Stuck in a Career Rut? Allow us to point you in the "Wright" Career Direction

Our Baby Has Arrived…

While the COVID pandemic was (and still is), playing havoc in all lives around the world to varying degrees, 21 of us decided to collaborate and write our stories, without missing a beat with our daily work.

Twenty-one ‘ordinary’ women doing extraordinary things. Our stories matter!

The anthology, 21 Resilient Women: Stories of Courage, Growth and Transformation, is the brainchild of executive career coach Daisy Wright, Chief Encouragement Officer at The Wright Career Solution and founder of the Let’s GROW Project.

This year’s Project would not have been possible without the stories of the other 20 co-authors. The Press Release below gives a quick overview of the book:

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PRESS RELEASE

GTA women share personal stories of courage and transformation in new book of essays

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, TORONTO, November 19, 2020 – 21 Resilient Women: Stories of courage, growth and transformation is launching at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic has many people searching for hope and inspiration.

Brampton executive career coach Daisy Wright knows that ordinary women often lead extraordinary lives. That’s why she invited 20 women to share stories about their challenges, triumphs and journeys for a book being released this week.

“We are constantly bombarded with stories about celebrities’ lives, but ordinary women have powerful lessons to teach us. The women in this book found the courage to overcome challenges that range from devastating health diagnoses to bias and discrimination. Others reflect on their experiences of motherhood, menopause and adapting to life in a new country. I hope readers will see themselves in some of these stories and say: ‘If she overcame that, I can, too!’” says Wright.

One of the women in the book was attending university on a basketball scholarship when a car accident left her paralyzed. Although she struggled, the accident didn’t prevent her from completing her studies, and now has a rewarding career as a physician assistant. The other contributors write about experiences that include: immigrating to Canada and having to work two jobs to support their family; starting non-profit organizations; being diagnosed with a brain aneurism; and dealing with microaggressions and harassment in the corporate world.

The 21 co-authors featured in the book reflect the diversity of the GTA. All Canadians, with roots in, Canada, Chile/Venezuela Guyana, India, Jamaica, Nigeria, Nepal, Philippines, Saint Lucia, Sri Lanka, Trinidad & Tobago, and the United Kingdom. They were determined to use this sombre downtime that 2020 brought, to do some deep reflection and contribute to this legacy. They also decided that part proceeds from the sales of the book will be donated to a local women’s shelter.

Daisy Wright’s story is the first essay in the book. Growing up in Jamaica, her family taught her that the sky’s the limit when it comes to achieving your career dreams. “But I was jolted to reality when I realized things were different in Corporate Canada. Your career ambitions can be limited – not based on your qualifications, but because of the colour of your skin,” says Wright. Not one to linger too long at her “pity parties”, Wright tapped into her entrepreneurial spirit and started a successful career coaching business known as The Wright Career Solution.

21 Resilient Women: Stories of courage, growth and transformation is for sale on Amazon and IngramSpark. This is Daisy’s third book; her others are Tell Stories: Get Hired and No Canadian Experience, Eh?

For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:

Daisy Wright at 647 930-4763, or daisy@thewrightcareer.com

 

Take the Leap and Lead (You Do Not Need a Title)

The next time someone infers that you are not a leader, think twice before responding. Some people are ‘positional leaders’ by virtue of their titles; others are ‘non-positional’ leaders who find a gap and take action. They don’t wait for a title; they take a leap and lead!

In May, I was invited by the Regional Diversity Roundtable to speak to participants in their Community Leadership Program (CLP). The topic was Leadership Model: Vision for Inclusion & Diversity. Below I share some notes from my presentation.

McKinsey report states that, “Awareness of the business case for inclusion and diversity is on the rise. While social justice typically is the initial impetus behind these efforts, companies have increasingly begun to regard inclusion and diversity as a source of competitive advantage, and specifically as a key enabler of growth.”

As the topic takes centre stage, some companies have issued performative statements indicating what they hope to do to make sure all their employees have a chance, not only to sit at the table, but to contribute, to feel a sense of belonging, and to thrive.

Considering the current social and economic upheavals, the topic for the presentation was quite timely.

One of the sources I consulted for my presentation was a report from Deloitte University Press titled “The Six Signature Traits of Inclusive Leadership – Thriving in a Diverse New World”. This report is aimed primarily at individuals in the upper echelons of organizations to help them rethink the traditional notions of leadership. However, these traits are not only meant for these ‘positional’ leaders; ‘non-positional’ leaders also need to develop these traits.

