Archive for the ‘Monday Morning Moment’ Category

Labour Day: How Are You Celebrating Work …..?

September 3, 2012

Happy Labour Day! Are you working? Thinking abour work? Or taking a last day off before the onslaught of work and the busy season ahead? Or maybe a bit of all of the above?

Labour Day’s origin’s go way back in Canada to 1872. Traditionally it was a day to advocate for and/or celebrate workers’ rights. Back then, there was great effort to campaign for worker’s rights to have a 9 hour day. 

Hmmm. Times have changed. Labour Day is now a chance for one of the last hurrahs’ of summer. And 9 hour work days?? What are those? Increasingly most people are experiencing the blur of work and life lines. The dividers we once knew no longer exist. We check our emails on our smart phones while on the dock at the cottage? Tuck in a few hours of work on Sunday (or holiday Monday) before the ‘official’ work week begins.

While traditional paradigms of work-life balance have changed, we still need to take a stand for our own ‘sense of balance’ and in that I mean balancing our energy, mojo and time for stuff inside and outside of work. 

For myself – my approach tends to be a blend. I often do a bit of work on ‘days off’ and squeeze in ‘life time’ on ‘days on’. But according to Dr. Greg Wells, a scientist and ‘extreme human physiologist’, we need to pay attention to recovery more so than the ongoing ‘balance’.

I heard Wells speak at the Canadian Conference on Positive Psychology. Wells who works with Olympians and elite athletes skyped from London just as the Olympics were about to start. He was reporting for the CTV news network.  

Wells said one of the things Olympians and high performance athletes do really well that contributes to their high performance is they know how to recover well. In their training they stress themselves continuously to reach new heights. But most importantly, they know how to recover better, faster and for more sustaining performance.  

Recovery is actually a strategy in itself. You don’t have to be an Olympian to incorporate this into your life. We all can benefit from learning to recover better and faster from stress and demands of our work (and life). This will not only improve our capacity for greater performance in work and life but we’ll boost our mojo and wellbeing. 

 Try the 1,3,2 Principle: Most of us will agree that the demands of work and life these days make it difficult to achieve a ‘balance’ each day/week/month so instead make sure you build in ample ‘recovery time’. Wells talked about using the 1.3,2 principle. This is about building in time to completely unplug from work.

1 hour (minimum) of total recovery a day

3 full days (minimum) of recovery a month…preferably continuous, not separate

2 weeks (minimum) of full recovery a year….preferably continuous, not separate

 Recovery activities may look different to each of us. The key is to completely unplug from work AND be intentional in creating a meaningful recovery strategy to build into your days/month and year so that you truly do refresh, rest and rebuild your resevoir of energy.

So on this Labour Day weekend, as you face the oncoming ‘busy season’, take a moment and ask yourself what your recovery and resilience strategies will be? And how can you put the 1,3,2 principle into action as you dive into the new season?

Here’s to resilience, energy and mojo in your work life in the coming season!


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Wellbeing: My Word for 2012…..And You Can Have It Too.

January 9, 2012

I’ve been thinking a lot about wellbeing lately.  Guided by my year-end/new year reflection questions (“12 Questions To Complete The Year And Start Anew“), my attention’s really been focused on question #9: “In what ways will you take care of your ‘mojo’ – resilience, energy, inspiration and sense of wellbeing?”.  So much so that I think “Wellbeing” is my theme word for 2012 – personally and professionally.  Maybe time to update the bio? 🙂

Wellbeing. It packs a lot of punch doesn’t it? At first glance it might seem like it’s all about health (wellness) – and to a great extent it is — but it’s so much more too.  Emotional wellbeing, physical wellbeing, financial wellbeing…….personal wellbeing, professional wellbeing, organizational and community wellbeing…..the list goes on and so much goes into each facet.

