Knowing I Was Loveable in My Own Right Made the Difference

Calamity was imminent when George Lindeman first signed up for the Pursuit of Excellence. He had 19 properties in foreclosure and as he says was, “well on my way to losing 6 million dollars or so”. Around the same time his wife filed for divorce. However, even with bankruptcy just a breath away and his primary relationship on the rocks, George did not give up. Instead, he signed up for the Pursuit of Excellence.

George says, “When I took the Pursuit, what I really was looking for was – what was I going to do for the rest of my life? What was it going to look like? What was it going to be?”

With this open and receptive attitude, George jumped into the courses. And it was at the Wall that so much of the rest of his life began. It was during this course that George came to understand, “I was really loveable in my own right without any accomplishments.” A life-changing discovery for him that lead to fantastic results in every area of his life.

Financial devastation turned to ease with George working himself back into multi-millionaire comfort. As well, using his deepened understanding of himself, George found a fabulous woman that he formed a lifelong, fulfilling relationship with.

The awesomeness doesn’t stop there though! George’s incredible results have motivated him to share the Pursuit widely. He has inspired almost 100 people to sign up and has witnessed life after life be powerfully transformed. Talk about a ripple effect!

A Tribute

On May 18, 2019, George Lindeman was the seventh person in the 20-year history of ESI to be awarded with the Blue Start Achievement Award.  This award was established to showcase the effect that one individual, living life to the fullest, can have on their community and our world.    George has had a profound and lasting impact.  The 100 or so people he directly inspired to take the courses is only the tip of the iceberg as far as what George has contributed!  Without going into detail, in 1999, he teamed up with others to establish Excellence Northwest, ensuring the work continued in Bellingham after the original company switched gears.    In the years that transpired, George contributed countless hours, tens of thousands of dollars and untold resources to support the evolvement of ENW and in 2016, along with Peggie Merlin, he was a catalyst to bring key players from ENW and ESI together.  We joined forces and this has secured a viable future for this transformational work to continue!   George passed away April 17, 2020 leaving a legacy of strengthening goodwill, supporting transformational learning and fostering meaningful connection in community. 

From Great to Exemplary Leadership and Results!

When a few trusted friends talked Terri Spilsbury into going to ReSet back in 2017, she walked into the room having no idea what to expect. Overall, life seemed to be going great, so she wasn’t sure if the courses would serve her. As a dedicated mom and the owner of a successful Real Estate Office, Terri didn’t realize that things could be going better, because she had yet to see what better could actually look like.

“I quickly figured out that I was keeping myself small and not taking on the opportunities that were there, mostly out of fear.”

Terri began to feel a huge shift in herself, and she was not the only one to notice. Soon her team at work started to ask her want she was doing that was helping her to show up so differently. The way she presented was suddenly more positive and collaborative, and their team began to experience a stronger connection as a result. The team grew, she opened a third location, and received her first Eagle Award last year in Canada for Exemplary Leadership.

“I stepped into my light and made some really big decisions in my business that I would not have made without the inner awareness and strength I gained from the course work I did,” she said. Opportunities started opening up everywhere for Terri, and not just in business.

Friendships, family, and dating life began to transform. “Lots of exciting things are showing up now that I’ve decided to get out of my own way. I speak my truth without fear, I stand confidently in my light, and I can be OK with any result – good or bad.

This new ability to find acceptance with any result was put to the test last year after being in a serious car accident. The recovery process has been long and taught her a great deal. The insights she learned from the Excellence courses let her put all blame and negativity aside in order to ask herself, “What is this experience trying to teach me?”

Before the accident, Terri was the do-it-all superwoman of her life and struggled to let people in. “This recovery process has taught me that accepting help does not mean I am weak or incapable,” she says, “and by showing my vulnerability, I can be a better example for my daughter.”

Her professional life, her relationships, and the way she presents herself has completely transformed since taking these courses. She never thought she would open a third location while recovering from an accident. “If I was the old Terri and still keeping myself small, I would never have taken the chance. I have realized that it is not so much about taking risks as much as just believing in myself.

If you find yourself unsure and on the fence about the Excellence courses, Terri has this to say…

“You can get as much or as little as you want from those rooms. Don’t go in with a story about what you’re going to see. Leave your stories at the door and you will have the most amazing experience that will spread to your family, friends, and associates. But be warned, there will be things that will show up in your life that you never thought possible!”

“We only have this one precious life.
If we don’t make the most of it, the world misses out!”

Norma Reid is a semi-retired coach, speaker, author, and grandmother who has always held a passion for continuous learning. However, when she enrolled into the Excellence Series many years ago, her spirit for personal growth became unstoppable. It was her first experience with personal development, and it made a profound difference in her life.

“At the time I began, my life was in ruins. It was a really challenging time for me, but this experience opened me up to this whole other way of being.” Norma found the courage to leave her government job and eventually pursue what she really wanted to do, to become a facilitator and success coach.

Many have been inspired to experience Reset for More Excellence for themselves, including her significant other, her son, 2 daughters-in-law, and her oldest granddaughter. It was a thrill to see her granddaughter go through the programs, as it is a great start to her life as an adult. Norma and her boyfriend went through BreakThru together not that long ago, and the mutual support has helped their relationship bloom.

“Doing BreakThru together was amazing because we both got to really understand each other more.” Throughout the journey, their bond continues to get stronger and more fulfilling as deeper levels of connection can manifest.

That was not the only thing to manifest. Norma had written a book, “Happy, Healthy, Worthy, Wealthy Woman, How to Thrive a Relationship Breakdown”, a guidebook meant for women who are in, or have just left, a challenging relationship. However, the manuscript had been gathering dust on the shelf for some time. The Practice gave her the commitment and follow-through she needed to move forward with the project. The book is now out to the public, and even has an accompanying workbook as well!

