Spending Time With My Boys

Hey everyone!

Many of you have seen these pictures of me 12115617_555886764560404_2076992576810776200_nskating 12118677_555886737893740_4679928493864393510_nwith the boys the other day. We plan to go to the arena as often as possible this winter. Both boys seem to like skating so far!

This summer we focused on swimming and biking. Both boys can swim well, going underwater and in the deep end. It’s funny and a bit unnerving to watch a 22-month-old jump off a diving board, into the water, and swim to the side of the pool.

We try to go four to five times a week, so they have been able to pick up quickly. The boys also really enjoyed riding their bikes at the skate park this summer. They became quite amazing on their bikes. Once again, watching a 22-month-old, still in diapers, drop into a half pipe is nerve-wracking for the parents!! Both boys wracked up some spectacular crashes, but the only injuries were a few cuts and bruises.

As a father, I am so blessed to be able to spend this time nurturing a love for physical activity in the boys. Here are some videos of our fun-filled summer days. Some were taken with my beloved Blackberry so the quality is not that great.  Enjoy!

Jumping off the counter: This first video is not biking or swimming, but I love it because it shows the boys’ little boy spirit. I was sitting at the kitchen table reading and Wyatt was in the hearth room. When I looked up, he was jumping off the counter onto the couch. He didn’t know anyone was watching; he just thought it would be fun. Jumping off the counters is not allowed (often) at our house, but he did get a few leaps in before I stopped him!


This is a video of the dirt park, as the boys call it. The video doesn’t do the hill’s steepness or Gryffin’s speed justice. They love the dirt park because it’s often wet and muddy.


The next three videos are at the Fall River skate park. You might notice they are in pajamas in some of these videos. We usually go to the skate park in the morning and the swimming pool in the afternoon.


The next three videos are at the Halifax Commons skate park. In the first video, you can see Gryffin comes close to colliding with Wyatt. This happened more times then you can count. A huge skate park and still they were able to find each other and collide!!

I hope you all had a great summer, as well! We’re looking forward to many days spent at the rink and in the snow this winter!

Claude

Getting to Know JL and Nicole Pellerin

Hey everyone!

Today on the blog we have a profile of JL and Nicole Pellerin.

JL and Nicole are such amazing people to have as friends. They’re so much fun, and some of Lana and I’s greatest and most fun adventures have included the Pellerins.

The first time I met JL, he was the sharpest dressed guy in the room. I was there to show him an opportunity, and he came dressed better than me!

I look forward to a long (and fun) life of hanging out with this awesome couple!

Claude

Getting to Know Kaizen Leaders: JL and Nicole Pellerin, as written by Bethany Sampson

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JL AND NICOLE PELLERIN

Rock and Roll.

It’s not just a team name for JL and Nicole Pellerin; it’s a way of life, and everything they do revolves around this expression.

The phrase originates from the seventeenth century when ships would rock and roll due to the motions of the sea. As a metaphor for the Pellerin’s action-packed lives, the expression is more relevant than ever.

“You can go through life on auto-pilot, if you want,” says JL, “but I’d rather be out there in the seas where the action is happening.”

“You can’t stay secure, docked, and calm on the shore,” Nicole agrees. At least, not if you want to experience the good stuff.

JL and Nicole Pellerin are high school sweethearts. They’ve been married for seventeen years, and dated for nearly another ten years before that. Over the last quarter century, the Pellerin ship has rocked and rolled over many different seas.

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Ten years ago, Nicole Pellerin had just closed down her retail shop. She’d gone to school at the University of Moncton, and had an interest in entrepreneurship, but after the closing of her store, she wasn’t necessarily looking for a business venture.

JL also worked in business. He, too, had obtained a degree from the University of Moncton, and with his marketing background, he pursued a job in sales. He ended up working as the national sales manager for a provincial newspaper, a job he still maintains to this day.

The couple, content in their life, wasn’t looking for any new opportunities. A close friend, however, introduced the couple to the business, and the opportunity came knocking anyway.

unnamed-7Initially, the couple declined the business venture. At the time, Nicole was pregnant with the couple’s youngest child, and felt they had no time to spare.

The Pellerin’s friend was able to convince them to attend an Open. It was there that the couple met the Dionnes and the Hamiltons. It was also at this Open that they were first able to see “the big picture.”

unnamed-3That said, the couple still maintained that they were too busy to explore this new avenue. When their friend asked, “Are you doing anything now that’s going to change [the business]?” the couple realized that they, indeed, were not.

Their schedules were packed with work, family, commitments, and life. For the Pellerins, they thought the solution to their over-packed lives was to try harder, and to plan smarter.

That solution, however, was not working.

That night at the Open, on a whim—and with the intentions of gaining more time—the couple said, “Let’s give this a shot!

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THE PELLERIN FAMILY

Flash forward one year, and the couple was able to fully replace Nicole’s income, allowing her to fulfill her goal of being a stay-at-home mom to the couple’s two children, Nicolas, 12, and Jacob, 10. The couple hopes JL will soon be able to join Nicole as a stay-at-home parent.

