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Monday
Jun152015

Don’t have time (or energy) for fun? Read my story.


Hey All!

 

Last time I wrote you, I mentioned that I was in Miami Beach, vacationing with family—and discussed how our relationships are the biggest predictor of our happiness. I even included a sunny photo of my immediate and extended family—all smiles!—to illustrate my point. Well, I'm back from “vacation.” And not a moment too soon…

This was my first vacation with Linor, our beloved seven-month-old daughter. I was so excited about this holiday—my first vacation to the beach in over two years! I was looking forward to my parents and in-laws getting to enjoy time with their precious granddaughter—and for my husband and me to enjoy some time off

In retrospect, I have to wonder, What planet was I on?!  

There were times in those two weeks when I was straight up miserable.Go to the beach, are you kidding? I was so exhausted taking care of Linor—in a “strange” place, a different time zone, her routine totally upended—I just wanted to sleep. But that would mean sleeping away my vacation! (Have I mentioned this was my first one in over two years?!) I actually cried to my husband—and that's when he offered up these amazing words of wisdom:

“Stella, we just have to start stealing moments for ourselves.”

Since Linor was adjusting to East Coast time, she was waking up two to three hours earlier than at home—which was really early, like around 5am! So, instead of being cranky and miserable, we decided to make the most of it and be the first ones on the beach. We took Linor and watched the sunrise, which in Florida is particularly beautiful. That’s when I snapped the above picture :).

Even though we only stayed for 20 minutes (because her next nap was coming up)...it still made all the difference.

For the first time in more than a week, I felt my mood lift. We’d had a beautiful morning with a sherbet-colored sky, a soft breeze, and our little lalka (that’s “doll” in Russian). We had just stolen a moment! Suddenly, I wasn’t resenting not getting to enjoy my vacation—but rather, I was looking forward to our next stolen moment! 

Do you see where I’m going with this?! Even when we get what we asked for, it doesn't always turn out the way we were expecting. And often, we have no control over that.

So, instead of measuring your lifetime in years, months, weeks, days, or even hours, you might try breaking time down into moments. And when you think about it, it takes many, many more moments to fill a lifetime. An infinite amount of moments—with a nearly endless amount of opportunities to go with them.

Stealing that moment on the beach for ourselves made all the difference. It gave us a wonderful sunrise together and something unexpected to look forward to: our next stolen moment, along with the awareness that things weren’t so bad. Stolen moments are like the gift that keeps on giving! And for the remainder of our vacation, we looked for moments to steal whenever we could.

It became a game for me...where else could I snatch up a piece of joy?

And here’s the thing about moments: They add up.

Before you know it, you have a pile of moments to string together to create a meaningful story…vacation…life!

Think about it: What moments could you be stealing for yourself? 

Please send me an email and tell me—I would love to hear about them!

With love,

Stella

Wednesday
Jun032015

The biggest predictor of your happiness...



Hey there, 

I'm writing you from sunny Miami Beach..on vacation with my family (my hubby, Linor, my parents, and in-law's). 

Traveling with Linor, my six month old daughter, certainly isn't easy (or restful) - and I think I'll need another vacay just to recover from this one. 

That said, even though I may be tired...it's weeks like these that fuel my overall happiness. 

In fact, according to research, that's just about true for everyone.

According to John Cacioppio, the author of Loneliness: human nature and the need for social connection, it's our relationships that are the biggest and most critical predictor of our happiness - above and beyond increased pay, success, and even our health. 

So chew on this...since we tend to spend more time with the people we work with than our loved ones, ask yourself, how might I better connect with those I collaborate with each day?

Here are a few instant ways to enhance your relationships at work...and your own happiness: 

  1. Instead of the standard, "How are you?" Ask, "Hey, so what's been the highlight of your day so far?" This may lead to a more meaningful conversation where you discover something new about one another. 
  2. Next time someone does a great job, avoid just saying, "great job." Instead, point out what specifically you admire about their efforts. For example, "You presented with such confidence and ease - I liked how you kept your slides simple so I could just focus on your message."
  3. Write an unexpected gratitude letter.  If there is someone at work who you greatly appreciate, take the time to explicitly share how they impact you. This may very well be one of the most meaningful things either of you experience on the job. It can be very powerful if heartfelt. 


With much love and sunshine, 
Stella 




PS Thank you for all your feedback from my last newsletter (some just quick one liners, others revealing and tender). Every time I receive your notes following one of these newsletters it fills me up with a great sense of purpose.  

 

Thursday
May212015

Worried You Can't Handle It?



Hey there, 

Our daughter, Linor, is now learning to crawl (time flies!) and I love watching her.  Sometimes she grunts like a bodybuilder lifting seriously heavy weights.  

