Problem solving corrective action

Introduction This article introduces the problem-solving model as a technique for managing performance issues that are more controversial, or that are not effectively addressed through coaching or feedback. Issues such as tardiness, being out of uniform, continual poor performance, and others are best handled by a direct, objective approach. By following the Problem Solving Dialogue Model taught in this article, you can feel confident in addressing these thorny issues with employees. Problem solving sounds so simple. However, we know it isn’t as simple as it seems. Employees don’t behave as we hope they would. Problem solving conversations are the ones we all tend to — or want to — avoid. Why? Because we fear — or are concerned about — how the employees may react. In a minute we will find ways to overcome these challenging situations. What you must remember is that it is important NOT to avoid these conversations as a result of feeling uncomfortable about having them. If you were the coach of a baseball team, you would want your players to give it their all. What they should be able to expect of you in return, is that other players on the team are performing as they need to. Why should the shortstop play his heart out if you let the pitcher or first baseman not play at the same level? Key Points Guiding questions are a significant tool when in a problem solving dialogue. Regardless of the emotional response of the employee, we must always focus on the problem behavior not the problem employee. It is not personal. Two key things to keep in mind are: • Always treat the employee with professionalism, dignity, and respect. • You are responsible for the performance of your entire team. If you let the lack of performance of any one person go unaddressed because you are uncomfortable dealing with it, you are being unfair to everyone else on the team. As a result, you would not be fulfilling your job responsibilities as a team leader. It is your responsibility to address any individual issues that are affecting the team’s performance or morale. The Problem Solving Model It is valuable to allow the employee to solve as much of the problem as possible. The more employees can solve their own problems, the more likely they are to carry through with the solution, AND the more independent they become. In problem solving, the chances are fairly likely that the person will not be able to solve the problem without help from you. It is important that you recognize the performance problem and the reasons for the problem. It is also important that you plan solutions to the problem’s resolution before you meet with the individual. If the employee engages in inappropriate problem solving — blaming, excusing, defending, looking to others for the solution — you need to be able to redirect the problem solving to a more productive vein. You may find that you have to TELL the employee what the acceptable solution is. Thoughtful planning and practice increase the chance of success as you manage performance. 1. Open the conversation/clarify the purpose of the conversation. It is important to focus the problem solving conversation early. It you want to discuss other things, save them for another conversation. Mixing other topics into a problem solving/corrective action conversation diffuses the impact of the conversation and reduces the likelihood of performance change. Be up front and specific. “I want to discuss the missed deadline.” “I want to talk about your production numbers.” At the same time, express your confidence that we together can resolve this problem. 2. Clarify the problem. This is where you clearly define the problem. Use specific outcomes or observable behaviors. Avoid absolutes, generalizations, hearsay, or opinions. Be specific. Instead of saying, “you’re always late,” say, “you were at least 10 minutes late three times last week.” Further clarify the problem by identifying the impact of the person’s behavior on: a) The group (i. e., “others have to cover for you when you’re not on time.”) b) The department or team (i. e., “our coverage numbers suffer”) c) You (i. e., “I have to take time to conduct meetings like this when I could be coaching or doing other management activities.”) d) The employee (i. e., “Your chances for growth or even continued employment may be jeopardized.”) 3. Make sure that you ask if the person understands the problem and the impact of the problem. Look for a verbal or non-verbal agreement. Getting agreement that there is a problem and that the problem has significant impact is half the battle! 4. Create solutions that are acceptable to you. It is better to ask for involvement and ideas from the employee at this stage since doing so increases the likelihood that they will implement the solution. However, the solution must meet YOUR requirements and standards! You may also find that the employee is not willing or able to come up with solutions. For these reasons, it is important that you have several solutions in mind before the meeting. Solutions must include: a) Specific steps: what will the employee do to correct or alleviate the problem. b) Timeframe: corrective action discussions need to include some type of timeframe to mark the successful end of this intervention. “Okay, let’s start this tomorrow and try this for 30 days.” c) Consequences: consequences must be clear and appropriate. Moreover, consequences must be present or behavior will very likely not change. “If you are late again within the next 30 days, I will need to issue a written warning which may lead to termination.” d) Follow-up date and expectations: set a specific date and time to meet to review the progress and either act on the appropriate consequences or celebrate success. 5. As you and the employee are creating acceptable solutions, you will want to direct the conversation. If the employee is generating acceptable solutions, you will want to support and build on those ideas. If the employee is exhibiting inappropriate problem solving by blaming others, coming up with excuses, accusing you of being unfair, etc., defer or redirect the conversation by saying, “I would like to talk about that more later; right now, I’d like to stay focused on what you can do.” In some cases, you will simply have to tell the employee what you think the best solution is. Again, be prepared! 6. At the conclusion of the meeting, summarize the solution and express confidence in the employee to implement the solution. Then document the meeting and follow up accordingly. Summary We, as managers, supervisors, and team leaders, realize that it is our responsibility to ensure that EVERYONE on the team performs to their potential — and to the expectations of the job. Poor performers not only affect themselves and their specific jobs, their effect negatively impacts the performance of other team members. While it is challenging, conducting an effective problem-solving meeting is made easier when applying the Problem Solving Dialogue Model. (This information comes from Coaching for Performance, a module in Entelechy’s High Performance Management program. Check out this module as well as our 40 other modules, training tools, and eGuides at unlockit. com.)

dating again redefined

There isn’t a universal definition of dating, and specially of dating again. For most people, dating means a process leading up to a deep and permanent relationship. The problem with such definition is that we are placing the ultimate result of our dating in another person. We may be depending on someone else to create meaning within the dating process. Define dating again as The Joy Of Dating Again. It is all about rediscovering ourselves, and then sharing with others our growth and realizations. Right now, take a moment and think about what the joy of dating again means to you. Here are some definitions as examples: The joy of dating again is a reflection of your evolution from pain to joy. The joy of dating again is a self-growth process, and we share ourselves through interacting with others. The joy of again is a method of discovering your new sense of self and developing your instinct. The joy of dating again is a trip into the unknown, expecting the known to happen. Dating again is like peeling an onion, you are always discovering more about yourself, and others... and there’s always more coming. The joy of dating again is learning how not to need anybody to make us happy; therefore, finding happiness and love. The joy of dating again is stretching our comfort zone by trying things we have never tried before. The joy of dating again is learning to give ourselves the gift of self-esteem. The joy of dating again is the process of removing our masks until we are as authentic as we can be. The joy of dating again is making peace with ourselves and living in harmony. The joy of dating again is allowing ourselves to enjoy other people’s company. The joy of dating again is expanding our beliefs of what is possible for our lives, including true love. EXERCISE 1 Answer the following questions: What does dating mean to you? What does joy mean to you? What does the joy of dating again mean to you? EXERCISE 2 Answer the following questions: When was the last date you had? How was it? Why? Think of a great date you had. What did you do? How did you feel? Can you remember what were you thinking or feeling about yourself? Think of the worst date you can remember. What did you do? How did you feel? Can you remember what were you thinking or feeling about yourself? EXERCISE 3 Complete the following sentences: Having a date is __________________ Being dateless is __________________ Being asked on a date is __________________ Asking someone for a date is __________________ Being rejected by someone is __________________ Rejecting someone is __________________ Read your answers and see what they say about your present level of dating and your own expectations. © 2005 Jeanette Castelli. Excerpt From the book “The Joy Of Dating Again” by Jeanette Castelli, M. S. ISBN: 0974206113. Features 21 Self-Empowering Keys to transform your experience of dating and your life, eliminating the trial and error. Contains exercises, worksheets and social experiments to implement each key. Book available from local bookstores and online retailers worldwide. For more information visit website: http:// JOY. urbantex. com/. Email: Postmaster@urbantex. com

