Life is Like Coffee

I received a link to a short video clip from a friend.  Knowing where my passion lies and how I believe in paying it forward, I am sure that when he viewed this video he thought that it was something that would touch me as it obviously touched him.  There was nothing written in the email, just the link.

I now pass this link on to you and will let you do with it what you wish, take from it what you want and apply it where you feel it is best suited.,0


Trying to Balance Work and Home Life? Time to Add One More Element!

Life can become complicated.  Much more than we would like at times.  When we are overwhelmed with work our home life can suffer and when we are overwhelmed at home the work life can suffer.  We all need to find a balance to not only keep harmony with those around us, but also with ourselves.    75% of the time stress is the reason for illness.  No one likes to be sick so it makes sense to do the things that reduce stress.   Balance is a key ingredient.

Balance by definition is : “To bring into or keep in equal or satisfying proportion or harmony.”   It can seem like a constant struggle to balance work and home, but let me add another activity that is vital for your well-being… leisure time.  Time just for you.  Time to exercise, read a book, take a walk, mediate, watch t.v., listen to music and do other things that are your alone time.   This time is not to spend with family, spouse or children.  It is your time to do what you want to do, love to do and enjoy doing.  Health professionals advocate at least three hours a week for personal relaxation and recreation.

Try adding a bit of leisure time to your routine and watch everything else slowly move into balance.  If you want to start right away, go to YouTube and do a search for relaxation meditation and listen to one of the wonderful musical selections.  It will only take you 10 minutes and you will feel great when done.  You may find that this quick break gets added to your daily routine.  Now dedicate some more time for your personal leisure.  You will look, feel and perform better at work and home.

Making Decisions and Problem Solving, Stress Relief

Problems, problems, problems.  We all have them and we all need to come up with solutions.  But how do you go about this task?  Do you rely on prior experience, make a pros and con list, procrastinate until the problem either takes care of itself because of your lack of action or do you pass the problem along to someone else and hope that they solve it for you?

The purpose of this entry is not to tell you things you already know, but to remind you of the tools that you have within your reach that you may have forgotten about.  When we were in school we learned all about the various problems solving methods, but somewhere along the way we fell into the habit of using the same method again and again. (let’s hope that method is not avoidance)

Stress is caused when we do not have a plan for solving the problems that enter into our lives.  Avoiding adds more stress.   Think of those things now that are nagging at you, keeping you up at night and what you are doing to take control.   It has been proven that the more stress we endure the less effective we are at solving our problems.   We can actually reinforce stress and thus make stress a habit.  Recall that a habit is “A recurrent, often unconscious pattern of behavior that is acquired through frequent repetition.” by not attending to the problem and reducing our stress we are making stress a habit in our lives.

There are numerous methods to solving problems.  Here are a few:

  1. talk  with someone you trust
  2. asking the five whys
  3. making a pros and cons list
  4. diagramming the problem,  i.e., -Venn , affinity, cause and effect
  5. SWOT and PEST analysis
  6. risk analysis
  7. flow charts
  8. appreciative inquiry

If you have forgotten any of these tools that are available to help you, you may just want to brush up on their concepts and add them to your own toolbox once again.

To a more peaceful life and better health, manage your stress!

If You Think Change is Happening Quickly Now… Wait

Listening to the guest speaker address a group of employees at their annual conference  two things that stood out to me.  1)  change is happening faster now than ever before and 2)  change will continue to happen faster and faster in the future.

I recall as recent as 5 years ago when a change in a company was discussed you knew that nothing would happen over night.  You went about your daily tasks until the next month Town Hall Meeting where an update would be given and a new time line for when the change would take place.  It seemed that there was always a wait while someone received word back from someone else.  Or, the proposed equipment change was delayed because of manufacturing or shipping.  With this type of movement you were eased into change.

Change is happening faster and faster and will continue to move at rapid rates.  We are now connected to anyone we want to be, need to be or have to be by technology.  I know for myself, I talk to my son on SKYPE almost daily.  I have a coaching partner in Australia where we interact either with SKYPE of another interface like VYEW where we can share our slide decks, whiteboards or documents for editing.  What would have taken longer via snail mail was quicken by using email and now more so my virtual collaboration media.

