Tuesday, October 30, 2012

How to Overcome Analysis Paralysis

Have you ever been in a situation where you knew you had to make a change and do it soon? This change is necessary and overdue because you’re fed up with the way things are and way past the point of being sick and tired. You've researched and analyzed your predicament and through the Internet and the ability to “Google” your subject, have found literally millions of solutions to your query.

However, with so many solutions available, it’s easy to be stricken by a certain condition called, analysis paralysis. This refers to over analyzing (or over thinking) a situation so that a decision, or action, is never taken. In this post I’ll discuss the causes of analysis paralysis as well as provide a simple solution.

As you know, Google places the most popular responses to our queries at the top of each page making it fairly easy to pick a course of action. Once we have chosen our course of action we typically delay a while and engage our brain to map out a timeline and the exact path we can follow. This is normally the spot in our action plan where a full-blown case of analysis paralysis sets in.

Our paralysis typically begins when we delay taking action in order to research a particular detail in more depth. As we drill deeper into that detail we normally come across others to which we don't have answers. This causes more delay, which, because of our fear of the unknown, eventually leads to our complete paralysis. If this is you, let me give you a hint. “You don’t have to have solutions to all potential problems prior to embarking on your course of action”.

We get paralyzed because our ego, thinking it’s protecting us, doesn’t want to give up control of our actions for even one moment. Our ego isn’t evil, but merely confused and limited. It relies upon human emotion and intellect in order to make decisions.

We can counteract the ego by staying focused on our solution and not being preoccupied by the potential steps we may take. Connecting with our spiritual nature and staying in the moment accomplishes this important step.

It's the job of our spiritual nature to guide and comfort us as we move towards our goals and life's purpose. Also trust me when I say we don’t always want to know what we’ll have to go through. This is because sometimes the steps will be painful but the outcome will more than outweigh the setbacks.
It's kind of like going to the dentist in order to get rid of a toothache. We hate sitting in the chair, but are thankful for the outcome.

Finally, the simple cure for analysis paralysis is to: immediately begin the course of action you have chosen and trust in your spiritual nature to console and guide you to your final destination. I hope you enjoyed this post and until next time: “Here's hoping that you live today and every day passionately and with purpose.” Thank you and God bless!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

From Chaos to Calm

In this post I'll discuss how to respond, not to the effects of stress, but to the stressful situations themselves. I'm talking about how to respond when we’re in the heat of battle and life continues to throw us curveball after curveball. How to respond when we’re feeling overwhelmed and don't know which way to turn for relief.  How to respond in a manner that gets us from chaos to calm!
In order to do so I’ll use the framework provided by my 3R concept. If you remember the 3R's stand for Recognize, Reconcile and Reconnect. The first step is to recognize the impartial forces, factors and issues that are currently working in our life. By their very nature impartial events do not ask permission to be present in our lives. They will occur whether we like it or not.
Examples of impartial events are: natural disasters, failed personal relationships (have you ever tried to continue a relationship with someone who has made up their mind to leave?), bankruptcy, sickness, disease and death. We must recognize that these events are going to occur anyway and it's our emotional attachment to them that causes most of our stress. We must also recognize that our core beliefs as well as the Law of Cause and Effect also contribute to our stress levels.
Next we must learn to reconcile (re-create a close working relationship with) all of this stress in our life and our desire to remain connected to our inner being, which is that part that allows us to experience stress in a manner that keeps us calm, confident and creative. However, in order to do this, we must (like the cowardly lion in the Wizard of Oz) face our fears.
As difficult as it may seem, the first step in facing our fears is to accept responsibility for our part in creating the stressful situations that currently exist. You see, if we created them then we can change them. The next step in reconciling our life is to immediately create a vision that will allow us to handle the stress in a manner that keeps us connected to our inner being.
Finally, we must take this vision that we've created and reconnect back into our lives. Let me give you an example. A number of years ago I was having a very difficult time with my oldest son. Every time we got together the tension was so thick you could cut it with a knife. I could feel my stress increasing prior to each meeting. Then one day I took responsibility and decided to create a vision that helped me experience our encounters in a manner that kept me connected to my inner being.

