I didn’t know that the key to a better life was in the 39-year-old book in my hand. I had not seen this book in two decades. I only found it because during the coronavirus crisis, I was dealing with some materials in storage.
Opening the book at random, I discovered an idea that has stayed with me. The book is Isaac Asimov on Science Fiction. I wondered what I might learn from viewing this author’s words. I found his story about a woman named Peg, who was the wife of the famed science fiction editor John W. Campbell, Jr.
John Campbell and Isaac Asimov fell into a big argument. Their dispute escalated and became worse. They even wrote letters that hammered at each other.
Peg read the letters from both men and told them, “Any more and the friendship will be destroyed, and this argument is not worth a friendship.” John Campbell and Isaac Asimov dropped their argument and talked about other things. The friendship was saved.
Years later, John Campbell died. Asimov ended his chapter of the book with: “Then [Peg] died, too, in 1979. But I remember her.”
“But I remember her.”
For weeks, this phrase resonated in my mind like the chorus of a song.
Why did Asimov remember Peg? She was the peacemaker who saved his friendship with her husband, John.
My question for you is: How will you be remembered? As a friend? As a peacemaker — as someone who did the most important things? Or someone who got caught up in small things in anger and in arguments?
Recently, a friend on Facebook invited people todescribe themselves in Three Words.
This brings us back to Peg and “But I remember her.”
I think of Peg as peacemaker, friend, memorable.
What is most important to you?
Have you noticed that our energy is being drained by the coronavirus crisis and upheaval throughout the world?
To stay strong, do something each day that nurtures your spirit and your well-being. Then, you’ll have the energy to have a positive impact on people and the world around you.
Strength rises in focus.
How would you describe yourself in three words?
… and how would people, who are important to you, describe you in three words?
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Who do you trust? Who trusts you? The answers to these questions relate to how trust will make you strong during the coronavirus crisis.
Just today, I remembered my father, who destroyed a sacred religious object that my mother owned. I saw this as a kid. I didn’t trust my father then. His grabbing me by the hair and tossing me into walls also left scars. Decades later, I still do not trust this man.
He’s remained self-righteous about why he acted as he did.
These experiences cut deep. I rebelled against my father’s ways. I’ve lived my life to be trustworthy.
Trust means a lot now.
Every day, bad news bleeds on news broadcasts and social media about the tragedies related to the coronavirus crisis.
Why is trust relevant during the coronavirus crisis? Because many people are devoting so much time sheltering in place with family members and partners. The New York Times reported that “A New Covid-19 Crisis: Domestic Abuse Rises Worldwide. Movement restrictions aimed to stop the spread of the coronavirus may be making violence in homes more frequent, more severe and more dangerous.”
Can we trust each other to act in calm and appropriate ways? Can you trust yourself to avoid overreacting and lashing out?
What can you trust?
I’ve learned that one thing we need is a Personal Energy Buffer— that’s extra energy.
Trouble shows up, and you need extra energy to think clearly and often to restrain yourself from a rash emotional reaction. (My father did not care to stop his rash emotional reactions.)
In movies, heroes take action. In real life, real heroes often stop themselves from lashing out emotionally.
How can you trust yourself? You need to strengthen yourself with your daily actions.
Look at your daily actions and people in your life.
Check in with yourself and ask, “Does this strengthen me?”
We need a Personal Energy Buffer. We need extra energy to think clearly and restrain ourselves from overreacting.
Here is a step in the right direction. Make sure to schedule some time to focus on three areas: Creativity, Connection and Compassion.
To keep up your morale, every day find a way to create something. Find a way to take some steps forward. Build something for the future. This is something that will help you feel better. It can positively affect your health. Being creative will help you maintain healthy levels of hope and vision.
Every day find a way to connect with someone you care about. Especially focus on connecting with Uplifting People. An Uplifting person is someone who can lift your spirits even in in a 9-minute phone call. Listening to a friend can improve your energy. Just yesterday, I listened as a friend read to me his first draft of a dialogue scene. I felt great by providing support. It’s valuable to combine creativity and connection. Find ways to do something fun with your partner or family members. These moments of connection warm up your relationships. For example, one family has a specific, tiny teddy bear for games of “find the teddy bear.”
Compassion for yourself can empower you to have more patience. Additionally, compassion for others is a great foundation for creating good relationships. Researchers demonstrate that good relationships improve the health and well-being of people. Good relationships help you feel more capable and strong. When you demonstrate compassion toward yourself, you make sure to do things that nurture your well-being. David, a friend of mine, found himself getting irritable with family members. So, one night, while his family members were asleep, he watched the feature film written and directed by Richard Curtis, About Time. He laughed, and he cried. He later told me it was a “good cry.” He released some emotions and felt better. His next day with family went well. Perhaps, you’ll take a break by watching a film that makes you laugh or even makes you cry. Safely releasing emotions helps you stay calm.
How can people find you to be trustworthy? It’s when you take good care of yourself so you can trust yourself to stay calm and present in the moment.
