy to run on fumes and not even know it. Keep your mental, emotional and physical states at peak levels by breaking frequently.

Make to-do lists in the evening for the next day.

Every single evening before bed, make a list for the next day. Look at your goals and see what you can do to help move you closer. This doesn't happen overnight. It takes time. But by making to-do lists, you're effectively setting goals for the day. Daily goals are easier to achieve while helping to move us towards the longer and bigger goals. But that happens by creating to-do lists. 

Turn off social media app alerts.

Incessant social media app alerts aren't helping you with your time. It's definitely hurting you. Turn them off. You don't need alerts every moment or to know everything happening with your friends. It's not important. What's most important is to have some peace of mind and be better able to focus on the task at hand.

Adams also addresses the issue of finding balance between your professional and personal lives:

“One of the biggest problems that most entrepreneurs have isn't just in how they can get enough done in such a demanding market, but also how they maintain some semblance of balance without feeling too overworked. This isn't just about achieving and going after goals around the clock. This is also about quality of life.

Balance is key. If you lack balance in your life, you're going to feel stressed out. Even if you're able to effectively juggle your responsibilities, without proper balance you're going to eventually reach your breaking point. So, it's important to not only follow a system that will help you get things done, but also one where you prioritize personal and family time.

Don't forget to do things like take a walk in the park or just sit and listen to your favorite music with headphones on, or paint a picture, go on a date night and so on. That's more important than you can think. And when you do that, you achieve some semblance of balance. Life is short. So don't ignore those things while you reach for your bigger goals”.

As inferred in the quote by H. Jackson Brown Jr, Adams, also, is of the opinion that :

“No matter who you are, your age, income, gender, race or religion, you have the same amount of time as the next person.”

If you find a way to manage your time effectively, there will be all the hours you need to achieve your goal. Don’t let the idea that you won’t have enough time prevent you from taking the first step. If time becomes an issue, find strategies to help you make time or manage, more efficiently, the time you have.

It would be a great pity to abandon a dream because you see time as a constraint. Many people have achieved great things without having any more hours in their day than you or I. Don’t be afraid to seek support in managing day-to-day responsibilities. If you share your goals, you will usually find people who are willing and able to help you achieve 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

Give me a good sharp knife and a good sharp cheese and I’m a happy man.

George R. R. Martin Author
You don't have to be a Big Cheese but Crackers will Help

You don't have to be a Big Cheese but Crackers will Help

Posted by martin.parnell |

I have just returned from a trip to the UK, where I visited family and friends in England and Wales. Whilst I was there, I indulged in one of one of my favourite foods, i.e. cheese.

When you mention British cheeses, most people probably think of good old English Cheddar, but it’s surprising just how many cheeses are produced there.

In Wales, the cheese making tradition goes back hundreds of years, but as farmers have learned to diversify, the country’s cheese output has grown to a point where you can easily stock a whole cheeseboard with everything from pungent soft cheeses to lemony blues and crumbly Caerphillys.

The Teifi company produces no less than 12 different cheeses, including eight different varieties of its acclaimed Gouda-style cheese with a dense, smooth and creamy texture, it’s sweet and mellow when young but develops qualities similar to Parmesan when aged. Another sought-after product is their Celtic Promise cheese – a mild Caerphilly-type cheese which has won more awards than any other cheese in Britain.

In England, you can find everything from Cathedral City, a brand of Cheddar Cheese to Cornish Brie, a handmade cheese made by Cornish Country Larder at their farm in Cornwall. Then there’s Double Gloucester, Wenslydale, Wookey Hole Cheddar, Dorset Blue Vinney, Sage Derby, Appledore, the list goes on. The British Cheese Board states that "there are over 700 named British cheeses produced in the UK."

Now I’m back in Canada and was delighted to find that my passion for the stuff can continue as, according to the National Holidays website, today, June 4th is National Cheese Day and they provide some of the history of cheese:

“Since cheese-making is a process that predates the written word, nobody really knows exactly when cheese was invented. While historians believe that humans began domesticating milk producing about 10,000 years ago, all that’s really known about early cheese-making is that cheese was made in Egypt and Greece for thousands of years.

Some historians believe that cheese-making may have been discovered accidentally when sheep herders stored milk in the stomach of an animal. This would have caused the enzyme found in the stomach of ruminant animals to coagulate the milk. The milk would have then separated into curds and whey. However, this is currently only a theory.

Historians know that by the time of the Roman Empire, cheese-making had become a widespread practice throughout most of Europe and the Middle East. There were hundreds of different types of cheese available to Ancient Romans and these cheeses were traded all over the Empire.”

The website also provides some “Cheesy Facts:

  • Roquefort, Brie de Meaux and Casu Marzu are cheeses that are illegal in the U.S
  • The European Union is the top producer of cheese in the world
  • On average, the French consumes about 60 pounds per person per year.
  • Germany comes in second with 53 pounds of cheese consumed per person per year.
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano, Camembert and Bavarian Swiss are the most popular cheeses in the world.”

