Archive for the ‘Flow at work’ Category

3 Ways to Get Ease. Literally. My book is here!

November 18, 2013

Note: This was first published on my Big Cheese Coaching blog

I just received my first hard copies of my new book, Ease , last week! I’ve had many people share with me they were looking forward to reading Ease so here I am with the good news:

It’s Ready. Come and Get It! (please and if you like 🙂

This is so very exciting for me. See the pic below of me signing my first book for Terry Fallis* who has so generously provided some publishing savvy tips and guidance to me — and took the time to read Ease and offered some advance praise.

Terry Fallis shows Eileen the tricks of the tradeTerry Fallis shows Eileen the tricks of the trade*Terry Fallis shows me the ropes – how to properly sign a book! Terry is the award-winning author of The Best Laid Plans and cofounder of Thornley Fallis Communications.

Ease is now available to order from several major online book retailers. In the weeks and months ahead, Ease will be available at thousands of online retailers globally. Right now, many of the major retailers are posting it. See links below.

There are three formats: hard copy (my favorite); soft cover and e-book. Currently not all online sites are posting the e-book just yet (but more will in the weeks ahead).

If you go to a site directly, rather than searching for ‘Ease’ type in “Eileen Chadnick” and it will take you to the Ease page if it’s posted. Better yet, check out these links below and they will take you directly to the Ease page. Note: pricing varies so look for the best deal!

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

i-Universe

Books-a-Million (Bam)

There are and will be more availability in the weeks ahead. Do check out my book website ‘buy’ page for more details on retailers and delivery timing (especially if buying Ease as a holiday gift).

Would love to hear your feedback! Please share and help spread the word.

Here’s to a TGIM work life with abundance and Ease.

Eileen

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Positivity at Work

October 28, 2013

NOTE: This was originally posted on my Big Cheese Coaching blog:

I’ve been swimming blissfully in the study and application of positivity for quite some time and lately have ramped it up a notch. I have always been hugely interested in and engaged with the science of positivity. I think it’s part of my innate DNA — but also very much a learned skill too.

professional

Recently, I’ve joined a group of global participants in an eight week  learning opportunity: a master class on positivity lead by the Barbara Fredrickson, the pre-eminent expert on the science of positive emotions and author of Positivity and Love 2.0.  This has been an amazing experience (and we’re not yet done).

I’ve also had the opportunity to bring the topic of positivity to several workshops and presentations lately (talking to staff at Sick Kids Hospital, UoT, Administrative Professionals Conference, Red Mountain Resort) and have more on the horizon.  It’s been tremendous fun and the participants seem to have really enjoyed the sessions. Check out the recent testimonials.

I just wrote an article for the Globe and Mail on the positivity advantage  (as part of my “Brain Works” series). It’s been getting a ton of buzz. You can read it here.

I’m learning so much  (from my studies and ‘living it’). Here are just a few tidbits.

1) Positivity matters: It is not just a ‘nice to have’. It is truly an essential ingredient to your success and well-being. There’s over 20 years of hard scientific evidence that links positive emotions with better health, improved brain and cognitive function, greater personal efficacy, a heightened ability to connect and a spark plug to boost your mojo (and much more….but hey, that’s plenty to convince me).

2) It’s in us already – we just need to tap into it with new habits: Positivity isn’t dependent on circumstances. Positive emotions can reside side by side with a range of emotions – even the not-so-positive. We just need to be intentional and learn easy yet authentic ways to tap into our positivity reservoir.

3) We need a steady and diversified diet of positivity: Good nutrition tells us to get a steady and ample diet of fruits and vegetables (and other essential food groups). Likewise, for well-being, we need a steady, ample diet of positive “moments”. Most people go with less than the recommended allotment. It’s not as hard as one may think to get your ‘dose’.  It can be just a thought away – or an intention to be present to moments that might offer you joy, gratitude, inspiration and more.

4) Positivity comes in moments: It’s not about getting to a permanent state. Positivity comes in moments and are fleeting. Still, if we get enough (a minimum of 3 positive thoughts to one negative) we will benefit from all the rewards.

Curious? Want more? Here’s how to tap into this further:

1) Read my latest Globe and Mail article for some high-level ideas and tips.

2) Get ready for Ease, my upcoming book soon to be released. It includes a lot of strategies on how to hone the positivity advantage.

