Called To Success LLC Master Your Life! Tue, 21 Jan 2020 16:20:59 +0000 en-US hourly 1 158787903 How Does Your Mindset Influence Self-Discipline? Tue, 21 Jan 2020 16:18:00 +0000 According to Stanford University psychologist and researcher, Carol S. Dweck, there are two kinds of people in this world – those with a fixed mindset, and those with a growth mindset. This article explores how your mindset influences self-discipline.

What’s The Difference Between Fixed & Growth Mindsets?

People with fixed mindsets believe their characteristics, traits, and skillsets are permanent and, therefore, cannot be changed. They are more likely to attribute success to natural talent and feel attached to – and proud of – their current level of brilliance, skill, or brainpower, rather than seeking to improve through hard work and focus.

People with growth mindsets, conversely, assume that talent, skill, and intelligence are changeable and can develop with practice, learning, and hard work.  They acknowledge that despite their current position, they can improve. As such, they view success as attainable regardless of the starting point. No goal is too big.

A Fixed Mindset Is The Enemy Of Self-Discipline

If you follow Dweck’s model, it’s easy to see how a fixed mindset is the enemy of self-discipline. Let’s say, for example, that you want to lose weight. Maybe you compare yourself to a very slim or physically fit friend.

What if you hear this friend say things such as “I’ve always been small,” “I have a fast metabolism,” and “No matter what I do, I just can’t seem to gain weight!” This person seems to eat and drink whatever they want, never exercise (as far as you know) and look fantastic. While you, on the other hand, can’t seem to lose weight no matter what.

You conclude that you “just have a slow metabolism,” “accept that you’re probably not meant to be any smaller,” and believe it’s outside your power to make the change you desire.

The truth is that your fixed beliefs are holding you back from reaching your goals, nothing more. Your fixed mindset steals your power. It puts distance between you and the big idea that although it may take a bit more effort than you’re accustomed to, you can change.

It’s all about perspective. More often than not, people who’ve achieved results you only dream of have generally put in much more work and effort behind the scenes than is evident from external observation. They just don’t talk about it.

Think about “overnight celebrity.” Tales abound of people who seemingly come out of nowhere to instant stardom. You’ve never heard of them before, then suddenly you see them everywhere and they make it look so easy. Yet, when you look into their past, you find that they’ve been working extremely hard for years, finally had a big break, and now are reaping the benefits of the seeds they’d sewn years before.

A fixed mindset is closed to ideas of hard work, patience, determination, persistence, trial, and error, and learning as you go. Yet, these are the very traits on which self-discipline is based.

A Growth Mindset Makes Self-Discipline Inevitable

Just as a fixed mindset is the enemy of self-discipline, a growth mindset supercharges self-discipline and positions it as the top tool in your goal-setting toolbox.

Let’s return to our example of weight loss, assuming a growth mindset this time. What changes?

Well, first of all, you acknowledge that you may have struggled with your weight in the past, but you decide that it has no bearing on your future. You know you can change.

If you do think you “have a slow metabolism,” rather than assume it’s preventing you from losing weight, you’ll go to the doctor, have some tests run, and gain concrete evidence of such along with recommendations for how to improve.

Furthermore, you educate yourself on healthy, sustainable weight loss methods, taking your lifestyle, preferences, and limitations into consideration. You understand that the process may take some time, and it won’t always be fun, yet you’re aware of the reason behind your desire to lose weight, commit to the goal and believe that with time, focus and determination, you can make it happen.

Which Mindset Do You Have?

In Mindset: The New Psychology Of Success, Dweck explains that it’s common to have a fixed mindset in some areas and a growth mindset in others.

If you’re naturally shy, you may have low confidence in social situations. Yet a growth mindset may push you to step outside your comfort zone and go to events where you’ll meet new people and try new things.

On the other hand, since you’ve always been shy, perhaps you spent lots of time reading books and studying as a younger person, thus effortlessly achieving academic success. You may consider yourself “naturally smart” and have a fixed mindset in this area.

You Can Change Your Mindset One of the first steps to improve your self-discipline is to become self-aware. If you analyze your personality and find that you have a fixed mindset, know that you can

Click here to grab a copy of Mindset: The New Psychology Of Success.

