The 7 Types Of Rest That Every Person Needs

Recently I read a fabulous article on the 7 types of rest we need and the difference between rest and sleep by Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith.  It was such an awesome article that I posted it on LinkedIn and decided it was worthy of providing a summary here for you.

The main crux of the article is that sleep and rest are not the same thing.  Yes, we do tend to confuse both – well, I used to.  As the article states, “The result is a culture of high-achieving, high-producing, chronically tired and chronically burned-out individuals. We’re suffering from a rest deficit because we don’t understand the true power of rest.”

Do you feel burnt out?  Chronically tired?

According to Dr. Dalton-Smith, rest should equal restoration in seven key areas of our lives.

  1. Physical rest – now that could include activities such as naps, sleep, massage etc.
  2. Mental rest – do you struggle to turn off your brain at night, going over conversations, to-do lists etc from the day? Firstly keep a notepad by your bed to jot down any thoughts that keep coming up.  Secondly, you could schedule short breaks every couple of hours to remind you to slow down.
  3. Sensory rest – in today’s world, we are all suffering from sensory overload – emails, zoom meetings, background noise, information overload, social media, etc. We need to intentionally unplug ourselves from this over-stimulating world.  Take time out for a few moments, close your eyes and breathe.
  4. Creative rest – is about allowing yourself to enjoy something completely outside your normal day. It is about reawakening the wonder and awe inside of us. For example, a place of inspiration or enjoying the arts, or wandering among nature. It provides space for your subconscious to do its work and develop innovative ideas.  Think of a hobby you love: gardening, bushwalking, photography, etc.
  5. Emotional rest – This is having the time and space to freely express your feelings and cut back on behaviour that is unhealthy. Emotional rest requires the courage to be authentic and to acknowledge what you are feeling.  Look at the quote at the start of this newsletter.
  6. Social rest – As stated in the article, “This occurs when we fail to differentiate between those relationships that revive us from those relationships that exhaust us.” It is important to connect with people who are positive and supportive and limit the toxic relationships around us.
  7. Spiritual rest – Oh my, one of the areas many of us leave off which is the ability to connect beyond the physical and mental and feel a deep sense of belonging, love, acceptance and purpose. This can be achieved when we engage in something greater than ourselves, such as prayer, meditation, or community involvement.

So getting more sleep is not going to make your feel rested.  What do you personally need to do to make you feel more rested?  What level of rest are you missing out on?  What about someone you love – how are they getting enough rest?

Here is her amazing TEDx Talk from 2019 about why we are so tired and what to do about it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZGNN4EPJzGk&t=65s

Turn Fear Into Fuel in 2023

Happy New Year and welcome back!!

Uncertainty. It’s a terrifying word. Like it or not, uncertainty is the new normal. We live in a time where the world is in a state of constant, long-term flux.

Uncertainty leads to unease, anxiety, fear and doubt on a level that snuffs out most genuinely meaningful and potentially revolutionary endeavours before they even see the light of day. Not because they wouldn’t have succeeded, but because you never equipped yourself to handle and even harness the emotional energy of the journey.

But what if it didn’t have to be that way? What if there was a way to turn the fear, anxiety and self-doubt that ride along with acting in the face of uncertainty – the head-to-toe butterflies – into fuel for brilliance?

Turns out, there is. Here are 5 starter-strategies to help get you going:

1. Reframe

If you create a story that empowers action and innovation, that’s great news. Unfortunately, our brains have a strong bias toward negativity, leading most of us to create stories around circumstances that require action in the face of uncertainty that are more likely to paralyse and stunt creativity than fuel action.

Reframing is a process that asks you to suspend negative storylines, explore if the story you’re telling is the only one and, if not construct or frame a new storyline that empowers you.

For example, if your storyline is around the risk of failure, instead of just asking “what if I fail?” and creating a doomsday scenario, you ask yourself ”What would I attempt to do today if I knew I could not fail?”  Then build new stories around those questions.

 2. Practice Mindfulness

Reframing is an immensely powerful tool in the quest to lean into the unknown. But it also requires a certain detachment, the ability to pull back and see what’s really going on and re-centre.  A daily mindfulness practice goes a long way toward equipping you to do just that.

