Monday Morning Mayhem Makeover

imagescakc7fr7My schedule is no longer based on a Monday-Friday, fixed timetable. I have flexibility and can organize my workday to suit clients and myself with late afternoon and evening appointments. Technology has made it possible to accommodate time and space that was unthinkable not so long ago.

I now prepare for the week ahead differently, and the lessons I learned by harkening back to anxiety filled Sunday nights still serve me well. To avoid unnecessary morning chaos, having systems in place is crucial. The fewer decisions you have to make daily about mundane things, the better.

While I don’t suggest taking fashion tips from the Steve Jobs school of black mock turtlenecks, simplicity is the key to being organized. A very successful client who manages her time to the minute has streamlined her work week wardrobe. She owns five pairs of black slacks of varying fits and lengths that she rotates. They all hang in the same part of her closet along with tops, jackets, and accessories that work together. Her standard is a white shirt as a fall back.

Meal time choices can also take too much time. If after doing a quick self-inventory, you realize that you always eat x for breakfast and y for lunch with variety thrown in for dinner, relax. You’ve just removed more decision making from your thought processes and at the same time freed up resources for other critical thinking. We all have a capacity to function at a high level and when we limit the number of “extras” to weigh, it is liberating.

When you spend time on Sunday evening to prepare for the week ahead with respect to wardrobe and meal planning alone, you will find that you can handle the inevitable curve-balls more easily. At the very least, you’re probably dressed and fed.


Take the Stairs…Achieve Success

dream_istock_000055643980_smallIs it willpower or discipline, and does it really matter? How decisive am I on a daily basis only to have to modify my plan before I even get started? According to Rory Vaden, author of Take the Stairs: 7 Steps to Achieving True Success, choosing to take the escalator over a flight of stairs is a deeper indicator of how you operate overall and may be quite telling. When you select the easier shortcut of stepping on those moving stairs, is it really about getting to another floor more quickly or is it a statement about how you function in other parts of your life? He calls this the “escalator mentality” and it may be emblematic of avoiding the more challenging effort of full engagement in a given activity.

Sometimes shortcuts are smart and sensible, but they can also be deceptive. When we get in the habit of automatically looking for the quicker solution, we may also be setting ourselves up for traps. It is particularly tempting to seek the easy way out when it comes to making difficult changes like reaching a goal weight or reducing debt. But these shortcuts can also take a toll on self-discipline and don’t always take you where you want to go.

Evaluate your decisions– is this taking you where you want to go?
• Be flexible- find success in making small changes first; bigger ones later
• Manage your time – when is the best time to focus on this activity?
• Prioritize and Succeed!

Keep in mind that we are not all Luddites, attached to doing things the long, hard way and not make use of the technology that is readily available. It makes sense to view each situation independently, with a heightened awareness that the easy/faster way may not always be the best way. However, after an exhausting day, that escalator may also be just what the doctor ordered!

©2016 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

Get Motivated…Start Packing

strong-mover-201x300Most recently my daughter was in the midst of relocating and coming to terms with the boxes of clothes she had accumulated over the years. This was also a unique opportunity for me to provide a second opinion on a day that I assumed would be fraught with indecision and perhaps a few tears. However, as my daughter rifled through drawers in the bedroom she had used as a storage depot, she was clearly on a mission to release the past. Camp t-shirts, well worn jeans, special occasion dresses, and memories quickly piled up, inextricably linked together. I found myself racing down memory lane and the teen years that were not so long ago as I watched from the sidelines. She was ruthless in her judgments and soon five trash bags were filled with her selections. Once assured that this eclectic wardrobe was destined for an organization that distributed donations to their clients and not sold as bulk for cash, she could relax and revel in her accomplishment. Her history was going out the door, or in our case, at least as far as the basement… with visitation rights.

Downsizing can mean many things; a loss for some and freedom for others. Moving, in and of itself takes energy, effort and a plan. What are you leaving behind and conversely, what are you bringing along to the next space? Was it a purposeful decision or was it thrust upon you? Are the circumstances about building a future or winding down another chapter? Is there joy in your movements or grief as you pack? Whatever the situation, notice your feelings and take the time to honor them. Be kind to yourself in the process and know that you can be your own champion of chang

• Take photos of things you are donating, selling, or leaving behind that have a strong connection for you
• Creating a visual record can make the transition easier
• As you say goodbye to the old you are also able to embrace the new with open arms and a heightened sense of possibility

© 2013 Maureen Weisner

Are You a Charter Member on the Apology Tour?

Nervous Business Woman Cringing As She Bites Her NailsHow we spend our days is how we spend our lives. Is your tendency to apologize or over-apologize? The bad news is that women do so far more than men according to a study from the University of Waterloo, in Ontario, Canada. The good news is that it is a habit that can be broken and yes, it takes practice. Constantly apologizing can certainly lower self-esteem and contribute to feelings of frustration and anger. When you say things like, “I’m sorry I interrupted you”, or “I’m sorry but I just had a question,” “Excuse me,” and more.
• Is it an automatic response to some people in your personal or professional life?
• How can you prepare for a more positive interaction?

