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Monday, March 26, 2012

Looking for Work? Discover What Makes You Come Alive and Go Do It!


“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”  Howard Thurman 
  
What Makes You Come Alive?
  • What puts a twinkle in your eye?
  • What gets your blood boiling?
  • What makes your heart race?
  • What's something you'd really like to sink your teeth into?
  • What captures your mind's eye?

Coming Alive--Again

I had the most interesting dream last night. In the dream I allowed myself to be killed over and over again to show people I came alive again. It wasn't a morbid dream. It was more reflective of my experience of being deadened by life experiences only to come alive again and triumph.

Sometimes I Feel Like a Quivering Bowl of Jello

Sure, this economy can sometimes make you feel like a quivering bowl of jello--stuck in indecisiveness and failing to act because you don't know what the right step is that will work out for you.

But here's the thing--within you is a desire to serve the world using your unique skills and talents. But what are they and how do you access them when you feel deadened by your current circumstances?

What's My Calling?

I was catching up with a friend the other day who just returned from spending two months caring for her aging parents. As we were catching up on life she said, "I don't know what my purpose is right now. I don't know what I am supposed to be doing or what my calling is. I know it isn't care-giving."

When you're in the midst of dealing with major life issues--like caring for aging parents, being laid off, or graduating from college into a poor job market--it creates an emotional cloud around your thinking. Trying to make logical, rational or heart-felt decisions about your purpose or life calling can feel like you're asking the black 8-ball a question and getting 'reply hazy, try again'.

Have Faith in Your Inner Wisdom

When your senses are numbed have faith in your inner wisdom to shines a light on the path that makes you come alive--then act as if--and take a step. This is a variation on 'trust, but verify'. In this instance you trust your inner self to know your path--but you test the truth of that wisdom by taking action. You'll know soon enough if you want to continue down this path or choose another direction.

An enterprising young man was laid off and searching for a new career path that allowed him to contribute to society. He called to ask what I thought about him training to become an EMT. Although he loved the idea of being able to serve people, he wasn't sure he was cut out to deal with trauma.

I could tell this direction held excitement for him despite his fear. "Go ahead, step into the training and see how it feels", I said. "You'll know if its right for you as you experience each step. You are good in a crisis and the training would not be wasted. Who knows? Perhaps EMT training combined with your other experiences will lead you to create something completely new."

Life is an Experiment

All of life is an experiment. You start with a hypothesis--or idea of the truth about what makes you come alive--and you actively test your theory through taking practical steps to see if you indeed come alive by taking that path.

Don't let your life experience keep you down. Choose to triumph over the obstacles that get in the way of you coming alive. You always have another step to take.

"Faith may be defined briefly as an illogical belief in the occurrence of the improbable."   H.L. Mencken

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Thursday, March 22, 2012

What Are You Waiting For? Go For it ~ and Come Alive!


 "The gap between your expectations and reality is your suffering. Remove your expectations, and you will appreciate each moment for what it has to offer. Remember, you are all that you need in order to be at peace." Elina St-Onge

What are you waiting for?


You know there is something calling you--something or someone you are curious about and feel drawn to.

Stop making it complicated.


Follow your interests and take a simple step toward the idea, person, job, training, or life that keeps popping into your consciousness. What is it you would do if you knew you couldn't fail?

 Go For It!

Live the life you imagine--and actively step into it. Experiment. Take one step and see how it feels. You'll know where you want to go as you step into life and experience what you imagined.

 Come Alive!

Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” -Howard Thurman





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For more than 25 years, Susan Meyerott has been helping people lighten up and step over invisible barriers to change one step at a time. She speaks to your heart, puts you at ease, and makes changing easier than ever before. Contact Susan to schedule life change coaching, weekend retreats, or engaging Lightarted experiences to share with friends.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Are You a Quiet Extravert or Outspoken Introvert?



What Energizes You?



