How to Master Your Energy and Reclaim Joy

May 18, 2010

Question: Though I have a loving husband and child, most of the people and life situations that surround me seem to drain me of energy and joy — always something to deal with or fix.  Why could this be?  Is this “just life,” and I am expecting too much?

Answer: No, you are definitely not asking too much, in fact, you are probably “giving” too much. You are not expecting too much you are expecting too little, probably from others.

Often, we take over and give until we have nothing more to offer. The good thing is that your body is giving you warning signs. The lack of joy and the exhaustion is a signal that needs to be listened to.  I would say this is going to take a little courage.

 I see two areas where you can practice
1. Setting boundaries
2. Asking for what you want

(By the way,  asking and setting boundaries are two of the LABOR principles.)

Asking for what you want, means risking rejection when others don’t want to help out or do their fair share.

 What will be required of you to do this is to face feelings of guilt, fear of rejection etc. Others may not understand the new you and if they are used to you being so available to their needs and wishes they may feel some resentment. You have to become more committed to yourself than to their approval.

 My challenge to you is to practice for a week just asking for little things. Be OK if you do not get your request met. Just ask. All you have to do is be willing.

Have an authentic conversation with your family and tell them you love them but you feel exhausted and you want to get your joy back. Tell them you realize you have not been letting others contribute and you are turning over a new leaf. Ask for their support. Let them know it is difficult for you to say “no” and difficult to ask.  This will set the foundation for you to move forward with less resistance from them.


Stop Relationship Drama: Get Clear

April 29, 2010

So much of the time, we use our energy trying to convince someone else, or get someone else’s agreement,  instead of getting clear on who we are and what we want.

For example, when someone crosses a boundary and you keep trying to convince them that you have a right to be angry, you are spending more energy convincing them, than you are about clarifying a boundary.

When you say “no” and it upsets someone else, do you keep trying to get them to understand and agree with your decision, or are you clear that you have a good reason and a right to say “no” with no complaints, no excuses and no regrets?

Do you spend hours in self-refection just tying to be more understanding, trying to figure someone out, and trying to be more worthy? Or are you clear that you have worth, and you expect authenticity and respect in your relationships?

Do you have temper tantrums, and use drama to tell someone off, hoping this time they will learn from their mistake and treat you better? Or are you so clear that you know how to draw a line in the sand?

All you really need is clarity.

Quit going to the island called “Getting their approval.”

You may be angry for good reason.
You do have the right to say “no.”
You may not be the one who needs to change or reflect.

If you are being manipulated, or sucked into games, it’s time to leave that drama behind. You can clean it up by getting clear about who you are and what you stand for. 

Of course the problem is, your clarity will not make everyone else happy.
You have two choices. Keep betraying yourself so you can get approval, or let go of the need to make everyone else understand.

If you can deal with that, you can stop your drama.


5 Reasons You Don’t Have Enough Time

May 20, 2008

The biggest victim story today is “I don’t have time.” Now before you get angry with me, know that I’m in the same boat. I’m just accustomed to having what I call “Truth Telling Days” and when I go through this process, I come up with huge insights. I have come up with five main reasons we all experience the “No Time” drama.


1. We don’t know how to choose
There are too many choices and these choices tempt us to skip lunch, stay up late, work over time and avoid rejuvenation.

2. Lack of boundaries
Although most of us crave freedom, too much freedom creates stress. Think about how stressed your kids get when there are no boundaries. If you allowed your children to choose what to eat and when to go to bed, they would be in serious trouble. Most of us do not have the basic discipline skills to set boundaries for ourselves,

3. Self Betrayal
One of the 7 sins of self betrayal is failing to meet your basic needs. Rest and relaxation is a basic human health need. Every 90 minutes the body needs to rejuvenate. When we feel rushed or overworked the natural tendency is to skip lunch or work late. The adrenalin becomes addictive and damaging to our nervous systems, thus the increased stress.

4. Technology Overload
Technology was supposed to help us save time and make life easier. The reality is, the standards have increased to match the convenience. On top of that, it takes time (learning curve) to master technology. In the days before electricity when it got dark, people went to bed. Then light came and gave us new choices. Then came radio, television, answering machines, faxes, cell phones, pagers, e-mail and the list goes on.

5. Convenience
It’s easier to complain about “no time” than it is to create discipline. It’s risky and therefore not convenient to take charge of your time. Others will approve of you when you say you are “too busy” because they also “too busy.” If you simply learn to say “no” you may lose approval and people won’t understand. When you are busy you feel important and when you have free time you feel edgy if not just downright worthless. If you don’t believe me, look at what happens to busy people who retire without finding another purpose.