Difference Between Positional and Non-Positional Leadership

Positional Leadership operates from the traditional understanding of hierarchy; people who possess ‘positional power’ because of their titles (CEO, director, manager). Non-Positional Leadership is not constrained by a title; it emanates from people who are able to impact, influence and inspire others to action.

Below I have highlighted the six traits from the Deloitte report. It’s important to note that there is nothing in these traits that suggest one has to have a title to be an inclusive leader. “Lead from where you are”, I told the participants. “No one has to tap you on the shoulder and anoint you a leader. Leadership is noticing the gap and stepping in to do something about it.”

Trait 1: Commitment – Highly inclusive leaders are committed to diversity and inclusion because these objectives align with their personal values and because they believe in the business case.

Inclusiveness requires a commitment to making things better, and that’s done by ensuring fairness and equality of opportunities.

Trait 2: Courage – Highly inclusive leaders speak up and challenge the status quo, and they are humble about their strengths and weaknesses.

“The courage to speak up – to challenge others and the status quo – is a central behaviour of an inclusive leader, and it occurs at three levels: with others, with the system and with themselves.” (Pg. 10). Sometimes self-preservation prevents us from ‘ruffling feathers’ but there are times when we find ourselves in situations that require us to demonstrate courage in speaking up and challenging the status quo.

Trait 3: Cognizance of Bias – Highly inclusive leaders are mindful of personal and organizational blind spots, and self-regulate to help ensure “fair play.”

Everyone of us has some form of bias – conscious and unconscious. As such, we are naturally inclined to lean toward self-cloning and self-interest, but this can be mitigated if we identify and confront our own biases, self-regulate and adhere to existing policies, processes and structures.

Trait 4: Curiosity – Highly inclusive leaders have an open mindset, a desire to understand how others view and experience the world, and a tolerance for ambiguity.

Michael Dell, Chairman and CEO of Dell said “…with curiosity comes learning and new ideas…If you’re not curious you’re not learning.” Inclusive leaders know their limitations, and are open-minded; they engage in curious questioning; they listen, empathize, suspend judgement, and entertain other viewpoints. Curiosity helps us learn and grow.

Trait 5: Culturally Intelligent – Highly inclusive leaders are confident and effective in cross-cultural interactions.

When it comes to cultural intelligence, all of us need to recognize that our own culture determines our worldview, and that view can influence our expectations of others. It is important, therefore, that we deepen our cultural understanding and learn from the experiences of others.

Trait 6: Collaborative: Highly inclusive leaders empower individuals as well as create and leverage the thinking of diverse groups.

Cultural diversity is a huge economic advantage and leaders should always be looking at ways to be more inclusive. One way is to ensure that when people collaborate, group members don’t all look and think alike. Groups benefit from people with different ideas, perspectives and experiences.

During the webinar, one program participant asked if she would be considered a leader if she didn’t have followers or a title. I told her that leadership is based on how one acts, not by a title. John Quincy Adams said, “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”

Based on the foregoing, it is obvious that inclusive leaders do not always have titles. Inclusive leaders, as the Deloitte report states:

  • Treat people and groups fairly based on their unique characteristics, not on stereotypes.
  • Understand and value the uniqueness of each person and accept them as members of the group.
  • Leverage the diversity of thoughts that lead to good decision-making.
  • Inspire confidence. When people feel that they ‘belong’ and that they have a voice in decision-making, it makes a difference.

There you have it! You do not need a title to be an inclusive leader. You can lead from where you are. Take a leap and lead!

Sources: The Six Signature Traits of Inclusive Leadership

Book: How to Be An Inclusive Leader, Jennifer Brown

Take Your Knee Off Our Necks!

Micheile Henderson-Unsplash

The world saw how the life of George Floyd was snuffed out of him by the white police officer who had his knee on his neck. To say it was outrageous is an understatement, and people immediately condemned what they saw. For me, I felt it on a deep, personal level because I have a husband, a son, brothers and nephews.

But, here’s one uncomfortable truth: after the dust settles, the invisible ‘knee-on-the-neck’ of black people in the workplace and in our schools will continue, unless some things change.

