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Holiday Bookends July 2, 2011

Posted by John M McKee in "John M McKee", American Dreamers, Canada, Coaching, life balance, Offtime, Personal action plans, Satisfaction, The 3 Key Life Aspects, The Plan, Veracity, well being.
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Canada Day on July 1 (Friday this year) and Independence Day on July 4th (Monday).

This got me noodling about both great countries.

Born in Canada, I am also a US Citizen.  I love both countries. It makes me smile every time I get into a discussion about each country’s pros / cons and the great stuff / crappy issues faced by them.  People on both sides of the border have some outdated opinions about those on the other side of the 49th Parallel.

So, for my Holiday Gift to readers of this blog – let me clear up some popular misconceptions I hear:

#1.  Americans don’t know anything about what goes on in Canada.  This really pisses off Canucks.  It’s true that Yanks don’t know as much about Canada as Canadians do about the US.

It has everything to do with the fact that Canadians consume about the same about of news and media from the States as do the Americans.  Unfortunately the Americans don’t have the same TV access to Canadian media so they aren’t faced with news or stories each day.

But it’s not that Americans only care about what’s going on here. I find that the people I come in contact with are aware of world events to an extent that is generally speaking greater than the average Canuck.

2. All Canadians are very nice.  (Yes. ALL of them.)  I’m amazed at how prevalent this feeling is in the US.  It’s wrong.

Let me assure US readers that I’ve known some really NOT nice Canadians over my life.  When I worked at the Hudson Bay Company, the Chairman (George Kosich) was known as George Carnage because of his attitude that anyone who got in his way was an “enemy” to be dispensed with quickly.

Are there more “nice” people proportionately n Canada then the US?  From my experience, it’s about the same ratio.

– But what I love about many Canadians is that they have waaaaay better listening skills than Americans.  They’re less likely to interrupt and more likely to ask questions than their southern cousins.  Great listeners learn more and are more likely to be regarded as nice.

– On the other hand, Americans lead the world – far and away – in terms of charity donations and philanthropic support.  That’s pretty nice.

3.  Americans are the least fit nation in the world.  Canadians are more fit because they spend more time on fitness and outdoors.

The first one is right – unfortunately.  Yanks inherited that mantle from Germans about 8 years ago.  I believe it has to do with the size of portions here and the accessibility of cheap fast food.

About the second one.  I don’t buy that argument.  Unfortunately, the last report I saw showed the Canucks are closing -in with regard to measurements like Body Mass Index (BMI).  Both countries are out of shape but it’s worse in the warmer country.

4. You can always spot a Canadian from an American by their “accents”.  Partially right – but not always.

I think that North America has kind of ‘local accents’ that are north / south in nature.  People in Fargo sound exactly like people just north of them in Winnipeg.  Edmonton residents could pass as locals in Alaska.  Vancouver-ites sound a lot like Seattle-eans. Toronto people have a real mix, some sound like Chicagoans, others like Wisconsin individuals.  Calgary seems like they were separated at birth from Denverites.  Newfoundlanders could pass easily as a local at a bar in New England.

Clearly French-Quebecers sound unique though, right? Not really – just spend some time in New Orleans French Quarter and you’ll hear many of the same sounds.

I do think Americans from what is called, “the south” have a wonderful and unique lilt – I’m sorry it’s being lost due to migration there from other states.  In the same way, I love the sound of many words used by a lot of Montrealers who still call English as their first language; kind of classy and romantic.

5. Finally, the big question: Which is right –

a) Canada is a better country to live in.

b) The United States is a better country to live in.

The answer is….drum roll please….


Wherever you are this weekend – and all year long – Love it. And accept those from the other side of the border as being about as close to you as any nation could possibly be.

Have a great long weekend!



Public restrooms should be gender neutral October 19, 2010

Posted by John M McKee in "John M McKee", Action Plans, Business Success Coach, CBS Interactive, Coaching, DIRECTV, emotional decisions, life balance, Offtime, Personal action plans, quality of life, Rants, Satisfaction, stress, The Four Windows Process, Veracity, well being, Women.
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Why aren’t most restrooms gender neutral?  In this posting, business life coach John M McKee makes the case that it’s time for a change.


Out for dinner last night in San Francisco I took a quick trip to the restroom.  In and out, ( including time to wash my hands and check out appearance) was probably about 3 minutes.

It struck me when I came out, just how easy the trip was.  For most guys, it’s fast and easy.  Then I got to thinking about all the women I’ve seen waiting to use “the facilities” over the years.  I mean common everyday places like:

  • concerts
  • restaurants
  • movies
  • stores

It’s just dumb – isn’t it; that someone has to wait to use a restroom while another – often just next door – stands vacant?

