Dear 2017,

My word this year is ‘Push’.  You will hear this single word when you try to slow me down.  I will push back if you try to trip me up.  I will push to stand up if you try to knock down.  I will push a little harder if I feel I am out of fight.

I.  Will.  Push.

I’ve worked hard the last two years.  2015 was my doorway.  2016 brought me beauty.  I have put so many things in place.  2017 will be when I will push to cross off the big items from my list.  It will be the year I push the boundaries.  It will be the year I push myself to overcome challenges.  It will be my year to push.


A New Adventure

Last year I started a new adventure, which ended up rewriting my entire life.  Sixteen months later and my life barely resembles what it used.  The only mainstay are my girls, and my closest friends who stuck with me through the growing pains.

Part of my adventure was to actually do something with my writing.  I opened up a new site that will feature my novels once they are written.  But in the process, I actually wrote a children’s book as well.  It has been sent to the publisher, edited and translated into French.  The goal is to have it done this summer.

Lucky for me, the publisher allowed me to use my good friend to do the drawings, which I know will mean it takes longer as he is a busy guy, but it also means that it is a complete labour of love for my two lovely ladies who inspired the story and keep me going.  Being that it is a labour of love, I’ve decided to release the children’s books under my own name and not my pen name.

Below are a few rough sketches.  I can’t wait to see the finished copies.  He is so talented, yet so humble.

How To Create a Great Development Plan

Continuing with yesterday’s topic development plans, I did a bit of research on how to make them a more useful and successful tool.

Lifehacker has a great article on how to write a personal development plan.  Read it here and here

Great Leaders by Dan McCarthy has an article on writing one, even if you don’t plan on moving up the ladder just yet.  Check it out here.

And if you aren’t feeling that motivated, Tiny Buddha has an article on how to get there.

What’s with these IDPs anyway?

I am not a failure.  I’ve seen my own share of success,  and don’t back down from a challenge, yet I cringe when the yearly IDP is thrown around the workplace.
Employers spend a lot of money rolling out Independent Development Plans, implementing them, not to mention the payroll to execute them.
I work hard while I’m at work.   I learn as much as I can about my current employment.  But when my manager, and it doesn’t matter which one, tells me its time for me to work on  my IDP, I feel this defensive, “Get out of my bubble” feeling, like they’ve asked me something which is way too personal.

I don’t want to share what my goals.
I don’t want to go in the direction my employer thinks I should.
I’m just not committed enough to really have a goal in mind.
I just want my pay cheque so I pursue my real passion.
Nothing will come of this, but its a nice piece of paper to have.
Its like being asked what I want to be when I grow up, but only if I work for this company.
These are all answers I received when I asked various people to tell me their thoughts on IDP’s.

In every place I’ve worked, as IDP season comes up, I fill in the blanks, and hand it back to my employer, so it can be filed and asked to be resubmitted again the next year.  In fact, I’ve resubmitted the same report a few years in a row, just to see if anyone noticed.  No one did.  It’s not the intentions of the employer to have the program fail.  It’s a lack of resources.  Staffing is trimmed in most places to the extreme, where most employees do the work meant for at least two people, and managers are no exception.  Having to do their jobs, plus manage an IDP program for their staff as well as their own…  there’s just not enough hours in the day.
Why do companies use the IDP program, and insist on their staff participating, knowing that unless that person is highly motivated (and in which case probably already has come up with their own game plan anyway) it might not make a lick of difference to move that employee forward?  To propagate motivation.
IDP season is a chance to give the employer a spotlight to show on each individual and say “Look what you can do at our company.”  To foster a sense of ownership of the employees own merits, which should stave off employee turnover for just a bit longer.  And a failed IDP program is still cheaper than training someone new.
I’d like to explore this topic more.  After all, in theory it is a program meant to help everyone succeed.  How can I use it when my goals don’t coincide with my employers?
Thoughts?  Has anyone used an Employer directed development plan and made good on their goals?  How did you this play out?

Follow me at http://www.facebook.com/amandavstheworld to hear about up comings posts I’m working on.

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

I actually finished this book last month, but it has stuck with me and inspired me till this day, that I feel I need to honour it with its own review.

I fell upon this book through the Todoist blog and borrowed it from my local library that night.

