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


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! 


*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


…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


Apps, Apps, Apps: Little Tech Wonders That Leave Us Wondering


The Solution to All of Your Problems.Anime Headphone

…ok, maybe, but how do I use them?!?

I am definitely guilty of suggesting apps to people without sending along some tips to make using them effective and easy. I have learned that simply suggesting an app to use is not enough. Teaching people how to integrate the technology into their lives is the key to benefitting from what the app has to offer. Any lasting change needs to become part your daily life and your way of being in the world. My suggestion is to be patient, take small steps, be kind when you forget (or fall right off that wagon!) and know that it is only the direction that you are heading, not how fast you get there, that is important

How to


an App into Your Life

I scoured the web to see if there was any information about how to integrate the use of an App into our lives. I found nuthin’, nil, zero, nil, zilch, zip, nada, diddly-squat…

What I did find was a bunch of brilliant lists of suggestions, which is super exciting, but with no tips on the “how” part. So, once you start using these review/suggestion sites, you can find a plethora (I know! cool word!) of app ideas, the next step is to figure out how to use the app and integrate it into your life so that it can create the benefits that you are looking for.

Tips n’ Suggestions

Goal Setting

You really need to start with a goal. Goals are what help us get through the painful times. When you feel stuck, you need to be clear about WHY you are doing all this yucky stuff, the stuff that you are procrastinating about, the slogging.

Ask yourself the following: What is it that I want to improve? Why is this important to me? How will this help me to get where I am going and create the life that I want? Where will I insert this change strategy in my life (practice times)?

Here are a few goal setting posts of mine to get you started:

Readiness to Change

First and foremost, you need to be ready to change, to grow and take on the sometimes scary task of moving forward with no idea about what the path and outcome will be like. Change is hard; “deciding” to change is the first step.

  • Check out a previous post of mine to help you understand your readiness level: Stages of Change

Self Knowledge

It is important to have an understanding of how YOU work. What your preferences are. There is a personality assessment called the Myers-Brigges Personalty Temperament (MBTI) that is a great place to start on the path to understanding your way of being in this word that is most effective.

Quick explanation of the MBTI…there are 4 scales on the MBTI:

  1. Extroversion (E) – Introversion (I): Favourite World Do you prefer to focus on the outer world or on your own inner world?
  2. Sensing (S) – Intuition (N): Information – Do you prefer to focus on the basic information you take in or do you prefer to interpret and add meaning?
  3. Thinking (T) – Feeling (F): Decisions – When making decisions, do you prefer to first look at logic and consistency or first look at the people and special circumstances?
  4. Judging (J) – Perceiving (P): Structure – In dealing with the outside world, do you prefer to get things decided or do you prefer to stay open to new information and options?


Free! Take a free version of the MBTI online: CLICK HERE

J-P Scale Interpretation for Life Change:

Judging – Perceiving Scale: The best scale to focus on to help you understand what your ideal circumstances needed to change your behaviour; structure vs flexibility.

With Judgers:

When integrating an app into your life…

  • Create a timetable and stick to it.
  • Allow time to prepare and learn about the app, the features, how it works in your life, what your goals are, etc.
  • Select an app that has the option to show your achievements and results. Take time to notice how far you have come, your progress, decisions, self-knowledge and behaviour change reached so far.
  • Set smaller goals that lead to your larger goal. Create milestones.

With Perceivers:

When integrating an app into your life…

  • Allow time for things to flow, not necessarily following your calendar, but still be dedicated to “keep trying”.
  • Try new new ideas to create possibilities.
  • Know that you need time to reflect and be creative.
  • Use this app in a way that encourages personal freedom and choice (use some features and not others).
  • Realize changes in direction are not necessarily impulsiveness


It takes time to change! Please don’t just try something once and then abandon it. If you are serious about personal growth, you need to allow time for your brain to change and create the neural pathways needed to build this new habit. It can take anywhere from 21 days, to 40 days to 245 days, depending on the person, the habit and the circumstances needed to have the new behaviour stick around. Source: University College of London


Integrating the use of the technology into your life is the key to staying power. If you really want to change, you need to make the commitment to fitting in the strategies, the steps and maintaining the stamina.  Yes, my, just now brain brilliance (temporary) approach: 3S’s…SSS! Follow the suggestions above and you will find yourself closer to actually making the app’s wisdom play a positive role in your life.


Make a Mash up!mashup-e1326567555756.jpg

mashup is a song or composition created by blending two or more pre-recorded songs, usually by overlaying the vocal track of one song seamlessly over the instrumental track of another, to the extent that such works are “transformative” of original content.

Source: Wikipedia 

Just like your favourite mashup songs, integrate apps into your life with the same philosopical approach. Find the best parts and create something even better that is more personalized to you and your learning goals.


Take Responsibility.jpg

Get Started with This App!

Screen Shot 2017-04-28 at 7.58.52 AM.png


Happy App-ing!

Feel free to message me if you would like some suggestions for apps to try around mental health & wellness 🙂

Dr. Heather Drummond, EdD (Counselling Psychology)

eSuccess-Coach * Counsellor * Passionate Advocate for Student Success



Motivation, Motiva, Mot: ZZZZZzzzz Huh?! Wait What?!?!

Never Quit

Shout Out to All College Students!

The semester is coming to an end and likely, so to is your motivation to keep on task. Oh how I  remember the semester end so well. I just lost all my drive and energy to conquer the intense feeling of being overwhelmed all the time.

I would go through rapid cycles (and sometimes still do) of “ok, I can do this, no problem, I got this” to “I just want to quit!!!!” I was consumed with thoughts of wanting the relentless pain, and lack of sleep, to end. I just wanted a life without constant negative mental chatter, the mental nagging (“you should, should, should…”) and immense pressure to do well (or at least finish). 

I thought the timing was right to share the various things that have worked for me during these very challenging times. Yes, I still do all of these things at various times in my life, because they work. I am defiantly not one of those people who gives advice that I do not take. I walk the walk. I suck it up and do what it takes. I feel stronger and better for having pushed myself. The more I rise to the challenge, the easier it has been to deal with future challenges.

