News RSS feed for this section

Vacation Means Better Business!

vacation take it

Vacation Means Better Business!

The sound of birds early in the morning, long warm nights and the smell of food on the grill can only mean one thing; it’s summer time!  Remember how relaxing summer used to be? Remember when you used to take vacation? Have you thought about taking some time off this summer? As a leader, you’re probably asking yourself, “With all that’s going on in business, how can I find time for vacation?” Well, actually you can’t not take time off!

Americans take less time off than any developed nation in the world (working 9 weeks longer per year) and they have the highest rate of depression.  According to one World Health Organization & Harvard study, overwork is correlated with obesity, heart disease, insomnia and fatigue. We are the only industrialized nation without mandatory paid leave. “Great in theory”, you say, “but we need to get work done, we can’t afford to take time off!” In fact, research shows that more work does not correlate with more or better output! It often costs more in mistakes and accidents in the workplace.  The lack of time off costs companies in absenteeism, turnover and rising health costs.   We know that when we have too many computer programs running at once they can get hung up so we power off, wait a bit and reboot the system.  Humans, too, need to regularly power off and re boot our “computer” so it works better.

Productivity Worry

Worried about deadlines missed or mistakes that might occur in your absence? Taking a vacation can actually be empowering for your team!  When you delegate and give others authority to act it builds their confidence and forces them to take on expanded responsibilities and new tasks.  Morale is boosted when a company honors the need for time off and life balance.   This increased employee engagement more than makes up for time spent on vacation.

We only have so much time and energy to expend in our daily lives.  No one ever got to their deathbed and wished they’d worked more!  While it can seem difficult to start taking time off, the benefits of doing so (less stress, less anxiety, calmer attitude, etc.) will result in more productivity and innovation.   You may even have time for family, friends and community involvement- all those things that make for the balanced life you thought you had no time for!   Make yourself a priority and take care of you.  Your business will be the better for it.

Comments { 0 }

Three Ways to Take Charge of You and Your Mental Health this Summer!

Take Charge of Your Summer, TODAY!

The sound of birds early in the morning, long hot summer nights and the smell of good food on the grill can only mean one thing; it’s summer time!! Ah, the ease and laid back attitude that is summer.  What a nice change! It is the perfect time to dive right into living a healthy and balanced life. Sunshine and time are on your side in the summer.  The atmosphere could not be more ideal for reinventing yourself and taking the time for you.

You’re probably asking yourself, “I barely have time to shower.  How in the world am I going to find time for making a change in my life?  Spending my time reading a blog post about what I am doing wrong is not encouraging.” Well, we are not here to scold you or make you feel bad for the choices in your life.  The point is offering simple, doable options to the lifestyle choices already being made.  Think of these options as a decompressing tune-up.  The end goal is keeping things simple and engaging for even the most stressed out person.  The three suggestions below can help put you on the path for making the most of your summer and a balanced life!

 

Three Tips to Try this Summer

  1. Utilizing the Extra Daylight to your Benefit!

Using nature and summer to your advantage is the goal behind the first idea. The amount of daylight hours increases in the summer; essentially offering you more hours to work with when making plans. Pack a picnic for you and your family; letting you spend dinner at the park.  Eating dinner at the park lets the kids get out that extra summer energy, while you spend some quality time with everyone.  Sounds like a win/win!

Can’t seem to squeeze in time for a workout during the day; switch your workouts to an early morning time slot or make it a late evening affair.  Allow yourself time for a late snack or cocktail with friends.  Making the most of the additional hours of light can help you check some things off your daily to do list. Being able to check things off your to do list and getting creative with what to do in extra daylight will ultimately begin taking stress off.

For more ideas of things to do with additional sun light, check out these great lists: http://www.windsweptwriting.com/10-things-extra-hour-daylight/http://www.thepartnerstrust.com/blog/12-things-to-do-with-an-extra-hour-of-daylight/https://www.theodysseyonline.com/10-things-to-do-with-the-extra-sunlight-we-get-from-daylight-savings.

2.Enjoying the Plentiful Healthful Food Options during the Summer. 

What better time of year then summer to start thinking about the type of food you eat. The variety of fruits and vegetables available during the summer months makes it hard not to reevaluate food being ingested.  Since availability of healthful food increases during warmer months, the cost of the same type of food tends to decrease. There are so many options to make eating healthy in the summer easy.  Many farms and orchards have “pick your own” days, where you visit and pick the latest offering. The amount of farmer’s markets open to the public increases during the summer months as well. What better time than summer to start your own garden.  There is nothing like a fresh homegrown tomato!

