August 31, 2022

The Canadian Deadlift

What putting a canoe on my head taught me about the ‘heavy lifting’ in anything.

Every year for the past 25 years, I go on a whitewater canoe trip in the Canadian near north. We drive north for 5 hours, then bump along a logging road for another three and half hours, and get dropped off by the side of a river.

For six days, there’s no cell reception, no Starbucks, no Facebook, and certainly no porters to carry your bags.

Yes, its pretty awesome.

At around the half-way point, we have to portage around a spectacular set of falls called Grandes Chutes. The portage trail, while maintained, is better suited to a mountain goat than a person carrying a canoe.

But I love this trip so much, I want to keep doing this for the next 25 years. And that means I had better stay in canoe-carrying condition for a long, long time.

When I got home, I looked at the equipment in my home gym. Then I looked out my back window, and realized that the perfect weight-training regimen was right there in my backyard.

But I got far more out the exercise than just the strength I need to confidently carry the canoe. I learned that no matter what you do — whether it’s putting a canoe on your head, or anything that demands ‘heavy lifting’, like professional speaking, workshop facilitation, category design, or storytelling, always put technique before muscle.

Watch me doing it by playing the vids below!

Part 1 (4:12 minutes)

Part 2 (2:30 minutes)

— Michel, Creator of Inside-Out Storytelling

Related posts

Related Posts

What’s Your Essential Message?

What’s Your Essential Message?

Testimonials and The Negativity Bias

Testimonials and The Negativity Bias

Life, The Universe, and French Toast!

Life, The Universe, and French Toast!

How Usain Bolt Helped Me Speed Past My Audience’s Greatest Skepticism

How Usain Bolt Helped Me Speed Past My Audience’s Greatest Skepticism

Michel Neray


What really drives me is helping companies and individuals to drill down to the core of their unique value and differentiation, and then craft their Essential Message' that attracts and connects with audiences and stakeholders... including customers, investors, strategic partners, and top talent. As a professional speaker, trainer, and consultant for over 30 years, I've worked with leaders and sales teams in more than nine countries around the world, from Montreal to Moscow, and from Israel to Iran.

I love to lead workshops, speak at conferences, and work with clients one on one.... as much as I love to spend time with family, paddle whitewater, ride my motorcycle (hard), and write and perform my songs...

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}
>