Today is officially the first day of summer. For some, it may have felt that summer started weeks ago when your kids ended their school year or when the days were longer and hotter. With temperatures peaking in the 90’s today and bright sunshine, it will definitely feel like summer here in NJ, although the kids don’t finish their school year until Wednesday!
As each new season comes and goes, many of my clients use it as a time for self-reflection and renewal. They check-in with their goals to see if they are on track. They commit to achieving new goals for the second half of the year.
- Are you on track with your goals?
- What are your priorities this summer?
- How will you be sure to stay focused on achieving what’s most important?
- What obstacles may prevent you from achieving what you what you want to?
- How can you plan on avoiding them?
- What will you do to gain some enjoyment from this more relaxed time of the year?
As a professionally trained and internationally certified coach, I work with business leaders to help insure their personal and professional success. I offer training, keynote presentations, and seminars to support each individual and the organization as a whole to achieve your goals. Contact me to discuss your needs!
Guilt…it’s all around us! Wherever I go, I hear someone complaining about “feeling guilty”. For some reason though, this seems to be more widespread with women than with men. Women are guilty for not spending enough time with their children, their girlfriends, their spouse or their extended families, neighbors, and community; their guilty for not providing healthy meals; their guilty for how they look, what they eat, what they do or don’t do; they’re guilty for not exercising; they’re guilty for spending too much; and so much more!
Why are we trying to be everything to everyone…setting unrealistic expectations…and then beating ourselves up for not meeting these standards?
Interestingly, in an article in the June/July issue of Working Mother magazine, they reveal results of a poll they conducted. They found that 57% of respondents feel guilty every day, while 31% feel guilty at least once a week. That’s a lot of guilt!
I used to carry a lot of guilt with me. Fortunately, throughout the years of working with others to help them be more focused and aligned with their top priorities, making a lot of my own mistakes, and maturing enough to be confident about who I am, I’ve been able to make more conscious decisions and feel less guilty. I’ve also learned more healthy strategies such as working out, keeping things in perspective, and simply getting over it. Sometimes, journaling, talking with my coach or a friend I can confide in will also help me through those negative feelings.
If you get caught up in the negative cycle of thoughts commonly associated with guilt, it can be very destructive.
So, I’m really curious, how do you cope with guilt? What causes you guilt? And, to help all of us realize that we’re not alone, what’s your guilt confession? (Tell me yours…and I’ll tell you mine!)
Please comment below! And, if you want to learn more techniques for handling your guilt, visit my site for a free article about the Top Guilt Busters or contact me at email@example.com to arrange an introductory coaching session. I’ll also be blogging about guilt
If you’ve ever felt stuck, doubtful or dis-empowered, try this out!
I’ve been using this technique recently with some of my clients and they are experiencing amazing results.
Read the questions below and write them down so that you can keep them with you until they become second nature. Ponder and think about the questions regularly. Talk to supportive friends, colleagues, family and your professional coach about it. Meditate and journal about these questions, too!
Question 1: What is the easiest, quickest, and most enjoyable way to (my desired result?)
Question 2: If I knew that it would work out in a way even better than I could imagine, what would I create for myself?
Question 3: What is working in my life right now? (What am I grateful for in my life?)
When you ask yourself powerful questions, such as those above, regularly and keep asking these same questions again and again, answers will begin popping into your head (sometimes when you least expect them!). As you continue doing this, answers will come more rapidly as you condition your thought patterns and train your brain to think more positive empowering thoughts. When your brain accepts a new possibility and negative thought patterns are blocked, more positive solutions can flow effortlessly. Rather than spending days or weeks contemplating a problem, you’ll more quickly be able to think about solutions.
Let me know how this works for you. Leave a comment on this blog!
When working with successful clients, I’ve observed that those who experience the greatest levels of fulfillment and personal satisfaction as they achieve their goals, have aligned their goals with their personal values. If you follow good goal-setting practices in addition to aligning your goals with your values by writing specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and trackable (S-M-A-R-T Goals) action plans, you have a better chance of success and knowing what your true priorities are. You spend the majority of your time on what matters most to you!
