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Growing the Distance

Timeless Principles for Personal, Career, and Family Success

There are countless personal and leadership development books full of jargon, fads, and buzzwords flooding the market. A bestseller, this is a book of “profound simplicity” that cuts to the essence, while being easy and fun to read. Although highly applicable to readers of Jim’s previous bestselling books with roles and titles like manager, supervisor, or executive, Growing the Distance is written for a much broader audience. This book is written for “seeker’s on the grow” — anyone constantly looking to change and improve.

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There are countless personal and leadership development books full of jargon, fads, and buzzwords flooding the market. A bestseller, this is a book of “profound simplicity” that cuts to the essence, while being easy and fun to read. Although highly applicable to readers of Jim’s previous bestselling books with roles and titles like manager, supervisor, or executive, Growing the Distance is written for a much broader audience. This book is written for “seeker’s on the grow” — anyone constantly looking to change and improve.

At home or in the workplace, change is an inevitable fact of life. How we choose to respond to it — as leaders or as followers — determines our personal and professional growth. Growing the Distance is about developing the leader within all of us. This helps us to continue “growing at the speed of change.” A central theme of the book is that leadership is action, not a position. We all need to be leaders regardless of our formal title or role. This starts with inner self leadership and moves outward to influence, guide, support, and lead others. Leadership ultimately shows itself in what we do “out there,” but it starts “in here.”

This enchanting book entertains, inspires, and moves readers to action. Growing the Distance is a browser’s delight. “I hope readers find this book as fun to read as it was to write,” Jim says. In 192 pages, he weaves together many humorous quips, light-hearted stories, and charming tales with “growing points” intended to “drive you to thinking.” This is done with both original and ageless fables, current situations, pithy quotations, whimsical illustrations, and personal examples.

Growing the Distance is not a conventional book with large, dense blocks of text to plow through. Rather, it has a unique and distinctive, three-tiered structure and magazine-style. One level is made up of inspirational, humorous, or thought-provoking quotations. A second level consists of timeless fables, tales, and current stories. The third level is Jim’s core text with his observations, personal examples, reflections, illustrations, application ideas, and key learning points. Each section is headed by a short “lead line,” introductory sentence, and title or sub-title.

The depth and authority of this captivating book comes from the research and writing of Jim’s three previous bestselling books, specific research for this book, decades of training and consulting with hundreds of organizations, and over 25 years of applying these timeless principles to his own personal, career, and family life. “One of North America’s leading transformation and improvement thinkers,” Jim is the author of three other international bestsellers: The VIP Strategy: Leadership Skills for Exceptional Performance, Firing on All Cylinders: The Service/Quality System for High-Powered Corporate Performance (Canada’s all time bestselling management book) and Pathways to Performance: A Guide to Transforming Yourself, Your Team, and Your Organization.

At the center of Growing the Distance (and the hub of the “leadership wheel” model in the book) is Focus and Context: The Core of My Being. This timeless principle is built around three central questions of vision, values, and purpose. Focus and context provides the central core for the six remaining timeless principles:

  • Responsibility for Choices: If It’s to Be, It’s Up to Me
  • Authenticity: Getting Real
  • Passion and Commitment: Beyond “Near-Life” Experiences
  • Spirit and Meaning: With All My Heart and Soul
  • Growing and Developing: From Phase of Life to Way of Life
  • Mobilizing and Energizing: Putting Emotions in Motion

Growing the Distance makes a great gift for:

  • young people getting started in life
  • someone contemplating career changes and choices
  • people wrestling with major change or a crisis
  • someone who’s lost their job or had it dramatically changed
  • people feeling unfocused and listless
  • managers, entrepreneurs, and executives looking to increase their leadership effectiveness
  • anyone “on the grow” always looking for personal development
  • customers, suppliers, distributors, dealers, and other partners

Growing the Distance is an ideal guide to be distributed in quantity by executives, managers, and training professionals attempting to help people throughout their organizations:

  • embrace personal growth and development as a key to dealing with continuous and unpredictable change
  • provide a strong base for leadership development programs
  • build a common foundation of values around its timeless principles
  • establish a broader “context of being” for training programs teaching technical, process, or behavioral “skills of doing”
  • bring teams together with a common language and set of values
  • help everyone in the organization become leaders
  • nurture ongoing personal growth and development

Related Material

Growing the Distance: Personal Implementation Guide
The Personal Implementation Guide builds upon Growing the Distance and moves from inspiration to application. In this very practical handbook, Jim condenses and shares over twenty-five years of experience helping thousands of people apply the timeless leadership principles and practices, catapulting them to peak personal and professional performance. Personal application ideas, self-assessments, implementation exercises, and suggestions for action planning provide the opportunity to journal thoughts, guide reflective learning, set improvement goals, vision for the future, clarify core values, identify key strengths, check life balance, measure personal growth, plug energy leaks, reframe pessimistic thinking, and make concrete plans to improve personal, career, and family success.

Growing the Distance: Self-Study System
Now you can have Jim as your personal coach.

The Growing the Distance: Self-Study System features an audio track and synchronized slides with Jim coaching you through each page of the Growing the Distance: Personal Implementation Guide. This CD is formatted for either Windows or Mac users. You are in complete control. You can run the program in the order and process that it’s designed. Or you can pause wherever you want, skip ahead, return to sections, or skim through the program and pluck out those sections most relevant and useful to you. Includes:

  • Multimedia CD
  • Growing the Distance
  • Personal Implementation Guide
  • Order now for only $64.95!

Leading in Turbulent Times Audio CD

Leading in Turbulent Times is a condensed, executive overview of how the leadership principles of Jim Clemmer’s book, Growing the Distance, apply to leading organizations in turbulent times. This timely presentation was recorded with an audience of business leaders.

