Monday, December 29, 2008

Coach Colette Reflects on 2008, Plans for 2009

Earlier in the month, I asked you: "How will you make 2009 better than 2008?", and to reflect on your Highlights and Low(er) lights of 2008. It occurred to me that I hadn't ponied up and shared my own insights.

So, I've decided to rectify that today by sharing some of my highlights for 2008, and the areas I want to channel some energy into to make 2009 a fantastic year! Here you go:

Highlights:
  • Being selected as a national facilitator for Turning the Page on behalf of the Public Library Association, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation - traveling the country, meeting lots of FUN librarians, working with a great group of dynamic facilitators and cool PLA staff
  • Leading two Stress Management sessions at the JI Group Good Life Festival & Retreat in St. Maarten - enough said!
  • Co-sponsoring Get Canned! 2008 with Suzanne and the team from Milk & Honey Events - volunteering my coaching skills at a fun event to help job seekers and networkers who attended in the snow!
  • Having an InStep facilitator teach two more successful Public Speaking courses for OBT - watching the trainees speak from the heart at the Debate Days is always a great reminder of why our public sector clients need our support

Areas to focus on for 2009 (FYI, these are based on my results from taking the Competent Advantage TM Business Assessment [yes, Coach Colette does "walk the talk"]):

  • Creating an action-oriented plan to attract more revenues in 2009
  • Creating an action-oriented plan to market our services more effectively in 2009
  • Regularly requesting feedback from my peers, clients in 2009

On a personal note, I'm still working on the Passion Test. I must admit that what they say about the "cognitive dissonance" that's created by introducing new ideas to the brain is true [quoted from PT, introduced by neuroscientists Waldman & Newberg]. Of course, this all makes sense -- just re-wiring my brain to believe this is OK, LOL! :)

I'd still love to hear your insights and reflections on 2008, plans for 2009. Please post here or tweet me @Coach_Colette.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Youth Seize Opportunity for Better Tomorrow

Still photos can't even begin to capture the passion and compassion the OBT Youth Trainees exhibited today at their Debate Day held at the Brooklyn Marriott. The only way I truly could have captured their brilliance would have been to video-blog live from the event!

I know I say the same thing everytime -- they can't possibly surprise me more THIS time. And, yet, they always manage to throw in a curve ball of an unexpectedly compelling persuasive speech or a nifty argument in the mock trial.

A common theme in today's speeches was taking a stand on issues regardless of whether or not they personally affect you. If you had heard the conviction and passion being conveyed by the mock trial attorneys, you would have sworn that you were watching actors in an episode of Law & Order.

In congratulating the youth, OBT's executive director Randy Peers made a striking statement about the resilience of the trainees -- he said they don't focus on the obstacles they have to overcome, more so on the goals and dreams they seek to achieve.
I could talk about these "kids" for days -- and they're not even my kids! Just knowing that the InStep team has played a even small part in shaping their futures makes me very proud that we do what we do.
All my best to the OBT Trainees in 2009 and beyond! Regards, Coach Colette

Thursday, December 11, 2008

How Will You Make 2009 Better than 2008?

I've begun my period of year-end self reflection, and thought I'd share some thoughts and ask about your insights. Know Yourself is the first key component of the Competent Advantage model, as we know it's important to learn about the motivators, drives and values that inspire us and keep us going when the going gets tough.

Two external sources have been helpful for me on my self-reflection journey:

  1. I came across a great article on the E-Myth Blog that offers some questions to help Identify Your Primary Aim. The "A-HA!" moment for me was the suggestion to forget about my business and focus on what I really want in LIFE (Yes, even the Coach can have a "DUH! Moment"). Otherwise, my business will become more like one of those "jobs" that many struggle to avoid.
  2. While at the Library, I checked out a book to really help me drill down on these concepts called: The Passion Test: The Effortless Path to Discovering Your Life Purpose.

SO, as you reflect on 2008, how would you evaluate your accomplishments?

  • What were the highlights? As strange as it may seem, it’s important to take note of things that you did well. Don’t be shy – write them down! Why? Because descriptions of your professional successes can come in handy at your year-end performance review with your manager, or on your next interview with a recruiter. And, keeping a journal of your personal wins can be very inspiring when you need a quick pick-me-up! Besides if you don’t write them down, you may forget subtle details that could make your story that much more compelling.

  • What were the low(er) lights? It’s just as important to keep track of the things that didn’t go quite as well as you would’ve hoped. Why? Having a clear sense of what areas you’d to like improve can help you focus and channel your energies. It also will help you identify the resources you’ll need to make the changes become a reality.

Based on your reflection, what personal and professional goals will you set for yourself in 2009? Remember, that I'm offering you a FREE incentive to SHARE your goals with me in our 2009 Personal & Professional Development Survey.

What resources and experiences will you seek out to help you accomplish those goals? How about ...

  • Classes, training or books

  • Mentors or trusted advisors

  • "Stretch" assignments or new opportunities

  • Professional associations or social networks

As a life-long learner, I'm excited about continuing my year-end, self-reflection journey (it's really been an active and ongoing process this year). I know it will help me be a better advisor, business owner, coach, consultant, friend and person in 2009 -- and beyond!

I'd love to hear about your insights and reflections. Please post here or tweet me @Coach_Colette.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

In Interviews, How Do You Back that Asset Up?

To keep on track with our getting back to basics strategy on career and personal development, I thought I'd provide some tips to answer an "oldie but goodie" interview question: What are your strengths (and weaknesses)?

Check out this quick video featuring my hints on how to respond to both sides of the question. And, let me know what you think -- post your thoughts and comments here, or tweet Coach Colette on Twitter.

Has the question about your weaknesses ever tripped you up? When, sharing your strengths, how do you back that asset up? [just checking to see if you're really paying attention here, LOL!]

Given we're at the end of the year, how would preparing to answer this question help you in a performance review conversation with your manager/supervisor?

Watch the video and let me know if you get some clues or ideas!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Words of Thanks from Coach Colette

In honor of the season and Thanksgiving holiday, I thought I'd share my thoughts on people and things for which I'm thankful.
  • I am thankful for my family - especially my parents who have given me love, encouragement and support throughout my life. The dinner I'm cooking only scratches the surface at my love at gratitude to you both.
  • I am thankful for my friends - many of whom are not "local" to my area. But know that I'm glad for our connection.
  • I am thankful for my health - I've felt a few more "creaks" in the joints; but overall, thanks to the body that enabled me to travel the country this year -- often on less sleep and nourishment than it deserved!
  • I am thankful for my talents and abilities - touches on the core mission of my company to help others recognize their greatness -- I'm glad for my skills (including those I've not yet surfaced).
  • I am thankful for my business - a vehicle to help fulfill my life purpose.
  • I am thankful for my home - even when I'm stir crazy on those "in-office" days, I'm aware of how lucky I am to have a warm safe place to live.
  • I am thankful for all the "right" people with the "right" energy I've met - along the way, on the journey ...
AND ...

I am grateful for the opportunity to express these thoughts and share positive energy with YOU!
HAPPY THANKSGIVING to you and yours!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Coach Colette LIVE on Strictly Business Radio, 3 PM EST

Today at 3:00 PM EST, I'll be having an on-air conversation with Anna Banks, host of Strictly Business Radio, a program designed to create awareness about entrepreneurs of small to mid-sized businesses and to promote employment and business opportunities nationally.

