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What is Resilience?

What Can It Do For You?  Consider having a set of skills that could enhance your quality of life. Imagine the ability to be happier, hea...

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Asking for Help

When we get weary, and we all get weary from time to time asking for help when we feel stuck at home, work, school or life is not a sign of weakness.
Where and with who do you connect and share a conversation with?

So this post is short and to the point. Who do you have in your life that you are engaged and connected with that you can share you're best and toughest moments with? Where? When? How often? Part of being resilient is giving ourselves permission to build a team that we are supported in.
We offer support and get support. Respect and boundaries are established and we all benefit.

So again, who supports you? Who do you support?

So until next time, Imagine Yourself with more Resiliency for Life.

Friday, 22 July 2016

The Power of our Words

It happened many many years ago. Long before I was born. Yet it impacted my family in a very profound way. One nasty comment changed the course of many lives. 
It seemed one man felt superior to another. He told my Grandfather to "know his place". Ouch. Seems he felt my hard working Grandfather should not attempt to better himself and the lot of his family.

That comment along with a few other factors meant Granddad and Grandmother booked a one way ticket with their family and made their way to Canada. 

Fast forward and one of his Grandchildren (Not me) has a business that employees over 67 staff. So think of what that one hateful comment contributed to. My Grandparents changed countries in part due to that nasty rhetoric. Now his former country and part of my heritage is short 67 taxpayers. Then again on the other hand Canada is 67 taxpayers ahead from just one of the Grandkids. I know another one (Not me) who helped a firm of 25+ move from bankruptcy into profitability and they now employ over 25 people.

So, when we discuss hot button issues and topics other opinions are what they are. However when they demean, reduce, objectify, sideline (and so many other things) use caution on how you deal with them. Others are entitled to their opinion however agreeing with opinions that reduce others will in the end reduce what others think of you. In some cases they can cut you right out of their lives. Collaboration and cooperation are powerful and uplifting ways to live.

Our world is currently running on FEAR. Many when operating on feat react and reduce or stop thinking based on facts. Instead they operate far to often on feelings. Rhetoric and misconceptions become the keys to how people act and react to each other and the news of the day.

So use extreme caution when those you listen to, influence you and share time with you use hate and language that divides too build engagement with you. It tells me quite a bit about what sort of person they are and the values and morales they have. They are not using language that builds healthy countries, organizations, cities, families or individuals. Indeed image of the same language was used against them?

Yes, inclusion takes more effort, more skill, and more patience. However division is a fools game. Much easier to run, get people on board and claim victory. However at what cost? At what cost? The  quote "Those that don't know or understand history are doomed to repeat it", is used often for a powerful reason.

So until next time, Imagine Yourself with more Resiliency for Life.


Michael Ballard specializes in helping people, schools, organizations and communities learn how to become more resilient.

Hiring and Contacting Michael
To interview Michael, book him for your 
next event or to contact him you can do that at:

You can purchase Michael's programming on:
Udemy.com video programs at:

Michael’s Social Media includes:

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Nurture a Positive Mindset of Yourself

Developing confidence in your ability to solve problems and trusting your instincts helps build your resilience.
In that famous quote by Stephen Covey  he asked: 
At home after a media interview

 "What have you done to sharpen Saw? He meant how have you developed your problem solving skills? Have you read a book? Taken a course? Watched a video? Improved your fitness?

What problem solving books have you read? I'm a big fan of each of these four books. All of them have added to my problem solving and creativity skill set.

Six Thinking Hats and the follow up Six Action Shoes are written by Edward de Bono. In Six Thinking Hats de Bono shares six ways to consider each and every problem that we face. In Six Action Shoes he shares six ways to consider implementing each of the potential solutions we are faced with.

My next two favourite books on problem solving and creativity are:

 - A Wack on the Side of the Head and a Kick in the Seat of the Pants are two books on creativity by Roger von Oeck.
In each he offers a process to help us widen and deepen our creativity to maximize our potential solutions.

In a A Kick in the Seat of the Pants he want you to tap into and use: 

Your Explorer, Artist, Judge, and Warrior to Be More Creative

In his book A Wack in the Side of the Head Roger takes you through:
One of my ready to present looks!

