The ART of Successful Living: Accountability + Responsibility = Trustworthy

By Alice Wheaton

100% Accountable + 100% Responsible = 100% Trustworthy
75% Accountability + 75% Responsibility = 75% Trustworthiness
100% Accountable + 100 % Responsible = 100% Trustworthy

Trust is all about Ourselves

When our words and actions match, we are congruent and trustworthy. There is only one test to tell us if someone (including ourselves) is congruent and that is the test of time. When we give our word, to others and ourselves, and keep it, we are perceived by the world around us to be trustworthy. Ultimately, we are all known by our actions. 

Right now, there may be many, many circumstances towards which you feel powerless. The choices are to adopt either a submissive, defensive, or fully accepting stance to those situations. Some resistance to this concept is very natural. After all, one does not want to be adrift on the sea of life, alone and assuming 100%, responsibility might seem like a formula to face life alone, without the support of others. The opposite is true; your relationships will be even better than before when you make a decision to practice the Art of Leadership. Think about these words of a popular song of the seventies: I am a rock…I am an island… Who wants that? Almost no one. Asking for help is still accepting responsibility.

For example, what if you have a job that you promised to complete on July 17, it is now July 12, and you have come to a dead end. You don’t know how to accomplish a very important part of that job, yet you are 100% responsible, so what should you do? The answer is to ask for help and in doing so you will still maintain 100% responsibility.

Now, imagine a team brought together to accomplish a task. The objectives and  measured outcomes are presented. Everyone on the team personally and voluntarily accepts (for no one can mandate this to another) 100% responsibility for the result. This is imperative for a great team to function. Imagine saying to a chain: Okay, you three links here are only 50% responsible, but the other 110 pieces are 100% responsible. The point of lowered responsibility in the chain is where the efficacy of the entire chain is weakest. 

Would you want that particular chain with several weak links holding the gates of your neighbor’s yard closed with a pair of ferocious, dedicated guard dogs behind it? Probably not! Any relationship where each of the members assume 100% of the responsibility will function much better than if one or the other accepts only partial responsibility. The language of someone who is not willing to be accountable and responsible sounds like this:

  • I will be respectful to you, as long as you are respectful to me.
  • You snapped at me first!
  • You ignored my pleading for help when I was down, so now it’s your turn to suffer. See how you like that!

It takes courage to accept 100% responsibility for our lives. If I assign 85% responsibility to me and 15% responsibility to you, for the remaining 15%, I am in a potential ‘victim’ state. Assuming 100% responsibility for our participation in the past will free us from projecting guilt, and resentment onto others.

Let us say someone really did something bad to you as a child. How can you take 100% responsibility? You can, by saying: This ‘bad’ thing happened and I can let it affect me for the rest of my life, and I can choose 100% responsibility for my attitude toward it. I can observe how my thinking about the past event colors my life today. I do not like or want that, so I let go. The past is done – I cannot change it. It does not exist. If I continue to live there, I am controlled by an illusion for an illusion is something that does not exist but that I give energy to anyway.

Taking 100%, responsibility for the present is also freeing. Notice when something bad occurs, there seems to be a frenzied witch-hunt. Whom shall we blame for this? What if someone stepped up to the plate and said: Let’s stop looking for the person who did this and start looking for the solution. The quicker we assume responsibility for the solution, the more likely we will see ourselves and be seen by others as having the traits of a leader. The future will provide us with freedom, abundance, challenges, rewards, pain, setbacks, joy and success, all of which make up the rich tapestry of life. Do not spend time affixing the blame; fix the problem!

Like the past, the future is also an illusion – it is not here yet, but we can be prepared and give ourselves the edge by assuming 100% responsibility for ourselves as we go forward. With this proactive attitude, we have focus. This is one of the reasons top performers achieve their position; they have a have a concrete plan for their life. It means they have already taken the time to create priorities for the future. There is something magical about that. Our expectations have a greater chance of being achieved, when we plan. In addition, with a plan we give ourselves the freedom to add, delete, or change in response to the actual events as compared to planned events. If we have no plan and leave everything up to fate, then we must accept what comes blindly and fit ourselves to it as best we can. When we have a plan, life still delivers tragedy and sorrow, but when it does, we are resilient and are not thrown off course for long.

