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!!

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!

Getting to Know Kaizen Leaders: Patricia and Tony Tefel

Hey everyone!

Here is part four of the “Getting to Know Kaizen Leaders” series.

This week, Bethany talked to Tony and Patricia Tefel.

Since Tony and Pat joined the LIFE business, I’ve been watching their progress from afar and have been continuously amazed by their enthusiasm.

Chris Brady introduced me to the Tefels about eighteen months ago, and since then we’ve become best friends.

They’re great people and have added so much value to my whole family’s life. They’ve been married forty-seven years and are an excellent illustration of what marriage should be. On top of that, they’ve been in the industry for over forty years!

They’re a great example of American entrepreneurship and family values. I hope you enjoy getting to know them as much as I have!

Getting to Know Kaizen Leaders: Patricia and Tony Tefel as written by Bethany Sampson.

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PATRICIA AND TONY TEFEL

According to Tony Tefel, there’s good and there’s great. The Tefels, high school sweethearts who’re now just a few years shy of their fiftieth wedding anniversary, weren’t satisfied with a good life. They aimed for greatness.

Today, they’re planning a fiftieth Mediterranean anniversary cruise on a private yacht with their whole family, and it becomes abundantly clear: they have achieved this greatness.

The Tefels have been in business for almost as long as they’ve been married. As a young couple, their hearts were full of dreams, but they knew with their current jobs—Pat was a social worker and Tony an engineer—they wouldn’t be able to accomplish them.

As they began to look around their community for new opportunities, they discovered something: those who had the lifestyle they desired were business owners.

Pat’s next-door neighbor growing up played a particular influencing role in Pat and Tony’s life. The neighbor was an illustrator and both he and his wife worked from home on his business. They had lunch together, and in the evenings they were able to sit out on the porch and relax. Pat and Tony spent an abundance of time with the successful couple, and as a result, their own dreams morphed to match the couple’s lifestyle.

Unfortunately, the bank wouldn’t approve a loan for Tony and Pat’s traditional business plan, so they were forced to look elsewhere.

Eventually, a friend of Pat’s parents introduced the couple to the entrepreneur industry.

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PAT, TONY, & FAMILY

The Tefels were hard workers, but what they quickly realized was that they preferred to work on their own time, to be their own bosses. When Pat became pregnant with their first child, it served as more of a motivation to work hard in business so that she could be a stay-at-home mom. Eventually, Pat could retire from his job and become a stay-at-home dad as well.

This stay-at-home lifestyle allowed the couple to teach their children the same principles that were learning as a part of their business. They had four children within six years, and their fifth and final child—a son—was born eight years later. Their children are now all grown and work in a diverse array of fields. One daughter is a missionary. One son has his own contracting business. No matter what their choice of work, Pat and Tony believe that their five children’s successes, and their propensity to follow their heart, can be related back to the LIFE Leadership concept and the way they were able to raise them.

Though the couple’s schedule today is more relaxed, they remember the days of babysitters, time management, and attempting to build a business with young ones running around. They are both empathetic and encouraging to those in business with children. They were there. They faced these challenges—albeit many years ago—and made it through.

For Pat and Tony, the business was a blessing because it provided them with what they describe as “vital information. In addition, it put them in direct contact with mentors who had been down this road before. Today, five kids and forty-seven years of marriage later, Pat and Tony are those mentors, those role models, those people looking to guide new couples on their way.

Not only did being in business help their familial values, it also helped shape their marriage. Working together, having common dreams and goals, helped unify the couple. Prior to the business, they were going in different directions: Tony and Pat headed out to different jobs in the morning, and though they were together in the evening, they couldn’t afford any hobbies or extracurriculars.

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TONY & PAT LIVE IN NEW YORK STATE

“I tell couples today, even though the business will be adding something else to your plate or your calendar, it’s something that you get to do together,” says Pat. “It’s time that you can grow closer, and achieve goals and dreams that you probably would not have a chance to achieve otherwise.”

That said, everything wasn’t all roses for Pat and Tony. The couple struggled with debt when they were younger, and once again when they were older. This unpretty financial experience allows them to appreciate today’s debt-free life more than ever.

“It’s the freedom and the peace of mind that brings,” says Pat, “Not having to worry about where the money’s coming from and living month to month or week to week.”

Tony echoes this sentiment, focusing on the flexibility being in business has allotted them. When Pat left her job to work as a stay-at-home mom, the couple didn’t have to stress about losing half their income. Being in business meant they didn’t have to sacrifice their security in order to spend time with their children. This flexibility eventually allowed Tony to leave his engineering job, which in turn meant the couple was able to spend more time with their children and focus on the family they’d always wanted.