The Peel District School Board that has long ignored the cries of black parents about the treatment of our children was forced to acknowledge their knee-on-the-neck behaviour after parents, community members and two trustees decided enough was enough. It took the intervention of the Minister of Education to shake things up.

Being quiet is comfortable. Being silent serves no one, and I am done with both. For anyone who watched that white officer kneeling on the neck of George Floyd until he breathed his last breath, I would like you to envision the same thing happening to black people’s careers in their places of work.

Highly-qualified black people are being denied opportunities solely on the colour of their skin; having their careers stifled because they are not a ‘good fit’; being passed over for promotions or being told “you were a close second”. How do I know this? I am a career coach who often hear from my black clients about their experiences, and I believe them because I have my own personal stories. The emotional tax they are paying in the workplace is equivalent to having a knee on their necks, and it’s suffocating.

Although I have long left the corporate arena, I have experienced having a knee on my neck when a less-qualified white woman who had joined the company as a temp three months prior, was given a job in the corporate affairs office, a position for which I was interviewed. I was with the company for three years at the time. When I asked HR for an explanation, especially when I had had two certificates in public relations and had previously worked in the field, I was told I was ‘a close second’. How could I be a close second when the woman neither had the experience nor the education for the role?

A highly-qualified South Asian woman was also interviewed. We compared notes. She was with the company a bit longer than me, but she said she didn’t want to ruffle feathers. I told her I would speak up about my situation, and if it benefited both of us, so be it.

Another experience when I had the knee of racism on my neck was when a white woman at a well-known non-profit told her staff that they shouldn’t hire me for a workshop because people “won’t show up”. Well, people used to show up when I delivered the workshops for free. Nepotism got the better of her and she chose her friend for that paid opportunity. I am looking at her right now with the smug of perceived superiority on her face, probably still denying black people opportunities in that same space. It was not long after that I was asked by the YMCA in Windsor to deliver a keynote to 400 new immigrants for which I was paid.

Prior to the COVID19 lockdown, I was in a Tim Hortons waiting to be served when I overheard two middle-aged white ladies talking. One told the other that she had applied to work at that same Tim Hortons and the manager told her he would get back to her if he didn’t find a qualified candidate. Her friend asked her if she had heard back. She said “No, but it’s probably because I am white!” I was a bit taken aback but thought to myself, “How the tables have turned!”

As I said in a previous article when I was zoom-bombed during an online workshop in April, when black people tell you about what’s happening to them, don’t be too quick to judge. Believe them. Not only believe them but make a concerted effort to become an ally. A true ally does not keep silent. Begin by authentically reaching out and building relationships.

Let me hasten to add that having a ‘knee on the neck’ in the corporate workspace is not only a black and white issue. This means I am not going to give a pass to other people of colour. It is easy for you to say, “I am not one of them!” because that makes you comfortable, but many of you exhibit the same behaviour. Remember, what lessens one of us, lessens all of us.

It is heartening to see people of all hues protesting because they saw what happened to George Floyd, thanks to a cell phone. That is what fair-minded people do. But it would help if some of those same people would step up and challenge those with a biased mindset, or those who spread misinformation in the workplace. Here are some ways you can help your black coworkers cope when a knee is on their necks:

  • Don’t let fear hold you back. Decide to wade into uncomfortable waters and speak up when you notice inequities at work.
  • Don’t be afraid to rock the boat, because sometimes to steady the ship, you need to rock it.
  • Don’t just invite them to sit at the table (that’s optics); make sure they are contributing to the discourse in meaningful ways (that’s inclusion).
  • Don’t be another Amy Cooper. Use your position of power and privilege to help not hurt.
  • Don’t pass off casual racism or microaggressive  behaviours as jokes. It’s hurtful and insulting.
  • Don’t imply it’s because of quota or lowering of standards when a black person gets a promotion. Check their credentials.
  • Don’t accept the status quo at work; act. Inaction is not only the result of fear, but the cause of fear. 

COVID19 has laid bare the stark realities of institutionalized racism on all fronts, but black people and people of colour can’t do it on our own. When the dust settles, let’s not return to business as usual in the workplace and in our communities. Prepare to get comfortable with being uncomfortable.

The quotes below speak directly to what leaders in the workplace can do:

Minda Harts, author of The Memo: What Women of Color Need to Know to Secure a Seat at the Table said, “…it’s extremely hard to constantly hear your leadership talk about diversity and inclusion and take no real steps toward hiring and retaining diverse talent.”

