Holiday Eating With Humour

Have you noticed all the ads for weight loss facilities and services.They are gearing you up for a January full of denial. Already! Really?, we are just starting to not want to scream because the Christmas music is on full blast after Halloween and American Thanksgiving. Now that Canada has adopted “ Black Friday” we have really slipped into Christmas overdrive.
  I found this cute little blog written by somebody I don’t know, who I thought captured some of the highlights of an abundant and joyous frame of mind. I still like fruitcake though & especially if it has marzipan on it. I hope you enjoy this advice from a true over indulger.  (I am relating to this post a little too much) Also ,as a little bonus, check out this 12 Days of Christmas Drinks from our British friends.
Remember, take the stress out of Christmas. It really is about family and friends and not gifts.  
I hate aspects of this time of year. Not for its crass commercialism
and forced frivolity, but because it’s the season when the food
police come out with their wagging fingers and annual tips on how to
get through the holidays without gaining 10 pounds.

1. About those carrot sticks. Avoid them. Anyone who puts carrots on
a holiday buffet table knows nothing of the Christmas spirit. In fact
if you see carrots, leave immediately. Go next door, where they’re
serving rum balls.

2. Drink as much eggnog as you can. And quickly. Like fine
single-malt scotch, it’s rare. In fact, it’s even rarer than
single-malt scotch. You can’t find it any other time of year but now.
So drink up! Who cares that it has 10,000 calories in every sip? It’s
not as if you’re going to turn into an eggnogaholic or something.
It’s a treat. Enjoy it. Have one for me. Have two. It’s later then
you think. It’s Christmas!

3. If something comes with gravy, use it. That’s the whole point of
gravy. Gravy does not stand alone. Pour it on. Make a volcano out of
your mashed potatoes. Fill it with gravy. Eat the volcano. Repeat.

4. As for mashed potatoes, always ask if they’re made with skim milk
or whole milk. If it’s skim, pass. Why bother? It’s like buying a
sports car with an automatic transmission.

5. Do not have a snack before going to a party in an effort to
control your eating. The whole point of going to a Christmas party is
to eat other peoples food for free. Lots of it. Hello? Remember college?

6. Under no circumstances should you exercise between now and New
Years, You can do that in January when you have nothing else to do.
This is the time for long naps, which you’ll need after circling the
buffet table while carrying a 10-pound plate of food and that vat of eggnog.

7. If you come across something really good at a buffet table, like
frosted Christmas cookies in the shape and size of Santa, position
yourself near them, and don’t budge. Have as many as you can before
becoming the center of attention. They’re like a beautiful pair of
shoes. You can’t leave them behind. You’re not going to see them again.
12 Days of Christmas Drinks
8. Same for pies. Apple. Pumpkin. Mincemeat. Have a slice of each.
Or, if you don’t like mincemeat, have two apples and one pumpkin.
Always have three. When else do you get to have more than one
dessert? Labour Day?

9. Did someone mention fruitcake? Granted, it’s loaded with the
mandatory celebratory calories, but avoid it at all cost. I mean have
some standards, mate.

10. And one final tip: If you don’t feel terrible when you leave the
party or get up from the table, you haven’t been paying attention.
Reread tips. Start over. But hurry! Cookieless January is just around
the corner.
For centuries men have kept an appointment with Christmas. Christmas means fellowship, feasting, giving and receiving, a time of good cheer, home.-
-W. J. Tucker


Goal Hacking

setting and achieving your goals

Goal Hacking

This blog is for all people who  set goals, only to let them fall by the wayside within a very short period. Of course, you know that this part only makes you feel unhappy, unmotivated, and  like a downright  failure. There are a number of reasons why you aren’t able to reach your goals and the largest part is in how you set these things up in the first place. That is why I am going to share some “goal hacking” ideas with you.

