Friday, February 29, 2008

Fear 101: A Model

I've been talking to a number of people about fear lately and decided to diagram what a prevailing mental model is for many with respect to fear:

Fear 101 As you see, the inner core represents one's fearlessness – that is the place where we have no fear. For some this is a very big place; for others it can be fairly small. As they say, individual results may vary.

Surrounding this inner core is a ring of courageousness – the place where, as Susan Jeffersa would say, we are willing to "feel the fear and do it, anyway."

As with the fearlessness core, the courageousness ring is a very big place for some, and a relatively small place for others. Too, and this is something you've likely already experienced yourselves, the actual size of these two areas will vary greatly depending on circumstance, mood, comfort level, and a variety of other variables.

Surrounding all of that – and this was the real light bulb realization for me, as it may be for you – is a veritable Infinity and Beyond ... of fear. Yes, for many people, anything outside of what they're already fearless - or willing to be courageous - about, is a never ending Land of Fear.

Of course, not everyone looks at it this way - although a surprising number of people really do. (And to a certain extent, you might, too, if you're being really honest with yourself.) So perhaps you can appreciate that I mean no disrespect when I say,

This is hardly a Model for Champions!
What it is, though, is a pretty frightening diagram. Scary to even look at, actually, with its big, hairy, eyeball staring back like that. Remember that Far Side cartoon – “Warning: Objects in the mirror are closer than they appear” and all you see is one big, fat, blood-shot, monster’s eyeball?! Like that, don't you think?!

Although that may just be the fear talking!

But, when we consider that virtually everything outside of our fearlessness and courageousness zones is in the Land of Fear, it's no wonder why feelings of fear, worry, and doubt can seem so incessant. After all, Infinity and Beyond, by it's very definition, is a pretty big place!

Okay, so this said,the Next Step is to figure out how to re-frame our model so that fear is not so featured as the kingpin of the whole thing.

Stay tuned!

a Taken from Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway®, Susan Jeffers, Ph.D. Copyright ©1987-2008 Susan Jeffers, Ph.D. All rights reserved.

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Thursday, February 28, 2008

30 Reasons to Work with a Coach

Giving a bit of profile to one of the 'interior' pages of my website, specifically:, which is titled, 30 Reasons to Say: "Wow! I think I GottaGettaCoach!"

Here's a sampling:

# 4: to address your developmental needs as seen by your boss
# 8: to help you get past being stuck about something
#10: to help better organize and articulate your thinking
#15: to help you become more comfortable with ambiguity
#24: to help you let go of unhealthy perfectionism
#29: to help you get past the grousing

To see the others, link to:

Thursday, February 21, 2008

What the Shadow Knows, redux

You know you've been blogging a long time when you find yourself blogging - again - about an eclipse. (Ref: What the Shadow Knows, October 28, 2004)

It got me thinking - again - about the shadows WE cast - intentionally or otherwise:
  • Who walks in YOUR shadow?
  • Who's HIDDEN by your shadow?
  • What ELSE is hidden in your shadow?
  • What shadows are YOU hiding in?
  • Whose shadow is hiding YOU?
  • How might you shine a big fat spotlight on things so you can better see - and be seen?

Do yourself a favor and wonder about all this for a while - again.

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Thursday, February 14, 2008

Superbrain Yoga, anyone?

I just read about something called Superbrain Yoga® - a seemingly simple and reportedly effective technique for energizing and recharging the brain that's based on the principles of subtle energy and ear acupuncture.

AARP magazine ran the story on Superbrain Yoga in its March/April 2008 edition. Here's what they had to say:
"While yoga has long been shown to affect mood, one yoga move in particular is getting attention for boosting brainpower. Superbrain Yoga, as the exercise is called, is being practiced across the country as an antidote to brain drain. Go ahead. Try it!

"Step 1 - Place your left hand on your right earlobe, thumb on the front of the lobe with fingernail facing outward and second finger behind the earlobe. Superbrain yoga techniqueThen, with your right hand, grasp your left earlobe, again keeping your thumb on the front of the lobe, facing outward. Press both earlobes simultaneously, making sure your left arm is close to your chest and inside your right (which devotees say helps energy travel upward to the brain).

"Step 2 - As you press on the earlobes, squat down, keeping your back straight. Do 10 to 12 deep bends, inhaling through the nose on the way down and exhaling through the mouth coming up.

"Step 3 - Repeat daily."

Has anyone had any experience with Superbrain yoga? If so, please share.

