Posts Tagged ‘workshops’

5 Signs It’s Time to Reprioritize at Work

Friday, March 23rd, 2012

During Lent many people often give up or do without as they contemplate their spiritual beliefs, and how Jesus Christ’s life and death personally affects how they live their lives on a daily basis. Regardless if you’re Christian or not, the Lenten season typically provides an opportunity for quiet self-reflection during observation of the Holy days. If it feels like you’re one step away from spending an entire day in bed or just vegetating, then read on to see if you’re in need of reprioritizing at work.
1. You consistently add more to your To-Do List than you cross-off
Sometimes it helps to pause and see the long term (a couple of months or more) and short term (every week or daily) reasoning behind why you’re driving yourself so hard. If you’re able to sense that the upcoming week will be packed, then it behooves you to slow down the following week.
Solution: If one day is super busy, then plan to have more down time the next day to recover or attend to what wasn’t finished the previous day. This only works if you have set busy/recovery times.
2. Forgetting important details
If you find that you cannot remember what you did an hour earlier, or are trying to remember if you had made an appointment for your personal health earlier in the year, then you may be overworked.
Solution: In this case a planner comes in extremely handy. Use it to look things up, and to keep track going forward. If you’re so busy, you’re unable to recall with your memory, then you may be doing too many things at once and will need to slow down and do less.
3. Work through breaks and lunch
Stop. Our bodies need nourishment and time off, several times during the day. Being on “go” all day, with no moments to savor a cup of tea, or chew our food thoroughly, enjoying the bursts of flavor, not only affects our waistlines and digestion, it affects our resiliency to stress.
Solution: Put down your pen, back away from the computer, turn off your phone. Spend the 15-, 30-, or hour long break being in the present moment, being aware of what your senses are telling you, and enjoying the respite from work.
4. You commit to meetings and helping others, and your work performance suffers
If you find yourself saying yes when your plate is already too full, or you are being given too many tasks by your boss (or pressure from yourself) to be able to complete in a regular work day, and you’re unable to tie up your loose ends each week, then you may need to re-evaluate what’s important.
Solution: Sit down over the weekend with your planner. Pencil everything that must get done next week. Schedule the day and time when you’ll get these high priority items done. If you don’t know until the morning of each day, then estimate how long you can devote to the last minute high priority items, and block this amount of time out. Then, as you’re given more things to do, as you create your daily agenda, and there’s no time to add the new tasks, write them into your schedule for the next day. If you have to negotiate what to leave on and take off the agenda with someone, your written schedule provides a visual aid with which to make your point.
5. You feel resistance, lethargy, exhaustion, and anxiety whenever you think of what needs to be done
If you find yourself getting overwhelmed or anxious that your slate is never wiped clean, then you may need to take a break so you can gain a fresh perspective to improve your mood.
Solution: Take a half a day or an entire day off so you can get away to refresh your batteries. Do not think about what needs to be done, just give yourself permission to relax and spend time doing the things you love by yourself and with the people you love.
If you regularly experience three or more of these signs, then it may be time to take a hard look at your schedule so you don’t burn out. And, if you’re burnt out, then it will take longer than just a day to regain your equilibrium. Be gentle with yourself, and give yourself permission to slow down. If it’s a question of how to enforce your boundaries better with others so you don’t take on too much, then learn how to set boundaries and manage your time. It’s never too late to learn.
Lyndsay Katauskas, Med
Mars Venus Coaching
Corporate Media Relations

How to Have an Awesome Work Career

Monday, February 13th, 2012

I was reflecting on my work career (past, present, and future) this morning and came to the realization that my job is “awesome.”  OK, that word is overused, but I have young adult and pre-teen daughters, so I think I understand the different meanings it has, but I’m talking about the old definition of “awesome.” In others words, I enjoy almost every part of what I do for a living, and there is research in work psychology that explains why that is the case. So, here are the elements that make up an “awesome work career,” and some tips on how to get more of those elements in your own work life.

Meaning. An awesome job is one that has meaning. There is a purpose to your work, and you have to find that higher purpose. There is a scene in the movie Cedar Rapids, where Ed Helms’ nerdy character makes insurance sales sound like an uplifting career (“we are the heroes on the disaster scene, working to rebuild lives…”). Even mundane jobs, like customer service can be viewed as having meaning (e.g., helping clients, giving customers a great experience). If you can’t find the meaning in your current job after looking hard, it may be time to look hard for a new career.

Accomplishment. Choose a career where you can accomplish things, take pride in those accomplishments, and celebrate them. I take pride when I publish a paper, give a great lecture, or finish a blog post. The pride comes from readers and students who comment favorably on my accomplishments, and I’ve been known to celebrate with a glass of wine.

