Deepening Partnerships

 

 

Deepening Your Wealth Management Partnership

by Michael Worsfold

 

Just when you think it can’t get any worse,

it does… or it threatens to.

 

I recently read something that said it wasn’t a question of if the US dollar would fail, but when. That sent me running to Amanda Knapp, my RBC Wealth Manager.  She has been taking care of my retirement nest egg for about 12 years. She’s used to me panicking. Usually, it’s prompted by something I’ve read or heard…some dire prediction.

This time she wasn’t quite as reassuring as I would have liked. She admitted that she too was concerned about the level of the US debt, and she added that Canada’s national debt is headed hard in the same direction, fueled by COVID 19 spending. We talked about how few voices are speaking about the danger of rising debt. No serious opposition it seems.

It made me think how glad I am to have Amanda to talk with about this sort of thing. I never feel like I’m being talked down to, or “handled” with some stock answer to calm the worried client.

It is so easy to get triggered when we are swimming in a sea of media stories intended to activate our fear or anger.

Recently we’d talked about articles that had appeared about the need for transparency and trust in wealth management, and the push to automate wealth management. (See links below) Of course, we all want to know the truth about our fees. And it was reassuring, if not surprising, to read that the majority of clients highly value their personal relationship with their wealth manager. 

It takes a team of specialists to manage a portfolio. But perhaps more importantly, most of us need someone to keep us grounded; someone with an educated perspective who will calm us, and stop us from doing something stupid when the market goes crazy.

The faster things move the more complex life becomes. Complexity is what creates our need for partners to help manage parts of our lives. For wealth management, we need a partner with depth of experience and access to the most sophisticated systems. We need a partner with bench strength. Not one person, but a team. Perhaps most importantly we need a partner we can trust to have our back; to put our interests first. 

Deepening the Partnership Connection

The COVID 19 experience has made us more aware of the importance of relationships of all kinds. In some cases, it has brought about a deepening of relationships. In other cases, it’s made us aware of neglected relationships and the need to create deeper connections.  A major long term Harvard University study found that our biggest need is the need for intimate relationships. Connections with people who will be there for us in crunch times. 

One of the key factors for emotional wellbeing is partnerships with people that help us manage important parts of our lives.  As we change and our world changes, we need to reassess our relationships with professional partners, such as tech services, medical and wealth management, to ensure that we are connected in ways that take care of our changing needs. 

Being Clear About Your Needs

Sometimes it’s hard to accept that our emotional needs are changing. We may not be clear about our needs because we are focused on other people’s needs, or because we’ve never really thought about our needs. Perhaps we worry that it’s going to be too painful to go there. Like avoiding the subject of your will. 

It’s very helpful to have a checklist that gives you the language to specify your emotional needs.

I’ve been coaching for about 10 years. In 2018 I created a coaching program for retired people called New Retirement Experience. Its main aim is to help people create new meaning and purpose. The foundation of the program is 12 Key Factors for Wellbeing. It’s like a pilot’s checklist for proactively managing your emotional wellbeing. ( see link below)

Three Key Factors are Relationships

1. Friends. We need friends who care about us and have our best interests at heart. 

2. Intimate relationships. We need people we can trust to be there for us in a crisis. 

3. Support team. In this complex, fast-paced world, we need a support team. People we call for help with certain tasks like home maintenance, and others who ‘comanage’ important parts of our lives, like our wealth manager. My motto is… “It’s not what to do, but who to call.”

The Six Human Needs

The Six Human Needs is a foundational model used by Tony Robbins and taught in the Robbins-Madanes coaching training which I did several years ago. 

In the training, I learned to use the Six Human Needs to assess my own needs and help my clients to calibrate their needs. I shared the model with my wife. Together we did a joint assessment of our needs, and we talked about how we could help each other satisfy each other’s needs. It was a revelation for me to learn about her need for variety. “Not big things”, she said. Maybe a new place for breakfast or walk the dog someplace new. I remember feeling relieved and thinking…“I can do that!”.

