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Although 2018 is looking very optimistic on many fronts, we are still experiencing the effects of uncertainty in some areas.  This past year, we faced political anxiety, a polarization of viewpoints, financial failures, earthquakes, droughts, fires, floods, and myriad other crises; and there are no signs that it will end anytime soon.  We may even be on the brink of war in several regions. Continue reading “Preparing and Managing Your Team in the “New Normal”” »

It is now that time of year when organizations start calling us to assist with developing their strategic plan.  Subsequently, as a professional speaker, trainer, and consultant, I feel it is necessary to “eat my own dogfood” and create a strategic plan for my own life and business.  However, like many of you, I don’t want it to become a binder full of information that is not monitored or adjusted. Continue reading “How to Do Your Own Strategic Planning” »

This week, I will not write about a successful entrepreneur, an amazing inventor, or business owner. Rather, let’s talk about a custodial worker who lives by the old expression, “A penny saved is a penny earned,” and has learned the art of compound investing. Now in her 50’s, she can retire pretty much anytime she chooses.

Local entrepreneur and educator, Mike Cassidy, heard Anne Sheehan’s story at an event, and it reminded him of a story in a book I recommended to him written by Tony Robbins called “Money – Master the Game.” He realized we have a master right here in PEI, cleaning the McDougall Hall Business Building on the UPEI Campus.

Anne is one of the most inspiring people I have met in a long time. In fact, she now provides lectures to students enrolled in the Advanced Entrepreneurship Program at the Business Faculty of UPEI taught by Mike Cassidy. He is an exceptionally forward-thinking professor who continually challenges his students and ensures they hear real-life lessons from everyday people who initially struggled, and then achieved great success.

Anne is not highly educated nor is she a financial wizard. In fact, she came from a poor family of 11 siblings, and knows what it is like to be cold and hungry. As she got older, she decided that she did not want to be dependent on others or the government, and wanted to retire comfortably.

She also knew that her future depended on taking personal responsibility for the choices she made. She refused to join the crowd who continually complains and blames others for their hardships.

The first step in her success happened in her early 20’s. She went on a quest to understand millionaire thinking. She spoke with successful people, read books, and listened to motivational tapes. She then set clearly articulated goals for her own future.

Anne began by putting small amounts away from each paycheck directly into an RRSP (she did not even get to see it), then expanded that to include TFSA’s and other savings programs. She also made sure she did not accrue any debt.

She realized that by borrowing, people end up paying twice as much for everything they buy, with half of what is earned going to making lenders rich. But to do that, she did without many day-to-day luxuries her friends enjoyed. She was determined to set money aside for her future.

As a result, she was able to pay for her son’s tuition and purchase a house and is now mortgage-free. She even earns additional revenue from renting the extra space.

To assist with sticking to her self-imposed discipline she used four strategies:

  1. Got rid of credit cards
  2. Worked multiple jobs at the same time
  3. Set up automatic deposits into her savings accounts
  4. Gave up smoking and put that money into investments

She is now teaching her son these principles, and she is available for speaking to groups. She lets people know the importance of setting goals, treating others with respect, investing in their own personal development, and making choices that bring happiness.

Anne Sheehan is changing lives, one person at a time, whether it is students or just people she meets. She teaches them to respect and love money, not abuse or waste it. Her advice to everyone:

Do not let fear control your life, take personal responsibility for wherever you find yourself.

My question for all workers:

What are you doing to plan for a comfortable retirement and life of independence?

I’m a big fan of Chip and Dan Heath, bestselling authors of Made to Stick (which explained why certain ideas catch on while others die), Switch (Which showed us how to make changes at work and in life), and Decisive (which explained how to make better choices).  As of today, they just launched their newest book, The Power of Moments: Why Certain Moments Have Extraordinary Impact.

In this book, The Heath brothers dissect what, specifically, makes a particular experience memorable and meaningful. And then based on these attributes, challenges us to “be the author of them.”

So why should you care?

In business, the whole notion of creating an exceptional customer experience (CX)  is at the top of everyone’s minds.  And some have done a great job at defining some basic attributes. (For example, see Lior Arussy’s book, Exceptionalize It).  The Heath brothers take it one step further to provide further ideas to springboard and implement CX thinking.  It certainly has got my brain thinking!

In my life, I can also see how these principles apply.  Many years ago, after my second child was born, a dear friend shared her secret to raising great kids.  She said, “Your job is to make positive memories.  As they get older, that’s what they remember.”  And now that my kids are grown and flown the nest, when I asked them, “What do you remember about your childhood?” they replied some simple things – like making sure I made a favorite chicken buffalo sandwich for school.  I never understood how that was important, but now I do (hint: it relates to a transition and connection).

So if you want to be more intentional about making magical moments at work and in your life, I highly recommend this book.


KRISTIN ARNOLD, MBA, CPF, CSP is a high stakes meeting facilitator and professional panel moderator.  She’s been facilitating teams of executives and managers in making better decisions and achieving greater results for over 20 years.  She is the author of the award-winning book, Boring to Bravo: Proven Presentation Techniques to Engage, Involve and Inspire Audiences to Action.

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