Cargill Builds 15 Bicycles for the Geneva Boys and Girls Club

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Cargill set a Legendary precedent kicking off their three-day, northeastern conference building 15 bicycles for the youngsters of the local Boys and Girls Club of Geneva.

With corporate responsibility threading together their international initiatives in food and agriculture, they were given a unique opportunity to literally give back to their customers.

As 180 Cargill employees and their spouses gathered at the Watkins Glen Park Community Center, they gazed upon 15 large rectangular boxes.

“Today you will be building Cargill’s latest and greatest product,” said Be Legendary’s Founder and Chief Instigator James Carter.

With a simple countdown, these participants were off and building what they now found to be bicycles.

As wheels were attached to frames and these new products were beginning to take shape, Carter redirected the crowds attention.

“These are not just ordinary bicycles,” said Carter. “This is a dream come true for a child. And we just so happen to have some special guests here for you.”

With that, music blasted as Cargill was greeted by the smiling faces of 15 children of the Geneva Boys and Girls Club.

Try not smiling at that.

It was not the fact that these individuals built a bicycle, it is about what that bike means.  To a child it means freedom.  It means wind blowing in your hair and two tiny pedals at your feet.  It means happiness.

Building a bicycle may not be super exciting.  You screw in pedals, attach a handle bar, put on a reflector, and all the while, hope you are doing it correctly.  But the moment that child’s face comes into the picture, every action that went into building a bicycle takes on a whole new meaning.

There is meaning behind everything we do.  Although, children do not come into our offices everyday and remind us of this.  You may have to look a little to see it.

When a child brings home a lump of clay from art class, there is meaning behind that.

When a company launches a new product, there is meaning behind that.

When your spouse asks you to cook dinner tonight, there is (definitely) meaning behind that.

When we choose a life of meaning, we are choosing an intentional life. Everything you say or do means something.

For the participants of Cargill they came together as one team to build bicycles for the local Boys and Girls Club.  But the meaning of their actions is in the value they place on their company, their community, and on Tuesday, making a child’s dream come true.

14 Actelion Employees Built a Better Tomorrow


Fourteen member of Actelion’s sales teams highlighted that in one afternoon one group with a common purpose can make a meaningful and steadfast difference.

How? The power of play. Ninety-four percent of four-year-old children scored significantly above average in creativity.  On their eighth birthday, only four percent of these children scored high for creativity.

Each and everyone of us is born with creative and inherent potential. As children we question everything. Why is X this tall? Why is Y this color? Why do you follow this rule?

Overtime we begin to question less and conform more, and that beautiful unique creativity begins to get covered up by rules, norms, routines, tasks, and everything else life throws our way.

On Thursday, these participants realigned themselves with the creative, playful, and unique genius within.  They took a bag of trash and transformed it into soccer balls that children everywhere would want to play with and a product that everyone in the world would want to own. And they did this in just thirty short minutes.

But what they did stretched further than the potential they have within.  They were able to tap into this potential and use it to leverage their ability to make a larger difference.

They donated indestructible soccer balls and a piece of a field to an African community whose culture heavily revolves around such a powerful game.

The impact did not end here, as these Actelion participants built sandals that in a few short months are going to be on children’s feet in disaster regions all over the world.

In one afternoon these individuals created a difference that will act as a touchstone highlighting the opportunities to come and the potential that is within.

These individuals are not just sales men and women of a pharmaceutical company, they were not just participants in some team building activity, they are Legendary Instigators who are bringing out the best in others by bringing out the best in themselves.  And that is something that can be done anywhere, at anytime, and all that’s needed, is you.

60 Children Get Brand New Bicycles at NBCUniversal Conference


On Monday, April 16, 500 participants from NBCUniversal came together on Pier 86, adjacent to the Intrepid Battleship.  Spinning wrenches and twisting screw drivers, these participants were building a brand new NBCUniversal product.  Little did they know, their customers were waiting just outside the tent doors.