The first step in the values-based goal-setting process has to start with making an inventory of your values. Goal-setting is important but unproductive unless it is set on a foundation of your values.
Your values are the intangible aspects of life that make you feel in alignment, complete, on track, and functioning at a high level. Values are the essence of who you are. They are at your core. Although they may change over time, a life that aligns with one’s core values will feel more satisfying, even in the most difficult and challenging times. Values are the things you do that you find very attractive, an emotional state that you feel is very important. As life changes, it is important to re-examine your values. What was important to you at 20 may not be the same thing as when you’re 43.
Some examples of values include adventure, fun, service, creativity, connection, etc. When we consciously design our life to align with our values, life gets immeasurably richer — and easier! Gaining clarity of your values and designing your life around them is a process.
To discover your values, ask yourself:
- What is most important to you in your life?
- Then ask, what is important to you about that? What does this give you?
For example, if you answered that family is most important to you. Dig further to discover the core underlying value by asking what does family provide for you; you may find that family gives you a sense of connection, belonging or community. As you see in this example, the underlying value extends beyond family. Focus on what the value gives you to be sure you’re uncovering the core value because this will help you set your goals around your values.
Once you identify you values, choose activities or goals that are aligned with them. When you set goals to experience more of what you value most, life gets immensely richer – and easier!
Are you a SuperBusy Mother who can’t put down your BlackBerry??
Did you read or hear about the new statistics on Work (DIS)Satisfaction in the US released this week? Check it out!
I am a colleague of Laura Berman Fortgang and authorized program facilitator for her Now What? program. Today I received Laura’s latest newsletter and asked if I could share this information about growing job dissatisfaction in America.
Anyone who lived through the depression might have a good belly laugh at these statistics because earlier generations did not always have the luxury of being happy in their jobs–they did what they had to do because they had to. Happiness was not part of the equation.
HOWEVER, for the past few decades, job satisfaction has mattered but never more than during the 90′s when the economy was good and people had choices as to where to work and how much to get paid. In the 90′s you had to keep employees happy to keep them!
NOW, and in the last 9 years since 9/11, we have seen a progressive dip in satisfaction.
People are making more and more concessions to stay employed knowing the economy is not good and the job market is tough. More of their wages are going to pay for their health insurance and other benefits. They are seeing flat or no pay raises. Furthermore, something that the news reports did not account for was how many people are working harder and carrying more responsibility as more and more of their co-workers were being laid off.
At the core, however, as someone who works with people looking for the next horizon in their career, I find that there are other core reasons why work is not working.
In the recent movie, “Up In the Air”, George Clooney’s character, an HR rep who fires folks, said it so well when he said to someone who was losing his job: “How much did they first pay you to give up on your dream?”
In America, we are known for people having the freedom to pursue their dreams and think big, but often, people give up on their dream. Granted, sometimes it’s for very practical reasons but our culture doesn’t really support people’s dreams in most workplaces. The bottom line rules, not the growth or satisfaction of the employee. We tell our kids and students to ‘follow their dreams’ and then, when they do, we ask them: “Well, how are you going to make a living at that?”
People also don’t take responsibility for their own growth.Work satisfaction doesn’t come from what you do but WHO you get to be when you are doing your job. IF you don’t like who you get to be at your job, it is your responsibility to find ways to change that EVEN if your actual job dscription does not change.
People start coasting. Their life works well enough and they don’t want to ‘mess with what’s working’. But is it really working? Dissatisfaction can set in so easily when we allow ourself to go unchallenged.
People allow their work drudgery to follow them home. It is possible to improve your life even if you can’t improve your work. Instead of letting our work drudgery follow us home, we can invest in our private life and create a happiness that can make work palatable. Invest in creating family memories, indulge in a hobby, ‘date’ your spouse or partner, take classes, enrich your life!
People can find other opportunities, even in a tough economy. HEY! Then the obvious—gain the courage to look for other work! Invest in your worth as an employee with training or another degree or try your own biz if you can stomach it and bank roll it.
No one promised us we’d be happy at work, but you deserve to be. In other words, it’s exactly what to aim for and yet no one is going to hand it to you. CREATE IT!
