Archive for Work-Life Balance

Navigating life's transitions We all experience a series of transitions throughout our lives, both personally and professionally. Even when transitions are positive, they can be quite stressful.

Graduating from college, getting married (or divorced), having a baby, beginning a new job, entering a new relationship, etc. all create stress.

Since transitions and change are a constant part of life, they are impossible to avoid.

Therefore, the better equipped you are to handle and navigate life’s transitions, the happier and more successful you’ll be!

Following are four easy ways to navigate life’s transitions (so they don’t overwhelm you and stress you out).

1. The famous Greek philosopher Socrates said: “Know Thyself”. Different people can tolerate different levels of stress.

Understand your own limitations. Know how much stress you can tolerate – and respect it. This will help you avoid (or minimize) feeling overwhelmed and unduly stressed out during times of change. Naturally, it will be helpful for you to control what you can realistically control.

We cannot control everything that happens to us in life- but we are able to control some things.

If you are uncomfortable with a lot of major changes happening all at once, do your best to keep these changes to a minimum (when possible).

For example, if you are moving to a new apartment, perhaps you shouldn’t be looking for a new job at the same time.

If you are one of the fortunate few who can emotionally tolerate a lot of changes going on at once – you still need to recognize that transitions are stressful. Don’t be caught off guard and pile on the changes unnecessarily – just because you think you “can”.

2. Reach Out to Your Support System. Whether you are transitioning into a new job, a new intimate relationship or moving to a new city, etc., access your support system.

Reach out to the people who can emotionally support you during times of change. We all know who these people are in our lives.

It is very difficult to handle transitions by yourself – so don’t!

If you begin to feel overwhelmed by a personal or professional change, seek emotional support from others.

Whether it’s your friends and/or family that comes through for you in the clutch, reach out to them. Let them know what change(s) you are going through so they can ease the bumpy emotional roller coaster ride that comes with the territory.

This support can go a long way in helping you move ahead to see light at the end of what might begin to feel like a very long dark tunnel.

3. Be Realistic. Give yourself a realistic timeframe to get used to the change.

Your identity is changing – and it will take time to adjust to the “new” you. So give yourself the time it takes to feel comfortable in your new skin.

It might take a full year to feel comfortable or confident in your new job or relationship. Expecting to adjust sooner than is realistically possible will only add more stress to an already stressful situation.

Therefore, give yourself the gift of knowing it takes time to adjust and feel comfortable when transitioning throughout your life.

4. Expect to feel uncomfortable feelings. Even if you finally got that promotion you so desperately wanted, or you are a blushing bride or groom, don’t be surprised if you begin to feel somewhat overwhelmed and/or sad.

Transitioning implies closing one chapter in your life and opening another.

Even if the change you are experiencing is desirable, it may still take you out of your comfort zone – creating many unexpected and uncomfortable feelings.

Transitions, whether they are warmly welcomed or are suddenly imposed upon us, they present us with new challenges that create stress.

Knowing how much stress you can tolerate, reaching out to your support system, giving yourself a realistic timeframe to adjust to the changes while understanding that you might feel some sadness, are keys that will help you navigate life’s transitions as smoothly as possible.

The Place For Relationship Tools For Success In Business and Life,

Dr. Patty Ann
www.relationshiptoolbox.com
www.relationshiptoolbox.com/blog
www.twitter.com/drpattyann
www.facebook.com/relationshiptoolbox

 

Here’s an excerpt from my new Amazon Best Selling Book that talks about how important your mindset is when it comes to creating wealth.

A winning mindset is a prerequisite for success in all areas of your life, i.e., business, music, sports, art etc. It is also a prerequisite for financial success and wealth accumulation. Women must create a winning financial mindset that sets the tone for creating wealth and financial security by actually believing we can! So how do you go about creating this mindset? It begins the same way everything else we create in our lives begins—in our minds. We must create a shift in how we think about money in our minds.

Mindset

The only true way we can change ourselves is by changing our mindset.

