Coronavirus: Social Distancing Create 20 Valuable Opportunities

Coronavirus: Social Distancing Create 20 Valuable Opportunities

The Coronavirus has definitely created massive challenges with social and life engagements.   Social distancing can create a lot of fear, loneliness, and anxiety about the unknown. However, we are all in this together.   

Working from home is tough.  I was a little nervous, as I thought I’d get cabin fever.

However, it got me thinking of how I can leverage this downtime to benefit myself.   Once I started writing the list, I got a little happier about the opportunities that are placed in front of me.  I wanted to inspire all those that are looking for a little sparkle. 

Take that much-deserved nap and start to reset some of the foundations of your life! 


Here is a list of my top 20 ideas + 1 bonus idea that I’m definitely venturing into.  

  • Get creative with cooking: Lots of free recipes everywhere, get creative and inspired.  make candy, bake, random items from your cupboard! Have fun and take the time to enjoy cooking and eating! Cook with love, your recipes will be top-notch!
  • Marie Kondo your home &/or closet –  What a perfect time to spring clean and get organized. I’ve been cleaning everything, including organizing my desk, refreshing my wardrobe, donating items. I’m getting ready to shine for when we can become social again!
  • Free online courses – I’ve decided to take some data analytics courses and FREE! What a great time to invest in myself.  Some courses are from the top 8 Ivy League Schools. Yes, we are talking about Brown, Harvard, Cornell, Princeton, Dartmouth, Yale, and Columbia universities, and the University of Pennsylvania.  We can audit the courses for free. There are some exciting topics! 
  • Taxes – It’s not anyone’s favorite topic, but getting a little time and I was able to pay full attention and I actually read the taxes.  I noticed that I was not taking advantage of some tax credits. Which made me review my budget. I always enjoy learning new tips to maximize my savings. 
  • Virtually visit a museum – Oh Yes! My friend Jessie-Lynn shared a post on Facebook and I was so intrigued. They have lots of big museums from The Vatican: to Westminster Abbey and even The Louvre.  It’s pretty remarkable!


  • Write that book!  Have you been dreaming about writing a book? Self-publishing has become easier than ever.  Just start writing that draft book. My biggest tip is to write without editing. It’s always easier to edit than writing.  You can hire a book editor. I definitely recommend Barbara MacKay! She was the editor of my book.
  • Watch a Broadway play or musical from home! Ohh yes!  There are tonnes of Broadway plays that have become musicals.  Get inspired and sing along!
  • Call or Write some friends that you haven’t had a chance to catch up with. We often forget about the old school ways to contact someone.  When was the last time that you sent someone a letter or card in the mail? What a great time to write a little letter and surprise someone! I found this beautiful article about The Art of Letter Writing!
  • Get those markers and pencil crayons out and COLOUR your world! – There are some free Colouring books
  • Leave the drama to Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, Disney + and so on.  We are often so busy, that we forget to be able to sit down and watch TV/Movies and just chill WITHOUT the guilt. 
  • Read a book – I’ve been doing the Brainfood Book Club for over a year and it is honestly one of my favorite activities, as it gives me a chance to connect with friends, learn and get inspired for new ideas. Come join us, it’s free. We have lots of book inspirations that really surprised us. I’ll publish another blog with a list of all the book recommendations. 
  • Create your own digital vision board.  Grab pictures from the internet and copy and paste them into a word document or PowerPoint, save as a PDF and voila!
  • Look for new job opportunities! A perfect time to research for new jobs and opportunities. We all know that it takes time to network and tailor your resume to get noticed!  
  • Virtually Network- it’s easier to virtually network these days.  One needs to do it wisely so that we don’t feel like a salesperson. I’ve got tonnes of tips for this. Here is a Networking Free Cheat Sheet.  In fact, in my book, Connect the Dots: How to Turn Strangers into Meaningful Connections has an entire section dedicated to virtual networking best practices.  
  • Start a podcast!  Have you always wanted to start a podcast? What a great time to start!
  • Learn to Meditate!  You know I’m a massive fan of the MUSE Headband! The best thing that I ever learned!  Calm your mind and speed up your thinking process! It’s amazing the internal words we have in our heads, that holds us back. Time to get rid of that ‘Inner Critic’!  Check out the Podcast Episode 41:Optimize the Crazy In All Of Our Minds by Muse Founder and Inventor, Ariel Garten


  • Start that side hustle! Have you been dreaming of having your own business… no better time to start. Start building that website, business model. I’m a big fan of using the Business Canvas. 
  • Organize those pictures!  I have so many pictures on my phone and I’ve been meaning to organize them and create photo books to capture some great moments.  In fact, I think I may have a few birthday gifts. 
  • Create that bucket list!  Oh yes!! What a perfect time to dream a little dream! What are all your wishes, dreams, hopes?  

