Building Resilience – Tips for Getting Through Tough Times by Cindy Stradling CSP, CPC

Every facet of life brings challenges, though it’s true that some periods of our life are more challenging than others. It’s said that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, so we can take comfort that we can come out of challenges stronger on the other side. resilience4

During the tough times, it’s important to have coping skills that can help you weather the storms, whether these are in your work life or your personal life. Here are some tips to help you get through the challenges you face now, and to make you more resilient for challenges that lie ahead.

  1. Focus on one day at a time. It’s easy to get overwhelmed when we try to tackle too much of a challenging situation at once. Sometimes, the best thing we can do is take the steps we need to get through today, or to make the next decision that impacts our current challenge. Then, work on figuring out another challenge tomorrow.
  1. Talk it out. It’s important to have a sounding board when you’re going through a tough time. Depending upon the situation, you may need a business mentor, a friend with a listening ear, or a professional counselor. The worst thing you can do is hold it all in. Even if talking provides no tangible advice, you’ll feel better by getting your feelings and fears out in the open.
  1. Use the challenge to create a learning situation. If your business is having trouble, consider taking a class or getting a business mentor to teach you some new skills. If you have financial troubles, choose a book to teach you new investment or money saving skills. Using the challenge as a learning opportunity will give you new skills and help you know that you are doing everything in your power to work through the situation.

 

  1. Work on your issues daily, but don’t obsess over them. Worry does nothing to solve problems, but does a great deal of harm to your psyche. Learning to relax and get your challenges off your mind periodically will help you keep your sanity, and help you have the clarity needed to face your challenges sensibly.

 

Use these tips to help you ensure you’re using every challenge to teach you and make you a better leader and a better person.

Remember Your Professional Development by Cindy Stradling CSP, CPC

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As a business leader, you probably spend a lot of time strategically planning, carrying out day-to-day business activities and looking for ways to increase ales and expand your brand. These are important activities, but are things that can keep us so busy that we may fail to grow in our own development. index2

Making your professional development a priority is important for several reasons. Staying on top of your own growth and participating in continuous learning will help you by:

  • Teaching you new methods and skills
  • Keeping your creative juices flowing
  • Allowing you to learn from other successful business leaders
  • Giving you an opportunity to network in a new setting
  • Giving you insight in to business trends

Staying on Track with Your Personal Development

Staying on top of your professional development can be tough, given your hectic schedule. The only way to ensure you keep on top of it is to schedule it in advance, making time for it on your calendar at regular intervals. One good way to do this is to create a training plan for yourself at the beginning of each calendar year.

Start by listing areas where you want training, or organizations or groups that you would like to learn from. Next, decide how much time you’re going to devote to personal development. Many business leaders aim for one class or program each month.

Next, put the events you know about for the upcoming year that you want to attend on the calendar and see what months still need to be filled in. Set reminders for yourself for both the training and to help you remember to fill in the vacant months as you see more programs become available.

Make a commitment to keep up with your professional development calendar throughout the year. It’s much easier to do when you have the time already set aside on your calendar, so look for programs regularly so that you can plan ahead for them. When you plan ahead, you’re much less likely to end up canceling due to a work emergency.

Each year, revisit programs and groups that continually provide you with learning experiences, and weed out those that have run their course in what they can teach you to leave you room for new and more beneficial opportunities.

Like many of the other commitments in your schedule, your professional development must be planned in advance and given priority in order to ensure it does not slip through the cracks. As you see the benefit from taking time out of your schedule to improve your leadership skills, you’ll be ready to make more time available for this important pursuit.

Persistence is Key by Cindy Stradling CSP, CPC

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There are a variety of reasons that people don’t reach their goals. However, the one that is likely the most common is that we simply give up before we reach what we set out to do. Our culture has developed a belief that we should be able to accomplish those things we desire quickly and without a lot of time. persistence3

However, rather than looking for a fast way to reach our goals, we would all be better off if we looked at each failure as a lesson. When you fail to reach your goals in the time you originally allotted, you come away from that failure feeling demotivated. But, if you use that failure as an opportunity to see what changes you need to make the second time around, your second attempt will be a more educated and productive one. You may also learn that reaching your goals simply takes more time than you originally believed.
Recognizing where you went wrong in your attempts to meet your goals increases your chances of success exponentially the next time around. When you work at every goal in a methodical way, noting the problems and challenges as you go, you head back into a challenge with a wealth of information that can help you get better every time. With new awareness, you’re less likely to make the same mistakes twice, though you may make new ones on a second attempt.

