Crafting from Nature: Anita Avedian

Posted by: admin

March 25th, 2022 >> self-care

Nature can provide amazing artistic outlets and brighten up a space. From looking outside your window to integrating plants inside the house. However, what if you don’t have a green thumb or much of a creative bone in your body, if you do well. What is one to do when you still want the esthetic that nature creates in your dwelling? What if you could use elements in nature to create simple works that capture natural elements? Try this fun creative and crafting project that will give you nature, skill building, and a fun activity without much work.

Let’s use what we see in nature like a leaf and craft a small cup, bowl, or plate. 

Supplies needed: 

Flexible Leaf that is the size of the palm of your hand

Water

Rolling Pin or similar (can or bottle)

Paring Knife/ or similar (Small kitchen knife)

Plastic Wrap

A small cup, bowl, or plate (Depending on what you are making)

Tape (Optional)

Air Dry Clay

Acrylic Paint

Paint Brushes

Gathering supplies:

Take stock of what supplies needed can be found around your house or outside.

For example, if you take a walk around your home or a local park you will be able to find a leaf the size of your hand. Any leaf will do but try to pick a leaf that you like or has a unique color and shape. Let this be fun and be open to it resonating with you. The leaf should be flexible and soft to the touch. Collecting a hard or brittle leaf can lead to breakage which we want to avoid. Pro tip: Grab a few options of leaves just in case breakage does happen.

You can look in the kitchen and find a few more supplies. Once that is done run down to your local crafting store and retrieve some air-dry clay and any acrylic paint of your choice. You will use this paint after the clay is shaped and dried, therefore purchase a color you would like to see around your house. I recommend grabbing some natural colors and a metallic color like gold to provide an accent along the edges of the craft. Pro tip : Buy various size paint brushes to help you create the look you want especially if you are a beginner. Once you have all your materials from your home and the store, then begin crafting.

What are we making:

This is a crafter choice activity: You can opt to make a small cup, bowl, or plate.

Let’s get crafting – Steps to complete 

Organize your workspace and all your materials for easy access. Fill up a small cup of water that will be used to smooth the clay. 

First Step – Open your air-dry clay and rolling pin: Begin rolling out your clay using the pin until it looks like a thin sheet of clay. You are looking for the clay to be the thickness of about 1 centimeter . 

Second Step – Grab your favorite leaf and place it on the clay with the ridges of the leaf face down into the clay. Softly, roll the pin over the leaf to leave a light leaf impression. (think of this like a stamp). You are only pressing to leave the imprint but not to flatten the clay. 

Third Step – Take your small knife to outline the leaf, cutting as close to the edge of the leaf as possible. Once that is done gently remove the leaf from the clay. You can repeat the stamp process if you want more of a leaf pattern, if not that’s okay. 

Fourth Step – Go ahead and grab your water and smooth out the edge of the clay where you’ve cut with the tips of your fingers.

Fifth Step -What have you decided to shape the clay into? Grab your crafting muse (bowl, cup, or plate) that will be used as a mold.   Cover the bowl, cup, or plate with some plastic wrap first, making it as flat as possible trying to eliminate wrinkles. Tape the plastic wrap if need be. Place the clay with the leaf print down onto the plastic covered craft item and leave the clay to dry and harden.

Sixth Step – Once the clay is dry you can remove it off the item and begin to paint with the acrylic and metallic colors. Pro tip: Use a small brush to paint the veins of the leaf for more detail.

Crafting from nature can be simple and fun. This activity is great for beginners who want to express their creativity. This easy art project is also  great for bringing people together. Begin your crafting journey today!! 

Rethink Vacationing and Envision a Staycation

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January 26th, 2022 >> Vacation

Rethink Vacationing and Envision a Staycation

By: Destiny Johnson

Since the pandemic began opportunities for travel have decreased. There have been many rescheduled or postponed vacations with individuals hoping for the end of COVID – 19. Many travel bans, restricted booking, and vaccine mandates resulted in many canceled flights, cruises, and vacations.  The devastating effects of COVID-19 and all its variations I’m sure has many individuals wondering when traveling and vacationing will be able to happen. 

Now that the pandemic has lasted longer than anticipated, should we rethink vacationing while the world is still influx?

