Friday Agreements

1. Be Impeccable with your Word: Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the Word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your Word in the direction of truth and love.

2. Don’t Take Anything Personally
Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.

3. Don’t Make Assumptions
Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.

4. Always Do Your Best
Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret.

 

READING CHALLENGE: The Four Agreements

Quitting Caffeine? Really?

Coffee has brought me great joy. I can’t say our affair will ever be over for sure, but we may be taking a for now. Without going into too much detail, I have some occasional tummy aches and my doctor suggests I give up caffeine, just for a month or so. Give it a go…see of it helps. I looked at him like he was the homeless man I usually see urinating at my bus stop. Shocked, appalled, disbelief!

After I calmed down, I thought about all the great things people said about quitting caffeine and the things I myself experienced when I did this (a few times). Oh sure, it’s great after the withdrawal headaches stop. I sleep much better and my concentration seems better too. All the same kind of responses. So I figured, why not, I was only drinking maybe 3 cups max a day…how bad could it be?

I woke up last Saturday and just drank water. The intense migraine headaches started at noon. I took two Alleve to no avail. I was in a foul state of mind, would take any calls or meet anyone in fear I’d rip their heads off with my negative super power mind control. How could something that brought me such joy betray me like this? Caffeine…say it ain’t so you vixen! I took a nap from 3-7pm then went to bed at 10pm and slept like a baby. The next week was OK but sluggish. I didn’t run any marathons or run for senate.

OK…5 days later I started drinking JOE again. Guess I fell off the coffee wagon. It happens. Starbucks is what it is for a reason.

I may quit again if my tummy doc insists but for now its working for me.

Tell me…what’s your experience with coffee (aka the black nectar of the Gods)?

If I Were a Veggie?

Ready for another fun writing exercise? OK, take 5 minutes (just 5) and write about “If I were a vegetable, I would be…” No editing. Write what comes to your mind first. Most important, have fun!

Just to be clear, you are writing about if YOU were a vegetable, not if Chad was a vegetable.

Here is mine (since I’m sure the suspense is killing you):

If I were a vegetable I would be a squash, a yellow squash because that is what I thought of just now. I like yellow, it’s a good color.

Squash is good raw, with dipping sauce. Its ok steamed too, with pepper.

What would my squash name be? Squashy is just too obvious? Or is it? Let us see.

Hello, is Squashy home? Can Squashy come to the movies? Meet our new head of accounts, Squashy, he’s very creative! Oh Squashy, you broke my heart you dumb son-of-a-bitch!! You had enough yet Squashy? You gonna give up yet you ol rubber neck fool!

Oh Squashy, you just take on the flavors of those around you, you got no real flavor of your own, and you’re a mimic veg! Death to Squashy! Long live Zucci!! Zucchini. Zucci?? Really? Oh give it up, green vegetables are so boring.

 

 

 

Another Year Older

Today is my birthday. I am another year older. I feel pretty indifferent about it. I don’t really feel my age, I feel much younger. I guess that’s a good thing? As I write this, I feel like wow, I have survived for 38 years. Not that I have had a horrible life by any means – survived seems so dire. But think about it, this world is a crazy place – I should be thankful I survive my morning commute! It got me thinking, where did all this birthday stuff come from? So I went to Google, and no, Google didn’t invent the birthday. Oddly enough, historical research on the origins of birthdays is inconclusive. Just bits and pieces of history. Back when it was much harder to survive, I can see why a birthday – another year of survival – was so…meaningful. Don’t get me wrong, I think today is meaningful – just not the same way as I would if say I…survived the plague.

Google did help me find some answers (as it always does)…some interesting stuff from good ol Huff Post and writer Todd Van Luling…check it out:

 

Here are seven of the major developments throughout history that have led to you being able to do this once a year.

TK TK gifs

1. Egyptians started the party.

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When pharaohs were crowned in ancient Egypt they were considered to have transformed into gods. This divine promotion made their coronation date much more important than their birth into the world. Scholars have pointed to the Bible’s reference of a Pharaoh’s birthday as the earliest known mention of a birthday celebration (around 3,000 B.C.E.), but Egyptologist Dr. James Hoffmeier believes this is referencing the subject’s coronation date, since that would have been the Pharaoh’s “birth” as a god.

