& filed under Be Here Now, Conflict Resolution Success Skills, Stress Reduction.

On Monday June 29th I had the honor to be on The Focus Radio Show on the eWomens Radio Network hosted by the fabulous duo Alyssa Granlund and Liz Uram.

We talked about resilience and how to bounce back when times are rough, tough, and just down right crummy.

When all you want to do is hide under the covers, what if you could immediately increase your confidence, productivity and success?  Sharon Sayler, MBA, ACC will share with us the system for getting unstuck and how to keep yourself motivated through the rough times. With How To Be Resilient When Times Are Rough you will discover:

  • Why you should TOSS your “To-Do” list
  • Why you absolutely must STOP hiding your flaws
  • The 3 simple questions that TRANSFORM any situation
  • How to OVERCOME any situation to stay focused on what you want
  • The shocking truth about how past failures expand your odds for future SUCCESS

 

Check Out Entrepreneur Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with The Focus Radio on BlogTalkRadio

#lifeinterrupted #success #courage

& filed under Stress Reduction.

 

Love the holidays, but hate those family gatherings?

It’s that time of year again, but amidst your well-wishes and season’s greetings do you ever find yourself praying that a certain family member just won’t show up this year or dreading the hours of shopping you’ll have to do to make sure everyone gets the perfect gift?

It might sound harsh, but it’s true: At times, the holidays can feel like you’ve been given the gift of more stress with a bright red bow of dissatisfaction plopped on top.

Thankfully, just in time for the wrapping paper to start flying and the turkey to be passed, here’s some timely tips that will help you de-stress and enjoy this year’s holiday fun.

Unfortunately, most of us deal with stress everyday in our careers. But work stress is very different than “family-relationship” stress. For a lot of folks, old family patterns can overwhelm them all at once, and can quickly make them feel at their wit’s end.

A great way to prevent the stress-filled aspects of the season from souring family gatherings and friendly get-togethers is by paying close attention to your nonverbal responses (i.e. your body language, facial expressions, and breathing patterns).

Before any potentially stressful holiday event, take a few minutes, breathe deep and plan your responses to stress ahead of time. Most of us are very good at rehearsing what we want to say and do and not so good at preparing a new mental script for what we should say and do. By setting in motion a new pattern of behaviors, you can improve your stress level around the holidays this year and for years to come.

Read on for seven strategies to mix and match to have the perfect holiday season we all dream about:

No response can be the best response. When your egg nog-happy uncle starts asking you questions about your personal life or an annoying coworker won’t stop gossiping about people at work, the best response might be to politely extract yourself from the conversation. You might first try smiling and directing the conversation to another subject. If that doesn’t work, gently move on to a different area of the party. By avoiding the stresses of continuing these painful conversations, you can often help preserve these relationships and prevent a situation where you really feel like you have to be stern with the person.

Go to your happy place. When a stressor moment begins, think of the happiest memories you have. Some of my happiest memories are the births of my sons,. Each time I think of those, I smile automatically and begin to relax. Holding those happy thoughts changes your body language and your thoughts concerning the current situation. Yes, you really can ‘head-fake’ yourself out of a negative reaction.

Use the buddy system. Chances are you’re not the only one in your family who dislikes your “new” aunt or the only one of your friends who thinks a friend’s new boyfriend is rude and abrasive. So enlist your holiday comrades and work with each other to intervene when your ‘new’ aunt won’t stop chatting your head off or that bad boyfriend drops an insult you can’t forgive. Prepare ahead of time by arranging for the other person to drop a well-timed question into the conversation or by giving you a task to do that would remove you from the situation.

Use positive gestures of relationship to set the tone. Using an open, upward facing palm, gesture with your forearm and hand to the person most likely to start the negative situation. While you slowly gesture—remember, keep your palm up and open—comment on how ‘wonderful the decorations are this year. As you get to the word ‘wonderful’ be sure to have your fingers of the open palm gesture pointing directly at the likely offender. You have just nonverbally called them ‘wonderful.’ Continue the day assigning all the positive words you say, you’ll be amazed how it can reset the tone.

The opposite is true: “Aim” negativity away. No matter what you’re talking about (or whom you’re talking to!), never use gestures that exhibit negativity toward your fellow holiday guests. You can hurt feelings with your gestures and not even know it. For example, right after Thanksgiving a coaching client was telling me about how he hurt his aunt’s feelings. He was speaking about an event at work. ‘What a jerk!’ he said, while widely gesturing about the jerk. Before long, his auntie wasn’t listening. He said to me, ‘She looked like she had been insulted.’ She had—he had just called his aunt a jerk, nonverbally. Bottom line, be mindful of your gestures when talking about negative topics.

