When The Student Is Ready (Matthew Ankerstein influencer interview preview)

Matthew Ankerstein is not your typical Edmontonian. He didn’t grow up believing that that things would be handed to him. Even though his family had a farm, and he was involved in minor league hockey, he wanted to make a difference in the business world and connect with more people.

If you visit his website (http://beeinfluenced.com/), you’ll quickly learn that he loves to read and learn new things. I’m paraphrasing a bit here, but in his own words, he states that a major influence in this way of thinking came from seeing his father balancing the business books – he thought to himself, I can figure out a way to do this myself, and so he went after a post-secondary education, but he also started to hit the books in his spare time too. Reading books from successful leaders like Warren Buffet, M. J. DeMarco, and Dale Carnegie, he quickly learned that he loved business and seeing businesses grow.

In his time at post-secondary he worked hard to make friends in the technology sector and in computer programming. The combination of this experience lead him to develop the Bee Influenced brand.

What started as a website for a school project, quickly evolved into a startup business about startup businesses… It’s a weekly blog that teaches individuals how best to build and market their online businesses. One element of particular interest on his website is the podcast that features entrepreneurs who have built successful companies.

Matthew takes their ideas and experiences and explains the strategies these people use in their own businesses. Which made me theorize that he probably knows a thing or two about recognizing authentic leaders from the phonies. In this preview question, I ask Matt how you can find these kinds of business teachers in life, and what to do when you run across a charlatan.

theories Summarized

If you’re like me, and you love learning new things, but can’t make sense of world of online marketing, life coaches, influencers, and all of the social media… then I think I’ve found the creative interview for you! Come back in a week for the full interview and all of the great discussions Matt and I had about growing your business, especially in times of adversity. He’s really got some good theories, and I can’t wait to share them. 


Truth, Records, and Goodwill (Brendon Greene, musician and record label owner interview)

We already know that vinyl records have seen a resurgence in recent years. Likely because collecting music is still an incredible enjoyable hobby, and even though music is even more readily accessible then it ever has been in the history of humankind, people are going to focus on specific sources of musical talent and just absorb what is within their radar. After all, it takes a lot of work to go diving for new music.

Believe me I would know. I Source the internet every week to find a new album to review, one that’s interesting, accessible and just plain entertaining to listen to. But the reality is that music taste is even more subjective then film or fine art.

So imagine being someone who manage a record label. You have to be fairly relaxed, forward thinking, and dedicated to the art in order to keep up with all of the demands. Plus if you’re a grass roots organization like Conscious Collective Entertainment you’ll also want to promote local up and comers, and hopefully maintain a community based imaged.

A musician himself, Brendon Greene has a lot say about why he has decided to have a record label – He started playing guitar 17 years ago, and began teaching guitar 14 years ago. In 2015 he also ran in the provincial and federal election for the Green Party. Immediately deciding upon the end of the campaign that he wanted to learn more about the management of artists, and production. So he incorporated Conscious Collective Entertainment. And he works for Goodwill Industries. AND has slowly been adding artists to his label. Don Bartlett (Modern Fingerstyle, Harp Guitar), Christiana Munch (Classical Fingerstyle), and a punk band called For The County.

If it’s not apparent yet, Brendon loves to teach music and he’ll do you one better. He also wants to help you get a record mixed and distributed for a realistic price too. He believes in stewardship and the value of a good mentor. I personally think he is a pillar for the community but I’ll leave that up to your discretion.

Plus, the interview has even more detail on how to get out there as a musician.

It was a a lot of fun talking with this guy about his business, he has so much passion, and a lot of great insights. I learnt a lot from him too!

I’d love it if you left a comment, and if you liked this artist interview leave one and then share it with a friend or two. Better yet, go visit Conscious Collective and Brendon on Facebook and Instagram, respectively – he’ll appreciate the visit.


And special thanks to Brendon for being bold, brave and brilliant. When it comes to passionate mentorship for burgeoning musicians, this Greene knows how to party with the best of them. It’s a new theory for 2018.


Picture Perfect Cravings (Tony Litster Success Stories)

Everyone loves a good success story. It stimulates a part of our brain that is linked to the reward centre. It’s likely why motivational speakers have been really populariz over the past 70+ years, at least in western culture anyway.

Quite a few years ago, I got serious about the teachings of man by the name of Tony Litster. I could have selected from many different coaches, gurus, and experts, but I landed on him. Mostly be accident. Tony Litster is a success coach, who focuses on success over addictions, namely pornography. Now, I’m no chicken, and will admit that I have struggled with this exact challenge in the past.

In fact, I bawked at the idea that I’d ever find someone who understood the struggle. But then I found Tony.

Tony Litster Straight Talk

Litster teaches that pornography addiction is quite often a result of the shame cycle, which comes out of childhood challenges and continues right through our adult lives.

The shame cycle makes you believe that your self-worth is tied directly into what others think of you. And that’s just not true. Each of us is invaluable and infinitely worth our lives. Learning to separate yourself from your behaviour, and more importantly, your behaviour from your sense of worth, is what allows you to move away from stimulants like pornography that ultimately do not satisfy. How you do this is by reinforcing the new idea of who you are:

One of the ways is by speaking positive belief statements to yourself, and repeating them over and over again (through recorded tracks set to classical music) – positive affirmations.

Another way is through meditation, which means settling into exhaustion for only a brief period of time, and then allowing yourself to experience all of the thoughts racing through your head while you focus on breathing in and out.

A third way is through regular and exciting forms of exercise. This could mean time at the gym, rock climbing, playing team sports or preparing for a marathon.

