Archive for July, 2018

R&R Time

July 24th, 2018

Got time for holidays?  Then take a vacation!

Time to get away – and reflect

Don’t skip your summer vacation, if at all possible!

Although our family is taking less vacation than our normal 3-4 week time away from home in July and August, we will still have some holidays.  How about you?

The temptation is to keep on working

Many of us, including myself, are tempted to skip summer holidays, or, at least check out work emails daily while at the beach or in the hotel.  After all, nobody wants 1,000 emails to go back to work to.  But psychologist have found it vital for our health and well-being if we can completely shut down for a while, even if it’s a 48-hour break from emails, and a change of pace and scenery.  August is coming up and then September.  Have you planned your vacation?  Taken it already? Decided to skip it this summer?

Here’s an idea:  Promise yourself and your partner: once a day email checks, 30 minutes maximum- with a goal of 15 minutes.

Your physical and mental health depend on R&R- that means JOB performance, baby!

Studies have shown that we need to take time away from the daily schedule of work faor our health, whatever that place activity and might be.  It is the “other” that causes restoration and growth.  For example, new places make new mental neuron synapses grow and rest the overused “pathways” of much used tracks of thinking in our brains.

Not only that, but stress levels are reduced and therefore, productivity increases with a break in work.  Employers should be sending their team members away more often just for better productivity—and for better creativity.  The employees return to work relaxed and healthier, ready for more challenges to be overcome.  Your job performance gets better after holidays.

Have some fun on your vacation

Your need to relax or you might find it difficult to relax later on

It has been shown that, depending on your actual stress level at any point in time, it will take more or less time to unwind and really relax.  If you go for too long, it becomes increasingly difficult to wind down. Eventually, you might be unable to “remember how to relax”, and may be in danger of burnout.  Therefore, even long weekends with no emails are recommended to keep you “in practice”.

Your family matters, and spending time with family builds the relationship. Relationships are key.

Finally, it is important to remember that the reason you are working is less important than your relationship with your loved ones. Take some time off to build your relationships with them, doing things you all feel are enjoyable and relaxing. Create positive  memories. For my family the place and activity is usually rock hunting in the Ticino; for another family or couple it would be another place and pastime.  But it is the time spent together in the end that matters, because those are our key relationships.

Just do it.

So, take that time off; limit the amount of time on work-related activities such as emails; do things with those people you love; and mostly, have fun this summer!  There is only one Summer of 2018, after all.  Enjoy!

Note:  I am taking a few weeks off my blog, as most people are on holiday and I will be, too. See you mid-August! You can still reach me via email at patricia@jehle-coaching.com, but I will only be checking my mail 2-3 times per week.  Enjoy your summer holidays!

Patricia Jehle

patricia@jehle-coaching.com           www.jehle-coaching.com

 

From Perfectionism to Success

July 18th, 2018

Beauty is mostly imperfection

A few weeks ago, I went to a meeting where some local women professionals discussed perfectionism and how it affects our lives at work and at home.  Some of us were affected at work, others at home, some both.  Some of us also had perfectionist partners and we talked about how that hurt our relationships and our family life.

It was a great evening of sharing, mostly because we didn’t stop at the negative, but looked for solutions.

Here were some of the solutions we came up with:

  • Set priorities and stick to them, when I’m going “off track”, remind myself of them
  • Ask myself, “What is good enough?”
  • Ask myself, “Who am I trying to please”- because I can only please myself, in reality
  • Remember I am the master of my heart
  • Give myself a pat on the back when I succeed
  • Watch my (negative) self-talk
  • Write it down, be concrete about what I am thinking and feeling
  • Give myself space
    • To be creative
    • To meditate and be mindful
    • To take care of myself to walk my dog

Perfectionism is crippling and no way to live your life or to work, and it’s rampant  

There are many consequences of perfectionism, and it’s almost all negative.  What perfectionism does that’s crippling:

