CoachDeclute Blog

The Timeless Value of Travel

Posted in Articles by coachdeclute on November 30, 2010

For some of you, this header will conjure up enduring memories of fabulous vacations you have enjoyed in your life.

Perhaps it was –

  • A lengthy or unusual journey to a far away place
  • An exhilarating adventure that you had always dreamed of doing
  • Beautiful unfamiliar landscapes
  • New friendships

Some of you may have had the pleasure of working internationally –

  • Wonderful to experience and get to know another culture
  • Become lifelong friends with some of your foreign business peers
  • Have everlasting global experience to share
  • Enjoy the opportunity of vacation in other nearby countries

I believe that big and small trips enhance our life equally. One of the things we can do, that is very rewarding, is to pique our curiosity as often as possible.

Small frequent trips do this. They are at our finger tips and usually inexpensive!

If you live in a large city, just take a minute to think about wandering to a bordering neighbourhood.

  • It is easy and accessible
  • You can walk, bicycle or take public transit
  • You can enjoy a multitude of interesting events and attractions.
  • You might come across a game of bocce ball or a rugby match or a music concert or a funky little antique store.

My favourite is to walk or bicycle. You are able to see so much more along the way, have the freedom to stop whenever you want, as well as get the bonus of some exercise!

If you live in a small village or in the countryside, consider a journey to the other villages that are a short drive away. Often there will be

  • A Saturday market
  • Seasonal festivals
  • A field of fresh corn or blueberries for the picking
  • A country fair that is fun for everyone.

Whether a city, village or country dweller, another “age old” possibility is making plans for a Sunday drive and family picnic. This can be even more fun if you seek out new locations each time –

  • perhaps along a grassy river bank one day
  • a waterfront park another
  • the slopes of a ski hill the next.

If you have children all of these small trips will teach them about exploring.

  • Learning about the world around them
  • Being curious about seeking new opportunities
  • Understanding the fun of new adventures

It is also wonderful to include elderly parents or friends when planning these small trips. They may not be able to do the big trips anymore and will appreciate your company and the adventure of a small trip too!

Finding time to enjoy some of the simpler things in life is so fulfilling. Often it influences our happiness most and creates our best everlasting memories.


Sparkle, Shimmer or Spin…

Posted in Articles by coachdeclute on November 16, 2010

The month ahead can be filled with sparkle or leave your head spinning. It can be the happiest most enjoyable month of the year or quite the opposite. It can pass by leaving you filled with optimism about the year ahead or filled with regrets about the month gone by. Can you put the right spin on it?

Operative words that make a huge difference are planning, organization and time management. And please do not forget to “Pay Attention to your Money”!

Following are some tips on how to be sure to sparkle not spin out of control….

Planning is paramount!


  • Start the planning early
  • Make a list of events you will be hosting. Decide on guest lists. Do invitations. Decide on menu, decorating and other elements. If you have children involve them in the preparation. They will love to help and they will be so proud to be part of making your home and event special.
  • Clean your home thoroughly now. Do a really good Spring cleaning and then it will be so easy to maintain. Declutter – less mess, less stress and don’t forget family participation is important here too.
  • Make a list of functions you will be attending and calendar everything.
  • Buy or make hostess gifts. Once again involve your family. Baked goods, a book mark or a pretty tree ornament are appreciated options.
  • Plan your family celebrations. Whatever your ethnic or religious background, this time of year has become a time for celebrations. As family and friends of all ages gather it is important to think of activities that will appeal and be easy to do. Simple things like song sheets and singing along with the music, a table dedicated to a large puzzle or table tennis in the backyard or basement.  Do not get too complicated!
  • Remember to include family and friends who are living far away. With today’s technology it is possible to share from a distance the joy of being together.
  • Plan the menu well in advance and ask for help. Everyone loves to participate and it is much more enjoyable for the host/ hostess and the guests  if the work involved is shared!


