Category Archives: Uncategorized

Winnipeg Transportation

First and foremost I have to start with a confession: I’m one of those crazy cyclists. I use my bike as much as possible as my primary mode of transportation in the summer and I even use it for a fair amount of workday commuting in the winter. In nearly two years of using my bike first for going to work, then going to friends’ places, then for errands and most anything else I’ve logged over 3000km and hope that increases every year.

I have another confession: I also drive. I have since I was 16 and have consistently been a car owner for a decade. I drive when I’m going places with other people, have too much stuff to carry on a bike, am going somewhere that I can’t show up to sweaty in shorts and when I’m too much of a wuss to brave the weather. I’ve driven too many miles to count and a car was my primary mode of transportation for years before I took up cycling.

Last confession: When I drive I hate cyclists. When I bike I hate drivers.

At least that’s the way I used to be.

It took me an embarrassingly long time to realize that, perhaps, I was being a tad hypocritical. Did I say perhaps? I mean I was absolutely being a giant hypocrite.

What I noticed is that it was very easy to get annoyed at the group of people that weren’t participating in the activity that I currently was and while I’m not a psychologist, I think it’s safe to say that it has something to do with evolution and our tribal past. Seems like that’s an excuse for a lot of things these days. Anyway, moving on.

In all seriousness, for the next little while I tried to take note of the behaviours of both cyclists and drivers that annoyed me. From there I then did as much as I can in order to correct my own behaviour while participating in both activities and have some suggestions as to how to take a step back and maybe share the roads in a more equitable way.

Cyclists

Drop the holier than thou attitude in public discussions. We get it, you’re saving the world and reducing wear and tear on the road, but that doesn’t mean you should throw it in our faces. Advocating for better cycling infrastructure is fine, but it’s going to take time and public money, so respect that. The only way to suddenly wake up and be living somewhere as cycle friendly as the Netherlands is to move to the Netherlands.

Drivers

Give us space when passing. Please. I understand it can be frustrating to have to slow down and pass someone on a bike, but next time you do count out how long it takes. My unscientific data says 5 to 10 seconds, which is nothing. Not only that, but you’ll probably end up catching up to traffic pretty instantly after you pass the person.

The rare time you’ll end up hitting a light, that sucks, but really an occasional 30 seconds tacked onto your drive is probably worth the human life that is put in danger by passing too close. I know as the driver it seems like you’re a safe distance, but remember you’re coming up from behind someone and we all use the same streets, so having to avoid potholes is part of our life too. To be quite honest, when a car passes right beside you, it’s terrifying.

Cyclists

Stop, stop, STOP weaving in and out of traffic. Also, no more on and off sidewalks. If you want the rights as cars, you need to obey the same rules. Here is a list of things that all cyclists have to stop (and start) doing immediately:

  • STOP passing cars at the red light so you can be at the front of the line.
  • STOP using roads and sidewalks interchangeably. Pick one based on your speed and comfort level, and stick with it.
  • STOP merging or changing lanes to go around things without checking. It’s not every other driver’s responsibility to slam on their breaks for you.
  • STOP going the wrong way down one way streets.
  • STOP drifting (or full on blowing) through red lights and stop signs.
  • START signalling. Drivers will be less erratic around you if you notify them on your intentions.

You are the one choosing to ride a bike, so the rest of the world doesn’t have to accommodate whatever ill-conceived shortcut you think you’re entitled to. Act like a car.

Drivers

Take some responsibility for the 2000lbs+ machine that you’re piloting and look for us. We know that we’re easy to miss and I also forget to should check (or do the Dutch Reach) when opening my car door, but do your best. Really, the fact that people have to be reminded to pay attention while driving is sort of troublesome in and of itself, but looking at how some people act on the road I think it’s warranted.

Cyclists

Cut drivers a break. Even if there are a few jerks on the road during your ride, odds are the large majority of people gave you space, didn’t honk and generally forgot about you as soon as they passed you. They’re doing it right.

Drivers

Cut cyclists a break. We know we’re not as fast as you, but we’re doing our best. Also remember that one more bike on the road means one less car, which I’m sure we can all be happy about! At the end of the day, all that matters is that everyone gets to where they’re going safely.

The Blogger’s Back In Town

Why hello there, it’s been a while. Months, but really over half a year since I’ve been writing at the pace that I once held myself to. Or at all.

I honestly didn’t know if I would ever start blogging again, but it was the automated renewal of the hosting of this website showing up on my credit card that jolted me into action. I’m cheap and if I’m going to be paying for something, I better be using it. Thus I started thinking about writing again.

So I started reading some old posts, trying to determine what made me stop posting in the first place. Was it laziness? Run out of ideas? Sick and tired of no readers? No, I determined, not any of those things.