Tony teaches that our mission in love relationships is to satisfy the needs of the person we love. That mindset helps me to keep focused on the main thing. Now I take the garbage out as an act of love. I know, that sounds sucky, but it’s true. It’s not a task that I resent any more.

I encourage you to get some paper and assess your Six Human Needs on a scale of 1-10 and then think of actions to improve your satisfaction. And if you are feeling brave, try it with your partner. 

The Six Human Needs:  A Brief Definition 

Certainty: The need to be certain of things that are important to you, like health and financial security.

Uncertainty: The need for variety, unexpected surprises, even challenges as “the spice of life”.

Significance: The need to be valued, respected and appreciated.

Love and connection: The need for intimacy; the need to love and be loved.  In a work context, it is the need to be connected to people with mutual care, trust and respect.

Growth: The need for continuous learning, growing and expansion. We grow or we die.

Contribution: The need to contribute to others and to make the world a better place.

Note: The first four needs are described as personality needs or ego needs. The last two are spiritual needs that go deeper to your true self. 

Wealth Management Partnership Application

Here’s how I see it. You may see it differently. 

Certainty: This is number one for me.  I need to be certain that my nest egg is safe. I accept moderate growth in good times in exchange for relative stability in bad times. I value the ability to have reassuring and educational conversations about how I am protected. Failure is not an option!

Uncertainty/variety: Boring is fine with me. I accept that turbulence is a reality and I am continuously reassured by revisiting the conversation about natural ups and downs. Even though, I admit, I sometimes wonder, secretly, if this is the big down that will finish us. I want ‘boring’.

Significance. Of course, I have a need to be significant to my wealth manager. I want my peace of mind to be her chief concern. Smart business people know that ‘job one’ is customers feeling that they are significant. Everyone says the words, but few deliver.

When we retire we lose our identity and role significance to a great extent. We need to create a new identity and to find new meaning and purpose. In some ways I find it freeing to be a “nobody”. However, I am secretly grateful to be somebody in my relationship with Amanda. I know it is so because I feel it every time we talk.

Love and Connection. Being deeply connected is a top priority. In a wealth management partnership, I’d reframe that to ‘care and connection’. From the first time I met Amanda, I felt connected. I intuitively felt that she cared about me, not about selling me. In my experience that’s rare. I’ve learned to trust my gut.

I was a partnering strategy consultant in business for 20 years. I know that the basis for true partnership is shared goals. In this instance, that means to me that my partner takes ownership of my financial goals and all the parts of the puzzle. I trust that she has my back. There it is again. In 12 years I’ve never doubted it. I know it is her soul purpose.

Growth: This is a top priority for me that is enabled by my wealth manager. By virtue of my partnership with Amanda, I am free to focus on my growth. I love to learn more about coaching and writing poetry and songs. It keeps me young. I can do that because I don’t worry about money. Amanda and her team do that for me. 

Contribution: Similar to growth, I am able to focus on my coaching clients, because Amanda is taking care of my money. I get to do what I love to do and she gets to do what she loves to do. In that way, we enable each other to contribute the most to make the world a better place. That’s what partnership is all about. Together we are stronger. 

Closing Note: I haven’t actually rated these factors with Amanda. We haven’t had that conversation directly. However, I would rate our relationship a 9 out of 10. Only because, I suppose, there’s always room for improvement. It’s the best professional partnership that I have ever experienced! We are constantly in conversation about how to improve it. 

 

LInks

Fee disclosure, continuing education lead clients to trust advisors more.

https://www.investmentexecutive.com/news/research-and-markets/fee-disclosure-continuing-education-lead-clients-to-trust-advisors-more/

What investors can learn from B.C.’s superstar provincial health officer

https://business.financialpost.com/investing/investing-pro/what-investors-can-learn-from-b-c-s-superstar-provincial-health-officer

12 Factors for Wellbeing: The New Retirement Experience

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1YoC6bTe8-o2iGLdEp1HRB9cYpLVu-v1MCOxTSMLWeIA/edit

 

A poem by my friend of 50 years

Black Lives Matter
by Robin Jones
“Please, I can’t breathe” is a catchphrase today
Summed up in the words BLACK LIVES MATTER
It has taken over the airways
And is not just some scholarly chatter
 
