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Archive for October, 2010

Ah yes, such a fun people to be around. You know who I’m talking about!   People like Mr. One-Upper; who always has done it, has it and seen it; only better. Or Miss Negative Nellie who can never be happy about anything and desperately tries to bring you down into her pit of misery.  Oh and we can’t forget the best of the bunch Ms. Bitter, Miss Talks-but-never-Listens, Mr Loves-the-Limelight and Mr Whine.  Really difficult people come in all shapes and sizes.  The important thing here is how they are affecting you and your state of mind.

In past blogs I’ve mentioned that you ought to surround yourself with people who are positive, successful and where you want to be.  The people you surround yourself with affect you more than you realize.  The other end of the spectrum is true too.  Having people who are generally negative, bitter and annoying surround you will drag that energy into your life and affect your own outlook which of course no one wants or needs.  It can be really stressful to have someone in your life who is difficult to be around and that strain can affect your own personal happiness and life balance.

The problem of course comes around when you can’t choose your co-workers and sometimes your family/friends get to be this way too.  Not all people who are negative are bad friends, but their negativity can really wear you out, especially if you are struggling to change something in your own life.  Should you just bail on them?  Sometimes that is the answer but more often you can’t or don’t want to. 

Here are some tips to help you deal with these difficult people.

  1. Know yourself and be honest.  Checking in with your own emotional state is healthy.  It allows you to recognize patterns and change them. This includes allowing others to get under your skin and affect you.
  2. Be certain the problem lies with the other person and not with your reaction to them.  If you have easily pushed buttons consider that it is your pattern that needs to change for things to improve.  It is a rare case that the issues between people are simply one-sided.
  3. Ask a trusted friend or colleague to talk it over with you.  You can use this to explore your own participation in the issue and to find a mature way to deal with the situation.  Be upfront with whomever you speak with that this is confidential and you are asking for a sounding board.  Do not view this as a time to whine and complain yourself. A little venting is ok but too much makes you a complainer instead of a problem solver.
  4. Don’t set yourself up for disappointment or frustration.  Don’t discuss politics or religion with confrontational people, don’t rely on your flaky friends, don’t tell secrets to gossips.  Avoid, when possible working with the guy who likes to demand attention or is abusive.  You can eliminate a great deal of problems simply by not ignoring what is going on around you.
  5. Subtlety can work.  Pointing out the silver linings to the complainers, not laughing at the jokes that are at others expense or simply ignoring gossip with a “I dont’ think Mary wants people to discuss that” and changing the subject are all nicer ways to get a point across.  This works only some of the time and can be a slow process or even offend others by making you look like a stick in the mud.  However, it might let you avoid having a direct confrontation.
  6. Talk to the person directly.  Ask them if there is a time you could have a discussion and be straight but kind.  Use the “I’ sentences and let them know how their actions affect you and what you need from them.  Be prepared as some people will brush you off, make excuses or simply won’t care.  On the other hand some people just get caught up in their own negative thinking and don’t realize what they are saying and doing is so negative.  Remember to be as pleasant as possible and work towards a solution; this isn’t a time to vent every little thing that annoys you about them.
  7. Avoid blaming. Sometimes two personalities just don’t mesh.  That is ok and you need to recognize when this is the case. 
  8. Keep your sense of humour.  Humour allows things to roll off your back and not work you up. 
  9. Develop other relationships that lift you up to offset the negativity when you must deal with difficult people.
  10. Limit contact.  You don’t have to be friends with everyone, simply being polite is enough.  Give yourself some distance between those who get under your skin.  You may even need to cut ties with someone.  Let them know why you are doing so and what would have to happen in order to have a relationship.  If it is your boss or co-worker you may want to consider switching departments or even jobs if the situation is bad enough.
  11. Work on developing your conflict resolution skills to help you manage the difficult situations that difficult people bring.

Being in touch with your emotional state will assist you in keeping the effects to a minimum but we all must deal with difficult people sometimes.  Keeping things in perspective about what is really going on will go a long way to keeping your sanity in tact and not getting pulled into being negative yourself.

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This is a real conversation I overheard at a restaurant.

 Honest I wasn’t eavesdropping, they were right next to me and neither person was trying to be quiet. 

It did strike me though as far too typical of people pretending to have a conversation, then getting frustrated at the outcome.

Wife:  You’re not listening  to me!

Husband: Yes I do.  (yes this was his answer..I didn’ t mess up the typing)

Wife: Ok, what did I just tell you?

