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What’s Grammar Got To Do With Your Promotion? May 12, 2014

Posted by Ann Bertorelli in Uncategorized.
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Grammar—-oooohh. Brings up images of that high school English teacher with the ever-present red pencil who wreaked havoc on every paper you wrote. Or those sentence diagrams or subject-verb agreement. But in the real world of business and jobs, even though grammar is seldom addressed, it really is important.

Grammar is part of your image…

As you are considered for the next level promotion, particularly if that’s a fairly high level in your company, how you present yourself becomes more and more important. And making good (including impeccable grammar) presentations, for example, is an important skill for supervisors, managers, and executives or anyone who aspires to be one.

One company I worked for put their executives though a ‘charm school’ training with consultants who specialized in polishing executives for the best possible impression. The course included public speaking, speaking to the press, wardrobe, and even dining etiquette…really.

If you want to climb the ladder, pay attention

If you have no aspirations to higher levels within your company/career, read no further. But if you aspire to higher levels of the corporate (or company) ladder, read on. I’m going to point out some of the most common (and annoying) grammatical errors that I hear people making.

· Lie and lay

These two verbs are virtually never used correctly by the average American speaker. The verb lay means to put or place NOT to recline. Here is an example of the correct usage: I will lay the paper on your desk when I find it. It is not correct to say, I’m going to lay down before dinner (which everyone does—except my son who was brainwashed from an early age.)

The past tense of lay is laid as in; I laid the book on my bedside table before I went to sleep.

Now onto lie. Lie means to recline as in; I try to lie down when I’m tired. But to make it even more confusing the past tense of lie is lay. Yesterday I lay down on the floor after hearing the bad news. In the preceding sentence, ‘laid’ would be incorrect. For a more in-depth analysis of lie and lay try this link:  Grammar Girl on Lie and Lay

And if you want to take a quiz to see how good you are– go here. Lie and Lay Quiz. Just learn to use it correctly, at least when you’re in a formal setting.

· I and me

Another common error I hear (and one that bugs me) is the use of I when me should be used. Here’s an example: Sarah left the invitation for John and I. Most people use I. I’m not sure why—I guess people were brainwashed at an early age to think me was undesirable in some way. The correct usage is Sarah left the invitation for John and me. If the sentence were changed to read John and I left the invitation for Sarah, then I would be correct.

Here’s an easy way to differentiate. When there is a compound subject or object (sorry to get so English teacher-y but that IS what it’s called) as in John and me in the above sentence, try taking out the first person named and saying the sentence. Sarah left the invitation for I. Sound right? NO. Sarah left the invitation for me. Yes, that’s it. Therefore that sentence is correct when it reads; Sarah left the invitation for John and me.

Now there is a rule for the correct usage which has to do with whether the pronoun is a subject or an object but you really don’t need to bother yourself with that if you use the method I described above. Capisce? (a little Italian throw in for variety)

Another closely related pronoun mishap is the use of myself. People in business do this all the time. Again I think that they believe it sounds more formal and therefore better somehow. An example: The boss called Tom and myself into to his office. Nope, not right. You know this one already, right? The boss called Tom and me into his office.

 

Myself is what is known as a reflexive pronoun. Correctly used it emphasizes the subject of the sentence. I often quote myself. So for the correct usage when you have a compound subject or object, just go back to the hint above and take out the first part of the compound to see what’s correct. If you’d like to read more about it go to Wiki and read this entry: Reflexive Pronouns

I could go on and on about the correct use of grammar and its impact on your image in the business arena, however, this is a post not a textbook. And I have to proofread it twelve more times to be sure there are no grammatical errors.

You decide

To summarize my point: depending on your job industry and the culture of your workplace, making grammatical errors can subtly influence the impression that you’re making. And while it may not keep you from getting promoted, in certain situations, it may. Just sayin.’

