What Life is about People means to me

Today was our fortieth presentation. We woke up, say goodbye to our incredible billets, drove to the school, and set up. The crowd of 160 students were filled with excitement for what was to come in the next hour. The preshow lights panned over the audience illuminating the gymnasium and the Live Different banners. I looked across the gym to see the banners that read, “Life is About People”. The motto of LiveDifferent is not only true to our tour, but also our lives.
There have been many great moments while on tour. One that stands out the most was when Tayler and I had the opportunity to talk to a young woman about her anxiety. I saw how our presentation could make an impact on people’s lives since she felt comfortable enough to open up to us. She spoke of times when she would get so anxious that she would not be able to continue what she was doing. By the end of the conversation, it was evident that the presentation had impacted her and that we had made a difference.
Within each one hour presentation, we hope to make this sort of connection with even just one person. For that one person to realize they have the opportunity to own their story and move past the negativity that has been weighing them down for so long is extremely rewarding. When people are struggling they often believe that they are alone, but as we share our stories they begin to understand that they are not alone. There will always be someone there to listen. We have the opportunity to go into schools every day and encourage students to have hope, and that they can make a difference in their lives and the lives of others.
Life is about people. From my time with LiveDifferent, I have learned the importance of making connections. Knowing that I helped make a difference in the lives of students, even if they just reflected on their life for a minute, is what has made this opportunity such a great experience. I have been thankful to spend forty presentations with so many amazing people. Although the tour
may only last a year, the friends that I have made will last a lifetime!
 – Maryssa, Road Team Intern, Fall 2015

Author: LiveDifferent

Date: November 23rd, 2015

Manifesto of the Brave and Brokenhearted

Here at LiveDifferent, we love the ‘straight-to-the-heart’ style of Brene Brown’s books and speeches. Her work has been such a huge inspiration to us as we’ve put together our motivational presentations this year, and we love this video that was put together for her new book. Check it out, and consider making it your own manifesto this year!


I created this piece for Brené Brown to invite folks into her latest book/offering Rising Strong. Look for TWOTP films from the book coming this Fall.Get Brené’s new book: a TWOTP subscription:

Posted by The Work of the People on Sunday, 6 September 2015



Manifesto of the Brave and Brokenhearted

There is no greater threat to the critics and cynics and fearmongers,

than those of us who are willing to fall, because we’ve learned how to rise.

With skilled knees and bruised hearts,

we choose owning our stories of struggle, 

over hiding, over hustling, over pretending.

When we deny our stories, they define us.

When we run from struggle, we are never free.

So we turn toward truth, and look it in the eye. 

We will not be characters in our stories.

Not villains, not victims, not even heroes. 

We are the authors of our lives.

We write our own daring endings. 

We craft love from heartbreak, compassion from shame,

grace from disappointment, courage from failure. 

Showing up is our power. Story is our way home. Truth is our song.

We are the brave and brokenhearted.

We are Rising Strong. 


Author: LiveDifferent

Date: September 11th, 2015

It’s Aaaalive!

This is the first official blog from team number one, and it’s a little bit late in the making since this is supposed to be a weekly blog and we have been together for almost a month now. But we feel as if now is when we are starting to look at how far we have come in the last month.
The LiveDifferent tour has gone from this unfathomable level of awesome that we all are supposed to go along with, to something that we molded into our own. What I mean by this is that once we began our training week the presentation seemed to run and we seemed to be doing nothing but catch up. We were told how there would be amazing lights and sound, epic videos and interactions, and life changing and soul inspiring stories. We were told that the presentation was going to wow the crowd and change people’s worlds. A picture slowly began to develop in my mind of the presentation being this enormous creature that was going to parade itself across Canada and we, as interns, were going to scamper along in its shadow pretending that we knew what we were doing. The show became this huge figure in my mind that was large and in charge. 
(Photo by Kara!)
As the training weeks went on I began seeing that the presentation was not really that complete. As we began creating the set, I saw us creating the bones. Then, almost all at once, the music became the voice, the lights became the smile, and the stories became the heart and this wonderfully monstrous presentation that had been so overwhelming became this creation that we constructed as a team and we own as a team. It was at our first schools, Green Glade in Mississauga and Sam Sherratt in Milton, that we really saw that the whole presentation, intro to outro, was all a part of us; it was all something that we created. 
Every little detail was our detail, ever movement was our movement, and every word that was spoken was our words. The presentation has gone from something that we are a part of, to something that is a part of us and I am proud to say that that tour that team one is on has officially become team one’s tour.
– Kara, LiveDifferent Tour Intern, Fall 2014

