RECHARGE! Positive – Powerful – Practical
Issue #13 December 2012 – January 2013
Peter G. James Sinclair discusses how one can remain optimistic and positive in today’s negative environment p.10
BENEFITS of Positive Living Turn STRESS into FUN
BEAT the Holiday Blues
SMILE When in Trouble
Everyone Wants to Move Forward Now, you can learn HOW YOU CAN is a book of HOW . . . specifically how to improve your personal performance and achievement. In this groundbreaking new book, renown peak performance expert John Von Achen walks you through a proven methodology guaranteed to help you reach your maximum potential. There is no hype in this book, no filler and no excuses. Only solutions for how YOU CAN produce better results in everything you are doing.
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Learn more at www.youcan2012.com/
Founder of RECHARGE365.com and RECHARGE! Magazine
John Von Achen Editor-in-Chief Helen Bereschinova Copy Editor Oleg Vetoshnikov Designer Lubov Karmanova Cover story: Peter G. James Sinclair Contributors: Anne-Sophie Reinhardt, Jeremy McCarthy, Mark Sisson, Sagan Morrow, Debbie Mandel, James at DINKS, Mark Harrison, Mariette Ulrich, Lori Moss, Paul H. Burton, Donal Suter, Jean Kelley, Jason Seiden COLUMNISTS: Kimanzi Constable, Dr. Kem Thompson, Karen Jenkins, Dave Ramsey, Ellen Rogin, Jordan Gaines, Dana Lightman, Shirley B. Garrett, Anne Bachrach, Nathan Feiles Owned and Operated by CENTE MEDIA, LLC. 1800 Pembrook Dr Ste 300 Orlando, Florida 32810 December 2012 – January 2013 І 3
December 2012 – January 2013 Mindset 10
5 Powerful Benefits of Living a Positive Life
Can You Smile in Trouble
The Positive Psychology of Christmas Stories
Tales of Life. The Beauty of the Right Perspective
Health 20 The Simple Guide to Optimal Health & Fitness 23
Activities for insomniacs
All I Want for the Holidays is Sleep!
Doctor’s Diary. What Happens When You Change Or Break Your New Year Resolution?
Wealth 28 Getting Out of Debt 32
Think Right about Your Money. Why Budgets Don’t Work: The Most Important Step to Getting What You Want – That Nearly Everyone Skips
34 Dave Says. Q&A with America's Leading Personal Finance Expert
Do you 4 І December 2012 – January 2013
to move forward?
Social 36 Towards Better Relationships 39
Childless by choice – a decision you may live to regret
BrainBlogger. Bad Christmas Gifts – A Neuroscientific Gifting Guide
No More Difficult People. Listening Skills
Career 44 How to Confront a Bully in the Workplace 47
What Medieval Master Craftsmen Can Teach Us About Investing In Ourselves
Bowling for Life – Redefining Wealth & Balance
50 Hated at Work. You have three options when another employee dislikes you
Stress, Pressure, and the Quality Event
Positive Directions for Life. 12 Ways to Beat the Holiday Blues
Accelerate Your Results! How to Get the Most Out of Life and Live With No Regrets
60 The Counseling Corner. Stress Reduction: Turning Stress Into Fun!
More than just tweets Follow @Recharge365 on December 2012 – January 2013 І 5
Great Expert Tips for a Great 2013! With the new year right around the corner, there's no doubt you are in the process of planning for 2013. If you need some guidance, RECHARGE! has you covered. We asked 10 of the top personal development experts to provide you with the support you need to Health make 2013 a breakout Tip for 2013: year for you. Make out time to look after your health. If you don't do this you'll Read the expert be forced to make out time for illtips in this issue of ness when it inevitably comes. – Dr Kem Thompson RECHARGE! and get ready to Move Forward Daily in 2013!
How to Have a Great Year If you didn’t stick with last year’s resolutions, try something new this year. Focus on inspiration. Here’s how. Look back over 2012. Make a list of your personal achievements. Now add a list of the year’s “positive aspects” – what you appreciate about yourself, others and your life. These lists will help you create positive momentum going into the new year. Continue to keep lists of achievements and appreciations throughout 2013. There is no better way to feel good – which is the beginning of a positive loop that inspires you to make positive changes. – Dana Lightman, Ph.D. National Keynote Speaker and Trainer
People come to me on a daily basis looking to make positive changes in their lives. Learning to love your life takes learning to love yourself. Learning to love yourself takes knowing and understanding yourself – who you are, what motivates you, what holds you back, where you came from, and so on. Let this be the year you learn to love yourself. I’m here to help. – Nathan Feiles, MSW, LMSW
In 2013 you WILL inspire everyone! I predict you will figure out exactly what your dreams are and you will take action and make them a reality! You will stop settling and you will change the world, I'm excited! – Kimanzi Constable
REthinking your future for 2013 The single most important thing in life is how you feel about yourself. We are all living lives of habits and patterns ruled unconsciously by fear. Eradicating fear is the key to loving and respecting yourself. The three most common deep fear people need to become aware of are: If you stay in today and live each moment with excellence, you will have less to regret in your past and set the foundation for a happier future. – Shirley Garrett , Psy.D
1) I am not good enough or I am not worth loving 2) I am unsafe in some way 3) A fear of death or abandonment Eradicate those fears, love yourself, change your patterns and your life will be full of joy!” – Amanda Gore
Psychological flexibility One of the breakthrough findings of the 21st century in the area of behavioural science / psychology emphasises psychological flexibility as the key to a truly meaningful and fulfilled life. Psychological flexibility is the ability to choose the most helpful response to a situation, based on our values rather than what we are thinking or feeling in the short term. For example, it’s the ability to go for a run even if we feel unmotivated to do so or if our mind is telling us it’s too cold outside! This ability can be trained and has been shown to improve many different aspects of work performance, wellbeing and mental health. Based on a combination of mindfulness and values-based behaviour, psychological flexibility is the skill we should all be learning in 2013… – Rob Archer, Career Psychologist
In 2013, I’d love to encourage you to take one action every single day that brings you closer to loving yourself. Pay yourself a compliment, celebrate your beauty, embrace solitude by taking yourself out to dinner or simply smile at yourself in the mirror. By making it a habit to shower yourself with love and attention, you will start to transform your life in other areas almost by itself, your selfconfidence will increase, your limiting Make beliefs will float away and your career 2013 your and other relationships will improve. year to attract Self-love is the key. abundance. One of the best ways – Anne-Sophie Reinhardt, Founder and to bring more prosperity into your CEO, aMINDmedia life is to stop pushing it away! Be impeccable with your thoughts about money. If you catch yourself freaking out about the markets and your finances, say “Cancel Clear!” This will allow you to stop the spiral of negative fear-based thinking. Calmness, clarity and We can't tell what confidence are magnets for the future will bring: the only thing we can be attracting abundance. certain of is that change is – ©Ellen Rogin coming. There is only one thing, however, that you can change - and that's yourself. Every problem or challenge you will ever face can be overcome by changing yourself. Power comes from being able to change and adapt to your situation. When you have this ability, you can face any future with confidence. – Mark Harrison
Powerful Benefits of Living a
Positive Life 10 І December 2012 – January 2013
When you listen, read or watch the negativity that confronts us on a daily basis via the media, in this day and age, it can at times seem impossible to fathom how one is ever going to live, let alone survive the ensuing decades that are about to face each and every one of us.
ome people refuse to have children because they don’t want to bring them up in such a poisonous environment. Others move countries, or states or suburbs in the illusive search for a positive environment. Then there are those who bury their heads in the sand and say that everything is okay. But I am a realist. There are nice people. There are bad people. There are wonderful circumstances. There are freaks of nature. However, no matter what life throws at us, you and I have the choice of how we respond to each and every confrontation. Personally, I choose to remain optimistic and positive. For what our world needs now, more than ever, are positive role models and the continued dispersion of the positivity philosophy. Too many live their lives in a constant and unending cycle of despair and regret. This does not have to be so. By simply changing our perspective we can gain a whole new slant on the world in which we live, and on the future that lies before each and every one of us.
The World Is As You See It
Just like the person who looks at a glass of water that they declare is half full or half empty. It just depends on which way you perceive it, and how you respond with your mind and your mouth.
I personally believe in the longevity of positivity. Why? Because I have made it my life’s purpose to study mankind, and in fine-tuning my study I have also become a student of success. Through all the suffering that mankind has been subjected to, throughout the thousands of years that man has inhabited the earth, the light of positivity has continued to always shine through. It is a fact: that which is positive ultimately outlives and outlasts that which is negative. Good conquers evil. Love destroys hate. Peace reigns supreme over war. Positivity nullifies the power of negativity. Oh there will still be those who will seek to destroy. But this must not move us. We must stand firm and strong on the foundations of our positive belief.
History’s Record Repeats
History confirms that there is a law of sowing and reaping in place. This law cannot be broken. Those who seek to sow destruction will ultimately be destroyed. However, those who sow positivity will ultimately reap a positive life that will have a positive impact on the entire world. When you consider the 2nd World War, when the free world faced one of its most harrowing hours, there was one man who stood out amongst them all. His name? Sir Winston Churchill. For all his fine qualities, he was not a faultless man. He had, throughout his career, made some
December 2012 – January 2013 І 11
You are ‘a unique’ and that means simply one thing: you are extremely special terrible errors of judgment. And the empire that he represented had committed some horrific blunders when dealing with the vastness of the empire that they had created. But that aside, when the darkness of despotic government sought to snare Europe and all its surrounds, there was one man who stood firm as he gave resounding speeches that stirred the hearts of the oppressed multitudes. He made it very clear that he would never give up until freedom was won for all. Where there was darkness he saw light. Where there was negativity he could only visualize positivity. Where there was fear there was demonstrated faith. Where there was doubt there was supplied hope. It was that spirit of determination that gripped the hearts of men and women, both in his own homeland and amongst the allies that eventually, after many years of struggle, brought about the crushing defeat of the enemy. We too can make the longevity of positivity a reality in our lives by simply determining in our hearts that it will be so. Here are five keys to help you:
12 І December 2012 – January 2013
To be positive is not to ignore the presence of negativity in our world, but rather to believe in the power of the positive and in the knowledge that that positive power has the greatest and long-lasting energy to override any negative power in the final hour. ~ Peter G. James Sinclair
It’s a fact. There is an abundance of negativity that fills our world. Turn on the television, read the newspaper or simply listen to some of the conversations in your local supermarket, and you will find little positive being discussed. But the great news is that you and I do not have to partake of the morsels of negativity that are passed our way. There is another menu available, and if you eat of that, you will develop into a far more healthier and wealthier individual. Feed on positive materials. Surround yourself with positive friends. Submit your ears to the wisdom of positive mentors, and allow only positive statements to flow from your mouth. By all means deal with the negative, but always keep your major focus on the positive. Do it all your life, and you will live well and you will live long.
2 Be Positive About Who You Are
What I must do is all that concerns me, not what the people think. It is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps in perfect sweetness the independence of solitude. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
Never allow another to rain on your parade. Be confident in who you are. Know this, that there is only one you and that you have been created for a purpose. What other people think is totally irrelevant. You must always be true to yourself and to your conscience, for it is you that you must live with for the rest of your days. Be grateful for your peculiar gifts that make you different to everyone else around you. You are ‘a unique’ and that means simply one thing: you are extremely special. ￼
3 Be Positive About What You Do
Let every man be occupied, and occupied in the highest employment of which his nature is capable, and die with the consciousness that he has done his best.
Live your life with purpose. Have a goal. Write it down. At least if you have a target in place you will be more likely to hit the bull’s-eye. Develop the ability to dream on a regular basis. Make it a pattern of your personal path. Dream BIG, live BIG, believe BIG. The BIGGER you dream, the BIGGER you will become. Those who choose to expand their mind with a dream will ultimately expand their lives. First the dream, then the goal, then the plan plus applied action – and finally the reality.
Positive About How You’re 5 Be Going To Get There
“Every citizen of our state ought to apply himself to that one thing to which his genius most inclines him.” ~ Plato
When you have discovered the what, it is then time to plan the how. How do you do that? Start asking yourself some questions: ￼ What do I want to do? How can I do it? Who can help me get it done? What do I need to help me get it done? Where can I do it best? How much will it cost to do it? Where will I get the money? How long before I can earn it back?
~ Sydney Smith
There are no small tasks. There are only those who do tasks with small minds -and because of that have created small tasks. Approach every task you undertake with a BIG attitude and that is the attitude that you should always carry with you as you continue to discover the gift that lies within you. Not all of us can arrive at our point of self-discovery immediately, but we can make the journey a worthy training ground by performing every task that we are undertaking with the spirit of excellence. The development of that habit will definitely prepare you for your greatest hour when it does finally arrive.
Positive About Where You’re 4 Be Going Who shoots at the midday sun, though he be sure he shall never hit the mark, yet as sure he is he shall shoot higher than who aims but at a bush.
Set goals. Put in place the tasks that you must perform to achieve those goals. Put a date on it. Spend time talking to a mentor about your plan. And while you’re at it shout, “Long live positivity!” I’m positive that those who live positively will far outlive and outlast those who live negatively. by Peter G. James Sinclair
Peter G. James Sinclair Peter G. James Sinclair is in the 'heart to heart' resuscitation business and inspires, motivates and equips others to be all that they’ve been created to become. Receive your free inhalation of 'motivational' life by subscribing to his ultra-positive and super-inspirational Motivational Memo Blog – www.motivationalmemo.com
~ Sir Philip Sidney
December 2012 – January 2013 І 13
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Peter G. James Sinclair’s
Self Development Mastermind
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Can You Smile in Trouble
roke. Separated. Homeless. Prosperous. Free. The world at her feet. The same situation, two mindsets, two lives.
Mine. I separated from my husband a few months ago after only two short years of marriage. I was, of course, devastated. After all, I had married him because I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him. We had built a life together, created a home together and vividly planned a future together. Letting go of that dream, that future was painful, gut-wrenchingly so. Having to move out, searching for a new home and dealing with the financial loss wasn’t easy either. I’d be lying if I told you that I didn’t throw myself a big, fat pity party because I did. I spent many nights on the couch with a cup of Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough in one hand and a big spoon in the other. But after a short few weeks, I started to get back up. I smiled again, laughed loud and embraced life more than ever before. Sure, I was still broke. Of course, I was alone again. And yes, I didn’t even have a home and instead slept at my parents’, but I was free to be me. Which was something that I hadn’t been for years.