Ann Bertorelli is a workplace success coach. She helps people who work get more done, build solid work relationships and start enjoying their jobs again. To learn more go to www.NoMoreDramaAtWork.com

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Know Who You’re Really Having the Conversation With… November 7, 2013

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I just finished typing the title to this post and the former English teacher in me(many, many jobs ago) cringed at at a sentence ending with a preposition. So if you’re one of those proper grammar types, we can go with “Know With Whom You’re Really Having the Conversation.” It sounds stodgy but it is grammatically sound. ( I think I need to get out more—I’m starting to have conversations with myself.)

Conversations With Others Grow Relationships—Or Not

But I digress…Back to conversations with OTHERS. It is through conversations that we either grow our relationship with another or diminish it. Of course, we mostly want to have better relationships with others. And if we don’t we’re probably not going to have conversations with them anyway. I’ve been thinking about how sometimes we end up in the middle of a conversation and realize that we’re really talking to someone from our past.

A wonderfully illustrative example… You have a co-worker who is Wendy Whiner—always complaining, awfulizing, seeing the worst possible outcomes for a situation. And it’s that tone of voice that reminds you of running your fingernails on a blackboard…eeek. And she just gets on your very last nerve.

Ever wonder why that is? She doesn’t seem to affect everyone in the way she affects you. So gee, it must be something about you. Could it be that she reminds you of your whiny baby sister who always got her way, never did her chores, and was spoiled rotten by your parents (your story)?  And who to this day you really don’t like being around?

You’re Not Talking to the Right Person

Ding, ding, ding…so when you hear your whiny co-worker you are really hearing your sister. You’re not talking to Wendy Whiner, you’re talking to your sister…

Snap Out of It

So what’s to be done about it? Well, first—snap out of it! Be present to the conversation that’s going on in front of you, not the one that is playing in your head. Take deep breaths and be conscious that Wendy is not baby sister.

A lot of us have voices from the past that we allow to make us feel guilty, unattractive, fat, stupid, or any number of undesirable qualities. When I was a kid, I was not very good in math. My dad was a chemist so he was very good in math. He couldn’t understand why I didn’t get it. So he would sit down with me and have ‘coaching’ sessions to help me with my math. However these sessions always ended up with him yelling at me when I couldn’t get the right answer. Needless to say, I grew up with a bit of a math block. (Aside: my dad was a great dad, just not a great math teacher.)

Fast forward twenty years…I decided to go for my MBA and of course had to take a number of courses that involved math. ( I still shiver when I think about the statistics course) I knew that I couldn’t finish my MBA work unless I did the math.  I wanted to get my MBA. So I made a conscious declaration to silence that voice in my head that said I couldn’t do math—And I did.

Moral of the Story?

Yes, it took something to do it but I was determined. The moral of the story? If you’ve got a difficult relationship in your life(or a bunch of them), get to work and figure out who you might be hearing when they speak to you. Then tell that voice to be quiet and go sit in the corner. You’ll probably have to repeat yourself numerous times but just the self-awareness you bring to the process will make a change for the better…Honest!

 

If you’ve got a difficult someone at work (or anywhere) and would like to look into getting coaching about how to create a more productive relationship with him or her, contact me to schedule a coaching information session. Click on this link to schedule: My Calendar

 

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

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Sure Fire Way to Improve Difficult Work Relationships October 24, 2013

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Visit my web site at www.nomoredramaatwork.com

The Most Important Relationship in Your Life August 18, 2013

Posted by Ann Bertorelli in Uncategorized.
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I’ve been thinking a lot about relationships lately—not surprising since I am a relationship coach. And I’ve taken a lot of time lately in between marathon sessions on the internet to think about relationships and what could make them better for people.

I’ve come to the conclusion that most of us have relationship breakdowns because we are not in touch with who we are and are oblivious to what we bring to our relationships with others.

Lack of Self-esteem?

What do I mean by that? I mean that often our own lack of self-esteem gets in the way of our seeing good things in others. Or it has us become envious of those that we think are doing better in life than we are. And because it’s in our ‘background of obviousness’ (all my coaching clients are now groaning in uniso) we don’t get how it’s coloring what we see ‘out there.’

