You know what you want in your career and in each of the important areas of your life (finances, health, relationship, spirituality, etc.), yet you’re not seeing the desired results. Are you getting in your own way? If so, get out of your own way and get things done.
Does this sound familiar: “I set a goal on January 1, here we are halfway through the year and I’m no closer to achieving it.”
How do you get in your own way? This could be an extensive list, but to keep it short I’ll focus on two areas: 1. Energy drains and 2. Unmet or unacknowledged needs
One way you get in your own way of getting things done is by not managing your energy drains. Energy drains are the little or big things that tax your attention and energy.
They slow down your progress and prevent you from achieving your goals. Read more about what could be draining your energy and what to do about it here.
Unmet or Unacknowledged Needs
We all have needs and its okay to have them. Needs are a normal part of being human. It’s important to recognize if you’re not meeting those needs in a healthy or satisfying way, or you’re not even acknowledging them. You’re slowing down or stopping important things from getting done.
You’ve most likely learned about Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs in psychology class. It’s a five tiered hierarchy that’s typically shown as a pyramid. that suggests people are motivated to fulfill basic needs before moving on to more advanced psychological and self-fulfillment needs.
It’s helpful because it illustrates the various types of needs and reminds us that all humans have needs. It also stresses the importance of self-actualization needs at the top of the pyramid.
It includes physiological needs like food, water and sleep followed by safety and security needs like health and wellness, or a safe place to live. Social needs like family, romantic partner, and community come next, followed by esteem needs like appreciation and respect from others. Last are the self-actualization needs which are growing and developing to achieve your highest potential.
What are your needs?
Use these categories in the Maslow’s Hierarchy to think about and identify your needs. How are you meeting these needs? Can you find healthier ways to satisfy them? Are there any needs that you’re not fulfilling? Do you think it’s not okay to have these needs?
An example that comes to mind is the typical caretaker who puts everyone’s needs ahead of their own. My mother would work all day, and then go visit each of her parents (one lived at home, one was in a nursing home in another town) every evening after work and on the weekends.
On her way home she would do grocery shopping or pick up dinner for her husband and kids. She pushed her needs aside while everyone else’s needs were the priority.
Like my mother, many of us learn to pretend like we have it all together and can handle it all without help from anyone. Unfortunately, that’s how we get in our own way and prevent or delay the achievement of our biggest dreams and goals.
Another example is the person who hears they shouldn’t be boastful or act too proud as a child. Her needs for recognition and being valued are not satisfied. goes unmet as her achievements are not acknowledged.
Now as an adult, she’s often frustrated and feels disappointed when her efforts are not recognized at work. She feels incomplete and sometimes communicates all that she has done to anyone that will listen.
Oftentimes, this comes across as attention seeking or boasting by her colleagues and supervisor. She really wanted acknowledgement, but this isn’t the healthiest way to satisfy that need. She could find a healthier way.
Act with Intention: Take these steps now
First off, acknowledge that all humans have needs and its okay for you to have needs.
Then think about your needs and write down your top 3 needs right now. To help you create your list, review these categories of needs: security and certainty (safety and stability), significance (power, achievement and influence), love and connection (relationships, being listened to and connected to something greater than yourself/spiritual), and growth (learning, development and creativity).
Ask yourself for each of these 3 top needs, how are you meeting them?
Is it in a healthy or unhealthy way? What unhealthy ways are you going to let go of right now? What healthy ways of meeting those same needs are you going to create instead, not only in your career but in your life?
For example, let’s say one of your top needs is to feel safe and secure. Last year you earned a promotion at work and have an exciting and fulfilling new organization to lead. You felt secure in your role.
This year, because of outside circumstances everything is uncertain, especially your role. You put in even more hours and you’re working holidays and most weekends to feel secure in your position, putting your health and relationships at risk.
Perhaps a healthier way to fulfill your need for safety and security is to fulfill it outside of work since you don’t have direct control over the current work environment.
You can satisfy that need in your home environment or with your relationships. You can spend more quality time and get a sense of security and safety from those close beneficial connections you have with your family and friends. Experiencing their unconditional support for you and knowing they are there for you when you need them helps you feel safe and secure.
Remember, we all have needs and it’s critical for you to meet these needs in order to have a fulfilling career and life. So get out of your own way and get things done in healthier and more satisfying ways.
Photo by Minh Pham on Unsplash
Your time is your most precious commodity – and you need to treat it that way. One of the most common complaints I hear from clients, at least in the beginning of our coaching relationship, is that they don’t have enough time to get it all done.