3) Invite me to speak to your people (conference, employees, etc.) Have a look what others have said about my sessions.

4) Engage in coaching – this is my sweet spot and I’d love to help you hone your positivity advantage!

More to come but lots to dive into RIGHT NOW!

Enjoy and may you live with Ease and Well-being.

Eileen

Six Ways To Tame Your Stressed Out Brain

August 12, 2013

UPDATE (DEC 2013):  if the topic of managing overwhelm is of interest to you – I just launched a new book called, Ease – Manage Overwhelm in Times of Crazy Busy. You can get it at most online book retailers. Read here for more!

(Originally posted at http://www.bigcheesecoaching.com)

A slighted shorter version of this article has also been published in the Globe and Mail Careers.

The Scenario:

It is late afternoon and a busy executive, whom we will call Sue, is trying to finish up a project before she leaves to get her daughter from daycare. Simultaneously she is also dealing with several other priorities on her plate. Already running late, she receives an urgent email from her boss advising of a change in direction for a proposal due the next day.  Feeling stressed, Sue feels her anxiety escalate even further. Just when she needs it most, her normally sharp ‘thinking brain’ seems to freeze up. She feels overwhelmed, frustrated and stuck not knowing how to handle the demands piling up.

Stressed Businesswoman

(Microsoft Image)

Bye Bye Thinking Capacity – Hello Brain Freeze?

Sound familiar? Many people can likely relate to this scenario. It’s normal to feel occasional bouts of overwhelm.   Most people want to do well and to feel good about their work. But when stress levels go into overdrive, judgment, prioritizing and other critical thinking skills can become compromised, further escalating stress and impacting performance – and wellbeing.

Take heart. It may not be you. It could be your brain. And with just a little neuroscience savvy and a few brain-friendly strategies you can be better equipped to handle those times of ‘crazy busy’,  boost your performance and feel calmer too.

Brain Work 101: The Higher Thinking Brain vs. the Survival Brain.

Blame your stress on the amygdala – the part of the brain that ‘detects and protects’. Formed earliest in our evolution and part of the limbic system, the amygdala is akin to being a ‘survival brain’ with a super sharp ability to scan for and react to any perception of danger. Reacting instantaneously to any hint of threat, it gets us ready for fight or flight. Eliciting what’s known as the “stress response” with the release of adrenaline and cortisol to get our heart pumping and muscles primed for….well that depends on what happens next.

Is that a lion or a crazy deadline? The amygdala doesn’t know or care. Its job is not to discern whether the threat is real or perceived; its job is simply to protect.  When we experience an emotional response related to our work or life (‘oh no, not another crazy deadline or yet another change!), it fires the alarm just as it would if there was a real physical threat.

Unfortunately since survival always trumps reflection this happens at the expense of another essential part of our brain: the prefrontal cortex (PFC) which handles higher thinking skills like critical thinking, discernment, judgment and other cognitive skills. The prefrontal cortex (PFC) works best when under moderate stress and gets suppressed when the amygdala is all fired up.  Paradoxically, we need the skills of the prefrontal cortex to deal effectively with the stressful ‘stuff’ of work and life.

Bring back the calm  

To get a grip in a stressful moment, we need strategies that put the perceived threat back into its respectful cage and deliberately bring our higher thinking abilities (via the PFC) back online.  Here are six brain-friendly strategies to help you “tame your brain” and give your higher thinking brain a better chance at doing its work.

Six Strategies to Tame Your Brain and Give Your Higher Thinking Brain a Better Chance

1) Pause

When in the midst of a stressful moment, take a moment to simply pause.  While it may feel counter-intuitive when rushed with time-sensitive workloads, a short pause provides a time buffer that can weaken the impulse and mitigate falling into the stress response.  Counting to 10 or 20, breathing deeply or taking a short break can provide that reprieve amidst a sense of urgency and chaos.  More importantly, this intentional break can give you that small but critical opening for more productive thinking and putting things in better perspective.

2) Notice and Name it.

In his book “Your Brain at Work, David Rock, President of the Neuroleadership Institute, shares a powerful yet simple strategy for bringing your higher thinking skills (via the prefrontal cortex) back on line. Simply observe and then name your emotional reaction. For instance, you might say to yourself, “I’m feeling very stressed” or “I’m frazzled”.  It’s important to notice then label the experience without feeding into the emotion. While this awareness won’t likely give you full relief this simple cognitive act engages the PFC which can diffuse the strength of the ‘amygdala attack’ — making room for a more reflective approach.  Additionally, engaging the prefrontal cortex can elicit the hormone know as Gaba (gamma-amino butyric acid ) which provides a calming effect when there is too much adrenaline in the body.