Darryl White, CEO at Bank of Montreal said in a recent LinkedIn post: “There can only be one response to racism and violence and that’s to deepen our commitment to making change. There is no easy path, we all have very hard work to do.”

It’s time to hold your leadership accountable to what they say they will do. When we do that, racism, bigotry and ‘knee-on-the-neck’ behaviours cannot thrive.

 

What Happened at Our Quarantine Networking Party

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At the start of 2020, the beginning of a new year, and a new decade, many of us had had lofty plans, resolutions and goals, or whatever we chose to call them. A few months in, and COVID-19 has upended every facet of our lives. We are now reaching for some semblance of stability in a world of uncertainties. Some of the everyday things we once took for granted now have a deeper sense of purpose. Chief among these are the relationships between family, friends, acquaintances and colleagues. There seems to be an urgency to connect, of course within the #StayatHome restrictions.

Last Saturday night I decided to host a “Quarantine Networking Party” via Zoom with a few women from my Let’s GROW community. We hadn’t gotten together since January 11, and I thought it would be a good idea to schedule a quick check-in. What I thought would’ve lasted an hour, took two hours.

We opened with an upbeat rendition of Bob Marley’s One Love: “One love, one heart, let’s get together and feel alright.” What is striking about this is, I wanted to begin the get-together with something fun and upbeat. It wasn’t until one of the said out loudly, “Everything is gonna be alright!” (another of Bob’s songs), that I realized we were actually going to get together, and whatever happens post-COVID19, everything is going to be alright.

We took a few minutes to introduce or re-introduce ourselves and discussed how the evening would proceed. We then entered the breakout rooms where the aim was to go beyond the customary “How are you doing?” question and really dig deeper. This idea came from a Quartz article written by Elizabeth Weingarten of Ideas42.org. (Credit goes to my friend and supporter Kasindra Maharaj who shared the resource with me.)

In the article Weingarten says, “In this challenging moment, let’s move beyond “how are you doing?” and get more serious about the questions we’re asking our colleagues, friends, and family…It’s a matter of keeping our relationships strong and solvent during what may be a long stretch of healthy spacing ahead of us.”

Asking the right questions

In line with the article, I preselected a few of the questions to do just that – move beyond “how are you doing?” Each person was to choose any of the questions and discuss them in their group. The seven below is from an original list of 20:

  1. How are you taking care of yourself today?
  2. What part of your shelter-in-place residence have you come to appreciate the most?
  3. What surprising thing have you been stocking up on (that isn’t toilet paper)?
  4. What habit have you started, or broken, during the quarantine?
  5. Which specific place in your neighborhood are you most looking forward to visiting once this is all over?
  6. What’s the easiest part about the quarantine?
  7. What are some things you have realized that you don’t really need?
  8. “What problem—either yours, or something more global —do you wish you could solve?”

The Debrief

We regrouped for a debrief. We learned that someone in the group was recently laid off as a result of COVID-19, and two had been job hunting. Someone immediately shared a link to jobs in the GTA. The others of us are okay at this point. In view of the COVID-19 crisis, it was not surprising during the debriefing to hear comments such as:

  • Family is much more than “How are you?” Deeper conversations are taking place.
  • Nobody knows what the new normal will look like. It is scary in one respect, but exciting in another.
  • People seem to have become more collegial, and empathy and compassion are more evident. This is one thing we would want to see continue.
  • Remote work is here to stay. More employers are going to buy into the concept that remote work makes good business sense. Put another way, the toothpaste cannot be put back into the tube.
  • There is more communication between employers and employees, online meetings are more prevalent, and relationships overall seem to be much better.
  • Those deemed essential workers are garnering more respect. Not only those in health care, but train and bus operators, retail and grocery clerks, delivery drivers, etc. People are waking up to how important they are.
  • Some companies are demonstrating social responsibility by, not only keeping their staff pretty much intact, but also ensuring that PPEs get to some hard-to-reach northern communities.
  • Being laid off come with blessings, but the job search will continue
  • Virtual coffee chats and kitchen table bible study groups have been created.

