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

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

How to be Positive about Making a Mistake

Posted by martin.parnell |

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

About the Author

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

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

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

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

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

Posted by martin.parnell |

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

About the Author

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

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

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

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

Acknowledging Those who Inspire can Lead You to be an Inspiration

Posted by martin.parnell |

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

About the Author

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

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

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

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

Challenge your Business to Make an Impact on the World

Posted by martin.parnell |

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

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

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

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

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

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

I have chosen five of them to share with you:

TOMS

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

Charity: water

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

Envirofit

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

Terracycle

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

d.Light

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

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

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

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

About the Author

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

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

Read More