Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Motorvationally Speaking: "From Boot Camp to Cabinet"

He is the first Aboriginal to ever be elected to a legislature in Atlantic Canada.

After becoming the MLA for Fredericton North in 2003, he maintained his law practice long enough to argue his first case before the Supreme Court of Canada in 2006. Re-elected that same year, he joined cabinet as Attorney General before being named Environment Minister in June of 2009.

What many people don't know is the path he traveled to get there.

Today on TSB, we explore a unique journey from the U.S. Marines to the New Brunswick Legislature with T.J. Burke!

"Motorvationally Speaking", on CHCD TV, is a weekly, internet-based show focused on people who embrace the power of positive thinking. The guests may not always be famous, but they are always enlightening, and each one of them has an interesting story to tell. Your comments and suggestions are always welcome as we aim to inspire, educate and motorvate.

"Some people wonder all their lives if they've made a difference. The Marines don't have that problem"

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Art for Life

"I love to paint. . . . Mmm-hmm. Most of the time I have all these thoughts bouncin' around in my head... but with a brush in my hand, the world just gets kinda quiet"
ALLIE HAMILTON, played by Rachel McAdams in "The Notebook"

The moment you walk into his home, you can feel it.

You have entered a world of simultaneous motion and stillness.

Where only you get to decide what works and what doesn't.

Because the walls will speak to you in a language only you can decipher and appreciate.

You have joined a friend for a java and a jaunt, escaping the urban rat race if only for a few moments to unshackle your imagination and luxuriate in the free-flowing world of abstract art. While conducting a tour through his well-stocked gallery, the artist modestly admits he started to get to get "serious" about his hobby only after someone close to him thought he was crazy:

"I recall painting when I was very young, but never did anything for years until my wife started buying art online. When the first couple of pieces arrived, I told her I could do this kind of stuff and she laughed at me. That's all it took. One night while she was at work, I went out and purchased all the necessary material and painted what I consider the first original Matt LeBlanc. I pulled a little prank on her by taking a picture of the painting and placing it in an eBay template and showing it to her. She responded by saying that we should buy it".

No one is laughing these days as Matt Leblanc's original paintings grow in popularity throughout Canada, the United States and other parts of the world. So far, upwards of 400 pieces have been shipped from his home-based gallery as Matt keeps the artist within alive and well.

This artist is committed to his craft.

So much so that he recently launched the Matt LeBlanc "Art for Life" Campaign with a goal to raise $25,000 for cancer research. Inspired by the memory of a 5-year old sister taken by this terrible disease, Matt has pledged to create 200 original paintings in a 6-month period. That’s an average of 1.1 paintings a day for 184 days with all profits donated to the annual Tree of Hope Campaign.

"All children are born artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once they grow up.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Posting UnBroken

"You can find a lot of people in life that are still unbroken. You go through stuff and you keep going"

Since launching the TSB blog in late summer of 2008, a number of readers have asked what has now become a familiar and often flattering question.

"How do you come up with something new to write about each day?"

It's a flattering question to hear since it is usually asked in a manner that conveys the professional equivalent of shock and awe. Why would someone invest all that the time, composing thought-provoking threads each business day to share for free with readers in more than 70 countries? And where do all the ideas for the actual subject matter come from? How do you come up with the material? Do you have a staff helping you?

We'll dive into those questions today, but before taking the plunge, there are some things you should know.

First of all, there is no staff.

Secondly, with rare exceptions, more than 400 consecutive posts have been featured on the TSB blog. Other than missing 2 days in January of 2009 while on business in Mexico and 2 days this past January while hosting a conference in Las Vegas posting has happened rain or shine. In both cases, insurmountable technical and Internet issues cropped up. Failure to post had nothing to do with a lack of material.

The ideas themselves stem from a wide range of sources. Besides my own observations on the world of work and how the world is working, I'll discover inspiration from any number of books, other blogs, e-zines, conversations overheard at Starbucks or maybe an e-mail from a reader like you. If it's interesting to me, I think it might be interesting to others and so I start banging away at the keyboard in an effort to create something that you, as a reader, might enjoy. That idea gets dumped into a folder marked "draft" to await the morning I feel inspired enough to complete the piece with appropriate photo and video content, in a manner worthy for your consumption.

The key word in that last sentence is "inspired".

Just like you, I have a difficult time doing my absolute best work unless I am feeling inspired. So what happens on the days when you're not inspired and not posting is not an option?

One word.


Learned the true meaning of that word as a ten-year old delivering newspapers after school.

Believe it or not, there were days when you would rather not be out delivering the Moncton Transcript in the middle of a February freezing rain or a late March snow storm. But, you learned to persevere and keep your promise to those customers looking forward to catching up on the days news.

Waking up at 3:08 this morning, I will confess to not being inspired.

Not today.

No reason in particular.

Just not feeling it.

Like the steps are too high and don't have the energy to climb them.

And so the best I can do for you this particular Monday is to share these thoughts on perseverance.

First, from per·se·ver·ance; steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, a state, etc., esp. in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement.

PERSEVERANCE: What it takes to keep going even when you don't really feel like it. In other words, doing the hard work you do after you're tired of doing the hard work you already did.

PERSEVERANCE: Knowing how to hang on one minute longer.

PERSEVERANCE: Not a long race. More like many short races, one after another, without knowing how many miles it takes to get to the finish line. And its a race not always won by the swift, but by those who keep on running.

And now you know the answer to the question.

"Broken bones, broken hearts. Stripped down and torn apart. A little bit of rust - I'm still runnin'. Countin' miles, countin' tears. Twisted roads, shiftin' gears.Year after year - it's all or nothin'"

P.S. ... More than three decades ago, a Southern rock band had every reason to pack it in. Three founding members died in a plane crash while several others were badly injured. Recovery from that tragedy was slow and agonizingly painful. As the years passed, no fewer than five other band members passed away, yet this band and brand continues to serve as an example of defiance and determination, indomitable will and survival of spirit.

Stubbornly resolute, despite having only one remaining original member, Lynyrd Skynyrd personifies unstoppable perseverance - touring and recording better than ever - still unbroken.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Majumder by the Numbers

Is this a case of being cryptically clairvoyant - Canadian style?

