Entries Tagged as Individual Training

This Is Not the Year of Fear

January 27, 2016 ·

“Considering how dangerous everything is, nothing is really very frightening!” - Gertrude Stein

At the beginning of the year, BBC News in the UK published an article called “U.S. Set For Year of Fear,” which explained how politicians in a major election year exploit and expound upon people’s fears. As 2016 is a presidential election year in the U.S., the article explains that during these big election cycles each candidate makes themselves out to be the hope and the solution, all the while stirring up fears in their constituents about “this dangerous time in history.”

Fear sells … whether it’s an election or products or services … and there are plenty of things to be scared of. Susan Jeffers wrote in her book, End the Struggle and Dance with Life, “I certainly don't need to remind you that this is a world where dangers lurk everywhere. Our newspapers and television news shows present us with a daily litany of violence, incurable diseases, natural disasters and an untold number of tragedies that could befall anyone of us, at any age, at any time of day. It makes one want to turn and run the other way. But where is there to run? Nowhere!”

She went on to write that it often feels that fear plagues our modern world. “We fear beginnings; we fear endings. We fear changing; we fear ‘staying stuck.’ We fear success; we fear failure. We fear living; we fear dying.”

Modern society is built upon fear. How can politicians save us if there isn’t a bogeyman? How can companies sell us their products if they don’t make us feel that we don’t have enough? Even the media—newspapers, magazines, TV shows, websites—are concerned with making us fear the world so that we turn to them for answers. We feel like we have to keep up with all the latest developments on scandals and murders—read and watch and consume all the terrible happenings in the world.

But you know what? We don’t. In Susan’s landmark book, Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway, she wrote at the very beginning, “You may be surprised and encouraged to learn that while inability to deal with fear may look and feel like a psychological problem, in most cases it isn’t. It is primarily an educational problem, and that by reeducating the mind, you can accept fear as simply a fact of life rather than a barrier to success.”

Fear doesn’t have to be a way of life. All the things going wrong in the world are only a small part of the whole story. When you rearrange your thinking, how you look at the world, when you learn to see past the fear mongering, you’ll notice that there is a lot of good. In many ways, there is more good in the world than bad. But misery and fear don’t sell products or get people elected to office.

You get to choose how you interact with the world. You have a choice to see the world as a good place or a place of fear. 2016 doesn’t need to be a year of fear. It only will be if you let it.

Tags: Feel the Fear...and Do It Anyway · Individual Training · Overcome Fear · Personal Development · Susan Jeffers

Inspirational Quotes

December 01, 2015 ·

Susan Jeffers was devoted to studying diverse ways to connect with our higher selves. In doing so, she was an avid reader and always made notes of passages and sayings that she found particularly thought provoking or meaningful. She would refer to her favorites for inspiration often. She also recommended in her teachings that this is a wonderful way to keep out the chatterbox and keep focused on our blessings.

Here are some that she used frequently that you may find useful in your own lives:

“An old woman, when asked why she was always cheerful, replied: “Well, I wear this world just as a loose garment.” – Unknown

“Ships in harbor are safe, but that’s not what ships are built for.” – John Shedd

“For true peace of mind we must acknowledge whatever fault we live upon, whatever time bomb ticks in our closet, and enjoy our Shangri-la nonetheless.  It isn't the absence of the problem; it is how one lives in its presence that matters.” – Chungliang Al Huang

“The best way out is always through.” – Helen Keller

“I’m not a failure if I don’t make it . . . I’m a success because I tried.” – Unknown

“Considering how dangerous everything is, nothing is really very frightening!” – Gertrude Stein

“In daily life, we must see that it is not happiness that makes us grateful, but gratefulness that makes us happy.” – Brother David Steindl-Rast

Tags: Individual Training · Overcome Fear · Personal Development · Susan Jeffers

Winning at the Indecision Game

September 30, 2015 ·

You’ve got a decision to make. It might be as insignificant as choosing which pens to keep in the company supply closet. Or it could be very important, like choosing a software to help your company stay competitive in its field. We all face decisions every day—thousands of small and large choices to make. With all the responsibility and stress involved, it is no wonder that we can sometimes become indecisive. One of the biggest things that can keep us from moving ahead with our lives is the fear involved in making decisions.

