What, ME Worry?!

Photo by Helena Cook on Unsplash

Check out John Parrott’s excellent post, The Ultimate Guide To Stress Management – an impressively comprehensive and well-sourced look at the topic at hand…like his many other posts at RelaxLikeABoss.com.

Look at all he covers:

1. What Is Stress?
2. What Are The Symptoms Of Stress?
2.1. Physical Effects Of Stress.
2.2. Emotional Effects Of Stress.
2.3. Social Effects Of Stress.
3. Why Do We Feel Stressed?
3.1. ​Leading Causes Of Stress.
​3.2. Other Causes Of Stress.
4. Benefits Of Stress.
​​​​4.1. Positive Stress.
4.2. Enhanced Memory.
4.3. Motivation.
4.4. Resilience.
4.5. Caring For Others.
5. The Dangers Of Stress.
5.1. Heart Problems.
5.2. Anxiety.
5.3. Digestion Problems.
5.4. Suppressed immunity.
5.5. Different Gene Expression.
6. How To Manage Stress.
6.1. Change Your Mindset.
6.2. Exercise.
6.3. Take Time To Relax.
6.4. Meditate.
7. Negative Ways To Manage Stress.
7.1. Ignoring The Problem.
7.2. Drinking & Smoking.
7.3. Avoiding Others.
7.4. Dwelling On The Negative.
7.5. Emotional Eating.
8. Tips For Managing Stress.
8.1. Get Some Sleep.​
8.2. Try Relaxation Techniques.
8.3. Keep A Stress Diary.
8.4. Learn How To Manage Your Time.
8.5. Say No To Unimportant Tasks.
8.6. Treat Yourself.
8.7. Listen To Soft Music Or ASMR Videos.
9. Stress Management FAQs.
9.1. How Do I Cope With Stress?​
9.2. How Can I Make Stress My Friend?​
9.3. How Can You Stop Stress?
9.4. How Does Stress Affect The Brain?​

The infographics, alone, are worth a look-see.

Given that 79% of people regularly experience physical symptoms of stress – and all the ineffective (and negative) ways we try to cope – if you learn even one thing that helps, you’ll be ahead of the pack – although, frankly, I’ll be surprised if you don’t learn a whole lot more than that. I know I did.

So go. See. Read: The Ultimate Guide To Stress Management. You’ll be glad you did.



Leadership Move #15: Be Bolder

Image Source: Pixabay
Here are seven leadership moves to help you be bolder, more easily:

  1. Purposefully Push The Envelope –
    Show what you’ve got…and to see what happens. You can always apologize (mop up?!) later if someone thinks you went too far. (Remember: You have been given leadership responsibility for a reason – so lead.)
  2. Be More Visible –
    Let them get to know who you really are and what you really stand for. People, at all levels, are going to form their opinions about you, anyway, so you might as well have a say in what they decide. (Always participate. If you don’t provide input at the meetings you attend, you are actively diluting your brand – whether you think so or not.)
  3. Keep Focused On What People Are Counting On You For –
    Be relentless in delivering EXACTLY that…up, down, and across the chain. (Knowing your entire business, not just the part you’re responsible for, provides great clarity in knowing exactly what that ‘exactly’ is.)
  4. Take A Stand –
    Get passionate about possibilities…especially with peers and superiors. Let them know you’re alive, engaged, and ready to make some magic happen. (Volunteer and seek out special projects you believe in, as well.)
  5. Jump In Sooner, Rather Than Later – You don’t always have to wait for everyone to stop talking before saying something…learn how to interrupt politely. (It’s not always rude to intrude. Watch any good tv interviewer to learn how. Watch any lousy tv interviewer to learn how NOT to!)
  6. Innovate Through Experimentation – Dare to try new things. Don’t be afraid to fail…you’ll get more mileage from applying your Lessons Learned on subsequent problems and opportunities than you will from just dutifully taking the safe route. (Even a small scale pilot or test program can provide surprising value, regardless of its outcome.)
  7. Enjoy Yourself –
    People want to work with people who want to work. So help them realize that you want to work by showing them how much you enjoy the work you do…even if it isn’t always the case! (Modeling enthusiasm and effective ‘mood management’ are very powerful leadership techniques. Show ’em how.)

