Recently, I had the great opportunity to hang out with my friends at www.21toys.com and talk about how we've been able to use their awesome Empathy Toy in training and development at Free The Children & Me to We.
If you're interested in learning more about how to use this awesome tool/toy for training, make sure to check out this webinar. If you've got any questions, just hit me up!
Recently, I'd had the opportunity to attend a (free) information/training session on "engaging and retaining Millennials."
Inspired by a podcast I was recently listening to (The School of Greatness - you need to check it out), interviewing Jon Acuff on his new book, Do Over: Rescue Monday, Reinvent Your Work and Never Get Stuck, I wanted to spend a little bit of time thinking out loud about this concept of a "Do Over".
According to Acuff, a "Do Over" is those opportunities we have in our lives (some created by us, other not by choice), to recreate and reinvent our selves or our situations. It's the opportunity to get off the path you're on in order to create a new one.
How awesome is that?
Someone really close to me is currently having their own do over moment right now. It's a a pretty challenging experience for them and it's hard, at times to focus on the positive and the opportunity when it feels like the world is crashing down around you. I get it. I've been there too. We all have.
Everyone of us has and will experience these do over moments. Likely more than once. Those moments and experiences can include everything from a breakup or losing a job to losing your home or, sadly, losing someone important in your life.
They are hard moments. Absolutely. But what's important here, in order to create resilience and to grow, it to check in with yourself and really get aware of the mindset you're approaching these situations and experiences with. Carol Dweck has some awesome work on mindset and how, typically, we have either a growth or a fixed mindset.
Those of us with growth mindsets can look at the challenges in our lives and see opportunity. A chance to learn and to grow and the get better.
Those of us with fixed mindsets tend to look at our challenges in the negative. That these things are happening to us, rather than for us.
And that's the big point. Do over moments can be opportunities FOR us. Breaking up with that boyfriend or girlfriend might seem like the end of the world at the beginning, but it's probably because there's someone else out there much better suited for you (or because you need to spend a little bit more time getting to know yourself). Losing that job might be the Universe telling you that you're on the wrong path and that it's tired of waiting for you to make a decision, so it's going to do it for you.
The choice really is yours.
Because, like I often say (and truly believe):
Awareness creates Choice. Choice creates Change.
Keep Living Big,
Want more? Here's the episode, definitely worth listening to if you connect with it.
If you're reading this, it's probably because, like me, you're on a life-long journey of learning, growth and development (a bit of a freak, really). Or maybe you're just interested in learning more about how to get on that journey. Regardless, I think it's important to address some of the limiting beliefs we may have about it.
I've been having a lot of conversations about the future lately. It's that time of year, right? Time to start thinking about all the ways we want to make this year the best it can be. Setting new goals and making new plans.
And I've been thinking about what it means to invest. When you look at the financial definition of the word, to invest is to expend (or give) money with the expectation of achieving a profit or material result by putting into financial schemes, shares or property. The expectation is that by sacrificing a little bit now, we'll earn a lot more in the long term.
But doesn't this work the same way when it comes to our own personal growth? Or our relationships? The idea being that if we sacrifice a little bit of time, energy, or immediate gratification now (*gasp*) that we will gain that back two-fold (or more) in the future?
Any financial advisor will tell you that in order to be prepared for the long-term, the most important thing you need to do for your long-term financial health is pay yourself first. It means putting aside some money for the future even before you pay your bills. It doesn't need to be a lot. Over time, that small amount adds up.
The same goes for our own personal growth and development.
Invest in your own growth and development before you invest in anyone else's. That might sound selfish, but it's not. It self care. Build time in your schedule every day for a little bit of self-care, a little bit of growth. Maybe it's reading a book that will help you get out of the career rut you're experiencing right now, maybe it's going to be earlier so you can actually make that 7am yoga class you've been telling yourself you've wanted to go to. Maybe it's turning off your tech an hour or two before bed so that you can spend that time reflecting or working on connecting with a loved one.
The question to ask yourself right now is: What does investing in yourself look like for you this week?
Take 5 minutes to sit down with yourself and write out 5 ways that you could invest in yourself this week that, over time, could have a long term positive impact.
And then do at least one of them!
Because you're no good to anyone else if you're no good to yourself.
Move and act with all your heart,
How to get your notebooks organized - A little know hack from Japan. This is a really useful way to keep all of your ideas, thoughts, meetings, and other important information without being limited by things like tabs or having to carry around separate notebooks. Try it!
