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PAUSE – 19.05 – Banish Cranky to The Hills

May 1, 2019

Reflection: It wasn’t an unusual week, but I do remember it well. By the time Friday rolled around, I was good and cranky.

It hadn’t even been an especially demanding week. Just an event or three here – a project or four there – an errand or five elsewhere – and so it went. Not unlike a host of other weeks.

But I was tired and out of sorts all the same. Snappy – short tempered – restless! I recognize the signs more easily at this stage in my life.

The situation called for measures – not even drastic ones. I knew I needed time for me.

And so, I cleared the decks for Saturday. No commitments. No errands. No leaving the house to tend to anything for anyone.

What DID I do? I indulged in a series of simple, small and seemingly insignificant treats:  (more…)

PAUSE – 19.04 – Turn Down The Screen – Turn Up Your Life

April 3, 2019

Reflection: Not long ago I found myself in my doctor’s reception area, waiting for my appointment. Also waiting were three young moms each with infants in car carriers parked at their feet.

All the little ones were awake and alert. All the moms were elsewhere – eyes glued to the screens of their smart phones making no effort to connect with their babies.

Now maybe they were dealing with important issues at a distance. Or maybe they were exhausted and just enjoying the quiet. (I do remember that parenting a little one can really take it out of you!)

But here’s the challenge. (more…)

PAUSE – 19.03 – Make It Meaningful To You To Make It Matter More

March 6, 2019

Reflection: I love it when ideas collide and spark a fresh insight. That happened for me this morning as I pondered my Pause message for this week.

The first inspiration came from today’s Dilbert cartoon. Pointy Haired Boss is discussing Asok’s ‘less than ideal’ employee engagement results. Boss counsels Asok that he should show a higher level of irrational enthusiasm for the endless string of thankless tasks – AKA his job. He also suggests that he expects Asok to show an unnatural preference for work over leisure. Don’t you just love that line of thought??

The second inspiration came from a poster quote that appeared in my social media feed. This quote by Francine Jay read, “My goal is no longer to get more done, but rather to have less to do.” I laughed when I read it and immediately forwarded it to a group of friends who share these kind of messages.

As quickly as I had I shared it, I realized it doesn’t quite paint a complete picture. (more…)

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 – 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 – 18.10 – T Times Three Can Serve You Well

October 3, 2018

Reflection: I mentioned this study a few years ago; and I’m going to share it again, because I believe it’s so significant.

The Energy Project stated in Harvard Business Review that employees who break every 90 minutes to pulse between work and renewal report: 28% better focus, 30% greater health and well being, and a 40% increase in thinking creatively.

I’m pretty sure you’ll agree that any practice that improves focus, creativity, health and wellbeing is good for us all. Yet there continue to be challenges in giving our selves permission to step away from the load. Those ubiquitous forces of guilt and fear prompt us to keep our noses to the grindstone – where we repeatedly crash and burn or live in a continuous state of blur and endure.

Even for those who are convinced of the value of pausing, it’s easy to get swept up in the work of the day and to forget that we had intended to take time for renewal.

 

Action: So, in support of those good intentions, here are three ways to move those intentions to action more often. (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…)