Make Time to Care About Kids & Families
My kids and family mean everything to me. @BobHCC and I are kept pretty busy raising raising three exceptional individuals who are actively learning the art of unconventional thinking. I'm also the proud step mom of two strong and capable adult step daughters. Plus my mom and dad are each 79 years old. We have a busy, crazy and hectic life – but we do our very best to keep our family connections strong. It takes effort, yet we are always working on it – because it matters.
I believe that other people's kids matter a lot too – I've dedicated much of my career to creating services that support children and families. One child at a time ~ one family at a time; there is much difference that can be made in the world.
Remember this ~ All kids and families matter ~ locally & globally.
And so there is a time for everything. As we all know…a time for work, a time for play and a time for rest. A time to dream and a time to act. A time to stop and a time to go. The list goes on and on. With the days of our lives going by so quickly, it can be easy to forget what is actually happening within our lives. Let me assure you though, it is all happening. Take a moment and think about it. What is the “everything” that is happening in your life?
This past week I have experienced pretty much all that I could have it seems. I have had good things happen. I have also had some truly challenging things happen. I have worked. I have played. I have laughed. I have cried. I have spent time with amazing friends in Prince Edward Island helping plan for the launch of this. I have rested. I have been there for my kids…for the good, the bad and the completely difficult. I have held amazing Skype calls with colleagues to strategize, to learn and to be accountable. I have made time to visit my Mom and to chat with my Dad. I, like many others – such as Diane Brogan, have contemplated the issues of poverty and worried about the level of homelessness. I have explored a million options related to a possible, sudden housing relocation for my own family. I have reached out to colleagues for advice and I have continued actioning the plans for my latest project. I have delivered wonderful news that made someone’s week the best it could possibly be. I have talked about alignment of values with action. I have reconfirmed the importance of authenticity – not only for myself but for those that I choose to surround myself with. I have supported colleagues, as they have made hard decisions in the face of incredible change. I even found the time to write a blog post on generosity in social media. Clearly, it has been a busy week. A good week and an exhausting week – all at the same time.
Here is the most important part though, through all of this I have still managed to fit some time in for dreaming or “blue skying” as I like to call it. Honestly, it is is one of the things that I do the very best in my life; especially when I am in PEI. I regularly create opportunities for my mind to wander, to explore and to consider what is next. I work things through and I solve impossible problems by being open to creativity. I let my mind loose to look at everything, leaving nothing in the dark or untouchable. I know this is one of the reasons that I am so attracted the daily blue skies that @lizstrauss shares with the world. They remind me, on a daily basis, that the possibilities within the universe are virtually endless. I was pleased when I discovered that my #SOBCon colleague @MartiKonstant also recently wrote how she makes room for this kind of expansive thinking in her post entitled Making Room for White Space (her own version of blue skying):
It is more likely that an idea came to you when there was more space in your brain to think creatively. On your walk or bicycle ride home from work. Or on your morning run or doing your yoga workout.
Another way of coming up with fresh ideas is to create your own white space. Change your surroundings for time alone to think or time to collaborate with a team is a good start. The new environment can be down the hall or across the street at a local coffee shop.
So…you see as in everything in life, there is a balance. There truly is a time for everything. Make sure that you are both acting and dreaming. Be true to your heart, your mind and your soul. Don’t just go through the day to day motions. Celebrate the good and the challenging. Most importantly, though, keep your mind open to the endless possibilities that are available to you. Dreaming AND acting will enable you to truly get to the very best possible places in YOUR life.
What is the “everything” that is happening in your life? Are you making room for dreaming? Do you act on your dreams?
Honestly, have a good look in the mirror and ask yourself if your heart and your mind are truly aligned together. Are you having heart to mind talks on a regular basis? Do you allow your head to hear your heart and what it really wants and needs every day? Do you know the true values that represent who you are?
Unfortunately, there are many people who are not able to do this. Actually, there are more than a few people who look in the mirror and no longer recognize themselves. They are lost in life. Excellent at going through the motions. Superb at being safe. Satisfied with what they have achieved. Inside though, in the quiet of their minds, they are numb. They have become so good at turning off the signals that their heart is trying to tell them that they are pros at maintaining the status quo. Look around you. Look at the people you love, the people you work with, your neighbours….just look. Guaranteed you will see people who have lost their way in the world and as a result they have checked out of their life….literally. They are just living day to day.
