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How to Keep Your Job From Driving You Crazy November 2, 2014

Posted by Ann Bertorelli in executive coach, Self-Development, workplace success, workplace success coaching.
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We all haspeak my mindve them. The times when our job is getting on our last nerve. Or we are being kept awake at night re-hashing some workplace drama in our mind. Hardly any of us escape those times, even if we basically love our jobs.

So is there a way that we can keep ourselves safe from these teeth-on-edge times? Well, yes, there is. Mostly when we find ourselves up at night, or in mental disarray, it always goes back to one thing—a relationship or more than one that is just not working.

Tough Times at Work Often Relate to Relationship Breakdowns

When I think back to some of the times in my career that had me tied in knots, they are all related to a relationship breakdown in some way. Some examples: I had a co-manager (who ever thought of such an arrangement was nuts—but that’s for another day.) This co-manager did not get the concept of ‘co’ and figured he was really in charge of the whole department. Thus, I had to constantly fight for my place.

Then in another job I was a brand spanking new manager whose staff thought I did not know a thing about managing people. The truth was that I had been a manager in another company so I was not totally clueless. However, they did not know this, whaving not been at that other company.

Which Work Relationships Could Benefit From Some TLC?

So what are your job crazy-makers? Betcha a bunch of money that they can all be traced back to a relationship or two that’s not in good order or that could benefit from a little TLC.

How do you do that? Understanding that the quality of the relationship (or lack of) is the first step. Then having the intention to do what it takes to make the relationship workable is what you need to do next. And the of course, you’ll need to take some action.

This is What I Did

So in the case of the co-manager from hell, I had to go into the lion’s den and stand up for myself. In the absence of my setting my own boundaries my colleague was perfectly happy to run rough-shod over me. However, once I set my guidelines and expectations, things became a lot better. Which brings me to another point. You don’t have to like another person in your workplace to make the relationship work better. It’s really nice if you do and a lucky circumstance, but it’s really not necessary. Improving a relationship at work—even with someone you don’t particularly like (and let’s face it, you’re not going to like everyone you work with, nor they you) can make your workplace a lot less crazy-making. Heck, it might even make it a place you enjoy spending time in…what a concept!

As for my staff who didn’t respect my potential as their manager, I chipped away at each person—spending time with them, listening to their concerns and roadblocks, and supporting them where I could. By the time I left that job three years later, there was a high level of trust and respect among all of us.

Don’t Forget About the Good Ones

So if you’re in one of your crazy-making periods, think about what relationships need  bolstering. And think about the good ones you have in place. When things go wrong, it’s always good to have someone to share that with who has your back. There’s nothing better than that.

Here’s a Book On the Subject

And in the spirit of shameless self-promotion, (or maybe not shameless), I should mention that I have co-authored a book on this very topic.  If you think that you might benefit from some reading on the topic, try this link: Relationships That Work, Work That Matters

Do your best to fix those crazy-making relationships. You spend too manymnay hours of your life at work to be unhappy there. Really…

If you’d like workplace success coaching, visit my web site and schedule a coaching information session to get started. No More Drama At Work.com

 

 

Will Job Success Make You Happy or Will Being Happy Bring You Job Success? May 28, 2014

Posted by Ann Bertorelli in Coaching, workplace success, Self-Development, workplace success.
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How often have you thought to yourself something like, “If only I could get that promotion I’d be really happy in life.” Then lo and behold, you get the promotion and you’re just not as happy as you thought you’d be. The reason for this is that when we link our happiness to an external event or thing, we keep raising the bar for happiness.

Shawn Achor is a well-known author who writes about the nature of happiness. His book is called The Happiness Advantage. In a TED talk, he talks about how job success is directly linked to how happy we are. If you’d like to watch the video use this link:  Shawn Achor Ted Talk

Only 25 % of Job Success is Linked to IQ

As I watched the video I was intrigued and excited by a different twist on achieving success in the workplace. Achor’s research shows that only 25% of our success at work can be attributed to our IQ. This made sense to me. I’ve worked with some people in my career who, while very intelligent, were not a huge success at their job because their interpersonal skills and/or their moods were problematic. Instead, he says that the remaining 75% success factor is determined by a person’s optimism, their social support, and how they relate to the stress in their job.

