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Life

The Importance of Corporate Culture

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Culture is Important

Corporate culture is becoming increasingly important in the war for talent and retention at companies of all types around the world. Corporate culture is the personality of a company and it can’t be faked. Brand & Mortar has a great corporate culture which is one of the reasons I enjoy working here and the main reason I even applied. When the call went out for a new social media community manager besides all the regular daily duties and qualifications, something stood out over any other job I was applying for, and that was a brief insight into what life at B&M was really like.

Life at Brand & Mortar

“At Brand & Mortar we strive to create an environment that breeds great ideas and collaboration, we want to hear yours and have you run with them. Our office space is fun, energetic and you’ll never hate “going to work” again. Work for a company that loves to get out and plan trips like camping, paint balling, and more. Flexibility to work from home some days.”

Now with a description like that how could I not apply!? The startup atmosphere is becoming the way of the future and how Millennials want to work. The freedom to come and go as we please, be a part of work that matters, have our ideas and voices heard, and of course casual Friday every day.

Culture Equals Motivation

The benefits of having a strong culture in your company means that your employees will actually want to work for you and not for anyone else, making them a positive investment for your business. The corporate ladder of some larger institutions such as banks and investment firms may still hold their ground on Bay Street, but as the world progresses into turning totally digital, it’s the creative marketing agencies with their “Beer Fridays” and their working in bean bag chairs that you’re going to be looking at to work with.

What’s Your Fit?

As important as it is to create a strong company culture that will attract new talent, it’s also important for you to find your fit within the culture. Ultimately it’s up to the employer to make sure that they hire people that fit their company. Unfortunately, it is difficult for employers to consider an applicant’s fit when hiring, because most job interviews fail to cover the proper “cultural” questions.

Just as important as experience, education or qualifications are, you need to be consistent with the company’s culture if you hope to land your dream job. By taking the time to predict your fit, you heighten the chances of landing a job you love, luckily I think I’ve found my great fit already!

Let’s Talk About Mental Illness

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On January 28, Bell Canada will launch their fifth annual Let’s Talk campaign. Using social media as its focus, the Let’s Talk campaign has been classified as a “virtual event,” where Canadians can text, tweet, call or share   campaign specific content in order to raise money and awareness for mental health and mental health related issues. For every campaign related text, tweet, call or share that is made on January 28, Bell Canada has pledged to donate $0.05.

 

Bell Canada aims to legitimize mental illness

 

Bell Canada created this campaign back in 2011 to help bring awareness to mental illness, an illness that many Canadians suffer from in secret. Historically, mental illness is not something that garners much attention from the media nor is it something that is openly discussed in daily conversation. By initiating an open dialogue between social media users, the campaign’s goal is to legitimize the problems caused by mental illness and assist in helping Canadians eliminate the stigma that surrounds it. Bell has made it very simple for the average Canadian to make a difference. Due to the fact that Let’s Talk is a virtual event, there are no geographical restrictions put on the individual; everyone can contribute. As long as the individual has access to social media, participation in the event can be as simple as the push of a button.

 

How the Let’s Talk virtual events generated real change

 

The Let’s Talk campaign created by Bell Canada is a perfect example of how social media can be used to create positive change right here in Canada. The pushing of a button on a smartphone may seem like an insignificant act, however, over the last five years the participation from thousands of Canadians in the Let’s Talk campaign has generated real change. From all of the texts, tweets calls and shares that have been made in relation to the Let’s Talk campaign, Bell has committed $67.5 million for mental health initiatives, including the support of hundreds of mental health initiatives located in Canada. This means that more tools are being made available for the treatment of mental illness and more money can be put towards mental illness research. That being said, support is not yet close to where it should be. According to the Let’s Talk website, “only one-third of those who need mental health-related service in Canada will receive treatment.” So, on January 28, pick up your phone and text, tweet, call or share in support of Bell’s Let’s Talk campaign.