On June 4, 2018, the Foodimentary website provided these tidbits of information:

  • There are over 2,000 varieties of cheeses.
  • The #1 cheese recipe in America is “Macaroni and Cheese”.
  • The terms “Big Wheel” and “Big Cheese” originally referred to those who were wealthy enough to purchase a whole wheel of cheese.
  • Chevre is French for goat and refers to cheese made from goat’s milk.

If you want to celebrate National Cheese Day, then all you have to do is to enjoy cheese in one of its many forms e.g. Cheese fondue, a grilled cheese sandwich or by sampling out a cheese you haven’t tried before. 

Just be sure that you don’t mix this holiday up with other cheese related holidays such as National Grilled Cheese Day, National Cheese Pizza Day or National Cheese Lover’s Day. After all, that wouldn’t be proper cheese etiquette.

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

If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.

Haruki Murakami, Norwegian Wood
If you Need an Excuse to Curl Up with a Good Book - World Book Day

If you Need an Excuse to Curl Up with a Good Book - World Book Day

Posted by martin.parnell |

As both an avid reader and author, I spend a great deal of time with books, they form not only part of my professional life, but are a great source of entertainment and relaxation. I usually have a fiction and a non- fiction book on my bedside table and more in the lounge, where I enjoy sitting in my favorite chair, by the window, with a cup of tea and my latest tome. 

And so, today is of particular interest to me, as I like to find out what is going on in the world of books and reading, and this day reminds me to do some research into the ways in which World Book Day is being recognised around the world. 

To tell you a little more about it, it’s easier for me to refer you to some facts found in a recent post on Calendarlabs.com:   

Today and every year, 23rd. April is World Book Day. 

UNESCO undertakes the responsibility of the event with the aim of instilling reading habits among people, especially the youth. It also highlights the various issues surrounding authors, publishers and other related parties. Since Copyright is a big issue in the world of books and writing, there is always a focus on the issue on the World Book Day. That's why, in many parts of the world, this day is also known as the World Book and Copyright Day. 

The first ever World Book Day was celebrated on April 23, 1995. The date as decided by UNESCO as it was also the death and birth anniversary of William Shakespeare, a world famous author. The date also coincided with the death anniversary of Miguel de Cervantes, who was a noted Spanish author. Some other well-known authors whose birth or death anniversary falls on this day are Maurice Druon, Josep Pla and Halldor Laxness. 

The idea of the day was taken from a Spanish tradition. April 23rd has always been celebrated as "The Rose Day" in Spain. On this day, people exchanged roses for showing their love and support, much like the Valentine's Day. However, in 1926, when Miguel de Cervantes died on the day, people exchanged books instead of roses in order to commemorate the death of the great author. The tradition continues to this day in Spain and that's from where the idea of the World Book Day originated. 

There is also the tradition of organizing a reading marathon spanning two days in Spain, at the end of which an author is given the coveted Miguel de Cervantes prize by the King of Spain. In Sweden, writing competitions are organized across schools and colleges. In UK and Ireland, the day is celebrated on the first Thursday of March instead of April 23. to avoid a clash with St. George's Day 

Another interesting fact, one of the world’s bests known writers, William Shakespeare, was born on April 23rd, 1564 and died on April 23rd. 1616. And so, why not take a little extra time to settle down with a good book or read an article about what’s trending in the literary world. 

Although we all love to read the latest best seller and those recommendations from our local book store, this is the ideal time to try something in a different genre than you would normally read, perhaps a historical novel, some sci-fi, short stories, some poetry or a graphic novel. There’s so much material to enjoy and you can always check out your local library to see how they’re commemorating World Book Day. 

If you have children, one of the best activities you can do today – share a book with them. Happy Reading!

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

I meet people and they become chapters in my stories.

Avijeet Das
How to Connect by Making the Right Connections

How to Connect by Making the Right Connections

Posted by martin.parnell |

It’s extraordinary how sometimes you meet someone and, through a series of connections, it can lead to an amazing opportunity. 

Three years ago at my year-end fund raiser in Cochrane, raising donations for Free to Run in support of a kayaking and camping trip for Afghan women and girls, I met Umair Khan. 

I next met up with Umair at an event organized by my friend Gitti Sherzad, who appeared in my TEDx talk and had founded Pillars for Afghanistan, an organization that was raising funds for an orphanage in Kabul. 

On April 4th I went to The Art of Leadership for Women Conference at the Telus Centre in Calgary. I had been looking forward to this event for months and the main reason was that Malala Yousafzai would be speaking. Malala’s story had been an inspiration to me as I traveled to and from Afghanistan running marathons in support of the women and girls who run for freedom and equality. 

Malala was born in the Swat district of northwestern Pakistan, where her father was a school owner and was active in educational issues. After having blogged for the BBC since 2009 about her experiences during the Taliban's growing influence in the region, in 2012 the Taliban attempted to assassinate Malala on the bus home from school. She survived, but underwent several operations in the UK, where she lives today. 

In October 2014, Malala, along with Indian children’s rights activist Kailash Satyarthi, was named a Nobel Peace Prize winner. At age 17, she became the youngest person to receive this prize. Accepting the award, Malala reaffirmed that “This award is not just for me. It is for those forgotten children who want education. It is for those frightened children who want peace. It is for those voiceless children who want change.” 

