<![CDATA[Personal Advocates - Blog]]>Fri, 17 May 2019 00:51:06 -0500Weebly<![CDATA[Create Your Own Reality]]>Mon, 12 Mar 2018 20:59:45 GMThttp://personaladvocates.net/blog/create-your-own-realityI am often accused of being a news junkie and I can’t really argue the point.  I love the news and can often be found switching from outlet to outlet to identify the differences in coverage.  It’s fascinating, but it can also be dangerous.
Many people don’t watch or read the news because it makes them anxious, angry, or depressed.  There is so much hatred, injustice, and pain that it makes them worry about the future.  Will we have a nuclear war, more natural disasters, civil war, or a global pandemic?  How can anyone be happy with all that’s going on in our country and around the world?
For me, it’s by changing my focus to who I am and how I respond to the world around me.  If I am happy in my personal, professional, and spiritual life, the world around me seems less depressing and more hopeful.  I can see the world in a more positive light and accept that others see the world differently than I do.
There was a popular saying in the 60s encouraging people to “Create Your Own Reality.”  Its essence was that if you don’t like your current situation, change it to something you do like.  And it works, if I am willing to act.
If I hate my job, I change it or find a new one.  If I’m struggling with a relationship, I fix it or leave it.  If my life doesn’t make me happy, I create a plan to change it.
I know it isn’t as easy as I make it sound, but if we don’t try to change things, we remain stuck in an unhappy place.  I can accept the world around me because I am happy in my personal, professional, and spiritual lives.  As a result, rather than being afraid of the future, I can say, “Bring it on.  I’m ready.”
If you are struggling with something in your life, give me a call at 952-893-1293 to see if coaching is right for you.  If you want to create your own reality, all you need to do is take the first step.

<![CDATA[The Truth About Networking]]>Mon, 24 Jul 2017 18:13:23 GMThttp://personaladvocates.net/blog/the-truth-about-networkingCareer Coaching clients are often dismayed when I tell them they have to network if they want a good job.  For many, networking invokes their worst fear of being alone in a room full of strangers with nothing to say.  Unfortunately, the truth is that networking is essential if you want to get a great job.
Anyone who has looked for a job knows the frustration of online applications that result in rejections or no response at all.  Worse, if you post your resume to a job board your inbox will be flooded with offers for insurance jobs or entry-level jobs that have no relation to your skills or industry experience. 
The sad reality is that on-line job sites are a complete waste of time for most people.  The jobs are either ones that employers have trouble filling or you are competing against hundreds of other people who want the same job.  Either way, you won’t be happy with the results.
Employers don’t post good jobs on the internet.  They don’t have to because everyone wants them and there are plenty of internal candidates or well-connected outsiders available.  If not, they hire a recruiting firm to find them well-qualified candidates.  Either way, the job is closed to anyone who doesn’t have “connections.”
That’s why you must network.  You need connections!
Given the necessity of networking, here are a few thoughts that will help you overcome your fear and insecurity at networking events:
Everyone Wants to Meet You – People at networking events are individuals like you who are looking for a connection or they are an employer who is looking for applicants.  They expect you to ask them for something and will be happy to help if they can.  Other job-seekers aren’t your competition and may know someone you want to meet.  If not, they’ll understand when you want to move on to the next person because they do too.
Practice First – Don’t start where it matters.  You need practice.  Go to a general business networking meeting or a Meet-Up group to practice your networking skills.  Then, once you are feeling more comfortable, find an association meeting in your industry and meet the people that can help you.
Everyone Is Nervous – Most people don’t enjoy meeting strangers.  There are exceptions, but most of them already have sales jobs.  So, get over being nervous and go talk to someone.
People Like to Talk About Themselves – Don’t know what to say?  Ask people about themselves.  “Why are you here?”  “What do you do?”  “What are you looking for here?”  They will be glad you broke the ice and will be happy to talk to you.
Make it a Game – Set a goal and see how fast you can achieve it.  Start simple and then up the ante.  Meet 5 new people.  Hand out 10 business cards.  Ask 10 people if they know someone that can help you.  Ask for 15 introductions or referrals.
Ask for the “Sale” – You’ve gone to the event and met a bunch of people, but still don’t have any connections?  Maybe you forgot to ask for what you want.  It’s very appropriate to ask if they know anybody who is hiring or someone who can help you.  That’s what the event is for.  Ask for what you need and someone will give it to you.
Don’t Give Up – You probably won’t find an angel the first time you look, but keep trying.  It takes time.  Remember why you are networking in the first place – to get a great job.
Networking doesn’t have to be painful, but it’s a necessity if you are seriously looking for a new job.  Get out there and try it.  The connection you need is looking for you.

