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10 minute stress-zappers_2006


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10 minute stress-zappers_2006

  1. 1. Coaching Solutions for Women presents 10-MinuteStress Zappers An E-Book for Career Transitioners Cheryl Lynch Simpson, L.P.C. Career & Calling Coach and President of The Career Renaissance Club© 2004-2007 Cheryl Lynch Simpson and Coaching Solutions for Women All Rights Reserved
  2. 2. 2IntroductionHello! Are you in—or hope to soon be in—a career transition? If you’re like many others, then you mayfind yourself feeling: Stressed by trying to juggle the demands of an active personal life with your desire to move your career in a different direction ... Harried by the rush of competing deadlines ... Pushed by achievement rather than propelled by a drive for excellence ... Overwhelmed by the perceived expectations of others and the all-too-real expectations you demand of yourself ... Unsure of how to get your needs met in the midst of conflicting personal and work to do’s ... Depleted of the energy, confidence, or passion you need to succeed on your own terms ... Drained by tolerating situations, tasks, and people that get in your way ... Distracted from doing what you need to do to take care of yourself ... Resentful of the ways others seem to be taking advantage of you …If this is how you feel, then I have great news for you! Help - and hope - are just minutes away …ten minutes away, in fact. If you have ten minutes a day, a week, or a month, to spend on yourself(and I’m betting that you do), then I have a series of coaching solutions for you that will strengthenyour ability to zap the negative, life-draining stress from your personal and professional lives, leavingyou feeling: Balanced Peaceful Empowered Resilient Confident Inspired Energized Focused SereneAnd, the really good news is that you can implement these solutions over and over again, as manytimes and as often as you need to! Ready to get started? Read on!Note: This is not a book you have to read straight through. Don’t pressure yourself to try allthese solutions at once! Rather, when you feel stressed, read through the solutions andchoose one to implement immediately. Then go do it. If you still need more help, selectanother solution and implement that one, too. Keep selecting and implementing solutionsuntil your situation improves. That’s all there is to it! © 2004-2007 Cheryl Lynch Simpson and Coaching Solutions for Women All Rights Reserved
  3. 3. 3Stress Zapper #1: Centerpoint BalanceWhat image comes to mind when you think about life balance? Do you still see a set of scalesmeasuring your ability to maintain perfect balance? Then, perhaps it’s time for you to trade in your oldimage for one of these: A teeter totter, A gymnast on a balance beam, An acrobat on a high wire, or A spinning topThese new images for life balance all have some important elements in common, in that theychallenge you to: Perceive balance as fluid and dynamic rather than solid and static Find the balance centerpoint around which your life motion flows Understand that you are not so much totally in balance or totally out of balance at any given time as constantly flowing between these extremes at all timesRemember the game, The Straw That Broke the Camel’s Back? You added straws one at a time tothe pouches on a plastic camel, and hoped that your next straw wouldn’t be the one to break its back.If you were good at that game, it was probably because you developed a sensitivity for knowing howmuch was too much for the camel’s back.Well, to succeed in redirecting your future career, you need to develop the same sensitivityfor knowing how much is too much in both your personal and professional lives.And to do that, you need to be able to measure how distant you are from your own balance center-point, so that you can move in the opposite direction to reestablish balance immediately. Let’s take a quick example: Do you feel like an acrobat balancing your family, work, and personal lives on a high wire stretched over a vast pit labeled Failure? Then, to succeed in your balancing act, you will need to develop the skill to not lean too far to the left or the right, so that you can maintain your center as close as possible to the high wire itself. When you feel yourself drifting off center, you will need to shift your balance until you return close enough to center to ensure you remain atop the wire.So, the next time you find yourself drifting off center, try this: Identify one task you can reduce, let go of, reschedule, or get help with that will immediately shift your balance back toward your own personal centerpoint. Repeat Step 1 until you’ve reestablished enough balance to prevent yourself from tumbling off your high wire. Don’t judge yourself for drifting off center. That’s life! Simply choose not to stay off center. © 2004-2007 Cheryl Lynch Simpson and Coaching Solutions for Women All Rights Reserved
