Connections: Reaching Out

In this blog I am drawn to writing about our innate need for connections. We are NOT solitary beings. Often times in our modern world, our connections are lacking. Lacking in depth, in emotional value, in the support which is required, and in the basic instinctual desire to know that we are all “one” and part of a much greater Divine. So two perspectives.

First, we were born into this world as helpless, dependent beings. There is no chance to survive without basic nurturing care. We can not feed ourselves. We can not bathe ourselves. We have parents who love us and take good care of us, if we are lucky, or we survive an existence with emotional and maybe physical scars. We learn from the people around us and the environment that we are born into. We do better when we are loved and we do not thrive when love is lacking. (I have read research conducted on children raised in an Eastern European, sterile, orphanage where the babies/children were fed and changed but not held or loved. These children grew up deprived and with serious physical and emotional challenges, different from children who were held and loved.)

We can not thrive without love and connection as an infant. This does NOT disappear as we age. Most people require human interaction, to varying degrees, and the “connections” that go along with these relationships. We continue to learn and gain perspective by communicating with other people and lifeforms (pets, plants, nature.) People often strive for “Deeper Connections” and more intimate relationships. We do not thrive when we feel alone or lonely or separated from the nurturing of friends and family, our “tribe.”

But in our culture, in our modern world, we are often separated by technology and “Judgements” from the people we live around and work around. Have you ever seen people out to dinner with both people on their smart phones, texting, or checking social media, or posting pictures of their meal?… What is this really about? We are not encouraged to put down our technology and be truly “present” with our partner. Many of us have lost the basic skills of verbal and non-verbal communication that were so essential when we were in tribes (and family groups) where our survival was based on interaction and support from the group. Do not get me wrong, I do not want to go back to live in a primitive, life and death struggle to survive but we have lost some of our fundamental skills (and are paying the price.)

Today, we may want to join a community to find human contact. Maybe we wear jerseys of our favorite sports franchise and root for them on Sunday with other fans. Or, we think about going to a “MeetUp” group to hang out with people of similar interests. Or, we go on a “dating” website to find a perfect partner. (Though we still have to meet and do the “Mating Dance” which includes communication and hopefully honesty…) This pursuit is desperate, often unfulfilling, and generally superficial. If so, then it does not satisfy the need to connect deeply. (Our egos and our judgements of the mind are constantly comparing and keeping us separate from other people who are searching for the emotional and spiritual exchanges which form the best connections.)

Secondly, our most important purpose is to support and assist the people we meet on our path through life. Most people floating around unhappily, or at least unsatisfied, are people thinking that their success is defined by how much money they have, or how many toys they have acquired, or how many trips they have taken, or how many MeetUp groups they have joined (but not attended.) People, today, feel that the number of friends they have and how many people respond to their social media posts (about themselves) are important and valued as levels of success. Maybe, it is NOT about “me.”

Think back when you did something “good” for someone else. It probably allowed you to feel good and connected. Get out of your head and back into your heart. Feel good by doing good things for other people! If you want to be loved, you have to go out and give love, unconditionally. If you are giving anything with an expectation that it comes back, then you will be disappointed.

Connections with value are based upon people caring, truly caring, about others and finding the best ways (you can) to support and assist these other souls on their journey. Even the simplest smile or kind word can show the love and respect for the person in front of you who “showed up” to have a place in your world (and your journey.) Yes, you need to work and support yourself, but you can do so with the feeling of loving acceptance for the other pilgrims in life whom you meet along the way. (Easier said than done, but work on this.) Your happiness and joy will come more frequently when you realize that we are “ONE” with all lifeforms and in this life together to grow, to learn from our challenges, and to love the connections which we can create.

Connections, healthy connections, are the most important thing to work on. Your success in life comes not from how much money is in the bank but how many people call you a friend.

Namaste. Your are a Master and it is a great blessing to find these few moments to connect with you. Your sharing of your time and attention as a “witness” is a blessing… Know that you have done good in our world just by being you, even with imperfections and flaws…

Masters of the Journey is a community that supports everyone who are on their path through life and would like to find supportive, hopefully, non-judgemental connections.