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5 Best Apps To Boost Self-Discipline Tue, 21 Jan 2020 01:20:00 +0000 If you’re like most people, you have goals and ambitions – some big, some small. Also, like most people, you could likely use a little help with keeping up your momentum, avoiding procrastination, and making the best decisions to nudge you ever closer to reaching those goals.

In today’s technological age, you likely have a powerful tool to help you turbo-charge your productivity, and it’s right in the palm of your hands – your smartphone.

Here are five of the best smartphone apps to help boost self-discipline and move you closer to your goals.

1- Stay Focused With Forest

If you find yourself distracted by your phone when working, one solution is to turn your phone off or leave it in a different room until you finish. But that’s not always possible.

In this case, you should consider the Forest app.

Forest works by allowing you to plant a virtual tree. You start by setting a time limit, “planting” the tree at the beginning of the time slot. Time begins counting down, and you must avoid using your phone the entire time, thus allowing your plant to flourish.

If you close the app, the plant dies. And you don’t want that!

So, if you can’t turn your phone off completely or leave it in another room, the Forest app will keep your eyes off your phone and on your work.

If the increased focus isn’t enough to motivate you to try this app, you’ll be happy to know that Forest financially contributes to Trees for the Future, an organization that plants trees worldwide. You can improve your focus while helping the Earth.

I use the Forest app myself to boost productivity and help me stay focused.  It has helped me tremendously.

Click here to learn more about Forest.

2- Make Your Good Habits Stick With Chains

The basic idea behind the Chains app is one you accrue several days of either starting a good habit or ending a bad one; you don’t want to “break the chain.”  

Chains is a free app that provides a visual representation of your habit streak. You can choose from a wide variety of skins to suit your taste, and even join social groups within the app to give and receive motivation from other users.

Click here to try Chains.

3- Make Goal Setting & Tracking Fun With Habitica

A great way to make goal tracking and setting fun is to make it a game. If you enjoy playing games, you’ll love Habitica.

Habitica is like a role-playing game, where you get gear, goods, and the chance to level-up as you complete more and more tasks.

Habitica works just as well for adding positive habits as it does for eliminating negative ones.

If you gain motivation and inspiration by working with other people, you might enjoy the challenges and quests feature of this app. Groups of people work toward achieving the same goal. You may also find more accountability by using this feature, as you don’t want to let your teammates down!

Click here to try Habitica.

4-  Use Todoist To Create Your To-Do List

The to-do list is probably the most basic self-discipline method that anyone who wants to stay on top of their goals should use daily. But what’s the best way to create one? Using a pen and paper, the calendar on your laptop or phone, or keeping a daily planner or organizer are all valid options. But if you’re serious about organization and productivity, you should give Todoist a try.

The Todoist app is easy-to-use, and you can create an account by logging in you’re your existing Facebook or Google account – which is a huge plus for simplicity.

The app has useful features in addition to setting up your tasks, such as setting deadlines, assigning priorities, grouping and filtering functions, and even location-based notifications, where you’ll receive different reminders based on your geographical location.  

Click here to manage your to-do list with Todoist!

5- Find Daily Productivity Patterns With Daylio

Your emotions, moods, and mental health impact productivity in various ways. Naturally, when you’re feeling your best, you’ll have an easier time getting things done. On the other hand, when you’re not doing so well, it’s a lot harder to maintain momentum.

The Daylio app has a beautiful, smooth, soothing design and allows you to quickly and efficiently track your daily moods along with your productivity. Over time, patterns will emerge.

For example, you may notice a pattern or correlation between feeling more upbeat on days you spent time outside or less happy and productive after you socialized for too many hours the day before.

While perhaps not directly related to self-discipline, getting to know yourself better and having accurate data on what drives your moods can help you create a schedule that includes more of what keeps you motivated – and less of what doesn’t.

Click here to try Daylio for free.

Final Thoughts

While it’s true that your smartphone can become a hindrance to your productivity and thwart progress to your goals if you’re not careful. Spending countless hours scrolling through social media feeds, impulsively checking e-mail at all hours of the day or night, or getting lost in addicting – yet distracting – games are means through which your smartphone can obstruct your growth. By using your smartphone the smart way and downloading one or more productivity apps, you can use it for good, and turbocharge your self-discipline and goal setting power.