My friend Carlos makes car-racing accessories. He takes pride in the fact that he can build better quality accessories, and do them quicker, than anyone else at his company. I tell our college students to accomplish something at their summer internships – a project, a report, or helping run a successful event. If their internship doesn’t require it, I suggest they talk to their supervisor about taking on some extra, challenging project, perhaps one that the supervisor hasn’t had time to complete. It makes for a better internship experience to accomplish something that makes a distinct contribution, and the same goes for every job.

Positive Relationships. Nothing can make a career more awesome than working with terrific people, and building strong and rewarding relationships with them. I’m fortunate to have amazing, talented, and (yes) awesome students. I get to meet and network with wonderful clients in my consulting work, and I have some of the best research collaborators anyone could hope for. And, I try to steer clear of the bad relationships – those that can make your job an ordeal, and make you question yourself and your career choice.

Research clearly shows that relationships at work can be the greatest source of pleasure or the most tormenting source of pain and stress. Cultivate positive relationships and work hard to avoid the bad relationships (previous posts offer help in dealing with bullies and bad colleagues and bosses).

Balance. Very few people can have awesome careers if their lives revolve entirely around their jobs. An awesome career is one that allows time for family, friends, and the ability to pursue non-work-related interests. I often talk to people who are unhappy because their jobs consume all of their time and energy. Some of them change to careers that allow greater balance and flexibility, and although there are tradeoffs (e.g., less money, prestige, or a slower ride up the ladder). I rarely hear any regrets from them.

Does good fortune play a part in someone having an awesome career? To some extent. But it is more likely that people have to plan, make tough strategic career decisions, and work hard to make their career awesome.


Published by Ronald E. Riggio, Ph.D.

From Tunnel Vision To Your Ultimate Vision [BLOG]

Friday, February 10th, 2012

“We do not see things as they are, we see things as we are.”
—Anaïs Nin

I’m a huge advocate for living a life beyond your wildest dreams, but I also know there are some potential pitfalls on the journey.

Having a vision is a powerful tool. It means that you are honoring your goals, aspiring toward them, and taking risks to expand your horizons. Sometimes our visions for ourselves subtly turn into tunnel vision. We can’t see anything that contradicts our intentions and desires. We get selective perception, which limits our ability to remain open and to see things clearly. Instead of being present to our reality while we pursue our heart’s desire, we put the blinders on and barrel ahead toward our hopes and dreams.

There is a shadow side to almost every positive thing we can do for ourselves, including having a vision. It’s important to be aware of this distinction. All spiritual and psychological tools can be used in a “willful” way. For example, sometimes self-care is actually about taking care of ourselves: unplugging from too much work and plugging into more balance and harmony. But sometimes, under the guise of self-care, we are really just checking out: denying what’s happening and how scary it feels to show up for it. So, how do we know the difference? How do we know when we are pursuing our vision in a manner that is actually in alignment with our intentions?

Tension in the Tunnel

Tension usually crops up when we are stuck in the tunnel—it takes a lot of effort to keep the blinders on. For me, the tension often shows up in the form of a headache. For others, there might be similar physical cues, such as stomach- or back-aches, getting sick, or feeling lethargic. Some people find themselves to be more irritable or short-tempered. When we aren’t looking at the big picture of our reality, our emotional bandwidth tends to shrink. This happens because everything becomes limited in the tunnel—not just our vision. I don’t know about you, but when I’m stuck in a tunnel, I can get a little cranky. What are your personal cues that suggest you might be denying aspects of your own reality?

Fear in the Tunnel

There are reasons that we aren’t looking at the big picture, many of which boil down to fear. “What if I leave this relationship and I’m alone forever?” “What if I open this piece of mail and find out that I owe more money than I have in the bank?” “What if I take this day-job and I never get the job of my dreams?” Our response to these fears can be “No thanks, I’ll stay here in the tunnel, where it feels safe.” The blinders go up and we clamp down, even harder.

Denial is not a Tunnel in Egypt

The problem is that denial may feel safe, but it’s an illusion. Whether or not you open that mail or take that job, you still have bills to pay—and we have to take responsibility for ourselves in the present, even as we are building the life we ultimately envision.

The Light at the End of Tunnel

If you are still with me on this tunnel metaphor, here is where it gets good. I grew up in Colorado where there are some amazing tunnels going straight through the mountains. Perhaps you have driven through one yourself, or you can imagine it right now. As you are driving, you move into a cold and dark, fear-filled tin can. The echo is staggering and yet everything seems so quiet. You can’t see two feet in front of yourself without your headlights. Then, suddenly, you find yourself entering into a picture postcard. The sunlight pierces through the windshield and warms your heart as you are greeted with breathtaking, majestic vistas. Let that experience be your teacher and your inspiration. When we move through small, contained ideas of what we think we want—what we think will make us happy and safe—we are brought to extraordinary and expansive beauty. Removing the blinders is like seeing in color for the first time. Tunnel vision is rigid and constraining, while remaining open is fluid and liberating.