Each life on this planet is special
We all have our own lives to live
And when death comes to take us forever
We all gave the best we could give
 
Each person is sacred regardless of colour
Our thoughts and emotions are one
We wake in the morning with thoughts on our lips
And delighted to see the hot sun
 
I was raised by a father as brown as a berry
And a mother as white as the snow 
I never thought much of the difference
For the love I received was a glow
 
My aunt and uncles were all very black
My grandfather was black as could be
Sometimes they told us their stories
That all seemed so foreign to me
 
My lineage is from a slave in the south
And the Underground Railway the source
Unusual to think of the troubles they had
But was actually par for the course
 
BLACK LIVES MATTER in how we proceed
Try not to think of the skin
Reflect on the courage it takes to go on
And you’ll all be rewarded within
 
My grandfather was the first black teacher in Toronto, Ontario in 1923
He was a fair, stern, loving parent and grandparent
He had courage
 
 
Copyright Robin Jones, The poet on Princess

June 6, 2020





Song For Raymonde

 

Celebrating Forty Years of Marriage Today

Song for Raymonde

Hard rains are coming down
My friends are feeling blue
But I’m as happy as a clam
I don’t really give a damn
‘Cause tonight I’ll be coming home to you

Times are changin’ that’s for sure
It’s hard to know just what is true
But I don’t listen to the talk
I’m as solid as a rock
‘Cause tonight I’ll be coming home to you

   I know that I’m a lucky guy
 To share this life with you
  I don’t bother asking why
   I’m just happy that it’s true

 Forty years and holding strong
After all that we’ve been through
My heart feels a love that’s real
I’m the winner in this deal
‘Cause tonight I’ll be coming home to you

Morning sun warms the sky
Rising high on a sea of blue
The two of us are really one
This party’s far from done
‘Cause tonight I’ll be coming home to you

 I know that I’m a lucky guy
To share this life with you
I don’t bother asking why
I’m just happy that it’s true

  

 

Copyright 2019 Michael Worsfold

Words from Deepak

                   

          Ticket to freedom

 

I have projected the same images day after day

Becoming a prisoner of the known.

But the known is dead and past now

And I must buy my ticket to freedom

By embracing the fresh unknown.

Chance encounters, unexpected coincidences

Premonitions, dreams and wishes

Flashes of unpredictable joy

Random events are

Weaving themselves in the web of time.

I have left the voice of reason.

I am listening to the beckoning whisper

In the recesses of my heart.

And new shapes of reality

Are coaxing me out of my prison.

Source: Raid on the Inarticulate – poems by Deepak Chopra

Stop the Bleeding

 

 

“It’s Alright Ma, I’m Only Bleeding.

 

That Dylan line came to mind as I wrote about a painful experience recently.

 

This about how to stop the bleeding.

 

It was our first Toastmasters meeting online. We had had a training session earlier in the week, which gave me confidence. But, as you will read, it didn’t end well.  At least in my mind.

Apparently, it was much worse in my head than it may have appeared to others. I often have people at Toastmasters tell me how relaxed I appear when I am speaking. For me, it’s usually more like that picture of the duck. Calm on top of the water and paddling like hell underneath.

Here is the email I sent to my fellow Toastmasters a week ago last Wednesday afternoon. I mention some of the feedback At the end, I mention some of the feedback I received, and lessons learned.

But first the story.

Dear Fellow Toastmasters

I felt that my talk this morning was the worst I’d given in years. I thought I’d write about my experience for the therapeutic value, and in case something may be useful to you. I say that without knowing right now exactly what I’m going to say.  I’m trusting the process. 

When I have a bad experience I try to learn from it. In some cases, I can find that I can develop a story that can be useful in coaching. It can be useful to examine a bad experience to look for how I was responsible. So here goes. 

First things first, I was not well-rehearsed. In the days prior to my speech, I was finding it difficult to be clear about what I wanted to say.  Things kept changing so fast with the virus and becoming more serious. I noticed that it felt somewhat intimidating to think that I had something to say that would help you with your wellbeing. That’s called reaction. But I didn’t see it clearly for what it was. My shadow of insecurity showing up.