Ten mental locks that block our creativity he tells us they are:
1. The Right Answer 2. That's Not Logical 3. Follow the Rules 4. Be Practical 5. Play is Frivolous 6. That's Not My Area 7. Don't Be Foolish 8. Avoid Ambiguity 9. To Err Is Wrong 10. I'm Not Creative

So I've enjoyed each of these books several times over. Each have helped me and clients many many times over.
So until next time Imagine Yourself with more Resiliency for LIfe.

Michael Ballard specializes in helping people, schools, teams
organizations and communities learn how to become more resilient.

Hiring and Contacting Michael
To book Michael for your next event or to contact him you can do that at:

You can purchase Michael's programming on:
Udemy.com at:

 iTunes.com audio programs at:

Michael’s Social Media includes:


Wednesday, 25 May 2016

3 Things to Deepen Your Ability to Thrive

Resiliency is traditionally defined as our ability to spring back from and successfully adapt to adversity. Resilient people are often flexible in their thinking,  endure difficulty with a realistic outlook and use the experience in self- empowering ways. I'd add it always increase the quality of the experience. 

Get out and exercise That helps us in all areas of our life. 
Don't hide behind too much task based "work"

Resilience is in part due to our journey to date, lessons learned, skills applied, used and the networks we have developed, managed and engaged in that we support and in turn support us in return. 

Maintain a Hopeful Outlook. An realistic yet optimistic outlook enables you to expect that good things will happen in your life. Try visualizing what you want, rather than worrying about what you fear.

Take the time to get out and be social.Invest in the time to meet and engage with others people
Exercise regularly.
Taking care of yourself helps to keep your mind and body primed to deal with situations that require resilience. 

Go in for a check up or a "tune up". It can be life altering for some of us. Better to catch things when they are  annoying then when it's either too late or a serious change to your life.

Get a check up!

Take the time to play. One can get so task focused that we don't take the time to relax and play. What do you love to do? When is the last time you did it? I love to bike, roller blade, swim, read, and practise photography. Not all at once. But for 20 - 90 minutes I do one or more of those several times a week. 

What will you do? Plan it. Make it on purpose. 

Until next time Imagine Yourself with more Resiliency for Life.

To book Michael for your next event, interview him or to consult with him contact him at: Inquiry@MichaelHBallard.com
Michael's online programming can be discovered at: Udemy.com

Michael’s Background and Social Media pages include:

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

The Resilient Workforce

by Michael H Ballard

Resiliency is defined as, “Our capacity to bounce back.”
I define it as, “Our capacity to increase the quality of our experience and the outcomes.”
Creating and maintaining a resilient workforce  takes, vision, mission, diligence and resources. In a world of work that is experiencing global competition, key issues include:
  • Attracting top talent
  • Keeping talent engaged
  • Moving from training to talent management 
    Canoe time with my brother.
  • Treating career development seriously
  • Acknowledging the costs and efforts to manage mental health and chronic health issues
  • Changing HR function
The potential organizational paybacks of having resiliency as a key set of factors are impressive. They enhance workplace productivity and lower costs for:
  • Recruitment
  • Safety
  • Retention
  • Lowering cost of physical health issues
In the world-of-work keeping staff and organizations on an even keel takes time and effort. Each client I’ve have worked with has been on a path of diligently working to gain staff, management, and supplier engagement and to ensure a high quality and congruent approach. They’ve ranged in size from small software start up with a staff of seven, to an international firm with an excess of 10,000 employees; governments, NGO’s, health care and educational organizations, and all are challenged by this.

How is this an issue?

One international client started off locally by hiring several facilitators and had 900+ employees brainstorm what key factors they wanted to have introduced, changed or released in the workplace. Spouses were also invited to participate in round three of the brainstorming session. They where prompted to discuss workplace culture and “missing links” and added insights on next steps they felt would assist their partners in being happier and more productive.
One of my smaller clients in retail made a bold category-busting move. They decided to break all industry pay-scale standards, and over time started rewarding staff who had stayed more than a year… this was 20 – 60% above industry standard. Productivity went up significantly and retention soared. Last time I knew, the owner reported that his business was at a factor of six times the national average for productivity and was at only 9% of the national average for damaged and broken products.
The clients that made successful use of technology to assist in their business, felt this helped better engage their employees. One had a toll-free line installed so staff could call to learn late-breaking corporate news. There they heard from the President, all VPs and on occasion a few key customers took turns sharing brief 30 – 120 seconds thoughts on current corporate and market place news. The organization has an FM radio station that broadcasts the key message of the day, themed on the week and the month.