It was like a weight being lifted off my shoulders. After a few months all of the tension surrounding these meetings was gone. We even got to the point where we hugged each other at the conclusion of our meetings. Today, I'm proud to say he is one of my best friends.
I hope this post is able to help you get from chaos to calm. Here's hoping that you live today and every day passionately and with purpose.  Thank you and God bless.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Five Steps to Combat the Effects of Stress

In my last post I stated that we are surrounded by change. Unfortunately, the same can be said for stress. In this post I will discuss the effects of stress and how to combat it.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines stress as: A physical, chemical, or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension and may be a factor in disease causation. I define stress as: the physical and/or mental tension that occurs when our mind convinces our body not to beat the hell out of someone that clearly deserves it.
Physically, stress is a chemical reaction that takes place in the body when subjected to a threatening situation that is either real or imagined. These chemicals cause our heart to beat faster, blood pressure to rise, breathing to quicken and our muscles to tense in preparation for our response to the threat.
During episodes of short-term stress this chemical reaction ceases when the stressful situation terminates. The chemicals are then reabsorbed back into our body and we suffer no long-term effects. However, many of us regularly experience stress on a daily basis (at work, at home, during our daily commutes, etc.). This continual release of stress-related chemicals into our bodies can lead to disastrous results.
Stress is very often unavoidable and can affect every aspect of our life. Chronic stress impacts our health, emotions, behaviors and ability to think. Since it is unavoidable, allow me to provide you with 5 steps to help combat it:
  1. Create and maintain a close, personal, working relationship with God/the higher power or force that gives you life. Trust in its existence and communicate on a regular basis. Sincerely stating: “Help me to know you better” is enough to begin this communication process. The benefit of this step is “peace of mind”.
  2. Recognize what stresses you. Once you know what triggers your stress you will then be in a better position to counteract its effects.
  3. Find a relaxation technique that works for you. There are many relaxing activities used to reduce stress. They include: exercise, meditation, yoga, visiting with friends, gardening, controlled breathing and many others.
  4. Reward yourself! Did you know that stressed spelled backwards is “desserts”? And that eating dark chocolate counteracts the effects of stress on the body. I didn’t make that up! Check it out for yourself.
  5. Be gentle with yourself! We're going to make mistakes in life and do things we wish we hadn't done. Let’s turn these mistakes into learning experiences. These experiences can then become lessons we use to help ourselves and others avoid similar pitfalls in the future.
Finally, one day I asked my doctor “What percentage of your office visits result from the effects of stress opposed to those resulting from injury, sickness or illness?” Her response was approximately 90% resulted from stress and 10% from all other reasons. She stated that after a brief discussion she could normally pinpoint the event causing the stress in her patients.
I hope this post has been beneficial in helping you identify and combat the effects of stress on your life. Thank you and God bless.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

3 Steps to Becoming a Leader for Change

In this post I’ll provide 3 steps on how we can become “Leaders for Change”.  I will use the 3R concept of (Recognition, Reconciliation and Reconnection) as the framework for this discussion.

It's important to recognize that leading for change is just as important in our homes as it is in the corporate world, our place of work or worship. For the rest of this post I will use the term organization to refer to any group to which we belong.

Change constantly occurs all around us. Just take a look at the auto industry with the use of hybrid and electric cars. Also take a look at the proliferation of cell phones and tablet computers. Personally, I am amazed at how often I purchase major items off the Internet from the comfort of my own home. I would not have done these things 10 years ago.

Change is a nonnegotiable part of life and can either be embraced or rejected.