  • You are never good enough, there’s a driveto always be better
  • Others are also never good enough, so relationships are hurt
  • You become anxiousor worrya lot, even having depressionand other psychological problems
  • You overthinkeverything
  • You become indecisive and inactive (you are paralyzed)
  • You avoid new challenges and opportunities for growth
  • You set unrealistic expectationson yourself and all the things you must do well
  • You miss out on the good things in life for all the focus on the bad
  • Your performance is negatively impacted

But we can (and do) change, so this can be fixed.  We can become people who are happier and healthier- and more productive.  What to do that can help change all that:*

  • Embrace yourselfas good enough, as good, as a unique human, worthy of a good life
  • Acknowledge that your perfectionism is hurting you (notice how)
  • Practice self-care and love on yourself as good, and doing it “good enoug, ” too
  • Write down a list of “What bad things will happen when I stop being a perfectionist”
  • Acknowledge that you can change
  • Acknowledge that you want to change
  • Expect that you will make mistakes (we are all human, and learning is made from mistakes)
  • Find ways to base your self-esteem on the internal (who I really am), not the external (performance)
  • Find your first smallest next step (and take it)
  • Set realistic goals
  • Watch out for the work shouldand change it to mayor want to
  • Celebrate and learn from success
  • Forgive yourself and learn from your failures
  • Forgive others their mistakes, too (and help them learn from them)
  • Learn to know the boundaries of your “circle of control” – you can’t control everything!
  • Set up criteria for decisions and stick to them (eg- 5 criteria, and a 4 is ok fr you to do)
  • Get realistic feedback from a trusted person or set of people
  • Watch for perfectionist messages coming towards you from other people, and reject them (let go of old past ones, but could be for therapy)
  • Intentionally make small mistakes (ones that don’t really matter) – to practice how it feels to be imperfect
  • Stop over-thinking with strategies:
    • Seethe overthinking
    • List what you overthink about
    • Note your biased memory – biased towards negative
    • Work on reducing self-criticism, and on adding more self-praise
    • When you are anxious, note if you are self-critical and change it
    • Distract yourself with self-care and other positive activities

*Most of these things are best done with a coach or therapist, as it’s very easy to return to our set ways.  It will take timeand we need to forgive ourselves before we start for the three steps forward, two steps back kind of growth and change it will be.  There will be failure, and incremental progress.  Also, there are some really great books about this, but again, I recommend doing this with someone else walking with you.  It works best.

Get out of Your Own Way and make sure your expectations are realistic

Have a very good enough summer!

Patricia Jehle

patricia@jehle-coaching.com            www.jehle-coaching.com

 

Solutions to our problems?

July 10th, 2018

In light of the recent events, I am going to get a little personal.  A friend once shared on FB that she came across a quote by Richard Rohr, “we are all part of the problem”.  I agree.

People are key to our solutions, especially those different from “us”

We are all part of the problem.

Our world has lots of problems: global warming, war, racism, refugees galore, and economic crises to name a few big ones.  Just read the morning newspaper and we see the mess we have got ourselves into.

It is easy to blame someone or some “thing” else: the government, the other country’s government, that other political party, “those people”, whoever might be.

“It’s not my fault!” is one of the first phrases we learn to say as a child.

But as a parent I know that it really takes more than one party to cause a fight, and that a problem is usually very different from the other person’s viewpoint.

Our problems are very complex, and the systems that cause the problems are also complex.

We can be part of the problem by inaction, complicity, by action or by collusion.

When I am honest with myself I hopefully can see how I could possibly be part of the problem.

But it is hard to get past my own self-defense mechanisms on my own.  This kind of learning only happens if we are willing to subject ourselves to some tough reflection.  Because of this, it is in community that I, that we are most able find out our blind spots and can see where we are part of the problem and then can grow.  I come from a faith tradition that prays to be forgiven for what we have done andfor what we have left undone.  For me, this is key for solving problems: reflection.

Many people are asked to reflect in their coaching relationship, but of course there are other ways to find a reflecting community.  What more could I have done is a question that is of ultimate importance, one that I try and ask myself daily.

