Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

The Missing New Year’s Resolution

January 3, 2014

This is the time of year when people are most likely to set goals. Get in shape, eat better, budget smarter, work wiser, and live better.

How about you? Are you declaring goals that will help you step up your game in 2014 to be a better version of yourself?



Nothing wrong with that. I’m not going to bash goals and resolutions setting here. Taking responsibility and setting meaningful, achievable goals to help better ourselves is a good thing. Of course, how we pursue our goals is what matters most. But I’ll leave that for another post, another time. Right now, I want to talk about an essential item that I think is likely missing from most people’s lists.

Boost your daily positivity habit.

I bet dollars for donuts (well, let’s make that apples) that developing a robust positivity habit is not on your list.

But it should be.

Read the rest of the article on my Huffington Post blog entry here.



Job Interview Tips (and video)

February 9, 2013

How do you prepare for a job interview? One thing for sure — never wing it. Preparation is essential. And I made sure to make that point in a new video series on interview tips at Globe Careers.

We taped seven videos for the series. I’ll post each as they get rolled out.

#1  A brief primer on how to prepare for your interview. 

#2 How to answer the ‘dream job’ question.

#3 How to discuss your ’strengths/weaknesses’ in an interview.


#4 So why did you leave your last job?


#5 So tell me about a time you solved a problem such as….?


#6 Questions you must ask in a job interview.


#7 How to answer quirky job interview questions.

Read the rest of this post at Big Cheese Coaching Blog!

Business Handshake

What Would You Do With An Extra 30 Minutes a Day?

January 28, 2013

(Just posted on my new Big Cheese Coaching website and blog)

Ahhh, the gift of time.  Imagine if you had an extra 30 minutes a day to do whatever you wanted? What would you do with that?

gift of time (microsoft image) MP900316551

Well the good people at Brighterlife asked me that very question. They were writing an article on the gift of time and asked me to share what I’d do in my free-found 30 minutes a day. Update: the article has just been posted Feb 19th – read it here.

An interesting question! I often say I’d like a 9-day week so I can squeeze in more of the stuff I want to do (both in work and life). When they asked me to think about an extra half hour my first reaction was ‘Only a half hour! Why not a full hour?’  But beggars can’t be choosers. 30 minutes more a day adds up to 3.5 more hours in a week.

What to do? So many choices and my first inclination was to be more productive. More writing; more work on my projects; more ‘doing’. But then I switched gears and decided to choose activities that were quite different.


A New Home (website) for Big Cheese Coaching

January 28, 2013

Big Cheese Coaching has a new home! Well, to be more precise, a new website.

Lots of changes. For starters, the url has changed. We’ve lost our dash (our website used to be: and that dash…kinda slowed you down from getting there didn’t it?  The new site is now:

What we lost in our dash, I hope we gained in splash…or appeal and more functionality!

– I’ve got a new blog right on the site (see

-I’ll still be keeping this blog (tgimworklife) as well as my Unretiredlife blogs but for now, lotsa of the ‘news’n’action’ will be over at my website and blog.

So please check it out and visit often. Lotsa, lotsa news there and in the queue!

Oh and a big shout of thanks to Joan Donough of In-Formation-Design who helped me build the next evolution of Big Cheese Coaching’s website. Couldn’t have done it without her! A fabulous, collaborative partner – I highly recommend her services.  And she’s a pleasure to work with.

Well – see you over ‘there’ real soon I hope!


12 Questions for the Year-end & New Year

December 7, 2012

T’is the season! Each December, I honour my annual tradition of reflecting on the year past and the year ahead. I focus this reflection with 12 questions and share them on my blog and newsletter. I am already starting my reflection and invite you to do the same.  I love this kind of reflection! Noting highlights and lessons learned; how I have evolved; the memorable moments and the various goals I’ve advanced towards – and more. Often, I’m surprised by how much I achieved. As we trudge through our busy lives we are often thinking about all we have not done or achieved. So I invite you to reflect on these questions to take stock and celebrate 2012 and reflect on your intentions and aspirations for 2013. 

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The Year Past:    

 1) What went well? Identify the goals you accomplished or advanced towards; and note anything else that went well and is worth highlighting.

 2) In what ways did you grow and evolve in the ‘evolution of you’? How were you tested or challenged and how did you grow as a result? What new skills, knowledge, ideas and insights  (life, work, other) have made you better or different from the beginning of the year?  