Mindfulness cultivates a sense of persistent grounding that makes living and acting in a world where there is no new normal far more enjoyable. And it trains you in the practice of dropping thoughts among those destructive, limiting beliefs.

3. Exercise Your Brain

We’ve all seen the research on exercise and health, weight loss and disease prevention. But did you know that certain approaches to exercise also have a profound effect on your brain?

Daily cardiovascular exercise, for example, especially with high-intensity bursts mixed in, can improve mood, executive function, decision-making, and decrease fear. It is also strongly correlated with decreases in anxiety and increases in mood, which are directly connected to improved creativity and problem-solving.

4. Single-task

Multitasking is out. Our brains don’t multitask; they just rapidly switch between tasks, sometimes fast enough for us to believe we’re doing many things at once. The problem is, every time we switch, there is a “ramping cost” in your brain, it takes anywhere from a few seconds to 15 minutes for your brain to fully re-engage. This makes you feel insanely busy but simultaneously inhibits productivity and creativity and increases feelings of anxiety and stress.

Multitasking also requires you to hold a lot of information in your working memory, which is controlled by a part of the brain known as the prefrontal cortex (PFC). But the PFC is also responsible for will power, and for keeping fear and anxiety in check. Multitasking increases the “cognitive load” on the PFC, overwhelming it and effectively killing its ability to keep fear, anxiety and the taunt of distraction at bay.

Simple solution – just say no. Do one thing at a time in intense, short bursts.

 5. Learning Opportunities

Explore the possibility of bringing a learning approach to your creative process. Create the simplest version of your idea possible, then bring a select group of those who potentially might enjoy it into the process earlier in the name of soliciting and integrating input into the next iteration. This not only minimizes waste, it changes the psychology of creation by adding more certainty earlier in the game and encouraging consistent, incremental action.

Source: Adapted from Jonathan Fields, “zen habits: 5 Ways to Turn Fear into Fuel”, http://zenhabits.net

I hope these five simple suggestions will support you in creating a 2023 with less fear, anxiety and uncertainty. Want to chat further….. contact me: babette@babettebensoussan.com.au

Positive Energy

Creating Positive Energy With Your Words

One of the ways we generate energy is in the words we use.  Every word spoken or read creates an image and energy in our minds.

Did you know, we actually remember positive words better than negative words! Here’s an example: Don’t dump trash here! 

Sounds OK.  It communicates!  But in your mind, something amazing happens when you read this – amazing but not good.

Why not good?  Well, when you read an instruction that is worded negatively, you have to switch tracks from “I can’t dump trash here” to “where in the world AM I supposed to dump the trash!”

What is better and more effective to say is: “Dump trash here.”

Eliminating one word turns the negative order into a positive order that can be easily followed and avoids having to switch around in a thought dilemma, which wastes time and creates negative energy!

Here are a couple more to consider:

Negative Positive
No, we don’t have that one, we only have this one What we do have is this one and its features are…
I can’t have this ready until Friday I can have this ready for you on Friday
They cannot correct that problem until they redesign the motor When they redesign the motor, they’re going to correct that problem
Our managers don’t communicate with one another Our managers need to find better ways to communicate with one another
We can do this but it… We can do this and it..

Think about the word “problem”.  This word actually produces stress because we feel we must solve something and it is likely to be complicated and that we’ll be graded on how we solve the problem.

The word “challenge”, although a vast improvement over the word “problem”, still carries hidden emotional baggage.  It comes with feelings that maybe you’ll be “humiliated” if your performance isn’t equal to others or you’ll have to climb over a great obstacle or run a tiring race.

The words “problem” and “challenge” are emotive words, meaning there are feelings and emotions that accompany them.  Most of the time we’re unaware of these emotions as the words are so common.

When you see a challenge you naturally begin to see reasons you can’t achieve it…when you see a problem you see failure looming.  With both, you’re recognising a manifestation of a fear you have.  Once you’re victim to the fear of failure you can’t think in a healthy way.

