Archive for December, 2008

New Year’s Reflections – Qs for Thoughtstarters

December 28, 2008


We’re just weeks away from starting a brand new year. New Years is one of my favorite reflection opportunities. Each year, I spend some time reviewing the year past and reflecting on the year ahead.  I’m in the midst of doing so now and thought I’d share the questions that I use for my own thought-starters. 


 (photo courtesy of ToniVC on Flickr)

 For those of you that have been around this blog for a while, you’ll recognize many from previous year’s post. They still work so here they are:


1) What accomplishments from this past year are you most proud of?  Aside from the obvious big ones – see if you can  also drill down further and recall other successes (large and small) that you might have you forgotten or perhaps overlooked. E.g. a task well done; new learning; a courageous act; other? This is the time to be generous in acknowledging yourself!

2) What did you learn about yourself last year?

3) In what way(s) have you grown? Who have you become in the “evolution of you” this past year ? (e.g. wiser, more courageous, more open….etc.?)

4) What were the high points of the past year? It could be anything – maybe a special experience…..perhaps a joyful moment or event that needs to be remembered and acknowledged. You decide what makes it a ‘high point’.

5) What do you need to let go of from this past year that might get in the way of you beginning the new year ‘fresh’ and in top form? E.g. holding on to a fear; a disappointment; an illusion of hope; a bad habit;  other??

6) What inspiration (a moment, thought/idea; experience) conveys what this past year was all about for you? For instance, how would you complete the following sentence: “This was the year of ___” (fill in the blank with a word or phrase that captures a theme most meaningful for you)


1) What are you most looking forward to in the year ahead?

2) What do you want more of in the year ahead?

3) What do you want less of?

4) What new learning goals do you have for yourself for the year ahead?

5) What other goals are important to you right now?

6) How will you take responsibility to help actualize these goals? What actions can you take? What of your strengths and character can you count on to move forward towards these? What structures and plans/supports will you put in place to make them happen and keep you “on your game”?

8 )  In what way would you like to see yourself grow (i.e. via experience, personal development, other). i.e. so that next year you can acknowledge the change in the ‘evolution of you’.

9) How will you keep your mojo alive and well this year (i.e. your joie de coeur…sense of engagement and fulfillment)?

10) What relationships will you invest more in this year?

11) What is your ‘theme’ for the year ahead be– e.g. How would you complete the following sentence: “2010 will be the year of ___” (identify a phrase that conveys a theme most meaningful to you).

12) Finally….what other question(s) needs to be asked to make next year  a great TGIM year!?

Well, that’s it for now to get you going. I wish you all a wonderful holiday season. May your time be filled with what’s most meaningful for you now. And to a wonderful, TGIM work-life in the year ahead!



T’is the Season of Rush….again!

December 11, 2008

It’s December….. already. Actually, almost into half-time of December. How did that happen so fast?! Ah yes, t’is the season of Rushhhhh….when everthing seems to whirl by so much faster. We’re busy shopping,  finishing things, getting ready for festivities, getting here, there…..go, go, go!


 (photo courtesy of SophiMuc on Flickr)

I wrote an article last year for the Globe and Mail career section for the Mentor Minute column, offering tips on how to cope with the seasonal rush. The strategies , actually, apply to any time of the year. For instance: learn to  triage (as in prioritize with gusto!); learn to say no; stay organized by writing things down; self-nurture; procrastinate positively — and more.

I thought it would be worth re-posting it  if you are interested in reading the full article.

In the meantime, as we rush through the season, let’s not forget to pause long enough to notice and enjoy what’s meant to be noticed and what’s meant to be enjoyed.

May you have an abundance of what’s meaningful this holiday season.

As always, to a TGIM Work-Life!



What To Do If You Lose Your Job

December 7, 2008

With a looming (or existing?) recession and massive layoffs in Canada and the U.S. it’s hard to get into that TGIM (thank goodness it’s Monday) mode these days. Just ask the 71,000 Canadians and the hundreds of thousands of U.S workers who have lost their jobs this fall.

Losing a job is tough.  I’d never make light of that kind of disappointment nor the challenges that come with it. For so many of us, work is about much more than a way to earn a living (albeit that’s a huge motivation too!). It’s a way to express ourselves in the world. Whether or not you see work as a job, career or calling – losing your job can be a very challenging set-back.

 When we lose our ‘work’ – we sometimes lose that sense of self and confidence.  With no where to go Monday morning (or any other day)  we sometimes question our value.

BUT STOP!!! Don’t let that happen! That kind of thinking will dig you into an even deeper hole. While job loss is one of life’s more stressful events — it’s critically important to focus on your resiliency, optimism and your resourcefulness.


