Connect the Dots - Lead the Way

Heather Balcerek

Are you trying to be a better leader, change industries, reset after a layoff, or looking for ways to bring your whole self to work? Connect the Dots - Lead the Way  is focused on helping you through these situations and more by sharing real life stories and practical tips. Heather is here to support you through coaching and mentorship, along with some amazing guests along the way.

thepolkadotdesk.substack.com
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Episodes

Goal Setting Reloaded: Working Smarter, Not Harder, with SMART Goals
23-08-2023
Goal Setting Reloaded: Working Smarter, Not Harder, with SMART Goals
Are you ready to harness the power of SMART goals? Join me, Heather Balcerek, as I take you on a refreshing journey, dispelling the complexities of goal setting and transforming it into an exciting, rewarding endeavor. I guarantee that by the end of this episode, you'll master the art of setting SMART goals. Trust me, the rewards of such strategic planning are monumental. From adding value to your work, balancing your workload, defining your success, to providing clarity, SMART goals enable you to work smarter and not harder. Plus, I'll share a personal revelation that underscores the efficiency and effectiveness of SMART goals. As we venture deeper, we'll tackle the critical task of measuring and understanding the attainability of sales goals. It's a fascinating exploration of how setting and measuring goals can propel your progress, and why it's absolutely indispensable, regardless of your field. Drawing from my own experiences, we'll trace back to the basics, to the origins of SMART goals, and the invaluable lessons I've learned. So, gear up and prepare to have your perspectives on goal setting and achievement completely transformed!Laughter, Love, and Blessings, HeatherResources:History of SMART Goals: https://cce.bard.edu/files/Setting-Goals.pdfHow We Lead Article: https://howwelead.org/2014/12/10/a-new-twist-on-smart-goals/How Motivation helps in achieving goals: https://www.betterup.com/blog/how-motivation-helps-in-achieving-goalsA Fresh Look at SMART Goals: https://www.kenblanchardbooks.com/a-fresh-look-at-smart-goals/Support the show
Words for the Workplace: A Deep Dive into Emotional Communication at Work - Day 3 - Burnout
17-08-2023
Words for the Workplace: A Deep Dive into Emotional Communication at Work - Day 3 - Burnout
Ever felt that choking burnout at work? That desolate feeling of exhaustion that seems to suck away all your energy, making the simplest tasks feel like a mountain? This is the episode you need. We've taken a deep dive into understanding burnout, investigating the roots of these emotions and how they manifest in our workplaces. With insights from Brene' Brown's book, "Atlas of the Heart", we'll guide you to recognize the signs of burnout and the importance of naming our emotions to provide the necessary support for ourselves and others.Are you having a hard time managing expectations in your workplace? Not to worry. We've got tips on how to tackle this. We dive into the concept of situational leadership and its role in setting workplace expectations. With our in-depth analysis, you'll understand the varying development levels of employees and how different levels of support and direction from managers can make a significant difference. We also emphasize the power of connection in preventing burnout and the courage it takes to be vulnerable when setting expectations.Lastly, we untangle the complex web of emotions that can lead to burnout when your efforts don't quite meet your expectations. We address the feelings of discouragement, resignation, perfectionism, as well as the impact of connection and disconnection. We candidly discuss how these emotions, if not carefully managed, can lead down a path to burnout. Learn how to express and manage these emotions, understand the role of shame in perfectionism, and how discussing connection and disconnection can foster a safer, burnout-free workplace. Trust us when we say, this is an episode you can't afford to miss - it's packed with wisdom and practical advice to save you from spiraling into burnout.Laughter, Love, and Blessings,HeatherResources and links mentioned in this episode:Psychology Today articleAtlas of the Heart - Brene Brown Ph.D.Join the conversation on SubstackSupport the show
Words for the Workplace: A Deep Dive into Emotional Communication at Work - Day 2 - Creativity
15-08-2023
Words for the Workplace: A Deep Dive into Emotional Communication at Work - Day 2 - Creativity
