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Water Cooler

Information and insight about your career and the workplace at large
Holiday Season 2004

Welcome, dear WaterCooler visitor!

Quick now: Do you smile or sigh when you realize the holidays are just around the corner?

I do both. Smile, because the holidays means spending time with friends and other loved ones. Sigh, because there's so much to do.

But this year I'm taking John Engels' advice. Engels, director of Life Migrations in Boulder, Colorado, put a new twist on the word "sustainability," borrowed from the ecology field.

Sustainability, of course, means a method of harvesting or using a resource so that the resource is not depleted or permanently damaged.

This holiday season, I'm going to practice what Engels calls "personal sustainability."

"Personal sustainability means proactively building into one's daily life the practices that keep one balanced and grounded," he says, "and operating from a place where we can respond to others' demands without getting 'knocked off our feet."

Engels says we are all ecosystems nested in other ecosystems (families, schools, communities, nations, the world). High-functioning ecosystems are open, interconnected, adaptive, and self- regulating; energy flows freely, and "energy out" never exceeds "energy in."

To practice personal sustainability, Engel recommends spending time observing where you get and lose energy, and where energy may be out of balance.

"[Just by doing this] your level of awareness skyrockets," Engel says.

So that is my wish for you this holiday season: that you, too, will practice personal sustainability in a way that makes your energy free-flowing.

Here's one way to do this: change something about how you celebrate the holidays, especially with respect to your "to-do" list. Declare a moratorium on presents and give experiences instead, like hosting a pot-luck dinner with friends, or taking a favorite niece to the movies. Or gift someone with a contribution to a charitable organization that promotes sustainabile devlopment to end world hunger, like

Heifer International

Me? I'm combining the December and January issues of WaterCooler into one issue that will be released between now and January 6, and I'm making you this offer:

For each new subscription to WaterCooler received between December 6 and January 6, I'll donate $2 to Heifer International.

So tell your friends about this newsletter and encourage them to sign up at this link. They can visit the WaterCooler sign-up form and just by entering their name and email address, contribute in a small way to helping end world hunger.

It's easy--your friends gets great information on their career and the workplace at large, and at the same time they contribute to a greater cause.

In the spirit of peace-filled holidays,

Joanne