New Year? Build Some Badass Positive Habits!

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This is Your Year!

You want to make some changes, take on some new challenges and keep developing into your best self. Whatever your goals are, the most important thing to remember is that this is a messy process, a beautifully messy process.

Don’t expect smooth sailing, or perfection, or the easy way out, if you want to grow. Personal development and change is all about geting out of your comfort zone. If you want your life to be different you need to do things differently.

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Doing things differently does not have to be painful! Sustainable change happens at a pace that is manageable for you. Focus on small shifts everyday that lead toward your goal. Accepting setbacks as learning, and not letting them derail you, is an important perspective to foster. It is all about the direction not perfection.


Perspectives, Strategies, Approaches and Ideas to Get You Started

  • Sustainable Progress: Just take it one day at a time. Your goal is to move in the right direction with patience and the acceptance of setbacks as part of the learning. Don’t try to change everything all at once, pick a few areas to work on. Small daily habits lead to long term growth.
  • Write Down Your Goals: Use a goal setting method such as S.M.A.R.T.
  • Make Your Goals Visible: Post them on your wall, create a card that you carry with you or create a vision board to remind you of where you are heading and why. Use this to visualize yourself accomplishing your goals.
  • Personal Wellness Approach: Surround yourself with positive influences. Reward yourself often when you are on the right track. Believe in yourself, and your ability to work through adversity, by consciously remembering the times when you have overcome difficulty in your life (write these down for future reference!). Acknowledge your positive attributes by also making a list of what you do well. Be kind to yourself by avoiding comparison with others (you have no idea what the real situation is for them).
  • Recognize Your Progress: “Feeling” like you are not succeeding is not fact. Feelings are fleeting. Take a moment and capture where you started and where you are now. Look at the facts.

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Feeling Stuck?

Not Sure How to Even Start Building New Habits?

Not Sure How to Get “Doing”?

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and read this!

How to Cultivate the Habits that Matter to You


Need Some Productivity Hacks?

10 Ways to Be More Productive in 2018


 

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One of the most important things that I have learned is that your goals need to be your own, not for someone else, if you want to achieve them. It is going to get tough at times and you need to be clear why you are working toward this goal. At times, you are going to want to quit, but if you can really see yourself achieving this goal and what it will do for you, it makes the hard times easier to work through 🙂


Dr. Heather Drummond, EdD (Counselling Psychology)

eSuccess-Coach * Passionate Advocate for Student Success

heather.drummond@mohawkcollege.ca

Coping, it’s Not the F-Word!

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It is this time of year that really gets me thinking of what people do to get through tough times. It can be a difficult month for so many people. What I have noticed is that people seem to use the word “coping” like the f-word, like a bad word, like a descriptor of a mental state of messiness (f^@%ed). But that is not true at all. Coping rocks! Adversity is an opportunity to put your skills to the test, to grow, to increase your adaptability, to learn that you, indeed, can do it. Read on, learn some new stuff, try some new stuff and surprise yourself with your ability to deal, even when you thought you couldn’t.


Life is messy.

Coping is happiness


 

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What changed my life, and the lives of so many of the students that I have learned from in my counselling practice, is that when you accept adversity, or barriers, as learning opportunities in your life you flourish. You start to rock this life because you learn to bounce back with all those wonderful skills you build.

Yes, there is always a moment when life knocks you on your ass, and you just lay there and whine, complain and use every word in the profanity realm (yes, I do that too). Then you go, “okay, that happened”, get sick of your pity party and then start doing something about it.


“Adversity can change you for the better, if you let it”

Me


SoS_Logo_1_Perspective Shift! YOLO!

So let’s start looking at coping differently…

“In psychology, coping means to invest conscious effort, to solve personal and interpersonal problems, in order to try to master, minimize or tolerate stress and conflict”  (Brougham, Zail, Mendoza, Celeste & Miller, 2009)

Take Away:

Coping is a good thing. Try to stop using that word to describe a bad mental state. Coping means you are rocking it. Coping happens at many levels. Sometimes it is small, sometimes it is big. It about doing something, not how big or small.

