Sunday, December 30, 2012

Who's watching you?

It’s a well-known secret that our behavior changes when we think someone’s watching.

That applies to the way we gorge ourselves on Food, surf the Internet, hold our Posture or work on a Project. Since only 2% of our population have a natural sense of urgency, all of the other 98% need someone to watch over our shoulder so we give our best.

So I wasn’t surprised when I read in a book about healthy Weight-management that one trick is to pretend someone’s observing you when your eating gets out of hand. Our imagination can be our greatest enemy or greatest asset - depending on if you imagine the taste of a delicious dessert you could have or if you imagine a group of people watching you eating that cake.

So which of your bad habits would change if someone was watching? Who would be the person you least would want to see you like this? Maybe it is someone you admire, someone who’s opinion matters to you? Maybe it would be someone you wouldn't want to disappoint?

It shouldn't be the case that you only give your best when you are observed by someone else. Give the best for yourself! Walk as if someone’s watching, hold your posture as if someone observes you and eat as if people are staring until you are the person that gives her/his best automatically. Because... someone is always watching and judging you - and that someone is you.

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Monday, December 17, 2012

Are you a Genius?

 You could in fact, start acting like a Genius - right now!

It has been shown that there are 3 common characteristics, which all Geniuses have in common and you can develop them, too!

Here they are:

1.) A childlike Sense of Wonder
Looking at a challenge with a childlike sense of wonder, as if they had never seen it before. Looking at a problem with a ‘fresh set of eyes’, possibly with playfulness.

2.) A deep concentrated Focus

Taking the time to really focus in on one single issue, problem, challenge. Developing the skill of uninterrupted concentration and focus.

3.) A structured Approach to Problem-Solving
Structuring your Approach so that you can move from the Exploration Phase of a Challenge into the next Phase. Building a system of Problem-Solving.

Are you currently presenting any of these elements? You can use the same characteristics to approach your challenges and hone in on your Concentration skills!

What would be a challenge where you could use this skills?

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Thursday, December 13, 2012

Quick reads that can change your World

Your quality of life 6 months from now is a reflection of what you’re reading right now.

The author Brian Tracy has already stated decades ago that you could double your income in one year if you would read 30 minutes of relevant literature every day. I am a firm believer that this is true - more so I have seen it happen several times.

We have all heard before that the average individual has about 70 000 thoughts a day, but more than the majority of those thoughts are the same each day. We question the same problems, contemplate the same relationships and approach challenges the same way. By reading the right, quick literature, you will naturally start contemplating new ideas and find several different solutions to your old problems.

In 6 months you could now how to save your money better than ever before, how to motivate yourself instantly, how to manage your time so that you have the best Work-Life Balance. The best decisions in life are the ones with positive long term effects and reading the right literature is exactly that - a long term effect.

Here are some authors who have written small and big books about how to change areas of your life:

Zig Ziglar - Motivation, Goals, Sales
Kim Kiyosaki - Empowering women to master their financial World
Robert Kiyosaki - Financials
Brian Tracy - Self Discipline, Time Management, Sales
Tony Robbins - Motivation, Time Management, How to create lasting Changes
Helga Rhodes - Assertiveness Training

...and many more

If you are someone who would like to improve your career or relationship, one of the first best steps to take, is getting yourself the right literature that will help you think differently!

What are you reading right now? If you are interested in specific literature that can help you best, send me an email or comment and I will give you specific ideas.

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Thursday, December 6, 2012

What the extra mile can do for you

There’s never a traffic jam on the extra mile. Jeff Dixon

Your success in your relationships and career is related to what you do once you completed what is expected. I love the quote by Jeff Dixon: There’s never a traffic jam on the extra mile. It is true that when you commit yourself to become the best at whatever you do, you will always find ways to improve beyond what’s expected.