The Ever-present ‘Background of Obviousness’

Ok, for those of you who don’t know the term, it’s all that stuff about us and our way of seeing the world that it so much a part of us that it recedes into the background. It’s like the chair that you’re (probably) sitting on at the moment. Did you think about it at all until I mentioned it? I doubt it. And just like that chair, our value system and what we ‘know’ about ourselves is lurking somewhere out of our conscious knowledge.

But we sure do act on it, every minute of every day. Part of being more present in our interactions with others is to be able to step back and observe those things. Until we notice it, I mean really see it for what it is, we can’t change it.

First, Start with Yourself

Our relationship with ourself is the first one we need to work on to make the other relationships in our lives more fulfilling, functional, and healthy.

I bet you’re wondering how you work on that relationship. Thought you’d never ask.

Start with Intention 

The first thing to do is to have the intention that you really want to look at the things about you that don’t serve you. Sounds obvious, right? Well, it takes a certain amount of bravery and determination to step into really looking at our own foibles and sometimes it’s just too overwhelming. But as is often said, if you’re going to eat an elephant you do that by taking one bite at a time. (Who the heck would ever want to eat an elephant, anyway?)

Love Yourself

Another thing to do is to start loving yourself more. What? Don’t we all love ourselves? Nope, we don’t. Otherwise why would people take drugs, engage in self-sabotage, refuse to set boundaries in relationships with others, engage in all kinds of avoidance behavior to get out of taking care of ourselves—to name just a few.

Here’s How

I know, I know, now you’re thinking about how to love yourself more. Here are some of my tried and true strategies:

· Say no when you don’t want to do something. If you don’t want to do something that someone asks of you or because you’re afraid of how it would look, then just say no. (That sounds like it could be a good advertising slogan.)

· Give yourself the gift of time. Rather than running here and there and everywhere trying to avoid your issues, just sit with them. If you’re angry, then be angry. If you’re sad then be sad. And if you’re joyful, tell the world. Avoiding stuff just causes it to go inside and reside in your body—not a good place to store it. It can pop out when you least expect it as dis-ease.

· Drop the habit of always putting the needs of others before your own. Practice once a week putting yourself first—see the first bullet. And do it with a guilt-free conscience—or fake it till you make it.

· Love your body. This one can be difficult for a lot of us. Not to let the male readers off the hook, but this one is rampant among women. We are bombarded with messages every single day about body image: what our body should look like, what we should weigh, how we should dress, and so on. It gets hard to love our bodies. Know what? Just say no. (Oops, I used that line already, but it fits.) Stomp your foot, figuratively or metaphorically and refuse to hate your body for just being what it is. If you want to lose weight do it because you want to not because you think you should. If you like your clogs from 1982, then wear them proudly. If your hips are too wide to fit into a size 12, then buy a size 14 with a smile.

Lately I have been contemplating the wonders of my body. I’m in my 60’s and I am just blown away by the fact that my heart has been pumping continuously for all these years. It just amazes me when I think about it—and I am so grateful. I’m also grateful for all the wonderful experiences my body has taken me through in this lifetime. Seeing the Grand Canyon, Europe, and the Caribbean, having a baby, learning to dance the tango, smelling pine trees after a rain, and……well, you get the idea. It’s wondrous.

So how about spending more time thinking about the wondrous than dwelling on what is not present. If you stop worrying about what is not there you’ll have a better chance of creating it later on. But if you keep dwelling on it not being there, you’ll have no room for the good stuff. Ok, sermonette over.

We all want to live happier more fulfilled lives. And mostly that happiness is directly related to the success of the important relationships in our lives.

My very best advice is to start with the person who’s reading this post. (You!) And if you get stuck, I know a really good coach. Smile

Ann 

www.lifecoachingwithspirit.com

The More Real You Get… July 15, 2013

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As you have probably figured out by now, the focus of my coaching is on relationships. Relationships with others, the relationship with yourself. I believe that it’s wise and productive to be intentional about what you want to create in your relationships. And I like to practice what I preach.

