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  • Re-Align with Yourself!

    From the Four Agreements Reminder Series.

    “All of the drama humans suffer is the result of believing in lies, mainly about ourselves. The first lie we believe is ‘I am not the way I should be; I am not perfect. ‘It’s just a story, but we believe it, and we stop being ourselves and start searching for an image of perfection.” – don Miguel Ruiz

    We get lost trying to please others along the way. When we align with who we really are, then we’ll be the most successful and happiest that we can be.

    To Ponder: Whether it’s a position you are in at work, or personally, is it really something you want to be doing? Are you happy with it?

    Take Action: Pay attention to how you feel. If you are more frustrated and unhappy than you are happy, perhaps it’s time for a change. Maybe you need to go back to who you really are, and find something that you really love to do. It’s way easier to align with something that fits you, than always trying to change to fit into something you’re not.

    Laurie Joslin – www.unlimitedcoaching.com


    Obligations Aside

    Someone asked me the other day “to put my obligations aside for a moment”, before I made a business decision. You know, it really made a difference.

    I was amazed at how much my self imposed “shoulds” came into play. With all of my study, positive thinking and experience – there they were.

    They are things and people that I have made myself responsible for, or is it obligated?
    It was an interesting exercise to set the obligations aside, go over the possibilities without them and then to re-insert them and see what fits. I automatically became more creative, more open and more excited about what could work – new possibilities.

    So todays thought is to review where we all are holding back because we are obligated and then to ponder if this is a real responsibility or one we just assumed was there.

    I always seemed to struggle with the difference between responsibility and obligation. What sticks with me the most realistically is that responsibility is a duty that you want, or even feel you have an opportunity, to do or be. Obligation is something someone or something else wants you to do or be – not your exact choice.

    One is something you would choose, the other is something that is chosen for you.

    Ponder this over and see if it resonates with you, it did for me.

    Keep smilin’

    I still go back to the Bridge

    The Sound of Stillness

    I grew up in the florist and Greenhouse business. It is interesting to watch as life goes on how words change with their meaning. Greenhouse, in my life, has been an all glass building to grow food or plants especially in the colder climates. We all can forecast that will change for the future as Green Houses will be environmentally friendly and efficient places we will live.

    I was not aware of it at the time but I was growing up in a very hectic, seven day a week, never shut down or stop, business. A piece of that has carried on throughout my life.

    I also grew up with the exact opposite of the hectic part and it was in the same place. In what we called “the big house” (large greenhouse), where the ceiling height was higher and the larger plants were kept, I often could be found. It was serene, peaceful and quiet except the sound of the ever present birds chirping away, what a winter haven for them.

    Again, without realizing, it at the time, this is where I learned to go when I wanted to feel good, to settle down, regroup and think. Maybe to even be by myself (a non hectic space).

    With a workshop retreat, for corporate executives, I was part of a few years ago I was going over the importance of stillness and meditation especially around decision making and creativity. It was not going over very well as it was to foreign to almost everyone. I asked them, on their break, to walk down a short path that was outside, next to a running stream. As they did this and came across a small, wooden, arched bridge, I asked them to stop, just for a minute, and stand on the bridge. Next step was to close their eyes, take a slow relaxed breath and listen to the sound of the water, without thinking about other things, only the present sound of the water flowing on it’s natural path.

    Now to the message part. A few years later I ran into one of the people that had been present at that event. After saying “hello”, the next words out of her mouth were “I still go back to the bridge”. It took me a few seconds to catch up to her and she meant.

    Think about how powerful that simple little exercise was and still is for her. Then also think about how powerful it still is for me. It reminded me of my Greenhouse days, the birds, the plants, the quiet that I can also still go back to when I want or need to.

    So for helping me remember, thank you Mary Conlon, now a manager for The Bank of Castile in Greece New York.

    “I still go back to the Greenhouse”.

    Phone Energy

    The Body Language of a Phone call.

    19095079We had a meeting yesterday at a local Doctor’s office to discuss the possibility of doing a Six Sigma office procedure program for him. He is interested in fine tuning his already wonderful practice by reviewing the steps taken in each task. It is nice to see that McDonald’s is not the only business interested in consistency. It was also very refreshing to see someone who already looks like he has it all working and still be interested in stepping it up another notch.

