fbpx
Take the Time to Integrate

Take the Time to Integrate

The definition of integrate is to form, coordinate, or blend into a functioning or unified whole.

Taking the time to integrate is to intentionally stop taking in more and to combine what you’ve already have for deeper growth and development. Once you integrate, you get to deeper levels of knowledge and fulfillment in your life.

For instance, if you love to learn new things, you may have a tendency to read more and more books, take more workshops and listen to more podcasts. It almost feels like an addiction at times. A friend or colleague recommends a new course or workshop and you sign up, take it, and quickly move on to the next one.

Many times you don’t gain much, in fact, you just consume and never implement what you’ve learned.

You never integrated it; you never took the material to a deeper level where it could make a significant impact in your career or in your life.

The Myth of More is Better

More is better is a myth. The constant strive for more in our culture prevents us from seeing and experiencing the true value of what we already have.

It supports the idea and feeling that wherever you are is not good enough, because more is always better.

It’s hard to be grateful and appreciate all that you have now when your focus is on getting more.

I’ve worked with people who were always focused on the next project or the next job, and never appreciated all they were experiencing in their current role. They missed the fulfilling things like the relationships they were building, the people they were helping and the new things they were learning.

The energy around more is better feels like a chase – a futile one. You’re chasing after things just to accumulate more. And once you have it, you’re dissatisfied and off to the next thing, and the next and the next.

And it’s not just physical things. We’re constantly absorbing more and more experiences, information and energy but without the time or opportunity to sort through it all.

Take the time to sort through it and you’ll begin to feel some significant improvements.

Why It’s Important to Integrate

The chase for more erodes your energy and your sense of fulfillment. Taking the time to integrate gives you your energy back. You begin to feel more in control and organized.

Taking the time to integrate helps to reduce the overwhelm, stress, and exhaustion you experience in your day to day life. If you’re feeling uncentered, off-balance or even fractured, it may be the signal that it’s time to integrate.

Act with Intention: Take Time to Integrate

Here are some suggestions to start taking intentional action around taking the time to integrate.

First off, slow down and realize if you’re in a “more is better” mindset and exhibiting behaviors like described above. When you notice this behavior or thought, change it to a more helpful behavior or thought. Simply saying “slow down” or “stop” can be enough to bring about some awareness.

It took some time to get here, but now I quickly recognize if I’m going down a ‘learning” rabbit hole. Any emails or suggestions for a new book, course, training program or free live event I either delete immediately or I scan it to see if it’ll be useful and put it on my “maybe later” list.

Taking time to integrate is more than just not taking more in. You want to intentionally integrate experiences and information as they occur or directly afterwards.

One good practice is to spend 5-10 minutes after a meeting or workshop to integrate your key takeaways. Things like what you learned, what you’d like to implement from the training, if anything. Better yet, take notes during it to include which things you’d like to test out and apply to your own life.

Additionally, take a break and stop taking more in – for days, weeks or months if needed. That means no new podcasts, books, workshops or courses during this time period.

During this break from consuming more info, data and things, sort through what you already have. This can be done by simply taking the time to think about things. Embrace daydreaming. Let you mind wander. Meditate. This is how your brain sorts and categorizes information.

A good question to ask is: Is this information useful for you and can you apply it to your life? If not, let it go.

If it’s useful, your next step is to take action and test it out. Apply it and experience this information.

Lastly, after testing it out review what you’ve learned through the application and experience of integrating it into your life. Are there any additional lessons or knowledge? Have your beliefs changed as a result?

Taking the time to integrate is the best way to become a more unified whole. You’ll find it brings new levels of understanding and wisdom, and you’ll feel more fulfilled in your life.

 

 

Photo by Aiony Haust on Unsplash

Don’t Let Pressure Become Stress

Don’t Let Pressure Become Stress

Do you ever feel pressure building up at work or at home? Pressure is great for growth; you need it to keep moving in the right direction toward your goals.