Arriving at the conference I not only wanted to hear Malala speak but I was hoping to meet her and give her a copy of my book “The Secret Marathon”. As it turned out, I learnt that Umair was not only going to be at the event, but is a close friend of Malala’s Father and had been at Malala’s side when she was in hospital, after having been shot by the Taliban. 

Umair told me that I was to connect with him at the end of the event and he would try and arrange a meeting with Malala. At 4.30pm I waited at the designated spot and

after 30 minutes, Malala appeared. She was with two of the conference organizers and Umair. They walked over to me and Umair introduced Malala. I gave her a copy of my book and I mentioned to her that if she ever wanted to run a marathon I would be happy to send her my training program. 

It was a meeting I will never forget, however it didn’t just happen by chance, it was because I had met Umair three years earlier and we had become friends. 

When you make connections it can be the beginning of a journey. Be open to the people you meet, you never know where it will lead and for me it led to meeting Malala.

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

There will be days when you don’t think you can run a marathon. There will be a lifetime knowing you have.

Anon
How to Enjoy a Challenge from the Comfort of your Armchair

How to Enjoy a Challenge from the Comfort of your Armchair

Posted by martin.parnell |

Next Monday morning, April 15th. I will pour myself a cup of coffee, turn on the TV and spend a few hours indulging in one of my favourite pastimes, watching thousands of amateur and professional runners from all over the world braving hilly terrain and varying weather in an attempt to complete the Boston Marathon. 

The event is hosted by several communities in greater Boston in eastern Massachusetts and is always held on Patriots' Day, the third Monday of April. Begun in 1897, the event was inspired by the success of the first marathon competition in the 1896 Summer Olympics and is the world's oldest annual marathon. The course runs from Hopkinton in southern Middlesex County to Copley Square in Boston. 

There are some incredible stories connected to the race and the history behind it. One of the most well-known is that of Kathrine Switzer. For many years, women were not allowed to officially enter the Boston Marathon. In 1967, Kathrine Switzer, registered as "K. V. Switzer" and became the first woman to run and finish with a race number, despite an infamous incident in which race official Jock Semple tried to rip off her number and eject her from the race.  

In 1996 the B.A.A. retroactively recognized as champions the unofficial women's leaders of 1966 through 1971. In 2015, about 46 percent of the entrants were female. Roberta "Bobbi" Gibb is recognized by the race organizers as the first woman to run the entire Boston Marathon (in 1966) although women were not officially allowed to enter until 1972. 

In 1980, amateur runner Rosie Ruiz crossed the finish line first in the women's race. Marathon officials became suspicious when it was discovered that Ruiz did not appear in race videotapes until near the end of the race. A subsequent investigation concluded that Ruiz had skipped most of the race and blended into the crowd about one mile (1.6 km) from the finish line, where she then ran to her false victory. 

Ruiz was officially disqualified, and Canadian Jacqueline Gareau was proclaimed the winner. Gareau was acknowledged publicly with a medal ceremony a week later. Her time of 2:34:28 was a course record. Gareau went on to place fifth in 1981, and second in 1982 and 1983. There are a number of other Canadian runners who have made an impact on the event.

In an article posted in Runs & Races April 20th, 2018, Anne Francis not only celebrates Canadian Krista DuChene and her astonishing third-place finish that year, but also goes on to recognize other Notable Canadian podium finishes in Boston Marathon history:

Odette LaPierre: Odette LaPierre of Charny, Que. placed third in 1988 (2:30:35), fourth in 1987 (2:31:33) and eighth in 1989 and 1992. She also competed in the marathon at two consecutive Olympics, in 1988 and 1992.

Lizanne Bussieres: Ste-Foy, Que.’s Lizanne Bussieres placed third at Boston in 1986, and also competed in the Olympics in 1988 and 1992.

Art Boileau: Art Boileau of Edmonton, Alta. was second in 1986 (2:11:15), in between representing Canada in the marathon at two consecutive Olympics, in 1984 and 1988. 

Jerome Drayton: Drayton is the last Canadian man to have won the Boston marathon – in 1977 (2:14:46), after placing third in 1974. His Canadian marathon record of 2:10:09, set in 1975 during one of his three Fukuoka Marathon wins in Japan, was finally broken in 2018, 43 years later, by Cam Levins in 2:09:25. 

Gerard Côté: Côté won Boston an astonishing four times and was a major presence at the race throughout the out 1940s. His wins in 1940, 1943, 1944, and 1948 were all with times between 2:28 and 2:31. Three of his victories came after battles with the legendary Johnny Kelley for the title. Côté was also third in 1946, and fourth in 1947, and sixth in 1949. 

Johnny Miles: Miles won Boston twice: in 1926 and 1929, setting a course record both times. His 1929 time was 2:33:08. The 1926 race was Miles’ first marathon, and he had never actually raced a distance longer than 16K. He had to ask his neighbours to help him pay for the cost of a train ticket to Boston.

Tom Longboat: Longboat was one of Canada’s best known and most gifted runners, winning Boston in 1907 with a time of 2:24:24, setting a new course record by more than five minutes. Longboat captured every Canadian record from the mile to the marathon at some point during his career.

