I Wish Someone Would Have Taught Me This Earlier…

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“I cannot always control what goes on outside. But I can always control what goes on inside.” Wayne Dyer

It sucks… It truly sucks. After investing years at a company, loyal to a fault, working diligently up the corporate ladder, missing or shortening family vacations, missing your children’s’ first day of school, piano recitals and graduations, the broken promises and dates with your loving spouse, the 80+hour weeks that you worked year after year… To learn after 10, 20, or 30 yrs and endless sacrifices later, when your compensation is finally equal to your contributions WHAM! you get a brutal wake up call. Everyone is dispensable and loyalty is not a 2 way street.

You are quietly taken aside and told the company is restructuring. They spin the situation by either forcing you into early retirement, or present you with a new role where your level/responsibility is drastically reduced and/or your compensation is significantly cut. They attempt to quiet you by sharing that other people are losing their jobs so you should be grateful and if they do offer a token severance, it is certainly not enough to make up for the lost wages, left behind unvested company stocks and the stress of now having to find new employment and your place in the world.

Everyone has a version of this story, if you’ve ever worked in the corporate world. In times like this, it’s completely understandable that all you see is boiling red, your heart pumps so loud that you are guaranteed a heart attack or stroke, a smashed phone or hole in the wall, broken plates and glasses, and days after on a roller coaster where you’re consumed with anger, disappointment or hurt.

So what do you do? How do you move forward, being mature and professional? How do you soothe your pride and ego and look at the positive?

Here’s the reality. Corporations will always look out for themselves. They will use those that are loyal and willing to work their tail off to hit business targets and grow the bottom line. But there will come a time when EVERY company will forego and throw away experience=higher salaries in order to freshen up their work force with younger minds=lower salaries.  Or you will increasingly see a cost cutting strategy executed where corporations save $15-20K/Head by substituting full time employees with part time or independent contractors because they avoid covering benefits.

There’s no sense in wasting energy trying to analyze why. Instead, focus on how you can take this opening, this change, and use it to your benefit.

Here’s the lesson. Don’t be afraid to put personal life first. Build a solid foundation and don’t ever lose sight early on in your career, the importance of investing and continuing to grow your personal side whether it’s family and friends, supporting charities or nurturing your spirituality.

Go above and beyond at work, be best in class… But not at the expense of your personal growth. At the end of the day, don’t extend your work life into replacing your personal life. Enjoy the personal things in life that are immeasurable.

~ R&L

What Do You See?

It’s fascinating how easy many of us are fooled, time and time again. I’m not talking about experiencing a mirage when driving down the highway on a scorching summer day. Nor the kind of evil when someone uses their position of power to prey on someone close. I’m talking every day life, either at work or at home when people and things turn out to be different than what they appear on the surface.

image(Canadian Artist Robert Gonsalves)

Consider what’s going on in the news today… Now, let me say one thing, in a very loud voice, I am NOT a political expert. I know little to nothing about US politics including the Presidential race and the platforms which the Republicans and Democrats are fighting so passionately in opposition. But, I do have an opinion that reinforces an important life lesson… Don’t trust or take everything you see and hear at face value.

I can’t believe the number of people outraged at Donald Trump for his racist and rude comments. Complete strangers are talking about him while waiting in line at the grocery store. But, did anyone consider that, perhaps, there’s an ulterior motive… Another explanation for what’s going on? Trump has clearly insulted the Latino community. So, it won’t be a surprise when the fastest growing ethnicity in the US turns and votes for the Democrats in the next election i.e. Hillary Clinton. Trump has insulted Rosie O’Donnell and offended a lot of folks with his outspoken and rude comments… Again swinging votes over to the Democrats. Trump knows he won’t win and become the Republican Presidential candidate… But, as a Third Party candidate, he will definitely earn some votes, thus siphoning votes away from the Republican leader… Again, making a Democratic win that much smoother.

If this is indeed Trump’s strategy, I hate to say it but he’s brilliant! On the surface he comes across as a complete moron with no respect for people and the political process. Yet, in reality he is working the system and within the law.  Instead of handing over dollars to his good friend Hillary in support of her Presidential campaign, which doesn’t guarantee her votes… He uses a two prong strategy swinging voters over the Democratic Party while hemmoraging the Republican votes.

So, the next time someone at work is behaving odd or seems too good to be true, take the time to analyze and consider that they might know something you don’t and actually be operating with a second agenda.

~ Lianne

 

 

The Gift of Feedback

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When a mature individual accepts feedback, it is a gift. Why? We all have opportunities to grow, it satisfies a curiosity in learning what others think and we can learn a lot about the person giving the feedback.

Giving feedback, on the other hand, isn’t so cut and dry. The issue that people take offence to is the entitlement or arrogance that often accompanies the feedback. Just because someone has bad body odour doesn’t give you the right or green light to tell them you think they smell. Maybe they smell great and it’s your nose buds that are off? Don’t get me wrong. There are individuals who aren’t malicious but genuinely sincere and operating with only one end goal… To help others. Unfortunately, those folks are few and far between.

In the corporate world, I’ve observed people convincing themselves that they are somehow entitled to deliver a tough message or tell a direct report something negative because it’s their responsibility as a people manager. It is often unclear if the feedback is motivated purely because it will help the other person elevate their skills and grow? Or if giving the feedback is more self serving… The person giving the negative feedback is insulated from the “bad behaviour” and politically they have covered their “ass”.

If giving feedback is to have the positive effect that it was initially intended, more thought needs to be given to the delivery of the message. No different than when starting a romance and it comes time to share your intentions, ask permission first. Maybe the other person isn’t open to hearing what you have to say. Be 100% transparent why you want to help them. Be honest about whether the person will be recognized, rewarded or even granted a blank slate with no judgement if they improve or act according to your suggestion. Ask questions and be open to their reaction… Maybe you didn’t have all the facts.  Feedback, believe it or not, doesn’t always have to be negative :).  Most important, be gentle and kind and, no matter what, fair and honest. If you can’t be all of these things, perhaps you shouldn’t be giving the gift of feedback.

~ Lianne

What Our Children Can Teach Us

This past week was extremely emotional for me… To see my mom with no hair, eyelashes or eyebrows.
But, my spirits were instantly lifted when I saw my 5 yr old daughter, Charlize, simply walk over to her mammie and give her kisses all over her head.
It was so beautiful and heartwarming to see how non-judgmental, accepting and easy she behaved, despite how uncomfortable and scared I felt inside.

Perhaps we should take more cues from our children… Imagine the lessons we could learn.

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~ Line Delorme

Silence is Golden

One of the best tactics utilized in the corporate world is using silence during a difficult conversation or in a negotiation situation.

Not only does the moment of silence allow YOU a chance to really listen, consider and replay what the other person is saying… I mean really saying… not just their words but their body language too… But, silence plays to your advantage since most people feel pressured or nervous to fill the awkward void. By letting others fill the silence, you will learn more details than they anticipated sharing, helping to strengthen your position.

~ Lianne

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Keep Moving

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No matter how steep the mountain looks, don’t give up.

At some point in our lives, personally professionally or both, we are all faced with a situation that seems impossible to overcome.  BUT, in times like these the key is to focus, dig deep and keep moving… Don’t stand still hoping someone is going to come along and solve your problem for you.  Have the courage and strength to lift one foot and place it in front of the other.  It may be slow going, but at least you are taking control and moving forward.

You may not like your choices, but you always have a choice. Accept your situation as is OR accept the responsibility for changing it.

~ Lianne