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Archive for category: Life Balance

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?

Put Down That Cape!

It is time that someone lets you know: There is no need to be a superhero!

super businessmanYes, it is time to lay down your cape!

What does that mean? It frees you up from doing it all!

You don’t need to be everything to everyone. Seriously, this mentality will quickly send you spiraling out of control – to a place of frustration, resentment, and mediocrity.

Regardless of whether or not you are a Type A personality that likes to have control over everything, or you just don’t like to say, “no”, finding a way to focus on what makes you shine and letting go of the rest will improve your quality of life and your quality of work.

5 Simple Tips on Saying “No”

1. Practice saying the word, “no”. Okay, so you don’t really need to practice it, but realize it is okay to actually say it! The world will not end or stop rotating because you said “no”. You are always at choice–it is in your control.

2. Look at your priorities. Before taking on a new challenge or project, be sure you do a check-in with your current priorities. What do you want to happen over the next 30 days? Is this new project in alignment with your longer-term goals?

3. Notice your reaction. If you are presented with a new project or option, and if your response is not a ‘Heck Yes’ response, then table the option for the future. It is okay to say that “‘right now’ is not the ‘right time’”.

4. No need for long explanations.  There is no reason to give a long explanation on why you are saying “no”. You don’t need to provide a detailed response. Sometimes when you try to over explain, it actually makes you look less confident. Stand strong in your “NO” – period.

5. Provide alternatives. If you really struggle with saying no, it is okay to provide alternatives instead. For example, if someone is interested in working on a project or joint venture with you and it is not an option for you, provide other leads or suggestions as a courtesy.

The funny thing is, the more you are able to say “no”, the more you look like the superhero! You are able to stand out and shine in what you are great at doing. You are in total alignment with your work and your strengths. Really! Don’t believe me? Give it a try.

Go ahead, what are you going to say “no” to this week?  Share with us below.

Work Life Balance

Work Life Balance

As business professionals, we know that the strength of an organization depends on good leadership, strong practices and focused effort.  Just as important, is the time awork life balancend dedication you apply to your health, well-being and life success. I like to call this the Business of Living. Today’s blog post guides you in how to clarify, measure and maximize success in work life balance.

Together in a coaching relationship, my clients and I create systems or processes in order to build a strong foundation first.  As they take a leadership role in their life, they begin to live a life of integrity – a life that makes a powerful contributions to themself and to others. A new self emerges with increased confidence, inner peace, happiness and the ability to attract greater opportunities for work life balance.

The Leadership Principle I’d like to share with you today is the Life Mastery Process.

There are four cycles to this process:

1. Self Awareness : The #1 indicator of success and happiness.

It’s the core of who you are – your needs, values, interests, beliefs, behaviors, attitudes, talents, habits, experiences, etc.  This identifies your current state and determines where you want to go with your life.

2. Strategy/Structure:  Accountability.

This is about managing your progress with goal setting, boundaries, priorities, visualization, journaling, affirmations and other success practices that help you achieve your desired state.

3. Behavior Change: Creating changes that become automatic.

New behaviors might be setting boundaries, adding value, being present, managing your self talk, living with an attitude of gratitude, etc.

4. Results/Learning: What’s working and what isn’t?

As you experience change, you begin to apply what you’ve learned, further increasing your self awareness, and the cycle continues  – similar to the circle of life.

There are so many things in life that are competing for your time and attention.  If you don’t make a conscious effort to control your focus, and decide in advance what’s most important to you – you’ll be so pulled by the demands of the world that you will soon find yourself living in reaction, rather than enjoying a work life balance plan that’s designed specifically for you.

Remember: The first secret to creating change is awareness; becoming aware or conscious of what you’re doing allows you to make empowering choices.

Before coaching, many of my clients had struggled for years without finding success on their terms.   After coaching, clients have finally achieved their success by using the tools and resources provided in our coaching relationship. If work life balance is a MUST for you, start by contacting Joy at 952.471.2567 for a complementary private work life balance consult.  And similar to many of Joy’s clients, you’ll be living and loving, your work life balance dreams.

