Two Big Productivity Killers

May 6, 2009

The biggest roadblock to productivity is what I call “resistance.” Resistance is some form of negativity…a non acceptance of what is. Resistance shows up in various ways, but the easiest to spot in the world of business is complaining and judgment.

Complaining is a verbal resistance to a future event or a past occurrence.  Judgment is the negative thought pattern about what should or should not be.

Complaining and judgment are obstacles to productivity because, instead of doing the one or two things you could actually do to solve the problem, serve the customer, or fix the mistake, time is wasted complaining about what who is wrong, what someone should have done and what you didn’t like about something or someone.

Judgment and complaining are time wasters that shift your focus in the wrong direction.

Why People Judge and Complain

So then, why do we judge and complain? We do it to lessen the pain and discomfort that taking responsibility requires of us. To be responsible means to look at the part you played. You didn’t explain your expectations thoroughly, you didn’t confront the problem when it was small, you didn’t speak your truth, you didn’t do a good job leading.

It’s just easier to complain about how inefficient your assistant is, or to judge them for not having the skills you thought they had.

Complaining and judging does nothing to solve your problem but it does make you feel better about yourself. It’s the most acceptable way of going into denial. Here’s an easy visual to bring this issue to light:  Your boat springs a leak, so you take a shot of whiskey and beat your rowing team with your oar. Then you go find someone who will agree with you that you did the right thing. (You vent to other leaders who have the same problems and you conclude that it’s just darn hard to get good help.)

“They” should have checked out the boat maker, they should have avoided the rock. Now you have a reason why you didn’t get to your island, and that reason feels better than to say you didn’t delegate properly and you didn’t provide training or you didn’t do a good job leading.

Your anger and denial does nothing to actually help the situation. You still have a leak in the boat, and you still have incompetent rowers, and that is why complaining and judgment hampers productivity.

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It Takes Two to Play Games

February 1, 2009

If you are not careful it slaps you upside the head. The negative comment intended to pull your strings. It’s only a problem if it catches you off guard and without thinking you snap. You use sarcasm. Or worse, you laugh because you won’t give him the satisfaction of knowing the string-pulling worked.

when I did corporate training, several  years ago, a participant said that a co-worker likes to pull her strings by saying things like, “There are people saying bad things about you but I can’t tell you who said it or what they said.”

I told her to remember this tip: It takes two to play games unless you are playing solitaire. Don’t waste your energy on this kind of negativity. You must realign and reinvent a new response.

We came up with some responses that she could try the next time it happened: “Well, some people are also talking about you…I wonder if it is the same person?”

Another option is, “Well, you should know better than to listen to everything that you hear.”

Yet another response is to not take it too seriously by saying, “You know, her opinion is absolutely  none of my business.”

This will throw the other person off guard and stop the game playing.

There are dozens of responses that help you get back your power. You get to be a creator and design the response that best represents the new you.


Stop the Spiral Down Drama

January 27, 2009

When you start to “spiral down” no matter what the reason it is a sign.  Something is out of whack. You don’t feel hopeful about your relationship, the economy, or your career. You see others who seem to have it all figured out and you secretly envy them. Your projects overwhelm you and your surroundings are full of clutter. All of the sudden you have a case of “stinkin thinkin’” but knowing it doesn’t help you spiral back up. Even though an occasional dip is normal, it doesn’t mean you have to stay there for long. Here are four ways to move through the valley and back up the mountain.

1. Slow Down
2. Clear the Clutter
3. Reconnect
4. Reassess

Slow Down

Right before the spiral notice the tendency to overexert. You are acting out of fear. Fear that there aren’t enough opportunities. Fear that you are running out of time. Fear that you aren’t keeping up. Fear that you are running out of money. The tendency is to get distracted with opportunities or “doing” so that you don’t feel those fears. The illusion is that you are going to find the magic formula if you just “do” one more thing. The reality is you will never create success when you are feeling frustration and failure. It isn’t possible to be in “drama” during the journey and arrive at the island called Nirvana.
You must recognize the urge to do more as an addiction, and you must consciously decide to be in charge of your compulsion and slow down or even stop for one day.

Clear the Clutter

Clutter manifests because you didn’t see the signs. You added one more thing to your unfinished projects. You didn’t slow down and now you are overwhelmed with a list of tasks that are not attached to a plan. Signs of clutter are an e-mail in box with 2000 emails, stacks of magazines you intend to read, piles of junk you keep promising you will sell on e-bay. Clutter only reminds you of all you haven’t done and promises you haven’t kept. On your “slow down” day, instead of working on another project or coming up with yet another idea, clean the clutter.

