Monthly Archives: November 2011

A Tip for Connecting During the Holidays

As we all roll into this holiday season, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and stressed with the addition of multiple holiday events, shopping, errands and bills on top of our everyday work and family routines.  And it’s the expectations that we have of ourselves (especially women) that seem to be strongest at this time – all in the name of “tradition”.

But in the last couple of years, I’ve shifted some of these expectations of myself to something I truly enjoy – connecting with others.  I do this all through the year but it becomes a top priority to reconnect with business colleagues for the couple of weeks leading up to Christmas Day.  It doesn’t cost anything.  It’s a lot more fun than shopping and paying bills.  And it’s good business.

Set your intention to reach out to your favorite clients, customers or companies in the next couple of weeks. It can be for coffee, lunch or a simple chat on the phone.  Yes, it can be through email or social media but nothing is better than your voice. 

If you think you might be bothering someone, you may be pleasantly surprised that as it gets closer to Christmas Day there is often some down time in people’s work schedules – fewer meetings are scheduled, workloads ease off a bit and people can take time to catch their breath and talk to you. 

A Quick Phone Call is Perfect

I’ve learned a lot about staying in contact from Ray LaFleur, a biking & running friend from our old days living in San Diego.  Ray is a master at staying in contact with friends and colleagues. He calls every couple of months to just say “hi” and ask how work and the family are doing.  It’s not more than a 5 minute call but it reconnects our families regularly.

So this holiday season I’ll do as Ray does . . . I will pick up the phone each day and call three people to just say hi and wish them Happy Holidays.  I encourage you to do the same.  Keep it simple and genuine.  You’re not asking for anything.  You are just reconnecting.  People like to know that others are thinking of them.  It’s a human need – to feel recognized and valued.  I like it too – you can always give me a call as well!


Posted in Career Tips & Strategies, Communication Tips, Networking, Your Time & Energy | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Wildfires in the Snow: Lessons Learned

We were expecting snow that Thursday evening.  I was up at “o-dark hundred” getting ready for an early morning meeting before going to the airport to catch a flight out to Boston for Thanksgiving.  Suddenly it’s all over the news – a huge wildfire moving rapidly through the foothills of Reno heading toward the southwest neighborhoods (where we live).  It started with downed power lines.  Pushed by winds of up to 80 miles an hour off the Sierra Mountains the fire was traveling very fast through the canyons. Well, that got my attention!

It’s amazing how fast things can change.  Our daily routines are our comfort zones and we get a lot done each day, each week, month and year.  We plan ahead and we work the plan.  But when things suddenly change we have to move fast to accommodate whatever is needed in that circumstance.

Be Ready to Move Fast

So when the telephone calls came in to “voluntary evacuate” my husband, Wally, and I were already in high gear.  Our suitcases were packed for a week away; important papers were in several portable files from the last season of wildfires and the dogs were ready to jump in the car for a ride.  So off to the local donut shop we went to follow the news and to coordinate with family members plans for my elderly father who lived right in the center of the fire’s path.

All worked out fine for us.  But 29 families lost their homes completely.  These folks had gone to bed that night expecting that the following day would be a normal Friday routine.  It was anything but normal for them; for our first responders and for our Reno community.  And it was totally unexpected . . . after all it was suppose to snow.

Lessons Learned

Every community has its own challenges with the threat of natural or manmade disasters.  We can’t live a healthy life being afraid but we can be proactive.  Here’s how . . . don’t get too comfortable.  Just when you think that life is so routine and predictable it will take a u-turn.  Something will happen that you would never expect. Think ahead of what you would do in a worst case scenario and make some initial plans.  Nothing fancy but just what you would do when – especially if you’re also responsible for family members.  You may never need these backup plans but you have them.  And then you can enjoy that snow when it does come right on schedule.

Posted in And a Bit More, Navigating Change | Tagged | 3 Comments

A Road Trip is Good for Your Spirit

As I get ready to head out tomorrow morning to Santa Fe, New Mexico, I’m reminded how good it is for us to take a road trip every now and then.  You may be driving, flying or even taking a train.  It doesn’t matter because it’s all  good for your body, mind and spirit.  And it is critical to helping stay balanced in this somewhat unbalanced world.

Getting Out the Door

Yes, it’s always a bit of a rush to clean off the desk at work, answer those emails, pay some last-minute bills and get that boarding pass before racing to the airport at “o-dark hundred” to catch your flight to anywhere. And sometimes I’ve felt like it’s not even worth it especially in past years when as a psychotherapist I had so many patients to care for before and after any trip.  But I always knew that it’s all worth it as the plane lifts off and you slip into that delicious space of being “in-between” the here and the there.

