How To Be Your Own Hero (Even When You Feel Defeated)

Don’t wait for someone else to save you. Save yourself.

Asking for help is an underrated skill. You simply cannot do it all, all of the time. That said, you are stronger than you think, and there are times when you really do need to dig deep and rely on yourself.

Superman is not coming. Sometimes, you need to be your own superhero.

If I could be anyone at all, I would choose to be Wonder Woman. She is the most formidable of female superheroes.

As a little girl, I was captivated watching Lynda Carter on television. As Wonder Woman, she rescued herself from bondage and fought off villains with her incredible skill and bag of tricks, including bullet-proof bracelets, tiara, and lasso of truth. She was the symbol of confidence and power, and a Greek goddess of love and war.

Back then, I was her, spinning in my yard, and transforming from Diana Prince into Wonder Woman -- defender of justice, lover of peace, and fierce protector of humanity.

As adults, too, it can be empowering to call on your favourite hero or heroine. It can give you the extra boost you need to face your villains – real or imagined.

The first step is changing your mindset

Before you can invoke your inner superhero, you need to shift your mindset.

If you are drowning in negativity, stop. If you’re overwhelmed by too many priorities, stop. If you can’t catch a break, stop. If you feel let down, stop. If you’re down-right defeated, stop.

You don’t need to feel negative, overwhelmed, disappointed, or hopeless. Instead, imagine yourself being strong, in control, happy, hopeful and self-assured. When you visualize how you want to be, then in some sense you already embody those characteristics.

If you’re still having trouble ‘flipping’ your state of mind and removing your limiting beliefs, there are a few things you need to do:

1.      Believe that you matter.

You have a gift that you were meant to bring into the world. If you’ve yet to discover it, don’t despair. You will figure out it out – either on your own or with some help.

Interrupt your old, unproductive thought patterns and remind yourself that you matter in this world. You matter to others. You matter to yourself.

You are worthy of greatness and self-love.

2.      Trust in yourself.

Know that you have the answers within you. The more present you can be, the more in tune with yourself you will be. Connect with your senses, your gut, and other ways of knowing.

3.      Practice.

Be aware of your triggers and pull yourself up. Regularly imagine yourself succeeding. Practice positive self-talk.

When I forget my superpowers, I turn to the picture of Wonder Woman on my vision board. I then remember what is possible.

With your empowering beliefs and habits established and self-trust in hand, you, too, can start to take back your personal power. You can be that superhero from your childhood – and rescue yourself!

Here are 7 things you can do to tap into your inner hero and conquer your world, starting today.

1.      Fight for something.

Think about what’s important to you. What are your values and standards? What is right and wrong in the world? Then, be an advocate for the little guy, a friend or family member who needs help, or a cause you can get behind.

When you live in integrity and make a difference, you feel good. Watch your own problems melt away!

2.      Self-regulate.

Do you think Batman could have successfully fought off villains like the Joker if he’d lost his cool? Neither will you! Staying calm, present, and grounded will win the day. You’ll be quicker on your feet, more resilient and ready to face the next tests of strength and endurance.

3.      Think positively.

When you dwell on the negative, you will attract more negativity. Heroes don’t let problems get them down. They thrive on challenge and believe in a successful outcome.

Repeat an affirmation like “I can do it” or “Super Girl to the rescue!” to pump you up. Positive words, lead to positive thoughts that lead to positive beliefs about yourself.

4.      Be self-aware.

A superhero needs to be intensely self-aware. Figure out your superpowers and use them to the fullest. Wolverine has supersonic ears that he uses to detect his enemies. Superman has a body of steel to repel bullets – and of course, he can leap tall buildings in a single bound! Maybe your strength is empathy or negotiating skills. Whatever it is, let it propel your self-confidence.

It’s also important to take stock of your soft-spots (otherwise known as weaknesses). What is your kryptonite? Name your vices or growing edges, compensate for them and put a plan in place to shore them up.

Even superheroes need to develop their gifts. Some honest and compassionate self-reflection can ensure that you’re using what you’ve got to your advantage.

5.      Mobilize your resources.

Consider what resources you have at your disposal to help you out of a situation. What is your golden lasso? It could be a massage therapist, babysitter, friend, parent, mentor, or coach. Call for backup.

Most superheroes have a sidekick who arrives just in time when there’s an onslaught of new challenges or threats. Think Wonder Girl or Robin.

6.      Act like your hero.

If you’re stuck and not sure how to get out of your rut, ask yourself, “What would my superhero do?” My Wonder Woman would not jump to conclusions or catastrophize. Instead, she would seek the truth, use compassion, and stay calm.

Once you have a clear mental picture of your hero in action, do as they would. Act as if you’re them!

7.      Face your fear.

Be afraid and do it anyway. Take a few deep breaths and push through overwhelm and fear. Wonder Woman didn’t quake in her knee-high boots when confronted by danger! Get into that phone booth, regroup, and turn yourself into your hero.

Obstacles, difficulties, and some suffering are inevitable in life. But, you have a choice in how you respond. You can choose to lift yourself above it all; you can decide to summon your internal hero or heroine. In doing so, you will see that like him or her, you can do anything you set your mind to do.

Feel the exhilaration of looking defeat in the eye and save your own day!

Lisa Petsinis is a certified coach who works with resourceful individuals who want to let their brilliance shine. Contact her for a breakthrough call or sign up for her newsletter for even more advice.

5 Reasons Why You Need To Do A Vision Board

It will change your life.

You bring into your life what you imagine. And when you’re depleted, unfocused, or unclear about what you want, you get more of the same.

What if your life could be different?

What if you could move from depleted to energized, scattered to focused, uncertain to clear, unsatisfied to fulfilled?

Making a vision board can help you create the outcomes you want in all areas of your life. In doing my own vision boards, and leading vision board workshops, I’ve learned that it’s more than gluing pictures onto a board. It’s about reflecting on what you want, letting go of what’s in the way, designing a vision that calls to you, and then putting in place habits that will ensure the likelihood of your success.

And, yes, you walk away with your very own piece of art; a visual manifestation of your ideal life!

Why it works

Many successful people like Oprah Winfrey, Ellen DeGeneres, Steve Harvey, and Jim Carrey all swear by vision boards. Of course, they all worked hard for the success they’ve achieved, but they also used the power of intention. They envisioned the life they wanted, purposefully engaged with their vision boards, and adopted positive energy practices to keep their dreams in constant focus.

Talk to people about the Law of Attraction and you will find many who will tell you how they used it to manifest their dream house, partner, job – and life. It’s not quite as simple as fantasizing about your lottery numbers, but visualization does work.

It’s no accident that Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus, Michael Phelps, and Mohammad Ali performed so well.  They all used visualization before every event.  Jack Nicklaus is widely known to have said: “I never hit a shot, not even in practice, without having a very sharp in-focus picture of it in my head.”

The same visualization techniques used in sports psychology apply here as well.  When you have a clear picture of what you want to do, be, have in your life, and how you want to feel, you’re much more likely to take actions that are in alignment and bring in more of what brings you joy. The words on your vision board act as affirmations, too. Your subconscious will be regularly receiving positive messages that will spur you on.

Part of the magic is believing that you can have the life you want; that you’re worth it.  It all starts with positive thoughts, leading to positive beliefs, leading to positive actions. Then, when you let the universe take care of the rest, you’ll see how it can bring you what you’re asking for and make you feel like you’re on top of the world.

Don’t pass up this opportunity to realize your aspirations! Here are 5 reasons to make creating a vision board a priority:

1.       You’re living someone else’s dreams instead of your own.

If you are doing a job you don’t love or ended up in a career by chance, or because of parental expectations, you’re not living your dreams. Stop the chatter of others’ expectations of you and give yourself permission to explore what is right for you. You’ll never be truly happy until you live the life meant for you.

2.       You’ve lost yourself in your commitments to others.

Sometimes when you become a parent or become part of a couple, or when you simply get caught up in the busyness of life, you stop caring for yourself. If you are no longer doing things you used to do – things that bring you joy – you need to put a priority on yourself again. Reconnect with what matters to you – your strengths, values, passions – and allow yourself some time to daydream.