The thing about ‘reaction’, is that it’s often transparent. Difficult to see it when you are in it. 

Of course, I’d been taking in reactive energy, along with everyone else, for the past few weeks. I think I underestimated its effect. My big mistake is too much social media. It makes me crazy. Plus every conversation is about the virus.

In my speech, I talked about the key idea of ‘focus’… of changing your focus to get out of a reactive state. It’s true enough, but…in my experience, it’s impossible to do when I’m in the ‘grips’ of reaction. Once reaction changes your body chemistry your toast.  Your cortisol levels rise to put you in fight-flight-freeze mode. You can’t just stop that like the flipping of a switch.

You have to let it subside. Give it space and time. Take a break from the whole thing. Get back to balance to be able to shift your focus to a better way of being and begin to generate new action that boosts your dopamine to cause you to feel better.

After the meeting this morning, Raymonde and I went for a walk. Then had some lunch and watched a bit of TV. Here it is about 3 pm and I feel ready to write about the experience. 

At this point, most of us may be close to our ‘stress threshold’. Which means it won’t take much to tip us over. I’ve noticed myself being a bit edgy. That’s a sign. Having our routines completely turned upsidedown is very disruptive to our nervous systems. It makes us fragile. But again, we may not see it. 

As a result of not being able to decide what I wanted to say, I left it too late. I’d told myself that it would come clear to me just in time. After all, I’ve been doing this stuff for years. 

But I was still changing my talk yesterday. I talked to Raymonde about it and she got me straight. “Just talk about ‘reaction’!”… Right. “Stick to the basics”. It’s not about training it’s about informing and encouraging. I rewrote my talk did a few run-throughs for timing yesterday afternoon. It felt pretty good. I thought I’d be ok. Kidding myself perhaps:)

Morning came early. I woke up at 4:30 am and felt anxious. Lack of rehearsal haunting me. I did a run-through about 7:30 and it didn’t feel good.

8 am came and off we went with Neil leading the way on Zoom. About 30 minutes in, my wifi connection to Zoom dropped out. My reception varies from day to day and today was a weak day. I moved around my office and reconnected and lost connection several times. Finally, I went into the house where the modem is and reconnected just in time to hear my intro by Sarah and Neil.

I plunged in with notes in hand. I was having a strong case of imposter syndrome. Here I was in a state of reaction, completely jiggled, and having lost my concentration, blathering away about wellbeing and how to manage your reaction. And the new feature… being able to watch myself on camera at the same time! Perfect.

I also realized that I had not pinned Sheila, who was our timer, and so I couldn’t see her and I Iwas wondering where I was with my time. More distraction.

I just wanted it to be over! 

And then to cap it off I had my evaluation from Sarah. She seemed perplexed. I thought she was kind. She called me later to ask if I was ok. I was a long way from OK. We talked. I assured her that her evaluation was fine. 

So there you have it. I feel better:) I hope it’s of some value to you too.

See you next time. “

________

I received a variety of responses with different themes.

  • You think your day was bad.

  • Get back on the horse my boy. ( I liked that one best.)

  • Wow, I had no idea. You looked so relaxed.

  • Amazing to hear what was going on as you were speaking.

  • Thanks for sharing. I can relate.

_______

 

Two Ways to Rebalance

 

A Breath Practice:  The practice is from the Institute of Heartmath. “Breathe feelings of peace and love through your heart area for a few minutes to set a calm and genuine tone.

Notice it says breathe feelings. That means you have to access those feelings by recalling a time when you had those feelings and then bring those feelings to your heart area. You do that with an image of a pet or a baby or someone you love or a scene that elicits feelings of love. This is immediately effective and the more you do it the more beneficial for your immune system and feelings of wellbeing.

Name Your feelings.   Sometimes, like in the story I shared above, we feel overwhelmed. A blur of powerful emotions. Know that It’s not what is happening now. That’s just the trigger. The source is your childhood emotional imprinting (and learned personality ego defences). You may have thought you were over it. But here it is rushing back uncontrollably. You may be so overwhelmed that you can’t think clearly. It may be way out of proportion to what just happened.