In the month of November, the program has focused on Social Enterprise -- the New Heroes. Today, I'll be chatting with Anna about the challenges, opportunities, successes, missteps and motivations of this passionate group of leaders and the organizations that they create and grow.

Listen ONLINE today at 3:00 PM EST, and call in with your questions to: (718) 766-4021.

Talk to you later today!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Coach Colette Gets Canned on December 16th!

OK, now that I have your attention, let me tell you about an exciting career and social networking event on Tuesday, December 16, from 7:00 - 10:00 PM called Get Canned.

Get Canned is a charitable, social networking event to help you expand your contacts and discover your next professional opportunity in 2009. It will be held at e l e m e n t, a funky venue in lower Manhattan.

Being laid off, or 'getting canned,' rarely has a positive side to it; but, Get Canned takes a positive spin and embraces the theme - collecting canned goods for the Food Bank for New York City in place of a cover charge to attend the event.

Coach Colette is IN!

I'll be on hand in the Elevation Lounge to answer your questions and offer complimentary laser-coaching sessions. Get the guidance and support you need to face (and embrace) your career transition! One lucky raffle winner will win a FREE CAREER COACHING PACKAGE!

You CAN do it – I did!

Nearly six years ago, I found out that my position would be eliminated because of a company merger. Ironically, that was my second "downsizing" experience within 13 months! The way I saw it, I had two choices [now I know there were many others too!]:

1. Attempt to find another job
2. Attempt to sell my skills on the “open market” as a consultant

What did I do? I leveraged my contacts and skills, and chose the latter option. I’ve spent the past six years building my consulting and coaching practice to the level it is today. Come to Get Canned on December 16 to learn how you too can transition into success in 2009!

Healthy mind -- healthy body -- healthy career!

Equinox Fitness will have personal trainers onsite to answer your questions and help plan your 2009 fitness routine. They're donating a FREE MEMBERSHIP pass to the raffle!

Join me on Tuesday, December 16 at element for Get Canned!
Register TODAY and stop by to say hello. Don't forget to bring two non-perishable canned food items for FREE admission!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Can You Flip the Script to be More Positive?

I'm not sure if I mentioned that I was invited by Diane Danielson founder of the Downtown Women's Club to be a guest blogger on the womensDISH blog. My latest post is called Flip the Script: How To Stay Positive in Challenging Times.

I was prompted to write the post because of the national economic and employment situation. I'm concerned that the heightened media coverage may be making some of us get over-anxious and miss out on new, positive opportunities. It can be challenging enough to flip the script on our own negative "self-talk" [tips for which I share in the post]; let alone to override the media. As I admitted on the DISH, I have minimized the amount of news coverage that I watch as one strategy (the former die-hard-CNBC junkie did get a small "fix" today!).

As you may know, I've been working on incorporating the Strategic Attraction TM approach into my business and personal spheres. To help me, I've created a daily task in Outlook that includes positive affirmations that encourage me to accept the positive energy and blessings that are available to me.

Incorporating new behaviors like flipping the script often takes time to "stick" because it takes practice. And, because we're human, sometimes we'll slip up [the Coach admits to feeling cranky about an hour ago]. The trick is to not beat yourself up and cause more anxiety because you think you "should" be getting better at it.

I like that I have multiple tools and mantras that I can use to re-center myself when I do feel a bit off balance or blue. What do you do? Post your ideas or tweet me! :)

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Share Your 2009 Goals, Get FREE Assessment

The holiday spirit has inspired me a bit early this year. Since I know there may be some who'll be looking for low (or NO) cost gift items, I've decided to participate in the Esculon GIFT FEST, a blog holiday carnival in which bloggers offer FREE gifts and FUN contests. What does that mean for you?

Well, if you complete our Online 2009 Professional Growth Survey and share your professional goals for next year, you'll receive a FREE Competent Advantage TM Assessment. AND, I've decided to offer you EITHER a Career Self-Assessment OR a Business Assessment -- depending on what your goals are.

So, if you're focusing on improving your Career, then you can get a FREE Career Self-Assessment to help plan your 2009 strategy. If you're thinking about launching or expanding your "side hustle" into a business, then you can get a FREE Business Assessment to help identify your 2009 priorities. Instructions on how to receive your FREE assessment are at the end of the Professional Growth Survey.

Does it seem a bit early to be thinking about next year's goals? It really isn't (especially for those of you who will be having year-end performance review conversations). By the time the holidays really get here, you'll likely be focusing on other things. Take some time to plan for yourself NOW.

I also thought it would be cool to create a community of support -- your own group of online cheerleaders -- and keep track of what we'll all be working on next year. So, you can also share a quick response about your 2009 professional goals in the poll below.






<a href="http://www.buzzdash.com/index.php?page=buzzbite&amp;BB_id=126836">What do you believe to be your next professional opportunity in 2009?</a> <a href="http://www.buzzdash.com">BuzzDash polls</a>




Click HERE to take the full, online 2009 Professional Goals survey. Post your goals or tweet me @Coach_Colette.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Date Smarter in 2009 - Online GIFT BAG EVENT Starts Today!

So, you may be intrigued – how can an online GIFT BAG EVENT help you date smarter in 2009? As a work-life coach, I know how important it is to have both aspects of our lives in balance. You may recall my post and podcast during the sumer on the challenges of urban dating -- it's an adventure!


Well, I’m excited to let you know that I’m participating in a fabulous event with Donna Sozio, author of the hilarious (but practical) dating advice book Never Trust a Man in Alligator Loafers: What his Shoes Really Say About his True Love Potential. As seen on the Tyra Banks show, she’ll teach you how to sum-up a man in 30-seconds just by looking at his shoes!


In our fantastic online GIFT BAG EVENT there’s over $5,827 worth of fun & fabulous prizes for savvy women like you to win including a Complimentary 30-minute Competent Advantage™ Phone Coaching Session!


It’s so easy to enter!
  1. Buy a copy of Donna’s hilarious dating advice book Never Trust a Man in Alligator Loafers from Amazon.com from Nov. 3rd – 10th 2008.

  2. Go to www.DonnaSozio.com/GIFTBAG

  3. Enter your name, email address, and your Amazon.com receipt number

That’s it! You’re entered to win over $5,827 in premium GIFT BAG SWAG!


***PLUS*** If you purchase a copy of Never Trust a Man in Alligator Loafers and register, you'll receive over $800 in fun, stylish coupons and discounts on gorgeous jewelry, fashion, and more! So, you’ll look great on that first date!


For a complete list of prizes visit: www.DonnaSozio.com/PRIZES.

DON’T WAIT – take the first step to dating smarter in 2009! Register for the GIFT BAG EVENT TODAY!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Poll on Poverty for Blog Action Day







<a href="http://www.buzzdash.com/index.php?page=buzzbite&BB_id=122912">What can you do to help alleviate poverty?</a> <a href="http://www.buzzdash.com">BuzzDash polls</a>

I must admit that I did some self-coaching today before posting this poll. I'd already registered the blog as part of Blog Action Day last week and created my reminder to make a post before October 15. Now, all left was to write the post. And, I was stuck! Why?

I was feeling guilty -- how could I ask people to consider ways to alleviate poverty when many are dealing with potential career and/or financial stressors? Well, after reading ideas on the "What Can One Person Do?" page, I realized that I fell into the same trap of powerlessness that I coach and train my clients/workshop participants to fight against. Imagine that!