Vacationing for many is a significant part of their lifestyle; a way to destress and re-center, while experiencing culture. Many view vacationing as a much-needed escape to relax. During the pandemic the need to get away or have an outlet to experience something new and entertaining is critical to people’s mental wellbeing

However, the challenges for vacationing are still felt and for many the options for vacationing have dwindled. Taking a vacation shouldn’t be a luxury or unattainable goal but a right to joy. A right to find clarity, find stillness, and to explore. Vacationing is a life changing experience and can be recalibrated.  

How can we re-think vacations and travel?

What if I provided an option for vacation that allowed you to not travel far but was full of new possibilities and experiences.   You can do this by creating vacations and getaways that are only a few miles away. Local vacationing can ease some concerns related to COVID-19, reduce restrictions toward travel, provide an unexpected escape that is affordable and most of all fun. This concept is called taking a “Staycation”.

What is a staycation?  A staycation is a local gateway or tourism site that is near your residence. Staycations are an alternative to a traditional vacation that is still fun-filled, free of expensive travel fees, and can eliminate the hassle that comes with flying.

Types of Staycations 

Overnight Stays– a vacation spent near an individual’s local home rather than abroad. That lasts overnight or a few days.

Day Trips – involves time being spent in one’s hometown or a few miles away. (The next city or an hour or two away) The day is filled with local attractions or activities that only require a few hours of travel to experience a day elsewhere and a fast return home.

What are the benefits of a Staycation? 

·       Contactless travel options to increase safety. For example, using your own car can help reduce exposure of COVID – 19 

·       Local travel means you reduce expenses and save more

·       May decrease travel time to destinations by attending local attraction

·       Ease of travel increases because you avoid airports, baggage claims etc.

·       Ability to help support local and community businesses 

·       Explore new things that are relatively close to your neighborhood

What will you find in your local staycation pursuit? 

Happy Staycation!!!

Mindful Talking

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October 6th, 2021 >> Mindfulness

By: Destiny Johnson

Have you ever spoken to someone, and kept getting interrupted? Trying to get a word in at times can be quite challenging in conversations when mindful talking isn’t used. This happens from time to time when speaking with acquaintances, family, and friends. It can also take place in the workplace with colleagues and clients. 

Many of us have heard of active listening but what about the art of mindful talking when engaging in dialogues with people. What is mindful talking or speaking?  It is one’s ability to speak to others with awareness, active listening, and focus. Mindful talking is knowing what, when, and how to use tone to engage with someone. Mindful communication involves listening, tone, nonverbal cues, paying attention, and connecting to others. 

Speaking mindfully is a great skill to incorporate into any conversation. Mindful speaking encourages emotional intelligence. Imagine speaking and not being allowed the space and respect to respond. Or not having the opportunity to share your thoughts and opinions. It would be like you were trapped in a one-sided conversation. Do you think you would feel heard? Do you think the other person who is not receiving mindful talking would feel heard?

If there is no space to share and respond it cannot be a dialogue. If this type of communication continues it can become incredibly annoying and frustrating. Ultimately, the lack of care, consideration, kindness, empathy, and attention to the other person when having dialogue will eventually drain the relationship and decrease communication.

Here are some tips to increase Mindful Talking in conversations:

Consider Time

Realize how much time and space you take up while speaking. If you have an hour to dialogue with someone, how much of that time is spent with you talking versus them. How you listened to what is being share verbally and non-verbally? Ask yourself does this need to be said, have I listened enough before responding

Use Silence and Pauses

Make sure you take pauses; it will allow the listener to process what’s being shared. Not everyone processes the same way. For example, introverts tend to process inward using thought while many extraverts process outwardly using speech. Both are valid but pause to allow for communication to flow. The use of silence can also allow you to be intentional with words and consider how much talking has taken place versus how much listening

Probe and Seek Clarity

Ask questions to better understand before speaking. Ask questions to gain perspective from others. Many times during conversations messages can get lost, contributing to lack of understanding and miscommunication. Seek to understand instead of talking. When you listen intently it will help you know what to say 

Here and Now

Be present and in tune to the moment happening in front of you. Many people get lost in thoughts of yesterday (the past) or tomorrow (the future) that we forget about the present moment. This can occur when talking. Try to focus on what is tangible in the conversation and connect with the persons words and feelings. Use breathing to bring you back to the conversation if your mind begins to wonder while talking to someone. Focus on your breath and what they are saying. 

