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Be The Best.

Rough Patch – yes it happens.

Ten years ago I wrote a blog with ‘rough patch’ in the title. It was a rough day. Everything was pretty raw. It was also a day that provided a reminder of the thinking that has propelled us through the rough patches of life – business or personal. The power of decisions. Making decisions creates energy and gets things moving. If the direction isn’t exactly right, make another decision. Keep going. Whether it’s COVID, a business issue or a life moment – make a decision and keep going.

Original patch and sticker design – yup, still carry in my luggage!

The amazing thing about that day, looking back, is that it was the birth of the ‘Be The Best’ patch which I still have in suitcases and tucked in various spots. A massive thank-you to all those involved, with my nephew Steve L playing a big role. It’s a symbol of how we decide to live. Be The Best.

The blog is alive all year in 2020 as a remembrance of Chris and a chance to reconnect and share memories. I’m happy to connect with anyone who has a story or picture that hasn’t been seen in a while. Email me at randy@randinsystems.com or connect via the blog or LinkedIn.

Also – while supplies last, you can pick up an outdoor speaker, travel mug and of course Be The Best stickers and other stuff at Chris’ store. Our family has funded the store in cooperation with Brent Hoskins and Martket Branding. What that means is that every dollar, aside from a handling/shipping fee is donated direct to Chris’ fund at SFU. If you want to donate direct to SFU you can get a tax receipt. Only do that if you are looking to make a charitable donation in 2020 and have some room. As I said in the first 2020 post, this is not a fund raiser as much as it’s a celebration of Chris’ life and the legacy he has left. Plus, I needed some new Be The Best gear and wanted you to get some too!

These are very cool in black and white.
Nice gear. All paid for meaning when you buy the money goes to Chris’ fund. 😉
The Bluetooth speaker is on the left and the power charger on the right. We were pumping tunes outside this weekend. Wait, that just makes me sound old.

Here’s the ‘Rough Patch’ post from April 10, 2010.

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Be The Best.

Plans don’t work.

For those of you who know me you may be immediately question my mental state. What? This guy is all about planning. Has he had a mid life crisis and reversed his position? Ok, I did look at a massive gold chain and convertible mustang full of Detroit muscle, but I didn’t do either. 😉

And spoiler alert – I haven’t changed my position about planning – but I’m growing more interested in paradoxes and this is a great one.

The more you plan, the more pigs you may see flying. Just sayin. It’s that powerful.

A business colleague passed on a fantastic article about Dwight Eisenhower. A statement he used to use a lot was:

“Plans are worthless, but planning is everything.”

How many times have you set a plan and then things change? If I’m honest, a lot or maybe always! However, having the plan in the first place has already forced us to think about WHY we are doing something. The HOW can change, the WHY should remain the same.

If you want more on the WHY – Simon Sinek is a great author and resource on that topic.

So – do plans change? YES

Should we stop planning? NO

Planning is an action word. It produces momentum. You can adjust along the way. We know about that as a family. We ALL know about that through this COVID19 crisis.

Stay safe and keep planning – even though things may not work out exactly as you imagined.

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Be The Best.

Oh Mama.

I confess. I still watch Family Guy from time to time. Totally inappropriate and outrageous, it was a show that us three boys (Chris, Max and me) would utilize to work on our father/sons bonding while containing our misguided laughter. I hope that passes as enough of an excuse…

There was a scene that became hilarious in our home because it became real life. Remember that bit where Stewie couldn’t get his Mom, Lois’ attention? Here’s the quick clip to remind you. Ok, Ingrid (Max and Chris’ Mom and my long suffering wife!) had developed a unique skill living in a house with just guys. She could tune us out. I mean TOTALLY tune us out. She would be quietly reading a book while the three of us would be watching hockey, munching snacks, exuding bodily noises, laughing and even talking to her – she totally blocked it out. Big skill for sure.

So…Chris started doing the routine. Mom, Mum, ingrid, mommy, mamma, louder and louder – then INGRID! That usually got her attention. That ‘bit’ became comedy gold in the Friesen household multiple times per month. Author’s note: I never encouraged or endorsed this behavior. (mostly)

Just watching the clip again makes me smile as I think of Chris’ routine. The love that Chris and Max and Ingrid have is one that only exists with Moms and sons. Totally special and unique. To Ingrid and all the Moms out there – a very Happy Mother’s Day. May your memories bring you smiles and warmth as only a deep love can create.

