My Personal Vision for a Selfless World Serving Others

“Remember when Life’s path is crooked and steep keep your mind focused, eyes wide open, one foot in front of the other, and keep moving forward.”
MWH

Selflessness: This is my simple philosophy of life. There is no need for dogma ; no need for complicated theories on life. No need for the Bible or Koran or Book of Mormon. It is my belief that our experience, choices, changeable mindset, intuition, emotions and actual behavior all play a part for creating “small dose learning” opportunities and building blocks for the future; my guiding philosophy is to take the time to think and reflect on my beliefs and values then take responsibility for my choices and action.

Reflection: My personal vision is to create a selfless world where I can find a pathway to serve others through a growth mindset, positive outlook and attitude and constructive words and action. Being kind and generous costs little and the benefits you gain in fulfillment and happiness are considerable. That was the conclusion that Michael Norton and colleagues at the Harvard Business School came to, after doing some very interesting research. “The volunteers who gave away some money were happier than those who had spent it on themselves. Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.”

Self-Coaching: Stop. Reflect. Act.  Over the next 24 hours create your personal vision. Use one word to express this vision and purpose for being and share it with at least 10 people and observe their reaction. Good Luck and please share your experiences with us.

Viktor Frankl On Suffering and Living a Meaningful Life

On Suffering in Life and Understanding on how to craft Meaning in Life is worth our attention and reflection: Frankl recognizes suffering as an essential piece not only of existence but an important part of creating a more meaningful life:

Quote: ” If there is a meaning in life at all, then there must be a meaning in suffering. Suffering is an ineradicable part of life, even as fate and death. Without suffering and death human life cannot be complete… 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.”   Viktor Frankl  

The way in which a man accepts his fate and all the suffering it entails, the way in which he takes up his cross, gives him ample opportunity — even under the most difficult circumstances — to add a deeper meaning to his life. It may remain brave, dignified and unselfish. Or in the bitter fight for self-preservation he may forget his human dignity and become no more than an animal. Here lies the chance for a man either to make use of or to forgo the opportunities of attaining the moral values that a difficult situation may afford him. And this decides whether he is worthy of his sufferings or not. … Such men are not only in concentration camps. Everywhere man is confronted with fate, with the chance of achieving something through his own suffering.

In working as a psychiatrist to the inmates, Frankl found that the single most important factor in creating the kind of “inner strength” vs. “inner death” that allowed men to survive or give-up on life was teaching them to hold in the mind’s grip some future goal. He cites Nietzsche’s, who wrote that “He who has a why to live for can bear with almost any how,” and argues against generalization when:

He writes :

Woe to him who saw no more sense in his life, no aim, no purpose, and therefore no point in carrying on. He was soon lost. The typical reply with which such a man rejected all encouraging arguments was, “I have nothing to expect from life any more.” What sort of answer can one give to that?

What was really needed to survive was a fundamental change in attitude toward life. We had to learn ourselves and, furthermore, we had to teach the despairing men, that it did not really matter what we expected from life, but rather what life expected from us. We needed to stop asking about the meaning of life, and instead to think of ourselves as those who were being questioned by life — daily and hourly. Our answer must consist, not in talk and meditation, but in right action and in right conduct. Life ultimately means taking the responsibility to find the right answer to its problems and to fulfill the tasks which it constantly sets for each individual.

These tasks, and therefore the meaning of life, differ from man to man, and from moment to moment. Thus it is impossible to define the meaning of life in a general way for all people. Questions about the meaning of life can never be answered by sweeping statements. “Life” does not mean something vague, but something very real and concrete, just as life’s tasks are also very real and concrete. They form man’s destiny, which is different and unique for each individual. No man and no destiny can be compared with any other man or any other destiny. No situation repeats itself, and each situation calls for a different response. Sometimes the situation in which a man finds himself may require him to shape his own fate by constructive action. At other times it is more advantageous for him to make use of an opportunity for contemplation or reflection and to realize assets in this way. Sometimes man may be required simply to accept (reality) fate, to bear his cross. Every situation is distinguished by its uniqueness, and there is always only one right answer to the problem posed by the situation at hand.

Reflection on Suffering, Happiness and Meaning for Living 

Many of us buy into the myths of happiness because we think that failure, sadness and suffering are the reasons we are not happier. We falsely believe that, if we’re not happy now, we’ll be happy “if and when” that perfect person comes into our lives or perfect boss and job magically appears, when we hit the Lottery, or when our suffering ends and on and on with these fantasies. When these things to not come to fruition or they come and we still aren’t as happy as we expected, we feel there must be something wrong with us or we must be the only ones to feel this way. Others have disaster fantasies about getting a life threading disease, finding the wrong partner or no partner at all, losing our money or our jobs and houses, or getting old. Really this type of thinking itself can lead to more suffering and unhappiness. Not only do our false expectations turn life circumstances into full-blown drama points, but, worse, they also steer us to make poor decisions and impair our psychological health. If we are convinced, for example, that a certain kind of marriage, job, and money would make us happy (and it doesn’t), then misunderstanding the power of “hedonic adaptation” may compel us to jettison perfectly good marriages and jobs, harm our relationships with our children, and become a miser with our money. If we are positive that divorce or old age would make us miserable forever, then not recognizing the power of grit and resilience and the rewards of being single and aging may lead us to remain in a bad marriage, settle for a poor romantic match, or undergo unnecessary suffering. The good news is that by practicing more effective strategies and experimenting with new approaches for coping with pain and suffering, adversity at work or with a partner we can grow and flourish– we can transform our crisis and suffering points into making us stronger and challenge us to face these difficulties and find new solutions for living a more meaningful, and fulfilling life.