3) Organize

Our left hemisphere brains love it when we make plans and get organized. Organizing is a powerful antidote to overwhelm and can provide a calming effect when we feel chaos and fear. Write out a to-do list; revisit your priorities; create an action plan; clean up the clutter on your desk or in a file. Do anything that gives you (and your brain) a greater sense of order amidst all the pressure of a demanding workload.

4) Focus

Our brains crave focus.  But all too often we work against this by trying to multi-task. Our brains, in fact, are not built for multi-tasking attention. Instead, the brain simply toggles from one thinking task to another. This constant switching is a major energy drain and a first class ticket to frazzle. This unfocused waste of attention also compromises productivity, creativity and efficiency.  Instead, work on scheduling more focus time in your day; chunk down your priorities and focus on one task at a time. Pay attention to your habits and notice where you can reign in the multitasking beast.

 5) Visualize

While our left hemisphere of our brain craves order, the right hemisphere can help us access calm with strategies like visualizing, looking at the big picture, and reflecting on meaningful symbols and metaphors.  Try to visualize success in handling a challenge you are facing; create an image in your mind that inspires calm; identify and tune into a metaphor that symbolizes strength. The possibilities are endless. The key is to integrate your whole brain and that includes both left and right hemisphere brain strengths.

6) Connect

Interacting with people you like can boost levels of the Oxytocin hormone which can have a calming effect when stressed.  Avoid the urge to hide or go it alone. Instead seek out others whom you trust and can count on for support.

So – how do you manage work overload?

Here’s to your personal and professional wellbeing.

Eileen Chadnick

Online Discussion — “Are You Overwhelmed at Work” (Globe and Mail)

March 23, 2012

Further to may earlier post about an upcoming Webinar on handling overwhelm next Tuesday, the Globe and Mail is also getting on board with this hot topic. Today, at noon (ET), I’ll be answering questions and offering tips on how to deal with the stress of ‘too much to do’ in work and life.

I hope you will join me today at the Globe and Mail Careers online. Just follow this link here.

This Discussion is a follow-up to an article I wrote for Globecareers called “Take a Step Back to Tame Those Overwhelm Gremlins”.

And don’t forget next Tuesday’s Webinar (if can’t make the time, sign up anyways and access the recording anytime after).

Hope to see you there!

To a TGIM Work + Life!

Eileen

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Ta Da!!!! Done…!

December 1, 2010

I’ve been meaning to get a TGIM Work-Life newsletter out for some time.  But alas, that ‘to-do’ list always had something else that had to get done first.  Well — Ta Da! I finally got it done. And guess what? The focus for this issue is battling ‘too much to do overwhelm’ — with the “Ta Da” list.

Would you like to read it?  Read the online version here.

Care to join the mailing list? There are three ways you can do so:

1) Hit the “subscribe to newsletter” button on this blog site.

2) Open the online newsletter version  and hit the button that says “Join our mailing list” on the right hand column (just under my pic and the Twitter symbol

2) Send me an email and I’ll put you on the list myself.

Ta Da! Easy….

To a TGIM Work-Life!

Eileen

If You Attended the IFCA Conference…

October 18, 2010

On Monday, I presented the opening keynote presentation at the IFCA Conference A group of about a 100 communications professionals who work in the financial and insurance industry in North America gathered in Montreal for their annual conference. The topic of my presentation was “TGIM Work-Life” (sound familiar?).  It was a great group and I had a superb time exchanging ideas about ‘what it is to love your work’ and strategies for a TGIM work-life!

I promised I’d put together a package of past posts that reflect further on the ideas I presented. 

Here they are – enjoy! (and no worries if you were not at the conference, they are relevant for anyone interested in creating more success and fulfillment at work and life).