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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

pzizz is it!

PzizzI use pzizz to help me fall asleep at night. I use pzizz when I need a pick-me-up. I like it so much that I'm now a pzizz affiliate. So what is pzizz?!

pzizz is a Mac and Windows software application, that you can listen to on your PC, or download to an iPod or MP3 player, that generates special soundtracks to help you take a quick nap or fall asleep for the night.

pzizz works in as little as 15-20 minutes to clear your brain, improve your focus, lower your stress, help you relax, and leave you feeling quite energized and refreshed, actually.
  • During the day, I create a 20-minute MP3 using the pzizz Energizer Module to take a quick speed-nap.
  • At night, I use the pzizz Sleep Module and in less than 15 minutes I'm out like a light! (It works so well that I fall into a deep, relaxing, sleep even when I try to stay awake!)

pzizz does what it does in the way it mixes words, music, and sound effects into novel, but recognizable, soundtracks that engage me to nod off. Yeah, it does seem counter-intuitive to say that it engages me to fall asleep, but it really does!

I think it has something to do with the fact that each new nap that the system generates is slightly different than the one before so there's always a bit of the familiar, and a bit of the new, in every recording.

So if you're having trouble falling asleep at night, or feel like a quick power nap would really help, give pzizz a try.


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Thursday, February 7, 2008

Professionalism AND Competence

professionalism OR competenceI think they got it wrong.

Yesterday's USA TODAY Snapshot poll question was this: "As long as they are good at their job, should rude and unprofessional co-workers be tolerated?"

And not surprisingly, a vast majority of those surveyed (84%) said "No."

But from this, USA TODAY concluded: "Professionalism over competence" (italics added by yours truly) and that's just faulty logic.

Without asking about the opposite side of the coin - something like, "As long as they are not rude or unprofessional, should co-workers who are awful at their job be tolerated?" - there's no real basis for their conclusion. Indeed, beware of conclusions based on insufficient evidence.

To me, it's as likely as not that most people would prefer their co-workers to be good at their job, polite AND professional. Wouldn't you?! But that wasn't asked.

Instead, people were asked to pick just one, which is like asking someone, "Which do you prefer - breathing in or breathing out? No, really, pick one!"

So don't pick just one, I say. Pick both. Pick professionalism AND competence.

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Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Control, Challenge, Commitment

In their book, The Hardy Executive: Health Under Stress, authors Salvatore R. Maddi and Suzanne C. Kobasa offer a unique view on the "positive benefits of stress" for executives. The good news is that a particular personality style - hardiness - is actually quite resistant to stress.

"People with hardiness work hard because they enjoy it, rather than because they are compulsively driven. They make decisions and implement them because they view life as something constructed, rather than given. And they are enthusiastic about the future because the changes it will bring seem potentially worthwhile. Despite the anxieties and risks they encounter, these people find their lifestyles generally exciting and satisfying, in part because it is strenuous."

The better news is that hardiness can be defined as the simple combination of just three tendencies - namely, toward control rather than powerlessness, toward challenge rather than threat, and toward commitment rather than alienation.

And the even better news is that hardiness can be "instilled in adults" rather readily. Here's how:

To increase your sense of control - Believe (or just act as if you believe to start) that you really can influence what's going on around you. Dig into how you might turn a given situation to your advantage; don't just accept things the way they are as oftentimes very small changes can make huge differences. (In contrast, people who feel powerless act like passive victims, show little initiative, fail to utilize the resources they already have at their disposal as effectively as they might, and tend to get stuck in their own myopia.)

To increase your sense of challenge - Realize that it's natural for things to change and that change is often a "useful stimulus" for, as I like to say, helping good things happen sooner. Rather than seeing your work (or life) as strenuous instead of exciting, practice seeing it as exciting because it's strenuous. (In contrast, people who feel threatened tend to think that it's natural for things to stay stable - which it's not - and fear change because they think it will overly disrupt their comfort and security - which it often does not.)

To increase your sense of commitment - Get interested in whatever you're doing - as in really interested. Dig in wholeheartedly, cheerfully, zestfully! (In contrast, alienated people tend to hold back, label their work as boring, and often appear exhausted and disheveled.)

So whenever you start to feel the negative effects of stress and strain, consider how you might assert more control over the situation, how you might see it as more of a personal or professional challenge to step up to, and how you might commit more fully to it and, as a result, your own well-being.

In other words, focus on becoming more of a Hardy Executive.

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