<![CDATA[6 Quick-Fixes for a Happier Life]]>Mon, 17 Jul 2017 19:05:37 GMThttp://personaladvocates.net/blog/6-quick-fixes-for-a-happier-lifeAs a Life Coach, I’m often approached by people who are frustrated with their life.  They are unhappy and are seeking immediate change in their lives so they can be happy.  Unfortunately, there is no magic wand that will instantaneously make them happy, but there are some things I recommend that have an immediate impact on the way they view themselves and the world around them.
If you are tired of being unhappy or want to be happier than you are now, here are six things you can do right now that will make you happier.
#1 - Get Moving
Go outside and go for a walk or ride a bicycle.  Get fresh air and sunlight.  Go where there are people.  Get out of your head.
Unhappy people tend to be sedentary and stay indoors.  They watch TV or sleep a lot.  They sit around and think about how unhappy they are and how their lives suck.  Don’t fall into the isolation trap.  Get up, get out, and get moving.
#2 - Be Grateful for What You Have
It’s hard to be unhappy when you have a grateful heart.  Regardless of how little or how much you have, there is always someone with less.  Some people are homeless.  Some people are confined to a wheelchair.  Some people don’t have enough to eat.  Some people don’t have clean water.  Some people are dying.
We live in the most affluent society in history, but it’s easy to get wrapped up in our lives and lose perspective.  Be grateful for whatever you have and what you don’t have will become less important.
#3 - Help Someone in Need
There are people in need all around you.  We don’t see them because they make us feel guilty, but they are there.  Help them.  Donate to a food shelf, raise money for a charity, mow a neighbor’s lawn, volunteer at a non-profit, read to children, or buy someone a meal.  Giving makes us feel good about ourselves while helping someone in need.  Give generously and you will be surprised how much better you feel.
#4 - Remove Negativity from Your Life
Everyone has a friend who is a constantly complaining about something ... a family member who is very critical … or an unhappy co-worker.  A person, place, or thing that makes them feel bad. 
Take care of yourself by getting rid of them.  They probably won’t change and they are bringing you down.  Walk away or spend less time around them.  Happiness is contagious and so is negativity.  Surround yourself with happy, positive people and your outlook will change dramatically.
#5 – Look Good and You Will Feel Good
We all like to look nice.  It feels good and is empowering.  People complement us.  We look in the mirror and like what we see.
Make a point to look good or dress up.  Cut or style your hair, shine your shoes, put on makeup, wear a tie, or iron your shirt.  You don’t need new clothes, just make sure you try to look good in what you have.  Respect yourself and you will feel great.
#6 - Fake It Until You Make It
It’s a cliché, but it works.  Attitude and outlook are strong components of a happy life, but changing them takes practice.  Act happy even when you aren’t.  Put a smile on your face and a bounce in your step every day and over time they will become comfortable and authentic. 
There are a lot of factors that influence your level of happiness, some complex like jobs and relationships, and some simple like those listed above.  These quick-fixes won’t solve all your problems, but they are a good start to a happier life.  Happiness is an inside job and cannot be achieved through external sources.
Try these six simple measures for a month and see what happens.  You have nothing to lose but your unhappiness.
<![CDATA[The Winter Blues]]>Tue, 24 Jan 2017 23:28:49 GMThttp://personaladvocates.net/blog/the-winter-blues As a Life Coach in Minneapolis, my busiest time of year is mid-January to mid-March.  It's a time when people either have the post-holiday doldrums or suffer from the winter blues and it makes them miserable.   