As your mother might say, watch your mouth. Many situations can be diffused (or inflamed) by intentionally using your voice. In addition to the words you choose, the emphasis, tone, volume, and speed at which you speak, play a crucial role in how someone listens, interprets and reacts to what you say. You can choose all the right words to say and still sabotage your message because it’s the emotional connection to the way you are saying what you’re saying that really resonates with people.  People will remember how you make them feel long after they remember what you said or thought you said. If you’re worried your tone might be negatively affecting those around you, it’s a good time to ‘go to your happy place’ as I advised earlier. Doing so will help improve your tone

Don’t let your face show what you’re feeling. Your facial expressions tell the world what you are thinking. Monitor your facial expressions. Avoid rolling your eyes, pouting, and frowning. By avoiding these negative facial reactions, you can also keep your own mood up. Research with Botox patients has shown that blocking a frown can change how you think and feel. Thankfully, there’s no Botox needed for a spirit-lifting exercise I recommend. Every time you succeed with a difficult person, find a private place and give yourself a big fist-pump with an out-loud “YES!” It will change your mood or  look up, throw your arms up to the sky and do a little victory dance. Feels great, right? That’s because your body movements are tied to your emotions and your emotions are tied to your movements.

Breathe easy. Train yourself to maintain low, abdominal (natural) breathing. The more you experience the calming effects that low, abdominal breathing has on your body, brain and voice, the easier it is to maintain this breathing in all situations—even during stress-filled holiday shopping trips or hectic family gatherings.

The goal is to maintain natural breathing even while others around you are not. Our breathing supports all our non-verbals, but most importantly, it supports our voice. When people pick up on our voice patterns, they are really reacting to our breathing. How you are breathing at the time determines how you will be perceived. When you and the listener are breathing low and comfortably you are in rapport. If either of you are breathing shallow or rapid, there has been a break in rapport, a distraction or threat. If you remind yourself to breathe comfortably, the situation will diffuse and you can get back to your holiday pleasantries.”

‘It’s not what you say; it’s how you say it,’ are definitely important words to live by around the holidays. People really do pay more attention to what your body says than what you actually say. If the holidays tend to send you into a tizzy, then it is a good idea to go into each holiday gathering with a plan. By using your nonverbals to de-stress and actually enjoy the holidays, you’ll find that you come away from this holiday season with a great feeling and even closer relationships with those you love.

About Sharon Sayler: She is a Communications Success Strategist and author of Mindfulness in Action: A Hands-on Guide to Create Peace Amidst The Chaos and What Your Body Says (and how to master the message). She shows people simple, powerful, easy to learn ways to communicate and enjoy relationships using mindfulness and nonverbal communication techniques. 

 

& filed under Be Here Now, Mind, Body and Spirit, Stress Reduction.

What sunshine is to flowers, smiles are to humanity.
These are but trifles, to be sure; but, scattered along life’s pathway, the good they do is inconceivable.
 

~Joseph Addison~

I called a local company the other day to make an appointment… The woman that answered had a smile on her face… even over the phone, I could just tell.

She made me smile by not only her friendly tone, and “hearing her smile, it was the pattern, that included “Thanks for calling ‘X’. This is Linda, how can I make you smile today?”

Those real, authentic, natural smiles are infectious, whether you see them or not…

Remember, it’s often the smallest of things that change the rest of someone’s day. Make it a habit to smile.

Did you know that smiling alters not only the brain chemistry to those who receive our smile, but us–the smile-sender too? Imagine what can happen the next time you choose to smile? I think we could all use a little extra happiness these days.  With cell phones, texting, social networking, email, and more, many of us don’t interact face-to-face much anymore, so how do you “virtually” smile?

It’s easy if you are on the phone – smile. A real smile changes the shape of your face and throat which in turn changes the voice… The easiest way to know if it’s a true smile — are your eyes crinkling? Crinkly eyes = true smile. No crinkles? Phony (or too much botox.)

To send smiles online takes a little light-heartedness. Write notes to others with a little twinkle. Having trouble writing with a twinkle? Move. Go get some fresh air. Change your perspective, write from a different location or just move some things in your office. grab your favorite tea, even try decluttering. Oftentimes changing your location or perspective changes how you sound and feel.   Give it a try and let me know what you find… how did you make others smile today?

Have a great day whatever your adventure!

To Success! To Life!

& filed under Communication, Conflict Resolution Success Skills, Stress Reduction.

The #1 Thing Your Soul Needs

Many people are at war with themselves.  A bold statement I know— but I’ve been there. It was 1998, my life was falling apart before my eyes, or so I thought. It felt real and it was real.

My two-decade long marriage was falling apart and my upbringing was at war with what I was feeling and what I knew I had to do to save my sanity. I was allowing those “church” voices saying, “He’s really a good man,” “He didn’t mean it….” and “He’s a good provider…” to consume me. “How can you do that to your family?” I heard over and over, but in my heart I knew I had to do just “that” to save myself and my family.

The shaming head-chorus wouldn’t stop, even though I’d left the church ten years prior.  Late one night, driving home in a pounding rainstorm, the pivotal mind-battle began. I couldn’t breathe, my heart was racing and then it happened, I could barely see – the rain was coming down in sheets….

