Be Disciplined and Be Rich

The most coveted human virtue is self-control, which is synonymous to discipline.  People yearn to possess better discipline, especially when they know it’s power in personal leadership and self-development.  Over my career, I’ve learned that there are professional development strategies that even if taught, don’t get implemented, until foundational personal habits to support them are solid.  Discipline is one of them.  For example, how can I teach or learn time management skills if I cannot first make and keep commitments?

At the beginning of this year the theme was about planning.  Goal setting, strategic and even personal planning ideas, tips and strategies were shared with you.  We are now entering the second quarter of the year.  Are you on track with your goals?  Of course, if you want to be more disciplined, you must be clear on what result you’re looking for.

Based on your goals, how are you doing?  Are you on track, or off track?  Use these three questions to find out why you haven’t achieved your goals.

  • What do you need to be doing more of (and when)?
  • What do you need to be doing less of (and when)?
  • Who do you need to spend more time with, and who do you need to spend less time with?

With the answers to these questions, you’ll have the specific road map on how to get where you need to be.  Here’s an example of what I needed to be doing more of, and when.  When I got disciplined to the action of doing it, the results were even more perfect than I could have imagined.

About 6 months ago, I time blocked mornings as follow up time.  Calls to prospects, checking in on proposals, and cold calling (or connection making as I call it).  The difference was immediate, and intense.  I knew what to do, but only when I became disciplined to do it and say ‘no’ to other shiny ideas, tasks or distractions, did the results show like gas being thrown on a fire.  Where do you need more discipline?

I have committed to sharing my strategies and knowledge about discipline this month.  I have created an awesome little video with tips and ideas, and I will blog about a personal experience that inspired the topic, so be sure to check them out.  Personally, I know that my most important discipline is my spirituality, and then second is my health.  Family is next.  Why?  Because I have to take care of myself to be a good leader and influence for others. Make sure you’re taking care of the machine with a good balance.  The machine is YOU.  Your body, mind and spirit need to be nurtured, fed, rested and rewarded.  Only when you’re well balanced can you have the power of full engagement to empower your actions.

I am sure much of this resonates with you.  If you’re seeking better discipline, I have a coaching program well suited for individuals or teams wanting bigger results.

So remember, be disciplined, and be rich and … that your greatest leadership day is with Penny Tremblay.

Are You Strategically Planning for All Areas of Life?

This past week I was immersed in my own strategic plan for 2017 and beyond.  The new year always catapults me into goal setting and strategy, where I first look back at the previous year and acknowledge my accomplishments and the lessons learned, as well as my strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.

I set BHAGs (big, hairy, audacious goals) and then I chunk them down to the minutia of tasks that need to be done daily, so that the BHAGs will be realized one day.  Basically, I look at critical issues that need solutions to overcome.  Once I get clear on these, I look at how they need to be conquered.  Once I know what I need to do, I analyze how I currently have been spending my time, versus how I need to spend my time to achieve the BHAG.  I schedule checkpoints throughout the year.  Monthly reviews of where I am versus where I’m going, and quarterly planning days.  It takes time to do this, but it’s worth the effort.  Well worth the effort!

One thing that I as a woman value more than money is balance.  I explained to my accountant one year who was disappointed in my balance sheet, that balance means more than numbers to me.  I’m a Mom, and I was a wife at the time, a daughter, friend, community giver of my time and service, I’m fit, fun and fabulous and that is all valuable to me as well as the revenue and profits of how I spend my time.

Since that conversation with the accountant, I’ve also learned that a part of me was ‘justifying’ not being profitable enough.  Last year I raised my bar on my own performance and the profits went up.  My balance is still on, and my balance sheet has improved.

I’ve learned to plan my work and work my plan.  We don’t become rich by dreaming and planning.  We become rich by putting our dreams and plans in to action.  We expand with the experiences of trying and trying again, fine tuning and being wide open to receiving all that comes, distilling the ideas and ways to spend our time down to what works, and where to focus.

Businesses and organizations need a Strategic Plan to guide them through the wide range of possibilities and reign in their employees to align with one main focus.

Personally, our strategic plan can be as fun as a vision board, or vision card, or written goals that are reviewed every day, and shared with the people that matter most to us.

As the calendar year turns, this is a great time to plan.  You are the Creator of your own life.  This is not a dress rehearsal.  YOLO (you only live once) and therefore, every single second of every single day is worth really, fully living.

