Am I the Teacher or the Student?

It’s overwhelming trying to boil down my coaching adventure to Uganda to a couple of blog posts. Words don’t seem sufficient in trying to describe the people, places, and emotions I experienced during this entire journey.

The overall experience of coaching the young people of Nikibasika was both enriching and enlightening. I was excited to meet the young people who I’ve been raising money for several years now… but nervous whether my coaching skills would jive with this group. I committed to staying curious to what I could learn from them. I had a feeling that perhaps I was meant to be the student on this journey, not the teacher – I was not expecting how much I would learn from them.

Such a caring and loving group. There were tears, embarrassed giggles, wide eyes, and confusion at times – but such innocence. On the other side of the innocence though, these young people carried an unparalleled wisdom and hope that only comes from enduring extreme hardship, and being part of difficult moments that most of us could never imagine. As I helped each of them craft their career plans, each and every one of them included helping others less fortunate. This is a level of resilience that is difficult to truly understand, but so humbly impactful, and inspiring.

“I will forever look at the world differently because of them.”

One of the group members, Rogers, a kind hearted, beautiful young man, knit me a scarf and spoke poetically about the light of the moon when he gave it to me. He said that the moonlight shines down on him and reminds him of Nikibasika because like the moon, it has lit his path and showed him the way, adding, “The light will always shine on those people who are grateful and loving, and to people who help each other.” Such wisdom!

While I travelled halfway around the world to learn from these young people, I wonder how many of us in leadership positions are willing to reverse the roles and learn from their ‘students’? As humans, we all have so much that we can learn from each other when we give ourselves permission to be open and stay curious.

daveLooking at becoming a more compassionate leader? The EDGE3 Team can help. David Graham develops good leaders who want to become spectacular leaders!


More Alike Than We Are Different

Since I was a kid, I’ve dreamed of visiting Africa. Couple that with my 7-year involvement with the TriAdventure and Nikibasika Learning Development Project, Uganda became a must visit stop on my bucket list. I could hardly wait!

One of the first experiences that we had arriving in Uganda was a Team Coaching Session with the KIBO Foundation, a company focused on developing leadership skills and unleashing the capacity of their youth. As an organization that supports many of the kids from Nikibasika, we are big fans of the work that KIBO does and were happy to support them in their growth as a team.

I partnered with Cate Creede of the Potential Group and Bonnie Ho, this year’s chair of the Triadventure, to facilitate a workshop on Fearless Leadership.

Feeling a little anxious about the experience, I mentioned to EDGE3’s Devon Domanski that I was curious to understand their challenges and how they may be different than the teams we work with in Canada. She said, “When you’re there, I encourage you to notice not how different the challenges are, but how similar they may be. What connects you?” A very wise colleague indeed… she certainly provided with a scope that shifted my perspective.

KIBO was an impressive team, indeed. Like many small business, each player must wear many different hats and to remain extremely agile in their approach. I was inspired by their respect and care for one another, their ability to approach challenges creatively and by their unwavering commitment to serve and commit to a common goal.

So, what did the team walk away with from our session? An impressive strategic plan cranked out in record time by Cate Creede…nicely done, Cate! And in the spirit of coaching, they seemed to have a renewed confidence in themselves and an awareness that the answers have been within them all along.

Go KIBO! Continue to inspire young leaders in Uganda; we are rooting for you.

daveLooking at becoming a more compassionate leader? The EDGE3 Team can help. David Graham develops good leaders who want to become spectacular leaders!


So many ideas… start with the first!

Recently I went to a marketing conference, “The Art of Marketing” and I left with a plethora of ideas. Growing the business, reaching out, connecting with our network, marketing our services. It ALL seems so overwhelming (exciting?!) at times. My journal’s bursting with a whack of ideas.

“Where do I start?” I tweeted of the keynote speakers (our collective favourite of the day!) and he replied, “…with the first one.” Clever response I thought.

How do I make a greater impact? How do I create a legacy? How do I grow a business I love? All great questions and things that I explore with our EDGE3 Team every day.

I find I ask MYSELF one simple question that gives me the most forward momentum… “What’s one small step that you can take right now?” That is the approach that I have started taking with all of my own goals. “What is that one thing that needs to be done today to make the day worthwhile?”

Sometimes it’s building a killer proposal or finishing a presentation. Other times it’s getting to a yoga class, renewing my passport, or sharing time with my mom.

Innately we know what that one thing is…

We just need to leave some silence to hear it loud and clear. Tackle “THAT ONE THING” first!

The rest of the to do list will still be there and you’ll still get that adrenaline rush of crossing things off the list. But by overwhelming our brain first thing in the morning we can create chaos right out of the gate. Shut ourselves down rather than opening ourselves up to a day that is full of possibility.

