Word-Of-the-Week #982: Grief

June 1, 2023 by · Leave a Comment 

Griefmental anguish or pain caused by loss.

Have you been personally affected by a job loss? Are you worried that you may get laid off? Could your job possibly be eliminated?

Neil Senturia’s column, I’m There for You, Baby is featured in the San Diego UT. His article Take time to grieve a job loss, then get back in game had lots of good sound advice. This week I share the first half. He writes, “You will be fired. You will be laid off. Your position will be eliminated. There will be a RIF (reduction in force). You will have a lousy boss who screws you over. It will not be your fault. 

You worked hard, you attended all the stupid meetings, and you didn’t steal any pens or paperclips. But, goodbye, sayonara and don’t let the door hit you on the way out – and oh, by the way, severance and accelerated stock – are you kidding me? 

Welcome to America and the thing we call – a job. 

I have been CEO or chairman of more than a dozen companies – and I have been fired twice. And recently a very good friend of mine found that “her position has been eliminated.” A large multinational bought a tiny biotech and they consolidated, and my friend (with a Ph.D.) found herself out on the street, wondering what to do now. 

So let’s turn to Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, who famously wrote about the seven stages of grief.

1. Shock. Are you kidding me, you’re firing me? Huh!

2. Denial. Yes, it is actually happening. I know that the HR person is a rat and didn’t tell you the truth and you got no formal exit interview, but there is no denying it. 

3. Anger. Oh, why me, it’s not fair. I’m going to call a lawyer and sue them. (Do not do this.)

4. Bargaining. Maybe I can make a deal, take a lesser position in the company. I will work for a reduced salary. I just don’t want to go back out there.

5. Guilt. It is all my fault. I had it coming. I should have worked 90 hours, not just 82.

6. Depression. I am 30 and miserable and alone, and have no job and the holidays are coming. What do I say when asked what I do for a living? Or I am 50 and what do I tell my wife and children? Depression is age independent. It does not discriminate.

7. Acceptance. Ah, the sun will come up tomorrow – unless it is June in San Diego. Sometimes, this is accompanied by hope. (I am not big on hope; I prefer acceptance and let’s get on with it.)

This week’s focus is all about grief. Have you ever been laid off, fired, or downsized? How long did it take you to find a new job? Do you believe you could work through the seven stages of grief, come to a place of acceptance, and get passed it?

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Word-Of-the-Week #981: Upset

May 25, 2023 by · Leave a Comment 

Upsetmental or emotional distress.

How often do you feel upset? Do you have a tendency to carry it around and let it ruin your day?

This week is another great one from Steve Straus, author of STEVE’S 3-MINUTE COACHING.

Principle: Carrying Upset 

(Principles are basic truths that, when applied, cause success to come to you easier and quicker.) 

“We have a tendency to get upset over different things – relationships, money, clients, our jobs, our surroundings, etc. It’s easy for most people to get upset. There may even have been times when you have gotten upset more than once in a day.

The issue around upset is not whether you have it, but how long you carry it. To be upset is not unusual. 

Unfortunately, for many people it’s also not unusual to carry their upset around and have it negatively influence the rest of their day. 

The trick is to catch yourself being upset. That is, to notice how you’re feeling while you’re feeling it instead of being unconscious to it and having the upset run your life.

Either it’s in charge or you are. 

By the way, upset is a great teacher which shows you what you might need to change in your life. Viewed from that perspective, you may even thank the upset for showing up!”

Coaching Point: What can you do to start quickly catching yourself in upset so that you have the choice of letting it go?

See all past issues and subscribe here Steve’s 3-Minute Coaching
— Copyright 2023 Steve Straus. All rights reserved. —

This week’s focus is all about upsets. How easy is it for you to let go of an upset? How would it feel knowing you’re the one in charge of not being upset?

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Word-Of-the-Week #980: Appreciation

May 18, 2023 by · Leave a Comment 

Appreciation – recognition of the quality, value, significance, or magnitude of people and things. 

Can you visualize and describe the factors of your life that help you experience joy? Are you able to assume the best of others and spread optimism as you converse with them?

This week features the second half of Why Attitude Is Important and 11 Tips for Maintaining a Positive Attitude,” by Indeed.com.

3. Generate a routine you can follow

“Having an unpredictable schedule can lead you to feel more stress and less comfort in your day-to-day life. To avoid such pitfalls, try to come up with a daily routine that you can follow as you commute, work and attempt to unwind afterwards. Creating regularity in your life can give you a feeling of balance and decrease the possibility of experiencing fluctuating emotions that may lead to a downturn in your attitude.

4. Reframe your interactions

In your interactions with other people, it can be helpful to reframe your outlook—try to assume the best of others and spread optimism as you converse with them. If you become a champion of others in your life and provide them with generosity in your interactions, it can lead you to develop deeper, more positive connections. Whether it’s with your coworkers, manager, friends or your significant other, shifting your mindset while interacting with other individuals can help elevate your positive attitude.