But, one Canadian runner I’d like to focus on is Ronald J. MacDonald. MacDonald won the second-ever Boston marathon, in 1898, in 2:42. The field that year was 25 runners. MacDonald was born in Fraser's Grant, Antigonish County, Nova Scotia. His father died at sea when MacDonald was twelve years old, after which his mother relocated the family to Cambridgeport, Massachusetts, where relatives were living. MacDonald worked as a telephone lineman, and later in the family lunch store on Cambridge Street. In 1897, he enrolled at Boston College as a special student. 

On April 19, 1898, Ronald MacDonald joined 25 other runners in Ashland at the start line of the Boston Marathon. He was 5’6" and weighed 142 lb (64 kg), and had curly light hair. It was his first marathon and he raced in bicycle shoes. MacDonald ran the whole way without taking any fluids. He ended up finishing in 2:42, the fastest of 15 finishers, three minutes faster than Gray, 13 minutes faster than the previous years’ time, and a time considered a world best at the time for a distance of about 25 miles (40 km). 

Ronald MacDonald represented Canada at the 1900 Olympic Summer Games held in Paris. MacDonald ran the marathon, but finished the last of 7 finishers. He complained that the top 3 runners, who were French, had cut the course, and that only he and an American actually completed the whole course.

In 1901, MacDonald returned to the Boston Marathon with confidence stating that he would win and break the record of Jack Maffery, another Canadian, who had run 2:39:44 the previous year. MacDonald joined 37 other runners that day and ran as part of the top 4 for most of the race. Unfortunately, MacDonald was seized with cramps and had to retire from the race, reported to be due to a sponge soaked with chloroform he unknowingly accepted from a spectator. 

I have run the Boston Marathon 3 times. The last time was when I had qualified with a time of 3:43:43 on marathon number 188, when I was aiming to achieve my Marathon Quest, to run 250 marathons in one year. 

I am currently in training for the Edmonton Marathon, this coming August, with the aim of qualifying for the Boston Marathon 2020. If I achieve my goal, it will mean I have run it in my 40s, my 50s and my 60s. 

Meanwhile, on Monday, I’ll just sit back and watch others attempt to run this prestigious event.

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

No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world.

John Keating – Irish politician
How to Choose the Right Words if You want to be Memorable

How to Choose the Right Words if You want to be Memorable

Posted by martin.parnell |

Usually, I write my weekly blog, look to see if I receive any comments and then, within a couple of days, I’m thinking about what to cover in the next one. But not this week. 

Last Tuesday, I posted a blog about the Four-Way Test, 24 simple words that form the motto by which Rotarians strive to live their lives and it got me thinking about how certain words, mottos, sayings, phrases and slogans can affect us and the way we view things. 

I’m sure you’ve all heard the quotes: 

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
– Eleanor Roosevelt

“You’ve gotta dance like there’s nobody watching,
Love like you’ll never be hurt,
Sing like there’s nobody listening,
And live like it’s heaven on earth.”
– William W. Purkey

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”- Mava Angelou

"That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

For some reason, quotes like these have been repeated over and over again. They resonate with us at certain times and seem to portray exactly what we might want to say. I also got to thinking about the way Mission Statements are written in order to define your purpose, inspire and still be attainable and Vision statements that are focused on the future and express the values and hopes of your business.

If we have a business, we look for the most impactful way to advertise our products and services. We seek to come up with slogans that people will remember and recognise asconnected to our product. Wouldn’t it be great if we could think of a slogan as memorable as one of these?  “For Everything Else, There’s MasterCard”, Ronseal – “It Does Exactly What it Says on the Tin”, Nike – “Just Do It” and Apple’s “Think Different”.

The way we use words can express our feelings, our opinions and our values. That’s why we have to choose them carefully. So much damage can be done to us personally and in business if we are not conscious of the way our words can be interpreted. We all know that words can be misinterpreted, especially if they are written down.

As Alyssa Mertes explains, in her article “Top 10 Effective and Ineffective Advertising Slogans” on the Quality Logo Products website September 2011, sometimes companies get it wrong. 

From her piece, I’ve chosen these examples:

“Volkswagen:  “Relieves Gas Pains.” 

Whether or not it was intentional, there’s a very distracting double innuendo in their slogan. Humor works well for an advertisement or slogan if that’s part of the brand’s personality. However, Volkswagen has never been known to be particularly comical as a company.

Old Spice:  “Smell Better Than Yourself.” 

This slogan is a real head-scratcher to say the least. How can you possibly smell better than yourself? It is strongly implied that, on a basic level, you don’t typically smell all that great. After using Old Spice products you’ll smell better, but by how much? There’s way too much thinking behind this slogan.

Hoover:  “It Beats as it Sweeps as it Cleans.” 

Nine times out of ten, a catchy song can make even the worst situation a little bit better. Unfortunately, that’s not the case with “It Beats as it Sweeps as it Cleans.” The jingle is extremely strange and lacks any kind of rhythm whatsoever. Just like your Aunt Cheryl when she tried doing the Cha Cha Slide at your wedding.”

