Thursday, June 16, 2016

Take Control of Who You Are - 4 Easy Steps to Take Care of Yourself

Guest post: Thanks Marie. In light of recent events it's good to consider. Particularly, we as leaders need to take care of ourselves and be mindful of those on our team. Marie's theme suggests a practical approaches to emotional intelligence. Also following Marie's post, check out the post, "Leaders Have Feelings Too."

Take Control of Who You Are - 4 Easy Steps to Take Care of Yourself

Can you believe that mental illnesses are more common than heart disease, diabetes and even cancer? According to the World Health Organization – it’s true. We live in a stressful day and age, and while some people clearly recognize how stress affects their everyday lives, others are not fully aware of the influence stress has on them.

Yes, stress can be good for you in certain situations – it can help you focus and perform better under pressure. But once stress becomes overpowering, it can seriously damage your relationships, mood and overall health. Most of our mental and physical problems come from our inability to cope with our emotions. We have a tendency to bury our fears, smother our insecurities in comfort food or sweep our feelings “under the rug”.

Taking control of your emotions is a slow process, and if you want to be in charge of your life, you have to take it step by step.

Step 1: Learn to say “No” more

People spend enormous amounts of money on psychologists. Psychologists spend enormous amounts of energy constructing and administering psychological tests, trying to help people understand themselves. And the cycle never ends. However, if you want to test your psychological well-being or the health of your relationship, just monitor the internal response you have when you have to say “no” to someone. Also, keep in mind that “No!” is a complete sentence.

Step 2: Learn to Deal with Your Anxieties

So, when you have to say “no” to a close person, what is your initial response to their reaction? Do you pressure yourself to try to find an excuse? Do you rush to find a good reason to justify your “no”? If you look at the dictionary, you’ll see that the word justify literally means to “show or prove to be right”. Now, just think about it – why does this person have such an authority over you to see if your reasoning is right or wrong. If that person cares about you, he/she is not supposed to judge you.

Step 3: Relax Your Mind

Fear is a primal emotion, but unless you’re facing a genuine threat – it’s usually a negative one. If you suffer from chronic anxiety, even the smallest things can trigger it. You need something to help you with your racing thoughts and if you want to quiet your overactive mind, meditation might be the solution for you. Anxious people tend to shy away from meditation because they can’t sit still or focus enough to clear their mind and meditate. So you have to be patient, and remember, the main goal is to learn how to manage your energy and become more productive in the long run.

Step 4: Go Easy On Your Body

In some cases, people use alcohol in order to “unwind” and “self-medicate”, but in reality, addictive substances such as drugs or alcohol only enhance anxieties and aggravate problems. Furthermore, your diet probably needs to change – fast foods, snacks and sodas need to be replaced by red meats, vegetables and water. Vitamins and minerals are essential to your body; luckily there are health food store at almost every corner. Of course, you could always go online and look up the organic vitamin supplements such as the Fusion Health Multi Vitamin formula in order to stay healthy.

Before you start taking any steps, you have to learn to accept your emotions. The key is to stop wasting your energy on avoiding your emotions and start fully experiencing your feelings. Step back and think about where are your thoughts and behaviors coming from. Let your guard down and try to understand why something hurts and what do you want to do about it. Only when you start taking certain risks you will be able to grow.

Contact Marie:

Follow up post: Leaders Have Feeling Too!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

The Best Career Advice You'll Ever Receive!

It's the activity most adults are familiar with. It's time for a job search and therefore, it's time to "get a resume" together. For many, just the thought of it produces the proverbial, "Ugh!" It's like having to construct your life history all at once, all from scratch. It feels like torture! Well...when approached that way, it is!

On top of that, memories are dicey. They are unreliable and therefore are not your best companion in the endeavor to present the best of you on paper to a prospective employer.

Therefore, this is one of the most important articles you'll ever read addressing effective career management. Please do not be the person who tries to see and sell all of their talent through the lens of a single sheet resume constructed with shoddy memories.

To avoid that -- to stop under representing yourself, activate these tips in your life immediately!

1. Keep track of your job experience through a job journal. Not only is this extremely beneficial when resume writing is needed, it's great for your performance reviews. This is your memory bank -- on paper!

Additionally, as you're keeping track try to quantitate what you're doing so that you can express accomplishments and value in your work (this kind of information should be a highlight of your resume). 

"xyz project was completed 3 days ahead of time."
"the successful event was put together $2,000.00 under budget."
"I saved a customer from going to a competitor -- that saved us x dollars."

