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Happy Holidays … Merry Holiday?

Being politically correct this time a year has impacted the media with lots of conversations around whether to say, “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays”?  The key words being ‘merry’ and ‘happy’ which boils down to does this only happen to you at this time of year to be merry or happy?  I am talking here about the feeling and emotion of happiness or being merry?

Our local paper has a great columnist and also one of my mentors, Harvey Mackay who does a column each week about things that motivate and inspire.  This past week he wrote about the feeling and emotion of happiness.  I would like to pass on some of his ideas to my readers.

“This time of year, we often hear the greeting “Happy Holidays.”  Are we really happy just because the holidays are here?  Or is there a way to be happy all year long?

We are as happy as we decide to be.  Now one can tell us to be happy.  Happiness is a state of mind.  I believe we were born to be happy.  The happiest people I know are not the richest or most attractive or even the best at what they do.  The happiest people are those who discover that what they should be doing and what they are doing are the same things.

That’s because happiness doesn’t come from just doing what you like – it’s from liking what you do.  True happiness lies in satisfaction, which has nothing at all to do with how much money you make or how many people report to you.

So where do you start on a path to happiness in business and life in general?  Here are 10 commandments, inspired  by “The Happiness Project” by Gretchen Rubin (Harper Collins, 2009), that might improve your outlook if you strive to follow them daily:

1.  Take it easy.

2.  Be yourself.

3.  Handle your responsibilities.

4.  Exercise understanding.

5.  Face your fears.

6.  Leave your worries behind.

7.  Live honestly.

8.  Behave positively.

9.  Open your heart and mind.

10.  Share your time, attention and talents with others.

Great words to live by and strive for … so Happy Holidays, Happy New Year and may every day be a ‘Happy’ day for you.

What makes the difference?

For many years in our society and world there has been a challenge.  You know what I mean, those that have the things you know you want but just can’t seem to reach.  Things like wealth, abundance, health, loving relationships and opportunity!

Have you stopped yourself and asked, “Why not me?”

Is it my fault or maybe it’s my physiology?  You know most of us have ten finger, ten toes, two arms and two legs, two eyes and a brain.  Physically we are all about the same.  But think about it aren’t there many successful people that have huge either mental or physical handicaps?

Oh, I know what it is, maybe they’re smarter than me, yeah that’s it!  Except, wait a minute we all have the same grey matter between our two ears.  Did you know that you have phenominal processing power with your human brain.

Then maybe it’s because they went to Harvard or Stanford and got one of those high-dollar educations, right?  But wait, didn’t Bill Gates drop out of college and what about Bill Bartman the unknown billionaire he only got an 8th grade education.

So what makes the difference?

Why are some people just seemingly geared for success …. while everybody else is geared for … well you know, what you got now?

The answer is simple to change all this because what it comes down to is mindset!

You see what you are and where you are in life comes down to your mental programming which is really what is in charge of the results you have and will receive in the future.

If you or your organization needs help on a mindset reboot let me know because I can help you NOW …

Who me vote?

Do you know what the birthplace of civic spirit was?  Did you guess Athens, Greece?  If you did you were right.  During that era when a man reached voting age he was required to stand in the middle of the public square before his family, friends and neighbors and take this oath: “We strive unceasingly to quicken the public sense of duty so that we will make this city greater, better and more beautiful than it was when we took this oath.”

Wow, what a declaration because you see in today’s world there are few ways to express your voice, but wait there is one coming very soon in November … your right to vote as an American citizen.  Despite all the hoopla, mudslinging and name calling for many this right is not important.  A lot of people get so bogged down with the mixed messages coming out of the candidate’s mouths that they are so confused that they give up and don’t bother to cast their vote.  This is an unfortunate incident because believe it or not this is what some candidates want … because when they see apathy and a small part of the voting population doesn’t vote it makes them think that no one is watching.  Remember that our government is based on the majority rules, and passing on voting means the minority truly wins out.  And on the flip side I like what Harvey Mackay recently said in an article, “I have a theory that a large voter turnout screams to those who are elected: ‘We all cared enough to vote.  We will be watching you to make sure you don’t let us down.”  He went on to say, “We have a duty to another very special group of patriots: our veterans.  Do we really understand the sacrifices they have made, that they fight for our right to be free?  Voting is a fundamental demonstration of gratitude to those who have risked and even given their lives for us.  It is perhaps fitting that we celebrate Election Day and Veterans Day so close together.”

So what type of person are you, the one that makes things happen, the one that watches things happen, or the one that says, “What happened?”  If you don’t vote you fall into the last category!  You see your vote is important, it is secret and it is sacred.  It has the ripple effect and a lot more powerful than you may imagine, because that ripple makes bigger waves … like the future of our country.

Time Starvation …

Have you ever sat back and thought about what urgency freedom would mean to you? 