The last question, “What problem—either yours, or something more global —do you wish you could solve?”, was reserved for the main discussion during the get-together. It was to put legs to a book idea I have been mulling over for my 2020 Let’s GROW theme. It was a question we agreed to contemplate beyond the meeting, but it provided a segue into a brief introduction of Ikigaki.

Ikigai is a Japanese concept that examines all areas of our lives that give us purpose and meaning. “Having a direction or purpose in life, that which makes one’s life worthwhile, and towards which an individual takes spontaneous and willing actions giving them satisfaction and a sense of meaning to life.”

The plan, moving forward, is to apply aspects of the Ikigai concept to our lives: What’s our passion and mission? What can we do in the space that we have? Who can we empower, inspire and motivate? What will our legacy look like, and how can we capture that legacy? Equally important, what are we learning, or what have we learned? How are we growing, or how have we grown?

That’s how we ended our quarantine party – with lots of food for thought, as we consider the book project and where it will take us. The coronavirus may have descended on us and created a lot of uncertainties, but all is not doom and gloom. Out of a crisis comes opportunities, and we need to seize the moment. That’s what the Let’s GROW 2020 project is going to do.

I Was Zoom-bombed On a Career Chat…and It Wasn’t Pretty!

Pixabay

Since the onset of COVID19, and realizing that some job seekers and employees are facing anxiety and uncertainty, I decided to host a few weekly Casual Career Chats where I would answer questions about job losses, job search, career transition. resumes, etc. I invited three of my colleagues, Maureen McCann, Michelle Precourt and Christine Cristiano, to be a part of the panel answering the questions.

The first Zoom meeting was on March 27, and it went without a hitch. Last Friday, April 3, I logged into the meeting a few minutes early to give us (the Panel) a chance to chat before the 3:00 pm start. Suddenly, I saw a message that my screen was being shared, and in seconds the vilest of pornography started broadcasting, interspersed with the N-word. At the time, my daughter and her son were in the adjacent room, and she shouted, “Mom, what’s that I am hearing?” They were not online, and didn’t see the images, but I quickly rambled off what was happening.

As one can imagine, the invasion of my computer screen startled me. I was in shock as I grappled to find a way to end the nightmare. Eventually, I gained some semblance of composure and clicked on “End Meeting for All”. Assuming it was an error, I re-started the meeting a few minutes afterwards, and in a flash, the pornography began. I immediately terminated the meeting.

In speaking with my colleagues afterwards, I learned for the first time about Zoom-bombing. One shared a link to an FBI article on the subject (which is posted below). Prior to the article, I had only heard about the lack of proper security on Zoom, but I didn’t pay it much attention. One reason was that I have had a Zoom account for years, and never had a problem.

After the conversation with my colleagues, I proceeded to do a bit of research, and what I discovered was horrifying. There has been a litany of incidences where hackers have been bombarding online classrooms (from kindergarten to university), and primarily targetting people of colour. A young African American man was defending his PhD dissertation via Zoom when his screen infiltrated. An article in last Friday’s USA Today summarizes what happened to K’Andre Miller, a hockey prospect for the New York Rangers. An online community gathering by a Jewish high school in Vancouver was also invaded. Most of these incidences have escalated since COVID19, when the use of the Zoom app ballooned from 10 million users in December 2019, to 200 million now.

A half hour after my incident, and without contacting Zoom, I received a “Dear Valued Customer” email from them. It was advising me of what they were doing to tighten security and what safeguards I should put in place.

I spoke with Peel Regional Police Communication Bureau to find out what they knew about Zoom-bombing. The woman I spoke with hadn’t heard of it but her colleague did. I then called the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), and they had heard about it, and urged me to take greater security.

Putting the onus on me to adhere to Zoom’s security protocol is not a problem. But, let’s face it, this infiltration of my screen speaks to a larger issue: RACISM! And before anyone hastens to dismiss my pronouncement, let me say this, whenever someone tells you they have experienced racism, believe them. Don’t be too quick to write it off as “playing the race card.” It’s too easy to resort to that, and then miss the opportunity to have a civil discourse on the topic.

Many of us shy away from such discussions because it’s uncomfortable. It’s uncomfortable because race is a social construct that places people in boxes, or on a hierarchy that presupposes one group is more, or less, than the other. Herein lies the problem. It’s awkward to argue such a concept, but if we are not prepared to have a candid discussion about racism, we will continue to perpetuate this fallacy.