In addition, we learn from failures because we find other possibilities that we had never thought about. We’ve all heard stories about how some of the greatest inventions of our time were failures at first. Superglue, microwaves and even penicillin were all inventions that were dubbed failures because they did not fill the originally planned goals. Yet, these are inventions that our society has dubbed necessities.
Finally, persistence in pursuing your goals even after failed attempts helps you to grow as a person and a leader. You gain resourcefulness and learn to think outside the box. In addition, you build character from continuing to pursue your dreams even when reaching them seems impossible.

The most successful leaders and inventors are those who have mastered something great after many failed attempts. Not only do these leaders learn new techniques and refine their skills as they try harder each time, but they build personality traits that will help them as they move on to the next pursuit, as well.

Laughter Yoga by Cindy Stradling CSP, CPC

Group of happy business people laughing

Laughter Yoga

There has been scientific research that shows that laughter can help resolve many workplace issues.  The challenge in the past is finding an effective way to deliver laughter.  Today we have Laughter Yoga sessions that can be done in any work environment.  There are many benefits for an employee to participate in classes the promote laughing continuously for 15-20 minutes.  Group of happy business people laughing

A session will typically start with warm up techniques that include clapping, stretching and body movement. It could also include chanting.  A session combines yogic breathing (Pranayama) with laughter.  We can all laugh at will and once started can lead to real, contagious laughter.  Studies prove that the body cannot tell the difference between real or simulated laughter. Studies have also show that participating in laughter yoga session participants can experience reduced blood pressure, decreases heart rates and increased positive attitudes. It can also improve concentration.  It is a great way to start the day with a session of laughter. 

There are many long term benefits that include better performance, more commitment and motivations which results in reduce absenteeism and overall happier employees.

 Five Benefits of Laughter Yoga

 

1. Health

Laughter yoga can help healthy people maintain good health. I can also go along way to help those with illness. Regular sessions of laughter yoga can help strengthen the immune system.  It also provides a great cardio workout and stress relief. Studies shows that ten minutes of laughter yoga is equivalent to a half hour of cardio workout.  Benefits are often experienced after the first session.

 2. Personal
When you laugh, endorphins are released in your brain, creating a cheerful mood. It can also help you remain more calm throughout the day and less likely to get upset.  I can also reduce the number of negative thoughts throughout the day.

 3. Business
As a healthy stress reducer, laughter yoga is a safe and effective way to reduce the day to day stresses experienced during our weekday.  The brain needs 25% more oxygen than other body organs for optimal functioning and laughter yoga increases the supply of oxygen, leaving you with more energy to deal with day to day activities. Studies show that it can also increase self confidence, communication skills and employee motivation. I can also help with creativity.

 4. Socially

Laughter is a great way to connect with others. As social beings we have the need for appreciation and acknowledgment and by laughing with a group we can create deeper bonds and friendships.  Laughter can also help fight depression.

 5. Life’s Challenges

Regular sessions of laughter yoga helps create a more positive mental attitude, which will help you cope more effectively with difficult life situations. 

 

 

Athena Alliance Members – A Closer Look at Tammy Sturge

Tammy Sturge, Master Facilitator

Athena Alliance Members – A Closer Look

Since I started the Athena Alliance blogtalk radio show I have had the opportunity to share with our listeners the expertise of our diverse c, facilitators, coaches and consultants.  Each member has a profile featured on our website and I thought for upcoming blogs I would share with our readers a more personal look at some of our partners and in no particular order.

Tammy Sturge

Tammy Sturge, Master FacilitatorIn March 2006 a former alliance member was conducting a test pilot of a new program he had designed and invited me to attend.  The event was held in this state of the art training facility in Vaughan.  I was honoured to participate and arrived my usual fifteen minutes early.  I was seated next to a tall attractive lady, who I would soon learn was Tammy Sturge.  I recognized the name but not the face.  During our first break we started to chat and it was obvious to both of us we needed to talk more about her offerings and my alliance in a separate meeting.  We decided we would meet for a coffee at the end of the pilot.  I can see now looking back how much we both are “let’s do it now” people.

After we had been talking for a few minutes I realized why her name was so familiar, she was a seminar leader at one of the organizations where I had participated in some personal development programs.  I knew then Tammy was a master facilitator. We both left at the end of our meeting, knowing there were good things ahead.

It was less than a week from when Tammy first joined the alliance when I made my first introduction.  The customer was delighted and told me that she was one of the strongest facilitators he had ever experienced.  This company still calls her or one of her team members to work with them on various projects.  When I have a client that has really tough situations to address, I call Tammy first and she always has a relevant solutions.  A few of the programs I have had Tammy and her team help clients with include: creating and implementing strategic plans, creating powerful leadership teams, pay equity, off-site planning sessions, organizational development projects, managing change and many more.

Here is a link to Tammy’s profile:

 http://www.athenatrainingandconsulting.com/alliance-partners/tammy-sturge