General Resolution Managing Stress

Job Loss? Next Steps

When you life changes what is best way forward? Here’s a good idea.

Hi, everybody. Sylvia Lafair here with some tips for what happens when the direction you were going has a do not follow this side road. Dead end. It’s when we have a job loss or we’re pretty sure that things are going to be downsized. It’s a strange time, crazy time for everybody, but it’s not the first. The roller coaster ride of life just seems to go on. But here’s an idea. If you’ve lost your job and you’re sitting there going, what do I do now?

My suggestion is to do something so totally different from whatever you do in the day. Just one thing. It’ll begin to get your mind into a new framework for saying, oh, I never thought of it that way before. Let me give you an example. One of the things that I learned years ago was to deflect the emotion when does something else. So, you know, I love reading and I love reading nonfiction and I love reading novels, but I don’t like reading cookbooks.

I don’t like reading anything about mathematics. I don’t like anything about weight lifting. So what did I do when I had a job loss many years ago and it kind of kicked me in the gut. I started looking at now you can do it online. And those days I went into a bookstore and looked at the magazines and I started picking up books about things that absolutely I had no interest. Modern mechanics and how to fix a car. And what do you do if you want to gain a lot of muscle weight?

And what happened as I read these books was all of a sudden I began to have other thoughts about that. Looks interesting. That looks interesting. So if you do this just to create some space in your mind for something new, new things will happen. I promise you that new ideas will come to you when you’re falling asleep, when you’re walking. Many of us are doing now is our best way of exercising masks on, walking outside, looking at the computer.

You don’t have a mask when you’re sitting at your own computer. But what happens that’s so critical is you want to create the energy of something new. So it’s not an end all, be all. But when you’re at that moment, when you’re feeling the most sorry for yourself. Simply get online and follow the route to something totally uninteresting to you. Before this day, I promise you, you will find some magic that happens. It happens to all of us.

So give it a go. See what happens. Let me know. And call me if you need some extra cheerleading. I have a ton of ideas for you. We’ll get through this. We’ll get through it together. The world will look different, hopefully in a healthful, positive way as we move through this strange time of everybody having to find something new in their lives. Thank you so much to your success.


Change General Resolution Growth Leadership

Is it Good Luck or Bad Luck? You Decide!

We all give into superstitions when the day becomes dark. We say things to make ourselves feel better.  We really do create stories about good luck and bad luck.  Much like the following:

Now, what I’m going to say is really not that big a deal.  Except, it was a really big deal when it happened.

We put an offer on a house in Northern California, which I must say, is like the 1800’s land grab.

Nothing stays on the market very long and if something is super great, well, it is gone in days.  Not only gone in days, but above the asking price.  Bidding wars all over the place.  It’s crazy.

Notice the house in the image to the left.  That’s about what you get for the price.  Kinda depressing!

Anyway, we found the perfect home.  No, not the one above!  I mean perfect.  Out of town, in nature. Like Goldilocks, it was not too small, not too big.  Just right.

It had been on the market for one day.  We were first to see it the next day.

Did I say it was not too small, not too big, just right?  So, we had to scurry to put a bid in.  We were second.  Then we waited.

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Leadership Lessons: How Listening Changes Your Responses

Hearing and listening are related. Similar yet very different. We hear loud sounds, the wind, someone laughing or yelling. And then what? We just get on with our day.

Listening, ah, another story entirely.

Were you ever told to “listen up” when you were a kid? Did someone ever say “Hey, will you just shut up and listen?”

Big question: Were you ever taught to listen?

General Resolution Growth

When Is Enough…Enough

This time of year, prepares us to ask “What really matters?”

It’s a tradition to give gratitude as we sit around the Thanksgiving dinner table.

Often what we say slips off our tongues without thinking about it. Yes, we’re thankful for our families, our health, a meal to fill our bellies, the team we root for winning the big game.

We stuff the disappointments for this one day.

We leave the “not enough” thoughts on the sidelines.

Yet, they’re there only to be picked up a few days later as we head back to work and school, and start the dash to buying holiday presents and prepare for the parties ahead.

Preparing for anything takes some deep, quiet thinking. When we’re prepared, the peaks and valleys of our daily journey are easier to predict and can be handled with more grace.

How do leaders prepare? How do you prepare for what’s ahead? Here’s a suggestion.

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Spotting The Big Difference Between Charming and Sincere

We live in a time of sizzle and dazzle, quips and giggles. It’s not a time to do deep dives into any subject.

How do I know?

I’ve fool-hardheartedly been following the Presidential election soaps on television and twitter.

I’ve been wondering why and when we turned from substance to slander and superficiality.

I want someone to blame. I want something to blame.