 

How to Stay Active at Work

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Sitting is the New Smoking

If you think about it most white collar jobs require you to sit down at a desk for around 8 hours a day, and that’s not even including overtime hours and commuting. A growing number of evidence suggests that sitting is an independent risk factor for poor health and premature death. Those who have a desk job have in general become less active and are at risk of obesity and other health issues. That is a daunting fact to think about when it comes to your career. Being tied to a desk, rather than being on your feet all day is definitely a health issue, but adding activity to your workday isn’t hard to do with items you already have at hand, and if you don’t, don’t be afraid to ask your boss, they would rather have a healthy happy employee then someone who is constantly out on sick leave.

Get Moving For Your Health

1) Take the stairs instead of the elevator. If you work on the 18th floor this might not be the best idea but you can defiantly head to the stairwell for a short 10 min break and climb some stairs. Your legs and glutes will thank you later.

2) Walk across the office to talk to your colleagues instead of sending an e-mail. The short distance trips will add up over time and might even land you a new office buddy.

3) Stretch at your desk, this an easy and effective way to get your body moving. Start by stretching your arms over your head and bending from side to side. You can also move your head back and forth and roll your shoulders to relieve stress.

4) Use an exercise ball as a chair. The ball will engage your core muscles and help improve balance and flexibility, plus make your office seem more employee friendly and forward thinking.

5) Lastly if you can squeeze this one out of upper management it will only improve the longevity and overall health of everyone in the office, the treadmill desk. We don’t suggest doing sprints while you’re on the phone, but a slow walking pace with maybe even a slight incline for 15 minutes a day can add time back to your life.

It’s not easy changing your daily routine and not every one of these suggestions can be implemented, but by starting with these simple adjustments you will see your health and overall work attitude change for the better.

How to disconnect from technology

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The average smartphone user checks their phone 6 times an hour, which, not surprisingly, makes them feel distracted and overwhelmed. With 84% of smartphone users claiming they could not go a single day without their device, it is safe to say that most people are addicted to their devices, and would feel naked without their gadgets buzzing all the time. Maybe it’s  time to disconnect from the digital world these holidays as a way to reconnect with people and places around you. Here are 4 tips to disconnect from your always-on lifestyle during the holidays:

1. You are off work, stick to it

You’re on holiday, so it is time to relax and reload your batteries. Use the out-of-the office setting on your office email and resist the urge to respond to emails. Also, inform your colleagues you won’t be able to respond your emails. If you value your off-hours, so will they. And, most importantly, delete your work email application form your phone for the holidays.

2. Make yourself incompatible

Plan activities during your holidays that are impossible to do with a device in your hand. Go hiking, meditate, volunteer or try a new recipe. Enjoy your holidays, plan fun activities ahead and make sure to reconnect with your friends and family.

3. Make rules and stick to them

Totally disconnecting from all technology during the holidays is probably too ambitious for most. The point is to relax and not feel like you are in withdrawal, however it is important to make rules and stick to them. You can, for example, allow yourself to read the online newspaper every morning or check your emails once a day.

4. Forget about social media

It might sound surprising that I advise you to forget about social media, but constantly refreshing your feed to see what your friends and favourite brands are doing is something you have to try to avoid when you want to disconnect. Turn off your social media notifications on your phone and connect with the people and places around you.

10 Tips to Ace Your Next Job Interview

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Let’s face it, interviews are weird. They’re uncomfortable, awkward, inorganic meetings with a lot of pressure attached to them. If you’re a recent graduate, like myself, then you know these feelings all too well. Interviews suck, but they’re an inevitable and necessary part of adult life and – believe it or not – they can work to build your confidence, too. From my experience as a millennial in the job market, I’ve come up with 10 tips that cover everything you need to know to ace your next job interview.

Do your research

Before your interview always research the company (what they do, their culture, who their clients are…) because there’s nothing more embarrassing than being asked to explain what the company that’s interviewing you does, and not knowing the answer.

Dress for success

First impressions are a massive part of interviews. Before you have a chance to open your mouth an employer gets an impression of you based on what you’re wearing, so make sure you have a good and APPROPRIATE interview outfit. Stay away from sweatpants and club attire.

Be on time

In short, time is money. This potential employer is taking time out of their busy day to interview you, so show them that their time is appreciated by arriving punctually. Show up 5-10 minutes before your interview.

