Archives for January 2018

Never. Stop. Learning. But Also…

Teaching by Joris Louwes on Flickr

Teaching. Teaching is the fastest way to reinforce what you learn. Many branding experts like myself will tell you that the benefit of writing a regular blog, LinkedIn post or even a status update is to help you establish a reputation as a thought leader, to raise your visibility and credibility, to demonstrate that you add value, so that employers come to YOU. That happens.

But also, we retain 70% of what we SAY, as opposed to 50% of what we see and hear. (We also retain 90% of what we SAY and DO!)

Right now I am reading a book on neuroscience and it is teaching me dozens of 60-second exercises that help develop and strengthen the parts of the brain responsible for motivation, decision making, creativity, and awareness – the four integral ingredients to building wealth, which as it turns out, does increase happiness (according to scientific studies.)

Rest assured, I will be trying these exercises and re-teaching them so that I remember them. Of course, I want to remember them so that I can continue to re-teach them to my clients in my coaching practice, so that I can continue to increase the value that I bring as an income optimizer, which will increase my own income as a byproduct.

So, even if you aren’t writing a blog or a post, look for opportunities to share what you are learning. This is why book clubs and interest groups (meetups) are great forums.

Since we’re here and I’m still in bed (because it’s 7 AM in California where I am right now,) I’ll share the one simple morning strategy I learned in this book so far:

Take a moment upon waking to stretch slowly and feel the comfort of your sheets. Tune into the sensations in your body. Assess your emotional state. Paying special attention to pleasurable sensations will stimulate the motivational center of your brain. Focus on the pleasurable sensation and imagine it multiplying, as it does the more you focus on it. Then visualize what you WANT to happen that day, overcoming anything that could stand in your way. I have shared this before, because it was previously taught to me, but the science behind it is new – doing this has been proven to improve your potential for success. [Mental contrasting and transfer of energization. Sevincer AT, Busatta PD, Oettingen G. Per Soc Psychol Bull. 2014 Feb;40(2):139-52.]

As a questioner (a la Gretchen Rubin’s 4 Tendencies) I need to understand the logic behind any recommendation before I buy into it. Even though I had found the teachers who passed this on credible, knowing the science is proven is reinforcing to me that this is a worthwhile effort to make, especially because I want the outcome for me and for my clients.

So not only am I incentivized to do it, I am incentivized to pass this on to you.

Try this simple exercise every day for 2 weeks and let us know what difference it makes for you.

Have a prosperous week.

Beatles Getting Better All The Time

Enjoy the videos and music you love, upload original content, and share it all with friends, family, and the world on YouTube.

 

 

What Do We Really Need More of?

Love by Mayberry Health and Home on Flickr

Sing it with me…”What the world…needs now…is…”

Before you go labeling me as a “snowflake,” or “airy-fairy” or an idealist, all of which I have been accused of and may or may not be true, let me ask you this…. What do you prefer? Love or Rules?

In all the corporate disciplines that exist to help companies become better at cultivating a culture that keeps valuable talent and optimizes engagement (Organizational Development, Human Resources, Training and Development, Talent Management, Change Management, Human Capital Management, etc.,) it seems the best a company can do as of right now is to engage an emotional intelligence trainer, train their managers to be better coaches (I will distinguish between these things below), and re-employ someone who turns out to be suited for their intended role or should their role be eliminated.

Even in these best practices, there are shortcomings, and most companies are just trying to cover their butts with more extensive sexual harassment awareness training and instituting more clear expectations of respectful behavior as well as clear and fair consequences for infractions. Is this adequate? Are these companies treating the symptoms instead of the causes?

Not all managers are coaches. Most managers focus mainly on the pragmatic components of performance. Some, for liability reasons or simply because they don’t feel work is the time or place or because they don’t feel adept at addressing it, ignore the emotional side of their human resources. At what cost?

On the morning I was interviewed by KQTH radio in Tucson last week, I awoke and read a page of Living the Wisdom of the Tao by Wayne Dyer. Reading an inspiring passage to start my day was a ritual that I adopted with the Miracle Morning in 2016. I was going to be interviewed on recruiter blacklists by Mike Rapp, and this particular passage was of serendipitous significance.

