Archives for decision-making

How to Support Emotions at Work

A recent loss is inspiring me to shine a spotlight on mental health. There’s no knowing what, if anything, might have kept him here longer, but I know many of us at this time who knew and loved him are wondering what we could have done more.

These thoughts, while part of the natural process of grief, are tortuous. Yet there are so many suffering with these thoughts after similar losses, which feel so senseless and preventable.

This is my best effort at this time to implore employers and caring coworkers to implement preventive and mental health maintenance measures. It’s what I know I can do to help at a time that I feel helpless.

In order to de-stigmatize mental illness, we also have to de-stigmatize emotions. We have to de-stigmatize therapy and normalize healthy outlets, like yoga, meditation, journaling, walking, boxing, etc.

Eliminate the words “woo woo” and “new age” in the context of these practices. There is enough science at this point to substantiate their efficacy, so using those words just makes you seem ignorant, insensitive, and obsolete.

Additionally, it’s time the workplace was encouraging, even accommodating, of these outlets.

If an employer assumes that employees are taking care of their emotional and mental health needs outside of work hours, it’s a dangerous assumption.

Every manager and leader needs to be trained on how to create a conducive environment to have and process emotions, whether privately or with you. As individuals, we have to know how to take care of these needs on our own, but as a leader, you should be able to uncover these needs and know where to refer employees for the care of these needs.

What about physical wellness? Science has proven a link between mental health and physical health. Read more about the links and the costs of this in our Mindfulness and EI training report.

What do you do as an individual experiencing emotions at work?

Firstly, do not apologize!

Secondly, fight your inclination to hide or suppress these emotions. Call them out by name. “I’m feeling _______. I need a moment.”

You don’t have to decide anything else at this moment – what to do next, what to say, whether to go home or stay, who you’re inconveniencing, etc.

You can leave the room, or stay there. I find it easier to be with my emotions when I’m alone, at least at first. So, I would likely leave the room. I would head outside if I could, or toward any kind of nature – even opening a window would help.

Just allow it. Think of emotion as Energy in Motion – E-motion. It needs to flow. Breathing helps move the emotion through your body. It’s so easy to forget to breathe in the middle of intense emotion!

Be in it. Tune into your body – where are you experiencing this emotion physically? Your head? Your chest? Shoulders and neck?

Even during “normal” circumstances, nothing impacts your results in life more than how well you are feeling. Do whatever you can to adjust your lifestyle and schedule to incorporate alternative methods of achieving a calm mind, strong heart, clear lungs, and a positive outlook.

Even though we need connection, some of us are already emotionally fragile and need more uplifting versus more gloom and doom. Be careful not to impose your anxiety (which is justified, just not helpful) onto others. So, if you are feeling anxious before a scheduled call or outreach e-mail, take some time to exercise to get endorphins flowing or meditate to achieve a calm state of mind.

Incorporate time in your schedule to be alone and engage in activities that raise your vibration while limiting activities that induce stress. Be aware of any inclination to pick up your phone or device to check for constant updates. Recognize if looking for updates becomes a compulsion that isn’t serving your state of mind. You can find a helpful mini-hypnosis session on overcoming social media addiction, as well as some other helpful videos on this Facebook page.

If you feel like a victim, start processing all that happened to inspire these feelings. Have a pity party. Write down all of the events and feelings. Get them out into the open where you can refer back to them post-processing and sort out what is real, what is truth, what is story, what is assumption, and what is a product of your insecurities and limiting beliefs.

The time it takes to move through the emotion decreases as you get better at being with your pain.

At first, you may need a good 30 minutes, especially if an event was severe or historical. (If a reaction is hysterical, the cause is historical!)

What other possibilities exist?

What is in your control?

What outcome do you want? The desired outcome is not a necessary component of processing emotions, however, once your emotions are processed, you will have better logical judgment about what you want to happen next – if you need to go home, if you need to speak with someone, or if you are ready to face your co-workers and boss again.

You are under NO obligation to explain anything or apologize to anyone if you have dealt with your emotions healthfully. However, if someone was caught in the crossfire before you were able to process your emotion, you will have to decide if an apology is necessary to restore your integrity or your relationships. Depending on the severity of the blow, you may need to do much more than apologize and there may be irreversible consequences.

Learn from these consequences, prevent them in the future, and do not define yourself by these human moments.

What do you do as a leader when a team member is experiencing emotions?

Firstly, always validate emotions. Many managers and leaders do not want to be the recipient of anger, but this is a manifestation of ego, not empathy. So, even if the anger is directed at you, affirm that the person has a “right” to feel how they feel.

Ask them if they would like time to be alone or if they want to talk to you or with anyone else.

Be wary of pulling in human resources if human resources in your company is more inclined to react disciplinarily rather than resourcefully. At their best, human resources professionals are quite experienced and trained in serving in some counseling capacity, but there is too often a conflict of interest in processing events in compliance with policies and being fully emotionally available. There are also varying levels of severity that would certainly exceed the normal skill sets of human resources. If there is not a dedicated, licensed counselor or coach on staff, the best practice for HR is to refer the employee to other resources.

If you become the confidant. just listen. Don’t advise. Give your employees space to speak and process their emotions. Don’t try to fix anything, if there is anything for you as a leader to fix, until emotions have equalized. The message they need most is that you are committed to creating a safe place for them to share their emotions. You will have your own emotions about it, and you are justified in having those, too, but in this moment, just focus on listening. Eventually, it might be necessary to put your compassion into action. Allow yourself to process your own emotions before making any determinations, however.

If you and your company really want to demonstrate that you care and are willing to invest in the mental and emotional wellness of your team, allocate a room just for their emotional wellness.

What kinds of things would an emotional wellness room include?

A variety of tools to express a variety of emotions, from sadness to fear to anger.

  • Privacy
  • A box of tissues
  • Plants
  • A punching bag
  • A small table with chairs in case someone wants to talk it out
  • Papers and pens
  • Coloring books
  • Music/speakers
  • Pillows to scream into
  • Stuffed animals to squeeze or throw
  • A help button
  • A reference list for hotlines and guided meditations
  • A trampoline
  • Resistance bands
  • Exercise mats
  • A water fountain

Additional concerns I have that require additional research, perhaps research that has not yet been conducted, include finding out at what rate corporate leaders are medicated for mental illness. How does that impact their centers of empathy in the brain and their ability to make conscious decisions? I am sure there are instances in which the medication enhances their ability to handle stressful situations, but I wonder about the situations that are people-related.

I am not anti-medication generally, and no – I absolutely do not want to stigmatize taking medication. The side effects of many of these medications seem sometimes worse than the condition, and I do worry that drugs are too frequently prescribed when there are other therapies, coping mechanisms, and non-prescription solutions that would present better long-term options for enhanced mental health. I know many people who have found healthier alternatives to pharmaceuticals, are able to come off their prescribed medicines (under a doctor’s care), and then realize just how numb they had been. Numb is the most often used word.

I wonder how much more challenging it is to be empathetic when you are numb.

If you have a personal story about this, I would love to hear it.

How were you taught to deal with your emotions?

How were you taught to deal with other people’s emotions?

Peter Gabriel – Don’t Give Up (ft. Kate Bush)

The official Don’t Give Up video. Directed by Godley and Creme.A standout track from Peter’s fifth studio album and the first one to have a proper title: S…

Karen Huller is the creator of the Corporate Consciousness Ripple Blueprint and author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days. She founded Epic Careering, a leadership and career development firm specializing in executive branding and conscious culture, in 2006. 

While the bulk of her 20 years of professional experience has been within the recruiting and employment industry, her publications, presentations, and coaching also draw from experience in personal development, performance, broadcasting, marketing, and sales. Her solutions incorporate breakthroughs in neuroscience, human performance optimization, bioenergetics, and psychology to help leaders accelerate rapport, expand influence, and elevate engagement and productivity while also looking out for the sustainability of the business and the planet.

