Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Fully Recovered: Overcoming Perfectionism

While "Being a Perfectionist" gets waved around like a badge of honor by those who see themselves as one, the questions is "At what cost?" Perfectionists live their lives in two (reactionary) states for the most part - satisfied and disappointed...typically the majority of that time is in disappointment, . How so? Perfectionists have a perception/view that is so contrived that very few people, including themselves, can achieve that state/experience. As a result, they sacrifice joy and enjoyment for the sake of "what should have been"!

There's great news, though: perfectionism, the type we think of holding us back instead of propelling us forward, is often more of a disposition, rather than a true condition, so it can be shifted for a full recovery...and a lot more happiness!

Overcoming perfectionism starts with allowing yourself to acknowledge you are there, in a state of dissatisfaction, and that you no longer see perfectionism as a goal or high praise. After that, these steps will assist you:

1. Go for being prepared, thorough, and that those are going to have your efforts "well done”. And then, revel in the pleasure of completion.
2. Think about the pressure of perfect versus the enjoyment of effort.
3. Compare yourself to yourself and your capabilities versus other people and their situation(s) and/or a social media images of what someone wants you to believe is the case. And, let others in to participate - watch being a martyr, and then complaining there's not time to do things.
4. Strive to do what is best at the time for the time. Place a value on tasks and relationships, and then put the effort into them that maintains that value.
5. Work in time chunks for planning to not get yourself in a procrastination mindset of "If I can't do it perfectly, I won't even start it", and this way, the projects are manageable.
6. Let go of “should” and "have to", and replace them with "want" and "will" based on desire versus obligation.
7. Remind yourself of the cost of perfectionism on you and others by asking yourself if you are being realistic with your expectations of you and others.

When you do these 7 things (and reward yourself for doing them), you are not lowering your standards, rather you are meeting yourself, and life where you are and going where there is value and reward with contribution and good conscience. Then, and likely only then, will you spend a lot of time in joy and enjoyment rather than simply in disappointment or satisfaction!

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

4 Steps to Declining Invitations

You are not expected to be all things to all people, or in all places at all times. 

Saying "No" is empowering. 

When you want to decline and invitation, be positive and professional with these 4 steps:
  1. Thank the person who asked/invited.
  2. State that you wish him/her the best at the XYZ event/experience.
  3. Let the person know you will be declining. (There's no need for explaining where you will be instead. If it is not competitive, it is okay to share that you will send good energy from where you will be.)
  4. (Optional - Send a message the day of the event to send him  or her well wishes for that day's event/experience.)
When you are not interested or not available doesn't mean you have to explain or divulge, or even apologize. Keeping things brief and upbeat will keep your decline among the best replies someone receives! 

Friday, March 29, 2019

7 Steps to Video Success

Video is a lot of the way we communicate with others, and often, in my practice, people ask for a process or formula for making a video worth watching and communicating a message.

Here's a 7 step approach that tends to work, and is different than many that are out there, as it doesn't involve introducing oneself first. 

Give it a shot with these steps:
  1. Pose a question
  2. Offer a "did you know..." or goal
  3. Introduce yourself briefly
  4. Address issue (2-4 points, option: add story)
  5. Recap the approach
  6. Thank the viewer
  7. State your name and contact
Have fun, share your expertise,and video on! 

Friday, March 15, 2019

RSVP Courtesies & Commitments

Are considerations and manners regarding RSVPs a thing of the past?

Not necessarily. With email, Social Media Invitations and text messaging, some people perceive a catered party the same as a social gathering at a home and likely the same as a happy hour at a bar/club...and there are clear differences! You will likely be invited back again and again if you follow the courtesies of the RSVP.

Sadly, more and more often, (and through personal experience) hosts commonly do not receive solid indications whether guests plan to attend their events, even if RSVP is clearly denoted on the invitation or in the Social Media Invitation.

