Give Yourself the Gift of Presence This Holiday Season

By Denise Hellekson, Clinical Associate, The Village Business Institute

Well, Thanksgiving is over, Black Friday has come and gone, and the beginning of the holiday season is upon us. I love the holiday season. Bing, Andy and Nat serenading me with the Christmas songs that shape my memories. Christmas decorations adding a warm glow to the cold, dark December nights. Holiday movies like old friends reminding me of the magic and miracles and goodness of the season. Gathering with friends and family to bake cookies, decorate the tree, and celebrate with those I love. What’s not to love?

But I can become overwhelmed with the lists of things to be done before December 24. I have been known to become a servant to the almighty “To Do” list in an effort to buy the perfect gifts, and fulfill the commitments that come with the season. At the height of trying to do all things/be all places/for all those I care about, I can remember flopping onto the couch one Christmas Day to catch my breath. I finally had time to sit down and take in the moment, only to discover 90% of it had already passed. The presents had been opened, the feast eaten, boxes and paper strewn everywhere. By the time I was fully present to Christmas, it was almost gone. In my quest to conquer my many lists, I’d lost sight of the reason behind all the activity. I was so caught up in getting to the finish line that I missed out on the experiences that make the season so special.

Since that time, I’ve been working on giving myself the gift of being more present to the season. It’s a work in progress, but here are some simple, quick, low demand tips to help set the stage for a happier, more present holiday experience.

  1. Before you start making your “To Do” list, which is all about the “what” of the holiday season, define for yourself the purpose and overall goal, which gets to the “why.” Set your intention for the Holiday season. How do you want to feel? What do you want to experience? What do you want to remember? Identifying your “why” not only helps you determine what you really need to include on your list, but it also takes it from an obligation to a choice. Your list becomes a tool to help you get to your overall goal, rather than a task master that controls your days and eats away at your peace of mind.Some other questions to ask yourself as you’re planning your day—What kind of a day do you want to have? How can you bring a sense of fun and enjoyment to the day? What do you need to NOT DO in order to have a good day?
  2. When you wake up in the morning, instead of flying out of bed playing “beat the clock,” set your alarm for 5-10 minutes earlier and start the day with “Thank you.” Make a mental list of the things you are grateful for and the things you are looking forward to. Set your intention to have a good day–“I have all the time I need to do the things I need to today,” “I am calm and relaxed and looking forward to a great day,” “I am present and open to the goodness of the season.”) “Thank you” can be a great way to end the day as well, and helps you to fall asleep remembering the successes and unexpected joys of the day.
  3. Be selective. What do you need to cut back on in order to appreciate and enjoy the engagements that matter to you? Is it really about doing it all, or doing what matters most to you and your family? Give yourself permission to be selective, to slow it down a little and to choose. Maybe taking an evening to slip into your pj’s, read the Christmas Carol, and enjoy your tree will be the perfect gift to yourself instead of rushing out to another engagement when you are tired and worn and your nerves are wearing thin. You get to decide; choose wisely!
  4. As you go about your day, take time to stop, breathe, and take in the sights, smells, and sounds around you. Ask yourself, “What am I feeling right now? What do I need to do to take care of myself?”
  5. Recharge your battery! Eat food that gives you the nutrition you need to stay energized. Pack healthy snacks to graze on throughout the day. Get adequate sleep.
  6. Spread a little cheer throughout the day. A lot of stressed people are running around this time of year. You can either be the catalyst that snaps their last nerve, or the balm that offers kindness and connection in a busy world. It doesn’t take much; a friendly smile, a little patience, common courtesies like holding a door open, or saying thank you; simple gestures that can extend the hand of friendship to those around us.

By being more present, we not only have the opportunity to embrace the season more fully for ourselves, but we are also more available to share the gift of our presence with others.

Wishing you simple pleasures, happy moments with those you love, and a heart filled with the goodness of the season.

