How the Pain/Gain Exercise Can Help You Take More Action

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If you’re struggling with moving your career or business forward, you need to look internally to see what is actually going on. You may not realize it, but there are thoughts going on in the subconscious that are keeping you ‘stuck’ in a vortex that spirals nowhere.  The gain-pain exercise is a great tool to help you take more action by uncovering what is the root-cause of not going after your goals.

Essentially, you identify:

  • what is your current pain – this refers to the  pain of the problem or situation you are currently dealing with, such as wasting time or getting distracted
  • what is your future gain – this refers to what you will gain stopping the identified behavior, so wasting time becomes being more productive and achieving more, and getting distracted become being more focused
  • what is your current gain – this refers to what benefit you are getting from the behavior; whether you realize it or not, there is a benefit we get which does not mean it is positive. Going back to the examples, wasting time can mean you don’t have to worry about failing or disappointing someone; being distracted means you can avoid dealing with issues – both of these aren’t beneficial but you do know how to deal with them now
  • what is your future pain – this refers to what will happen if you keep in the same mode – getting nothing done; getting written up at work or, worse, losing your job; feeling anxious or depressed over self-disappointment, etc., and what needs those costs will lead to

Identifying your blocks, or what prevents you from moving forward, is critical to stopping those behaviors. Often, our past values and beliefs stand in the way of which we don’t realize how impactful they are.  Think of statements you may have heard when you were younger: children should be seen and not heard; money is the root of all evil; be respectful of your elders.  Determine how you feel about them now.

Each of these examples can lead to behaviors, such as: not speaking up for yourself because children should be seen and not heard; holding yourself back from going after a high-paying job because if you get it, money is the root of all evil; feeling fearful around high-level executives because you need to be respectful of elders and you might say, or do something, that would look disrespectful.

The pain-gain method can help to get you out of the loop; once you uncover reasons for your thoughts and behaviors, you can now focus on future gains that would move you forward and lead to a more positive and achieved life.

Revisiting Christmas Random Acts of Kindness

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Two years ago, I participated in a challenge so I’m revisiting Christmas random acts of kindness in the hopes you will do the same. This is the time of year that we need to be thinking of more than presents and parties. If I know anything, it’s that paying it forward leads to good things, for both the receiver and the giver.

I found study after study, along with many personal stories, of the impact that paying it forward has on both our brain and our body:

  • oxytocin is released which makes us feel better and more connected to to others; it leads to less anxiety and depression, and it increases self-satisfaction and confidence
  • it leads to less health problems, such as colds, as it strengthens our immune system; it also leads to less body aches, and having more energy for the tasks we need to complete
  • as less cortisol is released, the executive functions in the brain work more efficiently, leading to better thinking and decision making, to name a few; overall, performance improves
  • relationships are strengthened by bonding more with others; it also leads to having more empathy, which seems to be sorely lacking these days

The benefits of practicing random acts of kindness don’t just apply to adults – it leads to happier children, as well. Here are some ways s you can show kindness;  use them in your work, your family, and or yourself (we also need to be most kind to ourselves):

  • give compliments
  • send a card to a soldier or to someone in a nursing home
  • donate to charities, such as through money, clothes, books, food, or house goods – there are man people who are in need
  • take supplies to an animal shelter – blankets are needed, especially in the cold, but they can use food, shampoo, etc.
  • pay for the person in back of you in the drive-through; bring in bagels or other goodies to coworkers;
  • hold the door open for someone at the store or let someone out in traffic (or to merge)
  • help a coworker out
  • smile at everyone you see -it could make someone’s day

From my own experience, giving random acts of kindness works like gratitude – it takes the focus of of you and onto others, which spreads good karma.  I’m on day 850 of gratitude (from another challenge I did) and have found I’m able to deal with stress and any adversities easier and am happier, overall.  Now, I just need to work on being kind to when driving (lol).

Committed to Your Success Coaching & Consulting focuses on workplace happiness and organizational success. If you need help gaining clarity on your business or career goals, why not get some help – stop the struggle and call today to get started! https://www.cyscoaching.com or barbara@cyscoaching.com. For more great tips, visit our other blog at https://allaboutcareersites.com

How to Handle Layoffs More Effectively

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I was talking to a friend of mine, the other day, who didn’t sound like themselves; upon further inquiry, they told me that they were just informed that their division was going to be closing. Merry Christmas – bah, humbug. Which begs the question: is there ever a good time when laying off employees? Are there ways to handle layoffs more effectively?

