In April I will once again be joining True Patriot Love as a guide on one of their fund and awareness raising expeditions. As a life-long climber and guide, I have been involved in all of the True Patriot Love mountaineering expeditions to date. As a team building and leadership development expert, I also bring essential team development and team building skills to the expedition.
This expedition will bring together a team of ill and injured Canadian soldiers and civilians to accomplish a task that will require planning, teamwork, trust, communication, determination and so much more. It is something that would be overwhelming as an individual, but possible with the support of a team.
As part of the leadership team, I will also be helping to monitor the mentorship program which connects soldier and civilian in a mutual coaching developmental relationship. We have seen huge successes with the mentoring program on past expeditions and I expect we will see the same again on this expedition.
We will be trekking to Everest base camp and climbing a small mountain called Kala Patthar 5643mas part of our acclimatization. We will then set our sites on the summit of Lobuche East 6145m.
In our Summit Team Building programs, we focus on helping individuals, leaders and teams develop skills in goal setting, communication, trust building, strategic planning, coaching, change management, emotional intelligence and so much more.
Part of my role is to help the team prepare for the expedition. A primary focus is on physical training which is essential. However, a critical element that is often overlooked is the mental training. Emotional Intelligence is a huge factor in building success in a mountaineering expedition and in life in general. I always say that your physical fitness gets you to base camp, but the difference between success and failure on the mountain will come down to emotional intelligence.
Take a look at this short video to learn more about True Patriot Love and the April expedition to the Himalayas.
At Summit Team Building we believe that we all learn best when we are outside of our comfort zones. This space is called the learning zone and is when we are engaged, open, inquisitive, and able to expand personal skills and to learn new things.
Based on this belief we have created many different team building programs to get people out of their comfort zones and into their learning zones. At Blue Mountain Resort we have access to an amazing natural environment that makes a perfect learning space. As such we have created many great team building programs that take advantage of this natural classroom and this is precisely why you might choose Blue Mountain in the first place.
After a short introduction on the logistics of how to climb Mount Everest based on Summit President Scott Kress’ personal climb of Mount Everest your team will set out up the mountain. Along the way they will encounter various team challenges that have been custom designed for your group. These challenges will require teamwork, communication, creativity, and more. This is a challenging up hill program. You will sweat and you may even get a little dirty. In the end you will be excited by the accomplishment and rewarded with an amazing view of Georgian Bay from the top of the Niagara Escarpment.
Our professional facilitators will help your team debrief the experience and to connect it to building high performance as a team and personally. Your team will walk away ready to meet their next challenge with new energy and with a focus on teamwork and collaboration.
The next time you are looking for a team building program give us a call to learn all about the new Altitude Challenge program and our other engaging team building options.
Welcome to the second video in my South Pole adventure series. We have just been dropped off on the Ronne Ice Shelf where the ocean meets the continent of Antarctica. It is a beautiful day, but we are intimidated by the challenge we are about to embark on. As the Twin Otter flies away we are now completely alone. Isolated in one of the harshest environments in the world. We put on our skis, hook onto our sleds, file into a line and begin to pull. The journey of 1000km begins with the first step. For the next 45 days we will work together as a team to overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles to accomplish something few people have ever done.
You are standing in a field, facing a wooden target with an axe in your hand. You arc your arm back, swing forward and release the axe. It spins through the air striking the target and you have completed your first ever axe throw.
For quite some time we have avoided the topic of axe throwing. Being a bit of a fad in corporate team building we have had many requests for axe throwing, but until now we did not really feel we could call it team building as we define team building.
Team building is a very broad topic and can be anything from a pizza party to an in-depth training intervention. We always put axe throwing into the pizza party category of team building and as a stand-alone event. I do think this is where it belongs. It is fun and you are doing it as a team, but there is a little team or personal growth involved.
However, one cannot dismiss something without personal experience so we as a team set out to have our first axe throwing experience. Now having done axe throwing ourselves we can see the appeal of this activity, but we knew in order for us to call it team building we would need to make more of it than just throwing an axe at a target.
