Stress-Free Relationships at Work

stress-free professionalsThe Golden Rule
as a Way to Reduce Stress

I hear all too often about backstabbing, selfishness, and silhos at work.
And the truth is, none of us can get our jobs done alone. We all need others to help and life is so much more pleasant, effective and profitable when we place nicely with others. People will go the extra mile for those they feel care about them. They will work late and do overtime and jump through hoops if they believe you truly care.

How to Build Better Working Relationships

• Be kind. You have no idea what others are going through in their personal lives.

• Smile and sincerely ask others how they are.

• Share news which will impact others quickly. Come up with solutions to a mutual problem before you even tell them. Be empathetic.

• Praise others specifically 92% of American workers say that when they finish a project, their boss says NOTHING! Don’t be one of those managers. Thank your people and acknowledge what they have done.

• Do it in writing- thanking others with a written note card goes a long way.

• Share openly with others and invite them to do the same. You don’t have to parade your personal problems, but show your vulnerability and authenticity. Be a real person and others will respond.

• Encourage laughter, not at anyone’s expense. People are more effective in a safe, fun work environment. Part of how you create that is to make the job enjoyable. Good will goes a long way.

 

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Surviving Winter Stress

Beat the Stress of Winter Blues

Arubabeach
For over two decades, I lived in New England and battled the grey, cold, snowy winters every year. Then I moved to Florida where we have sunshine regularly- I love the sun! I have been infinitely happier. Not only because I prefer warmth, but because all that grey depressed me.  And lately we have been having Northeasters in Florida which create similar grey days. Enough to give me the blues.

And I’m not the only one. About 1/2 of all Americans report feeling depressed in winter. Seasonal affective disorder can cause energy loss, grumpy moods and carb craving.

“A day without sunshine is like, you know, night.” Steve Martin

How to Beat the Winter Blues

Go outside. Yes- even if it is cold out, spending time in nature boosts your mood. Try 20 minutes a day without sun block. (After that, slather up.) Many people are deficient in Vitamin D3, which you normally get from the sun. This vitamin is critical to your overall health and mood. Consider taking D3 supplements and have your doctor test your levels. I get it in liquid form.

Take vacations in the winter to someplace warm

Try light therapy with a 10,000 lux lamp – 30 minutes a day significantly boosts mood and energy

Exercise- A most powerful mood booster made even better when you do it with others. Socializing helps you feel better.

Use aromatherapy. Peppermint boosts alertness, as do orange and lemon scents.

• Do something you love every day.

Remember, unless you live in Alaska, winter is only a few months long. Take care of yourself and get Fired Up!

 

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The $ Pizza Man

Rosa's Pizza Wall of Sticky Donations

A Unique Way to Give Back

This morning on  the Today Show,  they featured a gentleman named Mason who owns Rosa’s Pizzeria at 25 S 11th St Philadelphia, PA 19107.  What is extraordinary about Mason and Rosa’s is that they only charge $1 for a slice of pizza.  But even more extraordinary is that people tend to buy more than one slice and then leave a post it note for anyone else to get credit for a free slice.  This is designed to help the homeless have a chance to eat something healthy without begging.  The walls are covered with sticky notes and yet most people pay for others.

To date over 9000 pieces of pizza have been given out to those in need.

Each of us can make a difference in our own way.

Today I am setting up a ‘Dress for Success” event with Professional Women’s Council to help the Latina women of The Hill get back into the workforce.  We have clean, good condition suits, blouses, accessories and interview techniques to help them get jobs.  And tomorrow we will distribute them, with the goal of empowering these women with encouragement, confidence and lots of love.

Volunteering is a terrific way to relieve stress, to feel better about yourself and to make a difference in your community.

What will you do to make a difference?

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The NO, NO, NO Woman

man yell into phoneLRRecently, I was shopping at a retail store which had a big sale.  (This was a week before Black Friday.) I had half an hour before my meeting and zipped in, found what I wanted and stood in a looonnnng line where only two cashiers were working. (Personal pet peeve- when you have a sale, staff up for it.)

While I was waiting, a woman was trying to return some pastry making items.  Very loudly, this older cashier said, “These caps don’t have a safety seal. ” The customer replied “They never had and they have not been opened.” The NO, NO, NO Woman said, “I have to call my supervisor,” which she did very loudly and said “This lady is returning pastry items with no safety seal.  Can we take them back?”  Want to guess what her boss said?

No. And then the NO, NO, NO woman proceeded to humiliate the poor customer further by shouting out- “No, we can’t take this back.”

The whole thing was completely unnecessary.  And unpleasant!  And time consuming.  I never did get to buy those items that morning, as the time exceeded what I had allotted before my meeting.

Lessons here:  Never put NO, NO, NO people in customer service.  NEVER humiliate the customer.  Don’t sell products that can’t be returned unless you notify people.  And find some YES employees.  Is it any wonder why some retailers are in trouble?????

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Dignity and Respect- For Yourself and Others

Helping Others Needs to Be a Two Way Street

Most of us have been raised thinking it’s appropriate to be generous, kind, loving and helpful to others.  In in today’s world with so much suffering, we are increasingly asked to reach out and help. And if we can and are willing to do so, without strings attached, we should. Sharing the wealth of heart and wallet is a good thing.

