Welcome! I am a passionate and creative individual who is full of ideas for how we can change the world! You can check out my latest thoughts and ramblings, view my resume, see what books are inspiring me, or get in touch for more information.…
I haven’t been working full time in a number of months now. I’ve taken a good amount of time off, and only in the last few months have been working three days a week. I thought it would be perfect to work three days a week, I would still have two days a week to follow my passions, try new things, blog, learn the things I have been wanting to learn, make healthy living a priority, etc. And yet…
Time just drifts away. It is absolutely incredible to me how busy I always feel. There is always something that needs doing. I did take an online class over the last few months, and spend a fair amount of time on some independent contract work, but I am still shocked that I don’t have more time. I am so perplexed how parents do it…I can barely take care of myself, never mind anyone else!
I am working hard at channelling the ideas of Brene Brown where she reminds us how easy it is to come from a place of scarcity — a place of not enough. Not enough time, not enough money, not enough resources etc. Which quickly leads to “I am not enough”. A dangerous slope to start slipping. I don’t think I am sliding down that slope, but rather, that I need to be intentional about taking back my time. Prioritize what I want to do, and do it. I can’t be everything, I can’t do everything, I can’t see everyone. I can do somethings though, and really all it takes is a bit of dedication. Anything I actually want to do, seems to get done.
Over the past couple weeks I have been doing a bit of work with my StepMom’s company. She has a very successful home staging/design/rental business. Design is not my forte (for example I own thrift store couches) so I’ve been helping out more on the management end of things. Her business has grown tremendously over the past five years and it has been super inspiring to watch a dream become a reality through hard work, creativity, and impatience with the status quo. We’ve had many great conversations over the past few years about managing people and growing a great team.
Recently, we wanted to take a look at hiring practices. They were hiring for a couple positions and wanted to make sure the new people really fit with the team. This makes perfect sense from a business point of view – it costs lots of money to hire a staff member that doesn’t work out. Makes the most sense to get it right from the beginning.
This all got me thinking about how employee engagement really starts from the hiring process. I’m a big fan of the Gallup Group and Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman’s 12 questions of employee engagement. These questions can guide any organization to having employees who are engaged, productive and happy!
But this needs to start right from the beginning of a relationship between an organization and employee. We can use these questions in thinking about hiring. Will this person be able to do their best work every day? Will they fit with the staff culture (will they find a best friend at work)? Do you see them learning and growing? Will the manager be able to support them in their progress? Does it seem like they are excited about the company’s mission and values? If not, then perhaps they are not the right person for the job. This is why hiring needs to be done carefully. We want to find people that are the right fit for the company, and who find the company to be the right fit for them.
Of course, that is easier said than done. So, we started by coming up with some good interview questions that really got to the heart of the values of the organization. Questions that asked about ethics, self awareness and values were all important to this organization. We also created an online application form (thank you google docs!) that asked some basic personality questions, availability, skills, and creative questions. This is meant as a way to quickly “weed out” potential applicants who are just applying for multiple jobs without the proper skill set. It also shows a bit of the culture of the organization to the potential employee – the tone of the questions give a sense of what they are all about.
This online form should also make interviewing more efficient as it will limit the number of interviews needed. Limiting the number of interviews will also make the managers happier and more engaged in the interviews they do conduct. More engagement all around :)
Employee engagement is such a key part of a workplace culture and can make the difference between a good company and a great company. Hopefully starting at the beginning can help to keep engagement high. We will have to follow up in a few months to see how the new recruits are making out!
Hiring often seems like a lot of work. It is easy to neglect the importance of a good hiring procedure until it time to hire again – and by then you might be facing a time crunch to get them hired. Why not be proactive and take stock before you need to?
So I have been officially “retired” for over two months now. In total, there have been about three hours where I have questioned what I am doing with my life. The rest of the time, I’ve been too busy not working. Too busy living in the moment. I am making many small decisions to avoid the big ones. I kind of figure that as long as I journey down a path by making decisions that feel right in my heart at the time, then I will end up where I am meant to be. Boredom has never really been a problem for me…I always find something to do. Having no-job is a job in itself.
