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- The Power of Storytelling
From Confucius to Mohammed, from Martin Luther King to Abe Lincoln, it is the stories people remember. These folks used stories for persuasion and understanding. On a practical note, for all of us in business, the point is best made by Seth Godin: “Marketing is no longer about the stuff that you make, but about the stories you tell.” Do you remember some of your days in elementary school? I remember Sister Anita and how she would have us put our heads down in first grade and take a nap. The desk was hard but cool and in Atlanta, in September, it was hot. I also remember running in from the playground, falling, and the children kept running OVER me. To this day, I can still see shoes smashing my little hands as I screamed. My point is not to conjure up a scary image but rather to make a point: all of our memories come back to us as stories. Good memories. Not-so-good memories. And we make decisions based upon what story our brain tells us. That’s why FACTS aren’t what persuade us but rather the story we tell ourselves about what happens if we take certain actions. I married my precious Bill not because logic dictated he’d be a great husband but rather I had created a story about what life would be like with him. (Thankfully, I crafted a good and true story.) My job as a teacher and speaker is to craft stories that engage the listeners’ imagination and emotions and ultimately, make a learning point. A “story” can be as simple as a metaphor that carries meaning... “Consider the lilies of the field…” or as obvious as “The Good Samaritan”. “The human mind is a story processor, not a logic processor.” – Jonathan Haidt
- Virtual Relationships Become REAL!
It was two years ago that I was interviewed by Thiago Desouza for his podcast, Business Access. It was such a fun and easy conversation that Thiago and I kept talking after the podcast was over. We discovered that we both share a passion for people, the planet, and yes... profit too. I learned that he and his wife, Maria, were expecting their first child. What to name the little girl? From my office in Southern California, I looked out my window to Catalina Island and suggested, “Catalina”. It worked! From then on, I sent this soon-to-be-born child her first stuffed animal and a baby blanket. It was followed by other little items that parents with a newborn might use. In return, Thiago decided that he wanted to help me make my videos more compelling but asked for no fee because I was now “family”. Check out my home page and you’ll see Thiago’s creativity at play. Or here is just one of the YouTube videos we made to give ideas how to build your resilience muscle. In these examples, you’ll see how Thiago uses his great creativity to make the ordinary extraordinary. Is there any wonder that I say he is my “brother from another mother"? Catalina will turn two years old on February 19. I’ll sing to her on Zoom. And one of these days, I will actually get back to DC to see the three of them in person. Yes—we have developed this wonderful relationship virtually!!!! Here’s the point. Never doubt the power of your face and your voice to make critical connections. Don’t be off-handed and curt in virtual platforms. Who knows, you might find a brother (or sister) from another mother!
- Seed tomorrow with wise love today!
In a volatile world of turmoil, hostility, and destruction, it’s easy to bend toward extremes of giving up, depression or frustration from feeling helpless and powerless. Mother Teresa offered us this advice: If you want to change the world, go home, and love your family. Every thought we entertain, every decision we make, and every action we take influences more than just our individual life. Instead of judgement and hatred, extend compassion, help, or love. Let’s welcome more of that into the world. Please note: I owe these thoughts to my wise friend, Marilyn Semonick. She writes a brilliant once-a-week piece called Wednesday Wisdom. One of these days, I’ll convince her to let me turn these gems into book.
- Six Tips for Taming Information Overload
Technology is a wonderful and terrible thing. We have an app for everything, and people can reach us with the press of a button. With so many still working remotely, email and texts have become almost epidemic! Information overload costs the U.S. economy $900 billion per year in lowered employee productivity and reduced innovation, according to the latest research from Basex, a provider of research on the productivity of knowledge workers and how technology impacts them. It’s time to call a halt to this appalling abuse: Insist that the “reply all” email button be carefully considered before selecting “send”. Just because information can be sent, do not assume it has value to the recipient. Establish a boundary for sending and receiving emails. Being on call 24/7 leaves workers exhausted and frazzled. Think of a time frame for rest and renewal. If you are a manager, practice what you preach and model the boundary behavior. Get professional help for colleagues who seem addicted to connecting. Fifty-four percent of all professionals indicate they are often frustrated by colleagues who huddle over their smart phones during important meetings. Make a conscious effort to refrain from interruptions and to ask colleagues to respect your time. Workflow that is interrupted by email, “dings”, IMs or calls result in reduced output and effectiveness. Create interruption management strategies and share them with all. Use the “IS IT NECESSARY?” question before calling or attending any meeting—virtual or in-person. If it is merely for sharing information, make sure that it is data that CANNOT be handled via succinct, bulleted correspondence. Ask if the right people are at the meeting? Too often, the wrong people come because of formality and standard office protocol. Remember, there’s a difference between effective and efficient. Know the difference.
