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Archive for category: Life Balance

Gratitude and Mindfulness

Gratitude and Mindfulness

Wishing you and yours a very safe and Happy Thanksgiving Holiday

Gratitude – a feeling of thankfulness or appreciation.

Mindfulness – paying attention to the present moment.

I wanted to share a few takeaways from a recent Mindfulness Lecture I attended featuring Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn, hosted by the University of Minnesota’s Center for Spirituality & Healing. It seems especially appropriate to share some of those highlights during this week’s Thanksgiving Holiday here in the U.S.

Over 2,000 people were in attendance at this Mindfulness lecture. 10 or even 5 years ago there would not have been a full auditorium.

There is great potential in this mindfulness movement; the time is now.

joyHow much are we really living the life that is ours to live?  We seem to be always trying to get out of this moment to find a better moment; we’re conditioned this way.

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.
Henry David Thoreau

How many moments do we let slip away?

We can’t stop breathing.  We can’t stop our heart beating. In a very real way, there’s no end to a mindfulness practice.  Breathing is just one way to drop into the fleeting, present moment, as is noticing the beating of your heart.  It’s about the awareness that is an intrinsic part of our being.

We can test our mindfulness throughout the day by asking 3 questions:

1.  What am I doing in this moment?
2.  Is my mind on what I’m doing?
3.  Am I happy in this moment?

Most people polled were doing things halfheartedly; they weren’t fully engaged.  If you can’t be present for yourself how can you be present for another, take in the world or make wise decisions?  It’s not a luxury to create Mindfulness.  It’s an old tradition that is the most sophisticated psychology on the planet.

The more UnPresent you are, the more UnHappy you are.

Now that we’re attached to our mobile devices we’ve become perpetually addicted, it’s like we always want to be somewhere else.  A supercomputer in our purse or pocket, what a concept!  Rather than being mindful we’re looking for that next adrenaline or dopamine hit that seems so satisfying, yet is fleeting.  Having our devices so accessible destroys the depths of conversation because no one is being present.

Your creativity, intuition and imagination are all sitting right inside the multi-dimension of right now.  If we were trained in Mindfulness in kindergarten we would be cultivating a deep awareness that’s much deeper than thinking.  Inside each of us is vast open heartedness, spaciousness – sharing the same space of the world.

It’s simple, not easy.  Exercise the muscle.

Tomorrow morning when you wake up, take a few extra moments in bed lying down and see if you’re fully awake.  Let your mind and your attention scan your body from head into your toes and heels and feel your body being breathed.  Rest in awareness, an awareness that’s so big and so spacious, it’s wakefulness.  These are perfect moments to linger and be fully awake before you get out of bed.

A real mindfulness practice is how you move throughout your day from moment to moment; full presence with others at home and at work. You can have thoughts, just don’t get so attached to them.

We are completely connected with the planet, cycles, and with each other. We are beginning to transfer science from mind/body to larger society and planetary levels. We are these miraculous human beings who don’t know it yet. Find wise ways of being in touch.

Just be present. Just be with and love rather than fix or judge.

There is major research and programs in 4 areas:
1. Healthcare.
2. Education.
3. Business/Corporate.
4. Criminal Justice.

We need a thousand different ways to address issues currently happening in our society.  Consider practicing mindfulness rather than mindlessness.

Let’s not miss out on the most important dimensions of our own life.

Color Your Work Environment for Success

Color Your Work Environment for Success

One measure of our professional state of mind is what I like to call our workday vs. non-workday preference barometer. I define this as one’s level of hope or dread of workdays compared to Saturdays, Sundays, vacation and holidays.

Many of us have had days we weren’t exactly looking forward to, and when we feel stressed or anxious on days we have to be our best professional selves, that more often than not, is an indicator.

Gallup survey last summer found that the “40 Hour Workweek” had grown to 47 hours for most professionals.  What does that mean?  One scenario is that if don’t enjoy our time when we are working, we are spending more than 10 years of our lives unhappy.