During our discussion, my friend related that they felt blindsided by the news; they denied having any suspicions that this was coming – no heads up, no ‘water cooler’ talk. Nothing. But my friend still has to go to work, and ‘show up,’ until the last day. I was the listening and supportive ear they needed.

But it begs the question: is there ever a good time when laying off employees? From the employee perspective -NO! But I think employers can do better at this- there are more effective ways to handle layoffs.

To start, being open and communicating would ease the ‘sting’ and leave employees feeling better about the organization; it would allow them to plan better for their next step while ensuring a smoother transition.

It also will sustain a positive environment; well, as happy as it can be, under the circumstances.  I worry for my friend, who already feels defeated, stressed and anxious about what the future holds; having to go to a workplace where everyone is feeling the same does not make for a productive environment.  I wonder how many will be using company time to work on their resumes or surf job boards for their next position.

I think there are ways that employers can do better at this. I’ve spoken with leaders who have said they didn’t want to let their workers know about a layoff ahead of time as they “didn’t want to worry or upset them.” Really? So how did they think their  workers would react upon the news? Letting workers know their may be possible layoffs, and the reasons why (fiscal, going in a different direction, etc.) could let workers understand that these decisions are good for the company.

They would not take it personally but see it from a business perspective, which creates buy-in to the  decision.  Managers should have one-on-one conversations with each worker to give feedback and let them know if there are any potential opportunities elsewhere in the company, or just to hear their thoughts. I also think employers should offer to help them to get their next job, which can be through: recommendations or referrals, offering a month or two of career coaching, or giving them some career planning to map out a strategy for their next steps (after all, manager know their progression and are great assets to have in this area).

Another steps to offer is through a severance package of some type so there is  a ‘bridge’ for workers, who then won’t feel kicked to the curb; it would show that they are thought of and valued. This can a win-win overall.

Layoffs are never fun but are often necessary for an organization to sustain and thrive. Workers should see them in this light so they can accept and move on. Leaders of these organizations can be more open, communicative, and offer helping ways to ensure workers survive after.

Committed to Your Success Coaching & Consulting focuses on workplace happiness and organizational success. If you need help gaining clarity on your business or career goals, why not get some help – stop the struggle and call today to get started! https://www.cyscoaching.com or barbara@cyscoaching.com. For more great tips, visit our other blog at https://allaboutcareersites.com

Decision-Making: A Trap Some Business Owners Fall In

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A trap I often see some business owners fall into involves  decision-making: particularly, making the wrong decision. “I want to expand my business but…” “I think this idea will work but I don’t know…..” I could go on with more reasons that I’ve seen business owners hold themselves – and their business- back.

Why is decision-making so hard for some people? Well, I see people not making a decision because:

  • they are worried they will fail
  • they worry about the response they may get (criticism, getting yelled at)
  • they don’t trust themselves enough
  • they don’t think they can live with the decision (even though they don’t know the outcome)

Do any of these sound familiar? I’ll admit I’ve wrestled with one or two of those so I know how real the struggle is. But, the good news is that it’s fully possible to move past any of these blocks, and be more confident in making decisions that are good for your business.

To go back, fears arise from our past experiences that may have started when we were younger, such as getting yelled at for something we did or didn’t do; depending on how we’ve perceived the situation, it will form a belief around that thought which then leads to our actions (or inactions).  The more we think those negative thoughts, the more entrenched those beliefs become which, then, hold us back in some way.

The fundamental fear we all have is the fear of not being good enough, which comes out as the fear of failure, the fear of being rejected, or even the fear of success.  When faced with making a decision, one of those fears will rise if we believe we will make the wrong one. This, then, starts the cycle of having a decision to make, which then elicits a fear, which then prevents making a decision, which then leads to frustration/anger at yourself and then the cycle repeats itself over and over.

