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Moving Day coming this week!

September 17, 2014

This week will be moving from a site to a site. I will be hosting it alongside my main website,  As with all moving adventures, there may be a glitch or two. So if you are following this blog and don’t see any updates for awhile, please log on to and sign up again to follow it! I promise to be better about posting cool ideas and thoughts on how to be resilient in a crazy and mixed up world!

Cheers for now.

Send me a note if you run into any issues.



If You Can Read This You Aren’t Done Yet

August 8, 2014

Have you ever watched a painting take shape? All art starts out as a rough approximation of what it will become — much like humans. Twenty-somethings think they need to already be what they are going to be, but it doesn’t happen like that. Time and experience are worth something in the discovery of Who You Are and what you will become. Few people (if they are lucky) hit their peak in their 20’s.Think about it, if you peak out at 26, what’s left?

John Green painting smI stood over John Green’s shoulder as he took a blank canvas and in one hour, turned it into a landscape I know and love: a sunset off the coast of Maui. At first it was an amateurish-looking mishmash of lines and colors thrown together with no rhyme or reason (to my untrained eye.)

I’ll admit I was worried. I love his work, but I thought trying to paint something new for an exhibition was a little over the top. I was in Madison, South Dakota for our All-High-School Reunion and a celebration of the town’s 125th anniversary. John was demonstrating speed painting on the street in front of his shop. I was concerned for him that he hadn’t given himself enough time. At the half hour mark his project looked more like a painting I would do than a product of the master that he is.

I winced as I watched him speed through what he probably would normally take days to paint. It was unkempt and messy, with random lines and colors that didn’t go well together and certainly didn’t look like the photos of Maui I had provided

Then a sunset emerged. Waves on the beach took on an otherworldly light. Palm trees changed from a 3rd grader’s stick interpretation to majestic Palms shimmering in the light of the sinking sun. The clouds glowed, the sand sparkled, and the painting came to life. With each finishing stroke, John turned an ordinary painting into a thing of beauty.

There was the difference: John didn’t stop until his sunset falling across the pounding surf was finished. He kept working on it, adding color and definition here, dabbing a spot of color there.


I thought how many times we give up too soon on the masterpieces of our lives. We get to the messy stage and we give up. We stop even though the colors run together and our true beauty is yet to be defined. Maybe we aren’t quite where we thought we should be by a certain age. Maybe we thought we should have specific results due to plans we laid or cautions we took.

It doesn’t happen according to plan and we quit. We settle. We stop.

It doesn’t happen according to plan and we quit. We settle. We stop. We fall into a rut and hide there, thinking this is all there is, excusing our mediocrity.


You aren’t finished with your masterpiece until you leave the planet.

You will run into obstacles, you will make wrong turns. You will paint yourself into a corner and need to back track and sometimes start over. You will disappoint people who know and love you, just as they will disappoint you.  You will run out of the colors you think you need and you will discover new colors, new techniques, new messages and new ways of being in the world.


Don’t give up on yourself. You are unfolding every day, just as that painting unfolded before my eyes. Celebrate the messiness of life and keep on going. Your masterpiece is yet to be revealed.

And the true beauty of a Maui sunset reveals itself

And the true beauty of a Maui sunset reveals itself




PS. THANKS JOHN! Got the painting yesterday and it’s hanging on my wall! 🙂 It’s beautiful and makes me feel calm!

Go Visit John’s Studio on Egan Avenue in Madison, South Dakota, or go to John Green Art Gallery online and order something!

© 2014 Beth Terry, CSP, All Rights Reserved


Out of the mouths of Babes

July 15, 2014

A dear friend of mine died recently. We had been friends for 43 years with a brief stint in there as husband and wife. My little neighbor came over after I returned from an out of town memorial service. In my distracted state, I had

Broken Vases and People can be healed

Broken Vases and People can be healed

knocked over a large vase in the living room and broke it into several pieces. When she came over, I was sitting on the floor crying as I carefully applied good ol’ Elmer’s Glue® to each piece.

She asked me why I was so sad and I told her, “My really good friend died and I’m kind of broken up about it.” She sat with me quietly and watched as I glued the pieces and put it all together. I set the vase back up in its spot and said, “There. Good as new.”

