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Trying something new

Last year, I went snowshoeing for the very first time. I was really excited to go, until a friend of mine (who has gone before) sent me a very long list of all of the items I would need to pack/wear/bring. After reading the list, I got nervous. Maybe snowshoeing wasn’t for me, maybe it was going to be too difficult, maybe it was going to be too cold outside. I came up with all kinds of excuses to cancel my day trip – but in the end, I didn’t.

I decided that it was worth trying something new.

When was the last time I had tried something new? How bad could it be? If I didn’t like it, I would have to go again. And it turned out GREAT. I am so glad that I went. It was beautiful and not nearly as hard as I thought.

Trying something new took courage, forced me to do something outside of my comfort zone, gave me a sense of accomplishment (even if it was small) and opened me up to finding something that I enjoyed doing and would do again.

When is the last time you tried something new?



If it sounds like I’m preaching at you, it’s because I’m your biggest cheerleader.

In today’s business, it takes the efforts of an entire team to create an environment whereby you develop that positive experience for clients who do business with you. I recently heard a motivating speech from Michael ‘Pinball’ Clemons, a man of unquestionable character and spirit who is renounced for his achievements on the football field. He said,

“A hero lifts other people up”

– I believe that a group of people can only be a team if it comprises heroes. One thing that inspires me at Impact Group is how each person complements one another’s skills and personalities. The team is continually pitching in, offering feedback and encouragement to keep those creative juices flowing, lauding positive achievements as well as giving constructive criticisms, and together scheming new plans and ideas for clients. It’s about being passionate, showing you care, and that you’re driven to stay a step ahead to look after others (clients) needs even before they really know what they want.

Hence my point, if it sounds like I’m preaching at you, it’s because I’m your biggest cheerleader!

Chantelle Andrukow


Get a new coat!

I live in Winnipeg…I can tell your thinking to yourself why? Well because I was born here that’s why! There’s that and also the fact that I actually like it here, yes that’s right I like it. I’ve traveled a lot and lived outside Winnipeg for a short time so I’ve had a taste for other cities and I’m happy to call Winnipeg home.

Let’s talk about the horse in the room right now, Winnipeg winters. That term will put fear in even the warmest of hearts. This year was the coldest December in 120 years and the coldest combined December and January in 64 years. For me though it wasn’t that cold at all. This year, before winter hit, I bought a new coat. It hadn’t occurred to me that I needed a new coat, the 10 year old fall coat that I had was still in working order, or so I thought. My wife was kind enough to point out that maybe it was time to get a new one. OK, so it turns out she was right, my blind attachment to my beloved jacket was keeping me from realizing the obvious, that I live in Winter-peg and needed a winter coat.

So like most men who shop I had purchased a warm new coat in about 45 minutes. Now as the winter progressed and the arctic vortex circled the complaints started rolling in about the terrible weather and how awful things were. I didn’t feel like things were that different than any other winter, ya it was cold out, but it’s always cold in winter. I didn’t dread going outside and even went for some winter walks. It took me a bit of time to realize that even though this was the coldest winter in decades that my new coat had provided me with a perspective I hadn’t had in 10 years. This year by purchasing a new winter coat I armed myself with the right tool to overcome the harsh environment. The lesson I learned was instead of complaining I should ask myself if I’ve done all I can to gain a better perspective. What can you do to improve your outlook on a situation? Maybe all you need is a new coat!

Tim Hobbs Manness


Welcoming Chantelle!

Impact Group is pleased to announce that Chantelle Andrukow has agreed to join our team. Chantelle is a welcome addition and comes with experience in account management, event planning, web design and social media strategies. Chantelle is a graduate of U of A with a Bachelor of Commerce Degree, Marketing Major. She grew up in Viking, Alberta in a retail business so her knowledge and experience of that sector will bring our clients many positive insights. Chantelle will be an Account Manager, and her many talents will have her working on many projects in our business. We are very excited that Chantelle has agreed to join our team.


