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Category Archives: Personal

Engage your heart and mind by making positive choices.

I am turning 37 next month, and have been reflecting on life and where it has taken me.  I’m not married, have no kids, and am working my a$$ off in corporate Canada.

I am not spending enough energy on the things that engage my heart & mind.

I neglect my dog and don’t spend enough time traveling, spending time with friends, family, and my dog, volunteering, golfing, and laughing.  (Alright, if you know me, you know I laugh a lot, but more doesn’t hurt!)  I find I don’t have time to do things that are good for me, like working out, cooking, and eating right.

My sister and I on our trip to Dublin

Am I where I thought I’d be at this point in my life?  Absolutely not!  Am I unhappy with where I am?

Absolutely not.

Sure, there are times when I think “Gee, it would be awesome to be (Cameron Diaz / Duchess Kate / my friend Lesley)” But then something happens (JT dumps her / paparazzi chase her / her job sucks) and I realize actually she is just a person who has ups and downs like I do.

I can’t think of anyone with a “perfect” life, and I’m generally pretty happy.  I love my job, my house, my dog, my family, and I have a great boyfriend.

Life hasn’t taken me here.

I’ve made choices throughout my life that have gotten me to where I am.

The things that I’m missing are things that I can change.  I can make different choices in order to focus on engaging my heart and mind.

Piper during a cottage vacation

My plan for 37:

  • Come home from work earlier, at least 3 days per week. (baby steps)
  • Laugh even more.
  • Make more time for family, good friends, and Piper.
  • Take a trip to Europe.
  • Find a new volunteer gig.
  • Join a new gym, and use it!

What choices are you making to engage your heart and mind and create a better life for yourself?

 
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Posted by on June 15, 2011 in Personal, Reflection

 

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How to be a Superhero from TED Talks

I make a point of always smiling at people on the street, in the office, or wherever I may be.  I often have people commenting on this, and have actually wondered at times if it makes me come across as somewhat ‘simple’.

But then I saw this TED Talk by Ron Gutman, and realized it’s actually my superpower 🙂 Watch the talk and check out a few of my favourite points below.

Fav points:

A study of baseball cards found that the span of a player’s smile actually predicted longer life – if this is true, I’ll be living into my 100s, smiling away!

More than a third of us smile more than 20 times per day – I can easily say I do this, and actually think it’s quite low.

Children smile as many as 400 times per day – I think smiling makes me feel more youthful and brings fun into much of what I do!

Smiling helps reduce stress-inducing hormones and increase mood-enhancing hormones – it promotes health!  There have been many studies on this.

Smiling makes you appear more competent – True, and I mentioned this in my Jobseeker advice post.  Smile and people feel better around you and think you are confident and competent.

Darwin wrote: “Even the simulation of an emotion tends to arouse it in our minds.” – the act of smiling actually makes us feel better!  This one’s my favourite.  When I’m feeling down, I tend to spend some time with my dog or watch one of my go-to feel-good movies, and I find myself smiling and in a good mood very quickly.  I wonder if it’s actually just the act of smiling that’s doing it.  I will test this… now I need a bad mood to come along.  Perhaps if I frown?

What power have you found in a smile?  How often do you smile in a day?

 
 

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Get to know the people you don’t like

I ran across this quote from Abraham Lincoln, and it rang very true for me as a lesson I’ve learned over the years.

“I don’t like that man.  I must get to know him better.” 

For me, this speaks to the importance of understanding people with different perceptions and views from your own.  This leads to learning and outcomes that far surpass what you may have achieved on your own.

In my own career, I have found this to be very helpful.  One of my biggest advocates, and someone I support strongly, is a colleague whom I did not particularly like immediately.  My strategy?  I asked her to have coffee with me to chat about some of the projects we were each working on.  That first coffee was a challenge, but I did get a different perspective that helped with my work.  I continued this strategy and the outcome is that now, she and I are in an informal peer mentoring relationship, and we both support and advocate for each other every chance we get.

What have you learned from people you don’t like?

