Category Archives: Emotions

Transform Your Words in 4 Steps

By Tony Robbins

In a previous blog post, Change your words, change your life, we talked about how our habitual emotional vocabulary shapes and controls much of our emotional experiences in life – how the labels we put upon our experience become our experience.

Today, let’s take a look at how you can transform the quality of your entire life simply by becoming conscious of what habitual vocabulary you use for negative emotions, and shifting them with words that break your patterns and provide you with new and better emotional choices.

Your assignment is very simple: Below you’ll see my 10-day challenge. I call it “Watch Your TV,” watch your “Transformational Vocabulary.” The labels you attach to your experience can transform the way you feel. Again, it’s not hard to realize that if you habitually take any intense emotion and say it’s “depressing,” it’s going to feel very different than if you say you’re feeling a little “down.” Being enraged by somebody’s reaction is very different than being a bit frustrated by their response. Saying to yourself they utterly rejected you, is quite different than they didn’t agree with your suggestion.

The real secret to transforming your life is to wake up and become conscious of the patterns that are currently unconscious and shaping the way you feel.

Ultimately the way we feel determines the quality of your life. You could have whatever you think life’s dream is—building a billion dollar enterprise or a family that totally loves and adores you—but if every single day you live with the emotions of feeling frustrated and angry, then the quality of your life is called frustration and anger—it has nothing to do with the economic opportunities you have, much less the love you are surrounded by.

The quality of our lives is the quality of our emotions.

The power of Transformational Vocabulary is its simplicity. It provides you with an immediate tool to increase the quality of your life. So here are the four steps to your 10-day challenge:

STEP 1: CHECK YOURSELF

Become conscious of the habitual words you use to describe your unhappy or distressing feelings. Begin to notice the labels you are putting on things.

If you say something like, “I’m so worried about this,” stop yourself and acknowledge that “worry” might be too strong a word. Maybe what you really are is “a little bit concerned.” Monitor your language and make sure your language isn’t exaggerating the intensity of emotions. Or better yet, consciously pick a word that would lower the negative intensity (instead of saying that you are “furious” with someone, describe yourself as being a little “irritated” or “disappointed with their reaction”).

If somebody asks you, “How’s it going?” instead of saying, “Okay,” what would be a word that might put a smile on your face to even say, that would break your own pattern? Like, “You wouldn’t even believe how I’m feeling!” with a smile, to be playful with yourself. Or a simple response like “I’m committed” or “I’m lucky” or “I’m grateful.” And then take a moment to think about what you are grateful for. We often lose sight of what’s beautiful in our life because of a few things that are out of line with our expectations.

My wife Sage is truly a master of this. Her favorite language pattern is when most people would say “S**t” she says, “Sugar doodle,” or when something really brutal happens, she’ll often say “Ooooh Boy.” Her response seems so ridiculous. It’s not that she doesn’t know how difficult things are, but her state of joy is infectious – her language patterns don’t just break her patterns, but mine and everyone’s around her as well. She truly expresses more joy and happiness than anyone I know.

STEP 2: IDENTIFY 3 NEGATIVE WORDS

Write down three words you currently use on a regular basis that intensify your negative feelings or emotions. Maybe you use words like “I’m frustrated,” “I’m depressed,” or “I’m humiliated.” Come up with alternative words that will lower the intensity of those negative emotions. Maybe instead of “depressed” you say you are “a little bit down.”

What would happen if instead of saying you feel “humiliated” you say you are “uncomfortable” with how the situation was dealt with? You can soften emotional intensity even further by using modifiers like “I’m just a bit peeved,” or, “I’m feeling a tad out of sorts.”

STEP 3: FIND 3 POSITIVE WORDS

Write down three words that you use to describe your experience that is somewhat positive. When someone says, “how’s it going?” come up with three alternative words that will amplify and intensify the positive feelings and inspire you. Instead of talking about how things are “all right,” replace those words with “incredible,” “outrageous,” and “spectacular.” What’s a positive word that if you really thought about your whole life, you could say and own congruently?

STEP 4: PICK TWO “ACCOUNTABILITY” BUDDIES

Get leverage so you follow through. Pick two key people in your life – a close friend and ideally someone you respect that you would not want to disappoint. Pull them aside and explain to them your commitment to replace two or three key words in your vocabulary.

Most importantly, give them permission if they hear you using the old word to ask you if that’s really the word you want to use to explain how you feel. For example: Let them know if you start to say, “John f’n pisses me off,” that you want them to intervene and ask you, “Do you mean John’s behavior frustrates you a bit J?”

I know this sounds ridiculous, but if you are committed, a simple reminder will get you to catch yourself and lower the intensity immediately. It will help you recognize that you have control of your own space in this moment and by simply selecting a different word, you can change the meaning completely. If you do this well, you’ll find yourself smiling while you do it, like an inside joke. But it’s impact is no laughing matter.