2. Greeks added candles to cakes.

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The Greeks offered moon-shaped cakes to Artemis as a form of tribute to the lunar goddess. To recreate the radiance of the moon and her perceived beauty, Greeks lit candles and put them on cakes for a glowing effect. The Greeks most likely took the idea of birthday celebration from the Egyptians, since just like the celebration of the pharaohs as “gods,” the Greeks were celebrating their gods and goddesses.

3. Ancient Romans were the first to celebrate birthdays for the common man (but just the men).

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The prevailing opinion seems to be that the Romans were the first civilization tocelebrate birthdays for non-religious figures. Romans would celebrate birthdays for friends and families, while the government created public holidays to observe the birthdays of more famous citizens. Those celebrating a 50th birthday party would receive a special cake made of wheat flour, olive oil, honey and grated cheese. All of this said, female birthdays still weren’t celebrated until around the 12th century.

4. Christians initially considered birthdays to be a pagan ritual.

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Due to its belief that humans are born with “original sin” and the fact that early birthdays were tied to “pagan” gods, the Christian Church considered birthday celebrations evil for the first few hundred years of its existence. Around the 4th century, Christians changed their minds and began to celebrate the birthday of Jesusas the holiday of Christmas. This new celebration was accepted into the church partly in hopes of recruiting those already celebrating the Roman holiday of Saturnalia.

5. Contemporary birthday cakes were invented by German bakers.

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Although the general idea of celebrating birthdays had already started taking off around the world — like in China, where a child’s first birthday was specifically honored — Kinderfeste, which came out of late 18th century Germany, is the closest prerequisite to the contemporary birthday party. This celebration was held for German children, or “kinder,” and involved both birthday cake and candles. Kids got one candle for each year they’d been alive, plus another to symbolize the hope of living for at least one more year. Blowing out the candles and making a wish was also a part of these celebrations.

6. The Industrial Revolution brought delicious cakes to the masses.

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For quite some time, birthday celebrations involving sugary cakes were only available to the very wealthy, as the necessary ingredients were considered a luxury. But the industrial revolution allowed celebrations like kinderfest and the subsequent equivalents in other cultures to proliferate. Not only did the required ingredients become more abundant, but bakeries also started offering pre-made cakes at lower prices due to advances in mass production, such as the scene above capturing workers of one of the many Cadby Hall bakeries of the late 19th century.

7. “The Birthday Song” was a remix, kind of.

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In 1893, Patty Hill and Mildred J. Hill wrote a song they called, “Good Morning To All,” which was intended to be sung by students before classes began. The song eventually caught on across America, giving rise to a number of variations. Robert Coleman eventually published a songbook in 1924, adding a few extra lyrics that would quickly come to overshadow the original lines. The new rendition became theversion we now all know, “Happy Birthday To You.”

BONUS: Marie Antoinette didn’t say “Let them eat cake.”

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First off, nobody attributed this quote to Marie Antoinette until about 50 years after her death, when French critic and journalist Alphonse Karr claimed Antoinette had said the phrase, but essentially only sourced rumors. Despite Karr’s theory, the phrase “let them eat cake” actually first appeared in Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s autobiography,“The Confessions.” In the book, Rousseau is afraid to go into a bakery because he feels underdressed. He then muses, “Finally I recalled the stopgap solution of a great princess who was told that the peasants had no bread, and who responded: ‘Let them eat brioche.'”

Antoinette was actually just a little girl when Rousseau’s work was written. While it’s possible that she had read Rousseau’s line and was quoting it in the infamous moment (and therefore not making a tone deaf remark about poverty), Antoinette biographer Lady Antonia Fraser, disapproves of this theory.

“[Let them eat cake] was said 100 years before her by Marie-Thérèse, the wife of Louis XIV. It was a callous and ignorant statement and she, Marie Antoinette, was neither,” Fraser said in defense of the young princess. Marie Antoinette’s name should be cleared!

Let us all eat more cake!

There you have it…some fun birthday history. Now…tell us about your best birthday ever…and all those who comment may just get a birthday cake (or not)!

