Mike’s Mailbag: Unveiling of “The Birdie Whisperer”

Happy Sunday Folks,

First check-in from Inverness and have some pretty exciting things on the docket!

  • As Cabot’s engines start to rev with golfers coming from all over the world to play, I’m super pumped to unveil my caddie brand this summer, “The Birdie Whisperer“…

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  • I am grateful to be welcomed by the very nice folks of Inverness and as such, I take a lot of pride in being the best ambassador of Cabot, the town of Inverness, Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, and at the end of the day, Canada really, to people coming from all around the world to experience the world-class golf. Yes I am here to carry golfers bags, help them read putts, dial in their distances, find errant drives, but really, I am here to tie all those pieces together and provide a premier golf experience. If you’re heading my way and need a caddie this summer or know someone who does, The Birdie Whisperer is perched and waiting!

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  • Some of you have been asking why I write my Mailbag? How do I find the time? How do I find articles? I had some fun dialing into the “why” at a quaint little European cafe in Old Quebec City on my trek out here. Here’s what came out when pen hit paper: https://mikesmailbag.org/about-me/.
  • This next story is a feel good one… So you know the Telus Cup, the national midget AAA hockey tournament for the top teams in the entire country? The Cape Breton West Islanders WON the tournament a couple weeks ago in Prince George, BC beating a team from Quebec 5-4 in overtime! The team is comprised of kids from multiple small towns and hamlets across Cape Breton Island that drives multiple hours just to go to practice on weeknights, yet alone games! Cape Breton’ers are very proud of their team and rightly so for being crowned the #1 midget AAA hockey team in Canada: http://www.capebretonpost.com/sports/hockey/2017/4/30/history-made–cape-breton-west-wins-telus-cup-championship.html
  • Speaking of high intensity playoff hockey, I’d be remiss if I didn’t share how to tinkle the twine courtesy of the On The Bench guys from Calgary.
  • Last but not least, one of my favorite TV shows, Master of None, came out with season 2. It is an awesome show that brings to life a lot of humor that is lost amongst everyday life and brings a raw perspective on being single, life as a millenial, and misunderstanding of various cultural stereotypes. Aziz Ansari is the lead character and producer of his own show which makes for a light-hearted and hilarious take on life as we know it. Season 2 trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tGE-Mw-Yjsk.

Golf Tip/Quip of the Week: I certainly don’t profess to be a golf professional or instructor but I’ve hacked my way around a few courses in my day and this summer, my life revolves around watching/helping people play golf. Many folks aren’t used to be playing links golf with 50+ km/hr winds and frankly, it isn’t easy and takes some getting used to! It’s not for everyone but is a lot of fun when you learn to embrace the game at its grassroots level. When hitting into the wind or into a crosswind, the key is to club up and swing EASIER, not harder. This will help keep your ball flight down and limit the amount of spin on the ball. The time to club down and swing for the fences is when you’re downwind and have ample space to let the ball release after landing.

Song of the Week: You can count on Eric Church being a staple of any top shelf summer playlist and this song pretty much sums up my mantra for the summer here in Cape Breton… “Holdin’ My Own” – Eric Church

Quote of the Week:Golf and sex are about the only things you can enjoy without being good at.” – Jimmy Demaret

Make it a great week!

Wilkesy

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Mike’s Mailbag: Why Gardening is My New Favorite Hobby

Greetings Friends,

While in Toronto this week, I had an idea blossom in my head for how to relate relationship building to something that doesn’t necessarily have direct monetary value but yet still has a ton of tangible and intangible value.

What did I come up with? Yep, you guessed it. Gardening! Here’s a sneak peek…

Gardening and Mike in the same sentence? My mother would say those two words have never been uttered in the same sentence in 27 years of my life. Heck, my thumb is the farthest shade from green in the traditional sense but not in the type of gardening I like to do…

Full article on LinkedIn by clicking: Why Gardening is My New Favorite Hobby.

