Author Archives: Jennifer Chandler

A Purpose For Doubt

A Purpose For Doubt

Does it feel like you are living in tough times right now? Do you personally have doubt about your ability to cope with challenges in your life? Did you know that your doubt can help open the door to more critical thinking?

Tough times bring multiple things into focus and for many their first instinct is to hope it all goes away.  Doubt emerges on a cognitive level but on an emotional level our lack of belief doesn’t need to be debilitating.

Doubt can be the next motivator and an opportunity to strategize. How? Well, I will give an example:

I took a course once that was really tough. I questioned why I was even doing the course and doubted my ability to complete it. Armed with multiple reasons why I was not a good student, and a history of procrastination to wear as a badge, I believed it was going to be impossible to get assignments done.

Slowly but surely I pulled in support from various people who would help me stay on track. I looked for examples in my own life when I overcame an obstacle or challenged myself to do something I had never done before. My strategy was to plug away on the easier content and assignments first and build up my confidence to tackle the next level. Before I knew it I was done.

Doubt helped me to look critically at myself and encouraged me to find internal and external resources. The opportunity to know more and to believe that my narrative could change from being an average struggling student to a graduate of a program, opened up my awareness of what is possible.

Doubt has a purpose and we should acknowledge its role in our personal development.

2017 BC Elections Debate – My take on politics

2017 BC Elections Debate – My take on politics

As I watched the first British Columbia Election 2017 debate with Green Leader Andrew Weaver, Liberal Leader Christy Clark and NDP Leader John Horgan I was reminded why I didn’t explore Politics as a potential career path. BC’s Provincial Election has kicked off and with that comes campaign strategizing, back stabbing, hand shaking, fake smiling and noise making.

There is no doubt this is a big job representing the people, developing and amending policies and programs – among other things. Any decisions made can be felt far and wide and boy do we feel it! When it comes to politics it takes a special breed of people to run for election and an even stronger contingent of people willing to put their trust in their representative.

Truth vs. Fiction and The reality of certain decisions

I believe most legislators don’t have an understanding about what is really happening at the ground level. That is because they are reliant on individuals willing to contact their offices and they receive stats and second-hand information from representatives who oversee programs on behalf of the government. It’s hard to be everywhere.

In my industry alone so many of the governments decisions have negatively impacted the working environment – resulting in more workers leaving our industry and/or increased leaves of absence. It has most certainly impeded services to clients but you won’t hear a peep about that.

Instead a glowing shout out by Premier Clark about job creation will override the reality that people fall through the cracks in employment services every day.   Through this current numbers driven model of service many in our industry will argue that we Don’t have the luxury of placing people first – especially when it comes to supporting those who need it most.

Fudging numbers and spinning stories is what makes for interesting campaigns and if we don’t know better we’ll assume what our representatives are saying is the truth. The real truth is that politicians likely know – or learn rather quickly – that facts are buried in between fiction. They have figured out that people vote based on their own values and immediate needs and pay basic attention to everything else.

Sometimes it’s so hard to know what is going on and other times it’s glaringly obvious

In this debate I heard repeated reference to the NDP in the 90’s which doesn’t mean much to me now. I believe every individual,  party or company has the ability to evolve so why dredge up the past…show me what you got for 2017 and beyond!

The Green party keeps talking about corporations as if they are the bad guys. Not all corporations are bad. Yes, keep them under control as it pertains to political influence but  remember corporations provide jobs and aren’t we all grateful for that? Corporations donate to various charities so would you prefer they make less and therefore contribute less? Why not choose partnerships with innovative and responsible corporations so that you can spend less time mining my pocket to pay for things?

Here’s where I might offend a few people: I don’t think every taxpayer should have to pay for childcare. I have always felt that if you bring a child in this world you better be prepared to take care of it for the long-term. Of course, if you become a single parent raising children or the primary financial contributor to the home loses employment then that is a different story. The unforeseen often dictates changes – support should then be made available. Here again is where I think we need to be more innovative in our approach to such issues.

Polls, Trolls and Tripe don’t help much

Politicians on the campaign trail have still not understood that a large majority of voters hate negative campaigning. Although as we have seen south of the border, and in previous Canadian campaigns, mud slinging can happen. Getting out to vote should be made more attractive as we can’t take anything for granted.

My advice to candidates

John Horgan – Shut down the 90’s talk right away if anyone mentions it and share very clearly how the party has grown and will proceed. It’s not so much your personal reputation or presentation you have to worry about its the past mistakes that linger. No matter what you say that is the hurdle you face.

Christy Clark – Stop relying on “job loss and kids future fund being depleted”  as a threat if we vote for someone else. Give me a better reason to trust in your ability to know what’s really happening to people like seniors, youth at risk and persons with disabilities along with the infrastructure of this province.

