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Why self-care isn't selfish

Why self-care isn't selfish | Cultural Trendz | Scoop.it

 I was at an event in San Francisco a few years ago and had the privilege of spending some time with Louise Hay, founder of Hay House and best-selling author of You Can Heal Your Life. Louise is someone I’ve admired for a long time — she’s a true pioneer in the world of personal development. It was an honor for me to connect with her at this event.

On the final day of the conference, I asked Louise if she was planning to fly home (back to San Diego, just an hour’s flight from San Francisco) that evening. She said, “Oh no, Mike, I would never do that to myself.” Her response, while simple, floored me. I thought, Wow, what a great example of honoring and caring for yourself. Then I thought, I could use more of that.

At that time, I was feeling run down, exhausted, and overwhelmed by my life. Our girls were four and one, I was traveling quite a bit, and I felt like I couldn’t keep up with everything. My schedule was packed with so many activities, I felt like it was hard for me to breathe, much less enjoy what I was doing. I also felt like a victim of my “crazy” schedule and life, which gave me a built-in excuse for not showing up for others or taking full responsibility for my actions (i.e., “What do you want from me? Do you have any idea how much I have going on right now?”).

Around this same time, I was reading a wonderful book called The Art of Extreme Self-Care, by Cheryl Richardson. In this book, Cheryl challenges us to make our self-care a top priority. I loved the book, and while the concepts were fairly simple, familiar, and straightforward, I felt a great deal of resistance as I started to practice some of what Cheryl was saying.

Unfortunately, a lot of us think of self-care as selfish or as something we should do when we get everything else done. I would find myself thinking, Once I take care of all the important people and things in my life, then I’ll take care of myself. In addition to this, I also think we can sometimes be motivated to take care of ourselves out of fear or guilt: I should eat better. I should exercise more. I’m not taking good care of myself and if I keep this up I’m going to gain weight, get sick, or something really bad is going to happen to me. These types of negative, critical thoughts often roll around in our brains, and often are the impetus or motivation for us to “take care of ourselves.”

Authentic self-care is not selfish, and it’s not a guarantee that we won’t gain weight or get sick — although taking care of ourselves would probably make those things less likely. True self-care is about honoring ourselves, caring for ourselves, nurturing ourselves, and loving ourselves — both for our own benefit and for the benefit of everyone around us.

I saw Dr. Andrew Weil on Larry King Live a number of years ago. Dr. Weil, who has been a leader in the field of alternative medicine for decades, was talking to Larry about the importance of self-care. He mentioned that there is a great model for this in the human body — the heart. Dr. Weil said, “Each time the heart beats, it first pumps blood to itself, then to the rest of the body. It has to work this way in order for us to stay alive.” He continued, “The same is true for us as human beings. We have to take care of ourselves first, so we can take care of others.”

Self-care is fundamental to not only our personal well-being but also to our relationships with the people closest to us. It empowers us to be more available and generous with the people around us in an authentic way, while modeling to them how we want to be treated. As Michael Bernard Beckwith says, “The Golden Rule is ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.’ The Platinum Rule is ‘How I treat myself is training others how to treat me.’”

Taking care of ourselves takes courage, commitment, and willingness. Given the nature of our busy lives, it’s not so easy, logistically or emotionally, for us to make and keep our self-care commitments. It’s not about doing it “right” or “perfectly,” or even about following some detailed plan to a tee. It’s simply about remembering that we deserve to take care of ourselves, and when we do, it not only nourishes us but also allows us to be available for important things and people in our lives.

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Ivon Prefontaine's curator insight, May 6, 3:35 PM

When we take good care of our self, we extend ourselves to others we come in contact with. We are healthier and our relationships can be healthier.

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25 ideas for teaching your kids resiliency

25 ideas for teaching your kids resiliency | Cultural Trendz | Scoop.it

 “Don’t handicap your children by making their lives easy.” -Robert A. Heinlein

With the plethora of shopping opportunities, the ability to communicate across the world in an instant, and electronic entertainment coming from every direction, life in today’s world is fast-paced and full-on.  Anything seems possible.  And with so many options and devices at our disposal, parents can be tempted to make their kids’ lives very easy.