2. Pay attention to what you really enjoy doing -- what gives you high levels of satisfaction. It's easiest to identify this when you're in the act of doing it! Looking at levels of satisfaction is not necessarily by job title or description, but job functions. Ask yourself, "What in my job, do I like doing?" Notice the level of enjoyment or satisfaction and even rate it on a scale of 1-5 for future decision-making. For this tip, it's not about the job description, but what you do in the job that you want to pay attention to.

This tip is one of the most important I can give you. It is the most essential in crafting a meaningful career experience. When I'm career coaching I ask, "What did you most enjoy doing in previous roles?" Many can't remember or don't recall accurately, particularly when you have to recollect from several years past.  The inability to do so contributes to perpetually choosing jobs that you will not fully enjoy, bring nominal meaning and will keep you on a quest for what you deem as the ideal job.

As you can gather, these critical tips are not one time activities but ongoing practices. In fact I call them career management habits!  Are you in the habit of... 
  • Tracking your experience?
  • Paying attention to what truly brings your enjoyment?
  • Quantifying your contribution and value?
These habits are essential elements to achieving career success. They are the best career management tips you'll ever get!

Ever thought about career coaching? Learn more - click here

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Are You Ready To Be a Workplace Grown-up?

I know this sounds like a very odd question. You're probably saying to yourself, "What do you mean, I'm a grown-up."  Well sure you are.

But most of us will agree, we have our moments -- particularly at work, when some crazy event, incident or person sends us back in time and we feel as if our teenage self has invaded our bodies once again.

The workplace seems to be the perfect testing ground for adulthood (as demonstrated by the steady stream of employee training requests I receive for getting along, communicating better and managing conflict, to name a few).

It's the laboratory of human behavior -- the place to test whether we can maintain our perceived maturity and professional decorum or revert back to unedited reactions, attitudes, behaviors, and tactics that were boldly expressed during the years when technically we "didn't know any better".

And though I could go the more sophisticated route in this post and connect all this to emotional intelligence, I'd like this post to be quite simple in making a point by asking this question, "Are you willing to be a workplace grown-up?"

What's a workplace grown-up you ask?  It's someone who takes 100% responsibility for who they are and how they act no matter the circumstances. Tough calling I know -- but these days sorely needed, now more than ever.

In a recent study released by the Six Seconds Group - emotional intelligence is on the decline. Uh oh -- who will be the grown-ups now?

An important side note -- crazy makes more crazy. In leadership and management language that means immature adults managed by unskilled managers heightens workplace dysfunction.

In fact have you ever witnessed unhealthy behavior in an employee triggering counterproductive behavior in a manager?  Yep -- I have...I was the manager.

And there in lies the key to the solution. It goes like this -- admit it - own it - grow muscles in successfully managing it.  Muscles?  I call skills related to self management muscles, some are stronger than others -- some more developed in others.  In my EQ workshops we talk about triggers and the need to identify and manage them.  Learning to manage them I call developing "emotional muscles".

Here's the catch -- in order to develop a muscle, it's got to be worked (you know, like in the gym).  That means repeated exposure to the thing -- the weight -- that will cause the muscle to grow.  And this leads us full circle back to the tittle Are You Ready To Be A Workplace Grown-up? Are you ready for the heavy lifting it will take to develop emotional muscles in areas that may be weak.

How will you be able to gauge your muscle / strength development? The weaker the trigger (meaning the less influence or power it has over your reactions and subsequent behaviors) the stronger the muscle. If the trigger is still strong, the muscle is still weak.

In the larger view of life, emotional intelligence is an essential life skill to happiness and success in all areas. It's worthy of your time, effort and attention, not only personally, but professionally -- for individuals and organzations.

Consider bringing an EQ seminar to your organization. I consider it one of 6 Individual Employee Core Competencies in the workplace - learn more here

And for those decision-makers who doubt the value of the investment to introduce EQ into their organizational cultures -- there is plenty of evidence that the return-on-investment is substantial. Check out this latest study done at Fed Ex reflecting performance growth among managers due to EQ development. - click here

Does your company need management training - most companies do - click here to learn more

This post by the way was inspired by a guest post from my dear friend +Alan Allard  - How to Embrace Everything You Do

Here's to growing those muscles!

Here's a link to the Six Seconds Group to learn more about the study - click here
Website Resource Page - lots of good stuff on it  EQ interview questions, additional studies

This blog is based on this book. In it are actionable ideas on being a better manager: The 1% Edge - The Workbook - Power Strategies to Increase Your Management Effectiveness