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Habit of Mind 4 (HoM)

August 8th, 2019 · Comments Off


Habit of Mind 4: Thinking Flexibly

“The art of life lies in a constant readjustment to our surroundings.”

- Kakuzo Okakura

Thinking flexibly is all about having the mindset of change, for better or worse. Looking at every situation and believing, no matter what that there are other viable solutions and pathways. The art of having this mindset is called – growth mindset, which we will cover in an upcoming blog.

Flexible thinking is useful in all matters of life, including daily routine – home/family interactions and at work.

All of these things challenge us in their own ways, everyday – constantly!

Example – that one day a week where your children refuse to get out of bed, then the whole day is off due to being behind schedule. Or those days where you stub almost every toe and spill every drink on yourself- those are the worst! Even that one day that everybody has, where nothing at work seems to being going the way you expected.

This is where flexible thinking becomes your knight in shining armor!

We live in a booming and ever changing and evolving everyday. This means we have to work very hard to stay relevant! This is only achieved by being adaptable. “Newness” is everywhere and in every workplace – it is giving someone anxiety, including me. The science behind nueroplasticity shows us that change is strange, for everyone, at first!

Steps to Being Flexible at Work:

  1. Multiple solutions – not fixed on one and okay with others.
  2. Light Bulb Ideas! Be okay with surprises
  3. Open to expansion on the team and roles changing within it.
  4. Trust yourself, your ideas – be confident and do it calmly.
  5. Experiment, try new things and try them again!
  6. Failure = Opportunity – so find it.
  7. Use your surroundings & apply what you know – resourceful
  8. Make a pros/cons list – predict
  9. Skip the WHINE but not the WINE(only authorized at home)
  10. You are never alone – your brain is another resource – talk it out!
  11. Someone messed it up – big time – don’t blame them.
  12. You did all the work, but don’t take all the credit.
  13. Curiosity does not kill the cat, it gets them a pay rise!
  14. Adapt. Change. Grow – be flexible and think flexibly.
  15. Stay current – understand those around you and their personalities – your tone can make changes!
  16. Remain open, keep your mind open.
  17. Systems work – see them, find them, use them.
  18. Know what you stand for.

What do you stand for ? What does change mean to you? How do you deal?

Ways to find out.

Ask yourself the following:

  • How am I currently managing boundaries between work and personal life? Do I let work interrupt family? Family interrupt work? Both or neither?
  • How do I describe my primary identity? Am I primarily work focused, family focused, equally focused on work and family? Or is my primary identity tied other interests such as recreation, athletics, volunteering, religious activities?
  • To what degree do I have control over how I manage transitions between work and family?
  • How engaged and effective am I? What changes would I like to make? (Forbes, 2019)


Think with flexibility in all manners, challenge yourself to say yes!


Habits of Mind 3 (HoM)

August 8th, 2019 · Comments Off


Habit of Mind 3: Listening with Empathy and Understanding

Highly effective people spend an inordinate amount of time and energy listening (Covey, 1989). As previously posted, we learned about the difference between listening and hearing. This Habit of Mind takes it one step further, how to make listening meaningful. This is a skill everyone in today’s world struggles with and we know this because of all the research done that supports how listening is the least taught skill in schools today. (Costa&Kallick, 2008).

We as adults have to work twice as hard to learn how to listen and understand others with empathy. 2019 is a year of differences and freedom of speech. Social media provides vivid platforms and increased volume for our thoughts and feelings, but does it help empathize? Understand? Voice opinions respectfully? Respond with dignity?

All of these may not be required on Facebook while on the couch at home, but they are required in your workplace. In this post, we will discuss and share some strategies on how to improve this in your work environment.

Firstly, what is the difference between empathy and sympathy  – we gotta figure this out as research only one of them is effective in listening with empathy and understanding.

Image Attached Below: The Mud Hole 

8 Tactics for Work

1/ Time – patience, let it happen naturally – give it time.

2/ Be mindful of your body language and theirs – arms crossed shows you are not open to understanding. 

3/ Be the person who gets down into the hole and helps, empathy not sympathy

4/ Solutions – keep them to yourself – now is not the time to fix the problem, it’s time to listen – ask them if you can share solutions once they are done.

5/ Repeat a phrase or word

6/ Stay engaged and interested, prompt for more details

7/ Ask sensitive, open-ended questions

8/ Allow for silence

Being able to paraphrase another person’s ideas, detecting indicators (cues)of their feelings or emotional states in their oral and body language (empathy), accurately expressing another person’s concepts, emotions and problems—all are indications of listening behavior (Piaget called it “overcoming ego-centrism”).