did your personality choose your career

We almost all think we are masters of our own fate. While it is true that we all make our own choices there are many things that influence what we choose. Ask yourself: Why do some people choose professions that help only themselves while others of us choose professions that help those in need? Health and wellness professionals all share the desire to help others. Our work is commendable and very important, but why do we choose the profession we’re in? Professionals in the “caring jobs” share some unique qualities. We’re almost always creative, sensitive and nurturing. We also almost all share a willingness help others in every way possible and suffer pangs of guilt if we say “no.” Our willingness to help sometimes comes with a price. It leaves us vulnerable to burn out. “…some clients can be draining to even the most enthusiastic wellness professional” Burnout is often the result of a professional feeling overwhelmed with his or her job responsibilities. Let’s face it caring for others can be a burden. Even if you love your job facing unmotivated, clients can be draining to even the most enthusiastic wellness professional. Add to this any inside pressure from trying to make a decent living, dealing with negative attitudes of coworkers or pressure with sales commissions and you’re on the road to feeling more negative yourself. Caregivers tend to burn out more quickly than others because we typically put the needs of those around us first. By the time we are through dealing with the issues of our clients, families and friends we have little left for ourselves. So how do you deal effectively with those clients who seem to have a “seek out and destroy” personality? Simple, you learn to develop your own “repair and replenish” skills now and make them an important part of your everyday routine. Make it a point to be more aware of your surroundings. Try to notice the little things that bring joy to your life and take a moment to reflect on them. Learn to say “no” - not all the time but some time. When someone asks for another piece of your time, a little more of your energy, or is looking for you to commit to their newest project, take the time to know if it’s the right choice for you. Make it your personal policy to never give an answer that you haven’t had at least 24 hours to think about – there’s much to be said for the adage of let me sleep on it. Nurture yourself with a trip to the gym, a visit to a day SPA, tickets to your favorite play or concert. Even a leisurely walk can be a rejuvenating gift. Talk, talk and then talk some more. Find peer professionals that share similar values and goals and talk about work. Some think it’s taboo to talk about work on your days off but in reality it is important to be able to share your feelings and frustration with someone who understands how you feel and their feedback can be very helpful. Vacations aren’t just what other people do. You earn the time too. Take your vacation time all together or in shorter bursts. What ever works for you is fine – just take those days and forget about work for awhile. Sometimes a nurturing personality can open the door for our own wellness to suffer and it is up to each person to find the tools that help to keep them on track and healthy. By learning to say no, nurturing yourself, becoming more aware of your surroundings, talking to a trusted peer and taking a break when you can, you’ll be able to find a healthy balance in your professional and personal life leading to greater business success and satisfaction. * Registered US Copyright, Angela Butera Dickson, 2004

10 action steps to greatness

1. Positive Affirmations Our subconscious mind is a wonderful tool for success or failure. It will do what we tell it to do. It all depends on what thoughts we feed it. So why not feed your inner mind with only positive thoughts. The following are some examples of positive affirmations you can feed your inner mind for success: “Today, I will win because I have faith, courage and enthusiasm.” “I see failure only as a signpost on my road to success.” “When I feel stress, I will relax and release my stress before I take on my next task.” “I always write down my priorities, thinking of my responsibilities. I may not get everything done, but I will do the most productive thing possible at every given moment.” “I am a winner, I work for a winning organization, and because of my contribution and cooperation we will keep on winning.” “Today, I will see opportunity in every challenge offered to me.” 2. Positive Language Recent research has come out that 75% of daily conversation is negative. Whether it is the words we use or the body language, we need to communicate in a positive manner all the time. The following are some examples of how you can turn negative words into positive communication: Instead of saying “problem,” call it “opportunity.” Instead of an action being a “failure,” describe it as a “learning experience.” Instead of “I have to,” say “I choose to.” This gives control for your actions back to you. Instead of saying, “There’s nothing I can do,” say, “Let’s look at our alternatives.” Instead of saying, “That’s just the way I am,” say, “I choose a different approach.” Instead of saying, “He makes me so mad,” say, “I control my own feelings.” If you notice, by using the positive response, you have control over your actions and life. 3. Exercise A Gallup survey found the following among men and women who have taken up exercise recently: 66 percent report a more relaxed life 62 percent a new surge of energy 55 percent less stress 51 percent better looks 46 percent more confidence 45 percent better love life 44 percent greater job satisfaction 37 percent more creative on their jobs These are great motivators to exercise! Next time you feel demotivated, give your body a workout. Recent research reports that as little as fifteen minutes three times a week has profound effects. Get moving. Get motivated. 4. Take Risks We all live our lives in comforts zones, avoiding risky situations, avoiding the potential to fail. It’s real safe for us. But in order to get ahead of your competition and master the ongoing change in your life, you must go out of your comfort zone. Start one step at a time. Try that little new thing, that different approach. It could be as simple as taking different routes to and from work. Once in a while I like to “take the road less traveled” to stir up my creative juices. Then, keep stepping out of your zone. It may seem uncomfortable at first. But the more you do it, the more it will seem natural and you will see an increase in your creative juices and opportunities you never thought about before. 5. Positive Reading Read about the lives of successful people. Make sure you read only those people that embrace the timeless values that make them truly successful through the ages. Not the “success today, scandal tomorrow” success stories that we are experiencing today. People like Herb Kelleher of Southwest Airlines, Fred Smith of Federal Express, Mary Kay Ash of Mary Kay, Benjamin Franklin, Abraham Lincoln, Mahatma Gandhi, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. are good examples. These are people who overcame enormous challenges, created real value for others, or changed other people’s lives for the better. 6. Positive Visualizations Condition yourself to paint your vision for success. One of the best ways to do this is the following: Go to a quiet place in your home or elsewhere. Turn off all radios, televisions, etc. Find a comfortable chair and get into a relaxed state of mind. Start thinking about one goal you want to accomplish. Remember, visualize as if you are already accomplishing this goal. Visualize taking all the necessary steps to successfully complete these goals. The better your visualization, where you can actually see, feel, hear, and touch your vision, the more real it is to you. Visualize any challenges to your successful completion of this goal and how you will eliminate this challenges. Visualize how good it feels to complete this goal. Visualize what benefits it will bring to you, your family, friends, co-workers, etc. Enjoy the moment! Important: If you don’t take time to see it, it won’t happen! 7. Think Big See the big picture in everything we do. So much of our time is wasted dealing with the unimportant things in our lives (what that person said or did, the driver who cut us off this morning, and activities which don’t add value to our lives, etc.) that we forget about the big picture. We were put on this earth to make a difference. We make a difference for our families, our communities, our organizations, and for ourselves. All of our actions must be put into action with this concept in mind. Think a little bigger today than yesterday, and you’ll create a better future tomorrow. Thinking big leads to great actions. Thinking small leads to small results. So Think BIG! 8. Set Goals The fastest way to fail in life is to not set clear goals. Set goals in the financial, family, health, spiritual, and career areas. Your goals must incorporate the SMART techniques or else it’s just a “conversation in the park.” S for specific M for measurable A for attainable R for realistic T for time-based For example, you might have a goal of achieving $2 million for retirement in twenty years. After doing your research, a SMART goal would be the following: “I will acquire $2 million dollars for retirement by 2024. I will do this by contributing $20K, or $1667 per month, to my various retirement funds each year. Of the $20k each year, $2k will go to my IRA, and $18K will go into my organization’s retirement program.” Remember the most detail you can add, the more realistic your goal becomes. 9. Positive Appearance Super achievers are very careful about their appearance and their movements. They know that looking good translates into feeling good. Billy Crystal, of Saturday Night Live and movie fame, once played a character that was known for saying, “It is better to look good than to feel good.” What he was really implying was the “fake it until you make it” concept. In other words, if we are feeling down, then think positively and your mind will tell your body to follow suit and act positively. Also always dress the part of an achiever. Model the dress, actions, and behaviors of someone who is successful and embraces the long term values of successful people. This will also tell your mind that I am an achiever. Don’t let that be the deciding factor on being motivated. You can easily distinguish those who are motivated from those who are not motivated just by looking at their appearance and their movements. The motivated move forward, onward and upward with confidence. 10. Helping Others Develop an obsession to help others. Share your special talents without expecting a reward, payment, or commendation. And above all else, keep your good deed a secret. You know what, it you apply the helping techniques to others, it will automatically come back to you tenfold in a number of ways. First, the enjoyment of knowing that a special talent you had made someone else’s life better. Second, because you didn’t seek it, word will spread about you and your deeds. This will be translated into unexpected riches and opportunities. Third, you will gain a new level of confidence in knowing that you can make a difference. Super achievers find motivation and meaning by helping others. Copyright © 2004 Ed Sykes. All rights reserved Web Address: http:// thesykesgrp. com Blog address: http:// thesykesgrp. com/TSGBlog/blog. html RSS Feed: http:// thesykesgrp. com/TSGBlog/rss. xml Publishing Guidelines: You have permission to publish this article in your ezine, publication, ebook, or on your website as long as the resource box is included with the article and as long as neither the article or resource box are changed in any way. The URL in the resource box must be set as a hyperlink. Minor formatting changes are permitted. Please eMail the author a copy of any ezine or newsletter using this article If you use this article on a website, please set resource link as a hyperlink Please send the URL of any place where the article is posted. Please snail mail copy of any printed publication using this article to: The Sykes Group 2133-126 Upton Drive #234 Virginia Beach, VA 23454-1193

3 ways you can live like oprah today

Who wouldn’t want to live like Oprah? She has billions of dollars to do with however she likes. She has luxurious estates in beautiful places. She has powerful and influential friends. She is adored by millions and has influence beyond comprehension. Yet, these things are not what inspired my article.

