Thursday, December 21, 2017

Avoiding Airplane & Airport Angst!

Since many of us fly commercially, and the glamour of travel is less than it used to be, let's keep some style, consideration and humane-ness to taking flight with the following tips: for avoiding airplane/airport angst:
~If you get on an airplane with a bag, be able to put it away, yourself versus thinking the rules of efficiency for boarding and deplaning don't apply to you.
~If you get on an airplane, be wearing clothes (as opposed to pajamas).
~If you get on an airplane with a cold, get on with tissues and hand sanitizer (and use them instead of sniffing and snorting).
~If you get on a plane with an infant, get on that plane with a pacifier or some sort to assist them/their ears with when the plane is ascending and descending.
~If you get on a plane with food, skip the onions-especially the raw, lingering ones.
~If you are waiting for your airplane, and you make a phone call, make it on earbuds or the old-fashioned holding-the-phone-to-your-ear way, instead of on Facetime or speakerphone.
~If you are going to get on an airplane, and you are on the phone, disconnect before engaging with the gate agent.
If you get on an airplane with a device with sounds, get on with earbuds or a headset (and use it).

In other words, if you get on an airplane with others, remember there are those other people on that plane...and their journey matters, too!

Honing In on HOLIDAY Happiness

"Sharing the holiday with other people, and feeling that you're giving of yourself, gets you past all the commercialism." 
~ Caroline Kennedy

American author, attorney, and diplomat who served as the United States Ambassador to Japan from 2013 to 2017.
(b. 1957)

Honing In on HOLIDAY Happiness
It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year! Or is it? That, is up to you.  Check out the HOLIDAY options below...
Are you on the Grinch-less side, or are you Scrooge-full?  You can move from one to the other with your attitude, your words, your actions and your responses. While some button-pushing may push you in a direction you don't enjoy, pull yourself back to being a Grinch-less, holiday-happy person...whatever you celebrate! Check in on your HOLIDAY spirit below, and choose well!
Are you Grinch-less:

  • Happy
  • Opportunity-seeker
  • Loving life with cheer
  • Immersed in gratitude
  • Dedicated to joy
  • Available for fun
  • Yearning for more

Or are you Scrooge-full:

  • Hectic
  • Overscheduled non-sleeper
  • Longing to hide
  • Inclined to cop a ‘tude
  • Desperate for a drink
  • Avidly avoiding others
  • Yelling in stores

And, when you decide to be less Scrooge-full, and more joy-filled, you find the Grinches move away from you more and more, for you have less and less in common! Happy Holidays, and make the most of all of the season!

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Giving Thanks All Year

"Not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them, is the true measure of our Thanksgiving."
~ Betsey Farrell
American Actress

With the turkey (and leftovers) fully enjoyed, and the pumpkins and fall decor put away, Thanksgiving 2017 is "in the books", so to speak. Or, is it?

Sure, the day has gone by, and hopefully there was plenty of thanks, and a lot of love-giving involved that recent Thursday, and yet the spirit of, and the actions associated with Thanksgiving, do not have to be a memory or simply a day of the year that falls between Halloween and Christmas or Hannukah. How so?

Remember the excitement (not the stress) you had thinking about the holiday. Thanksgiving is a combination of appreciation and sharing. These things are not reserved for days of overeating and football. Instead, these are attitudes, actions and feeling for practicing all year long! When challenged, or seeking inspiration, or both, please think THANKS:

T - Tell someone how much you love them each day
H - Help someone without telling them you're "helping"
A - Appreciate little things in life (big things, too!)
N - Name someone good & kind & tell others about him/her
K - Kindle the flame of kindness by spreading and sharing it
S - Smile & give your pearly no-cost gift to friends/strangers

These simple ways of living life include keeping the spirit of Thanksgiving alive and all year long. You can gobble up all thanks, and all the giving every day, and include the leftovers to share with all you meet!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Ps of Photo Fabulousness!

Say "Cheese!"