1. Start with the end in mind. What do you want to accomplish and why do you want to do this? Are you doing it for yourself or for someone else?  Are you trying to lose weight, quit smoking, work outor a host of other goals for someone else, because you think it will make them happy?  You know that sets you up for failure after the initial enthusiasm wears off.

I don’t think there is anyone who hasn’t tried to make a major change because it would please someone else. After a very short while this becomes a burden and you get resentful, not only about that thing you are trying to change, as well as you will also get resentful of the person. The story that we create in these situations makes us feel righteously justified in our choice to abandon the goals we had set, as well as getting really angry with the lack of acceptance we  feel. Our minds and egos are very crafty when it comes to protecting these kinds of changes. Now this goal becomes a major issue in your relationship. OMG, it just gets worse from there. I am speaking from experience as I was a smoker in my foolish youth. It took a personal experience that finally helped me through this addiction, with no casualties, after many failed attempts to quit.

Let me tell  you the difference between motivation and inspiration.

Motivation is an external force that pushes, kicks and forces you to get things done. These are the projects that we are required to do for work or home. They have deadlines, and consequences attached to them. You have heard people say they work best under pressure or at the last minute, as the deadline draws near. Those people are motivated by external pressures and that usually is because of a punishment. Motivation is a stress based response in these situations.  It will exhaust you over time.

Inspiration, is internally driven.  It is the passion or the fire that drives you to accomplish huge things. How does an Olympic athlete maintain their focus through years of training? How does anyone who accomplishes amazing things stay motivated? They do it because they are internally charged to accomplish their goal, and they do not let go of their vision until they achieve their goal. Sports coaches were the first to use visualization of achieving goals to great success. Listen to Olympic athletes talk about their gold medal performances and you will hear a step by step walk through their performance in their  head just before their activity. They can see it, feel it and believe in it.

So,  start with the picture of the outcome, the thinner, the smoke free, the fitter you and when you can do that, you are starting off great.

Break down this goal into little micro goals.

Let’s go with the diet example as, most of us can relate to that at some point in our life.

2.  Lose 10 pounds in 2 months.  (Make sure you have measures for your goals, right!) Visualize you with 10 pounds less on your frame.

Be Very Clear – imagine what success looks like and enjoy the image and the sensations you can create.  Check out what the visualization athletes use- it works.

3.  Look at your current eating plan. Before you start, write down everything that goes in your mouth for a period of your choosing. Everything!! Every little thing that goes in your mouth.  That is the first goal.I am not going to get prescriptive,  as this as it is an  example of goal hacking and not dieting.

4.  Start to look at small changes you can do in your regular routine that will either reduce calories or increase calorie burning.

Can you see what I am doing here. I am breaking down the challenge into smaller steps that don’t feel overwhelming and can get you set to succeed.

Keep your goals 

5.   Make sure you can your milestones clearly laid out.  If you miss one, don’t beat yourself up, but learn from the reason you miss it. Did your inner voice convince you the ice cream cone was necessary? Guilt is not the way to achieve goals,  but honest respect for your desired accomplishments are a great way to meet your goals without undo hardship. (Like beating yourself up once again and name calling.)

6. Journal your progress. The written word is very powerful.” Use more ink” as I say and you will be surprised at what you come up.

7.  Just like the tortoise and the hare  story, slow and steady gets the job done every time. For some who cannot tolerate doing anything slow, find your  own pace that you can work with.

8.  Enjoy your successes. I mean really enjoy them. It is one thing to treat yourself, that is great, but also, go a little deeper and show you the respect that you deserve with your accomplishments. You have already burned through a number of issues and the diet is only one of them. You know what I mean.

9.  Always reevaluate what you have done. You may need to turn the volume up or down on your goals. Learn the lessons and move on.

Taking small, steady steps is a sure way to “Goal Hack” your life, in whatever area you want.  Your success rate will improve, your personal disappointment level will be at an all time low too, and that is the really great outcome of this whole exercise.  Banish the word failure from your life – it is a word that strips you of your dignity in a heartbeat.

