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As March flies past, we’re headed to the end of the first quarter of 2023.

Wasn’t it just January 1st yesterday? Didn’t we just have our kickoff meeting? Is time speeding up and we’re unaware of it?

I’m fascinated by how we divide our lives into units of time – minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, quarters and years! We take our personal and professional lives and reduce them to calendars and planners that guide our daily existence. We plan for holidays and vacations with the same intentions as our daily work. We take personal, family and business obligations and try to fit them all into our digital or paper planners!

Which brings me to the saying about “the best laid plans.” No matter how carefully, faithfully and dutifully we try to schedule and keep ourselves moving, our plans are often derailed – and sometimes without warning!

Many organizations plan their years by quarters.

March 31 ends our first quarter. This may mean that you had quotas, goals or expectations for the first three months that need to be completed. At this moment, you may find yourself in a variety of situations.

  1. You’re on target. Goals and quotas are met and you’re at the top of your game! The stars aligned and your work is paying off.

  2. You’re meeting many of your targets. You see progress and, while not yet 100%, you feel good. You’re hopeful you will either make it by the end of the month or are in close contention for success.

  3. You’re behind. Despite your best efforts, personnel issues, customer needs or other challenges have presented themselves and you’re not where you want to be. As a matter of fact, you may be anxious and struggling. The last few weeks are finding you working more and trying like crazy to catch up.

  4. You’re not going to make your target. You know it and recognize that you cannot meet the goals and quotas. You find yourself in fix-it mode, trying to maneuver around the reality.

If any of these sound like you, I totally understand. I have met goals and quotas, and I have missed the mark in the past. I loved the successes and I sweated the failures. I cursed my inability to get it all done and wondered how the heck I ended up in this situation! Sound familiar?

Maybe it’s time to do a first quarter review.
  • Not just a look at whether you met business or organizational objectives and goals, but a good, hard look at your life?

  • Did you prioritize your health and wellness?

  • Did you do anything to keep yourself fit and strong?

  • How is your sleep, nutrition and overall physical condition?

  • How is your family and personal life?

  • Are your relationships in order?

  • Are you spending your time and energy where it matters?

  • Is your family a priority?

  • Are you participating in personal activities that bring you joy?

  • Are you presenting yourself in a positive light?

  • Is your attitude positive and encouraging?

  • Do care about your appearance and your behaviors?

  • Are you taking care of your personal business and finances?

  • Are you a role model?

  • In the workplace, are you giving it your best?

  • Are you focused and directed?

  • Are you paying attention to the details and the people?

  • Do you give yourself time to plan and think?

  • Are you empowering yourself or hindering your success?

  • Do you feel good about what you’re accomplishing?

"Now, our employers care most about our targets and goals."

That’s understandable. But it’s up to us to care about all of it! I truly believe that when you care as much about yourself and your personal priorities as you do other things, it empowers you to do better work and encourage others!

Spending some time in reflection and review can change the trajectory of your life and your career. It can enable you to create the life you want, and to realistically meet your obligations in the workplace and at home.

The best part about a first quarter review is that we still have three quarters ahead of us this year. Time to learn, grow, advance and create the life and career we want!


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The first month of 2023 flew by and we’re now smack dab in the middle of February.

Most of us have put the holidays behind us and are moving forward into the new year. February brings us some holidays, including Valentine’s Day.

I’m an outright sucker for holidays! I’m pretty sure it started as a child and has grown with me as an adult. I love celebrations in general, and holidays are always a good excuse. Valentine’s Day is and has always been a favorite!

To start, celebrating love is always a good idea! We spend way too much time focused on the negative and dealing with toxic relationships and issues. Love comes in so many varieties! From just a nice thought, to friendships, to family, to partners; Valentine’s Day is sort of a full-service holiday! Hearts, roses, pink and red decorations, chocolates, cards, champagne – there’s not one thing associated with this holiday that I don’t like.

Another reason I like this holiday is that a gesture means something.

Sending a card or remembrance can touch a soul. Acknowledging someone and just relishing their friendship or relationship with you is a bonus. Valentine’s Day for me is a major E holiday! What a great day to practice the art of encouragement!

My adult children and grandchildren will all have cards and small gifts. They all enjoy unexpected gifts, and I’m never one to send the same thing to them! While the adults act rather blasé about it all, they like it and maybe even expect it! The grandchildren delight in receiving mail and anything that comes along! My spouse and I share silly cards and often have a special dinner planned for just the two of us. We value the fun we have in celebrating others and love.

Professionally, to those I work closely with, I endeavor to celebrate with them. When I was the CEO of a large association, every employee was acknowledged directly on the holiday and special food or fun was scheduled for the day. They helped plan the activities and, despite a few naysayers, almost all looked forward to it. Many times, staff would share that this was their only valentine! Those small gestures meant more to some than others!

This blog is about more than celebrating Valentine’s Day. It is a reminder of the power of encouragement in small gestures.

Words, actions, events, even a cup of coffee shared with someone, can make an impact. If we are to truly come together and collaborate with each other, understanding the value of these gestures is important. Team building is built on words, actions, gestures and experiences. The impact carries!

This month is also Love the Bus Month for school transportation, it’s Black History Month, a Presidents’ Day holiday is also thrown in. And I’m sure there are other celebrations and special days we can use!

In my younger years, I had a relationship with someone who was what I called “the master of the grand gesture.” On Valentine’s Day, I would get two dozen long-stemmed roses delivered to my office with a gigantic card. Everyone from the office would see the arrival and knew who it was from. It was big and impressive. It was meant to be. It was almost more for their approval than mine. It was a grand gesture guaranteed to capture attention. The first time I was flattered. The grand gesture was the whole valentine. It was not personal nor did it build our relationship.

I learned a huge lesson from this. It’s not about the cost, size or opinions of others; it is about the receiver’s perception. I would have been fine with a rose and a card given to me in person, with a special message on the card. Never underestimate the value of personal in your celebrations!

How will you use February to build your relationships and your team?

Will you be “the master of the grand gesture”
or will you be the sincere voice of support and encouragement?


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