Your Stronger Than You Know

Take a moment and grow your resilience, lean into your life, roll up your sleeves and move toward strength and resilience. Below are some Tips, Tricks and Hacks that I recommend for getting you through this heinous, painful, overwhelmed moment in your life. Yes, moment…it will not be forever….feels like it…but…feelings are not facts 😉





I will start with organizing the motivation enhancement hacks into two categories: Mindset and Perseverance.

You can’t get anywhere if your mindset is working against you and your mindset alone in not enough, you actually need to stop thinking about something and just do it.


  • Wise Mind: Foster a Wise Mind. Get your Thinking Mind and Your Emotional Mind to smarten up and be friends and work together toward the wisdom it is going to take to get stuff done.
  • Tweak Your State of Mind:
    • Do things deliberately to change your state of mind. If you are feeling low, do things that elevate your mood. Get Started with the Following Ideas: “22 Ways to Change Your State of Mind“.
    • Use motivational quotes to shift your thinking and offer a wider perspective.
    • Use positive imagery. Imagine yourself at the end of exams. Are you proud of yourself for persevering? Imagine all the times that you wanted to quit and didn’t.
  • Perspective: 
    • This pain is temporary! “This too shall pass” is what I hear when my inner 4 year old starts tantruming and saying “I don’t wanna…whaaaaaa”. I move to “seriously, Heather, you are way to old for this whining, stop this, get it done, you are being a baby”. I would feel way worse, in the long run, if I just quit. I know this because I have quit in the past and regretted it.
    • Opportunity Focus: This is an opportunity to build, grow, become more resilient and to see what you are made of. I believe that we are who we are in the tough times, so work on building your strengths and be awesome in the times where adversity comes along and sucker punches you.
  • Personal Responsibility: Show up in your own life. Be the main character in your story. Work first, play later. Start adulting! Yes, this is not just a message for young people because many of us 40+ year olds fight being an adult too sometimes 😉 Do what you know you need to do, not just what you “feel” like doing. Don’t wait for others to do it for you, or to motivate you. Don’t wait for the perfect moment, do it now.
  • Bolster Your Self-Efficacy: This is about building a positive believe about yourself and your abilities. Carve out a moment in your chaotic life to reflect on what you have done well in the past, examples of where you wanted to give up but you didn’t, take an inventory of what comes easily to you and just take the time to purely notice what is actually going well in your life.

keep going.png


  • Make a Plan: Set goals, big and then smaller steps toward those goals. Take on bite sized pieces, take breaks and reward yourself. If you try to do too much too fast then you will burn yourself out or you will make so much work for yourself that it will be hard to even get started.persevere.jpg
  • Stay Active: When you keep your momentum going by keeping yourself on track, following your plan, you will find that the momentum you have is much easer to maintain….because science says so 😉
    • arrow-10.pngNewton’s first law of motion – sometimes referred to as the law of inertia. An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force. BE THE BODY IN MOTION! Avoid the unbalanced force of distraction, doubt and negative thinking. 


  • Hang Around With Motivated People: Study with people who are good for you, that you can learn from, that are feeling overwhelmed like you but work hard to remain in their wise mind and just get work done. These people can become role models who inspire you to push yourself beyond what you thought you were capable of. This is the quintessential story of my life. I am a people watcher (a.k.a vicarious learner) and I have managed to take what I witness and put it into action in my own life.
  • Do The Hardest Thing First: Seriously! It is the thing that you dread the most that is killing your confidence. That BIG chunk of work that is sapping your motivation to get started. Often this is just in your head and how you see this task. Shut off your judgemental and fearful thoughts and get going on this task, in small manageable pieces, step-by-step, until it is done. Just do your best in that situation, with the time that you have. It is better to hand something in rather than nothing.
  • Make It Fun: check out a previous blog post: Pain + Fun = Motivation


Some of My Favs

Motivational Quotes That Kick My Butt into ActionA Little Progress

“The pain you feel today will be the strength you feel tomorrow” – Unknown Author

“Fall down 7 times, Stand up 8” – Chinese Proverb

“Dont’ stop when you are tired, stop when you are done” – Unknown Author

“Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire” – Unknown Author

“Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear–not absence of fear.” —Mark Twain

Your Struggle is part of Your Story.jpg
“If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.” —Jim Rohn

“Be miserable. Or motivate yourself. Whatever has to be done, it’s always your choice.” —Wayne DyerTough Times.jpg


“You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it.” —Margaret Thatcher

“There is no chance, no destiny, no fate, that can hinder or
control the firm resolve of a determined soul.” –Ella Wheeler Wilcox

“There is no traffic jam along the extra mile.” —Roger Staubach

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

Known to be said by me, to many of my students. Sometimes they roll their eyes, but sometimes they take the advice and become the main character of their story.

Now get out there, shut off your critical mind, get some momentum, work first and play later and just get ‘er dun!

*Today’s blog post was brought to you by a very under motivated person who used GRITTY strategies to  make it to the finish line 😉

Dr. Heather Drummond, EdD (Counselling Psychology)

 eSuccess-Coach * Counsellor * Passionate Advocate for Student Success






Hardwiring Happiness: Take the Leap, Really, It’s Worth the Risk


Today I want to talk about your brain, your wonderful beautiful changeable brain. I am hoping that you will take in what I say today, not with defensiveness or with the notion that I am in anyway blaming you, or people who are suffering, but with the intention of helping you become empowered in your own healing.

I have been working in the mental health field since 1996, in various capacities, with all ages and backgrounds of wonderful humans. What I do know is that people can become incredibly resilient if we get out of the way and let the process take flight. Please do not misunderstand my message in today’s post and think that I am against medication, because I am definitely not. I am just opposed to the notion that medication is all that is needed in the mental wellbeing and healing process. If we want to change/grow, we need to do the work. Period. Full stop. Some of the most inspiring humans that I have met along my own journey are folks who have come from, and through, extreme adversity. Whether that be childhood trauma at the hands of a trusted adult or being born into a country that is in unimaginable crisis, these people found the strength to move through and flourish. I have learned so much from their stories of perseverance, letting go, letting be and growth after the trauma. It seems that if we have to endure adverse circumstances, we can, if we let ourselves face it and grow from it.

