Do You See What I See?

SmilingWomanRecently, I purchased a one year licence to use Zoom, a video conferencing service. I had experienced it prior to purchasing it and I liked the opportunity to interact with many people while being able to see them. For years I have used conference call lines for large groups; I now plan to replace that with Zoom.

On a recent Zoom call, I was keenly aware of both the opportunities and the challenges of a video call. Since I have a huge orientation to look at the positive in everything, I noticed the opportunities first:

  • being able to see people allows for a much more intimate connection with them
  • when facilitating a call, you can see people raise their hand when they want to speak, rather than dealing with the constant ‘uh…’ ‘ih…’ ‘oh…’ sounds as people try to get a word in edgewise on a phone call
  • you notice ‘how’ the person looks as they are sharing information, and as they are listening; as you would in a live conversation, you can stop and check in with people regularly
  • when people know they are being seen, they are less likely to ‘multi-task’ while on the call and are more ‘fully present’ for the time to which they have committed
  • there is less noise overall – since people are not multi-tasking and moving objects around their desk – and Zoom has a simple way to mute people who might have some external noise in their environment

The challenges only occurred to me after using Zoom for awhile:

  • people’s faces can be distracting! If someone is looking frustrated or unhappy, it can distract everyone else from the task at hand
  • actually, that is the only challenge I have encountered with Zoom – other than the fact that with a video call you have to be dressed!

It got me thinking…do they see what I see? Are people aware of ‘what’s written all over their face’?

After another Zoom call, I reached out to two people who I thought looked very frustrated for the duration of the call. Given the nature of the group, and the sensitivity in many of the relationships, I decided to reach out to these people individually after the call, rather than checking in with them during the call. Both replied relatively similarly, identifying exhaustion, overwork, and other factors unrelated to the topic of our call, as the cause of their frustrated-looking faces.

I began to wonder how aware I am of?’what’s written all over my face’ when I am on a Zoom call, in a meeting or participating in a workshop? Since I do not ‘see’ myself from others’ perspectives, I might be communicating something to others in the room that does not reflect the message I would like to send to them.

So, what can we each do to ensure that we are sending the right non-verbal messages at the right time to the right people. I recommend this three-step process that I have been using successfully over the last few weeks:

  1. Far ahead of the call, meeting, or workshop (the face to face exchange), take two minutes to remind yourself of why you are going to be there. What is your purpose? Perhaps your purpose is to gather information from a group of people so that you can provide better value for them.
  2. In the two minutes before the face to face exchange, ask yourself how your answer to #1 would appear to other people who will be looking at you? What will they see? If you are asking these people to share information with you, you likely want them to see caring and curiosity in your eyes, openness in your smile and your gestures, encouragement in your voice.
  3. Behave (look) like you are curious, caring, open and encouraging. Just ‘be’ those things you want others to ‘see’. What does caring look like? How about openness?

Taking a few minutes in your busy day to think about your purpose, or your outcome, can help you create the kind of environment that will serve that purpose…rather than unwittingly wearing a ‘face’ that moves you away from what you truly want to create.

Deri Latimer is an expert in positive possibilities for people! A TEDx Speaker and Author, Deri?s message reinforces that positive habits are the pathway to a happier and healthier life ? at work, at home and at any age!?



Let’s do the Time Warp Again


Remember that song from Rocky Horror Picture Show…Let’s Do the Time Warp Again? ?Some of the lyrics suggest that ‘it?s astounding?, ?time is fleeting’, and I have to say that is certainly true for me as I get older. Do you feel the same way? A post by Maria Popova titled?‘Why Time Slows Down When We are Afraid, Speeds Up as We Age, and Gets Warped on Vacation’?caught my attention – especially at this time of year when many of us have been on some form of vacation over the holidays.