But it’s not just for the sake of her own life and relationships that Norma appreciates the tools of the programs. She has also found great joy in assisting others striving to learn and grow through the courses and has assisted many programs.

“I love seeing the difference in people from when they start the program to when they finish it. It’s a really nice reminder; these are fabulous tools that can change our lives but if we don’t continue to practice them, we can forget about them. I also enjoy the team and it’s a ton of fun!”

These courses have been life-changing and incredibly empowering for Norma. “If there’s an area of your life that isn’t working well or one you want more success in, these are the programs to do. We only have this one precious life and if we don’t make the most of it, the world misses out!”

The Dukes – 23 Years of Excellent Friendship

Have you ever had a friend who knew all sides of you – good, bad, beautiful, ugly – and showed you only love and support no matter which side they were looking at? Most of us are lucky if we find one friend like that… these guys have four.

Meet ‘The Dukes’ – Bruce, Jim, Dave, and Tim. Four men brought together through the Excellence seminars 23 years ago. They have spent more than 2 decades growing and strengthening their bond and cannot imagine a life where they never met.

While they came into the courses at different times and with their own unique circumstances, they all shared one common thread: something was missing.

“When I got there, I realized there was this hole in me,” said Dave. “Everything in my life should have been clicking, but there was a discontent in me. When I got there, I realized what it was – a lack of community.”

Bruce adds, “Throughout my life, I was searching… I was missing something. I was always taking courses and reading. When I took the first course, it was like an awakening. I didn’t know how to communicate clearly. It helped me realize how I could communicate effectively and have really deep friendships.”

After Tim completed The Practice in 1997, he began meeting with Bruce and Dave once per week to go over their goals at a bar called Duke of Somerset. Therefore, they were named ‘The Dukes’. But they were still missing Jim…

It was at this same time that Jim was taking BreakThru. On the last evening, he had a vision of having deeper connections with friends. He saw a group of loving guys, open and transparent. It stuck with him until synchronicity struck.

“I didn’t fully realize that vision until I’d taken one of the mastery courses,” Jim said, “There it became crystal clear to me what I wanted to create. I made a plan, got back home, and waiting for me there was a voicemail from Tim inviting me to be the 4th member of The Dukes. 23 years later, I still feel like the junior member of The Dukes.”

These four all come from very different backgrounds, interests, and perspectives yet gel so well together. They may not have had much in common before, but the blessing of the Excellence seminars is being able to come out with shared values and common ways of navigating life. The courses helped them create the willingness to be open, supportive, and non-judgmental of each other. “It just gives you something that you never knew was missing,” said Tim, “These guys know the good side of me and the dark side of me and they love me no matter what.”

These four agree they would not have the sustaining love and support they share now without the Excellence courses. The Dukes have supported each other through divorce, addiction, cancer, deaths in the family, career losses and failures, and through all of life as it presents itself to them.

“There’s no place else I feel I can just show up, be myself, tell the truth completely unguarded, and know I’m among people who love me, support me, and will help me through anything,” said Jim, “This was all due to the Excellence programs.”

Living in Purpose is Much Richer than Striving!

Michelle Raymond was on a hamster wheel! Going Mach 2! With pressure, expectations, and stress chasing her down every minute of every day!

She recalls tearing around 24/7 to be and do everything that she could in her real estate business and charity work. “I was an overachiever,” she muses. She was President of a high-end business group in Vancouver, a member of the RE/MAX advertising committee, sat on several other boards and was in the top 2 percent of 10,000 realtors in Greater Vancouver. While some things were going great, some things were not.

“I’m an avoider,” she says, “and I wasn’t paying attention to my health.” In fact, it got so bad that her arches collapsed and she to diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. There were some days she struggled to walk.

Then Michelle met fellow realtor Bill Goold. Bill became Michelle’s one-on-one coach for her business and one of his requirements was that she take the Excellence Series.

Looking back, Michelle says, “I just thought it would be a weekend.” Hahaha!!!

Once she was in, she was IN. Michelle dove into the programs whole-heartedly, finishing them in a year and she has never looked back.

Before the Series, Michelle says about her business and her life, “I thought if had to look a certain way… then I realized that I was defining my self-worth based on what I was doing.” After learning the tools and concepts, however, she realized that her newly identified driving need for contribution and significance didn’t have to drive her into the ground! “I realized I could get those needs met in constructive ways. It no longer was for other people to see but for me to experience.”

Finding quieter, more personally meaningful ways to create significance in her life, Michelle is thrilled to report that she quit smoking and the quality of her life is now hugely different! During her Advancement, she focused on her health which is now so much better.

And her business is through the roof but in all the right ways. When she signed up for the Pursuit, Michelle also signed up her mortgage broker and the two no enjoy an amazing, mutually supportive personal and professional relationship.

Overall, Michelle credits the programs with ongoing, incredibly easy results in her life. As she says, “Going through these courses helped me get really clear and conscious about the preciousness of time. Living in purpose is much richer than striving because it’s the here and now and it is the being that matters, not so much the doing and having. There’s no greater gift.”

You CAN Teach an Old Dog New Tricks!

You can teach an old dog new tricks! That’s exactly what Robert Long said about his decision NOT to attend the Advancement of Excellence graduation! When his grandsons’ other grandfather died, and the celebration of life was the same time as the graduation, he was very torn. But then Robert remembered what he had just learned: Ask for what you want. So after a lifetime of not being very good at that, he told his team he wanted to be there for his grandsons. “It was major,” he said.

Robert did the Pursuit of Excellence and the Wall 34 years earlier and found them valuable. So last year when a friend suggested Robert audit the courses, he did. During the Pursuit he vividly remembers Wanetta saying: So what? Something happened. So what? What are you going to do? “That’s in my brain forever,” he exclaimed.

At the Wall, two of the exercises created a great sense of wonder in Robert. . . and tears.

