Be True To You & Your Inner Circle

Be True To You

There have been many different studies based on the life regrets of dying people. Over and over again, however, no matter the study, there is one regret that is consistently near or at the top of each list, and that is: “I wish I would have lived a life true to myself, and not the life expected of me by others.”

This article then, is simply an encouragement and plan for you to chase YOUR dreams, and live YOUR purpose and vision, so that you may reach YOUR destiny.

For you to live true to you, it is absolutely essential to cultivate the biggest factor in living a life of no regrets; and that is…

Your Environment

I have learned that the environment you CHOOSE to place yourself in is the single biggest factor in whether or not you will accomplish the dreams and goals you have for your life.

Your environment is the circle of people that you choose to spend the most time with. Essentially, your environment is your INNER CIRCLE of family and friends.

For you to live true to yourself, it is essential that your inner circle be comprised of people that share the same values and beliefs as you.  When those in your inner circle share the same values and beliefs, they will understand YOU. They will understand your goals and dreams. As a result, they will lift you up and encourage you, instead of distracting you or tearing you down.

Your Inner Circle

Here are some thoughts on selecting and evaluating your inner circle:

  • The bigger your dreams, the smaller your circle. Let’s get this out of the way right now: if you have HUGE dreams, I guarantee you will need to immediately remove some people from your inner circle. Why? Because when you have huge dreams, fewer people will be accepting and understanding of those dreams. You will make people uncomfortable. However, when you have mediocre dreams, you don’t have to be as selective because most people can accept and welcome mediocrity much easier than they can excellence or greatness. When people chase excellence, mediocre people get scared and intimidated, and respond by tearing you down. If you have heard people say, “You can’t do that” or “That’s impossible”, please, do yourself a favour and begin to remove those people from your inner circle. Today. I have heard it said that sheep flock together, while a lion walks alone. Be very selective!


  • Have a  common GOAL and VISION. Just like how a championship level sports team will be made of people who share the same goal and vision, your inner circle needs to be modelled the same way. As a teacher, nothing discourages me more than watching a student with ‘A-Level’ aspirations allow a peer with ‘D-level’ aspirations into their inner circle. Why? Because PEOPLE GENERALLY FALL TO THE LOWEST LEVEL OF EXPECTATIONS ALLOWED BY THEIR ENVIRONMENT. That means the student with ‘D-level’ aspirations will drag the ‘A-student’ to their level, instead of the other way. Sadly, in time, the ‘A-student’ will no longer resemble a person with high aspirations. Instead, they will begin to be late, make excuses, do just enough to get by, and hide from challenges – the student with high aspirations will no longer be distinguishable from the lower level. It’s a sad story.


  • Never allow ‘outer circle’ people to creep into your inner circle. In the example above, where a student with ‘A-level’ aspirations was dragged down to the lowest level of their environment; there is a simple solution to avoid the pitfalls of a mediocre environment: STOP SPENDING SO MUCH TIME WITH THAT PERSON!! If you are unable to completely cut a ‘D-level’ person out of your life, because they are a close family member or life-long friend, simply begin the process of moving them into your outer circle. Slowly but surely, begin to spend less and less time with that person, until their expectations of you are no longer significant. They may say that you are dreaming too big or working too hard, but it wont matter because they will be out of your inner circle. Instead, those in your circle will be encouraging you to keep working and chasing your dreams.


Evaluate your inner circle immediately. If you have a gut feeling that someone shouldn’t be there, that’s an excellent sign that they shouldn’t, and you should begin the process of removing them right away.

You might be thinking to yourself, “What if I hurt their feelings?” I say back to that, WHAT IF YOU MISS YOUR DESTINY? Is it worth it? Well according to study after study, living for others is not worth the price. I challenge you, don’t live a life of regret. Stop living for others and begin living a life true to you. It may hurt today, but I promise, you will be celebrating tomorrow.

“Life’s too short to spend it trying to keep others happy. You can’t please everyone. To fulfill your destiny, stay true to your heart.”

Get Better.






Trust The Process

No, this isn’t a Philadelphia 76ers fan page. However, there is a lot of wisdom in Philly’s mantra: Trust The Process. In basketball terms, it means being patient, to allow your young stars to develop, and instead of focusing on today’s results, focus on the process of daily learning and growth, and eventually, success, in terms of wins and championships, will be a reality.

What’s notable though, is that the wisdom and results of trusting the process can be applied to everyone, in any walk of life – not just athletes on a professional basketball team.

