52 Week Couples Challenge | The Challenge Begins The Week of Feb 24th.

52 Week Couples Challenge | The Challenge Begins The Week of Feb 24th.

We’ve been following this company for quite some time now. You’re going TO LOVE THIS!!!


As an extension of our popular series “The Realness of Relationships”, Taste of Inspiration (an Initiative hosted under Inspired Initiatives), has developed The 52-Week Couples Challenge. This challenge is filled with various activities that is designed to draw you and your spouse closer together. Lets fall in love all over again.

View challenge here: http://www.inspiredinitiatives.com/coupleschallenge

“All successful relationships require some work. – They don’t just happen, or maintain themselves. They exist and thrive when the parties involved take the risk of sharing what it is that’s going on in their minds and hearts. Most of the time you get what you put in. – If you want love, give love. If you want friends, be friendly. If you’d like to feel understood, try being more understanding. It’s a simple practice that works.” – marcandangel.com. This is exactly what this challenge provides – an opportunity to put in work for your loved one.

Also check out our Facebook Page (Facebook.com/InspiredInitiativesTO) and our Couples Challenge Photo Album to see how other couples are doing with the Couples Challenge. We definitely want to hear how it is going for you. Upload a photo, comment or tag @inspiredinitiativesTO.

We will be uploading each challenge every Monday beginning Feb 24th, 2014. We hope that this Couples Challenge will be a blessing for your relationship as much as it has been for those who have started it at Inspired Initiatives. We also host couples monthly outings. Feel free to email info@inspiredinitiatives.com for more details.

Feel free to also download this 11×17 LOVE Poster. Frame it! Share it! Embrace it! Download Here –> http://goo.gl/4KyQUu

You can also download a recap of The Realness of Relationships [Part One] for some great insight –> http://goo.gl/2G0tK8


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Two Sides Of The Textbook



Like many have expressed in recent years, there is an outright, obvious issue with our education system. But it’s interesting because in recent months, as the message has been more and more popularized, more individuals have hopped on the band-wagon to criticize the system.

But most aren’t looking at the bigger picture. Most have jumped on board, as if it is the latest trend. Creating spoken word videos, parodies, memes, YouTube videos and much more. All this is great because the conversation is happening, however what’s not great is that all the pieces aren’t being considered.

Today I read an article stating that more kids are being homeschooled. First and foremost, homeschooling is not a new concept.  Before the idea of “public education” came into play it was….you guessed it, private. But should more parents be pulling their kids out of traditional schools for fear that their child will not get that individual attention?

I used to have this weird habit. If I was in a situation that was inconvenient, uncomfortable or just not beneficial to me, rather than work to change it, I would always find ways to make the situation more manageable. For instance, like most, I worked in an environment where I was getting zero development – development to do my job better and development to become a better person. So I decided to create a development program that would teach me something. Anything.  After implementing the program, I immediately began to learn a surmountable amount. It taught me patience, it taught me about people, personalities and leadership. I didn’t set out to change the entire workspace, I just set out to make my situation a little easier and more manageable. I’ve since grown and have recognized the power and benefit in transforming environments and spaces and not being limited to changing my situation.

What many parents are doing with this prominent push of homeschooling, is attempting to only change their situation. But what if we were too look at it with a different perspective?  Imagine the amount of resources that the schools have access too. Think about the amount of potential sitting in classes everyday, many of the students eagerly ready to learn. Why just take them out of the school system? Why not collectively push for reformation of the entire system? Imagine an entire system, with the money and resources, not only geared towards educating our kids, but also developing them. I believe it is a matter of leveraging the resources that governments and public schools already have access to and then channeling them. Because just as the current system has flaws, so does the structure of homeschooling. And as more people slowly pull their kids out of the traditional education system and homeschool them, more issues will become evident.