Or if you use a phrase like “I’m depressed,” you may want them to ask you, “Hey are you depressed about this, or are you feeling a little bit down?” Are you frustrated or fascinated by how people often respond to things? Making a commitment to make these changes to a dear friend or an important and respected colleague will give you the additional support and incentive to actually follow through and break your own patterns.

By carefully and consciously selecting the words you are attaching to your experiences and doing it for a ten-day period, you’ll find an immediate change in how you feel and this becomes positively addictive. I can tell you for those who have lived this ten-day plan, the experience can be life-changing.

Again, I know it sounds overly simplistic, but if you test it out and are diligent with it for 10 days, you’ll experience a transformation in your emotional patterns – and the emotional patterns we live are what control the quality of our life. You’ll even feel the difference in your body – a lot less pain and a lot more pleasure. Don’t you deserve to have a better quality of life? Plus when you’re in a great state, how do you treat others? The better your state, the more powerful the impact on everyone around you – your businesses, your friends, and your family.

Read the original article HERE.

Humility Casts a Wide Net

By Leading Blog

HUMILITY casts a wide net and makes possible the work of leadership. Nothing facilitates community, collaboration, and innovation like humility.

In Humility is the New Smart, Ed Hess and Katherine Ludwig define humility as “a mindset about oneself that is open-minded, self-accurate, and not all about me, and that enables one to embrace the world as it is in the pursuit of human excellence.”

Their definition encompasses the mind of a leader that will be able to lead in a changing and uncertain world. Humility is inclusive. It is inclusive of others ideas, others needs, others strengths, other contributions, and the realities that exist outside of our own head. A humble leader asks more questions and is open to more answers thus deepening the pool of resources they have to draw upon. But it requires a strength of character. As senior vice president of the NBA’s Orlando Magic, Pat Williams writes in Humility: The Secret Ingredient of Success:

    • Humble leaders are strong enough to listen to other points of view.
    • Humble leaders are strong enough to admit their mistakes and learn from them.
    • Humble leaders are strong enough to celebrate their achievements of others.
  • Humble leaders are strong enough to surround themselves with talented people without feeling threatened or diminished.

Additionally,

    • Humble people treat others as equals.
    • Humble people don’t claim to know everything.
    • Humble people are better team players.
  • Humble people are willing to set aside their egos.

Humility is the antidote to insecurity that often plagues us. A lack of humility actually drives insecurity. Humility makes your strengths productive and multiplies the strengths of others. Humility acknowledges a world beyond our own thinking and minimizes our own limitations. A good leader knows this and acts accordingly to produce the best results.

Do you have the strength to be humble?

Read the original article HERE

Freeing Yourself from Yourself

By LeadingBlog

TOM ASACKER always makes you think.

Life is not scripted but we live it as though it were. In doing so, we create boxes that we operate within without ever really seeing the possibilities. “We’re confined in mental prisons of our own creation.”

We make these scripts up or others make them up for us and eventually we come to believe them. And the problem is we think that is reality. It’s that story inside our head that keeps us from flourishing as we should—a life that moves us. We are sabotaging ourselves.

We act more like Coleridge and less like Keats. In I Am Keats, Asacker develops a metaphor for two worldviews as expressed through the poetry of two 19th century poets: Coleridge and Keats.

Keats was passionate. He was moved by his senses and imagination. Capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries and doubts, he was uninhibited, open, and without judgment.

We are conditioned – perhaps predisposed – to live in Coleridge’s worldview. Coleridge wants to predict an unknowable future. He is logic, order, control and progress. Coleridge wants you to live a productive and mistake-free life. “He is an expert craftsman, skilled in the rights and wrongs of the world, and turned on by the desire for risk aversion, accumulation and conformity.”

Neither is right or wrong but we need to be aware of the dynamic between the two or we never really live. We never see the possibilities. Knowing is safe. Being is frightening – “a dynamic dance with reality.”

But we are held captive by our beliefs—what we believe to be reality. “Here’s the thing about our beliefs. We don’t want them pointed out to us. We don’t want to have our soothing stories interrupted. We don’t want to be woken up from our script, from our reassuring routines. Otherwise, we’ll have to think. And then, heaven forbid, we may have to change.

Asacker writes, “Let go of your incessant desire to know, to predict and influence, and instead be willing to experience the mystery of the present without corrupting it with questions.”

When you allow yourself to become more like Keats, “you find yourself being pulled deeper and deeper into a process that creates serendipitous connections and refines your perceptions. Your old eyes adjust to a new world, and you become more creative and discerning.”

Experience the moment. “Your present creates the meaning of your past.”

