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Archive for category: Personal Development

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.

Leadership Independence

Leadership Independence

Few celebrations have the opportunity to teach us as much about leadership and independence as the 4th of July- when the USA celebrates our national independence.

The historical significance, the innovative leadership behind the birth of our nation, and the continued call for courageous action towards the futures of ourselves, our communities, and the companies we lead, make Independence Day an important time for reflection.

We can certainly reflect on the wisdom received from each of our leaders throughout history. Our desire to be an independent nation was driven by a certainty that we could be:

  • operating from a place of self-reliance
  • resourceful in creating a long term approach
  • demonstratingopennessand acceptance
  • adapting to an ever-changing environment

Are you taking similar approaches with yourleadership approaches?

You might consider these practices with your leadership independence:

  1. You Are Here (where the buck stops) – Being a great leader means taking responsibility and ownership by giving every situation your best-foot-forward no matter how difficult or conflicted a situation may appear.
  2. Assess Your Resources – Effective leaders take stock of what is available to them in their relationships, resources, and tools – and leverage these assets to achieve their goals and those of their organization.
  3. Be Open – Accurately assess nuances and sudden changes. It is important to put practices in place to remain open to options and new ways of doing business so we are consistently focused on the best solutions available.
  4. Encourage Others – Help your teams discover how their own independence can benefit each other and the collective team.

Leadership and independence are relevant to each other – being able to separate oneself from challenging circumstances to find unbiased solutions that benefit the greater good requires disciplined thinking and action.

Yes, these extra steps and planning may seem like additional work on an ever-growing to-do list, yet this reminds me of something Thomas Jefferson said: “The harder I work, the more luck I seem to have.”

Enjoy your Leadership Independence and have a Happy and Safe 4th of July!

A Healthy Perspective on Wellness Programs

A Healthy Perspective on Wellness Programs

Over the last 5 years, the Affordable Care Act has made Americans and their employers more aware of their position as health care consumers than ever before.  Prior to 2011, health care premiums were growing at shocking double-digit increases. Since that time, the average monthly health care premium growth has slowed to 9% as more companies are taking proactive steps to control their health care costs.  One contributing factor is implementation of corporate wellness programs.

On a conscious level, we all know that a major factor impacting health care premiums is the level of health risk of the members of an insured group – about 70% of us on a national scale. As more information has become available, as a group, we’ve extended our life expectancies and learned that lifestyle choices have a huge influence on our short and long-term health.

How can companies help start to sway our national health stats and costs toward the positive? Let’s look at an example.

Katlyn proudly lands her first “real” job after college. She has a job description, her title in the signature line of her company emails, and health insurance. Her benefits don’t stop there.

Along with being able to afford to order from something other than the $1 menu at a fast food place, Katlyn’s company has a cafeteria with healthy food options and a healthy recipes exchange board. A few times per year the company sponsors organized runs which Katlyn decides to participate in. She gets a health screen once per year that let’s Katlyn bench mark her relevant health stats, something she never even thought to pay attention to before. Katlyn gets a discount on her insurance premiums for participating. At each screen, she is reminded to wear her seat beat, limit her alcohol consumption, and to take advantage of preventive health care like teeth cleanings and annual physicals which she does.

In time, Katlyn decides to use some of her new income to buy a house. The experience is pretty stressful on top of her new job. She attends a company sponsored ‘Lunch and Learn’ on coping with the stress and makes a commitment to attend yoga classes offered at her office 3 times a week.  She likes yoga so much she joins a gym; after all she gets reimbursed a portion of the membership cost.

When Katlyn’s father passes away, she is devastated. Her manager encourages her to leverage the company’s Employee Assistance Program. Katlyn is able to process her feelings with a counselor in a healthy way, something she might never have done if she’d had to find a counselor on her own and pay out-of-pocket. In full, Katlyn’s overall health gets a major boost from these great resources readily available to her throughout her career with her company.

This all sounds great, right? Yet what would all these great benefits end up costing Katlyn’s company? Statistically, these benefits would save Katlyn’s company 20-25% more on their health care costs than companies that do not offer comprehensive wellness programs. The company will also save with lower absenteeism, lower workers’ compensation and disabilities claims, and they will reduce their recruiting costs, making a wellness program a pretty good business decision.  Katlyn will also experience lower premiums year-over-year than her friends who work for companies that don’t have wellness programs.

It might seem daunting to get a program like the hypothetic company in my example off the ground, especially if your business is just getting started. Even starting small with employee health education can begin to build momentum that will start to significantly improve the health of your employees.

BBD can help connect you with wellness experts who can work with you to develop a wellness program that suits your company’s needs; offering a step-by-step approach. Email Joy@BeyondBBD.com and let us know what you would like to see your company include in your wellness program that would make the greatest impact to a culture of wellness.

Do What Your Mother Said… especially when running a company

Do What Your Mother Said… especially when running a company

On Sunday we will honor and celebrate the moms that helped us become the adults we are today. Growing up, our moms became so familiar to us that it was sometimes easy to brush off the mom-isms.  It becomes common practice, if not a critical rite of passage into adolescence, to think our moms are just trying to meet a daily word quota. Little did we know, moms have guidance that stands the test of time and can serve us well on the playground and in the boardroom.  Perhaps you’ll remember some of them.

Pick your battles – Mom’s words might not have made sense when we were young and full of energy to get into all sorts of mischief and fight every fight. As we get older, have full plates, busy schedules, and responsibilities, our moms suddenly become very wise. The fact is mom knew all too well that there are only so many heartbeats in our lifetime and we need to spend them on what matters most: preserving our energy for the battles that we know in our gut are key and check-in with our energy-spend on the less important stuff. Find a key phrase you can use to help put the small battles behind you so you can be fresh for the big ones.