Considering each person in a work or social group comes from a different background, family situation and exposure, perhaps revisiting what RSVP means is best first. The term RSVP (or more formally, R.S.V.P.) comes from the French expression "Réspondez S'il Vous Plaît", meaning "please respond" (or as I like to think of it, respond and then follow through if you ever want to maintain social graces).

If/when you get a mailed invitation or evite Invitation with an RSVP indicator, it means you want to tell the host whether or not you plan to attend the party, and by the date indicated in the invitation. If there is no date indicated for a response, provide your firm reply as soon as possible, and minimally five (5) days prior to the event. RSVP does not mean to respond only if you're coming, and it does not mean respond only if you're not coming (the expression "regrets only" is reserved for that instance). An incomplete list of respondents can cause numerous problems for a host including difficulty in planning food quantities, issues relating to minimum guarantees with catering halls, uncertainty over the number of party favors and difficulties in planning appropriate seating, among other things. Also, do not invite other guests to attend a party if there is hosting of drinks or food involved. If you would like someone included, ask the host before five days prior if all the invitations have been sent. If your invitation indicates a guest, bring no more than one guest, and let the host know his/her name prior to arriving at the event. (The exception to this guideline is if there is a pay-as-you-go happy hour event that is not at someone's home, and/or if the host has indicated "the more the merrier" on the invitation.)

What happens if something unexpected comes up in the five days prior to the event or even the day of the event? Make an effort to phone the host as soon as you know you cannot attend (getting a more exotic offer is not a reason not to attend...ethics and decency should play into accepting an invitation). When you reach the host, do not bog him or her down with your story. Simply be brief, ask forgiveness and offer to pay for your portion of the festivities. Yes, you have committed and now you are backing out, so plan to provide relief to the host. Often the host will not accept payment. Send a note within the week and a small gift if the event was being catered. Flowers are a welcomed surprise and thoughtful way to keep things pleasant between you. A gift is not necessary...just a great touch!   Remember, the host is investing in everything from glasses to favors and food. Your being considerate of the fact that the seating and event/game counts may be off, is the least you can do!

When you do attend an event for which you have RSVP'd, take a small token of your appreciation, like a bottle of wine, spirits, or candle. Host gifts are wonderful and many a host loves to show them off in their home for it shows kindness and enjoyment and reminds them that people recognize them for opening their home. A host gift is not necessary, though. A call or note the next day will work as a close second for giving thanks to the host. Regardless of what you do, give thanks...and do not ask for a house tour if you are at the host home. Remember he/she has been working on the event...let him/her offer if they like. For all we know as the guest, one room became the "catch all" if you will, and the last thing the composed host should be put in a position to do is to have to explain the closed door to a room!

If you are hosting a party where you are providing food or drink...or both, I suggest including an RSVP to be written on an invitation or in a Social Media Invitation and do not text, or simply email an invitation. When the RSVP is noted, state a firm date for the responses. If you find many people hedge for a better offer, an opportunity, a child's possible event taking priority, then, when making your reminder calls (preferred over emails, but emails are okay...minimally do some sort of reminder or confirmation), just let people know at that three-to-five days prior period that while you would love to have them there, you'll put them as a no for this event and perhaps the next time scheduling will work out better. Do not accept a maybe only a few days out. While you may have enough food and drink, it sets the stage for repeated behavior by that person...and sets the example for far too many more!

So, having taken all this in, remember, the next time you see RSVP on an invitation you receive, do just that, Réspondez S'il Vous Plait, promptly and respect the courtesy and you make it a commitment to be a spectacular party/event!

Friday, March 8, 2019

Put a Pin ON It!

There's a song about "put a ring on it", and much like that lyric, this is about "put a pin on it", or rather "put a pin under it"!

While the song is about a ring and marriage, this tip is about a safety pin and your clothes.

Male or female, you can be prepared for you or others by putting a safety pin under your hem on your pants, coat, or even a dress or skirt.