Ultimately, moving out of the tunnel is about finding clarity, even if it feels terrifying—at least it is true. And reality begets more reality, and the opportunity to make it the best reality you can. I’ll never tell you to give up on the dream. I believe there is a reason that you have the dream to begin with. I will tell you that the best way to get there is to start from where you are, from the fullness of your situation. To look around and truly see, feel, and experience what is happening in your life. Accept your current circumstances and then take mindful action. If we are in the middle of the tunnel, we don’t get to the beauty on the other side by wishful thinking or burying our head in the sand—we get there by taking one deliberate step at a time.

I’d love to hear how have you have moved through your own tunnels. How did you get stuck, and what enabled you to move through? What did you discover when you surrendered your limited vision? I know that oftentimes people find a “picture postcard” that they never would have if they had held on to that tin can they used to believe was the shiniest and most precious thing they ever could have wished for.

Ingrid Mathieu, Ph.D. (Ingrid Mathieu, PhD is a psychotherapist and author of Recovering Spirituality).

Shiny Happy People At Work [BLOG]

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

It’s been quite some time since I actually worked in an office, but I still remember it like it was yesterday. The room layout, the florescent lights, my cubicle partners, the weekly birthday celebrations complete with sheet cakes and balloons. Although I have been an entrepreneur for over 10 years, I have fond memories of my work experience and I wouldn’t change a moment of it. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t always rosy; in fact, I was fired from my first real job.

Boy was that a painful experience! Fresh out of college and working for Capitol Records as an assistant in the International Marketing Department, I was going to weekly concerts, meeting recording artists and having the time of my life. That was the fun part. The work part was a little more difficult. My assistant skills were slim at best and I had a female boss who was less than friendly. Everything I did was wrong and she was always correcting me. The straw that finally broke the camel’s back was when I went over my boss’ head to her superior to ask special permission for something that she said no to. Needless to say, it did not end well. I did, however, learn a valuable lesson that has stuck with me to this day and that is to be deferential to your superiors, especially your immediate boss!

Why am I telling you this story? Because even though I got fired in the end, I realized that I truly enjoyed working! I liked dressing for work, I appreciated interacting with my co-workers, I relished in meeting the clients and I appreciated the sense of accomplishment I felt at the end of the day. Sound familiar? For many people, this is not the tune they sing. Theirs is more of a solemn tune of drudgery filled with sayings that start with “Ugh, do I have to go to work today?” or “Is tomorrow really Monday? I think I’ll call in sick.”

Since we spend so many of our waking hours at the office, it behooves us to invest a little more effort into putting on a shiny, happy face for work. It can be your greatest asset! A good attitude is integral to any office environment whether it consists of 2 workers or 200. Turning a negative attitude into a positive one can help you make the most of your workday. Here are a few workplace etiquette tips we hope will help keep things peaceful and positive in your work environment.

Wrap Up Your Troubles

Pack up your troubles in a nice box, wrap them with a bow and set the imaginary package on a shelf in your home. Everyone has a certain amount of stress that they can’t seem to shake. The daily pressures of living in today’s world can bring about a whole host of physical and mental problems that can cause loss of concentration, scattered thoughts and general lack of focus at work. The act of putting our troubles away before we leave the house frees us of that heavy weight and allows for a much more positive atmosphere at work.

Make A Conscious Effort

The word “work” may conjure up images that are less than desirable, but they don’t have to be debilitating. If we take on the mindset of putting 100% effort into our performance at work, the day will automatically go more smoothly. Get in the habit of displaying impeccable work habits, arriving on time, working to your full potential and staying focused and you will be surprised at the great things you can achieve.

Give Co-workers Their Space

There’s been a great deal of talk about cubicle etiquette and allowing our colleagues their space even if they are not surrounded by four walls. This is an important point that many do not take into consideration and can raise the tension level at work. So be considerate of your co-worker and (a) don’t enter another person’s cubicle unless you are invited, (b) refrain from interrupting a person who is on the phone, (c) be mindful of conducting loud conversations, and (d) avoid applying strong perfumes and eating pungent foods. Bear in mind that your cubicle is a direct reflection of you. Keep it neat and orderly and be respectful of others.

Be A Team Player

As the saying goes, there is no “I” in team. When you arrive at work, it is much easier to be cooperative, kind and patient towards others than it is to remain solitary. Support your colleagues by asking their input and valuing their remarks. Be a problem solver by offering to assist wherever help is needed. Refrain from gossip or slander and keep private matters confidential. Act as a source of encouragement to everyone and pay deference to your superiors. These characteristics will not only classify you as a dependable worker, but they may also result in greater opportunities for advancement.