The Pellerins relish in the amount of time they’re able to spend together. The flexibility in Nicole’s schedule means the kids can go home everyday after school, as opposed to attending an after-school program. In addition, the couple schedules in weekly family nights, date nights, and nights dedicated to “helping [their] friends win” in business.

LIFE Leadership’s content has allowed JL and Nicole to better understand each other, and their children.

Understanding each other’s love language, has allowed them to improve their connection, to understand and appreciate each other’s strengths, and to recognize their weaknesses.

Having been together since their teenage years, the couple has learned to grow and adapt together.

“People don’t always change at the same rhythm,” says Nicole. She emphasizes the importance of both understanding and respecting the other person, even if you don’t necessarily agree on everything. Ultimately, she and JL are two different people with two different personalities, and it was important for the two of them to learn that that is okay. Gaining this knowledge has helped the couple to be—and remain—strong, both individually and together.

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A FAMILY ADVENTURE

This knowledge of personality types has also helped the couple with their parenting. Their first child, Nicholas, was a sanguine, easygoing child, which made the parenting easy as well. Their second child, Jacob, had a choleric, go-getting personality. JL and Nicole read many books, which aided them in parenting different personalities, as well as informing them of the different love languages and the different needs of each child.

“We love them the same way,” says Nicole, “but you can’t necessarily parent the same way.”

The parenting techniques the Pellerins have brought to the family have made their way into the community. JL coaches the boys’ hockey and baseball teams, and tries hard to constantly encourage the players. He has learned—through his own experience with Joce, Claude, and Orrin—the importance of positive encouragement, and he tries to pass that onto his sons and his sons’ teammates.

“When you give them the smallest bit of encouragement, they just flourish,” says JL.

The business environment has been a backdrop for nearly all of the kids’ lives, and they have been—and continue to be—shaped by the positivity of the business, the material they hear on the CDs, and by witnessing their parents run for goals. JL and Nicole admit to both missing and hitting some goals, but the lesson is still clear: it’s important to set goals, no matter the outcome.

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LIFE Leadership has provided the couple with so much more than just a business. They have time, community, friendship, and notably, the chance to help others take the same chance they once did.

“Go on faith,” says Nicole. “This business can offer you whatever you’re look for. Not everybody’s looking for money, but everybody’s looking for something.”

She encourages people to find the dream inside of them, whether it’s for time, money, vacation, or the chance to volunteer, and pursue it.

Despite the successes they’ve achieved, JL and Nicole are still dreaming. LIFE Coach is a long-term goal, building an in-law suite for Nicole’s parents is what they’re hoping to do in the short-term. The couple is confident these are goals they can hit.

unnamed-8“I can’t see us not having this in our lives,” says JL. “The whole business has brought excitement, effectiveness, and betterment to everything that we do.”

“It’s a way of life,” says Nicole. “It’s who we are.”

“We were just a regular small-town Acadian family,” says JL, “and we had the guts to say, ‘Yeah, let’s do it.’”

The risk, it appears, has paid off.

Do you know JL and Nicole? Leave your comments on the couple below!

Getting to Know Kaizen Leaders: Wayne & Raylene MacNamara

Hey everyone!

Today on the blog, Bethany profiled Wayne and Raylene MacNamara as a part of the Getting to Know Kaizen Leaders series.

Wayne and Raylene are such a success story. They have reached high levels in our business, and the reason they’re so successful is because they’re very good at helping others. They’re leaders of leaders! They represent our biggest organization, and I consider Wayne one of the key leaders of the Kaizen organization.

Through this journey, Wayne and Raylene have become best friends with me and Lana, and now they’re some of the closest people in our lives.

Enjoy!

Getting to Know Kaizen Leaders: Wayne and Raylene MacNamara, as written by Bethany Sampson

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RAYLENE & WAYNE MACNAMARA

Wayne and Raylene MacNamara didn’t start out in the leadership industry. Wayne was a welder and Raylene was a tire builder. Financially, the couple was doing okay, but when a workplace injury occurred, Raylene was forced to take time off from her job.

It was around this time that Raylene’s sister introduced her to the business. Since Raylene’s injury, finances had been tighter for the couple, so they decided to take a chance on the business. If they could replace Raylene’s salary until she was able to go back to work, or until she decided on a new career path, the couple would be happy.

Initially, Raylene was drawn to the idea of having the materials shipped to her. Due to her injury, she wasn’t able to go out and shop on her own. As soon as the material would arrive, she and Wayne would read or listen to the information.

Despite their initial interest in the business, Wayne and Raylene declined their first invitation to attend a big convention. Claude, however, wasn’t taking no for an answer.

Claude called Wayne directly and the two spoke about the business and its financial benefits. After the phone call, Wayne told Raylene they were booking the tickets. Raylene wasn’t thrilled about the decision, but she saw the chance to visit her friends and family in the area as a positive.