In this way, we trick our brain into thinking that it is possible rather than shutting it down all together.

So do I still have a whack of ideas? Absolutely! But I agree, and think I’ll take your advice, Ron Tite.

I think I’ll start… with the first one.

daveLooking at becoming a more compassionate leader? The EDGE3 Team can help. David Graham develops good leaders who want to become spectacular leaders!



Blog PIc Nature in the CityJust a few short weeks ago, the EDGE3 team came together in west Toronto to host another “Ultimate You” retreat. The guests signed up through our network to participate in a day of self-exploration, coaching, action planning, and connection with an amazing group of people.

This retreat marked the first time our entire core team (shall I call Dave, Megan, Sarah and I the “fab four”?) had the opportunity to work as a collective on the same project – what an amazing feeling!

  • It was blissful to watch the faces of more than 20 people sit in 30 minutes of stillness to explore their inner self through guided meditation.
  • It was empowering to see people team up to coach one another to unlock powerful insights.
  • It was exhilarating to explore nature and just notice what presented itself, on a day as cold as it was bright, leading to more introspective, and enlightened moments.
  • It was rewarding to observe the creative spark and committed approach people took to set their goals, bring them to life, and celebrate them.
  • It was transformative to see guests leave with a refreshed and renewed perspective, a powerful purpose, and a unique plan to reach the new heights they set to achieve.

There were moments of magic happening all around us, making the energy in the room uplifting and exhilarating. People were connecting on so many different levels, and we as facilitators had just as many moments of discovery as our guests. That made the exchange even more meaningful, powerful, and authentic.

Simply said, the day was beautiful. And I can’t wait for us to create more experiences like this.

Watch a video of the retreat here and drop us a line at for information on our next experience on Saturday, June 3, 2017.

How can you tap into the skills and passions of your team? 

edge3_dec16_01aDevon Domanski plans dynamic client workshops, team building and appreciation-themed events. She feeds her curiousities with writing, food dreaming, and adventures in all things beautiful!

Tapping into the Team’s Resources


Dave and I were doing an interactive coaching workshop with a group of people that worked in a highly creative field, and wanted to dial into one another to catch up with everyone, share successes and carve out greater efficiencies. We did a lot of different exercises, activities, and reflections to help uncover the roots of their success, and set benchmarks for continued excellence.

And then something beautiful happened.

We asked the group: what skill would you love to share with others, and what skill would you like to learn? Their responses could be professionally, or personally driven. Some people were specific and focused on work, “I want to learn more about Mary’s approach to logistics” Others wanted to share something more personal, “I’d like to teach a photography session to inspire people to capture and share more of our work.” And others were more out of the box, “I’ve always wanted to learn to play the banjo.”

As people shared their thoughts, we captured the teachers, and the teachable topics. We helped them connect the dots so that everyone who wanted to teach something was linked up with the right audience, and the people seeking to learn various things could pursue something new, exciting, and/or useful. People were excited. And laughing. There was an abundance of positive vibrations in the room.

All of these things weren’t necessarily designed to happen in the work place, nor were they meant for EVERYONE to participate in. It was simply driven by people’s interest. Some provided resources on shared drives to review in one’s own time, others scheduled lunch and learns to bring people together, and some committed to linking up with each other before/after work to pursue a little FUN!

Ultimately, this discussion uncovered the untapped resources that were a collective skills bank; allowed people to pursue things that they were excited to teach/learn; empowered the team to go after the things they wanted to grow in both their work and personal lives – acknowledging the employer supported this balance was a big deal to the team (KEY TAKEAWAY FOR LEADERS!). And yes. We found someone who was able to teach our new friend the banjo… and someone who REALLY wanted to duet with her.

So when we’re reflecting on the things we want to give, and receive from others, tap into your surroundings.

The places, the people, and resources that are in close proximity around us can help us reach greater enjoyment, and feel more connected to one another. And help us feel like those things we ‘always wanted to do’ can happen when we just put it out there. How great and easy does that sound? I bet you’re asking your colleagues who can teach you the banjo right now…

How can you tap into the skills and passions of your team? 

edge3_dec16_01aDevon Domanski plans dynamic client workshops, team building and appreciation-themed events. She feeds her curiousities with writing, food dreaming, and adventures in all things beautiful!

Leading with Compassion

3d render

As ambitious leaders, sometimes we expect people to like/approve/admire us because of our accomplishments when in actual fact that’s not what matters to people… what matters is how we make them FEEL.

Maya Angelou said it beautifully, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel”. What would it be like if we applied that same principle to leadership?