“Problems are not problems. Coping is the problem.”

Virginia Satir

Success and happiness depend on how well you can cope with the untidy, confusing, embarrassing, crappy or messy situations of the day. In the book, Peoplemaking, Virginia Satir, a legendary social worker, talked about problems not being the problem. Expecting life to not have problems is a big part of the problem.

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Put on the Work Clothes and Kick Butt!

Start with accepting that if you want things to be different, you have to do things differently. Also, accepting that we will always be out of our comfort zone when we are growing and becoming our best selves. So let’s take on these “problems” and build our ability to bounce back and take on this life you have.

Here are some ideas that I uses daily, and highly recommend: 

Work first Play Later

Feelings Are Not Facts!

Get Some Sleep!

  • Thoughts racing? Here is a great resource to help you with adding some z’s to your thought bubble 🙂 Check this out! 
  • Check out this TEDTalk to learn strategies to calm your busy mind.

 


 

What you do


Dr. Heather Drummond, EdD (Counselling Psychology)

eSuccess-Coach * Passionate Advocate for Student Success

heather.drummond@mohawkcollege.ca

References

  • Brougham, Ruby R.; Zail, Christy M.; Mendoza, Celeste M.; Miller, Janine R. (2009). “Stress, Sex Differences, and Coping Strategies Among College Students”. Current Psychology. 28 (2): 85–97. doi:10.1007/s12144-009-9047-0.

Stuck? Overwhelmed? Make the 4A’s Your BFF #Resilience

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Acceptance

Awareness – Acceptance – Adjustment -Action


Spoiler!

What you are about to read is not a slag to millennials, but rather a compliment!


 

Dear Millenials,

I know that you take a bunch of criticism from Boomers and GenXers, some if of it deserved 😉 some misinformed and wrong. So to balance out this perception,  I am going to share a good news story with you…

I have just come back to work after a province wide (24 colleges) faculty strike where I had the privilege of waking in circles, for little to no pay, taking a strong stand for quality education (which is super important). No, I didn’t want to be doing this but the cause was irresistible since education changed my life profoundly. Integrity means supporting your beliefs even when it is hard. I want you to have the incredible educational experience that I had so that you too can create your wildest dreams life.

So, we faculty were all very nervous coming back, wondering what we would be met with as the student-faculty paths started to intersect again. What I found was pretty incredible behaviour from you millennials 🙂

So many of you were stressed and overwhelmed, which is absolutely normal since you had no idea what the plan was for you to complete your semester. Within a week, after the plans were clear, the whole campus feeling transitioned from freaked out to functioning beautifully. Students listened, asked questions and started getting back to work and professors listened, asked questions and supported their students. So many of you decided that you would “lean in”, listen and figure out your next steps. You got all gritty and motivated and made the next step toward your success. Nicely done!

My advice to you is look around you at the students who are leaning into their studies, not complaining about what happened (staying stuck) but rather doing what it takes to get their semester completed successfully, one small step by one small step. There are some pretty great examples out there in your classes, sitting right beside you.  I am so impressed with your behaviour and resilient abilities 🙂 


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Well, this got me thinking about resilience building and a model that really helps bring the process to life.


Awareness  –  Acceptance  –  Adjustment  –  Action


icon2  Awareness

The first step in building your resilience is awareness.

  • Be aware of what is going on in your body and your brain. Where do you feel tension? Is your body telling you that something is wrong?
  • What are you feeling? Emotions contain information. Notice what they are telling you about the situation and yourself. If you are saying that you can’t do this, well that is exactly what your body is reacting to.
  • Try this! Mindfulness Practice is a great way to get started: Check this Out!

*Overall, awareness is reading your personal signs and knowing that there may be something that needs to change.

icon1  Acceptance

This is the part where you say, “okay, that happened”.

