Most of us have been taught that it is more noble to give than to receive. While giving can be a wonderful, heart-warming experience, giving too much of our time and energy can be detrimental to both our physical and emotional health, leading to anxiety, overwhelm and burnout. Take this quiz to see if you are giving it all away.
1. I force myself to do things even when I don’t have the energy to do them.
2. I ignore my body’s “no” signals when I think someone’s needs are greater than mine.
3. I hate conflict, so I’ll do whatever it takes to avoid it, which often means doing something I don’t want to do.
4. I feel obligated to answer the phone when it rings even when I really don’t want to.
5. The amount of time I spend listening to others far exceeds the amount of time that others listen to me.
6. If I don’t answer all the emails I receive I feel guilty.
7. In order to provide luxuries for my family I work more hours than I want to.
8. I schedule my work time around my clients’ needs rather than around my own.
9. I can’t say no when people in need ask me for money.
10. When I’m out to dinner with people who have less money than I do, I feel obligated to pick up the check.
11. I volunteer for my place of worship or other organizations even if I don’t have the time.
12. People won’t like me if I say no.
13. I’m the person everyone calls when they need help: a babysitter, chauffeur, or someone to fill in at work.
14. My children’s happiness comes before mine. I’ll do whatever it takes to make them happy.
15. I have a hard time saying no to my partner because I want him/her to be happy, even if saying yes makes me unhappy.
16. I feel selfish if I don’t share what I have with others.
If you answered true more often than false, you may want to find ways to create more balance in your life by getting clear on your values and priorities and learning more about boundary setting. Please don’t hesitate to call if you’d like to explore this issue further. Remember that you need to receive as well.
Quiz: How Well Do You Handle Fear?
At its best, fear is an instinctive, natural ability to help us survive. At its worst, it’s that nagging voice inside our heads that heralds doom and disaster even before we get started on something. Fear keeps us from taking risks that might enrich our life or holds us back from doing some things we need to do. Do we experience new and exciting vistas? Get involved with that person or group? Accomplish something really great? Fear says, “Not on your life.” To discover the role fear plays in your life, complete the following Thriving quiz.
True or False
1. My self-talk is filled with can’ts, shouldn’ts and ought-tos.
2. I never talk about my fears. If I do, people will think I’m stupid or weak.
3. I often find myself thinking about bad things that might happen in the future.
4. I feel trapped in or avoid social situations where it might be difficult to escape if I wanted to, such as in a crowd or on the highway.
5. I tend to need approval from family or peers before going after dreams and goals.
6. Making mistakes publicly is horrendous; I just want to crawl away and hide.
7. I’d rather not get involved in a relationship because I’d have to surrender personal power and lose myself.
8. To avoid being rejected, I try to please people and take my own needs and desires out of the equation.
9. I often compromise in situations to avoid conflict.
10. A sure-fire way to end up disappointed is to want something too much.
11. When things seem to be going really well for me, I get uneasy that I’ll do something to ruin it.
12. I find it difficult to express undesirable emotions such as anger.
13. When confronted by others, I feel “spacey” or disconnected from my body.
14. I’m so nervous about approaching my boss for a raise, I’ve never asked for one.
14. I’d rather just stick to what I know, even if it’s not great, than risk change.
Maybe some of these points have triggered the identification of some fears. Acknowledge the fear by sitting with it and then let it go. If needed, book an energy session or a coaching session to dig deeper to see what can change about the fears. Or book a Radionics session to get that much needed boost. Contact Wanda at firstname.lastname@example.org or 2263749045 for details.
Everyday Leadership: It’s An Inside Job
David sparked a fruitful conversation around waste when he gently asked the cafeteria manager at his workplace whether food might be served without unnecessary containers or wrapping, unless requested.
Susan worked a whole year to bring a group of high school students from New Zealand to the United States to train other students in an effective form of peer mediation.
William began a weekly meeting for men at his church to fill the need for fellowship and support beyond the annual men’s retreat.
Nobody is likely to write a book about David, Susan or William. But these everyday leaders are creating just as much impact in their workplace, family and community as the captains of industry and politics described in the pages of New York Times bestsellers.
Indeed, the challenges and opportunities of today’s marketplace—of today’s world!—require that we all step forward and lead every day, become our own captains and find more of our own personal best to give to the world.