Many years ago I was invited to speak to a group of university students in a women’s studies class. Of the 50 students, 3 were non-white. During the Q&A, one student asked me if I had ever faced racism. I smiled, then said, “If I tell you I haven’t, I would be lying. I have had my share, but I never allow racism to stop me from doing whatever I want to do or going wherever I want to go. If it means going up, down, sideways or plowing through, I am going to get there. Obstacles may slow me down, but nothing is going to stop me.”

That has always been my approach. Probably it’s because of my Jamaican background, where we don’t cringe when faced with obstacles like these. We deal with the elephant in the room if it raises its head, and then move on. And, by the way, sometimes, the racism is not as blatant as the Zoom-bombing experience. Sometimes it’s the microaggressions that we face in our workplaces, schools, and communities, both on- and offline. They are real!

There I was, with my colleagues, offering free career advice to job seekers and people who feel uncertain and lost during this COVID19 scare, and someone (or group) decided that invading my online space with pornography and racist taunts was more important. I don’t get angry very often, but this time I did. However, I won’t focus on the anger lest we miss the point of the real issue.

I know what I am saying is not at all comfy, but it is not meant to be. Sometimes we just have to call a spade a spade! That said, I am not going to allow trolls to stop me from doing my work. The Casual Career Chat will continue for a couple more weeks as was intended, but with a different set of security protocols.

As I conclude this piece, I want to say I am privileged to have built relationships, and serve a client base from diverse races and cultures. I am the better from the experiences, and I am confident my clients and connections would say the same. But this should, and will not prevent me from calling out racism when I see it, and this one hit close to home.

Related Posts:

New York Rangers Prospect Zoombombed

CNN’s Interview with Zoom’s CEO Eric Yuan

Zoombombing attack Left Doctoral Candidate Shaken

FBI Warns of Teleconferencing and Online Classroom Hijacking

 

Kick Ageism to the Curb…Your Career Isn’t Over!

A day before presenting on Ageism to a group of mostly baby boomers, I asked my LinkedIn community if they could provide some tips on the topic that I could add to my own resource kit to share with the group. The ‘ask’ was for ONE tip from each person.”  The community’s response was overwhelming!

In appreciation for their generosity, I decided to curate the content (mostly verbatim), and make it available to contributors and other interested parties. The information and contributors are not listed in any particular order.

It’s important to note that, while ageism is a two-way street where younger workers also face discrimination, this particular discussion relates to older workers and the challenges they face in the workplace.

Click on the link below to download your copy:

Kick Ageism to the Curb-Your Career Isn’t Over_Crowd-sourced Resource

Keep adding to the job search debate about ageism in the workplace.

 

Quick Resume Reference Guide at Your Finger Tips

Need a handy guide when writing your own resume? Download a copy of this Infographic.

Resume Writing Strategies That Haven’t Changed

It’s International Women’s Day…So What?

International Women’s Day 2019

Normally, I would have a blog post ready to deploy on International Women’s Day, but busyness caught up with me this week, so I am late to the party. As the saying goes, “Better late than never”!

Now, the title of this post could’ve turned you off. Could’ve had you thinking that I am trivializing the Day. Not at all.

It is International Women’s Day all over the world, so what? What’s the difference with the other 364 days? For 24 hours we will be wishing each other Happy International Women’s Day, but will it be business as usual tomorrow, probably lowering our heads, drooping our shoulders and being sorry for ourselves? I don’t think so. We are better than this!

If it’s the former, let’s change that, starting with the narrative in our own heads. The stories we tell ourselves to keep us down instead of allowing us to flourish: “I can’t; I am going to fail; I am not good enough.”

With that out of the way, let me begin by wishing all the women in my circle, and by extension, all women around the world a Happy International Women’s Day. You are awesome! Keep doing your good works, whether it’s quietly behind the scenes, or in the limelight. It’s not what or how much you do, it’s the impact you are making in the lives of others. Let that sink in!

Having said that, allow me to give all of us a pep talk, because we are more than enough, we can, and we will, and we are not going to fail. Not if we support each other. Not if we amplify each other’s voices; not if we commit to being ‘brag buddies’ for each other.

The Past is Gone, Embrace What’s Coming

Don’t be defined by your past; learn the lessons and move on. It doesn’t make sense to continue staring at the closed door when windows of opportunities are passing you by.

