Archive for February, 2008

Surviving the Cube

This is a classic blog post from one of my coaching mentors and soon-to-be author Pam Slim, who also writes the most aptly named Escape from the Cubicle Nation Blog. This post is filled with great advice on how to take charge of your work life and be responsible for your own happiness. Check it out.

February 26, 2008 at 8:25 am Leave a comment

Put the Hammer Down

 hammertime

Why do we think it’s effective to beat up on ourselves? We do something “wrong” and then we BAM! BAM! BAM! ourselves with our personal hammer of self-abuse.

BAM! I should’ve done…
BAM! I’m so dumb…
BAM! I should be better than this!
BAM! Why do I always do this?

Think of the worst boss you ever had. Maybe they yelled at you, treated you unfairly or simply threw you under the bus at any available opportunity. Think about how you felt when this boss acted out—did it make you want to be a better worker? Did his/her behavior motivate you to exceed expectations? I doubt it. When you beat yourself up, you are being this awful boss to yourself. This is not an effective way of managing people and it’s not an effective way of managing yourself. Beating yourself up just makes you feel bad, it doesn’t motivate you to do better. On the contrary, you’ll probably feel the need to rebel from your inner dictator.

Now, think of the most awesome boss you’ve ever had. For me, this person inspired and motivated me while treating me like a capable adult and holding me accountable in a straightforward way. I was a happy and highly motivated employee working for her. I went to new levels in my career under her supportive mentorship.

Be the awesome boss of yourself. Put the hammer of those deadly phrases you say to yourself down. Treat yourself with compassion and ask yourself, “How would my awesome boss handle this?” You’ll find your mind performs way better for your compassionate boss than it does for your inner dictator.

Try firing your inner dictator, step away from the hammer, and see what happens.

February 20, 2008 at 11:41 am Leave a comment

Soundtrack of your life

 Soundtrack of your life

If your life had a soundtrack, what would it be? I find music to be a powerful mood-altering substance (in a good way). I like to make playlists around themes in my life. In Martha Beck’s book Finding Your Own North Star, she talks about the essential self vs. the social self. Your essential self is your core—the part of you that is pure desire, emotion and joy. Your social self is that part of you that gets things done—but it’s also the part of you that can get wrapped up in the world around you. Both aspects of yourself are good, but contrary to popular opinion, you’ll be much happier if you put your essential self in the driver’s seat. After all, your essential self knows where you really want to go.

So, what would the playlist for your essential and social selves be?

For my social self:

Here Comes the Rain Again, Eurythmics
Church of the Poison Mind, Culture Club
Because of You, Kelly Clarkson
Private Idaho, The B-52’s
I Want You to Want Me, Cheap Trick
Brand New Lover, Dead or Alive
Devil in My Car, The B-52’s
Once in a Lifetime, Talking Heads
Here it Goes Again, Ok Go
Inside Out, Eve 6
Not Ready to Make Nice, Dixie Chicks
Never There, Cake

For my essential self:

Let’s Go Crazy, Prince
Stronger, Kanye West
Philadelphia Freedom, Elton John
Personal Jesus, Depeche Mode
Suddenly I See, KT Tunstall
Superstition, Stevie Wonder
Unwritten, Natasha Bedingfield
Three Little Birds, Bob Marley
So Alive, Love & Rockets
Free Your Mind, En Vogue
September, Earth, Wind, & Fire
Here I Am, Al Green
Stand and Deliver, Adam Ant

I find when I’m a funk that turning either one of these up to 11 does the trick. Beats listening to NPR.

Comment and share the soundtrack of your life.

February 11, 2008 at 1:52 pm 3 comments

My mentors appearing on Oprah this Wed!

My coaching trainers and mentors Martha Beck and Meadow DeVor will be appearing on Oprah’s show this Wednesday, February 6. They’ll be talking about their take on the law of attraction and how its worked in Meadow’s life. These two are a serious hoot, you should definitely check it out.

February 4, 2008 at 8:06 pm Leave a comment

Mind Your Own Beeswax

Remember this phrase from your grade school days? Those kids were amazingly clear about what was their own business—and they weren’t afraid to tell you to stay out of it. As adults, it seems that we are easily confused about what constitutes “my business” vs. “your business”.

Why does it matter whose business we’re in? My experience is that when I’m in someone else’s business I do things like: wish they were different, want them to act/react in a certain way, or perhaps gossip about them. One thing’s for sure, I’m not tending to my own business!

The reality is we cannot change others. Think of it this way, we don’t wish our dogs would act like cats, does it make any more sense to wish that Aunt Myrtle would stop talking incessantly? I’ve got news for ya, Aunt Myrtle loves the sound of her voice and has no plans to change. Are we then just damned to listening to Aunt Myrtle prattle on into perpetuity? There is a solution.

While we cannot change other people, we absolutely can control how we react to them. This is where the power is. Wishing Aunt Myrtle would change is a powerless position; it may or may not happen (and I can pretty much guarantee you won’t be the cause of it). But, when I’m thinking of ways I can react differently, I’m now firmly in control. When Auntie starts in about her bursitis and corns again, there is a whole bevy of things I can do at that point. I could: sit quietly and daydream about playing in a LPGA golf event; start a conversation with another person; decide it’s a great time to go to another room; play dysfunctional relative bingo and see how many key words she says; maybe even try listening compassionately from a place of realizing that Auntie just wants someone to listen to her. Why would I let Auntie irritate me? As you can see, it is completely up to me what I want to take from our exchange. I’m a much happier person knowing that how I deal with the situation is up to me.

Here’s a handy visual of the My Business/Your Business model. I like to think of them as bubbles: I can only control what goes out of my bubble and how I react to what comes in. You’ll also notice that you have no control over how the other person reacts to what you say. You could mean one thing and they interpret another—that’s their business.

Business model

So, when you find yourself feeling frustrated, mad or just wishing someone would be different, do what the kids do and mind your own beeswax.

February 1, 2008 at 1:18 pm 4 comments


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