Archive for the ‘Passion’ Category

Ask the Coach: Bored at work? Time for a new goal…

September 8, 2008

September is a great time to recharge your work ‘mojo’ by taking on a new goal or two. That’s the theme of one of my recent articles published in my column “Ask a Coach” in the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants (CICA) online newsletter CareerVision.  Thought you might be interested in reading it…..

Q. I recently finished a large project at work that I had been involved with for months. It was extremely busy with a tremendous amount of effort, but I enjoyed the challenge and it resulted in a huge success. Now that it’s over, the pace has slowed down and I’m feeling a little bored with not enough to do. Any tips?


Your question is interesting because it raises a different issue in the work-life balance equation. Often we assume that it’s always about having too much work. But a recent survey conducted by Sirota Survey Intelligence revealed that not having enough work can be more of a negative issue than too much work. According to the research, only 44 per cent of employees who said they didn’t have enough work were satisfied with their jobs; in comparison 69 per cent of those with too much work said they were satisfied with their jobs.   With respect to your situation, it sounds like you enjoy being challenged and busy and may need a new project or goal to sink your teeth into! Creating and committing to meaningful goals are integral to having fulfillment at work and life — they can give us a sense of purpose. Goals can also provide a context to create ‘sub-goals’ along the way which helps us focus, manage time and celebrate success along the way.

Often we find ourselves focusing our attention on getting to the ‘destination’ — the end result. It feels good when we’ve achieved success, but that feeling can be fleeting if you don’t have meaningful goals for the road ahead. Indeed, this underscores the value of the journey along the way.



Questions for Reflection

If ‘what’s next’ is on your mind, there are different types of goals to consider. They don’t always have to be big goals — sometimes smaller ones will do just as well. Here are some questions to prompt your reflection:

: What skills would you like to develop further? Is there a course, book or project that you can engage in to support this development?

Courses and credentials
: When your workload is a little lighter, consider this an opportune time to engage in continuing education. Have you thought of advancing your credentials or pursuing other related designations? Or simply take a course that interests you and/or will advance your professional skills and knowledge?

Work projects in and out of your regular duties
: Is there an opportunity to participate in or initiate a project at work that may not yet be on your radar? Think in terms of both your specific job-related duties as well as other possibilities, such as helping to organize a corporate volunteer initiative, a company social event, or a learning event.

Personal/professional development
: Have you considered professional development pursuits that are focused on intrinsic competencies vs. content driven? For instance, what about a new skill within areas of leadership development, communications, or organization skills?  

Expand your business and/or social network
: How’s your network? Might this be a time to set goals around expanding your professional and personal network?

Stretch goals
: Is there an opportunity to truly stretch yourself in your work life? Perhaps attempt a task that is a little outside your comfort zone and current experience.

Stepping stone goals
: Is there a bigger goal that might prompt some smaller, ‘stepping stone’ goals that can help you get there?

Just for fun and joy goals?
A little boost in the fun factor outside of work can never hurt.  Perhaps there’s a passion or hobby you’d like to reconnect with? Or an opportunity to try something new? Engaging in meaningful activities outside of work can also benefit your overall attitude at work.

Once you come up with a goal or two that resonates with you, write up some meaningful commitments and actions to get you started, and think about sub-goals along the way. Most of all, remember that the journey is as important as the end result. So enjoy, celebrate, and acknowledge your efforts along the way.
To a TGIM worklife!


It’s All About the People….

July 20, 2008

A client of mine (on the communications/PR side of my biz) recently retired from her role as VP Communications of the organization she’s worked with for the past 10 years.  I’ve had the privilege of working with her these past 6 years (I provide communications counsel) and have come to know her quite well.  In the days leading up to her farewell party – and at the party itself — I’d heard her reminisce about her career and repeatedly say: “It’s all about the people.” In her parting words, she counseled her younger staff to remember how important and valuable relationships are in one’s work-life – in many cases, even more important than the actual work!

“It’s all about the people”.  I couldn’t agree more. To read more -><> (more…)

The Best Laid Plans Wins The Leacock Award!

April 30, 2008

Congratulations to Terry Fallis who won the Stephen Leacock Award for his debut book: The Best Laid Plans! If you recall, I wrote a post when Terry was nominated a few weeks ago. 