    During this exploring conversation we touched on the importance of personal energy even while answering the phone. It seems like a stange thought at first but we talked about how our body language also effects the energy or tone of our voice. Then we took it another step and talked about how much the listener on the other end of the phone can pick up on how we are feeling about ourselves in that moment. In other words are we paying attention or doing something else at the same time? Or are we frustrated, agitated, angry or happy, smiling and maybe feel like singing?

    It all can be “felt”.

    The other end of the phone doesn’t know exactly what, but they can pick up the energy. These are the day to day things that are so important and we are generally unaware that they are going on.

    We will be adding a piece on this, along with some exercises to practice their phone presence, when we start the procedure training sessions.

    What a nice and compatible combination it is to work on procedure, Lean Six Sigma style, and the energy of awareness and the present moment.

    Personal Energy

    Your energy and how it affects others

    At a presentation on personal energy and how it affects others, a couple of weeks ago, I did an exercise that had some interesting results. It was for a group of about 70 health care professionals.
    Here is how the exercise went.

    I asked on a scale of 1 to 10,  focus on how you to feel, in your body, as you hear the word. 1 being low energy in some form and 10 being high energy,
    For the first word “Discipline”, most  said “2″, for the next word “Adore” most said “10″.
    I did that same exercise with a different group the month before and they said the exact same numbers – 2 & 10.
    Interesting and a great reminder for us all to become more and more aware of our thoughts/words and to practice changing some of them.

    We need to practice with our thoughts and words just as we practice with improving our physical abilities with sports and games.

    Having written a poetry book, Whispers of Intimacy (WhispersofIntimacy.com) I am interested in finding  ways to mix poetic thinking with our daily lives and with business situations.
    Poetry is somewhat more about what you feel in your body and are aware of with your senses, than just what you are thinking.
    It is a deeper, more present, more in tune, more compassionate, and more about life, way of thinking, writing, speaking and being.

    Poetic writing/thinking might be an interesting exercise for you to try relating to some event in your life.  If you do it a few times, you might just surprise yourself.

    Here is a question to ponder.

    What choice could you make today that would enhance your personal environment and make life wonderful?

    Enjoy this moment as it is constantly changing.


    Doodling as an asset.

    Last week I read  that Doodling during a meeting helps to increase retention up to 30%.  The article I read said that the study was done by Jackie Andrade, who is a psychology professor at the University of Plymouth in England. The study appears online in Applied Cognitive Psychology.

    Doodling, they say in the article about the study, actually helps us to focus and pay attention.  I would like to take it another step and say that it also helps us to not think as much.  Our active brains are always going on and on about something. When we write, or Doodle, it is often just enough of “doing” to get a break from our “thinking” and allow our natural intuition to kick in. So Doodle away as you focus better and along with that often comes a free gift of a new insight, idea or possibility.

    Doodling is listed in the dictionary as “absentminded” scribbling.  There is kind of a negative tone with absentminded, forgetful, distracted, daydreaming are the words that come to mind.  Let’s add that it also can be a means of connecting to our intuitive self and that being a very positive event on most days.

    Next time you Doodle, save your artwork to look over and review. Once in a while you may get a very pleasant surprise in the form of an idea. On another level Doodling is like making it OK to play. So keeping a pad and pencil near, even if you type in all your notes, is a good idea.

    My first journal book give to me by my good friend Beth (MutualChoices.com) turned out to be a Doodling experience for me. Back then I thought journaling was a “Dear Diary” experience and I was not interested in writing so the whole book became page after page of Doodling. I still have it and one friend, Michele Blood (Musivation.com) suggested that I have it printed as a book. It is loaded with interesting Doodles, thoughts and yes some interesting possibilities.

    Neale Donald Walsch Quote

    Listening to Your Mind

    This wonderful quote from Conversations With God author Neale Donald Walsch says the opposite – be cautious listening to your mind.

    He comments on quote from Emerson with his own version, here it is.