If we can be present enough to see what is happening we can use writing to clarify the cause. Once we settle down a bit. When you start you may not know what you are going to write, but if you begin with a question such as… What words name what I am feeling? Name your feeling, It may surprise you. Then you can begin to write out your story.

Usually, it’s something like this. You had a ‘feeling’ goal and a story of how things were to be. And then life happened and the story was shattered. And it was out of your control. And you got caught off guard. And you were triggered into reaction. Embarrassment, fear, anger, rage, depression. Start by naming it and you will take back your power. 

The benefit is not only clarity. It is also that you feel better because you have your story out of your body and on paper in front of you. You have it now. It doesn’t have you.

More about the Heartmath practice…

https://www.heartmath.org/calendar-of-events/special-care-focus-2-rise-of-the-human-spirit/

 

Sex Toys and Chocolate Chip Cookies

Sex Toy Sales are Way Up

Chocolate Chip Cookies are King

and other important research findings

 

Every Saturday morning I look forward to receiving a blog from John Dick. He titles his blog ”‘What we are seeing”. John runs a large US marketing research company. “Now steadily over 5 million (polls) every 24 hours. That’s like 1,000 people answering a 20-question survey every 5 minutes. Almost all of it is about the coronavirus because almost everything is about the coronavirus right now.”

One of the distinguishing features of John’s blog is his “Dick stories”. A favourite story that he shared was being out for breakfast with his kids one morning. They got to talking about their family name. They all have to contend with people making “Dick jokes”. John asked the kids if they wished they had another name. “No way”, said his young daughter, in a loud voice. “ I love Dick! ” The restaurant went quiet.  The Dick stories keep coming. Almost every week.

 A Key Finding 

Civic-mindedness is way up.  The Latin roots of the word ‘civic’ are community, selflessness, oneness. “And that’s what’s happening right now. At scale.” ( The name of John’s research company, Civic Science)

We’ve all seen this around the globe, the pictures are amazingly similar. People cooperating to stay safe and create new ways to be connected. Acts of kindness everywhere. 

Could this give birth to new meaning to the term ‘globalism’? People voluntarily cooperating with a sense of global community and a sense of oneness. Instead of the current meaning of globalism. Corporations with a global perspective for the sake of maximizing profits. No loyalty to the country that helped them get started. Avoid taxes by lobbying government and using every loophole possible. 

Other things they are “seeing” (click for more)

People are taking a lot more vitamins

Hiking is up (get it?). Especially among younger people

Food delivery is booming, relatively speaking, especially among remote workers. 

Weed is kind of in-between. Cannabis use is down appreciably since the start of the crisis mostly because the dispensaries have been closed. But the majority of people nonprofits or tipping service providers, (people) are giving;

People snacking more! We studied the most popular quarantine comfort foods and other indulgences (Spoiler: Chocolate chip cookies are king).

Generosity is way up. Whether it’s supporting local businesses, donating to nonprofits, or tipping service providers.

___________

 If you’d like to subscribe to “What we are seeing: Sign up here. If you are new to this list, check out our Top Ten to get caught up. 

 

Inspired by Friends

 

Inspired by my Friends!

That’s how 2020 started for me.

 

Guest blogger Becky Beaton

First, there was Becky’s story in January.

Feeling blue on Christmas day, Becky decided to visit a friend in the hospital. “Nobody should be alone on Christmas Day,” she thought.  It was a heartwarming story. Several of you commented.

A ripple effect. After the blog went out, I started a New Years’ clean up of my ‘contacts list’.  I saw the names of people I hadn’t connected with for years. Perhaps inspired by Becky’s story, I decided to surprise them with New Years’ greetings, and a bit of update news. The result was several wonderful responses. 

 

If you want to keep your memories, you first have to live them.”― Bob Dylan

 

Surprise call! While I was updating my contacts, I received an unexpected call from my old friend Robin Jones. “Just to say Happy New Year”. Robin and I go back about 50 years. I lived with Robin and his first wife when I was a young man in Toronto. 