Sharing Wisdom and an Act of Service

In our spiritual community, Masters of the Journey, we practice a “Triad” process. This is a small group sharing of experience and the wisdom gleaned from living through the challenges of life. The purpose of the Triad is to gather three people into a conversation based around the “story” of one participant known as the “storyteller.” We are all “Masters” and have wisdom to share. If you have lived your life and survived to this age, you have learned from experiences and are moving along your “path” on your pilgrimage through this life.

As an example, the “storyteller” may share a story regarding a treasured experience with a personal mentor. It may have been a special college professor or a wise uncle/aunt or supportive coach who offered you some life changing information that set you on an important direction at one of the cross roads of your life. The lesson was a personal one yet it holds wisdom that can be used by other fellow travelers. The willingness of the “storyteller” to share and the active listening by the two other members of the Triad can make this a moment of “service” for all involved.

In the Triad process, the “storyteller” offers an experience which is heard by a focused “witness.” The second member of the Triad quietly and with focused intent, listens to the story. Using strong listening skills including good eye contact and “open” body language seeks to fully experience the story. Little or no verbal feedback is offered unless a clarifying question is required. The “witness” offers appreciation at the end of the 3-5 minute story. It may be appropriate to communicate what the value of this story has been for the witness. (A key is for the “Witness” to not interrupt or offer their own story but to allow the speaker to share their perspective until offered feedback at he completion of their story.)

The third member of the Triad is the “Observer” who focuses on watching both the “Storyteller” and the “Witness.” The “Observer” feels for the connection and rapport between the “Storyteller” and the “Witness.” When the “Observer” offers feedback, she/he may share information regarding the skills of the “Storyteller” to communicate their story and also may give feedback regarding the skills of the “Witness” to fully serve by observing the story. These are skills that carry over into relationships in life beyond the “Triad” process.

The act of witnessing is a powerful act of service. Focused listening and demonstrated “caring” can be therapeutic for the storyteller. In my training as a counselor for children, the theory of psychotherapeutic counseling was often less important that the act of “connecting” with the child. When these children were fully heard, respected, and Loved (Cared about) by the counselor the positive bond was created and the therapy could be effective. Outside of counseling, each of us can be of service by developing our skills to listen more fully, connect with the speaker, and then to share the wisdom of the experience of this sharing. The simple but powerful act of sharing a story and having it fully appreciated by the witness creates moments of learning for both sides of this experience. If you believe that we are actually “one” with all other living beings, then the respect and appreciation for another person’s story is a deep respect for yourself and the Divine Spirit within you (and every other soul.)

Do not take it lightly. Your witnessing of the lesson learned raises the consciousness of all the souls which are participating. Raising consciousness in all is the purpose which we all share. This common bond brings us closer and we can find the connections which offer positive learnings. Treat others with the respect of knowing that they are part of a much larger consciousness and though it may be difficult to see, every person has God within them. We may benefit from the raising of consciousness so we may better “remember” that we are all one and that each one of us is a Master with the wisdom of the Divine Spirit within our souls.

Blessings to you and all the fellow pilgrims you, and serve, along your path.

Namaste.

Masters of the Journey’s website and connections are found at: www.mastersofthejourney.com

The Art of Being Present

What is the advantage in being Present? How do you achieve the state of Presence? In moving along your path in life, when should you strive for “being fully in the Moment?”

Have you ever had the telephone conversation or the face to face meeting with another person who was clearly “somewhere else” and not tracking your communication? In our busy world, this happens all the time. You have to repeat yourself or you feel insecure that you were not fully heard or understood. You have to question your communication partner to “check in” and to know that they were not so distracted that they did not receive your important communication. People clearly have a great deal on their mind and they are being torn away by the invasion of of text messages or other manifestations of interrupting technology. We are so “plugged in” that it is difficult to invest fully in the conversation with the person in front of you or on the other end of the telephone. A client may not feel fully connected with you if you are lost in another thought and this may cause a transaction to go poorly. Your friend or family member may get frustrated with your lack of focus and may lash out at you in frustration. These situations happen all to frequently. Many people do not have the awareness, and then the control, to be able to quiet the distractions and really focus on the present moment and this is sad.

