What are the benefits of adopting an attitude of gratitude?

One of the most transformative tools I’ve adopted in my life, and one that I like to share with others as a Leadership and Personal Development coach, is the use of “Gratitude”.

Over the years I’ve come to understand that when I want to make a shift for the better, regardless of what it may be, it starts on the inside. It begins with a thought, the development of the idea, and so forth. When I am anchored with an “attitude of gratitude” the results are more positive, more productive, more fulfilling. I feel better about my life and what’s going on around me.

There is more and more scientific research being undertaken to substantiate this finding, and the following link, to a very comprehensive article, explains how the emotional connection between our hearts impacts our brains, even at a molecular level.

Scientists Show How Gratitude Literally Alters The Human Heart & Molecular Structure Of The Brain

Adopting the daily practice of “feeling grateful” will not only change your life, the world around you may become more peaceful as well!

Things I’ve Learned Along the Way: Stick with it despite the challenges

This brightened my day and made me smile. Why? Because it reminds me to keep on trying despite the challenges that surface in life.

Through experience, I’ve learned when trying something new it almost always feels a bit odd in the beginning, because it is. It’s when we persevere against all odds and keep working on what is most important to us, whether it may be learning to ride a motorcycle, working on a new project or whatever it is that’s burning in our hearts, that success comes into focus.

Take the plunge, make the mistakes, try again, and smile knowing that you are on your way to mastery!

Are you looking for the secret to life? Change your thoughts and it changes your life

Recently a young lady I know had an incredible realization. Despite having received some difficult news, she was able to change her thinking. Instead of her usual reaction of getting bummed out about it, she went for a walk and thought about all of the things that were going right in her life. In that moment, she realized that she was on to something.

The secret that is often overlooked: Our thoughts generate our feelings; what we feel drives our actions; and our actions define who we are and who we ultimately become.

The simple practice of changing our thoughts and adopting an “attitude of gratitude” is a powerful way to take back our lives.

Who’s responsibility is it anyway? 

Have you ever read an article or watched a video that prompted you to speak up? I experienced this recently when watching the attached video of Simon Sinek from Delta Protective Services. It’s a very informative video about millennials, the impact technology has had on an entire generation, the need for instant gratification, the lack of patience and how it’s now playing out in our workplaces and in society. It’s worth the investment of time to watch through to the end.  

There are many very good points being raised in the video, however, as a leadership and personal development coach, I do not agree with the commentator’s view point that it’s the “corporations” responsibility to fix the problem.  Mr. Sinek is of the opinion that as a result of poor parenting, a dependence on immediacy created by technology, and addictions to social media, millennials have been dealt a bad hand.  He goes on to say employers need to demonstrate good leadership to help this generation in the workplace. Admittedly, these circumstances may have impacted millennials in varying degrees, including developing a dependency on social media, an inability to manage stress, the lack of particular skill sets needed to build meaningful relationships, and in some cases lack of self confidence and the feeling of worth and fulfilment as they move through life.  

Click here to view the video: Millennials

As a leader and coach I’m of the view that responsibility rests with the individual. If I have a problem or see the need to change an aspect of my life which isn’t working for me, then it’s my responsibility to address it. If for example I am addicted to alcohol, have messed up relationships and a lack of self worth as a result of a dysfunctional upbringing, it’s not my employer’s responsibility to fix it. It’s my responsibility. The employer may provide me with an opportunity to go to treatment where I can address the problem, but then recovery is up to me. I think the same applies here. 

Whether you are a millennial or part of another generation, each of us needs to take personal responsibility for addressing whatever challenge we are coming up against. We can blame our parents, technology, society, or some other set of circumstances but when the rubber hits the road, it’s up to the individual to take responsibility for the changes needed to make the best of any given situation.  

Awareness is critical.  I agree employers have a responsibility to demonstrate good leadership by providing meaningful feedback and to support individuals in the workplace.  From there, it’s the individual’s responsibility to take the steps needed to address whatever problem they may be experiencing. That’s how it worked for me. My life has not always been smooth sailing and there have been many instances where I’ve had to take the initiative to overcome personal challenges along the way. That’s how it’s been for most of us.  
The lesson I’ve learned along the way is responsibility for initiating change is an inside job.  