She doesn't get discouraged; she just keeps practicing…and falling down and getting back up. And I could just watch her doing this for hours.

Now, I know the whole “learning to crawl before you walk” expression is a bit old and overdone, but watching Linor go at it in the literal realm gives it a new and deeper meaning in the figurative sense.

Babies and toddlers are magnificently simple: They don’t know about fear and self-ridicule and aren’t wondering how lame or silly they must look.

They also aren't worrying:  "how I am ever going to run if this stuff feels so difficult now?"


In their early developmental stages, babies are wildly self-involved (in a good way!) and living fabulously in the present. So they don’t let anticipation of future challenges keep them from the matters at hand…and foot. Amazingly, we all started out like that! And then somewhere along the way, we learned about consequences—and that pure “infant innocence” was gone.

So that now, as adults, even when we’re learning something totally new—learning to crawl, so to speak—we’re not thinking about the next step, we’re fixated on how, and how well, we’re going to run the marathon, metaphorically speaking.

Know what I mean?!

I hear this concept so often with my coaching clientsThey worry that they won't be able to "handle it"—whatever it is—so they resist trying something new or attempting a new direction (despite being unhappy in their current situation).

Now I know you know what I mean….

One woman I coach, who is also a new mom, is launching her own company after working years as an art director. She says to me, "Stella, I can barely make time to meet with you, how I am ever going to run this company?”

One step at a time.

With each baby step you take, you expand and your capacity grows. Who you are today is very different than the person you will be when it's time to run the marathon. 

So if right now you worry you won't be able to handle the responsibility, the challenge, the time commitment, or maybe you worry that you won't have the energy, talent, resources, or maybe that your family might not be behind you...you are basing your assumptions on your current situation and perceived reality vs. the reality that will unfold in the future

Your capacity for what you can do, handle, and imagine has nowhere to go but up, when you take even tiny steps of action. Trust in yourself.

My mentor says that confidence is earned, not learned. You can “handle it,” but you'll only find out how by moving towards your big vision.

Take a moment now and ask yourself: 
1) Am I playing small in any area of my life? And if so, is it because I’m afraid I can't handle what I really want? 
2) What's one tiny thing I can do to move toward where I really want to be?
3) What’s the worst that could happen if I just do that one tiny thing?


Want support figuring out your next three baby steps to playing big, and true? As always, I'm here for you. In fact, maybe our talking can be your first one tiny thing.

Send me an email to set up a complimentary 30-minute session. Do it soon! I’ll be on vacation in late May….


Looking forward to hearing from you guys!

Much love, 
Stella

 

 

Monday
May042015

Embarrassed That You're Feeling Stuck? Here's How To Ask For Support

Hey

I recently worked with a client who was in transition: She was deciding to leave a successful career path to pursue her true passion. 

While she has been successfully climbing the ladder at her job, the truth is, she's been quite miserable for years now. And feeling overworked (which, no doubt, had something to do with her being miserable...). And a lot of her friends were aware of it.   

So, as we worked together, taking that first step of exploring possible new career paths, she says to me,

“I'm a bit ashamed that it’s taken me so long to make a switch. It’s embarrassing that I haven't done anything about it sooner. What are people going to think?”

Does this ring a bell? Have you ever felt this way: Embarrassed about not having done something sooner since you feel like you’ve certainly whined about it enough—and/or just plain ashamed that you didn’t have it figured out yet?

For those of us who think we should always have everything figured out, and that if we don’t, we’re Losers, I’m here to say, Hold on there, sista!

I know it's especially hard to talk about stuff when you don't have all the answers. (Trust me, I know!)

Yet, in order 
to discover what you want and be able to move forward, it’s actually important to talk about where you are with stuff and how you’re feeling. Important? I meant to say, It’s essential!

Change and being in transition are rarely easy. You need the support of other people. And it can help to have their input because, even if you don’t agree with their suggestions, it gives you more to think about and help further solidify your own ideas.

Plus, when you do share, you not only find that you’re not alone, but that you can help inspire others to examine their own lives and work.So, look at that: By sharing, you’re actually doing a service to the world—or at least, for the greater good!

To help you with the right words, what follows is a sample script I offer my clients—to help them confidently enlist the support of their network in attempting to figure out what's next for them.  

A few points:

The format is specific to emails. It’s always stronger to have it in writing. (You’re more in control this way, can’t get tongue-tied or go off on a tangent.) Besides, it's efficient!  

When compiling your list of recipients, I recommend you send it only to those friends and colleagues you know you can count on, who are open and nonjudgmental.