Awareness

Check in with yourself and your surroundings. Identify how the person you’re talking to is doing. You can pick up on cues that indicate if the listener is checking out and vice versa if you have lost your focus. Checking in with yourself, can be done by quietly recognizing what is happening internally or around you. Are you following the conversation? Is the person distracted? Have they disconnected? Are you not responding to questions because you have zoned out? 

To build awareness and focus you can use open posture. Posture your body toward the listener with arms uncrossed, lean in physically to the conversation, and provide eye contact. This will help you stay alert and welcome dialogue. It is important to limit distractions and refocus your thoughts to the speaker. Use verbal encouragers like yes, uh huh and ask questions to understand and connect. 

Showing curiosity can strengthen dialogue and unfold an engaging conversation. Begin practicing intentional and mindful speech because it is important to feel heard. Try out some of these tips and see if your conversations and connections can be deepened.


Destiny Johnson is a career counselor and certified anger management counselor with Avedian Counseling Center.

Dealing with Loss of plans or dreams

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July 20th, 2021 >> achieve, Career, goal setting, productivity

By: Destiny Johnson – Career Counselor at Avedian Counseling Center

As humans, we tend to be drawn to achievement and progress. We set goals and seek ways to fulfill them. Accomplishments give us all a sense of pride and confidence. When we can dream and achieve, it creates positivity and hope for the future. Think of a goal that you worked hard for and finally saw it come to fruition. How did you feel? Empowered or inspired? However, what occurs when a dream or plan is lost or not realized? Disappointment or discouragement?

If achievement is the vehicle used to create purpose and self-worth then the loss of achievement can impact many individuals negatively. Feelings of sadness, disappointment, and discouragement are emotions that arise when dreams aren’t accomplished. Some dreams are lost due to unplanned circumstances outside of our control while others are a conscious decision. Some dreams are snatched or not accomplished due to injury, anxiety, new responsibilities, death of a loved one, poverty, discrimination, age, lack of preparation, illness, or low skill development.

Let’s review some scenarios :

A track athlete has trained all year long for the chance to win a medal during an important track meet. The athlete has spent hours exercising, running drills, working on breath control and form. They have adapted their lifestyle to accommodate where they want to be health-wise. Then the date of the meet arrives, they complete a routine warm-up and off they go running in the race of a lifetime. They pivot wrong and instantly the knee begins to buckle and the pain causes the athlete to fall behind and just like that the dream of the medal drifts away….. 

Or 

A little girl dreams of her wedding day. She is wearing a beautiful dress and envisions her father giving her away. Fast forward to the end of high school and her father becomes ill, and within a year he passes away. The young lady now works through her grief slowly. Now she is done with college and meets a special person and after two years of dating, she gets a proposal. She is excited and joyful. As she prepares to marry her partner, she is overwhelmed with sadness realizing her father will not be there to walk her down the aisle.

Regardless, of the scenario, the loss of a plan or a dream can be difficult to experience and even harder to accept. The losses can be incredibly hard to understand, cope, and can come in waves of disappointment. I am sure some have heard the five stages of grief. However, grief can occur and pops up without notice during milestones, anniversaries, or important events.

How can we address the loss of dreams when they occur? Questions to help you address loss:

What can be learned when plans and dreams are lost?

What can be learned about ourselves when plans or dreams aren’t accomplished?

How can you reframe your story?

What resources can you use when navigating the loss of plans and dreams?

Do you need to talk with someone about your loss of dreams?

Additionally, here are some strategies:

  1. Permit yourself to grieve. It is normal to be disappointed and sad when dreams do not match reality. Sadness is a signal that we should not ignore but understand and is a natural reaction. You are allowed to not feel or be ” okay” and to process the pain of what was lost. Identify your hurt and what it means to move forward healthily.

  2. Identify the accomplishments that have occurred to remind you of the progress that has already taken place. You have a right to review your wins and applaud yourself. Look for the good in your life.

  3. Recalibrate and get organized to figure out what the next best steps are for you. Seek out helpful resources to help with overcoming grief and actively work to avoid getting stuck.

  4. Reframe your experiences that are negative to see a new positive outcome. Reframing is critical to overcoming the grieving process and losses. 