When you’re bolder in your interactions with others – they’ll respect you for shaking things up…and they’ll see you as someone capable of even greater things.

A word of warning, though: Be sure to do so RESPECTFULLY, though. Otherwise, you’ll likely be seen as more of a liability than a potential asset.

 


You Are More Than Just That One Slice

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Who here, among us, ‘defines’ themselves in terms of their ‘weakest’ parts? I know I do. Sometimes, anyway. More than certainly serves me, I’ll say.

Which is why I’ve been recently thinking about the labels we give ourselves – and others, for that matter. Smart. Dumb. Introverted. Extroverted. Me. You. Us. Them.

Why do we do that? What purpose do they serve?

Labels Simplify Our Worldview

Life’s complex. So if I can simplify it, in any way – like reducing the intricacies of an entire human being down to one single word – well, that’d be helpful, right? Efficient, maybe, but not necessarily helpful.

Indeed, the more we get to know about someone – including ourselves – the harder it is to label them accurately. We’re all more than just one thing and any one label we use will likely mask all sorts of other attributes they help to define us – and others – more accurately.

Labels ‘Complexify’ Our Worldview

It’s ironic, but true. the labels we use to simplify things often end up inadvertently complicating them – especially when we choose labels for ourselves that make us feel ‘less than’ and ‘not enough’.

Think about the language you use to privately describe yourself If you’re like most, there’s at least one part of yourself that you feel a little shame about. Don’t fret, it’s natural.

My point is that whatever words or terms you use to describe yourself in that way is a bad idea.

You see, labeling your WHOLE-self based on any particular ‘lesser’ part is not only inaccurate, but it’s doing your self-esteem a grave disservice – the WHOLE of you is, indeed, much, much more than just that one slice of the pie.

“Smart, Capable, AND Learning”

I won’t try to convince you to stop labeling yourself. (Not sure I could.) But if you’re going to give yourself a label, at least make it one that doesn’t deflate your esteem.

According to Nathaniel Branden, author of The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem, self-esteem is:

  1. confidence in our ability to think, confidence in our ability to cope with the basic challenges of life; and
  2. confidence in our right to be successful and happy, the feeling of being worthy, deserving, entitled to assert our needs and wants, achieve our values and enjoy the fruits of our efforts.

“With high self-esteem,” he writes, “I am more likely to persist is the face of difficulties. With low self-esteem, I am more likely to give up or go through the motions of trying without really giving it my best. The value of self- esteem” lies not merely in the fact that it allows us to feel better but that it allows us to live better – to respond to challenges and opportunities more resourcefully and more appropriately.”

I’ll be writing more about self-esteem in the near future. In the meantime, though, let me suggest that you go order a pizza and think about what this means to you.

“You better cut the pizza in four pieces
because I’m not hungry enough to eat six.”
– Yogi Berra

 

 


Geeking-Out As A Coach

ICFadvance2016Great people, plenty of thought-provoking content, deep personal growth – a total ‘geek-fest’!

Last week I attended the “Science of Coaching” conference hosted by the International Coach Federation – the membership organization that manages coach credentialing and has designated me a Master Certified Coach (MCC) for the last 9 years (and the next 3, as well). For me, the coach, this was he epitome of personal AND professional development. Loved it!

Sure there were things about the conference that could’ve been better. That is, more relevant for particularly me. But as I’m sure you already know, the value derived from a conference largely depends on your intentions. Want to hate it? It’ll be there for you. Want to love it? Same. The choice, as we say, IS a choice!

So I chose to embrace its potential. (How very coach-like of me, right?!) And I profoundly benefited.

Great People

The conference sold-out quickly, and coaches from all over the world – from 17 different countries, I think someone said – attended the event in Tempe, Arizona. (Kudos to The Marriott at The Buttes – a truly stunning venue.)  I got to meet, and speak with, colleagues from the North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia. All so different, yet strikingly similar. I even got to meet my own coach for the very first time! (We’ve been working, by phone, for the last 3½ years, but had never actually met, in person, before.)

