Ideas 2 Action
My 16 year-old son was injured a week ago Friday at his ice hockey game. He left the rink in an ambulance despite being able to walk, but it was scary just the same, bringing my 10 year-old to tears. My son separated his shoulder, tearing several ligaments. His collarbone now protrudes from the top of his shoulder. He will heal (though that collarbone will likely serve as a reminder of what happened). He will probably heal faster and more efficiently due to the fact that he is an athlete and is in really good physical condition. He is strong and agile, so that while physical therapy will be challenging and painful I’m sure, his body is ready for it. He won’t be starting from square one. The foundation, his physical “infrastructure,” allows his body to deal with the stress of the injury effectively and he’ll bounce back quickly.
His body supports him.
And so have his family and friends. He’s received so many notes, phone calls and messages of encouragement. That, too, serves to lift him up when he’s feeling discouraged or impatient, wanting desperately to be right back on the ice.
What kind of support exists for you?
First – how well do you take care of YOURSELF so that you can weather the stressors life throws at you on a regular basis? Stuff happens. How healthy is the physical and emotional foundation you have built? Are there things you can do to strengthen it further, like eating right, exercising and getting enough rest?
Second – how well do you tend to your relationships, so that when you hit a rough patch or need to be buoyed a bit by those around you, people are willing to do so? How often do you lighten someone else’s load, even just a little? I believe that kindness and positivity come right back at you when you need them to.
And third – and this is key – are you willing to receive support when it is offered to you? Are you willing to ask for it? While it’s important to do what you can for yourself (this is how you return to “normal” and grow stronger), sometimes you need to simply stop, look around, and take note of the support you’ve cultivated. Soak it in. Be grateful for it. You laid the ground work. You created your foundation.
And if you decide that your foundation has a few cracks, then it’s time to do something about it. Don’t wait for something bad to happen to realize you have no safety net. Begin construction now.
So you can see why support is so important. I saw it firsthand. So take good care of yourself and others you care about. And when you’re down, your support system (within and beyond) will lift you up, just as my son’s did for him.
Laurie Leinwand is a Certified Professional Life Coach assisting clients with a variety of personal and professional life issues. Ideas 2 Action Life Coaching encompasses Laurie’s work as a life coach for women and men, career life coach and work-life balance coach.
Making the choice to return to work was actually the first big step you took. I imagine it wasn’t an easy decision, and that you may have gone back and forth on this a number of times before finally choosing to forge ahead.
Be clear about WHY you’ve made this choice.
Is it for financial reasons?
Do you need to work because you need the intellectual stimulation, challenge, or the validation that some feel when they receive a paycheck?
Is it because you seek to fulfill a passion or want to pursue an interest and hope to parlay it into an income stream?
Is it because you like the structure that having a job can provide?
Do you need the benefits?
Maybe you just feel the need to get out of the house and be among adults on a regular basis?
The answers to questions like these will help you know how to determine your next steps at every stage of this transition. For example, if you find yourself considering taking a job that offers no benefits, when that was one of your initial goals in seeking work, you will more quickly know whether that job is, in fact, a good fit for you. It’s extremely important to tune into your own very personal reasons for going back to work to ensure that your quest for employment mirrors those aims.
Be Aware of the Ramifications of the Change
Consider what will change as a result of your return to work and be realistic regarding your expectations about how things will be afterward. How will you make time to run errands, clean and prepare meals? Will you have someone else do it for you or are you able to split those responsibilities moving forward with someone else? Will you still enjoy quality time with your family? Will you continue to make time for yourself (provided you’ve already been doing so)?
You will have the highest likelihood of success and enjoyment if you’ve truly thought through how going back to work will affect the running of your household and how it will impact your relationships as well.
Address any concerns you have as early as possible. The more you can explore them beforehand with those that support you, the fewer difficulties you’re likely to experience.