Everything is a learning and your time has come.



Great tips for those that use a DIY (do it yourself) method to Hire Great People



10 Rules to Hiring Great Peoplebased on Pierre Mornell’s book, 45 Effective Ways for Hiring Smart.


Rule number one is clear and supremely counterintuitive: Don’t ever, ever hire somebody just like yourself. Why is that so hard? And what has happened to executives and companies that did that? As management guru Rosabeth Kanter observed, they often sink into the soft sand of irrelevance as the rough waters of current reality wash over them.

Here are the other nine:

Hire With Caution

Hire with Caution

2. Hire for Attitude Rather than Skill.
Teaching skills is a snap compared with doing attitude transplants. Among the qualities you’ll want most is a fierce sense of optimism.
3. Look for Renegades.
In interviews, ask when the person has been in trouble. The obedient employee will be of limited use to you in this change-up environment.

4. Hold out for Results.
Never hire someone with good potential but questionable habits, thinking you can change him or her. As in choosing mates, what you see now is what you get forever.

5. Go for a Sense of Humor.
The potential hire who can’t laugh easily, particularly at herself, is going to be a very dull and probably rigid employee.

6. Fill in the Blanks.
Look carefully at the total strengths and skill gaps of your teams in various work units, and go for the qualities and styles that are missing.


Hire For Attitude

7. Test Drive.
Don’t be satisfied with references. Remember that many of the most glowing references are given for people others are eager to dump. Include day-long simulations as part of your interview process, or invite applicants to give you a portfolio of their best work.
8. Stock the Bullpen.
Keep an eye out for prospects before the need arises. Don’t wait until a vacancy occurs. Keep a pool of potential employees under the watchful eye of somebody who’s responsible for hiring. Evaluate your recruiting team in terms of how well they keep the bullpen ready. And tell them never to turn away an interesting candidate with the line, “We don’t have any positions open now.”

9. Push Harder for Diversity.
Make certain you’re spreading your net wide enough to find those high-potential, but different, fish who generally don’t swim in the streams near you. Ask your HR group what contacts and periodicals they’re using to interest potential hires. “We don’t know where to find people different from us” is a costly excuse.

10. Listen.
Most interviewers talk way too much. When a candidate finally gets to you, listen for the “story line” of his or her life, at home and at work. It’s been said that being a leader is like practicing psychiatry without a license. That may be more true in hiring than in any other part of the job.

For more advice about hiring, consider psychiatrist/Fortune 500 consultant Pierre Mornell’s book, 45 Effective Ways for Hiring Smart.


Simply put, JKS Talent Network provides people solutions that enhance, grow and support the needs of your business. Each engagement is customized and aligned with your strategy, your team, your organizational design and perfects your team building strategies. The right person, in the right job can transform your business.

Please feel free to share with your colleagues.


Watch for NEW Website – coming soon!


Janis Strathearn

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Direct: | 604.731-2073

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Aligned with your goals.  Executed with integrity.  Expertise that makes the difference.



Am I Winning in the Game of Life?

I have recently had reason to take stock of what I have given, received and learned in my life so far.  These were the limits in which I used to keep my focus. I often need that

I love what I do

I love what I do

because I have such an appetite for learning that I can get distracted very quickly.  This topic also was the subject of one of my favourite authors, Clayton Christensen.  So I looked around me and started asking the tough questions. I am winning, losing or just treading water.

It is always hard to take the time to reflect on your progress.  It feels like a touchy, feely thing to do but you might be surprised to know that the most successful people do it all the time. It is what keeps them honest, in integrity and balanced.  How else can they juggle their complex lives. Of course we have seen the Bernie Maddocks of the world who is the epitome of “failing”. Sadly, he didn’t start to carry out a jail term. He had a big future ahead of him but he lost track of his core values and greed took over.