As a leadership and personal development coach I offer services to help individuals and employers develop plans and take concrete steps to overcome obstacles and introduce meaningful change. If you are trudging through life, if your career feels unsatisfying or perhaps you are aware of a skill set needed to help you advance or to turn yourself around, then working with a personal development coach may be right for you. 

St Julien Performance Group provides a free complimentary session to ensure there is a right fit between you and your coach. During the complimentary session I will work with you to identify your individual personal development needs and recommend a course of action. Contact us today!

Has the fear of rejection been defining your life?

I think we all grow up with some form of bogeymen in our closets, some form of rejection that has left its mark on our life.  I know I have and sometimes it holds me back from stepping fully into life. What I’ve come to realize is in the end it’s not what happened that matters, it’s what we do with it.  It’s how we turn it around that matters.  

Some of us have limited ourselves by dreading the moment when someone somewhere will say “no” to our idea, whether it’s a proposal to advance our new business, or maybe it was our dream to make a difference in the world.  Regardless of how big or how small the idea, if we walked away because of the fear of rejection, it limited us.  

If you are still hanging on to the fear of rejection then this TedTalk video is a must see.  Jim Jiang transformed his life by coming to understand his fear of rejection through an innovative and inspiring approach that is worth checking out. 

You can watch the video here: What I learned in 100 days of rejection

I hope after viewing this video it somehow inspires you to step into your fullest potential! I know it’s made me rethink mine.  

Is fear holding you back? If you hesitated, even just a little bit, then this is for you.

Recently I watched a Ted Talks presentation where the presenter, Isaac Lidsky, challenges us to let go of excuses, assumptions and fears and accept the awesome responsibility of being the creators of our own reality.  

Click here to watch this powerful and enlightening video!
If silencing the fear and quieting the doubts feels scary, or you’re not sure how to even start, working with an experienced certified coach may be the right step for you. If you think coaching is something you might be interested in trying, contact me to set up a no obligation complimentary coaching session. 

Don’t hesitate, just do it!

Is it time to reconsider what’s on your bucket list?  Watch this video and find out for sure!

So what is on your bucket list?  If you are Canadian you likely know who Chris Hadfield is.  And if not, you are about to be introduced to one of Canada’s retired astronauts and motivation gurus.  He has a very interesting approach towards having a “bucket list” and one that you might want to consider.  Click on the link below to view his two minute video.

What’s on your bucket list?

After some reflection, if you find that your bucket isn’t being filled up in the way you would like it to be, then it might be time to get serious and focus on what’s important to you.  This might involve your career, work life balance or maybe that special dream you’ve been putting off.

If you are serious about wanting to make a meaningful change, take advantage of a free complimentary coaching session to see if having a coach is right for you. Contact us today and start filling up your bucket with what matters most to you!

Do you have a dream that you have given up on? Then this is for you!

As a leadership and personal development coach I am always inspired by stories such as the one in the following video.  As I watched it I was reminded of the importance of keeping our dreams alive regardless of how remote achieving them may seem.  Click on the link below to view the video:

Keeping your dream alive

Do you have a dream you’ve put on the shelf?  Maybe it’s to further your education, change your line of work to one that sets your heart on fire, or perhaps it’s publishing the book that you’ve always dreamt of writing, then perhaps it’s time to dust off that dream and breathe life back into it?

When you think about your dream is there a little voice inside of you saying “I can’t possibly do this” or “that’s for other people, that’s not for me” then professional coaching might be for you!

As an accredited experienced leadership and personal development coach I work closely with individuals like yourself to determine what’s really important to you.  I’ll help you develop a concrete and realistic plan and then I’ll help you create the momentum you need to take the important steps necessary to realize your dream.  What’s even more important, with your permission, I’ll hold you accountable to deliver on what you’ve agreed to do.

If taking the first steps towards achieving your dreams seems daunting, working with a supportive and well trained coach may be just what you need.

Please give me a call if you are ready to make some positive and meaningful changes to your life!

Which door would you choose?

This evening as I surfed through Facebook I was struck by the following video.  I was surprised by the choices made by so many young women, and in particular the one who simply walked away.  

I’m curious to know  which door would you choose?  

If you hesitated or questioned which door was for you then working with a personal development coach might be right for you.  Having a professional coach in your corner encouraging and supporting you, while helping you to build your confidence and realize your highest potential can make a world of difference in achieving your long term goals! 

In a rut?  Are you following the same routine day after day and not sure how to change it?  

