Work-life Balance

How to handle personal problems when you have to work

Posted by on Jul 26, 2016 in Guest Posts, Personal Development, Work-life Balance | 0 comments

A few years ago, right around Thanksgiving, the relationship I was in ended very abruptly. I discovered a big deal-breaker between us that I was not able to handle, and he reacted very badly to my bringing it up. Physical threats were made, police were called, and the whole thing had to end right then and there.

It was a disaster – my friends now call it “the big crash and burn.” I was devastated, embarrassed that I hadn’t seen it coming, and genuinely confused about what exactly had led up to all this.

And yet, Monday arrived as usual, and the work week began as if nothing had happened. There were meetings to run, speeches to give, and clients to coach. And if I couldn’t keep up with that, I would soon run out of my now-single income. Gulp.

To make it through, I slipped into a rhythm of 2 separate modes. It turned out to be the best way to heal from a blow that I have found.

how to handle personal problems at work

Mode #1. Self Care & Reflection

Mode #2. Excellence & Service

I knew that I was wounded, and healing. So, while I wasn’t at work, that’s ALL I did. I didn’t try to have fun, create, date, help a friend move, or bake cookies for holiday parties. I just focused on doing the basics medium-well: breathing, eating, sleeping, showers, a little walking.

This would probably look differently for each person, but for me, I spent a lot of hours on the couch, silently staring at a bookshelf for 2 months. I didn’t expect it to feel good, I just waited for it to stop feeling bad.

In the silence, I focused my attention on MY choices, not on him or others in the situation:

What had I done well, that I would repeat?

What had I not communicated well?

What had I chosen not to see?

What signs had I seen and chosen not to act on?

What do I need to forgive myself for?

and most of all:

What will I do differently going forward? 

I took 100% responsibility for this situation. Not because the situation was my fault but because it was my responsibility to choose how to respond to the situation. Focusing on my response changed the self-reflection from a pity party or a hate fest into a transformation.

But, what about WORK?

If you are going through personal upheaval, just know that you will need to approach going back to work consciously. Don’t expect your home-life to stay at home on its own. Figure out how you will respond to the non-negotiable fact that you will be both healing and working in the same week.

For me, I used work to remember how powerful I am. Since I get to use my superpowers to support others in my job, I did just that. I remembered that a large part of me is really damn good at some things. I can speak, coach, lead a group, and listen any day, with one arm tied behind my back.

So that’s what I did.

And it’s funny, but it didn’t feel like I was “escaping” the pain, or that I had to “wall it off”. If anyone had asked me what was wrong, I would have told them I was going through a break up, or said “I’m having some really rocky holidays this year.”

But work really wasn’t about me. I found I was able to focus on those I served, and allow my natural talents to do the heavy lifting. Unexpectedly, the more difficult tasks of my work actually helped me focus MORE because they are hard for me, so I could put even more energy there, and focus less on my personal life.

About 4 months later, a client heard about the big crash and burn and she was in awe of how I had been “so professional to continue working during that sad time.” I told her, “It was a blessing to be with you rather than let it derail me. Work was a welcome break from the part of me feeling the sadness.”

I consider it a huge blessing when I can move between work, home, friends, and hobbies looking forward to each one. It doesn’t feel that way all the time. But when one area of life is seriously sucking, it is easier to appreciate the simple joys of another.

Epilogue:

As for the end of my healing story, I consider those 2-3 months of  healing to be one of the most powerful gifts I’ve ever given myself. Amazingly, when I was finally ready to date again, I kept up with my new habit of 100% personal responsibility. It changed everything with the next man I met, and we are now happily married!

This is Amanda’s 4th amazing guest post in a 10-week series! Look forward to more guest posts from Amanda!

AmandaFewell
Amanda’s passion is working with women who find themselves in higher levels of leadership than they planned – needing to speak, negotiate, or sell. She shares tools to help them stay in Joy & Authenticity as they lead. 
You can find out more at Everyday-Light.com.

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100 Ways to Practice Self-Care

Posted by on Apr 19, 2016 in Personal Development, Stress Management, Work-life Balance | 0 comments

Are you feeling exhausted? Overwhelmed? Stressed?

Are you sick and tired? And sick and tired of being sick and tired?

So am I.

Today I did something to manage my stress, to reduce my overwhelm, and recharge my energy. I practiced self-care.

Here I am in my hotel room in Denver at a 5 day business training, and I am giving myself permission to take care of myself. Taking care of myself means I changed my plans, changed my focus, and took the day for self-care. I skipped out on today’s session to get some much-needed rest, catch up on one of my favorite tv shows (nerd alert: I watch Arrow), and spend the day alone as us introverts love to do!