Since social media savvy people, non-stop posters, and simple sharing can make almost every gathering feel like holiday, and with many actual holiday events upcoming, the photos will be taken, posted, liked and commented on before you can say "cheese"!  In order to resist that "let me see" and all the retakes, enjoy the event, don't miss out on much, and feel fabulous and embrace photo taking, by please considering the following Ps to Photo fabulousness:

P - Pick your best side (we each have one, and yet it could vary by the day, so check it out!) and make an effort to get that side facing, so to speak (and resist saying "this is my best side", rather consider saying "I'll happily take this end" when you are in a row of people, or even it is just two of you).
P - Plant your back foot and lean your weight on it(this serves to keep you from leaning, and pull in your abdomen for balance, creating a lean look).
P - Point your front foot (without bending your knee, rather keeping that leg straight).
P - Place hand on your outer hip, or put hand at your side with a slight bend (most men, and some women prefer this latter option to the "hand on your hip" look).
P - Position shoulder (on camera-facing side by rolling your shoulder to get good posture, get your shoulders aligned, and keep your chest up and out).
P - Peer out of your eyes (by widening them and looking up as you dip your chin).
P - Play up those Pearly Whites (finish the powerful and fun photo by giving a real, sincere smile.
P - Pop your personality! Photos are best when they are reflective of the best, grateful you!

By quickly giving your pictures these Ps, you'll likely feel great, and even desire to share, tag, and even print the shots you are in this year!

Friday, October 20, 2017

Effective Introductions

One on one, and in group/networking settings, people often say "I'd like to introduce you to..." instead of simply making the introduction!

Adding useless filler before connecting two, or more, people takes time, so instead, get to the introduction(s) by:
1) Smiling at the people involved.
2) Stating the "Higher Ranking" person's name as you look at him/her
3) Saying "Please meet" or, "this is,"
4) Sharing the "Lower Ranking" person's name as you look at him/her
5) Offering some positive/connection details about each person in order to "seed" the conversation with ideas to get them started

With that approach, you can stay or go, and know that there is more than an introduction, and that you have started the beginning of a real connection!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Banking on Your Emotional Currency Investment

"The ability to be in the present moment is a major component of mental wellness."

~ Abraham Maslow

American Psychologist

(1908 - 1970)

There are a variety of "currencies" we use daily. We have cash, we have credit, we have time, and we have emotional currency.

In order to "bank" on good things for you, and those you impact, ensure that emotional currency is in tact through the following ten approaches/actions:

#10 - Get your sleep. Resting your mind and your body are ways you can reinvigorate yourself, and keep yourself well as your emotional currency earns interest!
#9 - Assess your habits. Are your habits well-serving, or not? Keep the well-serving habits, and adjust or abandon, change or correct the poor-serving habits.
#8 - Set & Respect Boundaries. Realize what is important, what your "hot buttons" are, and ensure you protect your vulnerabilities while setting boundaries to keep wellness possible and probable.
#7 - Unplug. You can live without devices...and by minimally doing so for an hour each day, you will truly connect with who you are with and what you are doing.
#6 - Have an outlet. If you like yoga, walking, running, collecting stamps, or something else, find something that takes you away from your stressors, distractors and otherwise non-grounding thoughts and actions.
#5 - Say no. Sure, say "Yes" when the opportunity and your interest and time align. Say "No" when they do not. There is no reason to explain your "No", and adding "thank you" after the "No", may make the rejection of the offer/idea, even more comfortable to say.
#4 - Practice positive self-talk. Ensure you are not saying to yourself "I'm so dumb" or "I don't know if I can do it", as your external speak is tremendously important, and your self talk is 10 times more important, as you set yourself up for success and forward momentum with the well-serving self talk. Your emotions, and therefore, your emotional bank, gets filled and/or depleted by others, and you!
#3 - Talk it out. Having someone who you trust for getting positive discussion and perspective is huge. With that person, or people, to offer realistic engagement, if you are going to talk about challenges, please have a "vent vacuum" whereby you only keep the griping to only a few moments (set a timer), and that you turn things around with, and for, positivity.
#2 - CARE. Use your Communication, Appreciation, REciprocation, and Expectations in being well, and using your emotional currency in a positive effort.
#1 - Know you are now, and always will be, more than what you do for a living. What you do is important, and who you are is more important!

To get, be, and stay well, use your emotions, and your bank of this currency to "buy" yourself the opportunity to be get there...with an investment in you!!