Simply pin one under where it won't be seen, and should you or someone have an unraveled something, a broken shoelace or slingback, or a blouse that is a little too revealing for comfort, you have the solution!

(When going to a formal event, two or more are useful - those types of gatherings tend to have more uses for pins than others!)

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Happy for Others Over FOMO!

"Happiness is a choice. You can choose to be happy. There's going to be stress in life, but it's your choice whether you let it affect you or not."
~ Valerie Bertinelli
American Actress.
(b. 1960)

Being Happy for Others
Having FOMO

Recently when asking about an event I missed due to travel, someone accused me of having FOMO. FOMO is the Fear Of Missing Out, and it has become a common expression and/or perception.

Still, FOMO is happily, not something from which I suffer...and hopefully neither do you. If you do, and/or if you ever have and/or know someone who does, this article is designed to define it, address it, show the difference in FOMO and happiness for others, and give a few tips to shift from Fear to Happiness.

FOMO is an angst or anxiety regarding the inability to make, or the lack of being included in social or perceived important experiences. Often FOMO leads people to become distracted by, and even borderline obsessed with, checking what others are doing online.

What I have, my condition, so to speak, is simply "happiness for others", perhaps if we call it HFO, it will catch on. This happiness for others is the joy that is brought from seeing others enjoy life and engage with people positively.

There is a proximity to FOMO that HFO has in that it is about others and it is about how one feels about other's getting to do things. The major difference is the positivity that HFO comes from and exudes. With FOMO, there is jealousy, distance, and a perception of not being enough or "being left out". People with FOMO reply to social media with "I'm so jealous" or "#Jelly", or "I wish I were there", and when in person, they say similar things, including the addition of "You're so lucky", and "what's wrong with me?"

Individuals with HFO feel good about the way others move through life, as they know someone else doing something doesn't take anything away from their lives. In fact, they say and post things such as "So happy for you!", and "What a wonderful experience", and "How great you got to do that!".

If you mind goes to the FOMO side of things, shift it. Remember to be grateful for all you get to do, be appreciative of your opportunities, and find joy in your place and your direction. Keep a gratitude journal. Practice grace and blessings-counting. Even if you do think some of the FOMO-type comments, reposition them. Be "in the process" of getting happy for others through changing your behaviors, and eventually, you will change your outlook.


Thursday, February 14, 2019

Empower YouSELF with Scheduled SELF Care

How is it that we rarely miss a work meeting, figure out ways to get kids to school on time, catch planes, and even make time to make or buy what we commit to do, and yet we reschedule or cancel on our plans in our head for us?

We often prioritize others over ourselves, even though we know taking care of ourselves is important.

Having a plan, making a commitment, being focused, and taking action comes in the form of four things:
1. S - Schedule time for you for specific activities in your calendar
2. E - Excuse yourself from other things that distract you and/or are not a priority (without apology or guilt)
3. L - Let others know you are booked (block your calendar)
4. F - Feel good about the time you are making for yourself (not taking away from anyone else, and not feeling as though you "should" do for others at that time)

Allow SELF care to be your time for refueling and nourishing you...that is not self centered, rather that is self-serving in way that you take good care of you so that nobody else feels they have to!

Thursday, January 31, 2019

The Habit of Forming Well-Serving Habits!

At the risk of sounding a bit harsh, keep in mind that people, individuals, each of us, at the core, in many ways, are simply a series of habits. Some habits are well-serving and others are not.

Sometimes we say "I'm not a morning person" or "I'm not good at technology" or "I've got my Dad's slow metabolism" and allow that to be our soundtrack to life...in effect, that becomes a habit, and then a belief.

To make well-serving habits, shift your thinking, words, and actions. Follow a pattern, even if it is challenging and outside of your comfort zone, for 28 days in a row. (Start over if you skip a day - there is no "catch up" with habits.) Allow those 28 days in a row to be the start of a new, well-serving habit for positive results!