Treat others how you would want to be treated – In business how we treat our customers is the make or break practice for every company. If your customers don’t feel valued, if they feel you don’t care about their satisfaction, when they can tell you are not interested in “wowing” them, they have no reason to remain loyal to you. Thinking of your customers like the most important people in your business will ensure you are putting their needs first. If they reward you for giving them great service with their loyalty, you have a wonderfully complementary, balanced business relationship.

Be the best you that you can be – After years of hearing how special you are from mom, this statement might have garnered an eye roll. Once again, mom DID know best when she said that you were made for a unique purpose and you should own it every day. Moms can see and believe that we are capable of amazing things if we fully embrace our being. Begin each day as a leader with the certainty that you were made to contribute something that only you can. Your career will grow and you’ll definitely make mom proud.

Actions speak louder than words – You might have told mom you loved her, and cleaning your room and doing your homework showed her you did. Within companies; associates, partners, and customers watch what leaders do to see if you mean what you say. These days it’s easy to demonstrate that you backup your commitments with actions. In a world with vast digital media you can show the world that you mean what you say. Check yourself often to ensure you are following mom’s advice on this one and you’ll be known as a leader with integrity.

Since the beginning of time, moms have been preparing the next generation of leaders. So much of what our moms were trying to teach us was about having integrity and being self-aware. These are key qualities for each of us and especially important when leading and mentoring others. The lessons moms teach can help us go from toddling to team building and all the way to the top.  What were some of the lessons your mom taught you?

Please join Joy at the upcoming Meet Your Mentor event

Please join Joy at the upcoming Meet Your Mentor event

Please join Joy at MEET YOUR MENTOR at the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journals BIZWOMEN MENTORING MONDAY EVENT. The event will offer attendees the opportunity to choose from 40 mentors who are the most influential women in the community for one-on-one coaching sessions for seven minute conversations.

  • When: Monday, March 30, 2015,

8:00am-10:00am

  • Where: University of St. Thomas- Opus College of Business

1000 LaSalle Ave Minneapolis MN 55403

http://www.bizjournals.com/twincities/event/114011

Event Information

MEET YOUR MENTOR at the BIZWOMEN MENTORING MONDAY event. Join Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal on March 30th for this one-of-a-kind event that brings together women in a casual, fast-paced coaching atmosphere.

The event will take place in 43 Business Journal markets on the same day. This means at least 200+ women will be coached in every market or 10K women across America, from Albany to Hawaii.

The event will offer the opportunity to choose from 40 mentors who are the most influential women in the business community for one-on-one coaching sessions for seven minute conversations. The attendees will stand in line and wait for a particular mentor or move to the next mentor available. This will allow the attendees to network with each other while they are waiting, which is just as important as the coaching sessions. We expect every attendee to have the opportunity to meet between one and seven mentors. The quick turnaround is organized chaos which will be fast, fun and fulfilling as everyone gets the chance to meet new people and gain new insights.

2014 Mentor and Mentee Feedback:

Mentor:  “Thank YOU for giving us this opportunity. It was an energizing event, well planned and executed and I was honored to be a part of it. Much good will come of this hour and a half spent together. “ Anne Saldanha M.D., Partner, Eastern Great Lakes Pathology PC

Mentor: “As a mentor, I can definitely say I received so much more than I gave. I had the opportunity to reconnect with individuals I have not seen for years, meet new connections and learn about wonderful resources for the clients my agency works with each day.” Margo Spence, Executive Director, First Step Home, Inc.

Mentee: “Fantastic event today! I left inspired and having connected with a myriad of diverse women. Thank you for what was a unique and worthwhile event. I aspire to be on the OTHER SIDE of the table down the road…and was grateful to be a part of such a dynamic group of women.” Leigh Elizabeth Deusinger, Director, Office of Career and Professional Development, Maryville University of Saint Louis

Mentee: “From the moment I got there I could feel the high energy level. The room was buzzing with all the conversations that were going on before the event started. I was able to connect with some women business owners which is always a pleasure! You could tell each of the mentors really wanted to be a part of this event, offering valuable suggestions to everyone they came in contact with and isn’t that what it’s all about? One of the take aways for me was that women are looking for mentors and coaches. We all have ideas that need to be shared with others who might be able to guide us in different directions.”  Toni Nelson, Owner, Toni Nelson Means Business

Want to see the event in action? Click here to check out this video from the inaugural Bizwomen Mentoring Monday.

Tentative Agenda (subject to change):

8-8:30 Networking and light breakfast

8:30-8:45 Welcome and video broadcast

8:45-9:45 Speed coaching mentoring program

9:50-10:00 Closing

I look forward to seeing you there!

Joy-fully,

Joy Pecchia

Why Gratitude?

Why Gratitude?

Why Gratitude?

We are constantly hearing about the power of gratitude and that in order to live a happier life we need to be thankful. However, what does this really mean? What kind of impact might you expect when you show gratitude?

The effects of gratitude on our lives is not just hypothetical. There is actual science behind this information.

As we approach the Thanksgiving holiday here in the US, it is a time to show our thanks for all that we have. However, why is it only one day a year that we are encouraged to show our thanks? How would our lives and our world change if we made this a daily habit? So, my challenge for you is to make gratitude part of a daily practice and watch how it changes your life.

If you are wondering about what you might experience with this practice or how you can show your gratitude, be sure to review the infographic below provided by Mind Valley Academy.

12 Steps to Thrive