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Seven Ways to Avoid Stress

Mike —  April 4, 2012 — Leave a comment

Inspiration and Motivation for YOU!

Seven Ways to Avoid Stress

From our “Empowering You” Collection

The last few weeks I noticed that “stress” was creeping into my life.  I know how it comes on, slowly at first, creeping into my subconscious and increasing slowly.  Next thing I know I am carrying that load and it is coloring everything I think and do.

In the middle of being stressed, I realized what was missing.  This is big folks!  When I added back those things, the stress was reduced right away.  Can you guess some of the things that had disappeared?  Well, the first two are pretty easy so let’s start there:

1 Eating Right – yep, when I get under pressure, I notice it’s one of the first things to go and never without paying a price.  The fuel I put in is an indicator of the performance I will get out. . . so poor fuel in, and I pay the price of not feeling good and not being able to process stress well.  Start by making sure you are drinking plenty of water.  A few great books by Dr. Joel Fuhrman to get you started.

2. Exercising – this is critical.  Not exercising actually has a double impact.  First, my body doesn’t move and get the opportunity to release the stress of the day.  Second, the exercise can release endorphins and actually help my body combat that stress.

So those were the obvious.  What about the “not so obvious”?  I noticed my focus was off in the following ways:

3. Gratitude – right in the middle of all that was going on, I realized that I was not focused on being grateful.  Gratitude for me is the great equalizer.  No matter how rough and tumble things get, being grateful always counter balances it.  When I notice all the things I have to be grateful for, my perspective shifts and I am clear what is important.  From that place I can handle anything else that comes my way.

4. Priorities – making first things first.  In stressful situations, it’s easy to go into firefighting mode.  In other words, whatever issue pops up, the temptation to put important things aside and deal with the “fire” is always there.  Setting a list of priorities and sticking to it is the best way to navigate the stress.  Delegate the “fires” to someone who can handle them if you have that luxury, or prioritize them according to everything on your list and move forward.

5.  Being in the Moment – Stress is fed by worrying about the past or projecting what might happen in the future.  Living in the moment takes the power away from the past and the future.  And besides, it’s the only time you have control of anyway.  Make every moment count and enjoy the journey!

6.  Connections – Who in your life understands you and cares enough to listen and encourage you?  In times of stress, surround yourself with those people.  These are not people who are going to fix the situation for you, these are people who let you talk, process and relax.  It’s a big deal and if you don’t have these people in your life, be this to others, and soon you will.

7. Self-Honor – find ways to take care of yourself.  Eating right and exercising are the first things to do.  In addition, a long lunch, a massage or a drive in the country can support you.  It doesn’t have to take a long time, it’s just an opportunity to do something special for you and get grounded, because of course, you deserve it.

Now go take on your day!  And enjoy every moment!

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Inspirational and Motivational Story

Who Packed Your Parachute?

An excerpt from  “Aim for the Heart” by Tom Mathews

As a leader, do you honor and appreciate the power of WE?
Do you stop to thank and recognize the members of your team?
Do you consistently show an attitude of gratitude?

I recently read a great story about Captain Charles Plumb, a graduate from the Naval Academy, whose plane, after 74 successful combat missions over North Vietnam, was shot down. He parachuted to safety, but was captured, tortured and spent 2,103 days in a small box-like cell. After surviving the ordeal, Captain Plumb received the Silver Star, Bronze Star, the Legion of Merit and two Purple Hearts, and returned to America and spoke to many groups about his experience and how it compared to the challenges of every day life.

Shortly after coming home, Charlie and his wife were sitting in a restaurant. A man rose from a nearby table, walked over and said, “You’re Plumb! You flew jet fighters in Vietnam from the aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk. You were shot down!”

Surprised that he was recognized, Charlie responded, “How in the world did you know that?” The man replied, “I packed your parachute.” Charlie looked up with surprise. The man pumped his hand, gave a thumbs-up, and said, “I guess it worked!”

Charlie stood to shake the man’s hand, and assured him, “It most certainly did work. If it had not worked, I would not be here today.”

Charlie could not sleep that night, thinking about the man. He wondered if he might have seen him and not even said, “Good morning, how are you?” He thought of the many hours the sailor had spent bending over a long wooden table in the bottom of the ship, carefully folding the silks and weaving the shrouds of each chute, each time holding in his hands the fate of someone he didn’t know.

Plumb then began to realize that along with the physical parachute, he needed mental, emotional and spiritual parachutes. He had called on all these supports during his long and painful ordeal. As a leader, how many times a day, a week, a month, do we pass up the opportunity to thank those people in our organization who are “packing our parachutes?”

I love great stories. They can speak to our souls. This is one of 28 great stores shared by Tom Mathews in his book:     “Aim for the Heart; Leading to Build Great Teams”

Inspiration and Motivation for YOU!