As participants looked over the bicycle they had just built, Lead Facilitator Kim Nielsen informed them that, “Each mile a child bikes saves one pound of carbon dioxide emission and they breath sixty percent less carbon monoxide than motorists.”

“What you have built here today is more than wheels, pedals, and a frame, it’s a dream come true for a child,” said Nielsen.

Roaring applause greeted smiling faces as these youngsters were going to receive a brand new bike.

In 60 minutes these NBCUniversal participants built 60 dreams with a couple tools and some metal frames, imagine the difference that can be made with all the resources your company, your team, and you have to offer.

“And yes, these bicycles will be inspected by professional mechanics,” responded Nielsen to a comical inquiry.

In fact, Owner Steve Kahn and General Manager John Viscogliosi, from the local bike shop Danny’s Cycles volunteered to inspect every single bike that was going to the children of the Boys and Girls Club.

Danny’s Cycles has four locations within the boroughs, and has used each bike shop as a vehicle for creating a positive impact in the community.

Along with their time, Danny’s Cycles donated $600 to the Kips Bay Boys and Girls Club.

“Riding a bicycle before the age of 12 will lower children’s risk of obesity by 35%,” Nielsen stated.

“We could not be more grateful and appreciate all the work done to help get these children bicycles,” said Kenny Robinson, Program Coordinator at the Kips Bay location.

Novartis’s reCreation Event Supports Indian Summer Camp


On January 8, 2012, Novartis kicked off the new year with more than just good intentions.  Donating $9,500 and 120 One World Futbols to Indian Summer Camp, a place for children who are going through or recovering from cancer, this company took intentional actions to make a difference in the lives of others.

Taking team building to a new level, these 850 participants were challenged with some unique tasks.  Split into 60 teams these individuals were challenged to take something of little or no value to us and turn it into something remarkable.

Each team was given a bag of trash and two goals.  Create a product that will change the world and build a soccer ball that kids will enjoy.  Items that you or I might see as worthless were the pinnacle building blocks to these creations.

Clothe and water bottles manifested into an H20 filtration systems and rubber tubing and plastic bags morphed into durable soccer balls.  It is truly amazing what is possible when you shift your perspective.

These individuals of Novartis were not only shifting their perspective on cross-functionality with a bag of trash, they were also shifting their perspectives on the possibilities of themselves.  James Carter, founder of Be Legendary, posed the thought, “If you could change a bag of trash into these amazing products and soccer balls in 60 minutes, imagine what is possible to change using the resources of the world.”

This thought-provoking discussion culminated into the idea of intentional action.  Making our actions intentional draws a very distinct line in the way we can make a difference in the world.

This event was the cornerstone for a life of intentional action.  A touchstone reminding each participant to redefine what’s possible and take meaningful steps forward to achieving those outcomes.

The first step these 850 participants took together as one company, showing what amazing outcomes the power of teams can create.  One hundred and twenty One World Futbols were donated to Indian Summer Camp.  These soccer balls are indestructible, you can run one over with a car and still have the same ball you had 10 seconds earlier.

Along with the soccer balls, Novartis donated $9,500, to the camp. Board President Jon Dubins and Exectuive director Shelby Dehner came to be part of this remarkable event.

“This camp gives these kids an opportunity to be a child again,” said Jon Dubins, “Your donation will give an additional 15 children the opportunity to be a part of this experience.”

These individuals left that afternoon with a new perspective on innovation and a profound sense of impact, but most importantly these individuals left with the idea that each and every single one of them holds the potential to Be Legendary, every single one of them has the capacity to change the world.

A to Z Media Goes Beyond Traditional Team Building


Building a dream in the most literal sense, the creative gurus of A to Z Media came together to build three bicycles for three very special guests.

On a day that painted the pictures of a traditional team building experience, these individuals built much more than that.  With the foundation of their core beliefs and a destination of taking intentional actions, A to Z Media journeyed to discover and rediscover a company of legendary individuals.

