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’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’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,