- Done a freelance facilitation for a non-profit
- Facilitated Personality Dimensions for my Step-Mom’s staff
- Taken two courses in adult educations
- Completed a graphic design project for my aunt’s business
- Learned to make bread
- Started a Emily Carr painting class
- Spent two weekends at camp
- Created myself a bedroom office
- Registered “Magic Apple Consulting” as a business in the province of BC
- Opened a business bank account and deposited my first two cheques
- Applied for one job :)
I am grateful that my life is full of amazing things that I forgot to actually publish this post until 3 days later ;)
I went for the most amazing run today. Vancouver in September really is wonderful. I ran about twice as far as I usually do because I was so inspired about life.
Yesterday was my last day of work. The last of the lasts. Finally! It feels like I have been running a marathon since about Christmas of last year…and especially in the last month or so. I thought I would be full of feelings and emotions in the last few days but I find that instead I am just filled with gratitude. Gratitude that I have had the privilege of working with such incredible people over the past nine years. I am have so much gratitude that I had the opportunity to learn and grow with this organization and have been able to become a person that I love. I really can’t express how profoundly my life has been impacted by working at camp.
Most people who know me are aware of my insanely deep love for the work of Brene Brown. Surprisingly, I hadn’t actually read any of her books. So I finally started reading “The Gifts of Imperfection.” It couldn’t have come into my life at a better time. Brene (yes, I do think I we are on a first name basis), writes about gratitude. In her research she found that folks who practice gratitude on a regular basis lead more joyful lives. Brene talks about gratitude can help in times of vulnerability. Today I am feeling a bit vulnerable.
And so, on my run, I started to think about the incredible things I am grateful for in my life. And perhaps, that is why my run was so long. My list was very long, and this is just part of it.
I’m grateful that I have family and friends who really care about me.
I’m grateful that I have 4 amazing parents who are healthy and incredibly happy.
I’m grateful that I have awesome relationships with my many siblings. And that my siblings are all leading lives they value and that make them happy.
I’m grateful that I live in an apartment that I absolutely love, in a neighbourhood that is amazing, and with a room-mate who is my best friend.
I’m grateful that I had the chance to complete my masters in a subject that I am passionate in, and that the experience transformed me in ways I didn’t know possible.
I’m grateful that I live in a city that is so beautiful. And that public transportation, bike lanes, and car sharing are promoted and encouraged.
I’m grateful that I am healthy.
I’m grateful for the many people in my life who believe in my (often before I believe in myself). I’m grateful they can see my sparks.
I’m grateful that I have the security that I can dare greatly and leave my job because I want to.
I’m grateful that I have people in my life who speak the language of vulnerability, self awareness and courage.
I’m grateful that I can live my life as I choose.
Above all, I’m grateful that I belong.
Well, my year is almost up. My year of “my last ____”. My last coordinator training, my last camper application process, my last interviews and hirings, my last time of meeting the new staff. Now it is time for my last visits to each camp. Time to start to say goodbye to the program that has meant so much to me.
Saying goodbye to the people doesn’t worry me. For the most part, it really isn’t good bye. In this day and age, we are all connected through social media and other avenues. And the people have changed so many times in the past nine years that saying good bye to them is almost more routine.
Saying goodbye to the actual camp sites is somewhat more difficult. These are places that are filled with so many memories for me. Every where I look, I remember a funny moment, a challenging moment, a beautiful moment. I remember deep and meaningful conversations with staff members and then I am flooded with stories of campers doing hilarious things. These places are filled with nooks and cranny and quirks that have shaped my summers for almost a decade.
I had my last trip to one of the camps last week. I was shocked at how emotional it was for me. I expected emotion, but I hoped it would be at convenient times. I didn’t expect it right in the middle of conversations, or to be so overpowering that I couldn’t function. Of course I know that isn’t the way emotion works. And yet…one can hope right?
If saying goodbye to each camp is this emotional, this could be an exhausting month. As I get to the lasts of “my lasts” I expect I will feel somewhat drained and vulnerable. I guess that is what happens when you put your whole heart into something. It means you have your whole heart feel the emotion of starting to pull away.…
Last week I had the privilege of walking across the stage in the Royal Theatre along with 38 of my classmates at our convocation from the Royal Roads Masters of Arts in Leadership Program. While the official convocation was nothing too spectacular, the pre and post celebrations were amazing.
Our cohort got together the night before graduation at a pub in downtown Victoria. There were so many hugs, laughs, and life-updates to share. We celebrated each others accomplishments and spoke about “what next”. What an inspiring group of people who are doing absolutely great things in the world. I know that the connections we have made over the past few years have created a network of support that will carry us forward.