But this was Robert’s first time attending the Advancement. It was a new experience. “At the weekly meetings, I had the feeling of being intensely supported by my small group. Their wisdom and insights were awesome!” Every week when the group met, they would reiterate as part of the meeting: “The past is the past. Turn the page.” Robert found this very helpful. “This is very meaningful at my age!”

And how did fellow team members feel about Robert? They were inspired by Robert’s youthful energy, his commitment to lifelong learning, and is great sense of humour.

As for advice to you young pups, Robert has some tips. “Never stop learning and be willing to change. Live each day to the fullest. Deal with issues that cause pain, and plan a course, a strategy for overcoming the event. Don’t blame others. So what: Now What. Take the Pursuit, Wall and Advancement. It has changed my life positively beyond my anticipation, as I approach my 86th birthday.”

Strong Relationships Are Immensely Valuable!

What if they could be even stronger?

Siobhan Murphy first discovered Excellence Seminars International back in 2002. A year out of graduate school, her boyfriend had just invited her to an introductory session. It was the beginning of a life-changing journey.

Things changed for Siobhan rather quickly in the coming weeks. “I remember one of my action steps from the course was to ask my boyfriend, `What’s next? ` By the time we finished our weekend at ReSet, we were unofficially engaged!”

This was the beginning of a lasting and loving bond with her now-husband, but that wasn’t the only relationship that would transform. The courses began to improve her communication as well as her confidence. Some of Siobhan’s progress still moves her to this day. “What I got out of the second course, BreakThru, was really transforming for my relationship with my mom.”

Siobhan took an often-tense relationship with her mother and forged it into a cherished bond. “She’s now one of my best friends… She’s still who she is; I just have a really different relationship with her.” Today, they share a connection that’s stronger than ever.

This family breakthrough encouraged Siobhan to want to invest more energy into Excellence Seminars. She eventually took on more opportunities to reach people through the courses. “I led The Practice for many years… I still use those tools every single day. This is why I love these programs so much!” It’s no wonder, then, why she is still so enthusiastic about her experience years ago.

The knowledge gained throughout the Excellence Seminars continues to propel her to new heights. While Siobhan still volunteers with the courses where possible, the success of her own business has demanded increasingly more time and focus. However, rising to the occasion is simple when you have the right skills.

One of the insights she gained that she uses every day is recognizing different personality types. “Having the tools to be very sensitive to and identify peoples’ communication style – therefore how to communicate with them – allows them to be at ease, and we can move forward together.”

For Siobhan, running a successful business often means connecting with people on their own terms. These tools are so valuable, she offers the first course, ReSet, to all her employees. “I invite every single new employee of mine to take the first course and I’ll pay for it.” The investments in her employees offer them an edge anywhere life may take them!

Today, Siobhan and her team are now better equipped than ever to grow the business. Thanks to ESI, she’s gained the tools, experience and expertise to transform her relationships into deep professional and personal connections.

When she took the first program, Siobhan was not just extremely introverted, but extremely shy. “That’s so far from the experience I have now. Through my evolution in the programs, I’ve experienced a shift from self-acceptance to being delighted with who I am.”

Hitting the “Easy Button” on Intimate Relationships

The Excellence courses don’t just benefit individuals, they can have a profound impact on intimate relationships, too. Andrea and Bruce Patten are a prime example of this.

Andrea first took the Core Leadership Series back in 2004. Her experience greatly helped her to better connect with her son as well as with herself. She has greatly appreciated having a network of people over the years that are always there when she needs them. “The courses have given me an arena to play where I can be who I truly am without having to hold up an image.”

After her previous marriage ended, Andrea knew that any new relationship could only be with someone who spoke this same “language” of Excellence. When she met Bruce in 2011, she knew from their first face-to-face conversation that this was the relationship she’d been looking for.

After hearing about Andrea’s experience and other friends’ experiences with the courses, he signed up in 2016. Bruce had taken several management and communication courses in the past and wasn’t sure he’d learn much new, but he was to be pleasantly surprised…

He quickly realized he had been holding himself back from being the leader he knew he could be. He not only gained profound insight into how he shows up in every meeting but also an insight into the people he was managing. After the courses, he had a deeper understanding of his staff which let him build a stronger and more cohesive team.

Soon after, Andrea and Bruce began to assist in the courses together, providing support for the course leaders, team assistants, and the participants. This has given them a meaningful activity that they can do together that also has an aspect of contribution. “It’s a great activity that we can do together that meets our needs on so many levels.”

Their relationship has seen significant growth after having both gone through the courses. “I call it hitting the ‘easy-button’ on relationships,” says Bruce, “Because we’re speaking the same language, there is an efficiency there. It’s a much more open relationship in the sense that I don’t have to hide what is going on with me out of old fears.”

Andrea and Bruce truly are thriving in Excellence… and they believe others can, too.

“What is truly holding you back?” Bruce asks you, “And do you want that thing that is holding you back to be the thing that controls your life?”

The Youth Pursuit of Excellence

High Octane Fuel to Set a Strong Foundation for Life!

About ten years after taking the program, Robbie Ruddell brought it full circle, assisting the Youth Pursuit of Excellence at Springbrooke Retreat Centre. Mentoring young people to step up and be leaders in their own lives reminded Robbie just how important the program had been for him.

Course correcting was one of the most important tools Robbie took away from the Youth Pursuit, done when he was 18. During that program he learned to ask himself the question, “Am I in the process of creating what I believe is most important to me?”

According to Robbie, that powerful question has led him to a life he would never have had the courage to build otherwise. “I went from being a very young, directionless, average, content person in my late teens to spending my twenties as ambitious, goal-oriented, experiencing success, and really identifying and living into my dreams.”

