Photo Contest Winners – “Me Then and Now”

Written by Carla Rieger on . Posted in Creativity & Innovation, Employee Engagement & Team Building, Fun, Humor, laughter

Contest entrants were asked to scan an image of themselves as a child and then “recreate” it as an adult.

 1st Prize goes to Alvin Epp – Speaker, coach and author “Through the Eyes of Guilt” 

10369016_10202954212509419_5895065339588684497_oAlvin now black and white

My mom gave me this photo just months before she passed away last year. I was 6 years old and it was in 1965 near Yarrow, BC on our farm. I was always in rubber boots in the summer.   A few days ago, my wife and I drove past the old farm house.  Everything was still the same!  So we recreated the photo.  It was an odd feeling stopping and looking at the place I grew up.  It’s been 50 years – from 6 to 56. My how time flies. There are so many great stories and adventures that the 6 year old would never have dreamed would happen.

 2nd Prize goes to Anastasia Modestova  – Videographer at

Anastasia - as adult


I was 4 years old in this picture. I used to be a VERY serious girl. Friends of my parents tried their best to make me smile. Baby talk etc… Hahaha. They never succeeded… I was listening transfixed, silently, looking directly at their eyes. I can imagine their disappointment… 🙂 Now I am totally different. It took me 10 minutes to make a photo with such a serious face. 




 3rd Prize goes to Marsha Therese Danzig, Healer, Author, Yogi


At 14 years old, I was going through chemo and as a result of my illness I became an amputee. In this photo at 51, I am a Cape Cod Kitten Dancer! Due to my experiences as a child I devoted my life to yoga and helping others like me. I have since founded three international yoga programs: Yoga for Amputees, Pediatric Yoga and Color Me Yoga for Children. Joy has been a powerful catalyst for change and healing:




 Honourable Mentions go to:

Vesanto Melina 

Vesanto-Me Now and Then






Raymond Maaske 

Raymond MAASKE










Carla Rieger – Speaker Coach and Change Leadership Expert


Carol Ann Fried – Teambuilding and Fun at Work Expert

Carol Ann




The Enjoyable Workplace: 8 Springtime Joy Breaks

Written by Carla Rieger on . Posted in Creativity & Innovation, Employee Engagement & Team Building, Fun, Humor, laughter, Leadership, Stress

flowersLily Tomlin once said, “For fast-acting relief, try slowing down.”

The antidote to exhaustion may not be more rest…but adding something joyful to your day instead. It can be challenging to do that, though, once you get into overdrive.

Joy Breaks may be your answer. One to ten-minute Joy Breaks can renew you throughout the day. When you let yourself have a few moments of enjoyment, your mood lifts—and your productivity and effectiveness increase dramatically.

Business guru Tom Peters maintains, “The number one premise of business is that it ought to be fun.

Life is short. On your deathbed, you won’t remember all the things you accomplished on your TO DO list; you’ll mainly remember the precious moments of enjoyment.

Anything that stimulates the creative mind is a good place to start. If you can learn to switch back and forth between work and play throughout the day, you may find you leave the office with a bounce in your step.

Gain the support of those around you by letting them know what you need, and where possible, include them. Instead of reaching for another coffee or a chocolate bar, consider some of these healthy alternatives for uplifting your spirit, relaxing your mind, and energizing your body. These ideas were taken from a list of the most popular ideas in North American workplaces both small and large:

1. Flowers

Go outside with a pair of clippers. Clip a few flowers. Put them in a vase, and place them in your work area.

2. Music

Play Baroque music to open up your creativity and soothe your mind. I suggest Vivaldi’s Four Seasons (especially Spring). Use a headset if you don’t want to disturb others nearby.

3. Mini-Golf in the Office

Many people love golf in the Spring, but don’t have the time to get to the course. Take a few golf clubs and golf balls to each department. Have each department create a golf-hole—use whatever you can find: paper cup, trash can, etc. When you need to go to another department for a meeting or to get some information, you simply “golf” your way there. You can keep track of your score. Those who get a hole-in-one get a special prize.

4. Easy Button

EasyAt most Staples stores you can buy the “Easy” button. Give one to each of your workmates. When any of you finishes a task big or small, hit the button and it will say “That was easy!”. Hearing that all day long gives people a sense of fun productivity and maybe even a little bit of competition to get more things done easily.

5. Wall of Fun

Set up a wall in a staff area for fun stuff. On a bulletin board put cartoons, favourite joke, fun photos from a staff event. One person each month is responsible for supplying material for the “fun wall”, but anyone can contribute.

6. Gratitude Walk

Go for a ten-minute walk. Observe five things you are grateful for or appreciate—such as the trees and flowers starting to bloom again, cloud formations, sunshine, the sound of children playing, the comfortable shoes you are wearing, etc.

7. Vacation Planning

As we head closer to summer, you can take ten-minute breaks to plan your time off. Peruse travel books, make hotel reservations, write a note to relatives telling how you’d like to spend time with them, etc.

8. Fun Lunchtimes 

Take a dance class, bring a sketchpad for drawing, play badminton with a colleague on the lawn, take a bike ride, play double-solitaire with a workmate.

Use some of these activities, or make up your own. Create a list of 8 things you can go do when your energy slumps, and put that list in a place where you will see it.