5 Proven Relaxation Techniques

5 Proven Relaxation Techniques

Let’s face it – being a leader can be stressful, and I’ve certainly noticed it show up as a common conversation during coaching yoga:breathingsessions. It seems that many people have been conditioned to believe that we must work hard to be successful. When in reality, many times hard work just creates a hectic and unmanageable life, which equals high risk/low rewards.

If you’re not aware of how you ‘do stress’, then how can you change or reduce it? You may be thinking that you already know the stress drill…heart races, palms sweat, shallow breaths, thought processes get jumbled, and so on.  And yet, sometimes you’re in such a pattern of stress that you don’t even notice the physical side effects.

We all get stressed out sometimes, but if it feels like stress seems to rule your days, it’s time to do something about it.  Below are five relaxation techniques that just might work for you the next time you have an impending deadline or full blown crisis, or are just plain tired or irritable.

  1. Breathe.  Change shallow, quick breaths to relaxed breathing. With your hand on your lower abdomen, count slowly as you breathe in and out, feeling the breath moving.  Counting your breaths can help you to focus on deep breathing.
  2. Physiology.  Move your body!  Even if it’s just for a few minutes of walking around or drinking a glass of water or stepping outside for fresh air.  When you’re in motion, your emotions are in motion too, helping to reduce stress and improve your mood.
  3. Calming thoughts.  Calming thoughts probably won’t come very naturally to you during a stressful situation.  When you’re ‘doing stress’, it’s difficult to be resourceful in the moment.  Plan ahead.  Prepare a list ahead of time, of all the thoughts that are calming for you: thinking of a loved one, remembering a time when you felt calm, saying ‘relax’, having a special photo to look at, etc. Continue adding to your Calming Thoughts list, and you’ll have many options to choose from that work specifically for you.
  4. Meditate. This relaxation technique has been proven to reduce stress and improve health, not to mention focus. Five minutes at a time is a great start – focus on your breath, or listen to relaxing music.  If thoughts come through, simply observe them and let them go.  Keep it simple.  You’ll be able to meditate longer with practice.  Isn’t now the time to develop your ‘meditation muscle’?

I know stress well.  I experienced a lot of it in my corporate job.  My coach suggested I meditate – something I had never experienced before.  Wouldn’t you know, the first day I meditated – chair facing the window, office door closed – one of the manager’s walked in and said, ‘what are you doing, meditating?!’  I burst out laughing, so did he.  I’ve never forgotten my first meditation experience!  Joy

5. Download Apps.  Download apps to help you to relax; there are many to choose from.  Google ‘relaxation technique apps’ and choose the best one for you and your mobile device.

Simply paying attention to your body during stress, and utilizing any one or more of these relaxation techniques, can begin to change the pattern and will have you finding relief in no time.

Each of the relaxation techniques listed above takes five minutes or less!  It’s not a matter about not having the time to do them, it’s about creating new habits that support you in the short and long term.

What’s your preferred relaxation technique? Share below – I’d love to hear.

Looking for more ways to reduce stress? Experience Joy’s Relaxation Techniques workshop where you can familiarize yourself with a variety of relaxation techniques that really work!   Invite Joy to your company’s next Lunch ‘n Learn event!             952.471.2567

Five Myths and Truths of Time Management

Five Myths and Truths of Time Management

How much are you really accomplishing every month – 25%, 50%, 75% of what you’d truly like to accomplish?  Are thestop watch pic jpi same items on your list month after month?  That’s so tiring, isn’t it?

We can all get stuck in the trap of ‘not enough time’.  Yet we all know that we’ve got the same 24 hours, 7 days a week.  So why are some people so much better at managing their time and moving towards their goals?  Here are a few Myths and Truths I’ve discovered in my own life and the lives of those I’ve coached:

Myth #1:

I’m Already Too Busy and Don’t Have the Time.