Reconnect

When you spiral down you often feel old patterns surfacing. You feel self-doubt, unworthiness or envy. All you need to do is reconnect. Reconnect spiritually and relationally. Spend some time in prayer, journaling or meditation. To paraphrase Wayne Dyer, “it’s always between you and God anyway.” Reconnecting spiritually will remind you that your depression, fear or overwhelm is not about your situation or other people it is because you have lost connection. Reconnecting with others can also give you a huge boost of energy if you do so from a pure intention. Don’t look at others as a means to an end, such as hoping they will purchase something from you or give you a good lead. Just enjoy their company, see the value in them as a person and you will be surprised how easily it is to get recharged.

Reassess

Most of what you believe to be true is just a story you are making up. You see someone else and believe they have it made because they are wealthy, famous, beautiful or all three. In reality you can never know what someone else is going through. Everyone has challenges and every person has his own demons to face. So many times people have been in admiration of me when I was going through my own private world of despair.

Instead of automatically believing every thought that pops into your head, select the thought offering you the highest and best truth while still allowing you to change or improve what is necessary.

We will be talking about these kinds of things in the new Signature Series Calls.


What to Do When You Are Out of the Flow

December 9, 2008

I often talk about “reading the signs” and what I mean by that is not “woo woo” but about increased levels of awareness. With increased levels of awareness or (consciousness) you can make simple shifts to bring you more into that good feeling flow.

Recently I’ve been hearing a lot of themes emerging from those who feel out of sync…out of the flow…a bit hopeless or depressed.

I even found myself feeling that way recently and was surprised at an old pattern resurfacing. I thought I had mastered the “inner game.”

After all, in the end it’s all about alignment; your inner game and feeling of connectedness.

I’ve “read the signs” for myself about WHY I get out of the flow and thought these five signs might be of help to you too.
1. I’m  not telling myself the complete truth
2. I’m not meeting my basic needs
3. I have traded “virtual” reality for “physical reality.”
4. My attitude has slipped into negativity
5. My habits are becoming my master instead of my servant

Telling the truth

It’s so easy to put a smiley face on an empty gas tank.  I think most of us are afraid to tell ourselves the truth when we feel lousy, but staying in denial only prolongs it.  When you feel bad, just admit it and go right to non-resistance. Then  you open the “portal” for change.

Meeting basic needs

When I skip sleep, exercise or good nutrition, it’s just a matter of time before I start feeling a little disconnected.  The biggest victim story that I hear over and over is “I don’t have time.”  I used to “lie” to myself about that too.  Now I know what Stephen Covey (7 Habits of Highly Effective People) says is true: It’s about sharpening the saw. To skip out on “sawing logs” will have you sawing logs with a rusty dull saw.

Virtual reality versus physical reality

I love the Internet and the connections and friends I make on Face Book, Ning, and WordPress but when I forget to get out there in public and mix and mingle, or even call a friend on the phone I get completely out of touch with life.  When I’m feeling depressed I always cheer up to go to a networking meeting or social event.

Attitude

What you think about expands. Attitude is everything but trust me, you simply can’t keep your attitude in check when you are exhausted and your body is full of fat and sugar.  When the little gremlins start taking over the conversation in your head, go backwards and see if you have made the errors already talked about in the previous steps:  You aren’t being honest about  your situation, you are  not meeting your basic needs and you are addicted to your computer and sacrificing your physical, real-life relationships.

Habits: Master or Servant

I can just visualize it…your five year old comes and says “let’s Play” and you say, “be quiet, I’m trying to build relationships…”  Why do we forget that technology should be our servant instead of our master?

I’m as guilty as the next person. There’s always one more thing to learn. There’s Twitter, Squidoo, Animoto, Mind Movies, Face Book, Ning and the list continues to grow. Let’s face it we will never keep up with all of it.  Learning is fun but when it becomes a compulsion it’s a problem.

In the end it’s all about the inner game and we teach what we need to learn.  Living the “Stop  Your Drama” methodology keeps me honest and in alignment.


Drama Signs: How to Spot the Red Flags

October 29, 2008

If only I had a sign I would know what to do. If you’ve ever said this while battling a state of confusion, let me tell you that the signs are all around you. Be thankful for the discomfort because if you notice it, it’s speaking to you.