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THE HAPPY COUPLE

Claude and Wayne and Raylene met in person for the first time at that major. Despite geographical obstacles—the MacNamaras lived in Ontario whereas the Hamiltons were in Nova Scotia—Claude encouraged them to commit to the business. In fact, Claude said more than that; he told the MacNamaras that he would fly out to Ontario once a month to help their growing business.

Claude stayed true to his promise, and for the next four years he flew to Ontario for monthly opens.

Though Wayne initially saw this distance as a negative, he later realized he helped him and Raylene to become more independent leaders and to grow confident enough to run seminars and opens on their own.

The Hamiltons didn’t just help Wayne and Raylene’s business grow; they helped their family grow, too.

Wayne and Raylene had been together since they were teenagers, but were uninterested in marriage.

“I didn’t want to get married because my parents got divorced,” says Raylene. “I thought if I didn’t get married I couldn’t get divorced.”

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THE  WEDDING DAY

Claude and Lana, however, were able to sit down with the couple and help them to confront the hard, but important, questions.

In 2004, Wayne and Raylene—a couple of 23 years now—were married. This past July marked their eleven-year wedding anniversary.

The couple also has a two-year-old son, Beau.

Wayne and Raylene consider Beau to be their greatest blessing, and are grateful for the time and freedom allotted to them by LIFE, as it allowed them to become parents.

As a tire builder, Raylene would’ve been working 12-hour shifts, and the couple isn’t sure they would’ve been able to balance parenthood on top of such long work hours.

In addition to the logistical aspects, the LIFE material also helped the couple to feel prepared and confident in their decision to have a child.

They’d been exposed to many children with great lives whose parents are in business. Knowing that they’d have both the support of other leaders, as well as the knowldge and preparation from the material they were consuming at a rapid pace, the couple felt confident in their decision to bring a child into the world. This confidence also helped lessen the fear that they wouldn’t do this well, or that they would fail as parents.

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This association with other leaders has been crucial to the MacNamaras’ many successes.

“Associations are the number one key factor why we’re still around,” said Wayne.

And both Wayne and Raylene say this proves to be true for new couples starting out.

“Motivation is such an individual thing,” says Wayne. “You have to get around someone who’s highly motivated, then you get to see that they’re real people, and their motivation is what makes them get up to do work that they don’t have to do everyday.”

In addition to being inspired by others’ motivation, surrounding yourself with leaders serves as a reminder of how well the business can work.

Starting out can take time, but seeing others’ successes can help you to actualize your own dreams.

Raylene echoes the importance of surrounding yourself with other dreamers, because it allows you to feel comfortable with sharing your own goals and ambitions.

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WAYNE & RAYLENE

Wayne and Raylene were hundreds of miles away from Claude and Lana when they first started out, so they used audiotapes and books as a way to stay inspired by other leaders.

Though Raylene was doubtful of the business in the beginning, not thinking the success could happen to her, she soon realized it all came down to attitude. She says her emotional intelligence used to control her, causing her to focus on the negative of a situation instead of trying to find the positive and to move forward.

Raylene worked hard to change her attitude, and she sites John Maxwell’s book The Difference Maker (which she received as a gift from Claude) as a game changer for her. This book served as a reminder for Raylene that attitude truly is a choice, and so she began to believe that this could and would happen for her and Wayne.

The couple’s relationship with Claude and Lana was also crucial in their successes.

“They’ve gotten us to where we are today,” says Raylene. “Everything we have today is because of their leadership.”

The two couples have been best friends for over ten years now.

Wayne and Raylene both admire Claude’s and Lana’s unprecedented leadership. Claude is tough, but treats everyone as an equal. Lana is gentle and soft, but “if she needs to roar, you can hear her roar,” says Raylene.

They both speak of their gratitude towards the Hamilton, knowing they can never fully repay Claude and Lana for all they’ve done; all they can do is treat them with respect, says Raylene.

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WAYNE, RAYLENE, & BEAU

Though the concept of working together was initially daunting, Wayne and Raylene came together as a couple to make their business blossom. They ask each other questions, work to find the best solutions, and most importantly, they dream together.

The couple’s relationship has only strengthened since going into business. Wayne and Raylene consume the LIFE material quickly, and the audio CDs and books have allowed them to read and hear about others going through similar stages in life.

“Dating brings out the best, marriage brings out the rest,” quotes Raylene. She says the LIFE material, including books like The Five Love Languages, helped strengthen her relationship with Wayne, as their understanding of each other and their relationship continues to grow.

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BEAU, 2

Wayne nods in agreement. Though he’s believes he and Raylene would still be together today without the business, he’s confident their relationship would not be what it is today.

In addition to what the couple has learned and how they’ve grown, they’ve also been financially free for eight years now, allowing them to spend more quality time together and with Beau.

The couple knows they’re blessed to have this life, but it didn’t come without hard work, a willingness to learn, and, of course, a proven business model.