Reprinted with permission from Laura Berman Fortgang. Originally published in The Now What?® Newsletter,Volume Three Issue Bonus #1, January 7, 2010
During the holiday season there’s much ado about giving and receiving. We spend a lot of money buying gifts and valuable time shopping and wrapping these gifts. What often is forgotten in this hustle and bustle is the simplicity of the holiday spirit.
What can you give that’s not costly or time intensive?
What gifts have you received that haven’t been fully appreciated?
We had more than a foot of snow last week and several social engagements were canceled. I saw this as a gift of time! With the commitment removed, I now had several hours to prepare at home. I wrapped, decorated and baked. Now, I feel ahead of schedule and I’m actually looking forward to the parties being re-scheduled.
When I’m out and about shopping I consciously greet everyone with a smile. I allow drivers to take my parking space. I invite people with just a few items in front of me in line. I walk around humming Christmas carols and occasionally burst into song.
No, I’m not crazy…I’m simply enjoying the simplicity of giving and receiving. Look for the joy, spread it widely and you’ll undoubtedly have a more joyous and happy holiday!
Wishing you peace, joy and happiness!!
The following tips can help diminish the stress and avert accompanying low energy levels that may lead to greater susceptibility to illness, feeling blue, fatigue, irritability, and generally a negative holiday experience.
Ruthlessly plan ahead. With Thanksgiving already behind us, Hanukkah in full swing and Christmas and Kwanza just ahead, there’s less time for planning, but continue planning as much as possible. Set specific days on your calendar for activities such as baking, shopping, wrapping, and visiting friends or relatives. Also, be sure to schedule some relaxation time for yourself. The holidays will feel more manageable if you are well-rested.
Determine Your True Priorities. Manage your time rather than letting it manage you. Decide what your priorities are regarding holiday events such as parties, family functions, gift buying, cooking, and all other related activities. Put them in order of priority and give yourself ample time for each thing. DO NOT wait until the last minute unless absolutely necessary, or it will be hard for you to not feel pressure and stress.
Define Your Limits. Learn when & how to say “no” so that when you say it you mean it. You only have so many days and hours to squeeze in family, friends, business get togethers, gift buying, food preparation, gift wrapping, traveling, packing, etc. If you have extra time and the desire to help others, fine. However, make sure you have completed or scheduled what’s most important to you first. Others can cross your boundaries if you allow them. Remember that you don’t have to attend every party or event you’re invited to and if you’re not feeling up to it, you may politely cancel. There’s also no need to take on everything yourself, holidays are a time to enjoy, ask for help when you need it!
Let go of the need for Perfection. For many it is tough to accept your own limitations. Think about what you really have to do, and really want to do. Then, think about what you realistically have adequate time and energy to do. Give up unrealistic expectations. Follow those guidelines and you will perhaps do less and not see as many people, write as many holiday cards, or cook as many cookies or pies, but you will be much less stressed and enjoy the holidays considerably more. Simple concept. Put it on paper and stick to it. Cut yourself some slack!
Pace Yourself. Prepare for events in stages. Save and re-use your recipes and shopping lists from year-to-year because traditional holiday dinners vary little. If you are going to be cooking for a large group on one or more occasions, shop early, and prepare what you can in advance, whether it is the day before or the night before. Many types of casseroles, baked goods and snacks can be made 1-2 days prior and kept fresh in a freezer or refrigerator in sealed containers or their own cooking dish. If you have 100 cards to be addressed and mailed, block off 15-30 minutes every day to work on them starting 2-3 weeks before they need to be mailed. Or, better yet, create a mailing list with labels you use annually. Look for possible gift ideas throughout the year, purchase items on sale and put them away until the holiday comes! This alone can save much time (and money)! Also, you avoid the holiday crowds in the stores and malls. Accomplishing a few tasks at a time rather than doing it all at once can cut your stress level by a large amount. Stay organized and focused!