Mrs. Huller was one of the first LinkedIn trainers and is known widely for her ability to identify and develop new trends. She is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer, Certified Career Transition Consultant, and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist with a Bachelor of Art in Communication Studies and Theater from Ursinus College and a minor in Creative Writing. Her blog was recognized as a top 100 career blog worldwide by Feedspot. 

She was an Adjunct Professor in Cabrini University’s Communications Department and an Adjunct Professor of Career Management and Professional Development at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business. As an instructor for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy, she has helped two of her students win the 2018 National Competition to be named America’s Next Top Young Entrepreneurs, to win the 2019 People’s Choice Award, and to land in the top 8 during the (virtual) 2020 National Competition.

She is board secretary for the Upper Merion Community Center and just finished serving as Vice President of the Gulph Elementary PTC, for which she received recognition as a Public Education Partner and Promoter from the Upper Merion Area Education Association. She lives in King of Prussia with her husband, two daughters, and many pets, furry, feathered, and scaly.

Find It Hard to Break Bad Habits or Form Good Ones? Check Your Self-Talk!

The inner critic… do we all have one? No, but the vast majority of us do. The real question is, what is it saying? Are you consciously aware of it? What decisions does it make for you?

My first professional coach called the inner critic a gremlin. She was a great help in helping me recognize my inner voice. She helped me realize just how much of my decision-making was driven by this inner critic.

  • It inhibited my relationships, because it caused me to feel self-conscious being my authentic self.
  • It limited my future, as it told me what was and wasn’t possible for me.
  • It stunted my growth, as it told me to defend myself rather than take accountability.

When I first recognized this inner critic, I was pretty mad and it. She gave me permission to express that anger, and assigned homework like putting my gremlin’s face on a balloon, giving it a few good punches, and then popping it.

I wrote down the common things I noticed it saying, mostly that I wasn’t good enough and wasn’t deserving of good things. I can directly attribute this work to launching this business nearly 15 years ago. If I hadn’t have recognized this voice telling me how destined I was to fail, I would have never told that voice to shut the hell up!

That voice didn’t go away. It still shows up, and I am grateful for it. Because you know what? Sometimes I am not my highest self, and it shows up to tell me where there is room to grow and love me through it.

I have found that the key to growing consciously is not to make the inner critic an enemy, but to realize the inner critic is YOU, and to start turning your inner critic into a constructive conscious coach who speaks kindly to you and loves you unconditionally.

I once had a coach help me understand if I didn’t have a great relationship with money, I need to think of money as someone I’m dating and wish to attract. How am I regarding money? Do I resent money? Do I expect that it will go, so I put my guard up and refuse to welcome it in the first place? Do I do things to make money know how special it is to me, what a priority it is to me? How am I treating money?

When I thought to apply this lesson to my inner critic, my conscious growth expanded exponentially!

The people who have been influential in shaping us are people. They have not always been their highest selves, and unfortunately, we often define ourselves by those moments. These moments can create trauma and wounds that we may never know need to be healed unless we become aware of them. They form beliefs about our relationship to this world, what’s for us and what’s against us. And, they contribute to the fuel our inner critic uses to “save us” from experiencing that rejection again.

When you tune into your inner critic, do you hear your own voice, or the voices of others who have projected their own insecurities onto you? When I tune in while in a deeply reflective state of mind, I hear my own voice, but I flash back to moments when others shrunk my sense of self.

I’ll be real with you – this can be painful to relive. I recommend journaling. Imagine that you, present day as your highest self, could intervene with your younger self, and, like the parent you want to be, teach your younger self that those hurtful words and/or actions were not about you! They are not the truth. Tell your younger self what the truth is!

You might think this is woo woo crazy stuff, but you already have a voice that speaks to you. It’s already you, so you might as well speak to yourself as your highest self – kindly, with compassion and grace.

Do you feel engaged, inspired, and inclined to do what a bully tells you? Do you want to succeed for this bully, or do you want to sabotage this bully?

When you want to form a good habit or break a bad habit, your conscious mind attempts to give your unconscious mind an order. Your unconscious mind likes to take orders, but like you, it might take or leave orders based on the kind of rapport it has with the “boss.” Otherwise, it will continue along the path of least resistance, which is to keep listening to the inner critic.

We make what is conscious unconscious, or automatic, through repetition, which can be accelerated when the mind is in the most receptive state. In order to make your unconscious inner critic the kind of loving, inspiring leader you want to listen to, be intentional, kind, and patient with yourself. Have regular pep talks with yourself. Send yourself internal verbal votes of confidence. Affirmations have been clinically proven to produce results.

Habits go from a push to a pull once your unconscious mind starts to cooperate. Just like any good leader will get the best results in the short and long-term by inspiring his/her team with a compelling vision and by appealing to their highest selves, you will find good habits more easily form and bad habits more easily break when you convert your inner critic to your most powerful advocate and cheerleader.

Hard Habit to Break (2006 Remaster)

Provided to YouTube by Rhino/Warner RecordsHard Habit to Break (2006 Remaster) · ChicagoChicago 17℗ 1984 Warner Records Inc.Guitar, Keyboards: Bill ChamplinB…

Karen Huller is the creator of the Corporate Consciousness Ripple Blueprint and author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days. She founded Epic Careering, a leadership and career development firm specializing in executive branding and conscious culture, in 2006. 

While the bulk of her 20 years of professional experience has been within the recruiting and employment industry, her publications, presentations, and coaching also draw from experience in personal development, performance, broadcasting, marketing, and sales. Her solutions incorporate breakthroughs in neuroscience, human performance optimization, bioenergetics, and psychology to help leaders accelerate rapport, expand influence, and elevate engagement and productivity while also looking out for the sustainability of the business and the planet.

Mrs. Huller was one of the first LinkedIn trainers and is known widely for her ability to identify and develop new trends. She is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer, Certified Career Transition Consultant, and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist with a Bachelor of Art in Communication Studies and Theater from Ursinus College and a minor in Creative Writing. Her blog was recognized as a top 100 career blog worldwide by Feedspot. 

She was an Adjunct Professor in Cabrini University’s Communications Department and an Adjunct Professor of Career Management and Professional Development at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business. As an instructor for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy, she has helped two of her students win the 2018 National Competition to be named America’s Next Top Young Entrepreneurs, to win the 2019 People’s Choice Award, and to land in the top 8 during the (virtual) 2020 National Competition.

She is board secretary for the Upper Merion Community Center and just finished serving as Vice President of the Gulph Elementary PTC, for which she received recognition as a Public Education Partner and Promoter from the Upper Merion Area Education Association. She lives in King of Prussia with her husband, two daughters, and many pets, furry, feathered, and scaly.

Own Your Words, Own Your World

How many times have you made a judgment call about a person based on a comment they made?

Did that comment really define them and was your judgment accurate? How do you know? Does it matter?

Here’s why it’s been mattering lately.

  • Co-creation – Pharma companies worked together to expedite clinical trials and get out a critically needed vaccine to the world. We have other crises that need solutions.
  • Opportunity – Because of the above, the in-demand skills of today and tomorrow are people-related. Though some are trying, this is a functional area that isn’t expected to be ethically automated with any kind of efficacy.
  • Racial Justice – Silenced and discouraged voices are piping up much louder while they face continued resistance and suppression. We’re not going back to how it was before George Floyd. There’s too much work to do!
  • Division – Politics and personal freedom have literally divided families during one of the loneliest times imaginable for people of this time.
  • We have just had 7 mass shootings in 7 days. Clearly unresolved issues are a public threat.

Some unexpected aspects of accountability in leadership came up yesterday while Lawrence Henderson and I were on Clubhouse (which we are every other Tuesday, so please follow us and join us on the app @BossLLab and @ripplemaker).