The answer?  Change your perspective.

What if there was no such thing as problems or challenges?  What if there were only opportunities to test what you believed, no failures to keep you from trying, and only growth from your experiences?

What would you attempt to do today if you knew you could not fail?” 

There’s huge power in this kind of thinking! (Another good reason for having an objective coach in your life.)

Changing your perspective – just the way you use a word for example – helps you tap into an inner energy to accomplish your dreams.  Changing your perspective helps you identify and overcome internal obstacles and barriers so you can succeed.

So think carefully about the words you use and the positive energy they bring to you and to those around you.  For example, I changed the way I used the word “but”.  I try to avoid it completely where possible.  I did not realise that everything you say before you say “but” is in fact cancelled and the person only hears what comes after the “but”.  Try for a week not to use the word “but” and see what happens.  I would be most interested to hear how you go.

Mixed Thoughts

On my recent trip to the USA, I caught up on some reading – 14 hours on a plane gives you plenty of time – and I thought I would share with you just three of my favourite thoughts/ideas that I came across.

1. 103 Bits of advice I wish I had known
Kevin Kelly turned 70 last week and for the past few years, he’s jotted down bits of unsolicited advice.  He shared these recently and some that appealed to me are:

  • Don’t ever work for someone you don’t want to become.
  • Your growth as a conscious being is measured by the number of uncomfortable conversations you are willing to have.
  • If you repeated what you did today 365 more times will you be where you want to be next year?
  • The biggest lie we tell ourselves is “I don’t need to write this down because I will remember it.”
  • To keep young kids behaving on a car road trip, have a bag of their favourite candy and throw a piece out the window each time they misbehave.
  • Don’t keep making the same mistakes; try to make new mistakes.😅

Want to read more?

2. The Most Eye Opening 10 Minutes Of Your Life by Brené Brown
Love, love, love the wisdom in this. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6j7DbxtMbpQ

Brené Brown is a research professor at the University of Houston. Brown has spent the past two decades studying courage, vulnerability, shame and empathy.

As a coach, I love working with my clients’ gremlins.  What is your gremlin saying to you?

3. Data, information and decisions
“Data is everywhere, but turning it into information isn’t free.

It takes focus, effort, consultation and time.

More information is only useful if it helps you make a decision. Knowing the temperature on Saturn isn’t useful. Knowing it to even more accuracy is less useful. That’s because we’re not making any decisions that involve the temperature on another planet.

We’re surrounded by data that our spreadsheets or networks or cohorts seem to want us to be aware of. How many people clicked yesterday, or what someone wrote in a comment, what a backlist book sold or the foot traffic in that store vs. this store.

But if you’re not going to use the data to make a decision, don’t spend the time exposing yourself to it. It’s resistance at work.

If you can’t do anything with the data, it’s never going to be information”.

Source: Seth Godin – May 14, 2022 Data, information and decisions 

As a specialist in competitive intelligence, I have seen this so often. Many business executives worry about data when in fact it is the insights (what does this mean for the business) they really need to understand in order to make better business decisions. And if you are unclear about your decision, then any data will do, right?

Are you focused on the data or are you after insights?

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WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU HAVE TO WORK WITH SOMEONE YOU DON’T LIKE

You’re not alone!

Most of us at some point in time have to work or collaborate with someone we can’t stand.  A wonderful article by Peter Bregman was published in the Harvard Business Review on this very topic and I really liked the insights he provided to guide anyone on improving working relationships.

Accept that you are not going to like everyone.
It’s inevitable you will encounter difficult people who oppose what you think, believe and feel. Conflicts or disagreements are a result of differences in values. That person you don’t like is not intrinsically a bad human. The reason you don’t get along is because you have different values, and that difference creates judgment. Remember not everyone is like you. If you can accept that not everyone will like you, and you won’t like everyone, then this realisation can take a lot of the heavy emotion out of the situation.