  • Feelings: Accept the way you feel is the way you feel. Feelings are are part of our natural response to experience. It is absolutely okay to feel disappointment, shock, sadness, overwhelmed or incompetent. But…
    • Remember that just because you feel a certain way, does not make it true. You may feel like you can’t handle something or that you are a failure, these are just feelings. Feelings are not facts!
    • Also, you don’t have to stay living in those feelings. Be careful how you interpret the message.

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  • Behaviour: Accept the situation for what it is, what you can and can not control. Do something to change the situation or change how you are reacting to it. I had an amazing professor who called staying stuck in things you can’t change as ‘baby wishes’. You can wish and wish and wish, but that will never change what is. This was a very helpful way of conceptualizing my stuck inner tantrum-prone 4 year old 🙂

 

icon4  Adjustment

This is where the “bouncing back” part of resilience begins.

This is where you start to make adjustments in your approach so that you can improve the situation. Asking yourself, How can I shift my attention and energy to something helpful?

Here are some tools to get you started:

  • Attitude Adjustment:
    • Adopt the attitude of making change happen in your life, not waiting for others to do it for you. You are your own advocate, show up in your own life. #MakeSomethingGoodHappen
  • Radical Acceptance: Check out this funky little therapy trick!
  • Cultivate Clarity: You need to have an idea of who you want to be, what qualities you want to possess and what you would like to accomplish in your life. If you know where you are going, the tough times are easier to navigate.
  • Take on the Challenge: Be a person who deals with anxiety and overwhelming emotions by approaching them, not avoiding them. The very thing that scares you is the thing you need to run toward, not away from. *You can also walk or even crawl because it is the direction matters 🙂

icon5  Action.

Take action and do something.

Do it consciously and intelligently. Use your emotional awareness, even if your choice is not to act immediately. Consider the last time you were in a state of indecisiveness.

How did you feel the moment you made a decision and took action?

What positive changes happened as a result?

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Adapted from: 4 Steps for Building Your Resilience


 

Still don’t believe me that this helps?!?!

Here are some facts to convince you tough ones out there…


PsychNerd TIME!

Brain Nerd

It has been a while!

I just can’t stop myself from dropping some nerd on you today 🙂

Here is some evidence that emphasizes the importance of cultivating the skill of acceptance. I highly recommend adding this to your self-development  life “to-do” list, especially if you want your life to be less overwhelm and drama and more “I got this” and “I can’t believe how this has changed my life”.

Blame my past

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Acceptance

Buddhist teachings on happiness have long held that accepting that which cannot be changed or controlled is key to reducing suffering.

So some pretty smart researchers, Broadbent, de Quadros-Wander & McGillivray (2013),  found that “perceived control” is a very important learned ability that fosters life satisfaction, happiness and wellbeing.

Perceived Control has Two Parts: 

Primary Control (External): the ability to make desired changes in your environment. Yes, you need to assesses the situation and see if there is anything you can do to make it better….and then do it.

Secondary Control (Internal): making changes within yourself to adapt to your environment; the acceptance of what can’t be controlled externally. You change your thinking about it, or work hard at stop thinking about it (stop dwelling on it), and start regrouping and designing your next steps.

*Both types of control are EQUALLY important in determining overall life satisfaction. Secondary Control, internal control, helped the research participants to cope with the losses in primary control that they had experienced.

 


I will end with the words of advice from a very wise woman….

“Bring your best self to whatever the challenge is”

Jennifer (Reid-Bicknell) Trapman 

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Be strong enough to let go and wise enough to wait/work for what you deserve. 

Dr. Heather Drummond, EdD (Counselling Psychology)

eSuccess-Coach * Passionate Advocate for Student Success

heather.drummond@mohawkcollege.ca


References

Broadbent J, de Quadros-Wander S, & McGillivray J (2013). Perceived Control’s Influence on Well-being in Residential Care vs. Community Dwelling Older Adults. Journal of Happiness Studies; DOI 10.1007/s10902-013-9452-9

Trouble Sleeping? Sprinkle a Little Gratitude into Your Life

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May You Wake With Gratitude

Here in Canada, we are celebrating Thanksgiving this weekend. I thought that this would be a great opportunity to get all nerdy on you and present some pretty great reasons to start infusing gratitude in your life.