Suffering fools

Today I did something that I don’t often do. I did not hold my tongue but pretty much said what I was thinking and what’s more I did not apologize for it. (Now before those of you who have coached with me think that I have suddenly had a frontal lobotomy—let me specify that I am talking about a family relationship here, not a coaching one. In coaching another, I mostly (but now always, say exactly what I’m thinking).

But today, I had just had enough of the dynamics of this particular relationship. It’s one that I have been tiptoeing around for a long time—doing my best to keep it on an even keel, trying hard not to rock the boat. Forgiving and trying to see the bright side of the person’s actions and personality. But today—today, my last nerve was stomped on and I just spoke my truth without prettying it up.

Usually when I do this I feel bad about it later and think that perhaps I could have been a better, more loving person, etc, etc. Today, I gave up that story and just stepped right in it because I felt the situation called for it. The other person termed me rude and if that was the way I came across then so be it.

Your relationship with yourself is important

One’s relationship with oneself is every bit as important as those we have with others. To keep on keeping your mouth shut in the face of what you view as injustice, lack of ethics and moral standards, or whatever else gets you torqued up, can be detrimental to your health and well-being.

About 10 years ago, I was in a relationship with a person that I really cared about and one which I wanted to continue. However, his actions befuddled and hurt me. I spent about two months not addressing it and lo and behold, I found that my jaw began to hurt constantly—I mean really hurt. It was all that biting back of my words that did it. Once I noticed that, I put an immediate end to the situation.

The first relationship to work on is the one you have with yourself. To keep denying that which is your truth can be very destructive and unhealthy in the long run. Sometimes standing in your own power and being okay with who and what you are is the hardest, yet most self-affirming thing you can do for yourself.

Know who and what you are

Once you’re comfortable with who you are and what makes sense to you in the world, you are better able to get on with the business of having relationships with others. In order to keep your own identity in any relationship, it’s helpful to know what you bring to the table: the good, the bad and/or the ugly. From there you can do your work on yourself and be a solid participant in any relationship you choose to pursue—family, friends, business colleagues, lovers.

I’m feeling pretty good, in spite of having an unpleasant exchange with someone else. Do you have a situation or two that needs to be addressed with some candor? Are there some eggshells you need to stomp on? Maybe it’s time to be who you want to be.

Sign up for a free strategy session

If you’d like to coach with me, visit www.lifecoachingwithspirit.com and sign up for a strategy session. Or email me at ann@lifecoachingwithspirit.com.

Walking Through the Fire May 1, 2011

Posted by Ann Bertorelli in Personal Observations, Uncategorized.
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cccommons by celine nadeauSometimes life gets hard. Sometimes it gets downright overwhelming. I guess we’ve all had times like that. I know I have. It’s something I refer to as ‘walking through the fire.’

Now I’m not talking about minor annoyances like your car not starting, cutting your finger with a knife, or losing a favorite earring. No, I ‘m talking about the REALLY BIG stuff—life changing/threatening stuff. Things like losing a loved one to death, depressions that take away your will to live, battling a serious illness.

Most of us have had these things happen in our lives not once but multiple times. And if you haven’t—well, maybe you could better spend your time reading another post today.

What doesn’t kill you…

I believe that walking through the fire provides us with opportunities—provided we come out on the other side. No, moving through such an event is no fun at all. But to quote Frederich Nietzsche, “What doesn’t kill me will make me stronger.” I often say that to clients and I’m not being flip when I say it. I mean it.

My own fire

I have had quite a few fires to walk through in my life. One of the fiercest was when my 38 year old husband got a brain tumor and died within 5 months, leaving me with a 5 year old son to raise. There were times that I thought I was not going to make it through that blaze. However, the fact that I had a young child depending on me and that I was his ‘only game in town,’ made any other choices seem unavailable. Was it fun to go through it? Decidedly not. But now that I have walked through the fire I know that it did make me strong. I believe that there are not many things I cannot handle.

The ‘wounded healer’

Some of the very best people I know have had some mind-boggling fires to walk through in their lives. And as a result, they bring a richness of experience and perspective that is very valuable to me. They bring the certainty that there is purpose and joy in life and that the life they have is definitely worth living. They often display a deep caring of others and a capacity for seeing others as vulnerable just as they were. Could they have gone the other direction and become embittered, pessimistic people? Of course—and there are plenty of those around.