The opportunities for garden fresh food are endless in the summer. Plus the healthier of diet you practice, the better your body handles stress. These links can help get you started on the path to fresh and healthful eating: Farmer’s Markets – http://www.localfarmmarkets.org/, Local Farms and Orchards  http://www.pickyourown.org/, https://www.localharvest.org/organic-farms/ , Home Gardening – http://www.bhg.com/gardening/vegetable/vegetables/planning-your-first-vegetable-garden/, http://www.almanac.com/vegetable-garden-planning-for beginners

3.New Summer, New You!

Instead of claiming the New Year as the start of a new you, why not proclaim the summer of 2017 as the summer of “YOU”! There is definitely something about the summer months that brings out motivation and happiness in people.  Start today with the mindset, “If it doesn’t serve me, I will learn to let it go”. We only have so much time and energy to expend in our daily lives.  Why exhaust this energy on things, places and people that do not serve a purpose in your life.  Yes, it can seem difficult to start saying no and releasing your time for other things, but the benefits of doing so (less stress, more time, less anxiety, calmer attitude, etc.) are the trade off.  Make yourself a priority and take care of you.

Try new activities this summer you have always wanted check out but could not seem to find the time to do so.  You may surprise yourself and like something you never thought possible. When you choose yourself, it is amazing how time seems to be added to your day.  Step outside of your comfort zone and meet some new people.  Aligning yourself with individuals who share in the same mindset and goals are an instant morale booster.

Check out the links below for more ideas of making the change towards a new you: https://www.livingsocial.com/, https://experiencelife.com/article/50-ways-to-make-the-most-of-summer/, http://www.everydayhealth.com/healthy-living/take-time-for-yourself-this-summer.aspx

 

Comments { 0 }

How do you Plan?

How do you plan?

By Marjorie R. Johnson LCSW, PCC

Most of us know that our best chance of achieving any goal is to plan for it. We need to have a clear SMART goal (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time sensitive). We know the importance of planning for our business or team’s yearly goals. This process is required. However, how often do we approach our personal lives with the same strategic planning? Yet, without being intentional about how we want to spend our days, and indeed our lives, it is up to chance whether we will become our best selves.

Think about the past 24 hours. Where did your time go? How much of your time was given to social media, zoning out with television or compulsively checking e -mail? In his book, Shine, Edward Hallowell, MD (noted ADHD psychiatrist and author of the bestseller: Driven to Distraction), comments on the overloaded, over busy and overwhelmed brain of today’s workers. We are working harder and longer yet achieving less because we feel we cannot allow time for rest, recreation and personal relationships.

What to do? To achieve healthy, well rounded lives, I recommend the following process. Set aside 60- 90 minutes of uninterrupted time, when you know you won’t be disturbed. Breathe deeply, and begin quietly reflecting as follows: Consider your “Essential” or “Higher Self” in the middle of a circle with several spokes going out from the center. These spokes represent areas of your life that affect you and contribute to your life. (Adapted from “Wheel of Life”, Co-Active Coaching, 2011.) You might include family relationships, friends and social network, career, spiritual/ personal growth, recreation, finances, health & fitness and your physical environment (home or office). Consider “how content” you are in each area. Which area might you like to improve? Where is your time going? Is it in balance and contributing to the Self you want to be? Now set specific, SMART goals (refer to my SMART Goals Blog series starting here: http://ascendconsulting.net/goal-setting-intention-business-life/) for balance in some of these areas. Identify one or two specific actions that will gradually bring these goals into reality.

Now it’s time to make the goals from above happen. Our goals for balanced fulfilled lives need active care and attention to become reality. Take some quiet planning time each day to intentionally build into your routine those actions that are in alignment with your goals. Note: This might mean doing less! Without this daily time of reflection and planning it’s impossible to bring your daily actions in line with the life you want to live. During this process, be compassionate with yourself. Change often occurs by taking two steps forward and one step back. Mindfulness, intentional planning and daily reflection make all the difference in becoming the Self you want to be.

I specialize in coaching executives and professionals into achieving their goals with life balance. Contact me if you’d like to begin the conversation.  Marjorie@ascendconsutling.net

Comments { 0 }

March PowerPoints

The wait is over! March PowerPoints is here and chalk full of exciting information. March is Social Work Month. Read our March PowerPoints to learn a little more about this exciting and important field. Happy reading!

