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Posts Tagged ‘happiness’

Live in the Present and Be Happier

Stress lessThe first time my now almost-three-year-old son stood up in his crib, I didn’t see it. I was sitting in his room watching him at the time. I was literally watching him in his crib, and yet I didn’t notice when he stood up for the first time. I wasn’t looking at my phone or talking with someone else. It was just he and I in the room, and yet I was so distracted with whatever I was thinking about, I didn’t ‘see’ him stand up for the first time.

When he was born, I was given the advice to stay present. And I scoffed at that advice. Of course I would stay present.

Living in the present sounds so simple. When you walk, walk. When you eat, eat. When you work, work. We’ve all heard this advice, and yet, it’s so hard to do.

Before having a baby, I would lie awake in bed at night worrying about the vendor who wasn’t the right fit, a decision I needed to make, or something I needed to finish. Now I think about those things when I’m ‘with’ my son – watching him, but not seeing.

If we’re thinking about anything other than then what we’re doing, we’re not living in the present moment. Instead, we’re focused on either the past or the future. And this is where stress and anxiety live. If we only think about what’s happening now, it’s impossible to be stressed, anxious, or worried. The question is how to stay present when our brains want to do anything but.

Here are seven strategies for living in the present moment:

Live in the present strategy one:  Write down everything you need to do, so you can free your brain from thinking about it.

Live in the present strategy two: Don’t over commit or over plan. Plan days with a schedule that you can easily achieve. Over committing causes stress and worry.

Live in the present strategy three: Only commit to do things you really plan (and at least in your personal life, really want) to do.

Live in the present strategy four: Give yourself a limited and prescribed time to talk about a problem and/or to worry about it. When the time is up, let it go and think about something else. Ask the people around you to help hold to this time limit. If you bring the topic up in conversation, ask your colleagues to point out that you’re still focused on the problem and refuse to have the conversation with you.  

Live in the present strategy five: Remind yourself (from moment to moment) to be present. When I’m with my son, I remind myself to really be with him and not thinking about or doing something else.

Live in the present strategy six:  Compartmentalize your time. Determine how long you’re going to do something, and only do that activity during that time period. When the time is up, move on to something else. When I’m not with clients, I spend half of each workday with my son. And when I’m with him, I don’t have my phone so I’m not tempted to check my email. When I’m with him, I’m really  with him.

Live in the present strategy seven:  Leave your phone some place you can’t see it. We are addicted to these little people separators. I find that one of the only ways I don’t check my phone, is not to carry the phone with me.

Being in the present moment requires discipline. If you want to feel more peaceful and less stressed, think only about what you’re doing. Let everyone else worry about the rest.

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Overcoming Perfectionism – 6 Easy Steps to Live Your Desired Life

I always try to do the right thing. I try to remember and send cards for special occasions. Apologize for mistakes, or better yet, don’t make any. Listen more than I talk. Be a great boss. Keep in touch with friends near and far. Always take the high road. Never lose my temper or patience. Eat healthy. Get fewer parking tickets. I could go on and on and on. In short, I want to be perfect. And I’m annoyed that I’m not.

Lately I’ve begun to realize that my desire to be perfect is causing me stress, diminishing my happiness, and preventing me from pursuing things I really want. So here’s to overcoming perovercoming perfectionismfectionism. I hope the steps here help all of us who are frustrated that we’re not perfect.

Overcoming perfectionism tip number one: When you make a choice, go with it. Don’t second guess yourself.

If you decide to skip a party, networking event, or class at the gym, you have a good reason. Don’t question yourself or say, “I should have.”

Overcoming perfectionism tip number two: Stop thinking that life has to look a certain way.

Maybe you’re in a job that doesn’t challenge you 100%, or you wish you were saving more money. Be careful not to buy into others’ views of how life should be lived. You’re living your life in the way it works for you.

Overcoming perfectionism tip number three: Don’t compare yourself to others.

Comparing ourselves to other people is normal and natural, and it’s the booby prize. There will also be people who are more successful, more fit, and more attractive than us. Those seemingly perfect folks have challenges and disappointments we will never know about.

Overcoming perfectionism tip number four: If you make a mistake, apologize once and move on.

I often feel badly for ‘mistakes’ long after they’re over. The other person is likely to have forgotten about the incident long after I’m still feeling guilty.

Overcoming perfectionism tip number five: Worry less what people think.

Human beings are wired for survival. Most people are so worried about themselves; they’re not preoccupied with you. So do your thing and assume the rest of the world is not watching.

Overcoming perfectionism tip number six: Try new things and be willing to make mistakes.

We won’t have anything different if we don’t do anything different. Learn a new skill, try a new way to solve a problem, and be willing to look silly and fail.

I’m hoping the tips above provide both me and my striving-to-be-perfect comrades some freedom. By suggesting you live your desired life, I’m not saying ignore responsibilities, be rude, or put yourself first all the time. I am saying that living life the way you think it should be lived, versus how you really want to live it, will diminish your personal happiness and satisfaction. And as far as we know, we only go around once.