Want to supercharge your creativity at work? This episode promises to take you on an enlightening journey packed with fresh insights. We delve into the world of emotions, exploring how they ignite and fuel creativity in our professional lives. Discover how emotions like curiosity, awe, wonder, and even confusion can be key drivers in the creative process. We believe each of us brings a unique flavor of creativity to our work, and being able to understand and express this is crucial for a vibrant, innovative work environment.Have you ever thought of using awe and wonder to ignite innovative solutions? Well, we're here to guide you through this captivating concept. We discuss the importance of understanding and naming our emotions, and how these can inspire creativity and innovation. Plus, we also share a treasure trove of resources for those keen on further exploring the rich and complex relationship between creativity and emotions. Be sure to join the conversation and share what fuels your creativity. And remember, don’t miss out on our book references to gain even deeper insights!Laughter, Love, and Blessings,HeatherResources and links mentioned in this episode:Permission to Feel - Marc Brackett, Ph.D.Atlas of the Heart - Brene Brown Ph.D.Join the conversation on Substack:  thepolkadotdesk.substack.com!Social Links:Connect with me on Instagram here: @msheatherbdot @connectthedots_podcastCheck out the Youtube channel!Connect the Dots website!The Polka Dot Deskhttps://www.buymeacoffee.com/msheatherbdotSupport the show
Words for the Workplace: A Deep Dive into Emotional Communication at Work - Day 1- Happy
14-08-2023
Words for the Workplace: A Deep Dive into Emotional Communication at Work - Day 1- Happy
What if there was a more profound way of expressing your emotions at work beyond just being "happy"? Let's get into a stimulating chat about harnessing and articulating emotions more accurately within the workplace. Drawing valuable insights from Mark Brackett's book, 'Permission to Feel,' we ponder upon the multi-layered emotions we experience in our professional lives, and how the term "happy," though commonly used, might not be doing full justice in describing those emotions. We explore alternative words and phrases that go beyond happy - 'excited', 'joyful', 'appreciated', 'valued' and how they paint a more comprehensive picture of our emotional landscape at work. Also, we discuss the power of 'gratitude' as a tool for making others feel appreciated and valued. Plus, we share real-world strategies to incorporate and express these emotions during daily workplace interactions. This is a must-listen episode for anyone looking to enrich emotional communication at work. Join us to continue this riveting discussion on our substack, and make sure to check out our recommended reads in the description.Laughter, Love, and Blessings,HeatherResources and links mentioned in this episode:Permission to Feel - Marc Brackett, Ph.D.Atlas of the Heart - Brene Brown Ph.D.Join the conversation on Substack:  thepolkadotdesk.substack.com!Social Links:Connect with me on Instagram here: @msheatherbdot @connectthedots_podcastCheck out the Youtube channel!Connect the Dots website!The Polka Dot Deskhttps://www.buymeacoffee.com/msheatherbdotSupport the show
S4E9: Unlocking the Value of Learning and Development in Business - Part 3
09-08-2023
S4E9: Unlocking the Value of Learning and Development in Business - Part 3
In this episode, we continued exploring the world of learning and development in the business realm. Here are some key takeaways from the discussion:Understanding how change impacts where our focus lands. Importance of telling a data story.Setting your intentions, then stretching them.How to have more inclusive conversations.The episode ended with some exciting updates regarding the podcast. We have a challenge ahead of us—our goal is to reach 200 episodes by the end of 2023. We currently stand at around episode 165 and will continue with our biweekly episodes. Additionally, we will be releasing five short episodes Monday through Friday on a specific topic each month, starting next week! We encourage you to sign up for our newsletter or subscribe to the podcast to ensure you don't miss any valuable content.In other news, we are thrilled to announce that our podcast will be undergoing a name change to "Connect the Dots, Lead the Way." This new name aligns perfectly with our mission of helping you lead confidently and make meaningful connections. Stay tuned for more updates on this exciting change!Don't forget to visit The Polka Dot Desk website to access our podcast library and sign up for our newsletter. We appreciate your support and encourage you to like, share, follow, subscribe, and ring the bell to stay connected with us on Instagram and YouTube.As we wrap up, remember that you are loved and worthy, and there are incredible things ahead for you if you trust and believe in the Lord. Thank you for being part of our Connect the Dots community. Wishing you a fantastic week ahead!Laughter, Love, and Blessings,HeatherSocial Links:Connect with me on Instagram here: @msheatherbdot@connectthedots_podcastCheck out the Youtube channel!Connect the Dots website!https://www.buymeacoffee.com/msheatherbdotSupport the show
S4E8_Unlocking the Value of Learning and Development in Business_Part 2
26-07-2023
S4E8_Unlocking the Value of Learning and Development in Business_Part 2
