Archive for the ‘happiness’ Category

Go Ahead and Laugh…

June 19, 2009

When was the last time you had a big belly laugh? You know the kind that gets you practically crying and aching in your belly, cheeks, etc. Ahhh, those are fun.


(from Flickr – by Yanming)

Well, if you haven’t had one in a while, no worries, there’s help! No I’m not about to tell a joke – instead, I want to share a link to a fabulous person who can make you laugh.

A friend of mine – Wendy Woods of Watershed Training Solutions — is  a Laughter Yoga specialist (amongst other training talents). She is so good, she was recently profiled on Entertainment Tonightyou can see the video on her site.

If your team, company or any group of people can use a chuckle, give her a call.  Get her to come in on a Monday morning….now that will bolster the TGIM spirit!! 🙂

Give it a try. It’s good for you!


On June 12th Get a Taste of Coaching for the Price of a Coffee

June 9, 2009

If you live in the GTA and could use a little boost, then head on down to one of four Starbuck locations where the International Coach Federation GTA Chapter is hosting “Coaching Conversations for Power and Possibility“.

A few of my peers in the coaching community got together and asked: “What do coaches have that can help people cope with the impact of the current economy?”  Well, coaches are trained to help people shift perspectives from downward, spiraling conversations to those that are more empowering and uplifting – leading to more purposeful action.

So more than 70 professionally trained coaches are donating their time on June 12th at 5 Starbuck locations. For the price of a cup of coffee you can get a taste of an empowering coaching conversation. And proceeds go to the United Way so not only will you be helping yourself, you’ll be helping others in need too. Now how could you go wrong with that?!

Check it out! Read more here.

To a TGIM Worklife!


It’s Mental Health Week. How Are You Feeling?

May 5, 2009

It’s Mental Health Week in Canada. How are you feeling?

A survey released yesterday confirmed what most of us already know. The recession is taking a toll on our emotional wellbeing.

No wonder. People are either overworked (the survivors) — or have no work at all (unemployed). The stress is hitting folks on all levels: Emotional, financial and physical.


The Desjardins Financial Security National Health Survey sponsored by Desjardin and the Mental Health Association revealed that as a result of the strain, absenteeism and disability are on the rise. Presenteism too — that’s when folks show up but aren’t really engaged and giving it their best…in some cases they barely even give it anything at all. 

Bad for people. Bad for business.

Michelle Nowski from Desjardin Financial Security says: “By investing in their workers, companies are investing in themselves. A mentally healthy workplace typically has fewer disability claims, lower absenteeism and better productivity,” said Nowski. “It really becomes a partnership between employees and employers because employees also have a responsibility to manage their health and stress levels.”

Well said. I agree the accountability is on both sides. Employer and employee — each have enormous stake in keeping their employees hearty, resilient and well.

There are many ways to help employees and employers deal better with the uncertainty and challenging times: communicate often and meaningfully; allow for some flexibility (i.e. perhaps some telecommuting, etc); foster team spirit and a sense of community at work; show acknowledgement and appreciation for the hard work people are putting in — and generally find ways to be supportive to colleagues, direct reports and anyone you are connected with in your work and life.

Another powerful strategy  is to develop coaching skills in leaders (see last post). Having a coaching culture at work with leaders as ambassadors of a positive culture with an appreciative approach to work and developing people -not just pushing projects – can go a long way in good and tough times.  I do a lot of work in this area.

AND…Never before has fluency in emotional intelligence (EQ) been more important. Empathy, Optimism, flexibility, perspective, resilience, independence and teamwork…..equally important for employee and employer….for the leader…and the worker bee.

EQ fluency (for individuals and organizational cultures) and coaching skills for leaders:  These are the areas that I focus on in my coaching practice at Big Cheese Coaching. Yes, a resounding self-promotion (but hey, personal marketing is ‘it’ in today’s economy).

If you are wondering how you can shore up your own EQ or help those you work with cope better with stress and pressure associated with work and life — get in touch! As well, there are and will continue to be resources here with tips and strategies. So stay in touch…

To a TGIM work-life (in all economies)



What is Your “Up” Side of Down?

March 22, 2009

Losing a job just has to suck. There’s no sugar-coating the financial impact, emotional wear and tear, lost of confidence – and all else that goes with being laid off.

Or is there?  Is there an upside to being ‘downsized’ ? 


(Photo courtesy of svdvene on Flickr)

Lately, I’ve been hearing more stories about people who are finding the ‘up’ in their downsized situations.

The Toronto Star featured an article today profiling “faces of the recession“. The front page article, “How I lost my Bay Street Job and Found True Happiness”  written by Andrea Fitzpatrick was very inspiring. This woman recounts how for years she focused her work purely on getting to the next rung in the corporate hierarchy. All the while, never questioning if the work was truly satisfying. Rather, she only asked  ‘would it facilitate the next promotion’. Upon being laid off, she confronted her situation and started to ask the important questions: What are my values? What do I enjoy doing? What do I really need to be happy – and more. The result: she found her true passion, has re-evaluated her work-life priorities and for the first time in her life, says her work-life is truly fulfilling. Read it here while it’s still posted.

An aquaintance I know was laid off recently. She is scared. But she was slugging it out for years in an environment that showed no respect, no appreciation for her contribution (and she worked hard!) and no empathy for who she was as an individual. She is now exploring more meaningful paths for her work-life. While it’s no fun being laid off, she is embracing this ‘event’ in her life knowing there’s possibility for a more meaningful work-life ahead. She’s got her nose to the grindstone and her past experience has taught her what she doesn’t want — and getting her closer to knowing what she does want in a more satisfying work-life.