Song of the Week: I can’t even begin to describe how awesome this tune is. Killer base line to open the track, throw in a little sass, class and trumpet and what do you get? “You Look Good” by Lady Antebellum. Or here for the folks on Spotify.

Quote of the Week: “Everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs while you’re climbing it.” – Andy Rooney

Btw… I’m stoking up MusicByMike and to get the ball rolling, here’s a sizzlin’ playlist that guarantees you a countrified good time from coast to coast. Made with love, here’s “Cape Breton Country“!

Ciao,

Mike

Mike’s Mailbag: A Tribute to Larry From Manitoba

What’s Shaking Mailbagger’s!?

Its been a while since we last did this… December 12, 2016 to be exact.

Well, lots of life has happened since then for all of us. Ups, downs and everything in between. As you may know, I left my corporate job on my own accord in March and have set my sights set on the beautiful Inverness skies that paint the backdrop for Cabot Links and Cabot Cliffs.

I embarked on my journey bright and early this morning from Calgary and this edition is coming to you from a Motel 6 on the Trans Canada Highway in Brandon, Manitoba. I logged 1,194km today in the Green Gator! Things I learned on my drive: Saskatchewan is exceptionally flat, it is possible to go 4 hours in Canada without cell reception, and that massive agriculture dealerships (John Deere, Massey Ferguson, Case, New Holland) are front and center in every town and city in Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

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In my 12 hours of driving today, I alternated between podcasts, interviews, and tunes and have pasted links to different episodes I listened to today:

Favorite tracks from shuffle today:

While I haven’t formally written in 5 months, I have been collecting a ton of content in addition to making a lot of notes on topics that interest me. Now that I’m captaining my own ship, I will be creating lots of time to write about some of these things but also sharing some of my travel and caddying adventures from this summer on the East Coast. I don’t have any set frequency or format what’s in store. Just going with the flow and seeing where the tides take my writing…

On a sadder note, we lost a loyal Mailbag reader, Larry Ethier, last week due to a tragic health complication. Larry was a pillar of what was right in the world. He was a husband, father, brother, cousin, Principal, mentor, and friend to many. Genuinely one of the nicest men I’ve ever known. His Celebration of Life service was incredibly inspiring and a humbling learning experience for all in attendance. Larry had an incredible impact on the world, evident of all the enriching stories told by friends, family and colleagues of his 69 years of living. I think a friend, Lorree, summed it up best after the service, “in Larry’s passing, we all learned how to live.

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Larry was big on relationships. Everything from breaking the ice and instantly taking a genuine interest in your life to the more difficult element of maintaining friendships over time and large distance gaps, Larry always led with generosity. His son, Lucas, asked everyone in attendance to honor his dad by reaching out to someone who you’ve been meaning to for a while now but life has got in the way.

My way of honoring Lucas’ ask is after life getting in the way for five months, writing my first Mailbag to you in dedication to the great man Larry was and will continue to live on in legacy.

Quote of the Week: A classic from our friend, Larry.

Good, better, best.
Never let it rest.
Until the good is better.
And, until the better, best.

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Let’s all take a page out of Larry’s book and make our own lives a message to the world about the person we show up as each and every day we’re alive!

Live From Manitoba,

Mike

2016 Year in Review: Top 10 Quotes & Mike’s Merry Mash 10

Buenos Lunes Mis Amigos,

While the holiday season means catching glimpses of Will Ferrell on TV’s on three separate occasions per week and wearing ugly Christmas sweaters that smell like the stale cardboard box you found it in, there are other perks… Such as it being Year in Review time for sports highlights AND Mike’s Mailbag. As much as I’d love for Natasha Staniszewski and Kate Beirness to host Mike’s Mailbag Year in Review, they politely declined so I guess my hosting abilities will have to suffice!