Missing the moment that will never come again is a loss that you can not ever recover!  There are times when you can multi-task but human interaction is very important and should not be short changed by your distracted and disrespectful pursuit of multiple thoughts or activities. Remember when this happened to you and how you felt this lack of respect and consideration! If for no other reason, you will miss out on the most joyful and satisfying moments in life if you are not present!

Achieving the state of “Presence” requires that you reduce internal and, if possible, external distractions. Begin by NOT thinking of your answer or response before your communication partner finishes their statement. Listen! Listen with ALL of your senses. If you require clarification, ask supportive “open ended questions.” Make eye contact. It is rude to not focus your vision upon the person who is speaking. If possible, feel the emotion of what is being said. Use your intuition to read “between the lines.” There are many times when you may need to clear your mind and relax your body to reduce internal distractions and this may benefit from learning how to meditate and to find yourself in the present moment. If you can be present, you will be happier and healthier. Your relationships can improve. You can find interpersonal success more easily.

Being fully present can become more a positive habit if you practice and learn more about what is distracting to you, AND, learn to let this go. Remember, that the respect you show in listening and interacting can be beneficial for personal learning and will improve your relationships. It will even SAVE YOU TIME in the long run. Try it and see for yourself.

If you manage other people or want positive outcomes with your family, learning to be fully present is a mandatory skill and life enhancing experience.

Blessings to you on your path and watch most carefully each foot step on your journey toward consciousness.

More information and support can be found at: www.mastersofthejourney.com and our Facebook page www.facebook.com/mastersofthejourney

Art of Listening

Is Communication Important?
Is Connection important?
Is Listening important to relationships?

Is there an art to effective communication?

At the core of good communication are two essential skills:
The art of offering a clear communication
The art of Receiving a communication

In this Blog, we focus of the Art of Listening:

Good Listening can involve:
Hearing what is being communicated but also of importance to receiving an interpersonal communication is the use of other primary senses. I will explain why, seeing helps hearing. Also why, feeling helps hearing. Even smelling and tasting can play a role in experiencing a communication.

There is a philosophy which believes that we have two ears and one mouth because we are supposed to listen twice as much.

Hearing is much more than just registering the speaker’s words. It can also include: tone of voice, volume, choice of wording, pace of speaking, pauses and silences, and the unspoken content or what is left out of the communication.

Seeing: Non-verbal cues: gestures, body language, facial expressions, breathing patterns, the speakers presentation are things which we “see” consciously or unconsciously. Very essential to good communication is encouraging eye contact and attention. Being focused and “present” without distracting thoughts in the witness/listner will allow for better connection and comprehension of the communication.

Feeling: Will include listening between the words and feeling the impact of the words which are used. Interpreting the hearing and the visuals that are presented. If physical contact is a part of the communication, feeling your partner’s intent through pressure or movement can be a feeling which communicates volumes.

Humans use less of the sensations of smell and taste in communication but these subtle cues can also add to the experience of the communication. Consider how perfume or body oder add to the experience. Or, how the smells of the environment can enhance or detract from communication like baking bread or the pungent smell of antiseptic in a hospital room. And, what does the taste of a shared meal do to add to a communication.

Perhaps the most important skill in the Art of Listening is to be “Present.” This is easier said than done. Being “Present” involves using your focus to minimize your internal distractions. Avoid extraneous thoughts or the habit of finding an answer to what you hear until it is your turn to add to the conversation. Even if you get defensive, it is better to hear the speaker out and ask clarifying question to make sure you fully understand what is being said so you can answer most effectively. Emotions can cause “knee-jerk” reactions which often cause more harm than good in a possibly tense conversation. It would be better, in most situations, if you treat your communication partners as if they were a very important figure like: the Pope, or the President, or even God. With this intended reverence in listening to your speaker, you have the best chance of “Hearing” at all levels to get the very most from the communication. In other words, listen to your communication partner as well or better than you would want to be heard.

