“NATURE IN THE CITY” RETREAT

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 retreats@edge3.ca 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!

CALL FOR PHOTOGRAPHERS

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: edge3natureinthecity@gmail.com

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.

 

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.

NEED HELP GETTING YOUR RESET STARTED? Check out our upcoming EDGE3 RETREATS! http://edge3.ca/events/

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!  

Are You In Your Element?

One phrase came up recently for me, and I’ve really been thinking about it a lot and its connection to nature.

Someone said to me, “I’m fighting fires at the office, right now!” Thankfully they weren’t literally faced with blazing piles of paper, computers spontaneously combusting, or exploding equipment, but they were definitely punctuating the level of stress they faced in that situation.

Does this seem familiar to you? Maybe you’ve said it in a pressure-filled moment of stress and uncertainty. Or maybe someone around you says it more than you’d like to hear. Regardless, we can appreciate the implied sentiment.

When fires occur in nature, (in very basic, boiled-down terms) there are elements that ignite the fire, elements that fan the fire, and elements that extinguish the fire. I think the same is very true when a metaphorical fire blazes in a work environment. What’s interesting is that when people say they’re fighting fires, I wonder, are they really FIGHTING them?

There are people that act as AIR…

who feed the fire making it burn brighter; I imagine this person providing ample oxygen by talking circles, and whirling around the problem.

There are others that act as WATER…

who douse the flames and eventually extinguish it; I imagine this person calmly approaching the problem and facilitating active problem solving.

The most interesting element to me though in this little analogy is the source of the fire…

Sometimes fires start naturally given the right environment; in the professional setting, this could be a case of someone IDENTIFYING the problem (the fire) as opposed to starting it.

But sometimes fires don’t just start on their own….

Sometimes we’re THE MATCH; I imagine this person over-anticipates problems, bogs people down by projecting unnecessary anxiety, over-promises & under delivers, and creates greater general stress around results…

So maybe fire is an inevitability in the office, just as much as it is in nature – there are many variables to what starts a fire and keeps it going. Sometimes we can control these things; sometimes we can’t. The more awareness we have around the variables though, helps us understand which element we are. Or which element we want to be. I think we just want to avoid being the person who walks around with a lit match.

Which element did you take on in a recent ‘fire’?

How can you let the fire inside you burn brighter than the ones around you?
Devon Blog Pic

Devon plans dynamic client workshops, team building & appreciation-themed events.  She feeds her curiosities with writing, food dreaming, and adventures in all things beautiful!  How do you connect your team with their deepest passions?

The Leadership Journey

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My EDGE3 Experience by Dr. Naresh Vempala, Research Scientist

In life and career, we all come to a point where we take a pause to evaluate our journey that has been, to determine the journey that lies ahead. Having arrived at that point, I found I am not quite the leader that I envisioned myself to be. I felt that there was a key ingredient missing from my professional life. While I knew something was missing, I couldn’t put my finger on what it was.

I felt that that there was something holding me back from pursuing my ambition. Perhaps, certain aspects of my personality were standing as obstacles in my path, or maybe circumstances were just so that I couldn’t get to the next level. Or, perhaps it was a combination of the two.

This was my state of mind when I came across Edge3 and David Graham.

Being innately cautious and skeptical, I was unsure of how leadership coaching would help me get out of my rut. Despite my reservations, I decided to dip my foot into the coaching pool. I started one-on-one sessions with David, determined to set myself achievable goals. Very quickly David was able to help me identify my strengths and weaknesses, and pull out my core values. Within three months I found myself (a) re-acquainted with the key strengths that define my personality, (b) objectively evaluating personality traits that have acted as inhibitors to my growth, (c) understanding how my strengths could be used to counter my weaknesses, (d) putting these discoveries into clear actionable plans, and (e) reaping rich benefits by following these plans.

Through this journey with David, I realized something. One cannot approach leadership by thinking of leadership alone. What does the concept of leadership mean to each of us? I realized that leadership and career are not isolated from other aspects of our lives. Instead, they are interconnected with various components of our lives and should therefore be approached holistically. I now understand what the notion of leadership means to “me”. In other words, how can I be the best leader that I want to be? To address this question, I had to dig deep and define what great leadership meant to me. The idea is not to merely emulate someone else but to use other leaders as sources of inspiration, while staying true to our core.

