Posts Tagged ‘fear’

Scared to change? Fear getting you down?

August 30th, 2018

Change and Fear


This week I met with a client to discuss a change in her team- adding an App into the routine. Change can be scary and yet, it is often needed.

When is it a good time to get over the fear of change, and when is it not a good idea?  Continue? Move on?

Let’s deal with fear first:

Fear can be good, as a motivator (ie:  the company will have to cut back if we don’t sell xamount of goods) but it can also stop change.  When fear is a healthy motivation to get things done asap, that’s great.  When fear stops you because you feel it threatens you (eg: “There will be violence”), it’s not good – and maybe not at all true.  You can look back to last week’s blog on assumptions, here:

The point is, what is the fear doing to you?  If it’s holding you back, there is a problem; if it’s spurring you on, then great. Coaches and counselors can help you with your emotions.  But now let’s move on to the choice: to change or not to change.

Here are some suggestions to consider when you continue in the path you are going:

  • Your idea is great, your strategy is practically perfect, if you say so yourself (or you can perfect it), you are doing theright things with the right motives
  • You – and your team – have the right competencies(or are willing to learn them, fast)
  • You are focusing on the most important things, the ONE BIG thing really

(and remember that 80/20 principle, -spend time on the people and activities that “help” the most)

  • You have a decision-making process already in place
  • And – allYour systems (financial, logistical, discipleship, etc) are workable and they allow you to focus on your one BIG thing

A good model for making a change will help

WHEN TO GO and TRY SOMETHING ELSE, either in or outside of the present business/job

  • Change is generally a good thing: it helps you (and the business) to grow and become more creative – people learn new skills and strategies
  • There is opportunity for growth (financial and personal)
  • You can become a disrupter and challenge the status quo
  • You have been misunderstanding the business/personal signs to keep on with the same old (here’s a most awesome TEDtalk on this:
  • Your pros now outweigh(even if they don’t outnumber) your cons to stay the same
  • The environment (culture, technology, economy, customer needs/demands) has changed and you must readjust
  • This one is BIG:

you can’t answer important questions, like, “Why are you doing this?  Why is x, y, or z happening?  How did you/we miss that?”

  • Your short cuts are cutting you and the business short and you are not doing “the job” right anymore
  • You have tried everything you can think of and it’s still not working the way it is now
  • KEY: The only things keeping you from changing or quitting is your prideand yourfear
  • You have continued financial and/or other major lossesand you do not see not much change for the future
  • And finally, your own priorities have changed and you have a different view of your business idea and your work

I hope this helps you with your change decision- to do or not to do.  Next timew, we will look at the change process, itself.

Have a very creative and innovative rest of your week,

Patricia Jehle

Healthy Work

February 5th, 2018

A heathy work environment can make you a very productive person

Are you working “healthy”?

January is a month where we turn away from eating and turn to healthy living.  We often take on new exercise regimes, maybe we change our eating patterns, we often do not drink much (or any) alcohol, and so on.  But what about at work?  Are we working “healthy”?  There are at least four aspects of work that can be heathy – or not, and here are some things you can do about each aspect:

A Healthy work environment?

How is the light in your workspace?  Can you add a daylight desk lamp to give you more energy?   Can you take a break and walk outside in the daylight for ten to fifteen minutes each day?

How is the eating situation?  Do you have access to healthy fresh lunches and snacks?  Do you need to make a plan to bring food from home?  Are you drinking enough water or healthy drinks, and avoiding sodas?

Are you able to get fresh air into your office space?  Can you “air” the room a couple of times a day to regenerate the oxygen levels?  If not, go take that walk!

Are you moving enough?  Research says you are more productive if you work in shorter bursts and then move a bit in between.  So, do you work for 45-50 minutes and then go get a drink at the water cooler, or go up and down a couple of flights of stairs?  Can you walk to where you eat lunch, if you eat out?  What else can you do?

Unhealthy work relationships?

