Mike’s Mailbag: If You Can’t Find a Nice Person. Be a Nice Person!

Good Morning Mis Amigos!

Let’s get our week started off inspired and on the right foot!

1. Jeff Weiner – CEO of LinkedIn

These two clips were home runs for me. Some great perspective that resonated on a few levels. While I am a fiercely independent person at this juncture, when I look at life in the grand scheme, what Jeff found is the ultimate.

2. Tim Ferriss – The Master of the Experiment

Whether you agree with Tim or not on his often unconventional views, he is a very interesting guy. I loved this interview he did at Google on “How to Cage the Monkey Mind” and thought you might enjoy it!

3. Motion vs. Action – James Clear

“Motion is when you’re busy doing something, but that task will never produce an outcome by itself. Action, on the other hand, is the type of behavior that will get you a result.”

This is an awesome read. Take action and read this article!

4. Conan O’Brian – Opening Monologue @ 2016 NFL Honors Awards

The whole monologue is funny but it gets really good around the 8:20 mark… He absolutely nails the player comparisons!

5. Planet Earth 2 – David Attenborough

Coming soon to our TV’s -> Holy smokes, this is going to be cool. Thank you, Sir David!

Song of the Week: This song of the week is throwing all kinds of Roberto Osuna-esque high heat… Turn it up -> “Reelin” by Iration. Or try a more chilled out live version in their Backyard Sessions

Quote of the Week: Success is achieving objectives we have established in advance. Anything else is by chance or serendipity… The most successful people live their lives on purpose. They don’t sit around waiting to see what might happen next.” – Tony Jeary

Go Jays!


Mike’s Mailbag: Don’t Forget to Dance!

Rise & Shine Muchachos,

Top shelf edition coming at yeeeee haaaa (surely some of you are Saving Silverman fans). Without further adieu, we’ve got some self improvement to do…

  • Alan Watts. The late, very wise British philosopher with some very real words in “Why Your Life Is Not a Journey“. Two specific pieces hit home for me:

Then one day you wake up one day when you’re 40 years old and say my god, I’ve arrived. I’m there. And yet, you don’t feel very different from what you’ve always felt.” – Alan Watts

It was a musical thing and you were supposed to sing or dance while the music was being played” – Alan Watts

Don’t forget to dance, my friends.

  • I don’t know who James Clear is or how I came across him, I really don’t. But I’ll say one thing, the man has some serious wisdom to share. I won’t steal his thunder though…

When talking about a certain Tour de France rider, “Brailsford believed in a concept that he referred to as the “aggregation of marginal gains.” He explained it as “the 1 percent margin for improvement in everything you do.” His belief was that if you improved every area related to cycling by just 1 percent, then those small gains would add up to remarkable improvement.” – James Clear

I love this concept. It very much echoes the words of the late personal development guru and philosopher, Jim Rohn, “Success is nothing more than a few simple disciplines, practiced every day.”

  • When you separate the identities of others from your own ego, you allow your insecurities to vanish.” – Patrick Wiltse (excerpt from his article Overcome Your Insecurities)

None of us are perfect, we all know that. But one of the lesser desired traits that lurks in the dark hollows of humanity is our mind’s temptation to compare ourselves to one another. Essentially, put our own strengths and weaknesses up against a friend / foe / colleague, mono a mono, which will inevitably end in jealousy, the projection of our insecurities and other lousy outcomes. Rather than benchmark ourselves against the best version of ourself, we have a bad tendency to look outside rather than within when it comes to evaluating personal and professional growth.

  • One of my biggest personal initiatives in 2016 has been instilling certain elements of structure into my life in the form of formal and informal mentorship, adding layers of accountability for goal setting, and putting together a team of people in my corner who care about my success as much as I do about theirs. I’ve had a few revelations as of late that these pillars and the foundation put in place are starting to pay dividends and allowing me to thrive and live instinctively. I hope to write in greater depth in 2017 about some of my experiences but I’ll give two examples in the professional sports world of  those”playing instinctively”. This cannot happen without a great deal of hard work put in up front in conjunction with a steadfast level of discipline. There is a reason that these gentlemen are in the top 5% of the world at their craft.

