Let’s face it – one likes being called middle-aged

Especially when it is used to label a workforce as slowing down or “less than”

But its the best part of knowing, you still have a vibrate life ahead of you. With technology on the rise in an age of social media marketing, millennial co-workers and competitors can be intimidating—especially if you feel like you’re struggling to keep up. As we age, our energy diminishes. It’s a normal part of growing older, but there are ways to keep your age from holding you back. If you’re struggling with keeping your energy up throughout the day, there are a couple different solutions you might want to think about entertaining.

 

Fuel Your Body

The most obvious potential culprit is your diet: a poor diet is one of the key influencers in depleted energy. If you feel like you no longer have the capacity to keep up with your younger co-workers, consider a stricter meal plan designed to boost your energy. Our key suggestion for more energy is lots of complex carbohydrates, such as dark leafy greens or starches, which will help restore and stabilize your energy levels. You should also include plenty of protein and healthy fats. Some excellent contenders for your energy-boosting diet would be fish, white meats, avocados, and beans. For those of you who tend to “skip” out on breakfast (which I often do), I recently found this recipe in the  March Issue of  Men’s Health Magazine for Blueberry Oat Pancakes, the primary ingredient is plain oatmeal with added protein. While dense, when whipped up on a Sunday, cooled and wrapped – they freeze well an I grab them now on my way out the door. Cold or toasted, maybe with a bit of peanut butter they are a lot better than that skipping or grabbing something on the road. I found a similar version here, but the March version as follows is updated more and better tasting.

 

I am sharing the March version below:

  • 3 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 3 scoops of Vanilla whey protein powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 Pinch of salt
  • 3 bananas
  • 3 large eggs, plus 6 egg whites (I used the pre-made version from the store for this)
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract (I would use more at least a full teaspoon)
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon (I would use more at least a full teaspoon)
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil or butter for brushing the cooking surface

To Make: 

  • Using the blender or a Ninja machine; blend together everything but the blueberries and the oil/butter. It will be “batter” like texture.
  • Using a non-stip skillet, brush with coconut oil or butter and ladle about a 1/3 of a cup of batter (this will make about 12 cakes).
  • Cook 2-3 minutes per side.
  • Cool (or eat), package in zip bags and freeze or put in refrigerator

Note: this is a simple example of how to snack or eat on the go – it’s a flexible batter – so change it up! So while recipe says a serving is 3, I found 1 -2 to be perfect.

 

Manage Hormones

Another option you may want to consider is talking to your doctor about taking hormone booster supplements. Testosterone levels decline in men as they age, and a deficiency can result in any number of symptoms, such as depression, weight gain, loss of stamina, fatigue, and cognitive decline. Similar effects can result from an estrogen imbalance in women. Managing hormone levels through diets and supplements could be the small change it takes to help you feel young, energized, and ready to take on work like you could twenty years ago. Having honest and open discussions with your health care providers about your energy level, mood, sexual desire, etc is a great way to stay aware and to ensure they do the appropriate diagnostic exams.

 

Stay Active

Another good way to boost your energy is to create a routine in which you are regularly active. This activity can be anything from taking long walks to bicycling to taking a fitness class. It doesn’t matter so much what the activity is as long as you’re making an effort to get moving and you’re doing it safely. Research proves that being regularly active can increases energy, especially as people get older. Remember – active is simply that “active”; how you define it for you doesn’t have to look like it does for everyone else. Don’t take on something that doesn’t feel right for yourself.

Start slow and work up. Have fun with it. I know in my household, tension would arise when the dreaded “let’s go for a walk” was mentioned. As it usually meant a 1-2 mile urban hike. But once we discussed that my enjoyment of a walk is about seeing new things and doing the same walks through town, did not entice or was it compelling. Now we use the walks as a way to explore new parts of town together and with friends. For those of you in the Bay Area; we even have a “Walking Coach“. His specialty is using the process of walking to help the client develop other areas of life. You can check out his work here http://www.sfwalker.com

 

Develop Your Skillset

Another advantage of younger workers is that they are tech-savvy. Computers and mobile devices aren’t new technology anymore, but their change has been incredibly rapid. Those of us who are less nimble in mind, let’s say, may struggle to keep up. The truth is that in today’s knowledge economy, everybody needs to constantly develop their skills – regardless of the demographics of their office. This has led to the rise of services like Skillshare or Udemy that help us stay sharp in an increasingly competitive job market.