When you create a vision board, you lead with your heart and intuition.  You select images and words that speak to you and draw you in. You're no longer lost; you're found.

3.       You’re going through a life transition.

If you’ve recently lost your job, gotten married, had a child, returned to the workplace, broken up with a partner, recovered from illness, or entered midlife or retirement, this is a great time to make a vision board.

Change is inevitable. Sometimes it means that you need to experience the doldrums. And as confusing as this can be, going through a life change presents you with an excellent opportunity to do some reflection on your life and get re-energized for the next phase of your journey. The caterpillar is free to become a butterfly.

4.       You know there is something more for you in life.

The best way to figure out your purpose is to reconnect with yourself and your strengths, values, and passions. Figure out when you’ve felt the most in alignment, confident and fulfilled. Then, make a pact with yourself to enrich your life with more of what energizes you.

When you make a vision board, you can stand back and look at the richness of it, and your purpose will become more evident; it screams out a message to you. In my workshops, participants are eager to get each other’s perspective on what the board is saying, and it's one of the illuminating parts of the experience.

5.       You’re tired of the lack of results.

You’ve tried other self-help programs without success. Either you are taking the wrong approach, or something is holding you back. Remove the blockages at last, and achieve your goals. Open yourself up to the possibilities that the vision board self-discovery will bring. The fact is, visualization works.

If you’re ready to live an authentic life, find your purpose, navigate a transition with hope, and just plain get what you want out of life, now is the time to create a vision board. You’ll be amazed how fun, inspiring and powerful the process can be. Every decision you make about your future after that will be through the lens of your vision board, and you’ll finally live in the abundance you deserve.

Lisa Petsinis is a career and life coach who works with resourceful individuals who want to get the most out of their lives. Visit her website to learn about her services and upcoming Your Life By Design Vision Board Workshops. You can also contact Lisa for a breakthrough coaching call, or sign up for her newsletter for even more advice.

 

 

 

How To Raise Kind Kids (Because It Matters More Than Ever)

Teach them kindness matters.

It’s true that some kids are more innately sensitive and kind. It comes easily to them to care for others; it’s instinctual. They actually feel others’ pain as much as their own.

Most other kids, however, learn kindness from a variety of life experiences and most importantly from their primary caregivers. Parents play a significant role in molding what children have been genetically given, and sometimes, those same parents have not been taught about kindness in a deliberate way.

First, let’s understand the definition of kindness.

The Oxford English Dictionary defines kindness as “the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate.” The Urban Dictionary goes further to say that “kindness is doing something and not expecting anything in return. Kindness is respect and helping others without waiting for someone to help one back. It implies kindness no matter what.”

Why kindness matters

Being kind can open a lot of doors in life – in making new friends, getting along at the office, establishing enduring love relationships, bonding the family together, and interacting with members of society. It’s table stakes. You can’t live a very fulfilled life without being kind and genuinely embracing kindness.

Beyond the immediate benefits for yourself, kindness matters to others – it matters to the world. In an age of entitlement and speed, where the lack of respect for things, patience, working for something, or savouring the moment is more commonplace. Bullying and cyberbullying are more prominent and rampant. Sadly, some kids can become cruel and vengeful, instead of respectful, giving, and loving.

Even sweet kids like yours can develop self-esteem and emotional regulation issues right under your nose. And these can all fester and result in unwanted behaviours that spill over into other parts of your kids, lives, too.

Kindness is a decision you take in the moment to make someone's life better. With one smile, one look of understanding, one gesture, or one word, you can change a life.

Make the difference and show your kids what kindness looks like, and how they can be kind themselves.

Here are five ways to instill kindness in your kids so they can live authentic and altruistic lives:

1.       Show yourself kindness.

Kindness starts with you. If you can show yourself compassion, you can truly model it to someone else. Make self-care and self-compassion your biggest priorities, because if you don’t, you won’t have any kindness to give anyone else. Treat yourself to an ice-cream, nap, or a massage. Forgive yourself when you mess up or when you’re going through a difficult time.

Fill up your own kindness tank first.

2.       Model kindness to them.

Demonstrate kindness toward others (and yourself) so that your kids see kindness in action. Volunteer at a food bank or shelter and let them see the impact of your actions on someone else’s life. You can teach them everyday kind gestures, too, when they observe you giving someone an unexpected gift or simply extending a compliment.

Talk about the act of kindness afterward, too, so that your actions are reinforced. “Did you see her face when she opened the card? She was crying tears of joy. It made me so happy to see her that way!”

Show them that caring for others is an important part of life.

3.       Teach them about empathy.

Let your kids experience what it’s like to feel someone else’s pain – or joy. Allow them to literally walk in another’s shoes. You can do this by introducing them to different cultures and having them experience life as if they were a different person. Take them to your local pioneer village, museum, ethnic neighbourhood or cultural centre. Travel the world.

On a regular basis, get kids involved in caring for younger siblings and connect them with older adults. Exposing kids to a wider range of perspectives, encouraging curiosity instead of judgment, and promoting inclusivity are great ways to develop empathy.

Help your kids to see that there is never a reason to tear someone else down to build yourself up, to belittle or embarrass someone, to show intolerance or hate, or to harm another living soul.

Show your kids that everyone is valuable and equally deserving of kindness.

4.       Help them to regulate their emotions.

Help your kids to see that there are positive, healthy, and productive ways to process and channel their emotions. Frustration, anger, and jealousy may come up and these feelings may be ok to feel, but not always appropriate or helpful to act out. Acknowledge their feelings, and then teach your kids to identify their emotional triggers, and how to manage them. This might involve deep breathing, counting to ten, or stepping back or out of the room until they can regroup, regain their perspective, and act more considerately.

5.       Catch them doing good.

Notice when your kid is demonstrating kindness. Tell them, “That was so kind of you to…” and clearly explain the positive difference they made. 

Be careful not to scold them or shame your kids when they forget a thank you. Instead, stick to praising them when they are well behaved, able to control their emotions, and in a ready place to show others consideration, empathy, and generosity.

When you’ve shown your kids that kindness matters, they will not only be responsible members of your community, but they will get more joy out of life. Your kids will one day thank you for teaching them about self-compassion, doing unto others, empathy, and channeling their emotions for good. You’ll have raised great kids who will positively enrich the lives of others they meet and who will do great things for themselves, their own kids, and the world.

Lisa Petsinis is a certified life coach who works with strong and resourceful women to build lasting life skills — like confidence and resilience — that will help them achieve their life goals. Sign up for her newsletter for even more advice, or contact her for a free breakthrough call to jumpstart the changes you want to make in your life today.

 

4 Powerful Ways To Declutter Your Life

Work from the inside out.

Typically, people think of decluttering their home. They go from room to room, picking up objects and determining if they have been used or will be useful in the future. They also consider whether the items bring them joy.

But what not be considered so often is what else needs to be cleared out of your life. Before you tackle the usual stuff, it may serve you better to think about decluttering the inside stuff – your inner world and thoughts – so that you can grow as a person, and later approach decluttering the physical stuff with a new lens.

Each spring, before new plants can be free to grow, the debris needs to be taken away.  The same is true for your growth. You need to clear out what no longer serves you in your life - old goals, old limiting beliefs, old patterns, old commitments, old guilt - and whatever else is holding you back from experiencing your true potential.  You can journal it out, throw it out, ceremonially burn it out - just get rid of it so that you can be finally free to move forward.

Set aside some quiet time with a notebook to reflect on your life as it is. Then, open your heart to the wonderful possibilities ahead.

Here are some ways to declutter that can have a life-changing impact:

1.        Reflect on your goals for this year.

  • What have you accomplished so far this year? 
  • What needs fine-tuning?
  • What needs more focus?
  • What is getting in the way or holding you back?
  • What is no longer a priority? What's an emerging priority?

2.       Consider the relationships in your life.

  • Which relationships are pulling you down?
  • Which ones energize you and you want to invest more in?
  • What can you do to revitalize your love relationship or search for a new one?
  • How is your relationship with yourself?

3.       Examine old hurts, self-imposed barriers, and regrets.

  • What can you let go of?
  • What can you give a fresh look or a restart?

