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!


Launching into 2017

Driving on an empty road towards the sun and big black cloud to upcoming 2017. Concept for success and passing time.

At this time of year, we can’t help but think that in 2017, things are going to be better. I am going to lose weight, go to the gym, land that dream job, get my finances in order, turn my business around…and the list goes on. We make New Year’s Resolutions with the best of intentions, but perhaps we are approaching it from the wrong angle.

The word “resolution” suggests that something needs to be fixed. What would be possible if we decided to celebrate the things that went well in 2016 and build on that momentum?

Take a moment to reflect and jot down your personal WINS of 2016.

  • What were my challenges?
  • What were the roadblocks that I was able to overcome?
  • What did I do particularly well?

Once you have celebrated this past year consider how you can build on your success and  be even better in 2017.

  • What would make this my most successful year yet?
  • If failing weren’t a possibility, what would I do?
  • What is one small step that I can take today?

This is a great time of year to work with a coach. Coaching works under the premise that all of the answers are within you and the forward momentum comes from setting goals with actionable results. A coach can help you stay aligned and committed to your plan every step of the way.

“Your true path lives within you; you just need the courage to follow it”

You may even want to see if your company will cover the cost coaching services? After all, it is in their interest for you to be the best that you can be!

daveDavid Graham is a leadership coach and the founder of EDGE3. He is passionate about developing professionals and entrepreneurs at all levels and seeing them reach their ultimate potential. 


Make a World of Difference


I’ve always believed that the smallest gestures with the purest intention can make the biggest difference. That is why I continue to participate in the TriAdventure and to support the Nikibasika program; a small but mighty group committed to a powerful cause.

In August, I’ll be joining a team of athletes to swim 3km, run 15km, canoe 15km and cycle 140km to fund an orphanage in Uganda. For the first many years the event provided these 51 vulnerable kids with food and shelter and a place that they could call home, but now that the kids are growing up, the program also supports higher education and leadership programs. These amazing kids/young adults are becoming leaders in their community and have learned the power of giving back to others less fortunate.

In a world where unrest has affected many of our fellow humans, it’s refreshing and exciting to be part of a community that wants nothing more than to do good for others and to make a positive difference in the world.

Join me in my journey to support Nikibasika, which means, “It is possible!”

This year my inspiration is Anita, pictured below, a vibrant 16 year old who plans on studying international business.  In her free time she volunteers at a local hospital.


David Graham develops good leaders who want to become spectacular leaders and works with them to build high performing, super-focused teams.  What is your team’s unique EDGE?

Broken Dreams

Country Singer

A country tune came on. I threw my hat on and danced across the kitchen.

I imagined what it would be like to be a country singer in a huge stadium with adoring fans singing along. Women would swoon and men would want to be like me. “Wow!” I screamed out loud, “in my next life I am coming back as a country singer!”

And then I recalled an innocent time in my life that I thought that would be my destiny.

Or perhaps I’d be the host of The Tonight Show; the most popular guy in town. I’d hang out with the who’s who and life would be one big “front of the line”.

Broken Dreams.

And then the joy turned into a bruised feeling. In my early 20’s, I had dreams that I would be that guy. I grew up in a time and place where we were told that we could do anything, be anything if we just put our mind to it.

I turned to my partner, Justin and said, “do you ever have that feeling that you didn’t quite make it to where you dreamed you’d be”. He agreed that he had that feeling too.

Broken Dreams.

How do we get our head around that? How do we accept that dreams may not become a reality? How do we fully embrace the gratitude for the many blessings in our life rather than focusing on the things that didn’t come to pass?

Justin said it perfectly, “The only solution for broken dreams is more dreams.”

Self Coaching Exercise:

What is your broken dream? What made it important to you?

What part of that dream can you recreate and reframe so that it continues to lives on?

How can you harness that passion to drive you towards your life’s purpose?


David Graham is a Leadership Coach and Founder of EDGE3.  If you are looking to tap into your ultimate potential, join Dave at our upcoming EDGE3 Retreat in Muskoka, September 16-18, 2016.