Friday, September 29, 2017

Personal Offense AND Defense

"The best defense is a good offense."
~ Jack Dempsey
William Harrison "Jack" Dempsey, nicknamed "Kid Blackie" and "The Manassa Mauler", was an American professional boxer who competed from 1914 to 1927, and reigned as the world heavyweight champion from 1919 to 1926.
(1895 - 1983)

While college football may be on the field, on our minds, and on our TVs at this time of year, it brings to consideration an age old argument of what wins games...offense or defense?

The answer is least in life. Winners of confidence, relationships and presence use both offense and defense thoughtfully and strategically, kindly, and appropriately for leading and navigating opportunities and challenges.

How so?

Demonstrate a sound offense by:

  • Being prepared
  • Planning ahead for the "What next?" approach to ideas and execution
  • Surrounding yourself with those who think similarly and differently than you do
  • Going deeper in your line-up than originally planned
  • Practicing your delivery of ideas and answers
  • Avoiding saying things that will directly offend others (avoid "always" and/or "never")

Demonstrate a sound defense by:

  • Taking alternative views/perspectives into consideration
  • Playing "What else?" questions through your mind in order to answer them
  • Saying "You may be right..." before answering a contradictory statement or question (keeps you calm, and does not insight defensiveness from others)
  • Staying professional by responding with "It sounds like..." or "What it seems like..." if/when you are offended by someone or something said (versus getting personal)

Keeping both your offense and your defense in game-day form will likely have your enjoying your opportunities, and facing your challenges with good plays, good blocking and tackling...and even better results!

Friday, September 15, 2017

Skip "Tough" & "Hard" to Bring Focus & Direction

People often respond to questions about a situation or experience they are going through with "This is so hard" or "This is tough", and in response, we often say things such as "It seems hard" or "It has to be tough".

While we mean well, how we speak to/with others and how we think and speak to ourselves (yes, we talk to ourselves!), matters. "Tough" and "hard" can bring us down, make us feel like we are battling, and position situations and people in a way that seem heavy and burdensome.

Using words and expressions such as "Things are challenging AND I'm tackling them" or "While some things have not gone as smoothly as I had wanted, I have been facing them head on", or even "This has been a learning experience", or "This has been challenging", or "This was an unexpected opportunity to learn a few things" may seem like a stretch, they can be. That stretch puts you in a position to grow, and in a position to focus on positive direction and moving forward rather than being stuck in a position or feeling of "tough" or "hard"!

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Passive Vs. Polite

"Be as polite to the custodian as you are to the chairman of the board." 
~ H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
American author best known for his inspirational book, Life's Little Instruction Book, which was a New York Times bestseller. 

Being kind is not being soft.
Being thoughtful is not being indifferent.
And, being polite is not being passive.

Passive people are not yes-people or no-people, they are under-the-radar-people. Passive people don't step up, speak up, or rev up.

Polite people say yes. Polite people say no (and no, thank you). Polite people are on the radar, and they step up, speak up, and yes, they get revved up!

The difference in the passive person and the polite person is a combination of appreciation, learning, respect, belief, confidence and presence. Sometimes, when polite people are misunderstood, they get called passive, when they are assessing, considering, gaining information, and being thoughtful...and even kind in thinking about his/her approach.

Once the polite person has his/her position, the politeness becomes present through the body language and words. With openness and words that demonstrate consideration and professionalism, the thoughtfulness of intent becomes a result of respect and thoroughness.

So, if you are ever tempted to wait and wait, instead, wait, see, and share. You are not passive, afterall, and you are kind and thoughtful. With that, you are not soft or are polite!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Meeting Invites - Demystified

Meetings are a way of life!
Often people send me meeting invitations, and a surprising number of them look like this:

Subject: Meeting with Debbie Lundberg
Location: My Office

Seriously? If I accept this invitation, it goes on my calendar as: Meeting with Debbie Lundberg at My Office. That means absolutely nothing to me!
When sending an invitation, think of the recipient and not just yourself. Instead of the other person's name, please include both names, or the name of the company or group, and the actual location (with address, preferred if inviting people outside your company). The same invitation would read as:

Subject: Meeting: Steve Smith and Debbie Lundberg
Location: XYZ Company (123 W. South Street, Oakland, CA)

Additionally, including an agenda and notes on what is expected from each attendee, are terrific, too! By including minimally all involved, and the actual physical location, you will make a calendar invite that works, and is useful, on everyone's calendar!