Robin and his wife Kit moved to Vancouver Island a few years ago. Sadly, Kit died last year of dementia. He’s thinking of writing a book about the 12-year ordeal. Perhaps the main difference between age 65 and 75 is increasing challenges and conversations about death and dying. “Not for sissies” indeed.

After our call, I realized that Robin is a good example of the ‘New Retirement’ philosophy in action. “Seek meaning, purpose and adventure”. I started to write and is this is the result.

 Friendly Observations 

Naturally resilient. Robin may have been fortunate in that his Enneagram personality type is the ‘Enthusiast’. Enthusiasts are naturally upbeat. Their feeling goal is to have fun and create fun for others. Even, perhaps especially, in difficult times. 

Robin Jones. Enthusiast!

 

“Don’t Let the Old Man In.” Robin has fun with his dress. Another expression of the Enthusiast. In addition to his yellow outfit pictured above, he has a blue outfit a red outfit and a white outfit. Maybe more. To me, as a man, it’s an expression of the movie theme song for The Mule. “Don’t let the old man in“. Link below.

The Joke Master. Ever the Enthusiast, Robin often starts or ends conversations with a joke. This call was no exception. “You can use this one at Toastmasters”, he laughed. A clean joke. I told his joke a couple of weeks ago when I was Jokemaster. It was a solid hit! For me, telling a joke is a challenge. I’m always afraid I’m going to screw it up. So thanks, Robin!

 

He keeps working. Although his degree was in town planning, Robin became a renovator. He’s still doing renovation work, but at a slower pace. He sets his own terms; starting late and quitting early. “ I like to start my day at a leisurely pace,” he says. 

He’s not working to just stay busy, or to make money, although the extra money is nice.  It’s clear talking to him that it’s about meaningful service and pleasant relationships. He seems to have a few regular clients.  Like partnerships. They’d have to appreciate his sense of humour. 🙂

 

There were dark days! Years ago Robin had a drinking problem. He was divorced and broke. I’m happy to say that he found the will to turn himself around. He quit drinking in “March of 1989”.  For ten years Robin worked hard to rebuild his life.

 

Then he got a Lucky break. One day in 1999 I got a call from Robin. “ Mike, you won’t believe it, I just won a million dollars”. He was right, I didn’t believe him. I thought it was just Robin being Robin. But I quickly realized that it was no joke. He’d won a million bucks on scratch and win. Fortunately, Robin had a good friend in ‘wealth management’ to help him take care of his money. 

 

The Romantic. Enthusiasts often have a part of them that likes to retreat and play with words.  You may have noticed that comedians first have to write their jokes. Robin’s creative outlet is writing. A couple of years ago Robin romanced a woman by writing her a new poem every day for twelve months!  Then she dumped him:) She probably tells a story about being pursued by a mad poet.    

 

Award-winning writer. One day Robin discovered a treasure trove of his childhood letters to Santa. He decided to turn them into a book for kids. It’s called ‘Letter from Santa Clause’. Letter from Santa Claus by Robin Jones – Goodreads 

 

A labour of love. To promote his book, Robin attended book fairs across the country last year. He cautions that writing a book is not about getting rich it’s about the joy of the experience. The promotion expenses can be substantial. Always the optimist Robin hopes that “someone from China will buy the rights” and the money will pour in.

In a recent conversation with Robin, I found out a couple of things I didn’t’ know. 

He gives away silver dollars. It’s his unique way of showing appreciation to people. “There’s some kind of magic about silver dollars,” he says.  He’s often amazed at the reactions he gets from people when he gives them a silver dollar. “Maybe it’s childhood memories of grandpa giving them silver dollars” he speculates. One thing’s for sure, it always brings a smile.

 

“ My job in life”. One of the key ideas in the ‘New Retirement Program’ is to find a noble aim. Having a noble aim “creates order out of chaos”.“The nobler your aim the better your life”.  Here’s what it looks like for Robin.

 

 “I tell people that my work is renovation and that I do love the writing.

But I think my job in life is to make people happyto make them laugh!

*********

 

 

Inspired by My Friends

 

Inspired by my Friends!

That’s how 2020 started for me.