To sum up, the Art of Listening is more than registering the words you may hear. Read between the lines and feel what is really being communicated. Use every one of your 5 physical senses and your intuition (or gut feelings) to take in the full communication. And finally, in the Art of Listening give the greatest gift of respect which one person can offer another by being fully focused and present with the love and appreciation that comes from the deepest honor the “Sharing” that you are being gifted to receive.

Coaching and training are available at the Stress Education Center, www.dstress.com.

Key to Communication: Really Listening!

Successful communication in interpersonal relationships can be very important in business and in one’s personal life. This is not difficult to realize as a concept but it can be difficult to achieve. There are many variables that help a communication or make communication go terribly wrong. Some of these variables you can control and some you can not. An example, you may be very focus and clear regarding an important topic of conversation you may have with a client but you can not control the client’s focus or state of mind. They may be busy on “other” things and can not “engage” or focus on what you are saying.

So let’s discuss some of the variables that you can understand and control. Two of the most important ones in interpersonal communication are Timing and Listening. There are many other variables which we will discuss in other articles but let’s start with these two variables.

Timing is key in every aspect of relationships. If one side is distracted or unavailable, it is not fortuitous for the success of a communication. Scheduling the time and getting an agreement regarding this appointment are essential when your communication is critical. If you can not create an environment that is relatively undistracted and conducive to an appropriate exchange then your important message may be missed. Find the best time and space for you to communicate. At the beginning of the conversation, it may be best to ask again if this is a “good time” to talk, knowing that just because your partner has shown up at the appointment it does not mean that they are ready and undistracted. So, checkin. Make sure the table is clear and they are ready to participate. If not, and your communication is of critical value, you may have to reschedule or risk the failure of the process.

Perhaps even more importantly, is the skill to listen! It is easier said than done, but an essential key to great communication is not speaking but listening to your partner. If you interrupt, or think ahead, or find an emotional tangent to distract you, or simply lose your focus, your partner will sense your lack of “presence” and be distracted in a way which may make the meeting destined to failure. Use all of your senses to focus and to listen to what your communication partner is saying. Make eye contact. Relax your breathing to encourage your partner to relax. Respect your partners words and their opinion even if you may disagree. Do not interrupt! Keep your mouth closed until you can assist your partner by asking and “open ended question” to help clarify what they are communicating. Restate what you have heard to make sure you are very clear about what they are attempting to convey to you. Only after restatement and permission to response, is it a good time to find your appropriate answer. Show some gratitude to your partner. As a reminder, shouting someone else down does show intelligence, maturity or respect for a positive outcome.

Hint, for the best possible communication: Listen to your communication partner as if you respected this relationship so much it would be as if you were listening to the most honored elder or even, as if you were sitting in the presence of God. (Some people believe that you can find the perfect spirit of the divine in everyone, if you look for it.)

It has been said that we were given two ears and one mouth so we could listen twice as much. This is critical in personal relationships, friendships, family, and in business. Timing and listening. You are going to be more successful if you remember these keys to better communication.

We will have more to share regarding communication. This is a start. Please respond and try these two concepts in your next “important” communication.

Coaching and training are available at the Stress Education Center, www.dstress.com.

How “Traditional Values” Can Create Challenges

Attitudes and Values

I have been certified in an assessment process call “Personal Interests, Attitudes and Values.” One of the six main values that people are rated on is called the “Traditional” value. The other values are Theoretical, Social, Utilitarian, Individualistic, and Aesthetic (contact me if you require more information.) There are many ways to interpret these assessments and yet this “value,” Traditional, often creates a real interest for me as I review these reports.

A person with a very high score in the “Traditional” value is often a person driven by a very strong set of principles that often makes it appear that this individual is seeing the world in a “black and white” way. Their learned values, whether these are political or religious, are very rigid with little openness to compromise or to have the flexibility to see an opposing point of view. Very often a person with a high score in this value may have very strong religious connections or beliefs. These might include religious zealots, people with strong nationalism, or possibly strong law & order proponents. If you agree with these people you can have good relationships. If you disagree with their strong values or beliefs, you will have strong arguments or possibly confrontations.