Needing to get back on my feet, I had to make a decision and scheme my new steps to financial security. So, I took all the courage I had and decided to move to New York City, making my life-long dream a reality. And in only two short weeks, I’ll move to the Big Apple without a job or an apartment. Crazy? Maybe. But I’m free, young and healthy. So, now’s my time to face my fears and seize this challenge. Now’s the time to take this painful situation and create a new life. Which brings me to you. What situation are you facing that’s causing you sleepless nights? What’s making you feel as if the world is ending and nobody knows but you? What decisions do you have to make that you’d much rather put off and manage in another life? Here’s a suggestion: Why not deal with it with a smile? Why not add some sparkle to your misery? Why not dance a bit while solving your problem? Why not simply see the bright side? If you lose your job, it’s hard. But instead of sulking and waiting for others to pick you back up, be
December 2012 – January 2013 І 15
Being on your own is an opportunity to get to know yourself better and to start to connect with who you truly are proactive, hustle and see what other opportunities arise. If your relationship ends, it hurts and it’s easy to pity yourself. But being on your own is an opportunity to get to know yourself better and to start to connect with who you truly are. Treat yourself to dates like you would a new lover. Marvel at your beauty, creativity and wit. Get to know the person behind the curtain and use this time to intimately work on the most important relationship of your life: the one with yourself. Fact is that life doesn’t always go as planned and more often than not we need to completely change our expectations. Most of us then fall into a state of hopelessness and paralysis, moaning, groaning and pitying ourselves. But if we approach life’s waves with an attitude of positivity, we’ll be able to stay adrift so much better. So, smile, even if you’re in trouble. by Anne-Sophie Reinhardt
Anne-Sophie Reinhardt Anne-Sophie Reinhardt is an anorexia survivor, body image expert and the owner of aMINDmedia. She empowers you to achieve a healthier and more successful life by returning to your true purpose and values. Learn more at www.aMINDmedia.com and subscribe to the newsletter at www.amindmedia.com/ empoweredliving
16 І December 2012 – January 2013
The Positive Psychology of Christmas Stories ‘Tis the season, when families come together, exchange gifts, prepare lavish feasts and eventually all curl up in the living room to watch a classic Christmas movie. The movies that are shown this time of year are very specific in their genre, not just because they feature common characters such as elves, Santa Claus, reindeers or angels, but because they feature common themes such as hope, love, giving, kindness, charity and gratitude. Yale Psychologist Paul Bloom has argued that stories (not just Christmas stories, but stories in general) are one of the primary mechanisms for making society “nicer” as there is no better way to convey certain lessons about the benefits of kindness, charity and love. And Christmas stories are probably at the top of that list, each one with its uplifting message and some call towards enlisting our nobler selves. This year, as you tune in to your favorite Christmas stories, think about the new science of positive psychology and how the research is shaping up around these themes. Even beyond holiday films, there is a wealth of wisdom that has been handed down from generation to generation, in stories and legends, religious parables and “grandmothers’ wisdom” that are only just now being addressed in a scientific way. Let this article serve as a study guide, linking your favorite holiday parable to the related research being done on those themes:
Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer: Starring Rudolph as the quintessential awkward adolescent who is different from all the others by virtue of his shiny red nose. But Rudolph becomes the star of the show when he learns how to put his differences to use, and finds that his greatest weakness becomes his greatest strength. This story clearly links to recent research on “character strengths and virtues” but since I already wrote
RECHARGE! Mindset extensively about “Putting your Strengths to Work” in a previous article, I won’t go into detail on that here. This movie is also a good example of Bloom’s idea that stories help society to become nicer. It serves as a reminder to appreciate the differences and diversity in others. Movies like this help us to overcome natural heuristics that predispose us to stereotype against others.
Miracle on 34th Street: A kind department store Santa, who goes by the name of Kris Kringle is brought to trial in an attempt to institutionalize him for insanity because he appears to believe he is the real Santa. The movie plays out the battle between two forces, those who believe in uncovering the truth, even if it hurts us, and those who prefer to celebrate hope and faith, even if it means the truth has to be bent slightly. This debate goes on today in positive psychology, as researchers study the benefits of hope and optimism but are cautioned to maintain a “realistic optimism” that does not distort reality in a harmful way. There are those who are quick to point out the values of pessimism and the possibilities of being misguided by optimism, but there is also a growing body of evidence that highlights the benefits of leaning towards a more hopeful and optimistic outlook on life. Some would argue that we should evaluate our beliefs, not only on the merits of their veracity, but also on “how those beliefs serve us.” And so if a belief in Santa Claus causes no harm, but it allows you to experience the magic of Christmas and become a better person for it, by all means leave the cookies out on Christmas Eve.
It’s a Wonderful Life: In my favorite Christmas classic, George Bailey is rescued from his own suicide attempt by an angel who teaches him how valuable he has been to his family and community by showing him what their life would have been like without him. Some researchers explored this theme, testing to see if “mentally subtracting positive events improves people’s affective states.” Participants did not predict
their mood changing positively (intuitively you would think imagining loss would make you sad.) But subjects felt better when they imagined what their life would have been like without certain positive events. The researchers actually called the effect in their study “the George Bailey effect” in honor of the character from the movie. Sonya Lyubomirsky, psychologist and author of “The How of Happiness” wrote an article based on this research entitled “What If I’d Never Met My Husband?” She suggests that imagining being without the good things helps us to appreciate those things as if they were new again. A sense of novelty is restored, and novelty, surprise and mystery are all important to our wellbeing. As you enjoy your family this holiday season, imagine them not being around, or imagine you d0n’t have your home, your job, your kids, etc. You might realize you already have the greatest gifts of all, without ever unwrapping a box. Naturally, I could go on and on, and maybe next year I’ll pick up where I left off, covering “A Charlie Brown Christmas” with research on resilience and flow, “The Christmas Carol” with research on kindness and generosity, or even the original Christmas story about Jesus Christ, which links to research on forgiveness, mercy and compassion. In the meantime, there is an argument to be made for not analyzing these films too much and just enjoying them for what they are. Just don’t skip them altogether, as these stories play an important role in reminding us what Christmas is really all about. RE by Jeremy McCarthy References and recommended reading: Buckingham, M. (2007). Go Put Your Strengths to Work: 6 Powerful Steps to Achieve Outstanding Performance. Free Press. Lyubomirsky, S. (2007). (The How of Happiness: A Scientific Approach to Getting the Life You Want. Penguin Press. Peterson, C. & Seligman, M. E. P. (2004). Character Strengths and Virtues: A Handbook and Classification. Oxford University Press. Seligman, M. E. P. (2006). Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life. Vintage Press. Snyder, C. R. (2000). Handbook of Hope: Theory, Measures, and Applications. Academic Press.
Jeremy McCarthy Jeremy McCarthy is the Director of Global Spa Operations and Development at Starwood Hotels and Resorts. He is the author of The Psychology of Spas & Wellbeing and hosts a blog at www.psychologyofwellbeing.com. He holds a master degree in Applied Positive Psychology from University of Pennsylvania and teaches a course in Positive Leadership for Spas and Hospitality for the UC Irvine Spa and Hospitality Management program.
December 2012 – January 2013 І 17
Tales of Life
By Kimanzi Constable
The Beauty of the Right Perspective
he alarm clock went off at mid-night, just like every other day and I went through the same routine that I went through everyday. I got up to some noise that I was convinced was in my dreams. When I woke up enough to turn off the alarm, I asked myself what was I doing and why was the alarm going off so early? Even though I did this everyday, it just never sunk in; it’s just not natural to be up at that time. After I fully woke up and got ready, anger sunk in. I was mad that I had to walk up at this time every morning, I was made that I had to go into a job that I absolutely hated, I was made that I wanted more from my life but didn’t know how to get it. When I did go to work everyday I had the worst attitude you would have ever seen. People avoided me because of my attitude, it really affected my work. After twelve years into this job and existence that made me miserable, something incredible happened. I finally got fed up enough with the lack of effort in my life and my work and took action on my dreams of becoming a writer.
I self-published a book that was all about my journey through jobs that I hated and I was convinced it would be a New York Times best seller. I put the book out to the world and the world said NO WAY! No one bought the book. During these times in my life I had the wrong perspective and a horrible attitude. I didn’t see things with the right attitude and it affected the personal growth in my life that I had been longing. I spent so much time being angry at this job that I hated that I wasted valuable time I could have been using to work on my dream. I spent so much time focusing on making money with my book that I wasted valuable time I could have been using to help people change their lives, actually contribute something positive to this world. If I had a different attitude and a better perspective, I might have changed the world and I do mean that.
18 І December 2012 – January 2013
How’s your attitude? Do you have the right perspective?
It’s always easier to focus on the negative and get depressed about our
RECHARGE! Tales of Life current situation. I have been there and done that and to be honest it’s still something I struggle with from time to time. A negative, depressed attitude is like a cancer that affects every other area of your life. When I went to work I had a bad attitude and it really affected my performance. I told myself that I didn’t care because this wasn’t my future and I hated that job, I was wrong. Even though it wasn’t my dream job, it still paid the bills and put food on the table. Even though it wasn’t my dream job, it provided me money to pay for my dreams as I started to get it going. If I had the right perspective I could have done a great job and gotten even more money to fund the beginning of my dream. If I had focus from the start, then everyday wouldn’t have been such a drag, it would have made me a lot more tolerable person.
How do you view your current situation?
I know things might seem horrible right now but are they as bad as you think? Really? If you just viewed your situation from a better perspective, what more could you accomplish? Even if you think your situation is really bad and worth getting depressed over, how will that help things get better? The thing that really got me though some of the roughest situations during that time was talking them out. If you’re going through it right now, then maybe it’s just too much to handle and leaning on a close friend or family member will be just what you need to get through it. There’s nothing wrong with reaching out for support and you’d be surprised how much it helps. Talking it out with someone who has a clear head will help you get that right perspective and they will point out what you need to hear.
A bad attitude will lead you down roads you don’t want to go down
This is not a road you want to go down if you are going to move forward with a better, more fulfilling life. Talk to someone for support and snap out of it, life is too short to waste any of it being depressed and that’s time you’ll never get back.
Climbing mountains and so much more
When you focus on the positive and have the right mindset it’s amazing what you can accomplish. When I stopped viewing my books as a way to make money and focused on helping people, something crazy happened: people actually listened. I remember getting an email from a young guy that had read one of my articles and said he wanted more for his life. After convincing him not to quit his job, we figured out what he wanted from his life. We came up with an action plan and started working on it one step at a time. During that time he got a better perspective with his current job and actually started to excel. While this wasn’t his dream he was able to get a raise that helped him get that much closer to his dream, crazy right? To be able to help him was my true calling and I had to get the right perspective to see that. Now that I have that perspective, I have accomplished things that I only dreamed of and I KNOW you can too. I don’t know where you’re at in your life but I definitely know where you can go with the right perspective. If you are struggling, you have the power to do something about it, so change it today! I challenge you starting today to take a step back and focus on the positive. Life is way too short to lose valuable time you’ll never get back focusing on the negative. You’ll take years off your life. You can do this, I believe in you.
When you have a bad attitude about one thing, a lot of other things in your life seem to fall apart. You’ve heard the expression “when it rains it pours”, that is usually only true in our minds. We get so frustrated about one thing that it leads to frustration in other things and that leads to something more serious: depression. Depression is something you want to avoid; it will take away your energy and kill your desire for the better life you truly deserve. Before you know it you’ll have a bad attitude towards everything and you’ll convince yourself of the many reasons why.
Kimanzi Constable is an author who has self-published two eBooks and sold over 45,000 copies. His first published book will be out this February. For twelve years he has worked at a job he has absolutely hated, last year he decided to do something about it. He is an international speaker, coach and consultant. His mission is to help people live the full and abundant life they deserve. You can find him at talesofwork.com.
December 2012 – January 2013 І 19
Health The Simple Guide to Optimal Health & Fitness Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution. ~ Theodosius Dobzhansky
20 І December 2012 – January 2013
As wild animals with massive brains and the ability to respond to sensory stimuli with more than just base instinctual behavior, we humans have the tendency to overthink pretty much, well, everything.
on’t blame yourself. You can’t escape your head. It’s always there. Everything you perceive or ponder is filtered through a dense network of constantly firing neural synapses. And whether you’re a strict materialist who thinks it’s all meaty wiring and circuitry up there, or you’re of the opinion that consciousness exists independently of your physical brain, we’re stuck with that consciousness filter – whatever its origin. It’s a blessing and a curse. Technology and science begat both the Internet and the atom bomb, after all. Or, both YouTube and the YouTube comments section. Our hyper-consciousness often separates us from our surroundings. It erects a barrier that severs the pleasure and immediacy of visceral experience. Imagine the bird watcher who spots a rare woodpecker and immediately buries his nose in his bird ID handbook to confirm the find. The bird flies away. He gets to add a bird to his logbook, but he missed out on seeing a rare animal peck for grubs, stretch its glorious wings, and take flight in search of the next tree. Does a checkmark in a bird logbook compare to the memory of a majestic feathered beast? Ever take a literature course that was so chock full of analysis and essays that you were never able to actually enjoy the great books you were reading? Ever go to the movies with that guy who simply cannot suspend an ounce of disbelief and won’t shut up about the admittedly glaring plot hole the entire ride home? Seeking a deeper understanding of a fascinating and important subject is
one thing; over-analysis is another entirely, and it can remove us from the enjoyment of a pleasurable pastime. Human health and physical fitness are important, crucial things to consider, and millions find them fascinating subjects to discuss, analyze, and optimize. I’m one of them. Millions more overanalyze; they make things harder than they need to be, and they generally get poorer results in the long run. Or, they may get objectively good results, but their lives are consumed by the minutiae of calories, miles, reps, and nutrient counting. I’d say there’s got to be an easier way to do things. There has to be a path that utilizes our big brains without them getting in the way. There’s got to be a balanced, rational method to obtain optimal health and fitness that successfully marries our tendency to think with our animal instincts. Getting fit and being healthy should be simplistic, intuitive, and, most importantly, enjoyable. Does wildlife obsess over calories eaten or reps performed? How do deer maintain their trim figures and impressive athleticism without a dietitian and weekly personal training sessions? Conversely, why does the house cat grow obese and lethargic, while a bobcat with nearly identical genes stays fit? It isn’t just the simplistic calories in/calories out model. It couldn’t be. Wild animals don’t count calories. They don’t worry about eating before bed, or getting enough exercise to burn off that squirrel they had for breakfast. They just are. They simply exist in an ecosystem hundreds of thousands of years in the making. Evolution has made sure, by its impartial, unconscious hand, that the flora and fauna live in harmony with each other and internally. The bobcat
December 2012 – January 2013 І 21
thrives on rodents and small birds because its digestive system and metabolism evolved eating these things; the house cat gets fat because its digestive system and metabolism aren’t suited for grain-based kibble. If the balance is upset in a given environment, organisms die out or move on, but things always reset. This is simply how nature works. When thinking about how to optimize our health and physical fitness, perhaps we should consider how animals do it – and how our ancestors did it. We’re animals – no one disputes that. We are subject to evolution and natural selection – that one’s a bit more controversial, but it’s true nonetheless. If you keep those two facts in mind while noting the lesson of the fit, lean bobcat, a thread begins to emerge. Shouldn’t the same concept hold true for us? Isn’t there an evolutionarily suitable, effortless lifestyle for us humans, too? There is, and I call it the Primal Blueprint. It eschews complicated workout regimens, tedious calorie counting, and weight loss gimmicks. My Primal laws are based on a rock solid foundation: evolutionary biology and anthropology mixed with modern human ingenuity. I take what worked for tens of thousands of years throughout human prehistory and incorporate contemporary science to confirm its veracity. When you go back and look at the fossil records of our hunter-gatherer, preagricultural ancestors, you find
that they were healthy, strong, and largely free of degenerative diseases – especially compared to the health of post-agricultural and even modern humans. The result is an incredibly simple, incredibly effective way to live, move, and eat: eat the things our ancestors ate, get the amount of sleep our ancestors used to get, and make the same movements our ancestors used to make before agriculture.