Many times we use the excuse of ‘time starvation’ that patented excuse that I really wanted to do it but just ran out of time.  When the reality was that you didn’t run out of time you just didn’t assign the right priorities to it.  Have you allowed the urgent to push out the important?                                    

No matter how you look at it each and every day you will come up against deadlines and urgency fires that will need to be put out.  What you need to realize is that the really important things in your life usually don’t put strict demands on you; therefore you assign them a lower priority. 

Each and every one of you has important things in your life that are awaiting your decisions.  Unfortunately they don’t hound you to give them time.  Have you every gotten a call or e-mail from your tennis shoes demanding that you put them on so you can go out for that 30-minute walk?  What about the last time you went to the grocery store, did the clerk ask you when you were checking out, “Do you really want to buy all this unhealthy stuff?”  Or, what about a fax from the nearest mountain or favorite desert spot demanding you come out for some relaxation and tranquility? 

Unfortunately for most it is very easy to neglect the important so you can give to the urgent.  You must be able to determine the difference between the two and then be able to appoint the appropriate amount of time to each. 

I would highly encourage and challenge you to start tomorrow and then everyday after to stop each morning after you get up and ask yourself this simple question that I got from Dennis Waitley:  “Is what I’m doing right now important to my health, well-being and mission in life and work, and for my loved ones?”  By truthfully answering this simple question it will free you forever from that dreaded thing called urgency.

 

The Allure of Work/Life Balance?

Are you trapped in this scenario, when you are at work you’re thinking about what you should be doing at home and when you are at home you are thinking about what you should of done at work?

For many this scenario is a reality which is cutting down on productivity both at home and also at work.  For most of us it is like we are walking on a tightrope stretched between two 20-story buildings.  And in order to do this you have pull yourself in many directions to be sure that you don’t slip and plumment to your you-know-what!

Talk about stress … and I’m not even on the rope.  We stretch ourselves so thin that we don’t eat right, we don’t sleep right and we don’t feel right either.  Why?  By doing this you cannot help anyone proficiently yet we try day in and day out.

I love what time mangement expert, Jon Gordon says, “We experience guilt from wanting to be with the family we love, yet there is the pressure to be successful and make money at work.”

So if you shouldn’t work on ‘work/life’ balance what should you be working on?  How about trying ‘passion and purpose’ – wow what a different slant that would make, wouldn’t it?  Instead of putting all this pressure on yourself which trickles down to family and co-workers learn to enjoy where you are and make the most of it while you are there.

When you are on the job …. be there and engaged and if those home things creep into your mind just take a quick second and write it down on your ‘when I’m home list’.  By writing it down it will clear your mind so you can focus on work.  And the same thing holds true for when you are at home … if those thoughts creep in, write it down and then you can get back to enjoying your home time.

Squirrel Theory … you won’t want to miss this!

I was just reading through Dave Ramsey’s new book, Entreleadership and ran across this theory that I just could not not share.  In case you don’t know who Dave Ramsey is I like to call him America’s trusted voice on money and business.  Here is the theory:

“Have you ever had to swerve your car to miss a squirrel in the road?  I’ve had a ton of near-misses in my time, mostly because Mr. Squirrel ran out of nowhere into the middle of the road, got freaked out, and darted back to one side, then the other, then back to the middle – everywhere but off the road!  The problem?  The little guy or gal got scared, and in his/her fear, couldn’t decide which way to go.  He couldn’t make a decision, and bump, bump, OUCH.”

Now I don’t want to equate humans to squirrels but in this instance I’m sure you know someone that fits into this theory, don’t you?  I’ve seen this happen many times at work where you are bogged down in quicksand over some complicated personnel issue or a high strung debate with your spouse, child or significant other and they just freeze.  They are overwhelmed by their options and a way out that they are unable to do anything at all.

Like the squirrel these people are frozen with fear.  What should I do?  What if I make a mistake?  What if my decision costs too much money or we lose money?  You know what I mean, I like to call this the ‘Woulda – Shoulda – Coulda’ syndrome.  The problem with this is that your family, business or friends are also paralyzed when you are.

So how do you move on, how do you avoid the back-and-forth not making a decision?  The first thing you need to do is voice your fear about whatever it is that has made you scared.  By doing this, by putting it out there in the universe it some how makes it seem not so bad like it was when it was in your head.  This approach will also take you into the second step which is to ask for help.  This doesn’t make you vulnerable it just makes you human.  And by all means do like Dave Ramsey and his company does, “We don’t make decisions based on fear.”

So the next time you get scared about a decision that you have to make in life don’t end up being a bump, bump in the road of life.  Admit what you are scared about out loud, ask for help and by doing this you can avoid the big OUCH in life …

 

I am here for you …

Let me tell you … it can be tough out there.  Each and every day it seems that we are barraged with ugly, scary and tragic news from life as it is and has been for quite a few years now.  You hear it from your friends, co-workers and even your family that repeated message about how broke, corrupt and terrible things are in life!  And the sad thing is that even many times you may here this voice echoed between your own two ears.