Look around and you will witness a massive shift in consciousness and lifestyle.  We are currently at a global transformation in socially conscious ideas and actions.

From industrialization to interlinking technology we are are perhaps the most important shift yet.  One that shapes a community of individuals, teams, and organizations into mediums of positive and social change.

From this point, building teams, and individuals for that matter, is no longer blindfolds and trust falls but an emotional connection to something much larger – impacting the lives of others.

We are never truly aware of the ripple effects of our actions. Whether it is walking down the street or meeting a prospective client for a 10 o clock meeting, we only see a sliver of the impact we create.

This month, A to Z Media took actions to become a front runner in this global shift.  Instead of speaking in terms of productivity and creative outcomes, they spoke about unveiling the curtains to a world filled of extraordinary opportunities.  Of using their core beliefs as a map to navigate their current reality and taking authentic, intentional action to breakthrough to a new one.

But this day was far from all talk.  Splitting into team, each one was given a life changing product with a set of instructions on how to build it.  They spun around wrenches and twisted screwdrivers.  The outcome, a brand new bicycle.

There are certain things in our life we just don’t forget.  Our first kiss, our first car, and most certainly, our first bicycle.  Little did the participants of A to Z Media know, they were going to be witnessing a life-lasting memory, right then and there.

Three very special children for the local Boys and Girls walked through the elevator doors to receive these three new creations.  Theses children were in honors classes and each had a distinguished list of personal accomplishments.  This was no “gimme”. They had earned those bikes!

Our world is defined by the things we do and the choices we make.  A to Z Media chose to make a difference, and whether these very extraordinary individuals are aware of it or not, their actions that day created some very real and very significant ripple effects of change.  And that far from being a part of traditional team building, it is being legendary!

DeVry Builds 108 Bicycles and 108 Dreams


What is a dream? The word gets tossed around in our day to day lives eluding to hopes and desires.  By its very definition, a dream is unreal, intangible, and breeches the realm of possibility.  It is a world of our creation, and yet on December 9, 2011, 620 participants of DeVry Inc. took a dream and turned it into a reality.

Lead by James Carter, Founder of Be Legendary, this group of extraordinary individuals uncovered the very essence of their legendary lives.  What we do and how we do it are motivated by the underlining belief of why.

Everything we do can be traced back to this basic question. And so on this not so ordinary Friday morning, each individual was challenged to think of and talk about the question of why.

With a seemingly ambiguous three word question, participants asked one another, “Who are you?” The answers were profound as people not only discovered the values of others, but also values of themselves.

“Imagine a golf green surrounded by water,” said James Carter.  “What are our initial thoughts?”

Voices from the crowded shouted, “Don’t hit the ball in the water!”

“Exactly!”, smiled James. “But what is it we really want?”

That question weaved through the conversation of the entire morning.  What is it you really want? Focusing in on the answer to that question is the most powerful tool any company, team, or individual can hold.

And so these 620 individuals focused on their next challenge –  build a product.  They broke off into teams, twisted screwdrivers, rotated wrenches, and began to see parts and pieces come together to create something magnificent, a bicycle.

Building 108 bicycles is quite impressive, but who was going to ride these newly assembled creations?  Participants turned to the back of the room where 108 children from Tangelo Park Elementary cheered and chanted as they piled through the doors of ballroom.

Theses children were in the accelerated reading program and had earned, what would be for some of them, their first bicycle!

And what was probably the most heartfelt part of the day was the stories that came from it.  A participant from DeVry shared how she didn’t have any children, how the smile on that child’s face lit up her world, and how when the children were getting ready to leave she got the biggest hug of appreciation.

A tear rolled down her face, as she shared her story, a story that will stay with her forever.

We at Be Legendary, never tire from seeing smiling faces, cheering crowds, and the transformation of a dream come true.

We were particularly excited about this event as we welcomed Kytka Hilmar-Jezek and her three remarkable children Zack, Zanna, and Zynnia to our legendary staff!

