2014 What Did you Learn?

2014 has come and gone and now it is a time to reflect on what worked, what didn’t work and how to move forward into a New Year with open arms. I realize that you have to look at each year as an experience. Whether times are good or bad, you learn from each moment.

For me personally, I ended many things I was comfortable with, but all to start a new venture and challenge.  I left Corporate America, I moved to a new state and I left friends. But I started a new chapter in my life.  When I reflect on the changes I made I now realize it took Courage, Trust, and Focus to take the leap.

Courage because change is hard but I believe that we have a long life to live and you might as well enjoy it and experience it to the fullest.

Trust the process. If you believe in something strong enough, inspite of scary moments, you can always lean back on your experience and knowledge that you have gained over the years.

Focus to be set on your goal and don’t waiver based on what others have to say, but have enough conviction in your beliefs to move forward.

I always enter a New Year with New Goals and New things I want to try.  My next post will tell you what 2015 hopefully has in store for me.  When you look back on your year, what qualities did you experience and what do you

plan to take with you into 2015?

Upstream Solutions, creating the thriving career and life you desire.



Do You Show Compassion as a Leader?


By now we have all read that being an effective leader can increase production and improve overall results for many companies. When someone experiences working for a true #leader, they have trust, they work harder, and they are #loyal. So what does being an effective leader really mean? Research shows us that it is not just having intelligence but it is when leaders truly use their inherent personal capabilities or emotional intelligence skills that they truly become exceptional leaders. There are numerous qualities that make a leader great, but I like to consider the 4 C’s of leadership, the essence of individuals and teams.

When you consider these qualities, you also realize that these are the same skills that you can use in your personal life that can make it equally successful. It is an exceptional leader that can connect the dots between their job and their personal life and see how they work together.

#Clarity is about being focused and believing in your vision. Leaders know what they want to achieve, what to look for, and what to watch out for. They have a reference point of organization and know the steps that they must take to accomplish their goal. Clarity is the base of action in which individuals and teams are inspired to find solutions.

#Courage is about making first attempts and pursuing your actions despite obstacles. A leader must have courage to take risks and be accountable if things don’t go the way they were meant to. It is stepping up to the plate and letting go of control to trust in yourself and the outcomes. Courage is within us and it is letting go of the fear and embracing the change.

#Creativity is now considered the MOST important quality for leadership in business according to an IBM study. Having the ability to create something that is novel and top of mind makes creativity so important in today’s world. But what makes creativity such a challenge is the lack of time CEO’s have to brainstorm, experiment, and think outside the box. True leaders recognize the need and importance for innovation and creativity and building teams that can collaborate and share ideas freely.

#Compassion is when leaders have empathy and awareness of individuals and teams. This doesn’t mean that leaders are soft and therefore business does not get done. But it is when leaders recognize their teams as people; it is when they connect with them and understand their feelings. Research has shown that strong positive emotions produce superior results, and leaders who connect with their feelings are more compassionate. Leaders who are compassionate have less stress, are energized, and renewed in their roles.

When leaders take a step back and reflect on their own behaviors, they find the qualities within themselves to lead. A true leader will get results when they are positive, invest in strengths, surround themselves with teams, and understand employees as people.

Is your organization interested in improving leadership skills, productivity, and simply working better and smarter? Upstream Solutions trains organizations and individuals to “Create Within, Lead Throughout,” to increase the effectiveness of their leaders and teams, build thriving work environments and develop career direction. 

3 Simple Ways to Stick to Your Goals

goal lettersWith life moving at lightening speed and constant connectivity, how do we stay on top of our goals?  We are often too busy to keep track of everything we need to do and want to accomplish. Whether you are a business owner, working for a company or are in charge of your home, you experience overload. Staying on top of your short and long term goals is difficult but DOABLE. I have found that if I use the TMY3 Plan I stay focused on my goals and I am able to
make things happen. The success to any goal is being clear, focused and positive about what you want.  When your goals are manageable and within reach they are easier to achieve.

T stands for three things you want to accomplish each day.  Write down three things you want to get done each morning or the night before and concentrate on those 3 goals.  Make sure they are doable. They can be super simple such as making a call to a new prospect, coming up with an idea for a new blog post or touching base with an old friend. Whatever they are, refer to them throughout the day to make sure you are on target to completing your daily goals.

M stands for a 3 month goal. What is the one project that might take a little longer to accomplish but it is necessary for your success? The goal can be rewriting your linkedin profile, contacting a larger client that you want to work with or planning a vacation that you haven’t taken in a while. You realize that accomplishing this goal is key to your long term success. You don’t have to work on it each day but putting a little time and effort towards the goal each week will have it completed within 3 months.

Y stands for your 3 year goal.  We all have long term plans but when they are too far out we often disregard them.  Try working on a 3 year goal.  It might be a move to a new city or state, a new career or doubling your sales. Think about what you really want and write down the goal. When you write down your goals you are more likely to achieve them. Take a few steps each month towards your goal and believe that you will accomplish it.

