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3 Reasons Why You Must Take a Break

Posted by capcityspeakers on July 14, 2016

by Colette Carlson

keynote-inspirational-motivational-speaker-colette-carlson-shares-3-reasons-you-must-take-breaks-vacationAh…vacations… a necessary part of life for sanity and balance. Yet, research shows that stressed Americans aren’t taking the breaks they have earned despite noting the benefits of downtime. Ninety percent say time off helps them relax and recharge, but forty percent won’t go to avoid a “mountain of work” upon return.  Others may physically leave the office, but end up on a work-cation, constantly checking in rather than checking out.  With only seven weeks remaining before Labor Day, here are three compelling reasons why you must take a break.

1. Breaks now are better than breakdowns later. Be honest. If you just muttered “I don’t have time for a break,” when do you have time to get sick? After all, self-care costs you much less downtime and money than healthcare. True story: An overwhelmed meeting planner no-showed for our conference call. Turns out she had a heart-attack at her desk and luckily survived. Why wait for a catastrophe before putting some much needed and deserved space between you and the office?

2. Breaks create breakthroughs!  One in five small business owners thought up their idea while on vacation because time away from work provides the rare opportunity to think deeply and ignite your creative juices. Such was the case for Instagram’s Kevin Systrom who came up with the idea while walking on a beach in Mexico. Rather than sit at your screen and force yourself to find a needed solution, get off the grid and let the solution find you.

3. Breaks create connection. Should money limit a full-blown vacation, you can still opt for a staycation. Rather than disconnect from the world and binge on comfort foods and Netflix, choose to re-connect with pleasurable activities and people. Taking a walk in nature provides a host of health benefits, and even gardening or putzing around the house allows your mind to quietly wander, bringing you back to self. Spending time with people you enjoy, who make you laugh, or even randomly connecting with a stranger at Starbucks, fills our basic psychological need to feel closely connected to others. If life limits even a staycation, give yourself a break with a stillcation. Sit silently for ten minutes and focus on your breathing. If your mind wanders, simply bring your awareness back to your breath.

Give yourself a break today! Yes, the piles and emails will grow in your absence, but so will your clarity, concentration and productivity as a result.


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Three Powerful Ways to Prevent Stress

Posted by capcityspeakers on March 17, 2016

by Colette Carlson

three-ways-stress-lessDo you feel exhausted before the day is even half over? Stress drains us of our energy, weakens our focus, our immune system, and our brilliance. Research shows prevention is still the number one way to reduce stress beating out even exercise and meditation. Stop the stress from happening in the first place to start feeling more energized. Here’s three ways:

Stop Saying One More Thing – The conversation is almost over and you say one more thing. The long-winded coworker hears your last sentence as an invite to keep going instead of as a conversation close. One more quick question launches into a much longer discussion as the clock ticks and your other priorities are not completed. You finish the break room banter with one last funny phrase and now the exchange lasts several more minutes. Connect with your colleagues, build relationships, and make your point heard. However, be aware of the impact of saying one more thing. Is your message well-timed and well-received when your one last comment or concern expands the scope and length of a meeting or detours the topic? Be conscious of the impact of saying one more thing on your energy, productivity, and reputation.

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Five Great Things about Screwing Up

Posted by capcityspeakers on October 28, 2015

by Colette Carlson

colette-carlson-5-great-things-about-screwing-upWhat was your latest, greatest mistake? Was it when you attached the wrong client proposal, or maybe your idea for that leads campaign that went over budget and ended in record-low quarterly sales…? Or maybe you can’t even talk about it because it’s too embarrassing!

Understandable, but think about this for a moment: isn’t the shame you feel over your error, whatever it was, worse than simply admitting you were wrong and moving on? Shame causes us to try and hide our slip-ups, but keeping them locked in our heads actually feeds their power. The resulting anxiety drags us down by forcing us to cover up or overcompensate. Fear increases because, as most of us know, a cover up nearly always comes back to bite us…and usually at the most inopportune time possible.In truth, every mistake – big, small, or in-between – is actually a precious gift (even if its wrapping is revolting). Changing your attitude toward failure can help you face it and grow stronger as a result.

  • Making mistakes is a sign that we’re taking risks. People who don’t take risks trade learning and progress for safety. Feel good about trying and failing rather than doing nothing. In fact, sit down and create your own personal resume of flops. Be as detailed and thorough as possible. Now, think about what each item on your tally of turkeys taught you, or how something positive came from it. You may find that some of those on-the-job mishaps actually furthered your career.
  • The pain from making a mistake – dire consequences, embarrassment, whatever – is life’s built-in success training. Actually, the worse the fallout, the easier it will be to not repeat the blunder. This forges a path to the attitudes and behaviors that do work!
  • When you make a mistake and own it, you take the pressure off yourself to be “perfect.” Perfection is an illusion anyway. Black-and-white standards are impractical, angst-provoking, and make daily life into something like walking a tightrope. Living in the gray areas is genuine and a huge relief.
  • Mistakes show us the importance of humility and honesty, but only if we consciously take responsibility for them. If we do not, it’s possible that the character defect underlying the mistake will lead to a pattern of making similar gaffes. Those who avoid owning their flaws by habitually covering up or lying to others are also being dishonest with themselves. Untruthfulness catches up to us because it takes more and more effort to live with deceit. By the way, this often causes people to take on self-destructive habits to help distract them from reality and guilt.
  • Not only does owning mistakes provide a model of humbleness and integrity; it helps you judge your coworkers and friends less harshly when they mess up. This is an opportunity to develop empathy, as you grow to understand that mistakes are a direct hit to our ego and therefore difficult to handle – not only for you, but for everyone!