These were dreams that no career counselor would have ever encouraged him to pursue. According to Robbie, he would have been told that the multiple university degrees he now holds were “too far-fetched” for him. He suspects he would have languished, unfulfilled in a different field, trapped under the assumption that that’s where he belonged. Instead, “I lived my twenties as if I could do anything!”

Last year Robbie Ruddell received an offer to study at one of the most prestigious universities in the world. And he turned it down! “I turned down the offer because in fact what the Pursuit gave me was the strength to not only strive and achieve my goals but also to check in with myself to know if they’re still what I want.”

Interestingly enough, it wasn’t until Robbie audited the Adult Pursuit of Excellence about 10 years later and followed by assisting young people that he realized how much the program had impacted him. “I must have integrated that learning in my twenties in such a seamless way, it wasn’t until I experienced it again that I thought, OMG, that’s where I learned that! That one weekend empowered me with the high-octane fuel needed to get to where I am today, which is exactly where I want to be!”

Benchmark International Stands Strong Surrounded by Calamity

The year 2014 was a doozy in Alberta. Oil prices had tanked, and a vicious recession ensued. Businesses throughout the province dive-bombed into bankruptcy, shipwrecking thousands of employees in financial ruin.

But not Benchmark Instrumentation. Not the company and not their people.

Starting in 2010, Benchmark had initiated an employee development program, sponsoring their people through the Excellence Series. A move which, according to company CEO and President, Steven McDougall, was critical to weathering the economic storm, “We were pleased with our ability to recover compared to our peers in the industry. I think we’ve accomplished this because of this building block of our company.”

He explains why, “The programs gave us tools and a language that people understand and enable us to work together through the problems. Our employees stuck with us!” 

Not only did Benchmark’s employees stick around and flourish, so did many of their business partners. “During the downturn, a lot of our partners stuck with us even though it was tough times. They would tell us you guys are great to deal with, you’re our partner.” An achievement Steven believes comes from Benchmark’s commitment to win/win for everyone they deal with.  

This spectacular success against devastating odds is not the only win Benchmark can claim. Day to day morale is fantastic. “I’ve seen people come out of their shell that would normally be reserved and refuse to talk in front of their fellow employees. We have an open, transparent management style and I attribute the maturity in everyone to the fact that 80% of them have these foundational tools and can work through situations in transparent ways.”

Through good times and bad, Benchmark International stands as strong as its people and as we say in the Excellence Series, success breeds success!

The differences are shocking… from finances to friendships

Back in the mid-1990s, Gemma Finn was invited to check out the Excellence Seminars, but she declined. She even attended an Introductory Session but still wasn’t convinced. Newly retired from the Navy, she felt she already had what she needed in life. Yet, the support and the skills gained through the courses turned her life around in ways she never expected.

Her experience in the military had prepared Gemma to face plenty of challenges, but she was left with a lack of direction in her life. “I felt rudderless,” she said. What she didn’t realize at the time was that there is so much more than just direction to be found in these courses.

One day in 2010, she took the plunge. Gemma was invited to support her partner at ReSet for More Excellence. She learned some valuable skills, but this was just the beginning of her transformation. She even began to work with others in the program on her money issues, and through that work, she found herself completely debt-free! “I look back at my life before and it’s shocking to me, the difference… especially around finances.

Gemma was amazed to discover how much she could still learn and grow in all areas of her life! “I knew that if I didn’t move forward with it, I would just go back to my old habits.”

One of the many other gems within the Excellence Seminars is the love and spirit the people provide. When Gemma’s partner encountered medical struggles, the couple found themselves surrounded by warmth, love, and support. The community brought them food, fellowship, and held a prayer circle around the hospital. Her partner pulled through!

Gemma faced her own health challenges the following year, but by then she had an entire community standing with her. “My experience was… joyful! These were all grads; they had decorated my parking spot and they paid my parking for the day. They turned my chair around and outside the clinic were 30 or 40 grads singing my favorite song from when I was a kid. By the time they were done, every single person in the place was smiling and talking and laughing. It was like somebody turned a switch on for positive energy to flow. It was just so beautiful!

So many of us don’t even realize how important having a support network can be. Sure, she was skeptical at first. Now? Gemma and her partner assist in the courses every chance they get, allowing them to help others while discovering even more value. She started ESI’s FaceBook page and takes every opportunity to give back to the people that have brought them so much growth, love, and a sense of community.

Anything I needed, all I had to do was to ask.” That’s exactly the sort of people you can look forward to meeting when you sign up for Excellence!

From Broke to # 1 Realtor for RE/MAX in the World

“Scattered”, “no direction”, “no self-esteem” – these are the words award-winning realtor, Bill Goold uses to describe his life prior to the Excellence Series. He remembers trying job after job without finding any satisfaction and going from relationship to relationship. He recalls, “I was really in the dark.”

So, what happened?!?

According to Bill, “I did the Pursuit and my self-esteem went through the ceiling. I did the Wall and found out what my greatest strength was, and also what success to me was.” All game-changing stuff but for Bill the programs culminated at the Advancement of Excellence where he found both a relationship with his future wife (whom he referred to as the sparkle in his eye!), AND he found his career.

Bill talks about the difference that two of his fellow participants made, helping him start his own real estate business. Using the tools and concepts from the courses, he launched an incredible trajectory selling more commercial real estate than any other realtor in Western Canada in ONLY FOUR YEARS.

Over the next 25 years Bill was #1 in the world for Re/Max a total of FIVE TIMES. This from a man who before the programs was so broke, he had to claim social assistance for 5 months.

Bill talks about the impact the programs continue to make now that he is retired. He says Mastery I helped him understand who he was and in Mastery II he found out his calling. He talks about how the transition from busy career to retirement can be challenging. What to do with all that time??? Thanks to the Graduate Series, Bill transitioned himself! He says it took him a little while, but he grounded himself in his calling to promote spirituality and he is currently establishing a career based on this. AND he says, “I just feel so fulfilled, using the tools that I’ve learned from the Excellence Series. I am so full of love, excitement, and passion about my next steps!”