“Poke The Box” by Seth Godin

In “Poke The Box” Seth Godin goes on another rant, this time about being and initiator and starting things. The whole premise of the book is to step outside of what you are routinely do, and start new things. Be someone that starts and ships things rather than someone that is safe and compliant. Go and make something happen instead of waiting for it to happen to you. While this seems risky and our fear tells us not to, he argues that it is better to walk that line because “except in rare circumstances, failure is not fatal.” He even goes on to suggest that if there isn’t that chance that it might fail it doesn’t count as trying to make something happen because there is no consequence. I have to admit that reading this book inspires me to want to go and start something but I don’t really know where to start. And that is partially his point. “The challenge is getting in the habit of starting.” Godin means intentionally starting something, anything, big or small. Get in the habit of starting. Pick a day and a time, sit down, and start something. I think we are waiting for someone to give us permission to put ourselves out there but I find that the biggest barrier is myself. The question I found myself asking is, what would happen if I gave myself permission to start something knowing that it might fail. Obviously the severity of the consequences plays a factor in the decision but Godin says that it is worth it to be in the habit of starting. That it pays off in the long run. That it is an exciting and fulfilling way to live. It is exciting fun to work with people that do this.

Here are a few quotes from the book that struck me.

“The challenge is getting into the habit of starting.”

Starting things isn’t something I am either born with or without. Starting things is an intentional decision and gets easier and more natural the more I do it.

“When in doubt, look for the fear. That is almost always the source of your doubt.”

Looking for the fear that drives my doubt is an interesting exercise. Thinking back to when I have let fear stop me from doing something I realized that it usually meant that nothing would happen. Some might say that is good but it also means no good is happening either. Am I missing out on really cool awesome stuff because of my fear? Are others missing out on something amazing because of my fear?

“Organize (your company) for joy. These are the companies that give people the freedom (and the expectation) that they will create, connect, and surprise. The relentless act of invention and innovation is the best marketing asset.”

Not much to add except that I want that for Impact Group and the clients we work with.

“If you can’t fail, it doesn’t count.”

If there is no risk of failing then it doesn’t count as starting something. There needs to be skin in the game.

“Ideas that spread win, but ideas that don’t get spoken always fail.”

Waiting for something to happen or someone to notice without speaking up will mean my ideas will fail. I need to overcome the fear of my ideas being good or bad and just let them be ideas and share them. Ideas good or bad when shared always lead to more good ideas in the end. At least that has been my experience to date.

“Don’t wait for someone to pick you.”

I read this to mean pick yourself. Don’t wait to be discovered, discover yourself and put yourself out there. Embrace the failures. Celebrate the successes. Start something else.

As always, I try to take Godins rants with a grain of salt. He writes to the extreme to make his point and I appreciate that. Message received. It’s worth a shot, at least it will be exciting. Overall, enjoyed the book. It was a quick read and some good food for thought and hopefully some action.

Go, make something happen!


Stampede Breakfast 2013

Impact Group (@impactgr) and Intoria (@intoria) pooled their pancake batter and breakfast sausages and threw a pancake breakfast this morning. Thanks to everyone who came! Yahoo!!!!!!!!



Monsanto investment in Corn in Western Canada

Last week, Monsanto announced it would invest $10,000,000 per year over the next 10 years into corn breeding and product development. Although it is as surprising announcement for some it makes sense for the following reasons:
Western Canada has proven itself as a remarkable farming region. Considering the vast amount of acres, western Canada farmers can seed 2,000,000 acres in a day (a big day, and by the way, I have absolutely no proof of this) as made evident this spring where the crop, in large part was seeded in 20 days. Therefore when the pressure is on to get in early seeded crops it can happen fast.
Corn is following soybeans and they go together. The soybean business is moving and it isn’t going to stop. Earlier maturing bean varieties are coming every year and we are seeing beans grown as far north as Saskatoon and they are looking good.
Canola, the CInderella crop, is hitting a wall. The notion that canola is a 20,000,000 acre crop in Western Canada is agronomically wrong and most people know it in their hearts and minds even if they won’t say it. Yields aren’t consistently good enough when farmers push rotations of canola with pulse crops and they will be willing to embrace new cash generating crops that can spread the rotation out. They have to. Corn and soybeans fit that need. And remember, soybeans are not a pulse crop. They are an oilseed.
If corn hits 8 million acres buy 2025, like Monsanto says, then soybeans will be at at least 4 million and canola will rest at around 12 – 15 million. And we’ll all live happily ever after. (Well,,maybe)
I’ll bet Monsanto isn’t investing $10,000,000 for ten years in canola or wheat breeding.