This Week -> Top 10 Quotes of 2016

Next Week -> Top 10 Video Clips of 2016

Christmas Week -> Top 10 Articles of 2016

But before we kick things off, as many of you know, I have been putting together a Christmas mixtape for family and friends for years and turns out times flies! This will be the 10th edition of Mike’s Merry Mash. Once upon a time, I’d burn the mixtape to a CD and mail them out but we’re going digital this year and sharing via Spotify. Please turn your “shuffle” feature off as there is a method to my madness regarding the order of the track list. Check it out here: Mike’s Merry Mash 10!

Don’t have Spotify? You should probably consider jumping aboard 🙂 But I have also listed the track list below if you’d like to YouTube or download them on your music service of choice.

Drop a comment below with your favorite quote(s) of 2016, whether you found them via my Mailbag or elsewhere!!!

Feliz Navidad,

Mike

TOP 10 QUOTES OF 2016

1) “At one point in your life, you’ll have the thing you want or the reasons why you don’t.” – Andy Roddick (Week 21)

2) “We do not rise to the level of our hopes. We fall to the level of our training. – Archilochus (Week 40)

3) “Beware of destination addiction. The idea that happiness is in the next place, the next job, or even in the next partner. Until you give up the idea that happiness is somewhere else, it will never be where you are.” – Robert Holden (Week 5)

4) “Your resume is your past. Your job is your present. Your network is your future.” – Terri Trespicio (Week 26)

5) “Empathy is a choice and it’s a vulnerable choice. Because in order to connect with you, I have to connect with something in myself that knows the feeling.” – Brene Brown (Week 17)

6) “If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito in your bedroom.  – Dalai Lama (Week 30)

7) “I’m looking for what’s real. And when I find that, I take it right to the soul. I’m not a surface guy, I can’t stand living on the surface. I think that’s why people are so unfulfilled today. People text instead of communicate, people think their Facebook friends are their friends. Depth is what people are missing. I like taking people deep. That’s why people are so riveted because it’s so rare.” – Tony Robbins (Week 47)

8) “Life must be lived forward but can only be understood backwards.” – Will Arnett in Flaked (Week 20)

9) “We’re so attached to the identities, relationships, and dreams that have brought us this far. But like a cocoon, when a butterfly emerges the cocoon has served its purpose. It doesn’t mean it’s false – it means it’s served its purpose. And our dreams, our identities, our ambitions, our relationships, they’re often cocoons that lead us to the next. And we get so understandably attached that we get in conflict when it breaks or falls away; we don’t see what it’s opened us to.” – Mark Nepo (Week 48)

10) “The difference of a person’s fate is decided from what a person spends in his free time between 20:00 to 22:00 . Use these two hours to learn, think and participate in meaningful lectures or discussion. If you persist for several years, success will come knocking on your doors.” – Li Ka Shing (Week 22)

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Mike’s Mailbag: Taking a Page Out of Roosevelt’s Playbook

Top O’ The Morning Muchachos,

As we turn the page on No Bullshit November into December, I couldn’t be more jovial about what the next 30 days have in store! Personally speaking, I had a great November full of intended change (physical fitness) but also forged some unexpected relationships that have had a very positive influence on my life.

Before we kick-off this week’s edition, I’d like to send a big shout out to so many of you who commented on or brought up last week’s Mailbag in conversation. That was a special edition and it was really nice that so many of you tuned in!

  1. This Wall Street Journal article by Scott Adams will be in the mix for top 10 articles of 2016, no doubt (see my 2015 rankings). “To put it bluntly, goals are for losers.” – Scott Adams. If you don’t have a WSJ subscription, just Google “Scott Adams Secrets of Success: Failure” and click on the link in the search results. Google allows you to read all WSJ articles for free!
  2. This next excerpt was shared with me by a special person that entered my life in November. I am grateful for their newfound friendship and these battle tested words of wisdom (as spoken by Theodore Roosevelt) they shared with me, as I am not very well read on my American Presidents.
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  3. I am an active user of social media but if I’m honest, I have a hard time disagreeing with any of the points raised in this rather contrarian perspective by Cal Newport “Quit Social Media. Your Career May Depend On It.
  4. This new North Face commercial really just makes you want to jump in your vehicle and head west bound…
  5. So you want to go west bound, eh? I think there will be some that opt for a plane ticket to the east coast instead after they see this beautiful video montage of Nova Scotia! Wow…

Song of the Week: The reason I posted this song has nothing to do with yoga, I just think this is a real jazzy Cathy of a tune. “Once a Day (Love Life Remix)” – Michael Franti & Spearhead. Here it is via Spotify and YouTube. Whatever you do, turn it up!