 3) What were your favorite moments of 2012? Savouring positive experiences has been proven to be a success strategy for building optimism, resilience and mojo – all essential ingredients to personal and professional wellbeing!

4) What do you need to clean-out or let go of right now from the year past to be ready to start fresh in 2013? Consider both your physical space (your office, your home) as well as your emotional and mental mindsets.

5) What and who are you most grateful for right now? Consider the people in your life; the circumstances; the gifts; make this a juicy list!

 6) If there was a theme for 2012 for you personally, what would it be? i.e. “This was the year of ____.”

 The Year Ahead:   

  7) What are your goals for 2013? Consider professional goals as well as personal goals. Consider small, medium and BHAG goals (big hair audacious goals).

  8 ) What of your strengths and assets will you deliberately use more of in the year ahead to realize your goals? Consider your personal strengths but also your assets such as your network, knowledge, experience and more. Make a plan.

 9) In what ways will you take care of your personal wellbeing to maintain or boost your “Mojo” – resilience, energy, inspiration and sense of wellbeing? Take time to reflect on your physical wellbeing as well as your mental and emotional wellbeing. If you were at your peak – what would that look like? What needs to happen to bridge the gap from where you are today to where you want to be? Make a plan.

 10) In what ways will you take care of your professional wellbeing to boost or maintain your work-life aspirations and career mojo? What new skills will you acquire or deepen? How will you foster/grow your network? What new challenges will you take on? And what support might you call on to help you achieve your professional goals?

 11) In what ways will you contribute something to the ‘greater good’  of _____ (choose a community or communities of choice)?

  12) If the year ahead is to have a personal theme for you, what would that be? i.e. “This will be the year of ____” 

 Here’s to celebrating the past and gearing up for the future. And making each day count along the way. To your personal, professional wellbeing and TGIM work + life!



A Tribute to Chris Peterson – RIP

October 10, 2012

It is with great sadness that I just learned that Chris Peterson  (Christopher)passed away yesterday. Chris was a pioneer in the field of positive psychology, often considered one of the founding fathers and lead the VIA Character Strengths project along with Martin Seligman.

One of the 100 most cited psychologists in the world, Chris was a renouned professor of psychology at University of Michigan, author of A Primer in Positive Psychology; contributing expert in Psychology Today — and so many more accolades in his professional contributions.

Nearly every ‘tool’ in my coaching toolbox has some learning, scientific backing that has come from the work of Chris Peterson and that of his many colleagues.

This past January, I was blessed to participate in a Master course on wellbeing developed and taught by Chris and offered by Mentor Coach. It was a rich, eight-week primer on much of the latest research, learnings and wisdom from the world of positive psychology. It was truly a gift to learn directly from Chris who was at the forefront of the whole positive psychology movement.  Chris was supremely generous, knowledgeable, kind and funny.

Chris had a mantra: “Other People Matter”  which encompassed all the research and learnings and implications about the impact that family, relationships and other social connections have on our wellbeing. To that end, I am sure that Chris would want people to remember the importance of nurturing relationships in our lives.

He will be greatly missed by everyone in the field of positive psychology around the world and will be remembered for his outstanding contributions to the field.

Addendum: as the tribute articles start to pour in, here is one I came across:

The Atlantic: “Very Nice Guy and Important Psychologist Dies”


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What Are You Grateful For?

October 8, 2012

What are you grateful for today? It’s Thanksgiving in Canada today so gratitude is on our minds and hopefully in our hearts!

Gratitude is not a once-a-year mindset for me — I live in that question (What am I grateful for?) nearly every day, year-round. Those who know me or have been part of my TGIMworklife community, will have heard me say that Gratitude is one of my top Signature Strengths.

Still, I embrace Thanksgiving as a great opportunity to deepen my appreciation even further and celebrate all that I have in my rich life. This weekend I took this up a notch and am living in the lens of thankfulness hour by hour, minute by minute.

I won’t write out my entire list because it would be toooo long to expect anyone to read it but to share just a few gratitude notes that I experienced in the first wee hours of my morning today. This morning, my focus was on my home, the surrounding nature and gorgeous foliage that I get to experience — all the while living in the city.