“When you struggle for anything in life, the moment you get it, you just appreciate it that much more,” says Wayne, “whether it be a child, your money, your time, your freedom, or your relationships.”

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THE MACNAMARA FAMILY

Wayne and Raylene are careful not to take anything for granted, and are always looking to help others improve their lives, as well. Even if you just get in for the money, they say, all these other amazing things will happen on the side.

“This business has affected us in so many areas and it has helped us to grow tremendously in order to have the life we have today, which is incredible,” says Raylene. “And I did not see that the first night we saw the business.”

“When you get around other people that are motivated and that are dreamers, it’s almost like you catch a dream of your own,” says Wayne.

And it’s clear that this couple has indeed caught a dream.

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To find out more about Wayne and Raylene, you can visit them on Twitter or Facebook.

If you know Wayne and Raylene, and have more to add, feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments!!

Choosing Your Personal Culture

Have you ever spent time in another country? If so—whether you’ve been a Canadian in Japan or an American in Canada—you definitely experienced some cultural differences. But if you haven’t had the opportunity to travel, let me give you an illustration of what it means to live in Canada.

You might be Canadian if…
(by comedian Jeff Foxworthy)

I’m sharing this because I think it’s funny. But I’m also using it to illustrate how each national culture has its own distinct quirks that dictate how people behave, affecting the way they’re viewed by others.

Each person lives by his or her own internal culture, just like every country has its own cultural identity. We choose the values and way of life that are most important to us and use them as a guiding force, driving our decisions and our actions. Based on my experience, there are generally two personal cultures that people choose from: a culture of convenience, and a culture of excellence. These cultures extend past national borders; just about every person in the world operates within one culture or the other.

But here’s the thing—when it comes to personal culture, there’s no riding the fence. You have to choose how you want to live your life and what you want to get out of it. You need to decide whether excellence or convenience is more important to you and, when you decide, that culture will ultimately pave your life’s path. Yes, you may veer off the path occasionally, but the personal culture you choose will ultimately keep you on track towards the destiny you’ve set in motion.

If your goal is to achieve your life’s purpose (and I hope it is), you have no choice but to choose a personal culture of excellence. Choosing convenience might help you get by, but you’ll never achieve as much as you will if you choose excellence. You have to work for excellence. You have to make tough decisions and overcome challenges. And you may even have to fight. But the pay-off is huge. Not only will you build character, you’ll also be more likely to become the person you were meant to be, doing the duty you were meant to do.

Which culture will you choose?

Getting to Know Kaizen Leaders: Aaron and Denise Hutchings

Hey everyone,

This week Bethany profiled Aaron and Denise Hutchings as a part of the Getting to Know Kaizen Leaders series.

I grew up with Aaron and I’ve known him since I was a teenager. I was lucky enough to watch Denise and Aaron get married, and build a family with three awesome kids. Denise and Aaron have always been independent, resilient, and tough people who have succeeded in leading a business from afar. They’re such consistent business owners, and now you can all get to know them the way I do.

Enjoy!

Claude

Getting to Know Kaizen Leaders: Aaron and Denise Hutchings as written by Bethany Sampson.

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DENISE AND AARON HUTCHINGS

Aaron and Denise Hutchings have been together for twenty-two years. June 28th marked fifteen years of marriage for the couple. Claude and Aaron, however, have known each other for longer.

Claude and Aaron first met when they were fourteen and sixteen, respectively, when, as Aaron joked, Claude was still shorter than him. The two were in sea cadets together and would meet at summer camps. Later, they both joined the Navy and drifted apart. Claude was on the East Coast and Aaron was on the West Coast.

It was 1997 when the two reconnected through a friend of Denise. It was at this time that the couple was introduced to the industry.

Despite his history with Claude, Aaron was initially skeptical of the business, immediately assuming it was a scam. Denise, on the other hand, was open-minded about the business and reminded Aaron that he could trust Claude. Aaron, the self-proclaimed skeptic, still wasn’t sure.

It was after Aaron attended his first seminar that he began to think of the industry as a good opportunity.

Denise, who was at sea and couldn’t attend the seminar, left behind a cynic, as Aaron jokes, and came home to a husband who was enthusiastic about starting in business.

Despite Denise’s busy schedule—she was in the Navy, playing on a competitive rugby team, training for an amateur body building competition, and was getting her commercial pilot license—she committed to the business from the start, talking to and communicating with people about the program.

Aaron explains that his initial reluctance had much to do with how busy Denise already was. He worried that in taking on another commitment, he would see his wife even less.

The opposite proved to be true.

Starting in business together gave Denise and Aaron a new venue in which they could spend time together.

Aaron jokes that every time he showed up to one of Denise’s rugby tournaments, she’d end up in the hospital with a concussion, and when she took him flying, she scared the pants off him. The business, he laughs, is a safe place where they can spend time together.

