Friday, 21 October 2011

Life Apps - what are they? Why are we running them?

mygapyear recently held the first in a series of  Life Apps .  Sounds cool doesn’t it?  It is, - and we're going to do more! This one took the form of a webinar- part seminar part web based demos.

Our goal is to create opportunities for our Gappers to hang out together - to build a community of Gappers and at the same time enhance emotional intelligence skills or share some coaching tools.

We used Skype to connect and chat and used an interactive media to show a short youtube clip and provide a place to interact through text chats. We were able to connect Gappers in Victoria BC, Banff, Alberta , Toronto and Mississauga, Ontario.

Our first topic was goal setting - an important part of a gap year plan and a great life App! Our Gappers were able to share some thoughts about their own goal setting, and  we demonstrated some goal setting techniques and tips.   Gappers walked away with some tools and resources to use in their gap year planning and in their lives. What do you know about SMART goals? Our Gappers will be able to tell you!

Stay tuned as we present more LifeApps! Future topics include Leadership and Time Management.

Friday, 14 October 2011

Conferences -what do you walk away with? What do you do when you "get back” to keep it alive?

I attended the International Coaching Federation (ICF) conference in Las Vegas this week. A first time for me at this conference. The Las Vegas venue made it an easy decision! The theme of "playing to the edge" created the back drop for the conference held at the Mandalay Bay Hotel .  Key note speakers Michael GelbSir Ken Robinson, Steve Farber who have played on the edge of their fields of endeavour provided the hook and curiosity for me to sign up. Oh and my husband wanted to come along too! 

 I walked away with some new ideas, some books to check out, an appreciation of laughter and wit and a sense of gratitude for skillful engaging speakers. I also found my own sense of play –I took some time before the conference started in the spa ( the quick fix treatment of a 25 minute Swedish Massage and a hydro facial did just that) and rebooted my energy.

The conference connected me to the larger community of coaches -over 18,000 credentialed coaches in over 100 countries. The profession is growing and with that growth comes the need for regulation, training standards and brand development, all of which were addressed during the conference.
I'm amazed at the places and specialities where coaching shows up - executive, leadership, conflict management, transition and career, life/personal, teen, youth with ADHD and so on. Coaches are in HR departments, boardrooms, yoga studios, working with small business teams, in public sector organizations and with individual clients.

 For me, - taking time to reconnect with the wider coaching community was one of my biggest take a ways. We get so busy with our daily activities, so it’s great to check back in and reconnect with what made me choose this profession. Coaches are an extremely friendly group - you never feel alone - whoever sits beside you will be curious and interested and have something to share -even when I was sitting in Starbucks on a break! 

Great tools and coaching demos were provided – I was reminded how important it is to have a coaching presence – how body language influences the coaching conversation.  I learned some new tools, including a technique to help clients use a fairy tale format to tell their stories (once upon a time) ,and how to use the power of intuition to  tap into what is already working for you.

So I walked away with lots of goodies.

The trick will be to keep that sense of curiosity and motivation alive for when I get back -I want to research some of the new stuff I learned and connect with some of the people I met. I’m writing this on the plane headed home -so I'll let you know how I did on follow up.

A week later, - I have sorted through the bag of info I brought back, have sent follow up emails to the coaches I wanted to connect with , and ordered some of the books I was introduced to, - so I’m getting there! I’m going to try out some of my new found tools as well – so it’s still alive for me and well worth it. What about you? Have you kept your resolutions from the last conference you attended? If not – what’s getting in the way?

Friday, 7 October 2011

From Vision to Reality: Setting goals to create the life you really want

“Whatever we focus on becomes our idea of reality”  - Anthony  Robbins

So why should we set goals?  I think the answer to that question is offered in the following quote by Lewis Caroll  “If you don’t know where you are going any road will get you there”
In other words, setting goals is critical on a journey to personal success because much like any other journey, if you set out without having a destination in mind it becomes very easy to feel adrift and lost in the world.

Goals provide us with a clear sense of direction, and create both a long term vision, and the short term motivation to get us to where we want to go.  By giving us clarity, goals also help us to focus in on what is really important, without getting derailed by fears and/or side tracked by all the distractions we face on a daily basis.

A few things to remember about goals and goal setting….

The first step is to think big…think of goals that will inspire!!! When we visualize our dreams as possible, we create a powerful energy and momentum to get us moving and start to take action.

Achieving a compelling goal is not an easy process.  Once we have a list of “wants” for different areas in our life, it is useful to remember the acronym SMART which offers a proven formula for setting the right kind of goals. SMART stands for: 
M –measurable
A –Attainable
R –realistic
T- time bound

SMART goal setting helps to set targets and breakdown those big picture goals into realistic chunks with a step by step action plan to get there. 

It is also important to list the reasons we want to accomplish a goal and put it in writing.  The more reasons we have, the more motivated we will be to do something about it.  And when we put things in writing we take the first step in turning a simple wish into an attainable goal.
Lastly, when we with surround ourselves with reminders (such as posters, symbols, inspirational statements, etc.,) that represent our actual goal, we are most likely to stick with our goal even when feeling discouraged or distracted because our attention will be pulled back to what matters most.

In the end, when we finally do achieve a goal, it is important that we recognize and reward our accomplishment. Achieving goals can be a huge boost to self confidence.  We can take pride in our achievement and recognize the ability and effort it took to get there.

A Gap Year provides the perfect opportunity to begin the process of goal setting for young men and women who may be feeling burnt out, or are unsure of their interests and want some time to explore who they are.  Or maybe they want to carve a path that’s different from the traditional model of success.  It is a time when they can start asking themselves those critical questions… the questions that will help them make better decisions and more authentic choices throughout their lives.  Questions such as … What do I truly want out of life?  What do I want to achieve?  What do I want to learn? What do I need to be fulfilled?  In a sense goals define our “possible selves” and as these young adults begin to discover the answers to these questions, and start to identify and achieve specific goals to help them turn their vision into reality, they will find greater sense of meaning, increased motivation, more confidence and ultimately enjoy greater happiness.  

Want to learn more about goal setting or how a gap year can help your son or daughter start to set the compelling goals that will maximize his or her potential?  Contact mygapyear at