Bringing Love into the workplace

Daily quote: The supreme accomplishment is to blur the line between work and play. Toynbee

I call this accomplishment “Bringing LOVE to the workplace…I believe that a loving organization would be a dream come true for most of us. Specifically, this type of workplace environment would show respect and consideration for all people, it would be a place where purpose and meaning would be shared by all, where individual differences are celebrated; information is open to all not suppressed or spun; the company adds value to well lived life; where everyone one could earning a living wage; the climate would embrace selflessness not selfishness; the work is like play intrinsically fun and rewarding; and there standards and policies that place people’s well being and sharing in profits show in a concrete way the business owners care about their employees well being.

They have the faculty of calling out the best in them, appealing to their manliness, their sense of fairness, of justice, in doing as they would be done by.

“Do unto others as you would that others should do unto you.” All the philosophy of the ages is concentrated in this single sentence. It embodies the essential element in practical Christianity. All law lives in it, the principle of all reform. Its practice will ultimately swallow up all greed, and the time will come when every man will see that his own best good is in the highest good of everybody about him. The time will come when even in the business world the Golden Rule will be found by all to be the wisest and most businesslike policy.

Mr. H. Gordon Selfridge thinks that the labor problem would solve itself if employers treated their employees as they would like to be treated themselves, or as they would like to have their children treated. He says that the keeping these points in mind constitutes seventy-five per cent, of the secret of the success of his great department store in London, which, in the third year of his business there, made a profit of half a million dollars. Yet when he started his enterprise the best business men in London predicted that it would be a complete failure. Conservative people said: “He’ll be broke within a year. It can’t be done. We don’t like this kind of pushing business over here.” But by projecting the progressive spirit of Americanism into his business methods in the heart of London, where for centuries men had done business as their fathers and grandfathers and their remote ancestors had done, and by humane kindly treatment of his employees, he smashed old traditions and broke all business records.

Read more:http://chestofbooks.com/religion/christianity/Love-Way/Chapter-7-Bringing-Love-Into-The-Workplace-Employers-And-Employees.html#ixzz4IM1aoOTB

 

Mindset for Self-Coaching— 4 Critical Elements for Getting Started.

4 tips on how to see ourselves from other people’s point of view.

Daily Quote:

“We never see ourselves as others see us…”  Eric Hoffer 

” O would some power the gift to give us the ability to see ourselves as others see us. ” Robert Burns, Scot Poet (1759 – 1796)   

Self-Reflection: How do we see ourselves? Effective self-coaching involves seeing ourselves as mixture of our ability to think clearly, see ourselves as others see us and being open to learning and change. Many times in life our mental set about ourselves and how we impact other people can be taken for granted or mis-perceived. Many times in our busy day to day activities we are operating in a vacuum or on automatic pilot and in order to move forward and continue growing we must work on developing open and flexible ways to gather more information. Our ability to develop this open perspective toward ourselves is the foundation for all self-coaching. This open approach to personal change allows us to use self-coaching tools, such as feedback to not only adjust our thinking but to enhance our effectiveness to change habits and behavior.

For example, the art and science of public speaking or presenting are learned, as well as the skills to handle different situations and audiences. When this is recognized you can use deliberative practice tools by yourself or in conjunction with a good coach or teacher to figure out the steps to do something better by using your time and space to practice and learn more constructive ways to reach our full potential as a fully functioning person. With time and good support, every person can discover their own ways to become a more effective and efficient communicator.

1. Reflection

Self-coaching also involves an ongoing process of reflection. We need to view our lives as an ongoing exercise in experiential learning, and we need to obtain the necessary critical distance to be able to observe and reflect upon our experiences, while also fully inhabiting those experiences in the moment. The precise steps we take in this process will look different for each of us, and they will vary over time, but it’s critical to regularly engage ourselves in conversation and to develop the habitual practices that support this reflection.

2. Self-Awareness

An important product of this reflection is increased self-awareness, by which I mean both a heightened in-the-moment perception of how we respond to various situations and a deeper understanding over time of who we are as individuals. Our immediate perception of our physical and emotional responses to situations is often blunted–it’s only in retrospect that we fully understand what we were feeling. Honing this in-the-moment awareness of our responses allows us to expand the range of options available to us and to make choices that will best support our goals in any given situation.

