Set Your Intention

266Woman-Head-SpinningAs the holiday season approaches, some of us anticipate them gleefully and others with nerve wracking dread. How will I fit even more into my already jam packed schedule? It’s simply impossible to add another thing to an ever growing list. Everyone expects me to manage it all!

Here’s another perspective. Stop doing something. Whether it is hosting a family dinner, sending holiday cards or spending beyond your means, eliminate at least one activity that is no longer meaningful and inform those who will be affected in advance. Set your intention. Less stress for you also means less tension for your guests, family members, co-workers…your immediate world. Ask for help and take advantage of it. No one ever perished by eating desserts from a bakery rather than homemade treats.

Several years ago a colleague mentioned to me that she no longer looked forward to Thanksgiving dinner with her extended family. I asked her what in particular made her feel this way. Was it the shopping, cleaning, hosting, etc.? No, it was the time consuming stuffed celery preparation that put her on edge. Surprised as I was that a professional woman, managing teams of associates, had been taken down by a vegetable, I was even more curious. I asked her what had made this task so demanding. She described the process in painstaking detail. When I suggested a seemingly simple way to wash, cut and stuff said stalks, she was stunned and somewhat embarrassed. She said that she and her mother-in-law had always done it this way and she’d never thought about doing it differently. Perhaps in her early years as a young wife in the shadows of an experienced cook, she listened and followed her instructions without thinking, but liberation was at hand. In fact, when she hesitantly offered up the possibility of streamlining their technique, they both enjoyed a good laugh over it. How often do you check out and not question the rules, process, or activity you are engaged in? Is it your intention to not make waves and therefore, take a back seat by default? How can you be a better participant or leader while still being part of the team? When is your contribution well intentioned rather than a controlling behavior? Is it the activity itself or the people you are engaging with that is stressful?

• Choose one activity that you want to modify or eliminate
• Inform the people being impacted
• Anticipate possible push-back and script your response in advance
• Prepare for the possibility that no one except YOU really cares
• Enjoy the relief!

©MWeisner2015

Letting Go of Control

282080_151733851568813_7813470_nA poem : She Let Go by Safire Rose

“She let go. Without a thought or a word, she let go.
She let go of fear. She let go of the judgments.
She let go of the confluence of opinions swarming
around her head.

She let go of the committee of indecision within her.
She let go of all the ‘right’ reasons.
Wholly and completely, without hesitation or worry,
She just let go.

She didn’t ask anyone for advice.
She didn’t read a book on how to let go…
She didn’t search the scriptures.
She just let go.

She let go of all of the memories that held her back.
She let go of all of the anxiety that kept her from moving forward.
She let go of the planning and all of the calculations
about how to do it just right.

She didn’t promise to let go.
She didn’t journal about it.
She didn’t write the projected date in her day-timer.

She made no public announcement
and put no ad in the paper.
She didn’t check the weather report
or read her daily horoscope.
She just let go.

She didn’t analyze whether she should let go.
She didn’t call her friends to discuss the matter.
She didn’t do a five-step Spiritual Mind Treatment.
She didn’t call the Prayer line.
She didn’t utter one word.
She just let go.

No one was around when it happened.
There was no applause or congratulations.
No one thanked her or praised her.
No one noticed a thing.
Like a leaf falling from a tree, she just let go.

There was no effort. There was no struggle.
It wasn’t good and it wasn’t bad.
It was what it was, and it is just that.

In the space of letting go, she let it all be.
A small smile came over her face.
A light breeze blew through her.
And the sun and the moon shone forevermore.”

 

Let it GO!

greatest-strength-greatest-weaknessStuck in traffic or behind someone who is paying for groceries with a check, I am beyond agitated and these are not isolated parts of my day. And who whips out a checkbook at the supermarket anymore? Yes, I am making terrible judgments about this stranger based on the fact that she is slowing me down, getting in the way and hindering my progress to get to the next place…the gym. It would be a perfect sequence if I were wreaking havoc on the people in my wake in order to get to a yoga class, but that would slow me down and I need to get where I am going, NOW!

What is it about stress that makes us hop on an increasingly emotional escalator to more tension and strain? Is everything urgent or simply important yet we’ve assigned a value to it that places us at the vortex of more ongoing pressure?

Many experts agree that what stresses us out is really a battle for control. Feeling powerless at the mercy of a challenging client or waiting for your seatmate to jockey for space on the armrest, we are constantly on guard for the next incident. The desire to manage what we can, in spaces we do control, can provide some measure of relief in an increasingly chaotic world. For example, after 9/11, there was a surge of interest in decluttering and organizing. We may not be able to get to the gym, but we can clean out the closet and be ready for the next big thing. It’s empowering to view the fruits of our efforts and know that this single act may be the start of some major purge or at the very least, a way to manage a small corner of our environment.

What’s next? An organized closet may just be the springboard to a new career!

©MWeisner2015

True Heroes Manage Their Fear(s)

Strong-CourageousSome days are better than others for everyone. How would it be to live a life without fear? Norman Mailer wrote, “There are two kinds of brave men (women). Those who are brave by the grace of nature, and those who are brave by an act of will.” The latter is likely where most of us fall and the former sounds like the description of a character in one of Mailer’s novels.

