Archive for Gratitude

Leadership Lessons From Mom!

All of us have a background and history. Many of the lessons I learned about leadership were really common sense child-rearing lessons passed on from one of the most remarkable people I know, my Mother. With Mother’s Day approaching I thought I would share a few with you.

Respect Everyone: No one ever truly knows anyone, what they’ve experienced, what they’re going through now, or who they are internally. Showing respect recognizes everyone partakes in struggle and triumph and deserves respect.

If You Can’t Share it With Your Grandmother, You Shouldn’t Say it, Write it or Do it: This is especially true now, be impeccable with all communication. Words tossed in rudeness, anger, haste or without thought will always come back to bite you in the butt. In this day of high-speed internet and Social Media, it’ll bite immediately, and it could cost you your job or force you to repeat it in court!

Be a Cheerleader: No, not a pom-pom shaking acrobatic one (unless that’s what you love to do), I mean cheer on the success, efforts and opportunities of others, just like you would your own child. Being happy for others rather than resentful feeds your soul.

Don’t Take Yourself So Seriously: Sometimes life is absurd, period. People react and are reacted to in ways unexpected. Situations don’t always work out as planned and one needs to redirect. Laugh! Find the humour and the gems of wisdom within the unexpected. You will be all the healthier for it and you’ll make more friends!

Clean Your Own Room First: Before you go criticizing others, take a good look at your own life. The day you can say everything in your own life is perfect, you are exactly who you wish to be and you have no tasks left to perform, go criticize someone else. Until then, collaborate, help, take part and learn the art of allowing, influencing and encouraging others in their path! We live in the same house!

Clean Out Your Backpack: Pay attention to what you choose to hang onto. Holding onto negative emotions, old resentments, anger and frustration is no different than choosing not to take that full milk container out of your backpack, after a while it begins to stink and rot and it ruins things!

Use Your Stuff: My mom lit her candles, used her good dishes and wasn’t afraid of polishing silver or using white table cloths. The deal is, you have it so use it! You are born with and have developed many gifts, talents and strengths worth sharing. You’ll find joy in using them!

Mom taught more lessons than that and I can guarantee you, I wasn’t always a quick study! The beauty of having a mom who models great leadership is that she’s willing to be repetitive, probably to the point of frustration at times! Lucky me that she still continues to persist in providing the lessons in life that, for some, only experience will drive home. Thanks Mom, for being remarkable!

(Original Post was written May 3, 2009. Update, my mother passed away on January 22, 2014 making these lessons ever so much more precious to me now!)


Life Is Like A Series of Meals!

Of all the things from which we learn the most, experience is our greatest of teachers! There are few times a lesson will make an impression to last a lifetime unless one has experienced that lesson being handed to them on a silver platter. The thing is, what you choose to do with each delicious serving is what makes the difference. Great leaders know this.

I guess you could say that life is like a series of meals! Sometimes we’re served fast food, sometimes we have to hunt for food and sometimes we’re offered gourmet cuisine that sets our mouths watering and our hearts longing to savour every glorious tasty morsel passing across our hungry taste buds. Why do I liken experiential lessons to food? Because our reactions to both are quite similar!

Have you ever been watching a fantastic movie with a bowl of popcorn at your side only to become suddenly aware the popcorn bowl is empty and you can’t recall having eaten any? That’s right; you managed to shovel a whole bowl of popcorn down your throat while your focus was elsewhere. When we’re not focused on what’s heading down the oesophageal passageway, we disregard that sustenance without even remembering we’ve chewed and swallowed.

As with the popcorn, the delicious life lessons served us are changed by our focus. Sadly, focus is often based on what we DON’T have rather than what is being served and we completely miss lessons carefully baked within the enchanting recipe. We notice the serving doesn’t meet our expectation and we might even lament bitterly on the lack of care in which it is served. As we age, reality eventually teaches us that life hands us a lot of stuff, we are served challenges, struggles, loss and heartache. We are also served love, compassion, strength, honesty and friendship.

Each of these ‘servings’ is designed to shape and fashion us into the remarkable human being we are meant to become. The secret is in learning from those lessons and ensuring our focus is based upon what some call the “silver lining”. I like to call it the Buried Gift Within, mainly because it’s not always easy to find! Each and every experience tossed into our path or handed our way, (no matter how difficult, heartbreaking or painful), has a gift buried within.