She scrunched up her face and looked at the vase and then back at me. She cocked her head to one side and said, “Well, if you can fix a broken vase, you can probably fix yourself, too.”

Out of the mouths of Babes…


Blessings to my extended family in Washington. May all the memories be good ones and all the children in our lives bring us back to earth right when we need the inspiration.



© 2014 Beth Terry, CSP • All Rights Reserved

Those Pesky Millenials: Interviewing Tips

May 30, 2014

First – people are people. I think of “Millenials” as anyone around the ages of 17-28, even though some are still in High School. Your candidates may be students still in college or those who opted for Vocational School or On the Job Training. This may or may not be their first job.

You’re starting a relationship. The question is, do you both want to be in this particular relationship or not?

But leave your stereotypes at home. Age and generational biases don’t help when assessing an individual’s strengths or weaknesses for the position. You’re starting a relationship. The question is, do you both want to be in this particular relationship or not? The interview is how you find that out.

I have interviewed thousands of people over my career in the Corporate world  and many of the things I said in yesterday’s post could have applied in every decade to every group of new 20-somethings learning to walk in the Corporate world for the first time.

Yes, technology and parental influence have primed these candidates differently. The suggestions here work well with Millenials, and they work well for any potential candidate no matter their age or experience. Be real. Be honest. Communicate clearly and you should do fine.


  • Know the job before you walk in to interview
    • What will this person be doing on a daily basis?
    • To whom will they report? If not you, what is it like to work with that person?
    • Will there be more than one boss?
    • If this is “entry level” what is the next level for them?
    • How long will it take for a bright and motivated person to move to that next level?
    • Are there tasks and duties not listed in the job description that may come up? Include as many as possible (I had one employee who needed to water our flowers daily and she rebelled. We hadn’t told her about it in the interview and she was offended…)
  • Be clear on the skills needed for this position
    • Are they trainable skills?
    • If yes, how will you arrange for training if the candidate is great, but not skilled at the level you need?
    • What is the time frame for them to get to the level you need?
    • What are the “must have” skills and the “nice to have” skills?
    • If you require strong people skills, develop behavioral questions that will assess that immediately
    • If they’re required to work alone and be self-motivating without supervision, your behavioral questions will help you assess that as well.
    • Are there any cultural norms that must be met? If so, what are they and do they make sense still?

The Interview

Have a comfortable setting. The old idea of making people nervous to see how they react doesn’t work. You can be informal with this age group. I make a point of taking my cell phone out and turning it to Airplane Mode. I don’t ask them to, but I just wait for them to do the same thing. This tells me if they are able to focus on the job at hand without their tech blankie.

I use a model for interviewing created by Harold Hook of Modelnetics™ fame. No matter what generation you interview, this tool is great. The best advice he gave was, “Your question should start with ‘Tell me…’ ask and then stop talking. ” Here are several starter questions you can use to create your own based upon the particular job.

  1. Start with them, but keep it neutral at first
    • Tell me about your work experience (if this is their first paying job, ask about volunteer work, school activities, working at home with parents.)
    • Tell me about experiences you have had that you feel would help you in this job
    • Tell me why you applied for this job
    • Tell me what you know about our company and this position
    • Tell me what you liked about your last job (or your other working experiences)
    • Tell me what you didn’t like
    • Tell me what your expectations are for this job. For the previous jobs? Were they met? If not, what happened?
    • Design applicable behavioral questions for your company:
      • “Recently X happened with one of our customers and they were upset. Tell me what you would have done in that situation.”
      • Tell me about a time you had too many things on your plate and you needed to prioritize and get everything done.
  2. Now get them talking about themselves
    Courtesy Dreamstime

    Courtesy Dreamstime

    • Tell me what you think you bring to this job
    • Tell me what your dream job would be
    • Tell me what makes you happy
    • Tell me what makes you angry or frustrated
    • Tell me the contributions you feel you can make to this organization
    • Tell me if you had any ideas about our company when you looked at our website
    • Create the Behavioral questions again:
      • Tell me about a time you made a mistake and learned a valuable lesson
      • Tell me about a time you had to deal with a situation not turning out your way. How did you respond to it?

