COR was featured in the October/November 2015 issue of the Saskatchewan Business Magazine. Read the article below:
In everyone’s life there are those moments or experiences that capture your full attention and enchant your heart. In my life I have had a handful of these experiences: including lying in a rain storm emotionally broken to which when the rain stopped craziest Northern lights began dancing across the skies, my first date with Larissa my beautiful wife and the days that both my children were born. If you took the time, sat back and reflected on your life I too believe that you would pinpoint experiences that spurred a major reaction within you which kick-started a wave of changes: either big or small. As I sit in this opened aired mall, with people hustling and bustling around with only two weeks before Christmas, I confidently can say that Creative Options Regina (COR) has been added to my life experiences that have provoked change.
Nearly three years ago I took a position with Creative Options Regina after a friend and fellow wait-staff told me about her new position with “this super awesome organization!” The words that flowed from her mouth were captivating and got me excited! Not wanting to sound like a stalked, I hesitantly approached her and asked if she would be ok if I applied with this new-found organization. With a resounding “YES!” I applied. in the following months, I quit my job as a waiter and engaged in full time support hours with COR. I don’t know if I ever really thanked this person allowed: so now is the time! Thank-you Brittany Bechard for your wisdom in knowing a little about my heart, ‘seeing something in me,’ and encouraging me to apply. You are an incredible woman and those who you serve and support have a better quality of life because of you. When I first started supporting with COR I served Jesse, Jasen and Shaun. These men are incredible and taught me a lot about myself. Jesse’s determination to do everything in a day, Jasen’s love of authentic relationship and Shaun’s ability to be the slowest eater in the world taught me to embrace the small things, laugh, and rest in the fact that in those moments together nothing else needed to consume me: we were, and that was more than enough. A few short months after starting my journey with COR I was asked if I would consider moving teams to support a young man named Michael. Little did I know that this man would reveal my true colors, challenge me to be a better me, and become not only a friend but a brother.
My journey with this man was not always easy. Sometimes it was hard. Perhaps it is just me, but I think it is the hard things in life that are worth fighting for. My journey with Michael led me to new heights, literally. In the summer of 2014 we were able to strike out on new adventures together, including a handful of roads trips and an airplane ride around the Regina city limits. Michael, and others in COR have become an intricate part of our family: coming over for meals, playing with our kids and engaging in this “thing” we call life. My words can’t express the joy and appreciation I have for each of the people who have come into my life during this time of my life.
Though the people that I have been led to serve have impacted me tremendously: I have been equally left effected by those who I am blessed to call friends and coworkers. From the leadership of the management team, to the bravery of team leaders, to the humility of support people, you have sparked change in my life: Whether it is Jenna walking into my office to “just talk about life”, or going out for a drink with Ryan, Reid, Murray or Bart to talk about the philosophical structures of Gentle Teaching, I have been challenged and changed: Thank-you.
Perhaps this is why it is so difficult to write this blog: the relationships we have built matter! It is with a mixing pot of emotions that I write to tell you that as a family we have decided to resign from my position as Director of Culture and Mentorship and relocate. Our decision was one that was not taken lightly, or easily made. Every square inch of the effect of our decision was scrutinized and processed: to the point of believing that I needed a heart transplant. It is with great sadness that we let everyone know that as of January 15th, 2016 we will no longer be serving at Creative Options Regina. This decision had little to do with COR and more with my own physical health, the health of our family and an opportunity that we believe will lead us to help spark change elsewhere in Saskatchewan.
As we prepare to leave there are a lot of details that we are hoping and praying will fall into place. But I am fighting hard to finish well. I believe that whatever my hand finds to do I have a role and a responsibility in helping it come to fruition: to pursue the best outcome possible. In the coming weeks, I will be focusing a lot of my time to the curriculum that I have been developing over the past year, along with finding moments to say those proper goodbyes.