They feel “out of control” most days. Back in my Corporate career, we’d try to make light of that feeling and say “I’m drinking from the firehose” again. What an image. It’s a terrible feeling to have, and if you’re experiencing that day after day the side effects of elevated stress, constant pressure and feeling out of control can be harmful to our health and wellbeing.
What if you could add more time into your day, giving you the ability to accomplish all your important tasks and still have the free time to do things to support your emotional, mental and physical wellbeing, like go for a walk, meditate, exercise, read for fun, and spend quality time with your loved ones?
Here are 3 proven ways to add more time into your day, so you can keep your stress levels low and productivity high. When you implement them, you’ll begin to see the benefits add up over time, including feeling back in control and better quickly.
1. Get Clear and Focus
Clarity is power. Getting clear about what’s important to you is the first step in taking back control of your time.
Then, focusing on and prioritizing daily tasks related to these important items is key to adding more time to your day.
Once you’re clear on your priorities, you can start minimizing, delegating or eliminating what’s not important to you. That frees up more time in your calendar for the important things.
Anytime someone asks for a meeting with you, asks you to volunteer to lead a project, or some other request comes in that will involve your time and energy – be vigilant and strong in your response. First ask yourself: does this investment of my time support my highest priorities and goals? If the answer is no, stay strong and decline the request.
I worked with many professionals that felt they could never say no. They were the most frustrated, stressed individuals who felt their time was not their own, because they made it that way. Remember, you do control your time, your calendar, and what you say yes or no to.
Sure, that sounds good, but what if you’re working in a high pressure environment where your manager or others are directing how you spend your time? I worked in that kind of environment for the majority of my Corporate career. What I found very useful when the tasks were piling up and beginning to get out of control, was to remind my manager of the priorities already on my list, and ask where these new items fit in.
There are a limited number of hours in the day and workweek, so other items will have to get eliminated, delegated to someone else, or postponed if new urgent items become the priority.
The goal to regaining control of your time is to focus on your top three: the three main things to accomplish at any one time. You could then do your best work. And as distractions came up you’ll be able to control them and refocus on those three items. By the end of the day you’ll have made significant progress on these three things, maybe even completing them all. How would that feel?
When was the last time you had a day like that? What if all your days could be like that?
Take action: how to get clear and focus
Writing things down helps provide clarity; just the power of writing things down helps most people feel less overwhelmed.
Let’s try a little exercise:
Write down all the things, big and small, that you want to get done this week. Write it all down – it’s so important to get it all out of your head and onto paper, your computer or mobile phone. Include the tasks, meetings and communications you need to handle and the required results for each.
Prioritize the list. Get clear on what is most important and prioritize your list so you know what to focus on first and what absolutely has to get done this week. If you’re like most people, you probably have 20 or more items on your list.
Human beings can only focus on a limited number of things at one time, and the smaller the number at one particular time, like 3 – 5 items or less, the less overwhelm and stress we’ll feel. Aim for 3 – 5 things at the top of the list that are a must for you to accomplish this week.
Next, we’re going to chunk it down even further into a more manageable plan.
2. Chunking: Replace Your To-Do List with a Daily Plan of Action
Chunking is a way to sort your to-do list by common and related tasks to make the list smaller and easier to accomplish these items.
It’s a psychological way to organize your list and to focus on desired results.
I learned of this concept from Tony Robbins, and here’s an example from his RPM overview page:
Original Task List:
- Buy dog food
- Buy cell phone for daughter
- Wash and fold laundry
- Prepare for meeting with CFO
- Review draft of Tax Return
- Drop off daughter at gymnastics
- Drop off son at soccer practice
- Create training plan for running group
- Run 6 miles in target heart zone
- Pick up daughter from gymnastics
- Pick up son from soccer practice
Chunking related items together:
- Prepare for meeting with CFO and Review draft of tax return go together
- Create training plan for running group and run 6 miles go together
- Dropping off and picking up children go together
- Buying dog food, cell phone, and washing and folding laundry all seem related to the house and family and can be grouped together
Now it’s your turn. Take your weekly list that you created earlier and look for commonalities.
You can break it down into common life areas like work/career, finances, relationships, health, spirituality, etc., and be sure to tie it back to the desired outcome you have in each of those areas.
By thinking about the bigger reason for your desired outcome, like a better relationship with your spouse, or to have more energy during the day, your ability to see the results you’re after and then to prioritize and focus on them becomes easier.
For example, if one of your results is to have a successful career and get promoted with a pay raise this year, items related to work can be chunked together and prioritized, like preparing for a meeting, having important conversations with your staff, and working on your departmental budget to reduce costs this quarter.