It then occurred to me that sometimes putting the focus off ourselves and onto others can be a good way to gain perspective on our own lives. How many times have you been inspired by stories of others who have overcome great obstacles in their lives? It also occurred to me that focusing on a greater cause such as alleviating poverty may bring oneself closer to identifying personal goals and values -- a key component of the Competent Advantage component "Know Yourself."

Then, I recalled something that was said at the memorial service I attended on Sunday (loosely paraphrased): "Pick something -- stand for it -- and be the change you'd like see happen."

So, today, Coach Colette picks "finding ways to level the global playing field." I'm sharing this post and poll to facilitate a global dialogue, brainstorming, idea sharing, best practice exchange on the subject. What do you think? What will you do?

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Podcast with Career Management Tips

I've spent time today catching up with all of my social networking sites and can't help but notice the multiple conversations surrounding the economy -- and the personal impact it's having on many people.

Since this is the time to revisit our career management plans and think about what needs to be "tweaked," I thought I'd help us focus and get back to basics on career and personal development. On the Competent Advantage TM podcast channel, I've posted a recording of one of my Career Management teleclasses. In it, we review the components of the Competent Advantage TM model and share tips for each area.

Take a listen to the podcast and share your thoughts and "A-HA!" moments. Also, post/share your email address if you'd like to receive a copy of the teleclass worksheet to follow along.

Given our current situation, I think it's also relevant to consider some NEW questions related to the Competent Advantage TM model:
  1. Know Yourself -- Which of your priorities have SHIFTED in this new economic climate? [That's OK -- it's just important to recognize and own it.]
  2. Know Your Market -- What NEW or alternative industries/markets can benefit from your skills and talents?
  3. Leverage Your Strengths -- What network connections can you STRENGTHEN to help you in your current role/situation?
  4. Create a Buzz -- How can you MAXIMIZE your Web 2.0 presence to let people know what you're doing and/or how you have succeeded?

What NEW ideas or strategies have you implemented?

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

InStep Consulting is Passionately Pink for the Cure!

Once again, this October, InStep Consulting will be going Passionately Pink for the Cure® to raise funds for the fight against breast cancer.It's passionate, because the need to end breast cancer is so urgent. It's pink, because that's the color we'll wear to accomplish our goal.

Participating is simple. Just pick a day(s) to wear a pink item of clothing during October and make a donation of $5 or more to Susan G. Komen for the Cure® for each day you choose to be pretty in pink. If you'd like to contribute online, please use THIS LINK. In return for your contribution, you'll get the satisfaction of helping to move us closer to a world free of breast cancer. And, you'll be a fabulous passionista!

Please post your success and survivor stories to the blog, and let me know if you'd like to be involved in planning FUN PINK events in the New York area.

Thanks, in advance, for your help and for showing your true colors by going Passionately Pink for the Cure® in October!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Help 100K Children Thrive in the Classroom

Many of our favorite charitable organizations
may experience a backlash from the recent economic events. We do have the power to help -- just with the click of a mouse! Please support the American Express Members Project. There are five remaining projects that have a chance at receiving $1.5 million in funding. Since this is the final round, you know they must be worthy to have made it this far. I've selected the one sponsored by DonorsChoose.org. Pick that one or another -- it doesn't matter. Just pick! Thanks! Coach Colette

Monday, September 22, 2008

In Topsy-Turvy Times, Focus on Your Spheres of Control

I received a message today from a colleague that mirrors the topsy-turvy nature of our times -- everyone seems to be wondering: "How the events on Wall Street affect me and my career?" As an eager, soon-to-be-entry-level-employee, she's concerned about being able to secure a stable position upon graduation. I'm hoping she doesn't put all of her "eggs" in one basket (i.e., only targeting the firm at which she interned last year).

While a certain degree of concern is normal, I coached her to not get too distracted by the external events -- of course, not to bury her head in the sand either! Know Your Market is a key Competent Advantage component. I encouraged her to focus on aspects of her search that are within her sphere of influence and control:
  • Professional Collateral - having an updated CV/bio that can be shared at a moments notice. What specific experiences can be highlighted given the current turn-of-events? What key skills are especially relevant right now in your target company/industry? How can you show you've mastered them?

  • Personal/Professional Network - using your inner circle to help get to the people you want to meet. What Web 2.0 resources can be tapped (e.g., social networking sites)? How can you access people in different ways: cross-functionally, across organizations/industries?

  • Plan "B" - considering other roles/companies/industries if your current target is in a restructuring stage. Who else would value the skills/talents you bring? How can you use your network to identify key contacts and information?

What do you think? What strategies are you using to navigate the career landscape these days?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

How Do You Use the 'Net to Network?

I'm doing this post in response to my pal Diane Danielson with Downtown Women's Club. She and the DWC gals are conducting an online survey to find out how you're using the 'Net and technology to enhance your network.

Since 2008 is truly my year of technology & Web 2.0, I thought I'd give her a hand by encouraging you to participate in the survey. You don't have to be a DWC member (although it's pretty cool if you do decide to join) to complete it. AND, you can earn a discounted DWC+ membership (or renewal) after you're done.

Given the potential career impact of recent Wall Street events, being able to access and leverage one's network efficiently will be critical. After you complete the survey, feel free to share your online networking tools and tips. I was delighted to learn that I've added some NEW online tools to my toolbox since the last DWC Networking Survey (2006), like Twitter. What about you?

How do you use technology/Web 2.0 to your competent advantage TM?

Monday, September 15, 2008

My NEW NYU Faculty ID

I was pleasantly surprised today when I peeked at the photo on my new NYU ID and it didn't look like I'd just walked 15 blocks in 80+degree weather. Why did I walk so far to get a new NYU ID? Well, I've recently joined the adjunct faculty at NYU Wagner Graduate School of Public Service to teach a course on Managing Diversity this Fall!

The course, Managing Diversity - An Evidence-Based Approach will help build students' skills in diversity management and cultural competency. In this semester, the primary audience will be nurse leaders enrolled in the MS in Management program; although the course is open to other health policy students at Wagner as well. Specific topics will include: Strengthening Workforce Diversity; Expanding Diversity of Leadership Teams; and Culturally Proficient Healthcare.

I'll be facilitating classroom sessions with Tim Mulvaney, President of The Mulvaney Group, Inc. It will be cool to collaborate with him again, as we did for a few podcasts and his Courageous Conversations program.

I'm really excited to return to my alma mater in a teaching capacity! We've posted our syllabus online (access via my profile) and created our Blackboard page with the initial assignments. I'm looking forward meeting my students. Will keep you posted on how it goes and what compelling issues are surfaced.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Maine & NH Library Leaders Get Creative!

Back in NYC after my almost-week in Maine. The Round 2 kickoff of the PLA tour was great! Had a great time meeting librarians and their supporters from Maine & New Hampshire.

In addition to my sessions on Leadership, Creating Compelling Stories and Giving Memorable Presentations, I led a new session on Project Management called Staying on Track. This was a great way to help participants tie the content from their previous sessions together.

Besides upgrading their computer hardware, many participants indicated that libraries in Maine & NH are engaging in capital projects, e.g., renovation, preservation -- and one library will be re-carpeted! This project sparked some cool discussion as participants traded ideas on how to generate project support.
  • One person suggested "selling" squares of the new carpet, so that donors could see which part(s) they had contributed to.