How are your work relationships?  I have a friend who when one part-time colleague shows up, her environment changes so much that she feels very uncomfortable.  She has decided to avoid working when that colleague is there, if at all possible. I have another friend who was being used against her will for “office politics”.  She finally left that company, because she could not easily change the situation.  So, are you in a relatively good relational environment at work?  Yes?  Good!  If not:

  • Can you change the situation- either work at home more, work in another office space, or something else?
  • Can you talk to somebody about it who can help you change the situation?
  • Can you live with it?

If not, maybe you should start looking for a new situation, especially if the situation is making you feel unsafe, making you have sleepless nights, or making you ill.  My friend chose this route, maybe you should, too.

Are you working too much?

Some people may have to put in a long week every month or two, but if you are doing this consistently, you may be heading towards burnout.  Think about what you consider normal working hours.  Think about this, and then google the normal work-week for your country.  Are you within 10-15% of that “normal” amount most of the time?  Then I would not worry too much.  But when you are working 50+ hours a week consistently, most months of the year, consider what you can change, and do it fast!  Maybe you need a coach to help you find ways of optimizing your way of working, maybe you need to delegate more.

No vacations?

There are many people who really do not take their vacations.  Maybe it’s from fear of not getting everything done in time, or fear of getting too far behind while gone, or fear missing out on an opportunity.  When people make decisions based on fear, there is usually something negative (and possibly unhealthy) going on.  Watch out!  This can be a red flag!  Maybe you need to talk about those fears and find ways of getting around those issues.

We all need time away.  I have a friend who is (finally) taking 16 days to go away with her husband and leaving their business to be run by the team.  This is a first and she is hopeful it will become a more routine (at least once a year) activity. My friend really needs a break, as most business owners do.

When was your last vacation?  Did you take all your vacation days last year?  If not, why not?  Vacations are healthy ways of getting back not only energy, but also your creativity, which is needed for your work.  We usually come back from with fresh perspectives after a good holiday.

So, how are you doing at work, health-wise?  What do you need to change?  How are you going to do it?

Have a healthy work week!

Patricia Jehle


Placebo effect and decisions

January 11th, 2018

Mind over Matter

Get out of Your Own Way and make sure you are making good decisions

I recently read an article that said that January is the month where you and I would most likely spend (waste) money on bogus health products, so watch out! This is the season of getting our lives in order, of losing those extra Christmas and New Year holiday pounds, of starting new self-improvement programs, and the like.

When I put cynicism aside over our overzealous resolutions to improve, is there some truth to these efforts and ideas that we can indeed change, or is it really the placebo effect at work.


Is there a Placebo at Work?

My medical-student daughter says that the placebo effect is real and very helpful in a lot of cases. This means if you decide to spend a lot of money on a bogus home remedy of sorts and you believe it’s going to work, it probably will. This means of you follow x diet for so many weeks, it is likely to work if you believe in it.

So, what do you believe in? What’s your go-to remedy for x, y, or z?

My nephew is a convinced user of mega-vitamin supplements with zinc, etc. to enhance his immune system. I have got to admit that I use something similar when I travel or feel a cold coming on.

The real question is what is at work, the vitamins and mineral, or a placebo? The other question is if it matters or not.

And does the placebo effect continue to diets and such?

My next thoughts lead to eating habits and diets, as this is the season of shedding our extra pounds, or at least attempting to do this. I have to admit I really don’t believe in diets, as I have seen friends and family do the diet yoyo – and I, myself, have been rather stable in weight for the past several years, even during chemotherapy. As and aside, I had hoped to shed a few pounds during therapy, but alas, it was not to be, sigh.

So, at least for a time, does the placebo effect work for diets? And what is healthy, anyway? Are carbs all that bad, and is sugar a “drug”? Now, here is my layperson, non-expert opinion:

Diets don’t work, instead we should eat, move and live healthily.

