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Is Motivational Speaker in my future?

November 29, 2021

Recently folks that I respect and trust suggested that I add motivational speaker to my service offerings. What do you think?

The past two and a half days I attended a Start Up Weekend hosted by Navigate Small Business at Grenfell Campus, Memorial University in Corner Brook, NL. This weekend is a whirlwind of activity from pitching business ideas on Friday night to launching a business over the weekend. The event wraps up with pitching to a panel of judges on Sunday afternoon. The high quality ideas of the teams and their hard work always impresses me.

Keynote Address

This year, organizers asked me to give a keynote address to participants during our lunch break on Saturday. My start up experience started back in 2017 when I decided to make my first ever pitch. Since then, I was a mentor in 2018, and a pitch coach in 2019. The pandemic cancelled the event in 2020. This year I was once again a pitch coach. The keynote was something new to me. As a result of my own experiences, I decided my speech would be about my own startup weekend memories and my journey to becoming an entrepreneur.

A female motivational speaker making a speech with a microphone in her hand.
Keynote address November 27, 2021 #joselamstartup

Thankfully, my speech went off without a hitch! Folks laughed when I wanted them to. Unexpectedly, the audience gave me a round of applause during my talk! Likewise, what happened next surprised me. Some members of the audience that I truly and deeply respect gave me a hug. They told me I must become a motivational speaker. Others told me I inspired them. Late on Saturday, a shy, young man, came up to tell me how my speech touched him. He was not even participating in the startup weekend. Rather, he was a volunteer who was sitting with his friends during lunch and heard me speak. A day later, on Sunday, another person came up to me and said, “You touched me yesterday.” She said she did not know my story of how I became an entrepreneur. We only met after I started my business.

Getting paid to talk for a living?

My often family teases me about how much I can talk. My husband always add more time to my expected return time home when I am out. He knows I will inevitably meet someone along the way and stop to talk. I am very confident about public speaking. I should be; it is my job after all!

A natural storyteller with a passion for her heritage, Carole often says she is in her dream job as she gets to talk for a living.

The response from my keynote this weekend is making me pause and reflect. Consequently, I am asking myself, “Is motivational speaker in my future? Should I be adding that to my service offerings at Spicer Facilitation & Learning?”

I would love to hear your thoughts. Please drop me a comment on social media, send me an email, or give me a call. ~ Carole

Using an accountability partner

November 12, 2021

Having an accountability partner is a key way to help you achieve your goals. Read on to hear how one client is using me as hers.

What is an accountability partner?

According to Mary Fletcher, “Accountability partners are made up of one or more individuals who are willing to hold you accountable. The idea is that, once someone other than yourself knows what you need to do or what you want to achieve, there is a greater incentive to go out and do it to avoid having to explain why you didn’t to another person.”

The first time I heard this phrase was from Julie Lewis, owner of SassyTuna Studio. We were attending a export workshop together. She described how she used an accountability partner to keep her on track for one of her projects.

Working with Julie

A few months later, Julie asked me if I would be interested in working with her as a coach for a new initiative. Of course I said yes! We chatted on the phone, met over Zoom, shared countless emails. I was able to give her some project management tools to assist her in finding focus and direction for her creative idea.

Two smiling women wearing masks
At SassyTuna in St. John’s

On a recent trip to St. John’s, I arranged to visit her studio in person. We worked on her project and I helped her to set some milestones working backward from her desired end date. I suggested she go off-site to plan by herself and gave her a deadline of the end of November. I assured her that I would be following up with her to make sure she met my assigned “homework”. Later that evening she sent me a picture of our photo on her desk and said that she is using our photo as a reminder to remain on task and that she is accountable to me.

Image of a desk with a photograph in the left hand corner.
Our photo as a reminder to remain on task

Earlier today, she shared some photos of the timelines she has established for her project. Way ahead of schedule! She listed out her activities, established dependency relationships, and has set her course for the next 8 months. By sending me her pictures she is once more setting me up as an accountability partner. I now have record of her intentions and desired goals. I can easily set up reminders in my own calendar to check in on her.

My own accountability partners

Working with Julie has made me reflect on my own accountability partners. I wondered, do I even have any? The answer is a resounding YES!

I am part of a Mastermind group with Newfoundland and Labrador Organization of Women Entrepreneurs (NLOWE). We meet monthly as a group of women entrepreneurs with our lead facilitator. She guides us through our challenges, celebrates our successes, and helps us set goals. Along with the group, she holds us accountable for the work we are doing when we meet each month for updates.