For many, the period after the holidays is difficult.  After several weeks of celebration, activity, love and human connection, we return to our lives which can seem very mundane and lonely.  We miss the excitement and face several months with less stimulation.  

The winter blues can be just as difficult, especially for those of us who live in colder climates.  The days are much shorter, there's less sunlight, it's cold, and everything is in shades of gray.  Worst of all, in Minnesota, we have another three months until spring.  

If you are suffering from either one of these afflictions, there are a few things you can do to break out of the blues and change your mood:
   -  Get more sleep
   -  Give yourself something to look forward to
   -  Get more fresh air
   -  Exercise more
   -  Connect with friends and family
   -  Do something you've always wanted to do
   -  Don't isolate

The key to beating the winter blues is to break out of your routine while taking better care of your body.  Changing your routine will energize your mind and emotions by giving you something to get excited about.  Taking better care of your body will give you the energy to get out of your chair and actually do something.  There is a strong connection between physical and emotional well-being.  When we feel good physically, it's much easier to feel good emotionally.  

Finally, if your Blues last longer than a couple weeks or lead to thoughts of despair, it could be a sign of depression that requires more extensive treatment.  If you think you may be suffering from depression, see your doctor to discuss it.  

Remember, winter may be long and dark, but spring will eventually come.

<![CDATA[Why Resolutions Fail]]>Mon, 02 Jan 2017 22:55:05 GMThttp://personaladvocates.net/blog/why-resolutions-fail The New Year is upon us and with it comes the traditional spate of New Year's resolutions.  Unfortunately, the majority of these resolutions will fall by the wayside in the first month or two and the goal will never be reached.  In fact, of the 60% of Americans who make resolutions, only 8%-10% actually see them through to completion.  

Why do resolutions fail?  Many factors can impact success rates, but most failures can be attributed to a few simple reasons:  

Unrealistic Goals - When making resolutions, set a goal that is achievable.  "I'm going to lose 100 pounds by July 4th" or "I'm going to work out every day this year" are similar to saying "I'm going to win the lottery this year" - they are just not realistic.  The odds of losing 100 pounds in six months or not missing a workout for 365 days are similar to winning the lottery; possible but not probable.  

Lack of Commitment - Often people are very quick to set a goal, but are unwilling to do the work necessary to achieve it.  Most resolutions require a change of behavior and that change is not easy to accomplish.  Old habits must be broken and new habits established.  To be successful, the individual must be fully committed to making the change and willing to put in the time to do it.  

All or Nothing Thinking - Most people tend to think of success and failure as the only options.  Then, when their progress is not a linear progression, they decide they have failed and give up.  For example, someone might resolve to lose 25 pounds.  Things start well and they lose a few pounds each week.  But then comes the week they gain back a pound they lost and suddenly they have failed.  So they quit trying instead of accepting a bad week and continuing to work toward their goal.  Remember, every effort will have setbacks, so don't give up when things don't go as planned.  

No Support Network - Achieving goals is never easy and most people encounter days when they struggle to do what's necessary to be successful.  Those are the days they need a support system to help them keep going.  In most cases, that support is a friend or coach to help encourage or motivate them, a progress checkpoint to demonstrate how far they have come, or expert advice to help them overcome challenges.  

How can you avoid these pitfalls and achieve your New Year's resolution goal?  Here are a few tips to help you achieve success:  

Set Intermediate Goals - Rather than focusing on your end goal, set a series of intermediate goals on your way to the final outcome.  Achieving these shorter-term goals will help you stay motivated and help you see your progress toward your final objective.  

