Walk Along With Me

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I have a couple of important goals this year and I plan on making my learning visible. This is not the typical Counsellor Talk post I write , but it is an important one … taking care of me and I’m inviting you along on this journey. Today is Canada Day and what better day to start walking my way to a healthier me while sharing and learning along the way.

IMG_0026I am making a commitment to myself to walk every day for 30 minutes for the next 365 days. Walking has always allowed me to think more clearly and I know I always feel better when I do. It may sound easy to many of you , but I don’t always commit to exercising every single day. without a break.   If I break it down into chunks 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes at some other time in the day I know I can meet my goal. It isn’t easy to do this alone ( I miss my walking partners)  so that is why I am inviting you on my journey.

If you wish to send an encouraging word or a video or a message to me along the way feel free to do so. I turn 60 this September so I know I need to take better care of myself.  Taking care of our physical health is always important , but even more so as we age.  I have always been very good at taking care of my brain , but at times have not taken as much care of my body as I know I need to. This is my open way of sharing my commitment to myself. No excuses! It’s too cold , I’m too busy … on and on ! 365 days starting today … I can do it!

Won’t you walk along with me #walkalongwithme  and tell me what you have learned along the way?

A Simple Thank You … is enough #IMMOOC

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My biggest lesson this week is what a simple thank you can do to turn your day and your mindset around. I rarely have one of those days and this week I did. I did let my administrator know (at least some of what was going on) and he did one of the best things a true leader can do . He simply thanked me for all the work I do with students . He let me know he was there for me and glad I was there for students and yes it made a difference.

I felt heard and valued. It turned my mindset around.  It freed me from the negativity I was feeling and was such a great role model for me. As a leader I forget that my staff needs a simple thank you too. I really try to remember to do that often through a note or a comment, but sometimes I forget to make the time to do what is so important. So I sent each person I work with closely with a little personal note this weekend and next week I will try to finish by sending all those who help me by giving them a note.

I was extremely honored to recieve an award last week from the University of Calgary Counselling Psychology Program.  Ph. D students I had previously supervised took the time and effort in their busy schedules to recommend me for an excellence in practicum supervision award . It was their BIG thank you and I am truly, truly grateful. They took the time to write such beautiful words and say thank you in a big way. Taking the time to thank people is truly a gift that you can give others. You have asked me to display it proudly and so I will.

However, this week that simple thank you helped to change my mindset and I believe will impact what I do next week and in the future with others.

Be on the look out for my thank you to IMMOOC.

Who will you send a simple thank you to … this week?

What We Say and Do Matters

People have been asking me if I am really serious about retirement and yes I am , but that doesn’t mean I don’t really love my job anymore . I absolutely do. I plan on making this year great! Why? Because each and every day I work with students and what I say and do matters.

I am far from perfect, but I really try my best to help students and create a positive environment in the school I work in.  I love collaborating with educators and others that I know truly care.

I am often reminded that what I say and do matters and that is a scary and awesome responsibility. I never want to hurt a child or anyone for that matter, but I am human and I make mistakes . When I do I need to say sorry , make amends and do my best each and every day to be the best person I can be. I also recognize that I can be that one person who changes the trajectory of a students life , making a positive difference that they remember for a lifetime.

Does what you say and do matter?  … you bet. Students are watching us daily … so as I enter my retirement year I want my students to know that I love what I do and will continue to do so until the day I retire. I love being with them and helping them as much as I possibly can. I look forward to this year and will treasure the memories I make with each and every person that crosses my path.

What I Say and Do Matters  … and so does what you say and do.

Jumping for Joy… as I walk into my retirement year

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Today I choose life. Every morning when I wake up I can choose joy, happiness, negativity, pain  … To feel the freedom that comes from being able to continue to make mistakes and choices – today I choose to feel life, not to deny my humanity but embrace it.

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Every day no matter the situation I try very hard to embrace life. No matter what is happening in my world and yes there are always things, sometimes big things , sometimes little things as most of us experience the challenges that life can bring our way.  I work hard at focusing on the things that matter, but like all humans sometimes I fall short. I love to celebrate the moments.

Being around a lot of others this summer that are less mobile than I , I focus on remembering to be grateful. I have two feet that are mobile, I am able to walk ! Sometimes we take these things for granted. I am able to jump for joy. Even though I cannot jump very high these days I still can jump. So every chance I get I jump for joy.

As I get ready to walk into a new school year , my retirement year. I look forward to the joy of new students and those that are returning. I jump for joy as I celebrate with students the new moments and for me the new chapter to come. I plan on walking through my retirement year with joy , gratitude and revelling in the moments that bring me and others true pleasure!

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Life can take a turn in a minute for each of us, so celebrate each day … jump for joy , take a walk . If you are unable to walk, let someone take you for a walk.  Notice and celebrate all the reasons to experience joy even if it is only in the moment . Do it now!