Ok, there it is, my point of view (which is shared by many incredible research psychologists and counsellors/therapists/mental health interveners). So, if you are in for the most amazing ride of your life, and feeling close to taking on the challenge of change, let’s start with a framing mindset for today.


MINDSET for Today:

I am jumping in with everything have,

whether I sink or swim,

at least I took that leap of faith.


*This statement inspires me and calms my soul.

I would love to have a very wise woman, like Dr. Maya Angelou say this to me when I am going through hell or a crisis of confidence in my life. It is her voice I hear.


PsychNerd Time!

Brain NerdI am calling in the big guns so that you believe little ol’ me when I say that you CAN actually change your brain. I want to share with you some tidbits from a book I recently read, by the oneHardwiring-Happiness and only, incredible neuropsychologist Dr. Rick Hansen, Hardwiring Happiness: The New Brain Science of Contentment, Calm, and Confidence (2013). I know, I know, you’re probably thinking that this is, yet another self-help book telling you that the answer to all your troubles is to just “think positive!”…and how do I do that again, you ask?!?! Well, this book presents the latest neuroscience research behind happiness and explains how you can reprogram your brain to focus on the good, rather than obsessing over the bad.

Quick Video Snack

….to Help You Get to Know this Amazing Researcher, Psychologist and Human…

Highlights from the Book….

I want to give you one quick tip from this book to get you started. If you are ready to change, and in the mindset for taking on the hard work of leaping toward what your life could be like, then I highly suggest you buy this book (I am not receiving any kickbacks from this, just think this is a great resource). The most important reason to spend your money on this life guide is that Rick Hansen talks about the importance of “taking in the good”, how this practice can change your brain and how to do this.

  • Take in the Good: This is a deliberate practice of making positive experiences stick around a little longer and linger in our implicit memory (part of our long term memory). He has created four steps to help you take in the good, which are easy to remember with the helpful acronym, HEAL.

Have a positive experience.
Enrich it.
Absorb it.
Link positive and negative material.

*Check out chapter 3, page 60, to learn how to do this.

My Advice for Today

Stop focusing on what could go wrong, and start focusing on what could go right.

Negative is not “more true” than than positive.


According to this Happiness Study: 52% of your life destiny is up to you and what you do to enhance it, despite your genetic background.



Believe me from my professional experience and my personal journey

…the risk is definitely worth it!

Read Hardwiring Happiness…and live your best life.

Leave a comment, question or feedback…share your experience 🙂

Dr. Heather Drummond, EdD (Counselling Psychology)

eSuccess-Coach * Passionate Advocate for Student Success



Academic Self-Efficacy: Upgrading Your NeckTop Computer


Did you know that you are walking around with one of the most amazing computers right on top of your shoulders!?!

Yes, your NeckTop Computer! Even this wonderful organic machine needs software upgrades now and then. Teach it how to learn, remember and adapt. By consistently learning, you upgrade your software, which makes your life so much easier because you can understand information at a quicker pace, store that information longer and be able to show off just how much you have learned by being able to handle those pesky quizzes, tests or exams 😉

BrainComputer.pngBrain Facts

  • About 100 billion neurons make up the human brain.
  • Each neuron connects approximately 10,000 neutrons together.
  • The human brain weighs about 3 pounds.
  • The cerebral cortex grows thicker the more it is used. That means you have more neural networks to process information and more memory capacity. The more you learn, the better your brain gets.
  • For all of you environmentalists…your NeckTop computer is powered bio-electrically! Just eat things that are healthy for you…feed and power this computer!

Learning How to Learn

Learning how to learn starts with developing your Academic-Self Efficacy; the belief that you have the skills necessary to successfully complete your courses and that you have the ability to improve, when necessary. For example…


  • Knowing how to schedule time to accomplish tasks.
  • Knowing how to take notes.
  • I knowing how to study to perform well on tests.
  • Knowing that you are good at research and writing papers.
  • Knowing and feeling that you are a very good student.
  • Having the experience of usually doing very well in school and at academic tasks.
  • Consistently finding ways to make your academic work interesting and absorbing (even when it is not at first).
  • Knowing that, despite obstacles, you are very capable of succeeding in your post-secondary program.

4 Ways to Develop Academic Self-Efficacy Beliefs

  • Performance accomplishments: The experience of mastery influences your perspective on your abilities. Successful experiences lead to greater feelings of self-efficacy. However, failing to deal with a task or challenge can also undermine and weaken self-efficacy.
    • If you avoid doing class presentations because you feel anxious or nervous, you never have the opportunity to improve, adapt, develop skills and believe that you can do this. Yes, despite how anxious you are, you can learn to at least survive presentations. I did.
  • Vicarious experience: Observing someone else perform a task or handle a situation
    can help you to perform the same task by imitation, and if you succeed in performing a task, you are likely to think that you will succeed as well, if the task is not too difficult. Observing people who are similar to yourself succeed will increase your beliefs that you can master a similar activity

    • Look around your classroom and your life. Who seems to “have it all together” or seems to know how to write papers, to study or to write tests. Ask them about their process. Observe, try and improve based on the experience of others.
  • Verbal persuasion: When other people encourage and convince you to perform a task, you tend to believe that you are more capable of performing the task. Constructive feedback is important in maintaining a sense of efficacy as it may help overcome self-doubt.
    • Ask for feedback from friends, classmates, professors/instructors or tutors. Learn from the constructive; learn from the encouragement.
  • Physiological states: Moods, emotions, physical reactions, and stress levels may influence how you feel about your personal abilities. If you are extremely nervous, you may begin to doubt and develop a weak sense of self-efficacy. If you are confident and feel no anxiety or nervousness at all, you may experience a sense of excitement that fosters a great sense of self-efficacy. It is the way people interpret and evaluate emotional states that is important for how they develop self-efficacy beliefs. For this reason, being able to diminish or control anxiety may have positive impact on self-efficacy beliefs.
    • Learn about YOUR brain. Learn more about this awesome computer. I have written extensively on emotion regulation, stress management, anxiety, check out some of my other posts to learn more about managing, understanding and improving your own NeckTop computer.