Having a penchant for puckology prognostication?

"This Hour Has 22 Minutes" star Shaun Majumder may well have established himself as the undisputed Shaman of Shinny with an eerily accurate forecast at a pre-Olympic press conference. Taking number-crunching to an entirely new level, Majumder was not only balls-on right, but he also managed to upstage none other than Canada's #1 hockey hero - Sidney Crosby.

For the record, since this blog has been posted on March 26th, all one has to do is stare facts in the face and do the math.

Since March is the third month, look what happens when you add the number three to the number 26.

You wind up with 29.

Take the 29 and multiply it by three - the universally accepted number representing energy - and what do you come up with?



An omen perhaps?

Are you as speechless as Sidney right now?

"In my small hometown of Burlington,Newfoundland, you could put together five or six comedy groups.All you have to say is 'okay, siddown b'ys, an' we're gonna write some skitches,' and they would do it. Sometimes I think about what I'm doing now, and I'm doing the exact same thing I did when I was five years old. And they want to pay me for it. It's just make believe and being silly, but I think people forget how to be silly because of adulthood. When you do that, you're just robbing yourself of all that fun"

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Rich Woman

Kim is truly an independent woman.

In every sense of the word.

In her early twenties, Kim went to work for one of Honolulu’s top advertising agencies where she had a front-row seat to many successful business worlds. Eventually, she decided to leave her safe, secure job and by the time she was 27, Kim was the owner/operator of her very own clothing company. Before long, her company enjoyed national distribution and as fate would have it, her busy travel schedule allowed her to meet Robert, her future husband.

In 1989, Kim purchased her first investment property, a small two bedroom, one bath apartment in Portland, Oregon. From those humble beginnings, she has become a multi-millionaire, owning a real estate investment company that deals with buying, selling and managing of properties all over the United States.

Her husband might be more famous, but make no mistake - Kim Kiyosaki became a "Rich Woman".

On her terms.

Kim recently hosted the first-ever, Rich Woman International Forum with 200 women from 19 countries gathered for three days in Scottsdale, Arizona. From that conference, Kim developed what she calls "The Six Rules of a Rich Woman".

1. I am "financially intelligent."

I acquire knowledge, and then I apply the knowledge acquired. True learning occurs when you get out there and do it.

2. My assets pay for my liabilities.

An asset puts money in your pocket whether you work or not. A liability is something that takes money from your pocket. A Rich Woman spends her money on assets first.

3. I do not live below my means (I expand my means to create the life I want).

It's about bringing out the big spirit that you are, not dampening the light. It does not mean counting every penny you spend, clipping coupons or giving up your mocha lattes. None of these things inspires the women I know.

4. I focus on acquiring assets (while most focus on acquiring income).

To become financially independent through your salary is nearly impossible these days. Rich Women, on the other hand, focus on acquiring assets--investments that every month generate a positive profit or cash flow to you.

5. I surround myself with like-minded people.

Negative people - those who tell you all the reasons you can't do something or why it won't work - are the kiss of death to creativity and innovative thinking.

6. I teach and empower other women to be independent Rich Women.

Kim Kiyosaki's teachings are not designed to help women buy cheaper car insurance or save pennies at the grocery store.

She thinks women are smarter than that.

"I believe the world would be a better place if there were more Rich Women"

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

What Makes You a Linchpin?

"Take away my people, but leave my factories and soon grass will grow on the factory floors. Take away my factories, but leave my people and soon we will have a new and better factory"

When it comes to operating machinery, linchpins are essential.

A linchpin is a fastener used to prevent a wheel or other rotating part from sliding off the axle it is riding on. Remove the linchpin, the mechanism collapses.

Within organizations, some people - not many - emerge as linchpins. You could also call them anchors, backbones and mainstays.

Can you think of an individual right now who you would consider to be a linchpin? A central, source of steady support and stability?

In terms of leading edge thinking, few linchpins compare to Seth Godin. In his latest book, Seth makes a compelling case for developing yourself as a potential linchpin against the backdrop of a rapidly changing workplace. Godin argues it was easier, even expected that you could hide behind your Indistrial Economy job in exchange for job security. As he puts it, “You weren’t born to be cog in the giant industrial machine. You were trained to become cog".

But things have changed and today, successful organizations are on the hunt for people who make a difference.


Seth Godin has laid it out in plain English.

Most organizations currently have it backwards. The factory, the infrastructure, systems, patents, process, and let's not forget the ops manual are elevated, worshipped and placed on pedestals.

But, what if success in the Digital Economy depends on something else?


How close are you to becoming one?

Will you stay back with the many?

Or charge ahead with the few?

"It turns out that success is coming from the atypical organizations, the ones that can get back to embracing irreplaceable people, the linchpins, the ones that make a difference. Anything else can be replicated cheaper by someone else"
SETH GODIN, - blog March 07 2010

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Rapping with Ray

He didn't walk through the doors of history until he was 52 years of age.

What he witnessed, made him feel like Newton the day an apple caromed off his cranium.

The year was 1954.

And for a career salesman out hustling milkshake machines, he was immediately seduced by the beauty he saw in a tiny drive-thru operation.

Ray Kroc's genius was being able to see that which others could not. During the early 1950s with people trading cities for suburbs, Ray was losing soda fountain customers by the dozens. Seeing the writing on the wall, Ray was all eyes and ears when he walked into the brothers McDonald restaurant, quickly the potential financial windfall possible with hundreds of these assembly-line operations across the country.

The brothers McDonald couldn't see what Ray saw.

They eventually sold their shares to Kroc in 1961 for $2.7 million—cash.

By 1965, Ray and his team opened more than 700 restaurants in 44 states. In April of that year, McDonald’s became the first fast-food company to go public with stock issued at $22 per share. Within weeks it climbed to $49 a share, making Kroc an instant multimillionaire. By the end of the sixties, there were nearly 1,500 McDonald’s operating worldwide. When Ray went up to Hamburger Heaven in January of 1984, a new McDonald’s was opening on average every 17 hours.

Today, McDonald's employs 1.5 million people worldwide, serving 47 million customers each day in 119 countries. And according to a recent survey, the iconic golden arches are now more recognizable around the world than the Christian cross.