Over time this heightened perception contributes to a deeper understanding of ourselves. We learn more about our tendencies and preferences, and patterns in our behavior (with certain people, in certain settings, at certain moments) begin to reveal themselves. We can then capitalize on these patterns, exploiting those that work to our advantage and challenging (or avoiding) those that work to our disadvantage.

3. Committment to Personal Change

At some level self-coaching is all about change. Changing how we spend our time so we’re more fulfilled, and changing our behavior so we’re more effective. Doing more of what’s working in our lives, and doing less of–or stopping entirely–what’s not helping us reach our desire results.  We may even want to change the direction of our lives in a more comprehensive way, and all large changes result from a series of small smart steps using the Plus1 performance technique.

4.  Clarity of Personal Values and Vision 

Our self-coaching efforts occur within a context defined by our personal values and our vision for ourselves. If self-coaching is a sequence of steps to help us effect positive change in our lives, then our values and our vision are the source of meaning and purpose in our lives, the underlying rationale for the changes we seek to make.

It’s important at the very beginning of self-coaching to identify the critical values that drive our action and to establish a vision of the future. Where you want to be after your self-coaching experience? Values and vision are the underpinning for self-coaching success because they ground us in what is important in our lives and where we we want to go. These values and vision will be rechecked through your self-coaching actives and will be refined by the end of your experience. Although we will be working on many of the elements that roll-up into a vision or provide clarity on your priority values in life through smart-step activities and structured exercises I think having an overall direction and “big picture” for self-coaching  is critical for your success.

Self-Coaching Challenge: Over the next week reflect on these 4 elements for Self-Coaching. Use the scale 1 -not ready to 10 absolutely ready. After your evaluation commit to either finding a coach to get get you started or if you are ready for self-coaching do something to get started, like reading articles or a book on self-coaching.  

What does latest Research say about Living with Stress? Learn about the 90:10 Rule

Daily Quote: The bottom line of the latest research on stress is summarized by Dr. Daniela Kaufer, ” I think the ultimate message of our research is an optimistic one. Stress can be something that makes you better, but it is a question of how much, how long and how you interpret or perceive it. Stress can be a very positive motivator for personal growth and memory development.

Reflection: In looking at stress from a different point of view we can be less afraid of it and gain control of the positive aspects of the concept. I think invoking Aristotle’s “golden mean” approach to living a balanced life serves as a positive and reasonable approach for how to live our lives where “stress” is a given reality. To paraphrase this great philosopher “too much of anything can cause imbalance and overwhelm the human system and upset the natural order of things.”

Self Coaching Challenge:

Stress can be a contributor to some deadly conditions like high blood pressure and heart disease, thus if left unabated it could lead to death. On the other handle it can be a source of stimulation to support  a a growth mindset and provides an opportunity to live a more exciting lifestyle. Your attitude is the key to making stress a positive or negative factor in your life. Stress affects us all differently so how we handle requires a customized plan. A plan that its foundation aims to create balance in your life. This assertion about stress is true depending on your mindset about what stress is and how it affects you. If you see, stress as a signal for living and a necessary part of the “yin and yang” of life you are on the right path.

So your challenge is to educate yourself on the topic of stress and then build an approach that can support stress as a normal condition to be handles in life.

1. How is stress impacting your life? Use some self-assessment tools to learn how it is now effecting you. See http://www.stress.org/workplace-stress/for more information

2. Choose some of the suggested behavioral tools and approaches outline in my past post on stress on how to develop new practices such as reframing, mindfulness and other beneficial practices to incorporate into your daily life. See– the wick post at  http://wp.me/pnKb1-21T

3. Learn to use the 90:10 rule for handling stress. View the following video on YouTube on the 90:10 Rule.

 

Daily Quote and Self-Coaching Challenge: Coping with Life Difficulties and Losses

A Self-Coaching “Smart-Step” approach to Coping with anxiety and difficult times

Daily Quote: ” When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves”.–Viktor Frankl 

Through out life we will encounter good and bad times. With the rapid pace of living  we all experience change as a way of life. Some of us learn to roll with the punches and find ways to get through our daily ups and downs. Others get “stuck” and have a difficult time functioning at an acceptable level. And still others find themselves anxious or increasingly depressed over a problem, concern, or worry for a long time. So we all react differently to change and try to find individual ways to cope. In my experience with clients, I have found some ways that are more effective than others to cope and push try to relief. Below I will provide two Self-Coaching tools that provide a practical framework and a mental set for dealing with these personal obstacles to live a life of constructive action. I suggest you write them down in your personal journal or on a 3x 5 index card so that when you find yourself on the edge or overwhelmed with worry and  insecure thinking, you read these tips to get you through the difficult situations you find yourself in. If necessary, read them over and over again, mantra like.