The consensus seems to be that the art of civil discourse is lost. The perception of recent conflict seems to be that it has been counter-productive. Lawrence and I are huge fans of Cy Wakeman’s No Drama approach. What’s the difference between drama and conflict?

It’s drama when:

  • You have an issue with someone and, instead of addressing the source, you involve other people.
  • You address the source, but are combative and/or accusatory.
  • You allow your conflict with someone to prohibit your performance and fall short of expectations.
  • The source of the issue is a perception, not a truth, and that perception drives decisions.

However, conflict is necessary for innovation. And, it’s necessary for conscious leadership. We may have learned that confronting someone makes things worse. The thing is, few are trained to effectively address conflicts, so what we see is conflict making things worse, now more than ever.

Social media has enabled keyboard warriors to develop habits and expectations that real-world consequences for words put out into the world don’t exist. Is this what has bled into the workplace, or was it something else?

  • Was it the fear that a confrontation can erupt into violence?
  • Was it the idea that we should leave emotions at the door?
  • Was it the constant threat of litigation?
  • Was it punitive Human Resources practices for causing workplace drama/toxicity?
  • Was it ill-advised codes of conduct and compliance training?

Too many trainings right now use subjective language, like “good values,” “professional conduct,” and “respect and dignity”. Another speaker in the Clubhouse room, Tamiko Drummond says that Human Resources needs to own properly training each and every manager on facilitating conflict From the top, leaders need to encourage going deeper into conflict rather than side-stepping it.

Ms. Drummond advises people to ask for clarification when they hear something about which they are passing judgment. “Unpack that statement for me” is a phrase she recommends. I’ve shared before how my former boss’s catchphrase was “help me understand.” At the women’s event I wrote about last week, one leader shared this list of responses to micro-aggressions.

Lawrence shared a story about one of the first private sector leaders he had who shocked him by asking him how he’d like to be approached when he was having a bad day. Wow! What an amazing question! She went on to teach and demonstrate that conflict is inevitable, and when it’s dealt with appropriately, it can make a working relationship that much stronger.

In our last Clubhouse room two weeks ago, one of the most poignant phrases shared by a speaker in the room was “Silence is dangerous.” Just because you aren’t actively hearing about a problem, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist and won’t sabotage progress. Ignorance is only bliss temporarily. Furthermore, ignorance is becoming increasingly unacceptable to those who have been marginalized. Silence is the antithesis of progress, so don’t expect your comments to go without response anymore.

We talked yesterday about how anonymous 360s can be as destructive to morale and team cohesion as social media posts from keyboard warriors. Anonymous feedback is so widely used to identify performance issues, and has led to such mistrust and discouragement. It breeds a lack of accountability for what is said. When there is a void of accountability, there tends to be a perception spin machine. It wastes a lot of energy and resources.

Next, we talked about how to determine if the feedback is even accurate. Another speaker in the Clubhouse Room, Ray Abram, author of Connect Like a Boss, recommended a tool called the Johari Window. This can help leaders determine if there’s a perception issue or an opportunity for growth and development.

I shared another story about my boss, who had been informed that I was not pulling my weight, and that’s why my team was underperforming. I refuted those claims and he gave me the biggest gift. I had suspected for months that two women in the office who had become suspiciously silent toward me were gossiping about me. One I addressed directly; I thought we were friends. She coldly told me there was no problem. The other was on my team and had accused me of underperforming, which I supposed our other teammates agreed with. Thankfully, I had been working with a mentor and all activities were tracked in a database, so the resolution my bosses proposed was to get everyone in the room and put everyone’s cards on the table. The issue was diagnosed as a “perception problem.” I left the firm not long after to start Epic Careering, with my reputation and relationships intact thanks to that meeting.

When people are accountable, they want to know (and need to know) if there is an issue. There are many different ways people communicate. Some are more effective than others, but thankfully communication is a skill everyone can develop – if they’re willing.

So, for the sake of innovation and progress, what opportunities do you have in front of you to question a perception you have about someone?

Come Talk to Me

Provided to YouTube by YouTube CSV2DDEXCome Talk to Me · Peter GabrielUs (Remastered)℗ 2009 Peter Gabriel LtdReleased on: 1992-09-29Auto-generated by YouTube.

Karen Huller is the creator of the Corporate Consciousness Ripple Blueprint and author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days. She founded Epic Careering, a leadership and career development firm specializing in executive branding and conscious culture, in 2006. 

While the bulk of her 20 years of professional experience has been within the recruiting and employment industry, her publications, presentations, and coaching also draw from experience in personal development, performance, broadcasting, marketing, and sales. Her solutions incorporate breakthroughs in neuroscience, human performance optimization, bioenergetics, and psychology to help leaders accelerate rapport, expand influence, and elevate engagement and productivity while also looking out for the sustainability of the business and the planet.

Mrs. Huller was one of the first LinkedIn trainers and is known widely for her ability to identify and develop new trends. She is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer, Certified Career Transition Consultant, and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist with a Bachelor of Art in Communication Studies and Theater from Ursinus College and a minor in Creative Writing. Her blog was recognized as a top 100 career blog worldwide by Feedspot. 

She was an Adjunct Professor in Cabrini University’s Communications Department and an Adjunct Professor of Career Management and Professional Development at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business. As an instructor for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy, she has helped two of her students win the 2018 National Competition to be named America’s Next Top Young Entrepreneurs, to win the 2019 People’s Choice Award, and to land in the top 8 during the (virtual) 2020 National Competition.

She is board secretary for the Upper Merion Community Center and just finished serving as Vice President of the Gulph Elementary PTC, for which she received recognition as a Public Education Partner and Promoter from the Upper Merion Area Education Association. She lives in King of Prussia with her husband, two daughters, and many pets, furry, feathered, and scaly.

When You Finally See the Dark Side

When you are a confidant to people in bad job situations, you become privy to some pretty dark intelligence.

What do to with that?

Certainly, I don’t go public with it. If I am to remain a confidant, confidentiality is critical. Also, when I hear reports indicating a lack of conscious leadership in a company, I aim to help – not alienate – them.

I do keep a list, and I do index news and comments about unconscious companies and leaders.

So, what happens when a client, or a close contact, asks for help landing in companies I have “dark intelligence” about?

Well, it’s tricky, but I have adopted a policy and a protocol for making conscious decisions, meaning decisions in the highest good.

Some of my clients are coming to me to escape an unconscious company or boss because they feel stifled in their ability to lead consciously while succeeding in such an environment, and they want to make sure that their next opportunity is better aligned with their values and style. Since confidentiality goes both ways with my clients, I will tell them what I know and trust that they will use it only for the highest good.

Others want guidance in how to navigate their current environment and maximize their impact to leave it better than when they came. In this case, I provide them with questions to ask in interviews and in networking to qualify that the challenges that exist there are challenges they are going to confidently overcome to make the desired impact. The questions also ensure the existing challenges won’t be an obstacle to their impact or a career-killer, putting them into ethical predicaments that will force them to choose between becoming a whistleblower against their will or becoming complicit. I advise my clients only to go to this company if they are willing to be a whistleblower, which can have devastating effects when an industry is wrought with unconscious practices and leaders, and few conscious choices exist. However, should the need to become a whistleblower arise, they know I will be there to help them reinvent and redeem themselves so that they can move on to make their desired impact elsewhere.

Sometimes, it’s in the highest good that one of these companies hires my client, and sometimes it’s in the highest good that clients land where they can bring their whole selves to work and be uninhibited by unconscious conditions. If they are uncertain, as a coach I ask questions to help them come to their own conclusions and be at peace with their decision.