Adapted from the following source: Click Here


Step-by-Step Process


  • Academic Self-Efficacy Mindset: Start with building your Academic Self-efficacy mindset (above). This prepares your mind for the software upgrade process
  • Study Skills Questionnaire: Start with an assessment of your study skills tool kit. What you have; what you need.
  • Study Skill Toolbox: Make a list of skills that you already have. Make a plan for the areas you would like to improve (upgrade the software).
  • Software Upgrade: Start searching online or in human interactions, for tips, strategies to learn different ways of improving in the following areas:
    • Project Managing Your Academic Experience: Organization & Time Management
    • Note-Taking Strategies: Capturing the Knowledge
    • Leaning into Your Studies: Attitude, Learning Style, Active Learning and Memory Enhancement.
    • Being Tested: Strategies for Writing Quizzes, Tests and Exams.
    • Learning to Communicate: Research and Writing Skills
    • Presentations: Learning the Tips & Tricks
    • Working in Groups: Strategies for Making the Process Smooth and Effective.
*I used to have a 1969 VW Beetle that I painted red foot prints running from the back, over the top to the front. I could totally post rationalize that it was because I so strongly believed in the step-by-step human growth and change process, but really it was because I loved bare feet, I was very poor and the red paint was free 😉 I have grown 😉

Lets Get Started.png


Study Skills Questionnaire


Small Steps 1.png

Let me know what you think, what topics you would like me to cover or ideas you have. I would really LOVE to hear from you 🙂

Dr. Heather Drummond, EdD (Counselling Psychology)

eSuccess-Coach * Passionate Advocate for Student Success


Stressed?!!? Well Let’s Start With ‘Feelings are NOT Facts’

Feelings are Not Facts.png

Drowning in your feelings? Feeling overwhelmed?

I was going to write about study strategies today; however, I have been completely overwhelmed by the emotional pain my students have been experiencing lately. So, I thought that maybe study strategies would be a wee bit too lame of a topic under the circumstances. I have decided to share the perspective, the strategies and the experience of others (you are definitely not alone in this) that happen every day in my counselling office. Why should all this great information stay in a counselling box?!?! …me thinks…

So…Here I go…

Emotions, Emotions, Emotions

Blah, blah, blah…what are these feelings you speak of?!? Well…let’s start here:

Screen Shot 2017-02-03 at 8.50.03 AM.png

Emotional State

Yes, emotions can be VERY scary. I am not saying that they are not or that you shouldn’t “feel” a certain way. What I am doing is challenging you with the following questions: How do you want to react to the emotions? How do you want to live your life? What emotional house do you want to live in?

Yes, you have a choice.

A choice that requires a bunch of commitment and work. It is not easy, but I assure you the hard and scary change/growth work is well worth the struggle to get there. I do this every day in my own life. It gets so much easer with practice, so much so it has become a habit for me. I get it, it’s hard, but come on! Give it a go. What do you really have to lose? Oh, yeah, you may lose the constant suffering version of yourself. It all seriousness, this can be a hard shift. But still, let’s imagine a different life experience.

Let’s start with a seemingly simple formula that I will base the rest of this post on:

Emotional State + Emotion Regulation =

Pretty Awesome State of Personal Empowermenttemper-tantrum-girl

I love this graphic! This little cutie pretty much says it all.
This is often the look I get when I am talking about the possibility of change with my students.

Yup, Getting PsychNerdy on Y’all Again!

Brain Nerd

Just sharing the “FACTS” about emotion regulation, just to let you know that it is really possible 😉 Science says so!

There is some pretty great recent research looking at a bunch of different findings combined all together in a beautiful Regulatory Flexibility model. Ok, that is psychnerdy speak for taking all the best stuff and mushing it together in a way that people can understand and use easily in research and in their lives.

People respond to stressful events in different ways, depending on the event and on the regulatory strategies they choose. Coping and emotion regulation theorists have proposed dynamic models in which these two factors, the person and the situation, interact over time to inform adaptation. Source: Regulatory Flexibility: An Individual Differences Perspective on Coping and Emotion Regulation by George A. Bonanno & Charles L. Burton


Translation of Fig.1: So you have a stressful event in your life, you look at what it will take to work through it and decide if you can handle it, you then start using your coping skills, then decide if the strategy solved your problem or not. The flexibility part comes in as you keep on persevering and/or trying different strategies to cope. This is how you build resilience and adapt beautifully in life.

So now what? You ask!?!


Here are some coping skills to throw into this Regulatory Flexibility model 🙂

Emotion Regulation Strategiesemotion-surfing

Let’s build some…

Mindfulness Practice

Distress Tolerance Skills

Emotion Regulation Strategies

“We are not responsible for what breaks us, but we can be responsible for what puts us back together again. Naming the hurt is how we begin to repair our broken parts.” – Desmond Tutu, The book of Forgiving


Balanced Approach to Examining Information

*Don’t rely on how you feel alone. Feelings are great, but on their own, they may not be completely accurate in terms of the message being sent. Just because you feel it does NOT make it true. Look for the evidence.

Recipe for Writing a New Chapter in Your Life Story

Start with taking responsibility for your life.

“If you couldToday.jpg kick the person in the pants responsible for most of your trouble, you wouldn’t sit for a month.”― Theodore Roosevelt

…Then start writing a new story.

“If you own this story you get to write the ending.” ― Brené Brown

Writing prompts…

“I am a person who feels lots of things but they don’t define me. I am a person who takes responsibility for my own life and experience. I am a person who will work hard to create a life I love. I am….”

Here are some tools to get you started on creating a new life story:

Your life is your story. Write it well and edit often!

My Advice On …


Take a deep breath, and then another one, foster a self-compassionate mindset, examine those feelings and don’t assume they are facts.