I used to be great at self-care until recently I lost touch with my most-valuable skill. I needed the reminder today to take care of myself and since I’ve slipped out of my formerly good habits, I’m making a list of self-care practices to help me get back on track. I’m sharing it with you because you need it just as much as I do!

100 ways to practice self care

I’m sharing with you 100 ways to practice self-care. Here are a few ways to put them into practice:

  • Write down 30 self-care practices and try a new one every day.
  • Pick your top 5 self-care practices and do all 5 every day for a week.
  • Chose a self-care practice that is challenging for you and create a new habit.
  • Keep a list of self-care practices and do whichever ones you need.
  • Join my self-care challenge (details below!)

However you use these self-care practices, use them every day.

100 Ways to Practice Self-Care

01. Notice your body. Are you hungry, tense, or tired?

02. Notice your feelings. Are you happy, sad, or angry?

03. Say yes to an opportunity for growth.

04. Say no to a request you’re unwilling or unable to agree to.

05. Respond, don’t react in a difficult conversation.

06. Count your blessings.

07. Be kind to yourself.

08. Be kind to others.

09. Get a good night’s sleep.

10. Take a nap.

11. Go for a walk.

12. Smile.

13. Laugh

14. Enjoy a good cry.

15. Ask for help with a difficult task.

16. Get hugged.

17. Eat a satisfying meal.

18. Sing along to your favorite song.

19. Dance.

20. Get a massage.

21. Take a break.

22. Take three deep breaths, breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth.

23. Roll your shoulders down and back.

24. Stretch your body.

25. Wear comfortable shoes.

26. Wear your favorite outfit.

27. Read a book.

28. Watch a movie.

29. Play with a child.

30. Walk a dog.

31. Pet a cat.

32. Go on an adventure- try a new restaurant or even just a new route to work.

33. Be curious.

34. Be playful.

35. Tell a joke.

36. Show compassion for yourself.

37. Color a picture.

38. Play air guitar.

39. Garden.

40. Follow your heart.

41. Say something nice about yourself.

42. Make a list of what you like about yourself.

43. Accept a compliment without justification or explanation.

44. Leave work undone.

45. Leave the party if you’re not having fun.

46. Be curious.

47. Enjoy the little things.

48. Forgive someone. (Hint: It might be yourself.)

49. Let go of something you’ve been holding onto.

50. If you can’t think straight, stop thinking and feel.

51. Write a letter to your feelings.

52. Help someone else with their problem.

53. Say, “I love you,” to yourself in the mirror.

54. Take a hot bath.

55. Plan your next vacation.

56. Meditate.

57. Do yoga.

58. Go for a run.

59. Ride a bike.

60. In one situation, with one person, ask for what you need.

61. In one situation, with one person, ask for what you want.

62. Try something new.

63. Write down your worries on paper, them rip them up and throw them away.

64. Get rid of a material possession that doesn’t bring you joy.

65. Turn off all digital devices for one hour per day.

66. Unsubscribe from an email list.

67. Give yourself a break.

68. Put your thoughts down on paper.

69. Do one thing you’ve been avoiding that you know will benefit you.

70. Celebrate an accomplishment.

71. Admit when you make a mistake. (Mistakes are okay!)

72. Today, do one thing exceptionally well.

73. Check one item off your to-do list without doing it.

74. Floss your teeth.

75. Drink a glass of water.

76. Eat a vegetable.

77. Listen to music.

78. Spend an hour with friends or family.

79. Spend an hour alone.

80. Notice where your body feels tense and relax that area.

81. Delete an unread email.

82. Pay a bill.

83. Pass on buying that thing you don’t really need.

84. Reach out to a friend you haven’t spoken to in a while.

85. Choose to have a good day.

86. Write down an inspiring quote and hang it where you will see it every day.

87. Re-read this list of 100 ways to self-care.

88. Experience your 5 senses- what do you see, hear, smell, touch, and taste?

89. Do nothing for 5 minutes.

90. Think of a happy memory.

91. Spend 20 minutes in your favorite spot.

92. Enjoy a delicious treat.

93. Prepare a meal with love.

94. Try a new recipe.

95. Give yourself permission to do something that’s difficult for you.

96. Be silly.

97. Be spontaneous.

98. Do one thing simply because it brings you joy.

99. Give up one thing that brings you pain.

100. Do your best and forget the rest.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but ideas to get you started. How will you take care of yourself? What self-care practices are you going to try? How are you going try them?