Career Counseling

In all of these efforts, you need someone in your corner to help you navigate career decisions and advise your efforts to maintain a strategic, competitive advantage. I’d love to be part of that process. Check out the coaching services I offer and see if we can’t partner to keep you at the top of your game.

 

No matter how old you get, there is always a way to improve your situation and reinforce your position in the workplace. Focus on your strengths and what it is that you as an individual can offer your employers. Turn being a little older than your millennial co-workers into a strength: you’re more experienced and hopefully, you’ll feel just as confident.

 

References

 

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Some new voices on Engage

As part of my Spring Guest Series, I reached out to a cross-section of my friends and colleagues who have taken creative and engaged paths towards developing a career. The first of the series is from the mind of a longtime friend, and creative visionary Louis Karim. His extensive background in commercial media helped to make him a true visionary in media-related content from a Middle Eastern lens.  We took some time together to discuss his Where I Belong Now as a perfect example of how staying true to your passions, natural and professional dream can take shape to create a compelling story worthy of an international audience.
Louis Karim is an award-nominee and quad-lingual Lebanese American Creative Producer-storyteller and media consultant with more than two decades of experience to support his efforts. He is seen as a visionary individual among many in the industry, with his strong work ethic and professionalism in directing and creating broadcast and social media platform video content. He brings with him a significant experience in lifestyle, brand development, editorial design, digital video content social media and broadcast art directing. Something I have always appreciated about Louis is his strong aesthetic sense, and eye for detail. He has married his creative mind with a french style that can transfer concepts to visual images in a way that leaves you wanting more.

 

Take a moment to enjoy “Where I Belong Now” then read more about Louis below.

Generation After War from Louis E Karim on Vimeo.


 

Frank: Louis, how did you get to be doing this kind of work?
Louis: In 2011, my former boss asked me to join the team of a magazine program in a storytelling format, It was an outstanding challenge that I felt deeply in love with, my first story was the 25th anniversary of Keith Haring. As you know the storytelling format had developed since from Q&A to Docu-telling style 
Frank: So tell me a bit about Where I Belong Now.
Louis:Where I Belong Now is the story of 5 immigrants survivors from heated countries in the Middle East where situations at home now created challenges tor them to live and thrive as day to day life became a struggle. Each seeks to flee oppression and political pressure with a need so great, that the risk and fear associated with leaving to seek refuge in the U.S becomes a compelling reason to try.

 

Frank: What struck you most about the stories?
Louis: It wasn’t their differences. What I resonated with the most, was that they each would share stories and experiences of commonality, from desire, to situations and themes that marked their journey. This common thread is what ties many immigrants who seek a new life beyond the borders of the birthplace.
Frank: In Where I Belong Now what were some of those common these the viewers will see expressed?
Louis: Much of it is about transitions and self-assessment. The inner dialogues immigrants have that questions the motive behind the move, and then becomes the voice of worry as they seek to settle into a new place. They included:
  • Is living in the United States the answer?
  • Taking the risk
  • Leaving behind loved ones, family, and friends
  • Living in limbo
  • Living in nostalgia 
  • Staying connected with the homeland
  • Start a new life 
  • Fear of failing 
  • Would (or could) they return to a homeland?
  • Where do they belong now
Frank: Louis, how long did this take?
Louis: worked on this project, over the course of 2 months with content filmed in 4 cities and different production crews.
Frank:  Louis – did you travel to each? 
Louis: Yes Frank, I traveled to each city: Philly, NY, SF and Seattle.
Frank: Having the different crews must have been a challenge.
Louis: As you can imagine with your experience of working remotely so often, it had its moments Each story had a different crew and equipment that was available, so that also created its own unique challenge. I worked to maintain the same production quality running through, yet stay true to the story told. Also important to me was the music used. I choose a different piece of music theme for each one for reference and to honor the differences of the story.
Frank: Are you still own touch with any of the storytellers?
Louis:Yes. [smiles] The experience became more than just one getting the shot. In the end, 3 of them became close friends.
Frank: When working in the storytelling mode, what technique do you think added more impact to the video stories? 
Louis: I think the extra time to balance and strategically place the captions & quotes, during editing added a strong impact on delivering the message of a survivor.
Frank:Louis, where can people find you the days?
Louis:  Recently I started my social digital video blog at Arts2Vivre. As Founder and CEO, my hopes is that it will mature into a modern, trendy and contemporary social site; I remain active on most social media platforms: like Facebook, LinkedIn, or on  Twitter @louiekarim, Vimeo and Instagram.