According to Mayo Clinic this is hwat you should be eating for a normal 2,000 calorie eating plan:

  • A variety of vegetables — dark green, red and orange, legumes (beans and peas), starchy and other
  • Fruits, especially whole fruits
  • Grains, at least half of which are whole grains
  • Fat-free or low-fat dairy, including milk, yogurt and cheese, and fortified soy beverages
  • A variety of protein foods, including seafood, lean meats and poultry, eggs, legumes (beans and peas), and nuts, seeds and soy products
  • Oils, including those from plants, and those that occur naturally in nuts, seeds, seafood, olives and avocados


Vegetables 2 1/2 cups a day
Dark green 1 1/2 cups a week
Red and orange 5 1/2 cups a week
Legumes (beans and peas) 1 1/2 cups a week
Starchy 5 cups a week
Other 4 cups a week
Fruits 2 cups a day
Grains 6 ounces a day
Whole grains ≥ 3 ounces a day
Refined grains ≤ 3 ounces a day
Dairy 3 cups a day
Protein foods 5 1/2 ounces a day
Seafood 8 ounces a week
Meats, poultry, eggs 26 ounces a week
Nuts, seeds, soy products 4 ounces a week
Oils 27 grams a day
Limit on calories from added sugars, solid fats, added refined starches 270 calories a day (14% of total calories)

Thus, I would have you note that grains and starch foods are BIG on this list, and I find it interesting that so many people I know are scared of those foods. It’s not those foods, but the processed versions that are really bad. Another aside, for those who know what they are, Twinkies still exist. I saw some last week in a Target store in Seattle. I know that many of you are off all sugar, but unless you are diabetic, this could be a bit extreme. A little sugar is not going to hurt you, unless you are addicted to it, as I am to coffee and salty foods. BUT, so you know, the Mayo Clinic only allows a normal snickers bar worth of sugar a day. That’s all. Luckily, I don’t like many sweets and can forego this, but many friends have sweet-tooths.

One other thought on bias

Our biases are rampant and the goal is to become aware of them (and our assumptions) and take them into consideration when we make decisions. When we make un-considered biased decisions or decisions based from fears we are most likely to make poor decisions and mistakes. So, we need to ask ourselves, or better get the help of others to ask, what are our biases, our assumptions, our fears. We must move beyond t these to find the solution and make the best decisions.

Which decisions and why?

Whether it’s diet, activity, health, or future, let us make good sustainable decisions based on truth and not a placebo effect. 

Have a healthy rest of the week and weekend!

Patricia Jehle


Courage after Failure

September 5th, 2017

We all need courage

We all need courage to do the hard things in life and get ahead, but what happens when you lose your courage?

Maybe you had a bad annual review. Maybe you were fired. Perhaps you failed an exam and now see no way forward. Somehow, you failed and all the platitudes about everyone failing and needing to get back in the proverbial saddle just make you want to puke. So, what is to do?

Grieve. Breathe. Envision. Care. Move and PLAN for success.


You need to grieve the failure, because it is a loss of a plan, an unreached goal. Before you can move on, you have got to take some time and grieve. It’s normal and necessary to go through this, but it will take some time to do it well. There has been much written about this process, I am sure you can google it, but here is a good place:


We need to calm down before we can get our courage back. Breathing of any kind, especially breathing exercises, are great for this. You can also distract yourself with positive activities like listening to music or reading a book. Whatever you do, it should be positive for you, body mind and spirit, and not harmful to anyone else. Here is something on breaking up stress: with these breaths, you can realize what you have learned from this failure–and then you should remember to start caring for yourself, too.


Put some self-care into your day and week. Be grateful, take a bath, go for a walk, call a friend, have a tea or coffee. Those are all activities that help me care for myself. What would it be for you? Schedule some of those activities into your week, and then keep scheduling them. Here is something on self-care:

Move and PLAN

One of the laws of physics says that to expend less energy, an object needs to stay in motion, and this goes for us, too. So, except when you are on holiday, keep the ball(s) rolling while you plan your next moves.