What I am sharing may surprise you. So how do we mere mortals get to live like Oprah? Read on. Like Oprah, you too can live a life of gratitude I was incredibly moved to read about the “Legends who Lunch” event Oprah planned recently. Here is undisputedly one of the most influential and successful women today, planning an event to pay tribute to the “legends” who have contributed and paved the way for her and others. She identified 25 women “whose steps created a journey of no boundaries” for her generation. She wanted to “thank them, celebrate them, and rejoice in their spirit.” Then she invited 45 women who have benefited from these trail-blazers to come help honor these legends. What a show of gratitude! Granted, anything that Oprah does gets press, so other hugely successful people may have made similar gestures that I didn’t hear about. But I honestly wonder if that is the case. I find her gesture genuine and inspiring. Living a life of gratitude doesn’t mean throwing lavish parties, although that sounds like a mighty fine idea if you can pull it off. It means showing appreciation for what we have, whether it is a huge fortune, or a small windfall. It means saying thank you to others for what they have done for us, no matter how significant or trivial. It means thinking of others and being outward focused instead of thinking about “me, me, me” all the time. So that’s the first way all of us can live like Oprah - feel grateful and appreciate everyday and everything that is good. I believe that one cannot be unhappy if one is truly grateful. Try it for yourself and see what happens. Follow Oprah’s example and keep a gratitude journal everyday. Write down at least five things you feel grateful for that day. Appreciate the simple things in life as well as the grand extravaganzas. I was told that the more grateful you are for what you have, the more the universe sends your way. It’s a very simple thing to do. Start today. Like Oprah, you too can live a life of generosity Wayne Dyer said that “the measure of your life will not be in what you accumulate, but in what you give away.” And you don’t have to be filthy rich to be generous because aside from money, there are so many other things you can give away. Oprah is known for her generosity in the fabulous gifts she gives to her audience, and in her charity programs in Africa. But if you really pay attention, you’ll notice that she gives much more than that. She generously shares her struggles and experiences, and in doing so, she gives others hope that they too can overcome whatever obstacles are in their way. She generously shares her own life lessons, and in doing so, she teaches us wisdom. She generously offers her affection. She appears to genuinely like her audience, her guests, and her staff. In relating to her, she made us more open to love and trust. What would happen with your relationships if you were more open and affectionate? How will people respond if you accepted them without judgment? That’s the second way we all can live like Oprah - be generous with our time, our money, our talents, our support, our affection, and our love. What we send out returns to us tenfold. How can our lives not be improved by that? Like Oprah, you too can live a life of evolution and growth I admit that this is one of my values, so I get very excited about this. Life offers us lessons everyday and the only tuition we pay is our willingness to accept them. There is no better example of this in practice than Oprah’s “What I Know for Sure” articles that she writes. She takes everyday experiences and translates them into a lesson for how she wants to approach life. I don’t know if you have an opinion, but her life seems to be working pretty darn well to me. This is the last secret I borrowed from Oprah – live life consciously. Allow and urge yourself to evolve and grow each day. Open your eyes to life’s lessons and live like Oprah. You could do worse in choosing a role model. Copyright 2006 Inez Ng

Always think positive there is always somebody worse off than you

This article is about learning to think positive. There are far too many people walking about in a state of gloom and depression. I have to admit that I was one of these people until I managed to turn my whole life around at the age of twenty-two by taking a different approach. I hope you find the article beneficial and enjoyable to read. From around the age of eleven when I started high school to the age of twenty-two I was not exactly a happy person. One person actually mentioned that I walked around like I had the weight of the world and its problems on my shoulders. I was always looking at other people in my class for example and thought that they were so much luckier than I was. They did not seem to have half of the problems that I did. I was jealous of them as they were seemingly cruising through life where as it was one huge struggle for me. You may be wondering what my troubles were. I had a stutter which had affected me from the age of four. Stuttering put a huge dent in my confidence and made me withdraw into my shell. I had a weight problem which was mainly caused by comfort eating when I was depressed. Since birth, I have had a bald patch on my head, it is not a large area of baldness, however it was big enough for people to notice and mock me. I was always the shortest person in the class and for a male I am well below the average height at five-foot four. At the age of eighteen, I was having a conversation with one of friends who is called John. John was one of the people I had always been jealous of for many different reasons. On this particular evening we were both fairly drunk and John had became quite emotional. During our conversation he told me that his father was an alcoholic and that at certain times when he arrived home worse for wear that he would hit his mom. He was very worried about this and was not sure what to do. Over the next few years, I found out aspects of other people's lives in my circle of friends, which I had not been aware of. The issues I had were very visible, where as their problems had been hidden and kept secret. I have become more and more interested in world affairs since the age of about twenty. Certain events from around the world have really shocked and I find it hard to imagine how I would cope living it various countries. I am now very grateful that I was born in the UK. I have learnt that we all have problems and that in most cases there is always people worse off than ourselves. I now try to think in a much more positive way and am very happy with the cards I have been dealt.

5 easy ways to pamper yourself

Life is so busy and as mothers we spend so much time tending to the needs of others and pampering others that we sometimes neglect to pamper ourselves. Here are 5 easy and fun ways to pamper yourself and nurture your mind, body and spirit: Wake up before the others in the house do and flip through a magazine or simply sip on a hot cup of coffee or tea and enjoy a few uninterrupted moments before the day fully begins. Weather permitting, take a nice walk and just enjoy your surroundings. Take note of all the beauty that is surrounding you. Take short breaks during your day whether you are a stay at home mom, work at home mom or work outside of the home, try doing something for yourself periodically throughout the day. You can close your eyes and daydream, browse through the paper or simply have a short friendly chat with a friend. Treat yourself to a manicure, pedicure or even a new hairstyle. We often are so used to treating others that we forget to treat ourselves and forget to let others pamper us. Take a nice long warm bubble bath. Fill your mind and senses with a nice fragrance and just soak for as long as you can. It is truly amazing at how pampering yourself will rejuvenate you! Take Care, Aurelia