Creative 20-Minute Writing Assignment

writing-with-penI took a fun creative writing class a few months back and the teacher gave us the following short writing exercise…I encourage you to try it:

Go to a public place, somewhere with enough ambient noise that you can’t really hear specific conversations.  Pick a pair of people sitting far enough away that you can’t hear what they’re saying, but close enough that you can see their facial expressions and mannerisms well.

Observe these people for ten minutes or so.  Jot down notes if you like.  Try to figure out what they’re saying.  Imagine the dialogue that goes with the actions and facial expressions you see.  After your ten minutes are up, sit down and write the scene, dialogue and all.  You have 20 minutes to write it. Go!

Here is the one I wrote:

14883751-couples-in-cafeBen and Emily, technically on their third date, awkwardly sip coffee and stare at the local art adorning earth tone painted concrete walls in a coffee shop each of them has seen a million times and never ventured inside. Still in the fumbling infancy of courtship, they both find it difficult to make eye contact. He pull at the fringe of the cargo shorts he bought his sophomore year at Penn State while she scratches her ankle just above the tattoo removal scar on her ankle. This slight itch reminders her she owes her father money for the procedure which painfully wiped away an image of a kite – a symbol of her sorority days not more than a decade ago.

“It’s true, most Ethiopians are basically on the South Beach Diet – they only eat fruit,” he said.

“Shut up! You are so gross,” she said with a laugh.

“Think about it, it wouldn’t have been as popular if it was called the Ethiopian Diet – but that’s basically what it is,” he said.

He confidently sips his coffee as she laughs at his politically incorrect hypothesis. As her laughter subsides, they both make eye contact for what seems like an eternity. He thinks about where to take her to dinner on their next date while she wonders if he’s any good in bed.

Transcending My Way Through Life

IMG_4461Transcendental Meditation (TM) – refers to a specific form of mantra meditation called the Transcendental Meditation technique, and can also refer to the organizations within the Transcendental Meditation movement and to the movement itself. The TM technique and TM movement were introduced in India in the mid-1950s by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (1918–2008). The TM technique involves the use of a sound or mantra and is practiced for 15–20 minutes twice per day. It is taught by certified teachers through a standard course of instruction, which costs a fee that varies by country. According to the Transcendental Meditation movement, it is a method for relaxation, stress reduction and self-development.

In January 2014, I decided to treat myself by learning Transcendental Meditation…or TM as it is widely known. I had heard good things about it for years from people I trusted, but due to the fee involved to learn, I never pursued it. I had tried many meditation practices over the years and nothing really stuck with me. So I heard  a podcast with Jerry Seinfeld where he talked about practicing TM since the 1970s and how it changed his life. For whatever reason, this stuck with me. Seinfeld seems like a no bullshit matter of fact guy – and that is really how he delivered the TM message. It works, it’s amazing, try it, or not. That was really it.

So I Googled TM in Dallas and quickly found a local teacher who was able to schedule me in so my last class/meeting (4-5 in all) was actually on New Year’s day, January 1, 2014. I took this as a great sign to kick off the New Year. It was a very simple process and yes, it cost some money but monthly installments can be arranged. I didn’t go home to Florida for the holidays so I justified the cost (which was about the same price as an airline flight).

IMG_4464What are the benefits of TM? There are many studies, but all I can share is my own experience. So what has TM taught me? A lot….

1. The ‘zen’ moment I was always looking for during the actual meditation rarely happens – and that’s o.k. The zen moments come to me throughout my day (when I consistently practice TM, 20 minutes, twice a day) in the way of stress relief and creativity expression.

2. I have more patience and clarity. One glaring example I have was my ability to leave a job that just wasn’t working for me. I’m not saying this will be everyone’s experience – but it was mine. Do I owe it all to TM? Maybe not all of it, I had a strong support system of friends to help me through it too. I do believe the TM practice taught me how to deal with this kind of life challenge in a much better way.

3. There is enough time in the day. Sometimes 20 minutes in the morning and 20 minutes in the evening just seems like too much, isn’t that funny? Our minds are always go go go…and endless list of things to do. What can’t wait 20 minutes? This is something I have carried into my work life. No I don’t push things off and miss deadlines, but now I ask a lot more clarifying questions and set realistic deadlines.

4. It energizes me. This was the most surprising part – but especially in the morning – I get a rush if energy that’s (almost) as good as coffee. Yes I still love my coffee, TM energy boosts are just an added bonus.