Before you think that this is too “touchy-feely” for your leadership style consider this. Jeff Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn has vowed that compassion is his first principle of management. Our temptation as leaders is to get the team to do things the way that we would do them. He tries to resist that urge by getting to know each player and by putting himself in his or her shoes. This takes time, but by understanding their hopes and dreams and fears he can tap into what truly motivates them to do great work.

So how can you become a more compassionate leader? Author of “The Desire Map”, Danielle LaPorte suggests that rather than setting goals on what we want to achieve, we should set goals on how we want to feel. As leaders, perhaps we should set goals by asking ourselves:

How do I want the TEAM to FEEL?

Do you want them to feel threatened, intimidated, and afraid to make mistakes or do you want them to feel challenged, invigorated, and excited to do great work?

I am not suggesting that we should give up on sharing difficult feedback, after all, it’s an essential element to professional growth, but we need recognize their strengths, coach them and nurture their individual talents. Even transitioning someone out of the company can be an act of compassion; by keeping them in the role that they are not suited for, we may be holding them back from their true destiny.

How can you throw a little more HEART into your LEADERSHIP?

How can you show the team that you care…not just about results, but also about who they as human beings? How can you demonstrate that you are going to be their biggest champion even when the going gets tough?

Still feeling touchy-feely? Remember this: Leading with compassion leads to greater engagement; when your people are more engaged, they are more productive; when they are more productive, it leads to better results, and greater retention.

Click here to see how Jeff Weiner became a compassionate leader.

Danielle LaPorte challenges you to hone in on the 3 feelings YOU want to feel this week.

daveLooking at becoming a more compassionate leader? The EDGE3 Team can help. David Graham develops good leaders who want to become spectacular leaders!


The Gate is Closed

business man with luggage waiting in the airport

My intentions for a perfect morning of air travel came to a sudden halt when the check in machine spit out a receipt saying, “We cannot complete your check-in, proceed to the TICKET counter,” NOT the “Proceed to GATE” message I was looking for.

I missed my flight.

That’s never a good feeling. It gives you a sinking, churning-in-your-gut sensation… similar to bungee jumping – but not nearly as much fun.

I took my disappointment to the counter, acknowledging that I started the chain of events by poorly timing my morning, and mentioning the conference calls I scheduled through the day, timed ever-so-carefully around arrivals and layovers. I was expecting an eye-roll or an, “I am sorry. I can’t help you…” But I got something different. Karen, the Air Canada ticket agent, said, “I am up for the challenge!”

This was 7:30 in the morning. What was she on?

Then I saw it. She was in her groove. She got an undeniable charge out of problem solving. After a flurry of keyboard activity, shuffling of papers, and a final clunk of the stapler, she had me sorted out! I was going to make my connection, and each of my conference calls after all.

She had a look of satisfaction and accomplishment. Right person, right job! She came from a place of service. She diffused my anxiety with her commitment to the process, and her reassurance.

As I walked toward the gate, I turned and said to Karen, “Thank you for making this so easy for me. You are really great at your job.” She probably knows she’s good at her job, but she deserved to hear it from someone who earnestly appreciated her. Karen was the hero of my morning! She nodded to me, and approached the next customer with an even bigger smile. I hope she reaped the rewards of that exchange, as much as I did.

When do you find yourself truly engaged on the job?

How can you get more of that feeling every day?

How can you spark others to great work?


DaveDavid Graham is a Leadership Coach & Chief Exploration Officer of EDGE3.  Want to tap into your team’s ultimate potential? We help leaders build high-performing, super-focused teams! Call us for a free team assessment.


Nature in the City

Since 2011, EDGE3 has been coaching Canadian leaders and executives, building teams, and hosting a variety of employee engagement events. We help people find inspiration to develop the tools necessary to be the most successful and effective versions of themselves. We strive to make experiences as fun and engaging as possible, doing so in the most creative and inspiring spaces for our clients.

The most inspiring place for us, and what has driven our business ethos, is NATURE! We consistently encourage our clients to get out of the boardroom and into nature. For us, that’s where OUR best ideas happen. For our clients, it’s an opportunity to be in a space that inspires different thinking and new ideas.

Each year, we’ve developed a calendar that has become wildly popular amongst our clients. These calendars feature beautiful nature photography and thought provoking questions to keep our network moving forward. This year, our goal is to create Nature in the City – a reminder to the 100’s of Canadian leaders that display their calendar on their desk, or digitally on their computer, that nature is right at our doorsteps!

We invite photographers to submit up to 12 photos that represent Nature in the City. EDGE3 will select our 12 favourite photographs from all of the submissions to use in our 2017 calendar, and feature on our blog and social channels throughout the year. For each photograph EDGE3 selects for the calendar, we will reward the photographer with a $50 (CAD) gift card (photographers may select a gift card from a selected list of retailers/partners).

