- She had to take a financial risk and give up her comfortable six-figure salary
- She would be entering a career in which she had no previous training
- She would be going back to school with 18-year-olds after spending more than a decade already in corporate America
Do you find yourself getting defensive at feedback?
Do you keep playing certain conversations over and over in your head?
Are you upset, annoyed or angry with someone and can’t seem to get over it?
Are you uncomfortable around a particular person and beginning to think there’s something wrong with you?
Well, you’re not alone.
In fact, Albert Ellis, an American psychologist considered to be the father of cognitive-behavioral therapy, found that people can get stuck in an irrational belief system that holds us back. Our beliefs aren’t necessarily true. If we don’t examine our beliefs, question them, or are aware of them, they can end up controlling us as if they are the truth. Ellis came up with the Three Basic Musts, which tend to be at the universal root causes for why we over react or take things too personally:
Must #1 (a demand on yourself): “I must do well and get approval, or else I’m worthless.” This ones causes anxiety, depression and lack of assertiveness.
Must #2 (a demand on others): “You must treat me reasonably, considerately and kindly, or else you’re no good.” This leads to resentment, hostility, even violence.
Must #3 (a demand on situations): “Life must be fair, easy and hassle-free, or else it’s awful.” This leads to hopelessness, procrastination, giving up.
Granted, Ellis is over-generalizing, but his point is that everyone and everything is fallible—people and the world at large—and that unless we stop taking things so personally with no consideration for another’s perspective or other possibilities, we’re doomed to being miserable and acting out in ways that we may well later regret.
Easier said than done, right?! Fortunately, Ellis was also all about self-help and coming up with techniques to help people change their beliefs and thought patterns. In other words, just because you think or believe a certain way doesn’t mean it’s correct and that you have to act upon it.
He can up with the ABCDE technique (easy to remember!), which is a tool I practice myself and share with my clients, many of whom have found it to be a game changer.
A = Identify the ACTIVATING event.
Think of it factually, without interpretation. For example, Someone drove into my lane, causing me to brake quickly.
B = What is your BELIEF about what happened?
Now give the unedited version of what you’re really thinking. That guy was a total A$$hole…careless and stupid!
C = What is the CONSEQUENCE of your belief?
How does it make you feel? I’m so angry and can feel myself wanting to scream.
D = Now DISPUTE your belief.
What’s another way of looking at what happened? Maybe that guy was rushing to the hospital because his wife was in labor. Or maybe he just didn’t see me.
E = Notice the EFFECT of disputing your belief.
Huh, I’m no longer angry now. By giving someone else the benefit of the doubt, you give yourself the benefit of calm.
The more you practice this technique, the more empowered you’re going to feel. Trust me, it really works. We may not always know the reason someone did something or why something happened. But that’s not the point. The point is that most likely, it had nothing to do with us! And this realization can be very liberating, calming, hopeful and, like I said, empowering.
I’ll leave you with this recent anecdote that perfectly conveys the point:
A client was complaining to me that her boss was suddenly using a harsh tone with her and being very dismissive. She felt that she wasn’t being respected, and it was wreaking havoc with her work and emotions. So, I threw out a dispute for her feeling/belief—one that had nothing to do with her or her performance. “Before jumping to the wrong conclusion, maybe consider that he’s stressed out about something in his own life and taking it out on you without realizing. Can you take a breath and possibly find out if something else is going on?” Before long, she learned that her boss’ wife was battling breast cancer.
Moral of the story: We don’t always know what’s going on with other people, nor can we control everything. The one thing we can control is how we feel…and ultimately, respond.
I’d love to know if you try practicing this technique and how it works for you. Keep me posted, okay?! But if I don’t hear from you right away, I’ll try not to take it personally. ;~)
p.s. Want some extra support with a situation you’re dealing with now? You know I’m here for you. Just schedule 30 minutes to chat for a complimentary coaching session.
One of the most stressful things I hear clients struggle
with is that they can’t turn off…
even when it’s time to relax and be with loved ones.
It sucks when you’re with your family or friends,
but not really with them, you’re checked out…
It’s like you’re just a body at the dinner table, half listening,
half ruminating about the upcoming presentation
or replaying an exchange you had a with a coworker.
Usually this is a symptom of something bigger happening…
- overwhelmed and working too much
- not getting the support you need
- not feeling confident that you’re doing a good enough job
- saying yes too much
- taking things personally
The problem is, when you're thinking about work and
wasting your precious (and probably too little) time
with your loved ones, it eats away at you. Literally.
And just exacerbates things at work.
Research has shown that our relationships are the biggest predictor of our happiness.
And that love, literally nourishes our bodies, impacting our brains, cardiovascular system,
immunity, decision making, and even the DNA that's expressed in our bodies.
So when you’re not allowing yourself to be nourished by those around you,
by intimate and real connections - you may be entering a vicious cycle where you:
- Resent your job even more
- Feel out of balance
- Not care about things you used to care about
- Question whether you’re in the right place
- Wonder if you’re good at anything at all
- Lose hope and motivation, disengaging from work even more
Most people think they just need to meditate and develop a mindfulness habit.
They blame an addition to their phones, or checking emails.
I'm always an advocate of meditation and training your mind.
But that alone won't solve this.
Other folks just try to work harder.
But that also doesn't help because if you're out of balance
and probably not getting enough rest, you're not effective -
so you take longer to do things. And that takes you away from home even more.
Some people just do nothing at all. They just hope it will shift on its own.
“It's just this one project that's keeping me busy.
Then things will return to normal.”
But it's not just about this project. Is it?
I used to be this way. I felt like I was always working on my business.
My husband would regularly say, "Stella, I'm feeling distant from you”
after spending the whole day with me.
