Tag: mindfulness

How to make quick decisions

How to make quick decisions

Do you make quick decisions? If you’re like most people, even though that in-between time is uncomfortable, you hang out! We often stay stuck because we’re afraid we’ll make the “wrong” decision.

How can you make decisions more quickly?

How do you know whether something is right for you?

What’s the difference between an uncomfortable feeling that means “That’s not for me!” and one that means “This is SO right for me, but I’m scared!”

Our 2 decision-making tools

Gut feelings, inner guidance, inner wisdom, true self, essential self, soul, the human brain, heart, spirit…

Whatever words you choose to use, we all have this wise (and loving) part of ourselves behind our fearful thinking.

The key to distinguishing between the two?

Become more aware of your physical sensations.

Why? Because this wise, loving part of you literally feels different from your fear-based mind.

True wisdom feels different.

Which tool are you using?

Let me explain via example.

A coach once asked me, “What do you need?”

I immediately thought, To slow down.

This felt clear and peaceful. My body was relaxed, my breathing steady.

Then, so quickly that I almost missed the first thought, I had thoughts like these: That’s a bad idea. That’s not what I really want. I have too many important goals to slow down!

This felt stressful and messy. My heart sped up. My neck and shoulders tensed. 

Make quick decisions

With practice, I’ve come to recognize that the thoughts that make me feel calm and steady are wiser than the frantic ones that cause physical tension.

So what decision, big or small, have you not yet made? How can you use this new insight to make at least one decision today?

What decision will I make today?

Clear the path

This work can be much easier said than done. As a professional life coach, I can help you explore the details of your decision and clear the path to your inner wisdom so you can feel confident that you’re moving in the right direction. Let’s talk!

You landed the new job! So why are you sad?

You landed the new job! So why are you sad?

Have you ever quit a job, then later—maybe while saying goodbyes on your last day, or a few weeks into your new gig—wondered, What am I sad about? I didn’t even want that job…

When I left my software career to go all in with life coaching—a decision I was super excited about—I also felt surprisingly intense grief. I was going to miss my inspirational boss, laughing with my coworkers every day, my predictable paychecks. I had proven my talents in the industry. There was a fancy title on my biz cards.

So who was I now?

Career change brings a sense of loss. Yes, even when it’s by choice. You might feel the loss of friendships, identity, status, income.

Even when it’s by choice, career change brings a sense of loss.

Why you should feel it, even when it hurts

Our feelings—even uncomfortable ones like grief—are just information. When you allow them to exist, they can direct you to what you need.

Remember that discomfort is temporary. When you allow your feelings to move through your body, they soon fade.

If that sounds weird, just trust me. Sometimes I’m scared to cry. I think I might not be able to stop once I start. But really, all I need is that good cry, and a minute or two later I’m like, “Babe, I’m good. Let’s go to Chipotle!”

How to make this a habit

When it comes to grief, or any feelings really, being present is key. Since it can be hard to be present when you’re in the middle of big emotions, you want to make this a habit.

Pause during your day, and answer these questions:

  1. What is my mind doing? What is it doing in general—replaying the past, planning the future, catastrophizing? What specific thoughts do you notice?
  2. What emotions do I feel? Whatever comes up, don’t judge it or try to make sense of it. Simply notice. Remember that emotions are simply information.
  3. What body sensations do I feel? Mentally scan your body from head to toe and notice any sensations.

Here’s an example of how this might look as you walk out of a stressful meeting at your new job.

Ok, that meeting sucked. Time to check-in. What is my mind doing? Replaying what just happened. Imagining my boss calling me into his office. I messed up. He probably wants to fire me. What emotions do I feel? Shame. Regret. Anxiety. Excited because he gave me that new project. What body sensations do I feel? My neck and shoulders are tight. I’m not breathing very deeply. I’m smiling. It’s fake. I feel a weight on my chest. Sadness. I’m going to head to the bathroom and take a few deep breaths.

This is especially powerful with regular practice. How could you make this part of your daily routine?

How can you make this part of your daily routine?

It’s not as scary as you think

Loss happens, even when it’s by design. By noticing all of your feelings without judgement, you’ll learn to allow them, learn from them, and come out on the other side knowing it wasn’t nearly as scary as you thought.

“Your feelings have a right to life.”

Mandy Kubicek
One-minute meditation: They’ll see it on your face

One-minute meditation: They’ll see it on your face

Enjoy this moment of office zen. 🧘

The setup

For 1 or 2 minutes, you’re going to relax every muscle above your shoulders. Set an audible timer, get comfy, then read on.

The meditation

Relax the top of your head, your forehead, your eyebrows. Relax your eyes: the outer corners of your eyes—the creases there. Your eyelids, the bridge of your nose.

Relax your left ear and your right ear.

Relax your nose and your nostrils. Relax your cheekbones and your cheeks, your jaw.

Relax your top lip and your bottom lip, your tongue. Relax your chin.

Relax your entire head.

Now relax the front of your neck, the back of your neck. The left and right sides of your neck.

