Empowerment Through Ownership: The Role of Personal Responsibility in Cultivating Workplace Inclusion and Belonging
As health and safety and human resources professionals, understanding the role of personal responsibility in fostering a culture of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) is essential. Embracing personal responsibility means going beyond the challenges we face and advocating for ourselves and others in creating an inclusive environment. It's about recognizing that while not everyone may have the resources or ability to speak up, many do, yet they might refrain from doing so. The misconception that barriers are always external can prevent us from seeing the power we hold to effect change.
Take, for example, my own experience. After surviving a catastrophic car crash at 18 that left me with severe burns, I realized that integration into the communities I valued would not happen passively. Despite initial support from loved ones, the true test came when I had to present my altered self to the world. It was my proactive approach, my refusal to bemoan exclusion, that eventually opened doors for me. The acceptance had to start with me—acceptance of my scars and the new image I presented. Only then could I genuinely ask others to include me without harboring resentment if they didn't.
This principle has far-reaching implications in the professional realm. Suppose you find yourself frequently on the periphery of workplace groups or networks. In that case, it could be a signal to look inward—to recognize that inclusion often starts with one's own actions and attitudes. Rather than assigning blame, consider this an opportunity for growth. Developing the skills to engage and connect with others is not just a personal milestone; it's a professional necessity. After all, human connection is not just a social desire but a component of a thriving workplace.
In the wake of my accident, while my physical appearance had dramatically changed, my determination to form bonds and contribute meaningfully to my communities did not. This resolve was crucial not just for personal recovery but for professional development as well. The ability to create relationships, to insert oneself into groups constructively and positively, is not a fixed trait but a skill that can be honed.
As a burn trauma survivor, I learned that my scars do not define my ability to fit in or influence my capacity to make friends. There are times when even someone as accustomed to overcoming social barriers as I am can feel out of place. But these moments are transitory—they do not define my social trajectory nor do they restrict my professional potential. They are reminders that our personal journey toward inclusion is continual, and it's the skills and resilience we build that shape our path.
For organizations aiming to foster a genuine sense of belonging, this is a powerful message. It underscores the need for proactive personal development programs that empower individuals to take charge of their social and professional integration. By encouraging employees to take ownership of their roles in creating inclusive spaces, companies can unlock a wealth of innovation, loyalty, and collaborative spirit that diverse and equitable environments are known to yield.
In conclusion, personal responsibility is a cornerstone of DEIB—not as a burden, but as an empowering principle that guides individuals to engage, connect, and belong, both in life and within the workplace. As professionals dedicated to nurturing these values, it's critical to support and facilitate this journey for ourselves and our colleagues.
#PersonalResponsibility #InclusionMatters #DiversityAndBelonging #EquityInAction #ProactiveInclusion #DEIB #WorkplaceWellness #EmpowermentCulture #HumanResources #SafetyProfessionals #SocialIntegration #ProfessionalDevelopment #InclusiveWorkplace #ResilienceAndGrowth #SelfAdvocacy #TeamBuilding #OrganizationalCulture #InclusiveLeadership #HRInnovation #BelongingAtWork
With a remarkable journey of post-traumatic growth following a life-changing car accident, I have been inspiring audiences for over two decades. My keynote presentations delve into the profound depths of Resiliency, Safety, and Responsibility, imparting invaluable lessons from my lived experiences. As a survivor with a testament to human tenacity, I am committed to guiding individuals and businesses toward unparalleled resilience.
To bring this transformational message to your company, organization, or association, booking me is a step toward empowering your team with the tools to not only bounce back but leap forward in the face of adversity. Whether in-person across Canada and the USA or through certified virtual presentations, I tailor my approach to address the unique challenges and objectives of your audience. Let's collaborate to ignite a culture of resilience and responsibility within your community. Connect with me to explore how my keynotes can elevate your next event and inspire lasting change.
We live in a world where the constant pressure to be productive can lead to emotional exhaustion and burnout. While it may seem intuitive to use our emotional state as a gauge for productivity, this approach can often be misleading and detrimental to long-term success.