Portfolio Site: http://www.louiskarim.com/

Arts2Vivre: https://www.facebook.com/groups/Arts2Vivre/

FB: https://www.facebook.com/louikarim

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/louis-e-karim-0128b0a/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Louiekarim @louiekarim

Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/louiskarim

Instagram: louiekarim

 

 

Some of Louis Karim award nominee stories include:

  • Keith Haring “Untitled Artist”; 2011 New York TV Award
  • Food and Fadawa ”Noor Theatre”; 2011 New York TV Award 
  • MYJIHAD; 2012  New York TV Award 
  • Roads to Damascus “Visual-Musical live performance”;2013 Cine Award

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Spring Guest Blogger Series

Excited to kick off my Spring Guest Series tomorrow with an interview from Louis Karim and his media storytelling efforts on “Where I Belong Now”.  Last month I put an open invite out letting folks know that I would be hosting “guest” posts that spanned a wide range of topics. And Louis was one of the first to say “I’m In”. I kept the framework flexible handset parameters for the posts to include narrative content, interview style, poetry, audio and media along with the invite to cross-link to any projects the folks were currently involved in.

Someone asked why was I being so willing to share my space with others. For me it was simple – storytelling isn’t something any one person can own. The “stories” may be unique to the person – but they share a more widely held human experience worth sharing. So why not open up my blog to share and cross-pollinate some thinking. Collaboration is the best way to experience new ideas, insight and sometimes even challenge your own thinking. In the end, it’s all about what our government leadership is lacking. The understanding that “diversity and strong opinions can still play nice together” and achieve some incredible outcomes when both sides take part.

Here was the original post:

I’m putting the word out that I am inviting people interested in writing a guest post on my MentorSF.com Engage blog. The content can be fluid and may, of course, link back to any projects of yours. I am especially looking for the following topics/themes;

– Workforce Development
– Diversity & Inclusion content
– Balancing life & work
– Social Media and Technology rips and tools
– Stories of how to thrive during scarcity
– Senior Transitions
– Storytelling
– Have an urge to teach or how to article?

Other ideas? Go ahead and pitch me …

If you are interested leave a comment below and how best to reach you or message me directly. The blogs can run 300-700 words.

If you missed the announcement, check out my MentorSFCA Facebook page or email me at Frank@mentorsf.com for details.

Stay tuned to read and see more on tomorrow’s Engage Post!

 

        

Ethics in business?

Since I am in the middle of teaching a health ethics course, the concept of ethics in business practices was on my mind this month.  This week I am sharing a guest post from Mark Schlatter, of Kansas City Ford, one of the MentorSF Engage! readers,  on the often made fun of and occasionally controversial professional roles; the car salesperson.

Let’s face it – buying a car can either be a great experience or a terrible one. I have had both – but I am also clear that it isn’t an industry thing so much of a way we ask people who live on commissions to hit high goals every month. For anyone who lives on a commission based role, to reach them often can put a person in an ethical dilemma.

Mark was willing to share some thoughts on his views of the creative yet ethical salesperson.    –Frank

How to be a Creative yet Ethical Car Salesperson

Due to negative media portrayals, car salespeople have built up a reputation over the years of not being in the most honest profession. People have walked away from car dealerships feeling lied to, conned, and even scammed out of their money. It has gotten so bad that people hate the experience and try to avoid car salespeople altogether.

This doesn’t have to be the case, however. There are some simple rules that every car salesperson can follow, to not only be ethical as a salesperson but to also be far more successful than they would have been otherwise.

#1 Be Honest

Rule number one is the simplest, yet the most commonly broken. Do not lie to the customer. Under no circumstance should the salesperson ever lie to their customer. Lying to the customer destroys the bond of trust that must be implied in order for the relationship between customer and seller to exist. Lying to the customer may seem like a quick and easy way to make a buck, but it only hurts the salesperson and ultimately the entire dealership in the end.