Quote of the Week: “We’re so attached to the identities, relationships, and dreams that have brought us this far. But like a cocoon, when a butterfly emerges the cocoon has served its purpose. It doesn’t mean it’s false – it means it’s served its purpose. And our dreams, our identities, our ambitions, our relationships, they’re often cocoons that lead us to the next. And we get so understandably attached that we get in conflict when it breaks or falls away; we don’t see what it’s opened us to.” – Mark Nepo

Time to Find an Arena!

Mike

 

Mike’s Mailbag: A Tribute To My Dad, Gord!

Goooood Morning Folks!

I’ll say it now… Best Mailbag of the year material this morning folks!

The reason I am especially pumped about this week’s Mailbag is because it is a tribute to my dad, better known as Gordo. He hit his milestone 65th birthday on Monday and it’s given me lots to think and reflect on. Tune in to the first video video link below which is a really cool insight into the work he has been pioneering in his field of reconstructive Plastic Surgery. I’ll preface the video with a few reflective thoughts…

What hit me this week is that my dad, like many father/son relationships, has had a huge impact on my life since day 1, but when I sit back and think about it, I really have never had any concept or idea of what his day to day to life is like as a doctor.

Last week, one of his residents dug up a YouTube clip of a feature that was done on Gord (and much to mine and sisters’ chigrin, a family bike ride we went on in the 90’s that was quite embarassing)! Point is, this really is the most introspective look I’ve ever had on someone who’s had such a big impact on me, yet professionally speaking, my dad’s career and mine could not be more different. As a kid growing up, when Gordo came home from work, he put his “dad” hat on and never talked much about the meaningful impact he was seemingly having on people’s lives. Now that I’m older (and a little more mature), I’ve put a lot more thought into the craft he’s honed and expertise developed he’s carving ears out out of patient’s rib cartillege who have lost one or both of them due to a bad accident, cancer, or having been born without one or both.

When you’re able to help someone while they’re at their most vulnerable, that is enormously powerful and the grounds for forming a very meaningful relationship. I’m just starting to realize how big of an impact he’s had on so many of his patients, both young and old, and yet he’s stayed as humble as the kid who grew up with three younger brothers on the streets of Meadowlark in west Edmonton.

Thanks dad for being such a great role model and teaching me many qualities that I hope to emulate in some fashion as I grow into my professional career, wherever that may lead…

  • As prefaced, here is the clip from the late 1990’s titled, “The Surgeons“, on Gord’s leadership of the Institute for Reconstructive Sciences (formerly COMPRU at the time) at the Misercordia Hospital in Edmonton. Very cool stuff…
  • A couple weeks ago, I wrote about a random guy, Tony Esteves, quest to meet one new person every day for an entire year. Well I’m very proud to now call Tony a friend, a chum, pal, compadre. We met last Friday night for what was supposed to be “a beer” which turned into many… Our conversation went in every direction and to great depths, which there’s nothing more I enjoy! For the record, I was day #220 on Tony’s calendar. Tony wrote about our initial encounter on his Talk2MorePeople page. In the last 7 days since meeting, we’ve broken bread at both of our Calgary dwellings and I attended my first ever “improv jam acting class” at Tony’s house (which totally scared the bejeebers out of me going into it. I’m trying to work on my creative expression which Tony graciously offered to help me out with). And he also virtually met with one of my best friend’s and loyal Mailbag reader in San Francisco, Chris Snoyer. Pretty solid first week of friendship if I say so myself! And it all started with a simple… conversation.