Think about the problems that would disappear if people were actually kind, instead of being forced to be kind:

  • The negatives of black lists
  • Harassment (sexual or otherwise)
  • Bullying
  • Bias/discrimination

A long time ago I stopped teaching my clients how to act confident and focused more on helping them be confident. If I find that my clients are hurting or resentful about their employment past, I know that they will get much further much faster if they acknowledge that pain, process it, and release it rather than if they ignore it or pretend it isn’t there.

What would happen if instead of creating rules and guidelines to attempt to avoid offensive behaviors, we address why people treat other people poorly in the first place?

“Hurt people hurt people.” (This quote has been attributed to Will Bowen, Yehuda Berg, and Rick Warren)

Regardless of who said it, can you see how this is true?

I’m not suggesting traditional therapy is the answer. I spent years in therapy myself during my youth through my parent’s divorce, and while I did gain some validation for why I acted out as I did, and it was nice to have someone to talk to during that time, I only felt more emboldened and justified in acting out toward my parents. I felt justified in my resentment. I didn’t heal. The healing began when I started to take more accountability, learned how to forgive, and how to be compassionate. This was coaching, not therapy.

It’s not like flicking a switch. I’m not cured of my pain, and I still may tend to react in my old ways rather than respond in a conscious way, but my awareness improves with continued coaching and I continue to add tools to my toolbox to come from a place of love and compassion rather than pain, and the outcomes of my interactions with people are infinitely better when I do.

Coaching is a way of providing an objective perspective on what can hold back peak performance, and what can be done to attain and maintain peak performance. Coaches do not shy away from the nitty gritty of feelings. They create a safe space for a person to be flawed, give feedback without judgment, and provide techniques, drills, exercises. They provide support and accountability in creating new habits.

Some might say that the workplace is no place for:

  • Love
  • Crying
  • Feelings
  • Personal problems
  • Games

Except, science is proving that positive psychology techniques in the workplace are already:

  • Transforming how a company collaborates
  • Feeding innovation
  • Improving workforce health
  • Improving productivity
  • Increasing profits

Shawn Achor proved in his work with Fortune 500 executives in 42 countries that the byproducts of a more positive workforce are well worth the investments and the investments don’t even have to be monetary or require a lot of time.

I am keenly aware that people in pain don’t usually just make a simple choice to be more positive. Personal transformation is much more complex. There are patterns of thinking reinforced over a lifetime that need to be identified and reversed. Yes, you can apply some simple happiness techniques to become more positive, and that WILL trickle down to various elements of your professional and personal life, and maybe that would be adequate to cultivate respect and tolerance.

But what could work look like if there was a focus on healing and helping employees reach potential in areas of their lives besides work?

One thing I can say with confidence – As hard as you can try to compartmentalize an area of your life, it will surely bleed into the others. This goes for both good and bad things. If you form a good habit in your health, it will have a cascading effect on other areas of your life. If you are having problems at home, or are dealing with health issues, you will find your productivity and engagement go down. Even those who escape their personal problems and dive into their work will find that there is a burn out point, or they are just a little less than their best selves when they are at work. There is even greater pressure to make that part of their lives go well.

Your emotions impact your brain chemistry and your brain chemistry impacts your physical body, communication, and cognition (obviously).

What I am suggesting is that companies consider a truly holistic, even “alternative” approach to the very current initiatives of ridding the workplace from bias, harassment of all kinds, bullying, discrimination, toxicity and stifled growth.

Yes, employees will always benefit from being able to relate better with one another, but they also need to relate better to themselves.

We are less able to give when we feel we don’t have enough. If we don’t feel like we have enough of our basic human emotional needs: connectedness, acceptance, love, we won’t be apt or able to offer it. What companies are asking their employees to do is to put other people’s feelings first. I foresee there being much resistance and inadequate execution with this method.