But the key here is to do so while allowing the other person to have dignity.  Every human being has a sense of pride and self-worth, and truly no one wants to beg for assistance if they can help it.  When giving aid in any form, whether it’s advice, money, clothing or food, be sure to allow the recipient to have dignity.

Kevin Hall, in his wonderful book Aspire, explains it eloquently when he tells the story of Pravin and “genshai.”  Genshai means never treating another person in a way that would make them feel small.  So if you are giving money to a beggar, you don’t toss a coin to them, you get down to their level, look them in the eye and smile. Then you give them the money and say “bless you.” You are treating them with respect.

An interesting twist on this is to practice genshai with yourself.  Never treat yourself in a way that would make you feel small.  And most of us do this regularly. We criticize ourselves mercilessly, judging our actions and finding fault.  All that does is lower our self-esteem and create guilt and resentment patterns against ourselves.  If you feel you did something in a less than perfect way, forgive yourself and move on.  Be kind to yourself. Be kind to others.

___________________

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Recharge Your Brain with Down Time

“We need quiet time to examine our lives openly and honestly -spending quiet time alone gives your mind an opportunity to renew itself and create order.” Susan Taylor

Access Your Creativity Through Quiet Time

meditation as stress reliever from Stress ExpressMost busy professionals have very little time for themselves. Deadlines, quotas, meetings, family, life obligations all take a toll on our personal time. Your brain never turns off.  You probably have “cerebral congestion.”

Recent study  by LexisNexis of 1,700 white collar workers in the U.S., China, South Africa, the U.K. and Australia showed employees spend more than half their workdays receiving and managing data rather than using it to do their jobs; 50% confessed that they were reaching a breaking point.
Most of our best ideas come from quiet time. Many great concepts that later became life-improving products originated in the shower.  Several companies  encourage employees to take one day a week to work on whatever project they want- whether it’s part of their job description or not. Some of these companies’ best innovations resulted. But if there’s no time, no quiet space, no daydreaming, there’s very little room for innovation.

How Can You Get More Quiet Time?

cut down on meetings and shorten them. Ask- could this be accomplished in an email or memo? Make a guideline that all meetings get done in 15 minutes or less. Tell people in advance to laser their thoughts.

exercise nearly every day-and instead of watching TV, talking on the phone or reading emails while you’re doing it, just be quiet. Play soothing environmental music. Or get outside. Let your brain wander while you are in nature.

sleep at least 7 hours a night. Sleep is critical to your overall health, well-being and memory. In true restful sleep, your brain synthesizes through various levels of consciousness and replenishes itself. The quiet of sleep is absolutely necessary for sanity, not to mention performance and achievement.

meditate. Even if it is only for 10 minutes a day, taking the time to be quiet and go inside, listen, and breathe deeply can give the brain a vital rest.

take your vacation time. In 2013, most Americans left 4 vacation days on the table. No laptops or emails or phone calls on vacation. Be truly off the grid and come back refreshed and revitalized.

get outside in nature. The new field of ecopsychology demonstrates that spending time in nature relaxes the brain, restores the body and spirit.

Your brain has great wisdom and gifts to share with you. It can only do so when it truly has a chance to recharge. Give it that time.

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Turn Your Anger into Action!

Don’t Let Anger Make You Bitter- DO SOMETHING POSITIVE

gavelLRThere are a number of disturbing things going on in the world. The Ferguson case continues to sadden us. Legislation blocking voter rights is very upsetting, and on and on.  And yet you CAN do something about it.

• Take action. Channel your anger and frustration into working for a cause you support. Volunteer for children’s safety. Help out at a shelter. Write letters, grants, sign petitions, contact Congress. Do something positive with that energy.  Join me on Oct 25 Make a Difference Day and clean up a park.

• Be FOR something, not against. Be FOR the safety of our children, for justice, for integrity and ethical behavior rather than against others. Take the higher road and model it for others. Complaining and raging all day does nothing. Taking action and being a force for good does make a difference. Speak
up for those who need you.

• Look for the good. There are many great inspirational stories happening all the time, but they get very little play in the media. Here’s a wonderful story  about two black teenagers who rescued a 5 year old white kidnap victim. They didn’t let race or hate stop them from being heroes. Here’s the link to watch the story.

http://www.cnn.com/2013/07/15/justice/pennsylvania-teen-heroes/index.html

Focus on the positive happening in your world. Avoid the news, because it is mostly bad. Get inspired by beauty, by kindness, by small acts that make a huge difference.

And remember this statement by Margaret Mead: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

Remember that YOU DO make a difference.

 

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Want to Get Fired Up?

October is International Fired Up! Month

Fired Up CoverLR“Enthusiasm is the greatest asset you can possess, for it can take you further than money, power or influence.” Dada Vaswani

 I created this month in 1997 to celebrate attitude and success. Your positive attitude determines your success in life, and we know from the research that optimists sell 56% more than pessimists, and are more effective leaders.