In one specific instance David worked at re-shaping my thinking in a positive direction such that a core value could be used to overcome an inhibition. In one of our sessions, the topic of self-promotion came up. It is clear to me that most leaders are good at marketing themselves well. Self-promotion is necessary to get noticed, to reach a wider audience, following which the quality of their work speaks for itself.

However, to me the very idea of self-promotion seemed unappealing – ego-driven and vain – while I begrudgingly admitted that it was also necessary. With David’s help I learned to approach it differently. If one wants to do good things, help others, serve their needs, then being in a position of influence helps to maximize that goal. In other words, being famous helps one to persuade other people towards being more altruistic. This makes self-promotion almost imperative. So, once we associate self-promotion with a higher altruistic goal, it becomes a positive activity.

David’s patience, attention to detail, clarity of thought, and ability to push us to work harder at self-reflection, make these coaching sessions extremely valuable. Having said that, I suggest two necessary things for anyone interested in leadership coaching with David. First, be very clear on what your objectives are for each coaching session. You could buy the most expensive, snazzy looking gadget and feel good about it. But if you are unclear on what your needs are, and what you intend to use that gadget for, then the value of purchasing that gadget is lost. I started with a general set of objectives for the entire set of coaching sessions. For each session I would then narrow the list down to one or two specific items. This helped me stay focused on my goals. Second, it certainly helps to diligently work through the action plans that David sets out at the end of each session. Metaphorically speaking, if I watched a hundred fitness training videos on YouTube and did nothing beyond watching, that would have no significant benefits, as opposed to taking the extra effort to physically train myself.

The coaching sessions with David were a necessary step for my personal and professional growth, sort of like a springboard that will launch me into a direction devoid of inhibition and fear, but replete with a unique combination of humility, assertiveness, ambition, and compassion – the direction towards being a balanced, thoughtful leader.

Naresh2

Dr. Vempala is a Research Scientist at Ryerson University. He is a project manager, data scientist, and scientific writer rolled into one. He works at the intersection of industry and academia, where he manages and co-supervises collaborative projects that require (a) conducting cutting-edge applied research within a lab environment, and (b) translating those research findings into innovative product development for the industry. He lives and breathes data in all its forms – from analysis to visualization, to building computational models. His writing includes technical reports and blogs, grant proposals, scientific journal articles, book chapters, and conference papers.

May I fill your cup?

Men's hands holding red heart over wooden background

Recently I had occasion to visit one of my favourite youngsters while he was on the mend at Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto. I wanted him to know ‘Auntie Devon’ was cheering for him, and do whatever I could to make his parents more comfortable over the weekend.

While those were my primary intentions, I almost feel guilty admitting how inspiring the experience was.

The staff at the hospital was wonderful – as are other health care practitioners out there that don’t hear it enough! These accolades are so well deserved, and I think of these people as the backbone for keeping the ‘magic’ going – the doctors, nurses, interns, volunteers, vendors, and more.

But BEYOND the staff, there was a great energy in the building. Despite the circumstances that bring humans to that place, there’s a consistent exchange of good vibes – it’s like everyone was able to spread a little joy… whatever you could offer was sufficient.

There was an unspoken system of ‘paying-it-forward’ amongst child patients, friends, and families. Whether it was a compassionate glance, warm greeting, or a friendly conversation, all humans seemed to naturally want to support each other. All without necessarily knowing anything about one another.

I know my friends valued having me there, and I was certainly glad to offer my support. But I’m appreciative of the brief connections I made with strangers, too.

I would see children who had visible ailments but offered me big smiles and happy hello’s when I’d walk through the halls. I saw toddlers who were so happy to be playing with a new friend that their bandages, IV’s, stitches, or mobility device didn’t even seem to faze them. I also heard a lot of laughter – particularly from a father and son who were stealthy negotiators during a pretty intense game of Monopoly.

This was the joy that filled my cup. The resilience, determination and love that’s in that place was off the charts! I thought, if these children and their families could muster positivity during trying times, what’s wrong with the rest of us living our lives outside the hospital? Why aren’t more of us spreading the good stuff on the regular… when it’s a fairly easy thing to do?

Compassion, love, faith, support, humour, empathy, all seemed to be parts of the interaction at the hospital. Some of the simple things I noticed:

Friendly greetings go a long way.

