March, 2011 Archive

The Truth About What You Want

March 29th, 2011 by Ric in Lifestyle, Sharing Success

“Three things cannot be long hidden; the sun, the moon, and the truth.” – Buddha

Susan Russo starts off her article Tell Yourself the Truth up on Healthy Wealthy n Wise with that quote, and I can’t think of a more appropriate statement.  Somehow, like the sun and the moon, the truth always comes out.

The truth Susan talks about, however, isn’t a juicy piece of news, or a government secret. The truth Susan talks about is something much more personal – it’s about me, it’s about you, and it’s about all of us.

The truth Susan talks about is this: we can live any way we want if we choose to.

Yes, this is something we all know already, but do we really live by this truth? “Think of all of the excuses you’ve heard people tell themselves to avoid facing reality,” Susan asks. “People don’t exercise because they don’t have the time. They drink because they’re stressed. Children are neglected because the parents are too busy to take 5 minutes out of their days to give to them.”

We all make excuses to avoid things we simply don’t want to deal with. We also make excuses to do the things we want, even when we know those things are bad for us.

Let’s be real here. You don’t smoke or drink because you’re stressed. You do it because you enjoy it, and for a few minutes at least, you feel good.

The reason you don’t exercise isn’t a lack of time. The reason you don’t exercise is that you don’t enjoy it, and there are plenty of other things you’d rather do.

Susan stresses that it’s time to live without excuses. Susan shares the following examples of cutting out excuses: “I’m fat because I don’t exercise and I eat what I want.”

“I’m stressed because I let life and all of its complications upset me.”

“I am in debt because I’m wasteful and don’t cut back in the many ways that I can.”

This list goes on and on, but the idea is clear – you have to face the truth about why you are where you are today. Until then, “until you quit making excuses as to why you can’t;” says Susan “you will continue to have what you’ve got.”

“If you really want to lose weight make the time to work out,” Susan suggests. “If you’re stressed, learn stress management or meditate. If you are struggling financially; create a budget and adhere to it.” If you really want something, stop making excuses, and go out and do something about it.

Another Healthy Wealthy n Wise contributor, Debra Kasowski, seems to describe the next steps in here article How to Take Responsibility For Your Own Actions, sharing a few tips on getting what you really want. She shares eight different tips, but I’ll be sharing only a few of my favorites here:

Get Clear on What You Want.

“You can have what you want,” Debra explains, but “many people do not get what they want because they are not always clear on what exactly it is they want or expect from themselves or others.” You have to know what you want, otherwise you don’t have a goal or a direction. What many sometimes forget though is that you also have to make sure the people around you know that too. This way, others can help you achieve your goals, or at the very least not get in the way of them.

Set Your Priorities.

It’s easy to get frustrated when you encounter obstacles to your goals – we can all relate to that. The difference between those who succeed and those who fail is pretty simple: those who stop fail, and those who keep going succeed. Debra gives as an example being unable to block off an hour and half for the gym. Some won’t bother going anymore. “Going to the gym or for a walk for 30 minutes is still better that you coming home to sit on the couch,” Debra explains. “Do something toward reaching your goal instead of nothing.”

Go and Get It.

The tip is Debra’s, but I’ll go back to Susan’s quote for this: “until you quit making excuses as to why you can’t; you will continue to have what you’ve got.” You are responsible for getting what you want. If you really want something, you have to take action and go get it.

To get what we want, we have to stop making excuses, and we have to start moving. Otherwise, we stay right where we are, and that’s the truth.

Stay true,

Ric


Image by: sakhorn38 / FreeDigitalPhotso.net



Employment Ethics

March 22nd, 2011 by Liz in Financial Freedom

“A man willing to work, and unable to find work, is perhaps the saddest sight that fortune’s inequality exhibits under this sun.” ~ Thomas Carlyle

At this point of economic recession, a period that the Federal Reserve calls “the disappointingly slow” U.S. recovery toward a faster pace of growth, it can only mean that the 14.8 million unemployed Americans may stay that way much longer than everyone hopes for.

Trading Economics states that “the unemployment rate in the United States was last reported at 9.60 percent in October of 2010.” Many of us may know a number of people who are among this statistic, a spouse, a friend, or a relative. And for many of us, unemployment, and the serious issues tied with it, is all too real, and hits very close to home.

