Bear meets bear

It’s Scary & Exciting

Just when my life could not get any more interesting with all the balls I constantly juggle; earlier this year,  I was asked to do an actual licensed TEDx Talk as part of the first TEDxProvincetown that would address the concept of surviving and thriving in  “differentness” in a world that supports “sameness”.
Several months later, I was one of the lucky 10 people participating in Provincetown’s first TEDxProvincetown series this summer and sharing the stage with an incredible group of people. I am excited to say the full set of speaker links have finally gone live. Including mine!

 

But why TEDxProvincetown?

Sharing who I was has never been an issue. I learned early on, to be the best I can be today, meant often owning who I was in the past. So, in this case, it played out on the TEDx platform. 26 years ago, I left my life, commuting between Boston and Provincetown for an opportunity to work in San Francisco. I was then working in progressive sexual adult content mediums and communication structures addressing often ignored, overlooked, marginalized and underserved communities. Some of them included men like me, gay & bisexual men who didn’t fit with the then gay male archetype; who often struggled to find to a sense of identity with so few role-models to draw from.
So what happens? 26 years later I find myself talking about those very same issues to a wider audience! Of course, this partner’s perfect with the push in my efforts with MentorSFCA.com to support all people in making the “best fit” choices for themselves and creating what they need when they don’t see it offered.
So it was an honor to share my experience as a gay man on body shaming, invisibility, resilience, and lessons learned from a “bigger” perspective with an incredible group of people.


And here it is! 

Did you like it?

I Need Your Help

I am proud to have been able to address body shaming, invisibility, and love beyond limits as part of the TEDxProvincetown program to audiences that extended beyond just gay men, including people of all types, ages, genders, and orientations.

I want to spread the word spread. Help me share the message to all audiences. This talk is one of the first licensed TEDx talks that actually addresses body shaming, sex, inclusion, and visibility from a bigger-bodied gay man’s experience. Because of this, it has the potential opportunity to reinforce that desire and love can blossom no matter the body type.  The more views the talk gets, the higher it ranks and the better the chances that it gets picked up for wider distribution. I’m asking that you include the link below in any announcement lists, email, newsletters or websites in an attempt to get the widest scope.

bear word cloudComments from viewersHow Can You Help?

Simple. Share the video link with your friends. Share it on Facebook, Twitter, etc. Anywhere you think people will see it. Don’t hold back to only LGBTQ audiences. This is a message for everyone. If you liked any of the other talks – share them too!

 Want more of it?

I am working on the extended version of this talk and it and other presentations will be available online as well as on the road. If you or your group would like to discuss my speaking in your area, please email me at Frank@Mentorsf.com


Sharing the talk is as easy as 1-2-3:

1. Copy and paste the link below

2. Add a comment of your own that you think your followers and friends would get intrigued by and want to watch it.

3. Add a few of the “hashtags” (Those words followed by a #) to help it show up in searches.
** Don’t forget youtube also allows you to use the embedded code as I did above if you prefer to have the video sit and play on your websites too.

The link to my talk on the TEDxProvincetown Youtube channel is as follows: https://youtu.be/8J-gaUgztjs

Feel free to tag me in any social media you choose to share using any of these hashtags:
#TEDxPtown
#BearTalk
#WhoDoYouSeeNow
#MentorSFCA

My social media accounts include:

Twitter: @FVStrona,
Facebook: Facebook.com/MentorSFCA
Instagram: @FVStrona
LinkedIn: LinkedIn.com/in/FVStrona

Then What?

Watch the rest.
All 10 of the talks were outstanding and different so you may enjoy checking out one of the other co-presenters by checking out the full speaker’s playlist for all 10 talks here

Curious about TEDxProvincetown?

You can find out more on its website www.tedxprovincetown.com 
Read more about the other speakers https://tedxprovincetown.com/tedx-provincetown-talks-performances/.
The hashtags & social media accounts for TEDxProvincetown include:
#TEDxPtown, #TEDxProvincetown
Facebook: [@TEDxProvincetown
Twitter:  [@TEDxPtown Profile, hashtag: #TEDxProvincetown]
Instagram: [TEDxProvincetown– profile, hashtag #TEDxPtown]
          

Common Side Effects of Stress and How to Manage Them

Posted August 25, 2018 By GuestSpot

With the fast-paced world that we live in, stress has almost become a fact of life. Being exposed to stress over long periods of time can begin to take a toll on one’s health and well-being. While it is important to address the cause of your stress, small steps can be taken to minimize the discomfort from the symptoms of stress and prevent further damage.

1. Upset Stomach

Chronic stress can leave your stomach in knots. If you’re noticing an increase in diarrhea, nausea, or constipation, it may be due to increased stress levels. Keeping a healthy diet and avoiding trigger foods, such as fried foods, may help temporarily alleviate an upset stomach.

