Stress Carriers

Stress Carriers
We all know one or two of them. They may be a friend, relative or co-worker. What they have in common is that they scatter stress like Tinkerbell scatters fairy dust. They are stress carriers. They often appear friendly and helpful, but they have a knack — and perhaps the intention — of making others feel inadequate or upset. They also are skillful at shifting their work or worries to others smoothly that you are left wondering how it happened. It is easy to recognize a stress ... Read more
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Stepping Out and Stepping Up for Opportunity

Stepping Out and Stepping Up for Opportunity
At 2am four years ago, I responded to a general post seeking volunteer tennis coaches. I was about to finish graduate school and had coached sporadically for seven years, so I thought this could be a fun, interim experience. For the next two hours, I emailed back and forth with Vi, the person who posted the ad. She had just started a new NGO that delivered tennis programming to kids who live on the Southside of Chicago. I naturally was curious about this person who was up so late at night ... Read more
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The Walls Have Ears

The Walls Have Ears
Today, thanks to cell phones, we are constantly surrounded by conversations. People talk while they are walking, shopping, and eating. It seems like there are no longer filters on language used or content discussed. If nearby, you can listen to the intricacies of a legal matter or the intimacies of a personal relationship. This same behavior can be observed in the office. Though a conversation you’re having may seem harmless, it can have damaging effects. For example, perhaps you use ... Read more
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Beware the Lemmings

Beware the Lemmings
The lemming is a small rodent that mostly lives in the Arctic. Folklore has it that lemmings follow each other even when it results in their jumping off cliffs in what some describe as mass suicides. The lemming analogy is a cautionary tale for a “group think” mentality and can be applied to several situations in the workplace. New employees are more susceptible to becoming lemmings than others who are better informed. Frequently, an established worker volunteers to help the new person get ... Read more
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How Meditation Can Ease Stress From the Work Day

How Meditation Can Ease Stress From the Work Day
For many of us, work is one of the biggest stressors in our daily lives. Things like nagging bosses, demanding customers, and high expectations can make your body tense and raise your blood pressure. Work day stress can inhibit your ability to think clearly and have a whole range of adverse effects on your physical health, even weakening your immune system. Then there’s the obvious effects that work can have on your mood and general state of mind. Meditation has been practiced the world ... Read more
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Don’t Settle for the Cheap Seats

Don’t Settle for the Cheap Seats
There is going to be a meeting with the boss that will be held in the conference room. Unfortunately, the conference table isn’t large enough for all the managers to sit at the table. There are chairs placed around the perimeter of the room for overflow. The men wander in and take a seat at the table without giving it a second thought.  They may try to decide where the boss will sit so they can choose their chair strategically. Some of the women seem uncertain about where to sit and ... Read more
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The Devil Doesn’t Need Advocates

The Devil Doesn’t Need Advocates
We’ve all been there. The meeting has dragged on and on. It looks like the team has finally arrived at an action plan. Things are winding down, tasks are being assigned, and you are ready to pack up and get back to your real work. At that very moment, someone says, “Let me play devil’s advocate” and launches into a rehash of the previous discussion. Colleagues groan inwardly, everyone hoping the boss will dismiss this unnecessary showmanship. The concept of ... Read more
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Feeling Inadequate? Maybe It’s Time for an Inner Strength Inventory

Feeling Inadequate? Maybe It’s Time for an Inner Strength Inventory
Inner strengths are similar to talents. The difference is we may not fully recognize or acknowledge our inner strengths, so they remain hidden, even from ourselves. Understanding and owning your inner strengths can be an asset to your self-confidence and to your job performance. As an exercise, ask your closest friends or family members if they could describe one or two strengths that they think you possess. You might be surprised at what is mentioned, terms like self-discipline, optimism, ... Read more
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Embrace the Unk Unks

Embrace the Unk Unks
It’s easy to say no. It takes up far less time and energy to take the easy way out. It may even be human nature to try to avoid the difficult, time consuming, challenging choices. However, very little is truly impossible. More importantly, you will never meet your potential or create something important by immediately refusing to take on big tasks and daunting projects. Think about it—what are your big picture goals or your personal moonshot? You won’t get there by being the person who ... Read more
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Spring Cleaning For Your Life

Spring Cleaning For Your Life
I recently came across an old letter from a woman who is now in her 90s. In it she mentioned she was in the middle of “spring cleaning.” She talked about taking rugs outside to sweep, washing windows and woodwork, and polishing furniture. She cleaned one room at a time, only moving to the next room when the previous room was finished. I doubt that few people today engage in actual spring cleaning. We have homes and environments that require less attention, and we have better ... Read more
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