Gandhi said, “We must be the change we want to see in the world.” Therefore, if we want to change anything in our life, the first step begins with taking a long, hard look in the mirror. We must first change ourselves.

Are you willing to change how you feel about money to create a winning money mindset?

The Place For Relationship Tools For Success In Business and Life,

Dr. Patty Ann
www.relationshiptoolbox.com
www.relationshiptoolbox.com/blog
www.twitter.com/drpattyann
www.facebook.com/relationshiptoolbox

 

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Sep
25

3 Keys to Work-Life Balance

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Women in today’s modern world are better-educated and more driven for professional success than ever before. We are no longer bound by stereotypes and the new image of women is represented quite well by the old commercial words: “We can bring home the bacon and fry it up in a pan and never let you forget you’re a man.” To do this however, requires a paradigm shift, one that acknowledges how our professional success and personal lives are intimately woven together and influence each other. If a woman wants to create success in her life, both personal and professional, she needs to think about how they both influence each other by creating a family plan that compliments rather than competes against one’s business plan!

Following are 3 essential keys needed to create a family plan that allows for success in both your career and personal lives.

  1. Money. Women must stop ignoring the fact that money does indeed make the world go round. We need to have an honest financial goal for the lifestyle we desire – as it will obviously influence how much money we need to make in our jobs/business. Our personal and professional goals are intimately woven together, influencing each other. Do not ignore the financial reality of your life.

  2. Time. Think about how much time you are willing to put into your career and how much time you need for your personal life. Time is the most precious commodity of all – because once you have spent your time on something – it is gone forever. Deliberately choose with whom and how you spend your time in all areas of your life. Ask yourself how much time you are willing to spend at work vs. how much time you want for your personal life. Are you willing to travel and spend time away from home at night and on the weekends?

  3. Relationships. All research shows the overall happiness of your life is predicated upon the quality of your relationships. How important is it for you to socialize and be with your friends? How much time spent together does your marriage or intimate relationship require to maintain its closeness and connectedness – every couple is different and what works for one couple may not work for another.

It is imperative that we not leave these variables to chance by creating a family plan that compliments rather than competes against our career goals and/or business plans. Forget the concept of trying to strike a balance between your work and personal life – have the goal be to make sure they compliment each other instead!

The Place For Relationship Tools For Success In Business and Life,

Dr. Patty Ann
www.relationshiptoolbox.com
www.relationshiptoolbox.com/blog
www.twitter.com/drpattyann
www.facebook.com/relationshiptoolbox

 

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From the cradle to the grave, we’ve been given the message, covertly and overtly, that money cannot buy you happiness. It’s been so ingrained in our head that if you are a typical woman living in American society, your mindset, belief system and monetary personality has created an avoidance, if not downright aversion, to any conversation surrounding money, finances and investing.

Americans have been told, “you can’t buy happiness” and that “money is the root of all evil.” Women, unlike men, have bought into this mindset hook, line and sinker, although current research finds evidence to the contrary. This quote was published in 2013 in Forbes.com: “relying on worldwide data from Gallup and other sources, … determine that the wealthier people are, the more satisfied they are with their lives, at least when you look at nationwide figures. They also find, contrary to what many economists believe, that there is not a point of wealth satiation beyond which happiness levels off.”

So there you have it – there is statistical research and data that finds a positive correlation between one’s happiness and one’s income.

If I were to ask you what keeps you up at night, I bet you eight out of ten times the answer relates to money – and not having enough of it: to fix the car, pay the mortgage in a timely manner, put the kids through college, etc. Money can eliminate these specific types of fears and research shows money also increases your overall sense of well-being by diminishing stress in your life.

Perhaps the greatest contribution to happiness money makes in our lives is the ability to buy stress out of it – resulting in contentment and peace of mind.

If you think money cannot buy you happiness, I urge you to think again. Money can buy you happiness, as long as you don’t become consumed by or a slave in its pursuit.