STRATEGY #1: Take stock of all your strengths, gifts, talents, accomplishments . Sure  you know you’ve got great stuff going on — but somehow that awareness is now lost somewhere under the surface. It’s easy to forget when you are so profoundly aware of the challenges of being without work. So it’s time to get very conscious and intentional about remembering who you are:

A key over-riding principle here is to make sure you do NOT lose yourself and your sense of identity. 

 Make a list (literally – write it out) of everything you can think of that you have going for you. Reflect on your experiences within your work-life as well as other facets (volunteer, personal, etc). Write out your skills, strengths, talents, assets, accomplishments, etc.. For instance: Are you great at building and keeping relationships?  Are you trustworthy and dependable? Are you a great negotiator? What evidence in terms of achievements back this up? What about your network – friends, business associates? Are you connected to others that might prove helpful (see tip on networking)

Don’t skimp out on this list! At first go – it might be hard to remember all you have….but keep at it. This list help you in more ways than you think.

i)) It will literally boost your mood. Focusing on positive memories and reflection can actually can stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system and elevate your mood. It ignites a chemical reaction and let’s face it, anything that boosts your mojo will only help you stay resilient and focused as you navigate your next steps.

 ii)) It will serve to provide the data you will need to update your resume and to generally tell your story as you explore future opportunities. At some point, you are going to have to get out there and market yourself. Resumes, networking, job interviews, etc, etc. The more clear you are on your own story – the better you will be able to tell it….with confidence and authenticity.

Keep that list alive….this isn’t a one-shot deal: review your list frequently….update it…..and somehow, make it part of your routine so that you stay closely attuned to who you are.

STRATEGY#2:  Get out of the house — both socially and work-wise. It can be tempting to stay in when you are feeling low. A recent study found that people who lose their jobs sometimes retreat from their communities. This is not going to help you. Get out of the house —  network, engage — you never know who will have a lead for another job. Participating in volunteer and social activities will also do you good — keep you engaged and that is good for your your mojo (emotional energy). Staying home is not!!

STRATEGY#3: Speaking of networking….Don’t go this alone. Tap into your network and/or build your network:  Your network will be one of your important assets. You’ll need it for job leads, morale support, social diversion.  So, how is your network? Don’t despair if it’s not what you’d like it to be. You can build it.

Soooo….make another list…Who do you know? Who do you need/want to know? Who knows who…..??

STRATEGY#4: Get the right support you need to get through this. Whether you need tips on resume writing, networking, re-tooling your skills, etc.  For instance, does your community have a group for folks who are job-seeking? Are there local seminars offered at community centres? What about your professional associations…?. Perhaps you have resources to hire professional services (coach, counsellor, other)…or maybe your firm has provided outplacement services, if so, take advantage of whatever you can.

STRATEGY #5: Walk your dog even if you don’t have one! Get some exercise, fresh air….get on the court (if you play sports:)….do anything to keep your health and physical energy up. This is another strategy to boost those endorphines that can be mojo-enhancers (and it’s legal!).

MORE….there’s lots more, but let’s start with these. I’d love to hear from you and share your suggestions with others. I’m sure you’ve got lots of great tips…we want to hear!

And finally – as I mentioned in an earlier post, remember, this time too shall pass…..there will be good times ahead. Don’t lose sight of that….keep your eye on the horizon and on the present….. to do what you need to do for today…and tomorrow…onwards to a TGIM worklife.


To being resilient, optimistic, resourceful….to a TGIM Worklife!


Help Make My Day – Happiness is Contagious

December 5, 2008

Have you heard? There’s another virus threat going around. But no worries. It’s actually a good virus. It’s called the happiness bug. Have you caught it yet? At risk of getting it? If not…bet you wanna know how to…:)


(Photo courtesy of pinklillyblossom on Flickr)

New research from Harvard University and the University of California have just released a new study that confirms that happiness loves company — and can be spread around just like a virus.  It’s in all the papers today. See here for one article from the Globe and Mail.

According to the research, you can catch “happiness”  from people you don’t even know and spread it around to others.  Sometimes just a smile will do it. It can have a ripple effect on a social stratasphere.

Given the doom’n’gloom of the economy these days  – I think this is GREAT news. And can be deployed as a major TGIM strategy. Simply start to smile more and see what happens. You can make a difference.  

Go on – try it. You’ll be doing the world some good


It also makes you wonder: are you hanging around the right people? Are you hanging with happy people? Are you the kind of person someone will want to hang out with too?

Hmmm…food for thought.

To a happy TGIM worklife