2. Teeth Grinding or Clenching

Grinding of the teeth or clenching your jaw is a side effect of stress that you may not be aware of until someone else points it out because it often will occur while you are sleeping. Clenching of the jaw can be an unconscious reaction to stress and can happen during the day, as well. According to North End Dental Associates, “Night guards are recommended for people who clench or grind their teeth at night to protect their teeth from serious damage.”

3. Frequent Headaches

If you find yourself getting a headache once a day or a few times a week, it may be due to high-stress levels. Taking an over-the-counter pain reliever may help temporarily decrease the pain. Frequent headaches may also be a sign of dehydration; drinking the daily recommended amount of water may help to alleviate headaches.

4. Low Immune System

A particularly distressing side effect of being too stressed out is being sick all the time. It is important to take the time that your body needs to recover and rest while you are sick. It is well-known that stress lowers the body’s immune system, which makes it harder to fight off viruses and infections. According to Harvard Health Publishing, “General healthy-living strategies are a good way to start giving your immune system the upper hand.”

5. Low Energy

If your body is constantly in a high state of stress, it will leave you feeling worn down very quickly. Low energy can also be due to not sleeping well at night due to stress. It is not always feasible to give your body rest during the day when it needs it; however, it is important to be getting the recommended eight hours of sleep per night at a minimum.

Short-term remedies are enough to treat the side effects of stress temporarily but to truly recover, you must address the cause of your stress. Many people benefit greatly from talking with a lifestyle coach or therapist to identify the cause of their stress and to develop effective methods to eliminate their stress.

Allowing your self to try something new is always scary and many times that makes it easy to ignore or discount it as useful. Yoga, acupuncture and other forms of treatments that you are not familiar with may seem beyond you at the moment. But many times if you can just take the risk and try something – you may find some relief and learn something new about yourself too. For instance, a friend of mine recently shared this video with me about yoga. While I am not a big fan of it for myself I know far too many folks who have success with it to “poo poo” it. So even I am trying it to fight some potential issues with a pesky case of plantar fasciitis before it gets worse.

For more ways to deal with stress, especially regarding your business, check out more posts from this awesome site!

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Guiding a Loved One To Accepting Help

Posted August 21, 2018 By GuestSpot

Approaching Your Loved One Regarding Getting Help

No one wants to see a loved one suffer when help is within reach. It’s hard to watch someone spiral out of control, losing everything that they’ve worked so hard for in life. When someone is struggling with mental health concerns, you can’t just stand by and do nothing because the chances are that they can’t fix their lives on their own and they need someone. Addiction is a disease that plagues so many, but luckily, there is always help.

Talk About It

 

Talking to someone for the first time about addiction can be tough. Chances are that they know they have a problem but they don’t want to hear it from someone else. Addicts don’t want to hear how their life is crumbling and that it’s because of the poor choices they’re making. That’s why it’s crucial to tread lightly when bringing up an addiction. Never make the person feel like they’re a failure, instead, show them that there are options to get clean. From this article, “families should understand that approaching their loved one should be a gentle and supportive process, but they also need to understand that most patients seek substance abuse treatment because of positive family involvement and intervention.”

Be Supportive

When someone is struggling with addiction, there is one main thing that they need. They need support from friends and family alike. That support can make or break their decision to get clean. According to rehab center experts, “during difficult times of struggle, ailment, and addiction, it’s not only the person with the problem or illness that’s affected; family members and friends are oftentimes just as much a part of the path to recovery and improvement as the patient themselves.” Support means everything because it tells this person, “we believe in you and we will do everything we can to help you get clean.” It also means growing with them and learning just as they are. In addition, this support isn’t just emotional. Those trying to get clean will also need people to rely on for physical aspects like rides to rehab and even just a home cooked meal to help feel like valued and cared about.

Offer Resources

When a person wants to get clean, they’ll be surprised at just how many resources there are available to them. Chances are, however, that they won’t look into these themselves. They need someone else guiding them along the way and pushing them to get clean. When a drug has taken hold of an addicts brain, it’s hard for them to see the light at the end of the tunnel. It’s up to that core support group to show this person struggling that there are options such as rehab whether it be inpatient or outpatient, meetings, counseling, and more. It’s all about coming up with a plan that supports them.

Accept The Ups and Downs

Addiction is a disease and loving someone with that disease is a process. Experts say to make sure you are available for that person for the good times and the bad, and show that you want to help. That’s why family and friends must accept that every day won’t be easy. Getting clean is something the recovering addict will struggle with for weeks, months, and even years. That’s why that core support group is so essential.

If you’re looking for help in your journey, either as someone who is recovering or as a loved one, make sure to take the right steps to set yourself up for success. If you are wanting some additional guidance, I recommend reading some of our other articles which you can find here and here.