Reviews and Feedback

“… writes persuasively about the need for better balance in our lives…urges readers to consider their legacy…offering the chance to relax, reflect and regroup…interweaves anecdotes, quotes, fictional stories and his own musings in a leisurely style…”
The Globe & Mail

“Jim has given us all much to think about and grow on. Very satisfying! At the deepest and most personal level, I am glad I read this book. If, like me, you think that getting one powerful, actionable insight from a book is worth the price, Growing the Distance is the bargain of the millenium.”
Ian Percy, Psychologist and author of Going Deep

“Simultaneously practical and inspirational, Jim Clemmer takes a refreshing approach to leadership and personal growth. Growing the Distance is full of wisdom, anecdotes and pithy advice in an informal, easy-to-read digest format. Great reading for all walks of life.”
Nancy Semkin, Manager
Leadership Development, Royal Bank Financial Group

“…If you want to read a book and be enthusiastic about your leadership potential, Growing the Distance is a must. It will inspire you and help to mesh together the various roles and activities of your life. This book is truly different and will find a happy home on your bookshelf!…”
weLEAD Online Magazine

“A road map of the heart that tells you about the personal development pathways and towns along the way and lets you choose which ones to stop at . . . enjoyed the book’s multi-level layout and Jim’s flowing writing style.”
Mark Brzezicki
DOFASCO Blast Furnace Supervisor, now Supervisor of Training and Development

“The content and lay-out of Growing the Distance are extremely effective. With the discounts available, it will have a wide range of reader interest for companies buying large quantities.”
Kerry Hawkins, President
Cargill Limited

“I have no hesitation in recommending this book to anyone who wishes to do some thinking or learning about how you can grow, how you can influence people and become a leader in whatever sphere you operate in. The book is written so that it is easy to understand, full of good advice and examples, and not only well worth reading but entertaining and insightful as well.”
The Honourable John C. Crosbie, P.C., O.C., Q.C.
Former Senior Cabinet Minister, Federal and Provincial Governments of Canada

“Jim Clemmer has written a witty and wise book filled with leadership wisdom that is rock solid. Read it and reap.”
Lance Secretan, Author of Reclaiming Higher Ground

“If there is such a thing as a “universal book” then this is it. It brims with practical advice for people of all ages and all stages. It is replete with wonderful examples, and the reader will be amazed at the breadth of its scope.”
Jack Zenger
Author, president of PROVANT, Inc., and founder of Zenger Miller

“I am writing to let you know how much I appreciate your books and how they are helping us. I have been studying team building, leadership, training, and what we need to do to make our Centre an oasis, and your book has been of great help. I have been using Firing on All Cylinders, Pathways to Performance, and Growing the Distance. This is fabulous information, and is taking me places I always wanted to go — but did not know how to get to.”
Norman Reader, Corrections Officer
Lakeview Youth Custody Centre

“My name is Karly Stewart and I am 13 years old and in Grade Eight. I read your book Growing the Distance and learned many useful things from it. Even though it is about the workplace, I can apply these principles to similar situations that occur at school. It showed me that I shouldn’t be afraid to take the lead.

I liked the chapters, ‘Responsibility for Choices’ and ‘Authenticity’. I really liked reading the quotes and anecdotes, which were very humorous and gave me something to think (and laugh) about.

At my dad’s office they are giving away fifty copies of this book for their leadership group. I think that not only people in workplaces should read this book, but people my age should read it too. Even teens would be able to benefit greatly from it. I would recommend it to any one who wants to become a better leader. This is an excellent book for people of all ages and a valuable source of information and wisdom on how to grow the distance.

Thanks,”
Karly

“Growing the Distance is one of the best organized and inspiring collections of leadership advice I’ve ever seen! I must say that I didn’t want the book to end! I bought several more copies for my friends and family!” Dallas Gislason, Regional Development Coordinator
Saskatchewan Rural Development

Table of Contents

Introduction PDF

  • Let Yourself Grow
  • Just for the Fun of It
  • And I Quote…
  • Tell Me a Story
  • Where’s the Action?

CHAPTER ONE PDF
Taking Control => The Way of the Leader
At home or in the workplace, change is an inevitable fact of life. How we choose to respond to it — as leaders or as followers — determines our personal and professional growth.

  • Clear Alternatives => Change or Be Changed
  • Growing at the Speed of Change
  • Winning Ways => What is Leadership?
  • Models of Being => Inside Out
  • Blazing Our Own Personal Leadership Path
  • Growing Points

CHAPTER TWO
The Core of My Being => Focus and Context
What is my vision? What are my values? What is the purpose of my life? These are the questions at the center of our lives.

  • What We See is What We Get => Vision
  • Yield of Dreams
  • Seeing What We Believe => Values
  • Our Inner Selves Revealed
  • Telling on Ourselves
  • What it’s All About => Purpose
  • What’s Really Important
  • Leading Others => Shaping Focus and Context
  • Growing Points

CHAPTER THREE
If It’s To Be, It’s Up To Me => Responsibility for Choices
When things go wrong, it’s easy to blame others. Leaders take charge by accepting the consequences of their actions.

  • Deadly Diseases => From Groaning to Growing
  • Against the Odds => Choose Not to Lose
  • From Obstacles to Opportunities
  • Points of View => Perceived Reality
  • Choosing Our Outlook
  • Choosing to Let Go of Deadly Emotions
  • In the Black => Taking Account
  • Measuring Our Ability to Influence Others
  • Programming => You Think So
  • Growing Points

CHAPTER FOUR
Getting Real => Authenticity
Genuine leadership comes from within. It demands honesty and integrity. It goes beyond reputation and personality; it is a function of character.

  • Inside Jobs => The Real Me
  • Me-Deep in Fooling Myself => Hypocrisy and Egotism
  • To Boldly Grow => Exploring Inner Space
  • Ringing True => Honesty and Integrity
  • Mirror Images => The Eye of the Beholder
  • Walking the Walk => Leading By Example
  • Following the Leader in Me
  • Growing Points

CHAPTER FIVE
Beyond “Near-Life Experiences” => Passion and Commitment
Successful people are energized by a love for what they do because it brings them closer to who they are.