Because Ray saw something no one else did.

Had the brothers McDonald retained their shares, they or their heirs would have been collecting in excess of $100 million per year today.

Like many great entrepreneurs, Ray Kroc was not a creator or inventor. But he was a dreamer and a doer. As he once explained, "The two most important requirements for major success are: first, being in the right place at the right time, and second, doing something about it".

Ray Kroc could see a shit load of potential in somebody else's idea.

Is there an idea you need to start paying attention to?

And acting on?

"If you work just for money, you'll never make it, but if you love what you're doing and you always put the customer first, success will be yours"

P.S... Not even in his wildest dreams would Ray have imagined this type of reaction to what he and the brothers McDonald created.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Personal Pardons

Your burden is one you know only too well.

A cancerous, dead weight.

Lugged around in your heart for so long, you've forgotten it's even there.

Because it is just easier that way.

Until something happens that re-opens festering, venomous wounds never healed.


You are not the only one.

Each day, many of us struggle to conceal battle scars of anger, resentment, jealousy, or other negative emotions directed towards people no longer sharing our journey. Logically, even intuitively, we know it's not healthy, but for some reason, the heavy burden of hatred proves impossible to unload. Intellectually, we know it's in our best interests to forgive. Emotionally? Much easier said than done.


So agonizingly difficult to grant once hurt, or worse, devastated. However, recovery from soul-searing injury will always be elusive until we forgive and free a prisoner of our own device.

Few know this better than best-selling author Dr. Wayne Dyer.

Some see Forgiveness as a sign of weakness, however, as Dr. Dyer has demonstrated, nothing is further from the truth. As Ghandi once explained, "The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong".

Do you have the strength within you this week to issue a personal pardon called Forgiveness? Is there someone in your past - dead or alive - that needs to know they have been released and you're letting go?

The circumstances of each case will be different and Forgiveness will grant freedom to a prisoner called you, but don't expect clemency with a simple, "I'm sorry".

According to a trusted source who has "been there, done that", true Forgiveness happens only when you overcome your own pain and anger to the point where you can acknowledge the pain felt by the other person - whether you were the cause or not. In her words, "As long as you are focused on your own hurt, you won't allow yourself to acknowledge theirs".

Saying "I can forgive, but I cannot forget" is just another way of saying, I will not forgive. True Forgiveness is like a cancelled cheque. Ripped up,burned up and never seen again.

Forgiveness has been called love in its most noble form, but you don't need to be the King or Queen of England to terminate a life sentence of suffering with a single sentence. You alone possess the power of a monarch to make that happen.

Forgiveness never changes the past, but it does alter the future.

Could it alter yours?

And allow you to soar like never before?

"These times are so uncertain. Theres a yearning undefined.
And people filled with rage. We all need a little tenderness.
How can love survive in such a graceless age?"


P.S. ...By making a choice to forgive his dead father, Dr. Wayne Dyer was acting on a timeless truth, explained by a leading expert on the subject.

And validated on a grander scale by a fellow Nobel Prize winner.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Under the Covers is playing from a friend's computer the other day when the strains of a familiar melody ooze from the speakers.

But, something is different.

The Jewel version of Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Sweet Home Alabama" is another example of an artist putting their own spin on a song that inspires them. Whether their cover version is any good is a whole other story and anyone who saw Celine Dion trying to belt out AC/DC's "You Shook Me All Night Long" will know what we're talking about.

Cover songs can help take a career to new level as was the case with The Beatles and their 1963 version of "Twist and Shout", originally recorded by the Isley Brothers three years earlier. The Fab Four recorded their version in a single take for their debut album – and the world changed. John Lennon's lead vocal sounds as raw and urgent as a live concert, a gritty departure from the techno-driven, computerised sounds of today.

So what makes a great cover song? Is it a seamless, letter-perfect rendition of the original? How far it can be twisted from the original while still maintaining the song’s essence? Or is about putting that unmistakable personal stamp on it?

Just for a little Friday fun, let's reflect on what might be considered as the TSB "Top 5 Cover Songs" of all time. "Crossroads" by late sixties power trio Cream merits consideration after it was first recorded by blues legend Robert Johnson in 1936. Aretha Franklin hit "Respect" out of the park in 1967, taking the Otis Redding original and turning it into a girl power anthem. Manfred Mann Earth Band lifted "Blinded by the Light" to new heights after the Bruce Springsteen original failed to chart. And let's not forget the way Billy Idol was able to energize "Mony Mony" with a rebel yell; a far cry from the bubblegum original performed by Tommy James and the Shondells in 1968.

Other numbers that warranted consideration were Metallica's version of bob Seger's "Turn the Page", the Elvis rendition of "Hound Dog" as well as Cheap Trick taking a page from Elvis with "Don't Be Cruel".

So after much thought, reflection and the odd semi-heated debate, here are the official, TSB Top 5 Cover Songs of all time:

#5. "American Woman" - LENNY KRAVITZ

Canadian rockers The Guess Who, featuring the songwriting team of Randy Bachman and Burton Cummings soared to the top of the charts in 1970, before Lenny Kravitz reworked it with some of his magic in 1998.

#4. "Hurt" - JOHNNY CASH

Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails wrote it, but "The Man in Black" made it his own with heartfelt sincerity and meaning.

#3. "You Really Got Me" - VAN HALEN

The Kinks helped accelerate the "British Invasion" of 1964, but Eddie Van Halen cranked it up with this blistering version in the late seventies and changed guitar rock guitar forever. Van Halen also took a number of other originals to the mean streets such as Roy Orbison's "Pretty Woman" and Linda Ronstadt's, "You're No Good".

#2. "Me and Bobby McGee" - JANIS JOPLIN

Kristofferson wrote it, but Joplin turned it into a classic and became a legend in the process.

And finally ... the most coveted position on this countdown, goes to the cover version of a song that inspired the entire genre known as Hop Hop with an assist from Aerosmith.

#1. "Walk This Way" - RUN-DMC

"The thing about hip-hop is that it's from the underground, ideas from the underbelly, from people who have mostly been locked out, who have not been recognized"

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Motorvationally Speaking: "Lyfe of Ryley"

Have you ever wondered what it means exactly to live the "Life of Riley"?