Are you ready to level up your self-care? To reduce stress, overwhelm, pain, and sickness? Join me on Facebook for a 5 day self-care challenge starting Monday, April 25!

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How to be authentic in business

Posted by on Mar 1, 2016 in Entrepreneurship, Professional Development, Work-life Balance | 0 comments

If you want to be promoted, be authentic. If you want to grow your business, be authentic. If you want to be respected, be authentic. If you want to stand out in business, be authentic.

Authenticity is an attribute that isn’t often mentioned when it comes to professional development, yet it’s a major factor in business success. Why? Because we want to do business with people and companies that are genuine, real, and trustworthy.

Being authentic in business isn’t always as easy as it may seem. I learned just how hard it can be when I started my coaching business.

I began my business being encouraged, excited, and eager to change the world, one client at a time, but business isn’t just about delivering results; I had to bring in clients which meant I had to learn sales and marketing.

As I dove into the sales and marketing mindset, I stopped focusing on changing the world for my clients and started focusing on making money. My underlying motivation changed from getting results for my clients to getting results for myself.

Let me tell you, it’s hard to sell transformation when you’re focused on the selling, not the transformation. Nobody likes to be sold to, and people can tell when you put your interests before theirs.

Oops.

Fortunately I learned this lesson quickly, and was able to readjust my mindset. I reconnected with my big why- why I started this business in the first place. I’m doing this to help women recognize and communicate their value, to stand up and stand out in business.

I had to acknowledge my failure, be honest with myself, and get authentic.

What does it really mean to be authentic in business? This was the question I had to consider.

How to be authentic in business

Examine your motives

What motivates you to take action? What is your desired outcome? What result are you looking to achieve?

Being clear about your motives helps be transparent and clear, and you’ll come off more authentically.

Don’t try to be something you’re not

It’s tempting to agree to any and all inquiries with agreement when you’re trying to build a name for yourself in business, but agreeing to something you can’t deliver is a risky move.

In business it’s not about having all the answers or being an expert in every area. Focus on your strengths, and standout in a few key areas. Saying no when it’s appropriate is authentic!

Be (selectively) vulnerable

None of us are perfect and that’s totally okay! Sometimes it’s even good to let people see our imperfections. People relate to us through our imperfections!

Share your vulnerability from time to time- particularly when you’ve overcome a hardship or challenge. Doing so allows others to relate and connect with us authentically.

Own up to your mistakes

See above re: none of us are perfect. Yep, you’re going to make mistakes. Trying to cover up or ignore your mistakes erodes trust.

When you make a mistake own up to it, learn from it, and move on.

Be open to (most) feedback

Ask for and listen to your customer’s feedback. If you care about your customers, they’re more likely to care about you. Just be mindful of constructive versus destructive feedback- listen to one and not the other!

Authentic businesses build relationships with their customers, and feedback is a great way to build that relationship.

Know your why

Why is what you do important? Why do you do it? Who are you helping? How are you helping them?

Get clear on your why and let it guide you in all your business interactions.

Be of service

Are you focused on what you have to give, or have you fallen into the trap of focusing on what others can give you?

Being of service allows you to reflect and readjust your thoughts, words, and actions in business. It allows you to stay focused on what’s important and why. The easiest and simplest way to be authentic is to ask yourself, “how can I be of service in this situation?”, because, in business, it’s not all about you.

How do you view authenticity in business? What other ways are you authentic in your business interactions? Join the conversation and leave a comment below!

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An introvert’s guide to networking

Posted by on Dec 15, 2015 in Career Advice, Entrepreneurship, Professional Development, Work-life Balance | 0 comments

Hi, my name is Chrysta and I’m an introvert.

Most people are surprised to find out I’m an introvert because I’ve spent years, my whole life, really, learning to be extroverted when I need to be. Fake it ’til ya make it, baby!

As a child I learned just how difficult it is to be an introvert moving from school to school between 6 different elementary schools. My step-dad was in the military and we moved around a lot. I had to learn to be social or die (maybe just a slight exaggeration). And let’s face it, being an introvert in social situations feels life threatening.

As an adult I continued to struggle with my introversion with a side of social anxiety. I would bring candy, cookies, and other treats with me to social events to break the ice. Acquaintances knew me as the “cookie girl”. “Hey, there’s the cookie girl!” Being social was easier when I had a “job” to do.

I was in my mid-30’s when my career growth plateaued. Once again I had to push far outside my comfort zone or die (at least, that’s the way it feels). I nervously started attending networking events. I challenged myself to get good at networking.