We Become More Successful when We’re Happy

But perhaps the most interesting part of the talk is that research shows that when we are happy and we then get more successful. We are much more likely to be successful if we are functioning from our ‘happy place’ rather than from a stressed, depressed or otherwise unhappy state. Salespeople have better sales results, doctors make better diagnoses, your intelligence and creativity rises. Hmmm, I don’t know about you but I’m going to make sure my doctor is very happy the next time I visit him with a problem.

So what does this mean for you? I’m sure you’re reading this blog because you want to be more successful at work, right? The implication is that if we can train our brains to be happy, we’ll find more success at work (and other areas of our life.)

How Do You Train Yourself to be Happy?

So how do we do that? How do we ‘accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative.’ (That’s a really old song and if you’re in your 20’s or 30’s you’ve probably never heard of it but if you’ve got extra time on your hands or you’re avoiding an unpleasant task here’s a link to hear it: Accentuate the Positive)

3 Gratitudes

But I digress…I was talking about how you train your brain to be positive. Shawn Achor mentions a number of strategies in his talk. However, I have two favorites to suggest. The first is ‘3 Gratitudes’ which is the practice of writing down three different things that you are grateful for every day for 21 days. You may remember that conventional wisdom states that it takes 21 days to establish a new habit. I’ve been using this practice for a number of years off and on and I have found that I feel happier when I’m reflecting on what’s good about my life rather than a laundry list of things that aren’t working.

Meditation

The second practice is that of meditation. Meditation helps me to focus my mind rather than hopping around from thought to thought. That’s not to say that when I meditate I have a still mind…nope. But the practice of applying the intention of stilling the mind ultimately does still the mind and makes me more centered and content. And it’s a practice, rather than an achievement—some days are better than others…

So what do you think? Are you willing to try a little experiment? Try either one of the strategies I’ve listed or any of the others from Achor’s video—or even one of your own. See if you get more positive and then notice how that transfers to your success at work. Bet you’ll see something interesting.

If you’d like to explore the possibility of receiving job success coaching, take a look at my programs here.  Work With Me

A Sure Fire Way to Improve Difficult Work Relationships–Part 2 October 29, 2013

Posted by Ann Bertorelli in Self-Development, Uncategorized.
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They Say It’s Your Birthday… July 18, 2013

Posted by Ann Bertorelli in My Life as I See It, Self-Development.
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1348_687167021310513_1966544250_nToday is my birthday! Usually I just quietly observe the day and let it pass. But with Facebook in my life, I get a million birthday wishes. Wow…who’d have thought? And I actually kinda like it.

Today’s a 22 master number day

I also found by reading the blog of my favorite astrologer of the moment that today is one of the eleven ‘22 master number days’ of 2013. As near as I can figure out these are supposed to be days of increased energy and days to move forward with your plans by taking action and getting things going.

A Rampage of Window Washing

I must say, this has been a pretty high energy day for me. And what have I done? Wait for it….I’ve been washing windows. In fact, I’ve gone on a window washing rampage. .Go figure. It has just suddenly become very important to me to have a clear view out of my windows. I even raided my next door neighbors’’ recycling for their old newspapers. These are great for washing windows—just in case you’re getting the urge to wash yours.

A Metaphor for seeing clearly

I think the last time I washed windows was about 3 years ago. Why wash them when it just rains and gets them dirty again? But something is different for me now. I think it’s probably a good metaphor for seeing clearly about what’s going on in my life, what I’d like to achieve and how I’d like to live the next phase of my life.