Otherwise you are like the frog who gets boiled to death because the discomfort crept up on you at such a slow pace you failed to notice.Here are four ways drama shows up in various areas of life.

1. Relationships
2. Workplace
3. Health
4. Clutter

Relationship drama

The reason so many people are surprised when they get divorced is because they didn’t read the signs. They slowly started taking each other for granted, failing to be polite, take each other into consideration until the small trespasses become incivility such as eye rolling, voice raising and down right rudeness all the way to separate lives. The same is true in the workplace.

Workplace

It starts out as gossip, then complaining, to backstabbing to full blown negativity resulting in turnover and absenteeism. When you gripe about your boss, spend time at the water cooler talking about how unfair the new vacation policy is, you only add to the drama. Find a way to change it or accept it, anything else is just drama.

Health

First you skip a day at the gym. Then you have the second helping. Then it’s Ok to occasionally eat a handful of chips while watching the nightly news. Eventually exercise is the exception rather than the rule and second helpings have turned into thirds. Your pantry is full of fattening snacks for your evening television habit. Fast forward three years and you are 20 lbs overweight with high cholesterol. Set up a system of checks and balances so that your habits remain  your servant instead of your master.

Clutter

You feel overwhelmed so you leave the dishes in the sink. You’ll get the mail opened next week. You’ll get to that stack of magazines, or maybe you just need to cancel the subscription. Procrastination leads to clutter and clutter leads to feelings of overwhelm. It’s a vicious drama-producing cycle.

So…look for the signs all around you. You can look for evidence of success or evidence of drama.
The choice is yours. Get my free audio Reclaim Your Power to Create.


Mind Control For the Bail Out Blues

October 8, 2008

Well…the big bail out didn’t work and now everyone is freaking out. Goes to show the effect of bad judgment. We collectively get to see what the proverbial “ripple effect” looks like on a global perspective. It’s not just about us any more.

If you haven’t noticed, we are all playing in the same sand box. In USA Today the headline on the front page says,’ As fear, panic spread, global markets dive.

Japan’s Nikkei stock average plummeted, Russia, France, UK and Germany felt the  hit too.If we don’t get a measure of discipline, we are all going to spiral out of control.

Calm Down Keep Rowing

Keep Rowiing

Here’s a suggestion to keep you rowing in the midst of the tidal waves.

Get Control of Your MIND

It’s time to throw in a dash of discipline with some good old mind control. Letting your thoughts  go haywire with future predictions, worry and doom and gloom only add to the global misery as is evident in the front page of every major magazine. Here are 5 Mind Mistakes to Avoid in Tough Times.

Mind Mistake #1 I have the right to worry

You do have the right to worry but it is a mistake to take advantage of this option.The reason is worry doesn’t contribute to the solution. Worry can make you sick and worry breeds more negativity.  Already USA Today reports stress is up 50-60%, irritability is at an all time high and fatigue and sleeplessness is reaching an all time high as well. Getting SICK does not solve your problem…it only makes it worse.

Mind Mistake #2 This is all the Government’s fault

While it’s easy to cast blame and point fingers, there is a bigger picture to observe. All of us have a responsibility to select representatives to our government who look out for our best interests. The more personal responsibility we are individually ready to assume, the less likely we will be faced with these kinds of problems. Each person must take this situation as a wake up call to be more alert and pro-active. We are all in this together.

Mind Mistake #3 I can’t help how I feel

Although unwanted circumstances influence how you feel, you can shift how you feel. On a physical level, to feel your very best you must take care of yourself, eat healthy, exercise, and get your sleep. On a mental or emotional level you must master your mindset.

Emotions are the body’s reaction to the mind. Your thoughts trigger your emotions, not the other way around. Thought always comes first. Most people are just unaware of their thoughts. The only thing you ever totally have control over is your own sense of well-being. Ultimately you are responsible for your feelings.

Mind Mistake #4 There is One Ultimate Right Decision

Why are so many of us rushing to make someone wrong? Every time someone disagrees with the other side, fingers start pointing and tongues start wagging.  It’s all drama. Our country was built around the option to voice different opinions. We should all be more concerned about mob mentality. Let’s support those working on our behalf and lets look for blind spots in ourselves and others who are too quick to have the final answer.