But what sets them (and I hope me) apart is that they have learned from these challenging times and they have moved on.They have made a declaration that while they may be wounded by their difficulties, they will heal and rebound from them. That’s why they are the best people.

You can do this

You may be walking though a fire right now or trying to recover from one. Your ability to declare that you are and will be ok is what will get you through it. Sometimes it’s just one day, one hour, one breath at a time. So even if you have to repeat it like a mantra with each breath, your determination will be what gets your through  And for God’s sake, don’t be afraid to ask for help. (Get it?)

I am not sure why this topic came up today but I was guided to write it. Thus I am sure that I was supposed to write about it for at least one of you out there…

Hang in there—fires burn themselves out…

—Amara

Who Are You Being? March 6, 2011

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2418629901_0eceaf6e82One of my favorite questions of people I coach is “Who are you being?” (And one of my favorite most-hated questions is “Name 10 things you love about yourself.” However, I’ll save that for another day. )

What are you about?

Why do I love the question ‘Who are you being?” Because it really speaks to what you want to create in the world. And if you’re not conscious of what you’re creating, you are very likely to create a lot of muck and greatly annoy those around you. And since the guiding principle of my coaching is to get effective work done by intentionally building relationships with others, it follows that I’d like to know who you are being (or at least who you think you are being).

Who do you know?

When someone has a consciousness about who they’re being, it shows up in everything they do. Think of some of these people who are in your life. One person who comes to mind for me is Lori, the owner of Sangha Space in Media, PA where I take tango class. Lori is all about creating a tango community that is vibrant and welcoming. She speaks about these goals and her actions point to this commitment. Her energy and her desire to make everyone welcome is constant and when she’s not at the studio, the place is just not the same. Lori’s actions and words are a match and ‘who she is being’ is enriching her life and that of others. She is acting into a strong declaration about the purpose of her life.

You can be a whole bunch of you’s

Who are you being? There is no one answer to that question, of course. Sometimes I am being supportive, kind, and  loving. Other times I am being judgmental, impatient, and selfish. And I am ok with either end of the spectrum. However, I do have a declaration about who I want to be and judgmental, impatient, and selfish is not part of that declaration. So the trick is to constantly rely on my Observer—that element of myself that can step outside , take a look at how/what I am doing, and allow me to self-correct when I am not acting in integrity with my declarations about who I want to be.

Try this

This week figure out what you’d like to do more of in order to act in alignment with who you want to be. Kinder? More hard-working? Better organized? A friend to all? A setter of boundaries? You decide. Just decide. And then when someone asks you that annoying question about who you are being, you’ll have an answer.

–Amara

We Teach What We Need To Learn April 18, 2010

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books6 by Brenda Starr

When something keeps coming up in my world I have learned to pay attention to it. The latest ‘earworm’ that has been haunting  me is the phrase, “We teach what we need to learn.” Since it’s been coming up for me, I guess it’s a good topic for today’s blog. But what does it mean?

What are you a stickler about?

My interpretation is that the things that we are sticklers about are things that we ourselves need to learn. It is also possible that we are sticklers about things that we have already learned and seen great value from the learning.

Here’s an example of my own. When I work with executive coaching clients, I often get on their cases about paying attention to time. This pertains to things like starting meetings on time, meeting your deadlines, or accurately assessing the time it will take to deliver on a promise. But as my clients would tell you, it most particularly pertains to getting to appointments on time.

I had to learn this

Why is this something I focus on? Because I had to learn it myself. I have a tendency to be a procrastinator, waiting until the last minute to meet my promises. I used to think it was just fine to be five minutes late to a meeting—everyone else was, after all. And then I met the coach from hell, I’ll call her Gloria K. (’cause that’s her name). Gloria was teaching me and my colleagues a body of work based on the work of Fernando Flores. The object of the work was to build productive relationships with other people in order to be able to produce excellent work together. (This is the work I still teach others today.)