  • The giving spirit is part of the joy of the season. Keep it joyful!
  • Giving of your time to help others is a wonderful gift to. It is also another ideal time to involve your family in sharing with others and helping them as much as you can.
  • Decide on your overall budget and if you need extra discipline put the credit cards away and buy everything with cash. This will insure you avoid the one night stand with your credit cards and the January hangover!
  • Starting early cannot be stressed too much here. Last minute shopping often involves desperate and bad purchase decisions. So make a list and ask for gift ideas. Listen carefully so you get it right and shop carefully.
  • Check pricing online as there are many good deals through Amazon and through direct online retailers. It can also save you time!
  • Gift wrapping can be creative and environment friendly. Save newspaper or left over packing paper and use it for wrapping those boxes. Crayons and some ribbon will make these parcels festive and unique. Make it fun and another activity to share!

Time Management

  • Calendar the busy days..
  • Make “TODO” lists the night before and watch the clock. Nothing is worse than dinner running 2 hours late when everyone is overtired from all the excitement.
  • Set deadlines for completing the major tasks like gift and food buying
  • Remember to have back up plans for any small disasters.  A first aid kit can come in handy. An extra snack or two and time for an extra nap for little ones or an elderly parent. Transportation options or extra accommodation can come in handy too!
  • Exercise is important for everyone, especially when eating more than usual is likely to be part of the picture. A brisk walk interjected can provide a welcome change and much needed fresh air for those celebrating indoors. Even the family pooch will be pleased!
  • Know the timing and location of community events and religious services. Attending as a family group can lift the spirits and add to the meaning of the festive season.

Pay Attention to Your Money

  • A budget for gifting is important and a significant part of where things can go wrong at this time of the year. Make a list and prioritized the list for each family member and friend. Once again consider ways of economizing by making gifts or shopping online. Buy the most important things first then if money runs out there will not be any big disappointments.
  • Budget for entertaining. Sometimes this can be the biggest expense of the season. Remember that it is more about the time together than the cut of the beef! A great recipe done in a slow cooker will be just as appreciated as prime rib.
  • Budget for little incidentals. This is another way that money can slip through our fingers. So create a petty cash fund for the little bits and when it runs out do not replenish it!
  • Paying attention will ensure a great financial start to 2011.

This time of the year can be a lonely time for those without family close by, or for those with difficult health or other trying personal circumstances.  Be watchful and give out lots of smiles, compassion, encouragement and good cheer along the way. This, most important of all, will keep the sparkle and happiness in the month ahead!

How Cool is Your Retirement Plan…

Posted in Articles by coachdeclute on November 2, 2010

The transition to retirement can be one of the most challenging transitions in life! In today’s world the variety of approaches is endless. It is unbelievably important to do it your way – a way that fits with you on every level – mental, financial, spiritual, physical and emotional!

It seems trite to say, but retirement is too important to leave to chance and I am not just referring to financial chance!

Like most worthwhile things it requires a big picture plan. Get out the vision board and make that board a big one!

As you get closer to this stage sometimes you feel tired, a bit worn down and so perhaps attracted to the notion of:

  • free time
  • no set daily schedule
  • no commitments
  • no one to report to
  • no need to do anything but what we wish
  • one big holiday

Then all of a sudden you may be hit by a tidal wave. You are there and feeling a bit lost. What the heck happened to your important career, your status, your life of challenges and responsibilities? What now? What is the meaning of this new phase in life?

Whether you are viewing retirement from a bit of a distance or are in the midst of this transition now, you are in control and you can make it what you want.

This could be the longest phase of your life so let’s look forward not back!

As I said earlier get out the vision board and start to put the picture in place

  • What is it you want to move toward in this next phase?
  • Where do you want to live?
  • What about your wife, children, grandchildren and perhaps elderly parents?
  • Do you see another career or business as part of the picture?
  • Would that be part-time or full-time?
  • Do you see volunteer and philanthropic activities providing fulfillment?
  • Where and how much do you want to travel?
  • Do you want to focus more on your fitness and health?
  • Do you want to take up new activities – golf, skiing, bicycling, bridge, Sudoku, cross-word puzzles or spinning?
  • What about friends and associates?

The list will go on and on, as you consider the ideal picture and the stepping stones you need, for getting from here to there!

It is natural that there will be a little bit of fear thrown in there too. Once again, transitions mean change and that means stepping out of our comfort zone! You have done it many times before so draw on those experiences and move forward with confidence. Make this the best plan yet!