What if Schools Graded Character and Values as Much as Math and Reading? - As someone who spent more than four years working with youth focused specifically on teaching social emotional learning skills, I can't tell you how important I feel like this article is. Take some time to read through this insightful article and then go to http://www.ipositive-education.net/ to sign your name to the Manifesto for Positive Education
Here's a great excerpt:
“The schooling of children has, for more than a century, been about accomplishment, the boulevard into the world of adult work. But imagine if schools could, without compromising either, teach both the skills of well-being and the skills of achievement. Imagine positive education.”
Break Out of a Rut with Small Personal Changes (LifeHacker) - An insightful article about our personal capacity for change. This article talks about how creating change in our lives doesn't have to be something big and cumbersome. In fact, most great change starts with small changes we make each day.
Best Apps/Websites: Here are the 3 apps that I used most often this week:
Blinkist - For all you lovers of books, nerds, and information junkies out there, Blinkist is going to rock your world! This subscription-based service takes top non-fiction books and summarizes them into a maximum of 20 minutes worth of ready they call "blinks". Well worth the investment (which is about the same price as one book) and is designed to be mobile friendly.
Pocket - I'm actually using Pocket right now to write this blog post. Pocket allows you to save articles, websites, links, etc as you come across them to read at a more convenient time. Pair that up with IFTTT and every time you post something on your social media it will go directly to Pocket for your reading pleasure.
FitnessBlender.com - The best video fitness/workout site I've come across in a long time (and I'm constantly searching). All of FitnessBlender's videos are FREE and you can customize your workout based on time, intensity, equipment available, etc. When I don't have time to go to the gym, this is the first place I go for a challenging and rewarding workout.
It's a long one but it came to me exactly when I needed it to (as they often do). I've been thinking a lot about mindfulness, calmness and just "being". There's so much information that we're always consuming and so many things to be doing, I find it easy to be distracted and to forget just how incredible this moment can actually be.
“As it is, we are merely bolting our lives—gulping down undigested experiences as fast as we can stuff them in—because awareness of our own existence is so superficial and so narrow that nothing seems to us more boring than simple being. If I ask you what you did, saw, heard, smelled, touched and tasted yesterday, I am likely to get nothing more than the thin, sketchy outline of the few things that you noticed, and of those only what you thought worth remembering. Is it surprising that an existence so experienced seems so empty and bare that its hunger for an infinite future is insatiable? But suppose you could answer, “It would take me forever to tell you, and I am much too interested in what’s happening now.” How is it possible that a being with such sensitive jewels as the eyes, such enchanted musical instruments as the ears, and such a fabulous arabesque of nerves as the brain can experience itself as anything less than a god? And, when you consider that this incalculably subtle organism is inseparable from the still more marvelous patterns of its environment—from the minutest electrical designs to the whole company of the galaxies—how is it conceivable that this incarnation of all eternity can be bored with being?”
~ Alan Watts, The Book: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are
My biggest lesson this week has really been this:
I need to go deep within myself right now. What I mean by that is this: I spend a lot of time reading and listening for inspiration, motivation and growth. So much so that, at times, it can become unfocused. I've been asking a lot of questions and searching for the answers outside of where they really are: within me. So I've started to ask myself some really intentional and specific questions in hopes that I can start to live myself into those answers.
Keep Living Big,
Interested in doing some one-on-one coaching in the New Year? Feeling a bit stuck and want a jump start on your goal setting and action planning? Send me a message and let me know! I'd love to find a way to work together and help you reach your goals!
This week's favourite quote rocked me pretty hard as I was driving to Toronto for work. I like to listen to a lot of audio books while I commute. It's a great way to use that time in a productive and growth-inducing way. One of the books I'm listening to right now is called "The Way We're Working Isn't Working" by Tony Schwartz (President & CEO of The Energy Project). Here it is...ready?
"We cannot expect growth or improvement - in an dimension of our lives - without intentionally and regularly challenging our current capacity."
For me, this came at a great time. It's a clear reminder that I need to be continuously challenging myself to grow in positive ways and to be better than I was the day before.
For more about Tony and the work he does, check out: http://theenergyproject.com/
Here are the five best articles I came across this week:
Plan Out Your Day Productively with "Time Blocking" Method
I'm a huge fan of time blocking and it's something I train new staff on when they first join the organization I work for. Definitely recommend spending some time on this one!
9 Places You Can Be More Productive Besides Your Office
I'f you're like me, sometimes the worst place to try to get things done is the office. Here's a great list of places you can be more productive.
How To Ruin Your Life (Without Even Noticing You Are)
This one hit me hard this week. A great read that gives you the advice you need at a time when you probably need it. Thanks to my friend Anna for sharing this with me!