About the blogger
Denise Hellekson provides EAP counseling, training, consulting, and crisis response services for The Village Business Institute. She has a master’s degree in Community and Rehabilitation Counseling from St. Cloud State University; and is a Licensed Independent Social Worker and a Qualified Neutral under Rule 114 of the Minnesota General Rules of Practice (Mediator). Hellekson has many years of experience in counseling, advocacy, and consulting services.

Posted in Family, Relationships, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Work Happy Now

Are you happy at work? If you answered “no,” you are not alone. A survey conducted by the Conference Board revealed that “only 45% of workers are happy at their jobs.” Given how much time we spend at work, I think it’s worth taking the time to consider how we can increase our happiness.

  1. Pay Attention to Your Thoughts: We can make ourselves happy or unhappy just by the thoughts we think. When you get up in the morning what are you telling yourself about your day, your job or your family? Become more aware of the self-talk going on inside your head and shift the focus to things you can be grateful for, or try to see things from another perspective. When you do this, you will be adding happiness to your life instead of subtracting from it.
  2. Take 5 everyday: Each day take five minutes to lessen your stress by going for a short walk, reading a chapter from an inspirational book, listening to an uplifting song, talking to a positive person, finding a way to laugh. By taking time for yourself you are better able to maintain your joy and give to others.
  3. Spread kindness: Be on the lookout for people doing things right at work, and say “thank you!” Also ask how you can help others at work. Showing appreciation and lending a hand to your coworkers can strengthen your relationship and also improve how others see you.
  4. Make Your Space More Awesome: Gretchen Rubin, the author of the Happiness Project, encourages us to think about “how we could make our work space more pleasant.” Invest in a cool lamp or buy some motivational signs to hang up, etc. Create a space that inspires you to do your best at work.
  5. Use Your Superpowers: Perform actions each day that make you feel energized and optimistic. Everyone has superpowers which are the activities where passion, results, and focus come together. Leverage your strengths as much as possible and watch your happiness soar as well.

Happiness is different for everyone, so your responsibility is to find out what makes you happy and then begin to incorporate more of those activities each day at work. When you do, you will realize that you can work happy now!

End Notes:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/01/05/american-job-satisfaction_n_411680.html

http://federalfinancialgroupllc.wordpress.com/2013/08/26/why-not-be-more-happy-at-work/

About the blogger
As an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) Trainer with The Village Business Institute, Dawn Kaiser lives her passion to energize, encourage and equip individuals to live stronger. She is an inspirational educator, writer, blogger, speaker, leader and positive-thinker extraordinaire. Dawn draws on more than twelve years of experience in the Human Resource/Organizational Development field and has a Bachelor’s of Business Administration and a Master of Education. She is also a certified HR Professional. Dawn specializes in communication, leadership, high performance teams and personal development. Dawn also enjoys unleashing hope in her community and around the world through her speaking, writing and volunteer opportunities.

 

Posted in Business, Jobs | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Prejudice on “The Voice”

The Voice is a very popular television program that is half talent show and half game show. Singers enter the program as contestants in blind auditions, in which four judges can pick them to be on their team. The most talented singers typically have multiple judges trying to convince them they are the best person to help with their career. After all the teams have been selected, the competition heats up between singers and continues until one singer/one team is crowned champion. Initially, I didn’t pay much attention to this program, but my wife liked it and it started to grow on me. This is one of a handful of shows we watch together.

On a recent evening, a talented singer came on whose voice and style of singing did not match his persona. No big deal as auditions are blind, so voices are judged solely on their quality and not on preconceived notions of who should sing what style of music. It wasn’t until after this contestant was selected and all the judges turned around that some questionable, maybe prejudicial, comments came up. The comments, maybe intended to be complimentary, were about it being a surprising performance from a “white boy.” Initially the reference to color and gender kind of went by me. But then several similar comments were made and it struck me—why wasn’t this just a great performance? What did being white and male have to do with it?

I understand The Voice is entertainment—but would such comments be considered appropriate if they were referencing another color, boy or girl? Probably not, as such comments have so often been used to demean or diminish the accomplishments of people whose skin color or gender did not match the expectations of the time or situation. I don’t think the judges were purposefully trying to be demeaning, but negative biases can be insidious in nature. The contestant was happy to be selected and unlikely to say “Don’t call me boy.” Even if he was offended and wanted to say something, he wasn’t in a good position to tell the judges–who held his opportunity in their hands.