Winning in Business & Relationships

I used to want to be right. Now I want to make it right.

Andrew Todsen was scared to death. An introvert prone to anxiety attacks in the grocery store, public declarations of eternal love were not in his comfort zone. Good thing Andrew had learned how to step it up. Scared but determined, he went down on bended knee, to propose to his girlfriend at an Introductory Session to the Pursuit of Excellence. 

This is a scene that would not have been possible two years before. Alcoholic and overweight, Andrew had been terrified then too, but of very different things. Pre-diabetic with breathing problems, he had moments when death felt imminent. “I literally thought I was going to die at times.”

Hungover at work one day, he hit bottom. “I said, I’m never drinking again in my life. I stopped.” Andrew spent the next 6 months getting his body and brain back online and it was around this time that a friend talked to him about the Pursuit. “I just jumped right in, no hesitation at all, and I absolutely loved it.”

And that is where, he says, “I just started believing in myself.” Using the tools and concepts, he realized, “I’m not going to be a roof worker for the rest of my life. That’s not who I am.” Rather, he decided he would start his own business, buying, selling, and renovating properties. And suddenly, Aspen Grove Construction was born, a company which, 18 months later, is growing exponentially in both busyness and profits. “The programs helped me come out of my shell and be comfortable talking to strangers. I can go talk to a client, look them in the eyes, have a good conversation, and they trust me.”

However, as Andrew explains, his biggest win from the programs was in his relationships. “I used to want to be right rather than make it right.” However, “that’s totally changed for me.” Now, he says, “I take accountability for my actions, do it right away, we resolve conflict immediately, and carry on with our lives.” And this has impacted both his primary relationship as well as his children. “We’ve noticed a huge improvement in our kids’ lives. We’ve created a really good structure for them, a good life for them. That’s number one for me.”

And as for his girlfriend? Well, in front of family, friends, and a few strangers, she responded with a resounding, YES! When asked about the differences she’s noticed in Andrew due to the Excellence Series, Alison Todsen says, “He is still the same person but better, even more awesome. He’s still the guy I fell in love with, just an even better version!”

Perpetual Kindness: Creating a Global Movement Towards Love

Kindness is Denise Walker’s passion, “We need to treat others with kindness so that they feel valued enough to pay that kindness forward.” In December of 2017, Denise Walker fulfilled a dream, publishing her thoughts on that passion. Her b ook, Perpetual Kindness: Creating a Global Movement Towards Love, contains a cherished message for humanity that she intends to follow up on with nine more planned works in the series. However, according to Denise, she never would have realized this monumental, world-transforming achievement without the Excellence Series!

“I never would have had the confidence to do this had I not done these programs,” says Denise. She explains how before the programs she was surrounded by people with a woe-is-me attitude, something that she just wasn’t on board with. “I wanted to be around people who wanted more.” And after attending an intro night and jumping into the Pursuit, she knew she had found just those people.

“The kind of people that do these programs are encouraging and supportive and even if it’s a crappy idea they’re still behind you and want you to win in some way. I found the people who wanted more. And not just people who wanted more but they were actually doing something about it.”

And so was Denise. In 2016 while assisting the Advancement, Denise’s goal was to write two chapters of her book before Commencement. To guarantee her commitment, she put her beloved Mercedes on the line, knowing that the program leader would take her car and joyride it up and down her street if she failed to follow through!

Using the tools from the program and her innate determination, Denise absolutely followed through. Today her book is for sale on and as a current Advancement audit, she is setting up speaking engagements to further get her message of kindness and love to the people who need it most – engagements which she will drive her Mercedes to because she got to keep it!

From a 2 out of 10…

To Dramatic Improvement Lasting a Lifetime!

Renee Wilkins was on her tenth career and fifth relationship, and every area of her life felt like a 2 out of 10. She was introduced to the Pursuit of Excellence by a friend that was clearly living a fulfilled, happy, and successful life. The results were immediate – every area of her life improved dramatically. Within six months, she doubled her business income, within a year she tripled it and within five years she had realized all her long-term goals, personally and professionally. That was 26 years ago!

Last Fall, Renee was asked to participate in the inaugural “Dream Team” which is structured for individuals like Renee who had audited the program before and who just wanted to notch up their life even more.

Renee Wilkins was comfortable. As she describes, “Life was good all-around, from business, family, friends, spiritual, and health.” And this, she says, was her red flag. “I had fallen into the comfort rut. I knew there was still more I could be tapping into.” A 5-time audit of the Advancement of Excellence, Renee knew exactly how to scale her way out of that rut. She jumped into her sixth time participating in the program, upped her game, and hasn’t looked back since.

One of her biggest a-ha moments during her sixth time auditing was the impact that her ongoing participation has had on her life. She says, “I realized how amazing my life has become and how blessed I have been to be exposed to these programs.” As she explains, “Even after a bad car accident in late 2013 that took two years to fully recover from, I realized if I hadn’t had the tools from the Excellence Seminars programs, I am not sure I would have landed on my feet and been better than ever and more excited about the future.”

A financial consultant, with specialties in life insurance and estate planning, Renee has spent over 25 years helping people create wealth and realize their dreams. However, she cautions, “At the end of the day, money will not make you happy if you are not already happy.” In her view, “Emotional health is the key to your personal wealth and your physical health as well.”

For Renee, one of the crucial keys to her sense of inner peace, self-fulfillment, and happiness is the time she has spent participating in Excellence Seminars programs. And she encourages everyone, from people new to the programs to seasoned participants to “jump in and experience how these programs can truly transform your life!”

Phyllis Nielsen Awarded Distinguished Toastmaster!

