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Novartis’s reCreation Event Supports Indian Summer Camp

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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

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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

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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.

Sole Purpose in New Jersey

Last week on a rainy Tuesday morning, 35 Novo Nordisk employees were gathering for a 2-hour team building event.  Ah, team building.  It can be like nails on a chalkboard.  Some people look at it as a break from their daily routine, while others look at it as a complete waste of time.  Together you get a group of people showing up with a filter of predispositions and a word that has ignited them all!

Little did they know, what they were actually going to be doing that day was much more experiential.  From the very beginning of this 2 hour escapade there was an immediate nose dive from the expected as participants were challenged to become aware of the small opportunities that surround them on a daily basis.

This limbo had only started as they played a little game we like to call “Who are you?” Participants were challenged to communicate in terms that bypass surface levels of communication and unveil the very core beliefs of who we are.  Not only was this a great discovery of the people that surround them on a day to day basis, but this was also a rediscovery of one’s self.

And just when you thought it could not get anymore profound, these 35 individuals were going to receive their greatest challenge yet.  Build sandals.

300 million people in this world do not own shoes.  We believe that number should be zero.  Putting the possibility of change in the hands of these Novo Nordisk employees, they, as teams, built sandals from recycled conveyer belts and nylon lace.

The sandals are designed to be extremely durable, so building them is no easy task.  The frustration set in, but it did not discourage anyone from completing their task. Why? Because the challenge that sat right in front of them was going to be on a child’s feet in a few weeks.  They were literally transforming the lives of others by transforming this challenge into a positive outcome.

By the end of the event 70 sandals had been assembled.  More importantly, the impact these participants created that day also created a touchstone to the awareness of the opportunities that surround us everyday.

What first may seem as a frustration, a challenge, or a problem, could very well be transformed into a means of radical impact.

What opportunities are surrounding you right now?

Mission Unstoppable

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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.

Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway

The difference between intention and action is courage.  It gives life to our virtues.  It is the foundation that creates a reality around those beliefs.

The word courage comes from the same stem as the French word Coeur, meaning heart. In Rollo May’sThe Courage to Create, he explains how courage is the essence that pumps vitality into all our virtues. Without courage, who we are, simply would not exist, and our fidelity would fade into conformism.

The presence of courage does not mean the absence of fear, it is rather the ability to move beyond it. Feel the fear and do it anyway.  It keeps us sharp, on edge, and on point.

Everything your body does when the pressure is on is good for performance.  Bill Russell was one of the greats in the game of basketball winning an NCAA Championship, Olympic Gold Medal, and professional championship all in the same year.  Here’s the kicker, before every single game Russell would throw up. His nerves would keep him on point.  So much so, that in 1963, when didn’t puke before games he had his greatest slump of his career.  He then got to the playoffs, puked, and played one of the best games of the season.

Feel the fear and do it anyway.  Trust in your abilities and allow them to flow.  Do not suppress them in fear.  Like a squirrel scurrying across a telephone wire it doesn’t think, “oh geez, I’m going to fall.” It doesn’t think at all it just scurries.

The only need you have in life is to fulfill your own potential.  And you already have what you need inside of you.  It is your own unique abilities.  Be courageous and act upon them! They will bring your virtues to life.  Any resistance you feel is only a natural reaction that even the best experience.

Rollo May’s extremely empowering outlook calls on our accountability.  If you do not express your original ideas you will betray not only yourself but your community in not making your contribution.

There is something very special in you that needs to be shared with this world.  No one else can share it – it is up to you and you alone.

It takes courage to be legendary.  Courage to be your authentic self, courage to help form the structure of the new world, and courage to act on your beliefs.  But in order to do incredible things you must have incredible ideas.  You might be labeled an an idealist, an audacious maverick, or a crazy fool, but legendary outcomes are not about the odds they are about the actions.

The Need for Challenge

There was an Indian tribe residing in the Shuswap region of British Colombia.  This specific region was considered by the Indian people to be a rich place.  There was plenty of salmon and game, vast amounts of below-ground resources, and plenty of fertile land.  They built village sites and had elaborate technologies to effectively cultivate the resources.  The Indians looked at their lives to be rich and good.

Yet, over time the elders began to find predictability throughout their days.  With everything so readily available, challenge began to go out of life.  Without challenge, life had no meaning.

So the elders gathered and discussed what they should do.  Through discourse and in their wisdom they decided the village should move.  Every 25 to 30 years, the entire population would move to a different part of the Shuswap land, and there, they found challenge.   There were lands to fertilize, new game trails to learn, new areas to navigate.  Life would regain its meaning and everyone would feel rejuvenated and happy. Incidentally, it also allowed resources in one area to recover after years of harvesting.

The need for challenge.  It is an essential part of our lives.  We all have days when we wish we could just have things handed to us.  Money, jobs, knowledge, health, people.  The list goes on, but if we were to magically acquire our, desires would we really be happy?  Or as the Shuswap elders predicted, would life loose its meaning.

This tribe had it all.  They were the Rockefellers of the Indian world.  But even surrounded by all these riches, the people were still unfulfilled.

We think if, if only I had ‘this’ then I would have the means to do ‘that’.  But by not being handed what you want, it allows you to focus in, face the challenge, and achieve what you need.

A psychology study manipulated the initiation of being part of the experimenter.  Little did the participants know, the initiation was actually the study.  The first group completed quite simple and basic tasks and then went on to partake in an arbitrary study. The second group had to go through much more difficult initiation.  The tasks were harder.  Some of them were embarrassing and required significantly more involvement from the participants. When the study was over, who do you think valued the study more?  The latter group.  It was a relatively meaningless study, but because it was more challenging and greater amounts of effort went into the process, the second group found significantly more meaning in the study.