Motivation – Throwing Away The Carrots & The Sticks


I’ve managed people most of my career, and I’ve worked in teams all my life. If you had asked me early in my leadership career what motivates someone at work I would have probably told you either having a good salary or maybe having a spiffy title. And of course who doesn’t think a big bonus is motivating? To effectively lead people, I thought you needed carrots and sticks in the right balance for motivation to work. Somehow in my gut I knew that it was too simplistic, and soon my own experience managing people started to disprove that theory. My anecdotal experience and observations about trying to motivate with financial rewards, promotions and titles: Rewards became an expectation for baseline performance instead of improving performance! I’ve lost count of the number of times I have heard people complain about their bonus payments. Now, some of you may have read a book called Drive, The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us. The author Daniel Pink, a bit of a leadership guru, has helped me see what really motivates people. In his book Pink talks about the evolution of motivation from survival instincts, to the carrot and stick methodology, to what he calls Motivation 3.0. This latest notion replaces carrots and sticks with values and purpose.

What I found most interesting is how convincing Pink is in proving that the carrot and stick approach to motivation doesn’t work, especially in work that is complex, requires creativity or involves problem solving. Pink demonstrates that these traditional short-term motivators actually reduce creativity, and foster very short-term thinking at the expense of long-term results.

What really motivates people?

Pink argues:

  • Autonomy – the desire to direct your own life;
  • Mastery – the urge to get better and better at something that matters; and
  • Purpose – to do what we do in the service of something larger than ourselves.

Since I left the world of government and big corporations to start my own business working with talented leaders to help them reach greater success, I’ve had a chance to further test this theory. By diving in with my clients, exploring with them what really gets them going and works with staff I’ve come to believe that Pink has it right. Don’t take my word for it — give this a try: Grab a sheet of paper and make two columns. Label the first one “What I Liked” and the second one “How I Felt.” The first thing I’m going to ask you to do is to think of a leader you liked. Go ahead and close your eyes for just a moment and think about that great leader, the one you really admired. This leader could be a mentor in your business, a former boss, or maybe even a teacher or professor who once taught you. Now take a minute to jot down in the first column what you liked about this leader. Now, in the next column, take a moment to write how they made you feel. Go ahead, take a moment and reflect on what you’ve written before you continue.

Okay, now let’s think of the opposite. On the back of your sheet of paper again put two columns, only this time label them “What I Didn’t Like” and “How I Felt.”

Think back to a time where you’ve had a leader in your life – again could be a former employer, manager, professor or even a colleague. The kind of person no matter what they were paid, it was too much. Think of someone you wanted to help find a new job – in a competing firm! In the first column jot down what you didn’t like about this person. Take a moment to be very descriptive.

Now think about how it felt to be around this person. Try to remember how you felt inside, and record these feelings in the second column.

Now, when you look at those lists you know in your heart what great leadership is. For the good leader you’ve likely written down things like “inspiring,” “really challenged me” or “helped me find my way.” Maybe you mentioned “respect” or that this leader “gave good feedback.” Chances are you didn’t write “paid me well” or “gave big bonuses.”

In the case of your example of “that other guy” you may have written things like “made me feel small,” “criticized,” “didn’t help,” or even “they were a bully.”

When I’ve done this exercise with clients I’ve had many respond with “I was bored working for him,” “she micromanaged me” or they said the leader was a “perfectionist.”

There are two key points to consider when we look at the lists under our two types of leaders: We know in our hearts what great leadership looks like and we get a sense of the motivators we need to provide to be a good leader.

An effective leader motivates by building relationships. How does a good leader build relationships? Not with carrots and sticks, but by one conversation at a time.

Our coaching question for you today is: How can you change the motivators for your team, to inspire them — and you — to greatness?


Patrick O’Reilly, EDGE 3 Contributor

Patrick is a Certified Executive Coach and Owner/Principal Consultant of Padraig Coaching & Consulting based in Winnipeg, Manitoba.  For more information, visit:

How To Tell Your Boss What You Want

problems opportunity concept

Imagine a senior level executive. She has a difficult challenge ahead of her.  She’s been stuck in a messy company reorganization that’s left her smack dab in the middle of the ‘mess’ without any real position.  She has been tasked with helping others to get settled into their new roles, but she hasn’t been assigned any inspiring duties of her own – nothing yet to settle into.  For a goal-orientated, achievement driven professional, this can be a paralyzing place to be.  Although she’s employed reached no-man’s land in terms of knowing her role.