Turn inwards and focus on yourself
It’s important that you learn how to handle your frustration when dealing with someone who annoys you. Instead of thinking about how irritating that person is, focus on why you are reacting the way you are. Sometimes what we don’t like in others is frequently what we can’t stand in ourselves. Recognise the triggers that might be complicating your feelings. You may then be able to anticipate, soften, or even alter your reaction. Remember: it’s easier to change your perceptions, attitude, and behaviour than to ask someone to be a different kind of person.

Check your own expectations
It’s not uncommon for people to have unrealistic expectations about others. We may expect others to act exactly as we would, or say the things that we might say in a certain situation. However, that’s not realistic. Expecting others to do as you would do is setting yourself up for disappointment and frustration. If a person causes you to feel exactly the same way every time, check your expectations and adjust appropriately.

Be compassionate with yourself
And remember: “Being compassionate with yourself is the key to being compassionate with others”

When you give yourself unconditional love, compassion, forgiveness, and acceptance, you’re then able to give that to others.

Want to read the full article? here.

Or you may prefer to see this short video on 10 ways to have a better conversation.
When your job hinges on how well you talk to people, you learn a lot about how to have good conversations. Celeste Headlee has worked as a radio host for decades, and she knows the ingredients of a great conversation: Honesty, brevity, clarity and a healthy amount of listening. In this insightful talk, she shares 10 useful rules for having better conversations. “Go out, talk to people, listen to people,” she says. “And, most importantly, be prepared to be amazed.”

So this month, I hope you find a way to work with people you don’t like and still have wonderful conversations.

HOW TO INFLUENCE DECISION MAKERS

Here is a wonderful article I had to share with you from Marshall Goldsmith, giving advice on how to be more effective in influencing up. I have had a number of coaching clients facing this situation, so maybe there is an answer there for you too.

1. Accept the facts
Every decision that affects our lives will be made by the person who has the power to make that decision, not the “right” person or the “smartest” person or the “best” person. Make peace with this fact. Once we make peace with the fact that the people who have the power to make the decisions always make the decisions and we get over whining that “life isn’t fair,” we become more effective in influencing others and making a positive difference. We also become happier.

2. Realise You Must Sell Your Ideas
When presenting ideas to decision-makers, realize that it is your responsibility to sell, not their responsibility to buy. In many ways, influencing ultimate decision-makers is similar to selling products or services to external customers. They don’t have to buy–you have to sell. No one is impressed with salespeople who blame their customers for not buying their products. While the importance of taking responsibility may seem obvious in external sales, an amazing number of people in large corporations spend countless hours blaming management for not buying their ideas. A key part of the influence process involves the education of decision-makers. The effective influencer needs to be a good teacher.

3. Focus on contribution to the larger good – not just the achievement of your objectives
An effective salesperson would never say to a customer, “You need to buy this product because if you don’t, I won’t achieve my objectives.” Effective salespeople relate to the needs of the buyers, not to their own needs. In the same way, effective influencers relate to the larger needs of the organization, not just to the needs of their unit or team.

4. Strive to win the big battles
Don’t waste your energy and psychological capital on trivial points. Executives’ time is very limited. Do a thorough analysis of ideas before challenging the system. Focus on issues that will make a real difference. Be willing to lose on small points. Be especially sensitive to the need to win trivial non-business arguments on things like restaurants, sports teams, or cars. You are paid to do what makes a difference and to win on important issues. You are not paid to win arguments on the relative quality of athletic teams.

5. Present a realistic “cost-benefit” analysis of your ideas – don’t just sell benefits
Every organization has limited resources, time, and energy. The acceptance of your idea may well mean the rejection of another idea that someone else believes is wonderful. Be prepared to have a realistic discussion of the costs of your idea.

6. Challenge up on issues involving ethics or integrity – never remain silent on ethics violations.
The best corporations can be severely damaged by only one violation of corporate integrity. Refuse to compromise on company ethics. Take action immediately.

7. Realise that powerful people also make mistakes
Don’t say, “I am amazed that someone at this level…” It is realistic to expect decision-makers to be competent; it is unrealistic to expect them to be anything other than normal humans. Focus more on helping them than judging them.