  • The Enemy Within => Uprooting Cynicism and Apathy
  • Feeling Our Way => The Power of Passion
  • More Than a Job => Labor of Love
  • Fixed Purposes => Burning Commitment
  • Sticking With It => Persistence Goes the Distance
  • Habitual Success => Deep Discipline
  • Discipline Can Be Habit Forming
  • Growing Points

CHAPTER SIX
With All My Heart and Soul => Spirit and Meaning
What is the purpose of our work? Of our lives? Material success alone is not enough. Leaders seek within – and find something more.

  • Just Existing => Dead Ends
  • The Hungry Heart => In Search of Meaning
  • Running the Race => True to Our Souls
  • Extending Ourselves => The Many Faces of Love
  • Starting With Ourselves
  • Lead From the Center => Living Inside Out
  • Doing it on Purpose => Take My Meaning
  • Growing Points

CHAPTER SEVEN
From Phase of Life to Way of Life => Growing and Developing
What’s our best defense against being victims of change? To grow and develop every day; to change ourselves – and to lead others in the process.

  • Rotting Away => Slow Death
  • Onward and Upward => Always on the Grow
  • Lessons Learned => Successful Failures
  • Coach’s Corner => Lead to Succeed
  • Growing Others
  • Nurture Over Nature => Born to Lead?
  • Learned Leadership
  • Taking a Break => Reflection and Renewal
  • Growing Points

CHAPTER EIGHT
Putting Emotions in Motion => Mobilizing and Energizing
Leaders don’t motivate with rewards and punishments. Whether at home or in the workplace, they energize people to motivate themselves.

  • Higher Purposes => The Motivation Myth
  • Reading the Meter => Energy Sources
  • Measuring Your Energy Levels
  • EQ, Not IQ => Emotional Intelligence
  • Great Expectations => Rays of Hope
  • Let’s Talk => Words Worth
  • Just Rewards => Giving Thanks
  • All Together Now => The Power of Participation
  • Growing Points

Afterword
Taking Action => Grow for It
When is the best time to embark on our leadership development journey? How about today?

  • Progress Check => Am I Growing the Distance?
  • Where do I Want to Go?
  • Where am I Now?
  • What do I Need to Change or Improve to Close the Gap?
  • That Which Does Not Kill Us => Personal Pathways
  • No Excuses => Get Growing
  • Let’s Stay in Touch

How this Title Grew

The first key word in this title reflects the book’s key personal growth theme. This book reflects the notion that to keep going, we need to keep growing.

But grow toward what? The second key word (distance) talks to where it is that we want to grow. Much of The CLEMMER Group’s personal, team, and organization transformation is built around gap analysis. This involves clarifying where we are now, defining where we want to be, and establishing the plans, processes, and skills to narrow the gap between our current and future state. In other words, establishing the distance we want to travel, and continually transforming and developing ourselves to get there. That’s growing the distance.

A key theme of Growing the Distance is reflected in the phrase repeated throughout the book, ‘leadership is action, not a position.’ This is a book on personal leadership. Many digital focus group participants voted for the word ‘leader’ or ‘leadership’ in the title or subtitle. That’s understandable since most focus group participants have leadership roles or positions in their organizations. This book is very applicable to them.

However, many of the intended readers of this book are not in leadership roles and at first glance, might easily feel that a book with that word in the title or subtitle is not applicable to them. They want to be successful in their personal lives, careers, or families, but they don’t necessarily see themselves as leaders. Once into the book, they can see what we mean by ‘leadership’ (as action, not a position) and how personal leadership is the key to the distance they want to travel for a fulfilling and successful life. That’s one of the reasons we chose the subtitle (Timeless Principles for Personal, Career, and Family Success).

We also didn’t use the word ‘change’ in any of the titles, because that word is becoming badly overused and abused. In my speaking engagements and The CLEMMER Group’s consulting work, we’re finding a growing number of people who are ‘change fatigued.’ Recently a Client asked us to avoid using the word when working with their organization because it would just turn people off. That’s consistent with how all of our work, and Growing the Distance, emphasizes going beyond trendy changes and programs (ways of doing things) to the deeper level of transformation, based on timeless principles (a way of being).

This first experience with a digital focus group was extremely positive and productive. In less than 7 days, we had input from nearly 500 key people who represent a major audience for this book. Compared to mailed surveys, telephone interviews, or live focus groups, the digital focus group was extremely quick, convenient, and inexpensive. The voting patterns and many comments added to the returned e-mail messages really helped shape the final titles. As we continue to expand our digital communication process to stay in touch with our many contacts, we’ll very likely be using this feedback mechanism again.

We’ve used an innovative three-tiered approach for the page layouts in Growing the Distance. The section quotations, stories or fables, and the main text are distinguished by three different fonts in distinct sections of the page with plenty of open space. This allows readers to read the book page-by-page from cover to cover and/or browse through the book and stop on the quotations, stories, or text they’re most interested in.