My Strategic Planning facilitation is getting lots of attention and referrals.  Thank you for your trust in me.  I go through the same process with my clients as I’ve mentioned above.

My Vision Card exercise is available for personal use.  Download it here, and enjoy.

I’d love to hear how you’ve made out, and I’m more than happy to help businesses and people grow with these great tools. Just call me with your questions. 705-358-3396

rich relationships, leadership training

 

 

Reboot, Reset, Recharge

Reboot, Reset, Redesign, Redefine or Recharge … We’re familiar with all of these terms as ways to return to new again.

We know that the most convenient ‘fix’ for most technologies is a reboot. To turn something off and back on again often clears out any glitch and allows for full function, but what does a ‘reboot’ mean in your personal or professional life? How can you benefit from a reset, redesign or redefinition of who you are, where you’re going and how you’ll get there?

For me, a ‘reboot’ means turning off all electronics, silencing all voices other than my inner one, and just being in the nothingness. It means being still, unavailable to others, yet connected to my source energy.

I’ve learned that my personal wellness changes with relationships that are in jeopardy but really matter to me. Add on top of that the business aspects of being an entrepreneur, and there can be a whole lot spinning, with very little traction. Often I need to reboot, reset, refuel and recharge. I can do this in nature, in silence, by myself, or with someone who helps me refocus. When I take the time out, then return to task, I feel clear and can focus, re-engage and gain traction on what I’m doing. You might be saying “I already know that”, but do you do it?

On the subject of time management, I’ve always said that one hour of uninterrupted time is equivalent to eight hours of interruptions considering the level of productivity that we can achieve with laser focus. So too is the power of nothingness for our refueling of energy. A reboot for ourselves—like our technology—is needed more often than we think, because we have so much going on in our minds.

If we want to regenerate our ways of being, we need to escape the busy-ness and find our stillness. If we want to be creative, we need a space for our creativity to stir up new ideas. Quiet, still downtime is effective. Fitness, fun and fresh air are tools to help us overcome overwhelming periods and lift our spirits.

Sometimes doing nothing is doing everything.

August is a time of renewal for me. Not only is it my birthday and a time that I think about my upcoming busy season and what I want to redesign for the year ahead, but it’s also the closing of the summer months that I need to use for rest and relaxation. I definitely want to make sure I’ve had some down time and created some space for my creativity to soar.

We are in the habit of recharging our devices, but are we in the habit of recharging ourselves? How could you benefit by adjusting your routine to recharge or reset? Plug in and expect a fresh, new, clear and clean outlook of where you are, why you desire what you want, and what you need to do to live it.

If you’re too busy to reboot, reset or recharge, you’ll definitely want to read my last leadership tip, Too Busy first, then … reboot as prescribed. 🙂

If working tirelessly then resting interests you, you’ll love this private mentoring program:

5 Days of Private Resort Session – Become your personal best for a lifetime!

Are You ‘Too Busy’?

I know you’re busy so I’m going to get to the point: we use the excuse or the story that we’re ‘too busy’ all the time. Regardless of what you’re spending your time doing, you’re filling it with something. But are you filling it with the right things? Or does your story just say that you’re too busy, preventing you from doing the right things?

We somehow equate being busy with being valuable. We pride ourselves on what we accomplish or involve ourselves in, and somehow being busy fulfills an inner desire to be worth more, or just worthy. Being self-employed, I see a big difference between busyness and business, and I’ve learned from experience how to put twice as much into my life.

I’ve learned that people will always make time and money for the things that are important to them, and that things that matter least often get in the way of things that matter most. I’ve also learned that we use the reasonable excuse that we’re ‘too busy’ to do things that we really don’t want to do, or are afraid to do.

Prime Examples

Almost nine years ago, a woman from Sudbury contacted me several times to show me a service that would help my business grow. I was ‘too busy’ to listen. Thankfully, she was persistent because I finally listened to her after her tenth attempt to follow up with me, and my business has grown and benefited tremendously as a result of using her service. When I look back on the experience, I wonder, “What was I thinking? How could I have been ‘too busy’ to listen to something so beneficial?” It took me too long to make time and money for something that was important—building a bigger business—because I was too wrapped up in the day-to-day operation of the way things were going at the time to see the importance of implementing a new tool.

