Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Back to School & Your Pocket Book

I enjoyed being a guest on the Texas Credit Union League's radio show "Your Money, Your Matters" this morning. If you missed it you can listen to the broadast here:

Some of the things we discussed are:
  • Child care and back to school expenses.
  • Discussing your fear and anxiety over money in front of your kids.
  • Ways to teach your children about money without projecting your anxiety onto them.
  • How to teach your children to be responsible but not feel guilty over money that is spent on them.
  • Ways to manage guilt because you don't have money to give your family certain perks.
  • How to handle lending money to a "career borrower" when you learn he/she never intends to pay you back (a.k.a. "being duped").
Thank you Rick, Linda, Mark and Courtney for having me on the show!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Top 5 Ways Not to Be the Biggest Loser

I was excited to meet Jillian Michaels at a conference where we were both speaking recently. She is known as "TV's Toughest Trainer" on the TV show The Biggest Loser. Check out how "tough" she looks in this picture!

Even though she is tiny she packs a big punch with her enthusiasm and colorful language. She is likeable in person and very authentic. You know exactly where you stand with her and she is comfortable in her own skin. (She even wore flip flops during her keynote address!).

On her show being the "Biggest Loser" means you are in the Smart Zone. But in reality being in the Smart Zone means you are not a loser.
One of my favorite quotes by Stephen M.R. Covey is:

"We judge ourselves by our intentions
And we judge others by their behavior."

No one intends to be the biggest loser but our behavior can make us look like it.  Here are 5 Smart Moves to prevent you from being the biggest loser.

  1. Be the same in public and in private. Some people are better at acting than others. It's better to be transparent than to be fake. When people can count on you being the same in private as you are in public, they'll trust you to be who you say you are. They'll also trust that what you say today will be consistent with what you will say tomorrow.
  2. Don't use knowledge as a weapon. Have you ever worked with someone who set you up to look like a loser because they had information you didn't have? Setting up others to look like a loser makes you more of a loser. If you have information that will help your boss, subordinates, coworkers, or clients then share it with them. 
  3. Be physically attractive. Sounds superficial, but it's true. Social psychology shows that attractive people tend to draw attention and are judged to be smarter, kinder, more honest and more approachable (a.k.a. "not a loser"). This applies to how you dress and your tone of voice. If you smile while talking, even while leaving a voicemail, people are more likely to respond to you.
  4. Have the ability and be willing to use your power & knowledge to help someone else. You become less of a loser when you are able to help someone else solve his/her problems. Even better, help someone without the expectation of anything in return. 
  5. Be loyal to others when they're not present. At work, your alliances may change, and someone who's your peer today could be your supervisor or manager tomorrow. People will trust you when they have confidence that you can be trusted when they're not present, and that may not happen until they experience you behind the backs of others. To keep from becoming a loser don't gossip or speak for other people. Encourage communication between two people instead of triangulating yourself into the communication of others.

Stay in the Smart Zone and you won't be a loser.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

How to Handle Back to School Jitters

School starts for most schools in Texas next week and many children (and parents) may be feeling anxious about going starting back. I have 3 sons and they are going to 3 separate school campuses this year. In fact, one of my boys is going to a brand new school. Yesterday I was interviewed on the FOX 4 Good Day Show about ways to have a "Smooth Start Back to School." Click here to watch the segment.

Be mindful that the anxiety you feel as a parent can fuel your kids' anxiety. The best way to minimize anxiety for your children on the first day of school is to turn things that are "unknown" into things that are "known" by visiting the classroom ahead of time, discussing the routine on the first day including school drop off and pick up expectations, and setting out clothes and backpacks the night before.

A few other tips for the first day of school:

  • Decide with your child the night before what will be for breakfast the next morning.
  • Resist the urge to hang around after dropping your child off. Keep the drop off short to discourage tears from both of you! If your child appears to be tearful try to help him/her become interested in talking to other kids or in an activity at drop off. Lingering around can make it more difficult.
  • Be early. Arriving late makes everyone anxious.
  • Always say "Good bye" and set the expectation for when and where you will see your child after school.
  • Watch for older siblings who may think it's funny to tease younger siblings about the first day. Ask older siblings to help make the transition easier.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Emotional Intelligence Used Productively by Fortune 500 CEOs

I just read this article by Chip Conley called The Top 10 Emotionally-Intelligent Fortune 500 CEOs.  Emotional Intelligence is the basis for staying in the Smart Zone so I was intrigued to see who Mr. Conley selected. 