I Am Keats is a book for our times. It is a philosophy says Asacker. “Magic, then logic. Heart, then head.” Try it.

More at: IAmKeats.com

When Emotional Intelligence and Social Media Collide at Work

By Beth Armknecht Miller

People who display high levels of emotional intelligence (eq) are hyper-aware of the impact their presence and communication approaches have on others. They are able to readily adapt their behaviors and communication styles to the situation. This issue now transcends interpersonal interactions and extends to our own personal social media communications. One improper or poorly conceived post, tweet or update can quickly turn viral and adversely impact both you and your employer.

Emotional Intelligence in Our Working Lives:

Emotional intelligence in the workplace is far more important today than it was just two generations ago. Our parents and grandparents worked in a world where manufacturing ruled the day. Workers were responsible for specific tasks, and they rarely interacted with others. They followed a process and there was very little room for interpretation.

Today’s workplace, however, is all about teamwork, cooperation, and communication. Communication is critical in all areas of business, and as technology continues to infiltrate all aspects of interpersonal communication, both verbal and written skills are extremely important.  Since so many workers depend on teams to get their jobs done, emotional intelligence is a critical factor for success. Employees at all levels—from hourly customer service reps all the way through the C-Suite—must exhibit the ability to read and react appropriately to others.

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When employees are unable to manage their emotional intelligence there can be a negative impact on your organization. And when social media is added to the mix, the impact can go viral and be more significant.

Online Emotional Intelligence is Essential

We live in a world where we can share our thoughts and opinions on social media and instantly broadcast them to the entire world.

  On one hand, social media can be used as a tool to develop thought leadership and establish yourself as an expert in your field. On the other hand, one poorly timed or ill-planned tweet, photo, comment or post can land you and your firm in a boatload of hot water.

Online self-regulation is a critical skill — and it’s a skill that not everyone has a handle on. It can be difficult to follow and keep up with social media etiquette. It is also incredibly difficult to infer tone and meaning in 140 character messages.

People are quick to react to others, and they often forget that the entire world has access to that reaction. It is critical to understand how every word “said” online can be, will be, or could be perceived by the general public. Even a small lapse in judgment can be catastrophic for your reputation or the image of your firm.

Viral Tweets have cost people their jobs, from hourly service workers all the way through corporate executives. They have also damaged corporate reputations and impacted business effectiveness.

Whether CEO or receptionist, everyone must begin to develop online skills that support success. There have been numerous examples of this over recent years in which people have lost their jobs because of a social media misstep, and because of social media, the world learned about their blunder.

Emotional Intelligence and Customer Interaction

Emotional Intelligence is not just important for internal and online communications. When you build a team of individuals who each have and display strong emotional intelligence, it will have a positive impact on customer relationships, as well.

Emotional intelligence has always been a critically important skill  for those employees who have direct contact with customers or the general public. When an employee comes face-to-face (or voice-to-voice, or even text-to-text) with a customer, they become the company to that customer. They must be able to read the customer’s verbal and nonverbal cues, they must respond in kind, and they must never, ever react inappropriately.

We all remember those interactions with a call center representative who was sympathetic to our problem even when we might have been extremely angry and frustrated. We also remember the person who was unable to handle the conflict over the phone and all of a sudden you hear crickets and then a busy signal. They have hung up on you!

Tempering your response can be a challenge when a customer is angry, hurling insults, or even telling untruths. Employees with a high degree of emotional intelligence will always know how to react in these situations without escalating the problem. They will also know how to capitalize on happy customer interactions to help strengthen and reinforce the relationship.

The Bottom Line:

We used to think of emotional intelligence strictly in terms of leadership. However, employees at all levels must be able to exhibit emotional intelligence in all types of workplace and public scenarios. When employees are self-aware and tuned in to others, productivity and customer relationships will improve. And as a leader, it is your job to identify those who are challenged with their emotional intelligence and help coach them through these challenges so they can be a more productive and effective leader.

About the Author

Beth Armknecht Miller is a Certified Managerial Coach and CEO of Executive Velocity, a top talent and leadership development advisory firm. Her latest book is, “Are You Talent Obsessed?: Unlocking the secrets to a workplace team of raving high-performers.

Read the original article HERE

Positive Psychology is Not Equivalent to Positive Thinking

By 

Last year, I officially completed the requirements of Penn’s Master of Applied Positive Psychology program. Recently, I read Morgan Mitchell’s Newsweek article, The ‘Tyranny’ of Positive Thinking can Threaten Your Health and Happiness. This article makes a fundamental error concerning the definition of positive psychology, and I wish to correct that error.