Leadership as a Way of Life
Too often, we believe that leadership is the domain of those with recognized authority, and the title to go with it: CEOs, association presidents, conductors, mayors.
“In a world that is changing as rapidly as this one, we need to think differently about leadership,” says Susan Collins, author of Our Children Are Watching: Ten Skills for Leading the Next Generation to Success. “Leading is not done by those few in high places, but by parents and teachers and managers and those governing—all working together to create the world that we want.”
When we dare to stand up for our beliefs or to follow through on our big dreams and ideas, when we act as though what we say and do in the world matters—matters greatly—we are leading.
In other words, leadership is a way of life, an expression of our fullest and best nature, our unique gifts. And it starts on the inside.
“Everything rises and falls on leadership,” writes John C. Maxwell, in his book The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader. “If you can become the leader you ought to be on theinside, you will be able to become the leader you want to be on the outside.”
Qualities of Leadership
Because leadership is inextricably connected to who we are deep down, every leader has a different style. Some lead with their eccentric, charismatic selves on full, charming display. Other leaders bear no banners and sound no trumpets. But the inner qualities that make for effective leadership remain constant among all types of leaders:Positive attitude. Leaders know they can alter their lives by altering their minds. Self-discipline, a sense of security and confidence blossom in the presence of a positive attitude.
A drive for learning—from others, from opportunities, from mistakes. Those who stop learning, stop growing.
Unwavering commitment. No great leader has ever lacked commitment. True commitment requires and inspires courage, passion, focus, initiative and responsibility.
Communication. Sharing knowledge is essential; even more important is listening. As President Woodrow Wilson said, “The ear of the leader must ring with the voices of the people.”
Interest in others. The best leaders thrive on helping others achieve their personal best; they are motivated by a desire for the highest good for all rather than personal glory.
Imagine a world full of everyday leaders.
How to Support Your Own Happiness
When you were little and the teacher asked what you wanted to be when you grew up, you surely didn’t answer “miserable!”
At every stage in life, unhappiness is not a state to which we aspire. But with the economy rolling downhill, the vision of our own prosperity can seem like a tiny, inflatable raft in an ocean of fear. In such unstable times, the pursuit of happiness can feel like a taunt rather than an inalienable right.
Still, it’s worth the effort. Emerging research shows that while trauma has a profound impact on the brain, the brain is not as hard-wired as previously thought. We can learn to be happier. In fact, the most popular class at Harvard University is one in which students learn to train their brains to cultivate what instructor Tal Ben-Shahar calls the ultimate currency: happiness.
Why Happiness Matters
Medical evidence suggests being unhappy affects our memory and our capacity to learn, while increasing the risk of illness.
On the flip side, happier people are more likely to:
• be more creative, confident and productive.
• have a stronger network of allies and friends.
• be sick less often and get well faster.
How to Support Your Own Happiness
If you would like to train your brain for happiness, consider some of these ideas:
Decide that you want to be happier. When you make that decision, you start to notice choices for happiness that you may have missed before. Those choices may be small, such as lying down for 10 minutes when you’re tired rather than powering through a task, but you start to create a habit of seeking happiness that grows.
Acknowledge your feelings. When you feel distressed, don’t make it worse by beating yourself up for being upset. Do your best to accept your feelings. When you give your feelings respect and attention, they usually begin to shift on their own, and you start to feel better.
Work with your thoughts. If you’re having thoughts that are hurtful to you, try reaching for a better thought or scenario that you can actually believe. For instance, if you’re worried about losing your job, recall something stable in your life, whether it’s your partner’s income or your healthy savings account. When your mind returns to the worry, bring it back to the better-feeling thought.
Celebrate success. Whether it’s the achievement of a major goal or a week when your children got along, take in the accomplishment, and give yourself and your children a pat on the back.
Seek meaning. Happiness comes from doing something that gives us pleasure and meaning. If your job doesn’t provide that, find something that does. It could be a hobby, volunteering, taking a course, or allowing time to read a book or cook something tasty.
Express gratitude. Be grateful for everything that makes your day better, from a colleague’s smile to your morning latte.
As you practice happiness and make it a habit, you’ll find yourself in a lovely upward spiral that will support you through challenging times
While we wish we could be happy, joyful, and enthusiastic about life all the time, inevitably at times we are going to encounter challenges, stresses, conflicts or health issues that put us in a slump.