Have I been perfect with my TM practice? No, and that’s OK because I am making the effort and I believe in the benefits. My first five months of practicing I can’t remember missing a meditation. I set timers on my phone to remind in the morning and evening. I let my dogs have some chew toys and off I went for 20 minutes. These first five months are when I saw the most benefit. Truth be told, the last few months have been spotty. I got a new job, which I love, that requires some travel. ravel can be tricky for me – with all the time changes and busy work to do that comes with travel. But I recently had a check-in meeting with a TM teacher near my house (free check-in meetings for life is a great plus to TM) and it helped me get back on track.

In the weeks I slacked, I saw my patience grow shorter and shorter. I felt cloudy and confused. I get back to TM and that stuff goes away. That’s all the proof I need.

Improv-ing

traits of a good improvisorImprov of, relating to, or being improvisation and especially an improvised comedy routine.

Improve to enhance in value or quality :  make better. To advance or make progress in what is desirable.

For years, various people told me I should take an improv class. I found the thought of this pretty uncomfortable – not terrifying, just uncomfortable. I’m a planner, I really need to know what is going to happen – or at least think I do. But that isn’t how life really works, is it? I knew that uncomfortable feeling meant, for me, that improv was something I should try. Sure, I took acting classes in school – they were always a fun elective. In middle school, I even acted in a local theater group in my hometown of Gainesville (Florida) called Children’s Theater for the Deaf. We put on plays and simultaneously spoke and used sign language. It was a lot of fun and I made some great friends. But this was just fun kids stuff, I’m an adult now – what business do I have taking an improv class? Well, for a guy who is always trying to enhance his creativity – this seemed like the next logical step.

DCHSo off I went to Google to find a local Dallas improv class and The Dallas Comedy House in Deep Ellum popped right up. I perused the site, saw a few funny promotional videos and took them up on their recommendation to come check out a show to see if it was something I was interested in. I dragged my friend Derrick one Saturday night and saw a few shows. I was impressed. It was a packed house full of laughter. Each troop started the 30 minute sets by asking the audience for a one word suggestion to frame up the improv. Lots of words were shouted out – I don’t even remember what was used. I do know this, the shows danced around the chosen word, but didn’t solely focus on it. For example, if the word the chose was “orange”, not every scene had to do with orange. I thought this was pretty creative (I later learned this was something called A to C thinking).

Cut to me a few weeks later taking my first improv class – level one on Sunday afternoons. It was a phenomenal 7-week experience and I learned much more than I thought I would.  Here are few cool things I learned:

Yes, and/I Know Because

These simple words are the building blocks  of every long form  improv scene. “Yes” refers  to the agreement you give your scene partner  to confirm the reality in the scene. (the who, the what, and the where.) “And” refers to the new information you are adding based on what you just heard.   

bossypants-improvWho, What, Where

The sooner you establish the Who, What, and Where at the top of your scene, the better. By getting these details out within the first three lines of a scene, you can start exploring the “why.”  It will be very difficult to build upon your scene if you are a minute into it and still have not determined base reality. 

Be an Expert

When we are making things up in improv, we get to be an expert in everything. Don’t know what’s going on? Make it up. Make an assumption and turn it into a statement for everyone to hear. When in doubt, be an expert: no need to ask questions.

A to C Thinking

The audience suggestion serves three main functions within long form improv. First, the suggestion proves to the audience that what they are watching is really improvised. Since the suggestion is coming from them, it proves the show is not pre-planned. Secondly it gives inspiration to the show as opposed to having you choose from an infinite list of possibilities. Finally, it gives the team a common point of focus. All that said, the suggestion is meant to inspire, it is just that – an inspiration, not “the thing.”  Take the suggestion as “A” which makes you think of “B” and ultimately you initiate with “C.” You may want to jump right on the main suggestion, but it is much more interesting to take the story to “C”. Let’s use orange as an example – oranges make me think of Florida where I grew up, so my “C” could be alligators or palm trees or anything else that may remind me of Florida.

Improv QuoteIn conclusion…Improv class helped me ‘improve’ both my work life and personal life in many ways. It taught me to be OK with “not knowing” what was going to happen. It taught me how to support those I work with. It taught me there are no mistakes.