    If you’d like to meet Tony and be part of his Talk2MorePeople journey, I’d love to introduce you!

Song of the Week: Live in 1973, here is Chicago and their classic, “Saturday in the Park“. This one is for my dad, as Chicago is his all-time favorite band. The above photo is Gord and his cousin, Greg, on cloud-nine taking a photo with the entire band after their concert in Edmonton a couple weekends ago. They blend right in if you ask me!

Quote of the Week:I’m looking for what’s real. And when I find that, I take it right to the soul. I’m not a surface guy, I can’t stand living on the surface. I think that’s why people are so unfulfilled today. People text instead of communicate, people think their Facebook friends are their friends. Depth is what people are missing. I like taking people deep. That’s why people are so riveted because it’s so rare.” – Tony Robbins

Take Your Life To The House!

Mike

Mike’s Mailbag: Learning to Ride a Bike… Backwards!

Sorry folks, third time is a charm, right! I really don’t know what happened both times previously pressing “post”…

Have a great weekend!

  1. If you’re someone who appreciates genuine, thought-provoking content (I’m assuming that’s why you subscribe to this), as opposed to prescriptive lists that litter the Internet, my friend – Chris Ackroyd – just launched a new site for you called Life in Questions! I was super pumped to be one of the inaugural contributors to this community of open-minded, engaged thinkers and listeners. I’ve featured Chris’ awesome outlook on life many times in my Mailbag, including naming his article “Don’t Care About People. Care For People” as my #1 article of 2015!
  2. This is a really cool clip called “The Backwards Bicycle“… Definitely worth the watch about rewiring your brain!
  3. The third article of the week is by a university friend of mine, Chloe, who is an incredible writer and grammarian. This is not a new post of hers but one that stands the test of time. Do you know what an “ascended master” is? I didn’t either. But once Chloe introduced the concept to me in her writing, it really made me think and ponder if any have entered/exited my life in my 26 years of living… Perhaps next time you and I sit down for coffee or a beer, let’s exchange stories about whether we’ve encountered any “ascended masters” in our lifetime!
  4. How Wolves Change Rivers“… Very cool video. David Attenborough bringing it once again!
  5. I’m capping off this edition with a trio of awesome videos:
    • Nike “Unlimited Future” commercial – power to the babies!
    • Elite 11 Quarterback Camp – This football camp is all kinds of awesome. And it’s a sneak peak at the next Peyton Manning’s of the world when they’re only entering their senior year of high school. It’s comprised of the top 18 quarterback prospects in the country. Notable alumni include: Andrew Luck, Matthew Stafford, Teddy Bridgewater, Tim Tebow / Matt Leinart / Vince Young (questionable NFL players but college superstars).
    • One of the funniest interviews you’ll see all year… An 11 year old doesn’t hold back interviewing Rory McIlroy!

Song of the Week: We’re rolling back the clocks to 1968 with the band that made Janis Joplin famous – Big Brother & The Holding Company. Here they are with their classic hit, Piece of My Heart!

Quote of the Week: He who asks is a fool for five minutes, but he who does not ask remains a fool forever. – Chinese Proverb

Stay Humble But Hungry,

Mike

Mike’s Mailbag: COLD Shower Your Way to Success!

Happy Friday Friends,

What a day to be alive!! Remind yourself of that if you haven’t already today.