If you take anything from this post remember these two action items:
The ideal human diet should consist of only whole, unprocessed foods – meat, fish, fowl, plants, fruits, and nuts. Whatever you can kill, pick, or dig up and eat on the spot. This is what your ancestors ate and what your body is meant to consume.
By the same token, the best exercise consists of natural, full-body movements – lifting heavy things, sprinting, walking, swimming, hiking, climbing, crawling. This is how your ancestors moved and how your body is meant to function.
Amazing Results The
results of following these simple rules are numerous and almost immediate:
When thinking about how to optimize our health and physical fitness, perhaps we should consider how animals do it – and how our ancestors did it 22 І December 2012 – January 2013
RECHARGE! Health The weight melts off, if you have some to lose, or added muscle appears, if you could stand to gain a few pounds. You reset your taste buds. Sugar becomes cloying; processed industrial vegetable oil tastes unnatural. You realize you don’t need grains, beans, and potatoes to feel full. You crave real food, and you realize that real food tastes good – better than anything you could find on a convenience store shelf and more satisfying than anything in a fast food restaurant. Hunger no longer dictates that you eat every few hours. You get stronger and faster, sure, but you learn to move again. You regain lost mobility. You get sick less often as your immune system begins to function more effectively. You take pleasure in real movement and become more confident in your own skin. Eating and moving becomes intuitive, easy and fun. The world becomes your gym. Can’t make it to the weight room? Pick up a rock, toss it a couple times, pull your own body weight, then go running in the park. As long as you can manipulate your own body weight, you’re strong enough. Man is an opportunist above anything else. We love the easy way out, but we tend to make fitness and nutrition so incredibly complicated. Just cut out the foods we’ve only been eating for a few hundred generations (and do eat the things we’ve been eating for thousands of generations), drop the ridiculous fitness contraptions to focus on natural movements, and streamline your health. And don’t be afraid to turn off that big brain every once in a while. by Mark Sisson
Mark Sisson Mark’s mission is to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness. Learn more about Mark Sisson at www.marksdailyapple.com
Activities for insomniacs In my favourite textbook, Prescription for Nutritional Healing by Phyllis A. Balch, page 538 begins: Habitual sleeplessness is classified as insomnia. Failure to get an entire night’s sleep on most nights over a one-month period can be considered chronic insomnia. Insomnia can take the form of being unable to fall asleep when you first go to bed or waking during the night and being unable to go back to sleep. It affects one out of ten Americans… In some cases, sleep-related problems can last for months or even years… Chronic insomnia is often a symptom of a serious underlying medical disorder. One in ten Americans is quite a lot. Think about your family around the table at Christmas dinner: there’s often upwards of ten people, meaning that one of those people could potentially suffer from insomnia. Insomnia stems from many different things, such as depression, anxiety, stress, grief, arthritis, breathing problems, kidney or heart disease, caffeine consumption and some medications. I’ve had some form or another of insomnia off and on for years. For the longest time it took the form of waking up in the middle of the night. These days I tend to just be unable to fall asleep, for all variety of reasons. For example, I’m very susceptible to caffeine and any kind of food in my system past about 5pm – if I have a meal after that time period, there’s a good chance I’ll have difficulty getting to sleep. Often I can’t get to sleep because I can’t turn off my brain (I’ve always been absolutely terrible at meditation, haha). As frustrating as it can be, it’s always good to look at the positive! Believe it or not, you can accomplish quite a lot if you have insomnia. Think of it as having
December 2012 – January 2013 І 23
a whole extra four to eight hours that you wouldn’t normally have had in the day. If you suffer from insomnia, or even just have an occasional sleepless night, these are some of the things I do which you might find useful:
Work. If anxiety or another psychological disorder is preventing you from sleeping, work can be a great way to distract yourself and make yourself productive. Sometimes if I can’t get to sleep at night, it’s because I feel as though I didn’t do everything I could have with my day. If I then work at the computer for several hours, I have a better chance of getting back to sleep or at least feeling more at ease the next day, knowing that I caught up with whatever I needed to. Working is also a really good idea because after a night of insomnia, it’s likely you won’t function as well the following day. If you can do more the night before, you won’t have to worry as much about the amount that you have to do the following day.
or do strength training or an exercise DVD in the safety of my home. Going outdoors in the dead of night probably is not the safest option, and I do not condone it.
Read. Get acquainted with Hemingway or Dostoyevsky, or any other author that you’ve been meaning to read but never had time for. Guess what? Insomnia gives you that time.
Believe it or not, you can accomplish quite a lot if you have insomnia
Shower. Showering is relaxing. It also wakes me up some more, which is rather useful if you want to have a more alert brain to get some quality work completed. Exercise. If you’re feeling restless, exercising can help to relieve that. Do not go outside in the middle of the night. I might pace around my condo with a book, go on the treadmill,
Clean. There is nothing better than waking up in the morning to a sparkling, shiny clean home. The middle of a night is a good time to dust, scrub the bathtub, and organize the pile of papers on your desk.
Cook. If you’re the type who likes to make big casseroles or vast quantities of soup, this is the perfect opportunity to do it. I recommend not eating in the middle of the night, though, as it can mess with your sense of the time of day and might just worsen your insomnia. It’s best to try to get help with your insomnia because sleep is very important to the body. But it may take time to be able to sleep properly once again, so why not take advantage of insomnia while you can? It sure beats lying in bed, staring at the ceiling and wishing you could just fall asleep already! What do you like to do if you can’t fall asleep at night? by Sagan Morrow
Sagan Morrow Health writer, B.A. in Rhetoric, Writing, and Communications. Sagan focuses mostly on nutrition, fitness, body image, and mental health. She loves to experiment with recipes and try out new fitness programs. Sagan writes a food diary blog in which she documents her daily food intake and the exercise that she does each day over at Health Writer Eats; you can also find recipes on that site. Sagan wrote the Living Well column for the University of Winnipeg’s The Uniter for two years and is a Top Health Blogger at Wellsphere. Sagan is the Executive Director for and represents one-quarter of an organization called The Food Label Movement. Sagan Morrow is open to discussion and is very interested in hearing your opinions, thoughts, and ideas. Feel free to e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org or learn more about her on the Living in the Real World website.
24 І December 2012 – January 2013
All I Want for the Holidays is Sleep! Women are grossly sleep deprived according to the front page of the NY Times Styles Section, Sunday Nov. 6. 2011. Described as hyper-vigilant, anxious and worried, women have trouble falling asleep and/ or staying asleep while their male counterparts for the most part sleep more soundly. In stress- management terms what this means for a woman is that her daily endless to-do list spills over into nighttime sleep disruption along with perfectionism tapping her on the shoulder whispering: “You failed today!” Nowadays, women worry about everything including that they won’t get a good night’s sleep. Women tell me their fears about not sleeping. “I worry when I don’t sleep that: I won’t be sharp at work and my memory will be affected. Sometimes I close my eyes while I’m driving and stop at a red light; someone inevitably startles me with a honk. I look older and feel achy. I hate it when people tell me that I look tired because they are telling me I look old. I will be irritable, negative and argumentative. Also, everything will take much longer to do. I will lie there staring in the darkness looking at the clock while everyone in my home is sleeping. Sure, there are sleep aids from prescription medications to melatonin; I particularly enjoy watching the nocturnal butterfly acting like a sleep fairy in TV commercials. However, most meds have side effects and often require stronger doses once people get habituated. If your day is filled with stress and a lack of empowerment, pop a pill and you just treat symptoms and not the root cause.
How to become a morning person:
Instead of dwelling on how desperately you need to sleep which creates yet another obstacle to sleep, try shifting to a more positive perspective like waking up energetic, cheerful and fresh in the morning.
Here are 5 tips from morning people:
Become aware that you can’t transform yourself into a nightly yogi who calmly closes her eyes and sleeps a deep restorative sleep when you are stressed out
during the day. Every morning wake up to anticipate simple pleasures like a brisk walk, yummy meal, inspiring song, or meaningful conversation. Remember how excited you were as a child to get your day going when something special was going to happen. Schedule something special daily. Happy people sleep soundly and wake up eager to start the day. ￼ Become a soul climber instead of a social climber. You don’t need to prove yourself worthy or have others validate your existence – so exhausting to carry around other people’s judgments all day. Try activating joy and good humor. Wake up in the morning inviting your 5 senses to experience life moment by moment for self-growth – not jumping ahead to what’s next on the to-do list. Be fully conscious of all that you do during your wake time. This way you can go to sleep and be unconscious during sleep. Make up your mind to be happier with less. Don’t suppress your worries. They will pop up when you least expect them like in the middle of the night. Observe them play out and soon they will tire themselves out and go away. Sleep involves letting go, surrendering and trusting that all will be well. Give up a little control during the day, like forcing others to be like you or doing things your way. Sleep like a baby who trusts her parents. by Debbie Mandel
Debbie Mandel Debbie Mandel, MA is the author of Addicted to Stress: A Woman's 7 Step Program to Reclaim Joy and Spontaneity in Life, Changing Habits: The Caregivers' Total Workout and Turn On Your Inner Light: Fitness for Body, Mind and Soul, a stressreduction specialist, motivational speaker, a personal trainer and mind/body lecturer. She is the host of the weekly Turn On Your Inner Light Show on WGBB AM1240 in New York City , produces a weekly wellness newsletter, and has been featured on radio/ TV and print media. To learn more visit: www.turnonyourinnerlight.com
December 2012 – January 2013 І 25
Health advice from Dr Kem Thompson
What Happens When You Change Or Break Your New Year Resolution?
t’s soon time to think about your New Year Resolutions! While everyone else thinks about making them with no intention of breaking them, I’d like you to get ahead of the pack by planning what to do when you have to change a resolution or when you’ve broken one. First of all you’ve got to accept the fact that life happens. Sometimes things happen that you couldn’t have forseen. Greater opportunities may come your way and cause you to change direction from what you’d planned at the start of the year, or circumstances may occur to make you choose a different path from what you started out on. What guides your decision when you have to change a resolution is your underlying life mission and goal, and your ‘big WHY’ or reason for seeking that goal. This goal is more than just a New Year resolution that changes from year to year – this stays the same for 3 or 5 years, after which you evaluate things. Every 3 or 5 years you should have a big goal you are working towards, and each year you should make resolutions that lead you to that big goal. When you have that main goal or focus to work towards, it becomes easy to change a resolution when a better opportunity presents itself to propel you towards your goal. That way you don’t feel like a failure for changing that resolution. You’re still on course for reaching your goal. But What If You Break A Resolution? How Do You Bounce Back?First of all don’t beat yourself up! That won’t reverse things. I’ll tell you how to reduce your chances of breaking a resolution first before I tell you how to bounce back if you do break it. Again this goes back to that same 3-5 year goal you’re working towards, and your big WHY for going for that goal. Your big WHY is your reason for desiring that goal. It’s your answer to the questions ‘what will it do for you to achieve this goal? Why do you want to achieve it?’. You must have your goal and your ‘WHY’ written down in clear, con-
cise, specific terms – and you must read (silently or out loud), or even rewrite, your goal and WHY, at least twice a day. The more times the better. Doing this keeps you focused and motivated from within, to keep going for it. Done right, it also minimises your chances of breaking your resolutions because you are daily reminded that your resolution is taking you towards your desired goal. If however you do break a resolution, don’t beat yourself up. Pick yourself up, figure out what made you break it, decide how to avoid that obstacle next time so you don’t go off track again – and keep on moving! Don’t waste precious time feeling down or discouraged – just get up and keep moving. Speak words of determination to yourself. Even if you’ve broken resolutions before – determine (remember your goal and your WHY for choosing it) within yourself, that this time you are breaking that cycle of resolution breaking. Congratulate yourself for every baby step of an accomplished resolution you achieve e. g. if you have a specific health or weight goal, each day you work out, praise yourself and give yourself a pat on the back, same with each day you eat healthy throughout. Be your biggest cheerleader. Decide to push on no matter what, no matter how many times you fall. As long as you stay focused on your end goal and your WHY for choosing that goal, you will rise, you will make it. Go for it, and make 2013 your best year YET!
Dr Kem Thompson
26 І December 2012 – January 2013
Dr Kem Thompson (MBBS, Dip. Performance Coaching, MRCGP) Family Doctor, Author, Speaker. Learn more at: www.doctorkem.com
Get your copy of John Von Achen's latest audio book
Getting Out of Debt
28 І December 2012 – January 2013
RECHARGE! Wealth Everyone is going to deal with the debt monkey at some time in their life. Unemployment, failed businesses, health issues, irresponsibility – all of these may mean that you, or someone you know, may need have to dig out of a debt pit.
o if this is the case, here are some thoughts that might help:
Regardless of how psyched you are to start getting in the black, it is necessary to take action to make that happen. Taking action will often help you feel better about your situation as well as help you get the process started. Having a lot of debt is a major depressing drag, but don’t be afraid to kick start yourself – even sending in 5 bucks to your credit cards can help.
Get all your paperwork together in one place. Get an envelope and put all your bills in it, or get a folder on your computer and put all your electronic correspondence on it. Getting everything in one place will make it easier to both understand and track your debt, as well as help you design a strategy to get things paid off. This is key because you have to understand your situation before you can effectively get out of it. Not all loans are created equal, some have pre-payment penalties, others have variable rates and some kinds of debt are tax deductible. At a bare minimum, you’ll certainly want to know how much you owe and what interests rate you’ve borrowed at.
