Monday, September 12, 2011

Take time to make time

How often do you start your week choosing to implement great ideas and big plans, only to spend your time in a state of disarray because of crisis situations created by others?

Maybe one of these look familiar:
  • You have a great plan to expand your business, say open another store or office. But, hiring and firing staff, putting out fires seems to be all you can do. Your people are constantly knocking on the door with an emergency that only you can fix. There's just not enough time!
  • You know you need to take care of paperwork for your taxes or maybe it's that an audit is looming in the near future. But, your clients are so needy. They are constantly calling on you for something. They are your bread and butter, so you can't put them off. But, when can you ever get to the part of your job that always seems to come last? There's just not enough time!
  • Homework, lunches, practices - all are things you do for your kids because you love them. Your days and nights are filled with doing, doing, doing. When could you ever take the class at the gym you think about? How could you actually use the college degree you earned by creating a small business?  There's just not enough time!
There are all sorts of ways we could look at these situations. But, let me give you one good tip for today: Take time to make time. Yes, that's right. It's like investing money to make money. You don't just get more money by doing what you're already doing. The same is true with your time. By setting aside specific, planned time to accomplish what is really important to you, you will create time. 

Let's get out your calendar (oh, you don't have one? get one!) Look at your day or your week. Block off an hour a day, or two mornings each week, or a day a week, to specifically work on your goals. By blocking off this time, it means blocking out everything that doesn't have to do with completing the goal. This means:
  • No phone interruptions - don't answer the phone! You have voice mail. They can leave a message. If you are in a situation where there may be true emergencies, then provide a means for contact if they really, really is an emergency. Plan ahead what the definition of an emergency is and stick to it.
  • No email, Facebook, internet - staff off the computer. If you need the computer to complete your goal, then very carefully guard yourself. Don't even log onto sites that are not completely necessary to your task.
  • Block your access - tell your people your people ahead of time that you're not available during the block out times. If you have to, put a "Do Not Disturb" sign on your door. Again, if there are true emergencies, make provision before hand.
Warning! Taking this time will feel strange to both you and to your interrupters! Changing your availability will be an adjustment for everyone. Expect resistance. Stick with it. Be firm. If you let one or two slip in, then you've established a weak boundary. 

Taking this time will pay off in a huge way! I promise. Do you need help organizing and goal-setting? Please give me 30 minutes to chat with you to talk about ways Shine Consulting can ease the load. Drop me a line at and we will set up a time to visit.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

You have the power to make or break someone's day

Are you a business owner, manager or a supervisor? If so, I know your days get pretty crazy with purchasing, strategic planning, taking care of customers, making payroll, hustling for contracts and a myriad of other important things that it takes to make a business run. But, do you ever stop and think of the power you wield?

Is she stupid, lazy, incompetent or disrespectful? Maybe, just maybe, it's you!
Your actions, your words, have power over those who work for and with you. It's a big responsibility knowing that people go home at night thinking about you - for good or not so good! When you stop and think about the experience others in the work place are having, do you feel good about it?

Let's take a quick inventory of your actions over the past couple of weeks. In regard to staff, how did you do with the following:

  • Give clear directions 
  • State your expectations
  • Provide tools for successful completion of work
  • Assess work performed
  • Give objective feedback
  • Follow through with commitments
If you did all of this well, then the impact you are having on your people should be positive. Staff should be happy and productive. The general attitude is positive, resulting in good production and little time loss. Yay!

What if you didn't do well in these areas? Well, your people are probably grumpy, nonproductive, maybe even undermining and subverting your efforts. What happens when you become frustrated with them for being stupid, lazy, incompetent, or disrespectful? You probably let them know it! And, I'm betting it isn't pretty! You may have thought this was because you hired bad staff. Probably not. It's more likely that they don't know what you want and don't know if you think they are doing a good job. 

It's time to realize your power. You have the authority and means to get your people back on track. Look at the list again. What if you could do all of this right. Yes, you're busy and all of this takes time you don't have. I say take time to make time. By putting in effort and setting good communication as a priority, you will come out way ahead in the long run. 

You have the power to make or break their day - make it good!
Do you need help saying what you need? Is it overwhelming thinking about taking the time to give good feedback? If you aren't getting your own things done, how can you consider taking the time to do any of the things you need to for staff? Well...let Shine help you. This is what we do best! Drop us a note at and we will give you 30 minutes to talk about how me might help you.

You have the power! Take advantage of a free 30-minute chat to see how much more power you can have!

Monday, August 8, 2011

A State of Acceptance...

But, Believing the Best is Yet to Come!