Bernie is one of the big news failures but we see them around us, far too often. I am a coach and I teach coaching in corporations. The reason I do this is to cut the amount of stress employees and managers are under. How many people do you know that would love to leave their job and do something different? How many people do you know hate their job?  I can’t help but wonder what the consequence of these feelings about their job  has on them, their co-workers, their managers, their customers, their family and everyone else that gets in their path. How can they feel good about themselves and continue in this negative pattern.

I am not going  to reinvent the wheel here. I follow this wonderful young man by the name of Scott Dinsmore.   This link is worth a look as he has a great community build around loving your workplace (maybe not the one you are in now but a new one).  His ideas follow mine in that the first key things you must do when you are thinking about your life going forward is;

  • You will actually have to decide where you want to be in 5 and 10 years. I know that sounds like old school but it really is creating a destination point for your journey. If you don’t know where you want to go any road will take you there. This is dangerous to not have a vision of where you want to end up.
  • Are you investing in your brain? Are you learning new things. Remember university and college was just the start. When was the last time you invested in a book about leadership or watched a training video on something that relates to your interests. You get the idea.
  • Are you taking care of your body?  This handy little thing is the only way you can get around easily. It is worth the effort.

Okay, that is lots to think about today. I do recommend Clayton’s book and check out Scott’s site. These are investments in you.  Your life plan is calling.  Take good care of yourself.



When to Create a New Role – Choosing the Right Time to Expand Your Team



Now Hiring

Now Hiring



Has your team had too much to do lately? Are people increasingly overworked and stressed, because of the volume of tasks they must complete? How do you know when to hire new workers? This is not easy to decide. There’s much more to consider than just your current staff’s protests that they have too much to do.


When NOT to Create a New Role


Hiring a team member at the wrong time or for the wrong reasons can cost you time, and waste money. There are several factors that do not justify a permanent addition to your team:


  • Seasonal increases in workload – If your team is overworked at specific times of the year, then hire temporary help to relieve the workload.
  • One-time or unusual projects – If your people are responsible for delivering an unusually large project that’s outside either the type or volume of “business as usual” work, then consider using contractors to meet this temporary change in staffing requirements. You can use contractors to do the project work itself, or you can use them to do the regular work of your permanent staff, whose expertise you need to deliver the project.
  • Sick or vacationing team members – Again, temporary staffing can help fill these gaps.
  • Complaining staff members – If people on your team complain about their workload, then make sure they’re managing their time well. You can fix poor time management much more easily than hiring someone new to do some of their work.
  • Before you decide to hire a permanent addition to your team, make sure your team members are managing their time effectively, are properly resourced, and are working as efficiently as possible. Also, make sure that their heavy workload isn’t just temporary.


When to Consider a New Role


So, what does justify creating a new job in your organization?


  • Consistent work overload – The main indicator that your people need extra help is that they’re consistently overloaded with tasks and projects. If they work hard and manage their time effectively, then adding a role will increase your team’s productivity as well as reduce stress.
  • Regular use of contractors – Do you already use a lot of temporary workers, contractors or freelancers? If you regularly hire outside help, this could mean that you need a permanent person. Contractors often cost more per hour than your permanent staff, and they generally don’t know your organization as well. Analyzing the hidden costs as well as the more obvious costs will help you decide whether to use contractors or create new, permanent roles to get the best overall value for money.
  • Improvements in the economy – If a role was eliminated, there might be laws that determine when it can be reactivated, so talk to your HR department early in your decision-making process. They’ll be able to advise you on whether you can create a new permanent role, and what the scope of the role can and cannot be.
  • Time spent on tasks that don’t need your expertise – Your own schedule and tasks can determine if you need additional help. If you spend most of your day performing tasks that could easily be done by someone less skilled (and therefore cheaper), then creating a new role could actually help you increase revenue or productivity. This would free some of your time to focus on more profitable tasks and strategies.


