Sometimes we find wisdom in the most random of places. Even cats can make you look at business from a different perspective.
What is your gut telling you? What is your “leaning” on something you’re questioning, or a decision you’re trying to make? You might not be able to put it into words, but you probably have a feeling as to what’s the right next move. Can you remember a time when you did not follow your inner direction? How did it feel when you realized you should have followed your instincts?
A practice that I use is to pause so that I can give my instinct a chance to be heard. Then, I check in with myself by asking, “Does it feel good?” This question gives me a chance to feel and hear how it feels. My friends and business associates remind me to pause and listen when they ask me, “What is the (your) Kerry gut saying?” For example, I follow this practice on all our new hires. If my gut reaction is no, we will not move forward with the candidate.
Recently, my inner voice kept prompting me to send a card to a friend whose husband had passed, and I kept ignoring it as I was busy until finally, I wrote the letter. My friend called crying and said, “your letter arrived on my husband’s birthday, your words of his gentle kindness gave me comfort on such a heart-wrenching day, I read your letter almost every day.” I smiled as I was thankful; I listened to my intuition to send the day I did so that it arrived on his birthday.
Years ago, I did not realize there was scientific evidence to support the validity of my “gut reaction” (the HeartMath Institute calls your “heart reaction”), but it turns out that approaching life from your heart is better for you both physically and socially. This information has inspired me to encourage those around me to also follow their instincts as we are conditioned to ignore our intuition and yet it is critical to our well-being and success.
How do you use your intuition to your best advantage? Notice your body’s reactions - changes in heartbeat, breathing, and muscle tension. Personally, my stomach will hurt if I am not following my intuition. Balancing logic and intuition are a practice of sorting your assumptions, evidence, prejudices, and intuition you are feeling. As Malcolm Gladwell, author of Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking said, “Truly successful decision making relies on a balance between deliberate and instinctive thinking.”
And yes, this is also an effective strategy to change the world and save lives. Below are some examples of fascinating stories on trusting intuition.
It takes practice to tune into your intuition. Staying in the pause is powerful. It allows you to notice your physical feelings, dreams, and recurring thoughts. With practice, you can connect your heart, gut, and brain to form one unified connection. When you allow the flow of internal feelings and dialog to influence your life, you will experience more positive outcomes. Life will flow with less resistance, and while you might not change the world, you will change your world.
Pausing is part of the 3 P formula; pause to pivot to the positive. If you would like to learn more about bringing this technique to your team contact me firstname.lastname@example.org
Do you currently or have you ever kept a journal? I started my first “true” journal in high school during the summers and I continue to write in a designated travel journal. Other than those, I had not been consistent. In November 2016, the weekend before my childhood best friend passed, my son who was 7 years old at the time secured a 5 year memory book at a yard sale for me as he knows I love to write. As one of my best teachers, he encouraged me to start using it during the time that my friend was getting taken off life support. He monitored my progress during the months to follow until journaling became a habit and I looked forward to my daily journaling. After 3 years of consistency and seeing the year’s previous entry, I am seeing the power of one line a day. Below I share some passages and the lessons I am learning from journaling.
1. See Patterns. I noticed I was doing the same thing over and over in relationships and after seeing my patterns, I made changes for the better.
2. Preserve Memories. I typically will write about the fun activities I took part in that day. It is especially fun to see what I did for my kid’s birthdays each year. For example, in 2017, on my son’s birthday, “Getting Blaine out of school to miss French class (as he dislikes) for lunch and to drop off food at the food pantry. So, blessed to be Blaine’s mom.”
3. Celebrate Progress. Upon getting my 5-year journal, I was just starting to pull together the pieces for writing my book Culture Infusion. I can see the progress over the years from writing the final copy at the pool, getting published, to now regularly teaching classes to help other organizations. It is a bit surreal.
4. Impact of Affirmations. I am a believer in the power of affirmations. It is fascinating to watch that when I do the affirmations, more times than not, they come true. It is a reminder when I see how over the years, the clearer I am with my intentions, the more they come true. For instance, I entered a contest with Hay House, I wrote almost daily for over a month, I was going to win and I did!
5. Prioritize Personal Wellness. The journal has also been a reminder of one of the principles in my book, Culture Infusion 9 Principles to Create and Maintain a Thriving Organizational Culture to prioritize personal wellness. I have been reminded so often in my journal that I feel better when I am moving. This passage is one example, “Inspired from Actualize’s Wellness challenge – did kickboxing class. Felt good to do a different work-out. Figured out how to help the team be more productive with a new training portal to ensure we are focusing on our team’s well-being.”
The daily consistency of writing in my journal has helped me to focus my energy on what I know serves myself and others best. Even writing just one line was powerful. How could you use journaling to enhance your day?
Can you remember a time when you wanted to give up on a goal you set for yourself? Perhaps you were close to your goals around work, fitness or finances?
As I was going into my 44th birthday this year, I set a lofty goal to be in my best shape possible, both physically and mentally. One of the principles in my Culture Infusion program is to Prioritize Personal Wellness. I know from experience that I am at my best when I am healthy and moving. I feel better physically and mentally at work as most of my creative ideas come to me when I am active, not sitting in front of my computer.
My lofty goal needed an end game so I signed up to walk the Camino in May, which will entail 12-mile-long daily hikes. With aging, I have realized to effectively push myself physically, I must take everything but the kitchen sink into consideration to keep my body, mind, and spirit functioning properly. Gone are the days that I recover from an intense work-out quickly or that I can eat that pint of ice cream without weight gain.
I wanted to share some of the tips that have helped me to maintain a more strenuous work-out regimen and still stay motivated to keep going.
1.) Green Shakes. In my article Add, Don’t Subtract, I mentioned how I was adding green shakes with wheat grass. I do not have as much energy nor does my body feel as good on the days, I do not have a green shake. My favorite is wheat grass, protein powder, a few pieces of frozen fruit (pineapple is my favorite), handful of spinach, and then I rotate with flax seed and chia seeds.
2.) Massage. I invested in PUREWAVE which is a hand massager that allows for self-deep tissue massage. I also use a foam roller as well for hard to reach places like back and shoulder blades. This extra attention to sore muscles allows me to keep up with high intensity work-outs.
3.) Dri-Fit Clothes. My mom used to say cotton kills. As I typically must work-out in multiple sessions, having the right clothes makes a huge difference.
4.) Shoes. Don’t skimp here, be sure to test out your shoes. For the upcoming long trail walk, I tested over 5 pairs of shoes before landing on trail running shoes versus heavy boots.
5.) Balms/Salt Baths. With my PUREWAVE massager, I use muscle balms such as Solavedi and Arnica gel. In water Epsom salt breaks down into magnesium and sulfate. The theory is that when you soak in an Epsom salt bath, these get into your body through your skin and help relax muscles and loosen stiff joints.
6.) Diversity. Each day, I do something different and at 44, I have not been in such good shape since I was in high school playing organized sports. To train for 12 miles, I am doing high mileage with a combination of walking and running. I will walk/run one day, run the next and walk the following to keep a mix. Additionally, I practice yoga at least two days. And I am a huge fan of Jillian Michael’s fitness appas she has a diverse range of work-outs that I can easily access on my phone for $99 a year. It even has meal plans and recipes.
7.) Stretching and More Stretching. As I mentioned above, I practice yoga regularly, yet stretching after each work-out and before bed has enabled my body to keep up with the extra work.
8.) Quiet Time. Taking time to simply be quiet, in a calm environment, is an important daily practice. This is a way to give yourself a break from the outside world. You can choose to do this while sitting or even while moving and not listening to music or a podcast, just in silence.
As you consider your own personal well-being, it is important to remember that you create your life and how you feel. Change starts at the individual level. Where can you add something to your routine to start making your personal wellness a priority?
Jillian explaining her fitness app.
Email management starts with an honest self-assessment. Is it the emails that have gotten out of control or is it how you manage your emails? Do you check them around the clock? Do you feel the need to stop what you are doing to answer an email immediately? Do you get too much spam? Here are a few tips on how to save time, reduce the quantity of emails, and focus on quality.
Create your own personal email road map that includes boundaries, prioritizing, and filters. Approach your emails with a new mindful awareness. Keep and prioritize the emails that support you and eliminate the emails that distract you. You will free up space… for creativity and productivity. For more ideas, read this article.
Do you remember the last time you felt truly appreciated? You might think we don’t need to hear words of appreciation, but psychologist and physician William James said, “The deepest craving of human nature is the need to be appreciated.” Giving and receiving feelings of gratitude and appreciation can elevate dopamine levels increasing motivation, focus, and mood.
When a team member puts extra effort into a project, and it goes unnoticed it can leave them feeling flat. A simple thank you can go a long way but putting extra effort into giving a creative show of appreciation can be even more meaningful. The first Friday in March is Employee Appreciation Day, which falls on March 1st for 2019. Below are some creative ways to show your appreciation for your team members:
Create Categories of Appreciation. Share your appreciation publicly on social media and internally. For example, at Actualize Consulting, we are thanking our team members in various consulting categories to include:
Give Star Player Awards. Allow team members to recognize their co-workers for exceptional performance. Employees may nominate anyone within the firm for any act or initiative that they feel should be recognized and celebrated. This can be an ingenious solution to a problem or simply exceptional teamwork.
Assist with Career Planning. Include career planning as part of your team’s goal setting process. Having a goals document ensures each supervisor is discovering the aspirations that will light up their personnel. Other benefits of career planning are that each person feels they are being listened to and supported on their career aspirations. If we know someone wants to be promoted, we can guide them to success.
Encourage Team Connection. Getting together as a firm helps to reduce stress and build closer relationships, which in turn promotes better teamwork and greater work satisfaction. Survey your team on what activities they would like to do outside of work both for fun and cause-related. For example, in the pictures above we got together to play ping pong, make sandwiches for the homeless, and paint. The team that plays together, stays together.
Handwritten and verbal appreciation go a long way and benefit all parties involved - it simply makes you feel good. Positive, appreciative energy is a great boost for the organization, improving collaboration, communication, and overall performance. How can you show your appreciation to your team?
In what aspects of your life do you have consistency? Have you noticed that the areas in which you have consistent behaviors, life is easier? As I was preparing for a Leadership training class, I came across Simon Sinek's video on why consistency matters. He mentions how we have to consistently do the same actions over and over to create results. This is true for all areas of life, especially in leadership. We have to consistently care about our people and lead by example. I consistently reach out to our team members and do my best to show them I care about them personally and professionally.
At Actualize, in 2010, we consistently started focusing on our people with our programs and actions centered around our people from how we communicate to how we set our goals and review performance. I did not even realize our turnover was at 33% until in 2016 we had zero turnover with average tenure at 8 years. We have consistently held our turnover to less than 1% for the last three years. This is a testament to why consistently focusing on your people matters. What can you do to consistently lead by example?
For more inspiration, watch Sinek's video:
Do you ever felt there is too much pressure on the one day of Valentine’s Day? I decided years ago, to declare February a month to be mindful of sharing more love with myself and others. As Maya Angelou said, "love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope."
The video shows 5 ways you can spread love in February or any day for that matter. One of the examples is to share your favorite memory with a loved one. I sent my grandfather with dementia a picture of us making meatballs. His aid said he has been reading it over and over for days. It is the simple acts of love that make the most impact.
A summary image is below, feel free to download and share.
Getting together as a firm helps to reduce stress and build closer relationships, which in turn promotes better teamwork and greater work satisfaction. In the video below, we share our interactive wellness challenge titled "Moving with Gratitude."
Do you feel a sense of joy or anxiety when you step into a space in your house or office?
In today's world, we tend to think more is more. We become attached to our material goods and often find it hard to part with our excess clutter.
Since watching Marie Kondo's Netflix show, Tidying Up, I decided to spend time cleaning out my closet using her method, "Does It Spark Joy?"
This video delves into the before and after of my closet, some tips, and how decluttering has benefited my life - not just in the ways you might think.
We love to share ways to enhance your day.