Monday Morning Internal Audit – Choose One Thought

IMG_2626

Welcome to your new workweek!  You have power.  This is the one place where you have power over everything that happens and that is inside of you.

Right now, take a moment to check up on your internal dialogue.  What one thought do you want to tease out of all the noise of Monday Morning that will carry you through the week?  A few weeks ago my daughter got married.  On the Monday of that week, all of my thoughts were directed toward Saturday, the day of her wedding.  That week it was easy to find a direction.  What was the one thing that I wanted to accomplish that week?  The wedding!   Anything that happened that week, even if it was work related, had to be done so that my mind could be clear for the wedding.

This week my One Thought that will carry me through the week is Connection.  It will be my theme.  Everything that I do this week, every opportunity that comes my way, every rote duty that I perform will be brought underneath the umbrella of Connection.  When I do this, when I have a unifying theme, it challenges me to be in control of myself, to be more deliberate about my actions and if I find I have distracting thoughts, I can measure them against the word “Connection”.

Hello Monday!

Results are In! Hugging is Beneficial To Your Health!

796-Tranquility-800x600

For those of you who need a reason to do so, and I know some of you who do, researchers at the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami Medical School have found that the beneficial effects of positive touch are long lasting.  Benefits of positive touch include a decrease in the stress hormone, cortisol, and causes surges of the “feel good” hormones dopamine and serotonin! And the results of positive touch can last a long after the two people are no longer in physical proximity! Hugs are like giving someone a dose of Stress Reduction before going out into a stress filled world. So hug your kids, your spouses, significant others, friends, the elderly, and today you might even get away with hugging a stranger (just be careful to not be creepy with that one). Hug and hold hands. Give away as much positive touch as you can today and have a wonderful Valentine’s Day!!

6 Questions To End Each Day

922-Challenges-800x600Whether you own your own business, work in a corporate setting, are a stay at home parent, or a student, chances are, that’s not the only thing going on in your life and you’re busy.  When I worked in a university’s retention program, I would go over students’ schedules with them and was often surprised at how packed their lives were.  As a coach, similarly, when you go over people’s schedules with them to see what all they’re trying to fit into their day, it’s often surprising how many things people are trying to do and how many things fall through the cracks.

It’s the things that fall through the cracks that are the cause for concern.  It’s the “I’ll get to that tomorrow” that often never gets done until its on fire or past due.  To enhance simplicity in your  life, Thoreau wrote in his journal, “The rule is to carry as little as possible.” [Journal, 22 July 1857]

I have been teased for carrying tiny purses.  But my purse generally has only what I need for that day in it.  Every evening I take everything out of my purse and every morning I only put into my purse what I’m going to need that day.

Our lives should be given that same consideration. Everyday unpack your “purse”. Take a few moments every evening to think back over your day, from the beginning of your day and take stock of what happened. You don’t need to keep a journal if that’s not your style, a blank sheet of paper will do. The important part is to go back over your day and take everything out of your head that happened.

Now, that you’ve done that ask yourself these questions:

 1. Did I connect with someone?  Not who did you see, but with whom did you connect? Are you pleased with the connections that you made? Is there someone that you wanted to connect with that for some reason the connection didn’t happen?

 2. What was my focus today? Take a really good look, and since no one is looking over your shoulder, be completely honest with yourself. Were you preoccupied with some nagging unwanted thoughts? Were you “there” in body, but not in spirit?

 3. What did I really enjoy about today? If you can’t think of anything, that might be something that you want to put on a list for tomorrow.

 4. What was I doing today when I gave it my best? Often, when we’re spread too thin, we don’t have enough energy or presence to give anything we do our best. We show up to hurry up to get to the next thing. Sound familiar?

 5. What are my gut instincts telling me about my life and the people around me? Nagging thoughts about something that you’re pushing away because you don’t want to deal with should lead you to writing that nagging thought down and then scheduling some time to think about it and strategize about how you’re going to deal with it.

 6. What am I grateful for today? Gratitude is the key agent for getting some positive energy flowing.

When you practice asking yourself these questions on a daily basis, if you don’t like the answers, you’ll find that you will naturally begin to change things going on in your life.  Too often we don’t look at our lives because we think that we are going to HAVE to implement some system to change our lives. But, the truth is, while we do things to avoid pain, what we really want is pleasure.  If you want to put more pleasure in your life, ask yourself the questions above, each day, until you can answer the questions without discomfort. You’ll find that your life will naturally become simpler and the things that you carry will be lighter and fewer.

5 Things You Can Do To Improve Your Work Life

No woman or man is an island. And while you can pick your friends, you can’t pick your coworkers! You need their cooperation, goodwill, and understanding to perform your own job well.  You spend more time with your coworkers during the week than  you do your friends or your family. And studies show that when there’s a problem with the relationships in the workplace, there are redundancies, slowed progress, and all of that lowers morale.  While you don’t have to be friends with co-workers, to make you work life more productive, you do need to be friendly. Extending just a few courtesies to colleagues can make a huge difference in somebody’s day and garner workplace peace for you and others.  Here are 5 easy things to do.

1.  Have a smile and a hello when you arrive.  It’s easy to be the office grump. Traffic was bad. Someone was rude. It’s another day, right? But, there’s that person that arrives to work who smiles at everyone and has a cheery hello, and walks past you with calm confidence that makes you feel envious. That can be you. The secret is to stop and take a deep breath before you leave the house, before you get out of the car/bus/train, and before you open the office door. And yes, that was a list of places where you stop, take a deep breath, consciously relax, and bring your best self forward.

2.  Small talk is the key to caring. But you thought small talk is difficult or shallow? Small talk is key to telling someone else you care about what they care about. Karen has pictures of her children on her desk. Bill is a rabid college football fan. Rebecca is planning a trip to Mexico. How do you know that? You ask simple questions like, how was your weekend? And then when someone tells you, you ask a follow up question.  Work is about work, but the work gets done because of the people. And most people work better when they feel that someone at work cares.

3.  Express Appreciation. Is there one person who seems to not mind being the person who puts paper in the copier even when it isn’t their job, or makes another pot of coffee just to be considerate? Sometimes these people are being suck-ups, but I’ve found that most of the time, people who do little things that keep things going at the office, do so because they’re considerate people.  They’re not looking for a thank you, but nobody ever resents being noticed for being kind.

4. Assume the best. If you don’t know for sure what’s someone’s motive is, then assume the best. If you don’t know what someone else is doing on a certain project, or how another team may be tackling their part, assume that everyone is working as hard as you are and cares as much as you do. I have found that people who spread gossip and assume the worst about others are trying to cover up about something regarding their own participation in an endeavor. Where are they getting the time to worry about what someone else is doing and then gossip about it?

5. Be prompt.  Arrive on time. To work. To meetings. Answering emails. Updating your team. Finishing projects. There is nothing that says, “I value your time,” like the expression of being prompt.

You’re there at least 6 – 8 hours a day. Make it more than a hassle free environment.  Do your part to make it a pleasant environment.