During those times that you find yourself in a temporary negative mood and you need a little boost, you can shift your biochemistry through your thoughts and behaviors.
Here are 10 ways to deal with negative emotions, thoughts, and behaviors when you want or need to be more positive. Taking any of these steps can shift your outlook.
- Acknowledge that you are feeling down and examine what’s been going on to see if there is a specific reason. When you do, your thinking changes from “I’m angry, grumpy (or whatever the feeling)” to “Oh, this is why I’m feeling the way I do.”
- Give yourself a time period to “wallow” in your emotion – but try to keep it short, less than a ½ day.
- Call an emotionally intelligent friend and ask to talk. Many times we can talk our way out of negative thoughts.
- Get up and move. Take a walk, force yourself to exercise – if only for 5 minutes, dance, do some sit-up, or take your dog for a walk.
- Make a list of the things in life you are grateful for.
- Write or draw picture of your feelings – even if you’re not a writer or an artist. Try doodling and see what emerges.
- Think of something to look forward to — if you don’t have anything, then get out your calendar and plan something.
- Immerse yourself into something that distract you – a good book, movie or magazine. A craft project.
- Smile at yourself in the mirror – even if you don’t feel like it.
- Reach out to someone who appreciates your attention – even a phone call will do.
During the next few days, be aware of how your emotions, thoughts, and behaviors relate to each other. And if you want to change your mood, try the tips above and watch the magic happen.
Your Life, Your Design
Have you ever read a “Choose Your Own Adventure” book?
If you have, then you will remember that at various points in the story, you are presented with two or three options. “To follow the man into the cave, turn to page 43. To return to the village, turn to page 57.”
It’s a really cool concept that turns a story into a game. You passively enjoy the plot for a while, then you get to dive in and make your move.
These books are like training wheels for your life. The only difference is, in your “Choose Your Own Adventure” story, you are the audience and the author.
Every day in your real life you are presented with choices. If you don’t like them, you can create a new one. Sure, it may seem that your options are limited by finances, family, employment or education, but remember this…
YOU are a powerful, intelligent, creative human being
with ample, unseen resources.
Your life is your choice, your design.
And the really fun part is this…you aren’t doing it alone. You are writing your story with the help of everyone around you. Your friends, family, neighbors and coworkers give you fresh choices and story prompts every day.
When you activate your inner author, other people’s choices become inspirations for your own. Obstacles become hurdles to leap over and bounce points to send your adventure in exciting new directions. Opportunities create new paths to explore. Every moment is a chance to make your next move and design your story and craft the adventures you want to live.
Ask yourself, who are the characters in your story, and what role or influence do they play in your life? Who do you spend your time with? How do you spend your time? Where do live? What is your lifestyle? What do you do that brings you ultimate fulfillment in your life?
It’s your story, you get to design it. And the sky is the limit.
And we all want to create more happiness in our lives.
3 Simple Habits To a Happier You
We all want a happy life. Happiness brings with it better health, more satisfying relationships, it makes us more creative, and attracts happy people into our lives. But being happy can be a challenge. It’s easy to set our focus on the bad things in life while ignoring the good.
Here three proven habits to help shift the spotlight back onto the good things and create more happiness in your life:
Practice gratitude. People who express gratitude on a consistent basis are more optimistic, less materialistic, and more forgiving. Here’s one method of harnessing the positive power of gratitude:
- On a piece of paper rank your happiness on a scale of 1 to 10 with 1 being ‘never’ and 10 being ‘all the time’. Seal your answer in an envelope and set it aside. At the end of each day, write down 3 things you’re grateful for. It can be ordinary (clean running water) or uplifting (watching your child graduate). After two weeks, rank your happiness again and compare it with your original score. Chances are you’re significantly happier.
Perform acts of kindness. Giving not only benefits the receiver, it contributes to the givers’ health, happiness, and sense of social connection. Try this simple exercise to get started:
- Chose one day this week and perform 5 acts of kindness. They can be big or small, random or planned, for a stranger or someone you know. Dropping a quarter in a stranger’s parking meter, donating blood, or, at work try cleaning the communal kitchen area, or pitching in on a colleague’s project. At the end of the day write down what you did, how the person responded, and notice the difference you feel.
Offer forgiveness. Keeping grudges means holding onto anger, resentment, and hurt. Practicing forgiveness releases the pain and allows us to move on.
