Reflections and Resolutions

theyearisyours.jpgThis is it. The last day of the year. The day where most individuals make some pretty ambitious goals and promise themselves to learn from any mistakes they made in the previous year. I know I personally have learned so much in the past 12 months, and still have a lot to learn in the upcoming year. I have also spent a great deal of time considering both the personal and professional goals that I hope to achieve in the New Year. Here are few of my thoughts on 2015 and some of my dreams for 2016:

Reflections

  1. It’s surreal for me to look back and realize that just six months ago I was a student in my fifth year of post-secondary with uncertainty about my future. I have always wanted to pursue a career in Marketing or Human Resources, and promised myself that I would work hard to achieve that goal. I am most proud of myself for pushing through the endless hours of studying, presentations, papers and the all-nighters; my efforts were rewarded by being named to the President’s Honour Roll. I was also fortunate enough to be given an offer of employment after my placement at StaffStat/Plan A, beginning a career that I am very passionate about. I am a firm believer in working hard to achieve your dreams, and I believe that I did just that.
  2. I also set another goal for myself this year that may seem small to some. I wanted to find an apartment that I loved and I did not want to settle. I have lived on my own when I moved away for school, but I wanted a place that I could call my own while still being close enough to my family and friends. I moved into my apartment at the end of August and absolutely love having a quiet place all to myself.
  3. Being in school sometimes puts a damper on your social life. For the first time in a long time, I was able to enjoy my summer and fall weekends completely stress-free; I did not have to worry about studying, group projects or last minute case studies. I spent many days and nights at my cottage enjoying the fantastic weather, and in the backyard by the fire surrounded by my friends and family. These little moments made me realize how important it is to relax and enjoy life with your loved ones.

Resolutions

  1. Ramp up my LinkedIn presence. I first created a LinkedIn account when I was a student and was pretty uncertain of its purpose. I now see that this social media tool has so much value and in 2016 I promise to make greater use of it. I will publish my blog posts on my profile regularly and add new connections whenever feasible.
  2. Schedule all posts ahead of time. When I first started using HootSuite I was scheduling posts 3-5 days in advance. Being able to work from home one day per week allowed me to schedule posts for two or more weeks in advance across all of our companies’ social media networks. In the New Year, I will continue to set aside a few hours per week in order to schedule posts and focus on more important projects.
  3. Keep myself organized. I purchased an 18 month planner in the summertime and it has greatly increased my time-management and organizational skills. I have a tendency to stop using my planner a few months into the New Year, but in 2016 I vow to make better use of it, especially for list-making and goal-setting.
  4. Write more. The A Dot Blog has been quite the success story so far! I am incredibly proud of the team of ladies that submit their blogs daily. We’ve been working on the blog collectively for 4 months, and we have published a post every day of the work week! That’s over 80 posts! It has not always been easy as I sometimes struggle with blog ideas. In the New Year I have made it a priority to find new and exciting blog topics and write my posts in advance. This will not only ensure that I do not fall behind on deadlines, but that I will continue to enjoy the writing process.
  5. Read often. I have always considered myself an avid reader. I enjoy picking up a great book and getting lost in the pages. For the past few years being busy with school, I have not been reading as much as I would have liked to. In 2016, I am challenging myself to read at least one book per month. Reading has always sparked my creativity, so I think it’s incredibly important to revisit this hobby again.
  6. As mentioned previously, I think that it’s so important to unwind from work and all life’s stresses to allow yourself time to relax and refocus. In the upcoming year, I would like to go on a few mini road trips down South to visit family and friends, spend quiet nights by the fire, attend at least three music concerts, and enjoy the beauty at our cottage.

I hope reading my blog has given you some thought as to what your goals are for 2016, and I wish you all the best at achieving them.

Happy New Year! Here’s to all your successes!

MeganSignature

Goodbye 2015, You Were Good To Me

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Another fresh new year is here… Another year to live! To banish worry, doubt, and fear, to love and laugh and give!” ~ William Arthur Ward

With 2016 only days away, I keep thinking about all that has happened over this past year. I keep thinking about what’s changed and what’s stayed the same. I keep thinking about the good things that have happened and the things that have happened that haven’t been so great. I keep thinking about where I had originally thought that I would be at this point and how it’s so different from where I am. But I’ve also been thinking about the things to come. I keep thinking about where Plan A is going in terms of growth and development (so many exciting things are happening!).  I keep thinking about my own personal life and the goals that I hope to achieve in the New Year. There are so many things to think about!

