Saturday, August 31, 2013

How Thinking Well Can Make A Difference!

Thinking well isn’t something you do just because it seems like a good approach to take, it’s a way a of life you embrace and put into practice as much as you possibly can.  When you develop a positive mindset and adopt it into your way of being, it’s not easily abandoned when things don’t go your way.

One of the sayings I often find myself sharing with people is that, “I don’t have bad days, I have bad moments.”  There are some days when I find myself replaying this in my head over and over again as a reminder that my day or life for that matter doesn’t have to be defined by a mishap or series of unfortunate events.  It totally recognizes that there will be points throughout the day when things will go terribly wrong and we’ll come up on the short end of the stick but they don’t have dominate our entire being.

I think of my good friend Rick Sovereign as an example of someone who wholeheartedly embraces this positive mindset.  You see, Rick has been battling prostate cancer for the last couple of years and there have been several moments when things didn’t look good and the thought was that he would be lost to friends and family was a reality but throughout it all Rick continues to persevere and sees each setback as a minor hiccup.

The difference for him has always been his mental approach to each and every situation.

Although he's a pro golfer by trade, he has a deep love for the game of basketball and he cares about the growth and development of the game particularly in young people.  In fact, he and I first connected almost a decade ago when our daughters who were the same age were trying out for the same basketball team.  Our similar passion for the game brought us together and  we’ve been friends ever since.

He has always been super positive and credits it to the way he thinks.  As I write this, Rick is in the hospital with what he believes is Stage 5 cancer despite the fact that the medical professionals say that there are only four stages and that doctors have told him his illness has advanced to the last one.

I once remember Rick sharing with me how he learned how to "think well" which is a concept he cultivated on the golf course.  There are times when we have to deviate from the “plan” and do something different based on the set of circumstances we're presented with.  Every round of golf doesn’t go according to plan and there are always times where you'll have to deviate because you've hit into a sand trap.  We all basically have to work with what we've been given.

This is what he did continually did over and over again.  He broke both of his arms several months back when he was routinely climbing out of bed one morning.  You see, the cancer had spread throughout his entire body and as a result his bones had started to deteriorate and become weak.  Hearing him recount that ordeal so matter of factly has always stayed with me.  He said as he gave a slight chuckle, "Well Audley, this is just one more obstacle to overcome".

I should point out that this isn't the case of someone who is denial and delusional of his situation.  He totally recognizes that his mortality is in question and the treatments he receives will not necessarily cure him but instead prolong his life.  But for Rick, that gives him the opportunity to continue to positively influence those around him and teach the concept of thinking well to overcome any obstacle whether it be on the green, the basketball court or in life.

I'm blessed to have learned these lessons directly from him with my own eyes and its my belief that anyone who comes in contact with Rick walks away feeling equally as blessed.

Click here to read an article written about my dear friend Rick.

See you on the court!

Follow me on Twitter @TheAudman

Bookmark and Share

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Collaborative Leadership in Community (CLiC) Program Graduation!

I recently had the privilege of being the MC/facilitator of a graduation ceremony for Collaborative Leadership in Community (CLiC) Program  which is offered through the Peel Leadership Centre (PLC).
The mandate of the PLC is to provide and facilitate learning opportunities for non-profit leaders and organizations, through programs, services, resources and events that are local, formal and encourage community engagement.

The CLiC program fits into this mandate because its focus is on developing or enhancing characteristics consistent with a collaborative style of leadership. This intensive 10 month long program allows participants to build strong leadership networks and provide a place for learning together about effective collaborative leadership practices.

It was a great celebration overall and I feel privileged to have been able to participate in such a wonderful event. At the end of the evening I left feeling inspired by the efforts and hard work put in by all the graduates to get themselves to this final point. However, as I shared with them in my message, the process of learning on the leadership journey is lifelong and there never really is a "final point".

I can't help but feel motivated to do more knowing that the Region of Peel has a new crop of leaders ready to make it a better place!

For more information on the Peel Leadership Centre or the CLiC program, please visit:

See you on the court!
Follow me on Twitter @TheAudman

Bookmark and Share

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Most Important Bike Ride of My Life!

When I was a kid, I primarily grew up in the west end of downtown Toronto and pretty much did everything  that young energetic rambunctious boys did with the exception of one thing.

I didn't bike ride!

When I think back, it really doesn't make a whole lot of sense.  All my friends had bikes and the residential area I lived in was full of riders but for whatever reason I didn't gravitate towards it.
Or more accurately, I didn't learn to ride.  

Its something I've pondered about for many years and after some pretty deep thought and self reflection I surmised that part of the reason I didn't take up bike riding was because I convinced myself I couldn't do it.