Want that $2 toy?  Okay, you got it.  (Better to avoid a melt down, right?)

However if we want our children to stand up to the inevitable challenges they will face in the future and keep going despite disappointment or frustration, we need to help our children develop resilience.  This means they need to practice coping skills, and therefore need some challenges to practice these skills with.

After all, life is not about figuring out how to turn off a thunderstorm or switch on the sun – no matter how much we would like this to be possible.

Our children will learn to be much happier, more resilient people, when they can enjoy the sunshine when it is around and dance in the rain when there is no other choice.
25 ideas for how you can teach your kids resilience:

The list below is not your typical “do and don’t” list but rather a set of prompts to begin reflecting on ways we can teach our children resilience through simple interactions every day.

* Give your child independence to try new things they initiate, such as climbing at the playground or opening a container, even if you think it is “too hard” for them.

* Encourage your child to serve others or let others go first when sharing food.

* Give your child the opportunity to wait patiently when it is required (such as in a restaurant or during a car ride); do not always provide entertainment.

* Show your child that it is worth making a good decision for the long run even if it’s not the easiest, such as choosing healthy foods over junk foods even if they take longer to prepare.

* Do not give your child every single physical thing they desire (toys, food, clothes, etc) even if “everyone else has it.”

* Enable your child to give toys and clothes away regularly to charity, and teach them that material possessions are simply tools and not answers to happiness.

* Give your child opportunities to help others younger than them, starting with simple ways such as showing the other child pictures in a book.

* Teach your child to identify struggles as challenges to overcome, not tests to avoid, and teach them phrases such as “this too shall pass” or “every challenge makes you stronger” to spark this outlook.

* Encourage your child to maintain a positive attitude about chores or homework by teaching them creative ways to find fun in work.

* If your child is older, give them the chance to wait for family meals instead of snacking any time they want.

* Remind your child to be patient with a younger sibling’s interference with their toys; teach them that relationships are more important than *things*.

* Help your child learn self control regarding electronic mediums and entertainment by demonstrating your own restraint.

* Allow your child to experience the extremes of temperature by dressing accordingly, not hiding away from the weather.

* Resist the urge to run to your child’s rescue immediately, such as when you see them having trouble putting on clothes or feeding themselves.

* Do not allow your child to interrupt when adults are speaking to one another; set up an age-appropriate method for them to practice taking their turn.

* Give your child many opportunities to share their belongings and their food, by inviting guests over and setting up ways they can be generous.

* Introduce new experiences to your child which will help them step outside their comfort zone, such as playing with children who speak another language and trying new foods.
Resist the urge to run to your child’s rescue immediately, such as when you see them having trouble putting on clothes or feeding themselves.

* Do not allow your child to interrupt when adults are speaking to one another; set up an age-appropriate method for them to practice taking their turn.

* Give your child many opportunities to share their belongings and their food, by inviting guests over and setting up ways they can be generous.

* Introduce new experiences to your child which will help them step outside their comfort zone, such as playing with children who speak another language and trying new foods.

* Do not give in when you have set a limit, such as an amount of TV they can watch or how much dessert they can have.

* When your child wants to find something, let them look for it.

* Teach your child how to be responsible for their own clothes as early as possible: to sort and wash and put them away – including washing clothes by hand and hanging them out to dry.

* Remind your children to do their best on school work, even if it means taking longer than they would like or staying up a bit later than normal.

* Require that responsibilities be completed even when your child does not feel like it, such as making beds, taking a bath, feeding the pets, and brushing teeth.

* When your child really wishes they had something, teach them to be grateful and find the best in whatever situation they are in.

* Let your child own their feelings, even if they are challenging, by not belittling the emotions but giving them a way to maintain perspective through phrases such as “Every challenge makes me stronger” or “A rainbow will come after the storm.”

* Enable your child to gain perspective about their reality by volunteering for charitable organizations that serve people who do not have the same life circumstances.