8. Don’t be disrespectful
While it is important to avoid kissing up to decision-makers, it is just as important to avoid the opposite reaction.
Before speaking, it is generally good to ask one question from four perspectives. “Will this comment help 1) our company 2) our customers 3) the person I am talking to, and 4) the person I am talking about?” If the answers are no, no, no, and no, don’t say it!

9. Support the final decision
Treat decision-makers the same way that you would want to be treated. If you stab that person in the back in front of your direct reports, what are you teaching them to do when they disagree with you?

10. Make a positive difference–don’t just try to “win” or “be right”
We can easily become more focused on what others are doing wrong than on how we can make things better. An important guideline in influencing up is to always remember your goal: making a positive difference for the organization. Focus on making a difference. The more other people can be “right” or “win” with your idea, the more likely your idea is to be successfully executed.

11. Focus on the future – let go of the past
One of the most important behaviours to avoid is whining about the past. Have you ever managed someone who incessantly whined about how bad things are? Nobody wins. Successful people love getting ideas aimed at helping them achieve their goals for the future. By focusing on the future, you can concentrate on what can be achieved tomorrow, not what was not achieved yesterday.

In summary, think of the years that you have spent “perfecting your craft.” Think of all of the knowledge that you have accumulated. Think about how your knowledge can potentially benefit your organisation. How much energy have you invested in acquiring all of this knowledge? How much energy have you invested in learning to present this knowledge to decision-makers so that you can make a real difference? My hope is that by making a small investment in learning to influence decision-makers, you can make a large, positive difference for the future of your organization.

Source: The above article was written by Marshall Goldsmith, “11 Ways to Influence Key Decision makers”, April 30, 2015.

AVOIDING THE HIGH COSTS OF WRONG DECISIONS

As many of you, who will have read my previous newsletters this year, will know I have been reading over the summer holidays and going through some old files. What memories!

Interestingly they also reminded me of how often the basics of business still remain unchanged. And one such area is in the way we make business decisions. Why is it that so many companies keep making costly mistakes?

The reasons business people make the wrong decisions, in fact, stems from a multiplicity of causes. A colleague of mine, Deborah Sawyer, a number of years ago identified seven deadly sins of business decision-making that alas are too familiar to us all.

Her list included:

1. We already have all the answers – the longer someone has worked in an industry the more inclined they are to believe they know all the answers about that industry. The same applies for someone who has worked with a particular company for a long time and is immersed in that particular company’s viewpoint.

Symptoms include –
a) familiarity breeds contempt;
b) arrogance in that we would never go outside for information (I guess these people don’t have customers, suppliers, have any needs for products or services, don’t participate in conferences, etc!);
c)“old boy’s knowledge”.

2. Asking the wrong question – my favourite – getting to the right decision means having the right information. And having the right information means asking the right questions. Here lies the kernel of another reason why many business people make the wrong decisions – they do not ask the right question.

3. Old Demon Ego – Decisions which companies should never take, and would never take if egos could be set aside, do get taken because decision-makers can’t give up their pet ideas. Whilst decision makers often know they should go and get some objective input to test their idea, they deliberately avoid doing so. That’s because they know an input of information will likely show up the flaws in the pet project. That would mean they would have to abandon the idea!

Symptoms include:
a) unwise acquisitions
b) diversification bites
c) failing overseas
d) entrepreneurial weakness

Have you hugged your pet idea today?

4. Flying by the Seat of your Pants Saves Money – Doesn’t It? – Executives often fall for this one! By not seeking out the information to support decision making, they “save” the company money.

Symptoms include:
a) winging it overseas
b) fools rush in
c) leaving it too late

It is important to remember here that most readily available information is generalised and intended to inform in a general way. Rarely is generalised information, which just about anyone can access, tailored enough to support business decision making, which has to occur in the context of a paritcular company’s situation.

5. If It Works for Them, It’ll Work for Us (All Aboard the Bandwagon) – Rather than

undertake soul searching to find the right choices, a company instead looks around at what others in its industry have done and simply mimics them. By imitating what others do, there is no need to take an idea and test it in the context of your own company to see if there is a fit.

