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2014 cunningham christmas letter

Like most years, for most people, 2014 was a year of joy, happiness and challenges. Life is like that. 

The greatest and strongest memories that people recall are ones they spent with family and friends and that is the same for my wife Kim and I.

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Our year in review

I started 2014 by trying a new direction for my sales career. I decided to try selling cars and got a job at Oakville Honda.

I had not thought about all the physical work involved in selling cars and, with my severe motion restrictions from my arthritis, it was more than I could physically handle.

The first car I sold was to an Asian woman who was about my height, 5'1" and my weight, 110lbs. It was  winter and as I got to the car she would be driving for a demo I slipped and fell on the ice. I cannot get up when I fall down and so my customer had to help lift me up from the ground.

I also have a real challenge getting into SUV's and vans because of my height and physical restrictions. I can get in but it is not elegant in any way.

There were also several factors about the retail sales experience and how cars are sold that bothered me and so, after 6 months, I ended my car selling career.

I work in Business Development now for TechBlocks, a Technology Consultant. We have an impressive client list and I am learning lots about how to operate every aspect of a business using technology. My main interest is generally helping companies find new prospects and create new sales however there are also many operational functions that Technology can assist with. 

TechBlocks has some incredibly talented operations people to implement the goals and objectives of our client partners. I worked for 4 years at Carpedia, a management consulting company, with many very talented and hard working people and I see the very same things in our Operations people.

High calibre people first and totally dedicated to implementation of client goals and objectives makes for high performance client results.

The best part about TechBlocks though is the experience of watching the selling style of our VP Business Development, Peter Goral.

Peter is the best salesperson on consulting services you will ever know. He loves researching people's interests and passions and often knows high calibre people that could help them with their personal goals and ambitions.

He once had a 30 minute phone conversation with a prospect where he did not even say the name of our company or tell him anything about us. Peter drew out exactly what the person's ideal world would look like and confirmed that what he envisioned was possible, probably using technologies they already owned and were underusing. The second meeting was booked on that call, at the request of the prospect, who was eager to talk with Peter again.

My wife Kim continues to work as a Law Clerk for a criminal defense and family law lawyer. She has been a Law Clerk for many years and has numerous high profile lawyers who have written testimonials about her for her LinkedIn profile.

She enjoys the work and gets some interesting and fascinating cases. At parties I just ask her to tell stories of funny and/or unusual criminal cases and she has everyone listening intently.

In February, Kim's step-father Fred died at the age of 91. He had been healthy all his life and only suffered from physical and mental challenges the last year and a half. He had been dating and married to Kim's mom for over 20 years and was a great grandfather to her kids Micheal and Will. In the 7 years I knew him I really got to like him and enjoyed the times we spent together. He will be missed and we are comforted that we will see him in heaven one day.

In April, Kim and her 89 year old mother Marie went to our timeshare in Florida. It is a new timeshare for us and so we had not gone yet. Because of work I stayed behind.

It is a 5 star resort in Florida named The Plantation Beach Club. Kim and her mom LOVED the place. They found a great breakfast place and did lots of shopping. Kim also walked the private beach a lot. On one of those walks she lost her sunglasses to a riptide.

In May we were the first guests at our friend Chris Sernoskie's trailer at Bonnechere Lodge in the Ottawa Valley. I had been going there for many years and shared a cabin with Chris' sister Linda. When I met Kim she joined me and we have always loved spending time at Bonnechere Lodge and in the Ottawa Valley.

Chris trailer is very nice. He purchased it from someone who had it already on the site and so he just had to move his stuff in. We spent 3 weekends including several long weekends there and we always enjoy ourselves a lot.

In June we enjoyed our other timeshare week at Calabogie Lodge, about a 4 hour drive from where we live. It is about an hour outside Ottawa, Canada's Capital city. We brought Kim's mother with us and all 3 of us did a lot of nothing for the whole week, which we loved.

Because of my new job at TechBlocks I decided not to speak at The Ultimate Mastermind Summit in Chicago, IL. It was a 2 day event, September 18th and 19th, with a high profile lineup of amazing speakers. 

Three of my truly great and amazing friends, Tony Rubleski, Brad Szollose and Tom Sutter were involved as Speakers and, in the case of Tony Rubleski, the event promoter.

In October Kim went on the Napoleon Hill Foundation's Leader Certification cruise. Because of work commitments I had to miss the trip which was heartbreaking for me. The trip involved 2 days in Venice, Italy followed by a week long cruise to Croatia, Greece and Turkey. 

In Turkey they visited Ephesus, an important Bible city where the Apostle Paul spent a lot of time. The tour included a visit to the house of Mary, the mother of Jesus. Kim said it was a profound experience.

Sadly, Kim's mother was supposed to take my place on the trip but about a month before she broke her femur (leg) in 2 places while square dancing. She spent 2 months in hospital and a rehab/nursing home and just got back home to her own apartment yesterday, December 22nd. Her recovery was truly amazing and inspiring. Remember she is 89 years old. Kim and I were VERY worried when it first happened and never imagined she would recover as well as she has.

Also in November, we celebrated my father's 80th birthday in North Bay with a large group of his friends. it was a surprise party which my step-mother Pauline carried off without a hitch. My father is very gullible so she had no problem passing a through lies by him. He even helped make some of the decorations for his own party, thinking he was making them for a 50th wedding anniversary. My sisters Lorraine and Sarah also attended and we had a great family time together.

My father is in perfect health and has never been sick. He enjoys a very active life and has many long time friends and business associates he spends time with. He is truly enjoying his retirement years.

We added a kitten, now a cat, to our animal family in September. We named him Tux because he is black and white like a tuxedo. He is a really interesting and sometimes irritating cat and I laugh at him a lot. He is quite active and curious about everything. He runs around the house at break neck speed which is interesting to watch. He also loves to chase and wrestle our dog Blue.

We still have our 2 dogs, Casey and Blue. Casey is a 15lb Maltese and Blue is a 7lb Shitzhu. We call Blue the cutest dog in the world. Casey is my dog and loves me like crazy. She loves everyone and is very affectionate but I am her obvious favorite and she is my obvious favorite.

Kim had been experiencing severe pain for most of the year and finally, on December 18th had hysterectomy surgery. She is recovering well and is looking forward to being pain free for the first time in over a year.

It has been really difficult for me to watch her suffer. As an expert in dealing with pain I had several suggestions that proved helpful for her. I wish I could have taken the pain for her since I am so familiar with how to cope with it. Sadly we cannot take physical pain for other people.

We still really love our church, Heartland A Church Connected, and our church friends. The church is growing a LOT. If you get to the 11:00 service late now you may not get a seat. We were blessed to be able to purchase a 3.5 acre piece of land pretty close to our current location and will be building a new church there over the next few years.

Our church is actively involved in being of service to our community, country and the world and we are blessed to be a part of it. They are a source of great encouragement for us.

My main goals for 2015 are:

Publish the book I am co-authoring with my 2 friends and fellow Napoleon Hill Foundation Certified Instructors, Taylor Tagg and Tim Chhim. It is being edited as I write this and should be published and available for sale in late January or early February. 

I am also co-authoring a book with Phillip Hatfield, a Ziglar Speaker. The book has a Publisher and will be available on the Ziglar website (pinch me - one of the coolest things I will ever experience) and in bookstores. The tentative title is Living Positively Through Life's Challenges.

More paid speaking engagements.

Launch my new business, Compass Mastermind, offering online Mastermind groups led by Napoleon Hill Instructors.