Author: LiveDifferent

Date: September 10th, 2014

No Big Deal

It’s 6AM and I roll off my latest air mattress in a dark basement. I couldn’t tell you what city I’m in. I wash my face and begin my day. A beautiful thing about life that I’ve noticed is that it seems no matter where you go in Canada, when provided with cereal by any billet, the delicious brand of Raisin Bran cereal is unquestionably there. After a delectable breakfast, the day begins. I pack all of my things back into my bag, back onto the bus and cuddle up in a seat for Sleeping Part II until I get to the school. Once arriving at the school, I bundle up for the loading in process. I’m trusted with small cases, trusses, and rolling cases…but I have faith that I could take on the big heavy sub one day! Once everything is loaded in, we each start our individual jobs in setting up. I have to figure out the power, which never seems to be as easy as just plugging it all in. Things are all set up and the students start loading in and that’s when the excitement sets in. Zoe and I usually have a small dance party at the back table.To be honest however, the best part of the day usually starts once the shows all over. We could have had a terrible show, the sound cut out or maybe the lights computer decided to just turn off for fun, but without fail, students will come and hang out with us after and tell us it was an awesome show. I get to meet so many amazing students, some who have these incredible stories and some who are just plain fun to hang out with! And the number of awesome people I meet in a day just grows and grows by the time I arrive at a billet’s. These people have no idea who I am, but I just show up at their front door with my life contained in a duffel bag and they welcome me with open arms, food and a shower. Every day I am amazed at how kind and giving these people are to us total strangers. Despite the early mornings and often exhaustingly long days, it’s the people that I’m meeting every single day (not to mention the people I share this stinky yellow bus with) that make this all worthwhile. No big deal but…my life is awesome!Alex, a School of Leadership Student on the road

Author: LiveDifferent

Date: March 2nd, 2011

Team One Checking In

Team One checking in. We have been in BC and loving it. The schools have been amazing and each of our billets have been great. One host family even took the whole team out whale watching in Ucluelet. (I must admit the team agreed they have never been more cold!). We went out in this little boat called the Zodiak. It was just big enough to fit the ten of us, and it was windy, but it was so worth it. We saw bald eagles, sea lions, went through the broken Islands, and then saw not one, but two whales. It was amazing! Thank you Al and Margie, that is one boat ride we will never week before that we were in Bowser, after we exhausted all of our Mario Brothers puns, I received an e-mail. Not long ago there was a murder in Duncan: a teenage girl named Tyeesha. They were having a memorial for her and wanted us to come and Bondless to play a concert. You see Bondless was her favourite band and her mom wanted them to come and play. So after our show in Courtney that morning we drove to Duncan. There we met an awesome guy named Jeff.Jeff was putting this whole thing together. It was called the “Take Back the Night Walk”. We went to the center and set up our stage. It had been a long day but the SOL’s were happy to be there and happy to help. I’m not sure what time the walk started but the building we were in was the finish line. At about 8:30pm people began entering. It took almost 30 min for everyone to file in. There were over 3,000 people there. It was amazing to see all those people come together for one cause, and that we had the opportunity to be a part of it. At about 11:00pm the speakers were all done and the band started playing. It was truly a great way to end the night.It has been amazing here on the island and we can’t wait to see more of BC. Next stop – Vancouver!

Author: LiveDifferent



September 22nd, 2010, our first arrival in Quebec! A good long nine or so more hours of driving. Finally arriving in a town called “La Tuque”. When we first got there we were welcomed by the teachers and slowly started to unload our gear into the gym and get ready for tomorrows performance, we also ended up sleeping in the school so we had the whole place to ourselves! We woke up around 6am the next morning only to be eating large muffins and setting up the equipment for the show. We ended up having a “Think Global” right before the show, where we had a small presentation in a class and sat down with students in groups and discussed issues going on in our world today such as “Poverty” and how it differs from each country and what we can do to help out and make a difference.


Finally, the show. The school was small, only having around 78 students in total. But this was super awesome as we really got to connect with these students personally through our presentation. The best part of all is that they all spoke French, and it was so cool, the fact that they are Canadian, but speak French. I loved it! We also got to learn a couple words as well and hangout and talk with everyone.


Best part of the day; yeah you guessed it, the poutine! The whole highlight of my tour, the one thing I was looking forward to the most. Having a poutine, right here in Quebec. The cheese, gravy and the fries just made my day.


This whole tour has been LiveDifferent (formerly Absolute)ly amazing so far and I know it can only get better. The fact that we can enter a school and talk to teens around Canada. Giving them HOPE, letting them know that they are all so important and that their lives have so much purpose and no matter what they have been through, there is still and forever will be hope.