Focusing in on recreating a legendary world, the participants of  DeVry Inc. are living proof, that believing in dreams can create a working, living, and legendary reality.

Mission Unstoppable


Mission: Build 20 Jamis Bicycles

Team: Bain Capital

Location: Lenox, Massachusetts

Outcome: Change the lives of 20 extraordinary children

Changing Mission Impossible to Mission Unstoppable, we have launched yet another successful bike build in beautiful Lenox, Massachusetts.  Teaming up with an extraordinary team of individuals at Edgework Consulting, we set up tables where 20 large, rectangular cardboard boxes covered by table clothes sat.

Bain Capital was launching their first day of a company retreat.  What the participants did not know was that unlike the mesh of memories from previous retreats and conferences, they would soon form some very distinct and meaningful memories from this otherwise ordinary Monday morning.

Participants piled in under a large tent looking out at the sun perched just above the tree line in the distance.

“Today we’re going to work in our teams to build a very special product”, smiled Lou Edgework Consulting CEO.

Savvy in the financial industry, Bain employees exchanged slightly puzzled looks as they walked toward these white, linen table clothes with a large rectangular shape protruding from each.

Twisting screwdrivers and twirling wrenches, teams took a bunch of pieces and parts and created a bicycle.

What they did not know is that while they were attaching pedals and straightening handle bars, a bunch of very special guests were honing in on that very tent.

Twenty kids who are part of the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, showed up that day to receive 20 brand new Jamis bicycles.

As the Bain participants talked about the creation of their bicycles, their attention was directed to the rear, where children emerged from the tent flaps.

Participants cheered and clapped, kids laughed and shouted, and a bunch of parts and frames were transformed into a medium to change lives.

At the end of the day children ran through a human tunnel of hurrays and hurrahs as they not only left with a brand new bicycle, but with the idea that dreams can come true.

The Ripple Effects of Our Actions


How far do our actions really reach?  Is there a way to measure the cusp of our impact? Or do they ignite an endless ripple effect building off the tiniest droplet of change?

Knowing the effects of our actions is quite impossible, but understanding the worth in taking them could not be more clear.  That variable of greatness will always be present, even when it comes to the tiniest or seemingly insignificant gestures or tasks.

Unmasking our legendary potentials breaks through to the most extraordinary outcomes.  In working with a Fortune 500 company, we were able to bring bicycles to 45 underprivileged children in Lisbon, Portugal this past month.

Each team worked together to build these bicycles for very special children, who until now, never had the opportunity to own one.

A bicycle is more than just a metal frame on wheels.  It is a means of freedom, transportation, recreation, and enjoyment.  To a child who has never owned a bike, this day is more than just some charitable contribution.  It is an opportunity for more.  A medium for stretching the limits, and a pathway toward endless growth.

What made all of this possible, were the actions of each team member.  With the twist of each wrench, these extraordinary individuals were building a dream for a young child.

CEO James Carter reminds us that our actions, no matter how tiny, are the building blocks of a legendary life.  If we remove the limitations of not thinking we can make a difference, then what we are left with are endless opportunities and possibilities of how we can.

It seems that in our lives we are stuck at a crossroad.  What if I don’t make a big difference? Well, what if I do? What if I make a small difference?

We can never really be aware of the ripple effect of our actions.

Sole Purpose

This past Thursday we brought our legendary intent to 900 very extraordinary SFL employees in Quebec City with the launching of our Sole Purpose event.  Partnering with Soles4Souls, we are taking a joint effort to get shoes to the 300 million inhabitants of developing countries who have no such luxury.  But instead of just shipping out a bunch of shoes, our goal was to empower people to make a difference.  To be the change creating a lasting impact.

What a day! This past Thursday we brought our legendary intent to 900 very extraordinary SFL employees in Quebec City with the launching of our Sole Purpose event.  Partnering with Soles4Souls, we are taking a joint effort to get shoes to the 300 million inhabitants of developing countries who have no such luxury.  But instead of just shipping out a bunch of shoes, our goal was to empower people to make a difference.  To be the change and create a lasting impact.