Here are a few photos to capture the essence (I took them this morning!):

This photo below was taken this morning from my balcony just off of my kitchen. This tree stands outside my backyard in the common area of my townhouse condo residence. I’m so blessed to have a home in the city that allows for beautiful space.

This next photo is just minutes into my run in the  lovely ravine just across the road.  Again, I am so blessed to have such abundant nature at my doorstep. How’s that for city living!

 And this one is just about 15 minutes into my run! This pond overlooks hole #3 at the Don Valley Golf Course….also just minutes from my home. Gotta love the urban life!

All this happened in just a couple hours. Imagine what I have in store for the next 22 hours. I haven’t even touched on the other ‘categories’ (family, friends, health, work, fun…..and more).

Wishing you all a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend. If you are reading this – I am grateful to you for being part of my TGIMworklife community.  And I invite you to reflect on what you are grateful for today.

In gratitude,


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In the News: Get a Grip on Your Schedule

July 27, 2012

I was just finishing up some last bits of one of the chapters in my book-in-progress (due out in early 2013) on how to tame overwhelm (too busy) angst and I got a call that was very timely.

“Eileen, do you have any tips for advisors on how to get in better control of their days…time…schedule?”. The reporter, Fiona Colle, was writing a tip piece for her Friday column called Practice Management.

Well – do I ever! Actually I’ve got loads of tips. But the editor told me her article would be brief so only room for a few. So here’s a taste of a few ideas to get a grip on a busy schedule. The ideas are seemingly so basic yet so critical and hopefully good reminders of how to bring more order to a really busy day (are there any other kinds of days?!). Although written for advisors, the ideas are relevant to anyone with too much to do and not enough time!

Read the article here from Investment Executive’s Casual Friday column here 

To a TGIM Work + Life!

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June 15, 2012

I wrote this article a few years ago but the ideas are still very timely so worth reposting.

TGIM Work-Life!

One of the upsides of being downsized (see last post) is that you have the opportunity to re-evaluate your career aspirations. For many people it’s a chance to take a hard look at what they really want to do – rather than try to sleepwalk into what they have always been doing. That may mean setting a new career direction, retooling or retraining  – or even re-branding yourself.

But before you re-invent yourself, make sure you remember who you already are! What I mean is rather than looking externally at all the shiny new career possibilities, make sure you also look internally to ensure the right fit and to bring forth the best of you as you move forward.

A look inside  — The inner game reflection encompasses a bunch of stuff. Here are two lenses to consider:

1) Mine Your Strengths: You have acquired job-specific strengths and talents…

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Some Follow-up Resources (Manage Overwhelm)

March 30, 2012

UPDATE (DEC 2013):  if the topic of managing overwhelm is of interest to you – I just launched a new book called, Ease – Manage Overwhelm in Times of Crazy Busy. You can get it at most online book retailers. Read here for more!


During my Webinar this week (recording now available), I shared a lot of ideas related to managing our ‘overwhelm’. Learning to say ‘no’ when appropriate; practising focus and being mindful (not ‘mind full’!); and getting enough sleep. And a ton more. Here are a few resources as a follow-up. More to come….we’ll keep this conversation going for some time (in different shapes and sizes).

Tame Those Overwhelm Gremlins— an article I wrote for the Globe and Mail that summarizes some of the topics discussed on the webinar.

Webinar (free): Are You Addicted to the Yes Habit

Articles: IE interviewed me just a few weeks ago on this topic which resulted in two articles. “Learn to Say No – Part I” — and “The Proper Way to Say No — Part II”

Book: Eat Well, Age Better, Live Strong – by Aileen Burford Mason : Aileen’s book delves into nutrients and the brain and deals with stress, fatigue, sleep issues and more. It’s hot off the press!

Have You Done Your Ta Da List Yet? A past issue of my newsletter got all into this – lotsa stuff here!

-Mindfulness at Work: We talked about practising mindfulness at work. If you think mindfulness is too zen for you and only for buddists think again. Wendy Woods (disclosure – a friend) has written an interesting article  about meditating at work and managing overload.

And so much more….feel free to weigh in and send comments, tips, other resources. In the meantime, it’s Friday and I need to do my ‘ta da list’ to complete my week 🙂

To TGIM Work + Life –> and Personal, Professional and Organizational Wellbeing.


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