Guest blogger Becky Beaton

First, there was Becky’s story in January.

Feeling blue on Christmas day, Becky decided to visit a friend in the hospital. “Nobody should be alone on Christmas Day,” she thought.  It was a heartwarming story. Several of you commented.

A ripple effect. After the blog went out, I started a New Years’ clean up of my ‘contacts list’.  I saw the names of people I hadn’t connected with for years. Perhaps inspired by Becky’s story, I decided to surprise them with New Years’ greetings, and a bit of update news. The result was several wonderful responses. 

 

If you want to keep your memories, you first have to live them.”― Bob Dylan

 

Surprise call! While I was updating my contacts, I received an unexpected call from my old friend Robin Jones. “Just to say Happy New Year”. Robin and I go back about 50 years. I lived with Robin and his first wife when I was a young man in Toronto. 

Robin and his wife Kit moved to Vancouver Island a few years ago. Sadly, Kit died last year of dementia. He’s thinking of writing a book about the 12-year ordeal. Perhaps the main difference between age 65 and 75 is increasing challenges and conversations about death and dying. “Not for sissies” indeed.

After our call, I realized that Robin is a good example of the ‘New Retirement’ philosophy in action. “Seek meaning, purpose and adventure”. I started to write and is this is the result.

 Friendly Observations 

Naturally resilient. Robin may have been fortunate in that his Enneagram personality type is the ‘Enthusiast’. Enthusiasts are naturally upbeat. Their feeling goal is to have fun and create fun for others. Even, perhaps especially, in difficult times. 

Robin Jones. Enthusiast!

 

“Don’t Let the Old Man In.” Robin has fun with his dress. Another expression of the Enthusiast. In addition to his yellow outfit pictured above, he has a blue outfit a red outfit and a white outfit. Maybe more. To me, as a man, it’s an expression of the movie theme song for The Mule. “Don’t let the old man in“. Link below.

The Joke Master. Ever the Enthusiast, Robin often starts or ends conversations with a joke. This call was no exception. “You can use this one at Toastmasters”, he laughed. A clean joke. I told his joke a couple of weeks ago when I was Jokemaster. It was a solid hit! For me, telling a joke is a challenge. I’m always afraid I’m going to screw it up. So thanks, Robin!

 

He keeps working. Although his degree was in town planning, Robin became a renovator. He’s still doing renovation work, but at a slower pace. He sets his own terms; starting late and quitting early. “ I like to start my day at a leisurely pace,” he says. 

He’s not working to just stay busy, or to make money, although the extra money is nice.  It’s clear talking to him that it’s about meaningful service and pleasant relationships. He seems to have a few regular clients.  Like partnerships. They’d have to appreciate his sense of humour. 🙂

 

There were dark days! Years ago Robin had a drinking problem. He was divorced and broke. I’m happy to say that he found the will to turn himself around. He quit drinking in “March of 1989”.  For ten years Robin worked hard to rebuild his life.

 

Then he got a Lucky break. One day in 1999 I got a call from Robin. “ Mike, you won’t believe it, I just won a million dollars”. He was right, I didn’t believe him. I thought it was just Robin being Robin. But I quickly realized that it was no joke. He’d won a million bucks on scratch and win. Fortunately, Robin had a good friend in ‘wealth management’ to help him take care of his money. 

 

The Romantic. Enthusiasts often have a part of them that likes to retreat and play with words.  You may have noticed that comedians first have to write their jokes. Robin’s creative outlet is writing. A couple of years ago Robin romanced a woman by writing her a new poem every day for twelve months!  Then she dumped him:) She probably tells a story about being pursued by a mad poet.    

 

Award-winning writer. One day Robin discovered a treasure trove of his childhood letters to Santa. He decided to turn them into a book for kids. It’s called ‘Letter from Santa Clause’. Letter from Santa Claus by Robin Jones – Goodreads 

 

A labour of love. To promote his book, Robin attended book fairs across the country last year. He cautions that writing a book is not about getting rich it’s about the joy of the experience. The promotion expenses can be substantial. Always the optimist Robin hopes that “someone from China will buy the rights” and the money will pour in.