It was as simple as that!

At no point did I try or come close to making an honest attempt to learn or had any concrete data to base my belief off of. I just told myself that it was something beyond me and so it was written.

How's that for the power of self talk??

I conjured this negative belief in my head and accepted the fact I wasn't a bike rider and that in turn became my reality.

I stayed away from the conversation of bikes, I avoided situations where I would have to be around bikes - it was almost as if bicycles didn't exist in my world.  Truth of the matter was the topic was a little embarrassing to openly admit which made easier to avoid talking about and being around all together. 

Throughout the years the idea of riding crossed my mind from time to time but it was more like a fleeting thought.

It was shortly after my 40th birthday when the thought of bike riding started to become more prevalent in my thinking and I slowly started to question my beliefs.

Why don't I ride?

Wouldn't it be fun?

How hard would it be to learn?

Challenging the things we believe or at least thoroughly examining them is an exercise that people should consider doing on a regular basis. Think of it as a form of spring cleaning.  At the very least, its a great way of keeping us honest to ourselves.

Riders Cycle & Board Inc.
After going through my own spring cleaning process and asking myself a few tough questions, I came to the conclusion that there was no reasonable explanation why I didn't bike ride and at this point the only logical thing to do was to learn.

So in late May, I purchased my very first bicycle from my childhood friend's shop and I embarked on a journey that had me wondering why I didn't take it sooner.  I picked it up relatively quickly and in no time I was zipping through the city streets like I had been doing it all along.
I developed what I referred to as the #AddictionToTheGlide syndrome and was constantly looking for reasons to ride discovering bike trails and areas of the city I didn't know existed. A friend once told me a story about how much comedian Jerry Seinfeld loved gliding on his bike through the streets of New York and the sense of freedom he had being out in the open air.  I can totally relate.

My infatuation with riding has lead me to what I call:

The Most Important Bike Ride of My Life!

After exploring several well developed bike paths throughout the city, I've decided to move on to my next challenge and embark on a seven hour bike trip to Niagara-On-The-Lake. NOTL is beautiful this time of the year and is nestled along the shores of the Niagara River and Lake Ontario.  I've heard much about it and the scenic bike trails so I've decided to make the journey and experience it for myself.  

At the same time, this trip holds a great deal of significance for me and is much more then just checking out the scenery.  You see, I firmly believe that the limits on our potential only exist in our thoughts and we have the ability to do whatever we want as long as we believe it. I placed limits on myself for years until I finally realized how much of a mistake that was.  This trip will further reinforce in my mind that the things we believe to be true isn't always the case.

So as I make the 133 km (83 mile) journey, I urge you to think about the the things that you're holding yourself back from.

Ask yourself why or rather ask yourself why not?

See you on the court!

Follow me on Twitter @TheAudman

Bookmark and Share

Friday, December 14, 2012

United We're Strong - Episode 2

In 2012, United Way of Peel Region embarked on a community engagement project through the creation of a 4 part television series entitled, "United We're Strong".

Its a television show produced for Rogers Television (Cable 10 Mississauga) that inspires people to come together and improve the quality of life in Brampton, Caledon and Mississauga.

As a long time supporter of the United Way, I was honored when they asked me to host the series.  Here's a link to episode #2 in which I speak to Sharon Douglas (United Way of Peel Region), Sandy Milakovic (Canadian Mental Health Association/Peel Branch), Karen Anslow (Nexus Youth Services & PCC) and Dan Dimitroff (Peel Regional Police) about issues concerning youth and mental health issues in Peel.

Check it out!

United We're Strong - Episode 2 from United Way of Peel Region on Vimeo.

See you on the court! Follow me on Twitter @TheAudman

Bookmark and Share

Thursday, October 4, 2012

37 Keys To Happiness And A Happier Life

The phrase “Don’t worry be happy” just have been expounded.  Happiness is officially defined as a state of well-being brought about by enjoying, showing, or marked by contentment, pleasure, satisfaction or joy. There are some keys that will help us  get to a state of feeling happiness and it really isn’t rocket science. 