Figure out Your Strategy:
There are several schools of thought when it comes to debt reduction strategies, but the bottom line is that your debt pay off strategy needs to be tailored to your mindset and your financial circumstances. Some advocate a “snowball” approach, where you pay off your highest interest rate debts first. This is mathematically the quickest way to get rid of debt. The only trouble with it is that people often don’t stay motivated, so you might consider something that will keep you more engaged in the process. For example, you could pay off some smaller but less onerous debts first, just to get
psyched up with an early win. You could then set some goals to help attack the more expensive debt later. The bottom line here is that your strategy must work for you. Along these lines you might want to consider changing your spending behavior. Getting a budget, getting your credit cards out of reach or cutting your spending can also be part of your plans to get out debt. In any event, you’ll want your repayment plans to be tailored to your specific situation. It is best to stop spending altogether on your credit card, but we realize that sometimes this isn’t feasible. In any case, start to set aside a bit of a contingency fund for those items that can’t be put on a card, so you begin to live within your means.
If you have a large debt problem you are probably going to have to prioritize your repayments. Okay, you might be wondering – what is high priority and what is low priority? High Priority: Basic necessities like a roof over your head, food and transportation are high priority. You’ll need to be able to take care of yourself and your family as well as get out and get to work. This is however, a lot harder with no house and no car. So, if you miss more than three mortgage payments your lender may start the process of foreclosing and if you rent (depending on your state), your landlord can evict you after only a month. Cars are a similar situation, finance companies can repossess cars pretty easily, and in some cases they don’t even have to tell you. Also, don’t let your insurance lapse. You‘ll need it in case something happens. Pay your high priority bills. Other high priority payments are income taxes and child support obligation. Fees for non-payment of income taxes can be very steep. For both taxes and child support
December 2012 – January 2013 І 29
Look at your spending habits carefully, reduce wasteful expenses, make dinner and pack your lunch if you don’t pay, the government can put you in jail. The story is the same with student loans. If you default on student loans the government can take special collection actions against you that other creditors cannot. Low Priority: Credit cards, loans on household stuff and store charge cards are lower priority. That said these types of obligations often have high interest rates and you should be aware that many lenders will look very negatively on even one or two late payments, so if you can, pay the minimum on these balances. As always call your creditors and let them know what is going on, they may be able to work with you.
Priorities Can Change:
Your priorities may need to change in some circumstances. If a court judgment is entered against you on old credit card debt, for instance, that should become a high priority, as the creditor may be able to garnish your wages. On a similar note, if you have bills that are over 60 or 90 days late, you might consider paying them before those which are only 30 days late, as long term delinquent debt dings your credit score more.
If you have gobs of consumer debt that isn’t secured by a home or rental property, you’ll probably need to cut back. Look at your spending habits carefully, reduce wasteful expenses, make dinner and pack your lunch. You might be able to eliminate some of the waste in your budget; like magazine subscriptions, daily coffee, cable, or internet recurring billing for service you won’t use. This kind of stuff is mostly useless and will just make getting out of debt slower for you. Whatever bad little spending habits you have, now is the time to kick them. The bottom line here is if you have debt, you definitely should not live beyond your means. Needs vs. wants. Now is the time to take the lean road. If you really feel you need it, think on it, and think on it some more. Chances are you don’t really need it. If it’s on Groupon or Living Social, you definitely don’t need it!
Get Professional Help:
Lastly, if you aren’t able to get your debt paid off on your own, consider getting some professional help. But, be careful! The credit counseling industry has been sued numerous times by state and local governments because it is full of companies who want to take advantage of your situation to have you be in debt to them. Instead, get a professional counselor who has an advanced degree in social work or psychology/psychiatry and a focus on dealing with motivation and financial issues. You can often get this through an Employee Assistance Program, with three free sessions per topic. If you do have to pay, it is likely worth it to help you get your attitude straight and things back on track. Finally, remember: you can get out of debt. But it will take work and some sacrifice. by James at DINKS
James at DINKS
This has gotten harder in recent years, but it can pay to pick up the phone or fire up the internet to keep communication open. Sometimes if you are having trouble paying or may need to make a late payment, letting the lender know can help to waive fees or temporarily lower your payments.
30 І December 2012 – January 2013
DINKS (Dual Income No Kids) Finance is a blog discussing personal finance for couples. While by no means financial experts, we own a variety of assets including real estate and stocks. We've both been up to our eyeballs in debt and have made tons of financial mistakes. However, we've both successfully retired that debt and we both do learn from our failings. We hope that our voice in this blog can help others in achieving their goals! More details at www.dinksfinance.com
NOW Practices for Professional Selling
Think Right about Your Money
by Ellen Rogin
Why Budgets Don’t Work: The Most Important Step to Getting What You Want – That Nearly Everyone Skips
eviewing where we spend our money and planning how we will spend in the future- is vitally important for all of us, no matter how well we control cash flow and maximize our savings. However, even people who meticulously keep track of their spending have most likely skipped asking themselves the most important question in the process: Am I spending on what is truly important to me? This step, assessing if the money you do spend is in line with your priorities and values, is key to having the life you want. Whether we are aware of them or not, everyone holds a number of personal values. In most cases, people have not taken the time to look at and examine what they value in life. Yet, knowing what we what from life and creating a spending plan based upon these values, makes it possible to realize our goals more effortlessly. Developing a values-based spending plan is helpful not only in reaching your financial goals, but also in creating a financial life that runs in concert to what is truly important to you.
Three Steps to Getting What You Want
First, set aside quiet time to think and journal about each of the following aspects of your life: family, community, personal growth, spiritual, and health. For each category write about all of the things that are important to you. When you think you are finished, write some more. Once you have thoroughly explored each of these areas, go back and identify the most important points you have written in each section. Then go back again and prioritize each of these important items. At the end of this exercise you will have a prioritized list of what you most value. Second, list the amount you spend and what you purchase. For some people this is easy. They
keep track of their spending on a regular basis and can access this information quickly. For others, however, coming up with a summary of their spending is more of a challenge. To compile this information I suggest you review the past twelve months’ spending to summarize your expenditures into detailed categories using your check registers and credit card statements for the last year. The more detailed you are the more useful the information will be in the values-based spending process. For example, instead of having just one category for clothes, divide this into subcategories such as: clothes for the kids, my clothes, and my spouse’s clothes. It may be challenging and time-consuming to reconstruct this information, but you’ll end up with a useful spending record. Using a budgeting software package to assist you will help organize the categories and calculate the totals. You can learn more about one of the most popular, QuickenTM, at www.quicken.com. Once you have a listing of your spending for the past year, you are ready to begin assessing if you are allocating your money in ways that are truly important to you. Third, review your expenses and see if your spending corresponds with your goals. Let’s look at two people who adjusted their spending to be more in line with their values: When Susan prioritized her values, she realized it is vitally important to her to assist her children to be independent, happy and successful members of society. Susan believes one important way to help is to provide for their higher education. When she looked at her spending plan she found that the majority of the spending for her kids was on clothes, camps and activities. Very little was being saved for their college education.
32 І December 2012 – January 2013
RECHARGE! Think Right about Your Money
Using a budgeting software package to assist you will help organize the categories and calculate the totals When Susan determined how she was allocating money for her children she realized that she was not supporting what she really valued. She decided to cut back on activities for her children and find less expensive summer camps so she could increase her contribution to their college savings plan. Similarly, Julie changed her spending after taking a values-based look at her spending. One of the top priorities for Julie is to constantly be growing and learning. When she looked at what
this meant to her, Julie realized that she desired to travel abroad on a regular basis. In order to build this into her budget she would need to spend less on things that, after careful consideration, seem so much less important to her – things such as regular manicures and health club dues (she stopped going to the club after the second month of her membership). Have you taken a values-based look at your spending?
Ellen Rogin CPA, CFP® Ellen shows people how to be great with money. Through over 20 years as a successful entrepreneur in the financial services industry and as a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM professional, Ellen understands that many people have an uneasy and complicated relationship with their money. People undergo great anxiety as well as great joy in their financial lives. Ellen is hired by corporations, women's initiatives, organizations and associations to take the complex area of money and make it easy. Learn more about Ellen at www.ellenrogin.com
December 2012 – January 2013 І 33
Q&A with America's Leading Personal Finance Expert
Authorized users don’t help your credit
Dear Dave, My brother asked me to put his name on my credit card as an authorized user. He said it will help improve his credit score. Is this true, and would it help my score in any way? ~ Anna Dear Anna, Your brother is wrong. It will not improve his credit score at all. As an authorized user, he is not the owner of the debt. There’s a high likelihood that it will affect your credit score in a negative way, though, because there’s a good chance he’ll do some dumb things with your card. Look at it this way. Why would someone give him credit, or raise his credit score, just for using your credit? It doesn’t make sense. Your credit score is affected by things like whether or not you pay your bill on time. The card isn’t in his name, so really all this amounts to is him having fun with your card, and you’re the one who’s liable for the damage. The truth
is that authorized users shouldn’t even show up on a credit report. It sounds like your brother has some financial problems. While I admire the fact that he wants to fix things, this is not the answer. Don’t misunderstand what I’m saying, Anna. Chances are he’s not trying to con you. He probably just got some bad information. But the hard truth is this: If you go along with his idea, it’s not going to help him, and it’s going to hurt you. Don’t do it! ~ Dave
Season tickets are a luxury
Dear Dave, In terms of a family’s financial plan, when is it okay to purchase something like NFL season tickets? Is this the kind of thing that should wait until you’re debt-free and can afford to pay cash for them? ~ Greg Dear Greg, Absolutely, you should wait until you’re debt-free and can pay cash. That kind of thing is a prime example of an expensive, luxury purchase.
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RECHARGE! Dave Says I’m an NFL season ticket holder for the Tennessee Titans. But I’ve been debt-free for years, and my family’s financial future is very secure. Whether the Titans win or lose, or whether I watch the games in person or in front of the television, has no impact on their security. However, if you’re sitting there with credit card debt, a car payment and living paycheck to paycheck, you’ve got no business buying season tickets. Get yourself out of debt, build an emergency fund, and make sure your family is taken care of first. Then you can have some fun. Live like no one else so that later you can live like no one else. And then, if that includes season tickets to your favorite football, baseball or hockey team, have a blast! Remember, this kind of thing is entertainment. I know a lot of silly people out there act like whoever wins a football game is a matter of life and death, but it’s just a game. Your life and your financial future are not games, and they’re not things to be taken lightly. First things first, Greg. There will be plenty of time for that kind of fun when you can afford it! ~ Dave
Not ready to combine finances
Dear Dave, I recently got engaged. Is it okay for us to go ahead and combine finances and start working on a budget before we get married? ~ Adam Dear Adam, No, it is not okay to combine finances with anyone to whom you’re not married. And by “okay,” I mean wise. I’m happy that you’ve found love, but all kinds of things can happen before the rings are slipped onto your fingers. I’m not wishing bad things on you, but what if you spend time paying off her debt, or vice versa, and then the relationship doesn’t work out? Bringing finances into that kind of situation is just asking for trouble. You do not want to go there!
Now, all this doesn’t mean that you can’t begin working together on budgets for the future and goals for your lives. We’re talking about full disclosure to make this happen. She knows all about your income and debts, and you know about hers too. You guys need to have some serious discussions about saving, spending and debt, and get on the same page with your finances before the big day. But no, my advice is that you each pay your own bills until after you’re married. Once that happens, there’s no “yours” and “mine” anymore. It all becomes “ours.” ~ Dave
Can I self-insure long term?
Dear Dave, I just turned 57 and have been researching longterm care policies. Is there a point where you can self-insure for long-term care needs without a policy? ~ Peter Dear Peter, Mathematically, I’d say you could safely self-insure if you have the resources available to support your care in a nursing home or other facility for 25 years. Of course, if you’re married you have to think about your spouse and make sure she has enough to live on comfortably at the same time. That’s a lot of money. In my mind, it’s a large enough bill that it makes sense to transfer the risk to a long-term care insurance policy. The simple truth is most people won’t have enough money to self-insure for that kind of thing when the time comes. If you have $20 million liquid sitting around, then you could easily set aside $2 to $3 million for long-term care and still be in great shape. But I advise virtually everyone to have good, long-term care coverage in place by age 60. For many folks, it can make the difference between living with dignity and having to depend on the government. And that’s not something I ever want to do for anything – especially not my healthcare! ~ Dave
Dave Ramsey Dave Ramsey is America’s trusted voice on money and business. He’s authored four New York Times bestselling books: Financial Peace, More Than Enough, The Total Money Makeover and EntreLeadership. The Dave Ramsey Show is heard by more than 5 million listeners each week on more than 500 radio stations. Follow Dave on Twitter at @DaveRamsey and on the web at daveramsey.com.
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Social Towards Better Relationships
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RECHARGE! Social Good relationships are the bedrock of a happy and successful experience of life. We are social by nature and even the most introverted among us needs to develop connections with other people to enrich and bring meaning to life. Relationships, however, are often the greatest cause of distress we can experience. Psychiatrist William Glasser, in his book Choice Theory, claims that virtually every problem we ever have can be framed as a relationship problem. It’s not something we’re taught at school, but the skills and attitudes necessary to build and sustain healthy, nurturing relationships are of vital importance. Here are a few signposts to help you along the journey.
heir reality is not yours
People always have positive intent
I've always loved stained glass windows. The way they capture light to reveal images can be startlingly beautiful, and the combination of windows in the same building can create a remarkable landscape of colour, where every window captures and transforms the same light in very different ways. People are very much like this. We take a complex and endlessly shifting reality and filter it according to our experience and memories, our prejudices and our current psychological needs. The map, it is often said, is not the territory, but most people carry around with them the unconscious idea that their way of seeing things is the truth. It never is. Our reality is always constructed – it has been said that we see things not as they are but as we are – the light of reality always comes to us through our filters. It might never be possible to fully understand how another person sees things, but an attempt to do is, perhaps, the most powerful way to build a relationship. Wouldn’t it be refreshing to have someone actually make an effort to understand where you’re coming from? What most people want, more than almost anything else, is to be understood – to be listened to, to be taken seriously. Most of us put a lot of energy into trying to get our message across to other people, trying to get them to see things from our perspective (usually because we think we’re right). A genuine attempt to see things from the other person’s viewpoint can almost work miracles in a relationship.