Phyllis Nielsen’s ESI journey began about five years ago with an Introductory Session where she says, “I left feeling there were things I could learn from these programs and signed up for a Pursuit… I met over 100 people there and left with great tools for life and an attitude that I knew would help me with some challenges I was facing.”

Over the next two years, Phyllis attended both the Excellence Series and Graduate Series.  One of the greatest benefits of the journey she experienced was “in seeing how I truly am the creator of my results – all of them…. and that was powerful.  It allowed me to move on and create different results, make my life better and it inspired me to pursue new goals and dreams.”

Phyllis was also an active member of Toastmasters and realized that TM and ESI people share a strong commitment to personal growth and creating positive change in their life.  She found herself cross promoting between the two programs and at 2015 Year of Your Dreams, decided to create an ESI Toastmaster Club.  By July of 2015, the Island Excellence Toastmasters Club was chartered. 

If that isn’t enough, in June 2016, Phyllis achieved her Distinguished Toastmaster Award, the highest designation in Toastmasters.  Soon, she will also be celebrating 30 years of service as a member of the RCMP.  “Doing the right thing” is a core value for Phyllis and, in her work as an RCMP Officer and Supervisor, this means having strong abilities in communication, dealing with conflict effectively, inspiring and encouraging her team and self-awareness. Phyllis says the tools she has gained from ESI and from TM has helped her greatly in these areas, and, most importantly, allows her to not simply ‘do her job’ but to love her job.   

ESI Values Fueling Award-Winning Company

When Marie Soprovich’s husband, Doug, was diagnosed with terminal cancer, she knew her life would never be the same. “It is a remarkable journey of courage and transformation as I took leave from my beloved teaching career and became his primary caregiver.”

Marie and Doug met through a group of ESI grads in Edmonton called the “Pursuers”, while Marie completed the Excellence series in 1990. Together Marie and Doug formed a company, “Aquarian Networks Corp.”  At the core of their company, is the intentional commitment to build a company that would develop the highest potential and greatest good for all who would be a part of the organization, whatever the product.  Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? (SFDI)

At first, they focused on creating art that had a tangible message of peace and goodwill. (SFDI?) “We had lots of fun dreaming up and creating Earthlights and Peace Candles and all kinds of earth awareness products.” Then they worked with others, many of them Pursuers, on a project which combined the modalities of eastern and western health practice. The group conducted workshops, planning sessions, and brought thinkers and healers together, creating an awareness in Edmonton that is still felt today.

With Doug’s background in construction, Aquarian always had a little construction project on the side. Eventually, Aquarian moved completely into the construction and renovation industry and as Marie said, “Our art is now in transforming people’s living spaces into places of beauty, function and joy.  Aquarian is an award-winning company, and we take great pride in our work, our people and our results.” (SFDI?)

When Doug died, Marie had some big decisions to make.  What was she going to do with her life now?  It took time. But in the end, Marie decided for Aquarian: for continued growth, for lifelong learning, for leadership, for commitment to the amazing people who worked in the company and to her clients. “I could not walk away. Company culture has always been value based and is what set us apart.  I had studied and grown my leadership abilities in all that I had done in my life, and I had to give this my best shot.”

So what now?  In addition to being CEO of Aquarian, Marie has taken on a number of leadership roles in her community, in the construction industry with CHBA ER (Canadian Home Builders Edmonton Region) and participates as a volunteer with CPAC (Canadian Partnership Against Cancer) at the national level. And she strongly encourages and will pay for any employee who wants to take the Pursuit. (SFDI?) WOW! I wonder what is next.

From Martyrdom to Leadership!

“It had plumbing,” Pete Johnson muses, “and a microwave.” Reflecting back on the 150 square foot treehouse he found himself living in, he adds, “I suppose it was nothing short of a mid-life crisis.”

Indeed. At the time, Pete had abandoned his relationships, developed a nauseating case of tinnitus, and was trying not to go insane 24 hours a day. He was still gainfully employed as a project manager in a software company, however, “everyday work sucked, and I hated it”.

Shortly thereafter, Pete and his employer mutually decided to part ways and, after selling his house and with no job, he began to float in a place of sublime lack of clarity or direction.

Between various living situations, his contentious work experiences, and being a single father. Pete says, “I’d become the ultimate victim, what I thought was a lifestyle of selflessness had putrefied into martyrdom.” He searched for meaning but every time he would come up with an idea, “I would talk myself out of it.”

Enter Excellence programming.

Pete started dating someone who had taken the courses. Still floundering, he says, “I thought, well, I’ll take these classes or whatever. I’ll do the first one.” So, Pete signed up for Reset, the first program in the series. At the end, Pete thought to himself, “Huh. I’m not as different from everyone as I thought.”

And so, he signed up for the next one, BreakThru, where his sense of belonging flourished even more. “I stood at the front of the room and for the first time said, I hurt. I was able to speak my truth and not mitigate my truth in the name of placating the people around me.”

And that honesty was the first step from victimhood to accountability, a place where, following his completion of The Practice, the final program in the series, Pete now lives. “Now I model for my daughter how to thrive, how to set goals, how to be excited, and how to not just gracefully exist within dysfunction.”

Upon graduating from the series, Pete jumped wholeheartedly into assisting, which then lead into being asked to train to be a program leader. Gleefully pushing out of his comfort zone, Pete jumped in with both feet, “I just said, let’s do it, let’s do it, and I just pushed through.”

After swearing never to return to software Pete is back in that field as well as leading programs for Excellence Northwest and ESI. Pete no longer holds others “accountable or responsible for my results.” Out of the treehouse and no longer floating, Pete thanks Reset, BreakThru and The Practice, for the fact that he is grounded now in more ways than one!

Not sure I would recognize the person I was before. . .

When Jamie Chmielewski walked into ReSet in February of 2018, she was deeply unsatisfied with the life she was living. Working 60 hours er week running a business that she didn’t love, she could never seem to get back as much as she was putting in. She entered the Core Leadership Series with the desire to have a successful, thriving business and more time off. What she walked away with was a revelation and the start of a whole new life.

