Mon, 11 May 2015
Recently Kirsten was working with a client and, as is often the case, they began sharing about a challenge with an employee. The employee was missing deadlines and it was becoming a problem. They talked through some strategies and then…….there it was………
“I feel bad. He’s my friend.”
Direct download: DTD_103__Hiring_a_Friend__Be_Real_About_Your_Reasons.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:44am EDT
Thu, 7 May 2015
I often say that I have a lot of bandwidth. I juggle, manage, keep track of many different projects at once. And it’s not just the number but also the breadth of tasks. I am often juggling wildly varying tasks between my professional and personal responsibilities.
I worked my way through college waitressing and you really have to think ahead and be efficient to do well. I think I honed many of my multi-tasking skills there.
Then I became a mom and that definitely adds some volume and breadth to your list of responsibilities.
As a single mom and business owner for 8 years I became a multi-tasker on steroids, wearing all the hats and taking on many tasks and responsibilities alone.
I used to carry the full weight of any project from start to finish for the entire duration. So, the multitude of tasks and breadth of responsibilities sat as a weight on my shoulders, sometimes for long periods. At times the burden was too much. The stress of so many unfinished tasks all at once could feel overwhelming.
Over time I learned a new way of dealing with large projects that serves me better and has increased my bandwidth even more. Now, I’m not talking about the logistics of how I captured the multitude of individual tasks leading up to any finished project.
This isn’t an episode about project management techniques or the latest software that tracks your progress. As an aside you I do recommend Toodledo, an app and web destination tool, but I digress.
No, this is about how I’ve learned to handle a multitude of tasks mindfully.
You see, even once I had effectively captured all of the tasks in a system the entire responsibility sat as a weight in my mind until fully complete. At times there were projects with many moving parts that would not be finished for months. In my mind the sense of urgency to get the long term project done was equal to that of a project that needed to be done that day.
It was a lot of stress. The push and pressure was constant. I did not give myself the “ah it’s done feeling” until a project was fully complete. It didn’t matter that a project would be unfinished for months. I felt the full weight of the entire thing for that period.
Over the years, and out of necessity, I have learned the art of setting aside the sense of urgency around the entire task and have learned to compartmentalize the sub tasks, not just in my project management system, but in my mind.
If you are a person who struggles with the pressure of the full weight of long term projects you know exactly what I’m talking about.
To achieve the desired result and defeat the drama of overwhelm you must set aside the full project as if it’s not there. Trust in whatever system you are using to capture all of the elements of your full project. Let that be the repository for the list. And then release your mind to focus only on the next step. No worrying about the activities you don’t have time for yet. Feel the sense of urgency for only the next deadlines. Experience the sense of accomplishment or relief as you finish each step.
Releasing a focus on the full project is similar to freeing up RAM on your computer. There is more usable space for what you must do now. You can fill the extra “now” capacity to increase productivity or capture the capacity for things like rejuvenation or personal growth.
It takes practice but you’ll be amazed at the positive impact!
Direct download: DTD_102__The_Secret_to_Increasing_Your_Capacity.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:30am EDT
Mon, 4 May 2015
Kirsten teaches on the power of having a positive attitude.
Direct download: DTD_101__Power_of_a_Positive_Attitude_-_Lessons_from_a_Teen.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:30am EDT
Thu, 23 April 2015
Episode 100...Time to CELEBRATE!
Mon, 20 April 2015
Recently, I was at an event and overheard someone talking about how bored they’ve been over the last few months. It really made me stop and think. I absolutely cannot remember a time when I have felt bored.
I must admit I’ve definitely been unproductive, lazy, tired, procrastinating, overwhelmed and many other things that have kept me from getting into gear, though these are rare. But, bored has never been one. That feeling that I have nothing to do.
I had to stop and think, “what would that be like?”
I must admit that at first a part of me felt a little jealous. Wow, to just be done with all of the pressing tasks. No deadlines weighing down, no pressures, no “I really should’s”.
But, as I thought further, I really became sad for this person. Because the flip side of “I’m bored” is the missed opportunities for excitement, a sense of accomplishment, fulfilling your passion, living life on purpose, making it happen, getting it done, the exhilaration of hitting a big milestone, or that Ahhhh feeling of rolling into bed after an exceptionally productive day.
I’ll take overwhelmed, stressed and driven any day. I am blessed to live the full life that I am living. It’s how we are meant to live. To live any other way means to deny the world of our unique gifts, talents and skills.
Yes, I’m sure I push myself a bit too hard at times. But the fire in my belly, the energy in my step, the smile on my face and the joy in my life are what it’s all about. And it’s how you are meant to live too!
What will you do today to make it happen? Your life is waiting and so is the world!
Thu, 16 April 2015
When I work with clients they are often in the midst of change. Whether they started to transform before our work or it comes out of some new found awareness through the work I find myself helping them maneuver through transitions big or small.
At some point during the process I usually find myself saying, Just Get on With it!