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Four ways to lead through conflict

Four ways to lead through conflict | Cultural Trendz | Scoop.it

Difficulties are meant to rouse, not discourage. The human spirit is to grow strong by conflict. – William E. Channing

French novelist and playwright Alexandre Dumas once had a heated quarrel with a rising young politician. The argument became so intense that a duel was inevitable. Since both men were superb shots they decided to draw lots, the loser agreeing to shoot himself. Dumas lost.

Pistol in hand, he withdrew in silent dignity to another room, closing the door behind him. The rest of the company waited in gloomy suspense for the shot that would end his career. It rang out at last. His friends ran to the door, opened it, and found Dumas, smoking revolver in hand. “Gentlemen, a most regrettable thing has happened,” he announced, “I missed.”

While the way we deal with conflicts has improved, there is still no shortage of conflict. Workplace conflict can be a strong source of stress and tension and being able to lead through those times is essential.

As reported by Recruitment Coach (http://bit.ly/19V0bUc) the negative impacts of workplace conflict leads to increased staff turnover and absenteeism. Their Employee Development Systems survey found that 81% of HR professionals had seen employees resign as a result of conflict, and 77% have noticed increased absenteeism, resulting in increased business cost.

What do you think are the leading contributors to workplace conflict? According to the study the top five causes of workplace conflict were: warring egos and personality clashes, poor leadership, lack of honesty, stress, and clashing values. While conflict in the workplace may be inevitable, ignoring it is not an option. So what is a leader to do? Here are four suggestions for consideration.

Acknowledge it. Until management, including HR, acknowledges that there is a problem there is no correcting it. As a leader you don’t need to be the last in the room to recognize what everyone else knows and experiences. How many employees must leave, how much revenue must you lose, and how much abuse do you think your employees must endure before you act? When you identify the problem you can begin to work on solutions, but not until then. Poor leadership was cited for a reason. Don’t add to the problem through omission.

Welcome it. Yes, welcome it! Warring egos and personalities among your people, when properly channeled, can be one of the single greatest sources of inspiration you need. General George S. Patton was accurate when he said, “If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn’t thinking.” When perceived threats are removed and differences are celebrated rather than attacked it can be the turning point in creating the company culture that you’ve been missing. Don’t squelch diversity; welcome it.

Elevate it. Now that you have acknowledged and welcomed conflict you can elevate it to a higher level. Rather than allowing warring personalities to be labeled as enemies, bring them together as allies to channel their creative energies for something good. Invest in a training program like DISC to discover personality styles and how to create the chemistry your team needs to succeed. It’s when you respectfully have everyone on the same page, when values are clear, and communication is honest, that you can learn to see the value conflict can have. It might sound risky, but consider the consequences of inaction.

Celebrate it. Leading through conflict will not be easy. It will take honesty to face your conflict and courage to change it. But once you do you can position yourself to be the benefactor of conflict and not the victim. When your employees see each other as teammates rather than adversaries it can be celebrated.  Diversity of thoughts, ideas, and personalities is one of your greatest assets and it should never be destroyed by poor leadership or out-of-control egos. Your workplace should be a place of celebration!

What do you say?
See more at: http://www.leadersbeacon.com/four-ways-to-lead-through-conflict/#sthash.WP7BnU8M.dpuf

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Developing mindful leaders for the C-suite

Developing mindful leaders for the C-suite | Cultural Trendz | Scoop.it

Time Magazine recently put “The Mindfulness Revolution” on its cover, which could either be seen as hyping the latest business fad, or as signaling a major change in the thinking of executive leaders. I believe it’s the latter.

The use of mindful practices like meditation, introspection, and journaling are taking hold at such successful enterprises as Google, General Mills, Goldman Sachs, Apple, Medtronic, and Aetna, and contributing to the success of these remarkable organizations. Let’s look at a few examples:

    With support from CEO Larry Page, Google’s Chade-Meng Tan, known as Google’s Jolly Good Fellow, runs hundreds of classes on meditation and has written a best-selling book, Search Inside Yourself.