Whether we are trying to convey the aims of your business, your organisation or other aspect of your life, we have to make sure we are conveying the right message and it pays to make it a positive one and ensure that it doesn’t offend or make false claims. 

If you are engaged in writing a slogan, a statement about your business or some other avenue you are pursuing, it really wouldn’t hurt to go back to the words of that Four –Way Test and use them as a guideline: Is it the Truth? Is it fair to all concerned? Will it build goodwill and better friendships? Will it be beneficial to all concerned?

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 only tests worth passing are the ones we set ourselves.

Gemma Malley, The Resistance
How to Test your Business and your Life in 4 Simple Ways

How to Test your Business and your Life in 4 Simple Ways

Posted by martin.parnell |

At last week’s Rotary meeting, three new members were inducted. It’s always a pleasure to see people take that first step on their Rotary journey. From now on, they, along with all Rotarians, are required to observe certain traditions, one of them being to join in with the reciting of what is known as “The Four-Way Test.”

The story behind the Four-Way Test begins with Herbert J. Taylor. It was in 1932 that Taylor was appointed President of a Chicago cookware distribution company, Club Aluminum Products. His main task was to save the company from bankruptcy. He believed himself to be the only person in the company of 250 employees who had hope. His recovery plan started with changing the ethical climate of the company. 

Taylor gave this explanation as to how he would achieve his goal: “The first job was to set policies for the company that would reflect the high ethics and morals God would want in any business. If the people who worked for Club Aluminum were to think right, I knew they would do right. What we needed was a simple, easily remembered guide to right conduct - a sort of ethical yardstick- which all of us in the company could memorize and apply to what we thought, said and did.

I searched through many books for the answer to our need, but the right phrases eluded me, so I did what I often do when I have a problem I can't answer myself: I turn to the One who has all the answers. I leaned over my desk, rested my head in my hands and prayed. After a few moments, I looked up and reached for a white paper card. Then I wrote down the twenty-four words that had come to me:    

  1.    Is it the truth?
  2.    Is it fair to all concerned?
  3.    Will it build goodwill and better friendships?
  4.    Will it be beneficial to all concerned?

I called it "The Four-Way Test" of the things we think, say or do."

So, how did The Four-Way Test become part of Rotary?

In the 1940s, Taylor was appointed an International Director of Rotary. He offered the Four- Way Test to the organization, and it was adopted by Rotary for its internal and promotional use. Taylor gave Rotary International the right to use the test and the copyright in 1954. He retained the rights to use the test for himself, his Club Aluminum Company and the Christian Workers Foundation. Since then, the twenty four word test remains a central part of the permanent Rotary structure and is held as the standard by which all behaviour should be measured.

But it’s not just Rotary that has recognized the test as a measure of good behaviour. The Four-Way Test has been adopted and promoted around the world and is used in myriad forms to encourage personal and business ethical practices. For example: NASA astronaut Buzz Aldrin planted a Four-Way Test pin on the Moon’s surface. 

The Four-Way Test has appeared in gymnasiums, courtrooms, and labour contracts. The Ghanaian judicial system displays the test is on billboards in court premises in Ghana.  Today, the test appears on highway billboards, in schoolrooms and halls of government, and on the walls of businesses the world over.

And it’s not just with businesses and other organizations that The Four-Way Test has been used and promoted. Some Rotary clubs have encouraged its use in schools as a learning tool and have had an excellent response through the essays and other projects done by the students, based on its principals.

The Four-Waytest can be applied to almost any aspect of life. It is a measure of honesty and fairness. On a broader scale, it can be used to promote fellowship, community spirit and concern for others.

It may only consist of twenty-four words, but The Four-Way Test is something for us all to live by.

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

For those lucky enough to be baptized with a middle name, they don’t ever have to wonder what it would be like to be without one.

Franklin P. Jones - Reporter, Public Relations Executive and Humorist
What's in a Middle Name and Why do you Have One?

What's in a Middle Name and Why do you Have One?

Posted by martin.parnell |

Today, March 19th. is Saint Joseph’s Day. Wikipedia states that “The Feast of Saint Joseph is in Western Christianity the principal feast day of Saint Joseph, husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary and legal father of Jesus Christ. It has the rank of a solemnity in the Catholic Church. It is a feast or commemoration in the provinces of the Anglican Communion, and a feast or festival in the Lutheran Church. 

Saint Joseph's Day is the Patronal Feast day for Poland as well as for Canada, persons named Joseph, Josephine, etc., for religious institutes, schools and parishes bearing his name, and for carpenters. It is also Father’s Day in some Catholic countries, mainly Spain, Portugal and Italy. The 19th of March was dedicated to Saint Joseph in several Western calendars by the 10th century, and this custom was established in Rome in 1479 by Pope Pius V.” 

Now you may wonder why this is of particular interest to me. The reason is because my middle name is Joseph. It was given to me when I was baptized into the Catholic Church. In many countries, it is customary for a person being baptized or confirmed into the Roman Catholic Church to adopt the name of a biblical character or saint as it is meant to engage the patron saint as a protector and guide. I use it on official documents and I sign my name with a “J” in the middle. 