Denise’s initial motivation was different: she saw the business as a way to realize her potential in life. She knew God had a purpose for her, but she also knew she wasn’t quite living it yet.

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AYDEN, DARIUS, ANYA

The couple now lives in Vernon, British Colombia, where the average summer temperature, Aaron boasts, is 28 degrees. They have three children—Darius, 14, Anya, 11, and Ayden, 10—with their eldest, Darius, already reading and learning from the LIFE Leadership material.

Life is good for the family of five, but it wasn’t without tribulations to get to where they are now.

The couple, that today appear inseparable and still very much in love, were on the precipice of divorce twice. The first time, they were horrendously broke and their financial situation put a huge stress on their marriage. The second time, they were doing well financially, but were stressed out due to their high level corporate jobs. The pressure of their jobs began to take a toll on their marriage as they took out the stress and anxiety on each other.

During the couple’s first hardship, Claude helped the two to figure out their finances, and thus eliminate the trigger of their problems.

The second time, however, things were not so simple.

This time, things were far more personal, says Aaron.

“It takes a tremendous amount of courage for someone to do with us what Claude did with us,” says Aaron. And what he did was help the couple reassess their priorities and their marriage.

At this time, both Aaron and Denise occupied high-level positions at two well-known companies. However, upon realizing that these stressful and time-consuming jobs were contributing to their breaking marriage, they each decided to step down from their roles and into new roles that were lower paid, but also had lower responsibility, and a lesser time commitment.

The healing process of their marriage began from there.

During this period, their business was forced to take a back seat as they prioritized working on their marriage.

“It took a very big hit,” says Aaron, “But personally, we got our lives back. I would do it again tomorrow.”

Since then, the couple’s marriage has only continued to strengthen, and after working through their marital problems, they were once again able to focus full on their business.

Aaron and Denise are still working corporate jobs, but not in the same way they once were. Today, they both work predominantly from home in an office they share, and their work travel is limited to about six days a month.

Their slower paced jobs allow them to focus on growing their business while not uprooting the familial balance they’ve worked hard to obtain.

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DARIUS

This past November, the family of five moved to BC, after sixteen years in the neighboring Calgary, Alberta.

The couple is confident that change will bring good, including the changes in LIFE Leadership.

“Everything has become better as the experiences of the people leading the teams has become better,” says Denise, speaking of Chris Brady and his visions.

Aaron echoed this sentiment by drawing on the differences between a Chevette and a Corvette. If you know nothing about cars, you might think they’re the same; they both have four wheels, doors, and a steering wheel. That said, as soon as you’re put in the driver’s seat you would quickly realize the difference. The Corvette has power and handling, it has features below the surface that you cannot see.

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ANYA

Aaron says he’s watched the business evolve from a Chevette to a Corvette.

“The fundamentals are very similar,” he says, “but there are huge differences that happen when you put your foot on the pedal.”

This leadership, that has benefited Denise and Aaron personally, financially, and spiritually, has included the guidance of Claude and Lana.

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AYDEN

“We’ve derived all kinds of benefits from that pool of knowledge,” says Aaron. “I’ve never seen anything with the depth and the real breadth of what the leadership of this organization does,” he continues, comparing his experience at LIFE to other corporate positions he’s held.

Denise nods in agreement, pointing out how corporations are infamous for poor leadership. “It’s not only astonishing, it’s appalling,” she says. “We have no problems aligning ourselves with a team environment.”

In addition to that team environment, the Hutchings are also proud to have a business that aligns with their values.

“If I need a bop in the nose, I talk to Claude,” says Aaron. “If I need some understanding or perspective on how I’m thinking through something, Lana gives me that, because she process information similar to the way I do.”Both Aaron and Denise are grateful to Claude and Lana for sticking beside them during what they describe as the hardest time of their
lives, when anyone else would’ve run for the hills.

“We honestly have no doubt in our mind that we would’ve never weathered our own storms, and we wouldn’t be standing here, if it wasn’t for them,” says Aaron, who sees Claude as a father figure.

Denise agrees, pointing out that Claude and Lana are a great sounding board when it comes to parenting.unnamed-3

The Hutchings have an active parenting style, and work
hard to implement all the information they learn from LIFE material.

Darius, whose favorite speaker is Claude, has already read Financial Fitness for Teens. The parents are certain to discuss the material with their eldest son while he’s reading.

This summer, they’ll continue their reading and activeunnamed-4 discussions. And soon enough, the younger children will be able to join in as well.

“If you took away all the money we ever made, and just made this about the change in our own relationship, in our parenting, and our interactions with our kids, it would be worth it right there,” says Aaron.

As Denise nods along, it becomes clear that she doesn’t just agree, but she, too, believes this wholeheartedly.

And after twenty-two years together, it’s comforting to see this couple is still reading from the same page.