According to our research, the phrase can be roughly translated to mean an easy and pleasant life. It may have originated in the Irish/American community in 1911 with a piece from a Connecticut newspaper. The headline in The Hartford Courant read:


In the article, it was explained how, "The famous wild cow of Cromwell is no more. After "living the life of Riley" for over a year, successfully evading the pitchforks and the bullets of the farmers, whose fields she ravaged in all four seasons".

The phrase was also employed by Irish soldiery in World War I. A letter home from a Private Walter J. Kennedy, published in the Syracuse Herald in 1918, articulated what it was like to be stationed at Camp Dix, New Jersey. "This is surely one great life." writes Kennedy. "We call it the life of Riley. We are having fine eats, are in a great detachment and the experience one gets is fine."

The "Life of Riley" was also a popular American radio drama from the 1940s that was adapted into a 1949 feature film, a long-run 1950s television series (originally with Jackie Gleason as Reilly) and a 1958 Dell comic book.

Who Riley (or Reilly, or Reiley) was isn't clear. In all likelihood, the name represents a generic Irishman, much as Paddy is used now.

But in Fredericton, NB, there is a "Lyfe of Ryley" unfolding that is anything but generic.

Today on TSB, we explore what lyfe is all about with Ryley Anstis!

"Motorvationally Speaking", on CHCD TV, is a weekly, internet-based show focused on people who embrace the power of positive thinking. The guests may not always be famous, but they are always enlightening, and each one of them has an interesting story to tell. Your comments and suggestions are always welcome as we aim to inspire, educate and motorvate.

"Our dreams are firsthand creations, rather than residues of waking life. We have the capacity for infinite creativity; at least while dreaming, we partake of the power of the Spirit, the infinite Godhead that creates the cosmos"

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Feeling Lucky?

Well, are you?

If there is one day in the calendar year to "feel lucky" this is the one.

St. Patrick's Day, 2010 offers "luck of the Irish" in a worldwide cultural holiday and for all you know this could be the day your luck turns.

Today on TSB, we focus on ATI (All Things Irish). Here is just a smattering of what makes Ireland and the Irish worth talking about. Did you know, for example, that Ireland:

- Has produced more storytellers per capita than anywhere on planet earth. Inspired by a procession of literary giants including, Jonathan Swift, James Joyce, Oscar Wilde, William Butler Yeats, Samuel Beckett, George Bernard Shaw and countless others.

But wait!

There is more!!! (written in hyper-excited, "Sham-Wow" infomercial voice)

Ireland has also been kind enough to share:

- Guinness Beer
- Irish Pubs
- Irish Whiskey
- Irish Stew
- Irish Coffee
- Green Beer
- Tweed caps
- The Boston Celtics
- Ken Shamrock
- A seemingly endless road that takes you to Tipperary
- The Blarney Stone in County Cork

And that's not all!!! (insert hyper-excited "Slap Chop", infomercial voice here)

There is also:

- Famous Irish actors including, Maureen O'Hara, Peter O'Toole, Liam Neeson, Richard Harris, Greer Garson, Pierce Brosnan and Colin Farrell.
- Irish musicians such as, The Clancy Brothers, The Corrs, Van Morrison, Gilbert O'Sullivan, Thin Lizzy, Sir Bob Geldof, The Chieftains and four lads from Dublin, Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen Jr., otherwise known as U2.
- Irish brainiacs like Robert Boyle (1627-1691) who we learned in physics class, developed "Boyle's Law", stating that under conditions of constant temperature the pressure and volume of a gas are inversely proportional.

And let's not forget ...

- Those charming little Leprechauns and their breakfast cereal of choice ...

"They're always after me Lucky Charms".

If you need any help today in feeling the luck of the Irish as you search for your pot of gold ...

Later today, you might strike up a chat in a pub somewhere, so for pure conversational fodder it might help to know St. Patrick was born in Britain to wealthy parents near the end of the fourth century. At 16, Patrick was taken prisoner by a group of Irish raiders who were attacking his family's estate. They transported him to Ireland where he toiled as a slave. After more than six years in captivity, Patrick escaped back to Britain, but experienced a revelation. An angel in a dream tells him to return to Ireland as a missionary.

But wait ...there is more!!! (re-insert, annoying infomercial voice here)

Familiar with Irish language and culture, Patrick incorporates traditional rituals into his lessons of Christianity. Rather than extinguish native Irish beliefs, Patrick superimposed the sun, a powerful Irish symbol, onto the Christian cross to create what is now called a Celtic cross, so that the symbol would seem more natural to the Irish. In other words, Patrick sold the Irish on how special they were.

March 17, is believed to be the day he ventured to the Pearly Gates and this date has been celebrated since the early part of the 17th century. The St. Patrick's Day parade was first held in Boston in 1761, while the longest continually running parade in North America has been taking place since 1824, in Montreal, Quebec.

Wild Rovers the world over - looking to "get lucky" - this one's for you.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Economics of Cult Branding

Take a stroll down the "memory lane" of branding, and you will discover an English pottery maker building the first modern business brand.

Back in the 18th century "branding" wasn't part of the business vocabulary but Josiah Wedgwood understood another language.


In 1763, Wedgwood convinced one of his favorite customers to let him name the line of pottery she had purchased, after her. And so with the blessing of Queen Charlotte of England, Wedgwood was able to trumpet the availability of "Queen's Ware", in his paperwork and stationery. It just so happened "Queen's Ware" grabbed the imagination of Charlotte's circle of friends which included musicians like Mozart and Bach as well as other members of nobility such as the Empress Catherine of Russia. Word spread throughout Europe and Wedgwood was able to boost demand for his table wares while fetching a premium price over similar products from his competitors.

Over time, companies like Procter & Gamble, Coke and Marlboro lifted branding to another level and now we see where some brands are icons that speak to deeply felt human emotions. Nike, for example, represents accomplishment. Harley-Davidson personifies freedom. Rolls Royce and Rolex are symbols of luxury.

Cult brands are a different story.

Cult brands don’t just sell products or services: they sell lifestyles. And they become a way of life for their customers, representing the ultimate level in brand loyalty.

