Give Up on Resolutions and Reboot Instead

The annual practice of starting the new year with a list of goals can sometimes make us feel like slacker losers who are repeating the same to-do list over and over.  If you keep track of your annual goals as I do, you get the gift of an in-your-face reminder of what you did not complete or achieve each year.  As we near the end of January we approach the time when we start realizing which resolutions are sticking.  Don’t despair if you find yourself in this bucket.  Consider giving up on your resolutions and rebooting instead.  It’s working for me!

We have a fun family tradition each New Year’s Eve where we create a scrapbook capturing our highlights of the year, our favorite songs and movies, and of course our resolutions for the upcoming year.  During this year’s annual ritual, my 9-year old, Dylan, was reviewing our previous years’ scrapbook pages when he started to cry.  As he compared each year’s page of resolutions he said, “What does it matter, it’s the same stuff each year! Anything we write on this page will NEVER happen!”

After my husband and I stopped giggling we discussed with the kids a new approach to our tradition.  After looking back at our previous years’ scrapbook pages we realized that our son was indeed correct.  There were very few resolutions we actually achieved.  Now, in all fairness some of the goals were lofty and dreamlike.  For example, when my daughter was 8 one of her resolutions was to become a nationally recognize artist by the end of the year.  When Dylan was 7 his resolution was to be able to “dunk” in basketball.  As I said – lofty and dreamlike.

So, this year, we decided to “reboot” instead of “resolve.”  Let’s rest, relax, and remind ourselves what really matters to us.  If we didn’t do something we planned on doing, let’s ask ourselves if we really like that goal.  Maybe we were so busy doing other amazing things that we never got to that goal.  Or, maybe we realize we were spending time on activities we don’t enjoy.  Now is the time to remind ourselves of this so we make more time for the things that speak to our soul and make us happy.

So, this year our resolutions page read more like this – “more family time,” “more camping,” “more mom and dad date nights,” “less busyness,” “more skim and paddle boarding,” and “more surfing.”  We still had a few resolutions that crept back from previous years.  But, we decided we want them there as reminders that we are still interested in them.  We didn’t change some of these older resolutions, but we changed our approach to them.  They are there because we want to carve out time for them.  Maybe this will be the year we do!

The kids all looked back on the things they enjoyed throughout the year and immediately knew the things they wish they did more of.  They also picked a few things they want to try.  I loved how they wanted to learn and explore new things, we moved from the word “resolve” to the words “try,” and “learn.”  We still have goals, but they feel less like a weight and more like an adventure.

I am really looking forward to 2017.  It looks like it will be a year spent doing the things we love, learning new things, and exploring ways to grow and open our mindsets. But, first, let’s relax with good friends and family and enjoy some rebooting!

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If you reboot this year and realize you want to spend more time sharing your gifts, giving back, and making a difference, consider being a mentor for EVE – Every Voice Educates. At EVE, our mentors can play a variety of roles.  Mentors can coach young leaders on how to build their leadership presentation, they can participate in mentor meetings, and they can speak and share their story at our leadership events.  Visit our website to learn more at www.everyvoiceeducates.com or email us at everyvoiceeducates@gmail.com.

The Story Within The Story

By Lucie Dickenson

My wonderful friend and business partner, Danielle Heuer, has given me incredible opportunities to observe, help, 13116040_10209366814438522_2149761822972943712_oand even faclitate in some amazing classes that she teaches. I was especially overjoyed to accompany her last month, to Rutgers University, where she was teaching a class in the afternoon, as well as a class later in the evening.

Danielle gave me the background on both of the classes, so that I would be familiar with where they were as a group to date. As we drove up together to the University, I noticed her excitement as she spoke to me about the students and their accomplishments. When we entered the classroom, Danielle took her place at the front of the room, and I respectively took my seat in the back desk to observe. This was such an interesting class to see, as it was a group of students who were here from China, to take classes at Rutgers for one year.

These kids were fascinating to watch, and Danielle was both motivating and inspirational in her interaction with the students. I happened to be there for the class where they were required to give an oral presentation, that they had been preparing for in the previous meetings. Each student came to the front of the room, and in their own unique way, were able to convey their story of what was important to them, and why the subject holds value in their life. Danielle was quick to give very encouraging feedback, and you could tell each one was grateful for her input and care. She connected to all of students in a very respectful, yet uplifting way, and it was clear that the students enjoyed learning from her.

As I watched, and took in the whole of what was happening, it made me smile to know that students from China were just like students from the United States; as we all have dreams, aspirations and fears. In addition, they spoke about Harry Potter, education, fashion designers and NBA basketball. We are all so much more alike than we are different, and Danielle is such a great person to take those similarities, and build upon them. She is a master at letting someone’s story unfold, finding the strengths, and making sure she boosts those strengths, by making them known to the speaker.

When the class was over, I noticed how they all looked to their teacher, Danielle, for even more encouragement. Many of the students stayed after class to glean pieces of feedback, above what was already given. They wanted this, because it was clear that Danielle was a shining example of someone who lets the students be exactly who they are, and gave them thanks, for sharing who they are with others. And, because she gave them the space to be their authentic selves, beautiful stories came forth, in very unique and individual ways.

