Rock and Roll!

I just delivered a workshop on Developing Personal Resilience at The University of Winnipeg.? No matter how many times I deliver that workshop or speak on that subject, I am?blown away by?how well the people in the room connect with the concept of resilience.? It always ends up being a completely fun day of enlightenment and energy.?

When you are resilient, you can ‘bounce back’ or ‘roll’ with the challenges in life, and still be okay.? A nice definition I have used is ‘Resilience is the ability to absorb high levels of change while maintaining your personal resourcefulness’.

When I saw this video clip, I was reminded about how many examples of resilience we see around us every day.? Check it out – it’s just 46 seconds long.

I love the wonderful example of resilience in this mother duck and her ducklings.? No matter how much they ‘roll’, they get right back up and keep moving.?

Yesterday, as I drove the streets of Winnipeg and approached a stop light at a popular intersection, I watched the ‘squeegee’ guy at the corner.? As traffic stopped, he ran up to?the first car, and waved his ‘wand’ to check on interest for a ‘cash for window wash’ opportunity.? I saw him be?rejected over and over, and still proceed to the next car with a huge smile and just as much enthusiasm as the last car.? He seemed to have an incredible ability to maintain hope that he would be able to score some change for a window clean.

Another example involved a young girl in a stroller.? I was behind her mother in line, and the young girl was working hard to get a goldfish cracker out of her cramped container.? She worked and worked at it, and for several?seconds (which likely seemed like minutes or even hours to her)?got nothing.? Then, she shook the container…fish crackers went flying everywhere…and she happily scooped up the one that remained in the container (with a very satisfied look on her face).

So – what helps you to ‘rock and roll’ like the ducks, the squeegee guy and the little girl?? I think three things.

First, stay focused on what you want.? The ducks were focused to keep moving forward – in a row, of course.? No matter how much they were blown around, they got back up and kept moving.? When we focus on what we want, we see solutions or pathways?to get there.? (And, when we focus on what we don’t want, we see only the obstacles.)

Second, choose positive internal dialogue.? Okay, I’ll admit that I don’t know what the ducks were thinking.? Nor the squeegee guy or the little girl, for that matter.? I do, however,?have some guesses.?? The ducks looked like they might be saying to themselves?’wow… I am a little dizzy… and that was kind of fun!’? The squeegee guy might have been thinking?’I bet if I smile right at her, that lady with the spiky hair will have some change for me.’? His internal dialogue was written all over his face (which made giving him some change much more of a possibility).? And the little girl might have said to herself?’I know that cracker is going to taste awesome when I get it.? Last week I shook the container and I could get one out, so I am going to?try that now.’

Third, persist.? To me, being persistent is about a kind of subtle stubbornness.? It’s about?refusing to give up – no matter what is happening.? I know, that’s easier said than done.??Particularly when life is throwing some heavy, painful things at you.? However, the more you practice it, the better you’ll get.? In fact, the more rocks along the way, the better you are able to ‘roll’.? I’ll bet you know that already…the worst experiences, the most challenging life events, can be very meaningful teachers.??

So, no matter what you are facing right now – a co-worker that is frustrating you, a boss who is ‘absent’, a spouse who is distant: focus on what you want, choose positive internal dialogue (it’s astounding how much it will impact your mind and your body) and take one step, then another, then another.??Keep moving.
Life has some bumps along the way, some ‘rocks’ along the road.? You cannot control those.? You can, however, control some things; most notably to choose to ‘roll’ with it, get up, shake it off, and keep moving ahead!
Deri Latimer, B Mgt, CSP, is an expert in positive possibilities for people! She is one of fewer than 10% of speakers globally who hold the designation of Certified Speaking Professional. Deri combines a Business degree in Human Resources with experience from business sectors including health care, manufacturing, education, agriculture, government, mining, transportation, tourism, and professional services. Deri provides practical strategies for mental health ‘at work’, impacting individuals and organizations?to increase resilience to change, energize engagement with the organization, and propel meaningful performance results that last!?




Positive Leadership

Think of the last time you were engaged, energized and productive at work.? What was going on?

I?ll bet a lot of what contributed to that engaging, energizing and productive experience had to do with a positive leader who knew how to create an engaging work environment.

All too often, we leaders focus?our time on creating strategy and?crafting tactical plans.? What gets neglected is the? reality that true success or failure lies in our ability to influence the behaviour of the people who will be executing the plan?our team members.