Leveraging principles used by certain religious sects to create fanatical followers, cult branding is increasingly being viewed as an approach designed to help any brand inspire a group of unusually loyal customers. And since the strength of a brand rests on establishing an emotional connection with customers, cult branding is a way to intensify those feelings from the people you hope to do business with. With the passage of time, those feelings transform customers into brand evangelists.

Few brands do it better than Harley Davidson. There may be other motorcycles with the same engineering quality and performance, but can't charge even one-third of the price of what Harley Davidson can get away with. In fact, some devoted H-D followers will wait for months to get the specific bike they want.

Besides Harley Davidson, other well known cult brands are Oprah Winfrey, Volkswagen Beetle, Star Trek, World Wrestling Entertainment and Apple. And they share similarities when it comes to understanding the forces that drive unparalleled customer loyalty.

Today's economy, blinded by the speed of technological change has changed the meaning of competitive advantage. Innovative products alone don;t cut it anymore, not when any new invention can be copied within days. With everything available at a customers fingertips, "brands" are the only assets that cannot be easily copied or outsourced.

That's why cult brands are much more concerned with long-term profitability as opposed to short-term growth. Short-term growth might make you a darling on Wall Street, but it will kill the mojo you have with your customers. The Starbucks brand for example was compromised with the closing of some 600-plus stores that probably should not have been opened in the first place, a move that saw the company's overall value decline by about 75% in just a few months.

Are you willing to sacrifice short-term growth for long-term profits

Can you envision how a sustainable business for tomorrow helps everyone win - you, your employees, your shareholders and your customers?

Can you attract and nourish a cult of brand lovers that will apply the Pareto Principle (the 80/20 Rule) and drive over 80% of your profitability? It costs five to ten times more to create a new customer than keep an old one and the customers who love you the most are the ones most likely to spread the word and create new customers for you (just ask anyone who owns a Mac, an iPod, or an iPhone).

Do you know who your best customers really are are? In other words who is your "Queen Charlotte"?

Are you giving her a good enough reason to fall in love with your brand?

Have you stopped to consider what that might be worth?

"Cult brands aren't just companies with products or services to sell. To many of their followers, they are living, breathing surrogate family filled with like-minded individuals. They are a support group that just happens to sell products or services. Picture a cult brand in this context, and you'll have a much better understanding of why these brands all have such high customer loyalty and devoted followers"

Monday, March 15, 2010

John's Letter

You don't find many people like John anymore.

Born a century ago, John grew up in a small town in the Midwest back when Taft was President, Laurier was Prime Minister and a guy named Ford was doing well, selling about 10,000 cars a year.

An athletic type, John excelled first as a player, then as a coach.

Basketball was his game and along the way John became legend.

On and off the court.

His accomplishments include:

- Winning 10 NCAA titles during his last 12 seasons, including seven in a row.
- His team once had a record winning streak of 88 games and and four perfect seasons at 30–0.
- He was Sports Illustrated magazine's "Sportsman of the Year" in 1972.
- He was the first to be inducted in the Basketball Hall of Fame as both a player and a coach.

Despite all that and more, John never made more than $35,000 a year salary and never asked for a raise.

But as Rick Reilly explains, maybe he didn't need to.

Maybe John measured success differently than most.

John Wooden was once quoted as saying, "I have always tried to make it clear that basketball is not the ultimate. It is of small importance in comparison to the total life we live".

Words that John himself, has chosen to live by.

To the letter.

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it does not demand its own way. It is not easily angered; it keeps no record of wrongs. It always protects, always trusts. Always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails"

P.S. ... For the first time in TSB history a Biblical passage has been used as a quote to underscore a theme being presented in this forum. When employing Scripture, a writer runs a certain risk when it comes to possibly challenging deeply held beliefs in the mind of a reader. As it turns out, a fascinating essay about the subject of Belief, tumbled into my inbox this morning.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Gordie's Gift

How do you really know if you have put in a full day's work?

The kind of day when not only was everything wiped from the to-do list, but a few more items were added and taken care of as well.

In the National Hockey League, there is a simple definition of a full day's work called the "Gordie Howe Hat-Trick".

Named in honor of the legendary "Mr. Hockey", the "Gordie Howe Hat-Trick" consists of three accomplishments within a single game.

A goal.

An assist.

A fight.

On March 12, 1972, Gordie Howe retired from the NHL after 26 seasons, to take a front office job with the Red Wings organization. Bored stiff a year later, Gordie leaves Detroit and hooks up with the Houston Aeros of the upstart World Hockey Association at the age of 45. The Howe legend grew as he played alongside sons Mark and Marty in Houston before heading back to the NHL with the Hartford Whalers, retiring for a second and final time at the age of 52.

Three decades later, work ethic in the NHL is still being defined by Gordie Howe.

In his day, Gordie Howe was like Sidney Crosby, Alexander Ovechkin and Jarome Iginla all rolled up into one. A rare combination of finesse and brute force, Howe's impact on the game is perhaps best appreciated when you see how he handled himself in this early 70's TV show, after leaving Detroit for Houston.

Many years ago in a previous life, a colleague and myself had the chance to interview Gordie and his wife Colleen Howe on a television show long since forgotten. The footage never survived as the tapes were accidentally erased to record another program, but the memory of Gordie and Colleen's class and humility remains.

Gordie is 80 now and on his own. Colleen passed away a year ago after 59 years of inspired marriage to a hard-working farm-boy from Saskatchewan named Gordie.

A wise person once said few are capable of surviving success, but Gordie was one of the few who never surrendered their humanity or their humility.

And that's why his gift is still being felt to this day throughout the NHL.

And beyond.

"You find that you have peace of mind and can enjoy yourself, get more sleep, and rest when you know that it was a one hundred percent effort that you gave - win or lose"

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Value of Monoymous Branding

Have you ever stopped to think about becoming mononymous?

And what that might be worth to you?

This is serious stuff.


Being a dedicated, fully practicing mononymous person could make you a lot of cash some day.

Serious coin.


According to Wikipedia, a mononymous person is an individual who is known by a mononym or what we know as a "single name". In some cases, the handle has been deliberately selected by the individual or perhaps by a friend or interested segment of the public.