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The Human Mosaic Thu, 12 Dec 2019 04:12:56 +0000

What do you think of when the word, “business,” is mentioned? Many people think of profit and loss statements, advertising revenues, production milestones, and the other nuts and bolts concepts that go into running a successful business. There’s no problem with thinking about the business’ more utilitarian side. After all, business is tough. Competition is ever-present. The marketplace can be fair but cold.

Like nature, the market doesn’t care who comes out on top, as long as the overall process of competition is being served. The need for profit is also ever-present. In order to survive a business has to turn a profit. Ignoring this need is, at best, foolish. All in all, it’s no wonder most people think of the rigid side of business when the subject comes up.

However, there is another side to be considered if a business is going to truly succeed and thrive. This other side of business can be called its human side. You see, each and every business is made up of real breathing, caring and feeling human beings. When you consider the more rigid side of business, it’s easy to lose sight of this fact. Businesses aren’t run by automatons. Instead, they are being run by people. In fact, the world of business is actually a mosaic of people.

All of these people bring something to the table in addition to talent and skill. They also bring their own personal values and beliefs. These values and beliefs are crucial to the business since they provide a sense of emotional depth to the interactions the business has with the general public.

However, because every person’s values are different, there is a danger that those interactions may strike a discordant and confusing note with the public. A business must be sure it is presenting a congruent value front to the world.

This front can be accomplished by implementing a set of business values within its daily operations. Business values are, in many cases, very similar to the personal values held by a business’ employees. The difference is that business values apply to how the company behaves and interacts as a whole, as opposed to how any individuals behave and interact.

A company’s values should complement each individual employee’s values to maximize the potential of its human resource. As a result, each employee will serve the company’s customers and vendors in a manner that gives them the environment to remain true to themselves while satisfying the needs of the business. The business benefits from a variety of perspectives from the individual employees, which can enhance the value of the company’s products and services within the customer interactions.

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Living With Seasonal Affective Disorder Thu, 21 Nov 2019 18:31:59 +0000 Plenty of people experience a hint of the winter blues as harsh weather keeps us shut up indoors, but seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a more serious form of depression. Fortunately, there are effective forms of treatment. Here are the basic facts about SAD and how to feel better year-round.

Understanding the Facts About SAD

Distinguish between SAD and other forms of depression. SAD often resembles other types of depression. The key difference is that your symptoms are limited to the same season each year.

Recognize the symptoms. With SAD, you’re likely to feel sad and irritable. You may be hungry all the time with especially strong cravings for carbohydrates like bread and pasta. It’s also common to feel drowsy and sleep more.

Be aware of the different varieties of SAD. This condition usually strikes in the winter, but not always. For some people, the heat and humidity of summer serve as triggers.

Know your risk factors. The highest risk of SAD occurs between the ages of 15 and 55. As you age, you’re less likely to develop SAD. It’s more common in women and in areas where winter days are shorter and the amount of sunlight changes dramatically according to the season. Family history also plays a role.

Strategies for Living With SAD

Increase exposure to light. Home remedies are sometimes all you need. Try using brighter lights and spending more time outdoors in the sun. Morning light is especially important.

Try out light therapy. If your symptoms are more intense, your physician will probably prescribe light therapy. You spend just about a half-hour a day exposed to a special box lamp. There are few side effects and may people enjoy immediate relief. For others, simple complementary activities do the trick.

Get more exercise. Regular exercise is beneficial for coping with most forms of depression, including SAD. Schedule a workout first thing in the morning like a brisk walk around the neighborhood.

Manage stress. Be extra gentle with yourself while you’re recovering. Take time to relax through meditation or listening to instrumental music.

Aim for good quality sleep. Your body will try to get extra sleep when you have SAD. Help make that slumber restorative by avoiding alcohol and caffeine and sticking to a regular early bedtime.

Watch your weight. SAD can lead to weight gain. Protect your health by exercising longer to burn more calories. When you get cravings, reach for healthy, low-fat carbohydrates like whole-wheat bread and brown rice.

Do some traveling. If your schedule and budget permit, SAD is one of the few issues you can run away from. Go where the weather suits your needs better. Try spending a week in sunny Jamaica.