    3.  Next find out what others think of them

    • Today’s 20-somethings are an aware bunch. With Facebook and all the other social media, they know what others think of them. So ask! You may discover more about your potential hire in this section than any other.
    • On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being the highest, how would your friends and previous co-workers rate you as a Team Player?
    • If I were to ask a former supervisor about you, tell me what they might say
    • If I interviewed 5 random people who used your services at your last job (or volunteer position) tell me what they would  say about your work ethic and your integrity
    • What would your friends and family say about your ability to be on time?
    • Behavioral questions here might be:
      • Let’s say you get this job and while you are at work one day, your friends show up … tell me how you would handle it.
      • Tell me what you would do if your friends ask you to  give them a discount, or take time off right away to go with them?


Notice we haven’t spent a lot of time yet on the company, or on selling the job to the candidate. I agree with what Harold Hook said, “If they don’t pass the first three sections of this, thank them and move on to the next candidate. It makes no sense to waste their time or yours.”  You may decide they aren’t a fit, but think they might be a fit for another job down the road. You can tell them right away, or tell them you will be in touch tomorrow. Let them know up front what the competition looks like. Keep it civil, simple and kind.

If you SAY you will contact them tomorrow, DO IT.

Keep your word. They are more informal than others in past decades, but they expect you will do what you say.

If you think this is a potential top candidate, continue the interview and tell them about the position, a little about the company, then discuss pay.

  • Don’t get carried away
  • Don’t sell too hard
  • Don’t make promises you can’t keep
  • Don’t tell too much about Corporate plans in case you don’t hire them. You might be giving away company secrets to someone who will wind up working for the competition!

I like today’s 20-somethings. I’ve hired some that worked out great and a few that didn’t. Their energy, enthusiasm, focus on volunteerism and Millenial Enthusiasm charities, and their willingness to learn if mentored properly make them a huge asset to your company. They make my days fun and energize my office. Keep it real and you’ll find your next generation team.

Good luck and Happy Interviewing!


© 2014 Beth Terry, CSP

Beth Terry worked with Dunhill Personnel Systems for in Hawaii and was the screener for every candidate who walked through the door. She then worked as VP of Administration for Colliers Monroe Friedlander and interviewed all hires for that company. Next she was the National Manager of Admin for The Shidler Group, a billion dollar commercial Real Estate firm with offices in 16 states. She oversaw all staff and manager hires, trained all the Office Managers, rewrote the Policies & Procedures Manuals for all the states and negotiated the contracts.

Those Pesky Millenials

May 29, 2014

The media is full of handwringing about those pesky Millenials! What to do, what to do?! Thought I’d weigh in since I raised 4 of them, and trained many thousands more.

When your baby was learning to walk, you didn’t criticize when they fell down. You

Happy Ariah after taking first steps

Happy Ariah after taking first steps

were encouraging, “Come on! You can do it!” You didn’t do the walking for the little tyke. You reached down and offered your hands in support but didn’t carry them everywhere after they started walking. Do you remember? When they succeeded, they were ecstatic! Success breeds confidence and a desire to try again.

Unfortunately, some parents forgot that lesson. Those parents may have been latchkey kids. Maybe they carry  resentment with them even now. They vowed they would be present every second of the day and night for their kids, and made attachment parenting popular.

Oncaution tapece upon a time, making your child dependent upon you forever was frowned upon. The now grown children who lived a life surrounded by Caution Tape are expected to waltz into your office and know how to interact with other humans like grownups. Add the tech component that replaced human interaction and you have a problem.

 The now grown children who lived a life surrounded by Caution Tape are expected to waltz into your office and know how to interact with other humans

The upside? Every Millenial I’ve met is hungry. They want to learn. TEACH THEM!  Many don’t know how or what questions to ask. They’ve been protected since birth and this is new territory – walking upright for the first time. They need to be taught how to work if they’ve never held a job before. They bring amazing insights, collaborative skills, innovation and technology with them. They are bright young people with ideas – some not feasible, but some out of the box enough to work.

  They bring amazing insights, collaborative skills, innovation and technology 

Some Millenials are far ahead of the pack, and that’s not just the Zuckerbergs. They work differently than we might, but they put their heart and soul into everything. Identify the bright ones – they are your leaders. Train them, work with them and help them understand. If they don’t know how to walk, encourage them and offer a hand up once in awhile. Sneering, snarky comments about how you didn’t do things that way when you were younger just makes you look like your grandpa.

