Photography by the very talented InkedKenny via https://medium.com/@SFLDG

Folks- kinky or not.. this is a quick resource that is very handy to have. No matter if it is for yourself, friends or clients – knowing who and what is available to support those with substance use concerns is critical on many levels of a person’s life.

Take a few minutes to read it, post it and share it, if you haven’t already done so: Getting Help with Drug and Alcohol Abuse — A San Francisco Bay Area Quick Resource Guide

Along the same lines you might want to check out the post by Luke Adams of EmergeATCF.org;  which also addresses some interesting connecting between substance use and sex: Hot Fetish and Kink — Without Being Lit

Note: Luke Adams (EmergeATCF.org) is a certified sexual health specialist with the American College of Sexologists, offers relationship advice and other psychotherapy, and is a lifetime member of the Association for Transpersonal Psychology.

Be the first to comment
        

While reading some of my morning Medium.com bloggers, I came across this one today that prompted me to pause. Mostly because it’s been a growing theme I continue to see and bothers me both as a leader and as a participant on many teams/colleague based processes.

The 9 questions that uncover the most surprising insights from employees Written by Claire Lew from KnowYourCompany.com

Check out the full article above – its a great read and has some really insightful thinking behind it.

I found this hit home for me— I see it all the time; leaderships on paper will be ready to “evaluate” and do “365’s” on the workforce, teams, products — even themselves. But when you really do a deep dive into the text of the questions chosen; you find they either the senior leader themselves or the supporting posse of “yes people” create these assessments with imbedded passive resistance, fear and lack of self commitment built into the frame of the questions and the limitations on the ways the workforce can respond. The really tough ones are cached in soft language — often because the senior leader may have a sensitivity to hearing the raw reaction of his or her workforce. Worse yet is the survey that comes out that illustrates how little the top levels understand the supporting teams. Inevitably the final set of questions are so bland and “safe” that staff and teams are forced to “answer” the best or option that isn’t even reflective of opinion, over be able to indicate how they truly might respond.

I think for any real measure of success (especially for all you band-wagon jumpers trying to force feed organizations with Sigma Six and Lean systems) should allow the workforce to provide the survey questions — NOT your communications or “advisory” cabal. Then allow you, to hear the results in real time, with out any sanitized review. This pervading theme of  “I don’t want any surprises” form of leadership instills fear and minimizes efficient change and growth at the cost of a few egos.

Each time I hear a senior leader, when asked about staff retention rates and sinking morale, and I hear them spin it as a soundbite to play better with the more senior boss or colleagues with the we did our job frame – I want to scream -“NO, You Haven’t”. Being told and reading such lines as  “Well as they move on, I feel I have done my job, our (insert org) has trained those people to go on and succeed elsewhere based on the amazing work they do, so I don’t see it as a problem or retention…

So it always makes me wonder if they even care how disingenuous that sounds or as simply that ignorant of what that sounds like to folks struggling to keep up on the increasing demands. The teams are leaving not because they want to in many cases, but because they are being made to feel unsafe, devalued and unchallenged. This isn’t industry specific. I have seen it from the non-profit to the for profit, private and public sectors. Because ultimately it is easier to let good people go, than step up and change an work environment that requires the senior leadership to change and actually put effort being buzz words like “transparency” “change leadership”, “workforce morale” and “staff development”.

Be the first to comment
        

A leader who cares could be the problem itself.

Posted May 5, 2017 By Frank Strona

I really enjoy this article from 2015 on “Three Ways to Coach the Person, Not the Problem” and found one quote telling  “… a leader who cares about growing and developing your people, has to coach them, not their problems”  until the moment I realized that for some, the leader is the problem itself… as has so well documented in the last several weeks nationally, but also in many local and city programs, we still have an institutional breakdown on how to fix leadership from the bottom up.

With so many leaders moving and pushing towards Sigma Six and Lean processes for efficiency and looking at these as a way to improve patient care (in the likes of public health, which these trending methods have become the “in” fix for the last several years) – I find that many of those same senior leaders avoid asking the hard evaluative questions about the leadership they themselves are representing. Yet they are all about making it crucial that they put this on the Directors that report to them.

This distance and lack of “real” honesty about self-awareness and critical feedback to all levels is where I see the big fail is on these new “lean” systems.

Taken from the article and how I would so love to see more answer…

Ask Questions with the Word “You” in Them:  Questions that have “you” in them put the focus on the person, not the problem. They cause people to think and reflect. Examples include:

  • What are you trying to accomplish?
  • What’s important about that to you?
  • What have you tried so far?
  • What’s got you stuck?
  • What else could you do?
  • What would you need to do that?
  • What are the next few steps you could take to move things forward?