Investing in a personal development coach might be all that’s needed for you to create the life that moves you! 

Book a complementary session today and see if working with a coach is the next right step for you. 



Are you looking to make a meaningful shift in your life? Here’s a simple but powerful practice that you’ll want to incorporate into your daily living!

GratitudeIt’s Thanksgiving weekend and I have a lot to be grateful for. Today I went for a motorcycle ride with a couple of fellow riders and I was struck by the magnificence of my surroundings. The leaves were in full autumn colour. As I rode my senses were filled with the smell of leaves and from time to time fresh pine, along with the occasional smell of wood smoke from a stove warming a home somewhere off in the distance.

When I ride in the fall it always stirs up memories of my dad. He left us a little over four years a go after a battle with cancer. He loved the outdoors. I remember him taking my sister on weekend camping expositions where we were young. Today as I rode, those memories danced through my head and in my heart.

As I move through life it seems that it’s the simple things that I feel most thankful for…time spent with family and friends…a motorcycle ride in the country after a busy week…being able to laugh at myself over the silly things that used to up set me. These are some of the simple things that warm my heart and leave me feeling grateful.

Experience has taught me that gratitude changes my response to life. There was a time when I was unaware of this. I saw things differently than I do today. I thought that my happiness was contingent on those around me. It wasn’t until I started practicing gratitude that I became aware that it was an inside job. When I’m grateful for what I have and what’s going on around me, my attitude changes. I get an “attitude of gratitude”. Life seems better and I’m happier.

You might be wondering how to practice gratitude. It’s easy. Each day take time to think about what you’re grateful for. There are a few simple tools you can incorporate into your day, such as keeping a “gratitude journal” where each evening you record 5 things you were grateful for over the course of your day. If that’s not your thing, how about thinking about what you’re grateful for. For example, when you’re on your way to work, regardless of your mode of transportation, list off the things you are grateful for. Challenge yourself to come up with 25 things and then how about 50. Start with the little things that bring you pleasure, like a good cup of coffee, the warmth of the sun on your face or the comfortable shoes you have on your feet. I think you are likely getting the picture.

The benefit of course is that while you are feeling grateful a shift happens. Whatever feelings you may have been experiencing disappear. You start feeling better about what’s going on around you. You’ll start experiencing an “attitude of grat.itude” and when you build the practice into your daily living a major shift occurs.  Your life begins to change.

On this Thanksgiving weekend what can you do to springboard into an “attitude of gratitude”?  Take the gratitude challenge and transform your life today!

Leading by Example – Here is an example of how I stepped out of my comfort zone in a practical way

Life begins1

If you read my last blog you know it was about “stepping outside of your comfort zone”.  When we refer to taking that “big step” we conjure up the idea of it being something significant – like a career change or leaving our employment to further our education.  It also applies to our day-to-day activities and so I’d like to share with you one of my recent experiences as a way of affirming the message in my previous blog.

You may already know that I am a motorcyclist and have been for the past five years.  With each passing year it plays a bigger part of my life and translates into miles and miles of enjoyment.  Last year I treated myself to a pre-retirement gift and purchased a new Harley Davidson Electra Glide Classic.  I had intended on buying it after I retire from my role as an Executive Director in government, which is still about a year away, but a colleague when hearing about my plans asked a valid question.   “Why wait for retirement?”  She suggested I should be asking “why not now?”  She was right.  My new motorcycle has heightened my riding experience and I have no regrets in having made the investment earlier.

Of course, with it comes the responsibility of regular maintenance which is essential to its continued performance and for retaining its value.  If you are familiar with the Harley Davidson motorcycle there are three oils that need to be changed.  Yes, three of them!  And with my increased mileage the oils need to be changed frequently.  I wondered to myself what it might take for me to be able to do this on my own.  After all, I did work in a service station when I was a teenager.  Admittedly, that was a very long time ago and if I’m honest, the thought made my heart pound!  This was clearly outside of my comfort zone.  It’s an expensive machine and if I was going to do it, I had to get it right.

I thought about my recent blog and the question of all questions came to mind:  Who was I to encourage you to step out of your comfort zone if I wasn’t prepared to do the same?

