Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year

Enjoy a wonderful celebration of 2014.
Enjoy a wonderful kick off to 2015.
Many blessing for a fabulous & happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The Last Work Day of 2014

Let's face it - today is really the last day of 2014 for work.  Even if you go into the office tomorrow, you are most likely putting in time.  It's an early day and you are planning for the evening's end of year festivities.

So today - take time to get organized for 2015 to start...

  1. get the files put away that have been sitting on your desk just waiting to go
  2. put the pens and markers in their place
  3. declutter the stuff that is making your workspace intimidating (to me, that means making piles of paper and books because I thrive when things are a little messy....just not cluttered)
  4. dust, vacuum or sweep
  5. clean the keyboard & screen
  6. wash off your desk so that it is fresh and clean
  7. if you are ambitious - re-arrange your furniture (I am going to do this!!)
It is amazing how, when you busy yourself with all the decluttering and cleaning, that ideas start to flow.  Watch out!  Have note-taking equipment at the ready.....

Monday, December 29, 2014

Shining A Light on What's Done

Posts this time of year usually come from reflection on what has passed in the previous 11 months.  This one is no different.

It's time to shine a light on what got done, didn't get done and how to overcome that baggage next year.  Just like the trees lit up at this time of year, when you see them there are really 2 different perspectives - all the tiny lights or the total glow of the tree.

Let's look at the tiny lights of my business (and by no means is this everything....)

What got done (the bright bulbs):

    • new clients on boarded
    • clients completing their coaching 
    • flushing out of roadmap to success - my process
    • deeper understanding of where I like to spend my time
    • focus on implementation
What didn't get done (the burnt out bulbs):

    • didn't get the book published
    • didn't post all 100 days before the end of the year - missed 14!!
    • didn't start next Mastermind Team
    • didn't get as physically active as needed (I like my chair & my Mac)
    • didn't unplug enough
So now what happens?  After using my worksheets throughout the month of November and executing the details that will get 2015 off to a great start, I have a calm and peace about next steps.

By shining a light on what's done, it's much easier to get to the next steps and focus.  Take apart all of the tiny lights of your business - the ones that help to create that beautiful glow....and eliminate the burnt out bulbs.  While those burnt out bulbs may not affect the overall glow, they can somewhat diminish the brightness.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Time to Chill

What to do on the last Sunday of 2014?
Take it easy.

One thing my husband and I do on this day every year is plan our vacation time for the coming year.  We take out a calendar and plan the dates we want to take off for any number of reasons including:

  • vacations in the hot sun
  • day trips to explore new (or old) venues in our immediate area
  • weekends with friends
  • stay-cation days in our back yard
  • birthdays  - milestones and not-so-milestones
  • special events - this coming year we have a University Graduation, a High School Graduation and a College Graduation + a family wedding
We love doing this - and while some of you may say it's micro-managing our time off, it really is not - it truly gives us something to look forward to pretty well each month of the year.

And with the ability to focus (and plan, because some of this costs money & needs organizing!!!) on our moments of 'chill time', then getting the work done becomes more focused too.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Jingle All The Way

Time ticks on pretty quickly these days.
With the tinsel on the trees, offices decorated festively and gifts exchanged, it's almost time to get back to work.

How can you keep that feeling of joy, anticipation & excitement going all year round?  It won't be enough to keep the Christmas lights up or the jingle balls hung around the office will it.

How about trying a few of these things:

  • a monthly gift-giving session - share with each other what one person on your team has provided as a 'gift' to you....examples could include:  getting work completed before the deadline, collaborating on a solution to a client issue, baking the best chocolate chip cookies, listening .....
  • a tree board - use post-its to create a 'tree' every time a team member's birthday goes by - recognizing the day they were born, the most precious gift
  • give a quarterly pot luck to raise funds for the less fortunate (instead of only once per year)
  • have Christmas in July - a team building crafting session that donates the product to a local charity for the holidays - try knitting or crocheting mitts or scarves
  • ring the bells - celebrate client milestones and successes by jingling a few bells - the tinkling noise will certainly make you think about this time of year, and smile.

Friday, December 26, 2014


I get it.
It's completely counter-intuitive to unplug on the day after Christmas!
With cool new toys unwrapped and ready to use, how could you possibly unplug?!

Easy - put the new toys away.  Enjoy the day with your friends, family and the world around you.

In Canada - it's Boxing Day - an actual it.  Come on?  What have you got to lose?
Your text messages and emails will still be there tomorrow.

Chill.  Enjoy!

We all need it....and you will feel better for it.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas to You!

Merry Christmas to You & Yours.

May the peace, joy & happiness of the season be yours - today & all the year through.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

The Gifts We Get

The time of gifts & giving.....
Do we take time to think about the gifts we get at any other time of the year?
And what do we do when we get them?

