How to Truly Give Thanks at Home this Week

Giving Thanks: Thursday is More than Just a Day for Food and Football

Two friends giving thanks for each otherIn the United States, it’s Thanksgiving this week.  As we prepare delicious food, plan on parades and games, take the time to  give thanks  and acknowledge others in special ways, especially at home.

Do things for others without being asked. Go the extra mile to help clean, wash laundry, buy groceries. And get them something you know they will love.

If you’re skillful with tools, ask if you may fix things around the house of the one you’re visiting. Ask what needs to be done.

Listen to an older family member.  Ask questions and give them your full attention.  They don’t have it very often. Give thanks for their wisdom and knowledge.

Use touch to convey your thanks and love. Giving a shoulder rub can ease tension instantly. Hugging your mother will melt her heart.  Patting a child on the back and letting them know they did a good job elicits a smile.

Cook with love.  Make foods that you know people dear to you appreciate and crave.

Do something unexpected but highly appreciated. Perhaps bring a new game for the kids or take everyone outside on a nature walk.  Share photos of recent work you have done.  Interview family for a future archived family video.

Don’t take others for granted. If your family is small enough, write a hand-written card for each one letting them know what you specifically appreciate about them.

Turn off your devices and be present with others.

Enjoy your holidays by expressing gratitude from your heart.

 

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Set the Correct Tone For Every Meeting

Cheering women How You Start Your Day and Your Meetings Makes a Big Difference

No matter what is going on in your company and organization, highlight the positive.  Start every meeting and the first email of the day with a positive story, comment or statement of praise about someone in your organization.

It will set the tone for the whole day.  It will encourage others to look for the good.  This is in contrast to what most people do, which is focus first on the news, which is usually bad.

Here’s why that’s a dangerous mistake.

Research done by Michelle Gielan and Shawn Achor of the Happiness Advantage uncovered that just 3 minutes of negative news in the morning ups the odds of your having a bad day by 27%!

Give your team, your employees and co-workers good news in the morning and set their tone for success. You have the power to influence them for the good.

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2 Ways to Increase Your Influence

Burchard bookYou Can Have Greater Influence on Others

Brendon Burchard, in his excellent new book, High Performance Habits, shares some excellent tips on how to increase your influence.

  1. Teach people how to think. When you are working with others, whether in a team, on a committee, or your employees, ask compelling questions which make others think.  Some might include:
    “What do you think about…?”
    “What would happen if we tried…?”
    “How should we approach?”
    “What ideas do you have about..?”
    Get others thinking and contributing. Listen to their feedback and don’t shut them down. You influence them by thanking them and considering what they have said.  Do this more and more often at every meeting.  Let them know you expect new ideas and creative thinking from them.

2.  Challenge others to grow. Let them know you hold them to a higher standard.  Whether it’s your employees, family members or friends, ask them what their next steps are, how they can get better at what they’re doing, how they can treat others better, how they can improve.  Let them know you believe in them and that their excellence inspires them.

You have an impact on others.  You have the opportunity to influence others more than you know  By encouraging their thinking, their growth and their ideas, you influence and empower others.

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Could Ecotherapy (Being in Nature) Relieve Your Stress?

Nature:  Free and Easy Cure to Anxiety and Depression

Did you know that most Americans suffer from nature deficit disorder?  A typical American spends 80-90% of their time indoors- and sadly too much of that time is spent sitting.  The more time people spend inside, the more anxious an depressed they get.  The solution is simple and free: spend time outside in nature.   Doing so can:

• Cut anxiety and depression

• Boost feelings of well-being

• Improve your health and reduce blood pressire

• Increase your social interaction with others

• Improve your breathing and intake of Vitamin D if you spend 20 minutes in the sun

Gardeners have long understood this, as having your hands in soil relieves stress and connects you to the earth.  Doing so helps you get out of your head and your worries, and enables you to focus on the present- one of the keys to being happier.

David Strayer, a psychologist at the University of Utah, takes students out in nature  to reconnect with their creative problem-solving and mental clarity.  With so many distractions and constant technological stimulation, our brains get tired and don’t function as clearly as they should.  His backpacking group of Outward Bound participants did 50 percent better on creative problem-solving after only three days in the wilderness.1

So the next time you are feeling down or overwhelmed, get outside in nature.  Just 20 minutes can revive your body, mind and spirit.