This word gives me a visceral hit. It feels so authentic and envelops so much that I’m passionate about both personally and professionally.  Ironically, it’s not a new concept to me. It’s been there all the time. In my work as a coach (Big Cheese Coaching) I help people navigate their work and life in a way that fosters more meaning, joy, success and fulfillment. I specialize in emotional intelligence for leaders (of all levels) and pay great attention to the skills (personal, professional) we need — in pursuit of our various work/life goals — to be our best, to be happy and to create environments and relationships that foster ‘TGIM’ (thank goodness it’s Monday) attitudes and aptitudes for all. Isn’t that all about personal, professional and organizational wellbeing? 

And concurrently for the last 9+ years, I have a professional relationship (providing communications advice and service) with an organization that is all about financial wellbeing – setting standards for financial planning.  Who can argue that one’s financial life can have an enormous impact on one’s personal wellbeing? 

And yes, the fitness side of things…with a degree in fitness from Mcgill (my first career with a continued lifelong interest) I was heavily involved in promoting fitness and wellbeing for nearly 10 years. 

So nothing has changed – yet everything has changed. Because sometimes a word, theme or phrase has the power to remind us of what is important and what we stand for.  Naming and claiming a word can illuminate what’s already there but perhaps needs to be brought more into focus. Or at least it can serve as an anchor or central theme to encompass disparate pieces that have more value when you look at the ‘whole’ vs. just the parts. 

So yes, “Wellbeing” does that for me and it’s my word for 2012. It’s in my focus for my own life and for my clients who come to me to be better leaders and/or to have more success and fulfilment in various contexts of their work and life.

Of course I realize I’m not alone in loving this word.  I’m in good company. It’s everywhere these days. The health and wellness world have a piece of it; the financial industry; and even economists are incorporating wellbeing into measures of what makes for a strong, healthy economy.  And one of my favorite sources of ideas and inspiration: the field of positive psychology. In fact, the guru of positive psychology, Martin Seligman, frames his latest book “Flourish” as a ‘visionary new understanding of happiness and wellbeing’ (great book and brilliant guy). And of course, wellbeing is a central theme to the EQi (emotional intelligence assessments).

I welcome the ‘crowds’ (there’s room for all) and am staking my place on “planet wellbeing”.  Care to join in?

If you are wanting to create more joy, optimism, success, energy, peace of mind (and the list goes on) in your work and life this year — professionally and personally — then I invite you to hop on board the Wellbeing train too. Not sure how to get there? I can help!  

Wellbeing.  It’s my word and now you can have it too. You’ve got my word.

Now let’s get to work — and create success and wellbeing in 2012 with a TGIM work + life!


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If You Attended the IFCA Conference…

October 18, 2010

On Monday, I presented the opening keynote presentation at the IFCA Conference A group of about a 100 communications professionals who work in the financial and insurance industry in North America gathered in Montreal for their annual conference. The topic of my presentation was “TGIM Work-Life” (sound familiar?).  It was a great group and I had a superb time exchanging ideas about ‘what it is to love your work’ and strategies for a TGIM work-life!

I promised I’d put together a package of past posts that reflect further on the ideas I presented. 

Here they are – enjoy! (and no worries if you were not at the conference, they are relevant for anyone interested in creating more success and fulfillment at work and life).

BY THE WAY…I also just discovered a cool new feature available now on this blog (thanks to WordPress!). If you send a comment on any of my posts, you will have the option of subscribing to this blog and receiving all future posts by email. Cool, eh? 🙂

The Perils of TGIF  

Tips to Make the Bigness of Monday Just a Little Lighter

 The Lizard Who Wouldn’t Eat (strengths)

Thank Gd it’s Monday

 Happiness is Contagious

 Bring Thanks to a Thankless Culture

 Ramp up the People Part of Your Leadership

 Finding Flow: Intense Work but Without the Struggle

Coaches Don’t Always Demand More Push-Ups (About Tribute Communities)

Are Smart Goals Dumb?