Sometimes the tough kicks in life prompt us to ask the important questions. It’s not the event itself – but how we be with it. The reflections, questions, choices we make as a result that open up the life-changing shifts.

I can list countless stories like these and others where people (myself included!) face adversity but come out stronger and better for it. Some people refer to these challenging times in their life as a gift. It’s hard to see the ‘gift’ while you are right ‘in it’ but after a little while, perspective sets in.

How about you? Are you dealing with anything right now that you can pause the panic button and reflect: what’s the up side of all this? How do I want to be in this? What is most important? What’s my opportunity hidden under the angst?

We could all use some inspiration and a bit more positivity these days so bring it on and share!

To a TGIM work-life for all!



If You Attended The Feb 19th CICA Webinar

February 19, 2009

More than 1200 people logged in today to my CICA Webinar on “Beat the Work Life Blahs”. I was in good company! Thank you everyone who showed up.  If you missed it and/or would like to listen in again, the session was taped and you can listen to it here once they post it. At the moment that link is still the registration page but I’ve been told it will soon transition to the archive page where you can listen in.

I mentioned that I have archives of past CICA articles I’ve written  in “Ask the Coach” (CICA’s Career Vision Newsletter). If interested – you can click here to see them at a glance

As well, here’s a post I wrote after I did another CICA Webinar that you may find helpful. It is simply a list of some of the popular posts/articles that I have on this blog that relate to this topic supporting your quest for a TGIM work-life and tips on how to beat the blahs. You can see those here if you like.

Finally, there were some great questions posed at the end of the Webinar (thanks to the wonderful and inquisitive participants). We didn’t get to answer all of them sent so if you do have questions – please send them over! See Coaches Corner on how to get them to me. I’ll either address them right here in this blog and/or in my CICA “Ask a Coach” column. I would be happy to keep your name anonymous if you wish.

So to all – thank you for your interest and to a TGIM work-life!



Webinar: 900+ registered for my “Beat the Work-life Blahs”

February 13, 2009

Further to my post on February 3rd, I just found out that more than 900 people have registered for my Webinar: Beat the Work-life Blahs, hosted by CICA on February 19th at 12:30 est.

Wow. That’s a lot of people. This year the ‘blahs’ have kicked in with a lot more ‘kick’ wouldn’t you say?

Some words of encouragement: only 5 weeks till spring which usually lightens the spirits a bit. But if you can’t wait (and why should you!?) — then check out the webinar.  I’ll offer a lot more tips/strategies to put some spring in your step well ahead of spring:)

If you can’t make it, I think there may be a recording that I may be able to post afterwards. I will look into that.

In the meantime, to a TGIM work-life and for those of us in Ontario – happy family day (for Monday)!



Do You Have a Happiness Plan?

February 3, 2009

A what?! That’s right: A Happiness Plan….

February is here and for many, that sometimes brings the “February Blahs”. I have to confess, for me and for many others I know, February arrived a bit early. It came in November. The headlines, the economy, the cold….


But I try to walk my talk and being stuck in a rut is no fun. So I dug into my coaching toolbox and pulled out all the strategies I know and developed my own personalized “Happiness Plan”. It’s been working! My ‘mojo’ is alive and well. In my ‘plan’ I’ve intentionally set out to do more of the things that energize and engage me more…and have paid attention and incorporated ways to better navigate the stuff that brings me down. A lot of inner game work (EQ) for sure —  but also a whole lot of verrrry simple strategies easy to incorporate.

Speaking of Happiness….I’ll be doing that in an upcoming Webinar called: “Beat the Work Life Blahs” on Feb 19th at 12:30 EST.  It is sponsored by CICA (Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants).

Read more (and/or register) here!

I’ll be offering tips on how to develop more resilience and optimism in light of the challenges many of us are facing in the current economy.

Come back and visit again as I will share some of the ideas presented right here in this blog.

Till then….here’s to your TGIM work-life!


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!



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



In Gratitude on this Canadian Thanksgiving

October 13, 2008

It’s Monday — and it’s Thanksgiving (in Canada)! I had a lot to think about this morning as I enjoyed my run in the most beautiful ravine (see picture below – taken by yours truly just yesterday on another run!). It was especially nice because it was a most spectacular day (warm and lovely) and my sister who is visiting from Montreal got to enjoy the run with me. With weather like this and foliage at the height of beauty this season it’s easy to feel inspired and grateful.

(Photo by Eileen Chadnick, Oct 08)

Albeit – it was a nice break from a week of headlines with all the volatile economic news — but we won’t go there today. Instead, today is a time to reflect and to be thankful for all that is good. And there’s a lot!

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I wanted to share a quote that I came across: 

Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace and gratitude.” (Denis Waitley)

Hmmm. I like that. It speaks to the power of being present. And to recognize and appreciate all that is good (even when life gets crazy).

I’d also like to share another post“In the Spirit of Gratitude” — that I wrote last Thanksgiving and think is worth a read (if you haven’t already) or a re-read (If you already have).

The day is still young and I’m heading out again — back to that lovely ravine for more…(just to enjoy it). But before I do, I want to express thanks and appreciation to all of you in my world who make such a huge difference to me in my work and life experience. I appreciate you all.  Thank you for being you and for being part of my life.

You make a difference!

To a TGIM work-life this Thanksgiving Monday — and every day of the week!