An example of one client’s approach:

  • Staff developed mini educational programs 12 minutes in length, which they present at weekly meetings.
  • Leadership developed a tightly woven vision statement. It was created as a powerful message that drives the three key points of their mandate to their staff, suppliers and management team.
  • All employees conduct 15-minute meetings at the beginning of every work shift to recap key issues.

How is this helpful?

Having and creating from the bottom up and the top down, plus having suppliers and spouses on board helps.
  • When spouses understand that safety in the work place is not just “talk” and that in heavy-industry lives are at stake and that things change.
  • When sales teams are on-board with the approach.
  • When Quality Control understands that their role is about how products need to be perfect.
  • When people need strive for excellence things change for the better.
  • Use of encouraging language brought everyone into the loop on the “Language of Resiliency” and using it to change for the better.
For my clients the payoffs have included: reduced cost of production, increased quality, higher sales, more stable market share, reduced absentee rates and according to one General Manager, “more happiness” in his offices.

The cost of ignoring the warning signs and not becoming a resilient organization has many potential outcomes. All of them are expensive. I do know that organizations and individuals that embrace resiliency in the workplace respond to and resolve issues faster with less turmoil.

So until next time, Imagine Yourself with more Resiliency for Life.

Michael Ballard specializes in helping people, schools, organizations and communities learn how to become more resilient.

To book Michael for your next event, interview him or to consult contact him at:
Michael's online programming can be taken at: Udemy.com

Michael’s Background and Social Media pages include:

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Wisdom gained from Ward

My first sales manager as the "new kid" in sales was Ward Parsons. I'd been promoted from Sales Support were I'd been a R.I.C.  Retail Installation Coordinator to Account Manager. I was very excited. After 11 months in the first position (Well over 80,000 miles and over 32 new or renovated stores completed) I was now in the position I'd applied for initially. Bonus was I'd be having my sales training done by Trevor Hunt. That was a first rate addition to my career.

Oh, I'd had been fortunate to have several significant people up until this point help guide, direct and assist me grow my professionalism. However Ward was the first one that was there in a career position whose role was to ensure I grew my professional skills. Wards work with me has had some career long positive implications. 

The Art of Questions 
Ward was very good at asking questions. Some to relax you, and some to help you settle in. Then he used others to draw you out and learn more about your week, your hobbies, your upcoming holiday and in one case a dessert he heard I very much enjoyed.  Then as the timing fit he'd ease you into a position of asking the ones he had to get to that were work related.

He was very gifted at asking supportive questions. So, Michael how can I or the folks at head office support you on this? So, he acknowledged issues, gave me ownership over the issue and offered to be a resource to assist fixing or improving the situation. 

The biggest gift Ward always offered up was that 100% of his attention was invested in a very non threatening way so you knew his presence and concentration was there with you at the table.  Some would say he was practicing being mindful and in the moment, others would say he paid attention. Regardless of what you call it to this fellow (I was just 12 months fresh out of college) he was the right man for the job!

My career time with him was short. Only about 22 months. Yet his impact is still going forward to this day.  His inquiry style of questions, non threatening, often moderately paced made meetings with me ones to look forward to. He to use the current buzz word was first rate at engaging people and drawing them out.

So, how do you ask questions? How do you listen once you've asked? What do you do to manage or get rid of distractions with coworkers, family or neighbours?  Ward was so good at it that long before it was popular I started calling him Coach.  I hope for your sake that you have at least one person in your life like Ward and in time we have more of what he always offered.  Being in the moment and being engaged with those we spend time with.

So, until next time  Imagine Yourself with more Resiliency for Life.

Michael Ballard specializes in helping people, schools, teams
organizations and communities learn how to become more resilient.

Hiring and Contacting Michael
To book Michael for your next event or to contact him you can do that at:

You can purchase Michael's programming on:
Udemy.com video programs at:

 iTunes.com audio programs at:

Michael’s Social Media includes:


Wednesday, 9 March 2016

When BIGStuff Happens to you, what do you do?

What do you do when you hit a wall with one of life's BIG Stuff events?
What could you do, when you feel over whelmed? Who do you connect with? When? 

Trigger Warning: For some this column could contain trigger words or phrases.

  First there is no wrong answer(s), feelings or thoughts unless self harm or harm of others is a potential.