    General Mills, under the guidance of CEO Ken Powell, has made meditation a regular practice. Former executive Janice Marturano, who led the company’s internal classes, has left the company to launch the Institute for Mindful Leadership, which conducts executive courses in mindfulness meditation.


    Goldman Sachs, which moved up 48 places in Fortune Magazine’s Best Places to Work list, was recently featured in Fortune for its mindfulness classes and practices.


    At Apple, founder Steve Jobs — who was a regular meditator — used mindfulness to calm his negative energies, to focus on creating unique products, and to challenge his teams to achieve excellence.


    Thanks to the vision of founder Earl Bakken, Medtronic has a meditation room that dates back to 1974 which became a symbol of the company’s commitment to creativity.


    Under the leadership of CEO Mark Bertolini, Aetna has done rigorous studies of both meditation and yoga and their positive impact on employee healthcare costs.

These competitive companies understand the enormous pressure faced by their employees — from their top executives on down. They recognize the need to take more time to reflect on what’s most important in order to create ways to overcome difficult challenges. We all need to find ways to sort through myriad demands and distractions, but it’s especially important that leaders with great responsibilities gain focus and clarity in making their most important decisions, creativity in transforming their enterprises, compassion for their customers and employees, and the courage to go their own way.

Focus, clarity, creativity, compassion, and courage. These are the qualities of the mindful leaders I have worked with, taught, mentored, and interviewed. They are also the qualities that give today’s best leaders the resilience to cope with the many challenges coming their way and the resolve to sustain long-term success. The real point of leverage — which though it sounds simple, many executives never discover — is the ability to think clearly and to focus on the most important opportunities.

In his new book Focus, psychologist Dr. Daniel Goleman, the father of emotional intelligence (or EQ), provides data that supports the importance of mindfulness in focusing the mind’s cognitive abilities, linking them to qualities of the heart like compassion and courage. Dr. Goleman prescribes a framework for success that enables leaders to build clarity about where to direct their attention and that of their organizations by focusing on themselves, others, and the external world — in that order.  Cultivating this type of focus requires establishing regular practices that allow your brain to fully relax and let go of the anxiousness, confusion, and pressures that can fill the day. (Editor’s note: here is Daniel Goleman’s related HBR article, The Focused Leader.)

I began meditating in 1975 after attending a Transcendental Meditation workshop with my wife Penny, and have continued the practice for the past 38 years. (In spite of this, I still do mindless things like leaving my laptop on an airplane, but I continue to work on staying in the present moment.) All of our family members meditate regularly. Our son Jeff, a successful executive in his own right, believes he would not be successful in his high-stress job were it not for daily meditation and jogging.

Meditation is not the only way to be a mindful leader. In the classes I teach at Harvard Business School, participating executives share a wide range of practices they use to calm their minds and gain clarity in their thinking. They report that the biggest derailer of their leadership is not lack of IQ or intensity, but the challenges they face in staying focused and healthy. To be equipped for the rapid-fire intensity of executive life, they cultivate daily practices that allow them to regularly renew their minds, bodies, and spirits. Among these are prayer, journaling, jogging and/or physical workouts, long walks, and in-depth discussions with their spouses and mentors.

The important thing is to have a regular introspective practice that takes you away from your daily routines and enables you to reflect on your work and your life — to really focus on what is truly important to you. By doing so, you will not only be more successful, you will be happier and more fulfilled in the long run.

Vilma Bonilla's insight:

"The use of meditation, introspection, and journaling are taking hold at successful enterprises."

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Accepting uncertainty-- We can be happy without all the answers

Accepting uncertainty-- We can be happy without all the answers | Cultural Trendz | Scoop.it

“The quality of your life is in direct proportion to the amount of uncertainty you can comfortably deal with.” ~Tony Robbins

I’ve recently begun to feel as though I am at a crossroads in my career and, as a result, have been feeling very uncomfortable.

I love what I do, working with clients and mentoring new therapists, however, I’m also a mom to two little ones and am feeling the ache of the impermanence of their childhood. This has left me wanting to spend more time at home with them and, therefore, possibly working less.