Self-awareness is key. Take a moment to reflect the next time you begin to start a sentence with, “I’m sorry.” Apologies are appropriate if you made a mistake or were wrong, however, they can be self-esteem eroders if they are commonplace in your interactions. Likewise, new studies indicate that if you want a favor done, ask a woman. In one study, 47-business school students were asked to recall to agreeing to a favor on the job at a time when they preferred to say, “ No.”

According to authors of “Breaking the Glass Ceiling with, ‘No’, “ the female participants did the favor even though they were five times more likely than males to have reported feeling worn out. They were also twice as likely to have been worried about the consequences of saying no. In a second study, female undergrads were 50% more likely to comply with an implicit request for a favor than were male students. “The willingness of women to do favors in the workplace may lead them to become overburdened with low-skill tasks,” said the researchers.

It is important for all of us to consider who is making the request, and what the consequences of not complying are, both in and outside the workplace.

Habits can be changed but it takes awareness and practice. Begin today by listening and not automatically responding. You can agree to check your schedule/workload, for previous commitments, decide if this is something you will do and inform them accordingly. By changing your way of managing requests, you may decrease the number or type of favor you are asked to do. You can also deflect or even defer to another colleague and spread the wealth around.

If the Shoe Doesn’t Fit…

cinderella584Is what we think we want more compelling than identifying what we need? Cinderella’s stepsisters might be a quarrelsome lot on that point, for try as they might, that darned glass slipper just would not fit on their feet. One of my first summer jobs was in the shoe department of a women’s clothing store, so on a daily basis I witnessed some very surprising behaviors. Many customers were determined to make a purchase based not on comfort, color or style, but on size. Naively, my own experience with footwear was never based on the latter consideration. Imagine feeling visibly hobbled by one’s own decision to pay for something that important, that crucial to your well-being overall health that you would override sound judgment in favor of pain. I am not a Luddite and admittedly there are times when some sacrifice to comfort in favor of fashion is warranted, but on a daily basis your feet are neither too big nor too small. They are just right for YOU and if that shoe doesn’t fit, take a deep breath and place it gently back in the box where it belongs, waiting for Cinderella to claim it.

It is one thing to vainly attempt to wedge oneself into footwear or apparel that is not the proper size and quite another to base decisions on emotional factors that are a vanity of another sort. For example, investing in technology is an area that changes so rapidly it is hard to keep up and at the same time there is cache in having the newest “tools” at our fingertips. Does it announce to the world that we are smart, trendsetting players, not to be confused with the generation that is wedded to antiquated methods of doing business? Or does it mean that we have a drawer full of discarded items that were never understood or integrated into our working day?

Step back, assess and ascertain if your next purchase will be an enhancement or a costly choice and above all, please refrain from limping around your office when your cell phone rings.

© Maureen Weisner 2013

Is Your Elephant Still in the Closet?

imagesWhat does your “elephant” look like? He’s not sitting in the middle of the room; the form that everyone ignores or steps over. I would venture to guess that yours is not a literal interpretation resembling a Disneyesque version of Dumbo. This is a much more sophisticated and metaphorical form. It could be anything from a strong image to something more symbolic of the things/beliefs that may be holding you back. Early on we take in information that supports us as well as that which can be central to stopping us. For example, the screaming parent of the 5-year old who blocked you from riding your bicycle into the street may be behaving very appropriately. In this example, she was acting in the interest of your safety. To extrapolate from that incident that you are not trustworthy or it is never safe to ride a bicycle in the street or that you make poor decisions or even that you can never master a skill appropriately…that is the trap. Conversely, if the message you take forward as an adult is that there is a learning curve and it may be different for all of us, you may be more patient with yourself and with others. Taking proper safety precautions might include scheduling lessons with an instructor or ensuring that a facility is licensed. If you have limited your physical activities for fear of being injured or you lack confidence in your athletic abilities, it’s time to check in with your closet elephant again. Keep in mind that he/she may be very convincing; that in fact its presence is all for the sake of protecting you. While the intention is not in and of itself malicious, it is very keen to maintain the status quo, and that is not in your best interest.

If your elephant is still in the closet:
• Stop taking peeks
• Open the door
• Coax him/her out with a handful of peanuts

Oftentimes, the simple act of bravely confronting what you deem to be so uncomfortable is a huge step in calming the messages down. In my case, the day prior to any speaking engagement is the time when I hope the organization will call to cancel. It is reminiscent of school days and praying for a snowstorm. In the beginning, these thoughts took longer to manage, but after years of doing the work that I love, speaking to groups, those feelings no longer hold the power they once did. In fact, I often smile noting that they are something to acknowledge and release; not unlike an old friend checking in on my evolving growth. As you too reframe, adapt and adjust, that elephant will take up so much less room in the closet that you may actually be able to use it for storage.