Why aren’t public restrooms gender neutral?  I realize that I could be making life a bit more difficult for all guys if there was some change as a result of this question.  But hey, this deserves a little noodling.

If asked, would you agree that all public restrooms ( or at least most) be opened up to both women and men?

Here’s to the future!


10 Motivators of those who don’t “need” to work January 27, 2010

Posted by John M McKee in "John M McKee", Action Plans, business intelligence, Coaching, DIRECTV, emotional decisions, life balance, Notes for Business, Personal action plans, quality of life, Satisfaction, The Four Windows Process, well being.

Ever wondered why someone chooses to go back into the workplace even when they don’t need the money?  In this article, international executive and leadership coach John M McKee discusses the key reasons driving their action.  Some of them may surprise you.



Why is it that some individuals work so much harder than others, even when it  doesn’t “makes sense”?

Understanding their underlying emotional needs may help.

Many people will work for years until they reach a point need or time wise, when they no longer have to continue with their role, and then they finish. Others, however, continue in those roles or activities long after such considerations or commitments are fully satisfied.

Why? What motivates some people to continue when they no longer must?

Psychologists note that the answer may be found in how one views their self worth. Some individuals have a stronger “need to be needed”.

Those people may exhibit one or more of the following characteristics:

1. Need for prestige – These individual’s self-worth is reinforced by the title of their role, status of the company employing them, or visible perks such as having a executive assistant to attend to certain tasks for chores for them. Prestige may also come from having subordinates who simply listen and take direction from them.

2. Need for influence – Certain roles or positions have “reach” and influence many others. Could be through direct reporting relationships and often it’s the power of role
e.g.: a reporter or celebrity who has no employees but can influence many others through their work.

3. Need for affiliation – Some jobs come with built-in associates and “friends”. Soon after one arrives, they have chosen or been chosen by others as business friends; perhaps more accurately referred to as colleagues. In many cases these people partially fill the individual’s desire for personal relationships. It can be traumatic for them to learn that those people don’t feel the same toward them.

4. Need for success – For many reasons, some people are overachievers. They grasp onto tasks, assignments, roles with clear quantifiable outcomes and then set about doing whatever it takes to do them better than anyone else can. Being recognized for doing more than others may become an unconscious goal in itself.

5. Need for identification – Some people need to have a clear role, one that they and others can see as being clearly important. Such roles can be personal or professional, e.g.: mother, executive, doctor, actor. However it arose and whichever role is chosen, those people often become lost without the role.

6. Need for purpose – It is important that we feel have a purpose for our life. Without one, an individual’s life can feel very unsatisfying. A person’s purpose can be broad, for example, “to help others succeed” or more narrowly defined, such as “to be a great father, or top golfer”.

7. Need to help others – Some individuals feel that they have been given so much that they have an “obligation” to give to others via volunteerism or activism. This feeling may be genuine altruism or perhaps a deep rooted sense of guilt for being so blessed when others have little.

8. Need for reputation – Many people view themselves – and others – through the perspective of what they “do” or “have done”. When these people meet others, one of the first things they often discuss is their track record, complete with titles. Alternately, this need can be witnessed by how they first inquire about others, for example, “what do you do?” as opposed to other types of questions.

9. Need for work – There are true workaholics. This individual behave like this often because they are addicted, and less frequently because they love their jobs – although they will usually profess that as being their reason for being so busy.

10. Need for activity – For such people, they simply don’t have much that interests them outside of their job. Of course this can make this individual pretty boring to those who come into contact with them. Additionally they are often easily bored by others.


Japan regaining relevance. Again. December 29, 2009

Posted by John M McKee in American Dreamers, business and career coaching, business success, Business Success Coach, Coaching, executive coach, leadership coach, business consultant, career advice, Notes for Business, Veracity, well being.
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If you’re focused on Asia, but only watching China, Korea, or Taiwan; then you’re missing an important player.  In this article executive coach John M McKee comments on what he found in Japan last week.


I just returned from a trip to Japan .  I was pleased to note that it no longer feels like a “formerly great” country.  From the perspective of an executive coach, it was clear to me that the country’s firing on all cylinders, again.

In Tokyo for one week and then up to Sapporo for another week, I had ample time to get a feel for the pulse of the country.  It didn’t feel like life support is needed on either island.  On the contrary – it felt vibrant, the people seemed upbeat in general.  And, although Christmas isn’t celebrated much ( only about 1 million of the 136 million population are Christians so the lack of “traditional Christmas activities” was not surprising,) the stores were still very busy.  People weren’t just kicking tires, they were out to buy.