Lee Iacocca, former Chairman of the Chrysler Corporation, offers the following advice to people seeking to make life reflect their inner most desires, "The trick is not to die waiting for prosperity to come." What this means is the more you're clear about what you want, the sooner it will flow your way. No amount of wishful thinking without action will attract anything.

Another way of putting it comes from motivational superstar Zig Ziglar who tells us, "You cannot hit a target you do not have." Precision of desire is an essential ingredient to attaining our dreams." Simply to say, "I want to make more money or I want to lose weight or find the perfect mate" isn't good enough. One has to ask "how much money, how much weight and what is my perfect mate"? 

One thing I have noticed in my coaching practice is that some people tend to focus on what they don't want. While it is important to know what we don't want, it is essential to focus on what you want in your life.

I have witnessed firsthand shifts in people's "luck" once they learned this simple law. Positive thinking is important. But, the Law of Attraction goes much deeper than that, it's about emotions and feelings. The more you feel good about yourself and your life, the more you are going to attract good things.

Remember this though, as with anything else, there is a gestation period, so it's important to be patient and believe that there is something bigger than yourself working in your life for your greater good. Much has been made of the Law of Attraction in recent years. Building and maintaining a visual image of what you want in your life (instead of focusing on what you don't want) can be a powerful way to attract positive change and opportunity. Make a detailed list of what you'd like in your life. Sit down daily and visualize what your new life would look like and how it would feel.
Visualizing oneself at the end of the process can be a useful motivational tool to keep one focused on the desired result. But, as Iacocca and Ziglar tell us, nothing can be achieved without a clear vision of where one wants to be and a solid plan to make the dream a reality. This is where persistence comes in. The universe isn't going to make a dream come true, the dreamer is.

One must accept What Is before focusing on What Can Be. Rather than spending time focused on what you don't like about your life, wishing things were different, one must take stock of one's gifts and come to terms with the way things are. Only then can a determined person plan to move forward, making peace with what is while moving forward to what can be. This is called a state of Acceptance, accepting where you are today, but believing The Best is Yet to Come!

Authored by Life Coach Ellen Stanton. She is passionate about helping people. She is a firm believer that there is someone for everyone. Sometimes we just need a little help and hope, so we can move forward with our lives. Ellen is a personal and professional relationship coach, as well as a freelance writer with previous articles both in print and on line. Visit her website:

Friday, July 29, 2011

Backstabbed! How to influence the bully at work

The following is by a friend of mine, Dr. Karen Keller. She writes on many powerful topics. I found this piece about office bulling to be of particular interest. 

"A 2007 study conducted by the Workplace Bullying Institute (WBI) found that 58% of bullies in the workplace are women. Female bullies choose their own sex to bully 70% of the time. Sound crazy? Yes, and you can learn how to recognize workplace bullying and know what you can do about it.

Ladies, how are we ever going to break through the glass ceiling if we are clawing our way over each other to get through it? I mean, where is the camaraderie and support that women should be giving each other especially in times of need? 

Years ago, a good friend suffered from what would be called workplace bullying from another woman. ‘Kim' was working on her master's degree while applying for the doctorate program at the same school. Kim's advisor, a woman, was extremely jealous of Kim's relationships with other professors and her outgoing personality. Long story short, Kim did not get into the doctorate program. Why? The department chair told Kim her ‘female' advisor single-handedly convinced committee members that Kim would not be an asset to the program. End of story? No. Kim attended graduate school elsewhere and is a well-published formidable leader in her field. 

What are some reasons women bully other women?

A 2008 census done by Catalyst, a nonprofit research group, found that "women make up more than 50% of management, professional and related occupations, and yet only 15.7% of Fortune 500 officers and 15.2% of directors are women." With stats like this no wonder women are behaving as cut-throats with other women. Now, don't get me wrong. I am not justifying destructive behavior I am looking for understanding. 
Women are tired of being mistreated and ignored. They are no longer tolerating lack of respect and recognition. What's the result of this frustration? Women attacking other women! Why? Because it's safer than attacking men! 

Why do women find it easier to bully women than men? Women are less apt to strike back - especially if the bully is her boss. Another reason – since so few women make it to the top their main objective is to prevent other females from toppling their conquest. One mistake in understanding the reasons women bully other women is to assume it's because they are vulnerable. The real reason is the ‘other' woman is known to be a go-getter, competent and smart. All qualities that promoters notice. So, when the quota for women at the top is small, one way to reduce the competition is to eliminate it.