For those people who don’t like change or resist change the mere knowledge that change is happening more rapidly can send them into a state of panic or stress.  If you work with people who stress easily over change you may want to take small steps now to help them adapt.  Some things that may help are:

  1. have them sign up for one of the social media sites
  2. upgrade their cellular phone to the newer smart phones
  3. have them step outside their current comfort zone in an area now before change takes place
  4. assure them of where their support systems
  5. have them change one small routine each week/day.  Perhaps turn on their computer and then get coffee or try a different restaurant for lunch
  6. have them take a new way home or to work one day a week

We all know change is inevitable and the way we deal with change has a dramatic impact on how well we will adapt and move forward.

From Stress to Harmony (Free Assessment Part 2)

Below are 12 simple questions to answer with regards to how you may be adding stress to your life where harmony could exist.  Of course there are many more questions you may want to ask of yourself since you are the one that knows you best.  What causes you stress? How is that stress passed on to those around you, at home, work, social?

How often do you listen to what your body is telling you?  Do you have a knot in your shoulders or neck?  Are you grinding your teeth in your sleep, do you feel like the hamster on the wheel, always being busy but never finishing what you need to do?

All these are indicators that you may want to stop, breath and reflect.  There is a better way!

  1. I arrive effortlessly and on time for every appointment
  2. I create extra time in the day for unexpected things that come up
  3. I say “no” as often as I need to without regret
  4. I monitor what I take on to make sure it is not too much
  5. There is nothing I am dong that does not contribute to a balance life
  6. I eat meals in an environment that promotes peace and calm (not in front of the t.v. or while driving or talking of the phone, etc.)
  7. I have resolved any outstanding issues that have bothered me
  8. I regularly take time out to spend with my thoughts and to reflect on my well being
  9. I practice relaxation in the form of meditation, yoga, deep breathing, stretching, reflection being mindful, etc.
  10. I take enough time off/vacation to rejuvenate
  11. I get a massage at least once a month if not more.
  12. I do not exceed the speed limit or take other chances with my well-being

Next up….Do you have a Positive State or Mind?

Health & Fitness (Free Assessment Part 1of 3)

Only two days left and the first month of 2010 will be over.  Went by quickly didn’t it?  Just a few weeks ago people were excited about a new year and all the possibilities.  Some had New Year’s resolutions, others set goals for themselves deciding that the resolution thing just doesn’t work for them.  Either way you look at it we tend to take the New Year as a way to make a change.  So let’s see how are you are doing so far.

Let’s start by looking at Health and Fitness.  Surely this is on the top of many people’s list.  Check off those that apply to you.

  1. I drink at least 6-8 glasses of water per day
  2. I eat moderate amounts of sugar, and have handled any sugar addiction.
  3. I eat moderate amounts of fat
  4. I eat moderate amounts of salt
  5. My diet contains a high percentage of fruit and vegetables
  6. I do not smoke
  7. I have no more than five alcoholic drinks per week
  8. I have no more than one drink of tea/coffee/coke per day
  9. At least five nights out of seven I get the sleep I need (min. 6 hours)
  10. I exercise at least three times per week for a minimum of 25 minutes per session

How are you doing?  See areas where you may need to pay more attention?  Now that you are aware you can’t pretend to not know, so what are you going to do?

When you feel better you are more productive, more alert, able to handle the stresses of life better.  Your outlook is more positive and that state of being positive is passed along to those that you interact with, the ripple affect.  

The next assessment will be coming shortly – From Stress to Harmony!

A Stress Free Life – Begin in January!

I was at the mall yesterday and was surprised to see so many people there.  It has been a long time since I have seen the Parking Lot marked “Full”.   Seeing the mall this crowded reminded me of holiday’s passed when you were sure that you would be battling for parking,  sales clerks and check out aisles.   You had to psych yourself up as you headed out the door.  Ah… stressful times.

As I prepare my home for extended guests, do the holiday shopping, attend holiday parties and continue a full time job, I know how much I look forward to just sitting down and relaxing.  However, I tell myself that that will happen in January.  Ah…. when everyone is back to their normal routines.  If you are looking to relax in January, I have a tip to pass along.

A colleague of mine is currently offering a great deal on a 6 week audio meditation series that starts in January.  The series is called “Simple Little Practices” and is designed for people who want to RELAX and FOCUS in the New Year by starting (or re-energizing) a guided meditation practice.

If you register by December 24th, you can “bring a friend” for free!