Monday, July 31, 2017

Lucky or Prepared?

"Being deeply learned and skilled, being well trained and using well spoken words; this is good luck."
~ Buddha
Gautama Buddha, also known as Siddhārtha Gautama, Shakyamuni Buddha, or simply the Buddha, after the title of Buddha, was an ascetic and sage, on whose teachings Buddhism was founded.

While it is tempting to think of others as lucky and you, personally, as unlucky, it really just is not the case. Unless someone was walking down the street and found $50, it is typically insulting to call someone lucky...especially when you do not know the background and efforts that got someone where she or he is today.

When I was in high school, subsequently taking courses at the local campus of the University of Michigan preparing to go "away" to school in Ann Arbor, MI, one of my friends and I made plans for where we were going to live in Ann Arbor, and we imagined how much fun it was going to be living together. We had everything all figured out...or so I thought. One day, my friend came to me and said she was not going "away". She wanted to stay close to home (read as "close to her boyfriend" at the time), and said that I was going to have to either stay home too, or go "away" by myself. At the time, the University of Michigan had about 43,000 students, so I knew I would not be "by myself", and since I had prepared for it, and being on campus would be a wonderful opportunity, I went.

My grandfather died unexpectedly the summer before I was planning to move to Ann Arbor, and since the day of his funeral was the same day I scheduled to meet my prospective new roommate, I left after the funeral to drive, heavy-hearted, in hopes of meeting a new, normal, somewhat-friendly person with whom I would spend day and night sharing a small space. I drove on I-69 to US-23 to 14 crying intermittently over the loss of my grandfather and the disappointment in my friend's decision to bail on me. When I met my future roommate, she couldn't have been nicer, kinder or more willing to show me around campus, and even share a fourth-floor room.

Years later, after growing my education, exposure and friendships in Ann Arbor, I returned to where I grew up and began working. My friend whom had not gone away to school with me was still in school, not with her boyfriend of years past, still living with her mom, and wondering what she wanted to do with her future. She came over to my 650 sq. ft. apartment where I had decorated it with new furniture from my earnings as an intern and my first new "real job".

I was proud of how my work had paid off. She was sitting on my loveseat and she casually looked around for a bit and proclaimed, "you're so lucky!" Almost instantly, I smiled and insisted "I'm a lot of things, but please, if you still want to be friends, do not ever call me lucky again." I shared with her "I did not feel lucky when you backed out on me. I did not feel lucky to leave my grandfather's wake to drive in hopes a stranger would meet me like she said she would, and be a good roommate. I was not feeling lucky when I had surgery at the University without family because something was found that had to be addressed immediately. I did not feel lucky wandering around thinking how much fun we'd have in Ann Arbor. I wasn't lucky to be driving in snow to get to my parents' home to do my laundry. And, definitely getting a job over so many other qualified people wasn't lucky!"

Luck is when you don't know and either don't deserve or care about the outcome. I was prepared...even for the worst with my adventurous, positive attitude, drive and focus. When the opportunity came to capitalize and embrace the timing and the education/experience, I did not rely on luck...I relied on to say yes, me to take the first step, me to take the next step and every step there after to get from point A to point B. I love that I still have a good relationship with my friend from high school when I see her...and I'd confidently lay money on the table to bet anyone that she would never call me lucky again!

The same is true for you...respect where people are, ask if they like how they got there, and appreciate their efforts. No matter how lucky someone may appear, there was preparation and opportunity mixed in at different percentages, but it is highly unlikely that it was just luck!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

ABCs of Your Style

People often ask about style, image and how they are presenting on a daily basis, and if you are thinking about that, or you know someone who is, please consider the ABCs of your style before buying anything to wear, and when purging your closet to donate:

A - Appearance - what does the initial look of an item say, does it appear to be good quality and a texture that works for the event/your skin type, and more? If so, it's a yes, and if not, it's a no! (This "A" can also be about your attitude when you have it on - does your attitude seem confident and happy?)
B - Brand - what is your brand? Does the item fit your brand? It is not that you have to be repetitive or predictable, and yet there is an intent to being consistent with what you want people to see and think about you. Does the item fit your brand? If yes, it's a yes, and if no, it is a no-go!
C - Color - what is the color, and does the color work well on you? You may love the color, and yet it may not be complementary to your skin, hair or undertones. If it is a pop of color that livens you, then it's good to go, and if not, it is either a no, or a not-on-it's-own, meaning a scarf or something to make it look different is needed with it.