The “extra mile” can be education, a new skill, great customer service or high integrity. Not only does it feel satisfying to master new skills and do more than is expected or normal - it also creates fulfillment and purpose. We are so often obsessed with the process of a task or wrapped up in the expectations of individuals, that it demands a new mindset to think about what it would take to go the extra mile. This mindset however is exactly what can make you irreplaceable and increase your well-being.

What would be the extra mile in your career or close relationships? How could you stand out and would you commit yourself to that?

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Tuesday, December 4, 2012

A quick Metaphor about the fighting Forces within us

An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. "A fight is going on inside me," he said to the boy.

"It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil - he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego." 
He continued, "The other is good - he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you - and inside every other person, too."

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, "Which wolf will win?"
The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."

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Is Ambition bad for your Relationships?

Lately the downfalls of Ambition have become a common theme in our society and culture. As an example, at least 4 different popular TV Shows (Damages, Scandal, 666 Park Avenue, Revenge) explore the storytelling theme of the fallen hero who’s ambition develops into a ruthless restlessness. Ambition itself has become a word with negative connotations.

Our generation is often told to be humble and modest, accepting our life the way it is. Many of my clients in past and presence exemplify signs of guilt due to an urge to have more in life than humble circumstances. We are shown and told, that ambition will be our downfall and not only cost us the relationships in our life, but also leave us dissatisfied, restless and narcissistic.
The exact opposite is mostly the case. What leaves us dissatisfied is forcing ourselves to be happy with where we are at, even if it is not our truth. Instead of going out, realizing that we are not satisfied and taking control of necessary changes, we have started telling ourselves “It is what it is”. This costs you resentment, bitterness and grudges. Whenever you deny yourself a truth you feel within, it results in an unbalanced relationship between yourself and your emotions.

Ambition is not the result of inferior relationships or restlessness - an inability to set priorities is. Your ambition always needs to be in accord with your values of integrity and honesty. You can truly have it all, as long as you know what it is you really want and pursue a reality of satisfying relationships and fulfilling career.

What are your associations to Ambition? Does it sound like a negative or positive word to you? Do you struggle with feelings of restlessness or bitterness sometimes?

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Friday, November 30, 2012

How to create an effective Dialog with desired Outcome

In order to have an effective Conversation and achieve what the so called “Feedback Loop” where Communication flows, it is necessary to have the right mindset. Luckily that mindset only takes little practice and anyone can achieve it.

If you want the conversation to flow and stay constructive, both parties need to assume that what the other one says is right and ask themselves what it could be right of. When I explain to an audience I often get replies such as "I just assume they are right??" or "No matter if I know the person well or not?".  The answer is yes, in order to have free flowing communication with mutual respect, it is necessary to assume the truth in order to establish the trust. Humans a trained to read facial expressions as part of our exchange and if you are feeling judgmental, chances are the other individual is perceiving it.

What has been showing in Western Culture is that most conversations turn negative, controversial or skeptic, because each side assumes what the other one is saying is wrong and is wondering what it could be wrong of. You might have observed similar mindsets in relationship arguments, office disputes or family fights.

What assumptions do you have in conversations? Do you assume what the other person is saying is true or false?

Turn your awareness on and catch yourself if you are in a judgmental mindset, it might just cost you the outcome you desired.

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If you would like to learn more about Feedback Loops and better Communication, I also recommend the classic "The gentle art of verbal self-defense" by Suzette Haden Elgin.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Understanding the Secret behind our Purchases

What is it you are really looking for?

What is it that you crave when you feel compelled to make a purchase? Many times when we hear the voice of a product calling our name, it is really an internal feeling we are looking to satisfy.

You might notice that some products you purchase because of their beauty, the confidence they might give you, the significance or recognition you are looking for. When you go shopping, what are you attracted to? What does this product symbolize to you? What is it that makes you feel good about your purchase?