Top 5 Best Morning Rituals for a Super Productive Day
A list of things you may want to consider starting to do (or stopping) in order to make the most out of those first few precious hours of your day. Big fan!
How Personal Development Saved My Life
This short post speaks to the value of developing yourself, along with four things you can start to do now to invest in the most important person in your life - you!
The one big find I had this week is this cool app for your computer called Flux. Basically, you download this app for your PC or Mac and it dims your computer screen as the day progresses to mimic natural sunlight. It has the potential to both make your computer look better and also help you sleep better at night. Try it out! It's free!
Like I mentioned above, I've been listening to a lot of audio books lately. This big lesson was inspired by a parenting book I'm listening to called "Screamfree Parenting" (recommended for any parents out there). The big lesson is this:
The only thing that we have that we can truly call our own are the choices we make.
I'll let you decide what that means for you. =)
Interested in doing some one-on-one coaching in the new year? Feeling a bit stuck and want a jump start on your goal setting and action planning? Send me a message and let me know! I'd love to find a way to work together and help you reach your goals!
When I first started out as a speaker and facilitator I was travelling around North America on a speaking tour called "Take More Action", The focus on the tour was to engage youth on the social and environmental issues we faced as a world and to empower young people to volunteer both locally and globally.
It was an amazing experience and one of the things I'm most proud of.
It was also incredibly challenging and stretched me to my capacity. Ask anyone who lives on the road and they'll tell you how challenging the driving, hotels, airplane food, and being away from the people you care about the most for long periods of time can be. Emotionally it takes it's toll on you.
About halfway through 8-month tour I found myself is a really hard place. Exhausted, overwhelmed at times and feeling all kinds of negative emotions that I didn't really have control over. I was travelling with my speaking partner, Guistina, and we were rarely more than 20 feet away from each other that entire tour.
My job was to show up every morning energetic, positive and engaging...even when I didn't feel any of those things. At times I struggled with it.
But one thing I did learn to do that helped out a lot was this:
I labelled my emotions.
I had (and still have) a small notebook that I carried around with me. Before I would get into a school or start a speech, I would find a quiet place and I would write down all of the emotions that I was experiencing. Sometimes those included things like anger, resentment, loneliness, sadness, being overwhelmed and sometimes it was happiness, love, joy, gratitude.
Most times it was a combination of both positive and negative. b
Doing this, at the time, helped me put a name to what I was feeling and put it off to the side temporarily so that I could come back and deal with it when I was ready (and not about to speak to a room full of youth who wanted to be empowered to change the world).
I only later found out that what I was doing was one of the best things that I could have done to manage those negative emotions at the time!
In Positive Psychology and Mindfulness research it's called Affect Labelling. Studies have shown that by labelling your emotions, you can better manage them.
And that makes sense, right? It's difficult to manage an emotion if you don't know what that emotion is. It's challenging to address what's wrong when you you can't put your finger on it.
So how do you do it?
1. Take some time to sit down with a pen and piece of paper and ask yourself What am I feeling right now? Then just list whatever comes to your mind. No judgement
2. When the time is right, come back to that list and ask yourself What is contributing to these feelings? or Why do I feel this way? This is a great opportunity to journal and connect with yourself!
3. Next, ask yourself "Do I want to feel more or less of this particular emotion?"
4. Last, brainstorm some ways that you can feel more or less of the emotion you're labelling.
It's important that we don't just focus on the negative emotions that we're feeling when we do this. A great coach told me one "What you focus on grows" so it's important to spend more time on what you want more of in your life. By labelling positive emotions as well as negative ones, you allow yourself to identify what's contributing to that positive so that you can bring it back in regularly (e.g. good conversations or regular exercise).
It's been emotional,
When was the last time you sat down for 20 minutes and really got to know the most important person you have in your life? I’m not talking about a significant other or even a family member; I’m talking about taking the time to sit down with yourself and take the opportunity to get to know who you truly are.
In a world where we spend the majority of our day connected but not really connecting, it can be easy to overlook and not prioritize taking the time to sit in silence, completely uninterrupted, or to open up your notebook and start to journal the thoughts you have in your head. We become so aware of what’s going on around us and with other people, that we can become completely unaware of what’s going on inside ourselves.
Self awareness can be defined as a conscious knowledge of one’s own character, feelings, motives and desires. It’s foundational in the development of our emotional intelligence, yet it’s easy to neglect. It’s easy to spend more time trying to get to know others and understand their motives than we do working at understanding our own.
So where do you start? How do you teach yourself to become more self aware?
The beautiful thing about self awareness is that you can begin by just thinking about self awareness.
