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Monday, April 30, 2012

Mothers, Herding Cats, and Laughter



'Common sense and a sense of humor are the same thing, moving at different speeds. A sense of humor is just common sense, dancing.'  William James

 Mothers--Chief Cat Herders

My mother used to say she raised 'all Chiefs and no Indians', when referring to her tribe of six independent children. I'd say she was the family's Chief Cat Herder.

This very proper, self-described 'fifth generation Washingtonian' from the District of Columbia raised six California wild cats while keeping a clean house--and most importantly--her sense of humor. My son related to my mother's good humor by saying 'I'm from your side of the family---the enjoying side of the family'.

Thanks to my mother, I learned to deal with life and strife with a sense of humor.

Laughter IS the Best Medicine

My mother--or Moo--as we called her--would often say 'laughter is the best medicine', and she'd demonstrate the truth of that belief daily as she sought to find the humor in situations and respond to trying life situations with good hearted laughter. I am so grateful to have learned the importance of keeping my sense of humor no matter what the situation from her.

I still remember the night my father was out of town on business one beautiful summer evening when my siblings and I stayed out late playing kick-the-can in the neighborhood. Our mother called and called us to come home but not one of us answered.

When we finally dragged our tails home she was hopping mad and promised a spanking for us all. As she herded us into the back bedroom to carry out the punishment, children wandered this way and that into other bedrooms and bathrooms on their way to their predictable single swat on the rear end.

Finally herding us into one room she lined us up by age to spank us in order from oldest to youngest. My oldest sister, Jean, got the first swat on the behind, followed by my brother, John. My mother burst out laughing as soon as her hand connecting with his rear made a metallic pinging noise . On his way to his swat-on-the-behind my brother had stopped at the sewing machine to grab the metal lid off the sewing tin so he could stuff it in his pants to thwart the whack. My mother's surprised laughter relieved the tension of the moment--and the rest of us got off scott-free.

Cat Herders Must have a Sense of Humor

Moo taught us the keys to herding cats:

  • Don't try to control them--find ways to catch their attention instead.
  • Love and support their independence and individuality. 
  • Enjoy and respect them.
  • Keep your sense of humor.
So many times as an adult I have viewed my experience of working to bring together a group of independent people all going their separate ways as herding cats. This always makes the task easier. No matter how frustrated I am by the current herding experience, the minute I picture myself herding cats it puts a smile on my face and lets me relax into the experience. I know that to accomplish the impossible task of cat herding the key is to accept and respect the individuals for who they are and to find a way to enjoy the challenge of engaging their attention.

Someone sent me this YouTube video Cowboys Herding Cats and the first time I watched it I split a gut laughing. It really gives you a visual for the metaphor of herding cats.

If you, too,  find yourself playing the role of Chief Cat Herder--attempting to corral a group of people all going their separate ways at work or at home--give yourself something to laugh about. View this 1 minute video now and save it  to view later to relieve your frustration. As my mother always said, laughter and keeping your sense of humor is the best medicine!


'Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup.' Unknown



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Saturday, April 28, 2012

You are not the mistakes you have made; You are the lessons you have learned says Chris Cook




 'Experience is the toughest teacher because she gives the test first, and then the lesson.' Unknown 


Good Enough to Steal

When I read Chris Cook's  blog post-- 'You are not the mistakes you have made; You are the lessons you have learned'-- I wanted to steal it.  I know, not very ethical--but there you have it--the truth. This short post on her website, Capiche, is brilliant and simple.

Don't Steal it--Apply it

Okay, so to to help me stay in integrity and also give you something to think about I am providing you a link to Capiche so you can learn about the four stages of learning any new skill. Take a peek, think about it, and apply it.

Chris Cook, currently training to be a certified coach at the Coaches Training Institute, specializes in the science of happiness,and promotes the development of psychological capital to help individuals and businesses achieve their potential.