A good listener tries to understand what the other person is saying. In the end he may disagree sharply, but because he disagrees, he wants to know exactly what it is he is disagreeing with. Most of the time, people we work with get frustrated, everybody does, sometimes we do – that is life – the real world is irritating. Sometimes we just need a shoulder to lean on and an ear to talk off.

Listen. Empathize. Understand.

(Health-for-America, 2019)

(Health-for-America, 2019)




Habits of Mind 1 (HoM)

July 2nd, 2019 · Comments Off

Habit of Mind 1: Persisting

“Persistence is the twin sister of excellence. One is a matter of quality; the other, a matter of time.”  

Marabel Morgan, The Electric Woman

Successful people don’t give up until the job is done. Regardless of the problems they face, they don’t quit until it’s complete. Always trying new ways to make it work. Even when they are tired, they have tried it a millions ways or when they are in a hurry. Successful people get jobs done right.

This is the art of persistence. Trying something and trying it again when it does not work. Even the tenth time, when the thought of “ is this even possible? “ crosses their minds, they still don’t stop. Instead, they try it again but in a different way. They find new and interesting ways in making it work. Nothing is a good project unless it is a project done well.

Persistence doesn’t always mean never give up. Sometimes it is good to know when to stop and take a break. If things aren’t falling into place after trying multiple different strategies. Then take a scheduled brain break, this allows us to process and for new information to enter our minds that may allow us to approach things differently the next time we try.

When you are working on a project, think about how you handle it when faced with a problem.

Do you persistent even why you have tried it 100 times ?

What if it just doesn’t work?

If you give up, you let despair win. You allow your mind and subconscious to believe that YOU can’t do it. Then the disbelief in your own abilities sets in. The more you try the better you get at getting it right.

Your brain is a muscle, persistence is the workout!


16 Habits of Mind

June 12th, 2019 · Comments Off

1/ Persisting

2/ Managing Impulsivity

3/ Listening with Empathy and Understanding

4/ Thinking Flexibly

5/ Thinking About our Thinking (Metacognition)

6/Striving for Accuracy and Precision

7/Questioning and Problem Posing

8/Applying Past Knowledge to New Situations

9/ Thinking and Communicating with Clarity and Precision

10/Gather Data Through All Senses

11/ Creating, Imagining and Innovating

12/ Responding with Wonderment and Awe

13/ Taking Responsible Risks

14/Finding Humor

15/ Thinking Interdependently

16/ Remaining Open to Continuous Learning

Now think, do any of these seem familiar? Which habits do you use on a daily basis ?

Some, any, all ?

How do you think these habits impact your problem solving skills? Daily challenges?

Are these habit of people who behave intelligently?

Interested? Find out more here.

Habits of Mind 2 (HoM)

May 24th, 2019 · Comments Off


Habit of Mind 2: Managing Impulsivity

“….goal directed self-imposed delay of gratification is perhaps the essence of emotional self-regulation: the ability to deny impulse in the service of a goal, whether it be building a business, solving an algebraic equation, or pursuing the Stanley cup.

Daniel Goleman Emotional Intelligence (1995) p. 83

Think before you act - a timeless quote and saying within our families for generations, but how do we do it?

Well….that is a tricky one.

Have the confidence to be your own resources. Trust yourself, know your limits and bounds and always, always, always check your emotional temperature.

This study we found about emotional intelligence and how it affects reasoning stated the following, “Participants who were asked to reflect on their emotions performed more poorly on the reasoning task than participants asked to reflect on cognitive aspects of the task. Affect intolerance moderated this effect such that people who were more tolerant of their emotions performed better in the cognitive reflection condition than in the emotional reflection condition, but individuals who were less tolerant of their emotions performed the same in both conditions. Overall, these studies support previous findings that emotion can negatively impact performance on reasoning tasks but suggest a more complex relationship for affect intolerance.” (Harvey, 2010)

The point of the study was to prove that your emotional temperature is everything and you would do well to measure it in every situation. Example, you are at work on the production line doing your best to receive the boxes from the person before you, tape them up and send them down the line. The productivity of each individual effects everyone on the line. The person before you has worked their much longer and is of course, faster than you are. At one point, the person in front of you is moving a bit slower that the pace you are sending the boxes and the fast guy up front is sending them quickly. You have assessed that the pace of the entire line is decreasing and tell the person in front, please slow down for a second so we can catch up. Nothing changes. You repeat yourself, again and then again. Now, you are getting frustrated and angry. These emotions cloud your thinking. Now, your choices are driven by that anger.