As I mentioned, I certainly felt like this was out of my comfort zone.  In fact, it was way outside of it.  So, I did what any sensible person would do…I Googled it – an initial step in my research.  I started by watching a few YouTube videos and came across one that was clear and easy to follow.  It was detailed and covered the entire process step-by-step.  As well, I asked questions of folks who serviced their own motorcycles.  In other words, I spoke with people who were experienced.  As well, I sent the video to a friend whose opinion I value a great deal.  He agreed, the video was good and in his estimation this was something I was capable of doing.

From there, I did a cost/benefit analysis and itemized what I would need to do the job.  Besides the oil and filter, there were things like an oil filter wrench, a torque wrench for the derby cover to prevent stripping the bolts, a pan to catch the used oil and a funnel for adding the new.  The initial outlay was about the same as I would pay for an oil change at the dealer.  When I started to look around I found a torque wrench on sale.  It was a big ticket item and as a result increasing my return on investment.  In the mid to long-term, there were definite savings to be realized by me servicing my own motorcycle.

Before attempting this undertaking (yes my heart was still pounding), I arranged to have one of my trusted motorcycle friends come over and coach me through the processes.  I wanted to make sure that if I had questions there would be someone experienced on hand.  That morning I also watched the video again to make sure I had a clear picture of what I was going to be doing, minimizing the risk.  I went through the entire process methodically, arranging the tools, keeping my work space organized, and double checking each step thoroughly.

I’ve pleased to say that it went very well and it felt great!  I was proud of myself for having taken it on and for completing it successfully.  By stepping outside of my comfort zone in a small but meaningful way I accomplished something that was of value to me; and by sharing it here with you and on Facebook with other riders, especially women riders who might want to do the same, my experience may be benefiting others on a number of different fronts.

The message I want to reiterate here is that if you get clear on what it is that you want to do, regardless of its size or scope – providing it’s within your control – by taking a few simple steps to research it thoroughly, speak with those who have experience or knowledge in the field, undertake a cost/benefit analysis while managing the risks, along with being supported by a trustworthy mentor and coach, the probability of a successful outcome is high!  What’s also of importance is getting out there and leading by example.  It takes courage and builds healthy leadership muscle – perhaps the subject of another blog 🙂

I encourage you to give it a try and put the process to the test – take on something that moves you beyond your comfort zone even if it’s in a small way.  I heard it said that’s where life beings – feel the fear and do it anyway!

I’m interested in hearing back from you – post a comment to let me know how it goes.

Have you Stepped Out of Your Comfort Zone and want to turn back? Here are four effective ways to help you stay the course.

Comfort Zone8Recently I attended a workshop on “Authentic Leadership” that was led by Trillium Teams.  It was a day and a half dedicated to increased self-awareness, behaviour styles, and self-management of personal behaviour and how it relates to your leadership and communication style.  The bottom line, if I was to summarize what I took away from the workshop is “how to continually adapt my communication style to support those I lead.”    What was also of great value was getting to know other leaders at the workshop.  Networking is an incredibly powerful and beneficial way to learn from the experiences of others.

After the workshop wrapped up, I had the privilege of spending time with a young manager who attended the event.  As it turned out, after the event both of us took advantage of the location and spent a couple of hours at a nearby spa that has a number of pools and saunas in a natural outdoor setting – an excellent way to wrap up a busy week!

Over the course of the afternoon we had the opportunity to chat.  I learned that she was new to the role of manager.  She shared how she felt challenged by it and wondered if she had made the right career choice by accepting the new role.  She indicated that she knew the work and was very good at it.  What she was calling into question was her ability to lead.  She was questioning herself as to if she was cut out to be a leader.  As we chatted she went on to say how she discussed it with her mentor and was reassured that she was heading in the right direction to support her career path.  What she may not have realized is that she was not only demonstrating one of the key competencies of an effective leader – self-awareness – she was also self-managing by reaching out to her emotional support team.   She had stepped outside her comfort zone to follow her dream and was gaining valuable experience and emotional intelligence by doing it.

As I listened, I recalled a similar experience.  It was a number of years ago when I had stepped outside of my comfort zone and I too called into question my capacity and ability to be an effective leader.  It was in the mid 90’s and I was living and working on Vancouver Island.  Similar to today, the Federal Government was going through a round of workforce adjustments and the office where I worked was being “right sized”, along with my position.  Through a series of events, I relocated to another location and went from managing a dozen employees to more than double.  I knew the work but the scope changed significantly.  I felt overwhelmed – and very much like this young lady I was calling into question my competence as a leader.  I wondered if I was cut out for the job!