i m a terrible writer a non writer s guide to improving your everyday writing

At the beginning of every semester I’ve ever taught college writing, at least one student in the class will issue the disclaimer, “I’m a terrible writer.” That student seems to think he or she is incorrigible, hopeless, a lost cause with the written word. The poor kid was probably just the victim of too much red ink from some past English teacher. Almost without fail, I find that that student has a lot of promise as a writer and needs only a little tweaking of his or her writing. Educated people will judge you by how you write, so polishing your writing is worth the effort. Improving your everyday writing requires time, determination, and a forgiving spirit, but anybody can do it. 1. Pay attention. Have you ever bought a car and then suddenly noticed how many other cars just like yours are out on the roads? Plainly stated, you notice what you pay attention to. Good writers pay attention to words, written and spoken. Tune in to the language “wavelength” and discover what you can learn. 2. Surround yourself with words well spoken. Pick out someone you admire whose speech you would like to emulate. Listen to talk radio or watch C-SPAN or other television shows that deal with ideas. But choose your language models carefully. The fact is that we write what we hear in our heads, and what we hear in our heads is what we surround ourselves with. 3. Read, read, read. The best writers are those who have read a lot. Reading almost any kind of prose can help you improve your writing. If you like sports, don’t limit yourself to the box scores: read the sports columnists. Read the editorial pages of major newspapers, or seek out not just the news but the feature articles, especially in Sunday papers. These writers are published not just because they have something to say, but because they say it well. Immerse yourself in good writing. 4. Pull your grammar book off that dusty shelf. If you threw away your last grammar book from school, go buy another one. If you have questions about the correct form of a sentence, use that book to research the problem and the answer. Grammar is not rocket science, so don’t be intimidated by it. As quirky as English can be, a lot of grammar is actually quite logical. You don’t have to memorize everything in the book: just use it when you need it. I’ve found that many writers have only one or two basic grammar issues that they’ve never had explained to them. Figure out what your misunderstandings are, and you’re halfway to their resolution. Ask a knowledgeable friend for help, if you want. 5. Use your dictionary regularly. Don’t depend on spell check. Spell check can be a safety net before you send out a piece of writing to your boss, but train your brain to become your spell checker. Make a list of words you regularly misspell (spell check can tell you what they are). If you hear a word you are unfamiliar with, look it up to see how it is spelled. Become curious about words. This is why a dictionary can be so important: you not only can learn the correct spelling of words, but you can learn how they are used in different contexts. You can even discover a word’s roots, which might help you make sense of its meanings and spelling. Spell check just isn’t enough. 6. Use your thesaurus sparingly. A thesaurus is a great tool for reminding you of words you already know how to use, but if you are unfamiliar with a word or have never heard or read it being used, don’t use it. There is no more obvious giveaway that a person doesn’t have a clue than a person regularly misusing big words. Write to express, not to impress. 7. Keep it simple. Unless you make your living as a novelist or poet, your main purpose in writing is probably to communicate an idea clearly and concisely so that others understand it. Before you send out a memo or letter, write what you mean to say in plain English, as if you were writing it to your best friend. Then read it as if you are the recipient of that memo or letter – did you leave something out that is necessary to understanding your point? Is there a sentence that doesn’t make sense? Reduce your sentences to their simplest possible form, and then add whatever details are necessary to make your meaning clear. This is not a license to be rude – etiquette, common courtesy, and protocol are necessary. But writing your idea for another person to understand doesn’t require unnecessary complexity or ten dollar words. 8. Use the active voice, not the passive voice. “John hit Paul” (active) is a stronger sentence than “Paul was hit by John.” Of course, it depends on whom you want to emphasize, the “hitter” or the “hittee”. Sometimes you may want to be intentionally vague: “Mistakes were made” (but you don’t want to state by whom, or maybe you don’t know). The passive voice is perfectly grammatical; just determine what your intention is and use the active voice whenever possible. 9. Use strong verbs, and its corollary, write in complete sentences. You can make your writing clear by focusing on the action in the sentence. One strong verb carries more punch than a long string of adverbs. 10. Make sure your pronoun references are clear. Will your reader be able to figure out which “she” you mean, Linda or Connie? What is “it” – a plan, an idea, a dog? The antecedent of the pronoun, the word that comes before to which the pronoun refers, needs to be obvious to avoid misunderstanding. 11. Be careful with punctuation. It has been said that punctuation marks are like traffic signals, indicating when you should stop or pause in your reading. Maybe. But more punctuation doesn’t necessarily make your writing any clearer. Here’s where your grammar book can come in handy. Remember that punctuation marks themselves don’t carry any meaning. If your words don’t already describe some strong feeling, an exclamation point isn’t going to help. Overusing exclamation points is unprofessional. 12. Forgive yourself and others. You are going to continue to make mistakes, and so will even the best writers around you. Publishing houses have copy editors for authors who make millions of dollars writing books, because everyone who writes occasionally makes mistakes. It’s just a matter of degree: are your mistakes constant or occasional? So if you write something that you or someone else notices is ungrammatical or misspelled or incomplete, correct it, get over it, but don’t give up on yourself. You want your first impression to be a good one, whether it be how you look or how you write. Learning to improve your everyday writing is a long term proposition and one that requires work, but if it’s what you really want, it’s worth the time and the effort.

5 tips to keep happy even in wartime

The world is going downhill faster than an Olympic skier. Terrorists lurk around every corner. Climate change will soon melt the tundra and turn Iowa into a desert. Frankenstein foods are flooding the market, cleverly masquerading as innocent potatoes and beets. And everybody is planning a war. Sadam wants to unleash unspeakable biological evils. George Bush II wants to unleash unimaginable military might. Germany and France want to just unleash. North Korea ... need I say more? India and Pakistan want to run a nuclear relay race, and worst of all we won't even know who the good guys and bad guys are supposed to be. And I know why my Israeli friend moved back to New Jersey. Just when we thought it was safe to sit back and take comfort in knowing exactly how bad things are, some fool has to come up with five tips to keep our spirits up in uncertain times. And that fool is me. So here are the tips: Count your blessings. We have so much to be grateful for. Iraq's dime store missiles cannot hit anywhere too important (defined more specifically as "where I live"). Then, of course, there is all the "stuff" we have, like the flush toilet (I would not want to have lived 500 years ago!) and the remote control. We can be grateful for all the variety, such as 32 flavors of ice cream on every corner and at least a dozen flavors of tooth floss. We can count our education, our knowledge and our opportunities. And we have soooo much more freedom than our ancestors. Geez, with all these blessings to count, it gets hard to enjoy living in terror of the big, bad world. Smile at a stranger. If the world shows us a threatening face, why not paint that face with smiles to make it less threatening. Let's face it, if I smile at you, you'll smile back. The more I smile, the more people will smile at me. The more you smile, the more people will smile at you. If everybody follows my advice, at least dentists will be too busy to fear world events. Learn a new skill. Imagine the sense of accomplishment and the power of mastering a new skill. Like mesquite cooking. Like whittling. Like pterodactyl breeding. Oh well, two out of three. And if you learn that skill in a classroom setting, full of other energized new-skill-masterers, you get the bonus of seeing that positive face of the world, complete with smiles and busy dentists. Study history. Bad things happen. Good things happen. That's history. Today will one day be history that somebody reads about. So don't sweat it. (Editor's note: If nobody is left to read about it, scratch this tip.) Volunteer. One of the scariest things about the world today is not just that it seems to be going downhill, but that we feel powerless to stop it. Worse still, politicians and diplomats are in charge. But we CAN take control and send the world uphill right in our own neighborhood. We can help the local animal shelter. We can work at the food bank. (That's my personal favorite, and NO you do NOT get free samples.) We can help little old ladies across the street. We can make a difference right in our own communities where the politicians and diplomats won't interrupt. Sorry about those five tips. If you wish to ignore them and return to the regularly-scheduled misery-wallowing, please go ahead. After all, in wartime nobody really wants to be happy, do they?

12 tips for taking smart calculated risks

1. Think of someone you admire. Would they take this risk? 2. Never risk more than you can afford to lose. 3. If you have everything to gain and nothing to lose, take the risk. 4. Risk taking is like any positive quality -- it’s a habit that gets better with practice. 5. Timing is vital to good risk taking. And don’t take the risk if: 1. There’s a good chance you could lose EVERYTHING. 2. You’re risking a lot just to get a little. 3. You are not comfortable with the odds that the outcome will be positive. 4. There are too many factors outside of your influence. 5. There is no way to fix or remedy the situation if the outcome is not positive. 6. You have to jump into it before you’ve had the chance to evaluate it & prepare. 7. Your intuition tells you not to (remember: fear & intuition are not the same!).