Over the years, especially earlier in my company, I found great joy and satisfaction in helping individual contributors breakthrough their corporate growth barriers and step into leadership. Unfortunately, the joy was diminished by reports of new insights they learned as they took on greater responsibility and had greater access to information, and had more involvement in strategic planning.

This was the point in my career that I started leaning further into conscious leadership coaching.

When dark intelligence about an unconscious company’s employment practices makes the news, certain comments, like, “The door is always right there. They can just work somewhere else,” seem super naïve, even ignorant. Coaches like me exist because decoding career campaigning isn’t everyone’s skill set, and we deserve to earn income for our skill set, so it takes someone with a budget to afford us. Many of the victims of these employers have been underpaid and overworked, resulting in additional challenges to hiring a professional like me.

There are not enough conscious companies for all of my clients, let alone the volume of talent out there reaching their limits with their current career situation.

Some will have to be the change they wish to see, and that will mean being trained as a conscious leader, and training other conscious leaders.

Either that, or you adapt. You learn to play the same political games and you become complicit in perpetuating a toxic, unconscious work environment.

Have you ever had a moment where you felt like you traded your values, maybe even your morals, for success in an unconscious company you once admired?

What did you decide?

What is your next move?

Ask yourself: What is in the highest good?

Is Conscious Leadership Training your future? Complete the application and find out.

Pink Floyd – Dark Side Of The Moon

Pink Floyd – (Speak To Me – Breathe) / Any Colour You LikeA video I always wanted to make, Enjoy.Leave a comment.

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Karen Huller is the creator of the Corporate Consciousness Ripple Blueprint and author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days. She founded Epic Careering, a leadership and career development firm specializing in executive branding and conscious culture, in 2006. 

While the bulk of her 20 years of professional experience has been within the recruiting and employment industry, her publications, presentations, and coaching also draw from experience in personal development, performance, broadcasting, marketing, and sales. Her solutions incorporate breakthroughs in neuroscience, human performance optimization, bioenergetics, and psychology to help leaders accelerate rapport, expand influence, and elevate engagement and productivity while also looking out for the sustainability of the business and the planet.

Mrs. Huller was one of the first LinkedIn trainers and is known widely for her ability to identify and develop new trends. She is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer, Certified Career Transition Consultant, and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist with a Bachelor of Art in Communication Studies and Theater from Ursinus College and a minor in Creative Writing. Her blog was recognized as a top 100 career blog worldwide by Feedspot. 

She was an Adjunct Professor in Cabrini University’s Communications Department and an Adjunct Professor of Career Management and Professional Development at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business  She is an Instructor for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA) where some of her students won the 2018 national YEA competition, were named Ernst & Young’s America’s Next Top Young Entrepreneurs, and won the 2019 People’s Choice Award. 

She is board secretary for the Upper Merion Community Center and just finished serving as Vice President of the Gulph Elementary PTC, for which she received recognition as a Public Education Partner and Promoter from the Upper Merion Area Education Association. She lives in King of Prussia with her husband, two daughters, and many pets, furry, feathered, and scaly.

Have You Ever Cried at Work?

Have you ever cried at work? Whether personal or work-related?

How about on the playing field?

What were you taught to do with that emotion?

Suppress it? Fight it? Hide it? Turn it off?

Did anyone ever tell you to just sit with it? Let it out? Journal about it?

Do those methods work, and even if they work in the short-term, what are the long-term impacts?

How many people, let alone leaders, are taught how to process emotion?

How many people have turned to medication or self-medication not as a last resort, but as a go-to to not deal with emotion?

What has toxic masculinity, rugged individualism, and toxic positivity done to contribute to the prevalence of mental illness in adults and those entering adulthood – the generation with the highest rates of mental illness (even pre-COVID) ever?

Or, has it been the increased stimulation and distraction that has led to the increase? Has it been the increase in expectations from our young people to thrive academically and athletically without allowing and accommodating room for our youth to just be still?

The prevalence of mental illness and high-profile mass shootings and bombings has forced some of these questions to the forefront, but what place do these questions have in the workplace?

I am thankful that I started therapy young – in the 5th grade. It was the first time someone told me it was okay to have feelings – to have MY feelings.  Still, it has taken a lifetime to make peace with the intensity of my emotions.

In order to de-stigmatize mental illness, we also have to de-stigmatize emotions. We have to de-stigmatize therapy and normalize healthy outlets, like yoga, meditation, journaling, walking, boxing, etc.

Eliminate the words “woo woo” and “new age” in the context of these practices. There is enough science at this point to substantiate their efficacy, so using those words just makes you seem ignorant, insensitive, and obsolete.

Additionally, it’s time the workplace was encouraging, even accommodating, of these outlets.

If an employer assumes that employees are taking care of their emotional and mental health needs outside of work hours, it’s a dangerous assumption.

Every manager and leader needs to be trained on how to create a conducive environment to have and process emotions, whether privately or with you. As individuals, we have to know how to take care of these needs on our own, but as a leader, you should be able to uncover these needs and know where to refer employees for the care of these needs.

What about physical wellness? Science has proven a link between mental health and physical health. Read more about the links and the costs of this in our Mindfulness and EI training report.

What do you do as an individual experiencing emotions at work?

Firstly, do not apologize!

Secondly, fight your inclination to hide or suppress these emotions. Call them out by name. “I’m feeling _______________. I need a moment.”

You don’t have to decide anything else in this moment – what to do next, what to say, whether to go home or stay, who you’re inconveniencing, etc.

You can leave the room, or stay there. I find it easier to be with my emotions when I’m alone, at least at first. So, I would likely leave the room. I would head outside if I could, or toward any kind of nature – even opening a window would help.

Just allow it. Think of emotion as Energy in Motion – E-motion. It needs to flow. Breathing helps move the emotion through your body. It’s so easy to forget to breathe in the middle of intense emotion!

Be in it. Tune into your body – where are you experiencing this emotion physically? Your head? Your chest? Shoulders and neck?

If you feel like a victim, start processing all that happened to inspire these feelings. Have a pity party. Write down all of the events and feelings. Get them out into the open where you can refer back to them post-processing and sort out what is real, what is truth, what is story, what is assumption, and what is a product of your insecurities and limiting beliefs.

The time it takes to move through the emotion decreases as you get better at being with your pain.

At first, you may need a good 30 minutes, especially if an event was severe or historical. (If a reaction is hysterical, the cause is historical!)

What other possibilities exist?

What is in your control?

What outcome do you want? The desired outcome is not a necessary component of processing emotions, however, once your emotions are processed, you will have better logical judgment about what you want to happen next – if you need to go home, if you need to speak with someone, or if you are ready to face your co-workers and boss again.

You are under NO obligation to explain anything or apologize to anyone if you have dealt with your emotions healthfully. However, if someone was caught in the crossfire before you were able to process your emotion, you will have to decide if an apology is necessary to restore your integrity or your relationships. Depending on the severity of the blow, you may need to do much more than apologize and there may be irreversible consequences.

Learn from these consequences, prevent them in the future, and do not define yourself by these human moments.

What do you do as a leader when a team member is experiencing emotions?

Firstly, always validate emotions. Many managers and leaders do not want to be the recipient of anger, but this is a manifestation of ego, not empathy. So, even if the anger is directed at you, affirm that the person has a “right” to feel how they feel.

Ask them if they would like time to be alone or if they want to talk to you or with anyone else.

Be wary of pulling in human resources if human resources in your company is more inclined to react disciplinarily rather than resourcefully. At their best, human resources professionals are quite experienced and trained in serving in some counseling capacity, but there is too often a conflict of interest in processing events in compliance with policies and being fully emotionally available. There are also varying levels of severity that would certainly exceed the normal skill sets of human resources. If there is not a dedicated, licensed counselor or coach on staff, the best practice for HR is to refer the employee to other resources.

