By nature we home into a negative bias. It’s how we’ve evolved as a species and not become extinct - by keeping ourselves safe. We are very good at noticing danger - so good that our ‘danger antenna’ is primed more than our ‘happiness antenna.’
So how do we break through this false-prison-comfort-zone we trap ourselves in?
Certainly not by pressing down the gas peddle on more of the same - complaining, blaming, victimizing, playing it safe. These are the very thoughts we need to let go of to take the risks that bring growth.
Deal with the things you run from. It is the only way to let them go. Yes, it’s hard. But if we don’t admit what feeling is at the root of our pain it will bubble up each time that feeling you haven’t accepted is triggered. You may have felt abandoned, rejected, dismissed, hurt. Whatever it is examine it. Don’t turn away. “I feel dismissed and it hurt.” Get...
Have you ever been in a high stakes meeting or in a conversation where someone challenges your position and you immediately start to feel the world closing in on you? Austrian psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl describes that moment this way ~ “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”
It’s important to have actionable strategies when our thoughts take over and rule our actions. You are not your thoughts.
The Pause Café
When you feel anxious or aggravated practice what my clients and I call “The Pause Café.” It starts with a deep breath where you ask yourself, “What is going on with me?” Invite in the tension by being curious to it, not turning away. What we run from chases us down until we deal with it. Identify where the tension sits in your body. You may...
You know you want a better job, relationship with loved ones, home, group of friends - the list goes on. Yet you are wise enough to realize that those are just trappings of fulfillment. “Getting” doesn’t bring joy. A peaceful perspective where you make room for curiosity and compassion and edge out judgment and perfectionism is where you want to be. You long for a state of mind where acceptance is king and expectations and resentment are banished from your kingdom to a place where forgiveness prevails and control has no value – a place where your career and personal goals are aligned with your authentic self and whoosh into your life like the sweet breeze of freshly cut grass.
So why can’t you get there?
Do you see your future pretty much like the present +/- 10%? Have you dummied down your goals? Do you lack the energy to organize your life and set new goals for fear of the next trying challenge that is just around the corner?
Recently a client told me of a firing squad interview experience that warrants a share and checklist.
Thirteen candidates were interviewed in a large room, 20 feet apart, by 12 people who scored them on three questions. Their names were drawn from a hat as to who would go first for all three questions. Candidates could hear other candidate’s responses. There would be a second round of these interviews to reduce a pool of 26 candidates to 4.
Question Checklist for When They Call to Schedule the Interview. Ask:
Throughout my years as an executive coach I have seen people triumph over immense hardship while others falter over minutiae. I’ve seen a sense of urgency spearhead achievement while chronic victimization hamstring progress. I’ve been party to personal transformations because people risk vulnerability with great courage and I’ve seen stagnation be the end-product of complaining about unmet expectations. Most often the underachievers carry self-doubt that they don’t know how to convert to confidence.
It’s pretty clear to me what makes people happy and empowered to create the life they want and what does not. It’s a simple equation.
The Golden Rule of Happiness
The shorter the distance between what you want and where you are the happier you will be and the more risks you will take.
You Want a Better Job
Let’s say you want to move up in your career, possibly changing companies. And right now you are in a miserable role. There...
Here is advice I recently gave to a client who just had two staff members explode at a meeting. Managing bad behavior starts with drawing healthy boundaries.
Boundaries: The invisible line between what you will and will not allow.
Difficult Employees: People who don’t take ownership of their own behavior and spew their dissatisfaction with their perceived powerlessness, victimization and lack of self-worth on others.
Dealing with Difficult Employees: Affirm their unhappiness. Affirm how they must be feeling. Ask them what they want. Then every time they act insubordinately ask them how that is getting them closer to what they want.
When Difficult Employees are Out of Control: Get the values of the company in hand, show them how their behavior is insubordinate of the values, put them on a Performance Improvement Plan, establish the specific measurable threshold they need to meet, tell them your goal is to help them meet it and revisit in 30 days. That’s a boundary....
As an executive coach I see three main challenges repeatedly surface for leaders seeking to better their careers, teams and relationships.
When things aren’t going well people get stressed and think that if they just try harder the situation will get better. They focus on one size-fits-all strategies such as – work more hours, hold more meetings, take a course, call a recruiter, network more, get another degree, put in for another promotion, change for the sake of change, read more self-help or business books. They think things will improve because of their fierce dedication when in fact doing more of the same just brings more disappointment, let down from unmet expectations, stress, lack of confidence and makes them feel exhausted on the treadmill to nowhere. They seek “more” instead of less. They can’t slow down enough to be vulnerable – to risk searching inside themselves where the answers always lie. So...
Last summer my father passed away. It was a difficult time for me as I know it is for any of you who have a dying parent or who have lost a loved one. I did a lot of journaling during that time and I share the passage below with you in hope that it inspires you to embrace the difficult feelings of grief. My wish is that you may process and won the feelings you turn away from - that you allow them to flow through you - not get struck inside you and fester. That is how we have freedom. Namaste.
Last night I held a hand for the first time. Indeed throughout my life I have held many hands - extending myself to help, reaching for comfort, joining in an act of love. But last night I held the hand of a man who knows he is dying and it felt like we were the only two people in the world.
My father is the epitome of grace, leadership, and strength. At the end of his life all of these qualities still stand in spite of a failing body. I coach and train on mindfulness, the...
Recently I had the honor of attending a mindfulness presentation and meditation session by Buddhist Monk Dr. Barry Karzin, physician for The Dalai Lama, sponsored by UPMC in celebration of Nurses Week.
He reminded us that one of the kindest things we can do for someone we are serving, no matter what the industry, is to ask them, “What’s the most important thing I can do for you today?”
There is no word in the Tibetan language or in Buddhism for “guilt” because when we have healthy confidence no one is ever condescended to. There is no putting down - especially of one’s self - only compassion. Compassion is the desire and action to alleviate suffering. Loving others, especially when their behavior makes it difficult, helps us to be compassionate.
We all want to be happy. No one wants to hurt.
P.S. Money replenishes itself. Time does not. Click here to request a call with me and let's talk about your...
The Seven Deadly Sins is a group of vices within religious teachings that are known as excessive versions of one's natural faculties. Though identified by desert fathers in the third century as passions one needed to overcome, these shortcomings play out today in the workforce. And they can make you pretty scary to deal with.
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