  • Get Moving – Being that I’m at home, I’m eating more. So, I need to get moving!  I turned up the volume and danced like no one was watching! In fact, I started doing Yoga & Pilates at home.  YouTube has plenty of video ideas on how to exercise at home. 

Compassion – Give compassion and love to everyone out there.  There are lots of people struggling to figure out how to pay bills. Lend a helping hand – to your neighbor, elderly in your community and others.  I absolutely love this Facebook Group: Messages of Love!

There you have it, twenty ideas to take advantage of this downtime and get ready for the next phase for life after COVID-19.  Remember, whenever there is a challenge, there is a greater opportunity lying ahead!  

Have some other ideas! Drop your inspirational ideas in the comment section.  We are all in this together. Let’s learn and inspire each other. 

Thank you for all your kindness and support. I am truly grateful to each of you!  And even more grateful, if you share this post with your friends!


Best Always,


P.S.  Here is another freebie. How to get unstuck cheat sheet! It will help you identify your skill-sets, unleash your curiosity and know your strengths and weaknesses to help you leverage yourself and your business.

P.P.S.: Working From Home?  Here are some tips for virtual workers! 

Entrepreneur, Inventor, Innovator, Creator  —  What do You Mean?

Entrepreneur, Inventor, Innovator, Creator  —  What do You Mean?

I spend my days speaking with business and creative people and have discovered that many people use words related to innovation interchangeably. Here are the definitions that I use — in business consulting, here in my blog and on the CanInnovate podcast.


The traditional definition of an Entrepreneur is a person who organizes and operates a business or businesses, taking on financial risk. The key here is the word business. A business is when you have a product or service and customers, and operate the enterprise to produce a profit.


An Inventor is someone who creates a new product/process for the first time. It’s a unique way of doing something. This can be big or even small. Facebook, for instance, is seen as inventive and continues to be inventive. Whereas, so was the George Foreman Grill or the Suzanne Somer’s Thighmaster (the latter is mostly gone now, but was a craze in the 1980s where you could sit on your couch and tighten and tone your inner thighs with a simple resistance mechanism.)


An article in Time magazine last year listed 25 Best Inventions of 2017. The list included Jibo, a personal robot that looks like a toy robot, it turns to face you, giggles and dances, unlike the other personal robots such as Amazon Echo and Google Home. Other inventions on the list included specialty ice cream, inventions for shoes and cars, a wearable breast pump, and even glasses that give sight to the blind — eSight3 — it translates algorithms to enhance the images that people who are legally blind can see. Super expensive at $10K, but early adopters are keen.

Inventions are distinct from innovation. An invention is something new or unique that is basically first to the market. Early adopters will often flock to an invention before other variations and similar products are developed.

Innovation, by contrast, is an improvement to an existing product, process, thinking or service. The word Innovation comes from the Latin word, Innovatus, which means to ‘renew or change. Think of intermittent windshield wipers. That was an innovation to the existing product of windshield wipers.

In another example, when I used to travel all the time I never understood why flight duration never seemed to improve. When I travel to the UK, flight times have generally been between 7–8 hours (depending on the wind). Now, it looks like Supersonic jumbo jet will have flights from London to New York in under 3.5 hours. Now that’s an improvement to an existing product. Here are some other innovations:


  • Animated Emojis — with the new iPhone X — you can turn yourself into an animated Emoji. They’re called Animojis and have characters that can be used to create messages based on your voice and facial expressions. Fun!