#2 Be Helpful

Rule number two is a little more nuanced. Be transparent. Sometimes it doesn’t take an outright lie to get a customer to believe something that is not totally true. When a salesperson sees that a customer has an idea about a vehicle that is false, it is incumbent upon the salesperson to correct this mistake. It may be tempting to allow the customer to go right along thinking something positive about the vehicle that isn’t really accurate, but by letting the customer know the truth, not only will the salesperson be making the ethical decision, but they will be strengthening the bond between seller and buyer, and putting themselves one step closer to finding the right car that the customer will love and be totally happy with.

#3 Be Disciplined

Rule number three is a matter of discipline. Do not shortchange the employer. This is an important rule at Kansas City Ford dealership Zeck Ford. As a car salesperson, it can sometimes be easy to slack off and not give their employer the hours of work that they agreed to. This is wrong, and they know it. Allowing themselves this lack of discipline is not only ethically incorrect, but it will seep into all aspects of their life. Taking pride in their work as well as their integrity will turn them into the kind of salesperson that every customer wants to deal with.

#4 Be in it for the Long Haul  

Rule number four is a strategy that not only applies to the car lot but also in all tasks in life. Play the long game. This means that is far more important to be looking to the future than to throw everything away for a short-term, one-time success. That one-time success, due to the sloppy nature of it, can easily backfire and lead to a person’s downfall.

In the situation where a car salesperson sees the opportunity to trick or pressure a customer into a sale, they should take a step back and not do it. Make sure the customer understands everything about the vehicle as accurately as possible and also make sure that the customer is completely ready to purchase the car. This will build long-term trust with the salesperson and the dealership. This long-term trust will soon turn into long-term cash.

#5 Be Reliable

Rule number five is to simply not make promises that cannot be kept. The salesperson must follow through with all agreements and guarantees made to the customer that led to the customer purchasing the vehicle. It is vitally important that the salesperson not start making promises to the customer based on something another salesperson told them at another dealership.

If a condition cannot be met, simply say so. Not doing so will create a situation where the dealership and the salesperson will lose their integrity, and inevitably, the trust of their customer base. However, showing the customer that they are only willing to tell them the truth will go a long way in making that customer feel comfortable with the salesperson and the dealership, and will eventually lead to repeat business.

#6 Believe in One’s Self

The final rule is not an ethical obligation to the customer, but an obligation to oneself. The salesperson owes it to themselves to obtain the best opportunity for long-term success that they possibly can. The final rule is for the salesperson to believe in themselves. There is no reason that they cannot continually improve and strive to be the best version of themselves that they possibly can.

There are a whole lot of customers out there just waiting to buy a car. All they need is a great car salesperson to guide them in the right direction. Customers don’t need to be told what to do; they just need to be helped. A car salesperson that understands that they owe it to themselves to keep improving and being the best that they can be. Word of their integrity and helpfulness will spread like wildfire. They and their dealership will soon reap the rewards of an ethical yet creative car salesperson.

 This week’s guest post by Mark shares his work as a versatile writer with extensive experience creating interesting, engaging, and unique articles in the automotive industry. You can follow Mark on twitter as @ZeckFord

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How to Reduce Your Own Anxious Feelings

Posted January 4, 2018 By GuestSpot

Anxious feelings…

We all have them but for those who experience an overwhelming feeling of being anxious or anxiousness around crowds, the feeling can be crippling. Wracked with self-doubt and gripped with the overwhelming fear of being viewed in a negative light, many who are more introverted and nervous around groups end up staying aloof from friends and missing out on vital life experiences. In the extreme cases, even missing school or work to avoid the discomfort.

But struggling with being anxious and anxiousness doesn’t have to be devastating to your life. Here are a few tips that will help you get back on your feet faster.

5 Ways To Reduce Your Own Anxious Feelings

 

 

1: Separate Thoughts from Reality

  • Though everyone has an inner dialogue of some kind, the type experienced by people who avoid social situations is particularly negative. Statements like “This presentation will be awful”, or “Everyone can see right through me” permeate the mind and create self-defeating thoughts that intimidate the victim before the conversation even begins.
  • To fight these thoughts, try to separate the reality from your inner voice. Most likely, there is no evidence or proof to back up these thoughts, so the feelings that you have to the contrary are baseless, and should be treated that way. Whenever you have a negative thought about a social situation, stop and think through it. Is there any way reality is backing that thought up? Make note of how often then thoughts crop up, and try to think through each one rationally.

