Where’s Your Oxygen Mask?

Posted by on Jul 28, 2013 in Business, Relationships | 0 comments

Most parents have heard the advice given on airplanes before each flight. “In the event of an emergency, please secure your own oxygen mask before assisting others.” While the instructions may counter our natural instincts, the logic is sound; if you pass out, you won’t be of much use to the person sitting next to you. This is particularly sound advice for those of us who work closely with others as part of our business model as well. Our ability to lead, facilitate, and listen directly correlates with how centered and grounded we are for each interaction within each relationship. The people with whom we work feel the difference when we are centered versus overextended. When our own energy wains, our efficacy in helping another person see clearly through a situation may be compromised. Taking a break–an hour, a day, or a week–is one part of our work. While it may feel counterintuitive to step away from work when the pace and intensity is increasing, the choice we make to hit the ‘pause’ button can make the difference in the degree to which we are able to assist the people around us. Scheduling breaks and honoring them also sends an important message to the people around us. Through our actions, we communicate our commitment to both ourselves and others. Would you rather work with someone who is constantly stressed, overworked, and overwhelmed or with someone who is happy, rested, and productive? Knowing how to reach for our own oxygen mask assures others that we are well enough to assist them if and when they need our help. Where do you go for a bit of oxygen? I find small breaths in my morning meditation and through swimming, biking, and running. For a deep breath, I head for the beach. Even a couple of hours of listening to the ocean waves restores my perspective, clears my mind, and restores me to center. Before big events, I listen to music, and I sing–literally moving the air in and out of my body. Knowing where your oxygen mask is stored is the first step. Choosing to put it on–even when it goes against your instincts–can make the difference in how able you are to assist the ones you want most to...

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Mark My Words: How Business Professionals Track Writing Progress

Posted by on Jul 21, 2013 in Business, Writing and Speaking | 0 comments

If measuring progress is an essential part of working toward goals, how does a writer know if she is on track? Do writers count words or time or both? Which approach works best for which types of writing? In Stephen King’s On Writing, King shares that he starts writing in the early morning and writes at least 2,000 words each day. Sometimes he can reach his goal in a few hours; other days he is still writing in the early afternoon. He writes until he has written 2,000 words, and then he is free to go for a walk, read, and enjoy the rest of his day. This is the routine of a prolific writer for whom writing IS his day job. Yet, when establishing the best way to track writing progress, people need to consider both the form of their writing and their lifestyle. King writes primarily fiction, while many business owners and entrepreneurs are writing blogs, articles, essays and books. If a writer is also running a business, interacting with clients every day, and parenting young children, the writing structures to which she can commit will differ from those of a full-time, established writer. Here are four strategies business professionals use to track their own writing: 1) When writing a weekly blog, track how long it takes to create and edit the material each week for six weeks. Keep each blog entry to approximately 500 – 600 words. Note the time of day you wrote as well. At the end of the six weeks, add up the hours from each week and divide by six. The answer is the average amount of time you will need to schedule into your calendar each week for writing your blog. Round up your answer; some weeks will take more time than others. Did you notice that you write faster at a particular time of day? Use all the information you have gathered to set your writing schedule for the next six weeks. Track your progress again and see if it is consistent with what you discovered after the first six weeks. 2) If writing a book, create a time goal for each day and a total time goal for the week instead of focusing on word count. Track daily and weekly times carefully for the first four weeks to see where you have scheduled yourself well and where you may need to redesign. Your may choose to change your time goals in response to work or seasonal shifts, or when you are working with a specific deadline for the book. Engaging daily with your book–even if it is for fifteen minutes–is essential to staying connected with your material and for...

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Take Time to Celebrate

Posted by on Jul 14, 2013 in Business, Education, Relationships | 0 comments

One of my clients experienced a notable milestone this week. Weeks of hard work and intentional preparation culminated in a successful event that unfolded nearly exactly like his envisioned ‘optimal’ outcome. During a quick check-in call after the event, he identified for me the many pieces of both the process and the outcome that had gone well. Then he shared that he was not sure yet where to focus next. “Take a moment to celebrate,” I offered. “Stand in the place you are and capture everything there is to notice about this moment. Write down what went well and what you want to change for next time. Bring as much intention to your process of celebration and reflection as you did to your preparation.” This client is up to big things in the world. His recent event was an entry point to the greater goals he has and larger contributions he will likely make on his path. By capturing the clarity he has at this moment in time, he creates a reference point to review when he prepares for another event in a month or a year from now. The next time you reach a milestone, consider savoring and celebrating the moment with the same level of intentionality you invested in preparation. Before looking to see what is next, honor the value of celebration as an act of completion. Allow yourself time to reflect and record all that comes through. In taking the time to complete through celebration, you effectively clear space to allow the next new adventure to emerge with clarity and alignment. Enjoy!  ...

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Mixing Business and Pleasure: Writing a Mission Statement

Posted by on Jul 7, 2013 in Business, Education, Writing and Speaking | 0 comments

Writing a mission statement for your life or business is an adventure. Whether you are revisiting the language and form of your current mission, or preparing to write your first mission statement, the process of working with your mission can become an expression of who you are as well. While writing a mission statement can feel like a serious undertaking, surprising results may come through if you are willing to shift your approach. First and foremost, give yourself permission to PLAY. Your mission is who you are at the core. It has always been who you are, it reflects who you are now, and it will be who you are ten years from now. Through play, we tap into the earliest and purest expressions of ourselves when our spirit emerges stronger than our inhibitions and insecurities. The first time I wrote a mission statement, I did not appreciate the value of play as part of the process. Instead, I worked very hard to intellectually figure out my mission statement within the context of a course assignment. I crafted the language carefully, memorized it, and practiced delivering it out loud to the group. It was ‘accurate’ in the sense that all the pieces were authentic and true to who I was, but I struggled to memorize it, and I lacked confidence when I shared it with others. (Hint: A great mission statement will light you up and get you jazzed/re-energized every time you say it!) One day, years after I finished the course, I was working on my business mission. For those of us who run our own businesses, our personal and business missions may be the same or very similar. Yet, that day I decided I would start at the beginning and work through the process again to see what would happen. I had already discerned my core values for my business and was playing with how I wanted to incorporate them into the mission. I moved the words around, playing with the order and how they worked with each other. Just as they began to settle into a pattern I liked, I received a song ‘download’ into my brain and had the experience of a song being written through me. Music is often my playground for creative expression; it made sense to me that song became the vehicle that showed up when I allowed myself to play. What surprised me, though, was the experience I had of something coming ‘through me’ rather than anything I was doing to actively create it. While I know many writers and artists talk about a similar sentiment when they create, I had not personally experienced this before. In the end, I had...

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