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  1. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2017/07/13/ecotherapy.aspx?utm_source=dnl&utm_medium=email&utm_content=art1&utm_campaign=20170713Z1_UCM&et_cid=DM150364&et_rid=2078706039
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Are You So Busy That Nothing Gets Done?

“Busy is a drug that a lot of people are addicted to.” Rob Bell

Exhausted woman from Stress Express!Too Busy for Life?

My next book is on women and overwhelm, and I find that in general, with the digital world being on 24/7, we have so much more to do.  And less time to do it.  And than results in major stress and burnout.  I know what it feels like to have worked hard for 8 hours and wonder at the end of the day, what did I get done?  Here are a few cures:

The Solution to Busyness

Do a Data Dump In the course Managing Accelerated Productivity, I learned how to do a data dump. Write down everything you have to get done in every area of your life.  The list is usually several pages. Afterwards, organize it into categories: Urgent, Important, Someday Maybe, Next Week, Next Month, etc. And then schedule each item in your calendar. The Someday/Maybe need not be scheduled, but write it somewhere so your mind won’t have to carry it around. (Evernote is a great app for this.) )It  helpa to actually write it all out and then highlight it in your favorite colored marker when you have assigned a time and date to it. Your little kid inside loves that!

Evaluate your calendar Are you too busy because you want to be? Are there things you should be saying no to?  How much of your day is driving your kids to activities or wasted in meaningless meetings? Take back your time.

• Use  smarts tools  Kanbanflow®, Sanebox® and other software can help with your time management, email and overwhelm. Try different apps and strategies to save yourself time.

Accept the Inevitable We will never get it all done because there is not enough time in the day and because we want a good quality of life. Life balance is important. Realize some tasks are less meaningful and just won’t happen. And that’s ok. Delegate, decide not to do and enjoy your life.

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Break Free of Your Comfort Zone and Create More Success

We all get  into our comfort zone from time to time and just sort of coast on life.  There’s no ripples, no changes, and after a while, it can become pretty boring.

That’s where breaking out of your comfort zone can be so liberating.

Have you ever tried something way out of your self-perception, something scary and intimidating, but despite the self-doubt, you did it anyway? Do you remember your heart beating fast, the adrenaline rush and the exhiliration when it was over? Congratulations-  you broke through your comfort zone and expanded your limits.  This is such a necessary skill for personal growth and for dealing with stress.

One of the scariest and most memorable moments in my life was when I walked on hot coals during a firewalk. We had discussed fear for 4 hours. When I took that first step in my bare feet, I felt heat and then I relaxed into it. When I camFired Up! flamee off the long strip of coals, miraculously, my feet were not burnt at all…I had walked on fire and survived!
That experience was a turning point in my life.  It is a reference point of going beyond my preconceived notions of my capabilities.

Every time I get scared now by a new challenge, I can look back on that firewalk and think- “You’ve got this.”

What about you- what have you done that challenges you?

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Stressed about Money? Focus on this…

As the new year starts. many of us are looking at holiday bills and worrying about money.  Anxiety and stress about money can cause anxiety attacks, sleepless nights and depression.

Stressed about Money?So what’s the solution?

Focus on gratitude!
The next time you start feeling poor or experiencing lack, pull out paper and pen or use your cellphone and make a list of everything in your life that you are grateful for.  Include the fact that you have access to clean water, clothing, shelter, food, friends, healthcare, etc.  Those are all luxuries to a large portion of the world.

You will notice that as you do this, your stress abates.  It may even disappear.

There’s a simple reason for this. What you focus on manifests, and when you focus on lack or scarcity, yu create more of that.  But when you focus on abundance and gratitude, you attract in more to be grateful for.

And if you’ve done this exercise several times and are still super-stressed, go volunteer at a soup kitchen, or work with the homeless.  Your perspective will change, I guarantee it.

 

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Are You Losing Customers?

