Engage and Retain Millennials (Employees)

Having just come off Small business week, I’ve heard from many employers that their biggest struggle is finding skilled people, motivated people and people who want to stick around. In the human resources industry, Millennials In The Workplace has been the common theme of training and education to engage and retain them … as they’re now the largest population in the workforce this year.

Click here to watch my new video on this hot topic.

I see this as a double whammy for employers.  A worker shortage, compiled with a large population of workers who think quite differently than their older colleagues.

So … What to do about it?  Here’s my hottest tip:

Create an inclusion based culture 

Yes, there are competing interests between generations in the workplace.

Yes, there are demands and desires of the younger workers that are diametrically opposed to their senior counter parts, but guess what?

That’s ok.  It isn’t right or wrong.  It doesn’t have to be black or white.  We have different generations, different personality styles, different ethnic backgrounds, different morals, different values but so what?  Why do we seek ‘same’ in a workplace culture with such differences?

Inclusion based culture is about: 
– Listening to your team’s different perspectives
– Placing value on that feedback
– Benefiting from it

It’s about achieving a new way of thinking, and your whole team, inclusively, has the best answer for what’s best for the culture of their workplace.

I’ve got lots of ideas, based on tons of research on the topic, and so I’ve created an interactive program called “Engaging and Retaining Millennials, but honestly, it could be called “Engaging and Retaining Anyone” because when you really look at the solution, we’re different people who all want the similar things.

There’s your hot tip!  Create an inclusion based culture, where everyone’s feeling engaged to dig in and play nice in the sandbox.

Call me because your greatest leadership day is with Penny Tremblay.

Success is Posture – Posture is Success

Our posture is critical to success. I’m not talking about shoulders back, chin up so much as posturing ourselves as confident, influential people who stand up for what they really believe.

In my part-time direct sales business, the word ‘posture’ is used referring to how we present ourselves and our offering in a very confident way.

In my role as a speaker / trainer on the topic of workplace relationships and conflict resolution, I often talk about posture as a personal foundation to improve one’s ability to get along with others and resolve conflict, but regardless of the industry or application, the Olympic podium upon which an athlete steps up to receive a performance medal, is a great analogy.

The bronze step is relative to where you are now in your life, career or business. The silver step would be the next level to achieve, and the gold step the absolute best performance and results possible.

For example, if I consider myself a bronze level keynote speaker today, I’m making myself aware that I could be better, and why I’m not.  This awareness is critical to improving.  I get clear on what I need to do, and be to take the step up to silver. Then repeat that same process to get the gold!

Discovery from the activity is why I’m at the bronze level, (my past performance, successes, failures and lessons learned) as well as a clear understanding of the things I need to be doing more and less of, to attain the next level.

Let’s take this to a workplace example.  The Manager of a department has reasons why they’re currently at a bronze level.  Their Posture Podium Activity might look like this:

“I’m a bronze level manager because I’ve earned this promotion, I have attended training – Play Nice in the Sandbox with Penny Tremblay – to learn how to build productive, peaceful and profitable relationships at work, I’ve approached confrontational conversations with staff when necessary, I’ve reached out for help when needed…. etc. The manager would look at the silver podium spot and list the skills, attributes and successes needed to qualify for earning that next medal on the podium, and likewise for the gold.

Now here’s the real magic.  The distance between bronze, silver and gold on our podium is our own posture!  Our real Work is internal. Compiled with diligent action, accumulated experiences, client testimonials etc., advancing up the scale of success is highly influenced by the belief we have in ourself.

For example, I’ve seen many small business owners, especially women, undervalue themselves, their pricing, and their worth and as a result, sell themselves too short. I believe the toughest distance we need to advance on the podium is only 6 inches between our ears.  It’s a mental shift, a new a mental space to move into.  But … It’s not ego.  It’s not thinking that you’re better than you are, or better than others.  It’s being real, and humble about all that you are, and knowing the work ahead of you to become that world class performer.  Without the mental shift, you won’t step up on the podium.

Own the decisions you’ve made with great confidence.  Own who you are and who you are not and become content with them. Speak to that and know that you don’t have to justify yourself to people.  Allow yourself to be who you really want to be, and free mental state to chase that silver or gold medal that you so desire.