Friend or foe? How to tell
  1. Women bullies treat men and women differently. They communicate better, share more information, and provide more opportunities to men.
  2. Your lady boss uses a strategy that messes with your head. This can be anything from obvious stares to rude comments made to "supposedly" out of earshot employees. All this to undermine your confidence and, as an added bonus, make you paranoid. 
  3. The female bully has little respect for a positive attitude. Shame on you for looking at a problem as an opportunityShe reminds you that ‘so-and-so' is not finished yet. You hear things like, "Sue seems more interested in gossiping than getting her work done on time."
  4. She wants you to be afraid – of HER. Playing the fear card is intimidation. Mind games are especially abusive since they keep you guessing about what is coming next. Does it work? You bet and she knows it. 
Being bullied?  Take these steps
  1. First you have to recognize and admit to yourself that you are the target of a bully. This isn't easy but necessary before you can move forward.
  2. Give the bullying behavior a name. Call it bullying or emotional abuse. HR responds better when there is a name they can write in their report.
  3. Research your HR and legal options. Taking action from a source of power is always the best alternative. Depending on the seriousness of the bullying, you need to discuss it with another person, first, who has the influence and authority to remedy the situation with whatever means possible.
  4. Gather the statistics on what this bully is costing the company. You're smart – figure out the time lost, the mistakes made from being under stress, absenteeism, turnover rates, and lost productivity.
Dealing with bullies requires a systematic approach. If you find yourself on the receiving end of a bully follow the above steps, set your boundaries and influence your situation."

Karen Keller, Ph. D. is the Influence It! Life Coach for women and creator of the website Real Power For Women Who Want It. Unlike other psychologists, Karen is also a Master Certified Coach and the only modern-day teacher of Influence as a way of inner thinking and being…then ultimately doing for having more of what you (really) want. Her first book, "Stepping Stones to Success: Experts Share Strategies For Mastering Business, Life & Relationships" with Deepak Chopra, Jack Canfield, and Denis Waitley was published in 2010.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Boost your confidence

Nervous about speaking your mind? Afraid to go after what you want? Don't let self-doubt keep you from your goals. Place value on who you are and what you do, and your self-esteem will skyrocket. Here are a couple of quick tips to help you step boldly:

First, recognize negative inner thoughts. Confidence begins with a positive self-image. What you think of yourself affects how you feel. And how you act. So get rid of your inner critic and replace her with an inner cheering section.

Easier said than done, you say? Not really. To turn negative self-thoughts positive, take stock of your qualities and achievements. Give yourself more credit and make it a habit.
Let go of pessimistic people who drag you down. Instead, surround yourself with optimistic friends who can build you up.

Seek structured support groups through church, classes, volunteer work. These formal settings will make you feel more capable.

Give your confidence a boost with these simple changes. Go ahead, you can do it!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Powerfully Positive Words

This week we are looking at different aspects of relationship boundaries, both in our personal lives and in the work place. Thus far I have shared thoughts about saying no to relationships that are not reciprocal in Clinging to Crumbs, Dreaming of Cake, and learning how to take care of yourself in Don't Hate Me if I Say No! On this bright Wednesday morning, I'd like you to take a minute to think about the words you use with those who you work and live with. Are you using positive reinforcement?

There is an unwavering rule in my house: "stupid" and "shut up" are bad words and we are never to use them on one another. Think about it. How do you feel when you hear these words? I certainly don't feel positive, heard, or valued when someone directs them at me.

Your Words Are Powerful
How about in the work place? Which feels better coming from your boss: "This report sucks! You totally blew it. It's not that hard, get back to your office and do it right!" or "Nice effort on your report. I will work with you to improve a few areas." In both cases the report needs to be corrected. What's the difference?

What about the Debbie Downer in the crowd. She's the one that hates this and hates that. She says she never has enough time, money, nice things, behaved children, whatever. She complains that she's too fat, tired, busy. All that negativity makes her no fun to be around.

One of men's biggest complaints about women is that they nag. "You don't ever..." "You're so sloppy, lazy, late..." "When was the last time you...." Ouch! Seriously, what guy wants to snuggle up to someone who talks this way! It's amazing how words impact us

Pay attention to how you feel when certain words are used. Do you feel confident, positive, and hopeful when you speak? Even in a negative situation, positive words can be used. For example, you're sick with a cold, your head is stuffy, and your temperature is a bit high. How can you sound positive when you feel horrible? You can! When asked how you're feeling, try saying something such as, "I'm sure looking forward to feeling like my old self again." It's much better than muttering that you are miserable and want to die.

