Julie Mitchell's CoachNotes


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March Forward: Walk at work!


Walk at work this Spring. Ideas, productivity, and energy will blossom!

Hooray for Vernal Equinox, new moon, and eclipse day. Spring forward (or, as a drill sergeant might say, “Forward, March)!

It’s an ideal time to make your move at work, improving health, fitness and productivity. Take a walk and discover what innovative thinkers have known for centuries.

Spring walks blossom with possibilities. Going outdoors is a breath of fresh air, a Spring-cleaning for stale, stuffy ideas and sticky work situations. Walking in nature stimulates creative thinking and opens minds that may be closed (bored, distracted, or tired) within confined cubicles or conference rooms.

Workers who walk return to their offices (customers, patients, clients, students, machines, or devices) inspired and energized. I’ve witnessed this countless times. Research underscores multiple benefits of workplace walking.

As winter fades, I invite you to explore a wooded trail or park convenient to work (or trek around the parking lot). Try it on your own, or invite a colleague. See what happens.

Hate walking? Have outdoor allergies? Consider a brief workplace “change of venue” as an alternative way to get moving on a project (an open, inspiring, light-filled space — such as a museum or indoor botanical garden — may do the trick).

Want to learn more about taking your work for a walk? Contact me for a free phone consultation.

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Networking revisited: making conference connections!


Connecting with nature. Chapel Hill, NC.

Conferences. Meetings. Conventions. Connections.

Recently I’ve been immersed in these topics, and my networking knowledge has been tested.

I’m coaching executives as they prepare for big conferences.

I’m attending a local business fair and I’m pondering invitations to major professional events.

Suddenly, instead of facilitating small groups or coaching individuals, I’m focused on what happens when lots of people gather and hope to make connections (myself included)!

This situation requires self-coaching. I dusted off notes from my long-ago networking talks and I reviewed relevant blog posts.

My conclusion? This stuff is fun! I will listen, learn and enjoy opportunities to connect. I will approach these events from a beginner’s perspective. I’ll make networking notes and observe how people communicate (or miss connections) at conferences. Perhaps I’ll discover something valuable about networking, or about myself. Stay tuned!


Sick of sitting? Standing meetings pick up the pace.

Standing on the beach (southwest Florida).

Yesterday, I sat down with a terrific new colleague in his office. Nothing unusual about that, and sitting was appropriate for the work we were doing. However, by early evening I had been seated all day, hunched over my laptop, in meetings, driving, or at the piano bench for last-minute practice (I’m playing a volunteer gig this weekend, but I digress).

I felt sleepy, fuzzy brained, cramped and unmotivated. Was I coming down with the flu? No. I was simply sick of sitting. Once I was upright and mobile, my symptoms were greatly relieved.

Perhaps it’s due to my age, slouchy chair posture, impatience or a combination of factors, but I feel increasingly uncomfortable and sluggish if I have to sit for long. Here’s an interesting Wall Street Journal article about companies promoting standing meetings. I’m in favor of them, along with walking meetings as healthy, productive options to the usual  sit-downs. I agree that folks may be more present, focused and efficient when standing. What do you think?

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How HR professionals can survive in a changing workplace

This post by Theresa M. Welbourne, Ph.D highlights what HR professionals should do to survive and thrive. I’ve observed how rarely HR people are viewed as respected leaders at work, despite good credentials, intentions and ideas. Welbourne advocates being a flexible, prepared problem-solver. I particularly like her suggestion that HR people find mentors outside of HR to help them navigate the workplace jungle.

Seat at the Table? Now it’s “Laws of the Jungle,” and 7 Tips for HR to Survive.

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Make meetings meaningful: facilitate for results

Think about meetings you’ve attended, especially those you believed were a waste of time. Frustrations run high when you show up and nothing is accomplished.  An effective facilitator can transform “another useless meeting” into a productive experience. Continue reading