Coincidentally, my boss invited me for coffee and asked how it was going.  She was checking in with me.  Just as this new manager had done with her mentor, I took the risk and conveyed how I was feeling and the challenges I was experiencing.  I remember to this day, decades later, how she reassured me by sharing her experience and leadership wisdom.  She reminded me that it takes time to transition into a new role, regardless of how well I knew the business, not to mention a new community.  She told me that if after four months I felt the same way then we should meet to talk about it again.  We didn’t need to have the next conversation, or at least not about that.

Over the years I’ve called on that experience to carry me through a number of life’s challenges, along with sharing it with others I’ve met along the way.  If you have taken on a new role, are transitioning into a new environment, or even getting on a new motorcycle this season, regardless of your knowledge or experience, here are four key things to keep in mind:

  1. As was shared with me, you need to be patient with yourself and recognize that there’s an adjustment period.  During this time, despite feelings of inadequacy or self-doubt about your capacity, do what it takes to stick with it.  The transition time will vary depending on the scope of the change and its complexity.
  1. Seek feedback from someone you trust about how you’re doing.  What’s important to remember is that what you’re feeling on the inside is not necessarily how you are preforming on the outside or how others may be viewing your performance.  Self-perception can be deceiving.  I heard it said “feedback is the breakfast of champions”.
  1. Ensure that you have an emotional support team in place that you call on for encouragement and a safe place to share how you are feeling as you move through the transition and your confidence returns.  This may be a friend, a mentor or a coach to help you work through the challenge.  A coach can assist you develop strategies and a personal action plan while helping you maintain momentum to successfully move through the change and beyond.
  1. Finally, don’t give up!  You never know how close you are to a breakthrough unless you see it through.

 

Do you have a dream and don’t know how to make it happen? Here is a simple SMART way to make it happen!

Dreams-reality

I remember dreaming about riding a motorcycle across the country and admiring others who were out there doing it.  I got lucky and was inspired by a friend.  He rode up on a “new to him” 750cc Honda Shadow.  I was impressed and in complete awe.  At that point this story could have gone either way.  I could have dismissed it.  After all he was a guy and that’s what guys do.  Then again if he could do it why couldn’t I?  Yes, admittedly, I am a woman.  Luckily, that didn’t enter into the picture. 

When I started asking him questions I became interested in his strategy.  He had bought a used scooter and rode it for a month before buying the motorcycle.  I liked the idea of starting small.  As it turned out, he lent me his scooter.  I took a ministry approved riding course and after riding the scooter for two months I purchased my first motorcycle – a 250cc Honda Rebel that topped out at 80km.  Regardless, I felt like Janice Joplin!  I’ve upgraded three times since then and four years later I purchased a new Harley Davidson cruiser.  Last year I rode some of the most challenging roads in North America, including Deals Gap, also known as Tail of the Dragon – google it.

The message here is that if you have a dream follow your heart.  You can make it happen – incrementally.  Here are a few simple steps to realize your goals in a way that’s SMART:

  1. First you need to get clear and be Specific about what it is you want.    Step into your desire and imagine it.  Yes, feel it.
  2. Develop a plan that has concrete Measurable steps that leads you towards your desired outcome.
  3. Remember that each step needs to be Achievable.  They don’t need to big but you need to be able to make them happen!  They need to be within your control.
  4. Your plan, along with the outcome needs to be Realistic.  No, I couldn’t have ridden the Harley Davidson five years ago, or at least not without hurting myself!
  5. A plan that is Timely is critical to success.  Depending on what’s going on, other factors will need to be considered.  Timing is an important consideration.  I retire next year so a motorcycle trip across the country fits perfectly into my plans!

On reflections, I can see that most dreams are not realized overnight – not even with motorcycling.  There were days when I lacked confidence and needed coaching and support from more experienced riders.  I’m sure you’ve hear it before “If your dream doesn’t scare you it’s not big enough!”

Next year I’m riding south across the US, into Colorado and Utah where the roads are out of this world, up the west coast, into northern BC – yes the Alaska Highway is part of my route – and back home to Ottawa through Montana, South Dakota and the mid-west.  It’s an estimated 26,000 km.  It’s a big dream and I intend on making it happen, one route at a time!

And what about you – Isn’t it time to make your dream a reality?