1.) I will let life be what it is. I won’t “make stuff up” too upset my balance and positive outlook. Sure there are obstacles and inconveniences but no awfulness and shoulds’ in life. Try using positive self-talk like the following: This too shall pass…it could have been much worst…this is inconvenient and unexpected so consciously  STOP. Take a deep BREATH. SMILE and Move ON. 
Sometimes, when the phone rings and the voice or message at the other end knocks you for a loop, you may feel shock, out of control or overwhelmed with what life has just delivered you. And yet you need to keep going on because sometimes there are no solutions or answers to life’s difficulties. Rather than reading these events as “awful” and “unsolvable”, a more constructive approach to terrible news is to notice and accept how you are feeling, if sad, be sad; if you start to cry just cry; if angry; be angry and then redirect your attention to something more useful. For example, find a tissue to wipe your tears, if you are standing sit-down, go for a long slow walk etc. Redirection physically can be a powerful constructive act.  Just remember this event as just a moment in life–not good or bad, just life.  Mentally reject the inner voice that tells you this is awful and you can’ go on. Don’t fight the fear or focus on it;  just notice it and accept it. Acknowledge these events are real, unwanted and  inconvenient obstacles that just need to be handled the best way you know how. With heighten emotions and unclear thinking about loss and fear driven thinking your insecurity and confusion will rise and you may find yourself slowed downed–but this is event is not the end of life or awful! What feels to be hopeless and overwhelming is only an emotional flooding created by this unexpected circumstance. Keep in mind your tool to STOP. Breath. Smile. Keep Moving and trust yourself to handle this situation.

2. Not every problem has a solution, and sometimes you have to just keep going and accept that maybe or maybe not an answer or understanding will appear. 
In time, some problems can be solved or understood. On the other hand, some problems will never be solved and you need to learn to live with this uncertainty and ambiguity of not knowing. Unfortunately, this is not easy to do, but begins with clear and positive thinking (3-1 rule of positivity) not with doubts, fears and negative thoughts. It is your irrational demand for answers and certainty in dealing with life’s problems and ambiguities that generate irrational thoughts, fretting behavior and other unhealthy symptoms such as nervousness, losing control, anxiety and feeling sick.

As you practice these new mental sets,  it helps to remind yourself of the countless problems and worries that have come and gone in your life. How many problems have you solved? One thousand? Ten thousand? or Hundred thousand? Many times you have faced problems and figured-out, how to survive these difficulties  by re-framing, re-strategizing, or over just letting time take its course. Right? Trust yourself and be more gentle and self compassionate because life difficulties eventually become part of your biography and you move on. Remember you have more fuel in the tank than you think you do.

Daily Quote and Reflection: Using Perseverance to Overcome Obstacles and Negative Thinking

Daily Quote: “Always continue the climb. It is possible for you to do whatever you choose, if you first get to know who you are and are willing to work with a power that is greater than ourselves to do it”.  Ella Wheeler Wilcox

                                                                                                       Another one by Michael Jordan

“Obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give-up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it”.

Reflection: Perseverance is not an innate skill you are born with, it is learned and nurtured through life experiences. You can learn to challenge yourself by accepting the notion that sometimes you will make bad choices, take the wrong road or fail at a task or goal you are trying to achieve. The lesson to learn is that you never have to accept these things as enevitable. You have tomorrow to try a new way or learn a skill or task anew.  This called perseverance or resilience. I think it is in the willingness to keep trying that you learn to grow and develop all your potentials. If an activity is to easy there is no growth because you become bored or disinterested. On the other hand if you can find the “learning spot” where an activity pushes you to do more the challenge increases your motivation and energy to push ahead.

It is a habit of the brain. The Perseverance Factor is a practical way for overcoming unexpected failures, challenges, and unlucky setbacks in life. Remember your brain is driven by plasticity and you can increase perseverance and resilience by changing the way you think about problems and difficult obstacles in life. Perseverance or the resilience habit challenges your negative self-talk and basic beliefs that cause us to give-up and quit trying to accomplish our goals. Perseverance has been examined in many research studies in cognitive psychology, particularly the work of Aaron Beck, Father of  Cognitive Behavior Therapy  and Martin Seligman, the Founder of Positive Psychology movement.

Self-Coaching Challenge: How to create “flexible optimism”

Commit to challenge self-criticisms and negative thoughts by using positive self-talk. Try the 5 step cognitive tool of:

STOP-Deep Breathing–Challenge Thinking- Reframe- Act. This is not a feel good quick fix or psycho babble cliché. It works and you need to be patient and persevere when using this CBT tool.

Now think back to an actual situation where your  thoughts  upset you and you end choosing to self-limiting and self-sabotaging behavior and don’t do what you wanted to do. For example: ‘You are on your daily run and see the police ahead involved with some situation and you say yourself this is going to be awful, I’m going to be stopped by them and that worries me…’- (and then you turn and run another way to avoid them. Here is a better way to handle this troubling situation by using what cognitive psychologist call “Thought Stopping”

1. As you notice yourself saying these negative automatic thoughts, you can stop them mid-stream by saying to yourself “STOP”.

2. You might also wear a rubber band around your wrist, giving it a little pull each time you notice you are allowing negative thinking to take over or flood your mind. It will make you more aware of how often, and in what situation, you are having the negative thoughts.

