What’s up with the canoe?

You may have heard me talk about my canoe metaphor. Let me explain what that’s all about…

Nathan and Howard

I grew up in rural New Brunswick, Canada. It’s a region where hard work is valued, and the simple things in life are appreciated. A mentor of mine was a farmer in the community, and once in a while I would hear him say, “I wouldn’t spend a day in a canoe with that person.” Howard was usually observing someone he wasn’t likely to trust or share similar values; his canoe comment meant he’d determined that engaging with that individual would be a waste of energy.

My mentor’s phrase has always stuck in my mind. I’ve ended up turning his comment into a question: “Would I spend a day in a canoe with you?” And that question has led to a blog.


Because I believe there’s a powerful case to be made for authentically forging meaningful connections with employees, colleagues and clients. I use the “canoe question” as a metaphor to help me evaluate and manage professional and personal relationships.

I’ve spoken about this topic at leadership conferences and industry events, and recently launched the Day in a Canoe blog to further the discussion and help you gain perspective on your decision–making journey.

I’d like to share the first two articles with you below. I will continue to share new ideas and insights every month. I humbly ask you to take a look and share Day in a Canoe with colleagues and friends on social media. Any help in spreading the word would be so appreciated. Hop in — it’ll be a great adventure!

I’d love your feedback on how you manage relationships — Email me at nathan.mersereau@planningalt.com.

Feature_Canoe01What is Day in a Canoe?

“Day in a canoe” is a metaphor for evaluating and managing relationships. Compatibility is necessary for relationships of every kind to be successful. Decisions involving your business, advisors, family and friends occur every day. Each decision carries consequence. While there’s always a risk of disappointment, I learned years ago that you can take steps to improve the potential for a positive outcome.  READ FULL ARTICLE >

Feature_Canoe2The 5 People You Want in Your Canoe Whether you’re figuring out a critical business problem, working on a complex project or exploring a creative vision, the people on your team can make all the difference. The journey to success begins by bringing together a mix of individuals who can work cohesively, strategically and effectively towards a common goal.  READ FULL ARTICLE >

All the best,
Nathan Mersereau, CFP®
(AKA the “Canoe Guy”)
President, Planning Alternatives