The land that Canada is on was originally occupied, and cared for beautifully, by indigenous people. Since this land was taken over without negotiation, we Canadians could at least be grateful for the life that this land has given us. There is nothing worse that first world problem whining in a land of such prosperity. Ok, said my piece on why gratitude should be a given, but since it still seems to be a difficult task to master, let me tell you what a attitude of gratitude can do for your nocturnal angst.

Often the reason why people have difficulty getting to sleep, and sometimes remaining asleep, is what you think before you go to bed. Scared, fearful, anxious, freakout out thoughts keep you in a state of “fight or flight” in your brain. Seriously! Your brain kinda needs you to be alert if you are gonna use your fists or your legs to run away. So, my suggestion is to do the following:

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Brain Nerd

Sleepy PsychNerd

There are some pretty smart, researchers at the University of Manchester in England who looked at how gratitude might affect people’s snooze time. Their study included over 400 adults of all ages, even some with diagnosed sleep disorders. They asked these folks to complete questionnaires about gratitude, sleep and pre-sleep thoughts, and these people provided some pretty cool information that resulted in the data being smooshed into patterns and trends that showed that gratitude was related to having more positive thoughts, and fewer negative ones, at bedtime. What this means is that gratitude leads to dozing off faster and sleeping longer and better.

Study Results

*With nerdspeak translations

Gratitude was uniquely related to:

  • Total Sleep Quality: multiple measures of how you slept such as brain waves, duration, self-report of how you slept, etc.
  • Subjective Sleep Quality: how you thought you slept
  • Sleep Latency: fancy word, in sleep science, for the length of time that it takes to accomplish the transition from full wakefulness to sleep.
  • Sleep Duration: how long you slept as observed by sleep scientists.
  • Daytime Dysfunction: your amount of sleep mixed in with how well you function during the day.

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Practicing Gratitude

Here is an awesome resource, with a free APP :), to get you started on the magical infusion of gratitude in your life.

UNSTUCK: A Practical Guide to Gratitude

You can even get weekly free tips sent right to your email. Seriously, stop whining and start noticing what is going well in your life and you will start to sleep better (an then be less whiny). Even I get whiny at times, but I really try hard to balance my negative thinking with expanding my life view by forcing myself to also see what is going well. Trust me, it works 🙂

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Sleep Strategies

Surround your gratitude with healthy sleep habits.


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I wish you all a weekend of getting some gratitude swirling around your brain . This is the first step to better snoozing’ 🙂

Dr. Heather Drummond, EdD (Counselling Psychology)

eSuccess-Coach * Passionate Advocate for Student Success

heather.drummond@mohawkcollege.ca

 

References

Wood A.M., Joseph, S., Lloyd, J., Atkins, S. (2009). Gratitude influences sleep through the mechanism of pre-sleep cognitions. Journal of Psychosomatic Research 66  43–48

Whoops! Been Procrastinating? Channel Your Inner Badass!

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Well, if you are a student you have probably had a pretty great two weeks of slowly getting back into the academic game and hanging with friends (maybe partying a wee bit too).

But hey, you have had no assignments due, so what’s the rush right?!?

Wait what!??!

How did October get here so quickly!??!

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Ok, now that I have your your attention

and your adrenaline is sufficiently high!

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There is no need to continue freaking out and making some bad decisions, like pretending that assignments will magically be completed or skipping classes because it lowers your anxiety level. I have some ideas to help you dial down the freakout, channel this energy, use your powers for good and get some traction.


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This is the time to SHOW UP IN YOUR OWN LIFE or “Adulting” as some of you like to call it. FYI “adulting” actually means that you have free will, control over your own life, the master of your domain, can make choices on your own, the only one nagging you is you…yada yada…it is a pretty sweet state to be in, so stop the hating and avoiding 😉

Let’s Build an…

Internal Locus of Control

 


Brain NerdPsychNerd Time!!!