For the full story visit “Three Ways to Coach the Person, Not the Problem

Be the first to comment
        


Ed. Note:  I recently came across the original of this post, which I wrote several years ago for a workshop series I was doing on “Burnout” and a corresponding feature magazine.  While reviewing it, it struck me as well 
 worth taking some time to revise. Updating and expanding on some of the “lessons learned” based on my own life experiences and those from clients with whom I have had the pleasure to assist since.

This isn’t the only way to see or navigate through “Burnout” of any kind. This is just one lens I found helpful and others have resonated with, so I offer it to you in the spirit of sharing and encourage you consider this a “gift of experience”.

 


As with any activity that takes up large amounts of time and effort, staying a sexually active, aware, and engaged person can reach a stage in your life when it begins to lose some texture and meaning. When this happens, these moments feel less pleasurable and satisfying. For you “my sex is fine, thank you,” readers out there, you can replace the word “sex” with work, love, volunteering etc.

For many people, the warning signals or “flags” that pop up when in burnout are buried under the many levels of stress that we all operate under on a day to day basis. The potential outcome can range from a loss of enjoyment or satiation, reduction in sex-seeking, or even poor negotiations with a sexual partner. Left unchecked, it also could be the basis for relationships to change, leading to a growing sense of isolation and an overwhelming feeling of unhappiness with yourself and/or friends.

The reality of being “burnt-out,” whether emotionally, physically, professionally, mentally and/or sexually, doesn’t just “happen.” It slowly accumulates over a period of time until a sense of awareness emerges that some activities have begun to hold less of our attention or interest. We may find ourselves with a reticence to be available to others and lacking the motivation to continue relationships and activities. Being “burnt-out” isn’t a place you have to stay in, or have to even go to, but it does mean having a daily awareness of how you feel.

Had I known some of these tips I am sharing below, and kept the list handy when it happened to me, I could have saved myself time, money and self-doubt over the months that followed. But what I did learn was some of the following ways of keeping my own love and sex life fresh and exciting. More importantly, I learned to give back to myself as much as I give out.

Below is just a few personal queries that I have learned that help to identify the potential “flags” to burn-out, and some thoughts on how to transition through it. If you have a serious situation, or need further support, I suggest you contact a friendly therapist to help you negotiate this journey.


The MentorSF Self Assessment for “Burners To Be”

I found that keeping this list handy, and visible in a place you can occasionally glance at, is a good way to “check yourself” without obsessing over it. Just the simple glance at some of these statements can serve as a reminder of the art of engaged self-examination and is a useful guide for routine personal care.

  • Does being social feel like a “work assignment”?
  • Am I canceling dates and intimate time?
  • Do I have a lack of interest?
  • Am I lacking of motivation?
  • Am I feeling fatigue or have vague “illness” type feelings when the thought of some “activities” are proposed?
  • How in-touch with people do I remain?
  • Have I put up communication road-blocks with partners or friends?
  • Am I mentally finding it hard to concentrate during work or social time?
  • Has coming up with new ideas become difficult?
  • Am I creating ways to establish “detachments” from friends, memberships or activities?
  • Am I overbooking myself?
  • Have I noticed an inability to say “No” to partners?
  • Do I have an awareness of performance anxiety and/or feelings of inadequacy?
  • Has my sense of “self-criticism” become very loud, er or uncomfortable?
  • Are people mentioning to me that I seem more irritable, or that I am showing signs of excessive anger during or after some activities?
  • Have I increased in my use of drugs/alcohol, been smoking more, or been overeating or underrating or bingeing and purging on food?
  • Am I willing to overlook negotiations and/or safety precautions, either for myself or with partners?

Get your printable Self Assessment here: MentorSF Self Assessment for “Burners To Be”

15 Reminders For Staying Engaged & Present

There are lots of ways to keep your life fresh, vibrant, and exciting. But they all take a first step, which you have to do for yourself, in your own time and using ways that feel right for you. Over the years, I have experienced (or spoken with friends who have tried) various techniques. One that seems to be continually mentioned is learning how to limit yourself to those experiences about which you feel safe and good, and to recognize the amount of intimacy and awareness you need to stay present and fulfilled. Take a look at my top 15 reminder below. (But remember, this list is not complete, and should not be used as a replacement for a train
ed professional therapist.)

 

  1. Your sexual and social life is not the place to keep up with the Joneses. Do it to keep your own head and heart full, not those of your friends.