- Think of a grudge you’re holding. Acknowledge your feelings, thoughts, and sensations around the experience then ask yourself, what areas in my life is this grudge negatively affecting? How is it impacting those around me? What positive change would occur if I let it go and moved on? Forgiveness isn’t about minimizing feelings or condoning transgressions. It’s about letting go and setting yourself free.
We all experience life’s ups and downs. By implementing these habits into your daily life you’ll be better equipped to handle whatever challenge life throws at you and experience more happiness. You deserve a happy life!
With our busy lives, taking care of ourselves is more important than ever—yet it’s often the last thing on our minds. We have to meet that deadline, use break time to run errands, accomplish all the items on our list. We all know the negative impact on our health that stress can have. Let’s find some balance and consider how well you are taking care of yourself.
What do you do when you are upset or feeling hopeless? Talking about the situation with a friend, family member or even a therapist can help put things into perspective. Listen to and respect your feelings.
Do you always try to control things? Perhaps it is time to let go of the way things used to be and accept the way things are. Put your energy into things that will benefit you. Don’t demand perfection in everything that you do.
Every day do something physical even if it’s just a walk around the block, getting up from your desk to stretch or a 15-minute workout.
Eating healthfully is a good basic self-care activity. Take the time to enjoy your meals and don’t eat on the run. Set aside work, driving and other activities while eating.
Think positively. View problems as opportunities and obstacles as challenges.
Say no when you need or want to. Improve your life by not letting others guilt you into doing things you don’t want to do or have time for.
Remember to breathe. Deep slow breaths. Find different breathing techniques on the internet to practice.
If experiencing physical symptoms, go to the appropriate health care professional. Don’t ignore symptoms nor stress about them until it is determined what the issue might be.
Get enough sleep most nights. Avoid screens before bedtime.
Choose healthy ways to relieve stress. Don’t rely on crutches such as smoking, drinking and overeating. Explore methods to help you relieve stress such as meditation or yoga. Self-care is a form of stress management. Find something that will help you relax and let go of the tensions in your body. Perhaps an Energy session would help?
Clear the physical clutter to help clear emotional clutter. It’s amazing how much space opens up in your life and in your brain after some tidying.
Recognize the importance of breaks during the day, as well as vacations. Take a technology break. Perhaps listen to music. Taking breaks helps you avoid burnout, gain new fresh perspectives on things and improves your mental health.
Remember to practice self-care and your body and mind will thank you. What new self-care practices can you begin? Or perhaps you’ve gotten busy and gotten out of the habit of self-care. Take the time to renew your relationship with self-care. You deserve to treat yourself in this holiday season.
A Seasonal Approach to Life
Mother Nature certainly likes her routine. Global warming aside, she cycles through the same processes, in the same order, doing things the same way they always have worked.
Within that cycle, of course, variations exist—a dry winter or a mild fall—but we always can rely on the rhythm. One season follows the other. It’s a comfortable predictability in a world that often seems to be wildly unpredictable.
Luckily, it is possible to tap into that natural cycle, to bring into our lives a greater sense of flow and order.
As you read the suggestions below, keep in mind that we all have our own rhythms as well. What works for one person might not work for another. Take the ideas as ways to get you thinking. If a particular suggestion won’t work for you, is there another seasonally inspired activity that might?
In spring, everything is glistening, green and new. There is a feeling of expansion, and a sense of renewal and reawakening. Seeds start to grow. People get outside more, becoming reacquainted with their gardens. We take on spring-cleaning projects and clear out clutter.
A few activities that align with spring:
• What have you always longed to do? Perhaps you want to write a book or teach a class or foster a child. Let this be the year you take action on your dream.
• Notice, as well, if the seeds you’ve already planted are starting to sprout. Tend them carefully, giving them ample time to grow.
In summer, the landscape is lush and colorful with fruits and flowers. The air is warm and growth is everywhere. Summertime offers opportunities for family adventures, camping and exploring. We’re also busy in our gardens, working hard to ensure a good harvest. Long days lend a feeling of abundance.
A few activities for summer:
• Use the longer days to tackle home improvement and other projects you’d like to do. Enlist the help of willing partners or children, and you’ll feel like a winning team.
• Allow yourself a much-needed vacation and other breaks. Spend more time with friends and family.
• Think about what you’re about to harvest in your life or work. Are you ready for it? What else can you do to support your own abundance?