So now that my windows are washed, I’m taking care of other things that seem to be productive actions toward some goals I’ve set for myself. I’m even doing this blog post, this on the heels of having posted a mere three days ago.

Use these days to your advantage

I think these high energy days when they come (and who knows when they will appear) are wonderful opportunities to get some important things accomplished and more importantly to feel good about what you’ve done.

So don’t waste the 22 master number day…go for it! The next one is July 27th and the one after that is August 8. If you’d like to see the entire list, you probably will need to sign up for Elizabeth Peru’s newsletter. You can try this link Elizabeth Peru to find the other 22 master number days for the year.

Now I’m going to eat cake…

 

OH,PS If you haven’t visited my new web site yet, get the heck over there. I’m working on some cool new coaching offerings to be rolled out as soon as I can get them done. You don’t want to miss them, do you? Well, get on my mailing list and you’ll be the first to know.

www.lifecoachingwithspirit.com

Be there or be square…

Small Things Can Make a Difference June 16, 2013

Posted by Ann Bertorelli in Self-Development.
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baseball by theseanster93

Last week I attended a baseball game for out local team. It was a great night out for our family filled with all the stuff that says hometown and wholesome family activities. And to finish the night off, there were fireworks—what else?

The Monkee Swing

While I was watching the game I found myself watching the people more than the game, especially since the Fightin’ Phils couldn’t buy a run: they lost 6-0. Every so often a guy in a team sweat shirt would position himself at the bottom of the bleachers where we were sitting. Without a word, he would begin to do a double-arm motion that I had seen lots of people doing at the park. It looks a little like the Monkees used to do—if you remember back that far. After a few minutes of this action, most people in the bleachers were following suit and pretty soon most of the crowd was involved. The guy was totally serious about this –really into it. And he didn’t seem to care whether anyone else did it or not. He was doing his thing.

I did a little questioning of some die-hard fans and they told me his story. It seems this guy is a passionate fan of the Phils and would come to every game, seat himself wherever, and do his arm swings. Pretty soon it caught on and the rest is history.

Stepping Into Your Passion

As I thought about the guy and his impact, it occurred to me that each one of us can have a huge impact on those around us—sometimes without being aware of it. The guy at the stadium is an ordinary guy whose passion is baseball. He simply stepped into his passion and through that made a difference in the world around him.

As a coach, I have often been brought to tears when some of my clients repeat back to me things I have said to them that helped them to change their lives. And sometimes it’s month or years later that they tell me. At the time I was just doing what I love—listening and engaging with the stories of others with the intention of helping them to be the best they can.

What Do You Love?

How about you? What is it that you have a passion for? Whatever it is, don’t tamp it down. Why not just do it simply because you really like to? Guaranteed that whatever it is, you’ll inspire others in some way by your own light. And even if you don’t, you’ll be having fun…

New Website

Like to find out more about my coaching offerings? Visit my new website: www.lifecoachingwithspirit.com and sign up for my mailing list. You can get a free coaching video if you sign up the first time you visit.

Know Thyself February 17, 2013

Posted by Ann Bertorelli in Self-Development.
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enneagram

About two years ago a friend of mine who, like me, is a coach introduced me to the enneagram. In case you’re not familiar with the enneagram, it’s a personality indicator which defines nine different personality types. It’s like the Myers-Briggs on steroids.

A great tool for coaching

I have become very interested in the enneagram interpretations of personality and have been using it with a number of my coaching clients. And of course I have spent a lot of time analyzing my own personality type.If you’re interested in knowing more about the enneagram, this link will give you a lot of information and a test that you can take: www.enneagraminstitute.com.

What the heck is a wing?

So to get back to my story, I found that my personality type is 2-The Helper with a 1 wing which is The Reformer. A wing is another personality type that  significantly colors your main type. It’s not your main type but it’s a close second. And it’s my ‘wing’ that makes my life, shall we say, interesting.

