Category Archives: Youth Advancement

The Perfection in Your Imperfections

Another yoga class and the Sage spoke to the perfection and imperfection of life. What if we got how perfect our imperfection really is? I smile as the industries that live upon our doubts and fears around our imperfections would collapse if we accepted our imperfections as perfect.

When I say perfect, I mean really stepped into that we are so perfect, especially in our imperfections.

Do you accept the all of who you are? Including the imperfections? Including those places where we are human, making mistakes and errors? What if we don’t look as perfect as the Photoshopped models in the ads?

Two examples are listed at the bottom that show the Photoshopping process, with the before and after. These are typical examples of how the imperfections are removed and the result is the comparison against which most judge themselves.

I think of children here. They have no problem making mistakes and errors: falling down only to get up again. Then falling again and just looking to see what the big people think. If no one notices, they just get up and attempt again. They are completely OK with being exactly as they are, attempting and failing, crying until the pain is gone and then laughing, often with tears still on their faces and giggles on their lips.

Children at an early age are not judging themselves and others – they are just accepting of themselves and everyone, often asking the obvious questions when someone is different or not like they are.

We learn imperfection right around the time we learn to judge and assess, often of ourselves first and then of the world around us. The world becomes a colder place when we do this.

This week, what if you began to notice the places you judge yourself? Where are you hardest upon yourself? Can you take a few seconds to first see these places? And what if, just for this week, notice these places – not from a place of judgment, but from a place of awareness?

Awareness is key. When you can begin to see the impact on your point of view, you can see how deep judgment affects our experience of the world. And that is the key point: affecting your experience of the world. Awareness of judgment leads to the choice of judging the same, more, or less. When we judge less and accept more (a choice), we shift our experience of our world.

This week, see what arises. Whenever you have a positive impact, note your experience and keep those behaviors intact.  Have this be an experiment. Maintain where you see a positive impact. Create your own variation on this game. Write me and tell me what arises, I’d love to hear!

And, if you want to see examples of photo shopping, go here and here.

Create a perfect week … especially through the imperfections …


Contributed by Executive, Life and Spirituality Coach, Jim Pehkonen

My Good Friend Tim

So I have been working with a young dude named Tim. Tim has difficulty expressing himself with words, he does not like social situations and he has a very different perspective on the world that you and I see.

Tim is an 11 year old pre-teen with a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). I met Tim when I began my internship in the behavioural classroom of a school, working with an eclectic bunch of people with very different personalities, and very different challenges. On my first day of placement I noticed that Tim did not seem to think that he needed to hang out with his peers at recess or at lunch-time…I knew something was a little quirky.

I asked the teaching assistant about him, and I was told to not bother, that this was who Tim was and is, and will be, so there is no real point in engaging him during these times, only to progress through curriculum. As a Child and Youth Care Practitioner of 5 years’ experience, I knew that something seemed off.

The next day at lunch, I moved past the ‘teacher’ table and sat down at Tim’s table, at which he is always unaccompanied; I sat down across from him and 2 spaces over. I just opened my salad and began my eating.

Tim, with some glorious pre-teen attitude said, “Why the heck are you sitting here!?! I like to be alone.”

After a brief pause, I replied, “me too”.

Tim looked at me with curiosity and then he continued his lunch. The next day I did the exact same thing, except I just sat quietly and we did not exchange any dialogue. After 8 minutes, Tim asked me about my position in the program that he is in, and just some fun facts about Jonny (myself). I shared a large piece about me and my strange yet cool family, and then asked him about his family. He divulged so much information, it was lovely. My colleagues were astonished at the fact that the new guy got him to talk.

The following week, I noticed that he had had a meltdown, and that the teachers were all reprimanding him, but my instincts said something was strange. At recess I asked him how he was feeling, to which he responded in his usual pre-teen response, “HOW DO YOU THINK IM FEELING!?!” After a brief pause I said, “Well how would I know, you haven’t told me.” He looked at me and shared so much information about who has been bullying him, how he feels betrayed and how he, ultimately just does not fit in. We spoke about it and created a plan together.

Following anybody’s verbal and body language, regardless of challenge or diagnosis, leads to extraordinary results. Be it with a friend, a lover, a family member or a child named Tim. It is up to you whether you take that initiative and sit down across from them and 2 spaces over at lunch and engage them at their level, not yours. In every crisis I have ever worked in, this is always the same, be it in my relationships, my family, and my friends or in my work with children with special needs.

This leaves one question–are YOU the one who will sit down across from somebody and 2 spaces to the side? The difference you will find in your life and in theirs is unbelievable.