  • the gift of a smile on a tough day
  • the gift of a hug
  • the gift of someone's time
  • the gift of sunshine
  • the gift of energy, passion and commitment
  • the gift of encouragement & a listening ear
Acknowledging the gifts we get - through written words in cards, journalling or verbally articulating our gratitude is a start. 

The real way to be grateful for those gifts, is to pass it on.

Each year, on Christmas Eve, we attend Mass at our childhood church with my parents.  My sons - nearing and in their 20's - happily attend, just to see the smiles on their Nonne & Nonno's faces.  These are all gifts - reciprocated.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Happy Festivus!

This is an invented holiday - somewhat like a lot of them throughout the year.
I just love the episode on Seinfeld - like so many others.

As I researched, there is even a website dedicated to all things Festivus -

If you are thinking about celebrating Festivus - here are the rules.
If you know nothing about Festivus, it was started by Frank Costanza (George's dad) because he couldn't get George the doll he wanted for Christmas & had become fed up with the commercialization of Christmas.  

(I am chuckling as I read & write, this seems like a good way to purge all the toxic craziness that has plagued us all year - we need to vent that out too!)

Monday, December 22, 2014

So, What Do You Know About 2014?

The season is upon us now
a time for gifts and giving.
As the year draws to it's close, 
I think about my living.....

These are lyrics from 'A Baby Just Like You' - originally by Frank Sinatra and more recently (still over 22 years ago, by John Denver & The Muppets)...and the words hit me every time.

I love music - and I listen especially to the words.  And I let the tears come to my eyes as they usually do.  So let's take a stroll through these words at this time of year....

When the last days of the year approach, taking time to reflect on the year that was gives us many things:
~ comfort ~ hope ~ ideas ~ longing ~ focus ~ understanding ~ opportunities for gratitude ~

and I am sure many more to think about. 

Reading blog posts, articles and newsletters from my online community connections, this is a topic that is featured multiple times.  I have also completed this exercise with my Mastermind Teams over the last few sessions in order to prepare for a solid start to the New Year.

Here is the process we followed:
  • with 2 worksheets, we focused on reflection in 2 ways 
    1. action (what did we do or not do)
    2. learning (what did we learn from the doing or not doing)
  • I spent time reviewing the year in notes from our sessions, visuals of our flipcharts and reminding each team member of what they did (it helps to do this exercise with someone who knows you and your business because they can sometimes see what you have already moved past even though they were valid accomplishments.)
  • Once we completed documenting the information, I asked each of them, in our individual follow up coaching session, 
    • what they could do with the learning and reflection?  
    • how can they apply this to next year's goals?
    • what have they left behind that is no longer required (as a goal or a commitment or comfort-zone)?
  • From here we are ready to flush out what's important for next year - the actions we want to take, and applying the learning to ensure we hit our mark.

Download your own worksheets & get started.  Let me know how you are doing.

Special thanks to Chris Taylor at Actionable Books - I adapted these worksheets from a great annual review he created and shared with his team, and his community!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Are You Brave?

Join us on May 8, 2015

I am very fortunate to be among a group of organizations that host Leadercast each year.  This is a Full Day LIVE Simulcast event that creates a great opportunity for leaders to connect, meet, grow and learn from each other.  The team at Leadercast does an awesome job at focusing the subject matter from well-known (and loved!) speakers to a single theme that resonates around the world.

Oddly enough, with 2014 being my 'Year of the Brave', our theme for Leadercast 2015 is 'The Brave Ones'.  Working on developing my plan for this event in May next year, I have read some of the books by the authors that are speaking and really started to look at my own community through a new lens - the one of this theme.

Bravery is about possessing a posture of unrelenting boldness.
an essential behaviour for any leader is the act of bravery.  Bravery is not a moniker that can be cannot be self-appointed.  Bravery is not attributed to everyone, but is reserved for those whose innovation in their industry cause them to stand out from the crowd, whose unyielding effort and error push their organizations into new territories, and whose boldness compels them to stand up for those less fortunate.  These are the Brave Ones.    (from Leadercast 2015)

Looking at the world through this lens has allowed me to open up my own view to bravery and who has fulfilled that action in the past.  In my immediate family I can attribute this to my Dad - an Italian immigrant who came to Canada to start a new life for himself and his parents without any knowledge of the language or where he would settle; to my sons - both who found the courage to take steps to control their own lives at very young ages (15 & 11) and make choices that were against the grain.  My husband, who figured out his passion and stuck to it to become well-known in his field (without a post-secondary education) and is now focusing on others he can help find their way with education and focus.

Do those examples fit the description above completely?  Perhaps not.  Others have done similar things I am sure.  To me though, those acts were/are life-changing and set the tone for them to continue to make bold decisions and stand out from the crowd because of what they have accomplished so far.