Finding Your Inner Beast

We get it. Times are tough, and it is so easy to fall into a rut and call it quits. It is a time for caution and making smarter decisions. Business decisions that not only make sense for your business, but that are also in line with your true feelings and emotions.

A couple months ago – I was offered an opportunity to sell my IT firm and have the option to retire at the age of 38. This, during a lockdown where we are all emotionally drained and our motivation might be running a little dry. Pre Covid I would have laughed it off immediately, and used it as motivation to try and double the firm again in the next year.

But this time, I thought about it really hard. My wife and I talked about it on our evening walks for a couple weeks. I brought it up to my mastermind group, and while they were supportive – they reminded me of the fire that was burning inside of me pre-covid. Reminded me of our latest achieved goal of being recognized as a leading IT services company in our city. Of our awards and accolades that we have been receiving lately. They reminded me of our huge wave of momentum that we have been riding. However, during a private call – one member also reminded me that my 5-year goal I had shared with them was not yet achieved. That my purpose to take over the world (or, at least becoming a national firm) was far from realized – and that I would likely regret my decision.

They were right.

In fact, that conversation with one member of my mastermind group re-ignited the flickering flame – and woke up the hibernating inner beast. Covid is slowly making its way out, the economy will soon be back and operational, the travel industry will soon be buzzing, and I believe that our borders will be open again in the next 6-8 months. What better time to get our ducks in a row and make your next move at growing your business with all the great news around the corner?

Funny thing is that when I think of the term “Finding your inner beast”, I immediately think of one of our clients and extremely interesting character: Tim Stefanishyn – CEO of the Whiteshell School District. I first met him a few years ago to discuss how we might help their schools with some of their ongoing technical issues. After our meeting, he nudged me aside and shared with me his ideas for his summer business of renting tubes to ride down the Pinawa Channel. “Come by this summer with your family and I’ll hook you up!”

I remember sharing the news with my wife that evening and we were looking forward to July and taking him up on that offer. That summer, we went out – and Tim blew us away. He had tubes piled up, a tent setup for registration, a system in place to get you setup at the beginning of the channel, a system to get you out at the other end and a fully branded bus waiting to pick you up to drive you back to your car keys in hand! (Who wants to fall in the river and lose their keys??) Tim saw an opportunity and went for it – and he knocked it out of the park! Pinawa Channel Float & Paddle. (

Tim was not the first to offer this service. Others were already there renting tubes and kayaks – but he was the first to do it right. To help you down to the channel and setup your tubes. To have someone greet you at the other end and carry your tubes back. To pick you up in a shuttle and drive you back to your car. He was the first to make this a complete and enjoyable, stress free afternoon of floating down the channel. He created systems – and they worked.

What was most impressive was that the following summer of 2020 – we had to book weeks ahead. His side business blew up! Even though we went during “off hours”, we still had to wait in line! And seeing Tim was the greatest thing ever. He matched the literal term of “Beast Mode” – Here is your School District CEO walking up to us with a mad beard, sunglasses, t-shirt, trying to keep up with the demand, keeping everything under control, all with a huge smile and loving it. Tim was in his element and you could tell. He looked like an unstoppable machine.

In such a short amount of time – Tim and his wife became the leaders in this very niche market – and created a lucrative seasonal business. They are improving their economy and are creating summer jobs for the students in the community. Come September – he is back at owning his role as the CEO of his School District – and he is darn good at that too!

Tim is more than a local success story – he has helped motivate me at improving my own businesses – and while he will not know until reading this, was another reason that I decided that my time at Avenir IT was far from over.

Thanks Tim.