  • The librarian indicated that carpet squares couldn't be used because of the wood flooring underneath.

  • Dialogue continued until another participant suggested creating a quilt to replicate the carpet squares that could be hung on the wall -- this would maintain the visual of donor contributions, but not force them into using carpet squares on the floor!

It's this creativity and willingness of participants to pitch in new ideas that makes the PLA project so rewarding to work on.

And, the ability to travel the country has been fun as well. Here are a few shots from our boat ride to Diamond Cove off Casco Bay.

Friday, September 05, 2008

On the Road Again - the PLA Tour

Happy Friday! I've been spending the week catching up and getting ready for the PLA-Tour! No, it's not a typo (I don't play golf ... yet!) -- the "tour" is the leadership training program for the Public Library Association.


You may recall from the spring that I posted some pics from workshops I led in cool places like Hershey, PA. Well, I'll be on the road again (beginning on Sunday) to help librarians and their trustees enhance their leadership skills to create community partnerships and (ultimately) increase funding for their libraries.


The first stop on the fall PLA Tour is Portland, Maine, where I'll meet and train librarians and trustees from the home state and from New Hampshire. I'm excited to be back involved with the project.

This time, I'll be bringing more Web 2.0 with me as I recently created a profile on Twitter! That way, I can share quick nuggets of learning, ideas, etc. from the workshops. So, you can follow me on Twitter directly or read updates here on the blog (right-hand side). See you on the road! :)

Thursday, September 04, 2008

The "Back to ... Blues" vs. Presence

So, it's "back to school" time. I was a little shocked on Monday evening when I felt a small tingle of the "Back to ... Blues" about the return to work. Could it have been "muscle memory" in my brain from all of those Labor Day evenings growing up? Or, [more likely] was it the knowledge I had 100+ emails to review after my "stay-cation"?

I'm impressed that I remained relatively unplugged during my "stay-cation" -- managed to electronically weed through business-related emails on my BlackBerry to keep my focus on unwinding. To assist with this intention, I began reading Eckhart Tolle's A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose. I was fascinated by his comments on the ego and our struggle with being truly conscious and present.

Even the concept of the "Back to ... Blues" is in conflict with being present, right? It's an expression of dread in the current moment (possibly the day before work/school/etc.) about a future moment that we presume will be negative. So, perhaps we miss out on something fantastic in the current moment because we're so concerned about the future potential of something bad. It may sound trivial when you're reading it [I had a few "well, duh!" moments with myself while reading the book]; but it's good to even recognize when this has happened (or is happening) to you. That level of awareness is the big "A-HA!" that can help increase your level of presence.

Being on "stay-cation" provided a lot of space for me to consider these concepts without the form pressures of meetings or client commitments. Staying conscious and present in the Now during life's normal adventures will be the challenge. I'll continue to reflect on this -- and am intrigued to hear your thoughts. How do you stay present in the Now?

Friday, August 15, 2008

Get Coached on Work-Life Balance Strategies TOMORROW!

This is a quick reminder that tomorrow (Saturday) is the Craigslist Foundation Nonprofit Boot Camp at NYU. I'll be onsite as a career coach from 10:30 AM - 12:30 PM. And, given the statistics I read in an email today, I think we're all in need of some coaching on work-life balance!

According to a survey by AOL, here are some places that people send and receive emails:

· In bed in their pajamas: 67%
· From the bathroom: 59% (up from 53% last year)
· While driving: 50% (up from 37% last year)
· In a bar or club: 39%
· In a business meeting: 38%
· During happy hour: 34%
· While on a date: 25%From church: 15% (up from 12% last year)

OK, the bathroom stat makes me not want to borrow anyone's phone or BlackBerry anytime soon! I'll admit that I've checked email (or more likely texts) while at a bar waiting for someone to arrive [it's that knee-jerk reaction so you don't appear so "alone" while sitting there]. But, on a date? What would Andrea and the folks at MeetMarket Adventures have to say about that one?!

So you know I've written many posts about the challenges of being unplugged. I have noticed an increase in the number of emails I receive after 7:00 PM. Now, truth be told, it may not be an increase in traffic -- just a heightened awareness since now I, too, have a BlackBerry and can see the blinking light when a new message comes through. Although, I typically choose not to respond -- unless I've been on the road or out of the office all day. That's my caveat for evening/night emailing ... what's yours?

And, so, our work-life balance struggle continues. Which of the places above do you check email? What about texting?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Hear our FULL Podcasts on GarageBand.com

It's recently come to my attention that many of the full podcast recordings were not being broadcasted on our Competent Advantage TM Gcast site. I apologize for any inconvenience this has caused both my listeners and guest experts.

The GOOD NEWS is that Gcast is actually owned by GarageBand Records. So, the FULL podcast recordings are available on our "companion" podcast site on GarageBand. The only difference is that my introductions and the expert interviews will likely appear as separate mp3 files.

So, don't give up! Please visit our podcast site on GarageBand and hear recent discussions on cooling summer foods and strategies to beat the stress of urban dating. Turn up your speakers and listen up! :)

Monday, August 11, 2008

Do You Power Nap?

Happy Monday! I was channel surfing yesterday (while resting & fighting a cold) and came across HealthCorner TV. They had an interesting segment on Power Napping. According to sleep experts, a 20-minute nap during the day can help boost your memory and productivity.

The discussion centered on the challenges of incorporating naps into the day in a typical corporate, business setting. What would your boss say if s/he found you power-napping under your desk on a yoga mat with a pillow?

I tried to think back to my previous jobs to ponder answers to the question ... very amusing! I had a dedicated office during one of my former positions (as a Director), which would have made the power-nap somewhat more feasible. In my legal/consulting roles, I'm sure the discussion would have somehow come back to billable hours!

Then, I began to consider my current entrepreneurial role, in which I have more flexibility in my schedule. And, yet, I typically only nap during the day if I'm feeling ill. For those of you who work in home-based offices, do you take advantage of your setting to power-nap?

I have been trying to incorporate meditation into my day more regularly, using the audio exercises from our Stress Management CD as well as the Brain Fitness program. Yet, I'm more likely to do so towards the end of the day, as opposed to using it as a refresher during the day. Perhaps I'll consider doing it during my "lunch break" as suggested in the segment. What do you think?

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Colette is Coach at Nonprofit Boot Camp August 16

If you're in the New York area, and are considering a career in the nonprofit sector, I'd highly recommend you join me in attending the Nonprofit Boot Camp sponsored by the Craigslist Foundation on Saturday, August 16 at New York University.

This promises to be a a day of knowledge, resources and networking, all focused on how to start and run a vibrant nonprofit. Nonprofit Boot Camp is designed to educate and empower the next generation of nonprofit leaders and social entrepreneurs. Event highlights include:
  • A choice of over 20 interactive workshops and panels across 5 - 10 educational tracks, covering the essentials of starting and running a nonprofit or social enterprise
  • More than 100 partner organizations, representing virtually every local nonprofit management support resource
  • Appearances and keynote speeches from leading figures

PLUS Individual "Laser Coaching" Sessions -- I'll be one of the coaches available to meet with you between 10:30 AM -12:30 PM to discuss your career strategy.

