Planners’ Picks — May 30, 2023

Planners’ Picks

A collection of resources from CSN planning committee members worth mentioning

How Can You Not Be Grateful? We’ll cover that and more in this Planners’ Picks news, as we kick off the Summer of Gratitude at UW-Madison. We’ll also deal with the hecticness of life, fill our own cups before filling others, and stop blaming outside forces for our failures.


:: Image of the Week

In the face of disappointment, gratitude is the chess move to limit dwelling on it.

Take a breath, be grateful for what is going well, and realize what you can and can’t control. If you can’t control something, let it go and focus on what you can control, which is how much and how often you deploy gratitude in your life. – Gary Vaynerchuk


:: Summer of Gratitude Resources

How Can You Not Be Grateful – Louie Schwartzberg

Last week CSN featured the film Gratitude Revealed at Union South, produced by Louie Schwartzberg. He is recognized for his work in promoting mindfulness, gratitude, and environmental conservation through his films and presentations. Louie’s films often focus on the beauty and intricacy of the natural world, capturing the wonders of nature through his unique cinematography techniques. His work has been widely acclaimed for its artistic and cinematic qualities, as well as its ability to inspire a sense of awe, wonder, and connection to the natural world. Some of Louie’s notable works include the documentary films “Wings of Life,” “Mysteries of the Unseen World,” and “Fantastic Fungi,” which have been featured in theaters, television, and film festivals around the world. He has also collaborated with notable personalities, such as Deepak Chopra and Oprah Winfrey, to create content related to mindfulness, meditation, and consciousness.

Hear more about gratitude from Louie in this podcast:

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” ― Ferris Bueller

Gratitude & Nature are Perfect for Your Personal Growth

From Chester Elton’s newsletter:

“I have always been in awe of nature. Its beauty and resilience. On one of my favorite hikes in the Adirondacks, there is a tree that has found a way to grow on top of a great boulder. That is resilience, that is grit, that is amazing. Mother nature found a way forward in the hardest of places. Nature is a wonderful teacher. The lessons I learn from my walks are endless, and I am always grateful for any time I can spend walking through the woods, paddling on a lake, or simply strolling around my neighborhood.”

Read more of his post on finding gratitude in the things all around us.

Do You Take It for Granted?

Are you grateful for the life that you have? Or do you take things for granted? Maybe you haven’t thought about it for a while. Did you ever fail to appreciate someone you care about? Was that because you were too busy putting out fires or focusing on other things? Or perhaps you assumed they’d just hang around forever.


:: Resources on Mental Health and Self-Care

Cultivating Awe and Wonder in Everyday Life

How can we experience more awe & wonder in daily life? If you’ve ever felt disconnected from the world around you – or like you’re living on ‘autopilot’ – then you need more awe in your life! At this special event, social psychologist Professor Dacher Keltner will show how experiencing more awe can help us open our minds to everyday wonder, collaborate better with others and see the deeper patterns of life. Prof Keltner will share insights from his research into how awe transforms our brains and bodies. He’ll also reflect on the role of awe across history, culture, and within his own life during a period of immense grief. And he’ll explain how cultivating a sense of wonder can lead us to appreciate what is most humane in our human nature. This conversation with Dr Mark Williamson was recorded at a live Action for Happiness event on the 26th of April 2023.

“Should you shield the canyons from the windstorms you would never see the true beauty of their carvings.”- Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

What to Do When Life Gets Hectic

When our lives are hectic, it can be challenging to prioritize activities that do not provide us with instant gratification. For instance, going to the gym, meditation and prayer, or searching for a job are all GOOD things that may be abandoned when life gets too busy.

Job coach Sarah Johnston has found a few ways to manage her time more effectively to create margin for things like job searching and exercise:

  • Prioritize tasks. Block out time on your calendar to deal with the most important duties first. This helps to reduce stress and increase productivity by ensuring that the most significant tasks are accomplished before others.
  • Make a plan. Studies indicate that individuals who plan their tasks ahead of time are more likely to achieve their objectives than those who do not. On busy weeks, my husband and I try to spend a half hour talking through the calendar and getting on the same page.
  • Get Help. On busy weeks, I bring in the reinforcement. Sometimes that means outsourcing meals to a local meal delivery service or having a sitter come for a few hours to give me an extra set of hands.
  • Avoid multitasking. Trying to do too many things at once can lower productivity and raise stress levels. It’s better to concentrate on one task at a time, which can enhance efficiency and minimize mistakes.