Now sit on front of your screen and ponder for a moment, all the celebrities you know who are famous for being mononymous - going by a single name.

Your list might include some, or all of the following.


Now that you have the idea, see if you can pick out the single-name brand allegedly being maligned in this latest E-Trade spot, which aired on Super Bowl Sunday.

According to reports, Lindsay Lohan is suing E-Trade, stating that the "milkaholic" baby named Lindsay was modeled after her. She is demanding $100 million for her pain and suffering after filing a lawsuit this week in Nassau County Supreme Court. Her lawyer, Stephanie Ovadia, claims the actress enjoys the same single-name recognition as Oprah or Madonna and that Lohan’s "name and characterization" were used without paying her or getting her approval.

You can decide for yourself whether Lindsay has a case, but it does lead to an interesting debate over which single-name brands would rank as the world's most recognized.

For what its worth, here are the official rankings for the TSB "Top 5 Mononymous Brands" for 2010.


Born somewhere between 429 and 423 BC, his personal brand has more than stood the time of time 2,500 years later. Founder of the Academy in Athens, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world, Plato helped lay the foundations of natural philosophy, science, and Western philosophy. Originally a student of Socrates, Plato used to instruct a kid named Aristotle.

#4. CHER (aka Cherilyn Sarkisian)

After beginning her career at the age of 17 with mononymous partner Sonny, she went on to establish herself as a successful solo recording artist, TV and movie star. Cher has won an Academy Award, a Grammy, an Emmy, three Golden Globes and is the only female solo artist to reach the Top Ten of the Billboard Hot 100 in each of the past four decades.

#3. BONO (aka Paul Hewson)

Irish singer, musician and political activist who is still married to the girl he met when he was 15. The lyrical and spiritual force behind one of the world's most successful rock bands, Bono has used the celebrity associated with the U2 platform to drive a number of causes, many of which support aid to Africa. He has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, granted an honorary knighthood by Queen Elizabeth II and was named as a Person of the Year by Time Magazine.

#2. MADONNA (aka Madonna Louise Ciccone)

The "Material Girl" from Bay City, Michigan has become famous for pushing the boundaries of lyrical and visual content in mainstream pop culture like few before her. Whether it was her coffee table book, "Sex", music video, "Like a Prayer", studio album, "Erotica" or her role in the erotic thriller "Body of Evidence", Madonna has inspired passionate mixed reactions from all sides of the political and religious spectrum.

And finally ... the leading Mononymous Brand of 2010, according to this latest TSB ranking is none other than ...


Born into extreme poverty in rural Mississippi, raped at the age of 9 and pregnant at 14, she has become a global icon for her self-titled, multi-award winning talk show - the highest-rated program of its kind in history. Oprah ranks as the richest African American of the 20th century and was once the world's only black billionaire. She is also viewed as one of the most influential women in the world, able to help a former civil rights attorney from Illinois wind up in the White House.

"I always knew I was destined for greatness"

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Flex With Rex

Rex was born and raised in Newfoundland, where he not only graduated from Memorial University, but earned a lifetime degree in the acquisition of unusual common sense.

A Rhodes Scholar, Rex attended Oxford University where he hung out with a classmate named Bill Clinton before coming back to Canada to polish and refine his writing and broadcasting skills.

And it is his keen interest in language and English literature, that allows Rex to flex his formidable lexicon with hundreds of thousands of Canadians each and every week.

In addition to his televised essays on CBC, Rex Murphy writes a weekly column for the Globe and Mail and is the author of the book, "Points of View", and also hosts Canada's only national open-line radio program, CBC Radio’s "Cross Country Checkup", with close to half-a-million listeners every Sunday afternoon. Much in demand as a speaker, his volatile, insightful and comedic oratory - powered by an voluminous vocabulary - brings audiences to their feet from coast to coast.

And Rex will be flexing his speaking muscles once again tomorrow night to help the Boys & Girls Club of Moncton, N.B. fill the required coffers to keep their many worthy programs running.

His topic?

“Fragile Loyalties, Intense Commitments: The Art of Being Canadian”.

Rex may be viewed in some circles as a curmudgeony, cantankerous sort who takes great delight in delivering polysyllabic, vitriolic and sarcastic commentary. Some call him Canada's "most opinionated man". A big squawk from the Rock spewing a lot of high-falutin' talk.

But isn't that part of who we really are as Canadians?

And what we admire?

If only more of us had a dash of Murphy's exquisite verbal panache to go with our daily double-doubles.

Wouldn't that make for riveting conversation over coffee?

"In a world darkened by ethnic conflicts that tear nations apart, Canada stands as a model of how people of different cultures can live and work together in peace, prosperity, and mutual respect"

P.S. ... For more info on Rex Murphy's Moncton appearance, click here.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Marshall Amplifier of "Mojo"!

Marshall wants to know how your "mojo" is really working these days.

"Mojo" can be defined in many ways. According to Wikipedia, some of the definitions include:

- A magical charm bag used in hoodoo.
- A supervillain in various Marvel Comics publications
- A video game
- A British music magazine
- A fictional helper monkey in The Simpsons
- An album by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
- Sexual charm and more

But, back to our friend Marshall, who is considered to be the "rock star" of executive leadership. The way Marshall sees it, "mojo" is the moment when we do something that's purposeful, powerful, and positive and the rest of the world recognizes it.

Marshall's new book is focused on that moment - how to create it, maintain it, and recapture it when we need it. Regarded as the world's #1 executive coach, Marshall Goldsmith believes professional and personal "Mojo" is impacted by four key factors: identity (who do you think you are?), achievement (what have you done lately?), reputation (who do other people think you are--and what have you've done lately?), and acceptance (what can you change--and when do you need to just "let it go"?).

In his book, Goldsmith details how "mojo" is at its peak when we are experiencing both happiness and meaning in what we are doing and communicating this experience to the world around us.

But, how do we stack the deck in our favor?

It might help if we learn from Sonny Boy and Muddy; two cool cats who knew a thing or two about "mojo".

A certain famous graduate from an unknown evil medical school was also well aware of the enourmous value of "mojo" and would stop at nothing to acquire it.

