Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Are You Happy?

Ben is one of my favorite clients.  We’ve worked together for six months, and during that time he’s achieved many business and personal goals.  He has the vision to know what he wants and the determination and motivation to do what it takes to get there.  As a result his life is much different than when we began working together.

However, Ben is not happy.
During our last conversation Ben shared how bewildered he is that after achieving so many of his goals he’s not as happy as he had expected to be.  This led us to a discussion of happiness, and just what it is.

Ben assumed that happiness is something you achieve. He believed that if he accomplished his goals, grew his business and acquired more money and possessions, happiness would automatically follow.

However, happiness isn’t something you GET, it’s something you MAKE.
How often have you achieved a long-term goal, expecting it to make you happy, just to find that after a short period of feeling successful or proud, you then felt empty and lost?  This is because once you achieve a goal you set another goal, and continue to want more. Many people lead an “if only” life.  They say “I’d be happy if only I had__________________.”  However, when they get that thing or achieve that goal, they’re surprised and disappointed to discover they feel the same as they always did.

It’s also about self-esteem, and the ability to love and value yourself, even if you’re not perfect.  If you appreciate the incredible human being you are, and accept yourself even with all your imperfections, you will find inner happiness that’s based on who you are internally rather than external stuff.

Happiness is about attitude and choices, NOT STUFF!
We each have the option of focusing on the positive in our life, or on the negative.  We can look at all our blessings, or choose to only see what’s lacking. Along with that comes the choice to be happy and feel blessed, or feel miserable and incomplete.

Of course, this doesn’t mean you need to do away with your dreams and goals or stop striving to improve your professional or personal situation.  It simply means you can’t be disappointed if you don’t expect the achievement of your goals to alter how you feel about your life.

Choosing to be happy is something you can do, regardless of what you have.

Once Ben understood that growing his business and having more money to buy more toys wasn’t his path to happiness, he set about finding what would enrich his life. To recognize his path to happiness he:

  • Wrote in a Gratitude Journal.  Ben wrote every night about the things that had delighted him that day. He was pleased to discover that his life held many things that brought him joy.  He was also surprised to note that they were the things money couldn’t buy, such as reading to his son at bedtime, enjoying the beauty of nature, or cuddling with his wife on the couch.

  • Looked at his values and needs to determine what was most important to him.  Ben then found ways to incorporate those things into his daily life. He realized that his values reflect his personal needs.  He understood that when he was being true to his values he was happy.  When he acted in a way that went against his values, he was miserable. (for FREE worksheets to help you identify your values and needs, go to our website at www.insidejobscoach.com and click on Resources).

  • Reviewed his goals to find the personal motivation behind them. For example, Ben wanted to make more money so he could buy a boat and house at the lake.  However, when he really looked at this goal he realized that the boat and lake house represented fun things for his family to do together.  What will make him happy about achieving these goals is not having the things, but what they will bring, which is quality time with his loved ones.

  • Gave to others.  Ben realized that he was always happy when he was giving his time and money to his community.  He noticed that when he was doing something for others he felt lighthearted and carefree, so he found ways to do this more often.

As Ben looked at each of his wants he realized that they all stemmed from just a couple of his deep personal needs.  The needs he wanted to fill were those of connection to family and friends.  Realizing this gave him the option to choose to be happy with what he had, and find ways to meet his needs without accumulating more stuff.

So, What About You?

Are you choosing to be happy and appreciate all you have, or to focus on what you don’t have?  What is happiness to you?  What really makes your heart sing?  What deep needs are you trying to meet?  Once you know the answers to these questions it will be easy for you to choose to be happy, every day.

It’s something to think about.

Please comment so others can benefit from your wisdom and experience.

For FREE worksheets on ways to empower yourself and live your best life, see the Resources page on our Inside Jobs Coach website.

If' you'd like to bring positive changes into your life, we have the perfect thing for you.  Check out The Rapid Power Pack and begin to create the life of your dreams.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Are You Taking Care of Yourself?