Friday, January 18, 2019

New Year - YOUR Year!

There is a lot of talk right after the "ball drops" on December 31st each year about "New Year, New You", and many ideas of change and improvement, commitment and resolutions are made.

And then, not long after, there are thoughts of disappointment, hesitation, excuses and distraction for many of us.

So, to have enhancement in your world, how about reconsidering this time of year as "New Year, YOUR Year"? To make the most of the calendar change from 2018 to 2019, please think in terms of:
Y - Yes, I am going to say yes to new people and new things of interest to me!
O - Openness is my state of mind and position on politics, people, and possibilities!
U - Under no circumstances am I going to beat myself up, see change as negative and/or set myself up to fail!
R - Revving up my life is about revving up energy through staying in control of my food, exercise, sleep and stress!

So, rather than thinking "new", please think "YOUR" in order to make the year all you want it to be!

Friday, December 28, 2018

Not Too Late!

"People talk about perfect timing, but I think everything is perfect in its moment; you just want to capture that."
~ Eddie Huang
American Chef.
 (b. 1982)

Even though Hanukkah and Christmas are behind us, the message, inspiration, and kindness that go along with those holidays need not be in the past.

If you "forgot" to send a greeting, card or gift to someone, it is not "too late".

There is no time limit on holiday hope, holiday cheer, and holiday thoughtfulness. When you share, there is not need to give excuses, rather approach your message, flowers, gifts or event as a New Year's well-wish, or a post holiday pick-me-up.

Sometimes the crunch of the calendar can be stress and forgetfulness, so instead of beating yourself up for that, embrace the opportunity to let someone know you are thinking of him or her.

Go ahead, send the card, write the note, email your thoughts, have flowers delivered! No date is too late, only no day means no sharing!

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Communicating Presentation CANDOR

Sure, you are the expert, and as the presenter, watch staying expert and not going to an extreme in your communication by ensuring you demonstrate CANDOR, meaning be: 

C - Concise - get and stick to the point
A - Agile - be flexible and respond to the audience
N - Non-Jargon - watch acronyms and industry lingo that is off-putting
D - Diplomatic - thank people and ensure you respond with kindness
O - Open - ensure you are willing to hear things differently with interest
R - Real - admit if you are wrong, missed something or do not know

By showing sincere CANDOR, your expertise will be welcomed since you will be approachable and welcoming!

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Perspective is Priceless

It can seem as though people are distracted. It can feel as though people don't care.

Perhaps they are distracted and/or even don't care. Still, it is likely they want to be engaged, and they do care. Likely, they have something going on in the background or the foreground that has their attention, concern, and/or time at that moment.

Instead of being disappointed, hurt, mad or crushed, consider their perspective. You may be their distraction, or they may feel that you would not care to hear their concerns or woes. Ask them about what is going on, and then listen. Ask them is there is something specific you can do, and then do it.

Gaining their perspective is priceless, as it changes your perspective, too...at not cost to your relationship, rather as an investment in it!

Friday, November 30, 2018

Traditions to Treasure

“Tradition is a guide and not a jailer.” 
~ William Somerset
British playwright, novelist and short story writer. He was among the most popular writers of his era and reputedly the highest-paid author during the 1930s.
 (1874 - 1965)

While traditions can be wonderful, and often heart-warming, some traditions are neither, and some can even be disappointing, burdensome and/or painful.

So, this holiday season, you are encouraged to list all the traditions you have and note whether you want to keep, renew, change or discard them. You need no reason other than how you think about them or how the act/actions make you feel. If your spouse, friends, and/or family is involved in the tradition, consider doing this review together.

After assessing existing traditions, note what you would like to do that is new to you...your own ideas or the adoption of some you have heard about from others. Select one or more and make them your own. These are things that bring joy, nostalgia, peace or just plain fun to your world. These will be YOUR traditions...embrace them and make them what you want them to be!