Fortunately for us, there aren't many diabolical forces with those types of resources that determined to steal our "mojo" on a daily basis.

So what will it be?

"Mojo" or "Nojo"?

According to Marshall Goldsmith, the choice is ours to make.

"Wait Vanessa, I can explain. You see, I was looking for Dr. Evil when the Fembots came out and smoke started coming out of their jomblies. So I started to work my mojo, to counter their mojo; we got cross-mojulation, and their heads started exploding"

Monday, March 8, 2010

Monday Morning Alchemy

"When you possess great treasures within you, and try to tell others of them, seldom are you believed"

You have a message and big ideas worth sharing.

Rock-solid, time-tested stuff you really know something about.

With people you sincerely want to help.

More often than not, however, you are disappointed when your generous offers of free guidance and direction are not only rejected, but the very individuals you cared enough about to try and assist, silently mock and scorn your efforts.

Behind your back.

Sound familiar?

If so, can you explain why you keep handing out parcels of wisdom to those who clearly don't appreciate gifts you have so carefully selected and are willing to present - for the low, low price of FREE? Do you really enjoy banging your head against brick walls of human ignorance so much that you just can't seem to stop?

Or, is it possible this trail leads to another destination you are not aware of?

Hang on.

This is going to get interesting.

Especially since I don't have a clue myself exactly where this post leads.

Looks like we're in this one together.

About six months ago, I was tipped off about a book and an author that someone saw great value in and cared enough to share with me. At first, I was tempted to brush off the messenger and the suggestion, like so many of the other book recommendations I get, but something about this individual told me they were worth listening to and their gift was not something to be frivolously tossed aside. So I made a mental note, followed by a relatively short two- week period of procrastination.

"I really should look that guy up and see what his book is all about"

On a Saturday in late October, a copy of Paulo Coelho's masterpiece was in my hands.

Several hours later, its message had rocked yet another world.

On, November 9, 2009, its message was shared in this forum, but in a quiet, understated way just to see how it would ripple through the TSB blogosphere. The reader feedback was loud and clear. This was a direction worth pursuing. On January 4, 2010, the message was laid out once again - this time, in plain, no uncertain terms -in the first post of the New Year.

Here are some of the signals that have registered with a number of your fellow TSB readers:

From: Facebook []
Sent: Monday, January 25, 2010 7:48 PM
To: Gair Maxwell
Subject: Thank you!

Good evening, Gair.

I hope all is well, in your world. I'm writing to thank you for a couple of things. I am a reader of your blog. I'd like to say I do it daily, but that would be a fib. I get to it when I have a few moments, then read back to the place I had left off on my previous visit. I have now found two items, thanks to you. The first was the Monday Morning Memo. That I read faithfully, as soon as I get out of bed on Monday morning. The second was The Alchemist. I read about it yesterday morning, in your blog, then rushed over to Chapters to pick up a copy. That was at 2:00 in the afternoon. Between browsing two football games and a Raptor's game, I finished the book by 11:00pm. It has instantly become a favorite of mine and I would say will have profound life changing impact. Once again, I thank you!

Have a great week!

Sent: Monday, November 23, 2009 12:36 PM
Subject: The Alchemist


Wow! What an enlightening, inspiring book!!

Since our meeting I have been immersing myself in The Alchemist as well as the other articles and videos you sent my way, and although I have yet to realize my Personal Legend, I can feel myself relaxing, breathing, and taking joy in experiencing my journey.

As for The Alchemist, where do you begin? Every line was so insightful and not only relatable to my life-but relatable to where I am in my life. Coelhos simple writing style reflects his simple messages. He doesnt allow the petty things in our lives to be used as excuses the way we so often rely on them in order to drown out what our heart is saying. The message is clear. Follow your heart, listen to it, go after your dream and dont let anything stop you. If love is real in your life then there is no reason to fear leaving it, which is something I personally struggle with. I know in my life I have drowned out my hearts voice in order to make someone I love happy, and I can foresee me doing this in my future in order to stay close to my loved ones.

Santiago was extremely brave. He sold his sheep, which was his family, his status quo, in search of his personal legend. He let nothing stop him from falling off his path and showed true patience along the way. I can become very impatient with my life at times (I want to start living for real as I once thought) but it took years for Santiago to reach the pyramids and it was what he learned along the way that allowed him to reach his final goal.

Thank you again,

Sent: Saturday, February 27, 2010 8:54 PM
To: Gair Maxwell
Subject: the alchemist

Wow.... You know what... I see a lot of myself and the last year and a half in this book. And I can see how you, just like I did, related with this story. There were lots of doubts in the road to where you are, and to what you have achieved in your life. There's a shit load of leaps of faiths in this uncarved, professional career that I'm still trying to create for myself.... Thanks for the reference, I really enjoyed the couple of hours I have spent reading this book!

Can't wait to have talk to you about this!

Self-discovery is a long, jagged road, often leaving you feeling there is no end in sight. However, the treasures within you on this Monday are nothing compared to the ones that await you on many Mondays to follow.

You may have already discovered that a of people you interact with on your journey will sacrifice fulfillment for conformity. Only a select few will choose to follow roads that are there for the taking and dream without caution. That's why when you share a message you believe in - let's say to a hundred people or so - you will be fortunate to find even one person who will accept that which you have freely given and actually do something to dramatically improve their life and the way they impact people that surround them.

This is why you continue to share messages you believe in.

With people you care about.

So that one day, they will have an opportunity to thank you.

Just as I am doing today.

With much appreciation,


"You can become blind by seeing each day as a similar one. Each day is a different one, each day brings a miracle of its own. It's just a matter of paying attention to this miracle"

p.s... A year after making the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela in 1986, unknown author Paulo Coelho wrote "The Alchemist" and published it through a small Brazilian publishing house who made an initial print run of 900 copies and decided not to reprint. Refusing to abandon his dream, Coelho subsequently found a bigger publishing house, and "The Alchemist" went on to sell more than 30 million copies, becoming one of the best-selling books in history. It has been translated into more than 67 languages, earning Coelho the Guinness World Record for most translated book by a living author.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Overnight Miracle

"That is the true genius of America, a faith in the simple dreams of its people, the insistence on small miracles"

Team USA may have settled for silver at the Vancouver Olympics, but at least one American is still enjoying his own "Miracle On Ice".