As we left that classroom together, and walked to coach engineering students, I carried with me some of the energy from the previous class. As I helped coach the Rutger’s engineering students, by giving them feedback, I made sure to utilize Danielle’s soft, yet genuine and honest approach, towards interacting with the students. Danielle’s great teaching style left an impression with me, and made me understand, her story is much more than enjoying teaching classes, but a true love for bringing out the greatness in others.

Danielle Heuer is a leadership and communications coach who helps Fortune 500 companies close performance gaps and inspire employees to own their development. She is also a Rutgers adjunct professor for the School of Communications and Information.

We all have a story to tell… let’s listen .

 

 

13124429_10206768179546456_1267810413602786565_nLucie Dickenson is the co-founder of Every Voice Educates (EVE) and owner of The Inspirational Life, where she is a coach and creator of the Inspire Method.  Lucie has over 25 years experience in training and business, however, her passion is helping others to truly understand that their life stories hold the key to connecting with others.

Connect Through Your Story

By Lucie Dickenson

Telling your story connects you to others in ways we sometimes can not imagine. It is when you choose to share your life experience, that opportunity begins to unfold. Opportunity to help, to understand, to heal and to empower.

Jeanie Coomber is a shining example of how one person’s story can make a difference to many. I accompanied Jeanie to Prudential Insurance in Newark last week, to write a story on the power of storytelling. Jeanie held the honor of keynote speaker for WLE (Women’s Life Experiences) for Prudential. Although the event was held in Newark, in addition to those attending, there were another 700 employees live streaming the event across the country.

As I sat in the front row, in anticipation of her talk, I was mesmerized by the sheer number of people in the room. Each held leadership positions, and each had their own individual story on how they got there. Even more impressive, with all of their incredible qualifications, they were humble enough to understand we can learn from one another and that growth is not just possible, but probable.

Jeanie’s talk was filled with information that was presented in a professional, yet real and humorous way. It was a big step outside of keynote speeches that I have heard, as it was interactive and personal at the same time. She went beyond her comfort zone and told soul level stories. Jeanie’s story is what opened the audience to no longer being an “audience”, and allowed them to become connected. They were not women Jeanie was speaking to, but women Jeanie was speaking with, for and about. The experience she spoke of, although incredibly personal, was a shared experience of heartache, wonder and triumph, that everyone can relate to, and can deeply understand.

Jeanie Coomber’s process is called “The Confrontational Encounter”. She explains that the Confrontational Encounter is the “process by which you dial into yourself to find your voice, your influence and your power”. It is her way to break down what is a difficult, life changing time in your life, and how to come out of it powerful and wise. She took us though what works for her, and how she maintains such clarity and self-awareness. She illustrated her point by leading the group in a silent mediation. Mrs. Coomber explained this was her daily way to stay centered and her way of “dialing in” to what makes her happy and ensuring she is moving in that direction every day.

The true testimony to Jeanie’s connection, however, was after her talk was complete. Jeanie allowed herself to be vulnerable during her moments on the stage, and as such, made a connection on a human level. I witnessed many women come forward to speak with her and share their stories and similarities. Truth telling is energy in the right direction, giving others the sparks of light to know its all okay, and that they can get through their hardest days and find the strength and the clarity to move forward in amazingly powerful ways.

Jeanie Coomber is an executive coach with over 25 years of experience. She speaks and coaches around the world and helps leaders find and capitalize on their greatest strengths.  www.jeaniecoomber.com

We all have a story to tell…let’s listen.

Lucie Dicke13124429_10206768179546456_1267810413602786565_nnson is the co-founder of Every Voice Educates (EVE)  and blogs for her company The Inspirational Life. Lucie is a successful, inspiring blogger and photographer, with 25 years experience in training and business. Her passion is helping others to truly understand that their life stories hold the key to connecting with others.

Hi! Psst, over here….