4.       Take stock of your self-care routine.

  • What do you need to take care of physically? Make that Dr. appointment you've been meaning to make, get a massage, or make a commitment to yourself to exercise or get more sleep. 
  • What are you doing to nourish your body, so that it can give you energy, happiness, and health?
  • What are you doing to feed your soul? What brings you joy and how can you inject more of that into your life?

When you take a closer look at your life, you may realize that you’re on the right track, you have an abundance of good in your life, and so much opportunity to bring in more of what you love. Bit by bit, by decluttering your life -- not just your home -- you can make room for what really matters, what really serves you, and the greatness that lies ahead.

Lisa Petsinis is a certified coach who works with resourceful individuals who want to get unstuck and realize their aspirations. Contact her for a free breakthrough coaching call and jumpstart the changes in your life starting today.

 

Where To Find Hope (When You Think You've Lost It For Good)

Life can take some winding turns – sometimes it can even kick you in the shins. And just when you’re down, something else happens to turn your case of bad luck into something more persistent and debilitating.

A break-up, a lost job, financial setback, or an illness can all be triggers for your feelings of lost hope. “Don’t lose hope,” you’re told by a well-intentioned friend. Easy to say; harder to do.

Wikipedia defines hope as “an optimistic state of mind that is based on an expectation of positive outcomes with respect to events and circumstances in one's life or the world at large.”  It’s about being confident and looking forward with anticipation.  

It sounds so Pollyanna. But why is it that so many people get stuck and lose their optimism?

A psychologist, researcher, and educator named Dr. Martin Seligman called the Father of Positive Psychology, coined the term learned helplessness. He studied animals who were forced to bear unpleasant stimuli and who became eventually unable and unwilling to avoid subsequent situations. In the studies, the animals learned to be helpless. They lost confidence in their ability to get out of the situation; they believed they were powerless. They lost hope.

Humans behave in quite the same way. Beaten down and overwhelmed, you, too, can sometimes lose hope - even when hope exists.

The late Wayne Dyer said, “You are not stuck where you are unless you decide to be.

There is a way out by replacing your current beliefs with new, healthier beliefs.

And while you may be tempted to analyze where those limiting beliefs came from, it’s easier and even more important to simply look for sources of hope.

Here are 10 places to find hope, even if it seems like you’ve lost it for good:

1.       Find it in the outcome you want.

Close your eyes and envision the outcome you want. What does it look like? Who is there with you? Crystallize this vision with all your senses and bring it to life. 

Now, what would it mean for you to have this outcome – this new job, financial security, better health, soulmate relationship, or whatever? How much do you want it?

If you can see it and you want it, you can have it.

2.       Find it in a new perspective.

Observe your life from a new angle. Climb a mountain or stand on a chair and imagine yourself looking down at your life. What do you see? What new insights do you have?

Or think of a metaphor. Visualize a beautiful bird, or dog, that has been caged in. Walk up to the cage, open the door, and let that bird fly. Let that dog run through the pasture. Now, free yourself to new possibilities.

3.       Find it in spirituality or religion.

For centuries people have found solace in the spiritual world or religious teaching. Whichever practice you choose; it doesn’t really matter. There are enough wisdom and optimism in the fables, miracles, and prayer to comfort you and have faith in something bigger guiding your life.

4.       Find it in a book.

You will find more role models – and everyday heroes, at your local bookstore than you can believe. Get into their world and let their stories remind you that with courage, confidence, and determination, anything is possible.

Here is a personal favourite:   I Am Malala: How One Girl Stood Up for Education and Changed the World 

5.       Find it in your past challenges and successes.

Sometimes you need to remind yourself how much you’ve grown in your life to date and what difficulties you’ve overcome already. Think about two (2) challenges you’ve faced in the past. What did you learn from them? How did getting through them make your life better?

Often what we initially think of as a tragedy or a shame, turns into a powerful lesson that we needed to learn. Honor those experiences and remind yourself that what you’re facing now will soon be a notch on your belt.

6.       Find it on your gratitude list.

In a journal or on a piece of beautiful notepaper, make a list of everything that you’re grateful for. When you see what matters in your life – the people who are there to support you, the achievements you’ve had, the resources at your fingertips, the pleasures you've enjoyed, you will see the many, many reasons to have hope.

7.       Find it in a mindful walk.

Exercise can invigorate the mind and the body. And mindful walking can invigorate your soul.

Take a walk in your neighborhood – and see it as if for the first time. Notice your neighbor smiling hello. See the glee in a child’s eyes as they swing in the park. Feel the wind on your face and in your hair. Smell the lilacs blooming. Hear the birds chirping, calling the beginning of spring.

Fill your heart with joy and gratitude – and hope.

8.       Find it with a therapist or coach.

If you are struggling to find hope yourself, reach out for help. A trusted professional can invite awareness you never knew you had and work with you to shift your mindset. A positive attitude, confidence, and effective strategies will lift you up and get you back on track.

9.       Find it in a daily affirmation.

There is no replacement for the hope you can build yourself, in yourself. Sometimes you have to say it to think it and think it to believe it. Language embodies thought.

That’s where affirmations come in. Forget about how you feel now; that won’t serve you. Instead, think about how you want to feel. Write it out and say it loud and proud:

  • “I am brave.”
  • “I am optimistic.”
  • “I can and will do this.”
  • “There is always a way.”
  • “I have hope for and enthusiasm about my future.”

10.   Find it in the pages of your journal.  

Keeping a journal is beneficial in so many ways. First, it’s an outlet for your thoughts. Second, it’s a way to problem solve. Jot down things you can do to improve your situation. And third, it’s a way to document and see your journey with fresh eyes. Notice the baby steps you’ve taken, read about your progress. See the light.

You will be optimistic again soon. Get out of your physical and mental headspace and search for that hope you’ve lost in some of these places.

Most importantly, believe that you can find it again, and you will. And when you do, share your story with others, so they can find their hope, too.

Lisa Petsinis is a certified coach who works with resourceful individuals who want to get unstuck. Contact her for a free breakthrough coaching call and jumpstart the changes in your life starting today.

15 Healthy Ways To Process Grief (When Someone You Love Is Suddenly Gone)

You will get through it.

Death is a certainty in life. You cannot escape it yourself, nor can you evade experiencing the death of someone you love. Sooner or later, a person you care about – a parent, a grandparent, a spouse, a friend, or a child, will pass away. Then, another.

Sometimes the person lost was ill or aged, other times it was an accident. Other times, it was something else very tragic that took their life.  And you – who remain, are left devastated, with what seems like unbearable grief.

When my grandfather recently passed away, it wasn’t so unexpected, really. He was 91 and he had lived an incredible life, though in the past few years he had become quite frail. When I told my young daughter the news, she cried “it’s too soon!”

It was far too soon for me, also.

It’s always too soon.

You may never be fully ready to say goodbye to someone you’ve loved and who has made such a difference in your life.  And yet, the circle of life continues, and after the shock and disbelief wane, it’s time to begin to imagine a life without your loved one.

Not everyone can move ahead easily. There is often an emotional roller coaster of overwhelm, anger, blame, sadness, guilt, exhaustion, relief or other feelings.

The critical thing to realize is that grief is a normal and natural response to loss. And how you experience it will be different than anyone else.  Grief is your pain.

Your mourning will be influenced by many factors including your relationship to the person, the circumstances of their death, your personality, your past experience with loss, your spirituality, and your level of resilience.

Even though your grief is unique to you, there is such thing as functional grief. That is, grief that allows you to acknowledge your emotions and experience them, and ultimately integrate your loss into your ongoing existence.

It’s reasonable to take time to recover from what is a significant wound. Despite that, some people’s grief moves into unhealthy grief. Unhealthy bereavement happens when the suffering is prolonged, interrupts normal activities or daytime routines, or otherwise holds people back from living their lives. If this is you, or if you feel like life isn’t worth living, speak with a mental health professional immediately. With treatment, you can recover.

Maybe you feel like you are in between grieving and recovery now. Well, you don’t have to be the person who fails to adequately grieve because you cannot tolerate the associated pain or due to a misguided belief that mourning equals weakness.