But there is so much more that he teaches then those three concepts. From drinking lots of water regularly, to maintaining a neutral pH balance, to visualization routines, to paying off high interest debts, this guy is in it for the long haul. He really focuses on dwelling within reality, while dealing with the chemical imbalances of serotonin, dopamine and adrenalin that result from a lifetime of pornography addiction. Better yet, there are effective ways to combat these high levels of chemical stimulation from porn watching…

Biological Peacekeeping

Adrenaline is easily fed through competition – sports, games, exercise or frightening activities like public speaking. Serotonin can be kept in check via meditation, and also by practicing Yoga. Lastly dopamine is released when we get creative – writing, playing music, painting, and using our imaginations.

Seems simple right? But it’s just another example of the importance regular exercise, meditation, and creativity play in a balanced life. I only discovered that my body was out of balance because I was constantly drawn to watching pornography whenever I would come home from work, and my girlfriend at the time couldn’t really understand why I struggled with this compulsion (read: the shame cycle). It stemmed from challenges of my youth, which probably deserve a whole other post to themselves, but this is just another layer to purpose of timotheories, and why digitally curating at heart is essential for me to live.

If I didn’t make art, take care of my body, and my mind, I’d be a hot mess. And no use to anybody.

theories Summarized

Maybe this post would’ve been better served for a timely Thursday entry, but when I sat down to write this afternoon, and saw the topic Facebook Success Stories, I thought to myself, no one really cares if I share success stories from other people. You’re all here because of my authentic experiences, and at the core of my stories are tales such as this one that I’ve hinted at. Picking up the pieces and fighting against something which I did not want for myself was imperative dear readers.

My theories all stem from this desire to live a life completely chosen of free will, and pornography was limiting me from doing just that. So I to you without motive or expectation, #liveyourlife and you will learn to #loveyourlife.


Contest, Context, Concept (Fairness In Art)

My parents tried their very hardest to impart ideas of fairness in us from a young age. “Share with your brothers and sister”, “make sure that everyone gets a taste of that pizza”, “you all need to do your part to keep the house clean”, “don’t forget that it’s your turn to do the dishes”, and so it went, on and on.


Every family deals with these challenges.

But I more time I spent with fairness and other moralizations as I grew into adulthood, the more I struggled with that notion of fairness, because each of the four of us had unique interests, talents, and levels of influence within the family hierarchy.

Fairness is supposed to represent a way of making value judgments that are impartial, and many well defined roles and responsibilities are given their own value sets to help establish fairness, in particular for activities and institutions which revolve around instruction.

For example, I often think of teachers and their responsibility to uphold an objective. Yes, anyone can take on a teaching role, but professional teachers are the group I’m going to focus on.

Back to the objective of teachers.

The objective of teachers is to educate students in skills and knowledge. Where it falls down for me though is through the method of instruction employed (pedagogy) by many teachers – that they know best because they’ve been trained to know the best. Pedagogy assumes that there is an ideal way to learn and an ideal way to teach, and thus the practice concerns itself primarily with how best to teach. Professional teachers are trained in pedagogy. Now, let’s put a pin in that idea for a second.

When we come out of post-secondary education, no matter our specialization, many students with a bachelors, masters or doctorate, assume an expertise in that particular field.

And we each gain a sense of fairness particular to that subset of knowledge, but going back to the family example from earlier, the problem is that if you have four children who all grew into unique roles, for example a BFA Art & Design, a BSc Psychology, a BFA Drama and BE Drama and Chemistry, and lastly a BSc Physics and BE Physics and Drama, each family member has refined their “fairness” through a different learnt pedagogy.

So almost all university graduates walk away with a sense of rightness or righteousness, depending on how you look at it. Then some time passes, and hopefully that code eases off somewhat, because another skill that post-secondary education is supposed to teach you is to continue to pursue education throughout your life.

Which leads me to my theory for the day.

I don’t think that fairness exists in life. Shock. Gasp. Awe.


From a young age we are told to do our best and worry about ourselves, but that still stimulates us to try harder, and in a family setting, it can simultaneously instill a sense of competition amongst siblings.

Which is actually a good thing. Because life is competition.

We compete for grades, jobs, sexual partners, games (sport, video, tabletop), and status. But that ideation of fairness is just part of the conscious desire to simplify the world around us. Which lets us determine what is right and wrong, and gain a sense of control over the world.

But the world functions purely on those levels of success, so whatever morality we put into art making, education, business, and any other aspect of life is purely personal. When we stop to reflect on the problem at hand and look at the scale, it comes down exactly that.

Individually we might love something or someone, but that doesn’t mean that song is a popular song or that person should love us back. Decision-making is not resigned to one person or one subset of people, but to the broader picture of humanity.

So stop considering what you internally feel is correct or worthy, and consider what you have done for your community or the people around you and that will help guide the art you create.

It’s about impact.

The greater the impact, the more people who want to reward the efforts of the person who created that ripple. If you can move a stadium of people with your music, or entertain a crowded street with your improvised unicycle and ball juggling act, or even divide a whole city with your graffiti that addresses the automation of industry and complacency associated with it, you’re going to get recognition.

If you share your song with one person, one person cares, but if you shared it with influencers on YouTube, then you are all of a sudden an instant success.

Someone once said that life is unfair, but that’s not really true. Life is very fair, but we try and assume authority over fairness and change it. Fairness is competition, realized by what we are able to accomplish in our community.

Going back to the point I made earlier about families and fairness, I think families should work to achieve the workload, but we should cut that word right out of instruction, children need to learn their strengths and contribute to society in a way that they are best capable, and educators need to facilitate this via models of instruction, with tempered positions of authority.

But that’s just a theory.