  4. 4. 4Stress Zapper #2: S.M.A.R.T. ExpectationsFirst of all, just what is an expectation? Well, when someone places an expectation on you, they arelooking forward to your completing a reasonable, due, or necessary duty or obligation. At least that’swhat the dictionary says! Trouble is, not everyone’s expectations are always reasonable ornecessary. So, before you take on an expectation from someone else, or place one on yourself, firstmake sure the duty or obligation is S.M.A.R.T. Specific: An expectation is specific if you can name exactly what you will do, for who and you know why you’re doing it. If you do not know all of these elements, then you’re allowing yourself to take on an unspecific task. And taking on an unspecific expectation will only create strain, stress, and/or failure. Measurable: An expectation is measurable if you can quantify its specific parts and pieces. How much will you do? How often will you do it? How will you know when you’re done? If you cannot answer these questions, the expectation is too vague. And taking on a vague expectation will only create strain, stress, and/or failure. Achievable: An expectation is achievable if you can do all of the specific parts and pieces to the measurable degree defined. What someone else may be able to achieve is irrelevant. If you cannot do it, then the expectation is unachievable for you. And taking on an unachievable expectation will only create strain, stress, and/or failure. (Are you beginning to see the pattern here?) Realistic: An expectation is realistic if your achievement of it is objectively possible. Do those who know you well believe you can do it? Do you have the knowledge, skills, resources, and time to do it? Do you know how to do it? If you do not have access to everything you need to achieve the expectation, then the expectation is unrealistic for you at this time. And taking on an unrealistic expectation will only create strain, stress, and/or failure. Time-Focused: An expectation is time-focused if it has a firm, agreed-upon deadline. When will you do it? Again, be specific. Don’t agree to sometime next week. Rather, promise to do it by 4 p.m. next Thursday. If you do not know precisely when the expectation must be fulfilled, then the expectation is not time-focused. And taking on a non time-focused expectation will only create … you guessed it, strain, stress, and/or failure!So, the next time you take on a task, set one for yourself, become aware of an expectation someonehas for you, or discern an expectation you’ve placed on yourself, try this: Write the expectation, goal, to do, or assignment down. Walk it through the S.M.A.R.T. steps. Be as concrete as you can be! Renegotiate with the giver of the expectation, goal, to do, or assignment so they’re on the same page as you. © 2004-2007 Cheryl Lynch Simpson and Coaching Solutions for Women All Rights Reserved
  5. 5. 5Stress Zapper #3: S.M.A.R.T. NeedsNow that you know what the acronym means, you’ll understand when I tell you that your needs mustbe S.M.A.R.T., too. A need is a physiological or psychological requirement for your well-being. If oneof your needs goes unfulfilled, it will lead, over time, to some form of physiological or psychologicaldis-ease, or lack of well-being.Perhaps you need time in the morning to get settled at work before your associates pummel you withproblems. Perhaps you need some time alone to think or reflect. Perhaps you need to discuss yourconflicts with others, or perhaps you prefer to retreat into your cave for awhile before talking thingsthrough.To be human is to need. You will never escape this essential truth about human nature. So, can youinstead learn how to ask for what you need when you need it? Here’s how: Specific: Name exactly what you need. This means being specific about who will do what, and what difference that will make for you. How will getting this need met impact your well-being? Measurable: Quantify the parts and pieces of what you want. How much do you need? How often do you need it? How will you know when the need is satisfied? Achievable: Can the person you’re asking to fulfill your need actually do it to the degree you need it done? Make sure both you and they know this. Realistic: Is it objectively possible for your need to be fulfilled in the way you have requested? Does the person you have made the request of know how to do it? Do they have the knowledge, skills, resources, and time to do it? Time-Focused: Set a firm, agreed-upon deadline for the fulfillment of your need. Again, be specific, so your loved one, friend, or colleague can fulfill your need in full.Humans are like sieves, in that we are each filled with holes of neediness. Unless and until all of ourholes are filled, we will unconsciously try to fulfill our needs in inappropriate ways.Ready to work on getting some of your needs met? Try this: Make a list of three needs you want filled in each of these three areas of your life: your work life, your home life, and your relationships. Now rank order your three needs in each category. Pick one of your #1 needs and walk it through the S.M.A.R.T. steps above, being as concrete as you can be. Schedule a mutually convenient time with the person you have selected to fulfill your need, and communicate it using your S.M.A.R.T. tools.Is this selfish? Well, only if you call taking care of yourself selfish. Personally, I call that smart! © 2004-2007 Cheryl Lynch Simpson and Coaching Solutions for Women All Rights Reserved