The fall offers us golden rich colors and crisp, cool air. There’s a feeling of transition and that “back to school” energy we never outgrow. A new school year keeps whole families busy. The harvest of fruit and vegetables is in full swing.
A few activities for fall:
• Look back over the year and consider your harvest. Are you satisfied with its size and quality? What might you do to improve it for next year? Did you spend enough time with loved ones? Did you take a vacation (or two)? Did you get enough rest?
• Prepare for the end of the year by compiling your records. Are there any last-minute tweaks you can make that will improve your yield?
Winter brings frigid air, frosted glass and, in some areas, a white blanket of snow. Many plants and some animals slip into hibernation and get ready for their springtime rebirth. Wintertime sports and holidays distract us from the sometimes uncomfortable temperatures and drastic blasts of weather.
Here are a few activities that align with winter:
• Ask yourself what within you would like to be born. Let yourself imagine that birth taking place. Write out what you picture and put it in your vision box. Then watch the universe start to bring it to you.
• Consider what is “hibernating” in your work or personal life. Is it almost time for a dormant phase to end?
By tailoring some of what you do to the natural rhythms that allow, sustain and renew all life on earth, you might just find that your life and work are likewise supported, as they deepen, grow and prosper.
Think about your transition from fall to winter. Have you accomplished all that you set out to do? If not, there is still time to finish things up. Do you have things that you’ve filed away in the “someday maybe” pile? Do some of them come up in your mind again and again…but you just don’t have the time, the money, or the space in your life?
Don’t worry…this is natural. Most people have a fairly long list of fulfilling projects and soul-nourishing fantasy trips… but they have to wait until XYZ is complete.
Unfortunately, XYZ never gets complete. There is always something that will demand your attention if you let it. The car needs to be fixed, the kids need braces, emails need to be read and the house would just fall apart if you weren’t there to tend to it…right?
As I’m sure you know by now, life moves pretty fast, and every day things change. You only have so much time, and then it’s gone…seeming to have sneaked up on us.
In order to die having truly lived, start LIVING today. Write out a list of the things that matter most to you, go after them, and check them off as they are accomplished. Don’t let the distractions of life get in the way of what you really want to do.
And do it quick, before you lose another minute…
Self-Responsibility Starts With An I
Asking Questions and Making Choices
“Take your life into your own hands and what happens?
A terrible thing: no one to blame.”
In the following three scenarios what do the people have in common?
Josie is a woman in her twenties. She still lives at home with her mother who makes all Josie’s important decisions: how to spend her money, who to go out with, even what clothes to wear. Josie is anxious and depressed.
Matt ordered a new printer for his office. When it arrived he discovered it wasn’t compatible with his computer. “Those idiots,” he ranted, “why didn’t they tell me this was the wrong printer.”
Sally and Jerry had a big fight. Now Sally’s tossing and turning in the bedroom while Jerry beds down on the sofa. Neither one is getting any sleep and both think the other should make the first move to apologize.
If your answer was “Hey, no one is taking any personal responsibility here,” you’ve got a good eye for human behavior.
Because what Josie and Matt and Sally and Jerry all have in common is a lack of self-responsibility that leaves them dependent, impotent and victimized. They’re caught up in blaming others for their problems and waiting for somebody else to come along and make their life right. Unfortunately, they’re going to have a long wait because, in the words of self-esteem expert Nathaniel Branden, “No one is coming.”
This is the good news. Your life is in your hands. You get to make the choices, elect the options and take the actions that come with self-responsibility. It’s through the door of self-responsibility that personal power and independence enter, often hand-in-hand, bearing gifts of confidence and self-esteem.
Be clear though, self-responsibility is not the same as feeling responsible or accepting the blame for bad things that have happened or situations that are painful. We don’t all enter the world with the same trappings, and people, events or circumstances have wreaked trauma and caused wounds from which many are recovering. Self-responsibility means that when you have worked through your grief or anger or other issues, you can ask yourself: Now what am I going to do? What options do I have?
At the other end, self-responsibility doesn’t mean becoming so self-reliant you don’t ask for help when you need it or seek others’ opinions or points of view. And it certainly doesn’t mean you have to know everything, make every decision alone or take on the world single-handedly.
Rather than a heavy burden, self-responsibility can be a source of joy. Knowing you can create the life you want by accepting responsibility for yourself is a great freedom. Even saying the words aloud can produce a feeling of power and strength. Try it.