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“Concentrate all your thoughts upon the work at hand. The sun’s rays do not burn until brought to a focus.”

~ Alexander Graham Bell

Expectations that you place on yourself or others can leave you feeling anxious and overwhelmed…at times leaving you feeling disappointed, exasperated or irritated.  You easily lose sight of the things that are important and when you leave what’s important for those Bright Shiny Objects (BSO’s), a.k.a. distractions of thought, emotions, interruptions or other “important” things, you can experience unnecessary worry, anxiousness, helplessness and fear.

Whether it’s shopping for last minute vacation items, getting your budget in place, deciding what event and activities to attend, financial concerns, working feverishly to meet your business quarter-end deadlines, or wanting to spend more time with loved ones, family and friends during this time of the year, all of these activities require grounded focus.

Here are 7 positive actions you can take right now to gain or maintain grounded focus:

  1. Schedule your work (work can be defined in many ways, not simply job related) and honor your schedule;
  2. Break down the large, complex tasks into “doable chewables”, a series of smaller steps;
  3. Slow down to accomplish more;
  4. Say “no” to things of lesser importance;
  5. Say “yes” to the things you really want to do and enjoy;
  6. Delegate tasks; and finally,
  7. Take five minutes once a day and focus on you – take a walk; enjoy that great cup of coffee, tea or hot cocoa; step outside and just breathe; turn off all electronics and enjoy the silence…

When you’re consciously focusing on the things that matter to you – one at a time – your stress is reduced and you experience grounded focus.

Until next time…

P.S. — Want to learn more about how to find your “Grounded Focus”?  Tired of being at the mercy of your BSO’s?  Schedule your private, confidential complimentary discovery session or send an e-mail to info@JoshuaTreeCoaching.com to learn how.  Invest 30 minutes today to change your life forever.

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Joshua Tree Coaching & Consulting, LLC │ ©2012 and Beyond.  All rights reserved worldwide │ http://www.JoshuaTreeCoaching.com
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“When your fear touches someones’ pain,
it becomes pity; when your love touches
someones’ pain, it becomes compassion. 
To train in compassion, then, is to know all
beings are the same and suffer in
similar ways, to honor all those who
suffer, and to know you are neither separate
from nor superior to anyone.” 

~ Stephen Levine

Here’s a quick review of what we talked about in Part 2 of “What Were YOu Thinking?”  You learned about Jumping to Conclusions, Emotional Reasoning, Shoulds, Labeling, and Blame.

In Part 3, here are the final 5 Cognitive Distortions (again, in no particular order)…or “What Were You Thinking?!”

5 Cognitive Distortions (Part 3)

  1. Control Fallaciesseeing ourselves as a victim (external control fallacy) or assuming the responsibility for the pain and happiness of everyone around us (internal control fallacy).
  2. Discounting the Positivediscounting your achievements or insisting your positive actions, achievements or qualities don’t count; saying anyone could’ve done it..
  3. Fairness Fallacygoing through life applying a measuring rod against every situation judging its fairness; feeling resentful because we thing we know what is fair but others won’t agree with us.
  4. Always Being Right feeling continually on trial to prove that your opinions and actions are correct (or pointing out how wrong someone’s opinions and actions are).  Being wrong is unthinkable going to any length to demonstrate your “rightness”.
  5. Heaven’s Reward Fallacyexpecting your sacrifice and self-denial to pay off, then feeling bitter when the reward doesn’t come.

What have you discovered?  What distortions do you recognize in yourself?  Where do you want to begin making changes?

You’ll have an opportunity in the next post to find out more about what you can do about your “stinkin’ thinkin” and improve your rate of success – however YOU define success.

To be continued…

Until next time…

P.S. — Want to learn more about Cognitive Distortions and how they may be impeding your progress and success?  Tired of being at the mercy of your distortions?  Schedule your private, confidential complimentary discovery session or send an e-mail to info@JoshuaTreeCoaching.com to learn how.  Invest 30 minutes today to change your life forever.

“When distant and unfamiliar and complex things are communicated to great masses of people, the truth suffers a considerable and often a radical distortion. The complex is made over into the simple, the hypothetical into the dogmatic, and the relative into an absolute. ”

~ Walter Lippman

At one time or another, you’ve either thought it or said it aloud to someone, “What were you thinking?”  Most times the unspoken answer is, “Well, I wasn’t.”  Perhaps, more accurately, the answer may be “My self-limiting beliefs got in my way…again!”

This question, “What were you thinking?”, was addressed recently in a 3-part newsletter series.

