We’re in a Canadian State of Mind

Canadian SouvenirsAround Panoptika’s place these days, we’re thinking about Canada Day. We make a big deal of our National holiday, uncharacteristically waving the flag (okay, we do that every day), and celebrating with friends and family. We like to listen to the CBC all day. We like to eat strawberry shortcake made in the shape of said flag. The main beverage is beer, although we’ve been known to partake in some wine from Niagara, or BC, or Nova Scotia, depending on where we are, on the day. We’ve spent the day travelling across the country in a hot car because one of our parents has been transferred from one end of the dominion to another. We’ve spent it at a friend’s cottage, lazily paddling around the lake. It nearly always involves a golf course. Or a barbecue party. Or a crazy household project. Or if we’re in Quebec, moving.

But this doesn’t just happen at our house. Across the pond, at Brother Rob’s place in Bicester, the annual Canada Day Golf Tournament will be underway. A motley crew of Brits will be thwacking a small white ball around, competing for a carefully curated collection of Canadiana. And this made us realize something. Being Canadian isn’t just about where you are. It’s not even just about who you’re with. This great country of ours is something we celebrate and carry with us, no matter where we travel. People recognize us as Canadians because of our inner Canadian-ness. You might say it’s because wherever we go, whatever we do, we’re in a Canadian state of mind.

Happy Canada Day, one and all,

Megann and Steve


Don’t Pity Rory McIlroy

The Masters golf tournament marks the un-official start of spring around Panoptika’s table. It normally coincides with warming temperatures, green and colourful things springing forth from the earth, and people starting to emerge from their winter habitats.

This year’s Masters was a tremendously exciting event, with as many as 10 golfers in the mix until the last few holes.  Congratulations to Charl Schwartzel for a terrific back nine, calmly closing the deal with four consecutive birdies to win by two strokes.

One person who was not in the running on the back nine was Rory McIlroy, the 21 year-old from Northern Ireland.  He looked tentative the entire last round, managing to hold himself in check until the 10th hole when he, seemingly, forgot how to play golf.  He persevered, carding an 80 to finish well back.

What can you learn from Rory McIlroy?

First, no matter how good you are, you can fail.  Many of us have spent years developing the skills we bring to the table.  We keep on top of important trends, tools and methods.  We seek to understand our client’s issues, so we can apply these skills in helping them succeed.  But sometimes we miss something important, and someone else wins the day.

Don’t let failure stop you from competing.  Rory didn’t just walk off the course.  He and his caddy tried to right the ship and steer it towards the goal.  When you mis-hit, think about why you were not successful.  Was it an anomaly, is it part of a trend you didn’t notice, are therenew players in the game?

Be gracious in defeat and take the time to reflect.  We’re sure the last thing Rory wanted to do was talk with the media after the match, but he took the time to point out how he take some time to look back on what happened, find the positives and learn from the experience, so next time he could be more successful.

So, failure in inevitable…how you react to failure is optional.  Choose the approach Rory took, be positive, reflect, and get back in on the course and try again.


Steve and Megann

How to win…by losing!

If someone asks, “Do you think charitable giving is important?” most people we know will answer with a resounding “Yes!”  But what about giving your time?  In today’s hectic, workaday environment, it is becoming increasingly difficult to tear oneself away from work for all or even part of a day, to volunteer for a favourite cause, to play in a charity golf tournament, to mentor a student, or to attend a benefit.

Today, we participated in the Walk in the Park, a golf tournament benefiting Starlight Starbright Children’s Foundation Canada http://www.starlightcanada.org .  There were fewer golfers than we have seen in some previous years, and we know that last year, we too were out of town on business, and unable to attend.  We often hear our clients tell us that they can’t possibly get time away from the office to participate in a worthy endeavour—that they wish they were consultants like us, with nothing but free time.  Oh that it were so!  When we worked in Corporateland, we had regular salaries that came in, month in and month out, whether or not we took a day off.  Now, our “salary” is whatever hours we are able to bill a client.  So if we take a day off to go golfing, we lose a day’s pay.  But is it worth it? 

This is what we found:  in return for a little money, and less time than most of our colleagues and clients spend in meeting in an average work week, we gained fresh air, exercise, and met golfers from across the GTA, all busy, hardworking individuals, some of whom have been participating in the tournament every one of the 26 years it has been in existence. Most of all, we heard about how important our time and money are, to helping seriously ill children across the country, with Wishes, Fun Centres in hospitals, and lots of other great innovations that help these kids feel normal, if only for a short time.  The warmth and appreciation we received from the Foundation more than made up for a little extra budgeting and schedule-juggling. 

So we ask you to take a little time from your busy days, right now, and ask yourself, “How can I go beyond my chequebook and give something of myself, today?”

With hearts that grew a few sizes today,

Megann & Steve