Time to Stop and Reflect

As November is now upon us, we realize that the end of the year is going to come up faster and faster. The holidays tend to speed up the clock a bit and of course, day light savings time is an attempt to give us one extra hour but it rarely feels like it, right?

As the year 2020 looms on the horizon some of us may feel the need to scramble to accomplish the goals we had set in front of us at the start of 2019.  Panic and anxiety can creep in as we feel that perhaps we have failed ourselves by not reaching all of our goals.  These feelings can, at times, be heavy and prevent us from continuing our journey to achieve.  It just seems easier to give up and think, “well, better luck next year”. 

The reality is this: goals should be our motivator to continually strive to be our best.  We shouldn’t be so much focused on the end result as we are on the PROCESS.  For in the process of working to achieve our goals, we tent to discover more about ourselves and our ideals and dreams can change as we work through the journey.  Some people ask me, “what happens when I come to a fork in the road – how do I know which path to take that will get me to my goal? I don’t want to go down the wrong one!”  The reality is – the path you elect will be the pathway to your goal because it’s about the process and the journey.  Think of it this way:  in the Wizard of Oz, Dorothy took a path, the yellow brick road, on the way to achieve her ultimate goal – to meet the Wizard. But what happened along the journey was far more important and life-changing than the ultimate goal. And the goal changed, right?  She wanted to get home but it was more important to maintain the relationships AND the education she garnered along the journey. 

As the last two months of the year are now upon us, my hope for each of you is that you will take a few moments to remember where you were a year ago, and focus on all that you have achieved, all that you have learned, and on all the many ways you have grown in business and personal life.

As a success coach, I have the honor of helping people work through their goals and it’s important that we focus on the steps, not taking them out of sequence, but focusing on making each step intentional on the way to the end result.  But what happens in most cases is that the end result slowly changes and we discover that the true goal was in the process – not the result.  And in turn, the RESULTS are AWESOME. 

Achieve your Awesomeness in the remainder of 2019 and prepare for even more in 2020.  I would love to speak with YOU about your personal and professional goals, those things that are holding you back, and help you to step on to the path that will take you through your amazing journey of growth, realization, and the discovery and release of your AWESOMENESS! 

‘Tis The Season for Stress-Filled Laughter

‘Tis The Season For Stress-Filled Laughter

Did you know that this year Santa’s sleigh will fly with one less reindeer?  Comet has to stay home to clean the sink.

Did you at least smile with that joke?  I hope so and if you did, congratulations because you just released a LOT of stress with one little smile or laugh.

Stress affects everyone. For many people, this time of year means spending time in complex social interactions such as family and relative gatherings and often uncomfortable work-related parties.    For many around the world it is a time of trying to at leastmatch expectations, the pressure to create a ‘wonderful Christmas’ with presents and one of the most important meals of the year.  To some it feels like the holy-days-of-obligation to be someone we are not and be somewhere we prefer to avoid.  The stress of the holidays also includes those on-going stresses of the rest of the year from relationship issues, health situations, money, diet, employment, and bills and, honestly, if I keep listing them I might start feeling the stress as well!

Dealing with the stress is the key to overcoming the adverse effects of it but HOW we deal with it is critical.  Who has time right now to learn a new skill, right?  Our natural response is to put off learning a new skill, such as a new relaxation method, for another day. We feel we could manage it better if we put it off and wait for the next crisis to happen.  The truth is – time is of the essence – and putting it off only compounds our stress.

The key is to balance your stress and your periods of relaxation and wellness.  You KNOW you are going to have stressful moments but we don’t typically see them coming until we are in the midst of the moment. We must plan our wellness periods so that we have ammunition to combat the stressful moments.  It’s about optimizing experiences to gain the best potential from each one.  We need to listen to our bodies and our minds because they will tell us, often yelling it loudly, that we need to calm down.

Laugh.  It’s a quick moment in time that can have some amazing stress-releasing benefits.  According to the Mayo Clinic, a quick moment of laughter stimulates many of your internal organs by increasing oxygen intake which in turn increased endorphins that are released by the brain.  It also increased your heart rate and blood pressure momentarily which can induce a good, relaxed feeling.  Finally, it soothes tension because it stimulates circulation and aids in muscle relaxation, both of which reduce some of the physical symptoms of stress.


Take a few moments today to laugh – crack a smile – and take a proactive stance in favor of your own well-being.

Did you know that according to the song, “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”, Santa has twelve reindeer? Sure, in the introduction it goes “There’s Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen, Comet and Cupid and Donner and Blitzen…” That makes eight reindeer.

Then there’s Rudolph, of course, so that makes nine.

Then there’s Olive. “Olive the other reindeer used to laugh…” That makes ten.

The eleventh is Howe. “Then Howe the reindeer loved him…”

The 12thone is Andy! “Andy shouted out with glee.” The proof is in the song!

May you intentionally seek out moments to laugh and smile, taking part in your own wellness plan.  Stress will happen this time of year – how we react to that stress is critical to our success.  Be kind to yourself and don’t allow the stressful factors to win.

 

 

 

Epiphany Mistakes

Wikipedia defines Epiphany in this manner:

“An epiphany (from the ancient Greek ἐπιφάνεια, epiphaneia, “manifestation, striking appearance”) is an experience of a sudden and striking realization. Generally the term is used to describe scientific breakthrough, religious or philosophical discoveries, but it can apply in any situation in which an enlightening realization allows a problem or situation to be understood from a new and deeper perspective.”