I’d like to invite you to have a workshop in your workplace or place of business, or a coaching activity just with you and I to improve your posturing because I can guarantee you there are people out there who think you’re way more amazing than what you’re giving yourself credit for so it’s high time just step up your posture from bronze to silver and then set your sights on gold!

My activity process to work on increasing one’s posture is an amazing investment.  *Notice my posture in that statement?  🙂

Remember, your greatest leadership day … is with Penny Tremblay

Attract Rich Relationships

I think everyone wants to be more attractive—in other words, to attract more of what we want. Perhaps it’s a partner; maybe it’s the desire to attract more wealth, opportunity, success, love, or respect.

What I know about attraction is that it is vibrational. We attract things similar to the vibrations that we are putting out. So if you want to attract good things, you have to put out good vibes.

Here’s an example: one afternoon, while I was shopping downtown in my beautiful home town, I asked some shop owners how their businesses were doing. The answers that I received were less than positive. There was a sense of doom, gloom, and fear in the shop owners’ responses. Ultimately, this way of thinking will attract more of the same kinds of vibrations. When fear and panic drives our responses, we need to work in the opposite direction of what comes naturally to us.

Check out the great new video on this topic.

Recently, I listened to a conversation at a local coffee meet-up between Mike Campigotto, Ian Kilgour, and other wise community members. The topic was about dealing with negative gossip, and the consensus was to not buy into it. “Keep conversations positive and upbeat,” they agreed, “and for heaven’s sake, don’t be one of those energy vampires that suck the life out of conversations by always complaining about how things aren’t, when there are so many other, greater things to discuss or get involved in.”

Chronic complainers and gossips are often lonely, or they have a few in their circle that like to maintain those same low vibrations. You’ve heard the saying “You become who you have coffee with”. Choose your pack wisely. Rub shoulders with winners, and before long, you’ll be winning too.

Before we can truly speak highly of our business, we need to feel good about it, and that has a lot to do with how we believe we are doing. Sometimes, in order to have good vibrations, we have to believe in what is unseen. A lot of that lies in vision and faith. Faith is being able to go beyond what the eyes can see.

Success starts at the root level of what we believe and how we’re feeling. We emit a vibration of that belief. I refer to this as ‘posture’. People are sensitive to the vibration we put out. If it’s high and positive, they want a piece of it.

Here are some tips to maintain those high vibrations:

Speak positively. Rather than wallowing in self-pity, negative circumstances, cynicism, or judgment, talk about ideas, possibility, and potential. Ask good questions that will lead you to a better understanding of what you can do to improve your business or relationships. Where attention goes, energy finds a match, and the results will come.

You’ll know you’re in a state of high vibration when you feel good. Circumstances beyond your control are going to challenge you, but your job is to feel good (naturally). I don’t mean taking drugs or alcohol, or excessively using any crutch to get you feeling high. I mean really feeling good about who you are, how you are, and where you are. This takes work, but I guarantee that it is the absolute best investment you can make in yourself. People like happy people.

When people ask you how you’re doing, tell them you’re fantastic, happy, or excited for life. Emit an authentic, high-vibrational answer with matching words. Don’t lie. If you can’t honestly say something great about yourself and where you’re at, call me. We’ll get you on track.

If you’re feeling stuck, stagnant, and full of low-vibrational energy, you can always give. Get out there in your community and get involved. Start giving a little more of your beautiful self away. Make a difference. Everyone has the ability to change this world and make it a better place and that, my friends, is very attractive. Not only will you inspire and influence others with your actions of kindness, but you’ll increase your own self-worth and sense of value.

Being attractive has very little to do with how we look and lots to do with our ‘posture’—what we believe, feel, think, and speak.

My purpose and my passion is to foster rich relationships between businesses, employees, and clients so that the world can vibrate at a higher level and be more efficient, harmonious, and abundant. For that to happen, we need to be vibrating at our absolute highest. I’m committed to helping your entire team raise their vibrations and attract rich relationships in business and in life.

Call me, and remember…your greatest leadership day is with Penny Tremblay!

705-358-3396

Improve Workplace Relationships with Love

“Love in the workplace” is not a phrase you hear often, but in the spirit of Valentine’s Day, I’d like to talk about it.

We have relationships with everyone in our workplace.  Some may be closer than others; some may be kind and courteous; and others may be challenging, disconnected or downright nasty!  You can improve workplace relationships starting today.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my career as an expert on Workplace and Business Relations, it’s that there is a big difference between love and relationships.  Love is easy, but relationships are hard.