 


Create Your Life – Live the Life You Desire

It’s the time of year when people start to think about their goals for 2017 and make New Year’s resolutions. I won’t suggest you do either.  You likely have enough to do. My only suggestion (in this arena), is to ensure you’re doing what you really want to do.

There are lots of things we need to do and think we should be doing. And it’s really easy to get caught up in that long list of could and should do’s.  If that list brings you joy, do those things. If not, consider another path.

I’m pretty sure at least one person reading this blog has a magnet or card hung at her desk with the words, “What are you going to do with your one precious life?” As far as we know, we only get one go around. So while the question may be overused, what are you going to do to create your life with the time you’re given?life you desire

I have an existential friend who is trying to convince me that there is no such thing as time. I am not persuaded. All we have is time, and it’s the only thing we can’t get back. You can gain weight and lose weight, make money and lose it, make friends and lose them, but you can never get back your time. So what are you doing with your time?

You create your life.

A few questions to consider:

  • What do you love doing most? How often are you doing that?
  • What’s most important to you in life? Does what’s most important to you make up a majority of where your time and energy goes?
  • How much time do you spend doing things you think you should be doing, but don’t really want to be doing?
  • How much time do you spend doing things someone else wants you to do?

I’m not suggesting you live an indulgent life without compromise. If you’re in relationship with other people, you will, at times, do things you don’t want to do. But I’m hoping that doing things out of obligation is not what your life’s about.

Not everyone in your life will approve of your choices. That’s ok. This is your life. Don’t knowingly harm anyone or anything. Besides that, I don’t know of any rules, except for this, don’t get to the end of the road and wonder “what if.” Create your life.

Read How to Say Anything to Anyone and take charge of your career and life. The book is on sale for $15 to celebrate our 4th printing. It’s the perfect holiday gift. Get your copy now! Offer ends 12/31/16.

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Live in the Present and Be Happier

Live in the present moment

The first time my now eleven-month old son stood up in his crib, I didn’t see it. I was sitting in his room watching him at the time. I was literally watching him in his crib, and yet I didn’t notice when he stood up for the first time. I wasn’t looking at my phone or talking with someone else. It was just he and I in the room, and yet I was so distracted with whatever I was thinking about, I didn’t ‘see’ him stand up for the first time.

When he was born, I was given the advice to stay present. And I scoffed at that advice. Of course I would stay present.

Living in the present sounds so simple. When you walk, walk. When you eat, eat. When you work, work. We’ve all heard this advice, and yet, it’s so hard to do.

Before having a baby, I would lie awake in bed at night worrying about the vendor who wasn’t the right fit, a decision I needed to make, or something I needed to finish. Now I think about those things when I’m ‘with’ my son – watching him, but not seeing.

If we’re thinking about anything other than then what we’re doing, we’re not living in the present moment. Instead, we’re focused on either the past or the future. And this is where stress and anxiety live. If we only think about what’s happening now, it’s impossible to be stressed, anxious, or worried. The question is how to stay present when our brains want to do anything but.

Here are seven strategies for living in the present moment:

Live in the present strategy one:  Write down everything you need to do, so you can free your brain from thinking about it.

Live in the present strategy two: Don’t over commit or over plan. Plan days with a schedule that you can easily achieve. Over committing causes stress and worry.

Live in the present strategy three: Only commit to do things you really plan (and at least in your personal life, really want) to do.

Live in the present strategy four: Give yourself a limited and prescribed time to talk about a problem and/or to worry about it. When the time is up, let it go and think about something else. Ask the people around you to help hold to this time limit. If you bring the topic up in conversation, ask your colleagues to point out that you’re still focused on the problem and refuse to have the conversation with you.  

Live in the present strategy five: Remind yourself (from moment to moment) to be present. When I’m with my son, I remind myself to really be with him and not thinking about or doing something else.

Live in the present strategy six:  Compartmentalize your time. Determine how long you’re going to do something, and only do that activity during that time period. When the time is up, move on to something else. When I’m not with clients, I spend half of each workday with my son. And when I’m with him, I don’t have my phone so I’m not tempted to check my email. When I’m with him, I’m really  with him.

Live in the present strategy seven:  Leave your phone some place you can’t see it. We are addicted to these little people separators. I find that one of the only ways I don’t check my phone, is not to carry the phone with me.

Being in the present moment requires discipline. If you want to feel more peaceful and less stressed, think only about what you’re doing. Let everyone else worry about the rest.

Contact Shari


Overcoming Perfectionism – 6 Easy Steps to Live Your Desired Life

I always try to do the right thing. I try to remember and send cards for special occasions. Apologize for mistakes, or better yet, don’t make any. Listen more than I talk. Be a great boss. Keep in touch with friends near and far. Always take the high road. Never lose my temper or patience. Eat healthy. Get fewer parking tickets. I could go on and on and on. In short, I want to be perfect. And I’m annoyed that I’m not.

