Tag Archives: work

Intent of the Day: Look at Work Differently

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Everybody’s working for the weekend, right? Popular culture reminds us on every corner that going to work means answering to “the man” and we might not know who “the man” is but we know he probably doesn’t want us to have any fun. But does that have to be the case? Is a job that fulfills and grows you something reserved only for the lucky few? We don’t think so. Our intent is to notice what opportunities are available to us. Our intent is to look forward to our Monday. Our intent is to look at work differently.

How so? Here are 3 things to consider: Continue reading

Why Can’t Work Be More Fun?

workFor many, work is a 4-letter word. Songs are written about how much we hate it. There are television shows that share how awful some jobs are. The source of our greatest complaints in life are either about our family or our work.

But what if instead of seeing work as a sentence, we saw it as an opportunity to do more of what we do best? What if we actually found work fun? Unthinkable! Impossible! Stop kidding around and get back to being serious – this is work we are talking about. Our “work ethic” says that work is supposed to be tough, challenging, complicated and demanding. What if we had it all wrong?

If we could use more of our talents and live more of our passions, we could raise the enjoyment, engagement and fun in our work. But most of us get pushed into work situations instead of intentionally choosing them. We think money matters most when it comes to work.

However, talk to those who are exceptional at what they do and love doing it and they will share that they used fun, engagement and impact as criteria for selecting work, a job or a career – not just money. After all, you choose what you will have to do each day. It seems reasonable to choose something that engages and inspires you, not one that will be a challenge to get out of bed for each morning.

Besides being a workplace and life coach, I am an adjunct professor for a college in South Florida. Most of my students have no idea of not only what they want from college, but what things they should be studying to be ready for life after college. They have not been taught how to look within themselves to see their unique abilities and passions, and how to review their world for the places that will let them do what they do best. They are setting themselves up for work that they won’t find fun, exciting and engaging. We are creating the next generations of those who will continue to write and sing about how bad work is and how we have to just put up with it until they get to come home – or die. Every moment of life is one worth living wisely and with intention. And if work uses the greatest number of the moments of our lives, isn’t it worth it to find a way to build fun AND impact into our work?

This makes me want to ask 2 questions:

  1. If you could realign to a field, job or position that would activate your greater talents and passions, what would it be and how could start to make the change?
  2. If you can’t make a job or career change because of your current situation or commitments, how can you look at what you do and find more things in the workplace that feed your spirit, soul, talents and passions?

Here are some examples.

Steve is an entrepreneur – his work is to evaluate business ideas in which to invest. His job is so much fun for him, he told me he can hardly stand it. He is excited and “on” every moment.

Marie waits tables – work is fun for her. She can’t wait to meet the next person, share stories and hear theirs. She takes on extra shifts, not for the money, but for the time with new people.

Bob is the CFO for a company. Month end is his favorite time of month as he reviews the performance of the company, prepares reports and makes presentations. For him, it doesn’t get better than this.

Tess is an administrative assistant. Though she is good at what she doe, it isn’t her favorite work. She is intensely creative so she asked to coordinate the office events and write the company newsletter. These raise the fun meter in her role.

We choose our level of happiness and fun. If it isn’t as we like it, we must change it. There are always things we can do to improve how we see the world, and what we do in it. As George Bernard Shaw shares, “Life is no ‘brief candle’ to me. It is sort of a splendid torch which I have a hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it over to future generations.” Make the moments matter. Make the most of everything. Don’t wait for things to change, change them.

Love life. Love work. Have more fun. Make more fun. It is possible. It is up to each of us to make it happen.

Meditate to Start the Day

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I would’ve never been someone who meditated.
It seemed to weird. To hippy.
What is a hippy? I wouldn’t say I was even 100% sure what a hippy was but I didn’t think I wanted to be one.

I like things to be orderly and intentional.
Sitting on a mat and lighting incense was not how I pictured myself.

Then I started a job where I worked from home and I was entirely responsible for my own motivation and organization. I thrive in those situations but it was a few weeks in when I realized I was having trouble turning of work. I was getting up in the morning and I wasn’t rested. There was no such thing as work time and home time. It all bled together and it was making me crazier and crazier.

I had a coworker suggest I take a few minutes in the morning to sit and think through the day. Maybe pour myself a cup of coffee and look over my calendar. Get a little perspective. I’d go through the process of getting up, making breakfast, taking a few minutes to sit and think and then get dressed. It was my cue that the day was officially starting. It was a few weeks into this successful practice that I realized I was meditating!