Before World War II, psychology focused on three areas: curing mental illness, cultivating high talent, and making people’s lives more fulfilling and productive. Post WWII, economic incentives shifted psychology’s focus solely to pathology. Chief among these incentives were the decisions of grant-making bodies to fund research related to pathology and the realization among psychologists that they could earn a living treating mental illness.

Seligman and others (circa 1998) first conceived of positive psychology as a “science of human strengths,” seeking to prevent mental illness by cultivating human strengths. By 2006, positive psychology was also described as “seeking to promote human potential.” Today, positive psychology uses the scientific method to study the factors that contribute to human well-being.

William James

The belief that humans can increase their well-being is not new. It can be traced back through the centuries and across cultures. Aristotle pondered a state of “being happy” (as opposed to “feeling happy”) he called eudaemonia. William James argued that our actions could lead to a state of happiness distinct from feeling happy. Seligman expressed the view that the absence of mental illness does not imply the presence of mental wellness.

The focus on using the scientific method, testing ideas and obtaining evidence before drawing conclusions, is what differentiates positive psychology from many books in the self-help section. As a result, Mitchell’s claim that a simplified form of positive psychology exists is incorrect.

Furthermore, research suggests that positive results are not limited to positive stimuli. For example, fear and anger have been shown to narrow selective attention. This effect is useful when a situation demands that we focus on a task or particular set of instructions. Additionally, the concept of post-traumatic growth is defined as a positive change which stems from a traumatic life event, generally an experience that nobody would choose.

Too much of a bad thing can be bad for you. But too much of a good thing can also be bad for you. Too much confidence can beget arrogance. Too much optimism can cause you to miss signs of danger. An overemphasis on autonomy can prevent you from seeking much needed help. None of these outcomes would be in line with Seligman’s original vision or with positive psychology as it stands today.

Researchers and practitioners of positive psychology do not consider approaches without grounding in scientific evidence to be part of positive psychology. Neither would they consider an approach that involves only positive thinking tp be part of positive psychology. Just as overcoming mental illness takes work on the part of a patient, so too does increasing one’s well-being.

It is unfortunate that Mitchell conflates self-help and positive psychology. However, positive psychology has sometimes been misunderstood as being happiology, the study of a hedonic superficial form of happiness, since at least 2006. Unfortunately, some authors who disregard positive psychology’s focus on the scientific method claim their work to be positive psychology in order to cash in on its popularity. I hope clarifying this distinction helps others differentiate between what might be positive psychology and what is not.

Read the original article HERE

The Emotion That Leads to Deception

 

Have you ever felt so angry about a specific incident that you couldn’t stop your negative feelings from spilling over into some unrelated aspect of your life? If the answer is yes, then you are far from alone. A study from Maurice Schweitzer, Wharton professor of operations, information and decisions, and Wharton lecturer and research scholar Jeremy Yip shows that anger can influence people in organizations to lie or behave deceptively in areas that have nothing to do with the original conflict.

Their paper, “Mad and Misleading: Incidental Anger Promotes Deception,” has intriguing implications for the workplace, where unaddressed anger can simmer into bigger problems for a company and its employees. Schweitzer and Yip recently spoke to Knowledge@Wharton about their findings.

An edited transcript of the conversation follows.

Knowledge@Wharton: Please give us an overview of your research.

Jeremy Yip: Our work establishes this link between feeling angry and deceiving others. Deception is a common behavior that occurs in organizations and poses a significant challenge in a variety of interpersonal interactions. For example, in job interviews, candidates may provide misleading statements in order to create a positive impression. In negotiations, negotiators will lie about their bottom line in order to claim more value.

What we investigated here was whether incidental anger — anger that’s triggered by an unrelated situation — can promote the use of deception. What we found was that people who feel angry are more likely to lie to others. We also find that when people are angry, they become less concerned about how their actions impact others. This disinhibits them to engage in self-serving deception.

Knowledge@Wharton: One of the interesting ideas in the study is that there is this free-floating anger from something else that gets transferred to another situation. Is that right?

Maurice Schweitzer: Yeah, that’s a really important point. What we study is what’s called incidental anger — anger that’s triggered by some unrelated event. You might have had an argument with your spouse and then have a meeting at work. Or you might have had a disagreement with one partner and end up meeting with a different partner. If the situation is completely unrelated, that anger should not influence our behavior. But we find that it actually does. This anger bleeds into this unrelated situation. We become more likely to engage in deception just because we were angry before, and that anger still influences and guides our behavior.

“People who feel angry are more likely to lie to others.”–Jeremy Yip

Knowledge@Wharton: Why does it lead to deception and not just hostility?