'What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters, compared to what lies within us.'  Ralph Waldo Emerson



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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, April 24, 2012

Are You a Bore? Three Tips to Lead More Effective Meetings



'Never miss a good chance to shut up.'  Will Rogers

Tired of standing in front of Monday morning meetings sounding like the teacher in Ferris Bueller's Day Off ? "Beuller? Beuller? Beuller? Anyone?" If you're leading meetings people can't wait to get out of, use these trainer tips to turn your meetings into lively and engaging discussion groups that promote team work and produce employees fully-invested in the discussions.

Stop Talking. Do you think you control the meeting and message by doing all the talking yourself? Not true. When you’re the only one talking you're the only one listening. While you're enjoying the sound of your own voice, everyone else is entertaining themselves doodling, making lists of what to get at the store, and passing notes. All they hear you say is "blah, blah, blah, blah….any questions?" To gain control, you must give it up—starting with the need to hear yourself speak.

Start Listening. If you really want to get something done, redefine meetings as a place where you listen while everyone else interacts. Set up the discussion then shut up. Nothing makes you look more brilliant to others than when you artfully set up meetings so everyone is actively engaged in presenting their ideas.

Make it easy to speak up. Even the most outgoing professional may be reluctant to speak up in a large meeting--especially if put on the spot. To make it easy for attendees to fully participate, break the larger group into discussion pairs. Give people five minutes to discuss an issue in duos before asking them to engage in a large group discussion. Ask for volunteers to speak up and share what they think when you reconvene. You may be surprised by the free flow of ideas. When people are engaged in their own discovery process, the meeting is never boring.

 'If you're riding' ahead of the herd, take a look back every now and then to make sure it's still there.'  Will Rogers

 Make it easy for colleagues to want to attend your meetings


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Monday, April 23, 2012

Great Job Opportunity? Don't Let Fear and Self-Doubt Stop You from Applying




'People grow through experience if they meet life honestly and courageously. This is how character is built.'   Eleanor Roosevelt


Why Waste Your Time?

Sure, you'd like that job. But you viewed the job posting and you're sure there's an insider who's already a shoo-in. Why waste your time targeting your resume and cover letter when you won't get an interview? Don't. Send a speed application instead. Here's a look at what speed applications are and why you should send one when you believe it's not worth the effort.


'Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear.'  Ambrose Redmoon

Speed Applications

A speed application is a process that takes less than an hour to complete. You shut off your I-won't-get-an-interview thinking and apply. Use your good-to-go resume or LinkedIn profile, and take a couple of attention-grabbing phrases from the job posting that best describe you for your cover letter and submit it.

Why bother sending an application when you know it won't do any good? Isn't it a waste of time? No. Think of it as an investment in your self-confidence and ability to take action despite perceived obstacles.

When you apply when you really believe it’s a waste of time:

·         You step over belief barriers. You may be right or wrong about your chances of getting an interview. But recognize your failure to apply for the job is due to your beliefs, not facts. When you apply anyway, you step past your belief barriers to let the truth emerge.

·         You stay in an action mode. If the worst that can happen is you don't get the job, submit a speed application. The more you experience yourself stepping over belief barriers and taking action, the more confidence you'll develop in your abilities.

Practice submitting one speed application a week



'To accomplish great things, we must not only act but also dream. Not only plan but also believe.'  Anatole France



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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.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Open Your Heart to Your Blessings--Louie Schwartzberg on Gratitude


Moving Art by Louie Schwartzberg

My friends send me the best stuff. And like today's TED talk by Louie Schwarzberg on Gratitude, I am compelled to share these gifts with you. Thank you to Molly Erwin for passing this on.

Enjoy your ten minutes of bliss in Gratitude. Share it with others.

Open Your Heart to Your Blessings

Open Your Eyes

Let the Gratefulness Overflow into Blessings

Click on link to view Gratitude
http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=gXDMoiEkyuQ&vq=medium

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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.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Work for a Blood-Sucking, Self-Centered Boss? Three Tips for Keeping Your Job (if you must)



Now that's what I call a Narcissist! 

Baby mosquito came back after his first time flying. His father asked him "How do you feel?" He replied "It was wonderful! Everyone was clapping for me!" Tahir

Do You Work for a Blood-Sucking, Self-Centered Boss?