If you become the confidant. just listen. Don’t advise. Give the employee space to speak and process their emotions. Don’t try to fix anything, if there is anything for you as a leader to fix, until emotions have equalized. The message they need most is that you are committed to creating a safe place for them to share their emotions. You will have your own emotions about it, and you are justified in having those, too, but in this moment, just focus on listening. Eventually, it might be necessary to put your compassion into action. Allow yourself to process your own emotions before making any determinations, however.

If you and your company really want to demonstrate that you care and are willing to invest in the mental and emotional wellness of your team, allocate a room just for their emotional wellness.

What kinds of things would an emotional wellness room include?

A variety of tools to express a variety of emotions, from sadness to fear to anger.

  • Privacy
  • A box of tissues
  • Plants
  • A punching bag
  • A small table with chairs in case someone wants to talk it out
  • Papers and pens
  • Coloring books
  • Music/speakers
  • Pillows to scream into
  • Stuffed animals to squeeze or throw
  • A help button
  • A reference list for hotlines and guided meditations
  • A trampoline
  • Resistance bands
  • Exercise mats
  • A water fountain

Additional concerns I have that require additional research, perhaps research that has not yet been conducted, include finding out at what rate corporate leaders are medicated for mental illness. How does that impact their centers of empathy in the brain and their ability to make conscious decisions? I am sure there are instances in which the medication enhances their ability to handle stressful situations, but I wonder about the situations that are people-related.

I am not anti-medication generally, and no – I absolutely do not want to stigmatize taking medication. The side effects of many of these medications seem sometimes worse than the condition, and I do worry that drugs are too frequently prescribed when there are other therapies, coping mechanisms, and non-prescription solutions that would present better long-term options for enhanced mental health. I know many people who have found healthier alternatives to pharmaceuticals, are able to come off their prescribed medicines (under a doctor’s care), and then realize just how numb they had been. Numb is the most often used word.

I wonder how much more challenging it is to be empathetic when you are numb.

I hope for answers someday, and have been looking lately into pursuing a Ph.D. to dig into this deeper, among other research. If you have knowledge of any resources and/or research on this topic, please connect with me on social media. If you have a personal story about this, I would love to hear it.

How were you taught to deal with your emotions?

How were you taught to deal with other people’s emotions?

Guns N’ Roses – Don’t Cry

Music video by Guns N’ Roses performing Don’t Cry (Original Version). (C) 1991 Guns N’ Roses under exclusive license to Geffen Records

Karen Huller is the creator of the Corporate Consciousness Ripple Blueprint and author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days. She founded Epic Careering, a leadership and career development firm specializing in executive branding and conscious culture, in 2006. 

While the bulk of her 20 years of professional experience has been within the recruiting and employment industry, her publications, presentations, and coaching also draw from experience in personal development, performance, broadcasting, marketing, and sales. Her solutions incorporate breakthroughs in neuroscience, human performance optimization, bioenergetics, and psychology to help leaders accelerate rapport, expand influence, and elevate engagement and productivity while also looking out for the sustainability of the business and the planet.

Mrs. Huller was one of the first LinkedIn trainers and is known widely for her ability to identify and develop new trends. She is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer, Certified Career Transition Consultant, and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist with a Bachelor of Art in Communication Studies and Theater from Ursinus College and a minor in Creative Writing. Her blog was recognized as a top 100 career blog worldwide by Feedspot. 

She was an Adjunct Professor in Cabrini University’s Communications Department and an Adjunct Professor of Career Management and Professional Development at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business. As an instructor for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy, she has helped two of her students win the 2018 National Competition to be named America’s Next Top Young Entrepreneurs, to win the 2019 People’s Choice Award, and to land in the top 8 during the (virtual) 2020 National Competition.

She is board secretary for the Upper Merion Community Center and just finished serving as Vice President of the Gulph Elementary PTC, for which she received recognition as a Public Education Partner and Promoter from the Upper Merion Area Education Association. She lives in King of Prussia with her husband, two daughters, and many pets, furry, feathered, and scaly.

What We Can Learn From the Success of L’Oreal’s Mindfulness Program

Yesterday I attended an online L’Oreal mindfulness case study hosted by the Institute for Organizational Mindfulness and facilitated by Andy Lee, former Chief Mindfulness Officer at Aetna/current Senior Consultant for the Potential Project.

Jade Ku Sonlin, Assistant Vice President of People Development and Learning at L’Oreal, spent the hour talking about her personal mindfulness journey. She described how she went about gradually getting the C-level on board for a pilot, the success of that pilot, and how the pilot grew into a wellness program. She then expressed the continued impact on those who are now participating in that wellness program across the organization.

Sonlin started at L’Oreal in Marketing after burning out in LA agency life and adopting mindfulness as a practice.  Her marketing background proved very valuable in gaining buy-in and funding for this pilot (they outsourced to MindFresh.) Below are ways she applied her marketing know-how to eventually gain the approval and funds to move forward with a pilot.

Meet them where they are at

People are practicing mindfulness at some level, whether they know it or not. When you engage in activities in which you find yourself “in the flow,” take in all the details of something, and that moment before you do something that requires physical acuity when you take a breath you are practicing mindfulness. Sonlin’s boss is a mountaineer. He had some resistance to not just mindfulness, but also to the idea of dedicating time at work to it. So, Sonlin asked how he gets focused when he’s on a mountain in a precarious spot. He breathes. That was merely a seed planted that she could water later. More importantly, she now knew a way to frame mindfulness in a way that had relevance and resonance to him.

Throughout the pilot, they gathered feedback to continue to tap into messaging that would make the training more palatable, for instance eliminating names for yoga poses that weren’t understood by a non-yogi.

She also made sure the program was clearly named for what it was and dispelled some common myths, such as mindfulness is all about being still, or being still for long periods of time. In fact, there are various ways that you can practice mindfulness, and many take under 3 minutes!

Change is a marathon, not a sprint

Time is a precious commodity for anyone, but employers literally commoditize it. That’s why it’s not an easy sell to ask a company to spare any of it. The Aetna case study, which I had included in an accredited training that I did at an HR summit for my local SHRM chapter, proved that investing time in meditation creates … more time. (Read my Mindfulness and EI training report to find out more.)

Does that make people jump on board? Well, as Sonlin shared, mindfulness is a practice. This was repeated frequently throughout the training. So, not only is mindfulness training an investment of time, but something that must be practiced ongoingly in order to produce the ongoing benefits. You’re not just asking people to spare some time, but to accommodate something new permanently. That can feel overwhelming, especially for people currently experiencing burn out. This will likely cause resistance.

It is best implemented in stages for sustained longevity. First, it’s just about trying and learning. Then it’s noticing that trying and learning is making a difference. Then, it’s getting the brain to crave that difference and draw you into the practice, and that’s when you find yourself in a habit, or practice. The more social proof you can offer, the easier it becomes to enroll new people.

It starts with a ripple.

Offer evidence

Sonlin did a deep dive to find evidence that the investment of time and money would have business payoffs.  There are various case studies, some of which I’ve written about before. Since “because Google does it” is losing its luster as a compelling enough reason to try something, it’s thankfully really easy to point to the science.

The report I wrote a few years ago could have really come in handy for Sonlin since it lays out the science-based business case of mindfulness (and emotional intelligence) training.

L’Oreal’s mindfulness program was initiated in 2016, and Sonlin credits this program for L’Oreal employees sustaining productivity and morale during COVID.

Here are some other self-reported results from L’Oreal’s pilot participants:

  • 100% reported improved clarity
  • 96% reported increased patience
  • 95% reported it had a positive impact on their work
  • 84% discovered a technique that can use to de-stress

I have started to compile a curation of case studies to help you as a supplement to the Mindfulness and Emotional Intelligence Training report.