As the quotation reflects, traditions are to guide and lead you and others, not imprison you, so while traditions can be wonderful; those that are not purposeful are something you can wrap up in your memories and unwrap something new this year. Make your traditions those you treasure!

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Give the Gift of GRACE

T'is the season for gifts, and good time...and for some awkward moments, if we are not mindful, and full of grace.

Giving the gift of GRACE means:
G - Giving people an opportunity to speak and/or share
R - Resist correcting people unless there will be an error
A - Acknowledging kindness and even intentions with "Thank you"
C - Changing topics when people make others feel uncomfortable
E - Excusing odd behaviors

While you may feel slighted or hurt or left out for a moment, in the end you will feel light, right, and good about how you handled yourself. Giving the gift of GRACE is a gift that keeps giving to others and gives you the opportunity to know you did what was best for you, for others, and for the situation!

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

TREAT Yourself to Happiness

Happiness doesn't depend on any external conditions, it is governed by our mental attitude." 
~ Dale Carnegie
American Businessman & Writer.
 (1888 - 1955)

According to Kira M. Newman, who writes for Greater Good, there are 6 Scientific Facts That Link Happiness with Good Health, including:


With those happiness benefits in mind, here's how through your own actions you can treat yourself to times of happiness:

  • Make a list of no to low cost activities that bring you joy (joy is an enhancement of happiness), and pull three a week from a jar where you've placed these activities from your list, and schedule time for each of those treats of joy-filled happiness
  • Schedule a personal phone call with one of your best friends who is also happy. When you schedule it, it becomes a priority and there is less phone-tag, and more likely happy laughter and sharing
  • Drive a path of nature or beauty in your mind, and while staying focused on your journey, strive to see something new or light in spirit to treat yourself to some happy bonus time
  • Meditate about happiness and the thoughts, feelings, words and actions that create that sense for you
  • Decide you'll be happy in your words and actions at the beginning of the day, and then record your happiest moments, with gratitude, at the end of the day. Read the list from yesterday upon waking each day.
  • Smile, and watch who smiles back. The simple act of kindness begets much kindness

These, and other intentional focuses on happiness may not wipe away all heartache and concern, and yet with these, the heart can pump some energy, and our concerns may get complimented by ideas to combat those low points.

Since happiness has value, and little cost, there's few or no reasons not to treat yourself to a little this Halloween...and throughout the upcoming months!

Monday, October 29, 2018

The TRICK to Resting Happy Face

"Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see a shadow."
~ Helen Keller
American Author.
(1880 - 1968)

 Very few people sit in silence and/or in a concentration mindset and have a happy look to their face. Rarely do you hear someone refer to someone's "Resting Happy Face" (RHF)!

While the preference is to provide tips and tools each month, with Halloween coming, here's a "trick" for you: press your tongue up on the roof of your mouth where your front teeth come out of your gum. This will lift the corners of your mouth to where you do not have a fake smile, rather a less off-putting, more approachable resting face. This is terrific for listening to others, meetings and even greeting trick-or-treaters who may or may not have on costumes!

Enjoy this rare "trick" for turning your frowning corners upside down this Halloween, or any time!

Thursday, September 27, 2018

AMP Up Life & Business

"We need to invest in technologies that amplify human capacity, not replace it."
~ Reid Hoffman
American Businessman.
 (b. 1967)

To amplify is to enhance intensely.

In life and in business, we can amp things up in many ways, and in particular, we can focus on upping the AMP in the areas of:
Motivation, and 

Accountability is most important to be engaged with yourself. Accountability works when goals are set, action is taken, results are assessed, and either credit or change is accepted/implemented. Once goals are set, share them. Accountability is twice as effective when you include others who believe in you, understand your focus, and want you to succeed...and will ask the straight-forward questions to keep you on track while encouraging you to keep advancing.