Do you work for a self-centered boss with no interest in your advancement? Have you been quieted with icy stares when attempting to offer suggestions? You may be working for a narcissist. While putting a name to what you're experiencing with your boss won't make it easier to deal with him, it can help you decide if you want to keep working together. Take this quiz to find out.


Is Your Boss a Narcissist?
  • Does your boss need constant attention and admiration? 
  • Does s/he show a disregard for the feelings of others? 
  • Is it risky to challenge or correct your boss? 
  • Does s/he react to criticism with rage, shame, or humiliation?

If your answer is yes to these questions--you're probably dealing with a narcissist--a person with an inflated sense of self-importance and an extreme preoccupation with herself. This boss doesn't care about your success, only about flying around maintaining her own inflated self-image.

If you are a passionate professional who believes in giving 100% to work for the good of the organization it can be devastating working for a narcissist. Narcissists have little ability to feel empathy for others. They don't care about your great ideas that could revolutionize the industry. Their obsessive self-interest keeps them pursuing mainly selfish goals--sometimes contrary to the good of the organization. And that's what's so crazy-making about working with them.

If you desire to shine and make your mark on the world, Kathy Caprino, a national women's career and executive coach says find a better boss to support your aspirations to make the world a better place. Get out if you can.

According to Caprino, "You will not succeed under a narcissist unless you’re great at lying, manipulating, and kissing up, nor will you be able to carve out a satisfying and rewarding professional life if you’re being led by a narcissist."

Click here to view full article on Forbes


What to Do When You Absolutely Must Keep Your Job


Life isn't always fair. Sometimes you desperately need your job, but your blood-sucking boss is a tyrant who makes you feel like you're constantly walking on eggshells. What can you do to stay employed if your boss is a true narcissist—whose self-interest, inflated sense of self-importance and extreme preoccupation with himself leaves you uncertain about how to best get the job done?

When you absolutely must keep your job, follow these three rules for working with a narcissist.

Never outshine the narcissist. You may be the one coming up with great ideas, bringing in clients or completing projects. But the inflated ego of the narcissist demands to be fed at all times. He needs to hear 'everybody clapping for him'. Publically attribute successes to your boss--and always thank him for helping you succeed. Don't even think about taking credit if you must keep your job. Let the boss shine while you remain in the shadows.

Follow their rules. Narcissists believe rules don't apply to them—only to you. Want to keep your job? Do what they say, not what they do. Never point out their failure to live by the rules they set.

Never challenge or disagree with your boss. This isn't about what's fair or easy—it's about keeping your job. If you disagree with your boss, keep it to yourself. A narcissist's ego does not allow for dissention. Challenge this boss's decision and you earn yourself a swift boot out the door. When you absolutely must keep your job--keep your mouth shut, your head down—and stay under the radar.


A Cautionary Tale

'When Snake is alive, Snake eats Ants. When Snake is dead, Ants eat Snake. Time can turn at any time. Don't neglect anyone in your life.' Tahir

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For more than 35 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 weekend retreats, or engaging Lightarted experiences to share with friends. 

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Comfort Food and Fractal Cauliflower



'Never order food in excess of your body weight.' Erma Bombeck


Fun Fractal Cauliflower--and an Introduction to Delightful Repast

What do you think of that natural 'fractal' cauliflower design? I'm amazed by the geometrically repeating pattern of this cauliflower and love to consume one small section at a time. It makes me feel good to eat it, as I savor each tiny section. You just know this exquisitely designed cruciferous vegetable tastes better.

I love food. Food is fun, comforting and life-enhancing--and that is what Jean at Delightful Repast is all about--life enhancing, beautifully prepared and presented comfort food shared with family and friends. Jean reminds me of my proper, but fun-loving mother, with her interest in history, family, and wholesome foods.

I was properly introduced to Jean and her tasty blog through my Life-Enhancing blog cohort, Grant Soosalu. Jean serves up a bit of history, beautifully presented dishes and weekly recipes made with fresh, wholesome ingredients. I am compelled to try many of the recipes Jean serves up--they look and sound so good--and the dishes have received rave reviews from my husband.