You don’t have to avoid getting in touch with your feelings. You don’t have to remain stuck.

Instead, you can be patient and compassionate with yourself, be emotionally available to yourself and others, and welcome the return of joy - as well as honouring the sadness.

If you’re heartbroken and seriously missing someone you’ve lost, here are 15 ways to deal with your grief in a healthy way:

1. Cry.

Contrary to the song “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” they do. And so do big boys. Tears are not a sign of weakness, but of love and strength.

So, go ahead and sob. Sob hard. Your body needs the physical release of your emotions. Crying helps to restore much-needed balance.

2. Talk it out.

Share how you’re feeling with a significant other, friend, or family member. This is particularly helpful for extroverts who process their thoughts as they speak (and be aware of withdrawing as a sign of stress). Introverts may prefer some time alone – and that’s ok, though you may extrovert your distress at times when you're feeling in the grip.

It’s important to acknowledge and express your feelings in some way. Have you noticed that when you articulate an emotion, it suddenly subsides?

3. Speak to a doctor, spiritual leader, therapist, counselor or coach.

If you already have a trusted professional in your life, they can be an unbiased ear. Enlist their support through this challenging time to explore your thoughts about life and death, and build strategies for moving forward.

If you are continuing to have difficulty, or your grief has become dysfunctional, get help from a professional right away.

4. Practice self-care.

Your body and mind are going through an intense experience. Make sure that you’re getting an extra boost of self-care, such as taking a nap when you need to, taking supplements if you’re not eating as well, or making an appointment for a massage to ease your stress and strains.

5. Do some deep breathing.

When grief hits it affects the heart, mind, and body.  Sometimes something as simple as stopping to take a few deep breaths can allow you to get centered and cease the overwhelm. Sit with your back firmly against a chair and your feet planted on the ground. Place one hand on your belly and feel your breath in and out.

Do some deep breathing before an event or encounter that you anticipate being stressful, such as the funeral or sharing your sad news with someone else.

6. Write in a journal.

Go out and buy a notebook that reminds you of the person you’ve lost or something that brings you joy when you pick it up. Then, give yourself a few hours to sit by yourself and write freely.

Write about what happened, how you feel, all the things you remember about the person or your memories of being with them, and everything they did that touched your life.

As the days pass, continue to write in your journal about whatever is coming up for you. Expressing your thoughts and feelings without judgment is a way to move through them.

The other day I found my high school journal and in it an excerpt from the day my other grandfather passed away. I was flooded with emotion once again, but at the same time, I was so glad I had documented my loss. It allowed me to reconnect with him and the loss, as well as fill me with thankfulness.

7. Write a song or poem.

Express your feelings creatively in a poem or song about the person. This activity is especially helpful for children who are grieving and need an outlet. The night after my grandfather passed, my daughter picked up her guitar and wrote a song dedicated to her great-grandfather. It was beautifully touching, outlining her remorse for all the things she hadn’t yet got to do with him, sadness for losing him, gratitude for knowing him, and ultimately, hope that he will “keep going into Heaven.”

Writing a song or poem can be a journey that brings closure. The output is something so precious, that will continue to give.

8. Make a slideshow of pictures.

Though this can take hours and hours to put together, creating a slideshow of memories through pictures can be incredibly healing and rewarding. The act of sorting through albums – online or photo books, allows you to relive those experiences again and see what a magnificent life the person had.  

You will not only help yourself to process your grief but in creating something tangible like a slide show, you will leave a legacy and share it with others who loved them. Show it at a visitation or memorial, or an intimate gathering.

9. Make a playlist of favourite songs.

Fire up YouTube or a streaming device and save all of the songs that remind you of your loved ones. If you have access to their CD or even their old record collection, play them. Don’t be surprised if you tear up! In time, they will be a comfort to you and even bring you a smile.

10. Create an in-home memorial or memory box.

On a shelf in your home, display objects that memorialize your loved one. This could be as simple as some photographs and a candle, a personal object of theirs, or some knick-knacks that remind you of them. It will live on for you as a tribute to them.

If you’d rather not display the items on an ongoing basis, keep them in a memory box where you can privately keep your mementos.

11. Wear their jewelry.

I lost my grandmother when I was pregnant. It was an emotional time, and for the sake of the health of my baby, I tried to smooth over my sadness.

One thing I have held onto is a necklace of hers. I wear it when I need that extra boost of self-confidence or courage – and it works. I know that she is with me.

Wearing something belonging to the loved one may give you comfort and strength to get through the passage through grief - and beyond.

12. Donate to a charity.

Pack up some of your loved one’s items and give them to a charity close to their heart, or someone in their life who is less fortunate. If they had a particular cause, provide a financial donation – whatever you can afford, or even better, donate your time. Helping others in their name is a doubly good deed!

13. Gather with friends and family.

Being with others can make you realize that you are not alone. Others are feeling the loss, too. Hear each other out, and be a shoulder to cry on. They will give you theirs.

Heal together.

14. Cook a special meal.

Invite friends and family over and make your loved one's favourite foods. It is a great way to remember and celebrate them. So, serve up your mother’s special lamb stew and recall how she used to savor every morsel of cherry cheesecake. Pass on these recipes to your kids, too, and create some new memories.

15.   Participate in rituals.

Many death customs originated as a way for a family to heal from a loss.

In the Orthodox Christian tradition, after the body is buried, family and friends gather for a reception where mourners can connect with each other, reflect on the life of the deceased, and eat what is called the “mercy meal.” The mourning period lasts forty days, with further memorials at 3 months, 6 months, 9 months, 1 year, and annually for 7 years. Mourners continue to support each other over this extended time.

Other cultures and religions have their death customs, too. Do what feels right for you.

By articulating your feelings, focusing on self-care, creating something artistic and lasting, observing a person’s life through pictures or personal effects, connecting with others, and celebrating their life, you will process your grief in a healthy way and begin the journey of healing from the loss.

Try just one of these methods, then another, and see yourself through to a new day - one day at a time. Remember that when you're ready, there will be a time when you will think of your loved one with a smile – not just a tear.  Hold them in your heart forever, and you will live your life to the fullest.

8 Ways To Fight The Winter Blues (So You Can Stay Sane And Enjoy The Season!)

12 weeks of winter can put anyone into the doldrums. And this winter has been unusually cold and harsh in parts of North America.

If you’ve been hibernating, and cuddling up with a loved one, that’s not so bad. But when you spend too much time inside, sedentary, and alone, it’s no wonder that you’re feeling a little blue!

To top it off, the groundhog seeing his shadow and all of the political rhetoric might be enough to put you over the edge.

Don't despair. A trip to a sunny destination could undoubtedly lift your spirits, but if that’s not possible, here are some ways to get out of your winter rut, channel some inspiration, and feel good:

1.     Play outside.

Make a point to get out at least once a day, especially on sunny days. Find joy in the little things, like falling snowflakes and building a snowman.

If you can participate in an outdoor sport, that's even better. Take up skating at the local rink or test your endurance with an afternoon of snowshoeing. You’ll be ready for some hot cocoa and happy to return inside!

2.     Plug in a Himalayan salt lamp.

Negative ions in the salt lamp neutralize and purify the air and give you more energy.  Actual verified studies on the effects on mood show mixed results, but the soothing glow alone is enough to warm your soul.

3.     Jack up your Vitamin D.

Vitamin D seems to be the panacea for everything nowadays! And, if you live in the Northern US or Canada, you are more likely to be deficient in this sunshine vitamin. But can it cure the blues? Researchers at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Hamilton, Ontario think it can lower the odds of depression. Of course, be sure to check with your doctor or get your levels tested. Many physicians say it’s perfectly fine to supplement during the winter months when you’re mostly indoors.

4.     Start your day with a power juice.

There is nothing like a jolt of carrot juice, parsley, and chia to get your day going! Add whatever your taste buds are craving, along with some vitamin C, D, and even a probiotic, and you’ll be good to go. You might not even be missing your second morning Joe!

Pick up a juicing recipe book and have fun experimenting.

5.     Get thee to a yoga class.

Yoga is well-known to rejuvenate the mind and body. Just make sure you pick an easy-going program, especially if you’re new to it. The point is to connect with your breath, massage your spine, and move gracefully.

If you can’t drag yourself out of the house, then watch a yoga video so you can still reap the benefits.

6.     Practice mindfulness.

Be here now! If you don’t think daily meditation is for you, you can still get tremendous benefit from practicing everyday mindfulness.

Several times throughout your day, stop yourself. Let your thoughts come and go, without judgment. Feel gratitude for all you have in your life.

When you’re eating, slow down and see your food. Notice the colors and smell. Really taste each bite.

Bundle up and go for a mindful walk through your neighborhood. See the houses as if for the first time. Notice the snowflakes on the trees. Feel the crisp, cold air on your face, and the warmth of your breath. Hear the crunch of the snow under your feet. Feel the earth.

7.     Watch a comedy – TV or standup.

There is nothing like a good laugh to get your groove back on! Lighten up. Find joy in little things. And even if you can’t make it outside, you can make a conscious choice to watch the Comedy Network instead of cable news.

8.     Inject your day with inspiring music.

Music has the power to heal by changing thought patterns. Researchers believe sound penetrates our bodies, affects our heart rates, and literally moves us. Here are some of my favourite pick-me-up songs: 

  1. One Day You Will by Lady Antebellum
  2. Good Life by OneRepublic  
  3. A Beautiful Day by India Arie 
  4. Scare Away the Dark by Passenger 
  5. Brave by Sara Bareilles 
  6. Something Big by Shawn Mendes 
  7. Today’s the Day by Pink

  8. Return to Innocence by Enigma 
  9. Now by Dave Carroll     
  10. Spirit Bird by Xavier Rudd 

With these tips, you can keep your sanity – and better yet, enjoy the winter season to the fullest. Try just one of these tricks each day and notice your energy levels rise and your mood elevate.

 

Exactly How To Stop A Panic Attack Cold

The no meds, no paper bag, nothing crazy way to overpower your panic.

Panic attacks are common.  And intense and terrifying.

They can creep up on you when you least imagine, or when you are in a situation that brings up fear, like public speaking or driving in inclement weather.  Unfortunately, they can also cause you to limit your activities in order to avoid future panic attacks, and impact your relationships with others.

Sometimes panic attacks can be caused by a medical condition. Often, though, they are caused by overwhelming stress, triggered by a nasty divorce or unexpected job loss, or merely the buildup of many stressors.

Whatever the origin, you know it when you’ve experienced it (although at the time you think you are going to die).

Panic symptoms

If you’ve had one, you are familiar with the symptoms. Everyone’s experience is slightly different, and you may have only suffered a few of these:

  • Racing heart
  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Feeling weak or faint
  • Nausea
  • Trembling
  • Sweating
  • Numbness and tingling
  • Feeling spaced out or detached (out of body)

What’s happening is your body is on full alert, and responding to danger although the danger isn’t even real. The body falsely feels under attack, and it’s your job to make it understand that it’s not.

The first time I had a panic attack I was told to breathe into a brown paper bag.  Well, folks, first, I’m no longer brown bagging it, and second, it didn’t work anyway.

What you need to know is that these nasty spells can be controlled -- even stopped, within a minute of starting -- without paper bags, jumping on one foot, or any other unusual tactics.  As always, check with your healthcare practitioner to make sure these actions are appropriate for your particular situation.

Here are 8 simple ways to immediately seize a panic attack:

1.       Breathe slowly

Put your hand on your stomach. Take a regular-sized breath.  Hold the breath for a few seconds, then release the air slowly through pursed lips. The aim is to restore the balance of carbon dioxide in your system, which is out of whack when you’re breathing too rapidly during a panic attack.  When you can control your breathing, you can reduce your symptoms significantly.

Lying on your tummy may slow down your breathing, particularly if you are hyperventilating. I’ve heard some people can wake up with panic if they’ve slept on their stomachs.  But, if you’ve been hyperventilating from a panic attack during the day, laying down on your stomach may slow down your breathing enough for you to try another tactic.

 2.       Spray some Rescue Remedy

Keep a bottle of Rescue Remedy in your purse or car so that it’s handy. I recommend that you do 2 sprays in the mouth right away, then focus on the other techniques. This fantastic potion of Bach flowers is good for any anxiety, and an overall tonic for emotional well-being. 

3.       Get fresh air

If you are indoors or inside a car, open a window and breathe in some fresh air.  Mindfully focus on it against your face.

 4.       Inhale some lavender

Aromatherapy can be heaven sent when you’re experiencing panic. A whiff of lavender can especially do wonders to calm and restore.  Other essential oils can be beneficial for anxiety and panic, too such as frankincense, vetiver, and bergamot. Carry a rollerball with you. You can often find these at health food stores or online specialty shops. Important note: aromatherapy and some medications don’t mix, so check with your doctor to be sure it’s a safe option for you. 

 5.       Go to your happy place

Picture the place that evokes happiness and calm. It might be a beach, a garden, or at home with your family. If you can safely close your eyes, that's even better. Feel the warmth of the sun on your face, notice the breeze through your hair, and listen to the waves coming into the shoreline. Engaging all of your senses, allows you to shift your focus entirely away from whatever started your panic attack.

 6.       Use self-talk

As much as it feels like you are going to take your last breath, remember that this just panic, and not a heart attack. Say it out loud: “Stop!” “This is just my body freaking out. I am and will be fine.” Interrupt the inaccurate messages being sent to your brain. Telling yourself that you’re going to be ok will remove the fear of impending doom.

 7.       Ignore it

Carry on as usual. Act normally. Don’t give into your fear and your body’s overreaction to a stimulus.  Panic needs fuel to keep going.

 8.       Refer to a panic cue card

Combine all of the steps above by creating a reference card to refer to during a panic attack.  On the back of a calming picture or photo of a loved one – or simply on a 3 X 5 recipe card, write out your strategy for dealing with a panic attack.  For example, in bold, colourful letters write out:

  • STOP
  • I’m not dying. This will pass.
  • Take Rescue Remedy.
  • Open window.
  • Breathe slowly.
  • Sniff lavender.
  • Imagine my happy place.
  • Proceed as usual.
  • Reward myself.  I did it.

Of course, the best way to deal with panic is to prevent it from happening in the first place. This might mean reducing stress by getting adequate sleep, eliminating caffeine, exercising moderately, meditating, keeping up to date with physicals, and working with a coach or therapist who specializes in cognitive behavioural and mindfulness approaches.

Master the steps to control a panic attack and you will finally kick it in the butt, get back your life, and start enjoying it more fully.    

How To Shine At The Interview (Even When You're Super Nervous!)

Be confident and land that job.

You’ve had your resume professionally prepared, and put in a handful of applications online.  After some back and forth by email, and a short phone screen, you get the invitation.  You’ve been asked to come in for a face-to-face interview!

You should be thrilled about this.  It’s been three months since you got laid off work and the job market has been slow.

Still, your palms are sweaty, and suddenly you have butterflies in your stomach. It’s been years since you’ve had an interview and you have no idea where to start.

You don’t have to let your nervousness ruin your chances of landing the job.  Here are some effective ways to excel at the interview and show the interviewers what you’ve got:

1.       Self-reflect

Sometimes the hardest questions can be the ones about yourself, like what are your interests, values, goals, preferred ways of working, and ideal work environment. Take the time to think these items through, not just to ace the interview, but to ensure that this job is a good match for you.  Remember that you are interviewing them as much as they are interviewing you.  Be clear about what you want.

And, at the same time, adopt a practical mindset. If you don’t get this job, there will be other opportunities, perhaps one that is an even a better fit for you. You will be far more self-aware and ready for when that time comes.

2.       Study the organization

Find out as much as you can about the company. You can get a lot of clues about the culture from the corporate website, executive bios, and career pages. 

Google organization to see what's been in the news.  Sites like Glassdoor can be helpful to give you a sense of the leadership and potential hotspots.  Find out if anyone in your network works there or knows someone there; there is nothing like a first-hand account. 

Once you’ve done your digging, consider what questions you’d like to ask the interviewers during the process.  Recruiters and hiring managers are always impressed when candidates take the time to learn about the products and services offered, the values, and most significant business goals.

