Connect, Re-Connect with Mindful Listening

Hello COREageous Founders:

Consider this time at home a rare opportunity to bolster the connections with your primary support team – your family and friends. As we endure the inevitable roller coaster ride of entrepreneurship, where quality time with loved ones is often limited, we depend on the stability and reinforcement of those cheering for us on the sidelines. Please take a minute to tune up your communication skills and read this: 

“If you think tempers are churning a bit now, give it a couple more weeks.”
Listening mindfully to one another in times of trouble and apprehension can help calm nerves, adjust to inconveniences and resolve long-standing relationship problems.

I’m not talking about the “act-like-you-are-listening” tactics taught in business training classes. I’m talking about authentic, put-your-ego-aside kind of listening — mindful listening.

Could one of the reasons for this pandemic be to restore or rehabilitate our connections with those who are precious and important to us? World renowned psychiatrist, Dr. Edward Hallowell, calls “connection” with people, pets, nature and favorite activities as the Vitamin C of well-being. Why not use this time at home to connect or re-connect with loved ones?

Here are a few mindful ways to start creating healthier connections with key people in your life:

1) Ask an open-ended question like, “How are you doing?” and wait. Watch and wait some more. Your conversation partner will see this silence as a green light to share what’s on their mind. If they don’t respond or brush you off, try again later. Eventually, they may get the sense that you really care to listen.

2) Get into their movie! When they start to speak, forget yourself and your troubles, just like you do at the movies. Watch them carefully while you listen to their words. See how well the words and non-verbals match up. Just like at the movies, maintain your silence and keep your eyes on them. It’s all about them right now, not you. There may be long pauses, but hang in there, that’s where the gold is – their true feelings and concerns will bubble to the surface.

3) When you think they are done talking, pleasantly surprise them and tell back in your own words, what you heard them say – just a couple sentences. No rebuttal, no advice, no judgment, it’s what you heard them say. This lets them know they have been heard ( high Vitamin C content! ). Don’t be too shocked if they want to hear from you at this point. If you get that far, you have established a connection.

For more about Mindful Listening, get the audio book version of The Zen of Listening: Mindful Communication in the Age of Distraction at Amazon.com

Work at Home Success

Hello COREageous Entrepreneurs!

Even if you are off-site, you can keep yourself and your team on track!  Darren Hardy, author of two of my favorite books “The Entrepreneur Roller Coaster” and “The Compound Effect” and executive coach who led a partially distributed team for 25+ years, and a 100% virtual (and global) team for 5+ years which has multiplied 20X, shared a very helpful and timely link with me called “Leading Virtual Teams Successfully.”

Go to : DarrenHardy.com/VirtualTeams

It includes a list of follow up resources:
>How to lead productive virtual meetings.
>Best practices for video conferencing.
>How to set up your morning routine.
> On-boarding and internal training resources.
>And more.

Enjoy! Stay healthy and busy!

Need a coach to help you follow through with these suggestions or to customize a unique plan for you? Contact me at [email protected]

 

How to Use Your Three Week Staycation

If you are one of the lucky or unlucky ones (depending on how you see it) who have a three week or more hiatus from work, this is the opportunity you have been waiting for to get stuff done! Consider this five step approach:

1. Look at your to-do list and prioritize. Decide your prioritizing criteria. What factors will you use to tease out the top 3 most important tasks on your list: time-sensitivity, hi personal value, health-related, affordability, access to the needed resources? If you select a task according to your priorities, the greater chance you have in starting and finishing it.
2. Assign the top three items to week 1, the next three items for week 2, etc. For each of the three tasks you chose for the week, list the steps from start to finish.
3. Assign some rough time durations to each step.
4. When is the best day or the best time of the day to do each task? Consider your energy level, the availability of the resources or the people you need to help you.
5. Carve out blocks of time for each step or group of steps in your calendar.

Looking at the schedule you have created, think about how great it will feel to accomplish so much, because you had a plan. Even if you only finish one or two of your top tasks, it’s a darn sight better than what you would have done without a plan!

Need some help in following through with your top three tasks? Quick! Contact me ASAP before your Staycation time runs out! [email protected]

Getting Up Can Be a Stretch

Entrepreneurs are famous for crazy sleep schedules. You know the drill. You stay up late working two or more jobs, do chores, and as the clock strikes midnight you start work on your venture. With barely 5 hours of sleep, the hardest thing to do is to GET UP. This quick intermediary step helps get you moving while you’re still in bed making it easier to “rise and shine.”

Lying on your back, inhale deeply and exhale as if you’re blowing out about 10 candles on a cake. Repeat. Follow with 2-3 repetitions of each stretch:

• Make fists and flick open your hands.
• Squeeze your toes and flick them open. Point and flex your feet.
• Breathe in and squeeze your shoulder blades together arching your back as you exhale.
• Inhale and as you exhale slowly, stretch out your arms and legs as if someone is pulling on each limb.
• Finally, inhale and bring your knees into your chest and squeeze your knees into your chest releasing your lower back on a slow exhale.

See if these stretches spark enough energy to get you up and out of bed!

If it’s a lack of structure and motivation that keeps you in bed, CoreCoaching could be the wakeup call you need. Contact me at [email protected]

Meditation for the Meditation-Averse

There are many people who don’t find meditation relaxing. As a matter of fact, for these folks, meditation can be anxiety-producing. Quiet space can become a vacuum for worrisome thoughts to seep in and flood one’s mind with a torrent of terror.

Here’s a meditation method that helps the meditation-averse. It is centered on the breath, brings one into the present and challenges one’s focus at the same time. This form of meditation takes up a lot of mental space and allows little room for the usual culprits to find an opening.

1. Find a quiet spot to sit up tall with shoulders relaxed (not too comfortable of a spot to make you sleepy) and close your eyes.

2. Start with 10 breaths by slowly breathing in through your nose on breath #10 and breathing slowly out on #10. Do the same with breath #9, #8…to #1.

If you lose your place, or other thoughts sneak in, that’s ok, just go back to the breath # you remember. You won’t want to start over, so the object is to keep the count in your head as you breathe. Gradually, work up to 15 – 25 breaths for a sitting.

If you still find your mind drifting to unhelpful thoughts, then make it more challenging. Count each breath backwards as before, but when you inhale do so on a count of 4 (about 4 sec), hold your breath for a count of 7 (about 7 sec) and exhale for a count of 8 (about 8 sec).

This method requires a bit more “thinking” than the average meditation guru would recommend, but it can help meditation-averse folks get the benefits of traditional meditation.

Need more ways to regulate your emotions and improve your focus? Try CoreCoaching. Contact me at [email protected]

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