Why is this an important discussion? It points to the need for each of us to be aware of the biases and prejudices that influence the decisions we make. As leaders we need to be self-aware. The decisions we make influence not just the opportunities of individuals, but also the success of our organizations or businesses. It is why quality organizations spend time talking about diversity and how to use multiple talents and perspectives to strengthen team and organizational performance.

Awareness is key and at The Village Business Institute we help organizations, leaders, employees, be self-aware and in tune with the business imperative of being a safe and respectful place for all employees and customers. To learn more, contact me at The Village Business Institute, 1-800-627-8220, www.TheVBI.com.

About the blogger
Darrin Tonsfeldt has a background of program administration, employee supervision, and clinical experience, as well as 20 years of experience in organization consulting and planning. He provides oversight of The Village Business Institute, Regional Counseling Services, and The Village Financial Resource Center. He also provides consulting services that include strategic planning; career, leadership, management, and executive coaching; corporate training and group facilitation; crisis response in the workplace; and organizational consulting.

 

Posted in Business, Jobs | Leave a comment

Building Trust in the Workplace

trust jumpThere are two different philosophies on trust. The first philosophy is that you trust people until they break your trust. The second is that you don’t trust people until they earn your trust. Trust is the foundation of any relationship, so either way, we all must work on building and establishing trust.

That being said, I think it’s disheartening that “82% of people don’t trust their boss to tell the truth.” (Edelman’s Trust Barometer, 2013). Trust appears to be dwindling in the workplace, but it didn’t just erode overnight. Authors Dennis & Michelle Reina of Rebuilding Trust in the Workplace believe that “90-95% of trust breakdown is related to small, everyday betrayals in which people let each other down.”

So if trust took time to break, it’s also going to take time to build. There is no single activity that will build trust overnight. Rather, we establish and create trust with each other over time through consistent actions, behaviors, and values.

Below are some of the most important things you can do to build trust with your co-workers.

  1. Be Congruent: Do your words match your actions? If your words and actions are not congruent, people will start to question your credibility, which erodes their trust. Live out your values through your daily actions, behaviors and decisions.
  2. Be Reliable: Do you make promises you can’t keep? People place their trust in people they can count on and who will follow through as agreed upon. Or those who will at least be forthright when things don’t go as planned.
  3. Take Ownership: Do you own up to the positive or negative consequences of your actions? The honest truth is we all make mistakes at work. To maintain the respect and trust of our coworkers we must own those mistakes. Be willing to communicate the lessons you learn from your mistakes and move forward.
  4. Listen for Understanding: Do you take the time to understand the opinion of others? The act of being understood and heard is very important to people. They want to know that you don’t just assume the worst, but rather seek to understand the full story before taking action.
  5. Solicit & Share Feedback: Do you ask for and provide honest feedback? It can be scary to give or receive honest feedback, but it is necessary to establish trust. Find the courage to communicate your expectations with others and tell them how well they are meeting those expectations. Then don’t forget to ask how well you are meeting their expectations.

Building trust begins with you. What first step are you willing to take to cultivate a culture of trust in your workplace?

End Notes:

http://www.edelman.com/insights/intellectual-property/trust-2013/

http://www.reinatrustbuilding.com/reinatrustbuilding.com/userfiles/file/Chicago%20Tribune-%20Rebuilding%20Trust.pdf

About the Blogger
As an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) Trainer with The Village Business Institute, Dawn Kaiser lives her passion to energize, encourage and equip individuals to live stronger. She is a motivational speaker, writer, blogger, teacher, leader and positive-thinker extraordinaire. Dawn draws on more than twelve years of experience in the Human Resource/Organizational Development field and has a Bachelor’s of Business Administration and a Master of Education. She is also a certified HR Professional.

Dawn specializes in communication, leadership, high performance teams and personal development. Dawn also enjoys unleashing hope in her community and around the world through her speaking, writing and volunteer opportunities.