Hello Connect the Dots community!Welcome back to our 3 Part series, titled "Unlocking the Value of Learning and Development in Business," previously we dove deep into the importance of individual and collective efforts in impacting learning and development within organizations. Heather shared her top 6 takeaways from the keynote panel discussion. Today we are diving into Part 2, where Heather highlights 5 more key takeaways from various sessions she attended while at TICE. We are so glad you are back so let’s dive right in to today’s episode and don’t forget to sign up for the newsletter so you can be notified when Part 3 is released which will cover her last 4 takeaways. In this episode, you will learn:* In this episode, we recap five more takeaways from the Training Industry Conference and Expo 2023, including the important question of “Are we focused on the right people?”* Takeaway #1 - It doesn’t matter if it’s fun. It matters if it’s relevant. This takeaway comes from the Learning as a Catalyst for Business growth session, put on by Litmos. Kyile Stair and Ryan Morris were the presenters and they walked us through an example of how learning can help business growth.  [10:28]* Heather dives into what this statement means and as a leader what your primary focus truly needs to be. She asks us, Are you looking to make it fun first or are you truly looking at whether it is relevant or not? [11:49]* Takeaway #2 - Are we focused on the right people? This takeaway comes from a session called, How Learning Fitness Lifts People and Employees Up and Sets A Course To Success, presented by Justin Dile from SkillCycle [7:26]* We dive into what an ever learning mindset is and how this can help a larger number of employees opposed to the common path of just focusing on the high potential employees in our organizations. [5:02]* Takeaway #3 - Tell them it’s OK if it’s not perfect. This takeaway again comes from the session called, How Learning Fitness Lifts People and Employees Up and Sets A Course To Success, presented by Justin Dile from SkillCycle [7:41]* Heather dives into what Justin said about the need to continually assess, adjust, and change implementation strategies. When we need to adjust and change it means something wasn’t right or ‘perfect’, so the need to tell other’s it is OK if it’s not perfect needs to be communicated more. [7:26]* Join in on a bonus takeaway from  Justin Dile’s session and participate in an activity lead by Heather. [8:28]* Takeaway #4 - Design learning pathways in future state. This takeaway comes from a deep conversation with Brian from ACTIO Learning. He gave a presentation on Eight Proven Practices You Can Use To Create Personalized Learning Pathways. [15:01]* Here we dive into the importance of designing from a future state opposed to a reactive state. What is your learner going to need in the future? What goals need to be set and accomplished in order to successfully predict what your client might need in the future. [16:16]* Heather dives deep into what this looks like, how you can make simple changes when working in a predictive and future state and how changing your mindset will help. [17:35]* Takeaway #5 - LEARNS: Links, Emotions, Attention, Reception, Novelty, Stories. This one comes from a session called Brain Friendly Learning: How To Use Neuroscience To Improve Training, led by Jackie Colbert from Syneos Health. [17:35]* We dive into whatSupport the show
S4E7: Unlocking the Value of Learning and Development in Business - Part 1
12-07-2023
S4E7: Unlocking the Value of Learning and Development in Business - Part 1
Hello Connect the Dots community!In our latest episode, titled "Unlocking the Value of Learning and Development in Business," we dive deep into the importance of individual and collective efforts in impacting learning and development within organizations. This is the first of a three part series. Heather highlights key insights and thought-provoking ideas that both leaders and individual contributors can apply to foster a culture of continuous growth and learning.In this episode, we recap six takeaways from the Training Industry Conference and Expo 2023, including the necessity of personal development to help others succeed, understanding the business and its goals, and being adaptable in various learning modalities. We emphasize the importance of moving from reactive to proactive to predictive leadership to solve problems and avoid unnecessary reactive situations.We also share insights from Training Industry Inc., an expert resource for learning professionals seeking best practices and innovative approaches in effective training. Their website, TrainingIndustry.com, offers a wealth of articles, infographics, and downloadable resources for learning and development professionals.Learning and development lies at the center of the employee lifecycle, and it is crucial for companies to define what learning and development programs look like for their employees. Being proactive, predictive, flexible, and responsive to changing circumstances and learner needs are key factors in the success of these programs.Throughout the episode, Heather shares personal experiences. She highlights both the difficulties and the importance of continuously developing their skills to better support others. We also explore how the understanding of the business and its goals is essential for success, regardless of one's position within an organization.Lastly, we delve into the role of learning and development teams in onboarding and continuous training. We look at how these teams provide support during offboarding, ensuring a smooth transition for departing employees. Their ongoing involvement helps facilitate continued employee development, fostering a sense of retention and growth within the organization.Join us for this episode of Connect the Dots as we explore the critical role of unlocking the value of learning and development in business. Let's empower ourselves and others to make a lasting impact!If you want to chat more about this topic, let’s continue this conversation over on Instagram.Laughter, Love, and Blessings,HeatherSubscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.Resources and links mentioned in this episode:* Check out Training Industry, Inc.