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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…)

You Know Your Life Is Good When… (Motivation)

February 5, 2019

Is your life good – or good enough? In the face of today’s nonstop media and social media barrage of  ‘get this, do that, go there, live large’ it’s easy to question yourself and your choices.

In the interest of calming things down a bit, I offer a few ideas to consider – ten ways you might know that life is good.

  1. You engage in work that draws on your unique skills and talents in the service of something that matters.
  2. You know what’s happening in the lives of your friends and neighbours because you connect with them regularly.
  3. You show up in the lives of your family members – for the small moments and the big events.
  4. You chat with your partner often about matters that go beyond the mechanics of everyday life.
  5. You pursue your dreams and express your most creative ideas.
  6. You treat your body with care and respect (regular exercise, sound nutrition, sufficient rest).
  7. You have a spiritual practice that grounds you, nourishes you, and helps you keep life in perspective.
  8. You contribute to the well being of others in your community.
  9. You frequently stretch and exercise your mind exploring new ideas and new ways of thinking.
  10. You know what you value and let that awareness lead your choices.

Mastered a few of these? Others are works in progress? That’s life!

Count your blessings. Relax. Enjoy and know that life is good – and maybe even getting better!

 

© Patricia Katz, MCE CHRP HoF, is a Canadian speaker and author who works with organizational leaders to ease the load and fuel the spirit. This best selling author of 6 books shares her wisdom regularly with thousands of readers of her e-zine, Pause. Sign up for Pause, and learn more about easing your load here on this site. Contact Pat for programs and publications at info@patkatz.com or 306-934-1807.

 

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 – 18.10 – 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 – 18.07 – 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 – 18.05 – Building Resilience: Down But Not Out

May 2, 2018

Reflection: There isn’t a person alive who hasn’t stumbled somewhere along life’s path, been disappointed by something that did or didn’t happen, been let down by others they thought they could count on, or been blindsided by bad news.

Here, in Saskatchewan in April, it seems like the entire province was impacted by news of the death of sixteen members of the Humboldt Broncos junior hockey team in a horrendous bus accident that no one saw coming. And, later in the month, the horrendous news of a van-pedestrian mow-down on the streets of Toronto

In the days following these incidents, there is a heaviness to the air and a weight to our conversations. There is sadness and anger, and also the chilling realization that these things could happen to any one of us, on any given day, in any location.

So, how do we get through the tough times that follow such occurrences, and find ways to come back from experiences that literally take your breath away?

 

Action: Here are a handful of ideas for cultivating resilience. Keep these in your back pocket for the next tough time that comes your way. (more…)

PAUSE – 18.04 – Shift Your Gears To Match The Flow

April 4, 2018

Reflection: It would be a fine thing indeed if the flow of our work was more evenly paced – with a perfect match between demands and time/energy available. Sadly, in today’s world, the size of the load tends to be much greater than the resources at hand – often with no end or relief in sight.

Still, in some worlds there are periods of high and low demand. For instance, in the face of looming tax deadlines, accountants know that February and March will be Crazy Time. The rest of the year, perhaps not so much!

When I facilitated a recent Boosting Energy program, one of the participants asked for some ideas to handle an uneven workflow that seesaws between too heavy and too light. If that is sometimes an issue in your world, too, here are a few suggestions for shifting gears. (more…)