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Do You Have the Boss From Hell? June 19, 2014

Posted by Ann Bertorelli in career development, Coaching, workplace success.
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Having hierarchical levels has pretty much become necessary in most companies. If you happen to work in a company that has no levels and no real bosses, then read no further unless you want to help out your buddy who does have the boss from hell.

Most bosses are people who have been promoted because they showed leadership promise and were interested in supervising and leading others. However, like the rest of the population, there are the occasional ‘bad actors’ who for whatever reason make life miserable to those who report to them.

Strategies to Stay Sane

if you’re in the difficult position of working for the boss from hell, you have probably tried your own strategies for staying sane in the face of arrogance, incompetence, lack of compassion, or whatever flavor of craziness your boss demonstrates. However, I’d like to add a few strategies that you may find helpful to tide you over until the situation eases or end.

  1. Spend some time listening to what your boss says—in meetings, in relaxed moments, in conversation with his/her cronies. And while you are listening, turn off that critic in your head that provides a running commentary on how awful, unreasonable, or incompetent your boss is. Why do this? Because you want to learn as much as you can about what is important to your boss. By learning this you can be in a position to take care of those concerns without being asked to, thereby building trust with the boss. So if you determine that your boss is very interested in looking good to his boss (and who isn’t?), you can make sure to add to that positive picture whenever you can. And if you can leave behind your negative judgments about your boss while doing it, the better it will go. Remember, the better the boss looks the quicker that promotion will come his way, leaving you with a sigh of relief.
  2. Suck it up. Sometimes we get caught in a being critical of the boss because he or she does not do things the way our old boss did, or the way we’d like them done. In a perfect world, we’d work the way we want to all of the time. But in case you haven’t noticed, it’s not a perfect world. So take a deep breath, and give your boss a break. Sometimes, just sometimes, it’s not your boss—it’s you. (Read this blog post for some less than successful types at work:  5 People Who Probably Won’t be Successful at Work
  3. Don’t add fuel to the fire. If your boss’ particular misbehavior is screaming and carrying on, your response should be dead calm. For you to respond in kind will lead to escalation of emotions- –not a pretty picture. ‘Stay calm and carry on,’ to quote the Brits.
  4. Avoid being a doormat. You may think that this advice flies in the face of the one above but not really. You are an employee, not an indentured servant. If your boss consistently asks you to do things that are clearly out of your job responsibilities AND not something that adds to your job knowledge or development, you are perfectly within your rights to protest. Yes, I know it can be hard to stand up to your boss, scary in fact. And that’s why we have HR departments. And if you are being sexually harassed or in any other way threatened…don’t think for a moment. Go report it.
  5. Make the hard decision. If you have a truly abusive, incompetent, or otherwise impossible boss, and the prospect of it getting better does not look promising, it may be time to move on. If your crazy boss is driving you crazy, looking for and securing a new job is a small price to pay for peace of mind. Look here for a post on soul-killing jobs.

I hope these strategies have given you some ideas for new actions you can take to thrive at your job, even if you have a crazy-making boss. And if you find that you need some help, let me remind you that I am a workplace success coach. Follow this link to find out how to work with me: Work With Me

Good luck with that boss…

Leave a comment if you’ve got a great story about a boss from hell!

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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

Is Your Job Killing Your Soul? January 20, 2014

Posted by Ann Bertorelli in workplace success.
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Are you feeling depleted every time you think of going to work? Do you dread Monday mornings? Find yourself having a hard time getting up in the morning? Your job is probably the culprit. From relationships that make you feel beaten, to too much work in too little time, sometimes it can feel like you’re selling your soul for a paycheck.

As a veteran of Corporate America myself and a longtime executive coach, I’ve had the opportunity to see first-hand how difficult jobs can be. And if you’re in that situation it can seem like an uphill battle to find any enjoyment in the 8-10 hours a day you spend at your job.

Interested in some suggestions that might help you get out from under?

OK—here goes.

1. Surround yourself with people whom you enjoy and work well with.

Yes, I know that sometimes this is easier said than done. There are always the difficult relationships to contend with. However, make a conscious effort whenever possible to work and socialize with people who are compatible with your view on life. Even if it’s just that one particular buddy that you have, that’s often enough to give you some comic relief and something to look forward to while you’re at work.

2. Cultivate doing work that you like.

While you can’t always do only the parts of your job that like, you can certainly become good at them, perhaps known for that particular skill. Then you’re more likely to get requests/opportunities to do that work as time goes on.