          

The 5 Most Common Causes of PTSD Attacks

Posted June 23, 2018 By GuestSpot

According to Safe Harbour Trauma Recovery, post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is a mental disorder caused by a traumatic experience. When an individual is suffering from it, they are unable to cope or move forward from the traumatic event, and ultimately, the individual experiences a continuous cycle of reliving the experience or experiences during times that trigger it.

The notion of PTSD has evolved over centuries to reflect societal perceptions. After the American Civil War, it was known as “soldier’s heart.” After the two World Wars, it was called “shellshock.” Since that time, PTSD has undergone many clinical definition changes.

One thing is for sure. The PTSD name is slightly miscategorized. Experiencing stress because of trauma is not necessarily a disorder. It is the natural and lasting reaction to situations that are abnormally poignant and disturbing. People can experience symptoms of PTSD in extraordinarily stressful but not physically dangerous situations. It doesn’t take a war situation to alter perception negatively. Everyday life situations can subject people to stress that results in negative feelings.

Horrible Family Situations

Daily fighting amongst family members can produce the continual feeling of failure. Family arguments create the sense that living in a household is toxic and dangerous. Past arguments have lasting effects that tend to dictate how future behaviors will unfold.

Bad Work Environments

Sometimes, corporate demands are devoid of humanity. People who work in demanding jobs often experience stress levels that go beyond all reasonable boundaries for the position. The fear of losing a job if all demands are not met seeps into every aspect of life.

Disturbing Dreams

The night is the time that some people dread. When dreams occur, they can bring about disturbing images and mental situations that remind the dreamer of past stressful events. Alarming dreams can interrupt healthy rest patterns while affecting all other aspects of an ordinarily productive daily life.

Constant Barrages of Responsibility

Everyone must endure the hounding of things like paying bills and having to perform adult tasks. Certain life circumstances create situations that are unmanageable for some people. The unfriendly and impersonal daily reminders of debts and duties can elevate stress levels to unbelievable heights.

Social Worries

Due to the advancements of social media proliferation, some people can be overwhelmed with the need to match societal expectations. A compulsion to continually compare oneself with others is an endless game that is never won. The need to meet other people’s expectations can be immensely stressful and can create unique versions of performance stress.

It is very common to be involved in extraordinarily stressful but not physically dangerous situations. Counselors trained in recognizing and countering the effects of stress are significant resources for people suffering from harsh past experiences. For most, a life coach is able to suggest actions to counter negative feelings. A long-term mentor can guide anyone through a personal struggle, and there are various ways in addition to therapy on how you could approach change in your life. Seeking help with PTSD, in all of its forms, is nothing to be ashamed of. It is a proactive and positive step toward a more free and productive life.

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Retooling Approaches to Changing Your Life

Posted June 4, 2018 By Frank Strona

If something feels like it’s been off lately, it may be time to think about what aspects of your life need some refreshing and retooling. Don’t panic at the thought. We all go through this at one time or another. In fact, incorporating small changes and adjustments can breed big ones without you even realizing it. When you start to make better choices, you may notice that other areas of your life begin to improve, too. So instead of looking at it as an improvement, consider it an investment in retooling yourself. 

I selected four areas this month for you to reflect on and take out for a test spin for your retooling.

Finances

If you’re struggling financially, consider how retooling how you spend money might look like. most people would tell you to the place to start is to trim back your budget and be more frugal. That makes sense and we all have some “wants” that pad our budgets that are not clear “needs” for us to thrive and be healthy. However, another option is to start making more money.

Maybe you’re not over-spending, or you genuinely feel like the things you spend your money are or more than worth it. Look for extra income streams. Exploring the idea of a side job you can do from home. Sometimes taking on those side gigs allow you to enhance a side-love or hobby you have a passion for and might inspire other changes. Or look closer to home with a focused effort and assessment of what you have around the house that is just taking up space. This could be all inventory that you could be selling and reinvesting those funds back to you. Several new tools are out that make selling from home super easy. Smart device applications like Letgo, eBay and Etsy can be managed from your computer and your smart devices. Being short on money doesn’t always mean you’re over-spending; sometimes it means you’re under-earning.

Job Opportunities

If you’re unhappy with your current career or role in your job, retooling your thinking about careers or options for a different role in your industry all start by learning more about them. Research new career paths or delve into a niche of your field. Sign up for classes or attend lectures. Make it clear to your manager that you’re interested in moving up and that you’re taking the necessary steps to expand your knowledge and experience. One of the basic tools to not overlook is the “informational interview”.  These meet-ups with those in the workforce who hold the roles you are considering (or the places you would like to be in) offer a casual, low-pressure way to make a first impression, explore the place and culture without feeling like you are on display. It also expands your network and practices your “small talk” skills.

Something to always consider is getting out of your comfort zone. If you hate sales or haven’t experienced pitching things to others, maybe it’s time to try it out. Sometimes it’s doing the things we hate that can lead to greater success and happiness. Be open to change and to taking a chance when it comes to job opportunities. But, that being said – there is a difference between expanding your comfort zone and pushing your personal ethics and boundaries. 