Or at least practicing some sort of meditation.
I was reminding myself of who I was.
I was reminding myself of what I was doing.
I was reminding myself of what it was all for and where I was headed.
It allowed me to approach work tasks with a broader scope and more patience.
It allowed me to feel less guilty when I got to the end of my work day and could shut my computer and move on even though I wasn’t necessarily headed out the door to something else. I could just be.

Maybe meditation sounds to weird and ethereal to you.
A couple of things to help you?

1. Inc listed morning meditation as one of the “7 Ways to Start a Great Day”. If it’s good enough for Inc, it’s good enough for me.
2. Mallika Chopra has a great eBook aptly titled “Meditation with Mallika Chopra” that is a great starting point for people new to the practice.
3. Deepak Chopra has been teaching and speaking on meditation for years now. We’ve assembled some great resources answering the questions of what and why for beginners here.

Worried to be the only one? Many of the folks at Intent.com are starting the day with meditation and love encouraging one another! (You can vote on whether or not you want the incense. It doesn’t hurt, I promise!) Let them help you get started:

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3 Tips to Stay Fired Up Instead of Fizzling Out

fired upLife comes at us fast. We choose whether it fires us up or fizzles us out. Here are two stories to make the point and then to share some comments in how to stay fired up – passionate – energized in life.

Story one. Fizzled out.

A friend of mine tries to do it all. Someplace in her thinking she feels she is supposed to be supermom, super-employee, super-friend, super-problemsolver, super-cook and super-spouse. She has a personal requirement to be all these – her choice. She comes from a family of high performers where they constantly assess and judge each other based on the things they do. Huge pressure. Lately I have seen the normally fire-filled eyes with gray shadows – she is fizzling out – losing her inner passion, fire and energy. Instead of showing up big to any of these roles, she is now just barely keeping up, disappointed with herself, with others and with the world. Fizzled out.

Story two. Fired Up.

Another friend of mine is a talented speaker who has a high-activity life. It is not unusual for him to be in two or three cities in a week. Between his writing and speaking, he is on the go all the time. He is fired up, passionate, excited and energized by what he does for work. But to keep this pace and to keep the internal fire burning, he has built some effective and practical “stay fired up” habits.

  1. Gratitude. Always start each day or event with a thought of gratitude. Each moment of each day has blessings in them if we choose to see them. By taking the time to appreciate the greatness and “amazingness” of each moment, we fuel our internal fire. Gratitude is a fire builder.
  2. Breathe. Take a breath anytime we feel too busy, confusing or chaotic. In this moment, we improve our clarity about our situation. This creates the ability for our next moment to be wiser, saner and more effective. Stop things even for a fraction of a second to see more clearly. This can help us pace ourselves to feel more in control, less defeated and therefore more fired up.
  3. Self-talk. Have positive self-talk. Most of the chatter in our minds is critical, non-supportive and judgmental. Noticing that chatter and realigning it to be kind, gentle and supportive is the way to rekindle our passion for what we are doing. That critical “committee” in our head is a fizzle maker. Tell the noisy voices in your head to sit down and shut up (I know that sound severe but sometimes our committees only respond. Then, without the noise, you can take a breath, be grateful and reconnect to your inner fire.

A single dad friend of mine used to say to his kids as he got them into bed (and help them to stay there instead of wanting this and that and making the bedtime process take hours), “When you stay in bed it gives me time to be ready to be a great dad to you tomorrow.” We all need to develop our personal habits to allow the time to plug back into our power source – to have greatness habits that fire up the passion for life, the passion for people and the passion for our work.

Our world can wear us out. Actually, we allow our world to wear us out. Since we choose how we respond to the things that life sends us, we could also choose to stay fired up. We could choose to feed our internal fire by connecting to our passions, being more present in what we choose to do and to appreciate what is instead of noticing what is missing. It takes awareness. It takes practice. It requires building some fired up habits.

What feeds your soul and energizes you to love life and feel connected to it? What can you do each day to do more of this? What makes you feel empty, tired and disconnected? What can you change to do less of this? Fired up or fizzled out. It’s always a choice – our choice.

***

If you like Jay’s post check out these similar intents on Intent.com

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photo by: matthewvenn

Recharge Yourself Daily for Optimal Use

iStock_000002911722XSmallBy Jan Bruce

I’ve never been one to shy away from a challenge—ever. No matter what phase of my life or career. I hold ambition, drive, and resilience high on my list of values, without question. But I’ve also experienced first hand what it is to drive too hard, demand too much from myself and others. There is a sweet spot between ambition and anxiety, the point at which you operate optimally. You know what that feels like: the adrenalizing challenge of being spurred on, but not so much so that you’re weighed down by exhaustion.