March Power Points

Comments { 0 }

Who is Your Customer?

Who is Your Customer
By Marjorie R. Johnson LCSW, PCC

Business owners and leaders want to grow their business.   To get more business more customers are needed, right?  The question is: who is your customer?    Some experts say one needs to identify their ideal customer and market to that consumer.   Others say a business should serve a variety of customers by offering a wide range of products.  Still others define customers in a more broad sense, including both internal customers (those working in the company) and external customers (those purchasing products or vendors of the company). Well, what if we were to broaden the definition of customer still further to include everyone and anyone with whom we come into contact throughout the day?

How might approaching everyone we meet, from the barista to the bus or Uber driver, as a customer affect our business?   I ‘m reminded of the Ghost of Christmas Present*, when he said to Scrooge that, “Mankind should be our business.”  The fact is we never know when or from where our next customer is coming. We never know how a kind word or hasty critical remark will spread and cost us potential business.   If we are respectful, polite and mindfully present to all people no matter their role, whether on company time or off, it’s far more likely that we will attract and keep customers.  When we treat people with this kind of dignity and warmth, they are naturally attracted to us and open to our business.  When we listen with attention, more customers will pay attention to us.  People are naturally drawn to work with those they like and respect. As we practice this behavior all day every day, this kind of civility and compassion becomes a habit – not something we drop at the close of business.

So, on which “customer” do you most need to practice?  Is it your employee with whom you’ve become frustrated or the peer on whom your department depends but whose consistency and dependability you take for granted?  Is it the faithful customer, who you know will always be your client, so you no longer strive to “wow” them?  Is it your family member or best friend who is supportive, loving, and always has your back? When did you last say a heartfelt “thank you”?

Exemplary customer service is something that every person deserves by their humanity.   Our commitment to treat others to the best of our ability is what makes exemplary service possible.   How would your customer base grow if everyone in your company treated all “customers” that way?  It’s a worthwhile experiment!

Marjorie Johnson, LCSW, PCC is President of Ascend Consulting, Inc.  an executive coaching and counseling firm

*Scrooge (the 1970 Albert Finney version)

Comments { 0 }

Intention, Now Action! Goal Setting Boot Camp – January 20, 2017

Last month I introduced the first three steps for clear, actionable goal setting.  Let’s review; Step One: Begin with Mindful Reflection, Step Two: Assessment, Step Three: Create a SMART Plan-Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic with steps assigned to a specific person and Time sensitive.

This month we turn to the next two steps in creating a failsafe Strategic Plan:

Step Four: Refine Goals and Develop Strategy– 
This is the step where a complete and detailed inventory of every area of your business is done. You will want to assess your product or service, marketing, advertising, finances, your employees, your market and your ideal client. Are the messages aligned to who you are attracting? To those who you want to serve?

Right now is an excellent time revisit your dream. Why do you want to succeed in this business? What will the business do, be or have for you? For your customer? During our January 20, Goal Setting Boot Camp, we’ll take the time to really drill down to the core passions and dreams that drive us to succeed. Do you really want to sell what you say you are delivering or are you delivering it because you think it will sell? Passion paired with excellence and knowledge is what brings sustainable sales! The most sensational marketing  will not reach your customers or sell products, unless your devotion to the business is evident. There can be no doubt that you really care about the product or service you are delivering and know the customer who is benefiting from the purchase.

Assure your entire strategy is consistent and supported by processes. If not, take the time to create new ones that better address your keenest challenges.  Define what success means to you and the benchmarks by which you choose to measure reaching your goals!

Step Five: Create your Weekly/Monthly Action Plan– The rubber meets the road during this step. What will you do when and what will be first? Who owns each task, how will they be monitored, held accountable and supported? Assess the work flow and the timing for each phase of your operation. Review the action plan with your team. Take the time to sit down with your team. Create an open dialogue for them to share their input and discuss what is realistic. (SEE STEP TWO)

Are you excited for creating your Strategic Plan? Are you a bit overwhelmed? Maybe both?  You do not have to go at it alone!!!

As a Certified Professional Coach with 16 years experience, I’ll help you achieve clarity about what is possible and tap into the passion that drives your dream. Together, we’ll brainstorm about the obstacles and challenges that may arise. Come up with a proactive plan to move around, over or under the challenges for you to SUCCEED at your BIG GOAL!!!

