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The Coaching Dept. Blog

I Remember My First Time

At the recent CMAA World Conference Shelley and I had the opportunity to speak to the attendees of the conference who were attending for the first time. For more than 700 attendees it was their first time. We had the chance to reflect on what our first CMAA World Conferences were like for us. We jokingly gave some thoughts about things they might consider not doing at their first conference, especially one in Las Vegas and then we were able to talk about ways to get the most out of an experience they might never forget. I remember my first time and this most recent time was my thirty-first time attending this extraordinary event.

Our lives have many first times in them.

On the other hand, our lives have many things we are doing for the thousandth or ten thousandth time. There is a certain level of confidence and competence that is there when you are doing something for the thousandth time.

But think about the first time we do anything.

The first time often comes with excitement, curiosity, discovery, uncertainty, anxiousness, and fear.

Think about the first time you rode a bike, jumped into a swimming pool, went to school, drove a car by yourself, traveled without your family, got married, brought a family member home for the first time, walked through the door of a new home, started a new job, became an empty nester!

Life is full of first times and life is full of one thousandth times.

When I got to a certain age, I reflected on the six decades I had lived and decided on a theme for each one.

Decade 1: Discovery!
Decade 2: Independence!
Decade 3: Responsibility!
Decade 4: Development!
Decade 5: Reinvention!
Decade 6: Authenticity!

I am well into my seventh decade. I gave this one the theme of Legacy!

Although first time activities happen every decade it strikes me that the younger you are the more first times you have. As we age and get comfortable, we may have fewer first times and may have less desire for first times. For some, life is an adventure, full of first times.

CMAA created a first-time experience for more than 700 people just by having them experience its World Conference. For many it was the first time visiting the city of Las Vegas. For some it was the first time visiting the United States. For some it was their first time in a casino or first time in a building the size of this year’s venue. For some there were more people in the building than in the town they grew up in. Some experienced speakers and thought leaders at a level they have never seen before. Some participants met people for the first time that will play an important role in the rest of their life. Some saw themselves in a new light. Some of the younger attendees might have walked through a smokey room for the first time. Some people took advantage of the CMAA Coaching Program for the first time.

If you attended, what firsts did you experience?

Here are a few of the first times I experienced.

It was the first time I got a message from the airline that I was about to fly with that due to a high wind advisory in Las Vegas I might consider changing flights. I did not, which brought me very close to another first just before we landed. Shelley and I experienced the Cirque du Soleil Michael Jackson One show that blew my mind and made me feel very creative. Our chance to speak to the excited and exciting people attending their first conference was a first for us. I saw three people I know pretty well, on stage, dressed as Elvis, singing an Elvis song for the first time. I saw a hockey game in Vegas where my team was the visiting team. In Canada, hockey is the entertainment. In Vegas it felt like when the entertainment stopped, they played some hockey. Every restaurant we went to was for the first time. We had a live Little Owl Creative Corner for the first time. Nick Weir inspired people to create events at their clubs, they had done before, but make it feel like a first time.

What does all this mean to you?

What does it mean to your life? What does it mean to your relationship? What does it mean to your parenting? What does it mean to your career? What does it mean to your leadership team? What does it mean to your members?

One of our Extraordinary Leader Masters (Kyle Ruch) once said “Complacency Kills”. The quote had a military reference, but it applies to life, relationships, parenting, careers, teams, and your members.

How many first times will you have in the coming year? How many first times will you experience this month? How many first times did you experience this week? How many first times will you experience this day?

It could be as simple as driving to work on a route you have never taken. It might mean paying attention on your journey to see buildings or natural features that you have never seen before. It could be listening to a piece of music that you have heard a thousand times but hearing a sound or a message that you have never heard before.

It could be some first of your dreams. You could visit a country you have never been to. You could visit a city or state you have never been to. You could try an activity that you have never done. You could write a book or perform on stage. You could experience someone else’s first with them.

We challenge you to have a first, so you can say “I remember my first time!”

Kevin MacDonald and Shelley MacDougall are the coaches for CMAA. To reach them for a coaching session you can call 1-866-822-3481 toll free or e-mail Kevin at or Shelley at

About the author

Kevin MacDonald

Kevin MacDonald founded Clarity Success Coaching in 2000. Kevin is deeply passionate about his work with his clients and loves living on purpose to assist those he works with to elevate their lives and live to their fullest potential. Kevin MacDonald is a Coach and Facilitator, a Communicator and a Storyteller. As a Coach he initiates action from within the people he touches. Kevin believes that knowing who you are is critical to your success. Kevin's business and management background combined with his exceptional Coaching skills make him an asset in any people development initiative.

Kevin is a member of the International Coach Federation and a graduate of Teresia LaRocque Coaching and Associates Abundant Practice Program. Kevin has received his Coach training from Coach U. Before he began coaching he spent over 20 years as a manager in the hospitality industry. His focus now as a coach is to inspire his clients and help them lean the skills in that they can use to change their lives. Kevin empowers his clients so that they can take the actions that will start to change their behavior so they begin see the results they are wanting in life.

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