#atozchallenge: scaredy squirrel


I was going to add Scaredy Squirrel to my recommended reading list but knew that the “S” post was coming up.

Scaredy Squirrel is a children’s book by Melanie Watt.  The message in the book is all about leaving your comfort zone in order to discover wonderful things – a fantastic message for post-secondary students.

I use Scaredy in staff training, as it’s a fun (and low risk) way to start an important conversation.  We’re often happy to stay in our safe environments, and continue to do only what we know.  Through Scaredy, we learn that there are wonderful opportunities beyond that safe environment that we would never find if we never left our comfort zone.  When a student enters college or university, they face a lot of unknowns.  There are a lot of new decisions to be made, people to get to know and experiences to be had.  Luckily, there are helpful people there to make that transition a little easier.   Upper year students play a huge role in helping to make the campus a welcome and inviting place.  Using Scaredy Squirrel with student leaders (during training) opens the door to that conversation.  I get them to think back to their first few days and what made it scary, but also what made them feel welcome.  That leads to the discussion on the impact they can have on new students.

It’s also a good reminder that all of our training techniques need not include a powerpoint presentation.

What fun training tools do you use with student leaders?


For more information about the a to z challenge, click here.



#atozchallenge: all about attitude

I have neglected my blog over the past couple of months, so to get back into the swing of things, I am taking part in the a to z challenge.  Each day (Mondays through Saturdays) in April, my blog posts will correspond with a letter of the alphabet, beginning with A on April 1st and ending with Z on April 30th.

I’ve chosen to keep my posts miscellaneous in nature, to allow for all sorts of inspiration.  I may also crowd source to see what you, my readers, would like to read about.

“People may hear your words, but they feel your attitude.”
– John C. Maxwell

I like this quote.  As someone who truly wears how they feel (I tell people if they want to know how I feel about something to simply look at me – my face will tell them everything they need to know), it reminds me that while what I say is important, how I say it is even more critical.

In leadership, we often hear about choosing the right attitude and how our attitude impacts everything around us.   I’m sure we can all recall times when our attitude impacted our work, for better or for worse.  We have just completed our hiring process for our student leadership team for next year.   Years ago, when I was hiring my first team, a colleague told me that she “hired for attitude, and trained for skill.”  This has stuck with me and has become one of my philosophies of hiring.  If a candidate demonstrates a good attitude and excitement about the role, they stand out to me.  So do candidates who think they have the job in the bag, but fail to demonstrate a positive attitude.   It’s possible to provide training to make up for any gaps in skills, but it is near impossible to change someone’s attitude.

People who have a positive attitude, or outlook, are easier to work with and for.  Attitude is what bridges our differences and increases our willingness to collaborate.  Attitude can determine our professional opportunities and ability to advance.  You know yourself that you would rather support, lift and bring someone with a positive attitude with you.

You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with [read more about this here]. How do they impact your attitude and outlook?

How does your attitude impact your work and those around you? Share in the comments or tweet about it! You can connect with me on Twitter.

For more information about the a to z challenge, click here.