Song of the Week: “Walls” by Kings of Leon. KoL have been one of my top 5 bands on the planet since the very beginning but they certainly have not been immune to struggle. I think they’re poised for a big album… If this song is any indication, there is going to be a lot of raw emotion from all the internal turmoil the band has gone through over the past 5-6 years. I think a lot of that is just starting to unwind and will come to light in this album. The other single released is titled “Waste a Moment“. Both are great in their own regard.

Quote of the Week:Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that its stupid.” – Albert Einstein

Stay Humble & Hungry,


Mike’s Mailbag: Meet Bernard & The Next “KHL”

Top O’ The Morning Compadre,

Feels good, it’s Friday isn’t it? Check mate!

September is one of my favorite months of the year for many reasons but front and center is that it is a month that allows you to recalibrate your daily routine (from fitness to waking up early to eating healthier to fewer wobbly pops) and reassess your personal and professional/career goals. Whether it’s going into grade 1, freshman year, or strolling into the office, I always look forward to this month as it brings with it renewed vitality and clarity on your life’s ambitions if you take the time to reflect, recharge and re-instill the self-discipline required. For me, the self-discipline piece is key. It often tends to sway during the summer months and while it’s not easy to break bad habits, it just has to be done.

I’m off to hideout at the lake this weekend to chisel away at some personal initiatives I’m working on with the intention of finishing off 2016 strong. I hope you’re able to carve out some time this weekend to hone in on what you’re aiming for. I’d like nothing more than to see at the finish line!

  • Most people, including myself, thought the KHL is the Russian hockey league that any NHL player who breaches their contract opts to play in instead… Turns out, there’s another KHL and it’s in Kenya. Yes, in the heart of downtown Nairobi
  • Meet Bernard the Roughneck. He’s become quite the legend since he showed up in opposition to the Kinder Morgan protest in British Columbia. He’s provided a voice for many in the oil & gas industry in Western Canada. I won’t comment on Rebel Media’s “sponsorship” of sorts because it is evidently very biased and going down that road opens up an argument that is a whole other can of fish. However, I truly think Bernard means well and provides a perspective seemingly often forgotten by many Canadians in opposition to an industry that contributes a great deal to the Canadian economy (as presented in Canadian Parliament yesterday).
  • Fogo Island Inn in Newfoundland… Supposedly, the ultimate in East Coast Canadian luxury experiences. I have only ever heard of this gem in the press and elsewhere on the Internet. It looks absolutely amazing but I really don’t know much about it… That’s okay though as I have a great deal of work to do and money to save if I intend on staying there anytime soon (even if just for a night)! I’m curious though, has anyone stayed there or know much about this bucket list destination?
  • This is a pretty awesome looking all-in-one travel app from Google -> Google Trips Thanks to my pal in Toronto, Brett, for the heads up on this app!

Song of the Week: You’ve all heard Gravity by John Mayer but perhaps not this version…  And it is oh so smooth. Sit back and relax with Gravity, Live at the Nokia Theatre in 08′.

Quote of the Week: Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.” – George Carlin

I guess I should mention I got my first ever hole in one last weekend!! Big shout-out to Sudsy, one of my playing partners and loyal Mailbag reader, for being such a beauty to golf with.

Have a Great Weekend,



Mike’s Mailbag: Back On The Horn!

Hi Friends,

It’s been a while, eh?

Truth is, I haven’t found the time to write for pleasure, in any shape or form. I have grappled with what to do with my Mailbag… Should I take it in a different direction and rebrand? Change up my distribution frequency? Kibosh it all together? All kinds of thoughts have come in one ear and out the other…

Then I thought, hold on two shakes of a lamb tail here, Michael… If you write your Mailbag for fun, not to mention there truly is no end goal or destination in mind for it, who really cares if you don’t publish one every single week? Or that it’s harder to find time to write being 100% dialed in to my new career path?

So here I am. Back on the horn. Hopefully with some interesting things to say…

I can’t guarantee that I will be able to write every week but I can guarantee you two things… When I do write, we’re going to have some fun with it. And secondly, I will likely challenge conventional wisdom more often than not which means sometimes (or maybe all the time) you won’t necessary agree with me. And that is A-okay! Call my BS if you think I’m blowing smoke. Seriously! There are few things I enjoy more than uncorking a bottle of red with a pal, diving a little deeper and exploring. Pints and coffee do the trick too.