Some might argue about there being a hidden gift, but hindsight tells me my direction and my place in life is shaped and formed into ‘me’ by each experience and my reaction to those experiences. I also want you to know that life isn’t always easy. I share personal experiences with clients when I feel it applicable to presenting a different way of thinking, and they will tell you – I’ve had some tough moments just like everyone else; moments tough to chew and harder to swallow. The true secret is what I learned from each moment.

I don’t want life handing me a bowl of popcorn I carelessly shove down my throat without recollection of having tasted it! I want to become passionately aware of each morsel and flavour, the salt butter and corn all melded together combined with a smell permeating the room such that popcorn in a bowl becomes an experience, otherwise why waste my time eating it?

That which we focus on, we intensify! I have suffered loss and there is always something to come from that loss, be it a lesson left, a behaviour changed or a gift of another’s experience from which I can draw. All great leaders understand this focus.

Exceptional leaders know how to look for the Buried Gift Within. With employees, balance sheets, personal strife, company changes, family challenges, and much more. Exceptional leaders savour and taste every single morsel and then experience the lesson bringing it forward into many more situations. What makes them exceptional is they share those lessons with others and, most importantly, they model and teach others how to discover the Buried Gift Within!

Strategic Sense is a Leadership Development, Plans of Action and Facilitation organization who’s mission is to change the world for leaders and their employees everywhere. We believe each individual comes with their own unique talents and skills that can be enhanced and utilized to help them become the very best leaders only they can be.

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Take Action To Change The World!

Most of us who blog understand how small the world can be, we’ve offered across-the-world acknowledgement for each other’s work, we have been blessed with global collaboration and we have been given the opportunity to share with others on a significant scale.
The world, while small, is also jam-packed with people, many of whom are in need. Given that thought, can you define what you do every day that contributes to the world to make it a better place?
Favourite Quote:

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has”
-Margaret Mead
Over the next few weeks we will be presenting some areas in which actions can make a difference. This week we start with the topic: Humanities. In a break this down this translates to 4 ways you can take action this week to help humanity; home, work, community and world.

We all have to work, we all need to accomplish tasks that support us, our families, our responsibilities and our friends, but many of us also choose a cause that is important to us and we support it in one way or another. I would love to hear about yours!
Humanity, as defined by Wikipedia, (Mankind) is the whole human species, human nature (e.g., compassion and altruism), and the human condition (the totality of experience of existing as a human).

  1. Home: This week I am cleaning rooms for others!
  2. Work: This week I have brought on a very creative and energetic business partner and plan on coaching him forward with a new project.
  3. Community: Sitting as Board Chair, supporting Providence, a health, education and therapy preschool for children with disabilities.
  4. World: We are looking at several projects, all a fit for our company as well as being something I can get passionate about. When we choose, you will be the first to know!

Share your ACTIONS with us – and help us change the world!

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Happy Thanksgiving to Our U.S.A. Friends!


In Canada we celebrate our Thanksgiving in October, it seems to me that living here and celebrating at an earlier date affords me the time to “work-into” my Christmas planning. For many in the United States, the immediate days following the Thanksgiving feast, shopping hits an all-time high as people leap directly from Thanksgiving to Christmas giving! 

As a plans of action strategist, being afforded time to plan between the holidays is a luxury I both enjoy and wish to keep. I also make time to be grateful on both days, the Canadian and U.S.A. Thanksgiving. With family on both sides of the border we are not always able to get together and so we send messages of thanks for each other and our prosperous lives via email, facebook, or phone. This year I am exceptionally grateful for the many people who have entered into the “Strategic Sense” community and welcome their part in helping leaders kick it up a notch! 

May our U.S.A friends have a wonderful holiday whilst enjoying great friends, family and food. May our Canadian friends take a moment in the day whereby they recall all those things for which they are truly grateful. 

Look forward to a great discussion and observation on “planning” and what that means for decision makers who invest in ‘planning tools’ in the next blog. In conversation this week, a colleague shared some experiences on these tools and I look forward to sharing those with you!

In the meantime, have a wonderful day, regardless of where you live or what celebrations you have in your life today!

Patti Dragland, President – Strategic Sense

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