It’s Your Life: What is Important to You? 

I’ve been thinking about what’s really important to me.  Seems like a big topic, and then I get thinking about it and maybe it isn’t so big after all.  At this time in my life, what’s important is, well, important.  In other words, there isn’t much time for the unimportant things in life.

I want to be clear on the things that are important to me so that I can focus on those things and let the other things go.  If I am clear on the important items, I can be sure that my actions are always concentrated on decisions that move the important forward.

I was noticing today how my work life has become a bit hectic and that my day consists mostly of making a series of decisions.  One of the teams that I work on is always monitoring the supply chain and I find that super interesting.  It’s up to us to make decisions that keep material flowing and to set priorities and to delay the unimportant.  It’s a guessing game every day, and I love it because I am very clear we make a difference for the company and our customers.

For me, making a difference in the lives of people is important.  Supporting customers  and our sales associates (even if they never know we did it) is fulfilling.  Supporting associates in another country to meet their objectives.  Awesome fun.  It can even be as simple as a strategic smile or words of encouragement to someone having a bad day.

So, here’s the first two things that are important to me:

Making a Difference in the Lives of Others and Relationships:  I know that I have said many times that quality of life is about quality of relationships.  Let’s face it, without relationships, well, what is life after all?  So maintaining good relationships, starting with God, family and friends, that’s definitely important.

Health:  Without health there is no quality of life.  So health is way up the list too.

After those two things, well, everything else seems like bonus material.  And then I think of one of my favorite quotes and things seem a bit more clear:

To laugh often and much; to win respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest criticism and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty and find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived, this is to have succeeded.    ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Don’t Forget!  It’s Your Life: What is Important to You?   Comment below, let us know!

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Inspirational and Motivational for YOU!

Treating Everyone “First Class”
Another great lesson from Brazil.

We write often about how we are “Being”.   A couple days ago I mentioned my own self “Being” First Class.  At the end, I mentioned treating everyone like they are “First Class” too.

One of the interesting things about going to a country where the primary language is not English is the immediate communication gap between us.  Ordering lunch?  Hope you aren’t too picky because they don’t know what you are saying.   Finding the restroom?. . . ooops.  Getting to transportation?  Not so much.

One of my experiences in Brazil was eating dinner at a few restaurants.  What I loved about these restaurants was there wasn’t a tourist in sight.  These were regular places where people were on a date, with their families, or a bunch of friends.  The funniest thing to me was to say “Thank You” to the servers.  I saw horror in their faces as they realized that I only spoke English and they really weren’t comfortable with it.  It all worked out because I was with people who spoke Portuguese, it was just a great awareness of suddenly being out of our comfort zone and what that looked like for these great servers.

This communication gap can also create an inability to show how much you care, respect and want to get to know people.  OR CAN IT?  Here’s the thing, I had a couple of opportunities to see my “BEingness” make a difference, even to people who didn’t speak English.

I saw people who didn’t at first know what to make of me actually realize that I was there to help and I cared about them and their ability to get things done.  I had opportunities to support people and learn about them and the issues they were having even though they didn’t speak English.  And even develop trust in that relationship.

To be clear, I had a few people who supported me in translating.  The awesome thing however, was to see the smiles from people as I was able to help.  Suddenly they would take risks and even speak a bit of English.  It was so cool to see that trust.  I sensed they could tell I was “safe” and would support them however was best for them.  That was treating them “First Class”.

Now take away the language barrier.  EVERYONE has a different past.  EVERYONE has different fears and concerns.  In effect, EVERYONE speaks a different language.  How can you change your day and EVERYONE around you by treating people like they are “First Class”???

How will your day be different?  More importantly, how will their day be different?
Take the challenge!  Be “First Class” and treat everyone else the same way!
Change your world, starting right now!  Then let us know what happens!


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Inspiration and Motivation for YOU!

Did you miss Shane’s Series on Procrastination?  Start Reading here!

Are you First Class? Why not Upgrade?!

Travelling from Reno, Nevada to Sao Paolo, Brazil today I had some terrific notices. First, it’s a good thing I had notices, it’s a long trip. There is plenty of time for notices!

Did I mention we got upgraded? Yep, traveling with the President has its perks.  This upgrade got me thinking big time.

What is the difference between “Coach”, “Business Class” and “First Class”?? Now I can guess what you are thinking already. Would it surprise you if I said I wasn’t talking seat location, food or prices? I’m talking about how you THINK about yourself and how you LIVE your life. NOW, what’s the difference between the three?

Thinking “Coach” – this is “just getting by” thinking. I do what it takes and nothing more. Life is ok and I have what I need. Don’t mess with me, it isn’t a bus I’m on, it’s still an airplane. I could have more, however I don’t take the time to dream and I don’t stretch myself. Oh sure, I tried dreaming once, but other things got in the way and I gave up.