3. Challenge the negative thought: Challenge the thoughts, examine them to see if they’re valid. Ask –‘Where’s the evidence for negative thought? Is there another way to look at it?’. Example: ‘Actually, it’s just the police doing their job, I don’t actually know what’s going to happen, all I can do is be who I am and this is going to be okay because they are protecting our neighborhood

4. Reframe situation and thoughts. For example, say I can cope with this situation if  they stop me and want to talk that is okay. I will be safe.  Don’t torture yourself with negative thoughts just be yourself and say this is okay I seen police do their job before and it doesn’t involve me.

5. Act-Calmly go about your business, Say I can do this I have done it before… 

Summary: STOP–Take a Deep Breath  –Challenge Thinking– Reframe Thinking Using Positive thoughts and then Act. 

Good Luck and let us know how this new approach worked for you.

Daily Quote and Reflections: What are your answers to the “big” questions about Living?

Quote:  “The one thing you can’t take away from me is the way I choose to respond to what you do to me. The last of one’s freeoms is to choose one’s attitude in any given circumstance…Those who have a ‘why’ to live, can bear with almost any ‘how’.” Viktor E. FranklMan’s Search for Meaning

Reflection: Why am I Living? Victor Frankl challenges us about the meaning in life when he says: Survival for what and What?  Those who survived the ordeal of concentration camps in WWII created a future orientation rather than a self-center orientation. They created in their minds eye a future desire for reconnection with someone or something outside of themselves. This ability to find a mission outside of yourself is called, Self-Transcendance and says is the secret for creating a meaningful purpose in life.

Self-Coaching Challenge : Over this weekend take a few moments of alone time to wrestle withe these questions and then capture your thinking in your Personal Learning Journal. Then build a plan to translate you thoughts and insights into concrete actions for living a more fulfilling and meaningful life.

 

For your next “big” Presentation Test your Message for “stickiness”?

Framework for “Sticky Messages”

” Remember that to create a “sticky idea”  it needs to be understood, remembered, and it changes something”. Heath Brothers

There are a number of tests to check that you have created a memorable and believable message. The main test of success in delivering a key message is that you commit it to memory. This will increase the perception by audience members of your credibility. Do this your main task is to be able to communicate your message with passion and clarity without your notes. Test yourself.

Then say it to a colleague – see if they can say it back to you. You may find that they say it back to you in a way which is easier to grasp. In which case change it.

An hour later, ask members of your presentation review team to listen and give you feedback on how memorable and relevant your key message is to the overall topic being discussed.  Ask the team the next day if they remember the “sticky” message. If they can still remember it a day later, well done – you have got yourself a memorable sticky, relevant and believable message.

Check your message against these two standards–the RATER developed by Dr. Hardwick and SUCCESs model developed by Heath brothers in their book–Made to Stick

Self-Coaching Mastery: Be who you are…5 Ways to Overcome Negative Mindset

“Your identity is what you’ve committed yourself to. It may just mean doing a better job at whatever you’re doing. There are men and women who make the world better just by being the kind of people they are –and that too is a kind of commitment. They have the gift of kindness or courage or loyalty or integrity. It matters very little whether they’re behind the wheel of a truck or running a country store or bringing up a family.”  John Gardner on Self-Renewal

One of the key obstacles to self- renewal is fear. The reason fear is at the center as a barrier to self-renewal  is that fear what fuels negative outlooks and excuses. We start making excuses when we are afraid how someone will react to something we say or do. Maybe you say you’re “busy” when a friend asks you out for drinks, or maybe you say “I don’t know how to…” when you haven’t even tried. We all have anxieties, fears and make make excuses once in a while, here’s how to overcome this negative mindset and live a more engaging and fulfilling life.