Another important point is understanding the purpose and objective of the traditional school system. They are not educating you just because they have nothing else to do. From the moment you are introduced into the school system you are being prepared for something. And that is what we’re missing. In teaching anything, there is usually an intention. The question we should be asking is “what is the intention of our current education system?”. The answer would be that the intention is to prepare us for the workforce. But what we need to take note of is that schools aren’t the leaders in this relationship – businesses are. Businesses dictate what they want their employees to look like, not schools. If a company says we require ‘this’ from our applicants, then schools work to ensure their students are prepared to provide whatever the company needs. So then if we really want to see an even greater change it’s not just the school system that needs reform, its businesses. They set the expectation.  Let’s say a company requires a degree to get hired at their firm, if we reform schools to where they no longer need degrees then we’ll have a lot more unemployed people.  If companies require more passionate people, then continuing to pop out those MBA students who can recite textbooks from cover to cover will be pointless. Schools will have to develop the passion of people. If businesses begin to look for more creative individuals and no longer wants the cut from a cookie cutter thought process, schools will have to do more to foster creativity. The point is, we need to see that schools aren’t the only issue at play here.

Businesses need to begin to see the value of developed and educated employees. Can you imagine a day when it becomes a norm for companies to hold seminars for their employees on ‘fostering your creativity’ or ‘building your imagination’? That’ll be a great day.


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The Realness of Relationships Pt.2

The Realness of Relationships Pt.2

In relationships, there’s no such thing as ‘two people just can’t work’ or ‘two people just aren’t meant to be’. If a relationship fails, it’s a choice. If a relationship succeeds it’s not just because their personalities mesh. It is a choice. What most of us do (including myself) is take a reactive approach to our relationship. So we wait until something happens to begin working on issues. Or we wait until a character flaw exposes itself and that’s when we’ll tell our friends about what our spouse did etc.

As a manager, before I start a shift I’m required to do what is called a ‘pre-shift checklist’. A pre-shift checklist is a checklist of common areas of a shift that need to be in place in order for it to run smoothly. For instance, on the pre-shift there’s a section that tells you to check the schedule to ensure there’s sufficient staffing. There’s another area on the checklist that tells you what stock levels to check. So it ensures you don’t miss anything. It ensures you check equipment, food safety and much more. It is said that doing your pre-shift removes about 75-80% of barriers between you and running a good shift. Why? Because you are taking a preemptive approach rather than reacting when something you didn’t prepare for goes wrong.

In our relationships, many of us skip our pre-shift and we just go with the flow. So when something happens or when an issue arises, that’s when we deal with it and we ‘react’ to it because we were ill-prepared in the first place. But why not try and take a more proactive and preemptive approach to our relationships? What if we looked at things that commonly affected relationships and began working on them before they became an issue? One thing my girlfriend and I have decided to do is begin to take a more preemptive approach to our relationship. Each month we focus on different areas of our relationship and whether it’s in need of development or not, we still try to build that area. So one month we did communication another month we may do something else. The idea is that we’re trying to work on things in our relationship, before they become an issue.

Relationships are one of those things that need to be fed. They need nutrient. As my sister always says, it needs to grow. And if our relationships aren’t moving into the direction of growth, then they are dying. There’s no middle ground. So it’s important to keep in mind that healthy relationships aren’t joyrides. In order for you to truly reap the benefit, you have to put in work.

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The Realness of Relationships

The Realness of Relationships

A few days ago for my innovation day, I visited the ROM and I came across this very powerful story that taught me about ecosystems and gave me new insight on relationships.

In Arizona, back in the 1900s, hunters and ranchers began killing off wolves. This also happened in Michigan and other states as well. They thought that the deer population was dwindling, and in other areas wolves were seen as a detriment to livestock, such as cattle and sheep. The government responded by putting a wolf bounty into legislation. Years later wolves were almost extinct. But what’s fascinating is what happened in the absence of wolves. The deer population quadrupled in size. And because of their over-grazing, the ranchers had even more problems, as their cattle and sheep were starving to death. The beavers were also affected by the killing of wolves, because the herbivores grazed in the beaver’s habitat. Creeks and streams in the area slowed to a trickle, because the over grazing held the soil in place, which resulted in channel incision, or erosion.