I’d love to hear all the reasons you will jump for joy this year !

Leadership and Youth

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I was privileged to attend the Born 2 Lead  B2L Conference in Calgary this week thanks to the generosity of Ildi Wiley with students from Bishop Carroll High School.

Why do we still need to empower young women? There are so many reasons. I will highlight a few.

According to the Parkland Institute , (Catalyst A think tank )

In Alberta

  • 8% of women sit on boards (the national average is 14%)
  • it will take 228 years to close the gender gap
  • in 1976, the wage gap was 62%,in 2015 it is 63%
  • women make up 2/3 of all part-time workers

In the New Soft War on Women Caryl Rivers and Rosalind Barnett highlights several reasons why we need to empower woman , including an Indiana University study that says over a lifetime of work women with a bachelors degree will earn a third less ( some 700,000) less than a man with the same degree. Do we need to empower young  women?

Yes indeed we do! We need to have mentorship and role modelling  for young people . Our young women need to know that they can rise up and take on leadership roles.

The Born 2 Lead conference is one way young women can begin to find these mentorship opportunities. Young women can look forward to another conference next year as this year was the first in Calgary.

Here is a peek at some of the conference:

Lessons young women need to know …

  • No matter what your start in life doesn’t mean it has to be your finish YOU CAN LEAD
  • There are women all around you that care about you and your wellbeing
  • In order to act like a leader think like a leader , say yes to something that you would usually say no to because you were afraid of failing.
  • What anyone says about you good or bad doesn’t matter Barb Stegemann
  • No one can take your joy from you ever Barb Stegemann
  • Emotional capital is worth more than anything Barb Stegemann
  • Viktor Frankl’s book Man Search for Meaning is loved by many women including me. Young people need to read this book.
  • Think about what you want to be one year , two years , three years from now . How will you get there?
  • Technological skills do matter to the business world
  • Digital Citizenship is important and a message given at this conference. Yes, I was so happy to see them mention just how important it is when getting and keeping a job! See more here.
  • When young women go into the workforce they should understand what a good linked in profile looks like
  • Young women need to build their employability traits through networking, service learning, volunteering and work experience
  • You have to be your own champion. It is ok to share your strengths with others
  • Never under estimate your ability to be resilient to rise above the nay sayers

 

“Each of us carries within a secret yearning-a yearning that as time and life march on, often becomes a secret sorrow. That yearning will be different for each of us; it is the most deep longed for expression of self. Only to the degree that each of us are able to bring forth our own heart’s core will our lives be fulfilled, truly worthwhile.”

Lighting the Torch The Kinder Method of Life Planning 2006 George Kinder and  Susan Galvan

I wish for ever young woman and actually every youth I work with that they are able to bring forth their own heart’s core and live a fulfilled life.

So young women know that you are Born to Lead. Rise up and do it! I know you can.

Counsellor Thoughts

Thoughts From Your School Counsellors

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As school counsellors, there are some very important things we wish to share with you.

You are the reason we do what we do

We care; we mean really care about teenagers. We do our best to touch as many students as we can, being advocates for you in school. We feel you have a right to know why we do what we do. We are counsellors by choice. Some of the things we have to do are difficult, but we choose to be here.

We are here because we believe we can help

As your School Counsellors, we have several roles. Even if we get caught up doing several things at once, our hearts are always with you, the student.

What you do with your life is up to you

You are in charge of you. We are here to help you reach your full potential. We will insist that you learn. It is your ticket to absolute freedom.

Be all that you can be

It isn’t easy being a teenager; even we can get frustrated with your raging hormones. You are growing and changing. We understand that. Take responsibility for your life and your actions and your teachers and others will respect you.

We do care, don’t ever forget it

That’s why we are here

That’s why we choose to do what we do

We will help in any way we can. We may get you support with a mentor, another counsellor or whomever can help us help you.

Stop … Think … Speak

Remember, your thoughts lead to feelings lead to your actions. Change your thinking and you will have control of your life.

No matter what anyone else says or does to you, you are a worthwhile person

Truly  you are a gift

You are somebody

You deserve dignity and respect

 

There will be times during your school experience where negative things are said or done to you. You may experience painful times. Life can be difficult. It’s not what happens in your life that matters, but how you choose to respond to it and we are here to help.

What you put into school is what you will get out of it

With your help, we can make a difference. If you choose to share a part of yourself with us, we can work together to make changes in your life. Your school experience will become everything you hoped it could be. Get involved and you will feel better about yourself.

Give life a chance

One of the easiest things to say and one of the most difficult things to do are to live one day at a time. If you can master letting go of the past, not worrying about the future, but living each day to the fullest, then you will have lived a great life full of few regrets.

Be patient

Change takes time. Let yourself grow. We all can change if we have the courage and the wisdom.

We have faith in you

Never give up! Have Hope! Live every moment to the fullest! Become all that you are meant to be and you pay it forward to others.

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