Tuesday, 12 November 2019

How one event changed my life! 
2 powerful lessons learn from one of life’s BIGStuff moments 
Michael H Ballard from Resiliency for Life 

Well, it’s been many years since this happen to me. Yet almost every day I approach most every situation from the lessons learned from that life-altering event from when I was a kid. So many lessons compressed into such a short period of days.

It often seems like only yesterday that it happened. Yet, its’ been more than a few decades since that moment when life changed. Suddenly my view of things and others the short term during for quite a bit of pain. Then confusion, then annoyance and eventually in the longer term quite a bit of clarity and insights that money just can’t buy.

What is he yammering on about? Well to go back in time before this event happened to me, I had learned to ride a two-wheeler. I was about six. I’d graduated from a magnificent three-wheeler to this bright red and white two-wheeler. My parents had bought it off of my Dad’s sister Hilda, my cousin Jim’s Mom. As a six years old it was a sweet ride. It meant a chance to gain a little more freedom. Now, I could go around the whole block up and down the hill around the (cue joy and awe voice) whole block!

Little did I know after just a few weeks that bike would “assist” me have a life altering experience. I’ll be the first to admit I was not that athletic as a kid.  Learning to ride that bike took me on the gravel road we lived on dozens and dozens of times.  My father had legs like a marathoner by the time I’d finally learned to ride.  Up and down, up and down that street we went. Yet I eventually got the hang of it. Mastery of the bike came slowly to me. Learning to balance, peddle, steer, long look and short look, brake and signal direction and stop. Did I miss anything? Writing it down I can hear my Fathers voice from those many years ago like yesterday. He had the patience of a saint.

Now, to cut to the chase. Out for a ride one bright sunny spring day a little girl about 3 decided to turn at the last moment and run in-front of me! I managed to avoid hitting her, however that’s when my life long lesson started. Seems I can avoid people but not so good at avoiding things. I went into a shallow ditch and went of  and over the handle bars. I don’t remember a thing after that for 2 or 3 hours. I’m told (Bike helmets where not yet made for Kids) I went over the handle bars and hit the only rock in the ditch with my head.  That created a headache like I’ve never experienced before or since.

I ended up with a concussion. Faded in and out for about two days. I was x-rayed, inspected, weighted and poked and prodded. Now the lessons started once my parents got me to the hospital.

Once I was diagnosed and placed in my room, I was supposed to rest. Sounds like a great idea. Except, I had a concussion. Protocals of the day then stated that a Nurse or Doctor would examine me for swelling at point of impact every hour and wake me to look in my eyes to see if one pupil was dilating more than the other was. Tough to get quality sleep if you’re  unconscious and or being woken up ever 55 minutes until you stay conscious and are lucid.

The first part of the lesson started about three hours once I was in my room. I heard adults say it before so I figured I’d give it a try. “Could I have a pill for my head ache? No, was the quick response. The pain location and type of pain helps us understand what has happened and what is happening. So, not nice for you but helps us understand if your healing or other things are happening. Wow, what a lesson. Stay in the pain and we’ll learn something from it. Don’t mask it over. Learn from your pain.

Next lesson happened within a few of hours. I was now floating in and out of consciousness. I got a roommate. He too had a head injury. So an observation room for the two of suddenly got very VERY loud and bright. What a difference in styles. My injury had me wanting complete darkness, no sound, and no movement. I was suddenly hyper sensitive to everything around me. My new roomy demanded (Hey he was also only 6 or 7 – so we have to cut him some slack) that the lights be on, the blinds open to see outside, then he proceeded to not do as he was told and stay in his bed to rest. Things got louder and his behaviour escalated.  Suddenly a larger bed arrived with stainless steel  bars  like a very oversized crib and he was placed in it. Then he got really very loud and angry.

That’s’ when I asked to be alone. By now he’d had many hours of crying, screaming and wailing. His angry was most likely his fears and frustrations expressed. But wow… my lesson and take away from this are that two people with a very similar or same issue can have two very different reactions. 

So until next time, Imagine yourself with more Resiliency for Life.

Michael Ballard specializes in helping people, business, schools, organizations and communities learn how to become more resilient.
To book Michael for your next event or to consult contact him at:

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Tuesday, 15 October 2019

Lessons from My Grade One Teacher

Lessons that have served me a life time 

Insights from Miss Patton Grade One Teacher

~ Dedicated to Miss Doris M. Patton & teachers  who changes lives daily.
Michael H Ballard of Resiliency for Life

The intensity of the conversation was and is still a very positive experience as I reflect back on it. I can remember talking with my Mom (She was working at the kitchen table doing food prep) about starting to attend public school like it happened yesterday. My Mom, Dawn, was very pleased that her first-born was heading off to Grade One to attend his first day. I too was very excited and pleased. Being the extroverted one I was and am it represented, friends to be made, lessons to learn, Teachers to meet, and things to experience. 

However, little did I know that within the first three weeks of school my Grade One teacher Miss Doris Patton would quickly identify several key factors about me. Some, that have positively defined me and help me with career choices, others that would define a couple of attributes that in her words “These will challenge Michael and will hinder him. Perhaps be hard on him during his time in school. However he has skills and gifts both in the classroom and in the playground he shows, that will serve him well, once he leaves school.”