On his Top 10 list (in alphabetical order) are:

  • Jeff Bezos (Amazon.com)
  • Warren Buffet (Berkshire Hathaway)
  • Ursula Burns (Xerox)
  • Jamie Dimon (JPMorgan Chase)
  • John Donahoe (eBay)
  • Larry Fink (BlackRock)
  • Alan Mulally (Ford)
  • Indra Nooyi (Pepsi)
  • Howard Schultz (Starbucks)
  • Ken Thirty (DaVita)
Mr. Conley points out the 4 cornerstones of Emotional Intelligence which are self awareness, self management, social awareness and relationship management.

Conversely, people with high Emotional Intelligence can also be exceptionally poor leaders. They can be bullies who intimidate the workforce and create fear-based environments. The same Emotional Intelligence qualities that enable people to motivate people can be used negatively to intimidate people. And it can be similar to the effects of beer. Watch this video where I explain how Emotional Intelligence is like beer.

The Top 10 CEOs have channeled their emotional intelligence in a productive manner. And actually most people do. It's also worth noting that you can improve your emotional intelligence with practice. Who knows - you could be the next CEO in this list!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Could You Have Compassion Fatigue?

Last weekend I spent a good part of Saturday in Waco, Texas talking to heroes. I was asked to spend time with them because they are at great risk for what we call "Compassion Fatigue."

While they don't wear capes or have an "S" on their chests, I believe they have hearts like no other. Over 100 foster parents with the Methodist Children's Home gathered for their annual meeting and awards ceremony. I call them heroes because they provide a stable home environment to kids in crisis who need their love and affection. They change lives and inspire families to do right by their children. They are exposed to domestic trauma and they can't help but get involved emotionally.

If you work in patient care, as a financial advisor, with the court system, or you manage other people who come to you needing support, then you are likely to experience the emotional pain of others every day. People who use empathy in their daily work are at risk of having the symptoms of burnout affect their professional and personal life in severe ways.

When you listen to stories of fear, pain and suffering of others you can easily leave the Smart Zone and suffer from Compassion Fatigue. Compassion Fatigue is also thought of as Secondary Post Traumatic Stress.

Once Compassion Fatigue sets in, the pain of others takes up your mental energy and eventually everything in your life can go dull. It can seem like nothing is fun anymore and you can feel burned out. If you would like to see me discuss ways to add happiness to your life, click here to see one of my FOX 4 appearances.

How do you know if you are suffering from Compassion Fatigue?
  • Mistakes go up and job performance goes down.
  • You can't stop thinking about your job or the problems of others.
  • Trouble sleeping.
  •  General feeling of weariness.
  • You don't feel like doing anything - you feel blah.
  • You feel less satisfied, less energetic and less efficient.
  •  Click here for a longer checklist.
Who is vulnerable for experiencing Compassion Fatigue?
  • Those with empathy skills as primary in their job.
  • Those who work with others regarding highly personal issues such as medical treatment, financial or legal matters, mental health, etc.
  • Those who have themselves experienced traumatic events.
  • Those with unresolved trauma.
  • Those who deal with trauma in children.
  • Those who have underdeveloped Emotional Intelligence.
What are Smart Moves to prevent Compassion Fatigue? 
  • Keep an engaged workforce.
  • Provide a supportive work environment.
  • Improve training.
  • Handle on-the-job victimization.
  • Increase Emotional Intelligence & use it productively.
What are Smart Moves to cope with Compassion Fatigue?
  • Increase Emotional Intelligence.
  • Identify disrupted schemas/beliefs about your job.
  • Maintain a personal life even if you don't feel like it.
  • Use personal psychotherapy.
  • Identify healing activities such as exercising, reading or calling friends.
  • Tend to your spiritual needs.
  • Arrange for personal supervision/accountability.
  • Develop professional connections.
  • Develop a balanced work life.
  • Remain aware of your goals.
  • Modify your physical setting or work space.
  • Arrange for adequate resources to do your job.
  • Create an atmosphere of respect.
Thank you again to the fine folks at Methodist Children's Home and to Jennifer Gregory for inviting me to Waco after seeing me present at a previous conference in San Antonio. You are changing children's lives. Take care of yourselves so you can keep it up as heroes to those kids.