You see, we humans are change avoidant. That lizard part of our brain experiences fear from the thought of anything new and it says – Stop! Danger!
It is our nature to go into tuck and cover. Maintain status quo. Keep safe.
So, transformation can be difficult and my get in action clients like to feel like they are making progress so they begin to research. They read, they web surf, they talk to people, they make a plan, they get feedback on the plan, they think about the plan, they tweak the plan, they do a bit more research, they find another book, they order it from Amazon. They wait for it and then dive in. They put together some numbers, they shuffle them around. They look at all the possibilities and visualize the change from different angles, they talk to a few experts, they speak to a few friends, they journal.
Then they do a bit more research and consider a couple different angles.
It’s at this point I have to stop them and say – The Research portion of this transformation can no longer be considered action.
Just Get on With it!
You’ve heard the term analysis paralysis. Some are plagued with it for even the smallest task. Others get stuck only when it’s a big transformation.
Does change require research and knowledge?
But at a certain point you can learn nothing more about the change unless you make it!
Years ago I was helping to launch a new program. We had done the research, put educated guesses together about how we should launch. Many on the team thought we should wait 6 more months or a year before launch.
I asked the question, “What more can we learn without actually doing what we plan?”
“Many of our questions can not be answered without actually doing.”
We’ll gain new knowledge as we go. We’ll never launch perfectly. We can always tweak after the fact. Let’s just go!
And we did! And it was great! Did we make some changes after the fact? Yep!
But there was nothing more to be learned by sitting in a room taking guesses about the unknown.
So, where are you stuck in analysis paralysis?
Where have you gathered a satisfactory amount of information?
Where must you begin to act to get the rest of your questions answered about what it will be like? How will it go? Will this work?
Today, where will you stop researching and take at least one actual action towards your goal or transformation?
It will feel great!
If it’s not perfect, and it won’t be, you’ll adjust.
Just Get On With It!
Mon, 13 April 2015
Let’s face it, life is better if we get what we want. If the world, circumstances and other people would just cooperate life would be grand!
If you’ve had a toddler or have at least been around one you’ve seen that innate desire live out. During those early years there is really no sense of others. All they know is what they want and they will pull out all the stops in their limited bag of tricks to get what they want.
They might try cute first and then move to whining and pleading. From there they’ll head straight for the full out temper tantrum, throwing themselves on the ground, crying, kicking, and screaming like their world will come to an end if they don’t get that toy or candy.
Luckily, most toddlers are taught that that’s not an appropriate response. They learn to accept delayed gratification and sharing becomes easier.
When my boys were little and they’d start to whine I would tell them, “I can’t understand you when you talk like that.” Or, “you are just getting farther and farther away from getting what you want.” And I did my darndest to do nothing to reward them during a rant.
We had sitting time outs in the middle of grocery stores, left restaurants.
As I think back I must say, I do NOT miss those times!!
It was sometimes very inconvenient to follow through with consequences or not give in but I wanted them to learn that whining and temper tantrums were not the route to getting their way.
As adults, we still have that innate desire to get our way. Most of us have learned to consider the needs of others in addition to our own. Or, have learned the art of delayed gratification, understanding the need to set goals and work for things we want. Others have learned to put their own wants and needs aside choosing, instead, to focus on helping others get what they desire.
And, there are those who still work to get their way. Sometimes it’s okay. We have an opinion or perspective that has helped us make an informed decision about what we think is best. We seek to have our opinion known and understood through assertive communication.
Still others will use more manipulative tactics. Work the politics of the office, start gossip, stay quiet in a meeting and then campaign for your agenda. Or use the stay stuck strategies I talk about in episodes 50 through 53, as a for instance,
They are denial, defensiveness, deflection and defriending. Here are the links:
Or perhaps you’ve seen a grown up throw an adult sized temper tantrum.
And, do I even need to say it? All of this creates drama!
I have seen through my work that some people will deploy manipulate tactics to get their way for a short period while others will keep going, pulling out all the stops and using multiple manipulation tools. Most will have a stopping point where they throw in the towel and quietly give up.
I recently shared the results of a cultural assessment with a client and felt compelled to emphasize more than usual that the information contained in the report must be kept confidential.
I shared that normally I see a person’s end point. They use manipulative tactics and then give up the fight, realizing they must succumb.
In this instance, however, I was up against someone who continued to use manipulative tactics and covert operations with me during the entire evaluation. This person lied, changed appointments a gagillion times, was a no call no show for a couple of appointments, tried to avoid me during our scheduled times when he did show up by continuing to take phone calls and then dragging them out, telling me had to leave suddenly. And when all of that didn’t work, this person became condescending.
When that failed he got incredibly defensive, belittling, and arrogant. Then there was badgering and trying to block me from key documents I needed to review.
During the entire process, this person, who knew I’d be providing a report to his superiors, never backed down. Instead he continued to escalate his tactics; like a toddler, but in an adult way.
I never did see his end point. What else was he capable of? Thus, the extra emphasis on keeping a report confidential.
