Connecting The Dots

Discussing the threads of my own passions which have culminated in my work as coach, mentor, presenter in my own business.

2 years later

Mary Johnson - Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Had no idea 2 years ago, that that would be my last Christmas with my Mom. I am so glad we don't see these things coming. The intervening time has brought lost of changes for me, some, like not being able to wear the fancier shoes with the high heels and a shift in my work focus, are obvious. Many are not. Once Mom died, I was required to 'fully' grow up. I was no longer a 'child' to someone. My relationships with my siblings, sons, daughter-in-law, husband and myself all needed to adjust - perhaps as a result of mom's death or perhaps because it was simply time. It's a process - damn it! Certain things can't be hurried even though we wish it other wise.

Today I stand more comfortably with who I am and what this next time is about. Don't get hooked and knotted up (well mostly :-)), about how things should be. I can take in events around me with an equanimity previously not available to me.

Isn't this what this Christmas time is about? A birth, or a rebirth that accompanies the returning light. It feels hopeful. For a few short hours the (Christian) world pauses to reflect and celebrate with family and friends.

2 years later, I too feel renewed. It's December 24th and all is well in my world.

Blessings to you for a warm and wonderful Christmas season!

What makes you come alive?

Mary Johnson - Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Saw an interview with Rev. Barbara Brown Taylor. An Episcopalian minister turned teacher. She was speaking about embracing darkness as well as the light. That it's all part of the Whole. What struck me as I listened to this woman was her wise questions. 

One that caught my imagination was the one about "What makes you come alive?" Ooo I thought must try that although I already had some thoughts that the items on the list would be quite a stretch, nice to think about, something to go for down the road. Boy was I wrong!

A good book, great conversations, doing things with good friends, to dance, to sing, to teach, some travel, time with my grandkids, ..... The list went on with simple things that are attainable today.

The other part of the inquiry is to put down the reasons why you aren't putting more of this into your days. Wow! that too was an eye opener. Things like; haven't looked for the right class, I need to be focusing on work, time, money and on it went. Silly bits of resistance to adding regular bits of joy.

So her challenge is to take some time to do this AND actually put it somewhere where you can see it - every day. My challenge to you is not only do it, start acting on it. Come alive today!

Quit managing time, manage your energy instead

Mary Johnson - Wednesday, December 03, 2014

This time of year we seem to have less time than usual. While the holiday gatherings, shopping, prep fills up every available nook and cranny on our calendars, it's an illusion. We have the same about of time as we will have Jan. 2nd. 'Hey, you say, stuff needs to get done'

How about rather than thinking 'I just need to get myself better organized' consider managing your energy instead. This means pausing on occasion and checking in - feeling energized? tackle something that is more complex or has priority. You have the energy for it. 

 Feeling tired?Take a 15 minute break. (Hmm that sounds like an old fashioned 'coffee break'!!) Don't check messages, make lists, call folks back - just chill. Here's an article that talks to this. High powered executives have a secret tactic to stay sharp. If they can do this, ... so can you!


Try this at home!

Mary Johnson - Monday, November 24, 2014

Been playing with being more mindful. Pausing more regularly during the day to look where I am and what I am doing. Was feeling rather proud of myself and could hear the words of my grand daughter "Good job Grandma!". 

On this past weekend I decide to review my week - without peeking at my daytimer to see if I could remember who I was with and what I was doing. Ha! There was a whole day and a half I couldn't recall anything for.  Set up my Monday and go through each day. Nope. Go back from Friday, .... not that either. I was actually quite taken back. That's a big chunk of time! Finally had to check. Missed the day where I had an important test and another day that started with a call from a dear colleague who I haven't spoken with for awhile. Things that should have stood out.

2 things came up for me. One was how often (and for how long!!) I am not really present to what I am doing. The second is my reliance on being able 'to look things up' and not rely on my memory. The old saying of 'Use it or Lose it' came to mind. I am looking to clearly pause more often to take note of my day AND to spend some time each week in recalling, recounting events - just to stay sharp.

So do try this at home. Take the challenge. Recount your last week or even two (if you're feeling bold!) - strictly from memory. Would love to hear how you do.  


Finding wisdom in unusual places

Mary Johnson - Thursday, November 13, 2014

Great thoughts show up in many interesting and unconventional places. One of those places I regularly check out is Rob Brezsny's Free Will Astrology ( He usually has a unique slant on life. Here's what showed up this week.

Acquiring problems is a fundamental human need. It's as crucial to your well-being as getting food, air, water, sleep, and love. You define yourself -- indeed, you make yourself -- through the puzzling dilemmas you attract and solve. The most creative people on the planet are those who frame the biggest, hardest questions and then gather the resources necessary to find the answers. 

Attracting problems to be shaped and to be creative?! ..... Hmm what a delighted way to view a problem. So what interesting, challenging dilemma have you been gifted this week to solve?

Just for the fun of it!