An example of things that matter least occupying my time instead of those that matter most is when I added the task of writing my book to the already full plate I had. I used to find things to keep me busy, so I couldn’t write the book! Things like alphabetizing my paper clips, organizing my drawers, cleaning my floors, and other useless tasks I could use to fool myself into seeming busy, but I wasn’t doing the right things to get me closer to my goals.

In relationships, people use ‘too busy’ to have important conversations. If a relationship is in trouble, one (or more) of the parties in that relationship may find themselves ‘too busy’ to talk about the needs of the relationship as they put things that matter least before the critical conversations or resolutions that need to be nurtured.

We Can Put More In

Did you ever notice that some people can get two, three, or even four times more done in a day than you can in a week? Notice how they’re not ‘too busy’? They’re not spending time talking about how busy they are or creating excuses for why they can’t do what they want or need to do. They’re just doing it—all of it—and they’re open for more. Recognize that we use the reasonable excuse of having other things that occupy our time in order to avoid doing things that are difficult, important (although we do not value them as such), or frightening. Never underestimate the fact that fear drives so much of our behavior, but the ego masks this fear with reasonable excuses that we actually believe.

We use ‘too busy’ as a habit-forming crutch. We create habits of doing and not doing because we’re ‘too busy’ to be doing what we need to be doing!

How do we self-correct? We need to be very clear about what we’re up to. Be on to yourself. Notice when your addiction to urgency and busyness distracts you from the most important things in your life. Ask yourself, “Why? Why am I alphabetizing my paper clips, organizing my drawers or cleaning my floors when there are areas of my life calling out for my attention?”

What’s Your Excuse?

If you’re not really too busy, then what’s your excuse? The truth is that there is none. Pack your life full of all the things you need to say ‘yes’ to, including rest and relaxation, new business opportunities, doubling your sales and income, having those difficult conversations, and all the things within your reach. Time is a gift, and we only have so much of it. Seize each moment. It would be a shame to give up on a dream because you’re ‘too busy’ to make the time and effort to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway, with or without you trying, so just believe that there is always more space to be more, do more and have more.

If ‘too busy’ sounds like your story, you’re actually telling the universe to hold off on delivering you any more because you’re jam-packed and you have no space left as it is.

Where are you using the excuse of ‘too busy’ in your life, that’s preventing you from living the life of your dreams?

leadership training

p.s. I have all the time in the world for all of my readers, clients and referrals. Bring it on!

Speed Wobbles

Honouring Ourselves Through Misalignment

As I was driving out to a meeting one dark and snowy evening at a speed of 90 km/h, my Jeep Wrangler, “Ruby”, began to wobble. I became nervous because she’d never done that before, and I was afraid of her breaking down completely on this cold night. I slowed down, geared down and she steadied. Whew! I drove further for a few kilometers and sped up again to reach the speed limit, and again Ruby began to wobble, so I had to shift back down and continue at a much slower pace.

Traffic was on my tail, impatiently swerving to find an opportunity to pass me. I began to feel the pressure of the other drivers’ impatience, and I acknowledged the responsibility I was feeling because of it, even though a slower, steadier pace was right for me at the time. I also found it very hard to watch others pass me, like a transport did as we climbed uphill—“OMG, are you kidding me?!”—while I was slow but steady. Others were passing me by and it was bugging me.

I graciously learned two lessons from the speed wobbles that I’d like to share with you.

The first has to do with the concept of moving slower than the posted speed limit. Sometimes, the standards set by others don’t suit us in our current situation or circumstances, and it’s okay to slow down or produce below those standards so we can remain in motion, but in a steady fashion. Better than maintaining an unsafe speed and crashing! Slow and steady can still win the race. This is true in many aspects of our lives: our spiritual, mental and physical health; our relationships at home and at work; our finances, careers and education. There’s a desired pace and then there’s our pace. They don’t always align. Sometimes we may have to be, do, or have less to accomplish more in the end.

Sometimes we have to allow others to move ahead of us, let them lead us, take care of us, or eat their dust while we regain our balance, but we’ll catch up. It’s not necessarily about ‘time’, but more about ‘timing’. Although we don’t want to wait for anything anymore, we certainly don’t want to watch our family, friends, and colleagues move ahead without us any more than we want to slow them down.