Second each of us use language differently. So words and phrases that I find easy to use  and 100% acceptable you might not enjoy or find mildly to very disrespectful. I look forward to a respectful discussion if any of the content you find here you disagree with.

So, all words and phrases used here have been used with respect by others in conversation with me as their coach, trainer, friend and or neighbour.  Do let me know what you think.

Many of them I've heard many times and a few are relatively new to me 

So what do you do ... what have you done, what should you do to support yourself when life's   BIGStuff challenges strike? That could be personal, relationship, family, friend, classmate, or a current or past neighbour.

So it happens to all of us. Something BIG happens and hurts. What do you do?

Create space that is ours and use quiet time for

  - read a book
 - watch a movie
 - take a soak in the tub
 - call a friend
 - write a letter
 - write in your journal
 - visit a friend
 - go to a special spot for reflection 
 - calming through steady movement or stillness via music, sounds of nature, a mediation practise

Create and use active time for
 - energizing through activity and or conversation and or observation
 - go to a special spot to burn off some energy and unwind 

Get out and about 
 - a walk Around your floor, your building, your block, to the park, around the office
 - a walk and a talk  A good business friend Gail taught me this 
 - Meditative walk No talking 
     You practise walking with slow to mid range speed with a  steady pace & steady breaths
 - Yoga
 - Martial Arts
 - Hiking
 - Biking
 - Swimming
 - Hobbie

Going to the:

 - Therapist,
 - The Mental Health Expert,  
 - The Crazy Doctor,
 - The Stretch Coach as in stretch thinking and feeling into better patterns 
 - A Wellness Coach
 - Mental Health Tune Up Coach
- Volunteering 

Going in for a:
 - Check up from the Neck Up! 
 - A Mental Health Tune UP,  
 - A Good Old Fashion Check Up
 - A Rant and Rave!!

Here I'm at a favourite spot enjoying the coffee.

After a time of reflection
 - make a list 
 - a call to action lets get the feelings acknowledged and thought out next steps to move forward

This is not supposed to be an exhaustive list.
However it is to get you thinking and moving into action for your sake.

When should you start? 

Why not right now?
I have a gift for you. No strings attached.
At this link you can down load a 30 minute progressive muscle relaxation exercise. 
Practise it gently, for at least 21days in a row then 3 or 4 days a week for another tow or three weeks. Then once or twice a week for maintenance. I had a coaching client (Who I only took on after I knew she was under a doctors care and had had recent CT Scan and blood work to ensure this was not a medically caused migraine) who had had 5 - 7 migraines a month and many many serious head aches each month. This was one of the main exercises she did to break the cycle of those darn migraines. Within about four  months she had them down to 0 - zero every month! She helped her mind/body create added ways to cope and an outlet to release stress on a regular basis. Plus her headaches reduced in frequency and intensity and they also disappeared by the fifth month. Exciting news for someone who had had migraines for 15+ years. 

Your helping develop and deepen your ability to notice stress and learn how to relax sooner and more completely. You'll be surprised at how effective it is. Click on The Chair a Relaxation Exercise and you can listen to the audio there and follow the link to download.  The Chair a relaxation exercise  It has helped me change how I now respond to stress and anxiety. I had a seven year battle with 2 bouts of cancer and a failed medical procedure that ended up with me having emergency surgery at midnight. This exercise can help you make a significant different in your life.

Here is another way to help you practise calmness. the exercise is called a:
Quick Tension Scan or a QTS 
This is another one to do for 28 days I suggest before every meal and about 10 - 20 minutes before bedtime. Then three or four times a week for maintenance. 

So this article was not intended to be a through list. It's meant to stimulate a conversation with yourself. With someone you can trust. Stuck. Not fun. Ask for help. 
So let me leave you with a  couple of question.
 - How do you see life's stressful situations?
A time to learn lessons or an ultimatum? For those of us who work towards seeing each stressful situation as a lesson to be learned it can be much less stressful. 
 - Who do you have on your support team We all need and deserve one. The time to build one is now.

So until next time, Imagine Yourself with more Resiliency for Life.


Michael Ballard specializes in helping people, schools, teams
organizations and communities learn how to become more resilient.

Hiring and Contacting Michael
To book Michael for your next event or to contact him you can do that at:

You can purchase Michael's programming on:
Udemy.com video programs at:

 iTunes.com audio programs at:

Michael’s Social Media includes: