Reward Yourself- 7 Ways

Practice self-love.

Rewards come in all shapes and sizes and don’t need to break the budget, but not doing it could break your back. We all need rewards, but we don’t need to wait for them to come externally. It’s not productive.

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Know what makes you happy. Then do it. Sounds so easy. Often is not.

We all get busy. So much is expected of us. I recently learned that a friend’s 21 year old son uses 5 computer monitors simultaneously at his summer internship. FIVE monitors. How can one possibly practice balance or self-care when this is what we are doing to ourselves?

No one will love you more than you love yourself. Not your spouse. Not your doctor. No one. They might disguise themselves as a friend and tell you they love you, while they enable you to continue bad habits. OK, maybe not, but I believe no one will love you more than you love yourself, assuming good mental health

A friend of mine once taught me the difference between sympathy and support. Honestly, it was a lesson for me. Sympathy is given by wallowing alongside you, when you keep wallowing. Support is different – constructive, productive and progressive.

A friend might listen to you go on repeating the same things. They observe you repeat unhealthy patterns and yet they don’t point that out. They give their listening ear without limits. But a TRUE friend listens and then reflects back to you what YOU might be doing to bring the aggravation on yourself in a pattern, so that you might break the pattern.

I digress. Today is about rewarding oneself. Do it. Often and generously. Here are some suggestions that work for me:

  1. Bubble baths
  2. Martinis
  3. Ironing cloth dinner napkins- perfect commitment to ironing process…a napkin
  4. Blogging – I like to think everyone thinks I’m as brilliant as I think I am.
  5. Chatting online with friends. Not with strangers…
  6. TED talks, so easy, informative, entertaining and accessible
  7. Exercise in any form, even if just a walk around the block.
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It Actually Is Your Fault – 6 Tips

imagesThere’s a thinking trap that goes like this…you offend someone, then, when they let you know it, you apologize by saying, “Sorry, but I didn’t mean to offend.” This is a common reaction and it is 100% wrong and doesn’t qualify as an apology.

You can only apologize for your own wrong doing. You cannot apologize for someone else’s reaction to your behavior. Again, you can only apologize for your behavior. Anything else is not an apology.

Perception is reality. If someone you care about is offended, they are offended. If you caused it, you won’t help the matter by stating you didn’t mean to offend them, because that’s exactly what you did do.  Note: if you doubt this statement, fact check it with experience and let me know how that works out.

Yesterday was a very challenging day, in a challenging week, in what’s been a challenging year. Blah, blah, life’s not fair, grow up now.

My father came over for his usual Friday night dinner at our home, what should be a friendly, peaceful tradition and it went sour due to a couple of unfortunate minor events that occurred shortly after he arrived.  These events were minor, but they capped off a crappy day/week/month for me and I overreacted. My Dad is 87 1/2 years old and I truly cherish every ounce of his time that I still get to share and don’t want to spoil it. But I did spoil it last night and that’s a shame. However, it wasn’t a waste, because I’ve learned from it and now you are.

So here’s the takeaway in bullets, for the attention challenged, like myself –

  • Apologies admit the speaker’s fault – i.e. I’m sorry I was rude, not I’m sorry you misunderstood.
  • Apologies work best when timely – IMHO, it’s never too soon to apologize, so long as it is sincere.
  • Apologies never have a “but” – i.e. “I’m sorry, but I had a shitty day.” Nope, not an apology.
  • Method always overrides message – Successful relationships don’t come from avoiding communication of unpleasant topics. When said lovingly, perhaps quietly, with kindness and an eye on a mutual goal, you can say things that otherwise would crack a sidewalk without physical effort.
  • Timeouts can be effectively self induced – Timeouts work great for parents raising toddlers. They can also work for grownups, who sometimes need to choose this option over any alternative.
  • Assemble your troops – Seek a broad network so that you have someone who makes you laugh, one who lets you cry, a DD, a professional mentor, a hairdresser (man they know everything and are way under paid, most likely), and one who loves you enough and is courageous enough to tell you what you can’t see for yourself when you most need to see it.

Thank you to my network who keeps me sane and upright.

 

The Lowest Scorer Is The Winner – Not A Golf Story

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of spending time with a long lost colleague whom I have Facebook to thank for helping me to re-connect. She & I only worked together for a couple of years about 20 years ago, but some people leave a permanent mark and for a reason.

She is, first and foremost, a ball of fun, and who doesn’t need to be reminded of the need for fun? But she is also very wise and I love to learn.  Yesterday, she reminded me of the need to prioritize, which sometimes includes eliminating volume. 

She told me that her Facebook friend rule is that she has only 111 FB friends.  In order to get onto her list, she has to remove someone to create real estate.  Now, this is someone who really enjoys life; the kind of person you would expect to possibly have 1111 friends, but no, she has only 111, by design.  That is a strategy I identify with. 

Some areas where I’ve learned a similar strategy:

Friendships – You can have too many.  The real kind require care and attention and are worth it.  Keep relationships that are mutually beneficial.  Evaluate those that aren’t.

Goals – Very important to have, but only if you are working them.  Having goals that you don’t make a priority can actually make you feel worse.  Some people avoid making New Year’s resolutions for this reason.

Boundaries – Establish them in your personal and your professional life.  Only commit to what you can complete.  Always better to under promise and over deliver.

Limitations – Know yours and honor yourself by heeding them. Before I took this job, I sought the advice of a colleague who’d had it previously.  She warned me that some nights she’d be up until 2am on the road working on a presentation to deliver 6 hours later.  It scared me at first, but then I realized I would never do that to myself.  After 10pm, the only thing I can do productively is sleep.

Physical capacity – Another limitation, but so important, it deserves elaboration.  In middle age, your body will not perform the same way it once did.  Honor that.  If you can no longer run, find something lower impact.  If you can no longer drink, order 1 and make it last the night.  Rebounding takes too long and you have better ways to spend your time.

More Tina Fey Than Cinderella

I just learned about the “tiara syndrome.” It’s a valuable business lesson and it actually has a name.

The founders of Negotiating Inc., describe the Tiara Syndrome this way: “Women expect that, if they keep doing their job well, someone will notice them and place a tiara on their head.”

Wow, this is a gender problem? That’s even more disturbing.

If you’ve been in the workforce for a while, you know that self-advocacy is a faster way to recognition than silence and hope. This is a personality trait, not a gender issue. But, I suppose, if women are far less likely to self-advocate than men, now we have a gender issue, not just a personality trait.

However, can women self-advocate the same way that men do and achieve the same result? Now there’s a loaded question.

Think about what it takes to self-advocate. Boldness, articulation, self-assuredness and confidence all come to mind. These traditionally are traits that are rewarded in men and perceived differently in women. That’s not a judgement. It’s an observation of fact.

Frequently, but unintentionally, I illicit friction from others merely by being myself. I tend to have more confidence than average, articulate more, am naturally more direct and blaringly honest. This is a summary of my strengths and also my weaknesses.

I move at a fast pace mentally, and when I’m rushing, I take shortcuts that might be efficient, but frequently aren’t effective. Not when interacting with people. That requires care and patience. For me it also often requires overcompensation.

Everyone has room to improve. Trying to over correct is a great way to find middle ground.

In an effort to be awesome, sometimes I try too hard. When I get excited, maybe I get too verbal. Effusiveness and energy can be welcome. But telling 1 too many jokes, or interrupting someone because you want fast clarification can backfire on a relationship.

I’ve noticed that others tend to say “sorry” more often than I do. I don’t mean apologizing for wrong doing; I’m very quick to apologize for wrong doing. It’s more of a manner of interpersonal communication. For example, you notice someone is in your assigned seat on the plane, you say “I’m sorry, but I believe that is my seat.” Or, “I’m sorry, I ordered the tilapia, not the chicken that I was served.”

A lot can be gained from a “Give to Get” manner. Parents give responsibility to a child and get respect in return. Negotiators give a concession to get one in return. Supervisors give a perk to subordinates and gain a happy and productive worker. Give trust to receive it.

More to come, still learning.

What’s in Your Wallet? 5 Tips

If you follow this blog, you know I’ve started a new job and am embedded in an intense learning curve. Adding travel to my work routine has been a big change for me and organization tips are evolving and ever important.

How do you stay organized when you are very busy, keeping up with wall to wall meetings across area codes and time zones? What little things make this easier? Here are some things that work for me, without sacrificing key components of Sales and Networking Wisdom.

Ditch non-essentials. I no longer carry a wallet. That had to go when I stopped carrying a purse. I do still need a small walking bag or flat clutch, but loose cash and only vital plastic cards fit in it. Reward club numbers are stored in my phone, along with anything else that can be – boarding pass, calendar, blog posts in progress, Kindle, etc.

A formative mentor early in my sales career told me that she never attends a business meeting carrying a briefcase AND a purse. Her limit is 1 carryon; small, yet not insignificant tip. She ALWAYS has her right hand available for a warm greeting, to open a door for someone, you get the idea.

Remove fumbling risks. Another advantage of the Less is More strategy. Simplify and you will be streamlined. Your composure will be streamlined. Just like you wouldn’t go into a vital meeting with your briefcase contents in total disarray, don’t bring along extra baggage – physical or mental.

Clear your head. We all have noise in our heads. Apparently, women have more, unfortuantely. Clear it out before you interact with customers. Work out, listen to favorite music, text something sweet to your loved ones – whatever works for you.

Use fewer words. Steamlining your communication is a delicate balance. As a seller, you always have to be prepared to match the communication needs of your customer. Sometimes that means talking more upfront while they settle into the space and get ready to join the conversation. Sometimes it means saying hello and then shutting up for the next 60 minutes. Just read the room.

Do carry extras that make sense. An advocate for less cargo should not be confused with less customer service. I’ve ditched my wallet, but when meeting a customer by car, I always have an extra umbrella on a rainy day. A little gesture that makes a lasting impression.