Return your attention to the top of your head, and scan slowly down once more, relaxing every iota of tension you run into.

Continue breathing and relaxing until you hear your timer.

Declutter your workspace—and mind—in 1 minute

Declutter your workspace—and mind—in 1 minute

This week’s invitation to mindfulness taps into the power of environment.

  • Look around your workspace.
  • Notice. How does it make you feel? Peaceful and energized? Anxious and tired?
  • Tidy your workspace. Set a timer for 1 minute, and tidy what you can in that time.
  • Breathe. When your minute is up, take a deep belly breath.
  • Notice. How do you feel now?

Keep committing to these 1 minute tidy sessions (after meetings, between tasks, before you head home) until your workspace makes you feel good.

I’m continuously surprised by how a simple change in our space can impact us. If you’re in a city that’s beginning to warm and brighten like Omaha, don’t you feel different than you did just days ago?

Never underestimate the power of place!

3 ways to Slack effectively under stress

3 ways to Slack effectively under stress

Have you ever regretted a direct message you’ve sent at work?

Before becoming a life coach, I spent 12 years in the tech industry. In that time, whether I was writing C++ code for pilot training software or building a start-up’s first Product department, I read countless emails (Lotus Notes, then Outlook, then Gmail) and direct messages (Windows Messenger, then Lync, then Slack) from many bosses. Most of those communications were no big deal, just everyday stuff to which I easily responded. But some of them, on some days, freaked me out big time.

What I didn’t realize at the time? It didn’t have to be that way.

The next time you read a DM and notice yourself tensing up, use these 3 methods and respond skillfully.

1. Practice literal listening.

What did Boss literally say?

It’s always a smart move to make Boss’s job easier. We try to anticipate what Boss needs before she even asks, and we pride ourselves on reading between the lines. But with all this guesswork, could we be missing something? How often do we make the wrong assumption and waste time?

Literal listening is hearing the words the person says (or types) — no more, no less.Hear the words the person says (or types) — no more, no less.

Here’s an example Slack conversation, with and without literal listening.

Stressful reaction

Boss: “How close are you on [that thing I asked you to do]?”

I should be done by now. She obviously thinks it shouldn’t take me this long. Maybe I shouldn’t be doing [my current task]? I just have too much on my plate! Doesn’t she understand that?!

You: I’m so sorry, I’ll get on that right now. I think maybe later today??

Skillful reaction

Boss: “How close are you on [that thing I asked you to do]?”

How close am I? Hmm… I probably have 2 hours of work, but I’m planning to do it Friday morning.

You: I expect to have it completed and to you Friday afternoon. Will that work?

2. Assume positive intent.

Have you ever noticed how we tend to read digital messages with a negative slant? In an article published in the Academy of Management Review, scholar Kristin Byron writes that “receivers often misinterpret work emails as more emotionally negative or neutral than intended.”

You have the option to view any communication as negative, neutral, or positive. To assume positive intent is just as it sounds: assume the sender has a positive purpose, one that has your and the company’s best interests in mind.

Stressful reaction

Boss: Where are you?

Where am I supposed to be? Omg did I forget about a meeting? She must be pissed. She probably think I’m irresponsible, or worse — that I don’t care about this job!

You: I’m at my desk working on [this task, whose urgency and importance I am now inflating to earn your appreciation.]

Skillful reaction

Boss: Where are you?

I wonder if I’m supposed to be somewhere? It’s so kind of Boss to reach out to me when she realized I wasn’t where she expected. Or maybe she wants my help with something? I love that she appreciates my talents!

You: I’m at my desk.

3. Ask mindful questions.

How often have you had a question and decided not to ask it? Maybe you think you look smarter by not asking. Maybe you think it’s better to pretend you’re already up-to-speed, and you’ll hope a peer can fill you in later. We wouldn’t want our team members to fake understanding, so why do we so often fall into this trap ourselves?

Ask your questions. And ask them mindfully — not from a place of stress and fear, but from the peace that follows literal listening and assuming positive intent.Ask questions mindfully — not from a place of stress, but from one of peace.

Here’s our final example, pulling all 3 techniques together.

Stressful reaction

Boss: Can you get me [these metrics]?

Great, now I have to drop everything and pull these numbers. I don’t even know why she needs them. Doesn’t she realize I’m busy? I’m never going to get my work done with all of these interruptions!

You: Yeah

Skillful reaction

Boss: Can you get me [these metrics]?

Can I get them? Yes!

I am great at compiling metrics! Boss trusts me.

Now, I don’t want to assume too much. She didn’t say she needs them right away. If I can focus on my current task, I can finish this up, plus have time to get her these metrics before I head home.

You: Yes. I can send them around 5 tonight. Will that work for you?

Let’s recap

To recap, the next time you get a DM from your boss, or that coworker who tends to stress you out, try this:

  1. Practice literal listening. Hear the words the person says (or types) — no more, no less.
  2. Assume positive intent. Assume the sender has a positive purpose, one that has your and the company’s best interests in mind.
  3. Ask questions mindfully — not from a place of stress, but from one of peace.