Today I am properly introducing you to Jean and Delightful Repast through one of Grant's posts highlighting Jean. If you like good food, take a look at Food for Thought--Delightful Repast, to learn about Jean's philosophy on food, then check out Delightful Repast for recipes.



'If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold,
 it would be a merrier world.'  J.R.R. Tolkien

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Compassion, Creativity and Courage--The Core Competencies of Our Multiple Brains



One who conquers himself is greater than another who conquers a thousand times a thousand on the battlefield. — Buddha

The Inner Workings of Your Brain

Grant Soosalu is a friend I've never met. He lives in Australia and I in the US--but I knew this was someone I liked the minute I stumbled onto his blog, Life Enhancing. This was someone I wanted to see into the inner workings of his brain. And now he's done me one better. He, along with his good friend and colleague, Marvin Oka, a top NLP trainer, have written a book that lets us see into the inner workings of our own brains!

mBraining--Using Your Multiple Brains to do Cool Stuff provides us with a suite of tools and techniques for communicating with, integrating and harnessing the power of our multiple brains--our head, heart and gut brains.

The 3 C's: Compassion, Creativity and Courage

What drew me to Grant's writing was we shared an interest in the three C's--Compassion, Creativity and Courage. It just so happens that the three C's are the 'highest expression' of the core competencies of our three brains.

"In developing mBit, what we discovered in essence, is that each of your brains has a series of core competencies and that in particular each brain has a competency that is its 'highest expression'. What's more, the three brains, when operating via these competencies, produce synergistic effects and bring greater wisdom to decision making, relationships and life. The highest expressions are Compassion (heart), Creativity (head) and Courage (gut). When all three work together they produce amazing results!"         Grant Soosalu and Marvin Oka

If you have an interest in harnessing the power of your multiple brains to do cool stuff--take a peek at  Using Your Multiple Brains to do Cool Stuff on Amazon. The authors utilize the powerful and practical methodologies of NLP, Cognitive Linguistics and Behavioral Modeling to synthesize a remarkably wide range of research findings into an integrated approach that is practical, potent, and immediate in its results.


Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power. — Lao-tzu
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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, April 10, 2012

Nail that Job Interview--Let Anger and Bitterness Go




'If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading. '

Lao Tzu


Want to nail that job interview? Cultivate a happy state of mind.

 Research shows you can train yourself to develop a more optimistic mindset—making it easier to answer interview questions in a positive, self-confident manner. Invest in a journal, and train yourself to develop a more positive mindset to nail your next interview. Choose one of these writing exercises to do daily.

 Exercise #1: Write a positive note to yourself or someone in your support network.

 Believe it. No, this isn't pie-in-the-sky, Pollyanna thinking.  Happiness research shows you perform better under pressure with an optimistic outlook. You can make significant improvements in your outlook in three weeks with daily writing exercises.

 Exercise #2 Write down three things you're grateful for today.

 Let go of anger and bitterness. Sure, if you've lost your job 'getting happy' may sound easier said than done. But hold on to anger and bitterness over 'how-they-done-you-wrong' in the last job and you'll fail to land the next one. Interviewers weed out people stuck in the past. Better to invest in your future by preparing for your next job interview through boosting your happiness quotient.

 Exercise #3 Write a positive note to a former co-worker or boss.

 Prepare by fixating on the positive. You know what you'd really like to say to the interviewer when she asks 'why did you leave your last job' or 'how did you handle conflict with a previous co-worker'. Without preparing ahead your mind fixates on the negative—and there goes the job. Fixate on the positive instead.


So often times it happens that we live our lives in chains, and we never even know we have the key.”  

From the song Already Gone by The Eagles.
Thank you Carol Speller for this quote.



For more on creating a more optimistic mindset see Shawn Achor on Happy Secret to Better Work


 

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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.


Monday, April 9, 2012

Lose Your Job? Difficulties at Work? Embrace Adversity and Make it Work For You




You're not the first person to lose or hate your job and you won't be the last. As much as we hate to admit it, adversity is a powerful teacher, nudging us on to greatness. Choose to embrace adversity. Check out how some of the greats who've struggled before you have come to terms with adversity.