If I may: and I will! I would like to leave you with a message of encouragement. It has often been said that Gentle Teaching carries a lot of power. While I don’t disagree with this completely, I believe that it can be refined all the more. Gentle Teaching equips people with the skills and tools to have a voice of influence, which in return equips you with a “power”. Now don’t misunderstand me: I am not suggesting that you are to have power OVER someone. Rather, you, yes YOU, have the ability to be a powerful influence. The way in which you choose to interact with someone, and the words that you use can and will change a person’s life. So I beg you: be kind, speak with wisdom, pursue good, love the lonely, hurting and brokenhearted, know that your purpose on this earth goes beyond the material things that we we can collect for ourselves. The relationships in which you currently find yourself (whether long-lasting or temporary) are the most meaningful. As you go through out your daily life, with friends, loved ones and team members, remember your tools. Your mouth is to speak kind words, uplifting others. When your hand is forced to address difficult situations remember that your words carry a powerful punch and even in the midst of addressing conflict or correction can become vessels of empowerment for those you are speaking to. Your hands are to be agents of care: assisting the homeless, uplifting the broken, encouraging the fearful yet doing all of this together. Your presence should display the message of your intent: I am here with you, through thick and thin. As I often have said my training’s, “we are in this together, because WE, well we are the dream team and nothing can stop us!” And finally use your eyes to empathize, sympathize and see the true story of peoples lives. Our eyes should not just be used for the present, but be used for the future. Dream big dreams for both yourself and the person you are serving. Work hard not to become entrapped in what you see now, but dream about tomorrow. The people you serve deserve it, and so do you!
From my family to you: we thank-you for the impact that you have had in our lives.
With all of my heart and deepest gratitude,
Creative Options Regina (COR) is very happy to annouce that our very own Patrick Flaman is the winner of the Al McGuire Award for Transition to Employment 2015. His work ethic and attitude are like no one else, Patrick is an exemplary employee and just an all around great guy. We’re proud to have Patrick a part of the COR family.
My most memorable time at COR has to be one of my more challenging days. We had just gotten back from a rough time at a softball game. The person I was supporting made a choice and ended up having to deal with some of the repercussions. When we got back home we had a really great heart to heart moment together. We talked and had a moment of learning together about what happened and why. I feel like it’s moments like these that I get up for everyday.
To go through life one step at a time and learn something valuable with every step we take. COR is an amazing place for everyone to come and learn. It’s not only the people we support that learn, but every person I have spoken to is truly impacted by the people we support in one way or another. We all learn from each other and its alright to make mistakes, as long as we pick ourselves up and are ready to try again.
In today’s day and age there is a lot of talk about becoming bigger, better and stronger leaders: and to one degree, rightly so. We are living in a new era where technology is advancing, Baby Boomers are retiring and younger generations are replacing those who once were in positions of greater influence. So what? Well I think we need to challenge ourselves in our understanding of what it means to be a leader and how leadership in the twenty-first century is changing. In this post you will find thirteen idea’s on how to become a bigger and better leader.
1. TAKE CHARGE
Become the sculptor of your own career and life – not the sculpture. Leaders are authentic – the authors of their own lives.
2. KNOW YOUR STRENGTHS
Start practicing good leadership by keeping a log of your successes. Record even small wins – this is essential for building your own confidence as well as developing a crucial leadership competence.
3. FIND A CHAMPION
It’s essential to have someone who will be your champion in the organization. It’s also necessary that this person be in a secure position in the organization; someone who is willing to go out on a limb for you.
4. WORK TOWARD EXCELLENCE
Excellent work performance is a necessary, although not sufficient condition for leadership. Stay on top of your professional development. Don’t wait for your organization to offer a seminar in the skills you want to learn – seek out your own training opportunities or offer suggestions for opportunities you would like to see.
5. TAKE INITIATIVE
Whatever you’re trying to accomplish, you need to take control of your own destiny and act on your own convictions. To become a leader, you must first learn to lead yourself. Initiative is a fundamental leadership competence
6. TAKE RISKS
Developing leadership skill requires getting out of your comfort zone. Set “stretch” goals that enable you to develop new skills. Join committees and take a leadership role. This is an opportunity to develop leadership competencies as well as increase your visibility.
7. BE OPTIMISTIC
As purveyors of hope, leaders must be optimistic. Realistic optimists take control where they can and stop investing energy in things beyond their control. When faced with a setback, optimists don’t succumb to feelings of helplessness. They maintain their focus on the larger purpose.
