Moving Forward – Into the Unknown

This past Sunday (4/26/2020) Governor Cuomo of New York said, “We are not going back to the way things were, we are going forward.” I have to say I agree with the Governor.  Many of my clients are telling me that they see this as an opportunity to do things differently.

Some small business owners want to take their businesses smaller not bigger.  Other clients want to continue working from home and no longer want to commute. Several of my clients are saying they want to incorporate real work-life balance — not just pay lip service to it. And some clients are realizing that they need to find a better job/career.

Everyone is thinking about what “moving forward” means.  If you aren’t, it’s time to start.  We are in a reset.  Go inside and listen. Do not disregard your deepest thoughts and feelings; they are telling you something.  You are at a point of choice at this time. You can let go of the way you thought work had to be and decide on what is right for you.

What parts of your job/career do you want to move forward? What parts are you unwilling to continue?  Consider the following:

Commuting – Maybe you want to work closer to home, or work virtually.

Change industry – If your industry is on hold, you may want to investigate a completely different industry. Maybe you want to go back to school.

Micromanaging boss – This could be a good time to see if you can transfer to another department or find another job.

Doing the work of others – Perhaps you no longer want to compensate for others’ lack of initiative.

Compromising my private life – You may want to establish a hard start and stop time to your workday, creating boundaries around work that protect your private life.

Working with a mean girl/guy – Instead of working with awful people, you may be ready to look for a new position within or outside of your current company

Not getting paid fairly – It may be time to find a position that pays you what you deserve.

Getting rid of troubling employees – Downturns have always been a good time to lay off difficult staff. Perhaps you have some people who could go.

Needing less office space – Going to a more virtual workforce may mean you don’t need as much office space.

Going back to a standard schedule – Instead of returning to your previously regimented work schedule, you may want more flexibility.

Stop eating overpriced unhealthy food – Does your company serve unhealthy, overpriced food at meetings?  You may want to bring your own food to work more often.

 It’s time for me to not have a boss – You may be ready to start your own business.

 Doing work that has no meaning – You may feel that now is the time to make a difference.

Most of us fear change and the unknown.  We tend to stay in difficult situations longer then we should for fear of not knowing what better options are available to us.  Instead of being scared, embrace change and possibilities. (I know this is easier to say than it is to do.)

During this unusual time, I challenge each of you to examine and come to terms with what you really want to do professionally.  Consider your happiness, your purpose, your health, and your legacy.

Kathi Elster – Executive Coach and co-owner of K Squared Enterprises.

Contact us at info@mycrazyoffice.co for any further help around this topic.

Living in the Waiting Room

I don’t know about you, but I hate to wait. When faced with a long line at a store, a movie, a food bar or even a gas station, I’m the person who opts out, returning at another time when I won’t have to wait. In fact, until March of this year, waiting for anything seemed like an immense waste of time to me.

That was before the pandemic hit. Before we were all told to shelter in place. Before we understood the importance of social distancing. And before we were asked to wait in line at stores, at banks, at any place where people congregate to conduct their essential business.

Now, waiting is a form of caring, of preventing, of dealing with a situation we don’t yet have under control. We’re waiting for signs that it’s safe for the economy to slowly re-open. We’re waiting to see how schools will operate. We’re waiting to discover when and how sports teams, service businesses, and the entire entertainment industry will re-emerge.

It’s hard to be waiting in so many ways for so many things. The human brain is a planning brain and we desperately want to know what comes next. That unquenchable thirst for answers can mutate into uncomfortable feelings of anxiety, frustration, impatience, agitation, restlessness and even depression.

Today, we are all Living in the Waiting Room. We won’t have to be here forever, but it will be a while before we can re-launch our lives in any significant way. What follows are some thoughts about making the Waiting Room more tolerable:

Bring many forms of entertainment to the Waiting Room– good books, fun movies, knitting projects, crossword puzzles, word games, musical instruments, dance routines, sketch pads, new recipes – anything that takes your attention away from fretting, worrying or obsessing and allows your mind to be creative.

Take physical breaks from sitting in the Waiting Room – Go outside, take a run, go for a hike, yawn, stretch, shake your head and arms, walk around, pound a pillow. Physical movement helps move emotions through your body. Feelings of impatience, frustration and agitation can be reduced by increasing blood flow.

Connect with other people in the Waiting Room – We’ve heard over and over that we are in this together. Nothing confirms that more than striking up conversations with others who are waiting. Even if the novelty of video conferencing has worn off, it’s still essential to reach out to the people you care about and make contact. Human connection lessens anxiety and makes us feel less adrift.

Try not to obsess about when you’re getting out of the Waiting Room – This is a hard request. You know that person in the waiting room who paces back and forth, looks at the time, stares at their phone, insists on being the first to be informed? Don’t be that person. Understand the limits of endless news briefings, medical predictions, scare tactics, and conspiracy theories. None of those items are going to get us out of here faster. And everyone is working on getting things moving again.

One other thing about the Waiting Room – each person, each family has their own set of concerns, their own set of pressures that they are juggling.  Appreciating that we are all dealing with different conditions is part of living in the Waiting Room. You don’t have to feel guilty if your conditions are less difficult than others, but you can be respectful and appreciate the wide range of challenges that each person in the Waiting Room is managing.

Katherine Crowley – Career Therapist and co-owner of K Squared Enterprises

Contact us at info@mycrazyoffice.co for any further help around this topic.