Use this approach when talking to others. What about giving feedback to your girlfriend when she's late yet again. You're frustrated, annoyed, and disappointed. If you use shaming words, it's a pretty certain bet your fun event will be iced over with hurt feelings. But it is important that you address the situation. Here's a suggestion: Tell her you appreciate it when she's on time. That it helps you relax and guarantees a good attitude on your part.

Does all of this positivity sound silly? Maybe. But, positive words uplift and establish a powerful sense of well-being. Doesn't everyone want to feel this?

I borrowed the following lists of words from Every Word Has Power by Yvonne Oswald. One is a list of words to remove from your language. The other list of words are optimistic, high energy words. Don't limit yourself to these lists! There are many, many more words that can be added to both.

Avoid using these Negative Power words:

Afraid Angry Anxiety Bad Blocked Bottom Broke Cheap Cheat Control Criticize Dark Difficult Disease Disempower Doubt Down Envy Expensive Failure Fear Forget Guilt Hard Hate Idiot Ill Lazy Lose/loser Mean Nasty Old Poor Problem Putdown Rage Reaction Reduce Rule Sad Separate Shame Sick Small Sorrow Stupid Sue Trying War Weak Worry

Use these Positive Power words:

Achieve Baby Beautiful Believe Choose/choice Dream Easy Energy Enthusiasm Family Father Feel Free Funny Future God Happy Harmony Heart Humor Improve Knowledge Mom Money New Please Popular Positive Profit Release Results Safety Sexy Smart Success Sweet Thanks Top Unique

Using words for the positive is so powerful! Try switching out the negative words from your vocabulary. Get creative and find ways to only use positive, impactful words. You'll be surprised how you feel and I guarantee those around you will appreciate the shift.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Don't hate me if I say no!

This week we are looking at different aspects of relationship boundaries, both in our personal lives and in the work place. Yesterday I shared thought about saying no to relationships that are not reciprocal in Clinging to Crumbs, Dreaming of Cake. Today, I want to talk about appropriately using "no" more often.

Saying "no" is one of the most difficult things for women to do. Why? Traditionally women have been trained to be caretakers. How many families expect the mother to take care of everything from making everyone's beds to balancing the checkbook to organizing the school fundraiser? If you are feeling overwhelmed and tired or you wonder where time for you fits in, maybe new attitudes and behavior patterns need to be developed.

Recognize the limits of your time and energy. Make a list of your commitments and prioritize them. Ask yourself, "How much do I want to do this?" Rate it on a scale from 0-10. Then ask, "How important is this?" Again, rate from 0-10. If you get a combined score of 10 or more, then do it! If your score is less than this, consider saying no.

If saying no is not currently in your vocabulary, it may take time and determination. The change will feel uncomfortable for many; some will encounter resistance and frustration. It may take months or even years to feel okay about saying no, refusing to clean up others' messes, not always driving the soccer team to practice, delegating responsibility to others. It will not be easy to hold fast when others try to manipulate you into giving in and going back to your "old accommodating self." However, it is necessary to break these habits. The alternative is burnout at best, physical or mental breakdown at worst.

Who in your life do you need to say no to? Is it the neighbor who "guilts" you into watching her children while she gets her nails done? How about your forgetful child who constantly needs you to bring lunch money to school? Maybe it's the manager who flatters you into planning the office holiday event.

Have you found that committing to something incongruent to your agenda usually happens when you are caught off guard? Someone has some how convinced you to get involved in their project or they desperately need your expertise for an urgent assignment. It's women's tendency to want to be helpful. How often after you have spontaneously said yes to someone's request, you say to yourself, "Oh, why did I say yes again?"

Practice an answer before you are ambushed. You might memorize something like this, "Let me give it some thought and get back to you." This gives you a time-out, time to think before you commit yet again. If you decide you want to help and it's important, feel free to say yes. If you choose no, you might say, "After looking at my commitments, I realize that I will not be able to give you a hand at this time." or "With the commitments I have already made to others, I can't do it justice." Practice these phrases over and over until they become second nature to you.

Consider using technology to help you. The caller id function on your phone is there for a reason! Use it to screen calls. You are under no obligation to answer your phone, let the caller leave a message. This is another way to take a time-out, giving you an opportunity to plan your response according to your needs.

How do you say no to a child or a spouse? Sometimes a simple no is appropriate. However, there will be times when you need to describe why you cannot say yes. Express why no is your answer; be specific in giving your reason, and explain the consequences if you were to say yes.

Resist the urge to be all things to all people! Sometimes saying no is a good thing.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Clinging to crumbs, dreaming of cake

Ever feel like you're on the short end of a relationship? Will giving more really bring you what you need? This week I am going to explore several aspects of the work place, starting with relationships. After all, we have relationships in our personal lives...and at work!