People on the lowest scoring of this value are often people not bound by “convention” to a specific philosophical dogma, religion, or political belief. These people might be seen as very flexible in seeing both sides of an issue and may appear to be very “Wishy-washy.” This ability to understand both sides may be taken as a weakness in character by a strongly opinionated “High Traditional” person. If you want these people to take a strong stand, and make a commitment to some proposal, you may have a disappointing expectation.

Neither a high score or a low score in this value, makes you right or wrong. Knowing yourself, or whether this is a factor in a person that you are in relationship with can make a huge difference in how to approach many situations in your life. Seeing things in a “black or white” way can be a good or bad (difficult) thing. For example, have you ever had a political conversation at a family gathering or a work or in a social situation where you feel an argument breaking out because people have conflicting understandings or strong beliefs? Words may not be as hard as stones but they can hurt people as badly, or even worse. Knowing why some people are inflexible and can not be convinced about certain points of view can help save you the grief of understanding why a polarized issue can not be accepted by both sides in a disagreement. This may also explain why the “hard feelings” about some political elections are not easily patched up.

If you know people who are “high Traditional” in values and are in the military, law enforcement, and people with strong “right of center” political beliefs, you may know that being flexible regarding other people’s opposing attitudes can be a “stretch” for these “high Traditional” people. Historically, many wars have been fought over different religious beliefs where flexibility and acceptance are not the values held by the opposing leaders. In my mind, too many people have died in disagreements over differing values and beliefs in religion, politics, nationalistic attitudes. There is no easy answer but remember hatred and fear regarding the differences in beliefs is taught to our next generation and does not solve problems in a world that is growing smaller as population grows and technology spreads differing beliefs instantaneously around the globe.

It is easier said than done when it comes to accepting different beliefs, but understanding how rigid or how flexible people are can be very important when you need groups to be productive.

Another definition: The highest interest for this value, Traditional, may be called “unity,” “order,” or “tradition.” Individuals with high scores in this value seek a system for living. This system can be found in such things as conservatism or any authority that has defined rules, regulations and principles for living.

Hopefully, this awareness of why people think and behave in “rigid” ways will assist you in accepting that it is easier and safer for some traditional people to hold tight to their black and white understanding even when this runs contrary to getting along better in a broader world.

Future Focus Achieving Your Dreams

It is important to stay in the “present” so physical and emotional responses do not cause symptoms of distress to arise, however, planning for successful attainment of your goals and dreams is necessary for long term success. This all can sound like “double-talk” but it really makes good sense.

First, physical and emotional symptoms can develop for people who are “not in their bodies in the present.” Many people have anxiety/fear regarding occurrences from events which have happened in the past. These can be difficult to “let go.” Likewise, even more people get fearful and anxious about the unknowns of the future. These are things that we can not often control and so can become consciously or unconsciously scary. Most people need to learn how to release fears of the past or of the unknowns of the future and practice living, in their bodies, in the present moment. This is easier said than done, but very important to learn how to do and to use preventively.

If you are not completely happy with your “condition” in life, then you may need to move in positive directions to attain a long term goal and dream that will bring you greater satisfaction and happiness. For example, maybe you want to get your college education and a college degree. Or, maybe you want to take a trip to Paris or Rome. Or, maybe you want your work or investments to give you financial security. All of these are important and significant long range goals. If you want to achieve these, and not just desire them, you must take action. The first action is to really plan the steps necessary to accomplish this major goal. Break it down into the small steps that will take you down the path toward completing your goal. Work out a reasonable time line. Gather the information and the resources that you will require to begin. AND, GET STARTED! Get help or coaching if you can not do this for yourself, in a useful way.

You must be very clear about what your goal looks like. It helps to see, or visualize, your dream. Feel it! Know what the final result will feel like to you. Listen and hear what your success will sound like. Some people can even taste success… In other words, use ALL of your senses to imagine the successful completion of your goal. This will help to make it more “real” for your subconscious mind. NOW, focus on your goal and the path to achieving it.

Do not be lazy! Regularly, immerse yourself in seeing yourself moving toward, and then accomplishing, your goal. Some people do this upon awaking in the morning and again at bedtime. Many people need to start their day with these images of success. I know many people who plan goal focusing breaks throughout their day to help them maintain focus on their positive long range goals.