 3.       Anticipate questions and craft your responses

Be sure to set aside a few hours for this next exercise: writing out the questions you think you’ll be asked, along with your best possible answers. Take your cues from the job posting, particularly the qualification section, and you can’t go wrong. 

Most interview questions are behaviourally based. That means that you’ll need to think about situations in the past in which you demonstrated specific behaviours, such as problem solving or adaptability. 

Be prepared to answer the questions in a fair amount of detail, including information such as the context, who was involved, what actions you took, what were you thinking and feeling at the time, what the outcome was, and what you learned from the experience.

And don’t forget to write out your responses to what I call “challenge questions.” These are items that stress you out the most. When I work with clients on these questions, such as “Why did you leave your last job?” there is a real turning point for them. I give them activities to reframe their situation in an accurate but more positive light. When they nail this, their confidence soars. 

4.       Rehearse

Practice makes perfect. And to avoid potential jitters, you must have your responses down pat. Read your answers out loud or even record or videotape yourself. Get a friend, mentor, or coach to help you out and give you honest feedback so that your best performance will be in front of the hiring panel. 

5.       Visualize the outcome you want

It’s no accident that Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus, Michael Phelps, and Muhammad Ali performed so well. They all used visualization before every event. Jack Nicklaus is widely known to have said: “I never hit a shot, not even in practice, without having a very sharp in-focus picture of it in my head.”

The same visualization techniques used in sports psychology apply here as well. Never step into a room without having pictured the entire interview from your arrival to your departure. Close your eyes and imagine walking up to the receptionist with conviction to announce yourself, calmly waiting in the reception to be called, firmly shaking the hiring manager’s hand wearing a genuinely warm smile. Note how you feel. 

Now, envision yourself seamlessly answering every question posed to you. Finally, imagine giving your closing statement about why the job appeals to you so much and what you look forward to bringing to it. 

You’re done. You’ve shaken hands again, and now you’re heading home, enthusiastic about the opportunity and proud of how well you handled the interview.

6.       Dress for success

There’s an adage “dress for the job you want,” and it is true. 

You can get a sense from the company website about the dress code, but it’s always better to slightly overdress than show up underdressed.  In general, stay away from anything distracting, such as low necklines, short hemlines, bright colours, or big jewelry. 

Classic and comfortable works best for most organizations. But the bottom line is that you have to feel good wearing it. Ask a friend or your partner for colour and outfit suggestions that flatter you.

7.       Get centered

Before you walk into the building, take a few minutes to get grounded. Sit in your car, on a bench, or in a coffee shop and feel your feet on the floor. Put your hand on your stomach and take a deep breath. Count to four and then exhale slowly. Take about 10 breaths and let your thoughts come and go freely. 

Then, pump up your self-talk. You can do this! You’re ready!

Finally, you’ve heard the phrase “fake it, until you make it?” That’s not to say you need to be inauthentic; you merely need to hold your head high, smile, and act as if you are confident.  Then, you will be. 

Even if you’re over-the-top nervous now, you can present yourself as a competent, self-assured professional. It takes some preparation on your part, but stick with it, and you’ll shine at the interview as well as in your new job.

Lisa Petsinis is a Career and Life Coach. Contact her on her website today and get ready to land your dream job.

Trusting Yourself is the Key to Getting What You Need

This morning I was reflecting on a decision I needed to make.  As I did so, I stopped myself from my default mode of operation and considered what I truly wanted, and what I needed right now.  And I made a decision for myself that I know I can be at peace with.

How do you make decisions?  Do you trust yourself?

Sometimes trusting yourself can be difficult, especially when you’re not used to doing so.  Do you find yourself asking others for their opinions, or deferring to others?  Have you learned to turn off your internal guide, perhaps after years of criticism, or love withheld?  Have you done what others have told you to do to feel safe?

Even though you've grown into a capable adult and surrounded yourself with people who love and accept you, patterns learned in childhood can repeat themselves across the lifetime.  And what you may not realize is that giving your power away can cause anxiety, depression - and even physical illness.

So, how can you tap into yourself – the only one who truly knows you and what you need, and cultivate self-trust?

You need to build the muscle.  Connect to your heart magnet and know what is right or wrong for yourself.

How so?

1. Take some time to reflect on yourself with compassion.  Ask yourself:

  • In what situations have I looked to others for answers?
  • What beliefs do I hold about trusting myself?
  • In what ways have I pushed aside my heart’s desires because of fear?
  • Who were my role models about trusting one’s self?
  • When have I trusted my own guidance?  What happened?
  • What is a way I experience my own inner guidance?

Awareness is the starting point to retrain yourself and shift your behaviour.

2. Practice making decisions on your own and face your fears head on.  Narrow your authority.  Pretend you are alone on a deserted island and avoid contact with others for a few days.  If you fear that in trusting yourself you might make a mistake, remind yourself that progress is not perfection and that fear only exists in your mind.  Write out and speak aloud some affirmations:

  • "I have the answers."
  • "I’ve got this."
  • "No one knows me better than me."
  • "I make clear decisions for myself."
  • "My own counsel is wise."
  • "The universe supports me on my own path."

3. Make time for yourself every day to ask yourself for guidance.  Ignite your own creative ability to solve your own problems.  You can do this through a guided meditation practice or simply taking a few quiet minutes to ask the universe a question and listen to the answers it provides.  Feel the answer in your body, in your gut, and in your breath.

4. Get guidance from someone outside the situation, like a counselor, coach or mentor. Remember, people close to you speak from their own heart magnet and they may have their own fear-based beliefs.

5. Observe yourself.  Notice when you trust yourself and then reward yourself.  In doing so you will rebuild your neurons and you will be more likely to repeat – neuroscience says so!  It doesn’t hurt to surround yourself with people who are positive, too, and who reinforce your plan to trust yourself.

Opinions need defending.  When you connect to your inner guidance, you engage your heart, higher thinking centre and whole being; it just feels right.

The greatest gift is a sense of peace amidst the uncertainties in life.  Unfortunately, many people don’t even know what they want.  If that’s you, contact me to learn more about my Awaken Your Heart Magnet program.  When you do, it will be finally possible to make choices to create a life you love. 

To thine own self be true.
— William Shakespeare

How To Get Out Of A Career Rut

Rediscover Marvelous You!

If you set out from school with no real career in mind, you wouldn't be alone.  Many people stumble into jobs and careers, based on what makes sense at the time.  And often it isn’t even related to your area of study.

Then, after being in that line of work for many years, you sit at your desk, or you’re heading into work and boom! You realize that you’re miserable.

But what can you do? You’re invested. You have a mortgage, bills, obligations.  You can’t leave.

Or can you?

Before you do anything drastic, it’s worth doing a deep dive on yourself. This may involve talking to a trusted advisor, a coach, or a family member to get more insight.

It could also mean leveraging a few other resources, such as a career assessment. Some assessments examine personality, some interests, some values; others measure ability and aptitude.

Sometimes you won't find out anything too new about yourself, but the information is packaged and debriefed in a way to bring you deep awareness: an ah-ha moment. 

This process brilliantly allows you to hold up a mirror to yourself.  For example:

  • You may be reminded that your preferred way of interacting with the world is with spontaneity.  This means you may prefer tight deadlines, varied assignments, or new experiences.
  • You may be reminded that you prefer to work on your own rather than on teams, or you get your energy from work that allows you to think through a problem very thoroughly.
  • You might be reminded that you possess a great deal of empathy and you are motivated by helping others, and not so much by persuading others in a business setting.
  • You might be reminded that you thrive on making decisions with a degree of risk and at a fast pace.
  • You might be reminded that you have an aptitude for verbal reasoning, as opposed to numerical reasoning, but overall you have tremendous learning agility.
  • You might be reminded that above all else you value teamwork and you need to be in a work environment that puts a premium on that, too.

Whatever you rediscover, let it help you to build a picture of yourself and the wonderfully enriching possibilities ahead. You could be on your way to appreciating your current job more, fine-tuning your career in some way, or building a path in an entirely new and fulfilling direction.

Lisa Petsinis is a certified coach who works with resourceful individuals to get unstuck. Contact her for a free breakthrough coaching call, find out which career assessment is right for you, and create positive change in your life starting today. 

