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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.

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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

 

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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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.

Choose Peace April 23, 2013

Posted by Ann Bertorelli in A Spiritual View, Personal Observations.
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I’ve been on a rampage of self-improvement and growth activities lately. I’m loving this period of time when I’m not seeing a whole lot of people or doing a  lot of activities, just going within and seeing what’s available there. I  highly recommend it—we all need to stop and take stock every once in a while. Oops, did you notice that rhymes or almost? Glad I’m not doing an audio blog. But I digress.

One thing I have been doing is working on a new web site to re-launch my life coaching practice, Life Coaching With Spirit. Stay tuned for that…

In the midst of a lot of internet research, I came across this wonderful video and I’d like to share it with just a few words afterward. (OK, maybe more than a few, but not that many.)

Tough Stuff Out There

There’s a lot of difficult stuff going on in the world today. Sometimes I feel like throwing up my hands and going to live in a cave somewhere—a cave with running water and a place for my sewing machine. However, I know that I can’t/won’t do that. It’s my job to stay and see what I can contribute to things. I recently listened to Wayne Dyer who quoted Lao-Tzu, the Chinese prophet who wrote the Tao Te Ching. He said, “A bad man is a good man’s job and a good man is a bad man’s teacher.” (insert woman too—no PC in China at that time)

Choose Peace in Your World

Those of us who want to make a difference a positive contribution to this crazy, crazy world would do well to choose peace for ourselves first—then we can be the model that others rely on.

What does that look like? Well, maybe it looks like NOT screaming “Asshole” at the guy who almost causes you to have an accident because he stopped in the middle of the turn lane. Or finding a way to see the another side to the story when your child is hurt by another. Or choosing not to yell at your kids when they don’t do their chores. Hmmm, could be a full time job. But how can we expect peace in the world when we don’t know how to have it within ourselves? As above, so below, as within, so without…

Sermonette over—for now.

–Amara

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

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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  takanomebynomadiclass.cc

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

An Approach to a New Year January 4, 2012

Posted by Ann Bertorelli in ontological coaching, Personal Observations.
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 thinkgreenbyearlwilkerson

Wow—2012…or should I say the dreaded 2012…Supposed to be a significant year of change–or disasters, depending who you talk to. I was thinking about my intentions for the New Year the other day. It was New Year’s Day and I was cleaning out my refrigerator. Now that may seem like a mundane thing to be doing on a holiday but I thought it pretty symbolic. Think about it–getting rid of the rotten/spoiled stuff and starting over. Yes!

What you do on New Year’s Day…

There is a saying that whatever you do on New Year’s Day is what you’ll be doing for the rest of the year. As I thought about that I decided that while I don’t want to be cleaning out the refrigerator all year, there are some things associated with the activity that I wouldn’t mind carrying along through the year.

Try a little awareness

Cleaning out a fridge can be pretty mindless if you let it. But while I was doing it I started thinking about a book that I’m currently reading. It’s called The Secret of Instant Healing by Dr. Frank J. Kinslow. One of the points Dr. Kinslow makes about healing is that awareness is key to the process. He has some exercises in the book that have the reader start to become aware of awareness. So as I was scrubbing and rearranging, I began to practice awareness. Rather than thinking about tango steps or the next thing on my to-do list, I simply focused 100% of my attention on what I was doing. Dr. Kinslow (and many, many others) say that true awareness is where your higher consciousness/God resides.

So I tried staying exactly in the moment. I’d love to tell you that some miracle happened and maybe the fact that I actually enjoyed (for a moment or two) cleaning the fridge is indeed the miracle.

I wouldn’t mind being more aware

My point is that if that activity is a pre-cursor for what I want to produce and be in 2012, then I will be well-satisfied. If I can sit in awareness more of the time, I can produce more of the good stuff and less of the mindless, automatic pilot stuff that comes up when I check out.

I can really get into the question of who I’m being in the important and trivial moments of my life. Maybe I can even stop dwelling on my imperfections and become more in touch with what’s right about me.

Drop the awfulizing

How about you? Are you willing to be aware of and stay in the moment as you live your life? Can you give up awfulizing, fantasizing, moralizing and any other ‘izing’ that keeps you from realizing (another one—but good) your great potential? Yes, we all have great potential for something…

Your mission– should you choose to accept it

Here’s your assignment: For one week, choose to focus on the task or activity that you have decided to engage in. Don’t do it half-assed. If you’re brushing the dog, then brush the dog with awareness. If you’re listening to your friend’s tale of woe, then be in the moment with her, not just waiting to jump in with a nugget of wisdom. Who knows– you might discover something really amazing about your life.

–Amara

Plant a Daffodil July 17, 2011

Posted by Ann Bertorelli in Personal Observations, Self-Development.
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cccommons byandyhayI came across a story called The Daffodil Principle written by  Jaroldeen Asplund Edwards.  I don’t know if it’ s a true story but it really doesn’t matter because the meaning of the story is so wonderful.

The story is told by a narrator who goes to visit her daughter who then takes her to look at the property of a woman who has transformed her plot of land by planting 50,000 daffodil bulbs over many years. The result was an amazing display of blooms which transfixed and inspirited the people who saw it. For the entire story (which is quite short) follow this link: Daffodil Principle

The main character says

When we multiply tiny pieces of time with small increments of daily effort, we too will find we can accomplish magnificent things. We can change the world.

Small actions can have a big effect

This story resonated with me because I believe that even small actions on our part can change the world in unimaginable and significant ways. One of the guiding principles for me as I coach others is the belief that I am changing the world one conversation at a time.

Before you start poo-pooing (gosh, wonder if I spelled that right) that notion, sit for a moment and think  of the times that someone has pointed out to you something that you said or did that had a profound effect on how they viewed the world or what they chose to do. You know you’ve heard that. And you’ve more than likely only heard a tiny number of the examples that others could come up with.

Here are some examples from my own little world.

  • My friend Jane, who loves to sew, is extraordinarily generous in teaching and working with others who would like to better their skills
  • Annie, my massage therapist, has taught me how to be ‘in my body’ and thus more in touch with how things are with me by using my body as an emotional guidance system.
  • My granddaughter has inspired me to be a stronger woman by her own observations about who she is as she starts the journey to adulthood

Are you aware of who you’re being?

I could go on and on, and so could you. How do you feel when you think that your own actions and words are changing the world? Good? Or a little nervous? If you have a nagging feeling that you may not always be changing the world in the way that you’d like, maybe it’s time to put a little intention behind that.

What kind of impact would you like to have?

Put your thinking cap on…What intention would you like to live into? Maybe it’s demonstrating more kindness than necessary, maybe it’s showing self-reliance or devotion to family. Maybe it’s keeping your lawn in impeccable condition. Whatever it is, know that simply by a little consciousness to your intention, some energy and a few actions behind it, you will have an impact on someone in your world,

How’s that feel?

–Amara