Michelle is tired.  Actually, she is exhausted and feeling lonely.  All her life she’s been taking care of others, which she was taught as a child was her role in life. At an early age she was told that if she takes care of others, they will do the same for her.

Unfortunately, now that she’s an adult, it’s not working out that way.

She gives her time and energy, and often is ignored, taken for granted, or verbally abused for her trouble.  While focusing on what other people want she usually ignores herself and what is best for her.  She accepts it when people treat her with disrespect and allows them to abuse her time and take advantage of her good attitude.

For a long time Michelle wasn’t aware that she no longer has to live like this.  When she was a child she just gave more and tried harder. Now she’s an adult and has the right to expect people to treat her with respect. 

Recently Michelle realized that she is exhausted from focusing all her time and energy on doing what the people in her life want her to do.  She gives and gives and seldom gets anything back. 

Michelle knows something has to change, but is afraid that if she lets her family and friends know that she has needs too, they will become angry and leave.

However, she is draining herself physically and emotionally, and is beginning to feel sick.  She realizes that if she goes on this way she will become ill and then she won’t be able to be there for anyone.

Recently Michelle has decided to start taking care of herself as much as she takes care of the people in her life. She does it with love and respect for them, and she now needs to give herself that same love and respect.

This means she will start setting boundaries in all areas, to clarify the space between her and others. She will let them know when she is available and when she is NOT available to take care of and do things for them.  She will also put a stop to disrespectful words and attitudes.

It will be as if she’s drawn a line and put up a ‘No Trespassing’ sign between herself and behaviors she doesn’t want directed toward her.  Once she does this she will begin insuring that her physical, emotional and personal well being is protected.

In order to set boundaries Michelle will need to become clear about what she wants and needs, and then communicate this to her family and friends.  If they don’t like it she will have to let it be their problem, not hers

When you have strong boundaries you’re able to take care of yourself and be clear with others about what behaviors are and are not acceptable to you.

Unacceptable behaviors can encompass everything from disrespecting your time, unwanted touching, verbal aggression, private space violations, and a wide variety of behaviors that make you uncomfortable.

If you relate to Michelle’s situation, it’s important for you to know that you always have the right to protect yourself by setting and enforcing boundaries.  You have the right to stop anything that makes you uncomfortable or violates your values and your physical, emotional and personal space.

Michelle looked at several things she can do to set boundaries around herself.  She realized that she has the power to:

·        Look at the reasons she feels the need to sacrifice herself in order to take care of everyone else.
·        Look directly at and confront her fear of abandonment. Be honest with herself about it, and ask herself “how true is this?”
·        Pay attention to what she is telling herself (her self-talk) that encourages her to disrespect herself.
·        Ask herself what is the worst that could happen?  Could I physically survive this?  Would I be better off in the long run?
·        Change the focus from the negative, what she can’t do and the fear, to the positive, what she wants, and what she CAN do to take care of herself as well as others.
·        Realize that when she changes the way she thinks and talks to herself, she will change the way she acts
·        Focus on what she wants to happen and develop a clear picture of this.
·        Get back into control by figuring out what she needs to do to move ahead.
·        Break it down into steps and take action.
·        Visualize moving ahead and seeing herself with clear, well-defined boundaries.

To do this she needed to think about areas in which others mistreat her.  She became aware of when people ignore her, use language that offends her, disregard her needs and wants, expect her to be responsible for them when they’re capable of doing things for themselves, blame her for their failures, expect her to always say “yes” and go along with whatever they want, etc.?

She then made decisions about how she wants things to be different.

She gathered her courage and let the people in her life know that she would not always be available to meet their every need or tolerate disrespectful behavior.  She told them that she also has needs and wants, and that giving was a pleasure for her, so she would continue to be there for them in some ways, and would also be giving to herself as well.

She also let them know the attitudes and behaviors she will and will not accept from them.