See the news release here announcing the winner.

See Terry’s blog to learn more about “The Best Laid Plans”

See what this has to do with TGIM worklife in earlier post

And get a copy and read it! It’s great fun.

Way to go Ter!!!

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The Best Laid Plans – How Passion Can Fuel Success

March 30, 2008

It’s easier to work hard at something when there is an underlying purpose or passion behind the effort. Sounds like an oxymoron doesn’t it (“easier to work hard“) but that’s how it goes.

Well, nobody knows this better than Terry Fallis. Terry became a first time novelist this past year — and his book, The Best Laid Plans, has just been named one of five shortlisted contenders for the Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour.

Wow! How’s that for playing it big on your first try!? This is a huge accomplishment for Terry. Not only is this his first novel — but he did it while working full time. By day, Terry is president at Thornley Fallis – a very busy and successful PR and communications company in Toronto and Ottawa.  By night, he’s doing hockey duty, family time and what not (husband, two kids, volunteer life, etc.).

How the heck did he have time to write a top-notch book worthy of such a high profile award?

Well, guess it was important enough because Terry made the time.

At his book launch he explained how he wrote The Best Laid Plans before and after ‘after hours’ . Huh?

Terry would wake up at the crack of dawn and get a few hours of writing in before work. Then at night, after work; after the hockey games; after the family stuff……Terry would settle into some writing time at 10/11pm…..I’m tired just thinking about it!

What drives someone to do that and to pull off such amazing work at that?

Passion. And a dream.

Terry said he always had a dream to write a book. And guess what?! He had no expectations about the outcome…he just simply wanted to write it. And he wrote and wrote…..from his heart and his passions. He drew the inspiration for the book plot and characters from his personal story and life experiences.  

A Few Lessons Here:

LESSON #1: Great things can happen when one comes from the place of heart and passion.

LESSON #2: Funny how one can “find” the time when they are clear and focused on a dream.

LESSON #3: It’s easier to work hard when you are doing something you love.

LESSON #4:  Your life outside of your work is just as important to provide that ‘mojo’ factor in your life (TGIM….is for work AND life).

LESSON #5: The joy of fulfilling a life-long dream is in itself a reward. But you never know what else may come of it (like a nomination to a prestigious award!!!!)

LESSON #6: You don’t necessarily have to quit your job to do something you’ve always wanted to do. When you are committed – you might just find a way. 

LESSON #7: Our life stories and personal experiences are often the best place to start for inspiration (and I’m not just talking about writing books!).

LESSON #8: I suspect there are more lessons here… am leaving this one open for comment….

By way of disclosure, I know Terry professionally and have read his fantastic book (I loved it!!!). I met Terry years ago when working at Hill and Knowlton and more recently have the pleasure of being in touch as I am blessed to be working with many of the great folks at Thornley Fallis in my current work-life.


And to everyone – here’s to living your dream and to a TGIM work-life (before, during and after ‘hours’:)


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If You Attended Today’s CICA Webinar….

October 29, 2007

Thank you to everyone who attended the Webinar I presented today at the CICA exploring TGIM worklife with Emotional Intelligence! It was a great turn-out (more than 400 attendees!) and based on the questions I received at the end – a very enthusiastic group indeed.

I thought I’d post the links to some of the articles I mentioned that might be of interest (rather than having you search for them). So here are a few:

1) Emotional Intelligence at Work — an article I wrote for HR Reporter that provides an at-a-glance summary of some of the concepts I explored today about EQ.

2) The Lizard who wouldn’t eat…. About using your Signature Strengths to feel gratified at work.

3) Tips to Make the “Bigness of Monday” Just a Little Bit Lighterwhen you could use a little boost. And the Globe and Mail article “Thank God it’s Monday“.

4) Finding Flow: Intense Work but Without the Struggle

5) Is HR Prepared to Keep the Keepers — another article I wrote for HR Reporter on employee engagemeng for high performers and high potentials.

6) Employee Engagement – Respect

AND….there was one participant who asked about self employment as a career option…so for those that might be interested, my reflections starting my 10th year in biz

AND…there’s much more so I invite you all to have a look at the blog…and visit again! Also – I did mention that I’d be introducing a tele-class program in January for leaders who want to develop more resilience at work (to navigate and deal with the ever-increasing load and work-life hurdles we talked about).