1. Be here, now – Living in the present is the only minute that we can control. The past is gone and the future isn’t here yet.
2. Remain aware – While living in the moment, be aware of everything that is making that moment possible.
3. Gratitude – Appreciation for everything big and small is a vital key to happiness.
4. Accept that it isn’t easy – We are all different, but there is for sure one thing that is the same; life is often difficult and filled with adversity. If we accept this truth, the painful times are a little easier to bear.
5. Let your body lead you – Our physical body will let us know what it needs, (rest, sleep, fun, food, water, shelter, warmth) so listen and accommodate it.
6. Be comfortable in your skin – You have beauty of the body and the soul. If you don’t believe it, ask someone that loves you and they will agree with me.
7. Let go of fear – Happiness is strangled and suffocated by fear. Face your fears, see them as they really are (the product of memory, which dwells in the past) and overcome them. You can’t improve the past with actions in the present. Accept it and move on fearlessly into the future.
8. Become resilient – You know yourself best, so learn techniques that will guide you to bouncing back resiliently during and after difficult experiences.
9. Friendly relationships – We are all social beings and cultivating strong relationships reinforces our positive self-image.
10. You are smart enough – People with the highest IQ’s are not capable of any more happiness than those with the lowest IQ’s. Why? Often, people who are smarter also have higher expectations of themselves and life which keeps their state of happiness equal to everyone else’s level.
11. Accept change – Sure! Just hand me all your dimes, nickles and quarters. What? Oh, not that kind of change? Alright, change is not easy to accept, but I am trying to do it with a semblance of grace. Change happens every day to every one, so the sooner you can find peace with the whole concept of change, the more happiness you will find in your life.
12. Peace, be still – Meditating and remaining in touch with our inner dialogue is a vital key to finding, being and remaining in a state of happiness.
13. Enjoy the journey – Nurturing and attaining goals is great, but as I always say, “Stop and smell the roses” or in other words, enjoy the journey.
14. You’re all you need – Other people can influence your happiness in a positive or negative way, but they are not needed in order for you to have happiness in your life. Love yourself.
15. Manage stress – If you don’t manage stress, it will manage you and take your straight to an early grave. Stress causes so many problems in the body that it literally will kill you. I don’t know a better reason to learn to manage your stress than that, so having control of this part of life is definitely a key to having happiness.
16. Let it be – Over analyzing every little aspect of life, our thoughts and feelings is unnecessary. Take the time to just enjoy, observe and give up trying to figure everything out. Women could take a lesson from men with this key to happiness.
17. Marriage – Although marriage is not all white lace and roses, it is still a scientifically proven fact that people who are married, live longer and are happier. Just for clarification, cohabiting does not have the same positive effect as marriage. Obviously, the piece of paper and gold band have a magical happiness power that some speculate as a great proof of commitment and love.
18. Approval by one – Relinquish your need for external approval because the only opinion that really counts is your own. Have an unconditional self-acceptance and self-love.
19. To thine own self be true – Learn who you are and what makes you tick. Become empowered with a clarity of your authentic self.
20. Focus – Older people have it all going on and can teach us all a very valuable lesson about an important key to happiness. As we age, it seems natural to focus on the things that make us happy and ignore or banish all the things that negatively impact our happiness. Think about it, when you’re 95 years old, every experience is a little richer because it could be the last time you get to live it.
21. Be satisfied – Keeping up with the neighbors does not bring happiness. If you want what you have, you’ll have what you want along with the happiness associated with the feeling of being satisfied.
22. More is not necessarily better – Studies have shown that once your basic needs are met, money only seems to add to your happiness if you already feel happy. It doesn’t bring you permanent happiness.
23. Faith – Whether you believe in God, a Higher Power or something else, exhibiting faith in something greater than our self creates security and gives us a purpose in life. Feeling an ultimate direction for our existence leads to happiness.
24. You’re not alone – In case you didn’t know it, there are billions of other human beings inhabiting the planet. We are all connected in many ways, so no matter what you’re going through, someone else is going through the same thing. Remember the movie “Cast Away” with Tom Hanks? As he carried on conversations with the volleyball named Wilson, I was very aware of how important it is that we are all in this experience of life together.
25. Let go of anger – Anger stifles forgiveness and the unforgiving spirit finds happiness to be elusive. Face the circumstance with a greater understanding and anger will subside as you learn to cope. A key point to remember is that just because you forgive, it doesn’t mean that what happened wasn’t wrong. It just means that you aren’t going to let that emotion or the circumstance control you or your future.
26. Listen – Communication is such a major key to having solid relationships. When I had my manly communication epiphany, I started to watch how men and women relate with each other on a daily basis. It is totally fascinating! In our conversations with both genders, it is important to truly listen and to ensure the atmosphere is conducive to great communication.
27. Don’t sleep with dogs – Growing up I remember my mother saying, “If you sleep with dogs, you’ll wake up with fleas.” Well, I eventually understood the message. If you are surrounded by negative people filled with hate, their attitude will greatly influence you. The inner you is reflected by what you do, where you go and who you choose to spend time with on a daily basis. If you wake up with fleas, happiness is usually very far away.
28. Give unselfishly – An unselfish heart and charitable spirit, gives much, but receives more. Happiness can always be found in giving unselfishly of our money, time and talents. Be generous with yourself…often.
29. Strengths, not weaknesses – No one is perfect. Don’t expect perfection of others or yourself and I guarantee that happiness will be much easier. It is great to want to improve, but understand that you won’t ever be able to fix everything.
30. Smile – It is said often, but that doesn’t diminish the importance of putting a smile on your face every day.Happiness smiles.
31. You’re the boss – You are in control of all your actions, so don’t set yourself up with predestined unhappiness.
32. Judge not – Not only shouldn’t you judge others, but don’t judge yourself. Happiness gets bogged down when consumed with a judgmental mindset.
33. Give up the bad stuff – If this comes across as bossy or preachy, I’m sorry, but give up the toxic things that are bad for your body and soul. You know the normal things like drugs, cigarettes and alcohol, but even things like tanning, over eating and abusive relationships are things that can drag every bit of happiness into the toilet.
34. Courage – I know that it is not easy to be courageous in the face of tribulation and fear. Courage, however, is one of the most important keys to obtaining happiness.
35. Persevere – People who give up don’t succeed. People who keep going, not only succeed, but they are also much happier.
36. All or nothing – Be in your life, activities and relationships, all the way, one hundred and fifty percent.
37. Be like a cow – Have you ever watched how a cow roams around the pasture totally content with eating grass, mooing and relaxing? Be content with yourself. After all, you are an original.