Corporate Buying Guide

5 Reasons Why Growing the Distance is a “Must Read” for Everyone in Your Organization:

Growing the Distance is a valuable resource for everyone in your organization — from the senior management team to the frontline employees, the timeless principles and ideas in the book will truly inspire powerful personal and organizational growth. Here’s why:

  1. Growing the Distance helps your organization perform to its full potential by creating “leaders in action.”
    Every organization is ultimately only as good as its people. Today, more than ever, companies look to everyone, at all levels, to think and act like leaders. The key, as Jim Clemmer demonstrates in this insightful new book, is to first create inner self-leadership, which ultimately will determine how people perform in their roles and help move the organization forward.
  2. Growing the Distance provides a framework for your people to meet the challenges of rapid change.
    With the rapid pace of change — in the workplace, our families and society as a whole — the organizations that succeed will be those where employees at all levels are equipped to adapt to and excel in constant change. In Growing the Distance, Jim presents the key principles that will empower your teams to respond positively to continuous and unpredictable change, rather than becoming casualties of the change process.
  3. Growing the Distance creates lasting, meaningful change in your people and your organization.
    In Jim’s research with hundreds of companies, he has identified that one of the key factors in the success or failure of any new improvement effort is the personal commitment and “buy-in” of everyone, at all levels. In this book, Jim shows us that in order to achieve this, you must focus on the very essence of people — their “core.” Using the Growing the Distance Leadership Wheel, Jim helps people clarify and grow their personal visions, values, and purpose, providing the basis for ongoing growth and change.
  4. Growing the Distance is ideal for enhancing the performance of teams, projects, or groups.
    The timeless principles in Growing the Distance allow people to reflect on who they really are and rediscover meaning, passion, and commitment in all areas of their lives, including their careers. By providing a common language and set of values, Growing the Distance improves the cohesiveness and performance among team members.
  5. Growing the Distance provides a strong foundation for your other developmental activities.
    Whether it be management development programs or technical, change, process or skill training for frontline people, Growing the Distance complements and supports your developmental activities. By guiding and inspiring people to take responsibility for their own growth and performance, this book enables you to achieve greater results from your training and improvement efforts.

About the Author

Jim Clemmer has been described as one of North America’s leading transformation and improvement thinkers. He is the author of a number of international bestsellers, including Firing on All Cylinders and Pathways to Performance. In his presentations, workshops, seminars, and retreats, he has shared his insights with hundreds of leading corporations and organizations, as well as tens of thousands of individuals.

This latest book reflects an important evolution in Jim’s books. It broadens the improvement focus beyond the executive and management ranks to include the front line. In his experience and research, Jim has developed insights into how to harness the leader in every employee, regardless of title or position. He has found that if organizations are to be truly successful, people throughout the organization must be constantly growing and improving their performance — not just at work, but in all facets of their lives.

… and 3 Reasons Why it Will be Read!

Very simply, it makes sense!
The leadership model that forms the basis of Growing the Distance takes a holistic approach. It equips people with the tools to achieve growth and balance in all areas of their lives — not just work alone, but also in their personal lives.
This new brand of leadership centers on gaining focus and context for the “core of my being” — an individual’s personal vision, values, and purpose. Six timeless principles surround and support this focal core:

  • Responsibility for Choices: If It’s to Be, It’s Up to Me
  • Authenticity: Getting Real
  • Passion and Commitment: Beyond “Near-Life” Experiences
  • Spirit and Meaning: With All My Heart and Soul
  • Growing and Developing: From Phase of Life to Way of Life
  • Mobilizing and Energizing: Putting Emotions in Motion

Growing the Distance is easy to read and entertaining — yet powerful.
Jim drives home the timeless principles with strong insights and powerful commentary in an easy-to-understand and entertaining style. Jim’s use of effective tales, stories, and anecdotes goes straight to the heart of the subject. The book’s unique format and design enables busy people to easily browse the entire contents or focus in on specific sections, and return later for quick, simple reference.

Growing the Distance is designed to appeal to everyone in your organization.
Many people don’t read leadership or development books because they are turned off by an academic, detailed, or preachy approach. Growing the Distance is written for everyone, regardless of level or title. The digest style format summarizes timeless principles of growth and improvement, and reinforces these for the reader with stories and collected wisdoms.

Praise for Growing the Distance

“Simultaneously practical and inspirational, Jim Clemmer takes a refreshing approach to leadership and personal growth. Growing the Distance is full of wisdom, anecdotes, and pithy advice in an informal, easy-to-read digest format. Great reading for all walks of life.”
Nancy Semkin, Manager
Leadership Development, Royal Bank Financial Group

“A road map of the heart that tells you about the personal development pathways and towns along the way and lets you choose which ones to stop at . . . enjoyed the book’s multi-level layout and Jim’s flowing writing style.”
Mark Brzezicki
DOFASCO Blast Furnace Supervisor, now Supervisor of Training and Development

“The content and lay-out of Growing the Distance are extremely effective. With the discounts available, it will have a wide range of reader interest for companies buying large quantities.
Kerry Hawkins, President
Cargill Limited

“I have no hesitation in recommending this book to anyone who wishes to do some thinking or learning about how you can grow, how you can influence people, and become a leader in whatever sphere you operate in. The book is written so that it is easy to understand, full of good advice and examples, and not only well worth reading but entertaining and insightful as well.”
The Honourable John C. Crosbie
P.C., O.C., Q.C., Former Senior Cabinet Minister, Federal and Provincial Governments of Canada

“Jim has given us all much to think about and grow on. Very satisfying! At the deepest and most personal level, I am glad I read this book.”
Ian Percy, Psychologist and Author of Going Deep

“… writes persuasively about the need for better balance in our lives…urges readers to consider their legacy…offering the chance to relax, reflect and regroup…interweaves anecdotes, quotes, fictional stories and his own musings in a leisurely style…”
The Globe & Mail

“Jim Clemmer has written a witty and wise book filled with leadership wisdom that is rock solid. Read it and reap.”
Lance Secretan, Author of Reclaiming Higher Ground

Get Copies for Your Whole Team

Growing the Distance has sold over 100,000 copies around the world. Organizations routinely distribute this handy text to employees to encourage personal growth. Take advantage of our new discount schedule to provide this valuable resource to every member of your team.