Dr. Patty Ann
www.relationshiptoolbox.com
www.relationshiptoolbox.com/blog
www.twitter.com/drpattyann
www.facebook.com/relationshiptoolbox

 

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This blog post was written by Alexis Kleinman, and published in the Huffington Post. Read it so you can understand the #1 thing NOT to do in the Morning if you want to be very successful!

The 1 Thing Super Successful People
Never Do In The Early Morning

The Huffington Post | by  Alexis Kleinman

What do you do the moment you wake up? Stretch? Look at your weather app? Jump in the shower? If you want to be successful, you’ll be fine doing any of the above, as long as you don’t do one thing: check your email.

Checking your email first thing in the morning may be tempting. It’s right there on your phone, and you might think that you’re being productive by getting some emails out of the way early in the day, but doing so can actually be quite damaging.

Author Julie Morgenstern wrote an entire book on the subject, called “Never Check Email In The Morning.” Morgenstern has been a consultant for companies like American Express, FedEx and Microsoft since 1989 and has written extensively on organization and time management for publications like Forbes and the New York Times.

If you start your day off by responding to emails, “you’ll never recover,” Morgenstern told The Huffington Post. “Those requests and those interruptions and those unexpected surprises and those reminders and problems are endless… there is very little that cannot wait a minimum of 59 minutes.”

The problem is, email is reactive and not proactive, she says. You just wind up bouncing from task to task, letting your inbox set your agenda. Instead of starting your day with email, start by completing an important task that requires focus.

“It’s hard to go from your transactional, shallow part of your brain, the frontal cortex, to the other parts of your brain where strategy happens and relationships happen,” Morgenstern told HuffPost. “It’s easier to start in the deep recesses of your brain and go to the shallow parts.”

If you start your day with an important, focused project, “you’ll get significantly more done,” says Morgenstern who emphatically notes that truly succesful people always start their day like this. Tumblr founder David Karp, who recently sold his company to Yahoo for $1.1 billion, recently told Inc.: “I try hard not to check e-mails until I get to the office, which is usually between 9:30 and 10 a.m.,” Tumblr founder 27-year-old David Karp told Inc. recently. “Reading e-mails at home never feels good or productive,” he said.

Blogger Sid Savara argues that email can distract you from what you actually want and need to work on. “As soon as you get up, work on something important for 30-45 minutes, and only then check it,” Savara suggests. “If you can stand it, wait even longer. Some days I don’t check email at all until after lunch.”

If you have things you know you need to work on, focus on those rather than checking your email in the morning and even throughout the day. “Rather than actively setting an agenda, email forces you to react to items as they come in – regardless of their true priority,” Savara writes.

Plus, odds are the emails you’re getting early in the morning are going to stress you out, not put you in a great mood. The morning is all about setting your tone for the day, and reading angry emails from your boss isn’t going to set a good one. [article posted here]

The Place For Relationship Tools For Success In Business and Life,

Dr. Patty Ann
www.relationshiptoolbox.com
www.relationshiptoolbox.com/blog
www.twitter.com/drpattyann
www.facebook.com/relationshiptoolbox

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Emotional Intelligence consists of the ability to recognize, use, understand and manage our emotions in a way that helps develop healthy relationships in both our professional and personal lives. Succinctly, Emotional Intelligence influences the way we react to stress and the way we interact with others.

Emotional intelligence is composed of four main attributes:

  1. Self-awareness – the ability to recognize one’s own emotions and how they influence one’s behaviors and thoughts.
  2. Self-management – the ability to control impulsive feelings and behaviors so that you can manage your emotions in an effective and healthy manner.
  3. Social awareness – the ability to understand the emotions, needs and concerns of others.
  4. Relationship management – the ability to develop and sustain healthy relationships.

Following are 3 key ways to increase your emotional intelligence:

  1. Know what your stressors are and then learn ways to reduce them; perhaps by practicing yoga, meditation, reading self-help literature.
  2. Know Thyself – increased self-awareness is at the core of understanding others. Knowing yourself increases your chances of knowing and understanding your emotions – especially when stressed. Understanding your emotions increases your chances of controlling them – rather than having your emotions control you.
  3. Develop effective communication skills. The ability to communicate effectively is at the heart of developing and maintaining healthy relationships, both in our personal and professional lives. Without these skills, it is almost impossible to relate to others.

