A Farmer's Encore

retirement Jan 12, 2017

I grew up on a farm in rural Quebec in Canada. My parents were hard working, entrepreneurial people. My Mother and Father both came from families that provided for generations ‘off the land’. We raised beef cattle and cropped corn, grain and soybeans later.  To maximize the investment in farm equipment necessary to achieve scale, my father plowed fields, planted and harvested crops for our neighbours on a fee basis. Eventually, this service evolved into a farm equipment dealership, a franchise, and tractors and such were sold and repaired in the building constructed near the sight of our former outhouse, not far from my bedroom window. (more on outdoor plumbing another time J)

Days were long, beginning before the sun rose and ending after the sun set. My parents knew how to fix things that needed mending and make something out of ‘next-to-nothing’. Mother Nature was both a treasured partner and an unpredictable foe. Weather, pests and market conditions...

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Happy New Year

Are you nearing retirement and considered what the future holds for you?

Do you feel stifled or trapped in a career that ceased to fulfill you long ago?

Are you disappointed with the status quo but confused by what to do about it?

A new beginning with a career change, starting a business or a new social project is a good way to re-ignite your passion for life. Imagine how you would feel doing something that you’ve longed to do for years!

Money, although a factor, shouldn’t be the first consideration when it comes to making a change. The important thing when you decide to start a new or a second, or third, or fourth career, is to do something that you feel passionate about.

People often think it is difficult to start over again and begin in a new role. In truth, yes, it is difficult.

But here is the key to success; get started and start with something you love!

When you figure out what your...

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Guest Encore Blogger - Caren Cantrell, 102nd Place

By Guest Blogger, Caren Cantrell

“Too many people are ready to carry the stool when the piano needs to be moved.” - Anon.

For a long time this was one of my favorite quotes. I heard it early in my banking career and decided right then, that if I wanted to make a difference, I’d need to be a piano mover. I’d need to have strength, courage and a “can do” attitude. I’d have to be a leader.

So that’s what I did, rising through the ranks over 30 some years becoming the Chief Operations Officer for a Super Community Bank leading a team of 600 plus employees in five different states. Some of the pianos I moved were Grands – consolidating and creating centralized operations areas where none existed. Some of them were simple keyboards – tweaking a process, filling a gap. With every move I broadened my experience, developed my character, and defined who I was: a competent,...

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Guest Encore Blogger - Lee Woodward, Woman In Disguise

Welcome Encore Guest Blogger:

Lee Woodward, Owner of Woman in Disguise


Sometimes encores come in disguise.

When I met Lee Woodward she was leaving her role from big corporate to become an entrepreneur. Talk about changing some paradigms!

Lee's experience will be an inspiration for many others to pursue their Encore!



I am very excited to be a guest blogger for the Encore Catalyst. Isabel is always generous with her wisdom and warmth, so it is nice to be able to offer something in return. I’m also excited because I have started my own encore, I’ll call it an encore in process.

Here is how I got started on the script for the next & best performance of my life...

This April will mark one year since I quit my career. I use the word career because I was not changing jobs, companies or industry. I made the decision that I was going to start over, do a redesign so to speak. The decision was not...

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Are You Having Fun Yet?

What's the point of having your own business if you're not having fun? Really, considering how hard you work, the sacrifices you make, the risks you face; shouldn't the rewards be as great or greater?
With a new year starting very soon, here are some suggestions to help you significantly increase the rewards and returns from your business, minimize the risks and make the ride on the entrepreneurial roller coaster much more fun!
1.) Don't Go It Alone
As a small business owner or a "solo-preneur," we have to wear all the hats, perform all the tasks and we often do this in isolation. It is impossible for any individual to have all the knowledge and experience to plan, grow and manage a business.
When it is not practical to hire all of what I call the CSPs or "Certified Smart People" you need on your team, take advantage of the collective wisdom of selected advisors, mentors and other successful business owners. Choose...
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It’s almost Halloween!

I love the sound of laughter and excited squeals from children as they transform into favorite characters, ghosts, goblins and witches in pursuit of the biggest haul of candy and treats!

I’ve always loved the idea of ‘dress up’ and to use my imagination to explore other personas. In disguise, we can let loose and pretend to be someone else for a little while. And when the fun and games are over, we take off our costume and return to being the real ‘us’. But, perhaps not always!

The Phantom of the Opera isn’t the only one hiding out!

I’ve observed that many of us are ‘in disguise’ much of our lives. Well beyond the social occasions to wear a mask and act like someone else, we often perform in relationships and careers like zombies or actors playing parts.

We’ve convinced ourselves that we...

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Community - Place One, Two, Three

who am i now Oct 22, 2015

I sat beside a gentleman on a flight recently who was on his way to speak at an international conference. Considered an expert on the topic of “community”, he shared his theory that as humans; we flourish and benefit from having three “places of community” throughout our lives. For most of us, our home and family is usually ‘Place One’, and depending on your age; school or work is usually ‘Place Two’.

‘Place Three’ in today’s accelerated, mobile oriented and often time’s isolated life styles can be more elusive. In simpler days, when families were typically large and extended, many were born and spent most or all of their lives within a small radius. The ‘Place Three’ community was rooted in church, ethnic or common interest groups or extended family and neighborhood gatherings.

I was raised in a rural area and I immediately understood this man’s concept of...

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Standing Ovations

When did you receive your last standing ovation?

Can you recall how great it felt to be recognized for something well done? Can you feel the glow spread over you, the flush of warmth from toe to head, the butterflies forming in your belly and fluttering up to burst out on your face as a big smile? Do you recall if the twinkle in your eyes came from tears of pride, joy or surprise? Can you reimagine the vibration of applause that made your heart beat a little faster?

Is it easy for you to recreate the joyful feeling of recognizing that you are truly deserving of the attention and appreciation?

The physical and emotional reactions to praise, thunderous applause, a hearty pat on the back, even a sincere “At-a-Girl!” have positive and enduring effects on our physical and mental well-being.

I don’t think we give ourselves credit often enough. We just keep doing, working, caring for, delivering, getting it done,...

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Getting Lost, a journey of self-dicsovery

I went for a drive in the country this morning. I got lost, purposely lost.

I’m staying with friends in Canada that live in a beautiful rural area away from Toronto. I’ve come here to spend time with people that I love and miss and to begin writing for my new project, The Encore Catalyst. After the family left for their work day, I got in my car and decided to explore the area and find a good old fashioned country breakfast.

The trees and fields are incredibly lush and green after the generous rains of spring and early summer. The roads are narrow and quiet and in many spots branches overhung the roadway like arms ready to embrace. Sometimes, I could not see what was around the next corner.

I kept the radio off and was smugly happy that my mobile network coverage was spotty to none. I wanted to disengage from the busy me, to quiet my brain and just drink in the beauty and abundance around me. No music, no news, no chatter, just the soothing...

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