  6. 6. 6Stress Zapper #4: Direct ActionWhat are you putting up with, enduring, or tolerating unnecessarily in your work life, with yourColleagues/clients, within your family, or in any of your interpersonal relationships? Whatever it is, it’sdraining you of the energy and enthusiasm you need to do your work and be your best.Do you know what happens to a loaf of bread when you continually open the oven door while it’sbaking? Yes, of course you do - the loaf falls because it lacked the sustained energy it needed tofully form. By opening the oven door repeatedly, you allowed energy to leak out, thus robbing thebread of the heat required for its rise.The same thing happens to you in your business and personal lives when you allow your energy andattention to be drained away by people, tasks, and situations that you put up with, endure, or tolerateunnecessarily. Zapping your tolerations will help you to: Eliminate unnecessary time-wasters and repetitive tasks. Stop wasting your time, energy, and attention on people, tasks, and situations that would not require your time, energy, and attention if you created or maintained better interpersonal boundaries. Take direct action on that which needs your time, energy, and attention, rather than the problems caused by avoidable interruptions and crises. Maintain a higher pool of energy, passion, enthusiasm, and motivation to draw from to do what you really want to do in your work, with your clients, or in your personal life. Boost the efficiency and effectiveness of your work style and your work life as a whole.There are two ways to eliminate any toleration: (1) Take direct action to address the underlyingissue, or (2) Make a request of someone else to take direct action to address the underlyingissue.To get started replenishing your energy and enthusiasm today: Brainstorm a list of three people, tasks, or situations you are currently tolerating in your work life, home life, or interpersonal relationships. Select the one toleration which, when resolved, would have the most positive impact on your energy level and quality of life. Who is the most appropriate person to resolve this toleration: you, or someone else? If it’s you, decide what action you need to take to resolve the situation as soon as possible. If necessary, get whatever help you need to do so. If you need to involve someone else, prepare in advance to delegate, discuss, or express the problem. Schedule a mutually convenient time to meet, then share your toleration using “I” language (When you ___, I feel ___) and make a specific request that will resolve what you are tolerating permanently. © 2004-2007 Cheryl Lynch Simpson and Coaching Solutions for Women All Rights Reserved
  7. 7. 7Stress Zapper #5: Healthy HabitsHealthy habits are repeated behavior patterns that lead or contribute to improved performance insome facet of your work or personal life. Unhealthy habits, on the other hand, are repeatedbehavior patterns that lead or contribute to reduced performance in some facet of your work orpersonal life. Now, the question is, which kinds of habits do you practice most frequently? Write down these three headings on a piece of paper: work, personal, relational. Think back over the last week. Then, underneath each heading, brainstorm a list of three repeated behavior patterns that led or contributed to either improved or reduced performance in some area of your life. Some examples include: journal every morning; exercise 3-5x weekly; meet weekly with staff for 1:1 coaching; watch 2 hours of TV nightly; track expenses and income weekly; spend too little quality time with spouse; get a massage monthly; attend weekly staff meetings; attend one networking event quarterly; have little “me” time during evenings and weekends. Now, rate each of these patterns on a wellness scale, with 1 as harmful to your health and well-being, 3 as neutral, and 5 as beneficial for your health and well-being. Focus your attention on the habits you rated as 1, 2, or 3. Select the one unhealthy habit which, if changed for the better, would yield the greatest improvement in your life. Try reengineering the habit. What one small change can you make which will lessen its impact, improve its impact, or turn it completely around? Some reengineered examples of the habits listed above: reduce TV watching by 30 minutes; schedule 1 hour of quality time with spouse in the next week; get a massage twice monthly; attend one networking event monthly; schedule 30 minutes of “me” time nightly.The Chinese have a wonderful saying that, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a singlestep.” Remember this when you reengineer your personal and business habits! You’re better off tomake small, tightly focused changes in one or two areas at a time, than to remake your entire life orbusiness in a day, a week, or even a month.Lasting change evolves slowly and requires regular repetition. Give yourself permission to take babysteps and improve your quality of life one day at a time! © 2004-2007 Cheryl Lynch Simpson and Coaching Solutions for Women All Rights Reserved
  8. 8. 8Stress Zapper #6: Competent & Confident LeadershipSelf-esteem is made up of two ingredients: Competence and confidence. Competence rises out of allthat you do and how well you perceive that you do it. Confidence rises out of all that you are and howmuch value you place on that. Competence is generated naturally by learning, gaining mastery, andbecoming proficient in the critical tasks and functions of your chosen profession. Confidence isgenerated by valuing who you are.Now, here’s a critical distinction to learn: You cannot build true confidence based on yourcompetence, no matter how great you are at anything. Take a look at these two buckets: Your Competence Your Confidence Bucket BucketImagine this: You do many things well, so that your Competence Bucket is quite full. But, even ifyour Competence Bucket begins to overflow because you are doing so many things, anddoing them well, you cannot possibly fill your Confidence Bucket from the “well” ofcompetence. You can only fill your Confidence Bucket by valuing who you are.Therefore, the antidote to low self-esteem is not