Here are a few ideas to consider implementing into your work environment.

Change up the environment

Our physical environments impact our physiology and this affects our thinking and energy flow. Refreshing our office space can inspire creativity and new perspective. A simple yet effective change we can make is to consider a fresh coat of paint on the walls. Colors in our environment play a role in our mood, productivity and job performance. Colors can affect how we feel which impacts how we think and what we, and our teams, are able to accomplish and produce. Check out this guide to choosing the right paint and décor color to support a healthy business.

Let in some natural hues

Living and working in high-rises, driving in our cars, or riding on public transportation are keeping us all cooped up and are limiting our time spent in green spaces and in natural sunlight.  You might consider adding plants to your office space and making a conscious effort to increase your exposure to natural light. If you can’t raise the blinds on the windows or there are none near you, consider taking your lunch on a patio or take regular walks outside. You could also check out your options to having an outdoor meeting once a week and bringing in some plants from this list.

Shades of Strategy

We can often forget to pay attention to what’s driving our business plans even more so than forgetting to notice the color of the walls around us.  Our professional and/or business strategy must be top-of-mind for us and it also needs to include the right mix of what will challenge and inspire us every day. If it’s been a while since you really considered your most important professional goals and how to achieve them, make time to consider if they need to be brightened up a bit.

Our professional lives take up a great deal of our energy and time. Break out a color wheel and your green thumb and help yourself to a colorful world that excites you every day.

Cultivating creativity in 10 minutes

Cultivating creativity in 10 minutes

It’s 8 a.m. on a typical work week. A steaming cup of coffee, tea or boosting breakfast beverage sits nearby like a private, tiny cheering section. You choose your favorite writing utensil and writing pad, or you open your computer and see that each of the programs you need to complete are the projects lined up at the top of your list. You stretch. Rub your face and then stare blankly at the page waiting for creative inspiration to strike you.

Many of us get in the habit of playing a creative hurry-up-and-wait game once or more per week when we sit down at our desks and know that now is the time to bring the best of what we have to offer to our work.

We may enjoy living in a time with fewer boundaries and the ability to create dynamic functions of our own design; however, managing and encouraging creativity can be a personal and professional challenge for each of us.  And we realize that creative thinking is required at every level within companies and organizations.

In my work, I’ve found that creativity is like many talents and skills, the more you understand and practice the better you can leverage your creativity how and when you need it. With time, sharing and exemplifying proven practices with others can also help develop a group of truly creative minds that naturally support each other in a synergistic creative process.

Two important factors that are most likely to influence creativity are our physiology and our state of mind. It may not be a surprise to find that these two factors directly influence each other.

When we find ourselves stalled out problem-solving or generating new ideas, it’s a good indicator that we might need to check-in with our bodies. Our energy might flow better if we step away, take a 5 minute break (this is when MBWA is especially useful!) complete an abbreviated workout, change our posture, etc.

The benefits of changing your physical energy may be just what your mind needs to break into some major new creative thinking or to formulate the last missing piece of your ‘memo’ puzzle.  If not, take 5 minutes to get centered, clear your mind, let go of any attachment, and remember to breathe.  You might also consider putting on music or checking in with a friend or colleague who tends to be uplifting.  ‘Water cooler’ conversations can be a great way to spark creative ideas and flow by the time you’re back at your desk.

Most often these techniques can clear the fog and bring back the creator vibes in 10 minutes or less. You might consider making them a regular practice to help keep the good vibes ever flowing.

If you’re looking for more help to loosen up your creative juices, check out these 7 Types of Creative Blocks and What to do about them.

WANTED:YOU- Immediate Availability to Begin Living Your Best Life

WANTED:YOU- Immediate Availability to Begin Living Your Best Life

These days life seems to come at us faster than ever before. We are expected to make quick decisions, be responsive, and keep up to speed on the ever-increasing amount of information and technology. Yet while we are trying to shave seconds off our schedules, are we missing the big picture?

