Thursday, October 30, 2008

Picture Book of Goals: Lifelong Learning

When putting together a picture book of goals, planning and deciding on sub-goals are important steps towards making those goals happen. Sometimes, the steps and sub-goals can mean more education or skills upgrading. This is all part of Lifelong Learning.

Learning - not just for kids anymore!
Adult education, or student-centred education, is a growing area for self-development. No longer are the days of early education in youth followed by one career in adulthood. People have the opportunities to re-invent themselves several times over through the course of their lives; lives now with multiple careers. Sometimes, however, it is not a choice; rather it is a necessity. New skills need to be developed, more training and education, improve qualifications, and new life goals to figure out.

Fortunately, there are many options to meet the needs of lifelong learning and ongoing professional competency: workshops, conferences, night classes, in-house training sessions, and online course work (e-learning, distance education), for example.

Less Formal: More conversation and life experience
Part of what makes student-centred education appeal to adults is that it takes advantage of the fact that adults have life experiences that can be shared, and used to integrate new ideas and skills. Adults want practicality; to know that something being done is worthwhile; and they want to have an active voice in the process. This style of learning accentuates the student's needs, interests, and learning styles. As such, each student has a very active role in their learning experience, and in the process of making meaning out of what they know (experience) and what they are learning (new course work, skills training).

Lifelong learning and transitions between jobs and even into retirement
Creating new goals and paths for oneself, learning new skills, receiving up to date training, and even taking courses for one's own interest --- these are all part of visioning and re-visioning one's direction and goals in life. It is never too late to learn. Once thought to be the fixed sum of our traits and early learning experiences, people are clearly more than that. At any age in life, and in as many different circumstances, people choose to improve their skills and qualifications, to invest in a hobby or dream, and to be curious and learn more.

What's in your picture book of goals? And how will you get there?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Picture Book of Goals & Visualization Boards

Just to shift gears for a moment here, I was inspired once again by the idea of visualization boards, or picture books of goals. Choosing carefully pictures, images, and words that represent important goals and dreams is a lovely, reflective process. It takes a bit of time to think through what you want, where you want to go, and then how to represent it. It might help to have a particular question in mind, to focus your thoughts around, and then flip through magazines (travel, sports, architecture, business, whatever your interests and hobbies are, and so on), and use intuition to guide the selections of your images. Using head and heart, a visualization board emerges -- images and words pasted onto a poster board, or pasted into a journal or scrapbook. Looking back on those images, some of them might have come true, maybe in ways unexpected! Some might need updating, some re-visioning.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Sustainability: Green Jobs

Sustainability (n): the property of being sustainable

Sustainable (adj.):
  1. Capable of being sustained.
  2. Capable of being continued with minimal long-term effect on the environment.

This word has so many layers to it in today's world. Many people wish to sustain their jobs, to sustain their family relationships, to sustain in ecological and economical ways that provide a better future for their children. It can be a tall order!

Fortunately there are increasing ways to address all of these in small or large ways. For example, there are websites that promote green jobs. and (many great business resources on that site).

and even reliable websites about building a sustainable economy, for example: and

Of course, this is just one of the many aspect of sustainability. Considering an eco-friendly or proactive company might be an ultimate goal, but perhaps the other layers of sustainability, such as job and family sustainability come first, with an eye to the larger picture.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Recipe for Sustainability: An Employee Perspective

Recipe for Sustainability: An Employee Perspective

1 Cup of Flexibility
2 Cups of Work-Life Balance
1 Teaspoon of Lifelong Learning
1 Dash of Employee Incentives and Appreciation

It’s almost hard to believe that I have been working at Life Strategies for over 2 years now…looking back it still feels like it was just yesterday that I completed my practicum, with Life Strategies, in my final step to earn my Bachelors of Applied Arts in Psychology at Kwantlen University College.

Roberta discusses the concept of sustainability in a couple of her entries. The variety, flexibility, maintenance of work-life balance, opportunities for lifelong learning, and ongoing incentives and appreciation within my job definitely lends itself to creating a sustainable workforce. In my role as Project Coordinator this is my recipe for sustainability.

1 Cup of Flexibility

One of the things I love most about my job is the variety of work that I do and the flexibility within that work. When I first began at Life Strategies I remember being surprised. I had expected to walk in the first day and be told my job duties. Instead, quite the opposite happened. I was asked what my interests were, given an outline of current projects, and asked to select those projects that interested me the most! I couldn’t believe that as an employee I wasn’t being told what to do, but was instead given the freedom to create a role that suited me. This in turn, enabled me to create a job for myself based on my interests and skills. Two + years later, I am still given that flexibility. My employers recognize that to keep me engaged in the work I am doing, I need to be interested and working to my strengths.

2 Cups of Work-Life Balance

As much of our work is done online, we are able to work from our home offices. This has been a great benefit to me since I am able to set aside more time for hobbies and activities outside of work. We are also permitted to create our own schedules. Starting early in the morning helps me to balance my life by finishing my work day at an earlier hour – leaving me free time for most of the afternoon.

1 Teaspoon of Lifelong Learning

Developing my skills is another area of importance as this has enabled me to get involved in different aspects of the company – again expanding the variety in my job. In 2007, I became a Personality Dimensions® Level 1 Facilitator. I also earned a certificate in Psychometric Assessments: Selection, Administration, and Interpretation of “B” Level Tools.

1 Dash of Employee Incentives and Appreciation

During my work with Life Strategies there has never been a shortage of incentives and appreciation. Frequently, after completing larger projects we are given movie tickets or gift cards to coffee shops, and lunch out as a team happens almost on a weekly basis. In addition to extrinsic rewards, my employers and colleagues constantly give verbal appreciation. Both extrinsic and intrinsic rewards make me feel respected, appreciated, and motivated to continue to work hard and be a team player.