It is a well-known fact that shoe sales rise when the economy takes a bad turn. We all can tend to live beyond our means sometimes and then often notice the guilt that follows.
We also have a need for comfort, love and significance. Especially if you feel a lack of any of those needs, you unconsciously look to fill it with a purchase. Luxury purchases are created to give us the feeling of recognition and accomplishment. The product however will only make you feel better temporarily, in order to make the satisfaction, real changes are necessary!

If you know the emotions you are looking for, you know what you crave. It rarely is the product you are after, but the resulted feeling inside of you. What is it you are craving? What is the change you need? What do you really want in your life, that might be missing? Knowing this will give you power and control to make your own choices and satisfy any needs you have!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Quick Time Management Exercise

Here is a helpful exercise for you to understand which activities cost you time but don't benefit your day:

Take a paper and write down - what are the activities you use to escape from your workday? Is it reading, internet surfing, tv or something else? We all use different activities to escape our day when we feel overwhelmed. What is it for you?

Make a list and take the time to discover what you use to disconnect from stress. Then write down how many hours you spend every day on each of the activities. 

Often we try to disconnect or escape and don't realize how much time actually gets lost.
Whenever you get overwhelmed or uncomfortable, there is a chance you find yourself looking for ways to get distracted. Understanding this about yourself is important when it comes to saving time for the things that are really important to you.

When do you notice you want to escape? Which are the tasks that overwhelm you?

In order to maximize your time and increase your Work-Life Balance, it is helpful to know what you are uncomfortable with, where you find yourself procrastinating and what it is you do to escape.

Monday, October 29, 2012

You become what you think about, most of the time

No matter how simple this quote seems, it still is one of the most powerful phrases to catch you when you feel stuck: "You become what you think about, most of the time." Brian Tracy

When you start evaluating where you spend your thoughts, you quickly see the worries, challenges or ideas you are obsessed with. You start noticing which relationships you give the most negative/positive attention and what consequences this has. The quality of your life, your career and  your relationship will only ever be as good as the quality of the thoughts you have throughout the day.

I probably read or listen to audio books an average of 50-90 Minutes a day, and I have heard this Quote over and over, but I still catch myself rethinking the same challenge like an old record. We all have a part of ourselves that tends to worry. Getting carried away with negative observations or judgements can be very easy and you have to continuously weed your garden of the destructive behavior you detect on yourself. So maybe you want to join me today in asking yourself the following questions:  Do you keep replaying the same scenes of challenges, or are you actually looking for solutions? Are you obsessed with problems more than opportunities? If your thoughts were your currency, where do you spend most of them throughout day? Where is your focus? Have you thought about what you really want versus what you are trying to avoid??

If you tend to complain about issues in your life, you already know a great part of you worries more than finds solutions. Try today to look for a solution every time you notice yourself complaining.

Monday, October 22, 2012

How can you overcome Procrastination?

We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face... we must do that which we think we cannot. Eleanor Roosevelt

Most of us know Procrastination but where does it really come from?

Procrastination derives from the deep down fear of failure and rejection in us. Most of us have experienced Procrastination in one area of our life or another and many of you might even know someone who has made a real habit out of it. 

Even though common, Procrastination can be dangerous for individuals who have difficulty fighting it. Procrastination is often the beginning to the habit of denial. Not acting on what you know to be right is what gets you in the direction you most likely regret.

The only lasting cure to Procrastination is to stand up and be honest. To say “You know what, this is not the kind of job I wanted for my life.” “You know, this is not the kind of relationship I thought I would have”. “I really did think I could have more and be more than what currently is”. As difficult as it might be, facing something you did not want to settle for is the only action which will help you change your habits.

Many of us guard our comfortzone more dearly than our health, our relationships and our career. We are so used to saying “It is what it is” or “it’s not too bad” that we’ve become real close to a place where we put our own wishes to sleep.

The turning point that changes it all, is to bravely say “You know, honestly, by now I actually wanted to have that job, I actually wanted to have a better relationship with my children, I wanted my business to run well”. The shocking realization of your own disappointment with yourself is exactly what you need to make lasting changes and get where you want to be. 