With the ABCs in mind, shopping, and buying become much more direct and fun...leading to more things to confidently wear and less things that make you ponder "what was I thinking when I bought this?"!

Friday, June 30, 2017

Being Civil & Encouraging Civility

"Civility costs nothing, and buys everything." 
~ Mary Wortley Montagu
Lady Mary Wortley Montagu was an English aristocrat, letter writer and poet. Lady Mary is today chiefly remembered for her letters, particularly her letters from travels to the Ottoman Empire.
 (1690 - 1782)

The word "civility" is not used often, and yet civility isn't dated. Civility isn't lost. Civility is within us. Civility is an opportunity to enhance communication, behaviors, and relationships. Civility isn't just manners.
Civility is about respect...for others and for yourself.

What is "civility"? Civility is often defined as something similar to "polite, reasonable, honest, and respectful behavior". How is that challenging to embrace, inspire and implement?

Being civil is as simple as the use of "please", "thank you", "you are welcome", and "please forgive me". Civility means being sincere, vulnerable, and able to assess people and situations for the people and the situations instead of your own perspective solely. Civility is considering other's points of view, responding instead of reacting, honoring and appreciating time, and even the simplicity of using names and greetings in person, on the phone, and in emails. Civil actions lead to civility in relationships.

Be civil to yourself. How we treat others is a reflection of how we feel about ourselves. Civility starts within, and is executed without concern for positioning or personal outcomes. Encouraging civility means recognizing and appreciating it in others, speaking about those actions, and sharing the benefits of civil engagements. Leading by example consistently, with kindness and direction, thoughtfulness and consideration, is the way to remind yourself, and others, that civility is not lost, it is found in our choices each and every day!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Common Sense Isn't So Common

Be mindful of using that familiar expression "It's just common sense" personally and professionally, as this comment is usually said, or exclaimed, after someone does something incorrectly. When that action is incorrect to him or her, letting that person know "It's common sense" does not endear the person to you, comfort that person, or enhance your relationship.

We typically use the exasperation "It's common sense" when we get it.

Common sense is neither common, nor sensible, to the person who doesn't get it.

While you may think it, wish it, or hope things were both common and sensible to others, refraining from speaking it will assist you in getting to common ground rather than attempting to force sense!

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Being an Effective COACH

"A life of frustration is inevitable for any coach whose main enjoyment is winning." 
~ Chuck Noll
Charles Henry "Chuck" Noll was a professional American football player, assistant coach and head coach. His sole head coaching position was for the Pittsburgh Steelers of the National Football League from 1969 to 1991. 
 (1932 - 2014)

Coaching is not just something that takes place on a field, or in a partnership like I have with my valued clients, rather being a coach is a skill that is demonstrated best with a process and approach that is consistent...whether coaching to change behavior, to ensure repeat performance, or even for an accolade.

A guideline I have developed and share in workshops and one-on-one, is that of COACH.  Quite directly, COACH stands for:

Have a plan

In the Connect portion, strive to make a personal interaction with a sincere energy and genuine question, if you chose to ask one.  Ownership comes from accountability on both parts...yours and the other person's.  Assessment is that of the situation or result for reviewing and focusing forward.  Collaboration means what part you will handle (if any) and what agreement you are in with the other person.  Have a plan comes from the one being coached...not you...allow and even insist on the coachee devising a plan.

Let's imaging a coaching with a child, student or team member where there is a problem with the result:

Connect with a meeting and an agenda (even if it is just verbal) and ask how the person thought the report/meeting/interaction went...then, listen fully.  Ownership follows when each party becomes accountable by stating what s/he did to get the result.  Assessment is the exploration of how things could have gone more smoothly.  Collaboration is reaching agreement after sharing ideas on what to do differently.  Have a plan is the child, student or team member relaying what s/he specifically learned and will do moving forward.