Maya Angelo defines epiphany like this:

“…It’s the occurrence when the mind, the body, the heart, and the soul focus together and see an old thing in a new way.”

I like to refer to an epiphany as an a-ha! Moment. It is the moment in time when something is revealed, allowing us to see it for the first time or to see something again as if for the very first time.  

These moments can be life-changing but what happens when we have spent time on something and achieved the end-goal just to learn that it was a mistake?

Dorie Clark says “Humans are highly susceptible to the sunk cost fallacy, which makes it hard for us to end something into which we’ve already put time, money, or effort” (Harvard Business Review, What To Do When You’ve Made a Bad Decision August 11, 2016).  We are victims to our own ego, not wanting to admit a mistake or a failure and many times covering it up at all costs. But imagine the POWER in admitting you failed! Sending energy of raw honest out to the world is empowering and cleansing, scary too, the first time, but worth it.  

Our moments of sudden clarity, our “a-ha” moments, are meant, I believe, to teach and  empower us to continue the forward momentum regardless of the outcome.

We failed.  

We made a mistake.

We must move on from it and allow ourselves to build upon that mistake. Don’t push it aside and try to cover it or paint it another color. You can dress a rock up in a puppy costume but it is still a rock.  You can call your failure whatever you like but it is still a failure and THAT’S OK!

We must make the decision to either “know and grow” or “whine and repine”. The choice is ours but I’m here to tell you that when we elect to grow from our mistakes the reward is just as sweet as the taste of victory!

Raushawna Price
Giver of Awesomeness (R)

Listening & Hearing: Two Different Acts of Obedience

When we speak with other people do we speak AT them or WITH them?  Is it a monologue or is it a dialogue?  When we participate in dialogue, do we listen to HEAR or listen to RESPOND?

Most people will, if they are honest with themselves, realize that they listen to respond.  Do we automatically begin writing and editing a rebuttal script before the other person completes what they are saying?  There’s a good chance there is a second monologue going on in your head WHILE you read this!

Another way to put this is to understand the difference between ACTIVE and PASSIVE listening. It is about BEHAVIOR.  Listening is not just the act of hearing something but is also the process of making sense out of what we are hearing.  ACTIVE listening is full engagement.  We can determine if people are engaged in active listening by looking for physical cues such as nodding, smiling, eye brow or forehead responses and eye contact.  The listener may ask questions, respond with non-sensible vocalizations to signify their agreement, disagreement, or understanding.  This is analytical listening – it is piecing together the information that is coming at them, ordering it in their minds, placing the words and phrases in categories, and matching them with historical references throughout our own lives.  If we are inclined to counsel individuals, we are engaging in active listening. Carl Rogers defines empathetic listening as “entering the private perceptual world of the other.”

What, then, is PASSIVE listening?  Typically, the listener is not reacting and is not listening with the goal of responding. We may be taking in and absorbing the information. The passive listener is not necessarily NOT paying attention. We are simply absorbing.

When I speak in front of small or large groups, they are typically the passive listener.  There is little two-way communication, not a lot of eye contact from the listeners, and the listener feels safe from feeling that they have to participate.  This can be very helpful to the speaker because it gives that person flexibility to drive the conversation, direct the imagery, and create emotional responses.

This all sounds pretty analytical but there is something I’m trying to point out.  In our everyday interaction with people it is helpful to know if we are being active or passive listeners. When the clerk asks, “how are you today?” are they listening for our response as an active participant in the dialogue or as a passive engager?  More than likely, a passive engagement as they are merely on cruise control and likely following the corporate script of customer engagement.  When someone approaches us with an emotional declaration such as, “I love you” or “I need to talk about something” the immediate reaction they get from us will typically set the entire tone and direction of the conversation. It will either slam the door on our availability or open it up and welcome them in to the inner circle of our undivided attention.

Counselors, especially lay-counselors (camp, church or small community helpers), are trained to face the person, not respond to other people or situations in the room, make eye contact as well as other verbal and non-verbal responses in order to establish the ground rules with a response. That response is this:  I’m going to listen OR I’m not really going to listen.

The active listening test:

We can check whether people are engaged in active listening by asking questions about the content and about their emotional reaction to what was said.  We can paraphrase what we heard, or ‘parrot’ back to the speaker what we believe we just heard. We can check on the perception of both listener as well as speaker by asking for confirmations, affirmations, or clarifications.


Specifically, for me, I am a very active listener when I am in Church.  I grew up in an AME church and when my Pastor asked for an amen, you responded.  Today, I give an “amen” without being prompted, to show my active listening and to solidify the statements within my understanding.  I am sure, if you stopped and thought about it, you could think of times when you were a very active listener.  Maybe with your children as they are sharing their day, or with a coworker who is discussing a concern.

 

 

We can all continue to improve our listening skills and today I want to encourage us to do that by simply being more aware of our bodies and our minds while someone is talking with us.  is the inner monologues in our heads louder than the speakers’ voice?  Are we solely listening to respond or are we listening to understand? There is a time and place for both these acts of obedience and it is our job to determine what is appropriate for each setting in which we find ourselves.

 

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