Pat and Tony are grandparents now, and family still remains their number one priority. They enthusiastically tell me about their many trips to Disney, including, most recently, a trip that included all five children and their spouses, as well as their many grandchildren. In total, twenty Tefels ventured to Orlando, Florida for sunshine and Snow White, magic and Mickey Mouse.

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THE TEFEL FAMILY

With fun like this, it’s no wonder why the couple is already anxiously planning their fiftieth anniversary cruise. They both credit the idea to Claude, who, up until eighteen months ago, they’d never formally met.

Now when I ask Tony to describe his relationship with Claude, he jokingly—though with an edge of seriousness—asks if I want him to cry.

It was at a major in Ottawa when Tony first felt connected to Claude. After a talk Claude gave about his kids, Lana, and his relationship with his father, Tony was set back, telling members of his own team, “I think I just fell in love with Claude Hamilton.”

Since then, Claude has become a coach, a leader, and most importantly, a best friend, with Claude’s son Wyatt even calling Tony Grandpa.

When Pat and Tony first started, over forty-years ago, the industry was brand new. As a result, they’ve been able to watch and learn as the industry has changed, grown, and adopted over time. What they’ve noticed is the closeness between today’s leaders and teams.

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PAT & TONY NOW LIVE THE LIFE THEY’D ALWAYS DREAMED OF

“We always wanted to have the close knit team they had,” Pat says of Team Kaizen, “and now we’re a part of it!”

Within four months of their switch to Claude’s team, they’d gone from Leader to Senior Coordinator.

“They’re just amazing people, both of them,” says Pat of Claude and Lana. “Their desire to help people is refreshing. They’ve truly invested their life and their time into other people.”

It is these ideals and generosity that has kept Pat and Tony motivated in this business after all these years.

As a social worker, Pat was looking to help people better their lives. As an engineer, Tony wanted to build things.

As business owners, they are able to bring to fruition these dreams. Today, they get to see other people’s lives dynamically change for the better.

“I changed from building buildings to building myself and people,” says Tony. “We’re building a better future through people and with people.”

Despite their successes today, Pat and Tony are still only looking to help other people grow.

“We ultimately want to build our lives to edify our Lord and to learn better and better how to do that and how to help other people,” says Pat, who encourages all newcomers to think long-term. “Anything worth having in life is worth working for, and LIFE Leadership is so worth your time.”

“If you have cable TV, you have both the time and the money to build a business.”

Looking at the couple today, their gratitude for the decision Tefel 4x5 8x10 crop edited 6 15 15-8456.JPG-8456they made many decades ago is evident. They were just a young couple with a growing family who decided to dream. Today, there are no regrets.

“God has big plans for his people and Kaizen is a part of that dream,” Tony says, and with a smile, Pat echoes this: “We’re not done yet.”

No, they’re certainly not.

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

Getting to Know Kaizen Leaders: Joce and Cynthia Dionne

Hey everyone!

Today on the blog, we have part three of the “Getting to Know Kaizen Leaders” series.

This week Bethany interviewed Joce and Cynthia Dionne.

I first met Joce and Cynthia when they had just started dating. Since then, Lana and I have watched them get engaged, married, move into their first home, and most recently, have two children. It was especially awesome to see them both retire from their jobs!

Joce is one of the best people I know. He is a great, quality man. He and Cynthia are some of the funnest people in our life. Over the years, they’ve really become like family, and I’m excited for you all to be able to read about them.

Getting to Know Kaizen Leaders: Joce and Cynthia Dionne, as written by Bethany Sampson.

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JOCE AND CYNTHIA, FIVE YEARS INTO BUSINESS

Steadfast. It isn’t just a word to Joce and Cynthia Dionne. It’s a lifestyle, a team name, a commitment they have to each other, their children, and team members.

Cynthia was doing an internship in her mid-twenties when she was introduced to Claude and Lana. After attending an Open, she immediately called up her then-boyfriend (and now-husband) Joce to tell him of the opportunity that had just been presented to her. Joce, however, was not as enthusiastic. Initially, he was skeptical of the business, thinking it sounded too good to be true.

In the next year, Cynthia worked on building the business, while Joce developed a relationship with Claude and began to look further into the industry. Once he started to understand it, he started to believe it.

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KALEB, 3

Flash forward eleven years, and the couple’s business is continuously growing. Additionally, they now have two children: Kaleb is almost four and Ellia recently turned two.