 To a TGIMworklife every day of the week!


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TGIM worklife – especially this Monday!

October 16, 2010

Looking forward to Monday morning! Giving a keynote on TGIMworklife at IFCA’s annual conference.  See for more.

Will send a note on Monday with an update and a package of posts that reflect some of the themes in my presentation.

Back soon!


To a TGIM Worklife….

It’s Thanksgiving – What are you Grateful for?

October 11, 2010

My TGIM mojo is at an all-time high this particular Monday Morning: it is, afterall, Thanksgiving (in Canada) today.

The Bridge in my Ravine - by Eileen Chadnick

I woke early. Refreshed. And as I sipped my coffee I thought about all that I am grateful for: The list is long. I’ll just offer a few tidbits in the spirit of sharing….

I am grateful for my family and my friends who add a richness to my life that I can not put into words.  I am grateful for the work that I get to do each day that gives me purpose and helps me grow and evolve. I am grateful for my abilities, my health, and my capacity to actualize more of my potential each day.  I am grateful for the people in my work-life who help me do what I do each day and make my work-life meaningful. I am grateful for my clients who trust me and partner with me to create great work. I am grateful for my associates who help with all the wonderful yet heavy lifting of a day’s work. I am particularly grateful for my my tech support professional who gets me out of jams when my computer misbehaves — even on a Saturday before a huge week ahead.  I am grateful for all the opportunities I have had this year to work and live my TGIM work-life AND for all the opportunities in my path ahead (some known and others not yet revealed….but I know and trust good things will come) .

And I am grateful for living in a country, a community and a neighborhood where I can feel safe (relative), free and happy.  Of note, the picture above was taken in a ravine that runs just across the road from my home. I can’t tell you how grateful I am to have this gift of nature and beauty at my doorstep.

And I am grateful to YOU….the readers and friends who stop by from time to time and read these posts. Having a forum to self express and share with others is very gratifying.  Oh – and I am so very grateful to the WordPress folks who offer this fabulous platform to create this blog.

Thank you to all.

WHAT ABOUT YOU? What are you grateful for this Thanksgiving Monday? No matter, if you are not in Canada. Thanksgiving is really a year-long notion. I like that we have a particular day to flex our gratitude muscle but it’s something that can (and should) be done regularly.

How will you use this Thanksgiving Day to jumpstart your gratefulness habit?

To a TGIM work AND life!


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What I DIDN’T do on my vacation is why I’m ready for work on Monday

August 22, 2010

 I just completed part II of my ‘staycation’ . I had taken another week earlier in July.  I didn’t make any big vacation plans this summer so part of me was wondering if I should bother at all – especially since I know the next few weeks are going to be so busy. I was tempted to work through it and get a head start.

Boy am I glad I didn’t. My seemingly ‘boring’ vacation at home was exactly what I needed. I did do some of stuff on my list (a bit of golf, cycling, movies, friends, reading, etc.) But what stood out for me this time was what I DIDN’T do.

I didn’t work.

In past times when I’ve stayed home for ‘staycations’, I’ve often used some of the time to catch up on some of the work stuff I don’t get around too. It’s usually things I enjoy doing and want to do more of  — e.g. like blogging, updating my website, starting new creative programs, etc. This year was no different in that I had a lot of that kind of stuff beckoning me.  But my wiser self knew that this time I truly needed to STOP. 

Like so many others, I work hard and my brain is always going. When you are self employed, you are always thinking about what’s next, planning, networking, etc.  But just as important (whether self employed or you work traditionally) is self care. If you are run down, that’s a risk to the business.

So my only commitment this past week was to ‘go with the flow’ and truly listen for what I felt like doing.  It was mellow.  And well, in the midst of that, because I wasn’t fussed up about ‘achieving’ anything this week I did have a wonderful discovery stumbling upon some old journals and allowing myself to linger as I read them (more about that another time…it actually was a big thing for me).