2: Own Your Positivity

  • Though everyone has an inner dialogue of some kind, the type experienced by people who avoid social situations is particularly negative. Statements like “This presentation will be awful”, or “Everyone can see right through me” permeate the mind and create self-defeating thoughts that intimidate the victim before the conversation even begins.
  • To fight these thoughts, try to separate the reality from your inner voice. Most likely, there is no evidence or proof to back up these thoughts, so the feelings that you have to the contrary are baseless, and should be treated that way. Whenever you have a negative thought about a social situation, stop and think through it. Is there any way reality is backing that thought up? Make note of how often then thoughts crop up, and try to think through each one rationally.

3: Own Your Positivity

  • One of the best ways to reorient your mind to the task at hand is by relabeling the self-defeating thoughts into something more positive. Instead of saying, “I’m so nervous right now,” own the positivity by saying things like “I can’t wait to get started!” By taking ownership of your thoughts, you can change the narrative in your head. Turn your feelings of dread into excitement.

4: Try Breathing Exercises

  • In some cases, a simple breathing exercise may be the trigger you need to calm the body and mind. Breathe in slowly through your nose for a count of four, then breathe out just as slow. This can help slow breathing and heart rates and will help to remind you to stay calm. If possible, use some doTERRA oil to help you relax. Put just a drop or two on your shirt sleeve or back of the hands to help ground you before any social experience.

5: Embrace Vulnerability

  • Experiencing anxious feelings around groups of people should not be crippling, and the more you allow yourself to be held back by it, the worse it will become. Allow yourself to be open, even if it’s just with a personal mentor who can help guide you through past situations, and embrace the discomfort that you feel when you put yourself out there. Keep it in moderation, but there’s nothing wrong with being you. Little by little, you’ll be able to feel more in control, even when you feel emotionally out of control.

Remember

Anxious feelings around lots of people are an uncertain and stressful experience, but fortunately, it gets easier the more time and practice you put into it. Implement these tips with a hint of courage, and you should feel yourself getting more and more comfortable in the outside world. As I have mentioned in the past – do not be afraid to ask for help! find support in many ways is a key part of moving through this process. For some ideas of where you can find more support, check out the Engage blog post How to overcome your fears after an accident or significant emotional moment“. Which also lists some resources.

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Getting that initial reading-list for 2018 started

Posted January 3, 2018 By Frank Strona

Reading-list 2018

Got my initial reading-list for the new year made last night. I usually keep two versions, one for more social and personal stuff such as the list I posted today on my personal blog BiteTheRoad.com today. Then I try to come up with a least 5 new books for professional goals that I want to include.

reading books

A few from 2017

The social read-list includes:

  • I know the first on the list will be Humility Is The New Smart; Rethinking Human Excellence in the Smart Machine Age (Hess & Ludwig, 2017)

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5 Steps to Get Back on Your Feet After a Layoff

Posted December 27, 2017 By GuestSpot

Getting laid off is no joke. Suddenly losing your source of income can create a lot of problems, especially if you have payments to make and debt to deal with. You may feel overwhelmed or hopeless about your situation. This doesn’t have to last. You can get back on your feet, and it can happen pretty quickly. Here are five steps to help you do this.

Take a Deep Breath

One of the most important things to remember is that you are going to be okay. While this may be a difficult period for you, it is not the end of the world, and you need to realize that. Panicking is just going to make the situation worse and make you feel more overwhelmed. It’s okay to be upset and worried, but don’t let that consume you. Take some time to process your feelings and then put that aside so you can move forward.

Figure Out What Happened

Getting laid off usually comes as a surprise. It can be shocking to have to deal with something like this, but until you know why, you won’t know how to move forward. If you were laid off because of staff cuts, then it probably wasn’t your fault, and you can use that information when applying for a new job. The best way to figure out what happened is to talk to your supervisor. Make sure you approach this conversation properly. If you are angry or accusatory, it isn’t going to go over well.

Consider Your Next Move

Now is a good time to consider what your actual career goals are. Sometimes, you are lucky enough to be right where you want to be. If you enjoy what you have been doing, there is no need to change, but it not, now might be a good time to reevaluate what you want to do with your life. If you are looking to change careers, you may need to go back to school. When considering educational options, look for something that will give you versatility. There are plenty of online options that are much cheaper and faster than a more traditional university that are just as good.