Schweitzer: What we found is that the anger, as Jeremy was explaining, disinhibits us. We become less empathetic, so we care less about other people in general. We’re now more free or liberated to pursue our self-interests. Across our studies, we find that when people feel anger, they’re really less concerned about other people. They’re not interested in retaliation or randomly harming other people. It’s really just a diminished concern for others, and the pursuit of self-interest now just gets carried away. It’s no longer checked by our empathy for others. That’s how we usually operate. When we’re feeling angry, we just care less about others. And what we find is that now the deception becomes much more likely to occur.

Knowledge@Wharton: What were the key takeaways from this study?

Yip: In our investigation, we focused on self-serving deception. These are lies that advantage the liar at the expense of a target. When people are telling self-serving lies, they’re often engaging in this calculus between what are the costs and benefits for themselves, but also what are the costs and benefits for others. What we find is that anger influences these calculations, where angry people become more focused on the benefits to themselves and discount the harm that they may cause others. That leads them to engage in deception.

Our key findings are that when you feel angry, even when it’s triggered by an unrelated situation, you’re more likely to lie. We also find, as Maurice mentioned, that angry people are less empathetic. And that disinhibits them to engage in self-interested behavior such as lying. We also found that the influence of anger on deception is unique to anger, and not to just any negative emotion. We contrasted the influence of anger with the influence of sadness on deception, and we actually found that only anger predicted deceptive behavior.

Knowledge@Wharton: I think of deception as something you precalculate, as opposed to an immediate reaction. But anger is an emotion that would make someone act quickly without thinking, so there’s a little disconnect there for me. How did that come out in your research? I know you did four studies to come up with your conclusions, right?

Schweitzer: That’s right. We did a series of studies, and in all these studies we find the same pattern. This anger is triggered by an unrelated event. You get very negative feedback or watch something that’s very disturbing. Across several different inductions, we find that this anger that’s triggered immediately does bleed into this somewhat more strategic behavior. That is, it changes our calculus. The key idea is we just become less empathetic. We care less about others, and we’re more focused on our self-interest. That narrowed focus is what guides us to exhibit this self-interested behavior, which in our case was deception. It’s unethical, but it’s also advancing our self-interest at the expense of others.

Knowledge@Wharton: It’s easy to see how that would apply in so many areas of life, politics, world relations and everything else. But in the workplace, what are the implications? And is there anything that people can do about this?

Yip: Well, we urge leaders, managers and employees to recognize that in our angry moments, we may lose our moral compass. We suggest that managers pay close attention to monitoring their employees when they notice that they’re angry. Because angry employees are more likely to cheat.

Knowledge@Wharton: Is there a propensity now in someone who is angry to do something that isn’t going good for the organization?

Schweitzer: Yes. I think as Jeremy’s pointing out, it’s important for us to recognize it’s true for us. That is, our own moral compass becomes less clearly pointed north when we feel angry. And it’s true for others. That is, other people are going to behave more strategically and in a more self-interested way and a less ethical way when they’re feeling angry. Again, it could be some unrelated trigger that has made them feel that way.

Knowledge@Wharton: Are you suggesting that there’s a benefit to developing some kind of a self-awareness in people that will benefit the organization?

Yip: I think the goal is to make employees themselves aware of their inclinations when they are feeling angry. Deception conceptualizes a cognitive process. What we’re showing here is how emotions can have a profound influence on that process. But we also want to urge leaders and managers to recognize this behavior in their employees and perhaps intervene in that. There’s other related research that shows that when people become aware that their emotions are incidental or irrelevant, that can also diminish the effects of that emotion on behavior.

“If the situation is completely unrelated, that anger should not influence our behavior. But we find that it actually does.”–Maurice Schweitzer

Knowledge@Wharton: What surprises came out your research?

Yip: We contrasted angry people with neutral people when there was an incentive that was present and when there was an incentive that was absent. What we found was that we were able to disentangle the motive to harm others from the motive to pursue the self-interest. So, when people are angry, they’re not being punitive and harming anyone around them. Instead, what we’re finding is that when people are angry, that anger curtails empathy. And that leads to more self-interested behavior. In this case, self-serving lies.

Knowledge@Wharton: What sets this research apart from other research in these areas?

Schweitzer: One key idea here is this link between emotion and cognition. How we feel, even if it’s unrelated to the current situation, influences how we think and how we act. In this case, we’re linking anger with deceptive, unethical behavior. This is the first work to do that. We often feel angry in the workplace. We often feel angry when we’re in a conflict with somebody else. And our work is the first to demonstrate that when we feel anger, it could actually lead us to engage in underhanded and more self-interested behavior in ways that we might not normally condone. And certainly as an organization, we should be highly aware of.

Knowledge@Wharton: It suggests that conflict-resolution interventions and courses would benefit an organization in a couple of ways. It’s not just that you have less conflict and maybe more cooperation, but also you could curtail some of the deception that could come out of the conflict.