It helps you to expand and create in the way that only you can. You want to use pressure to benefit you, and don’t let pressure become stress.

The Pressure Cooker at Work

The thing about pressure, if it goes unchecked and just keeps building and building without any release (think of a pressure cooker), that’s when it can turn into the unhealthiest kind of stress called chronic stress. The stress that causes health and other issues.

You don’t want to let pressure become this type of stress. Learn about the 3 types of stress and what to do to if you’ve got chronic stress here.

As I look back at my previous career and work habits, I could sense the pressure building, feel it, and yet felt powerless against it. Over time without actively addressing it, the stress became chronic, taking its toll on my mental, emotional and physical wellbeing.

It’s common to feel this type of pressure regularly when in a high demand job or fast-paced work environment. The important part is to address the pressure before it turns to stress.

Pressure is a Sign of Growth and Change

Lately that familiar feeling of pressure has returned in my work life. I’ve begun some new coaching work. I typically work one on one with coaching clients, however, I started some coaching work for an external company where I must learn their systems and processes.

It’ll take some time to acclimate to all this newness, and I continue to remind myself that it’s part of the growth process and only temporary. This reminder helps in times when the pressure rises.

When you take on new assignments or when you’ve switched jobs to a new company, how was it for you? Those first 30-60-90 days can be rough.

You’re attempting to do the work you were hired to do, but getting up to speed with who’s who, how things are done, new systems and processes – it all takes extra time and extra effort.

When Pressure Becomes Stress

You may experience increased pressure due to other external forces too. Maybe someone was laid-off and now you have to take on the work they performed. Or maybe you’re experiencing more pressure from leadership, or a higher than normal work demand, or a lack of job security.

Even a lack of flexibility and autonomy in your work and your work schedule can leave you feeling stressed and as if you have no control. Over time or with too much pressure all at once, it can become overwhelming and stressful.

The effects of work-related pressure turning into stress is evident in your physical, mental and emotional health. Common ailments can include musculoskeletal problems like chronic back pain, joint pain and carpel tunnel syndrome. Gastrointestinal disorders, like acid reflux, irritable bowel syndrome and ulcers typically have a stress component.

Mentally and emotionally, issues like anxiety, burnout and inability to get good quality sleep (sleep disorders) are a result.

Pressure becoming stress also has adverse effects on a company’s performance and bottom line too. Increased healthcare costs and absenteeism are a result of chronic stress in the workplace.

Business leaders and owners should have an interest in managing the pressure and stress in their environments. But many times they get caught up in it as well.

Act with Intention: Don’t Let Pressure Become Stress

Here are some strategies to implement so you don’t let pressure become stress.

First off, stay present and conscious in the moment. In other words, realize that something is causing pressure. Pay attention to situations that you know will likely impact you.

Also, be realistic about what you can and can’t control. If the pressure is getting to you, take a few minutes to list out what the causes might be and circle the ones you can control.

Next, take action. For those items you can control, try a new strategy or approach to change the outcome. For instance, if you feel stuck in an unproductive weekly meeting and can feel the pressure beginning to rise as you think about the other work you need to be doing, have a direct conversation with the meeting leader. Give some suggestions for improvement like having a clear agenda with time allotments for each item. Or maybe suggest less frequent meetings with email updates weekly.

And for the things you can’t control, let them go. If you have a tendency to take on things that aren’t yours or that you have no way of influencing, it’s best to recognize that early on and let it go.

For instance, being late to a meeting due to a traffic accident causing traffic backup on the road, or technical problems on a webmeeting due to bandwidth overuse – let it go. Getting frustrated or upset doesn’t help. These things are beyond your control, and you when you recognize that and let it go, it takes the pressure off and allows you to move forward in a calm healthy way.  