Are you interested in getting out of your comfort zone and learning a few life lessons? Take an improv class – you won’t be disappointed.

 

Do You Fancy Yourself A Career Renegade?

1205-brainCareer Renegade: How to Make a Great Living Doing What You Love by  Jonathan Fields came out in 2009, and yes I ‘m just now reading it. I found it quite enlightening so I wanted to share it with you, my faithful readers. The title kinda says it all. This book is all about finding your passion (which may  sound familiar) and taking steps to making a living at it. Novel idea, right? Do what you love and you can ‘t fail we ‘ve heard it before. Or have we really  heardit?

Jonathan Fields provides inspiration for anyone remotely unhappy with what they do for a living. One of the things that really spoke to me was his recommendation to leverage  social media (a personal passion of mine) to make your dreams a reality. Although much of   the social media advice is a tad bit outdated (since it was written in 2009), you can still get the basic understanding. I encourage you to do plenty of  your own  research  online to get up to speed.   This book isn ‘t necessarily about quitting your job and buying an old  Volkswagen  van to sell beaded necklaces out on the open road (unless that ‘s your dream).  Career Renegade speaks to anyone with an ambitious bone in their body. Love your career, but you feel like you ‘re in a rut? Read this book. Maybe your current job is slowly killing you. Read this book.

Since it ‘s a few years old, there are already TONS of great reviews and in the spirit of   recycling  , I have linked two of the best (in my opinion) below I encourage you to check them out AND read this book!

Review on  Lifehack.org:

What ‘s a Career Renegade?

A career renegade is someone who takes charge of his or her career and makes it work to fulfill their own passions. That may mean starting your own business, as Jonathan has done several times    but it doesn ‘t have to mean that. It could mean switching careers and going to work for a different company, or it could mean reshaping your attitude towards the job you already have    whatever it takes to transform your work life into a meaningful career    one that won ‘t eat you up from the inside out. (read more)

Review on  Zen Habits:

Become a Career Renegade: Interview with Career Expert Jonathan Fields

Leo: On the book ‘s web page, you say that   Do What You Love And The Money Will Follow   Is A Scam   can you explain this? It seems to go against what most of us believe.

Jonathan: If your passion happens to lie in some field with a clear path to a great income, like law, plastic surgery or programming, you may be one of the lucky few who can make a great living doing what you love by simply following the mainstream path.

But, what if you love teaching, painting, making music, writing, knitting, playing video games or just plain hanging out and having great conversations? Then what? Will the money really just automatically follow if you try to turn those into your living? Doubtful, no matter how good a gamer, knitter or talker you are.

No doubt, there ‘s a lot of simplifying you can do to live a lot better on less. Your book does an amazing job of laying out that process. But, what if you do all that and it ‘s still not enough? It ‘s not easy to support a family of four in a major city on a teacher ‘s salary, no matter how much you streamline your life.

So, if there ‘s no   mainstream   way to make enough money to live well in the world with your passion, conventional wisdom says either turn it into a hobby or accept that you ‘ll have to either sacrifice money for passion or passion for money.

Career Renegade is all about breaking the binds of conventional wisdom, doing what you love, then   making   the money follow.

(read more)

 

Death, Taxes…and a Book Review

Uncertainty-book-web-205x300In the year 1789, Benjamin Franklin wrote in a letter to Jean-Baptiste Leroy:      In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.   That was a long time ago. I suppose it still holds true, however grim it may be. Although not everyone in the world has to pay taxes, I guess they just have death to be certain about. Newsflash: Life is Uncertain! Yes, we get up and have a pretty good idea of what we ‘ll do on any given day (at least a rough idea). If your engaged to be married and you ‘ve set a date, you can be fairly certain you ‘ll get married on said date. Are you pregnant? You guessed it, you can be certain you ‘ll give birth in about nine months. Finishing school, planning for retirement, countdown to vacation the list goes on. We humans are good at setting up these scenarios in an attempt to be   certain   good little control freaks we are. Reality check: Nothing is Certain and that ‘s okay.

This leads me to my latest book review:Uncertainty: Turning Fear and Doubt into Fuel for Brilliance, by Jonathan Fields. You may remember my recent post about Jonathan ‘s other book, Career Renegade: How to Make a Great Living Doing What You Love  . Well buckle-up, Uncertainty takes you on a creative journey to transform uncertainty, risk of loss and exposure to judgement into catalysts for innovation, creation and achievement. Still with me? Good.