Next stop Gaspé

Author: LiveDifferent

Date: September 24th, 2010

Shane and Kate Plus Eight

September 10, 2010We are team one, and because there are ten of us and our road team leaders are Shane and Katie, we have dubbed ourselves, “Shane and Kate Plus Eight”Today we had to be up and out the door at 6:20am. SOO EARLY. One of our neighbors wasn’t too pleased to wake up to the sound of our bus engine so she decided to let us know!Then he went onto the bus. The drive to Bishop Ryan Catholic Secondary School was once again another quiet ride. Everyone was so tired and anxious to present our second Think Day presentation.Once we arrived at the school we were in a crunch to set up. But we started on time and the students were instantly interested in the opening video. I watched the facial expressions from a few students go from not giving-a-care to quite excited within seconds. Once Shane and I entered the stage to start, the students were right into the show. The girls LOVED Bondless, our band that is touring with us this semester! They were clapping and singing along. It was great! When it came time for LiveDifferent (formerly Absolute)’s “Disband” (where we have a group of students and teachers pretend we are on American Idol), the students (judges) were very great and cooperative, they stayed in character and had fun with it. The teachers were great as well – they rocked hard and the students decided that they had what it takes to make it in today’s music industry.After the show, there were swarms of students surrounding the Bondless table. When I talked to a few of the students, a comment I heard multiple times was, “the stories are so real” and “[Shane’s] story reminded me of then I was [2] because…”. It was encouraging to me as a student to hear how these students can relate to our stories. Overall, I’d say that the students loved it! We were a hit!~ Emily, LiveDifferent (formerly Absolute)’s School of Leadership student

Author: LiveDifferent

Date: September 12th, 2010

School of Leadership Orientation in Hamilton

LiveDifferent (formerly Absolute) would like to welcome our School of Leadership students to Hamilton!  This school year holds a lot of adventure as they take their turn spending one semester touring with our Think Day presentation delivering a strong and valuable message of self-worth and purpose to high school students all over Canada. The rest of their time as SOL students they will call Mexico their home as they complete a course on International Social Justice and assist in hosting Hero Holidays, our humanitarian aid trip experience.Welcome students, we look forward to seeing the impact you will have on the people you will encounter over the course of this year: changing the world, and being changed in the process.

Author: LiveDifferent

Date: September 2nd, 2010

Team 2 is back on the road!

Team 2 with our busIt’s a beautiful evening for driving, as the sun is setting over the tree tops of northern Michigan and we cruise west on US Highway 2. Team 2 is a little under half way through the two thousand and some odd kilometer trip from our home base in Hamilton, ON to the prairie province of Manitoba, where we begin a five week tour through Central Canada.

There are nine of us making this great voyage together. Rachelle, an LiveDifferent (formerly Absolute) road team veteran who joined up with our team for our eastern tour is now back in Hamilton, where she’ll be looking after the dorm (and making sure Team 1 doesn’t make a mess when they get back :P).Reading on the bus DJ is pumpin’ tunes from his iPod while he drives and by the rhythms he’s beating on the steering wheel, I’d say it’s a hardcore breakdown. Meagan is reading some Harry Potter; when a new Potter book comes out, I usually lose my wife for a day or two, but luckily she’s already read this one before. Christian is doing some writing; staring with great focus and determination at his laptop monitor. All three students (Bryan, Laura, and Melissa) are acting very studious at the moment, reading this month’s assigned book “Not For Sale” by David Batstone and working on their book reports. Hammer is also staring with great focus and determination at his laptop monitor, but he’s playing a video game, “Diablo” to be precise. And Nicole is not with us, but will be meeting up with us in Winnipeg tomorrow afternoon.

JP speakingI feel incredibly fortunate to be on this bus right now, to be a part of LiveDifferent (formerly Absolute)’s Think Day tours. I’ve seen small glimpses of the huge impact that our message is having in the lives of students across this country. It’s a message that I believe can resonate with every student who hears it, and not because our teams are stacked with professionally trained speakers or high profile celebrities. Those who have been a part of our tours over the past 9 or so years all share something even more powerful: brokenness, hurt and pain. You see, in a society where those things are considered weakness, we see them as great strength. We have all made mistakes and we have all experienced times of great trial or suffering. While most would much rather burry the scars of their past and put on their best face for the world, we have seen the incredible disarming power of honesty and vulnerability, the healing and hope that can come when brave individuals give up on the masquerade and share their stories. There are seven such brave individuals sitting with me in this bus right now, and I am proud to call them friends.