Please don’t ever feel that I don’t want to hear your thoughts…I do! Send ’em along 🙂

Dr. Heather Drummond, EdD (Counselling Psychology)

eSuccess-Coach * Passionate Advocate for Student Success


Wanna Change? Give Mistakes a Huge Hug!


Last week I wrote about Prospective Hindsight as a means to better manage our lives by understanding our behavioural patterns. If you missed it, take a moment to take a peak, especially the advice delivered by a 4 year old around goal setting and self-compassion. So insightful!

Which leads me into my blog post today. Your gonna need a self-compassionate mindset to tackle all those goals you have set for yourself this year. So many people give up their learning and growth plans because of one slip, one setback, one bad experience or one mistake. PLEASE DON’T!  Because learning and change takes time. It is an evolution. It is all about direction NOT perfection. So set those goals, head in your desired direction and enjoy the journey.

Do Something that You've Never Done.jpg

Mistakes are not tools of mass self-concept destruction; they are wonderful little tools to help us clarify and learn so much more about ourselves.


If you don’t believe me, check out the very reputable Huffington Post and learn about 9 Powerful Lessons We Can Learn From Our Mistakes. See! Even they agree 🙂

Pull Up A Couch

16542-luxury-customizable-red-sofa…and check out this great TEDTalk from the fantastic, and very popular author, Elizabeth Gilbert.

Success, Failure and the Drive to Keep Creating

Elizabeth Gilbert was once an “unpublished diner waitress,” devastated by rejection letters. And yet, in the wake of the success of ‘Eat, Pray, Love,’ she found herself identifying strongly with her former self. With beautiful insight, Gilbert reflects on why success can be as disorienting as failure and offers a simple — though hard — way to carry on, regardless of outcomes.

Even she experienced setbacks, mistakes and disappointments. So if we want our lives to be different, lets pull on our gown up pants and start looking at mistakes as guides, sherpas, teachers…not self-esteem wreckers.



For Studentsinspirational-quotes-you-were-given-this-life

Over the next few weeks, I am going to start uploading a series of videos that I have created to help enhance the learning process. I truly believe that any type of life training, whether that be in a conventional school setting, on the job or in your life, learning can change everything for the better. For me, school profoundly changed by life by allowing me to gain greater control over my ability to support myself and my destiny. I believe that people can learn and grown and the following topics are what I know to be the most fundamental skills needed to succeed in any learning endeavour.

  • Project Managing Your Academic Experience: Organization & Time Management
  • Note-Taking Strategies: Capturing the Knowledge
  • Leaning into Your Studies: Attitude, Learning Style, Active Learning and Memory Enhancement.
  • Being Tested: Strategies for Writing Quizzes, Tests and Exams.
  • Learning to Communicate: Research and Writing Skills
  • Presentations: Learning the Tips & Tricks
  • Working in Groups: Strategies for Making the Process Smooth and Effective


There is no need to base your entire student self-esteem on past experiences. When you know better you do better. So let’s start making some mistakes together, feel a wee bit awkward and then start enjoying your new found success skills!

Dr. Heather Drummond, EdD (Counselling Psychology)

eSuccess-Coach * Passionate Advocate for Student Success




Prospective Hindsight: Fancy Word for “How to Set Yourself Up for Success in 2017”


Well it is 2017!

Happy New Year!

This is the time of year that many people view as a fresh start, a moment in their life to try their hand at changing things in their life for the better, setting new goals, taking risks and kicking their own butt.

Every year you probably see the same, very good, advice for how to set resolutions and achieve your goals. I have written on that precise topic. Check posts from 2016:

I know, I know great advice right?!

But…I hear you saying “yeah but”…

Yes the advice is great, but what if you can’t get the changes to stick around? Most people, including me, tend to crash hard on the goal-achieving part sometimes. So, that got me thinkin’, googlin’ and being curious about my own success process when I was awesome at “stick-to-it-ness” and made my goal a reality.

17366832dc4b52a56b00ae4c5955525dWhat I found was super radical.

So, keep reading and join me in shaking it up a bit this year and get all set up for success. This year I want you to do something super whacky….


Wait what??!

Yes! Plan to Fail!

Ok, stick with me and check out this fancy word:

Prospective Hindsight

Let’s break it down…

  • Prospective: is defined as something that is likely to happen at a future date; concerned with or applying to the future.
  • Hindsight: is defined as understanding of a situation or event only after it has happened or developed.


Prospective Hindsight is an attempt to determine the most likely reasons for future failure based upon past experience and create a plan to work around those potential pitfalls.

Check out this wonderful TEDTalk to help you understand a wee bit more about prospective hindsight.

Still Wondering Why You Should Foster Your Prospective Hindsight Ability?!?64820

It is the essence of any risk assessment in the business world because it hones your ability to spot problems before or as they occur. Business people tend to know their stuff because business success depends heavily on refining and streamlining processes. So, be your own business and project manage your life like a pro using Prospective Hindsight 🙂

Advice for Getting Started:

  • When setting goals, brainstorm about what could possibility go wrong in the process of meeting your goals. Explore where you tend to procrastinate, where your motivation tends to drop, what tends to overwhelm you, etc.
  • Try Asking Yourself…
    • At what point in the goal attainment process do I tend to be most vulnerable to quitting? 2weeks in? When life gets stressful?
    • What has gone wrong for me in the past when setting goals?
    • What do I think the possible causes were for not reaching the goal that I set? Was my goal to big? Did I not break it down to manageable pieces? Was this goal not my goal, but rather something someone else expected from me? Was I WAY too hard on myself and expected perfection all the time?
  • Play the “Devils Advocate” role in your own life. Look at your growth areas, weaknesses, stuff you are not good at yet, and use this information to make a plan. This can be hard to admit, but this is so important. This is how you learn to work WITH your characteristics or WORK AROUND them. Start by asking yourself what you know about yourself and work WITH your personality and skills, not against them.

Mindset VIDEO

Now that you have started to identify the likely reasons goals have fizzled out in the past, you now have a basis for approaching goal setting differently.