I like flying and I like airports.  It must come from the years of living overseas and going in and out of many European airports.  I usually had two small children at my heels or on my hip but it all seemed doable since we were are another “road trip”.  And after the darkness and steady rain of Norway any road trip seemed great to me!

Celebrating 11 – 11 – 11

So off I go in the early am to meet my twin sister, Diane, to celebrate our birthday 11-11-11 in this wonderful community of Santa Fe and Taos.  Why are we going there?  We’ve never been – it’s that simple.  We’ll make some fun memories (as we always do) and I think it will remind us of Carmel, California (where we grew up) and Italy/Portugal where we have traveled often.  Delicious food, a little wine and some shopping will be just perfect and when I return to the office next week my body, mind and spirit will be renewed and refreshed.  I recommend it highly for all of us!


Posted in And a Bit More, Career Tips & Strategies, Your Time & Energy | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Rocks, Sand & Your Time

I’m delighted that Les Murray from the New England Chocolate Company, Salisbury, MA sent me the following time management tip this week.  Les is a regular reader of my blog “Conversations with Kit” and along with his wife, Jayne Murray, are chocolate extraordinaire entrepreneurs at

I’ve used this time management visual in my past training classes and totally agree with Les that this is a wonderful way to think about prioritizing your time and energy.  You may have even seen it done in a time management class – it’s been around for awhile.  I like visuals like this because we remember them better over the years and this truly is one of the best.

Here’s how it goes . . . the class instructor starts with asking you to think about what “Big Roles” you fulfill at this time in your personal and professional life.  These may be as a mother/father; spouse; son/daughter; business owner; employee; student; community volunteer etc.  Next, list for yourself several smaller things that also fill up your daily life but are not considered “big”.  Examples may be time you spend paying bills, doing household chores, doing errands, sorting paper clips etc.

The class instructor then takes out a big jar, some sand and some rocks.  He explains that the small things are represented by the sand and he then pours the sand in the jar.  It fills up quickly.  Now he asks the class participants to assign their big roles to each one of the rocks.  After that is done, he tries to put the rocks in the jar.  But there is no room – the sand has taken up all the space.  What to do?  The class discusses this and quickly decides to take the sand out and then put the rocks in to the now empty jar.  The rocks go in first – the big roles that each class participant identified that they most cared about.  Now the instructor pours in the sand and you guessed it, the sand fits quite  easily around the rocks.

And in Les’ words . . . “the moral to the story is that each one of us only has 24 hours/day, 7 days per week.  We sleep 8, we work 8 and there are 8 hours that we have for ourselves.  If we allow the “sand”  to fill our lives then we never have any time for our larger roles, those that we care most about.” Les goes on to remind us again to plan our time and energy carefully so that we are doing what is really important to us in this chapter of our lives – like  eating wonderful Belgium chocolates from the New England Chocolate Company!


Posted in And a Bit More, Inspirational Leadership, Navigating Change, Personal Development, Your Time & Energy | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Overcome “Recession Fatigue”

Here’s the best strategy I’ve found to push through that “Recession Fatigue”. It is simply shifting your energy to those areas that you do have some control over and concentrating on being successful in those areas over the next few months.

Here’s a way to do that . . .

First. Take a piece of paper and draw out the five Olympic Circles. You will remember that there are five intersecting circles – three on the top and two on the bottom. Next, take a moment to think of the five areas of your current life that you value spending your time and energy on. Often these are areas that in the past you regretted not having the time to spend doing.

Areas such as: your own health (exercise, eating well etc.); learning by taking a class; picking up a new hobby or volunteer commitment; having more time with your children; mini-vacations with old friends or maybe more quality involvement with your elderly parents.

Pick what’s important to you in this chapter of your life. Now, label each circle with one of those areas.

Second. Identify priority short-term benchmarks in each of these areas. Be concrete – is there a weight goal? A sports fitness goal? A passion you want to nurture? Do you want to be more available to your parents, your own kids or your friends? Keep the short-term benchmarks easy to remember and to track.

Third. Now identify when you will know that you have hit those benchmarks – when you’ve made your first short-term goal on exercising; learning; volunteering or extra time with your own kids and parents. What will success look like? And don’t forget to celebrate when you’ve reached those successes each and every time!

It’s great (and critical) to feel productive, appreciated and successful in these additional areas of your life. So even if this recession is beating you up on the job more than you expected, you can take control of other areas, and enjoy a wonderful boost of self-confidence from these other equally important areas of your life.

Posted in Kit's Tips | Tagged , , | Leave a comment