This is an ongoing challenge for me, and for you, I presume: Knowing when and how to push harder—and to back off. The key isn’t to just get bigger, tougher, stronger, nor is to eradicate stress (good luck with that!). It’s to recalibrate and recharge, which are often overlooked or postponed, until it’s too late. In fact that is why I’m so passionate about the work I do at meQuilibrium—because I believe there is a formula for managing your response to the world out there and the thoughts in here.

Given how connected and driven people are (or feel they need to be) these days, making time to rest can feel like slamming on the breaks when you’re going 70 miles an hour. Moreover, as we “work” longer and longer hours, the idea of taking time off to rest and recharge can become increasingly daunting, especially if this time off serves as a total contrast to our normal routines.

I love vacation, and I make sure to take them—but I, too, know the dread of walking away from your email, your desk, knowing it’s all going to pile up in your absence. If you’ve ever needed a vacation from your vacation, then you know what I mean.

It’s tempting to think that a day spent lounging in sweatpants, eating whatever you want and watching back-to-back episodes of your favorite TV series is the perfect antidote to six days of non-stop business. But instead of following the “feast or famine” framework of rest and effort, I challenge you to think about one little thing you can do every day to ground and renew yourself.

Case in point: My brother regularly pulls 12- to 15-hour days at his work, and I can’t remember the last time he took more than two consecutive days off, let alone the last time he had a vacation. I was always baffled by this. How did he keep it going without an escape?

I finally understood his secret when I visited him one weekday and observed his daily routine: He’s fortunate to live in a beautiful rural area and makes a point of spending a few hours outside each morning, swimming, running or just enjoying the solitude. In those few hours, he gets the benefits that most of us associate with a vacation: time unplugged, outdoors, away from the demands of the day.

Here’s the kicker, though: He does this every day, and that’s why the rest of his busy, high-pressure life is sustainable. For him, normal life and vacation cease to function as the two binary options for how he spends his time. Because he has found a way to get the benefits of a little vacation every day, he’s not caught between the competing pressures of rest and effort.

Stop thinking about rest as the opposite of effort and start thinking about it as the foundation of effort. What can you do every day to build in a little more relaxation or pleasure, to draw you out of the moments that wind you up and leave you so tight you feel like you might snap? It could be as simple as indulging in a really good latte every morning or a walk with your dog. Find something energizing to come back to every day or every week to help you to recharge without forcing you to disengage. You’ll be well on your way to finding a more sustainable balance.

Like this article? Follow these similar intents on Intent.com

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Jan Bruce is the CEO and founder of meQuilibrium.com 

Juggling Glass and Wood: How to Prioritize Your Life

Screen shot 2013-12-17 at 1.51.48 PMMy father likes to explain life using a juggling metaphor. “Life is all about juggling glass and wooden balls. Sometimes you can’t keep all of them in the air. The trick to being successful is that if you have to drop any balls, make sure they are the wooden ones.” If a wooden ball drops on the floor, it’ll just roll away whereas the glass ones will break and cause an even bigger mess. So now not only do you have to juggle, but you have to watch your feet so you don’t step on any of the shards. Inevitably that will cause you to drop all the balls – and that’s a full fledged level 5 disaster.

I’ve always found that metaphor useful when I’m starting to feel stressed out. Like recently as I’ve been trying to finish projects for the end of my first quarter of school, scheduling blogs, making appointments with my over-priced personal trainer, writing stories for my storytelling seminar… It gets to be a bit much. And I’m not even trying to pretend to be like many of you who are juggling jobs, children, relationships with everything else.

Those responsibilities can grow exponentially during the holiday season when you add buying gifts, cooking family meals, sending out Christmas cards, making that pot luck dish for the office party – it never ends. So how do you deal with it? Get out a piece of paper and start identifying what balls you have in the air.

How do you tell if something is a glass ball? If you answer yes to any of the following questions, it’s glass.

Is this essential to me paying my bills at the end of the month (aka keeping my job, etc)? 

Does not doing this negatively affect my health or the health/safety of those around me? 

Is this essential to the happiness and stability of my family (or for you personally)? 

If it does not fall into one of those categories, no matter what pressure anyone else is putting on you – it’s a wooden ball. This means the world isn’t actually going to end if one of them drops, even if it seems that way. However, there are still more important wooden balls than others and prioritizing them will only help you further. Try these tips for figuring out the most important tasks.

