Coping With Burnout

Posted by Tom Locke on January 7th, 2021 filed in Business, Education, Life
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Burnout was sure a topic of discussion in 2020 – especially in the medical community and with their front liners. And there does not seem to be an end in site.

Burnout has also been prevalent in other businesses and industries. And the home front has not been immune from it.

So how do we cope, knowing that adrenalin only goes so far in emergency and stressful situations.

First off, we need to identify the symptoms of burnout.

Per a recent article in the Harvard Business Review (“HBR”), thanks to the pioneering research of psychologist Christina Maslach and several collaborators, we know that burnout is a three-component syndrome that arises in response to chronic stressors on the job. Let’s examine each symptom—exhaustion, cynicism, and inefficacy, appreciating the fact that they are correlated.

Exhaustion is most central and involves physical, mental and emotional fatigue.

Cynicism is away of self-distancing yourself and can be brought on via work overload. However, it is also likely to occur in the presence of high conflict, unfairness, and lack of participation in decision making.

Inefficacy refers to feelings of incompetence or lack of achievement or productivity and can lead to disengagement.

In terms of recovery and prevention, HBR suggests the following strategies given that situational factors are the biggest contributors to burnout.

  1. Prioritize Self – Care – It’s essential to replenish your physical and emotional energy, along with your capacity to focus, by prioritizing good sleep habits, nutrition, exercise, social connection, and practices that promote equanimity and well-being, like meditating, journaling, and enjoying nature.
  2. Shift Your Perspective – This require you taking a hard look at what you are taking on and determining what is controllable and what isn’t. In tandem with this, it involves you challenging your mindset and assumptions.
  3. Reduce Exposure To Job/Personal Stressors – This involves resetting the expectations of colleagues, clients, and even family members for what and how much you’re willing to take on, as well as ground rules for working together. This can be done mutually and will probably be better received and appreciated as “we’re in this together”.
  4. Seek Out Connections – Empower colleagues/friends and find coaches and mentors who can help you identify and activate positive relationships and learning opportunities. 

Getting The Most Out Of Everyday

Posted by Tom Locke on December 17th, 2020 filed in Business, Education, General, History, Life
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For me the past is a reminder and an education while the future is something filled with promise. But in between is the present where we experience in the “now” – the most important part of our everyday lives.

So get the most out of your “now” as it is truly a gift. (Maybe that’s why they call it “the present”.)

Live Like There’s No Tomorrow.

“If you live every day as if it were your last, one day you’ll be right.” —Steve Jobs

The House That Rock Built

Posted by Tom Locke on December 1st, 2020 filed in Business, Education, History, Life, Music
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Back in April of 2015, I visited the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame & Museum (“Rock Hall”) in Cleveland. During that trip I had the opportunity to meet and sit down with legendary deejay, Norm N. Nite (

Known to listeners as “Mr. Music” for his extensive knowledge of the history of popular music, Norm N. Nite has a long and distinguished career that reads like a “Who’s Who” of radio. He began in 1961 as a radio personality, and in 1967 brought his unique on-air style to Cleveland, his hometown. In 1973, it was on to the ‘Big Apple’ as an author, disc jockey, and critic. Then back to Cleveland in the ’90’s as a member of the Rock Hall Board of Trustees, the only radio personality to be honored with this distinction.

In 1974 he released his first of seven “Rock On” books; books dedicated to the evolution/history of Rock and Roll and its artists. His hundreds of interviews with legendary entertainment personalities, including almost every Rock and Roll great and Hall of Famer, have made Norm’s published works essential for music lovers.

It was during our meeting in Cleveland that Norm shared with me his new project – an eighth book on how the Rock Hall ended up being built in Cleveland. Five years later, the book has become a reality, being recently released in tandem with the 25th anniversary of the Rock Hall which occurred on September 2, 2020.

It is well known that Norm was a driving force in bringing the Rock Hall to Cleveland, a journey that took a considerable amount of time; an ongoing assurance that Cleveland was the right place for it; and, a coordinated effort that involved artists, music moguls & executives, media, politicians, fans and some creative fundraising, Norm captures this journey vividly in his new book, “The House That Rock Built“.

Looking for something for Christmas that will be appreciated and remembered? Look no further.

Successful Change

Posted by Tom Locke on November 9th, 2020 filed in Business, Education, History, Life
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To incorporate a change initiative in business, the managerial process requires organization, prioritization and focus. And one must be mindful that a change will not be successful overnight. Many changes take time for employees to adjust and embrace.

In addition to having employees being involved in the organizing, prioritizing and determining the focus, they should be an integral part of the implementation – the final ingredient for successful change and buy-in.

Building Better Teams

Posted by Tom Locke on October 13th, 2020 filed in Business, Education, General, History, Life
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Building better teams goes beyond individual commitment. It’s about having a vision/goal that is bigger than the individual but one that is governed by the actions of individuals – actions that are in harmony.

This applies to both the business and sports environments.

Strong teams can’t exist in the absence of strong people. The strength of the team lies within the individual member. With each team member bringing something special to the table, treating each role as an integral part of your team is essential. A strong team is one where each member knows the roles they play—and knows when to play them. After all, a strong team expects each member to be fully present and ready to go when it’s their time to shine.

Lastly, and most importantly, is the leader. The speed and the clarity of the mission/goal provided and supported by the boss are the ultimate drivers for success.

As Henry Ford said, “Coming together is a beginning, keeping together is progress, working together is success.”