She figures that it’s time to have a difficult conversation with the CEO…

  • “Let’s get on with it!”
  • “Give me a job for goodness sake!”
  • “I am completely demotivated!”

Those were just some of the things that she wanted to say. But how could she share those sentiments without sounding selfish or needy?  She knows her worth; she simply wants to put herself to work!

How about we reframe those statements she wanted to say… how can these statements land with the boss in a more impactful way?

  • “Here’s an opportunity where I may be of service…”
  • “Let me share with you what motivates me to do my best work”
  • “I can be most effective and productive for the company when…”

We all avoid what needs to be said for one reason or another, but how do our Managers know what inspires us if we don’t tell them?

If we want our careers to go in a certain direction it may involve speaking up and being heard.

It all starts with a conversation; why not make it an inspiring one?

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 to do your best work?

My computer broke: An exercise in patience.

computerterrorFor so many of us, we rely heavily on technology to keep us connected. Whether it’s a laptop for work, a tablet for personal use, email accounts to communicate, or just having WiFi access, some of us may think, “What the H-E-double hockey sticks would I do if my (insert favourite tech functionality or device) broke?”

After having to part with my laptop for 2 weeks while it underwent repairs, I know what my answer is….

While working on client projects a few weeks ago, my laptop died. Just died. And sadly, I don’t possess the know-how to troubleshoot these kinds of issues myself. So I put my faith in the hands of professionals and surrendered it until they could figure out what was going on.

Once the laptop was out of the house, I had a choice. Instead of stressing out about the unknown and vibrating negative energy from every part of my being, I decided that I would just accept the situation for what it was and carry on in the best way I could.

In the days that followed, I found myself finding ways to adapt to the situation so I could still continue to be as productive as possible. Whether it was going to library labs to use computers and internet, or implementing the somewhat lost art of pen to paper writing, I survived. It was at times a challenge, and a little different than what I’m accustomed to, but there was a satisfaction in knowing that my life is not totally ruled by technology (COMPLIMENTED, yes; RULED no!).

Outside of the inconvenience of not having my laptop for work, I was beginning to really appreciate being ‘unplugged’. I accepted the limitations – knowing they were temporary – and embraced the creative opportunities that came from this situation.

When the kind people who had my machine diagnosed the problem and fixed it, they told me that I was a dream client; that I was friendly whenever they spoke to me, and they appreciated my patience. I told them, “I can imagine that many people come in feeling frazzled – I felt that way, too. But I figured, what good will it do for me to stress more about it? I trusted that you guys knew what you were doing, and all I could do is hope for the best. And if I can keep my energy positive, then maybe that will help the situation in some way – because that’s really all I can offer.”

I am pleased to have my computer back this week (working like a dream!). I truly appreciate how much it helps me work more efficiently. But I am thankful for the BIGGER lesson I learned: While technology enhances my life, I know it’s not the only way I can get things done and sometimes it feels really good to get back to basics! And I learned that I have more patience than I give myself credit for… I just need to activate that quality more often.

So while I don’t imagine (or want) it happening again, what the H-E-double hockey sticks would I do if my laptop broke? I’ll just keep breathing, smiling, and moving forward as best I can. Things have a way of working out in the end.

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!

Be Still And Listen

“Be still and listen [to yourself]” Iyanla Vanzent said over and over again to the 8,500 life seekers at Oprah’s Lifeclass on Monday night – David and I included. Those words went from my brain straight to my heart. This afternoon, I went to the library [as I do every Saturday] and grabbed Annie Leibowvitz’s Pilgrimage, a coffee table book of photographs that she took of landscapes and rooms because she recognized that she was seeing the world and various types of rooms AGAIN through the eyes of her children. The very first picture is of Robert Frost’s handwritten poem “Stopping by the Woods” wherein the first line reads “My little horse must think it queer to stop without a farm house near”. See, even Robert Frost is telling me to be still and listen. Oprah says “when our insides match our outsides we will have true balance and peace’. Take the time today, just a few minutes to stop, be still and listen. What are you telling you to do? Then, do it.

– Stacey Richards, EDGE 3 Contributor