I have grown in so many ways since the beginning of this year. I think what I’m most happy with is my own personal and professional growth. I started this year off as a student at Cambrian College with no plans, no idea of what was going to happen when I graduated and no employment ideas other than a part-time job serving on weekends. I have since graduated from College, obtained a full time job that I love (and I was able to keep my serving job, because I love that too!), and I have goals – goals were never something that I had set for myself before! I have learned how to communicate effectively within a team setting to get my point across, I have learned how to work with a team to reach a common goal and, most importantly, I have grown in my role and have had the opportunity to utilize the skills and knowledge that I spent three years in a classroom obtaining.

With this year being one of the best years of my life, it has also been one of the most difficult. This year I lost someone very dear to my heart, someone I loved very much and never really had the chance to get to know. Someone I can’t really imagine life without, but I now have to. They touched my life in a way that no one else has. They helped put things into perspective for me and made me realize the importance of being thankful for everything that I have and for everyone that I still have with me. It made me realize the importance of my role at Plan A: to assist in providing everyone with the absolute best health care possible. Although it has been the most difficult, it has also been the most impactful – in a way that I can now describe as good.

2016 is going to be a crazy year! The thought of it already being 2016 is crazy enough to think about! I’m excited for the house hunting that will soon be taking place in the Spring with my boyfriend. I’m excited for the new contracts and conversations coming down the pipeline at Plan A. I’m excited to expand Plan A further into the North-Eastern communities and have others join in our vision and plan to be the change in the long-term care sector. There are so many things to be excited about!

All I have to say is, “Bring it on 2016! I’m ready for you!”

TessaSignature

Make 2016 Happen

New Year Quotes, Sayings, Positive, Motivational

The New Year is days away! Have you thought about your goals or resolutions for 2016? Have you reflected on 2015? Have you thought about what you will do to make 2016 the best year yet?

The start of a new year often signifies a fresh start, a move towards a newer more improved version of yourself.  If you haven’t done so already, now is time to set those professional and personal goals for 2016.

Plan and prepare. As you reflect on your year make note of those skills you would like to improve, the skills you want to obtain, and/or the habits you wish to make or break. Maybe you plan to continue to develop and grow professionally, maybe you want to embrace a new skill that brings value to your current position, maybe your goal is to get beyond your comfort zone. Whatever the resolution is, it is important to write it down and develop a plan or outline of those ideas you want to bring forth in 2016.

Set the bar high but be realistic. Oftentimes, New Year’s resolutions are not kept because they were unrealistic. A smart and helpful trick is to outline your main resolutions and decide what small goals need to be achieved to meet your resolutions. Once small goals are met they should be celebrated until they all lead to the final goal—the resolution.

Be accountable. Write your resolutions down along with your map on how you will achieve those goals. I often speak or write about accountability; however, today this is about being accountable to yourself. You took the time to decide where to improve yourself, you planned how you will achieve your 2016 goals, so do not let yourself down. Ensure you are taking strides towards those goals by recording your progress. Hold yourself accountable.

Maintain your traction.  You have set your goals, made your plan and are holding yourself accountable; now the trick is to keep the momentum going. Share your resolutions and progress with a supportive friend or family member. They will help you attain your goals or even jump in with you.

Striving to create an improved version of yourself should be a daily task; keep this in mind as you enter 2016 and make it your best year yet!

Cheers!

mandyblog

I Choose Success

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The road to self-employment has been a gigantic learning curve, and a journey to personal and professional development, and self-awareness.

I think much of my business and personal success is a result of who I have become in the journey.  Developing a mindset for success has been necessary and rewarding.

Here are 5 factors that I believe contributed to shifting my mind for success:

I truly want to succeed

Running a business (or two) takes a ridiculous amount of desire for the work you do.  Desire is an incredible energy source that keeps me focused and doing great things with my work.  With that desire, it never really feels like I am doing work and the time flies.  The desire to achieve success is something that I connect with every single day and I engage in activities that fuel it.  Having the desire makes me think of things that I wouldn’t  have considered before, such as how I can add more value for my employees and clients, what other possibilities are out there that are congruent with what I am already working on, and how I can make my business the BEST in our industry.