You shout out to the person in front, “Hey! I said slow down like 100 times, you deaf?”

At that point you realize, dang that was not right. That was impulsive. My anger got the best of me and I am sorry.Sometimes sorry is not enough and you can’t go back to make it right. Don’t worry – everyone makes mistakes.

When someone is not listening responding the way you want, STOP! Check your emotional temperature. The more you do this, the better at it you become. Takes only 7 repetitions to build a habit. Then its natural and before you know it your impulsivity is managed.

Reminder: You can only control yourself and nothing else.

Constant little mental notes – choose one – use it & love it!

  • Relax, and think it through!
  • Take your time!
  • Count to 10!
  • Take a break.
  • Breathe……
  • Try a different way.

This rushing feeling we get when we speak out of turn or know these answers, was so passionate within us when we were younger. Now our patience and impulsivity manifests in different ways such as: assumptions, disbelief, and judgement – these all create emotion.

In the words of Hangover- “Check yoself before you wreck yoself”

You can do it.

Everyone is impulsive, that’s human nature- be the better person and manage yours.


Habits of Mind

May 24th, 2019 · Comments Off

“When we no longer know what to do we have come to our real work and when we no longer know which way to go we have begun our real journey. The mind that is not baffled is not employed. The impeded stream is the one that sings.”

Wendell Berry

What do intelligent people do? What are their behaviors, what makes them intelligent in the way they behave? What makes them good problem solvers and how do they find solutions so well?

There are 16 characteristics that have been identified by researchers and scientists that have helped intelligent people of many adversities and professions. These characteristics have been formally noted as “The Habits of Mind”.

We are going to overview these habits at a simple level and in the upcoming weeks, we will dive deeper into each habit and what they entail in detail. Research shows young students who have embedded these habits into their daily lives improve their cognitive thinking abilities (CIA FIRST International School, 2019)

Habits of Mind (HoM) are “ 16 attributes of what human beings do when they behave intelligently. They are the characteristics of what intelligent people do when they are confronted with problems, the resolutions to which are not immediately apparent. These behaviors are seldom performed in isolation. Rather, clusters of such behaviors are drawn forth and employed in various situations. When listening intently, for example, one employs flexibility, metacognition, precise language and perhaps questioning. “ (Costa and Kallick, 2010)

What are the habits?

CHALLENGE! – Take 5 minutes, set a timer and see if you can guess what the 16 habits would be. Which habits in life are important for being successful and solutions focused?

Which 16 habits would you pick?

Tune in to our next blog to find out what the habits are.

Leader vs. Manager

April 30th, 2019 · Comments Off

Are you a leader or a manager? How do you know?

Remember that leaders inspire and instill. Lead by example by being what you expect of others.

If you show up late to work everyday, then how can you expect your team to be on time?

Throw your expectations out the window on that one.

Be action-based! Empower, don’t enable.

If everyday your team member asks for help on something and you do it for them, you are requiring them to rely on you. Teach them and watch them become empowered

Instead of tell, ask.

Instead of say, “John, don’t forget to empty the bins before you leave!”

Try, “Hey John, I know this is a silly question, but did you get the chance to empty the bins today?”

This question shows you respect his efforts, you understand he is busy and you are understanding whatever the outcome may turn out to be. Instead of questioning his intelligence.

Inspire vs. Investigate

Create value instead of counting it!

Treat your team like you care, have passion and respect for their work. Appreciate their efforts even if it is not what you requested or expected. Remember when you work on a team, you must expect the results and outcomes to be different then you have created in your mind, be ready for those differences and enjoy them.

Instead of, ” Josie, we talked about that already and it looks nothing like we discussed.”

Try, ” I like how you put your own spin on this, it’s headed in the right direction, can we make some  changes here?”

Don’t check on your team members to see if they are doing their job, check on them to see if they are doing okay.

Happy workers create good work.

Check out this video to learn more!

Be a Mentor

April 18th, 2019 · Comments Off

Are we proud of our work? Are you learning new shortcuts that you think everyone would benefit from ?  This is great! We are proud to have those moments and who says it’s wrong to share?

No One!

Being a mentor doesn’t mean being a babysitter, it means to advise, train or guide. Mentors are not experts, managers or being a senior member of staff.

Anyone can be a mentor. You can be a mentor!