Make sure to have moments of your day devoted to a routine that includes Creativity, Connection and Compassion. Build up your Personal Energy Buffer. This is how you’ll be able totrust yourselfto stay calm and avoid overreacting. When you do that, you’ll feel stronger. As people trust you — the good relationships will empower you, too.
May we all stay safe and well during this time of crisis.
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What’s worse, when swimming in the ocean, than a cramp in your left leg? I found out. A cramp in both legs! How am I still alive? My sweetheart pulled me into shore. I helped by swimming with my arms — so she wasn’t alone in saving my life. Still, my legs were no help.
Many of us approach the need to give the best speech or sales presentation in our lives like we have cramps in both legs. I’m using cramps as a metaphor for what shuts you down. The “cramps” include the obstacles: Fear, procrastination, and the perception of rehearsal as a bad chore.
Additionally, this relates to the 3 Deadly Mistakes centered on No Time, No Rehearsal, No Pretesting.
What does this boil down to? — No coaching.
The good news is: I can serve as your coach here.
Here are the 3 Deadly Mistakes:
1) No Time (Mistake: I’ll just procrastinate and do something at the last minute.)
2) No Rehearsal (Mistake: I’ll just have a few notes and talk off the cuff.)
3) No Pretesting (Mistake: I’ll just wing it. I know what I’m talking about.)
When I was in the ocean, the cramps made my legs nonfunctional. The 3 Deadly Mistakes cramp your ability to do what’s necessary to speak powerfully and inspire people to say Yes to you.
Here are 3 Methods so You Can Rapidly Improve and Make Your Breakthrough Speech or Presentation:
1.Use a Streamlined Process for Rapid Improvement (Solution to “No Time”)
I advise my clients to rehearse for 9 minutes-a-day over several days. This yields better results than cramming all the rehearsal into one night-before, 3-hour session. Why? Because the multiple sessions engage your subconscious mind. Have the 9-minute session early so your subconscious mind works on the material all day long. Additionally, have brief phone calls with friends and say, “Can I practice the opening one minute of my speech with you?”
In my work as the Spoken Word Strategist, my focus is on a Streamlined Process. With a coach like me, you have someone who can ask the right questions that help you find your best material faster.
2.Use “Directed Rehearsal” (Solution to “No Rehearsal”)
Many of us fall into a “default” of rerunning a bad memory in our thoughts. If you were embarrassed when speaking in a high school class, it’s easy for your brain to rerun that failure. I call this bad pattern Default Rehearsal. The brain falls into the default pattern.
Instead, I introduce my clients to Directed Rehearsal. I guide my clients in the process of putting in New Conditioned Responses. These New Conditioned Responses overwrite the default patterns. Research shows that, under stress, people fall back into the default settings. However, when you have New Conditioned Responses, you are freed of the old, painful default settings.
One method (among many) is to preplan two answers for each “worst question” you might get. I guide my clients to have two answers for the 10 Worst Questions. My clients rehearse their answers in response to my questions. They develop an inner-knowing that they are well-prepared.
I look on this preparation for the 10 Worst Questions as a way to avoid the “cramp” that can torpedo a great presentation.
One reason people fail to rehearse effectively is that fear arises when rehearsing. Such fear often leads to procrastination. Why? Because even thinking about the speech can lead to pain and more fear. Instead, as a client works with me, we are able to move forward fast. I’m there so the client feels real support.
3.Use a “Discovery-Rehearsal Process” (Solution to “No Pretesting”)
In summary, we talked about three major mistakes that center on No Time, No Rehearsal and No Pretesting.
We covered these Solutions:
1. Use a Streamlined Process for Rapid Improvement 2. Use “Directed Rehearsal” 3. Use a Discovery-Rehearsal Process
You’ll discover how you’re able to get more done in less time. You’ll have ways to make breakthroughs in your communication and your work life.
I was faced with a dilemma: Claustrophobia wins or I get to fulfill my dream of walking on the ocean floor. Prior to this moment, claustrophobia had hammered me when I was stuck in an MRI machine. In the cold room, I found being placed into the MRI machine was like being rolled in a morgue drawer, into a wall. Suddenly, I felt that I was suffocating, and I kicked off a blanket.
Now, months later, I had the opportunity to wear a diving helmet and walk on the ocean floor. The problem included claustrophobia and James Cameron’s film, The Abyss. As an effective film director, James Cameron had a scene in which we, the audience, took on the point of view of a terrified diver. The diver looks out through his diving helmet, and he’s hyperventilating. The scene got your heart pumping, and I dreaded that I might hyperventilate like that terrified, diver-character.
Now, I had a choice: Give up or find a way to get past the claustrophobia. I decided to use rehearsal — something that I do with my own clients — in my work as the Spoken Word Strategist. With effective rehearsal, I could access new resources.