Schweitzer: Right, absolutely. We should recognize that the feelings that others have are going to guide their behavior in predictable ways, and we should be sensitive to that. Jeremy mentioned that recognizing emotions might help diminish their effects. But we should also be broadly aware that how we’re feeling is likely to influence how we think and behave. In some cases, we might be able to curtail unethical behavior by muting that anger.

It’s not that when we’re feeling angry, we want to retaliate against other people or pay it forward. Somebody was angry at me or somebody blocked my goal, and I want to go take it out on somebody else. That’s not what we observed. What we found was that people just became much more self-interested, self-serving, and they became less constrained by concern for others in advancing their own goals. I think that’s one of the things that I think was most surprising about this work.

Knowledge@Wharton: Where will you take this research next?

Yip: These findings have informed some of our current work investigating the relationship between anger and perspective-taking. What we’re beginning to find that’s consistent with some of the work that we’ve just discussed is that when people feel angry, they become more egocentric. Perspective-taking is a different type of cognitive process where people adopt another person’s viewpoint in the situation. We are learning that people who feel angry tend to anchor on their own viewpoint and not adjust to or accommodate other people’s viewpoints.

Read the original article HERE

3 Reasons That You Are More Important Than You Know

By LeaderTribe

I recently talked to my friend Ben. When talking about his 3-year-old son, Ben said, “He’s everything to me.”

I have great news Ben: you are everything to your son as well.

When asked, “Who is the most important and influential role model whom you have ever met?” the number one answer is “a parent.” For people under 30 years old, that answer is given more often than a business leader, religious/community leader, political leader, celebrity, and entertainer… combined!

But what I find most interesting is the second most popular group—teacher or coach. Think about that. The most influential people in our lives are parents and teachers and coaches. When we get older, it might be a boss where we work. Do you see the pattern? The most important influencers in our entire lives are just normal people! People like you and me. You are important!

You really are more important than you know. You matter!

If you are like me, you’ve battled insecurity and feeling like a poser. You get discouraged, lonely or depressed—and you’re quickly tempted to feel very insignificant. You might feel that you just want to love someone and to be loved in return. You believe you are the only person feeling that way. That’s not true… and I can prove it.

I had the privilege of leading an executive training for some very bright, very successful business leaders. We talked about helping employees who were feeling insignificant and sensing that they really didn’t matter. I had these leaders take a risk with me. I invited every leader present to close his or her eyes, then I said, “I’d like to do a quick poll: If you have ever felt unimportant, insignificant, and like no one noticed, please raise your hand.” Then I said, “Open your eyes!”

Every hand was raised. That’s right: every single one. And each of them thought they were part of a small minority who had lifted their hands.

When you are tempted to feel that you don’t matter, please remember, that is a lie! You do matter and you are important. There are a many reasons that is true, but let me give you three:

  1. You have the capacity to love (or care deeply) for others, and people need that so desperately! The best leaders care deeply for those they serve.
  2. You have potential to be joyful and to enjoy a life that is full and meaningful. Discouragement is usually temporary. If not, seek help. But when you have recovered, you bring purpose and joy to those around you.
  3. You can be forgiven and you can be a forgiver. Even Harvard Business Review recognizes the importance of forgiveness in our lives. Helping others in this area is one of the greatest gifts you could give them.

THE BOTTOM LINE. As an insecure kid from a single parent family (and that parent divorced four times), I felt insignificant and helpless. But a neighbor lady was nice to me. I drew her a picture at school and she told me “it is so beautiful” and “how much she loved it.” It meant the world to me, so I drew her many more. Over a decade later I saw the picture—it was terrible. But not to her, she saw it through eyes of love. Go find beauty in and encourage someone who needs to hear it. See… you are important!

Read the original article HERE

5 Negative Tendencies You Should Stop Immediately if You Want to Succeed

By Marcel Schwantes

Start the new year right by taking inventory of your “worst-self.” If you don’t know, it’s time to get honest and ask your circle of friends this question: “What is it about me that is hard to tolerate?”

Then listen with a complete and open mind to those blind spots that are hurting your ability to connect and relate well. What needs to go? It might just save you tons of hardship the rest of the year.

Here are some common examples of what makes it hard for people to be around others.

What’s Gotta Go

1. Your immature social network (which may be holding you back).

You deserve better than hanging out with people who won’t contribute to your path toward excellence. If you find that it’s getting exhausting being around “old friends” who play dress up in suits, briefcases, and drive Beemers to six-figure salary jobs, but are stuck in a perpetual drunken frat party from 2004, it’s time to cut them loose. Look for a new network of driven but responsible and mature peers who share the same values, interests, and motivation for the same things that makes your world come alive.