Practicing these 3 strategies will help you feel way less anxious at work. And when you feel calm, everyone wins, because you’ll be communicating clearly and effectively.

Will you join us?

Are you an achiever building an expressive career you love? Join our free Facebook community for powerful daily support.

Three must-have qualities of any transformational retreat

Three must-have qualities of any transformational retreat

I adore retreats! I have taken retreats by myself, from a Do Nothing Day at home to a quiet week at a state park cabin. I’ve also created and attended group retreats, both close to home and out of state. There’s something so special about setting the intention to simply “be” rather than “do.” To me, a retreat feels like lightness and freedom.

An intentional retreat from daily life feels like lightness and freedom.

There are endless types of retreats. Endless reasons you might want to take a retreat. What I most love to create — and the focus of this post — are retreats that have the potential to transform your life.

We’re talking about retreats that have the potential to transform your life.

Read on for three qualities a retreat should embrace to create space for its participants to transform their lives.

Community

While solo retreats have brought me great insights, there’s something especially expansive about retreating with a group of others.

I led a workshop in April called “Life Lessons from My Dog.” (It was packed with some pretty stellar dog gifs.) I talked about forgiveness, authenticity, and gratitude. At the end, we shared our key takeaways.

One woman said, “I’m going to start a gratitude journal because I noticed I was the only one who didn’t raise my hand when Mandy asked if we’ve tried that!”

This wasn’t about me teaching a concept. She knew about gratitude journals! It was the collective experience of the people in the room that inspired her to action.

It’s about the collective experience of the people in the room.

Bringing together a community allows us to harness the group’s collective power, rather than one leader’s experience, to help each other take meaningful action in our lives.

Stillness

I’ve enjoyed extended periods of silence by myself and with others. It’s always special. It might bring insight, connection, or even frustration — but something always comes up.

I once spent four hours in the city not communicating, verbally or with gestures. I did, however, set the intention to mentally and consistently feel love for each person I encountered. I’d engage with eye contact and genuine smiles. As I walked through the city that day secretly loving everyone I saw, I received SO much more love than what’s typical. An apparently homeless man offered me a hug, which I easily accepted. I felt safe. As we parted, he said — with zero creep factor — “I love you.” I’ve turned to that memory of feeling completely safe and loved many times since.

A transformational retreat provides space for meditation and silence. Magical things seem to happen in this stillness that our busy analytical minds alone can’t create.

“You cannot find yourself by going into the past. You find yourself by coming into the present.” – Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now

Ways to incorporate stillness include ample breaks, guided group meditations, and an invitation to spend some time in silence during the retreat. For instance, this could be at the same time for everyone, or a more flexible setup where each person can flip or alter their name tag to indicate when they are practicing silence.

Inclusivity

Not all retreats have been a fit for me.

A few years ago, stressed out by my job, I was excited to find a women’s retreat near Omaha. I noticed the venue was Catholic-affiliated. I’m no longer Christian, but I signed up because it was “open to all women.” I enjoyed walking the trails and journaling in my private room. However, the Christian-centric group conversations left me feeling like I didn’t belong. Even though the women had loving intentions, I felt eager to leave.

Each of us deserves and craves a sense of belonging. While there are benefits to retreating with people who share a common belief system, interest, or background, the most transformational retreats provide space for you, wherever you are on your life’s journey.

The most transformational retreats provide space for you, wherever you are on your life’s journey.

The topic of how to make an event inclusive is too complex for this post, but I will share one tip: clearly state upfront who all is welcome. For instance, I share who’s welcome and what’s expected prior to registration: “This retreat is open to anyone who identifies as a woman. It’s a judgement-free zone where we strive to make each other feel safe, heard, and valued.“

Join us!

Are you ready to transform your life while being treated all day long? Join us at my next retreat on Saturday, November 10, 2018. Be Your Own is about getting in touch with your own inner power. In this space of community, stillness, and inclusivity, we’ll explore how to be your own guide, leader, healer, and visionary. Read more and register here!

You are not crazy: why decluttering is so hard

You are not crazy: why decluttering is so hard

Before yoga class begins, Sharon (name changed) tells us about the beaded jewelry necklace that broke in her hands this morning, scattering tiny seed beads across her bathroom floor. After class — more specifically, after she finds out that I help people declutter as a way to support extraordinary life changes — she shares that she got down on her hands and knees to carefully pick up each bead. She saved them just in case she ever gets the string repaired.

“I know it’s crazy!” she says with a nervous laugh, gazing towards the floor between us. “I know I’m crazy.”

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DIY Retreat on the Cheap

DIY Retreat on the Cheap

Ah, to go on a retreat… so luxurious! To get away for a week (or more) and focus just on you – maybe it’s silent meditation, yoga in the woods, or even heart-pumping adventure. But what if you don’t want to spend the money or time? Or maybe it’s Wednesday and you realize you need a retreat, like, now! No problem. Here are some tips on how to plan your own retreat.

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