At first, I’m not going to lie, I thought it was fluff and a silly self-help book.  Gretchen is a full-time writer, has more time, resources, and it would seem money, to throw at her project than I would, but it is still none the less inspiring.  I will not be going full-scale like she did, but I did write my own 10 Commandments list, and feel this book lead to my epiphany to do what I want, and write.   The lesson she learned on earning gold stars is something I myself am working on and can see in others more now.  I will reread again to gain another dose of inspiration and happiness injection and recommend this book to those who feel like they’ve lost something, but can’t quite put their finger on it.

To The 2016 Me.

2015 was a tough year, but progressive, which makes it better.  There were many changes this year and while change is good, it’s rarely easy.  The excitement you put into your own life was contagious and managed to infect others.
January brought about its cold, stiff, harsh winds in an attempt to rub your nose in last years mess, but you stayed strong and kept moving forward.  So much planning and research were done but a direction to head was finally found after so many years of stagnant drifting.  A little bit of effort yielded a fair bit of progress on your blog, which was just the right amount of a jump-start you needed to know you were on the right path.
February brought with it a new class to hone in on our direction and a need to buckle down and finish the planning to reach our goals.   The cold weather gave more opportunities to ice skate with the girls, do crafts and play guitar.  A couple of new tattoos are in there too.
In March we finished our course and get to put all of our learning to the test.  Spring is around the corner and you could smell it in the air when the wind blew just right, bringing rebirth and renewal; it was time to really put our planning is put to the test.
In April we saw more achievements for our efforts, having reached the halfway mark with 50 followers and 1500 views on our blog, and some short stories completed with just a few more sweeps of editing before publishing it.
May found you Europe bound, with a pit stop on your second home before hopping over to Spain.  It was an amazing first trip with Squeakers, and as always your trusted travel partner, Davey.  Every trip holds special lessons, and this one was no different.
Still on a high from our trip, we returned home, eager to share our adventures as well as what we’ve learned with our families, friends and readers.  Preparations were needed to exceed our success with last years summer programs through work,
July started with high energy with the anticipation of summer. The girls headed back to summer camps and with sunlight lasting till 9pm, many evenings were spent in the backyard, enjoying the fruits of our labour.
When the high heats started to mellow out in August, bike rides on the weekends and some walks through the forests with the girls were on the agenda.  Organization was in demand as all the up coming events started to take shape.
September was back to school for both the girls and mom, wanting to provide an example if constant learning.  You made the most of your time off, because the next four months were going to be very hectic.
October is when your event planning skills came into play, with both the girls annual open house and another Scare in the Square event, not to mention next years budget,Christmas planning as well as a NYE party planning.   Each one bigger and badder than last year.
November you spent both wrapping gifts as well as loose ends.  Reports on events were needed, as well as detail finalization for both up coming events and pending publishing.
December means the publication of your first ebook, and the exceeding of the initial goals your made for your blog, proving your all your blundering made a difference.  The holidays were kept simple which meant there was more time to enjoy the season.
It was a tough year, but more successful than the ones the proceeding it.  And now the joy of an all new set of goals and adventures comes…

Well Planned Resolutions

I’ve decided on not just one, but 3 resolutions this year, and I’m publicly declaring them so I will for sure be held accountable.
My first resolution is inspired by Project333. I have been accused of ‘never wearing the same outfit twice’ a few too many times to wonder about the amount of clothing I do own. I have purged, only keeping my favourite pieces, however it would seem I have a lot of favourites. So, I’ve challenged myself to not by one single piece of clothing this year. (I am allowing myself one exception by buying a new pair of work shoes in the spring.) So far I have made it through the January clearance racks, and not bought a single item. But I fear I have two challenges coming up that may tempt me further. My partner is shopping crime is coming for a visit in a few weeks, and I know a shopping trip will come up. Secondly, I’m heading to England this summer, and not buying clothing on Oxford st is going to be very tough…
My second resolution is somewhat linked to my 3rd resolution, but should hopefully prove to be easier than the first. This year I will take more sick days. I will stay home if I’m sick. And I will even take days off some when I’m not. I have already taken one this year, but sadly it was because I was sick, and not because I was just playing hooky.
My third and final resolution is to have more fun. (This is where playing hooky comes in.) I will have more fun with my kids, attend more school functions and field trips, be silly more often. I will LOL for real, and not just via text. I will remind myself every day that my house does not exist just to be cleaned. I’ll take more enjoyment from each day, focus on the joy, and scrap off what drags me down. I’ve signed up for music lessons with my kids, booked a trip, planned ‘dates’ with friends and my husband.
I think I’m off to a good start…

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