Emotions are volatile, capable of changing from one moment to the next for any number of reasons—a missed deadline, a challenging conversation, or even a bad night's sleep. Relying on such an unstable metric to assess your productivity is akin to navigating turbulent waters without a compass.
Consider the complexities of different tasks. Some activities require analytical thinking, while others benefit from a creative mindset. Your emotional state may only sometimes align with the kind of emotional atmosphere optimal for these diverse tasks, affecting your efficiency and the quality of your work.
Relying solely on your emotional state to determine your productivity levels can lead to emotional fatigue or burnout. Emotional exhaustion can drastically impair your cognitive abilities, reducing both the quantity and the quality of work you can produce. In the long run, this is unsustainable and detrimental to your well-being.
Emotions can also introduce biases into your decision-making. For example, when you're in a good mood, you may be more likely to take on too many tasks and overcommit, leading to stress and decreased productivity later on. Conversely, a low mood might cause you to procrastinate or avoid tasks altogether, preventing you from reaching your goals.
It's common to mistake the sensation of being busy for actual productivity. But "feeling productive" doesn't necessarily translate into achieving your objectives. This emotional state can provide a false sense of accomplishment that isn't supported by completed tasks or high-quality work.
Instead of relying solely on your emotions to assess your productivity, consider more stable and objective metrics such as task completion, quality of work, and alignment with long-term goals. Adopting a balanced scorecard approach can provide a more holistic view of your actual productivity levels.
While the focus of this post is not to disregard emotions altogether, it is essential to understand that emotional intelligence plays a critical role in self-regulation and motivation. Being aware of your emotional state, and knowing how to manage it, can help you navigate the complexities of your day more effectively.
In summary, while emotions are an integral part of our lives, they make a poor reference point for measuring productivity. Relying too heavily on your emotional state can jeopardize both your well-being and performance. A balanced approach that includes objective metrics offers a more sustainable path to long-term success.
So, are you ready to separate your emotional state from your productivity metrics? Doing so sets the stage for a more balanced and productive life rooted in achievable goals and sustainable practices. What do you think is your go-to for measuring a productive day?
You can go ahead and share this with your team to increase productivity in your company or organization.
Life is unpredictable, and in the blink of an eye, it can change forever. I learned this at 18, surviving a catastrophic crash that claimed the lives of three dear friends and left me with burns over 75% of my body. But if there's one thing this tragic event has taught me, it's that the human spirit is resilient, and even in our darkest moments, we have the power to rise.
1. Reframe Your Narrative
After the accident, I could've been consumed by "why me?" questions. But drowning in the sorrow of the past would only have kept me stuck. Instead, I chose to see this life-changing event as a source of strength, a testament to my resilience.
Action Step: When life pushes you down, take a moment to grieve, but then, decide on your narrative. Will you be a victim or a survivor? By changing your story, you take control of your destiny.
2. Harness the Power of Perspective
My recovery was far from easy. There were days when the pain was unbearable, and the scars, both visible and invisible, weighed heavy on my mind. But I realized that while I couldn't change my past, I had complete control over how I approached my future.
Action Step: Perspective is a powerful tool. When faced with challenges, step back and ask yourself: "What can this teach me?" For me, my scars became a badge of my survival, a reminder that I can overcome anything.
3. Surround Yourself with Positivity
After the accident, I was surrounded by a community that lifted me up, believed in me, and reminded me of my worth when I sometimes forgot it myself. Their positivity was contagious and played a vital role in my healing and eventual success.
Action Step: Seek support. Whether it's friends, family, or professionals, surround yourself with people who believe in your potential. They will be the pillars you lean on during tough times and the cheerleaders celebrating your achievements.
Life has a way of testing our limits, but it's up to us how we respond. From the ashes of tragedy, I found a purpose. Today, as a motivational speaker, I am dedicated to advocating for health and safety, promoting mental health and well-being, and empowering individuals to optimize their personal performance and productivity.