The new challenge is for all of us to learn how to choose consciously, set good boundaries, discipline ourselves to take good care of our bodies, and to use technology instead of letting technology use us.

Try this experiment: the next time someone starts talking about how busy they are choose a different response just to see what happens. Say, “Really? I have all the time in the world.” Maybe you’ll start a new trend.

PS…Speaking of truth telling, visit my radio show where Ruth King reveals the
UGLY TRUTH About Business.



5 Point Checklist for Excellent Communication

February 5, 2008

Whether in the kitchen or in the cubicle, communication is difficult. There are those emotions, perceptions, judgments and personalities to deal with.  Here is a 5-point checklist for communication that cultivates great relationships.

When you listen to your kids what are you listening for? Do you stop to correct their grammar? Do you let emotions clog your ears when they tell you they want to pierce their tongue?  When your spouse announces his promotion, does your agenda of wanting a new Lexus tarnish his silver? When a client or associate gives you critical feedback do you get so defensive you can’t benefit from the suggestions?

When your wife comes crying to you about her weight and her depression do you give her a can of Slim Fast and a pep talk? What your kids wanted was your attention. Your husband needed your admiration. Your boss wanted you to improve and your wife wanted your sympathy.  We can give people what they desire if we offer our ear instead of our judgments, advice and hidden agenda. Unfortunately sometimes we don’t get what we want unless we ask.

ASK FOR WHAT YOU WANT

Often we are more aware of what we don’t want than what we do want.    Suppose your twelve-year-old daughter has a habit of leaving her bedroom light on.  What is your response: “I don’t want to have to remind you to turn out your bedroom light!” Now, turn that around: “I’d like you to get into the habit of turning your lights out without being reminded. What do you suggest I do if you aren’t able to comply with this request?”  Now you have asked for what you want, (instead of what you don’t want) and you have let her help decide the consequences. You have taught by example how to become a creator.

The same principle applies at work.   Instead of saying to your employee, “I don’t want to walk in on this kind of mess again,” you say: “I want to walk into a perfectly organized office and know that you have things under control.” Going from negative to positive is a technique that aids in cooperation and lessens the likelihood of resentment from subordinates.

BOUNDARIES

If you feel resentment or anger toward someone, it’s likely that a boundary either needs to be set, or a boundary has been crossed.  Many of us neglect to articulate our boundaries or we aren’t sure if boundaries are appropriate. For example, if you have a manager who has a tendency to raise his voice-do you have any rights other than going to the front office?  You can set a boundary by saying: “I’d like to address this, however I’m not available to be yelled at. I will check back with you at 2:00.”  (Of course plan B is going to the office.) The point is, if you have tolerated screaming before and suddenly go to the office you look like a crybaby or a troublemaker.  Setting boundaries is one way to communicate what is acceptable and what isn’t. Setting good boundaries helps to eliminate relationship drama.

A major problem is setting boundaries that you either can’t keep or don’t intend to keep.  Don’t cry wolf-it’s worse than setting no boundaries at all.   If you have failed to set or keep boundaries you must recognize the part you played in the negative pattern.

OWN YOUR STUFF

“Owning your stuff” softens criticism while letting someone save face.  For example, a coworker’s joking has crossed your (unmentioned) boundaries.  You are feeling disgusted, yet at the same time you have permitted it and perhaps even encouraged the joking by pretending it was funny, rolling your eyes or keeping silent.     How do you stop it without crying sexual harassment?  Recognize your part.

You say, “Chris-I need to talk to you about something.  I’m sorry that I haven’t been completely honest with you.  I have actually laughed at a few things that have offended me and now I’m afraid it threatens our working relationship.” Then you go on to explain that you are ‘owning up’ because you want the behavior to stop, you want to remain friends, and you feel that you are partly to blame.

Most people are so humbled at your honesty and intentions to retain the relationship that they are willing to comply with your new rules. In the future, remember to fully represent yourself.

REPRESENT YOURSELF

Representing yourself means you only take care of your own business. It’s the practice of using statements that cannot be disputed.  This is accomplished by starting your statements with the pronoun “I.”  “I am angry,” rather than “you make me angry.”  It means taking responsibility for your emotions, thoughts and feelings while leaving out the blame and judgments.  For example, “You are trying to irritate me,” is a judgment. However,  “I’m feeling irritated and need some space,” is a statement and an expressed need.    “You are lazy,” is a judgment (perhaps based on observation) but, “I need some help,” is a way to represent yourself without casting your values on someone else.

When I share my feelings, desires and perceptions, I speak from my experience, which may or may not be the same as yours.  It’s a method to experience differences, express differences and stay in charge of yourself and the relationship.