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

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

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

Tough Times at Work Often Relate to Relationship Breakdowns

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

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

Which Work Relationships Could Benefit From Some TLC?

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

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

This is What I Did

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

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

Don’t Forget About the Good Ones

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

Here’s a Book On the Subject

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

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

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

 

 

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

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Small Things Can Make a Difference June 16, 2013

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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

What to Do With Bad News February 3, 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

—Amara

What Makes You Happy? January 8, 2012

Posted by Ann Bertorelli in Self-Development, spirituality.
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manoloblahnikswanemblished  Happiness—sometimes an illusive state, sometimes just present. I’ve been doing some thinking about joy and happiness. In fact I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about joy and the lack of it.

What’s the difference between joy and happiness?

Happiness and joy are often synonymous  but there’s a distinction—at least for me. My definition of happiness is a general state of being that has us predisposed to be positive, hopeful and seeing possibilities for ourselves and those we care about. Joy, on the other hand, is that juicy rush we get when we are connected to something bigger than ourselves. Like I am happy that I finally know how to dance the tango (well, sort of) and I feel an amazing joy in connecting with a partner as we do the tango together.

That said, I’m not too het up about figuring out the distinction between the two. I just know that I really want happiness and joy in my life.

What do you do if you can’t find it?

So what are you to do if it just seems to be missing for you? Good question. Wish I had THE ANSWER but alas I’m sometimes awash in the world of blah or worry or teeth-grinding.  But since I don’t like being cranky and unhappy I search for ways to alleviate the condition.

This past week I was having a conversation with some of my wonderful women friends. One of them posed the question: What makes you happy? We all  took turns giving our answers to the question.

My own answers were:

    • getting to spend time with my three grandchildren
    • dancing the tango in impossibly high heels
    • making a new quilt
    • writing in my study (which I am doing right now)
    • having a spa day
    • taking a road trip with my boyfriend 

We spent about half an hour in this conversation and by the end of it we were all mellow and grinning from ear-to-ear. Happy for no reason except that we had just spent time thinking about things that make us happy. And most of those things were not high-ticket items like trips to the Aegean or a new pair of Manolo Blahniks (though I wouldn’t say no to a pair if someone wanted to give them to me).

It is possible to get happy by focusing on that which makes us happy

So what I learned is that it’s possible to get happy by focusing on that which makes us happy and leaving behind (if only for a short time) that which annoys, saddens, angers or weighs us down. Imagine that. One can get happier by thinking about what makes her happy.

Happiness is an inside job

A Course in Miracles makes a point about this. And I am paraphrasing here. It says that if the source of your happiness is dependent on something outside of yourself like a new pair of shoes, whether you get asked out on a date, or if you look good in your new jeans, that happiness is transitory and will leave you. True happiness comes from within yourself, from that which feeds your soul or makes you feel like your best self.

Make a list…

What makes you happy? Why not engage in that conversation with a friend or write it down in a journal or on a chalkboard (started to say blackboard but I don’t think they exist anymore) or on the back of your hand? The point is to think about the good stuff as much or more as you think about the annoying stuff.

I don’t know..what d’ya think?

–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

Not Seeing Is Believing June 26, 2011

Posted by Ann Bertorelli in My Life as I See It, Self-Development.
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eyecreativecommonsbyvernhard

My conscience has been bothering me because I have not been posting on my previous weekly schedule. Well not really my conscience, just that little inner voice that pipes up when I’m not living into my declarations about my life. And this blog relates to the one that in which I declare I am a writer.

OK—that’s said and now I ‘m over it. The reason for the title of this blog is that it became necessary for me to have a second eye surgery to repair my torn/detached retina. I was unpleasantly surprised because I am used to being able to pray, meditate and visualize my way to good health. Hmmmm, what up?, I wondered. Then I decided that there was some very good lesson I needed to learn through this process and I set about learning it.

The first question I asked myself was “What am I not seeing that I need to see?” There was a lot of great stuff to mine from that one. So what follows is what I have seen without the use of my eyes.

Everything happens for a purpose.

All right, I admit this is not a new learning for me. I have long believed that everything does indeed happen for a purpose but I got some extra practice in remaining steadfast in my belief about that. I think in my case it was just time for me to have time to re-evaluate some important aspects of my life. There were a couple of relationships that I wasn’t sure needed to continue. In one case, I concluded that it should and in the other that it was time to let go of the relationship and what it represents in my life. As I was preparing for the first surgery, my friend sent me a quote (he said I said it but it’s much better than what I said) that I think really speaks to this ‘everything for a purpose’ idea.

Things don’t happen to us, they happen for us.

 

It’s ok to be vulnerable and in need as long as you don’t make it a way of life.

Man, I don’t know about you, but it is sometimes hard for me to ask for help. I pride myself on being a non-needy person who only makes requests that are appropriate for the size of the relationship. Suddenly I found myself needing to ask people to drive me places, mow my lawn, listen to my fears about losing my eyesight, and so on and so on. And it’s been my great blessing to have people in my life who were more than willing to offer me the help and reassurance I needed. So I now see even more than I did before that it’s necessary to be able to receive as effortlessly as it is to give.

Sometimes we need a Significant Emotional Event (SEE) to see what’s been right in front of us.

It’s the darndest thing but we human beings are silly animals at times. Instead of learning our lessons in laughter and love, we seem to need to be turned upside down and shaken a bit before we pay attention. That’s my metaphor for a SEE—and it’s no coincidence that the letters spell that word. When we are very upset emotionally about something and we feel as though we are backed up against a wall, it is then (and only then) that we change our perspective. I have changed my opinion about what’s important in my life since I’ve had this SEE. Seeing is important in my life—forget about how well I dance the tango, or if I look terrible without eye makeup or whether I’m keeping up with my writing goals. Nope—seeing is important—both physically and metaphorically. The rest of that stuff matters but its relative importance has changed. Additionally I have had plenty of practice in navigating my mood. It’s been challenging but I know I did the very best I could. Another quote that I have been daily holding in my hot little hand helped with that a lot (once again courtesy of my friend Michael):

Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it. Make it your friend and ally, not your enemy. This will miraculously transform your whole life.  Eckhart Tolle

Think about it….

–Amara

 

 

 

 

A Passion For ? June 6, 2011

Posted by Ann Bertorelli in Personal Observations, Self-Development.
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3754571676_ed9766d954ccbyurbanlegend

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