Increasing one’s Emotional Intelligence is a lifelong process. Being able to develop healthy relationships is necessary for success in business and life.

The Place For Relationship Tools For Success In Business and Life,

Dr. Patty Ann
www.relationshiptoolbox.com
www.relationshiptoolbox.com/blog
www.twitter.com/drpattyann
www.facebook.com/relationshiptoolbox

 

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Although women have made great strides bridging the wage gap, we still have a long road ahead of us. Did you know that women who hold MBA’s leave approximately $2 million on the table in the course of their careers? That’s right, 2 million dollars! Imagine what you can do with that kind of money – the list is endless.

This significant loss of income creeps up on women. It begins when women first get hired out of business school. They are paid perhaps just a little less than their male counterparts – which these young female hires may or may not be aware of. If the women don’t know that their newly minted MBA male counterparts are being paid more, of course they cannot do anything about. But sometimes women do know, or find out about this inequity shortly after they begin their new jobs, and ignore the inequity by chalking it up to the following sentiment(s): “Oh well, it’s not that much more money so it’s no big deal.” “I don’t want to be seen as being ungrateful or anything.” OR “Well maybe he has some skill I don’t have (which he more than likely does NOT) so I don’t want to say anything.”

Having worked with male and female executives for over two decades, I can honestly say I have never heard a male worker express the above thoughts when faced with what they believe to be a pay inequity; furthermore, I cannot image a male worker ever even having this type of mindset!

As the male and female worker climb the corporate ladder, the male colleague widens the wage gap with each promotion and/or assignment; and what do the women do as they climb each rung? Often we silently sit back and allow this pay inequity to continue unchecked. Sure, maybe you complain to your spouse and/or your girlfriends, but you wouldn’t dare bring this to the attention of your boss or HR or the powers that be because, well, you know, you don’t want to appear as being too greedy or too pushy! So the inequity grows and grows and grows until it reaches $2 million dollars over the course of your career!

NEWSFLASH ladies – M-O-N-E-Y is not a 4-letter word! We are all working for financial gain. The next time you think you are underpaid, and you have done your research and discovered that you are, in fact, underpaid – strategically go into your boss and request a raise. If you begin to worry that you will be seen as being greedy, remember two thoughts. If you don’t believe, truly believe, your work is worth the raise you are requesting, you surely will not be able to convince anyone else of it either. So get your mindset straight. Secondly, I have never met a man who thought he was overpaid! Yet, you and I both know plenty of them, don’t we?! Take a page out of the guy’s playbook and advocate for yourself to get paid what you are worth!

Dr. Patty Ann
www.relationshiptoolbox.com
www.relationshiptoolbox.com/blog
www.twitter.com/drpattyann
www.facebook.com/relationshiptoolbox

 

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“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” Perhaps this quote from Charles Dickens’ book A Tale of Two Cities best sums up the current efforts aimed at helping women break through the glass ceiling to gain access to the c-suite. With all the media attention being drawn to the issue of what it takes to get women onto the executive team, one could presume “it was the best of times.” Yet as we all know, the numbers just aren’t there and women are significantly under represented in all levels of upper management hence: “it was the worst of times.”

We are all very familiar with many of the obstacles preventing women from breaking the glass ceiling, so there is no need to enumerate them here once again. There is, however, a reason that is rarely, if ever, discussed that inhibits women’s ascent up the corporate ladder, whether we care to admit to its truth or not. The fact is many women ask for permission to succeed in business and men do not. In fact, men (to borrow a phrase from Nike) “just do it!” If you are a professional woman, you are either nodding your head agreeing with what you just read or you are furious at me because you think I am totally out of touch with the realities of the corporate climb. Therefore, let me explain what I mean by suggesting that many women ask for permission to succeed in business.