I will now explain how I have applied the process very recently, and how you too, can apply this tool to get better as well. Let’s go…

The Process Applied

As a basketball coach, I had the opportunity this past week to apply the principle of trusting the process very directly, much like the Philadelphia 76ers would. Let me warn you though…THE PROCESS REQUIRES PATIENCE! AND…A LOT OF IT! If you are not willing to be patient, trusting the process will not work for you. Much like the children’s story of The Tortoise and The Hare, slow and steady will win the race.

Anyway, I help coach a varsity basketball team. As a trained instructor for PGC Basketball, one of the top basketball education programs on the planet, I am acutely aware of team culture and environmental dynamics.

Most athletes on my team were determined to be a part of league play. Being in the league though, wouldn’t be trusting the process; it would be focusing on the results. Champions are more concerned with the details of the daily grind than winning or getting the promotion. I am more interested in being a champion than a participant.

League play, at this point in time, would be too difficult for my team. The majority of the roster is composed of inexperienced athletes who are just now being exposed to the game. The process, instead of challenging teams who have played for years, would mean organizing exhibition games with other teams who are more at our level. Exhibition games aren’t very glamorous, but are needed for OUR PROCESS. Exhibition games take patience. At the other side of patience though, is a process that will eventually translate into far greater success than being results oriented ever would.

The Process And You

I remember being a high school student and having the goal of getting 90% in math. It never happened. Not once in four years. Why? I truly believe it was because I wasn’t process-oriented. Instead, I was results-driven. I wanted the result of 90% – nothing wrong with that goal. But instead of focusing on the 90% grade, I should have focused on the daily process of earning 90%. My daily process should have included asking questions, working hard in class, and studying every night at home. If my process would have matched my vision, the 90% would have been earned.

Here are some other examples:

  • While the promotion at work would be fantastic, focus on the daily process that will eventually get you there. This might mean arriving early and staying late. It could mean taking extra courses. It could mean be more sociable to your boss and coworkers. Write down the process that will translate into a job promotion. Don’t just focus on the promotion itself. The process is far more important.
  • Getting accepted into the university of your dreams is an awesome goal. Plan the daily process that will get you there. You will probably need to volunteer, study every night, ask questions, avoid parties, and get a lot of sleep.
  • Quitting an addiction would be life-changing. Instead of focusing on the destination of actually quitting, focus on the daily process that will bring you there. Be in the moment. You will need to avoid triggers at all costs, have accountability partners, a strong support system, and get inspiration from those who have already won the battle.

Trusting the process includes having an incredible focus on the MOMENT. Enjoy where you are NOW. Enjoy the journey…and always be patient. Those who are impatient will have the same misfortune as the hare, and will not live up to their potential. Those who are patient and are willing to trust the process, like the tortoise, will accomplish more than expected.

The Challenge

We all like instant results. But instant results are often less than what could have happened if we would have been patient and trusted the process. Like my 90% in math, identify an area where you are results-driven. Use this week to develop a process-driven plan that if followed, could achieve your desired result.

I have learned that the most successful people work hard every day, and enjoy the process and journey more than the destination. The process will catapult you to a destination that being results-focused never could. The process is like flying in a jet, while being results-oriented is like riding a bike. It will take longer to learn to fly and pay for a jet, but like the tortoise, you will eventually win the race.

Get better.



Remember Those Who Sacrificed

It is Remembrance Day here in Canada, where we take time to remember fallen soldiers who gave their lives so that we can live free. Without their ultimate sacrifice, the lifestyle that we enjoy today would truly be jeopardized.

Many people have sacrificed for you. I have learned that you cannot experience success alone – it takes a team to build you up, to reach your highest potential. People have helped you along your journey. My wife, parents, family members, friends, teachers, coaches, colleagues, students, and countless others have sacrificed their time, energy, knowledge, and finances to help me succeed. I have not experienced any type of success alone – nor will I ever. I need others to assist  me along the way.

Remember, THEN THANK

Ordinary people are egotistical and self-absorbed – their thoughts are usually consumed about their own journey, problems, and successes. They rarely set time aside to remember those who have built them up over the years, let alone thank them.

I challenge you to do EXTRA. Be EXTRAORDINARY. This Remembrance Day, take time to remember those who have built you up; then if possible, THANK THEM for doing so.

Of course, you cannot thank fallen soldiers who sacrificed their lives, but you can REMEMBER them. Post a tribute or thought on social media. Talk with others about the significance of their ultimate sacrifice. When you talk about the past, you give power to history. History comes alive again. The soldiers, in a way, come back to life too. Remember the fallen.

Write down the names of people who have built you up –  like me, it could be your family, friends, teachers, coaches, or whomever has sacrificed to help you get better – then find a moment or two to thank them for their sacrifice.

We all have the ability to thank and show genuine gratitude. When you show gratitude, people will be more willing and will do extra to help you go further than before.