* TICE Takeaways Infographic* Newsletter Sign-Up at thepolkadotdesk.substack.com!Social Links:* Connect with me on Instagram here: @msheatherbdot @connectthedots_podcast* Check out the Youtube channel!* Connect the Dots website!* https://www.buymeacoffee.Support the show
S4 E6: Creating Purposeful Connections in Virtual Environments w/Dave Stachowiak
28-06-2023
S4 E6: Creating Purposeful Connections in Virtual Environments w/Dave Stachowiak
This episode is a really exciting one because we are welcoming in a guest that has made more of an impact on Heather’s journey than he probably knows or will ever know. Today we are talking to Dave Stachowiak (STA-HOE-VEE-AAK) the host and founder of Coaching for Leaders, a top-rated management podcast downloaded 30 million times. Coaching for Leaders is #1 search result for management on Apple Podcasts in the United States. With more than 15 years of leadership at Dale Carnegie and a thriving, global leadership academy, Dave helps leaders discover practical wisdom, build meaningful relationships, and create movement for genuine results. Dave and Heather go backDave is the founder of the Coaching for Leaders Academy, an exclusive, intensive leadership development cohort. An intimate group of participant leaders work personally with him to develop leadership excellence — and empower each other. His credentials include a doctoral degree in organizational leadership from Pepperdine University, several international business leadership awards from Dale Carnegie, and graduation from Coach U.Like most people, he’s never had it all figured out. He's been passed up for promotions, failed at launching his first business, and still fights through an occasional fear of speaking to people.If you want to chat more about this topic, I would love to continue this conversation with you, over on Instagram.In this episode, you will learn:* How and when Dave and Heather first met over 10 years ago. [3:38]* How the Coaching for Leaders Academy taught Dave something that he never anticipated happening and how it was then the Coaching for Leaders podcast took off. [6:59]* How a frustrating moment in Dave’s car started his desire to start his own podcast. [9:08]* Daves time at Dale Carnegie and where he thought his career was going was the second and final piece that truly motivated him to start Coaching for Leaders [9:08]* As a busy husband and new dad with a full time job at Dale Carnegie and teaching part time in the evenings Dave only had 2 hours a week to work on his podcast. He shares how this was actually a benefit to him and how it helped him not spiral into his perfectionist tendencies. [14:38]* Dave shares how learning how to simply start and try has changed his entire mindset on how he had always done things previously and is now what he intentionally leans into it as a leader. [21:25]* Dave and Heather talk about Dave’s personal journey on how as a new leader what you can do to get your message out in the beginning and connect with your audience. His 3 point strategy in the beginning was to 1) Air his show every week 2) Is the audio quality good? 3) Is it useful to people? These 3 points are still true in his business today and why they should be in yours too. [21:25]* Dave shares how and why he wrote the article, How to Respond When People Are Talking Too Much, for his Coaching for Leadership Plus. [27:42]* Dave and Heather share past experiences, tips, examples and advise on how to keep your virtual meetings on task when you have someone who just keeps talking. Dave dives into how when you always come back to the purpose of the meeting it will make it easier to keep everyone on track as the facilitator. [33:07]* Dave shares how and why some meetings should simply be just for connecting, especially now in the virtual space. He shares a past experience back when he was working at Dale Carnegie and hoSupport the show
S4 E5: Embracing Resilience: Conquering Layoffs, Coping with Loss, and Celebrating Life's Blessings
14-06-2023
S4 E5: Embracing Resilience: Conquering Layoffs, Coping with Loss, and Celebrating Life's Blessings