 

Photo by Kinga Cichewicz on Unsplash

Focus on Growth in Uncertain Times

Focus on Growth in Uncertain Times

A helpful strategy for uncertain and uncomfortable times is to focus on growth. Just like how it’s best to focus on the solution to a problem rather than the problem itself, I’m suggesting you focus on how you’re growing and developing instead of how uncertain things are. Growth brings a sense of confidence, stability and security.

The next time you’re beginning to stress over a particular situation or challenge, ask yourself these questions, “How is this challenging time or situation causing me to grow?” and “What am I learning from this?”

Uncertainty is all around us

It’s a fact of life. Uncertainty always exists. We’re always dealing with the unknown, in positive or negative ways.

For instance, you’re about to start a new assignment at work. You have certain expectations but it’s with colleagues you’ve never worked directly with before. It could be the best work experience ever, or the most challenging that tests your ability and forces you to learn and grow.

Or even something as simple as a trip to the grocery store could be full of uncertainty. There could be traffic, road closures, or a traffic accident that prolongs the whole trip, or the store could be out of stock of the staples you need.

Finding and losing balance is necessary for growth

When we’re in the middle of uncertainty, we feel out of balance. Something feels off.

Some people feel excited, like the uncertainty of a vacation to a place you’ve never been. Other people may feel anxious or stressed in that same scenario.

Our journey here in life is about finding and losing balance, and that is necessary for you to grow and develop. This fact alone helps put things into perspective and provides a more productive way of dealing with life’s challenges.

Think about when you were a child unable to walk yet. You had no balance or coordination.

One day, you gained enough balance to stand. Next, you threw yourself off balance to take that first step. You got balance again, then with your next step, threw yourself off balance again. Eventually you mastered walking and moved on to the next thing you could learn.

Growth nurtures confidence, and propels us toward the next opportunity for continued development.

How the Covid-19 pandemic is causing growth

I tend to look for the positivity in things. I’m not making light of the illness, deaths, physical and financial loss, and breakdown of systems (healthcare, political, social, financial) that we’ve been experiencing for most of 2020. I acknowledge this Covid-19 global pandemic has been one of the most trying times in recent history.

In a recent conversation I could hear my friend’s jaw drop when I stated how this Covid-19 pandemic has brought about a lot of positive things.

In disbelief, she said, “Oh really? Like what?”

I see families spending more time together going on hikes and bike rides; non tech-savvy people “going” to church or other meetings via webmeeting and some even holding their own Zoom meetings who never even heard of Zoom 6 months earlier; people are reevaluating their careers and current roles and organizations given the response to this pandemic and what their own core values are.

I see a slower pace that allows for more reflection and meditation/prayer; more enjoyment of reflective hobbies like gardening, reading, walks, music, dance, yoga; less traffic and stress over hectic schedules and routines (like commuting business professionals who now have 1 to 3 extra hours in their day as they work from home). There’s also less pollution, less driving, less air traffic, less noise and less unnecessary shopping.

There’s an intentional slowing down to enjoy sunsets, full moons, comets, beautiful clouds, beautiful trees and gardens.

Most importantly is this sense of global community – we’re all in this together no matter where on this earth you reside.

This pandemic is certainly allowing us all to expand and grow. And an intentional focus on growth is helpful during this time.

The loss, death, illness, and breakdown of systems is putting you off balance. And the focus on growth can be that step toward creating balance again.

Act with Intention: focus on growth

If you struggle in tough times, when things seem to not go your way, here are some things to do.

1. Determine what you’re focused on. Take a few deep breaths and ask yourself “what has my attention right now?” This helps you become more present with what it is so you can begin to address it.

2. Pay attention to your thoughts and language. I’ve heard people say things like “Things never work out for me” or “Why do I have so many problems”. These are limiting and unhelpful thoughts and language that once you’re aware of, you can change them in the moment. Read more about harnessing the power of your thoughts here.

3. Change limiting and unhelpful thoughts and language to statements of intention. Some people call them affirmations or incantations, but they are basically statements of intention to get your egoic and monkey mind to focus and learn a new way. It’s a way to set a new intention of how you want things to be.

