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Thursday, June 1, 2017

Riding the Waves of Change

ChangeIf you have ever gazed at the ocean for awhile, you saw it change with every wave that came to shore. Life is like that; waves of change come along, sometimes small and sometimes gigantic, and nothing is exactly the same after that.

There is a myth in our culture that promotes the notion that people hate change. The truth is – people love change! People change their clothes, hairstyle, and favorite restaurant. They rearrange their furniture, travel to new places and do things to add variety to their lives on a regular basis.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

What Crying Babies and Strong Relationships Have in Common

Strong RelationshipsWhen a perfectly contented newborn baby hears another baby crying, it’s common for her to begin wailing as well. Now, most of us would just say, “Well, sure, I’d cry too if my ears were hurting and the noise nearby was TOO LOUD.” But studies indicate more is going on than “what just meets the ear” and that we can all learn something about EMPATHY that infants, it appears, learn very young.

When two babies begin crying in the same room, it’s not just the loud noise that causes the second baby to wail along with the first. Researchers have found it’s the sound of a fellow human in distress that triggers the baby’s crying. One New York University psychologist believes that this “reflexive” crying, as he calls it, may be a precursor to human empathy – the ability to observe the anguish or joy of another person and take it on as your own.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The Game of Success: It’s Your Move

CareerIf you’re not experiencing the success you desire in your career, what moves do you need to make in order to advance? Like the game of chess, progress toward success requires focused attention, strategy and practice.

Pay Attention:

Evaluate where you are now… and why. Have you made good or bad choices to get where you are? Are you close to your goal, but not quite there yet or are you way behind?

Decide what is working and what’s not. Are you doing the best with what you have or are you sabotaging yourself with a negative attitude, poor life choices, fear, or a victim mindset? Answering these questions takes courage, but honest answers and a firm grasp of reality are empowering.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Raising Mature, Confident Adults (or How to Avoid Messing Up Your Kids)

Confident KidsWe all have “issues” of one kind or another. Many of them stem from fears, past experiences, misunderstanding, or lack of accurate information. Many people point to their upbringing as the source of their problems today.

The truth is, no parents are perfect, and there comes a time when we have to let go of blaming all of our problems on our childhood and choose to develop the confidence to make the best of our own lives. In some cases, this may involve forgiveness of everything from not getting the toy you always wanted, to being forced to take tuba lessons to traumatic abuse. It’s an important part of growing up to finally realize that your parents may have done the best they could with what they had and knew and to begin taking adult responsibility for your adult life.

That said, maybe you can learn a few things from your past experiences that will help you avoid some of the mistakes that can potentially have a long-term negative effect on your children.

Here are few general principles that might help your kids grow up to be mature, confident adults and possibly avoid some of the challenges you struggle with:

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

What Does it Take to Be a Leader?

LeaderYou may have heard of The Peter Principle, which states that, “In a hierarchy, every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence.” Laurence J. Peter, a Canadian scholar, author and lecturer (1910-1990) wrote a book with the same title expounding on his observations about how organizations work. In a nutshell he says if you are great at your job, you will likely be promoted to a management or leadership position with a different set of skills required and languish there with little chance for real success or job satisfaction.

Before you assume you are doomed to a lifetime of misery drowning in a job you’re not ready for, let’s look at how you can prepare for greater opportunity and success in a leadership role. Competent, respected leaders usually display the following qualities:

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Do You Know What Really Makes You Attractive?

AttractiveIn his book, Be a People Person, Dr. John Maxwell identifies some of the personal characteristics that make people more attractive. He points out that it is the charismatic quality of an individual’s personality that makes them come across to others as warm, engaging and popular.

Dr. Maxwell uses the word CHARISMA as an acrostic to identify the specific traits he believes will draw the attention of others and help you improve your ability to relate well. Each of the traits in the acrostic below can be developed no matter who you are. I have added a few thoughts to Dr. Maxwell’s list to help you apply each concept to your own interactions with other people. I encourage you to commit these traits to memory and make the effort to consistently practice them in your relationships at home and work.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Raise the Bar to Elevate Your Life

Raise the BarI ran track in high school for awhile, and I loved high jumping. What excited and scared me most was knowing that I had to raise the bar if I wanted to win.  For that to happen I must have cleared the previous height, but I knew the next level would be more difficult.

During a track meet the bar was set higher than I had cleared before. On my third attempt I gave it everything I had and cleared the bar but injured my ankle, forcing me to drop out of the meet.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Spring… Into Action!

Spring comes every year and yet it never feels like the “same old thing.” There is something exciting about new beginnings, new growth and new birth. While all of nature gets a fresh start, you can too! Spring time is a great opportunity to take positive action in one or more areas of your life.

ActionSweep away old negative attitudes – For those of us who live in Southern Arizona, winter can be a welcome break from blistering hot summers, but for many people around the country it’s a season of darkness, debilitating cold and difficulty with daily activities like driving to work, loading groceries into the car or spending 20 minutes bundling up the kids so they can go outside, just to have them come in 10 minutes later because they are cold.

We all experience “winters” in our lives – times when everything is just hard. You can probably tell me about a season where you suffered loss, faced overwhelming financial strain, struggled with your health or felt fearful about what would happen next. Maybe all of the above. Maybe all at the same time. After a dark season, we can easily fall into a pessimistic pattern of assuming the worst and becoming discouraged. Sweeping out a bad attitude requires a consistent commitment to stopping negative thoughts and replacing them with optimism. I sometimes recommend that a client take action by literally saying the word “STOP!” out loud when they recognize negative thoughts creeping in. Some circumstances require a decision to make a change, but sometimes an intentional effort to reframe your thoughts can be a powerful tool to turn negativity into optimism.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

How NOT to Manage an Employee

manageAs a psychologist and executive coach, I am always interested to observe the way people demonstrate either good or bad habits in the way they conduct business. I remember well a time I was shopping at a well known chain store when I witnessed first-hand how those in leadership should NOT manage their employees.

The customer service specialist who was assisting me ran into a snag while trying to complete my transaction. After having pushed almost every button, she exhausted her personal knowledge base of solutions and had to request assistance from her store manager. By this time, it was obvious that she was feeling embarrassed and moderately anxious.

When the manager arrived he had a scowl on his face and looked put out by the request for help.  Without acknowledging his employee, or me (the customer spending money in his store), he abruptly punched some numbers into the computer, made a poorly veiled critical comment to his employee and stomped away. It was quite evident that the employee was even more embarrassed by the poor performance displayed by her “superior”.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Don’t Let Your Thoughts Fool You!

I was reading an article on the internet called the Top 100 April Fool’s Day Hoaxes of All Time and it was very entertaining. My favorite was about BBC TV conducting a prank interview with a London University professor who claimed to have created the technology to transmit odors through television. His invention was aptly named “Smellovision.” He performed a demonstration using coffee beans and onions and asked viewers to report if they detected the aromas. According to the article, numerous people reported being able to smell the coffee and onions and some even said the onion made their eyes water!

ThoughtsWe laugh at their gullibility, but we should also pay attention to the fact that our brains can play tricks on us. Sometimes we need to evaluate the thoughts we think and make sure they are based in truth and reality, because our thoughts direct our perceptions and feelings, which results in our actions. So, our thoughts play a primary role when it comes to our relationships being healthy and satisfying or contentious. They also influence our potential for success on the job, our health and our overall well-being. It’s worth a look into our thoughts!