Guarantee Job Security

A bad attitude can lead to permanent repercussions. In today’s highly competitive marketplace, one cannot afford to be branded as difficult or sensitive. If there is a particular struggle at work, nip it in the bud by giving others the benefit of the doubt or letting things roll off your shoulders once in a while. Taking steps to improve your disposition will lead to a much more positive outcome and make you a valuable asset rather than a disposable liability.

Now, we know it is virtually impossible to be the happy, peppy face of positivity all the time. At one point or other, you are bound to hit a wall at work. When this happens, acknowledge it, take a few deep breaths and remember you have the power within you to turn it around. If all else fails, put on a smile and fake it till you make it. Eventually, you will lighten up and all will be well again.

Lisa Gache / Beverly Hills Manners CEO, Lisa Gaché, is one of the foremost etiquette, manners and life skills experts. Her educational and entertainment company, founded in 2006, is recognized for its new school approach. Lisa has appeared in the media and contributed to various outlets, including CNN, NPR, “The Today Show,” KTLA-TV, Radio Disney, Woman’s Day, USA Today, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Post and The New York Daily News. Her contributions to blogs and websites range from the Los Angeles Times, AOL, The Huffington Post and Weddzilla. Gaché has also been a guest expert on number of reality shows including VH1’s “Charm School” and Discovery Channel’s “Living with Ed.”

Vision, Strategy, and Tactics

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012
  • Vision: What you want the organization to be; your dream.
  • Strategy: What you are going to do to achieve your vision.
  • Tactics: How you will achieve your strategy and when.

Your vision is your dream of what you want the organization to be. Your strategy is the large-scale plan you will follow to make the dream happen. Your tactics are the specific actions you will take to follow the plan. Start with the vision and work down to the tactics as you plan for your organization

Concepts Are The Same

Whether you are planning for the entire company or just for your department the concepts are the same. Only the scale is different. You start with the vision statement (sometimes called a mission statement). When you know what the vision is you can develop a strategy to get you to the vision. When you have decided on a strategy, you can develop tactics to meet the strategy.


A vision is an over-riding idea of what the organization should be. Often it reflects the dream of the founder or leader. Your company’s vision could be, for example, to be “the largest retailer of automobiles in the US”, “the maker of the finest chocolate candies in London”, or “the management consultant of choice for non-profit organizations in the Southwest.” A vision must be sufficiently clear and concise that everyone in the organization understands it and can buy into it with passion.


Your strategy is one or more plans that you will use to achieve your vision. To be “the largest retailer of automobiles in the US” you might have to decide whether it is better strategy for you to buy other retailers, try to grow a single retailer, or a combination of both. A strategy looks inward at the organization, but it also looks outward at the competition and at the environment and business climate.

To be “the management consultant of choice for non-profit organizations in the Southwest” your strategy would need to evaluate what other companies offer management consulting services in the Southwest, which of those target non-profits, and which companies could in the future begin to offer competing services. Your strategy also must determine how you will become “the consultant of choice”. What will you do so that your targeted customers choose you over everyone else? Are you going to offer the lowest fees? Will you offer a guarantee? Will you hire the very best people and build a reputation for delivering the most innovative solutions?

If you decide to compete on lowest billing rates, what will you do if a competing consulting firm drops their rates below yours? If you decide to hire the best people, how will you attract them? Will you pay the highest salaries in a four-state area, give each employee an ownership position in the company, or pay annual retention bonuses? Your strategy must consider all these issues and find a solution that works AND that is true to your vision.


Your tactics are the specific actions, sequences of actions, and schedules you will use to fulfill your strategy. If you have more than one strategy you will have different tactics for each. A strategy to be the most well-known management consultant, as part of your vision to be “the management consultant of choice for non-profit organizations in the Southwest” might involve tactics like advertising in the Southwest Non-Profits Quarterly Newsletter for three successive issues, advertising in the three largest-circulation newspapers in the Southwest for the next six months, and buying TV time monthly on every major-market TV station in the southwest to promote your services. Or it might involve sending a letter of introduction and a brochure to the Executive Director of every non-profit organization in the Southwest with an annual budget of over $500,000.

Firm or Flexible?

Things change. You need to change with them, or ahead of them. However, with respect to vision, strategy and tactics, you need some flexibility and some firmness. Hold to your dream, your vision. Don’t let that be buffeted by the winds of change. Your vision should be the anchor that holds all the rest together. Strategy is a long-term plan, so it may need to change in response to internal or external changes, but strategy changes should only happen with considerable thought. Changes to strategy also should not happen until you have a new one to replace the old one. Tactics are the most flexible. If some tactic isn’t working, adjust it and try again.