  1. Focus on the type of self-talk you use. Listen to the kind of words we use is beneficial in understanding our excuse, fears and anxieties in life. Do you use negative and inaccurate words to describe your actions? Such as …stupid, dummy or other vague terms to put yourself down. Internal Your internal dialogue has a powerful way of directing your thinking, physical appearance and actions.  To stop this negative drumbeat we must stop and challenge the messages we are sending to ourselves. To over ride this “alien”  and unhelpful negative talk we must observe our internal talk and determine if it is communicating in a way that is helpful helping us get what we need and want in life.
  2.  Practice honesty. The first thing to know is that an excuse is nothing more than a lie to ourselves and others. The more you make excuses, the easier it gets. Lying, like most everything else, becomes easier the more you do it. But so does telling the truth. Practice telling yourself and other people the truth all of the time. If you don’t want to go out with a friend, don’t lie. Tell the truth. I am sure  YOU appreciate your friends telling you the truth?
  3. Prioritize. Use your talent, time, and resources doing things that are important and meaningful for you. Stop saying yes to doing things that you don’t like doing. If the person or project does not fit your strengths or interests or excite you or make you happy, then don’t waste your time. If there are people in your life who are draining your energy, then don’t give them yours. Make a list of what is important to you and do things toward that end. If spending time with family is a priority, then take steps to prove it.
  4. Start believing in yourself. Why not you…Why not us… Russell Wilson’s ( winning super bowl QB ) Dad constantly asked his son “why not you”…this reflective and encouraging question stayed “top of the mind ” for Russel through many ups and downs of his sports journey.  This question has kept him focused and motivated to be the best he can be in life. It is a very positive motivator for him. It is easy to say “Be positive!” to people, but it is a lot harder in practice. You might wake up in a great mood, but by the time you get to work that mood is nothing but a distant memory. Don’t let the weather or traffic ruin your day, or your argument with your wife dim the days outlook. If you find yourself hating the world, take a deep breath and think about a pleasant memory of your life. This positive recall will usually make you smile. And, smiling is one of  many ways to turn your thinking from negative mood into a bright, shiny one.
  5. Be Self-compassionate. One of the nasty ways excuses creep in to your mental mindset is “self talk”. Let me re-state a few key ideas from the above #1 point. Self talk is the way you think about yourself, or even talk about yourself to others. If you are aware of the power of self-efficacy you know the way you view a task or a challenge, and the way you view your own ability to conquer that task has a direct impact on your ability to actually complete it. If you approach a project thinking it is too difficult, or that you are not good enough, then chances are you won’t do it. The good news is that once you become aware of how you are talking to yourself, you can stop. Each time you hear yourself using doubt as an excuse, stop. Change your mental dialog into something positive, and you will become something positive.

Daily Quote and Reflection: Accepting and Knowing Your Natural Self

Daily Quote : ” Knowing how to stop, relax and step-up to difficult people and challenging situation is a critical skill needed to grow and develop as a leader.” Robert Greenleaf, author of Servant Leader     

Reflection:In the moment of truth, having the ability for controlling impulses and  powerful emotions is important for all of us. I have found this technique of saying to yourself—  STOP… BREATHE…REFLECT…THINK allows you to get back in control by triggering the executive function of your brain. Your emotional impulses of fight or flight slow down so you can take charge in a more deliberate way by observing and reflecting on the other person and the situation you find yourself in.

When safety, trust, congruence and self-disclosure are established, these qualities support the actions that lead to greater self-awareness to be who you are–a mixture of hopes, dreams, caring and ambitions and disappointments, anger frustrations etc. With this acceptance of your natural self comes a willingness to experiment, take risk and grow in the process. When we feel able to experiment, take risks and make ourselves vulnerable, our ability to learn, to increase our self-awareness (and our awareness of others) to change our immediate impulsive reaction and over ride our emotions in order to achieve our goals increases dramatically. Find ways to successful step-up or lean-in provides an opportunity to constructively take on life as an adventure. Don’t be afraid t try new things, take risks and use your natural strengths. 

Self-Coaching challenge: Read the poem–Be Strong. This poem will highlight the struggle between our good and bad self. After reading the poem thing of a situation where you lost it.  Capture in your Personal Journal what the situation was, who was involved  and how you reacted. Then based on what you now know about handling difficult and emotionally charged situations reflect and think through how you would handle the situation differently, if you had the chance to relive it. Good Luck and keep us posted on your progress to learn more optimal ways to handle these challenges.    

 

Daily Quotes–It’s a helluva start, being able to recognize what makes you happy. ” – Lucille Ball

Daily Quotes: Those who are not looking for happiness are the most likely to find it, because those who are searching forget that the surest way to be happy is to seek happiness for others.”
– Martin Luther King, Jr.

“With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.”
– Max Ehrmann

“When someone else’s happiness is your happiness, that’s love”
Lana Del Ray

“It’s a helluva start, being able to recognize what makes you happy. ”
– Lucille Ball

Nothing is miserable unless you think it so; and on the other hand, nothing brings happiness unless you are content with it.”
– Boethius

“One must believe in the possibility of happiness in order to be happy, and I now believe in it. Let the dead bury the dead, but while I’m alive, I must live and be happy.”
–Leo Tolstoy

“Happiness is the settling of the soul into its most appropriate spot.”
– Aristotle

Each morning when I open my eyes I say to myself: I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn’t arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I’m going to be happy in it.”
– Groucho Marx

“I’ve got nothing to do today but smile.”
– Paul Simon

“Who is the happier man, he who has braved the storm of life and lived or he who has stayed securely on shore and merely existed?”
– Hunter S. Thompson”

Want to read more on happiness? Checkout this post or this one  

Self-Coaching Challenge: Pick one of the above quotes or tips from previous post’s and put into action the essence of the quote or tip into your daily living. Be Happy. Coach Mark

Part1: New Year Resolutions–What does Evidence -Based Research Reveal About Secrets of Willpower

The start of a New Year is always special. For me there is always a feeling of renewal as we look to a new year, a reflection back to the year that has passed and a new beginning. I have a sense of excitement for keeping things that are working, making changes or adopting new habits to make the year even better than the last year. However, do you ever find yourself making New Year’s resolutions and setting goals only to abandon them as the New Year tick docks away.