 

True Confessions of a Joyful Judging Type

Judge Me Not!

I must profess:  I am a planner at heart.  Sometimes I can be messy.  And when that happens, I am screaming inside!  That’s how I know I am out of balance, stuck in a rut, or overwhelmed.

When am I at my best?  When I exist in order, when my life is organized, when I can predict events.  Unless I overschedule myself, if it’s in my schedule, I will make it happen.  Time is finite and should not be wasted.  I check my watch often. I don’t want to be late.  I pack a bag when I go to the doctors in case I must wait. I book ahead so as not to lose out on reservations.  

This can be interesting, perhaps frustrating, for those who don’t come from the same place. 

MBTI® (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator) nicely lays out personality types consisting of 16 combinations of these 4 dimensions:

·         Where you derive your energy and where you direct your energy (Introvert/Extrovert)

·         How you gather information (Sensing/Intuitive)

·         How you make decisions (Thinking/Feeling)

·         How you prefer to interact with the world (Judging/Perceiving)

The last dimension is the Judger-Perceiver dimension.  50% of us have a preference for judging; 50% have a preference for perceiving. 

Those who prefer judging like to make decisions rather than respond to new information; they prefer closure. 

Those who prefer perceiving like to keep collecting new information.  They are spontaneous, flexible, and responsive.  They keep their options open and take action when pressure-prompted or inspired.

Do you prefer to get it done, or explore the options?

JP chart.png

Where did you see yourself?  Are you primarily a Judger or a Perceiver?  Remember: there is no right or wrong or more desirable; only what is. There is absolute beauty in each and we need both types in our orbit.

In fact, Carl Jung believed that as we mature and develop we search for balance and ways to stretch ourselves.  We are attracted to our opposite and strive to incorporate more of their preferences.  The orderly, disciplined Judger appreciates the easy-going, spontaneous nature that the Perceiver possesses.  The freedom-loving Perceiver appreciates all that the Judger accomplishes and is in awe of their lists.  When you navigate these differences with love and understanding, you can begin to respect, savor, and celebrate them.   

Of course, there are no absolutes and there is a wide range of behaviours that are demonstrated even with the innate preferences:  we are human, we make choices, and we adapt. 

I’m not uptight or closed minded.  I occasionally enjoy the exhilaration of putting my list aside, reveling in the now, and going with the flow.  I can afford to do it once and a while.  After all, I have already built in a contingency plan.

Contact me if you’d like to learn more about your Type and how it influences all aspects of your life, including your career and your relationships.

How To Get The Perspective You Crave (When Life Gets Overwhelming)

Take time for you!

 

In the busyness of life, it’s hard to get the time you need to decompress and focus on yourself.  But, what happens when you don’t stop, take a break, and recharge your batteries? 

We each have our own physical and emotional reaction to overwhelm.  And besides the risk of snapping -- or worse, burning out, not feeding your soul could be robbing you of the much-needed time to gain perspective on your life or a situation, tap into your intuition, and ensure that your actions are aligned with your heart’s compass.  

By stepping out of your situation – either physically or figuratively, you will see things with gratitude and from a new point of view. 

Here are 13 ways to step back and gain perspective:

  1. Take a walk in a garden and envelop yourself in the innocence, beauty, and sweet smell of the rose.
  2. Appreciate the imagination of a painting in an art gallery.  Notice the colour, tone, lines, shape, texture, and space.
  3. Sign up for a new class. Learn something new.  Stretch your mind.
  4. Stay in bed all day and get lost in a riveting novel you’ve been meaning to read.
  5. Soak up some sun and take a float in an outdoor pool.  Or, take a bubble bath.  Either way, the water will soothe your soul.
  6. Get physical. Take a walk or run to clear your mind. Or skip or pound it out at the gym.  Exercise improves cognitive function, and your ability to see things differently.
  7. Go shopping alone (grocery shopping not intended).  Just browse the shops or buy yourself a treat….an ice cream, a fabulous new pair of shoes, or a small but meaningful trinket.  You deserve it!
  8. Donate your time or unused goods.  Connect with those in need and remember just how fortunate you are.
  9. Book a spa day.  Be catered on hand and foot.  Close your eyes and listen to the running brook.
  10. Get some height.  Climb a tower, dine on a rooftop patio, or simply stand on your desk and look at your life from a different angle.
  11. Laugh.  Find humour in a TV comedy show, improv, or in an embarrassing situation.  Laugh at yourself.
  12. Sip a cup of fragrant herbal tea as you rock in a rocking chair.  Do nothing else but taste the tea, mindfully.
  13. Meditate for 10 minutes.  Sit comfortably, close your eyes or hold your gaze, and simply let your thoughts come and go, as you breathe and relax into the moment.  Studies prove that just minutes a day can have a lasting effect on your health!

You never know what you will discover and how much joy one of these simple actions will bring.  Better yet, make it a habit to pause and start each day asking yourself:

How can I make myself feel good today? 

What can I do to bring in more love and light?

 

 

Really Want the Job? The 10 Resume Mistakes You Need to Know

Are you wondering why your resume is not getting the attention you’re looking for, that it deserves?

Many assume that the resume’s objective is to document job experience, when really the purpose is to convey your qualifications for a role and create interest such that you are invited for an interview:  to compel action.  You owe it to yourself to invest in your primary marketing tool, ensuring that you avoid the worst resume mistakes and let your brilliance truly shine through.

FORMATTING MISTAKES

The pitfalls start with formatting.  If your resume is too hard to read or too distracting, your resume reviewer will not even look at the content! Did you know that the average resume screener looks at your resume for 6 seconds?  Make sure you capture and hold their attention.

Pitfall #1:  Strictly chronological or functional format.

Solution:  Use a hybrid of the two formats.

 

Pitfall #2:  Not enough whitespace. 

Solution:  More whitespace. 

 

Pitfall #3:  Multiple, uncommon fonts. 

Solution:  Stick to one traditional sans serif font (10 or 11pt) such as Ariel, Tahoma, or Verdana. 

 

Pitfall #4:  Artsy layouts and designs.

Solution:  A traditional, clean, visually appealing resume will take you further.

 

CONTENT MISTAKES

Now that you’ve avoided the biggest formatting blunders, the resume reader can now focus on your content.  Will you demonstrate that you’re a perfect fit for the job?  Avoid these content pitfalls:

Pitfall #5:  Lack of focus. 

Solution:  Include a headline. 

 

Pitfall #6:  Too generic

Solution:   Tailor each resume to the unique opportunity. 

 

Pitfall #7:  Responsibilities, responsibilities, responsibilities. 

Solution:  Briefly outline your responsibilities, but focus on the challenges, action you took and impact for each role. 

 

Pitfall #8: Accomplishments lack substance. 

Solution:  Illustrate how impressive your work was with quantifiable, verifiable facts. 

 

Pitfall #9:  Too wordy.

Solution:  Select shorter, clear, action words that best describe your achievements. 

 

Pitfall #10:  Rush Job. 

Solution:  Have someone look at every application you send out. 

 

A well put-together resume that avoids these pitfalls will inspire the right action and get you in the door.

For more information, refer to my complete LinkedIn article.

What Your Language Choices Say About You (And How to Shift To Powerful Speaking)

Have you ever caught yourself saying “I have to” do x or y?  Do you really HAVE to?  Do you want to do it?  What would it be like to say, “I want to” or “I’d love to”?

Or perhaps you’ve said, “I’ll try to.”  What are the odds of making it happen with this level of commitment?  Maybe you’re unsure if you can fit it into your schedule and you don’t want to overpromise.  That’s a good intention.  However, does it provide much assurance?  Not really.  What if you said, “Here is what I can promise….”

“Do. Or do not. There is no try.” – Yoda

Often our language is unconscious.  We don’t realize what we are saying and how it is coming across to others.  Nor do we realize what our language also says about how we feel about something and how committed we are.

So, how could we communicate more powerfully?  The first step is awareness.  Dave Ellis, Master Coach, writes about the Ladder of Powerful Speaking in his book Falling Awake.