If living in the Red River Valley taught me one thing…

We thought we bought high. If growing up the Red River Valley taught me one thing, it was that if I ever buy a home, buy on high ground. So when we bought a home in Calgary 20 years ago that was a main criteria. We bought in a community called Riverbend, but it had never flooded in the history of the city. We were a 1/4 mile from the river and many feet higher than the banks so I was confident water, at least too much of it, would be a problem for us.
Turns out that it wasn’t but we sure got a scare, as Cheryl tells about in her blog below. What struck me was how small we are when Mother Nature chooses to move. On the Thursday we were told to leave our home I felt incredibly helpless.
Other than some inconvenience, we escaped unscathed. But so many in this province have had their lives change dramatically. Homes that would have sold for hundreds of thousand of dollars a few weeks ago risk being condemned. Trailer parks that resemble refugee camps are being erected to hose people for what may well be a year. A senior home is residing in college and can stay as long as they need to. Its crazy.


Flood Ravaged Alberta

This past week has been a surreal experience. From watching the scary news reports about the flash flooding in Canmore Thursday evening and thinking we’re safe here (we’re close to the river but we’re on high ground), to the feeling of dread as a police officer banged on our door to tell us we had to leave, we were being evacuated.

Grabbing what we thought we would need for “a night or two” out of our home, we fled with the rest of our neighbours. The line of vehicles leaving our street was eerily like a funeral procession that none of us wanted to take part in, all of us in disbelief that our street would flood.

As Friday unfolded, our fears grew. We didn’t see how the water could get to us but this was a situation where everything we thought we knew about flooding in Calgary was changed. I don’t know how many times I heard, “in all the years that I have lived here, I have never seen water here!” When we saw footage of flooded streets in downtown Calgary our hearts sank. If the downtown could flood, we could certainly flood as well.

We have been incredibly fortunate in this province where so many have not. On Saturday, once they had restored our power, they started allowing the people from our neighbourhood back into our homes. There had been no water on our property at all and no sewer backup. Where the river is closest to us it spilled over its other bank, flooding to the west side, which is lower and flatter.

I walked along the river yesterday and the high level mark along our pathway is amazing. It came with great force flattening everything in its way, destroying trees, roads and pathways, fences, and even moving vehicles.

The cleanup in Calgary has begun. Roads and bridges are being repaired, but many people have been left with little more than a roof. The piles of ruined household items lining the streets in the worst-hit neighbourhoods attests to the devastation that has occurred. Random groups of volunteers have been showing up to help flooded residents work through the mess and reclaim their homes. Our city has been damaged but its spirit has not!


Who’s Afraid of GMO’s?

I was sitting here this afternoon, looking over interesting articles I have clipped and filed over the course of this winter, trying to decide what I should write about when I came across an article published in the National Post January 25, entitled “Who’s Afraid of GMO’s? Don’t let the activists scare you: Genetically modified foods are safe to grow and eat,” by Alan McHughen. What struck me as interesting as I reviewed this article were the stats quoted, “in over 30 years of experience, according to authoritative sources such as the U.S. National Academies and the American Medical Association, there is not one documented case of harm to humans, animals or the environment from GM products.” What incredible stats for a technology that garners fear and social outrage around the globe!

According to Mr. McHughen, in a 2010 study of the impact of genetically engineered crops on farm sustainability in the United States it was concluded that genetic engineering technology has produced substantial net environmental and economic benefits compared with the use of non-GMO crops.

Unfortunately, the scare tactics used by some environmental activists and “junk science” advocates overshadows the scientific facts regarding GMO’s. Their skillful use of social media to rally people to fight against the evil forces (aka: big business) trying to kill the planet usually drowns out the efforts of legitimate science researchers and educators.

If you would like to read the original article in its entirety it is found in the Winter 2013 edition of C2C Journal (