Thinking “Business Class” – this is “working hard to get it” thinking. I know I can have more and it’s going to take a ton of work. Nothing will get in my way and I am sacrificing it all to get there. I pay a high price, and it’s all worth it.

Thinking “First Class” – this is “owning it” thinking. I totally love what I am doing. I enjoy the journey and strive for balance in my life. Good ideas just seem to come to me. I attract the right people into my life to further all the things I am doing because they see me enjoying the life I live. I LIVE my life and have my faith, family, friends, work and community in balance. I can’t wait to get out of bed every morning.

Where are you sitting now? Did I mention you can choose any one of these and go directly there? If you are in “Coach”, you can go straight to “First Class” if you’d like. It’s a choice.

Here are a few other questions:
Even if you are not in “First Class” do you act as though you are? One of my favorite sayings for many years has been “Fake it until you Make it”. If you are acting “First Class” in all you do, it won’t be long before you are “BEING” it too!

Do you treat others as though they are “First Class”? I got to thinking that even when I am sitting in “Coach”, it doesn’t mean that I have to treat others that way! What would your world be like if you treated everyone like they were in “First Class”.

More coming up from Brazil soon!
Create a terrific day for yourself! You DESERVE IT!

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Story – The Wooden Bowl

Mike —  March 18, 2012 — 2 Comments

Inspiration and Motivation

Today’s great story is the latest addition to Inspirational Stories on

The Wooden Bowl

I guarantee you will remember the tale of the Wooden Bowl tomorrow, a week from now, a month from now, a year from now.

A frail old man went to live with his son, daughter-in-law, and four-year-old grandson.
The old man’s hands trembled, his eyesight was blurred, and his step faltered

The family ate together at the table. But the elderly grandfather’s shaky hands and
failing sight made eating difficult. Peas rolled off his spoon onto the floor.
When he grasped the glass, milk spilled on the tablecloth.

The son and daughter-in-law became irritated with the mess..
‘We must do something about father,’ said the son.
‘I’ve had enough of his spilled milk, noisy eating, and food on the floor.’

So the husband and wife set a small table in the corner.
There, Grandfather ate alone while the rest of the family enjoyed dinner.
Since Grandfather had broken a dish or two, his food was served in a wooden bowl.

When the family glanced in Grandfather’s direction, sometimes he had a tear in his eye as he sat alone.  Still, the only words the couple had for him were sharp admonitions when he dropped a fork or spilled food.

The four-year-old watched it all in silence.

One evening before supper, the father noticed his son playing with wood scraps on the floor.
He asked the child sweetly, ‘What are you making?’ Just as sweetly, the boy responded,
‘Oh, I am making a little bowl for you and Mama to eat your food in when I grow up.’
The four-year-old smiled and went back to work.

The words so struck the parents so that they were speechless.
Then tears started to stream down their cheeks.
Though no word was spoken, both knew what must be done.

That evening the husband took Grandfather’s hand and gently led him back to the family table.  For the remainder of his days he ate every meal with the family. And for some reason, neither husband nor wife seemed to care any longer when a fork was dropped, milk spilled, or the tablecloth soiled.


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procrastination image

Stop Procrastination… Yes Now (Part 1)

 I read once, when someone asked Ernest Hemingway how to write a novel, his response was “First you defrost the refrigerator.”

Let’s face it, most of us procrastinate and those who don’t practice this behavior are the movers and shakers of this world.  Notice I said behavior.  Procrastination is a learned and practiced behavior.  It is not “in our genes”.  Which is great news; because that means we can change it.  The question now is what is causing it?  Why do we do it?  And how can we change the habit?

I read a great book called  The Mind Gym: Wake Up Your Mind.  In the book there was a section about procrastination.  When I was reading that section , I thought to myself, “I am going to blog on this”.  And that is where the idea for this blog started.  So what did I do… I procrastinated on it.  It was about a month and a half ago that I read that book and I am just now writing the blog on it.

Yes.  I know how to procrastinate and even though I am breaking this habit, I still haven’t forgotten the old behavior.   However, I am not a procrastinator.  Are you?

If you want to stop procrastinating, you first have to stop being a person who procrastinates.  Profound, eh?  Here is what I mean by that.  Quit identifying yourself as someone who procrastinates.  That label no longer can be worn by you.  Remember, how you think will determine the actions you take and the results you create.   If you believe you are a procrastinator, you will think like one and act like one.  It is time to redefine yourself.  You are  someone who used to do that and is now creating a habit of taking action.    Hence why I said, I am not a procrastinator.

Over the next few blogs we will look at the main reasons why people procrastinate and ways to overcome those habits.  Until then, remember that procrastination is not part of who you are.

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