And I did get good at networking. Or so I like to think.

Last week I attended a new networking event and my social anxiety reared it’s ugly head. I couldn’t find the venue and as I wandered about looking for the right room my anxiety level continued to rise. I eventually found the group and made it through the meeting, but I won’t lie, it’s was a huge challenge to stick it out!

When I told a friend about my anxiety she asked me about my experience. I told her my social anxiety is recognized by a very specific feeling- fight or flight. In that moment staying put is absolutely the last thing I want to do.

This recent bout of social anxiety caused me to reflect on how I’ve changed and what I’ve learned about managing my social anxiety and introversion. And it feels important to share because I know there’s people like me who are pushing past the discomfort to even walk in the door at a networking event.

Networking is important for my career and my business. To be my best and make a difference in this world I have to collaborate, share ideas, learn new ideas, and communicate my value- all that happens in networking.

Here’s the best lessons I’ve learned networking while introvert, straight from me to you.

An Introvert’s Guide To Networking

get networking

Choose activity-based networking groups

The hardest part of networking groups for introverts is interacting with people you’ve just met for the for the very fist time for a full hour or more. EEEEP! My favorite networking groups are those that have an educational exercise or activity during the meeting. During the activity I can participate and get to know people without having to be in “networking” mode.

Ditch the elevator pitch

Introverts hate small talk and elevator pitches are all talk. Ditch the elevator pitch and tell people about the value of your work. Who do you help? How do you help? Mine goes something like this, “I help motivated women in business build confidence, communicate their value, and get recognized for their contributions.”

Ask meaningful questions

I don’t care what you do, I want to know who you are! I love to ask meaningful questions when I meet people for the first time. My favorite questions is, “what do you love about your work?”

Network one-on-one

I’m so much better one-on-one than I am in a large group of new people. If you’re like me, start meeting with people outside networking groups to build relationships. Give this a try, “hey, we just met and this is crazy, but let’s get coffee, maybe?” (Don’t actually say that, but something along those lines.)

Buddy up

Speaking of which, attending networking groups is easier when I know someone there. If I don’t already know someone, I bring someone! Or offer to go with a friend to his/her favorite networking group.

Get involved

I’m not so good at striking up a conversation with a stranger but I am good at making myself useful. I try to find ways to get involved at networking events, from setting up to tearing down, there are usually a variety of opportunities to get involved and get to know people working together for a common goal.

Say hello

When I started networking my strategy was to take a deep breath, smile, and say hello. Hey, we all start somewhere and hello is as good a place as any!

Are you an introvert or extrovert? What are your biggest challenges in networking? How will you overcome them?

Looking for more tips on being seen, heard, and communicating your value? Sign up for my newsletter and get instant access to my Compelling Confidence Workshop! In this workshop you’ll learn how and when to speak up for yourself, how and when to say no, and the 4 words to stop using to instantly increase your respect and recognition!

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How To Build Compelling Confidence

Posted by on Oct 27, 2015 in Get your goals, Personal Development, Work-life Balance | 0 comments

What is confidence? Confidence gives you the courage to take risks. Confidence encourages the pursuit of your dreams. Confidence expresses your trust and belief in yourself. Confidence in yourself gives others confidence in you.

So let me ask you, what is your level of confidence? In what situations do you trust yourself? Do you trust yourself?

You need confidence to be successful. The confidence to do something amazing. To believe in yourself. To be seen and heard. To be recognized and valued. To be respected. To be happy. The life you want takes compelling confidence.

What does it take to build confidence? Surprisingly, confidence isn’t about being the best, or even succeeding at what you set out to do. Confidence is created every time you take a step forward, every time you take a risk. Confidence doesn’t come from results, it comes from putting the effort in.

I’ve seen it many times in Toastmasters; new members get up and give that first speech and they are inherently more confident just for standing up and talking. It’s the first step in many steps, each building greater and greater confidence, and the greater the confidence, the more success you have in all areas of life.

But there’s something else I’ve noticed about building confidence- it’s hard to do when you’re burned out, sick, depressed, tired, frustrated, or overwhelmed. If you really want to do great things in life, you need to be healthy and happy.

The really awesome thing about being healthy and happy is you’re building on a strong foundation that will support you through life’s ups and downs.

You have to start with the basics, boosting your health so you can take those risks, put in the effort, and get those results.

How To Build Compelling Confidence

Take care of your physical health

Now this one is easy. Okay, maybe not easy, but chances are you have a good sense of what to do to take care of your health. You know, get enough sleep, eat good food, exercise. Be good to your body and it will be good to you!