Deciding Where Your Duty Lies

In my last blog post, I wrote about some of the people who, throughout history, selflessly sacrificed their lives out of duty. Although Jesus, Socrates, and Joan of Arc are a few of the more notable martyrs, countless people have given up their lives for their duty over the last few centuries. And these martyrs include the soldiers who go to war to protect their country and their families, knowing well that they might not return. But they do it anyway, because they feel it is their duty—as a mother, a father, a wife, a husband, or a citizen.

Today, I want to look at how duty has changed over the years. As our governments and our cultures have evolved, so has our allegiance. Author Stephen Ambrose wrote about this change in his book, Duty, Honor, Country: A History of West Point. In the book, he says that in European nations, almost all military leaders were members of the ruling aristocratic family, which makes a lot of sense since, at the time, a military officer’s duty was to their country. Because a ruling family or party represented the country, this translated to an obligation to put themelves at risk to protect the country’s aristocracy.

But as people began settling in North America, their loyalties began to shift. This old sense of duty was eventually replaced by the American Dream, which told people that everyone has an important role to play in the grand scheme of things. As social hierarchy began to flatten out, the public sense of duty shifted a little. Although people still remained committed to their country, they no longer felt a strong duty to the people in charge.

Duty can also vary depending on your culture, according to the great political thinker Montesquieu. For example, a citizen living in a country ruled by a king or queen will feel an obligation to serve the ruling family. But a citizen in a country ruled by a dictator will direct that same sense of loyalty and service towards that one person. And duty will differ depending on whether you live in a democracy or an aristocratic nation. In an aristocracy, people are inclined to serve the parliament, where the people of a democracy remain loyal to their constitution and the people of their country.

Why am I telling you all this? Because, as an individual, you need to decide where your duty lies. Is it to your children? Your spouse? Your parents? Your country? Your God?

If you don’t know already, this is something you need to figure out in order to achieve your life’s purpose. After all, if you don’t know who you serve, how can you work towards your goals? More to the point, how do you even know what your goal is?

Take some time to think about who deserves your service and your loyalty. I guarantee that once you figure that out, you’ll be well on your way to valiantly doing your duty.

Staying True to Your Duty

Remember that old Dr. Seuss classic, Horton Hatches the Egg? It’s one of my favourites. At the start of the book, the elephant promises to sit on an egg until it hatches, taking over for a bored, lazy bird named Mayzie (after a certain amount of hesitation).

When the negligent Mayzie flies off for a year long vacation, Horton gets down to business. He figures out a way to strengthen the tree so that it’s able to support his weight, and climbs up to perch on the egg. The massive elephant sits perched in the tree for months, through lightening storms, blizzards, and teasing from his friends. But despite terrible conditions, he stays on that egg, doing his duty, even after being captured by hunters and sold to a circus.

In the end, he was rewarded for his efforts. And he deserved it—after all, “an elephant’s faithful, one hundred percent!”

I love this book because it poses an important question. Will you be faithful, one hundred percent? Will you stay fully committed to your duty, no matter what happens?

These questions are especially important to me because of the time I spent in the military. After all, when a man or woman joins the military, there’s an inherent understanding that they could end up sacrificing their life for their duty. What could possibly motivate someone to put their life on the line in this way?

It’s a question that people have been asking for decades. Throughout history, great thinkers have been debating whether or not people do their duty for love or fear of punishment. John Locke framed the question by asking why we should do our duty. Should we do it because God will bless us, or because He’ll punish us if we don’t? Should we do it because it could bring us wealth and fame, or because our peers will think less of us if we neglect our duties?

When we look at remarkable martyrs throughout history, we realize that duty should be done for love, not fear of consequences. Jesus is the greatest example of duty because he chose to sacrifice his life to save humanity.

Socrates is another great example. Although he had his faults, he still felt it was important to ask the people of Athens questions about justice and freedom. He angered many people, and was eventually given the option to be killed or deny his teachings. As hard as it must have been, he stayed true to his duty and chose death.

From Roman martyrs to Joan of Arc, people have been giving up their lives for what they believe in for centuries. What’s your duty? Would you give up anything to do the right thing?

Until next time!

-Claude Hamilton

Changing Your Life With Perseverance

Jim Rohn made an notable observation when he said, “Character isn’t something you were born with and can’t change, like fingerprints. It’s something you weren’t born with and must take responsibility for forming.”

It’s interesting because many people seem to think that character is built-in; either you won the character lottery or you didn’t. But Rohn’s right—a good character is a habit that’s formed by consistently making the right choice for the right reasons.

But that doesn’t mean that we don’t all have a little help. Each of us has our own strengths and, when we push ourselves to discover them, we often learn that they can be quite useful for building character.

When I was in the military, I took a performance test that was disguised as an advanced training course. The test was designed to weed out the best people to pursue a new career in diving. It was an impossibly strenuous course, and we operated on little to no sleep and limited nourishment. We were up at all hours of the day and night–running, swimming, and working out. It was an emotionally challenging time, and we were all forced to push ourselves to our limits, physically and mentally. Now here’s the catch: the course didn’t end until we were down to just six people. The longest record was 21 days.