If you would have asked me when I was twenty-five years old, I knew with absolute certainty that I would never want to be a stay-at-home mom.

In fact, most of my life has been colored by a laser-sharp determination and an absolute knowing of what my next step was going to be. I’m a bit of a perfectionist and a lot of a control freak!

Today, I’m sitting in a much different place; today, I’m sitting in uncertainty. I don’t know what the next step will be for me.

There are so many unknowns at this point: do I want to work or do I want to stay home, what other options do I have, where can my practice grow from here, where can I grow from here, and so on. My automatic response to this uncertainty is to obsess endlessly until I figure it out.

However, what I’ve come to realize is that all of my ideas of “knowing” actually block me from the truth more than they reveal it.

Uncertainty makes us feel vulnerable and so we try and escape it any way that we can.

We convince ourselves that we are fortune tellers and can therefore see the future. We make ourselves crazy, spinning our minds through the same handful of scenarios we come up with, over and over again, never feeling any closer to some sort of resolution.

However, it seems a great paradox of life that it is actually through embracing the uncertainty that we thrive. Our lives are greatly determined by what we do when we get uncertain.

Without uncertainty, we might never grow because we would never be pushed beyond our comfort zones.

Many of us have experienced staying in a soul-sucking job or an unhealthy relationship because the uncertainty of leaving those situations created more anxiety than the certainty of staying in those unhappy situations.

Many people do not end up following their true passions because it is seemingly impractical, or because there is a large degree of perceived uncertainty associated with following that path.

There are no guarantees when we step into the unknown. But it is in these periods of discomfort that life’s most important adventures can arise.

Making peace with uncertainty requires courage, faith, and trust that you will in fact be taken care of, that no matter what happens, you’ll find a way through it, that you don’t have to have all of the answers today.

Contrary to popular ideas, not knowing exactly what will happen next in our lives is okay. In fact, it is actually liberating.

The ability to let go, not know, and not try to totally control what will happen next is a necessary skill for living happy, joyous, and free.

Most spiritual practices ask us to consider the possibility that there is a power greater than ourselves at work and, therefore, it is okay to let go of the reigns sometimes.

I have found it easier to let go in many circumstances when I’m able to recognize that I’m not the only force at play, that there are circumstances far beyond my control that are impacting life and what the future holds.

If we fixate on “solving” problems, we tend to get tunnel-visioned and we walk around with blinders on, failing to see the possibilities.

We can’t embrace a new uncertain future when we are fully attached to our old lives or an idea of how we think something should be.  

I have found that when I am in that anxious, fearful state, where I’m trying figure it all out on my own, that noise in my head that is trying to control everything will often drown out my intuition.

When we accept that things are unknown, that we don’t have all of the answers, we can see that teachings are always available if we are paying attention. When we trust, let go, and embrace the uncertainty, that noise in our own minds subsides.

Ironically, the quietness created by letting go of the need to know then allows contact with our own intuition, and we actually get clearer direction from within our own hearts and we can feel more certain about this direction.   

I’ve heard it said that the furthest distance in the universe is from the head to the heart, but it is in stillness that we find this path. It is in the quiet space that we can get out of our heads and connect more deeply with ourselves, thereby allowing ourselves to be open to the possibilities when they arrive.

I have found meditation to be an incredibly useful tool to facilitate this connection. Carving out time in my day specifically for getting quiet and getting still has allowed me to find some peace with the fact that, for today, I don’t have all the answers of what’s going to happen next.

I’m able to set mindful intentions for myself to remain present and aware throughout my day, within the context that I am proceeding onto a new path in my life. With fearful dialogue in my head quieted, this skill is enhanced and I am open to new possibilities.

I will continue learning to listen to my heart, which let’s me know that I am okay even though I don’t have all of the answers.

And you are too.

Vilma Bonilla's insight:

Good insight.

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Ivon Prefontaine's curator insight, February 26, 5:05 PM

We have to be happy without all the answers. There are always more questions and uncertainty than their are answers. That is what makes it interesting.