At the beginning of the program our faculty suggested creating a strong vision for what it would feel like when we walked across the stage at the end of it all. I held that vision in the front of mind over the past few years. When it all came true, it was even better than I’d imagined it!
Every year I have the priviledge of spending 10 days working with the coordinators of each of the three camps during coordinator orientation. This training has become a favourite time of the year for me. The orientation is a combination of skill development, personal growth, team bonding and learning the policy and procedure of our program.
This year was no exception to my general feeling that this is my favourite time of the year. It is completely inspiring to work with a group of people who are so dedicated to their jobs, completely engaged in what we are learning, and are really excited to get to know each other better. We did a lot of scenario based work and tried to make all the learning as experiential as possible. Feedback from this approach was overwhelmingly positive. I also took the opportunity to run a personality dimensions workshop with the coordinators. I think this created some sparks and conversation!
I reflected part way through the orientation how fortunate we are to be given this time at the beginning of every summer. Because it is a seasonal position with new coordinators starting each year, annual training is necessary. I wonder how effective other organizations would be if they too could prioritize a solid amount of time for an offsite retreat to come together to learn together.
This was my third time facilitating this particular training. This was the first time that I have felt so relaxed about it. Having a strong vision going in really helped. I used the phrases I heard so many times at school over the last few years…“begin with the end in mind” and “trust the process.” Both phrases guided the way I led.
The final evening was perhaps one of my favourite evenings at staff training in recent history. We created capes for each coordinator and then took turns adding their “super-skills” to the capes. This was followed by a beautiful “caping” ceremony down by the lake. Pure magic.
Last week, I was fortunate enough to attend a one day conference called “the art of leadership” hosted in Vancouver. I knew about this conference for months, and knew that many of my RRU buddies would be going, but the price tag was just a little to steep for me to justify. Then I got a call from a friend that a non-profit rate had been announced, and so, I quickly registered.
The conference hosted 6 keynote speakers. There were no break out sessions or smaller groups. Just all 1100 of us crammed into one huge room with great acoustics. Usually this would turn me off, but it was actually really effective. There were no difficult decisions to make about which session to attend, and all the speakers were engaging and for the most part, made you believe that you were not in a room with 11oo others.
It was inspiring to be, once again, learning and laughing alongside my RRU friends. And to see so many other incredible leaders in our community committing their time and money to see the likes of Patrick Lencioni, Robin Sharma, Jeanne Meister, Leonard Brody, Steven Shapiro, and General Rick Hillier.
The messages of the day were not revolutionary for me personally. Themes such as vulnerability, authenticity, adaptability, change and respect were spoken loud and clear. I definitely got some new ideas and was re-inspired, but didn’t learn anything that I wanted to shout from the roof tops :) In all honesty though, I feel like I can’t hear too much about this stuff.
I did, however, have two very clear take-aways from this day. The first is that I want my next workplace adventure to involve working with an open, innovative, and almost “edgy” organization. I want to be part of an organization with some spunk and personality. Not sure just what that means yet…but I am excited to figure it out.
The other take-away I had was that speaking in front of large audiences can be engaging and fun. I dream of being a key note speaker one day…and I feel like it came across loud and clear that with the right preparation you can engage the audience in an intimate sort of way. I feel inspired by all the speakers.
All in all, it was a great day and a nice treat to step away from the every day to think about the bigger picture for a while.
If you want any more information about the conference, you can check it out here.
Brene Brown entered my life about a year ago with her incredibly powerful Ted Talk about vulnerability. Her passion, authenticity and humour really spoke to me about the beauty of vulnerability and the human spirit. Dr Brown’s ted talk provided a great starting ground for many meaningful conversations I have had with friends and colleagues about vulnerability and trust over the past few months. I appreciate being given language and words to use to explain my attraction to vulnerability and, therefore, authenticity.
I highly encourage everyone to watch this ted talk. Well worth the twenty minutes: http://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_on_vulnerability.html
And now, she has followed this ted talk with a second one about shame that is equally as powerful. Dr Brown role models once again what it means to be vulnerable, and why we can not ignore role that shame plays in vulnerability. She is humble, funny, and able to recognize the role that her work can play in the world.
Vulnerability is not weakness, it is courage. I strive to lead a courageous life.
Here is a link to her second, equally profound, ted talk: http://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_listening_to_shame.html