A Harvard Study written in Forbes Magazine showed that those that had goals and wrote them down earned 10x more than those that did not write their goals down.  Having clear, measurable goals will keep you motivated and on track to what you want to accomplish.

Since the New Year is upon us, this is the perfect time to put new practices into place. Try the TMY3 Plan and let me know if it helps.  Leave a comment and thank you for reading.  Colleen is a consultant and coach working with organizations and individuals on increasing the effectiveness of leaders, creating thriving work environments and careers and marketing and sales strategies for success and positive change.

What Business Book is your Favorite?

read-books  You were told as a child to read, now as you get older you realize that there is so much to learn. What better way than to #read a book.  Like many people, they read multiple books at a time and on different topics.  On my night table right now, the books are all #business related.
What are your favorite books on business?  INC Magazine polled some of the top successful business people and they rated Good to Great by Jim Collins as the Number One Business Book.  

One of the books I am now reading and enjoying is #FOCUS, The Hidden Driver of Excellence by Daniel Goleman.
Whatever you are reading, you are always #learning.  Make it a goal of yours to read at least one book a month, if not more than that. What Business Book are you reading now and enjoying? Leave a comment.

4 Wise Tips to Becoming a Better Person

This is the time of the year to look inside yourself and become a little introspective.  A time to think about what you are grateful for, what you have learned and perhaps something new you want add into your life. When you take the time to do this, it is a wonderful practice as it allows you to rewrite your story.

Listen to Wisdom, #Wisdom is the integration of #knowledge, experience and understanding. It is the acceptance of life’s uncertainties and the belief that it will all work out right. A wise person is optimistic and calm in the face of fear. They see the big picture, put things into perspective and understand how it all pieces together.  “It is not what you look at that matters, it is what you see”. ~ Henry David Thoreau~

Be Grateful Gratitude lets us appreciate what we have and opens us up to new possibilities and thinking. #Gratitude requires humility and respect. According to research done at Baylor University gratitude can improve health, relationships, energy and you become more patient and happier. Think about starting a gratitude practice by journaling with details what you are grateful for. By noticing your gratitude it opens you to appreciate the goodness in your life. Gratitude is the memory of the heart.” ~Jean Baptiste Massieu

Don’t Judge or make assumptions about a person or situation. Your brain very quickly and automatically judges something as good or bad. Become aware of the moment and come from a new perspective.  In most cases there is always a more #positive way to look at something. “The major block to compassion is the judgement in our minds. Judgement is the mind’s primary tool of separation.” ~David R Hamilton~

Believe in yourself and know that you are worthy and capable.  Build and have self #confidence in yourself by looking at what you do well and get complimented on. Look at failures as  as a learning experience and gIve yourself permission to try something new.  Research shows that once you believe in yourself, you actually embody it.  If you hear a voice within you say “you cannot paint,” then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.” ~Vincent Van Gogh

Try these for this #Holiday Season and have a Very Happy #Thanksgiving! gratitue 1

11 Steps to be organized and take control of your day.

We have all been there.  We have way too much to do but sometimes, we just can’t get out of our own way.  The list of things to do is a mile long, but you are STUCK!  How do you move past that feeling and get started?  As we know it is not necessarily the things on the list but our busy minds not wanting to deal.  Read below for some helpful tips to make your list manageable and get more accomplished with ease.

1.Take #Action. The key to all success is #action. Take one step and like dominos the other pieces will fall into place.  Set your intention on what you want to accomplish and take the first initial step.  Even if it seems minor, it is the act of starting that will get you moving.

2. #Prioritize your list.  From your list, decide what is most important for you to accomplish. What are your short term and long term #goals and based on that, rank your projects from the most important to the least.

3. #Plan your day.  The night before prepare a list of 3 to 5 things you want to #accomplish the next day.  If they are small tasks and require less time, try to accomplish more. Conversely, if they are larger projects which need more time, only have a few for that day.

4. Knock off some easy ones first.  You will feel like you got something accomplished and you will have more time to work on the larger projects throughout the day.

5. From the list, plot each project out hourly so you know what to do and when.  When the task has been completed, cross it off your list. Your list will start to dwindle and you will be ready for the next project.

6. Make a weekly #chart. Now that you did your first day, plot it out in the same fashion for the entire week. Get creative with the chart, so the tasks look appealing. Print a copy that you can keep on your desk as a reminder of the things you need to do.

7. Chart the full month. You may not have all projects planned out in detail but if a project requires more time, you can plan it out ahead of time.  This way you will feel more #accountable when you see the project due on a specific day and time.

8. Exercise. Be sure to include time to eat #healthy and #exercise.  Taking a brief walk will get your blood flowing and free up your mind from stress.

9. Take some quiet time or a few minutes to #meditate in between projects. The time you take to be quiet will spur new creative ideas and easier ways to look at something for your next project.

10. Stay #positive.  Start your day off positive. Tell yourself that you can do it. A positive attitude will keep your goals in sight and make it easier to achieve.

11. Reward yourself.  When you look at the end of the day, you will see how much more you have accomplished by just starting.  #Reward yourself with a #starbucks coffee, shopping spree or what ever makes you feel good. Share your list with a friend and if you need, ask them to keep you #accountable.

Once you get into the flow, you will notice that filling in the chart and accomplishing each project will make your day go smoother. You will feel confident, calm and your goals will be in sight.

How do you organize yourself? Leave a comment below?  If you would like a copy of the “Organize to Start” chart, an easy to fill in chart to get you organized, go to Upstream Solutions (consultant tab) and fill in your name and email.  I will send you the Chart along with helpful tips.

Upstream Solutions is a leadership strategy and consulting company, working with Organizations and Individuals to be clear, focused, creative and have the courage to inspire and motivate themselves and others.  #Create Within, #Lead Throughout will help you to improve #communication, #productivity, #decision-making skills, resilience and overall improved success and happiness!  Visit Upstream Solutions to create Success!

How do you look at Halloween?

I decided to look  up the origin of #Halloween and according to History.com it came from the Celtic Holiday of Samhain, and was used to mark the end of the harvest and the beginning of winter, and that this transition was also a bridge to the world of the dead.

For me, I prefer to look at it this way. Instead of seeing Halloween as a bridge to the world of the dead, look at it as the start of #new beginnings.  Approach the change of seasons as a time when you can #reinvent yourself, heal old wounds and move on to new and greater beginnings.

I also think of it as a very #generous and friendly day as the best part of Halloween is when your friends, neighbors and even homes you don’t know, open their doors to say Hello and offer you a piece of candy. Embrace today in a #kind, #friendly manner with excitement for new things to come into your life.

Happy Halloween!

Do you have what it takes?

We have all worked and met great #leaders in our life. These leaders are our #bosses, teachers, parents, politicians. And yes, we all have the potential to be great leaders, but not everyone becomes a #leader that is remembered and admired. Think back to the leaders you have met. What qualities did they possess that touched you? One thing for sure, great leaders lead from their heart and #mind. It is not just text book knowledge but qualities that they draw from inside. Leaders that stand out have a vision and also rely on the 4 C’s.

#Vision, great leaders have a vision. They have a dream and are determined to follow it through. They pursue thoughts that are based on their values and ideas that they are passionate about. They are excited to share their vision with their team and view everyone’s input as valuable.

Communicate, great leaders know how to share, listen and engage with others. They are open-minded, share their thoughts and encourage others to do equally. They have open door policies so everyone can learn from one another. There is trust within the #organization and employees are encouraged to speak up when they have ideas that will help move the Company forward.

Connectors, true leaders connect with people and information for their own growth as well as helping others to succeed. They are #connectors of people and know that when information is shared, teams learn and grow to make the right decisions. They are mentors and love to help others learn.

Creative, great leaders never stop learning and are #creative in their thought process. They think outside the box and view a challenge as something to learn from. They trust that creative change allows for new fresh ideas and growth. They are not afraid to fail.

Clarity, true leaders are #clear in their direction. They know how to make a decision but also look to their line management to help them through the process. They are #focused on staying the course but know when to change direction for the best outcome.

Leadership Quotes to think about…attitude

  • “The more boundless your vision, the more real you are.” ~Deepak Chopra~
  • “When the trust account is high, communication is easy, instant, and effective.” ~Stephen R. Covey~
  • “Leaders lead when they take positions, when they connect with their tribes, and when they help the tribe to connect to itself.” ~Seth Godin~
  • “Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.” ~Albert Einstein~

What leadership quote would you write? Please share and become an author.

Thank you for reading. Please follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Google+and Upstream Solutions

About: Colleen Cassel is a #strategist specializing in #leadership #development, career direction and marketing consulting. Helping you to think outside the box, become aware of the moment and finding your sweet spot in your #professional and personal life.

Is your Home on a Plane?

Perhaps you are a CEO or someone whose job has you flying more hours in a week than exists. You have definitely qualified for thousands of miles but no time to use them. The stress, your health and a family that you forgot you have, is feeling the affects.  But you have to continue because not only do you enjoy the challenge but it is what keeps you going.

What if you could have all that plus find that little bit of calm, peace and space in each day to approach life in a happier, healthier and more relaxed manner. Through a simple practice in mindfulness you can accomplish that. All you need is 10 minutes a day, at the start and end to feel that sense of calm. At first you may say you don’t have the time, but like exercise, all it takes is a little practice. Within a month, it will become part of your routine. The beauty of mindfulness is,  you can do it anywhere, anytime. Walking to meetings, at the office, eating, driving to the airport or any spot in your daily routine. The longer you practice, the easier it becomes and the greater the benefits.  You will face each day, challenge, and decision with grace and calm. Let me show you how easy and rewarding a practice can be. Visit me at Upstream Solutions.
Do you have a practice and when do you find the time to do it? Leave a comment.plane

Did you remember what you learned?


There are many qualities of a good Boss but the ability to share one’s knowledge is a gift and quality always remembered. When the boss’s ego is in check and not worried about their position others learn. Be open to collaboration, work willingly and closely. The trust and pleasure you build with your team will be remembered and respected.