First some background.

The "Miracle on Ice" unfolded during the 1980 Winter Olympics at Lake Placid, New York, as a collection of amateur and collegiate players led by coach Herb Brooks, defeated a Soviet juggernaut, considered as the best hockey team in the world. As part of its 100th anniversary celebrations in 2008, the International Ice Hockey Federation chose the "Miracle on Ice" as the number-one international hockey story of the century. It was also voted as the greatest sports moment of the twentieth century by Sports Illustrated.

The role Brooks fulfilled in this red, white and blue blaze of hockey glory was later immortalized in the 2004 film, "Miracle" with his character played by Kurt Russell.

Now you get to meet the young American hockey fan, quickly becoming an overnight sensation thanks to another miracle.

The internet.

Here is 5-year old Josh Sacco, who had watched the movie "Miracle" about 150 times before his dad shot from the heart with the following scene, .

There was no professional coaching.

No fancy editing.

No script.

Because Josh hadn't learned to read yet. He was just 4 years old when his father filmed the speech at their home in Spring Hill, Tennessee, just outside of Nashville.

And thanks to a wired world craving authentic stories, Sacco's performance has attracted national network attention.

"Miracles happen everyday, change your perception of what a miracle is and you'll see them all around you"

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Who Pays Your Salary?

Ever wonder how the dollar amount appearing on your paycheck wound up there in the first place?

Do those dollars REALLY come from your company or your boss?

Or do they wind up in your wallet thanks to somebody else?

It wouldn't matter if you work for Wendy's, Wal-Mart or Uncle Willie's Corner Store, a common thread is woven through every business model as it relates to your salary.

The man who bills himself as the "Pitbull of Personal Development" and the "World's Only Irritational Speaker" will bring you up to speed.

Larry Winget frequently appears on CNBC, MSNBC and has appeared on the Today Show and CNN with Larry King as a business/personal development/financial expert. Winget has also starred in "Big Spender on A&E Television, a reality show where he confronted people on their overspending and helped them turn their financial lives around.

If you feel as strongly as Larry Winget does about the value of taking care of your customer, you'll be interested to know one person CAN make a difference.

Here is how David Holmes does it.

"There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else"

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Motorvationally Speaking: "Red Crosser"

“Would it not be possible, in time of peace and quiet, to form relief societies for the purpose of having care given to the wounded in wartime by zealous, devoted, and thoroughly qualified volunteers?”

This is the question a Swiss businessman asked after he witnessed suffering at the Battle of Solferino, in the Austro-Sardinian War. The battle only lasted one day, but about 40,000 soldiers on both sides were killed or left severely wounded.

Shocked by the suffering and the lack of medical help, the businessman canceled his trip to see Emperor Napoleon III and spent several days helping to care for the wounded.

He wrote a book about what he saw, called "A Memory of Solferino". published it with his own money in 1862, and sent copies of the book to leading political and military figures throughout Europe.

Thanks to Henry Dunant's vision, the International Committee of the Red Cross was founded in 1863 in Geneva, Switzerland. This international humanitarian movement has grown to approximately 97 million volunteers worldwide, dedicated to prevent and alleviate human suffering, without any discrimination based on nationality, race, sex, religious beliefs, class or political opinions.

One of the most widely recognized organizations in the world, the Red Cross is also the most honoured, winning Nobel Peace Prizes in 1917, 1944, and 1963.

Today on TSB, we recognize the efforts of one of Atlantic Canada's most dedicated "Red Crossers", ... Pat Burgess!

"Motorvationally Speaking", on CHCD TV, is a weekly, internet-based show focused on people who embrace the power of positive thinking. The guests may not always be famous, but they are always enlightening, and each one of them has an interesting story to tell. Your comments and suggestions are always welcome as we aim to inspire, educate and motorvate.

"I have an almost complete disregard of precedent and a faith in the possibility of something better. It irritates me to be told how things always have been done .... I defy the tyranny of precedent. I cannot afford the luxury of a closed mind. I go for anything new that might improve the past"
CLARA BARTON, Founder, American Red Cross

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Beauty of Adversity

Aimee was born with fibular hemimelia.

By her first birthday, both of her legs were amputated below the knee.

The medical prognosis was, in a word, bleak.

Aimee's parents were told she would never walk and spend the rest of her life in a wheelchair. But, by the time she was a two-year old, a determined Aimee had learned to walk on prosthetic legs, and eventually would do the things kids do; swimming, biking, softball, soccer, and skiing, always alongside "able-bodied" kids.

After graduating high school with honors, Aimee was one of three students in America chosen for a full academic scholarship from the Department of Defense. At age 17, she became the youngest person to hold top-secret security clearance at the Pentagon, where she worked as an intelligence analyst during her summer breaks.

While attending Georgetown University in Washington, Aimee rediscovered her love of competitive sports. Outfitted with prostheses modeled after the hind legs of a cheetah, she went on to set NCAA and World Records in the 100 meter, the 200 meter, and the long jump. In 1999, Aimee made her runway debut in London as she walked proudly alongside the top supermodels of the world. Aimee's triumphant turn on the catwalk captured the attention of the fashion media, propelling her onto magazine covers and named as one of People magazine's "50 Most Beautiful People in the World."

An influential voice in today's changing youth culture, Aimee Mullins has also been named as one of Esquire's "Women We Love," one of Jane magazine's "10 Gutsiest Women," one of Sports Illustrated's "Coolest Girls in Sport".

You are about to discover why.

Aimee's impact is undeniable.

She has been immortalized in exhibits at the Smithsonian, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the NCAA Hall of Fame, the Track and Field Hall of Fame, and the Women's Museum, where she is honored for her contribution to sport among the "Greatest American Women of the 20th Century.

You take time to absorb Aimee's story and it can't help but leave you asking not for lighter burdens, but for broader shoulders.

Are there burdens you were born with?

Or picked up along the way?

Because if you don't like something you can always change it.

And if you can't change it, Aimee Mullins has demonstrated how you can change the way you think about it.

"Every problem has in it the seeds of its own solution. If you don't have any problems, you don't get any seeds"