Husband: Um, something about the kids and school? (I heard her actually, it was about the car not working right when she picked the kids up at school)

Wife: Oh you NEVER listen!

Now I’m sure we’ve all had conversations like this before but what we miss is the fact that very few of us really take the time to truly listen.  A conversation takes two people who are engaged with each other.  It also means being thoughtful of the others readiness to be listened to and to listen.  Now being an observer I can tell you the husband really wasn’t listening, he was kind of trying but something was happening on the big screen in the football game that was on.  Having grown up with a Dad who loves sports, even I know better than to bother trying to have a real conversation during the game.  That is what commercials are for.  

What can we learn from this? Two things. 

First, this wife was not being fair to herself or her husband by trying to get him to listen when he clearly had his attention focussed elsewhere.

Second the husband has got to know this isn’t a good time and he either needs to ask his wife to pause for a moment or turn away from the television.  Neither one of these people were really ready to have a conversation in a thoughtful way. 

Being ready to listen is super important and so is taking into consideration the other persons readiness.  Really there is no point in getting angry at someone for not listening when you can plainly see that they are not present or ready to listen.  My grandmother used to call this ‘looking for trouble’.  We have responsibilities to the person we are talking to.  Also,the husband shouldn’t have pretended to listen; he really should have said “I’m sorry, this is just got my attention, give me a minute and I will listen” and then proceeded to do so.  Honesty trumps faking it any day.

I see this when parents talk to kids too.  They give them instructions when they are playing with their toys or watching tv and then wonder why they don’t get moving.  The child isn’t really engaged in the conversation. Parents need to stop their child, get down on their level and speak clearly.  Having the child repeat what is said helps as well.  You need to get them ready to listen before you start talking. 

What do you do when your partner, co-worker or boss isn’t listening? First, ensure they are ready to listen.  Ask for their attention, if they seem busy say so and ask when would be a good time.  Model the behaviour you want to see.  If someone is talking to you, stop what you are doing or ask them to wait a moment, then give them your full attention.  If you can’t do so, be honest about it and let them know when you can give them the attention they deserve.

Do you know what is the one thing I hear most often from new coaching clients?  They are so thankful to finally feel listened too. Really, a few have almost been brought to tears and many get all gushy about it.  Consciously listening to someone will let them know they are important and you care.  It actually can take some practice to learn how to listen well and be truly present for the conversation but it also is something worth doing to improve our relationships.

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I just finished reading 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey for the second time, or is it the third?  Hmm.  I recall reading it way back when I was just starting University.  I was inspired to re-read it when I learned it has sold over 15 million copies in 38 languages since first publication in 1989.  Wow. I vaguely remember reading it and thinking that it seemed to make sense but I didn’t really ‘get’ all of what it was saying.7 Habits of Highly Effective People 

Now a few years into life (let’s not discuss how many), a little more experience under my belt, I read it again to discover its brilliance.  I believe I got a whole lot more out of this book then I did when I was rather un-initiated into life.  First, I had no idea that Covey had reviewed over 200 years of literature pertaining to success before he got the 7 habits laid out.  Yikes, that’s a lot of reading and note-taking.  Makes me think my reasearch at University wasn’t quite so tough after all.

What he found that really intrigued me is how thinking about success really shifted in the 1920’s.  Society went from what is called the Character Ethic (which assumes there are absolute principles that exist in all human beings like honestly, fairness, integrity) and shifted more towards the idea that success was to be found within the Personality Ethic (which attributes success to personality traits or skills). 

Incredible stuff. I’m very moved and my mind is whirling with thoughts.  There is just so much packed into this little book.  I most likely will read it again, in fact I know I will.  I’ve already started making pencil notes in the margin lol.  Right now I’m wrapping my head around the simplistic, but incredibly insightful 3 Stages: dependence, independence and interdependence.  Isn’t it amazing how some one can put into words what you have been feeling and suddenly light bulbs go off all over the place and things just start to make more sense? 

I’d love to hear your thoughts and discuss.  Have you read 7 Habits and what did you think was the most profound idea for you?

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Take back your power now!

And this is where a great deal of people smile and nod.  But somewhere in their brain they are actually thinking “ok,  sure but what exactly does that mean and how can I do that?” 