10 ways to survive today s office

Life at work can be fun, serious, harried, confusing, and rewarding. Sometimes it happens all in the same day. In a world where the only thing constant is change, here are 10 things to learn, not only to survive, but to thrive! 1. Don't expect anything - like someone to always tell you what to do Have you ever sat and waited on others for direction. (They should be telling me what to do right?) If someone wanted to tell you what to do, trust me, they would have done it already. Be confident and move forward. 2. If someone else is making a decision, let them own it Wishing you had the authority to decide something on another's plate won't change their decision. It also doesn't do them any favours if you are trying to hold on to whatever they need to do. Allow them to do what they believe is right. 3. Fix what you can, don’t sweat what you can’t If you have the ability to make something better at work, to clear up a misunderstanding, make a decision, or recommend a better process, then do it. If you don't have the ability to change it, simply let it be. 4. Everyone wants to do a good job Really! People don't set out to get it wrong, or miss the mark. They act on what they know, and what they actually heard of the directions. 5. Let your head drive business, and your heart guide your head Use your brains, it is what got you to the job you are in, but always pay attention to your gut, if something doesn't feel right, it is worth digging into, and if it feels good, go with it! 6. A lot of it is point of view You may work hard producing something that only gets 5 minutes airtime at the meeting, but without that piece of information, the meeting may have revolved for hours around the lack of that knowledge. A certain piece of information means something different to different people in different areas of the organization, and most certainly to different levels of management. 7. Effective direction conveys the intent and allows the other to develop the content Paint a clear picture of the desired result, the best end state (including anything you don't want along the way), then give freedom and space which allows others to use their knowledge, skills and creativity to build something beyond your imagination. Of course, if you know exactly what you want, and how you want it done, then just say that. There is a time and a place for each. 8. Don’t just react, write the e-mail, walk away, then re-write it a couple of times without the negative emotion Peel it back to facts and data, don't assume, and clarify information. Perpetuating negative emotions can make them grow exponentially. Make it your standard to always drop the bad feelings, and get on with business. 9. A leader stands in their own space and allows other to do the same Leaders understand their own ability to influence any situation they come into contact with, and they accept that responsibility. They respect all others, acknowledging that we all have purpose in being here, and that no one of us is greater than another. 10. Don’t take work or yourself too seriously There will be times when things go wrong, when work piles up or needs to be re-done, and stuff happens. So why not enjoy it anyways?

12 irrefutable cool work habits according to dogbits

Just the points, please! 1. Go to work one hour early and start working. 2. Extend one hour before going home. 3. Follow what your boss tells you. He has the power to promote you and increase your pay! 4. Patience is a virtue especially at the workplace. 5. Prioritize tasks which are important and immediate. 6. After finishing the priority tasks, consider the rest as priority too. 7. When at work don't play or chat with your officemates, you can do that on breaks. 8. It doesn't matter if you worked all day, what matters is your accomplishment for the day. 9. Do not assume, confirm first. 10. Think of other ways to make yourself more useful to your boss. 11. Learn to love people and be ready to smile. It will make you younger by 4.5 years. (Believe me!) One time a friend told me, "Smile, don't save it." You can't save it anyway and does it cost a thing? 12. Pet a dog, it will make you a better person. (Oh, this is extra!) 13. Treat your dog as you treat your wife. (What do you mean, man?!) Now, here's what the Apostle Paul said: "Now we command you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother who is walking in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received from us. For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us, because we were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone's bread without paying for it, but with toil and labor we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you. It was not because we do not have the right, but to give you in ourselves an example to imitate. For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat. For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies. Now such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living." (2 Thessalonians 3:6-12 ESV)

5 ways to fight pessimism

Some people are naturally pessimistic and are happy being so. They view themselves as pragmatic and as having a better sense of reality. Then there are those of us who feel weighed down by negativity and wish that we could be more optimistic. This is completely possible. It all lies in the way we perceive things... 1. Stress management When we conceal our anxieties, they only build. Each concern can snowball into a feeling of being overwhelmed. Each person has their own way of letting off steam. This varies from exercise, to listening to music, to reading a good book. More of us are beginning to realize how important proper stress management is to both our physical and mental health. 2. Constant reality checks It is sometimes necessary to debate the validity of your concerns to determine whether they are rational or not. This is called self-rationalization and one of the most recognized methods is the worst case scenario. This is when you consider the worst possible situation, then go on to consider whether it is likely to happen. For example, a loved one said they would call once they arrived by subway to a certain destination. They should have reached that destination 15 minutes ago. You may dream up scenarios of there being a train accident or some other frightful incident took place. But after a little thought, you find that it’s more probable that they either have yet to reach their stop or they will simply call you when it is convenient for them. You never want to leap to conclusions and cause yourself unnecessary stress. 3. Support of friends and family Friends and family are usually more than willing to provide you with a much needed reality check. Not everyone is fortunate enough to have close friends and family members to confide in though. It is detrimental to find some type of support when you are feeling extremely confused or overwhelmed. This support may have to come from a trusted co-worker or a member of a support group. Sometimes all it takes is another person’s point of view to put things into perspective. 4. Own your feelings Accept that you have complete control over your perceptions and internal responses. You may not have control over what happened on your commute to work that upset you. But you are able to decide whether you become relieved when the day is finally over, or frustrated, claiming you are always being dealt a bad hand.

5 tips for great self esteem

Do you wish you had high self-confidence? Some of us go through our life fighting against that feeling that we are just ‘not good enough’. We convince ourselves that we don’t matter and that we don’t deserve to amount to anything…..but what price do we pay? The fact is that many people are lacking is self-esteem, yet feel powerless to do anything about it. Poor self esteem needs to be addressed with a vengeance; it affects your emotional and physical wellbeing and really reduces the quality of your life. So it’s time to take action and raise the bar right now. Here are some tips to help you get started: ONE: 'Not Good Enough’ compared To Whom? Fair question? Alright then…I have a challenge for you: The next time you start to berate yourself for ‘not being good enough’, I want you to ask yourself: ‘what exactly is my benchmark’? Be specific; to what or whom, have you compared yourself to reach the conclusion that you are not good enough? If you can learn nothing else from reading this article, then know this; constantly comparing yourself with other people is a no-win exercise! So the next time you fall into this futile habit, take a breath and say to yourself: "I like and respect myself exactly as I am" TWO: Everybody Hates Me ‘Everybody hates me, nobody likes me, I’m going out the back to eat worms...’ Do you remember that song? As children, we used to sing this over and over, and then fall to the ground laughing hysterically...but the sad truth is that feeling as though the world is against you is no laughing matter. So how do you get around that feeling? Well, one way is to cultivate the habit of assumption. Here’s how it works; I meet lots of new people every week in my line of work. Now, I could get myself into a fluster worrying about whether or not they will like me and whether or not they will respect my opinion….but I know from experience, that this is futile. So to make my life easier, I make a conscious effort to assume then every person I meet will like me...and that I will like them. This technique works because what you give out comes back to you; communication is 55% body language, and people pick up on your internal signals. Think how much easier it is going to be to always meet people who like you! It certainly beats being in a constant state of panic. THREE: What if what if what if Are you a ‘what-if-maniac’? Do you imagine the worst possible scenario for every situation you encounter? If so, you could be worrying yourself into an early grave. Next time you get an attack of the ‘what-ifs’, I would like you to create in your mind’s eye, a ‘What-if-box’. This box has a one way opening, and each time you have a negative thought or emotion of the catastrophizing kind, send it straight through that one-way opening of your what-if-box. The worrying thoughts will still be there if you need to go back and re-visit them, so just let them stay in the box; and while they are in there, you will be free to get on with the important things in your life! FOUR: Know Thy Self What does self-esteem mean for you? What do you need to do, say or be to gain greater confidence and self-reliance? More importantly, how can you improve if you don’t know this? You need to get clear about what you want and only then can you begin to make plans to get it. Write it down and while you are doing this, remember to write down what you want, not what you don’t want. This is the language your subconscious mind understands. When you concentrate on self-development and make plans, you gain a sense of control over your destiny, and it helps you to feel better about yourself. So start writing today! FIVE: Stand Tall Do you stand with your back straight and your shoulders square? Or do you look at the ground when you walk and hunch over? If you want to be confident, then start with your body language. Send the message to your subconscious mind that you matter; watch your physical posture – straighten up, walk tall and look other people straight in the eye when you talk to them. You’ll be amazed at how this small thing can make all the difference; and furthermore, other people will sense your charisma-oozing body language and begin to treat you differently. Try this today; it works! Copyright 2005 Sonia Devine

10 universal principles of success

Success is not something that only a chosen few can achieve. Everyone can be successful in every area of his or her life. You just need to know how to do things in such a way as to make sure you succeed every time. Success comes as a result of forming certain habits, and continuing in them. Consistency is key. To succeed, you need to be a certain type of person. Don't be discouraged if you are not yet that type of person. With practice, anyone can become a successful person. The successful person thinks in a certain way, talks in a certain way, and acts in a certain way. The list below briefly outlines 10 of those ways (and a bonus tip!). Anyone who consistently applies these principles to any area of their life *will* experience success in that area. Vision: Have a clear picture of what exactly it is you want to achieve or become. Keep this picture at the top of your mind at all times.