Are you someone who says to themselves, “I always fail when I try something new; so, I fail at everything I try.”?  Perhaps this sounds a bit more familiar; “If only I was younger, I would’ve gotten the job.”

The language you use every day (spoken and unspoken) both represents and impacts how you experience your world.  In your attempt to capture thoughts, ideas and describe what you see around you using words, things can get “lost in the translation”.

Information is lost through “deletion” of information, “generalization” and “Cognitive Distortion”.  Distortion is where some aspects of ideas and experiences are given more weight and focus than others.  Cognitive Distortions are simply ways your mind convinces you of something that isn’t true. These inaccurate thoughts are most often used to reinforce negative thinking or emotion, telling you things that may sound rational and accurate, when in fact, they are not.  Everyone does this consciously and unconsciously.  How you process information provides pointers to your underlying beliefs about yourself, others and the world.

In Part 1, of our 3-part series, let’s take a look at 5 of 15 Cognitive Distortions.  At the end of the series, you’ll have an opportunity to find out more about what you can do about your “stinkin’ thinkin” and improve your rate of success – however YOU define success.

 5 Cognitive Distortions (Part 1)

  1. Filtering – taking the negative details and magnifying them while filtering out any or all positive aspects of a situation.  For example:  You have a great evening with friends dining at a restaurant, but your steak was overcooked and that ruined the whole evening.
  2. Polarized Thinking (All or Nothing, Black or White) – seeing things as right or wrong, black or white, all or nothing, this way or that way with nothing in between – no middle ground.  If your performance falls short of perfect, then you see yourself as a total failure.  For example:  “I didn’t finish writing that paper so it was a complete waste of time.”
  3. Over-generalization – coming to a general conclusion based on a single incident or single piece of evidence.  If something bad happens once, you expect it to happen over and over again.  For example:  She always does that.
  4. Catastrophizing – expecting disasters to strike, no matter what.  This is where you “magnify or minimize”  and use what ifs (what if this happens to me?).  You see things more dramatically or less important than what they actually are.  For example:  “I forgot to send that e-mail!  Now my boss won’t trust me anymore, and I’ll never get that raise and I’ll probably get fired.”
  5. Personalization (Blame) – believing that everything others do or say is some sort of direct, personal reaction to the person.  You may also compare yourself to others to determine who is smarter, better dressed, etc.  For example:  “If only my boss hadn’t yelled at me, I wouldn’t have been so angry and would not have had that fender-bender.”

To be continued…

Until next time…

P.S. — Want to learn more about Cognitive Distortions and how they may be impeding your progress and success?  Schedule your private, confidential complimentary discovery session or send an e-mail to info@JoshuaTreeCoaching.com to learn how.  Invest 30 minutes today to change your life forever.

“It’s never to late to be what you might have been.”

~ George Eliot

Until next time…

P.S. — Want to achieve something extraordinary?  Schedule your private, confidential complimentary discovery session or send an e-mail to info@JoshuaTreeCoaching.com to learn how.  Invest 30 minutes today to change your life forever.

As we wind down the week-long celebration of International Coaching Week, one question that comes up very often is, “How effective will coaching be and how will I know if it will be effective for me?”  This is a great question and it lets me know the person and/or organization is giving some thought and performing due diligence ensuring their energy, time and money are well invested.

The answer is not a simple one beyond, “Coaching is very effective and you’ll know because you’ll start doing things, thinking about things, and approaching circumstances in your life differently.  You’ll make better decisions for you, which in turn, can increase your earning potential, put you on the right career path, develop leadership skills, build more meaningful relationships with colleagues, co-workers, customers, friends and family.  And so much more!”

Sometimes what a person is really asking with the “effectiveness question” is, “How much more will I make?  How quickly will I get promoted?  How do I figure out what I want to be “when I grow up”?  How do I increase sales?  What do I do to get back on track with ______ ?  How do I get it all done?”  And the list of questions goes on, and on, and on.

Rather than try to convince you that coaching is very effective, here’s a presentation from the Lore International Institute given by Terry Bacon, Ph.D. and Anna Pool, MA, OD titled Can Coaching Effectiveness Be Measured? (Click on title to download)

In their presentation, effective coaching is defined as “…coaching that creates the right behavioral changes that lead to improvement in the client’s ability to impact bottom-line results.”

After you’ve read the report, take a moment and share your comments and thoughts.

Until next time…

P.S. — Want to discuss how coaching can help you become more effective at what you do or what you want?  Schedule your private, confidential complimentary discovery session or send an e-mail to info@JoshuaTreeCoaching.com to learn how.  Invest 30 minutes today to change your life forever.