Don’t Fall for the Little Four-Letter Word “QUIT”

When it gets difficult, and you feel like giving up, rest, but don’t ever quit. Be tenacious; don’t back away. A Quitter never wins!

You Can and You Will

Surround yourself with other women who are on a positive pathway, and ditch those who seek to hold you back; those who see limitations; those who dare to tell you that you can’t.

Be You! All the Others Are Already Taken

You are unique! You were not made to be who or what somebody else wants you to be. You were made to be you. If you’re ever going to become all you can be, you must refuse to be defined by others.

Shameless Plug

Don’t be ashamed to toot your own horn. If you don’t, no one will know you are coming. You don’t need anyone’s permission to root for yourself. And while you’re at it, root for the other women around you, too.

Don’t Allow Anyone to Write Your Story

Some people will try to minimize you and your accomplishments. Don’t allow it! Gather every ounce of confidence you can muster and speak up for yourself. Claim your space!

Make Space at the Table for One More…

Some of us keep success to ourselves on the premise that there’s not enough room at the table; that the ladder does not have more space. We need to support each other. Let’s stop bashing and backbiting one another. Don’t pledge support, then complain or criticize when another woman pulls up a chair to sit at the table. There’s always one more space for one of us. Let’s be welcoming.

Collaborate, not Compete

Let’s work together and become better allies to, and for each other. Let’s adopt the Ubuntu mindset that says “I am Because We Are.”

Get Rid of Imposter Syndrome Mentality

Every time the beast of imposter syndrome takes a grip on you, whisper the mantra “Why not me?”

Think about “This time next year…”

March 8th may be International Women’s Day, but there are still another 364 days for us to blossom, and grow. Ask yourself right now, “This time next year, where will I be?”

Think about that!

Happy International Women’s Day!

12 Productivity Hacks for Very Busy People (Coaches, Job Seekers & Entrepreneurs)

Photo by Tomas Yates on Unsplash

“Don’t be Busy. Be Productive!”

That’s a line I read recently, and it caused me to stop and think. Sometimes we deceive ourselves in thinking that being productive is tantamount to being busy, or vice versa.

In fact, when we think of productivity, we tend to focus on volume: how many boxes of widgets passed through the conveyor belt, for example.

What if we start thinking of productivity as making better use of our time?As a career coach, and almost a Jill-of-all-trades in my business, it’s important that I find tools that, not only help me become more productive, but tools I can share with clients to help them do the same.

Recently, I attended and presented at CANNEXUS, Canada’s largest career development conference. While my presentation was initially billed as 19+ Productivity Hacks Career Practitioners Should Know (the number 19 reflecting the year – 2019 – as well as the conference’s hashtag – #Cannexus19), I ended up sharing more than 30 productivity tools.

While I did not use all 30, many are tools I use fairly often. For example, the Way Back Machine is one I often use when I need to see what was on my website, say 4 years ago. It is so good that now and again I make a small donation so it will continue running.

One attendee at my session at the conference sent an email that said, “My director is overjoyed with your slides!  He used the Way Back Machine, and found information on our archives that was lost for 20 years and no one could recover it!  All of Senior Management is now using the Way Back Machine and it’s all thanks to you! 

In this article, I am sharing 12 of those hacks for anyone who wants to increase their productivity, or at least, check them out. (Most are free, and some have an option to upgrade).

Way Back Machine

As mentioned above, if you are looking for the contents of a website that no longer exists, or whose information has changed, save time by using Way Back Machine. It contains 20+ years of web history.

Unroll.me

Have too many email subscriptions? Use Unroll.me to unsubscribe from those you no longer want to receive.

Coschedule Analyzer

Need an irresistible Blog Headline? Coschedule Headline Analyzer is your friend. Type your text and click Analyze. It will evaluate and give a score. Any Headline with a score of 70+ (or is coloured green), is considered good.

Get Pocket

Get Pocket is another must-have. Save articles, videos and stories from any publication, page or app to read later.

Do Nothing for 2 Minutes

Have you been on online, or on your devices for too long? Need a short break from your routine? Take a 2-minute break with Do Nothing for 2 Minutes. You cannot cheat with this one. If you touch your laptop or device, it asks you to start over!

Flipboard

Flipboard is a news-reading App that gathers articles and delivers them to your device(s) as Smart Magazines.

