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Beating Holiday Stress
by On December 18, 2012

It is possible to survive the holiday frenzy without feeling frantic — if you know how. Here are top tips from some of the nation’s leading stress experts.

By Vicki Haddock/WebMD Weight Loss Clinic – Feature

Reviewed By Charlotte E. Grayson, MD

The holidays really are the best of times and the worst of times. Our tidings of comfort and joy can so easily be devoured by the insatiable stress to do it all, be it all, and buy it all.

And that stress is nothing to ho, ho, ho about, either. It increases your risk of illness and even death. One study, published in the Oct. 12, 1999, issue of the journal Circulation, suggested holiday stress and overindulgence help explain the soaring rate of fatal heart attacks in December and January.

Yet it is possible to survive the holiday frenzy without feeling frantic — if you know how. Here are top tips from some of the nation’s leading stress experts:

Stress Master: Psychologist Alice Domar, director of the Mind/Body Center for Women’s Health at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School, and author of the book Self-Nurture.

Strategy: Cut yourself some slack!

Tip 1. Shop so you don’t drop. Domar’s ritual is to take a personal day off work in the middle of the first week of December. “I hit the mall as soon as the doors open, carrying nothing but an empty backpack and my credit cards,” she says. “The crowds haven’t yet descended, the salespeople are still helpful, and there’s plenty of stuff on the shelves. When I’ve bought too much to carry, I go back to the car, drop it off, and go back in again. It’s amazing how much I can accomplish.” If she finds something she really likes — say a hurricane lamp at Crate and Barrel — she’ll buy an assortment in different colors and give one to each of several people on her list. “My sister-in-law, my friend, and my co-worker never talk to each other,” she says. “They’ll never know.” And of course, catalogs and Internet retailers make it possible to shop without leaving the comforts of home.

Tip 2. Treat yourself. All that hustling and bustling can drain you. Domar suggests that for every 10 presents you buy for others, you select a little indulgence for yourself. “I might go with a little Godiva truffle or a Dave Barry calendar — nothing expensive, just a little pick-me-up.” She also recommends regular exercise and making time for a movie date with your partner, a soak in a hot tub, or a solitary evening of soothing music.

Tip 3. Skip the Nutcracker. Or if that is simply too much heresy, go ahead and take in the ballet but forgo the big menorah lighting, or the Santa parade, or the holiday ice show. The point is, don’t drag yourself or your family from event to event. Think quality, not quantity. Domar recommends allowing each child to pick two events as must-dos. “The Nutcracker will be around next year, I promise,” she says.

Tip 4. Stretch the season. If December is a hotbed of socializing, the weeks that follow tend to be a wasteland. That’s why Domar proposes people schedule their holiday bashes for mid-January (her own office party is set for Jan. 14.) By then, guests actually welcome the idea of a party, and you’ll have the luxury of time to put it together. And just because the last Scotch pine needle has been vacuumed out of the carpet doesn’t mean you can’t incorporate a holiday theme. Domar suggests asking guests to bring a fruitcake and wear the tackiest present they received.

________

Stress Master: Nutritional biochemist Judith Wurtman, a researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and author of the book Managing Your Mind & Mood Through Food.

Strategy: Eat to stave off tension as well as hunger.

“Imagine explaining your angst over failing to create a Martha Stewart table to a really empathetic giraffe.”

Tip 1. Carbo-charge your body. It’s 4 p.m. on Dec. 23, and you’re stuck in an interminable line at the post office. It’s time for a snack, but not just any snack. Wurtman says the secret is choosing carbohydrates with low or no fat — maybe a handful of pretzels or, if you crave something sweet, a few Tootsie Rolls or jellybeans. “At least 30 grams’ worth — look at package labels to get amounts,” Wurtman advises. Her research over several years shows such carbohydrates boost the powerful brain chemical serotonin, which helps the body feel calmer. Curiously, one snack to avoid at such times is fruit: fructose is the only carbohydrate that appears not to stimulate serotonin.

Tip 2. Eat mini-meals. When you eat stress-reducing foods, the effects last only about two to three hours. If you’re up against chronic holiday stress, try eating several small meals or snacks throughout the day instead of a couple of big ones. Just be careful to keep your total intake of calories about the same.

Tip 3. Zero in on stress points and fix them. The holidays often generate a vicious cycle: Stress causes people to eat more and richer foods, which causes them to gain weight, which makes them feel even more stressed. “It’s better to prevent or deflect the stress than deal with it,” says Wurtman. For example, say you’re a working mom who comes home at 6 p.m. to begin your second job, and you eat because you feel overwhelmed. Instead, plan ahead. Give your family written instructions on what to do to help you, and give yourself 10 guilt-free minutes of time-out to relax.

______

Stress Master: Robert Sapolsky, professor of biological sciences and neurology at Stanford University and author of Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers: An Updated Guide to Stress, Stress-Related Disease and Coping.

Strategy: Put whatever’s stressing you in perspective. Chances are your stress level isn’t high because you’re running for your life from an attacking lion. So just imagine explaining your angst over failing to create a Martha Stewart table to a really empathetic giraffe. If your holiday woes would sound like utter nonsense to the giraffe, you’re describing stressors of your own making and you can conquer them.