As a new understanding about ecosystems developed, the government began to understand the purpose and the significance wolves served as an apex predator within the ecosystem. Wolves were then placed under the Endangered Species Act, where they began to receive protection.

This was what lead me to rethink what we consider to be a relationship. Relationships exist all around us. From minerals to elements, relationships can be found in all aspects of life. The problem is, if I were to ask you what is a relationship? Most of us would be inclined to define it with a human element. Friendship, family, sexual, boyfriend, girlfriend, husband or wife. But when it comes to relationships our scope is too narrow and our perspective is too limited. If we look out into our world or out into nature, you’ll find some form of a relationship. And all those relationships serve a purpose. The relationship between the Sun and the Earth is a relationship of purpose. The relationship between the moon and the Earth, is a relationship of purpose. The relationship between the human body and water, is a relationship of purpose. The relationship in the story between the wolves and the deer, is a relationship of purpose. It is said that if all insects died tomorrow it would wipe out many other species with it. That is a relationship of purpose. Our world and our universe is filled with relationships that all serve a greater purpose.

So I began to think about human relationships and how we define them. Why are many of these different? Why are many of them not a relationship of purpose? What if my relationship with my girlfriend was meant to offer me more than companionship? What if it was meant to do something greater, but because I only see her as a companion that’s the extent to how I handle her. We look at relationships as “yo I want to get with this girl” or “I want this guy in my life” but if we were to look at relationships with a broader scope, we would see that our relationships by nature should serve a greater purpose. Just as relationships outside of humanity do. Some would argue that it could be for companionship or procreation, but I believe there’s more too it. I’m beginning to believe that relationships are designed to be something that takes our lives to the next level. Relationships that exist outside of human relationships seem to sustain life or to support growth.

If I were to ask you, “why do you need to drink water?”. You’d probably say “because our bodies are made up of 60% water and our brains 70%, so as water goes out water must come in or dehydration will occur”. Just as our bodies are designed to need water, I believe we are also designed with a need for relationships. Scientists say that if a baby does not experience human contact in its critical years, it can die. Relationships are so powerful and have such an impact on our lives because they are apart of what we need emotionally. They are apart of what makes us human. And when we begin to understand that relationships in essence, should serve a purpose in our lives. Our relationships should bear fruit. It seems like with the way we handle our relationships are at the most basic level – companionship or procreation. But I guess my overall argument is that relationships offer more than just that. They have the power to help us tap into another side of our humanity. A powerful side.

In the story of the wolves, as man began to better understand the significance wolves carry on the ecosystem, they protected them. As we begin to understand the significance and purpose relationships have on the human experience, we’ll begin to use them more effectively. Get the most out of them. And begin to use them within the capacity they were designed to be used.

To further the conversation of The Realness of Relationships join the discussion here:

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Define Adulthood

Define Adulthood

Define Adulthood
There’s three main stages to life; childhood, youth, adulthood. Each stage has something unique to offer. Childhood offers vibrancy, curiosity, imagination among so much more. Youth offers energy, creativity and boldness. But the problem is, as we go through these stages, rather than tap into what each stage offers, we begin to mold that individual into an adult. But not just any adult, an adult crafted for economic benefit.

So the entire stage of youth becomes preparation for adulthood. There’s no real focus on tapping into what this stage has to offer. And so that energy young people have is used for working 2-3 jobs. That boldness is used to confront people who’ve disrespected you. And that creativity is used for school projects. Not only are many youth wasting their life, most of us are wasting the lives of our young people. I can’t be the only person that sees this. McDonalds, a multi-billion dollar corporation, has a workforce of over 75% of people under the age of 25. That should tell you something.