There are times in your life to be gentle to yourself, and then there are times to be brutally honest with yourself and what it is you are willing to settle for.  Asking yourself the hard questions is difficult at first, but becomes easier and more rewarding with every action.

We will always have areas in our life to work on, and at the same time it is crucial to face the areas which are holding you back the most. What would that be for you? Where do you feel like you don't want to settle?

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The Greatest Enemy to Your Growth

We are defined by the difficult choices we make. It is our greatest source of insight and growth.

If you plan on gaining control over your circumstances and you would like to create lasting changes in your life, there is one great enemy to overcome first: Denial. 

As simple as it sounds, your chances for change and fulfillment are in direct relationship to your habit of denial. Every one of us has used denial for an area of our life that we feel disappointed about. None of us really likes to hear the ugly truth about our missed opportunities, bad habits or frustration but the ugly truth is the only real motivation you can use to change your circumstances. The moment you are frustrated enough with the honest situation is the moment you notice will enable you to do what is right for you!

Is there an area in your life where you should face your own frustration with yourself? Where do you soften your own disappointment? The only way to overcome is to face the fear and frustration to move toward control and change. You will only be as happy with your life as you feel you are in control over your circumstances. Denial will consistently prevent you from reaching control. Face what’s uncomfortable about yourself and decided to propel your frustration into motivation and energy! This action will have tremendous effects on your self-pride, on your fulfillment and the true happiness that comes with enjoying who you are and the choices you are making!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Secrets behind Instant Gratification

Instant Gratification has such draw that most of us at one point or another chose instant pleasure over long-term gain.
No matter your education, age or gender: It’s still difficult sometimes to overcome your inner resistance against working on tasks that have a late pay-off. For some individuals, the gym and exercise are the activities they cannot get themselves to commit to. For others it is discipline in food intake, getting up early in the day or completing the difficult projects on the work to-do list. What is it for you? Where do you find yourself resisting against committing to work for your long-term benefits?

One way to overcome the pull of Instant Gratification is your realization how little you are honest with yourself. The more your give in to Instant Gratification, the more it shows you have found ways to lie to yourself about your reality in this situation. We all prefer immediate positive pleasures but they will not be authentic and genuine satisfaction if one part of you realizes you justified away something that you should have done. Being truly honest with yourself about your choices and your needs has great pay-offs in terms of pride, empowerment and the genuine feeling of being in control of your future. Until you overcome your draw for immediate pleasure, you will struggle against discipline for many years to come. The earlier you do what’s good for you, the easier it gets and the more self pride and true satisfaction you feel for your choices.

You can only change if you are honest with yourself and you find the leverage inside to tell yourself: This is not where I wanted to be at this age
. This is not the weight I ever wanted for myself. This is not the lifestyle I would have chosen. Unless you get fed up with your current set of circumstances and eliminate your tendencies to justify away your frustration with saying “It’s not too bad yet” or “I’ll do it tomorrow”, you will stay where you are right now. Make a decision to do today, what you wanted to do weeks or years ago. A great part of you knows the right actions to take, so make a commitment and maybe find someone to hold you accountable - today.

How would you feel if you finally overcame your draw to instant gratification in the areas that matter to you? What would you tell yourself, if you were truly honest with yourself about your reality? What small action could you take today, to commit yourself into the right direction?

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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Are you living on the defensive?

Here are some questions that will help you understand your current situation:

Are you living to get through the day instead of getting from it? Are you proactively planning for your week, your year, or are trying to deal with the crisis that are coming your way? Do you feel overwhelmed and stressed by the amount of responsibility you take on? When we get overwhelmed by our challenges, we start living on the defensive, managing the adversity we take on.  Living on the defensive will prevent you from actively growing, taking care of your needs and living outside the fear-zone.

