My Great… ful Year

My Great…ful Year – 2016, my 37th year, was easily the most empowering year of my life. I’ve done a lot of uncomfortable things, but I couldn’t have done them without help from my friends. I am deeply grateful for others who have found their talents and freely give them away.

Today is that day each year that I look back on the past 12 months and reflect on what I have accomplished. It is my checkpoint day that allows me to recall my experiences and how I have grown from them. This was the year of gratitude and when I look back, I realize that I could have not done any of it without the kind and generous souls who gave me a chance to grow.

First off I want to extend my thanks to Shelley Butler. Her kind heart and contagious passion for The Humanity Project -a local social community who serves the homeless and those who struggle to get by- has been a huge influence to me this year. Her passion had brought me to volunteer my time every Sunday morning to flip pancakes for over 100 people. I learned so much about our community and the people who live in it by doing this. My eyes are open to the problems that our fellow citizens face and now realize that it is not money but love, dignity and respect that will solve our city’s homeless crisis. I am so grateful for Shelley, she has taught me to give and love unconditionally.

Another big change in my life this year was to focus on my health. I have taken physical activity and better eating habits to a whole new level by joining 3rd Degree Training. This sweat till you drop, high intensity workout has transformed my body and mind in ways I never thought it could. The side effect of this exercise has been the energy levels that I have been able to achieve. I can now do the things I always said I couldn’t and my mental state has never been more stable. I am so grateful for Sabrina Cheverie and the team at 3rd Degree for motivating me everyday when I step onto the mats. Her passion for fitness and her motivational style is inspiring. I could not see my life without exercise again.

A huge “face your fears” moment came when I was chosen to do a TEDx talk in April. I was shocked when I got the email that said that my talk about my sexual abuse past was selected. I had never done anything remotely close to this before. The thought of speaking on stage in front of 200 people about something so deeply personal frightened me to the core. Thankfully, I had a terrific coach. I am so grateful for Yves Doucet who agreed to take on the challenge of helping me get ready for my talk. His selflessness shined through as he guided me through the entire process of preparing for the big event. This talk was a defining moment in my life and I cannot thank him enough for his guidance, patience and persistence to see me succeed at it.

I am very fortunate to work at a great company whose mission is to see each of it’s employees succeed in their careers and in life. This was truly evident when out of the blue I was surprised one afternoon by being given a chance to attend Robin Sharma’s Personal Mastery Academy in Toronto in June. This exclusive 2-day conference is aimed at high achievers to take personal greatness to a new level. Robin Sharma is a leadership guru who has written many books (that I have read) on the topic of leading an extraordinary life. I am incredibly grateful to everyone at Dovico for allowing me the opportunity to take my life to another level. I never thought I was worthy enough to be great, to do great things, but this weekend helped crack the excuses that I had created that kept me from leading a more fulfilling life.

On the topic of reaching new heights, a couple of weeks after my Robin Sharma experience I got to experience climbing one of the tallest mountains on the east coast of the USA. Working with some of the best people on the planet, I am so grateful for my co-worker Luc Melanson who lead the charge in planning a trip to climb Mt. Katahdin in Maine, USA. Luc is a passionate environmentalist and his connection to everything green as well as physical activity inspired me to tag along on this 5,200 ft journey to the top. On this amazing hike, I faced fears and connected to nature like never before. I am so thankful for Luc’s passion for sharing his experiences and his connection with nature.

Anyone around me knows that I love to walk.  In July, I took it upon myself to organize a local Victor Walk in support of the prevention and awareness of childhood trauma. This was a huge step for me as I had never organized any event in my life. I am so grateful to Dovico for funding my initiative, Scott Morse for printing t-shirts on an extremely aggressive timeline and to friends and co-workers Fred Laforge, Dominique Bourgoin and Estelle Johnston who helped me with some advice, guidance and some funds to helpwith the event. While, I only decided to plan this walk a month before it was held, I am extremely grateful to all of my friends who all showed up in support and walked alongside me. It was an amazing feeling of love and support.

I would be amiss if I didn’t extend my biggest gratitude to my wife Christina. She was there for me through it all, from working with me at The Humanity Project to working out beside me at 3rd Degree. She provided strength when I was going through the tough times preparing for the TEDx talk. She stepped up and took over the parental duties when I was away attending the Robin Sharma conference and climbing Mt Katahdin. And she lent me all the hands she could in support of the Victor Walk. All along my journey in 2017 she was my biggest ally and my biggest support. I am deeply grateful for her love and support.

I have never felt so full as I do right now, I have enough because I have been given so much by so many great people. In 2017, it is my turn to give back. It is my turn to help others be great and do great things. Helping others is what our lives are about, but you can’t help others if you haven’t been helped yourself.