Everyone was given a whistle, and when they were at their breaking point, they blew it to indicate that they were giving up. I had some tough competition—each of the twenty participants were at the top of their current line of work, whether they were medics, infantrymen, or search-and-rescue technicians. But still, it wasn’t long before we were down to nine.

After all, it was easy to quit. If you weren’t in the top six, nothing bad would happen to you. You just went back to your current high-level career. But if you won… you got to move on to a new diving career with a new mission. You’d be taking your career to the next level. And it was all up to you.

The night the test ended was also the night I encountered one of the hardest challenges I’ve ever endured. That night, we were woken up for a run after only an hour and a half of sleep. We were asked to bring our diving gear along with us.

We ran and ran. We passed all of our usual landmarks and kept running. It felt like we were never going to stop. I knew I didn’t have much left in me, so I started playing mind games, telling myself to run to the next landmark before giving up. Then, when I hit the next landmark, I’d set myself up for a new challenge.

Finally, we hit the water, and without letting us stop to rest, the instructors told us to suit up and start swimming. At that point, I really knew I was done. But then I heard a whistle. We were down to eight!

There were only two of us left to quit, but I decided to try and push through until one more person whistled. When they did, I was almost ecstatic. I’d be done soon! It was my turn!

Just when I was about to blow my whistle, someone else beat me to it. The challenge was over, and I was in the top six. There were just seconds between winning and losing, but I kept persevering, and in the end, it paid off. We were finally done, after 19 long days.

Staying true to my character and testing my limits allowed me to take a step in my career that I almost missed out on. Has there ever been a time when perseverance changed your life? I’d love to read about your experiences in the comments below.

Getting to Know Kaizen Leaders: Jean and Tamie Belanger

Hi everyone!

Welcome to part five of the Getting to Know Kaizen Leaders series. This week Bethany profiled Jean and Tamie Belanger.

Jean and Tamie have been with Lana and me since the very beginning of our business. They’ve watched us, helped us, and have always been there for us, as both business partners and friends. They’re such hard workers, and even pioneered the French side of the LIFE business. Jean and Tamie are trusted and respected leaders, and they’re going to have a big influence in the years to come!

Enjoy!

Getting to Know Kaizen Leaders: Jean and Tamie Belanger as written by Bethany Sampson.

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TAMIE AND JEAN BELANGER

Jean and Tamie Belanger aren’t new to the industry; in fact, they’ve been with Claude and Lana since the very start.

It was 1991, and the Belangers were newlyweds with two young children. They were living in Edmonton, Alberta. Jean was in the Canadian Special Forces and Tamie worked for a cement company doing accounts payable. Jean and Tamie were doing everything they could to get ahead—Tamie was even playing BINGO with two daubers, Jean jokes—but it was Jean’s job as a hockey coach that ended up being their entryway into the business.

It was a parent of one of Jean’s players that introduced Jean and Tamie to the industry and within two and a half years, they were job optional.

They’ve remained job optional for over twenty years now, as their business—and dreams continue to grow.

For a long time, it’s been Tamie and Jean’s goal to live on a ranch, with horses and animals.One month ago, they were able to finally watch this goal come to fruition as they moved into their coveted ranch house.

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THE BELANGER RANCH HOUSE

The Belangers have spent the last twenty plus years dedicated to the business. They’ve watched the system change and grow as they, too, grew.

“We had products that could help build our business but that wouldn’t necessarily help build ourselves,” says Tamie, but, with the entrance of LIFE Leadership, that changed.

LIFE, Tamie says, has helped make them more likable, more teachable, more outgoing, just more.

Jean echoes this, saying the LIFE material helped him to outgrow his sometimes ignorant attitude, which aided him in becoming a better leader.

But Jean and Tamie weren’t just satisfied with building their business and themselves; they wanted to go bigger. Together, they spearheaded LIFE’s growth in Quebec, as they pushed for the French system.

They describe this experience as “a ship leaving the harbor, and going into the middle of the ocean with no navigational system. You just sail until you find land.”

Eventually, they found that land. And that land greeted them with an abundance of success as the French system took off.

Jean is a self-described “system person.” He credits his background in martial arts, hockey, and the military for his systemized approach to life, and thus allowing him to have such success in a systemized business.

“It was a perfect fit for me,” he says, “and it became a perfect fit for us.”

The business suited the Belanger’s familial lifestyle as Jean had been aching to spend more time at home with his children. He’d always dreamed of being married and having children, but with all these financial responsibilities, he wasn’t actually able to spend any time with his family. Tamie, on the other hand, was at home raising their children, but was never able to see her husband.

Getting into business wound up remedying this problem.

When they first started out, the family-oriented Belangers set a goal to take their whole family to Disney World. They succeeded.

And with every goal they surmount, they set a new, even higher, goal. Yesterday, Disney World. Today, the ranch house. Tomorrow? LIFE Coach.