Every challenge you face is an opportunity to grow, to learn, and to prove to yourself just how strong you truly are. Embrace it, and remember: your story is only just beginning.
I am present to many tired and jaded people who have lost hope and become resigned. It triggers two thoughts in my brain. The first is to stop complaining about what you don't have and go get what you want and need. The second thought is I need to teach them to stop complaining and go after what they need and want. I have a hard time being with others who are resigned and act like a victim (or at least that is how it occurs for me). It's an area of growth for me, and when I can be more understanding of others' needs and wants, it will help me better be with them with less judgement, like seeing them as a victim. Remember, I am not for everyone, as my way of thinking turns people off, but if you want to achieve different results, I know you have to think differently and take different actions.
I have been through many challenging situations in my life and have overcome so much, and I believe there is always something I can do which gives me control in my life. If I don't get what I want or need, I keep asking or go higher in the chain to get what I need. I refuse to see myself as a victim, which fuels me to achieve my best. I tell myself, "There is no one coming to rescue me, and I am it." Using the "Warrior Mindset", I ask myself, "If I was a warrior, what would I do to get what I want or need?" When I take on this warrior mindset and let it wash over me, it gives me a powerful place to make decisions from. Try it out for yourself. Let me know if it makes a difference to you and what you were able to accomplish.
My "I am it" attitude has me be optimistic in a world that feels like it is all falling apart. I create my future with my words and then take actions that are consistent with that future happening.
Do you feel like the world is falling apart and you will never get what you want, need, or even get that desired promotion or job offer? Or are you a go-getter and do not stop until you get what you need or want? How does it impact your performance, productivity and overall job satisfaction? How does it impact your company's workplace culture? What goals or achievements could you achieve if you took on the "Warrior Mindset?"
A couple of weeks ago, I attended and spoke at a fantastic conference called the Canadian Burn Survivors Conference that was attended by burn trauma survivors and their family members, medical staff that work with burn trauma survivors, firefighters and others in the burn community. This community is my family, as we are bonded through trauma.
I had many amazing conversations and saw some great speakers. My takeaway from this conference is that we are all on a healing journey, and what works for me may not work for someone else. That's ok because, for the longest time, I just wanted to help others heal and get back into the life they knew. That need to help others was self-fulfilling on my part because my struggles were worth it if I helped someone else heal. It takes a big person to sit with someone struggling as they find their way through the healing journey. Sitting with others' trauma can be very challenging because it reminds me of everything I went through and had to overcome. When others develop the tools to work through their trauma, they have a greater chance to process healing when they are triggered in life, and the reality is they will be triggered again.
"At home, my parents and siblings loved me and were also struggling with their stuff, so life was not easy for me in my early life."
Healing from childhood trauma can be equally as challenging as surviving a fatal car crash and brings on its challenges. We may not even be present of the impact of it on our lives. I grew up being bullied a lot because of my indigenous heritage, which I hated for the longest time because, in my young mind, it only brought negativity from others. I saw that I was less than and resisted learning any of the culture or heritage of my indigenous ancestors. I was not proud of it by any means. At home, my parents and siblings loved me and were also struggling with their stuff, so life was not easy for me in my early life. Additionally, I was raised in the catholic religion, which felt like everything was bad and wrong, and they love to cast judgement, shame, and make you feel guilty. At least, that is how it occurred for me as a young child growing up in this environment.
"You can work through your past traumas to have the life you desire."
I share this with you because I want you to see that we can achieve healing despite everything we have gone through. You can work through your past traumas to have the life you desire. We can be victims of our trauma and keep reliving it, and we keep it in play for a reason. We can survive our trauma and tell everyone how much we have dealt with, as it shows confidence and strength. Healing is resolving our traumas and letting go of them so that we can live the beautiful life we desire. If you are triggered by this post or the thought of letting go of the trauma you have overcome, that is ok, as this is just food for thought on your healing journey. Take what works for you, and throw away the rest. Trust me; you can heal and let go of all that pain; you don't need to keep reliving it. When we can let go of the story of the past, we can truly experience the beauty that today brings.