So many catch phrases are being flung about these days with so little understanding of what they mean.  This one is worth exploring however.  The power that is being talked about is your personal power.  The power you hold over what happens to you, your environment and even your influence over others.  You experience a sense of power when you feel in control of your life. Power is the ability to achieve goals.  Power is related to self-esteem and confidence.  You do not have to accept what others lay out for you as your destiny.  To take back this power or increase involves learning to tap into your inner self for guidance and expressing your inner light. 

Often we find ourselves feeling at the mercy of what life has given us or what others think/say/do.  You have your own power to affect change for yourself.  This whole idea of taking it back actually seems kind of silly to me because you never lose it.  It is always there we just don’t USE it all the time.

Ok so the ‘how’ of getting at your personal power?  It is, at its base, how you think.  Yup..no kidding.  Your thoughts create your reality.  Sound familiar? Rather like the Law of Attraction? Or I think therefore I am?  Truly this is no new idea.  People have been slow to awaken to this as a whole but some have got it figured out. 

People who do not feel they have personal power tend to get resentful and fearful.  Being able to force an issue is not having personal power; it is having aggression and in fact shows a lack of personal power.  Feeling helpless is the opposite of having personal power.

Think your own thoughts, listen to your intuition and know that you have choices.  It is all about what you can and cannot control.  You can control how you think, what you do, how you react and choose to change that. You are not responsible for how others react or what they choose to do with a situation.  When it feels like someone is trying to take away your power they are actually trying to take control of your responses and thinking.  No one can do that unless you let them.  This is how cons and manipulators work their own brand of magic so to speak. 

  • Learn to think optimistically. This takes practice but can be done.  Self talk is a powerful thing.
  • Recognize your emotions. Consciously and deliberately choose to experience these emotions. Understand that you can choose to change this!
  • When feeling helpless ask yourself what part of this problem CAN you control and do something about?
  • Focus not on the failures, but the lessons you learned
  • Acknowledge what did go right, even if the overall project did not
  • Accept responsibility for your role; the good, the bad or the ugly. 
  • Keep a record of your wins (achievement journals rock)

 Your job? To be honest with yourself about your own thoughts, to acknowledge you have ideas and opinions that are valuable and to begin choosing how to react and act.  This is what is called taking back your power!

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The ancient Romans had a tradition: whenever one of their engineers constructed an arch, as the capstone was hoisted into place, the engineer assumed accountability for his work in the most profound way possible: he stood under the arch. ~ Michael Armstrong

Imagine how much more attention you would pay to details if you had that kind of accountability!

Now I’m thinking there are very few things that you need to be held accountable to the extent of putting your life on the line.  Still, the point is made. 

Accountability is simply a way of saying you are willing and able to answer for what you do.  It is a HUGE sign of your character.  A lack of accountability is the reason why so many people fail or give up at their attempts to improve their life, get a promotion or move forward.

People who refuse to take responsibility for their actions:

  • are really good at making flimsy excuses
  • do the very least they are required to
  • put things off
  • act like they don’t know
  • tend to blame others or circumstance

C’mon now..we all know this person.  This person has a reputation for being irresponsible and not caring.  This is not the person we want to have our business or our personal lives associated with.  It can be frustrating and sometimes impact on our own reputations. 

Are you always accountable? 

It can sometimes be a tough deal some days to face the music when things go wrong but there is big difference between a reason for a problem and excuses.  For example one client of mine was having trouble getting a big project underway.  At first she didn’t take much responsibility for the problems.  Her team was letting HER down.  I asked her one day what was a project managers role in this type of thing.  She started talking about resources and overseeing.  At one point she caught herself mentioning motivation of the team and leadership.  I asked her where that was in this project?  There was a long pause. You see, she was finding excuses for her stuff not being done because of her team.  BUT it was her responsiblity as the project manager to ensure the team worked.  The reason is her team isn’t motivated to complete the project on time; who’s responsiblity was that? Yup, ouch.  That was a tough session for her. 

Another example is a gentlemen who wanted to get fit but claims he cannot.  Seems he slips easily because he has no one but himself he is accountable for.  This is why so many of these weight loss programs work.  The group mentality, getting weighed in with everyone watching, support of others when having a tough go, sharing stories; this all leads to a different type of accountability. Personal accountability is the feeling of being obligated or that you should do something and doing it even when it is tough.  This gentlemen attended my group coaching sessions and started to make a bit of progress because he held himself accountable to the group.  (You can do this too!)