Step 1.       As leaders it's our job to recognize that if our environment does not change, it will stagnate. We must be aware of those changes that will benefit our organization. Then visualize how to seamlessly integrate this change into the fabric of our organization. Now this is where the rub comes in.
Change is never easy to implement. Dr. Peter Senge, author of “The 5th Discipline”, said: “People don't resist change. They resist being changed!”  The reason is that most of us are creatures of habit and in many cases will do whatever it takes to avoid changing these habits. Even though we know in our heart of hearts that a change is necessary.

Step 2.       As leaders we must figure out a way to reconcile those in our organization to the benefits of change. To accomplish this we must be great communicators as well as visionaries. We must communicate the need for this change to those in our group, in order to gain their cooperation.  
For example, how many have ever tried to get teenagers to wake up an hour earlier than normal without threatening them to within an inch of their life? It can be done, but it's not easy.
So far, we have visualized a change that will benefit our organization. We have reconciled the members of our group to the need for this change.

Step 3.       Now we must reconnect back into every day working operations.
Even though everyone has agreed to and signed off on the change, we are sure to encounter resistance at this point and find unexpected bumps in the road. This is to be expected. Change doesn't happen overnight. It is a process and as leaders for change we must be persistent and patient in its implementation.

In summary, in order to become leaders for change we must:
  1. Recognize the need for change and how it applies to our organization.
  2. Reconcile those in our organization to the benefits of the desired change.
  3. Reconnect this desired outcome into daily working operations.
Thank you & God Bless!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Emergency Steps to Conquer Fear

If anyone ever tells you they’ve never experienced fear, they're liars! In this post I'll teach the importance of using your three-part nature to overcome paralyzing fear in a manner that keeps you calm, confident and creative while remaining connected to your goals and ultimate life’s purpose.

I’m reminded of the time when I was a crewman aboard a “fast-attack” nuclear submarine performing  high-speed under water maneuvers that we called "angles and dangles". The stern planes failed in a full-dive position and everyone knew it was only a matter of seconds before the water pressure would literally crush us. I was at my post in the control room when an amazing sequence of events took place. Although we were plunging towards certain death, no one panicked and the crew quickly, efficiently and successfully executed a set of emergency procedures that brought the boat under control.

Here’s a list of emergency procedures to help you overcome your fears and bring your life under control: 
1.    Recognize that you are exactly where you’re supposed to be.
Trust your spiritual nature and know that it acts as your mentor to guide you through this difficult time or situation. 
 2.    Be honest about the situation.
Don't pretend that there are no difficulties or try to persuade others they don't exist. This is like an ostrich sticking its head in the sand and pretending what it fears isn’t there. 
 3.    Search for something in your present circumstance or situation that will prove useful to you.
This step could be as simple as taking responsibility for your role in creating the situation. The accomplishment of this step will allow you to help others avoid similar circumstances in the future. 
 4.    Act in a quick and definite manner to defeat your fears.
This is where our intellectual nature plays a major role. Start immediately and create a plan. Any plan that keeps you in touch with your spiritual nature and overcomes your fear. It doesn't have to be perfect since you can modify it as necessary. 
 5.    Be Strong and Courageous.
Trust that there are unlimited resources available in both the material and nonmaterial realms. You are only limited by your imagination. 
 6.    Stay connected to your spiritual nature.
I'm assuming that your spiritual nature is occupied by a benevolent higher power or force that continually directs you towards the highest and best good of everyone involved. 
 7.    Forget the past.
Although it may seem difficult, this step is very important. When your mind is focused on the past you can’t see or take advantage of present opportunities. Also, when you’re focused on the past or worried about the future, the link with your spiritual nature is broken. 
 8.    Know that there really is nothing to fear.
As you complete the prior 7 steps, you will watch your fears dissipate like dark shadows as you approach them with the light of action and purpose.
 The take away from this post is to know that when you are properly connected to your three-part nature there is no power here, above or below able to keep you from accomplishing that, which you are created to do.

Here's hoping that you live today and every day passionately and with purpose. Thank you and God bless.