Just a few hours ago, I came across an article in The Huffington Post about a disturbing job add with red print at the bottom saying “The unemployed need not be considered.” This ad is by a Texas-based electronics company in need of a “Quality Engineer”. The ad is currently posted in The People Place, a job recruitment website for the telecoms, aerospace, defense and engineering industries.

I feel you, Dianne

Reading this article reminded me of the Small Business CEO’s online magazine, September 2010 issue, Admin section. This is probably why Dianne Shaddock, founder of www.EasySmallBusinessHR.com wrote her article Should Companies Not Hire the Unemployed? I sensed that hers was an emotional piece, and I could read mixed anger and disappointment in between the lines:

“There are a lot of really good people out there who are unemployed and we are doing them a disservice if we are writing them off even though they are qualified on paper for job opportunities.

Even poor performers deserve a second chance as sometimes it is a situation of job fit, or conflicting styles between the supervisor and the employee that results in an employee being labeled a poor performer.”

Dianne, being an HR professional, felt strongly about the ethics of recruitment, and essentially, giving each job candidate equal chance.

When to hire and when to let go

This is definitely a hot topic for both job seekers and recruiters, which is why, in the same September 2010 issue of Small Business CEO’s online magazine, Craig Nathanson talked about “Hiring and Letting Go.” Craig is the founder of The Best Manager™, provider of workshops and products that aim to bring out the best in those who manage and lead others.

Being a 25 year management veteran, Craig gave experienced advice on an organization’s process for hiring, evaluating and letting go. In a way, he talked about appropriate HR and organization ethics that breeds a healthy system for both employee and employer.

“When hiring, the best manager looks at three following factors: if the person has the ability to do the role, if the person has motivation to do the role, and if the person fits well with the existing staff.”
According to Craig, most recruiters hire based on what’s written on the applicant’s resume alone. Critical evaluations on the applicant’s motivation and culture adaptability, which are important for finding “a good fit” become secondary considerations. Aside from the applicant’s skill set, personality, work style and skills background should be looked into.

Humane approach for hiring and letting go

If a new hire does not perform as expected, Craig says that it does not necessarily mean that HR made a mistake in their choice. “The success of the hired person depends on the whole system. For example, a demanding micro-manager will get less performance out of the same person who, instead, might be doing well enough working for a smarter manger.”

The emotional rollercoaster I found myself on after all this talk on unfair treatment for the unemployed, sort of balanced out with Craig’s reminder that “the best manager knows that it’s the system that determines the behavior and performance of its members” and that when it’s time to let go of an employee, the best manager knows that the humanistic moral approach is the only right approach.

Why this policy for the unemployed is unethical

Why Dianne Shaddock’s article Should Companies Not Hire the Unemployed? was in the end, an appeal to fellow HR professionals to do the right thing for all job candidates whose resumes land on their tables….

That company ad reported by the Huffington Post has an obvious employment policy that is ethically inexcusable. More so at this time when majority of those desperate to land a job is among the 14 million Americans who are currently unemployed. This policy is based on wrong generalized assumptions – that the applicant is unemployed because of performance issues, and does not even consider lay off realities. And a job seeker who comes across an ad with those words gets a hard kick in their gut; something, they don’t need at the moment.

Like Dianna and Craig, it is my fervent hope, that organizations and businesses will have humanely responsible policies on employment for those qualified and desiring to be given a chance.

Liz


Image by: Michal Marcol / FreeDigitalPhotos.net



Tools to Cope with Stress

March 15th, 2011 by Adaire in Sharing Success

I have been watching out for the upcoming gadgets this 2011 when I came across an article which relates stress and the modern technology. We all know that the mobile gadgets, such as cellphones and laptops or notebooks or tablets, were supposedly built to make our lives easier – meaning we can do things faster by having instant access and staying connected more often.

While these portable machines cut the work load, the advancement also encourages multi-tasking. Employees are given notebooks so that they can continue working even beyond office hours. Blackberries allow the user to read e-mails even at the wee hours in the morning. While having meetings or eating dinner with the family, your cellphone interrupts you anytime and replying to the text or taking the call becomes the priority. Whew!

I’m totally cool with gadgets, especially notebooks, because it allows me to write in my own time, my own mood and my preferred place. It also lets me jot down my thoughts or ideas anytime they pop out unexpectedly so I’m sure I don’t forget or lose them! :) And of course, google made research and keeping myself up-to-date so much more efficient. I guess it is totally inevitable for technology to continue advancing our way of life. But, it is always up to us to strike a balance.