Other people may have a middle name for a variety of reasons. Perhaps it is part of a family tradition, a name in memory of someone or being named after a family member or friend. Of course, it can simply be because the parents like the name. 

I found an article on mentalfloss.com. by Sean Hutchinson, August 2004 in which he asks “Why Do We Have Middle Names?” and he tells us some of the history behind the practice: “The phrase “middle name” first appeared in an 1835 Harvard University periodical called Harvardiana, but the practice dates back much further.

In ancient Rome, having multiple names was an honor usually bestowed upon the most important people—like Gaius Julius Caesar. The fad died out only to pick back up again in Western cultures in the 1700s, when aristocrats started giving their children lavishly long names to indicate their place in society. Similarly, lengthy Spanish and Arabic names adopt paternal or maternal names from previous generations to trace the individual’s family tree. (In other cultures, like Chinese, there are traditionally no middle names.)

The three-name structure used today began in the Middle Ages when Europeans were torn between giving their child a saint’s name or a common family name. The practice of giving three names eventually resolved the problem with a formula: given name first, baptismal name second, surname third. It branched to America as immigrants arrived: Adopting a trio of labels became a way of aspiring to a higher social class.

Nonreligious middle names—often maternal maiden names—gradually became the norm, and by the Civil War, it was customary to name your child whatever you liked. Middle names had started to become more or less official by World War I, when the U.S. enlistment form became the first official government document to include space for them.”

So, if you are given a middle name, are you legally bound to use it? This question was answered by trial attorney, Mark Wheeler, in July 2017, on the Quora website: “If you are signing a deed, or any to be recorded document you must use your full name. Banking practices have dictated this modern trend. Ancient practice only required a person’s mark. Then first and last names were used. And now, full names are the norm. I would guess that the future holds some type of biometric application like an RFID chip or a drop of blood. Nothing is more individual than DNA (in the case of identical twins I would perceive the addition or an eye scan).” 

You may love your middle name so much that you would rather use it than your given first name. However, you may not like it at all and want it removed from any legal documents. This can be a lengthy process as one contributor to Reddit showed when listing all the documentations that he had to change:

  • SIN
  • Health Card
  • Driver's License
  • Some banking information
  • Citizenship card
  • Passport
  • University records
  • High school diploma
  • Online banking
  • PayPal
  • Vehicle ownership
  • Insurance (Home and auto)
  • Utilities
  • Telecommunication
  • Employer's records
  • Pension plan
  • Various organizational memberships
  • Subscriptions”

And someone else noted that there is a fee of $137 just to have it changed on your birth certificate.”

So love it or hate it, you may want to stick with that middle name that was given to you by a person or persons with the best of intentions and it might be fun to find out why it was given to you in the first place.

Martin Joseph Parnell

About the Author

Martin J. 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

All answers to why are information. All answers to how are knowledge.

Raheel Farooq, Kalam - Teacher and writer based in Pakistan.
How to Embrace being Questioned and see it as an Opportunity

How to Embrace being Questioned and see it as an Opportunity

Posted by martin.parnell |

The other day, I was reminded of a quote about looking at a question as an opportunity rather than a challenge. It’s true that, in some circumstances, we tend to see a question, whether it’s about our work, our opinion on something or a decision we make, as a challenge to our capabilities. It can make us feel vulnerable. We will often go on the defensive and feel we have to justify our actions or our choices. 

Instead, we might try to see it as a great opportunity, a chance to demonstrate how we work, shares our experience and our line of thinking. It’s also an opportunity to educate, especially if, in business, we have a particular expertise. 

If someone questions you in anything you do, it is also a great opportunity to evaluate your work, your company and your decisions, but, you should not be afraid to stand by what you have said or done, especially in business. Your actions would have been based on your knowledge, experience and training. Do not think that because someone questions you, you have done something wrong or they are not happy with your way of thinking. Take it as a sign that they want to know more. 

We are told that we should not be afraid to ask questions. It’s a way to increase our knowledge, understand another person’s point of view and a great opportunity to rethink the way we might do things and increase our skills. 

In education, students are encouraged to ask questions in order to learn. This is why it’s important to ask the right questions. See my blog dated June 12th. 2017 Get the best answers by preparing the right questions. 

I have also written about the use of surveys and questionnaires to receive feedback from customers. It’s important that they are invited to question us about our decisions. This enables us to explain what’s happening and why we have taken a certain path and introduced new innovations. It’s the way a client can gain a deeper insight into the way a company works. By answering questions, it gives us the opportunity to share our decision- making and promote the improvements we have made in order to become more efficient and improve our services. 

So bear this in mind, if we are being encouraged to ask questions and see this as a positive thing, then being asked should become the norm and we should see it in the same light.

Needless to say, there are times when we question ourselves, in which case you may want to take these steps before making a decision, making changes or introducing new concepts

  1. Know your facts – do your research
  2. Consult- either with your team, other colleagues or outside agencies
  3. Look at risks- could your decision jeopardise the work that is already in progress?
  4. See the end goal – and know when you’ve reached it.
  5. Consider how your decision may affect others.

When you have made your decision and acted upon it, evaluate – what are the consequences of your decision – did it prove beneficial?