Take care of your mental health

Read a blog or book, learn something new, be curious, ask questions and discover the answers! Your brain loves to work so work it!

Take care of your emotional health

This one is difficult for most of us- yeah, even me! What does emotional health look like? It’s using your emotions to inform your decisions, not using your emotions to make your decisions. It’s managing your attitude, your expectations, and your thoughts, words, and actions.

Take care of your spiritual health

Mindfulness, intentions, and purpose are paths to spiritual health. So is nurturing your connection to the your community. Whatever your beliefs, it’s believing in something greater than yourself and accessing that connection on a regular basis.

Are you ready to break through?

I’m offering a free Compelling Confidence workshop to give you tools to breakthrough for improved health and confidence! What’s in for you?

In this workshop you’ll learn:

  •  how and when to speak up for yourself
  •  when to say no
  •  four words you can stop saying now to gain respect and recognition

Ready to sign up?

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5 myths about work-life balance

Posted by on Oct 13, 2015 in Work-life Balance | 0 comments

When I started writing this blog five years ago, I desperately needed work-life balance. I was stressed out and had suffered a series of stress-related health issues. I was sick and tired of being sick and tired.

I read about work-life balance. I wrote about work-life balance. I immersed myself in a whole new way of thinking and relating to my work and my life. I began to live a healthier, more balanced life day-by-day.

Over the years I’ve continued to reduce stress, live a healthier life, and explore work-life balance. Throughout this journey I’ve learned a few things about what is and isn’t work-life balance, and how to achieve it.

work life balance myths

Photo by Colin Harris

5 Myths About Work-Life Balance

01. Work-life balance means you can “have it all”

There is no magic formula that will allow you to do anything and everything without stress, burnout, or overwhelm.

Work-life balance isn’t about doing or having it all, it’s about focusing on what’s important. Or, as I like to call it, do your best and forget the rest!

02. Working less is work-life balance

Okay, so you can’t “have it all”, whatever that means, so what about having less? Work-life balance isn’t about the quantity of your time, it’s the quality of your time. I’ve worked corporate full-time jobs, and I’ve worked part-time jobs in small business and in my experience BOTH can be equally stressful.

Ultimately balance comes down to spend more time on activities you value, plain and simple.

03. A flexible work schedule will improve your work-life balance

I’ve had a so-called “flexible” work schedule the past few years. The problem with this concept is most employers that promise a flexible work schedule rarely deliver. Ultimately your employer wants to know when to expect you, and of course they do because they need to know to run a successful business! So much for flexible!

What flexible really means to employers is you can work a schedule outside the 8-to-5 norm. You know, 9-to-6, or 7-to-4. This may free up a little bit of time for what’s important to you, but ultimately it’s not effective in creating real balance.

What if you did have a truly flexible schedule? My former boss spent little time in the office, using her flexibility as a business owner to do a variety of activities throughout the day, but she definitely did not have work-life balance. She ran herself ragged running personal errands, shuttling kids to and from appointments, and running business errands. She didn’t have balance, she had disorganization and lack of focus.

04. Work-life balance is a fad

Just a few years ago work-life balance was a buzzword that I don’t see much today. Employers are less focused on using the concept of work-life balance to attract top talent, and employees aren’t asking for work-life balance.

Why is work-life balance falling out of favor in employment conversations? Employers can’t provide work-life balance to employees because balance is about your personal choices and how you interact with stress. Work-life balance isn’t about alternate work schedules or flexibility.

05. Work-life balance doesn’t exist

Work-life balance isn’t a goal that, once achieved, you enjoy the benefits forever. Work-life balance is fluid, it’s ever-changing, as are your personal and professional needs and goals. You may need more rest one day than the next. You may be working hard on a project that will create more abundance in your future but is overwhelming in the moment.

Work-life balance is a daily practice of being mindful of your needs, your goals, and making decisions about what you do with your day.

Truths About Work-life Balance

Now that we’ve challenged the myths, let’s take a look at the truth of work-life balance. What does it look like in practice?

Work-life balance is working smarter, not harder.

Work-life balance is working and living intentionally.

Work-life balance is saying no.

Work-life balance is caring for your mental, physical, and emotional health.

Work-life balance is being honest about what you can and can’t do.

Work-life balance is letting go of expectations.

Work-life balance is doing what you can, when you can.

Work-life balance is owning your personal and professional power, and making the most of life’s opportunities to be happy, healthy, and whole.

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