Andrew Weaver – You are talking too fast. Slow it down, stop saying “we have a plan” and find a way to  spell it out better in the short time you have. Don’t dump on corporations because you are losing a whole host of voters that way. Find a way to make Green a word that doesn’t make people think the economy will be negatively impacted. We already know the environmental piece, focus listeners on other issues of importance.

Wow! I’m exhausted even writing about this! Yup, a future in politics is probably not for me and I still don’t know which way I will vote.

 

 

Easter Tradition Brings Special Memories

Easter Tradition Brings Special Memories

As we head into the Easter weekend I am reminded of a tradition my family held well into our adulthood – The Annual Easter Egg Hunt! I wish I could say that it was respectful, polite and all that wonderful stuff but really it always turned into a near blood bath sport. Highly competitive – and driven to get out months of pent-up energy – my sisters and anyone else brave enough to join in would run around the house looking for those little chocolate eggs.

Crashing into furniture, falling down stairs, executing last-minute dives that resulted in an elbow to someone’s face were all part of the crazy hunt. The person who was victorious didn’t savour the moment gracefully but instead held their bounty close and recounted every detail of events that led to their win. Does this sound like the spirit of Easter to you? Probably not.

Through it all we laughed so hard. I know there were moments that were out of hand but it still brings a smile to everyone’s face when we remember those days. We are much older now (not necessarily more mature) and getting together has become more difficult. I know none of our bodies could take that kind of punishment anymore.

When I think of Easter that is where my mind goes. I don’t remember the meals, the weather or conversations, but I do remember running with abandon and laughing all the way to find what the Easter Bunny so kindly left for our enjoyment. Oh, if only I could turn back the hands of time.

 

All Tangled Up

All Tangled Up

Couldn’t help but share this picture of my cousin’s dog caught in his favourite carpet. Yes, there will be days like this but thankfully someone will come to help when we get all tangled up.

 

Happy International Women’s Day 2017

Happy International Women’s Day 2017

Happy International Women’s Day! The significance of International Women’s Day may be different depending on where you live, how old you are and how you are treated but its value is not diminished.

According to the Oxford Dictionary EQUALITY is, The state of being equal, especially in status, rights, or opportunities.”

Do you feel that as a woman you have attained equality? OR If you are a man reading this blog post, Do you think that the women and girls in your life have equal status, rights and opportunities?

It is because of the obstacles still positioned in front of women that such an event becomes important. History – as we are taught – has not been very good at recording the stories of women. Their role in the development of our countries has been largely ignored. With this in mind, the organization of women has become necessary since the early 1900’s.

We do have so much to celebrate in life but this is one day when women can feel less alone with their challenges. It is good to honor each other and those that came before us.

There was a time when a women’s appearance in a public space was mostly limited to being on the arm of her man. Oh, have the times changed.

There are those that will question why we would need to gather and celebrate women.

It is because their achievements – despite what has been stacked against them – need validation. It is because the faces we see today may inspire the next generation of women to reach their full potential. The testimony we hear today may shape tomorrows laws. There can be one defining moment in a girls or woman’s life when she feels most powerful and it might be TODAY that such an experience occurs.

 

Status of Women Canada

What Trudeau Needs To Know About Women And Their Careers

What Trudeau Needs To Know About Women And Their Careers

After many generations of women in the workforce we are still trying to figure out their role, needs, qualities and how we can leverage their talents to create more prosperous nations.

The optics were good when Prime Minister Trudeau, President Trump and his daughter, Ivanka Trump gathered with female executives to talk about empowering women, creating jobs and  advancing women’s opportunities. Powerful people meeting to understand the barriers and successes of women in business.

Trump and Trudeau announced their creation of Canada-United States Council for Advancement of Women Entrepreneurs and Business Leaders – a long name with probably an even longer timeline before we see benefits. Should we be excited? Maybe, but I will reserve my enthusiasm.

I’m hoping that sooner rather than later that when we hear about a meeting to advance women  we might see a better representation of women at the table. Yes, speaking to women who have climbed the entrepreneurial and business ladder is both impressive and necessary but is it enough to warrant a big “Hurray”, for us?

After over twenty years supporting women’s career aspirations I’ve learned there are commonalities in how women approach their careers but I also know that it’s a mistake to assume women’s needs are the same. If advancement is the goal then one must first figure out which road they are travelling on and meet them where they stand. It is also helpful to be more inclusive because tomorrows entrepreneur or leader may come from unlikely beginnings.

Let me give you a sampling of the women I serve who could add value to this council:

Young single women just starting their careers full of hope, naivety, high expectations, nervousness and often untested confidence.  Up to this point, they have usually not experienced overt sexism on the job and haven’t had to market themselves for promotions. Most of these young women have disclosed a desire to make a difference but work isn’t everything. Full of ideas and energy it should be easy to mentor young women.

Mature business women with multiple experiences that have shaped them personally and professionally often say, “I want to remain relevant.” They may be changing their career direction or just starting to ask, “What’s next?” There is no shortage of mature women being over-looked by employers which leaves many of these women feeling like they have gone as far as they could or are allowed to go. Not leveraging their talents is a big mistake.