Today, I can admit I recently came very close to this same place in my own life. I became very good at doing what I needed to do. I managed. I was responsible. I was effective. As a result, slowly over time I began to disconnect my mind from my heart. Not all at once, but a little at first and then a lot more day by day. Why? Hard to say. Probably for many reasons – life, work, family and much more. The truth is that I too started to become very good at going through the day to day motions. Actually, I excelled at it. I did it because it was easy. It was safe. Most of all it required little commitment to my heart and as such it became increasingly simple to let go of the things that mattered the most to me. To just not worry about what it all really meant. Lucky for me though, somewhere inside my heart, I knew that my mind needed a wake up call. Not just a little one either but a really big one. I knew if I allowed myself to take the easy way out for any longer the game would be over. Safe would have won. Comfortable would mean the best of what was yet to come would be no longer. Even worse, the amazing technicolor dreams of my heart would be gone forever.
As a result of all of this, I did what I had to do. I did what was right. I forced my mind to listen to the signals my heart was sending. At first those signals were quiet but then over time they became louder and louder. At last, I came to a place of recognizing that I needed to stand up and claim my life. Actually claim it….own it. Put a stake in the ground and say this is who I am, what I stand for and where I am going. I knew that I needed to start living my life according to the true person that is within my heart…nothing more and certainly nothing less.
Now I recognize that there will be people who will see this post and think that perhaps I been reading a few too many self help books or that all of this sounds a little crazy. I assure you this is not the case. Not at all. What has happened is that I have come to a place in my life where I now understand that time stands still for no one. Not you. Not me. I now know that we all come into this world with a heart that can do amazing things…if we let it lead the way. All we have to do is listen and stop ourselves from living our life on autopilot because it is safe. We need to let go of the fears that we have within ourselves and simply accept that there is nothing more important than aligning our heart with our mind and ultimately our actions. I now know, that by truly doing this there is nothing to fear….nothing at all. Nothing I can’t handle will happen. Life is good and meant to be lived. My plan is to do this, each and every day. I will be fully present, fully engaged and fully connected to what truly matters in my heart. I know that the strength and opportunities that will come from that level of commitment to myself are endless. I also know there are other people in the world who also lead from the heart. Actually, there are a lot of them and we will attract one another and do amazingly, cool things together.
I am totally clear about who I am and where I am going. I am no longer worried about tomorrow. I’m also working hard to let go of second guessing myself. I fully embrace today and tomorrow. I plan to move forward in 2012 with an aligned heart and mind. I am 100% ready to live, laugh and earn by building connections, facilitating conversations and leading change to make the world a much better place. I will do this in my work, in my family, in my play and in the many ways that I live my life each and every day. It is exactly why I am here and is what is right for both my heart AND my mind.
When you look in the mirror do you see your true self? Are your mind and heart fully aligned or are you just going through the motions?
Back in 2006 I started blogging over on Typepad. I wrote my very first post not really understanding what would be next. Further, I had no idea how starting a blog would actually impact my life or the work that I do in my business. What I did know was that I enjoyed writing and as such the concept of sharing my thoughts on the things that mattered to me seemed to make sense on multiple levels.
Over the next few years, my blog became an outlet for me. Some days it seemed all I wanted to do was write and share ideas. I began to share lots of information about children, early learning and education; all areas that I am passionate about. I tied my writing to my consulting as much as I could and I wrote about the things that were most important to my work. I often blogged about social policy issues related to my area of expertise and I used my written voice to try and advocate for change in areas that mattered for children and families.
When my family and I moved from British Columbia to Prince Edward Island in 2007, my blog helped open doors for me. As a result of this, I developed many lifelong friendships and business relationships on PEI. Then when I eventually relocated back to British Columbia, my blog enabled me to continue to write about early learning and child care issues on PEI. Somehow this helped to bridge the countrywide gap that was suddenly between my beloved Island and myself.