My solution was to rehearse — using my imagination — walking on the ocean floor. I wore a hoodie that stood in place of the diving helmet. I rehearsed, imagining that I would concentrate on the wide expanse of the ocean (seen in the window of the helmet) — instead of feeling suffocated by the enclosure — the helmet itself.
Yes! The rehearsal worked, and I fulfilled my dream to walk on the ocean floor. The dream had captured my attention since I was 8 years old, watching TV and viewing the Disney film, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.
I share this story with you because every day we are faced with a choice. It affects many of us on the subconscious level. The choice is: Allow yourself to be pushed around by toxic people and toxic ideas and continue working in a frantic way — or learn new methods and discover how to work less and make more money.
Here are 3 Secrets so you overcome real blocks:
1. Let go of a Limiting Belief
My client, Cynthia, told me that she had to abide by the industry standard of clients pay half up front and half on delivery. Her problem weighed on her as she found it truly uncomfortable and time-consuming to keep returning to clients and get the second payment.
During our coaching session, I pointed out a couple of important details. “Cynthia, you have enough credibility, and you’re trustworthy,” I said. “Have you considered asking for full payment upfront?”
Cynthia pushed back and said, “No, that’s not how it’s done in this industry.”
“You’ve heard from other people, and they’re arguing for what they know, not what’s possible,” I replied.
I helped Cynthia rehearse so she could ask for full payment upfront. Asking for that payment was a big stretch for her — like my overcoming claustrophobia to walk on the ocean floor.
Cynthia discovered that she released herself from so much stress and extra work for having to chase after money. She found that she could work less and make more money.
2.Replace Hard-headed Convincing with Soft-hearted Persuasion
Many of us get stuck in trying to push and overcome objections when we’re trying to get a new client. I refer to this is Hard-headed Convincing. You’re trying to overcome or push your way through objections.
Instead, replace that process with Soft-hearted Persuasion. You focus on being a good listener. Using a soft-hearted approach, you help the person realize that you really care about their concerns. You’re trustworthy. You stop pushing your ideas. With my clients I emphasize this idea: When you’re listening, you’re winning. Author and top negotiation expert, Chris Voss, emphasizes these ideas: It works best when you listen and then summarize. Then you set up a situation in which the person says, “That’s right.” That’s when they let you know how they feel you truly understand their situation, their values and their problems.
You might find it a stretch to rehearse and use Soft-hearted Persuasion. But it’s worth it — like my rehearsing and fulfilling my dream to walk on the ocean floor.
Using Soft-hearted Persuasion is an opportunity for you to work less. You avoid trying to be hard-headed and convince somebody of the logic of your reasoning. Additionally, it’s a classic idea that people believe more what they say than what you say. Your providing a summary shows that you have a clear understanding of the other person’s priorities.
3.“Contain the Damage”
Many of us find ourselves thrown off by certain toxic behaviors inflicted on us by other people. A disgruntled customer may yell. Some family members may do cruel actions.
You have an important choice. You can decide to learn to “contain the damage.” By this I mean, you do not let someone’s bad action contaminate your whole day. I’m not talking about pretending that some bad action didn’t cause damage. Instead, you can limit the amount of time and energy you use to dwell on that bad action. You could talk with a coach about this person’s bad action for a limited time, say 15 minutes. Then, you decide to move on with your day.
Why is this important? The reason is: When you contain the damage, you have more time and personal energy. That’s when you can work less and make more money.
Containing the damage can include ending the interaction with a negative, untrustworthy vendor — for example. You might closeout working with a troublesome client. Containing the damage might include changing a system in your company’s work.
Here’s Your Special Advantage When You Contain the Damage … You Gain Access to an Intuitive Download.
An Intuitive Download is when you get a rush of great ideas that can expand your business or refine how you do business activities.
What’s the enemy of an Intuitive Download? That’s when your thoughts and feelings are jammed up with worries or upset from toxic people causing damage. When you contain the damage, you free up your thinking and feelings.
Often, an Intuitive Download will save you time and bring new money-making ideas to you. You’ll work less and make more money.
I emphasize this phrase with my clients: “You cannot get the Intuitive Download if you’re gummed up by the damage.”
Instead, make sure to elevate your perspective. Imagine that you rise above your daily work patterns in a helicopter. From this elevated perspective, you can make better decisions. You become aware of patterns that cause damage and people who cause damage. You can choose to protect your personal energy and time.
For example, some of my clients choose to limit their exposure to certain negative family members.
To work less and make more money, you need to be strategic about what patterns and which business associates you allow to remain in your life.
In summary … I shared my choice to take action to overcome claustrophobia so I could fulfill my dream of walking on the ocean floor. I made a plan and took action. Similarly, I’m encouraging you to use these 3 Secrets:
· Let go of a Limiting Belief · Replace Hard-headed Convincing with Soft-hearted Persuasion · “Contain the Damage”
You’ll discover how you’re able to get more done in less time. You will make space in your life for ease and many Intuitive Downloads. You’ll have ways to make breakthroughs in your work life.