  • Do you prefer to work alone or with other people?
  • What do you do when you need to re-energize after a long day?
  • Do you prefer to think before you speak or do you prefer to just jump in and figure things out as you go?
  • When you begin a new project, do you prefer to check in with other people to find out what they think or do you prefer to delve into your own research to determine what you think?
  • When you want to relax do you prefer to interact with the world outside you or do you prefer to escape into your inner world?


Extraverts and Introverts are not defined by ability to talk or be quiet

Hi, my name is Susan and I'm an extravert. While some may describe extraversion as an addiction to talking or an inability to shut up this just isn't the case any more than introversion is an inability to speak up. There are quiet extraverts and outspoken introverts. And we all need quiet and solitude in our day to be effective.


Extraversion and introversion are better understood as the way we prefer to pay attention to and explore our lives, and therefore what tends to energize us.



If you're an extravert you prefer to scan and interact with the world outside yourself; if you're an introvert you prefer to scan and interact with the world inside your head.

  • Extraverts' interests whose attention turns to the outer world have broad, expansive interests. 
  • Introverts' interests whose attention turns inward have narrower, deeper interests.



Are You an Innie or an Outie?
Which world holds your attention more--the inner world or the outer world around you? While we all must live in both worlds to balance our lives, we spend more time in the world we prefer.

  • Outies Extraverts are energized and stimulated by interacting with the people and things in the world around them and tend to spend more time here.
  • Innies Introverts are energized and stimulated by interacting with ideas and thoughts inside their head and tend to spend more time there.





If you are an innie, or introvert, you are more private and independent in your approach to solving problems. You hold conversations in your head and may even think you answered that person with the puzzled expression who never got an answer to his question. You tend to hold your own counsel rather than checking in with others.

Innies are interested in understanding the world and less interested in changing it. Once you gain your AHA moment you may feel your job is done.

To do your best work and re-energize yourself:

  • Give yourself time to think before meetings when you're expected to speak up. 
  • Ask ahead of time what questions others need you to answer.
  • Write your thoughts and ideas down.
  • Give yourself quiet time to regroup throughout your day. It's hard work for an innie to be in the outer world all day.

If you are an outie, or extravert, you are more comfortable in the outer world, check in with others more, and appear to be more of an open book to others. Outies are interested in understanding the world so they can change it. Faced with your AHA moment you may feel your job has just started.

To do your best work and re-energize yourself:

  • Find people who like to engage in lively brainstorming sessions that allow you to just jump in and discover what you think.
  • Do something to interact with information to learn—don't read instructions--have someone show you how to use a computer program; poll others to discover what they think; draw a picture to visualize an idea.
  • Engage in active undertakings to relax—garden, paint, walk, tinker with the computer, or go hiking.




Hi, my name is Susan and I am an extraverted writer

As you've seen here, extraverts aren't people who talk all the time. We are defined by being energized or stimulated by the outer world.

Extraverts are great at getting things going. We don't wait until we know what we're thinking or where we're going—we just jump into the conversation and start to explore.

As an extraverted writer, I like to toss out my latest interests to others to see what they know or what might come back that furthers my research. And true to my extraverted nature I check in with everyone before I begin to write—and oft times meander into a run-on-sentence experience as written below.

I offer this 'slice of life as viewed through the eyes of an extravert' so you can more readily experience the extravert not as an always talking 'vert' but as an always interacting with the world around us 'vert'—and to show the symbiotic relationship between introverts and extraverts who value each other's gifts.