Here is how:

  • Each mentoring opportunity is different and weird at first, share something about yourself– break the ice!
  • Listen carefully first, then advise.
  • Open doors, share your connections.
  • Share what you know, help them climb the learning curve quicker!
  • Remember when it was your first day, be patient and put yourself in their shoes.
  • Mindful language, remember to be solutions driven – if you share something you HATE about the work environment or company, they will likely hate it too -allow them to figure out their own personal opinions.
  • Take a break for questions, remember people often fear admitting they don’t know or understand so it is important to take time for questions or allow for a rewind!

Okay, so that is a lot!

Not everyone has time to help everyone or be a mentor.

That is okay, if you feel that way, we respect it and understand, BUT we challenge you!

Make at least one difference in each day by helping someone, just because.

Listening or Hearing ?

April 7th, 2019 · Comments Off

When we are talking to our loved ones, we listen.

When we are talking to our drunk friends, we hear.


Wait? What?

Listening and hearing are different.

Read here to find out more about how you can improve both!


Listening is the art of uses multiple sense to comprehend and think deeply about the sounds your are receiving, it is a skill of concentration. This skill is done to acquire knowledge and comprehend information. It’s psychological!


Energy at work can become disrupted and sometimes we get demotivated or angry at the circumstance, the people and environment around us. Sometimes we work with others who complain frequently, get agitated and are not always solutions focused. For the thousandth time, you just don’t want to hear what John or Josie are complaining about.


Instead of hearing it, listen to it.

Listen to the demeanor, find the core concern in the words and try giving sensitive/supportive feedback and respond with solutions, ideas and positivity.

Kill them with kindness!


Hearing is not a skill, it’s an ability. Just the simple art of receiving sounds with one sense out of five. It is a passive and physical bodily function that does not require concentration.


When someone enters your space, let them know where you stand with your energy on that day, is it the right time to be approached? Are you in a good mood?


Somedays, we ourselves don’t have the energy to listen and respond or even give advice.

Remember, you come first. Be a clear communicate and let them know, “ Hey, I am not really having a great day today, can we talk about this later?”  This sets a clear line that today is not the best day for you to a good listener or give advice.


It’s okay to do both, to listen or to hear, but it is important to understand yourself and your surroundings, be real about when you are only hearing and be focused when listening.

Making Work more than -just a job-

March 22nd, 2019 · Comments Off

As a young adult, we are taught to make meaningful choices in life. To make sure our job is something we love and eventually it will not be work at all.

Well, as adults, we learn that sometimes that is hogwash!

We have a family, homes and groceries to buy and sometimes the work we do it not for pleasure but in fact for the money we need. We are not denying the truth in this.

Although, we are ready to share some simple ways to make you fall in love with work again…

Ok, maybe not true love, but let’s shoot for LIKE!

A/ Look at the Big Picture

Time after time, day after day you may look at the work around you and think– meaningless!

If you change your perspective and look at it from multiple angles, you might see things differently.

What do you bring to the table? What assets do you have, that make you a great part of the team? How is what your doing today going to affect/effect the lives of others in the world?

B/Treat Each Other With Kindness

Even Brenda in HR, you think nobody likes her and she is always trying to make things difficult. That may or may not be true, but regardless, show her kindness and see how she changes. She never smiles back, that is ok, your smiling for her, not for you!

Be kind and respectful to those on your team, offer to help and see how their thoughts about you change and grow. People want to be around people who are kind. Kindness always wins, even when you are angry, kill your enemies with kindness!

C/Feel Accomplished

Research shows that people in the work environment, bosses, leaders, hygeine agents and even directors want to feel good about their work and see direct product or results. Everyone enjoys this feeling of success!

**Tired of waiting around for your boss to make you feel that way? Then let’s make a change! Let’s stop relying on them and do it for ourselves. Yes…. it is the same, trust us.

“If you want that sense of accomplishment, set benchmarks for yourself and focus on making progress toward small goals,” says Stefanie Wichansky, CEO at Randolph, N.J., management consulting and staffing firm Professional Resource Partners.

Set your own goals.

Check your own goals.

Reward yourself for the achievements of those goals.

Share your achievements.

Celebrate them!

Celebrate you!

Try these.

Step by step and change will come.

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Latest News & Tips

Habit of Mind 4 (HoM)
August 08, 2019

HOM 4 Habit of Mind 4: Thinking Flexibly “The art of life lies in a constant readjustment to our surroundings.” - Kakuzo Okakura Thinking [...]

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