Tag Archives: learning

Small Steps, Big Impact

I have lost my enthusiasm for setting audacious elaborate goals. Setting learning goals is a prime example. My professional college would like me to follow a SMART goal setting exercise to set learning goals. I have tried this method and I find it artifical.

My learning happens more organically. If I try to set a big goal to learn a skill or knowledge, I find it hard to do. It seems like too much work. I can break it down into smaller bite size pieces, but even that exercise feels wrong. I end up doing a fair bit of rework during the process.

My approach is to use real life problems from practice. It just works better for me. I reflect on my day, think about what I could have done better and the information I could have used. From there I can determine what I need to learn so I can apply it next time. It is real time learning based on a practice need.

It is a small step approach where I build on my foundations and grow professionally as a result. Small steps lead to a big impact.

Cheers, Catherine

A Look Back at 2014

A year in Review

It has taken me a couple of weeks to look back over my journal for 2014 and think about the past year. My journalling process can be hit or miss sometimes so I don’t have a complete record. At times, I was just too busy doing stuff to worry about journalling about it.

Almost a year ago we moved into our new house on Saltspring Island. We didn’t look at too many houses before we made an offer on the one we now call home. This house was really the only one that met most of our criteria. We were optimistic about the year to come and felt fortunate to live in such a beautiful place.

During the year, there were many highs and lows. I can say for certain that I learned a few things about the island life and about myself. The following list is just a sampling of the things I learned or experienced last year.

  • Combining households with a parent is stressful and hard. I continue to use the best of my negotiating skills and reinforce my personal boundaries.
  • I can let go of my expectations and look instead for the opportunities.
  • I can weather a storm, metaphorically speaking, and come out the other side stronger, knowing that I’m resilient.
  • Moving is mentally and physically exhausting.
  • If I can’t sell a house, I’ll rent it. Better yet, I’ll get a lease arrangement with the RCMP.
  • I can write a novel, or at least three quarters of a novel, in a month.
  • The deck of my house is the best place to be in the summer months.
  • My dog, Yue Yan is a constant source of inspiration, motivation for walking, and for being reminded every single moment can be one of pure joy.
  • I miss my friends since I moved to the West Coast.
  • Making new friends meant being willing to take chances like answering an online posting.
  • I don’t want to be in Ganges on market days because there are too many people in town.
  • While I’m always trying to downsize my things, the people I live with are not interested or actually want more things.
  • I’m very tired of caring for and maintaining stuff. I don’t want any more plants, physical books, or knick-knacks. I only want to maintain what is essential.
  • When you want to leave an island, your schedule is now beholden to the ferry’s schedule.
  • Joining a writer’s group has helped to improve my writing craft.
  • I live on an island that is a destination spot and I have more people visit me here than I ever had visit me in Edmonton.
  • I can re-invent myself, but it is hard. I waffle and back track because having a professional identity is a big part of my self-definition.
  • Going back to Edmonton now as a tourist is fun.
  • I have friendly, kind and generous neighbours.
  • Fresh water is an increasingly vanishing commodity on this island.
  • After 20 years of marriage, I love my husband as much as, or maybe more than, the day I married him.
  • The residents of this island are welcoming but I don’t expect to be considered a native until I’ve lived here for a generation.
  • Joining a knitting club has connected me to a group of caring, smart women.
  • The island has many beautiful beaches, hiking trails and places to enjoy the amazing views of the ocean and neighbouring islands, but the locals keep some of the best places to themselves.

As 2015 moves forward, I’m filled with delight at the potential a new year brings. I want to write everyday, lose some weight so I can be healthier, and publish a novel. Everyday presents an opportunity to move one more step towards those goals. I am truly one of the fortunate ones.

Cheers, Catherine  Location: Saltspring Island, BC
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The ghosts of the past and the seduction of the future

I get discouraged sometimes when I think about what I used to be able to do. I used to be able to run 5 km, for example. Even though I was slow, I could do it without stopping. Running that standard distance made me feel accomplished and I was proud of the races I finished. Over time, I eventually gave up running, due to spraining my ankle and other physical ailments. I can’t run 5 km any more nor do I have a desire to return to running.

My mind likes to tell me that I’m the same person that I was 25 years ago. I know that I’m not the same physically or perhaps mentally, but my memories don’t seem to age the same way my body does. By looking back to what I could do when I was younger, it sometime screws me up in the present. The problem is that I start to make comparisons and because I can’t do some things like I used to do, I start to berate myself.

Comparisons are a dangerous game. I fall victim to it more times than I would like to admit. I compare my home to other homes, or my smart phone to new phones, or my career to others. Even though there are times that I’m smug and assume that my home, phone, or career is better than someone else, the truth is, there is no “better”. It is just different. It may be clichéd but the grass is not greener on the other side.

In addition to using the past to judge me, I sometimes succumb to the seduction of the future. I bet you know what I’m talking about. Someday, when I’m 20 pounds lighter, have more time, money, or energy, I’ll do all the things that I long to do. Maybe I’ll write that novel or I’ll volunteer with the SPCA, or I’ll [insert any and all kinds of items on my wish list].

When I make the comparisons to others, or to my past, or when I long for the future after certain conditions are met, I miss the opportunity to see the potential of where I stand right now, right this minute. I might not run anymore, but I still take my dog for a walk and the walks bring us both great joy. I like to hike with friends and walk around the island I now call home. I have everything I need right now; I don’t have any unfulfilled needs so I don’t need to look to the future for fulfillment. Rather than listen to the ghosts of the past or the whispered seduction of the future, I need to focus on the present by asking: “What is the opportunity I have right now, today?” The answer to that question is my potential.

Cheers, Catherine  Location: Saltspring Island, BC
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Twitter Lessons: Always More to Learn

A while ago, I wrote about some lessons I learned in my early days of using Twitter and shared them here. Since that time though, I have not contributed much via Twitter mainly because I didn’t really have anything of value to share.

I know the value and commerce of the retweet yet so much of what comes though my timeline is rehashed stuff. Well worn quotes, retweets of “the news,” as well as comments on other tweets that do not really add to the conversation (other than to confirm the individual’s herd mentality). Now having said that, I have done all these things on Twitter, too.
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20 lessons I have learned as a new Twitter user

In the last week I have learned a great deal about Twitter. I have had a Twitter account for a while now but I didn’t use it.  In the last week, I have started to use Twitter on almost a daily basis.
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preparation meets opportunity

in the news!

Before I start today’s post, I thought I would let everyone know that tomorrow I will be premiering the first issue of my newsletter! Yay! The newsletter contains content that is quite different from the blog and what is available on this website. I’m working hard to make every newsletter interesting and valuable. I plan to include in-depth information on topics of interest to those looking to redesign their lifestyle. There will be useful links and references. The newsletter is exclusive to those on my subscribers list so be sure to sign up today if you haven’t done so already.

now back to our regularly scheduled broadcast… 🙂

For those people who know me, they may be surprised by my decision to start this blog and website. However, when I was thinking back over my career there have been a number of things I’ve done that have prepared me for this moment. Continue reading