The Reformer type believes that things in the world need to operate correctly and it is her/his job to make sure that happens. Well, that may be a bit of an exaggeration—but just a bit. Anyhoo, the 1 type is very concerned with being good and with doing the right thing. And ever since I have learned about the enneagram, I have become painfully aware of how much energy I put into being good and perfect. And I’ve been able to notice my actions and motivations daily (if not hourly) since learning the system. Amazing….

Until you are aware you are unable to change

You may wonder why I’d be interested in a personality system that points out my foibles (also my good traits). My wonderful enneagram teacher, Michael Naylor, has a good insight into this. Michael says that until you become aware of your behaviors and motivations, you are unable to change the things about yourself that are not serving you. Awareness is the key to change. And unawareness of ourselves can get us into hot water at times.

BOO!

I have a term that I use with my coaching students: background of obviousness or BOO. We all have ideas, motivations, ways of doing things that are so present for us that they’re not even there. It’s like the chair that you’re sitting on right now. Were you even thinking about it until I mentioned it? Probably not. But now you are aware of it and if it’s not comfortable, you can change chairs.

So your BOO resides with you, usually unexamined, for better or for worse. Most of the time we just think that everyone thinks or acts the way we do. The problem with our background of obviousness is that it is—guess where—in the background which makes it hard for us to change it. So that’s where the enneagram really shines. It brings that stuff right up there for us to look at. Oh joy…

Change or not to change

So what are you prepared to do to bring your BOO to the foreground? Socrates said “The unexamined life is not worth living” and I guess my chosen profession of coaching is all about this examination.

If you’re not about growth, then maybe you’re not interested in the enneagram or anything else that expands your consciousness. Up to you.  As for me, I intend to keep working on myself as long as I’m in Earth School.

—Amara

What to Do With Bad News February 3, 2013

Posted by Ann Bertorelli in ontological coaching, Personal Observations, Self-Development.
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537962_228700923911787_1739544636_nLast week was a challenging week for me and for a whole lot of people I care about. We all got some bad news and suddenly our futures looked a whole lot different than we had thought. The seeker and coach in me watched myself move through the process and it was interesting.

The first thing that occurred to me is that this whole thing was very similar to a death. And there are five classic stages of grief according to Elizabeth Kubler-Ross: denial, anger,bargaining,depression, and acceptance. And the advice is to go through each stage as consciously as you can—not trying to rush to feel better but to sit with where you happen to be. It’s been my experience if you try to short-circuit any of these stages, they simply come back to you bigger and ‘better’ than before. It’s the way we’re wired as human types. I’ve watched people trying to distract themselves to pretend that the trauma in their life is done with and that they have moved on—before they have actually done the grief work. It never works…(wow—quite an unequivocal statement for me).

So what did I do to come to terms with the bad news? Well, it’s not like I’m finished but I am making progress. First of all I sat with it and all the implications of this ending. Whew, that was tough and I’m not finished yet. Then I allowed myself to awfulize about the terrible consequences that could be mine. Then I got good and angry at a number of people and blamed a few of them. Boy, that felt good—for about a day.

Then I made a sincere declaration to myself that I was not going to stay in a place of depression and hopelessness. I mean a stamp-your-foot-to-the- universe kind of declaration. Not freaking going there, universe. It’s not fun and I like to have fun. And with that (and the help of one Advil PM at night, daily meditation, some conversations, and some prayer thrown in) I found that a sense of serenity returned. Is everything perfect? Hell, no. Am I ok? Hell, yes!

When shit happens as it inevitably does, the thing that gets me back on a more even keel is perspective. Is this a difficult issue? Yup. But when I reflect on the blessings that my life holds and will continue to hold, I realize that this is a blip on the screen.

And with a little bit of luck, this post will help one or many of you out there when the universe rains on your parade.