Use Your Computer To Shop And Send Greetings. Take advantage of the technology sitting on your desk or resting in the palm of your hand. One way to save time and energy is to do some of your shopping for gifts online! Most of the major gift and department stores have a web site, and most also have their catalog or many items in many categories online (with photos often) from which to choose. You can use credit cards using a secure server to protect your card number, or in many cases, you can pay by check, phone order or fax. Just about everything from CD’s and videos to toys, jewelry, clothing, computers and computer accessories, and personal items, are available to order online. Use any of the major search engines to find the store address if you don’t know it. Virtual malls are also available through multiple sources. Additionally, you can use your computer to send virtual holiday cards, pictures, holiday newsletters, etc. to friends, business associates, and family online.
Help Others/Volunteer. This is especially good for the person who lives alone or is all alone as far as family and friends. There are many opportunities for you to create your own sense of “community” by being with people who are also alone and in most instances, far worse off than you physically and financially and perhaps emotionally, as well. You can volunteer your time to work at a food bank or soup kitchen where a holiday dinner is served and prepared; go to a local church or shelter to help feed the homeless and the poor; whatever, just be creative and look for opportunities you can contribute. The more you give, the more you will get back in blessings and good feelings yourself. It may not happen the same day or all at once, but it will happen. When you see that the best gift you can give is yourself, your spirits will rise and be reinforced with a warmth and strength which is better and longer lasting than any gift or holiday party.
Practice Patience & Good Deeds. Keep repeating to yourself when feeling rushed “I have plenty of time.” Hurrying is a struggle against time—that’s unhealthy. Adopt a more relaxed attitude. Let others in front of you in line (especially when they seem distressed), hold the door open for the person exiting with a handful of packages, give up the parking space, drop off something thoughtful to someone special to you just to show your appreciation & thankfulness, find the acts of kindness that make you feel good and do them repeatedly.
Sing, Hum, etc. (it doesn’t have to be out loud). Experience the joys of the holiday season by hearing the music. Let the music help ease your tensions. Some suggestions: ‘Tis the season to be jolly (perfect if you’ve lost your sense of humor); Dashing through the Snow (helps you remember that although not everybody can dash through the snow, movement is absolutely essential to your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being); Making a list, checking it twice (Don’t expect your already overloaded mind to remember any more than your way home and the names of your immediate family members); you get the picture!
Exercise!! Yes, that’s right, even before the New Year’s resolutions! Having to park three miles away from any place peopled with shoppers gives you an excellent opportunity to squeeze in a little aerobic activity. Carrying your purchases back to that same location might be considered strength training. It’s amazing how many ways you can work in a workout. However, do more than the credit card wrist twist; the lugging of packages; the raising your arm to mouth and opening wide—do real cardiovascular exercises at least 3 times per week for 20 minutes or more. You’ll be amazed at all the extra energy you create!
Avoid Or Be Very Moderate With Alcohol, Sugary Foods, Caffeine. Most holiday gatherings include the sharing or offering of alcoholic beverages, coffee and cakes, cookies, etc. Since many people use alcohol, caffeine and sweets as a way to combat stress and even depression, it is wise to limit your intake if you wish to limit your stress. These items are only a temporary stress reducer. Keep in mind, the best stress reducers are laughter, listening to and/or singing music, helping others, being loved and sharing love, and for many, association with their church or faith through private or public ceremonies and events.
Today is national Women’s Health & Fitness Day! It’s the largest annual health promotion event for women of all ages. This unique national program — with participation by local organizations throughout the U.S. — focuses attention on the importance of regular physical activity and health awareness for women.
More than 1,000 groups across the country will host women’s health and fitness events at senior centers, hospitals, health clubs, park and recreation districts, local health and service organizations, schools, retirement communities, houses of worship, and other community locations today and also on the last Wednesday of every September to come. An estimated 40,000 to 50,000 women are expected to participate in these local activities.
Whether or not there’s a local event, do something for your health and fitness today! If life is too busy, click over to my website for a free article Top 10 Ways to Fit Fitness into Your ‘Too’-Busy Schedule.
Any activity, including walking, exercising, a health screening,
or even attending a health information workshop counts today! The goal of this special day is to encourage women to take control of their health: to learn the facts they need to make smart health choices, and to make time for regular physical activity. Don’t hesitate…do something now!