Adopt a Triple-A Attitude to Achieve Your Dreams

Canucks dressing room tour
Simon on tour of Vancouver Canucks dressing room

What is your big dream? Are you working on it, or is something holding you back? My advice is this: Adopt a Triple-A attitude for getting closer to your big dreams.

Our 12-year-old son, Simon, recently landed an opportunity to interview Jim Benning, the General Manager of the Vancouver Canucks. “What?! How did you get to do that?” That’s what friends wanted to know. Their reactions reminded me about how fear holds people back from achieving their dreams.

Headstart Public Speaking instructor, Paula Howley, challenged Simon to reach for the stars. The bonus project in Paula’s Strive! Handbook for Awesomeness manual challenges kids to reach out to someone (famous or not) that they admire but don’t know. Simon is an enthusiastic fan of the NHL and is considering a career as an NHL General Manager, so reaching out to the nearby Canucks seemed like a good idea. But would Simon be successful in striving for the stars?

Yes. And you can do it too. Here’s how to get closer to your big dreams:


“We asked.”

Simple as that. If you have a dream that is dependant on another person or organization, the first key is to muster up the courage to ask. All too often, the result of asking is … rejection, followed by depression, followed by fear of asking anyone else ever again. If you’ve ever been rejected, it’s no wonder if you feel hesitant to ask for help to achieve your dream. Pick yourself up, continue to call on courage, and try try again.

We were thrilled when Simon was granted an interview with Vancouver Canucks General Manager, Jim Benning. Our family experienced anxiety leading up to the interview, wondering whether it would really happen. But it never would have happened if Simon hadn’t asked. He wrote a letter, explained his challenge, and was granted the interview. I admit, he did have the advantage of being a cute kid!

Asking is a big part of success. You win some; you lose some. But if you never ask, it is clear that you will miss out.


Woody Allen said, “Seventy percent of success in life is showing up.” Or maybe he said eighty percent. I’ve seen both versions. Regardless, the math says that showing up is statistically important if you want to succeed.

I had an interview for a management position at the Hotel Vancouver when I was eighteen years old. I could hardly believe they were willing to interview me, but I knew I was qualified and I walked in there feeling mighty proud … until I saw there were about a dozen other people in the interview waiting room. My self-confidence plummeted, I panicked, and I walked out without a word. Do you think I got that job?

I know Simon was nervous about his interview with Jim Benning, but he didn’t let nerves stop him. Paula teaches her students how to bust through fear, move through it, be strong, and show up. A winning attitude. Simon showed up.


This one is plain good manners. Let the people who helped you know how much you appreciate them and their assistance. You never know when you might cross paths with them again. Paula was wise to include this advice in her manual for the kids in her class: “If you are able to see this person live, offer to take them to tea or lunch.” She also asked the kids to be prepared so as to respect the interviewee and their time. Thoughtful advice to remind kids of the importance of appreciation.

Simon prepared his questions. We followed up the interview with small Sunshine Coast gifts for Jim Benning and the whole team who helped the interview come to fruition. And Simon hand-wrote a card expressing his thanks to Jim.

Adopt a Triple-A Attitude

Ask, Appear, and Appreciate. Simple steps. Big courage. Works for big dreams or little dreams. You can do it!

Thank you, Paula, for encouraging our kids to do their very best, let their voices be heard, and reach for the stars! The interview with Jim Benning was filmed by the Canucks community partnerships team. Unfortunately, the video didn’t turn out. Instead, they sent us a short video of the producer interviewing Simon. I posted it on Facebook @StarringSheila on November 12, 2017.

Simon on tour of facility
Tour of facility with Assistant Equipment Manger, Red
Simon in the Canucks dressing room
Simon in the Canucks dressing room
touring Canucks locker room
Canucks locker room


  1. Very cool; congrats Simon! I remember when I was a teenager — I mailed a letter to the government asking for a summer job where I could “travel.” Two years later I got a phone call — they were looking for someone to travel throughout North America with a small team promoting tourism and industry. So for my university years, I did just that — traveled the USA visiting state fairs. All because I risked a 5 cent stamp! That’s right, Paula — you just gotta reach a little. ~ PJ Reece


    1. Great story, PJ! Two years it took them to answer you? I bet letters don’t last on file that long anymore! Thanks for sharing your story.


  2. Congratulations Simon on your courage to fullfil this step towards your dream. My Mom ( Your great Aunt Judy) would be envious of your time spent in the company of her Favourite teams Manager and surroundings. She’s been a fan of the Canucks as long as I can remember and has never faulted even in their days of defeat.
    I look forward to hearing your name announced as the New Canucks Manager of 20??
    Good luck Deb


    1. Hi Deb, I had no idea your mom is such a big Canucks fan! Simon likes the two New York teams best for some reason, but it was really fun to meet the Canucks GM and tour their amazing facility with the assistant equipment manager. Thanks for your comment!


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