Thursday, March 31, 2011

Let's Be Facebook Friends

I would be so honored if you would join my Facebook fan page and "Like" me on Facebook. 

Once you've clicked "Like" on the Susan Fletcher, Ph.D. page would you mind recommending me to your friends? This video will tell you how to do it.

Thank you!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

What Other Business Owners Won't Tell You

It's been a more difficult day than usual for me. Usually I can let things just roll off and I move forward with business as usual. If you're my friend on Facebook you know I am hesitant to share what I'm about to share.

Like everyone who is a business owner, I find myself faced with the usual challenges. Challenges like I faced today confuse me because I feel like I am "late to the party." It feels like I'm the last one to know there is a problem.

I could turn this into a discussion about how to manage people but that would be too easy and too obvious. Instead, I choose to recalibrate and make this about me, for all the right reasons.

In my next book, Living Smart in the Smart Zone, I talk about how to be efficient at work by balancing work and family life. Today I was not efficient at work. What began as a conversation to try and make things work better in the office, turned into a discussion that brought me up to speed about a number of things needing attention. Sometimes that can be overwhelming. That's how it felt at first.

In my head, I could go on and on about the "he said, she said" part of it. I could look for what other people did wrong. I could try and deflect responsibility. But that would all be mental theater. Instead, I end the day looking in the mirror to see what I have learned from all this and what we all can do to keep in the Smart Zone. Here is what I have learned:
  1. Always speak for yourself: While this may sound so obvious, it really isn't. When you tell someone something about someone else, you inevitably will have someone else speak for you. You may have had a bad experience when someone else spoke for you. I don't want that and the way I can avoid it is to speak directly to the person who needs to hear it.
  2. Keep focused on what needs to be discussed: It's easy to get off target and sway into details that might just be hurtful or destructive. We call it "trauma bonding". It's a way to feel like you are "in this together" and that you share the pain. But it is also very destructive because it gives the impression that there is agreement. It is best to keep your stories to yourself because you always leave yourself open for misinterpretation.
  3. Give yourself the opportunity to think things through: I did not do this today. Instead, I reacted because I felt caught off guard - like I was left out of a loop. That doesn't usually work out well (as I hit the palm of my hand to my forehead). If you've ever done this you will agree that it is hard to see the big picture when you react too fast. It's better to let yourself get caught up before reacting.
  4. Take the blame when the blame is yours: I am very willing to do this. But that is not enough. Actions speak louder than words and that is where the opportunity is for all of us. Your opportunity is to be consistent with your behavior and with your words.
For some of you, you will appreciate that I am human and make mistakes. When I have a difficult day, like today, I have the opportunity to recalibrate. For others (I believe a small majority), you won't get that the best way to get better is to learn from your mistakes - but you have to be willing to look in the mirror.

Please take my Smart Zone Survey if you haven't taken it yet.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

How to Discipline Versus Punish to Parent In the Smart Zone

When developing your parenting philosophy it is important to ask yourself if you are responding to misbehavior to make yourself feel better, or if you are earnestly trying to create an opportunity for positive change for your child. Using punishment will create limitations. But if you follow the philosophy of discipline, you are more likely to see a positive, lasting improvement in your child's behavior.

See what I have to say about it in my book Parenting in the Smart Zone and in this short video.

Discipline vs. Punishment

Punishment is:
1. Adult oriented.
2. Requires judgment.
3. Imposes power from outside.
4. Invites more conflict.
5. Focuses on “restricting” the child.
6. Concentrates on child “paying” for mistake.
7. Focuses on external control.
8. Expresses frustration.

1. Shows children what they have done wrong.
2. Gives them ownership of the problem.
3. Gives them ways to solve the problem.
4. Leaves their dignity intact.
5. Uses logical and realistic consequences.
6. Teaches the benefit of making good decisions.
7. Teaches a life lesson.
8. Focuses on developing internal control.
9. Redirects children toward success.
10. Role-models good parenting skills.

Give a hungry child a fish a day and the child will be fed for that day; teach the child how to fish and the child will be able to feed himself/herself for a lifetime.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Adapting to Change Keeps You in the Smart Zone

Have you seen my house lately? I've been dealing with a lot of change - including not being able to find my favorite shoes! Click here to watch a short video of what's going on at my house.

Lot's of changes aren't planned in life - and luckily my home remodeling is a planned change. Learning how to adapt to planned changes in your life will equip you with skills to better handle unexpected changes like a job loss, divorce or major illness. As stressful as it can be having my house is disarray for a few weeks I know that my coping skills will be improved from it which will help me stay in the Smart Zone.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

How to Stay in the Smart Zone During Your Spring Break "Staycation"

Spring Break is coming up and I know many of you will be working during Spring Break or taking a "Staycation." A "Staycation," where you stay at home during a vacation, can be more relaxing and is definitely easier on the wallet.

Like any vacation, planning out what you'll do ahead of time will help you stay in the Smart Zone. If you have children, involve them in what you plan to do during your Spring Break Staycation. Write down your plans and discuss what sounds fun. This way both you and your kids can look forward to a fun week!

If you missed my tips on "What to do During Your Family Staycation" on FOX 4 Good Day last week click here to watch it.

Feel free to watch this short behind-the-scenes video we did just for fun while at the FOX studio.

Even if you will be at work over Spring Break there are things you can do to take a break and many fun things can be done with your kids after you get home from work. Here are a few Smart Moves to keep you working in the Smart Zone during your Spring Break Staycation:

  • Turn off your phone and computer. I am tempted many times to stay up late catching up on emails. Take a break from this during your Staycation and spend time with your kids or reading a book in the evenings. This will help you leave work stress behind. Recently I was interviewed about ways to handle work stress. Click here to watch it.
  • Kids plan dinner night. Let your kids be in charge of dinner one night. Let them be involved all they way from planning the menu, making the grocery list, going to the grocery store with you, preparing the meal, setting the table - and cleaning up!
  • Play "hometown tourist." Visit fun things to do in your town - like a museum (several are free), aquarium, putt-putt golf, zoo, roller or ice skating rink, etc. Don't forget about the botanic gardens and nature trails. The fun thing about visiting hometown spots is that you can relive the memories when you pass by these places after your staycation is over.
  • Game or Spa Day. Let your kids invite friends over for a game day (I have boys) complete with a tournament, rules and prizes. Or girls may enjoy getting together for a spa day - with mani-pedis, hair-dos and a fashion show.
  • Spend the night at a local family-friendly hotel. Let your kids swim and enjoy eating out.
  • Plan theme nights. Movie night, ice cream sundae night, game night, pizza night and American Idol night are just a few ideas. Throw out some ideas and let your kids decide how the theme will be carried out.
  • Camp out in the backyard. Put up the tent, roll out your sleeping bags, eat smores and tell ghost stories - but with the convenience of your own bathroom!
  • Organize a craft. I like paper mache projects and collages that can be framed. And you can find really inexpensive craft kits at Hobby Lobby and Michaels that your kids will love.
  • Volunteer with your kids. This will take some pre-planning but it can be as easy as buying and taking food to the local food bank or picking up trash in your neighborhood. Find a place that can use volunteers like your church, the animal shelter, nursing home or library and schedule a few hours for you and your children to help out. Other ideas are going through old books and donating them to the library, taking clothes to a homeless shelter or donating your old toys.
Happy Spring Break!