Our attitude of living 100% responsibly will keep us vigilant as we complete due diligence before getting involved with someone else’s project, thereby preventing the disasters associated with ‘trusting the untrustworthy’!  Moreover, if we should err, we are able to trust ourselves to deal with the consequences.

Let us look at the pattern of trusting the untrustworthy. This is a common weakness, or character deficit. Even the most well informed and sophisticated of individuals are ‘taken advantage of’ more times than they care to admit. This is unjust and unfair, but so what! The trend will not change unless we learned to ask ourselves the all-important question: What is it about me that cause me to trust the untrustworthy?

Some of the answers to this one question may be:

  • Making decisions quickly. Unable to take the time to complete due diligence.
  • Making decisions based on how great the need is to be rescued from something. The need to be rescued often overrides gut instinct.
  • Craving change and being impatient with process.
  • Inability to set, and maintain, personal boundaries.
  • Inability to deal with uncomfortable feelings.
  • Need to be liked.
  • Hungry heart.

When you discover what your reason is for trusting the untrustworthy, plan to spend some time in quiet reflection, and see where you had something to contribute to almost every situation that hurt you. When you take 100% responsibility, it does not mean it is open season on beating up on yourself! It is more a matter of: Oh, so that’s the cause. Now I need to learn new skills so it does not happen again. 

One of the tools you can put to work right now to mitigate the danger of trusting the untrustworthy is a balance sheet – listing pros and cons of any  decision you are about to make and then giving yourself a week just to sit with the process and ask some ‘call to truth’ questions such as: 

  • What is the cost for doing/having this? 
  • What is the cost of not doing/having this? 
  • If I wait a few days, will my need and desire be as great or will I want it less?
  • Who could potentially lose because of this decision?
  • Do I want to be rescued from a difficult situation? 

Most decisions made in a hurry turn out to be wrong. Your new mantra could be: I make my decisions over time with lots of due diligence. Another step is to require the other person to put in writing, in measurable terms, what they will be delivering. If they cannot or will not, the answer becomes clear – Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!

Frequently, when something goes wrong, most individuals rush in to lay blame, defend, and justify as to why they are not responsible for the disastrous event. Many relationships that begin with love and trust deteriorate into blame, shame, resentment, and distance. The partners may change but unless each individual learns to take 100% responsibility for his or her own life, the results will eventually be the same despite the geographic cure where they move to another city but take themselves with them!.

Justifying and defending yourself may work from time to time when you manage to escape repercussion; however, as a mode of operation, this does not help anyone get the results they really want in life. The process of taking 100% responsibility is simple, but not easy, because our society holds a CYA (Cover Your Ass) mentality.

There are many situations in life over which we have no control, but ‘acting as if’ we have ultimate control will increase our options. You will be surprised at the capacity for power we have to change our circumstances and influence others simply by assuming the attitude and behaviour of responsibility. Life will work out in the process of life itself.


Alice Wheaton is a best selling author with books translated into ten languages. She is a consultant, and speaker, working tirelessly to help bring out the best in others.

Fear and the Freedom to Make Mistakes

By Karen Styles
Owner & Chief Imaginer, KarenMakes
A featured vendor at What A Woman Wants Summer 2018

Am I the only one who worries too much? In particular, I have a fear of making mistakes that holds me back too often, in too many areas. I’ve been trying to figure out how to deal with my fear.

Fear can paralyze. All the what ifs pile up into an unscalable wall and I feel like I can’t move forward. What if I make a mistake? What if I make hundreds of mistakes? What if I embarrass myself in front of everyone I’ve ever met? What if I do it all wrong? When these questions start to swirl around in my head, I get overwhelmed.