5. Practice using positive language

On a regular basis, try using positive language to describe yourself, your experiences, your aspirations and the other people in your life. Exuding this energy can help promote positivity in all realms of your professional and personal life. Not only will purposefully using positive language make it easier for you to transform your outlook internally, but it can also encourage others to view you positively, too.

6. Avoid gossiping

Gossip exists as a standard social activity in many workplaces. Despite this, it’s not a healthy or positive behavior to engage in—rather, gossiping leads to higher stress situations where others may feel unstable or unsafe. To maintain a positive attitude, you should avoid getting involved in gossiping. Not only will this keep you from contributing to a negative work environment, but it will give you the ability to focus more keenly on your own work.

7. Show your appreciation for others

On a regular basis, take the time out of your day to reflect on the things and people you are grateful for. From here, try to acknowledge your gratitude by telling others how you feel. Increasing the amount of appreciation you express toward others in your life can be a great way to bolster your positivity. When you visualize and describe the factors of your life that help you experience joy, you can more easily develop a healthy outlook and maintain it throughout your day.

8. Be kind to yourself

As you move through your day, try to find opportunities to be kind to yourself. It’s incredibly important to take care of yourself, both physically and mentally—feeling good on a day-to-day basis can help enable your positive attitude. Try to practice self-care by engaging in activities that help you unwind at various intervals throughout the day. By allowing yourself the ability to find joy in your day, you can more easily maintain a positive attitude overall.

9. Take breaks when you need them

To stay relaxed and maintain a positive outlook throughout your day, try to take breaks when you need them. If you start to feel sluggish, irritable or overly challenged, it’s a good idea to step away from your work and engage in some restful activity, such as taking a walk. Though you may be inclined to skip breaks if you’re busy or want to make it home earlier at the end of the day, by doing so you miss an opportunity to nurture a healthy and positive relationship with your work.

10. Have something to look forward to

If you find it challenging to stay positive during the workday, it can be helpful to plan a joyous or relaxing activity for the end of the day. This activity will give you something to look forward to as you engage in your work and can even serve as a reward for being particularly productive or focused that day. Making such plans can help you cultivate a healthy balance between your personal and professional life, leading to more positivity in general.

11. Practice mindfulness

Practicing mindfulness can help significantly improve your ability to maintain a positive attitude. When you focus your awareness on the present moment, you can more easily accept, acknowledge and move through any challenges you’re experiencing. This is a useful method of maintaining positivity during times of high stress or on days you don’t feel as engaged.”

This week’s focus is on appreciation. Do you practice self-care by engaging in activities that help you unwind throughout your day? Are you making time to take breaks when you need them? Have you planned activities for the end of your day that you look forward to?

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Word-Of-the-Week #979: Attitude

May 11, 2023 by · Leave a Comment 

Attitude – a frame of mind affecting one’s thoughts or behavior. 

How easily do you overcome obstacles? Have you achieved measurable success in your personal and professional life?

This week features the first half of Why Attitude Is Important and 11 Tips for Maintaining a Positive Attitude,” by Indeed.com.

“Maintaining a positive attitude throughout your personal and professional life can help you find healthy coping mechanisms for stressors and challenges. With a positive attitude, you may be able overcome obstacles more easily, find more opportunities to express gratitude in your life and even forge actionable paths toward achieving your dreams. While fostering a positive outlook on a day-to-day basis can sometimes feel challenging, especially when you experience tension in your life, it’s a worthwhile endeavor to undertake. In this article, we discuss what attitude is, why it’s important and outline 11 helpful tips for maintaining a positive attitude.

  • What is attitude?

Attitude is the way a person thinks or feels about a specific person, place, action or experience. Similar to individual perspective, attitude encompasses a person’s particular emotions and the way in which they act toward someone or something. Attitude is a specific disposition that combines factors like beliefs, opinions, moods and emotions. Sometimes, attitude is referred to as an outlook or mental state that affects the way people perceive the world around them and the way they experience life, work, relationships and more.

  • Why is attitude important?

Attitude is important because it can influence your ability to move through the world. For instance, maintaining a positive attitude can help you achieve measurable success in your personal and professional life.

Your outlook can greatly impact your health, social life, earning potential, productivity, ability to overcome obstacles and more. With a positive attitude, excelling in these various domains of life can become a much simpler endeavor—creating enormous benefits that can significantly improve the quality of your life. Comparatively, if you maintain a negative or skeptical attitude, you may not be able to access the same benefits.

A positive attitude may enable you to reduce your stress level, cope with challenges in a healthy and productive way, achieve actionable goals and maintain overall mental and physical wellness. Therefore, it’s important to purposefully seek methods of maintaining a positive attitude throughout your interactions with others, time spent at work and in your personal or recreational time. While this can be a challenging task, especially in the face of life stressors, it can help foster noteworthy advantages in your daily life and lead to increased satisfaction in your career, relationships and more.