Much to her surprise and delight, most of them understood, and even commented on how glad they were that she’s decided to take care of herself.  The couple of people who didn’t like it weren’t very good friends anyway, and Michelle realized it was time to let them drift away.

Some of the healthy boundaries Michelle set are:
·        Her time, talents and energy are hers to share if and when she wants to.
·        She will not tolerate abusive language or emotional blackmail.
·        Her body and physical space are private, and people aren’t allowed to touch them without her permission.
·        Her personal property (phone messages, emails, correspondence, vehicle, etc.) is off limits without her permission.
·        She deserves and expects to be treated with respect in all areas.
·        It is not her job to ‘fix’ everything for everyone.
·        She will treat herself with respect and expects everyone else to do the same.

Michelle still has to pay attention and note when she feels uncomfortable or disrespected, but with this strategy in place she feels powerful and in control of her destiny.  She says overall she’s amazed at how much better she feels and how much more energy she has now that she’s taking care of herself.

Are you like Michelle?  Is what you tell yourself about your value creating a depressing and negative reality?

You might want to ask yourself what you can do to change it, and then take back your power and move ahead

It’s something to think about.

Please comment so others can benefit from your wisdom and experience.

For FREE worksheets on ways to empower yourself, see the Resources page on our Inside Jobs Coach website.

If you'd like to bring positive changes into your life, we have the perfect thing for you.  Check out  The Rapid Power Pack and begin to create the life of your dreams.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

You're Talking But Are You Communicating?

Several years ago my two young children, my husband and I were traveling in the car. The traffic was heavy and my husband was tense at the wheel. The kids were giggling and playing in the back seat and in frustration my husband said “will you kids please be quiet so I can focus on the traffic”. The kids responded by lowering their voices and playing in a less rowdy fashion. Their father became more agitated and said, “Quiet down NOW!” The children lowered their voices a bit more and continued to giggle and play. Their stressed father then turned around and yelled “I said BE QUIET!!!, at which point the shocked children stopped talking completely and the mood in the car was incredibly tense.

What happened here was a failure to communicate. When my husband used the word “quiet” he meant silent, but our children interpreted it to mean less volume. A very uncomfortable situation was caused by the lack of a common word definition.

Often when people communicate they think they’re having a meeting of the minds, and later discover there was no connection at all. Situations such as this can be avoided if we use a few simple techniques.  The first is to realize that both participants in a conversation have a role to play.
Communication is a two-way street and the roles of both speaker and listener are equally important.  There are several things each can do to insure that the process of delivering and receiving information flows smoothly.

Both participants must be mentally present and pay attention. Pay attention to the conversation instead of being distracted by things around you, thinking about how you’ll respond, or wondering what you’ll have for dinner.

Both participants should be aware of their body language. Studies have shown that over 75% of communication is nonverbal. Things such as eye contact, tone of voice, facial expression and how you hold your arms, all communicate your level of interest.  To facilitate good communication, both speaker and listener must maintain good eye contact, use a pleasant tone of voice, make sure their body is in an “open”, friendly position, and smile and nod to indicate they are on the same page.

Be sure to give feedback to each other.  This may be non-verbally, as we just mentioned, or spoken. The listener can clarify word definitions or ask questions if something is unclear. The speaker can define words that might be confusing or misunderstood, and ask if there are questions or if clarification is needed.

Both speaker and listener must be aware that communication happens on at least two levels. There is the content level, which is the literal meaning of the spoken words, and there is the process level, which refers to the feelings beneath the words. In the situation with my husband and children, the content was that he wanted them to be quiet. The process was that he was tense and stressed with the traffic situation and needed their help in coping with it. If the listener is aware of both levels it will add to his/her understanding of what the speaker is conveying, and can help him/her respond in the most appropriate way.

When the process and content are not congruent it’s important for the listener to pick up on this and ask about what’s really going on.

Both participants can also further communication by summarizing what they are saying or hearing, and giving occasional feedback to each other to insure they’re both on the same track.