Ah, technology did it. Or maybe it’s because we have free reign to get guns and shoot them whenever we want. I know, it’s because we did not build enough walls to keep “them out” or to keep “those in.”

I got it!

It’s my parents fault. They were too busy making a living to really live. Busy, busy, busy all the time. Ah, that’s how I learned that life is about stuffing ourselves with stuff.

And that leads me to the social narcissism I see that is clogging our relationship system today.

I have a warning: STOP and listen. STOP and question. STOP and say NO.

Business Coaching General Resolution Growth Leadership

What Courage Looks Like

Twice a year we do a program for leaders and emerging leaders. It is a four session program spread over five months. Each time I include clips of leaders who have and continue to make a difference in our world.

There are a few staples, like Nelson Mandela and Abraham Lincoln.

We choose from a wide array of business leaders, media, the arts, and people who I call “Giraffes” (those willing to stick their necks out to make a positive difference).

Recently I was looking for those who exemplify vast courage to tackle unpopular issues and who are not willing to back down or be bought into silence.

If you have not seen or read Ibsen’s play, An Enemy of the People, it is worth the time to dig into this classic about speaking out when economic issues want us to stay in denial.

That brings us up to the present moment. Watching Dr. Bennett Omalu, played by Will Smith in the 2015 film, Concussion makes us realize that patterns of denial run deep and are sadly, as old as time.

Omalu, a forensic pathologist working in Pittsburgh brought CTE, a form of brain injury to the forefront. It appears to be rampant in the NFL and possibly starting when youngsters play high school and college football.

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The Downside Of Growing Your Organizational Culture

I was sitting having a quick dinner in Manhattan with some colleagues. The place was packed and the noise level high. Just a typical 6:30 p.m. time of workplace decompressing, after one of those typical rush and get it done days.

At the table to the left we heard “No one should be forced to share as much as they do here. They think they are creating a culture of trust. It’s just a bunch of bull.”

To the right, “Why the heck can’t they just get with the program and stop complaining all the time? What a bunch of whiners.”

Another table not far where they were getting very vocal and physically flinging hands around, “They actually force us to admit failure and what we don’t like about ourselves. Nasty stuff! We just want to get our jobs done and get to our beer time.”

One of my colleagues shrugged and said “Not much has changed in all the years we have been working. Still bitch and complain and judge and attack. When will it ever change?”

Blame it on our belief systems, blame it on our parents, blame it on our culture.

Or maybe stop the blame and say, “It will stop with me” or better yet, “It will start with me.”

So, what do we stop and what do we start?

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Leadership Lessons How To Raise Healthy Kids To Be Excellent Leaders

We know all the basics: lots of fresh air, sleep, fruits and vegetables, friendships, and loving parents.

There is one extra area that works like a charm. It is kids teaching kids.

You see, too much adult supervision and youngsters stop listening. All they hear is blah, blah, blah. And more than that, there is a deep pattern starting when the little ones are around two years old to say “NO.”

Enter the peer group.

No, I’m not talking about in the teen years when there is the fear of rebelling and going to the dark side with friends. I’m talking about when friendships are forming and behavior patterns can be developed amongst the youngsters for good habits.

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The Power Of Film And Film Stars: Thank You Jim Carrey And Leonardo Di Caprio

I sat through the Golden Globe Awards hoping to see and hear something that would stay with me emotionally. With all the sixth grade humor about butt holes, alcohol and sexual innuendos I was able to multitask and get some work done on my new book, “Every Word Counts.”

I kept thinking “When did we lose the elegance of wanting to elevate and help people grow?”

Toward the end of this fluffy and superficial evening I was just about to give up and turn off the tube. And then Jim Carrey came on looking majestic with a super cool beard. It was clear he has done some good personal work when he talked about “being Jim Carrey who has won two Golden Globes and falling asleep thinking about becoming the Jim Carrey who will win three Golden Globes hoping will complete him.”

It was done so simply, so subtly that I wondered who got the message behind the message. It is also what we discuss with business leaders. No matter how many awards you win, no matter how well recognized you are, no matter how much money you have, you cannot fill the deeper place inside you with outer trappings.

I said a silent “thank you” to Mr. Carrey.

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How To Help A Toxic Boss Become A Positive Leader

It is a basic fact that water rolls downhill. “So what” you say.

Well, that is an obvious truth. So is the fact that toxic leaders can cause their employees to act badly. However, there is another part to this equation. While people are blaming their bosses for blaming and shaming the same is true of employees who return the blame and point to the boss.

This is a pattern of victimization and bullying that lies deeper than just the way one or two individuals behave. This is a pattern of lack of accountability and everyone then plays “The Gotcha Game.”

Where does it stop? How about with YOU.