Rescue Time

Want to track how long you spend online? RescueTime runs in the background on your computer / laptop. It tracks, and gives an accurate picture of the time you spend on applications and websites.

10 Times

10Times is a must-have! Want to look for events, conferences, tradeshows or meetups happening near to you? Download this App using your email, LinkedIn, Google or Facebook account.

24.me

24.me acts as a Personal Assistant that helps people boost their productivity. It handles one’s Calendar, To-Do List, Notes, etc.

Toodledo

Toodledo is slightly different from 24.me in that it tracks your habits, create structured outlines, collaborates with coworkers and family on projects, and will sync across all your devices.

Sharethrough

Sharethrough is similar to CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer. It offers a Quality Score as well as suggestions to increase your headline’s impact.

Google Keep

Google Keep lets you create notes and to-do lists that sync across your computer and phone or tablet. Computerworld has a good article on this App. Remember it’s Google; therefore if privacy is an issue, do your due diligence.

So there you are. Twelve time-saving tools, and there are more where these came from.

Have You Chosen Your WOTY Yet?

Courtesy Pixabay

Well, what if I made up the acronym, but it seems WOTY, aka Word-of-the-Year, is quite the craze these days. Some people are choosing to have a Word-of-the-Year instead of making lofty resolutions. Yesterday, I read a LinkedIn post by Melinda Gates (see link below), where she discussed the reasons she chooses a Word-of-the-Year instead of making resolutions, and Wow! did I resonate with that? I have found that have just one word keeps me focused.

I started this practice in 2016, when my WOTY was BELIEVE. In 2017, it was TRUST, and in 2018, it was COURAGE. Not only did COURAGE serve me well during the year, but in February, one month after I had chosen the word, I was looking through photographs of children needing sponsorships through World Vision, and my eyes locked on to this little boy. When I began reading his bio, I discovered his name was/is COURAGE! Without hesitation I selected him, and now I have a human reminder of my 2018 WOTY.

With COURAGE, I stepped out of my comfort zone, and attempted and accomplished many things in 2018. While most of what I attempted worked out, some didn’t, but rather than feeling disappointed and disillusioned, I learned to find a YES hidden in the NO’s.

This year I won’t have a WOTY. Instead, I have chosen a theme: #WhyNotMe. This will not be just about me, but will be all-inclusive. As I work with clients this year, I will challenge them to ask themselves the question “Why Not Me?” when faced with doubts and fears about their capabilities. They should ask themselves “Why Not Me?” every time they are preparing for a job interview, going for that promotion that always seems elusive, capturing their value when developing their resumes, or when they are thinking of starting the side hustle they have put off for so long. Ask that question E.V.E.R.Y.T.I.M.E!

I want to challenge them to step up to the plate when that pesky little inner voice keeps telling them to step down; when the naysayers in their network keep telling them in words and deeds that they are not good enough. When they start second-guessing themselves, they should ask “Why Not Me?”

If you would like to get a taste of what my #WhyNotMe Movement looks like, join me, and the other women who have already registered for the event. It will be held at the Peel Art Gallery Museum & Archives (PAMA) in the heart of downtown Brampton on January 12th. In case you didn’t know, since 2010, the second Saturday of January has been designated National Vision Board Day.

Not only will you be meeting me (if you haven’t already), but you will also meet three phenomenal speakers: – Alicia, Shelly and Taranum – who were a part of my Vision 2018 event last January, and who kindly agreed from then, that they would join me on this journey this year.

If you are ready to own your worth and express your worthiness in your career, life or business;

If you are ready for growth and change, or you know someone who does;

Share this link #WhyNotMe Dream Factory with them.

Here’s what they can expect:

  • Have access to a number of tools and resources that will help them re-shape their dreams, overcome obstacles, and get on a path to achieving their goals.
  • Link arms with a supportive group of smart, committed women who are ready to realize their dreams in 2019.
  • Get opportunities to network, get support, and give support.
  • Meet their next group of friends and colleagues to hold them accountable as they progress through the year.
  • And, Surprise! Surprise! Every attendee will receive a very SPECIAL GIFT, that will last a lifetime, guaranteed!

Ready to join the women who have already registered for the event? Register here >> #WhyNotMe Dream Factory. Not for you this time around, kindly share the link as others have done.

Links:

Melinda Gates WOTY

National Vision Board Day