Larkin wrote, ‘Man hands on misery to man, it deepens like a coastal shelf.’ It’s a pessimistic view, but the sentiment captures the essential truth that we learn to cope by copying what are often less than helpful ways of responding to our environment. Although people’s motives are often opaque, I am convinced that whatever people are doing is the best they are able to do with the resources available to them at the time. They might not be going about things the way you would go about them – but they don’t have the same experience, the same needs and the same agenda as you. We are not taught how to deal with problems in a systematic way, and we usually copy the people who were around us when we are growing up. This might lead to some dysfunctional ways of dealing with things – but everyone is doing their best. Realizing this, and making allowances, can make a huge difference to the quality of your relationships. Patiently accepting other people as they are and seeking to understand them can be disarming. When someone starts to open up, opportunities present themselves to suggest alternative ways of dealing with things.
When people act, their actions always arise from their own agenda, not yours. In other words, it’s about them, not you. A common barrier to building good relationships is that people tend to personalize other people’s actions and interpret them as a kind of judgment on
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their own behaviour. When you understand that people are acting from their own motives, and when you stop taking other people’s words and actions personally, you can learn a lot about other people and what drives them by observing how they behave.
Don’t make assumptions – look out for icebergs
Everyone knows that ninety percent of an iceberg lies below the surface of the water, and that icebergs used to be a terrible hidden danger for ships. People are the same. However much you think you know about another person, you rarely see the whole picture. It’s so easy to assume you understand what another person’s motives are, and to respond according to those assumptions. But the assumptions we make are usually wrong or, at best, only part of the picture. Most of what is happening is hidden, floating quietly beneath the surface, lying in wait, the silent destroyer of your relationships. The most common assumption we make is that other people are like us – that they think like us, that they care about the same things and have the same priorities. Of course, people are similar in many ways, but there are also many points of difference – and they are often not what you think they are. Keep a lookout – danger is often not where you expect it. ￼
If you observe the conversations you have with other people carefully and honestly, you might discover that you spend most of the time either explaining yourself – trying to be understood – or waiting for the other person to stop talking so that you get your own message across. But you cannot understand another person unless you listen with the intention of understanding. One of Steven Covey’s famous Seven Habits of Highly Effective People is to ‘seek first to understand.’ Listening with the genuine intention to understand another person is a vital part of building sustainable relationships.
and, if you are observant, subtle and patient, you can influence – you can sow a little seed which might, in time, grow into a change. You can become more understanding, more attentive, more flexible and more open to other people’s way of being. You can choose to love people for what they are, with all their imperfections and foibles. And you can choose to look inwards and address some of the flaws in yourself. You can be the change you want to see. Example is the best form of teaching.
Align yourself with what they want
Everyone wants something, and the key to a successful relationship is find out what it is and deliver it. When you align yourself with what the other person wants, relationships become harmonious and easy. Indeed, if you are seen as the provider of another person’s needs, your relationship will be effortless. Like a skillful carpenter sawing a piece of wood, effortlessly following the grain of the timber is how he creates an item of beauty and strength. Force only damages the final product. This is not to suggest that you should be a ‘doormat,’ always giving in to what someone else wants. It is to accept and work with the reality that people have psychological needs and that someone who can address these needs will be valued and loved. Put it another way – the person with the greatest flexibility always has more control and so, far from allowing yourself to be dominated, you are asserting greater power by your willingness to let go of control by force. Shakespeare, always a master observer of human nature, described a friend as ‘one that knows you as you are, understands where you have been, accepts what you have become, and still, gently allows you to grow.’ This, surely, is something worth aspiring to. by Mark Harrison
You can only change yourself
Someone once said that it’s easier to wear slippers than to carpet the whole world. It’s amazing how much energy and effort we put into trying to change things. Most of what’s outside ourselves doesn’t respond very well to our attempts to change it, and other people are more stubbornly resistant to coercion than just about anything else. The simple fact is that you can’t force anyone else to change. You can only change yourself
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Mark Harrison is a freelance writer and educator. He writes for a number of self-improvement websites and is the author of several books. His writing covers a wide range of self-improvement topics, but especially focuses on increasing productivity while reducing workload, and managing change. Visit him at www.harrisonfreelance.com
Childless by choice – a decision you may live to regret Hot yoga and shopping trips to New York won't sustain you when you're eighty-plus and lying in a resthome. When it comes to major life decisions, who in his right mind wouldn’t choose what sounded like more fun and less work? This, according to one observer, is the rationale behind a new trend in Canada: childlessness. Says Joe O’Connor in a recent National Post op-ed: Imagine a scenario where, on a Friday night, after running around like a beheaded chicken at work all week you get home, smooch the person you love, grab a glass of wine and enjoy the silence, the blissful quietude of being a committed and adoring couple – without kids. Indeed. No great effort of imagination is required, and, while not agreeing with his overall these-folksare-just-plain-selfish tone, I do think Mr O'Connor has put his finger on real problem. Between the pressures of work and the possibilities for self-indulgence today's couples could very easily decide that there is no room in their lives for children. It’s not exactly news that western nations are in demographic freefall, but the statistics are never pleasant to contemplate. Canada’s latest batch of 2011 census numbers shows that nearly half of Canadian couples (44.5 percent) are “without children”. Of course the stats are skewed somewhat by the inclusion of Boomer empty-nesters: people who have
children that are not living in their household. And we know that smaller families are a long-term trend. However, University of Calgary sociologist Kevin McQuillan confirms that there is a new element, "a turning away by couples from having children, period.” Maybe more like an exclamation mark: the in-yourface "childless by choice" meme has been around for decades, though I was sheltered from it in my home town, where five kids was considered a small family. I recall being surprised and disconcerted by society’s anti-child mentality as a university student and then a naïve young mum in the 1980s; now, not so much. I just like to sit back and savour the irony. O'Connor cites one childless woman who told the Post: “The benefits of not having children are in the driveway, in our closet and stamped on our passports. Kids are expensive.” And spending lavishly on yourself isn’t? They don’t teach logic in school anymore, do they? And they don't need to teach "me first’ or "the path of least resistance", since it is simply imbibed from the environment these days. Do it if it feels good; do it if it’s convenient; avoid suffering at all costs. It was not always thus. As O’Connor says, "Having children used to be the point of being a pair. It was the great aspiration – along with finding love everlasting –
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a biological impulse to go forth and multiply and, later, once your babies reached a certain age, to cajole them about the merits and benefits of doing their bit to join the ranks of parenthood while giving Mom and Dad some grandkids." His inclusion of biology scores a point for natural law: since human reproduction is natural, it is therefore natural to desire children. Yet clearly, some couples do not. What has occurred to thwart this desire? O’Connor’s curious choice of the biblical phrase “go forth and multiply” hints at the (not insignificant) spiritual motive that inspired earlier generations. Linked with this was a sense of a larger duty to society, which he evokes with his “doing their bit” remark. It would be unwise to argue that all people have a duty to reproduce; in the past, society depended on some people remaining single to care for the elderly and orphans and to dedicate themselves completely to service professions and the arts. Furthermore, parenthood is a vocation that goes with marriage, and not all people who feel called, so to speak, are successful in finding a mate. Others seem eminently unsuited to raising children. Today, many young people are infected with the mentality of doomsayers, environmental or otherwise, who argue the polar opposite of the reproductive imperative: that humans have an obligation to become extinct in order to save Mother Earth – for what, we’re not sure. These people might argue that it's possible to have a child for quite selfish reasons. Still, as O'Connor suggests, we have a society that provides many temptations to self-indulgence and few incentives for the sacrifices demanded by raising children: “Gone are diaper changes and ballet classes, replaced by hot yoga and shopping trips to New York City.” In other words, life without kids is a never-ending joyride. Now we enter the realm of myth, which is also where I would place the contention that life with chil-
dren is overwhelmingly stressful, exhausting, expensive and heartbreaking. Or that (horror of horrors) having babies makes you old, frumpy and fat. In fact, time makes you old, gluttony makes you fat, and apathy and neglect make you frumpy. I can only speak for moms, but lots of us have moved beyond Ma Kettle; maybe it’s time popular culture kept pace. Skating with your six kids at the local rink is not only every bit as physically invigorating as hot yoga, it’s also better for the economy. But even if the childless ones don’t mind economic meltdown (and with it the social safety-net state), perhaps they might be invited to reconsider their opinions out of sheer self-interest. O’Connor concludes with a memento mori: “[W]hat will become of those … folks when decrepitude inevitably creeps in; when they age, as we all inevitably do, and the children they chose not to have aren’t around to look after them?” He might have added the following, but since he didn’t, I will. Imagine a scenario where, on a Sunday afternoon, you sit idly for interminable hours slumped in your wheelchair in the tiny and stifling nursing home bedroom, which, due to overcrowding, you share with a cantankerous roommate. (Thank heaven she’s in the lounge for her weekly visit with her family!) You think wistfully of your husband, now long departed. You begin to cry and your nose starts to run. You’d like a tissue, but you are tired and haven’t the strength to wheel yourself to the bedside table. Your diaper is wet, but you know the aide won’t be around for another 45 minutes. You know it is pointless to call for help; the home is chronically understaffed (you’re not sure why). Enjoy the silence, the blissful quietude as you remember being part of a committed and adoring couple – without kids. Republished with author's permission from original article at Mercatornet.com by Mariette Ulrich
Mariette Ulrich Mariette Ulrich is a homemaker and freelance writer. She lives in western Canada with her husband and six of their seven children. Mariette holds an Honours B.A. in English Literature (University of Saskatchewan). While awaiting the commencement of her M.A. studies, she worked briefly writing ad copy for radio. Severe morning sickness followed by full-time motherhood put an abrupt end to both. She now home-schools her children, writes, and does speaking engagements as time permits. Her columns and articles have appeared in various journals, newspapers and magazines in Canada, the U.S., England and Australia. Her interests include politics, culture, gardening, baking and ballroom dancing; her passions: faith, family and costume drama adaptations of 19th century literary classics.
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Advice from an award winning health and science blog
Bad Christmas Gifts – A Neuroscientific Gifting Guide
ift-giving isn’t easy – particularly during the holidays, when there are so many different people for whom to buy. It’s overwhelming and stressful, and people cope with the burden in different ways. Some, like myself, begin lists in September, all the while picking up hints from others and taking note, then making my purchases before Thanksgiving. Others rush to the mall the weekend before – or of – Christmas, hoping something will catch their eye or they’ll snag a great deal. At one point or another, we’ve all been on the receiving end of a poor or ill-fitting gift. How did you react to it? Or, more importantly, what did it mean to you in terms of your relationship with the giver? A study in recent years has explored exactly how men and women react upon receiving good and bad gifts. A paper published in Social Cognition by Elizabeth Dunn and colleagues at the University of British Columbia explored the theory that while “good” gifts would reaffirm similarity between couples, poor giftgiving may cause partners to question their compatibility. In the first experiment, participants met and chatted with a person of the opposite sex for four minutes. Afterward, they were instructed to select a gift for their new friend from a list of gift cards for various restaurants and stores. Would each participant evaluate their similarity to the person based on the gift they received? Beforehand, each participant had ranked the gifts in the order in which they would personally prefer to receive them; the experimenter then used this information to persuade the participants when it came to gift-selecting. As a result, half of the participants chose their friend’s top choice, while the other half selected their friend’s second-to-last choice. Basically: half got what they wanted, and half did not. Men who received the gifts they desired perceived themselves as more similar to their partner than those who did not. Women, however, seemed relatively unaffected by the appropriateness of the gift.
Dunn and colleagues performed a follow-up experiment, this time with men and women already in heterosexual relationships. Again, men who received poor gifts perceived less similarity to their partner. When asked how long they expected their relationship to last, those men predicted a shorter future with their girlfriend. In an unexpected twist, women who received the poor gift from their boyfriend actually perceived more similarity with them, and predicted their relationship to last longer compared those women who received the good gift. Dunn reason that perhaps the more “threatened” women feel in a relationship (in this case, internal conflict from receiving the poor gift), the more they try to protect against it. With the new relationship (experiment #1), there was not much to protect, hence the indifference to their partner. When, however, there is a substantial relationship to guard (experiment #2), women are more motivated to remedy the situation. Men did not display this effort, simply stating that they did not like the gift – and, by extension – their partner. So the moral of the story is: if you want to stick with your honey, gift a woman a sock and a man their favorite Rolex. (Just kidding. Don’t. Seriously…don’t.) References Dunn, E., Huntsinger, J., Lun, J., & Sinclair, S. (2008). The Gift of Similarity: How Good and Bad Gifts Influence Relationships Social Cognition, 26 (4), 469-481 DOI: 10.1521/soco.2008.26.4.469
Jordan Gaines Jordan Gaines, PhD student, is a graduate student and science writer pursuing her Ph.D. in Neuroscience at Penn State. She maintains the blog "Gaines, on Brains," which introduces recent discoveries in neuroscience to science lovers and non-lovers, the literate to the laymen. Learn more about Jordan at www.brainblogger.com
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No More Difficult People
By Dana Lightman
Listening Skills T
his is the third article in a series of articles on how to effectively deal with difficult people by Dana Lightman, Ph. D. Can you hear me now? Hearing is certainly a fundamental factor in conversing, but it misses the point when it comes to listening. Hearing is the physical capacity to perceive sound with your ears. Listening, on the other hand, is much more complex. It is the effort to genuinely understand the other person’s perspective: What is motivating this person? Why is he or she behaving like this? Good listening requires that you stop defending or pushing your own position in order to consider the alternatives. Why is listening such an important skill when you want to influence difficult people? Intuitively, you might think that it is more important to be able to express your point of view, but in reality, suspending your needs long enough to understand the other’s position sets the stage for reciprocity. When you demonstrate a willingness to listen with a minimum of defensiveness, criticism and impatience, you earn the right to have it reciprocated. Listening doesn’t mean that you need to agree with the difficult person, only that you understand his position. With today’s hectic lifestyles and dependency on technology, listening is becoming a lost art. Listening takes time and a mind that is free from the daily clutter of tasks and to-do lists. In order to become an effective listener, you need to manage what goes on in your own brain. In other words, you need to calm yourself down and put yourself in neutral. This practice will remove many of the barriers to effective listening, such as emotional reactivity, bias, preoccupation and boredom. How can you become a genuine listener? The key is in “listening out loud,” responding with verbal and non-verbal signals that indicate to the speaker you
are not only listening but also understanding. Here are some tools you can use: Clarification – ask questions to clarify information or obtain further information. For example, if the speaker states, “I don’t like my coworker,” you might respond, “What don’t you like about her?”. Paraphrasing – restate content using your own words to demonstrate that you understand the speaker’s meaning. For example, the speaker might say, “You were wrong to miss the deadline,” and you might respond, “I hear you saying you believe I shouldn’t have missed the deadline.” Reflection – expressing a feeling or emotion you have experienced with regard to a statement, tone of voice and body signal. For example, the speaker moves forward in her chair and states, “I get sick of working so much overtime!” and you respond, “I hear you feeling angry and resentful at being asked to work so much overtime.” Summarization – listening for themes and main points. You might start with the phrase “So, if I’m understanding you correctly....” or “Let me confirm what I’m understanding....” and then recapitulate the main ideas. This allows the speaker to fill in any details you missed, giving you further information on the key elements and confirming that you are working to understand their position. Physical and verbal cues – demonstrating that you are paying attention. Physical cues include head nods, eye contact and open body posture. Verbal cues are interjections such as “uh huh,” “ok.” “yes” or “go on.” As you can see, effective listening is an active rather than a passive activity. If you find yourself drifting away, getting defensive or losing your center, one quick fix is to change your body position. Try leaning forward or sitting up straighter. Both these actions send a signal to your brain to re-engage. If you’re nearing emotional overload, you can take
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RECHARGE! No More Difficult People deep breaths or ask for a time out. Finally, to help you refocus, concentrate on using one of the tools above. Just making the decision to paraphrase or summarize will put you back in the conversation.
