Never Give Up!

I just saw this video and was completely moved by it!

Heather Dorniden of the University of Minnesota races the 600m at the Big 10 Indoor Track Championships.

She reminds us what a race really is about.

What life is really about.

We will fall. We can rise.

Never give up!

It’s a simple, yet powerful, reminder for us all.

When I was 16, I left my comfortable home in northern Manitoba to attend the University of Winnipeg Collegiate for Grade 12.? My parents were determined to help me transition to ‘university life’ by acquiring a broader perspective at a larger learning institution.

Before I left, some of my ‘friends’ made comments like, ‘you won’t make it’, ‘you’ll be back, just like the rest of us’.? At the time, I thought, ‘I’ll show you!? I’ll do this and I’ll do well!’

Well, the?University of?Winnipeg?was indeed a larger institution!? I’ll never forget my first day of school – it was orientation day.

I walked into Wesley Hall…and froze.? In that building – in one room – there were more people than I had ever seen in one place in my entire life!? I was from a? town with?a population of about 1,500…and I found myself standing among 500 of my peers waiting to enter the lecture hall.? Well, actually, I did not think of them as my peers.? I actually think I heard that Sesame Street song playing in my head ‘one of these things does not belong here, one of these things is not like the others…’.?? That one thing was me.? I did not look like anyone else, and I was pretty sure I did not feel like anyone else.? They all seemed so sophisticated and worldly; and I …well…not so much!? My hair and clothes were totally ‘uncool’ and I could not make eye contact with a single person.? I felt ‘invisible’.

A part of?orientation day was an IQ test (yes, they did that in those days).? I felt like I was in a different country – I could hardly answer any of the questions!? I did the best I could, but I knew I was ‘guessing’ mostly.? I felt a confirming thought appear in my mind.? ‘See, you can’t do it!? You don’t belong here!’

A couple of days later, I was summoned to the Dean’s office.? I’ll never forget this experience.? The Dean asked me to sit down, and he then proceeded to tell me that I had scored the lowest score he had ever seen on an IQ test.? He wanted to check and see if I had understood the test and if I was ‘okay’.? I did not know what to say.? I sat stone-faced as the Dean talked and I remember that? I wanted to run!? I wanted to run fast and I wanted to run hard and I wanted to go home.? I had indeed ‘fallen’!

The Dean was very kind and reassured me as best he could.? I went back to my room in residence at Sparling Hall, called my mom, and bawled histerically for an hour.? My mom, in her kind and gentle way, listened …and then encouraged me to give it a day or two, and she said that I would feel better soon.

I remember laying on my bed that night and thinking…’I can’t go home…I can’t let those people be right…I can’t give up…I WILL show them.’

I decided that I needed to work my tail off…and that is exactly what I did.? I went ?to class, I listened intently to my instructors, I did all my homework… I didn’t socialize, I barely ate, I just studied (No, I am not recommending this as?the most?useful strategy for academic success…it’s just the one I chose at the time.)

When I graduated, I achieved not only my diploma (of which I am still most proud today – even over my Bachelor’s Degree and my CSP Designation) but?I achieved it ‘With Distinction’.? I remember looking at the list of graduates, and there was my name near the top…I belonged.? I ‘rose’.

That’s only one example from my life…of falling and rising.? I am grateful for them all.? How about you?? What are your examples?

Are you a leader who tried a new strategy with your team, and it failed?? So what???Think about what you have taught them…that?you are open to new innovations, and you know that not all of them will work (but some surely will!!)? Isn’t that what you want to inspire in them?

Are you?a parent whose child is struggling with a social situation at school, and it’s breaking her heart (and yours)??? Have a?discussion with her about?what can be learned from this situation, about the gifts that adversity (the ‘fall’) ?brings, and about how she can learn to be her own support system (she’ll need that resilience?for the rest of her life).

Are you a friend, who is an ‘ear’ for someone dealing with depression???Remind yourself and your friend,?that falls happen and so do rises.? In fact, the rise is far sweeter after picking yourself up from the fall!

If this video?inspires you as?it did me,?I’d love to hear your story about a time you experience a fall and rise.

Deri Latimer, B Mgt, CSP, is an expert in possibilities for people! She is one of fewer than 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.? www.derilatimer.com

‘Thinking’ About Retirement

Many of my clients are facing a mass exodus of boomers who are preparing to retire in the next few years. I regularly meet many of those soon-to-be-retired people in the workplaces I visit and at workshops and at conferences in which I take part. I love to engage in a conversation about how people are feeling about retirement, and about what their plans are for this next phase of their life. Having spent the early part of my career in human resources, I spent a great deal of my time coaching and counselling people who were preparing for that next phase of their life. Through both my professional and personal experiences, I have discovered some key principles to keep in mind as you ‘think’ about your retirement:

1) WHAT YOU SEE IS WHAT YOU GET:

You are in far more control over your life experience than you imagine. Ask yourself: What am I focusing on?