Little did I know at the time how those words would ring true. Seems yours truly has some interesting combinations of talents and “issues”.  I don’t like, fact is I have strong distain for the common phrase or description of strengths and weaknesses. I’m more of a strengths and challenges kinda person. 

What Miss Patton so quickly identified as a dedicated educator and very intuitive professional was yours truly had/has an eye hand coordination issue. Printing and writing to me was and is a challenge. Slow down, practise more, not so fast, try another pen/pencil, try again… oh how many hundreds of times did I hear that the first 10 years of school. Then in a state of serious frustration I bought a typewriter. Pica font 10 pt., extended carriage! I’ve very very certain that many a teacher who could now read what I put to paper. breathed a large sigh of relief.

I was blessed to be gifted a day at the track.
High speed safety training. Interesting and exciting.
So my lessons learned from Miss Patton have served me well over the years. 
- First pay attention to those around you. Each has gifts that often exceed ours in several categories or in different ways that we share.
- Second lesson pay attention to your intuition. Miss Patton figured this out about me in less than 20 days of classroom time. Her experience, her attentiveness and intuition. First rate.
- Third lesson and biggest of them all: Stay respectful. One never knows what the other person or persons we are living next door too or working with are facing. I never felt less than with Miss Patton. This was a very big gift to give a child just starting out in school. Little did she know how much I’d need to hang on to her words for my Grade Two. But that’s a story for another time. 

Miss Patton offered up to me untold patience, kindness and insights into my future and myself. I’ve always held her up as a first rate example of what a teacher should be.

So until next time Imagine Yourself having more Resiliency for Life.


To interview Michael, book him for your next event 
or to have him consult with your group can contact him at:

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Monday, 16 September 2019

Why are you Happy? 
It’s all about choice  
Michael H Ballard of Resiliency for Life

It was a question I got several times during my often frightening challenges with two bouts of cancer, multiple treatments and life saving midnight surgery. Those where very intense times. I still have the gift of 77 medical clip and several big scars that help remind me of that time and those years of treatment.
Michael H Ballard

After attending yet another doctors appointment at a clinic for a check up I was pulled aside and asked by one of the administrators “Why are you Happy?” Seems out of the 2650+ people the clinic served I was one of six or seven they noted where for the most part happy.  It also turns out that morale at the clinic and keeping staff turnover down was an ongoing challenge. So many of the patients took their frustrations out on staff or where “sour grapes” to deal with for the staff. Staff were doing their best to help the patients and often the family cope and manage a very unpleasant illness. Yet some patients where out and out nasty to deal with.

So back to the question “Why are you Happy? Well mostly it is a choice. Don’t get me wrong a chronic illness that was very painful is not an easy to deal with issue. However I decided after the diagnosis and reflecting on choices that it was better to be happy in life than bitter.

I don’t like having to fight cancer. Yet if you don’t fight how you going to live with the circumstances if things don’t work out?  So, the old expression my grandparents used from England “In for a penny in for a pound” came to mind. In other words if I was going to fight a little why not fight a lot. So I decided to jump into the deep end of the pond and develop several teams of care professionals to help me fight for my life.

Note I said care professionals. Not health care professionals. I had several types of care teams in place. That is another column for another time. Let me leave you with the thought “how have you allowed your present circumstances to define you? What are you doing to define your current circumstances?

So, untill next time, Imagine Yourself with more Resiliency for Life.

To book Michael or interview him you can contact him at:
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Wednesday, 11 September 2019

Learning how to Bounce!
Resiliency : What is it? Why it matters.
Michael H Ballard of Resiliency for Life

Resiliency is starting to get more and more attention. Personal resilience helps us stay healthier, get better in school, have happier relationships, experience more joy  and do better in our jobs. Family resilience also offers that and makes for better neighbours and safer communities.

But, what is it? Resilience is our ability to “bounce back” from adversity. Life’s BIGStuff events that we all have happen to us eventually. Death in the family, loss of a job, divorce, poor performance at work or school, chronic illness, having your house burn down you get the picture.

Resiliency is a set of key factors we can all use to assist us stay safer and move forward and often create more successful outcomes.  There are two major parts to Resiliency. Inner and outer. Inner resilience includes the beliefs you hold to be true,  your problem solving skills, and the goals you’ve set for yourself. Outer resilience includes the values of the community you live in, teams you’ve built around yourself, the education you have, the support you have from family to name just  a few.

So how do we get more? Well to further develop and deepen our inner resiliency a key place to start includes: -  Our self control. Moderation is a very powerful factor in being resilient. Our resistance to temptation, our restraint to over doing things is a great place to start. To further develop our outer resiliency developing and deepening trusting relationships with people who treat us with respect, sharing time with others that have high expectations of us and them of us are powerful places to help us deepen and widen our ability to thrive.

Resiliency is a life long process. A key to me is that we have to set boundaries and  expectations of our self and with others.  Being resilient offers up life as a life long adventure.  It helps us stretch into life’s BIGStuff moments and issues keeping us safer and happier and often helps us achieve much better outcomes.

Michael Ballard specialises in helping people, schools, organizations and communities learn how to become more resilient.

To book Michael for your next event or to consult contact him at:
Michael's Social Media Includes