I went to Akihabara, aka Electric Town.  If you’ve never been there, make a point of finding it on your next trip to Tokyo.  (Not hard, it’s right on one the main subway lines.)  Japan has always had a great electronics industry and a trip to Akihabara showed that it’s not just alive but it’s thriving.  I wish a lot more of their cool stuff showed up in North America and sooner.  And, if you’re a shopper who thinks that Best Buy is the pinnacle of electronics retail; you’ll be blown away.

Some stores are 8 stories high.  Other stores look like a “mom and pop” place opened at the end of world war 2.  But it’s all wonderful and cool and inexpensive for the most part. You can’t think of any product with a cable or connector that they don’t have.  Plus, they have staff, demonstrations, and education areas.  If you arrived and weren’t sure what you needed, there is always someone to help you.

We all know that China and India are the Asian Tigers, consequently we spend a lot of time tracking their progress and watching their growth with deep respect.  But it’s worth noting that Japan remains the second largest national economy after the US.  They are growing their exports again – actually had a positive balance of trade with China last month.  And judging by their leadership in fashion and anime over the past few years, they have taken a strong position in several cultural sectors in addition to their auto and electronic industries.

Up north in Japan’s 5th largest city of Sapporo (yes it’s the home of the beer and a brewery visit is in order when you go), the scene was similar.  Shoppers were energized there too.  The island’s tourism biz seems to be growing with great skiing and snowboarding adding to the luster of the wonderful and popular spring fed bathhouses in the mountains which housed the Olympics a couple of decades ago.

If you haven’t been to Japan – go.  If it’s been more than 5 years, go again.

Keep an eye on this country – there’s lots to learn and it’s easy to forget with all the hype of their neighboring countries.

Looking forward!


Try yoga as a career success tool September 23, 2009

Posted by John M McKee in "John M McKee", 21 Ways Women in Management Shoot Themselves in the Foot, Action Plans, business success, Business Success Coach, career success, Coaching, Job advice, life balance, Personal Success, Tempur-Pedic, The 3 Key Life Aspects, The Four Windows Process, Veracity, well being, wellness, women in management.
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johncloseup-resized-for-veracity.jpgIf your career isn’t where you’d like, it may be because your mind and body are not functioning as well as possible.  This week, executive coach John M McKee shares a tip that works for many successful career pro’s.


When a new client joins Business Success Coach.net, we have a series of questions we ask at the outset.  I believe that the more I know about my client, the more likely I am able to help her or him quickly.

Because we use The Four Windows Process of coaching, our questions go beyond the ones which you may expect from a career or business coach.  Of course, we’re focused on  career success and aspirations.  As a part of that, though, we ask about exercise among other things.  Perhaps not surprisingly I hear that most people don’t have any regular fitness routine.

They’re making a big mistake.  I’ve learned over the years that those who keep their bodies in good shape as they age will often be more successful in other aspects of their lives including their careers.  But many times my new client will say  that they’re just “too busy” to look after their bodies.  Sound familiar?

If you’re in a similar place, I suggest you start looking after your entire situation – career, personal life, and financial success – by doing something smart and beneficial for yourself physically.  I recommend yoga.  Here’s why:

1. It addresses your whole body -not simply a particular part like the legs, behind, or arms.  Consequently, in a very short period of time, it helps you function better overall.  New levels of tamina can make a big difference.  Not carrying yesterday’s stress today long helps you get through the job demands more readily.

2. There’s a mental aspect to it. Most people who are into exercise will say the same thing about their sport or workput; and I’ve done enough other activity to realize their comment are valid.  Yoga, however, is geared around focusing on many different postures during the class time.  Consequently, it’s hard to NOT let go of the issues nagging you.  You “let go”.  When finished class, it’s not just your bod that is in better shape, your head is too.

3.  Desk workers, or those who are always traveling from place to place, develop certain postures out of habit. They may develop pots, sore necks, poor posture.  Ofthen they’ll lose upper body strength, become more prone to headaches or body aches.  That’s because of the amount of time they remain in the same position during most days.  For both women and men, it’s important to release this tension or else it will turn into something more damaging – perhaps life threatening.

I do Bikram Yoga.  It’s a form of hot yoga, meaning the studio is hot – like 105 degrees F.  The temperature takes a while to get used to; but once you’re accustomed to it, it really helps your body and your brain to respond more quickly to the instructions of the teacher and the various poses.

As a Wellnesss Adviser for Tempur-Pedic I have access to research on sleep done by the company.  Additionally, as a leadership coach, I hear from many clients about their lack of sleep due to job demands.  With that feedback feedback and empirical research, I have no doubt that, for many people, a lack of sleep is causing them to perform less effectively.  Yoga helps you to sleep better. It helps you physically and mentally.