 

In 2018 Epic Careering is launching a program that will help companies create a conscious culture. It will come with assessments, live workshops, online courses, interactive communities, and management and executive consciousness coaching training. If you recognize that your company is experiencing conflicts and breakdowns that require an alternative solution to the traditional corporate approach, e-mail Karen at Karen@epiccareering.com. Confidentiality is guaranteed. Take the first step in transforming your company for everyone’s sake. There could be a day when you feel as good about going to work as you do about coming home.

What The World Needs Now Is Love / Dionne Warwick

Please skip CM. I am sorry to mistake some spellings. Dionne Warwick ディオンヌ・ワーウィック Burt Bacharach バート・バカラック

I Gave Myself The Gift of Space

Cleaning by Duane Storey on Flickr

I just celebrated a milestone birthday, and while some people dread these milestones, I’m actually very optimistic about the decade ahead. There is a ritual I do every year on my birthday that makes me look forward to it every year, even as my age climbs.

Traditionally, I put up the Christmas tree, decorations, and lights on my brother’s birthday, December 3rd. There has always been a mild day approaching this date to be outside putting lights up, and a cold day or snowy/rainy where we (my kids and I – this is my husband’s busy season, so the holiday preparations are on me) move the toys, sort some into a donation pile to make room, and assemble our fake, but beautiful, Christmas tree. Every year, without fail, there are either extra branches or missing branches. I’ll never understand how that happens but accept it, just like socks disappearing in the wash.

Then from December 3rd on, I may add some accouterments, but we’re well decorated for a good three weeks before Christmas and by my daughter’s birthday, December 10th. With her birthday and then Christmas, space is difficult to find. We live in a small rancher (with a full basement – full in that it is the size of the first floor, but also full in that there isn’t much space down there.) By the time my birthday hits, I’m anxious to have more space. I at least need to do yoga without stuff invading my peace of mind.

While I appreciate white wall space and clear counters and tables, my husband is an accumulator. He’s one of 10 kids, and it never fails when I clear a space, he tends to fill it. We have accumulated a lot over the past 17 years in our house, and even though I started to get much better at cycling more out than in, we still have a LOT of stuff.

For my birthday every year, I make sure the outside decorations come down and get put away, the tree comes down, and the inside decorations go back down in the basement. We manage to find places to put some of the toys the girls received, and get a good idea of what still needs to be donated, which is my Martin Luther King, Jr. project.

I have heard, even recently when reading a blog about the secrets of tidy people, that some people attribute a clean home and empty space to a high-functioning mind, a moral person, or even a “good” family. I don’t make that connection. That seems very superficial and arbitrary to me.

My reality is, I don’t always have space. It feels like an everyday struggle to create space. I value empty space, organization, and order. At the same time, I love my husband, my kids, and my pets and I have had to compromise. My threshold for what I can tolerate in chaos an disorder is much higher than it used to be and probably higher than most. While the life I love to live doesn’t always afford me the time to create or maintain order among my things, I give myself the gift of space every year for my birthday, and it’s a ritual that makes my birthday something to look forward to even as I get older.

When I can’t create order and space in my physical space throughout the year, I meditate to create order and space in my mind. Sometimes this is a ridiculous endeavor – I mean, I do work at home with my kids. This means I have to take time out of my workday while they are in school to meditate, get up before they do (which does not always work out,) do it after they go to bed when I’m sure to fall asleep early and then wake up at 3 AM, or attempt meditating with them at home, or with them. I know meditation is great for them, but I don’t get the benefit of meditation when I do it with them; they can’t sit still, not just because one daughter has ADHD, but because they’re kids. I find if I can manage to take a shower without interruption, it has a meditating effect. I tend to come up with the best ideas in the shower. I’ve even written songs in the shower.

My daughter’s doctor, upon her diagnosis of ADHD, actually suggested that, when they weren’t looking, we get rid of ALL toys in our house, leaving them with wooden spoons and pots and pans. It’s some school of thought she subscribes that associates toys with the death of creativity or the birth of consumerism. I have tried to have my kids participate in the project. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t. One daughter can function at a very high level in the middle of chaos, and while I’m sure this will serve her well someday, she tends to not notice the mess, even when she is expected to help clean it. The ADHD daughter doesn’t love to clean, sort and organize, but does get a sense of joy when we are able to achieve it, however how long it lasts. I have learned that they are much more engaged in tidying when there’s something in it for them, like a play date.