The speaker must be specific and brief about what s/he’s saying. We’ve all known people who tend to ramble and add unnecessary details when they talk. They are usually difficult to understand. A good speaker follows the rule "Be Brief, Be Bold, and Be Gone!”

So, when you interact with others, are you effectively communicating or just talking? Do you clarify?  Are you fully present, using positive body language, defining your words and giving feedback? Do you listen fully and with an open mind?

When you make the effort to communicate clearly your relationships will suddenly become easy and uncomplicated. 

It’s something to think about.

Please comment so others can benefit from your wisdom and experience.

For FREE worksheets on ways to empower yourself, see the Resources page on our Inside Jobs Coach website.

If you'd like to bring positive changes into your life, we have the perfect thing for you.  Check out The Rapid Power Pack, and begin to create the life of your dreams.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Are You Productive or Just Busy?

When I first met James he was stressed and exhausted.  James is an engineer who has his own business. He said he worked all the time, but for some reason his business wasn’t growing.  He was confused about his situation and wondered why all his hard work wasn’t paying off.

As we talked it became apparent that although James was constantly busy, he wasn’t productive.  He spent hours doing things such as updating his QuickBooks, cleaning out his email, and participating in business-oriented social networking web sites.  These are all important things, but none of them were focused on taking care of his clients, marketing to bring in new ones, or creating bottom-line results.

James said he enjoys working with his clients, but doesn’t like to do what’s necessary to let others know his services are available.  He said he “hates marketing,” so whenever it’s time to go to a networking function, write ad copy, or contact potential clients, he allows himself to be distracted by other things.

We spent some time looking at how James feels about his business, to see if it’s really a business, or just a hobby.  If it’s a hobby, it’s OK for him to work on it only when he wants to and when it’s fun. However, if it’s truly a business, then he must commit to doing all that’s required, even when it’s not fun or he doesn’t feel like it.

James said that he has years of education and experience in his field, loves his work, needs to make a good living and wants to be his own boss.  Given those things, he decided his work is a business, not a hobby.  He realized that if he wants his business to grow, he must grow along with it.  This means he needs to stop being busy, stretch his comfort zone and start producing results.

Once James committed to the fact that he’s running a business, he decided to:
·        Revisit his marketing plan and define the steps he needs to take to move his business forward.

·        Set daily and weekly goals, along with an action plan for each goal.

·        Ask himself each morning, “What is the most important thing for me to accomplish today?”  He will then hold himself accountable to achieve that by the end of the day.

·        Pay attention to how he spends his time, to ensure there is a balance between activities that will move him towards his goals, and those that help maintain order in the office.

·        Write a daily schedule that allows time for both types of activities.

·        Make a commitment to stretch his comfort zone several times each day.  If he feels insecure or uncomfortable about an activity such as networking or making marketing calls, he will reassure himself that no matter what happens, he will survive.  Then he will stop thinking about it and just do it.

·        Revisit his marketing plan at the end of each week to ensure he is staying on track.

·        Outsource or delegate the things he doesn’t like or never gets around to.

·        Get control of email by closing it so you don’t hear every time one comes in, and setting a time in the morning and afternoon when you will check it.

                  ·        Avoid doing social media while at work.

Now when James starts an activity he asks himself how it will move him forward.  He is aware that he must pay attention to the ways he uses his time, and insure that whatever he is doing will produce results rather than just keep him busy.

Is there a possibility you might be like James?  How much do you do each day that is distracting or easy, so you can avoid doing what is productive?

It’s something to think about.

Please comment so others will benefit from your wisdom and experience

For FREE worksheets on ways to empower yourself, see the Resources page on our Inside Jobs Coach website.

If you'd like to begin creating the life you've always wanted, be sure to check out the Rapid Power Pack.  This amazing pack includes several articles, worksheets, and a powerful hypnotherapy session, all designed to guide you as you rediscover the  incredible person you have always been.