 What to do?

  • Consider providing basic workplace skills training classes
  • Combine online and in-person courses
  • Interaction practice is important for those who would manage others
  • Use case studies and role playing, even in an interview
  • Do what you can to assess their strengths and weaknesses and figure out how to complement and support them – Give them a Fighting Chance!
  • Don’t make assumptions based upon your confirmation bias, take a step back and really listen to what they need and where they are in their career journey
  • When you find the ones with their lights on, do what you can to keep that fire burning and show them the way. You might learn something!
  • Be willing to have them try out their ideas in areas that won’t break anything or blow up the company. We learned from our mistakes … give them a chance to learn how things work.

How do you find out what they need? Read Part 2 tomorrow for interview questions and ideas for recruiting and creating a resilient new workforce.


Shameless self promotion: My book, 101 Ways to Make Your Life Easier was written in frustration with Gen’s X & Y (the theme is, “Stop doing things that piss people off and you’ll be more successful!) My latest two books are written with our newest generation in mind. Thinking About Thinking is a minibuk with a Critical Thinking Checklist and commentary on Normalcy Bias, Confirmation Bias and Black Swan Theory. 27 Secrets of Management Success is a handbook on managing the people component of your business. This last book also has links to handy forms you can use to interview and give Performance Reviews.


Enjoy the Journey!


© 2014 Beth Terry, CSP • All Rights Reserved


Related posts:

The Fish Rots from the Head Down

If You Don’t Tell Them, They Make it Up!

How to Guarantee Your Company Will Fail

Do Your Employees “Get” Your Mission Statement?





Life is not a straight line

May 12, 2014

Sailboats Honolulu Harbor

On my dad’s wall was a quote by John Shedd, “A ship in the harbor is safe, but that’s not what ships were built for.”

I thought of this when I heard a woman on the Dr. Phil show complaining it was hard to meet good men. She confessed she was a “homebody” and didn’t go out much. Dr. Phil’s response was, “If ya never leave your house, he’s gonna have to throw himself on the hood of your car to meet ya!”


The secret to happiness is getting outside your comfort zone, knocking your “normalcy bias” and your “situational bias” out the window, and taking some risks.

The secret to happiness is getting outside your comfort zone, knocking your “normalcy bias” and your “situational bias” out the window, and taking some risks.

Kids dream of the perfect life as a grown up. Most of us believed that once we got to that dream career, found that dream

Life is a Crooked Journey

Life is a Crooked Journey

house, and found the dream family, all would be well in our world for ever and ever, amen. We believed we would reach nirvana and all would stop and hover there till we died.

With age we discovered that goals, dreams, and life change quickly. Maybe the dream job wasn’t what we thought it was. The trip of a lifetime turned out to be just an interesting journey. We realized that owning a home requires a lot of maintenance and extra financial burdens we hadn’t anticipated. That dream of a perfect family came with a lot of baggage (including our own.)

Don’t be discouraged by shifts in dreams and priorities. This is just LIFE: like the steady beat of the ocean waves, it is always and forever changing.

Take risks! Step outside your normal life. There will always be false starts and dead ends. You may not find gold at the end of that rainbow, but you had a great time on the trip there! You may finally meet your ‘ideal mate’ and discover they don’t fill you with the joy you anticipated.

The important question is this – did you learn something about yourself in the process? Taking a risk and going on that road less traveled might not yield what you expected, but there will always be a lesson and another signpost on the way home to yourself.

Life is not a straight line. Things don’t always turn out the way we wish they would. And in looking back, we might discover had we gotten our wish, we’d be worse off, not better.

Perhaps what causes the most unrest in our hearts is the notion that Life SHOULD be fair; Life SHOULD be a straight line; and Life SHOULD always be peaceful and serene.

When we stop “shoulding” we find it easier to hold on and enjoy the ride over these bumpy roads and wild turns. Expecting to find potholes instead of a smooth road helps us think ahead and prepare.

Hope for the best, plan to be jolted awake occasionally, and find peace somewhere in the middle…


Enjoy the Ride!