When and How to Structure Team Growth


  • Option 1: Hire in advance – Proactively hire someone before your team gets really busy. Hiring in advance allows you to train new people before workloads increase, so that you can maintain turnaround times and quality levels.
  • Option 2: Wait until the need is obvious – If you wait until work volumes increase to a level where people are over-stretched, then you’ll have to recruit and train during a very busy time. And by the time your new worker is trained enough to be effective, you’ll have risked upsetting existing staff because they’re overworked and stressed.


Both options have benefits and risks, and it’s important to choose a path that’s right for you, your team, and your organization.


Key Points


Creating a new role takes time and careful thought. Start by identifying why you or your team needs help. If you have a temporary increase in workload, or if several workers are out sick or on vacation, then hire temporary help. If business forecasts show a big increase in the near future, then carefully consider your two main options: hiring now to train the new team member, or waiting until business has already increased.


If your organization requires HR approval, then make sure you have the budget for a new role, write a detailed job description, and learn about other HR requirements for the approval process.


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Breadwinner Wives


For centuries men were expected to be the main providers or breadwinners for their families.  As times have changed, women have established themselves in the working world alongside their male counterparts.  But what about responsibilities at home?  Working women, even those working full-time careers were often still viewed as a ‘second wage earner’ not as the primary breadwinner for the family.  They maintained nearly the same level of responsibility in childcare and household tasks as their ancestral female forebears while also holding down full-time careers.  Times are changing yet again.  Women are now more likely to seek a masters degree than their male counterparts. Women have steadily outpaced men in earning higher degrees since the late 1990’s.

There has been a slow but steady societal shift in which women are taking over as the primary breadwinner and handing off more of the domestic tasks to their significant others.  According to the most recent census, one in five stay-at-home parents is a man.  More women are reporting that they share equally household chores such as cleaning, laundry and cooking than in previous decades.  In a rising number of cases, the husbands are shouldering more of the chores then their wives.  Childcare is the one area where women still tend to take on more than their husband.

Does that mean that a woman who earns more has more power?  Not necessarily.  A majority of breadwinner wives surveyed report that they share power equally with their spouses.   A similar majority report that they are very happy in their marriages, whether they had children or not made little difference in that number.


Do You Run Your Life Like You Run Your Business? Check out this great book!!!!

I have found a wonderful book for you folks for January. There has been so much going on and I have been remiss in posting the fabulous books that I have been reading. After a brief chat with a “coachee” of mine and a good kick in the behind, I am once again sharing the books that I find very worthwhile.


This month I am going to feature a really unusual find. Some of you may know Clayton M.  Christensen as the guy who is known for writing about “Disruptive Technology” and other really leading edge technology strategy. When I was out at Christmas looking for gifts for friends,  I happen to come across one of his books in the “Self Help” section. I was intrigued so I looked at the back cover and my curiosity was piqued  at what I read there.

Clayton wrote this book with two co-authors while fighting a battle with cancer and recovering from a stroke. I have had my own personal trauma this year so I was totally open to a little inspiration. Especially from one of my favourite authors in a topic that is up my alley.  The name of the book is called “How Will You Measure Your Life?”   It is not a long read but it is so worth your time. This book was inspired by his annual talk with his Harvard MBA students about being grounded in values, ethics and to understand what really makes you tick, before you lose control of your life. One of his colleagues at graduate school was a high achieving, good person by the name of Bernie Madoff who publicly lost control of his career and life.

This book was written to help young, smart up and comers from going in this direction. Even though I am a bit past my up and coming days, I loved reading this book because Clayton took business concepts and used them to show how to decide your true goals and ambitions in life that will get you where you really want to go. Of course there are lots of structured family stuff that is foundational, and I found myself feeling vindicated for being a tough parent that had to deal with a smart young man who felt at a young age he was being held to a standard unfairly high.  Of course he has confirmed what his father and I knew all along, but goodness it feels good to BE Right……..