In the middle of 2017, I got fed up with all the fear and worry. It took up too much space in my mind, and I decided I didn’t want to let fear run the show. Part of this inspiration came from Elizabeth Gilbert’s book “Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear.” When fear creeps up, it does help a bit to say, “Oh fear, it’s you again! Hello old friend.” I had to learn to be okay with this fear of making mistakes.

I’ve got a simple lettered art sign that says “Make Mistakes & Learn.” It had been tucked away in a box after a move. But I dug it out, framed it and remembered why I had been drawn to those words in the first place. “Make Mistakes & Learn” became my mantra. And after allowing myself to make mistakes, I realized there was a specific type of mistake I wanted to make.

I decided that I wanted every mistake I made to be a mistake of action rather than of inaction. “Well, now I know something I didn’t know” is way better than the regret of “I wish I had tried that.” And you know what? Allowing myself to make mistakes gave me a huge sense of freedom.

Guess what? Mistakes are not so terrible, because I can make mistakes and then learn. That shift, that positive spin on mistake-making helped me understand that each mistake is actually moving me forward.

Another thing about mistakes. The are fixable. Why didn’t I realize it before? It’s the simplest thing. If I make a mistake, I can change something and fix it. Take a second and think about a mistake you are worried about making. If you actually make that mistake, will it be catastrophic? I’m willing to bet that in most cases, the answer is no.

So how does this relate to real life? Well, in 2016, I launched KarenMakes – a creative side-business and Etsy shop. Part of stepping out in spite of fear means putting my art out there. (Hey, I just noticed that “art” rhymes with “heart.” Putting my art out there = putting my heart out there. Yep, that’s how personal and vulnerable it feels sometimes).

I’ve always loved to paint, sew, knit, do photography, and just generally dabble in all sorts of creative projects. But most of these things were done at home, alone, for myself or sometimes as gifts. Making and creating have always brought me joy and a sense of groundedness. Don’t get me wrong, hobbies in solitude are wonderful things. But I wanted to share my work and see if the creativity that I was tapping into resonated with others. I discovered that I could have my artwork and photos printed onto journals, leggings, pillows and a whole lot more. So I’ve been selling online and in local markets. It’s so exciting to see my work take on other forms, and even more exciting to see the reactions of people who find their own meaning in what I do.

None of this would have happened if I hadn’t taken action – despite the fear that accompanied me along the way. It turns out that most of the mistakes I was worrying about either didn’t happen or didn’t matter. And this is where the freedom to make mistakes and comes in. I realized, if this product doesn’t sell, I’ll make something else. If this market doesn’t work, I’ll try another one. Even if this whole business doesn’t work, I will learn and I will do something else. None of these (possible) mistakes have to limit me.

Fear of mistakes kept me stuck. But realizing mistakes were okay meant I could move forward. And moving forward continues to be the most important thing for me. Just keep taking action. Taking action has opened up new opportunities new relationships that I would never have found if I hadn’t taken the risk of putting my art (and myself) out there. More than that, I’ve had the chance to truly connect with so many amazing individuals.

As I reflect on the past year and look forward to a new one, I know there will be some mistakes ahead of me. But I’m curious and maybe even a little excited about how I will adapt and continue to learn. Because every mistake is actually an opportunity.

Will you experience the freedom of making mistakes this year?

Karen Styles

A Plant Based Diet: Live Longer, Leaner and Livelier

By Kate McGoey-Smith, DipNrsg, MSW, RSW, FM

You know what it is like because you live it every day. Work, kids, meals, homework, housework and it is a repeat cycle of “busy” until the weekend. Weekends are just as jam-packed until they are broken by Mondays and the start of the weekday cycle of activity all over again.