You just need the most helpful mindset to get started. Here is video from a 4 year old who is giving the most fantastic advice for setting goals. I was seriously shocked how insightful (and super cute) this little person was. Check this video out, you will not regret the time spent viewing it 😉

“Creativity is intelligence having fun” – Albert Einstein
Go out there, use the goal setting strategies, but add a little whacky in your approach, use some creativity and plan to fail!


I would love to hear about your adventures in applying prospective hindsight this year!

Dr. Heather Drummond, EdD (Counselling Psychology)

eSuccess-Coach * Passionate Advocate for Student Success


Thank You Stress! Another Weird and Wonderful Life Mystery Solved.


This is my last post of 2016 and I thought that I would match the theme to my life at this time. I feel an immense level of gratitude for many things in my life, most I have worked extremely hard for, through much adversity, and some that have just showed up in my life, like my wonderful husband and stepson <3. Just this little mind shift seems to make the stress in my life so much more manageable 🙂

Also, this year, this blog had over 5000 views from 94 countries! Wow! I feel so grateful for all the wonderful questions, kind words and clicks! I love sharing  my experience and knowledge with others and especially love hearing the life stories of others. So, today’s post will be about how important gratitude is for your health, and most importantly, how it helps with building stress tolerance.


I hear you saying, “So what is this gratitude that you speak of?!?”


Gratitude is the appreciation of what is valuable and meaningful to oneself; it is a general state of thankfulness and/or appreciation. The majority of empirical studies indicate that there is an association between gratitude and a sense of overall well being. SourceSansone & Sansone, 2010.


Once again, I will thread gratitude and stress though my 5 stress management components: Stress Knowledge, Self-Awareness, Receptive Mental State, Attitude and Coping Skills.

Stress 101: Stress Knowledge

Freaky word of the day…Psychoneuroimmunology!


It is the study of the interaction between psychological processes and the nervous and immune systems of the human body. Yes your brain is connected to the rest of your body 😉

There is some pretty cool research finding that grateful people tend to be more optimistic, a characteristic that researchers say boosts the do-what-you-love.jpgimmune system. In one, researchers compared the immune systems of healthy, first-year law students under stress (like all students!) found by midterm, optimistic students maintained higher numbers of the blood cells that protect the immune system, compared with their more pessimistic classmates. (Suzanne C. Segerstrom, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Psychology, University of Kentucky, Lexington). Grateful people tend to be more optimistic because gratitude helps you to see your whole life picture, not just the negative stuff. It is so much easier to be optimistic if you know that good things can actually happen because they are happening in your life.


Get out there and boost your health with a dose of gratitude!


pencil-holder-16293-large.pngDo you tend to infuse gratitude practices into your daily life? The following questionnaire is an opportunity for you to explore your relationship with gratitude and gain a wee bit more self-awareness in an area that helps you to manage your stress better.

Get out your pencils!

 Directions: Using the scale below as a guide, write a number beside each statement to indicate how much you agree with it.
  •  1=strongly disagree
  • 2=disagree
  • 3=slightly disagree
  • 4=neutral
  • 5=slightly agree
  • 6=agree
  • 7=strongly agree

____1. I have so much in life for which to be thankful.

____2. If I had to list everything that I felt grateful for, it would be a very long list.

____3. When I look at the world, I don’t see much for which to be grateful.*

____4. I am grateful to a wide variety of people.

____5. As I get older I find myself more able to appreciate the people, events, and situations that have been part of my life history.

____6. Long amounts of time can go by before I feel grateful to something or someone.*

*reverse scored items

Scoring Instructions:

  1. Add up your scores for items 1, 2, 4, and 5.
  2. Reverse your scores for items 3 and 6. That is, if you scored a “7,” give yourself a “1,” if you scored a “6,” give yourself a “2,” etc.
  3. Add the reversed scores for items 3 and 6 to the total from Step 1.This is your total GQ-6 score. This number should be between 6 and 42.


  • 25th Percentile: a score below 35 (bottom quartile)
  • 50th Percentile: a score below 38 (bottom half)
  • 75th Percentile: a score of 41 (higher than 75%)
  • Top 13%: a score of 42

Receptive Mental State

Let’s start with preparing your mind, putting it into a learning receptive state, for some gratitude easy gratitude strategies that you can squeeze into your daily life. Here is a great little meditation by the incredible Dr. Depak Chopra. He knows a bit about calming our minds in the pursuit of wellness 😉


Let’s now shift our state of mind and start creating an Attitude of Gratitude. Start doing things that shift your mindset. This is the one fundamental aspect of my approach to life that has guided me through every bump, barrier, setback, petty party, smack in the face, etc.

  • Journaling about things for which to be grateful
  • Thinking about someone for whom you are grateful
  • Writing/sending a letter to someone for whom you are grateful
  • Meditating on gratitude (present moment awareness)
  • Undertaking the “Count Your Blessings” exercise (at the end of the week, writing down three things for which you were grateful)
  • Practicing saying “thank you” in a sincere and meaningful way
  • Writing thank you notes
  • If religious, praying about your gratitudegratitufe-changes-everything

All of these practices force you to activate different areas of your brain than you normally do.Don’t believe me? Well…quick test, tell me 10 negative things about your life? Now tell me 10 positive things about your life? Which one was faster?!?! I know, the negative because it is a well worn “path” in your brain. You need to start doing some of the easy things above to start wearing down that “brain grass” in a new  direction. The positive 10 need to be just as fast 😉

Coping Skills


Pull up a chair, start making plans to add healthy coping strategies to your life this coming year. Check out my Coping Strategies Handout that will get you started. I have provided the ideas, you need to provide the “get-up-and-go” attitude and start taking charge of your life. We don’t have to be a victim to stressful events 🙂


Thank you so much for taking time to stop by my blog for a peek this year!

I feel so grateful that I have had this opportunity to share my passion and the years of wisdom with some pretty amazing people!

attitude-of-gratitude-thanks-to-self-service-data-prep-e1479403042856Dr. Heather Drummond, EdD (Counselling Psychology)

eSuccess-Coach * Passionate Advocate for Student Success


Stress Resilience Film Festival: Super Fun & Helpful Escapism!