They all share the desired result (successful career, promotion, pay raise) and as you are prioritizing them and completing them, that desired result is a focus point.
So, chunk down your list to a smaller more manageable list with clear desired outcomes as the driver.
You’ll feel more productive and less stressed when you look at your to-do’s as desired outcomes you’re after, and as an action plan to get you closer to your biggest desires, rather than just unrelated items to check off for the day.
3. Use Timing Strategies to Your Advantage
Have you ever looked at the time and wondered to yourself where the day went?
And then felt frustrated or stressed because you felt you were working hard but didn’t get much done toward what’s really important in your life?
One way to increase your efficiency is by chunking specific work into certain days or time periods. Some people call it time blocking.
For example, you may want to begin every work day with 10-15 minutes to review your schedule, your task list/priorities/desired outcomes, and scan your email for any urgent items that came in overnight.
For weekly tasks, like when I do laundry on Saturday mornings, I also get my business paperwork and financial tasks done (paying bills, transferring money, etc.) since I’ll be at home anyway. I block out that 2 hours in my calendar and make it a recurring event. If I’ve got weekend plans or am teaching a class on Saturday, then I move that event in my calendar to Friday or late Sunday for that week.
What also works well for many people is assigning a limited amount of time to getting a task done.
This is an effective strategy for those of us who lean toward perfectionism and spend way too much time before completing something. For example, if you have an important presentation to draft, schedule 1 hour in your calendar, set a timer, close your door and ask not to be disturbed. And get it done.
Batching is another form of chunking that works really well, especially for reducing start up time for similar items. Take something you do every day or week and batch it. A lot of podcast producers batch their weekly shows, recording say 4 or 6 shows in one day, and doing that only once a month. It saves them time with setting up the equipment, getting prepared to record, etc.
Cooking meals is another thing you can batch. Busy families or even single or two person households can do most of their cooking for the week on Sundays. They’ll make a large meal or a few different meals that they can enjoy throughout the week, and possibly freeze some for another week. This way they are not having to focus on what meal to prepare, preparing it, cleanup, etc., every night of the week when they don’t have the time or energy for it after a long day. Just take it out of the refrigerator or freezer, heat it up and enjoy!
And one last thing about timing strategies, don’t try to multi-task. There’s no such thing as multi-tasking, our brains don’t work that way.
I worked remotely for the last 8 years of my corporate career, and with the numerous demands on everyone’s time, the attempt to multi-task was widespread. But here’s the thing: multi-tasking cannot be done with good results.
You may think you’re doing multiple things at a time, like answering an email while trying to have a conversation on the phone, while also reading and thinking about how to answer an urgent instant message. But that’s how errors are made.
Our brains work in a sequence so even though you may think you are doing these all at the same time, only one thing can be focused on and the other two are in a holding pattern until you return your attention to each.
I can’t tell you how many times I was talking on the phone to a colleague when I knew they weren’t listening to me. I could hear them typing on their keyboard, or I’d ask a question and get no answer. It was a waste of time for both of us – ineffective and frustrating.
Our brains cannot multi-task, they can only focus on one thing at a time, so if you want to be efficient and accurate and do things with a high level of quality, please stay focused and do one thing at a time.
Take Action Today
When it comes to adding more time into your day, try out one or more of the suggestions above to stay focused, balanced and frustration-free.
There are so many things competing for and demanding your attention in life. I ask that you make a conscious effort to decide in advance which things you’re going to focus and spend your time on, based on the areas in your life that truly matter.
This will help reduce any patterns you may have of being in constant reaction mode to the demands of the moment – the things that tend to stress us out and compromise our health and wellbeing.
Take action today and see how much better you feel, knowing that you do have control of your time and your life.
– Photo by Ellyot on Unsplash
Life coaching is one of the leading tools successful people use to reach their highest potential – professionally and personally.
The personal coaching industry has grown in popularity in recent decades and is currently over a $1 billion dollar industry in America. It’s one of the fastest growing industries in recent years and its total market projected growth is over 5% per year, to $1.38 billion by 2022.
In the past, coaching was most seen at the highest levels of corporations or in the entertainment industry. These days, all types of people work with life coaches: business owners, executives, entrepreneurs, professionals, athletes, etc.
It doesn’t matter what professional level, age, life stage or status, most life coaching clients have a few things in common: they’re smart, successful and capable individuals who want to get even more out of their lives.
Here are 5 reasons successful people hire a life coach.
- Successful people want faster, better results.
Life coaching propels a client toward achieving their goals faster than they could on their own, and sometimes achieve goals they may never achieve on their own.
The synergy of two people, both client and coach, is powerful. Both parties are focused on and working for the client and that always increases effectiveness and speed.