Mind Mistake #5 When this is finally over I can be at peace

You don’t have to wait to be peaceful. You can be peaceful right now. You can practice releasing in each moment. Gary Zukav says “Stress is the consequence of resistance to your life.” When we resist what is, we create more stress. When you relax into acceptance, you can then reclaim your peace.

Eckhart Tolle says, “Listen to people’s stories, and you’ll find that they could all be entitled “Why I Cannot Be at Peace Now.” The ego doesn’t know that your only opportunity for being at peace is now.”

Take a deep breath. Take control. Ride the storm. Get present.  “The Drama Stops Here.”

Sign up for The Drama Stops Here to get more Drama Stopping Ideas during these challenging times.


Financial Frenzy Drama Got You Worried?

October 2, 2008

Reclaim Your Power with these Four Steps

Sick and tired of the wall-street-financial-frenzy-bailout DRAMA? It’s easy to let negative news suck you into a whirlwind of fear and frenzy. It’s easy to forget that your number one job in the face of an apparent crisis is to take care of yourself.

You can’t take care of yourself or make good decisions when you panic, think irrationally or let your energy drain with useless chatter about how bad things are.  These four action steps help you reclaim your power.

1. Master your mindset

2. Master your inner dialogue

2. Become a creator

3. Focus

Master your mindset

Get control of your mind instead of letting it control you. Excessive exposure to the daily news is unnecessary, as is obsessive conversations about the current situation. Think about how much productivity and wasted time is due to fear and projection about future doom and gloom.

1. Set a time to catch the news, and then go about your life.

2. Refuse to get into mind games about future problems

3. Become an observer instead of a participant.

4. Practice deep breathing, exercise and other positive outlets

Master your inner dialogue

Everyone has an inner dialogue. Scientists say we think about 60,000 thoughts per day and over 85-90 percent of them are either repetitive or negative. Probably most of us are experiencing a background noise that sounds something like this

  • I might lose my job
  • What if I can’t retire when I want
  • Our government is corrupt
  • They better get something done

And so on it goes. None of these thoughts are constructive.  A good way to start gaining power is to master your communication. The best advice is to create a mantra so that you can rewire your brain.  Here are some good ones.

  • All of my needs are met
  • This too shall pass
  • Nothing lasts forever, not even problems

Completely eliminate statements such as “that’s not fair” or “this always happens to me.” Instead, face what is and make wise decisions. When someone else starts a conversation that triggers your fear, you can get drawn into the addiction or you can simply say, “the drama stops here,” and you can refuse to spiral down.

Become a Creator

Victims feel that they have no choices, while creators always look for the opportunity, the lesson or the options. To learn how to respond rather than react, recognize your choices so that you are prepared for any unfortunate situation.

1. Talk to your financial planner

2. List the areas where you would be willing to scale down if need be

3. Register to vote

4. Brush up your resume

5. Make a list of your skills, talents and experiences

6. Make a list of all of your blessings and opportunities

Being proactive makes you feel a sense of control instead of a sense of panic. In addition, reminding yourself of all that you have already created for yourself is a great mood booster and a reminder that you can create what ever is necessary to move forward.

Focus

Keeping your attitude in check is good for your health and increases your personal productivity. Too much negativity produces stress, anxiety and illness. Even recalling an angry experience for as much as five minutes, suppresses the immune system for as much as six hours. Imagine what happens to your attitude and your health when you watch CNN all day long and hear nothing but negativity.

Attitudes of appreciation increase circulation and promote regular heart rhythms. Which do you want? Only you can choose what you focus on.  Here are some tips for focus.

1. Instead of complaining, ask for what you want or make a new decision.

2. Focus on what you want, not on what you don’t want.

3. Instead of projecting into the future, focus on the now.

4. Separate fact from fiction

5. When researching, listen to all points of view rather than being closed minded.

Instead of following mob mentality, focus on getting the facts. It’s easy to listen to someone you admire, whether it’s Rush Limbaugh, your preacher or your dad. Be your own authority and look at all sides of an issue so that you don’t get off focus and swept up in the tidal waves of negativity. Remind yourself that there may be a bigger picture than what is immediately apparent.

Get a free handout with this article (found on the front page of the Stop Your Drama Website). The article includes The 5 Mind Mistakes that will keep you stuck!

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How do you know if DRAMA is manifesting in your life?  Click here to get a free e-lesson about how to identify and stop drama.