Because listening is an interactive activity, the best way to hone your listening skills is with a partner. Grab a friend or family member and practice effective listening with one another. Start with yourself as the listener and your partner as your “difficult person.” Step 1: Take a moment to describe the difficult person’s behaviors, mannerisms and tone of voice and the problem situation. In other words, prepare your partner to take on the role of the difficult person in your life. For the next five minutes, your partner will elaborate on the issues as he or she sees them. You, as the listener, will practice using the tools for active listening described above. Step 2: At the conclusion of the role play, debrief with your partner. Talk about what you experienced as the listener and your assessment of using the tools. Your partner can then give you feedback on your effectiveness. Did you remain centered, calm
and neutral? How well did you use the listening tools? Did your partner feel understood? Step 3: If you like, you can switch roles. This will give you an opportunity to experience the power of effective active listening, first hand from the speaker’s position. Next article: Setting Boundaries
Dana Lightman Dr. Dana Lightman is an accomplished motivational keynote speaker and trainer specializing in the field of optimism and positive psychology. She brings over 25 years of experience as a presenter, psychotherapist, coach and educator to a wide range of audiences at conferences and conventions, corporations, hospitals, non-profits, universities and schools. As the founder of POWER Optimism in 2001, Dana published her first book, POWER Optimism: Enjoy the Life You Have… Create the Success You Want in 2004, followed by the No More Difficult People Series in 2011. Learn more at: www.danalightman.com; www.NoMoreDifficultPeople.com
Dana Lightman, Ph.D. Absolutely. Positively. Uplifting.
Dana’s three most requested programs: • Energize Your Peak Potential • Leadership with a Positive Edge • There’s No Such Thing as Difficult People
Call to book Dana for your next program! www.danalightman.com www.NoMoreDifficultPeople.com email@example.com 215-885-2127
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How to Confront a Bully in the Workplace 44 І December 2012 – January 2013
There are many scenarios in the workplace that fall under the category of bullying. However, many are not identified or addressed because the damage is emotional rather than physical. The irony is, emotional abuse is far more common than physical abuse, but it is not given nearly as much weight. Bullying in the workplace is further disguised when the bullies show up in professional attire, possessing titles and status that imply their behavior should not be questioned or confronted.
here is an article which appeared in the New York Times, entitled The Bullying Culture of Medical School, which pointedly illustrates this. The article recounts a story about a "promising young doctor who took his patients' conditions to heart but who also possessed a temper so explosive that medical students dreaded working with him." Unfortunately when this behavior is overlooked by the medical school, the graduate believes that his behavior is acceptable, and in any event, it is the only way he knows how to deal with pressure. Fast forward to a present-day scenario. The surgeon is now in charge of an operating room. Belittling his colleagues is the norm. The medical assistants are on the defensive, clumsily dropping the sterilized items from the surgical tray. The patient under anesthesia is the most vulnerable: no voice or choice. Bullying has destroyed the effectiveness of everyone who is responsible for the patient's outcome. Here are the tell-tale signs that you are in an abusive work environment: You dread going to work. You try to manipulate schedules to avoid the perpetrator, or you call in sick.
You are consumed with dodging the bully's bullet. Tension and fear rise whenever the bully comes around.
3 4 5 6 7
Your time and energy are spent on coping with the abuse and its effect on you, and as a result, you cannot function properly in your professional role. No one offers you support out of fear of a receiving a tongue-lashing or other negative consequence from the bully. You spend an inordinate amount of time talking discreetly with co-workers about the bully's behavior. When you complain to management, no action is taken. Your co-workers collectively accept that management is endorsing the abuse.
You spend your time fantasizing about or actively seeking a way out. Meanwhile, you feel disempowered, and may even feel forced to leave a job you might otherwise enjoy under normal conditions. As a victim of bullying, you have a very important decision to make. If you are to tackle the bullying behavior, you will need to face your fears before you can take action. The truth is, you have only two choices: face the uncertainties, step forward and confront; or accept your lot and live with emotional abuse and victimization out of fear. ď‚†
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If you decide to confront, here are some steps you can take to empower yourself to take appropriate action:
1 2 3
Realize that your primary goal is to stop the behavior. Your objective is to develop a mutually respectful professional relationship with the aggressor. Discern an appropriate time for the discussion, preferably not in the presence of others. Be direct with your request for a private meeting.
Come to the discussion in a neutral position. Clearly present the facts of the situation. In your own words, express the following: "Your behavior is not appropriate. I want it to stop. I will not tolerate your disrespectful, unprofessional treatment any longer."
Avoid the temptation to represent the "group." This conversation is about you and the bully.
Don't discuss the conversation with your colleagues. The group discussion belongs at the management level.
Don't be invested in winning a verbal battle. Rarely does a bully admit to bad behavior in the moment. What you ultimately want is for the behavior to stop. By having the conversation, you have taken the first step toward building a different kind of relationship. Honor that.
If the perpetrator repeats the bully behavior and refuses to stop at your request, be prepared to do what you said you would do. Tell the bully that you will remove yourself from the environment if his or her behavior continues.
If the bully persists, then walk out. Immediately inform management of your attempt to stop the abusive behavior. You courageously stood up to the situation without involvement from others. You also have the answer to the question managers typically ask: "Did you talk with [the bully] about your concerns?" Now that you have answered this question affirmatively, the bullying problem has been elevated to a higher level for intervention. It is clearly management's responsibility at this point. What if you don't get the results you want? Recognize that you got the results you needed. You are no longer a victim! You have taken appropriate steps to solve the problem, and you have exposed the abuse for what it is. Confronting a bully is an act of courage that defends your authenticity and empowers you emotionally. It demonstrates that you are no longer willing
Avoid the temptation to represent the "group" to sacrifice your happiness, creativity and peace of mind out of fear. Taking steps to confront the bully will free you to make the most authentic choice you can make: to be respected and treated fairly so that you can flourish in your professional life. Your success depends upon it! Article Source: www.EzineArticles.com/?expert=Lori_ Moss by Lori Moss
Lori Moss Lori Moss coaches professionals whose careers have become a struggle. She helps them identify the underlying problem and assists them in making authentic choices to transform their situation. Lori received her MBA in Finance at Golden Gate University, San Francisco, and her BA in Business Economics at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She is a graduate of Corporate Coach U in Dallas, Texas. As a former Sales Manager and Executive Clothing Specialist for Nordstrom, Lori brings 18 years of experience advising and supporting senior executives, academics, politicians and cultural leaders. She is a member of the International Coaching Federation (ICF), the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO), and the Association of Image Consultants International (AICI). Lori blogs about professional authenticity and workplace issues on The Transformation Salon, www.thetransformationsalon.com
46 І December 2012 – January 2013
What Medieval Master Craftsmen Can Teach Us About Investing In Ourselves Life was tough during the middle ages, especially for those not born into the land-owning classes and destined to spend their lives in impoverished serfdom. During these difficult times there were only a couple of ways for the ordinary person to make their way in the world. One option was to join the church and try work your way up the clerical ladder. The other way was to serve an apprenticeship and become a master craftsman.
Linchpins to Society
Highly-skilled craftsmen were some of the most important people in medieval society and without them, day-to-day life could not function. Without millers or bakers there would be no bread; without the blacksmiths there would be no horseshoes or tools and without the stonemasons and carpenters the cathedrals and churches that brought so much trade to the towns and villages would not have been built. Because their skills were in such demand, medieval craftsmen could make a very good living and provide well for their families, but this was only after serving an apprenticeship lasting several years, with only their food and lodgings provided for. Very few traditional crafts have survived into the modern age, but the key principle still remains true – equip yourself with a specialist skill or knowledge that is in high demand and people will pay a premium to access it.
Doctors and surgeons are possibly one of the best paid equivalents of the medieval craftsmen. Their combination of skills and knowledge require several years of medical education and then some relatively low-paid on-the-job training before they are considered to be fully qualified; but once established they can enjoy a rewarding salary. Other examples include business people, who invest considerable sums of money to study MBA postgraduate courses, which have traditionally helped them to further their careers and re-coup the investment or London black cab drivers, who spend years
driving around the city on scooters to learn the ‘knowledge’. In each case, the modern-day craftsperson has gone through a period of financial hardship and hard work to acquire their valuable skills and knowledge – just like their medieval forebears.
With the modern world moving at a pace that would baffle even the most clever medieval intellectuals, it has never been so important, as it is now, to keep up with trends and continuously learn new skills and experience. By spotting a particular social or business trend and becoming a recognised expert in that area, it is possible to find plenty of work opportunities. I have seen for myself the growing number of user experience design and service design experts filling a gap in the IT industry over the last couple of years. However, these new areas of expertise will continue to develop with new methodologies and approaches, so it is important for the new user design experts to continue to develop their skill-sets so that they are always in demand.
How to Develop New Skills
The concept of a traditional apprenticeship is beginning to come back into fashion and should hopefully benefit many people, but there are many other ways for people to become modern-day master craftsmen and craftswomen, including: University and college courses Training courses Home study courses Working for free or next to nothing to gain valuable work experience and contacts On-the-job training Learning from books and the internet
Investing For a Higher Return
People have many different motivations for learning a skill and the potential financial return does not always
December 2012 – January 2013 І 47
People have many different motivations for learning a skill top the list of priorities when they are deciding on their vocation, but it is important to take into the consideration the comparable return on time and investment that can be gained. The questions to ask are: What skills are in demand today (where is the money being spent?) and what will be in demand in the future? How long is this demand likely to last for? What level of income can be earned? There are also some personal questions to ask yourself about whether you have the ability to exceed in your chosen profession. For example, my two lefthands would limit my ability to become a carpenter of any decent quality! So it is just as important to examine the skills, abilities and interests that you already have to determine what you can develop further and what you are likely to excel in learning new.
Building Recognition & Networks
In medieval times, master craftsmen would all be a member of the local guild, a kind of business organisation or club, which would ensure fair payment of wages and help to resolve issues amongst its members. These were the origins of the tight knit and secretive freemason lodges that developed over the centuries, to protect the business interests of their members. Nowadays we would refer to these organisations as business networks and it is interesting to see that key marketing tool of the medieval world – word-of-mouth, is still the most powerful and difficult to control marketing tool of the modern-day. Whether it is Linked In, a professional membership organisation or just a loosely-knit group of former work colleagues that you occasionally meet with for a
drink; it is very important to build a strong reputation amongst people who are in position to recommend you for work.
The Master Lessons
So the key lessons from the master craftsmen are: Understand what skills and knowledge you will need to sell your time at a premium Put in the hours, days and even years to learn and perfect those skills Never stop learning and looking to enhance your skill-set Ensure you deliver excellent value and service to build your reputation Develop strong business networks to spread word-of-mouth and protect your interests by Donal Suter
48 І December 2012 – January 2013
In between running his project management consultancy, Donal Suter is busy writing for the Money Saving Challenge, a personal finance blog that focuses on gaining control of your finances, boosting your income and saving for big, life-changing goals and experiences. Learn more at www.moneysavingchallenge.com
Bowling for Life – Redefining Wealth & Balance
Time. Time is our most valuable nonrenewable asset. It’s limited and its expiration date is not clearly marked. Making the best use of time is the underpinning of my work, but I regularly encounter people who waste vast quantities of this precious resource at work and at home.
he other day, a good friend said something that caused a Moment of Clarity for me. We were discussing the juxtaposition between prioritizing things we need to get done and balancing our time between personal and professional pursuits. His comment was, “It’s funny, we always seem to make it to the airport on time for our flight, but we regularly let our workday drift long into our family time.”
Experience. Memories are the currency of life. As we go through life and especially at the end of our days, we review the memories from the experiences we’ve had to measure how successful we’ve been.
When other people set deadlines for us, we regularly meet them. However, those we set for ourselves are regularly ignored. Stated a little differently, we perceive the flight as a hard-stop and the end of the day as a soft-stop. The reality is that they are both soft-stops because we can always reschedule the trip.
An Updated View of Wealth & Balance
Much has been made about work/life balance over the last several years. Translated directly, work/life balance means people want to work less and spend more time doing other things. The problem with this notion is that work is somehow separated from life. Making it a discussion about how many hours we spend working and how many hours we spend living is a too simplistic, and one in which working can never be a positive experience. A better analysis is to consider the different types of wealth we can enjoy in life. For example, we can enjoy a wealth of: ￼ Money. Earning a comfortable, even luxurious, living is not wrong. Wanting or having the “good life” is not a problem; it’s how we pursue that goal that becomes the problem.
Choice. Having choices gives us the opportunity to maximize our time and experience. The more options we have, the more flexible and responsive we can be to the ever-changing world in which we live. By expanding the metrics we use to determine how we’re doing in life, we’ve created more and different motivators for the decisions we make.
The New Balancing Act
With the four factors of wealth in the mix, the next step is to build bridges between them to strengthen each and the common relationship they share. Consider whether these bridges work for you: Money to Time. We choose to let thirdparty deadlines (airline flights) be a hardstop. Choose to make the end of your day a hard-stop. Leave the
December 2012 – January 2013 І 49
office and spend time doing other things. (Note, if commit to this, you’ll get more done during the day at work too!) Time to Experience. Tim Ferris wrote about mini-retirements in his bestselling book The 4-Hour Work Week. Why not modify that idea slightly and plan mini-events for you and your office mates, your friends, and/or your family? Organize afternoon-long events or daylong events that create memories for everyone involved. Example: take everyone bowling. Most of us rarely engage in this activity, yet most of us remember those excursions fondly. Experience to Choice. While planning new experiences, seek some that broaden your understanding of the world around us. A broader, better-educated mind sees more choices available to it. Bowling is a terrific example of having fun together, while volunteering at the local food bank will broaden the mind and deliver a positive experience too. (Note: one of these examples is not intended to be better than the other.)