The second lesson I learned from the speed wobbles was how I was affected under the pressures of others’ impatience with my slow pace. What makes their pace more important to me than my needs? Why do I allow the pressures of others to cause me stress when I’ve willingly or unwillingly chosen slow and steady as my temporary path? We honour ourselves by considering our needs before the needs of others, especially when we’re wobbling—a sign that we’re out of alignment. We need to focus our concern on our own need to heal, balance or realign, and not concern ourselves about what others think. They’ll understand and respect us for respecting ourselves. We just need to be honest, vulnerable, and able to talk about these things to those who may show impatience to us. If it’s a passing vehicle giving you the finger—well, that’s where they’re at, not where you’re at, so let them keep their frustration, and you keep your confidence.

Slower than standard is not a place to stay, but sometimes we need to back off or gear down from a pace that’s not right for us so that we can realign and rejoin the race and pace of champions. Don’t ever be afraid to take speed for a road test. There may not be any wobbles at all.

Who would have thought there’d be such rich lessons in the speed wobbles?

Need a speed test,  tune up or check up?  Call an expert.  Call me!  You can be sure that I’ll help you or the whole team gain a steady pace.

Dedicated to Rachel W. and Cheryl V. You’ve both inspired me tremendously.

Three Tips toward Freedom

I’ve been inspired by the freedom I’ve created in my life, and the freedom that others have created for themselves. After a half-day of coaching, my partner and I returned to our office and rested a while. We sat in our lounge chairs on the dock, in 27-degree, sunny weather with a beautiful wind coming across the lake, and watched as an eagle flew by. Now that is freedom!

Do you have enough freedom? If you don’t, you’ll get three freedom-inspiring ideas from this short message.

Freedom comes in many forms. Freedom of time, money and mobility are a few at the top of my list of desires. Freedom from poor relationships, substance abuse, negative thinking or the control of other people are a few more, and the list goes on. Here are three tips to help free you.

Tip #1. Decide what freedom means to you, and get specific.

I remember doing an activity in 2010 when I wrote and read daily a diary entry titled “A Day in the Life of Penny Tremblay, 2015”. It was a daydream that I created for myself five years from that time. I wrote down every single detail of the dream on lined paper, including the people I saw myself with, the things I spent my time doing, and the assets I had to fulfill those things. This activity represented a conscious decision to achieve the freedom I wanted in 2015, and I’ve pretty much made it all happen with a few months to spare. Some of the players and details are a bit different than I’d imagined, but I’ve been open and trusted that I was getting what I needed—not just what I wanted—and it all came together, all because I decided and clarified what I wanted.

Tip #2. Surround yourself with highly successful people.

Reaching the pinnacle of freedom is going to require doing the right things. Hang out with people who are more accomplished in what you want to do. Success rubs off. As Jack Canfield taught me, you can’t stick your hand into a bucket of paint without getting some on you, so dip into the things that other people have that you want more of. If you want to be a millionaire, hang out with millionaires. If you want to be a pro athlete, hang out with pro athletes. If you want to be successful in business, hang out with those who are already there.

On the flip side, stop dipping into the things that other people have which you don’t want. For example, stop hanging around the gossip group. Stop buying into or participating in the negativity of your environment. Choose to opt out of it. Move on to different people.

How much time have you spent in the last week with people who already have what you want?   Hopefully your answer is at least a couple of hours.

Tip #3. Know what’s holding you back.

The difference between where you are now and where you could be once you’ve found your freedom is likely in your thought process. Limiting beliefs such as “I have to work hard for my money”, “Money doesn’t grow on trees” and “I could never afford that” have been taught to us, but they’re not always true. You can create your own truth. Sometimes you have to take a leap of faith out of the known, and into the unknown trusting that your freedom lies somewhere that you just can’t see yet.

Love your work and you’ll never have to work a day in your life.

I’ve just returned from a conference where I rubbed shoulders with multimillionaires—people who have incredible freedom of time, money and mobility. They’re the leaders in one of my businesses. I learned that the number one commodity in the world right now is supplementary income. Everyone wants more money, which makes sense, but what makes even more sense to me is creating the wealth in a way that doesn’t hold one back from living each and every day the way they want. It’s possible! I’m working on it and making great progress. Ask me how, and I’ll bring you in on my success strategy.

There you have it: three tips to freedom. Best wishes for eagles, water, wind and rest, or whatever freedoms you desire.

‘Clear Out’ and Be Rich

Last month I wrote about the power of vision. If the first step to getting to where you’re going in your personal life and career is visualizing that place, what’s the next step?

Take action!