  • Order the tasks by timeline (what has to be done the soonest?)
  • Tackle the tasks that will take the most time and effort first (as you complete one hard task it’ll only energize you to tackle the others)
  • Are there any tasks that completing them will make the others easier? These definitely go first! 
  • Which tasks reap the largest rewards? Whether that’s time with family (or for yourself!), financially, or space in your calendar – line them up in order of payoff. 

At this point you should have a good idea of the essentials and know the order of your task list. Now you can get started, and if the clock starts winding down and you know you aren’t going to get to everything – start dropping from the bottom. It’s all wood, you’re going to be okay. Breathe. Keep tossing and catching. Toss and catch. One at a time and steadily the list gets smaller and smaller until you get down to only the essential balls that hopefully will feel by instinct at this point so you can rest.

How do you determine your glass and wooden balls? Leave your tips below! 

From Intent.com: I intend to embrace the power of “no”.

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I couldn’t wait for Thanksgiving.
My second Thanksgiving in Orange County, California was all I thought about since my first Thanksgiving in Orange County.

Friends, food, a family talent show with a $100 cash prize on the line.
Thursday was going to be glorious.

The downside was that Friday was going to be terrible.

I’d overcommitted- to people staying in my home, to side projects that were WAY more involved than I thought about, to future plans. And it was all putting a big strain on what were supposed to be happy days leading up to vacation. All I could talk about were the stressors. All I could think about was how terrible the days following Thanksgiving were going to be and after one hysterical crying episode, I realized I had to start doing things differently.

My intention this week? I intend to embrace the power of “no”.

There’s definitely a struggle of balance. Am I being selfish by saying “no” when people need help and come to me? Am I missing out on great things because I’m filling up my schedule with things I don’t want to do? I honestly don’t know yet. I’m new to this “no” thing. I do know things have to change because this isn’t any way to live (and by that I really mean the amount of complaining and trepidation I feel about upcoming days).

Are there things you need to say “no” to?
Is there a “yes” you can’t make because you’ve filled up your life with a lot of things you don’t care about?

Three Benefits to Manage Stress: Better Health, Rejuvenation & Weight Loss

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By Louisa Graves

Excerpted from ‘AGE-PROOF: Beauty Alternatives You Need to Know’

Our bodies respond to our thoughts and feelings. When we’re feeling down our bodies become tired and sometimes even sick. When we feel positive, our bodies are healthier; we become uplifted, more energized and enthusiastic about life. If you have a hectic lifestyle or occupation, here are life-changing tips that can help you feel less stressed, more energized and rejuvenated.

The Stress, Weight Gain & Brain Fog Connection

Living in a constant state of stress not only rapidly ages us, but it also affects our health and hormones, impairs memory, and causes weight gain. Continuous stress causes the body to naturally release a hormone called cortisol. As stress prolongs we experience brain fog, irritability and sadness as well as additional inches of fat on the waist, hips and thighs. This can be devastating for many women.

Our stress hormone Cortisol, provides energy. When produced in excess, cortisol blocks the thyroid hormone which regulates how quickly we burn calories. This hinders weight loss, increases belly fat, water retention and cravings for high-carbohydrate foods such as sweets and starchy foods. These high glycemic and caloric comfort foods stimulate our endorphins (feel-good transmitters) in the brain, providing a temporary high that calms us for a short time.

However, high-carb foods enter the blood stream quickly and cause blood sugar spikes that stimulate the production of insulin. When insulin levels rise, the body’s ability to burn fat slows down. As this cycle continues, the pancreas eventually stops producing the correct supply of insulin the body requires, which can lead to diabetes. In addition, sugar and high-carbohydrate foods cause inflammation and aged-looking skin, low energy, sore joints and even some diseases.

Continued stress exhausts the adrenal system, leading to a variety of health concerns such as depression, fatigue, thyroid issues, brain fog, panic attacks, irritability, low libido, restlessness, weight gain and more. Please visit your doctor if experiencing these symptoms.

Reading Emails Increases Stress and Our Waistlines

Did you know that reading emails increases stress? One study revealed that the anticipation of what’s in an email causes cortisol production to rise. In addition, those annoying unsolicited emailed advertisements prey on our fears, increasing anxiety even further.

Everywhere we look someone is texting, tweeting, emailing or phoning someone else. I’ve witnessed ‘texters’ causing traffic accidents and bumping into others. One gal even tripped and fell into a mall fountain while texting and walking!

