Connecting with LOVE

Below is the wisdom of an amazing community of people.  Thank you for your contributions.  Feel free to share your wisdom in the comments.

How do you stay connected with…


 … when times are really hard?


BE with the Divine

  • asana
  • meditation
  • prayer
  • yoga
  • Reiki
  • exercise
  • sit
  • be
  • let go of control
  • breathe

I meditate, pray, visualize, and write my appreciation and gratitude to her every morning and ask for her to guide me and show me the way. I surrender myself to her and remain open and accepting to all she has planned for me.


reach out to my Chabad (my faith community) say tehillim (psalms),

and try to take on additional mitzvos (commandments).

daily connection with people I love and admire



Walks in Nature – Fresh Air

Put my bare feet on the earth

Seek sunshine on my face

Look at the moon and stars

Garden – watch the earth come to life


Though it’s not easy, I focus on what I can control. I can’t control how others feel, think, or do, but I can control that for myself. I usually feel more balanced after I take the necessary time to ponder what is in my sphere of power, then act accordingly.



Epsom salts


A good book



Focus on the good and the


things in the world…

simple things

being creative

snuggling with my puppy

a cup of coffee

thank the universe for the beauty of life

Pray for healing, imagine the angels around me taking away what doesn’t serve me

I think of my grandmas looking down on me, protecting me with the forces and energy that they became one with after their passing on from the human realm!


I watch my special needs grandson

and call my sisters

Call my girlfriends

Zoom calls with grandchildren


Ask the light to fill my heart

Surrender those I love to the light

Remember – one candle, one act of love, one positive thought, one kind word…

Can change everything!




Let go and let God                    I am doing great!                         Action cures fear


There are people who would love to have your bad days       This, too, shall pass


Just keep swimming. Let’s all swim down!

                                       – Finding Nemo directive in freeing us from the system


breathe, find your center, you can do this!              The shema (a prayer)


I am love and I am loved            All is well                   I am enough


May I be happy, healthy, safe, and free       I choose to embrace the mystery


We’ve gotten through other stressful things…

we’ll get through this, too… better and stronger


This too shall pass….don’t give up!


Saying that you to the universe for everything I have,

 from good health to being able to look at the moon


I have a choice in every moment – to react, respond or create

Fill Up Your HEART…

Welcome to the 2020 Global Retreat. What if this was a time to focus on joy and what truly matters in life? What if this was a great invitation to settle in and live from our hearts? The entire world has changed in a matter of weeks. 90% of my day I am calm and at peace. When I see the news, it is easy to spiral down fast, I do have 3 to 5 minutes of a “Freak Out”. And then I remember in this moment – all is well. When I breathe and settle into my heart – all is well.

We have a lot of time on our hands. Time is our gift. How often in the last year have you wished for more time to …

meditate? exercise? do a house project? learn a language? garden? cook a healthy meal?

write a book? see a movie? write a letter? listen to music? clean the garage? ride a bike?

I have time everyday to get in my 10,000 steps. I am walking daily around the lake by my house. People are smiling. Saying hello. Strangers wishing each other well. This morning, I woke early to meet a friend on a virtual walk. We usually meet at the YWCA. Nothing usual lately.  We both walk in our neighborhoods connected by ear buds and our phones.

As I walk in the early morning, the sun is orange and pink behind the trees. In the light of day, I noticed a band of ruffians had left graffiti in chalk all over the side walk.

“Be Well” “You are Loved “” Be Kind” “Take Care” with pictures of flowers, hearts,and smiley faces. I love those ruffians! Time well spent!

Hundreds of people will be greeted today by messages of hope and love. 

Walking around my little lake is a way I fill my heart. I listen to encouraging podcasts, pump up my endorphins, and shake off the gravity of the world. The more I walk, the less likely I am to go into the “Freak Out”. Walking helps to keep me in the present moment. It helps my  higher self to fill more of my soul space. 

What if this tragedy brought out the very best in all of us? What if this is a great reminder to be kind and loving and that we are all in this together?  How can each of us use our time wisely?

I invite you in this day to use your time to do something that fills your heart.  