Let me illustrate how this shows up in the work place. When an opportunity presents itself for someone to take on a new business initiative or challenge, women often ask for permission to pursue it. Men, on the other hand, will automatically seize the opportunity. While women are busy asking “pretty please” or “may I,” men are vigorously plowing ahead working on projects and other tasks that will give them both visibility and access to the decision-makers critical for one’s upward mobility. This happens on every rung of the corporate ladder.

Men don’t ask for permission to speak up in meetings if they think they have a good idea or valuable contribution to make to the team. Men are proactive and find a way to make their voices heard. Meanwhile, many women will sit back and either don’t contribute to a discussion and/or tentatively make a suggestion lacking conviction or confidence. This in itself is problematic and does nothing to shatter the glass ceiling. Now let’s take this case scenario one step further. A male colleague may later claim a female colleague’s idea as his own and get away with it because the woman who initially proposed the idea failed to own it (with a zillion reasons as to why women let this happen — a topic for another blog); he then shoots right up the corporate ladder with it.

Of course this is infuriating and unfair but women let this happen all the time and we have no one to blame for it but ourselves.

We can, and in fact we must create our own opportunities in business (and life) by taking the initiative instead of passively sitting by and letting others dictate the course of our work and career trajectory. We must stop asking for permission to be successful. Opportunities in business present themselves in the form of challenges that need to be solved. One needs to assertively and voluntarily take these opportunities and run with them. If you instead wait to ask for permission to pursue these opportunities, chances are pretty good they will be long gone.

If women continue to ask for permission to succeed in business, there is a good chance it won’t happen for us. This quality is not something that can be rectified by corporate or political policy, no amount of diversity and inclusion will change it and although work-life balance and women’s initiatives might keep women in the work force — it won’t raise us above the glass ceiling and into the c-suite.

Men, hands down, are not afraid to ask for anything — more money, more power, more control, it is as if their mantra is: “more is good!” Although there are many skills men can learn from women, the ability to promote yourself and your career is something women need to learn from men. Women need to learn to seize the day — Carpe Diem!

The Place For Relationship Tools For Success In Business and Life,

Dr. Patty Ann
www.relationshiptoolbox.com
www.relationshiptoolbox.com/blog
www.twitter.com/drpattyann
www.facebook.com/relationshiptoolbox

 

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If there is one word to describe how most women feel when they are working and their kids are at home during the summer months it would be GUILT (unfortunately)! Just last week I was at a networking event with a group of highly successful female executives who all talked about the angst and guilt of being at work when the kids were out of school. And then of course this immediately launched into a conversation about the flip side of the equation – feeling guilty about being at home when we thought we should be at work (or working from home). Either way – working moms are constantly being torn between professional and personal responsibilities.

Below are 4 tips to alleviate what seems to be this never-ending cycle of guilt for working moms during the summer.

  1. The realistic goal is to achieve a healthy integration of your work and personal responsibilities. The concept of work-life balance as discussed in literature and the media implies a situation where you split your time evenly between your career and your family responsibilities. This concept is total nonsense and it is at the heart of much guilt experienced by working women. Therefore, remember that work-life balance is a misnomer and stop trying to attain this unrealistic goal. Do your best to integrate your work and family responsibilities into your life in a realistic manner and stop trying to focus on creating an unrealistic balance of these two roles – especially during the summertime when the kids might be home more than during the school year.
  2. Try to schedule your work projects in a way that allows for as  much flexibility as is realistically possible during the summer months.  In other words, when creating project deadlines and due dates – try to remember that  you might have a little less flexibility during the summer months and/or desire to  work late since the kids are around; so try to push as many work deadlines out into  the fall as you can. Again, not all careers and/or businesses allow for this but if  you can find a way to create some flexibility for some projects, by all means do so.  If not, communicate your pressing deadlines to your spouse and other support systems  and engage their help with the kids – to take some pressure off of you. Remember, it  is really great for both parents to parent. If you are a single mom, try to enlist  the help of family or friends to spend some time with your kids while you are working  late. In other words, create a fun environment for your child while you are working  and they will not be missing you as much as you think.
  3. Create clear consistent boundaries for your work and personal life. Do not allow yourself to work when you are home with your family. When you are at work – work; don’t be tempted by modern technology to check up on your friends by scanning Facebook and sending out personal tweets, etc. I call these activities “time vampires” – they suck the time out of your workday, forcing you to have to stay late at work or work from home at night. Therefore, discipline yourself to stay focused and be efficient.
  4. Conversely, when you are with your family, be totally present. Do not “sneak” a peek at your work emails and respond to them on your iPhone. This will distract you from being emotionally present – even though you are physically present. You would be much better off staying at work to finish your work than trying to complete it when you are suppose to be parenting or enjoying time with your spouse. Allow technology to enhance your life – not control it.

