Mindfulness

It’s All About Relationships!

It’s All about Relationships
By Marjorie R. Johnson LCSW, PCC

Jane was a key contributor and leader in her company. She worked harder and longer than everyone else in her division. She was referred to executive coaching to improve her people skills. Colleagues and senior team members found her brusque and irritable when stressed. At another company, Bob was referred to me for similar challenges. A valuable, developing executive, he needed to learn to influence his CEO without lapsing into angry outbursts when they disagreed.

Coaching Jane and Bob drew on my counseling expertise, as we identified the stress and anxiety that was driving their outbursts. As each leader’s self-awareness increased, so did the ability to recognize the presence of inner tension in their body. This allowed them to pause and come to a calm place. A few moments of slow, even breathing afforded them the thinking time to choose an effective response. Coaching helped them to learn and experiment with new communication tools. Jane and Bob were now able to build bridges instead of creating barriers.

Relationships at work and home succeed or fail based on practicing self-control and the ability to be mindful of how we express our emotions. Despite how rational we as humans strive to be, science demonstrates that we are emotional beings, who need to feel a sense of belonging and connection to others. When we don’t feel that connection, when we are in a harsh or disrespectful disagreement, we don’t feel safe. Hence, the visceral fight or flight reaction in boardroom meetings, even though the “saber-tooth tiger” is nowhere to be found.

How can we improve relationships? It all boils down to being mindful (or intentional). First, we need to be aware of our own emotional state. The body is the first part of to the brain to respond. The ability to detect when our own stress chemicals (the cortisol spike felt by the knotted stomach or rapid heartbeat) start to rise is the key. We must take the time to pause. Then, we can sense the emotion(s) (limbic brain) we are feeling. Lastly, the thinking brain (neocortex) comes online and we can self-manage. Only the ability to pause and become self-aware will allows us to choose how best to communicate in the moment.
Second, we need to be more mindful of others. We need to really listen to them all: colleagues, spouses, employees and customers. Rather than thinking we know what they mean, take the time to ask for clarity, so we know for certain what they mean. This open-hearted listening makes it possible to find agreement and understanding amidst the conflict.

So yes, it’s all about relationships: first with oneself, then with others. All relationships rely on how mindfully we listen and communicate. This takes patience and compassion for us and others. Today, how and when could you take time to practice mindful awareness in your communication?

Marjorie R. Johnson is President of Ascend Consulting, Inc. an executive coaching and counseling firm. www.ascendconsulting.net  www.ascendcounselingpa.com

Goal Setting with Intention for Your Business and Your Life!

business coaching philadelphia

New Year Goals and Resolutions are easy, but What does it take to ACHIEVE those goals?

As a client said to me recently: “I always set clear goals with a plan. The problem is that I get distracted and lack follow through.” Ah, that’s the rub isn’t it? When we set a goal its often with enthusiasm and true motivation, but life can get in the way if we are not careful to revisit our goals through the day. So, what is your intention for 2017? How will you create an airtight plan complete with strategies to overcome obstacles and distractions?

Step One: Begin with Mindful Reflection- 
Before you start actual goal setting it’s important to take time to sit still, be mindful, and allow your body and thoughts to settle. This opens the way for reflection about your business. It is in this quiet reflection that clarity about our new year’s vision emerges. So, don’t just do something; First, be someone who is present and receptive to what is really calling you forward in the new year. Listen to what is both possible and realistic. Then, get a pen and paper or whiteboard, and get ready to start the planning process!

Step Two: Assessment – Where are you starting from? What goals are left over from last year? Are they still relevant? Do they need to be tweaked? What new skills and knowledge have you added to your tool box? A SWOT analysis will help you start with a clear picture of your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.

Step Three: Create a SMART plan –  Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic with steps assigned to a specific person, and lastly Time sensitive. As you hold yourself to creating SMART goals, you may realize that your wish list is not realistic.  Establish priorities! The next two steps of strategic planning are to refine your goals and create a detailed action plan.

Now you have refined your vision from a dream to a clear and specific, achievable goal. Tune in next month to POWER POINTS and learn how to develop practical and comprehensive strategies, that are consistent throughout every aspect of YOUR organization and life!

Mindfulness Meditation Group – Beginning Tuesdays on January 17, 2017

 Winter Meditation Group:

“Are you dealing with anxiety or depression or simply stressed by daily life? Learn Mindfulness and experience a quieter mind and calm approach to life’s challenges!”

You are invited to be: Still, Relaxed and be Present!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

8 weeks ($240) includes CD “Come to the Quiet”.

937 Prichard Ave. West Chester, PA 19382

7:30-8:45pm

To register:  Marjorie@ascendconsulting.net (or) (610)696-4443

“Mindfulness Mediation has been proven to improve focus, sleep and overall wellness. You will learn and practice simple to used skills to manage: Stress, Anxiety and Depression.” This Psycho-educational support group is facilitated by Marjorie R. Johnson, Clinical Social Worker and Coach. This group may be submitted to insurance.