Have a beautiful day.
Steering Towards Success: How Investing in Road Safety Training Benefits Employees and Boosts Organizational Performance
A road safety presentation geared towards making employees safer drivers holds tremendous value for organizations. Here are a few selling features:
In my experience, healing the body is much easier than healing the mind. What I have learned from my experience of having burned 75% of my body is this. I just had to listen to the doctors, nurses and physical therapists to heal my body. After that, my body did what it needed to do and healed. Sometimes it took longer than expected, but I eventually recovered.
My mind is much different. I didn't do the work in my early recovery, and it impacted my mental health and well-being. I struggled with the negative conversation in my head about how I looked and my limitations. I saw myself as broken, destroyed and ugly. I didn't see myself as good enough for a partner in life and even stopped dating for years as I was too fragile to handle the rejections. Finding work was hard because I didn't think anyone would hire me. I saw I was ugly, and my hands were majorly disfigured, and it was hard to do things with my hands.
It's been 29 years since my injury, and I still have these self-limiting beliefs. The difference today is I don't listen to them. I know it's no longer who I am or how I see myself. I have the strength and ability to stand firm in who I know myself to be, and that is proud, confident and committed.
Whatever you are struggling with today, I invite you to let go of any self-limiting belief or any negative conversation running in your head. Stand proud of who you know yourself to be. You are not who you were yesterday. You are constantly growing, learning and levelling up in life. Stop comparing yourself to the younger, less experienced and less knowledgeable person you were. You got this! Rise up! Go after your goals and that life that inspires you. You are worth it and definitely deserve it.
Last week, a young girl that lost her brother in a fatal car crash saw my virtual presentation on Personal Responsibility and how I picked up the pieces after the fatal car crash I was in at the age of 18. Here is what she wrote.
"Hi there , just yesterday you did a presentation at my school , I want to say thank you because that impacted me a lot , last year my brother was in a fatal car crash 2 weeks after his graduation , this broke me . Hearing your story brought a little comfort to me thank you."
I don't do this work to get standing ovations or awards. I do this work because of teens like this young girl. Her world will be forever changed because of my words. We never know who is going to be impacted when we share ourselves.
Two things. If you have ever experienced me speaking on or off stage, I would love to hear how I have impacted you.
And the second thing, I invite you to share my work with your community on social media and in real life. Somewhere there is someone who needs to hear my story and messaging. You could be saving their life.
I am still booking virtual presentations for "The Power of Personal Responsibility Tour 2023". We have 4 booked and would love to get to 10 before the end of June. Thank you for sharing and being on this journey with me.
Why personal responsibility as a brand? It is the key to having an extraordinary life and it gives you real power to achieve the goals, dreams and life you desire.
What is also great about it is that it is straightforward. All you have to do is ask yourself, "what can I do at this moment to achieve the dreams, goals or life I desire?" If you come from the same mindset I use, see that you have every opportunity to achieve whatever you want. You just have to give up a few internal conversations in your head. It's not easy to let go of those internal conversations because those are true and real about you. I know this because I, too had the proof; look at me; I was the victim of a fatal car crash and sustained life-threatening burns to 75% of my body. This happened to me, and I didn't deserve to have this happen, and I hate that this is now my life, and I am the only one having to deal with the aftermath of that fatal car crash. I can't ever get married now because, look at me, I'm ugly, broken and destroyed. I'm unlovable, unworthy of having a wife or family. I'll never work again, look at my hands; they don't even work. Hell, one hand is all twisted up with scars, and the other one, I can't even open it up. Who is going to want to hire me? I can barely use my hands; I will never be able to provide for myself.