Today, Joce considers the decision to join LIFE a “no-brainer,” comparing the traditional career plan—which involves working until you’re 60-70—with his and Cynthia’s more relaxed lifestyle that allows them both to be stay-at-home parents.

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ELLIA, 2

Joce’s life today is drastically different than his life growing up. He was raised in a typical Canadian household, and he says he never looked outside the boundaries. Now, as an entrepreneur, he’s able to look outside the box and scope out opportunities as they come.

That said, their journey into success was not one without trials or hard work.

“A lot of people get started and they expect quick results,” says Joce, “but that’s impossible.” LIFE, like any other industry, requires time. Joce reinforces that you must think in terms of years, as opposed to just weeks or months. There is no get rich quick plan; instead, there’s hard work and a time-proven business plan they chose to focus on.

While working to build a business, both Joce and Cynthia point out how important it is to surround yourself by positive people.

“You hang around people who are average, you’ll be average,” says Joce. “You hang around people who are successful, you’ll eventually become successful.”

Cynthia and Joce are hanging around Claude and Lana, and successful they are becoming.

When the couple finds themselves lacking motivation or if they’ve just set a goal, they spend time with Claude and Lana who, they say, have the life they want. That said, the Hamilton’s don’t just dream for themselves, but also for the Dionne’s.

“They speak a vision to us of where we can be before we even see it,” says Cynthia. “They believe in us before we believe in ourselves.”

THE DIONNE FAMILY

Joce and Cynthia generously credit today’s success to the support provided by Claude and Lana. Cynthia says she and Joce stood on the shoulders of giants and that has made all the difference.

In addition to this business relationship, the two couples have also developed a personal relationship over the years.

Joce describes Claude as a best friend, business partner, mentor, and coach. He also points out how easy it is to trust someone when you know they care about you and have your best interest at heart.

That heart, by the way, both Joce and Cynthia describe as massive: generous, caring, supportive.

Cynthia is quick to chime in about her relationship with Lana, saying Lana helped her to learn and grow, and as a result, Cynthia has become a confident woman.

“She’s everything to me,” says Cynthia. “She just has a heart of gold.”

This isn’t the first time I’ve heard Lana’s heart described this way. In fact, I’ve heard this from each of the three couples I’ve spoken with thus far, prompting me to believe it’s true what they say: a fact is confirmed by three witnesses.

With the support of Claude and Lana, as well as other team members, the couple was able to focus on their goal to grow their business and drown out any naysayers.

When starting out, they struggled with the opinions of people who didn’t understand their decision to go against the status quo.

“I think if you’re going to chase a vision—something that nobody can see yet—and you’re telling people that you’re going somewhere, and they can’t see it, then you’re standing out,” says Cynthia.

Success can bring criticism, Joce says, but it’s important to turn your cheek and keep going, to keep chasing your dreams and the life you want.

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KALEB

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ELLIA

This life now includes two children and a much busier household than when they first started out. The couple says they’re continuously working on their time management as they learn to balance their main priorities: children, business, and, of course, each other.

Taking has actually helped Joce and Cynthia’s parenting. They’re cognizant of the influence they have on their children, and because of this they make conscious decisions to parent on purpose.

“Everything we learn,” says Cynthia, “even if it’s just a principle that builds your business, you realize that you can apply it in all areas of your life, including parenting.”

Joce echoes this idea, saying he and Cynthia hope to teach their children the importance of having a positive attitude and how attitude has the power to influence a situation.

“Just like be an entrepreneur, everything in life is about your attitude,” he says. “Attitude is everything.”

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JOCE AND KALEB

And Joce and Cynthia’s attitude towards life is only positive.

With the freedom to control their time, they’re able to stay at home with their kids, prioritize their days, and do, as Cynthia says, what matters the most.

With all this success, it’s no wonder why this couple is swift to encourage others to get into business.

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CYNTHIA AND ELLIA

“It’s something anybody can do because of our system,” says Cynthia. “As long as you’re hungry to learn and you’re willing to listen, then you can have success.”

Joce is also quick to say this isn’t a business solely focused on making money. It’s about learning,having fun, making friends and a difference.

“I hope that if I leave this earth tomorrow that I’ve added significance, that I’ve made a difference somewhere,” says Cynthia. “I hope that I’ve changed someone’s life in some sort of way, whether it’s with my kids, my friends, or somebody in the business.”

It’s clear, however, that together they already have.