Tip 1. Ratchet down stress by lowering expectations. Remember, those Norman Rockwell families are strictly two-dimensional — don’t expect them to bear much resemblance to your own family gatherings. “For people living at the other end of the country, this is often one of the few or only times of the year to see some people of great significance,” Sapolsky observes. The result: “this stressful pressure to cram all this emotion and bonding and intimacy into a very hectic few days.” Expect some irritations and imperfections, then relax and have a good time in spite of them.

Tip 2. Don’t go it alone. While the notion of holiday stress conjures up visions of jam-packed mall parking lots and tense dinners with the in-laws, many people suffer stress because they face the holidays by themselves. Sapolsky advises getting proactive by connecting with family, friends, even others who face similar isolation.

Tip 3. Remember the reason for the season. Some people find the holiday season stressful because it seems robbed of its authentic meaning. Instead they are awash in a culture conspiring to crassly cash in on something that once had great personal significance. The antidote, says Sapolsky: “Take the time and effort to reaffirm what this season really means to you, whether it is about family, community, religion. Go help someone in need, to help yourself reaffirm what it is all about.”

_____

Stress Master: Eric Brown, spokesman for the Center for a New American Dream, a Maryland-based, nonprofit organization urging Americans to shift their consumption to improve quality of life and the environment.

Strategy: Learn how to have more fun with less stuff! (A 1998 poll commissioned by the center and conducted by EDK Associates of New York found that 44% of Americans feel pressure to spend more than they can afford at holiday time, and only 28% report the holidays leave them feeling “joyful.”)

Tip 1. Give the gifts money can’t buy.
By getting creative, you can avoid the stresses of traffic, crowded department stores — and that lingering dissatisfaction that you spend a small fortune on generic gifts. Four out of five people say they would prefer a photo album filled with childhood memories to a store-bought gift. “My 65-year-old mother has all the stuff she needs, so I gave a donation in her honor to the county food bank,” says Brown. “People increasingly are finding new ways to think outside the box — to give gifts that show the relationship between the giver and the recipient.” Other ideas: Adopt a koala bear in a child’s name at the local zoo. Create an audio or video of a family elder reminiscing for their children and grandchildren. Illustrate and write a homemade story featuring your child as the main character. Make coupons redeemable for backrubs or homemade brownies. Or write to celebrities, asking for an autograph dedicated to the recipient.

Tip 2. Lick overspending. It takes an average of four months for a credit card user to pay off stress-inducing holiday bills, according to a 1999 report by the American Bankers Association. Instead try this: Decide how much you can afford to spend for each person on your list, then put that amount in cash in an envelope with that person’s name on it. When the envelope is empty, you’re done – no exceptions. Or freeze your credit cards in a jug of water, or mail them to a friend until the holidays are history. “The more you can inject a sense of humor and make it a game, the easier it’ll be to live within your means,” Brown says.

Tip 3. Follow your holiday bliss. “My wife and daughter and I actually prefer to just go away,” Brown says. “We rent a cabin for Christmas Eve, Christmas, and the day after. It forces us leave all the distractions behind and just enjoy being together. We get in touch with what the holidays are all about.”

Navigating God
by On December 3, 2012

by Eric on December 2, 2012

Life has it’s way of offering up “curve balls” now and then.

One of my favorite sayings is that life is 10% what happens to you and 90% what you make of it.

VIDEO

When things go wrong it’s easy to think that the Universe is conspiring against you… What if it was exactly the opposite?  What if there is some cosmic conspiracy, but in fact, it’s all happening for your benefit.

I think one of the most important questions to have a very clear and present answer to is… “Is the Universe Kind?”  My answer is clearly yes.  I know that belief is supportive in helping create forward progress in my life.

If your answers to that question is “NO…”  I’d invite you to see if that perspective is really helping you create a life that you are thrilled with.

Either way … i’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic.

be free!

eric

ps… for more information about Byron Katie head to www.thework.com

The Power of Positive Attitude
by On November 28, 2012

By Remez Sasson

Positive attitude helps you cope more easily with the daily affairs of life. It brings optimism into your life, and makes it easier to avoid worry and negative thinking. If you adopt it as a way of life, it will bring constructive changes into your life, and makes them happier, brighter and more successful.

With a positive attitude you see the bright side of life, become optimistic, and expect the best to happen. It is certainly a state of mind that is well worth developing.

Positive attitude manifests in the following ways:

Positive thinking.

Constructive thinking.

Creative thinking.

Expectation of success.

Optimism.

Motivation to accomplish your goals.

Being inspired.

Choosing happiness.

Not giving up.

Looking at failure and problems as blessings in disguise.

Believing in yourself and in your abilities.

Displaying self-esteem and confidence.

Looking for solutions.

Seeing opportunities.

A positive attitude leads to happiness and success and can change your whole life. If you look at the bright side of life, your whole life becomes filled with light. This light affects not only you, and the way you look at the world, but it also affects your whole environment and the people around you. If it is strong enough, it becomes contagious.

