Archive for the ‘Passion’ Category

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!

Eileen

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Are SMART goals dumb?

April 26, 2010

Are SMART goals dumb? Well, yes, if you want to do GREAT work. At least that’s the conclusion of a study by the Leaders IQ consultancy, which found that so-called SMART* don’t always correlate with success.

Photo: from Flickr/js3pt

(* Smart goals: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-sensitive. )

According to the research, goals crafted within the parameters of SMART (see above) can be impediments to doing great work. They make us play it too safe; lack the impetus to make us reach for bold challenges and end up encouraging us to to mediocre performance.

The research looked at more than 4,000 workers from nearly 400 organizations and looked at what goal-setting processes lead them to achieving GREAT work. They came up with 8 attributes:

1. I can vividly picture how great it will feel when I achieve my goals.
2. I will have to learn new skills to achieve my assigned goals for this year.
3. My goals are absolutely necessary to help this company.

4. I actively participated in creating my goals for this year.

5. I have access to any formal training that I will need to accomplish

my goals.

6. My goals for this year will push me out of my comfort zone.

7. My goals will enrich the lives of somebody besides me (customers, the

community, etc.).

8. My goals are aligned with the organization’s top priorities for this year.

Notice no mention of ‘realistic and achievable’; nor of time-sensitive and measurable. Hmmmm.

Not that I’d throw out all those attributes. I think different goals will serve different purposes. But there is an important lesson here: if you are wanting to step it up into doing GREAT things in your work and life, you need to step it up on creating goals that are more than just SMART.  They need to get your heart pumping and have a bigger impact beyond yourself. They must touch and benefit others too.

The researchers coined a new acronym. Instead of SMART – they suggest you go for HARD. This stands for: Heartfelt (will enrich others lives); Animated (I can vision how great it will be when achieved); Required (these goals are necessary and make a difference to others) and Difficult (I must learn new skills and leave my comfort zone).

I know I am in the midst of creating some new programs and am so excited about these. Interestingly, to keep me moving forward, I inadvertently have been thinking about many of these things the research suggests. I’ve been visualizing; thinking about the impact and contribution to others; and learning (always in learning mode) — a whole bunch of stuff to help make this happen.

Hmmm. Maybe me and my goals are smarter than I thought 🙂

How about you? What goals need to be shined up a bit…or a lot!?

To a TGIM work life filled with wonderfully HARD goals that inspire you to success and fulfillment – and make a difference to others as well!

Eileen

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Are You Creating a Great Place To Work?

April 15, 2010

What makes a great place to work? Is it the people? The management? The relationships? The culture? All of the above and more!  And according to the Great Place to Work Institute – there are many great places to work in Canada – as they just announced their 2010 list.

Congratulations to Environics Communications for placing first in the list!  Kudos to Bruce Maclellan, president and founder of Environics Communications (and a friend of mine who was my very first boss when I began my career in Toronto many years ago). Bruce created a workplace culture that has earned this recognition along with the energy, loyalty and passion of a great team that does great work. I first met Bruce, when he was my first boss at Hill and Knowlton (who also placed on this list) and then I worked with him Environics Communications in the very early days of its start-up.   I know him to be a great guy – very smart and very dedicated to creating superb work for clients. He knows you can’t do that unless you create a great workplace so people can bring bring their best to the task.  So a well-deserved shout-out of congrats to Bruce and the whole gang at Environics – well done!

So what does it take to become a ‘great place to work’? According to the Great Place to Work Institute’s 20+ years of research, they say: 

At the heart of our definition of a great place to work – a place where employees “trust the people they work for, have pride in what they do, and enjoy the people they work with

They measure the quality of the three, interconnected relationships that exist including: 

  • The relationship between employees and management.
  • The relationship between employees and their jobs/ organization.
  • The relationship between employees and other employees.

So, how’s that going for you in your workplace?

If you want to create TGIM attitudes, aptitudes and altitudes – then time to pay more attention to these and other factors.