Health

Retooling your body and health; have you found that you’ve been taking care of yourself less? Perhaps overeating, or overindulging in drugs or alcohol more and more as a way to cope with something stressful or painful in your life? Maybe something else has happened, such as an injury, or other health issues that have caused you to take substances that are bad for you. It happens. However, according to MIA, “In most cases there are more areas for improvement than simply alcohol and drug abuse.” Maybe this includes more exercise, daily interaction with a neighbor or a friend, getting out for a walk, and just being productive.

Even if you don’t feel like there’s a way out of the cycle, it is possible to overcome and grow beyond these less constructive behaviors, especially with all of the professionals out there to help. Sometimes something as simple as attending a meeting is a significant first step toward making healthier choices.

Relationship

Are you struggling to enjoy your relationship? It might need some retooling as well. It could be your perspective that needs changing. For the next month, keep a gratitude journal specifically about your relationship and your partner. Every morning, write down three things that you appreciate them and try not to repeat the things you write down. This appreciation may help you view your significant other differently, which could be all you need to have a happier, more satisfying relationship. You can write old school with a journal or notebook, or adapt newer technology and incorporate tools like Notes or EverNote. Doesn’t matter which you use, its about doing it routinely and rereading it from time to time.

Remember, you don’t have to make massive, drastic changes to improve your quality of life. If significant changes do need to be made, consider breaking them down into smaller changes. Over time, you’ll make vast improvements, even if you go about them slowly and methodically.

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Four Business Skills That Can Improve Your Work and Social Life

People learn most of the fundamental skills for business when they’re young. Some kids take leadership roles, while others create the games or activities in which they participate. These salient skills become better defined as individuals take high school and college courses and complete challenging projects, though not every skill can be learned in school. In the corporate world, however, the most successful people cultivate many business skills that can also carry over to their social life. 

The same could also be said about habits that can leave a person less than able to do and be the best that one can be. This is where coaching and mentoring comes in. A well-seasoned coach can offer support and guidance for those with strong habits that need to be nurtured, retooled and in some cases relearned. Here are some of the essential skills you’ll need to succeed in your career and social life that you can develop on your own or with the help of a coach/mentor.

Business Skill 1: Communication

Our first business skill focuses on how we get ideas and thoughts across to others. Communication skills include the ability to listen, speak, read and write effectively, according to the Center for Development & Learning. You must be able to listen, hear and read instructions to complete tasks the right way. Understanding how to write and speak effectively to get your point across or inform your colleagues, and leadership is a key function in a company’s performance or financial results process. Even in your personal life, communication is crucial. Kyani explains “Dating coaches and sales professionals often teach the need to create desire, and want for more in a conversation in order to achieve success.” In your social life, good communication alleviates stress with your loved ones, enhances relationships and creates new opportunities based on clarity instead of confusion.

Business Skill 2: Networking

We have spoken about the power of talk before. Perhaps one of the most frightening skills to master, the ability to socialize in work settings, or networking enables you to develop contacts for which to conduct business, find colleagues and develop an identity in the workplace.  Business is a numbers game. The more people you know, the better your chances for success. Networking is also essential as a way to enhance your social life, whether you meet people through social media, church, events or online dating sites. The technique of “making small talk” can help take you from “standing in the corner” to “being part of the group”. Start increasing your exposure today in both your work and personal life. You’ll enjoy the fruits of your efforts. Take little steps; one of my favorite exercises is to suggest someone go to a coffee shop but instead of keeping your face on your tablet or phone, engage someone a conversation. The conversation doesn’t have to be long or in-depth but it should be enough to do the following take you out of yourself and bring you at the moment with salient topical talk. 

Offer an open-ended greeting

Add to it an inquiry [note -This could about the weather, the taste of what they are eating, observational query on what they are reading etc]

Be aware of your body language. are you looking at the person? are you making eye contact?

Do they appear interested in talking more?

Listen to the reply and respond as appropriate.

It will feel forced, but as you practice it will begin to feel more natural as you develop your natural sense of inquiry.

Business Skill 3: Decision-Making

Making proper decisions is an essential step in becoming a leader, according to Mind Tools. When you make a decision, you must take a systematic approach to get there. For example, if you’re deciding which features or styles you need for a product, your modus operandi should include surveying or talking with customers. Developing decision-making skills is one of the most valuable abilities you can learn, and business leaders know how to make the hard calls. They’re the ones buying your product. Similarly, the ability to decide where to go on a date or how to handle a personal situation is an attractive quality to the opposite sex.

How you communicate as we mentioned above also relates to this process. Hearing “I don’t care” is very different than “I do not have a preference and willingness to “. The intent is often not implied, so practice clarity in the decision making process.  What are you needing to make the decision?