Are you so successful that you can afford to lose good, long-term customers?  Most of us want to retain customers and continue to provide value for them.  But  inflexible policies and procedures can cost you business.

dreamstime_s_43391176Let me share a story.  I recently moved from Florida to California.  I notified my banks, the IRS, my credit card companies, etc.   All transferred me over to the new address except one- a gas company.  I had been their customer for 26 years. That’s a long time. I typically spent $4000 a year with them, including some $500 moving across country

And they would not allow me to change my address.  I called and they said I needed to provide proof of the move in writing,  Which I did- to no avail.  They continued to send bills to the old address, where anyone could see my credit card number and use it. (Most companies no longer put account numbers on bills for this very reason.)  They were not concerned about that kind of fraud; I was.

They refused to accept the proof I sent them. They wanted something from the Secretary of State of California. They were absolutely rigid and unyielding. And so I cancelled my card.  They lost a 26 year customer over a policy.

It’s the exact opposite of how a customer-focused organization like the Ritz Carlton operates.  As I understand it, every employee is empowered to fix a customer problem up to $200.  Above that, they can go higher and seek assistance for the guest.

That’s how you keep long-term customers.  Think about your policies and the way you do business.  Could some added flexibility enhance relationships?

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Energy Drains Create Stress; Try This Instead

Stressed woman pulling her hair

Are you out of energy and stressed?

All of us are subject to various energy drains from time to time. Review the list below to determine which eare sapping your vitality and positive outlook. The good news is you can change your behavior and your actions to support yourself and your energy.

Negative people. You are the result of the 5 people you spend the most time with. They impact your energy levels. Avoid complainers, Debbie Downers and bad news mongers.

Incompletions. Projects you have left 1/2 finished, books half read, newspapers and magazines opened but not finished. All of those are sapping your energy. Here’s what to do about it: http://firedupnow.com/could-your-incompletions-be-stressing-you-out/

Lack of sleep. You need 7 hours a night or you are at a cognitive disadvantage.

Sugar Check the research out yourself- sugar is terrible for you and contributes to cancer, diabetes, weight gain and so much more. That candy bar you eat at 2:00 will crash you at 3:00. Avoid it and boost your energy.

Dehydration– 40% of North Americans are dehydrated. Drink 10-12 glasses
of pure water a day, more if you drink soda, coffee or tea. A 5% drop in hydration means a 25% drop in energy.

Sitting and lethargy Many people are now sitting for over 9 hours a day.
(Which is why I am writing this from my stand up desk!) Get up every hour and move around, Get exercise every day. Walk frequently, take the stairs.
For more on sitting, go here: http://firedupnow.com/why-sitting-is-so-bad-for-you/

You make the choices as to who to spend time with, what to put in your body and how much to move. You can be energetic and Fired Up! starting now.

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Is Lack of Boundaries Stressing You Out?

You Must Set Limits on Your Time and Energy

Stress Express; Family FightingMary’s mother demanded enormous amounts of her time, even though she was perfectly healthy.  Instead of declining all the requested visits, Mary spent way too much time with her mother, ignoring her job, husband and health.  She ended up sick and could not work. She desperately needed boundaries.

I often see very bright, accomplished professionals who are completely overwhelmed by the demands on their lives- especially women.  With high pressure jobs, families, friends, volunteer work and aging parents, most of these folks are so stressed they are close to their breaking point.  How can this be fixed?  By setting healthy boundaries.

How to Set Boundaries:

• Start valuing your own time.  Before you commit to anything, personal or professional, ask yourself these questions:

1. Do I want to do this?
2. Am I capable of doing this?
3. Is it the highest and best use of my time?
4. What do I have to give up to do this?
5. What happens if I don’t say yes?
6. Will this stress me out further?

• Learn to say NO.  When yet another volunteer opportunity comes your way, say “I appreciate your thinking of me.,  I only want to give you my best effort, and right now, I can’t.  May I recommend…. for this?”

Value Your Own Need for Downtime  You cannot be effective at your job, at home, as a parent, partner or friend if you are burnt-out. Play time, quiet time, nap time, meditation time- all of these give your brain critically needed detoxification.  Furthermore, you are more likely to come up with new creative solutions when you step away from the work and relax.

Set boundaries and don’t allow others to take advantage of you- you will be much happier and less stressed

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