It can take a lot out of us when we are indecisive. The worrying and fretting, the negative chatter going on in our heads. This is incredibly detrimental to our well-being and can negatively affect our work. Susan Jeffers, in Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway, called it the No-Win model of thinking. In this line of thinking, when you stand at the “Choice Point” of making a decision, “You feel somewhat paralyzed as you think about the consequences in life-and-death terms. You look at the unknown and try to predict the future; you try to take control of outside forces. Both are impossible. At this point you might notice that you are driving yourself crazy.” If you choose Path A or Path B both are going to be the wrong choice because you will constantly be reassessing the situation hoping that you didn’t make a mistake.

Susan recommends approaching decision making using the No-Lose Model of decision making. The No-Lose model reminds us that whatever we decide, it will be OK. Even if the decision we make doesn’t work out exactly as we wanted, it is still the RIGHT decision. It works this way, when you find yourself at the “Choice Point” and you have two or more options to choose from, look at the unique opportunities that are available in both choices. Know that there is no such thing as a “wrong” choice. Every opportunity offers its own set of benefits and learning experiences. It comes down to how you look at it.

That is not to say that you should blindfold yourself and choose one path at random. When you are faced with a decision there are five steps you should take before deciding anything:

  1. Focus on the opportunities
  2. Do your homework and research
  3. Establish your priorities
  4. Trust your impulses
  5. Lighten up!

Then, once you have made your decision, make sure you:

  1. Throw away your picture of what you think the outcome should look like
  2. Accept total responsibility for your decisions
  3. Don’t protect the decision, make corrections to it as needed.

Susan said, “Remember that underlying our indecision is a lack of trust in ourselves.” So trust yourself and the decisions you make and know that there are opportunities available to you no matter what you decide. 

Tags: Confidence · Feel the Fear...and Do It Anyway · Individual Training · Leadership Development · Overcome Fear · Susan Jeffers

What Can Happen When the Bottom Line is Expanded

September 16, 2015 ·

In the last blog, we talked about making room in your work goals to be a more connected coworker. In this blog, we want to show you an example of how it can work. This is an example taken from Susan Jeffers book Dare to Connect.

In one of my workshops, I instructed all my students to try expanding the bottom line and participating full-out in their jobs for one entire week. I asked them to “act-as-if” their actions really made a difference to everyone around them. The key question they were to ask themselves during the week was:

“If I were really important here, what would I be doing?”

And then they were to set about doing it. Peggy resisted the assignment. She lamented that she hated her job in a public relations firm and was just biding her time until she found a new one. Each day was pure drudgery as she watched the clock slowly move through the eight painful hours. With great skepticism, she finally agreed to try it for just one week, to expand her bottom line and commit 100% to her job, knowing that she really counted.

The following week, as I watched Peggy walk into the room, I couldn’t believe the difference in her energy level. She reported the events of her week:

“My first step was to brighten up the dismal office with some plants and posters. I then started to really pay attention to the people I work with. If someone seemed unhappy, I asked if there was anything wrong and if I could help. If I went out for coffee, I always asked if there was anything I could bring back for the others. I complimented people. I invited two people for lunch. I told the boss something wonderful about one of my co-workers. (Usually I’m selling myself!)

Then I asked myself how I could improve things for the company itself. First I stopped complaining about the job—I realized I was such a nag! I became a self-starter and came up with a few very good ideas which I began implementing. Every day I made a list of things I wanted to accomplish and I set about accomplishing them. I was really surprised by how much I could do in a day when I focused on what I was doing! I also noticed how fast the day goes by when I am involved. I put a sign on my desk that said, ‘If I were really important here, what would I be doing?’ And every time I started to fall back into my old patterns of boredom and complaining, the sign reminded me what I was supposed to be doing. That really helped.”