More about that later but if interested, please let me know by email or a call and I’ll be sure to keep you in the loop as I confirm the details (with no obligation of course).

Of course, if interested in exploring how you can learn more about developing a TGIM worklife for yourself and/or others you work with….please do get in touch! I’d love to hear from you.

To a TGIM worklife!


The Silver Lining in Disappointment…

October 17, 2007

Disappointment can be hard but if you are the reflective and resourceful type – and draw on some of your emotional intelligence, often you can find a silver lining in the experience. Perhaps it comes in the form of new learning and/or an insight that moves you forward in some way….or keeps the door open for a bigger or more meaningful opportunity.

That seems to be what happened with Martin Slofstra, who has been writing about his job search journey in an ongoing series of columns in the Globe and Mail since July. Recently, he was interviewed for what he thought would be his dream job. He came in close (second candidate) — unfortunately not close enough to get the offer. Ouch. That was disappointing for Martin.

But with some soul searching – he discovered something important. The experience gave him additional awareness of what his career interests and passions were….it moved him forward in his journey towards a meaningful worklife by having greater self awareness; more focus and intention — and even some renewed faith that he’s getting closer.

I have been following Martin’s journey since July and have been in touch with him a few times these past months. On occasion he actually quotes me or includes a tidbit in his column about something we’ve talked about…..i.e. a nugget of advice I’ve offered, or some questions to reflect on.

Today Martin quoted me in his article. Unfortunately there was a small typo in my name (it’s Chadnick not Chadwick) — but just the same I was delighted that he took away something meaningful from our last exchange.

You can read the article here today while it’s still online (or buy a copy). And sometimes these get posted on Workopolis for a while as well.

But if you miss the article, here’s part of the nugget I shared. It starts with a quote from the renouned, Kim George – author of “Coaching into Greatness’ and a tremendous coach, mentor, visionary on all things related to “Abundance Intelligence” (which is very connected to emotional intelligence).

 “What’s meant for you can’t be lost”

…that is of course if you are doing all that you can do and being who you can be (authentic and living your greatness….unique strengths, gifts, values, aspirations, etc.).

There’s much more lying beneath that quote of course….you can read more by logging on to Kim’s blogs and website — or better yet, read the book….and most certainly do catch up with Martin’s columns. He’s very reflective…very articulate…and I think we can all learn a lot from his journey.   

So what about you? Are you dealing with disappointments in your worklife (or personal life) right now that might offer a silver lining? What are you learning from the challenge? How is your own self awareness and resourcefulness growing as a result of this experience? What about past disappointments? If you fast forward to where you are now, did something better come along? What lesson did you learn about ‘toughing’ it out? Or giving it time?

Well that’s it for today’s post. Till next time….and to a TGIM Worklife!




This just in: Free the humans!

August 20, 2007

If you read my post yesterday, I ended with a call for ideas on how to ease towards and back into September and work mode….with more joy and less angst. Well, this just in: Two colleagues in the coaching world that I respect very much are starting a movement called “Free the Humans” — and kicking it off on Labour Day with a “Free the Humans” be-in picnic!

 According to Darlene Russell and Charmaine Sherlock — the co-founders of this event and social movement — “the intent is to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the famous Summer of Love and to mark our reluctant return to work”.

Darlene says on their blog: “We thought this would be the perfect occasion to introduce Free the Humans, the new social movement committed to freeing the human spirit and liberating the imagination at work.”

Very coooooool. So if you are anywhere near the Hamilton area on Labour Day – mark your calendars and check it all out at their blog:

And if you’re not from the area…..stay tuned in because as Darlene said, this is about much more than a one day event: it’s a social movement and they inviting others to help co-create a new way of being at work.

Gotta like the sound of that!

Also worth noting, Darlene and Charmaine are also offering a fantabulous program for organizations wanting to perk up their people with their unique coffee breaks. If you’ve ever witnessed Darlene in action with her creativity, well, you’ll know you’re in for something special!  It’s all on their blog – so check it out!

To freeing the humans and a TGIM work life!


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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Happiness Gets a Bad Rap….