Now, let's move to the desire to have behaviors/performance/results repeated:

Connect with a meeting and an agenda (even if it is just verbal) and ask how the person thought the report/meeting/interaction went...then, listen fully.  Ownership follows when each party becomes accountable by stating what s/he did to get the result.  Assessment is the exploration of how things did not go wrong and what kept them on track.  Collaboration is reaching agreement after sharing ideas on what to do in similar and different situations to yield the same results.  Have a plan is the child, student or team member relaying what s/he specifically was recognized for doing correctly and assuring that a similar fashion will be habit to yield the appropriate results.

Finally, it is imperative we coach when providing praise and recognition!  Please picture and engage in the COACH approach when sharing an accolade:

Connect with a meeting and an agenda (even if it is just verbal) and ask how the person thought the report/meeting/interaction went.  Then, listen fully.
Ownership follows when each party becomes accountable by stating what s/he did to get the result.  Assessment is the exploration of how things went well and giving credit to that person for his/her ideas/efforts/results.  Collaboration is reaching agreement after sharing ideas on what to do to maintain that level of effort and even ask for ideas on how to do it yourself. Have a plan is the child, student or team member relaying what s/he specifically heard from you and any other ideas based on the sincere praise.

While we would all like to be in the latter of the situations often, the more we recognize those times to offer appreciation, the less likely we will be in the first category with the same people over and over.

So, please remember that while you may not have a clipboard in your hand and/or hat on your head, you have the tools to be a great COACH!

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Aspire to What You Desire-Don't Fake It 'til You Make It!

It's not uncommon for someone to cheer another on with "fake it 'til you make it" when attempting to grow, change or seek an advancement in life or work.  From that, we typically laugh, nod and move forward.  Seems innocent, right?

Yet faking it in life and business is anything but innocent.  It is, in fact, insincere and deceptive.  It's highly doubted that people strive to be insincere and deceptive, so what's the fix?

Consider the idea of "aspire to what you desire".  This is a take on dress to impress, and present in the role for which you want to be considered.  This is a recognition of something that is currently out of your reach followed by action and ownership to earn the right to be at that level.  This is both a sincere and true approach to growth.

So, skip the faking it, and work toward making it on aspiration, action and getting what you desire!

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Taking Charge of Change

"They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself."
~ Andy Warhol
1928 - 1987
American artist who was a leading figure in the visual art movement known as pop art. 

Change can happen by chance, or change can happen by charge. Chance change is not known, and comes as a surprise when not paying attention or when someone is in denial. Charge change is shared and delivered with enthusiasm, and therefore, it is clear in the path and direction.

It's up to each of us whether we end up in chance change or charge change. When we pursue charge change, we are more likely to find the outcomes and experiences likable, rather than when we find ourselves in chance change, and feel as though the experience, and even the person delivering the message is "like a bull"!

Four tips for for embracing change positively include:
1. Consider perspective by asking and learning:
From where does it come?
For what reason?
What lead to it?
Where is it going?
In what way can I?
2. RACE for successful change by using the following words when asking and answering questions, as these words will lessen defensiveness and encourage conversation:
R - Respecting
A - Appreciating
C - Considering
E - Expecting
3. Ask rather than Assume, and implement a new rule
Ask people how they like to engage
Ask people the best format for communication
Ask people how they like to be treated, and then, instead of "The Golden Rule" of treating people the way you want to be treated, implement the rule of treating people the way THEY want to be treated.
4. Resist saying, feeling &/or believing “change is hard”, and in place of letting people continue to believe/say “this is tough”, remind them that they are tough!

In order to take charge of change, use "We" and "Let's, and consider the possibilities of positive outcomes as the result of the charge change...and this way, you won't leave it to chance!

Friday, April 14, 2017

Communication in Difficulty

Since difficult conversations are a part of life, and some people are defensive, or suspicious, ensure you don't contribute to the defensiveness or uncertainty by using the following language and skipping the other:

By focusing on the useful words, you just may skip some of the disagreements and difficulty!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Being Your VOICE

"We speak in order to be heard and need to be heard in order to be understood."
~ R. Jakobson and L. Waugh
The Sound Shape of Language

The desire to be heard lives in most of us. The way to be heard is to share. Some of us want our desires or ideas to be known, and yet those wishes may seem unknown, or simply unheard.

It is important we are true to ourselves and share our thoughts in a way that we can feel validated and think we have done our best.