  2. Know why you want to socialize with a specific person(s), or do a certain type of activities.

  3. Learn something or better yet “Relearn it”. Show up at a class for something you think you know how to do. Shut-up, sit down and listen, keep your “experiences” out of the class that night. You might just hear why again you enjoyed doing it in the first place.

  4. Learn the difference between lust and intimacy; and know which place you want to operate from.

  5. Take a break or time away. There is no immutable law saying you can’t go a period of time without extra work, being social, or having sex.

  6. Talk to your friends and, especially, your partners about your feelings. This isn’t a time to keep them in the dark. 

  7. Keep in mind that sex and romance is fluid in nature. Therefore, your interest levels and turn-ons will change over time. You may need (and want!) to examine some new techniques or activities.

  8. Break your routines. Modify the style or order in which you do things. Change-up the places you meet people, your seduction techniques, how you dress, the kinds of entertainment you default too or even how you start your day.

  9. Never do anything because you feel you “have to.” Learn to say “NO”.

  10. Do something with a beginner, not to “teach,” but to enjoy the experience of newness, and of learning.

  11. Know what you want, know what you need, and know the differences between them.

  12. Learn to recognize your limits and those of the people around you.

  13. Recognize “what you bring to the table.”

  14. Value yourself.

  15. Be willing to forgive. No one gets it right the first time and can sustain change without practice and the occasional fail.

Remember  – changing patterns takes consistency and rime. It’s a a valuable contribution of energy to yourself so don’t try to cheat it.

Get your printable reminder list here: 15 Reminders for staying Engaged and Present via MentorSF.com

You Do Have It Within You

None of these ideas are unique. Most of us can have a personal “Aha!” moment at any given time. My thinking behind this list is to help you explore different tools to keep in your conscious thoughts while working through your burnout period. Now, ask yourself, “How can I practice more than five from this list daily or weekly?!”

 

 

7 Comments so far. Join the Conversation
        
For all you thinkers and scholars on my list;
 
My friend, former classmate and colleague Peter le Breton recently published a very timely read; Scholarly Heroism: A Transdisciplinary Perspective on David Bohm’s Transformative Scholarship and Intellectual Exile.
 
His take on “Heroic Scholars” seems to be a timely message these days as we begin to see more unraveling of the professional academic profession.
 
Peter takes a position that the best scholars—individuals who achieve the most important advances or breakthroughs in knowledge and understanding—are often heroic.Further expanding that the heroic scholar is the scientist or nonscientist whose commitment to the pursuit of truth is so strong, and whose achievements are so important, that he or she is willing to navigate professional difficulties, even give up income, security, and status, to stay true to themselves and their calling.
 
About the Author
Peter le Breton, PhD, is an educator with vast experience facilitating learning in different contexts. He has taught in schools and universities, and in adult education, community education, and corporate environments. He is a transdisciplinary scholar–practitioner committed to the pursuit of quality and to transformative change, as indicated by his master’s thesis on science and values, and his doctoral dissertation on masterly learning. His intellectual inspirators include Gregory Bateson, David Bohm, and Parker Palmer. His research and teaching interests include creativity, group dialogue, and appreciative inquiry. He currently teaches and designs curricula at Murdoch University’s Centre for University Teaching and Learning. Student surveys of teaching effectiveness place him in the top 10% of teachers across the University wherein he has been nominated for a Vice Chancellor’s Citation for Excellence in Enhancing Learning. His keynote address, alongside renowned heroism scholar Dr. Scott Allison, at the 2016 international cross-disciplinary conference, The Rise and Future of Heroism Science, had a profound intellectual and personal impact on many participants.
Be the first to comment
        

Came across this article earlier this week and was greatly impressed buy its write up.

According to SOAS University of London (@SOAS), Twitter averaged 319 million monthly active users. But what was fascinating were the graphics on the number that were related to  global issues. With more than half on societal issues, almost 13% around diseases, mostly about HIV/AIDS

Image credit ‘SOAS University of London’

 

For the full story, visit   Twitter study: Number of Tweets for UN real world issues

Be the first to comment
        

Two must read posts from Beth Kanter and Ashley Tan went up today on ways to make “talks” not only more useful but more engaged. While some event hosts often think that numbers alone is a value to the event. We, as trainers and educators understand that success is measured by how valued and absorbed our content is by the listeners. Keeping them engaged and personal with the material, especially in large rooms is a challenge for many of us.

Beth Kanter, shared on her blog; Trainer’s Notebook: Online Interaction Tools To Engage Your Audience in the Room and Beyond detials some of the tools she used for a recent series of talks. This first hand experience really helps when sorting through the portfolio of tools available. She included thoughts about using Slido and other applications she has used in the past.