Electronic Devices and the Weight Gain Connection

The reality is that to do our jobs many of us must rely on phones, computers and other electronic devices. But the sad truth is that when we’re ‘on’ for countless hours a day, our bodies spew out cortisol. This can drain the adrenal system, cause anxiety, sleeplessness, over eating, and cravings for junk food, which affects our wellbeing and increases our waistlines.

Given the ever-increasing rise in obesity rates I often wonder if using electronic devices are another cause of this skyrocketing phenomenon. Read the alarming obesity statistic below. It’s something to think about. Who doesn’t have a cell phone or computer?

FACT: In the USA, adult obesity rates increased in 16 states during the past year and none of the 50 states showed any decline in their rates of obesity.

If your job requires communicating via email or phone, take two moments each hour of the day to re-set your self back to calm mode. I also recommend that if you have a high-stress schedule to begin your day with meditation,

In addition, set boundaries while away from work. Turn your cell phone off during lunch. Take a quiet 10-15 minute walk by yourself. Walking is a scientifically proven stress buster and can be done easily.

Consider turning your computer and phones off after 7:00 p.m. Time away from work is your time. Calm your mind, nourish your body and just be. This will result in a more focused, healthier and rejuvenated you.

***

Louisa Graves has appeared on myriad national television shows including The Talk, Extra, and The Doctors, and has been a beauty expert on over 500 terrestrial radio interviews including on WGN, KIIS-FM, and Sirius XM Doctor Radio. Louisa has appeared on the cover of Woman’s World Magazine and is also featured regularly in their “Ask America’s Ultimate Expert” column. Her tips have been featured on MSNBC.com, WomansDay.com, AOL Health and SheKnows.com. Louisa’s YouTube page has had over 1,000,000 views and thousands of professionals and private individuals subscribe to her newsletter. Louisa is also the author of her bestselling book ‘Hollywood Beauty Secrets: Remedies to the Rescue‘. For more information visit www.hollywoodbeautysecrets.com

5 Ways to Relax When the Temporary Guest Stays for Months Rather Than Days

relaxingguiltBy Ken Myers 

Sometimes it’s nice to have guest over and spend a few days with you, especially if you haven’t seen them in years. What if your home became the only one they had? What if your temporary guest begins to take up roots in your home making the situation semi-permanent? It can quickly wear on your nerves. In the event of family members, you don’t want to throw them out on the street because you love them. So, how do you keep relaxed in your own home when you feel claustrophobic?

 
1. You Time – One of the most important things you need to consider is finding time for yourself. This is true even if you don’t have guests and merely have a large family. There needs to be something that you can do or somewhere you can go that is only for you alone. It’s not being selfish, but it can do wonders to keep your mindset clear of the debris caused from over stressing about a full house. It’s important to have time for yourself regardless of what it is. Even if you can get away for a couple hours every week and hit the golf course by yourself, you can breathe a sigh of relief.

2. Setting Boundaries – No one likes their personal bubble being invaded. However, not everyone will tell the invading party that they are doing so. As time progresses, this buildup of stress can release itself explosively causing more drama in your life. Set ground rules and boundaries for your guest. If they know how far they can go, then they will be less likely to compromise your personal space.

3. Immerse Yourself – For many people, finding solace in the online world of gaming can help keep their sanity. Others can find this same solace immersing themselves within an enjoyable hobby. If it can take your mind off of current events, it can do great things for your perspective. The more attention the activity can draw, the better off you’ll be. Some people will find extremely difficult tasks that require a great deal of concentration in order to remove themselves from the trappings of the home.

4. A Second Job – If you dread going home, you might as well make the best of the situation. Getting a second job can give you an activity that separates you from that which is driving you crazy. This job doesn’t have to be anything too grueling since you are simply using it to keep yourself occupied. Not only will it give you more time away from the home, but it could provide a few extra dollars for yourself as well.

5. Volunteer Work – If you don’t want to find a second job, there are many organizations that can use volunteers. Eat up your time by helping others. You may find that you enjoy volunteering and it could turn into a habit for you. It gets you out of the house while providing help to those who are in need.

Having a house guest for longer than you anticipated can become quite stressful on yourself. Without a way to relax or vent this frustration, you could cause a great deal of problems mentally and physically to yourself. Find ways that can divert your attention and save yourself from unwanted levels of stress.

***

Ken Myers is an expert advisor on in-home care & related family safety issues to many websites and groups. He is a regular contributor to www.gonannies.com. You can get in touch with him at kmyers.ceo@gmail.com. 

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