So how can you move past any fears around decision-making and move into embracing the very things you say you want? How can you feel more confident when making a decision, so you won’t hesitate when faced with an issue? Here are some suggestions:

  • Begin by identifying fears you’re experiencing when faced with making a decision; look to see how you respond when faced with both big and small decisions. For instance, a small decision would include what tie to wear today, or what to eat for breakfast, while a big decision would be expanding on a service or creating a high-end program. You can rate your level of fear around these, which can help you to see progress you make and for which one(s) you will tackle first
  • Identify the outcome you believe is going to occur with the decision you want to make; as I said earlier, we often let a past event predict our future so what do you believe is going to happen: will someone yell at you, ignore you, criticize or laugh at you; also identify your response if one of these were to occur – shame, guilt, anger, etc. Once you’ve identified your beliefs, then…
  • Challenge those thoughts – how do you know that the outcome you worry about is going to happen with absolute certainty? As we are not mind-readers, challenging those thoughts disrupts the negative pattern so you can ‘see’ that the thought is maladaptive, an then ‘see” that whatever decision you make can have a positive outcome
  • List possible outcomes of the decision on a piece of paper, both positive and negative. This is a great exercise to do as, by identifying an negative outcomes, you can now see any potential ‘mistakes’ and come up with potential solutions for dealing with them if they do occur; it also validates your reasons for wanting to make the decision in the first place
  • Use your most powerful sense, your visual field, to imagine the best possible outcome. This activates dopamine, which elevates the mood and more positive thoughts and gives more mastery to actions you take. It also raises your confidence. Professional athletes use this in their training – as the football player is running down the field and catches the ball in the end zone, he has visualized and practiced it thousands of time: if it works for them, it will work for you (with consistency)
  • Fail – as counter-intuitive as this seems, we need to see that failure is not the end of the world. If you think about it, we all have failed in some way along our life journey but we have survived, even when we thought we couldn’t make it through. Going back and looking at times where things did not go well but that we overcame it helps to see that we will pull through. (I’d recommend doing the opposite and remember times when you did have success to validate your efforts). Also, earn from any failures so you won’t make the same mistakes in the future.

Leaders, of which small business owners are in this category, are faced with making hard choices to grow and sustain; don’t allow your fear around making them hold you back. Decision-making is one of the critical skills a leader needs to possess – you can get better at it so you can be more confident and successful in doing so. The steps above will help you get there.

Committed to Your Success Coaching & Consulting focuses on workplace happiness and organizational success. If you need help gaining clarity on your business or career goals, why not get some help – stop the struggle and call today to get started! https://www.cyscoaching.com or barbara@cyscoaching.com. For more great tips, visit our other blog at https://allaboutcareersites.com

 

 

Job Transition in December? Why This is a Great Time to Make a Move

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Making a job transition in December might seem like a ludicrous idea, but it can actually be one of the best times to make a move, whether internally or externally. Here are some advantages to doing so:

  • most people decide to wait until after the new year to start looking, so it could give you an advantage in both the position and the timing
  • since it is a downtime, hiring mangers and HR staff have more time to vet candidates for positions, which most have already identified in their planning
  • hiring managers seem to be in the ‘holiday spirit’ so they will bring in candidates to interview, and will have more time to do so
  • hiring managers want to hit the ground running in January so they will be more open to getting their team together now

All-in-all, this is a great time to make a move. This doesn’t mean that you still don’t have to ensure that you are meeting their needs through your skills and experiences to meet them. You still need to ensure that you are conveying your value, and how you will help them to reach their business goals; but you could have an advantage by applying now.

Internal candidates can have a leg up on others, as there are more opportunities to internally network during holiday gathers that the organization may put on. For the reasons above, you may find that hiring managers will be more open to speaking with you about a potential move as they may be in a better frame of mind.

So, no matter if you desire to look elsewhere or want to add more to your current organization, look at December as an advantageous opportunity to put yourself out there and make a move. What are you waiting for?

Committed to Your Success Coaching & Consulting focuses on workplace happiness and organizational success. If you need help gaining clarity on your business or career goals, why not get some help – stop the struggle and call today to get started! https://www.cyscoaching.com or barbara@cyscoaching.com. For more great tips, visit our other blog at https://allaboutcareersites.com