God damn – feels good to be back in the saddle. Let’s do this.

  • Warren Buffett. The most logical investment mind the world has ever seen. It just so happens he’s shared his path to success in his own words. Side note: I am currently enrolled in the Dale Carnegie course. Three of eight sessions through the program and am really enjoying it. I don’t recommend it to business folk. I recommend it to EVERYONE. Mr. Carnegie’s curriculum transcends all industries and professions. It is about learning to communicate as human beings at the most fundamental level. Plain and simple.

Song of the Week: Like me, you’ve probably forgot how good this tune is. “I Wanna Make It Wit Chu” – Queens of the Stone Age. Live from the Desert Sessions in 2005. Your welcome🙂

Quote of the Week: “We do not rise to the level of our hopes. We fall to the level of our training.” – Archilochus

Keep on fighting the good fight.


Mike’s Mailbag: Annnnd We’re Back!

Top O’ The Morning Mis Amigos,

I hope summer is treating all of you well.

It’s been a bit of a battle to check in with y’all as my life seems to be moving at a million miles as I’m sure many of yours are. But let’s kick it for ol’ times sake…

  • While one can spend hundreds of thousands on university degrees and professional designations, it is important to realize how many awesome and free resources there are online. I came across a series called “30 Days of Genius“, a project spearheaded by Chase Jarvis -> a successful entrepreneur, artist, photographer and director. Basically, he interviews 30 of the most innovative and creative entrepreneurial minds on the planet and films each one. Then one video is e-mailed to your inbox every morning for a month. We’re talking big names: Seth Godin, Tim Ferriss, Brene Brown, James Altucher, the list goes on. The series is kicked off with Mark Cuban. If you yourself are an entrepreneur, definitely tune into the last 15 minutes of the first episode. Pretty thought provoking and contrarian advice.
  • Have you heard of the marketing genius, Seth Godin (I mentioned him above)? How about his concept of the The Gulf of Disapproval? I don’t think there is a better analogy as it relates to driving change in your corporate office or bringing a start-up to market. If you’re struggling to enact change in whatever role or mission you find yourself working on, remember to count on the blue line instead!
  • Words of wisdom courtesy of the YouTube channel Be Inspired… My favorite line from the video goes something like this “every morning when you wake up, you have a choice. Hit the snooze button and keep dreaming. Or get up and start turning your dreams into reality“. I hope you got up at the crack of dawn this morning, are reading this now, and absolutely crushing this fine Wednesday! And if you’re not, remember, it’s Hump Day, so have a laugh and hit the reset button.

In closing, the world lost a good man far too soon at the end of July in Bob Scott – a dear friend of the Wilkes family and many other families in Calgary and Edmonton. To many he was known as Wadd or Fun Bobby. There are funny people and then there was Wadd. He could light up any room with his wit and zest for people. My fondest memory of Bob was at my Grandpa’s memorial golf tournament – The RT Open – a couple years ago. Bob started a tradition called “Baskets by Wadd” where he would handcraft a gift basket full of god knows what and then present it to one lucky participant. Wadd would get up in front of all the guys and go through every item and why he chose it… Two years ago, his gift basket revolved around this hilarious informercial of an auto shop in Los Angeles, Arlen’s Transmission. Don’t ask me how Wadd found this clip as inspiration for his gift basket but it’s a memory that always brings a smile (and maybe a happy tear) to my face. I can vividly remember the stomach ache and tears streaming down my face from laughing so hard at this one basket in particular. We’ll miss you Wadd.

Song of the Week: We’re dedicating it to our friend and loyal Mailbag reader, Bob Scott. “Fire and Rain” – James Taylor.

Quote of the Week: “If you admire somebody you should go ahead and tell em’. People never get the flowers while they can still smell them.” – Kanye West

Thanks For Reading,



Mike’s Mailbag: July 2016 Stampede Edition!