The best way to stop feeling overwhelmed is starting to take an honest look at what your week looks like: Do you have systems in place to keep yourself healthy and your mind focused? Are you developing skills you need to be better prepared when crisis hits? Does it feel like you struggle with similar situations of stress regularly - maybe it is time to establish systems to deal with those struggles. Do you fuel your body with foods that keep it energized and strong? Those are questions which help you define your situation and possible areas of improvement. It will enable you to take the long view versus defending against short term struggle.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Time Management Class Part 7: Crisis at home/work

Learning about Time Management has had an incredible influence in how I approach work and life. I believe with the right Time Management, you can reach your Goals, live with greater ease and feel in control of your work and family schedule. Brian Tracy and Anthony Robbins have created great programs to teach you how to manage your time and thanks to these influences, I am able to provide you some quick tips and tools as well. I hope it helps you to maximize your productivity and family quality time while at the same time minimizes the possibilities for you to loose whole days where nothing really gets done (and we all know those days, don’t we?). 

To recapitulate, here are the last 6 Parts of the Time Management Class in summary for you to access:

Time Management Series
Bad Habits
Other Employees/Friends dropping by the office
Inability to set Priorities

Today it’s all about dealing with the unexpected. Sometimes even though learned to discipline and focus ourselves, get through the to-do list and even create constructive habits, our greatest chunks of time get lost through unexpected Crisis. Have you ever taken the time to think about possible future crisis? What could go wrong at work or life in the next 3,6,12 months? How would you deal with those crisis? Anticipating the things that could  go wrong and setting tentative plans in place will help you tremendously when it comes to dealing with the unexpected. What is the worst possible thing that could happen and how could we take action? Think about the time it takes you to go from the shock of an unexpected crisis to move toward overcoming the emotional turbulence and realizing a positive constructive plan to move forward. If you send some tentative proactive plans in place, you will save yourself great amounts of time plus those tentative solutions will prevent you from feeling emotionally overwhelmed and out of control. If you think of yourself as the primary strategist of your life, it is your responsibility to look down the road and plan for proactive contingencies that give you control in the moments that would otherwise create great frustration and turbulence. Realize how circumstances can overwhelm you any day, and the little time it takes to prepare for those possible circumstances will make or break your well-being and personal goals.
Sometimes you might realize the same crisis at work or home seems to re-occur on a regular basis, which is a sign of bad planning and lack of organization. Feeling overwhelmed will take the motivation out of your day, the ease to take control and the possibility to get quickly on your feet.

Which crisis are happening in your life? Has the same crisis happened more than once or twice? Then it might be time to look at your system and ask yourself: what is not working?

When a crisis happens, use this post to turn toward for an exercise that allows you to find solutions quickly and keep a cool head. It’s time to get over your reluctance to ask for help and turn toward people who are able to take some of the pressure. Ask constructive questions and instead of wondering “Why does this happen to me?” or 
“Why do bad things always come at the same time”, ask yourself “How can I find a quick solution?” and “What specifically can I do to change this situation?”

How are you dealing with a crisis when it comes along? Do you feel overwhelmed or out of control when something negative and unexpected happens?

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Cutting loose - coming to terms with your Parents

I specialize in working together with Women on their Goals, Visions and Self-Esteem. To a large degree I do so because I believe that a balanced, fulfilled woman does not only make an amazing difference in her career, but also for her community and her family. Everyone should feel like they can achieve what they set their life out to be. Every woman should feel like she has control over her own progress and even if she sets aside years raising her children, should still have the inner knowledge that there is personal growth and happiness for herself. Once you reach the point where stability comes within, you can provide the feeling of accomplishment to those around you. 

On the other hand, if you have difficulties feeling balanced and you try to draw stability from your children, you enter a different kind of parent-child relationship. Howard M. Halpern explains in his book "Cutting Loose", how each of us as parents have 2 drives: we want our children to become strong and independent, and we also want them to be weak and dependent on us. In my experience, the more you focus on balance and personal growth, the more you will want your child to be independent and strong. 