—Amara

Conversational Generosity January 6, 2013

Posted by Ann Bertorelli in Self-Development.
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I came across the term ‘’conversational generosity’ a few months ago and was sufficiently taken with it to write it down for a future blog post. As I sat down today to write this post, I came up short. Hmmmm—what is conversational generosity and why did I make a note of it? After drawing a blank for a few minutes, I remembered that I liked it because it goes along with another concept I like, “generous listening.”

Since my area of interest and coaching is relationships, it stands to reason that I would value both listening and communicating.My teacher was often quoted as saying that ‘listening is all there is” when it comes to building a relationship with another.

My definition of conversational generosity is pretty simple really.To me a good conversation has to be just that—a conversation. Ever had a ‘conversation’ with someone who asked you nothing about yourself and simply waited for you to stop talking so that he could begin to speak again? That’s the opposite of conversational generosity.

Here are my definitions of the term:

  • Both people have the intention that the conversation should be of value to each person
  • There is a sincere interest in knowing what is important to the other and this is demonstrated by asking pertinent questions when appropriate. Listening without interruptions also goes a long way. Turn off the cell phone and turn away from the computer screen.
  • There is sharing that is appropriate to the size of the bowl of relationship. I’m sure you’ve been involved in conversations in which the other person provided wayyyyy too much information. Or perhaps in other circumstances where the other was very cagey about how much information was disclosed. However, when it’s just right, both parties feel that they have deepened the relationship by engaging in the conversation.
  • The person who most needs to have the floor and to be heard is the one who gets more ‘air time.’ Some people by virtue of their personality take more air time. However, at times we all need to realize that someone else may need to be heard and the most appropriate thing to do is to close our mouths and listen. There is a coaching tenet that I was taught as a new coach. It is WAIT. Why Am I Talking? It’s good advice not only for coaches but for anyone who wishes have a meaningful conversation with another person.

This week I plan to indulge my love of good conversation—especially since I’ve got a week filled with my favorite clients. I plan to be just as generous as I know how and see what develops.

You?

—Amara

Intention Instead of Resolution January 1, 2013

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Well, it’s 2013—another brand spanking new year. If you’ve read my blog in the past you know that I’m not too taken with new year’s resolutions. However I am very big on intention which is a kinder, gentler kissin’ cousin to resolution. And for me intentions have a lot more juice. Resolutions beg to be broken and then you get to feel guilty about having broken them. And if you foolishly made a list of your resolutions in the past don’t, I repeat don’t, be tempted to go back and look at the list to see how you did. It will only make you feel bad because chances are you did not fulfill them. And if you did achieve them–big congratulations—you are a unique person.

There is a saying that I quote each year on this day. It says that what you spend time thinking about or doing on New Year’s Day will be what you will do or think about for the entire year. With that in mind, I am planning on having a conscious day so that I can have the kind of year I intend to have—not the one that just happens to me. (Of course if you choose not to believe that then do whatever today. Me, I’m covering all my bases.)

So what am I going to do today?

1. Cook pork and sauerkraut for my family. I want to cook good food (and before you say it—yes pork and sauerkraut is good comfort food and good luck on New Year’s Day according to the local folklore here in Pennsylvania Dutch Land) and spend good times with my family this year.

2. Going to see my friend Mary who has been having some health challenges this year. I value friendships and want to continue to deepen the relationships I have and develop some new ones.

3. Post this blog entry. I neglected my writing in 2012. My intention is to write more this year.

4. Play tango music. Well, I want to dance the tango all year of course—often and well.

5. Meditate. One can never go wrong in spending time going inward. There’s much to be learned and gained by focusing on Source/Spirit/God. (you pick your favorite term—samey same—another Pennsylvania Dutch saying)

6. Keep my mood in a very good place. 2012 was a year of ups and downs for me mood wise as it was for a lot of people I know and/or coach. So I am intending a year of productive moods—even in the face of things going wrong as they inevitably will.