A way to be that is to focus on, and live toward being your VOICE, meaning:
V - Verbalization
O - Ownership
I - Inclusion
C - Communication
E - Execution
VERBALIZING concepts to others and to ourselves is imperative. We must say things in order to have a chance to be heard. Asking questions in "What?" and "How?" format over "Why?" is a start at making a huge difference in the long run. Remaining positive about  your own capabilities, having believe in self talk, is a way to continue that verbalization that empowers.
How you OWN your opportunities and mistakes matters in sharing your voice. Excuses get you distanced from others, where ownership and acknowledgement of missteps shows transparency and vulnerability. We all make mistakes. The way to truly own those mistakes is to face them, learn from them, and not make that same mistake again.
INCLUSION is tricky, in that selecting those with whom you can talk openly can seem inclusive at first, and yet it can be exclusionary in the long run. Cliques don't garder others hearing you, rather the inclusion of people, groups and any others impacted by your message, approach, or decision, means openness and transparency...along with allowing people to know they are being considered. People listen to others who have compassion for them.
Being a COMMUNICATOR in words, body language, attitude and desired outcomes all play into being heard. Your voice is what is said (covered mostly in verbalization) as well as what is not said. People will heard what is spoken and interpret what is unspoken. You communicate all day in may ways. Be worth listening to.
In order to EXECUTE all of the above-mentioned approaches, they cannot be theoretical, rather you will want to combine them not for the sake of completion, but for the sake of having a true voice in mind, spirit and delivery.

When you verbalize, own, include, communicate, and execute your VOICE, then, with confidence, conviction and impact, your VOICE can be heard!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Sharing Sympathy & Condolences

People lose jobs, pets, relative and more. Sympathy is compassionate. Sympathy is natural. Condolences can be awkward and uncomfortable. Over the years, many people have expressed to me that while they want to offer condolences, they are not sure how to act, or what to say. Sympathy and condolences are not wrong. They come from the right place. There is no time limit on when to express sorrow. A way to sincerely and thoughtful approach is to:

  • Resist asking "How are you?"
  • Watch the sympathy look of pity or discomfort
  • Send a card that you write a note about the loss, if you know the situation or person personally, and if you do not, and do not start with "I" in order to ensure it is about the other person/people
  • Call, text and/or tell the person know you are available (and be available), and don't push for conversation or time, answers or explanations
  • Know it is okay to say something like "While words escape me, please know you are on my mind and in my heart", as it's okay to not know what to say
  • Resist sharing your stories of similar, or seemingly similar stories, unless the other person wants to hear them
  • Don't say "I understand", as their situation is different
  • Do something for the person without asking "What can I do?"

Be sympathetic and offer condolences. Be there, and not too intrusive. Be available, and not disappointed if there is no response. Be compassionate without being overly communicative. Check in, make a difference, and then treat the person or people with respect and interest.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Being Okay with Being Okay

"I'll lean on you and you lean on me and we'll be okay."
~ Dave Matthews
South African-born American singer-songwriter, musician and actor,[1] best known as the lead vocalist, songwriter, and guitarist for the Dave Matthews Band. 
(b. 1967)

In a world where we are inundated with people telling us to smile and look happy, and upbeat posts on social media with a constant count on number of likes and shares, it can lead to the perception that we are each supposed to be on top of the world at all times and even perfect...or at least appear to be!

Perfect seems ideal. Perfect is personal. And, perfect is fleeting. Perfect is perfectly ridiculous! There are times when the idea of perfect may be desirable, and yet with people, circumstances and timing, things are not, and will not, be perfect. And, that's okay.

Sometimes okay is where you are. And that is okay. Forgiving and not forgetting is okay. Having a not-so-great day is okay. Having a not-so-horrible day is okay. This is not about lowering the bar, or lessening desires, rather being okay with being okay is about knowing that there are moments, hours, and even days in life where things are just alright. We may not post about them, take photos of them, or talk much about them, and yet they are there, and they are okay.

When we admit that things can be okay, and then recognize them, we can be okay with being okay. From there, sure, we can shift to things being better, good, great, and terrific! Let's start with okay, and let go of perfect in order to make being okay with being okay something we embrace rather than something we resist!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Cancellation Etiquette

While most of us would like to not ever have to cancel on plans, it is going to happen that life, other people, timing and priorities may keep you from being able to attend something for which you originally sent a yes RSVP.