I’m sorry, this nerd just needs to be a wee bit PsychNerdy to make a point 😉

Locus of Control (LOC) is a concept that was developed by a pretty smart social psychologist Dr. Julian Rotter in 1954. It is a social learning theory that has been well tested and still holds up today. LOC considers the tendency of people to believe that control resides internally within them, or externally, with others or the situation.

So I bet you are wondering if you have an internal or external LOC?!?

Maybe not, but stick with me, it is good for you 🙂

Internal LOC

People with a high internal locus of control believe in their own ability to control themselves and influence the world around them. They see their future as being in their own hands and that their own choices lead to success or failure. (Source)

*They believe in their ability to change things.

*They tend to be more confident.

*They can kick their own butts when procrastination gets out of control.

External LOC

People with a high external locus of control believe that control over events and what other people do is outside them, and that they personally have little or no control over such things. They may even believe that others have control over them and that they can do nothing but obey. (Source)

*They tend to view things happening TO them and having little or no control over the situation.

*They tend to passively accept what is happening and do nothing about it.

*They tend to just give up when life gets rough, or until someone kicks their butt for them 😉


Take LOC Test!

This is the first step in understanding your explanatory style, or way understanding the world and being in the world, so that you can start to build resilience (Internal Locus of Control). It is a shift in thinking, reactions and skills.


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Whoop There it Is!

*whoops my 90s child slipped out 😉 Just for fun…

Ok, now back to semi-serious stuff. Check out this goal setting system that is scientifically proven to get you moving on your next steps toward badass-ary.

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“WOOP” is a strategy that Dr. Gabriele Oettingen, a professor at New York University (NYU) and her colleagues developed. It is a scientific badass approach to getting your life on track and reaching your goals. WOOP stands for…

Wish

Outcome

Obstacle

Plan

*The less-catchy term is “mental contrasting.” Ok, no more nerdy stuff from me 😉


Getting Starting WOOPing

Listen to This

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Hidden Brain Podcast

“WOOP: 4 Steps to Achieve Your Goals”

Watch This

Read This

WOOP In My Life


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Tell me stories about your badassary!

Dr. Heather Drummond, EdD (Counselling Psychology)

eSuccess-Coach * Passionate Advocate for Student Success

heather.drummond@mohawkcollege.ca

 

Resilience: Starting School With a Kick Butt Attitude!

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Happy ACADEMIC NEW YEAR!!!

What I love most about working in a college is the September fresh start. The exciting beginning of something new, the wonderful feeling of “I’ve got this!”, “it’s gonna be different this year”, “I’m going to be way more organized this time”. You get the chance to try new strategies which will take a wee bit more effort than just positive thinking. You have to do things differently if you want a different outcome.

The biggest risk to your success is the mental baggage that you are carrying around, probably subconsciously, in that wonderful brain of yours.

Often the focus is on all of your…

…and virtually none of the positive things that you have done to get this far in life and all the way to college! Good work BTW 🙂


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So, I wanted to start this academic year off by kicking the butt of self-doubt and procrastination hard with mind control….mahwahahaha >;)

No seriously, we can master our minds!

The first challenge I have for you is to begin the process of thinking about failure in a different way. To get you started on this epic mind shift, start by working on thinking about failure in a different way, like these successful folks do.


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Don’t Give Up!

One of the most important skills to build on your road to achieving your goals is resilience. Before you apply your time management strategies, before you start attacking your textbook readings, even before you start your classes, start thinking about building a mindset that is ready for the resilience building journey.


PsycNerdy Time!

Brain Nerd

In modern research psychology it has become popular to use the word GRIT to describe a form of resilience. Dr. Angela Duckworth is a pretty incredible social psychology researcher on GRIT and she describes it as “perseverance and passion for long-term goals.” I think it takes resilience to bounce back from failure to persevere through adversity and maintain your focus and passion on the path toward your goals. If you want to learn more about GRIT, check out her TedTalk!


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Courage, bravery, backbone, spirit, “strength of character”, willful, moral fiber, nerve, fortitude, toughness, hardiness, resolve, resolution, determination, tenacity, perseverance, endurance, guts & spunk!