The thing is stepping up and holding yourself accountable, both at work and at home, creates respect, trust and authority.  It helps you find success and to end up living your better life!

People with accountability:

  • make mistakes and can admit it
  • look for information if they don’t know it
  • ask for help when then need it
  • communicate
  • own their problems
  • understand they don’t have to do it all

Accountability is one of the fastest ways to get and keep control in your life.  Ironically it is also what makes great leaders.  Interesting connection isn’t it?

Check out Take Action Tuesdays where we learn the ins and outs of this.  Time to take action to start creating that better life!

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TAKE ACTION TUESDAYS!

What are Take Action Tuesdays?

You mean you DON”T know? 

Read on to find out how you can:

  • boost your motivation
  • increase your follow-through
  • get that momentum rolling and keep it that way
  • benefit from connecting with a group of others who also want to ‘take action’
  • get ready to end this year on a high note and start 2011 out with a huge bang!

Take Action Tuesdays is a group of people who want to TAKE ACTION to make their dreams come true, achieve their goals and live their most authentic and happy life. 

This group starts on November 10, 2010 and runs until January 5, 2011.  Just enough to get your new year started off right!  This might be the best $297 for 10 weeks you ever spent!

Excited yet?

What you get is:

  • connections with a group of people who are just like you
  • a group that is no more than 12 people to ensure everyone gets their needs met
  • a mini-mastermind..a panel of people to support you!
  • shared ideas, thoughts and support and best of all brainstorming!
  • a meeting (by the  oh-so-convenient phone) 6 separate times between Nov .10 and Jan 5
  • a weekly to-do list and accountability
  • every Take Action Tuesday you’ll find a pdf of tools and tips in your email to help you take action and get motivated
  • self assessments to help you figure out your needs and direction
  • an on-line private group to talk with and ask question to other members of the group
  • access to special events for discounted costs or even FREE
  • all for the low-cost of $297 for all 10 weeks!

SPECIAL BONUS!  Why? Because I want to have everyone succeed beyond their expectations!

A 30 minute laser coaching session with Bonnie!  FREE!

  Look I get it, you can’t always work private coaching into your life or you just may not be quite ready to go there.  This type of group is perfect for those who want to benefit from coaching and are ready to move forward and get going on building business, creating their most incredible life and can make a time limited committment to the call-in meetings and participating in the online groups.

Ready to start making it happen?

Don’t just sit there!  No need to wait for Tuesday to take action on this.  Register right now as group size is limited!

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Do you ever wonder how some people just move along the road of life as if they know exactly where they are going and how they are getting there?  It really isn’t all that hard to understand.  They are aware of who they are, what they stand for, what they want and have spent some time making a plan on how to get there that fits with the first two things.  Of course that is easier to explain then it is to do isn’t it?

Those who don’t have those ideas in place usually fall into two categories.  The first group is the uninitiated.  These folks really don’t understand or haven’t been introduced to being self-aware and need a guide to help them figure it all out.  The other group is the excuse-builders.  These lovely ladies and marvelous men know all the things they should be doing but just don’t do them.  They have loads of reasons excuses why they can’t don’t.  This group often doesn’t like to hear that what they are saying or doing to get in their own way is exactly that.  Change takes a bit of work, planning takes some focus and yes, occasionally you may have to stand up and be counted when facing uncomfortable situations.  It doesn’t just happen; YOU have to make it  happen.

The thing is, you can’t have it both ways.  Wanting to live better and doing nothing do not co-exist.  Life will not ‘take care of it’ for you. 

So what to do? Well this is why many folks come and see me.  They want a better life and need a bit of help, accountability and guidance to get it. 

Things you can do today?

  1. Make a list of all the things you want (things to get, accomplish, see, do etc)
  2. Check your self-esteem. Strong self esteem is going to move you forward, low self-esteem is going to try to hold you back
  3. Do you know what your most important 5 personal core values are?  What is your purpose in doing what you do?  You should.  My guide “Living Deliberately” can help you figure them out, understand why it is important and see how to utilize them to your advantage.
  4.  Make a list of what you do that supports your dreams and goals.  Are these things your focus each day?  Get rid of those things that do not move you towards your goals or fit with your values.
  5. Surround yourself with people who are supportive, successful and self-aware. 
  6. Go after the next step.  Not the entire big, giant, overwhelming goal, just the single next step along the path.
  7. Then go after the next step after that.  Rinse and repeat.
  8. Enjoy who you are, celebrate your life and success.

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