3. If you’re constantly feeling overwhelmed with the amount of work that you have, take breaks every two hours or so.

This might seem counterintuitive , however, when you’re in the state of overwhelm it’s easy to get ‘foggy brain,’ a state of muddled thinking, because you’ve got so much coming at you. Taking more frequent breaks gives you a chance to refresh your mental state and can actually lead to getting more done.

4. Make sure you have an interesting/enjoyable life outside of work.

Cultivate some interests or hobbies. Plan to take your kids on a special outing. Have a date with your spouse during the week. Go away for a weekend trip. Or go to the gym after work. Almost anything that you can do to have some enjoyment outside of work will do. Just be sure that you do it.

5. If your attitude about your job is really beyond repair, start looking around for  other options.

If it’s your job or boss, not the company, look at other departments to see if you might find a happier home in one of them. If you’re just out of sync with the culture of the company you work for—and this is not an unusual occurrence—time to start looking outside the company for a new position. It’s best to start this exploration sooner rather than later, in case you need to acquire some new training or schooling. Give some serious thought to your ideal job and work environment. Write it down and then make yourself a deadline for getting another job. If you really want to get wild and crazy, make a vision board. (A collage that you create with words and pictures that show what you want in your future life—lots of fun.)

It doesn’t have to be tomorrow—it may be a year or two down the road. But at least you’ll have a plan that will sustain you when the going gets tough.

You spend about 2080 hours a year at your job. It’s up to you to do what you can to make sure your soul is singing—or at least humming—during those hours.

What To Do When Your Co-Worker is Driving You Nuts December 11, 2013

Posted by Ann Bertorelli in Coaching, workplace success.
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I’ve been coaching people in the workplace for 14 years now. And as a workplace coach I get the opportunity to listen to a lot of stories of frustration and woe. Invariably these stories are about conflict that my client is having with another person they work with. And of course, it’s always the fault of the other insensitive, inconsiderate, incompetent—or any other in-word that you’d prefer. Of course as a good coach should do, I always listen carefully to the story. And then comes the expectant pause in which I am expected to utter pearls of wisdom. And I do—naturally.

You have a style difference

The pearl that often escapes my lips is this: You and your nemesis have a style difference. You’re not wrong and he’s not wrong—you just have a different style based on your personality type.

Most of my clients are conversant with the MBTI (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator) and I go on to explain my comment in those terms. But even if you’re not familiar with the MBTI, you can probably benefit from taking a look at this idea. So here goes…

We each have our own particular set of preferences based on our personality. And because of our personality we have a preferred style of action.

An example of a style difference

Let’s look at an example. You are a very organized person. You place a lot of value on timetables and schedules. You like to map out project steps before you begin the project. You also like to make a decision and get on with it, preferring not to go back and re-visit it once it’s made. Surprises tend to upset your plans.

Your co-worker (the one that’s driving you crazy) likes to leave room in the schedule for late-breaking changes. She doesn’t want to map out each step, knowing that there will always be a need for changing based on the situations that come up. She likes to search for all the options before making a decision and likes to maintain flexibility throughout the project—so nothing is ever ‘cast in stone.’

As you can tell, the two of you have a style difference. You like to work a project in different ways. You may both come up with the same finished project but you get there using different paths. But her methods drive you crazy and vice versa.

So what can you do about that?

First of all remember that she is not trying to drive you crazy (even though she may be), she is simply working from her view of the world. She probably spends time wondering why you do the things that you do too. If you can appreciate that there may be something valuable in the way she works and actively look for that, you’ll probably have an easier time of it—and so will your co-worker.

Here are some things to try:

· Share your perspective about a new project and how you’d like to proceed. Then ask for her perspective. Have an open discussion about where you feel uncomfortable with her approach and get that same information from your co-worker.

· Understand that these are style differences—there’s no real right or wrong. If you can remember that more than likely there is no malice intended, it will probably be easier to work successfully together.

· Try adopting your co-worker’s style for a day and, if your relationship is close enough, ask her to adopt yours.

· When a conflict arises, explain why you are taking the course of action that you are.

· Be sincerely open to the idea that your way may not be the best way in all circumstances. Give the other method a try once in a while.