This might not be intended for family members—and maybe not even your closest friends—because they could be scared for you making a big change, and try to talk you out of it.

Here we go...


Email Template for Disclosing a Transition—and Seeking Support

1. Authentically describe your inner state and that you’re seeking a change—also, why they’re receiving this email.

For example: This may come as a surprise to you, and frankly it’s a little of a surprise me, but I’ve decided I need to make a change. In my next chapter, I hope to be pivoting my career path in the direction my heart is leading, which is ..... I’m writing to you because I trust you and value your insights and would welcome any input. (Only positive and supportive, please.)

2. Briefly highlight your achievements and where you are now. Be specific with any titles, brand names, and/or results. (Friends may forward this around to support you, so you want all readers to be onboard with your awesomeness). 

In the past 15 years, I’ve had the opportunity to partner with some of the world’s greatest brands like Nike, Google, and Apple to help them design excellent customer service. And it’s been an amazing ride!

3. Describe what, if anything, you’ve done so far and the actions you’re thinking of taking.

I recently invested in a career coach to help me clarify what really matters in terms of how I lead my professional life. While I’ve been successful in the first phase of my career, I’m now taking the time to be deliberate and examine what would be most fulfilling in my next phase.

4. Explain that you're seeking support to help you determine what's next. Include the qualities and/or fields and/or context you’re thinking you’d like for the future you.

It's definitely a little scary, and I'm just beginning the discovery phase of what this all may look like. What I know for sure is that I value the following:

  • A socially-conscious organization—I’m open to suggestions!
  • Being a part of a paradigm-shifting project
  • Collaborating with people who are on the same wavelength
  • Working with a leader I can truly admire
  • Flexibility—being able to work from home (some or full-time)
  • Effecting a change, working hard, but no longer working around the clock

5. End with asking for their help, input, resources, connections—and anything else you can think of.

I would be most appreciative if you would:

1. Share any resources, websites, books and ideas you feel will be helpful—via email, phone or over coffee!

2. Share contacts, suggest people and/or make introductions.

3. Pass along any opportunities you know about or hear of.

 

6. Thank them for their time and help; maybe ask for their discretion, since you’re not going public yet; and promise to keep them posted. 

Thank you for being a part of my life and for taking the time to read. I so value your friendship and promise to keep you posted on developments!

Need more help on this?

As always, if you’re in transition and would like some help figuring out which way to turn next and how to ensure that you’re working toward what matters, email me and let’s chat!

 

Love to hear from your guys!

 

My best,

Stella

 

Tuesday
Apr142015

The key to feeling like you're making progress

Hiya!

Worried you’re not doing enough? Or moving the needle on the stuff that’s important to you? Enjoy this final installment of “Three mistakes people make around goal setting.”


The third thing that people do wrong when it comes to setting goals is... you don't track the right stuff.

 

Let me tell you about another client of mine who works in sales and is a top performer. They recently changed her pay structure and she felt demotivated. One of the ways she tracked her performance and how well she was doing was by her commission.


Even though she was a top performer she suddenly felt like a failure and like she wasn't good at her job- in fact- she was close to quitting her job.

 

Before jumping ship to another organization, I asked her what was her intention (remember, from my last newsletter)? What did she want from her work experience?  

 

We took some time to dig deep and understand that she wanted to learn and grow, she wanted to take on more leadership responsibility, and to practice using her creativity.

We decided rather than measure her performance using the new metrics set by her job which put her on the verge of quitting (even though she was a top performer) - we were going to create our own metrics.

So everyday I asked her to reflect on 4 questions that tracked her intention:

 

What did I learn today?

How have I practiced my leadership skills today?

How did I approach a challenge in a creative way?

What am I grateful for?

 

Once she started tracking her answers to those questions - a whole new world opened up. She felt like she was making daily progress on what was most important to her.

 

David Cooperider, a leader in positive psychology, says, "The questions we ask determine the reality we create." If you are asking questions that perpetually point to how far away you are from your big goal, or how you don’t have enough of xyz than you’re going to feel like crap and most likely abandon ship.

But if you focus on the process of fulfilling your intention and acknowledge you are actively LIVING your intention now than you’ll find yourself more motivated and ready to take on greater challenges. 

To recap this series on goal setting:


We reviewed three mistakes that people make when it comes to setting goals:
1. They don't take the time and energy to let go of the stuff that's not serving them
2. They set goals without intention
3. They track the wrong metrics - and that can mess up one's motivation

I hope you’ve enjoyed this. As always, I love hearing from you. Has this impacted how you think or approached your goals? Please drop me a line and share!

 

And of course, if you want some help figuring out your questions or how to ensure you’re working towards what matters, e-mail me and let’s chat!