It was in The Practice that Jamie suddenly realized what she needed to do to deepen her fulfillment in life. So, she took a scary leap. She sold her business and walked away with no plans and no regrets. “It never occurred to me until the exact moment when I knew I needed to leave that I would leave.”

“But it didn’t feel like failure. It felt like freedom.”

Jamie won the Congruence Award for her bravery and is forever grateful for the support and cheers her team blessed her with. Feeling lighter, liberated, and a bit terrified, she took a month off to regroup and create space for new possibilities – something that she wouldn’t have had the courage to do before stepping into these courses. But that was not the only journey she would embark upon that year…

While the Core Leadership Series helped her to see what was holding her back, it was Inside Passage that gave her the self-discovery she needed to launch her forward. The inner work in this course gave her space to really hone in on her role in the world and what she needed to do to feel fulfilled. “The word that I kept coming back to was ‘empowerment’. Empowering others to live their dreams.”

This profound realization and the transformative work of Inside Passage was what led her to the work she does now as the Scholarships, Awards and Bursaries Coordinator at Vancouver Island University. Now she gets to put that empowerment into action every day by finding donors to fund student awards and help others finish their education successfully. As someone who is committed to lifelong learning, she is thriving being immersed in such a wide array of learning every day.

Jamie could not have done this on her own and sees this deepening of her fulfillment as a direct result of her time in the Excellence courses and the grounding support of her team. “I don’t know that I would even recognize the person I was before.”

To anyone considering taking these courses, Jamie’s message is, “It might be scary venturing into the unknown, but in the words of C.S. Lewis, ‘There are far better things ahead than any you leave behind.’”

My Life & Happiness Have Done a 180 Degree Turn!

There were a lot of “un’s” in Cyndi Meuchel’s life. “My whole life was a mess, unhappy job, unhappy relationship, and I was really unhealthy.” And she has strong words about how that felt, “I had just sort of tanked in life!” A situation which got worse before it got better. “I ended up leaving my job, and when I left, I realized that all my friends were at that job. And I was what I did. My self-worth and image were tied to my job. And I didn’t know what a friend was anymore because I didn’t have many.”

It was at this point that Cyndi took Reset for Excellence. During that program, Cyndi decided to focus on one thing she knew she could control – her health. “I just started walking. I didn’t have anything else to do, I didn’t have a job.” And things started looking up, “I started feeling better, I got some clarity about who I was and what I wanted in life.”

And Cyndi started setting goals. “One day I decided that to really get in shape, I was going to do a half-marathon by myself, on my own. I decided I would walk the whole thing because I still wasn’t fit.” But she was getting there! Cyndi told a few people about her goal, that she was going to get up and walk a 13-mile route that she had picked out. She didn’t think anything of it until she realized 33 people were going to do it with her! 

“I remember at the end of my first Pursuit, the program leader said to me, ‘I can’t wait until you learn to live big.’ And I remember thinking, what does she mean by that?”

Cyndi wondered for years until that day. Seeing those 33 people walking & running with her that she was the inadvertent leader of she says, “I realized that those were my people, and this was the start of what it meant to get focused and live big.

Without even trying, Cyndi had indirectly inspired 33 people to take up the same challenge. And after those first 13 miles were over, everyone wanted to know when the next one was. “My jaw dropped! I had never intended to make this a thing!”

The next year, 100 people came, and they brought money for aid stations & costs. Cyndi donated leftover proceeds (“maybe a couple hundred bucks”) to a local organization called Girls on the Run, an afterschool program to empower girls. The year after that, there were over 200 people and again, Cyndi donated the money. And now, she says, “Long story short, last year was our 10th anniversary and we raised $20,000 dollars.”

The “un’s” are gone. “I get to choose the life that’s most important to me instead of just having life happen to me.” Cyndi is healthy, her business is thriving, she’s an adjunct professor, and has a fantastic primary relationship. She says both her life and her happiness have done a 180 from where she started because, as she says, “These courses taught me that I needed to live my life for me.” 

Impress Yourself!

IMPRESS YOURSELF. That was the stake Lee Odgers developed when he attended “Stake Your New Claim for 2016.” Each year ESI offers a one-day course in early January in which participants develop a stake, almost a mantra, that they can use to help them focus on getting what is most important to them in the new year. It can be a very powerful tool and it certainly was for Lee.

Over the past two years, Lee has attended all of the Excellence Series courses. It was at “The Wall” that Lee discovered that one of his driving needs is for recognition, a need he had hidden, even from himself. “There are a lot of negative words associated with needing recognition: braggart, arrogance, self-important.” Now embracing his driving need for recognition in a constructive manner is an integral part of Lee’s life.

So, IMPRESS YOURSELF. Lee says that isn’t easy for him to do. But he did! He had the best year on a professional level he has ever had. The best income ever. And then he won the Dick Mitchell Award of Excellence, an award voted on by his peers in the Vancouver/Victoria/Nanaimo region. It is awarded to the financial advisor committed to integrity, community service and a willingness to selflessly help others. His region then won the best region in Canada. So Best of the Best! Great stake, eh?

As the winner of this award, Lee was asked to make the Toast to Canada at the company gala where there were more than 300 attendees. With his pink paisley bow tie, Lee made full use of the skills learned in ESI’s Presentation Dynamics Intensive course with pictures flashing behind him, lighting up the whole room. What is so authentic, is the way Lee’s face glows when he is talking about it—he has clearly impressed himself. “I told them I was proud to give the toast to Canada during a year that is Canada’s 150th birthday.” The Vice-President of the company came up to Lee after and said, “Best Toast Ever.” “And,” Lee says, “people are still talking about it.” Recognition in abundance.