The benefits of a positive attitude:

Helps achieving goals and attaining success.

Success achieved faster and more easily.

More happiness.

More energy.

Greater inner power and strength.

The ability to inspire and motivate yourself and others.

Fewer difficulties encountered along the way.

The ability to surmount any difficulty.

Life smiles at you.

People respect you.

Negative attitude says: you cannot achieve success.

Positive attitude says: You can achieve success.

If you have been exhibiting a negative attitude and expecting failure and difficulties, it is now the time to change the way you think. It is time to get rid of negative thoughts and behavior and lead a happy and successful life. Why not start today? If you have tried and failed, it only means that you have not tried enough.

Developing a positive attitude that will lead you to happiness and success:

– Choose to be happy.

– Look at the bright side of life.

– Choose to be and stay optimistic.

– Find reasons to smile more often.

– Have faith in yourself and in the Power of the Universe.

– Contemplate upon the futility of negative thinking and worries.

– Associate yourself with happy people.

– Read inspiring stories.

– Read inspiring quotes.

– Repeat affirmations that inspire and motivate you.

– Visualize only what you want to happen.

– Learn to master your thoughts.

– Learn concentration and meditation.

Following even only one of the above suggestions, will bring more light into your life!

Organize Your Mind to Organize Your Life
by On November 14, 2012

By Margaret Moore, Special to CNN

updated 12:55 PM EST, Sun January 22, 2012

Editor’s note: Margaret Moore (aka Coach Meg) is the co-author of “Organize Your Mind, Organize Your Life.” She is the director of the Institute of Coaching at McLean Hospital and the founder and CEO of Wellcoaches Corporation.

(CNN) — If there’s one big lesson I’ve learned over the past decade while training thousands of health and wellness coaches and coaching many clients, it’s this: An organized mind enables full engagement in a health-giving style of life.

So I jumped at the opportunity to co-author “Organize Your Mind, Organize Your Life” with Harvard psychiatrist Paul Hammerness, where we translate the science of brain organization into six principles, or “rules of order,” and offer self-coaching solutions.

The kind of organization I’m talking about is not decluttering your office or home, or purchasing the latest app to organize to-dos and projects.

I’m talking about the mind’s ability to attain a higher order of order — a calm, wise, positive, strategic perspective — and the skills it takes to get there in small or large domains of life, including health and well-being.

Neuroscientists are opening a window into the disorganized minds of those with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD,) providing insights into how to train our brains to become more organized.

We know that disorganization is not just a problem of ADHD sufferers. It’s an epidemic. I don’t know anyone whose mind isn’t frenzied, distracted or divided by multitasking a good deal of the time.

The connection between disorganized minds and unhealthy habits is compelling. The National Institute of Aging concluded from a recent study that symptoms of a disorganized mind, namely impulsivity, chronic negativity, high stress and multitasking, all correlate with higher weight. For example, adults in the top 10% rating for impulsivity (most impulsive) weighed an average of 24 pounds more than those in the bottom 10% rating for impulsivity.

Dr. Paul Hammerness and Margaret Moore co-authored “Organize Your Mind, Organize Your Life.”

Whether or not you have an organized mind depends upon your ability to “drive” your attention and keep it focused when you’re under pressure or faced with challenging conditions.

Just like driving a race car, a lot of skills are required. Fortunately, these skills are built into the brain’s normal wiring. So how do you start to tap into your innate ability to be organized?

Rule No. 1: Tame your frenzy

Before you can focus your attention, you need to take charge of your negative emotional frenzy (worry, anger, sadness, irritation). This frenzy impairs and overwhelms your prefrontal cortex, the brain’s CEO or executive function region, so that you can’t “think straight.”

Too much negative stress damages your ability to focus and harms your health. The great news is that the same things that improve your health can improve your mind’s ability to manage negative frenzy. Sleep well, exercise, do a mindfulness practice or choose the slow lane from time to time, even for a few minutes.

Find your unique formula to tame your frenzy so that you drive your attention to its best possible focus.

Rule No. 2: Sustain your focus

Now that your mind is calm, identify one task and one task only. The brain was not designed to focus on more than one thing at a time. Tell your brain what the intention or goal is for your focused session. Turn off your phone and e-mail, shut the door and set the timer for 20 to 30 minutes as a first step.

Rule No. 3: Apply the brakes

Your focused brain also needs to be able to stop, just as surely as a good pair of brakes brings your car to a halt at a red light.

Your brain’s radar regions are always scanning your internal and external environment, even when you are focused. Distractions are inevitable if you are human. Rather than mindlessly succumb to a distraction while in the midst of an important task (including health-giving activities such as exercising, cooking a healthy meal or relaxing), stop, breathe and consider whether the distraction is urgent enough to trump the current priority.

If not, bring your attention back to the important task until it is time to take a brain break to recharge your brain’s batteries, or move to a new task.

Rule No. 4: Access your working memory

Your brain is designed to store a basket of bits of information in short term memory (aka “working memory”). Accessing your short-term memory, turning over various elements in your mind, helps you problem-solve, generate new ideas and insights, and see the new patterns that lead you to a strategic perspective.

