The Energizer

Resilient Insights for Work & Life

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Resiliency Requires Taking Risks and Making Messes

By Eileen McDargh - Monday, May 27, 2019

Adaptability is the first critical skill in responding to every situation (positive or negative) in our life. It also means looking for multiple options. This amounts to a willingness to explore. When my nephew was a child, I remember well the lesson he taught all of us:

At age 7, Sasha had all the curiosity of a cat and the wisdom of a sage. Adopted from Russia at age 5, by my brother John, Sasha stood on the shore of one of the main piers in Cape Cod. He began jumping up and down on the sand, begging to explore the refuse that exist at low tide among the pilings.

Being a good father, John insisted that he’d get filthy… be a mess… Besides, it was unsafe… broken glass, bottles, garbage and DEAD THINGS. The last two words ignited Sasha’s plea to new heights.

“But Papa,” he hollered—waving his arms and looking more like Ms. Frizzle and her magic school bus, “to discover, one must take chances and make messes.”

Wow… “to discover, one must take chances and make messes.” If that isn’t the wisdom of the spirit, I don’t know what is. How do we grow, learn, celebrate our insatiable creativity if we color within the lines, only try what is safe and known, stay in a sterile pattern. What will you discover today because you took a chance and made a mess? How might taking that risk create a new response you never tried? I’d love to know.

 

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Laughter Turns Upset into Onset

By Eileen McDargh - Monday, May 20, 2019

Laughter Turns Upset into Onset… for a relationship that is. Strangest thing about humor. When found and used appropriately, it creates a bond and wins people over. When confronted with serious situations, laughter is often the first ingredient to dispel tension and get things moving again. As Victor Borge was known for saying, “laughter is the shortest distance between two people.” It is also what attracts others to us and our services. 

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Career Conversations Create Resilient Employees

By Eileen McDargh - Thursday, May 16, 2019

Resiliency, in my definition, is energy management. Do we have the mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual energy to keep on “keeping on”? In short, can we grow forward through challenges or opportunities while we expand our wisdom and skills? Energy is determined by the quality and frequency of our connections. When a manager makes time to understand what is important to an employee, to help chart a career path that is personally meaningful and organizationally valued, then the energy sparks are powerful!  

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Naps Aren’t Just for Babies: Here’s The Research

By Eileen McDargh - Monday, May 13, 2019

 

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Resilient Leaders Forget Busy; Become Purposeful

By Eileen McDargh - Monday, May 06, 2019

“Fully 90% of managers squander their time in ineffective activities.” That’s the result of a 10-year research project studying the behavior of busy manages in nearly a dozen companies including Sony and Lufthansa. The researchers, Dr. Heike Bruch and Dr. Sumantra Ghoshal, term this “active non-action”. 

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Even Animals Need Resiliency Help

By Eileen McDargh - Friday, May 03, 2019

Although Earth Day has come and gone, every day offers an opportunity to protect and nurture our natural world. Consider cloth grocery bags, bees wrap in place of plastic wrap or aluminum foil, low flush toilets, compost piles instead of disposals—the list is endless of what we can all do.

But how about the immediate need of animals? In the U.S. this past week, national news carried a horrid video of a woman literally throwing puppies into a garbage bin. Thankfully, a Good Samaritan rescued them. But I wonder how many animals are ignored, beaten, starved, and abandoned. Perhaps as carefully as adoption agencies check out prospective parents, it would be smart to perform a similar audit on pet owners.

Or maybe, we just need to watch what is at our feet. Consider the bunny.  While helping my Oregon daughter prepare her garden for spring planting, a sudden motion caught my eye. Wedged between the fence and a board was a baby bunny.  Surely, somewhere in the vicinity is a nest. Putting down the rake and shovel, we started moving on all fours, careful not to startle the little creature.

A good 10 feet away, my son-in-law spotted the circle of grass beside two boards and a shed. Ah, indeed we had found the nursery for two other bunnies. Wearing leather gloves that disguise the scent of humans, Phil carefully cradled our run-away and returned it to the nest. Gardening would stop for the day—maybe for a few weeks until the bunnies were grown and gone.

Inconvenient? Yes. The right thing to do? Yes. Sometimes, even animals need help with becoming strong and resilient.

 

 

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A Resiliency Killer: Loneliness

By Eileen McDargh - Monday, April 29, 2019

According to a CIGNA Survey conducted in 2018, 46% of Americans feel lonely sometimes or always. Only around half of Americans (53 percent) have meaningful, in-person social interactions, such as having an extended conversation with a friend or spending quality time with family, on a daily basis. Gen Z's are among the most lonely. Although the 18-23-year-olds think they are super-connected, they are not. They're attached to the wireless "umbilical cords" connected to smart phones which—in the scheme of things—are not very smart. Communication that is purely digital can never replace the sound of a voice or the touch of a hand. Or—for that matter—the tone of a voice. Chronic use of social media increases loneliness.

Here’s the kicker: loneliness has been determined to be more dangerous to your health than if you smoked 15 cigarettes a day! According to Vivek Murthy, former US Surgeon General, this loneliness epidemic poses significant risk for our nation’s well-being. A Brigham Young University study showed that loneliness can weaken your immune system, increase inflammation, and fuel heart disease and stroke.

Doesn’t sound resilient to me.

One solution: meaningful human connection through listening. When connected with someone who lovingly and respectfully listens with her heart, life become lighter, even healthier. It’s such a simple but powerful tool that psychologist Tracy Ruble began setting up chairs on a sidewalk in San Francisco. Trained volunteers sat and just listened to any passerby who just wanted to stop and talk. From humble beginnings in 2015, Sidewalk Talk has grown to over 400 volunteers in 50 cities and in 12 countries.

According to Ruble, “We aim to teach people how to be effective listeners and compassionate community members so we can all show up and support one another. We teach people how to be listeners and empower them to start Sidewalk Talk chapters in their own cities.”

SO, dear readers, put away your not-so-smart phones. Walk into your home, office, or neighborhood and just try listening to one person without judgment or advise. You can even download a training program on how to be a better listener. I’m in the field of communication and I know I can always become a better listener. Time to impact the loneliness epidemic!

Having a solid social network of real friends is an antidote, even the Magic Elixir for good physical and mental health. Being social can prevent us from being lonely which stresses our immune system.

 

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5 Top Skills Critically Needed in the Workforce by 2020

By Eileen McDargh - Monday, April 22, 2019

By the year 2020, the workplace will require some unique skills in order to thrive, to be resilient and to relish an ever-changing world. Now is the time to begin developing them.  

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Five Secrets to Creative Adaptability

By Eileen McDargh - Monday, April 15, 2019

In the face of continuing economic challenges, a roller coaster marketplace, Congressional stalemates, and unrelenting change, leaders in every part of an organization must develop a capacity for resiliency. A cornerstone of resiliency is adaptability. Mind you, this is not the ordinary find-another-answer but rather find MANY answers. 

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WHAT BIFF Really Means: Bigger, Further, Faster!

By Eileen McDargh - Monday, April 08, 2019

Here is what it is not:  Bigger is not the lumbering, bloated, behemoth collection of firms we see around us in the world of mergers without meaning. It is not about a company that is so huge it practically suffocates with committees and unconnected strategies, with too many people who never see each other, don’t know each other, and feel adrift at the core.  

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