Mindfulness isn’t just a trend; it’s a breakthrough technology that will help forward-thinking leaders solve today’s and tomorrow’s problems. Read more about this in the report, and let me know if you want help promoting this to your company.

New Radicals – You Get What You Give (Original)

New Radicals Song Get What You Give…Ultimate 90’s Song!!I Claim NO Ownership Of This Song, All Credit Goes To New Radicals And Universal Music Group!!I Wis…

Karen Huller is the creator of the Corporate Consciousness Ripple Blueprint and author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days. She founded Epic Careering, a leadership and career development firm specializing in executive branding and conscious culture, in 2006. 

While the bulk of her 20 years of professional experience has been within the recruiting and employment industry, her publications, presentations, and coaching also draw from experience in personal development, performance, broadcasting, marketing, and sales. Her solutions incorporate breakthroughs in neuroscience, human performance optimization, bioenergetics, and psychology to help leaders accelerate rapport, expand influence, and elevate engagement and productivity while also looking out for the sustainability of the business and the planet.

Mrs. Huller was one of the first LinkedIn trainers and is known widely for her ability to identify and develop new trends. She is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer, Certified Career Transition Consultant, and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist with a Bachelor of Art in Communication Studies and Theater from Ursinus College and a minor in Creative Writing. Her blog was recognized as a top 100 career blog worldwide by Feedspot. 

She was an Adjunct Professor in Cabrini University’s Communications Department and an Adjunct Professor of Career Management and Professional Development at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business. As an instructor for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy, she has helped two of her students win the 2018 National Competition to be named America’s Next Top Young Entrepreneurs, to win the 2019 People’s Choice Award, and to land in the top 8 during the (virtual) 2020 National Competition.

She is board secretary for the Upper Merion Community Center and just finished serving as Vice President of the Gulph Elementary PTC, for which she received recognition as a Public Education Partner and Promoter from the Upper Merion Area Education Association. She lives in King of Prussia with her husband, two daughters, and many pets, furry, feathered, and scaly.

Is 2021 the Year You Join the Conscious Leadership Movement?

Where could we be right now if the world had an abundance of, rather than a lack of, conscious leaders?

Can you imagine where we Americans would be if most Americans trusted our leader? Where would we be if our leader gave us science-backed advice arrived at through a transparent protocol on how to come out of the pandemic faster and stronger than ever?

We can see how this played out in New Zealand, where the Kiwis have declared victory over COVID and have fully returned to life without mitigation efforts and restrictions.

Sweden’s King and Prime Minister admitted that keeping the country open was the wrong decision and his people are paying the price. While the wrong decision may have been made, admitting this mistake IS conscious leadership because it potentially helps others from suffering the same fate. It also puts the citizens on a better path in complying with life-saving measures instituted late, but better than never.

Here’s a more pressing question – Where will we be 3-5 years from now if we continue to lack conscious leaders? Could 2025 somehow be worse than 2020?

  • How many more scandals will arise, and what will they cost in lives, money, and progress?
  • Will citizens go to war with each other?
  • Will other countries take greater advantage of the instability?
  • Will we still be battling a pandemic?
  • What will happen to the business owners who had to close their doors due to COVID and all the employees that are displaced as a result?
  • Will more and more populations be victims of climate change?

Has 2020 made this gap in conscious leadership more obvious to you in a way that’s personal? Did you personally struggle to make conscious decisions as a leader?

I’ve been calling 2020 the year of perfect hindsight. If we are truly going to take the pain and the loss of 2020 to create better years ahead for us and generations to come, we have to fill organizations, governments, and institutions with conscious leaders.

I have a plan, a course, and a certification program that has the potential to put 97,650 Certified Conscious Leaders in greater positions of positive influence toward a better world and 78,555 more Certified Conscious Leadership Trainers out there continuing the movement by 2025.

My question to you is, is 2021 the year you join the movement?

Did you see something that you can’t unsee and you can no longer ignore?

Do you know for certain that something has to change, but you are not sure how to manage your career from this point forward?

Join me virtually on Wednesday, January 6th at 2:00 PM ET to find out how you can be on the forefront as a co-founder of the conscious leadership movement. You’ll also discover where that can lead you in your career and your legacy of creating a better world, and how many of those Certified Conscious Leaders and Certified Conscious Leadership Trainers you can personally add to leadership worldwide in just 4 years, and what’s possible beyond that.

Register today and add it to your calendar now!

*******************************************************

Karen Huller is the creator of the Corporate Consciousness Ripple Blueprint and author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days. She founded Epic Careering, a leadership and career development firm specializing in executive branding and conscious culture, in 2006. 

While the bulk of her 20 years of professional experience has been within the recruiting and employment industry, her publications, presentations, and coaching also draw from experience in personal development, performance, broadcasting, marketing, and sales. Her solutions incorporate breakthroughs in neuroscience, human performance optimization, bioenergetics, and psychology to help leaders accelerate rapport, expand influence, and elevate engagement and productivity while also looking out for the sustainability of the business and the planet.

Mrs. Huller was one of the first LinkedIn trainers and is known widely for her ability to identify and develop new trends. She is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer, Certified Career Transition Consultant, and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist with a Bachelor of Art in Communication Studies and Theater from Ursinus College and a minor in Creative Writing. Her blog was recognized as a top 100 career blog worldwide by Feedspot. 

She was an Adjunct Professor in Cabrini University’s Communications Department and an Adjunct Professor of Career Management and Professional Development at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business  She is an Instructor for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA) where some of her students won the 2018 national YEA competition, were named Ernst & Young’s America’s Next Top Young Entrepreneurs, and won the 2019 People’s Choice Award. 

She is board secretary for the Upper Merion Community Center and just finished serving as Vice President of the Gulph Elementary PTC, for which she received recognition as a Public Education Partner and Promoter from the Upper Merion Area Education Association. She lives in King of Prussia with her husband, two daughters, and many pets, furry, feathered, and scaly.

Making Executive Decisions – Intuition vs Data

It seems there are forces drawing me to address a quandary – one that is directly critical to conscious leaders.

I was asked by Susy Jackson, LinkedIn editor, to share my thoughts on whether decisions should be based on numbers or intuition after journalist, Reeves Wiederman, used WeWork as a potential example of when intuition can steer a company down a drain.

Ever since I ran the Conscious Decision Challenge for Conscious Leaders in August, I have had this exact topic in my queue for blogs, so why not take this invitation as a sign that it’s time to address the elephant in the room.

In the past, I have included intuition as a required strength for conscious leaders, while my challenge solely addressed data and external input-driven conscious decision protocols. So, am I promoting the following processes that use data as the primary driver of decisions, or am I more in support of leaders developing intuition as a critical tool for decision making?

The answer: Conscious leaders learn, apply, and teach data and input-driven conscious decision protocols AND hone highly attuned abilities to use intuition to identify outlier situations that threaten desired outcomes.

The reasons for using data and input-driven decisions is multi-pronged. The protocols I teach as part of the Corporate Consciousness Ripple Blueprint account for the volatile, unpredictable, ever-evolving world that we live in. These protocols engage stakeholders in the decision-making process, as well as the solutioning and execution, and create transparency that is integral to building trust in leadership that is sorely lacking right now. This lack of trust in leadership is causing confusion, dissension, division, and resistance – all of which kill innovation and progress.

However, intuition is necessary for innovation. Past data will keep us looking solely at the past to predict the future, which will just perpetuate more of the past.

This explains why there are odds and a spread when betting. Past data is not a 100% prediction of the future. Winning big is more associated with identifying the outlier result.

Intuition creates greater ease, time, and money. When you have several options that need to be tested, intuition can guide you as to which options to test first, saving on the usual cost of trial and error. Intuition offers wisdom as to which actions will be the most meaningful, impactful, and productive. Effectively applying intuition also looks like seeing all of the data and sensing that there is a need to delve deeper.