Lay the Groundwork/Set the Stage
As a result of the things that will change, be sure to have as many resources in place as possible. For example, if you are only on planning on working when the kids are in school, you should still have a backup plan for when a child becomes sick (a grandparent who is willing to watch your child, a neighbor, or a babysitter). Make sure that those who are playing “back-up” are aware of their roles, and agree to them well ahead of when they are needed. This helps prevent misunderstandings and will give you a sense of peace and assuredness.
If you know you won’t have as much time to prepare meals, you might choose to prepare a few things on the weekends so your meals are ready to go throughout the week. Or maybe you’ll choose to just spend more on take-out.
You also might set up carpools so that you are spending less time in the car and more doing the other things you need to be doing.
What do you know?
Is your skill set current for the job you are seeking? Do you need to go back to school or obtain some training? Recall what you’ve already accomplished, what skills you’ve harnessed and developed along the way, where your interests and passions lie and what other resources you possess. Fill in the gaps as needed.
Who do you know?
Who do you know AND who do they know? While seeking a job opportunity, let everyone you know that you’re looking and exactly what kind of position you’re interested in. This way you will have an army of people with their antennae out for the perfect opportunity for you. Be sure to network with others in the field you want to break (back) into. Don’t be shy about it. Those in your desired industry can provide you with useful information about current trends, other people you may want to talk to, and how you can best proceed in your search.
These are the 5 things you need to do in order to successfully transition from home life back to the workplace:
1) Be clear about your WHY
2) Be aware of the ramifications of change
3) Lay the groundwork and set the stage
4) Bring to the surface what you know and increase your skill set
5) Tell everyone you know what you’re looking for or what you offer
These same steps apply when you are planning to start your own business, except that instead of telling everyone you know what you’re looking for, you’ll be broadcasting what it is your new business offers.
Wishing you much success!
One of her specialty areas is career life coaching for women and men transitioning between jobs or reentering the workforce. If you are stuck in your job or career and need help in finding fulfillment and your life purpose, Laurie can help you break through and arrive at your desired destination fast and efficiently. She also coaches clients who are stay at home parents. Stay at home moms and dads are required to make adjustments regularly as their children grow – this can be difficult. Laurie also works with them as they make pivotal decisions such as returning to work.
We’ve all been through it. Days, months, sometimes even years when it seemed as though nothing would go our way, or we felt like the odds were stacked against us, or we were just destined to stay on a path where things remained the same, despite our best efforts to make it better.
How do you approach these rough times?
People have different strategies for dealing with adversity.
Here’s what doesn’t work:
- Hiding your head in the sand and playing the game of denial – Once you lift your head up, the situation typically remains the same. The same obstacles that impeded your progress haven’t moved because you haven’t offered any resistance. This is a passive approach that often leaves you feeling helpless.
- Blaming others – This approach puts the power in other people’s hands. Yes, sometimes, there are things that are out of your control. The key is in figuring out what YOU can do to affect the situation and offer the greatest likelihood that you will impact things in the way that you hope to. Blaming others promotes negativity, not often a force that moves things forward.
Here’s what works SOMETIMES:
- Changing course – If you change course to the path of least resistance, you may not end up where you intended to be. However, if you change course because you are learning from mistakes and gathering information that reveals another road to your goals might be more effective, than changing course might be the very thing that’s necessary to see you through.
Here’s what Sets People Apart:
- Connecting with your community and asking for help – Other people have been through challenging times as well. Ask those you trust to share what strategies have worked for them. Ask people if they have resources that might be of value to you. If you have a support system, don’t be shy about accessing it. Chances are if YOU knew you could help someone, you would. Why would the people you are closest to behave any differently toward you?
- Rolling up your sleeves – Perseverance, your determination and your ability to push through what’s difficult, disappointing and what tempts you to give up, will determine the level of success you’ll ultimately enjoy. To be successful, and make it through the rough patches to the other side, you need to not only be willing to do the things that others aren’t willing to do, you need to actually DO them!