Some symptoms include:
a) following the fashions
b) safety in numbers
c) why is no-one else doing this?

This sin is most usually made in mature industries where there are a limited number of players and everyone knows everyone else.

6. Hear No Evil – Another way companies avoid making the right decision is by making sure they never hear anything unpleasant. We all know this one and some of the symptoms include:

a) don’t tell me what I ask to hear!
b) shoot the messenger

Here is a recent example – “As Vladimir Putin has surrounded himself with hardliners who reinforce his worldview, the Russian president’s access to reliable — if inconvenient — information has diminished. The result is a dangerous feedback loop which encourages an increasingly belligerent stance, reflects Seva Gunitsky for Foreign Affairs.”

7. No Decision Can be the Same as a Bad Decision (Hurry Up and Wait) – Failure to make a decision does not just mean a lost opportunity. It can also take away the chance to take corrective action to an existing business situation.

Symptoms include:
a) decision drag (also known as procrastination)
b) head in the sand
c) eye off the future

Every company and every industry runs the risk of thinking that the status quo will continue indefinitely. Many decisions taken or not taken rest on this assumption.

One of my biggest weakness is No. 4. Which sin(s) do you feel you are committing today as you move forward?

Excerpts: Sawyer, D., (1999) “Getting it Right, Avoiding the High Cost of Wrong Decisions”, St. Lucie Press, USA.

WANT TO BE HAPPIER?

As I mentioned in my last newsletter, I have read some fabulous articles over the holidays.  And in continuing the theme about complaining and being happier, I wanted to share this one about choices.

Practice doesn’t make perfect. But deep, deliberate practice, a form of training that involves concentration, effort, and a steady stream of critical feedback, can help improve any skill up to 10 times faster than conventional practice. 

Practice with that level of focus and your brain forms myelin, a microscopic neural substance that adds considerable speed and accuracy to thoughts and movement. Myelin is kind of like a muscle, except instead of strengthening your body, it strengthens neural pathways related to a particular skill.

That’s great, but then there’s this: Your body doesn’t make value judgments. Practising something that isn’t good for you will also alter your brain.

Basically, your body adapts, and that adaptation helps build patterns of thought and behaviour. 

The result is a virtuous cycle if you’re trying to learn a helpful new skill — and a vicious cycle if you regularly do something less positive.

Like complaining.

Think of it as a bizarre version of the Law of Attraction: Complaining will cause you to “attract” more experiences you can complain about (except this phenomenon is based on science, not philosophy).

Complain, and over time it’s easier to be negative than to be positive. Complain often enough and complaining can become a default behaviour. 

This is one reason some people seem to always be able to find something to complain about.  They might say they’re perfectionists. They might say they have extremely high standards.  But possibly they’ve just learned to complain.  And trained their neural pathways to be really good at complaining.

Venting Won’t Make You Feel Better.

I know what you’re thinking: When you’re mad, upset, frustrated, etc., releasing those negative feelings helps you feel better.

Nope: Science says whining about your problems actually makes you feel worse, not better.

According to one study, venting just makes you feel worse. In fact, the more participants vented, the worse they felt their day had gone. And those negative feelings last.

As the researchers wrote: [Participants] ‘not only reported lower momentary mood and less satisfaction and pride with the work they’d been doing that same day … but they also tended to experience lower mood the next morning … and lower pride in next-day accomplishments.’

And if that’s not enough, those feelings affect the people around you.

If, as Jim Rohn says, you are the average of the five people you hang out with, and one or two of those people tend to complain a lot, research shows that their bad mood affects yours. ……..Just as yours affects them.

So Instead of Complaining …

How you react — to anything — is a choice. 

If something bad happens, you get to choose how you’ll respond. If something goes wrong, you get to choose how you’ll respond.  If someone does something you don’t like, you get to choose how you’ll respond.

While you can never control everything that happens, you can always control how you respond.

The next time something goes wrong, don’t waste time complaining. Put that same effort into making the situation better: Talk about how you’ll make things better. Or what you’ll do next time. Or won’t do next time.  Even if you have that conversation only with yourself.