Your $75 registration fee includes a full day of workshops, keynotes, Exhibit Hall access, one-on-one coaching, and the opportunity to network and collaborate with 1,000 emerging and established nonprofit leaders. Hope to see you there! :)

PS -- if you're on the West Coast, there's a similar event being held on October 18 in San Francisco.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Inspiration to Pursue Your Childhood Dreams

Last evening, I opened a link I'd received to the Last Lecture given by Randy Pausch, the esteemed Computer Science professor from Carnegie Mellon University who recently passed away due to pancreatic cancer. I couldn't believe how touched I was, on so many levels, by his commentary on life.

On a personal level, watching the connection between he and his wife caused me to wonder when I'll be blessed with such a great love. I also was re-inspired by his suggestion to "wait long enough and people will eventually impress you." In all honesty, patience is one virtue I consistently must cultivate; however, there have been times when giving people a little more time and space has worked out well.

On a professional level, I was intrigued by many concepts -- including the head fake [the concept of "tricking" people into learning complex things by teaching them something else fun and engaging]. As a trainer and even a coach, that premise resonates really well with me -- how can I help people have their "A-HA!" moments without making it so obvious that that's what I'm aiming to do?

I also relished his ironic interpretation of challenges and obstacles: "Brick walls are there to let us prove how badly we want something." There's something so basic in this concept and yet so compelling. How often have we scaled different "walls" despite our fears or reluctance? Or, when have we walked around other "walls" because they really have blocked the path to our true desires?

All in all, Randy's consistent dedication to helping his students and colleagues to pursue their childhood dreams is inspiring. The manifestation of my childhood "dream job" has changed a bit; although it's still in the realm of helping people. This became clearer to me as I was writing the purpose statement for my company about five years ago [to help people use their knowledge and abilities to achieve great things]. Although, I still believe I'm on a journey to find my ultimate purpose in life ... but, enough of my rambles (for now).
  • What are your dreams?
  • How are you pursuing them?
  • Are you scaling the "walls" that get in your way?
  • What "head fakes" have helped you have your A-HA! moments?

Do watch the video when you have the chance. And, thanks for sharing your thoughts! :)

Friday, July 25, 2008

Colette is On the Radio - July 30th & 31st

Happy Friday! Hope you're getting ready for a fun-filled, relaxing weekend. I'm excited to report that next week I'll be a featured guest on TWO radio shows!

Next Wednesday, July 30 at 6:00 PM EDT, I'll be chatting with Sharlene Gordon on W-E Talk Radio. The "W-E" stands for Women's Empowerment; and, the network aims to provide informative, interactive, empowering and engaging topics of discussion for women all over the globe to participate in, learn from and grow. On the show, I'll be discussing components of the Competent Advantage TM program, and sharing tips on how you can become a "master chameleon." Since it's being hosted by Blog Talk Radio, you'll be able to listen online and dial-in to ask questions and share your success stories. Call us at (646) 652-2878 next Wednesday!

Next Thursday, July 31 at 7:00 PM EDT, I'll be joining Jessie Cheung on Doctor Radio on Sirius Channel 114. Doctor Radio is powered by the NYU Medical Center and provides real medical information delivered in a down-to-earth-style. On the show, I'll be discussing components of the Work-Life Balance program, and sharing tips on how you can manage your stress in our fast-paced world. Since it's being hosted by Sirius, you'll be able to listen online (if you sign up for their FREE 3-Day Trial) and dial-in to ask questions and share your stories. Call us at 1-877-NYU-DOCS next Thursday!

Looking forward to chatting with you on the radio next week! :)

Friday, July 18, 2008

Summer is HOT! Cool Off with the Right Foods

Perfect timing to release my new podcast with Meredith Sobel of Sobel Wellness about cool foods! It's expected to be 90+ degrees here in New York this weekend. Did you know that the foods you eat may actually make you feel warmer?

In this podcast, Meredith and I discuss “cooling” foods – whose properties can actually help cool your body temperature and make you more comfortable. And, when you feel more comfortable, you often are less irritated and stressed out. We also talk about ways to take advantage of seasonal fruits and veggies, and share some more tips on maintaining healthy eating patterns.

I often find in the summer it's easier to eat healthily because the heat reduces my appetite a bit. And, I love having salads with lots of fun ingredients -- sometimes from those "create your own" salad bars. And it's easy to include fruits -- although nothing can top buying fresh mango slices while sitting on the beach in Tulum, Mexico! ahhh .....

What's your favorite summer food? Take a listen to our podcast and let me know what you think! :)

Monday, July 14, 2008

What are the Economics of Love?

Hope you had a great weekend! I attended a Bastille Day celebration on Smith Street in Brooklyn yesterday.


I thought I'd share a link to an article by Ben Stein in yesterday's New York Times about the "Economics of Love." In it, he makes comparisons between high-quality bonds and high-quality love (i.e., stay away from the "junk" in both situations!).


I guess I found it a bit ironic to receive the article link from a friend today, given my recent podcast and last blog post about managing the stress of urban dating. Of course, when we focus on something, it becomes almost inevitable that everything we see/hear seems somehow related. Perhaps this is more of a personal journey than I'd like to admit!

In my life balance board on MOLI, I've posed a similar question: how do you maintain the balance between your business and social (personal) life? I've talked about my challenge of taking off my coach hat when I go to social functions.

I'm wondering if this is a unique challenge for entrepreneurs/business owners; or does everyone have various hats (or maybe masks) that they wear to protect themselves in social settings??

Monday, July 07, 2008

Summer Dating is an Adventure - Don't Get Stressed Out!

Hope you had a wonderful July 4th weekend! I'm excited about my new podcast with Andrea Varano, Director of NY Operations for Meet Market Adventures.

It occurred to me that many of my work-life balance posts and podcasts have focused on the professional or "work" side of the equation. Perhaps that's because I come into this work from the Training & Career Development world.

So, I began to think: What areas on the "life" side can often cause people stress? DUH! How about meeting new people -- whether it's on the personal side of dating or on the social side of networking and making new friends. Urban dating (and socializing) is an adventure! That's why it's great to have groups like Meet Market Adventures who organize structured activities like white water rafting -- at least it takes the stress of planning out of the equation. Then, you can focus on getting there ... and, of course, what you'll wear! [Check out the podcast for Andrea's funny anecdote about attire/makeup for a jogging event.]

We all know that our personal networks can be a source of support in our fast-paced, hectic world. Yet, attracting the right people into our personal network can sometimes be a challenge. In this podcast, Andrea and I discuss tips to manage your expectations when you meet new people at social events and hints on how to make yourself more attractive to potential friends and mates. I also talk about my BOLD move of attending MMA events alone -- which Andrea thinks can be a good strategy.

If you’re a reader/listener in the New York City area, do keep Thursday, July 24th at 6:00 PM open for the next Meet Market Adventures Singles After-Work mixer at Duvet Lounge. You’ll have an opportunity to mingle, meet and network with over 300 singles in a "hip" setting. Andrea and her team will have some fun icebreaker activities so you can practice the suggestions we discuss on our podcast! Arrive early and your name will be entered in their Grand Prize Draw of an all expense paid White Water Rafting Trip.

Sign up on their website for and take advantage of this interactive evening of contests, prizes, food & dancing, for only $19.99. This is definitely a party you won't want to miss!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Summer Career Coaching Group Begins July 15

I've decided to start a Master Chameleon Career Coaching Group this summer. Why?