All was good or at least so I thought, until one day I woke up and wondered what was next in my blogging world. I began to question if there really was value in what I was writing. I was also increasingly uncertain about how to link my written thoughts with the consulting work that I was doing. I struggled. I made several attempts to get back on the blog writing bandwagon; but with the increasing ease of social networks such as Twitter and Facebook my own place of blogging seemed to lose out. I basically gave up.
It is a funny thing when you begin to lose passion for something that was once really important to you. At first you question exactly what is happening. You wonder why you are no longer attracted to it in the same way that you used to be. If the answers don’t come easily then it becomes far too easy to make excuses. That is just what I did. I made excuses, lots and lots of excuses. I told myself that I was busy, that I just didn’t have the time to write. I told myself that what I had to say no longer aligned with the consulting work that I was doing. I told myself that it didn’t really matter. I sought refuge in the voices of others who were posting that blogging was no longer relevant.
Unfortunately though, a while later something far more worrisome began to happen. I actually started to lose confidence in my own abilities and in what my written voice could accomplish. I even began to question if my very own voice mattered. Before I knew it, I had effectively let my blogging voice die a small, quiet and uneventful death. At first this was not overly worrisome to me; I mean to the outside world I just wasn’t blogging anymore. However, somewhere within me there was a small inner voice that told me that I was on a slippery slope. Distant alarm bells began to quietly, yet persistently ring in the back of my mind. They told me that if I didn’t work to find and value my voice once again then there were far bigger things within me that would also begin to disappear. Troublesome? You bet. Scary? Totally.
Whenever your inner voice tells you that you are beginning to disappear, if even just a little, you should pay attention. You need to listen to yourself and you need to consider what it actually all means. Luckily, that’s just what I did. I chose to listen to my inner voice and I pushed myself to explore what was happening within me. I also challenged myself to begin to make new connections within the world of blogging. I reached out to other people who let their voices stand out in the crowd. I found plenty of people who were willing to share their own stories with me. I looked for big and small shining stars who seemed to be making a difference in their very own unique and special ways. I questioned them. Gradually I even leaned on some of them. I discussed my concerns with some of the stronger voices that I came to respect and trust.
After some months of work, I finally did something very simple, something incredibly simple. I gave myself permission to celebrate and unequivocally value the voice that exists within me. Further, I decided to give that voice a helping hand back from the edge of extinction by choosing to trust it once again; without question. That’s right, I chose to trust my own voice unconditionally. I also chose to believe that I could align my voice with my heart and with my actions. I chose to believe that my voice, if fully interconnected to my work, could make powerful and lasting differences.
So with the arrival of 2012, it is those very choices that will guide me. I now know that the more I trust my voice the stronger I will be. With strength, comes power to do meaningful, rewarding and joyful good in life. 2012 is going to be a very good year indeed.
Do you trust your voice? Do you celebrate it without hesitation? If not, what is getting in your way?
Some of you will recall that I wrote a post last week on the revised vision that I have developed for myself and much of my work. In my post I explained that:
Moving forward my time and related energies will be focused on living, laughing and earning by building connections, facilitating conversations and leading change to make the world a much better place for kids and families. I also plan to spend much more time exploring and writing about the intersection between our work lives and personal lives and the role that technology/social media plays in everything we do.
A new vision always sounds great…but sometimes it is nothing more than words. In my case, I want to be very open and accountable about what I am doing and also about where I am going. I also wanted to immediately connect my vision to moving toward outcomes. You see, if a vision is only words – without the actions to bring it to life; then it really means nothing at all. In order to support my efforts of moving toward achieving the above vision it has helped to begin launching new things. Creating my own new site here at www.boydjane.ca was one way to do that. Another was to launch the new Early Learning & Child Care Canada Website.
Here is what the site looks like as of today.