I’m feeling fresh and in turn, hope this week’s Mailbag puts a little flash in your Friday step. As you may have read in my LinkedIn piece last week, No Bullshit November: Breaking Through The Self-Narrative, November is a maintenance month for me. A month full of change. Breaking bad habits. Tweaking perspectives and attitudes towards food, drinking, physical fitness, the importance of sleep, all kinds of fun stuff. I’ll give you my three biggest wins thus far (currently on day 14, still a ways to go though):

  • Cold showers = DYNAMITE! Look, I like a warm shower when I wake up as much as anyone. But right before I get out, I crank the dial all the way right. At first, I could only tolerate about 8 – 10 seconds but I’ve worked my way up now to ~20 seconds under full tilt, glacier temp water! It’s not that the water starts to feel any warmer, it’s that when you change your perspective on the cold water rush that electrifies your body, it wakes you the hell up and gets you on your way to crushing the day. Not to mention, the physiological benefits of flushing your body, especially when fatigued from working out. Key takeaway: if you get the first uncomfortable act of your day out of the way by 7:00am, you are bound to have one helluva day!
  • The importance of acquiring the proper gear and training apparel. I went to the Running Room and got a fresh new pair of running shoes last weekend, fit specifically for my feet and walking/running style. I can’t tell you how big of a difference this has made for my running, tennis, and just as a casual shoe to wear around. Not to mention, a fresh new pair of Nikes always puts a little hop in your step! Key Takeaway: Utilize the available resources and technology that will protect your body during sport and day-to-day life.
  • Don’t take conventional thinking as scripture when reading about dieting, working out, and being healthy. Experiment for yourself and find out what works for your body. There are many independent thought leaders to be found out there on the Internet that each have pioneered their own innovative ways to take care of the human body. This takes some time, preparation, education and dedication, but it’s totally worth it when you find things that work and produce results. Key Takeaway: Conventional wisdom, in my opinion, is a dangerous road to go down in any aspect of life. Conventional wisdom = conventional results. Which in the case of physical fitness often means falling off the bandwagon 2 weeks into a health kick and subsequently, staying status quo.

Enough of my thoughts though, here are a couple of my favorite finds this week!

  1. Peter Thiel and Tim Ferriss – two very intelligent men talking for 20 minutes  on Tim’s podcast, The Tim Ferriss Show, (rated #1 business podcast on iTunes) about the world. Peter has a truly amazing mind, not to mention, his Bitcoin/Paypal comparison is brilliant. Worth every minute of your time and more…
  2. “The people in your life who truly matter will never admonish you for changing. Instead, they will build you up; they will inspire and motivate you. They will understand that you are striving to be more for yourself, and they will admire you for that; because at the end of the day, change is something you should never be ashamed of. You don’t owe anyone an apology for changing. You don’t owe anyone an apology for being different than you were a year ago, for wanting new things. Remember, growth is a direction, not a destination — so follow it ruthlessly; give yourself permission to be who you have always wanted to be.” –  http://selfactual.com/you-are-allowed-to-change/
  3. La Niña is bringing boat loads of snow this year and Sunshine Mountain Village opened up its doors yesterday. With that in mind, this is one of gnarliest edits I’ve ever seen, featuring skier Eric Hjorleifsen, on Ruin and Rose. Btw, zero apologies for use of the word, gnarly 🙂
  4. If anyone knows Tony Esteves in Calgary, I’d like to meet him and help him keep his streak alive for meeting one new person every day for over 210 days in a row. Kudos, Tony! This is an awesome initiative.

Song of the Week: We’re going with a triple threat of songs this week. This random trio has been circulating my Spotify playlists over the past couple weeks:

Quote of the Week: “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” – Aristotle

Side note on this quote – we’ve all seen this quote a million times but I took a step back at the gym the other day (it was posted in large print on the wall) and started to think about it in depth. It is actually so damn true. Excellence really is about self-discipline and outlining “goal posts” to live your life within. I don’t mean in terms of setting limits on yourself or imposing something resembling a glass ceiling. I mean living by a set of values, committing to ethical practices personally and professionally, and implementing performance metrics to measure yourself by. If you live in this sort of manner, chances are you will inch your way closer to excellence, whatever that looks for you! I am by no means there but am on an enriching journey, inching my way closer towards what success looks like for me. I wish you nothing but the best in your endeavor towards what success looks like for you!

As Tony Robbins says, “make your lives a masterpiece, my dear friends!

Amen to That,

Mike