Enjoying a Wealthy Life
By revisiting how we define success, we are able to find a new kind of balance between the necessities of earning a living and making the most of the time we have here. If success is how we feel, then feeling wealthy is an admirable goal indeed. © 2012, Paul H. Burton. All rights reserved. by Paul H. Burton
Paul H. Burton Paul is a former corporate finance attorney, software executive, and serial entrepreneur. As a nationally recognized time management expert, he helps lawyers and legal professionals regain control of their day, get more done, and enjoy greater personal and professional satisfaction. Paul is the creator of the revolutionary QuietSpacing® productivity method and speaks regularly to professionals about making better use of their limited time. You can learn more about Paul and his practice at www.quietspacing.com.
50 І December 2012 – January 2013
Hated at Work You have three options when another employee dislikes you
At some point in your career, you've probably felt disliked – or even hated – by someone at work. Maybe it was your boss, a co-worker, or someone in a different department you interacted with occasionally. Perhaps the person was trying to get you fired, make you look bad, or just cause you frustration and self-doubt. Does this sound familiar? Is it happening to you now? Whoever it was and whatever they did, this person made your work-life miserable. And that's a serious problem for your career, your health, and all your other relationships. Recent medical studies from all over the world show that being around someone who negatively impacts you affects you physiologically as well as psychologically. These studies cite that everything from heart attacks to depression can result from an environment that's toxic to you. Notice the key phrase "toxic to you." Even though the environment might not be toxic to others, it might be toxic to you. So what can you do when you're the target of someone's dislike? In reality, no matter who hates you or what they're doing to show it, you have three – and only three – options.
Option 1: Ignore it
You may be able to ignore the situation, especially if the person who hates you doesn't work with you
RECHARGE! Career directly, interacts with you infrequently, and isn't trying to get you in trouble. If the brunt of the problem consists of a few mean glances in the elevator or a cold shoulder in the break room, then ignoring it could be the answer. Sometimes you just need to develop thicker skin. However, if you have a gnawing feeling in your gut every time you see the person, that means you can't ignore it. The feelings are taking their toll on you and will affect your health at some point. Remember, we're social beings, so feeling hated is stressful. Any additional stress will negatively affect you in some way. Therefore, it's time to look at option number two.
Option 2: Fix it
Yes, you can fix the situation. To do so, first realize your part in it. While most of us wouldn't lie to a trusted friend, we lie to ourselves every day. Something pivotal happened that caused this person to hate you. Identify it. Perhaps you were hired from the outside over them. maybe you got the nicer office they wanted.perhaps the boss liked your marketing idea better.possibly you
People are complex and we never know what they're thinking unless we ask them
Taking this step requires courage, but it's always step in the right direction. There are many resources and books available that detail how to approach and have these difficult conversations. Research it and then do it.
Option 3: Leave
Of course, if you can't ignore the person and if you don't want to fix the relationship, then you always have the option to leave. If you choose this option, be smart about it. Don't stomp out one day out of frustration. Rather, explore other options within the company. If the organization is large, confide in HR and see if you can be moved to another office location or another department. If the company is small, perhaps you can transfer to a desk or office space on a different floor or away from the person you're having challenges with. Sometimes physical distance is all the problem needs. Realize that deciding to leave is a huge step in any job market. Therefore, stay at your current job while you look for another one. Taking action on your own behalf and knowing that another opportunity is on the horizon could give you the motivation you need to push through the challenges you're currently facing.
Put an End to the Hate
No one likes being hated, especially at work where we spend the majority of the day. But once you know and understand your options for dealing with the situation, you can take positive steps to ensure it doesn't affect your career or your health. No matter which option you choose, honest communication-with yourself and others-is the key to creating a work-life that is both prosperous and pleasurable. by Jean Kelley
reacted to their constructive criticism in a negative way.or maybe you mistakenly took their can of soda from the break room refrigerator thinking it was yours. Look back over the course of your relationship with the person and pinpoint when the negativity started and your role in it. Next, decide to have a much-needed "difficult conversation" with the person. Realize that if you don't talk to the person, nothing will change. People are complex and we never know what they're thinking unless we ask them. Sure, we often think we know what's going on in someone else's head, but in reality, we don't. That's why having this conversation is so important.
Jean Kelley Jean Kelley, author and entrepreneur, is the managing director of Jean Kelley Leadership Alliance whose faculty and trainers have helped more than 750,000 leaders and high potentials up their game at work in the U.S. and in Canada. For information on keynotes, in-house programs, or customized training, email firstname.lastname@example.org or go to www.jeankelley.com.
December 2012 â€“ January 2013 Đ† 51
Stress, Pressure, and the Quality Event
52 І December 2012 – January 2013
Some people have an ability to find inner peace even under intense pressure… like Tiger Woods, staring down a 12 foot putt on 18 to force a playoff in the 2008 US Open. Guys like this are able to master their fields precisely because of the way they internalize that pressure: they convert it into a moment of inner peace.
f pressure represents a reduction in the allowable margin of error, then the ability to handle pressure like this comes from the knowledge that you will execute flawlessly and don’t need the cushion that a margin of error provides. It comes from the ability to eliminate outside world, ignore all those eyes, erase the world from view, and remain perfectly committed to succeeding at the task at hand. The ability to handle pressure can be learned. All it takes is a choice. Think of an experience you have had, either at work or at home, where the moment was so perfect, so easy, and so all-encompassing that the moment itself still lives within you – it feels like it happened yesterday. Maybe you were laughing, maybe you were doing something mindless, perhaps you were feeling proud – whatever it was, you were in the flow. Time stopped and the moment stretched. You could anticipate what would happen next as sure as if everyone were playing from a script. You had no doubt.
You were having a Quality Event… a moment of intense personal satisfaction that was caused by the excellence of the experience.
When you have a Quality Event, the world melts away and you are alone in the moment. If you could create a Quality Event at will, then you could create the conditions you need to handle even the most intense pressure. In essence, you could raise your level of commitment to the point where you could almost guarantee your own success. And guess what: you can create
those conditions. To create a Quality Event, you need only three ingredients: an objective (a purpose); an environment; and the right attitude.
The objective itself has 3 criteria: it must be achievable, tough, and it must provide feedback as to your progress. How tough, you ask? Tough enough that if you don’t bring your “A game,” you will not achieve it… and that if you do bring your “A game,” you might achieve it. The objective need not be strategic or even very meaningful. A sales person, for instance, might choose an objective based on daily activities, such as: 10 more phone calls before lunch. Keep the next prospect on the phone for 6 minutes. Make one more call than the guy one cube over by day’s end Try to avoid financial objectives. Financial success is often an objective, especially in the business world, but financial performance is also a lagging indicator because the money comes after the work is done, whereas building Quality Events requires feedback on progress, not performance. As a lagging indicator, financial performance is always mismatched to your current activities; it tells you how you did, not how you are doing. (Obviously, this does not apply to traders). Better to build Quality Events around activities that are leading indicators of performance (like number of calls or length of calls). That way, you set yourself up for two Quality Events: one while you get the work done, and a second one when you reap the reward!
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find that sweet spot. Similarly, the right mindset will help you create the conditions necessary for success… probably in the job you hold right now. (If you switch environments but not attitudes, then you will find fault with every new environment you find yourself in.) The beautiful thing about Quality Events is, you have them all the time. You are preprogrammed to seek them out. That many people don’t seek them out at work seems unnatural and seems to me to be the cause of a lot of unnecessary stress. Remember, the only person stopping you from having Quality Events at work is… you. Seriously. There is no moment so big and so stressful that you can’t have a Quality Event. The criteria – objective, environment, and attitude – never change. Under stress, all that changes is the margin of error. That’s all. Even in a big, tough moment, something as simple as trying to keep perfect track of time (without using a watch) can be enough to settle your mind down and bring you into the moment long enough to achieve that feeling of intense personal satisfaction. What’s more, the people around you are going to take their cues from you, so if you are relaxed and in the moment, they will are more likely to be, too. If you want them to have fun, then you have fun. If someone sticks it to you, ignore it and move on… to your next Quality Event! by Jason Seiden
Your surroundings need to be conducive to success. They should provide you with the tools you need and not get in your way. For instance, as a skier, if I have my bindings set too loose, I’ll keep popping out of my skis in the bumps. That’s an environmental factor that I always want to control. In an office, environmental factors include everything from internet connectivity and a full charge on your cell phone to building construction you can hear through the walls or a sick neighbor who is constantly fiddling with cellophane-wrapped cough drops.
The objective need not be strategic or even very meaningful
The biggie. To have a Quality Event, we have to be open to having them… nothing more and nothing less. We cannot force them to happen, nor can we be closed off to them; all we can do is set the objective and environment, and then wait. Openly. Here are things you can do to stay open in the moment: Expect a great experience or a great story. On a recent trip to Mexico, the airlines lost a piece of our luggage, leaving me without clothes. Rather than get aggravated and splurge for resort wear, I went to the local flea market and bought the ugliest clothes I could find. I turned myself into a walking conversation piece, but instead of the same-ol’ conversation about how bad the airline service was, I’d get into good-natured discussions about funny vacation stories. Smile. Allow yourself to laugh and create a more relaxed mood from the outside in. It works; your brain can be bluffed into a good mood. Remind yourself what’s really important to regain perspective by going through family photos or calling someone you love. Mindset trumps objective and environment. With an open mindset, you can alter your objective until you
54 І December 2012 – January 2013
Jason Seiden is Co-founder and CEO of Ajax Social Media, a training company on a mission to help 1 million professionals learn to use LinkedIn and social media to drive business more efficiently. Learn more at www.jasonseiden.com
Positive Directions for Life By Shirley B. Garrett
12 Ways to Beat the Holiday Blues
s the holidays approach, you may start to feel frazzled and a little crisp around the edges, like an over baked cookie. In addition, dealing with difficult family members may make you feel as if you stepped into a time machine, to transform into a vulnerable child. Here are a few tips to reduce your stress level and to put a little jingle and spice back in your holiday.
With so many party events, travel, and visiting family, it is important to spread the load over the days approaching the holidays. Cook ahead and freeze some dishes. Better yet, assign different people to bring a dish to distribute the work and responsibility. This is a great way to allow everyone a chance to shine with his or her premier dish. Remember you can’t attend every party or create endless perfect family traditions for your children. Choose the ones that mean the most. Yank that “Master of the Holiday’s patch off your sleeve and free yourself to actually enjoy the seasonal festivities. It is difficult to remember during a holiday season associated with an excess of everything, that LESS IS MORE.
When you delay your shopping, Christmas cards, party preparations, and cooking to the last minute, you are creating the perfect recipe for a holiday meltdown. I am not talking about the chocolate sauce; I am referring to your mental health. Determine what needs to be done early and schedule them on your calendar, so you don’t forget. Use lists, so you don’t juggle too much information in your mind. When you have it written down and set a schedule, your unconscious mind will help you get things done.
Increase your Exposure to Full Spectrum Daylight
Many people suffer from some degree of Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.). This type of depression can affect the neurotransmitter response of the brain based on the amount of sunlight you to which you are
exposed on a daily basis. Incandescent lights don’t emit the full spectrum of light, therefore, they have no affect on S.A.D. However, Ott lights (named after the inventor) or full spectrum bulbs, which mimic natural sunlight, have been shown to be effective against S.A.D. These bulbs and light fixtures have also become popular in office supply and sewing centers, because full spectrum light appears to reduce eyestrain. Several hours of exposure to these lamps at night may be sufficient to lift your spirits and lessen your dread of the dark, cold holiday season. If this doesn’t help your depression, you may need to seek an assessment by your medical doctor or a mental health professional. A note of caution, bright light can lower melatonin levels in your body, thereby increasing wakefulness and alertness. It is best to avoid bright lights of any kind, including your television and computer screen for one hour before your expected bedtime.
Get Enough Exercise
Did you know endorphins are your built in natural mood elevators? Any form of aerobic exercise approved by your doctor, done for thirty minutes daily, can kick in your endorphins. Exercise also releases stress and can trim those unwanted holiday pounds that cement themselves to your belly and hips, courtesy of the seasonal goodies offered by family, friends, and coworkers. Walking is always a low impact favorite, but try dancing as a fun, social, aerobic option. It not only is cardiovascular, but an article published in the New England Journal of Medicine indicates dancing can improve memory. A 21 year study of seniors over 75, showed that dancing had the highest rate of effect on improving memory (76%). www.nejm.org/doi/ full/10.1056/NEJMoa022252 I practice what I preach; my husband and I are ballroom dancers.
Line Up Your Expectations with Reality
Avoid expectations of functional behavior from dysfunctional people. People are who they choose to be
December 2012 – January 2013 І 55
Plant your feet firmly in today, which is the only place where you have power and control and you can’t change them. If you build up a perfect holiday in your mind with less than perfect people, you are setting yourself up for a disappointment. Don’t play the worst scenario in your mind either. Typically, we imagine things to be much worse than what generally occurs. Wasting energy and worry over possibilities adds to your stress and lets that naughty friend or relative live rent-free in your head for a while. Yuk! You have better things to do than give your personal power away to your dysfunctional family members. Keep in mind, you are no longer a child, but an adult, who can take power and control of your life.
Avoid Giving Away Your Personal Power
Many of us choose to enter a war zone during the holidays for the sake of good family relations and to avoid guilt. You teach people how to treat you, by what you allow to happen without consequences. If the holiday function is at your home, lay down the ground rules in your invitation or announcement. For example, if past holiday dinners have turned into drunken brawls and your guest shows up with alcohol, you can say “We are not serving alcohol at this dinner.” If they protest you can respond, “If you can’t accept the no alcohol policy, you are welcome to leave.” If someone behaves inappropriately, ask the problem maker to leave. You are an adult and it is your residence. If you are at someone else’s home and the holiday cheer turns nasty, gather your belongings and leave. If you are sleeping overnight in that home, take a drive and come back or spend the night in a hotel. If you know you are spending a holiday with family members whose home is likely to turn into a war zone, stay in a hotel. You are an adult; you can stay wherever you
choose. Yes, your family will try to guilt and pressure you into compliance with their wishes. If you let them do this, you have given them the tools to rob you of your personal power. My favorite response is “I choose to stay in a hotel because it is what’s best for me. I am not doing this to hurt you. The subject is closed, so there is no need to discuss this further.”
Don’t Take on More than You Can Handle
Hang up your Super Person cape because Halloween has passed. Be careful about volunteering for too many projects. Activities usually take at least twice as much time as you expect. Having good boundaries and the willingness to say no diplomatically (Thank you for asking, but I don’t think so. Good luck finding someone), can mean the difference between a festive season, instead of a trip to your local emergency room due to an anxiety attack.