We encourage you to learn more about EDGE3 on our website, and view past versions of the calendar. To enter your photograph(s), please send photos, or links to specific photos, to:

Submission deadline: FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 11, 2016 – 11:59PM (EST)

Selection will take place the following week and EDGE3 will notify photographers by email. We thank everyone in advance for entering their work and participating in our project; EDGE3 will only be contacting photographers whose photo(s) have been selected.


Building Your Team…Naturally


One of my greatest pleasures with running EDGE3 is getting teams out of the boardroom and into nature. It also happens to be one of our greatest challenges. It’s tough for a business to close shop for a day or two, and understandably a leader wants to know the value.

“What lasting impact is it going to have on our team?”

As I reflect on my most recent team-building event, an immersive experience on a private island in Muskoka, I took a few quiet moments during the retreat to make some observations of the team.

  • I saw real people engage in open honest dialogue sharing what matters most to them
  • I witnessed self-discovery, humble realizations and seeing things from someone else’s point of view
  • I noticed hierarchy and ego drift away and team members coming up with innovative solutions together
  • I observed unconditional support, and team members envisioning the business they would create in the future
  • I watched a team become a TRIBE with an overarching theme that, “We are in this together!”

So are there a clear ROI measures for a team building retreat? Absolutely! But it’s critical that leaders and their coach establish clear objectives that can be measured at the end of the event. It’s also essential that each individual team member set intentions at the beginning, and create a powerful action plan at the end. And it doesn’t stop there; follow-up one month after the event will give you the biggest bang for your team-building buck!

And metrics aside, high performers want to continue to learn and grow. Companies that invest in developing their people will be more likely to retain great talent and see rewards in ways that they had never thought imaginable. When a leader gives themselves and their teams permission to recalibrate and explore, it’s truly remarkable what can grow and flourish.


David Graham is a Leadership Coach & Chief Exploration Officer of EDGE3.  Want to tap into your team’s ultimate potential? Allow us to take you out of the boardroom and into nature!



How Do I Start The Reset?

Sometimes I wish I could be more like my technology; when not performing optimally, just power off or unplug, then restart in hopes of better results.

For people, it SHOULD be as easy as turning off and starting again – “I’m going off the grid so I can face the world again, refreshed!!” – it’s sadly not, for many of us. Aside from why you don’t really NEED a reset, or HOW hard it would be to do that, are you saying you wouldn’t WANT a reset?

Of course a lot of us WANT a reset, but we have trouble actioning this. I think a lot of it is justifying WHY we would do this, and lack of understanding HOW we can go about doing it.

The Why…

Frankly, I think too many people feel uncomfortable admitting when they’d like an opportunity to put themselves first. I think there’s a fear in sounding selfish. Or maybe some have never placed value on self-care. But here’s the thing… whether it’s a huge life event or a subtle spark of outside inspiration that’s caused you to pause and consider a reset, do it! Your internal messaging is letting you know something’s got to adjust. Sure – sometimes easier said than done. But taking time for yourself, is less selfish than you might think. When you invest in yourself, you’re able to invest more of yourself in others.

The How…

Sometimes we bite off more than we can chew – I’ve been guilty of this, too! So I think when people consider a reset, it can become overwhelming figuring out where to start, and how to accomplish goals. I don’t think there’s a one-size-fits-all response to this. Some people may want a life overhaul and feel the best decision is to quit their job, sell their house, and move away to work on a beach. Okay, sure. If that’s your plan, and it suits you, work it! But that’s not realistic for everyone, nor is it what everyone needs. Sometimes a reset can be a simple acknowledgement of a behaviour, committing to noticing when it shows up, and focusing on the steps to make the changes you’re seeking. Maybe a temporary change of scenery help’s some move their process along like a weekend retreat, time away with loved ones, or a self-guided all-inclusive beach vacation. Depending on what you’re looking to achieve, adding activities (yoga class, coaching sessions), and hobbies (volunteering, racing cars), can make a big impact (just as subtracting those bad habits, too!). And whatever you decide to commit to, tell someone. It’s great to hold yourself accountable, but there’s often a greater feeling of accountability once you’ve articulated your intentions to someone in your life.

Whether you’ve been considering a personal or professional reset, ask yourself the following: where am I at, where am I going, what do I want, and what do I need to do to get there? Enjoy the first step of your reset.


Devon Blog PicDevon Domanski plans dynamic client workshops, team building & appreciation-themed events. She feeds her curiosities with writing, food dreaming, and adventures in all things beautiful!