As a coach in today’s ever-changing economy, I feel compelled to create a safe space for people to learn, grow, discover and even vent a little [in a constructive way!]. And, to help them recognize how to adapt their skills and their “buzz” to find their next adventure – in a way that doesn’t compromise what they believe in and value.

Where does the chameleon concept come from? Five and half years ago, I received notification that my position would be eliminated because of a recent company merger. Ironically that was the second such notification I’d received within 13 months. The way I saw it, I had two choices [now I know there were many others too!]:
  1. Attempt to find another job
  2. Attempt to sell my skills on the "open market" as a consultant

What did I do? I leveraged my contacts and skills, and chose the latter option. I’ve spent the past five years building my consulting (and now) coaching practice to the level it is today. For me, the chameleon concept is really at the heart of the Competent Advantage TM model.

How can you "change colors" or adapt your skills/talents/abilities to add value to an organization? But, what's most important, is how can you stay true to your personal and professional goals, motivators and values?

So, that's what I'm hoping this Master Chameleon Coaching Group will help people to explore. Because, I think the real lessons I learned about career transition came from my first “downsizing” experience, which came without warning [or so I thought!].

What did I do that time? I panicked. I spent a good two to three weeks in partial denial and seclusion. I was embarrassed and ashamed that “it” had happened to me. I eventually came out of hiding, began to establish new contacts and expand my network and think about what I wanted to do. Through these efforts, I successfully “landed” approximately three months later.

Do you know people who could benefit from this supportive, transformational experience? Could you? If so, join us for 4-weekly tele-sessions plus structured activities and online support. Don't be like everyone else who takes the summer off, empower yourself NOW!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Disconnect Anxiety - Is it Real?

I stumbled on this article on the MSN Tech & Gadgets site and thought it would be a good topic to discuss in this my 2008 Year of Technology. I've posted before about the challenges of "unplugging" from our tech gadgets. And, I've even discussed the potential upsides of staying connected. Yet, I didn't know that there's now a phrase that describes the challenge -- Disconnect Anxiety.

You know it's serious stuff when there's talk of adding it (tech-related compulsion) to the updated manual of psychiatric disorders. This would be the dangerous level when the desire to stay connected overwhelms someone to the point it significantly impacts personal and professional relationships. It suggests that the compulsion to check email or text or "Twitter" others would be as strong as the pull people may feel from food or other controlled substances.

I do know that I'm a bit fascinated with my new laptop because of its newer features and software. I like the fact that I can check email on my BlackBerry when I'm on the road. And, to be honest, I felt a bit guilty when I couldn't check in or post to the blog when I was in St. Maarten as I said I would [I don't have international coverage yet]. Although speaking as a stress management coach, I don't believe I need an intervention just yet. I do manage to find some balance -- e.g., my BlackBerry doesn't chirp or buzz when I have a new email [OK, really b/c I didn't know how to change the setting at first]; I typically don't answer business email at night unless I've been out of the office all day.

What struck me most, perhaps, was the almost Catch-22 nature of our social networking tools and sites [including, GULP, this blog?!]. Could it be that the very systems we're creating to stay in touch and build networks are actually facilitating the problem? What do you think?

Friday, June 13, 2008

Pictures from Nonprofit Coaching Event

Happy Friday! I've just posted pictures from yesterday's Advice-Link event to my Facebook page. Congratulations to Sue Green of Nonprofit Central for organizing this valuable, interactive event! And, kudos to Howard Levy of Red Rooster Group for updating our website so quickly!

It was great to meet nonprofit leaders in New York who are seeking creative ways to strengthen the capacity of their organizations. And, it also was fun to connect with other talented consultants. I'm looking forward to future strategic coaching events ... or, as I think they should be called 30-Minute Dating for Organizations. LOL!

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Colette Joins other Nonprofit Experts on June 12

This quarter has really brought attention to my public sector work --
  • Leadership Training events for public librarians back in April
  • Coaching trainees in May for yesterday's Debate Day event for OBT
  • Volunteering on Tuesday for the Games for Change conference [more details soon]

And, the trend continues! Next Thursday (June 12 beginning at 8:30 AM), I'm delighted to be participating in another fantastic, half-day event to build capacity of the nonprofit sector -- Advice-Link: One-on-One Consulting for Nonprofit Leaders.

Are you running a nonprofit program in the New York area (or are you thinking of starting one)? Do you have a "burning question" about how to improve your organization?

Nonprofit Central has gathered some of the tri-state area's top consultants to provide 30-minute strategic consultations to nonprofit leaders -- think speed dating meets organizational coaching! In addition to the individualized coaching sessions, attendees will engage in pre- and post-networking activities to expand their contacts and brainstorm new ideas.

Register NOW for Advice-Link on Thursday, June 12. Appointments will be made on a first-come, first-served basis. I hope to see you there!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Young People Shine at Brooklyn Marriott

Once again, the trainees from Opportunities for a Better Tomorrow delivered a series of compelling persuasive speeches at the Third Debate Day held this morning at the Brooklyn Marriott. Considering such current topics as the dangers of online chat rooms to the merits of school uniforms, these youth never cease to inspire. And, let's not forget the future-attorneys on the Mock Trial teams who significantly impressed the practicing attorney who served as the jury fore-person.

I'm truly glad the InStep team played a small part in their futures. Reach for the stars!

Monday, June 02, 2008

Entrepreneurs: What Are You Curious About?

The question of today's post is the underlying theme of a NEW podcast on the Competent Advantage TM channel about professional development for business owners. The podcast is my conversation with Eva Lilijendahl, an executive coach and founder of Inspiration for Excellence.

In today's business economy, you may be wondering why Eva and I spent time talking about curiosity -- why not talk about developing new business strategies, or expanding into new markets? Well, indirectly, we were talking about that -- how to be proactive about deciding in which areas to develop your skills (that will presumably help grow your business), by first spending a little time tapping into your curiosity. In fact, Eva believes that curiosity has everything to do with business development; and, I'm inclined to agree.

As I've mentioned, 2008 has become my year of technology with my recent hardware purchases. These purchases have made me more curious about social networking and Web 2.0 -- now that I have the gadgets that enable me to take greater advantage! What has that meant for my business? Well, I've yet to see the full impact; but I can speak to new habits I've included into my routine: checking in and updating my Facebook page; monitoring and adding posts to my MOLI Life Balance Board. On the fun side, I've created a new Avatar for myself on Meez (see sidebar)-- a true example of how learning can be fun!

In my world of coaching and consulting, being curious about technology will likely serve me well. Yet, Eva and I also discussed indirect benefits from learning things that may have nothing do with your business or career (won't give too much away but example in the podcast involves stage performance). Have you ever been surprised by being able to use a skill for work that you gained during a purely fun activity?

While on the road with the librarians, I recall that Kevin (Carroll) always encouraged them to stir up their sense of "neoteny" as a way of keeping an open mind during the training sessions. Don't worry, I hadn't heard of the word before either! But, it's the ability to keep your childlike quailities -- one of which is curiosity.

So, I'll ask again: what are you curious about now?

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Colette is Featured Expert in MOLI Small Business Center

Hope you all had a FABULOUS Memorial Day weekend! Keeping in line with my 2008-year of-Technology, I'm excited to announce that I'm now a Featured Expert on a NEW social media and commerce community -- MOLI Small Business Center.