Discount Schedule

Volume

Price

Discount

1 to 4 $19.95 0%
5 to 49 $13.95 30%
50 to 199 $11.97 40%
200 to 2,499 $9.98 50%
2,500 to 4,999 $8.98 55%
5,000 to 9,999 $6.98 65%
10000 or more $5.95 70%

Volume discounts are calculated automatically online. Order copies for your whole team today! Place your order over the phone: (519) 748-1044

Letters and Feedback

Jim,

Just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed Growing the Distance. I read it cover-to-cover and often found myself daydreaming about some point you had just made (a great sign). It’s insightful and enjoyable. Congratulations!
Jeff Mowatt, Past President
The Canadian Association of Professional Speakers

I had the opportunity to hear Jim speak at our company’s Senior Manager meeting in Prince George, BC and thoroughly enjoyed his presentation. The messages on leadership and change are relevant and practical as well as presented in an entertaining fashion. Really excellent stuff!

In addition, I have been reading Jim’s most recent book Growing the Distance and have found it to be an interesting read. The teachings are clear, concise and as with his presentations, very practical and applicable.
Garry Power CGA MBA, Divisional Controller
Weldwood of Canada

Jim,

I just read Growing the Distance. It’s just what the doctor ordered. I have read no fewer than 10 books on leadership in the past quarter. Growing the Distance was the shortest one, but it has taken me months to reflect upon and digest its meaning.

Thank you very much!
Alain Francq, Marketing Manager
Virtek Vision Corp.

I just finished reading Growing the Distance and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I particularly enjoyed the stories you provided on the side of the page for each chapter. I found these to be as useful as the rest of the content.

Congratulations on another great book! Keep up the great work!
Kelley Robertson
Sony of Canada Ltd.

Hi Jim,

I just wanted to take a moment to thank you for writing Growing the Distance.

I have used this book repeatedly in my coaching practice and have given numerous copies to clients as gifts. It has made a huge difference in their lives, as well as in mine. Thanks for this gift, for your wisdom, and for sharing it with the world.

My best to you,
Barbara Poole, M.S., SPHR, MCC, Personal and Professional Coach
Success Builders, Inc.

Mr. Clemmer,

I just wanted to thank and congratulate you on the excellence of this book. I heard about it on a local radio talk show.

I was intrigued and decided to read it. I lost my husband about a year and a half prior to this and had been struggling with many issues. For whatever the reason, I found in the loss of my husband, I also lost myself. I used to be a very driven, self-confident woman . . . then things changed. I was truly struggling to find my way back — both to God and to myself. Time is the greatest healer, but I was ready for inspiration. The timing was right. I found so much perspective for my life in your book. I have read certain portions of it over and over again, and plan to continue to do so forever. I am not fully healed (I’m not sure I ever will be), but I have come a long way. I attribute at least part of that to you . . . thanks for helping me find me.

Yours truly,
Judy Kalichak
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Hi Jim,

I had the pleasure of listening to you a few months ago when you did a presentation for Toronto Public Health. I have forgotten the number of times I have read your book, “Growing the Distance.” I have found it a valuable resource, not only in my working life but my family life as well.

Not to mention the book was easy to read, informative, and at the same time very uplifting. I too have started collecting quotes and now have a few of them hanging on my grey wall at the office. When things get hectic I only have to read one of them and it sets me on the positive thinking track again; it is also a conversation piece when colleagues walk into my office.

Your book has been a real friend.
Nikki Whittingham
Mississauga, Ontario, Canada

Jim,

Thank you for the “Growing the Distance” book you gave out to CAPS members. I read it this weekend and appreciated how you were able to succinctly capture the best of all the “self-development” information that is available. Your book is a comprehensive and valuable guide for living a truly successful life.
John Pellowe
Canadian Leadership Corporation
Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

Jim Clemmer has written a book from the heart. Growing the Distance contains all the timeless principles that will inspire you to take the actions necessary to make those changes in your life and give a whole new meaning to the word “Success.” Financial gain does not provide the happiness you seek when not congruent with the internal choices of growth and change. To really succeed in all aspects of life, Jim has provided the game plan for you to follow.

External motivation is only a temporary aspect. This book has a heartbeat: listen to it, it will provide the energy and the knowledge to make those internal choices for your growth and change permanently. Choice in life is everything, and Jim has provided you the tools to choose how you respond to your future. Look no further, everything you need is here.
David Enright,
Retired Police Detective and Business Owner
Brampton, Ontario, Canada

Hi Jim,

I just finished reading Growing the Distance and what a treat it was. Every chapter evoked memories, some happy and some sad, but all part of living.

Some words and phrases I particularly enjoyed included:

Growing the Distance,” “zest lag,” “reality rut,” “If it’s to be it’s up to me,” “he’s so narrow-minded he could see through the keyhole with both eyes,” “imagineering,” “Pity City,” “misery series,” “whiney industry,” “the dog ate my homework,” “Pessimism Plague,” “my cope runneth over,” “if you bail, you fail,” “me deep in fooling myself,” “I strain,” “full head of esteem,” “truth decay,” “persistence goes the distance,” “life is a time-limited offer,” “always on the grow,” “mouse potato,” “lead to succeed,” “EQ not IQ,” “thank you or spank you culture,” “we to me ratio,” and “grow for it.”“The dog ate my homework” reminded me of one of my students last year when I collected the mid-term exam. She bemoaned the fact that her dog had done the dirty deed, but only after she had completed 80% (the four, question sections) of it. The look on her face was priceless when I went to my briefcase, pulled out a spare exam copy and handed it to her with the words, “This shouldn’t take you as long, seeing as how you’ve already finished all but the essay portion.”

I, too, embrace change, although it was not always that way. My epiphany came in late-1969, when I was forced to choose between staying in one production division at Kodak — and possibly (probably) regressing in assignment and pay — or moving to a different production division with development project opportunities. I chose to move and never look back. Although painfully shy at the time, when I re-located I forced myself to introduce myself to others. There was no downside to the move. The upside, within a year, saw me doing staff, and eventually supervisory, work on six different photographic and electronic media projects, spanning the next 19 years. I took early retirement as a Special Projects Manager, 32 years after starting as a building cleaner!

