Archive for July, 2007

Walk Your Dog – Even if You Don’t Have One…

July 30, 2007

No time to reflect? Too busy working, dealing with life?

(Photo courtesy of Ramair on Flickr)

Take heed from one of North America’s busiest executives, Mike Zafirovski, President and CEO of Nortel:

In an interview with Gordon Pitts in the Globe and Mail, Zafirovski is asked: “Do you get any quiet time to think?”

He responds: “All the time, and the best time is when I’m exercising. I try to do some exercise every day…..”

In his interview, Zafirovski talks a lot about his study of leadership. Well, if you’ve been reading previous posts, you’ll know that self awareness and reflection time are important for both personal and leadership development.

On my end, I relate to his comments. I run several times a week (for 28 years!) and walk as well. I find those are often my most inspiring times for reflection. The brain relaxes…and insights, ideas just flow.

Not surprising: Activities that lend themselves to reflection are usually those of a repetitive nature and can be done solo — e.g. walking, running, cycling, swimming, etc. Sports that require your undivided attention and focus and interaction with others are great (for exercise, fun and comaraderie) but not for the reflective experience Zakirofksi is referring to.

So if you are time crunched and having trouble carving out reflection time — not to mention exercise time….then why not do both at the same time?

This reminds me of a talk delivered by Millie Cooper, the wife of the renouned Dr. Ken Cooper (father of aerobics). I was in New York many years ago for a fitness conference (for those that don’t know, I have a fitness degree and worked in that field for about 8 years in a previous career). She talked about the merits of exercise and said:


Words of wisdom….and I never forgot that quote. Enjoy – and have a super Monday and a TGIM week….be back real soon.


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In The News – See today’s Globe and Mail

July 25, 2007

If you have a Globe and Mail around, check out today’s Globe Career section. I’m quoted in Martin Sloftsra’s column “Diary of a Job Hunter“. Or alternatively, you can read it here online.

Martin, who recently lost his job as a long-time and high profile editor in the tech world,  has been writing a weekly column sharing his job search ‘journey’ these past 5 or so weeks. If you haven’t seen it, you can find the whole series online here. It’s a great read. Martin is so authentic in his writing. His experience (and open mind) have taught him many lessons about career navigation with many surprises along the way. He started out with a strong and fixed view on what he thought his next ‘perfect’ job might be….but as you will read, he’s had many surprises along the way….and discoveries about what’s really important to him.

He’s still in the midst of that journey so I don’t want to scoop him (read his past and upcoming columns!). But I do want to reinforce a theme that was mentioned in today’s column that Martin and I talked about — and I alluded to in yesterdays’ blog post: 

 That is the search for the “Perfect Job” (holy grail) that meets all your life’s needs can sometimes be a trap. It’s great to take time out to reflect on what an ‘ideal’ job might be…….but it’s also important to consider how work fits into the bigger picture of your life….and what is important to you (values, interests, strengths, passions) that work-life might fulfill…..and additionally, what other possibilities are there to consider in and out of work (e.g. can volunteer or hobbies fulfill a particular passion that might not be work-related?).

None of this implies I think we should settle for worklife that’s just okay. Just okay…is definitely not going to cut it for a TGIM work and life. But sometimes holding out for that eternal perfect….well, it can keep us on the sidelines from truly expressing, experiencing and actualizing our best.  Sometimes things are perfect right now…even with some imperfections.

Martin, thanks for including me in your journey….and keep up the great writing….and the exploring…I’m confident that you will indeed find (or create) your TGIM worklife when the fit is right. 

To a TGIM work and life!


From ‘human doing’ to human being

July 24, 2007

Are you a ‘doing machine’? Constantly on the go; running from one task to another; a slave to your never-ending ‘to-do’ list? If so, welcome to the human race….the ‘human doings’ of the 21st century….in this constant race called ‘life’…all action and all-too-often a little light on the ‘being’ side.

So many of us have become addicted to our busy-ness. The more we do – the more worthy we feel. But be careful because that’s a trap. Somewhere down the road, we discover that defining ourselves solely on what we ‘do’ can get us into trouble. Particularly when we hit a bump in the road (in life and/or work). Ask anyone who’s just been out of work and has discovered that ‘finding a new job’ now also involves ‘rediscovering who you are’.

Now I’m all for loving your work and making sure you are authentically expressed in your work. But I caution against exclusively focusing on work to define yourself– or to hide yourself.

Because at some point, we are each bound to hit a bump in the road that can make us question who we are  — and what we’ve been doing. These ‘bumps’ might be a job loss; a crossroad in a career; an end to a significant relationship — or some other significant work or life change.  Sometimes it’s none of the above but perhaps just a sense that something isn’t quite right. Life is okay….but you’re not sure you want to settle for just ‘okay’. You want more….but more of what??

MISSING IN ACTION? Time to reconnect to your inner game:

Navigating the challenges of work and life is one thing — creating a TGIM work-life that you authentically love is another. Either way, you can get only so far without a proper compass. That compass is YOU— i.e. the being side of you….appreciating all and who that you are (your values, passions, gifts, strengths, authentic purpose, etc.) — and then bringing that to your outer game…i.e all choices that you make in the ‘doing’ side of things that actualizes who you really are.  