8. DEVELOP YOUR SOCIAL INTELLIGENCE
Leadership is interpersonal. Effective leadership is fundamentally about how you relate to people
9. BECOME AN EXCELLENT COMMUNICATOR
A leader must be able to communicate his or her vision in a way that energizes people and inspires them toward action. The ability to gain the cooperation and support of others.
10. SHOW CONCERN FOR OTHERS
Research indicates that among the most important characteristics of effective leaders are compassion, the ability to be nurturing, generosity, and empathy. These all can be combined into social traits: and leadership takes place in a social context, so it’s not surprising that these characteristics are so important for effective leadership
11. DEVELOP AND MAINTAIN A SUPPORT SYSTEM
Taking the time to maintain supportive and close connections with others is necessary to attain and sustain the energy and well-being you need to achieve career success.
12. MAINTAIN INTEGRITY
Integrity may be the single most important characteristic of competent leadership; it’s the sign of a trusted advisor and effective leader. People are willing to be led by someone who follows through – someone they trust. Do what you say you will do. Don’t promise to do what you can’t. People without integrity may gain power, but they don’t truly lead.
Persistence in the face of adversity is one of the cornerstones of resilience. Stay resolute in your values and goals and remain determined and self-disciplined in your efforts to achieve them. Persistence doesn’t mean you never feel discouraged.
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Well 4to40 is at it again! This time it was the Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce writing about the impact the program is having at the University.
To download the Saskatchewan Chamber Newsletter, click here –> Jan 2015 Edition
“First, I must say that I absolutely love the people at COR. There is never a day that I dread–and I believe that is a bold statement; especially when rough days arise. I really do care about the well-being of these individuals and I believe the strong relationships I have built reflect this. Secondly, I feel that my honesty and enthusiasm makes others feel safe and loved; and others are able to open up to me. I want to treat everyone the same and not talk down to anyone. I consciously practice what I preach and always strive to be fair in both decision making and everyday conversations.”
Whitney, COR Support
“When I first heard about creating a culture of gentleness I had no idea what that meant.
After going to trainings, learning about gentle teaching, and seeing a culture of gentleness through the people around me in an organization that seemed so alien, I finally understood what it was. Talking about a culture of gentleness isn’t enough. You don’t really understand what it is until you start partaking in the movement of gentleness that has spread across Canada. It really is a powerful thing.
I learned that creating a culture of gentleness doesn’t just mean serving the people that we support, but serving every person you meet on the street and at home.
It is a way of life. I had to change my mind set and mold my thinking to something completely different and something unnatural to a lot of people. Growing up the way I did, I learned what it meant to love unconditionally and to care for people in a way that was personal. Maintaining a culture of gentleness is very personal. In order to have gentleness, I needed to care about another person more than myself and take their limitations and physical or mental state away from how I viewed them. I have come to do this everyday with the people I support. I see them more than just someone I look out for and someone I spend a lot of time with: I see them as friends and as a huge part of my life, because to them sometimes you are their family.
The way I create a culture of gentleness is finding a balance between being firm and being personal with each person I serve. The definition of gentle is to be kind and mild temperament; I have found that being that understanding person that will listen and care in a more personal way has created this culture of gentleness for our team. The more bonded we are on a personal level and the more we listen and show kindness to each other the more gentleness has spread.
In my team, I have had to hold team members accountable and have had to have some tough conversations, but at the same time, building each person up and showing them that I care for them. In order to create a culture of gentleness, I needed to gain trust. In going out of my way to make team members feel comfortable with me, I demonstrated that I genuinely care for them and their life situations. I try and make the people that I serve feel appreciated and loved, I have written personal cards to each and every one of them praising them for things that I have seen them do well. To maintain a culture of gentleness, I have realized that taking the times is very important… A culture of gentleness is also about being able to be vulnerable with both the people that we support and those who we serve with. It has helped us grow individually, as well as grow as one.”
Krystel, Team Leader
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what inspires us
- Regina Leader-Post: ‘Champions of transit’: Reginans with disabilities will teach peers to ride the busMarch 24, 2018 - 8:00 am
- CBC Saskatchewan: Regina group celebrates unsuspecting do-gooders with 100 Acts of Kindness campaignMarch 22, 2018 - 8:00 am
- Gentle Teaching has allowed me to look into myself at what I value.March 18, 2018 - 4:17 pm