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THE DIONNE FAMILY IS ALL SMILES

 

To find out more about Joce and Cynthia, you can visit their website or find them on Twitter.

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

 

Getting to Know Kaizen Leaders: Phil and Catherine Wall

Hey everyone!

Today on the blog, we have part two of the “Getting to Know Kaizen Leaders” series. If you don’t remember, or are new to the blog, every two weeks or so, I’m posting a profile showcasing some of the awesome Kaizen leaders I have the privilege to work with.

My social media coordinator, Bethany, has been interviewing these terrific people via Skype, so you can read about them from her perspective, and get to know them for yourself!

This week, Bethany interviewed Phil and Catherine Wall.

I’ve known Catherine and Phil for over a decade now. Catherine’s always been super likable and Phil grew on me with time ;) All joking aside, they’re great people and I love working with them.

Before they started the business, they were already on the path to success in the financial area, but now they’re on the path to success in every area. They were going to win at whatever they wanted to do, and they chose to win at the LIFE business.

After all these years together, they’re now a big part of our family.

Now you can get to know them, too!

Getting to Know Kaizen Leaders: Phil and Catherine Wall, as written by Bethany Sampson.

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PHIL & CATHERINE

To grow, by definition, is to become better or improved, to have an increased influence, to develop—spiritually, mentally, and physically. To grow is to advance your sense of self. A positive term with a plethora of describing adjectives, it’s exactly what Phil and Catherine Wall are striving for.

The couple’s story begins in an unconventional way. In May of 1993 they met for the first time. Twenty-year-old Phil was a member of the New Zealand Navy and was on a world tour. Halifax was the ship’s second port of call. Covered in paint and partaking in the Haka, a traditional Maori war dance, Phil met Catherine for the first time.

Three years later, Phil left the New Zealand Navy to return to Canada with the hopes of starting a relationship with Catherine. By 1999, the two were married.

Their relationship’s untraditional beginning was balanced by their participation in the traditional business world. Catherine owned her own public relations firm and Phil was self-employed, working in the offshore industry. Together, the two owned several rental properties and were actively investing in other companies. Financially, they had no problems. Maritally, they did. Phil’s job pulled him away from home eight months of the year. The rental properties and PR firm filled Catherine’s time at home.

Their lives were chaotically busy, and the couple laments on how rarely they saw each other.

By 2002, they’d had enough of this lifestyle.

There’s got to be a better way to do this, they thought.

There was.

Through some friends, they met Claude and Lana, and it was then that they realized The Better Way. Immediately, they got started in business.

Phil and Catherine were so used to working apart that the initial task of working together was daunting. The obstacle, says Catherine, was “learning how to effectively work with [her] husband as an equal in the business.” Apart, the two were successful. Now, they had to learn how to merge those successes in one business.

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URIJAH & MANAIA

Once they had children (Manaia is now five and Urijah is one and one-half), the couple’s business once again changed, as they learned to balance additional schedules and better manage their time. Learning to balance parenthood with work is something Catherine says she still works on daily.

Phil’s background as a self-employed worker also posed a challenge as he switched from “self-employed thinking” to “system thinking.” No longer did Phil have to be the system; instead, he had to learn to rely on a system that’s been tested and tried by countless people. Phil, in essence, had to learn to trust this system. A system, he quips, his best friend helped design.

The best part about the system? Getting to help others.

“We have to help other people in order to achieve the goals we want for ourselves,” says Catherine. “Most businesses it’s all about you.”

In order to help others grow personally, you have to grow personally.

In order to grow your business, you have to help others grow their business.

Phil and Catherine already are reaping the benefits of this system while helping others to as well.

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THE WALL FAMILY

Phil urges those looking to get into business to trust him and to trust the system. “Suspend your disbelief,” Phil says, quoting Claude. “Just hold on and trust me long enough to prove myself and to prove that the business actually works,” Phil continues.

This foundation of trust has resulted in a decade long friendship between Phil and Catherine and Claude and Lana that only continues to grow.

“We’re friends first,” says Phil about Claude and Lana. “We’re friends who happen to be in business together.”

Emphasizing the importance of this friendship, Phil posed me with the following question: “What would you do if someone offered you fifty million dollars?”

The catch: you have to spend that money alone and on your own.

Phil used the analogy to prove the importance of friendship, and also to emphasize his gratitude to have a best friend who he just so happens to be in business with.

“He’s like a brother,” Phil says. “He’s like a dad. He’s what a man should be.”

Catherine echoed these feelings about Lana.

“She is an amazing woman,” Catherine says. “She’s got a heart like I’ve not seen in other people.”