Gloria had a no budge approach to the start time of our sessions. Woe to you if you came into learning session even 30 seconds late. Her point, which I later came to appreciate was that in being late to a meeting you are failing to meet a promise that you have made to others. In addition, you are wasting valuable minutes of time for everyone involved. Multiply this by 10 meetings a week (a modest number in many organizations) and you can see how much time is wasted by a seemingly unimportant action. Quite simply you are robbing others of valuable minutes of their lives by being late.

I am now Timezilla

Gloria was a tough coach but she gave me many gifts, not the least of which is the ability to coach others. So now, I am Timezilla with my clients. It’s not about the time so much as it is about being judicious about managing your promises to others. So what I teach I needed to learn (and still do upon occasion).

What do you teach others?

So what things do you teach others? Are you a nut about getting a project finished once you’ve started it? Are you always counseling others to be patient? Are you critical of people who disregard the feelings of others? Do people who are negative drive you up a wall?

These are all examples of ‘things you are teaching.’ Take a look at the lessons you ‘teach’ others. And then take a look at yourself. Is the lesson something you have already mastered and strongly value? Or is the lesson something you have yet to learn?

Isn’t self-exploration grand?

–Amara

Why We Do Things That Don’t Make Us Happy—Part 3 April 11, 2010

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Avoir que de la gueule by Tywak OK. It’s Sunday morning, time to write one more installment about why we do things that don’t make us happy. I think this is the final part of this homily but it’s not written yet so anything can happen.

As you probably remember I embarked on this topic at the request of a friend. Thought it would be a simple and short post of some of that wisdom(it’s my blog and I can call it that) that rattles around in my head. However, I kept having more thoughts about the topic. So here’s what I’ve been thinking about this week.

Dharma? What’s that?

Human beings are most happy when they are fulfilling their purpose—sometimes known as living their passion. The Hindus have a word that describes this: dharma. Dharma is defined as the natural universal laws whose observance enables humans to be contented and happy. Anything that helps humans reach God is considered to be dharmic. There’s a lot more to it and if you’d like to dip into it, start by going to Wiki entry at http://hinduism.about.com/od/basics/a/dharma.htm.

However, for my purposes here, I’ll just keep it simple. Your dharma is what you have a passion for and when you are doing this thing, you are content and happy and being of service to the world.

My dharma is….

As always, I have an example. As I have mentioned I am an executive and personal coach. Coaching is definitely my dharma. I am passionate about helping other people to lead more fulfilling lives. I am committed to doing this, one conversation at a time. How do I know that coaching is my dharma? Cause it’s fun—about 98% of the time. I can listen to minute details of my clients’ lives endlessly, without getting bored. I, who am not the most patient person on the planet, can be patient with the foibles that cause others to create what they don’t want in their lives. That is,as long as they are committed to changing it. If they just want to whine, they need to find a different coach—hence the name Edgyangel. Edginess is good in the right balance.

So I am fortunate to have found my dharma and even more fortunate to get paid for doing it.

What’s your dharma?

What is your dharma? What things in your life are you passionate about? Here are some examples taken from my friends, family, and clients.

  • raising children
  • employing and teaching others about the curative powers of essential oils
  • styling hair
  • doing accounting work (my accountant actually gets a real charge out of her spread sheets—and I thank God for her every year at this time.)
  • snowboarding
  • sewing clothing
  • writing blog posts 🙂

An interesting list, is it not? It illustrates that your dharma can be found anywhere and doesn’t have to be of the magnitude of say, Mother Theresa or Barack Obama. The important (and sometimes tricky) thing is to figure out what it is. But once you do, and you start consciously living into that dharma, you can’t help but find happiness.

What lights you up?

So, if you are feeling less than satisfied with the current state of your life, start figuring out what your passion is. There are tons of books written on the topic. But start looking at the things in your life that light you up. That’s a great place to start. And don’t give up till you find it—unless of course you want to keep doing those things that don’t make you happy.

I’ll end with a quote from the amazing poet, Hafiz.

“Ever since happiness heard your name it’s been running through the streets trying to find you.”

Just so…

Amara