I won’t deny them toys – I have uncovered beliefs around worthiness in myself stemming from not having the same toys as my peers and being treated poorly by said peers. I don’t want my kids to grow up thinking that they aren’t worthy of good things, as in objects. I have faith that they have very strong imaginations and make sure they spend time creating, not just consuming. One of my common questions to them, however, is, “What’s more important, people or things?” I say this a lot when they fight over things. I always want them to value people over things. My ADHD daughter will sometimes play with a new friends’ toys rather than the friend. I watch and manage this thoughtfully.

 

I’m not sure how I’ll manage it with all of my other priorities, but I have created an intention and vision of more space in my home, and believe that by making more space, I am making room for new good things to come into our lives. While I can tolerate a mess and function just fine, I recognize how much better I feel when I can close my drawers without grunting, locate my brush on the bureau, just push play on the yoga video without taking an extra 20 minutes to tidy up, and have room to chop vegetables on my counter and a place to craft and create. Of course, there’s having a home where other people feel comfortable, too.

the space between by dave matthews band lyrics

i do not own. all rights go to dave matthews band. with lyrics

2018 needs an anthem

Music by Jesse Kruger on Flickr

3-5% of the world’s population is apathetic to music…  This post is for everyone else.

I saw posts of heartache from a young woman who had been cheated on. She was exactly the age that I was when my cheating boyfriend and I finally broke up. Only, I was over it pretty fast. Once the full truth came out, I was determined to get back to me.

I went on dates, hung out with friends, especially my guy friends, and started a band with the friend who introduced us. Music was instrumental (no pun intended) in helping me heal and rebound. I remember the P!ink song “There You Go.” Not only was it constantly on the radio, but it was in my head, making me feel powerful and fierce. It was my anthem.

I met my husband within 4 months, even though I wasn’t looking for a relationship. We fell madly in love pretty fast. When I did see him again at a mutual friend’s engagement party, it was like the song was coming true.  That was a beautiful redemptive moment.

I wish I would have thought to use music the same way when I was laid off in 2002. I think if I would have had an anthem, I would have stayed motivated, even when three different companies strung me along for months waiting for financial approval to hire me. Instead of desperately holding on to hope and giving up my power to those companies, I might have charged forward, making things happen as I know I can do now.

The better we feel, the more we can take on.

Do you have an anthem for 2018? If not, I invite you to check out the songs below and adopt one of these. I offer something for everyone, and my reasons for including them.  I have included them on a YouTube playlist so you can play them in succession, as well as individual hyperlinks.

  1. Here Comes The Sun, The Beatles

I have to start out with a classic, one I think most people know, recognize, and a song for which most people have some memory association. I used to sing thing song to my babies as I changed their diaper in the morning.  I would open up the curtain and see them smiling at me.  It makes my heart happy to remember how blessed I felt to start my day that way.

  1. It’s a Beautiful Morning, The Rascals

This is another classic tune I would sing to my girls, and I still do. Sometimes the sun would shine through this weeping willow tree and give the whole bus stop a glow. I’m not a morning person, so I need a little extra help to rise and shine.

  1. One Moment In Time, Whitney Houston

This was recently resurrected for me watching the U.S. figure skating national championships. You might remember this song as the theme song for the 1988 Olympics in South Korea, and it was chosen as the anthem for an up-and-coming future Olympian, Starr Andrews. (She had a viral video 7 years ago.) She, now 16, actually skated to a version of this song that was sung both by her and Whitney Houston. Watch the video and try not to be inspired as she is overwhelmed by one of many moments in time.