Manage This Issue

Whether for one department or the entire company, for a multi-national corporation or a one-person company, vision, strategy, and tactics are essential. Develop the vision first and hold to it. Develop a strategy to achieve your vision and change it as you have to to meet internal or external changes. Develop flexible tactics that can move you toward fulfilling your strategy.

By F. John Reh, Guide

The Entrepreneurship Gender Gap Isn’t Shrinking

Thursday, January 12th, 2012

Women still start fewer businesses than men and are less likely to achieve business success, according to a comprehensive new international survey

By Karen E. Klein

Drawing on interviews with more than 175,000 adults and multiple sources of data, the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor 2010 Women’s Report, released earlier this week, is the most comprehensive study to date of women’s business activity, says Donna J. Kelley, associate professor of entrepreneurship at Babson College and lead author of the report. Evaluating 59 economies, it found that more than 104 million women ages 18 to 64 were actively engaged in starting and running new business ventures, and 83 million women were running businesses that were more than three years old.

Despite the impressive numbers, the report reveals a persistent gender gap. Kelley spoke this week to Smart Answers columnist Karen E. Klein about the findings and the policy implications of the report. Edited excerpts of their conversation follow.

Karen E. Klein: This GEM survey is the first to look specifically at women entrepreneurs since 2002. What’s changed?

Donna J. Kelley: We continue to see consistently that fewer women become entrepreneurs than men. In some economies you have ups and downs in entrepreneurship and women follow those trends. But in general, fewer women participate in most of the world’s economies.

In our 2010 data, only one country had more women than men involved in entrepreneurship and that was Ghana. What we see there and in many developing countries is that women participate out of necessity because they need to create income for their families and they have few other job possibilities.

Which countries had the highest participation rates for women entrepreneurs?

The Latin American economies and the sub-Saharan African region had more relative participation from women compared to men and there are higher entrepreneurship rates overall in those countries as well. In the Middle East, Eastern Europe, and Northern Africa, we see both lower entrepreneurship rates overall and less participation by women.

What about Asia?

That’s interesting. Korea has the lowest participation rate for women relative to men even though the country as a whole has pretty good entrepreneurship rates. Japan also has low participation rates for women, and low entrepreneurship rates overall. China has both high rates of entrepreneurship overall and pretty good participation rates for women, with 16 percent of the male population engaged in entrepreneurship and 12 percent of women.

What kinds of factors determine how many women participate in business ownership?

There are a lot of factors, including the availability of employment options for women and the availability of child care. It’s hard to identify specific reasons in specific countries, but culture is really important. Talking with some of my Korean colleagues, they say there are definite role expectations for women and fewer day-care options. In China, women typically have their parents take care of the children so they are empowered to go out and work.

Which countries had the greatest level of equality between men and women?

Australia has equal numbers of women and men participating in entrepreneurship, but more than twice as many men running established businesses as women. In the U.S., 8 percent of the male population and 7 percent of the female population is engaged in entrepreneurship. But again, there are more male established business owners than female business owners.

Interestingly, in Norway we saw a reverse trend. There are three times as many males as female entrepreneurs, but only 1.5 times as many males as female established business owners.

What attitudes hold women back from starting businesses?

For one, we found that women are just as likely as men to see entrepreneurship as attractive, but they are less likely to see opportunities for starting businesses. In fact, since 2002, the perceptions about entrepreneurial opportunities declined among women in developed economies.

One thing that is critical is women’s belief in their own capabilities is far lower than men’s. Less than half–47.7 percent–of women believe they are capable of starting a business, while well over half–62.1 percent–of men believe they are capable. That lack of confidence persists through all economies and cultures we studied.

Fear of failure is another stumbling block that’s more common among women than men.

Yes. Women are more likely dissuaded from entrepreneurship due to fear of failure and they tend to have smaller and less diverse support networks. They are more likely to rely on family members for support and they are less likely to know an entrepreneur. Men have larger business networks, know more entrepreneurs, and they are more likely to rely on business colleagues for help and support than on family members.

What conclusions do those results lead you to?

We think that mentoring and entrepreneurial role models can boost women’s confidence. Also, women are just as well-educated and as likely to create innovative products as men, but they have half the growth expectations for their businesses as men. So, for those female-owned businesses that do have high-growth potential, we need to get them the resources, support, training, and mentoring they need to move to that next level.

Your report reviews some government, nonprofit, and private-sector programs aimed at trying to enhance women’s entrepreneurship. What did you find?

In Ireland, we covered one initiative that is focused on growth entrepreneurs. They get a female mentor to run roundtable forums focusing on growth, where women business owners can share what they’ve learned and do group problem solving. The lead entrepreneur acts as a role model and a mentor, and it has been really successful at helping women with limited resources tap into their own creativity. More than 150 women entrepreneurs have benefited.