MOLI is a free, online social community where small business owners and individuals over the age of 18 can create and manage multiple profiles from a single account to control their privacy and separate their social, business and family relationships.

The Small Business Center is a comprehensive, multimedia, interactive destination where members can network, engage in discussions, and access expert advice, resources, tools and tips on how to take their businesses to the next level. An important component of the Center is the interactive forums, where members can engage with a seasoned group of entrepreneurs and business experts. The forum that I moderate is the Life Balance community.

What's cool is that in addition to the tools and coaching services that field experts like me can offer, MOLI also has found great partners (like E-Myth) to provide resources.

The MOLI Small Business Center – Where Entrepreneurs Work, Network and Play!

Come join me in the Life Balance community!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

NEW Photos on Facebook

I've uploaded some photos from the first round of Turning the Page leadership development training to my Facebook page. Why did it take so long?

As I mentioned before, 2008 is my year of new technology. Well, my new laptop was delivered this week (early!). And, I've spent time today beginning to organize my files and documents and emails, etc... what fun -- NOT!

But, I am glad to have a newer machine that will enable me to take full advantage of Web 2.0 and social networking -- including the ability to create video podcasts with my new integrated camera! Keep an eye out for those, coming soon!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

NEW Podcast on Stress & Eating Habits

Hello and Happy (belated) Mother's Day to all of the moms out there! I had a great dinner with my mom and dad on Sunday evening here in NYC (Primehouse New York).

This post is to let you know of a new podcast I've recently uploaded to the Competent Advantage TM podcast channel about Stress & Eating Habits. It’s my conversation with Frances Cheung, a board-certified holistic health counselor. In addition to her private coaching practice, she is also a nutrition counselor at Wat, a premier Thai boxing gym in New York.

Frances and I shared insights on how you can break the unhealthy connection between stress and food. For the most part, I'm a pretty healthy eater (vegetarian who eats fish). Occasionally, though, I do have cravings -- usually for crunchy/salty snacks, but once in a while for chocolate [which made the Hershey trip a bit of a challenge with such easy access to chocolate 24 x 7]. I finally "released my shoulds" and gave myself permission while there to sample without feeling guilty. It made the experience more enjoyable -- so that I didn't freak out every time I ate a mini-Peppermint Patty (that was the "assigned" candy for my training room). And, I didn't over-indulge either.

In the podcast, we focus on healthy eating habits -- e.g., I learned from Frances about the potential downside of eating while standing up -- and offer tips to reduce stress even amidst our hectic lifestyles. Hope you enjoy -- and let me know what you think after you listen.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

A Personal Note: My Parents Sing at Lincoln Center

Happy Saturday! Last month, my parents had the opportunity to perform three times at JAZZ @Lincoln Center! How did this happen?

Well, they are part of the Bicentennial Choir of Abyssinian Baptist Church -- a special combined choir that was convened to commemorate the 200th Anniversary of the Church. This choir performed along with Wynton Marsalis & his Jazz Orchestra on April 10-12 at Lincoln Center and on April 19 at the Church. The performance was phenomenal!

And, not merely based on my [admittedly-biased] opinion. The story captured the attention of many media outlets, including Eye on New York -- which had a special feature on the performances last Sunday. In the video clip, my dad actually appears for a brief moment (to the right of Wynton).

Needless to say I'm very proud of my parents (not just for this, of course!). As my dad said, "it was a great time in our lives, not to be forgotten!"

Friday, May 02, 2008

NEW Podcast on Storytelling

Hello, hope you're getting ready for a fabulous weekend! I wanted to let you all know I've just uploaded a new podcast to the Competent Advantage channel on storytelling. Why storytelling?

Well, I've been inspired by one of the sessions I've been facilitating for the Turning the Page conference for library leaders called "Creating Your Library Story." It's designed to help librarians develop compelling stories about the benefits their patrons receive from public access computers and related technology. [We encourage them to find their "Kevin Carroll" stories to highlight.]

So, when I was asked to contribute by Sue Green at Nonprofit Central to create a tutorial for nonprofit leaders that would be featured by Craigslist Foundation, I thought storytelling would be a relevant theme on which to focus. And, really, this theme ties in very well with the Create a Buzz concept of Discover Your Competent Advantage TM -- keeping track of accomplishments and demonstrating how they add value.

The podcast provides tips for nonprofit leaders to create engaging stories that will motivate potential supporters and volunteers (including a model for writing the story). While it is geared towards public sector organizations, others of you may also benefit from the ideas and suggestions. Remember, the more you can tell good stories about your accomplishments [your WOW Factor], the easier it will be for others to see your value. Once upon a time ...

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Library Leaders get Treats in Hershey

Here's a picture from our final session at the PLA conference with our special guest!

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Sunday, April 27, 2008

St. Maarten IS the Friendly Island!

Greetings! I thought I'd make a quick post to share some details on the Good Life Festival & Retreat -- it was FANTASTIC! A big shout out to the JI Group for pulling together a wonderful event. Accomodations and service at the Sonesta Maho Beach Resort & Casino were great. Upon arrival there, we were welcomed by the St. Maarten Tourism Board as we began to unwind from our travels (completely uneventful and without delays -- surprise!).

The stress management sessions were well received. We had a discussion on Wednesday evening about our various roles/responsibilities, how to perceive them in different ways and better communicate our needs to minimize stress. On Thursday morning, I led the group through three relaxation and meditation exercises before folks headed back to the beach, etc. Then, a few of us went to the French side (St. Martin) for some local creole and browsing in the market.

No pics yet -- my phone was off the whole stay -- but hope to share some soon. I was sorry to cut my visit short (Friday); however, I do plan to return to the island for future fun (and perhaps business). My bags are packed for my next adventure -- leadership training with the "rowdy" librarians in Hershey, PA. Did someone say chocolate?? :)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Staying Connected: The Positive Side of BlackBerry

Before I head down to St. Maarten for the Good Life Festival and Retreat, I thought I'd give a shout out to my colleague Kevin Carroll for being highlighted as a featured BlackBerry owner on their website.

Who is Kevin Carroll? Kevin, author of Rules of the Red Rubber Ball, is the dynamic speaker who gets the librarians all "rowdy" when he kicks off our Turning the Page leadership training events -- by encouraging them to be creative and unconventional as they plan and execute their advocacy projects. In his BlackBerry testimonial, Kevin speaks to the benefit of staying connected with family and colleagues via the device while on the road. What's ironic about me giving the shout-out today is that I called Verizon earlier today to ensure that I'd have mobile access to phone and email while in St. Maarten.

Now, I know this may seem to some a bit contrary to some of my earlier posts about the need to unplug from our various devices. However, I do believe there is some peace of mind that comes from being able to reach out and stay connected when necessary. And, I've been able to post pics to this blog from the road using my Pearl (which I'll try to do over the next few days). The trick is to find the right balance!

BTW, you can learn more about Kevin, his firm -- Katalyst Consultancy, and how he helps people incorporate play into their work and personal growth on his blog.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Tips to Re-Energize for Spring!

Now that the buds are beginning to appear on trees, it's really starting to look like spring in NYC. I thought I'd share some tips based on a question that was posed on one of my list-serve groups:

How can you get re-energized for Spring if the pressures of work/career, personal life (or taxes!) make you feel stressed or burnt out?