Even in coaching this question, I call it the “what more” question is imperative.  “What can I do?” is good, but “What more can I do?” asked a few times often brings a breakthrough.  Then solutions come, then we are part of the solution.

We need to see the big picture, understand the problem and its complexity

We can be part of the solution, if we try, especially in community.

Self-reflection and integrity are keys to the solution.

In community, looking at ourselves and what we can do more is key.  Let’s do it alone – and but also together.

I personally allow myself to be with someone else or be in a group where I am able to become vulnerable.  Then I can acknowledge that I might possibly be part of the problem we are considering at the moment, and I listen to first of all to myself, but also to others, especiallyto those with whom I might disagree.  Then I try and do one small thing to be a part of the solution.

That listening to othersis also very important for the reflection process.  We often only read and listen to opinions and ideas that corroborate our own thoughts, ideas and opinions.  But if we do this, how are we going to grow?

Thus, integrity is also part of our solution.  I need to check out what “those other people” think, feel, believe, need and their reasoning for their actions with an open mind and heart.

My motivations may be pure, but maybe they are not.

Finally, I need to really check my own motivationsfor my thoughts, actions, and inaction.  How much self-serving is going into what I do and don’t do?  I have a friend who once said that when we point a finger at someone else, we are actually point four fingers back at ourselves.  So, I try to be honest with myself, as much as I am able.

These activities and thoughts may not change the world, but I hope they bring each of us closer together and start a conversation that is healthy and helpful.  Let us remember that “they” are human beings, too.  Let us each do one thing today, tomorrow and the next day for our common good.

Patricia Jehle

www.jehle-coaching.com    patricia@jehle-coaching.com

 

Practice Swinging- between states, that is.

July 4th, 2018

So, you want to succeed at something difficult this week?

Learn to and practice your swinging

Find your “happy place” and from that place deal with your problem.  You need to swing.  Research says you should swing between the positive and the negative to succeed.

This baby is in a happy space

This activity is much more than positive thinking or even visualization.  It’s the change of state between positive and negative, it’s practicing it until you are very good at it.  It’s a swing.  You’ve got to learn how to swing back and forth.  Positive to negative and back again – and again.

So, take presentations, for example.

I’m teaching a four-hour course on presenting on Friday and one of our exercises will be just this: the swing.

Here’s how it goes:  you visualize yourself, giving a powerful presentation.  You sand like it, you move like it and you feel yourself breathing calmly, smiling.

And, whoops!  You’ve gotten lost in the middle of the presentation. What to do?  Come from that “happy place” and breathe, remember your one main point, find yourself, breathe, and start from there.  Nobody’s perfect, after all.  And the more you practice the less you will get caught losing your place. As a friend said yesterday, practice prevents slide presentation karaoke (just reading what’s on the slides), and all those “ahs” and “ums”.

Or take a music recital

My son had his first piano recital a few weeks ago.  Practice does help to make perfect, but that swing from anxiety to visualization of the perfect performance, to reality of making a mistake or two in the concert, to swinging back to the happy place and moving on is the key to successfully finishing the piece, especially if you have never played in front of anyone before.

Or maybe you’ve been the recipient of hard news and difficult facts lately.

I have.  I have friends and family who are very ill, maybe you do, too.  And then I went to a museum last week where the exhibit was stolen art, stolen from Jewish families in WWII.  The stories behind the art are very difficultVery tragic.  The recent stories of opportunism regarding children and adults held in the US in prisons run by private companies (earning money off of tragedy) makes me sick.  So, then I move back to my happy place, walking the dog, reading books (and believe me, I am reading a few), and visiting with friends. Work also helps and energies me, whether it’s teaching, coaching or something else.

Get on the swing and try

So, practice your swing and you will become resilient and more successful.  Interested in more, just give me a shout!

Have a great week getting on the swing and practicing your swing,

Patricia Jehle

www.jehle-coaching.com      patricia@jehle-coaching.com