Contributed by Life, Relationship and Youth Coach, Jonathan Friedman

Integrity is the new black

One of the most critical attributes necessary for realizing your dreams is integrity.

By living a life of integrity, you can be proud of who you are, what you’ve accomplished, and have confidence in your ability to rise to even higher heights.

In a conversation about achieving your dreams, integrity is essential and can be summarized as simple as: say what you mean and mean what you say.

Why is this so critical? How can you truly focus your energy if you are being held down by guilt or self doubt?

Live a purpose driven life by honoring your agreements and living by your word. People will want to work with you, and that is the key achieving your dreams.

The enemy of realizing our dreams? Self doubt.

Lying to yourself can fuel self doubt and be harmful to your dream. Many people color reality, making it better or worse than it actually is. If you don’t have a clear vision of where you are, how can you make clear decisions or know where you might need help?

Report accurately on where you are and the status of your dream. Define the necessary strategy for progress and to achieve your goals and adjust accordingly. When you accomplish a milestone, take time to celebrate or at least to acknowledge your achievement.

Self doubt occurs if you only dream but never take action. It is essential that the dream move forward. Break your dream into short-term projects. If you are unwilling to turn your dreams into projects, check and see if this is what you truly want.

Maybe you’ve been focusing on the wrong thing. Maybe this dream isn’t your dream at all, but the expectations of others. Be truthful with yourself.

Having integrity is the only way to truly identify what you want.


Stop Procrastinating, Start Proactivating (not a real word, but it should be)

Procrastination is the avoidance of doing a task which needs to be done. This can lead to feelings of guilt, inadequacy, depression and self-doubt. Procrastination has a high potential for painful consequences. It interferes with personal success.

However, there are two types of procrastinators – the relaxed, fun-loving kind and the tense-worried ones.

Those who are relaxed while procrastinating only hurt themselves by not accomplishing the things that they need to do and hinder their own success. Those who are tense when they procrastinate not only hinder their success but also their health.

The only way to beat your old procrastination habits is by being proactive. Follow these tips to get you on the right path.

Modify Your Environment

Procrastinators may daydream and have difficulty concentrating. Procrastinators may also be unorganized and distracted by their environment. Those who procrastinate may have a cluttered desk and waste time running back and forth for equipment and supplies. Procrastination often results in frustration and anxiety.

For more success, modify your environment: Eliminate or minimize noise and distraction. Ensure adequate lighting. Have necessary equipment at hand.

Time Management

Procrastination means there’s uncertainty about priorities, goals and objectives. A procrastinator is not adept at time management and may be overwhelmed by the task. Many procrastinators put off assignments to spend a great deal of time with friends and involved in social activities.

Procrastinators worry about a project instead of completing it. To motivate yourself, dwell on your successes, not your failures. Break large projects into small tasks. Keep a reminder schedule and a checklist.

Procrastinating can have a snowball effect on your goals. Failure to meet deadlines can delay your future. Simple as that.

Procrastination station- where the only thing running is you, from reality

Procrastination- in theory- is supposed to make our lives more pleasant. In reality it almost always adds stress, disorganization and failure. Procrastination is based on fears. In varying degrees, we are all afraid of facing reality: life’s challenges, the hard work and frustrations ahead of us.

Negative reinforcement plays a major role in procrastination and hinders success. Behaviors like watching TV and rationalizations or excuses enable the procrastinator to avoid unpleasant work. Procrastination is an escape.

Procrastination comes in all shapes and forms. The emotions behind procrastination can include:

Fear (perhaps of failure or success)

Panic (not understanding what needs to be done, or not believing in one’s ability to do it)

Anger (stemming from a lack of control and/or the desire to rebel against authority)

Boredom (general malaise and dislike of the work that needs to be done)

Depression (this can lead to an ever worsening cycle because we put things off when we feel depressed, and then the negative consequences of that decision depress us even more)

Pleasure Seeking (sometimes we simply prioritize play above work)

The procrastinator must correctly identify his forms of procrastination and find solutions for his specific emotional reactions in order to kick the habit.

Life is like a video game- you can’t reach the next level until you’re done with the one holding you back

If you really want to turn your life in a different direction, you need to assess what is really going on in your career, relationships and family.

The purpose driven life revolves around the powerful process of exploring what’s been left unsaid, undone or incomplete in your life. To be driven, you must remove the challenges that are encumbering your success.

This process is really one of the most awesome things you can do to free yourself and give yourself access to your dreams.

Completing what is undone–whether it concerns family, friends, work, your body, mind or soul–may be the most profound thing you have ever done.

Where do I begin?

Take these steps to begin living a purpose driven life.