I crave personal growth

I fully welcome opportunities to increase my self-awareness, to develop my talent and potential, to enhance the quality of my life and the life of the people around me, and I’ve realized my dreams and aspirations.   I seek out opportunities to contribute to my personal growth by reading, listening to audio motivations, pushing myself out of my comfort zone, participating in volunteer work, sitting on boards and committees, mentoring new businesses, attending events and discussions, etc.  Embracing an attitude of life-long learning has shaped who I have become in the past five years.

I am my business

This was difficult for me in the beginning but it couldn’t be truer; I am my business!  Three factors that have been significant in helping me realize that I am my business are the process, the people and purpose. The process is how I have spent my time thinking about my goals, the direction I want to take my vision in and the creative ideas I come up with to get us there.  The people are those who not only believe in the vision but those who are collaborators and want to see it grow.  Each person’s values and work ethics are aligned with the goals and ultimately the purpose of this business.  And the purpose is our mission.  Knowing that the purpose comes from me allows me to have a strategic focus which allows me to create clear direction that ensures we hit or exceed our goals each and every year.

The ability to pivot

I’ve learned that it’s an asset to my business to recognize when something isn’t working and to switch it up as soon as I realize that.   By making the necessary adjustments in our plans, we have always come out on top.  Goals are living and breathing and have to be as adaptable as our plan, our team and our business.

Jump in

I use the analogy ‘doing a cannon ball off of the high board’.  If you want to win at life you have to jump in with both feet and hope a net appears.  It’s frightening, especially at first, but the only way to win is by showing up.

Success is not a mystery.  It’s a mind-set, a psychology and an attitude.  Use these tips to help you develop your own attitude of success for 2016!

All the best for a prosperous new year!

Sheri

SheriSignature

To Happy Holiday or Not to Happy Holiday?

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Every year at the beginning of December some Canadians engage in a ridiculous rhetorical ritual that recycles righteous arguments about whether people should say to one another “Happy Holidays” or “Merry Christmas”. It’s a conversation that takes place at the water cooler and on social media. Here, at StaffStat, Inc., not much discussion or debate was had when we opted for the neutral and inclusive “Happy Holidays” in our Christmas cards (yes, we still send out tangible cards).

On one hand I feel that all of this nonsense is not worth discussing at all. It is true, however, that our country is undergoing some profound changes in demographics. We are more religiously and culturally diverse than ever before and this diversity will automatically evoke some strong reactions. Plus, we have a rising population that does not feel affiliated with any religious tradition and this too contributes to the new cultural landscape. It is not surprising that those used to Christianity being the dominant religion in Canada feel unease in this new reality.

This brings us to the Merry Christmas vs Happy Holidays debate that is not complicated and is solved with basic etiquette. If you know someone is a Christian who is celebrating Christmas you should say to them “Merry Christmas.” Likewise, say “Happy Hanukkah” to a person you know is Jewish, etc. This courtesy and respect should be part of what it means to live in a pluralistic society and it is easy for all of us to offer to those to whom we are close.

However, if you don’t know the spiritual tradition of a co-worker, friend, or stranger in the elevator but wish to offer them a ‘Season’s greetings’ — a simple “Happy Holidays” is not at all an insult or a denigration of Christmas, or any other tradition. It is an appropriate and inclusive salutation that recognizes that there are many ways that people are observing the season and you don’t know enough to be specific.

That is the very reason that many stores use “Happy Holidays” rather than “Merry Christmas”, because they want to be inclusive and welcome as many dollars, ahem, people, into their stores as possible. So, using “Happy Holidays” is not anti-Christmas, it is pro-business, and we don’t want to be anti-business do we?

Let’s have Christmas carols and Hanukkah songs; Kwanzaa lessons, HumanLight celebrations, and Pagan solstice rituals — let’s do it all. It’s so much more fun to cast a wide net where all can celebrate our traditions together rather than strip everything away to protect the delicate sensibilities of so very few.