Plenty of Thought-Provoking Content

There were three main content areas of the conference:

  1. coaching presence
  2. creating awareness
  3. team coaching

Ironically, I haven’t yet sat down to review my notes, yet – I pretty much filled an entire spiral notebook. Nor have I reviewed the dozens of photos I snapped to capture the more salient PowerPoint slides I saw. But that will all happen soon enough. Suffice it to say, though, that since I’ve been back, every single coaching conversation I’ve had so far has been somehow enriched or informed by a reference to what I learned while in Tempe. And I suspect that will continue for the foreseeable future.

Attending the conference also afforded me the opportunity to earn more than 35% of the continuing education credits I need for my next MCC renewal (in 2019), which was an added bonus and makes perfect sense!

Deep Personal Growth

Yes. Deep. Personal. Growth. Curious? Just ask. I’m happy to share and discuss in a more private forum. (Hey, the Internet doesn’t need to know EVERYTHING, alright?!)

What About YOU?!

Have you you attended a professional development seminar yet this year? What relevance did have to your personal development, as well? Not much, you say? The value derived from a conference largely DOES depends on your intentions, now, doesn’t it?!


What Causes A Leader’s Paint To Chip?

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Here are 10 reasons why leaders make things unnecessarily complicated for themselves and those they work with…

  1. Too many leaders don’t handle conflict particularly well – What is leadership, after all, but the ability to get smart, capable people to want to to stop working on their priorities and work on yours, instead? And that, my friends, is often all about conflict.
  2. Too many leaders think that leadership is only about managing ‘down’ the chain – But try getting something truly meaningful done without the full, ongoing support from your boss, peers, and others inside (and out) of the organization. In all probability, you can’t. Not if it’s something really worth doing, anyway.
  3. Too many leaders fail to hold themselves accountable as they would others – Sure, they may think they do, they may even pretend they do, but we know differently. We see differently, don’t we?
  4. Too many leaders don’t give nearly enough attention to their own leadership skills – Leadership development doesn’t happen by osmosis, it takes both intention and attention. As it says on my business card, “Becoming a better leader is an intentional activity.”
  5. Too many leaders fail to connect their actions to their company’s core business metrics – Sure, they’re busy, but what are they really achieving that’s above-and-beyond the basic responsibilities of the job?
  6. Too many leaders insist they don’t have time to further educate themselves – The latest Wall Street Journal tagline really nails it: “People who don’t have time make time to read The Wall Street Journal.” Too, there’s always Leadership Haiku, my book. It’s my attempt to creatively, engagingly, and thought-provokingly demystify the art, science, and practice of exemplary leadership – 3 lines and 17 syllables at a time.
  7. Too many leaders measure their success with the wrong criteria – Money? Power? Prestige? Sure. But how much fun are they having? How aligned is what they do with their core values? How grateful are they to be able to truly make a difference in other people’s lives? How physically, emotionally, creatively, and courageously fit are they? And, of course, how vibrant are their relationships at home and outside of work?
  8. Too many leaders work on the wrong things – I call it ‘productive procrastination’, when we confuse the work we happen to be doing with the work we really need to be doing. Similar, maybe, but more often than not, decidedly different. (Examples: Catching up on your emails during a conference call, instead of actively contributing; firefighting the latest surprise news instead of creating channels to learn about the priority changes being considered.)
  9. Too many leaders rarely say anything interesting enough for people to even want to follow their lead – Years ago I heard a great description of middle managers: “Store and forward devices, with filters.” Anyone who just apes the company line without first making sense of it is missing a huge leadership opportunity.
  10. Too many leaders are not resilient enough – Stress is a non-optional part of most jobs, but how we handle stress, and the strain we do or do not feel as a result – that is, our hardiness, resilience, and ability to manage crises – can most definitely be learned and better managed.

What to DO about this?

If you recognize any of these affects in the leaders around you, buy them a cup of coffee (or a beer) and engage in a little downtime. Just getting to know them a little better can go a long way. Why? Because people are sometimes so stuck in their roles that they forget to be human and increasingly isolate themselves, from others, which further exacerbates the dysfunction. But when someone reaches out to them, there’s often a wonderful humanizing effect that kicks in. It’s worth trying to help make that happen.

If, on the other hand, you’ve started to recognize some of these attitudes and behaviors in yourself, buy yourself that coffee or beer – yes, you’ll want to do something about your ‘peeling paint,’ but you also deserve to celebrate this important moment in your self-awareness, too.

Cheers!