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Be The Best.

Chris and Physical Distancing?

Chris’ former lacrosse coach, Brent Hoskins, suggested (tongue in cheek) this week that Chris may have not done too well with physical distancing as it related to sport. Exactly right. Chris found a home playing defense in field and box lacrosse. Even his teammates didn’t like playing against him during drills because he took it seriously and when he had a chance to use that stick or physical strength he would…most usually inside the rules!

Chris (grey and black) playing for Langley Thunder. That poor number 7 dude was going down. Good for him for taking a hit cause the bulldozer was going to leave a mark.
Playing box lacrosse for Team BC. Chris (2), is ready to take a hit, make a hit but you’re not getting by him. Not this time.

Aside from getting bruised up themselves, that is exactly why Chris’ teammates loved him and he became an incredible leader. He was work first. Practice, games, whatever. He spoke to me a number of times post practices and games where he felt guys didn’t take things seriously enough on that night or period or shift.

So in this new world of physical distancing as we miss sport (and YES I MISS SPORTS VERY MUCH!!), Chris would have had an interesting time. But like all of us he would adapt, find new ways of doing things and move forward using a work ethic that became his brand.

Work first. Hit it hard and THEN coast. More on that later.

Miss ya Dude.

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Be The Best.

Good Grief – v2

One of the most read blog posts over the years was about Charlie Brown and that other Charlie, Charles Dickens. I reread that blog post recently almost 10 years to the day it was written. All of it true in 2020. The massive UPS and DOWNS we are all feeling through COVID are very similar to the feelings of loss. Is grief good? No – it sucks, just to be clear. However grief doesn’t exist if a deep love didn’t exist first. Here’s a reproduction of that post:

I was thinking about Charlie Brown today.  Not really about Snoopy or Lucy or that piano dude…remember?  Schroeder. I was remembering one of Charlie Brown’s catch phrases….’good grief’.  After my extensive (4 minute) search on the history of ‘good grief’ I found….not much.  A euphemism for “Good God”, dating back to the 1900’s and of course an ‘Arrested Development’ TV episode from 2004?

I also thought about this quote…ok, you Grade 11 and 12’s…you should know this one.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to heaven, we were all going direct the other way..

Got it?  Yes, that Charles Dickens from A Tale of Two Cities.  Sure, that was written in the 1800’s, but it is a pretty accurate description of grief I think.  I’ve seen a lot about stages of grief and I’m sure that is probably true, but right now it is more like a pretty big yo-yo.  You go up and down between the extremes of the ‘best of times’ remembering, laughing, joking, smiling and dive down to the ‘worst of times’, missing, aching, dreaming of the missed future etc.

Good Grief? Maybe that Charlie Brown was a lot smarter than I ever thought…but I think Lucy knew that all along.

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Be The Best.

Wisdom from Mike Tyson

Ok, I’m not a big boxing fan. But Mike Tyson was a figure so much bigger than the sport. In his prime he was feared. He certainly had his share of issues (understatement!) to overcome and now does everything from acting to supporting charitable causes.

Mike Tyson fights Larry Holmes in 1988.

One of his most famous quotes was, ‘Everyone has a plan till you get punched in the face’.

Whether it is COVID19 or a family loss or both – that is a punch in the face. You were prepping for a good fight but you did not see that punch coming.

In an interview Tyson explained, “Everybody has a plan until they get hit. Then, like a rat, they stop in fear and freeze.” Heavy. Just like one of his punches.

When we lost Chris we got hit in the face and went down for the count. You are dazed, confused because you had a great plan and were executing the plan and everything was great and then you’re on the mat looking up at some referee guy yelling 1, 2 and you know if you hear 3, it’s all over. And now what.

Gonna get up? Gonna stop in fear?

Without being callous, the only thing that you can do at that moment is decide, ‘Am I getting up or am I tapping out’. You make that decision and then the next one and the next one.

Yah, I’ve thought about this quote a lot and Mike Tyson is absolutely right. When the plan goes out the window, we’ve got to decide what we are going to do. I stand with all of you in these crazy times and those suffering personal loss during these times (or any time), I get it. I know what it’s like to be punched in the face. I know what it’s like to try and get up when feeling another punch may be coming. Keep getting up. Keep going. You ALWAYS control your next decision. 😉

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Be The Best.

