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Spark of Magic With a Touch of Madness

Once upon a time, long ago in a land far, far away…

It’s a classic start of the most mesmerizing stories that once seemed so real to us. What would you have done with your three wishes had you found Aladdin’s magic lamp? Come on, I know at some point in life you thought about it.  And if not, you probably bought a lottery ticket and dreamed of the thought of winning 30 million and all your dreams that could come true.

Ringing in the New Year

A new year means 365 new chances! Many of us take the time to overthink the old year and make up the balance. What were my successes, did I make my targets, am I satisfied, and what should I do different? At the same time, we develop a plan for the year ahead of us. What are my goals and targets, how am I going to achieve them, and what can I do to help others achieve theirs? Maybe you even have dreams you always wanted to make come true but felt out of reach before now.

What does it really mean to you to make the year count or even your life count? That’s a very personal thing, of course, but I would love to take you on a quick journey through another one of my brain spins.

For me personally, it’s important to make every day count. And it’s often in the little things.  Despite the fact I’m a leader, I love the value of entertainment and humour to make everyone get a little bit closer to themselves and help them stay away from outside distractions that often ruin their happy vibes. Staying close to yourself helps to connect to others. Whether it’s dancing at the desk, playing a round of request songs, and teaching others basic dance moves at the office, or making people see that little sparkle of light in a dark and shitty day. Not passing by their true emotions but helping them stay close to themselves and changing their perspective on that rough moment or experience.

Embracing Your Inner Child

I think it’s incredibly important to hold on to your inner child and to follow your dreams! A spark of madness and a rich imagination are valuable tools to make a difference, not only for yourself, but it’s an amazing way to impact others. You only get one spark of madness in this life. It’s so easy to get lost in this world without it so you have to maintain it.  Never lose your inner child, never lose your enthusiasm, and never lose your curiosity!

One of my most favorite quotes covers it all:

“The secret of a genius is to carry the spirit of young child into old age.” –  Aldous Huxley

A child is in touch with its aliveness. There’s a level of innocence that’s hard to hold on to as we “mature”. A child will dance naked and not think “I’m fat”.  They will sing and not think, “I wonder if I’m off key”. They will love you without conditions.  Living through the eyes of a child is just pure freedom. They are so in touch with their divine, their essence, their soul. It’s something special if you can carry this into an old age, because everybody deserves a spark of magic.

Keeping that Child Alive

We often worry too much about what others think of us, inciting unnecessary fear.  It creates boundaries that block our road to give our very best,  and leads to overthinking amazing ideas and beating down great enthusiasm. Do expectations really change?   Well, I guess to some degree they do.  I think it might be frowned upon if I dance around naked through the office tomorrow, but at the same time, there is so much room to be met in the office.  I stay close to myself and, at the same time, bring others closer to their true selves.  I encourage them to enjoy every moment to the fullest and inspire them to really go for it.

In the end, all that’s going to matter is the influence that you had on other people’s lives. Having an impact and being appreciated for it is the foundation of everything we do. We are all on a separate journey! But in the end its going to be about who you where as a person, how you lived your life, how you encouraged and impacted others.

“History is being read, but it’s also being written by people with imagination.” – Les Brown

Yet another strong quote that outlines the importance of holding on to your dreams and keep that spark of magic going. Part of the magic is determined by how much you believe in yourself. Walt Disney once said, “if you can dream it, you can do it”.   There is so much truth in his words. Even if you won’t get there today, you are going to be closer than you were yesterday. Keep going step by step. You might find the first step to be the hardest, but remember that you are never alone. If I can help you to keep your spark going, know where to find me.

Don’t you ever wonder if it’s all just a dream? Make the best of it and you will live happily ever after…. Wishing you an amazing 2021.

Virtual meeting

The Virtual Party

I think we can all agree that 2020 has been a unique year. With the New Year just around the corner, the typical excitement of ringing in a new year, full of opportunities and hope, has been replaced with the reality that 2021 is bound to start with uncertainty and growing anxiety.  Currently, many businesses are closed with no re-open date.  Many people find themselves unemployed or working remotely from home.  Initially, most found the idea of working from home enticing, cutting out the commute, more time to balance work-life situations.  Although it sounds ideal, working from home is actually tricky. The usual problems of working remotely (lack of structure and routine, no designated space to work, constant interruptions, etc.) can be managed. Still, some issues require outside influences to execute properly.  Specifically, I’m talking about keeping your team feeling like a team and not individual employees working from their home silos.

Is Technology The Answer?

I’m confident that the amount of Zoom meetings has increased exponentially since the Covid pandemic began.  Although technology is an excellent addition to our work environment, it doesn’t replace human interaction.  As Peter F. Drucker said, “The most important thing in communication is to hear what isn’t being said.”  It’s difficult to read that non-verbal communication from your computer screen.  If you can get a video meeting off without any technical or equipment difficulties, it can be useful. Still, it isn’t the same as sharing a cup of tea or coffee during a break or being physically present to support each other.  Video meetings do have their place, and they can save windshield time for people having to commute to one center for a face to face.  Unfortunately, for the foreseeable future, face to face meetings are out of the question. So how can we use technology while still maintaining the team environment and camaraderie that we come to expect from a well-functioning team?

The Virtual Celebration

This last weekend we attended Jeffrey’s virtual Christmas party for his Fire Department colleagues.  We weren’t sure if it would really provide a party atmosphere if everyone were remotely logging in, but we donned our Christmas sweaters (yes, we are those people), and the virtual Christmas party began.  Everyone received an ample supply of snacks, three sample wine bottles, and three kinds of cheese per package.  The night started with a greeting from the chief, followed by a wine tasting.  The tasting was to last an hour – I thought that would be a little dry (no pun intended), but it was so interesting and entertaining.  Then the group played some trivia and continued to visit.  While we were all on the video party, we were also chatting with each other on our phones, allowing for smaller side conversations as you would have at a live event.  I’m not sure what about the night made it so real.  It certainly wasn’t the same as a normal Christmas party, but I think it was as close as we could safely get during this crazy pandemic. Above all, it was a fun night!

Team Building is More Challenging

The virtual Christmas party organizers did a great job of combining the virtual with the traditional celebration so that everyone was included, celebrated, and felt the team connection they have come to know. This Fire Department has struggled this year to have their routine practice and education sessions due to the Covid restrictions.  As with most teams this year, the pandemic can lead to a disconnect among the team. Although this is an example of a Christmas celebration, it’s importance for team building cannot be overstated.

It can be challenging on a good day to keep your team motivated and collaborating effectively.  This global pandemic has added a new twist to the game.  Not only are we struggling with distance but increased personal demands as we navigate the ever-changing restrictions placed on all aspects of our lives.  Does it mean your team has to suffer?  I don’t think so.  It just takes some creative thinking and more intentional communication and organization. Events like the virtual Christmas party shouldn’t happen only once a year. Indeed no one expects a party regularly, but connecting on a personal level needs to happen more intentionally now that people are working remotely.  Now, more than ever, we need to have the support of our work family.