The five most common fears:
1. unknown
2. failure
3. commitment
4. disapproval
5. success

These are only some amongst many and it does not even mention the fear of public speaking or the fear of death. Clearly the list is far from complete and please feel free to add your own buzzwords.

What does this have to do with personal heroism? Not everyone is Mother Teresa or plans to mount an assault on K2. Even something as simple as taking risks and being anxious and afraid to fail can qualify you as a hero. In fact, the great hockey player, Wayne Gretsky said, “If you never take the shot, you’ll never score the goal.” He had many more misses than shots in the net, but he never stopped trying and he continued to set career records until his retirement.

You can be a hero if you simply manage your fears. According to historian Michael Ingatieff, “Living fearlessly is not the same thing as never being afraid…Fear is a great teacher. What’s not good is living in fear, allowing it to define who you are. Living fearlessly means standing up to fear, taking its measure, refusing to let it shape and define your life.” It is not the absence of fear that makes someone a hero, rather the management of fear that gives you a chance. Take the risk, possibly fail and learn about yourself in the process!

• What’s your biggest fear(s)?
• How do you manage it?
• Recall a time when have you been your own hero?
©2015 Maureen Weisner

She Let Go

Most recently I was pondering the concept of “letting go” and it’s multi-layered meaning when I came upon this poem. Enjoy!282080_151733851568813_7813470_n

She Let Go

She let go. Without a thought or a word, she let go.
She let go of fear. She let go of the judgments.
She let go of the confluence of opinions swarming around her head.
She let go of the committee of indecision within her.
She let go of all the ‘right’ reasons. Wholly and completely,
without hesitation or worry, she just let go.
She didn’t ask anyone for advice. She didn’t read a
book on how to let go… She didn’t search the scriptures.
She just let go.
She let go of all of the memories that held her back.
She let go of all of the anxiety that kept her from moving forward.
She let go of the planning and all of the calculations about how to do it just right.
She didn’t promise to let go.
She didn’t journal about it.
She didn’t write the projected date in her day-timer.
She made no public announcement and put no ad in the paper.
She didn’t check the weather report or read her daily horoscope.
She just let go.
She didn’t analyse whether she should let go.
She didn’t call her friends to discuss the matter.
She didn’t do a five-step Spiritual Mind Treatment.
She didn’t call the prayer line.
She didn’t utter one word. She just let go.
No one was around when it happened.
There was no applause or congratulations.
No one thanked her or praised her.
No one noticed a thing.
Like a leaf falling from a tree, she just let go.
There was no effort. There was no struggle.
It wasn’t good and it wasn’t bad.
It was what it was, and it is just that.
In the space of letting go, she let it all be.
A small smile came over her face.
A light breeze blew through her.
And the sun and the moon shone forevermore.

By Rev. Safire Rose

The Rule Book

ice-cream-cone-284x300I want an ice cream cone. Not a two scooper or what seems like a pint balanced precariously atop a fragile looking sugar cone. I want a kid-sized serving which is still entirely too much but at least it could resemble a portion in proportion. My request for less was denied. At this stand there were no small sizes on the menu and apparently no flexibility in responding to customer requests.

• When are rules really meant to be bent or broken?
• What is their purpose after all?
• Control?  Uniformity? Simplicity?

It wasn’t a question of cost, as I was willing to pay. It did not seem like a radical request and as a family owned business, isn’t responding to customer feedback important for continued success? Basic business principles would support listening to your patrons and perhaps modifying your method of delivery. So, where is the disconnect?

IS YOUR RULE BOOK WRITTEN IN CONCRETE OR SAND?

If you are a business owner or entrepreneur yourself, how willing are you to look at your operations with fresh eyes? Often times we put systems in place, get them up and running and promptly forget to revisit the process again. We become comfortable and may only pay attention when something breaks down. Is too much “ice cream” making you complacent or do you need to change places and be the client/customer for the day!
• How curious are you?
• Compose one inquiry that would open up new conversation
• Remember, if you ask the question of your client/customer, staff and more, be prepared for the answer and accompanying follow-up

 
© 2014 Maureen Weisner

Control is an Illusion

imagesCA01SOLH

“You cannot control the wind, but you can adjust your sails!”

I’m not a sailor. I’m not familiar with nautical lingo and barely missed being knocked overboard by the boom coming through. (Who knew that, “lower the boom” was not just an expression?) I can, however, appreciate the awareness and flexibility of those skilled at the helm as they focus on the mechanics of operation while I tighten the straps of my life vest. There is beauty in this ballet at sea as the wind is indeed the “engine” moving the boat along in concert with the sailor who engages it. On board everyone is involved in some manner by taking direction, shifting position or moving out of the way. Sometimes it is a speedy ride and other times it can be a struggle to get anywhere. Sometimes there is no wind at all and you are left floating in the middle of the river.

• What do you do when you are forced to slow down?
• Frantically seek a fix?
• What do you do when faced with an unexpected change?
• Dig in deeper or step back to refocus?

We are all experienced “sailors” in some fashion, perhaps not on water exactly, but in life’s situations. We cannot always control what happens. What we do have control over is how we respond. Experience teaches us that some things are salvageable and sometimes from the very worst chaos, from the least likely place, opportunity is revealed.

• What might you be missing?
• Which way is the wind really blowing?
• Who can you bring on board to create a solution?
• What if you did nothing?

©2013 Maureen Weisner