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Personal Improvement : Simple Tools to Fight Stress

Posted by kevinb on 6/12/18 (576 reads)

Chris Kresser is a leader in health, nutrition, and integrative medicine; and recently named as one of the 100 most influential people in health and fitness. I love his article 5 Simple (But Powerful) Tools for Fighting Stress and want to share it with you here.

Chris writes that,"We may not be able to avoid stress, but we can influence how it affects us" and he identifies the four factors that drive our response to stress and simple-but effective-tools for changing how you experience it.

Most people living in the modern world experience continuous stress in the form of daily hassles, relationship troubles, problems at work, chronic illness, or other external life events.

Have you ever wondered why some people are devastated by this stress, while others are relatively unaffected? Or why some people thrive in high-pressure, driven work environments while others self-destruct?

The reason different people respond so differently to the same stressors is that our response to stress is largely defined by perception.

In other words, although there are certain events that virtually all people experience as stressful (such as the death of a loved one), it is our subjective perception of the event-and the meaning that we assign to it-that determines how we respond.

Say you've just had a fight with your partner. If you perceive it as a trivial, passing event with little significance, it is unlikely to trigger a significant stress response. However, if you see it as a sign that your relationship is doomed and will be a lifelong source of unhappiness (okay, I'm exaggerating to make a point!), you can bet that it will trigger a massive stress response.

4 key factors that determine how we respond to stress

Personal Improvement : Communicating with Impact

Posted by kevinb on 5/21/18 (505 reads)

The most effective organizations are those whose cultures emphasize building strong interpersonal relationships, whether internal or external. Doing that requires effective communication.

Communication is Key...

Communication is one of the most fundamental skills we possess as humans. We are social beings who live in an interdependent world. From the most basic survival instinct, like a baby letting her mother know she is hungry, to the complexity of corporate leaders mobilizing a global and diverse workforce, effective communication is the glue that holds us all together and moves us forward.

Dictionary.com defines communication as: "The imparting or interchange of thoughts, opinions, or information by speech, writing or signs". Simple, right? Or not. As we all know, this seemingly straight-forward definition belies a much greater level of complexity.

...and Fraught with Pitfalls

Even when we converse in our native language, misunderstandings and disconnects are common. We've all experienced painful "failures to communicate" with loved ones, friends, and co-workers where the message intended to be sent was NOT the message that was received.

Personal Improvement : A "Formula" to Change Your Life

Posted by kevinb on 3/8/18 (957 reads)

Ok, are you ready for a bit of a "deep dive"? I want to take you beyond the go-go-go of your day-to-day life and have you step back from the seemingly endless items on your to-do list (at home or work) ...at least for a few minutes. It is so easy to get caught up in our daily goings-on and we can quickly fall into "autopilot" mode; where we are seemingly merely going through the motions.

In June of last year, there was a terrific article in Forbes entitled The Hidden Cost of Operating on Auto Pilot - which you can access here.

The author's final statement is: "It's time we all took a long collective breath and decided to live our lives more purposefully, more intentionally, more mindfully. By design, not by default."

I agree, wholeheartedly. And I believe that a simple "formula" can help:

 

Personal Improvement : Book Summary: "The Knight in Rusty Armor" by Robert Fisher

Posted by kevinb on 4/4/17 (14377 reads)

The book, written 30 years ago, includes a Forward which sums it up nicely: This is a lighthearted tale of a desperate knight in search of his true self. His journey reflects our own - filled with hope and despair, belief and disillusionment, laughter and tears. Anyone who has ever struggled with the meaning of life and love will discover profound wisdom and truth as this delightful fantasy unfolds. "The Knight" is an experience that will expand your mind, touch your heart, and nourish your soul.

This book was recommended to me by a fellow business coach who frequently utilizes it when working with his clients. It is a short read, but I recommend that you not read it too quickly, as you might miss some of the superb lessons and insights that are packed into it.

Here is a summary of the story, including some of its key points and lessons (from my perspective):

Chapter 1 - The Knight's Dilemma

Although he thought of himself as a good, kind, and loving man (e.g., he fought foes who were bad, mean and hateful; he slew dragons; and he rescued fair damsels in distress), he wanted to be the number one knight in the kingdom and so he was never satisfied. Unfortunately, he neglected his wife and son because he was either away on a crusade or preoccupied with his knight business when he was home.

He had become so enamored with his armor that he wore it constantly around their castle (even to dinner and to bed) and it began to become his sole identity.

Personal Improvement : Creating Value as a Coach

Posted by kevinb on 3/7/17 (1081 reads)

Coaching is a powerful, highly-tuned process of communication and problem solving. The relationship between coach and client is "co-creative." It focuses entirely on the client's interests, challenges, and goals.

Coaches come in all "shapes and sizes"; there's no one ideal profile. A great many individuals have the blend of authenticity, integrity, skills, and business savvy necessary to become a successful coach.

It would be extremely challenging, however, to be a good coach without the experience, maturity, and acquired life skills of a journey already in progress. The best coaches are, in essence, guides along the path of life for those who wish to travel in a similar direction.

As a coach, I have the marvelous opportunity and privilege to create value in the life of another. When I do that, a surprising thing happens: I create value in my own life as well.