So we quite literally put the creation of impact in the hands of each SFL employee.  Walking into a room of tables and chairs, they gazed upon hundreds of transparent bags containing ambiguous pieces and parts.  Armed with their ingenuity and guided by a sheet of instructions, this group of people were going to construct sandals that were then going to be shipped off to children in third world countries.

Wow! Talk about impact.  These legendary people were assembling sandals with their own two hands, which, in a couple of weeks, were going to be on a child’s feet. Those very pair of sandals were going to vastly improve the life of another human being. The sandals that they made! Impact rarely comes more direct then that.

CEO of Repario and creator of Sole Purpose, James Carter, spoke to these truly special people before constructing the sandals.  Imagine a world filled with legendary people and legendary actions, that would surely be a world I would love to see.  But as impossible as it seems to you or me, this is the journey of James Carter, and the theme of what he talked about.  Control your awareness, command your beliefs, and harness your courage.  The three components of Be Legendary.  The beauty of it is, and what James spoke so passionately about, is you do not have to go out and find these ingredients, we already have them.  We just have to relearn how to make use of them!

If someone was to tell me I could be legendary I would definitely say, “no way, me legendary? Na-uh.”  But now if someone was to tell me I already am legendary, that would be a whole new perspective that I automatically look at with disbelief.  But James challenged these SFL employees to think of themselves in legendary ways.  Legendary was simply not reality to them, lets face it, it really isn’t to any of us, but our beliefs shape our reality. So it then comes down to – what do you choose to believe in?

Clearly this group of people believed in making a difference.  They assembled pieces, attached laces, helped others, and in the end, built a pair of sandals.  As the event dwindled down, something quite amazing happened.  We saw people walking around the tables gathering unassembled sandals.  They would come up to us and say, “Can I take these sandals that no one has used and build them to be sent out?” James and I just looked at each other, both knowing the same thing – this, was legendary.

And so our kick off Sole Purpose event went wonderfully.  To see people break from their limits simply by realizing that they can, is an astounding and inspiring site to see.  Every time it happens, it helps me break through a few of my own limits.

“Think of a list of legendary people in your life. Do they consider themselves legendary? Probably not. Regardless, they are legendary because you think they are. Oh, and by the way, you’re on someones legendary list too.” – James Carter.

Make Sure Every Aspect of Your Meeting Serves Two Purposes

The old days of silly ‘team building’ is over.

There is a time and place for bonding, but with meeting time precious, make sure any time you spend is serving at least two purposes.

Years ago I was First Mate on an 80-foot sailing vessel and there were a couple of simple rules:

  1. Every item on the boat MUST serve at least two purposes.
  2. If an item did not serve more than two purposes, it must be absolutely critical to safety or well-being of the crew.

Every single item was examined and many were discarded. This was done intentionally to create a better quality of life aboard. Previously, we spent 70% of our time in beautiful tropical locations just fixing stuff.

After we examined everything, we found that we were able to cut a huge number of items from the boat, creating more space (very limited even on a big boat).  Also, we found we were very creative and invented a few items that have become hugely popular among sailors.

Most importantly, the amount of time spent on the deck, spent diving, spent enjoying the great locations went up dramatically.

This same idea, in some form, must be translated to meetings.

Spending time building towers, building boats, racing go-carts, , while occasionally fun, is a waste of money and more importantly, time.

Make sure every aspect of your meeting is serving another at least two purposes.  And if it isn’t, chuck it.  Or find a way to make it serve another purpose.

I have used ‘team building’ as an example because it is abused so badly in meetings.  However, this idea can and should be applied to every aspect of your meeting.

Just like our quality of life on that boat, the quality of your meetings will go up dramatically.  Your clients, and the attendees, will LOVE your meetings.