Walk into any variety store and it will be obvious that Valentine’s Day has become a commercial extravaganza. Red cards, boxes and candies are everywhere! Love is in the air, along with high expectations and, to be candid, a real possibility of disappointment if the message of love isn’t sent effectively.
Do you ever wish we could all agree on everything? Wouldn’t that stop all the arguing and fighting? Maybe, but it would also stop a lot of progress and prevent important changes from being made. While disagreement can be uncomfortable, it can also be beneficial if it’s handled the right way. Here are some keys to making it work for everyone involved.
Today’s post is written by our guest blogger, Kimberly Hayes, Chief Blogger for publichealthalert.info,
Live, Work & Relate Well!
Seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, is a psychological condition provoked by a seasonal change that results in depression. While people can experience SAD at any time of year, the majority of cases occur in the winter when daylight is scarce. An accepted theory behind the cause of SAD is that decreased sunlight exposure directly affects a person’s biological clock and disrupts their regulation of hormones, neurochemicals, sleep, and overall mood.
Symptoms of SAD are akin to those of major depression:
- Difficulty concentrating
- Loss of interest in activities once previously enjoyed
- Changes in sleep patterns
- Reduced sex drive
- Changes in appetite and weight gain
Change and transition is difficult for many people. In fact, most of us have a love-hate relationship with change – maybe because we believe it will be painful, messy and disruptive despite knowing that if led and managed well it can result in significant improvement and growth.
Ask anyone in our city and they will tell you that everywhere they go they encounter a construction zone. Our freeway and roads have had major delays and new housing construction has created traffic jams of slow-moving cement trucks and heavy equipment. “Messy” and “disruptive” might not be strong enough terms! But the vision of smoother, wider roads and beautiful new neighborhoods helps us remain positive during the processes of change.
In business, as well as in life, it is impossible to experience growth without change, and if you don’t know how to effectively lead and manage change and transition you will encounter greater resistance and opposition no matter how positive or beneficial the change may be. Remember that change is the event; transition is the psychological and emotional response to the event.
While I was growing up, time seemed to pass by so slowly. Important events such as Christmas and summer vacation took “forever” to arrive. Now, each new year seems to pass by faster than the one before. Can you relate?
I have come to realize that the speed with which time passes is directly proportional to how busy I am. I have also learned that the degree to which I feel impatient, frustrated, and pressured is related to my level of overcommitment.
When I become overcommitted everything seems to suffer. Instead of doing a great job, I do a mediocre job. Instead of enjoying the task, I resent it. Instead of spending time with my family, I focus on those things that have specific deadlines.
To break free from over committing yourself, practice these three important rules:
Create and maintain a balance of activities in your life.
This means you will engage in reasonable amounts of work, rest, leisure, exercise and learning. There will, of course, be times when the demands of life are greater than at other times, but do your best to maintain a reasonable balance.
Prioritize your activities.
Focus first on the things that are most important, like your faith, family and friends. It’s easy to get caught up in the small stuff that takes your valuable time. Set some time each day to do the important things first.
Practice saying “no”.
I personally find that I respect people more when they kindly, but directly, tell me “no” instead of promising something they can’t deliver. It’s better for everyone if
Have you heard this one? During a discussion of holiday traditions, the teenager complains, “We don’t have any traditions. We just do the same old things every year!” While we smile at the kid’s perception, we recognize the value of giving the family a sense of continuity that ties them together through the years.
I am reminded of a holiday a couple of years ago. The host of the family gathering that year was dropping hints that they planned a surprise “non-traditional” dinner, and the person most distraught about the prospect was a 17 year old boy! Just when you feel as though a child wants nothing to do with the “old-fashioned ways” it becomes apparent that it actually matters to them – a lot!
The most surefire way to have a perfect holiday is… just kidding… you can’t. It would be more accurate to say that the way to virtually guarantee that your holiday is disappointing is to set your mind on having everything perfect. While there is often a long list of details to attend to prepare for the holiday celebration, there is one item that should be #1 on your list: Be flexible.
If your idea of a perfect holiday doesn’t involve any other people, you may be able to come close to achieving it. But as soon as you begin to add your spouse, children, relatives, friends, co-workers – basically anyone – to the festivities, you will need to become willing to bend, stretch and flex to accommodate their schedules, quirks and needs.
As the holiday season swings in to high gear, retail businesses and service organizations are likely to see a rise in the number of customers they serve each day – as well as stress levels associated with challenging customers.
The importance of excellent Customer Service cannot be overstated in today’s competitive markets. The reality is that people have many vendors, providers and merchants to choose from when making purchases, and if you want to keep them coming back to yours, you and your staff need to understand why it’s important and how to achieve it.
Let’s begin with the “Why”. Excellent customer service…
• Builds trust – According to business mogul Warren Buffet, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.”
• Is more important than price – 9 out of 10 U.S. consumers say they would pay more to ensure a superior customer experience. (Harris Interactive/RightNow)
• Builds positive brand awareness
• Reduces problems for the company
• Appeals to the customer – 7 in 10 Americans said they were willing to spend more with companies they believe provide excellent customer service. (American Express)
As you train your staff to respond to challenging customers, here are 10 principles they need to put into practice:
1. Remain Calm and Listen – You cannot intelligently or effectively respond to someone’s problem without first hearing and accurately understanding it.
2. Empathize and Sympathize – Empathy is the ability to understand and mentally share the feelings of another. Sympathy is the ability to express compassion and sorrow for someone’s misfortune.
3. Agree when possible – Agreement on an issue, no matter how small, puts you in less of an adversarial role and helps to diffuse negative emotions.
4. Remember that others may be watching – Albert Einstein
This time of year we are bombarded with messages about gratitude. Thanksgiving reminds us to literally “give thanks” for the blessings we enjoy. But I wonder how many of us really “dig in” and go beyond a quick list of people, possessions and experiences we have in our lives.
How much more grateful would you feel if you went deeper into your list? Here’s an exercise to try:
Everyone struggles with a lack of confidence at times. It is estimated that 85% of the world’s population experiences low self-esteem and consequently, low self-confidence at some point in their life.
We all know the feeling of inadequacy and incompetence. It can happen when you face a new job, new relationship, or an unknown situation. There is some comfort in knowing that you are not alone, but you don’t want to get stuck in low self-confidence because it can impact every aspect of your life. It can be at the root of disappointing friendships and love relationships, lower long-term earning potential and missed opportunities for high quality jobs and promotions. There is also strong correlation between low self-confidence and substance abuse, eating disorders, anxiety, depression, and other destructive conditions and behaviors.