Follow these 4 tips and you should be able to engage the summer months with your family while feeling confident about getting your work done professionally and efficiently.

For more information on work-life balance strategies, check out my best-selling book: “Not Tonight Dear, I’ve Got a Business to Run!” at  http://911marriagehelp.com/products/book-not-tonight-dear/.

The Place For Relationship Tools For Success In Business and Life,

Dr. Patty Ann
www.relationshiptoolbox.com
www.relationshiptoolbox.com/blog
www.twitter.com/drpattyann
www.facebook.com/relationshiptoolbox

 

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Jun
06

Re-defining Success for Women

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Yesterday, Arianna Huffington was on national TV discussing her recent Huffington Post blog, which was inspired by the commencement speech she gave at Smith College. During this speech she urged the young, all female graduates to re-define the definition of success and she spoke of a “third metric” that must be added to what it means to be successful.

“Don’t buy society’s definition of success,” she said. “Because it’s not working for anyone. It’s not working for women, it’s not working for men …” She referred to a more holistic definition of success as one including a “third metric” – where success is not solely defined by financial wealth and power. Rather it encompasses the totality of a healthy life based on our “well–being, wisdom, our ability to wonder, and to give back.” I view this definition of success as overwhelmingly defined by positive relationships – within ourselves, within our community & within our environment. It includes taking care of the people with whom we interact with everyday, and perhaps most importantly, taking care of ourselves, on all levels, including making sure our physical and spiritual needs are met.

During her interview on the Today show yesterday morning, Arianna said success is about: “It’s leaning in and also leaning back, leaning back in order to unplug, recharge, and renew ourselves.” In other words, we must not allow our personal and/or professional roles and responsibilities to allow us to lose sight of what really matters. If we are running around like a chicken without a head all day long, we will, at the end of the day – or the end of a decade – be completely exhausted. We all already know that we are totally stressed out with this stress taking a toll on our bodies. Working women experience an inordinate amount of stress-related illnesses that men have experienced while chasing the false gods of money and power: increasing heart disease, high blood pressure, ulcers etc. What is the point of making a ton of money and dropping dead at an early age from the stress the pursuit of money has caused? Or amassing extraordinary wealth only to feel the sting of alienation from the lack of real intimate relationships and friendships?

Therefore, it is critical we re-define success based upon our own life goals that are realistic and practical, predicated upon our personal life choices. What constitutes success for one woman might not constitute success for another – and that is perfectly fine! But whatever your definition of success is, make sure it includes allowing you to find the time to do the things you love! Find the time to do what is important to you! When you say you don’t have time to exercise, eat right, take a vacation (or just a day off), volunteer or any of the other things that will keep you healthy and feel connected to the others – re-think your choices. And choose wisely. Take the time to make it your priority to be successful in all areas of you life, because professional success alone is not really success at all.

The Place For Relationship Tools For Success In Business and Life,

Dr. Patty Ann
www.relationshiptoolbox.com
www.relationshiptoolbox.com/blog
www.twitter.com/drpattyann
www.facebook.com/relationshiptoolbox

 

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