PAUSE – 19.02 – Want Less Stress? Stop Looking For Trouble
February 6, 2019
Reflection: Do you have a solid sense of the ideas that are whirring through your mind at any given moment?
Are you aware of the impact those thoughts may be having on your experience of the day?
I know where my mind goes, and it’s not always to the most helpful places.
Join me on a little mental review and consider these questions.
- What if we stopped scanning our world for bad news and no longer stayed on high alert for stressors just around the corner?
- What if we thought less and talked less about the stress in our lives?
- What if we stopped swapping ‘poor me’ stories that focus on how overwhelmed or exhausted we feel or poorly we’ve been treated?
- What if we stopped concentrating on where and how we hurt – physically and emotionally?
- What if we stopped holding so tightly to real or imagined slights and slurs?
- What if we stopped picking at life’s stressors like a wound that just won’t heal?
Action: What if, instead, we started looking at and talking about these things? (more…)
PAUSE – 19.01 – Fine Tune For A Fine Year
January 2, 2019
Reflection: It’s the time of year when our thoughts turn to fresh starts – ways that we might improve our lives, change our habits, launch new goals. In the flurry of info about how best to accomplish these turn-arounds, an article by Tania Carriere caught my eye. I encourage you to read the full article linked from today’s Resource of the Week.
In short, Tania suggests that a shift in focus to something more and something new is not always necessary. In many cases we already know what works in our lives. We’ve simply distanced ourselves from the practices and choices that serve us well. Over time our shiny fresh intentions and actions tarnish and fade like a piece of good silver.
Like that silver, even though the surface may seem dingy and drab, the value still lives below. In her metaphor, what’s required most is not racing off in search of something new but simply finding our way back to what we already know puts a shine on our days.
Action: Over the last few days – as 2018 turned to 2019 – I’ve been pondering what I already know makes for a better life experience for me.
Here are a few strategies that would serve me well if I polished them off, and brought them back to life. They might spark some thoughts for you. (more…)
PAUSE – 18.12 – Are You Available To Awe?
December 5, 2018
Reflection: Familiarity brings with it a certain level of comfort and ease.
You hop in the car to head for work. Without even thinking, you steer in the standard direction of your standard route with your standard expectations about how the trip will unfold.
You walk into a social or professional gathering not sure who you will meet there. As you scan the group, you find a few familiar faces and gravitate in their direction.
You walk into your favorite coffee shop. Without even scanning the menu board to see what might be new on offer, you place your regular order for your regular drink in your regular size with your regular barista.
Same. Same. Same. Over and over and over. It’s little wonder that our daily interactions can have a distressingly numbing effect on our minds and emotions. (more…)
PAUSE – 18.11 – The Magic of Connection
November 7, 2018
Reflection: A friend and his wife did the dishes together every night. As she washed and he dried, they shared their news of the day, chatted about the kids, and sorted out plans for the days ahead.
Once they got a dishwasher and started taking turns doing dishes, they stopped talking. That simple shared habit had been their daily connection point.
A participant in a program recently told me that he and his wife tended to spend their evenings on their respective phones – physically present, but mentally absent.
They’ve made it a practice, every few days, to take an evening drive together and leave their phones behind. He says the conversation and connection in their lives goes up when they make time for shared adventures.
Last week, my husband and I picked up three coffees and took them to the viewing stands to squeeze in coffee and a visit with our very busy daughter while together we watched our grandson playing hockey.
In today’s nonstop world, it’s easy to grow distant from those we care about – occupied as we are with the minutiae of life and the lure of social media. Relationships suffer when we can’t find ways to stay in touch with those who matter in our world. And, that’s beyond unfortunate.
Research shows that strong relationships help us live longer and happier lives with fewer health problems. And by the way, it’s not the number of friends you have, or whether or not you’re in a committed relationship, but rather the QUALITY of your close relationships that makes the difference. (more…)
PAUSE – 18.09 – Did You Know You’re Retroactively Useful?
September 5, 2018
Reflection: I seem to be encountering a lot of people from my past these days. In the course of our conversations, more than a few of them are sharing how something I said or did influenced them years ago and continues to be meaningful in their lives today.
Sometimes it was the way I handled a challenging situation. Other times it was a piece of advice or a way of looking at or thinking about things that was important at that moment. Often those insightful tidbits have become reference points or touchstones for them as they go about their lives today.
It moves me to hear that my contributions, both intended and unintentional, added meaning to their lives. That prompts me to be even more active in extending my appreciation to others whose examples have been important to me. And…it causes me to feel more satisfied about the contributions I’ve already made in my life and work.
Action: The desire to be purposeful and of service to others does not diminish with age. In fact as people grow older, they often start to think more directly about leaving a lasting and positive legacy.
Well, the good news is this. (more…)
PAUSE – 18.08 – FOMO or JOMO? Flip It!
