Posted by Tom Locke on November 5th, 2019 filed in Business, Education, General, History, Life
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Call me old school but it is sure disappointing witnessing how people treat one another today. Whatever happened to the golden rule of treating others like the way you wish to be treated?

In the history of the world, no one ever went wrong by being polite. In fact, many people will tell you that life is better when we treat each other with respect. Unfortunately, this form of common decency does not appear to be that common today.

But it doesn’t mean it has to stay that way. All it takes is a few consistent gestures of kindness and respect and you will see a positive change in those you interact with. Hopefully, it becomes contagious.

During my upbringing my parents constantly kept me on tract with the use of two phrases – “Please” and “Thank you”. They echo respect, dignity and harmony and open a lot of doors.

A Lasting Moment In Time

Posted by Tom Locke on October 23rd, 2019 filed in General, History, Life, Sports ... All Sorts
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Back in 1993 I commissioned a young, up-and-coming artist to do a painting of elite mile distant runners, England’s Sir Roger Bannister and Australian John Landy, to commemorate their historic race at the 1954 British Empire & Commonwealth Games held in Vancouver; a race that would for ever after become known as the Miracle Mile.

With only 90 yards to go in this legendary race, John Landy glanced over his left shoulder to check his opponent’s position. At that instant Bannister streaked by him to victory in a Commonwealth record time of 3:58.8. Landy’s second place finish in 3:59.6 marked the first time the four minute mile had been broken by two men in the same race.

The Miracle Mile painting and prints originally signed by Bannister, Landy and the artist were introduced at the 1994 Commonwealth Games held in Victoria, BC. The original painting hangs over the my fireplace at home and over the last 25 years, I have had a number of runners, sports enthusiasts and professional speakers reach out to me for a signed print.

It’s truly amazing what this moment in time has become a metaphor for – from breaking barriers to achieving goals to dedication/commitment to a sport. Case in point, this past August I was contacted by Phredd Evans, a high school Assistant Principal in Jones, Oklahoma.

Phredd has a saying he shares with his students, “What’s behind you doesn’t matter”. To support this, he reached out to me for a print so he could place it in his office as a reminder to students that looking back can be costly.

Phredd Evans and Miracle Mile Print

Kudos to you Phredd. May this legendary moment in time continue to inspire your students – new and old.

Fraternal Spirit Forever

Posted by Tom Locke on October 17th, 2019 filed in General, History, Humour, Life
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On Friday October 11th, I attended the 150th anniversary reunion of my high school fraternity, Gamma Sigma Fraternity International. It was held in Niagara Falls, Ontario and I am so glad I went.

Many of the “Brothers” attending I had not seen in 40+ years. But that didn’t matter. A quick handshake and smile and we were right back in the saddle reminiscing about our times together. It could best be described as “old home week”.

The memorabilia on display and the stories told made it seem as if time had stood still. Yeah, we may be a little heavier and follicly challenged but our fraternity spirit remained present in spades.

One common theme, echoed by many, throughout the course of the evening, was the pivotal role our active days in Gamma Sigma played in shaping who we are today.

It was also fascinating in seeing the positive reactions shown by our spouses and significant others during the festivities.

And the laughter … it was infectious. Any of my fellow Brothers could be the poster child for the axiom of the legendary Danish comedian, pianist and conductor, Victor Borge, who said, “Laughter is shortest distance between two people”.

The committee of Brothers who put on this event did an exceptional job and had many of the attendees hoping for and committing to future alumni-like get-togethers.

It was the epitome of “Why Fraternity”.

Tom “Dudley” Locke, SHA, Gamma Nu ’68

A Healthy Outlook

Posted by Tom Locke on October 6th, 2019 filed in Business, General, Life
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At a recent film conference in Dublin, Ireland, I had the pleasure of attending a presentation by motivational speaker, Georgie Crawford.

A cancer survivor, she shared her life changing story with us.

She readily agrees that life isn’t fair.  However, she is quick to point out that self pity is a dead end road and is a proponent of Tony Robbins’ axiom that “Life happens for you”.

In her dissertation, she pointed out how she, like many of us, was totally career-oriented, taking her health for granted and falling into the trap of letting stress run her life.  Needless to say this caught up with her.

On her road to recovery, she did three things:

  • Made a commitment to developing and maintaining healthy habits
  • Adopted a daily exercise routine
  • Focused on becoming aware of herself and her surroundings

She soon took to heart what Gerry Hussey, a performance psychology consultant, preaches:

“If we don’t make time for our health one day, we will be forced to make time for our illness.”

After her recovery from cancer, Georgie Crawford left her hectic journalist career position and started podcasting.  To hear her, check out her Good Glow Podcast – she has quite a following.