Create a Detailed Plan - Once you have identified a realistic goal, create a series of small, achievable steps to get you there.  If possible, add dates to make sure you are on track to reach your goal.  Then, work to complete each step and check it off the list.  You will be amazed at how seeing your progress will keep you motivated.  

Give Yourself a Break - Nobody's perfect and your path to success will probably have a few bumps along the way.  You may not achieve your weekly goal or complete a step on time.  It's OK, things happen and sometimes you will backslide a little.  Give yourself a break and keep moving forward.  You can still achieve your goal as long as you remain committed to it.  

Ask For Help - Everybody needs help from time to time, so build a support network of people you can call on when you get discouraged.  Then use their support.  It will not only keep you moving toward your goal, but it will make them feel good to share in your challenges and successes.  

Celebrate Your Progress - What you are trying to achieve is not easy and sometimes it will be very hard.  Celebrate your successes along the way to your goal.  Regardless of whether you achieve your ultimate goal, you are trying and making progress.  That's more than 90% of the population can say.

Achieving personal goals is challenging, but if you make a detailed plan and work at it, your chances of success are much higher.  Hang in there and if at first you don't succeed, try again.  Any worthwhile goal is worth the effort.

<![CDATA[12 Days of Holiday Stress-Busters]]>Thu, 22 Dec 2016 19:11:47 GMThttp://personaladvocates.net/blog/12-days-of-holiday-stress-busters3Day 11 - Find Quiet Time Picture
For most people, the holidays are Go, Go, Go.  Rush to get ready, travel somewhere, spend time with family and friends, and then return home so you can go back to work and rush to get caught up again.  No wonder we get stressed out.  It's exhausting just typing it.  

This year, I'm going to find some quiet time just for me.  A walk in the woods or on the beach, sitting by the fire, reading a book, snuggling with someone special, or just staring off into space for a while.  Me time, where I have no responsibilities or purpose.  Just letting my brain idle and see where it leads.  

I know … yoga, prayer, or meditation would probably provide more insight, but it seems like too much work.  I'm not trying to improve myself, I'm just trying to relax.  And I can't think of a better way to do that than simply letting the world take care of itself while I check out for an hour.  

Let life happen without you for a few minutes and you will be amazed at how the stress melts away.

<![CDATA[12 Days of Holiday Stress-Busters]]>Wed, 21 Dec 2016 19:12:22 GMThttp://personaladvocates.net/blog/-12-days-of-holiday-stress-busters6Day 10 - Take Care of Yourself
The holidays can be both physically and emotionally exhausting, leaving us vulnerable to illness or the post-holiday blues.  However, taking a few simple measures can help you stay health and energized while reducing stress during the holiday season. 

Get Enough Sleep - Adults need 7-8 hours of sleep every night, but during the holidays, we tend to stay up later and not get enough rest.  If you are short of sleep, stay in bed a little later in the morning or find time for a nap.  It will help keep your energy up and avoid fatigue. 

Get Enough Exercise - Try to maintain your normal exercise routine.  If you can't, take a walk, go for a swim or find time for a quick run.  It will keep your blood flowing and burn a few of those extra calories. 

Watch Your Sugar Intake - It's easy to over-indulge in sugar and empty carbs during the holiday season.  Remember, everything in moderation.  Enjoy a cookie, but don't eat the whole plate.  Don't sit next to the candy dish.  Sample sweets but don't make a meal of them.  Avoid between meal snacking.  You will avoid blood-sugar spikes and reduce your need for a post-holiday diet. 

Drink in Moderation - Don't confuse the holiday spirit with holiday spirits.  Excessive amounts of alcohol cause dehydration and disrupt sleep.  Hangovers are your body's way of saying "stop that."  Celebrate the holiday's but don't overdo it. 

Stay Hydrated - Soft drinks, wine, eggnog, beer, liquor - none of these things are water.  Drink plenty of water, especially if you are in the sun or where it's very cold. 