2. Your Facebook “friends” that suck the life out of you.

The incessant negativity that dominates your feed (political debates, religious and other insensitive drivel), and drive-by comments by haters and critics trolling your status updates, may be draining you and hurting how others perceive you. Protect your personal brand reputation, not to mention your dignity and self-worth. Make no excuses and start unfriending them. Keep the people you know you can rely on to contribute, build bridges, and foster positive connections.

3. Your inability to make decisions.

Do you think too much before pulling the trigger on a decision? Sure, a few hours or couple days is normal. But three months? If this sounds familiar, you have “analysis paralysis.” If you’re thinking too much, you’re probably stuck in your head and intellectualizing things too much. The most important decisions you’ll ever encounter will always be based on your feelings — it’s a heart thing, not a head thing. This is the practice of being sure by leaning on your intuition. Not sure if you can rely on it yet? Fine tune it by documenting every decision you make over the next three months. Look over which decisions were spot on because you chose to rely on that “inner voice.” The better the outcome on those decisions, the more accurate your intuition is becoming. Learning to use your intuition is a much more effective way to make decisions than to get stuck in analysis paralysis. It’s empowering, and your peers and close friends and family will look at you in a whole new way.

4. Your tendency to be judgmental.

Since judgmental people criticize anything and everything as if it were a hobby, they shouldn’t expect anyone to come to them for advice or problem-solving (others know it’s a total waste of time to do so). What a judgmental attitude will do is alienate colleagues at work. If this is you, your best plan of action is to stop jumping to conclusions before hearing all the facts, and start listening intently to improve your communication skills. Make this a priority, and watch your peers slowly gravitate toward you as you make it safe for them to do so. Remember this: When we judge, we invite judgment upon ourselves.

5. Your junk (in other words, your baggage).

Yes, we all have issues, we’re all wounded in some way, and nobody is perfect. But if you’re still processing that toxic relationship from three years ago with your co-workers, you’re not over it. Deal with your baggage and stop treating your colleagues like they’re counselors and shrinks. They’re not. Respect their emotional space, and know when you’re overstepping professional boundaries. Time to get help: Go see a counselor, talk to a close friend outside of work, enroll in a 12-step program, or do all three.

Your Turn

The most courageous thing you’ll do at the beginning of the year is acknowledge your blind spots. It may not come from you, so be brave enough to consider that what others speak to you is truth. And as the saying goes, “the truth will set you free.”

As you increase your self-awareness, that’s only half the battle. Look at this as an opportunity to address whatever is holding you back. Now you can do something about what others are saying is a problem. Take heart in knowing that this is for your own greater good. It will make you a truly better person in service to others.

Read the original article HERE

Wayne Dyer’s 12-Step Program to Simplicity

By Wayne Dyer

Wayne Dyer’s 12-Step Program to Simplicity is excerpted with permission from Chapter 8 of Wayne Dyer’s book, Living An Inspired Life.

For a moment, let’s imagine what it would be like to be fully alive without a physical shell or any of the stuff we need and desire for maintaining life on Earth.

We’d have a mental energy that allowed us to move forward or backward, up or down, instantly creating whatever we desired. We’d be free to wallow in an exquisite existence without time or space as we know it.

We’d be in a state of pure bliss, in love with everything and everyone. We’d have no duties or bills to tend to, no fear of losing anything, no one judging us, no possessions to insure, no demands on our time, and no goals to achieve.

What we’re envisioning is actually the world of Spirit, which we experienced before we came here and will return to when we shed our body (or as William Butler Yeats poetically called it, our “tattered coat upon a stick”).

Remember that a central premise of this book is that inspiration is a state of being here now in this material world, while at the same time reconnecting to our spiritual origins. In order to be receptive to inspiration, we need to eliminate the ego clutter that accumulates all too easily for most of us—after all, if we’re preoccupied with events and activities that have nothing to do with inspiration, we’re unlikely to notice its summons. So in order to achieve a reunion with our ultimate calling, we need to emulate the clear, uncomplicated world of Spirit.

While the theme of this chapter is that inspiration is simple, this doesn’t mean that we should sit around doing nothing, awaiting Spirit’s arrival; instead, it means having faith that our spiritual connection flourishes in a life dedicated to joy, love, and peace. If our daily activities are so overwhelming that we don’t make [joy, love, and peace] our priority, then we’re disregarding the value of living a simple life.

The 12-Step Program to Simplicity

Rather than giving you some general suggestions for implementing the ideas herein, I’m going to give you 12 very specific tools for simplifying your life. Begin using them today if you’re serious about hearing that ultimate call to inspiration.

You’ll feel a real rush of inspiration when you clear out stuff that’s no longer useful in your life:

  1. If you haven’t worn it in the past year or two, recycle it for others to use.
  2. Get rid of old files that take up space and are seldom, if ever, needed.
  3. Donate unused toys, tools, books, bicycles, and dishes to a charitable organization.