A Slice of Life viewed through the Eyes of an Extravert

"The other day I opened an email from my introverted sister-in-law who shared a book, 'Wheat Belly', she thought I should look into for my research on ancient grains vs. modern grains. On her recommendation I jumped on to Amazon to view the book where I got waylaid by a mission statement made by the book's publisher Rodale Press, compelling me to contemplate the usefulness of mission statements and start a blog post on the topic. When I returned to review Wheat Belly on Amazon I realized this fabulous reference was sent to me by an introvert in my tribe which led me to start this blog post on the quiet extravert. Flitting back to missions, I decided to check what I wrote on Linkedin for my own mission statement when I saw an article recommended from a colleague that caught my attention--The Inspiration Paradox: Your Best Creative Time Is Not When You Think in Scientific American that I had to read and comment on before I finally returned to Amazon to download Wheat Belly to my Kindle. By now I was so excited by all the great stuff swirling around in my head I had to put it down and take the dog for a walk…..leading me to contemplate that all of this was accomplished over a four hour period of solitude without talking—and all because an introvert started me on my journey."


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For more than 30 years, Susan Meyerott has been helping people lighten up and step over invisible barriers to change one step at a time. She speaks to your heart, puts you at ease, and makes changing easier than ever before. Contact Susan to schedule life change coaching, weekend retreats, or engaging Lightarted experiences to share with friends.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Overcome Self-Consciousness in Interviews and Public Speaking



Feeling Self-Conscious about Speaking in Public?


·         Are you apprehensive about an upcoming job interview?

·         Do you get uneasy when you speak in meetings?

·         Do you feel self-conscious and exposed when you attempt to be more visible?

Get over yourself! Stop making yourself a wreck. Learn to speak comfortably in front of large or small groups by taking the focus off you and using silence to be heard more.

The two golden rules of communication—break them at your peril


Years ago I watched as a nervous instructor gave her first lecture in anatomy at UCLA. This rookie instructor was so nervous she talked non-stop without pausing to take a breath.

Twenty minutes into the 50-minute lecture she was finished. Upon reaching the end of her lecture notes, she looked up to find herself face-to-face with 200 angry students with writer's cramp and bad attitudes.

Another very energetic and talented colleague was excited, but nervous about interviewing for a new position. When asked how her interview went, she laughed and said, "I think I was too busy looking competent to get the job."

In their quests to look competent, both the novice instructor and nervous interviewee had broken the golden rules of effective communication:

·         Be other-conscious, not self-conscious

·         Practice the pause

Be Other-Conscious


The frightened anatomy instructor made the mistake all unskilled communicators make--she was so concerned about how she came across to her audience, she ignored how the students received the information. She wasn't listening to her audience, she was watching herself. And the anxious interviewee also succumbed to her nervousness, becoming self-conscious about how she looked and sounded and as a result passed her nervousness on to the interviewers.

The sign of a good communicator is not the ability to talk, but the ability to relax and listen—especially if you're giving a presentation or interviewing for a job. If you want to be heard, you must learn to listen to and observe your audience's interest and comfort level.

Be Comfortable to Create a Comfortable Setting


If you relate to the experiences of these competent but self-conscious professionals, learn to regain your composure and calm in public presentations by focusing on the comfort of your audience instead of yourself.

According to one UCLA study over 90% of your ability to communicate effectively is determined not by what you say, but by your nonverbal cues.

The words you use are only responsible for seven percent of the impact on your audience, while up to 37 % of a first impression you make on others is based on your tone of voice. If you're nervous and uncomfortable you'll convey that to others in the room through your body language and they'll take on your discomfort--decreasing your effectiveness and ability to influence them.

In addition to preparing your material for an interview or presentation, prepare yourself to focus on the comfort of your audience by centering yourself with the four messages all audience want to hear. You'll convey these four messages nonverbally when you walk into the room, greet your audience, and anytime you pause, smile and relax.

The Four Messages all Audiences want to Hear


I'm glad I'm here.

I'm glad you're here.

I care about you.

I know that I know.

Other-Consciousness Raises Your Self-Confidence


When you pay attention to the needs and comfort of your audience you'll be rewarded with an increase in self-confidence. When you focus on the needs of others, you'll discover the secret desire of all audiences that your self-consciousness previously hid from you.

