Planners’ Picks — April 9, 2024

Planners’ Picks  A collection of resources from CSN planning committee members worth mentioning

Well, it’s “second winter” here in southern Wisconsin—mother nature reminds us regularly that we are not in control, but how we react is really how we succeed in life. Let’s add a habit to our tool belt, ride the waves of stress, and muster up some courage in PP.

*Note: Don’t fret if you can’t get through these resources! If you’re short on time, maybe choose one or two that are of interest to you to pursue.


:: Image of the Week

"Habits are the compound interest of self improvement. The small things that you do every single day add up and they have a big influence on outcomes in your life." Dr. Travis Bradberry Coauthor, Emotional Intelligence 2.0

Spring is a time of renewal. What new habit could you incorporate into your day to improve yourself in some way?

“Choices are the hinges of destiny.”   –  Edwin Markham


:: Mental Health and Self-Care

Three Ways to Ride the Waves of Stress

The journey toward a stress-free existence is nothing short of a cultural obsession. We sign up for yoga classes and download meditation apps to help us escape stress, complaining to our friends about our looming deadlines and lack of sleep. We seek out techniques to help us eliminate stress from our lives and read articles about how it’s going to send us to an early grave.

Since prolonged, excessive stress can impact us, the need to destress is easy to understand. Yet a core aspect of living a happy, fulfilling life involves renegotiating our relationship to stress rather than attempting to eliminate it. Attempting to banish stress can have the opposite effect, increasing stress rather than decreasing it. This is especially true if we start to stress out about all the stress in our lives! It’s healthier to recognize the power—and inevitability—of stress and ride the wave, acknowledging its challenges and using it to propel us forward.

Stress evolved as a useful behavioral response. When we perceive a threat, stress allows us to run faster and see and think more clearly—all of which helped our early ancestors survive. Abolishing stress would mean getting rid of a deep part of human biology and one of our most valuable tools. Here are some strategies we can use to build a healthier relationship with our stress:

  • Change your perspective: Recognize that stress can be a sign that you are learning and growing. As we step into the discomfort of new things, we are bound to feel the stress of that stretch. Love yourself through that learning. When that burst of anxiety hits you right before a big presentation, it can either send you into a tailspin or it can sharpen your focus. Embrace evolutionary reality rather than fighting it.
  • Unhook: When you find yourself saying “I am stressed” rather than “I feel stressed,” there’s a good chance the feeling has you hooked. You’ve come to identify so strongly with your stress that it feels like it is defining you. Remind yourself that stress is not who you are. It’s an experience you’re having. Even this slight shift can give you the perspective you need to move forward.
  • Cultivate curiosity: Why are you feeling stressed? How do you respond to stress? What does your inner dialogue sound like? Which value is the feeling pointing toward? Sometimes your stress will signal a value head-on: you’re stressed about the project because you care about your client and want to do good work. Sometimes, it’s more subtle, like a nagging tug at your heart suggesting that you’re ready for a life change. When we dare to explore the experience of stress, we can begin to recognize patterns and adjust our behavior.

Rather than battling stress, consider how you can use it to your advantage. It heightens your senses and prepares you for big moments, giving you the boost you need to focus, succeed, and thrive.

From Susan David’s Emotional Agility Newsletter:


:: Work Culture & Team Development

Kindness in the Workplace

Linda Cohen is known as the Kindness Catalyst and produces workshops and training around this topic. Her website was recently updated with some additional resources, including short videos, and some wonderful downloads on cultivating kindness with your team. Check them out today!

How to Work with Difficult People: Dorie and Amy Chat

Which difficult work personality does Amy Gallo get asked about the most? Probably the passive-aggressive colleague!