Business Skill 4: Negotiating

Negotiating is one of the most valuable and fundamental compromise skills anyone can learn. In sales, for example, you have competitors who may be vying for the same clients. To get the order, you must stress the benefits of your product over competitors, defend any organizational shortcomings and even change the price to close the deal. Negotiating is also essential in your personal life. You may need to sacrifice a session at the gym or skip a favorite event to appease your spouse.

Start developing some of these essential business skills that can have a profound effect on both your work and social life. You’ll be a much happier and contented person because of it. It may feel awkward at first – but you have to learn to stand before you can run!

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Boosting Your Confidence by Finding Your Niche

Posted April 26, 2018 By Frank Strona

Finding the Power of Self

With the stresses and hardships of everyday life, it seems like our confidence and self-esteem are among the first feelings to suffer, along with overall happiness and wellness. We all have those moments when it seems like whatever you do, someone else does it better. Or worse, it feels like we are a “day late” to the party. Sometimes we make a decision at one point in life professional that moves us away from a place of confidence, for good reasons, only to find out along the way, a part of “you” got lost. I know it happened to me when I moved from being more of an independent educator and facilitator to working from within the system of some organizations.  In my effort to be the best I could be “at work”, I forgot how to keep the best of who I was in private.

But there’s no need for despair, finding your own self-worth is a journey that takes time. Learning how to trust in yourself is the part two of that journey. But for now, let’s consider some ways to get back in touch with the parts of us that inspire, bring joy and a sense of fulfillment.

stuck in a circle

It’s all too easy to get stuck focusing on getting to the “goal” and miss the moments of the journey.

Luckily, there are quite a few simple strategies you can use to boost your confidence and find success. It all works the same, once you are finally realize you are in a place in your life when discovering a fun hobby, beginning a new career, or finding your niche in something new and exciting. It is the process of that discovery which leaves us with the lessons, that are the best confidence boosters available. From completing crossword puzzles and sketching landscapes, to woodworking, and taking online courses, trying a new craft, doing stand up or even joining a book club. If you search thoroughly enough, you are bound to find your niche. And remember – you don’t have to lock yourself into any one of them. Take the time to try several out for size.

 

Artistic Mediums

Sketch & Draw It

If you enjoy doodling and drawing, something in the art field may already appeal to you. This can include anything from pursuing a career as a cartoonist or illustrator to a tattoo artist or skin painter. You can use your passion for art in a variety of different ways. One easy way to start is to get yourself a journal or notebook and just begin doodling. Try committing to doing something in it once a day. Small or big, original or just a “copycat”; it won’t matter for now. Just start to get in the habit, and get your hand-eye coordination in a creative mood. Some time back I posted about some journals and notebooks that I suggested – go ahead and reread that post here on some of my fav books. Don’t underestimate the power of “doodling” either. Sometimes those random sketches is a person way of working things out in your brain. I often keep a doodle pad at my desk exactly for that reason.

Write It

If writing is one of your passions, there are countless writing opportunities online alone, many of which you can complete remotely, from the comfort of your own home. Producing pieces of art and writing can, not only increase confidence but cause feelings of accomplishment and even pride in one’s hard work. Start simple – remember, no one has to even read them. But after you write something – pay attention to how you felt during and after. Remember some of us, no matter how tech we are, still are drawn to the old school pen and paper. While others gravitate to e-journals & blogging. Getting an account on Medium.com is a perfect way to start slow and also read how others do it. You don’t always have to publish your work right away. But I found over the years, its always better to save it.

Picture It

A favorite shot from Boston Summer 2017

Photography is another way to express yourself, view the world, and use visual art to better understand yourself. If you’ve dabbled before, try photographing something new. It could be close-ups of nature, long shots of landscapes, or maybe candids of the people you love. Try doing a selfie just to see what you do or don’t like about the medium. You don’t even need a fancy camera to get started, just try taking simple shots on your phone camera. Our smartphones have amazing capabilities to capture what the most expensive equipment can and it’s something you can start anytime.

Design It

Artspace in Atlanta

Interior design could be your niche if you enjoy the visual arts. Decorating your home or office can help give you artistic passion an outlet and improve your own living space. There are many different resources here as well, from staging and house flipping programs to online reviews and decoration advice forums, you’ll find many different ways to explore decoration and arts in your own home. Remember – you can always start small and help those of your friends who need a new look. It’s good practice for you and they are paying for the materials so it’s a win-win for both. 

Craft It

Crafting is not only a good way to pass the time but can be a real challenge for your brain. Whether you start by creating jewelry, knitting, or scrapbooking, crafts offer an opportunity to use your mind in new ways and find solutions to tiny problems. Using crafts as a form of artwork is also a great way to express your inner self and find more meaning in the smallest things. You can use these talents for years to come and will continue to find practical uses for your crafting. This holiday season, for instance, I started making a bunch of bookmarks and journal “keepers” for friends that has now ended up as a little side project. You read more about them in my blog post about them at BiteTheRoad.Com.