Being able to question yourself and determine that you have made the right choices will give you confidence when being questioned by 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

Women are the largest untapped reservoir of talent in the world.

Hillary Clinton
A Chance to Celebrate the Ways Women Improve your Life

A Chance to Celebrate the Ways Women Improve your Life

Posted by martin.parnell |

March 8th. is International Women’s Day. It’s worth noting the history of this event and why it is celebrated on that particular date. After women gained suffrage in Soviet Russia in 1917, March 8 became a national holiday there. The day was then predominantly celebrated by the socialist movement and communist countries until it was adopted in 1975 by the United Nations. 

Having this date dedicated to women, provides us with a great opportunity to celebrate all the women in our lives, whatever the role they might play. It’s well worth taking time to consider what those roles might be and how they affect us. They may be family members, friends, colleagues, people we meet at the various activities we take part in outside of work and home, our doctor, dentist, physiotherapist, bus driver, the list is endless. 

The first thing we need to do is to thank them for the contribution they make and let them know that it you appreciate all they do. If you are in business, you can celebrate your female employees by recognising them, not just in the workplace, but on social media. 

You can make a point of contacting your female clients on that day and telling them that you are thinking of them on International Women’s Day. You might like to hold an event for your female clients, perhaps organise a lunch or dinner for them or a gift of some sort. I would suggest a donation to a women’s charity, in their name would be one option. 

In March 2016, as part of an article entitled Ways Your Company Can Celebrate International Women’s Day, Katie Burke suggested amongst other things:

Make celebrating a team sport

One of the biggest mistakes companies make with women’s initiatives is only engaging women in the conversation. 70% of men believe gender diversity is important, and given that men represent 83% of C-Suite executives, leaving guys out of the conversation leaves a lot of opportunity for change and transformation on the table. Your success as an organization as it relates to inclusion is directly proportional to the degree that you make empowering women a core part of your business philosophy rather than a one-off network or affinity group for women only, so consider including all employees in your celebration, regardless of how you choose to participate in the day.”

Burke also went on to encourage discussion, in the section:

Start A dialogue

A quarter billion women have entered the workplace worldwide since 2006, yet the World Economic Forum’s 2016 survey shows women make as much money as men did a decade ago. The challenges for women in the workplace aren’t relegated to pay: only 14.2% of the top five leaders in S&P 500 companies are women. The numbers are staggering, but what’s often missing is a dialogue within organizations on how to make gender equity a priority.

Taking the time to engage in the discussion, to solicit ideas on what can be better, and create a meaningful space for men and women to share ideas on this topic is an easy way to make a big impact. We assembled a guide for companies to start this discussion for a Blog Club, so even if you don’t have time for a lot of planning, it’s easy and fast to host a meaningful discussion around the day.”

Finally, Burke pointed out the ways in which empowering women is good not only for your brand, but also your business:

“..studies show teams with more women perform better and companies with women in leadership roles outperform those without female leaders so everyone at your organization should have a vested interest in creating a workplace that actively empowers and engages female employees in a meaningful way. Whether you’ve been celebrating International Women’s Day for years or are just hearing about it for the first time this year, getting in the game is a great way to make your workplace and employment brand more inclusive.

If you’re still on the fence about jumping in, we created a Powerful Woman Playlist you can rock out to at work, an inspiration video of remarkable women, and a blog club discussion guide you can use easily today to celebrate. Start a dialogue, run an event, thank someone you admire, but whatever you do, don’t be afraid to get started–creating even one conversation or opportunity can have a huge impact on your candidates, customers, and your company’s commitment to women.”

So, as International Women’s Day approaches, these ideas may provide you with food for thought. Also, it’s important to remember that, whilst we celebrate women, we must make a concerted effort to ensure that we ( both men and women) provide them with opportunities, mentor them and inspire them in order that they fulfill their potential  and achieve their goals,

I would like to take the opportunity to recognise and thank all the women I encounter in both my personal and business lives for all the worthwhile, gracious and invaluable contributions they make.

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 Chinese use two brush strokes to write the word 'crisis.' One brush stroke stands for danger; the other for opportunity. In a crisis, be aware of the danger--but recognize the opportunity.

John F. Kennedy
How a Crisis can be Good for Business

How a Crisis can be Good for Business

Posted by martin.parnell |

During the recent period of Chinese New Year celebrations, I was researching all things Chinese when, out of the blue, I came across the above quote. A crisis in business can be devastating, if not handled properly. It may arise from one single event or a series of them and could, in extreme, become a threat to an organization’s very existence. 

A crisis can develop over time and occur due to the failure of staff or management to identify when things are not working. It may also be due to one, unexpected, significant event. It’s important to be able to recognise when a crisis is developing and to deal with it, you need to have formed a strong leadership team, keep employees and stakeholders informed and deal with any media with an air of positivity and control. 

This will make sure everyone is kept up-to-date with what is developing and how it is being dealt with. In these days of social media, the way a crisis is handled can make or break a reputation, either of an individual or a company. Whichever way it manifests, it’s important to deal with it quickly and efficiently. This is why some companies have a Crisis Management Plan and can draw on it at any given time. If you do have such a plan, it’s important to keep it updated and review it at timely intervals. The implementation of such a plan can save a lot of time, stress and even money. 