Escapism & Stress Management

Apparently they say (who are ‘they’ anyway?!?!), that escapism is bad. So I looked it up, and started fantasizing 😉 ok, I started thinking about cool connections between stress management and escaping reality.


What I found, yet again, is that escapism is perfectly alright as long as it is done in moderation (like everything in life) and it doesn’t just slip into pure avoidance. Your brain needs a break from school work, from guilt, from, well, thinking heavily at all. So infuse a little healthy escapism into your day and become more stress resilient. My post today will be focused around healthy, learning based, entertainment escapism that gives your brain a shift break.


Just so I don’t lead you down a path of no return, Patrick Allan of Lifehacker has put together a pretty great list of suggestions to help you to “Snap Back to Reality“if you fall off the motivation wagon.

Before engaging in my Stress Film Festival, just to be safe, consider the following:

  1. Enforce the “Real Life-Right Now” Rule
  2. Redefine What It Means to Escape
  3. Identify What You’re Trying to Avoid (and Why)
  4. Aim for Smaller Doses of Escapism
  5. “Escape” to the World You’re Already In


64820.pngExploit “Bad” Habits to Your Advantage

*bad is a subjective word, I suggest defining “bad” lightly and compassionately 😉

When stress hits, we tend to procrastinate to avoid feeling overwhelmed and replace with escapism. It could then lead to you feeling crappy about yourself because you defined “avoid” as a bad thing, and then escapism becomes avoidance. Vicious cycle. Sometimes you just need to let your brain rest so that it works bstress-management-modeletter and all the stuff you need to remember when you are studying , will then increasingly be tucked away nicely in your long term memory. Tired brains do not work well (I know! Obvious).

So, since you are escaping, how about participate in my film festival and watch a series curated videos that help you manage your stress by addressing all my suggested FIVE areas of stress resilience building.

Sit down, take a load off, ESCAPE for a while and watch some videos that will help you manage your stress better and start you on the path to being a stress resilient person. Come on, there is no guilt in this escapism, you are learning!



Stress 101: Stress Knowledge

Stay Calm When You Know You Will Be Stressed

*I love this term “Prospective Hindsight”! It is all about hacking your brain and figuring out your behaviour patterns and making your brain/personality work FOR you. 

Hindsight: Moving forward successfully in your life with lessons from your past behaviour.


who-are-youSelf-awareness is one heck of a key component to becoming stress resilient. Know what stresses you out, how it does, why it does and what works for you,is the basis for mindfully deciding how you will go about your life creating the best possible life for yourself.

Receptive Mental State


If you don’t get enough sleep, there is no amount of mindfulness, self-awareness and coping strategies that will work because your mind will just go offline and leave you with nothing but an unfocused foggy view.

How to Get to Bed on Time and Stop Losing Sleep

*More information supporting this video: CLICK HERE


PodCastThe Science Behind Getting Better Sleep


Mindset Shift: Seeing Stress Differently…as a BFF!Stress Friends.jpg

Stress. It makes your heart pound, your breathing quicken and your forehead sweat. But while stress has been made into a public health enemy, new research suggests that stress may only be bad for you if you believe that to be the case. Psychologist Kelly McGonigal urges us to see stress as a positive, and introduces us to an unsung mechanism for stress reduction: reaching out to others.

Coping Skills

5 Simple Tips to Help You DE-STRESS

*This is a wonderful little reminder of what works in managing stress.



If were left thinking, yeah, great, but what if I have no idea HOW to think positively!!! Well, if  you are wanting to dig in’  a wee bit deeper psychologically…


Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

Start With Learning a Bit More About Thought Management

Check out a few of my past posts for more information

on how to apply CBT strategies in your life:

Is Anxiety Stopping You from Getting Stuff Done?

Anxiety, I Just Don’t Have Time For You!


On your mark, get set, ESCAPE! for stress resilience building 😉

Dr. Heather Drummond, EdD

eSuccess-Coach * Passionate Advocate for Student Success


Stress! Seriously, You Still Around??!?



Post #2 of the Stress Management Series

Ok, I am going to get briefly serious on y’all, [insert apology in advance ;)] because out-of-control stress can be dangerous to your mental, physical health and self-esteem. The upside, before you start to think this post is a complete bummer, is that stress is very manageable.

Back to bummer time [with a happy ending]…

There was a time in my early twenties that I thought that I was not going to make it through. Literally, done. I won’t give all the boring details, but imagine feeling like you were in the midst of the worst time in your life. I was wildly overwhelmed and any rational thought ability had abandoned me. It seemed that no matter what I tried, the outcome felt predetermined to fail, always. I felt as though something was “stacked against me, that I wasn’t meant to feel happy, that is just not who I was, nor the life I had. I was seriously not in a good place. The reason that I am telling you this, is because this was a point in my life that I really understood the importance of “being present”, noticing and listening to the encouraging signs around me. Still have you with me?!? Maybe not such a bummer?!?

I was getting home from one of my 3 jobs, that made up a full time job so that I could pay my tuition. I was tired, feeling very despondent and so poor that I barely had enough food for supper that night. It had just snowed, and for anyonDarkest before Dawn.jpge from a cold climate, you know that this can make the world look surreal, calm and beautiful. In a tree, next to my apartment, was a extremely tiny, calm and very brave little white owl. This is an unusual and unexpected sight in the city. This little guy looked at me as I spoke, he was unfazed and his presence just calmed and filled me with foreign feeling of hope. This was so weird. So weird that it affected me viscerally (my whole body felt calm for hours). Two days later, my life seemed to shift in very profound ways, leading me on very welcomed path. My hard work, and pain, was actually worth it.

It was the inexplicable sense of calm I experienced in the presence of that cute little owl, that compelled me to look up the meaning of owls showing up. What I found was that owls cam be seen as messengers appearing to provide guidance in confusing times, they can be a  blessing (or a bad omen…I chose to ignored that!) and are often associated with the  Greek Goddess Athena, sympbolizng wisdom and prophecy. Since that moment in my life, I have kept that calming image as one of my “happy place” moments to remind me that it is important for me to “see like an owl” in my dark times, knowing that this dificult moment will pass like all others have. I have the ability to move through.