Maybe you want to begin by sitting in silence for 10 or 20 minutes and simply just pay attention to your body’s sensations or the thoughts that are flowing through your mind. If you’re a writer (and even if you’re not), try journaling for 15 minutes every day for week. Write about the challenges you’re facing, the lessons you’re learning, or the things you’re grateful for right now (like having the courage to take action on your idea).
Spending time with yourself is one of the most empowering and beneficial thing you can do for yourself both personally and professionally. Understanding what drives you is a powerful tool for success. Becoming more aware of your emotions and how they influence your behaviour allows you control them rather than allowing them to control you.
However you choose to practice awareness, the main point is to make sure you practice it! It’s like playing an instrument, sport or learning a new skill; in order to get good at it, you need to do it regularly.
Socrates said it simply and best, “know thyself”.
Originally posted at:
Through lots of discussion, reading and experience, here are a few strategies others have found helpful in creating balance in your life and avoiding burnout while getting your idea off the ground.
One of the hardest things that we – as young people who care about the world and our place in it – have to come to realize is that unless we’re good to ourselves, we’re no good to anyone else. What we do for ourselves, we do for others. What we do for others, we do for ourselves.
But the realization of this and actually doing it can be two very different challenges. The more I’ve learned about this, the more I realize that I need to bring these habits, tools and skills into my life regularly.
Here are some of the best lessons I’ve learned from successful change makers, entrepreneurs and young people:
• Create and use your support network – Bringing an idea to life can be a pretty lonely experience at times. That loneliness can cause us to be easily discouraged and to give up if we don’t have the right support system in place. Look at the people you have in your life and the role(s) they might play in supporting you. Equally, look at how you can support others who may be going through their own struggles.
• You control your thoughts, they don’t control you – This was a big lesson I had to learn through personal experience. When you’re tired, lonely, or frustrated, those tiny little voices in your head telling you “you suck” or “you’ll never get this finished” seem to get a louder and louder. Your thoughts have an incredible power over your behaviour and actions. So much so, that you can physically make yourself feel sick, angry or upset just by thinking about things that make you that way. What you focus on grows. Use that to help change your mindset towards setbacks and challenges.
• Seek out motivation and inspiration regularly – read about the people who have overcome adversity and whose stories can inspire you to endure. Take time everyday to read an inspiring quote, watch a motivating video or have an engaging conversation that energizes and drives you to continue the work that you’re doing.
• Recognize the choices you have – In every situation and experience, there’s always a choice to be made. Sometimes those choices are big ones, like whether or not you’re going to go back to school or risk everything to bring that idea you have to life. Sometimes the choices are a bit more subtle, such as choosing how you want to respond to that friend or family member who claims to be the “realist” and, often unintentionally, is cutting you down piece by piece with statements like “well maybe you should consider getting a real job” or “I’m only telling you this because I care but what you’re doing isn’t realistic, I just don’t want you to get hurt.”
• Practice awareness – The most empowering and beneficial thing you can do for yourself is to practice awareness. This means becoming more aware of the emotions that drive you, the challenges that you’re facing and why they’re important, as well as having an awareness of the choices you have for the Good work that you’re doing.
• Write it out – Take the time to sit down regularly and write out what’s happening in your life at that time. Write about the challenges and the learning but don’t forget also to write about the really good things that are happening as well. Start what’s called a “gratitude journal”. At least once a week, write out 5-10 things that you’re grateful for in your life. Research shows that this increases happiness and that happy people live longer, tend to be more creative and energetic, get sick less often, help others more often, as well as are more likely to learn and have more meaningful experiences. Here’s a link to learn more about it.
• Feel what you feel… and move forward – Somewhere along the lines, we’ve been taught that it’s not ok to feel sad or frustrated or angry…that these are destructive emotions that we should feel guilty about.
Emotions only become destructive when you allow them to control and drive your behaviour. It’s ok to feel sad and discouraged because you didn’t land that partnership you worked so hard on. When it becomes not ok is when those emotions of sadness and anger begin to take over every other aspect of who you are.
• Challenges are opportunities to grow and develop- Look for the lessons in the challenge. What are you being taught right now? Patience? Understanding? Endurance? How to deal with difficult people? How to overcome your negative thoughts?
In each challenge there’s an opportunity for you to learn a lesson and come out of it a bit better than you were before.
• Commit to being a little better every day – It’s a commitment you make to and for yourself that positively flows over to the work you do and the people you care about. Committing to being better than you were the day before helps to keep you focused on and accountable for your thoughts and actions.
Originally posted at:
Matt Tod is an international speaker, leadership facilitator, writer and lover of all things Zombie-related.