  1. Fight Song, Rachel Platten

If you are a music snob like me, you might resist this song because it’s a pop song. I changed my mind when I learned that she was a 34-year-old married woman when this song, her first hit, finally broke through. That is an unheard of age for a breakout performer!  This was literally her fight song. Everyone in her life was trying to help her see that she had to pick a consolation career and this song is her middle finger. I’m okay with my girls loving it and playing it incessantly. It’s a guilty pleasure. Go, Rachel!

  1. Don’t Stop Believing, Journey

I hate to be cliché, but Journey’s Greatest Hits is one of my first CDs. I am a child of the 80s, and I was a small town girl. Eventually, I was also the singer in a smoky room.  We are living just to find emotion. There’s no happy ending in this song, just a call to action to be present in the moment, winning or losing, and to keep hope that a better life is waiting.

  1. Three Little Birds, Bob Marley

The beach is my happy place, and I have fond memories of Jamaica. You don’t have to have travelled there to appreciate Bob Marley and his music, but being there did make an impression on me. It made me wonder if the constant playing of Bob’s music throughout the resort was meant to induce a benevolent brainwashing. If you ever feel like an island, as troubled as that island might be, remember you are a beautiful island, and every little thing is gonna be alright.

  1. Like the Ceiling Can’t Hold Us, Macklemore

I’m going to start to get a bit more niche with this song and the ones that follow. You may not be a rap fan, but this song describes a triumphant journey from poverty to prosperity, from addiction to redemption. Macklemore is a comeback story, an underdog story, and so far has a happy ending. He has repaid loyalty to his girlfriend, now wife, and best friend Ryan Lewis. He used his rising fame to propel a performer, Wanz, who had killed his dreams to test software back into music. Wanz won 2 Grammy Awards for his part in Macklemore’s “Thrift Shop” hit.

  1. Shine, Trey Anastasio

Trey is the lead singer of Phish. Phish is a jam band, which means they play improvisational rock much like Miles Davis played improvisational jazz. In my personal opinion, listening to this song on YouTube is 1/100 of the experience of seeing Trey or Phish live. (Yes, I have also seen the Dead, several times, but not with Jerry.) Though you may feel uplifted by the song, the live experience is other-worldly. Being in a musical experience with a large crowd is one of the most connecting experiences there is on the planet, and this is an audience that is for the most part awake to that, which makes it a level-up experience. Yes, listen, but experience it if you can.

  1. Going In the Right Direction, Robert Randolph and the Family Band

It was a Sunday morning at the first Bonnaroo, a mega-musical festival in Manchester, TN.  Robert Randolph was playing. I was raised Catholic, but don’t practice. I had always kind of wished I was Southern Baptist, because they really seem like they are in the music unabashedly. What a way to worship, I thought.  Seeing Robert that Sunday morning put me in a state of glory I had not yet experienced. I would go every Sunday if Robert played!

  1. You Get What You Give, New Radicals

The video perfectly depicts my early work experiences at the mall. The song and video are a plea for the downtrodden, the underemployed, and the suicidal to give the world a chance and recognize your own worth.

 

Share in the comments on your favorite anthem, and listen to the complete playlist, which will be updated with your suggestions.

Making 2018 Better Than 2017

Part 4 of 4

Destinations by Bruce Fingerhood on Flickr

2018 is finally here. If the holidays hardly felt like reflective down time, then the resolution that best serves you as a top priority is to make time (not “find” it) to get clear about what you want this year, what it will take to get it, and how you are going to make it happen.

Think of 2018 as an adventure you are about to navigate. Figure out the destinations first. (You can always add stops along the way.) Consider carefully why these destinations appeal to you. Research them thoroughly. Understand the potential challenges and highlights. Learn what there is to learn.

If you were physically going to go somewhere, you would probably try to understand the culture of that place, for instance, how to say basic things in the native language or what that culture considers polite and impolite, or even illegal. You would check yelp and other rating sites, and read some blogs on these places. You would make sure you knew if there were areas you should avoid or landmarks you need to include.

The first step is getting clear. Then, it’s making a habit of consistently carving out time, no matter how little, to plan out your micro-movements and taking action.