[Karen E. Klein is a Los Angeles-based writer who covers entrepreneurship and small-business issues.]

Mars Venus Coaching

Corporate Media Relations

5 Ways Stress Affects Your New Year’s Resolutions

Friday, January 6th, 2012

We often make New Year’s Resolutions at the stroke of midnight. We choose to improve things we’re unhappy with about ourselves. What we forget to think about is how stress affects whether or not we’ll actually follow through and stick with our resolutions for however long they’ll take to accomplish.

  1. We forget there are good (and bad) stressors that knock us off track.

Did you know there are two types of stressors: good and bad? Both cause an elevated spike in our stress-producing hormones: cortisol and adrenaline. We often forget that the good stressors can stress us out too. Even if we’re anticipating good stressors like: births, weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, parties, and other celebrations…we can still end up feeling overwhelmed or anxious about the event. Our good intentions to follow-through on our resolution to exercise, lose weight, sleep more, eat healthy, invest money, etc., often are the first things to fall by the wayside.

  1. Stress is stress.

If our bodies have excess cortisol and adrenaline, then despite our best intentions, we find ourselves going back to old habits. Why? It’s easier, it feels safe, and our energy is going towards ridding our bodies of excess cortisol and adrenaline. It takes over 90 days for new behaviors to become automatic habits. When you’re resolving to do something new or different, concerted effort must be taken to think and then act on the new behaviors. If your motivation is down, then it becomes difficult to convince and hold yourself to carrying through with your new resolutions.

  1. We ignore our bodies’ warning signals…physically.

Fatigue, headaches, indigestion, migraines, weight gain, high blood pressure, clenched jaws, tight muscles, not being able to slow down/relax, and insomnia are signs of too much stress.

  1. We ignore our bodies’ warning signals…emotionally.

Feelings of being alone, overwhelmed, unsupported, anxious, ignored, unimportant, rushed, or angry means for:

Women—we do not have enough of our stress-producing hormone, oxytocin.

Men—we do not have enough of our stress-producing hormone, testosterone.

  1. We ignore our bodies’ warning signals…mentally.

We set ourselves up for failure when we heed the negative talk in our heads.  Fogginess, confusion, and black and white/all-or-nothing thinking are signs that your brain is not working at peak capacity.


  • When making your resolutions, plan around and anticipate that BIG life events (good stressors) will happen sometime during the year.
  • Make your resolutions have specific start and end dates.
  • Pencil in the dates on your calendar for the fun and happy events (good stressors) that you already know will occur.
  • Plan down-time into your life, so you can off-set stress and replenish your stress-reducing hormones. You need to do stress-reducing activities daily to keep stress levels low.
  • Sit down with your calendar, and write in your start and end dates for your resolutions.
  • When you do have bad stressors happen—like accidents, deaths, illnesses—re-visit and re-define your new end date for your resolutions.
  • Find someone who can keep you accountable. When you ask someone to help keep you on track—make sure they are willing to give you feedback. When you’re held accountable and have access to objective constructive criticism to what’s working and what’s not working is a great way to fireproof your resolution and ensure 100% commitment to accomplishing your goal(s).

Life happens. When we’re able to roll with the unexpected changes, then we can do things pro-actively to work with both kinds of stressors so our stress levels remain low and our motivation high. It’s when we forget to plan ahead for the contingencies that we lose motivation.

Lyndsay Katauskas, MEd

Mars Venus Coaching

Corporate Media Relations

Curing Resentment Flu

Tuesday, December 13th, 2011

As a woman, sometimes it’s easier to blame everyone else for how crummy we’re feeling when we feel overwhelmed, unsupported, exhausted, ignored, or rushed. We catch resentment flu when we feel run down from spending too much of our time and effort on making everyone else happy, instead of first turning to filling our own love needs before we nurture others. Applying your own oxygen mask first during a crisis applies in this scenario. We often need an extra dose of love vitamins during the holiday season to ward off any ill feelings toward our loved ones or mere by-standers. If you’ve caught resentment flu, we’ll teach you how to get better soon with the tips below.

John Gray, Ph.D., author of the Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus relationship book series, playfully uses this term to describe what happens to a woman when the score that she is mentally keeping in her head is uneven—whether it’s 0:1000 or 5:20. Martians generally keep score by assigning points based on the size of the accomplishment. The story goes that on Venus, score is kept differently than on Mars, because every gift of love is scored equally—1 point. On Venus, little things are important as they make a big difference. For women, noticing the little things, means that you care and are paying attention. If Martians redirect their energy and attention, then they can be more successful in supporting their Venusian partners and friends. When Martians are talking to Venusians the quickest way to score points is to NOT try to fix her, change her, or make the conversation about you. If the score is uneven, there may be resentment flu in the air.