7. Work on a quilt. That’s obvious—I love doing it and it’s good therapy.

8. Be as kind as I can because just look around…couldn’t the world use a little (lot) more of that?

What are you going to do today or tomorrow to project the kind of year that you dream of? Whatever you decide I hope that you’ll be conscious about it and that all of your dreams come true—or at the very least that you have some dreams…

–Amara

3 Ways to Be Happy When You Think You’re Not May 14, 2012

Posted by Ann Bertorelli in ontological coaching, Personal Observations, Self-Development.
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 tango shoes by godwin lue Maybe you’ve noticed (and I hope you have) that I haven’t written a post since January—egad—really?  My family has been going through an extended difficult period and it’s caused me to be extremely preoccupied with support activities. I’ve been intending to sit down for weeks now and just write whether I had the energy and  passion for it or not. But alas, the spirit has been willing but the body weak.Or perhaps vice versa.

So today is the day for some reason known only to the gods—or God. I’ve been reflecting on how one goes about being happy in the face of being surrounded by challenges that are crazy-making rather than happy-making. And I have been working that little problem for months now, sistahs and bros.

Here’s what I’ve come up with. Hope it helps you because it seems most everyone I know is in the midst of something. I’m beginning to think that’s what was meant about the world coming to an end in 2012. Old stuff is ending and new stuff is coming in..But I digress.

So here are three strategies I’ve come up with. Not rocket science but they sure have helped me.

#1 Make a declaration

Make the declaration that you are going to be happy and peaceful even in the face of the crazy-making shit that happens. Yeah, so to do that, it’s probably helpful to stop thinking about events as “crazy-making shit.” Rather, start thinking of the events as merely events– ascribing no particular judgment to them. My massage therapist, Annie suggests that you pretend you’re watching a movie.  I like movies. And as far as the declaration goes, I envision stamping my foot at the Universe and saying, “I AM happy, and at peace, period. “

Does this magically fix everything? Of course not, but if you stay stubborn about it, it sure does make the joyful and peaceful moments more plentiful. Something’s better than nothing. Just remember that even if it seems not to be working, the fact that you have declared it paves the way for it to be so.

#2 Be wherever you are

A lot of us get really nutty because we have some kind of assessment that we should be happy all the time. And if we’re not, we judge ourselves not spiritual, grateful, resilient,or (fill in with your favorite guilt –producing adjective.) I believe it’s important to acknowledge that it’s ok to be down in the mouth sometimes. Even Mother Theresa felt that God had turned his back on her at times—and if it’s good enough for Mother Theresa, it’s good enough for me.

So if you’re sad—be sad. If you’re listless, be that really, really well. And if you’re happy then jump for joy and revel in it. Our emotions don’t cease to exist when we ignore them—they simply go underground never to be heard from again until our back starts hurting or we get some kind of disease. Just say no that! The way healing modalities therapies that help to release feelings that have taken up residence in your body. Do a web search—you’ll find a bunch of them.

#3 Find something that totally occupies your mind and do it

I’m the first one to admit that too much navel-gazing does not a fun-gal or guy make. Yes, it’s important to know where you are but you don’t have to make your problems a way of life, carrying them around like your favorite backpack. There are times when it’s helpful to distract yourself so that you can come back and see your life situation anew.

I remember in the old days when I used to balance my bank account using my checkbook. (before I could go on the internet and track my account daily.) I’d try and try to figure out where that missing $10.50 got to. Then I”d pick up and leave it for an hour or two. When I came back, the error jumped right out at me, begging to be corrected. It was there all the time but I just couldn’t see the forest for the trees.

This is a long way of saying—get a little distance from your stuff as often as you need to. And pick something that leaves little room for you to stew. I dance Argentine Tango—an activity that demands my complete attention. If I think about my problems, I suck as a dancer—or I get my foot stepped on. Don’t care for either of those alternatives so I stay present. And lo and behold, when I come back to my ‘problems,’ they look a little different.

So there you have it, boys and girls, the truth as I know it. It’s worked for me and I offer it to you with my very best wishes for peace and joy.

–Amara