You can state them aloud when one of your limiting unhelpful thoughts or statements come up. And you can build them into a daily practice where you review them each morning or 3 times a day. Keep a list in your phone for easy reference.

Some examples are: “I release everything that’s not serving my highest good”, “I know that this struggle is a normal part of life’s ups and downs, and it’s only temporary” and “This challenge is allowing me to grow and expand.” One of my favorites is “All I need is within me now.”

4. Lastly, ask helpful questions to focus on growth. The next time you’re beginning to stress over a particular situation or challenge, ask yourself these questions, “How is this challenging time or situation causing me to grow?” or “What am I learning from this?”

 

Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

Why Taking Responsibility Feels So Good

Why Taking Responsibility Feels So Good

Responsibility is part of your personal power and that’s why taking responsibility feels so good. When you’re feeling powerless, stress and anxiety increase, and it’s a small step to blaming and complaining about others or the situation. Responsibility is about responding to your circumstances from a higher place, a place aligned with your goals, your dreams, your values, and your contribution to others and society. The empowering nature of responsibility amplifies feelings of satisfaction and fulfillment.

Response – ability. What responsibility really means

The word responsibility broken down is response – ability. It’s simply the ability to respond. It’s when you intentionally and consciously make choices and take actions for the benefit of others or for yourself. You choose behaviors and make decisions to bring about change, change for the better. For instance, say you’re leading a team at work and one of the team members seems disengaged in meetings and is missing deadlines and deliverables. Do you immediately blame the individual or ignore the situation, hoping it’ll improve on its own? Or, as a responsible team lead, do you have a private conversation with him to share your observations and find out if there are legitimate reasons for the lack of engagement and poor follow-through?

Owning it

Most importantly, when you’re taking responsibility you take action and you own the outcome of that action (your choice or decision). Refusing to take responsibility by blaming others or the circumstances for your situation gives away your power. You ultimately are denying your ability to respond – to take action to change the circumstance for the better. It’s the law of cause and effect. You take action, create the cause, watch the effect and take responsibility for the outcome – good or not so good. In the earlier example, the responsible team lead took the action to have a private conversation to find out if there are legitimate reasons for the lack of engagement and poor follow-through. The outcome could be a turnaround in behavior and results just from that simple conversation. Or it could be continued problems with this person. Either way, a leader takes responsibility for both actions and outcomes, owns that outcome and may have to take additional actions if the situation does not improve.

Leadership, not victim-hood

Imagine if this leader never addressed the issue, and this situation jeopardized the entire project getting done on time and on budget, not to mention the poor morale from the other team members. These types of choices happen in our personal lives too. The choice to be proactive and empowered and take responsibility or do the opposite: be the recipient of things “happening to you”. Victims avoid taking responsibility; they feel powerless to effect change and so they don’t take any action. They may complain about the pain and suffering it’s causing them, and you might hear them say “why is this happening to me?” or “it’s just not fair”. Ultimately, they wait for someone else to fix the problem. This victim-hood has some benefits, like getting sympathy or attention from others, but long-term it can have a negative impact on your physical and mental wellbeing, your peace of mind, and your overall fulfillment in your career and life.

Why you feel good when you take responsibility

The empowering nature of responsibility amplifies feelings of satisfaction and fulfillment. The feel-good chemicals and reactions in our body go off when we stand in our power, for our own benefit and especially for the benefit of others. By taking responsibility, we build trust and confidence in what we can do. And helping others just feels good, plus it strengthens the trust and relationships we have with them. Even if you don’t get the result you wanted, you still feel good knowing you tried your best in the action you took. As the saying goes, “it’s better to try and fail than to never try at all”.