  1. Emotional Life

One of my teachers has said that if you master this area of your life, you master life. When I thought about that, moments came to mind in which I did not respond thoughtfully to people, but instead reacted out of emotion, and it’s those moments that weigh heavily on me. They suck my energy and cause me to spend time in guilt instead of positive action or creation. This has negatively impacted my health and relationships.

I have heard many teachers say that most of the time we are making decisions from the emotional mind of the 8-year-old version of ourselves, UNLESS we intentionally develop the higher-thinking parts of our mind and create new automatic responses through diligence and practice, just as though your emotions are muscles.

As with most areas of improvement, it starts with awareness. A big, big part of accelerating development in this area, I have learned and continue to practice, is forgiveness. It is so powerful! It’s not just forgiveness of others (even when they are not sorry), but even more importantly for yourself. The worse you make yourself feel, the more you inhibit your emotional development. It’s okay to have negative emotions. Honor them; they are a part of you, and a part of the human experience. The goal is to spend less and less time in a state of upset and be able to gradually improve at being responsive instead of reactive.

These were my emotional goals, anyway. You may have different ones.

Make a list of the positive emotions you want more of and the negative emotions you want less of, leaving several spaces in between for the things in your life that induce those emotions. This makes it easy to understand what to add to your life (or add more of) and what to avoid whenever possible.

Meditating is a practice that can help you remain in a state of calm more often, and further assist you in using the higher parts of your brain for stress stimuli instead of limiting your responses to those of your 8-year-old self.

  1. Spiritual Life

Most people I know do believe that there is more to this world than just matter. However, I do have agnostics and atheists in my life. I accept that not everyone acknowledges a spiritual component to life. If this is you, I encourage you to dedicate this category to evaluating meaning in your life. Both, spirituality and meaning in life, have been proven to benefit outlook, health, longevity and stave off depression.

Otherwise, you do not have to practice any particular religion or even be clear about what you believe in order to make your spiritual life a bigger influence to the rest of your life.

The most significant transformations that I have seen in my clients was when we had built enough rapport to delve into this area of their lives. It has been the most satisfying part of coaching in the past year, as I developed greater courage to address this area with some clients.

In one such instance, it was the simple acknowledgement that this client once was able to feel the unconditional love of God that he had forgotten with all of the other pressures of life. Once he started remembering and allowing, his striving and stress were relieved. Even his physical symptoms diminished. He made completely different decisions about his career. He landed happily where he never would have expected to land. He achieved a peace of mind he hadn’t had since he was a child.

This didn’t take a lot of time, as it was more about letting go.  We tend to pack on layers of protection to guard our most vulnerable parts. In doing so, we create blockages to the flow of giving and receiving.

My challenge to you is to take 30 seconds every day to tune into feelings of gratitude for what is good in your life and to allow yourself to feel love that is not earned by doing or having, just being.

As a level-up challenge, start to affirm that there are forces conspiring to help you, and that you are powerful.

To go even further, you can develop practices, such as Xi Gong, that help you increase your fortitude, which will make problems seem small in the face of your power.

FUN FACT:  scientists are half as likely as the general population to believe in a higher power, while doctors are more likely than the general population to believe in a higher power.

  1. Your Life Vision

Yes, this is kind of like the culmination of all of the categories that we have discussed over the past 4 weeks, but it is also how you re-inspire yourself to maintain good habits, which is necessary for positive momentum toward any of the goals you set.

The practice of imagining the ideal is called visualization. It is scientifically linked to achievement of goals because of its impact on motivation.

The best times to do this are when you first wake up and as you go to sleep. One reason might be obvious – a better start to the day and a better night’s rest. But the other reason is that brain waves are optimal for subconscious learning during these times.

Essentially, you will develop a better outlook on your life, which will make taking action a common sense thing to do.

Which of the 12 areas covered in the last 4 weeks feel the hardest to master?

Which do you want to dive into first, and which one do you want to avoid?

 

Bring on everything you want in 2018!

India Arie – There’s Hope (Video Clip)

Video Cip da música There’s Hope, do álbum Testimony: Vol. 1, Life & Relationship 2006. Site Oficial: www.indiaarie.com