Let’s join the wider circle of the many traditions that make up our country. Christmas is about a spiritual event that we honour most in our families and our homes. So, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Super Solstice, Joyous Kwanzaa and to everyone all together — Happy Holidays!

melblog

My Favourite Things About Working in Marketing

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When I tell my friends, family and strangers that I work in marketing, I get some pretty unique responses. About a third think that I’m involved in sales or multi-level marketing/pyramid schemes, a third think that I create radio and television commercials, and the rest don’t have a clue about what I do. It’s not their fault that they don’t know what marketing entails, and to be honest, before I heard about marketing in school, I had very similar assumptions. I try to explain it as simply as possible for them: I work diligently to make sure that people know that our brands exist and that they are at the front of their minds; this is done through utilizing social media, creating print materials (such as flyers, posters, etc.), designing promotional items (water bottles, t-shirts), and more. I absolutely LOVE what I do, and there are so many great aspects to my job. Here are a few of my favourite things about working in marketing:

  1. Creativity = Priority. I realize that there are quite a few careers out there that allow you be creative. I would argue that having a creative ability and a curious mind are the most important requirements in the marketing industry, especially in a position where you are directly involved with design. I am naturally a creative person, so being able to use that skill every single day in my career is a great feeling.
  2. Project Diversity. A career in marketing is all-encompassing. One day I can be working on designing a backdrop for a trade show booth, and the next day I’ll be creating ad content for a magazine. It’s pretty exciting to be able to work on a wide variety of projects that are ever-changing.
  3. Working With Different Industries. Individuals with careers as marketing consultants, graphic designers, and more are able to work across a wide variety of industries. Not only do the tasks they work on each day differ, but so do the actual companies and industries they work for. I am fortunate enough to complete projects for both a healthcare and a technology/software company.
  4. Working With The A Team. Many individuals assume that a career in marketing is a quiet one, where you’re often left working alone. While it’s true that most of the creative elements are completed by myself, a lot of brainstorming sessions take place with The A Team! It’s pretty rare in some careers to have intelligent and talented individuals that you can constantly bounce new ideas off of, or have support when you’re struggling with a concept.
  5. Turning Ideas Into Reality. It’s exciting for me to be able to create something that once was simply a scribbled idea on a random page in my journal. The design process is a long one. I have a very keen eye for detail, and I feel that I am very particular with my work. I often restart a project multiple times, and create various versions to find one that conveys the message the best. It’s very rewarding to see or hold the finished, tangible product.

These are just a few things that I love about working in marketing! I hope you are able to better understand what I do, and hopefully reflect on what it is that you love about your career.

MeganSignature

Why Being Part of the A Team is A-mazing

Why Being Part of the A Team is A mazing

One question that I ask during all of my interviews is, “What is something that demotivates you within a work setting? What brings down your morale?” To no surprise, some of the most common answers that I hear are lack of teamwork, workplace gossip and not being helped when needed. We’ve all dealt with those demotivaters in the workplace and we’ve all held those types of positions that make it difficult to get out of bed and go to work every day. Some people deal with them their entire lives. At Plan A, though, I’ve never felt that way, not once!

Being part of the A team allows you to learn so much. It has taught me things that I didn’t know I still had to learn. Today I want to share with you a few reasons why being part of the A team is amazing for me!

  1. They are willing. Now the reason that I didn’t explain exactly what the ladies in the office are willing to do is due to the fact that they are willing to help out in any way that they can! They are always willing to help, whether that be completing a reference check, photocopying documentation, lending an ear when it’s time to vent, providing input on a decision and much more. It is never a struggle to find help in the office when it’s needed, and that kind of support and willingness is something rare.
  1. They get it. As explained in one of my previous blogs, Working for Purpose, I know the purpose of my role as a Recruiter with Plan A. I know that it is my job to hire as many amazing healthcare professionals as quickly as possible in order to fully staff our contracted facilities. I also know that everyone in the office understands the purpose behind their roles and how crucial they are to the success of Plan A. We are a small team of eight women, but we all have so much purpose. We are working our hardest every day to be the change. Working together with purpose and a common goal in mind makes us unstoppable!
  1. They are driven. There hasn’t been a single obstacle that’s stood in our way that’s made us say, “No, we can’t handle this”. We have never packed our bags or shied away from the frightening or the intimidating or what seems to be impossible. The A team is always up for a challenge! In fact, it sometimes seems as though we seek them out. Some are more hesitate than others, me being one of them, but having such powerful, driven women around every day to support and assist in any way possible makes mountains seem like mole hills.

My hope is that everyone will have the chance to experience an amazing workplace like the one that I am a part of everyday. If you haven’t found it yet, don’t stop searching!

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