Actually, I didn’t retire. What I tell people is that I work part-time now, rather than full-time. I’ve been doing consulting and teaching for six years now and will continue to do so until I am no longer able, either physically or mentally, to carry on.

I look forward to using excerpts from Growing the Distance, with proper attribution, in my Human Resources Development course. Thank you again for the personalized copy of your book. I’ll be ordering the other ones shortly.

Sincerely,
Don Guillod
Group Specialist
Kawartha Highlands Education
Burnt River, Ontario, Canada

Dear Mr. Clemmer,

I am writing to let you know how much I appreciate your books and how they are helping us.

I am an employee at Lakeview Youth Custody Centre, near Campbell River. We are in the middle of bringing change to our place of work and up until I found your books, we were stumbling from pillar to post without much direction, but knowing we had to make changes.

Our former Director and Deputy Director were dictators in the military mold. “I have 25 years of experience and I know what I am doing.” Unfortunately, it was one year of experience repeated 25 times. The two of them turned our Centre into a swamp. Some of us embarked on a fight to bring sanity and change. It took us three years but we never gave up. Now we have a Director who is in line with your thinking, and we have embarked on a very exciting process of redesigning how we deliver service to the youth in our care.

I have written a program which focuses on changing attitudes, for both staff and youth, which eventually will be applied throughout British Columbia. I have been studying team building, leadership, training, and what we need to do to make our Centre an oasis and your book has been of great help. I have been extrapolating as your emphasis is on companies which sell or produce a product. We, on the other hand deal in people, and the end product is to return a youth to society with an improved attitude, a better way of thinking, and lifeskills which help him to meet and withstand the difficulties and challenges of life.

We have a very important client: The Public. And that client has two parts, the public and youth. The public needs to be protected and youth need to be changed. Very difficult, as we do not have an unlimited budget and cannot afford a consultant, so we have to do it all ourselves.

Further, we are in a system which may pay lip service to 21st century organizations but when they get back to their offices from courses, they slip back into their comfort zones and do not want to see change.

We are being watched very carefully by our former Director and other people in the senior hierarchy because if we fail they will trumpet “I told you so,” whereas when we succeed we will show them up to be archaic and inefficient.

I have been keeping track of our fight and hope it has some interest for you.

Sincerely,
Norman Reader
Corrections Officer
Lakeview Youth Custody Centre
Courtenay, British Columbia, Canada

Dear Mr. Clemmer:

This is the first time I have written a letter to the author of a book, and I must say that I have read a great number of them. It’s a miracle I have found this book, and more than a miracle that I have read it, because I have never before read this kind of book during my summer vacations. Growing the Distance is amazingly readable. It is full of wisdom, humor, common sense, love of mankind, etc. I could sing my praises on ten pages, but firstly I have to say that this book gave me answers to the three main questions that have bothered me for ages. I don’t know whether it will help me and the people whom I love in the long run, but right now I’m full of plans and enthusiasm (“as I have God within”) as you and ancient Greeks like to say.

More than this, I’m deeply convinced that every person in my country (I live in Georgia, now independent, but a few years ago part of USSR) must read this book attentively. Some time ago I was so concerned about expectations for the future and the life our children will inherit, but now I’m more optimistic, as Georgian people are clever and industrious. They are not afraid of changes and are ready to “grow the distance” themselves and strive for a better future for our country.

As for me, the first thing I wanted to do after finishing the book was to speak with somebody about it. As there was no other audience, except my family, I began to translate the most interesting extracts to my husband. He asked me for more and more.

Of course I want to join Growing the Distance-L to participate in the group discussions, and above all I would like to read your two previous books, Pathways to Performance and Firing on All Cylinders which are not available here.

I’ll be grateful to the whole group if Mr. Clemmer could find some time to read this letter, because after reading the book I have a feeling that he is one of my dearest friends.

With best wishes and kindest regards,

Sincerely yours,
Tina Nemsadze
Georgia (formerly part of USSR)

P.S. And I’m also grateful to Mrs. Westman, the teacher of the sixth graders who saw a writer of great talent in a little boy.

God bless you all.

Dear: Jim

CALM’s 1999 Annual Conference is over. The dust has settled. We are now beginning to develop a clear view of the results.

By all measures the indications are that it was our best conference yet:

  • The most attendees;
  • The best attended trade show;
  • The highest levels of attendee satisfaction;
  • The highest rated speakers

CALM’s mission is to advance the logistics and supply chain profession in Canada through communication and networking, education and training, and knowledge and leadership. It is through presentations like yours – executive-level experience, boardroom perspective and industry experience – that we achieve the mission of the organization.

On behalf of the members of CALM, thank you for all your efforts in preparing and presenting Growing the Distance: Timeless Principles for Personal, Career and Family Success. It was well received. You left the attendees wanting more.

Again, thank you for making this presentation and we look forward to the possibility of you speaking again at a future function.