Leading effectively is all about fostering positive feelings in the people whose cooperation and support you need to accomplish your goals.? People are the core of any organization and positive people practices will propel you and your organization to achieve new heights of performance possibilities.

Individuals, teams, leaders and organizations achieve their greatest potential when a positive, solution-focused and strengths-based approach is at the heart of your organizational culture.? It has long been clear to most of us that leaders create culture. ?Well, how about you?? Are you a positive leader?

Whether at home or at work…what you think, feel, and do determines what you?ll get back from others.? Are you getting what you need?

Positive Leadership is about?energizing people to partner with you to achieve their maximum performance potential.

Positive Leadership is:


Positive leaders are connected to the organization and driven beyond personal gain or achievements.? Then, they help the team achieve meaningfulness and purpose, by connecting the core values of team members to work outcomes, and by focusing on the long term impact and benefits created by the work.

What purpose does your team or department serve?? What does the team value?? How does your purpose serve others?


Positive leaders model hope for the team and for the organization.? In order for others to buy-in to the leader?s message about positive change, the leader must exude a sense of optimism.? To build your capacity for optimism, tune in.

What information are you choosing to focus on? Does that information nourish or drain your sense of hope? ?With whom do you surround yourself? Do those people?add to, or take away from,?your sense of hope???You can take steps to bring more of what adds to your sense of hope into your work and your life.


Positive leaders recognize who has the expertise and drive to take the lead at any time, and the positive leader gladly shares the leadership role.? When this happens, the leader not only reinforces a key leadership practice of building team capability, but?also inspires others to do the same.

Who on your team is ready to take a leadership role?? Have you shared everything you need to share so that the team is ready to assume leadership?? Do you provide autonomy to develop other positive leaders?


Positive leaders develop a personal sense of ownership and self-management.? They share the purpose, vision and values of the organization, on purpose, and engage others to?do the same.? Positive leaders are self-aware and attentive to the whole system; seeing and realizing new possibilities.? Positive leaders walk their talk and recognize and reward team members regularly.

How can you produce a sense of ownership on your team?? Do you walk your talk?? Do you make your intention clear?


Trust is the foundation of any successful team or organization (or family).? It is a prerequisite for authentic connection and healthy relationships.? A positive leader who is trusting helps to open people up to be honest in their communication.? Honest communication facilitates open dialogue to create the level of commitment and accountability required for positive team results.

Do you ?trust first? or do you wait for others to trust you before you trust them?? What do you do to instill trust in others?


Leadership is infectious.? It is ?viral?.? The leader?s behaviours are transmitted through the entire organization; they? permeate and influence every activity.? Leaders?affect organizational climate when?they personally induce, develop and display emotion….with a particular emphasis on positive emotion.? Positive emotions broaden people?s minds and their ability to perform, while negative emotions narrow scope and coping ability.

What kind of infectious agent do you want to be?? What has been the effect of your leadership on others?


Vulnerability and authenticity are intertwined.? Positive leaders understand that in order for others to truly engage with them, the leader must be authentic, and that takes a measure of vulnerability.? When we ?play a role? at work; we are not our true, authentic, vulnerable selves.? Positive leaders share their fears, weaknesses, and mistakes as easily as they share their joys, strengths and successes.? They know that their role is not to have all the right answers (because they definitely don?t have them all) but instead is to ask lots of questions.

Are you vulnerable?? How often do you ask your team ?what do you think???


To be emotive means to relate to, appeal to, and express emotion.? All of these are practices of a positive leader.? While a range of emotions are a part of the normal human experience, researchers have found that work teams with a 3 to 1 positive-to-negative ratio were more productive (and satisfied) than teams that did not reach that ratio.

Are you empathic and understanding of others? emotions?? Do you appeal to other?s positive emotions as a way of motivating action?? Do you congruently express your emotion, inspiring trust in others who will see you are more authentic?

There is a lovely quotation by Steven?Stein and Howard Book from ‘The EQ Edge’ that I think sums up the essence of the missed opportunity if you aren’t practicing Positive Leadership:

?You might be as sharp as a tack, but if you can?t convey what you know to other people, you?re in trouble.? As creative and skillful as you might be, if you?re unaware of how you relate to others, if you behave disdainfully or angrily or impulsively, no one will stick around long enough to admire your skill and creativity.?

What are your thoughts?? How has a positive leader impacted you?