But the problem is rooted in the fact that we have labelled everything a child does as ‘childish’. When in fact the majority of attributes that make up our humanity can more easily be seen in a child. A being that is intrinsically motivated, imaginative, curious, unrealistic and a dreamer. Tell me one of those that aren’t present in childhood. But we’ve made a devastating mistake. Rather than refine that child into an adult, we’ve moved into the opposite direction and created adults with no imagination, no curiousity, very realistic, no dreams and motivated only by the money that’s placed in front of them. But when we look at an adult who is more like a ‘refined child’, we think of people like Martin Luther King Jr, who was a dreamer. People like Steve Jobs, who created a world from his imagination where people used technology as a part of their everyday lives. People like Albert Einstein who says “I have no special talent, I am only passionately curious’. Or people like Coco Chanel, who changed an entire industry with her creativity.

So you tell me, could we have developed the wrong idea of what adult hood is? Are we stripping away the wrong childish attributes? And what type of adult have you or are you being molded into?

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To Love Is To Be Vulnerable

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On Sunday my organization, Inspired Initiatives, hosted a rally called A Social Engagement. We’re a group of young people crazy enough to believe they can change the world bring a message of inspiration and empowerment to the streets of Toronto. The mission is simple; empower people to tap into what makes us human. We all left inspired by just listening to the story of others. We saw something profound at the Engagement on Sunday. We encouraged people to talk about what motivated them, what they were passionate about. Just genuinely getting to know them. One thing we found was that once they started, they would not stop.

We also realized some other interesting things. We belong to a world that’s taken over by social media. A platform that essentially allows you to say whatever you want, whenever you want. The problem is, everyone is doing the same thing. So the space becomes convoluted and people’s voices gets drowned out. So when our team went out and did that old school our grandparents use to talk about – listened – it meant the world to people. A lady named Barbara had been so gracious enough to say ‘what you guys are doing here is incredible, the fact that you’re not trying to sell anything, or shove a product down our throat. You’re just here to listen means so much. God bless you guys.’

Just because I’m hearing you talk, doesn’t mean I’m listening. Moral of the story: yes everyone is trying to say something nowadays, but let’s listen more and talk less. As I’m sure your grandmother use to say ‘you have two ears and one mouth for a reason’

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Not Everyone’s A Dreamer

Here’s something very interesting:

There’s a shift happening in our culture. We’re moving into becoming a ‘feel-good’ society where everyone is promoting ‘yea follow your dreams’ or ‘yea pursue your passion, because you’ll live your life happier’. However, no one really speaks to the real significance of passion and dreams. No one really talks about what happens when it becomes a apart of the human experience.

If you listen carefully you’ll note that many of those things MLK ‘saw’, didn’t exist at that time. And the one thing that allows us to think of something that doesn’t exist or imagine something we may not have never experienced is our imagination. MLK didn’t predict the future, he created it. Dreams give you the power to do that. Because a dream is our imagination creating a focal point in the future giving our effort direction. Dreams aren’t so much things we desire to have, but futures we desire to create.

So think about your life now. Is your effort pointed towards the focal point created by your imagination? Or do you live your life driving around with an unknown destination?

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Failure Is A Choice

Failure Is A Choice

It’s interesting how failing and being a failure aren’t as closely related as we think. Failure is a condition or a state of mind. But failing lasts a moment. Failure is a choice. Spielberg failed to get into University of Southern California. Michael Jordan failed to make his highschool basketball team. Founder of Pandora.com failed to get investors 300 times. James Dyson failed several times at creating prototypes of his vacuum cleaner. All failed but none were failures. Why? Because they refused to give up. We’re trained to see failing as undesirable, but should it be? What if we saw failing as an opportunity? A redirection? Something that says ‘that way didn’t work, try a different one’. Our scope has become very narrow. Let me paint a picture for you:

Thomas Edison. An American inventor and businessman. He developed many devices that greatly influenced life around the world, including the phonograph, the motion picture camera, and a long-lasting, practical electric light bulb. On his journey to developing the light bulb there were many times his attempts were unsuccessful, but he saw a bigger picture. I want you to really think about the disappointment he must have experienced those 1,093 times he failed. I’ve put on events and workshops that weren’t successful, I lost a lot of money, and I definitely can’t imagine doing that 1,093 times. But those times that I failed I saw a bigger picture. My endgame was to put on successful events and workshops. And just because I failed at a few, doesn’t mean my end goal is no longer attainable.