Howdy Partners,

It’s Stampede Week in Calgary – there aren’t 10 more fun days in the calendar – but they’re also 10 of the toughest in many ways. The western themed action and events are all very fun in nature but are also fairly aggressive in more ways than one from events lined up one on top of each other to beverage consumption to the dent it takes on your bank account and amount of sleep you get. I’m not complaining though! It’s one of the best opportunities to meet people, especially when you’re young and new-ish to a city. Before I get my boots and Wranglers back on, I thought I should get a Mailbag out! Here we go:

  • I made it a goal of mine to qualify for the Alberta Amateur this summer, in which I successfully did so a month ago at Silverwing Links in the Calgary Qualifier. Kind of surprised myself to be honest but it was nice to see my hard work pay off! The real tournament is a four-day, PGA style event next week hosted by the Innisfail Golf Club. If you’d like to stay abreast of all the action, 120 of the best amateur players in Alberta will be competing. The leaderboard and course/player statistics can be found here: 2016 Alberta Amateur Leaderboard.
  • This is a really powerful interview on Inside Quest with Gabby Reece (supermodel, volleyball legend, fitness mogul). I didn’t know too much about Gabby until I watched this. Definitely recommend this for everyone, girl/guy, young/old, athlete/non-athlete, you name it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O3Sh5AbjD4c
  • This is a great perspective piece by one of my best friend’s, Chris. He’s no stranger to the Mailbag both as a contributor and reader. Short and to the point piece titled “Find What You Love and Let It Kill You.
  • This is a very genuine piece written by a very successful businesswoman, Jessica DiLullo Herrin, who did not start at the top titled “The Unicorn Train Is Not Hiring“…

“Don’t for a minute confuse passion with fantasy. Even in your dream job, at your dream company, doing something where the mission matters, you will do things you’d rather not. Not once, not twice, but all the time. Show up ready to work and ready to learn. Be open to the possibility that this role will be a career defining experience and ask yourself what you can do to make it so.” – Jessica DiLullo Herrin.

Quote of the Week:If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito in your bedroom.”  – Dalai Lama

Song of the Week: Song of the summer thus far for me… “Lawn Chair Lazy” – James Barker Band.

If you’re looking for a good country mix, head over to my Spotify page and check out the “Pede’ 16” playlist. You’ll want to have a beer close by to crack🙂

Saddle Up,



My Pops and I at the Rodeo. If you’re a fan of my shirt, head over to https://www.vintageshirtco.com/ to support a good friend of mine’s, Matt Kielbasinski, side project. You’d think designing shirts would be his day job with how nice his first product on the market turned out!

Mike’s Mailbag: Week 25, 2016

Happy Saturday Amigos,

Special weekend delivery! I’m posted up in one of my favorite YYC coffee shops and vibin’ so we’re going to keep this train a’ rolling. If there’s one thing I’m learning about being young and in the Sales world, it is a lot of fun but with that fun comes high stakes conversations, a level of responsibility to your company to drive revenue, and “being on” at all times.

If I had to say what “season” my life is in, I’m definitely in full on career season. Sometimes it’s fitness, sometimes it’s finding emotional grounding, sometimes it’s a great relationship in your life. I’m embracing the season I find myself in as I’m growing leaps and bounds every day having to live the majority of my day outside of my comfort zone. There’s not a lot of black and white in terms of clarity and decisions I find myself having to make every day. I’m a firm believer that living in the grey is what pushes you to new levels in whatever profession you find yourself in. Dealing with complexity and performing with poise under pressure is what separates the great from the good. Whatever season you find yourself in, try to embrace it! If it doesn’t feel right, maybe it’s time to hit the reset button and find a new season to thrive in!