Taking action is a logical next step. But what if you don’t know which action to take? Do you consider yourself stuck? No. There is an action that we can take whenever we feel unsure about what to do next. It is a step that I call ‘clearing out’, a process that makes space for what you are wanting to receive.

Here are several personal and professional examples of this technique:

1. My children have learned to keep a lean closet of clothes and toys. If they no longer wear or use an item, they donate it to someone who will find use for it. This makes space in my children’s closet. Because of our belief in the ‘Give and Be Rich’ philosophy, this practice always returns something desirable to claim the space left by the discarded items.

2. My colleague Laurie always treated her administrative positions as if they were rungs on a ladder of success. She regularly cleared out her workload and workspace so that nothing was left undone. When she turned her positions over to others, she could easily train them and receive her new position with clear focus.

3. Say no, or let go. We do not benefit by taking on so much that we begin to look like Atlas, the Greek God who carried the world on his shoulders. Doing so only creates a façade of strength and power, when the real power comes from being true to ourselves. When we say no, we earn back from others the respect that we give to ourselves by honouring our own boundaries.

4. Perhaps there is something on your mind that’s bothering you. Taking the time to clear it out is worth the tremendous effort. With a clear mind and a clear heart, you can think clean and loving thoughts, and give and receive just that. Difficult conversations that must be had are like neon signs of opportunity that will lead you closer to your vision of the good life. Make them happen. Take responsibility for making relationships work. Clear your heart.

5. Leave the past behind. You cannot change the past. You can only make amends, apologize, forgive, learn and go forward. Write out your feelings of hurt or anger about a situation, and then write your visualization of the way that you would intend for it to be different if it were to happen in your future. Let it go. Free yourself. Clear your mind.

6. Play! Have you noticed that children don’t get stuck like adults do? They can always put down something that is bothering them and play with something else. It’s in our human nature to want to feel good. Putting things down for a while can give us the rest we need to return to our prime.

7. Re-oxygenate your entire vascular system with fitness. You can change your entire state of mind with just 15 to 30 minutes of physical exercise. Clear out the old, stagnant state and replenish your body with brand new energy. ‘Walking meetings’ are becoming a popular way for people to socialize and exercise at the same time.

8. Connect with your higher power, a mentor, or a positive influence to flush out your thinking and take in a different perspective. Sometimes when we are so close to something on an emotional level, a rational opinion helps us move through it — not around it, but through it. Clear out your challenges by grabbing hold of someone who can help bridge your journey toward your vision.

As we shift in our mind to give things up, grow and change, we need to maintain the bigger vision. Daily details can cloud our view of the goals we hold in our minds and in our hearts, or dampen our spirits, but a strong vision provides unwavering strength, and ‘clearing out’ to receive what we expect to manifest creates the space for new.

 

Penny

Respectful Communication in an Electronic Era

“Penny, can you help our organization? We need some training in ‘respectful communication’. It seems that our group has been challenged by something that has been said or written in an e-mail. We want to remind our people of the importance of communicating respectfully.”

This is a very common request that I receive from my clients and prospects. This article is intended to shed some light on why respectful communication is important, and how to ensure that you are making use of it.

The goal of positive and productive communication is to avoid mixed messages and ensure that the listener ‘decodes’ your message as it was intended. Therefore, the first step towards respectful communication is to examine your intention.

Check your intention first before saying or writing anything to anyone in the workplace.

Is your intention to resolve, build, strengthen, enhance, lead, promote, or generally bring a person or situation to a higher place? If not, then stop and reconsider. You are in the right state of mind to communicate only when your intentions are surely positive.

If you want carrots, plant carrots. If you want beans, plant beans. And if you want respect in the workplace, plant — you got it! — RESPECT.

If your intention is to harm, reprimand, scold, chastise, criticize, tell off, or chew out, you are heading into dangerous territory. Don’t write it.  Don’t e-mail it, and for goodness’ sake, don’t ‘CC’ anyone! You will only be setting yourself up to receive that which you gave: disrespect.

Dig deep for good intentions, and if you cannot find them, seek help. With good intention, all things are possible.

A question I often hear from the ‘intentionally challenged’ is “Isn’t it easier to say and write what’s on my mind at the time?” No, it’s not easier — not in the short run, nor long-term. Communication that stems from a negative emotional charge will always come back to haunt its sender.