Her objectives were simple, she wanted tools that;

  • provided a “Question/Answer” back channel where participants in the room or online could post questions
  • the ability to implement “Flash polls”
  • and offer “Online versions of assessments for participants that would can calculate individual scores and show aggregate results”.

Ashley Tan, posted some great parrallel thoughts on his post: Strategies for interacting with participants and shared his thinking on backchannel communication (Dr. Tan defines “backchannel as an online space for participants to comment, discuss, and ask questions while I am speaking or after I have asked them to consider an issue“) using Twitter, TodaysMeet and also mentions how to adapt Google Slides for a more interactive experience with the audience. His use of  tools like Google Forms and AnswerGarden for data collecting and collating were also good options for those of you like to keep metrics.

Both these stellar trainers provided many other tips on these recent post and I encourage you to check them out and try some for yourself.

 

As a trainer at both local and national levels and an adjunct educator, I  have been using Twitter for sometime in both class rooms as well as the national trainings and even went as far as to create a specific page on my website MentorSF.com so that on the day of trainings I can track the hashtags for that trending theme. For some trainings I even establish a unique hashtag for it, otherwise I tend to prefer to use my standard #MentorSFCA.

Other tools I tend to like to use include Piazza as a external discussion board, this works great when I want people to interact with guest who might not me on the learning platform I am on at the moment.

Symbaloo which offers a great way to create a “grid” that you can customize with links and add to a slide presentation or set as your browser, by having presenters or presentations and videos preloaded on it. 

Hint to educators with group student presentations – with a little effort the night before, you can save a hug month of lost time with changing memory sticks, links that don’t embed into slides etc with Symbaloo.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Be the first to comment
        

My very talented friend & colleague Strother Gaines just released his “speaker reel”; I admire his style and his approach to storytelling and authenticity. His coaching style is as unique and changing as he is; keeping him fresh and energized. Check him out below or visit his website unicorndammit.com.

When I see talent like this, it just makes me want to step up my own game but also see these winners succeed in their own way, on their own terms.

His swing on things makes you stop and read. For instance – when you stop at his website – you see “UNICORNS ARE BAD-ASS AND SO ARE YOU BUT WHAT DO THEY HAVE TO DO WITH COACHING?” with a call to action to find out why?.

Some very clever thinking went in behind this. Bravo!

 

1 Comment. Join the Conversation
        

 

Was a busy weekend on many fronts but the best one was getting a chance to see my work spotlighted on the Seasons Of Pride website as part of recognizing LGBT businesses.

The written interview gave me a chance to talk about the concept behind my work as MentorSF as well as share some on my newer programs including the Storytelling Bootcamp that I am now offering and my Explorers Program not to mention, tease a bit on some new projects due out this year.

You can read the actual interview here, or by visiting SeasonsofPride.com’s Business Spotlight for April 7th, 2017 .

A new feature on the site later this month is a new mobile video series that with centers around an “Ask Me A Question”  theme, with my responding via video instead of the written word. It is an experiment, so I intend to keep it casual, humorous and contempory.

You can also check out my introduction video if you missed it on the main page of MentorSF below.

Be sure you also sign up on my mailing list, follow MentorSF on Facebook or check out my  Engage! blog for the upcoming announcements and offerings.

Be the first to comment
        

Wading through the “VPN” marketplace

Posted April 5, 2017 By Frank Strona

A local pal and one of my “tech go to’s people” took some time and wrote a post on the recent increase in calls for awareness about privacy and VPN’s. I likes its simplicity and while I have been using another company – I thought his well don’t post was well worth sharing for those who haven’t yet adopted one.

 

Protect Your Privacy from ISPs and Cyber Threats

April 4, 2017|Jack Mou

Trump’s recent repeal of broadband privacy rules has many of us concerned.  Your internet service providers (ISPs) can now make more money by selling your search and browsing history.  Imagine your search of medical treatments via your web browser or visits to medical treatment websites could also end up in the hands of marketing companies.  In addition, we don’t know how these marketing companies sells your data elsewhere.

So are you worried about your ISP? Is someone on your coffee shop’s Wi-Fi?  A hacker bugging your home internet? A virtual private network (VPN) can help protect your privacy.  VPNs, such as PureVPN, will protect your internet privacy from your ISP and any other would-be snoopers.

A VPN uses encryption technologies, to create a virtual encrypted “tunnel” between your device and a VPN server.  While your traffic is in this tunnel between you and a VPN server, no one can see where you’re going or what you’re doing.

Be the first to comment