Focusing on the movements of yoga will help you build physical strength and mental acuity.  Both make you better equipped to perform better on the job.

Give it a test.  There’s nothing to lose and a lot to gain.


Cranky? It could kill your job August 12, 2009

Posted by John M McKee in "John M McKee", anxiety, business and career coaching, business strategy, business success, career success, Coaching, Job advice, life balance, quality of life, replenishment, small business coach, stress, Tempur-Pedic, The Secret, Veracity, well being, wellness, Women.
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abc1Sleep issues often cause poor performance on the job. In this article business and executive coach John M McKee discusses 5 tactics to make you more successful.


“I’m simply fed up!”

And, with that comment, a new client of mine started working with me last January.

He went on, saying that, “I’m already in a very pressureful business. I shouldn’t have to deal with more bureaucratic bulls*** that makes it even tougher to get my job done.  The HR department seems to feel that its job is to prevent me from hiring good people or firing the dead weight!”

He’s a temperamental senior executive, known to have a big temper.  But the organization – a midsized cable television network – puts up with his fits because he helps them to succeed.  They asked me to do some remedial coaching to try to help him act a little more “business like”: no screaming fits, no cursing, door slamming should stop. The objective was for him to at least try to act like a normal human being in meetings with his peers.

In our first meeting I could sense his frustration level.  I dealt with it head-on.  “What’s your problem?” I asked.

He started to list all the things in his life that are driving him crazy.  To be fair it was a list that would make even the most even-keeled person become unbalanced. (His wife had left him, his 401k is now a 201k after the events of last year, he was promised a big raise but then the company didn’t deliver the goods, he hurt his knee skiing and it aches all day, and he isn’t sleeping much.

That last one caught my attention.  In addition to being an executive and business coach, I am also a Wellness Adviser for Tempur-Pedic.   During my 30+ years in boardrooms and executive suites I have seen firsthand that a lack of sleep can have a major impact on one’s performance, attitude, and behavior.  It struck me that this client may be sleep deprived and that everyone may be seeing the result of that.

We discussed how long he sleeps each night, if he’s one to toss and turn, how fast he goes to sleep when his head hits the pillow, and how he feels when he gets up in the AM.

From his answers it was clear that he wasn’t getting enough quality sleep.

This makes him emotional and drives his actions and behavior.  My client didn’t need a coach to help him understand fundamentals of good management practice – he needed more sleep!

I gave him some suggestions, he put them into practice and – like magic – he’s become the “old executive” everyone knew and loved.

If you’re feeling emotional, irrational, cranky, foggy, or just plain run down; consider a few of these ideas to improve your sleep.  It may make you more effective, content, and successful:

1. Caffeine – if you have trouble sleeping, drink no more than 2 caffeinated beverages a day, none after lunch.  This includes tea by the way.  And many things we eat have caffeine – check the labels.

2. Booze – This is a trick one because it can make you sleepy and you go right to sleep without all that “noise”.  So it seems like it’s a sleep aid. But it’s not a good sleep.  Then you usually wake up still feeling tired.  Try not to drink within 4 hours of bedtime.

3.  Bed – Don’t try to save money on your bed. It’s probably one of the best investments in your personal success you can make.  If you are uncomfortable (bed is too hard, too soft, too hot, too cold, too small, too crowded, etc etc) you toss and turn, and that breaks up the important deep sleep that replenishes you.  If you need to save money on furniture buy a less expensive dining room suite.  They never get used as much as people expect anyway.

4. Environment – Your bedroom should be dark – any light can interrupt your sleep. It should be quiet – for obvious reasons. Ideally it’s a bit on the cool side – about 64 degrees.  If you have a tv in the bedroom, don’t watch it at bedtime and don’t read before you go to sleep either.  Both can stimulate your brain just when you want it quieter.  Finally, if you are prone to waking up and looking at the time, put the clock in a drawer so you can’t see it.

5. Exercise – Regular exercise helps us sleep better.  I know that it’s tough to find the time to exercise but cut back elsewhere and figure it out.  Do it in the AM or early PM, but not too close to bedtime.  Exercise will help you work out stress and clear your head too – each important for some good zzz’s.

I realize that this list may seem pretty short and that many readers will have seen similar lists.  But if your job performance is not what is needed, I strongly urge you to consider your sleep patterns. Adults need about 8 hours of sleep each night to perform a peak levels.  Anything less is going to hit you.

If you chose to ignore your sleep issues, you can always feel free to call us at our Coaching Practice here at Business Success Coach.net.  Our phone # is 720.226.9072 and we’ll be happy to work with you on other ways of improving your results.

But it’s probably going to cost you more…

Here’s to your success!