This would make a great holiday gift – or split the cost with a friend.

Details and registration information are available at

Stress in Being Popular

I was at my chiropractor  this morning and as he adjusted and then rubbed menthol smelling cream into my neck, he let me know that I had a nice sized knot in my shoulders.  He then went on to tell me that I hold all my stress inside while being so personable and bubbly on the outside.  I personally don’t think I am bubbly, I just like people and make the choice to be happy and see things as good and exciting.  I like to talk and engage with people.  That’s not so bad is it?  After all, I am a coach!

Obviously, like many of you I never really know when I am dealing with stress.   Even those events that we look forward to with delight are at times stressful.  So occasionally I find myself in Dr. T’s office while he shakes his head and asks me why I waited so long to come and see him.  He has known me for about 10 years and knows that the only time I go to see him is when I have thrown out my back.   Of course, I can never tell him how I did it because I don’t know myself.  This time I kept on exercising and doing my normal crazy routines.  I felt pain in my arm, lower back, upper foot, etc., but just told myself  it  would go away in time.  I let all the little pains and twangs of my body go until one day at a meeting I felt my neck and shoulder go tingly.  A pinched nerve perhaps?   As it turns out, all my avoidance was worse than I thought.  I  ended up in traction three times a week, not being able to exercise and in pain.  Thanks to Dr. T. I am on the mend.

Lesson to be learned here is listen to your body and have self-care.  You do no one any good when you are not in full health.  If you want to know where the title for this posting came from you will have to ask Dr. T.


Identifying Stress in Your Employees – Watch for Signs!s

Are you asking your employees to do more with less resources and time?  With so many companies in the survival mode having gone through layoffs and mission changes, chances are you and your employees are potentially more stressed than you have been in a long time.

Are you looking for the signs of employee stress?  Here are some things that you can look for in your employees and while you are at it, do a self check!

  • Are you noticing your employees:
    • Are quicker to get defensive
    • Are angry more often
    • Are crying or sad
    • Are silent more than normal
    • Are they picking or biting their nails
    • Are they having visible signs of facial breakouts that they never had before
    • Are they yawning more often
    • Are they overly energetic
    • Are they always eating
    • Are they never eating

The list could go on and on, but these are some visible signs.  What can you do to help your employees?  You can talk to them, be the Manager that demonstrates concern and appreciation for the work they are doing.  If you know your employees are working under tight deadlines, acknowledge their efforts.  You may want to have a meeting outside rather than in a conference room or your office to provide sunlight and a change of pace.  When employees are working hard, they tend to not get the natural light we all need to remain healthy.

When having meetings, take a break and have the attendees stand up and stretch!  Take a few moments at the beginning and end of the meeting to ask the participants to take a few deep breaths and relax.  If you think this is a strange thing to do, try running your office with stressed out people.  As a manager you are a catalyst for change.  Let your staff know that you know there are many reasons to be stressed, but that you are there to help.  Talk to them about the fact that they have a choice in how they respond to their environment.  Remember, we can all REACT to a situation or RESPOND.  When we RESOND we are more in control.  Why?  Because we took the time to think and not react on impulse.

And if you are the type to take food into the office, make it healthy.  Instead of donuts, try fruit.  Instead of soda how about juices?  Demonstrating healthy eating during a time of stress is another way to show you care.

What Is Your Level of Productive Tension?

The one thing we can always count on is change!  How many times have you heard this?  We are all dealing with change everyday of our lives.  Some times that change is good and sometimes not so good.  The way we handle change has a great deal to do with the way we handle stress.

Let’s face it – there are some things that we can’t control.  But, we can control the way we respond to change and this will reduce the stress that may accompany any change.

I recently took an assessment on how I am managing my change curve.  The results were graphed so that I could see where and at what level the changes I am encountering now could be affecting my performance/production.

The five categories of Productive Tension that I could have plots were:

  • Stress – key word here – panic
  • Power Stress – key word here – Process of Change
  • Power – key word here – consider, considering the options
  • Power Apathy – key word – delegate.  Know what needs to be done but would rather delegate
  • Apathy – key word – snooze.  In other words low level of engagement if any at all

Luckily I had none in the Stress area or in the Apathy area!  This is not to say that I have never had some areas of my life in these areas, but as of now I have managed by Productive Tension well which equates to dealing with the changes in my life affectively.

How are you doing?