Or, we’d go on a trip but I found myself just stressed
about what was waiting for me at home instead of enjoying my vacation!
That's when I started instituting some key strategies and practices.
And it’s changed my world.
Now when it's 5pm, I shift gears and I'm PRESENT.
I get to savor moments with my family and my weekends feel fun again.
Would you like to fix this and stop being absent in your life
and be more engaged at work?
Here’s what I want you to do.
Just click on the link below, let me know a bit
about your situation and then you’ll see a link to my calendar.
You’l be able to book a complimentary 30 minute session
with me on the phone. And I’ll show you exactly how to
overcome this, step by step, using a three part strategy.
While the steps are universal to everyone, it has to be customized for you.
If I just share it here, it wouldn’t be making much of an impact for anyone
unless it’s specific to your life.
This is something I’m very passionate about it. I HATE hearing
about people losing their sense of self and connection to those they care about
because of work (even if you love your work).
IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE THIS WAY!
Your life is way too precious, your loved ones are too important,
and your time is too valuable to waste not being alive in each moment.
Hope to talk soon.
p.s. If you’re hesitating, just ask yourself how much longer
are you willing to let this happen? Are you waiting for your kids to
grow up? The prime of your career to pass?
Just book a strategy session so I can help you and
explain a system so you don’t do this alone - and waste any more time.
p.p.s. This isn't very hard. And won’t take long to shift. Promise.
Since becoming a mom, I love working from home so I can sneak playtime and cuddles with my 16-month-old in between calls.
It never ceases to make me feel INCREDIBLE when I walk out of my office and see the sheer glee on her face at seeing me. She claps her hands and runs into my arms.
There. is. NOTHING. Better. Than. That.
Every night, my husband and I reflect on the sweet moments we've each had with Linor, and I shared with him how her greeting me absolutely overwhelms me with joy.
And that's when I realized...why don't I do that?
I mean, I absolutely ADORE my husband and am beyond grateful to have him in my life. But when he comes home, I give him a hello and a kiss…usually rushed because I’m preoccupied with getting dinner finished (or started!) and whatever else I’m thinking about. Maybe I won't clap for joy the way Linor does, but why don’t I take a sec and greet him with the sheer love I have for him?
According to researchers Ed Diener and Sonja Lyubomirsky, our relationships are the biggest predictors of our happiness—above and beyond our health, our success, even our wealth.
And yet, we so often take those we love the most for granted. Especially when it’s been a few years…and life gets in the way.
So, I am now taking a cue from the wisest one in our family—our 16-month-old daughter, Linor—and choosing to REVEL in the presence of those I most care about.
What about you? Does this sound familiar? If yes, can you think of better ways to express your love and appreciation for those you cherish most? How might you be more purposeful in the time you have with these special people?
I would LOVE (no pun intended!) to hear your thoughts and ideas on this one. In the meantime…
Showing you love,
One of the biggest things that’s negatively impacted my confidence, sense of worth, stress levels, overall health, and the amount of bickering I have with my husband - is being unhappy at my job. And while we’re at…it’s also affected my paycheck and our ability to put a down payment on a home.
If you’re not happy at work, take a moment to ask yourself, what is it costing you?
- watching the clock to get through the day
- coming home depressed but trying to hide it from your loved ones
- feeling like the life has been sucked out of you
- forgetting what it feels like to be energized and PROUD of what you do
- neglecting your health
- not having much fun
- overwhelmed and not seeing a way out
You're paying way too high a price for staying where you are.
LIFE IS TOO PRECIOUS TO BE BORED OR UNMOTIVATED BEHIND A DESK.
When I first launched WOOPAAH, and invested so much time, money, sweat, and soul into it, I quickly realized...it wasn't all I thought it would be.
But I was too afraid to admit that to myself, so I turned to Netflix. And I isolated myself.
Not a lot of people knew that I was struggling, but it was affecting everything.
The problem was that I was trying to fix it all by myself. Technically I had all the training and information I needed. I had a masters in applied positive psychology and spent over 10 years in branding and entrepreneurship.
I "knew" what to do. I just wasn't doing it for myself.
And then, I hired a coach to hold me accountable and serve me my own medicine.
Let’s just say, I don’t have time for much TV anymore. I’m energized by my work and inspired by the people I talk to each day. I also feel a sense of ease and possibility that I hadn’t in a very long time. We’re in the midst of searching for our dream home - and I’m so grateful to have a thriving business that supports our ability to do that. And while Ilya (my husband) and I still bicker every now and then about where the socks go - I can’t wait to tell him about my day and how damn grateful I am to get to do what I do.
In three months I shifted what I had been avoiding for years.
How much longer are you willing to take it? Are you going to let another year go by?
How much longer will you choose to sacrifice your very valuable time, career growth, well-being, and precious moments with those you love?
I want you to know...with all my heart...that it doesn't have to be this way.
I'm not saying you need to change jobs or careers.
But to do nothing is not only costing you, it's costing us all.
We need you. We need your light to be turned on bright. In the wise words of Howard Thurman, “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
Seriously. You have a gift - and even if you don't believe it anymore, it's true. If you're not in your most alive state and sharing it - then we all lose out.
From my own experience, and the thousands I’ve supported, I know it’s really hard to go at this alone.
I’d love to support you. So let’s talk. I’ll share my proven Work Happiness Method framework with you, and we can explore if working with me is the right fit for you.
You can book 30 minutes here and you’ll walk away with tools for how to shift NOW. You’ll be surprised at how simple it is and how quickly you start transforming.
My best to you,
This blog is where we sharing fun facts, thoughts, aha's, and our two-cents-how-to's about everything we're working on, teaching, and living, positively. Topics include everything from the science of happiness, to team building, to improving performance, to innovation, to loving bigger. Have something you want us to write about? Let us know!