- Leading While Exhausted
The simple truth is burnout makes it difficult to lead others through challenging times. As leaders, we tend to push through it. We work endless hours, always accessible via meetings on demand, phone, email, and text messaging. Burnout has been around for a while. But the long-term pandemic, high employee turnover, and roller coaster economic conditions has made leading while exhausted a reality for many leaders today. “Toughing it out” may seem heroic, it has its serious implications. Outcomes of leading while exhausted includes lost focus, missed judgement calls, overlooking important details that can lead to disastrous results. Further, studies on healthcare workers during the pandemic have findings that are alarming. Unaddressed burnout can advance to peritraumatic distress, substance abuse, PSTD. Recognizing and treating exhaustion as important as those “to-do” items on the endless work list should become a priority. This shouldn’t be seen as a “one and done” checklist item but built as a normal routine. Techniques such as scheduling meeting-free days, turning off digital devices or at least the constant alerts, and stepping away from the virtual or on-site office should become a normal part of the day. Another good move is to intentionally adopt a balanced perspective on all the “crisis’s” that come in. Put a simple mechanism in place that will help separate issues as a “paper clip” item versus an “all hands-on deck” crisis response. Finally, leading effectively includes modeling ideal behaviors authentically and consistently. By taking these steps to reign in exhaustion, can also encourage employees to do the same. Ultimately this is how leaders shape a healthy and resilient organizational culture regardless of whatever the crisis. Author’s Bio Tresha Moreland is a 30-year experienced HR leader that has worked in retail, hospitality, manufacturing, and healthcare industries. She is leadership consultant and founder of HR C-Suite, LLC who helps leaders improve their ability to execute on business strategy through creative and forward-thinking workforce solutions. Tresha has authored books such as, “Navigating the Healthcare Workforce Shortage: How to Safeguard Your Organization’s Most Important Asset”, “PHR/SPHR Professional in Human Resources Certification Practice Exams”, “aPHR Associate Professional Human Resources Certification Practice Exams”, and “Insider’s Guide to Shared Services.” Her education includes dual master’s degrees in Human Resources Management and Business Administration from Golden Gate University, San Francisco, CA. She also possesses a Senior Professional Human Resources and Six Sigma Black Belt
- Leaders, give peas a chance!
There is no sense in avoiding it so let’s talk about it. The “great resignation” also includes leaders and HR professionals quitting in record numbers. Like a huge avalanche the pandemic crashed upon the workplace resulting in many sweeping changes and much stress. Workplaces needed to consider changing staff, supplies, locations, and processes in a quest to survive one of the most difficult eras of our time. However, this quest to survive may have brought about an unintended work environment fraught with uncertainty, worry, stress and burnout. If you find yourself gripped with anxiety, here are ways to rising above the stress -- if you remember the peas. Sure, corn or carrots might be the latest craze in addressing this challenge. Peas may be quiet and unassuming sitting off the side of some superstar entree. But at the end of the day, it is peas who stand out among the vegetable crowd. Come on…give peas a chance. Pace yourself We know that eating small amounts of food frequently is good for maintaining even blood sugar levels during the day. The same concept is true in taking on crises and mounting difficult challenges. Learn to recognize your energy levels and pace yourself. Plan Sometimes just having a plan can reduce stress. Determining an alternate course of action in terms of career, education and job options will reduce stress. Or sometimes just having something to look forward to at the end of the day or week, will help keep focus on the positive. I did this very thing after I was laid off during the great recession. I decided never to be caught off guard again. So, I planned to invest and save. It turns out that plan paid off as the onset of the pandemic. Prioritize If the tasks are coming in at lightning speed or if a project seems too large break it down into manageable pieces. From there prioritize those items or tasks and start knocking out the items with the highest priority. As those items are complete the stress level will begin to reduce. Perspiring There is no substitute for the “e-word”—exercise. Admittedly, I need work on this as my old basketball coaches may wince at my being out of shape today. But the truth is good exercise is linked to increasing energy, sharpening focus, and relaxing mind and body. So, I’ll start if you do. Tell me about your experience and let’s hold each other accountable, ok? Pleasant humor A good sense of humor is just what the doctor ordered for a stressful workplace. Pleasant humor is humor in good taste that lightens the mood in an otherwise tense environment. Some days just seem to go better when laughter or at least a chuckle abound. See now don’t you feel better now that you’ve given peas a chance? Author’s Bio Tresha Moreland is a 30-year experienced HR leader that has worked in retail, hospitality, manufacturing, and healthcare industries. She is leadership consultant and founder of HR C-Suite, LLC who helps leaders improve their ability to execute on business strategy through creative and forward-thinking workforce solutions. Tresha has authored books such as, “Navigating the Healthcare Workforce Shortage: How to Safeguard Your Organization’s Most Important Asset”, “PHR/SPHR Professional in Human Resources Certification Practice Exams”, “aPHR Associate Professional Human Resources Certification Practice Exams”, and “Insider’s Guide to Shared Services.” Her education includes dual master’s degrees in Human Resources Management and Business Administration from Golden Gate University, San Francisco, CA. She also possesses a Senior Professional Human Resources and Six Sigma Black Belt Professional Certification. She is also a Fellow in American College of Executives with the designation of FACHE. You can learn more about her at https://hrcsuite.com/
- Lessons From A Brown Bear And An Oyster
https://www.yamahaboats.com/yamaha-rightwaters/ This is my summer to learn much from the natural world. In Alaska, I learned that a mother brown bear can deliver three cubs from three different fathers at the same time! She just decides to hold each zygote until she determines there are enough and then she implants the zygote from each in her womb and–VOILA! Three cubs emerge. Likewise, if she senses there is a food shortage, she can spontaneously eject the zygote and bear no cubs that season. Ummm… if only humans had that ability. At a time when climate change and polluted air is all our concern, consider the lowly oyster. A single oyster can filter up to 50 gallons of water each day. That makes an oyster bar a vital component of our coastal estuaries. Sadly, oysters are declining from over-harvesting and poor water conditions. Enter Yamaha Rightwaters and Toadfish, manufacturers of eco-friendly fishing products. Yamaha supports the Billion Oyster Project in New York to replant oysters in the Hudson River as well as a citizen-science oyster-seeding initiative in Texas. Volunteers collect and bag shells and place them where oysters are in decline. The shells attract oyster larvae floating in the water and eventually, a living reef is formed. Who knew? Let me know what lessons you learn from nature this summer.
- Lessons From A Disruption
By all counts, the 50-minute virtual keynote to some 1,000 people around the globe was ready to go. We had practiced from my California office. Sure, I’d need to go online from Fairbanks, Alaska—just south of the Arctic Circle—but the lodge has assured me I could get good Internet access. Yes, I’d need to log on at 3:30 am but I can make myself rise to the occasion. I’d bring an ethernet adaptor to be sure. Best laid plans. Instead of an ethernet adaptor I needed a 3-foot ethernet cord! Instead, I had to depend on wireless. Kristen from Ecolab was the model of calm and self-assurance. At 3:30 am we were ready to go: my video and audio were finally visible on Microsoft Teams. She started greeting people logging in from China, Montreal, Minnesota, and more. However, she no sooner said my name then everything went black. Her image froze on my screen. I continued to talk until my cell phone rang some 8 minutes later. “Eileen, we can’t see or hear you.” She remained calm while walking me through different procedures to bring us back. I ended up totally turning off the laptop, logging back on to the lodge’s Internet. After what seemed like an eternity, we finally had a connection, but it would not allow me to select my video. I ended up doing a 30-minute podcast—shortened due to the technical difficulties. What I later discovered was a perfect example of a team responding to disruption. To keep the participants engaged, her manager, Paul, jumped on another computer and asked questions in the chat, did a poll and whatever else to keep global folks from leaving. He never said, “not my job.” No one pointed fingers for blame. Instead, this team pulled together for the sake of the audience. The short podcast, it turned out, was well received and I later (from California) re-did a video version for Kristen to share far and wide. The moral of the story: stuff happens despite all practice and precautions. Kristen kept her composure and calm while I–frankly—became anxious with a system I did not know. Paul never hesitated to take over so Kristen could problem-solve. And in the end—we made it work. The resilience skills of adaptability and agility came in to play. And laughability?? Well, I told the listeners I was a six-foot blonde! Read and reap.
- It Takes Courage To Ask For Help
Pam cried into the phone, depressed, sad, and exhausted from caring for her husband with Lewy Bodies. John stares blankly into space, can’t stand on his own, can’t take a shower or go to the bathroom on his own, and now can’t remember how to hold utensils. Both are in their 80s, have no friends close by and the nearest child about two hours away. If John falls, Pam can’t get him up. And if she falls, John has no idea how to call for help. Seems like a pretty clear-cut scenario for a move to a facility. It's not that easy. Pam says she’s always been a fighter having been born six-weeks premature and surviving the bombing of London in WWII. “I just can’t do that to John,” she insists. “I MUST be strong enough to handle that,” she weeps into the phone. Here’s the point. Often our self-image holds us back from asking for help, from admitting that we can’t do it all. No amount of persuasion will influence Pam and eventually, it might be too late. What is a logical next step to me is defeat in her mind. As frustrating and maddening it is to listen to Pam, I understand that she is the only one who can remedy the situation if she so chooses. What do you think? Are there times when your self-image refuses to admit that you’ve run out of options? Or to admit that the best course of valor might be to asking for help? This sure has me thinking. I need to step back and see when my pride might keep me back from asking for help. Yes—it takes courage.
- Summer Solstice Sends Solace
Today we start the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere—June 21. I just returned from Fairbanks, AK where tonight a midnight baseball game will be played under natural light! In a land known as “the midnight sun”, folks in the northern reaches of Alaska and Canada are grabbing the solace of daylight as long as it lasts! There’s something about sunlight that not only heals the bones but warms the heart. Even in her dementia, Mom would sit in her wheelchair, eyes closed, and face turned to the sun. “It’s so delicious”, she’d say, licking her lips. What a sweet memory. I think if Mom knew she’d get four months of “almost” all sun, she’d move to Alaska. This summer season also started me wondering about ways in which we might generate our own heat and healing. There’s good reason for the song verse that seeks “the sunshine of your smile”. Imagine what a difference it might make—for 365 days of the year—if we all practiced that form of sunshine. Whether smiling at a store clerk, the man walking the dog, the stranger crossing the street, or the new neighbor, I can bet the response would be delicious. So, here’s the challenge I am setting for myself: Each day, I want to literally count the number of people to whom I can smile and say, “good day”. I want to walk in the gym and smile at the employee behind the desk, give a thumbs up to the grumpy old guy on the bicycle, and give a shout out to the newcomer trying to slowly edge back into weight training. What about you? Will you join me? Let me know. PS: You can also think of ways to extend warmth to a client or customer. My sister just sent me a summer solstice idea about a pet food company called CHEWY. Susan wrote: "This is example of great corporate humane response. I buy from Chewy.com regularly for our birds. They provide great service, product, and price. Now I have an important reason to be loyal and look there first." https://www.today.com/pets/pets/chewy-sends-flowers-woman-pet-food-dog-dies-rcna33956 Welcome to Summer.
“Meditation brings wisdom; lack of meditation leaves ignorance. Know well what leads you forward and what holds you back. Choose the path that leads to wisdom.” – Buddha I can hear some of you right now: “Meditate! I’d rather medicate.” Can’t blame you. This practice might seem to fit the slower life of religious folks. Au contraire! Men and women caught in today’s frantic, frenetic pace can get back into a place of con- trolled energy with a daily practice of meditation. Here’s why. Instead of just throwing yourself out of bed when the alarm sounds or hitting the snooze button and turning over, become very deliberate with the start of the day. Without a deliberate practice, we join the energy-sucking race into life. I am by no means a great practitioner. In fact, I am pretty lousy. But I do know that if I wake up 15 minutes early, do the morning chores my body needs (including brushing my teeth), I can return to bed or a chair and just sit for 10 minutes. Doing nothing. Just gently breathing. Sure, my monkey mind chatters about the to-do list. I tell it to be quiet. Sometimes I am successful. Sometimes not. It doesn’t matter. I am starting the day with my energy controlled. You can move into a longer practice, take classes, listen to tapes. Those all take time. Right now, a 10-minute start to the day will start your energy flowing in the right direction, connecting with what matters to you! Then, when life takes over and you find yourself hyperventilating at the kids, the assignment, the spouse, go back to the very first lesson: Breeeathe. This excerpt is from my book My Get Up and Go… Got Up and Went: Simple Ways to Recharge Your Batteries and Renew Your Life!. You can purchase it for yourself or for someone as a gift by clicking here.
- How to Keep on Top of Your Business Without Letting Stress Get the Better of You
Running a business is hard work, whether you’ve just started or you’ve managed a business for a while. Being an entrepreneur means you have the responsibility to oversee everything, which can take a lot of time and leave you feeling overwhelmed at times. However, there are ways to overcome these negative feelings and persevere despite it all. Focus on your self-care Self-care is a vital component of living healthily. Furthermore, when you pay attention to that inner voice that tells you that you need to take a break, you become a better version of yourself both personally and professionally because you are, in essence, prioritizing your needs above all else. Moreover, the beauty of self-care is that it can mean anything literally to anyone, depending on what gives you the most joy and brings you the most fulfillment. So, if you’re feeling pushed to the limit, taking some time off to do something just for you could be the remedy you need to feel better instantly. Our home environment is also worth contemplating because we spend most of our time here outside of work hours. On the other hand, maybe you spend most of your time at home because you work from home. Whatever your work situation, your home environment matters significantly in terms of your mental health. As such, it should be conducive to your general wellbeing. Maybe, you’ve let the condition of your home slide a bit because of your busy schedule, and there is far more clutter lying around than you care for. Then perhaps it’s high time to clear out the clutter that’s causing negative energy in your home and organize it better so that it creates a more harmonious and positive environment for you to function at your best. Saying ‘no’ when you need to As a business owner, it can be tempting to do everything yourself. However, this is not always humanly possible and could lead to burnout sooner than you know it. Therefore, learning to say no when you need to (and more often if need be) is one of the easiest ways to restore order in your busy schedule and reduce your stress levels significantly! Get all your ducks in a row Starting a business will require a lot of planning, as you will have to go into detail regarding almost every aspect of your business. If you’re wondering how to set up a new company, a business plan is a crucial element that can help reduce the hassle of remembering every vital part of your business off the top of your head. The ideal business plan also has to have a comprehensive structure that covers all the critical aspects of your company. These critical aspects will include business details such as what services or products you offer, what funding you will need to get your business started going forward, and more. In summary, growing a business takes mental strength and a lot of belief in yourself that you can achieve your dreams despite the many obstacles thrown at you. However, it takes investing in yourself first to have the mental fortitude you need to keep pressing on, come high or low. Resiliency is a key trait of many successful entrepreneurs. When you are resilient, you push, no matter what, no matter how hard it gets. If you need help to become stronger in this area, visit the Eileen McDargh website to discover how you can build true inner strength. Guest author Julie Morris is a life and career coach. She thrives on helping others live their best lives. Today, she is fulfilled by helping busy professionals like her past self-get the clarity they need in order to live inspired lives that fill more than just their bank accounts. When Julie isn’t working with clients, she enjoys writing and is currently working on her first book. She also loves spending time outdoors and getting lost in a good book.