Realities of Bullying during the pandemic

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April 8th, 2021 >> COVID-19

Children and teens are spending an alarming amount of time online, and with life coming to a slow down in so many parts of the world again, the possibility of putting a plausible pause on this time does not look possible. Also, children are cooped up in their homes, having less to almost none physical outlet to channelize their energies and frustration. They are bored, disengaged and confused because of the huge changes that the Covid brought into out lives. These are just some of the factors why we see a huge increase in cyber bullying. 

Apart from online classrooms, a hotbed for cyberbullying, where kids are spending endless hours, is online gaming. While most of the time the attacks manifest in the form of insults, ridiculing of gaming skills or more generally profanities being hurled at the players involved, it is by far not the only type of bullying that could be experienced in online battle arenas.

As a parent or a guardian, the onus is now on us to help curb this issue.

Some starter points that can really help are

—> Stay attuned to your child’s behaviour at home. Most often, it is a good indicator of how they conduct themselves online, school or otherwise.

—> Fostering an open minded, forbearing attitude in children at home encourages them

to treat their classmates without a prejudice. Teach them to be inclusive and tolerant of different perspectives and views.

—>  Children who are respected at home do not seek for attention outside and reflect more compassion.Model patience and respect towards your child’s opinions at home so they can carry that forward to their classroom.

—> The ability to control their emotions plays a huge role in how they interact with the outside world. Self help tools like meditation, journaling and exercising go a long way in helping them stay centered when things are not in their control. Empower them these self help tools so they can align themselves in and outside the classroom.

—> Children who are assertive and the ones who can articulate their feelings better tend to be the ones performing better at school as well as socially. Encourage them to voice their opinions and stand up for themselves whenever they deem necessary.

—> Spend time and meaningful conversations with your children. Encourage healthy discussions about their feelings and emotions on the daily. This will keep you in the know of their mental state AND will give them a place to vent. Nurture your child’s self- esteem and encourage them to report bullying to you, teachers, coaches or school administrators.

—> Children understand better when they are communicated with clearly, about expectations and rules. Set guidelines and rules for screen time and online etiquettes.

—> Boredom is one of the reasons why children choose to spend unconstructive time online. Urge them to connect with friends and family instead. That way they are fostering connections as well. 

—> Parents are increasingly becoming busier. It is easy to loose sight of what is important when you are consumed with work priorities. Take time to keep a check your child’s online activity as frequently as possible.

—> Teach your children strategies to deal with uncomfortable situations with classmates and others.

Schools authorities and teachers are constantly making an effort to make this online time for our children as safe as possible, but not much can be controlled what they do post school hours.

Let’s empower our children with tools and blueprints for a surer, safer and constructive experience online.

Manasvi Mehta

Founder, Good Earth Citizen
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https://www.instagram.com/good_earth_citizen/

Introspection

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April 6th, 2021 >> COVID-19, Introspection

I find that, mostly during seasons of transitions, many of us go back to the drawing board and check in with ourselves, looking at what needs to be readjusted and what goals need shifting (Personal or otherwise). The COVID-19 Pandemic has been a catalyst for many of us to engage in frequent introspection. According to google, Introspection is defined as “the examination or observation of one’s own mental and emotional processes.” Many of us have had to evaluate where we are, the work we do, and redefine our overall sense of purpose, because of the discomfort and vulnerability this pandemic has created.  Many have involuntarily lost so much, and during or after a much needed grieving season, we are getting back up with a revised lens through which we perceive life. 

In the late 1800s, Wilhelm Windt developed the original idea of introspection and his work later on, established the field of cognitive psychology (McLeod, 2008) Windt focused on 3 areas of mental functioning; thoughts, feelings and images. 

So why should we introspect? Dr. Poppenk of Queens university,  has found  that humans have more than 6,000 thoughts per day, by being able to identify the end of an old thought and the beginning of a new one. That number can be overwhelming and when we don’t take the time and effort to refocus our thoughts, we would be easily derailed by the fast paced life we live. As there is a toxic extreme of doing anything, there are toxic ways to introspect; which can lead us to feel anxious, and many other undesirable emotional and psychological discomfort. There is however a productive way to be introspective. A good place to begin, is by asking ourselves more “what” questions than we do “why” questions. According to Eurich, 2017, “why” questions tend to stir up more negative thoughts, while “what” questions keep us curious about ourselves, and draw us to a more positive future. 