Liking Yourself

Posted by Tom Locke on August 22nd, 2019 filed in Business, General, Life
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Are you the kind of person you would want to be friends with? Spend time with? Work with? Work for? At the end of the day, we have to at least like ourselves.

So, how can we achieve all the above?  Well here are 3 easy steps we can all practice:

  1. Do The Right Thing – this requires you to be authentic by being honest and loyal with your actions and words in such a manner that garners respect from others.
  2. Be Positive – this focuses on you being nice to yourself as well as others.  Heck, if we talked to others the way we often talk to ourselves, we’d have no friends at all.
  3. Make Time For Yourself – it is a noble thing to live our lives and/or take care of others.  However, we should also put some time aside to indulge in ourselves  – we earned this time and should enjoy it.

In following the above, there is a good bet that you will expose yourself to a couple of by-products:  happiness and contentment.

Letting Go

Posted by Tom Locke on August 1st, 2019 filed in Business, General, Life
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Want to reduce your stress level?  Then, let go of stuff.

What plagues too many of us in the present is usually regret from the past or a concern about the future – things we can’t change or control. If you let these things go, you will live with less stress and anxiety.

Respect and appreciate the past, be excited about the future – but, live in the now.  Make your next decision your best one.

Be Careful What You Ask For

Posted by Tom Locke on July 4th, 2019 filed in Business, Humour, Life, Music
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A colleague of mine was over at my place the other day and noticed I had a jukebox.

We played a few tunes and then he shared with me that he was a big fan of a Canadian rock band from the late 70’s and had connected with the former lead guitarist via social media.

My colleague’s wish was for the band to get back together again and through correspondence and the building of trust with the former lead guitarist, he persuaded this band member to confidently reach out to the other former members to see if they would be interested in getting back together.

Lo’ and behold it happened.  The band reunited, practiced for 9 months and subsequently played to a sold out crowd and a standing ovation.

The response to the band has been nothing short of fantastic since.  And the band has now persuaded my colleague to be their manager!

All of a sudden his wish/dream has become somewhat of a nightmare and he feels a little overwhelmed in trying to learn what a manager does, offer guidance/direction and balancing this new found, non-paying initiative with his full time job and his family.

The Art Of Small Talk

Posted by Tom Locke on June 7th, 2019 filed in Business, Education, General, Life
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Small talk is generally defined as conversation about things that are not of any great importance.  The topic of weather is a great example.

However, when one focuses small talk on a subject that is of interest to the one who is being addressed then it can be of value.

Dr. Justine Coupland is an expert in the field of sociolinguistics, which is the study of language in relation to social factors. In her book, Small Talk, she provides comprehensive analysis of the powerful and positive effect that small talk has in social interactions. She writes,

“Small talk cannot be dismissed as peripheral, marginal or minor discourse. Small talk is a means by which we negotiate interpersonal relationships. This is a crucial function with significant implications for ongoing and future interactions.”

For me small talk is an art that allows one to connect with another via a subject of interest and is actually a subset of listening.  It also assists in setting the table for engagement.  Successful leaders use small talk with sincerity.

A Trick To Being Happy

Posted by Tom Locke on May 24th, 2019 filed in Business, Education, Life
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In actual fact being happy is a state of mind that you have the power to choose.  For example, if you decide to wake up in the morning and be grumpy all day, there’s almost 100% chance you will succeed.  However, if you choose to be happy that day, you have given yourself the opportunity to indeed be happy.

To increase your chances of being happy everyday, you might want to consider sharing this emotion with others by making them happy.  Happy people are often the people who make others happy – one of the best methods/tricks I know to keep a smile on my face and my life in balance.

The Blame Game

Posted by Tom Locke on May 17th, 2019 filed in Business, History, Life
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I was somewhat taken by surprise the other day to read some correspondence from a CEO who began complaining about his company’s performance by pointing the finger at his suppliers and shareholders.

As Marilyn Paul points out in a recent article:

Where there is blame, there is no learning. Where there is blame, open minds close, inquiry tends to cease, and the desire to understand the whole system diminishes. When people work in an atmosphere of blame, they naturally cover up their errors and hide their real concerns. And when energy goes into finger pointing, scapegoating, and denying responsibility, productivity suffers because the organization lacks information about the real state of affairs.

As the great basketball coach John Wooden put it, “You are not a failure until you start blaming others for your mistakes.”

Accountability and believing in yourself are what it takes to be successful.  Moving forward in this vain you will find success and will encounter like minds who see the value in you.

It is not always easy.  If you don’t keep going to the plate, you will never hit a homerun.