When you invest in a gadget, keep an eye on the goal. You buy a laptop or mobile phone for you to better manage your to do’s so you have more time to focus on more important things – like taking care of yourself. Now if the endless urgent tasks make you always pressured and stressed; that is not you taking good of yourself. That is you letting the techie world get the life out of you.

Stress will continue to come in different forms, even in the form of your iPad which constantly notifies you to harvest your plants in your WeRule kingdom (Don’t worry, I’m an addict too. Teehee :) ). But stress happens not just because of gadgets but on how we manage our time and what we choose to prioritize. The key is to identify the causes and know when to stop, escape and be able to breathe.

An escape from stress need not be an expensive trip to Europe. When I say escape, this can be little activities that won’t take so much of your time but will do you so much good if done regularly. Things like listening to a relaxing music, thinking about delightful thoughts, massaging your thumbs and palms or by simply having pockets of time doing nothing at all! :)

Vincent De Maas’ “Stressing? Take Good Care of Yourself” outlines easy-to-develop habits that can actually form a stress-free lifestyle.  What I like most in the list, though, is the one which talks about letting it go.

Go to sleep with an empty mind and in your head close the day off as a page in your diary. Overflow anything else and let it go. Look at what went well and enjoy that. And then accept that this day is in the past that you cannot change things anymore. Now you can look forward to tomorrow and enjoy a healthy night.”

Personally, I think, this is the hardest part about dealing with stress especially if you had a very long bad day or when you are eagerly hoping for a result that just won’t happen yet because it’s beyond your control. No matter how much we know that we need to let it go, stress simply won’t leave our mind and body, resulting to sleepless nights, leaving us even more exhausted or worse, sick. Again, this is not you taking care of yourself. This is you making stress consume the time which is supposedly for yourself.

Again, focus on the goal. You work because you need to earn the money to pay for your expenses. But if your work causes you too much stress, you end up losing your money to pay for hospital and medical bills. There always should be a line between work and play and it should be very thick and solid that no mobile phone or laptop can blur it. The off button has a purpose and just like all the gadgets in the world, no matter how advanced they may be, your battery will also run out if you don’t take time to rest.

Recognize when stress is starting to build up and be ready with your coping mechanisms.

Living a life of stress is a choice and I certainly will not be choosing that! :)

Adaire


Image by: Ambro / FreeDigitalPhotos.net



Time is Money – Spend it Wisely

March 8th, 2011 by Adaire in Financial Freedom

I have written and read so many articles on making the most out of the hours we have in a day but there are just days that we can’t seem to be productive as much as we wanted to be. I don’t want to be wasting your time so I would be cutting the chase. Here’s a rundown of quick tips on managing your time well. :)

Simple Plans

Now I know you’ve read this several times but, just like me, perhaps you are not doing it right. Most people, especially the overly organized ones, spend too much time for planning that the time left for execution is compromised (Guilty! :) ).

Of course, there is nothing wrong with being organized. In fact, planning is one of the pieces of advice cited by Mia Redrick in her Health Wealthy n Wise Article entitled “Do You Need More Hours in a Day?”. Planning in advance lessens the stress and anxiety as you are able to anticipate and juggle your work and personal life, including those of your husband and children if you have a family to take care of.

However, make sure that you do not dwell in the planning stage. A straightforward checklist will do. Remember, this only serves as your guide so you can estimate what is feasible and what is not. Don’t try to fit in those which are impossible because you will only frustrate yourself if you do. As Mia put it, eliminate what is not working. Accomplish the most important ones and then try to do the lesser priorities only if time allows it.

Keep your Plate Small

All of us want to accomplish a lot of things in a day but this does not mean you have to do everything by yourself. Mia suggested two ways to get the work load of you.

First is you must delegate tasks. Household chores can be allocated among your children. Apart from lessening your burden, you also teach your children to become responsible and mature. Delegation can be a bit tedious at first especially because they are still learning. Once they get the hang of it, they can work independently and you can even add up some more tasks for them.

Second is outsourcing. Most people think it’s wiser to do things by yourself so you get to save from unnecessary service fees. However, if these tasks eat up your schedule to the point that you no longer get to spend quality time with the family, do you think it’s still worth it? Why don’t you try having your groceries delivered or your laundry serviced and have more time to enjoy weekends with your family? :)

In addition, I also would like you to learn how to say no. As a writer, I always get excited when a new client asks for my service until it came to the point that I no longer enjoy writing because I am such in a hurry to finish just to meet my deadlines. Mia mentioned going for quality over quantity. For me, this means knowing your limitations and arranging your load in accordance to it.