What a difference a simple expansion of the bottom line made in just one short week! It made Peggy feel connected to everyone and everything around her—including the organization itself.

It’s important to note that her commitment didn’t mean she had to stay at this job forever; it only meant that while she was there it was in everyone’s best interest, particularly her own, to create a caring environment. Who wants to spend their days in an energy filled with alienation, boredom and negativity? (I would find it strange if anyone answered YES to that question!) It is also worth noting that with such positive energy, the likelihood of Peggy getting a great recommendation and finding a new, more challenging job would be greatly increased!

Tags: Confidence · Corporate Training · Feel the Fear...and Do It Anyway · Individual Training · Overcome Fear · Personal Development

The “When…Then” of Working Life

August 17, 2015 ·

How much of your day do you spend working? A third? More? How much of your job do you like? Do you find yourself fantasizing about three-day weekends and your next vacation? Or do you put your nose to the grindstone in anticipation of the next bonus, raise, or maybe even promotion?

If you do, then you may be suffering from “When. . .Then” syndrome. You go through the motions now so that one day, later on, you will be happy. You put all your happiness on hold until those times when you have achieved some long, sought-after goal. When you go on vacation, then you will be happy. When you get that raise, then you’ll be happy.

But what about today? Why aren’t you happy today? The thing about our work, jobs, and careers is that not every moment is going to be fulfilling. Sometimes you have to sit through boring meetings and sometimes you have to do the filing. Just like at home you have to wash the dishes or mow the lawn.

Even though we all are saddled with duties that we feel are not fulfilling, there is no reason to look at them that way. Filing? A necessity, certainly, but also an opportunity to be organized and ready should you need any of that information. Another long meeting? Surely it’s not a waste of time when you are working towards keeping colleagues informed and working together to make the company work better.

Susan Jeffers promoted this policy after living many years with the “When…Then” syndrome. When she realized that living that way wasn’t making her happy she formulated this idea: “If you see your tasks in life as drudgery, then they are drudgery. On the other hand, if you see them as an opportunity, then your tasks in life will take on brighter meaning.”

Every task you do at work, everything you think of a chore, helps fulfill the needs of your job and the company. If you think about how much good each task means for your position, for your colleagues and bosses, and for yourself, it will help you feel more connected to each moment of the day. So rather than putting all your hopes into the “Then”, put your energy into appreciating what is going on in each moment of your day. Be mindful of what you are doing. By taking this more simple approach, you don’t have to wait for the “When”. For that time is now.

Susan said it best when she wrote:

We don't have to wait until we are old to gather the riches;
we can gather them every day of our lives.

Tags: Corporate Training · Individual Training · Personal Development · Susan Jeffers

The Chatterbox vs. Affirmations

July 21, 2015 ·

Our inner voices often seem to have an agenda of their own, and often they can be downright pessimistic. Susan Jeffers called this discouraging inner voice “the Chatterbox.”

Susan explained: “The Chatterbox is the little voice inside, the voice that tries to drive you crazy— and often succeeds! I’ll bet some of you don’t even know it’s there, but I promise you it holds the key to all your fears. It’s the voice that heralds doom, lack, and losing. We’re so used to its presence we often don’t even notice it is talking to us.”

The Chatterbox can be especially devastating in our working lives. The Chatterbox picks up on all the tiny disappointments, slights, and fears we face and amplifies them tenfold. When we feel passed over, when a colleague is disrespectful, when we feel as if our workload will never get finished, all of these things and more feed the Chatterbox—which then plays all those things back to us, repeatedly, until it informs our state of mind.

But, you can beat the Chatterbox! You can push that inner voice far enough back so that it can’t forecast doom and gloom. Susan’ prescription is to outtalk your negativity.