BY THE WAY…I also just discovered a cool new feature available now on this blog (thanks to WordPress!). If you send a comment on any of my posts, you will have the option of subscribing to this blog and receiving all future posts by email. Cool, eh? 🙂

The Perils of TGIF  

Tips to Make the Bigness of Monday Just a Little Lighter

 The Lizard Who Wouldn’t Eat (strengths)

Thank Gd it’s Monday

 Happiness is Contagious

 Bring Thanks to a Thankless Culture

 Ramp up the People Part of Your Leadership

 Finding Flow: Intense Work but Without the Struggle

Coaches Don’t Always Demand More Push-Ups (About Tribute Communities)

Are Smart Goals Dumb?

 To a TGIMworklife every day of the week!

Eileen

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Are you doing good work or GREAT work?

April 12, 2010

Last week I was walking around in a fuzz. I felt like I was spinning in circles and not getting anywhere. Despite that ‘feeling’ — on Friday, I looked back and saw that I did manage to be fairly productive and do a whole bunch of “good work” thoughout the week.  But that didn’t really fire me up. I knew I was wanting more than ‘good’. I committed this week to doing GREAT work! That means working more on stuff that truly matters and bringing more of my creativity, resourcefulness, passion to it!

And to inspire me and remind me of this, I happened upon a wonderful video, produced by Michael Bunguay Stanier of Box of Crayons. I know Michael from my coaching community and know him to be  an incredibly talented coach. His message is truly right on the mark.

Have a look. Then have a look again:)

To creating a great day — every day this week!

TGIM work-life!

Eileen

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Happiness Coaching Seeps into the Workplace

February 7, 2010

There’s an article in the Wall Street Journal that has been picked up by many other papers, including Globe and Mail  careers called “Happiness coaching seeps into the workplace”. It’s worth a read.

The article talks about how the positive psychology movement is making its way into the workplace culture. It identifies positive habits such as: expressing gratitude (say ‘thank you’ please:), being more present, recognizing success in effort and process vs. only outcome — and much, much more. 

I must say as a coach who specializes in ‘engagement’ – this article is very validating. Truthfully, I’ve always thought of myself as a ‘fulfillment coach’ — albeit I work on many different leadership (and life) coaching agendas, it always starts with one’s inner game and what makes them tick (core values, strengths, etc.). My marketing materials refer more to this as ‘engagement’ — a more acceptable term  in corporate circles. But these past few years, the word ‘happiness’ is gaining credibility and seen as an important facet to success, individually and organizationally. Some nations have even declared a Happiness Index as being integral to the country’s prosperity and success.

How’s your MOJO?  Turns out, Marshall Goldsmith (renouned exec coach) has just launched a book called “Mojo” which is described as emphasizing the ‘positive spirit toward what we are doing now starting from the inside.”

I’ve been referring to Mojo for years (ask my clients!). This  reference to “Mojo” is not of the Austin Powers variety – but more related to one’s mood, emotional state, sense of connectedness, etc. 

Inner Game focus:  The article talks about the new inner game focus — but it’s not new. Perhaps more ‘newly noticed’. This term was coined by Timothy Galway and is a very common approach used by anyone professionally trained in coaching (including yours truly). That said, when an article from the WSJ says it’s the latest greatest — well who am I to argue? I say bring it on….or rather, bring ‘more of it on’.

WEBINAR: Beat the Workplace Blahs: Last year, I presented a webinar that focused very much on all these inner game, positive psych strategies. I called it:  Beat the Workplace Blahs . You can still listen to it – you just have to quickly register online.  It’s full of tips and thoughts that are referred to in the WSJ article.

Hope you enjoy.

Till then, here’s to your TGIM worklife from the inside-out!

Eileen

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Before You Re-invent Yourself: Remember Who You Already Are!

April 29, 2009

One of the upsides of being downsized (see last post) is that you have the opportunity to re-evaluate your career aspirations. For many people it’s a chance to take a hard look at what they really want to do – rather than try to sleepwalk into what they have always been doing. That may mean setting a new career direction, retooling or retraining  – or even re-branding yourself.

But before you re-invent yourself, make sure you remember who you already are! What I mean is rather than looking externally at all the shiny new career possibilities, make sure you also look internally to ensure the right fit and to bring forth the best of you as you move forward.