PLAN and then move (keep on moving)

To get somewhere, anywhere you want to go, you will need a plan, so while you are still moving, make a new plan with SMART goals and steps that are just as smart. When you have that new plan in place move in the new direction.

Maybe your failure is not so big, and you just need to get up, brush yourself off and move on, but for the bigger failures you will need to grieve, breathe, care, and move and plan. Failure is part of life and it may just lead you to your biggest success.

May your failures be stepping-stones to success! May you find your courage to continue again!

Patricia Jehle

Decisions and Conflicts

March 27th, 2017

Got Conflicts?

What is (the) truth?

Make good decisions by thinking and withholding judgement – do not go too fast!

In my last blog about positive leadership ( ) is promised to write about conflict and there being three sides: yours, the others’, and what is the truth. These days, many say that only their point of view I the truth, but that does not take into consideration the fact that we can be swayed by irrational thinking. We all are.

Truth and Decisions

I read a book last week called Sway: the Irresistible Pull of Irrational Behavior and this book shows how we can be dead wrong about what we think is a right decision, and this or “side” is wrong. Here are some ways in which we get trapped in wrong thinking:

  • We are afraid of loss – fear of loss makes us make poor choices based on our fears
  • We are too committed to a decision and direction – we don’t like to change our minds once we have decided
  • We make poor first judgments about a person, a program, an idea and “cannot” easily change these ideas – the first impression syndrome

Afraid to lose?

Loss aversion can derail our plans, our business, our life. It makes us focus too much on the short-term and not the long-term. We tend to give up on things that we see as loss to us especially when we apply great meaning to that thing, whatever it might be. We need to remember to always think long-term. Short-term savings may actually cause long-term failure. Also, always think and decide for the positive: focus on maximizing gains, not on avoiding losses. That means you have appositive view and will choose for more positive outcomes. Defense of a “good thing” can lead to a siege mentality where one makes desperate decisions. Decisions made to save further loss are to be avoided at all costs.

Don’t just commit! Stay Flexible!

Often we think that once a decision is made we should not change our minds. This can lead to committing yourself, your team, and your business to a dangerous path with no way of escape. Often this commitment to a decision can deter you from seeing healthier, more productive alternatives. We choose not to look so we don’t have to change – either our opinion or our direction. WE have to be willing to question our choices and direction, at all times.

Labeling is deadly

When we make our first opinions, we have a very hard time moving away from them, so it’s best to withhold our judgment for as long as possible, and to disregard others’ first opinions. Remember, people CAN (and do) change, other people’s judgments (especially first ones) are just as faulty as yours and mine, and that if we label it is likely to stick, to the detriment of you, of your team, of your business, and so on. We all know the story of the concert violinist in the NYC subway who was ignored. Be very careful, or you will be caught in this trap, and it is a trap.

Got conflict?

So, what can we do to fight these traps?

Talk about it (communicate with others, always questioning your motives and biases). Voice your discomfort, talk about your reservations.

Think long-term and do not be afraid of short-term losses

Use data (and not impressions) to make a decision about a direction, a decision, and so on- do not let your (or other people’s) BIAS make your decision. It has been proven, for example, that most managers make very poor hiring and firing choices based on bias. Even one word can label a person or a project. Be very careful about your thoughts and words.

Judge and decide very tentatively. Give yourself a self-imposed waiting period for decisions, if at all possible. Remember, hurry is the enemy of good judgment.

Be the dissenter. It has been found that Group Think is way too powerful for an organization/team and can control a group to make very poor decisions. So speak out when you disagree- and listen to the dissenter, as he or she may be right, and the whole group wrong (remember the bias/labeling problem).

THINK (and REFLECT) first when you find yourself in a conflict

So, think about these aspects of decision-making when you are in conflict with someone and you may find a better truth between the two of you. After all, there are maybe even four sides: yours, theirs, the truth, and another solution altogether.

Have a successful week!

Patricia Jehle

Jehle Coaching

Anxious, Worried about THE VOTE? Tips to get by

November 5th, 2016


Anxious? Worried? Overthinking?