Btw, and btw, I can help……if you think you’d like to do a bit better in any or all of these areas 🙂

To a TGIM work-life!

Eileen

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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!

Eileen

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Happiness Coaching Seeps into the Workplace

February 7, 2010

There’s an article in the Wall Street Journal that has been picked up by many other papers, including Globe and Mail  careers called “Happiness coaching seeps into the workplace”. It’s worth a read.

The article talks about how the positive psychology movement is making its way into the workplace culture. It identifies positive habits such as: expressing gratitude (say ‘thank you’ please:), being more present, recognizing success in effort and process vs. only outcome — and much, much more. 

I must say as a coach who specializes in ‘engagement’ – this article is very validating. Truthfully, I’ve always thought of myself as a ‘fulfillment coach’ — albeit I work on many different leadership (and life) coaching agendas, it always starts with one’s inner game and what makes them tick (core values, strengths, etc.). My marketing materials refer more to this as ‘engagement’ — a more acceptable term  in corporate circles. But these past few years, the word ‘happiness’ is gaining credibility and seen as an important facet to success, individually and organizationally. Some nations have even declared a Happiness Index as being integral to the country’s prosperity and success.

How’s your MOJO?  Turns out, Marshall Goldsmith (renouned exec coach) has just launched a book called “Mojo” which is described as emphasizing the ‘positive spirit toward what we are doing now starting from the inside.”

I’ve been referring to Mojo for years (ask my clients!). This  reference to “Mojo” is not of the Austin Powers variety – but more related to one’s mood, emotional state, sense of connectedness, etc. 

Inner Game focus:  The article talks about the new inner game focus — but it’s not new. Perhaps more ‘newly noticed’. This term was coined by Timothy Galway and is a very common approach used by anyone professionally trained in coaching (including yours truly). That said, when an article from the WSJ says it’s the latest greatest — well who am I to argue? I say bring it on….or rather, bring ‘more of it on’.

WEBINAR: Beat the Workplace Blahs: Last year, I presented a webinar that focused very much on all these inner game, positive psych strategies. I called it:  Beat the Workplace Blahs . You can still listen to it – you just have to quickly register online.  It’s full of tips and thoughts that are referred to in the WSJ article.

Hope you enjoy.

Till then, here’s to your TGIM worklife from the inside-out!

Eileen

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Have You Started Your Un-Retirement Plan Yet?

November 10, 2009

UPDATE NOTE (November 10/09): I posted this entry in May and am reposting it with an update. I am excited to announce a second blog with a new suite of offerings from Big Cheese Coaching (and yours truly) called  UNretiredLife. For boomers who will defy old notions of retirement — UNretiredLife will help them plan for and create their own version of retirement. I will continue to post at TGIMworklife on related topics and likely share posts. After all, TGIM work-life is for all stages of life — including retirement, isn’t it?  Stay tuned for lots more news on this front!

ORIGINAL POST FOLLOWS…

Early retirement due to job loss? Later retirement due to pension changes? No retirement due to nest egg meltdowns in this economy?!

Ahhh. Retirement planning isn’t what it used to be. As a coach who specializes in helping people define/create/actualize meaningful work and meaningful life – I am paying close attention to all this.  I am also plugged into this “conversation” because I have a long-standing (7 yrs) working relationship with an organization that promotes financial planning and standards in the profession. But I am also looking at this from more than a financial perspective. I am looking from the perspective of TGIM work-life. What will ‘thank goodness it’s Monday’ look like to boomers who are heading towards what used to be ‘retirement phase’ – but now looks nothing like traditional ‘retirement’ of past generations. This is more like an un-retirement kind of retirement. And it calls for a whole different kind of conversation!   

Some people will work longer either because they have to (financially) or they choose to (work gives them meaning).  Some will opt out earlier (package anyone?). Some will retire at the traditional retirement age. But one thing is for sure. Boomers will not be heading out to the pastures of traditional retirement the way previous generations did. Boomers (or Zoomers as defined by Moses Znaimer as “boomers with zip”) are redefining the stage of life where we might shift from traditional full time work to a life in which we create a whole new mix of work and life. Proportions and details will be up to the individual but the key is to create a work-life that meets our needs — from financial, social, spiritual, etc.