Electronic forms of communication such as e-mail, instant messaging, blogging, social networking, and social media (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc.) are not proper forums for airing your dirty laundry or venting about relationship breakdowns in the workplace (or in your personal life, for that matter). These services create permanent records of temporary emotions.  It’s better to write in your own personal journal during these emotionally charged times. Arrive at an inner resolve first before moving outward toward changing the situation where others are concerned.

Insist on face-to-face conversation when you have challenges to overcome.  Why?  You will be more empathic to the recipient; you will be able to adjust your messages by gauging their reactions; and, most importantly, you will be able to read their emotions, and they will be able to read yours. You can’t feel in an e-mail, and so text can seem cold and impersonal.

Face-to-face conversation is losing its popularity because it’s easier to type your feelings and thoughts. But what about the reader? Are typed feelings and thoughts easier from their perspective? How can you listen to them? How can you seek first to understand them before you are understood?

If face-to-face is not an option, the phone is your next best bet. The phone doesn’t make it as easy to connect and converse, but life isn’t always easy. As George Clooney’s character said in the film Three Kings, “You do the thing you’re scared shitless of, and you get the courage after you do it — not before you do it.” (I think this is the first 4-letter word I have ever used in an article … but … it wasn’t really me … it was George J )

Take the high road. Do the internal work first so you can communicate in a way that you will feel good about. When you skip that crucial first step, you will carry the baggage of disappointment with you long after the communication has taken place. When you approach the situation with a clear mind, you will feel proud of the way you handled it.

Technology can serve us as a tool to increase communication efficiency, yet the human element can become neglected and bypassed, therefore compromising quality and effectiveness. Note the difference between ‘efficient’ and ‘effective’.

There is a time and place for both efficient electronic communication and effective human relations centered on connectedness. Consider your reader, and ensure that your intention is to lift them to a higher place. If you don’t, you adversely affect your own personal growth and development, as well as that of those around you.

 “Life is not about doing what feels good. It’s about doing what will give you the best results in the end.” ~ Barbara De Angelis

Love in the workplace can be displayed as respect, and respectful communication is the foundation of love.  Create for yourself and others a great March.

Love and Respect,

 

Penny

 

P.S. I am working on a daily basis with Barbara De Angelis, Ph.D.,  one of the most renowned and influential teachers in the field of personal and spiritual development, and the best-selling author of 14 books. At a recent weekend gathering, Barbara, also a speaker, mentor and spiritual teacher, told me that I was a great student, and therefore I can be a great teacher to others. I would encourage you to consider working with a great teacher too. You can learn more about Barbara De Angelis at barbaradeangelis.com , or you can work with me as your personal mentor.Explore my website to learn what my seminars, workshops, keynotes, books, and audio products can bring to you or your organization.

Your Relationship with Time

When I ask a group of adults to tell me what they think about time, a common response is “There is not enough.” They feel “time-poor”, rather than rich in the time that they are given to enjoy each day. The reality is that we don’t always use our time to serve ourselves in the best way that we can.

This article will help you to resolve the direction in which you are headed so that the year ahead can be put to great use.  I can assure you that the five minutes you spend reading this article will be an investment worth making.

The average lifetime lasts only 28,000 days, or 448,000 waking hours. This time seems to pass very quickly, especially for those of us — including myself! — who have more years behind us than ahead.

How many of your 448,000 hours are you prepared to waste? The waste I am asking you to evaluate could be made up of many things, but here are a few personal examples:

· Are you unconsciously giving up years, months, or days of your time? Or are you consciously living, knowing who you are and why you’re here?

· Are you wasting time in denial, covering up the truth, and believing that things will just magically get better or change without your effort?

· Are you spending time frivolously as though you have all the time in the world? Or are you aware of how you desire to be spending your hours and days?

· Are you spending time in ways that don’t support you? Examples of this include worrying about things rather than taking action and making change, holding grudges or being angry instead of loving, and being stuck in a cycle of reactive thinking, blaming other people or circumstances for your current state of happiness or finances.

In these examples, we are disrespecting time, and in doing so we disrespect ourselves, leading to feelings of frustration. Through these feelings, we can recognize a disparity between the time we are spending and the goals that are important to us.

What are you waiting for? The time is now! It’s always a good time to make the most of your time, but as the calendar year rolls over to give the gift of a brand new one, take some time to reflect upon what you really want and how to go about achieving it. Once you decide that you don’t have time to waste, you will be more focused and less hassled.