Maybe you are anxious about the next few days (the vote) and then the results of the results. Maybe you have been one of those people who have googled jobs in Canada, or are thinking about moving to Ireland. No matter what your level of angst, I have a few tips for you to bridge the next few days so you can be a happier more productive person and avoid anxiety and overthinking.

If you have already voted

Then the rest of the results of the infamous 2016 US Presidential Election is out of your hands and you should follow the suggestions below in any way and order you want.

If you have not yet voted


Then you can follow the suggestions below in any order and way you want, but first remember to do your voting duty!

If you can’t vote

Most of my readers fall into this category, as I do live, write and work in Switzerland and most of us cannot vote in the US elections, here. In Switzerland we voted last month and have another upcoming vote, so vote then if you are qualified. Follow the suggestions at will.

After you have voted or if you can’t, here are some suggestions



Yes, go and find you old favorites and belt them out to high heaven. It will do you and your body AND your psyche very good. You have to focus on hitting the notes and getting the lyrics correct. In other words, you will be focused and not obsessing.



I am not going to my meditative dance group on Monday night and I will miss it. Of course, any dance will do, of course and it follows much like singing with similar benefits. If you are embarrassed about being seen, remember to close the window shades. I think it would be time for “I feel good” or “R.E.S.P.E.C.T.”, but it’s your choice, just like the music.



I worship the Christian God, creator of the universe, but if you choose to worship something else, I won’t mind. The point is here that you focus on the big picture and remember that life will continue in one way or another no matter what on Wednesday. I have been doing another act of worship, too, it’s called prayer. Anne Lamott says all prayer goes under four categories: help, thanks, wow, and hallelujah anyway. I have and will be praying about and for the upcoming POTUS, hope you will too.

An act of worship might even be making a plan for Wednesday. I have a good one.


Paint or color– or knit and crochet- or woodwork; do something with your hands

Coloring is a bit of a craze at the moment, but creating something, just about anything, with your hands is a very positive activity. It focuses you (no overthinking is able to creep in while you are in creative mode) and you have something at the end that you may be proud of. In my case, I may also not be so proud, but that is a subject for another blog.


Cook and eat good meals with pleasant people who have promised not to talk about The Election. This has been my choice of activity since the time changed a week ago (it’s earlier in Switzerland than in the US). It is very calming to create a meal and start cooking it as the sun sets, knowing you can have congenial people around you to eat it with.


Go for a walk

The weather is still relatively nice here, some red and yellow and orange leaves still cling to the trees. And anyway, the dog has to get out and do her thing. A good walk is one of the best things to do on any day. Now you should make sure you focus your mind on things that are positive, like your upcoming meal with friends, or what you will do on Wednesday, no matter what.


Sleep late or go to bed early without looking at the news

No news, if at all possible. Now that it gets dark early and stays dark late, take the time to sleep more. It’s good for you and who knows, you might even lose some weight as an added bonus. No joke.


Avoid any websites or apps where you can see allegations and finger pointing

It might be time for an internet fast– just till Wednesday morning. I do know that in Geneva there’s at least one voting night party and a friend posted that there are tickets still available, should you want to ignore this suggestion.



The four-square breathing exercise may be very helpful at this time. If you find yourself either not breathing or hyperventilating, this is a good cure: breathe in to the count of 4, hold for a count of 4, breathe out for a count of 4 hold for a count of 4. Repeat until you forget what you were stressing about.


Repeat ad infinitum

Looking forward to Wednesday and all the days after that,

Patricia Jehle


Decisions got you down?

November 3rd, 2015


Just Decide

One of the hardest things for some people close to me is making that decision. It can be very wearing on a person and can even bring you down when you feel overloaded with decisions at work and at home. But making decisions can help you out, especially when It is foggy outside like it is here in Switzerland at the moment.


Decision-making can make you happy. It really can!