Come prepared

Bring a copy of your resume to your interview. Of course you already sent it to your interviewer (duh, that’s how you got the interview in the first place) but it doesn’t hurt to make their lives a little easier and come with a hard copy as something to refer back to.

Don’t fidget

Easier said than done, I know, but try and be conscious of this bad habit. Fidgeting is a key sign of nervousness, and even though you are nervous, it’s in your best interest to try and appear as cool, calm, collected and confident as possible.

Body language

Sitting with your arms crossed and leaned back conveys a standoffish attitude. Sit with your arms in an open position and lean in when it’s called for. Both of these are forms of positive non-verbal communication that express a relaxed and comfortable attitude.

Listen

Don’t look like you’re drifting off into a mid afternoon daydream during your interview. Be engaged, make eye contact, nod your head and show your listening.

Think before you speak

You may think that this is obvious, but it’s good to remind yourself not to jump into answering an interviewer’s questions without thinking first. You want to emulate your best self in an interview, and taking time to answer questions shows you care (and makes for better answers).

Ask questions

At the end of an interview, the interviewer will most likely ask if you have any questions for them – say yes. It never hurts to come prepared with a couple good questions to ask post-interview. Asking questions shows that you are interested in what goes on in the company, and gives you a great opportunity to find out if it’s the right environment for you.

Be yourself

Chances are your mom has given you this same advice a couple times, but it’s important to showcase your personality! There’s no need to put added pressure on yourself to try and conform to who you think the interviewer wants you to be, just be yourself.

 

So, before your palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy (hopefully you don’t vomit on your sweater) think back to these interview tips and remember that you (yes, you) are awesome, your skills are valuable, and you’re PREPARED.

Enthusiasm

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I have recently finished a book called A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle. This is basically a spiritual guide to discover the freedom and happiness of a life lived in the “now”. This is the first book I have read in a while. I usually start reading a book and stop half way through because I have forgotten what happened. That didn’t happen with this book. I could hardly put it down. I usually read on the train, coming home from work. Everyday I couldn’t wait to read more. I have learned quite a bit from this book. Some things ill have to read again but others I understood pretty well. One of the best things I took from this book was about enthusiasm. Let me explain.

“Enthusiasm means there is a deep enjoyment in what you do plus the added element of a goal or a vision that you work toward. When you add a goal to the enjoyment of what you do, the energy-field or vibration frequency changes. ” -Eckhart Tolle

This basically means there is a huge amount of intensity and commitment behind the work you are putting in. But also being completely happy and stress free while doing it. It actually may appear from another person’s point of view that you are under stress. With this amount of enthusiasm it is the total apposite. If you enjoy something enough to put a huge amount of enthusiasm to it, the creative levels increase and the stress always diminishes.

Ralph Waldo once said,

“Nothing great has ever been achieved without enthusiasm”.

Enthusiasm comes from a goal or vision you are working toward with a huge sense of enjoyment. This urges you to do better and create the best of your ability. Remaining fixed on your goal will help align you with the completion you are looking for.

There are many types of goals that you may want to accomplish. Any is good, as long as you are not looking to completely change yourself and work towards an unrealistic image of yourself. This is where the ego is working to empower you. At this point it is most likely that this goal will never be achieved and unhappiness settles in. Goals should be dynamic. Not to only benefit yourself but to help benefit other people.

The second you start to be more enthusiastic about something you will tend to enjoy the journey more and end up in a better place. A warm sensation will come upon you and urge you to keep moving forward. Of course you have to like what you are doing but no matter what it is, enthusiasm will help to reach a better accomplishment.

Throughout this journey remember to take each moment at a time and live in the “now”. This is hard because the future is always right around the corner. By living this way will help ensure a better future because you are so focused on the present moment.

I have learned a lot and some I do not fully understand but if I put the right amount of effort and enthusiasm into the learning process. It will help make sure I do understand life and what it offers.

The Road to Enlightenment

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I like to stay inspired, learning what I can about the world. It’s been an experience continuing to open my eyes more and more, uncovering more about the purpose of life. Of my influences, Russell Brand is one person among many who serves as a valued voice speaking of the injustices that have been plaguing the world from wealth inequality to political corruption.