Life is very full with three kids going through the turbulent times of junior high and high school, each needing attention for any number of tween and adolescent crises. Then there are the demands of nurturing along a career. My job as a manager and clinical supervisor of free, on-site counselling services for children from kindergarten to grade twelve for a rural school division involves dealing with problems each day, every hour of every day. That is the reality of the job. My joy is having the privilege of meeting and working with people. People of tremendous courage who are trying to find ways to solve their problems.

As you can imagine, there was little time to spare for myself. Still, I loved every minute of my hectic life. I would spring out of bed every morning looking forward to the challenges of each new day. My husband, Andrew, would affectionately refer to me as the “Energizer Bunny” as I darted out the door ready to take on the world!

However, in the fall of 2006, I started to notice something that became increasingly more alarming as the months went by and the school year was coming to a close. I was finding myself dealing with a persistent dry cough and feeling increasingly fatigued. This fatigue could be best described as having to wade through knee-deep water.

I was having to come home and nap before doing the “second shift” on the home front. Then I began skipping my regular exercise sessions at the local gym. Then another change – a kind of creeping of lower leg and abdominal swelling (fluid retention) that I at first attributed to the hotter summer weather.

Come September of 2007, my level of exhaustion was steadily increasing – I still managed to fulfill my work obligations except the home front was different. I was coming home and getting right into my pajamas. I was ready for bed before my kids. The swelling in my lower limbs and abdomen were even more pronounced. This lead to a visit one night to our local urgent care unit where I was put on a doctor’s leave for two weeks to deal with being newly diagnosis with type 2 diabetes (A1c blood glucose level of 15.2 percent) (the range for those without diabetes is 4–6 percent) as well as being scheduled for further investigation for suspicious heart abnormalities.

Months of more testing revealed a diagnosis of both severe right-sided heart failure and severe sleep apnea. Six months later, my sleep specialist informed me that I had idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension (IPAH). A right heart catheterization resulted in me being classified as a WHO level 3 out of 4 and told that this is a rare (2-4 in a million) disease, characterized by high blood pressure in the pulmonary arteries of the lungs with no apparent cause. It also has no cure and comes with a terminal prognosis: two years to live without treatment and five years to live with treatment.

Suddenly, my life as I knew it was wiped out. I had to stop work immediately, and within months I required a nasal cannula and had to carry around a heavy tank of oxygen, like a scuba diver on land! The deterioration continued rapidly with the loss of my eyesight, which was caused by a combination of a lack of oxygen to my eyes, diabetic retinopathy, and the prescribed IPAH drugs. My medication list was a page long, and I stayed at home except when attending up to three medical appointments a week, keeping more than five specialists busy. My disease progressed to the point that I was placed on a monitoring list for a lung transplant. I continued on a variety of drug combinations ranging in cost from $36,000 to $100,000 per year. These potent drugs take a physical toll. I felt like I had the flu every day and the stomach flu every night; waking every morning incontinent. This went on for over five long challenging years!

Then one evening, I turned on the TV. CBC host George Stroumboulopoulos was explaining that the documentary Forks Over Knives had changed his life and might do the same for viewers. My husband, Andrew, and I watched it from the front row of the movie theater—the only place I could see it with my limited vision—and we were on board. In November 2012, after a year of trial and error, I reached out to one of the featured doctors in Forks Over Knives: Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn Jr., MD a retired surgeon who currently directs the Cardiovascular Prevention and Reversal Program at The Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute. This phone consultation changed my life.

The next month, with the generous support of friends and church members, I attended a five-day intensive program at Dr. McDougall’s Health and Medical Center, founded by Dr. Esselstyn’s colleague John McDougall, MD, another featured doctor in the Forks over Knives documentary. It was there that I gained the tools and knowledge to adopt a whole plant-based lifestyle, making food my first medicine.

I taught myself how to cook while legally blind and too weak to stand. I started by choosing meals I love to eat—healthy, delicious versions of international cuisine—for example, Indian chana masala (chickpeas cooked with tomato and onions) and Chinese stir-fried veggies cooked in no-salt veggie broth or water. I followed Dr. Esselstyn’s evidence-based research and I ate a fistful of steamed greens six times a day with a sprinkle of flavoured vinegar.