Knowing I had to survive for my sons, I made my way to the side of the road and thought I was going to die, right then and there.  It felt like it went on forever. It was the longest and loneliest 30 minutes of my life.

When you think you are dying you make many a life altering decision — the most profound that night was to stop trying to control everything.

All I wanted was to feel safe…

In that instant, I made a decision. And it seemed like a strange decision, but I chose to let it go, I just “dropped.” Dropped physically, emotionally and all the thoughts just dropped out of my head….

I couldn’t control everything!

Letting go is something I’d heard of, I’d even read a book or two, but never really understood what it meant. Clearly, just not “feeling-it” was not the answer as I couldn’t stop “feeling shame, guilt, despair, worry, despise…the list is endless and the corresponding emotions(s) dependent on what I thought I had or had not done properly, correctly, harshly, tactless, another endless list my mind-inventions were so talented at conjuring up.  Letting go seemed magical and I didn’t know the trick.

I’d tried to let go numerous times before only to have that head chorus of “what-abouts,” “should-coulda-woulda-haves,” and all my other numerous well meaning intentions and pre-determined outcomes gone awry start singing at the top of their lungs once again. I REALLY wanted it to be different — I had every intention, it would be different, this time, or the next time….

Yet, Intentions Are Not Enough

It’s not the emotions you are to let go of… it’s okay to have emotions. It’s how you  respond to those emotions that is critical.

It’s also all those pre-formulated intentions, outcomes and the ultimate illusion of control especially where others are involved that are crazy-making. Intentions and outcomes all-to-often come with expectations you’ve created — expectations require control to come true.

I can only control myself and set my FOCUS, not intentions, on doing the very best I can, in the situation I’m in and /or with the permission I have with other(s).  Sometimes, I just don’t have permission… consider The key is setting your FOCUS.

Focus is fluid, it’s easy to readjust your focus and for me, creates an easier path to “focus” on the other person(s) needs and wants instead of trying to create a specific outcome.

Focus also works to create what is known as the dissociated state. (The word dissociation can also be used to describe a wide array of experiences from mild detachment to more severe detachment from the physical and emotional experience(s).)

Here, I’m using the term as the ability to step outside yourself and observe from a neutral position. When I think about this ability to step outside yourself and view from an emotionally neutral position, it is where you can see yourself and the other(s) as if viewing a scene from a play, so you can be empathic but aren’t emotionally involved. Whereas, in an associated state, the thoughts, feelings, emotions are all yours, intense and real.  It’s difficult to see other options, more opportunities and other people’s point of view from an associated state.

While sitting on the side of the road, time moved slow and quick all at the same time. In an instant I shifted from outcome of control to letting go.  It was instant clarity.  Options open before my eyes… and in that moment, when all I heard was myself gasping for breath, I heard a voice ask me two questions:

  • What part of this is yours; what part of this can you really control? “Only me, only how I choose to react…” flashed through my head.
  • If that is true, whose permission are you waiting for?

& filed under Communication, Conflict Resolution Success Skills, Stress Reduction.

PRACTICE COURAGE

Did you know that courage is a “muscle”? Well, technically not, but play along with the metaphor.

It’s like a muscle because the more you use it, the stronger you get! “Courage” is a word that has always fascinated me. Even thinking the word I feel stronger. It takes courage to continue to move forward in the face of hardship, discomfort, long-odds, failures and discouragement.

Yet, we see courageous acts all around us everyday. I’ve found numerous descriptions of where the word “courage” originated. Most agree that the Latin root of the word is “cor”— which translates to “for heart.” Then the descriptions take many different paths.

One of my favorites is: “Courage comes from a French translation meaning ‘rage of the heart.’ It originated with horses that had to jump over something. In order to do so successfully, they have to send their heart over the fence first and then the body follows,” from my friend and executive coach, Ann Masur Singer.

Another favorite: “Courage originally meant, ‘To speak one’s mind by telling all one’s heart,’ from Brené Brown, author of The Gifts of Imperfection. It’s amazing what you learn about yourself when you courageously push your potential.

Here are a few ways to practice courage:

Be imaginative. Choose outside your box. If you feel a little tweak or twinge, then you are thinking outside your box. Be brave. Move outside your comfort zone – even if just a smidge…. Anaïs Nin was right when she wrote, “Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.”

Be adventurous. Raise the bar on what you think you can do. Too often our thoughts of “Oh, I could never do that…” limit what we really can do.

Be impeccable. Commit to being faultless with your words and deeds. Keep your promises to yourself. Keep your commitments to others.

Be focused. Bright shiny objects are all around us. Cultivate an environment that allows you to stay focused on one thing at a time. Use your breath to have a relaxed presence and focus on each moment.

Be actively aware. Choose to stay in the moment. Know what you want and need. Pay close attention to your reality and the reality of others – they are not the same thing.