I believe in this process and I tested it! After completing my Ph.D. program my private practice had shrunk down to 3 appointments per week. I figured that I needed at least 15 per week reach my financial goals. This was in January and I set the last week of March as my target for accomplishing my goal. Several times a day I pictured myself answering the telephone and writing appointments in my appointment book, until all the appointment slots were full. Of course, I also made calls to referral sources and sent out letters to advertise my services. The last week of March, I had 18 appointments on my books and 14 people came in for their appointments. Pretty close to the exact goal I had established. I was thrilled. When I looked at where the new business had come from, less than half of the appointments came from my direct promotional efforts. More than half of these clients came from other sources, “out of the blue” you might say. It did not matter at the time but in the years since, I have come to respect the power of offering clear, specific requests to the universe. By being clear and specific, the universe can help provide the answers you require for the success that you desire. The principles are simple, the actual practice requires dedication, support, and sometimes specific coaching.

My coaching practice often takes clients with big goals and dreams. We move together to build the individualized program for success and take the steps necessary to accomplish these goals.

You can do it! You can make your life move in the most ideal directions, but it requires more than just “wanting” or “dreaming.” It requires the targeted work and the laser focus on your long term goal. What is the accomplishment of your dream really worth to you? Remember that anything of value requires your time, focused attention, and your energy to achieve.

Grab your dreams! Make them happen!

Can a Retreat Program Change Your Life?

Have you ever participated in a retreat? Was it for spiritual growth or as an education experience? Perhaps it was a healing retreat to help find relief for a physical or emotional challenge. Was the retreat a weekend or week long experience? Did you spend the money to travel to this retreat and find that your life was changed making the value was very high for you? Or did you have a negative attitude about time and money spent on a retreat-like experience?

Many people have paid lots of money to go on vacation. Some vacations are “retreats” in practice, if not in name. Weeks on a cruise ship or a golf vacation are actually retreat-like but perhaps without the focus upon a specific outcome. Most people hold vacations in their memory for their entire lives. These were rewarding experiences that, in subtle ways, may have changed your life.

There are retreat centers that have recognizable names such as Esalen on the Big Sur coast in Northern California. Since 1962, Esalen Institute has offered healing and “growth” retreats for professional development and for the general public. This is a model that has been duplicated, in principle, by many other organizations. Often a retreat is “lead” by a therapist, author, philosopher, artist, poet, healer or expert in some emotional or physical process. There are many styles and formulas that can be used to impart the necessary information. Often people who attend these retreats learn that the information they receive is secondary to the experience of the “process” that brings individuals and the group to their highest levels of insight. The “process” is what the retreats are really all about and this cannot be gleaned from books, audios, videos, or conference calls. This process can include the physical and emotional experience of connection to the information and also the connections made with others attending the retreat. The connections are important and possibly even therapeutic, making the experience a life changing event. By making these meaningful connections with others you can change your self-awareness and in doing so change your life.

Not all retreats benefit every participant deeply. Every participant brings to the retreat their own energy, history, and past experience. Not everyone who leads a retreat is skillful at reaching out to every participant. In some cases, the connections are not made and so the retreat experience may have less value. Some participants go with the belief and intention that it will change their lives for the better. They are ready to transform and do not resist the new insights or deny the insights they experience. Often people fear change and resist the process.
Insights gained from retreats can have long-lasting effects. These changes may happen rapidly and be integrated into the participant’s life in dramatic ways or they may manifest more slowly over time and have a seemingly subtle effect. Rapid, sudden change is not always good or even long lasting.

If you are reading this blog and have made it this far, I would appreciate you contributing the past experiences you have had on personal growth retreats. Why did you go? What did you expect? What knowledge, information, or benefits did you receive from the process? How did the experience change your life? Did the connections you made with other people or with the process continue in your life? Would you recommend a specific retreat process and why was this retreat so life-changing for you? Thanks in advance for your input. (Send your thoughts to wellness@dstress.com)

I have lead retreats for many years and I am building new retreat processes for the future. My dream has been to build a retreat process that helps to pair people with specific health or emotional challenges, like PTSD, anxiety, chronic pain, etc, with professional therapists and coaches who wish to be trained in assisting individuals or groups of people in the processes that can relieve these challenges. I have floated around the country offering programs in various venues but I would love to see a retreat facility that has been created to certain specific criteria so the very best retreat work can be accomplished. Any thoughts on this are also welcome.

