Nov 27

I have a confession to make..

By Judy | Employment , Leadership , Personal Development

I have a confession to make....


It is super hard for me to make a confession about anything, but I know it’s time to start fessing up.

My confession….I was not a very good student in high school. All I wanted to do was skip out of class and hang out with my friends. Leaving school when my parents thought I was in school, didn’t always work out for me. Sometimes I got caught and oh boy, did shit hit the fan at home.

You see, back then, as kids, many of us were a bit afraid of our parents and what they might do if we got caught doing things we know would get us in trouble; I was one of those kids. I certainly did not want to face the consequences or wrath of my dad, he put up with no BS.

My grade 12 year was one of the hardest times of my life. Pressure to go to class. My grades were plummeting. I had mixed feelings…I dreamed of being one of the first in my family to go to College.  But how would that even happen? I  did not like reading or even math for that matter and I was so shy I could hardly speak to myself; the conversations were short.

I did make it through grade 12, after many parties, hangovers and hard tests I barely skinned through. So, what did I do, I enrolled to go to College to become a Social Worker (What the hell was I thinking?).  After 4 short months of College I just could not take it, so I went to work full-time for a major Corporation, landing a great job! Just lucky, I guess.

You know the funny thing was, my job required a major learning curve. Ha, ha, karma. 

I had to go into class to learn how to do my job and then, almost every year, take one course after another, just to stay up with what was going on and be able to move onto better jobs.

At the age of 28, I was so lost. I could barely hold a conversation at work with my coworkers and would go to parties on the weekend, sit there until I was drunk before I would speak to anyone and even then, the conversation was very one-sided on their part. I decided I needed to quit being so afraid of myself so I enrolled in a public speaking course at the local College. It changed my life.

I found my voice, went on from there to take courses every semester for years and now I am the biggest nerd when it comes to learning new things. I absolutely love reading, writing and learning new things every day.

You see, it was a process for me, but one course changed me like I had never been changed before. Let me take you back for a minute to the first class in the Public Speaking course. The instructor was a super nice guy and very patient. He knew his stuff and knew how to get people out of their comfort zone.  All he asked from each of us was to stand up and tell the class a bit about ourselves.

Terrified, yep that was me.

When it came to my turn to stand up I almost fell apart. I stood up my legs shaking, my hands shaking and my voice cracking.  I was visibly nervous but that was nothing compared to the extreme sick feeling I had inside. I thought I was going to hurl, before I even told them my name.

I stood up slowly, said my name and mumbled that I was a mother of two and quickly sat down, crying like a baby. Yep, crying like a small child who had just been spanked for opening her mouth. The instructor was in shock.  He had never seen someone so afraid to tell people about themselves.

That first 15 seconds on my feet changed my whole world.  I almost did not go back, but with  very positive encouragement from the instructor after the first class, I did return.  Week after week went by, I found my voice and the courage I needed to start to say what was on my mind when I needed to.

That was my learning.

It takes courage to start to learn and love it and you never know what you will love.

From that class, I went on to find the courage to leave my first marriage and change my job, but that’s another story for another day.

Without taking that Public Speaking class I never would have become a Financial Planner, Instructor of youth and Adults, Entrepreneur, speaker and a writer.

One of the biggest lessons I have learned in my life is don’t judge anyone by the way the look or act. You never know where they are at internally.

A friend of mine once said to me “so many people judge what is internally going on within themselves, compared to the external they see in others and think they will never measure up.”

The external of anyone can look one way and be something else entirely. Measure your success on your own yardstick, not someone else’s.

Now you know about my big confession, I was a terrible learner and so shy, I didn’t even speak out loud to myself!

Learning is a journey, why not start exploring what might just change your life one day.

No more excuses. You can do it! Your friends and family are waiting for you to find the courage inside to become who you are at your best, and show up as that person everyday.

So, learn something new today, and tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow, and DON’T LET FEAR STOP YOU!

Now it’s your turn…leave a quick comment below on how you overcame one of your biggest fears….I would love to hear from you and so would others…


Sep 20

Welcome To Life Skills 4 Employment

By Judy | Personal Development


Welcome To Our Employment and Life Skills Blog!

If you are a transformation leader looking for life skills resources to enhance your training and the lives of your clients we would love to work with you.

