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!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Essential Communication Tips for Leaders

Communication TipsOne of the most powerful skills a leader should strive to master is communication. He or she may have brilliant ideas and the vision to solve problems and accomplish daunting missions, but if the ideas and direction can’t be communicated effectively to others, the mission may produce weak results and fall short of the goal. When that occurs, low morale among the ranks usually follows.

I recently came across a list in New Man Magazine of nine principles of communication every leader should adopt. To be the kind of leader that not only gets results, but also earns the respect and loyalty of those you work with, you will want to learn and consistently apply these principles.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Julius Caesar: If Only He Had Listened to Advice

AdviceRequired reading in high school English literature class often included William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. You may recall that Brutus and his cohort had been planning to assassinate Caesar and had set up a plan to hustle him to the Senate before anyone could report the conspiracy. To quote Cliff’s Notes, “Despite the conspirators’ best efforts, a warning is pressed into Caesar’s hand on the very steps of the Capitol, but he refuses to read it.” (Emphasis mine) Caesar had been warned to “beware the Ides of March” (March 15th) but he thought he knew better. The rest, as they say, is history. Caesar might not have been so surprised at the attack if he had paid attention to advice.

You probably don’t have anything quite as dramatic as an assassination attempt in your future, but you do have opportunities, challenges and decisions that come up in life that can have significant impact – especially regrettable if you make the wrong choice.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

How to Respond to Your “Lion”

LionYou’ve probably heard the saying, “March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb.” While that traditional wisdom is meant for weather trends, I think we can stretch it to apply to some relationships as well. Do you know anyone who “comes in like a lion” – roaring and ready to devour anyone who gets in their way? Would you like to be able to hold your own when talking with them and possibly calm the situation?

Here are some tips for dealing with “lions” in your life:

Begin with yourself – your attitude, your response. Look past the behavior and see the person as a whole and valuable human being who may be acting out feelings of fear, frustration, anger, hurt or insecurity. Understand that there may be valid reasons for those feelings and try to exercise empathy. This will help you control your response when someone is coming on strong. It’s more natural to retaliate if you feel you’re being attacked, but remaining calm is essential.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Tips for Conquering Fear

FearHave you ever felt overwhelmed by an irrational fear – so much so that it prevented you from doing something you wanted to do? Believe it or not, this is a common problem faced by many people daily.

Fear has the power to hold you back from taking risks, following your dreams, or becoming successful at anything you attempt to do. If you allow it to control you for long enough, it can eventually erode your quality of life and keep you locked in a prison of inactivity and regret.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Why You Should Have More Empathy

EmpathyEmpathy is simply defined as the ability to understand and share the feelings of others. We can sometimes feel as though we already have too many feelings of our own, and that taking on the burden of feeling what others are going through will be overwhelming.

Interestingly, the opposite seems to be true. Let’s use an example most of us can relate to. You are driving to work when suddenly a car pulls out of a parking lot right in front of you, and you have to brake hard to avoid a collision. As your pulse races and you try to steady your breathing, how do you respond? Your answer to that depends largely on your ability and your desire to empathize with others.