For more information, or to schedule Dawn to speak to your group or organization, contact The Village Business Institute at www.TheVBI.com.

 

Posted in Business, Human Capital, Jobs, Relationships | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

For What It’s Worth

Three and one-half months ago, my wife Debbie and I moved into our newly-built home, a perfect combination for a “country boy” and a “city girl.” We say “we built it” because we initiated the process and were involved in so many aspects of building our home “from soup to nuts.” If you’ve ever been in that position, you can identify with all the little decisions that have to be made that finally come together to create an intricate masterpiece. And by the way, while the whole process is exciting, it is also stressful. I didn’t know there were so many colors of “tan,” “taupe,” or whatever, and I surely didn’t realize that “white” siding isn’t the same as “white” garage doors. Jeez. It’s enough to make you crazy. Fortunately, we had a superior builder and they walked us through the process one day and one step at a time. So while we proclaim that “we” built our house, in reality we owe our thanks to the skilled workmen and women who put the hard work in day after day to meet and even exceed our expectations.

Without the expert coaching from the builder and his hand-picked vendors along the way, we’d still be looking at a hole in the ground wondering what to do next. Instead, we had the wonderful experience of celebrating a successful end to the project with some of those who made it all possible. On the day of closing and taking possession of the keys, the builder and support staff all joined with us in their conference room to toast the transition from our being vagabonds to new home owners. Later, we invited the whole staff over for a gourmet blackened Alaskan salmon lunch that Debbie and I prepared, during which I was surprised – and saddened – to hear that many other clients have promised such a thing after building with them, but that only one other client before us actually did so. I was touched by their genuine thankfulness for being remembered, and it got me to thinking about how we often forget that we stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before us, forgetting that if it were not for their commitment, dedication, hard work and perseverance, we would not be where we are today.

The truth is, I don’t think about those people often enough myself and I realize I have come to take them for granted. Like many others, I sometimes fall into the trap of believing that I am where I am because of my own hard work and effort. Sure, unless I put in the time, effort and hard work, and unless I am willing to step out and take a risk, nothing is likely to happen – at least nothing I would hope for. But the greater reality is that I can do nothing on my own. By the grace of God alone am I even able to take a single breath, so I am persuaded to look around myself and consider all that I can yet do by working closely with the giants who have plowed new ground before me. And who knows? Maybe in doing so, I will get to join with them to create something new and exciting in the future.

So the word for today is: relationships. Everything we are or ever hope to be is wrapped up in this idea of relationships. It is at the very center of the Universe itself. Everything and everyone exists in relationship to something or someone else. When we attend to our relationships, when we honor and nurture those relationships, we become greater than ourselves, stronger than ourselves, and more enduring than ourselves alone. And one day, others will stand on our shoulders as they strive to achieve greater things than we and just maybe they will remember us in the process. But whether they do or do not does neither enhance nor diminish the value of the lessons we’ve learned and the people we have become in the process. Relationships: they’re worth fighting for.

About the blogger:

About the blogger:
John E. Trombley, organization development consultant and training with The Village Business Institute has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Alaska, Anchorage, and a Master of Management degree from the University of Mary, Fargo. Prior to founding his own organization development company, John served as a Command Pilot, Squadron Commander, and senior staff officer in the USAF and Air National Guard—he retired as a Lieutenant Colonel with over 6,200 flying hours.

With over 16 years of experience in providing consulting services and training programs, Trombley has a passion for group process facilitation and corporate training in areas including leadership development, change management, leadership transition processes, managerial coaching, and personality assessment workshops. He is registered with the Supreme Court of the State of Minnesota as a Qualified Neutral mediator, is trained in Critical Incident Stress Management Group Crisis Intervention, and is certified in Internal Investigations by the Council on Education in Management.

For more information, contact The Village Business Institute at 1-800-627-8220 or www.thevbi.com.