Make GOAL SETTING BOOT CAMP on January 20, 2017, the beginning of your goal ACHIEVEMENT!!! Join 14 like minded business and non profit leaders, who just like you, are serious about working together to make 2017 the YEAR OF UNSTOPPABLE SUCCESS!!!!!!

Register and pay by January 6, 2017 to take advantage of $100 off your registration fee. With this amazing discount, that’s only $749 for five hours of group work and two hours of one on one coaching! AN OUTSTANDING VALUE!!

Register by visiting http://ascendconsulting.net/contact-us/ and complete the contact form. Or visit our other website http://ascendcounselingpa.com/contact-us/ .

We look forward to helping you reach for the sky!

 

Comments { 0 }

Give SUCCESS This Holiday Season!

Coaching Gift Certificates for the Holidays!!!

gift-certificate-1-test

Comments { 0 }

Upcoming Events

Speaking Engagements:

Women’s Business Connection-(Chester County)Panel Moderator: “Caring for your Elderly Parents and You”.  October 11, 2016, Downingtown Country Club, Downingtown, PA.  Click here for more information.

PA Conference for women- October 6, 2016, Philadelphia Convention Center. Marjorie will be providing Pro Bono Coaching. Click here for more information.

Comments { 0 }

Wellness: Good for Business, Good for Life!

As a therapist and Executive Coach, I work with people dealing with a variety of issues: Family problems, difficult work relationships, leadership challenges depression, and stress. No matter the specific client’s situation, everyone wants a happier calmer, more satisfying life: Wellbeing.

Here are 5 simple things you can do at work and (or) in your personal life to enhance your wellbeing:

  • Be Mindful: Mindfulness is defined as being fully aware and present in the moment. Staying in the present, stops us from worrying about the future, or being self-critical about the past. When we are “here in this moment”, we can observe our thoughts and emotions, and take a breath when we are starting to feel overwhelmed. Taking a breath allows us to pause. Then, we can effectively respond to what is really happening-rather than reacting to the “Story in our head”.

Here’s the best way to train the mind: Practice this 1-20 minutes everyday:

Sit quietly and follow the breath with your attention as it flows in and out. When your mind wanders, simply notice it (without self-criticism) and come back to the breath.

Research shows that 8 weeks of regular mindfulness mediation reduces anxiety, focuses attention and expands creative thinking in challenging situations. It’s good for both work and home!

  • Tweak your communication skills to improve your relationships. What makes work and family life difficult is often communication problems! There are a few simple things we can do to improve communication and build trust. A good place to start is reflective listening. When you are caught off guard or aren’t sure of what someone’s means, simply say: ” I think I heard you say”…and then, “Did I hear you correctly?” When we reflect back what we heard, it signals to the other person that we are listening for both meaning and content. This simple step can help to avoid conflicts and lead to a better understanding. Secondly, try approaching a difference of opinion with mutual problem solving rather than defending your position. When we collaborate together we turn off stress chemicals in the body that signals our brain to release oxytocin (a hormone that makes us feel connected to others) and endorphins (a feel good chemical in the brain). That’s a pretty big payoff for open hearted listening!
  • Prioritize You! Your are the resource or “machine”. Take care of your machine! Just like you do with your automobile, give yourself regular tune ups, put gas(nutrition) in your tank. Take time off for relaxation, exercise most days and enjoy nature! Twenty minutes of sunlight exposure turns off the physical stress response and lifts the mood.
  • Look for Joy! In every day, there is some small (or big) moment of pleasure. Often we miss pleasure because we are thinking about the past or the future. Look and really see the faces, sky and trees around you. Really listen to the music that’s playing in the car on your drive to work. Beyond simple daily pleasures, joy is an inside job.
    Consider what makes you feel content and satisfied, rather than the big lottery win.
  • Be “Planful”. Be intentional about your big and little goals and create reasonable, specific, action steps to bring your goals to reality. Write them down, consider obstacles and devise strategies to work around them and you will achieve your dreams.
Comments { 0 }

Upcoming Events

Marjorie Johnson presents for CHADD- Difficult Conversations:  For Adults with ADHD and (Those Who Love Them).  .  June 14, 2106, 7pm.   Click to Learn More.

ERCC (Exton Regional Chamber of Commerce)

Golf Outing

May 16, 2016

Click for Registration

 

 

 

 

 

Comments { 0 }
Skip to toolbar