Doing something you want to do, because you want to do it, will motivate you to succeed at it. Start with the end in mind. Belief: Believe without a shadow of a doubt that you can do it. Believe that you will succeed. Believe in a Higher Power who is helping you get what you want. Stay away from negative influences (people, books/articles, anything negative), which make you doubt your ability to succeed. Surround yourself with things that remind you that you can, and will, succeed. Responsibility: Realize that you alone are responsible for your future. You alone are responsible for the outcome of your efforts. Don't look for anyone to blame. Feel free to ask for help as you need it, but remember the final decision is up to you. It's your life, after all. Affirm: Make a habit of saying out loud what you hope to achieve. Speak of it in the present tense, e. g., 'I am fit and trim', as opposed to 'I will be fit and trim'. If you feel awkward speaking out loud to yourself, write down the affirmation. Then look at it (or better still, rewrite it) several times each day. This helps your mind stay focused on the goal. It also builds your self-belief and confidence. Commitment: Make a firm commitment to action. Decide to take whatever steps you need to take to help you achieve your goals. Then honour the commitment you've made. Too often we find it easy to keep our commitments to others while neglecting to keep our commitments to ourselves. This pattern has to change if you're to succeed in life. Set a SMART goal: Now that you know what you want to achieve or become, you need to define it by making it a goal. Your goal has to be Specific, Measurable (you need a standard to help you know when you've achieved it) and Motivational (it's got to inspire you and keep you motivated), Attainable and Attractive, Realistic (no point setting an unrealistic goal such as "I want to be a millionaire this evening") and Timed (State when you hope to achieve it). Plan and Take Action: Work out a plan of action. Break down the plan into baby steps. Take a step or two each day, reminding yourself that each step is bringing you closer to your goal. Perform each act to the best of your ability, filled with faith, determination and purpose to reach your goal. Most importantly, be consistent. Persistence: Do not give up until you have achieved what you desire. In the course of things, be willing to change any part of your plan which turns out not to work, and try something else. Thomas Edison did not give up in his quest to invent the light bulb, even though he'd 'failed' 10,000 times. Now that's persistence! See every failure as a stepping-stone to success and as a temporary set back. Learn from it and push on towards your goal. Gratitude: Maintain an attitude of gratitude, knowing that your dream is about to become a reality. Refuse to grumble when circumstances look contrary. Refuse to complain. Be grateful for where you are now, and for where you are headed. Look around for things to be grateful for. You'll be surprised to find quite a few. Become a giver. In your relationships, always think in terms of what you can do for the other person. What goes round comes round. After all, whatever dreams you have most likely involve interacting with other people. Be kind and generous to all; you never know where your breakthrough will come from. Bonus Principle. Be in the know: Find out everything you can about your situation/goal. Read books, listen to tapes, and talk to experts, whatever it takes. This will help you make wise decisions and keep you confident as you go along. So there you have it. I have given you a summary of principles which, if you apply consistently, WILL guarantee you success in any endeavour. Don't just take my word for it, though. Prove it yourself by actually applying it to your life situation. Knowlegde is not powerful until you act on what you know. Think about that. Better yet, act on it! You'll be glad you did.

10 strategies to creating more in less time

Following is a list-–a menu of options, if you will-–of strategies that will get you on the road to creating more in less time and turbo-charging your productivity! I’ve often said that there is no “one size fits all” recipe to life, but if you try at least one strategy every three weeks, I promise you will see huge improvements in the overall quality of your life after the end of that third week. I picked a minimum of three weeks because it typically takes at least 21 days to develop a new habit. You can start with the one that jazzes you the most and take it from there. No pressure!

Find a buddy or an accountability partner to try this with, or share it with your coach if you have one so you’ll have more incentive to make these positive steps forward. Are you ready? Here we go: 1. Manage your energy-this is a biggie! I often get quizzical looks when I offer this suggestion without any further explanation, but trust me. Once I explain the process, it should make sense. There are four levels of energy that need our attention: physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual. You can manage your physical energy by eating nutritious foods, exercising, and sleeping. You can manage your emotional energy by paying attention to how you respond to events and being aware of what you can and cannot control. Also, spending time with positive, inspiring people can enhance your emotional energy. You can manage your mental energy by reading, expanding your knowledge base, and being curious. You can manage your spiritual energy by meditation or prayer, and being committed to a purpose in life that benefits all. Naturally, when your energy levels are higher, your productivity increases too. I highly recommend the book, The Power of Full Engagement by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz. They do an excellent job of going in-depth on how you can manage each of these four energy levels. 2. Collaborate with others This may be a stretch for people who are used to flying solo on most things, but you might surprise yourself if you find someone to work with that will result in an outcome beyond each of your dreams. This strategy comes in handy when you have a big project, or what James Collins and Jerry Porras call a “Big Hairy Audacious Goal” (BHAG). You can find collaborators by doing volunteer work in your community, networking, and taking advantage of your center of influence both locally and in the virtual world. It’s important that these potential partners share similar values with you, and if you both have a common vision, the sky can be the limit! 3. Pay attention to your body rhythms In economics, we use a term called “decreasing marginal productivity,” and in layman’s terms, it means that your productivity levels tend to increase at a slower rate over time. If you know when you work best, you can consciously know when you’re maxing out and take a break when the time comes. Do you work better in the morning? How about in the evening or afternoon? If you have the opportunity to work when you’re the most productive and efficient, and rest when you feel like it’s starting to be a big effort, you’ll get more done. I realize that if you have a full time job, that flexibility may not be built in, but I strongly encourage it for those who do have a flexible schedule. 4. Use your strengths and farm out the rest Are you really saving money doing it all by yourself? Maybe not! Weighing the costs of time versus money can be very revealing. It’s usually best to focus on what you do best for better productivity. Think about what you could farm out to someone else. Think about your own worth per hour. Could you make more money doing what you’re good at rather than save money by doing something you should pay someone else to do? If you can automate some of these processes (i. e., auto draft for bill paying, online bill paying, or direct deposit, to name a few), then all the better! 5. Recognize the cycle of chaos and order and use it to your advantage I quietly suffered in silence for years because I felt that my life was a living paradox. But when someone I respected shared that paradoxes were the norm in life, I breathed a big sigh of relief! One of many paradoxes or dichotomies that come to mind is the cycle of chaos and order. Did you know that creativity can be a really messy process, and that it’s not necessarily a bad thing? If you’re in the midst of brainstorming ideas, you’re probably not in linear mode. Your desk or work space may not be tidy during this process either. Take it in stride. It’s highly likely that if you don’t stress about the “mess” (conceptually and literally) when in the midst of creative, right brain activities, you’ll move through the process much more quickly. Oftentimes, the order naturally emerges during this process, and usually what comes out on the other end is quite coherent and delightful, whether it’s a work of art or a business plan. On the other hand, order can also come in handy right from the very beginning, especially when working on more linear processes like paying bills, doing your financial forecasts, family routines, and so on. The trick is to have a system in place that has some structure with flexibility built in. 6. Use a balance of your natural personality plus a stretch goal in order to grow In my “Free Relationship with Time” e-course, I talk about three basic personalities I’ve noticed over the years: the “goal-oriented with optimistic ‘to-do’ lists” personality; the “naturally schedule-oriented, planning your days to the minute detail” personality; and the “hate routine and fly by the seat of your pants, and maybe even thrive on it” personality. And there are variations within each of these. They can even overlap. There is no “right” way to be if it works for you instead of against you. For example, optimistic goals are great, but the key is not to beat yourself up if you don’t reach all of them. Instead, think of the journey you enjoyed trying to get there. You’re probably further along than you would’ve been if you didn’t have any goals. Planning to the minute detail works well if you have realistic expectations about your ‘to-do’ list. Some things you have to do, and others you’d like to do. While you’re planning, you might as well carve out some “fun time” for yourself and give yourself more time than you think it might take to complete the tasks. Committing an average of five to ten minutes a day to the very big but lower priority tasks can go a long way. These baby steps will definitely add up. If you’re efficient and stress-free with flying by the seat of your pants, then who am I to rock the boat? But if you find yourself stressed physically or mentally as a result, I’d suggest going outside your comfort zone gradually. I wouldn’t spring a ‘to-do’ list on you right off the bat. That would probably be a slow death to you! But if you could have someone support you as the deadline looms, it will help. Also, try putting a notepad or a piece of paper near your work station or someplace where you’ll see it every day, and as a task you know needs to be done occurs to you, write it down on the piece of paper or notepad. If there’s an imposed due date, write that down next to it. It will be there as a constant reminder, and you may be inclined to complete it ahead of schedule rather than in the knick of time, or not at all. Procrastination can transcend the personality types mentioned above, so think about why you procrastinate. Is it because it’s a boring task? Is it a big scary task? Is it a task you don’t see as a high priority? Naming it out loud and on paper is a good start. Here’s a challenge for the chronic procrastinator. Take out a piece of paper and draw two lines in a cross so that you have four boxes. The idea would be to get in touch with your rebel and write all the things on which you’ve procrastinated in the top left box; in the top right box, your reasons for procrastinating; in the bottom left box, the cost of not doing them; then in the right bottom box, all the benefits of doing those things you’ve procrastinated on. After you’ve done that, share these with someone you know who wants you to succeed. In fact, you can even email them to me at carolmanagingpersonalresources. com, and I will acknowledge you for this step in the process. 7. Practice daily self-awareness Another favorite activity of mine is what I call “Downloading my brain to paper.” You wouldn’t believe the relief I feel after journaling–especially after a stressful day. If you’re a scheduler, carve out a certain time of day to do this. Or if you’re like me, journal when the spirit hits you if scheduling seems too restrictive. Write everything that is on your mind, including items you know you need to be working on. These can include areas of physical well being, relationships, or some tolerations you’ve been avoiding like shampooing your carpets, cleaning out a closet or desk drawer, and so on. Don’t edit yourself. No one has to see what you wrote. Some of the greatest ideas have been born in the journal. I always have more clarity after journaling and my productivity goes through the roof as a result. Also, if you’re aware of some of the assessments out there such as the MBTI® or the DiSC, knowing your personality type and behavioral style can also help you use the most efficient methods specific to you to get things done. 8. Make sure you schedule “you” time every day I can already hear some of you screaming at me, “Carol, I don’t have time to take time for myself, and you’re already giving me these challenges that I don’t have time to do. And aerobic exercise? Puh-leeze!” This is just another one of those paradoxes. I promise you after taking down time for yourself-– even if it’s just 30 minutes to an hour a day, doing something you absolutely love–you will be much more productive after you’ve come back from that break. Remember, when your marginal productivity decreases, you’re wasting time anyway. Many of you who are moms may have heard the phrase, “If Mom’s not happy, then no one in the house is happy!” But even if you’re not a mom, and you live with others, this rule can apply. Invitation: Take a moment to write down three rituals that you know give you energy. Examples can include reading, exercise, journaling, gardening, music, sports, sailing, tai chi, yoga, or spending time in nature. 9. Employ some of the traditional ‘time management’ tips Here are a couple of ideas to consider. Visit http:// power-edsolutionsinc. com/TimeTracker. pdf and download the time log chart and print it out. Then try the following for a week: Either the night before, or the following morning, make a list on the left hand side of the grid of what you intend to do that day. Then on the right side, at the end of the day, list what you actually did. Evaluate how you did each day. Did you meet your expectations, or did you schedule too much? List all of the distractions that come up for you–the annoying ones and those that you find enjoyable. I challenge you to use those fun distractions as rewards after putting a dent in your proverbial “to-do” list. If the phone rings, let it go to voice mail. Turn off your instant messaging (if you have it). Tell your friends not to come over unannounced unless it’s an emergency or unless they want to help you with your tasks. And prioritize, prioritize, prioritize! Again, if you find that you don’t have the discipline, inclination, motivation, or inspiration to do any of this, then perhaps a friend, a coach, or someone you trust can serve as an accountability partner to support you and keep you “honest”. 10. Create passive income I’m just going to plant some seeds here, because the “how to” of this process is a rather lengthy one, but well worth pursuing. Why? Because when most of your money is working for you instead of you working for most of your money, it gives you more time to do the things you enjoy doing in life. You can do this by receiving commission as an affiliate of other people’s products sold, creating digital products of your own, investing (in the market and certain forms of real estate, for example), and even network marketing. There are so many options out there with many moving parts, but if you choose and master just one source of creating passive income for yourself, look out! I realize that “life happens,” but as I said at the beginning of this article, if you try just one of these strategies for three weeks straight, watch those productivity floodgates open for you. I invite you to email me and tell me how it went for you, and I’ll congratulate you with a big grin on my face!