- Successful people want personalized goals and strategies for their specific challenges and life circumstances.
A life coach works individually with clients to help them discover and better understand who they are and what they really truly want. They may use assessment tools or strategically ask the deep questions to help uncover what’s most important to the client.
Then the life coach works with the client to create and develop plans and strategies to achieve their goals.
The process is so effective because the life coach is focused on the client and their best interests, and integrates what the client really wants with what will work best for them as an individual.
- Successful people feel stuck too, and want to improve their performance in one or more areas of life.
Even successful people may feel stuck in certain areas of their life. They’ve tried different approaches but it doesn’t seem to improve…month after month, even year after year. They’ve exhausted all possibilities and need help.
Every life area can be a focus for improvement: work, health, finances/money, relationships (intimate, family, friends), spirituality, fun, hobbies, and growth/learning.
A person’s profession and the work they’ve been doing for 15 or 20 years may not be fulfilling anymore, and they have no desire to progress to the next level there. Their heart isn’t in it anymore and they’re not sure what to do next.
Other people still love their work, but may feel the need to improve their performance at work after a particularly challenging quarter or year, or to resolve specific conflicts they’re having at work.
Sometimes people want to improve their confidence in a certain situation, or improve their relationships with family members.
And health and wellbeing are also popular areas for improvement through life coaching. I see this as a new priority for people who excel at work or in taking care of others (parents, children, partners) and then their own health and wellbeing takes a backseat.
- Successful people want more clarity about their life and what options are available to them
We all go through major changes throughout our lives: new jobs/careers, marriages, divorces, finding a new partner, creating a new business, or experiencing financial ups and downs.
Getting really clear on the next best step as people embark in these new experiences, and evaluating your best options is key to future success.
Some people are interested in exploring their life purpose, they know or feel there is something missing and need focused work with a life coach to determine what it is.
Professional life coaches are skilled at asking powerful questions, listening to what the client is saying or not saying, building trust, keeping the client focused and showing empathy and support. These skillsets foster clarity, prioritization, consistency in follow through and achieving phenomenal results.
- Successful people want a trusted partner to help them design and achieve their desired future.
Trust is key in the coaching relationship. Sure, people can get advice and help from friends, family or other professionals but there may be other motives involved and your trust may be broken. In fact, many people don’t feel comfortable opening up at work or in certain relationships because it makes them feel vulnerable.
As a trusted partner, a professional life coach places the client’s needs ahead of their own in the coaching relationship, and adheres to a code of ethics and standards.
The coaching relationship grows stronger over time, but in my experience clients feel at ease and openly share their thoughts and feelings rather quickly. They understand it is a safe, professional environment and that I’m here to help.
Because life coaching is action-oriented, and focused on the present and future, designing plans and taking action steps are natural outcomes of coaching sessions. Life coaches provide accountability and help the client stay the course toward achieving goals that support their future state.
Choosing a Life Coach
In choosing a life coach, make sure they’re a good fit for your needs and have the skills of a professional coach plus additional experience to help you achieve your goals efficiently and effectively.
You may want someone that has experienced the same challenges as you, or has a similar background so they understand the nuances of what you are going through on a daily basis.
For example, I coach driven corporate professionals and business owners who have a tendency to work too much. I relate really well with them because of my background working in Corporate HR, now owning my own business, and my own experience of learning how to effectively deal with overwork and overstress.
Many life coaches offer exploratory calls where you and the coach can test each other out, and I suggest you pay attention during that call for the skills mentioned above. Trust your gut about the connection you have with the life coach, and if you’d work well together to achieve the results you want.
A coach who makes you feel inspired, keeps you accountable and focused, and helps you get into taking action is absolutely worth your investment of time and money to achieve your highest potential in life.
Are you ready to gain greater insight into your work or life challenges and see how Energy Rapport™ Coaching can help? Book a free Insight call with me here.
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It’s that time of year again – the holidays! If you’re like most people, it can be one of the most stressful times of the year.
Are you missing a loved one this year? The holidays seem to amplify that feeling of loss and sadness.
We may think of the quirky things they did, like my Mom always burning the Thanksgiving dinner rolls – every year! We even joked about that at her funeral.
After my grandparents died, we’d always remember them in a prayer before our holiday meal, and I witnessed how upset all the adults at the table would get, many crying for a few minutes. It’s a very emotional part of the year.
And for our loved ones that we’ll be spending time with, family dynamics and challenges in certain family relationships could cause some stress.