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BEING BUSINESS OWNERS HAS HELPED MAKE CATHERINE AND PHIL BETTER PARENTS

Catherine sees Lana as a friend and a mentor with whom she can approach with questions about business, her relationship with Phil, her family, her sisters, or her children.

“They provide such a value to our lives that you can’t even separate the business from everything else,” Catherine says. “They’re just part of our lives.”

It is this support that keeps the two motivated during what Catherine describes as “dry spells,” borrowing from Chris Brady’s “desert experience.”

What’s important, Catherine reminded me, is keeping up both your momentum and your attitude. The goal-oriented couple stays focused on what’s ahead until a breakthrough arrives.

“Success is closer than you think,” she says, “even when you’re going through a period that makes it feel like it’s impossible to get there.”

Catherine is also sure to share any goals she has—whether personal, familial, or business-related—with her husband, children or people she works with so that she feels accountable in achieving them. Breaking promises, especially with her children, is simply not who she is, so sharing these goals helps keep her focused and motivated.

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THE FAMILY CELEBRATES TOGETHER

Though being parents has affected their business, being business owners has had an equally large effect on their parenting, teaching the couple to do what they call “parenting on purpose.”

Not only have they been exposed to other parents through the business, but the couple also seeks out books and audios to help better their parenting style.

The couple hopes to eliminate any “unconscious incompetence” by replacing it with “conscious competence.”

“None of us are born knowing how to be a good parent,” says Catherine. “The love for your child is innate, but how to raise your child is not innate, and how to do it properly is not something we necessarily know in our gut.”

The same proves true for owning your own business.

In parenthood, in business, in life, the couple is ready to learn, ready to grow.

As five-year-old Manaia comes into the screen, climbing onto Phil’s lap, one thing becomes clear: they’re helping her grow, too.

“Never quit. Never give in,” says Phil. “If it’s right, you’ve got to fight for it. Our marriage is right, I fight for it. I fight for raising my kids correctly. I fight for our business. I’ll fight for other people in our business who are just getting started.”

And their life? It’s worth fighting for.

711104168To find out more about Phil and Catherine, you can visit their website
or find them on Twitter and Facebook.

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

Getting to Know Kaizen Leaders: Alex and Leighann Nickerson

Hi everyone!

Over the next couple of months, I’m going to be posting profiles showcasing some of the awesome people I have the privilege to work with. Every week or two, in no particular order, a different Kaizen leader will be highlighted.

My social media coordinator, Bethany, will be interviewing these terrific people via Skype, so you can read about them from her perspective, and get to see for yourself just how great they are!

Alex and Leighann Nickerson are first up!

Lana and I have known Alex and Leighann for close to twenty years now. We’ve enjoyed having them as both friends and business partners. They’ve been incredibly loyal and dedicated, not just to me and Lana, but to all the people they lead. They have the utmost character and are fantastic leaders.

Like Alex says, I know they’re only just getting started!

So here you have it: Getting to Know Alex and Leighann Nickerson, as written by Bethany Sampson.

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ALEX & LEIGHANN

When I first met Alex and Leighann (via Skype, that is) I was struck by their outgoing and enthusiastic nature. Parents to four children under the age of five, the married couple of six years is still full of energy and zest, talking easily about their woven past and their exciting plans for the future.

Both Alex and Leighann were still in university when introduced to this industry. Leighann, a kinesiology student at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, was studying with the intent to pursue medicine. Alex, a small business and entrepreneurship student at St. Mary’s University, also located in Halifax, planned to execute his business education in a traditional route.

Leighann, at nineteen years old, was introduced to the profession first, describing this as the “night [her] whole life changed.” She’d expected to make money the conventional way: go to school, get a good job, and then work 45 years. Realizing that she could live her dreams and one day be a stay-at-home mom was an opportunity that changed everything for her, and she committed from the very start.

As a single female in a couples-dominated industry, Leighann set forth on her own, hoping to achieve success and freedom, while also paving the way for those that would follow behind. She described this experience as a way to show other women that “it doesn’t matter if you’re a couple or if you’re a single, the opportunity is the same or everyone. As long as you commit and follow the pattern, it can work.”

Still, this experience was not without challenges, and Leighann remembers saying in response to other couples, “Well, of course they can do it. There’s two of them!” Claude, she assured me, was always able to help her focus on the positive, by reminding her that when she makes the money, she would get to keep it all.

