Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Evolution of The 365 and of me

"The 365" for me, is a way of shaking things up. It's a process that enables you to make lifelong change and positive impact in your life. I have always been a self-directed learner; the type of person who is never afraid or hesitant to take a risk or two, so the evolution of "The 365" isn't a surprise to me. Although it wasn't a "planned launch", the timing couldn't be more perfect for getting "The 365" program out to the world. In actually reflecting about "The 365" I have realized that my life and the paths I have chosen have been continually been preparing me for launching such a program.

I now know that this is the time to further develop "The 365". It is the time to launch it, write it and speak about it all over the world. Why now you may say? Well in order to explain that I must tell you a bit about my history. Lets go back a little bit so that you can catch up to where I am now.

In my teens I first started to wander. I bounced back and forth between my mom and dad's respective houses until early in my 15th year when situations arouse that pointed me in the direction of living on my own. I left the "comforts" of home and started across Canada and the US on a journey that would end with me at just 19yrs old walking into an Army recruiting office in Victoria, BC. I said to the recruiter " I want to join the army", the recruiter behind the counter said what do you want to do and I said "I want to run around and shoot guns", he said "Infantry" and the next thing I knew I was once again on the other side of the country with my then shoulder length hair lying on the floor. What a change, going from being the most independent, answer to no one type of lifestyle to being part of a "Team" and having to think of others rather than just about myself. It was a turning point in my life and one that deeply impacted and fueled my drive and passions.

I left the army after 4 years and went back to continue my education at Vancouver Island University. It is when I moved back to Vancouver Island that I met my wife Kathy as well as moved up to Parksville, BC where we now reside. In the early 90's I experienced fatherhood, my first true "love" relationship as well as invested a few years looking deep into my own self. You know the time, that introspective time where you are questioning everything about yourself, the world and your place in it. You look to religion, spirituality, physicality, all of those things greater than Self. It was during this time that 2 key things happened to me. One, I stumbled across an organization called The A.E.E. (The Association for Experiential Education) and two, I spent about 6 weeks immersing myself in a self exploration around the question "What is my definitive life purpose".

The AEE helped me make sense of my life up to that point. This may seem strange to hear me say but it really did help me understand myself in a way that I had never realized before. I now understood why I did the things I did and acted the way I acted. It clarified in my head all the doubt, fear, confusion about how I operated and put me in connection with people who thought the same way. I can remember being at my first AEE Conference in Winthrop, WA and being the only Canadian in a room of about 500 American and International delegates. It was day one of the conference and I was in the main hall of the conference center standing with 500 strangers listening to the Keynote address. At the end of the Keynote one of the conference organizers made a few housekeeping announcements and then let out this huge, long HOWL just like a wolf. It shocked us all. I can remember this so vividly. We all stood there in awe at the strangeness of this moment and hauntingly beautiful sound of his howl. The organizer stopped his howl and told us that he howled to welcome us to the conference but he also to let us know that the wolf population in this specific part of the Pacific Northwest had finally after years of near extinction made a full recovery. The speaker then went on to encourage us, as a group, to let out a huge howl and welcome each other to the conference and to the wolves that were in the hills nearby. It was a surreal moment for me. Here I was in a room of 500 strangers howling, laughing and interacting with each other, all of us experiencing the moment together and reviling in it. I had found a home. The AEE helped me understand that my life up to that point had been a self-directed experiential journey. I believed in tasting, touching, feeling and doing. I learnt by experience, right or wrong, good or bad, rich or poor, I made sense of the world by doing. This was a huge turning point in my life.

During this same time I also spent time developing my "Definitive Life Purpose". My wife was doing a long and intensive course from the Napoleon Hill Foundation and a component of it was titled finding your "Definitive Life Purpose". The entire course seemed like too much for me to bite off but this bit about finding "why you are here" and "what you are here to do" really intrigued me. I dove right in. I committed to spending at least 10min a day on finding, developing and crafting my own definitive life purpose. It took me 6 weeks, with some days spending hours on it and other days my committed 10 mins. In essence it boils down to asking yourself tough questions and re-asking those questions until you have complete clarity about who you are. The understanding and clarity allows you to craft a statement that can be used to direct your life and decision making from that point on. For me my statement is a true now as it was 15 years ago and it goes like this: "To provide an opportunity for experiential growth, change or learning for people of all ages and abilities in whatever way, shape or form it shall take". That's it. That is why I am here. That is what I have been put on the earth to do.

The crafting of this purpose allows me to give myself permission to do anything I want as long as I can tie it into my purpose. It allows me to be passionate, purposeful and profitable because I know that I am doing what I love. I am doing what comes easily to me. I am doing what I am meant to be doing. Imagine if we could all live our lives this way. Imagine a world where the majority of people were doing what they loved to be doing. No excuses, just people living passionately, aligned with their careers and their life paths.

My family, my adolescent years, the work that I did with the AEE, the different entrepreneurial ventures as well as the global travel and adventuring that I have been involved in over the last 25 years have shaped my life. My evolution has brought me to a place where a program like "The 365" makes complete sense to me. I didn't see it when my wife and I made the bet with the kids about not eating Potato Chips for a year. I didn't see it when I set my 4 commitments on December 31st of 2008. I didn't see it 2 months into 2009. I only saw it once the people around me started to see it. I only saw it once it started to impact their lives in addition to mine.

The evolution of "The 365" has in actuality, been my lifetime in the making. I didn't start "The 365" because of wanting to tell others about it or once again "Diving into another project" or another one of "Al's big Ideas". It was in the 4th month of working my "The 365" when the foundation of the program literally just appeared and felt "Right". It was so clear and as if the foundation was already built. A solid and sound structure that just needed to be labeled and tested. I knew when I started on day #1 of my own "The 356" that I could do it. I knew that I had the right "System" but once I got into the program I started to realize that others could work this model and build upon this foundation with ease. They could "custom build" their own 'The 365's" from my skeleton system. It was with that realization that "The 365 Effect" was born.

If you know me, we will undoubtedly have memories of time spent together (good, bad and ugly). If we have yet to meet then WELCOME and I look forward to sharing this process with you and building upon "The 365 Effect".

As always I welcome any comments and thoughts. If you are finding "The 365" interesting pass me on a note, make a comment and pass on this blog on to others. Spread "The 365 Effect".

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