Look people in the eye with a smile – let them know you see them, and you care.

Whether it’s a small thing, or a big thing, let people know you appreciate what they’ve done. “THANK YOU” is often sufficient.

Great strength can come in little packages.

Regardless where we are, or what we’re doing, making the effort to put a little more joy in someones cup is always a good thing. And more good news? We don’t need to be in a hospital to show others we care, and support them.

(My little friend is doing great at home, and I’m continuing to send good vibrations and healing thoughts to all the kids, parents, and friends still in that building working their plans for optimal health – you have lots of cheerleaders rooting for you! X O X O)

Devon Blog Pic

Devon plans dynamic client workshops, team building & appreciation-themed events.  She feeds her curiosities with writing, food dreaming, and adventures in all things beautiful!  How do you connect your team with their deepest passions?

Forget Balance, Ride The Rollercoaster

iStock_000017274301_Large Recently, at an EDGE 3 retreat, David Graham had us plot our lifelines. It became obvious that all our lifelines had one thing in common – we all had major dips countered by an equally large upward swing. There were times we were winning, and times we felt we had lost. Our lifelines resembled a rollercoaster rather than the smooth, balanced line we had all hoped for.

Over the years, I have worked tirelessly hoping that someday I would have a fabulously balanced life, and come that day, I would be truly happy. There have been fleeting moments when I felt like I had finally arrived – a good job, financially stable, great life and lots of time. And then life would throw me a curve ball and I would be back riding life’s rollercoaster fearing the unexpected turns ahead. I started to think that life was never going to hand over everything, at least not all at once. I mean, who really has it all? And so the constant struggle to achieve a perfect life balance felt daunting, and at times I started to question if the theory even applied to me.

It was during a time when a work-life balance was just not possible that I adopted a perspective that worked for me. Instead of expecting life to hand over the whole pie, I learned to accept the slices life was offering at that particular moment.

There was a time I worked ridiculously hard to achieve a dream, working multiple jobs just to make my dream of having a wonderful life, come true. I had little balance, but who cares, it wasn’t about balance, it was about achieving the dream. This crazy period of hard work was followed by a whole year of unemployment. Time was more abundant, but money was tight. My husband had the foresight to suggest we take the opportunity to travel and tick off a dream on our bucket list. We were fearful of the insecurity, but traveled anyways.

The week following our return I got a new job and since then work has once again become intense. I also find myself going through a period of extreme personal growth. I am, and will remain forever grateful for my husband’s ability to see unemployment as an opportunity to travel. If we had waited for that perfect moment when time and money intersect, we probably would never have gone.

So I ask, is life really about balance or is it about acceptance? Ups and downs are inevitable. Perhaps we need to embrace the moment, look for an opportunity within that moment, reframe our perspective, and harness the real potential that the moment is offering.

Happy Trails!

CherithCherith Sinasac is an environmental professional who is deeply passionate about nature and exploring the great outdoors.  A self-discovery and fitness fanatic, she continues to be deeply curious about how each of us can reach our full potential. 

Nature’s Reset

Screen Shot 2015-08-25 at 10.13.27 AMFor many of us, September serves as a reset in both our personal and professional lives. The don of the fall season is a significant marker for a lot of things: back-to-school, closing the cottage, end of camp, the Vogue September issue (sorry – we’ve all got our things!), and new routines.

I personally celebrate a birthday in September and use this time to really evaluate things in my life. What am I doing really right? How can I do better? What do I need to change? Where am I now versus where I’d like to be? Why?

I think I find this process less intimidating than New Year’s resolutions and easier to commit to my goals – I’m shooting for attainable here, folks! Once I set my goals, I aim to check in with myself each season to see how I’m doing to try to keep myself on track.

So as you witness the days getting longer, the leaves turning colour, and the school bus rounding the corner for another year (don’t forget to yield!), consider taking a page from nature’s book and reset yourself. Or at the very least, have some cake and think of me.

Devon Blog PicDevon Domanski facilitates beautiful experiences for EDGE 3. She will be hosting The Ultimate YOU Weekend Retreat in Muskoka in September.  Looking to reset your inner compass? Join Us!

http://edge3.ca/events/ 

Body Intelligence

Body Intelligence

Have you heard that our bodies ‘just know’? Our bodies like to TELL us stuff; sometimes it’s obvious like when we get knots in our stomachs or goosebumps as an emotional reaction to something, or when we display symptoms that pertain to an illness we’re fighting. Other times it’s less physical, and more subtle.