The Silver Lining – Things I Appreciate About This Quarantine

As an executive coach, I try to show my clients that with every awful business occurrence there is usually a silver lining. You may not see that lining at first, but with time you can see there was a lesson of value.

Not everyone is experiencing or seeing the silver lining at this time. Some of you are losing cherished members of your family and dear friends. Some of you may have lost your job and much needed income.

Some of you may feel angry because your gym is closed.  Most of us desperately need a haircut.  With that said, this quarantine and pause from life, as usual, can be a catalyst for each of us to take stock regarding what might actually be the silver lining.

Below is a list of silver lining comments that my clients have made over the last few weeks:

1 – I don’t miss many of my co-workers.

2 – I’m cooking all my meals and I like it.

3 – I’m sleeping better and don’t feel the pressure to get up earlier than needed.

4 – I like the relaxed attire I get to wear while working.

5 – I have so many fewer emails that my job is more doable.

6 – I’m learning that I like being by myself – I like me.

7 – I’m an introvert so I’m OK dealing with fewer people daily.

8 – I don’t have to commute.

9 – I’m hearing from friends and family that I haven’t spoken to for a while.

10 – I’m reading more, cleaning more, and finding it relaxing.

11 – I’m more appreciative of the essential workers in my city.

12 – Spending more time with my cat/dog and family is really nice.

13 – I can hear the birds singing because there are less cars on the road.

14 – It feels like the planet is healing itself.

15 – I have the opportunity to rethink my values.

16 – I’m realizing how important my supermarket workers are.

17 – I can take care of myself on my schedule throughout the day.

18 – I appreciate my job.

19 – I get to take classes for the job I really want.

20 – I’m learning how to connect with people on line.

21 – I like having access to people and places virtually that are not local.

Hard times teach us valuable lessons that help us grow and plan for the future. What are your silver linings?  If you don’t see them at this time I promise they are there.  You will see them when the time is right.

Kathi Elster – Executive Coach and co-owner of K Squared Enterprises.

Contact us at info@mycrazyoffice.co for any further help around this topic.

#27: Self-Assessment At Work – My Crazy Office, Season 4

Kathi and Katherine talk about self-assessment at work on this week’s episode of the My Crazy Office podcast.

First we address a question about self-assessment and performance evaluation.

Then we discuss how to get proper feedback from your boss.

What’s one thing you can complete today?

In this age of multi-tasking, multi-texting, multi-platforms and constant responding, it can be very difficult to feel a sense of accomplishment at the end of a work day.

Each day may require that you attend several meetings, respond to hundreds of emails, juggle many projects.

One way to help yourself get organized is to simply decide on ONE THING that you need to accomplish each day. Pick one thing — it could be a sales pitch you need to finish or an important email that you want to send. It could be a call you’ve been meaning to make, or a design you want to refine.

Focus on and complete one thing — It will help the rest of your day fall into place. And it will satisfy that part of your mind that needs to see results.

Try it. Pick one thing. Complete it. Check it off the list. Then see how you feel.

Before You Offer Advice…

Before you offer advice, make sure that the person on the receiving end is open to hearing it.

Sometimes, we think we know what someone needs to do or say or even wear at work. We’re sure that we’re right, and if our colleague or client would just listen to us, a certain problem or situation would immediately improve.

But offering unsolicited advice to someone who’s not ready to receive it can create more problems going forward.

Before you offer advice, stop and take the recipient’s temperature.

Say, “I’ve got a few ideas about how to resolve _________. Let me know when you’re ready to hear it.”

If you’re itching to advise a colleague on a personal matter like health or weight or love life, you’re better off waiting until that person requests your input.

If you can’t hold it in, say, “I’m having a strong reaction to ________. Can we discuss it?” Or “I’m really concerned about ________ . “ and see how the listener responds.

It may be hard to zip your lip. You may feel anxious and frustrated. But learning when and how to offer advice is an important life skill. It takes practice to offer assistance in a way that can be received.

Morning Routine

What’s your morning routine? Do you fall out of bed after hitting the snooze button a dozen times, jump in the shower, and rush off to work? Or do you take a few moments to wake up, drink tea or coffee, read or write, exercise, and prepare for your day?

I find that my morning routine really matters. If I start out rushed, frazzled, or running behind, so goes the day. If I give myself time to check in and get centered, then my day unfolds in a similar fashion.

In a world where we’re constantly asked to react and respond, where the work day can start any time and end whenever, giving yourself just a little time to wake up and re-enter the world could make a BIG difference.

Try giving yourself time to wake up, check in, and decide what matters today. Your mind and body will thank you later.

A Breath of Fresh Air can go a long way

If there is one way to improve your mood immediately at work, it’s through the breath. This exercise comes from my yoga teacher, Charlotte Stone. Try it, you’ll like it:

Stressed? Tired? Having trouble adjusting to the change of season? Take a Breathing Break with Wave Breath, Viniyoga style.

What? Now? Yes, right now! Just do it!

Here we go.

Turn off your phone. Have a comfortable seat. Take a deep breath in, and sigh it away.

Now, inhale and expand at your collarbones … ribcage … and abdomen. Enjoy the brief pause at the top of the inhalation. Exhale and release the breath slowly from the abdomen … ribcage … collarbones. Enjoy the pause between exhale and inhale. Repeat a few more times, taking your time.

Don’t strain, and don’t try to hold your breath; just let the breath come and go easefully, in an oceanic, wavelike motion.

Try Wave Breath for one minute. Yes, just one minute can make such a difference! When you feel complete with the breath, return to your natural breathing rhythm. Notice how you feel …

Enjoy!