Our colleges and universities report that 50-70% of students will change their major at least once and most will change 3 times before completing a degree. Even when settling on an area of study and graduating, only 27% will actually have a job in their specific field of study.

There are several key decision points along your career and life path. Connecting with your life’s purpose will help you navigate toward your innermost desires.

Here’s how:

1). Listen to your Gut

It may sound cliché, and the reality is that when something gives you life and more energy, keep moving in that direction. If a person, project or path seems to be draining you, move away from the source. The more you listen to your inner voice and hone in on your true calling, the louder and clearer your purpose will become.

2). Look for Trends

Give your gut a little help by employing some brain power. If you look over the major events in your life when opportunities arose at just the right time, maybe there were common trends and themes that began to emerge? Give these “coincidences” a little more credit, especially when these themes are beginning to align with a successful path towards your purpose.

3). Ask the Universe for What you Want

Meditate on having your purpose revealed to you and stay the course. Express gratitude for each area of learning that you visit. Making this meditative process a part of your routine will keep you close to your purpose every step of the way.

4). Practice makes Purpose

Along with the meditative practice to bring you into harmony with your purpose, a commitment to pursue your purpose ritualistically will ensure that you have a practice of focus for your life’s purpose. This is similar to compounded interest and will grow and multiply over time.

Remember to go back to #1 and stick with what feels right;and don’t let life’s obstacles and challenges get you off course – they’re simply there as part of the game of life.

These steps may have you thinking and generating vibes that will bring you even closer to your purpose. Don’t be surprised if you begin gaining momentum at a surprising rate.

Green is in Fashion

Green is in Fashion

It’s wonderful to see how so many companies are taking a green approach to their businesses. We’ve talked in previous blogs about how more companies see that having a social consciousness program helps their bottom line. At BBD, we are inspired to see how more and more companies are creatively inspiring green tactics that are far reaching and becoming critical to the literal and figurative fabric of the company.

Eileen Fisher is a privately held company whose brand goes back to 1980’s. The company is known for its simple designs and creative marketing. Since the early 2000’s the company has been making green programs as vogue as their clothing and has added social consciousness to its reputation. The company follows Social Accountability International (SAI) SA8000 standards to ensure social accountability in the work place. The majority of the cotton in their clothing is organic and colored with chemical free dies.

In 2011, the brand began an effort to keep clothing out of landfills as well as provide a funding source to support causes for which the company has a passion. Green Eileen was the eventual product. The program takes in “gently worn” Eileen Fisher clothes, gives donors a $5 gift certificate per item and resells them with all proceeds going to nonprofit groups that have a mission of empowering women.

For Eileen Fisher, sustainability is a way of doing business and it’s been hugely successful. The history of this brand shows that when social consciousness becomes a part of your culture, the answers to what were once tough questions become more and more obvious.  We see many brands and companies demonstrating that cradle-to-cradle processes like the Eileen Fisher model are not only possible, they can be a part of valuing business success.

At BBD, we support companies in reaching their goals for social impact and believe that 100% sustainability is possible. We are here to help you begin making a shift that will show your clients that you and your company have sustainable style.

Staying Sane During the Holidays

Staying Sane During the Holidays

Staying Sane During the Holidays – Is It Even Possible?

This is such a busy and exciting time of the year. The parties, the travel, the gifts, the cooking, the decorating – oh and you need to fit running a business or going to work in there somewhere.

Sometimes the Season of Giving can quickly become the Season of Overdoing.

How do you create a holiday season that is full of joy?Happy Holidays

Even for me – this year our holiday is completely different. With both of my kiddos living out west, we had to change up our holiday tradition. That means we are celebrating three weeks early! Yikes!

If there was ever a year that I needed to create a sane holiday – it is this one!