The Secret Desire of all Audiences


Whether you're giving a presentation or interviewing for a job, everyone in the room secretly hopes you'll do an outstanding job—even the skeptics.

Why? People who took time out of their busy day to interview you or attend your presentation want to be validated for making a good use of their time. Simply put, people hate wasting their time. They want to connect with you and be wowed by you so they have something to show for their time. They want a 'take away' and they want to end the search for the perfect candidate with you. There are no critics in the room with you—only colleagues who sincerely hope you're the one.

Practice the Pause


In this time-oriented society, you've got to be able to get your message across in less time. But don't focus on how little time you have to make your mark--focus on how to capture your listener's attention. Pause, listen, and learn.

Don't focus on how little time you have to make your mark--focus on how to capture your listener's attention.

In the timeless children's story, Stone Soup, that's exactly what a hungry soldier did when the townspeople wouldn't give him the time of day.

At first the hungry soldier went door to door telling people he was hungry. But he got nothing but doors slammed in his face.

When he paused and listened, he changed his approach. He stopped telling people what he needed and started getting their attention. He went out into the town square, lit a fire, put a kettle of water on, and started to stir.

The result? When he stopped talking, people started listening. One by one the curious townspeople came over to ask what he was doing. Suddenly time was no longer an issue.

Find a way to capture your audience's attention—ask questions they're interested in, weave stories based on their experiences, offer unique perspectives, and then give them time to ponder your points.

"Silence is one of the great arts of conversation."  Marcus Tullius Cicero

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For more than 25 years, Susan Meyerott has been helping people lighten up and step over invisible barriers to change one step at a time. She speaks to your heart, puts you at ease, and makes changing easier than ever before. Contact Susan to schedule life change coaching, weekend retreats, or engaging Lightarted experiences to share with friends and colleagues.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Get Out of Your Negative Rut



'By letting it go it all gets done. The world is won by those who let it go. But when you try and try the world is beyond the winning.' Lao Tzu

Do you find yourself focusing on things that aren't going well during your work day, or perhaps the piles of things you failed to get to? Stop beating yourself up--learn to pay more attention to what's going well instead. Shift your focus to your achievements by learning how to take an inventory of your day with four questions.

Take a daily inventory. By consciously and deliberately focusing on what's going well in your life you'll train your brain to accent the positive. It may feel awkward or forced at first, but do it anyway. With consistent focus on the good stuff you'll shift out of a negative groove into a positive channel in three to five weeks. Set aside 15-minutes a day to focus on the good stuff.

Re-focus by writing. Our natural tendency is to focus on the negative in our heads making it difficult to shift our thinking towards the positive. The negative track is too deep. It's essential you write it down. The physical act of writing the questions and your answers each day focuses your attention as it moves you into a different part of your brain. Get a notebook or journal to collect your positive actions and life experiences.

Ask yourself these four questions to accent the positive:


·         What is working well for you at work and home?

·         What have you accomplished that you've failed to acknowledge?

·         What is the most meaningful thing you did in the last 24 hours?

·         What is one meaningful step you could take today?



'Appreciate yourself and honor your soul. Love your soul.'  Yogi Bhajan

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For more than 25 years, Susan Meyerott has been helping people lighten up and step over invisible barriers to change one step at a time. She speaks to your heart, puts you at ease, and makes changing easier than ever before. Contact Susan to schedule life change coaching, weekend retreats, or engaging Lightarted experiences to share with friends and colleagues.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

How to Get the Quiet Colleague to Talk




The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn't being said. Anonymous

Do you come to planning meetings hoping for lively dialogue but despite all your efforts to pose great questions and stimulate discussion you produce nothing but veiled eyes and blank stares? Do you feel you're pulling teeth trying to get your less-than-talkative co-workers to speak up? If your more forceful efforts to get your introverted colleagues to talk have failed, try using a gentler approach to open them up.