More great news: The same strategies that allow you to tame frenzy enable you to better access your working memory — exercise, deep breathing or meditation, and a good night’s sleep.

Rule No. 5: Shift sets

Now it’s time to move your focus to a new task. Move all of your attention fully to the next task and give it your undivided attention. This brain skill, called “set-shifting,” allows you to leave behind one task and leap to a new one with a fresh and productive focus.

Set-shifting is also described as cognitive agility or flexibility. Often our most creative ideas come, seemingly out of the blue, when we’re taking a brain break or focusing completely on something else.

How interesting it is that having a fit and flexible mind is just as valuable to a life you love as a fit and flexible body.

Rule No. 6: Connect the dots

You’ve learned how to tame your frenzy and focus your attention on one thing at a time. You can handle distractions. Your working memory is ready for action when you need it. You are nimble, able to shift deftly from one task to the next. You take breaks, move your body and shift your focus to invite new ideas, insights and connections.

Together, these “rules of order” will help you change not only your habits of attention, but the way you look at your life. Instead of being stressed, you’ll be calmly in control.

You’ll be more productive and therefore have more time to do things that are healthy for your body and mind. You’ll feel good about yourself, and positive emotions are health promoting. And you’ll be able to use your organized mind to set health and fitness goals and focus well on achieving them.

How to Lead By Example
by On November 7, 2012

How to Lead By Example:  Dr. Schuler’s Ten Rules for Working and Living

by A. J. Schuler, Psy. D.

People talk about “leading by example,” but what does that mean? By incorporating the following attitudes and practices into your life, you will not only improve your own life, but also begin to fashion yourself into the kind of person that others will follow and emulate –  the very definition of  leading by example.  So, here are my “Ten Rules for Working and Living:”

The Lives We Live are the Lives We Create

Yes, life is a creative art.  Expectations are often self-fulfilling.  If we expect life to be good, if we believe it is filled with opportunities and cause for celebration, then we will notice those things and live so as to promote them, even without conscious intent.  If we believe life is a marathon of unremitting toil and scarcity, then toil and scarcity will be all that we find and experience, and we will inadvertently create the circumstances that promote them.  You cannot expect to win the lottery and then win the lottery: that is magical  thinking, the special realm of childhood (or of adult madness).  But you can (and do) nurture a basic attitude toward living, and if you don’t take control of it, it most assuredly will take control of you.

Health and Productivity go Hand in Hand

We talk a lot about the importance of balance, and surely everyone’s definition of balance is, well, different.  In order to be productive and healthy, we  all have to take care of our minds, bodies and spirits, but the reverse is also true: being productive is inherently healthy, and doing good,  meaningful work that fits our talents can keep us alive and healthy a long time.  How often do we see someone retire and then fall into poor health?  Doing what you love to do, and doing it well, and especially helping  other people learn and succeed, brings benefit back to you.  In the end, it does not matter what it is you do, so long as it is not destructive to others and you feel you are  making a contribution.  No matter how menial or arcane the job, all work has inherent dignity and can become a  medium through which a person can grow and make a contribution to others.

As We Treat Others, So Shall We Be Treated

This is about the law of averages.  Yes, there is injustice in the world, and  yes, there is cruelty.  Bad things happen  to good people, and vice versa.  But  in general, we may sow what we reap.  I once read a quote:  “Make your words sweet:“ you may have to eat them later!  People notice how we treat them, especially when we are in positions of leadership, and most especially when we think no one is looking.  What goes around comes around.

Don’t Wait for Solutions: Create Them

Some people are experts in seeing what is wrong with a situation, system, organization or person.  But what good is such expertise?  What does it solve or create?  I am forever baffled by people who see themselves as passive – unable to create a solution or work toward one.  What does anyone get out of being a perpetual critic?  A temporary feeling of power or superiority?  What could be a more impoverished way to  live than that?  Two schools of thought  here: the active and the passive. The passive and negative position waits for someone else to make a bad situation better, perhaps faulting others for their inaction (we see this in offices all the time).  The positive and active position works to build a productive awareness among those who can influence a negative situation so that all can take collective  action to make it better.  Guess which  type of person others naturally follow – and then imitate?

Negativity Kills

Literally.  What is violence but an extreme expression of negativity?  But killer negativity does not require a physical manifestation to wreck its  havoc.  We know that negative thinking weakens the immune system and contributes to disease and to an increase in mortality. We also know that negativity is contagious:  for example, when there is a high profile suicide in some community, health experts know to expect a new spate of imitative suicides or suicide attempts, even among those with no social connection to that first poor, despairing person.  Suicide, and even severe negativity or depression, can spread like an epidemic, or like a cancer.  Even in small doses, negativity contributes to illness and ultimately to death.  This represents a universal truth of  living, or “anti-living.” Why are people drawn to leaders?  Because leaders, through their attitudes  and abilities to resist or overcome negativity, function like antibodies in the world, fighting negativity and adding “life” to those around them.  If negativity is a cancer, then good  leaders, just in the way they carry themselves and approach the world, fight that cancer, all the time.