This conversation is about more than financial planning (although it should include it). It’s starts with life (and work) planning.

  • What will meaningful work look like to you? Part time/full-time? Same work or a whole new direction?
  • What will give you meaning in your life if you are working less? What passions, interests, goals will you pursue?
  • What social engagements will keep you connected?
  • Who will be your ‘communities’?

Just a few questions that will be part of conversation.

I’m ready for that conversation. For myself (I’m a young boomer) – and with others who want some help to clarify and explore the questions.

You will be hearing much more from me on this. And for those ready to start the conversation – get in touch!  Let’s talk about how you will engage in planning for your un-retirement future.

To a TGIM work-life now and in your un-retirement future!

Eileen

P.S. If you like this post, please share it or ‘twitter it’. And you can find me at Twitter at http://twitter.com/Chadnick

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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.

laugh

(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!

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To Be Your Best? Or The Best?

May 21, 2009

Success. Is it about being the best or your best? Ask Kris Allen. He just won the title of 2009 American Idol, beating out Adam Lambert who was the judges’  favorite.

Kris Allen and Adam Lambert

No one was likely more surprised than Allen himself. He literally stuttered out that “Adam deserves this”.

Kris Allen never set out to win this competition. He set out to simply earn his way into being in (and staying in) the competition. Each week he focused on doing his best and he took advantage of the opportunity. Over the season, he grew leaps and bounds and literally found his voice!  He was considered the ‘dark horse’ and with each week, he continued to be shocked when invited to stay in the game. As the season neared finale, it became clear that if he didn’t win, he’d succeed anyways….with record labels and other opportunities likely lining up at his door. 

Is there a morale to this story? What do you think???!!!

Focusing on being your best without worrying about what the competition is up to can often pay off. Each week, Allen was rewarded for being authentic and as Paula Abdul and the other judges regularly noted – he never lost sight of who he was. He played to his strengths and stayed true to himself.

There are many other stories about how authenticity and focusing on being your best can pay off. This, in fact, was the winning strategy for John Wooden, former head coach for the UCLA basketball dynasty. He brought UCLA to win 10 NCAA national championships in 12 years…and many other notable accomplishments.

His secret to success?

“Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to become the best which you are capable….don’t worry about whether you’re better than somebody else, but never cease trying to be the best you can become” (as  quoted in ‘Wooden on Leadership’).

What about you? Where are you focusing on being your best — and where can you leave behind concerns about the competition?  What of your strengths are you leveraging? What opportunities are coming your way — or are you creating — that you can leverage to grow yourself ? Where did you not earn ‘top spot’ – yet found success anyways because of the effort you made? 

For me…well, this coming weekend I am running a half marathon. I’m as slow as heck and I don’t give a damn. I’ve been running for 30 years…some years ‘ploddier’ than others. I’m proud of it all. I’m too slow to win any medals. But my father (a very accomplished marathoner with more than 70 marathons under his belt) taught me many years ago that every participant is a winner if they bring their best to the race that day.  So this Sunday, I will start out with thousands of other runners. I will focus only on doing what I can do that day – and I will bring my best.

To each of us out there….may you have peace knowing you are bringing your best self to your life each day.

UPDATE (posted June 9): For those inquiring minds – yes, I completed the half marathon! I was extremely happy with the overall experience and what I accomplished that day. I did my best for sure for that particular run. For those in the ‘marathon-know’, I completed my second half-split faster than the first…and finished strong (within my capacity). Now I’m setting my sights on a fall possibility:)

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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!

Eileen

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New Year’s Reflections – Qs for Thoughtstarters

December 28, 2008

UPDATED – DEC 09:

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. 

clock-by-tonivc

 (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:

THE YEAR PAST:

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)

 THE YEAR AHEAD:

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!

Eileen

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