For Valentine’s Day, I’d like to invite you to celebrate the fact that you have relationships, and that these relationships have taken effort.  Congratulations!

Valentine’s Day is an outward expression, like giving flowers, cards or chocolate.  I’d like to challenge you to outwardly recognize your colleagues today.  You don’t have to acknowledge them with gifts—words will do.  You can improve workplace relationships with Love

Words like “I love the way you serve customers for us.”

Or “I’m happy you’re my boss because you seem to care about me as a person.”

“We need you.”

“Your skillset is valuable to us.”

 “I appreciate you because…”

I use the phrase “love in the workplace” to symbolize the important things we do to connect and build rapport, like sharing admiration, giving respect, and honouring, appreciating and complimenting the people around us!  These acts of recognition are free and only take a few seconds, but they build relationships because we are all emotional creatures of pride and vanity.  We all want to feel valuable and feed our worthiness.

If you’re up for another challenge, consider reconnecting a disconnected relationship in your workplace.  Look someone in the eye and pay him or her a genuine compliment.  Oh, and by the way, “Mary, you look hot in those pants” isn’t an appropriate “love in the workplace” compliment.  Speak true words when you find something to compliment about.  If you can’t think of something nice to say, either you’re not thinking hard enough, or you need my conflict resolution services!

Even if you have to resort to writing the compliment or recognition in a little note because you’re afraid of the face-to-face conversation, do that.  In my humble opinion, nothing beats a face-to-face or a phone call to convey sentiments.  The energy that you pass into the sacred invisible reservoir between two people will have a lasting affect.

Interacting and intertwining our energy with someone else to result in a positive interpersonal relationship doesn’t always go as planned.  But this is where we learn the most about ourselves.  Relationships shine a light on our most needed lessons.

Remember that love is easy, but relationships are hard.  The way to better relationships is through love, respect, honour, and authentic communication with people who matter.

Love is a verb.  Take some action that is going to move someone else, especially if there’s a need between you and a co-worker.  A conflict. A disconnect.  Take a step toward reconciliation today.  Call me if you need help.  A big part of what I do is help people fix broken relationships in the workplace.

Never underestimate the power of this invisible, energetic connection that you can put effort into.  Create more love in your workplace, and remember, your greatest leadership day is with Penny Tremblay.

 

Giving With No Strings Attached

‘Tis the season for giving, and there’s no better season to practice the gift of giving with no expectations.

I wrote the book on it, but I also need practice. I’ve recognized times when I am not giving unconditionally, and I have learned that we often have a motivation beyond just giving for the sake of giving. Giving with no strings attached is not as easy as one might think, but the reward is well worth the practice.

Take the following excerpt from Give and Be Rich:

Giving unconditionally is key. If we simply give without the expectation of receiving anything in return, we are giving properly. Many people however give with conditions attached. They have an underlying motivation for giving; one common motivation is recognition, another is control. This is our ego working, wanting to be right, wanting to be noticed, wanting to protect us from being vulnerable. I believe that the hearts that give – in any capacity and without expectations of return or favour – will be the most richly blessed. Furthermore, when we give in secrecy or anonymity, we receive in greater abundance. Give without the expectation of receiving anything in return. When you give with the intention of getting something back, you just don’t make the same impact.

Whether it be a gift to someone special (young or old), a workplace compliment, some time to invest in a relationship, helping someone, a charitable donation etc. try giving all that you’re offering this season with an openness that allows the recipient to receive it their way, and just feel rich knowing that your gift came from the heart with no strings attached. Sounds easy, but it’s actually quite a spiritual workout.

Strings attached to giving can have many symptoms, some of which include expectations of gaining something in return (which usually leads to disappointment), judgement of how someone is responding or reacting to your gift, frustration that you’re not getting equal to or more than you’re giving.

With no attachment, I am sending you a wonderful blessing this season of Rich Relationships with all those who really matter to you, and even those whom you’ve struggled to have a healthy connection with.

Wising you inner peace, joy and contentment,

leadership training

 

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!

The Key to Staying Committed

I once heard a great statement from the CEO of the Union of Ontario Indians.  While speaking to his team about staying committed he said, “If I’m not doing my job, please let me know, but don’t let it stop you from doing your job.”  I will always remember this piece of wisdom, and I’ve shared it with so many audiences since.