to do more, but to recognize the importance andvalue of who you are and act to defend that in every facet of your life.To assess how full your buckets are today, try this quick exercise: List 5 things you can do which make you feel competent. Now, list 5 things about you as a person that make you feel confident. Review your lists. Identify whether each of your 10 items are things that you do or things that you are. For example, let’s say you list: (1) good at learning/applying new technology, sourcing information, networking, and marketing; (2) feel good about management skills, success of business, and caring about the service my clients receive. Notice that all the items on List 1 are skill sets, which is exactly what they should be. But, two of the items on List 2 (the first two) are skills or accomplishments rather than qualities like caring. In this example, then, you would be basing your confidence more on your competence than your identity. Review your confidence list and highlight those items that are skills or accomplishments rather than qualities or traits. Assess your highlighted items. How can you reword them to focus your attention more on your qualities or traits? In the above example, management skills can be changed to “I’m a natural leader”, while success of business can be altered to “intelligent,” “savvy,” “efficient,” or any other qualities that are true of you.Bottom line: Take credit not just for what you accomplish, but for who you are! © 2004-2007 Cheryl Lynch Simpson and Coaching Solutions for Women All Rights Reserved
  9. 9. 9Stress Zapper #7: Optimal BalanceTake a piece of paper and draw a triangle of any size or shape. Then draw a circle around yourtriangle. Next, label each part of your drawing by writing the following where indicated: Social … on one side of your triangle Intellectual … on another side of your triangle Emotional … on the remaining side of your triangle Spiritual … alongside the circle around your triangleThink of this triangle-wrapped-in-a-circle as a pictorial representation of your quality of life. Each ofthese elements represents one critical facet of your life: Social … represents your social/interpersonal life. Are you spending enough quality time with the colleagues, staff, friends, and family you most value? Are you spending too much time with any one person or type of social activity? Intellectual … represents your mental/intellectual life. Are you feeding your mind what it needs to grow or help you achieve your business or personal goals? Are you binging on any one type of information to the exclusion of others? Emotional … represents your emotions and feelings. Are you aware of what you are feeling and why? Do you regularly express your emotions in safe, appropriate ways? Are you storing up any feeling that you have not recently expressed or addressed? Spiritual … represents your awareness of and connection to the sacred, however you name it. How often do you relate to the sacred? How often do you connect with others who name the sacred the same way you do? How aware are you of the spiritual underpinnings of why you do the work and complete all the tasks of your daily business and personal lives?To achieve and maintain optimal balance in each of these areas of your life, try this: Rate the quality of your satisfaction with each facet of your life above by placing a number next to it. Choose 1 if you are totally dissatisfied, and 10 if you are totally satisfied, and a number from 2 to 9 if you are somewhere in between these two extremes. Select the facet of your life that has the lowest satisfaction score right now. How have you been neglecting that area in the business or personal dimensions of your life? Identify one thing you can do in each of the next four weeks that will shift your satisfaction from its current score to one representing a higher level of satisfaction. Complete this task at least once in each of the next four weeks. Then, reevaluate your scores. If necessary, repeat Steps 2-5. © 2004-2007 Cheryl Lynch Simpson and Coaching Solutions for Women All Rights Reserved
  10. 10. 10Coaching Solutions for WomenHello! My name is Cheryl Lynch Simpson. I am a Solutions Coach and thefounder of, where you’ll find resourcesand solutions to help you: Recession-proof and advance your career Balance your work with the rest of your life Discern and define your calling Discover what you want to do when you “grow up” Redesign your resume or cover letter Launch an effective job search and land a new job in record time Increase your satisfaction with your career, business, and lifeSome of my most pertinent experiences and credentials include: Ohio-licensed Career Counselor with over 20 years’ experience helping people help themselves to better work lives Completed my coaching training at The Coaches’ Training Institute and won certification as a trained Spiritual Director Licensed Personal Foundation® and Get Clients Now!® Coach Author of over 30 career and business articles in print or on the web Former host of the Midlife Careers Channel on and former Resume Writer for Developer of the Inner Archaeology System™ to help people discover themselves from the inside out Designer of over 100 journaling and coaching exercises to help you boost your satisfaction with your career, business, or lifeDo you need more career, business, or life solutions than you found in this complimentary e-book?Then join me online today for immediate help at! © 2004-2007 Cheryl Lynch Simpson and Coaching Solutions for Women All Rights Reserved