Stick with your doctor’s recommendations. Your doctor can advise you on whether antidepressants may be helpful. Even if your symptoms clear up, follow your doctor’s recommendations. If you discontinue treatment too soon, you may suffer a rebound.

See a counselor. Talk therapy is another valuable resource. It may help you address underlying issues and keep SAD from interfering with your daily life.

While winter cold can be daunting, the change of seasons can also be an opportunity to appreciate nature and shake up your daily routines. A little more exposure to morning light may be all you need to stay well. If you think you could be experiencing symptoms of SAD, talk with your doctor to find a treatment plan that works for you.

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Lost a Loved One? Celebrate Their Life During the Holidays Mon, 11 Nov 2019 05:47:00 +0000 When a loved one has passed on, the next group of holidays can be painful, sad, and scary. But your loved one would’ve wanted you to be happy and joyful, smiling as you remember the good times you shared. To work toward that peaceful feeling, find a way to celebrate your loved one’s life this holiday season

The great memories you had with that person can be a place to start. Pictures are always good, too. They may make you feel a bit sad, but there are usually times in that sadness where you’ll find yourself smiling or laughing over something silly or touching that you remembered or saw in a picture. Incorporating that loving feeling into your holidays can help you to heal. 

Let Your Faith Guide You 

No matter what your religious faith, you can use prayer and your spiritual beliefs to help you get through trying or lonely times when you miss your loved one. Sometimes, those feelings are magnified at special times like holidays, and more time to pray or meditate is needed. 

Don’t be afraid to take the time you need for prayer.  

Hold onto the understanding that your loved one is at peace. Remind yourself that the struggles they faced here in their lifetime are no more. There is comfort in those thoughts. 

Dwell on the Happy Times 

Of course, you miss your loved one, but you also have the joy of having known that person for a period of time. 

Use these tips to help you focus on your happy times together:  

  1. Cherish what you had. When the holidays come around and you start to get sad over what you don’t have, think about all the times you did have. What would your loved one want you to remember about him or her? 
  2. joyful for what was. Whether you had your loved one a long period of time or a short one, you had love in your life for that time. That’s a very precious gift. Elevate the value of that gift by savoring the happy moments you remember. 
  3. Remember the good times. Everyone has memories of their loved ones that make them smile or that they re-live again and again. Take those memories out and look at them over the holidays.   
  4. Do what’s in your heart. You might like to hang up your loved one’s stocking at Christmastime, light a candle for them, or make a favorite food or dessert.  
  5. Cherish what you had. When the holidays come around and you start to get sad over what you don’t have, think about all the times you did have. What would your loved one want you to remember about him or her? 

Mourning is part of the healing process, but remember to celebrate, too. Everyone does things differently when it comes to how they want to show their love for someone who has gone on before them. 

Focus on a celebration that feels right to you. No matter what it is, if it’s right for you, then it’s perfect for the occasion.  

Because everyone is different, some people might question what you’re doing or why. That’s okay. Honor your loved one and celebrate their life in a way that brings you joy and peace this holiday. 

If you like to know more ways to experience joy during the holiday season without your loved one, contact me.

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6 Signs Your Eating Habits Are Flawed Wed, 06 Nov 2019 20:29:00 +0000 Eating and drinking are two of the primary sources of happiness for some individuals. In a way, food and drink connect us to others and opens a variety of doors that were previously closed.

However, what if eating felt more like a chore as opposed to something beneficial? What if the guilt associated with eating left you feeling worthless? Unfortunately, unhealthy eating habits can cause a certain anxiety around food that can have lasting effects on our psyche.

If you have experienced debilitating consequences from bad eating habits, likely you didn’t notice the initial signs. In order to better understand how food impacts our body, let’s first consider six signs to identify flawed eating habits.

  • You Don’t Enjoy Your Meals

As mentioned, eating is supposed to be enjoyable. If you find yourself dreading meal times, likely you aren’t eating what you like. Sure, nutritious food has the reputation of being bland. However, there are countless fun and exciting recipes that incorporate healthy eating without skimping on the flavor.