People resonate with this because they form teams, agreements, pacts, set goals or create dreams together, but if someone falls out of commitment, sometimes everyone comes to a halt, blames those who quit and remain frustrated failures at what they had committed to.

I’d say this scenario is a reasonable excuse to quit, give up, or return to the status quo.  People often don’t realize the underlying reasons they have for buying into others’ lack of commitment, but they are definitely getting something out of it, for example, it’s a good excuse to not put in your best effort because others aren’t.

Twice this week, I chatted with clients who’ve been challenged with the commitment of a team. A community leader spoke of his disappointment in a group that had a great idea and implemented it, but after a few roadblocks, people started wavering on their commitments, and the project fell apart.  I suggested to the leader that he not quit.  Others may quit, but that doesn’t mean he has to.  His satisfaction should not be at the mercy of other people’s decisions.

Another commitment conversation I had was with a group of First Nation Youths who had been fundraising for a trip to explore the West coast of Canada,  when some of their adult resources hadn’t honoured a commitment.  I told the youths that this was the time for them to step up, take the lead, and win that race.

If we let others determine our destiny, we will most often be disappointed.

When helping a team stay committed, you can hold people accountable, but in order to be in the place of doing so, you’ve got to be holding up your end of the agreement, too.

Commitment is continuing to do what you’ve said you’d do,
long after the feeling you had when you made the commitment has gone.

Commitment is not a feeling.  It’s a decision!

If you’ve been married or in a long-term relationship, you can certainly relate to that definition of commitment.  I’ve learned that when you fear someone is not remaining committed, you can stay committed regardless.  I didn’t learn it the first time around, but I’m learning it now.  My soul knows when I am all in, and I feel steady despite any wavering of others.

The key to staying committed is to not quit.  Try this statement over and over again.

I commit … I will not quit!
I commit … I will not quit!
I commit … I will not quit!

Your satisfaction depends on you, and no-one else.

p.s.  As a follow up to the group of First Nations Youth fundraising for a trip to Vancouver, they re-committed yesterday despite the low funds raised, NOT TO QUIT.  They have a dream, to explore another part of the country and to prove to themselves and their community that anything is possible with commitment.  If you’d like to read about their progress or help out, check out their CBC news coverage.

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.

Giving Just to Give

The first chapter of my book, Give and Be Rich, is titled “Giving Simply to Give”. Its premise seems simple: just give for the sake of giving. But it’s not as easy as it sounds.

I remember trick-or-treating on Halloween many, many moons ago, and the time that a man tricked instead of treated. He would place a full-sized Eat-More chocolate bar deep into trick-or-treaters’ candy bags with one hand, and then, as they were leaving, tug on an invisible string with the other hand and pull the candy bar back out. Most kids didn’t notice, but I did, and smiled at him to let him know that I was onto his trick. More recently, a teacher of mine from California used the term ‘sticky giving’ to represent the concept of giving with expectations or conditions, which resonated with me and reminded me of this Halloween experience. Sticky giving, for sure.

Sticky giving, or giving with conditions—whatever you choose to call it—is the act of giving to someone with an expected result and not simply for the sake of giving. In workplace relationships, we may give someone some extra help to fulfill our own hidden agenda of being noticed or praised. We may also wonder why colleagues don’t give back to us in the same way we’d give to them. In both of these scenarios, we are giving with conditions.

Here’s an excerpt from Give and Be Rich:

Giving unconditionally is key. If we simply give without the expectation of receiving anything in return, we are giving properly. Many people, however, give with conditions attached. They have an underlying motivation for giving; one common motivation is recognition, another is control. This is our ego working, wanting to be right, wanting to be noticed, wanting to protect us from being vulnerable. I believe that the hearts that give – in any capacity and without any expectation of return or favor – will be the most richly blessed. Furthermore, when we give in secrecy or anonymity, we receive in greater abundance. Give without the expectation of receiving anything in return. When you give with the intention of getting something back, you just don’t make the same impact.

Having written the book on giving, and having lived through some tough life lessons since its publication, I’m visiting this concept again. Even I have a hard time giving without conditions, especially in situations when my emotions are running high or my own insecurities are flaring up, causing me to speculate why someone I’ve given to won’t acknowledge my generosity or fully receive my gift.