I appreciate your time and attention. I hope to meet with you in a rewarding and productive retreat process in the future. Until then, please take good care of yourself. AND, keep open and growing along your way.

If you would like to explore the Retreat Process for yourself or for your organization contact the Stress Education Center through www.dstress.com.

Getting Out Your Own Way: Find Success

World class athletes are using sports psychology to improve their performance. The stress of high level competitions can create situations where an equally matched opponent may win an event because the stress may block the best performance by his closest competition. A small amount of muscle tension may reduce the speed of a track sprinter by 1 hundredth of a second and make this person come in second. 70% of the training time of these high level athletes is spent in the mental preparation of preparing for the stress of competition. The combination of controlling the impact of stress and practicing positive mental visualization has been proven to enhance performance for athletes, musicians, and people in business.

In my Executive Coaching practice, I am often asked to use tools from sports psychology to help develop the skills that lead to success. For example, I was working with an Executive Vice President of a large financial organization and he found that the tools help him to relax and focus better so he could could get his 8 hours of work done in 6.5 hours so he could accomplish more in less time. He found his productivity went way up. Then he found that his ability to communicate, and to delegate, was enhanced. This lead him to be acknowledged as a better leader for his division. Profits were up. Mistakes/accidents were down. His people’s morale was elevated. All of these good results and success were attributed, in his view, by the coaching and use of sports psychology. It required about 20 minutes a day of his time and it saved him time, energy, and increased profits.

This is not a secret but it does require motivation. It is not difficult, but it does require a new way of thinking and behaving. Business leaders are using these techniques more now than ever before and showing the cost benefits, not only for themselves, but for their organizations.

The secret is learning how to “Get Out of Your Own Way.” There are articles related to this at the Stress Education Center’s website at www.dstress.com (on the “articles” page and within earlier postings of this blog.) You can also go to the website for more information on Executive Coaching and Organization Development.

Building the Team: Creating a Positive Environment at Work

We spend a lot of our time engaged in work. For many of us, our work includes regular, perhaps daily, interactions with co-workers. Relationships form with the people who we work with and who we see many days of the week. These relationships can make the work environment positive and productive or, to the contrary, negative and even destructive. Good managers encourage good relationships at work, in most situations. The supportive relationships can assist the work of the organization to move forward. As people get to “know” one another, deeper understanding and tolerance can grow which can lead to better professional relationships and enhanced productivity. Building a team in your work group or, within your immediate organization, allows people to connect in positive supportive ways. This is especially true in businesses which require communication amongst personnel to accomplish the end product or service. Technology companies, healthcare providers, most financial organizations, education, and most governmental organizations can benefit from the enhanced communication which good team building helps to create.

Team building is not a waste of time, because when it is done correctly, it saves time, increases productivity, reduces accidents and mistakes, and encourages good problem solving to overcome obstacles and time pressures. There is almost no downside to team building. It does require time to get started and to help maintain but the positive attitudes in the workforce will offer a positive return on investment. Good or great managers rely on the benefits of their efforts to build productive teams. Creating “buy-in” and the emotional connection of the key personnel will increase loyalty and productivity while reducing sabotage and increase retention. Team building can be a key ingredient for many of the most important “players.”

Consider that not all team building activities work as expected. Sometimes it can go sideways, or worse. Some planning is required and the tailoring of a team building program can have greater positive results. A good manager might want to get some assistance in developing and executing a great team building activity. Please do some research to determine the best program for you and your organization. Getting input from your team will enhance “buy-in” even before the event, so consider interactions with participants as you develop your program.

For additional coaching regarding your team building requirements or for program development consider contacting the Stress Education Center at www.dstress.com for input and support.