In those instances, consider the planner, organizer and/or host, and please do all of the following:
1) Call the person before the event to ask for forgiveness for changing plans, and wish the planner, organizer and/or host the best on the event (without sharing your drama).
2) Email and/or text the person before the event to ask for forgiveness for changing plans, and wish the planner, organizer and/or host the best on the event (without sharing your drama).
3) Call the person after the event to check in and find out how the event went. Thank the planner, organizer and/or host for the invitation to the event (without sharing your drama).
4) Text or email the person after the event to check in and find out how the event went. Thank the planner, organizer and/or host for the invitation to the event (without sharing your drama).

Move on, and ensure the conversation and focus is on appreciation and not complaint. (And then, make every effort not to have to cancel again!)

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Letting Go of Familiarity

"It is, after all, the responsibility of the expert to operate the familiar and that of the leader to transcend it."
~ Henry A. Kissinger
American diplomat and political scientist. He served as National Security Advisor and later concurrently as United States Secretary of State in the administrations of presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford. 
(b. 1923)

With the start of a new year, there are a few choices to make about planning for, and anticipating, the next twelve months. Okay, there are often many choices to make as we anticipate hanging a new calendar with hope!

Often a choice we ignore or simply do not consider, is one of deciding what familiar habits, people, processes, and feelings do we want to continue to embrace, and what familiar habits, people, processes, and feelings do we want to exit from our lives, or minimally eliminate the expectations around them.

Some people, some experiences, some things in which we participate, are so familiar to us that we do not even realize the impact they have on us - positively or negatively. By making time now, right now, to do the following, there are ways to assess, address, and let go:
1) Review your last year's calendar and make a list of the people, the events, the organizations, the habits that take the most time and/or energy.
2) Consider a five-point scale for satisfaction (5 being the highest and 1 being the lowest, with no partial points) with person, event, organization, habit without regard for others or what you believe you "should" do or what is expected of you.
3) Put all the 1s and 2s on a list. Put all the 4s and 5s on a different list. Put all the 3s on a list.
4) For the 4s and 5s, make time to call, email, or text whomever is affiliated, and thank someone what's transpired, and reiterate your commitment/relationship.
5) For the 1s and 2s, make time to call, email, or text whomever is affiliated, and thank someone what's transpired, and share your time and interests have changed, and that you will not be as engaged moving forward (yes, even with, and especially with, people). This is not about ignoring people or situations, rather addressing them kindly and professionally. An example is: "Hi Tod, this is Debbie. Hope all is going well. Is this a good time to talk for a couple minutes about some things we've been involved in recently?"..."Thanks so much for being a friend for happy hours and the movies last year. We had some enjoyable times, didn't we?"...With my focus on school and fitness this year, please know I will likely attend few happy hours or movies."..."When we see each other out, or on social media, I'll be sending positive energy, and wish you the best!"..."Thanks again! Here's to a great quarter!"
6) For the 3s, make time to determine what would push it to a 4 or 5, and commit to doing that.
7) Schedule time in/on your calendar for 3s, 4s, and 5s, in order to move the 3s to 4s or 5s, and maintain the 4s and 5s.

While this may seem like a task, think of the results you will get! By investing time and energy now, you'll look forward to the familiar things you want to keep in your life, and not dread or avoid those familiar things you don't seek more of this year.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Replace Cocky with COOL

With the year of the Rooster upon us, it's a time to be like the rooster, a sign of of fidelity and punctuality. Sadly, when we miss these things, we can be perceived as cocky. Instead of being the cocky rooster, let's go for being the cool bird through:

C - Confidence - Be confident in yourself, and confident in others. Without confidence in others, people can seem cocky. Believing others have abilities can be cool.
O - Offer - Offer a positive comment or compliment to someone you meet. Be sincere. Without sincerity, offers can seem overstated and cocky. With admiration of others, you can be cool.
O - Open - Open your mind, your eyes, and your body language to others. Without staying willing to consider other things, people and ideas, your presence can seem cocky. Cool people are open people.
L - Listen - Listen to others and surroundings. People who talk a lot...too much, can seem cocky, where those who listen to learn are welcoming and cool.

When you are aware of not being cocky, you can be in your demeanor, cool in your approach, cool in your approachability, and cool in your loyalty and timeliness!