Rest When You Get Tired - Shopping, cooking travelling and spending time with family and friends can be both physically and emotionally tiring.  When you get tired, stop and catch your breath.  Take a time out from whatever you are doing and sit down for a few minutes.  Take a brief nap.  Find a quiet place to sit and contemplate.  Don't worry, the celebration will still be going on when you return. 

The holiday's are a wonderful time of year, but it's important to take care of our physical and emotional selves.  Pace yourself so you increase your enjoyment while avoiding feeling exhausted when they are over.

<![CDATA[ 12 Days of Holiday Stress-Busters]]>Tue, 20 Dec 2016 15:54:46 GMThttp://personaladvocates.net/blog/-12-days-of-holiday-stress-busters5 Day 9 - Avoid Traditional Roles
When families get together for the holidays, it's easy to fall into traditional roles that are not constructive.  I'm not talking about who does the cooking or who gives the blessing, I'm talking about roles in the family dynamic that have developed over the years.  You know, roles like The Organizer, The Complainer, The Cynic, The Negotiator, The Caretaker and The Quiet One.  Although the names and behaviors may be different, most families have them and when they gather, everyone assumes their customary role.  

The danger of these traditional roles is that they can perpetuate family dysfunction and reinforce painful memories for some family members.  The result is usually tension and stress, and in some cases, continued arguments and bad feelings that could have been resolved years before.  As a result, the family is stuck in old patterns of behavior that can ruin their holiday celebration.  

If your family gatherings follow familiar progressions that end in unhappiness, consider the role you play.  Often the end of the story can be changed by one person deciding their traditional behavior no longer serves them and making a decision to be their authentic self.

<![CDATA[12 Days of Holiday Stress-Busters]]>Mon, 19 Dec 2016 17:13:04 GMThttp://personaladvocates.net/blog/-12-days-of-holiday-stress-busters4Day 8 - Share the Spirit
The last week before Christmas is the most stressful time for many people.  The week is filled with last-minute shopping, grocery shopping, cooking, meeting friends, and all the other holiday details that take more time than you have.  Everywhere you go, you encounter long lines, grumpy sales associates, terrible drivers and stressed-out people.  
My strategy for dealing with this week is very simple … I just smile at everyone I meet.  

I'm sure you are thinking, " Really?  This is the best you can offer, Mr. Certified Life Coach?"  

As a matter of fact, it is.  I am continually amazed by the power of a smile.  That grumpy clerk is suddenly nice to me.  That harried shopper let's me in line in front of them.  The crabby drivers give me more room.  More amazingly, they start smiling as well.  And the people they smile at smile back.  Soon, most of the people around me are smiling.  

The more I smile during the holidays, the better I feel.  It completely changes my experience.  I'm less stressed and everything seems to fall into place.  I enjoy the holiday sights, sounds, and even the shopping.  

If you don't believe me, try the smile experiment.  Smile at the people around you and see how they respond.  Smiles are contagious and you'll feel good about sharing the blessing.
<![CDATA[12 Days of Holiday Stress-Busters]]>Fri, 16 Dec 2016 18:27:44 GMThttp://personaladvocates.net/blog/-12-days-of-holiday-stress-busters3Day 7 - Know Your Limits Picture
The holidays are a time of celebration when we socialize, attend parties, and spend time with family and friends, however they are also a time when many people overindulge.  Food, shopping, alcohol, and sugar are just a few areas where it is easy to overdo it.

Remember, everything in moderation. Don't be the person who drinks too much at the office party or gets a DWI on New Year's Eve.  Avoid running up your credit cards.  Have patience when driving or shopping.  Be kind to people and accepting of family and friends, regardless of the situation.  Mind your words and deeds.

This year, make sure you are making happy holiday memories and not memorable disasters after overindulging.  Regrettable actions are very stressful and can ruin the holidays for you and your family.  Know your limits and have a happy holiday.