Here’s the Keeping the Holidays Sane List I came up with:

1. Reduce the Stress

Typically stress is caused by overdoing or having a to-do lists a mile long. Let’s face it, even when it isn’t the holiday season – we all have huge lists of stuff that needs done. This year get rid of the stuff that isn’t necessary. Do you really need to send out 200 holiday cards? Do you really need to bake 10 dozen cookies? Take a red pen to that list and cross off what isn’t a must do.

2. Slow Down

Regardless of how busy the day is, be committed to slowing down for a few minutes. Meditate, pray, go for a walk – just take a breather or two to ground yourself and regroup.

3. Stop the Comparison

This time of year it is easy to be a perfectionist or to try and keep up with the Jones’. Keep this part of the holidays in check. Is it really necessary to start the Elf on a Shelf? Do you need to have 1000 lights up outside to outshine the neighbor?

4. Laugh Often

Laughter is the best medicine, so even when the going gets tough – take time to laugh each and every day!

5. Get to the Heart of What Really Matters

What do the holidays really mean? What is important to you? Spend time with those that you love. Give back to those in need. And most of all take the time to enjoy what you have in your life. I promise that next year – you won’t even remember what kind of bows were on your presents 🙂

Here’s to your sanity!

5 Steps to Improve Your Time Management and Avoid Distractions

5 Steps to Improve Your Time Management and Avoid Distractions

5 Steps to Improve Your Time Management and Avoid Distractions

Staying Focused Is Time Management for the Important Things in Your Life

staying focusedMost everyone is aware of how difficult it can be staying focused.  With all the distractions around us, whether it’s the numerous interruptions caused by  technology, your family’s needs or your finances; not to mention your health, relationships and many other areas of your life – it is a miracle that we get anything done!

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Attaining Life Balance

Attaining Life Balance: Coach Help Me!

 Looking for advice on finding life balance?

life coachIn today’s world, you may often hear people talking about life balance, or about where to find the balance. What does balance look like? Is it possible to find it? Or is balance a place that is created in our minds, but not really achievable?

This week especially, has really forced me to focus on balance.  I can feel it starting to swing a bit too far to the other end of the pendulum.  I’ve noticed this happening in my clients’ lives too.

Let’s attempt an experiential approach to balance.

Stand up – yes stand up! Now BALANCE on one foot, for as long as you can.

What happened? Were you standing strong and grounded? Were you wobbly; doing your best to adjust your balance? Did you almost tip over?

Here are two important ideas around balance so you can attain it:

  1. Balance is different for everyone. What looks unbalanced to you, can be completely in balance for someone else. If the balance exercise occurred in a room full of people trying to stand on one foot, each person would look unique. The same thing happens in life. What you need for balance in your life is unique to you.
  2. Life balance does not mean equal. In life, balance does not mean that everything is equally divided. Even while you stand on one foot, there are times when you need to make adjustments. Balance changes on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. Some days will be wobbly and unsure, and some days will be strong and steady.

Finding your balance can be difficult, especially in today’s fast world of never-ending gadgets and instant gratification. Everything is moving so fast that it can be easy to get out of balance and sometimes not even notice.

The good new is: The only person who has control over your balance is YOU. No other person is capable of providing you balance!

The bad news is you need to recognize the signs when you are out of balance. You also need to recognize when you need help.

Common signs for feeling out of balance include:

  • Racing Thoughts
  • Exhaustion
  • Short Temper
  • Lack of Focus
  • Anxiety
  • Overwhelm
  • Frustration

Because life is so busy, it can be difficult to see the warning signs.

Recognizing them requires a daily self check-in; preferably during the morning before your day gets hectic. Take five or ten minutes and ask yourself “how am I doing”, “what do I need” and “what am I going to do about it”. Follow your inner voice and include the ‘nudge-nudge’ into your day.

If you can’t take the time for your daily check in, chances are pretty high that your life is already a little out of balance. If you find yourself feeling this way, maybe we should talk?