Posted in Family, Human Capital, Relationships, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Protecting Your Employees from Workplace Violence

Have you or any of your friends or family ever experienced violence while at work? To help answer this question a definition can be helpful. One I often use when talking about violence in the workplace is from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH): “Workplace violence is any physical assault, threatening behavior or verbal abuse occurring in the work setting. It includes, but is not limited to beatings, stabbings, suicides, shootings, rapes, near suicides, psychological traumas such as threats, obscene phone calls, an intimidating presence, and harassment of any nature such as being followed, sworn at or shouted at.”

As the definition states, violence at work encompasses much more than just homicides. It includes a wide range of non-fatal incidents–which occur at a much higher rate than fatal incidents. Not all of those incidents are perpetrated by employees; increasingly acts of violence are brought into the workplace by non-employees.

I recently presented “Violence in the Workplace” training to an association of safety professionals. I discussed the concept of concentric consequences of violence, fatal or non-fatal. The concept is basically this; when violence occurs to anyone in the workplace, the consequences have a ripple effect across the organization. Violence does not just affect the primary victim, but everyone in the organization with a relationship to either the victim or perpetrator. The ripples can become riptides that pull co-workers apart, creating a work environment that feels unsafe. And, as the safety professionals at this training could tell you, unsafe work environments become under-performing businesses.

At the end of the training, we discussed programs and policies aimed at helping prevent or intervene on acts of violence. Of particular concern to the audience was domestic violence and the question, “Should employers require victims of domestic violence with orders of protection to mandatorily report such orders to their supervisor?” The experienced safety professional who posed this question was concerned about potentially violent perpetrators seeking out their spouses at work. It appeared to be his belief that having such a mandatory policy could act as a preventative measure and help the company head off any problems. Although the belief seems plausible, consider the following two points before agreeing:

  • How would you feel about having to tell your supervisor about being a victim of abuse? Most victims of domestic abuse feel a great deal of shame and powerlessness and may feel re-victimized if they are required to report an order of protection to their employer.
  • Now picture yourself as a supervisor disciplining a victim of violence for not reporting to you an order of protection. Good human resource practices tell us that when you make a policy mandatory you do not optionally enforce it. Therefore employees who do not comply with a mandatory policy are in violation of company rules and subject to disciplinary process.

The intent of such a mandatory policy is honorable in that it seeks to protect both the victim and his or her co-workers. The reality is such a policy is no guarantee of protection. Some employees may choose to ignore the policy, some supervisors may choose not to enforce it, and there are better ways to enhance safety. One is to have a policy that encourages employees to voluntarily report orders of protection to their employer and provides them with reporting options. Such a policy needs to consider the employee’s right to privacy while taking steps, on a need-to-know-basis, to make proper security arrangements.

A second area of importance when it comes to enhancing safety is the quality of the employee/supervisor relationship. An employee who feels they are treated fairly and respectfully by a supervisor are much more likely to let the supervisor know what is going on. The supervisor can then be helpful to the employee and make reasonable security arrangements—rather than unnecessarily spending valuable time enforcing a mandatory policy.

If you are concerned about safety at your workplace, make sure your supervisors know how to recognize and respectfully attend to employees who have experienced violence. Hiring, training, and retaining outstanding supervisors is a must, as is having a quality employee assistance program [EAP]. Supervisors who build trusting relationships with their employees know there will be times they need the resources of an EAP to provide help to employees struggling with domestic violence, drug and alcohol issues, difficulties at work, and more.

To learn how you can access high quality consulting, training, and employee assistance programs to prevent or deal with workplace violence, call The Village Business Institute at 1-800-627-8220, or visit our website at www.TheVBI.com.

About the blogger
Darrin Tonsfeldt has a background of program administration, employee supervision, and clinical experience, as well as 20 years of experience in organization consulting and planning. He provides oversight of The Village Business Institute, Regional Counseling Services, and Financial Resource Center programs. He also provides consulting services that include strategic planning; career, leadership, management, and executive coaching; corporate training and group facilitation; crisis response in the workplace; and organizational consulting.

 

Posted in Business, Family, Human Capital, Jobs, Relationships | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Understanding a Foreign Accent

“I’m sorry, can you say that one more time?”