Communication Starts With Listening

Don’t worry about trying to express yourself better (you don’t have to be talkative to be a leader).  Think instead about asking better questions, and then repeat back your best understanding of what you’ve just heard.  Resist the temptation to think about what you want to say in response when carrying on a conversation.  You’ll be amazed at how much you learn, and how much better you understand people you thought you understood before.  People rightly see leaders as those who understand them, or who make the effort to try to understand them.  Only once you’ve listened will you have earned the right to speak your own point of view, based on a more complete understanding of other people and the circumstances around them.  That’s what makes a person an effective  leader.  By setting a tone of listening, others will follow suit.

Between Two Positions Always Lies a Third Option

Leaders know that dilemmas that come pre-packaged as “either-or” propositions are usually preset for failure.  There is always at least one other way to view a situation, either by expanding the issue, finding a third alternative  or creating a negotiated compromise.  There are certainly times not to compromise, but even that decision  should only come after a creative examination of many possible approaches has been completed.  But what makes leaders effective is their ability to generate those options, either through imagination or consultation, before making any final decisions.  While most people get trapped into defining conflicts as either/or, win/lose propositions, they end up  following those who prove they can craft better solutions, creating value and advantage for all involved.

Laughter Cures

You gotta laugh.  You just gotta!  Life presents too much that is just fun and funny, even absurd.  That’s the beauty of it.  If you keep that attitude about you, and nurture it, then you add the power, not only of avoiding negativity, but of adding joy and positivity to your life, and to the lives of others.  Laughter is even more infectious than negativity, and at least as powerful a force for health.  If the laughter comes at no one’s expense, but comes rather from a shared sense of the beauty and absurdity that we see all around us (especially in ourselves!), then people can be drawn to you, and your playfulness will catch on.

Do Great Work, Have Fun and Lend a Hand Along the Way

Good work is, well, good.  Great work is inherently rewarding.  Do it with fun and style, and you are not a prisoner of your labor, but rather a master of your craft.  If you help others along the way, either by teaching them or just by  setting them up for their own success, then both life and work acquire  greater meaning.  None of us live forever, and we should all leave a little something behind for the good.  This “rule” is one of my favorites; it’s one worth repeating and spreading around.

In the End, We Are All More or Less Human

. . . And that’s a good thing.  We are imperfect.  We have bad moods and bad moments.  We m
ake mistakes; we have parts of our character that may be less than forever admirable.  That just makes us human.  Keeping this in mind helps us refrain from taking ourselves too seriously when we succeed or when we fail, and it also gives us some humility and perspective through which to understand  the inescapable frailties of others – especially when they fail to see the  wisdom of our obviously superior points of view (wink wink, nudge  nudge)!  In the end, the pursuit of near-perfection is more important than its achievement, even if it is good to be competitive and dedicated to excellence in order to bring out the best in ourselves and others.

Copyright (c) 2003 A. J. Schuler, Psy. D.

Dr. A. J. Schuler is an expert in leadership and organizational change. To find out more about his programs and services, visit www.SchulerSolutions.com or call (703) 370-6545.

 

Elevate Your State and Achieve Results
by On November 6, 2012

by Ron Ross, CCIM

In our business as commercial real estate brokers, success is dependent on the ability to achieve results on behalf of our clients. In fact, in the world of commission based sales, we only get paid when the desired result is achieved. So, how do you manage to stay at the top of your game — whether the business of real estate or something else? I’m going to share with you some ideas that I’ve been fortunate enough to have learned from Eric Plantenberg of Freedom Personal Development. Through implementation of these personal development principles and practices, I have been able to consistently provide the highest level of service to my clients. As a member of a company implementing these principals, we strive daily to “elevate our state.”

The Anatomy of Results is comprised of the interaction of the following components:

1. Intention

2. State

3. Action

Another way of illustrating this is Intention x State x Action = Results.

In order to create a result one must have an intention, a goal, a direction. Most of us are well aware of the importance of setting goals. In addition to goals we have daily intentions. For example, my intention is to go to the store, or my intention is to sell a building. This intention must be combined with state and action to achieve the desired result. We know what an action is, but what exactly is “state?”

State is “state of mind” or well-being. It is your spiritual, emotional and mental condition at any given time. Emotional, mental and spiritual state has huge impacts on the body’s physical condition and ability to perform.

How important is your state when trying to achieve results, really? Many believe that intention and action should be the focus. We all know that actions really are what make things happen. Right? Not so fast. If you ever have the opportunity to be around the highest performing people, whether that be in sports, real estate, business, music, art, medical, or any other endeavor — you will receive a far different answer. Peak performers will almost always tell you that by far the most important component of that equation is state. State is so important in fact that most high achievers are sure that state is responsible for around 65% – 70% of their performance results, leaving intention and action each with between 10 – 20%.

If that is true then why do most of us focus the majority of our time, efforts and energy on actions and in many cases almost completely ignore working on state? Maybe we are missing the boat. I contend that if we focused the majority of our resources and energy on elevating our state, we would be quite pleasantly surprised at the results.

So how do we elevate our state? Lets discuss a few things you can do.

Manage your brain input.