Control helplessness and love

During my 35 years of counseling individuals, couples, families and business partners, I have discovered that an important purpose of our controlling behavior in our relationships is to avoid the feeling of helplessness. One of the hardest feelings to feel is helplessness. Most of us are unwilling to even know what we are and are not helpless over. Our controlling behavior toward others generally comes from our unwillingness to accept our helplessness over others' feelings and behavior. We do not want to know that we are helpless over whether another chooses to be loving and accepting toward us or judgmental and rejecting toward us. If we truly accepted our helplessness over others, would we continue to get angry at them? Would we continue to blame, to judge, shame, criticize? Would we continue to comply, or to be nice instead of honest? If we truly accepted our helplessness over whether others loved us and accepted us, would we work so hard to prove our worth to others? Sometimes - because we often manage to have control over getting approval or avoiding disapproval - we may confuse approval with love and think we can have control over getting love. But love is always a gift freely given with no strings attached. We may receive attention and approval when we try to control getting love from another, but that is generally short-lived and not fulfilling. Moving beyond our controlling behavior, as well as our core shame (the belief that we are inherently bad, inadequate, unlovable, unworthy, not good enough), happens easily and naturally once we fully accept our helplessness over others' intention to be open or closed, loving or unloving, accepting or judgmental. Our core shame is one of our deepest, oldest false beliefs and one of our oldest protections against our feelings of helplessness. Our shame gives us the illusion of power over others: that is, we tell ourselves that if we are not being loved because we are not good enough, we can continue to strive to be good enough and then we will have control over getting the love we want. Believing in our core shame allows us to believe that we cause others to be unloving to us, that it is our fault when others are unloving because we are not good enough. It takes us out of the truth of our helplessness and into a sense of control - if only we change ourselves we can then change others. This illusion of control over other people's feelings about us is difficult for most people to give up. Paradoxically, accepting our helplessness over others leads us to our personal power. Once we fully accept that we cannot have control over others loving us and taking care of us, we may then finally decide to learn how to take care of our own feelings and needs.. This major step moves us out of being victims of others' choices and into control over our own lives, which is what we do have control over. We do have control over our own intent to learn about loving ourselves and others, or protect against pain with some from of controlling behavior. You will feel incredibly empowered once you fully accept your helplessness over others. Try it! For one week, try throughout the day reminding yourself that you are helpless over others' feelings and behavior. You will be astounded at the results! Once you accept your helplessness over others, then lots of energy is released to take care of yourself. Many of us have been taught that taking care of ourselves is selfish. Contrary to taking care of yourself being selfish, taking care of your own feelings and needs is what personal responsibility is all about. As long as you make others responsible for your feelings of worth and lovability, you will try to control how others treat you and feel about you. As soon as you take responsibility for defining your own worth and lovability and taking care of your own feelings and needs, you move out of being a victim and into personal power. The challenge is to accept our helplessness over others. This is often difficult, because as infants, if we were helpless over getting someone to feed us and attend to us, we would have died. Many of us went through the terror of crying and crying and no one coming to love and care for us. Many of us experienced that life-threatening experience of helplessness over getting others to take care of our needs. We became deeply terrified of the feeling of helplessness and learned to do anything we could to avoid that feeling and that situation. The problem is that we do not realize that today we are no longer helpless over ourselves as we were as infants. We will not die of someone doesn't attend to us. We can feed ourselves and call a friend for help if we need it. Yet many people still react to the feeling of helplessness over others as if it were a life and death situation. Many people still do anything they can to avoid feeling helpless, including controlling others or shutting out our feelings with addictive behavior. How often have you found yourself grazing in front of the refrigerator, turning on the TV, grabbing a cigarette without even realizing you were doing it? Often, this addictive behavior is a way to avoid the feeling of helplessness that may have come up in an interaction with someone, or as a way to avoid responsibility for taking care of your own feelings and needs. The first step in moving beyond controlling and addictive behavior is to be willing to become aware of the feeling of helplessness. Once you are aware of what it feels like in your body, embrace the feeling as you would embrace a small child who is feeling scared. As you bring love to the feeling of helplessness within you rather than avoiding it with controlling and addictive behavior, you will discover that it isn't as bad as you thought. If you are willing to open to the love that surrounds you in Spirit and bring that love inside to the part of you that feels helpless, this frightened wounded part that just wants to be loved begins to get healed. The more you practice embracing helplessness rather than avoiding it, the more you will move out of being a victim and into your personal power and ability to love yourself and others.

