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Archive for March, 2015

What Jon Says. . .

March 31, 2015 Leave a comment

Who knew that two simple words could change one’s mindset, perspective and approach to work and life? Just two words have the potential to enhance joy, productivity, performance and change a complaining voice to an appreciative heart.

So often we say things like, “I have to take the kids to practice.” “I have to go to this meeting.” “I have to finish this project.” “I have to go to work today.” “I have to take care of this customer.” “I have to share this new information with my team.” “I have to see my family this weekend.”

We act as if we don’t have a choice. As if we are imprisoned by a paycheck and the expectations of a world that forces us to do thing we don’t want to do.

But in reality we do have a choice. We can choose our attitude and our actions. We can choose how we view our life and work. We can realize that every day is a gift. It’s not about what we have to do. It’s about what we get to do.

We get to live this life while so many like my Mom, who passed away at 59, left this world far too early. We get to drive in traffic while so many are too sick to drive a car. We get to go to a job while so many are unemployed. We get to raise our children even if they drive us nuts at times. 🙂

We get to interact with our employees and customers and make a difference in their life. We get to use our gifts and talents to make a product or provide a service. We get to eat three meals a day while millions of people are starving. We get to work on projects, answer phone calls, serve customers, participate in meetings, design, create, share, sell, lead and suit up every day for the game of life.

When I’m mentoring leaders I encourage them to focus on “get to” each day. I encourage them to focus on feeling grateful instead of stressed. The research shows we can’t be stressed and thankful a the same time so when you are feeling thankful and focusing on “get to” you fuel up with the positive emotions that uplift you rather than the stress hormones that slowly drain you. People who do this, report feeling more energized, productive and engaged at work and home.

Sure there will be challenges and life isn’t easy but if we approach each day as an opportunity to learn, grow and be thankful we will live a more meaningful and powerful life.

(Thanks to Jon Gordon)

(Special offer, click on image below)

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Not What John “Imagined”

March 6, 2015 Leave a comment

Not wanting to sound pessimistic, but it does appear we might be further away than ever from the world John Lennon encouraged us to “Imagine”. . .

Imagine there’s no heaven

It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today

Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will live as one

(Lyrics by John Lennon)

10 Ways to Stop Stress Now

March 5, 2015 Leave a comment

Put Stress in Its Place

How you handle stress makes a big difference in how you feel. It might even help your blood pressure, blood sugar level, and the rest of you. Use these calming strategies to stop stress ASAP.

Break Out the Gum

Next time you’re at the end of your rope, unwrap a stick of gum. According to studies, chewing gum lowers anxiety and eases stress. Some researchers think the rhythmic act of chewing may improve blood flow to your brain, while others believe the smell and taste help you relax.

Get Outside

Spending time outdoors, even close to home, is linked to better well-being. You’re in a natural setting, and you’re usually doing something active, like walking or hiking. Even a few minutes can make a difference in how you feel.

Smile Like You Mean It

Don’t roll your eyes the next time someone advises you to “grin and bear it.” In times of tension, keeping a smile on your face – especially a genuine smile that’s formed by the muscles around your eyes as well as your mouth – reduces your body’s stress responses, even if you don’t feel happy. Smiling also helps lower heart rates faster once your stressful situation ends.

Sniff Some Lavender

Certain scents like lavender may soothe. In one study, nurses who pinned small vials of lavender oil to their clothes felt their stress ease, while nurses who didn’t felt more stressed. Lavender may intensify the effect of some painkillers and anti-anxiety medications, so if you’re taking either, check with your doctor before use.

Tune In

Heading into a stressful situation? Music can help you calm down. In one study, people had lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol when they listened to a recording of Latin choral music before doing something stressful (like doing math out loud or giving a speech) than when they listened to a recording of rippling water.
(Wondering what that choral piece was, music fans? Try Miserere by Gregorio Allegri.)

Reboot Your Breath

Feeling less stressed is as close as your next breath. Focusing on your breath curbs your body’s “fight or flight” reaction to pressure or fear, and it pulls your attention away from negative thoughts. Sit comfortably in a quiet place. Breathe in slowly through your nose, letting your chest and lower belly rise and your abdomen expand. Breathe out just as slowly, repeating a word or phrase that helps you relax. To reap the most benefit, repeat for at least 10 minutes.

Be Kind to Yourself

We all have a constant stream of thoughts running through our heads, and sometimes what we tell ourselves isn’t so nice. Staying positive and using compassionate self-talk will help you calm down and get a better grip on the situation. Talk to yourself in the same gentle, encouraging way you’d help a friend in need. “Everything will be OK,” for instance, or “I’ll figure out how to handle this.

Write Your Stress Away

Jotting down your thoughts can be a great emotional outlet. Once they’re on paper, you can start working out a plan to resolve them. It doesn’t matter whether you prefer pen and notebook, a phone app, or a file on your laptop. The important thing is that you’re honest about your feelings.

Tell a Friend

When you’re feeling overwhelmed, seek out the company of a friend or loved one. Have a friend who’s dealing with the same worries as you? Even more reason to open up. You’ll both feel less alone.

Get Moving

When you work up a sweat, you improve your mood, clear your head, and take a break from whatever is stressing you out. Whether you like a long walk or an intense workout at the gym, you’ll feel uplifted afterward.

(Thanks to WebMD)

Are you a Shark or Goldfish?

March 2, 2015 Leave a comment

Jon Gordon - Sharks and GoldfishRecently, there was a British study of 500 “charmed” people. They seemed to have it all; wealth, success, great relationships, etc. The researchers were surprised to discover that every one of these “charmed” people had bad things happen to them. They all experienced challenges and adversity, however, each one of them turned the bad into good and their misfortune into fortune.

The truth is that challenges and change are a part of life. The waves of change are always coming our way. But when the wave hits we have a choice. We can embrace it and ride it to a successful future or resist it and get crushed by the wave.

Embracing our waves of challenge and change is all about how we perceive and respond to the events we face. In The Shark and the Goldfish I share the positive success formula.

E + P = O

We can’t always control the (E) vents in our life but we can control our (P)ositive response to these events and this often determines the (O)utcome.

When the change hits instead of focusing on the challenge we can choose to look for the opportunity. We can ask what this event is teaching us and identify how we can grow stronger and wiser from it. We can live in fear or move forward with faith and take positive action.

We can decide to be a Shark instead of a Goldfish? Goldfish become paralyzed by fear. They stay in their comfort zone and wait for someone to feed them. On the other hand Sharks (nice sharks) move forward with faith and take action. They trust that their best days are ahead of them, not behind them. Instead of waiting to be fed they venture out in the ocean of possibility in search of food. Their beliefs and actions create a self filling prophecy; because they expect to find food and take action to find it, they do.

Shark or a Goldfish? Which will you choose to be?

(Thanks to Jon Gordon.)