Fifteen months later, my eyesight was fully restored, I was off the lung-transplant monitoring list, I needed oxygen only at night, and I no longer required any insulin. My right-sided heart failure was gone, and so were symptoms like neuropathy, dizzy spells, and fainting. By June 2013, I had lost more than 110 pounds. My respirologist downgraded my IPAH to level 1 (from level 3) and took me off my IPAH drugs and my endocrinologist considers me a non-diabetic!

Today, I safeguard my health and maintain my weight loss by eating a whole plant-based diet and exercising daily. These are all activities I take forward in my next challenge. My kidneys were compromised by my combined past history of diabetes and potent drug therapies which included a 2013 allergic reaction to a pediatric dose of an intravenous antibiotic. Evidence-based nutritional science indicates I am on the healthiest diet possible for my kidneys and overall health. I am very grateful.

I have put this gratitude into action by finding ways to help others also gain the benefits of preventing and reversing degenerative lifestyle diseases like diabetes, heart disease, autoimmune diseases and even some forms of cancer (breast, prostate, colon). To get the message out, Andrew and I host a monthly meet-up community potluck. This occurs the second Thursday of each month beginning at 6:30 pm at Calgary’s Bridgeland SDA Church gym. It offers a delicious array of food and a ‘vegucation’ lesson with each gathering.

We are also hosting in Calgary on April 27 and 28, 2018, the Fork Smart Two Day Why and How Summit: “U-turn Illness and Optimize Your Health”. It will feature both Dr. Anthony Lim, JD, MD, Medical Director of McDougall Health & Medical Center and Dr. John McDougall, MD, joining him live via Skype for the question and answer period following the keynote address of the “why” food can be medicine. Day two will feature nine presentations addressing the “how” of a healthy whole lifestyle.

Tickets are available online at

Another project underway in Calgary is a three- day weekend retreat to go even more in-depth as to the “whys” and “hows” of successfully living a whole plant-based lifestyle that can prevent and reverse degenerative lifestyle illnesses. There will be stimulating talks, easy-to-do cooking demonstrations, meal planning and more. Included are six delicious meals to enjoy during this Friday evening to Sunday afternoon, day time retreat.

Tickets are online at

While others empowered me with knowledge and support, the change came about because of me—and what I chose to put on the end of my fork!

Kate McGoey-Smith
DipNrsg, MSW, RSW, FM

7 Critical Things for 2018

By Abe Brown

Typically, any given year involves so much planning, effort, and even stress that we are pretty “wound up” as it ends. Given this, there is always a “winding down” as one year draws to a close, and as a New Year dawns. We spend time reflecting on the relationships, connections, and outcomes that have transpired.

This is healthy. Living with intention and focus is a large key to success, and it is difficult to have intention without self-awareness and reflection. A New Year provides a valuable opportunity to ponder the past year while anticipating the future year. So, let’s reflect on 7 Critical Things for 2018…

The 1st is this: Think next level. Building the life and business of our dreams starts with desire and motivation, but it takes next level thinking, intentionality, excellence and work to arrive. Thinking next level means that everything is potentially in a state of growth, flux, and evolution, as opposed to being static and fixed.

The 2nd critical thing for 2018 is simple: Play to your strengths. Being well-rounded and average at everything is not as effective as excellence at a few things. In 2018, achievement is not your issue, it’s alignment. Seek to be aligned with yourself. Play to your strengths. You have amazing capacity for greatness when you are dialed into your personal sweet spot and strengths. Abundance easily flows when you are most aligned with your best self!

The 3rd critical thing for 2018 is this: Less is more. Simple pleasures like the warmth of another’s touch, a sunset that paints the sky red, or the gentle dance of trees blowing in the breeze can provide replenishment and empowerment.