Do any of these relationship scenarios sound familiar? The dating situation where he's forever off doing his own thing. He has an extensive collection of excuses why he doesn't have time to do things with you. What about the friend who always needs help with this or that, but backs out of almost every plan you've made together. You learn she's spending most of her time hanging out with other girlfriends. How about the spouse who spends all of his free time doing things for others, but has nothing left for you. And, there's the boss who is demanding and never satisfied, but chums up to you when she needs your help in a crunch situation.

When my friends tell me about situations like these in their lives, I get pretty cranked up. My Xena, Princess Warrior persona kicks into full gear! I get all riled up about how they deserve better and I'm happy to set everyone straight!

I have to admit that I've had more than a few of these painfully unfulfilling relationships in my life. I would wonder to myself what's wrong with me, am I not good enough to have a really wonderful relationship? The scarier question was why did I stay? Upon reflection, I realized that in most situations I was getting a little portion of what I wanted. Crumbs. Tantalizing bits of a good thing. Just enough to keep me hooked, hoping for more. I would say to myself, if I just give a bit more I'll be rewarded with something wonderful. Honestly, the reward seldom came.

Frankly, I was fearful of losing the little bits of love or attention that I got from these individuals. I used to think that some of a good thing is better than none. I learned that it's not. In recent years I gathered my courage and began stating my needs. I asked for what I wanted. In one situation I said that I wished that they would spend more time with me, to be made a priority in their life. With another person my answer to desperate requests to save them from imminent disaster was consistently "no." (don't worry, the disasters were pretty much drama created from lack of organization on their part). In the cases where the other party could not or would not commit on the same level that I had, I chose to let them go. It didn't mean that I held resentment toward them, I just let go of the crumbs. In the end it was a good thing.

Fortunately, I have some wonderful, solid relationships in my life. Reciprocity is the hallmark of these healthy associations; friends, coworkers, family members and others in my community. All are mutually supportive, each party considering the other. My best friend is the perfect example. She loves spending time with me, delights in my successes, is there when I need her, and she makes time in her life for me. And…I do the same for her.

Well, I'm pretty much done with clinging to crumbs. I am either going to find ways to make difficult relationships work or I'm going to let them go. Then…I will leave open the way for those who come bearing cake!

Monday, May 16, 2011

The voice of your past will only disqualify you from your purpose... but the call of your future will invigorate you to press towards it! ~Paula White

I was visiting with my mom the other morning. We were just talking about this and that when she shared about a young girl she is counselling (mom is a family therapist). Of course, she didn't tell me who the girl was, but she did tell me this sixteen year old had already made some pretty bad choices in her short life. As her court-ordered mental health professional, my mom was trying to get this kid to see that her life doesn't have to BE what it WAS!

Choices are ahead of you. Choices that will take you where you want, what you want, who you want to be! Don't look back, only look ahead. Set your eyes on what you can be and what dreams you came make into reality. 

Press on!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Yay for new doors!

"When one door closes another door opens; but we so often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us." ~ Alexander Graham Bell

What door is closed, yes even locked, that you keep focusing on? Head's up! There are many options, you just need to open your eyes and your heart. Yay for new doors!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Don't let fear hold you back from change

Happy Monday! Let today be the day you make one of those changes you've been thinking about. If you're fearful - step into it with one small change. Go ahead, you'll be proud of yourself. And, those around you will be grateful, too!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Happy employees

This morning I was chatting with the cashier at my local grocery. I learned that she recently transferred from another store. I asked her if she liked the move and she said she loved it. She then told me that her commute changed from 5 minutes to 60 minutes. What? Why would she do such a thing, I asked. Because she wanted to work for her favorite manager, she said. He was the best boss she's ever had and she was willing to drive two hours a day to work for him.

Wow! That says so much about that manager. What makes happy employees? There are many things that contribute, but I have observed over and over again that giving clear expectations is one of keys to employee happiness. This gal's boss is an excellent communicator. In chatting with her, she told me that he:

  • tells his people what he expects
  • gives them good training 
  • gives them the right tools and equipment for the job
  • talks to them about how they are doing on the job 
  • cares about them personally
  • is fair and consistent
  • gives perks and rewards for people who go above and beyond
  • has a good attitude about his own job
Do you have happy employees? Check this store manager's list. How many of these attributes would your staff say about you? 

Let SHINE Consulting help you have happy employees! Drop me a note and we can chat about how we can make it happen.