Use Your Network

Connect with professionals in your industry and other areas by attending industry events, seminars, and other events. Networking has been proven to be one of the most successful ways of getting a new job, so don’t discard this part. You should make sure that you are constantly networking, even if you aren’t at an event specifically for that. Networking doesn’t have to be super formal, just talk about your interests and what you would like to do with your career. It’s about getting to know people. While networking, don’t hesitate to help someone else out if you can. They will be more likely to return the favor.

Prepare for the Next Step

When getting ready for job interviews, you need to make sure you practice. Even if you were good at interviewing at one point, your skills have probably gotten a little rusty, and they won’t come back overnight. It may be a good idea to sit down with a friend or family member and have a mock interview. This can help you prepare for sticky questions, like explaining why you are looking for a job. Getting laid off isn’t necessarily a deal breaker, but it can be if you don’t explain it properly. Make sure you update your resume and cover letter as well.

It may take you a while to get there, but eventually, you will find another job, and things will become normal again. Until then, hang in there and trust that something good is coming your way.

References:

6 Ways to Make Yourself More Marketable

Best Tips for Updating Your Resume

Best Bet for Job Interview Prep

WGU Master of Business Administration

10 Steps to Surviving a Layoff

How to Respond When You Get Laid Off

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How to Use Anxious Feelings as Your Own Secret Weapon

Posted December 26, 2017 By GuestSpot

Most people think of an intense fear or an uncontrollable worry when they think of anxious feelings, but everyone experiences this differently. We all get nervous from time to time. Feelings of fear, worry, or distress can be disrupting and even hinder us from daily life, but they don’t have to. When properly directed, being anxious can easily turn from a fear, into one of your strongest motivators. Keep reading if you’re interested in finding out three ways to make your nervousness work for you.

Stop Fighting It

When you feel a bout of anxious feelings coming on, don’t try and pretend it isn’t happening. In fact, by struggling against your fears and trying to fight off anxious feelings, you’ll only overwork yourself and make it harder to be productive. If you want to accept your feelings of anxiousness, the key is to identify and accept the triggers that cause it.

When you feel your heartbeat increasing or palms sweating, you’ll likely want to make these feelings go away as quickly as possible. Instead, accept these feelings for what they are and consider how you’ll utilize them. Anxious feelings are a physical and mental response to perceived danger or risk. Identify what you find risky in your environment and logically consider how you can navigate it. After all, you can’t use something to your advantage if you’re fighting it.

Anxiousness Is Energy

If your body were a car, then feelings of anxiousness would be a hyper-efficient fuel. The key to using this as your secret weapon is to stop stewing over what makes you anxious and start acting on those feelings instead. The beauty of feeling nervous is that it presents you with only two options: sit and become even more afraid of your thoughts, or act until it goes away. By letting it push you into action, you’ll quickly find it is one of the best workplace motivators out there. Be sure to act fast, or your anxiousness will build until it’s uncontrollable.

Control It

The key to controlling anxiousness is knowing when it’s out of balance. Minor issues like light sweating or nervous tapping might not affect you too much. When you feel yourself losing control, try discussing your feelings with a trusted mentor or even talking to a therapist to help calm yourself down. After identifying common triggers, try to form a planned offense. Repeat positive phrases to yourself before entering a situation which will make you nervous. Before performing or presenting, remind yourself of past successes and visualize a positive experience. Alternatively, lavender and rose doTERRA essential oils have helped people to relax when they have anxious feelings, and you can find many other coping tricks and advice to help you control these feelings.

If you want to use your nervous feelings effectively, then you need recognize it for what it is, let it spur you into action, and be able to stop or control it. By using a few of the above strategies, you’ll be able to turn your anxious feelings from a hurdle into your own secret weapon.

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Pushing the Envelope: Challenging Your Comfort Zone for Greater Personal Success

In order to grow, we must view a comfort zone as a way station, rather than a destination.

Remaining in your comfort zone is somewhat like standing on that one stepping stone just because it feels good, but it can also bring progress to a halt. It limits your exposure to the stimulus that can inspire and feed creativity. Success means learning how to move through the intimidating spaces separating plateaus of achievement. A former instructor of mine, Dr. Bradford Keeney, used to speak of this space as a form of “lived tension”. Back then I had a hard time understanding the concept until I took a step back and allowed myself to stop defining “tension” as a bad thing and consider it as an experiential processor “a series of moments in time” not good nor bad. The amount of time a person chooses to stay in it is both optional and fluid. Taking daily actions with one or more of the following suggestions may help push your horizons far beyond their present positions, when and if you are of a mind too.