 


“Life doesn’t get easier or more forgiving,

we get stronger and more resilient”


Let’s Get GRITTY and Resilient!

I want to use this awesome award winning video short created by Alan Barillaro, a Canadian and a Sheridan College graduate. The short involves a hungry baby sandpiper learning to overcome her fear of the water.

This video is such a brilliant way to show how people can learn their way through their fears and create the opportunity to develop to their fullest potential.


RW_work_trysomethingnew.jpgBuild Resilience, Prepare Your Brain!

Think about a time in your life that was particularly challenging or demanding, especially one that was difficult emotionally. Think about how you handled that situation and eventually came through on the other side.

Answer these questions:

  • What was your goal?
  • What was the outcome?
  • What obstacles did you have to overcome?
  • What unpleasant feelings and thoughts do you remember having in the situation?
  • Who, if anyone, did you receive external help and support from?
  • What specific attitudes and skills helped you cope with the situation?
  • How would you rate your resilience in that situation?
  • Why wasn’t it 0%?
  • What strengths and personal qualities helped you?
  • If it wasn’t 100%, how could your resilience be improved during similar situations in the future?
  • Based on your experience how might you advise someone else to cope with a similar situation in the future?

 

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Since life is not going to get any easier, we need to get stronger to deal with it. 

The big secret to success is sticking around long enough to see all your hard work turn into something great. Essentially, getting your butt handed to you and saying, “ok, that happened, sigh, now what do I need to do next?”


Please feel comfortable emailing me or commenting on this post. I love hearing your feedback and suggestions for topics!

Dr. Heather Drummond, EdD (Counselling Psychology)

eSuccess-Coach * Passionate Advocate for Student Success

heather.drummond@mohawkcollege.ca

Wanna Career?!? #Resilience #GRIT #Goal Setting #Adulting

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So, most students are now off for the summer and savouring the break from the relentless academic grind. I think now is the perfect time to work on those non-academic skills that help you successfully complete your program and transition to the workplace….eventually.

The Canadian Conference Board of Canada created this beautiful little document summarizing the  skills that employers are looking for.  This is the skillset that you want to start building if you want to become employable and in the drivers seat of your life. Wanna drive?!? Well, start building your skills in the following areas: Academic Skills, Personal Management Skills and Teamwork Skills.

Ok, now you know, no excuses 😉


Dont Freak Out


Yes, I know, life can feel overwhelming (me today) at times, it can feel like you were just not born with the natural ability (neither was I), it can feel like you will never have what it takes to finish your program (I grew past this with practice and experience, and a wee bit of whining sometimes!)….

Well, if you have been following me for a while, or you know me from the college, you probably know what I am going to say next 😉

Feelings are NOT facts!

…let’s get our “Wise Mind” kicked into gear so that we can build these skills! 

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*Check out one of my previous posts for more information about your Wise Mind.


The best way to get into your Wise Mind, and get building those skills, is to listen to both your Emotional Mind and your Rational Mind. Tell them both to cooperate!

Emotional Mind: “I have NO idea where to start! EEEEeeeek!” (probably some swearing is inserted here, or negative words about yourself)

Rational Mind: “There is an actual list from some smart researchers that tell me what I need to work on to increase my employability”

Wise Mind: “Ok, breathe, you got this, breathe, start at the beginning and take it step-by-step…sigh…breathe…Step #1, Personal Management Skills”arrow-black.png

Personal Management Skills

I have matched some, not all, of my previous posts that can help you to build the skills that employers are looking for. 

Positive Attitudes and Behaviours


Want to Change Your Attitude?!?!

#StopComplaining #Adaptability #Resilience #YouStandOut #Adulting


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…and become the potential employee that everyone wants to work with. 


Shoot me a message and tell me about your experiences stretching yourself to grow into the successful student and future employee you want to be! #ReactWell

Dr. Heather Drummond, EdD (Counselling Psychology)

eSuccess-Coach * Passionate Advocate for Student Success

heather.drummond@mohawkcollege.ca