  Dave Ellis' Levels of Powerful Speaking

Dave Ellis' Levels of Powerful Speaking

Notice when you start thinking “I should.”  Do you feel obligated?  Can you set a new boundary for yourself, without guilt?  Do you have to do it?  Yes, there are a few things, like taxes and bills that you should take care of, but there are many other things you can more freely choose to determine your level of commitment.

Does saying you should or ought to do something, inspire you to do so?  Does talking about all the things you might do or you’d like to do, move you toward action?  If have a passion to do something, do you notice that you are more likely to act?  No, no, and yes!  When you speak with passion and enthusiasm, you are more likely to put your energy into something.  Furthermore, when you plan to do something, you are guided by purpose and specific action steps.  And you got it, when you make a promise to do something, you are so committed to it that there are no other barriers: You are all in!

Take faithfulness in marriage, for example.  Notice the differences: “I ought to be faithful.”  “I hope to be faithful.”  “I’d like to be faithful.”  “I plan to be faithful.”  “I promise to be faithful.”

Or, “I should lose a few pounds.” “I’m considering losing a few pounds.” “I want to lose a few pounds.” “I’d love to lose a few pounds.” “I plan to lose a few pounds.” “I will lose a few pounds.”

If you aren’t on the promise rung of “I will/promise”, don’t beat yourself up.  Own it.  It isn’t a matter of jumping up the ladder; it’s a matter of figuring out where on the ladder you sit with respect to an issue.  Consider either what’s getting in your way or what it would mean for you to be on that rung.  For example, what would it mean to prioritize finding a new job?  Or, how would my life or future be better if exercised daily?  What would happen if I give up an obligation?  And be honest with yourself.  If you don’t feel it, you won’t get behind it, and you won’t do it. You will continue to be mired in duty and victimhood.

On the flip side, if you really want something, speak your plan and make a promise that’s iron clad.

Get more out of your life! Be true to yourself and make choices that you can get behind passionately.  Then, consciously choose the language that matches your intentions, communicating more clearly and powerfully than ever before! 

 

 

Stop Letting the Wrong Job Bring You Down

Don't give up on you!

Perhaps you’ve been there? Putting your foot on the gas when there’s a hole in your gas tank? In a dysfunctional place where you don't feel you can be authentically you? Or something a little less dramatic -- in a simply boring, dreadful job.

You deserve to be in a job that fulfills you AND pays the bills. 

You deserve a job you love!

Does that prospect seem impossible to you?  It’s not.

What’s the consequence of continuing in a job that doesn’t inspire you? You got it. Misery.  Feeling like a failure. Starting to believe that you are unworthy and incapable. And a whole lot of snow-balling negative beyond that.

You are definitely not a failure. Everyone has something unique to offer. And whether you bring it to the world as a self-employed person or as an employee in a company that deserves you, that choice is up to you!

The first step is to REALLY get to know yourself. So many times, I’ve heard people tell me with exasperation that they've sent out 100 resumes and nothing happened. It’s no wonder! They really weren’t targeting against something they truly wanted or were evitably right for. 

I invite my clients to take a step back and invest in themselves before they launch a job search campaign. They need to figure out who they are and what they really, really want first. If not, they will end up in another dead-end, mismatched job that they will regret.

So, what does really getting to know yourself entail?  It involves uncovering the following:

  • Your Values – What is important to you?
  • Your Purpose – What were you meant to do in this world? 
  • Your Personality – What are your innate preferences and patterns of behaving?
  • Your Interests and Passions – What lights you up and gives you energy? Where and how would you love to do it?

I liken this getting to know yourself process to opening a jigsaw puzzle box. Some of the pieces are turned up; some are upside down. On some pieces you can clearly see an image; otherwise, you must put a few together before you see the image emerge.

Depending on our own level of self-awareness, you can piece it all together on your own to determine your career direction. Other times, you can benefit from the guidance of a coach to work with you to illuminate these critical career factors, weigh your options, create an action plan that will ensure your success – and last but not least, stand with you on your journey.

Lisa Petsinis is a certified career and life coach. Contact Lisa today for a complimentary exploratory call to learn more about her coaching services and her Career Exploration Program. Uncover your perfect work and inject more joy into your career and life. You're worth it!

Feeling Gratitude for Our Fair City. What is Your Favourite Thing to Do in Toronto?

Whether you are thinking about what to do on your time off with the kids or having an adult escape, the city of Toronto has many wonderful options. 

What is a city, anyway?  Dictionary.com defines it as a large or important town.  It may be thought of as a collection of people, minds, cultures, and landmarks.  The word ‘agora’ is Greek for a gathering place for the exchange of ideas among the free-born as well as of goods.   Geoffrey West, a physicist who has studied cities, describes a city as a magnet that draws people in; a living organism, in this video for The Atlantic.

This city -- what pulls you in?  What makes you want to stay and experience it fully? 

For Torontonians -- What would it be like to see your city with fresh eyes, as if you are visiting for the first time?  For out-of-towners  -- I invite you to experience a city full of diversity, intellect, compassion, culture, beauty, arts, sports, great food, entertainment, and spectacular views!

Here is my list of Toronto favourites, complete with hyperlinks to take you to more information.  For further information visit the Tourism Toronto website and watch the new promotional video below that is garnering a lot of attention.  Please share your favourites in the comments section and let’s celebrate Toronto!  

Classically Good Things to Do

Neighbourhoods that Built this City

  • Once the hippie district, Yorkville is the destination of choice for stars and stargazers – plenty of fine dining, shopping, and gallery options here!
  • King West has a nice selection of trendy dining, cocktail bars and upscale spas
  • Feeling like a lazy stroll or a volleyball game?  Go to The Beach!
  • Greektown is alive with Mediterranean tastes…Opa!
  • Little Italy will serve up some of the best pasta, gelatos and espressos in town
  • Little Portugal will heat you up with Piri Piri
  • Chinatown is full of Chinese markets and dim sum restaurants  
  • Little India on the east side will bring your taste buds alive
  • Leslieville is burgeoning with award-winning restaurants and hangouts
  • Roncesvalles and Bloor West villages offer up Polish and Ukrainian fare – some of the best sauerkraut and plum donuts in the city

A Small Selection of the Many, Many Fabulous Restaurants

  • 360 CN Tower, revolving restaurant, Canadian, Downtown  

  • Scaramouche, breathtaking views, French haute cuisine, north Yorkville  

  • Sotto Sotto, Italian, Yorkville  

  • Harbour 60, Steak, Downtown  

  • Aria, Italian, near Air Canada Centre  

  • Ruby Watchco, Chef Lynn Crawford, seasonal Canadian cuisine, Leslieville  

  • Canoe, Canadian, 54th floor of TD Centre, Financial District  

  • Ki, Japenese, Financial District 

  • Terroni, Italian, 3 locations

  • Frank’s Kitchen, cozy, everything-made-in-house, fine dining, College Street

  • Joso’s, Seafood inspired by the Dalmatian Coast, Yorkville  

Best Views of the City

WP_20150529_001.jpg
  • Have a sunset dinner at the top of the CN tower
  • Take a ferry to Centre Island and see the entire cityscape
  • Sail a boat or take a boat cruise around the Islands 
  • Enjoy a martini on The Roof, the Yorkville Park Hyatt’s bar  
  • Walk through High Park in spring – complete with mini zoo  
  • Play volleyball in the Beach and later enjoy a walk through the shops
  • Stroll the western beach in Etobicoke
  • Rent a bike and go on a cycling tour of the waterfront
  • Go on a scavenger hunt to see strange and interesting statues and sculptures     

 

Pamper Yourself

  • The Stillwater Spa is a classic, high-end spa - bring on the slippers and bubbly!!
  • Try out the Blitz Body Spa’s ancient restorative water treatments if you are on the free-spirited, naturalist side

Local Media Captures Who We Are

  • Newstalk 1010   is a great source for the hottest topics in the city
  • Tired of CNN?  Be Canadian! Watch CBC  or CP24 , and make sure you check The Weather Network  for the weather forecast before you venture out!  
Eleanor Roosevelt said that “the purpose of life is to live it, to taste it, to experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”  

Live your city.  Enjoy Toronto!