Sincerely,
J. David Long
President
Canadian Association of Logistics Management
Markham, Ontario
Web site: www.calm.org

As a Career Management Counsellor I have noticed that people fail not because they are not good at something, but because they have no focus, or their attitude towards life, themselves, or others is a barrier. I enjoyed Growing the Distance because it validates my thoughts and outlook on life. It is simple. It is not new news – it’s not invented – it’s not a ‘rah rah,’ preaching type of read. It is like having a conversation with the wise old woman in the village. It’s a recipe for enjoying our time on this earth.
June Breeze, CHRP
Human Resources
DMR Consulting Group Inc.
Calgary, Alberta
Canada

I have discovered that Growing the Distance is like a good wine: it needs to be read slowly, with each page savored and appreciated. There is enough thought-provoking information on each page that I believe one needs to think, digest, and relate the information back to one’s own personal life. I read a few pages either in the morning or in the evening, and found it to contain some really insightful information. I would like to suggest that a condensed version (a pocket book) containing daily ‘gems’ might be of value. Imagine a book intended to be read on a daily basis with insightful comments or questions page by page, attempting to inspire the reader to make changes in their life. Food for thought.
Jeanne MacLennan
Teacher
Waterloo County School Board
Kitchener, Ontario
Canada

Thank you for the gift of wisdom presented in your workshop and Growing the Distance. I have stretched my comfort zone by challenging myself to pursue new goals. You are one of the most authentic trainers that it has been my pleasure to meet. Thank you for contributing to a positive change in my life!
Carol Donlon
St. Clements, Ontario
Canada

Congratulations on your new book, Growing the Distance. In my professional development and consulting profession, I read a lot of books. I have to say that your book is right up at the top of the list. There is no reason in the world that Growing the Distance shouldn’t be an absolute incredible success for you. After being on a road trip for ten days working with clients, I’ve had the chance to read it twice. I see Growing the Distance being more than a book you read once. It’s a book I will continually use as a personal resource tool. I’ve always enjoyed your writing style, but I have to say that this book has taken you to another dimension.

Again, congratulations on an outstanding book.
Ross Buchanan, CEO
Strategic Training International
Vancouver, British Columbia
Canada

I’m just back this evening from a short audio/visual convention in the U.S. and made it a priority to read Growing the Distance on the aircraft. I’ll tell you… it sure put me in the right frame of mind at the convention to learn, inquire, read, network, and even dream a little too!

Congratulations on a fine piece of writing. You have managed to string together nuggets of wisdom like pearls on a necklace. The book is attractive, readable, and the kind of reference I want to revisit again & again when facing tough decisions.

I just wish to thank you for the book and to let you know how much I enjoyed being inspired by it.
John Matlock, TV News Producer
Kitchener, Ontario
Canada

I am only half way through Growing the Distance, but felt that I had to write to tell you how helpful it has already been. The bite-sized format really gets the message across. In my training and consulting business I focus on small business owners. Often they do not read… and it is difficult to get them to do the reading that is necessary to really improve their business (and themselves). I am confident that I can use Growing the Distance to reinforce the concepts in our training programs.

The short stories and quotations really hit home! I will include a copy of Growing the Distance with many of the programs from now on.

Thanks for helping me to help others succeed in business!

Sincerely,
Jim Johnson
Johnson Training Associates
Calgary, Alberta
Canada

Thank you so much for forwarding me your new book, Growing the Distance. I just finished reading it this weekend – excellent! Lots of information — lots of things to think about. Yet it was easy to read and organized in such a way that would make it easy to pick up again and again and re-read particular chapters. I particularly liked the Growing Points at the end of each chapter, as well as the “stories” (e.g. Let’s Be Frank).
Lynda Kuiack
Director of Western Operations, Speakers’ Spotlight
Vancouver, BC, Canada

I am currently working on my Masters degree, focusing on quality and leadership. From reading your book, I recognized and learned that I really am working on me — that authentic leadership is working from the inside out.

Thanks for writing this book — it has helped me to recognize the qualities of a “true leader.” I will share this with my students, family, and friends.
Carmel C. Maloney
Instructor, Olds College
Olds, Alberta, Canada

I have just returned from a trip that took me to California and Arizona for two weeks and then back through Ottawa to St. John’s. During that time I read the book by Jim Clemmer which I found most interesting and enjoyable.

I thought that Mr. Clemmer’s book contained a great deal of excellent advice for anyone who is concerned with controlling how they behave and develop themselves and who is interested in a growing process in developing qualities of leadership that they might have. As the author says “how we change and control ourselves will determine the effect we have on others.” The book has much good advice to be followed for those who are interested in changing and controlling themselves and providing leadership in whatever activities they undertake.

The author’s analysis of what leadership is and how we all best develop our leadership qualities is really excellent and important for people to understand. There are many astute observations in this book including that while our organizing systems, technologies and the type of work we do change, people are still people, so that the human elements guiding our behavior are consistent.

The quotations made throughout the book to illustrate the points made about how to develop as a leader are always relevant and astute. Just one example is a quotation from Helen Keller who once said “Nothing is more tragic than someone who has sight but no vision.” That is a real insight.

Again I particularly appreciated the author’s views on what he calls the epidemic of the Victimitis Virus. He shows the danger of the holiness of always being the injured party and being the historically oppressed who find not only sanctity but safety in the state of victimization. Listening to radio open line shows in this day and age, we have example after example of people who think themselves to be victims and who use that thought or condition as an excuse to cease all efforts to help themselves. As the author so well points out, once infected with that Virus, the sufferers run away from personal responsibilities with excuses like “it’s not my job” or “I was just following orders” or “I am too old to change” or other suitable excuses.

It is very useful to have together in one book such thoughts as that of Eric Hoffer who is quoted as saying that “it still holds true that man is most uniquely human when he turns obstacles into opportunities.”

I have no hesitation in recommending this book to anyone who wishes to do some thinking or learning about how you can grow, how you can influence people and become a leader in whatever sphere you operate in. The book is written so that it is easy to understand, full of good advice and examples and not only well worth reading but entertaining and insightful as well.

Once again, it was really a fine piece of work and I hope that the author has a great success with sales of this most worthwhile book.
The Honourable John C. Crosbie, P.C., O.C., Q.C.
Former Senior Cabinet Minister, Federal and Provincial Governments of Canada

First of all thank you for the opportunity to review Jim’s latest work. To do the task justice I read the manuscript three times.