We have now worked axe throwing into a few of our custom team building programs at Blue Mountain Resort and the Kingbridge Conference Centre. As in many of our team building programs your team will be required to navigate through a series of team challenges and now axe throwing can be one of them.
So the next time you are looking for a fun and motivational team building event contact us to discuss how we can add a Summit team building program to your event.
This is the second in my video blog adventure series. This series will share my expedition to the South Pole.
In November of 2016, I set out with three friends to trek from the coast of Antarctica to the South Pole. Something which few people in history have ever done. We will ski almost 1000km across some of the most unhospitable terrain on the planet to achieve our goal. This video blog series will give you some insight into our journey.
It is November 17, 2016, and our expedition to the South Pole has officially begun. We have just landed at Union Glacier in Antarctica. This is the main staging camp where we will be for a couple of days before we get dropped off at the edge of the continent on the Ronne Ice Shelf. The flight from Punta Arenas is just over 4 hours and we land on a blue ice runway which is a 1000m thick block of solid ice. This Russian built aircraft is one of the few planes that can land in these conditions. We will be shuttled over to the main camp which is about 8km away and set up our tents. Once we have all our final gear checks in place and the weather is good for flying we will board the twin otters to fly to our starting point.
Our journey will take 45 days and will require us to dig deeper than ever before to endure the suffering required to achieve this goal. I have created a new keynote presentation called “Achieve the Outrageous” that shares this story and relates it to achieving greatness in our personal and professional lives.
At Summit Team Building one of our popular team building programs is our Ice Cream Making Challenge. This fun and delicious team building programs challenges your team to create the best new ice cream flavor.
We are always looking for ways to add to our amazing team building programs and have now added a liquid nitrogen option to this popular ice cream making challenge.
Our classic ice cream making team building program uses an ice cream ball to make the ice cream. This is a very fun, engaging and active way to make ice cream. However, making ice cream with liquid nitrogen is exciting and has a huge ‘wow’ factor.
This team building program is fun and full of energy. It is a great way to energize your team part way through a meeting or to cap of your day with a team building adventure.
The next time you are looking for a team building program with a big ‘wow’ factor give us a call and ask about our new liquid nitrogen Ice Cream Making Challenge.
It is hard to believe, but it has been over a year since I trekked to the South Pole. I am still learning from this expedition and have created an exciting motivation presentation, “Achieve the Outrageous”, that I share at conferences and meetings.
I am in the midst of training for my next expedition to Nepal, and I wanted to share the release of a story, “Go South Until You Go North”, about my South Pole expedition published in Escarpment magazine. Please check out this story and the rest of the magazine as well. It is full of interesting stories and great photos. An interesting fact is that every cover of the magazine has been painted by Deena Dolan Findlay (Graphic Art Designer, Art Director).
In April I will be one of the leaders for the next True Patriot Love expedition. This expedition serves many different purposes including media exposure, fun raising, showing our appreciation to our wounded soldiers, and as part of a therapeutic healing process.
In April we have a team of 8 ill and injured Canadian soldiers and 11 civilians embarking on an expedition that will challenge them and provide great learning experiences for all. Included in the program are several training and team building sessions before the departure date, a mentoring and coaching program, personal development assessments and coaching and post expedition support.
All the participants are reading my book, Learning In Thin Air, to support their experience. In my book a detail the trek to Everest base camp so the participants will know what to expect, but more importantly I discuss how to build high performance personally and in teams and this will be critical for our success in Nepal.
True patriot Love has been running these programs since 2013 with the first trip to Nepal. Since then millions of dollars has been raised and many lives have been influenced in a positive way.
On April 1 we will begin a trek to Everest base camp. This trek will provide acclimatization for our ultimate climbing objective of Lobuche East peak at 6172m. Over the course of the three-week expedition all participants will be challenged physically, mentally and emotionally and from this they will have great personal development opportunities.