Motivation is internal, and is to be a source of "push" when things are challenging and when things are going smoothly. Motivation is that inner voice that says "Yes, I can!" when things, situations, people, or anything is pushing back. Over the years, it has been shared that my belief is that people are motivated, and in that motivation, they are driven primarily by two of four factors: Time, Money, People, Opportunity. Two of those four are the reason individuals say yes or no, stay or go. Motivation, and knowing yours allows you to make decisions that are aligned with your life and business.

Productivity is about results and outcomes. Productivity is found when effort is compared to capacity. What is yielded out of applying energy and expertise is what is produced. Being productive is not the same as being "busy". Busy means someone is active, is doing something, and yet busy does not means anything is being accomplished or moving forward. Productive times may be full and active, yes, and yet in that full, active time, there are solutions, resolutions and advancements in goal achievement.

If you want to level-up, think about AMPing it up with a check in on your ACCOUNTABILITY, your MOTIVATION, and your PRODUCTIVITY as you enhance life and business intensely!

Friday, September 14, 2018

Answering Questions Effectively When Presenting

There's No "Great Question"

In a meeting or presentation, on the phone, over video, or in person, welcome questions when you are the expert/speaker/presenter.

Let people know that you are open to questions (rather than saying "Hold your questions until the end."), and when you get one, resist saying "Good question". "Good question" is an old trick for buying time. When a speaker says it each time, it is clearly insincere, and if a speaker says it often, it sounds like judgement of the question or person.

Here are three steps to effective question answering:

1) Use "Th..." words when someone asks a question. Saying "Thanks for asking" or "That's something I've explored" gives acknowledgement and appreciation for the interaction.

2) After that, address the inquiry directly and clearly.

3) From there, ensure you did, in fact, answer the question by asking "Did I provide what you were seeking"? or "Was that information what you wanted?", or "Did that answer provide what you sought?", or "Did I answer your question?". These confirming questions allow the person making the inquiry to ask more and/or confirm that you provided what was sought.

If you don't know the answer to a question, state that, write it down, and give a time and day when you'll have the answer for the person. Allow others to know if they want the answer, too, to provide their contact information to you for being copied on the answer. And then, research the answer and provide it by the time you offered!

Questions are a way for you to engage, grow and learn in presenting, so welcome the ask, and provide answers professionally for impact!

Friday, September 7, 2018

Accepting a Compliment/Recognition

"You look so nice!" "What a terrific presentation you made!" "How amazing are you with trivia!?!?" These compliments are only true recognition when they are acknowledged and accepted.

Too often, people deny, ignore, argue, self-deprecate, question, deflect, de-value, and/or doubt the input or displace the credit. While that may be a form of humility to some, for the complimenter, it feels like straight rejection. Instead of any of those forms of not accepting a compliment or recognition, simply consider one, or all, of the following in response:
"Thank you."
"Thanks so much!"
"Thanks for noticing!"

Following the acknowledgement and acceptance, either leave it there or ask the complimenter a question about him or her so that you can move on in a conversation.

Friday, August 31, 2018

Shift From Change to Progress

"Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything."
~ George Bernard Shaw
Irish Dramatist.
 (1865 - 1950)

Often people are uncomfortable with change. And, typically, people appreciate the benefits of progress. While all change doesn't guarantee progress, nearly no progress would be possible without change.

So, when you are thinking about change, reposition your focus to the progress it may ultimately yield. And, if you are considering change that impacts others, please position your attitude, approach, language and vision on those results.

If we think or talk about "we must change", or "we need change" or "we have to change", we put people, including ourselves, in a place of no choice and/or lack of control. You, and they, will feel put upon and may do things out of compliance.

Instead, should we share about progress, and how the progress will benefit each person, and paint a picture where it is clear that each person who buys in will have a place in that picture, in that future, then people get committed to the actions it takes to get there.

Insist on change, and some will come along based in fear and ultimately minimal action and compliance, and yet project progress, and watch many get committed and join the progress in a way that shares in the action and the success that follows!