Jim’s writing style has a nice even flow to it. The work is not academic or preachy, and I enjoyed the layout style. I will say that the average person will be more apt to pick up books that have fewer words on each page, and fewer total pages. The idea of using two different fonts is visually appealing. It helps separate Jim’s writing from the stories and anecdotes. The graphics are cute and do add a touch of whimsy to the feel of the book. I think there’s room for a few more. I’m curious as to why you chose a balloon as the symbol for the front cover. The first connection my brain made was that a balloon is what you use to escape in (ala wizard of oz). Once I thought about it, a balloon is also something you can use to get a better perspective on things.

I found this to be a very compelling read on a very serious subject. The humorous quotes and stories are overshadowed by the more serious ones. Frank’s story is my favorite, and it carries quite an impact. It definitely drives me to think. I enjoyed “The Dash.” What I will say is that I found this refreshing to read. It is right on the mark. Change is personal and starts inside with commitment to change ourselves first. It is also damn hard work. It is not something you can “do” to somebody else, no matter what some author’s believe.

This book is personal. It does not pretend to give you the answers. This book is unique in that it is about who and why, not how and what. There are no process flow charts, no seven habits, seven steps, seven dwarfs. There are no statistics or instructions. Jim isn’t telling you what to do. This is not an instruction manual. It is a road map of the heart. It tells you about the towns along the way, but it doesn’t tell you which ones to stop at, which roads to take, how much gas to buy. That’s up to the reader, and Jim makes that very clear. (Pretty good analogy to the pathways theme, huh?)

Growing the Distance is definitely applicable for use by managers and training professionals attempting to help people throughout their organizations but I feel it depends on the organization and where they are on the readiness for change scale. Especially management levels that believe they have to “fix” their workforce, not themselves. The message that you have to make change happen with them, not to them, has to be crystal clear to people in management roles. And it has to start at the individual level. You hafta gotta wanna!

Congratulations on a job well done. Your passion for your work shines through in Growing the Distance. Of all the books on this subject I have read, this one comes closest to generating the “Aha!” that is required for people to fully understand the basic principles of personal development.

All the best in your future endeavours,

Mark Brzezicki, Supervisor
Training & Development Dofasco Inc.
P.O. Box 2460
Hamilton, ON L8N 3J5
Canada

Your writing is inspirational!! Growing the Distance has been unbelievably useful both in my career and @ home. In my humble opinion, while your E.Q. is outstanding, your courage & willingness to engage this awareness with others is a blessing for us all. Thank you!
Hollis Larson

Once I started reading, I couldn’t stop! The book so plump with humor and wisdom I found the need to share it immediately. It is like a magnificent movie you don’t want to end. Your purpose, vision and value have definitely inspired me, I can’t stop talking about it. Thanks for the Learning Experience.
Beverley Maloney
College of the North Atlantic

Corporate Reader Feedback

“We found Growing the Distance useful as a self-study resource for our Royal Bank Financial Group participants in a recent senior management program we conducted. Growing the Distance is very compelling on both a business and personal level, and it tied in very well to the learnings of our program.”
Joyce Marino, Program Manager
Executive Development – Royal Bank Financial Group

“At SanMar Canada we believe in growing our people… philosophically we think it is the only way to grow our business…and Growing the Distance provides an excellent framework and reference.”
Howie Todd, Vice President
SanMar Canada

Growing the Distance reinforces some important values that we often forget about…it helps pull these together in a way that is very encouraging. Copies were given to staff as recognition for their contribution to the organization, and as another tool for their personal development.”
Shirley Sung, Health Promotion Manager
BC Hydro

“We have used Growing the Distance as part of the launch of our new business plan this year. An important part of our focus to make our environment of change more manageable is how individuals can contribute, and take charge of their own destiny, and work life. This change is a two-way street it’s not something management can impose. Every employee received a copy of Growing the Distance, and Jim launched the session at our kickoff. It has been a wonderful success. A number of employees have said that they feel it has changed their lives forever. It’s very motivational. I’m recommending it highly to people who are struggling with balancing home life, personal life, spiritual life, trying to define where they are going, and what they are doing. I’ve actually heard from a couple of spouses of employees that the book was just incredible. I’ve also had feedback suggesting that we have Jim come into our regular monthly all-employee meetings to talk about some of the principles in this book, such as finding balance in life, how to take charge, and take responsibility.”
Cindy McNichol, Vice President
People & Values, Maritz Canada

“We bought 10 copies of Growing the Distance and we use it all the time in our leadership meetings. We read excerpts, work through the exercises together, and then discuss the ideas. I also presented Chapter 5 (Passion and Commitment) to our entire Ottawa team (approximately 50 people) and used “presenters” who read passages. It was very effective and extremely well received. Many thanks for all the great ideas!
Brian Locking, Operations Manager
Real Estate Distribution Services

“In reading Growing the Distance, it struck me how using short formats and accessible/evocative terms, you touch the essence of what most human beings wish to achieve, that is: evolve towards a more meaningful and fulfilling life. I think your book is at the junction of psychology and philosophy, in that it shows how simple changes in our perceptions and attitudes, can transform inner (and often unconscious or unspoken) aspirations into a global philosophy of life. The beauty of the principles established in your book is that they can be applied in various fields of our lives and arise at different stages and degrees, in the constantly renewed challenges we encounter.”
Hйlиne Rouleau, Senior Counsel
Law Department (Quebec), RBC Financial Group

“What a fantastic read! I have never read a book on leadership that combined such a complete package. It is an easy read, yet it took me a while to read it, because within each page was so much thought-provoking information that you just said, “wow” and reread it again (out loud). Fantastic! I can’t say enough, but I can say thank you.
Brian Carr, Business Owner

“I just finished reading Growing the Distance while on holidays. I wanted to say thank you for such a tremendous book – the thoughts and ideas will be something that will be used by myself and with my team for a long time. Every once in a while, I come across some work that helps me refocus and hopefully grow – I believe your book will help me do that.”
Bob King, Marketing Manager
Wilkinson Steel