The next time the world gets to heavy, put on the song “Freak Out”, also know as Le Freak by Chic. Dance it out. Shake it off. Laugh. Fill your heart.  It may be the best thing you can do for yourself and the planet.

I wish you well. I wish you health. I wish you peace. I wish you a full heart.

Please leave a comment… What are you doing to fill your heart?

Succession Planning

How to Put Success Back in Succession Planning

Hey Leader!  If you won the lottery tomorrow and left your position, do you have a successor ready to step up to fill your shoes? If your key staff member left tomorrow, is someone prepared to take that role? What are you doing as a leader or as an organization to prepare for the expected or even the unexpected?

According to SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management ) close to 60% of the organizations surveyed did not have a formal succession plan. Too often, succession planning is non existent and organizations make a mad scramble when there is an unexpected leader or key staff member departure. People get promoted into management position who may be great technically, and sorely lacking in coaching and developing others.

In my career as an Organizational Development Consultant, I have seen situations in which senior management would talk behind closed doors and promotional announcements would soon follow.  I call this the secret squirrel method of succession planning.  Input is given by a chosen few and seldom is a full picture of the potential candidate’s skills and abilities (or lack thereof) is known to people who sit at the C-suite level. Successful succession planning should be part of the performance management cycle and the way organizations do business. 

Four important aspects of succession planning can be summarized in the acronym “DO IT”:

Development Focus

On-Going Planning



Development Focus – Succession planning is ultimately about development and making sure individuals have the knowledge and skill foundation to move into another role. Typically, organizations will use a simple tool like a 9-block (rating individuals on both performance (high, medium or low) and potential (high, medium, or low). 

Typical 9 Block Tool

 This tool can help to uncover the shining stars who maybe ready for the next role and your solid performers to develop. It also gives you a good look at who is not meeting standards and uncover opportunities to coach the person to changed behavior or coach them to a job that is a better fit. The key here is to follow this up with development planning to get people the training and experiences to prepare them for other roles.  

If you have a great individual contributor who you think could make a great manager…

How can you have the person lead a project and learn to provide work direction? 

Are you willing to delegate task so others can broaden their skill set? 

Look at your organizational chart.  If you left tomorrow – Is there anyone who could take your place? 

What about your key positions?  

What are you doing to develop capabilities in all of your staff members?

On-Going Planning – Development discussion should be an on-going conversation between staff and managers.  As a leader, taking time to care and have on-going career discussion is a part of your job. Coaching and developing others is a part of your job. Continuing to enhance the skills and capabilities of your team is also a part of your job. Some questions to ask yourself…

What are you doing on a consistent basis to provide opportunities to help them gain skills needed for the next role? 

When is the last time you talked to employees about career development? 

How are you encouraging people to update skills? 

Are you looking at how your business is changing and what skills maybe needed in the future? 

Inclusion  – Inclusion helps us to see a larger perspective and to gain insight from others.  Succession planning should be inclusive in two ways. First, from the leadership lens and then from the individual contributor lens. To begin, effective succession planning may start with a manager and then expand to include others in department leadership including team leaders, supervisors, managers, directors, and others. Bring department leadership together to have rich discussion about staff members skills, abilities, performance, and potential.  You as a leader may have one perspective and others in the department may see other things (both positive and negative). This is also a great way to level set employee performance.  You may think a team member is outstanding and another leader would rate them as competent.  What makes a person outstanding? Competent? When we include others and work as a management team to discuss succession, we are all on the same page.  This also allows others to look out for opportunities to develop staff across department.  These conversations could also identify hi-potential employees and be rolled up into division and organizational discussion with the goal of including a variety of perspectives.

The second aspect of inclusion is talking to the individual. On-going career discussion can also enhance motivation and engagement. Most people want to learn and grow and take on new opportunities. If you see potential to develop skills, talk with the person. “Jane, I have noticed how good you are with numbers, have you ever considered moving from the role of customer service to analyst?” A simple conversation opens the dialogue, shows you are taking an interest, and helps to start a person on a new path. 

