I had a chance to do an introduction of myself as a representative of the St Albert Mediation Office at the Chamber of Commerce breakfast meeting this morning.  I used my new line.

“Giving people the courage to make a change and the confidence to make a difference.”

The giving part is iffy.  I don’t really give anyone anything.  I help them look for the power to change inside of themselves, in their own history and in their own values.  I did that today too.  I listened and asked questions today.  I was the consumer instead of the sales person and I learned a lot as we did the speed networking.  There are wonderful people running businesses in St Albert and I am happy to be in their company.

“What is the best experience you have had doing what you do?”  That was my question.  The answers were thoughtful and thought-provoking and I felt honoured to hear honest, heartfelt and “off script” responses.  People come prepared to talk about their businesses but not necessarily their own experiences within it.  It was great.

“What’s one thing you would change about what you do?”  That was my second question. Some interesting takes on how to improve things.  My final challenge to them … “What one thing could you do this week to make things better for you?”  This one usually invokes a quizzical look that says “I have the power to change things???” Really? … hmmmmm, let me think…”

As we move in to SOAR (Season of Added Responsibility), I know you will be chatting with people at Christmas Parties and family gatherings.  Add theses three little questions to your conversations starters.  You will be amazed.  Everybody has a story.  Some of them could break your heart.  Others will lift it to new heights. These questions let people identify for themselves what brings them joy, what they value and what is within their power to change. Just asking the question makes a difference.

“What is the best experience you have had doing what you do?”

“What’s one thing you would change about what you do?”

“What one thing could you do this week to make things better for you?”

Merry Christmas

It’s getting busy again.  The season of added responsibility is upon us.

How do you handle the pressure of Christmas?  Making lists and lists and lists and working to complete the shopping and the baking etc can be overwhelming.  And then there is the loneliness felt by many who are missing loved ones or who are measuring themselves against a standard of involvement in other people’s lives that may or may not be realistic.

I have to admit that Christmas and all of the activity that goes with it is not really my favourite time of year.  I do feel the pressure to do the right thing, be in the right place, attend the right events, give the right gifts, cook the right food, entertain the right people.  It has always been stressful for me, especially with all of the in-laws and out-laws I have gathered over the years.  Preparations are hectic and sometimes overwhelming.  Decisions about who will be where and when also cause me a lot of grief.

Once the actual festivities begin I calm down and I know that things will all work out fine.  Christmas will come and go whether or not I am ready for it.  Others will be thrilled with their gifts or not.  Really I will likely never know because they will always politely say that it is wonderful.  Meals will turn out well or not.  Again I will likely never know because everyone will rave either way.  I will see my good friends and my wonderful family and enjoy their company tremendously as I always do.

I am really very lucky to have wonderful people in my life.  They would not want me to stress over the preparations for Christmas.  Maybe that’s why I do.  I never want to let these wonderful people down. The stress is self-imposed.  I know that and I will make my lists and do what I can knowing that the important people in my life will love me whether or not Christmas is perfect.  They are kind and forgiving and I love them.

So bring on the madness of the season and enjoy it.  January will bring the wonderful healing Aloha of Hawaii for me.  Anyone else feel the need for a rejuvenating vacation??