Physical Challenges

Me letting go and getting out

Maybe you prefer exercise or sports to improve your mood and self-esteem. Routine exercise, whether you walk, run, swim, lift weights, practice yoga, or play badminton, not only improves your physical health but your emotional health as well. Exercise increases serotonin levels and other feel-good hormones, which help to relieve stress, anxiety, and depression, improve mood, appetite, and sleep, and boost confidence, self-image, and self-esteem.

Exercise programs like CrossFit help to encourage beginners by giving them actionable goals and motivated friends and mentors. You can find a gym, class, or program that turns into a great community of support and friendship.

Get “Edumacated

Online learning makes anywhere you are the classroom

ok – I mean “educated”. Another way to boost your confidence is to explore new learning opportunities. Nothing is better nor more powerful than knowledge. Do you have any college credits? Are you ready to learn something new that could easily develop into your perfect niche? You could attend a physical university or take online courses from your own home, and on your schedule. The possibilities are endless. The best part “learning for the joy of learning” is it is often less tethered than the demands of grades. That lack of pressure can actually allow being in school again feel like a fresh experience.

There are thousands of schools spread across the United States and countless fields of study from which you can choose. You can earn a degree in botany, biology, business, accounting, literature, education, music, art, history, medicine, or real estate.

Share Yourself

Give back. When you find yourself, you have the opportunity to share what you’ve learned and the skills you’ve gained with others. Sometimes volunteering and outreaching with different programs is actually the best way to discover yourself and your own worth. Mentoring, speaking in classes or forums and sharing your know knowledge

 

Whatever sparks your interest and becomes your niche is certain to improve your confidence, especially when you begin gaining momentum and achieving success. Use these ideas as a jumping-off point to find what sparks your interest.

 

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What Mentoring Does in The Long Run

Posted April 23, 2018 By Frank Strona

Mentoring is crucial for success

Yes, I said that. Whether it’s in school, on the job, or in any other hobby or other organization, mentoring can be mutually beneficial for the mentor as well as the mentored. From having someone whose advice can be trusted to watching a person take one’s advice and grow into an excellent employee or student, mentoring can provide benefits neither person ever imagined. To learn more about what mentoring can do in the long run, here are some important points to consider.

 

Multi-Generational Connection

Since most mentoring arrangements involve a more seasoned person offering to provide a setting for someone as an informal protege. Some combinations are because of technical or trade experience, other times it’s building on a multi-generational connection can result from a mentoring partnership or even based on cultural similarities and shared challenges. For example, while the more senior mentor can bring a strong work ethic built from years of showing up on time for work, the new to the workforce mentee can bring a level of passion and enthusiasm that may have escaped the mentor over the years. By combining their talents, both can learn something new, and perhaps recapture something lost along the way. This is especially compelling for establishing inclusive cultures in the workplace especially for women, people of color and those who are LGBT.

 

Lessen Stress and Anxiety

Particularly important for students, including those who are struggling in school, mentors can play an important role in reducing stress and anxiety. Whether working with an inner-city student who worries about making good grades to get into college, or a law school student hoping to do well enough to work in the office, mentors can be living proof that while they were in a similar position, hard work can pay off in a successful personal and professional life. Sometimes these mentoring relationships even crop up without prompting. Many a criminal defense lawyer, social worker, or nurse have taken on more than their position requires and truly befriended a client or patient. Mentoring is often a natural and open way to communicate and learn new skills in a new kind of environment.

Learning New Skills

In any mentoring relationship, both parties come out of the relationship learning a variety of new skills. For the mentor, they may learn new technology skills, since the mentoree will likely be younger and more accustomed to using today’s technology.  How do you think many of the top organizations got on social media so fast – yup the mentorship and internship programs. However, the mentoree can learn the importance of establishing a network of personal and professional connections, which can pay off handsomely in the long run. By watching and listening to their mentor, mentorees can learn that nobody makes it through life entirely on their own and that it’s fine to ask for help now and then.

By having the mentor and mentored take their partnership seriously, great things can happen. An older individual can feel rejuvenated and ready to tackle the challenges of today’s world, while a young mentoree can see that by listening to their mentor, they too can achieve a level of success that may have been unimaginable only a few weeks or months earlier. In doing so, mentoring indeed becomes a win-win situation.

In fact, some workforce data suggests that having a mentorship program in place can improve the onboarding of new staff, discover new leaders from within your own organization and reduce turnover rates.

Making It Happen

Back in the fall last year I got to take to the stage and talk some about mentoring and diversity. It was my first time with this group but you can read more of the details here and get a peek at my presentation below. Not having a mentorship program in the workplace is no excuse. Advocate for one if you feel you have more to offer and want to share. If your workplace won’t – then explore other ways you can mentor people. Many school and organizations are looking for placements for participants. If you have a program in place already, take some time to assess it. Do some program assessment to see if it is still relevant and reaching the goals that fit with today’s workforce. Here is a great read on transforming mentoring programs or seek out a program you know of and get some networking time in and share strengths and experiences.