Every time you do a Joy Break, check that activity off the list. Some people go so far as to give themselves a gold star. Positive reinforcement can help make joy a regular occurrence, and help you kick the worry habit.

In the words of Oscar Wilde, “Life is too important to be taken seriously.”

May the FUN be with you!


Carla Rieger…is an expert on fun at work and change management. If you are planning a meeting and need a great speaker go to:  604-222-2276

Email carla [at] carlarieger [dot] com




How to Find Humorous Stories to Tell

Written by Carla Rieger on . Posted in Build Your Expert Business, Fun, Humor, laughter, Public Speaking, Videos

If you lead teams, coach, educate or speak to groups, try telling a humorous story. It captures interest and helps people remember important points. Best mistakes stories, in particular, are great for teaching safety awareness and problems to avoid. They also build rapport by helping you appear more “human” to your listeners.

Think of a time in your life where a mishap befell you, where an embarrassing thing occurred, where you made a mistake, you had an accident, something bizarre happened to you; maybe it seemed hard at the time but later you laughed at it. There is an old saying that goes, “Some day we will look back at all this and laugh.” I like to say, “Why wait?” Check out this short video below for quick tips on adding humorous stories to your repertoire.


As the old saying goes: Blessed are we who can laugh at ourselves for we shall never cease to be amused.  In fact, a great formula for humor is:    Humor = Embarrassment + Time. With that in mind, think of a story from your life that you can now laugh at. Maybe you couldn’t laugh in the moment, but now you can. It could be something small.

For example, back in the day of pagers, a woman told me that she went to a realtor’s conference because she wanted to see what it would be like to be a realtor. During the conference she noticed that everyone had pagers. At lunch she went home and put her garage door opener on her belt. When she went back to the conference, a guy walked up to her and said, “Nice garage door opener you’ve got there.”

Another example was a woman who went to the store…click here for more

She was in line with her items, but one item didn’t have a price on it. The cashier got on the microphone and announced “Price check needed on aisle 13 for Tampax, super size.”

The employee at the back of the store instead heard “thumbtacks,” so he got back on the microphone and said, “Do you want the kind you push in with your thumb or the kind you pound in with the hammer?”

Another example is when I was doing a series of presentations in Montana. I had gone for a run in the morning in Great Falls. When I got back to my rental car I realized that the key to my car was no longer in my waist belt. Clearly, it had fallen out in the grass and the grass was 3 inches tall. I looked but I couldn’t find it. My purse, all my money, everything was in the rental car. I had to get on a plane in 3 hours.

There were no cell phones in those days, only pay phones. And, there were only two people in the park. There was a little old man feeding the pigeons, and a guy, about 18 years old, smoking a cigarette, leaning against a tree. He had a Mohawk that was dyed green, and had the words “Pig Killers” tattooed on his head. I went to talk to the old man.

I said, “Do you have a quarter that I could use for the phone?

He said “Yes” and he gave me a quarter and I called the rental car company.
I said, “Look, I lost the key and I gotta get into my car and get to the airport.”
The rental agent says, “Sorry honey, we just don’t have a spare key for that car so we’re going have to send the locksmith on down there, but he shouldn’t be more than a couple of hours. You just hold tight.”

Then, she hangs up on me!

The old man didn’t have another quarter. I started to panic. I didn’t know how I was going to get back to my hotel to pack, check out and get to the airport in time. I took in a few deep breaths to calm myself down and wondered if one day I could look back on this and laugh. And if I did laugh what would help me get out of this? That gave me an idea which I acted upon.
I went up to the guy smoking the cigarette and I said, “I’ll give you $20 if you’ll break into my car.”
He says, “Fer sure.”

In fact, he has the exact implement for the occasion. He broke into my car in 2 seconds. I grabbed my purse, I gave him $30 instead and as he said, “I like doing it this way better.” I’m hoping I inspired him towards a career as a locksmith.

I call a cab and get back to the hotel. I hurriedly pack and take a cab to the airport. I make it to my plane with seconds to spare. When I arrive in my destination I call the rental car company and tell them where they can find their car.

What’s a mishap, embarrassing situation or accident that you can now look back on and now laugh at? It could be the first time you ever did something. Firsts are usually full of mishaps – your first kiss, first time driving, first day on the job. I could be the time you spilled the red wine all over the lady in the white cashmere sweater. Maybe it was the time you were caught lip-syncing Elvis. Or maybe it was the time that your hair piece fell off, or your falsie fell out, or your dress was see through under bright lights. Maybe you were caught telling a lie.

Write it out and tell it at your next social event. People love to hear embarrassing incident stories. And, according to neuroscientists, laughing about mishaps helps you extract the learning and release any trauma involved with the incident. It helps you let go and move on.

Then, the next time you are in the middle of a problem situation ask yourself “Can I look back on this and laugh one day? And if so, what would be a fun ending? That might inspire a great solution.”

When you bring your playful spirit to work it makes a huge difference for your colleagues and those you serve. It also lowers YOUR stress and increases daily enjoyment of your work. What are your tips, insights and questions about humorous stories?


The Power of Laughter (ebook and MP3): Get more examples of humorous stories. Laughter increases learning ability, camaraderie and engagement. Check out this entertaining ebook & MP3 program:


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