So in 2017, Lee’s stake is FEEL THE ABUNDANCE. Lee included this in his toast, “Ladies and Gentlemen, please raise your glass and Toast to Canada. Feel the Abundance!”

A Touch of Grace

The 2009 Professional Woman of the Year with Whatcom Women in Business, Debbie Gann is success personified! An expert in her field, Debbie runs a homecare agency that currently employs nearly 100 people and serves many more with compassion and excellence.

However, 15 years ago, life was very different for Debbie. “Every bill night I was in tears because I didn’t feel like I was contributing anything. I was struggling financially and feeling not valuable.” A homecare employee at the time, Debbie was stressed, trying to figure out how to move forward. She describes the small business advisor brought in by her boss, who encouraged her to become a supervisor in the agency. While the advisor believed in Debbie, Debbie herself lacked the necessary confidence. Until, however, the advisor enrolled her in the Excellence Series, sending the bill to her boss!

This was when Debbie took off. She not only advanced within her agency by becoming a supervisor, 15 years later she owns the company! She credits much of her success to the Excellence programs, saying the tools, the communication skills, and the confidence she learned enabled her to not only become clear on her value as a person, but to step up and manifest that value in her career.

In addition to her work at the agency, she teaches classes at the community college and the local hospital on elder care, and she is a certified senior advisor. However, the project closest to her heart is called A Touch of Grace, an initiative she started to educate staff and enhance care for those at the end of life in nursing home and care facilities. Involving agencies such as the Peace Health Hospital, Western Washington University Palliative Care Institute, and Whatcom Hospice (among several others), A Touch of Grace looks to improve the culture of dying across the region so that individuals and their families experience a smooth and easy transition.

With over $30,000 in funding ALREADY, Debbie states categorically that, “There’s no way I could have done this without the tools from Excellence Seminars International.” And Debbie’s phenomenal ripple effect doesn’t end there! As she comments, “I have put most of my office team through the programs, and all of my family members. I readily say to people, these programs changed my life.” And the lives of countless others. . .  

Life Has Never Been Better!

At the age of seventy-five, Tom Davies has unraveled the life he always wanted. How? – might you ask. Well, in the September of 2015, he indulged in learning through Excellence Seminars International and since coming, “life has never been better”.

What sprouted Tom’s intrigue was watching his friend’s distinct transformation as he worked through the Excellence Series. Someone who felt terrorized by public speaking was doing it quite comfortably by the third program, the Advancement of Excellence. For Tom, intrigue quickly morphed into action, and he was signed up for his first program, the Pursuit of Excellence, which was, to his satisfaction, only the beginning.

Upon completion of the program, Tom hesitated in his decision to take the next program, the Wall. His reasoning for such was the guilt he would feel for investing in himself. After short contemplation, though, he made the choice to be unreasonable – which is not to say that he was irrational but is to say that he decided to commit because, in reality, he hadn’t a reason not to.

At the Wall, Tom not only clarified the life he wanted for himself, but he managed to identify and strategize ways of moving past the barriers that were keeping him from living his best life. For Tom, the experience was “mind blowing”.

“When I took the Advancement of Excellence, I knew it was going to be difficult – but in a good way”, he admitted. Nearing completion of the program, Tom remarked, “I needn’t worry about rejection because rejection gets me closer to success”.

What was affected most profoundly, as a result of the Excellence Series, was how Tom felt about himself. For thirty years, he struggled with substance abuse, and attended Alcoholics Anonymous for it. What he found, though, is that AA allowed for learning, whereas Excellence Seminars International allowed for learning, implementing, and creating a life of fulfilment. “Right now, I can tell you, honestly, that I’m totally at peace with myself”.

Glancing behind himself now, at the past year of his life, Tom recognizes that his relationship to ESI has supported him through an immensely transformative period in his life. Tom feels free in the way he lives, proving his relief by stating, “I had the barriers that were keeping me from having my very best life – I don’t have those anymore”.

When asked if he would recommend the Pursuit of Excellence for others to do, despite where they are in their lives, Tom has enthused, “absolutely. It would be a gift to yourself to do the program”.

I am so clear on what is most important to me.

Lesley Stedman first began her journey with Excellence Seminars International (ESI) 5 years ago.  As a mom of two, and registered nurse in Gerontology at Nanaimo General Hospital, you would expect her plate to be pretty full on the average day. “I have more than one calling, or passion you could say, and through the programs I was empowered to start my own business,” she says. “I am clear on what I want to do now and have been pursuing it. I have been a mother and a wife for a long time, and now I’m a woman with children who is doing stuff for herself!”

With a strong passion for women’s empowerment, bolstered by learning through the Pursuit of Excellence, the Wall, the Advancement of Excellence, Inside Passage and more, Lesley started a company of her own – “to help women be the most sensual beings they can be.”

When talking about the most important lesson she learned from participating in programs till now, Lesley said, “In one of the courses we do something called the long-term vision. I got really clear on my long-term vision and that for me was to support women to really connect to their inner wildness…well as it turns out this year, I am living out my long-term vision. I’ve written a book regarding [sexual empowerment] and put out products for women and sold them successfully through my business.”  Through the sales of her book, and handmade organic lubricant, Lesley has been able to fund a solo trip to Spain this year. “This is a big part of my long-term vision that I didn’t expect would happen so soon!” 

“I am so clear on what is most important to me.  It is having the motivation and the drive to go and pursue the things that I love. It’s me feeding myself and I get to come back and be the greatest version of myself for everyone else,” says Lesley. 

Lesley attributes much of her continued success and personal growth to ESI programs, but we know that her true grit comes from within, and we are proud to say she is a vibrant, supportive, honest, and unstoppable member of the ESI community. 

Excellence Seminars Courses - Free Introductory Session - Online

Attend a FREE Intro Session

We’re excited to share this presentation with you. The information in the presentation is worthwhile, even if you have just one aha moment.