 

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How to Use Your Daily Look to Create Inner Confidence

Posted April 17, 2018 By Frank Strona

Inner Confidence

The way you present yourself to the world says a lot about your personality and your inner confidence. When you think you look good, you feel good too. It doesn’t always matter how others think you look, but knowing you like how you look goes a long way. Our confidence levels have a lot to do with how we feel about ourselves. So how we feel when we see ourselves is a part of our confidence both in person and in the workplace.

Depending on your perception I could be cool and trendy or distant and scary here of me taken on a break from a meeting

There are so many fun ways to make your look unique and fun. Fashion and clothing are great tools to use to express yourself and boost your confidence. Looking amazing means feeling amazing, too. To learn more about how to use your daily look to build inner confidence, continue reading. For some of us, being unique is also apart of developing who we are as a person. This is especially important to those that have a strong community, cultural and ethnic tie to how we are perceived. Understanding the impact we have in how we present ourselves, and knowing when to blend or shine is a skill.

 

Dress to Impress

Taking the time to put together a really nice outfit and putting some effort into your appearance can pay off in a number of ways. Whether we like it or not, other people often form opinions of us based on the way we look. While it is easier to just throw on a pair of sweatpants, this can give the impression you don’t care or aren’t invested in the people you meet. When we really put effort into our clothing choices, we not only look more presentable, but we feel better about ourselves too. You will probably find that you have the confidence to approach others when you are feeling good about your look. In addition, a lack of inner confidence can cause you to miss out on a lot of opportunities. But remember “nice” does not mean “expensive”. It means a well thought out, clean and fit outfit. Sometimes it means bumping it up a bit. This could mean adding a suit jacket to your business pressed untucked dress shirt, casual jeans, and boots or swapping out flats for a more modest heal.

 

Accessorize

Accessories are a fun way to really spice up an outfit. A bland look can be transformed into some unique and stylish jewelry, such as Bohemian or boutique-style jewelry. Purses, ties, bags, hats, sunglasses, and shoes are also a great way to accessorize and make your look stand out. The great thing about accessories is that they can easily be paired with neutral or subdued clothing pieces. A beautiful necklace or striking tie can really pull your whole look together and bring your personality to light.

Umm, yeah even as a kid, Mom made sure I wore a clip-on for those pictures.

Another easy way to add some impact is your watch and socks. Need a pop of color? Look for watch bands with a bright contrast trim, even better if you can swap them out. I think socks are a great way to show your style and unique, so while it’s a subtle thing, it can add a touch of whimsy and is a great icebreaker.  Another way you can add impact is with a touch of vintage/retro and use one of those original “grandma” pins on your blouse or jacket.

I know for me – its watch bands and ties all the way – I love vibrant and rich colors in a tie on those rare occasions I wear them.

 

Wear Flattering Clothes

Learning how to dress in a way that is flattering to your body is important. Certain styles and fabrics look good on particular body shapes but can be unflattering to others. In addition, some colors are more complimentary to certain skin tones. Much of your confidence comes from how good you feel in your clothes. If you feel like your blouse or shirt makes you look top-heavy or your skirt accentuates your hips too much, it can knock down your confidence significantly. Experiment with different cuts of clothing and see if you can get tailoring done for a better fit. Many times tailoring is less expensive than you think.

One tip I learned last year was even as a big guy, not to shy away from “trim” fit shirts. I was finding those dress shirts that fit my neck all hung too long and baggy. Then I found that a “trim” fit was not as “skinny” as I thought. Instead, I ended up with a more tailored look.

Using fashion as a way to express yourself and gain confidence is an exciting part of self-presentation. There are so many styles and fabrics to experiment with, and a good look will really make you feel good about yourself. Much of our inner confidence comes from the outside, so have fun with fashion and dress in a way that makes you feel good.

So, what about the clothes we can’t see? Well, it makes sense to pay attention to what you wear under your outfits as well. New blends and fabrics now can make lines disappear, can adjust for those of us who run warm (and want to avoid wet stains) or run cold. Knowing your fit is important, nothing it worse that constantly tugging on that pair of underwear that is creeping up or finding out that bra isn’t holding up the way it should. For many of us, we are hesitant to recycle old undergarments, “because they feel good still”,  well save them for your off days and keep your workday ones fresh and in good shape.

 

My Secret Weapon

My Dad impressed on myself and my sister’s many things as we were growing up and giving us opportunities to be all that we could be. One tip I hold to this day is the importance of taking that extra time and making sure my shoes are always polished and in good shape. I am not someone who is going to spend thousands on my shoes, but I will pay out a few extra bucks for a good standard dress one. Then sometimes I break down and buy a pair simply for fun!

