There are angels and heroes all around us. Their super powers are not revealed to all..... Just those whose paths they cross and whose lives they touch every day.

Susan Gale
How to Recognize your Inner Superhero

How to Recognize your Inner Superhero

Posted by martin.parnell |

On Sunday, May 29th, my alter-ego, Captain Clot-Buster, finished the Scotiabank Calgary Marathon, in a very respectable 4 hours 24 minutes 40 seconds and raised funds for the humanitarian organization Right To Play.

The Captain first made an appearance in October 2015 at the 10 km “Dash of Doom” and has since run the Glencoe Icebreaker 10 km and the Policemen’s half marathon. However the Captains origins come from a dark period in my life.         

In February 2015, during a business trip to Winnipeg, I was taken ill and, at the Health Sciences Center, I was diagnosed with Cerebral Venus Sinus Thrombosis, a rare form of blood clot, on the brain. The next few months were a blur. I went from not being able to walk, see or feed myself to walking a short distance along the river path, outside our home.

It was a long recovery process but now, after 15 months, the clot is decreased by 95% and, apart from still having to take several meds every day, my life has pretty much returned to normal. Creating Captain Clot-Buster was my way of showing that it is possible to overcome many obstacles in life and being fit and positive can make a huge difference to the outcome. My specialist told me that if my fitness level hadn’t been as good, I may not have survived.

Now, I’m not suggesting everyone has to don a costume, give themselves a different name and make public appearances. What I am suggesting is that in each of us there is a inner superhero, we just have to get to recognize them.

There is a lady, who lives near us, who spends all her free time doing volunteer work of various forms. She is a widow, in her late seventies and an unsung hero. There is another women who buys up fabric from the local thrift store and makes crib blankets and quilts for the local food bank. Another superhero.

Maybe you are the go-to person at work. Someone who makes a positive difference in difficult situations. Perhaps you’re the hockey Mum who gives rides to kids other than your own. Think of the priceless help that is, to another family.

Another way you can be a superhero? Keep yourself fit and active. Your family may not notice, they probably won’t think to thank you, but it may mean you’re around longer and they will reap the benefits.

Of course there are other superheroes who are pretty special and need a category all of their own. I’m not talking about Batman, Superman or Captain America. I’m referring to people like another competitor I had the privilege to race with at the Calgary marathon, Chris Koch. Chris was born without arms or legs and competed using a longboard and raised funds for a shelter for the homeless.

Chris is an extreme example, but if you follow Captain Clot-Buster’s motto “Keep Fit and Do Good”, you can be a superhero too. 

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I read in a book once that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, but I've never been able to believe it. I don't believe a rose WOULD be as nice if it was called a thistle or a skunk cabbage.

L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

From Gerry to Humperdinck. It’s all in the name.

Posted by martin.parnell |

An item, on MSN UK, reported that a woman, in England had been banned from naming her baby daughter Cyanide. One can only imagine the problems it might have caused until the girl reached an age when she could, if she wished, opt to be called something different. On CBC Radio, recently, a lady phoned in and mentioned that she was listening along with her grandson, Beowulf.  Now, personally, I think that’s a fantastic name and, for me, conjures up an image of someone who is strong and adventurous. 

Gerry Dorsey was an English singer who, in the 1960’s couldn’t get a record deal. He changed his name to Engelbert Humperdinck and soon after was signed by Decca records. He had several top-selling hits in both the UK and the US. This got me thinking about names and how we can make judgements based on hearing them. This can apply to people, objects and businesses. 

There is a whole science devoted to choosing the right name and how to market it. Numerous articles have been written about the way the right name can quickly be adopted into our culture. It’s interesting how certain brand names become so familiar that we instinctively know what someone is talking about, when we say them e.g. Kleenex, Hoover, Jacuzzi, Thermos, Trampoline. 

When the first Starbucks opened in Seattle's Pike Place Market, in 1971, it didn't sell coffee drinks, just beans. The founders considered naming it after Captain Ahab’s boat, from the novel Moby Dick, but, according to a Starbucks spokesperson, changed their mind when a friend tried out the tagline "Have a cup of Pequod." and, instead, named itafter Captain Ahab's first mate, Starbuck. 

The most difficult choices I’ve had to make, when naming anything, have been deciding on the titles of my two books and how to brand my business. I decided it would be best to create a tag line that relates to what I’m best known for, which includes completing numerous endurance events, running 250 marathons, in one year and is aligned to my promise statement i.e. “Overcoming obstacles to reach your full potential.” After much deliberation I came up with the tag line ‘”Finish the Race Attitude” and the book titles MARATHON QUEST and RUNNING TO THE EDGE. 

What names strike you as “perfect” for a particular product or service? Do you use a tagline that reflects something about you or what you can deliver? Remember, it’s all in the name.

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I wear a lot of different hats – from writer to producer and artist. We all do.

William Bell
Are you a "Mad Hatter"?

Are you a "Mad Hatter"?

Posted by martin.parnell |

Our youngest grandson, Matthew Connor, who will turn 2 next month, loves to wear hats. He has quite the collection and will choose one and wear it all day. What Matthew Connor doesn’t realise is that most of his hats has serve a purpose. Some will keep him warm, whilst others will provide protection from the sun. He also has hats for other occasions, like the one he wears to go fishing, with his Dad or the swim hat he wears to keep the water out of his ears. Of course, he also has a selection of hats that are just for fun and he looks cute in all of them.

The only hats I wear are a running cap, for protection from the sun or a running toque for the cold days. But, of course there are the numerous “Life” hats I wear, depending on what I’m doing.

These were the ”hats” I wore today:

  1. My Husband hat – I went grocery shopping as my wife, who usually does it, is recovering from surgery.
  2. My Dad hat – I chatted with our son about a course he’s taking.
  3. My Granddad hat –I Skyped with my granddaughter Autumn and grandsons Nathan and Matthew.
  4. My Rotary hat – a business meeting about upcoming projects.
  5. My Runner hat – I managed to get in an 8km before breakfast.
  6. My Fundraiser hat – I spoke to a school about how they can raise funds for Right To Play.

Just this past week, I have also worn my Author hat – I donned this one, just yesterday, when I was speaking to my editor about my next book, due out in November and my Speaker hat – following up on a lead for a Keynote presentation.

Think about your day. How many hats will you wear today? Which ones fit you the best? Are there some that should be recycled? Are there hats in your collection you haven’t worn for a while? Which are your favourites and bring you most pleasure?

Maybe it’s time for a new hat?

Whatever you do, wear those hats with pride and panache and you’ll get noticed!

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