According to a journal article “87 self-reflection questions for introspection” written by  Courtney E. Ackerman, there is a bank of questions we can use to begin and guide our introspective journeys. And for some, you will need to journal to help process those thoughts, feelings and images more intentionally. Some of these questions are to jump start the self reflection process, others are to get to know ourselves better. Here are a few you can start on…

  1. What have I given up on?
  2. What do I need to change about myself?
  3. What act of kindness was I once shown, that I will never forget?
  4. The words I’d like to live by are….
  5. Am I putting enough effort into my relationships?

Arguments with Neighbors

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February 6th, 2021 >> anger, Arguments with neighbors

Do you consider yourself as someone who argues a lot? Do you avoid your neighbors to reduce conflicts?

The word “argument” is best defined as, “an oral disagreement, verbal opposition, or discussion involving differing points of view.” Often when we think of an argument, thoughts of a person yelling or saying put-downs comes to mind. Arguments can take place in any person to person dynamic.

A team at Lund University studied the impact of arguments on health. They conducted a long-range study gathering data on ten thousand Danish adults ages 36-52 in 2000 regarding their relationships and social lifestyles. Individuals answered questions about conflicts with partners, children, other family, friends, and neighbors. They found that middle-aged adults who frequently argued with their partners were more than twice as likely to die at a relatively young age, compared to people who rarely fought. Frequent confrontations with friends were 2.6 times more likely to die prematurely than those who got along with their peers. Even more surprising, these researchers found a specific group with whom arguing should be avoided at all costs.  Can you guess who? Neighbors. Neighbors who argue are three times more likely to die prematurely than neighbors who get along. 

A study led by Keith Sanford from Baylor University sought to identify, what was most important to people during an argument. The two main underlying concerns during conflicts include: 

Perceived Neglect – one person feels as though the other is being inattentive or disloyal.

Perceived Threat – one person feels as though the other is being too critical or demanding. Here, the partner is hostile, critical, blaming, or controlling.

When neighborly conflict arises, it tends to be driven by these two perceptions and resentment can occur when conflict goes unresolved. A hostile environment can take place when blaming, being critical or judgmental is the main focus versus conflict resolution. Many times, unresolved conflict is about control rather than the act of treating someone badly. You must ask yourself are you arguing because you feel like you were wronged? Or are you being stubborn and justified because of this perceived wrongdoing?

So, what’s the solution? A great place to start would be to reduce the frequency of conflicts. Did you know that quarreling has been found to give rise to undesirable health conditions?

Since arguing affects our health, learning to communicate assertively will help to develop a longer lasting relationship and decrease the effects arguing has on our health.

The following are some strategies to reduce conflicts with neighbors:

  • LISTEN TO UNDERSTAND – Most times when arguments take place we often just want to be heard and validated. Therefore, just as you want to be heard, your neighbor does too.
  • PRACTICE ACTIVE LISTENING – “Fixing” or “Problem solving” may be a good strategy if your neighbor requests for a change. But if they are frustrated about something that cannot be changed, then practice active listening skills. Be a sounding board for the other person and encourage them to talk. Doing so will help them cope through the problem. They will sense that you’re considering their input.  
  • GIVE TIME AND SPACE In order to have a productive conversation, you’ll need to check in with yourself. If you’re really triggered, excuse yourself and let the other person know that you’ll need to return to the conversation on another day. Often both parties need a cooling down period.  Creating a space and time for this to happen can be beneficial so that effective communication can take place.
  • TAKE TIME TO PROCESS – During this time, process what’s bothering you and return when you’re ready to talk. Once you begin sharing your concerns, take turns communicating your experience and perception of the situation.
  • ADDRESS THE ISSUE NOT THE PERSON – The issue and the person are not one in the same. Focus on expressing your thoughts and feelings regarding the root of the issue or your need versus the person. Blaming the person can cause for communication to become stagnate and make the person defensive.
  • BE WILLING TO COMPROMISE – Sometimes being the bigger person and giving in is really winning. Keeping peace for the greater good can be what is needed to move forward.
  • BE SOLUTION MINDED – When discussing the issue, be open to explore solutions together. Offer some suggestions or actions you are willing on taking.
  • OFFER A KIND GESTURE – When a neighbor realizes that you are offering a kind gesture, they will sense that you have their back.  Perhaps to inform them about a package they have in front of their door, or to offer that you would be willing on checking their mail if they’re away on vacation.