Time set aside for decisions

One of the biggest stresses in our lives is to not decide on something, to put it off. So, set aside dedicated time to decide, think and then just decide. Make that time, and you will be relieved, and satisfied.


Emotions set aside

Put that emotional side of yourself, including your ego, on the back burner when you decide so that your frontal lobe is working at its best.


“Imagine your business isn’t generating enough revenue to hit your target. What is the specific cause of this?

  • Do you have a positioning issue?
  • Is your pricing right?
  • Do your potential customers know your brand?
  • What can help you solve these problems?

You will make better decisions by focusing on the facts instead of personal deficiencies. If you need help with anything in your business, from marketing through to customer service, you have options.”


Get help

When you don’t have that expertise needed to make the decision, find someone who does and ask them. Also, a neutral party will keep your decision objective.


Check information and data


Remember that one person’s opinion is just that. It is not statistically sound to base a decision on a few people’s opinions. Make sure you have the right data, and it is really data.


What if?

Make sure you know what happens if: What happens if I do do this and what if I don’t do it? Also, what won’t happen if I do do this and what won’t happen if I don’t do this? What are all the underlying risks? Make sure you know what the worst case scenarios would be.


So, when you are finding yourself stressed, first think: do I have several decisions in front of me? If yes, set aside time, set aside emotions, get help if you need to, make sure your information is complete and correct, and walk through your worst-case scenarios. Finally, just make those decisions. Remember the adage: no decision is also a decision.


Then you will feel better about yourself, relieved from the pressure of those decisions weighing on your shoulders, and ready for a good hike up in the mountains, high above all this fog.


Tell me how your decision-making is going!


So thank you for reading this. Should you be interested, you can look at my website:

the idea for the blog today came from:


Reasons: right and questionable

July 27th, 2015



A friend has chosen not to do something because of what others will think or say of that activity. I saw red flags, do you?


There are a number of reasons not to do something, but “what people will say” is one of the last reasons on my list. How about yours?


Here are some good reasons not to do something:


  • It’s illegal.
  • It will hurt someone.
  • I don’t want to do it.


It’s illegal

I follow the laws of the land, attempting to be a good citizen, not out of fear, but the support the social system. This means, for example, I pay for my garbage bag stickers and put my garbage in them, and not at some random public garbage can. I do however, put found garbage and my chewing gum in public cans.


It will hurt someone

Most of us know a lot of information that could hurt someone else, either personally or professionally. If I choose to share information, say via the internet, that would be hurtful, and I wouldn’t do it. Hurting people for my perceived gain is not something I do, even when it feels more like vilifying myself than “gaining”.


I also follow my heart

If I don’t want to do something and I don’t have to do it, I say “no”. I have to do my own taxes, but I don’t have to say yes to someone else’s projects. If I’m not passionate about it, why spend time on it? In then end, it would be doing that person (and the project) a disservice, since my heart would not be in it, I wouldn’t give my all for it. So, I follow my heart.


Following your heart leads to doing the things you are passionate about. This leads to great personal and work performance, and happier days as a result. What’s then to lose when you say no to the wrong things, and say yes to the right things?


Don’t decide from fear; it’s a trap

My friend used the word fear a lot in this conversation about not wanting to do something for fear of what others say. I really don’t want to make fear-driven decisions because, according to neurologists and other people who know a lot about the brain and decision-making, when one feels fear the brain is “stuck” in the most reptilian-like part of the brain. Thus, flight and fight are the normal responses, not logical decision-making processes. Not very healthy or logical in its working, this part of the brain is analysis-free.



Instead, stop and think about the reasons for the decision. They may – or may not – be correct. Analyze your decision. Think about the “what ifs”, if you did x or y. Ask yourself questions: Would I like succeeding at it? Would it actually be helpful for me, my family, for others?

So, stop, think, question – and make decisions from good reasoning and not fear.


(I am on vacation, so the blogs are sparse and yet, I do enjoy it… so I still write. What about you? Are you enjoying your summer? For more information check out )