In this interview with Dorie Clark, she advises on how to find common ground with your passive-aggressive coworker, along with other tips from her book, “Getting Along: How to Work with Anyone (Even Difficult People):”


:: Self-Leadership Development

Developing Leadership Courage for Business Impact

We’ve all encountered situations at work where politics, opinions, and power dynamics seem to drive decision-making more than facts and customer needs. These dynamics can lead even the most passionate leaders down an unfulfilling path of just “going along to get along.” But there is another way, embodied in what speakers Paul Gaffney and Courtney Kissler call the “path of gracious perseverance.”

3 Mind-Changing Habits Every Leader Should Follow

As leaders, we need reminders to focus on our mindset. Discover three mind-changing habits every leader should embrace to drive success and inspire greatness in this article from (This article was listed last week but with a broken link)


:: CSN’s Book of the Week Recommendation

Dare to Lead

Leadership is not about titles, status, and wielding power. A leader is anyone who takes responsibility for recognizing the potential in people and ideas, and has the courage to develop that potential.

When we dare to lead, we don’t pretend to have the right answers; we stay curious and ask the right questions. We don’t see power as finite and hoard it; we know that power becomes infinite when we share it with others. We don’t avoid difficult conversations and situations; we lean into vulnerability when it’s necessary to do good work.

But daring leadership in a culture defined by scarcity, fear, and uncertainty requires skill-building around traits that are deeply and uniquely human. The irony is that we’re choosing not to invest in developing the hearts and minds of leaders at the exact same time as we’re scrambling to figure out what we have to offer that machines and AI can’t do better and faster. What can we do better? Empathy, connection, and courage, to start.

In this book, Brené Brown uses research, stories, and examples to answer these questions in the no-BS style that millions of readers have come to expect and love.

“Leaders must either invest a reasonable amount of time attending to fears and feelings, or squander an unreasonable amount of time trying to manage ineffective and unproductive behavior.” – Brené Brown


:: Communication

What Employees Need from Leaders in Uncertain Times

It’s one thing to lead through a normal range of uncertainty with its ups and downs. But how do you lead when the inflections, disruptions, dislocations, and other threat conditions pile up, as they have in the last few years? While the leader has little to no control over the external competitive environment, they have astonishing influence over the internal performance environment, including employee engagement, morale, and productivity. How can leaders help their people flourish during extreme uncertainty? The author presents four practical strategies to help you engage employees under the most unforgiving of circumstances.

“Power is influence over external events. Peace is influence over internal events.” – James Clear


:: Remote and Hybrid Work

Fighting Loneliness on Remote Teams

Remote work offers many benefits, but the lack of community – compared to in-person environments – can cause some workers to feel isolated and lonely. These feelings can impact job performance, sometimes significantly. This article will share four evidence-based strategies that leaders and managers can use to build community in their remote teams. These strategies include reflecting on what’s working for your team, recognizing your team in a meaningful way, providing support for career development, and communicating with your team as a whole person. Building a community in a remote environment requires innovation and intention, but getting started only takes one act.


:: Upcoming Events 

America Saves Week at Universities of Wisconsin 4/8-12

The Universities of Wisconsin is committed to promoting financial well-being by providing you with resources to help you plan and achieve your savings goals. We are proud to be a participant of America Saves Week and coordinate events available system-wide for you at no cost. Events planned include many webinars, opportunities for an express credit check-up,  individual financial counseling sessions, and resources to start saving. Check out the full list of resources and sessions at the link below, and start saving more practically!

Health Insurance Literacy Workshops for Students and Staff

Covering Wisconsin, a UW-Madison Division of Extension program that helps people find and use health insurance, and the UW-Madison Office of Student Financial Aid are co-hosting two Health Insurance Literacy Workshops:

  • Monday, April 22, from 6-7 pm on Zoom: []
  • Tuesday, April 23, from 12-1 pm at 333 East Campus Mall – Systems Collaborative Space, 9th floor

These workshops review important health insurance terms and concepts, the different health insurance options, and how to use your coverage to pay for healthcare. While the workshop was designed for students, all are welcome.