In your journey, I guaranty the going will get tough.
How will you respond next time?
Do you get stressed as the holidays approach? It doesn’t have to be that way! Here are 5 strategies to help you make the holidays exactly what you want them to be and enable you to maintain your sanity at the same time:
1. Start Planning NOW – What needs to happen between now and the holidays to ensure that you are able to enjoy them as much as possible? Are you hosting a party, do you anticipate going to some, do you have a list of people for whom you will need to get gifts, do you need holiday attire? Map out what you need to do across the next several weeks so that not everything is saved for the last minute, stressing you out and spoiling your fun. If you strategically plan out what you need to do, shopping and preparing will be less of a chore and more of a pleasure. You may not be able to take full advantage of last minute sales, but you’ll save yourself the “procrastinator’s pain” that goes along with them.
2. Plug Into What Keeps You Calm – Pre-holiday season is NOT the time to ditch your exercise routine and healthy eating habits! More than ever, you need what anchors you in times of turbulence. Find time to take a breath here and there to make certain you’re on track and utilizing your energy, resources and time in the most efficient way possible.
3. Recognize Your Limits – Don’t overschedule or obligate yourself. Delegate when you can. Say NO to some things so that you can fully enjoy and embrace the things that mean the most to you. Be honest with yourself and others about what is reasonable for you to accomplish and what’s not.
4. Start Living the Life You Want to Live NOW – Are you waiting until January 1st to make your resolutions? Why is that day any more meaningful than today? What would happen if you began to experiment with making the kind of choices you want to be making in your life sooner rather than later? There is no better way to head into the holidays with optimism and empowerment than by treating yourself well, and by respecting your choices to do right by yourself.
5. Name What You Want! (and tell others!) – Instead of having people guess what you want for the holidays, let them know. You can be obvious, or make a game of it, but whatever you do, you will only have yourself to blame if you haven’t been clear about your wishes and desires and end up disappointed that a loved one missed the mark. You are, in fact, doing others a favor if you DO tell them exactly what would make you happy. They now have a roadmap and you’ve quite possible reduced the stress they are feeling in connection with the holidays.
Now…what you seek as a special gift may be something that cannot be purchased in stores.
It might be the opportunity to really focus on YOU, what you hope to accomplish in the next year, and a way to formulate, and STICK WITH, a plan to truly make that happen!
Have you thought about making that kind of investment in yourself, but you hesitated or put it off because you’re accustomed to putting others first? This is your time! And if you won’t do it for yourself, ASK someone to GIFT it to you!! The first step in being true to yourself is in asking for what you want.
Stay tuned for a special holiday offer…..
I have to admit, I’m feeling a little out of sorts as I write this. My state, the state of New Jersey, has been turned upside down this week. I’ve been incredibly lucky: I got my power back within a few days, the huge trees that fell on my property fell INTO the woods, my basement is dry, and most importantly my family is safe.
Others have not been so lucky, and I struggle to find some meaning in it all. What can I learn, or be reminded of in situations like this?
Here’s what I’ve come up with so far:
- Hug the ones you love regularly and tell them how you feel about them.
- Be grateful for your friends and let them know you care.
- Plan ahead whenever possible.
- Always appreciate the little things (you know, like how a light goes on when you flip a switch).
- Seize the moments you do have and make them count!
Time is too important to waste. There is no time like now to live my best life. And no time like now for you to live yours.
If you are interested in helping with the relief efforts of the American Red Cross in connection with hurricane Sandy, click here to donate.
In the meantime, be safe, stay warm, and by all means, make what you want to happen in your life, HAPPEN!
What do you gain by procrastinating?
Is it that:
- You work better under pressure.
- You get to do more enjoyable things first.
- You don’t have to deal with the challenge of doing something difficult or unpleasant until LATER?
What could you gain by NOT procrastinating, by doing something sooner rather than later?