Many who are deeply intertwined and interested solely in pop culture know very little about the problems the facing our world today. People are focusing on their social media status or famous people who sing songs about money and getting girls, when these things are all totally insignificant to life. People with higher social status like Russell Brand, Matt Damon and Rob Schneider have been doing a great job expressing their opinions about what is actually going on in the world and why our current way of life isn’t sustainable. To me, it’s pretty cool to see celebrities use the platforms they have to express their point of view and try and awaken the minds of humanity.

Currently, with our culture in place, we often call celebrities like Russell Brand lunatics. Why? Because people haven’t been presented these ideas before. Having an open mind to all the possibilities of life is something that we all need to take into account. This is where we will find our true connection to each other and how the world is meant to be.

Learning more and what life presents and the infinite capacity for connection to all things. Using meditation helps to re-connect our spiritual being. “You think of yourselves as humans searching for a spiritual awakening, when in fact you are spiritual beings attempting to cope with a human awakening. Seeing yourselves from the perspective of the spirit within will help you to remember why you came here and what you came here to do.” – The Group. This is applicable to all human beings, whether you think it is or not. In my opinion, people should be living spiritual lives, but we are all stuck in the realm of our five senses (sight, hearing, taste, touch and smell). The next steps of evolution are to move on to the next realm of spiritual consciousness (enlightenment).

There is so much more than what we see in front of us. There is much more around than just what we are experiencing. Our eyes are only able to see between ultraviolet light and inferred light. Our ears can only hear between 20 to 20,000 decibels. It’s highly likely that there are other energies and consciousness moving through the universe that we don’t see. Looking within yourself holds true opportunity to limitless bliss for positive energy. Although I may not know and understand everything life presents, I am learning and open minded to all possibilities.

 

“When I Stop Struggling, I Float; It’s the Law.”

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We all struggle with the endless ups and downs of life; it’s human nature to isolate ourselves and think we’re alone in our experiences. Doing your best to stay positive is something certainly easier said than done. Certain events in life may bring forth negative thinking patterns that, when given the right opportunity, can wreak havoc on our lives. Reflection is great and healthy, however worrying too much about the past or the future can lead to negative emotions and thoughts. We might find that as soon as one bad thing happens, we associate it with other negative feelings and experiences things that have happened in our lives; it’s a miserable pattern at best.

It’s self destructive .

If you find yourself in these situations more often than you’d like, you are what scientists call a ruminator (or in other words, an over-thinker). This state of over thinking could actually be detrimental to your health, spanning over both mental and physical horizons. Holding and generating these negative feelings can be detrimental to human performance, leading to mental conditions like anxiety and depression.

Personally, I know how it feels to over-analyse life’s bits and pieces; I know how it feels to be miserable and somewhat depressed. It sucks; a lot. Nobody deserves that; to feel burdened and overwhelmed by forces seemingly out of their control, tides turned against them. But there are ways to get around these negative feelings and thought patterns; there is a way to power-through these times of confusion, over-reflection, and doubt.

These hurtful patterns won’t stop unless you put the dedication and effort into helping yourself. Based on scientific research and my own personal experiences and research, I’ve have found that these next 8 ways will drastically help you stop over thinking and just live life knowing there are going to be negative events, but you’ll be able to get through them both sane, productive and happy.

1) Accept that you have a problem with over-thinking.

This encompasses the healing process and will help you forgive yourself. Most people probably aren’t aware your brain is actually wired to make over thinking a natural tendency; it helps reinforce rational thought and create a pool of thoughtful answers to act upon.  Our thoughts are knitted together like a web instead of layered on top of one another. The imagery might not make total sense; I aware! But once you become more aware of this you can begin to solve the underlying issue. This is usually the first step in all healing processes; realization, reflection and acceptance.

 

2) Breathe more.

For me, this was the best thing that helped me through this same exact process. Breathing will relax you, calm you, connect you to the present moment and ground you to the world around you Taking three big breaths in through my nose and out through my mouth. This helps reconnect yourself with reality; you’d be surprised how often we lose our connection to reality and get caught up too deeply in remembrance. The world is in the present, ever changing; don’t get left behind in the past (or the future, for that matter).