Ladies and gentlemen you are not alone and this is why I am here to help you navigate the ‘whoa-is-me’s’ in life.  How to sluf off the negative, fearful and worrisome messages that you are pummeled with each day.  Let me be your beacon for you and your organization at your next meeting or conference.

Believe it or not there is no better time than right now to take action to better yourself and your organization.

So believe it or not that is why I am here.  To help you to reach your true potential and become the person you desire to be … I am here to give that gentle nudge that you have been waiting for to start to turn things around in your life …. NOW!!

If you have holiday stress … you must read this!

Are you like most people who love the holidays, but are not always that excited about family gatherings?

Do you find yourself really hoping and wishing for a ‘new’ family member or that one of your family brings a ‘new friend’ so the rest of clan might be on their best behavior.  (You know it probably won’t last, but you can dream, cant’ you?)

Unfortunately, it is usually the same thing year in and year out.  Most families have a couple of topics that are almost predictable like, “How come he is always late for dinner, everybody else is here on time?” – “What do you mean she thawed the turkey in the bathtub … she never cleans the bathtub … what are we going to do?” – “I didn’t know that she was going to bring her new boyfriend … we don’t have a gift for him, he’s going to think that were terrible people!”  So why do we go into the holidays thinking any different?  Short of loading up the whole family into the van and going in for group counseling I want you to know that family group dynamics seldom change without you making a conscious effort.  Rarely do we change from year to year as we play the same old broken ‘stress’ records that affect our lives dramatically.  So for you I have come up with some simple scripts that if you plan ahead can cut out a lot of stress in your life over the holidays.

1.  Ahead of time have a great memory already pre-selected, what some people say is “go to your happy place” ready.  Now when you are faced with a holiday stressor think of that ‘happy place’.  By thinking about the memory you will find yourself smiling which will help you to automatically begin to relax.  By conjuring up this happy thought you will change your body language and the thoughts around whatever that stressor that you are facing is.

2.  Have a ‘life line buddy’ – just let your life line buddy know to step in when “that family member starts pushing your buttons …”  All they have to do is ask a question which will change the subject which will let you off the stress-hook.

3.  Use gestures that are positive to set the tone right out of the shoot.  Experts tell us that by using an open, upward facing palm, gesture with your forearm and hand to the person who is most likely to start a negative situation.  By doing this and slowly gesturing – remember palm up and open – and then comment on how fantastic the decorations are this year.  as you get to the word ‘fantastic’ be sure to have your fingers of the open palm gesture pointing directly at the likely offender.  You see by doing this you have just nonverbally called them fantastic.  Continue the day assigning all the positive words you say – watch and be amazed how it can change the tone of that negative person.

4.  I saved this one for last because it is my favorite and the most powerful to use to destress – your breathing.  Practice and train yourself to maintain low, abdominal breathing.  You see the more you experience the calming effect that slow and low, abdominal breathing has on your body, voice and brain, the easier it will be to do in all situations.  While doing this you will see that your breathing supports many of your non-verbals, one of which is your voice and overall body stature and state.

I truly hope that you will take action and implement these simple tips to make your holidays stress free and more enjoyable.

It really worked!

Hi Craig,

“I recently saw you speak at a Child Nutrition Industry Conference in Arizona.  It was my first school conference since I began in the foodservice sales side of the business in 2000.  I read your book and it was so inspiring that I had to try out one of your HWOW’s the next day to see if it would work.

As a sales rep at the distributor I travel to a few states.  A few weeks ago, I worked with a rep and remembered that sometimes this person could be pretty negative.  I decided to think ahead at some of the postive things I could compliment her about and as I shared them, our day got better and better.  She really shined under all the sincere praise.  I found out she had some very strong culinary skills and made a beautiful plate presentation for one of our customers, everyone was really impressed!

We hugged and ended our day with smiles and appreciation.  I just wanted to let you know how your book impacted not only myself but all the people we worked with that day.  Hopefully, everyone who has read your book can all pay it forward.  Thank you for the gift.  Have blessed summer!

Best regards,

Angela Gibson – Account Executive – Hormel Food Service

Training is key!

 Welcome …. you have come to the right place for a speaker for your next child nutrition event, training or just a place to ask questions.  Whether you are looking for a great resource for training in leadership, customer service, communication or CN stress reduction please feel free to send me a comment.

As you all know training for classified personnel in school districts is very limited so you want to be sure that when you bring in a speaker or a trainer for your child nutrition employees that your hard earned dollars are well spent.

Since I have both lived and worked in the world of a self operated child nutrition program for the past 25-years I am very aware of the statement above and would like to help you to meet your needs.

So I hope that you enjoy this site and please feel free to contact me at any time.

Nutrtionally yours,

Craig Weidel

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