In a recent conversation with Robin, I found out a couple of things I didn’t’ know. 

He gives away silver dollars. It’s his unique way of showing appreciation to people. “There’s some kind of magic about silver dollars,” he says.  He’s often amazed at the reactions he gets from people when he gives them a silver dollar. “Maybe it’s childhood memories of grandpa giving them silver dollars” he speculates. One thing’s for sure, it always brings a smile.

 

“ My job in life”. One of the key ideas in the ‘New Retirement Program’ is to find a noble aim. Having a noble aim “creates order out of chaos”.“The nobler your aim the better your life”.  Here’s what it looks like for Robin.

 

 “I tell people that my work is renovation and that I do love the writing.

But I think my job in life is to make people happyto make them laugh!

*********

 

 

A Gift of Friendship

 

‘This Christmas I was given the best gift ever;

experiencing the value of friendship.’

Guest blogger, Becky Beaton

Guest blogger Becky Beaton

Late Christmas eve, I realized that I was going to be alone on Christmas Day.  Feeling melancholy, I decided to spend Christmas day with my best buddy Jane. She was recovering from surgery at Lions Gate Hospital in North Vancouver.  

No one should be alone at Christmas. Much less someone in a hospital!

*******

The minimal decorations I brought were strewn around the room. A goofy stuffed Christmas dinosaur clung to the IV pole. I wore my gaudy Christmas sweater and dangly snowflake earrings. For Jane, I’d brought a Santa hat and my favourite beaded Santa earrings. The Lions Gate Foundation gave every patient a small poinsettia. Jane’s plant was on the window sill.

It was beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

*******

We laughed and giggled until it hurt. We toasted with orange juice. And we hailed “Merry Christmas” to everyone we met on our ward walkabout. We got warm smiles and “Merry Christmas” in reply…. It was joyful and we were having fun playing.

*******

My time with Jane was short and sweet. She was fading and needed her bed. Time to leave. My mood on the ferry ride home was sombre. I pondered what makes a true friend, and why is having a close friendship so fragile.

*******

Having close friends is wonderful, but they need tender care. Complete faith and trust in each other have to be protected. One unintentional slip can threaten the connection.  Courage, love, acceptance and forgiveness may all be required to mend the damage. If it is not meant to be, let it go graciously and be truly thankful for the fond memories and time shared.

*******

A true friend can share anything honestly, and be intimate, trusting and caring. Although most of mine live a distance away, we will always be there for each other, no matter what we may say or do.  When we do get together, we catch up as if we never parted. There is no judgement… no competition. Kerfuffles are resolved by talking and listening to each other.

We feel free to say ‘I Love You’.

I can count on my hand, four true friends. I feel blessed. True friends are few and far between. Hold on to them tightly, they are treasures. True friends are forever.

*******

 “The best portion of your life will be the

small nameless moments smiling with someone who matters to you.”

Unknown

 

Choose Joyfulness Every Day

 

Choose joyfulness every day.

You probably had someone wish you “a joyful New Year”.

That’s a nice sentiment, but it won’t happen by someone wishing it for you.

Or even wishing it for yourself. You have to choose it.

 

I was reminded of this by watching a Sadhguru video early this morning. If you are a YouTube fan, you may know of him. I find him relatable and practical.

 

One of his teachings is about joyfulness.

Before I encountered his teaching on joyfulness, I would have said to myself that to aspire to ‘joy’ as a constant would be over the top. Not realistic. An irritating idea. Certainly not an expectation I would have for every day. I’d settle for contentment or satisfaction or peace. But joyfulness? Not likely. And I would have been wrong!

 

In ‘Five Life Hacks for 2020′, the first hack is how to create joyfulness every day.

It occurred to me as a perfect New Years’ challenge.

Here’s the simple practice…

Start every day start with a question.

Shall I be miserable or joyful?

 

If you choose to be ‘joyful’, you may notice that you feel lighter,

brighter, and more optimistic right away.

Now do it every morning:)

Let’s create a joyful new year!

 

Sadhguru talks about creating joyfulness. Start at 0.30. You may have to drag it back.