In the post, Maria reviews?acclaimed BBC broadcaster and psychology writer?Claudia Hammond’s book?Time Warped: Unlocking the Mysteries of Time Perception.??This quote in particular caught my attention:

“We construct the experience of time in our minds, so it follows that we are able to change the elements we find troubling ? whether it?s trying to stop the years racing past, or speeding up time when we?re stuck in a queue, trying to live more in the present, or working out how long ago we last saw our old friends.”

Time really does slow down when we are in fear. ?If you have ever experienced an automobile accident, you know that it seems to happen in slow motion.? Well, Hammond says it is indeed a cognitive reality that time slows down on those fear-filled occasions. ?In?this post?in Discover Magazine, Don Foley and Steven Johnson demonstrate how recent research shows that when something bad happens to you, part of your brain begins thinking independently, storing its own memories so it can save/protect you the next time.

And, time really does speed up as we age. ?Part of the reason time seems to go slower when we are younger, is because of the amount of ‘novelty’ present in our lives. ?Think about your late teens and early 20’s, and all of the ‘firsts’ you experienced at that time: your first job, your first love, your first move away from home.

Finally, there is some warping that happens when we are on vacation too. ?Popova writes ‘…?one of the most enchanting instances of time-warping is what Hammond calls the Holiday Paradox ? ?the contradictory feeling that a good holiday whizzes by, yet feels long when you look back.? (An ?American translation? might term it the Vacation Paradox.) Her explanation of its underlying mechanisms is reminiscent of legendary psychologist Daniel Kahneman?s theory of?the clash between the ?experiencing self? and the ?remembering self?.

So what can we all do to mess with time in a meaningful way? ?Consider these warping strategies:

Do Something that Scares You:?You do not need to risk your life to experience the rush of adrenalin that you get when you are in real fear. You can simply do something that for you ? is a bit of a risk. What conversation do you need to have, that you have been avoiding? Have it.? What story could you tell your team that shows your vulnerability? Share it. What’s been on your ‘bucket list’ that you could make a reality in 2014? ?Jump in.

Create Lots of Firsts: Decide, as you set goals for the New Year, to add novelty into your life. Do something for the first time. It might be something simple like arriving at work following a different route, changing your home routine, or going ‘commando‘ for a day. Or, it could be something bigger like taking your spouse out to the newest night club in town (which opens way past your bedtime of 9:30 p.m.), participating in a company social event for the first time, or entering a sporting event featuring a sport you have never tried. ?Do it.

Be in the Moment:?Be where you are. ?Just be. ?Practice letting everything else go and be present in your life.? Try something new (even if it scares you) and truly experience it in its fullness. ?Perhaps you need to tell someone in your life just how much you appreciate them.? You might feel vulnerable, and it might be a first for you. You can mess with time even more fully when you anticipate it, fully experience it, and then reminisce about it at the end of the day. Make every day a vacation. Be there.

Are you ready to do the time warp again? ?It’s a jump to the left and then a step to the right…

I wish you a hopeful, happy, and healthy 2014!

Deri Latimer is an expert in positive possibilities for people! She is one of fewer than 10% of speakers globally who hold the designation of CSP (Certified Speaking Professional), the international measure of excellence for professional competence, proven experience, and optimal client satisfaction. Deri combines a business degree in human resources management with 20 years of experience engaging audiences across every business sector. Deri provides inspiration and information to create psychologically healthy organizations for increased positivity, productivity, and profitability!



I did not know a lot about ‘winning’ when it came to organized sports when I was a kid.

Does this sound familiar to anyone else? ?‘Ok, kids, you are going to pick teams. ?Bob and Sally, you are team captains…start choosing your teams.’?Bob picks Jim, Sally picks Candace, Bob picks Mary, Sally picks Bart… and on and on it goes. ?My memory then is very clear…finally, there would be me – all alone in the middle of the field. Eventually, Bob or Sally or whoever was next to pick would say something like … ‘ok, we’ll take Deri, I guess’.

Ouch. ?It still hurts a little to remember. ?I wonder how many other young kids have a similar experience with sport. I wonder, is that what it is all about anyway?