See you on the court! Follow me on Twitter @TheAudman

Bookmark and Share

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Here's Why I Support The United Way...

We all have reasons why we're motivated to give, support or stand up for a cause.  In my case, I've been a long time supporter of the work of the United Way and its member agencies for almost 15 years because  I think the work they do to build the capacity of our communities is so important to the growth and strengthening of our overall society. So when they approached me and gave me a chance to tell my own personal story as to why I give them my time, energy and money year after year, I jumped at the opportunity.

Check out the video below:

Audley's story from United Way of Peel Region on Vimeo.

See you on the court! Follow me on Twitter @TheAudman

Bookmark and Share

Friday, September 21, 2012

Engagement: The Jean Luc--Picard Way!

Many would remember the character Jean-Luc Picard played by Patrick Stewart from the popular television show, "Star Trek: The Next Generation".

Picard was that self-assured, confident and reliable 24th Century Starfleet captain who guided his crew of the USS Enterprise across the endless reaches of space basically moving from one adventure to the next.  Whether it was doing battle with Klingons or resisting the Borg, Picard could always be counted on to be that fearless leader who his team could rely on.

I loved the show a lot and was really drawn to the cast of compelling characters from Data the android to first officer William Riker.  The occasional Whoopi Goldberg sighting was quite enjoyable as well. Overall, all the characters were great but by far, Jean-Luc was always the most appealing one to me.

He had a confidence and assertiveness to him that came across loud and clear and there was never a doubt that he was unsure or uncertain of what he was saying or what he wanted from others.  For example, look at the signature phrase he used to order for the Enterprise to blast off onto the next mission.  

It merely consisted of one word, "Engage!" 

That's it! No extended speech, no rant or no diatribe.

But the best part about it was that the entire crew got it and knew what exactly needed to be done.

The irony with Picard's one word command and hand gesture is that the actual process of engagement between leaders, coaches or star fleet captains is that it goes beyond just saying one word.

Effective leaders recognize that a key component of a healthy thriving organization is a well thought out and even better executed engagement strategy.  They also know that a foundational piece of a sustainable engagement is the strength of our relationships with others that include trust, respect and transparency.

So bearing that in mind, here are a few suggestions on some great ways leaders can engage those around them:
  • Play your position - Allowing team members do or be a part of things they enjoy will increase the likelihood of maintaining their level of interest and connection to the organization;
  • Stick to the clipboard - Clear messages that don't contradict previous directions will help ensure that you can be followed and your destination is clear;  

  • High five - Appropriate recognition or praise tells others that their efforts are appreciated and valued;

  • Keep the scoreboard running - Ideally any person on the team or in the organization should be able to clearly articulate where the organization is going; 

  • Step up your game - Be supportive of team member's individual growth development;
  • Be a point guard - Empower others so they can freely make their own decisions, this will likely increase their accountability because they have ownership of the decisions made.

If the organization or culture demonstrates that it cares about its followers then they'll be more apt to do things like stay late to finish a project, put in extra practice time to improve their game or stand up to the Borg for the sake of the universe.

So my messages to leaders and coaches is quite simple: Make It So!

See you on the court! Follow me on Twitter @TheAudman

Bookmark and Share