January 16, 2014 – Day 10 – Ask for help.

What kind of life changing connection could you make in a coffee shop?

There was a day in 2013 when I overheard a conversation at another table in a coffee shop and decided to say hello. It turned out that the two people speaking were holding interviews for a new dining hotspot. Having recently moved to Calgary, I hadn’t planned on working in another restaurant, but after a compelling introduction to the concept and the plans that they had for this place, I had to jump on board. It didn’t hurt that it was to be located 350 metres from my flat.

The restaurant is called, “Briggs”, the food is exceptionally good and very reasonably priced.

The floods of 2013 only slightly delayed their opening date, and boy have I had a great time there ever since. Initially I was apprehensive to work in hospitality again as I’d made some pretty big strides in my facilitating and presenting career up until that point. But since getting over myself I have been able to enjoy a vibrant work environment, multiple opportunities to improve my storytelling skills, an active social life, the flexibility to leave the province whenever a presenting opportunity arises and even the occasional new client.

I’d say it’s been a pretty good fit for me so far. Further to the above benefits, I’ve learned a lesson in hospitality that I’d struggled with previously in my personal life. I learned how to ask for help. With the supportive encouragement of the general manager Cory Gaudette, I eventually learned how to do this and have found that this new ability has transferred nicely into other aspects of my life. What a bonus!

And what an Unexpected Connection over a coffee it was that led me here.

Today’s lesson?

Ask for help.

January 15, 2014 – Day 9 – Be spontaneous.

Call today a Throwback Thursday as I reflect back to that time when I joined a complete stranger on a cross country bicycle tour. It was 2008 and I needed a change. This new friend from Couchsurfing.com arrived on my doorstep in Toronto and offered me an opportunity to join him on his trip.

To his surprise, I did.

CyclingOn May 27, 2008 we departed Toronto for Vancouver. This challenging journey allowed me to push myself beyond my own preexisting limits to arrive in Vancouver 41 days later. Despite the challenges, we had a wonderful time. I returned to Ontario from that trip empowered to enter a new chapter of my life with confidence.

It’s this type of spontaneity that I feel is the spice of life.

Today’s lesson?

Be spontaneous.

January 14, 2014 – Day 8 – Celebrate Ideas.

Tonight I had the pleasure of attending a Meetup. Meetup.com is a wonderful online place to meet like minded people offline. These people enjoy the same things that you do. There are thousands of groups in thousands of cities around the world. It’s helpful for when you are traveling AND for when you just want to meet new people in your own city. Check it out.

Tony Esteves TEDXIt was a TEDx Calgary Dinner Meetup on this evening that I attended. I’d joined this group a few times before. This group meets in person to do discuss the ideas that we’ve seen come up in some of the amazing TED Talks from TED.com. If TED is new to you, be sure to visit this website. There are hundreds of talks from experts in all fields sharing their expertise. It is a  wonderful way to gain access to some of the greatest thinkers thoughts of the day.

I find this Meetup to be a very worthwhile way to spend an evening as I consistently meet interesting people and make new connections.

Both TED Talks and Meetup have had a big impact on my 30s which is why I mention them both tonight.

Why not celebrate ideas as part of this challenge? While today there is some criticism that TED Talks are becoming more and more just a source of  “edutainment” some of the videos I’ve seen on TED.com have had a deep impact on me and I thought that was an idea worth spreading.

Thank you.

Today’s lesson?

Celebrate Ideas

January 13, 2014 – Day 7 – Just START.

One lesson that I really wish I knew going into my 30s is today’s. I’ve often put things off because they seemed overwhelming or impossible to complete. But some experience has taught me that in fact the hardest part really is just starting whatever it is that needs to be done. This creates an opportunity.

DogIf you can convince yourself to just START the task at hand without thinking so much about how big or challenging it is, you will often find that it’s more manageable than you thought. That is how I got myself back into the gym in November of last year. Try it out!

This is my neighbour’s dog. He’s adorable, so I thought I’d include him today.

Today’s lesson?



January 12, 2014 – Day 6 – Explode your creativity!

Tonight’s lesson comes from my monthly Creative Problem Solving Think Tank. This is a think tank that has been inspired by Dr. Win Wenger and was the fourth in the Calgary series.

Creativity Think TankThere are hundreds of ways to solve problems using creativity but to date I’ve found that these techniques are the most amazing. This is because you get to use your own visual imagery and unconscious mind to solve problems. This allows you to get past your own inner critic and to surprise yourself with your own insights.

Participants solved some of their own problems and worked on bigger issues that we came up with together.

I feel that my life has been greatly enhanced since attending my first creativity conference – Mindcamp – in 2012, and believe that everyone can benefit from exercising their creative abilities.

Tonight’s lesson?

Explode your creativity!

To view the videos and lessons from Days 1-5 please click HERE

To view the videos and lessons from Days 11-15 please click HERE