I recall a short story by Carl Sandberg  that appeared in one of my university textbooks on the topic of ‘perception’. It went something like this:

Drove up a newcomer in a covered wagon: “What kind of folks live around here?”

“Well, stranger, what kind of folks was there in the country you come from?”

“Well, they was mostly a lowdown, lying, gossiping, backbiting lot of people.”

“Well, I guess, stranger, that’s about the kind of folks you’ll find around here.”

And the dusty grey stranger had just about blended into the dusty grey cotton-woods in a clump on the horizon when another newcomer drove up.? “What kind of folks live around here?”

“Well, stranger, what kind of folks was there in the country you come from?”

“Well, they was mostly a decent, hardworking, law abiding, friendly lot of people.”

“Well, I guess, stranger, that’s about the kind of people you’ll find around here.” And the second wagon moved off and blended with the dusty grey…

This short story beautifully illustrates a key principle in thinking about retirement. What you experience will depend on what you are looking for, and on what you believe is true about your possibilities in retirement.

2) WHAT ‘TURNS YOU ON’ WILL KEEP YOU MOVING:

Spend some time thinking about what sorts of things will get you ‘springing’ out of bed every morning in your retirement. If you know anyone who is retired, they’ll tell you they are busy. However, many will also report that they are busy ‘being busy’; the busy-ness is not necessarily energy-inducing!Take a few moments to answer questions like:

  • What gives you energy? What are your passions?
  • What are your strengths? What are you doing when you are at your best?
  • Who are your heroes? Whose life is an inspiration to you?
  • What do you want to discover or learn? What piques your interest?

3) WHERE THERE’S BALANCE, THERE’S FREEDOM:

Think about the key factors in the Wellness Wheel: Financial, Spiritual, Physical, Intellectual, Social, Family. How are you doing in each area? Are you balanced? If are are not balanced, add more activities in the neglected areasso that you can experience a more ’rounded’ life. More balance will give you more freedom to ‘roll’ with life.

Here are some indications that you are ‘out of balance’:
  • You experience frequent headaches, tension, ‘stress’
  • Your main interest in this job is the pension you’ll collect at the end of it
  • You describe your life as ‘all work and no play’
  • You feel like you are just ‘going through the motions’ in your life
  • You long to be back in university or school, even though you didn’t like attending either one
  • You might be heard saying “life sucks and then you die”
  • Sunday nights are slightly depressing, thinking about Monday morning

4) WHAT YOU DO NOW YOU’LL DO THEN:

There is strong evidence suggesting that the habits you develop pre-retirement will be the ones that follow you post-retirement. So, think about your current habits and make changes or adjustments now rather than waiting until your retire.

Do you: Work long hours and go home exhausted OR Work regular hours and enjoy time with family and friends?

Do you: Have no defined goals at work or at home OR Works toward personal and work objectives regularly?

Do you: Have few interests outside of work OR Have many interests outside of work?

Do you: Miss vacation to work OR Take and enjoy vacation?

Do you: Have friendship that are mostly at work OR Have deep friendships that are outside of work?

Do you: View life as difficult OR View life as a celebration?

5) WRITE A NEW SCRIPT:

Throughout your life, you might have been living other people’s scripts – your parent’s, your teacher’s, your spouse’s, your children’s, your employer’s….etc. Now it is time to write your own script. What do you really want for your life?

As you plan your script, you might consider the following: What is the storyline? Who are the characters? Where does the story take place? When do certain events happen? Why does the story progress in a certain way? How will the story unfold?

6) WHAT YOU HAVE LEARNED WILL SERVE YOU WELL:

You have likely been blessed by being able to develop some core skills throughout your life. These skills will serve you well in retirement:

Time Management: All those time management principles that you learned at work are just as useful in retirement.? Two very important points to keep in mind are: 1) you can learn to say ‘no’, without feeling guilty (a critical retirement skill); and 2) if you do not schedule your own time, someone else will!

Communication Skills: Communication strategies such as active listening, questioning, and empathizing are life skills that will serve you well throughout your life.

Conflict Resolution Skills: The transition to a new life phase can cause tension in relationships as you navigate a new was of being with a partner or spouse. Use your communication skills to diagnose the conflict, generate ideas for resolution, implement the solution, and follow-up to ensure the solution is working.