Truth:  I’m Creative and Resourceful and Will Find the Time.  Turn your self talk around, rather than letting it run your life.   What you’re saying to yourself ‘behind the scenes’ is either moving you towards or away from success.  Pay attention.

Myth #2:

Long-Term Planning Is A Waste of Time.

Truth:   Long-Term Planning Gives You More Time.  When you know where you’re going, you’re more apt to get there, right?  Nowadays long-term planning means looking out no more than three to five years.  Our world is changing too quickly; a ten or twenty year plan isn’t necessarily the preferred long-term track anymore.  There, it’s easier already, isn’t it.

Myth #3:

The Best Way To Achieve Is to Just Begin.

Truth:   The Best Way to Achieve is to Plan First, Then Begin. You can be more productive with your time when you know where you’re going.  Action without planning is the source of most failures. When you know where you’re going, you can figure out how to there, with both less effort and procrastination.

Myth #4:

It’s Hard Work To Schedule Your Time

Truth:  It’s Productive To Schedule Your Time.  You want to work smart, be focused and know you’ve accomplished what’s most important, right?  Scheduling is working smarter, not harder.  After all, it takes only about three weeks to create a new ‘scheduling’ pattern.  Scheduling your calendar every week to maximize your time is absolutely worth it.

Myth #5:

I Can Do It On My Own. I Don’t Need Help.

Truth:  I Can Achieve Much More With the Support of Others. Successful people surround themselves with the support of others. When you’re in action and the activity is not a natural strength of yours, bring in the experts who do it well.  That way you can focus on what you do well.  Doesn’t the thought of that already make you feel more happy and productive? 🙂

Joy is an experienced, Board Certified Coach who has guided many people towards successful time management.  Contact Joy at 952.471.2567 and begin your successful planning today!

Don’t Burn the Midnight Oil

What can you do if you have a tendency to work too hard or too long?

(The question is written as though you may not have this tendency. I’m just being polite. If you are a leader, you often do work too hard and too long!)

The first remedy is to recognize the problem.

Listen to those who are in a position to know the difference between good, old-fashioned hard work, and over-the-top effort. You may not want to listen to someone who knows what’s happening in several soap operas or whose idea of hard work is to primarily just “think about what they need to get done.”

However, you should listen, without being defensive, to someone who is also a hard worker and who is in a position to observe what you are doing to yourself. If that person says, “You’re hurting yourself,” then stop doing that! You are likely hurting others, too. You may have a right to hurt yourself, but you certainly don’t have the right to inflict the effects of your compulsion on others.

There are some people who believe that “pulling an all-nighter” is needed quite often. This behavior is a throwback to their college days, when they spent most of their time before Final Exams being distracted by collegiate-life “recreational opportunities” (read: partying, drinking, dancing, and often more intimate socializing). At some point, usually at 10:00 p.m. the night before the test, it occurred to them that they may need to study. They carry forward this habit into their work lives and may even brag about often doing all-nighters.

These people are not real leaders.

They obviously can’t prioritize, are not sufficiently disciplined to stay on target to the task, and are not leading in a direction that others will want to follow. If you often have to pull all-nighters, you may want to re-think your desire and ability to be a leader. You have a challenge to work out of yourself. You can still become a high-quality, valued leader. You just need to focus on killing the all-nighter approach. Get ahead of the work. Place your priorities where they should be.

Sometimes brief spurts of excessive effort or time are really required.

Examples are when you’re kicking off or completing a new initiative or when a project is dangerously stalled. But occasionally, time and energy are expended just because you can. Writers are often asked why they write. My favorite response (from a forgotten author) is that, “I write because I have to.” Some leaders lead whatever they see or dream up just because they have to—they are compelled to lead. One of the characteristics of a leader is that, when faced without a challenge, the leader will make one (or more.) The leader will then add those additional challenges to the growing list of “have-to-dos” until they are buried and burned by the midnight oil. Not good. Not good at all.