Certainly, it is a challenge and a big one at that, but it can be done. In Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway, Susan described a number of tools to outtalk your Chatterbox. The number one tool she always supported was using affirmations.

An affirmation is a positive statement that something is already happening. It’s not happening tomorrow or in the future, but right now. An affirmation is self-talk in its highest form. It’s one of your greatest tools, and the easiest and cheapest to use.

An affirmation can be anything—a positive statement, a quote that inspires you, even “feel the fear and do it anyway”—as long as it is meaningful to you. Choose one or several, use the same ones every day or change them with your mood. What do you do with all these inspiring words? Repeat them. Repeat them often. Write them down and put them around your workspace. Use these positive statements to help outtalk the Chatterbox. When you realize that you are getting mired in the gloom of the Chatterbox, drown it out with your affirmations.

It will take time to retrain your mind, but you will find yourself better able to tackle each work day since nothing, not even your own Chatterbox, can get you down.

Tags: Confidence · Feel the Fear...and Do It Anyway · Individual Training · Overcome Fear · Personal Development · Susan Jeffers

Networking with “Everybody Training”

June 04, 2015 ·

Networking has become one of those things that nearly everyone has to do. Today’s business climate is based on connecting and sharing. Some people enjoy the interaction, and some do not, but most understand how important it is to connect to others in your field. However, the connections that we are making tend to be on a cursory level, keeping our interactions with others from going deeper.

How can we take our networking to a new level? Right now, we go into an event and shake as many hands and collect as many cards as possible. But, there is a better way to approach our networking opportunities.

As Susan Jeffers explained in her book Dare to Connect, we approach other people based on the idea of “What’s in it for me?” We think about meeting people who can further enhance our business and our careers. We think of it as a “me” opportunity. “What can I get out of it?” Therefore, any connections we make are tenuous at best.

Susan recommended that we change our thinking about meeting new people by re-educating ourselves with “Everybody Training.” In this exercise, we teach ourselves to not just think about our own needs (which excludes others) but to also think about the needs of those we are trying to connect with (which is inclusive). We need to train ourselves to think about how we can help the people we are networking with. We need to think about what we have to offer them, not just what we can get out of our interaction. Our thinking changes from “What can I get out of this?” to “What am I going to give?”

When we think in this way, networking becomes about building sincere and lasting business connections, not just a collection of business cards. And, in many ways, it makes approaching networking easier. If we aren’t so worked up with goals about how many connections we make or meeting the “right” people, networking becomes a more enjoyable enterprise. As Susan wrote:

Connection is made easier when we approach other people with the primary purpose of meeting the needs of other people.

Next time you go to a networking event, look at not only what you would like to get out of it, but also think about what you can offer to the people you meet. 

Tags: Corporate Training · Feel the Fear...and Do It Anyway · Individual Training · Leadership Development

Letting Go of the End Product in Favor of the Process, Part 2

April 15, 2015 ·

In our last blog we talked about the goal-heavy duties of our jobs. Sure it would be nice to not only look to the outcomes of our work goals, but how can we possibly do that?

Susan Jeffers recommended two things to do to help break our habit of working towards outcomes. She said that we should create a rich life and that we should center ourselves in the present.

To create a rich life we must give equal time to all aspects of our life. Work, home, family, hobbies, friends, fitness, education, and so many more. When you pay equal attention to all parts of your life you will find that it is easier to feel a balance among all the parts, then you can feel centered. If you are giving everything you have to work, then when you suffer a set-back, of course it will feel devastating. Like all your work was for nothing. If you are giving equal energy to the other parts of your life that you value, then if you suffer a set-back, in any one of them, you will be upset but not in a profound way. You will understand that it is a small part of your bigger picture.  That is what creating a rich, centered life means.

