Ask Questions and Beware of Hyphens!

  • Carla Frett
  • May 9, 2017

There’s a great story that has not been validated; however, it’s still a great story about checking up on what’s going on around you.

Back in the day of Queen Catherine the Great, everyone did what she wanted.  Guess that’s why she was called “the Great!”

As legend would have it, this longest ruling female leader would get her way, no matter what.

There had been a hard winter in Russia and one morning Queen Catherine was standing at the window looking at the vast cold terrain and saw the first spring flower pushing through the snow.  It could have been a daffodil or a snowdrop flower.  In any case, she wanted to enjoy this miracle of nature and posted a guard right there, so no one could pick or step on this beauty.

Fast forward to decades later when Alexander II was the Czar in the mid 1800’s.  One day, he looked out of that same palace window and saw a soldier standing at attention on the lawn.  Nothing was there as far as he could see and asked Otto van Bismarck what the soldier was doing there.

Start Being Your Best at Work Today

Be Your Best At Work - CEOptions Can Help!Let Dr. Transformation Help You Be Your Best!

Dr. Sylvia Lafair, CEO of Creative Energy Options, aka “Dr. Transformation,” wants to help you be your best at work! 

Dr. Lafair, along with CEOptions’ panel of Certified Pattern Breakthrough coaches and consultants, can help pinpoint exactly what behaviors are getting in your way and what you can do to help accelerate your success.  

Listen to Dr. Lafair here as she speaks via podcast with Annie Jennings of EliteWire online magazine to get a glimpse into how you can get started.  Also, take advantage of Dr. Lafair’s special offer and start being your best at work TODAY!

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Restless Patterns

By Frank Walsh | CEOptions Certified Pattern Breakthrough Coach

It’s not you, it’s me… Well it’s also you, but with some guidance I have seen how the patterns of my past influenced our relationship.

I started to feel it in my mid 40’s. Things were different. I had evolved, you had changed. You didn’t make me happy anymore and I started to hate you for it. Still, we had been through a lot, so I didn’t want to quit. I felt I could fix things. I believed you had so much to learn from me if you would just accept it.

By 50 it was all over except the tears. I only saw you as irrational, controlling and heartless. But I know you were just doing what comes naturally, and I was playing my roll of the Rebel. I couldn’t fix you, so I would watch you destroy yourself with smug satisfaction, except that it wasn’t satisfying, it was saddening.

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?

Guess Who’s Coming To Breakfast, Lunch and Maybe Even Dinner

Is your company going through a growth spurt? Need more good people to participate in your exciting endeavors? Want to fill the shoes of those who have moved up with those ready to move up?

Warning: Don’t overlook those seated before you.

Join the Fun on International Day of Happiness

Let’s imagine together.

Imagine all the people living for today.  Imagine all the people living life in peace.

You may say I’m a dreamer.  But I’m not the only one.

I hope today you’ll join us.  Its International Day of Happiness!

How will you celebrate?

Think about it this way:

What if…. you called someone you have not spoken to for a long time to find out how they are?

Magic Moments Best When Unexpected

Got on the bus. Waited. Got on another bus. Waited even longer.

Had a bad feeling this paid in advance tour was going to disappoint.

And it did.

Almost.

Tours to that revered site in Rome, the Vatican are expensive and seemingly necessary. Otherwise the lines can be hours long.

The Vatican is a must see in Rome. Regardless of religious background or preference there is a majesty to being in the presence of some of the most amazing art and sculpture the world has to offer. And looking up at the Blessing Window where the Pope stands and then pivoting around to observe what it must be like to look out at huge numbers of appreciative and reverent individuals is a stunning moment.

However, that is not where the memorable magic happened for me.

Big Decisions, Little Decisions: Which Are More Important?

The quality of your life, personally and professionally, is based on how you make decisions.

There is the old way and the new way: hint, the new way is actually older than the old way. The indigenous cultures all knew and still know that everything is connected. Somewhere along the way as we became “sophisticated intellectuals” and “rugged individualists” the idea of inter-connection became old-fashioned.

Take business decisions.

Most companies use a variation of the Gap Analysis. First you are supposed to look at where you are; then where you envision you want to be; and finally create a plan to get from here to there. Simple. It’s like: think, vision, execute.

However, there is a missing piece.

What Courage Looks Like

  • MFAAdmin
  • June 20, 2016

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.

A Vital Missing Piece Of The Workplace Puzzle

Since most of us prefer information to be fast and direct, here is the missing puzzle piece right up front: what happened in our original organization, the family, goes with us to work…whether we like it or not.

When I stumbled on this counter-intuitive nugget of knowledge it changed the direction of my career to work exclusively with businesses to rethink the causes of stress related issues and interpersonal conflict.

I used to believe the common philosophy that there needed to be clear boundaries between home and work. The “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” mindset is the one to live by.

Right?

Not really. While most of the time we can maintain clear boundaries, when stress hits the hot button all hell can break loose.

Over the top stress can be a deal breaker. It impacts physical health, emotional perspectives and important relationships.

While I adhere to great stress reduction techniques, there is one area that exercise, yoga, deep breathing, massage or mindfulness could not touch.

Sadly, it held me back from promotions and workplace success. I also lost some good friends and colleagues over my behavior. Even traditional psychotherapy never gave me the answers I needed.

When I became an entrepreneur and owned a business, I was finally forced to take a deeper look into that dark part of my behavior and grab the darn puzzle piece that had been eluding me for decades.

First, the back story.

Watching my father die from a sudden heart attack when I was fourteen was, no surprise, a master game-changer. My older brother was off to college and there I was, left with a gaping hole at home including a fearful and depressed mother.

Eventually, scabs formed over the trauma and to the outside world all was now fine. Different, yet fine.

Life goes on. I put the past behind and focused on the future. I used the present as a launching pad for what was next.

Except…the past is always part of the present and helps to determine the future. I chose to ignore the past. It was too painful.

As a young manager I was empathetic, encouraging and energetic. Yet, when someone left my team for another opportunity I judged them. I loudly predicted they would want to come back. I decided never to talk with them again. It was not pretty.

I became a real witch.

Most of us believe that we make work decisions based on conscious deliberation. One important study found that our unconscious brains are engineering our decisions milliseconds before our conscious brains can get around to them. German brain scientist John-Dylan Hayes states “Our brains make decisions based on emotional and rational assessment that we’re not aware of; only later after the decision is actually made do we explain our decisions and actions to ourselves.”

Thanks to advances in neuroscience, we now know that our unconscious emotions occupy a different region of the brain, often exerting a more powerful influence on our preferences and actions. Daniel Siegel’s book “The Developing Mind” synthesizes information to explore the idea that interpersonal experiences impact the structure and function of the brain.

Enter Lisa.

Lisa was my assistant. She was woven from angel cloth. We worked together in tandem, the flow was amazing.

One sunny May day she wanted to talk with me and my partner (who was also my husband). The look of delight on her face made me uneasy. We exchanged pleasantries and finally she blurted out “I love working here and so it is hard for me to say I will be leaving in six weeks. You have always taught everyone to grow to their fullest potential. I was hoping that I would get enough money back from income tax to return to school and, yes, it happened.”

She waited to hear congratulations.

Instead I burst into tears and said through gulps of air “Lisa, you can’t leave.”

Lisa sat, with that deer in the headlights look, while my husband took my hand and said “Sylvia, she’s going back to school. This is all good.”

Then he “got it” and asked Lisa to leave us for a bit.

“What’s up” is all he said.

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