© 2014 Beth Terry, CSP, All Rights Reserved

 Real Secret to Life Happiness

Embrace Imperfection!

The Myth that causes much despair


Distraction Conniption: Making Distraction Work For You

April 25, 2014

Look! A butterfly! Wait, what?
… We’ve all been there. In this tech-crazy world, distractions are the norm. We don’t need to let them derail us. Here are some hints on making Distraction a friend instead of an enemy.

Image Courtesy Dreamstime


Our entire population has gone “ADD.” It’s so common we joke about it. Scientists study it and blame it on everything from the flood of information and choices to the rapid motion of pixels in our TV screens. They say the younger generation is more ADD because they started watching TV and video games as infants. Whatever the cause – it can get in your way… or not.


Rather than fighting it, learn to work with it. If you really are ADD, find a way to get more done in short spurts. Instead of beating yourself up because you have a short attention span, use chunks of time to create greater efficiency and urgency.

7 ways to make it work for you –

  • 1. Recruit a buddy or mastermind group who will gently remind you of your goals (this is not a license to nag. Reminders need to be loving and fun.)  Collaboration does work! See my post on that…
  • 2. Use lists. Don’t get carried away. List 5-7 things that will get you close to your goal. In the morning look at the list and highlight or rewrite your notes so the most important things are at the top.
  • 3. If you are a “stacker”  — at the end of the day restack the pile so the most important thing is at the top.
  • 4. If you get lost in emails or Facebook, use a loud timer. Set it to 20 minutes — stop reading at when it buzzes and go do something else. Or tell friends you only check emails at 8am, noon, and 5pm. Then DO IT. And only spend half an hour or less.
    • Emails can be managed with different addresses. Have a yahoo or gmail address for all those things your friends love to send you.
    • Only check those addresses at the end of the day or on the weekend. Think carefully before passing them on.
  • 5. Use chunks of time wisely. Some things don’t need extreme attention. When your mind wanders, do filing for beth warhol effectthe next 8 minutes, or challenge yourself to declutter your desk in the next 12 minutes. Take a breather. Time is relative – if you are getting a lot done, Time moves quickly. When you are spinning your wheels, it seems to slow down and take you into another dimension where it’s easy to get blocked and confused.

Shift into a different gear for half an hour or so. Measured time spent in mindless activities can be a boon to “high creative” types … it allows your mind to go in amazing and innovative directions, coming up with new solutions to old problems.

 Be your beautiful, imperfect, amazing, distracted self!

Most of all, enjoy your life!

  • 6. Understand the “Law of Time:” Everything takes twice as long as you think it will. The corollary? It will cost you three times as much to fix it yourself as it will to hire someone to do it for you. So hire professionals for things you aren’t good at.
  • 7. Your Parents lied to you. Not everything is important enough to do well. If you get distracted trying for perfection, remember this: when you get close to Perfection, they move it! Not worth it in many cases (unless you are a nuclear engineer!)
    • “Good enough” is a standard you can apply to things that take up too much time to do well. Making your bed by yanking the covers up is Good Enough (unless someone is coming over.) I’ve learned if I can only get half the back yard mowed in the time allotted, it’s good enough. Grass grows. It will be there tomorrow for me to finish, but my clients might not be.
    • “Done well” is a standard for the work you do for others and for yourself that have long term consequences if not done well. If you are getting paid for it and you are putting your name on it, do it well.
    • “Near perfection” is required in some instances, but not all: Life and death, nuclear engineering, building a bridge that carries thousands of people a day, brain surgery, heck – any kind of surgery…

When you get close to Perfection… They MOVE it!

Set goals that are just beyond your reach, but not on the other side of the moon (ie: PERFECT). Trying to do too much in a short amount of time can lead to the distractions of worry, self-reproach and avoidance.  Indeed, it’s the avoidance (avoid dance) that causes much of our distraction.

And remember to celebrate when you get it done!  

Be your beautiful, imperfect, amazing, distracted self! Most of all, enjoy your life!



(Originally sent to my newsletter subscribers. A client recommended today that I send it out to my blog readers…)

© 2014 Beth Terry, CSP  • All Rights Reserved

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