Joining clubs do they work for you

Back home I was always a member of the local badminton club and at a time I was a member of the Weight Watcher's Club. Both were very effective in my life. I not only got to play my sport, but it served as a large part of my social life. I met some special lifelong friends there. Weight Watchers also served me very well in that it helped me change my perspective on what a healthy diet and exercise lifestyle meant to me and like the many badminton clubs I supported over the years, Weight Watchers was a place where I met many supporting and like-minded people. I chose to use my positive experiences with clubs when I relocated overseas and got involved with different clubs that suited my interests such as the dance club, the "Learn Korean" club, the singles club, the fitness club and of course last but not least, the badminton club. I have, however found that too often when expats relocate, they tend to shy away from joining clubs. There may be various reasons namely: being overwhelmed by everything that is happening; being fearful of walking into a new club for the first time; not knowing the language; laziness etc. But time and time again in the different countries I have been fortunate enough to work and live, I have found joining clubs to be an excellent way to quickly meet diverse groups of people. Clubs offer so many different facilities ranging from playing fields and organised sporting teams, to squash courts and swimming pools. But as already mentioned, joining clubs are not limited to the sports arena. There are book clubs, expat support clubs, cooking clubs, and chess or scrabble clubs, AA clubs, monthly travel clubs, the Rotary club, Toastmasters, the local Lions club and the list goes on. Many clubs provide food and beverages at good rates and often prepare for special functions such as Halloween, Thanksgiving, Guy Fawkes, birthdays or other special days that are celebrated in your home country. Organising a function yourself at a club is also an easy and cheap option. You could organize a variety of leisure opportunities such as dinners, wine tastings, trivia nights, costume parties, potluck dinners, movie nights, and cultural activities. For couples with children I have found that the majority of clubs are very accommodating and have groups for mothers and their children. They often provide a range of classes and activities starting with ballet or karate classes going all the way through to finger painting afternoons. And then, please do not forget about your local library! No matter the size, the library is very often the very hub of the community. I am so thankful for all those afternoons when I sat at the library emailing family and friends for hours at a time and for free. Libraries are also more often than not, a great source for all kinds of local information. If you look close to home, the companies you work for usually offer a wide range of club activities. Make it your business to find out what is available right at your fingertips. Special rates are always made available to staff members. Joining clubs can be very helpful in making your expat living experience a success. If you think about it, club hopping may be just the thing you need. Action Plan for The Week * Decide which club you want to join. * Find out all the information and details you need to know. * Determine a date by which you will commit to signing up. * Join. * Have fun! Quote For The Week "You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club." Jack London. Three Club Trivia Questions (true or false) * Toastmasters was founded in America. * The motto for the Lions club is "Unity and Strength" * Rotary clubs are presented in over 100 countries in the world. Answers: * True: It was founded in Oct 1924 at the YMCA in Santa Ana, California. * False: "We serve" * True: 167 countries to be specific. ***TRIVIA*** All 3 clubs originated in the USA

the mastery of learning in context

Metaphysical circles often characterize incarnation as consisting of four bodies that work in concert to give us what we know of as a human. These are the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual bodies. Each is important and their synergy is critical. The Mastery of Learning is naturally aimed at the mental body although it has connections with the physical, emotional and spiritual bodies as well, for none can survive successfully as an island. These four highly individual and unique islands are distributed equally around the points of an imaginary square. The island of the physical is known for its sands, clays, rich mineral and crystal deposits thus allowing you to fashion anything you desire. The island of the emotional body is more like a water park in the diversity of ways water bubbles, cascades, pools, flows, falls and collects. The island of the mental body is dynamic in its energy being dominated by a volcano that continually deposits more thus gradually enlarging the island, and the spiritual island has valleys and element sculptured mountains covered with tall trees all of which caress the ears with soft whispers as air masses play them endlessly in infinitely variable patterns. Collectively this quadruplet of distinctive islands constitute a stable platform upon which can be erected the human ecosystem. Mastery of each is essential for eventual mastery of being human.

The interesting aspect of mastery is that beginning the search on any one island eventually leads you to awareness of the center between the islands which is the true center of your being. When standing on an island you are afforded a unique perspective that changes from island to island, yet each time the others can be seen diminished in the distance. In the center between the islands each is seen as being equal in importance and the relative perspective never changes. I explored the mental island first by writing The Mastery of Learning. This approach augments my ability to rapidly explore the remaining islands by giving me advanced exploration tools. As they are written, each new volume in the Mastery Series will explore a subsequent island.

When the human archipelago has been characterized, each island will be found to be not so much an island as a gate leading to the center, the true goal in all paths. Once reached, the importance of the islands will fade as true perception provides proper understanding. That is mastery.

5 ways to having your best internet dating profile possible

You are finally biting the bullet and decided to try internet dating. You have narrowed down to one or two sites that your friends have recommended that you try where they are having success meeting people. (go to http:// heartmindconnection. com/resources for a list of dating internet sites and their descriptions.) Now it’s up to you to write your internet profile. That’s the hard part!

Or perhaps you have had your internet dating profile up for a while and have not seen much action lately. Perhaps it is time for you to reevaluate your profile and see if you can make improvements to attract more quality candidates to your internet profile. How do you package yourself in a way that will attract the right people to you? What if writing is not your forte? If you follow the 5 ideas outlined below, you will be putting your best foot forward and on your way to experiencing the excitement of internet dating or revitalizing your internet dating potential. For those new to internet dating, after checking out the format of the profile and how others are presenting themselves, I encourage you to: 1. Present the most authentic you! Show your potential dates the real you. If you put down stuff that you are not, you will attract the wrong people and eventually it will come out eventually. For examples, if you can’t stand cats and say you like animals, then what will you do if your date has a cat? My philosophy is what you put out there is what you will attract. Just like an ad in a magazine - if a company advertises a car with a powerful engine, That ad will attract people who want that feature in a car. So it is best to be honest and upfront with your profile. Describe what you need and want in a relationship. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want (as long as it is socially appropriate!). If you want marriage and a family – then put that down in your profile. You will attract those who want the same things as you and turn away those who would be scared by that comment—that’s a good thing! 2. Tell your audience what’s unique about you! What sets you apart from the next guy or gal? What is special about you? Do you have any special talents or skills? You want someone in your life who appreciates that about you. If you have an artistic bent, or you sing in a chorus, describe that! If you run marathons or help out with volunteer activities, put that down, as well. This will set you apart from the other internet profiles out there. 3. Take your reader into your experiences with you! I believe in bringing the reader into the experiences that you truly value. Not just superficially mention you like running through the park, but send out an invitation for them to join you. For instance, one of my clients described how he loves to jog in a city park in the fall when the air is crisp and the leaves are multi-tonal. Doesn’t this description have a “come join me” feeling? Don’t just mention that you like concerts and movies. Describe what kind of concerts you prefer and types of movies you love. Remember, you want to attract those who have similar tastes. 4. Describe what’s truly important to you! What gets you up in the morning? What truly motivates you in life? One of my clients truly values giving of herself to the community. She is an avid volunteer. I’m sure she wants to attract someone who also values giving to the community as well. When you get beyond the superficial, you will attract those who say, “this person seems to be the kind of person I want to meet!” 5. Invest in hiring a professional for the all important photo! We do live in a visual society and we do judge a book by a cover! Studies have shown that the photo is the key to whether a person decides to check out your profile or not. If you are not sure how you come across in the photo, then ask a friend or co-worker for their opinion. I request that my clients get a professional photo 95% of the time. Some internet dating sites do provide you with a list of photographers in your area who specialize in internet dating photos. As an added bonus, you will have a photo of yourself to give to your family members come December! By following the ideas presented above, I guarantee that you will see an improvement in the type of people who are contacting you and the responses you are getting from those you are contacting. This is the first step towards meeting the man or woman of your dreams! In my next article, I will describe my internet dating strategies for men vs. those for women. Copyright 2005 Heartmind Connection, LLC

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