There are literally millions of sources of information, bytes, data, emotions, people, etc., that bombard our brain daily. Pay attention to what goes in. Are TV and newspapers good input to elevate your state? Headline examples from this morning’s local paper — “Victim in park identified,” “Arrest made in killing,” “Medical pot grower gets 1o years,” “Argument ends in stabbing,” “Republicans Accuse Democrats.” It goes on. Do you think this is good input for your state? Rethink your morning. Is reading the newspaper a good way to start your day? The same obvious answer also applies to television, and other forms of the mainstream media.

Manage what goes into your brain daily. Start your day with something positive and inspirational. Watch the sunrise, do yoga, read something inspirational (rethink your newspaper), listen to music (classical music is particularly effective for elevating your state). The way you start your day is enormously important and will impact the entire day either positively or negatively.

Surround yourself with people that are good for your state.

You really need to eliminate or at least mitigate the impact that negative and destructive people have on you. Sometimes that can be difficult, but if you elevate your state that could be the best thing that could happen for people around you. Spend time with top performers and others that lift your state. You know who they are! In a sales environment, try to sit near or socialize with fellow top producers.

Manage your physical input.

This one is self evident. It simply means to take care of your physical body. Be very aware and cognizant as to what goes in. This means, of course, food, water, and other substances. We all know what should go in there and what shouldn’t. Focus on it. It is important to elevating your state.

When I am facing a particularly challenging commercial real estate assignment, I define my intentions and necessary actions, and then spend the vast majority of my energy and time on elevating my state. It works. You will be amazed at the results you can achieve by focusing less on actions and more on state.

This is only a start. There are so many things we can do to elevate our state. I hope to share some of these ideas with you on future blogs. In the meantime if this has piqued your interest, please click here for a TEDx talk on the subject by Eric Plantenberg, CEO and founder of Freedom Personal Development.

Ron Ross, CCIM is a principal broker with Compass Commercial Real Estate Services in Bend, OR

Happy Monday Friend!
by On November 5, 2012

One of the fastest ways to kill your momentum is to avoid a problem that you have with someone close to you.

Road blocks and pitfalls are a natural part of relationships.  They happen at work.   In marriages.  With friends.  Any meaningful relationship is bound to have conflict from time to time.

When and how you address your challenges can be the difference between a deeper, more authentic connection that propels your forward and being totally stuck.

Video Link

This topic to such a big deal to me that i’m putting together a 6 month contest with the winner receiving a free ticket to the Abundant Living Retreat.

How the contest works is simple. Post your story about where a difficult conversation in your life turned out to be a beneficial experience for you and the other person (or people) involved. This can be something recent or from your past. Posting your story allows you to reconnect to the positive outcome & can help you to make that a positive pattern in your life. It also can provide inspiration to others who may be hesitant to make the conversation happen. And winning a $5,000 retreat would be cool too!

Only posts on the blogsite (no Facebook or emails) from November 2012 to April 2013 will be entered. The Freedom Personal Development staff will pick the top 6 finalists and you will vote for the top winner in May 2013.

If you’ve found this topic beneficial, please take the time to share it with others … and post your thoughts and questions as well as your stores.  I’m looking forward to reading them all.

be free!

eric

 

 

6 Ways to be Positive in Any Situation
by On November 1, 2012

The power of remaining positive, whatever the situation, can never be underestimated. We are all here for a limited period of time, is it worth it to spend any of that time in can be so hard on ourselves though social conditioning. I am guilty of being extra tough on myself, but have learned over time to recognize my gifts rather than finding false and self-imposed inadequacies.

Inventory of Memories – Keep an inventory of memories that can immediately make you smile. Occasions where you felt happy, appreciative and cheerful. When you were at peace with the world. Whenever you are in a negative frame of mind, consciously and deliberately pick up any leaf out of this inventory and dwell on it. Reminiscing those happy moments gives a balanced perspective to your situation. You realize that what appears negative today will change tomorrow. Nothing stays the same.

Criticizing Detox Diet – Change your approach and attitude. See if you can stop criticizing others and situations. Our cultural conditioning teaches us to find flaws and problems at all times. Shift from fault-finding to appreciation-finding.

Whether you are positive or negative, the situation does not change. So, we mind as well be positive.

Article

The 7 Cs of Communication – A Checklist for Clear Communication
by On October 30, 2012

Think of how often you communicate with people during your day. You write emails, facilitate meetings, participate in conference calls, create reports, devise presentations, debate with your colleagues… the list goes on.

We can spend almost our entire day communicating. So, how can we provide a huge boost to our productivity? We can make sure that we communicate in the clearest, most effective way possible.

This is why the 7 Cs of Communication are helpful. The 7 Cs provide a checklist for making sure that your meetings, emails, conference calls, reports, and presentations are well constructed and clear – so your audience gets your message.

According to the 7 Cs, communication needs to be:

Clear.

Concise.

Concrete.

Correct.

Coherent.

Complete.

Courteous.

In this article, we look at each of the 7 Cs of Communication, and we’ll illustrate each element with both good and bad examples.