There are some intuition landmines leaders need to be aware of, such as the one that led to the ultimate demise of WeWork. Wishful thinking – wanting something to be true – is a hazard many entrepreneurs fall victim to. Entrepreneurs are often extreme optimists. Optimism, just like any other quality, can be a strength and a liability if it’s not balanced.

On the other end of the spectrum, fear is also often mistaken for intuition, as is bias. Being able to distinguish the differences between bias, fear, and optimism for intuition takes acute self-awareness and objectivity few are able to achieve.

Intuition doesn’t always align with the truth you want. Being able to accept intuition when it’s in direct opposition to what you want means you have to literally override your natural neuro-tendencies, which are naturally resistant to discomfort, pain, dissonance, and change.

I’ll be honest, in these times of chaos and volatility, every leader alive will need to be vigilant in their habits to achieve and maintain the clarity and mindfulness necessary to consistently make these distinctions. This is why in the Corporate Consciousness Ripple Blueprint, not only do we teach mini-practices that even the busiest of leaders can integrate into a full schedule, but also teach habit hacks to help leaders accelerate the reinforcement of neural pathways to make these distinctions more automatic.

What if intuition and data are in complete conflict with each other?

It takes guts to use your gut as a leader. If you have absolutely eliminated the possibility that your intuition is actually bias, fear, or optimism, I fully support using intuition. It will always be a gamble, however, and you should expect to have to answer to stakeholders who are vehemently in disagreement with your decision.

What decisions have you made using intuition that have paid off?

Have you mistaken intuition in the past?

Jewel – Intuition (Official Music Video)

“Intuition” from the album ‘0304’ – stream/download: https://Jewel.lnk.to/0304 Subscribe to Jewel’s channel: http://bit.ly/jewelyoutube FOLLOW JEWEL https://…

Karen Huller is the creator of the Corporate Consciousness Ripple Blueprint and author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days. She founded Epic Careering, a leadership and career development firm specializing in executive branding and conscious culture, in 2006. 

While the bulk of her 20 years of professional experience has been within the recruiting and employment industry, her publications, presentations, and coaching also draw from experience in personal development, performance, broadcasting, marketing, and sales. Her solutions incorporate breakthroughs in neuroscience, human performance optimization, bioenergetics, and psychology to help leaders accelerate rapport, expand influence, and elevate engagement and productivity while also looking out for the sustainability of the business and the planet.

Mrs. Huller was one of the first LinkedIn trainers and is known widely for her ability to identify and develop new trends. She is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer, Certified Career Transition Consultant, and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist with a Bachelor of Art in Communication Studies and Theater from Ursinus College and a minor in Creative Writing. Her blog was recognized as a top 100 career blog worldwide by Feedspot. 

She was an Adjunct Professor in Cabrini University’s Communications Department and an Adjunct Professor of Career Management and Professional Development at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business  She is an Instructor for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA) where some of her students won the 2018 national YEA competition, were named Ernst & Young’s America’s Next Top Young Entrepreneurs, and won the 2019 People’s Choice Award. 

She is board secretary for the Upper Merion Community Center and just finished serving as Vice President of the Gulph Elementary PTC, for which she received recognition as a Public Education Partner and Promoter from the Upper Merion Area Education Association. She lives in King of Prussia with her husband, two daughters, and many pets, furry, feathered, and scaly.

Why It’s Hard To Make Critical (Or Any) Decisions Right Now

​​I have a few friends who work in grocery stores. They are commenting now about the people putting them in undue risk by coming to the grocery store several times a week, loitering in the isles, and socializing during stay-at-home orders.

My dad is one of those people who goes out more than they should. I’m feeling powerless to stop him. I’ve told him to let me know what he needs and that I’d find a way to get it to him. I had toilet paper delivered to him while I was away.  Technology, him, and I have never gotten along. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve shown him how to open an e-mail, send a picture, log into accounts online, download apps, etc. He doesn’t retain any of this information and requires me to show him over and over again. It’s been a struggle for a while now. I had given up on him learning new tricks. He really can’t stick with his old tricks, though.

He told me he needs to see the aisles to jog his brain about what he needs. I said, “That’s how you’ve always done it. I get that, but that’s not safe in the reality we live in.” I don’t have much influence on him. He tends to discredit and ignore me, but if he were to listen, I’d guide him in achieving a calm state of mind so that he can activate the salience network (thought to switch between activating and deactivating the default mode and central executive networks) and make more mindful decisions about what he needs beforehand. Then he could pass those needs along to me so that I could find a way to get them to him without him putting his and other lives at risk.

We are all experiencing grief and shock in the midst of changes to our daily lives. We are all worried about our current or future health and wealth. And we all revolt at how some, especially loved ones, are taking risks that put them and other loved ones at risk.

The number of people who are grieving actual loss of life will grow. I’ve experienced with my clients the grief that a job loss can bring. It’s the same cycle, and, like losing someone beloved, it needs to be acknowledged and processed. Everyone will do this at different paces and at different times. Everyone has varying levels of resilience. Surely, many of us will come out of this with greater resilience if we don’t succumb to our feelings of grief and worry.

In the meantime, my hope is that the more you know and understand grief, the more compassion and grace you can extend. It’s unlikely that you will be successfully influential to stop someone from taking risks by shaming them or instigating a conflict.

These stages are not clean. People will weave in and out of these stages, jump around, and be in a couple at the same time. Some may also have lucid moments where the emotions have calmed, and the mind is thinking clearly and making conscious decisions.

These days, I advise you to assume that everyone you see is experiencing grief, even if they haven’t lost anything yet. That’s because we actually have all lost something – plans, the ability to hug loved ones who don’t live with us, freedom to come and go as we please without worry, etc.

Here’s how you can recognize when someone is grieving. You can assume they are grieving and treat them with the utmost care, from a safe distance, of course.

SHOCK

People in shock will be the ones standing in the aisle without a list or a clue. (Those folks and the ones who have to read labels, which is a problem for us. We don’t want to touch things we won’t buy, but we have to check new items for a variety of ingredients our daughter can’t have.) Shock isn’t fight or flight; it’s more like being frozen.

DENIAL

You may be surprised to find that people you thought were level-headed and logical are believing conspiracy theories instead of accepting the truth. The truth, at this moment, may just be too hard to face. In this stage, people may take some risks that put not only them but others in danger, too.

ANGER

It’s ironic because the workers lashing out at the people in grocery stores and other public places who are being careless are completely justified AND they are in their own process of grief. With this understanding, I let them vent for the most part. I’ve commented here and there asking people to extend grace, especially knowing that my father is most definitely on the list of people who should not be going grocery shopping, especially during busy times without gloves or a mask or sanitizer. He should be pre-planning his shopping needs, scheduling deliveries and staying put.

BARGAINING

The government can’t take away the freedoms of all those spring breakers, the coronavirus challenge participants, or anyone who still believes that COVID-19 is just the flu. Some people insist on maintaining their freedom as an American to assembly, etc., and these folks may be in the bargaining stage. They’ll face their reality, only if they don’t have to lose X. They’ll stop visiting their vulnerable relatives and friends, but they won’t stop playing basketball. They’ll start getting their groceries by delivery, but they’ll keep gathering with their neighbors, who are all in the same boat as long as everyone washes their hands frequently and don’t touch. While these concessions may drive you back into anger, they are actually progressing.

You can help someone move more fully into compliance by making compliance feel better and offering alternatives. Instead of golfing, offer to order an at-home golf simulator game that can be played with friends. Instead of heading to your neighbor’s house for your usual happy hour, have a virtual happy hour in PJs.

DEPRESSION

It doesn’t always look like what you expect, especially when people are highly functional. It can look like getting easily agitated, lacking patience, avoiding communication or decision-making, sleeping more often, putting off exercise and chores, etc. Just because people have more time doesn’t mean they are accomplishing more. If you are here, try not to compare yourself to others and what they are accomplishing. Do what you can as you can and spend time meditating.