Deri Latimer, B. Mgt., CSP, is an expert in possibilities for people! She is one of the top 10% of speakers globally who hold the designation of Certified Speaking Professional, the speaking profession?s measure of excellence in professional platform skill. Deri combines a Business degree in Human Resources with experience from business sectors including health care, manufacturing, education, agriculture, government, mining, transportation, tourism, and professional services. Deri helps individuals and organizations optimize their performance by managing their energy; applying the latest research and practice in positive psychology, appreciative inquiry, emotional intelligence, and employee engagement.

Sweet Caroline: On Optimism and Joy

?I?m a bit of a troublemaker? she said, eyes sparking, after she caught my eye and sauntered over to where I was seated with my mother. ?I can tell?, I told her?.?and good for you!!? ?Well, you have to be a troublemaker when you?re 98, you know?, she said??and I am going to live to be 100 too!? ?I can tell?, I repeated??and good for you!!?

I will never forget Caroline. I met her while out with my mother (who has advanced dementia) and a few other residents from her personal care home who were part of an outing to hear a ?glee club? sing christmas carols at a local community centre. Caroline was in the glee club. In fact, she WAS the glee club in my view. I instantly noticed her?shocking white hair and sparking blue eyes. She sat in the front row and she sang each song loudly and proudly. Even though others in the room drifted off from time to time, Caroline sang like she was at the Centennial Concert Hall in front of thousands. Her enthusiasm was contagious! I was immediately drawn to her. At one point, a gentleman beside her was fading off to sleep?and Caroline nudged him awake with her elbow as she clapped and belted out a rousing rendition of ?jingle bells?.

?What?s in your mind and heart is written all over your face.? These are words I had just used with a group of senior leaders in a workshop I was facilitating. ?What do you want people to see written all over your face when they look at you?? It?s so true for all of us, isn?t it? What we are thinking and feeling about our children is written all over our face when they look at us. What we think about our work is written all over our face as our co-workers and customers greet us each day. The question is, what do we want them to see?

Caroline?s joyous, engaging and youthful energy is written all over her face. Her attitude shows in the sparkle in her eye. When she desribes herself as a troublemaker, I beleive she is really saying that she lives life fully. She is not concerned with taking the easy way out?she is fully engaged in every moment of her life. I left that community centre inspired by Caroline. I know that she is the role model of living that I?d like to emulate. I want that sparkle.

Caroline appealed to me also because she reminded me so much of my grandmother. Hazel Latimer was the most optimistic and joyful human being I have ever encountered. She lived to be 98 years old, and in the last 10 years of her life, she suffered from a fractured leg that was very uncomfortable for her. When I called her, and asked the usual ?what?s happening today, grandma??, the first thing she would say is ?it?s a lovely, sunny day today?and I have window right beside my bed so I can look out any time I want?. (Never mind that she was in a hospital room in a desolate northern community with few visitors, and she was likely never going to leave.) Next I would ask her how her leg was feeling??well, it never keeps me up at night; I can always get a good nights? sleep?. ( Never mind that it was uncomfortable and painful all the rest of the time.) My grandma was incapable of focusing on what was wrong; she naturally focused on what was right and what was good ? in every situation in her life. From raising three young boys with no running water and no heat in northern Manitoba, to dealing with the loss of her eldest son (my father) at a very young age?she always focused on what she?did have- not what she did not have. She taught me to be hopeful, grateful and joyful. And, she really lived life! She cheered and jumped when watching hockey with her grandsons, and her retort of ?good for you!? came at each of us when we shared some new exciting venture in our lives. Her voice tone carried the message ?go for it!!?

Who is likely to get into trouble more…Hazel or her great-grandchild, Ali??

In this photo with my then-one year old daughter, Ali, it is difficult to determine who is more likely to get into trouble!I think that is why Caroline was so appealing to me this christmas season. I have realized lately that I have essentially ?lost? my mother to her dementia?however, I am focused on all the blessings that I do have in my life, and one of them is that I can still look into my mom?s warm brown eyes and, from time to time, get a glimpse of ?the real mom?.

I want to be like Caroline and like Hazel. I want to focus on what is good and right about my life and the world around me ? and I want people to see optimism and joy written all over my face when they look at me.

What about you? What do you want written all over your face?

Deri Latimer, B. Mgt., CSP, is an expert in possibilities for people! She is one of the top 10% of speakers globally who hold the designation of Certified Speaking Professional, the speaking profession?s measure of excellence in professional platform skill. Deri combines a business degree with experience from business sectors including health care, manufacturing, education, government, mining, transportation, tourism, and professional services. Deri impacts individual and organizational performance by applying the latest research and practice in positive psychology, appreciative inquiry, emotional intelligence, and employee engagement.