There are some deeper questions we can ask ourselves about our attachments to giving with conditions. If you’re disappointed in the response you get from giving to someone, or if you feel the need to shout from the rooftops about your generosity, give yourself some time to really contemplate the following.  Ask yourself:

Why do I need other’s acknowledgement?

Why do I need other’s recognition?

Why do I need to be right?

Why do I need to be noticed?

Why do I need to protect myself from vulnerability?

As for other’s behaviour, I have two comments. First, know what’s yours and what’s not yours in situations where others are involved. When you give to them, that act of giving belongs to you. How they choose to respond belongs to them. Focus on what’s yours, and let go of what belongs to others. Maintain your energy for your own gain, and put it to good use within, rather than trying to control and change others.

Second, people do the best with what they know. They have a certain set of tools, and use them with the skills they’ve developed—or not developed. If someone’s unwilling to receive what you give them, or not mannered enough to acknowledge it or respond appropriately, understand that this is just where they’re at. Their reaction doesn’t represent where you’re at or what you deserve.

You can thank yourself for giving gifts that others don’t thank you for. You may also decide to put your energies elsewhere the next time you’re feeling generous. For every action or no action, there is a consequence or a choice of something new.

The hearts that give without any expectation of return or favour will be the most richly blessed.  Simple, but not easy.

Best wishes for unconditional giving,

 

Penny

 

* The third chapter of Give and Be Rich is about giving to yourself. Giving and growing rich is an inside job. What if we could just love ourselves enough, and give ourselves away in service to others? What if we just loved ourselves unconditionally? Acknowledged ourselves, recognized ourselves and allowed ourselves to be vulnerable? We wouldn’t need it from any other source—except, perhaps, a divine source such as a Creator, God, Buddah, or whatever you choose to name it. In that sense, our backs are always covered.

Declutter Your Inner Emotional Baggage

Two weeks ago, a very special couple asked me to help them prepare for a yard sale by sorting through the contents of two storage units they had filled after downsizing from their large urban home to a smaller pad in beautiful Prince Edward County.  My daughter was working in the area, at a Bakery and Café in Picton, so I accepted the couple’s challenge and spent a few days going through boxes and boxes of stuff.

All this ‘stuff’ got me thinking about inner ‘stuff’ and emotional ‘stuff’ we hold on to which creates clutter in our lives, workplaces, bodies and relationships.  So I’ve dedicated this month’s article to decluttering the emotional baggage that most people have stored—some for decades—preventing us from really connecting with ourselves, and creating conflict with the people that matter to us, and those we have to work with.

Imagine you’re taking a look inside your mind.  It’s dark, so you lift an imaginary lid on the top of your head and shine a flashlight inside.  “OMG! Where did all this stuff come from?” you ask yourself.  It’s like Grandma’s attic, with cobwebs and dust, trunks locked up tight, boxes stacked high, and suitcases filled with stuff.

Now that you’ve seen the clutter inside your own head, turning off the flashlight won’t make you any less aware of it, so leave the light of awareness turned on to this emotional baggage from your past.  You actually bring this baggage with you where ever you go and it creates a degree of disconnect in relationships with your colleagues, your family, and yourself.  But what’s in those boxes, trunks and suitcases?  Past resentments, things unsaid, conflicts unresolved, lack of integrity and authenticity, untruths, and other awful things.  Yikes!  Isn’t that terrifying?

The good news is that these things all belong to you, which means that you can start cleaning them up immediately.

Emotional baggage can be unpacked, sorted, organized and cleared out just like material items in your home.  Things given to you by your parents that don’t seem to be yielding great relationships can be grouped together to be dealt with. Burdens that aren’t yours but you carry them as if they were, can be given back to their rightful owners.  The things you thought you had dealt with but keep coming between you and others can be put into the “deal with once and for all” pile, and the missing parts of you that you gave to someone else can be noted for a time in the near future when you can take your pieces back, and become whole again.

Decluttering requires an awareness of how this stuff is showing up in our lives, a willingness to reflect on where it comes from, and the courage to stand up and deal with it.  If all you can do is become aware of how your emotional clutter is affecting your relationships, that’s a great start.  Our professional services can get you and your work team to a clearing that even seems impossible.

If you prefer to leave the clutter alone and display it publicly—like at a yard sale—don’t be surprised when people buy into your junk.  If you’re wondering how to manage the people that get caught up in your stuff at work or in your personal life, just clean up your clutter and there won’t be much for them to get entangled with.