· Think about this: Behaviors that annoy you in others may be a clue to areas that you need to pay attention to for your own self-development. So if you are annoyed that your co-worker can’t seem to make a decision, maybe you are jumping to a decision too soon and need to practice more information-gathering before finalizing your decisions.

It’s been my experience that these small (or large) style differences lead to a lot of conflict in the workplace. And while conflict is inevitable, why not stop sweating the small stuff?

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

Posted by Ann Bertorelli in Uncategorized.
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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

 

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

Three Ways to Appreciate Yourself When No One Else Seems To January 15, 2012

Posted by Ann Bertorelli in ontological coaching, Personal Observations.
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I guess we all go though times when can sing the old childhood favorite:

Nobody likes me; everybody hates me. Guess I’ll go eat worms. Big fat juicy ones, (and so on.)

You probably know the feeling. It seems that no one gets how great you are and what you have to offer, or they don’t seem to respect you for the great skills and talents you bring. Notice I have chosen the word ‘seem’ because most of the time when we are feeling that way it’s because of an inner dialogue we are having with ourselves. The more we stew on it, the worse it gets and pretty soon our mood is in the ditch and we are in the land of victimhood—one of my personal favorites.(NOT)

What can you do when you find yourself hanging out in this desolate wasteland? Well, just for you I have come up with some tried and true remedies to get you through the night, the day, or the week. Any longer than a week and you’re in danger of adopting a new way of life…yuk!

So here goes:

#1  Make what others think of you ‘mildly interesting.’

If you base your happiness solely on what others think of you, you’re looking for love in all the wrong places. The person who needs to think highly of you is? (for $1000 and a trip to Belgravia) Yep, that’s right—you. Often we are tempted to take personally what others say and do—making it all about us and our shortcomings or lack of value. Try this interpretation—it is never about you. It’s always about them. People see the world through their set of values and experiences—what I refer to as their background of obviousness or BOO. So if they are judging you as falling short, it’s more about their own world than it is yours. So how about making the assessments of others about you, mildly interesting?

I had a coach who used to tell me that when I would whine about something. Mildly interesting means you don’t discount it since their opinions may contain a nugget for you. However it also means that while their opinions are interesting, they do not rock your world.

#2  Make a list of your accomplishments/talents

We all have a very silly tendency to dwell on what’s not right about us. When you think about that it’s kind of crazy really. We have about a million choices in how we think of ourselves –or at least two. We can either think we are great or we can think we’re lacking. Hmmm, let me see. Which one of those choices makes us feel the best? We’re great or we are the dregs of the earth…let me take a WAG (wild-ass guess) here. I think it feels better to think we’re ok, worthy, good, talented, etc.. Now if it makes you feel good to think you are totally worthless, well, ok. But you don’t need a coach—I’d shoot for a psychologist or psychiatrist or some psych…

I was having a conversation with a friend of mine today about our tango milonga last night. He was commenting on the fact that he was much in demand as a partner. After that remark he said, “I hope I’m not being too big for my britches. (Being raised in Texas, that’s one of my favorite sayings.) My response was, “If you’ve got it, you may as well flaunt it.”

So take 5 or 10 minutes to sit down and write down the things that are good about you. No, not one word about what you need to improve. Bet you $10 you’ll feel better after doing it.

#3 Just Say NO

When I find myself going into the self-pity mode, or the I-am-an-unworthy- human-being place and I don’t feel like having a pity party, I just stomp my foot and say NO! You’d be surprised how much better this can make you feel. Especially the foot stomping part. Just make sure the little children are safely out of your way when you do it.

There’s something very empowering about deciding what mood you’re going to be in. And we all have the power to do that—if we choose.

I wouldn’t kid ya..

–Amara

A Passion For ? June 6, 2011

Posted by Ann Bertorelli in Personal Observations, Self-Development.
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Yes, once again I have had a break in my blogging schedule. Ever since they closed my Borders store I have been a bit more likely to take a week off. Guess it’s the lack of a de-caf latte that’s got me off my game. But this time I have a really good reason for missing my last couple of posting deadlines…well, not good exactly but understandable. A couple of weeks ago my doctor determined that I had a detached retina and needed surgery to repair it. And that, my friends is what I’ve been up to the last couple of weeks. I’ll spare you the exhaustive (and exhausting) details for which you should be very thankful. But God, forbid that I should let a personal experience be unexamined. I’ve decided to write about an observation I made during my hiatus.

I love surprises!