Some questions to consider…

Are they interested in that path? What are their hesitations? What resources could you provide to help them to gain skills and experiences? Who else could they talk with? Talking about career is not a promise of promotion, simply a conversation to explore development interests. 

Transparency – Letting employees know where they stand is key to building trust and strong relationships. I once asked an HR Director where he would rate me on a 9-block (basically my performance and potential). The organization was in a time of change and I was looking for opportunities to grow and advance my career.  The 9-block was a tool we used all the time in our organization. His response was that 9-block was simply a planning tool and not appropriate for an individual conversation. Coaching and developing others was not his forte. Instead of having a rich and honest discussion, he froze and shut down. People want to know where they stand and what leaders think of their potential and performance. That is your job!  If  the potential/performance is good, great – let’s move forward to get more skills and experience to prepare for another role.  If it is not good – tell me what I should be doing differently.  Also, if you have plans for someone to become a leader, it would be a good idea to ask them what they think? Are they interested? What would they like to learn? Assumption is the enemy of clarity. A transparent conversation is a way to be open and explore options. It is also a way to know if the person is not interested in leadership or a key role and if he/she would prefer to stay in a current role or explore other roles.

Succession planning is not difficult but is does take time, attention, and intention. By placing development at the center, having on-going conversations, being inclusive in the process, and transparent you will take huge steps to putting success back into succession planning. DO IT!

Peggy Foster is the owner of Foster Learning LLC, a small but mighty  HR consulting firm specializing in leadership development, executive coaching, and organizational effectiveness. Foster brings 20 + years of experience as an Human Resources Consultant, specializing in the areas of organizational effectiveness, learning and development, and mentoring programs.  Peggy is a certified Gallup Strengths Coach since 2008 and is passionate about helping others identify and play to their strengths everyday. Foster has worked in a variety of settings including banking, non-profit, healthcare, telecom, and entertainment.

Foster Great Leaders…

I had the pleasure this week to meet with a team of leaders from a successful organization in the Twin Cities. The five people sitting at the table we’re not your typical leaders or your typical leadership team.

They did not wear high-powered suits.

They did not talk about what they owned.

They did not complain about or criticize anyone on their team.

They did not puff themselves up.

They did not take credit for the work of others.

They did not come from a place of ego or control.

The thing that stuck out to me about this group was the extreme care and consideration each of them had for the people in their organization and for each other.

They laughed together.

They had fun together.

They solve problems together.

They dreamed together.

They listened to each other.

One of the questions I asked during our work session was if I could wave a magic wand – what is one wish they would have for their organization?

“I would like all of the people who work here to be able to live comfortably and well”. That was the response from the President of the organization.

“I wish we could grow each year so that we could give more money to our people consistently”, said another leader.

When our work session was complete and I was driving home, I have to confess I was awestruck.

As an HR consultant, I was delighted to see a group of leaders who truly put their employees first. One of my philosophies of leadership has always been if you treat your employees well and take good care of them they will take care of your business.

We live in a time when so many leaders are so full of themselves. Sad to see many leader operating out of ego and control.

So Leader…

What have you done today to inspire someone else?

How have you invited cooperation?

When is the last time you provided praise or recognition to a member of your team?

Put yourself in the shoes of one of your team members… Would you want to follow you?

Goodbye and Hello…

Transitions are a tricky thing. We have major life events – leaving a relationship, buying a home, ending a job. The event is the change.

 Transitions are when our heart and soul catch up to what has happened on the outside. I recently went through a huge change. I left a job, an organization, and people that I enjoyed for 21 years.

The decision to leave took close to two years to make. Culture was changing and on a daily basis. I saw actions and behaviors that did not fit with my values. The hard part was that I imagined myself in this organization for many more years. And then, something in my heart said, “You have to leave this place and who you are to become who you are suppose to be”.

The change happened. I gave my notice and I ended my employment. I officially retired. In truth, I am on sabbatical.  And now I am in the transition phase. As humans we too often look at what we will lose when we make a change. What we sometimes don’t realize is all of the unexpected blessings we have no idea were waiting for us. This transition has been amazingly filled with grace and ease. All of those projects and tasks that I worried about for so many years simply faded in importance. This has been a great opportunity for me to sit in the present moment and to enjoy the gifts of each day.