One health source recommends “not eliminating major food groups from your diet.” They continue, “If you really like a certain dish and it doesn’t fit completely into your healthy eating plans, find a cleaner way of making it.”

  • You Are Always Hungry

The media will have you believe that in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle, you must starve yourself. This myth is far from the truth. In fact, when you are watching your diet, you are encouraged to eat more! Eating small, nutritious snacks in between meals will prevent binge eating. Increasing your protein intake by snacking on nuts, healthy fats, and fibers will make the transitional period between meals easier.

  • You Avoid Social Outings or Eating Out

If your diet has you constantly saying no to dinner with friends or turning down invitations, you probably need to revisit your mentality. There are valuable options at many restaurants that offer calorie-reduced meals. By planning ahead, you can still enjoy your time with friends without feeling guilty.

As mentioned, dieting shouldn’t hinder your lifestyle. In fact, it should be a compliment. If you avoid social outings for fear of eating something “bad” you will burn out and resent healthy eating. Remain balanced and understand what you can eat.

  • You Constantly Feel Guilty After Eating

This is one of the most common bad habits associated with dieting. For example, you eat clean for breakfast and lunch, but you overindulge in that chocolate cake after dinner. Next comes the feeling of guilt and regret that pounds on your self-esteem. This is a nasty habit that can lead to more serious consequences if left untreated. One of the beginning signs of an eating disorder is overwhelming guilt surrounding eating.

One way to break this habit is by being easy on yourself. You’re human! Mistakes are bound to happen, and it’s important that you understand that now. Also, being balanced with your mentality will also make a difference in how you view yourself.

Sure, you slipped up during breakfast, but don’t allow that to affect your lunch choice. You’re on the right track because you acknowledged the slip-up and you’re not letting that determine your future.

  • You’re Constantly Consumed with Numbers

Sure, dieting is all about understanding how much of something you are eating. In the long run, the number on the scale can provide some satisfaction when we see it going down. However, constantly checking your calorie intake or weight can turn into a nasty obsession.
This may cause feelings of discouragement which could prompt you to give up. Although keeping track of how much you’re eating is key, don’t let that overshadow how you feel. Remain balanced and understand that healthy eating is all about the journey, not the destination.

  • You Aren’t Planning Ahead

The popular quote, “those who fail to plan plan to fail” can be applied to healthy eating. Meal prepping is an essential element to obtaining results. If you fail to plan your meals, likely you will eat whatever is convenient during meal times. Often, these meals aren’t the healthiest. Make time to really schedule your meals to remain on track. This eliminates the unnecessary worry associated with eating.

There are countless eating habits that prove to be unhealthy when making a lifestyle change. However, despite the challenges, the process can be quite fun when done correctly!

If you would like help improving your eating habits, contact me.

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Effective Goal Setting Step By Step Fri, 01 Nov 2019 17:11:00 +0000 Most of us have a vague idea of what we’d like to accomplish, but few have true, concrete goals. A goal is analogous to a target. Without a goal, you’re just drifting along hoping for things to improve. With a goal, you have a definite direction and purpose.

Though we’ve all been told how important targets are, few of us have ever been given specific directions regarding how to formulate an effective goal.

Give your goal the following characteristics and you’ll be on your way to success.

Specific. Acquiring a new car isn’t specific. Acquiring a 2019 silver Honda Civic with the navigation package and luggage rack is specific. Be as specific as need be, but not more. If your goal is to meet the man of your dreams, does he really have to be over 6 feet tall and have a dimple in his chin? It’s important to have a clear target, but too much specificity limits your options. Stick to the important characteristics.

Time-bound. Without a timeline, it’s unlikely you’ll ever get started. Having an endpoint date creates focus and urgency. The endpoint date should be no more than 12 weeks into the future. Anything beyond 12 weeks will cause your focus to wane. It’s too easy to procrastinate with goals set too far in the future. If your goal will take longer than 12 weeks, break it into smaller goals.

Possible. If you don’t believe you can achieve your goal, you won’t pursue it. Start with a goal small enough that you can believe it can be achieved within the set timeframe but will cause you to stretch to reach it. Ask yourself if you have the necessary resources and time to reach your goal before the deadline.