Those familiar with my blog will recognize that I refer to this as the Inner Game. Those who know me as a coach know that regardless what goal, challenge or context you bring to our coaching alliance, I always start our work with the inner game….and we weave it throughout the journey.

Creating a TGIM worklife must start with knowing yourself. And that in itself is a lifelong process because we evolve, grow, stretch. Choices that made up a fulfilling worklife a few years ago might not be the right choices for today. Because – and remember this: there is no such thing as the perfect job forever. There might be a perfect job that fits for a good long while. But the holy grail of forever-perfect may not exist for many of us.

If all this ‘inner game’ this sounds a little ‘woo woo’ to you, rest assured. The most inspired and effective leaders understand that one of the most desired leadership competencies is to ‘know oneself’. Self awareness is a key competency of leadership — and one of the factors of emotional intelligence (of which I am certified to assess and coach).

Worth underscoring: It takes a lot of emotional intelligence to navigate and create a life that is successful, fulfilling, authentic. And self awareness is key.

Here are a few ways to connect to your inner game:

1) Take some time daily (or at least weekly) for reflection. Whether you write your thoughts out, or simply think along a walk, run, stroll……carve out some white space to think, to wonder, to reflect.

2) Focus your reflection with purposeful questions. I provide my coaching clients questions that they can use after each coaching session to deepen their insights, learning and awareness. Reflection is not about ‘analysis until paralysis’. Rather it’s intended to align with a meaningful intention or purpose…and to reveal new learnings/insight that will help you move forward in some way within your life (and the experience of it). The quality of the questions are more important than any immediate answers. Stay in the questions. The answers will come.

3) Challenge yourself to see how you would define yourself — separate from what you ‘do’ by asking: Who would you be if you didn’t have all the familiarity of your daily ‘doing’ or ‘job’ to define you? What would you say? If you have trouble with this….then time to get to know yourself a little better (see next point:)

4) Hire a professional coach to support you in this process so that you can bring more of your authentic self to your life and work choices. As self-serving as this may sound, I believe in this work and encourage you to find a professionally trained and experienced coach that is the right fit for you. In addition to Big Cheese Coaching, you can also source coaches at the International Coach Federation or if you are in the GTA at the local ICF GTA chapter site. I have a FAQ section on my website that can help guide you in some of the questions to ask a prospective coach. See here.

The point I’m hoping to make here (in my plodding, long-winded way:) is that somewhere in all your doing, is a ‘being’ that is wanted to be known, understood, expressed and honoured in your life.

Your actions, choices, decisions in life would be so much more meaningful if they were aligned with your ‘being’. The stuff that makes you uniquely you. Your gifts, strengths, passions, authentic purpose.

So take a break from all your doing and pause to acknowledge yourself for all that you are and who you are being today. To you and a TGIM work and life:)



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TGIM Worklife Blog — in Voice….hear this!

July 9, 2007

Hey – just trying out a new little tech gizmo that allows me to show up in voice…along with a few images too. Not sure exactly yet how to link seamlessly into this blog so I’ll go the easy route for starters and invite you to listen in to this post archived in Photobucket.

The 4 minute presentation is ideal if you are new to this blog….introduces you to the site. I’ll put up more (interesting) stuff once I master this thing….but for starters, if you want to meet me in voice…Turn up your speaker volume and Listen here .

Stay tuned for more….real soon.

In the meantime, have a super TGIM start to your week. Happy Monday!


There’s a Traffic Jam — In My Head

July 6, 2007

Well, it’s been more than I week since I last posted. It’s not that I’ve had nothing to say. Actually – I always have something (often too much) to say! But I somehow got stuck in traffic……

(photo courtesy of Flickr. See more here)

In my head that is…..ideas/thoughts/busyness/work/work/work……all converging and found myself a little stuck on what to blog about. Intellectually I have a ton of post ideas…..but the inspiration to actually write was nowhere to be found. Blank stare. Traffic jam of ideas  – but nothing to say.

Hmmm. In the spirit of ‘masterful noticing’ – I’m noticing that I might be needing a little break. My battery running on low juice.

Thankfully, I’ve had plenty of energy left for my clients….in fact, have been very inspired, energized and engaged in my work. But at the end of the day, I’ve had enough. So….no blog posts last week. I figured no point in forcing it just to write something. Sometimes you just have to surrender.

Suuurrrender……ahhhhh….I like that sound of that. Idling in traffic for just a bit and surrendering.

In fact, it is in that very spirit that I booked a week off 3rd week in July to do………nothing, nada, or whatever.

My only commitment for that week is to not commit.

More time for surrender coming up. Sigh. Feels good just to think about it.

In fact, I’m starting to feel more rested already. In fact, I think I feel an idea coming……

 Nope. False alarm.

But check back real soon cuz that urge just may happen again. I can feel it.

Just for fun today….and to a TGIM worklife,