“One of the most glorious messes in the world is the mess created in the living room on Christmas day. Don’t clean it up too quickly.” – Andy Rooney

You’ve spent hours…days…weeks…and in some cases, months picking out the “perfect” gift.  You’ve given much thought to the gift wrap and adornments that will disguise the contents until the excitement of the moment takes over.

The mad ripping, the squeals of delight, bows and wrapping paper thrown into the air with abandon, a brief pause to admire the treasure found within and then on to the next neatly dressed gift until no more remain.

Anticipation!  Excitement!  Joy!

And all too quickly, the moment is over and we’re running to the next “thing” to do, without taking a moment to simply be in the moment.

When I read this quote this morning, it really touched a nerve..a nerve of long ago.  How often, those years ago, after all the paper lay strewn across the floor, ribbon and bows scattered about I ran around with a trash bag quickly picking up the “trash”, pushing the kids to get dressed and leave their excitement and joy behind (you’ll be able to get back to it later…which didn’t happen because it was time for bed when we finally got home) because we had a schedule.  We needed to be somewhere for lunch, or dinner, or a visit because there were traditions to uphold, people to see, things to do.

For just a moment I felt sad when I read Mr. Rooney’s words.  Sadness in all that I didn’t get to experience or allow my family to experience.  Of course, I can’t change it.  And I am so grateful that I finally woke up and realized how much we were all missing because of the self-limiting belief that things had to be “perfect” and “what would the in-laws think if we didn’t show up?” and learned how to enjoy the moments.

This year is yet another opportunity to slow down and savor the moments of the day, without rushing, hurrying or scurrying about.  A time to embrace the “mess” wherever it occurs – living room, dining room, kitchen, den, or basement – and all that it represents and …

to be.

It’s not too late – there’s still time for you to enjoy the glorious mess 🙂

Until next time…

P.S. — Struggling with how to enjoy more and stress less?  Schedule your private, confidential complimentary discovery session or send an e-mail to info@JoshuaTreeCoaching.com to learn how.  Invest 30 minutes today to change your life forever.

Washing a few plates and cups after lunch today, my mind began to wander (yes, I wasn’t focused on actually washing dishes…that’s another story) to all the Facebook postings about how sensitive everyone seems to be regarding the upcoming holidays and how to address or greet each other.  In rapid thought succession, it sounded something like this:

Thought Storm in Progress

Happy Holidays…Merry Christmas…Happy Chanukah…Holiday Songs…Christmas Carols…(I think I have the makings of a song)…sheesh…people expending so much energy over who’s right or wrong…how does making a big deal out of this add value?….if you don’t like something, what can you do rather than simply complain?…oh how I love the holidays…as long as I could remember the anticipation was thrilling…some might not see it that way – difficult childhood memories and all…wait I could be included in that last one…who cares…still love the holidays…Polar Express…hot chocolate, yum, think I’ll have a well-deserved cup later…people working so very hard to convince someone else they’re wrong….aha moment – maybe that’s it…wonder if people believe that taking time to understand someone else means giving up part of themselves or who they believe they are, their beliefs, drinking the kool-aid…they’re afraid…that’s not what happens at all…don’t they see that…duh! if they did they wouldn’t keep working so hard to convince someone they’re wrong…so…how can I influence them to see that they actually gain so much more when they strive to really understand another’s point of view; they don’t give up anything, not one single belief nor one strand of value by simply listening…what are they protecting?…what makes their belief more valuable than someone else’s?…oh, wait…maybe they’re having trouble giving their listening ears because they’ve not been heard…well, not in the way that matters (complaining and whining doesn’t much count towards that)…oh, gotta go capture this thought storm before it blows over…

There you have it, folks.  Now, all I’ve got to do is get cracking on the best way to begin this influential journey of understanding.  Oh, wait…I know…just start…:-)

BTW – I’m a Merry Christmas sort of gal.  And if you’re a Happy Chanukah sort of fellow or Happy Holidays kind of girl, or a non-Christmas or non-Chanukah believer, know that I respect and embrace YOU and your right to believe and value whatever you want or like.  We may not always agree or see eye-to-eye on this or any other event, and I’m OK with that.  Are you?

Care to join me and journey together…at least part of the way?

Until next time…

P.S. — Want a better understanding of how a coach can guide you to discover your untapped gifts and strengths and understand your thought storms?  Schedule your private, confidential complimentary discovery session or send an e-mail to info@JoshuaTreeCoaching.com to learn how.  Invest 30 minutes today to change your life forever.

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