A look inside  — The inner game reflection encompasses a bunch of stuff. Here are two lenses to consider:

1) Mine Your Strengths: You have acquired job-specific strengths and talents, and you also have a whole bunch of other strengths that intrinsic to your character that may or not be associated with your past role and career.  Conduct a self audit and list as many as you can.  Also ask friends, family, former colleagues, clients, bosses for their input (like a 360…you can even use some of the free online 360 tools).  If coming up with strengths is challenging for you, then start with your accomplishments. List those far and wide (work and personal) then step back and ask: what strengths of mine lent themselves to those achievements?  You can also go to www.viacharacter.org and do the online assessment for VIA Signature Strengths which will help you identify some of your top ‘character strengths’.

There are many angles to take when reflecting on your strengths. It  should not be a quick task – take your time, revisit it, build the list and stay in that reflection. You will use that knowledge as you explore career possibilities — as well as in your personal marketing (i.e your resume, letters/emails, your conversations in interviews and networking, etc….perhaps more to come in another blog post sometime soon) .

2) Articulate Your Core Values: Core values are the building blocks of who you are and not necessarily attributes you feel you should have. They may be linked to your morals but they aren’t your morals. They simply are part of your character ‘dna’ and what is most important for you to feel fulfilled, alive and authentic. Most people I start coaching relationships with can’t articulate their core values off-hand –that is until we’ve spent some time together. Knowing your core values is like having a compass to help you choose meaningful work and life decisions. Examples: I have a value for freedom. In my interpretation that means I need freedom in how I work and live. I can’t be pidgeon-holed. It doesn’t mean I can’t work in traditional employment (have for many years successfully and loved it!) but the environment and culture to some extent has to honour this value for me to perform my best. I also have a value for learning. I wilt when I stop learning. There’s more. But the key is to find your own and declare and own them to yourself.

How? You can either hire a coach to help you discover your values or you can reflect on your own. Pick a few moments in your work and life experience (from both would be great) that you would define as ‘peak’. That’s when ‘all was well’ and you felt most alive or at least authentic and fulfilled. Describe those moments and reflect on what about them was meaningful to you. Ideally, have someone to partner with and have them listen for themes, etc. Step away and see if you can identify themes that may represent values for you. Start with a rough list of possibilities (themes or actual words that represent a value). Test them out by considering other moments/experiences in your life. In the positive moments, what of those themes were present? In the negative ones, which one’s were compromised? This should be a good starting point – but like strengths, stay in the reflection and let yourself further evolve your clarity and recognition of your values.

APPLICATION:  Once you’ve created a starting list of your strengths and values, make sure you pay attention to them until they become an intrinsic part of your self awareness. As you explore career opportunities, evaluate their potential for fulfillment and success as measured against your strengths and values.

ASK: To what extent will this job or career path align with my values? to what extent will it draw on my strengths? Which of my values might be compromised and can I live with that (note: not all values will always be honoured so know what your non-negotiable, highest priorities are)? What do I need to further explore and/or ask/research to assess whether this career path would be a good fit with my values and strengths?

MORE on Strengths: Here’s another post you may enjoy that illustrates how Signature Strengths can be integral to our overall ‘mojo’ (joie de vie)….life success and fulfilment. It relays a story about a lizard who…..well, you can read it HERE.

There’s more of course, but hopefully these two ideas will be a good start.  Now over to you, your strengths and values — here’s to creating your next TGIM Work-life!

Eileen

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If You Attended The Feb 19th CICA Webinar

February 19, 2009

More than 1200 people logged in today to my CICA Webinar on “Beat the Work Life Blahs”. I was in good company! Thank you everyone who showed up.  If you missed it and/or would like to listen in again, the session was taped and you can listen to it here once they post it. At the moment that link is still the registration page but I’ve been told it will soon transition to the archive page where you can listen in.

I mentioned that I have archives of past CICA articles I’ve written  in “Ask the Coach” (CICA’s Career Vision Newsletter). If interested – you can click here to see them at a glance

As well, here’s a post I wrote after I did another CICA Webinar that you may find helpful. It is simply a list of some of the popular posts/articles that I have on this blog that relate to this topic supporting your quest for a TGIM work-life and tips on how to beat the blahs. You can see those here if you like.

Finally, there were some great questions posed at the end of the Webinar (thanks to the wonderful and inquisitive participants). We didn’t get to answer all of them sent so if you do have questions – please send them over! See Coaches Corner on how to get them to me. I’ll either address them right here in this blog and/or in my CICA “Ask a Coach” column. I would be happy to keep your name anonymous if you wish.

So to all – thank you for your interest and to a TGIM work-life!

Eileen

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