For over 20 years we have worked with youth and adults in Indigenous communities in Canada developing books, worksheets, online training programs, curriculum and other materials that support students to transform their lives.

Passion Life Skills

Many of our successful students started with foundation skills training learning more about how to find the job they always dreamed of, and as an added bonus they began to learn more about themselves.    If they were simply looking for employment, or wanted to change their  job, our customized training materials met their needs.  Job, career exploration and personal development were our focus of training when we began.

Supporting small class rooms of students and then moving into train the trainer programs we were able to support students in several communities to move forward in their lives and find gainful, meaningful and sustainable employment.

Throughout this process we worked on several large projects with communities, their members, industry, colleges, universities and government partners customizing programs and resources to meet the needs of members in different communities.

We have saw the difference life skills, foundation training can make on students lives and how this can affect the economic progress of communities; however, what we have also seen, is that the small class sizes and intermittent programs and funding is not leaving a footprint that is able to build the community capacity fast enough, in some communities, at some levels.  For several reasons some of which are:

  1.  Intermittent funding available by funding bodies.  Communities would be successful in a project proposal they submitted allowing for a number of students to enroll in training that may or may not take place in their community. This training would be available for 1-3 years at most and then the funding would end.
  2. Projects that were successful could only take on so many students at a time (average 10-16 students).
  3. Classes were almost always full, with a wait list of students who would have enrolled but, due to funding they were unable to take part.  If they could take part sometime they would have to leave the program in the middle causing a problem for them in the future to receive any further support.  Also, if they wanted to take part, the training was sometimes offered at very inconvenient times in their lives and they could not attend. “When students is ready the teacher would appear” is not the case for these communities.
  4. These programs offered exceptional training to the students that could take part and were quite successful however, many students did not receive the opportunity for this type of training because of system structure and access to funding, leaving communities no alternatives to help support other members that wanted and needed foundation skills training.

There is a negative ripple effect that the lack of foundation skills training has on the overall economic development of smaller rural communities.

The Aboriginal Economic Bench marking Report -2012 –by the National Aboriginal Economic Development Board (NAEDB) in 2015 was the first national effort to set ten-year targets for the purposes of tracking the economic progress of First Nations, Inuit and Métis people in Canada.

NAEDB set a target to close the gap in economic outcomes between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people by 2022.  In 2015 “the gaps between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Canadians remain large,” said Chief Clarence Louie, Chair of the NAEDB.

Dawn Madahbee, Vice-Chair of the NAEDB stated “The only way forward is through economic, business, education, employment and community development led by strong governance, political will and enough targeted financial investments in these areas.”

The board then stated the following recommendations for going forward in 2015 to make more of an impact.

  1. development of discrete strategies for closing the gaps for First Nations on reserve be a government-wide priority
  2. Continued and sustained efforts be made in ensuring Aboriginal people have access to and receive high quality education in every corner of the country
  3. Investments in Aboriginal skills development and training by all levels of government and industry be designed and tailored to meet the unique needs of Aboriginal people, that aligns with concrete employment opportunities
  4. federal and provincial Aboriginal labour market programming be regularly reviewed and revitalized, in consultation and collaborating with  Aboriginal people, ensuring that programming is sustainable over the longer term.
  5. A national Aboriginal youth strategy, focused on improving education, business and employment outcomes, be developed with the full engagement of First Nations, Inuit and Métis youth.

As I worked with partners and educators in several rural communities we saw the gaps that were taking place and the difficulty educators and leaders in communities still have with integrating life skills foundation training into the community to help bring on significant economic improvement for their members, which is why we have started the Life Skills 4 Employment initiative to help with integration by providing support materials for educators and transformation leaders.

Partners Life Skills

Through this initiative our goal is to integrate life skills training right into education programs already taking place in rural and urban communities.  We plan to do this by working with partners, transformation leaders and managers, by providing already proven curriculum, train the trainer program for online support in class rooms, books and materials they can get access to so they can fully integrate life skills into their classrooms.

If you are an educator who is teaching youth and adults we hope you will join our community, and work with us on this integration of foundation skills training into already existing programs, one new skill at a time.

We welcome other bloggers who specialize in employment tips and tricks or life skills support we want you to join our team as well.

I’m glad your here with us today.  If you have not already, please join our Facebook community online as well.  I am looking forward to working with you on making life skills training something affordable and available to whoever is ready to learn.

Join in the fun,

Judy Michaud