It got me thinking. We all have the capacity to try some tactics to get our way. Some overt and some covert, some professional and above board and some not.
It’s time to do some reality checking. My question for you today is:
Take some time to really think about these questions and get real. Are there changes you need to make in this area?
Thu, 9 April 2015
As I’ve shared before, many of people I work with struggle with people pleasing. Often they feel overwhelmed and resentful. They struggle to get things done on time because they are always over committed. No matter how busy, they continue to say yes to all the requests people make of them.
If you haven’t mastered the art of saying no this is probably you.
So, let’s look at some key reasons why some people have such a hard time saying no – do you see yourself anywhere?
And here’s one I hear from many of my Christian clients. “God wants me to serve others.”
I do believe this is true. We are all given gifts to use in the service of others. But, here’s the thing, if you are a follower of God, He is supposed to guide your actions, your service. If people are taking up 100% of your time you don’t have the capacity left to follow God’s lead. He does not call us to serve 100% of the people who come asking, regardless of the request.
So, if you are a people pleaser who has used this as your excuse I ask you to stop.
Here are six strategies to help you say no. Use them, practice them, take back some control of your time.
Buy Time: “let me check my calendar, or I”ll get back to you in a couple of days, or let me think about that, or check with my partner
Policy Statement: sounds office –cast in stone, out of your hands. “I have a policy not to volunteer in the evenings.
Shift the Focus – this is not about you, I need to say no for me. – said with empathy for the other person’s situation and with eye contact
Know Your Priorities: If you set a priority of the family eating together then say no to all intrusions to this.
Keep It Simple: no long-winded explanation or excuses – just sounds more defensive.
Tackle Easy Situations First: start by saying no to the paper boy or the phone solicitor first – build the muscle on the easy ones and then tackle your overbearing relative
Direct download: DTD_096__6_Tips_to_Help_you_Say_No_without_Guilt.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:30am EDT
Mon, 6 April 2015
Taking swift action can be very rewarding and fruitful at times. You get an idea and put it into action. Or you jump on the bandwagon for a new product and it works out well for you.
I am definitely a fan of action and forward momentum. If you are like me you feel the same.
A too Swift analysis with a final verdict can sometimes lead you astray, however. So many of my clients suffer the affects of jumping to conclusions too quickly. I call it Living in the World of Assumption.
Our assumptions generate ideas and feelings about a situation and these drive our actions.
We make assumptions about what others want from us and why, we take guesses at what our boss meant by that, we decide what the look on a co-worker’s face means about us.
I love the poem, “The Cookie Thief”. It illustrates what can happen when we assume. I first heard it read by Wayne Dyer years ago.
Here it is:
The Cookie Thief
by Valerie Cox
A woman was waiting at an airport one night,
She was engrossed in her book but happened to see,
So she munched the cookies and watched the clock,
With each cookie she took, he took one too,
He offered her half, as he ate the other,
She had never known when she had been so galled,
She boarded the plane, and sank in her seat,
If mine are here, she moaned in despair,
How many times in our lives,
Jump on the bandwagon
Jump for Joy
Do Jumping Jacks
But do NOT jump to conclusions!
All I can say is clarify, clarify, clarify! When in doubt, ask clarifying questions rather than jumping to conclusions!
Once while working with a client he exclaimed, “since I started working with you I feel like I’m constantly asking, ‘can you clarify that for me?’”
I laughed and told him there are all kinds of ways to start a clarifying conversation. I’ll make you a list.
That list become a .pdf with 50 different ways to ignite clarity. If you’d like me to send it to you shoot me a message. Go to defeatthedrama.com Click on the podcast site and then go to the submit your drama challenge form.
I’ll happily email you a copy!
Thu, 2 April 2015
Today I want to share a quick problem solving strategy that can work with your team. It works nicely with the simple process improvement strategy I shared in episode 13. Here’s the link if you haven’t listened to it already or need a refresher: http://goo.gl/MDv646
I once had a client with a major problem. They ran out of boxes and were unable to finish their work. At first glance it would seem that they just needed to order more boxes. Upon analysis, however, they learned that the real issue was that people were moving the boxes and not scanning them in or out. There were plenty of boxes they just weren’t in the right spot and no one knew where to find them. Totally different solution is required to fix this problem.
Often a problem has many underlying issues or challenges causing it.
So, the first step to problem solving is to bring your team together with all of their wonderful perspectives and knowledge to brainstorm causes for the problem.
Once you have a list of possible causes discuss briefly and then vote. Vote until you have it narrowed down to the top 2 or 3.
Next, it’s time to brainstorm solutions for the top 1 to 3 main causes.
Repeat the same process. Use multi-voting to narrow the list to the seemingly best solutions.
Once you’ve narrowed it down it’s time to put a game plan in place to implement the proposed solutions.
Direct download: DTD_094__Learn_a_Super_Simple_Team_Problem_Solving_Strategy.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:30am EDT