This can be an embarrassing question to have to ask over and over. Talking over the phone with someone whose accent is difficult for you to understand creates potential for misunderstanding and miscommunication, not to mention frustration. It’s very common to talk with someone whose native language is different than your own, but as business goes global, it is necessary to be able to navigate phone conversations with anyone who calls.

Everyone’s accent is foreign in some part of the world, so even though it may feel offensive to admit that you can’t understand someone, it can actually be a very unifying experience.

When we can see the person with whom we are talking, we can use visual cues to understand better what he or she is saying. Phone conversations provide no such opportunity, and can be very frustrating. We may find ourselves stuck asking someone to repeat long stories over and over.

I spent many years working in customer service as a barista, interacting with hundreds of customers a day. During that time, I was also studying Spanish as a second language. There are some very useful parallels between understanding a different language and understanding an accent. The following steps can help you succeed in communicating with people who have accents:

1. Listen for key words.

Many times someone is calling with an issue or a question and they want to get it all out right away. As soon as you realize you can’t understand them, you feel overwhelmed by just how much they are saying. Don’t panic! Listen for a key word or phrase. For example, if you hear the phrase “job application” or “appointment” start there!

2. Ask yes or no questions based on those key words.

Take charge of the conversation by asking close-ended questions based on the key words or phrases you picked out, even if it was only a few words. For example “Are you calling about a job application?” or “Are you calling about an appointment?” This step allows you to take the conversation into your own hands, instead of asking them to repeat everything they said over again (or maybe several times).

3. Continue to ask close-ended questions throughout the conversation.

Once you know the caller’s intention, continue to ask them questions throughout the conversation. Paraphrase and ask them to repeat themselves if necessary. For example, “Which job did you apply for?” or “Are you calling about an existing appointment?”

Here are a few more tips to ease the process:

  • Speaking louder will not help, but speaking slower will.
  • Don’t pretend to understand, it’s okay to say you are having a hard time understanding!
  • Callers can hear a smile in your voice.

“Do you know what a foreign accent is? It’s a sign of bravery.”   -Amy Chua

Posted in Business, Family, Relationships, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Mindfulness

Remember the days when summer seemed to stretch ahead of you like a blank canvass waiting to be filled with adventures and magical moments? Childhood summers were a time to slow down, relax, and enjoy being in the moment.

Then we grew up.

Now most people’s summers are just as busy as the rest of their lives. Daily planners are overflowing with projects and activities vying for our attention like an endless treadmill without an “off” switch.

Is this how you want your life to be? If not, there is a simple approach that can help you bring balance back and reclaim some of the joy of childhood. Children are experts at being in the moment. Whether it’s splashing through a summer shower or watching fireflies flashing their mysterious signals, they aren’t thinking of what is ahead but reveling in what is here now. They are masters of mindfulness.

As adults, we can recapture that feeling and it can begin with only a minute a day. One of the most quoted books on mindfulness is “The Miracle of Mindfulness,” by Thich Nhat Hanh. This noted Zen Master’s book is just over 100 pages (paperback version) yet packed with wisdom on how to savor the special moments in your life and let them fill you up with happiness. His approach is the opposite to the frenzied multitasking that is prevalent in today’s workplace where responding to endless e-mails, phone calls, and deadlines often finds people trying to do multiple things simultaneously.

Recent research has shown that focused attention can actually increase efficiency and decrease stress. Mindfulness is the opposite of multitasking. Mindfulness is deeply focusing on one person or task at a time. Quieting our mind and focusing on the present moment can help us to find a sense of balance. As Joel and Michelle Levey state in their book, “Living a Balanced Life,” “Developing mindfulness gives you an internal guidance system that helps you know when you’re heading off the course of balance, so you can self-correct and find your way back on track. It’s like having an inner compass or radar, advising you of your present reality and the direction you’re heading in, then lighting your way home.”