When we let go of the outcomes, cultivating a rich, balanced life, Susan wrote in End the Struggle and Dance with Life:

  • We become bigger than we thought we were as we learn that we are more than our goals, our outcomes, our honors.
  • We aren't wiped out if something doesn't turn out the way we wanted it to turn out. 
  • We begin to acknowledge the incredible richness of our life. 
  • We realize there is so much for which to be grateful. 
  • Most importantly, we realize that our goals are simply part of playing with life, but they are not our life.

Working only towards our work goals and expectations means that we aren’t working on all the other things that matter to us in life. Change that. As the ancient Chinese philosopher Zhuangzi wrote many centuries ago, “Flow with whatever may happen and let your mind be free. Stay centered by accepting whatever you are doing. This is the ultimate.”

Tags: Confidence · Individual Training · Overcome Fear · Personal Development · Susan Jeffers

Is It Bad to be a “Pollyanna?”

March 12, 2015 ·

Do you remember the story about Pollyanna? She is the girl who found something to be glad about in any negative thing that came into her life. A popular book and movie, the character’s name became an epithet, and anyone who was called a Pollyanna was considered naïve and unrealistic.

Yet what’s so wrong with finding the good within the bad? What is wrong with feeling good about life despite any obstacles? In fact, there is nothing wrong with it. As Susan Jeffers said, “Why would anyone resist thinking that way?”

Still, we tend to fight against thinking positively. For some reason, it is one of the most difficult concepts for people to accept. Too often we think of positive thinking as unrealistic thinking. However, positive thinking has more to do with attitude and confidence. And is negative thinking really any more realistic?

In Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway, Susan wrote, “It is reported that more than 90% of what we worry about never happens. That means that our negative worries have less than a 10% chance of being correct. If this is so, isn’t being positive more realistic than being negative? Think about your own life. I’ll wager that most of what you worry about never happens. So are you being realistic when you worry all the time? No!”

If being a Pollyanna creates a happier world for you and those around you, why hesitate for one more moment?

Tags: Feel the Fear...and Do It Anyway · Individual Training · Personal Development · Susan Jeffers

Redefining Success

January 28, 2015 ·

From a very young age, most of us are taught that we need to be successful, we need to be “Somebody”—somebody with money, good looks, power, status. Being successful by this definition means that our identities are based on external influences, on outside forces. This is never more true than in the workplace. In the office much of what a person is judged on are benchmarks and goals—items checked off a list by the HR department. A person is rarely judged based on his or her interaction with others, hard work independent of the goal, or ability to be an anchor or support for a team.

In today’s work world, we are meant to do three things:

1. Focus on the end product.
2. Focus on competition.
3. Focus on external gain.

As Susan Jeffers talked about in her book, End the Struggle and Dance With Life, the workplace is structured in a way that almost guarantees that we will struggle. When nearly all the rewards we are promised in choosing a position or career are money, status, and power, we are never going to be truly fulfilled. We step onto the treadmill of More-Better-Best and, often, we find that it goes faster than most of us are comfortable with. Susan said:

“On some level, we know that something is terribly wrong with this model. No matter how much unhappiness our present day definition of success brings us, we keep following society’s rules of more-better-best; we continue to believe that competition is the only way to go; we keep looking "outside" for all of our joy and satisfaction. We keep going around on that same treadmill, not exploring other possibilities.”

Yet there is a way to get out of the More-Better-Best rut. Susan recommended redefining the definition of success as:

SUCCESS is living a full and balanced life in partnership with others to create a joyful feeling of love, contribution, appreciation and abundance, despite how our endeavors may turn out.

A “Somebody” under this definition is centered, flexible, and connected to the world both professionally and personally. Instead of focusing on the end product, the focus is about the process. Instead of focusing on competing, the focus is about moving away from the alienation of competition to work in partnership. Instead of focusing on external gain, the focus is on inner values that reflect the love and power we have inside.

Start measuring your own success by this new definition and see if you don’t find that your day-to-day experience at work and at home vastly improves.

Tags: Confidence · Individual Training · Personal Development