This tool doesn’t need to be used solely within a love relationship between the opposite sexes. It can also be used with friends, family, or same sex partners if the intent is on finding creative ways to show your appreciation and kindness towards one another. The other person does not need to know the score, or that you are even using this tool. The intent is a quick check-in with the only person you can control in this situation: you. Ask yourself how you can optimistically reframe how you are showing gratitude in the relationship.

If you like having fun in your relationships, then here are a few entertaining ways that men and women can pump healthy doses of love into their relationships throughout winter flu season.

How You Can Score BIG Points with Men:

You can score points with men by doing things, but most men will give you BIG points for when you respond with appreciation for their efforts to help. Showing appreciation is high on most men’s love needs. Praising what they are doing well, will usually net you more of the same behavior, because you are positively reinforcing what you like, instead of nagging or putting him down for what you don’t like. The quickest way to start feeling better is to catch a man doing the things you like. Show appreciation by verbalizing what he is doing that helps you. The more you thank a man, the more he will want to do things for you.  This has worked for me with every man or boy I’ve shown appreciation to whether they are related to me or not.

Another way to score big points with a man is to overlook his mistakes. If he gets lost driving, for example, graciously forgive him. Refrain from giving him a hard time, or pointing a finger at his error. You will score big with him. Remember men give 50 and 100 points at a time.

How You Can Score LOTS of Points with Women:

  • Give lots of hugs throughout the day.
  • Any time you do something without being asked, you score a bonus point.
  • Any gentle, non-sexual touching scores you a point.
  • Notice out loud when she looks cold, and then ask if you can turn the heat up…score 1 point for each thing.
  • (Offering to build an open fire may score more points than just flipping the heat switch to on.)
  • Three times a week spend the first twenty minutes giving her your undivided attention. The longer she shares, the more points you get.
  • Plan a relaxing or romantic getaway.
  • Tell her in advance about the getaway=more time for her to share with friends=more points.
  • Leave little notes lying around, post on the mirror, leave in her purse, put on the fridge, on her dashboard, on her computer. Every note scores a point.
  • Do easy things on her to-do list, eg pick up the kids, drop something off, call somewhere for her. Again, each thing nets a point.

Women spend much of their time planning, thinking, and nurturing their relationships, because this is how they show their love, and it’s what’s important to them. When men reciprocate these small acts of love, then women feel cared for, treasured, and loved.

The point scoring analogy is only to be used with humor and good will. Check-in with your emotions. Regardless if you’re male or female, young or old, we are all individuals and we all attach different meanings to acts of love. We all get off-balance during times of heightened activity or stress. Scoring points is a fun tool to assess the health of our relationships, and place attention back on what matters most: connecting and having a good time together.

Lyndsay Katauskas, MEd

Mars Venus Coaching

Corporate Media Relations

Do Women and Men Have Different Remote Work Styles?

Friday, December 9th, 2011

By Wayne Turmel

July 5th, 2010 @ 3:45 am

Everybody knows that men and women think differently in a lot of ways. But do those differences matter when it comes to working remotely and managing remote teams? According to Sally Helgesen, it matters a lot. Managers who don’t appreciate those distances can do themselves, their companies and those employees a great disservice.

Sally is the author of “The Female-Vision: Women’s Real Power at Work”. She cites scientific studies that show how a woman’s brain functions in different ways than a man’s.  How they differ is important, particularly for managers who might not be aware of these conflicting world views or assign value to behaviors that don’t get the desired results.

According to Helgesen, one major difference is that women tend to be highly skilled multitaskers, while men are able to concentrate on one thing for more concentrated periods. Neuroscientific research confirms this, and women often take pride in their ability to handle a ton of things at once. This is a plus and a minus, for women and for those who manage them.

“I believe it’s a core reason that women can tend to over-commit. Those who manage women remotely can benefit from understanding this, especially since excessive multi-tasking can lead to burnout and inhibit creative thought,” she says. Managers need to watch out for signs that someone is stressed out.

On the flip side, a man’s ability to focus on one thing for a long time can be seen as beneficial, but it can also lead to tunnel vision and an insensitivity to people and behavior not seen as “mission critical”. There’s also a tendency to believe that the amount of time spent on something equals better results, something that is often not true as short bursts of concentration tend to bear better fruit than agonizing over something for extended periods.

One major difference between the sexes that really impacts managers is that women are (in general) more likely to speak up if they’re unhappy about their immediate circumstances and environment, while men tend to suffer in silence. (Helgesen’s term for it is ” men will suck it up and tolerate a lot more for a lot longer”). This doesn’t mean that the woman’s complaints are without merit, or that men don’t experience the same misery and are equally unhappy. But if a woman mentions that something is wrong, she might be seen as a complainer by her male manager. Conversely, a female manager might take a man’s stoicism as being uncommunicative or not proactively trying to improve a situation. Such value judgments can seriously harm a working relationship.