June 24, 2007

The Globe and Mail published a whole section this weekend devoted to the pursuit of happiness. Leah Mclaren, self-described pessimist, wrote the cover story which investigated the downside of up. Leave it to the pessimists to find a downside to up!@!

 (Photo courtesy of Flickr. See here for more)

Albeit there was a bit of balance – but the article ultimately gave happiness a pretty bad rap.

That made me unhappy.

Here’s the thing (or two or three…I need to rant a bit here).

I think her ‘investigation’ into the world of positive psychology and the concept of ‘happy’ resulted in an oversimplified and candy-coated version of what it means to pursue happiness.

She painted Martin Seligman (the founder and key contributor of/to positive psychology) and others in this field as over-excited self-help junkies……and lumped the concept of happiness into some ideal. She (and many whom she quoted) made it sound as if…..happiness equates with constant cheerfulness; constant wonderful moods…and  inferred that to be happy means putting your head in the sand, ignoring and denying the hurts, pains and perils in this world and in our lives (as in “don’t worry – just be happy”).

ARgggghh. Yuck. Blech. Puke. Puleeeeze!!!!

That version of happiness sounds a little Stepford don’t you think? PollyAnna?

Come on Leah! Dig a little deeper here.

Happiness (and positive psychology) really deserves a little more respect.

Pursuing happiness in one’s life is not about trying to be in constant joy per se. It’s more about creating meaning in our life experiences. The challenge so many of us face is that we miss out on so much because we’re constantly in angst. We’re running, worrying, stressing our days away. The positive psychology movement (in which coaching plays a big part), helps us to navigate our lives better and find/create more meaning and joy where it makes sense. It’s not about superficial joy all the time…it’s about gratification, meaning and actualization. It takes a lot of emotional intelligence to be happy. And it’s a coachable. And worth underscoring: It’s not about ALWAYS being happy. It’s about the right BALANCE and PERSPECTIVE.

Traditional pyschology was always about ‘fixing what’s wrong’. Healing those that needed healing. What about the rest of us? What about those who can give more of themselves and experience more in their life…but might need a little help in figuring out how to do that??

Worth repeating: Positive psychology (and coaching) is more about ACTUALIZING than healing. Pursuing happiness has much much more substance than simply pursuing a permanent good mood.  

A good life isn’t about an easy life with no bumps or challenges. But it is about a life well lived. Our lives happen. We can either experience them with a whole lot of stress, angst….or we can find ways to navigate our challenges, stress and bumps in the road……and create life experience with a little (or a lot)  more joy and fulfillment and ease (as in less ‘static’).

Sounds narcisstic? Think again. Happiness (in its more meaningful definition) often leads to more contribution. That’s right. When one feels they are living their ‘good life’ ….i.e. at peace, actualized, satisified with who they are and their life experience – they can give more back.

One of my coaching clients who had come a long way in finding her ‘good life’ said to me upon completion of our work together: “I have so much more to give of myself now….I am happier. Before, I had so little to give.” She found her version of meaning and happiness and immediately translated that into giving back to her family, friends and community. Her less-than-happy (actualized, fullfilled) self had much less to give. Now she had more. And she gave more back.

Hmmm. Perhaps there’s a philanthropic edge to happiness to be explored (Leah? a future article perhaps?).

Happiness takes work and is dynamic: I also think happiness is not a static, forever kind of condition that one receives…..i.e. I’m happy. Fait accomplit. Happiness is dynamic, fluid and takes work. You create your happiness (your state of mind)…..moment by moment.

It’s not about self analysis till paralyis. It’ s about living reflectively and taking responsibility for your thinking, actions…….and life experience.

Being happy is not about being self-centred and superficial. You can and should feel pain when life’s moments call for it. But being a happy, actualized, fulfilfled person — allows you to feel more compassion, empathy for others – and for yourself.

I have to share that I experience my own load of angst, worry, stress, etc. But I also practice heavily what I preach and am the better for it. Moment by moment, day by day….my life journey is about actualizing, experiencing more joy, navigating tough spots more gracefully….and being there for others because I can and want to.

Anyways….I’ve probably ranted enough for now. If you’ve come this far in this post, would LOVE to hear your thoughts, questions, ideas….

I must confess….I was pissed off reading that article but now I feel good, self expressed and happier that I wrote this post.

To a TGIM worklife….to being real….and to being happy!