 

3) Get active and stay busy.

Let the energy out and have fun! Physical activity actually provides enough absorption to pull you out of negative thinking and back into a state of flowing (floating) with life. It’s proven that exercise helps improve focus, productivity and, of course, your health (mental and physical).

 

4) Be mindful.

This takes some practice. Being able to live in the present moment and take each second at a time is one of the essential pillars of life; it’s valuing each second that passes by for what it is and realizing the life is precious and important. Lao Tzu once said: “If you are depressed you are living in the past, if you are anxious you are living in the future, and if you are at peace you are living in the present.” A great way to kick this into gear is to mediate and relax, breaking free of heavy thoughts. This clears your mind and presents a calm and an ‘at one feeling’ with the universe.

 

5) Surrender to the universe.

Don’t try to control every aspect of life; let life flow. In reality, we have little to no control over the unfolding of events before us, at least not from the conscious standpoint that our worrying will directly impact the outcome in the way we want. Surrender does not mean giving up; It means you are willing to go with the flow of the current instead of trying to swim against it and getting repeatedly bashed into the rocks. Surrender is a form of release and a form of peace. It means you are willing to trust that everything will work out as it’s supposed to.

 

6) Your thoughts create your own reality.

Our thoughts actually do shape our reality through influencing our actions and expectations; it a way, they can affect what we see in front of us. The more you worry about something, the more you’ll begin to attract that exact same energy you are worried about! Jimmy Ohm always says: “Worrying is a misuse of creative energy.” Focus on important things, but don’t forget the more you worry, the worse your outlook will become.

 

You have all the tools to be positive and create a life that you want. Live each day one at a time, be thankful for this life you have. Be patient, take the time to find inner peace in each present moment no matter if its negative or positive.

My Perspective on Life & The World

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For my weekly blogs, I’d rather talk about what’s happened in my life and what’s going on in the universe. Every time I do, I feel like reader’s have no idea where my head is, like I’m crazy or something. From my point of view, most people think that life is nothing but what they see in front of them; ‘what you see is what you get’. Black and white. I refuse to accept that belief and point of view (respectfully, of course), because I know there’s more under the surface of every experience and opportunity; to every facet of life.

Life is so much more than what we get to see each day. So many people do things in this day and age without thinking; without first understanding the consequences of their actions and being able to accept they play a part in their own mistakes. Countless oil spills and wars could have been avoided had we simply just worked together and stopped closing our minds to new ideas, focusing solely on ourselves. We take the Earth and perhaps life for granted. Living each day like you have a thousand more to go. There’s nothing more precious than life itself, so why are we intent on living in the now? Why aren’t we looking to the future, preserving the world for our children and their children?

What is life? What is reality? These are questions we may never understand, but while we have the time to find out as much as possible about the world around us, I think it’s a good idea to keep our minds open. There are so many different theories of life and human existence and how we can improve ourselves. It’s a pretty uneducated to only believe in one point of view when the possibilities of life are endless.

Yes there might be a God. Or, there may very well not be. I’ve always told myself to keep an open mind and take all possibilities into account. Show respect towards all ways of life and beliefs. Never judge no matter the situation.

I wish I could do something to help change peoples minds about disrespecting the people of the world, no matter their religions or their ways of life. There’s no reason to start wars or show disrespect towards another country’s beliefs because you disagree with their traditions. You may never know; whatever they believe may happen to be reality. How are we to know?

Until you get the perspective of whole world and how other people live, there’s no reason to be so confident that our ways are the only ones. What makes us so sure we’re ‘enlightened’? Well, I believe it’s all about the human condition, something in itself that’s confusing enough.

My goal in life is to travel the world, to go to every nook and cranny. I want to literally see every country and how they live, learning from them because each of their experiences are different. This planet we call home is so expansive and mysterious; there’s so much we can’t see, and that’s because of both the size of the Earth and the plethora of experiences and viewpoints amongst various cultures. I’m going to travel and keep travelling until I’ve seen the perspective of the entire world in front of me. Every person on this Earth should get the opportunity to do the same. We are all equal. We are all brothers and sisters. Keep an open mind; life will surprise you if you do.