Snow way

I told you I was going to throw every pun I could into the 2020 version of the blog and combine with as many Dad jokes as possible.

April 17, 2020. Yup.

Snow in April? Snow way! Yup, it’s true. For those of you on the West Coast – yah, you are laughing as you read this, physical distancing your way around Vancouver’s Seawall. I get it. I used to snicker at the weather in the east as well. I’m paying a heavy price now for all those years of jokes. 😉

In all reality, snow is not that uncommon in April – it just doesn’t feel right. That said, it comes and goes and we know that warmer spring and summer weather will follow. In recent weeks, I’ve had a chance to reflect and discuss Jim Collin’s leadership concept of facing the brutal facts, using Winston Churchill as an epic example. If you have 3 minutes, read this excerpt. If we are overly optimistic and have our hearts set on a date or outcome we have a much higher probability of being highly disappointed or worse. From a leadership perspective this can be a bigger concern. Leadership by personality will generally not be as lasting as leadership by facing the facts with the team. If we force ourselves to face the BRUTAL FACTS, we are more likely to be able to address those issues and then find a way to win today and then again tomorrow. It is a strange combination (duality) of having a longer term positive outcome (ie, we’ll get out of COVID, we’ll be happy again after loss) with the immediacy of dealing with the facts of today, ie, my income is dropping by x and I need to do three things per day to push forward and see how I can address that…or, I will not see my son again in this lifetime – how am I going to live the rest of my life? I know that’s blunt, but that is the kind of thing we must do, in my opinion. (Remember, I ain’t a doctor and I don’t even play one on TV).

So, weather (see what I did there?) you are facing sun, cloud, rain or snow today, I trust you can face any brutal facts in your situation and then prepare an action plan for dealing with those things.

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Be The Best.

SFU, CFMA, NOT COVID

Ok, time for a COVID time-out. This post isn’t about COVID for a change. Nevertheless, stay safe, masked and gloved – ok, that doesn’t sound great. Moving on. (seriously…be safe!) 😉

SFU is Simon Fraser University and CFMA is the Christian Friesen Memorial Award. Read on.

Mason Hicks. Know the name? If you are familiar with lacrosse in British Columbia you might. For the wider circle around the globe, you may get to know Mason in the future. He is one of the recipients of the 2020 Chris Friesen Memorial Award. That means he’s a very hard worker, has a team first attitude and is the kind of guy that will continue to achieve goals and help others around him do the same.

Mr. Mason Hicks

He’s finishing up at Simon Fraser University with a Bachelors of Science as a chemistry major and is completing a forensics certificate as well.

He wrote me and stated, ‘I am very grateful to be awarded this memorial award again. Brent Hoskins  told me that I am the first ever two-time winner of this award while playing with SFU lacrosse which makes it even more special. I have had an amazing four years with SFU and am looking to finish off my final courses over this next year.  I just got drafted to the Senior A Burrards and am very excited to take this next step in my life. I hope to continue playing the game of lacrosse as long as I can and eventually give back to the game because it has done so much for me. Thank you again for all that you do for this program.’

I contacted Mason to see if he was ok for me to write about him a bit and he graciously agreed.

When I see how powerful sport and education is and the beauty of lacrosse in particular with an SFU education, we are delighted to have a small role in helping young men like Mason focus on their studies and take a little financial pressure off for a term as well as providing an opportunity for recognition of hard work and team play.

And of course when I say WE it’s the greater WE as so many of you have added to Chris’ memorial fund directly or through the store which will be active till the end of 2020. THANK YOU. Very cool that the fund will continue to provide financial awards forever and each year we’ll get to celebrate players who positively influence the circle around them and that reach will only grow over time.

Congrats Mason. Read more about Mason’s stats here.

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Be The Best.

Saturday Night is Hockey Night – except for when COVID-19 changes everything…

2011: All things hockey today. A little dusting of snow on a Saturday is the perfect prelude to a Saturday night hockey showdown.