1. Scrutinize your life and your life purpose.
2. Explore your body, mind, home, work, finance, and people (living and dead).
3. Write down what you feel incomplete about with anyone or anything and what you need to do to complete it.
4. Complete as many items as possible.
5. Write a letter or make a phone call.
6. Forgive someone or just declare “it’s over.”

You might need to create a project plan. Create measurable goals and try to stick to your plan. You will find yourself feeling better and lighter every day!

Yellow snow is not lemon flavor

…Unless you’re talking about Italian ice. But generally speaking, no, no it’s not lemon flavor. But that’s okay because when it comes to sweets, Americans don’t care for lemon anyways.

What do we want? Chocolate!

Anything else? Some peanut butter! Thank you for asking!

When do we want it? (already chewing)

For years M&M’s have not only been the most popular candy in the US, they held the world title as well. However, as of October 30, 2013 Reece’s has officially surpassed M&Ms as the nation’s top selling candy.

This year’s top 10 selling candy list is as follows:

10. Almond Joy

9. Milky Way

8. Hershey’s Cookies N’ Cream

7. Three Musketeers

6. Twix

5. Kit Kat

4. Hershey Bar

3. Snickers

2. M&Ms

1. Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups

Interestingly, 3 of the top 4 candy bars have been around for over 70 years. The Hershey Bar was introduced in 1900, Reece’s in 1928 and M&Ms is the young’un of the group debuting in 1941. It just goes to show, candy has a nostalgic value to it. For many people it quite literally tastes like childhood.

What’s YOUR favorite candy? What was it when you were little?

What’s your favorite chocolate combination?

lifetips logo candies

Chewing gum does lose its flavor on the bedpost overnight

Have you ever stopped to wonder why chewing gum loses its flavor?

It’s not as if any other food stops tasting like the thing you originally put in your mouth after a few chomps. Could you imagine if you took a bite of shrimp cocktail and before it reached your stomach it started tasting a little bit like a tire and had the consistency of one too?

You’d spit it out faster than anyone could make a joke about “see food”.

However, in all fairness I eat too quickly to know what food tastes like after more than a couple chews anyways. It tends to be in my stomach so fast one may be left wondering if I tasted it at all. (Answer: not always.)

Gum, on the other hand, has a special place in the hearts of consumers. Despite the whole losing-its-flavor-and-turning-rubbery phenomenon we just talked about, we still eat it up like it’s, well, inedible candy.

Unlike regular food, gum should never reach the stomach. Humans are unable to digest it, which is part of the reason it loses its flavor in the first place.


Gum is made from gum base which is a form of synthetic rubber. (Yum.) However, the softeners and sweeteners that make gum so delicious and chewy are all digestible.

Therefore when you chew a piece of gum, the saliva in your mouth gets to work digesting those flavors and leaves the gum base behind in all its flavorless and rubbery glory.

So there you have it. Gum is not food, but the flavors are. And that is the science behind your chewing obsession.

lifetips logo gum

If you make a funny face, it will not freeze that way

Old wives tales have been around since, well, ever. Many of these “tales” have no basis in truth whatsoever, yet have endured in the common consciousness of society for so long that many people blindly accept them as fact.

The origins of many of these have been long lost to history, but most had the intention of putting an end to unwanted behavior in children with threats of illness or permanent disfigurement. You know, typical kid stuff. Some of the most common old wives tales include:

1. Don’t go outside with wet hair or you’ll catch a cold
2. If you swallow gum it will stay in your stomach for 7 years
3. Shaving makes the hair grow back thicker
4. Eating chocolate leads to acne
5. Eating ice cream before bed leads to nightmares
6. Don’t make silly faces, or your face will get stuck like that

But between you, me and the rest of the internet- I have to admit, I still believe the shaving one.

lifetips logo funny faces

Don’t yell at your kids. Lean in real close and whisper, its much scarier

And if that still doesn’t work you can threaten to mail them somewhere. And you could have made good on that threat up until June 13, 1920.

When parcel post first became available to Americans in 1913, we loved everything about it. Sending and receiving packages through the mail took the country by storm. We shipped and received live chickens, tobacco, and other items affordably and reliably. However, in some cases, children fell into the category of other items.

While it was frowned upon, families who did not wish to pay the price of a train ticket could ship their tyke to their grandparents house, for example, for the cost of shipping a chicken- about 53 cents for a 50lb bird.

In one instance, in Indiana, a postal carrier picked up a box that read “Live Infant” and was addressed to the baby’s father, who was divorced from it’s mother and lived across the state. Postage? 17 cents. Expression on the father’s face when he opened the box? Priceless.

child-by-mail (1)Source

This practice continued throughout the early twentieth century until the United States Post Office declared it would no longer accept children in the mail.

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