Confession: While tomorrow is the first day back at work, I did intentionally set aside this past Friday to quietly catch up on my emails and get myself ready for the heavy lifting of the week ahead. This was part of my plan. I find it hard to dive back into a maelstorm of work without preparing. So I gave myself that quiet time on Friday and was able to enter the weekend feeling at peace and able to enjoy these last two days.

So Monday (and September) here I come! My attitude is now TGIM-ready! 

How about you? What kind of self care do you need to be ready for what’s ahead this autumn? What do you need to put on your ‘to not do’ list? What about year-round – how do you build in time to refresh, pause and rejuvenate? What boundaries do you need to declare around work and ‘life’? How do you make sure these get respected?

To work and rest in your TGIM worklife!


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Are you doing good work or GREAT work?

April 12, 2010

Last week I was walking around in a fuzz. I felt like I was spinning in circles and not getting anywhere. Despite that ‘feeling’ — on Friday, I looked back and saw that I did manage to be fairly productive and do a whole bunch of “good work” thoughout the week.  But that didn’t really fire me up. I knew I was wanting more than ‘good’. I committed this week to doing GREAT work! That means working more on stuff that truly matters and bringing more of my creativity, resourcefulness, passion to it!

And to inspire me and remind me of this, I happened upon a wonderful video, produced by Michael Bunguay Stanier of Box of Crayons. I know Michael from my coaching community and know him to be  an incredibly talented coach. His message is truly right on the mark.

Have a look. Then have a look again:)

To creating a great day — every day this week!

TGIM work-life!


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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!



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!



Labour Day: Back so soon?!

September 1, 2008

It’s Labour Day. How’d that happen so fast? Wasn’t it just here yesterday??? Hmmm….somehow I don’t really feel like labouring today. How about you?

Actually, I’ve got some conflicting feelings. Part of me wants to get going, get focused and roar into the new season with gusto. At the same time, a substantial part of me is still resisting. I’m not ready to let go of the summer just yet. Too many ‘summer-like’ things I still want to enjoy. And, I’ve geared down a bit this summer and not 100% sure I’m ready to gear back up.

Or maybe I am.

I just took a few minutes to do a “Labour Day” reflection in my journal. The idea was to rev up my “work-life mojo”. I asked myself three questions:

1) What do I want to celebrate and remember about Summer ’08 (work, personal, other)?

2) What am I looking forward to in the coming season (work, personal, other)?

3) What do I need to do to keep my work mojo alive and energized as I say goodbye to summer and hello to the fall?

A lot came up for me with that reflection. I realized that I had a fantabulous summer — it’s energizing in itself to remember the good times rather than dwell on the fact that it’s coming to an end. I also remembered that I have fantastic opportunities ahead — and lots to look forward to both in my work life and personally. I’m still reflecting on that third question. For me it’s going to be something about structures to maintain the balance — so that I don’t get too carried away in the rush of the season and forget to build in those ‘gear-down’ times that I so enjoyed this summer.

Focusing my attention this way has already helped shift my mindset and how I feel about completing summer and heading into the next season. By intentionally paying attention and celebrating the joys I’ve had and remembering the meaningful opportunities ahead of me, I’ve given my work-life mojo a  boost. Not complicated stuff. Sometimes it’s just about how we choose to focus — what we choose to pay attention to. It’s very ‘EQ’ish wouldn’t you say?

In the spirit of Labour Day, here are a few past posts that you might enjoy as you get ready for the new season:

1) Beat the “Back to Work September Blues”

2) Hello September: Random thoughts from others in answer to: How do you feel about September coming

3) Is Your Work a Job, Career or Calling? Food for thought if you are in the mood to reflect on what work means to you.

How about you? I’d love to hear from you — about your thoughts, strategies and ideas as you head into this new season and get ready to bid summer ’08 adieu!

Happy Labour Day and to a TGIM Work-life!