- A feeling of being in control.
- A reduced sense of overwhelm.
- The ability to ask for help if not waiting until the last minute (additional resources).
- You wouldn’t have to be reminded (nagged?) repeatedly.
- A sense of empowerment in facing a challenge.
- Reduced stress without that thing hanging over your head.
- The knowledge that you may be facing your fear.
- The ability to cross something off your To Do list.
- A sense of accomplishment.
- More options open to you.
- Time built in for unpredicted obstacles.
Procrastination is like a dirty word. Lots of us procrastinate but most of us don’t like to admit it. We like to feel productive and efficient, but are we really?
Procrastination is avoidance. It always limits our choices in the end. For some, this works. Too many choices can be overwhelming. For the rest of us, we end up putting undue stress on ourselves, and often others as well.
To combat procrastination, consider tackling the most difficult (or annoying) task you have to do FIRST! Once that’s complete, all else will seem easy by comparison. That thing, that had so much power over you beforehand, will now be a thing of the past.
Focus on what you CAN do. What you focus on GROWS, and if you are busy focusing on what you think you CAN’T do, or what you don’t want to do, those things will become bigger in your mind.
Determine whether your expectations are realistic. If you need things to be perfect, no wonder you’re procrastinating! Be reasonable in terms of what you hope to deliver and what you want to accomplish.
Is it possible that you’re afraid of what comes AFTER…? Could that be why you keep putting things off? Asking questions about what comes next, doing some research, or formulating your OWN plan might be exactly what you need to squash your inclination to put off your own success.
Be accountable by letting others know what you’re aiming for. Share milestones so others are aware of the progress you’re making. It’s harder to procrastinate when others are waiting to hear about your results.
Another way to fight procrastination is to break down tasks into bite-size pieces. When we’re intimated, we back away. Smaller, more reasonable objectives are much easier to take on.
So if you’re ready to gain all that you could by kicking procrastination to the curb, I congratulate you! See if tackling the hardest part first, focusing on what you’re actually able to do, examining your expectations, facing your fear, being accountable, and breaking things down all serve to get you to your own success FASTER! Why wait?!
At the risk of sounding like I’m bragging, I’m going to share a story about my son. He did something these last few days that really impressed me.
My son is in the 5th grade. It’s his second year at his current school. He recently came home from school with instructions for an essay he was to write if he was interested in running for the student council. He was a bit bummed that it was due just a couple of days later. When I asked him about it, he stated he wasn’t sure what he was going to do and that he’d see if he even had time to write the essay. The next evening I returned home from work to discover that he had, in fact, composed the essay on his own and had chosen to run.
He handed it in and waited to see what would happen next. A few days later, he found out that he was selected to be one of the council representatives. These students were then informed that if they wanted to run for President or Vice President of the student council, they would then have to read their essays in front of the entire 5th grade (90 students) during the lunch period of that day.
My son said that when he heard he’d have to read his essay publicly (and so soon), he was really scared. He decided again, however, to go for it, despite being nervous, and delivered his speech first (“to get it over with”). He told me that once he got rolling, he was fine.
As I write this, I don’t yet know if he was elected to either of the positions he sought.
This is what I DO know:
- He made his own decisions. – No checking in with peers, siblings or parents. He zeroed in on what HE wanted and didn’t allow any outside “noise” to enter into that decision-making process. He understood that this was a decision he COULD make by himself.
- He didn’t hesitate. – How often do we want things and ‘overthink’ how to go about getting them, procrastinate, or convince ourselves it’s too much trouble and not worth the effort? I love that he simply went for it!
- He forged ahead despite the discomfort. – He said he was scared and yet he knew he was safe. He pushed himself to step outside of his comfort zone with no guarantee of what the results might be.
What stops US from going after what WE want?
What if we made choices (that obviously don’t impact others tremendously) without consulting the masses?
If we reduced the volume of the voices of others in our heads, would our choices and actions be more in line with our own desires and values?