Taking Things In Stride

Posted by Tom Locke on September 7th, 2020 filed in History, Life
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Saying that 2020 has been a turbulent year would be an understatement. There are indeed a number of “front burner” issues that affect us all.

Leading the way of course is COVID-19. Unfortunately, close behind it and of international prominence are race equality issues (e.g. Black Lives Matter and Police Brutality). And, let’s not forget the major climate change issues we are facing, the “Me Too” movement and the upcoming US Presidential election in November.

This may be the first time in a long while that many do not look at going back to school at as a fresh start to the year for their children and families.

How do we handle all this? Well, we must somehow take it in stride – meaning we have to force ourselves to deal with the unpleasantness as calmly as possible. Like the captain of the ship, we must remain confident and believe this will pass while maintaining the support of our friends and families and providing guidance where necessary and appropriate.

One thing that has always worked for me is talking things out with those who are similarly affected. It is amazing how a little listening and the providing of positive feedback can ease stressful situations. When people truly grasp that they are not “in this alone”, the pressure of the situation is mitigated.

One positive thing that has come out of this for me is that my 2020 concerns and experiences have forced me to revisit my priorities and what counts in life … and I am thankful for that.

The Importance of Stretching After Exercising

Posted by Tom Locke on July 16th, 2020 filed in General, Life, Sports ... All Sorts
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Here in Vancouver, BC things are starting to open up as we enter our 4th week of Phase 3 in dealing and respecting the COVID-19 virus.

This has resulted in people getting out more and into a little more exercise … and “discovering” muscles and joints they have neglected for the past 4+ months.

So how can one reduce this “new” soreness in their muscles and joints? … Stretching!

Any trainer and/or disciplined athlete will tell you that stretching is an integral component in their exercise regime. In fact, many emphasize that stretching after their workout is most important.

It is believed that by stretching after a workout you benefit from both physiological and psychological effects. Plus your muscles are already warm which adds to the ease of maximizing your stretching.

A summary of benefits include: increased flexibility, improved blood circulation, elimination of lactic acid, boosted energy, pain prevention, improved range of motion, increased muscular circulation, gradual slowing down of the body, mental clarity and mind/body connection.

So you weekend warriors, before you saddle up to the bar after your tennis match, take 15 minutes out to stretch first – you will enjoy your beverage afterwards even more.

You Can’t Make This Stuff Up

Posted by Tom Locke on May 23rd, 2020 filed in History, Humour, Life, Sports ... All Sorts
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In September of 2017, my wife, Cindy, and I flew to Toronto and hooked up with my two good friends, Don Laird and Bob Jones and their wives, joining them on a bus trip to Boston which included two ball games at Fenway Park against the Blue Jays.

Upon my return, inspired by the atmosphere and history of Fenway, I got a hold of my memorabilia business partner, Darrell Lidstone – my goal – producing a 4 ft. X 6 ft. Canvas image of the Green Monster to be hung up on a portion of the fencing in my “Field of Dreams” backyard patio which already featured a tribute to Wrigley Field (attached).

The project was completed in time for the spring of 2018. The image chosen was from 2012 – the 100th anniversary of Fenway Park. It looks great and is attached.

This March as I was putting it up, I took a closer look at it. Needless to say I was taken back when I saw the name of the sponsor on the Green Monster – COVIDIEN.

FYI – Covidien was an Irish-headquartered global health care products company and manufacturer of medical devices and supplies. Covidien became an independent publicly traded company after being spun-off from Tyco International in 2007. It was purchased by Medtronic in a transaction that closed in 2015.

Today, the word “Covidien” may become a moniker for someone who had the virus – who knows?

Be safe. Be well. Keep smiling!

What’s Hot In The New Normal

Posted by Tom Locke on April 29th, 2020 filed in General, History, Life
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With more and more time being spent at home because of COVID-19, a number of things are thriving and have become “in” things to do.

1. Cooking. Making meals at home has made a comeback, and so has the need for kitchen supplies.

2. Organizing. We are cleaning out our closets and garages . . . finally. And these items are making us a little money on the side.

3. Video Conferencing. Software, along with related office equipment furniture are hot commodities.

4. Home Improvement. We’re fixing things up, getting things done, and  gardening – many people are growing their own fruits and vegetables.

5. Exercise Equipment. Sales of workout wear and gear to get in shape are booming and so are bicycles.

6. Games. Pool and ping pong tables are selling out. Board games are also suddenly popular again.

7. Books. Books are back in a big way. They provide a great means for escape and relaxation – nothing like getting lost in a great book.

8. Music. A lot of downloading going on.

9. Binge-ing. Why watch one episode when you can knock off a whole season in two days? Streaming memberships are way up.

Understanding COVID-19 101

Posted by Tom Locke on April 8th, 2020 filed in Business, Education, History, Life
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Throughout my career I have sought out experts to assist me in my understanding of things and ultimately in my decision making.

Such was the case regarding COVID-19 wherein I had a trusted colleague forward on to me the following video from Dr. Dave Price from the Weill Cornell Medical Centre in New York City.

It’s 48 minutes long … but it has been the best 48 minutes my wife, Cindy, and I have spent since this virus began impacting our lives.

As a result of watching this, we are way more at ease and actually feel empowered. And that says a lot given our ages and the fact that Cindy is a front line worker in an essential service – food.

I urge you to do yourself and your loved ones a favour and watch this straight-from-the-hip, easy to understand video. I think you will find Dr. Price’s commentary regarding masks of interest.

Be safe. Keep well. Stay positive.