Be Strong. Friedrich Nietzsche said, "What doesn't kill us makes us stronger." While being unemployed and struggling to find work or struggling to stay in a deadend job  is uncomfortable, you can find your strength and purpose through the process. Walt Disney wrote, "All the adversity I've had in my life, all my troubles have strengthened me. You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you."

Break Records. Writer William Arthur Ward wrote: "Adversity causes some men to break; others to break records." Steve Jobs was spurred on to achieve more after being fired from Apple. Don't let your situation break you; let it spur you on to greatness.

Reveal Your Talents. Horace said: "Adversity has the effect of eliciting talents, which in prosperous circumstances would have lain dormant." Look past your self-doubt and self-consciousness to discover your talents. Let the discomfort motivate you to dig deep to unleash your hidden talents. "Adversity reveals genius, prosperity conceals it." Horace

Become a Better You. "Adversity is the diamond dust Heaven polishes its jewels with," wrote Thomas Carlyle. You are a jewel being polished by your struggles. Accept this truth and you'll become the gem that shines.

Courage means to Take Heart

Do you know the origins of the word 'Courage'? First known use of the word was in the 14th century. The word courage   has been traced  back to  corage (Middle English;, curage, quer, and coer  meaning  heart (Anglo-French); and cor (Latin) meaning  more at heart.
Synonyms for Courage: great heartedness, guts, gutsiness, hardihood, heart, heroism, intestinal fortitude,  moxie, nerve, prowess, stoutness, valor, virtue

Take Heart in Your Struggles

Find Great Heartedness within Yourself

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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Keep Your Cool Under Pressure



Cool As A Cucumber Strategy

Are projects and deadlines piling up at work and tempers flaring? Want to be the cool voice of reason even when others are in full-frenzy mode? Learn how to keep your cool under pressure using this cool as a cucumber strategy when things get hot.

·       Expect crises. One thing you can always count on at work—another crisis is just around the bend. It's easier to be calm, clear and focused in crises when you learn to expect them as a natural part of working. Once you accept crises as business-as-usual, you can have a plan in hand to help you handle the stress-filled times calmly. 

·         Practice the pause. Train yourself to pause when you start to feel overwhelmed. Take a couple of deep breaths and relax. You have two nervous systems you can kick into gear—one for stressing and one for relaxing. The good news is you can't be stressed and relaxed at the same time. Those conscious deep breaths serve to switch you onto the relaxed track.

·         Act, don't react. There is a moment between when something happens (crisis) and when you respond. It is in that moment you have the choice to act consciously or react unconsciously. When you pause to catch your breath, you allow yourself to choose a calm, conscious course of action. Always give yourself time to think calmly and set priorities under pressure.

·         Stay well-nourished. Get in the habit of eating a good breakfast with protein daily. When it's crunch time, you'll perform better.


Choose to bring your best!


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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, April 3, 2012

Leave Your Safe Harbor to Pursue Your Dreams


What are your dreams and aspirations? What's stopping you from following them? Like the rest of us, you're faced with discovering the best way to get the most out of life. Playing it safe will only lead you to a disappointing existence. Start chasing your dreams. Learn three reasons why knowing what matters to you is the key to having the courage to pursue your dreams.

Move out of your safety zone. William Shedd said, "A ship is safe in a harbor, but that's not what ships are for." Like a ship you, too, must move out of your safe place to achieve a satisfying and happy life and be who you're meant to be. This requires you to risk being hurt, wrong, scared, disappointed, rejected, and ridiculed.

When it really matters, it's no risk at all. Putting yourself out there and going after what you want is a risk. The courage to risk comes from discovering what matters to you.

Start by defining what you want out of life at this moment so you can better guide your choices and daily actions. What you care about matters--it is the wind in your sails propelling you forward into a satisfying life adventure.

Discover what matters to you so you can:


·         Concentrate your limited time and energy on those things that count.

·         Plan your life so you feel more control over the things that matter to you.

·         Create a sense of urgency for the things that are most important to you.


"Concentrate on things that count so you
feel more control over what matters to you today."



A ship is safe in a habor, but that's not what ships are for.

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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.