What separates the failure from those that have failed is hope. If I knew without the shadow of a doubt I couldn’t do something then I wouldn’t try. But even if I had a mustard seed of hope, then I would give it another shot. Keeping in mind Einstein says something remarkable “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Failing should be seen as redirection, not an opportunity to try the same thing, the same way. You need to learn from it. So the next time you fail, just see it as an opportunity to try the same thing a different way. Because you can fail everyday in your life and still never be a failure. But you have to get back up again.

“Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail.”

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Passion Unveiled | Passion + Love + The Brain


Steven Spielberg was rejected from his dream school, the University of Southern California, three times. Marilyn Monroe’s first contract with Columbia Pictures expired because they told her she wasn’t pretty or talented enough to be an actress. R.H. Macy had a history failing businesses, including a dud Macy’s in New York City, N.Y. After Sidney Poitier’s first audition, the casting director instructed him to just stop wasting everyone’s time and ‘get a job as a dishwasher or something. Albert Einstein didn’t speak until age four and didn’t read until age seven. His teachers labelled him ‘slow’ and ‘mentally handicapped.’ But Einstein just had a different way of thinking. Oprah Winfrey was fired from her television reporting job because they told her she wasn’t fit to be on screen. Henry Ford’s first auto company went out of business. He abandoned a second because of a fight and a third went downhill because of declining sales.

Seven different people. Seven different circumstances of adversity. Have you ever wondered why many of the greats were able to press through so much? Or why they were able to stand up against the odds and choose to keep going? Or were humiliated but never allowed that to stop them? One word: Passion!

You may find it surprising that the brain of a person who is passionate fires and responds remarkably similar to the brain of someone in love. And contrary to popular beliefs, love doesn’t happen in the heart. It happens in the brain.


It is often believed that when you are in love, most regions of your brain activate, though this is partially true, many areas of your brain actually deactivate. Areas such as the amygdala; associated with fear and aversion to risk. Doesn’t it strike you as odd that before someone falls in love they’re afraid to get hurt and they see all these risks. But the moment they fall in love, many times the risks are no longer at the forefront? Keep in mind that the risks are still present, but it is no longer the focus. And this is because the area in the brain responsible for fear and aversion to risk fires less. The same applies to the the person who is passionate. It is easy to identify someone who lacks passion because they are the ones who are afraid to pursue. They are the ones who lean more towards the risks of a venture than the benefits. But the passionate person can acknowledge the risk, but continue to press onward, not because they have a strength not known to the other, but because specific areas in their brain that controls this function deactivates.

So back to the original question; Have you ever wondered why many of the greats were able to press through so much? Or why they were able to stand up against the odds and choose to keep going? Or were humiliated but never allowed that to stop them?

It is because passion, like love, causes pain centers in the brain to fire less. So the person who is passionate is able press through adversity easier (not easily) than someone who is is not. And this is why when we watch the television show Dragons Den, and see passionate entrepreneurs put everything on the line, finance from their mortgage, sell their homes and downsize to use the money, take out loans, use up their personal savings, borrow from friends.Just to have Kevin O’leary say “this is a stupid idea, and you will never see success’


We wonder how they can walk out being completely embarrassed on National Television, but say in their closing remarks that ‘I’m not going to give up on this, because I believe in it.’, while even we sit at home and say ‘this guys crazy’. It’s because those pain centers aren’t firing the same as they do in someone who is not passionate.

People need to understand that passion is more than just another stream of revenue. It’s so much more than something we can turn into a profession. Passion is a resource we are given to bring us to greatness. Try and imagine anything great accomplished on this planet without passion. This is why many of us will continue to live mediocre lives and never once tap into what it means to be great, because we lack the very thing that we need to get there. When passion converges with the human experience, it gives birth to a different you. It creates a more productive you, a more resilient you and a more focused you.

To Be Continued….


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