Rather, it was that I had grown tired of being a critical bastard know-it-all. Most of what I wrote was based on something I didn’t like and what I would do to change it. Sometimes I didn’t even get to the second part of that equation and just complained.

Without realizing it that took a toll on me. I’ve always been on the critical thinking (with special emphasis on critical), but this was on another level. And I knew I had to stop.

So I reached a point where I challenged myself only to write positive things. Then I quit. It was a simple as that.

However, I’m now back and am going to be giving it another try, but with more of a neutral / positive spin. I can’t promise that I won’t regress, but I’m going to do my best! So welcome to the first post of Kevin’s 2015 Positivity Blog, name subject to change.

Hope you read soon!

Blog Break

Well, I took a bit of a blog break. Believe it or not, writing these posts a couple of times a week takes some effort and thought, which means some times it’s easier and other times it’s harder. Recently it’s been a little more difficult, and I’ve had some other things going on, so it got bumped from the list of “important” things to do. Also, I’m trying harder and harder to keep my mouth shut when I don’t have anything intelligent to say. It’s an uphill battle, but I’m making progress.

However, now the hiatus is done, but I’m easing into it. So Happy Canada Day and more to follow soon!

Wrapping Up April

End of another month means that I get to just ramble for a bit. These are usually the best read, so I guess that people like them. Or like judging / making fun of me. Either way.

After having done this for a while, I seem to be more skeptical about mainstream media reports, especially when it comes to speculating about motivation. Not that I’m in any way a “public figure,” but I’ve micro-experienced being on the receiving end of such speculation.

I have had the fortune of being in more than one conversation where someone else is telling me what my reasons for writing a blog are. I have to say, “on record” so to speak, that the fact that there are a number of diverse opinions about why this blog exists means that you can’t all be right.

The truth is that I have written in many of these “month end” posts why I’m writing. So many that I’m not going to bother to link them. They’re always at the end of the month and if you care you can find them very easily.

The other thing that I have noticed is that even though I don’t hear outright criticism too much, people do like to offer why they don’t blog. Usually it has nothing to do with lack of ability or desire, which is the reason that I don’t ice dance along with a host of other activities, but “external” factors.

I think it has to do with our natural competitive nature. When we see someone doing something we need to assert that we are absolutely able to do the same thing, but we can’t and it’s out of our control.

The one that gets me the most is when people say things along the lines of “I’m too busy to blog.” It’s really using that excuse for anything that I don’t understand, but since we’re talking about me I’ll keep it about blogging.

My theory is that saying that you’re “too busy” isn’t completely honest, either with the other person or yourself. Fact is that everyone has options to fill their days; it’s just what they choose to prioritize and are able to accomplish.

Something I will use as an example is my desire to get a dog. I really want one, but as of now am “too busy.” What that really means is that as of now I have things in my life that take priority over a pet. To be a good owner I would have to go home right after work, take the dog on walks, play with it, pay expenses associated with it, etc. Right now those aren’t things that I want to do.

So yes, I am “too busy” to own a dog, but if it was really a priority for me I would cut out other things in my life in order to make it work. So it is the same for everything.

As it is now I enjoy writing this blog and make time for it in my schedule. It is time where I could otherwise be reading, relaxing, exercising, seeing friends, working on my business, etc., but I choose to write.

When another priority shifts then this may fall out of favour, but as of now I’m sticking with it.

End of March

Well March is nearly over and I admit it was a bit of a blah month for the blog. With a couple of exceptions I can whole-heartedly say it was some of my worst writing.

I’m going to cop out and blame it partially on the weather. Around this time of the year I usually feel like I’ve been inside too long for too many days. Some shinny and skiing is usually out of the question thanks to the randomness of the thaw/refreeze and there isn’t even any shoveling to get me out of the house for at least 30 minutes of fresh air.

Yes, I know I can still find ways to get out of the house. Yes, I’m going to try better next year. Yes, I wish I have a third thing to list and yes I don’t.

So as a result of being inside a lot for the past few weeks I’ve been right on the bubble of having a cold. It’s just bad enough to drain me, but not bad enough to actually take some time to rest.

Additionally, after having written on this thing for over a year now, it’s somewhat difficult to keep ideas fresh. I’ve thought a few times about some topics, have the post half-written and then realize that I’ve done something quite similar.

I think that what I’m going to try doing in order to remedy this is rather than scrapping all the half-written posts that are somewhat duplicates, I’m going to restructure and power through them. This is going to take some more planning and effort than I’ve been giving it, but I hope that the end result is well thought and meaningful ideas.

As always, I appreciate the reads and don’t fully know my own end game. I was thinking about it this month and potentially all my random thoughts could be found by 60 year old me and I can shake my head as much as I’m sure most of you are.