Ok, enough seriousness…I leave you with this advice…

Be present your life, be in the present moment fully, looking for signs, gathering the “happy place moments” to pull out later as mood altering tools. Ask yourself, in the moment, what is going well in my life?

Post #2 of the Stress Management Series

This is the second post in my stress management series. If you found this one first, check out last weeks so that you understand my “5 Areas of Stress Management”. I will be offering tips in all five areas over the next few weeks.


Stress 101: Stress Knowledge

Distress vs Eustress

They both sound the same right?!? All bad.

Well, eustress and distress are related, like brothers, both affect our behaviour and quality of life, one in a good way and one, not so much.


Eustress is the good stress that motivates you to get stuff done …what what ?!?! you ask? Yes, there is good stress. Stress can be a motivator and provide incentive to get the job done. This stress is so good that some people really enjoy when they feel this way. I definitely do, and when I am in this “zone” I ride that wave, enjoy the state of “flow” and creativity shot that I get. Everyone needs a little bit of stress in their life in order to continue to be happy, motivated, challenged and productive. Stress is only bad when it gets into the zone makes you feel anxious, depressed and burned out because it becomes intolerable and feels unmanageable. This is the kind of stress most of us are familiar with and this is the kind of stress that leads to poor decision-making. So feeling motivated to keep on moving thought my five areas of stress resilience building?!?!


Emotional Self-Awareness is the ability to recognize your feelings and to differentiate between them, to know what you are feeling, and why, and to know what caused the feelings.

Emotional Self-Awareness Tip Sheet


Receptive Mental State

Sound Therapyheadphones.jpg

Seeing music as more than just a way to entertain and move our emotions, Jonathan recounts his own struggles with stress and anxiety, and explores the potential of sound as a healing force.

Attitude: Mindset

There is a new podcast series that I found that I absolutely love, “The Hidden Brain”.

It is described as “helping curious people understand the world, and themselves”. The one I recently listened to called “Embrace the Chaos” fits so well in the stress management area of Attitude, particularly setting a mindset that allows you to adjust, adapt and flourish even when you think things will be awful.

Check it out!


Embrace the Chaos: Episode 53

Coping Skills


Stress Relief Skill of the Day: Brain Dump

Collect all of those “worst-case-scenarios” that you have running free around your head. I know you have them, because you are human. You don’t want let those little pieces of illogical information running free around your mind and controlling your mood, so find them, label them, list them and then challenge them. Ask yourself the following:

  • Is what I am thinking really true?
  • What are the chances of this actually happening?
  • Have I made it through difficult times before?
  • What is a realistic way of thinking about this? (“I am really worried that I will fail” – don’t stop here! “but I know that I have 55% of the course still to do and I have been passing everything so far”).


Yes, there will be difficult times in your life. It is important to accept that and start developing the knowledge, mental state, attitude and skills to navigate this extraordinary journey that you are on. I often tell my students/clients that I would never give advice that I have not done or are not currently applying in my life.

Go out and enjoy this extraordinary journey armed with skills!



Dr. Heather Drummond, EdD (Counselling Psychology)

eSuccess-Coach * Passionate Advocate for Student Success


Breaking Up With Stress: A Stress Management Series to Help You Dump that $#%? From Your Life!


Stress Breakup.jpg

Stress Stress Stress

If you are anything like me, and the thousands of other people, you are probably very familiar with stress. You have been dating for a while now. It is a familiar and weirdly comfortable relationship, but it can get a wee bit abusive sometimes. Shall we start with some relationship counselling to get stress to smarten up?

To be completely honest with you…don’t shoot the messenger!!!…stress will always be a part of your life, even if you divorce it 😉 We just need to decide if we are BFF’s, acquaintances or, at least, healthy mature partners. Since stress is a stalker and a creeper, we may as well get friendly with that little devil if it is going to be in our lives.

I started thinking this week about what interventions I do in counselling sessions to help people understand, manage and reduce stress. So, I put this nifty little graphic together  (below) to help conceptualize the facets of stress. The way I see stress management/reduction is in a step-by-step process starting with Stress Knowledge (or at least a process of practice in all 5 areas). It is so important to understand what stress is neurologically and physiologically. Knowing what this horrible feeling is shows you that you are actually very normal and just an over-achiever 😉 The reaction is very functional and helpful in our survival but when we over use it, it becomes a pain in the &$$ in our life. Over the next few weeks I will slowly hand feed you (so I don’t stress you!) with some stress relationship advice and strategies to help you repair your relationship with stress. Each post will have a little bit of Stress Knowledge, some Self-Awareness strategies to help make this process personal to you, some strategies to kick your brain’s butt and develop a stress busting Attitude and a side of some Coping Skills to help you communicate better in your relationship with stress.

Stress Management Process.jpg


Stress 101: Some Knowledge to Empower You

How Stress Effects Your Brain


Signs of Stress

Everyone reacts to stress differently. However, some common signs and symptoms of the fight or flight response include:

  • Frequent headaches.
  • Cold or sweaty hands and feet.
  • Frequent heartburn, stomach pain or nausea.
  • Panic attacks.
  • Excessive sleeping, or insomnia.
  • Persistent difficulty concentrating.
  • Obsessive or compulsive behaviors.
  • Social withdrawal or isolation.
  • Constant fatigue.
  • Irritability and angry episodes.
  • Significant weight gain or loss.
  • Consistent feelings of being overwhelmed or overloaded.

Self-Awareness: Personality and StressENFP.jpg

Take This Quiz: CLICK HERE

Check This Out: Stress Tips for Your Personality Temperament

Positive Mental State


Try a Guided Meditation – 20 Minutes 


5 Steps on How to Build Resilience

Coping Skills: Breaking Up with Stress

…or at least repairing the relationship…

Your relationship with stress can change.

Having it Together.jpg

Be patient, lean in, try new strategies and shape the life you want.



Dr. Heather Drummond, EdD (Counselling Psychology)

eSuccess-Coach * Passionate Advocate for Student Success