As you might imagine I had to see quite an array of doctors in the process of getting my retina repaired. The doctor who determined that I needed the surgery sent me to an eye surgeon whom I had never met.The doctor was very different from what I expected. Turned out he was a tall, good-looking man with long black hair worn pulled into a pony tail which extends down his back. He wears man jewelry, and notice and complimented me on my OM shawl. Yes! My kind of guy. And yet, that’s not the point of this post.

Dr. K loves his work

As I’ve gotten to know Dr. K, I have come to admire his passion for his work. He is very personable however it has become quite clear to me that my retina is vastly more interesting to him than my amazing personality. In a word, Dr. K is fascinated with and passionate about his work.

Find the passion

As I pondered this even further I realized that my hairdresser whom I have been with for over 20 years is passionate about his job, my OB-GYN physician’s assistant always tells me how much she loves her job and I myself have a passion for coaching people. It occurred to me that the people I most like being with—especially if they happen to be sticking needles into my eye– are the ones who have a passion for what they do. I have long been fascinated by those who develop a passion for something. In fact, I once had an idea to do a book of interviews with those kind of people. (I have since decided not to do the book but if you like the idea, be my guest).

Passion points to soul purpose

So what is it about passion that is so compelling? Why are passionate people so often great at what they are passionate about? I believe it’s because there is a spiritual component to passion. Actually passion is a pointer to soul purpose. When passion for something is present (not talking about sexual passion—another topic altogether), it’s like a neon sign announcing your soul’s purpose.

We’re all meant to do something in our lives. Not all of us are destined to be famous world figures, military heroes, brain(or eye) surgeons or movie stars. However every single person has a talent, an innate ability or way of being that is a gift to those inhabiting the planet at this time.

I know that I have a passion for listening to other people’s stories and for looking with them for solutions to the issues that hold them back. It’s what I do and what I want to do. It feeds my soul…

Find your passion

What do you have a passion for? And if you don’t know, maybe it’s time to figure it out. Because when you do you’ll find yourself doing more of that thing. And that will be a gift—not only to others but to yourself. It doesn’t get much better than that…

—Amara

Who Are You Being? March 6, 2011

Posted by Ann Bertorelli in ontological coaching, Uncategorized.
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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

Being Kinder Than Necessary October 24, 2010

Posted by Ann Bertorelli in Self-Development.
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ccphoto by glamlife.studentportal A few months ago I came across a wooden plaque in an antique store that said, “Be kinder than necessary.” It came home with me and sits in a place of honor in my living room where I see it daily. I think that’s a good  precept to live by. I’ve been wanting to write about kindness for some time and today seems to be the right day. Kindness is a quality that I treasure and the lack of it (better known as unkindness) dismays me. The evening news—or any news– is a great place to be dismayed. When the debates about the health care plan were going on I was awed (and not in a good way) at the behaviors that were going on in the town meetings. I mean, it seems to me to be the height of unkindness to begrudge people of lesser fortunes the right to receive health care and then to bring a gun into a meeting to make your point. Yikes…

It’s not just in the news

Current events are not the only place I notice a lack of kindness. As an executive coach I get a chance to hear about it quite often. For some reason when people get together in companies the default position seems to be that of negativity rather than giving others a break.

What do you do if it doesn’t come naturally?

So what does it take to be a kind person? Well, I find that when I not meeting my own standards around kindness I am sitting in judgment of the other person. I have a declaration that I will always grant legitimacy, listen carefully to where the other person is coming from and try my hardest to see what might have his view point make sense in his world. And in spite of that, I sometimes find myself smack dab in the middle of negative assessments. So how to get out of that mindset is a constant source of thought and effort for me.

Marianne Williamson, a well-known teacher and lecturer of The Course in Miracles, once told a story that has stuck with me. Marianne’s web site She said that when we are in our judgments about another person, listing all of their faults and hating them for it, if we could check in with God on the subject Her (or His) response would be, “I like her.” So I guess if it’s good enough for God then it’s good enough for me. And if you don’t believe in God, you probably ought to read a different blogger because even though I have room for your belief system, I can’t get close to speaking to it.

Have a standard

I guess most of us can agree that if we were all a little kinder this world would be a better place to live. However, I can’t control what everyone else is doing. What I can do is offer appreciation to those who I see being kind to others in the hope that their example will inspire. And I can can hold myself to a standard about exhibiting kindness even in the face of resistance to it.

Be kinder than necessary… Those around you will love you for it.

–Amara