Practice responding that way and in time you’ll build up neural pathways that make responding that way even easier.

In effect, being positive will become a skill — one you built through deep, deliberate practice.

Would you agree with this premise? I would love to hear what you think!

 

Source: https://www.inc.com/jeff-haden/neuroscience-says-youll-be-happier-less-stressed-more-productive-when-you-stop-doing-this-1-thing.html

five important lessons

What is truly important in life?

I thought for something different for the end of the year and in preparation for 2022, I would share these five important stories that were recently shared with me. They made me reflect on what is important in life.  Read these wonderful stories at your leisure over the Christmas and New Year holidays.

1 – First Important Lesson – Cleaning Lady.

During my second month of college, our professor gave us a pop quiz. I was a conscientious student and had breezed through the questions until I read the last one: “What is the first name of the woman who cleans the school?”

Surely this was some kind of joke.  I had seen the cleaning woman several times.  She was tall, dark-haired, and in her 50’s, but how would I know her name? I handed in my paper, leaving the last question blank.  Just before class ended, one student asked if the last question would count towards our quiz grade.

“Absolutely, ” said the professor.  “In your careers, you will meet many people.   All are significant.  They deserve your attention and care, even if all you do is smile and say “hello.”

I’ve never forgotten that lesson.  I also learned her name.  It was Dorothy.

2 – Second Important Lesson – Pickup in the Rain.

One night, at 11:30 p.m., an older African American woman was standing on the side of an Alabama highway trying to endure a lashing rainstorm.  Her car had broken down and she desperately needed a ride.  Soaking wet, she decided to flag down the next car.

A young white man stopped to help her, generally unheard of in those conflict-filled 1960s.  The man took her to safety, helped her get assistance, and put her into a taxicab. She seemed to be in a big hurry, but wrote down his address and thanked him.  Seven days went by and a knock came on the man’s door. To his surprise, a giant console TV was delivered to his home.  A special note was attached.

It read:  “Thank you so much for assisting me on the highway the other night.  The rain-drenched not only my clothes but also my spirits.  Then you came along.   Because of you, I was able to make it to my dying husband’s bedside just before he passed away.  God Bless you for helping me and unselfishly serving others.

Sincerely, Mrs Nat King Cole”.

3 – Third Important Lesson – Always remember those who serve.

In the days when an ice cream sundae cost much less, a 10-year-old boy entered a hotel coffee shop and sat at a table.   A waitress put a glass of water in front of him.

“How much is an ice cream sundae?” he asked.

“Fifty cents,” replied the waitress.

The little boy pulled his hand out of his pocket and studied the coins in it. “Well, how much is a plain dish of ice cream?” he inquired. By now more people were waiting for a table and the waitress was growing impatient.

“Thirty-five cents,” she brusquely replied. The little boy again counted his coins. “I’ll have the plain ice cream,” he said.

The waitress brought the ice cream, put the bill on the table, and walked away.  The boy finished the ice cream, paid the cashier, and left.  When the waitress came back, she began to cry as she wiped down the table.  There, placed neatly beside the empty dish, were two nickels and five pennies.

You see, he couldn’t have the sundae, because he had to have enough left to leave her a tip.

4 – Fourth Important Lesson. – The Obstacle in Our Path.

In ancient times, a King had a boulder placed on a roadway.  Then he hid and watched to see if anyone would remove the huge rock.  Some of the King’s wealthiest merchants and courtiers came by and simply walked around it.  Many loudly blamed the King for not keeping the roads clear, but none did anything about getting the stone out of the way.

Then a peasant came along carrying a load of vegetables.  Upon approaching the boulder, the peasant laid down his burden and tried to move the stone to the side of the road.  After much pushing and straining, he finally succeeded.  After the peasant picked up his load of vegetables, he noticed a purse lying in the road where the boulder had been.  The purse contained many gold coins and a note from the King indicating that the gold was for the person who removed the boulder from the roadway.

The peasant learned what many of us never understand! Every obstacle presents an opportunity to improve our condition.

5 – Fifth Important Lesson – Giving When it Counts.