What if we didn’t hesitate? How much closer to our goals would we be?
Asking myself these questions, and watching the actions of my son, makes me realize that HE is sometimes a role model for ME.
How incredibly freeing to simply aim to go for it more often, trust my instincts (as opposed to looking for confirmation from others), and let go of second guessing and waiting!!
What could YOU do if you did the same?
Lessons learned from a 10 year old…
What have children taught you?
How does “doing nothing” for a little while sound to you? Now this is not normally something I go out of my way to recommend, but sometimes, when we’re working really hard at a nonstop pace, we start spinning our wheels and lose sight of what it is we’ve set out to do. Occasionally we need to take a break, quiet our minds, reaffirm our goals and our efforts, and recalibrate.
What would happen if you were still?
You could catch your breath, you could refuel, you could check your progress, or take note of what’s not working. This would enable you to correct your course and proceed in a more productive and efficient manner.
Are you worried about the consequences of taking a break? What might happen?
It may be important to consider what might happen if you DIDN’T take a break.
The price you pay for a small “time out” may end up being far less than if you were to continue on a path that just doesn’t demonstrate that it’s working for you. A brief respite might deliver more ROI than you imagine.
What would a much needed break do for YOU?
Could it be the very thing you need to move you forward once again?
Stop tying yourself in knots and allow yourself a breather once in a while.
With my feet up for a few..
When was the last time you learned or tried something new? Exploring a new hobby or interest might be just enough to get you excited, and that energy will extend to other areas of your life as well.
Is there something you’ve always wanted to try? Have you considered ballroom dancing, knitting, skydiving, running, or maybe just a new restaurant? Give it a shot and you’ll be surprised to find how it spurs you to do other things. We often find comfort in our routines but need a change every so often to keep things fresh and inspiring.
You might also choose to become an expert on something you already know a little bit about. This can be an amazing confidence booster.
Tap into your creativity. How would it feel to draw, paint, write, play an instrument or dance? No rules apply – simply experiment with it for the sake of enjoyment and free expression.
Do the opposite of what you normally do. Eat dessert before dinner. Alter your routine. If you only drive one way to get to the dry cleaners, go a different way and see if you take notice of things you never had before. Gain a new perspective.
Have fun for the sake of having fun! Increase your repertoire. Acquaint yourself with something other than your norm. Get your creativity on! Change things up once in a while.
All of these things can serve to jumpstart your mojo, move you out of the doldrums and propel you into novel, fun, exciting and interesting territory.
Make it happen!
It’s an epidemic! Have you noticed that people don’t honor your time? They tell you they’ll meet you at 9 and show up at 9:15 or not at all. You make an appointment at 5 and don’t get seen until 5:30. What’s worse is that we often don’t respect our OWN time.
- Are you late to your appointments?
- Do you neglect to budget enough time to complete tasks and are therefore always rushing, frazzled and feeling overwhelmed?
- Do you procrastinate and waste time?
Don’t you deserve better?
I posted on 9/11 about how I was reminded to cherish and make every moment count. Now, don’t get me wrong, I waste time too, and I’m not always as prompt as I’d like to be, but I’ve pledged to do better. Every time I find myself rushing and racing, I know I’ve shortchanged myself. I’ve dishonored my time and the time of others as well.
When I plan appropriately and show up when I’m supposed to, I feel more at ease, more in control, and I know I’ve demonstrated respect for those I’m meeting. I feel good about the fact that I haven’t inconvenienced someone else, or abused his or her time.
Promptness is more important than we realize. It illustrates the importance (or lack of importance) that we attribute to the people or things in our lives.
Do you honor yourself by honoring your time?
Would it feel better to do so, rather than make false excuses for being late and find yourself apologizing repeatedly?
Aren’t YOU worth the full value that each moment has to offer, and aren’t those you interact with?
What will you do to better honor your time, and yourself, going forward?