Read the Full Article HERE

 

You Can Improve Your Default Response to Stress

By Michelle Gielan

One morning while anchoring The Early Show in New York, one of my coanchors got mixed up and tossed the show to me five minutes before I was slated to appear for my next segment, which was covering breaking news on political corruption in Washington. The teleprompter was cued to a different story, which, if I remember correctly, was about cats at a local shelter. I found myself live on national television in front of millions of viewers — with the wrong setup, and with a video of shelter cats instead of fat cats in Washington.

It is moments like these that test a person. And it’s not the problem itself, but our response to it, that matters in our careers and in our lives. In my work now as a positive psychology researcher, I study the mindset of people who overcome high-stress challenges both big and small and who thrive amid adversity. The conclusion of our most recent study: 91% of us could get better at dealing with stress.

In a study we conducted in partnership with Plasticity Labs, my research colleagues, Shawn Achor (my husband) and Brent Furl, and I found that it’s not so much why we worry that’s important; it’s how we respond to stimuli in the environment that matters. When a challenge strikes, our response can typically be categorized along three specific, testable dimensions:

  • Cool under pressure. Are you calm and collected, giving your brain a chance to see a path forward, or is your mind filled with anxious, worried, and stressful thoughts that wear you out?
  • Open communicator. Do you share your struggles with people in your life in a way that creates connections, or do you keep them to yourself and suffer in silence?
  • Active problem solver. Do you face challenges head-on and make a plan, or do you deny the reality of what’s happening in your life and distract yourself?

These three dimensions are central to optimally responding to stress and are highly predictive of our long-term well-being and success at work. In short, it’s what you think, say, and do that have the biggest impact on your well-being. By understanding our personal pitfalls when it comes to responding to problems, we can shift our thinking and behavior to respond better and pay less of an emotional cost after the stressful event is over.

Understanding your current default response to stress is the first step to crafting a more adaptive cognitive pattern. After testing more than 5,000 people using our validated assessment, the Stress Response Scale, we found that the majority of respondents at work have two suboptimal responses to stress: 27% of people are what we lovingly call “Venters” and 26% are “Five Alarmers.”

We all know a Venter at work. Venters are highly expressive and therefore very open about stressful events in their lives, which is actually a very positive trait. Previous research shows that talking to others about challenges (without overdoing it) can connect us more deeply with the people around us and is connected with having more friends and close colleagues as well as greater happiness. However, Venters don’t fare as well along the other two dimensions: being able to maintain a cool head under pressure and active problem solving to devise a plan. In other words, while Venters are able to acknowledge and communicate about their stress, that is where they stop. They vent without providing or creating a positive action to respond to the stress. Our study found that Venters have a correlation with decreased well-being, performance, and long-term career successes at work, as well as with less overall happiness in life.

Five Alarmers also are very good at communicating that they are stressed (everyone hears about it) but while Venters stop there, Five Alarmers take concrete actions to solve the problem. This sounds great, but because Five Alarmers do not differentiate between low stresses and high stresses, instead responding to every stress as if it is a five-alarm fire, they suffer a massive emotional cost when all is said and done. Being a Five Alarmer is exhausting. Experiencing consistent emotional spikes is also predictive of higher burnout and exhaustion, and guilt after you’ve made a decision.

So while more than half of individuals at work fall into one of these two categories, there is a much more adaptive response to stress and challenge. People who are what we call “Calm Responders,” those who rationally and calmly respond to challenges, test high on the three measures and generally enjoy the highest levels of happiness and success. Calm Responders typically have a handful of trusted advisors, and after tapping one or two, quickly move to the action phase. Studies have shown those who are more expressive — without being so expressive that they get stuck in the venting phase — often have more close friends and are happier overall.

The most important part of this research is that all three of these dimensions are malleable, and therefore can change over time if we focus on them. If you’d like to train your brain to be calmer the next time a stressful event arises, make a list right now of five stressful events from your past that you were successful at solving (for example, maybe you got through the breakup of a relationship or made a tight deadline on a big project), and then look at the list the next time you feel your heart starting to race, to remind yourself of those accomplishments. If you tend to bottle up stress or deny negative events, phone a friend the next time a stressor arises. If you’re distracting yourself instead of creating an action plan, get yourself to choose a “now step,” a small, meaningful action you can take right away that might not solve the whole problem but that will get your brain moving forward.

Rewriting our response to stress can take time, but it is possible, and that effort can have a lasting effect on our success and happiness for the rest of our lives. For me, learning the skill of being cool under pressure helped me better navigate unexpected situations both on TV and off, and that has made all the difference in my life and my career.

Read the original article HERE