1. Clear

When writing or speaking to someone, be clear about your goal or message. What is your purpose in communicating with this person? If you’re not sure, then your audience won’t be sure either.

To be clear, try to minimize the number of ideas in each sentence. Make sure that it’s easy for your reader to understand your meaning. People shouldn’t have to “read between the lines” and make assumptions on their own to understand what you’re trying to say.

Bad Example

Hi John,

I wanted to write you a quick note about Daniel, who’s working in your department. He’s a great asset, and I’d like to talk to you more about him when you have time.

Best,

Skip

What is this email about? Well, we’re not sure. First, if there are multiple Daniels in John’s department, John won’t know who Skip is talking about.

Next, what is Daniel doing, specifically, that’s so great? We don’t know that either. It’s so vague that John will definitely have to write back for more information.

Last, what is the purpose of this email? Does Skip simply want to have an idle chat about Daniel, or is there some more specific goal here? There’s no sense of purpose to this message, so it’s a bit confusing.

Good Example

Let’s see how we could change this email to make it clear.

Hi John,

I wanted to write you a quick note about Daniel Kedar, who’s working in your department. In recent weeks, he’s helped the IT department through several pressing deadlines on his own time.

We’ve got a tough upgrade project due to run over the next three months, and his knowledge and skills would prove invaluable. Could we please have his help with this work?

I’d appreciate speaking with you about this. When is it best to call you to discuss this further?

Best wishes,

Skip

This second message is much clearer, because the reader has the information he needs to take action.

2. Concise

When you’re concise in your communication, you stick to the point and keep it brief. Your audience doesn’t want to read six sentences when you could communicate your message in three.

Are there any adjectives or “filler words” that you can delete? You can often eliminate words like “for instance,” “you see,” “definitely,” “kind of,” “literally,” “basically,” or “I mean.”

Are there any unnecessary sentences?

Have you repeated the point several times, in different ways?

Bad Example

Hi Matt,

I wanted to touch base with you about the email marketing campaign we kind of sketched out last Thursday. I really think that our target market is definitely going to want to see the company’s philanthropic efforts. I think that could make a big impact, and it would stay in their minds longer than a sales pitch.

For instance, if we talk about the company’s efforts to become sustainable, as well as the charity work we’re doing in local schools, then the people that we want to attract are going to remember our message longer. The impact will just be greater.

What do you think?

Jessica

This email is too long! There’s repetition, and there’s plenty of “filler” taking up space.

Good Example

Watch what happens when we’re concise and take out the filler words:

Hi Matt,

I wanted to quickly discuss the email marketing campaign that we analyzed last Thursday. Our target market will want to know about the company’s philanthropic efforts, especially our goals to become sustainable and help local schools.

This would make a far greater impact, and it would stay in their minds longer than a traditional sales pitch.

What do you think?

Jessica

3. Concrete

When your message is concrete, then your audience has a clear picture of what you’re telling them. There are details (but not too many!) and vivid facts, and there’s laserlike focus. Your message is solid.

Bad Example

Consider this advertising copy:

The Lunchbox Wizard will save you time every day.

A statement like this probably won’t sell many of these products. There’s no passion, no vivid detail, nothing that creates emotion, and nothing that tells people in the audience why they should care. This message isn’t concrete enough to make a difference.

Good Example

How much time do you spend every day packing your kids’ lunches? No more! Just take a complete Lunchbox Wizard from your refrigerator each day to give your kids a healthy lunch AND have more time to play or read with them!

This copy is better because there are vivid images. The audience can picture spending quality time with their kids – and what parent could argue with that? And mentioning that the product is stored in the refrigerator explains how the idea is practical. The message has come alive through these details.

4. Correct

When your communication is correct, it fits your audience. And correct communication is also error-free communication.

Do the technical terms you use fit your audience’s level of education or knowledge?

Have you checked your writing for grammatical errors? Remember, spell checkers won’t catch everything.

Are all names and titles spelled correctly?

Bad Example

Hi Daniel,

Thanks so much for meeting me at lunch today! I enjoyed our conservation, and I’m looking forward to moving ahead on our project. I’m sure that the two-weak deadline won’t be an issue.

Thanks again, and I’ll speak to you soon!

Best,

Jack Miller

If you read that example fast, then you might not have caught any errors. But on closer inspection, you’ll find two. Can you see them?

The first error is that the writer accidentally typed conservation instead of conversation. This common error can happen when you’re typing too fast. The other error is using weak instead of week.

Again, spell checkers won’t catch word errors like this, which is why it’s so important to proofread everything!

5. Coherent

When your communication is coherent, it’s logical. All points are connected and relevant to the main topic, and the tone and flow of the text is consistent.

Bad Example

Traci,

I wanted to write you a quick note about the report you finished last week. I gave it to
Michelle to proof, and she wanted to make sure you knew about the department meeting we’re having this Friday. We’ll be creating an outline for the new employee handbook.

Thanks,

Michelle

As you can see, this email doesn’t communicate its point very well. Where is Michelle’s feedback on Traci’s report? She started to mention it, but then she changed the topic to Friday’s meeting.