Mary Johnson - Monday, November 03, 2014

One of the (many!!) things I've realized these last 6+ years I've worked on my own is I have become somewhat humourless. Oh don't get me wrong, I love to have fun. Seems though my never ending 'do's' of being an entrepreneur is rather fierce about keeping me moving - all the time. I find myself being waayyy more serious than I used to be. Telling myself to lighten up is just one more to-do. Sometimes you need to do something you haven't done for a long while.

So on Saturday 6 of us gals went to the Fabulous @ 50 event at the River Cree Casino. Now I must admit there was a piece of me had the 'serious' thought of seeing what other women entrepreneurs are up to. But once I donned my gorgeous red boa and beads (yes the theme was Mardi Gra), it passed quickly. The place was humming at 10:30 in the morning. Most women indulged the theme to some degree - others went all out. Tons of great booths and talks to take in.

It was delightful to do something that had no particular purpose, no SMART goal, not about 'networking' or being seen to be part of anything. The time flew. It was just fun!

The rest of my day felt a breeze for putting some joy in it. I'll be doing this again. Soon!  

My great nephew's world

Mary Johnson - Friday, October 24, 2014

Yesterday I became a great Aunt. Pretty darn excited to have another wee one in the family. My thought process surrounding this little guy is different than for my 2 grandchildren. This surprises me though I suspect the events of recent days and weeks have fashioned this.

Ebola, terrorism, killing of our soldiers on our soil have dominated the headlines. It's easy to be overwhelmed with the repeating loops of T.V. footage on any of these topics and endless opinions of anyone who can get their face onto camera or print, of a world that's gone to hell in a hand basket. Fear, anger and intolerance gets ratcheted up. This is only part of the world he inherits. 

Then there are the equal images of the unfailing heroism of those who did everything they could for the young soldier on Parliament Hill, those who travel to 3rd world countries to assist the poorest and most sick; those who stand up for what they believe in - democracy, climate change, feeding and clothing our poor, better distribution of wealth, the many who create beauty and inspiration through their art and creativity, and on and on.

Most of our world ticks along with good people doing good work, raising great kids, contributing in ways big and small. He will have opportunities as well as challenges. So without in any way discounting our troubles, it is the kinder, determined and inspired world view I hope we show and encourage in this lad.


Mary Johnson - Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Getting back to work yesterday was tough. It was a busy, albeit most enjoyable weekend with family dinner, some yard and house work. As I think about it, the last few weeks and months have been busy too. Also realizing many mornings begin with a sense of reluctance and a lot of sighing. Looking ahead my world, well all of ours, will get nothing but busier with all things Fall plus our big holidays soon arriving. Yup! another sigh, ....

Appears I've gotten caught up in my vortex of doing. An entrepreneur's life can get like that. Just 1 more, wait a quick another, well 1 more thing off my list of 'to-do's' and it'll be enough. Ha! Except my old nemesis - Ms. Not-Enough is always hungry. Never satisfied. Appears I've caught her red handed - again!

Sooo, .... with the crazy lady screaming, "ARE YOU KIDDING!!?? You have wayyyy to much to do", I've given myself permission to take Friday afternoon off. 

Coffee anyone? 

Brilliant viewpoint from a winning team skip

Mary Johnson - Thursday, October 09, 2014

Jennifer Jones and Mary Johnson at WXN breakfast Edmonton Had the privilege to hear Jennifer Jones, winning skip of our women's gold medal curling team, speak yesterday. The event was the WXN (Women's Executive Network breakfast meeting. Jennifer is energetic, enthusiastic and very grounded considering her commitments as a lawyer, the curling training, international travel schedule, speaking and last but not least mom to young daughter Isabella. (Phew I was feeling tired just listening!!)

Her talk focused on a number of aspects of being part of a team. Much was familiar territory. There was something though that caught my ear. There was a lot of buzz a few years back when she made a decision to let go one of the team members in favour of someone young, lots of potential but essentially untried. She spoke about making this criticized change for their future.

Then she said "Bring in someone new (to the team) and you create a whole new team. Don't ask someone to fit into the 'old' mold team. Let someone bring who they are to the dynamic."

I thought this was unique and not how we usually receive new team members. When this new member joined, the team saw themselves as a brand new team. Deliberately took time to discover who they were now in this new dynamic and drew upon the resultant cross skills and capabilities to go onto win gold in Sochi - the only women's team to do so undefeated.

She's onto something! What if we didn't look to see how a new member on a team 'fits in'. Rather look at how they make a team new. Brilliant!

Postscript to my technology issue

Mary Johnson - Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Felt pretty confident about doing a post to my blog on my brand spanking new website, when my dear friend and website guru Dave Haggblad ( went away for his son's wedding. He patiently walked me through what needed doing. I had even written the instructions down! Perfect.

Then the post wouldn't publish, didn't save, and I lost my post entirely at one point (now save to a pages document just in case!). Continue to try. Logged out, soft and hard booted. Notta. Must have missed something!! The impatient me didn't take this well and really, what do you do?! .... I had to wait til Dave returned. When he did we got onto a screen shared program. I did a test and an actual blog. No problem. 

So I beat my mental critic back into the closet. I had done it right! 

 It as a system glitch after all. Yes!