Immigrant women try to learn English while navigating cultural, educational and career changes. Many have experienced isolation in this new country but demonstrate strength and gratitude. I have met professional immigrant women have been surprised and disappointed when they found resistance in hiring not because of ESL but because of racism or protectionist attitudes.  We need to do a better job of advancing their education and creating connections that bring these women quicker to the table. (Creating meals in the back of restaurant is no place for a former Psychologist)

Aboriginal women, many but not all, face significant barriers to employment. Struggling with literacy, poverty and lack of transportation they know what impedes opportunities for success. Honoring aboriginal culture and meeting together we learn a lot about the how, why and where they wish to work. More emphasis needs to be placed on aboriginal representation in business. We need to nurture the entrepreneurial spirit so job creation happens in communities that need it most.

Moms returning to paid employment often tell a similar story. It’s common to hear how both male and female staff responded to their request for maternity leave negatively – as if it is placing a burden on the company or on individual staff members. Women making the choice to start a family also talk about the competition to keep their job and are concerned about what it will be like when they return. Moms returning to paid work tend to feel more pressure to keep up and not be perceived as unable to balance both family and career. Their jobs are placed in jeopardy because they still remain the first point of contact for family emergencies. (I haven’t even covered trusted/affordable childcare needs)

Women survivors of violence who have dreams of a better and safer life. These women – as diverse as they are – eventually reach a point where they can access services designed to empower and create work opportunities. If Trudeau and company were truly interested in supporting these women there would be centralized health organizations addressing their needs from start to finish instead of the fragmented systems/services we have now. Many women leaders and entrepreneurs have been born from a necessity to survive and thrive.

If we really want to advance women, then the next time these executives meet with the leaders of nations try saving some chairs for women who understand maternity, community, economy and management from a different but very real perspective.

 

 

 

Celebrating the Life of Mary Tyler Moore

Celebrating the Life of Mary Tyler Moore

Mary Tyler Moore lived 80 years but how do we sum up the life of Ms. Moore without really knowing her? I guess it can only be done by honoring our own experience, sharing research and recognizing the consciousness of her presence.

Some people, celebrity or not, become an influencer. They don’t necessarily set out to be influential but it happens as a result of doing what they do best. Mary Tyler Moore was one of those people.

Her career began through an interest in dance and acting. Starting at 17 years old with appearances in commercials  she made her way up to landing roles in a list of TV series. She is best remembered for The Dick Van Dyke Show and The Mary Tyler Moore Show.

For me, her influence was best felt through The Mary Tyler Moore Show. My mother used to watch it – I think everyone in our family did – but I really took to her character. She embodied what every girl and woman was striving for at the time. Her role inspired me to dream about all sorts of things like renting my own apartment one day, living by myself, having a good job and a strong voice when needed.

I remember an early episode where Mary stood up for herself to Lou and I thought, Wow, she’s got guts! Of course, it was played with comedy added but still a woman saying something so direct to a male boss? Wow! Even at my young age I knew enough to be impressed by Mary’s drive, compassion, friendships and barrier breaking position.

As an actress her comedy timing was perfect, facial expressions said it all, and she managed to strike a balance between the character’s small town innocence and her larger responsibilities. Of course, this was only a character she played but it meant something.

In real life Mary actively participated in raising awareness about diabetes and animal rights. She too had her struggles and overcame what she could but this made her a good embassador for causes.

If you want to see how much she positively impacted and inspired the life of someone you would have seen it when Mary made a surprise appearance on the Oprah Show. Oprah was a HUGE fan of Mary Tyler Moore and when her staff arranged for a surprise walk on to the stage Oprah broke into the ugly cry. I recall my own tears welling up as I knew Oprah was having a moment that many of us dream of having, the chance to meet the person who changed our world.

I have all the DVD’s of The Mary Tyler Moore Show and I cherish them. From the iconic hat tossing opening, to the music that is so familiar. Each hilarious and touching moment of episode after episode I, like many of you, were invited into Mary’s world. Surrounded by an equally talented cast Mary Tyler Moore turned the world on with her smile. We are fortunate that she has the capacity to still do that as she is immortalized on screen.

This actress and inspiring woman leaves us a little better. What she chose to do with her life and craft made a difference and isn’t that worth celebrating.

May her family, friends and colleagues find comfort in so many wonderful memories she left behind.

 

Women’s March 2017 – Wisdom needs a voice

Women’s March 2017 – Wisdom needs a voice

Women – and men who share the vision – are united today.

Women march to enhance and protect women’s freedom.

To remind those that think they are better or more connected to a higher power than women… You Are Wrong.

Because the road to anything that is worth having or protecting is better traveled together.

Because wisdom needs a voice and time has not healed all wounds.

To inject hope into the lives of sisters across this planet.

They have marched for generations because they had no choice.