I see a therapist every two months to discuss my mental well-being. He holds me accountable for taking care of myself. Without him, my self-care journey over the past six years would have been much more difficult.

For those of you who follow my blog, you know that back in September, my daughter, her fiancé and I set ourselves up as accountability partners for a wellness challenge. While we might not be as strict as we should be, having to share what we have been doing to improve our overall health is easier to do when we have actually taken steps to do so!

For more information on accountability partners, visit Goalcast. If I can help you in any way, please reach out to connect! ~ Carole

You must know a lot of stuff!

November 1, 2021

Inevitably when I describe what I do for a living, many people exclaim, “You must know a lot of stuff!” In actual fact, that is not true. It is my clients that know their stuff. I simply facilitate the knowledge in the room.

Variety is the “Spice”-r of life!

I love what I do. I love my clients. And, I love the variety of topics that I get to learn about. Over the past three years I have facilitated discussions with stakeholders about:

  • Bees, beekeeping and varroa mites in NL
  • Climate change impacts on agriculture industry in NL
  • Post-secondary school funding for Indigenous students
  • Polar bears in the Southern Hudson Bay region
  • Risks to the agriculture industry in NL
  • Amalgamation of Labrador City and Wabush
  • Housing and homelessness in NL
  • Services for youth in Corner Brook area
  • Exploration of oil and gas off the Eastern shores of NL
  • Women in leadership in NL
  • Public sector service delivery across Canada
  • Indigenous tourism in NL
  • Sheep industry in NL
  • Stephenville Airport
  • Workplace respect and violence prevention in NL
  • Cannabis use
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Local environmental issues in NL
  • Affordable housing in Corner Brook area
  • Mental health, self-care
  • Not-for-profit sector in NL
Meeting with Indigenous Leaders on management of the Hudson Bay Region sub-population of polar bears in Montreal, QC

As you can imagine, there is simply no way I can be an expert in such a variety of topics and sectors. I can, however, guide the experts on these topics through structured and productive discussions.

Facilitating knowledge transfer

My role as an independent facilitator is to facilitate knowledge transfer. It may be seeking feedback on behalf of a client to inform decision making. Maybe it is about bringing awareness to a particular topic or issue. Or, it could be sharing viewpoints to improve understanding of others and their positions. No matter the client, no matter the topic, when people leave one of my sessions, they leave with more knowledge than when they entered.

That goes for me too. I have learned so much about topics that I would normally not have an opportunity to learn about. Thank you to my many unique, knowledgeable clients for bringing me in to your projects. If you feel I can assist you or your organization feel free to contact me. Want to know what my clients are saying? Visit my testimonials page. ~ Carole

On the road again! This time it is different.

October 24, 2021

In the famous words of Willie Nelson, this week I am on the road again! I used to say whoever thinks business travel is a perk doesn’t do it.

Woman on the road again behind the steering wheel of a car
Hitting the road

I remember the first time I travelled from Toronto to Montreal for the day only. I felt so cosmopolitan; travelling thru the airport in my dress clothes, with just my laptop slung over my shoulder. By the 7th or 8th trip for a particular project, the novelty had quickly worn off.

When I worked for our provincial government, I flew to St. John’s for 4-5 days every 5 weeks or so. Occasionally, I drove to Grand Falls-Windsor for an assignment, or flew to Happy Valley-Goose Bay. I became quite familiar to the folks at the check-in counters at the airport, car rental agency, and hotel. I had my favourite seat on PAL flights.

That’s when I came up with the idea that business travel is definitely not a perk.

Travelling as a business owner

This month, I have been travelling extensively as a business owner. Somehow this travel, as intense as it has been, is very different than my travel days as an employee with one organization.

I think the difference lies in the fact that I am travelling with different clients, for different purposes. Each trip is unique. In the month of October I have travelled for my clients, the Newfoundland and Labrador Housing and Homelessness Network, the Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Agriculture, and Qalipu First Nation. By the end of this week, I will have stayed 9 nights in 5 different hotels, flown round trip to St. John’s and Goose Bay, and driven well over 3000 kms.

In Happy Valley-Goose Bay with the NL Federation of Agriculture

As I pack up today to get ready to go on the road again tomorrow, I realize that as a business owner, business travel is not a perk; it’s a privilege. Thank you to my clients who put their faith in me to facilitate important work on their behalf. If I can be of assistance to you or your organization, do not hesitate to reach out. ~ Carole

Change is in the air!