So I decided to check the research and selected the nationwide survey done in 2013 by Opinion Corporation of Princeton, New Jersey which I found to be very interesting and insightful on this topic of setting and completing resolutions. The bottom line is that 3 out of 4 people are not successful in completing their resolutions In addition, according to this research study, if you are happy you probably don’t set any resolutions. Unhappy people set resolutions more than happy especially in regard to money goals, 59% to 41%. So if you do not complete your goals for the New Year you are not alone.

So the question becomes what are some of the secrets and ways to set and fulfill your New Year Resolutions?

Studies now show that self-control is a limited resource that may be strengthened by the foods we eat. Laughter and conjuring up powerful memories may also help boost a person’s self-control. And, some research suggests, we can improve self-control through practice, testing ourselves on small tasks in order to strengthen our willpower for bigger challenges.

Learning to bring your behavior under control even with arbitrary rules does build character in that it makes you better able to achieve the things you want to achieve later on,” said Dr. Baumeister. “Self-control is a limited resource and is depleted more you use it.. People make all these different New Year’s resolutions, but they are all pulling off from the same pool of your willpower. It’s better to make one resolution and stick to it than make five.”

In Part 2 on New Year Resolutions we will discuss techniques and tools to support your goal of personal change for 2014. Stay tune. Coach Mark

Is Stress A Silent Killer? The choice is yours.

Weekly Quote: ” The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.” William James

Stress has been labeled the “silent killer.” This is somewhat a misnomer. Stress can be a contributor to some deadly conditions like high blood pressure and heart disease, thus if left unabated it could lead to death. On the other handle it can be a source of stimulation to support  improved performance and provides an opportunity to live a more exciting and lifestyle. Your attitude is the key to making stress a positive or negative factor in your life. Stress effects us all differently so how we handle requires a customized plan. A plan that its foundation aims to create balance in your life. This assertion about stress is true depending on your mindset about what stress is and how it affects you. If you see, stress as a signal for living and a necessary part of the “yin and yang” of life you are on the right path.

On the other hand, if you see stress as bad or evil and a thing that needs to be controlled or eliminated maybe it is necessary to up-date your mental map, beliefs and outlook about the the benefits and risks of stress.  Recent research points out that those people who see stress as bad actually bring on more negative effects of stress. Stress does affect the body and mind on all levels – physical, mental and emotional and there is a difference between acute stress and ongoing chronic stress. Recent research has demonstrated that chronic stress elevates levels of glucocorticoid stress hormones, which suppresses the production of new neurons in the hippocampus, impairing memory. This is in addition to the effect that chronically elevated levels of stress hormones have on the entire body, such as increasing the risk of chronic obesity, heart disease and depression.

The bottom line on this latest research is summarized by Dr. Daniela Kaufer,  I think the ultimate message of our research is an optimistic one. Stress can be something that makes you better, but it is a question of how much, how long and how you interpret or perceive it. Stress can be a very positive motivator for personal growth and memory development.” Remember Aristotle’s “golden mean” approach to living a balanced life. To paraphrase this great philosopher “too much of anything can cause imbalance and overwhelm the human system and upset the natural order of things.”

While we all have different triggers that cause stress, there are ways that everyone can find to re-store balance and live a happy and satisfying life.

Whole Life Practices for balancing Stress and Recovery

Stress has the potential for many illnesses and ailments, if left unabated. When you’re stressed you’re in survival mode, which shuts down the non-essential functions until the issue passes.  The problem with chronic stress is those “non-essentials,” like the immune system, continue to be suppressed , therefore increasing your chances of getting sick. Here are some tips to help you deal with chronic stress.

Tip #1 – Learn the Recovery Model–REFRAMING YOUR PERCEPTION AND VIEW OF STRESS

Schedule Time Off

Work is a cause of routine stress according to the National Institute of Mental Health. Are you feeling on edge all the time when you think about your  job and work environment? Are you working long hours to try to increase productivity, but instead just end up feeling overworked? It’s important to schedule your time off first, even before factoring in time to get your things to do list completed. Without downtime to recoup, you won’t have time for exercise, you will be distracted by tension, anxiety and stress which will reduce your productivity.

Tip #2 – Keep a Reflection and Growth Diary

This diary is not for recording dreams. It’s for keeping track of how you’re sleeping – the amount, the quality and the time it takes to fall asleep. Sleep is one part of your day that is greatly affected by stress, which in turn can affect everything else. Monitoring sleep is a health awareness habit that can catch some of the first signs of stress.

Tip #3– Create Healthy Physical routines and workouts by running and walking.

You’ve heard of fight or flight syndrome, but did you know stress is what gives you the ability to do either in an undesirable situation? A rush of nerve chemicals and hormones help in survival, but when this state is prolonged it has the opposite effect. Keep stress in check and improve your overall health by taking flight. Bonus: exercise is a mood booster.