    “The mind is the last part of yourself to listen to.
    It thinks of everything you can lose.
    The heart thinks of everything you can give,
    and the soul thinks of everything you are.”

    With all my studies of the conscious and subconscious mind over the years this has really peaked my attention. Watching our thoughts and then realizing how many of them are focused on some form of loss is amazing. Use this, as you can, to increase awareness in what your thoughts are and counter balance that with how your body is feeling and where your intuition kicks in. Awareness to what is happening now is what it’s all about.

    Future Generations

    What Would You Say?

    A very creative artist named Heather Layton is working on a project at Cornell University as an artist-in-residence. It is titled “Letters to a Future Generation”. Here is her blog if you would like to know more about it.  www.pocketsfortheteeth.blogspot.com.  I added to her collection of 500 letters and this is what I wrote.

    “If given the chance, what would you say to a future generation?”


    Be aware that our Earth is alive and needs us to appreciate that.

    Be comfortable and confident in yourself.

    Understand your own, personal magnetic energy and how it flows and effects others.

    Know that your imagination and passionate creativity are very powerful tools .

    Also know that diversity stirs creativity and changes create opportunity.

    Be grateful for who you are, what your uniqueness is about, so that you can share it where needed.

    Practice being present and aware of what your senses are telling you is going on right now.

    Find a connection that you will naturally have when with others.

    Be curious and wonder.

    Explore and share what you find, don’t take anything for granted. What can you teach?

    Lead the way by being aware, compassionate, tuned in, kind and helpful.

    Always keep your word and deal honestly with others.

    Know that plenty of clean water, healthy foods, exercise, good sleep and thoughts that feel peaceful and freeing will keep your energy up.

    Much can be found in your own stillness and the eyes of others, take time to really sense and feel it.

    . . . and with all of this responsibility, because of who you are, be excited about the future
    and what you can add to it.

    With appreciation for how you will be.

    All in the Name

    “Ha” Connection

    It’s all in the name
    At a local food market the other day I had a delightful cashier that I was lucky enough to have wait on me. She knew what she was doing, moved quickly and was very pleasant. When I looked at her name tag it said “Ha“.
    I asked her if that was a nickname or short for a longer name. She said “No. that is my name.” So now I am more intrigued and ask if she is from China or Japan and she said “No, I am from Vietnam.”
    Next question from me is “What does “Ha” mean in your language?”
    Her reply is that it means “Water“. I mentioned to her how interesting it is that her name means Water in her country of origin and it means Fun or Laughter in the USA.
    I have had fun, or at least a smile, as I thought about “Ha” and her name for the next few days.
    If I still had a retail business (which I do not) I would consider looking up the meaning of each staff members name and add it to their name tag. I, Ray, am either a straight line, a ray of sunshine (a person or thing that brings happiness into the lives of others) or a Fish. Guess which I would pick.
    “Ha” made my day. If you had a name tag what definition of your name would you use.
    Look it up, it might be “fun” or it may be “Water” or it maybe conversation for your customers and that means Connection.

    Being Happy

    Practice Being Happy
    The word “Practice” jumped out at me from a book I was reading last week. It was used to explain that we need to “Practice” being Happy just as we need to practice anything else we want to be good at. This made sense to me but I had never thought of it in this way before. I started wondering what do we need to practice, in the world of small business, that we have not thought about before.
    First we have to assume that we practice because we want to improve or get better at something. Let’s discuss a couple of possibilities here.
    Listening – Are we really paying attention or waiting to make our own comments? Listening is a skill that can be improved if we are interested in doing so.
    The “Practice” exercise here could be to practice not thinking about other things while someone is talking to you. Staying present, not thinking about the past or future, is what we need to improve. Focus on their words, and then ask them a question about what they had just said, most people will be trilled. We are not used to being listened to.
    Another is Speaking – Do others hear you? Do you articulate clearly without just rambling on and on? Is brushing up on your speaking skills something to do? This can be one on one or to a group. If we are standing, do we need posture practice and image practice?
    There is more, but the idea for me here is to focus on areas that could use improvement and practice imaging and doing it the way I would like to have it be. Practice makes perfect or at least improvement.