Reflections of Our CEO: When Push Comes to Shove….

In one of the more fun coincidences I’ve encountered, my business partner and I share a birthday. While we’re a few years apart, we both celebrate each lap around the sun on March 20—the first day of spring. As seems always to be the case, spring arrived this year giving notice of change….

The morning started for me with great coffee and huevos rancheros at a fine little restaurant in Zihuatanejo, Mexico. Mid-vacation, I was soaking in the sun, scrolling through the many greetings and messages on my Facebook wall (thanks everyone!), when I encountered some news I’d had my fingers crossed wouldn’t come for another six or twelve months.

For the second time in three years, the Managing Director of our Vancouver office, Garth Yule, had been evicted by a landlord. He and his family have two months to move out, so the landlord’s parents can move in. He was devastated. Me too…. I knew immediately this was going to be the proverbial straw….

This could have been a post about right and wrong: Last time, Garth sued his former landlord for an illegal eviction. (He finally won just last November.) Or it could have been a post about Vancouver’s housing crisis: Homes—including rentals—are so cost prohibitive, young families are leaving Vancouver in droves. But those are articles for another day….

Instead, it’s an article about The Push….

Sometimes, we need a push, don’t we? The gentle nudge by a favourite teacher. Or a more forceful prod from a parent or a sibling that knows us better than we know ourselves.

In our consulting work, we’re sometimes compelled to be the pushers…. Last summer, we pushed a client’s board to get clearer on their vision for 10 years from now. We pushed and pushed them until they were frustrated. Now, they’re negotiating a merger—in a deal that will give them everything they finally dreamed for the decade ahead. Was ours the pressure they needed to make the bold move their company deserves? It’s never that simple. But surely we played a part….

Sometimes, it’s circumstance that pushes us…. I’m thinking of the fall of 2001, when I had a new marriage, a new baby and a new mortgage… and got fired. Was that layoff the push I needed to start my own company? It’s never that simple….

Other times, it’s the almighty shove of fate. I’m thinking of last Tuesday, when Garth’s second eviction led him and his wife to decide that now is the time to make the move to a new home in Ontario. Sometimes, it really is that simple.

Sometimes, we need a nudge. Or a push. Or an almighty shove.

I’ll be sad that Garth won’t be in the office each morning when I arrive, his shoes kicked off, his legs curled up under him on his chair, and some monstrous Excel sheet open on his desktop. And I’ll also be happy…. His family’s ready for their big move, and they’re excited. And if we all play our cards right, this could be an even bigger move…. Junxion. Toronto. Two words that haven’t been together in a long time….

What’s the push you need? And who will do you the favour of pushing? I bet if you’re honest with yourself, you can answer both of those questions. So really, the question is whether you have the courage to ask yourself in the first place….

What’s the push you need?

Be well,

Be love,



Mike Rowlands is President & CEO of Junxion. He has been described as a “peace warrior” and thought leader on issues of social importance. This is one of a series of letters he’s writing as he seeks to embrace transparency, step in to courageous conversations, and be in service to a new era. You can reach him via [email protected].

Comments 3

  1. Kari Yuers

    Hi Mike. Really liked your “Push” story. Life’s gifts come in all sorts of unexpected challenges. Thanks for sharing and Happy Birthday. Kari

  2. Perry Gorgounis

    Mike you are so correct, I encountered being pushed when I realized it was about time to get out of the Office Furniture Business into a career I was always in love, now in Commercial Real Estate it’s been the most exciting, challenging and invigorating career I have ever had and so glad I made the move. The push to sell my business made this career move one where turning back was no option and has amounted to a great deal of success.

  3. John Munroe

    Excellent article and Happy Birthday Mike. I also share a birthday (five years apart) with one of our closest business partners. Eddies of affinity I like to call these.

    I’m intrigued by the patternings discernible in life’s major shifts. Junxion Toronto will be a powerful force for good. Can’t wait to hear more!

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