Pic from Flickr user George Eastman House

 
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Posted by on June 1, 2011 in Leadership, Personal, Reflection

 

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Defining Moments

I believe we all have certain moments or events in our life that help define how we behave in the future.  Dictionary.com defines a “Defining Moment” (DM) as “an occurrence that typifies or determines all related events that follow.”  I’ve been thinking about one of my DMs lately, as I’ve noticed a few times that I’ve forgotten one of the things it taught me about myself…

Just over a year and a half ago, I completely lost the hearing in  my right ear.  It doesn’t sound like a big deal – I mean, I still had my left ear, right?  But it had a significant impact on how I view situations and react to adversity.  I blogged about the experience and how it affected me here.  At the time that it happened, I had a job that I enjoyed, I was being recognized for the work I was doing, and anticipating a promotion in the very near future.  For the first couple of days after I lost my hearing, while I was going through vertigo and dizziness (and perhaps a little depression), I thought that my career was over, that I would never achieve what I hoped for and that I would rather stay home alone than attempt to have a conversation with anyone.  I couldn’t see how I could go back to presenting to groups and meeting with leaders all day, because focusing on hearing them was so difficult and frustrating.

After a two-day pity-party, my DM kicked in.  I started seeing the humour and the positive side of my situation.  I blogged about some of them here.  What I realized right away was that that was a lot more fun than moping!  From that point on, I have always tried to see the positives in any situation.  I have realized that things work out in the long run – not always the way you expected them to, but they do work out.  I didn’t get a promotion as soon as expected, but I can’t say it was because of what happened.  I did form more concrete relationships with some very great leaders who were helpful and understanding through my situation.

I truly believe that having a positive outlook on the experience helped me physically to get my balance back (my doctor was amazed at how quickly I regained this), and emotionally/mentally to get back to work (and life), and to move on much more quickly than I might otherwise have.

Some of the other things that this “defining moment” has helped me change:

  • Although my career was going strong and was a great positive in my life, I was also working long hours, neglecting my dog, friends and family and sleeping very little.  While there are times that I still get wrapped up in a project at work, now I prioritize life.  I work around my life, rather than the other way around.
  • I started blogging.  I started initially because I needed an outlet, was tired of answering so many questions about my hearing loss, and found that writing about it helped to soothe me and I could direct people to my blog when they asked about how it had affected me.
  • I sleep better.  I don’t know if it’s because I’m exhausted at the end of the day, if it’s the meditation app on my iPad, or if it’s truly because I can roll onto my hearing ear to block out background noise that might otherwise wake me.  But regardless, I get more hours of sleep than I used to.
  • I’m able to relax.  This may sound strange but it was really difficult for me in the past.  A few hours with myself with nothing to do was like torture.  Now, I can sit and read for a full day without the guilt that I used to feel.  I can meditate and think and just be.  Of course, these times are few and far between, but certainly not next to impossible the way they used to be!

Once in a while, I sense myself slipping into a moment of “glass half empty” perspective (usually when my tinnitus is loud or very high-pitched), or working too hard and not taking time for myself.  I force myself to remember this defining moment and think positively, relax, and enjoy what life brings me.

What are your defining moments, and how have they helped you change how you live your life?

Pic courtesy of Flickr user purplematfish.

 
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Posted by on April 27, 2011 in Personal, Reflection

 

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Five words

Somehow I’ve unwittingly become a sourse of career and personal coaching to friends and colleagues, which inspired me to start this blog to share experiences I’ve had or coached others about over the years.  For years, I’ve worked in Human Resources and training in service-oriented organizations and industries, and had opportunities to see great successes with people, both employees and customers, as well as major blunders.  This is where I’ll share much of what I’ve learned.

Although the title of the blog may lead you to think differently, one thing I’ve learned is that there’s no big secret or silver bullet to managing people and customers effectively.  For the most part, it’s simply common sense.  The secret is that people have difficulty with common sense when they’re dealing with people.  A bit of an oxymoron!

In this blog, I’ll share experiences with managing employees at all levels of the organization – even those that you report to.  I’ll describe employee relations successes and nightmares.  I’ll tell stories about “wowing” customers, fixing problems with them, and creating loyal followers for your business.  I’ll share tips, processes and tachniques for becoming the most effective people leader you can be.

Today’s blog is a simple introduction to me… I recently went to a Personal Branding seminar, and was inspired to reflect on myself, and the image I want to project.  Through a 360 survey, reflection, and asking for feedback, some consistent themes came up, and helped me determine 5 words to describe myself.  My five words: Genuine, intelligent, communicative, inspiring, passionate.  These five words truly represent how I strive to be each day.

What are your five words?

 
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Posted by on May 30, 2010 in Personal, Reflection