Anyway have a read of this book if you can get your hands on it. You won’t be disappointed.
clayton christensen



Home Office


More and more women are working from home and not just working moms looking for more flexibility.  As a growing number of women are becoming business entrepreneurs, many are establishing themselves with home offices.  Working from home has it perks.   Answering the phone in your pajamas is perfectly acceptable.  Fielding emails over your morning oatmeal or a late night snack is also acceptable.  But there are some serious drawbacks to working from home.  It can be more difficult to disconnect from work when it’s right there next to you.  Distractions can interfere with your work.  Fixing yourself a sandwich can quickly turn into tidying the kitchen, throwing in a load of laundry and starting dinner.  Before you know it, you’ve lost two hours and now you need to walk the dog before you can get back to that project you need finished by 9:00 am tomorrow.

So how do you make working from home work for you?  A few tips:

Establish a separate office space, preferably not a corner in your bedroom.  This cuts down on distractions and trains your brain to settle into work when you’re in that space.  It also allows you to walk away from work and be at home.  This is crucial if you have a family.  They will need to respect your workspace.

Routine!  Have set office hours. Having set working times and set down times allows you to manage stress better.  Yes, you can go to the gym in the middle of the day if you want, but schedule your working hours around it.  Again, routine will be important if you have family or even friends who assume that because you’re home, you’re not busy.

Get out of the house from time to time.  Working from home is great but you don’t want to become a recluse either.  Pick one day a week to work from a coffee shop.  Join your local chamber of commerce.  Attend networking functions.  Something, anything to keep you connected with real live human beings.


Do You Understand Your Insurance?



If I asked you how your health insurance coverage is set up, could you answer me?  Some women have their spouses and family listed as dependents on their employer’s group insurance policy.  Some women are listed as dependents on their spouse’s employer’s policy.  Some are covered under individual health policies, with themselves or their spouse listed as the primary.  But what happens if you and your spouse divorce?  What if the one covered by an employer plan gets laid off?  What if the primary insured dies?  Would you know what your options are and what to do to avoid any lapse in coverage?  Single women, listen up.  This applies to you even more since you don’t have the fallback of a possible spousal coverage.

As with the earlier article on taking control of your money, understanding your insurance coverage is key component of maintaining your financial security.  If you experience a loss of coverage for any of the above reasons, you will have a limited amount of time in which to make decisions.  It is a good idea to understand and evaluate the options before you face a crisis.  COBRA is a safety net but it can be a very expensive safety net, particularly if you are not working.  Individual insurance plans are subject to medical underwriting, which can present a problem if you have any pre-existing health conditions, even minor ones.  Healthcare reform laws governing pre-existing conditions don’t go into effect until January 2014.

Once a year you should review your health insurance.  Make sure you understand what type of coverage you have and if you’re covered through a group plan, what would it cost you through COBRA.  You may have an emergency fund tucked away but would it be enough?  Your plan’s group administrator should be able to give you that information.  Be sure you understand how your plan works.  Do you have an HSA account?  If so, is it funded and are you using it?  What is your deductible?  Is that included in your emergency fund?  If you have an individual plan, with or without a spouse, talk to your broker once a year to review how the plan works, how you’re making use of it and understand what your options are if you wanted to make a change.  If your health has changed since you took the plan out, you may not be able to switch to a different plan, which can be an important piece of information for financial planning.


Goal Settings

goal settings

How many times have we heard those words: Goal Setting?  Probably far too many to count.  We all set goals from trying that fabulous new Thai restaurant to landing a promotion.  But how do you know if your desire is worth the effort of setting a goal?  That takes a little soul searching.  I recently read a fantastic article on Business Woman Magazine by Sylvia Hepler that asks all the right questions to help you set your goals and more importantly differentiate between goals and desires.

Some things you need to take into account include your values, focus, time, energy, money, self-sacrifice and finally what Hepler calls your ‘big picture’.  Taking the time to sort out the answers to the questions asked in the article can bring clarity to the often fuzzy concept of goals.

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