Know what drives introverts. Introverts aren't shy. They simply don't like to speak before they've carefully considered what they think and want to say. The fastest way to get them to share their thoughts is to give them time to think before you ask them to speak.

Let time work for you. The worst thing you can do if you want introverts to talk is to put them on the spot—ask a question and expect an immediate reply. Don't wait until you're in meetings to ask questions. Give introverts time to mull over and process information in depth. Send out lists of questions or issues that need to be addressed prior to meetings. Ask everyone to think about the issues and come prepared to discuss.

Get comfortable with silence. When you're faced with a moment of silence in a meeting, let it be. Don't try to fill all the empty spaces by talking. Show respect for more introverted colleagues by giving them time to think in silence. When you leave an opening, your quiet co-workers are more likely to speak up.

Practice the 3-minute test. If your habit of always filling lulls in the conversation is strong, get in the practice of giving others three minutes to talk before you speak again.

Give everyone time to talk in small groups. If keeping quiet this long makes you nervous, set up the topic of discussion for meeting members to deliberate in pairs for five minutes and walk out of the room for that period of time. This gives everyone in the group an opportunity to speak up.

Surprise!--that quiet colleague is an extravert. You may be surprised to discover some of those quiet colleagues who fail to speak up in your meetings are actually extraverts. Extraverts aren't shy either--so what makes these more gregarious coworkers hold their tongue? You haven't made it safe for them to speak up. Just like introverts, extraverts need a safe environment to join in the conversation and share their ideas.

Small group discussion works for extraverts too.  Extraverts may not feel safe jumping into the discussion in their preferred manner of thinking as they talk. Extraverts are the ones who want to engage in a dialogue to figure out what they think—they work best by bouncing their ideas off others. You need to make it safe for extraverts to speak up without already having their ideas fully formed.

Small group discussions are good for everyone. Not only do small group discussions stimulate fruitful talk from the introverts in the group they make room for the extraverts to jump in and freely play with their ideas too.


'An inability to stay quiet is one of the conspicuous failings of mankind.' Walter Bagehot

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For more than 25 years, Susan Meyerott has been helping people lighten up and step over invisible barriers to change one step at a time. She speaks to your heart, puts you at ease, and makes changing easier than ever before. Contact Susan to schedule life change coaching, weekend retreats, or engaging Lightarted experiences to share with friends and colleagues.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Speak Up and Be Heard




"Drawing on my fine command of language, I said nothing." Anonymous

Are you one of the last ones to speak up in meetings? Do you feel you're missing opportunities to further your career because no one knows what's going on inside your head?

If you're an introvert--more comfortable spending time thinking in your head than talking in meetings--learn to speak up and be heard by utilizing this simple strategy to make it easier to share your ideas.

Introverts need time to think. If you're an introvert, when you fail to speak you know it isn't because you don't have anything to say. There's a lot going on in your head. The problem is you don't like to speak before you've had time to carefully craft your thoughts. Recognizing this is the key to speaking up more. When you acknowledge you need time to reflect before you're willing to publically share your thoughts you can plan ahead and provide yourself the necessary quiet time prior to meetings.

Ask for the agenda. For the introvert, being forearmed is essential. If your boss isn't in the habit of providing an agenda ahead of time, ask for one. When you know the topics to be discussed you can give yourself time to gather your thoughts. Come to the meeting with at least three written points you can contribute.

Anticipate getting caught off-guard. Anticipate getting caught off-guard by having a pre-formulated response that turns your preference to think before you speak into a benefit instead of a liability. "Rather than coming off half-cocked I need to think about this and get back to you."

"It's not what you tell them…it's what they hear." Red Auerbach

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For more than 25 years, Susan Meyerott has been helping people lighten up and step over invisible barriers to change one step at a time. She speaks to your heart, puts you at ease, and makes changing easier than ever before. Contact Susan to schedule life change coaching, weekend retreats, or engaging Lightarted experiences to share with friends and co-workers.