Act with intention: Take responsibility

Here’s a great exercise to help you nurture more responsibility in your career and in your life. Step 1: Pay specific attention to your language and behavior during challenging situations. Become aware of any blaming or complaining language or behaviors you exhibit throughout the day. Do you say things like “someone should fix this”, or “why is this happening to me?” Are you reactive or defensive a lot? Do you find fault in others or whenever something goes wrong do you immediately shout “it’s not my fault” or ask “whose fault is this”? Jot it down when you hear it or make a mental note. Step 2: Next, begin to change the language or behavior as it’s happening or immediately afterwards. When you hear yourself saying “why is this happening to me?”, change it to “What can I learn from this?” or “How is this challenge causing me to grow and expand?”. Come from a place and attitude of growth, learning, expansion and responsiveness. Other healthy responses are “what do I want as on outcome out of this?” or “what can I do to positively change this?” These statements and new behaviors will build your personal empowerment and responsibility. It’s best to use your energy productively and responsibly. Remember the law of cause and effect and take action, observe the effect, take responsibility (own the outcome) and adjust your actions going forward to bring about your desired results in your career and in your life.   Photo by Amy Hirschi on Unsplash

Are You Ready to Make That Change?

Are You Ready to Make That Change?

Readiness is key in making a change. Are you ready?

Change can be a small step toward achieving a goal, a big change like starting a new job, or a giant leap like deciding to turn your world upside down in pursuit of a lifelong dream.

No matter the size and impact of the change, they all have one thing in common. You have to ready to make that change. If you’re not ready it’s not going to happen.

Are You Ready or Not?

No progress or inconsistent results may be a sign you’re not ready to change.

How is your progress toward achieving your goals this year? Do you have any goals with little to no progress toward achieving them?

For instance, maybe you do really well meditating for a month. But slowly the habit unravels to where you can’t seem to find the time to do it anymore.

Getting regular exercise is another goal people find challenging with limited results.Another goal people find challenging with limited results is getting regular exercise.

Another goal I see people struggle with is finishing work at a reasonable time, so you can intentionally spend some down time with family, friends or doing something fun that lights you up.

The Change Process

There is usually a progression we all go through when making changes.

First, you have to realize the need to make a change. If you don’t see something as a problem, there is no need to make a change. Let’s presume we’re past this step.

Next, you may recognize you have a problem but you’re in denial about the seriousness of not changing. It’s like the man who has a heart attack yet continues to prioritize his work above his health, taking work calls from the hospital bed. And later making no significant long-term lifestyle changes that would support his health.

Or you recognize the need to change, but you may get stuck in analysis paralysis. You’re weighing pros and cons, creating lists of things that may help, or changing your mind about whether it’s worth it to make a change. Maybe you’re just not sure how to proceed so you keep researching potential solutions and never settle on one to pursue. This can go on for weeks without taking any action.

It’s good to do research and find helpful options, just don’t get stuck spinning here.

Motivation is Key

Denial or analysis paralysis is where the readiness factor comes in. If you’re stuck, you may want to explore your motivation to change versus staying status quo.

What will it cost you if you don’t change? For example, if you continue to work long hours and on weekends and holidays, what is it costing you in your relationships, or in your health?

If you’re already working with a life coach, this could be a great exercise to do together. Once you get clear on your motivation, and are ready to take action toward making that change, having an alliance with your coach increases your likelihood of success.

If you stumble along the way or slip into old habits, your coach is there to offer support. She can help you adjust your goals and action steps to so you remain aligned with and on track to reach your goals.

Act with Intention: Take these steps now.

Here are some action steps to take if you’re not getting the results you want in your life.

1. Determine where things aren’t working. What goals do you have for yourself where you’re getting limited to no results? What’s it for you? Cleaning out your garage, getting regular exercise in, getting back to meditating every day, or intentionally working smarter so you can have more balance in your life?

2. Check your readiness. Are you in denial or still analyzing options to try? Are you ready to make that change?

3. Explore your motivation to change versus staying status quo. What will cost you if you don’t change? Write it down.

4. Take an intentional action step, try an option out – get some momentum going and stay consistent.

 

Photo by Artur Aldyrkhanov on Unsplash