As part of the preparation for this expedition I ran a team building and training session this past weekend. Several of the team joined me at Georgian Peaks Ski Club in Collingwood. We spent a few hours hiking up the steep trails beside the ski hill. This is great for physical training and also for getting accustomed to the snow and ice conditions we will encounter on Lobuche.
After the hike training we went back to my place where I had strung 100m of rope between the trees in my backyard. This was to be used for the technical training part of the training day. As the temperatures were around -15c and there was a light wind and snow it simulated the mountain conditions quite well.
While climbing Lobuche we will be using fixed rope anchors, a harness, and a safety tether system and the team members need to be able to perform the appropriate tasks with their heavy mountaineering gloves on in cold and windy condition.
People quickly found out how difficult simple tasks became when you had on these large, but warm gloves. Dexterity is greatly reduced and every task takes longer. We will have dozens of transition points on the climb and lost time will add up quickly and could put us in a dangerous position. This is why we need to practice this over and over until it become more natural.
A fun team building dinner concluded our great training day.
Everyone is excited about the expedition and working hard to be ready. I will continue to post updates as the departure date gets closer and throughout the expedition.
As a keynote and motivational speaker, I need to market myself as any business does. Search engine optimization, social media, blogs, showcase events, trade shows, and writing books are just a few ways to promote me as a speaker. Many of my bookings come from repeat clients and referrals. When this is the case it is usually a pretty easy decision for them to book me as they know me from a past experience or I have been referred by a trusted friend or colleague. In the case of someone who finds me through a Google search or from a speakers bureau, they do not know me from the next speaker.
In today’s world, you have access to so many talented speakers with great stories and messages. I may be considered an adventure based motivational speaker or a team building speaker and there are many speakers that can fit into the same category.
So how do you know who is the right speaker for your event? A speaker’s bio will give you your first insights into who they are, their values, their story, their vision, their mission and so on. How do they differentiate themselves from others? For me, I differentiate myself with my mix of adventure and my occupation as a team building trainer for corporations and universities. I am able to bring the adventure world and the academic world together like few can.
In the speaking world, however, a great bio will only get you so far as the person seeking to hire you wants and needs to know how you perform. What is your stage presence, your energy level, and how do you deliver your message? This is where the video sample comes in. A video sample is a critical tool for marketing and booking a speaker.
As a new speaker, great video is hard to come by, but as you get more experience and deliver more presentations you will have access to some pretty amazing footage. Some speakers go to a studio and talk on a green screen, but I have never been comfortable with this and I have gathered video clips from many presentations over the years, but I was always looking for the great clip and now I think I have found it.
In January of 2016, I was asked to speak at the Hard Rock Resort in Mexico for a leading banking institution. The audience was huge and the screen was enormous. This was no 8×8 meeting room screen. This was an LED screen 50-feet tall and 150-feet long. The resolution was incredible and every one of my slides, photos, and the video popped like never before. It was an amazing event and I was fortunate to receive a copy of my presentation.
A common question people ask me after one of my keynote presentations is “what’s next?”. The options are endless and sometimes it is hard to decide, but this time it was easy.
Since 2012 I have been volunteering with True Patriot Love to help organize, lead and guide their fund raising expeditions. These expeditions take a team of ill and injured soldiers and civilians on a challenging expedition. This trip is part therapy, part fundraising, part transition coaching, and all adventure.
The team has been assembled and I have just returned from a training camp we ran in Canmore, Alberta. This training camp was designed to focus on technical skill development and team building (as I always say, a relationship is the foundation of any high-performance team).
We spent the camp working on crampon technique, technical ice climbing, roped travel, crevasse rescue, gear review, clothing review and more. In between the adventure we got to know one another and share our motivations for being part of this expedition.
For many of the soldiers, it is about working past the challenges of physical limitations and PTSD and them making a transition out of the military to an unfamiliar civilian world. For the civilians, it is about helping the people who have given so much to our country and culture.
The training camp was very successful in all of these areas and we are now one step closer to making this expedition a reality. We will depart for Nepal at the end of March 2018 and return 3-4 weeks later.
Over the next while I will share with you more about the expedition objectives and the team members.