Hopefully, you’ll learn to take a kinder view of your “wrong” choices or miscalculations. But if all else fails and you’re spiraling into obsessive self-flagellation over something you did, remember this much at least: “A mistake a day keeps perfectionism at bay.”

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7 Thoughtful Ways to Stress Less

Posted by capcityspeakers on September 3, 2015

By Colette Carlson

How many of you want to grow old faster? What, not takers?!

Stress blog

Well, did you know you accelerate your aging when you regularly experience stress or anxiety? Seriously, if you’re too tired or too wired, take note of the seven strategies here to help you stress a little less:

  1. Give up the daily guilt.

Let’s get some perspective. Too many of us waste time feeling guilty that our life is out of balance, but you’ll never feel balanced as long as you have goals and dreams. Why? There’s always way too much to do, to learn, to accomplish. If you’re like me and have passion for your work, it’s easy to lose yourself in your tasks and projects since they bring you joy. At a certain point, however, I have to consciously ditch work to spend time with friends and family (minus my phone).Quit thinking you need to “touch” everything each day and look at how “balanced” your life is over a period of time, not a specific day of the week. Take this one step farther and realize that it’s about being balanced over your lifetime. It all evens out.

  1. Realize good is good enough.

Any other recovering perfectionists out there? Stop wasting time creating the “perfect” proposal, letter or marketing brochure, seeking the ideal gift for your nephew, the best comforter for your bedroom, or the supremely clean house. Stop at 80 percent and move on to the next task. Otherwise, hours of your life are wasted and nobody notices the difference but you. Get over yourself and take a step closer to acceptance.

  1. Snooze, or lose.

Yeah, I can hear you stress puppies already: “I’ll sleep when I’m dead.” But the point is you will be dead sooner as a result. Exhaustion is not a badge of honor. Without sleep, you are worthless to yourself and those around you.

Staying up even one hour later to finish a task or watch Grey’s Anatomy costs you more than your health. Try irritability, trouble retaining information, minor illness, poor judgment, increased mistakes and even weight gain. A Harvard Business Review study of 975 global managers determined that 45 percent of high-earning managers are too pooped to even speak to their spouse or partner after work. This is your wake-up call to get your ZZZ’s.

  1. Scale back on drive time.

When choosing a new doctor, dentist, hairdresser, whatever, find one as close to home as possible. Bonus: with gas so expensive, think of the savings! The same holds true when finding activities for any family members—stay local. Sure the ideal preschool, soccer club or SAT study group may be a longer commute, but add up all the drive time in advance and ask if it’s really worth it before committing to rush-hour jams and early alarm clocks.

Still determined? Set up carpools and recognize you don’t have to be at every activity. Sure it’s fun to participate, but your child will not turn into a serial killer if you miss a few games or performances.

  1. Say no to others so you can say yes to you.

Are you turning down distractions disguised as opportunities? Are you being asked to join social sites that are leaving you no time to network with the people under your roof? Are you still knocking yourself out to host the annual Labor Day party when all you see is the labor ahead?

It’s not selfish to say no to others when the intent is to clear some space to say yes to you. Life does go on even if you aren’t involved in every activity, party or event. Look at it this way: Being missed makes you more interesting and appreciated when you do show up.

  1. Power off.

The quickest way to gain downtime is to turn off the phone, TV and computer and enjoy the lack of distractions. I’ve spoken to people who feel anxious when their DVR is overloaded with recordings and they don’t have the time to watch their shows. C’mon, do you really need to know who’s getting kicked off the island or what has-been star can dance?

Some people say TV relaxes them, but I believe it’s more of a habit than a way to lower stress. TV just numbs you, and when the show’s over, your pressures resurface. Same with the computer. Sure, it’s great to connect with old friends on Facebook, but do you really need to know what someone ate for dinner?

Rather than screen sucking, grab that unopened book from your shelf, call a good friend or grab a cup of your favorite beverage and reflect on your day.

  1. Embrace the messiness.

Having been raised by not one but two neat freaks, my old mantra was: There is a place for everything and everything belongs in its place. When I was single, the television remote stayed in the same spot, my pillows were strategically placed, and the countertops were void of dishes.

Now that I share my life with a family, the opposite is true. My new mantra: A clean house doesn’t define you; it confines you. Even with twice-monthly help, my house is usually messy—not dirty, but messy… big difference and one I’m learning to live with if I want to have a life outside of cleaning.

Embrace the messiness. It comes with the territory and means you’re leading a busy, fulfilling life—not a Stepford existence.

And if all else fails, remember you’re too blessed to be stressed! It’s impossible to feel stress and be grateful at the same time. When you’re on overwhelm, simply take a deep breath and count your blessings—works every time.

Source: Success

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