We thrive for challenge.  If you were given everything you wanted in this world, would you become complacent? Probably not.  We are constantly seeking stimulation. No one wants to sit around and do the same word search over and over again.  We know how it works out, we know the answers, we want something new, something unfamiliar – something unknown.

Having it all does not give you a life of fulfillment.  Next time your tested by something, challenged by its complexity, tired from its rigors, ask yourself would you have it any other way?

Follow Your Instincts

Decision making occurs on a moment to moment basis. Sometimes it is automatic. We make decisions that are so second nature we don’t even realize they’re decisions. Sometimes we think long and hard. We try and gather all the information we can and rely on reason to guide us on making the right choice.

Rationality is a powerful agent in the decision making realm, but what is truest in its rawest form are our emotions.  Basically put they outline and motivate us toward our instinctual desires – what we really want.  But more times then not, we are met with decisions that we try to over think, causing the outcome to actually fall astray from what we really want.

Psychologist, Timothy Wilson, replicated several distinct studies examining the decision making process.  He asked college females to pick their favorite poster from five possible options: A Monet landscape, a van Gogh of some purple lilies, and three funny cat posters.

He split the participants up in two groups. One group was the non-thinking group.  They were simply asked to rate each poster on a scale from one to ten.  The second group had the harder task explaining why they liked or disliked the poster before rating each.  At the end each participant left with their favorite poster.

It was interesting to observe the different decisions made between the two groups.  Ninety-five percent of the non-thinkers chose either the Monet or van Gogh pieces.  While, the thinking group, was spilt down the middle between the paintings and the humorous cat posters.

A follow up interview revealed that the non-thinking group was much more satisfied with their decision. While 75 percent of the people who had chosen the cat poster regretted their selection, nobody regretted choosing one of the artistic posters. How is that, through greater means of thinking and analysis, decision making became skewed and reflected distorted choices?

An explanation of our likes or dislikes requires us to use language.  Thus, bypassing out instinctual cognitions and forcing us to describe an external stimuli solely through verbalization.  Descriptions of Monet’s landscape on van Gogh’s lilies, although generating a positive reaction, were tough explain.  Perhaps, we don’t know how to put language to the one’s we really like, we just know we like them.  While the simple, humorous cat posters were much easier to explain. Participants had a much more in-depth explanation of why they liked the cat posters and therefore chose those for their favorite pieces.

This simple study uncovers a decision making process that might otherwise be masked in rationality.  No doubt there are decisions in life that require laborious analysis and in depth consideration.  But there are also times when we have to act on our instincts.  They carry with them a deep rooted emotional cue that would otherwise be lost when trying to rationalize the decision.

We also like to do things in life that we can explain.  It is like the pavement of our choices.  A justification for why we made them and an aid in trying to see them through.  But at times, certain things we do in life we cannot explain.  We shouldn’t neglect those parts of our life just for that reason.  Emotions are strong – they are charged with the essence of you.  They are crucial to your decisions and to living a life that is your own.

It might be uncomfortable to be at the crossroads of an unpredictable decision – an unfamiliar choice, but if the idea excites you, then your heart is in it.  Making the choice is easy because it is driven by the most unbiased, seeker of joy.  You are behind it, it might not make sense to you right now, but it feels right.  As wide as the scope of language reaches, it falls short at digging into our emotions – emotions which should not be left out when trying to navigate through your legendary adventure.

Little Achievements Create a Big Difference

It is the tiniest parts of life that can make the the biggest differences.  A chess player won’t overlook the necessity of its pawns and a sprinter knows the importance of a tenth of a second.

A moment is valuable. Some more then others, but if we start to chuck them out the window like worthless pennies, we will most definitely neglect some of the most worthwhile ones.

Life comes at us in waves.  Literally, giant, oceanic, swirling waves.  Heaps of water crashing down, each with different breaking points.

In the midst of all this chaos of crashing, it becomes increasingly difficult to hone in on a single molecule of water.  Each is part of a chain of events created by ripples and wind speed.  In the midst of a wave, it is tough to appreciate a single drop of water.  But it is the change in air pressure flickering across the individual molecules of water that gives birth to this massive swell – this unstoppable movement of change.

And so the culmination of these water molecules create something much bigger then itself.  The same principle can be applied to life.  Little achievements can make a big difference.  In fact little achievements are the path to a big difference.

Financial guru, Dave Ramsey, illustrates the power of small successes though an unprecedented debt-fighting technique.  While most financial consultants will take the obvious steps of paying out the highest interest debts first, Ramsey takes a different tactic, focusing in on other outstanding payments.

His game plan is simple, pay off the minimum payment on all outstanding debts and then put the rest of your money to paying off the smallest debt.  Ramsey completely disregards high-interest debts.  The idea being that you will quickly pay off the smallest loan and then move on to the next, and the next, creating a snowball effect of money being applied to the sequential debt payment.

You need quick wins to get you fired up.  Our brain responds to these positive outcomes, giving us signs of hope.  The timeless sports quote, “a win is a win,” could not be more true.  Our mind recognizes and is stimulated by these accomplishments, no matter the size.  They motivate us, rallying a mental effort preparing for the next positive feeling of a win.

Ramsey says, “If you pay $185 toward a $20,000 debt on a high interest credit card, you’re still going to feel hopeless. But if you completely pay off a $185 overdue utility bill, you can cross that off your list. You’ve won a small victory over debt.”

When we face overwhelming moments in life, those gigantic, crashing waves, we tend to avoid them.  A wave builds up and breaks down by instinct. It is its very nature.  Following this visceral pattern of mother nature, can aid in the accomplishment of extraordinary things.  Break down looming obstacles, build up legendary moments.  The tiniest actions, fit into our daily lives, stimulate positive emotions, and build a changing surge filled with the thrill of ecstasy, the power of legendary.

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.