Clearly, the site is still very much in the design and development stages. All of that said, what I really wanted to do was to begin to build interest and also put a stake in the ground about the fact that something great is going to be happening online in Canada related to the field of Early Learning & Child Care. As such, I followed along the lines of what others such as AJ Leon – Pursuit of Everything & Greg Hartle – New Methods have done to prepare for the launch of their own new sites. Initially they have been sharing a limited amount of information on their new site landing pages. In the meantime; they have been working very hard to raise awareness, build interest and create a following. All of these things will ultimately support the communities that they wish to build. Assuming that they will have products to sell on their sites one day; then their community supporters stand a good chance of eventually also purchasing products or services from them. Behind the scenes of Early Learning & Child Care Canada, I have been doing a lot of this same type of work. As I move forward, I am integrating what I learn from this feedback into the initial design and features for the site. I also asking questions and then listening, listening and doing more listening. I plan to meet with many of the folks that I think this community will appeal to and I will be using their feedback to determine much of what the site will offer. Eventually, I will also work on ways to create opportunities for online connections to evolve to also include offline relationship building; though recognize this will be a long term effort that will likely evolve over time.
I have also launched a Facebook Page:
And just yesterday got a new Twitter account underway:
One of my key goals for this project is to also gather ongoing feedback, support and ideas from people who visit my www.boydjane.ca website and also from the various social media and online communities that I am part of. To date; I have found members of these communities to be exceptionally supportive and really willing to help me reach for my vision. It only makes sense to continue to do this; as I know it will truly help me create that very best online community for the Canadian Early Learning & Child Care field.
When you are building community online what key strategies do you use? What should I be paying the most attention to in the very early days of developing this community?
Jane Boyd with a few little friends at the Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers Child Care Program which opened in September 2009.
Recent story from Burnaby Now below:
It's a rare perk that many employees hope for but few find.
On-site child care is occasionally offered by universities, colleges and federal government agencies, but it isn't common in the private sector.
But Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers has taken on the problem of sparse child-care options at its headquarters in Burnaby. The company relocated to Burnaby in 2009 and included plans for a child-care centre for employees' children in the design of its facilities.
"We researched what other companies offer employees," Vic Pospiech, vice-president of human resources, says.
Child-care was one of the top items on the wish list of employees, he adds.
"One of the things that came to light was the acute shortage of child-care in Burnaby," Pospiech says.
When designing the new facilities, representatives of Ritchie Bros. met with city officials. Mayor Derek Corrigan was very supportive of the plan to include child-care, he adds.
The centre has space for 45 full-time children, but there are about 60 kids in all that use it throughout the year – some part-time or just during the summer, according to Pospiech.
The company also offers many other amenities to employees, including the Kelowna Café.
The company hasn't offered anything like the café in the past, Pospiech says, but because of the location of the building, felt it was important to provide a subsidized place for employees to get good food.
"We've always bent over backwards to try to provide amenities to our employees," he adds.
Other perks include a beer garden on Friday afternoons (with juice and pop for non-drinkers), video games for employee breaks, and a social committee that organizes children's Christmas parties, provides muffins on Fridays and plans themed lunches for holidays and events, Pospiech says. There is also a workout area with treadmills, elliptical machines, stationary bikes, a stair climber, a rowing machine, and universal and free weights.
The headquarters in the Big Bend neighbourhood is a LEED Gold-certified facility, the first in Burnaby, with more than 300 employees.
A New Westminster city counsellor is putting forth a plan that would give local politicians a break on the cost of babysitting.
Jaimie McEvoy is proposing that members who are required to attend special events on behalf of city be able to claim up to $40 a day for childcare.
He thinks that the cost of childcare for young families may be one of the reasons so few mothers and fathers of young children run for city council, and he wants to change that.
"How do you encourage people with families, people with young children, to participate? So there are barriers to that," he said.
A staff report says the financial impact of the child-care reiumbursement would be less than $500 per year.
The idea has been used before. A similar resolution was passed in Delta in 1995, but the city's mayor says it has rarely been used.
People CTV News spoke with on Monday had mixed reactions to the proposal.
"It seems like a valid expense," one woman said.
"Anything that's good for children I'll go for," another woman said.
"Nobody else is allowed to expense their babysitter," one man said.
McEvoy says he's had some harsh backlash, but he still supports to the idea.
Late Monday afternoon council decided to remove the motion from its meeting agenda but the public may still be able to say who will be able to pay the babysitter at tonight's council meeting.