Tip #4 – Find your Relaxation and Recovery through understanding and practicing the PlusOne technique using mindfulness and relaxation processes daily.

The PlusOne technique teaches us that in order to live the largest life possible, we need to be able to block and protect our time and energy to work towards our priorities and goals. For example, you must create alone times and reflection points in your daily life to avoid being overwhelmed with just doing stuff. Creating extended periods of focus, provides time for relaxation and reflection providing more room for creativity, innovative and thoughtful actions.   It may take a little time to establish this new routine, but eventually you will see and feel the payoffs.

Simply thinking differently won’t get us to where we want to be, we also need to dedicate time, energy, engagement and focus to our goals for change that will end with big results! And using mindfulness and meditation can make you more aware of your body and mind connection. With focus on relaxation, meditation and strengthening, these activities will help you tap into the positive side of stress, called eustress.

Read more at http://www.pickthebrain.com/blog/14-timeless-ways-to-live-a-happy-life/#w5kBX6PugfYOyHxP.99

We all react to stress differently, and many people have discovered their own effective stress relievers on top of the general tips mentioned here. If I have missed an important tip that you use to reduce stress, please let us know a stress relief tip that has worked for you. By sharing we maybe able to stop this “silent killer”.

References and Resources:

http://www.mentalhelp.net/poc/view_doc.php?type=doc&id=15644

http://www.livelifehappy.com/live-life-quotes/

http://newscenter.berkeley.edu/2013/04/16/researchers-find-out-why-some-stress-is-good-for-you/

Introducing the Self-Coaching Plus One Model for Self-Development

Plus 1 Self-Coaching for Self-Development

“Ever more people today have the means to live, but no meaning to life for.” Viktor Frankl

Those individuals who are truly growing and happy in their lives are on a quest to discover their purpose for living.  Our self-coaching, person-centered development model, supports the journey for finding and creating a more fulfilling purpose in life. Fulfilling our purpose for being is a natural condition of living and is critical for living a more satisfying life by finding our strengths and gifts to make a positive contribution and difference in this complex and vexing world.

The Plus-One “process with structure” approach is unique in the world of coaching. We have investigated and researched the “best-in-class” ways to create a positive learning approach for personal change. At the core of our philosophy are proven methods to motivate and inspire our client’s to discover  and change their thinking and behavior through perseverance, patience and practice. We encourage clients to uncover and focus on their responsibility to make their own choices in life. The self-coaching activities are designed to emphasize the individual’s inherent right to choose and support their own development focused on their purpose, worth and dignity. 

Unlike traditional one-one coaching the plus-one process  is based on self-direction using the process of discovery and client choice. The individual is his own coach and counselor. The “process with structure” framework support the individual through guided exercises on self-awareness, strengths identification, goal setting and self-development challenges. It encourages individuals to choose what changes they want to make in order to fulfill their needs and reach their full potential. The “process with structure” activities are designed to uncover information and support reflective thinking to establish Smart-Steps and Plus 1 practices to bring about the personal changes and new behavior desired.

Once you understand the Smart-Step Process you are on the road to significant personal change and getting unstuck.  Specific change goals replace other people’s expectations and help you focus on what is really your purpose and important priorities in your life. Being and living in the moment is critical to developing confidence. It means learning to trust and believe in your ability to accept the challenge. Developing this change posture means that you must accept more vulnerability and take more risk. Trust is directly related to your ability to be open and for you to be experienced as authentic by others. Specific approaches are designed in the “process with structure” approach to challenge your present mental maps and behaviors so as to lead you to do what you set out to do to live a more purposeful and fulfilling life.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

 

CHOICE— What Does EXCELLENCE Look Like In Your Life?

 

 

Modification and Update of Tom Peter’s In Search of Excellence 

EXCELLENCE is not an “aspiration.” Or “Purpose statement”

EXCELLENCE is … THE NEXT 5 OR 10  MINUTES

 EXCELLENCE is your next conversation.

Or not.

EXCELLENCE is your next productive presentation and meeting.

Or not.

EXCELLENCE is shutting up and listening—really listening.

Or not.

EXCELLENCE is your next customer contact.

Or not.

EXCELLENCE is saying “Thank you” for something “small.”

Or not.

EXCELLENCE is the next time you shoulder responsibility and give the credit away.

Or not.

EXCELLENCE is waaay over-reacting to a screw-up or other people’s inappropriate behavior

Or not.

EXCELLENCE is the donuts or flowers you brought to work today.

Or not.

EXCELLENCE is lending a hand to someone  who’s fallen behind schedule.

Or not.

EXCELLENCE is  learning  the way folks in finance or HR] think.and feel

Or not.

EXCELLENCE is waaay “over”-preparing  for a 10-minute presentation.

Or not.

EXCELLENCE is turning “insignificant” tasks into one-step at time significant changes and models of …

EXCELLENCE.

Or not.

SELF-COACHING CHALLENGE– How do you SHOW EXCELLENCE IN YOUR DAILY LIFE?