Good Example

Hi Traci,

I wanted to write you a quick note about the report you finished last week. I gave it to Michelle to proof, and she let me know that there are a few changes that you’ll need to make. She’ll email you her detailed comments later this afternoon.

Thanks,

Michelle

Notice that in the good example, Michelle does not mention Friday’s meeting. This is because the meeting reminder should be an entirely separate email. This way, Traci can delete the report feedback email after she makes her changes, but save the email about the meeting as her reminder to attend. Each email has only one main topic.

6. Complete

In a complete message, the audience has everything they need to be informed and, if applicable, take action.

Does your message include a “call to action”, so that your audience clearly knows what you want them to do?

Have you included all relevant information – contact names, dates, times, locations, and so on?

Bad Example

Hi everyone,

I just wanted to send you all a reminder about the meeting we’re having tomorrow!

See you then,

Chris

This message is not complete, for obvious reasons. What meeting? When is it? Where? Chris has left his team without the necessary information.

Good Example

Hi everyone,

I just wanted to remind you about tomorrow’s meeting on the new telecommuting policies. The meeting will be at 10:00 a.m. in the second-level conference room. Please let me know if you can’t attend.

See you then,

Chris

7. Courteous

Courteous communication is friendly, open, and honest. There are no hidden insults or passive-aggressive tones. You keep your reader’s viewpoint in mind, and you’re empathetic to their needs.

Bad Example

Jeff,

I wanted to let you know that I don’t appreciate how your team always monopolizes the discussion at our weekly meetings. I have a lot of projects, and I really need time to get my team’s progress discussed as well. So far, thanks to your department, I haven’t been able to do that. Can you make sure they make time for me and my team next week?

Thanks,

Phil

Well, that’s hardly courteous! Messages like this can potentially start officewide fights. And this email does nothing but create bad feelings, and lower productivity and morale. A little bit of courtesy, even in difficult situations, can go a long way.

Good Example

Hi Jeff,

I wanted to write you a quick note to ask a favor. During our weekly meetings, your team does an excellent job of highlighting their progress. But this uses some of the time available for my team to highlight theirs. I’d really appreciate it if you could give my team a little extra time each week to fully cover their progress reports.

Thanks so much, and please let me know if there’s anything I can do for you!

Best,

Phil

What a difference! This email is courteous and friendly, and it has little chance of spreading bad feelings around the office.

 

Variations

There are a few variations of the 7 Cs of Communication:

Credible – Does your message improve or highlight your credibility? This is especially important when communicating with an audience that doesn’t know much about you.

Creative – Does your message communicate creatively? Creative communication helps keep your audience engaged.

Key Points

All of us communicate every day. The better we communicate, the more credibility we’ll have with our clients, our boss, and our colleagues.

Use the 7 Cs of Communication as a checklist for all of your communication. By doing this, you’ll stay clear, concise, concrete, correct, coherent, complete, and courteous.

Article found on website

A-B-C Method of Managing Attitudes
by On October 23, 2012

by Steve Goodier

As an airport skycap checked through a customer at curbside, he accidentally knocked over the man’s luggage. He quickly collected the fallen bags and apologized for the mishap. Unappeased, the traveler burst into an angry tirade, raging and swearing at the skycap for his clumsiness. Throughout the traveler’s rant, the baggage handler simply apologized and smiled. The angry man continued to berate the skycap, until he finally headed off to catch his plane. Even then the baggage handler remained calm and passively smiled.

The next customer in line witnessed the incident and marveled at the skycap’s professionalism and control. “I have never seen such restraint and humility,” he said. “How do you keep your cool when somebody is attacking you so viciously?”

“It’s easy,” the skycap answered. “He’s going to Denver, but his bags are going to Detroit.”

That is certainly ONE way of managing attitudes, but here is a more constructive approach.

Have you heard of the A-B-C method of managing your attitude? It’s simple and effective.

“A” stands for the “Activating Event.” Let’s say you get stuck in traffic. The traffic jam is the activating event.

“B” stands for your “Belief System.” You believe that traffic is only getting worse and you’ll have more and more days like this ahead.

“C” stands for the “Consequence of the Event.” You become angry. You want to honk your horn. Your stomach is tied in knots and you bang the dashboard with your fist.

The problem is…most people jump directly from “A” to “C.” They get stuck in traffic and become angry. They think the traffic jam made them upset. They don’t realize that they didn’t HAVE to get angry. They skipped an important step!

Let’s try it again:

“A” – you get stuck in traffic.

“B” – you believe that you were given some unexpected and extra time to spend in solitude, to listen to a great tape or to plan your day.

“C” – the consequence is that you feel gratitude for the gift of time.

I have a friend who is fond of saying, “A traffic jam has no power to make us angry. It just stops our car.” He is aware that between the activating event and the consequence is something that we control: our beliefs about what is happening.

The next time you have a problem — at home or at work, big or small — decide to manage your attitude toward it. Practice the A-B-C method. You probably can’t change “A,” the activating event. But try hanging “B,” your beliefs about the problem. When you change your beliefs, you also change “C,” the consequences of the situation.

It’s as simple as A-B-C. Manage your beliefs, and you’ll manage to be a lot happier!

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