No matter how much they cost, here are a few extra tips:

>> Wipe them down each day

>> Polish as needed, that includes the sides of the soles and heels. (note – Ladies your shoes need to get polished too)

>> Have your soles checked and fixed if they wear unevenly

>> Don’t wear the same ones each day. By switching them out you will get longer life from them.

 

 

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Read? Who has time to read these days?

Posted April 13, 2018 By Frank Strona

I do… In fact, I read a lot.

And when I say a lot, I mean I average 2-3 books a week sometimes in addition to work required reading and newspapers. I will read anywhere. Always have, even as a child. My Dad used to value reading and it was the one place we always connected on. It’s not always the lofty social or political stuff. Sometimes it is just fun stuff. For instance, I just finish the series Sky High Pies Cozy Mysteries by Mary Maxwell  This mystery-themed series is based on the concept of Cozy mysteries; accordingly to Wikipedia a cozy is a “subgenre of crime fiction in which sex and violence are downplayed or treated humorously, and the crime and detection take place in a small, socially intimate community” (think “Murder She Wrote”). While not Shakespear – they are a perfectly fun way to spend a quiet afternoon in the sun or rainy weekend reading. Of course, when this type of genre won’t do, I tend to default to my classic horror genre (don’t judge) with an occasional mash-up of horror and cozy my writers such as Michael Todd and his “Protected By The Damned” series or Michael Anderele’s (who coauthored with Todd on the Damned series) “The Kurtherian Gambit” series with it’s mash-up of vampires, werewolves, and sci-fiction space travel all packaged in an adventure setting. Remember.. don’t judge me, I need the mental break sometimes.

In May I Read…

But I also make an effort to read at least one book a month that explores ways to engage myself for the better – not so much in the self-help fashion as James Redfield’s The Celestine Prophecy, rather more in a “what if I considered doing something or thinking and acting differently” kind of way. Last month I spent some time with Edward Hess & Katherine Ludwig’s “Humility Is The New Smart: Rethinking Human Excellence in the Smart Machine Age”.

I can’t say I loved it. I had to struggle with some language nuances that I found judgemental and minimized some. professional skill sets, but when I let some of that go (I suppose that was one of the book key lessons is the “quieting of the ego” as they call it) I did find some interesting ways of looking at the very trending theme of mindfulness.

While mindfulness as a tool for personal development  is not something new, and I had been of fan of it as a method many years ago when I worked in substance use treatment programs, this take encourages the reader to see it as a professional skill set that some organisations are even implementing as part of a commitment towards workforce staff development as a way to inspire new ways of leading and collaborating both in the work setting and externally with consumers and clients.

What About This Month?

So this month I jumped feet first into Manoush Zomorod‘s “Bored and Brilliant: How Spacing Out Can Unlock Your Most Productive and Creative Self”. I came across this one, from recommendations from a pal who was also reading it and heard the author speak “about the ways to “unlock your, most productive and creative self“. I actually started this one in March, but then life took over and I didn’t get very far until I added it to my “to do” list for this month.

No really.. I am reading.. I was just reflecting a moment..

So far I am just into it a few chapters in and already find that I am liking it. I tend to not like to highlight in my books (maybe it’s my upbringing that books were important and not to be written in) but I am a huge fan of post-it tabs! Even if my journals and notebooks look like a crazy man sometimes. I even made myself a special bookmark (I make others using vintage jewelry as a hobby – you can read about those here) for it!

So far into  “Board and Brilliant”, I have to say it is hitting me in all the right? wrong? places. I am someone who is always on the move. Last month alone, I worked my traditional full time job, had more clients generated here for mentor and coaching, taught two online classes all while being the full-time nursemaid, cook, cleaner, laundry person, bottle washer, driver, dog walker, etc for the last 6 weeks while my partner has been recovering from unexpected foot surgery. So my creative time has been stretched at best.

I did manage to make and design some new bookmarks with a stash of vintage leather buttons as well as several of my favorite journal keepers to submit as auction items (You can read more about them on my personal blog BiteTheRoad.com and the extras will get added to the Etsy store later this week) But my mental creativity has definitely been lagging and the thought of just “spacing out” made me feel guilty and unproductive.Especially problimatic as I have scripts for a storytelling event here in San Francisco in April and my first lisceneced TEDx Talk in Provincetown this summer due.

But The Reading Will Continue

Well more to come as I work my way through Bored and Brilliant: How Spacing Out Can Unlock Your Most Productive and Creative Self” and I plan to share any insights I glean along the way. For now, I will leave you with this page shot right from page 13. Really, folks – you should check this book out.

Note to readers: All book reference links are affiliate links to Amazon, more as a point of navigation. You are more than welcome not to use them if you prefer to do your own search manually, please do so. Affiliate links allow for a tracking mechanism to see what material I share about sparks interest with readers, inspires them to purchase etc. Yes, I do get a small percentage of each sale, but it also means I don’t need to create a MentorSF bookstore and worry about inventory, markup pricing etc.  

 

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