October 1, 2021

Are you sensing a lot of change is in the air? This fall it seems like more than the season is changing. Are you ready to make a change?

As I wrote in my September 2020 newsletter, this time of year has a sense of newness, similar to that of January each year. This year it seems like there is even more change than usual surrounding the onset of fall. In order to make sustainable changes in our lives, our workplaces, and our relationships, we have to take time to reflect on those changes, and take the necessary steps to move through the change. One of my favourite models of change is one I learned many years ago called ADKAR®.

ADKAR® Change Model

Prosci’s model of individual change is called the Prosci ADKAR® Model, an acronym for Awareness, Desire, Knowledge, Ability and Reinforcement:

Image of words outlining ADKAR Change Model and definitions

The first step begins with awareness. What is the need prompting this change? The next step to me is the most important step. You have to want it. Without the desire, all the knowledge, skills and reinforcement that is thrown at you will not take hold without wanting to participate in the change.

Some of the changes that are touching my life:

Truth and Reconciliation Day

Yesterday, Canada observed a National Truth and Reconciliation Day. It is an extension of Orange Shirt Day that started as a way of recognizing and supporting survivors of the residential school system that impacted so many Indigenous families in this country. I will admit ignorance on this subject. School did not include teaching me anything about it. I did not grow up knowing any Indigenous peoples, nor did I have any concept that children could be taken from their families and stripped of their culture, language and dignity.

As a result, this past year I have researched how to include a land acknowledgement for all my events. I researched which territorial lands I am situated on (Beothuk), and learned that our province has four Indigenous peoples: Beothuk, Mi’kmaq, Innu and Inuit. Several of my clients this year have been Indigenous organizations and every interaction I have with them provides me with an opportunity to engage in dialogue and learn.

Climate Change

I am currently working on a contract with the Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Agriculture on climate change solutions. We are working in collaboration with Grenfell Campus, Memorial University to consult with agriculture producers on the effects climate change is having on their farms. A team of researchers is interested in setting up Living Labs on-farm to conduct research that meet the needs of farmers in their unique environments.

This project is reminding me of the little changes we can make to help reduce the negative impacts of climate change. From walking to the mailbox instead of driving, to the produce my homesteader husband is producing on our land, to being aware of the impact of importing food into our province is having on our environment. My husband has 11 composters and we try to reuse items as much as we can to reduce our overall household waste. Small changes make a difference.

Return to Workplaces

As we learn to live with COVID-19 in our communities, we are moving in to the next normal. Workplaces are welcoming back employees. Retail operations are opening up to more capacity. Travel is increasing and tourists are welcomed. While this change is positive for the most part, it can also cause anxiety and stress.

I am travelling extensively across our province in the next six weeks. 3 flights, 3 road trips, 7 cities/towns (on more than one occasion for some) and 10+ nights in a hotel are both exciting and terrifying! The changes as I prepare to travel safely, adhering to all health protocols are constantly changing themselves. Next week our province is planning to launch a vaccine passport while I am on the road. I will be watching this process closely and will adapt as necessary to keep myself and others safe.

Wellness Challenge

My daughter, her boyfriend and I have committed to a wellness challenge from now until Christmas. We are all fairly comfortable that we have the awareness, desire and knowledge to make lifestyle changes. This has helped us make the decision to make a commitment to our wellness. However, it is the ability and reinforcement that we are all working hard on. We have set up a chat thread where we can support and encourage one another on our journey. We recognize that both our physical and mental health wellness is equally as important. Massages, visiting a therapist, taking a walk or hike, eating a healthy meal, taking a nap, or watching a funny movie are all celebrated.

Man in the Mirror

I’m gonna make a change

For once in my life

It’s gonna feel real good

Gonna make a difference

Gonna make it right

I’m starting with the man in the mirror

I’m asking him to change his ways

And no message could have been any clearer

If you want to make the world a better place

Take a look at yourself, and then make a change

Man in the Mirror, Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson sang a very powerful song about change co-written by Glen Ballard and Siedah Garrett. This song recognizes that change starts from within.

An image of a woman standing, looking in a mirror
Me getting ready for an in-person event in November 2020

Are you ready for change? As difficult as it is, I am working hard on making small changes that hopefully have big results. If we all take the baby steps together, imagine what the world can be. Drop me a note to let me know what changes are you currently working on? ~ Carole

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