Practicing mindfulness for just a few minutes a day can make a big difference, especially if you do it at the beginning of the day. Focus on your breathing; with your inward breath, say “Return”, and with your outward breath say “Home”, repeat this for 2-3 minutes. This short meditation is both calming and centering, and can help you face the day feeling more centered; helping you to respond to the day rather than react to it. As Amit Ray stated in his book “Om, Chanting and Meditation,” “If you want to conquer the anxiety of life, live in the moment, live in the breath.”

When you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, stressed, or lost in thoughts of the past or future, take a few moments to pull your attention back to your current surroundings and just be present. The website Wisdom Commons describes it this way, “Mindfulness lets us absorb the richness of the moment instead of going through life with half of our attention on the past or future or our own mental chatter. The self-knowledge that comes from mindfulness lets us be more intentional in choosing priorities and actions that fit our life mission.”

Every day and every moment is a chance to practice mindfulness. When sending an email, focus your attention on the person receiving it and what they are needing to hear. When listening to a colleague or a friend, give them your full attention. Listen to the words and the feelings between the words and see what a difference it makes. Turn your awareness to yourself as well, what are you feeling? What are you experiencing?

Making time for mindfulness is practicing being in the moment, and the moment is where the magic is. If you don’t believe me, just ask a kid on summer vacation.

About the blogger
Denise Hellekson provides EAP counseling, training, consulting, and crisis response services for The Village Business Institute. She has a master’s degree in Community and Rehabilitation Counseling from St. Cloud State University; and is a Licensed Independent Social Worker and a Qualified Neutral under Rule 114 of the Minnesota General Rules of Practice (Mediator). Hellekson has many years of experience in counseling, advocacy, and consulting services.

Posted in Family, Relationships | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Start the Success Habit Now

Have you ever heard yourself utter the word “someday?” For example, “someday when life slows down I’ll focus on my passion.” Or “someday when the kids are grown we will travel the world.” If you have, you are not alone. I have been guilty of using the word “someday” too. That is until I read the book, “The One Thing” by Gary Keller. I picked up this book one evening and could not put it down until the final page was read.

In the book, Gary talks about living on purpose which I absolutely love since I am a very purpose-driven person, but what really caught my attention was his “Goal Setting to the Now” method. The Goal Setting to the Now focuses on “training your mind how to think, how to connect one goal with the next over time until you know the most important thing you must do right NOW” (Keller, p. 152). He uses the visual of a domino run and about the momentum that happens when one domino is knocked over into another one into another and so on and so forth. We can do the same with our goals.

The beautiful part of Keller’s method is that it is simple and yet powerful. Below are the seven questions you need to ask yourself to start a success habit of living in the now.

1. What’s the One Thing I want to do someday?

2. Based on your someday goal, what’s the One Thing you can do in the next five years to achieve that?

3. Based on your five-year goal, what’s the One Thing you can do this year to achieve that?

4. Based on your one-year goal, what’s the One Thing you can do this month to achieve that?

5. Based on your monthly goal, what’s the One Thing you can do this week to achieve that?

6. Based on your weekly goal, what’s the One Thing you can do today to achieve that?

7. Based on your daily goal, what’s the One Thing you can do right now to achieve that?

To know your someday goal is how you begin, but in order to achieve it you need to be able to identify the steps you need to take along the way and what you can do right now. Otherwise we tend to procrastinate or go back to waiting for “someday”. So follow not only Gary Keller’s method, but also the advice of Lao Tzu who once said “the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Here is hoping you can connect today to all your tomorrows and live with purpose.

About the Blogger
As an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) Trainer with The Village Business Institute, Dawn Kaiser lives her passion to energize, encourage and equip individuals to live stronger. She is a motivational speaker, writer, blogger, teacher, leader and positive-thinker extraordinaire. Dawn draws on more than twelve years of experience in the Human Resource/Organizational Development field and has a Bachelor’s of Business Administration and a Master of Education. She is also a certified HR Professional.

Dawn specializes in communication, leadership, high performance teams and personal development. Dawn also enjoys unleashing hope in her community and around the world through her speaking, writing and volunteer opportunities.

Posted in Business, Family, Jobs, Relationships | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Keep Moving!