Measurable. If you can’t measure it, how will you know when you’ve achieved it? How will you be able to determine if you’re making progress? Goals that deal with bodyweight or sales calls, for example, are easy to quantify. Goals that deal with less tangible characteristics, such as emotional states, can be more challenging. You might have to develop your own measuring scale. Be sure your goal can be measured before you get started.

Reviewed regularly. One of the most effective ways to prioritize your goals is to review them at least daily. With so many thoughts and ideas flying around in your heard, a daily review of your goals will keep them at the forefront of your focus. Take a few minutes each day to review your goals at least once. Allow enough time to read, rewrite and visualize your goals.

After you’ve created your goal, write a list of actions that will lead to attaining your goal. Too many of us believe we can keep it all in our head, only to find it gets lost in the mental noise. Things change only when new actions are taking place. Start at the end and work your way back to the present. What step could you take today toward reaching your goal?

When you’ve completed all the steps, your goal should be a reality!

Goals are the key to reliable achievement. Effective goal setting is crucial to the successful completion of your goals. Ask your successful and unsuccessful friends about their goals compared to the results in their lives. Those with goals regularly outperform those without. If you haven’t practiced goal setting previously, now is a great time to start. It will make a world of difference!

If you would like more information on effective goal setting, contact me to discuss how I can help you with your goals.

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Live Your Personal Values and Discover Greater Happiness Mon, 21 Oct 2019 15:39:00 +0000 Few things are more useful than knowing your personal values. Knowing your values will give you clarity and focus. Your values define who you are at the core of your being and shape your behavior.

Your values can be used to define your priorities, as well. These priorities determine how to best spend your time and energy. Recognizing your values streamline your life and efforts. Decisions become easier to make.

One of the most common causes of stress and anxiety is the disconnect between your core values and your behavior. If honesty is one of your core values and you’re pressured to submit unauthorized items on your expense report as business expenses, honesty should cause you to reject that behavior. Your decision should be clear.

However, if you claim honesty as one of your values, but feel comfortable submitting false claims, could it be that honesty is not a priority? Despite your words to the contrary, your behavior conveys your true values. As the old adage goes, “Actions speak louder than words.” What do your actions say about you?

How do you know if you are living your values? Do the values you portray represent the best version of you? It may be time to conduct a self-check.

It’s almost impossible to be happy and fulfilled if you spend most of your days living a life that isn’t aligned with your values.

First, you must know your values. You may assume you know your values because of the associations you’ve made — i.e., business groups, political parties, charities, faith communities, etc. Many of us make the connections mindlessly as part of a lifestyle, as opposed to a conscious intention based on our values.

For example, your family may have a history of supporting a particular nonprofit organization for the past four generations. You’re expected to do the same. Do you know what that organization currently stands for? Do you agree with it? Has the organization’s work become stale and ineffective? Do you find yourself embarrassed when your name is linked to it?

Now is the time to determine your values. Make a list. Write them all down, even the seemingly small ones. If the value means anything at all to you, put it on the list. Prioritize your list.

Prioritize your list. It doesn’t matter if you have 100 values or just 10. Put them in order from the most important to the least.

Reexamine your list. Decide if you’re happy with it. Does it describe who you are or who you want to be? Consider the life you want to live. Will those values take you there? Reorder your list as appropriate.

Use your values to choose a career or hobby. Suppose your top values were compassion, contribution, and peace. A career in investment banking may not be the best fit, but working with a charitable nonprofit or ministry could be more rewarding.

Does your current career align with your values? If not, what can you change today to begin to move in the direction of one that does? Using the previous example, perhaps you can volunteer on weekends as you start the process of making a transition.

It’s almost impossible to be happy and fulfilled if you spend most of your days living a life that isn’t aligned with your values.

Create habits aligned with your values. Suppose one of your highest values is health. It makes sense to have eating and exercise habits that support that value. Examine your list of values and determine if your current habits support those values. What habits can you do more consistently? List the habits that are counter to your values so you can make the appropriate changes.

Choose the people you allow in your life. Despite your independence, the people in your life influence your thoughts, decisions, and behavior. Spend less time, if possible, with those who pull you away from your values. Spend more time with those who reinforce your values. You can minimize the negative family members or co-workers you cannot remove from your life by increasing the strength of your values. Be true to who you are.