From Sarah Johnston’s weekly job search newsletter at


:: Resources on Self-Leadership Development

5 Ways to Improve Your Job

In the recent past, the answer might have been to switch roles or firms. But with the number of available openings shrinking to 9.9 million—the lowest level in nearly two years—dissatisfied employees might have better luck trying to improve their own job.

“If you’re in a job and just have some basic frustrations, it’s best to put your head down and make it work,” says Dan Kaplan, a senior client partner for Korn Ferry’s CHRO practice. He recommends figuring out what irritations are causing your unhappiness at work, then working to eliminate them.

Leaders Must “Fill Their Cups” Before They Can Pour Into Others: 4 Practices

When leaders don’t prioritize self-care to maintain mental, emotional, and physical well-being, they are disadvantaged in their abilities to accurately perceive situations, build relationships, make decisions, and manage stress. The good news is that even during extended periods of challenge, there are things leaders can do to develop and grow their well-being and guard against burnout. Investing in self-care gives leaders the energy and mindset to care for those they lead.


:: Resources on Communication

How to Stop Getting Defensive

What do a medieval fortress, a balled-up porcupine, and a linebacker have in common? They’re all pros at getting defensive. And when we humans are faced with criticism, we also ready the drawbridge, project a ball of spines, or prepare for the tackle. Getting defensive helps us protect our character and our sense of competence.

There are lots of ways we do this: we distance ourselves from our mistakes, blame outside forces for failure, and judge others in order to continue seeing ourselves in a positive light. Or we drink or otherwise self-medicate to cope with threats to our self-image and self-esteem.

The only problem? Getting defensive with friends, your boss, your partner, and yourself often backfires.


:: Resources on Change Management

What is Change Leadership?

We’ve all been part of change initiatives at the companies we’ve worked for. Some of them have succeeded, some have failed, and some have muddled along and kinda-sorta worked out in the end.

Grace Judson contends that the current models of change leadership are focusing on the wrong things and, while certainly encouraging some excellent practices, are missing out on key reasons why change in organizations is hard.


:: Resources on Supervising Hybrid Teams

Supervising in a Hybrid Work Environment

In our recent book club featuring the Long Distance Leader, this was certainly made clear: The key to successfully supervising in a hybrid work environment starts with the same fundamentals of good in-person supervision, but the way in which you do it looks different. It is best to check in with each employee to get a sense of their comfort level with hybrid work and managing their workload. Check out OHR’s resources on supervising in a hybrid environment for more details and some helpful links.


:: Upcoming Events

Multilingual Training in Stress Management for Employees

Trained counselors from the Employee Assistance Office (EAO) will talk about stress, burnout, and resources that support UW‒Madison employees. In addition to sessions in English, interpretation will be offered in Spanish, Hmong, Tibetan, Chinese and Nepali. Supervisors are encouraged to approve requests from employees who wish to attend. No registration is required. These sessions are hosted by the EAO and Cultural Linguistic Services.

Daytime Session

Thursday, June 1, 1:30‒2:30 p.m.
Gordon Dining and Event Center, Symphony Room

Late-night Session

Wednesday, June 7, 11 p.m.‒midnight
Health Sciences Learning Center
Free parking in lots 74, 82, 60 and 64

Building Remote & Hybrid Team Connection

CSN recently held a book club on The Long-Distance Leader. We continue to hear that leading remote and hybrid teams is a top challenge. When we ask leaders to describe the problem and the word disconnected surfaces the most.

So, let’s collaborate and learn some new ways to help our team members feel a closer connection to co-workers and the overall mission of their work. We are passing the mic to the Founder and CEO of The Mental Gym, Cory Chadwick, to mentor us for our next event. The PFN team recently got to learn from Cory and experience his process with The Mental Gym. It was excellent and we walked away with stronger bonds. We want to share Cory’s wisdom with you and give you a Mental Gym experience too. Join us for our next event on June 14th.

Learn from Cory what it takes to keep remote teams feeling connected, why being proactive with employee mental health is the future of workplace wellness, and everything that happens when your people think, feel, and show up at their best. We all get a chance to experience a mini Mental Gym Session.

Join the folks at the People Forward Network

Wednesday, June 14

2:00-3:00 pm