Feb 2020: It was a fantastic night for hockey. Living in Detroit these days, you can see a lot of Red Wings hockey but they are in a rebuild so it’s not great a lot of nights. My heart is still a Canuck so watching the Canucks play in Toronto was a fantastic winter reprieve.

April 2020: When I decided to rev up the blog again after 10 years, I had a few forgotten posts in ‘draft’ mode. This was one. A simple paragraph about hockey from 2011. I wrote another in Feb of this year and that’s as far as it went.

Until now.

A few things if you are dealing with a guy in your life or you’ve experienced a loss of some kind together. Um, I’m not a psychologist (duh, you say!) so these are observations of men by a man. That’s it. Opinions.

  1. Guys don’t like to talk about their feelings that much
  2. Guys are activity based
  3. Guys don’t like to face someone when talking – generally
  4. Guys will only talk to people they trust
  5. Trust is earned on the golf course, hunting trip, fishing, sporting event, beer drinking event…or simply watching a hockey game

Guys don’t have to say much to figure out if their buddies have their back. It’s a camaraderie thing.

Chris was a big Dan Cloutier fan back in the day. I LOVE this picture he drew for me.

After losing Chris, there were evenings that I didn’t want to talk about anything. I just wanted to watch hockey with Max and a friend or two. That’s it. Those same friends are the ones I talked to the most over time.

Sorry Chris Pronger – Cloutier saves another one.

Given the NHL is currently on hiatus because of COVID-19, it’s a weird time. I loved sports for the distraction of the moment but also to build relationships without have to talk too much.

Given it’s now April and the playoffs should be starting, the realization that the Stanley Cup will not happen this year is setting in. Things happen. As much as I’ll miss it, we’ll make decisions and move on. Like watching Tiger King on Netflix. (and you expected something more poignant)

Don’t worry – it’s a guy thing. I’d tell you more, but we’d have to be watching hockey together. Miss ya Chris.

Chris with Team BC at Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto

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Be The Best.

Yesterday in 20/20

You know that famous song right? Yesterday by the Beatles. Yah – those guys. Just to remind you if you aren’t humming it already, here’s the first verse.

Yesterday
All my troubles seemed so far away.
Now it looks as though they’re here to stay.
Oh I believe in yesterday.

That could be our anthem in 2020. Given COVID-19, yesterday or yesteryear is looking pretty good right now.

There’s a funny letter circulating on social media currently about 2020 being cancelled and we’d be better off with 2016 which at the time looked horrible, but now looks amazing in retrospect. 20/20 vision is always available when looking at the past. It’s a little harder when you look forward.

Yesterday can always look good and that is a classic song and totally understandable lyric especially as it relates to lost love. It’s been covered over 2,200 times and is still popular in 2020. Want to know more, check out my crack source, Wikipedia.

It’s tougher looking to the future, especially when some yesterdays are looking so good at present.

When Chris passed away I would have given anything to have him back. It’s an anguish I would never wish on my worst enemy. I still feel the same today and especially this week as March 25, 2020 marked 10 years to the day. I truly long for yesterday but strangely am more possessed than ever about the future. It’s based on one fact that regardless of religious or political views we must all believe in. It’s irrefutable. That is, we can’t go back in time as much as that is appealing to think about.

So onward we go, propelled by decisions about how we are going to shape the future, help people as we go and hopefully provide a sense of future and purpose to ourselves and those in our circles.

Me and Mrs. Friesen online w friends for virtual happy hour during COVID. After work hours of course…

Stay safe. Hug (virtually) those around you. Tip: We had so many people approach us over the years and say, ‘I wasn’t sure what to do or what to say’. Just folks saying/typing/texting/posting ‘I’m not sure what to say but thinking of you’, meant a lot. If you are thinking about calling, emailing or facetiming someone today who has suffered loss or is going through a loss of job or is socially isolated with COVID-19 – just do it. Words and deeds have never been more powerful.

We can have 20/20 vision about yesterday, but here in 2020 we’ll step forward and shape our tomorrow even though we know it’s impossible to see everything ahead.

BONUS: You remember my sister, AC (Auntie Cathy to Chris and many of you). She’s doing an online event on Sunday, March 29. It will be an amazing way to connect for many. As it starts at 10:30 PM eastern, I’ll be sleeping cause I’m old, but they are going to record the event as well. Just another way to stay connected and uplifted in strange times.