Last week I attended my favourite class at the yoga studio, and my teacher put together an inspiring sequence that related to propelling ourselves forward, and moving ahead. She spoke about how we do this both physically and mentally, and explored breath and movement that articulated these notions. When we finally got to the peak pose section of the class – the part where all the juicy and delicious work comes together! – my body just wasn’t having it. It was strange, really. That day, I was happier just chilling in downward dog with my thoughts. I wasn’t taking rest from exhaustion or lack of ability; I was picking up all the messages my body was sending me in that moment.

After class, my supportive gem of a teacher checked in with me. She put her hand on my shoulder and said, “Devoncé, is everything okay?” (Sidenote: I am always okay with anyone that wants to refer to me by my fierce alter ego!) I smiled and assured her YES – everything was totally okay. I said, “I really appreciate the check-in. I know you’ve seen me do those poses and movements before, and it’s unlike me to not participate, but today I wasn’t feeling it. And I realized why. When you were asking us to propel our bodies forward, I had a breakthrough moment where the mental met the physical. There are some things in my life that I know I need to let go and move beyond, but I haven’t totally done that yet. I think today for me, the work was in the mind, and I truly experienced what it was like to be STUCK when we can’t move past the things we need to.”

While maybe not the most transformative experience, it was certainly powerful. Whether we listen or not, our bodies send us messages all the time. Sometimes we’d rather ignore those signals, but I truly feel that when we’re willing to do the work and figure out what our bodies are telling us, we can ultimately move forward more effectively, and be better people in all facets of our lives.

Now that my teacher training is complete (YAY!!! Stay tuned for updates if you’d like to practice with me!), the work to continue developing myself, my practice, my style, and my classes is ongoing. I’m thankful for all the supportive people, resources, and tools that emerged as a result of my training, and will use those to help me. But I cannot discount the value of my body as one of my greatest and most powerful resources.

What has your body been telling you lately? If your actual BODY is intelligent, then why are you not tapping into that resource? Do you think you can listen to improve your performance in the game of life?

“There’s a lot of neuroscience now raising the question, ‘Is all the intelligence in the human body in the brain?’, and they’re finding out that, no, it’s not like that. The body has intelligence itself, and we’re much more of an organic creature in that way.” – Joel Kinnaman

Devon Blog PicDevon Domanski is the Curator of Culture for EDGE 3.  Her background as an educator allows her to plan dynamic client workshops, team building & appreciation-themed events.  Devon continues to feed her passions and curiosities with entertaining & lifestyle writing, food dreaming, and adventures in all things beautiful!

Plug In To Nature

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In preparation for our upcoming EDGE 3 retreats this September, I thought I’d explore some ideas about nature from my most trusted source…my family! While recently enjoying a ridiculously lazy day at the cottage, I asked them why nature is important to each of them. I wanted to discuss “How nature moves us forward in our day-to-day, and how can it change the way we show up at work?”

What fascinated me was that from 10 to 80 years old, we all had a similar perspective.  Here’s what I discovered…

Nature clears our mind…

  • It can bring peace and balance to our over-scheduled lives and allows us to focus on the things that are most important to us.

Nature leads to self-discovery…

  • The simple moments outdoors quiets our emotions and allow us to hear our inner voice.  Being in touch with nature means that we are in touch with ourselves.

Nature gives a fresh perspective…

  • Once we place ourselves in a tranquil setting, we recognize the power of “now” which allows for new insights and enlightened perspectives.

Nature connects us…

  • We are more similar than we are different. Nature levels the playing field and helps to connect with each other on a deeper level.

As I pack my bags and prepare for departure back to the city, I take a piece of nature with me.  The challenges may remain the same, but I face them with a renewed sense of self, and an energy that I intend to share with others.

 How do you plan to reset your inner compass? 

What would a renewed sense of self do for you? 

Where can you go to unplug from your work setting?

 Consider one of our EDGE 3 retreats.  We’re want to help you reignite your inner passion!

DaveDavid Graham is a Leadership Coach and the Founder of EDGE 3.  He offers one-on-one coaching, team building workshops and for transformational experiences, he takes executives out of the boardroom and into nature. What inspires you as a leader?