Be The Sacrifice

Like those who have poured into you, I challenge you to be the person who sacrifices for the success of others. You will leave no greater legacy than what you have left IN people.

As a leader, the words SERVE and SACRIFICE need to be synonymous with who you are. Your legacy is directly tied to the number of people you serve, and to what level. The more time and energy you are willing to spend serving and sacrificing for others, just like the fallen solders of yesterday, your legacy will never be forgotten.


Spend the next week with an extreme focus on OTHERS. Build people up. Help others achieve success. As a teacher, I get to witness sacrifice every day. I see students help others with their school-work, drive their friends to grab lunch, and say an encouraging word to those who have messed up or who are feeling down.

To start the assignment small, identify one person in your life that you can help this week. Sacrifice your time and energy for this person, over and over again. Like the soldiers you remember today, be the sacrifice for someone tomorrow.

Get better.


The Importance of Self-Care

The Crash

I was flying high – tonnes of energy, happy, positive, loving life, fulfilling my purpose – then, BANG! In perfect harmony, like a well choreographed dance, my mind and body joined forces and yelled, “STOP!”

Without announcement, like a bolt of lightning, I became weak, dizzy, irritable, frustrated, and angry, all in one glorious ten-second frame. My mind and body began to shut down. Since I wasn’t taking breaks, it was like my brain said, “Okay, Jon. Since you’re not stopping to rest, I am going to make the decision for you!”

My “crash” happened on Thursday, November 1st.

As I battled an intense amount of guilt, I made the decision to use the next four days to take care of myself – “self-care”. My journey would no longer be about others. Instead, like a spoiled child, my thoughts, emotions, and energy would be entirely focused on my needs, fulfillment, and enjoyment. Hesitant at first, I have to say, I am loving the journey so far…

My “Self-Care” Journey

Self-care is all about doing things for you – planning and experiencing events that bring YOU joy. As a highly motivated person, thinking about “ME” was difficult, as I like to accomplish goals and tasks, and inspire others to achieve excellence. Nevertheless, I have noticed that self-care is easier to pursue once you accept its value and begin the journey. I will use my journey as an example for you…

Friday, November 2nd

I booked a room at a local hotel next to my favourite shopping mall. For those that don’t know me, I am a “sneaker head”. I love sneakers – particularly Air Jordan’s. I treated myself to not one, but two pairs of retro Jordan’s. Oh yeah, I also ate out three times. I despise cooking. I love convenience!

Yes, Friday cost money. I have learned however, that investing in yourself from time-to-time will keep you happy and healthy. I would rather spend to maintain my mental and physical health, than not to spend, and have medical bills later on.

Saturday, November 3rd

I’m at a hotel, so I slept in! During the work week, I generally wake up around 5AM, then journal and workout. I DIDN’T DO ANY OF THOSE TODAY! In fact, I purposefully left my workout clothes and journal at home. Instead, I laid in bed and rested, then rested some more. I didn’t checkout of the hotel until noon.

When I arrived back home, I watched WWE and YouTube videos. I cuddled my dogs. My schoolwork is still in my backpack. Untouched.

Sunday, November 4th

I love to write. I have committed to write weekly blogs every Sunday morning. Writing is part of my self-care. WHERE I am writing, however, is a little different than normal.

I usually write at a local Starbucks, not too far from my house. This morning, however, I am writing at Tim Horton’s in Morris, Manitoba. Why? When I am done writing, I will continue three hours down the highway to Fargo, North Dakota, where I will watch the Packers vs. Patriots game at Buffalo Wild Wings.

I will wake up tomorrow at my hotel, and spend the day resting and driving, all the while relaxing, and not thinking of work or tasks that need to get finished.

I will go back to work Tuesday morning, no doubt, feeling refreshed and energized to serve, and give my best once again.

What I Have Learned

Self-care is extremely valuable. I will now plan self-care as a part of my daily routine. I will use weekends to relax and shut my brain off. I will plan extended vacations where I can refuel and recharge.

If I wish to give my best to others, my tank needs to be full. I have learned that I cannot give what I don’t have. I have committed my life to bring and give infectious energy, while encouraging and inspiring others. I cannot give energy to others, if I don’t have energy myself.


Take a rest. I am committed to spending at least ONE HOUR PER DAY just for me – doing something that I enjoy, that will build me up, and give me energy. I will no longer let my mind and body shut down, and tell me to rest. I am going to take my control back, and take better care of myself.

I challenge you to do the same. If you are feeling overwhelmed and overworked, like me, spend at least 1 hour of your day being “selfish”, living for you. If necessary, say “no” to somebody, and say “yes” to you. Enjoy your life. Take care of yourself.

Get Better.