Make decisions with your values in mind. Your values define who you are. Knowing your values makes decisionmaking easier. Imagine you’ve been offered a large raise, but the new position will cause you to spend less time with your family. That would be a hard decision for many people. If your primary value is wealth, the solution is obvious. If your primary value is family, the solution is also obvious. Use your values as a guide.

Learn your values. Live your values. Be intentional and keep them in focus when making decisions. You’ll be able to make the decisions that are right for you easier and more quickly. You will enjoy greater peace and happiness because you’ll be in alignment with yourself.

Got questions about defining your values? Contact me and let’s talk about it.

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Your Body Language: What Did You Say? Mon, 14 Oct 2019 17:22:00 +0000 Do you know your body can communicate your feelings and attitudes to others without a spoken word? How you sit, stand, and conduct yourself physically is your body language. You may be sending messages of which you’re unaware.

Dr. Albert Mehrabian, the author of “Silent Messages”, conducted several studies on nonverbal communication. He found that 7% of any message is conveyed through words, 38% through certain vocal elements (e.g., clearing of the throat, non-word noises, etc.), and 55% through nonverbal elements (e.g., facial expressions, gestures, posture, etc.).

Reading body language cues is not an exact science. However, the following may help you become aware of the messages others are receiving from you and explain their reactions to what you thought you said.

Sitting with your arms crossed. When you sit with crossed arms, you’re covering your heart and your midsection. This posture sends the message that you’re closed and not about to reveal anything about yourself. Sitting with crossed arms also portrays you’re on your guard, or uninterested in what’s being said. It can also indicate you’re uncomfortable or even ashamed of your physical appearance.

Head cast down. It may indicate you want to hide your emotions or that you’re timid. With your head cast downward, you’re not making eye contact, which is important to any good communication exchange. If you’re shy, you may find you avoid making eye contact or looking directly at a person.

Drooping shoulders. Drooping shoulders show you’re tired or bored with what is being communicated. Saggy shoulders could also indicate you’re feeling sad or defeated.

Sitting forward in the chair with head lifted and looking at the communicator. This can indicate you’re listening with rapt attention to what is being said. You’re showing great interest when posed this way.

Reaching out to shake hands firmly with a person you just met. When you reach out first, it can be interpreted to mean you’re eager and glad to meet the person. A firm handshake exudes confidence and shows others you know who you are and the talents you hold.

Hands on hips. Normally, this can mean you’re tired of waiting on someone or something or feel impatient.

Breaking eye contact and looking around. When someone is talking to you and you demonstrate this behavior, it can indicate your dismissal of the person’s communication. You’re conveying you’re not interested in what they have to say or that you don’t believe the individual has anything important to say. This behavior can also indicate you’re hiding emotions or even feel shy.

Mirroring. You are subtly mimicking another person’s gestures, which means you’re highly interested in the person. For example, if you place your hand under your chin while talking, the person you’re talking to may unconsciously do the same because they’re interested in you. When someone mirrors your behavior, they’re showing they want to genuinely connect with you and absorb everything you’re saying.

Jiggling feet. Upon talking to someone, if you begin to tap or move your lower leg or foot around, it could reveal you’re nervous, anxious, or even impatient.

Walking with shoulders back and head held high. When you walk while standing straight with your head up, you’re walking with purpose. You know what you’re going after and you’re going for it. Striding this way demonstrates you have a sense of self-assurance.

Make an effort to pay attention to how you’re moving and posing your body when around others. If you need to make adjustments to convey more positive attitudes to others, use the previous information as a starting point.

As I stated previously, reading body language is not an exact science. Interpretation is subject to social mores, cultural norms, and personal bias. In the United States, we are operating in an increasingly multicultural environment. Consider the framework and context.

For instance, in some cultures, it is not socially accepted to look directly into someone’s eyes. Doing so can result in dire consequences.

Don’t assume you fully understand the message conveyed by body language, especially if you feel you’re receiving mixed signals. Default to the basic method. State your understanding, ask for clarification and confirm without judgment.

A basic understanding of the importance of body language will clarify your communications with others and ensure your body is saying what you intended to say.

For more information on improving interpersonal communication, contact me.

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