Increasing Knowledge

How we view the world is determined only by what we have learned over a lifetime. All of our senses are enriched by the information we have absorbed. Some say that the night skies are more beautiful when we can point out stars by name. Plants become more interesting when we learn what the Romans called them or the unique properties they hold. Strangers evolve into fascinating representatives of exotic cultures when we learn their language or open ourselves up to our differences not as comparisons but as opportunities. Interests blossom into careers when we stop trying to “keep up with the Jones’s” and start wanting to make a difference in the work we do.  When you make a study and seek to make engaged self-education a daily habit, the entire world unfolds before you. No one ever succeded at work by staying within the boundaries of a comfort zone

Leaving the Beaten PathMentor Moment image of growing green native strawberries

The act of doing anything in an unfamiliar manner reaches up into the brain and moves things around. Old concepts are juggled, and new concepts are formed. The results prompt the mind to look at everything from a different angle. New ideas form. By not being able to do things reflexively, the brain awakens to a full state of alertness. What would usually go unnoticed is noticed and becomes lodged in memory. Try something new each day: Take the back door, eat peas with a knife, brush your teeth left-handed — anything to shake up your senses. It worked for me, when I taught at a local University, I was trying to reach students differently and noticed some growing research that indicated traditional seating could in fact limit learning, so I set out to explore other ways that would open them up. After the word “standing” popped out at me a few times, I took the hint. I had all the chairs removed and thought the whole class, with all of us standing up. What did I learn? When a student learns, then move, they smile, they gesture. The more focused they became on what I was sharing, the less it was a lecture to be memorized in between texts and facebook posts and the more it became an experience.

Service to Others

Donating your time and energies to a worthwhile cause can be as lucrative as a college degree. The knowledge gained from charitable efforts can be applied to just about any vocation. Learning how to assist others in a variety of circumstances easily translates into marketable skills. Showing a potential employer a resume that documents you as an enthusiastic and engaged volunteer in your chosen field increases your chances of getting hired. Regularly giving volunteer service helps you live knowing that you are helping to make the world better.  

Physical Well-being

Just as the above suggestions require daily attention, so does the act of maintaining good health. Engaging in physical activity on a regular basis lifts the spirits and sharpens the mind. All of the body’s processes are benefited. Proper circulation and respiration help to keep the organs functioning at peak levels. A few minutes a day is all that is needed to optimize your physique and keep you ready for life’s surprises.

Time and Space

You can envision yourself on Earth in the early part of the 21st century. You can also envision yourself in a boundless universe consisting of billions of planets spinning through immeasurable time. Your imagination is the device that limits or expands your concepts of eternity and infinity. Against such fathomless reaches, why not supersize your dreams? If you are going to push the envelope, push it in a big way. Consider your path and get started. Leave the comfort, at least for a time, and head into the empty spaces where there is ample room to build your dreams.


“Realizing goals is, by design, a challenge. Everything needs to be stretched in order to reach them. Flex the brain to increase intelligence. Work the body to gain the required strength to stay the course. Tighten the spirit to acquire the needed fortitude. Use your mind to enforce daily actions until your body accepts them as habits. Build each day on the back of the preceding day until your foundation is so strong that stopping is no longer a temptation. Learning to live outside your comfort zone will lead you to achievements, creating “greater satisfaction, career advancement, and income growth” (WGU).

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Our body reacts to the good, the bad and the ugly

Posted December 19, 2017 By Frank Strona

When your body responds

In my last few months, the body was a focal part of my posts as it often take the brunt of the wear and tear every day. I talked a lot about ways to cope with the good, the bad and now; the ugly.

Ugly is the one that always gets people at this time of the year; the dreaded ending of a relationship and navigating those changes. Even if you happen to be the one who initiates the change, it doesn’t mean it will be any easier in many cases.

But Instead of spending a lot of time with words this week, I happen to come across this infographic from HeyCrush.com. They do a great narration of the infographic so no need for me to rewrite it for you – instead

What is my body saying?

  1. look at the infographic.
  2. Make a list of which parts strike you as a “hmmm” and “ouch” or a “could I have caused that to someone
  3. Decide which if any make sense for you to explore further
  4. Then head over to HeyCrush.com and check out the actual article “How to get over someone after a breakup?” from April 2017 and see what it says.

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