  • Picking up where we left off last week on the topic of “pursuing passion” in your professional life, I’d like to introduce you to Cal Newport. Cal is contrarian thinker when compared to the many thought leaders preaching for everyone to follow their passion when it comes to work or an entrepreneurial endeavor. He uses Steve Jobs as an example and makes a very interesting point. I’m going to let his thoughts marinate with you and check back in in a few weeks time as I have an editorial piece on this topic in the works…
  • Peter Tertzakian, largely the most respected energy mind in Canada, made a great speech at the 2016 Liberal Convention on the very polarizing topic of “energy”. This is a must watch and a video that I’d encourage all to share with family members, friends and colleagues.
  • Have you ever heard of failure resume? Probably not and you’re not alone… It was a new exercise to me until a few weeks ago when a close friend broached the subject. Often times, when looking at our personal growth and development, we tend to focus on the high times and glaze over the not-so-nice times. The times when life was just flat out hard. The bounces weren’t going our way and seemed like there were more tears than cheers. However, if you try this exercise and take an honest look back on your failures, you might start to see patterns appear. Were you the one driving change or was change just happening to you? Was your work ethic up to snuff or were you the victim of a decision completely out of your control? Ideally, you’ll realize that your failures weren’t so much failures as much as “successful disappointments” where you were reaching for the stars and came up just a bit short. The beauty of it all is that all those detours probably led to huge personal growth, a strengthened state of mind, new friendships, increased work ethic, and all in all, led you to where you are now.
  • It doesn’t matter if you like fishing or not, remember to keep your reel shiny, line tight and hooks sharp🙂
  • Brooke Henderson. Canada’s new shining star on the LPGA. The girl can play. In the words of Darren Dutchyschen “throwing darts and breaking hearts”. Check out these absolute lasers she was firing few weeks ago. Way to go Brooke!

This Mailbag is in memory of my best friend and cousin, Matty, who tragically passed away two years ago. We held our first annual memorial golf tournament in honor of Matty last weekend in Edmonton at the Sturgeon Valley Golf Club. Many people in attendance don’t subscribe to my Mailbag but I still want to thank the many individuals, families, and local businesses who came together to help organize and support the event. We raised almost $40,000 in Matty’s name for the Stollery Children’s Hospital. Many thanks and much love to all who came together for such a fantastic day.

Quote of the Week:  It’s good to have money and the things that money can buy, but it’s good too, to check up once in a while and make sure that you haven’t lost the things that money can’t buy. – George Horace Lorimer

Song of the Week: “Up and Up” – Coldplay. This one’s for you Matty.





Mike’s Mailbag: Week 24, 2016

In the words of The Rascals 1966 classic, “it’s a beautiful morning” folks. It really is.

Sometimes life moves at Mach 2 and your only option is to hold on tight and embrace the ride. Well, that has been my life the past three weeks and you know what, I’ve loved every minute of the roller coaster ride its been. I took some friendly ribbing from loyal Mailbag readers about missing a couple weeks in a row, and rightly so, but I promise I’ll make up for it this week!

  • Terri Trespicio… I came across her TED talk titled “Stop Searching For Your Passion a month ago and it really resonated with me. Like a lot. This is a must watch, especially for people early in their careers. Her train of thought went against the grain, which is a quality I admire in people. People who are passionate enough (very ironic I know) coupled with a spine made of steel to not cave into popular demand and the tendency to groupthink. “Passion is not a plan. It’s a feeling and feelings change. They do. You can be passionate about a person one day, at a job and then not passionate the next. We know this and yet we continue to use passion as the yardstick to judge everything by, instead of seeing passion for what it really is, the fire that ignites when you start rubbing sticks together… So don’t wait. Listen to my mother. Just start doing because to live a life full of meaning and value, you don’t follow your passion. Your passion follows you.” – Terri Trespicio
  • Speaking of connecting passion with purpose, let’s read about someone I’ve featured many a times in my Mailbag – Chris Ackroyd. This is an interview transcript titled “How I Scored My Job at the NHL… With No Home Ice Advantage that the Student Life Network conducted with Chris. He makes a lot of really solid points with this one being my favorite,  “You are in control of how many people you know. Most people who know a lot of people have spent time and energy creating relationships. I always say that the people who are likely to be in the right place at the right time are those that spend all their time in many places. More people = more opportunities.” – Chris Ackroyd
  • The picture above is myself with three friends – Dario, Michael, and Chris – a few weeks ago on the 2nd teebox at Cabot Cliffs in Inverness, Nova Scotia. The Cliffs course is truly a Canadian architectural gem and officially opened for play to the world on June 7th, 2016. When it was first designed, it was named the Best New Golf Course in The World by Golf Digest in 2015. This National Post article details the visionary mind behind the development, Mike Keiser, current projects on the go in North America… If only the CAD/USD would tilt more in our favor!!
  • Roger Federer. Love him or hate him, he was the best tennis player on the planet for many, many years. His sheer dominance was impressive and he made it look so easy and carried himself with such grace in the spotlight. He was a true champion in all respects. One of the reasons why I enjoying interviewing people for Coffeetalk segments is because I truly am fascinated by people who are elite at their craft. I love figuring out what sets leaders apart from others in their field, what are the nuances they pick up on that others don’t, what motivates them, the list goes on… That’s why I love Andy Roddick interviewing Roger Federer (two of the most successful tennis players in history but the level of respect on Roddick’s part for Federer is so evident). “I think it’s gotta be sort of that fire and ice. I’m more in the I love winning and the other guys are more in the I hate losing bit.” – Roger Federer