Ask the “Why” questions? Why am I doing this? Why do I think I need to devote this much time and effort? Why can’t I stop?  Stay around to provide the benefits of your leadership for a long time.

Don’t burn out in the middle of the night!

Defend Your Time!

An “open-door” policy is excellent for encouraging communication and fostering relationships, but it can slam the door on your personal time management. Whether you work in an office, or a cubicle, you should be able to find some valuable tips to keep the door from slamming on your productivity clock.

Summarizing from the start—learn to say “No!”  Your time is important. Defend it!  Take control of your time by scheduling interruptions to the greatest extent possible. Plan meetings or prolonged conversations to take place during one particular time, and try to deal with all the issues at once. If your job requires frequent consultations with colleagues, schedule a specific time on your calendar.  Let it be known that you’re always available from, for example, 11:00 to 12:00 in the morning or 3:30 to 4:30 in the afternoon.

If you have a “regular” office (with a door), you can still maintain an open-door policy by keeping your door partially open. This generally signals that you are occupied with something important and will discourage some of the “social” visitors.

A technique that works well to shorten the time of the interruption is the appearance of excessive thirst. Always have a coffee or tea cup (or a needs-to-be-refilled water glass) on your desk. When you’ve decided that the interruption has gone on too long, or is no longer productive, pick up the cup, and begin to move toward the door. Your visitor will go with you.  Just like magic!

If someone asks, “Have you got a minute?” answer by saying, “Yes, but barely. Is two minutes enough or would you like to schedule a time to discuss this later?” An alternative is: “I’m tied up at the moment. Can you come back at (suggest a specific time) and we can talk about it then?”

If you can, arrange your desk and chair so that you are not facing the casual passerby. If they have to shift around to see you, they might think twice about interrupting you. Also, if possible, try to avoid having a comfortable chair, that is too inviting, right next to your desk. That’s a temptation that’s hard for the casual visitor to resist.

Open communication and contact is important to building great relationships. But your time is also important. Work to make sure that you’re not trading one for the other!

Are you stuck in an overworking trap?

Are you stuck in an overworking trap?

10803069_sIt happens all the time: executives, professionals, and business owners stuck in the trap of overworking.

Maybe it’s because of our (mostly unproven) belief we have that the more we work the more successful we will become? Maybe it’s because (we think) our competition is working 10 hour days, so we need to keep up?

Whatever the reason, more and more executives and leaders are struggling with working long hours, which often leads to being overwhelmed and exhausted. And, who needs that?
If this sounds like you, you may feel like you are hanging on by a thread trying to keep up with work, family, and other pressing demands. You may even feel as though nothing is receiving your true attention.

The good news is, you can make the change and get out of the overworking trap. It’s your choice and it’s under your control! With some well-focused, sincere intentions and goals in place, you can take back the control. It starts with you setting your boundaries.

Three Steps to Setting Up Boundaries that Work

1. Decide when you will not be working. As a professional, it is almost impossible to work a traditional 9 to 5 day. However, you can decide the days and times that you absolutely will not be working. Whether you decide that after 8 you don’t work or that Sunday’s are a day-off, make the commitment to yourself and to stick with it.

2. Build a support system. There is no way that you can do everything. Whether it is at home or at the office, you need help. And, that’s okay. The key to finding help is building a support system and team you can rely on when needed. Learn to delegate tasks to this team and to give up the control for the small things so that you can focus on what’s really important.

3. Create time for self-care. A struggle for many business owners and executives is finding the time for self-care. Be sure to build this time into your daily schedule. Make time in your busy day for rest, relaxation and exercise. You need down time for your health and well being. Even if it’s just a five minute, step-away-from-your-desk—it’s YOUR time to take care of yourself.

Keep in mind as you are taking these steps that they are non-negotiable. When you put you time in your schedule, it must stay there. When you decide on non-working hours, keep them non-working. When you delegate a task, really hand it over to someone else. (The first few times are the hardest, but after that—you may decide that you really like that!)

Each step allows you to break free from the overworking trap and become more focused in your life and your work.