Combination Activities

There are ways for you to hit two birds with one stone. Take for example, exercise. You can either run in the treadmill with your earphones on or you can walk the dogs with your kids. Not only will you be able to get that daily dose of workout, you also have worked out the dogs and had fun with your kids as well.

Avail of rest and relaxation activities while waiting for the kids to finish their karate or gymnastics. Always find time to pamper yourself through spa massage, facial treatment, hair styling and other rewarding activities.

Pausing for a break is not a waste time! If you overwork yourself too much, you will lose energy and you will not be able to savor or give your best to most of your to do’s. End result – time wasted on mediocrity. Give yourself a chance to breathe, rest and recover so you get the most from all the goals you have set for your day.

Like most women, Mia Redrick juggles a lot of tasks as a mom of three, an author and also a speaker of empowering mothers to practice better self-care. If she is able to do it, so can you! :)

Spend time wisely! :)

Adaire


Image by: vuk011 / sxc.hu



Ask Away!

March 1st, 2011 by Ric in Lifestyle

My boy Stefan (and to lesser extent, Chandler) asks me and Liz about a million questions each day. Daddy, how come you can grow a mustache and I can’t? How do hummingbirds stay in place while they fly? Why does cutting onions make me cry? I could probably fill pages with his questions, but that means I’d have to remember them all – that would take too long.

I’m not complaining. In fact, I’m thankful. Having to very inquisitive boys keeps me and Liz on our toes, and helps keep us asking our own questions too.

Kenrick Cleveland has a post up on Healthy Wealthy n Wise entitled Cultivate Your Curiosity where he highlights the value of staying curious. Kids are naturally curious about anything and everything, but somehow lose this curiosity bit by bit as we grow older.

Kenrick doesn’t quite outline these things in his article, but I picked up on three reasons to stay curious:

Avoiding Stagnation

“When you’re curious, you find lots of interesting things to do.” – Walt Disney

Kenrick describes how some people, as they get grow older, “they lose a certain passion, their hunger for achievement begins to wane.” The Walt Disney quote above tackles this pretty well – as you find new and interesting things to do, you may find ways to get back the hunger and passion of your younger years. At the very least, you’ll probably find new hobbies and activities to occupy your time.

Persuading Others

“The best way to persuade people is with your ears – by listening to them.” -  Dean Rusk

Curiosity allows to “learn, understand and know our clients in such a way that we can combine what we have to offer them with their view of the world, their criteria.” The more you know about others, the more likely it is that you can sway them to your point of view.

Lifelong Learning

“You learn something every day if you pay attention.” – Ray LeBlond

“When you’re curious,” Kenrick says, “you can turn the mundane into an opportunity to learn something.” Do I really need to say any more than that?

Something that Kenrick seems to point to in his article, but never quite mentions, is that curiosity leads to creativity. That last quote really captures the idea quite well – the most mundane things can be great opportunities for learning, and also for inspired ideas.

“Curiosity is the key to creativity.” -  Akio Morita

The way I see it is that asking questions is like letting your brain go free. Curiosity requires allowing your mind to wander to different places and explore different possibilities – the same things you need to come up with creative ideas.

Confused? I’ll borrow ideas from another contributor to Healthy Wealthy n Wise, Bob Proctor. In his concisely titled post Imagination, Bob introduces the concept of “Fantasy – Theory – Fact” and explains that “everything has its origination in the form of fantasy, which some adventurous souls dare turn into a theory and then boldly turn into fact.”

Everything started with somebody’s fantasy, Bob explains, citing how “communicating by email, traveling on jets, cellular phones or wearing synthetic garments were, a very short time ago, sheer fantasy. Today, they are considered commonplace.”

The fact is that almost all of the life-changing inventions started with somebody asking questions. Why did the candy bar in my pocket melt all of a sudden? Why do these burrs keep sticking to my clothes? How do I keep the people from accidentally ripping the pockets off off their work pants?

You probably have questions of your own swimming in your head, and some of them just might lead to some fantastic ideas. Turning those fantasies into theories and facts – that’s something we have to tackle some other time.

Why? I’d like to share with one more quotation with you to explain:

“Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers” – Voltaire

You may not have the answers you’re looking for yet, but if you’re already asking the right questions, you’re on the way to finding them.

So, what questions have you asked today?

Stay curious,

Ric


Image by: Jeroen van Oostrom / FreeDigitalPhotos.net