  1. Are you tasked with creating new ideas to make your organization succeed?
  2. Are you contemplating a new business venture but feel uncertain it will succeed?
  3. Are you happy with life but always  seeking ways to grow personally and professionally?
  4. Do you just feel   stuck   and bored with life?
  5. Are you working hard towards a promotion at work and want a competitive edge?

I think you know where this is going. If you answered yes to any of the above questions, you should read this book.

What I love most about this book are all the resources and case studies given to support everything. Sure, my critic can pop up and say   duh, this is common sense stuff meditation and  exercise  help the creative process, nothing new here.   I  politely  tell my critic (Bert) to go take a nap and I focus on the fact that while some of this isn ‘t new information to me, the research to back it up IS new to me. This helps my skeptical reptilian mind.  Plus, I don ‘t even have a solid meditation practice or  exercise  routine down right now so this is especially helpful for me (but I digress).  Lots of great stuff in this book, so in the  interest  of space and time (and your attention span), I ‘ll focus on my favorite parts:

Building a Creative Hive    Chapter 5 lays out the importance of creating a safe, honest and productive creative hive (group, cluster, sewing circle, whatever you want to call it). This is  something  I ‘ve written about as well because I ‘m a huge believer in healthy  collaboration  and support. Working in a  vacuum, especially on a creative  endeavor targeting any kind of audience, can be futile. Sharing can bring about clarity and improvements. Afraid of criticism? Well, its  inevitable and I bet you ‘d want to hear it from a trusted source before an unknown customer. Do you live in the woods or are you too shy to reach out to other creatives in your field?  Several resources for finding OR creating your own creative hive are offered, proving there is a group out there for just about anyone.

Meditation /  Exercise    In chapter 7, the term   attentional training   is used to discuss various forms of meditation. Many people get too caught up on the word   meditation   because they think you have to chant or sit for hours and envision a perfect golden sphere floating in your mind. Sure, some mediation is like this, but certainly not all. Attentional training (AT) is all about creating a daily practice where you can focus your awareness. This can be in the form of  exercise (hiking, jogging, walking, cycling, yoga, etc.), writing/journaling, kitting, etc. Any activity where you find yourself getting (safely) in the   zone   (please don ‘t go jogging off a cliff). I have found this kind of AT through jogging and writing my morning pages.  If your form of AT happens to involve physical exercise, score! If not, that ‘s okay too. You ‘ll just want to find an exercise routine in order to reap the full benefits. Why? Because research indicates that both exercise and attentional training are capable of growing new brain cells. Who doesn ‘t want new brain cells?

Uncertainty is a fact of life. Lots of fear can come with the   unknown  , but why? If everyone knew exactly what was going to happen, life would get pretty boring quick. This book offers practical advice for transitioning uncertainty from an enemy to an ally. The following excerpt stuck with me:

  When you run from uncertainty, you end up running from life. From evolution. From growth. From wisdom. From friendship. From love. From the creation of art, services, solutions, and experiences that move beyond what ‘s been done before to illuminate, serve, solve and delight in a way that matters. In a way that makes you come alive and that people will remember    

Give it a go! Evolve! It ‘s a quick read, only about 200 pages. I  recommend reading as much as you can in one sitting. Due to all the case studies and resources, it flows well and if your ADD like me it ‘ll sink in better if you make a day of it. Carve out your Sunday and dive in!

Bosses Behaving Badly

WFYIWFMBoss – a person who exercises control or authority; specifically :  one who directs or supervises workers. 

If you have been working long enough, I’m sure you’ve had one…that’s right – a horrible boss. They may not be a horrible person, just a bad boss. Or they may be a horrible person and a bad boss. The boss has many faces and can come in the form of a client, partner, co-worker or even a ‘bossy’ friend who technically isn’t your “boss” but sure acts like it (this can be even worse). I have been there. I’m happy to say I am now in a good place in my career – right where I’m supposed to be…but this wasn’t always the case. I want to share a book with you that literally changed my life – it’s called “Working for You Isn’t Working For Me,” by Katherine Crowley and Kathi Elster.