By Danielle Heuer

Up until recently, I thought of myself as too young to be nostalgic. But, I am really missing the way we used to connect to real people. Yep, I am sounding old. But, I have really been noticing how so many people are ignoring the world around them and instead staring down at their phones. In fact, I was recently at dinner with my family and observed another family nearby with the husband and wife on their devices the entire time. No one talked at all.
I can’t help but wonder how this device addiction has changed the world we live in. How is this lack of connecting with each other shaping our children’s’ communication skills, preparing them to be future leaders, and altering their perspectives of other people?
What is the online shaming and blaming doing to their ideas of how to treat one another? And the incessant chasing of likes, hearts, and emoticons – what is this doing to their self-worth? I was raised on “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all?” But, today the online world speaks its minds, regardless of how insensitive and mean.
It’s as if the devices have replaced the people. Have we forgotten that the devices are tethered to people? Would we really rather look at and talk to a screen than a real person? And if so, what are the effects of growing up tethered and connected?
Is it realistic to cut our online ties?
Entirely? Heck no! As an avid Pinterest pinner and online news junkie, I am not suggesting that we all go technology free – although we do try to enforce ‘No Tech Tuesdays’ in our house.
And, I would be lying if I didn’t admit to the abundance of benefits there are to living in our online world – even extending beyond greater convenience and time savings. I never would have known that Springsteen tickets were going on sale, had an old friend not shared it on Facebook the night before. I also follow several online blogs and sites where I am inspired, educated, and humbled. I am grateful for my online coupons and love seeing pictures of my friends and family. I count Uber as the most brilliant app on my phone (next to Weight Watchers).
But at the same time, I sometimes wish my children got to grow up the way I did – with more imagination, more outdoors, more figuring out what to do when they are bored, more books, maybe even a giant encyclopedia to have to flip through, and definitely more talking to other people – especially their own family at dinner. I am saddened by the loss of real connections.
Does our device addiction really make us anti-social?
I’ve actually become uber aware of how these changes are playing out in everything we do and recently conducted my own social experiment to assess how pervasive this loss of connection really is.
I frequently travel for work and have noticed that nowadays when I board an airplane, everyone is looking at their phones. There was actually a time when people would smile at you, and say hi, even helping others get their luggage stowed. Yep, I’m definitely nostalgic.
On a recent trip, I counted 27 people on phones upon boarding the plane. Only one person fleetingly looked up at me, smiling. I quickly realized that the smile was not a welcome for me but rather a response to something this person had read on his phone. When I smiled back, this young man looked at me oddly, almost questioning how I could know what he just read.
When we connect, we grow and we learn
So my experimenting began. I decided I would make it a point to talk to people on this flight and follow along with what other passengers did on the flight home. I would compare the two experiences. On this particular flight to Atlanta, I put down my iPad and started a conversation with the gentleman seated next to me. He was returning home to Atlanta to visit family.
He ended up putting his iPad down too and we chatted for the entire flight. I learned that he is an epidemiologist researching a particular cancer gene, a national speaker, recently wrote his first book, restores old record players, and is a talented musician. Yes, I got all that!
And it was wonderful to connect and share stories.
But in addition to learning something about him, I ended up gathering some great information for a project I was working on related to publishing scientific research. This man’s stories were really helpful. He confirmed some of my research and provided perspective from his field.
He also ended up thanking me. I gave him something too. He shared how he is often nervous when speaking at conferences. I provided him with some public speaking tips and perspective on how his audience views his credibility. We both laughed on our way off the plane commenting on how much we both gained from talking to one another – and how rare that is anymore.
On the flight home the next day, I decided I would only speak if spoken to. Two hours later the plane landed and I recorded 3 times I made real eye contact with someone (not counting the flight attendant), one time the person behind me huffed when my 5-foot frame made it challenging for me to reach my luggage out of the overhead storage, numerous kicks to the back of my chair by the toddler behind me, a grunt from the shuttle bus driver while I got a perfect view of the top of 7 passengers’ heads while they looked down at their phones.
So, although I will not denounce technology, take away devices, or even forbid social media, I will encourage my children to make eye contact, to engage in real conversations, and to take advantage of the opportunities to really connect and learn from one another. We all have a story, but if we are too busy looking down at our phones, we may miss an opportunity to listen.

Check out http://www.everyvoiceeducates to learn about our multi-platform events for sharing stories and connecting to real people.

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Danielle Heuer is co-founder of Every Voice Educates and a leadership and communications coach who helps Fortune 500 companies close performance gaps and inspire employees to own their development. She is also a Rutgers adjunct professor for the School of Communications and Information. Danielle is passionate about helping others find their voice, their passion, and ultimately their purpose.

 

Leadership Event at SLH

On March 13th we had our “Dare to Make a Difference” event. These kids rocked it, as did the adult speakers.

It was our first large event, so we were not entirely sure how the night was going to end. However, once we greeted our students and saw them dressed in their suits and dresses, with large confident smiles, we knew we were witnessing greatness.

Back up four months. The idea was just a spark in our minds, but we had a vision. We believed if we gave students the tools, and the platform to speak, amazing things would follow. Our first meeting in the school was met with trepidation and cautious eyes. The students were not exactly sure what to expect from us, and even-more, what to expect from themselves. However, slowly they jumped on board, beginning to see the amazing opportunity put before them. They too, started to trust the vision that we presented to them, and with that we all took a leap of faith.

After many practices, events and mentoring we finally reached the point of “this is really happening!” The excitement of the event was in the air for the final two weeks, and we all could not contain ourselves. However, both Danielle and I could see a shift. A change. A sense of leadership, pride and confidence emerge from the students. They began to own their stories. And with the ownership, came the wish to inspire others. It was incredible to watch it all unfold. Their voices were the catalyst for thought, for inspiration, for connection.

On the day of the event, these kids certainly “dared to make a difference”

Here is one of the videos a student made to have his voice heard. We were so thrilled to have multi-media be part of the forum, as every child has a voice, but many express themselves in different way; be it a speech, a video, a demonstration or art. It is all good, as you are as unique as your presentation.