As my family travelled 1,700 kilometres from Ottawa to Bermuda for our winter holiday, and as temperatures rose 40-60 degrees celsius, and as we changed the scenery from snow and ice to sand and surf, I ask my boys: “So, what do you like better, snow or sand?”

Their answer without hesitation: “Both!”


I realize in that moment that whether my children are skiing down a mountain or splashing in the ocean, their squeals of delight know no geographical boundaries. Their gleeful laughter does not distinguish between the seasons. Their temperament is not affected by the temperature. They are just being happy. Regardless of the time, space, and environment that they are in, they are just being.


What if you detached yourself from outcomes, and focused on being intentional?

What if you gave yourself permission to stop analyzing and started simply observing your thoughts and feelings?

What if you worried less about always having to do something and practiced stillness and simply being?


When you feel mad, just be mad, and allow your inner peace to be revealed.

When you feel sad, just be sad, and allow your happiness to come to light.

When you feel glad, just be glad, and allow yourself to enjoy the moment.

Do not repress your emotions, for they are the gateway to your soul.

Do not be dragged down by distractions, for they detract you from your destiny.

Do not fall in the trap of consumption, for it takes you away from your process of creation.

Do not seek to escape reality through drugs, consumerism, or media, but rather embrace your challenges and take responsibility for your life.

Express yourself, be honest with yourself, and be patient with yourself.

Whatever experiences you are going through, whatever feelings you are feeling, whatever triumphs and tragedies you are facing, it’s all part of being human.

Practice the lost art of being.

p.s. Ski photo taken @ Mount-Pakenham in Ottawa. Sand and surf photos taken in beautiful Bermuda (Grape Bay Beach).


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As you know, I’m on a quest to inspire and instruct you to discover your own wellness, wisdom, and warrior within by applying 1,000 years of martial arts philosophy to face today’s life and leadership challenges.

Although I’m martial artist, author, and speaker, ultimately, I teach people how to do more, do it better, and do it with honour – in business and in life.

DO MORE: Apply ninja self-care skills for busy professionals that will ignite your passion, energy, and motivation and boost your performance, productivity, and profit levels.

DO IT BETTER: Practice the timeless arts of strategy, innovation, and change management to enhance team harmony, find your creative flow, and achieve excellent results in your career, your personal life, and your community.

DO IT WITH HONOUR: Discover zen insights that will empower you to express your virtues and live by a moral code of conduct that are in alignment with your professional ethics and social responsibility.

p.s. I was very honoured to lead an entertaining, empowering, and enlightening teambuilding experience for the Department of National Defence (support our troops!).

Master Phil’s Black Belt Leadership Post #184: “THE MORE YOU ADVANCE INTO THE FUTURE

As I advance into the future and being currently in the process of writing my book to be entitled “Black Belt Leadership”, I return to my roots in grade school where I cultivated my love of writing.

As I advance into the future to promote the message of “Black Belt Leadership”, which is applying 1,000 years of martial arts wisdom to face today’s leadership challenges, I return to my roots of training, teaching, competing, and coaching in the martial arts for over 25 years.

As I advance into the future and speaking on the topic of “Black Belt Leadership”, I return to my Vietnamese roots as it is my Vietnamese community who has helped me launch this message. I can’t help but be ever so grateful for being the keynote speaker:
At Asian Heritage Month on Parliament Hill in Ottawa last spring.
At the National Vietnamese Youth Conference in Calgary last summer.
At the Generations’ Legacy Boat People Museum Fundraiser event in Montreal a few months ago.
At the Len Duong Youth Leadership Development Camp in Toronto in June.
At the Generation’s Legacy Boat People Museum Fundraiser gala in Montreal this coming weekend.

What about you? What are your roots? What is your background? What are your interests? What are your childhood dreams? What are your priorities, concerns, fears, values, and beliefs? What fire burns inside of you? What is it inside of you that longs to be manifested out in the world? What feelings do you desire? What lessons from the past will you take as you advance into the future, with pride, with passion, and with purpose?

I wish you well as you advance into the future and realize that you will ultimately return to your roots.

Master Phil’s Black Belt Leadership Post #183: “You must find a way. You will find the way.”

Do you ever feel overwhelmed?
Do you ever think you like you’ve got too much on the go and asked yourself, “Why am I doing this to myself?”
Do you ever find it difficult to say “no” sometimes?
I feel like that all the time.
In fact, I’m currently going through this thought process as I train for my Black Belt in Jiu Jitsu while finding the time to write my book on “Black Belt Leadership”. These are two major life goals for me in 2013, while I strive to balance everything else including teaching Taekwon-Do, growing my career, spending time with my family, and taking out the garbage and compost.
Seriously, how do people do it?
Then I get inspired.
I get inspired by Georges St-Pierre, UFC Champion, who took the time to write a book, which is currently on my bedside, entitled “The Way of the Fight”, despite his intense MMA training schedule and personal brand empire he is building.
I get inspired by my friend Dr. Glenn Hoa, who is not only a successful dentist, but a father of two young children, busy enough as it is, who has taken on the role of Generation’s Legacy First Ambassador, organizing fundraising events for the past year, in support of the Vietnamese Boat People’s Museum project to be built in Ottawa.
I get inspired by anyone who goes over and above the minutiae of day-to-day life and aspires for greatness, or to do great things. Whether you are doing something for yourself to become a better, stronger, and wiser human being, and/or you are doing something in pursuit of a noble cause for the greater good of humanity, you inspire me.
But how do you do it when you hit a wall? How do you keep going when the chips are down?

How do you achieve your goals and realize your dreams when there are so many hours in a day and so much energy to go around?
In your mind, know that YOU MUST FIND A WAY.
In your heart, believe that YOU WILL FIND THE WAY.
YOU MUST = You owe it to yourself and the world around you to discover your best self and share your unique and precious gift with the world.
FIND A WAY = You know that it’s not rocket science and that the tools, resources, and mentors are at your disposal.
YOU WILL – You will find that place inside of you, that drive, that discipline, and that determination, to produce and progress, to march on towards success, if your goal is powerful enough. “Remarkable people say “I’m not going to wait for the energy to do the work.” Then they say, “I’ll do the work to get the energy.” – Robin Sharma
FIND THE WAY – You ultimately have a path to follow and you must follow your heart and trust yourself that you will do what is right, for YOU. “I do not know what power sets my way, but my feet are set upon a road that I must follow.” – Moses, in the movie “The Ten Commandments”
So next time you find it difficult to say “no”, remember that there is a greater YES inside of you.
Next time you think you’ve got too much on the go and ask yourself, “Why am I doing this to myself?”, remember that you are here to serve a greater purpose and to serve others and be thankful you’ve been given this opportunity.
Next time you feel overwhelmed, remember YOU MUST FIND A WAY. YOU WILL FIND THE WAY.
p.s. This is me on SuperSunday where I recently achieved my Brown Belt in Jiu-Jitsu and it’s been fun writing about this experience. I’m glad I’m somehow managing to find a way to keep up my training and writing. Thank you to Shihan Bill Gatchell, Renshi Steve Lyrette and to all my teachers, senseis, and classmates for helping me along this amazing journey.