The 4th critical thing for 2018 is to manage my motivation. Motivation matters. It is the fuel that keeps you going when the mission looks distant and unreachable. Your motivation is the why behind the what and the how in your life. A consistently healthy why leads to a healthy what, and a healthy how.

The 5th critical thing for 2018 is to cultivate my mindset. Our mind can be our greatest asset in terms of positivity, empowerment, and support for our goals and objectives, or it can be our greatest hindrance. Positive thinking doesn’t change anything in and of itself, but it empowers us to execute with greater energy, authenticity, and empowerment. Negativity drains, attracts negative people with negative energy, and costs us the energy we so desperately need to achieve at a high level. Positive thinking attracts other positive people who bring energy and brighter perspectives.
The 6th critical thing for 2018 is using my mood for my benefit. Happy people tend to be productive and resilient people who continue to bounce back through obstacles and setbacks. Our daily mood is typically the product of our daily habits and daily thoughts. Highly-Productive People manage their mood, and they do so with consistent self-care practices of exercise, nutrition, sleep, spirituality, healthy relationships, and learning.

The 7th critical thing for 2018 is all that really matters is relationships and people. Again and again, when I close my eyes, I remember a funeral I did just over 15 years ago when I was a full-time minister. I was conducting the funeral for a man who had passed in his 70’s, and at his funeral, there were precisely 3 people there: one mourner, one funeral director (from the funeral home), and one minister (me). Two of the three were paid to be there. 70 years lived, and one person attending the funeral of a man in his 70’s who was not paid to be there.

As a 23-year old, this experience shook me to my core. I knew at that moment that the most important thing in life is people. Success, effectiveness and reach can only be measured by the people we serve, the lives we touch, and the impact we make. Truly no joy is equal to that of putting a smile on someone’s face, supporting them to achieve a goal or precious thing, or helping them to simply believe in themselves and get unstuck. This is the true stuff of fulfilled living: giving, serving and empowering people. I hope our focus isn’t on making more money, but serving more people. The truth is that as we seek to serve more people, generally, more money will follow. In 2018, my focus is serving people, because all that really matters is relationships and people.

So here is my daily rallying cry in life and business for 2018. This makes a nice New Year’s Resolution, and causes us to have aspirational ambition that empowers and motivates as we keep in mind these 7 Critical Things for 2018. Every day in 2018 I resolve to:

Live Fully…
Love Authentically…
Serve Gratefully…
Lead Effectively, and
Make a Difference!

Happy 2018!

Abe Brown is the Coach’s Coach, and is the Founder and President of Momentum Coaching, and the President of the Certified Coaches Federation. Momentum Coaching has experienced triple digit growth for several years running, and the Certified Coaches Federation has trained and certified over 10,000 Life and Executive Coaches in the last 8 years. Abe does Leadership and Executive Coaching, and works with organizations around strategic planning, cultivating fully engaged employees, and facilitating coaching and training programs.

The next course in Calgary is March 24-25

Energizing Juicing Recipes

By Lois Hamilton

Makes 3 cups

1 ½ cups filtered water
3 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1⁄2 cucumber
1 stalk celery
3 cups leafy greens, lightly packed
1⁄2 avocado
1 tsp. fresh ginger, peeled
Pinch of unrefined sea salt

Process in a juicer. Enjoy!

Serves 2

4 small organic beets with tops
5 large organic carrots
1 organic apple
1 inch of organic gingerroot

Wash and cut produce into chunks that will fit in your juice extractor. Put the ginger through first so that the other produce will push all the ginger through. Pour into tall glasses and enjoy!

Note: The beets, carrots and apple have a high glycemic index so in the case of blood sugar imbalances, have a little protein with this juice. The protein source could be a tsp. of hemp protein powder right in the juice or nuts, seeds, or a couple of pieces of shrimp on the side.

For more juice or smoothie recipes visit:
Holistic Health with Lois

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