Without the daily contact and familiarity of working in the same location, it can often be difficult for managers to really understand what’s going on with their team. One person’s laserlike focus is another person’s antisocial moping. A willingness to abide short term discomfort for long-term goal needs to be balanced with a willingness to change and improve the current situation.

Understanding how gender impacts behavior is only one more reason good leaders take the time to get to know their people and look at results, not at specific behavior that can be misinterpreted.

Strengths-Based Teamwork

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011

Successful business ventures often rely on the communication savvy of everyone involved in the deal. Relying on one person to lead or motivate a group leads to: reduced functionality if that person is absent, a stressful environment, unhealthy communication patterns, and increased conflicts. We all come from different backgrounds and families. What’s amazing is how we come together as a team to produce finished products. Here are 3 ways you can set yourself and your team up for success. They all involve self-reflection, greater self-awareness, and implementation of new skills based on both your and others’communication strengths.

  1. 1. Use DISC Profiling to Rephrase Your Wants

DISC is an inventory that is taken specifically with the work environment in mind. It identifies your adapted behavior in the workplace, as well as your natural style. Bringing in someone to facilitate taking the DISC profile and interpreting the results with your team adds value to how well your team interacts with one another.

One of the fun things I did at the last corporate DISC training was to ask each participant what their pet peeve was (instead of what words to avoid or not to use) in regards to how other’s communicate with them. We also spent a great deal of time on what does work for each participant. We collated everyone’s results in a table for easy reference back in the office. During team training that teaches you communication skills, you learn more than just tendencies or preferences, you get to implement the knowledge right away, which ensures that you retain this information for later use.

It is critical to know that the greater awareness you have of your style and how to adapt how you communicate with others in the group based on their style is what sets you and your team apart from other groups operating by chance alone. Doing DISC as a group allows everyone to see patterns and how objectively to make changes in the way they speak and interact so the strengths of all team members are utilized rather than just the more extroverted or dominant communication and personality styles.

  1. 2. Understand Gender Communication Differences

While DISC identifies your adapted and natural communication styles, going one step further to understand how men and women prefer to communicate leads to even greater results.

  • Men tend to use communication to solve problems.
  • Women tend to use communication to connect.

For example, at work—a woman’s natural inclination to take into account how a decision affects all parties involved both short and long term. Calling on this strength during a sale or when weighing options ensures greater logistical planning than a more single-minded approach. Calling on a man’s inclination to either solve a dilemma, or shelve for later is helpful in keeping negotiations focused with the end in sight.

Mars Venus Coaches in your area can facilitate DISC trainings for your organization and offer free Stress Management Seminars and workshops geared to getting what you want at work and gender differences in selling and buying. If you’re pressed for time you can also read the following online articles or take aneWorkshop too!

  1. 3. Practice Conflict Resolution Skills

It is critical to know that under stress, we tend to do two things:

  • We revert to our natural DISC style—graph II, not our adapted DISC style—graph I. This is because under stress it is harder to mask our natural preferences for communicating.
  • We become more like our gender, because of our physiology and the way blood flows in our brains according to our sex.

Therefore, utilizing an objective observer or a facilitator that interprets how you work as a team is more helpful, then just reading about it or studying these skills alone.

The following are the 3 steps to conflict resolution and what primary DISC gravitates to each of the steps.

1. CREATE SPACE. S’s bring all views, ideas and opinions into dialogue.

Change location to a neutral place

-Use active listening to explore rather than condemn opposing views

Take breaks often to cool off during negotiations

2. ADD VALUE. C/I’snaturally use their skills to add value and make sure all voices are heard.

Cs (Ts) add value by generating logical alternativesto the conflict issues

Is (Fs) add value by creating options for growthfor all parties so no one leaves feeling empty handed

3. SEEK CLOSURE. D’s ensure an end result.

agree on decision principles before making decisions (i.e. equal input)

-take one step at a time and define the steps

-once steps are outlined and decided upon, close the book on conflict

The bottom line is to turn what you learn into translatable skills. Learning communication and resiliency skills that focus on your strengths enable you to stay present in the moment. When you are able to operate continually from this place of presence, then you will find there are no fights, conflicts will decrease, and both your productivity and efficiency will improve. If your entire team can identify what best works for them and how to adapt to other people’s preferences, then the climate and culture at work will cease to feel like “work,” and more like play—just like it felt as a kid on the playground at recess playing kickball.

Lyndsay Katauskas, MEd

Mars Venus Coaching

Corporate Media Relations