Remember, these are your neighbors. You are bound to run into them frequently. Why would you choose the path of conflict when you can work together to have a peaceful and harmonious neighborly relation.

Communicating Goals Effectively

Posted by: admin

December 31st, 2020 >> Uncategorized

As we begin 2021, many like to reflect and strategize or plan for the year ahead. For many of us, whether we lead teams, or are part of a family or are married, we would need to communicate these goals with others effectively, to make sure everyone is on the same page. Communicating effectively and getting everyone on the same page can be difficult, especially when there are different motives driving the individuals.

Out of the various types of communication, assertive communication is viewed as the most effective. According to Anita Avedian’s Anger Management Essentials Workbook, assertiveness entails directly expressing our thoughts and feelings in a respectful way, leaving no room for assumptions. Some fundamental tips to consider when communicating the goals and plans in either your home or business;

1.         Include those involved in the planning process. Be transparent with the goals. Transparency helps to foster trust within a group of people. According to forbes.com, not only does it show that you trust the person and value their input, but that it could also be an opportunity to get new ideas! Make sure these goals complement the vision and mission of the company.

2.         Evaluation session. This would be a good time to review the last season, or year, to thoroughly evaluate what worked and what didn’t. According to the center for creative leadership, evaluation clarifies outcomes, focuses attention, supports ongoing learning and finally, it influences future actions and decisions.

3.         Do your homework. Make sure you have vetted the processes of how you would like to attain or reach your goals. Do the necessary research, consult with experts in areas when you’re not as familiar and determine a process which is easy to communicate and digest.

4.         Divide tasks.  Delegating is giving each of them a responsibility, helping them feel valued and helps reassure them of being major contributors to the success of the business or family. This is also a significant way to exercise good time management skills. According to the Harvard business review, a study was done in 2007 on time management, close to 50% of the 332 companies evaluated expressed concern about their employees delegation skills.

5.         Accountability. If you are able, have a 1:1 meeting with employees, checking in regularly and determining ways we can be of support. For family members, this could be a good time to check in with your children too – not on a meeting, but a date or time with just the two of you.

6.         Set reasonable deadlines for each step of the journey. This is to make sure there is progress being made and no one is left behind.

Although these tips may seem more business oriented, they can be applied in various areas of our lives. How we manage money to how to improve relationships. They are strategies that could be used dynamically.

Interviewing during COVID-19: Preparing for Virtual Interviewing

Posted by: admin

October 30th, 2020 >> Career

By: Destiny Johnson

While traditional interviewing can bring its own challenges due to the coronavirus, it has taken on a whole new meaning and experience for both the interviewer and interviewee, leaving some unsettled. COVID -19 has employers adapting their hiring and interviewing practices to accommodate the season of social distancing and remote working. This means interviewing, as we have known it has made a few adjustments.  These new updates may be difficult to navigate and may have some thinking about how they should prepare. Do not worry, there are still ways to conquer the job sector with a few concrete and concise tips for virtual interviewing to help you better prepare. These tips can lead to successful outcomes and build your confidence before and during your big day.

Remember preparing for a virtual interview may be different and, in some way, uncomfortable, however it is still designed for you to articulate, and showcase your skills in an engaging way.

  • Make sure you have the right computer equipment, and software programs prior to the interview. A virtual interview requires equipment such as:

o   camera and microphone on your computer, tablet, or smartphone

o   software application program (such as Zoom or Google Hangouts etc.)

Set up and test computer technology to ensure it works properly. Download video meeting software prior to the interview and practice logging on at least a day before your virtual interview. Turn on the sound and video to ensure everything is in working order.

  • Confirm you have a strong internet connection. Before your interview 20 minutes beforehand check internet access and connection. You want to ensure you have the right bandwidth to stream video. Once your connection is made, sign into the video meeting using the link provided by the company or interviewer. Technical challenges can occur but will be worse if you have not tried to troubleshoot prior to the interview.

o   Have a backup plan if technology is not working. If this is possible and feasible for you, have a smartphone or tablet that you can use as a backup plan if your computer is not working. Many apps can be used interchangeably from one device to the other.