*****I do want to start with a quick disclaimer today. This episode may touch on mental health topics. I am not a doctor or certified mental health professional. If you are  or someone you know is in crisis, please call 988 if you are in the US. If you are outside the US, there is a link in the below to a list of international options. Are you trying to be a better leader, change industries, reset after a layoff, or looking for ways to bring your whole self to work?  Have you recently or maybe are still going through an extremely challenging time in your life?  Are you currently coping with loss and wondering how you can start celebrating the blessings you have in your life again?  If any of these questions resonate with you then this episode is for you. On today’s episode I will share where I have been for the past 131 days, what happened during that time and what 3 steps I found myself taking over and over which in the end showed me that I can now tackle any problem if I just follow these steps. If you want to chat more about this topic, I would love to continue this conversation with you, over on Instagram.In this episode, you will learn:Where I was and what exactly happened since you last heard from me 131 days ago.How the tragedies I experienced affected me and what I did to get myself through the hard times. Who we lost and then ultimately who we welcomed into our family. The 3 steps that ultimately showed me that I can tackle a….…..….….…Resources and links mentioned in this episode:Crisis Hotline - International Information: https://support.google.com/websearch/answer/11181469Definition of Resilience: https://www.apa.org/topics/resilienceHireMe Podcast: hiremepodcast.comSocial Links:Connect with me on Instagram here: @msheatherbdot @connectthedots_podcastCheck out the Youtube channel!Connect the Dots website!https://www.buymeacoffee.com/msheatherbdotLaughter, Love, and Blessings,Heather This is a public episode. If you would like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit thepolkadotdesk.substack.comSupport the show
S4E3: Three Questions
20-01-2023
S4E3: Three Questions
No man really becomes a fool until he stops asking questions.- Charles P. SteinmetzWhen I met with my mentor yesterday, she had me answer 3 questions about the lay off situation. These questions really made me stop and think so I wanted to put them out there for you. Asking ourselves questions helps us process through the feelings. But these questions aren’t just for those that were laid off. Maybe you are one of the people that got to stay, which is not always an easy place to be. Ask yourself these questions too. In recording the podcast, I decided to add a bonus question for points and cookies to help us start moving forward. *Please note that points and cookies will not actually be awarded. 😉 3 Reflection Questions What is the best thing that has comes from it so far? What is the most shocking thing so far? What is the worst thing so far?Bonus: What is one thing you will take away from this experience and use in the next chapter. I’d love to hear your answers so feel free to connect with me on Instagram, LinkedIn, or YouTube.Laughter, Love, and Blessings,HeatherSocial Links@msheatherbdot @connectthedots_podcast NEW Youtube channel!NEW Website!https://www.linkedin.com/in/heatherbalcerek/https://www.buymeacoffee.com/msheatherbdot#3questions #noregrets #opentowork #amazon #amazonlayoffs #layoffs #laidoff #myjourney #podcast #connectthedots--- Support this podcast: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/connectthedotspodcast/support This is a public episode. If you would like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit thepolkadotdesk.substack.comSupport the show
S3E17: Wine with Me: Talking Student Loan Forgiveness
02-09-2022
S3E17: Wine with Me: Talking Student Loan Forgiveness
Disclaimer: This video/podcast contains explicit language and covers topics that might cause you to use explicit language too. I might hurt some feelings and make folks mad. These are my own thoughts and opinions and do not reflect the views of my employer/previous employers. I am not a financial advisor, certified coach, or medical professional. Just wanted to make sure you knew these things upfront today. Now to the show...Today I’m drinking wine and talking through student loan forgiveness. I lay out the basics of what student loans are, the different types of loans, the calculators, etc etc. Then I talk through my journey. Then we cover the Student Loan Forgiveness information that was released on August 24, 2022. I go through some articles and finally...I review some of the posts that made me...fiesty. This is a 2.5 hour episode so grab your beverage of choice and chill or listen while you the chores you hate. I’m happy to keep you company either way.Laughter, Love, and Blessings,HeatherSocial Links@msheatherbdot @connectthedots_podcast NEW Youtube channel!NEW Website!https://www.buymeacoffee.com/msheatherbdot - 50/50 Charity Donation Drive happening now!!#podcast #studentloan #studentloans #studentloandebt #studentloanssuck #studentloanrelief #studentloanrepayment #studentloanproblems #studentloanfreedom #studentloanpayoff #myjourney #winewithme #connectthedotsSource Links Federal Loan Programs PDFPrepare for College ChecklistsRepayment plans USF Cost of Attendance Calculator    Interest CapitalizationLoan Interest Calculator Student Loan CalculatorStudent Loan Relief PlanStalling DreamsMore Targeted ApproachNPR - Examining 3 argumentsSupport the show