TESTING

This is tricky, because, really, any degree of failure to fully comply risks exposure, illness, and death. All of the new protocols will feel wrong at first. Frame all of the compliance efforts as experiments. “See how this feels”… See how it feels to wear a mask. See how it feels to wave to a neighbor you’d normally hug or high five. See how it feels to not pet the dog. See how it feels to plan out your grocery list. See how it feels to have the groceries come to you.

ACCEPTANCE

The more resilient among us may be here already and are not understanding very well what’s taking others so long to come around.

We normally comfort those grieving with touch, which would induce the release of the feel-good hormone, oxytocin. Now we have to find ways to use our imagination to do that if we don’t have people in our homes to hug. Remember Wilson from the movie Castaway? It may have seemed crazy, but it was a strong survival instinct that led Tom Hanks’ character to produce a friend. Grab a plant, a stuffed animal, a cardboard version of your father, etc. Luckily, we are still connected via the internet and cell phones, but we need to replicate the face-to-face interactions.

What you can do, since we’re all in this together:

Treat everyone as fragile.

Give each other grace. Assume we are all fragile, and that the more you induce a state of upset, the more likely you are actually inhibiting their ability to make wise decisions.

Well past this event I’m certain there will be a surge of PTSD cases and this won’t be just the people who have seen the worst of it on the front lines. Even people with comparatively lower levels of loss will struggle. Dismissing anyone’s loss by comparing it to the loss of others will only invalidate it; it won’t mitigate it.

If you see someone bucking the social distancing recommendations and stay-at-home mandates, you have a few options:

  • Allow the anger and accept it as your own grief stage
  • Assume there’s something you don’t know about their situation, or ask them non-confrontationally
  • Report them and let someone else deliver justice
  • Be part of the solution – Stores have designed aisles to be one-way, have added trashcans where shoppers kept putting used gloves, and have limited the number of shoppers in the store. So many are stepping up to make masks for people, deliver items to elderly neighbors, donate to charities, etc. What is within your power to do to help?
Achieve stillness

Like a pond being blown by the wind, the reflection will be distorted and blurry. When you allow your emotions to settle, you are better able to see problems and solutions more clearly. That doesn’t mean your emotions are wrong. What you resist persists. Spend 90 seconds really feeling those emotions, and even feeling gratitude for those emotions. Journal the thoughts that arise that keep you from achieving a peaceful mind. Then, try meditating.

There are many group meditations and prayer groups on Facebook. There are also a lot of great apps for guided meditation. I recommend Insight Timer.

Surrender

There are things you can control and there are things you can’t. The more you try to exert control over that which you have no control, the more stress you create in your life. The wisdom to know the difference can come from stillness, even though action feels better. Sometimes action is just artificial control. Shift your focus to the present moment and that which you have influence over.

Having a hard time deciding your next career step? Work with someone who understands and appreciates the emotional journey you are on. Schedule a consultation now.

The White Stripes I just don’t know what to do with myself

The Whie Stripes i just don’t know what to do with myself from the album elephant

Karen Huller, author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days (bit.ly/GetFocusIn30), is founder of Epic Careering, a 13-year-old leadership and career development firm specializing in executive branding and conscious culture, as well as JoMo Rising, LLC, a workflow gamification company that turns work into productive play. 

While the bulk of her 20 years of professional experience has been within the recruiting and employment industry, her publications, presentations, and coaching also draw from experience in personal development, performance, broadcasting, marketing, and sales. 

Karen was one of the first LinkedIn trainers and is known widely for her ability to identify and develop new trends in hiring and careering. She is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer, Certified Career Transition Consultant, and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist with a Bachelor of Art in Communication Studies and Theater from Ursinus College and a minor in Creative Writing. Her blog was recognized as a top 100 career blog worldwide by Feedspot. 

She is an Adjunct Professor in Cabrini University’s Communications Department and previously was an Adjunct Professor of Career Management and Professional Development at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business  She is also an Instructor for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy where some of her students won the 2018 national competition, were named America’s Next Top Young Entrepreneurs, and won the 2019 People’s Choice Award. 

How Fear Limits Careers

No Fear by The 5th Ape from Flickr

No Fear by The 5th Ape from Flickr

Has the term “what if?” ever ruled your decision making? Have you ever settled for safe and predictable in your professional life so you can avoid a fear of the unknown?

 

Fear is a powerful emotion. It can eat away at all rational thought and positive energy until all you’re left with is raw anxiety and shattered self esteem. Fear comes in a variety of forms and there is no area of your life it can’t touch. For professionals, fear can often cause poor career decisions. Since the economic downturn of 2008 and the very slow recovery, fear has led many bright and talented people to settle for less. This can lead to a multitude of problems down the road, including underemployment, being overworked, and a stifled path to career recovery.

 

The fear of having no income at all can often funnel professionals into jobs in which they are underemployed and indefinitely underpaid.

 

You might be a bright-eyed accountant who has gotten the pink-slip at work. Your unemployment is about to run out and you’ve had no luck landing a job with comparable pay. Ultimately, you settle for a part-time job at a new firm or you take a job that pays you far less.

 

How about another example? You could be an administrative assistant at an insurance company. The company folded, leaving you unemployed and, in order to pay the bills, you take a retail job. The income is mediocre in comparison to the money you received on unemployment.

 

Perhaps in your previous executive role you were applying decades’ worth of skills, education and experience to make huge contributions to your previous employer, but you are being told you are “overqualified,” so you resort to finding a role as an individual contributor where your wisdom and insight are not appreciated nor are you compensated for them.

 

Or, you could be a journalist fresh out of school, unable to find work and so you settle as a waiter at your local restaurant. As a career coach I’ve seen plenty of people let fear lead them to unsatisfying career choices.

 

Let’s say none of the above examples apply to you. You still have a job in the profession you love. Even so, you’re not happy with your circumstances at work. Your company may have cut back on staff, effectively doing more with fewer people. You find yourself working longer hours at the job. Or you may be worried about being let go so you agree to take on more responsibilities and job duties for the same amount of pay. Your hours increase, your free time decreases and your health and well-being also suffer. You want to make the transition to a job that offers more pay, better hours or a combination of the two. Your fear has caused you to stick with a job you dislike simply because you can’t see a way forward.

 

Do you see yourself in any of these examples?

 

While it’s true that we all have to pay our bills, I think we can all agree that is preferable to pay our bills AND be fulfilled in our career. Fear can make you believe that you have to choose between the two.

 

Whether you are underemployed, underpaid or overworked the fear of not bringing in income or losing a current career can be detrimental in the long run. If you invest yourself too fully in a part-time job, it leaves you with less time and energy to pursue your career. Likewise, finding yourself overworked as a professional can also leave you with little time and energy to make the transition to an ideal employer.

 

Lost time is lost money.

 

Do not let fear rule your career-making decisions. Take some time to rationally evaluate how you will move your career forward as a business professional. Ideally, you will strive toward a job that motivates and excites you. Additionally, you will already have had your own personal criteria in mind. The number of hours you will work per week, your salary, culture, growth opportunity, flexibility, healthcare benefits and even personal time are a few examples for you to consider. Making a decision that meets about 80% of your personal criteria is a great, logical way to help drive your profession. Change can be a cause of fear but courage and rationality can lead to a successful career in the long run.

 

You don’t always have to use logic to make your decision; emotion can be a good place to make a decision from, as long as it is positive emotion based on excitement, enthusiasm, passion and adventure. Fear may still be present. Remember, courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the ability to move forward in spite of it. Don’t let fear drive your career decisions.

 

 

By the way…If your career was thrown off track by a fear-based decision, we will help you get back on track.