Or I won’t get any wiser in my age. Always a possibility.

February Wrap Up

I was frantically searching through the bank of half-started posts that I have, wondering what I was going to write about today. Then I realized that it’s the last post of the month and therefore can be for some reflection.

A few months back I made a commitment to try my best to stop just posting online gripes about things that piss me off. Not that I thought that I did too much of that, but regardless. What I’ve found since then is sort of funny: Apparently people like the bitching.

Looking at viewership stats, many of the posts that I think are thoughtful and insightful don’t get the views that posts that I complain about stuff do. I guess the people have spoken!

I don’t quite know how that is going to effect posts in the future, because as always I’m going to write about what tickles my fancy. However, I’m definitely going to turn down the dial on my filter a little bit more and get personal more often.

It makes sense, too, because the people who are reading these posts are from my social channels. I’m not delusional, thinking that people are stumbling on this website and really liking the content. It’s you, the people that I have a personal connection with, who are the audience.

And to that end, I don’t want to be isolating my audience.

A few months back I posted about having a bit of a, “Eff them if they can’t take a joke,” attitude, which is true to strangers. The last thing I want to be doing is insulting friends, though.

So when I come off preachy and you think that I may be referring to you 1) remember that I’m an idiot and am probably not expressing myself properly and 2) remember that I’m an idiot and have more than enough flaws to make up for whatever I’m insulting you about. In conclusion, just remember I’m an idiot.

Oh, I would also be remiss if I didn’t mention that we have now passed the one-year mark of the blog (started February of last year). This is also the 144th post and it’s kind of cool that it’s 12^2. Or not. Remember: I’m an idiot.

Coaching vs Consulting

I don’t know why, but for some reason it seems to me that lately the line between a consultant and a coach has been blurred. I don’t know if it’s because one seems more promotable than the other, if those in a coaching / consulting role fancy themselves as both or people don’t hold the same definitions as I do, but I think it’s a difference worth talking about.

It’s an important distinction, because when hiring one or the other an individual or business should know what it is getting. Also, if you are either a coach or a consultant, by promoting yourself incorrectly it may lead to a number of waste-of-time inquirers, or worse, frustrating engagements that can fall apart and even damage your reputation.

It’s also easy to realize why there may be some confusion. From a contractor standpoint, they are both usually engaged to work on a specific project and there is an agreed upon desired outcome. Typically what they are working on would not be considered the “day-to-day” business of the firm. The word “change” would come to mind.

While there are some general similarities, the specific differences are what make the distinction between the two very important.

Consultants are typically hired to help a business make a decision or implement some sort of specified change. That is to say the provide recommendations based on their expertise and even go as far as to manage the change. How I would summarize it as they take the information available to them, make a decision and then work with the company to make it a reality.

The information and communications typically come from them, with the company listening to the expertise of the consultant and effecting operations as necessary. The change comes from the outside.

Coaching is a different process. Rather than having expertise in a specific field, coaches provide a different framework in which the companies or individuals within the company grow and change. Rather than hiring someone to come in and give an answer, when companies hire coaches they should expect to work with them in order to create success from within.

If that doesn’t seem to make sense, think of a coach in high level sports. It is up to the players to have the level of skills necessary to compete at that level. The coach’s job is to organize the team and structure the type of play in order to achieve the best results possible with the available players.

There’s never a time where the coach jumps in the game because they are able to play better than the athlete in question. Such is the same with coaching; they don’t necessarily have necessary skills in order to complete the specific tasks of those they are working with. They do, however, understand what is needed in order to work together with them to maximize performance. In other words, coaches listen.

So next time someone throws around the title “Coach” as it relates to a business function, challenge them and see if they’re actually just a consultant in disguise.

Lest We Forget

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place: and in the sky
The larks still bravely singing fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the dead: Short days ago,
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved: and now we lie
In Flanders fields!

Take up our quarrel with the foe
To you, from failing hands, we throw
The torch: be yours to hold it high
If ye break faith with us who die,
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields

– Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae

Month of October Wrap Up

Well, anther month done and, surprisingly, I don’t really know what to say. It’s a little tougher every month to set a goal for this project, but I think that’s part of the natural cycle of things.

When something you’re doing is new then it’s all learning and getting better and better. Then once you’ve surpassed your expectations, then it can be hard to realign.

Something I do need to become is more comfortable with the occasional slow down and re-evaluation. Constant movement forward can be addictive, but it is the time that we take planning which dictates the direction of that movement and how effective it is in helping us get to where we want to go.

So maybe that’s my goal for the month: To come up with a new goal. Transition seems to be my theme for this fall, so it is very fitting. In the meantime I’ll keep writing and Happy Halloween to everyone!

halloween