Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The Power of Yet

One of the steps to achieving consistent positive self-talk is adding the word 'Yet' to the end of a negative statement - it opens up the door for possibility (kind of like adding 'in bed' to fortune cookie predictions).

For example:
"I'm not good enough" becomes "I'm not good enough yet" (in bed)

What phrase do you use to negatively describe yourself?
How do you feel when you add 'yet' to that statement?

We're not at complete positive self-talk yet since adding 'yet' still leaves the negative phrasing in place.

Sometimes you can forgo the in-between steps and start feeling and behaving as though you've already achieved the result. Case in point this exchange in an episode of Seinfeld:

GEORGE: You're not really gonna go to California, are you?

KRAMER (points to his head): Up here, I'm already gone.
By embracing the feeling you expect to have afterwards, you can start enjoying it immediately.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The stress release --> ideal life continuum

A lot of people get caught up in their stress because they're used to it.

Oh sure, they're alive, doing their 'thing', but there's more out there ... an ideal...

Most people don't dare (or know how) to expand their frame of mind beyond their current situation to dream their impossible dream (sorry Cervantes). Practicality and reasonable-ness gets in the way. The thing is that your real, underlying ideals have no basis in practicality or reason. They're dreams, and the more we let ourselves recognize the adventure that's really going on in our heads, the better.

Without this expansion, you'll have no idea what your ideal is, or how close you can get to it.

Real-life scenario:
I conducted another Key to Stress Release workshop yesterday. In it, I coach a participant through the Seven R's of Stress Release starts with helping the coachee Recognize their ideals.

Last night's participant started talking about his (potential) need to move. As he was about to describe another two-bedroom apartment, I encouraged him to think bigger - the result that he'd love to have a house in Costa Rica.

While this may seem far-fetched (Where's the practicality?!?), it turned out that it wouldn't take much nudging or planning for him to actually have a house there (perhaps one he'd share with friends and/or family for the time-being), but it was not as distant as everyone else in the room thought it would when we first went down that path.

Monday, February 11, 2008

The biggest problem with the self-help movement is ...

the title 'self-help'

It makes too many people think that they should be able to read about techniques, use 5%, and tackle all their problems on their own. Change is a tough enough thing to accomplish, and just because you buy a hammer, wood and nails doesn't mean you're going to finish building your dream house.

Sometimes people end up getting caught up (or lost) in all the various things they could be doing ...

Spider Robinson penned a wonderful line - "Pain shared is lessened, joy shared, increased -- thus do we refute entropy*"

While it's up to the individual to create the change they seek, doing so in isolation is far from the best course of action. The trick is finding the right people to partner with on the journey.

Perhaps "Life's Journey" is too corny a name for what people are learning about and undertaking, but at least it's more accurate and empowering. I'm still tossing around these possibilities:
Life Development
Life Fulfillment
Life Growth
Life Actualization
Life Enhancement

In the meantime you may want to ask yourself:

What am I trying to do on my own?
Who do I know that no longer has that concern?
(someone I can learn from)
What's going on in their life that I could help with?

Or hire a professional to spend less time dreaming about, crafting, and building the dream house that is your life. (A good coach will also help you enjoy the process and results more)

* entropy is the tendency for increased randomness (aka craziness & hecticness)

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Stressed out caregivers

The three main types of caregivers I come across are:

  • Parents supporting and raising their kids
  • Children looking after their parents
  • People whose job is to support others (teachers, sales people, nurses, receptionists, etc.)
The next time you talk to such a person ask, "Who's taking care of you?"

Most likely you'll get an exhaled laugh with eyes rolling up (to indicate a pipe-dream "I wish"), or down (to indicate "I gave up on that wish").

For all you caregivers out there running on fumes - it may seem impossible* to fit in, but a little time where you are the focus of the care will have a tremendous impact on your ability to provide the quality of service you're determined to give.

Whether it's an extra walk through the park, asking someone to help you, meditating for 15 minutes, taking a bath (with essential oils), light reading, a fun evening with friends, or a myriad of other options to relax and rejuvenate. You have to find a way to recharge your batteries. The people who rely on you deserve to be treated by the best you possible.

Note: Shopping, watching television, and drinking alcohol do not fit the rejuvenating criteria.

* it's not impossible, it's just different from what you're currently doing

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Identifying your decision making process

Much like a preferred learning modality, each of us has a preferred method of making decisions.

Knowing what to prepare, and what steps to follow will make deciding major issues on your own easier.

Plus, if you're in a group that needs to come to a consensus before moving forward, it would be much easier to get your point across if you understood how each person would like to process the issue.

Alex Linsker
has come up with a great visual tool for quickly determining your decision style.

Monday, February 4, 2008

An optimistic view of stress

There have been many studies on the differences between optimists and pessimists.

Overall, optimists attribute permanence, pervasive, and personal (the 3 Ps) to positive aspects of themselves and good things that happen, and only temporary status to negative ones.

"I do well on tests because I'm smart."
"I got that question wrong because it was hard."

Pessimists do the opposite - attributing the 3 Ps to negative aspects of themselves and bad things that happen and only temporary status to positive ones.

"I did well on that test because it was easy."
"I get questions wrong because I'm stupid."

Let's apply this to stress:
How much ownership do you take? How do you relate to your stress?

Consider the statements:
"Taking that test triggered a button within me."
"I get stressed when taking tests."

With the 1st statement, we've limited the scope of the effect of the test to an isolated incident.
With the 2nd statement, we've applied a universal statement to test-taking.

Which format are you using to describe the incidences in your life?