After four years of travelling with LiveDifferent (formerly Absolute) teams across this beautiful country, I am sad to say that this will be my last tour. Meagan and I will still be involved with LiveDifferent (formerly Absolute), but it’s time to pass on the torch  to someone else and settle down (our backs are sore and our hair is either going grey or falling out, not an exaggeration in the least). Night has fallen on Highway 2, but tomorrow brings another day of adventure and purpose for our team. Though you may not be travelling with one of our teams and speaking in front of thousands of Canadian students, I hope that you too will find the strength to share your own story with those around you. You may never know the life and hope that it can bring.



p.s. Here’s a funny moment from our past tour we haven’t told you about yet: Some of the girls on our team really enjoy cooking for our team, so one evening while we were staying in a church, we went grocery shopping to get all the ingredients for Rachelle’s broccoli cheddar soup. While some were making other preparations for the soup, one team member, who will remain anonymous to prevent lifelong harassment, was asked to wash the broccoli. Alright, fine, it was Hammer (sorry dude). Anyway, after washing the nutritiously rich vegetable, Hammer handed it over to be chopped up and added to the soup. When supper was ready, Team 2 gathered in this church kitchen for a delicious meal lovingly prepared by Rachelle and some others. The first number of spoon-fulls were quite good, but within about five minutes of everyone digging in, hesitant whispers began to fill the air. We began taking a closer look at the soup. Small grey flecks that at first glance appeared to be pepper or pieces of the broccoli were now in question. As they came into focus, we began to notice many such flecks, numerous within each team member’s bowl, some very small, some much larger…and then we saw the legs. That was where the meal and appetite ended for most of the team that night, thanks to a special recipe that we now lovingly call BBS (Broccoli Bug Soup). Let me know if you want the recipe!

Author: LiveDifferent

Date: April 19th, 2010

Team 1’s Awesome Adventures!

What could be cooler than visiting the town of Banff and spending an evening in the Hot Springs? How about hitting up one of the biggest malls in North America, West Edmonton Mall? Or maybe snowboarding the mountains of Whistler?… let us pause here for a moment of silence as I reminisce carving through the ‘pow’, as us seasoned snowboarders call it… Man, that was unreal!! Shall we continue? How about whale watching off the islands of British Columbia? Which actually turned into a 4 meter high swell and wave boat ride through crazy pacific ocean coast! Unreal! Did I mention we met Joshua Jackson, aka Pacey from Dawson‘s Creek? These are just some of the many adventures we’ve had thus far on our west coast tour with the LiveDifferent (formerly Absolute) team and The Ocean Buried. 





It’s been an unreal adventure for myself, not just because of the adventures, but for many reasons.


First let’s talk about billets. What is a billet? As the dictionary would define it, “a lodging for a soldier, student, etc., as in a private home or nonmilitary public building.” As I would define it, amazing people who willingly sacrifice their family’s privacy by opening up their home to us and providing amazing home cooked meals, which are a sweet relief from random McDonald’s and Subway stops, and who also turn out to be some of the coolest and generous people you’ll ever meet. Why do they do this? Because they believe… they believe in our purpose, which is the second reason this tour has been an unreal adventure.


I remember growing up questioning whether I’d ever do anything of significance. Through life situations and my own stupidity, I often questioned if I could make any difference in this world and often doubted my ability to do so. I’ve soon come around all that because of decisions I’ve made in my life and have been able to be apart of some really cool things reaching out to a lot of people, one of which has been this tour with LiveDifferent (formerly Absolute) where our purpose has been to bring a message of purpose, no pun intended, to hundreds of students, letting them know they are valuable and able. Now that’s been pretty cool, and has definitely been an adventure. I remember the first show I was a part of. I believe it was a packed show with approximately 500 students in attendance. It was exhilarating being able to tell all these students they were created with purpose by sharing my own story of perseverance. Talk about the biggest high you’ve ever had. Look out LSD here comes the power to empower, Lol. No, not funny? Okay, I may be lame but nonetheless it was awesome. My favourite part has definitely been our Think Global workshops. I love this for multiple reasons. One, I get to educate some young minds and I don’t even have a teaching degree! Talk about your biggest loop hole ever! I totally worked the system, lol. Okay I didn’t. Second, I get to speak about global issues such as hunger and slavery and open the eyes of many students. Thirdly, it’s usually a little more informal and I get to be as serious as I want and as lame as I want all at once.


The last and final reason this has been an unreal adventure is because of the team. Let’s just say our team gels almost too well. The Ocean Buried… awesome! Such a good group of guys and talk about hilarious! Furthermore, they’re a sick band and have some big hearts. Students… Killer! It’s cool to work along side Kelsey and Adrian; to laugh with them and laugh at them… jk. Nah, seriously, they rock and work really hard, and I believe, if they choose too, could make a real impact beyond what they have already done. The other leaders… well they’re okay… lol. Actually, they’re a good back bone. Its good to know there is someone to turn to on the road when you just need to vent, and I’m pretty sure anyone of these 9 peeps would be more than willing to lend an ear if I, or anyone, needed one.



So I’ll end with this oh beautiful blog readers: Tour equals Awesome Adventures which also equals Lives Changed including my own as I aspire to change others. Do you love how I threw in some math for all you math lovers? Do LOVE it?!


Keep it real!



Author: LiveDifferent

Date: April 17th, 2010