Lately I’ve begun to realize that my desire to be perfect is causing me stress, diminishing my happiness, and preventing me from pursuing things I really want. So here’s to overcoming perfectionism. I hope the steps here help all of us who are frustrated that we’re not perfect.VerticalResponse8.22

Overcoming perfectionism tip number one: When you make a choice, go with it. Don’t second guess yourself.

If you decide to skip a party, networking event, or class at the gym, you have a good reason. Don’t question yourself or say, “I should have.”

Overcoming perfectionism tip number two: Stop thinking that life has to look a certain way.

Maybe you’re in a job that doesn’t challenge you 100%, or you wish you were saving more money. Be careful not to buy into others’ views of how life should be lived. You’re living your life in the way it works for you.

Overcoming perfectionism tip number three: Don’t compare yourself to others.

Comparing ourselves to other people is normal and natural, and it’s the booby prize. There will also be people who are more successful, more fit, and more attractive than us. Those seemingly perfect folks have challenges and disappointments we will never know about.

Overcoming perfectionism tip number four: If you make a mistake, apologize once and move on.

I often feel badly for ‘mistakes’ long after they’re over. The other person is likely to have forgotten about the incident long after I’m still feeling guilty.

Overcoming perfectionism tip number five: Worry less what people think.

Human beings are wired for survival. Most people are so worried about themselves; they’re not preoccupied with you. So do your thing and assume the rest of the world is not watching.

Overcoming perfectionism tip number six: Try new things and be willing to make mistakes.

We won’t have anything different if we don’t do anything different. Learn a new skill, try a new way to solve a problem, and be willing to look silly and fail.

I’m hoping the tips above provide both me and my striving-to-be-perfect comrades some freedom. By suggesting you live your desired life, I’m not saying ignore responsibilities, be rude, or put yourself first all the time. I am saying that living life the way you think it should be lived, versus how you really want to live it, will diminish your personal happiness and satisfaction. And as far as we know, we only go around once.


Create Your Life – Life the Life You Desire

create your lifeI’m pretty sure at least one person reading this blog has a magnet or card hung at her desk with the words, “What are you going to do with your one precious life?” As far as we know, we only get one go around. So while the question may be overused, what are you going to do to create your life with the time you’re given?

I have an existential friend who is trying to convince me that there is no such thing as time. I am not persuaded. All we have is time, and it’s the only thing we can’t get back. You can gain weight and lose weight, make money and lose it, make friends and lose them, but you can never get back your time. So what are you doing with your time?

I had the privilege of being interviewed by Greg Giesen, one of my graduate school professors, about my new book. During the interview Greg asked how I define success. I answered with, “If I am pursuing what’s most important to me, I am successful [living my desired life].” If I’m doing what I think I should be doing or what someone else wants me to do, then I’m living someone else’s life.

You create your life. A few questions to consider:

  • What do you love doing most? How often are you doing that?
  • What’s most important to you in life? Does what’s most important to you make up a majority of where your time and energy goes?
  • How much time do you spending doing things you think you should be doing, but don’t really want to be doing?
  • How much time do you spending doing things someone else wants you to do?

I’m not suggesting you live an indulgent life without compromise. If you’re in relationship with other people, you will, at times, do things you don’t want to do. But I’m hoping that doing things out of obligation is not what your life’s about.

Not everyone in your life will approve of your choices. That’s ok. This is your life. Don’t knowingly harm anyone or anything. Besides that, I don’t know of any rules, except for this, don’t get to the end of the road and wonder “what if.” Create your life.


Choose Happiness – Managing Stress

Most of us have heard the ‘motivational’ phrase, “Live every day as if it was your last.” I don’t think that’s a great plan. If I lived every day as if it was my last I’d say things I’d regret and eat so much chocolate, cookies, and ice cream, I’d be the size of a house. I’d prefer to ask this question: “How would I live if this was the best day of my life?”

If every day was going to be the best day of your life, what would you do? Who would you spend time with? What would you give your time and energy to? What would you think about? Our thoughts drive our daily experience more than anything else.

When I’m frustrated and stressed out, which is a regular occurrence, I ask myself, “What if today was the best day of my life?” And that question shifts my thoughts, which alters my experience. It quiets the constant churn in my brain, which has me feel like I’m a hamster on a treadmill of constant problem solving, and at times obsessing about what will and won’t be.

The next time you’re upset or having a bad day, ask yourself, “What if this was the best day of my life? What would I give my time, energy, and attention to?” And if your energy is misplaced, it’s easy to make that change.

The concept of simply choosing to be happy may sound unrealistic and pollyanna, but it’s working for me. When I’m frustrated and can get present enough to make a conscious choice about where to put my thoughts, versus being on auto pilot, I tell myself to choose happiness. And it usually works. Just thinking, “I choose to be happy” gets me out of my regular thoughts, which typically take me nowhere good.

I have first world problems, and for the most part, so do you. The work gets done in time. The relationships work out, as do the finances. All you have is today. Choose happiness.


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