The Belangers are dreamers indeed.

“This is what we do,” says Tamie. “It’s make it or break it, and we’re going to make it.”

Jean nods along in agreement. “We’ve got the right people. We’ve got the right culture,” he says. “I always believe that when you hang around with the right successful people, you become successful.”

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JEAN AND TAMIE WITH CHILDREN, NICOLE AND CHRISTIAN

The Belangers grew up with great parents for role models. Jean says he never felt pressured to obtain a certain level of education or a certain career, but instead was encouraged to follow his passions.

For a long time, this meant a career in hockey, but after Jean didn’t receive The Call, he decided on his alternate career route: the military. Luckily, Jean was able to revive his passion for hockey as a coach, which eventually led him and Tamie to the industry.

Jean and Tamie’s children are now 26 and 29. Though they’re grown, the Belangers say LIFE Leadership has helped reinforce the way they chose to raise their children—to be confident, dream chasers.

Their kids grew up listening to audio cassettes or CDs in the car, and weren’t permitted to spend a lot of time watching TV. Jean recalls many days when his daughter would gather friends on the couple’s veranda, and the kids would sit outside listening to Jean talk about leadership, the business, and dreams.

Today, both their children are motivated and ambitious, dreamers and achievers. Jean and Tamie, however, haven’t stopped parenting.

Now, they have a myriad of team members who call them Mom and Dad, and who trust Jean and Tamie like family.

To these new couples starting out, Jean and Jamie say, focus on the whys: why are you getting started in business? They encourage team members to use that “why” to help stay motivated.

“When you set your mind to do something—when you have the right tools, the right help, the right mentor or coach—you can do pretty much anything you want,” says Tamie.

For the Belangers, Claude and Lana have been the right mentors.

“Claude’s a team guy,” says Jean. “That is what our industry is. It’s all about team.”

Jean emphasizes the importance of trust and teamwork in any business relationships, but particularly this industry where one person’s success is directly correlated with another’s.

“Claude’s always been determined that he was going to win and that he was going to take as many people as he could with him,” Tamie says. “Claude and Lana have vision, and we follow them.”

In addition, the Belangers consider their relationship with each other to be vital to their success.

“We had ups and downs in our relationship that affected our business,” says Jean, “and we had ups and downs in our business that affected our relationship.”

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JEAN AND TAMIE

“If life happens to you and you don’t get back up, then you’ll never get back up,” says Tamie. “For us to work, we couldn’t ever stay down.”

No matter the up or down, Jean and Tamie are certain to stay by each other’s side, likening themselves to peas and carrots or chocolate and peanut butter.

“A lot of things can happen when it’s you and your wife holding a business together,” says Jean.

And after speaking with the Belangers, it’s clear that Jean is right. A lot of things can happen. A lot of really, really great things.

“We’re here to stay,” says Tamie. “We’re not going anywhere.”

I have no doubt that she is right.

If you have anything to add about Tamie and Jean, please leave your thoughts in the comments below!

Building Confidence and Character

Throughout our lives, we’ll all experience adversity—in our personal lives, our careers, or both. We meet adversity when we learn to take our first breath, and we encounter it again and again for the rest of our lives. Not only is adversity a great test of character, it’s often what motivates us to keep trying until we get it right.

But there are a couple of other things, namely power and mistakes, that test character, and have the potential to reveal much more about a person than adversity ever could.

POWER

When you’ve got everything you need and the ability to get pretty much whatever you want, it can be easy to lose sight of what’s important. As Abraham Lincoln said, “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”

In Plato’s Republic, he writes about a discussion he had with several men. One of those men is named Glaucon, and he argues that “no man would keep his hands off that which was not his own if he could safely take what he liked.” It’s a sad argument that leaves no room for common human decency.

Of course, people will always be tempted to take the easy way out, but someone with true character will resist that temptation and find the honest, fair way to get what they want or need. In fact, I’d go one step further and say that many people in power will consciously avoid using that power in an abusive or negative way, because they’re fully aware of how easy it is to become corrupted.

MISTAKES

How we respond to our mistakes can give away a lot about our character. In his novel Confessor, Terry Goodkind, a successful fantasy writer, says, “I’m afraid that we all make mistakes. One of the things that define our character is how we handle mistakes. If we lie about having made a mistake, then it can’t be corrected and it festers. On the other hand, if we give up just because we made a mistake, even a big mistake, none of us would get far in life.”

And he’s right. I believe that mistakes are opportunities. They’re the wake-up call that tells us we’re doing something wrong and forces us to start over again, with a different approach.

Taking responsibility for mistakes is key to improving character. When we own up to our errors, we’re free to move on, and fix whatever caused the mistake in the first place. And when character is built in this way, we also benefit from increased self-confidence. As journalist Joan Didion wrote in On Self Respect, “Character—the willingness to accept responsibility for one’s own life—is the source from which self-respect springs.”

Enjoy your weekend everyone!

-Claude Hamilton