  • In essence, it is every company’s competitive advantage, what makes them different than anyone else


And finally, Creativity. There are lots of methods to unleash creativity: From brainstorming with a group, to lucid dreaming on your own. And businesses expect that by unleashing creativity within their organizations they will get some ideas generated that could lead to either an invention or radical innovation from within. Creativity/Curiosity can unleash many ideas. Certainly one way to access your creativity is to find ways to let go of your barriers and allow yourself a safe space in which to explore ideas. After all, the idea is to colour outside the lines or think outside the box or better yet, change the box to an octagon!


And, of course, innovation and creativity are not just for business. These tools can be applied to our careers (when we get in a career rut) or in our lives when we realize that we are not where we want to be.


And, if you feel your creativity, or opportunities to be creative, peaked in childhood — exploring, being curious, asking questions, then maybe it’s time to give your adult self permission to be a kid again.


Innovation starts with curiosity. So, what are you curious about???


You can also hear the CanInnovate podcast on iTunes, GooglePlay, Stitcher, SoundCloud, TuneIn Radio, Podbean, YouTube, iHeartRadio and Spotify

Email us at:

We are always looking for guests for our podcast!:)

The Difference Between Good and Exceptional

The Difference Between Good and Exceptional

Both of my parents are exceptional cooks. Really and truly, Exceptional! I am often happy to bring over plastic containers for leftovers! That good!


The other day, I went over to my parents and was complimenting my mom on this amazing dish. She regularly makes this dish, as it’s one of my favourites and it’s always delicious. This time, it was even more spectacular than usual. My dad had made it.


It got me thinking about the difference between good and exceptional. The difference between these 2 dishes, weren’t the ingredients or the approach. It was because my Dad made it for my birthday and did it with love! That’s the difference. 


My mom got so used to making the dish and it’s always delicious. But having someone else making it with passion, love and curiosity, elevated the dish to a new level.


As for my mom, she transitioned the reins of her signature dish to my dad. She is happy that her husband has more reasons to cook for her and she gets to enjoy being cooked for! 🙂 She continues to make new dishes, that she hasn’t tried before. 


Look around in your office and see who is curious to learn and master new skill(s). Let them try and see if they can make a new magical dish. And take the opportunity to elevate your next new challenge.


Let me know your thoughts.



If you liked this article – you might enjoy this: How to Say No Elegantly



Have you registered for the #FutureProof course? Stay ahead of the curve –

What we can learn from the Hootsuite Layoffs

What we can learn from the Hootsuite Layoffs

There is a lot that Canadians can learn about the Hootsuite layoff.  CTV reported that ‘Hootsuite laid off approximately 10% of their employees, as they weren't meeting their sales goals and targets”.

With this whole start-up ecosystem, AI hub and small business push. Are we really supporting our own Canadian ecosystem?  Many of us are starting up companies and need a social media tool, like Hootsuite. Did we give them the business to support a Canadian business or did we all shop around and go to the competitor?  Canadian businesses may start to support other Canadian businesses, if we knew what they were.

All of our go-to markets is the USA. After all, isn’t 1% of 330 million is better than 1% of 38 million. I advise my clients to do the same thing.  However, if we thought about all the support tools and vehicles that we need in order to run our business. Would the extra $10 a month be worth it, if we knew that we were supporting our backyard?  Supporting our own economy, jobs and people? This is why it’s really important to have brands & create Canadian awareness of the different Canadian brands.

Prior to starting the CanInnovate Podcast , I surveyed over 200 people. Different demographics/ages/city or urban. I asked what are some of the most Innovative Canadian companies. Only about 45 people could answer that.  23% of Canadians were aware of Canadian brands. Ummm… what about Shopify, Hootsuite, Slack? However, all 200 people could tell me the Canadian failures! Nortel, Research in Motion and the list goes on.

If Canadians are unaware of our big brands that are being grown and brewed out here, then how can we support our Canadian businesses?  MUSE/Planswell/Mindbridge AI/ Inkbox/ WorkTango and many many more. I truly believe that education and awareness is instrumental in overcoming obstacles both locally and globally.  

Hence the birth of the CanInnovate Podcast in 2017.  To help create more awareness & a platform for our Canadian innovators and thought leaders.  It’s important and imperative that we start to support our own economy. We have amazing brains and talent here in Canada.   Canada has some of the brightest minds (Canadian Brain-drain) & we know that business innovation requires diversity as it provides a new range of insights … Canada has a cultural mosaic & commitment to diversity & inclusion.  So, we should have the best innovations out there.

We have now published over 80 different episodes, each week focusing on another Canadian Innovator, Rainmaker, thought leader and more importantly, having a point of view! Time to start really walking the walk, when we talk about supporting Canadian businesses!

Would love to hear your thoughts, comments and feedback..

How to Say NO Elegantly!

How to Say NO Elegantly!

I get this question quite a bit… how do you say NO and not burn bridges… simple.. Be honest, scope out clearly and provide options.


One of my mentors told me early in my career that “You can either be good at a few things or fail at everything”.  Those words have stuck in my head for my entire career, which has really enabled me to truly provide quality and over deliver.   I have always championed the idea that all I have is my name & credibility. As I’ve worked across the globe, my reputation for driving ideas into action is known and vouched for by many senior executives.


Let’s remember what a small world it is… I’ve had many recruiters, executives and other acquaintances reach out to me and ask me.. “I see that you know Pat, what do you think of their quality of work? Their values?”.  It happens all the time.

It’s really important to NEVER OVER COMMIT & UNDER DELIVER!  It’s so damaging to your name, your reputation and your credibility.  I have worked with management consultants that have failed miserably in this area and it’s hard for me to recommend them to other clients, opportunities because of the broken trust.  When I recommend people, I am vouching for their reputation and credibility. They are a reflection of me and my word.


With so many demands on our time, it’s important to have those conversations with the ones that request your time. Having a discussion regarding timelines, expectations really shows experience and professional maturity.   The message that it shows is that you care about your reputation, their reputation and providing high quality outcomes.


You know I’m all about tactical tips.  Never commit to a request before understanding the effort and time commitment required.  I never sign a blank cheque for my time.

The key is not to say NO, it’s to provide options and help your client/boss brainstorm or even re-prioritize. If you only have 5 hours of bandwidth left, its okay to say “I have limited cycles this month, but I’ll have more time in two months after this project is completed”.  Then, it’s easier to have a dialogue. The biggest compliment, is when someone wants your help in something.

  1. Understand Intent: What is the intent of the request? Really try to understand the overall objective and where they are trying to go to.
  2. Understand Scope: Ask good questions to really understand the scope and the impact.  Is it required as an input in other activities? There could be a downstream impact on other strategic initiatives.
  3. Be Honest: DO NOT, I repeat.. DO NOT overcommit to activities and underdeliver. It’s the fastest way to lose a client and respect.   Do you have the skills? expertise?
  4. Understand Timelines:  Ask the question “When is the latest that I can get this back to you by?”.  This is key, they may only need a portion of a deliverable or request by a certain time.  Or you may think they need it in the next day or so, when in reality, they just need it in two weeks.  
  5. Break it Down: If they want everything and the scope is too big, then break them into smaller activities. If it’s still not feasible, offer a few options. Perhaps, person XYZ could do ABC tasks.

People will respect you more for being honest with them, versus being a YES person!  People like options as it provides them with more ideas and allows them to think more broader.  

I look forward to hearing your thoughts and feedback!  Feel free to share with others that are struggling with the art of saying NO elegantly.

P.S. Did you check out my tools & resources page? Here is the link

Celebrating International Women’s Day

Celebrating International Women’s Day

Female trailblazers that are paving the way!

What a celebration! International Women's Day is to celebrate the movement in Women's rights. Check out these amazing ladies that we have had on our podcast. These ladies are not just entrepreneurs, but they are innovating, challenging the status quo and making magic happen. They are truly role models…

Sapna Malhotra

My name is Sapna Malhotra. Born in Liverpool, the home of the Beatles. I’d like to think that’s where I get my sparkling personality from or maybe not! The first step to changing perception is to create awareness. I wanted to be inspired, challenged and embrace my curiosity. That’s why I started the CanInnovate Podcast.

I truly believe that education and awareness are instrumental in overcoming obstacles and perception challenges, both globally and locally in Canada.

Read more about Sapna

Other episodes of Sapna:

BONUS: Importance of Gratitude

E59: 3 Reasons Why Giving and Receiving Feedback is Important

E58: Vulnerability – The New Advantage

Connect with Sapna:


Twitter: @ICanInnovate

Facebook: CanInnovate

Dr. Ann Cavoukian

Dr. Ann Cavoukian is recognized as one of the world's leading privacy experts. She is currently the Distinguished Expert-in-Residence, leading the Privacy by Design Centre of Excellence at Ryerson University. Her Privacy by Design framework is now the International Standard and has been translated into 39 languages. Dr. Ann Cavoukian has won numerous awards such as Top 25 Women of Influence in Canada Top 10 Women in Data Security & Privacy, Power 50 by Canadian Business, Top 100 Leaders in Identity.What is GDPR? How to turn GDPR into our next competitive advantage & avoid the penalties!

Read More about Dr. Ann Cavoukian

Other Episode of Dr. Ann Cavoukian:

E1: Privacy, the foundation of your freedom featuring Dr. Ann Cavoukian

E28: Insiders Guide to GDPR & turning it into a competitive advantage with Dr. Ann Cavoukian

Connect with Dr. Ann Cavokian:

Julie Shum

Julie is a technology-oriented entrepreneur consulting local small businesses on IT & operations solutions. Founder of online retail business of innovative adventure travel gear products. Experience managing multi-million dollar IT and supply chain projects in high-pressure environments at a large corporation.

Check out more about Julie on our anniversary special

Connect with Julie:


Twitter: @juliebeyondyyz

Bethany Deshpande

Bethany Deshpande is the CEO of Soma Detect. She is a scientist turned entrepreneur who is providing dairy farmers with information that they need in order to produce the best milk.

She is from New Brunswick which have a great startup communities. It is very interesting how she end up becoming the CEO of one of the promising startups in agriculture when she didn’t grew in a farm and knew nothing about agriculture. She also mentioned that her father played an important role in the creation of the company and how her conversations with dairy farmers led her to find ways to improve their industry.

Read More about Bethany Deshpande

Connect with Bethany:

Laila Paszti

Laila Paszti is an attorney in GTC’s Mergers & Acquisitions, Business & Technology Transactions and Privacy groups. She focuses on mergers and acquisitions, licensing and other technology-related transactions, with an emphasis on software code audits and big data platform diligence. She also advises clients on privacy and security compliance  and cross-border transfers of data.

Read more about Laila Paszti

Connect with Laila:

Laura Simpson

Laura Simpson is one of the Co-founders and CEO of Side Door. She is a living large, DNA music pumping through her veins, music industry professional. She lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia. She also founded The Syrup Factory, which began hosting house concerts in 2011, offering strategies and services to artists in 2015. She’s also been an organizer in the art scene since she was 14 years old going to all ages shows and then eventually taking live music photography and freelancing.

Read more about Laura

Connect with Laura

Sarah Barnes-Humphrey

Sarah stands at the forefront of international trade with expertise in the global logistics industry, working with the private sector to build, develop and increase efficiencies in their supply chains. She has spent the past 20 years working in logistics and supply chain, most recently as Director of Sales and Marketing for ICECORP Logistics Inc, a privately owned 3PL.

Read more about Sarah

Connect with Sarah:

Angela Johnson

Angela Johnson is the Founder and President of Medical Confidence, a company that help empower individuals to be informed in their health and healthcare decisions.  She has over two decades of executive management and business leadership experience focusing on health and healthcare.

Read more about Angela

Connect with Angela

Carmelia Ray

Carmelia Ray is an internationally acclaimed matchmaker for high achieving men and the quality women they’re searching for. She’s also a renowned TV personality from Mom Vs. Matchmaker, The Real Housewives Of Toronto, and A User’s Guide to Cheating Death (Fall 2018).  She's also won the 2018 Best Dating Coach award!

Read more about Carmelia

Other episode of Carmelia

E32: Experience Digital Dating on Another Level with Carmelia Ray of WooYou App

Connect with Carmelia:

Melissa Sariffodeen

Melissa Sariffodeen is the CEO and Co-Founder of Canada Learning Code. She is a celebrated digital literacy advocate who is dedicated to ensuring that women and youth have the critical skills, confidence, and opportunities that they need to thrive in our increasingly digital world. She is a graduate of the Richard Ivey School of Business and is currently pursuing her Master’s in Education Policy at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto. She taught herself how to build websites from scratch using HTML when she was 11 years old and has been coding ever since.

Read more about Melissa

Connect with Melissa:

Karen Greve Young

Karen Greve Young is the Chief Executive Officer of Futurpreneur Canada, Canada’s only national organization dedicated to supporting young entrepreneurs. Futurpreneur’s unique model combines funding, mentorship and start-up programs to fuel the success of thousands of young entrepreneurs in every Canadian province and territory.

Read more about Karen

Connect with Karen:


Twitter: @Futurpreneur and @KarenGreveYoung

Ariel Garten

Ariel Garten is a neuroscientist, innovator, mother, entrepreneur, and founder of InteraXon. Her company makes Muse: the brain sensing headband that helps you meditate. She speaks about happiness, meditation, understanding the brain, mental health and giving her audiences the tools they need to help them become their better selves.

Read more about Ariel

Other episodes with Ariel:

E53: The Muse 2 Takes Meditation To A Whole New Level with Ariel Garten

E41: Optimize the Crazy In All Of Our Minds by Muse Founder and Inventor, Ariel Garten

Connect with Ariel:

Carole Piovesan

Carole Piovesan, a lawyer at McCarthy Tetrault. She is a respected leader in the area of AI and law. 

Carole is known to apply creativity, strategic thinking and a multi-disciplinary approach to helping clients solve complex problems associated with all these new exponential technologies.

Read more about Carole

Connect with Carole

Fotini Iconomopoulos

Nicknamed “the negotiator” as a child, Fotini Iconomopoulos has been honing her skills her entire life. For the last decade, she’s been empowering Fortune 500 executives and their teams to achieve their objectives through her expertise in negotiation, communication and persuasion.

Read more about Fotini

Connect with Fotini:

Meredith Messenger

Meredith Messenger is VERY well versed in the demands of running a one-person shop and the struggles that many startups have with developing predictable revenue. She is the founder of Selling With Soul and the host of the Selling With Soul podcast. 

She is a Revenue Coach and Sales Consultant offering revenue strategy development, sales consulting and sales team building to start-ups, small and mid-sized companies. The mission of Selling With Soul is to help more small businesses survive, thrive and impact the world.null

Read more about Meredith

Connect with Meredith

Rona Birenbaum

Rona Birenbaum, co-founder of Viviplan and the winner for the 2017 DMZ BMO FinTech Accelerator. She is also the founder of Caring for Clients, one of Canada’s first fee for service financial planning firms. She is also recognized as a wealth professional woman of influence in 2017. A financial columnist for the Medico Post.

Viviplan offers technology to help speed up the financial planning for every stage in life, from early career to early mid-life to pre-retirement, retirement and other goals.  Can turn those dreams, hopes and visions, into reality.  All you need is a little planning to achieve your life goals!

Read more about Rona Birenbaum

Connect with Rona

Dr. Chris McKillop

Dr. Chris McKillop really knows her stuff and as a pioneer in her field. She earned her degree in artificial intelligence in the 1990’s. She have an MSc in human centered computer systems, a PhD in educational technology and she, of course, have researched and published tons of articles on emotional dimensions of learning.

She has a long record of pioneering technological innovations to improve learning. Chris is really passionate about artificial intelligence, empathy and how it can help improve people’s lives. She incorporated her first company Turalt when she was 50 and is proud to be an older woman in tech advancing A.I. for the good.

Read More About Dr. Chris McKillop

Connect with Dr. Chris McKillop

Lauren Waldman

Lauren Waldman truly taps into the science, and fun of learning while maintaining a sharp approach with an intense dedication to the success of others.  Her current focus in the studies of neuroscience and how the brain learns, has played an eminent role in helping individuals and corporations navigate through the creation of what she calls “Learning Legacies.” These studies have also given rise to strategies relevant to the confusions and challenges, of the current cross-generational workforce.

Learning Pirate – Where the science of learning and the whimsical meet!

Lauren Waldman is a CTDP (Certified Training and Development Professional), has certification in the Fundamentals of Neuroscience (Harvard), is currently working on a certificate in Medical Neuroscience (Duke), is a Designated Communication Coach and Trainer, and is an advisory board member of the NCCA (National Communication Coaching Association of Canada).

Read more about Lauren Waldman

Connect with Lauren Waldman


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