Not only is the book amazing, they have a great website with a quiz and sample chapters to help you. This book isn’t about bashing bosses or people in management – in fact, if you are a boss yourself, you should give it a read. This is an action oriented book with helpful advice. There is an in-depth assessment that allows you to figure out your work styles – it then matches it with the type of boss you have. Knowledge is power. You can learn why there may be issues and (in some cases) work to resolve them. Sometimes work styles just don’t mix, and that’s okay. Sometimes toxic people have power and make life miserable for everyone in their path – and that’s not okay (especially if they are managing you). Our jobs are where we spend most of our waking hours, don’t take it lightly.

If you are feeling some struggles with your boss, I encourage you to take this quick quiz from the “Working For You Isn’t Working for Me” website…

BOSS STRESS TEST

As a result of working for your boss…

1.) … do you find yourself eating more or less than you normally would?
Yes ___ No__

2.) … are you sleeping more or less than usual?
Yes ___ No___

3.) … are you constantly trying to predict your boss’s reaction to what you say and do?
Yes ___ No___

4.) … are you overindulging in alcohol, recreational drugs or other mind-altering substances?
Yes ___ No___

5.) … do interactions with this person leave you feeling deflated and drained?
Yes ___ No___

6.) … do you frequently experience feelings of self-doubt?
Yes ___ No___

7.) … do you feel as if the harder you work, the more there is to do?
Yes ___ No___

8.) … has your self-confidence dropped?
Yes ___ No___

9.) … do you feel angry and resentful every time he or she asks you to do something?

10.)… have you stopped exercising or doing things to release physical tension?
Yes ___ No___

11.)… have you lost your ability to see the humor in situations at work?
Yes ___ No___

12.)… does the sound of your boss’s voice make you feel tense?
Yes ___ No___

13.)… do you spend a lot of time covering up mistakes to avert criticism?
Yes ___ No___

14.)… do you frequently take over-the-counter medications for headaches, stomach aches, heartburn, back aches or other chronic ailments?
Yes ___ No___

15.)… do you spend a lot of time outside of work complaining about your boss?
Yes ___ No___

16.)… is your mind constantly reviewing and replaying emails, conversations and meetings with this person?
Yes ___ No___

17.)… do your friends and family complain that you’re always preoccupied with work?
Yes ___ No___

18.)… do you find yourself short-tempered — blowing up over small incidents?
Yes ___ No___

19.)… do you feel tired, drained and out of control?
Yes ___ No___

20.)… do you have revenge fantasies involving your boss getting hit by a car or pushed out of a window?
Yes ___ No___

Total “yes” responses: ________


Results:

If you scored 0
No boss stress. You are in good shape. Your job may be challenging, but your boss isn’t problematic.

Rx: You may want to read Working for You Isn’t Working for Me so that you can help others manage their bosses.

If you scored 1 – 5
Some stress – The boss is on your back. You experience some degree of pressure and frustration on a daily basis. You keep hoping that your situation will improve.

Rx: Order Working for You Isn’t Working for Me and you’ll quickly see how to improve your situation.

If you scored 6 – 10
Considerable stress – The boss is giving you heartburn. You have tried many things to improve the situation, but it seems like you can’t win. You are having a hard time taking care of yourself outside of work. You talk about the relationship a lot.

Rx: Purchase Working for You Isn’t Working for Me, and read sections one and two ASAP.

If you scored 11 – 15
Too much stress – The boss is giving you nightmares. Interactions with the boss are taking up more and more of your waking and sleeping hours. Your mind and body are showing symptoms of overload. You often wake up dreading the workday.

Rx: Buy Working for You Isn’t Working for Me immediately. Identify your boss’s behavior and use section three to reduce your anxiety.

If you scored 16 – 20
DANGER – The boss is lethal. Get immediate assistance. You look and feel like a Prisoner of War. You’d like to look for work, but you’re too burnt out to take any action. You feel like you need a year in Tahiti to recover.

Rx: Run, don’t walk to the closest bookstore and buy Working for You Isn’t Working for Me. Take a mental health day to read the book and begin implementing the strategies for relief.

SOURCE: http://www.workingforyouisntworkingforme.com

Have you dealt with a challenging boss? Tell us how you survived…