Many years ago, when I worked as a volunteer at a hospital, I got to know a little girl named Liz who was suffering from a rare & serious disease.  Her only chance of recovery appeared to be a blood transfusion from her 5-year old brother, who had miraculously survived the same disease and had developed the antibodies needed to combat the illness.

The doctor explained the situation to her little brother and asked the little boy if he would be willing to give his blood to his sister. I saw him hesitate for only a moment before taking a deep breath and saying, “Yes I’ll do it if it will save her.”

As the transfusion progressed, he lay in bed next to his sister and smiled, as we all did, seeing the colour returning to her cheeks.  Then his face grew pale and his smile faded.

He looked up at the doctor and asked with a trembling voice, “Will I start to die right away?”

Being young, the little boy had misunderstood the doctor; he thought he was going to have to give his sister all of his blood in order to save her.

Most importantly… 
Live with no regrets, Treat people the way you want to be treated, Work like you don’t need the money, Love like you’ve never been hurt, and Dance like you do when nobody’s watching.

No

HOW TO STOP BEING A PEOPLE PLEASER: 7 POWERFUL HABITS – PART 1

When you get stuck in the habit of trying to please other people most of the time, it can have a sneaky and negative effect on your life.  And not only on you but also on the people around you.

Because as you try to please:

  • You put on a mask and try to guess what to do while getting anxious and stressed.
  • Sometimes you feel taken advantage of by others who use your people pleasing habit.
  • Often you feel out of tune with what you yourself deep down want.
  • It can also have an unintended effect on other people as they may see through your mask, start to feel your inner discomfort and stress themselves and get confused or upset because they sense you are not being honest and straightforward with them.

So being a people pleaser may not create the outcomes you seek and often can be an even worse choice than one may at first think.

So how can you change this behaviour and break the habit?

This month I’d like to share 7 powerful insights and habits that have helped me with this issue.

1. Realize that with some people it isn’t about you and what you do (no matter what you do).

Some people just can’t be pleased. No matter what you do. Because it’s not about what you do or do not do. It’s about him or her.

By realizing this and how you in the end can’t get everyone to like you or can’t void conflict no matter what you do, you can start to let go of this damaging habit.

2. Learn how to say no.

It’s of course hard to say no.  But it is vital for you to own happiness, stress levels and for living the life you truly want.

Here are 5 things that have made it easier for me to say no more often:

  • Disarm and state your need. It’s easier for people to accept your no if you disarm them first. Do that by, for instance, saying that you’re flattered or that you appreciate the kind offer. Then add that you, for example, simply don’t have the time for doing what they want.  Now you are establishing a boundary for your sake.
  • If they’re pushy, add how you feel. Say that you don’t feel that this offer is a good fit for your life right now. Or that you feel overwhelmed and very busy and so you cannot do whatever they want. Telling someone how you honestly feel can help them to understand your side of the issue better. And it’s also a lot harder to argue with how you feel rather than what you think.
  • Help out a bit. If possible, finish your reply by recommending someone that you think could help out or would be a better fit for what they need. I do this quite often when I feel I lack the knowledge or experience that a reader or a friend is looking for.
  • Remind yourself why it is important to sometimes say no: You teach people by how you behave. They learn about you and your boundaries from your behaviour. So if you stand up for yourself and say no and are assertive about what you don’t want then people will start to pick up on that. And over time you’ll encounter fewer and fewer situations where someone tries to be pushy or steamroll you.
  • It’s OK to feel a bit guilty about saying no (but you don’t have to act on it). Just feel it and be with that feeling for a while. But at the same time know that it doesn’t mean that you have to act on it and say yes or do what they want you to do.
Interested in practical ways to say no? I’m happy to share with you my list of ’99 ways to say No’. Just email me.

3. People don’t really care that much about what you say or do.

The truth is that while you may be the main character in your own life and head, you’re not that in other people’s lives.  Because here’s the thing: people have their hands full with thinking and worrying about their own lives. They have their heads full of thoughts about their kids, career, pets, hobbies, dreams and worries or thoughts about what others may think of them.

This realization can make you feel less important. But it can also set you free.