In 2011, when I was getting certified as a coach through the Resource Associates Coaching Academy, we discussed the key attributes and time-tested principles of "coaching that creates value." We learned how to implement them so that our coaching would be powerful, effective, and valuable. I thought I'd share these attributes and principles with you here.

Coaching that creates value is ...

Personal Improvement : Learning to Say No

Posted by kevinb on 1/16/17 (1041 reads)

"No" is such a small word and yet so hard to say.

Often we don't want to say no, even when that's the right thing to do because we don't want to risk appearing unable, unappreciative, or disrespectful. We don't always act as we know we should. Many people place more value on what others think of them rather than on what they think of themselves. Their need to please others is so strong that, in pleasing others, they continue to diminish their own worth and the quality of their lives. If you, like many people, inadvertently are more concerned about pleasing others than pleasing yourself, it's time to change!

Personal Improvement : Anger and Emotional Hijacking

Posted by kevinb on 12/12/16 (1309 reads)

Have you ever wondered where anger comes from? Have you found yourself getting angrier than might later seem reasonable? Anger is one of two emotions that can cause the longest and most detrimental issues and concerns for many people (the other is fear).

Anger is a strong feeling of displeasure, wrath, belligerence or hostility. It can range from irritability to outright hostility. When you feel it, you know it! It can be a very uncomfortable and challenging emotion, in part because it sets off a series of physiological responses in our bodies. Anger, a form of emotional hijacking, happens to everyone because it's an innate physiological response.

Sooner or later; everyone feels angry at work. However, displaying anger can have devastating consequences in the workplace. One person's anger may cause those around them to feel fearful and it could be considered harassment. For this reason, anger in the workplace may sometimes have legal implications for the person who is angry and for their employer.

Experiencing anger sets off a series of physiological responses in our body which can interfere with getting along with people in our personal and professional lives.

Personal Improvement : 8 Things Every Person Should Do Before 8 A.M.

Posted by kevinb on 12/2/16 (1697 reads)

I don't normally post articles here from national publications, but I decided to make an exception. This Inc. article was recently contributed by Benjamin P. Hardy and it addresses some aspects that I feel are very important to our overall health and well-being. At the end of the article, you can click to receive a call-to-action checklist entitled "Getting Out of Survival Mode - The Keys to a Perfect Morning." I did...and I plan to adopt some of the suggestions. So, enjoy this article and Good Luck with the cold showers!

Life is busy. It can feel impossible to move toward your dreams. If you have a full-time job and kids, it's even harder. How do you move forward?

If you don't purposefully carve out time every day to progress and improve, without question, your time will get lost in the vacuum of our increasingly crowded lives. Before you know it, you'll be old and withered, wondering where all that time went.

As professor Harold Hill has said, "You pile up enough tomorrows, and you'll find you are left with nothing but a lot of empty yesterdays."

Rethinking your life and getting out of survival mode

This article is intended to challenge you to rethink your entire approach to life. The purpose is to help you simplify and get back to the fundamentals.

Sadly, most people's lives are filled to the brim with the nonessential and trivial. They don't have time to build toward anything meaningful. They are in survival mode. Are you in survival mode?

Personal Improvement : Why Failure is Good for You

Posted by kevinb on 9/26/16 (1245 reads)

Miles Davis said "Do not fear mistakes. There are none." Failure or disappointment is a chance for you to check in and make a big decision. How do you view failure? Do you see it as something negative that you don't want to be associated with or do you see it as something positive? Most people in the world don't like failure.

When I look back on some of my most indelible learning moments, it's when I screwed up. Sure, we remember our successes but, if you're like me, the failures stick with you longer and can have a profound impact on your development as a person and as a professional.

Fear of failure is the main reason why more than 80% of people in the world are not prepared to change their circumstances. Why do people fear failure so much? The reason is because people don't understand the dynamics involved in success and failure. Let's explore this...

Personal Improvement : Book Summary: "Now You're Thinking" by Judy Chartrand and others

Posted by kevinb on 9/13/16 (2305 reads)

Over several months, culminating with my certification in June, I participated in an online course at Pearson TalentLens' Critical Thinking University. My intent was to improve my own capabilities and to be a better resource to my clients regarding critical thinking. To me, with such an immense amount of information available to us (overload!) and with so much of it merely "noise," the ability to think critically and make sound decisions (at work and at home) is more important, yet more difficult, than ever.

The topics addressed by the Critical Thinking University course are captured in the book "Now You're Thinking...Revolutionize Your Career...Transform Your Life." The importance of critical thinking is summarized eloquently by Stedman Graham in the book's Forward:

In our world today, it is important to learn the art of critical thinking. It takes critical thinking to cut through the noise of other people's opinions swirling around you like the fog of darkness threatening to engulf your soul. Surrounded by pundits and pitchmen purveying mostly ungrounded assertions, you need a disciplined thought style to establish your own authentic identity. Sifting through experiences for the dream of a future uniquely yours is a task for critical thinking and development. When everybody has access to an avalanche of information, becoming a master thinker is very important in your life-long security.

The first part of this book is written as a story about a team of people who take it upon themselves to save the life of a terminally ill two-year-old girl.

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