And then we have the gift giving of the holiday season. It’s a main stressor that can bring up a lot of issues for people, like a perceived lack of money to buy gifts, not getting the right gift or worrying if someone gives you something and you have no gift in return, and don’t forget about shopping for gifts with crowded stores and long lines. Ah, the holidays.
Here are my 8 tips for a stress free holiday season:
1. Minimize your to-do list. Make your list and then go through each item and ask, “Is this really necessary? If I don’t do this, what will happen?”
Remove, simplify or delegate at least half of the items from your original list to avoid overstretching yourself. Set yourself up for success this season.
2. Shop early, and wrap gifts as you go. As a young adult for some reason I’d wait to go shopping on Christmas Eve, and remember feeling my blood pressure rising from trying to find gifts when most of the inventory was gone, and then staying up to all hours that night wrapping those gifts – so stressful, and so unnecessary.
If only I took this advice back then, to shop early and wrap as you go.
Bonus tip: put sticky notes on the wrapped gifts to remind you what’s inside, just be sure to take the notes off before you deliver the gift!
3. Buy food, don’t cook or bake. Shopping for ingredients, preparing the food, cooking every night for weeks after working all day – this is a recipe for exhaustion (pun intended).
Grocery stores, bakeries and the freezer department at the big discount retailers have delicious, pre-baked holiday appetizers, meals and desserts.
Or, you can even buy your whole meal already prepared at the grocery store to heat and serve, or make reservations at a restaurant and not have any cleanup involved.
The time and effort saved allows you to spend the holidays on more important and satisfying things, like visiting with family and friends and having meaningful conversations with those you love, instead of working in the kitchen and missing all the fun.
4. Or, if it’s not the holidays for you without home-made food, then plan to have finger food and appetizers, not a huge feast.
For me, there’s one dish we always had growing up and it’s just not Christmas without them: Polish pierogi. I found a European deli nearby that sells pierogi similar to the ones my grandmother made from scratch, and they’re so easy to prepare.
It’s easier on the cook and your guests will thank you when they don’t feel like they’ve overindulged.
You can even share the work by making it a pot-luck holiday event – I did that one Thanksgiving and it really took the pressure off me as the host.
5. Remember what the holidays are really about: a celebration of gratitude and love.
Gratitude for all the blessings we have and taking time to spend with your loved ones. Everything else comes in a distant third.
Consciously take time to appreciate all the abundance in your life: all the love, your health, your family, and your friends. Meditating, praying or journaling about this leading up to the holidays and during them is a daily practice.
Be an example to others throughout the season: hold the door for someone, smile at strangers, laugh and enjoy!
6. Ask for help. For many of us, including me, asking for help doesn’t come easy.
But don’t ignore the power in asking for help – there is no reason why you have to do everything on your own.
My mother never asked for help, until the night before and by that time she was in full-on panic mode, stressed out, lashing out, yelling, rushing around, and generally miserable.
Plan ahead, delegate as much as possible and don’t feel guilty about receiving help from others; instead remember that people want to help and don’t want to come over empty handed, so just ask them to bring a salad, or a dessert, or a particular side dish of theirs that you love, so you don’t have to shop for and make it all yourself.
The same goes for cleaning up. I hosted Thanksgiving a few years ago, and all my guests insisted I sit and relax while they cleared the table, put all the leftovers away, and washed and dried all the dishes! When everyone helps out, it’s easier and gets done much more quickly.
7. Take action to stay healthy. Listen to your body and keep a careful watch for any of these signs, and make immediate changes before they worsen:
- Not sleeping well, unable to fall asleep easily or not feeling rested when you wake up.
- Feeling irritable, moody and unhappy – snapping at people when they don’t deserve it.
- Exhaustion and fatigue – not just tired, but extremely tired to the point where you feel you can’t function or you need a nap in the middle of the day.
- Physical issues like headaches, stomachaches, joint pain, overall body achiness, and catching frequent colds and illnesses (a sign your immune system is low).
If you’re experiencing any of these, it’s a sign to slow down, figure out what could be the cause, and take steps to alleviate these symptoms. Some ideas are in #8….
8. Plan time to take care of yourself.
Don’t worry about having your house, your decorations, your food, everything – be perfect for everyone else’s benefit, at the expense of your physical and mental health.
Plan some time for yourself: it could be a walk outside, a yoga or exercise class, quiet time alone to meditate, a warm Epsom salt bath, or book an Energy healing or massage session.
It’s all about balance and this self-care is important for your wellbeing.
Sometimes, you must put yourself first so that you can be your best you for your family and friends this holiday season.
Use one or more of these tips and make it a wonderful holiday season to remember for years to come.
Photo by Freestocks on Unsplash