“If you can’t fly, run. If you can’t run, walk. If you can’t walk, crawl. But by all means, keep moving.”

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968),
Civil Rights Activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner

 Dr. King was an eloquent speaker whose passion for seeing America live up to its self-proclaimed standards of freedom and dignity for all citizens resounds still today. For the next few minutes, I would like to focus on the last two words of King’s quote, “keep moving.”

It seems so simple, doesn’t it? You know… the exhortation that screams at us, “Don’t just stand there; do something!” Movement is a vital part of being alive. In fact, that which doesn’t move any longer when it once did, we may deem to be dead, kaput, deceased, worthless, broken. “Doing something” seems to imply life and thoughtful action, perhaps even action toward accomplishing a specific goal. Come to think of it, moving anything anywhere is about arriving somewhere else.

Accomplishing or achieving something of some value to us is the ultimate purpose of movement, even if that movement is just shifting our weight in our seat, running in a marathon, or making that last sales call before the end of the day. We often take movement for granted, and don’t give much thought to it when we do it so naturally. But imagine the physical act of moving is no longer an option to you and suddenly it becomes the most important thing in your life. You gotta keep moving…

I believe it is important for each person to have a goal – or several goals – that inspire them to keep moving. Goals and goal-setting is in the purview of the human experience in ways that produce a deep sense of commitment, passion, persistence, perseverance and dedication that instinct cannot account for. Without worthwhile, meaningful, inspiring goals, life begins to become dull and listless, sucking the life out of us as we set about trudging from one meaningless task to the next, from one day to the next, until the days stretch into weeks, then months, then years. That’s not my idea of a fun time, thank you.

If that’s where you find yourself today, I have good news for you: you don’t have to stay there! But you are the only one who has the power to choose for yourself. You gotta keep moving…

You might want to get a little help from an interested but unbiased third party in order to objectively explore where you have traveled and how you came to this place. Depending on your particular circumstances, you might want to talk to a trusted friend, a life coach, or a licensed counselor. Those are distinctly different approaches and it’s important to understand that talking to a friend is not coaching or counseling. For that matter, coaching is not counseling and counseling is not coaching, either. But that’s for another day. The point is, when you are in a funk, you may truly benefit from having a conversation with someone who can really hear you but not get pulled into the story, so to speak.

But let’s say you don’t feel a need to go there with either a coach or a counselor. That’s fine. But you have to start somewhere, right? So my suggestion is simply this: think back to a point in time where you felt energetic or even challenged and excited to accomplish and succeed at something. What was the thing that gave you energy and joy? What were you doing? Where were you going? What were you attempting to accomplish? What was the feeling you had when you DID IT?

Do you have that in mind? Then write it down and think on another time, and another, and another.

Chances are you’ll begin to see a pattern emerging where certain activities and goals energized you. Find out where the light entered your life and begin to cultivate a thirst and a hunger for more of those days in the future. Be in the present, live each day alive and on purpose, and soon the passion and energy to move will overtake you once again. When you move, move toward those things that bring your life meaning and purpose, satisfaction and energy. Write your goals down and chronicle the journey. Keep reminding yourself of what you have accomplished in the past and that having done so before, you can do so again – and more. Don’t give up. Keep moving.

About the blogger
John E. Trombley, organization development consultant and training with The Village Business Insitute has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Alaska, Anchorage, and a Master of Management degree from the University of Mary, Fargo. Prior to founding his own organization development company, John served as a Command Pilot, Squadron Commander, and senior staff officer in the USAF and Air National Guard—he retired as a Lieutenant Colonel with over 6,200 flying hours.

With over 16 years of experience in providing consulting services and training programs, Trombley has a passion for group process facilitation and corporate training in areas including leadership development, change management, leadership transition processes, managerial coaching, and personality assessment workshops. He is registered with the Supreme Court of the State of Minnesota as a Qualified Neutral mediator, is trained in Critical Incident Stress Management Group Crisis Intervention, and is certified in Internal Investigations by the Council on Education in Management.

For more information, contact The Village Business Institute at 1-800-627-8220 or www.thevbi.com.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment