Monthly Archives: April 2015

Testing, Testing 1-2-3-4-5

Consider this post.

While, as an educator, I contend that we too often place a disproportionate amount of attention on assessment over delivery… this is a simple but thought provoking piece on 5 rules of engagement in testing.

I love the idea of testing for application and creativity.  I love the notion of addressing misconceptions.  I love the concept of a blueprint template to strategically connect relevant learning with testing.  I especially love the suggestion around open book.  It acknowledges that resourcefulness is not based on simple memorization but on finding, synthesizing and applying relevant information.

The ultimate goal of education is excellence and excellence is driven by learning.  Learning is best demonstrated by application and innovation.  It does not matter whether we are learning on matters of character, capacity or creativity.  The student’s ability to understand fundamental concepts is best manifested when they can effectively apply those fundamentals in a way that shows not only understanding but applicability and creativity.


Peace, passion and prosperity… through education.

Barry Lewis Green, aka The Unity Guy™

This is Dedicated

Dedication: adherence to something to which one is bound by a pledge or duty.

Today, Nicole Fowler (Service Leader at Epic Engage™) and I spent the day dreamstorming on the work of Epic Engage™ and dedicating the spirit and service of its work to the memory and honor of Marion MacDonald Green (see my last blog post).  A week ago Monday April 20, I made four promises to a wonderful mother and woman who exemplified love and grace and service.  Today, as we drove through Hearts Content and Winterton, the homes of both my parents, we dedicated this company and its work to Marion and Malcolm Green.  Tomorrow, Nicole commences full time engagement with this little, big hearted and high capacity company.  We intend to honor those promises.

We are an education company.  We engage education as a force for excellence, growth and change.  We are dedicated to working with youth and adults on campuses, in companies and throughout communities who see the power of character, capacity and creativity based education to affect constructive change at school, work and community.

Dedication is not easily arrived upon.  It requires the virtues of truthfulness, discernment and commitment.  If commitment is “doing the thing you said you’d do when you felt committed, long after you no longer feel committed” then one must be deliberate in deciding on that to which one will be dedicated.  It is the ultimate decision.  It is is the ultimate in decisiveness.

Increasingly, it appears that we live in a world swayed by indecision and moving with the winds of the day.  It is hard to know where people stand.  It is hard to know where companies stand; where governments stand.  Dedication advances certitude and trustworthiness; and we need it more than ever.  As you consider where your dedication lies, consider this:

  • To what do you pledge and promise honor and duty?
  • What is the source of that dedication?  What is the importance of that cause to you and others?
  • How will you best dedicate yourself?

In education and learning, dedication breeds commitment and excellence of both character and capacity.  With dedication, we go to work, do the work.  We sharpen the blades, and we fight the fight.

Tony Robbins shares some thoughts on start up here.  The ultimate message is dedication. One of my favourite bands of all time sings of it here. Gowan sings of it here.  “No power, no reason, no purpose which stands before me would shake my attention or focus from this one belief.”

Where do you feel such dedication?  Follow that trail.  It will not fail you.

…stay dedicated.

Peace, passion and prosperity.

Barry Lewis Green, aka The Unity Guy™

We are Gonna Make It

Legacy; anything handed down from the past, as from an ancestor or predecessorStephen Covey and the 8th Habit speak to it.  My mother spoke to it; and speaks to it.

GREEN, Marion MacDonald (nee Pugh) – Passed peacefully away on April 20, 2015 at the Health Sciences Complex, Marion MacDonald Green (nee Pugh). Predeceased by her husband Malcolm and daughter Ethel. Leaving to mourn with fond and loving memories, daughters: Patricia Peddle (Roland) and Valerie Toms (David); sons: Barry (best friend Nicole) and Randy (Lynn); grandchildren: Kimberley Rguem (Tarik), Susan Daniels (Jeffrey), Krista Eltaher (Ramsay), Andrew Toms (Katherine), Ian Toms (Jannah), Scott, Michelle and Kevin Green; ten great grandchildren: Sebastian and Preston Rguem, Riley and Kinsley Daniels, Roly and Reya Eltaher, Edward and Aaron Toms, Emma and Julie Toms; also many nieces, nephews and their families, her many friends and special friend Michelle; special niece Dr. Barbara Grandy, her forever doctor-on-call. Also those wonderful staff and friends at Meadow Creek Retirement Centre in Paradise and the supportive staff at St. Patrick’s Mercy Home.

On Monday, April 20, 2015 at 9:57 am Newfoundland Time, my mother passed.  Whatever one’s individual belief, I believe she is passed on to something mysterious and wondrous.  I hold to that.  Still whatever one’s belief, what we can agree on is that when we leave, we do leave a legacy.  The question is what is that legacy?  For us, at Epic Engage™, the legacy of Marion Green goes something like this.

At 8:01 am April 20, 2015, I wrote on Facebook:

Went home for some sleep at 11 last night… and around 5 am was called in… mom’s heart has been remarkable figuratively and literally. Seems we have great genes. This morning she breathes her last breaths in this physical realm. As we sit with her, talk with her about our own relationships with her in honest and loving ways… I am reminded of the importance of living this life with grace, courage and strength. …  I promised mom this morning that, going forward, I will up the dosage on my life… bringing even more joy to my work in service, to my health and to the people whom I love. Epic. You have done well mom. You are, by your grace, courage, strength and love… my hero. In the words of “River” in Serenity… “my turn”.

Over these past few weeks in particular, Marion Green manifested courage, with humour and laughter.  She listened and hung on to every story shared.  Her eyes gave away a sense of wonder, awe and joy.  Amidst the news of pneumonia and the work involved in fighting it, she brought fierce love, grace and patience.  Wanting her ice cream and her sense of knowing “things”, she was a shining example of zealous but gentle truthfulness.  She demonstrated strength, kindness and forgiveness.  She was grace embodied.  Having lived a life of personal trial and triumph (in many ways, like us all), she took her last days and set an example for us all.

So, what is her legacy?  As I fed her one morning, only days ago, she looked at me and said “We are gonna make it.  Slowly but surely, we are gonna make it.”  As I type this, and we read it, tears flow.  My mother Marion MacDonald Green believed.  She believed, amidst the forces of both fear and love, that we are “gonna make it”.  As this company and its work moves forward, we dedicate and devote our work and service, our joy and effort… with these words.  We believe that “we are gonna make it.”  Not simply us at Epic Engage™.  We are all “gonna make it”.  Our role at Epic Engage™ is to join the fight so that, throughout the world, regardless of diversity (or because of it) … and through learning and living and loving together… with character, capacity and creativity…. we are all gonna make it.

We engage education as a force for excellence, growth and change.  We are an education company.  Ultimately, we advance companies. campuses and communities where everyone matters; where we are all gonna make it.   I am personally so very proud to be the son of Marion MacDonald Green.  Her legacy is our intent, and we hope to do her service and justice.

What will your legacy be?

Peace, passion and prosperity.

Barry Lewis Green, aka The Unity Guy™, Strategic Leader – Epic Engage™

Nicole Fowler, Service Leader – Epic Engage™


PS, I love you…

I always sang Simple Man by Shinedown with mom (and dad) in heart and mind… love you both…

Strength of Character #4: The Truth

Truthfulness is the foundation of all human virtues.  Without truthfulness, there is suspicion and doubt; hesitation.  Truthfulness breeds certainty in ourselves, and for others.  It is not simply a matter of being truthful with others.  It begins, and ends, with being truthful with ourselves.

This past week has been challenging.  With a 91-year-old mother in hospital for pneumonia, exam week fast approaching and a business in its Truthfulnessre-launch and growth stage, there have been many clarion calls for truthfulness.  It has caused me, personally and professionally, to be truthful with myself.  Facing the mortality of a mother is akin to facing one’s own.  It can cause great and sincere reflection.  That reflection requires truthfulness.

I have been asking myself some important questions regarding my life and work.  What do I do?  What do I do best?  For whom do I do it best?  For whom do I want to do it best?  As I discerned these questions one common theme arose.  Education.  I am wired as an educator.  It is my nature, passion and expertise.  It is my intuition and creativity.  Education.  Then, a close and knowing friend suggested I need ask questions around education.  What is education?  How do I perceive it best conducted?  Why is education vital to my spirit?  These were powerful questions, but only in as much as it demanded truthfulness of spirit.

In business, branding is crucial.  Authentic branding is even more so.  We must be what we say we are in order to maintain legitimacy of brand.  That being said, it is incredibly easier to say what we mean and mean what we say when we are truthful with ourselves from the start.  It is amazingly more sustainable to maintain a brand that is true to our intent.

So what is the point?  Truthfulness is the foundation of sustainable service and success.  When we are truthful with ourselves as individuals or organizations, campuses or companies… or communities… we can live it because we know it.  As I spent much emotional energy around caring for my mother and concluding courses and strategizing on our business, I became truthful with myself in terms of the work I most want to do and the life I most intend to create.  I could almost hear my father say “atta boy” … as he discovered his passion for construction early in life… and lived it.

I am an educator.  More so, I am a champion of education; real and powerful and creative education.  I believe it to be the path to peace, passion and prosperity.  I believe it to be the path to justice and service.  I see a system that does not serve as well as it could.  I see the need for greater engagement of character, capacity and creativity in education.  I see it on campus, in companies and throughout communities.  I see the need for education as a path out of violence, locally and globally.  I am moved by education and learning … and the cultures that foster and advance it.  It is the work I was born to do.  If my father built buildings, then I build education.  If my father built colleges and universities, then I make sure the work within lives up to the quality of the work without.  And there is a need, crying out in this world.  But I digress and leave for further discussion.

For now, witness our opening line of truth on our website….

We engage education as a force for excellence, growth and change.  We are an education company. 

And for now, I suggest passionately and purposefully that you engage truthfulness as the foundation of your work and life.  Be truthful with yourself; deeply truthful.  Then, have the courage to live that truth.  As far as we know, we have but one life in this mortal world.  That seems far too precious to not be truthful.  As for me, I know what I want in work, business, health and life.  Time to be “true” to it.

Peace, passion and prosperity.

Barry Lewis Green, aka The Unity Guy™

Strength of Character #3: Sincerity is the Way Out

These days are filled with much a do, about everything, about something and about nothing.  Posturing has been elevated to an art form, of sorts; in matters of business and community, peace and war, locally and globally.  Still, we see an ever growing apathy and cynicism towards governance and enterprise alike.  There is an assumption, far too often, that there are ulterior motives.  Suspicion and cynicism are not skepticism.  Skepticism can be healthy as it requires the virtues of discernment and mindfulness.  Suspicion and cynicism have their own agenda.

In the face of such posturing and resultant cynicism and apathy, what is the bulwark to stem the tide and turn it around?  What strengthens integrity and meaning and trust?  What builds powerful trustworthiness?

I suggest the virtue we need increasingly call upon is sincerity.  Sincerity is the “say what I mean, mean Sinceritywhat I say… do what I mean, mean what I do” strength of character.  It pertains to compliments and contracts alike.  It bolsters relationships, personal and professional.  Without sincerity, we can attempt anything but we will meet with doubt, cynicism and apathy.  With sincerity, people see us in our deeds, beyond words.  We are there, standing and real.  We are not doing so for image.  We are doing so for it is who we are and what we do.

Sincerity breeds consistency.  Consistency breeds excellence.  Excellence breeds integrity.  Integrity breeds trustworthiness.  In the next few days, I will be releasing a video in support of #educationisnotacrime.  I, in my heart of hearts, am an educator.  I believe that poverty is not alleviated by “minimum wages” (for, after all, they are “minimum”).  Raising a minimum wage sounds like a solution, but it is relative and causes demands for all other pay to be raised.  It remains “minimum”.  That being said, I believe in the battle for prosperity over poverty and I contend education is that path to prosperity, individually and collectively.  The video will be simple and passionate and real.  I hope it connects for you.

More importantly, I hope sincerity connects for you.  Our way out in all things demands it.

Peace, passion and prosperity.

Barry Lewis Green, aka The Unity Guy™

Strength of Character #2: Dignity

“For all these mysteries, I thank you; for the wonder of myself, for the wonder of your works.”  Psalms 129:13-14

Dignity is a sense of worthiness and respect; for and of ourselves and others.  Whatever one’s faith or none at all, it is about understanding that we each matter.  As my 91 year old mother was rushed to hospital today, with pneumonia…. it was not lost on me the moments of dignity made manifest; by staff and strangers alike.  There were moments witnessed, amongst the hustle of hospital life, where people saw each other.  I saw it in medical staff.  I saw it in other families.  I saw it in my college students who saw me as another human and real person.  I saw it in servers.  I saw it in friends.  There were other moments that showed the lack thereof.

So, what was the difference?

The power of dignity is that it takes no more or less time, but its investment is rich.  Dignity does not require perfection.  It does not require anything other than seeing people, all people, for the fact that they matter.  Dignity is a powerful trait for a leader.  It is a virtue of great value.  It says “I see you” and “I value you”.  It screams in a whisper “I value myself”.  It allows for the uncovering of capacities amidst those with whom we work, and serve and play.  Dignity is the lens through which we see both potential and greatness in ourselves and those we encounter.  It encourages because it believes, inherently, in our worth.

As you teach, lead, serve, work, create, play, and live… consider the power of dignity in your interactions.  Assess where you might need to hold it for yourself.  Assess where you might need to use it to view others.  Like Amanda Marshall sings everybody’s gotta story.  What is yours?

Peace, passion and prosperity.

Barry Lewis Green, aka The Unity Guy™

Strength of Character #1: Steadfast

As The Unity Guy™, I am about the one thing that connects us all.  It is not our gender, color, race, ethnicity, religion, lifestyle, sexuality, education, income or any other demographic.  It is our humanity; the character of being human.  It is about the virtues.  This is the premise of The Virtues Project™, and one to which I hold strongly.  We all have access to these qualities, but it is our choice to manifest them.

Yesterday, I had occasion to study the virtue of Steadfastness.  I found myself in need of understanding it better for questions centering on my professional and personal lives.

Steadfastness is being steady.  It perseveres.  It is dependable.  When steadfast, we remain true to our purpose; whatever happens.  Steadfastness grows with challenge, but do not confuse it for being stubborn.  Steadfastness finds its strength in discerning a direction that has meaning for us.  Consider it being purposefully stubborn, if you will.

Steadfastness is like a strong and sturdy ship with a destination in mind and heart.  It is grounded in the most powerful of motivations.  It can be flexible in approach but determined in destination.  Water is steadfast.  Try to stop it.  If you do manage to block it, it will find a way around down, through, over or under.  It is headed to the ocean.

When considering the power of steadfastness, determine what high, noble and important goals you have.  Decide upon them with discernment and truthfulness.  Know what you want and why you want it.  Then apply steadfastness and see where it takes you.

For me, I intend to commence a series on character as strength, exploring the virtues as sources of noble leadership, capacity building and flourishing creativity.  I will be running this series through the Spring and Summer of 2015 and I will be steadfast.  Don’t believe me, just watch!  🙂

Peace, passion, and prosperity.

Barry Lewis Green, aka The Unity Guy™


GREAT Friday

Good Friday, one and all.

In its traditional “celebration”, this is a day of “death” with the promise of rebirth.  That is a powerful message in business and in life.

A week or so ago, I had the pleasure of consulting with Jane Atkinson of Speaker Launcher.  Jane is remarkable in her insight and honesty.  We chatted on thoughts around sharpening the focus for our EPIC work going forward and it was a highly productive call, resulting in my own subsequent reflection and decision.

The result is an authentic focus on work around excellence in thought, action and service.  Looking at my long body of work, and getting clear on the central thread… it has been about excellence born of three forces: character, capacity and creativity.  There will be more to follow on that.  For now, and since my call with Jane, I found myself at College in class with my Performance Management students.  We were focusing on their final major assignment concerning coaching and I found myself explaining my concept of GREAT™ Goals, a derivative of SMART™ but with a special distinction.

Whereas SMART™ refers to Specific, Measurements, Actions, Relevance and Time… GREAT™ suggests a re-ordering.

  • Begin with a clear GOAL.
  • In detail, get specific on its RELEVANCE.  Know why you are setting it.
  • Identify how you will EVALUATE yourself or your team.
  • Get clear on ALIGNED ACTIONS, work that moves you towards the goal.
  • Set yourself a particular TIME for completion.

The difference truly lies in the moving forward of relevance.  The why is crucial.  The motivation must be meaningful.  It is the heart of the moving forward.  Relevancy is the power behind any goal.

As well, while action is crucial… aligned action is vital.  Action must be moving with the direction of the goal.  It moves us from simple busy-ness to business.

I share this in the spirit of excellence through character, capacity and creativity.  As we embark on our more targeted tack for our own work, I am reminded that our goals had better be clear, not only as to specifics… but to relevance.  The work must have meaning; real and clear meaning.  The actions must be aligned with that meaning.  That implies a commitment to the character of our operation around nobility and wholeheartedness.  It implies being clear on what our talents and capacities are and how they fit our vision in serving our clients.  In doing so, and over the next week or so, our strategic planning process must engage creativity in the most real of ways.

More to follow.

With that all in mind, and as we embark on our next leg, I suggest considering what might be your own GREAT™ Goal for 2015/16.

Have a GREAT Friday on Good Friday, and beyond.

Peace, passion, and prosperity… through excellence.

Barry Lewis Green, aka The Unity Guy™

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