  • Workspace for the interview should be clutter free with a clean background. Not everyone has an office space in their home however, it is important to have a clean background that will be visible to interviewers. The background can be a color solid wall, a wall of paintings, or organized kitchen or bedroom, or nice décor accent. Zoom also has a setting in which you can choose a picture as a background. Test it out: https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/210707503-Virtual-Background
  • Choose a space that limits distractions. Select a quiet area free from distraction to have your interview. With everyone being home these days, prepare your family for the interview a few days prior so if adjustment needs to take place that can. If you have pets, house them in a different room. If you have small children do your best to plan your interview around nap times if you can. We are all home and navigating shared spaces so do your best to limit distractions.
  • Familiarize yourself and do your research.  With any interview you must prepare. Whether it be virtual or in person the process is the same. Do your research and know the company, job description and responsibilities, and prepare to connect and discuss your transferable skill.
  • Dress professionally and grooming should be polished. Although you are having a virtual interview, your dress attire and appearance matters and is still a very important process of interviewing. Do not slack on appearance. Wear professional attire and groom your hair and face.
  •   Lighting and professional posture. Make sure to sit up straight and place the camera so that you are in the middle of the screen. Use an area that has good lighting for the webcam to focus on your face and the interviewer can see you easily.
  • Stay engaged and authentic. The benefit of virtual interviews is you can pick a setting that you feel comfortable in. Using a relaxing environment will help you express yourself authentically. Stay engaged by using confident tones and speech. Use your body language and facial expression to show interest in the topic.
  • Smile and make eye contact. Here is a trick, grab a small post it and place it near your computer camera that reminds you to smile naturally
  •   Take notes. Have a notepad or a piece of paper and pen ready handy to take notes or open a tab for notes on your computer. Write down any questions that the interviewer is asking to ensure you answer them fully.
  • Share skills and examples concisely. Express your skills that display your adaptability during this difficult time along with skills aligned with the job duties. Take your time, formulate your answers including concrete examples that are concise, yet paint a vivid picture of your abilities.
  • Prepare questions. At the end of each interview there is a moment you can ask questions to the interviewer. This is a great time for you to convey your dedication to learning about the company. Have 1 or 2 questions prepared beforehand to ask. Some question can be related to

o    In person health and safety guidelines (mask wearing, temperature checks, social distance due to COVID).

o   Job security of position, office culture, and support due to pandemic

o   What policy changes have the company made or things you should expect to accommodate remote work.

o   What are the new opportunities the company is developing or what are the challenges the company may be facing and solutions etc.

  • Follow-up after the Interview. Within 24 hours of the interview you should contact HR or the hiring representatives to say thank you for their interview and consideration and express your availability for further questions.

Discovering Creativity in Crisis

Posted by: admin

October 21st, 2020 >> COVID-19

When I think of Creativity in Crisis, the first thing that comes to mind is resilience. The ability to bounce back, a productive way of dealing with crisis. Given how the situation has been worldwide this year, I have seen people re-imagine processes and procedures they have had in place for a long time. I have seen most of us being pushed out of our comfort zones to think outside the box. So how do we remain motivated, and relevant in a time that limits us from doing what we have been doing?

According to an article on psychology today, written by Alice Boyes Ph.D, the problems we are facing now are not problems we have had to deal with before, and hence innovation is inspired. She explains how empathy spurs creativity and how creativity comes alive when our ingrained habits and ways of thinking or doing have been disrupted. Research and current life experiences  have shown us that we can be creative by switching up routine, which has become our new normal. So what are some key factors to consider during our creative process?

  1. Identify the new problems that need to be solved. Entrepreneurs see this as the key to having a successful business. Being able to identify what is needed and what is not working anymore is one of the basic principles in being innovative. 
  2. Establish the recipients of this re-imagination. Who is your audience and what are their needs? Do research and make sure their voice is included. 
  3. Take inventory of what resources you have readily available. This could be staff members to help, organizing troubleshooting sessions with trusted ones or team members. Identify which voice is missing from the table and invite them – work together and encourage diversified perspectives.  
  4. Cost vs. rewards  – Evaluate whether actionable items can be achieved in a reasonable manner. 
  5. Start somewhere – I know it can be intimidating to try something that has never been done before, so courage is pivotal when it comes to launching new ideas. Don’t be afraid to fail if there is a failure to launch. Reassess and make adjustments as you go. This reminds me of a saying “it is impossible to steer a car that is not moving.”