I feel like I am a trapeze artist on the top of the big top above the crowd. I have let go of one trapeze and the next one has not shown up yet. I am in a place of ambiguity. I also believe this is a place of great creativity. I get to observe and see what unfolds.

I have set aside a year to explore other career paths, continue coaching, and work with leaders and teams who authentically want to change and create healthy work environments.

I had the opportunity to speak at a career transition group called “The White Box Club” this week. The group was started by Michael Sunnarborg, an amazing, creative soul who transformed his experience of being laid off three years ago into a book and a series of meet up groups to help others through a challenging life experience. Michael needed a speaker last minute and I stepped in to share my story of leaving my very safe and very corporate job to explore new adventures. What I love about “The White Box Club” is the care and support and encouragement each person brings to help others through a very tough time of transition.

My heart goes out to all who are in job transitions and my heart is also filled with gratitude for the unexpected lessons and blessing this challenging time can provide for people. We do not grow when we are comfortable. Looking for work is uncomfortable. It is hard to put yourself out there. The White Box Club is a great resource for connection and networking.

If you know someone in a career transition – share this link. The White Box Club is free and open to all those who have been laid off and are looking for work.

If you are currently working in a job that is not satisfying, give me a call. Let’s explore what other opportunities may be out there waiting for you. 

                    All great adventures begin with that first, single step. 
                                  What step are you willing to take today?

Great Leaders Listen

One of the most impactful leaders I have ever met was a former President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Years ago, he talked with a room full of college interns and shared this advice…

“You do not have to be the smartest person in the room. As a leader, it is your job to surround yourself with people who are better that you and listen. Listen to ideas. Listen to all of the points of view. Listen to what others bring to the table. It is then, and only then, you can make good decisions.”

I was always impressed with this point of view. To be sure, the person who said this at that moment was indeed the smartest person in the room (Princeton educated, nationally known economist). He was humble. He engaged others. He listened.

Great leaders listen. If you are filled with your own solutions, you will never be able to hear the great ideas of others. Your need to be in control and in charge will drain the life blood and creativity of your team. People will stop talking if every time they share an idea you shut them down.

Ask questions in a curious way. Encourage dialogue. Don’t tell them you have to think about it and then eight weeks go by and nothing has been done.

Your team is your greatest resource. Listen. You will be amazed at what people will tell you and do for you if you really listen.

Invitation to Reflect…

Labor Day signifies the end of Summer. Time to get back to school and work.  The weather is changing. Vacation season is drawing to a close. Some say – This is really the beginning of the year. What do you want to create?
2018 has four more months.  This long weekend is a great time for reflection…
What have I accomplished so far in 2018?
What am I most proud of?
If I were to have one do-over in 2018, what would it be?
Where do I want to put my energy in the next 120 days?
What can I do to make 2018 a great year for me?
What is not working that I need to leave behind?
What is calling to me?
Give yourself the gift of reflection.  Reflection is where we meet learning and eventually wisdom. Wishing you a wise weekend.
Happy New Year!

What’s Next?

We wake up and we know that a chapter is closing and another one is opening.  What worked once, no longer works.  It is time to make a change. What’s next? It may be a job, a home, a relationship, a way of being. We grow and change and sometimes our outer circumstances no longer fit out inner being.  There has to we something more! There is. Are you willing to take time to invest in yourself to discover your next step? Hello!  I am Peggy Foster. By day I am an Human Resources Consultant with 20 years experience in developing the talents of others and encouraging people to live their best and most authentic life. By night I am a life coach – specializing in the areas of  leadership coaching, career tune-ups,  job search adventures, and exploring life transitions. We all have the answers inside of us and sometime we need help seeing what we may already intuitively know. My approach to coaching is to meet for a conversation, talk about what brought you to this point, and discuss possibilities to explore. If we decide our styles are a match – our journey together begins. Contact: Peggy Foster 952-836-8795