Song of the Week: “Glass House” – Kaleo. Pro tip: Mix this track into your Friday afternoon commute home and prepare to dial your weekend up to an 11…

Quote of the Week: “Your resume is your past. Your job is your present. Your network is your future.” – Terri Trespicio

Work Hard. Play Hard. And in that order🙂


Mike’s Mailbag -> Week 21, 2016

Good Morning Mailbag’ers,

Good golly miss molly, it feels good to be back. Refreshed and rejuvenated. Feels like the seasons are a’ changing so let’s consider this the 1st summer edition of 2016…

  • We’re coming out of the gates with a very heartfelt piece written by St. Louis Blues forward and Fort McMurray native, Scottie Upshall, via The Players Tribune. It really speaks to the sense of community and hometown pride that all Canadians feel, irrespective of where the dot they grew up in lies on the map.
  • I really liked this piece titled “Are you in survival mode?” as it almost speaks to a “fight or flight mode” many companies and employees find themselves in within the energy sector. There is no question that our sector is greatly influenced by global commodity indexes; however, what we do control is our attitude, entrepreneurial spirit, grit, perseverance and how to make lemonade when life gives you sour lemons. Businesses and families alike have to hunker down and exercise significant fiscal responsibility and discipline but it doesn’t mean we can’t look to find new avenues for growth and innovation. A biker in the Tour de France doesn’t say a hill is too steep nor does a world class chef say his cut of meat isn’t tender enough to grill. The biker shifts down a gear and pushes to reach a new peak power output and a great chef will find a way to tenderize the meat by choosing an alternative cooking method to grilling. Bad examples or not, we as an industry must look to thrive in all market environments, not just when a $ index has three digits in front of it.
  • Next up is Sheryl Sandberg’s commencement address to the 2016 Class at the University of California Class titled “The Lessons That I Only Learned in Death” via MacLeans magazine. Sandberg is the COO of Facebook and tragically lost her husband a little over a year ago while on vacation in Mexico. She shares the lessons learned from her struggles over the past year and they are very introspective and authentic insights that we can all learn from. Especially, if you’ve gone through something similar. Thanks for sending this one, Mom.
  • I’m really enjoying writing this Mailbag and I feel like we’re on a roll here so why stop now… Ryan Holiday is one of my favorite thought leaders in the game right now, he’s young, ambitious and not afraid to speak his mind and tell it like it is. This piece titled “The One Trick People Who Really Love Their Jobs Know, While Others Continue Grinding It Out in Obscurity” really resonated with me as I am turning the page into a new chapter of my career and professional development in general. I, like many other aspiring business professionals, spend a lot of time trying to objectively (not subjectively) understand our value proposition to employers and/or investors. This piece really spoke to me on the perspective and mindset required to be great at what you do, not just good or good enough to get by.
  • Speaking of hard work and the many late nights and early mornings it requires doing whatever it is you need to do to hone your craft, doing so requires your mind to razor sharp. Sometimes music is needed and other times silence. However, if you’re like me, you often need some sort of ambient noise in the background. Check out the website Calm which has all sorts of natural environments you can “immerse” yourself in while trying to focus.

Song of the Week:Things Ain’t Like They Used To Be” – The Black Keys. The inspiration behind this song is to put something, some event, some notion, some internal belief, some roadblock behind you going into the summer of 2016. Just because things may have been hard once upon a time (career, romantic relationship, mental health struggles, family turmoil, whatever) doesn’t mean that previous time of your life should define you or consume your current self. Everyone is or has fought battles behind closed doors so don’t feel alone or beat yourself up over it. Just do your best to change things so they “ain’t like they used to be.”

Quote of the Week: “At one point in your life, you’ll have the thing you want or the reasons why you don’t.” – Andy Roddick

Keep Calm & Carry On,