Keep a Leash on Your Holiday Spending
If you don’t put a collar on your budget and a leash on your credit card, you will not have a Happy New Year when the bills arrive. The depth of your love is not how much you spend on a gift or how many gifts are under a Christmas tree. Love is an investment in affection, respect, goodwill, and time throughout the year. Make a gift list and set a budget for each person based on the total you want to spend. Stick to that budget. As your family grows, reduce the amount spent on each gift to stay on budget. Eliminate gifts to acquaintances, those $10.00 gifts add up to become budget busters. If you feel guilty about that, remember, the gift they give you isn’t helping their budget either. If a family member is requesting a high dollar item outside the limits of your budget, explain your budget and the desire to be fair to others receiving gifts. Offer to let the person have the cash to apply toward their dream item. My favorite way to stay in budget is to buy next year’s gifts in after Christmas sales and throughout the year when I spot a bargain. That way I spread the expense across the year. Another option, if everyone is willing, is to play Dirty Santa and set a limit on gift prices ($25.00). Most everyone can afford to buy one gift and it is a fun activity. Remember, no one can make you feel guilty without your permission.
Don’t Isolate Yourself
It may be cold and gloomy outside, but you aren’t a bear. Stop hibernating! Get up, get dressed, and begin the grooming process. If possible, venture out of the house
56 І December 2012 – January 2013
RECHARGE! Positive Directions for Life daily. Make friends, join a group like a book club, or volunteer your time. If you live alone, join family or friends for the holidays. Another option is to invite people who are alone for the holidays for a festive feast.
Keep a Routine Sleep Schedule
It is tempting to go to bed late and sleep in during the holidays, but that is the worst thing you can do to your body. It throws off your circadian rhythm and disrupts your sleep cycle, during a time when you need the additional energy to cope with the stress of the holidays. Children and teens need at least ten hours of sleep, because they are growing during their deep sleep cycles. Adults need eight in order to properly replace cells, heal, maintain good memory and not add on an additional 10 to 15 pounds of weight. An article published by the University of Chicago in the October 16 issue of the Annals in Internal Medicine, indicates that sleep deprivation not only affect the function of the brain, but disrupts the body’s ability to regulate energy. This leads to weight gain and other health issues. www.acponline. org/journals/annals/tipsheets/index.html
Stay in the Present
Let the past stay where it belongs, so it doesn’t haunt you like a ghost from a Dickens tale. The past can only haunt you if you dig it up and let it stay in the present. Treasure your lessons learned from the past and throw away the emotional trash. Avoid becoming an emo-
tional hoarder. Don’t let the past haunt you, focus on doing your best TODAY! Don’t waste your mental energy worrying about a future you can’t predict. What you can’t control is out of you power. Let go and detach (caring from an emotional distance) on issues over which you have no control. The only effect you have on the future is what you choose to do today. The only person you have control over is you. Plant your feet firmly in today, which is the only place where you have power and control. In the present, you create your past and lay the groundwork for the future. Stay in the moment and savor each little morsel of your holiday experiences. I wish everyone a joyful and blessed holiday season. Watch for my next article, “What Children Need from Their Parents, Hint: It’s Not More Stuff!”
Shirley B. Garrett Dr. Shirley B. Garrett, Psy,D, LPC, DAC combines her experience in marketing and sales with over 25 years of experience the field of psychology, to offer insights to the business community. She is interested in the people factors that affect productivity and quality control. She is available for keynotes, breakouts, consulting and personal coaching. Contact her at DrGarrett@PositiveDirectionsLLC.com. Visit her website: www.PositiveDirectionsLLC.com
December 2012 – January 2013 І 57
Accelerate Your Results!
Advice from Anne M. Bachrach, The Accountability Coach™
How to Get the Most Out of Life and Live With No Regrets
re you living life to the fullest? If life ended tomorrow, would you feel as though you have absolutely lived it to the tilt, with no regrets? If you are like most of us, you still have that “someday” list of dreams that haven’t yet come true tucked away in a drawer. Sadly, life doesn’t have to be that way, but very few people get the most out of life before it’s over. There are, however, a select few that seem to have the philosophy of life figured out and live every day without regret. You know, the kind of people that seem at peace, move at a comfortable pace, and don’t seem to be distracted by the small stuff. They accept others without judgment and walk with an open heart while the rest of us get caught up in the rush of daily life, with no real connection to ourselves or anyone else. We’re so busy, we don’t even have time to think about what’s missing, let alone trying to figure out how to get the most out of life. But what if the solution to living with no regrets was as simple as a single question? Let’s take money out of the picture for just a moment. Actually, let’s put lots of it in the picture. Say you had all the financial resources you would need to live the kind of life you have always wanted, without having to “work.” Would you still be doing what you do every day? Just for a moment, imagine what you would rather do with your time – the long hours you used to spend in the office. If you can imagine a different life, given financial freedom, you are probably not getting the most out of life. Maybe it’s time you did. Here are some ways you can begin to change your life and to get the most out it!
Do something you love at least once a day
Don’t wait one more day to do something you have always wanted to do. Book your reservation to go skydiving, go back to school, write that book, take a road trip, play hooky from work and take the kids to Disneyland, invent that new product, go heli skiing, kayak the Patagonia – whatever it may be – and commit to doing it. Of course, those are big examples. If something simple is what you really want, it works just as well. Take a bath, read a book or magazine, watch your favorite movie, take a yoga class, paint more, visit a friend, go to the driving range, plan a sunset picnic or even sleep an extra hour per day. Pick something you love to do and make the time in your schedule to do it.
Create more personal quality time
Use moments throughout the day to create thoughts that will positively influence your life. If you are sitting in traffic on the way to and from work (or your place of business) use the time to channel your thoughts to things you would like to experience. For instance, instead of wasting time stewing over something that made you angry, let it go and focus on thoughts that make you happy. The more time you spend visualizing the things you want, the more positively you influence your future.
Create more shared quality time
When you’re with family and friends, make an effort to leave business out of the discussion, unless there is a valid reason to bring it up. Spend quality time talking about the things that really matter and connect with the people who matter to you most.
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RECHARGE! Accelerate Your Results! Build a legacy
At the end of your life, what would you like people to say about you? What would you like to leave for your children? If you could change anything for the better, what would it be? When you’re not feeling motivated to get the most out of life, think about the personal footprint you will leave and what you would like it to provide. Build a legacy not for the fame, but for the benefit it will provide for those living well after you’re gone.
Live with faith, not with fear
At first glance, it may seem that the average life span of 77 years is a long life. In reality, time can go by so quickly. Do not waste one moment living in fear because that only scares you out of living life to the fullest. You dream of what you would really love to do, only to discount the probability or opportunity, and talk yourself out of it. Life is meant to be lived, not passed by. Quit standing on the sidelines – get in the game! What is the worst that can happen? Now that you’ve learned how to live life with no regrets, take some time now to create a list of 10 Things You’d Like to Do by Life’s End and make a plan to accomplish each one.
Regrets are a waste of time – you can’t change the past Now, add by when you would like to achieve each one you listed above (make it a specific month, day and year). Put them in priority order. To help you begin (with baby steps) go to www.AccountabilityCoach.com and complete the complimentary Quality of Life Enhancer™ online exercise. Update it on a regular basis to keep you on track. Regrets are a waste of time – you can’t change the past. As one of my clients says: “Put your big girl panties on and deal with it.” Create your game plan to achieve your goals this year so you can enjoy what is truly important to you in life. Start today! © Anne Bachrach. All rights reserved.
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Anne M. Bachrach Anne M. Bachrach is known as The Accountability Coach™. She has 23 years of experience training and coaching. Business owners and entrepreneurs who utilize Anne’s proven systems and processes work less, make more money, and have a more balanced and successful life. Anne is the author of the book, Excuses Don’t Count; Results Rule!, and Live Life with No Regrets; How the Choices We Make Impact Our Lives. Go to http://tinyurl. com/7na68k8 and get 3 FREE gifts including a special report on 10 Power Tips for Getting Focused, Organized, and Achieving Your Goals Now. Join the FREE Silver Inner Circle Membership today and receive 10% off on all products and services, in addition to having access to assessments and resources to help you achieve your goals so you can experience a more balanced and successful life (www.accountabilitycoach.com/coaching-store/inner-circle-store/).
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The Counseling Corner
By Nathan Feiles, LMSW
Stress Reduction: Turning Stress Into Fun!
tress is rarely something experienced as fun. Unfortunately, stress is nearly inevitable, especially in today's world. What people often don't realize is that we have all the resources we need to be able to reduce stress. The challenge is to learn how to identify and use these resources. Before being able to implement stress reduction techniques, we have to be able to recognize signs of stress. Some symptoms are more obvious than others. The more specifically we can understand our triggers – for example, not just knowing that work causes stress, but knowing what specifically in our work causes stress – the more we can do to prepare for stress, and ultimately reduce or prevent it altogether.
What do signs and symptoms of stress look like?
Symptoms of stress vary from person to person, but here are some common signs that we are being pushed beyond our relaxation perimeter. Irritability Repeated bouts of anger Skipping Meals or Overeating Craving sleep, regularly Insomnia Rapid breathing Difficulty getting a full, deep breath Headaches/Migraines, Stomachaches, Backaches, Diarrhea, and other physical symptoms Drinking or smoking Frustrated regularly, or feeling ready to "explode"
Passive-aggressive behaviors (late to work, avoiding family time, withholding sex, etc.) Fighting Arguing Lack of motivation This is just a short list of possible signs of stress. There are many more that could be added, so if you're experiencing something that isn't listed above, it is still worthwhile to take note of symptoms you associate with stress.
What do stress triggers look like?
Stress triggers can come in many different forms. People tend to notice the more abstract environmental triggers of stress, such as: Work Relationships Family (children, parents, etc.) But the triggers are more specific. In order to reduce or prevent stress, it's necessary that we learn the origin of
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RECHARGE! The Counseling Corner our stress, which means going deeper into each area. Here are examples of some common triggers for stress: Arguments with your partner Overwhelming workload Difficulty with decision-making Inability to effectively organize and prioritize both at home and work) Elements of parenting (e.g. when children don't listen) Parents invading personal space Financial concerns (not making enough money, or spending too much money) Tough commute to/from work This is also a short list of infinite possibilities. The idea when identifying a trigger is to really understand the origin. And even going deeper into each stressor (psychotherapy is often helpful here) can help us to understand our role in creating an environment of stress. The more we know about our triggers, the more we can do to prevent them from stressing us in the future.
How to Reduce and Prevent Stress
Now that we have an idea of what to look for with stress – namely, symptoms and triggers – we can more effectively reduce stress. Luckily for us, many of the resources we need for this are built right into our bodies! The task is to learn how to use what we have available to us. Here are a few suggestions:
Deep Breathing. This basically requires learning to control how we breathe – learning to regulate how much air we take in, how much we let out, and how quickly or slowly we do this. A significant part of this is also learning to control how deeply (or shallowly) we breathe. When we are stressed (or anxious), our breathing becomes more shallow, which can lead to several physical and emotional symptoms. Learning to offset stress with engaged and controlled deep-breathing helps relax our physical and emotional response to stress as a whole.
Meditation. There are many ways to practice meditation. It generally involves using controlled breathing (whether deep or relaxed), with a mental, and sometimes physical, focus. Meditation can be done with emotive imagery, or progressive muscle relaxation, or be simply breathing-focused, or otherwise. While meditation can be used acutely with some benefit, a much greater benefit is achieved with regular practice. With daily meditation, for example, a person can see their overall level of stress greatly diminish. Consis-
tent meditation can also significantly reduce the stress response, so even if we are triggered, the resulting amount of stress that we experience is less than before.
Yoga. Any type of body work combined with controlled breathing serves as stress relief and prevention if practiced regularly.
Talking. This sides along the concept of "talk therapy", where taking time to process and understand stressors can in itself relieve stress. Sometimes talking will lead ourselves to solutions or understanding; or externalizing an issue can normalize it away from the magnification or catastrophizing that can occur with rumination and hyper-focus. Whether it's with a friend, or getting stress reduction help with a therapist, using our voices can pay dividends.
Exercising. Running, walking, swimming, pushups, jumping jacks, and all other forms of aerobic exercise are stress-relieving activities. I usually recommend to combine exercise with a mental focus activity. This is because, while some forms of exercise are physically relieving, not all forms of exercise engage the mind (e.g. it's easy to daydream while running, which doesn't allow for mental stress relief). See #6.
Other Sports (physical and mental). This can range from soccer, softball, and racquetball all the way to Karate, Kung Fu, and anything other form of physical activity that requires mental
Whether it's with a friend, or getting stress reduction help with a therapist, using our voices can pay dividends
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focus as part of the activity. Taking cognitive focus away from the stressors while also physically engaging relives both mind and body from building stress or previously stored stress. As with all of the above, consistency with practice provides greater stress relief and prevention.
Nathan Feiles, LMSW
Psychotherapy. While talking is cited above, psychotherapy involves a more in-depth look at how we respond to stress, and provides a deeper understanding of how our stress response was formed in the first place (and therefore how to treat it). Therapists who are trained in mind-body, and relaxation techniques can also be helpful here (though not fully necessary for therapy to be effective). It is worth noting that there are many different types of breathing, deep-breathing, meditation, imagery and other exercises. Some may work better for you than others, but there isn't only one way to do each type of exercise. Learning a method (or several) that works for you is essential to the process. If you can build an effective bag of tricks that works for your mind and body, you'll be able to gain control over stress as a whole, and be able to experience calmness and relaxation on a consistent basis.
Nathan Feiles, MSW, LMSW is a licensed master social worker in the New York City area. In his counseling practice, Nathan works with individuals, couples, families, and groups, with an inclusive goal of helping people achieve a comfortable balance in their lives. He is known to utilize a variety of treatment modalities in his work in order to best suit the needs of each person. Nathan specializes in relationships, fear of flying, life adjustments and transitions, stress and migraines, anxiety and social anxiety, and phobias. He is also the creator of Fear of Flying?...Not Anymore!, a unique therapy approach to conquering a fear of flying. He is also the founder of the NYC Migraine Support Group. For more information about Nathan Feiles’s work, including a complete list of services, please visit his website at www.therapynathan.wordpress. com. Nathan is also available for presentations and interviews regarding any of the specialties listed above.
NYC Life & Relationship Counseling Nathan Feiles, MSW, LMSW Relationships (Couples or Individual)
Life Adjustments and Transitions
General Anxiety & Social Anxiety
Fear of Flying
Other services also provided…
www.therapynathan.wordpress.com Ӏ Nathan.Feiles@gmail.com Ӏ (917) 407-5488
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