Fun Skills: Having fun at work is important and it remains so in retirement. Remember that ‘fun’ is a state of mind, as well as an individual experience.

In closing, remember the basics, like those illustrated in the poem (adapted here) by Robert Fulghum ‘Everything I Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten’:

All I really need to know, about how to live and what to do and how to be, I learned in Kindergarten. These are the things I learned:

Share everything. Play fair. Don’t hit people. Put things back where you found them. Clean up your own mess. Don’t take things that aren’t yours. Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody. Wash your hands before you eat. Flush. Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you. Life a balanced life. Learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some. Take a nap every afternoon.

When you go out into the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands, and stick together. Be aware of wonder. Remember the little seed in the Styrofoam cup: the roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that. And then remember the first word you learned; the biggest word of all – LOOK.

Everything you need to know is there somewhere. The golden rule and love and basic sanitation, ecology, politics, and equality. Think of what a better world it would be if we all, the whole world, had cookies and mild about 3 o’clock every afternoon and then lay down with our blankets for a nap. Or we had a basic policy in our nation and other nations to always put things back where we found them and clean up our own messes.

And it is still true, no matter how old you are, when you out into the world, it is best to hold hands and stick together.

Deri Latimer, B Mgt, CSP, is an expert in possibilities for people! She is one of fewer than 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.? www.derilatimer.com

 

WHAT YOU SEE IS WHAT YOU GET

Ten years ago, I was contracted by a client to provide a ‘lunch ‘n learn’ experience for? their staff.? Through our discussions, they liked my idea of calling it ‘What You See is What You Get’.? I still use that line regularly in sessions I deliver today.

I started the session with a story from my Interpersonal Communications Course text book at the University of Winnipeg.? The story was called ‘What Kind of People?’ from the book ‘The People, Yes” by C. Sandberg, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, New York, 1964.? (No…I was not teaching the course in 1964…the text just included this old story as a meaningful reference for the section on perception.? The year of my course was 1998.)

Here’s how the story goes:

Drove up a newcomer in a covered wagon: “What kind of folk live around here?”

“Well, stranger, what kind of folk was there in the country you come from?”

“Well, they was mostly a lowdown, lying, gossiping, backbiting lot of people.”

“Well, I guess, stranger, that’s about the kind of folk you’ll find around here.”

And the dusty grey stranger had just about blended into the dusty grey cotton-woods in a clump on the horizon when another newcomer drove up.

“What kind of folk live around here?”

“Well, stranger, what kind of folk was there in the country you come from?”

“Well, they was mostly a decent, hardworking, law abiding, friendly lot of people.”

“Well, I guess, stranger, that’s about the kind of people you’ll find around here.”

And the second wagon moved off and blended with the dusty grey…

?

I think this session title, like this story, reference a universal truth about we humans.? We do not see the world as it is, we see the world as?WE ARE.? (I think that comes from a quote from that famous person?’Anonymous’, but I have conflicting information on that source!!)

Albert Einstein said, “Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.” You will always remain where you are unless you change your picture. By changing the picture in your mind, you begin to change what you notice, and what becomes your reality.

This is exactly what Terry Small communicated in his youtube video earlier this year.? In the video, he talks about the young teacher who mistakenly took locker numbers to be IQ scores, and treated her students accordingly.? She thought she had a room full of geniuses (high locker numbers) and … guess what … her expectations were met!? It was not until the end of the year, that she discovered that those high numbers were not IQ scores.? At that point, who cares?? She had a class of high performers on her hands…and that was nothing but good!!? And, it have EVERYTHING to do with the picture she had of the students’ capability prior to the start of the year.

So … what are the pictures that reside in your brain?? What are the pictures you have of yourself?? (i.e. What do you ‘believe’ about yourself?)? What are the pictures of others?? (i.e. What do you ‘believe’ about others?)? Are these pictures/beliefs working FOR you or against you??

It’ s important to remember that you are not passive here.? You can decide to put the exact pictures you want in your brain.? Once or twice won’t do it; remember that it takes 21 days to change a habit – that goes for thinking habits as well.? Put the pictures you want in your brain over and over again. Then, watch things begin to change.

While you are contemplating this,?check out this beautiful 22 minute video – it is well worth your time investment!? Find a chunk of time, sit back, relax and enjoy!!

And then … tell me … what do you see?

?Deri Latimer, B. Mgt., CSP, is an expert in possibilities for people! She is one of fewer than 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.? www.derilatimer.com

 

The Butterfly Circus – HD from The Butterfly Circus on Vimeo.