  • Tips for maintaining a positive attitude

Maintaining a positive attitude can sometimes feel challenging, especially when you experience stressors or come across obstacles. Despite this, being purposeful about cultivating positivity in your life can lead you to experience significant benefits, such as professional success and increased overall life satisfaction. There are a number of concrete strategies available which you can implement in your life to nurture a positive attitude and potential growth. Here are 11 different tips for maintaining a positive attitude:

1. Start your day off right

Beginning your day with purpose is an incredibly powerful way to cultivate positivity in your life. Instead of rushing out of the house without eating breakfast, try to wake up earlier in the morning and use the extra time to make it one of the best parts of your day. You may choose to start your day with any activity that brings you joy, relaxation and energy.

Participating in exercise, cooking yourself a healthy breakfast or listening to an audio book are all strong ways to start your morning. When your morning is more relaxed and productive, you’ll likely head into work with a calmer mindset and the initiative to take on the day.

2. Curate a positive workspace

It can be challenging to stay positive at work if you don’t feel comfortable in your office, at your desk or wherever you spend the bulk of your day. Try to lift your spirits by curating a positive workspace with calming decor, photos of loved ones, flowers or even aromatherapy devices. These items can help foster a peaceful environment, even at work. When you’re surrounded by reminders of positivity in your life, it’s more likely that you’ll be able to maintain a positive attitude as you move throughout your day.”

This week’s focus is on your attitude. Are you able to maintain a positive attitude when you experience stressors? How do you start your day? Rushed or Relaxed? Do you feel comfortable in your home and workspace?

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Word-Of-the-Week #978: Habits

May 4, 2023 by · Comments Off on Word-Of-the-Week #978: Habits 

Habits – recurrent, often unconscious patterns of behavior that are acquired through frequent repetition. 

Do you have any habits that you would like to break? Do you know anyone who has a habit of turning a conversation into a debate? Do you feel valued and respected at work and at home?

This week features another good one by UT columnist Neil Senturia, “Why you need to add these 6 self-care tips to your work life.

“So you think you are a good storyteller, a masterful conversationalist, able to hold a room silent, captivated, in the palm of your hand for an hour? Well, maybe, but don’t bet on it.

I am fascinated by behavioral economics. One key aspect of that field is communication, specifically how you frame and express ideas and how you can influence decision-making.

I have a few friends (not many, I will concede, but for the column today, just work with me) who exhibit some annoying conversational traits. I turned to Minda Zeitlin, author of “Career Self-Care,” to see if she could shed some light on the subject. Her theme is a simple one — it is “how you come across to others” that defines positive conversation, she writes. Here are her six habits to avoid.

  • Interrupting. This is the mother of all habits. You wait for a chance to insert your brilliance into the mix, and if there is no break in the action, then you just lob it in, sort of like a charging foul in basketball.

Interrupting is often seen as an expression of power, the boss interrupts the subordinate, never the other way around. No surprise, women get interrupted more often than men do.

If you have to interrupt (just want to point out that the building is burning), then do it, and apologize for interrupting as you run out the front of the building.

  • One-upping. This is the classic way to belittle the other person. You ran the race in three hours, the other fellow tells you he ran it in two hours and had a broken foot, and the last guy says he ran it in one hour and used crutches for the last three miles.

You know it when you see it, and it is terrible. Zeitlin says if you need to do this, at least acknowledge the other story first to indicate that you were listening. Then you can tell him that you ran the race backward and blindfolded.

  • Unasked-for-advice. Who asked you in the first place? I am happily married and allow me to share — sometimes your partner does not want any advice, input, guidance or ideas — all the partner wants is to express/rant. Your job is to listen. A sympathetic ear goes a long way. I assure you, if someone wants your advice, they will ask you for it.

A fellow in my sailing world feels the need to come over to our boat after a race and give me a complete replay and analysis of all the mistakes we made. Worse, like the Chinese finger trap, I can’t get away from him. He will track me to the bar, into the men’s room and into the cubicle.

But you just listen. Sometimes there is nothing you can do to help, and there is no easy answer. Just stay in the moment, be present and listen.

  • Looking at the bright side. It is a bad habit to always look on the bright side when in fact there is none. This is not helpful behavior. It negates reality. I have a flat tire on the I-5 in the morning commute, AAA can’t get to me for two hours and I miss the presentation for the series A financing.

But hey, look on the bright side, the tire is under warranty.

  • Being right. You do not need to win the argument. Of course, we both know that you are right, but trying to get the other person to agree with you is often a losing battle. A conversation is not a debate. Just keep the ball in play, and over time, “common ground” may emerge as in you like Trump, I don’t, but we both agree that the Reuben sandwich at the Cheese Shop is fabulous.
  • No air. I have a pal who does not take a breath between thoughts. There are no pauses. He just rolls. Best solution there is to just keep nodding (off).

And finally, when you know a decision is stupid, it is a still free country, so sure, go ahead and buy the plaid pants with the whales on them.”

  • Rule No. 535: As I was saying …

This week’s focus is on habits. Would others say you are a good listener? Are you able to find common ground even if you don’t agree with someone? Do you value and respect the people in your life?

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