Can you lose in one way, and win in a whole other way? ?What, really, does it mean to ‘win’?

My son recently finished his hockey season. ?It was an interesting year. ?When we measure it just by goals for and against, his team’s wins to loss ratio was high – on the loss side.

The playoffs were exciting. ?The parents were pumped and ready to cheer the team to victory. Check out the picture (above) of one very enthusiastic mom, beside whom I was proud to sit at many games. ?She has spirit, that is for sure!

Playoff Game 1 – loss; Playoff Game 2 – loss; just like that, we were out for the season.

I have to admit, I felt bad for the boys. ?I know they wanted so badly to be able to progress in the playoffs. And, let’s face it, winning is better than losing. ?It just is.

Then I reminded myself of what I will always remember about this – and every – hockey season.

It’s the smile on Max’s face. ?It’s his resilience. ?No matter what, he continued to be positive and focused on the game that he loved. Never once did he want to give up. ?Never once did he look for ‘blame’ for the results his team was achieving. Never once did he lose his joy.

Some of the best times of Max’s whole hockey year include just getting out and playing. ?Isn’t that what real ‘winning’ is all about.

You see, this was not the first year that Max experienced these sort of results with his hockey team. ?And yet, what stayed true and real, was his love of the sport.

I read an article posted by Joe Calloway?titled ‘Lessions from One Coach and 18 Fifth Grade Girls‘. ?In the article, the coach outlines a real lesson in sportsmanship -and perhaps another definition of what it means to ‘win’. ?The coach’s team ‘loaned’ some players to the opposing team who was short some players for a final game. ?The results were that the coach’s team lost. They lost in terms of points, but won in much more important terms (sportsmanship, losing with grace, playing hard, loving the game).

So, how does this relate to workplaces? ?Is it okay to lose the sale, as long as we all get along and like each other? ?I think…yes! ?And, I think the chance of more sales, more wins, comes when you focus on those other things. ?On perseverance, on tenacity, on resilience, on positivity, and on possibility. ?It is very difficult to focus on those things if you are busy beating yourself up for losing, or barely enjoying the victory of winning because it has become a habit for you.

Winning is sweeter for those who have a repertoire of ‘losing’. ?It just is.

Jack Welch?wrote that ‘What it Really Takes to Succeed‘ are authenticity, resilience and humanity, all of which are learned by embracing and owning your record of ‘losing’.

I have already established that team sports were not my forte. ?I do like to work out, however. ?A couple of my favorite instructors at the 6:00 a.m. class at Shapes Fitness Centres are Kim and Roxy.

Yup, they are twins. ?And, this is how they look AFTER their workout!

I, on the other hand, look something like this.


Kim and Roxy are both such wonderful, encouraging instructors; always challenging us to keep going, ‘just one more‘, ‘don’t give up now, you can do it‘. They are young, beautiful (inside and out), and very fit. ?One day, Roxy – in the middle of a power class (a challenging, weighted workout) said ‘nice move, Deri‘. ?She said my name; and I noticed. ?I noticed in a real, tangible, energy-inducing way. ?I felt a bit more spring in my step, pump in my bicep, I felt stronger, and I know I smiled a little too. In fact, I smiled for a lot of that day, and several days after (even right now).

I know – it seems like such a little thing. ?Yet, it meant a lot to this 52 year old woman, for whom sports has always been a challenge.

It also made me wonder … what a difference that might have made to the 8 year old who was mostly picked last to play on the team. ?What difference might it make to notice the one nice move, versus noticing the many missed moves?

So, notice the small things that people say and do today. ?That simple smile, that energized input into a team meeting, the few moments taken to share something important with you. Notice it — and appreciate it (inwardly and outwardly). ?You have no idea what kind of an impact you might make on someone else’s day – and destiny. ?You’ll absolutely have an impact on yours!

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 positive 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!??