Play Music
Yes, it really can be that simple! Researchers have shown (through brain mapping) that different sound frequency patterns can lead to more healthful states. Sounds that slow our brainwaves can also slow down our heart rate, blood pressure and muscle tension – and help us to relax! You can experiment on your own by listening to different types of music and observing your physical and emotional reactions. I’ve found that listening to jazz really helps me to focus while I’m working. If you’re interested in exploring this a bit deeper, check out Dr. Jeffrey Thompson’s Brain Fitness Kits at www.brainfitnesskit.com. He has created a series of audio programs for relaxation and better sleep. I really like his Awakened Mind program – helps me be more creative.

Change Your Perception
How you think about your situation can have a big impact on how stressed you feel. Pay attention to the language you use when you describe your daily activities – words like “have to” imply the activity is a burden (pressure); words like “should have” imply some sort of regret (guilt). Think about one stressful aspect of your life. Can you imagine an alternative, positive solution? If you’d like help re-invigorating your imagination, check out Not a Box, by Antoinette Portis at http://www.amazon.com/Not-Box-Antoinette-Portis/dp/0061123226.

What do you think -- what are you doing to get yourself excited and re-energized for spring?? :)

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Leadership Training Update: The Sagamore

I'm back in NYC after last week's library leadership training events at The Sagamore. The picture from the last post truly didn't do justice to the landscape and scenery. Here's a shout out to Shannon and the team at The Sagamore -- thanks for making PLA and our participants feel so welcome and special! I must admit that it was cool to be back in my home-state -- where my "Ellis, like the Island" introductory joke was met with at least a chuckle!

Once again, we had some rich discussions in my enhancing project leadership sessions. We discussed the challenges of being a team of one -- library leaders who manage the shop on their own. How can you create effective teams? How do you not burnout as you balance your many responsibilities?

I typically encourage them to think broadly about their potential team members -- volunteers, board members, trustees, students, et al. In many cases, a librarian has had an "a-ha" moment about someone to approach that s/he hadn't considered before. I also suggest they tap into the passions (WOW! Factors) of others when including people on projects -- assigning tasks that they will be excited and inspired to perform. I feel I can personally relate to their stories having founded my own practice/firm.

Even in the beginning, I spoke in terms of "we," even though I hadn't really established my network of associates and consultants. It was partially to create a more established business presence; however, it also helped me personally as it motivated me to find those team members so I wouldn't be working in a vacuum (and have to keep disguising my voice on the phone -- just kidding!). That's what makes this PLA project so fun for me (aside from the fun, "rowdy" librarians *smile*) -- the great people I get to work with on a weekly basis.

In the sessions, we did acknowledge that it can be difficult to delegate responsibilities to new team members once you've found them. Why? Because we become very efficient when we're a team of one. We figure out very creative ways to keep all of those (red, rubber) balls juggling in the air. What's wrong with that? Well, nothing -- except that your new team members may have their own ideas about how to "juggle" and perform their tasks. In the sessions, we discuss how important it is to set people up to succeed, by providing the right resources, training and support. And, also by getting out of their way when necessary -- giving them permission to do it their way. Is this always easy? Absolutely not! But, true leaders know this and they accept the responsibility.

So, I'm "off" from PLA until the end of the month. I'm looking forward to our next event in Hershey. Until then, I'll be getting ready for the GLF Retreat in St. Maarten!

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

View from Sagamore Cottage

The picture probably doesn't fully capture how beautiful it is here. It's so relaxing waking up to this view, though!

Friday, April 04, 2008

On the Road Again: Training Update

I have a couple of days "down" time from traveling and I thought I'd post a few quick thoughts. BTW, it's really two days to catch up on calls, emails and laundry before hitting the road again on Sunday! I returned yesterday from Annapolis (sorry the pic was so dark) where I had a great time training a group of "rowdy" librarians -- their word, not mine ... I swear!

Thank goodness I've had the opportunity to train some energetic, enthusiastic and eager librarians and supporters over the past month. Because my travel delays have been incredible! It took me 6 hours to get to Annapolis on Tuesday -- waited at LaGuardia for almost 4 hours for a 1.5 hour flight! The reason shared by the airline -- no crew was available for my flight.

It's pretty ironic when I think of the project leadership session I lead for the librarians in which we discuss creating effective project teams. Now, if you're running an airline, wouldn't having sufficient, qualified crew members for each flight be at the top of your list??? Perhaps I'm being a bit simplistic. I understand the challenges of managing matrix organizations. However, when I (finally) arrived in Annapolis, my PLA colleagues told me they had a similar experience the night before -- a missing pilot! Does anyone else see a pattern here??

Last week, I was caught in the grounding of planes on my way back from Minneapolis and the PLA National Conference. It was pretty annoying to have to pay $75 to have the airline release my ticket so that I wouldn't spend 6.5 hours waiting for a flight that was sure to cancel. The most annoying part was that I'd left the event and missed the "spider web" closing activity with my team -- under the delusion that I could catch a midday direct flight back to New York. Yes, I know that leaders have to make the tough decisions based on the info they have available at the moment. It didn't make me feel any better, though.

I know that I'm a bit sensitive to this -- perhaps it's because my travel debacles have become one of the jokes amongst my PLA trainers and colleagues. I'm OK with the ribbing and teasing -- that's what friends do. I was concerned on Tuesday afternoon as my flight was further and further delayed that I'd miss our opening reception -- I really felt like I was on my way to a family reunion.

Well, on Sunday, I'm heading up to Bolton Landing, NY (outside Albany) -- on Amtrak! I figure that spending 2.5 hours on a train shouldn't be as bad as having another 1-hour flight delayed for a bunch of hours. Wish me luck! Our next two leadership training events are being held at the Sagamore Hotel. It will be great to meet some librarians and supporters from my home state!

View from Annapolis Marina

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Have You Had a WOW! Exchange Lately?

I thought I'd pose this question after today's teleclass with Diane and other Downtown Women's Club members on Discovering Your WOW! Factor. On the call, we discussed two components of the Competent Advantage TM model that I believe are at the heart of the WOW! Factor: Leveraging Your Strengths and Creating a Buzz.

As is common when discussing the "buzz" or self-marketing, someone mentioned the fact that it can often feel like bragging. [BTW, if you can create compelling stories about your accomplishments, I don't believe it is bragging.] However, I suggested that having a team of champions (people who are familiar with your work and talents) can be helpful in promoting your accomplishments -- i.e., they can do some of the WOW! Factor storytelling for you; especially when you're not in the room.

Then, someone asked about how to stay motivated and excited by our WOW! Factors if we haven't found a way to fully incorporate them into our work. That's how the WOW! Exchange came up. I have in my core group a few people with whom I can exchange ideas, successess and challenges. We all do -- the people you can call on for a "pick-me-up" when the gremlins are wreaking havoc on your plans. One of my core Right Energy People, Lynne, is great at pointing out myWOW! Factors when we get together for our brainstorming meetings -- especially if I get caught in the trap of "Well, I didn't get to do everyhing I wanted to do last quarter.."

As of today, those brainstorming sessions will now be our WOW! Exchanges; in which we'll each start our conversation sharing things we're proud of since we last spoke or met. I'd encourage you to have similar exchanges with your trusted friends and advisors. In fact, I had the idea that InStep Consulting should have a 10th Anniversary WOW! Exchange sometime this year. Keep an eye out for more info ... would also love suggestions for a great venue to hold it ...