August 1, 2018
Reflection: Many of the things that we might consider problematic about our selves or our lives also have an upside. Indecisive? Well the upside could be that you are also flexible and open to possibilities. Obsessed by details? The upside could be that you are organized and accurate. To claim the upside, we simply need to flip our point of view.
The same thing is true with one of the most common stressors of today’s modern life: FOMO – Fear of Missing Out. FOMO can keep us tethered to social media, with fears fanned by postings on Facebook or Instagram. We see an endless procession of cool experiences and special events. We see deals on this and deals on that. And all of a sudden we find ourselves feeling ‘less than’ or shortchanged – like we’re missing out on the latest and greatest.
My FOMO hook is travel. I see others enjoying vacations and adventures in exciting places around the world. And despite the fact that we do a LOT of traveling ourselves, and that I’m happy for the good times of others, it’s easy for me to work up a case of adventure envy. We should go there! We should try that! How did we spend all that time in Paris and not see this?
Well, it’s possible to flip FOMO as well. Turn it into JOMO – the Joy of Missing Out – the relief that comes when you’re not comparing your life to the lives of others. You’re not feeling compelled to be anywhere else. You are simply present to the joy of life as it is today. (more…)
PAUSE – 18.07 – The Helpful Art of Pitching In
July 4, 2018
Reflection: I was scheduled as the after luncheon speaker, and things were running late. The servers were delayed in getting the last few items on the tables, while conference attendees milled about the hallway waiting for the ‘all clear’ cue to seat themselves. The clock was ticking; and time was a wasting.
I stepped forward and offered to place the last of the water pitchers and coffee urns on the tables while the servers took care of getting the salads in place. Serving staff were surprised, and so was the conference coordinator. ‘You don’t need to do that,’ was the comment directed my way.
They were right. I didn’t need to do that. Nowhere in a speaker’s job description does it read, ‘Put the water pitchers on the tables for lunch.’ But there was a need at hand and an opportunity to help. And since I could pitch in, I did.
A friend recently went through a very rough patch in her life. Her husband (who is also her business partner) experienced some serious health issues during their busiest season of the year. Another friend, whose schedule was open at the time, volunteered to come in and serve as their ‘gopher’ at the office.
She handled reception, mail, banking, chauffeur service, courier duty and more. If it would help ease the load, and she could do it, she took it on. What a practical way to let someone else know how much they matter! (more…)
PAUSE – 18.06 – How Is Your Situational Awareness?
June 6, 2018
Reflection: We’ve just returned from a month of travel in Europe where our adventures included visits to Barcelona, Rome, and Venice. These cities are densely populated to begin with, and they each host tens of thousands of tourists a day.
The streets are packed with bodies in motion – both locals going about their daily business and tourists trying to see the sights. Many people were thoughtful and considerate – others not so much!
One of the things we noted repeatedly was a significant lack of what my husband calls ‘Situational Awareness’ – a mindfulness around the impact that our behaviours have on others. Here’s how that played out. (more…)
PAUSE – 18.03 – What Could Be Stealing Your Happiness?
March 7, 2018
How happy are you with your life these days?
And if you find things falling a bit short, who or what do you hold responsible?
This business of happiness is an interesting creature.
Throughout our lives, it’s often the case that we imagine we will be happier and more content when we reach some future state.
- When we’re done school – or going back to school.
- When we’ve landed an exciting job – or disengaged from a boring one.
- When we’re married – or divorced.
- When we have children – or when the kids leave home.
And so it goes on multiple fronts. I don’t know about you, but I continue to learn that future states are not always the glorious versions of bliss that I might have imagined them to be.
John Izzo’s latest book, The Five Thieves of Happiness, sheds some light on this experience. One of the messages that stands out for me is John’s observation that ‘We don’t need to seek happiness as much as we need to get out of its way.’ (more…)
PAUSE – 18.01 – How Do You And Your Calendar Get Along?
January 10, 2018
Reflection: My relationship with calendars has changed over time; and it’s more than just a shift from paper to digital. Maybe the way YOU relate to your calendar is changing, too.
In my childhood, the calendar was my parents’ domain. In those days, businesses gifted customers with calendars in December, in hopes that theirs would be the one that hung in your kitchen all year round. Mom and Dad recorded meetings and special events, but the calendar also served as a record of life on the farm with notes about temperatures, rainfall, start and end dates for seeding, haying, and harvest.
As a teenager – in high school and then university – my own calendar was all about class schedules and exams, extracurricular activities, and part time work.
When I became a working parent, our family calendar served as control central keeping us on track and alerting us to potential conflicts between our travel schedules and children’s’ activities.
In the early days of my business, I looked at the calendar as an indicator of success. If it was filled with workshops and speaking engagements, that signaled more money in the bank. Too much white space left me anxious and triggered a flurry of promotion, marketing, and program development. (more…)