You can Host a Fired Up! week at work or in your community. employees, students or association members can:

• maintain a daily success list of all you accomplish
• share inspirational music, movies, quotesl books or stories (movies like Dolphin Tale 1 and 2 or the Blind Side, The Butler, Mr. Holland’s Opus are all good starters)
• talk about their dreams and goals, successes, victories
• form Fired Up! Inspiration Circles where they support each other’s dreams
• track group individual successes on a Fired Up! bulletin board/ victory wall.
• participate in a community service event on Make a Difference Day, Oct 25, 2014!

Be sure this is a sincere and meaningful exercise and give special attention to it. Let your people know you value them and encourage their positive attitude. People who know they are valued as human beings are more loyal and productive.

“Enthusiasm spells the difference between mediocrity and accomplishment.” Norman Vincent Peale

Oct 25 Chamber All Council Community Involvement Project

If you live in the Jacksonville Fl area, participate with me in a park clean-up, painting and education project.

Playground EquipmentThis morning project will include:
• painting the picnic shelter
• building benches
• painting the utility building and
kids’ log cabin
• adding flowers to the playground
• converting the shuffleboard court into educational hopscotch areas with colorful paint and stencils.
Location is Home Gardens Park, 6367 Mockingbird Rd., Jacksonville. If you would like to join me, whether you are a chamber member or not, go here to sign up: http://www.signupgenius.com/go/60b0f4fa8ac2aa46-october

You can make a difference, too, and reap the rewards of volunteering. It’s an amazing stress reliever, You help others and you help yourself. It truly gets you Fired Up!

Have a great weekend and get Fired Up!
Snowden
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Leaders and Sacrifice

“Leadership is about inspiration-of oneself and of others. Great leadership is about human experiences, not processes. Leadership…is a human activity that comes from the heart and considers the hearts of others.”-
Lance Secretan

Simon Sinel bookIn his new book Leaders Eat Last, Simon Sinek says leaders must sacrifice for their people. They must be willing to put the needs of others before their own needs. It’s a choice: to look after the person on either side of us.

What Leaders Must Sacrifice:

• Micromanaging
Hire good people, trust your people, and check progress when appropriate. Having authority over their work is a key indicator for employee happiness. Give it to them and praise them when they’ve done well. Demonstrate your confidence in them.

• Self-Interest and Ego

Get in the trenches and work with your people at all levels. I read a story about a CEO who had succcessfully grown the business, and while it was doing well, sales had plateaued. He was advised to go down on the factory floor every week and spend time with his people, getting to know them. In six months, his profits took off because his people knew that he cared. They delivered better, faster service and higher quality. People respond when you know you care about them.

• Saving Face at the Expense of Your People
If you don’t back your people up when they are in crisis or conflict with vendors, clients, etc., then you send a very clear message of fear and mistrust. When you say you will support your people in difficult times and then fail to, your employees feel betrayed and abandoned. They will resent you and become cynical and fearful. None of that leads to high performance.

• Looking Good to Stockholders
At Next Jump in NY, CEO Charlie Kim spends significant money developing people- on training programs and mentoring- much to the chagrin of his investors. However, the results proved themselves and delighted stockholders. Many firms in this industry have double digit turnover rates, which can cost millions to replace. (Industry averages 150% of a person’s salary to replace them.) Because of the investment Charlie makes in his people, turnover is low single digit, and the quality of innovation, problem-solving capability, loyalty and engagement at the company have soared.

Keep expanding your capability as a leader! You will inspire others.

 

 

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How Leaders Fail

“Leadership is lifting a person’s vision to higher sights, the raising of a person’s performance to a higher standard, the building of a personality beyond its normal limitations.” Peter F. Drucker

The Biggest Mistakes Leaders Make

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photography-hard-day-image22576797Breaking agreements and not keeping promises
Other people assume a promise from a leader will be kept. And when you fail to follow-through on any level, it breaks trust. It creates dis-ease and mistrust on all levels and calls into question your credibility. Don’t make commitments you can’t keep. Renegotiate them, delegate them, but do not break promises.

• Emotional outbursts. I had a boss who screamed at everyone, for no reason. I’ve seen other leaders do this, and all it does is alienate others around you. DO NOT VENT on your staff. They deserve better. Go to therapy, work out, get the anger out before you come to work.

• Lack of empathy: Not understanding how your people feel after a work crisis, not giving them comp time when they have worked overtime for many days, not being compassionate when your people have a family emergency. You must demonstrate compassion. Your staff are first and foremost people; treat them with respect and caring.

• Not Giving Appreciation or Praise
70% of American workers are actively disengaged. 88% of American workers NEVER receive thanks for the work they have done!  There’s a correlation. Praise people specifically in writing for a job well done. Say thank you publicly to others for their work. Express your thanks often.

• Not Being Transparent
More than ever, leaders need to tell the truth and address fear and rumors. Even if you can’t tell the whole story, acknowledge that yes, change is happening, and you are doing everything in your power to resolve issues quickly. Update your people often. Acknowledge their worries and be honest in responses. Maintain an optimistic approach and keep them updated every step of the way.

 

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