Here is a practical activity you can do to guide yourself through the changes you want to make. Write out a list of past expectations you have had for certain aspects of your life, such as your health, family life, career, and finances.  Once you’ve finished, write a second list containing your new expectations for 2012, and read these to yourself every day.

In the coming year, take note of times during which you are not feeling in tune with these new expectations, and do something to change your situation.

This message is my gift to you, in light and love: may you give yourself the absolute best in 2012, and be rich in all the ways that truly matter.

The Gift of Just Being Real

The family’s excitement was building as our car approached the bright lights of the big city. My “honey” was able to get us six tickets to the Toronto vs. Washington NHL hockey game. This pre-Christmas present was to be a fun moment that our entire family would always remember. But more importantly, the real moments that occurred during our trip — the goofy giggling in the car; the hotel room pillow fight; the laugh-til-the-root beer-comes-out-your-nose incident in the restaurant — will always be a part of our family legacy and the stories we share as our family grows up.

Each month, I write about workplace relations, and how you can have better relationships in the office and with customers. This month, as the magic of the holiday season warms the hearts of people everywhere, I wanted to write about a more personal topic: giving the gift of ‘Just Being Real’ to those you love and care about. This message will benefit you personally, with family, and in the workplace.

The Christmas season has become very commercial. Working adults are doing more to prepare for the season, and that includes spending more money — right? Yes, I think that is a very fair assumption. But are we experiencing enjoyment? I asked several people this question, and their responses described the holidays as:

  • “Busy”
  • “Goes by like a whirlwind”
  • “Exhausting”
  • “Financially challenging”
  • “Impossible to fit everything in”

This year, remember that the greatest gifts are Just Being Real  — the times when you can deeply connect with the people you care about. Share conversation. Listen to each other. Laugh. Learn about each other. Love unconditionally. We don’t need a holiday to do these things, but interestingly, we tend to miss the opportunities during the typical holiday hustle and bustle. What if we made time to give the gifts that really matter?

To that end, here are a few ideas.

In the workplace (as this is, after all, a newsletter for the workplace!) — Remember that people prefer genuine acknowledgement and recognition for their contributions to a lavish Christmas party. (Did I say ‘Christmas’? Oops! Isn’t that politically incorrect? I am standing my ground on this one!) Whether your workplace is hosting a lavish party or planning on celebrating festively otherwise, be sure to include some real recognition for those who serve you all year long. This is not just a task for management to praise their staff. It’s a task for everyone in the office to praise those who have helped them throughout the year. This costs nothing, but the payoff is huge. People will always remember how you made them feel, and want to be appreciated for their contributions.

At home — Couples, make time for each other. Feed each other’s hearts with affection, appreciation, and attention. Talk, listen, and love. This is the glue that holds you together. It’s common sense, but often not common practice. We find ourselves too busy working, taking care of the house, and delivering kids to their activities. Our hearts are starving, yet we are not being true to ourselves. We give of ourselves to create a good life for our kids by buying them toys, clothes, and gadgets, but are material things worth the stress and exhaustion?

For you — This season, take time for yourself, slow down, and accept that not everything is going to be perfect — and that’s okay. Years from now, you won’t remember a clean home or countless items under a Christmas tree, but you will remember  moments of just being real that you had with the special people in your life.

We must take the lead on this concept, as others may be stuck in traditions that have spun out of control and are not within realistic time and money constraints. In taking the lead, we will be setting an example. If we only give our time and attention to material things, we will be teaching our children and those around us that objects, not love, bring happiness.

When you’re deciding how to spend your time and money as a parent, ask  “Do you think that your kids are going to grow up and say to you, ‘Mom and Dad, I’m so grateful that you totally sacrificed your own happiness and relationship and growth for me so that I’d never have to hear the word ‘no’. Thank you for not fully living your lives. I plan to follow in your footsteps and give up all my fun and personal satisfaction when I have kids.’?” Of course, our kids will never say that.

The people whom you spend time with this season are a gift, and they are only in this lifetime temporarily. Don’t wait until they are gone to pay them tribute.

Moments of just being real occur when the people you are with feel

  • loved;
  • valued;
  • as though they are making a difference;
  • understood; and
  • accepted just the way they are.

I am making a commitment to having many more moments of just being real this season. Will you join me in making a special effort to spread the holiday magic to those in your workplace and personal life?

Merry Christmas and happy holidays!

 

Penny