Of significant importance is the ability of your company to recognise when a crisis occurs. It may not be as obvious as one might think. Also, there is a difference between a company that is failing and one that is facing a crisis. If you cannot pay your overheads, you have an unusually high rate of employee turnover, you cannot pay salaries to yourself or your employees and you’ve lost enthusiasm to promote your product, you may be failing, whereas, crises are deemed to be negative changes, especially when they occur abruptly, with little or no warning.

Crisis has several defining characteristics. Seeger, Sellnow, and Ulmer(Seeger, M. W.; Sellnow, T. L.; Ulmer, R. R. (1998). "Communication, organization, and crisis". Communication Yearbook.),  say, amongst other things, that three characteristics are that the event is

“1. Unexpected (i.e., a surprise)

2. Creates uncertainty

3. Is seen as a threat to important goals” 

If you are an employee, you may want to be aware of warning signs that your company is in crisis.

In a post on LINKDIN from Adjunct Professor, Academic Mentor, Education Technology Specialist, Court Mediator, Tom Moyer entitled : 12 Signs That Your Company Could Be in a Financial Crisis, Published on March 1, 2015, Moyer suggests the following may be signs that this is the case:

  1. Changes in organizational structure such as large department mergers, a marked increase in staff to manager ratio or a new and highly streamlined management team. These are often front-end attempts to right the ship and they sometimes work.
  2. A noteworthy increase in staff and manager stress levels evidenced by a big increase in workload, flaring tempers, increasing frustration with assignments and long work hours. While this can be a regular occurrence, a prolonged episode can be a glaring sign of trouble.
  3. Inadequate staffing of departments and scheduling - Staff are asked to double or triple up on workstations on a regular basis and changes in work assignments and rotations increase dramatically.
  4. Work backlogs - Despite best efforts, the work isn't getting done. Something has to give and as the backlog grows, so does the gravity of the situation and the number of mental meltdowns.
  5. Increased attempts at self-preservation which leads to turf wars, power struggles and infighting - This tears at the very fabric of organizational cohesiveness and it's sure to rattle the nerves of everyone involved. With this comes an inevitable drop in employee morale and productivity.
  6. Hiring freezes and unfilled positions - These are often last-ditch attempts to rebalance the company. The situation can be aggravated by increased employee turnover and unsuccessful recruitments which are driven by abysmal hiring pools for jobs with low salaries and lousy benefits.
  7. Hostile work environment - This is a term bandied about by stressed-out employees. While it conjures up an image of a slave-driving boss, it's often marked by a significant increase in disability claims for mental stress caused by moody coworkers and bosses, aside from a crummy work environment.
  8. Sacrificing customer service for economy - This only accelerates the slide downhill because without customers, you don't bring in money to pay salaries and keep the lights, heat and computers on.
  9. Sacrificing work quality by replacing humans with machines - Witness the endless maze of voicemail often encountered when contacting a cable provider or government agency and there's no chance of talking to a live person. Or think of an online return policy that makes it next to impossible for a wrong to be righted. If you're a customer and you can't talk to a human being to get things fixed, you're taking your business elsewhere.
  10. An increase in Human Resource issues such as questionable disability and workers' comp claims, an increase in personality clashes between staff and managers and a jump in performance improvement programs and harassment claims.
  11. Reductions in benefits and salary freezes that spark early retirements, mysterious resignations, unexplained leaves of absence and outright terminations.
  12. Mandatory work furlough days or use of vacation during slow periods when organizations can operate on thinner staffing such as Christmas and New Year.”

Moyer does point out that “Taken individually, these signs may not mean much, but together they can form a distinct picture of an organization in crisis.” And he suggests you may want to take action;

“So, if your company is in dire straits, think about what you will do now to avoid the calamity to come and set yourself up for a successful transition. Create a plan, make lifelong learning a priority and act pre-emptively to increase your odds of success. That way you'll be ready to jump into hyper drive once you know something definitive about your organization's plans. And there's no better time to start this process than right now.”

Which leads me to the final part of Kennedy’s quote.

If your company is facing a crisis, once the issue has been dealt with, it can have a positive side. Valuable lessons can be learned from the way the crisis is dealt with.  It can actually lead to a better insight as to how the company functions and where weaknesses lie.

First, you need to ask these questions: Why/How did this crisis occur? Was it preventable? Did it develop over time or was it due to a significant event? What effect has it had on the company, its customers and employees? How can we prevent it from happening again and, if you have a Crisis Management Plan, was it implemented and was it effective?

It may lead you to take action resulting in positive outcomes. If you do not have a Crisis Management Plan, maybe it’s a good time to develop one. Perhaps you or your employees developed skills using initiative and creativity to solve the problem. It may have brought people together. It quite possibly gave you the opportunity to make changes that are beneficial, including ways to improve your company’s customer relations, productivity, efficiency and image. 

It can also help dispel any illusions you may have had about how you, your employees or your company reacted and it may provide the opportunity to set new goals and assess your values.

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