Here is a paragraph from the book that explains quickly and simply the difficulties one might experience in having a healthy relationship between parents and children:

"In every parent there is a wish that his or her children grow up to be strong, independent, effective people. And in every parent there is a wish that his or her children remain weak, dependent, ineffectual people. The relative power of these two wishes can vary greatly, but if your parent's wishes that you be dependent and inadequate have been dominant, then you are probably in trouble, because the pressure on you to obey their "Don't grow up" wish may be irresistible.
The parental wish to have his child become strong and independent doesn't need much explaining. That is what parents are for, and throughout the animal kingdom parents train their offspring for autonomous survival and then unceremoniously push them from the nest. Kahlil Gibran talks of his parents being the bow and the child's being the arrow.
The parents wish to have his or her child remain weak and dependent needs a lot more explaining, because it contradicts basic biological reason for parenting. We can understand it more clearly when we realize that the parent's desire to see his offspring grow and be independent comes from the mature parenting part of himself, while the parent's desire to have his offspring remain attached and dependent comes from the little child within."

Extract out of "Cutting Loose - An Adults Guide to coming to terms with your Parents", Howard M. Halpern 

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Monday, August 27, 2012

Time Management Class Part 6: Inability to set Priorities

Time is what we want most, but what we use worst. William Penn

Welcome back to the Time Management Series, where you can find new ways to find more time in your day to do what's most important to you!  During the last weeks, we touched on Time Thiefs such as the Telephone, Meetings, Bad Habits and other Employees/Friends/Managers dropping by your office

Today it’s all about setting the right Priorities. If you don’t know right now what your top Priority is, you will find yourself struggling to make decisions and keep up with your Task List. If you don’t clearly define your Priorities, you base your decisions on humoring others, going through the motions or upcoming new projects.

What is your top Priority right now? Which tasks make the biggest difference at your Work Place? 

Your top Priority is the project that makes the biggest overall improvement in your job and brings the greatest value. The more time you spend with tasks of this project, the more success you will experience.

If you are unable to set your Priorities at home and you find yourself spending more time pleasing others than getting your own needs fulfilled, ask yourself: Which project would make the biggest overall improvement to my life? Is it weight loss, sports, finding creative outlets, spending quality relationship time, increasing your own value by taking some classes?

Throughout the day, call your attention to it and ask yourself: “Which task would make the biggest difference to my job right now?” Are you completing this task?

Think on Paper and structure your To-do list with the hardest Task on the top. It is most likely that the hardest task is also the one that brings the most benefit to your work.

If you spend 2-3 Minutes organizing a To Do list that is a) doable, b) productive and c) challenging in the beginning tasks, you will find yourself more efficient and productive.

Do you think on paper? Do you have a To Do list with 4-5 challenging and important tasks? Are your priorities visible in your To Do list?

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Thursday, August 23, 2012

How to stop feeling guilty

Empowerment Book Recommendation -  How to stop feeling Guilty

Since I have talked about this book a lot to clients recently, it might be a great Recommendation for you as well. This book has helped many people to understand and release the effects of Guilt and Shame to us as individuals and as society. It is a great resource if you have trouble setting boundaries with others. It is also a great tool if you have experience with others leveraging Guilt against you. 

I have yet to meet a person who has no experience with Guilt. They call it the great psychological problem of the 20th Century and I do believe there is some truth to it. In order to have the freedom to make your own choices and feel empowered to take opportunities, it is necessary to take the step and explore the limiting beliefs of yourself. This is why I stress the importance of being open minded to the relevant literature that helps you understand the motivation behind your actions. I believe to feel in control about your choices in life, you need to understand those choices first.

Most of us don't realize if someone in our life made us feel guilty for setting our own priorities. Especially if you are raised to please the people around you and sacrifice your wishes, there is a great chance you have something to gain by reading this book. In order to find out if this applies to you, ask yourself: "How did the people in my life react, when I said "no" to them? When I was a child, how did others act if I did not please them?" 

Forward, Susan: "Emotional Blackmail"

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