Here's the thing, that dialogue ran in my head for a while as I lay broken and burned in that hospital bed. I believed it for a while; I was consumed with self-pity and was a total victim. I ran with that belief until my dad talked with me, and I saw that if I was going to have any kind of life, I had to take responsibility for it and stop feeling sorry for myself. I had to stop being the victim. I had to stop blaming others for my misfortune. I had to stop blaming the doctors because the surgeries they were doing to fix me weren't making me look like I did before the burns. With time and this important conversation, I was able to stop feeling sorry for myself and start creating the life I wanted. I saw that I could have a life, hell, a life that got me excited to wake up every day instead of the pitiful life I was currently living bandaged up in that hospital bed. What's cool is I also took on the idea that I would be the poster boy for burn survivors around the world, showing society that not all survivors are broken. I saw that I could change how burn survivors were seen in the community. I am pleased to let you know that I am regarded highly in the burn community for the personal growth I have achieved and all that I have accomplished with my speaking business. I am also known throughout Canada, the USA and other countries for demonstrating what's possible after recovering from A burn trauma. I have changed how burn survivors are seen in the community and have helped those who have experienced burn trauma get back to life.
How did I actually get here? The here where I am now married 15 years with a beautiful wife; three beautiful daughters; living in my own home in beautiful Victoria, BC; volunteering with different groups/organizations and causes and running a successful speaking business. That is my humble brag. Oh, and I have even won two community awards. I really do have an extraordinary life, and I look like this. My whole mission is to help people end their internal suffering, live the life they desire, and achieve the goals they set for themselves.
There is a little more to achieving that which you desire, but I want you to understand that you, too, can have the life that excites you. You, too, can achieve the goals that you set for yourself. You, too, can marry the woman of your dreams and have that beautiful family. You can have whatever you desire, set your mind to, and keep taking actions that are consistent with you having those results. You may have to refocus and recalibrate things periodically, but you can achieve it, and if someone tells you that you can't, do yourself a favour and ask them to hold your drink while you show them. The key is you have to be responsible for your life and everything you have achieved and haven't achieved. You have to let go of being a victim, that someone is out to get you. You have to see that you are able to achieve whatever you set your mind to and it is going to take some work. You will have to keep letting go of disempowering internal conversations but understand that you can achieve whatever it is you desire. Hell, I'm living proof.
I love giving people hope and empowering them to take action because that is how you have real power in your life. Otherwise known as the power equations. HOPE + COURAGE = POWER
Life at times can seem to be extremely challenging and even over as you see it. You may not even see light at the end of the tunnel. You may not even see a reason to keep going. It may even seem like you are being punished for something.
I get it. I really do. I have been gifted with an extremely challenging life. Yes, you read that right, I said I was gifted with an extremely challenging life. I have not had it easy at times in my life. Being extremely bullied as a child, sustaining life-threatening burns to 75% of my body, to losing three of my close teen friends in a fatal car crash, life has not been easy. There were times when I wanted to give up because I couldn't deal with everything that was happening in my life. I got used to playing the victim, and I played it well.
However, I was blessed as I was surrounded by a community of people that were pulling for me to get better. My family, friends and community held me up when I wasn't the strongest to hold myself up. Early in my recovery from the car crash, I felt like a victim and wanted to give up, but I saw so many people supporting me. I couldn't let them down, I couldn't let their efforts go unrewarded. They saw something special in me when I couldn't see that something special. That support is what I needed to recover and move forward with my life. I eventually healed, got a job, and started living life again. I then saw that my life was worth living and that there is light at the end of the tunnel. I was right; look how extraordinary my life is today.
Whatever you are struggling with in life right now, I want you to understand that it's only temporary. As tough as it is, you are tougher. There are people in your life wanting to support you; reach out to them, and allow them the opportunity to contribute to you. They are waiting for this opportunity. You are worth it. I know that because I was worth it when I was struggling, and I allowed them to support me. Look at how far I have come.
Don't give up, your better life is waiting for you to step up and put in the work to heal and grow. And if you have the thought that you have it tough, yes, you do, but so do so many other people, and they still put in the work. You can do this. Trust me! It's not going to be easy, but it will be worth it.