When Leighann began, she was insecure, had low self-esteem, and was afraid to talk to people. She’s able to laugh now at the irony, as she was getting into a people business. Claude and Lana began directing Leighann to books and CDs, while providing her with constant encouragement, which is what allowed Leighann to grow in what she calls her “incubation period.”

“It really just became eliminating distractions,” Leighann says. “Staying focused on the prize, and just putting my head down.”

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THE HAPPY COUPLE SAYS “I DO.”

With the help of this focus, Leighann met her now-husband, Alex, for the first time in 2001 by sponsoring him through his sister. Leighann was looking for anybody ambitious, focused, and outgoing. Alex’s sister and brother-in-law thought of him immediately. Alex was a full-time university student at the time, but Leighann recalls him recognizing the opportunity immediately. He, too, saw this as a chance to achieve financial freedom.

Alex was a business student, but he saw this profession as a more outside the box approach to what he had been studying. He was excited to learn more, as he saw this as a chance for both he—and others—to change the directions of their lives and move ahead.

Though Alex was ambitious from the start, the journey was not without challenges as he stepped outside of his comfort zone. He struggled, initially with public speaking, laughing at the memory of his first attempt. Leighann, he says, describes it as a special evening, occasionally using the word “terrible.” Alex struggled to relate to the crowd, but as he grew older, more experienced, and delved into learning as much as possible, meeting people and public speaking became easier.

Claude also played a part in Alex’s success, lending life experience to the then-25-year-old Alex, who describes his younger self as “very young, very immature” and lacking life experience. Since then, Claude has become more than just a mentor to Alex, but also a friend. Alex describes him as someone you can go to anytime to help overcome anything. The two, Alex says, are best friends—brothers of sorts—with Claude even standing at Alex’s wedding.

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WITH DAUGHTER BROOKLYN, 8 MONTHS

Today, Alex is able to name his business as one of the greatest things in his life, as it’s given him and Leighann the ability to live the life they’ve always wanted. Despite the personal success it has brought, they’re both quick to say their favorite part of the business is helping other people.

“The only way it works for you is if you help other people.” Alex says. “There’s no success without helping other people create success,” he says.

Alex now finds himself lending advice to those embarking on a journey in this industry, encouraging them to “dive in and learn all [they] can.” The only thing he says you need to begin is a “hunger level to learn.” Once you know what you’re doing, it all comes down to hard work.

“Dive in with both feet and we’re going to show you the ropes,” he says. “The faster you go, the more exciting everything gets.”

For Alex and Leighann, the most exciting chapter has just arrived—parenthood—bringing with it a new set of challenges.

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THE COUPLE NOW HAS FOUR CHILDREN

The couple has four children—Jaxon (5), Marik (4), Baileigh (3), and Brooklyn (8 mos.). Though they had kids before Claude and Lana, they still found their mentors to be a huge resource for them in learning to balance their business with marriage and kids. Leighann says it’s with Claude and Lana’s guidance that she was able to figure out how to be a mom and a business owner and Alex’s wife, and how to do of all of those things really well.

The two also point out how the skills and knowledge they’ve acquired as business owners has helped to make them better parents. They describe parenting as “raising little people to be responsible adults, and to eventually become leaders themselves,” which is why they find the skills and knowledge of both roles—parent and business owner—often coincide.

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JAXON, MARIK, BAILEIGH

Thanks to their hard work and their business’ success, Alex was able to leave his construction job when their youngest son was just ten months old. Getting to both be stay-at-home parents is something Leighann says you can’t put a price on. This lifestyle also allots them the time and means to embark on international travels. They both laugh as they attribute their fresh tans to a recent trip to Mexico, and tell me with enthusiasm about their many upcoming adventures taking place across North America in the next few months.

This freedom, they say, is a direct result of the decision they both made to pursue this alternative route and the hard work that followed.

Together, they’re looking towards their bright future, already excited for what it might bring.

“We’re really just getting started,” Alex says. “We haven’t even really made our true mark in this yet.”

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To find out more about Alex and Leighann, you can visit their website
or find them on Twitter: @leighnicker @kaizendynasty 

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

so God made a leader

Hey everyone!

After receiving many requests for a video I recently presented in Moline, Illinois, I’ve decided it’s time to get back on the blogging horse!

The Ram Trucks 2013 Super Bowl commercial is an all-time favorite of mine, so we decided to emulate it in a Kaizen Leaders version.

Here’s the original:

Great, right? Now, here’s our version:

A special thanks to Lewis Thibault, Alicia Pilo, Scott Lacrosse, and Denis Leger for helping bring the video to life.

Until next time!

Claude