February 25, 2020
Episode #82 – Bruce Firestone – Making Impossible Possible
“You’ve got to act if you want to change your life; when you find your why, to everything else say no; you should only have people in your life that verify – don’t have people in your life that you don’t like and don’t trust; and if you don’t believe in yourself, no one else will.” – Bruce Firestone
Bruce M Firestone is best known as an entrepreneur and founder of NHL hockey team, the Ottawa Senators, their home arena, Canadian Tire Centre, and the Ottawa Senators Foundation which is a children’s charity.
Bruce is also an author, professor, coach, consultant, mentor, real estate broker (with Century 21 Explorer Realty Inc), Ottawa Business Journal columnist, novelist and urban guru.
Prof Bruce is an effective keynote speaker for organizations with a positive focus on creating opportunities for their stakeholder group. He also advises counties, towns and cities as well as economic development agencies on how to develop effective and impactful communities based on the principal that nothing is sustainable unless it is also economically sustainable.
Bruce has his PhD in urban economics from the Australian National University in Canberra and his Master of Engineering-Science from the University of New South Wales in Sydney as his civil engineering degree from McGill University in Montreal. His twin mottos are: MAKING IMPOSSIBLE POSSIBLE and FEHAJ: FOR EVERY HOME A JOB
- Show Notes
- [02:08] Patrick introduces his next guest Bruce Firestone.
- [05:12] Bruce and Patrick get rollin’ with a conversation about the Freedom 95 Plan.
- [06:58] With an extremely diverse background, Bruce talks about what he is currently up to, and why he decided to pursue it.
- [10:56] Finding his “why” and his purpose has not only been hugely impactful for Bruce but also for his clients. He tells a story which illustrates this beautifully.
- [16:19] With a bucketload of education under his belt including his PhD, Bruce describes how he got tuned into entrepreneurship from Sydney, Australia over to Ottawa, Ontario with a few roller disco rinks, his instincts and a splash of courage.
- [22:15] The power of coaching within all pursuits.
- [26:15] Bruce talks a bit about his rough childhood and hits home the point that our past need not determine our future.
- [28:35] Bruce attributes his involvement in team sports to shaping his character and providing a foundation which he didn’t get from his home life. He passionately delves into the importance for all kids to get involved team sports, and rallies for more women’s leagues.
- [32:37] Getting beat up with through-the-roof interest rates in office building development, Bruce explored two big ideas with two hockey buddies. One, get into the mini-storage business or two, buy 600 acres in Ottawa, build an arena and get an NHL expansion franchise. They opted for number two.
- [36:01] Bruce describes the space he and his partners were in to make this grand vision a reality.
- [37:20] Using his “Brucelets” for imagery, Bruce examines the difference between a person like him who thinks big, acts on it and does the deal and a person who talks about it, plays small or doesn’t do the deal. Believe in yourself.
- [41:47] Bruce and Patrick riff more on trust. Surround yourself with the right people who provide support and in turn a mutual trust can flourish. Community, culture and environment – that’s the secret sauce.
- [46:05] Getting back to the NHL Franchise, Bruce talks about the journey of ownership with the Ottawa Senators, game changing decisions, franchise bankruptcy and finding strength in adversity.
- [51:02] As challenging as this time was for Bruce with creditor demands and a large family to support, he supported his mental space with physical activity and taking each day one step at a time. Don’t avoid the problem, meet it head on and have the tough conversations. With this approach, he avoided personal bankruptcy through negotiation with the bank and the tax agency.
- [56:53] With a shorter runway at the age of 54, Bruce needed to look at different ways to build a portfolio than he may have done at 34. Through his coaching and brokering, Bruce’s company revolutionized the revenue side of the business with something they call Property Animation.
- [60:34] Bruce provides a couple of examples of what property animation looks like.
- [63:40] Business models, scales of success, and investment in the velocity of your goals.
- [69:53] Bruce talks about his passion for writing and the great benefits he has enjoyed from adopting a regular yoga practice. Not the least of which was introducing it to the Ottawa Senators hockey team (they went to the playoffs that year… coincidence?).
- [73:30] Hard-wired for an early morning rise, Bruce describes his routine both now and when he was a younger man.
- [75:03] Getting to the true heart of a person’s desires through inquiry and deep listening, is the most important and effective way a coach can develop and support their client.
- [78:04] Running with Rapid Fire! Current book he’s reading and how he would love to develop it into an urban development model; favourite inspirational quote; message at the pearly gates tied together with sage advice from an early mentor; room-desk-car; favourite movie; favourite tune and theme song; favourite swear word.
- [85:30] Bruce’s gratitude and the value of life experience.
Connect with Bruce Firestone:
Selected Links and People Mentioned from this episode:
Ottawa Senators National Hockey League Team
Books Bruce has authored
Biggest Little Farm documentary
Backyard Homesteading by David Toht