Pause Blog On Overload, Overwhelm & Life In General

PAUSE – 15.12 – Vet It Before You Voice It

Taste Your Words-border-wReflection: It had been several years since I had last seen either one of them.

She strode forward to greet me, stopped and remarked in a disappointed tone of voice, “Oh … I always think of you as much younger.”

As he put out his hand to shake mine, he observed, “I see someone’s been giving the scales quite a workout.”

You know, their words were true. I was a few years older and 10 pounds heavier than when I had last seen them. But, how to receive those comments with grace? That was my challenge.

I have learned over the years that there can be several voices rattling around in my head, each eager to put their spin on any situation.

First up with an interpretation was my uber-sensitive teenage self. She was spitting mad that I had just been insulted and dissed – told that I was old and fat.

Then my wiser more mature self took her turn. She suggested that the comments said more about the speakers than they did about me. Perhaps my friends have a few concerns about their own advancing age and expanding waistlines – neither of which have much at all to do with me.

I searched for a voice that genuinely believed their comments were offered with the kindest of intentions in an effort to lovingly express their care and concern about my well being. Nope – not happening! Read More…

Posted under Communication, Life in General, Pause E-zines, Wellness

Survey On Malaise

Asleep at The Wheel-wI know this invitation was included at the end of last week’s Pause blog post, but in case you might have missed it I want to make special mention of it in a separate post.

I’ve been doing some R & D  work on a particular aspect of engagement in work and life – the concept of malaise.

We’re all pretty familiar with stress and burnout – that dramatic stretched-to-the-limits, crash and burn phenomenon. Malaise is different.

Malaise is more like rusting out, feeling stale, bored, lethargic, restless, joyless or adrift – suffering the dis-ease of being under-challenged or feeling under-engaged. It can be every bit as challenging as burnout.

My interest was triggered by what I have been noticing in some individuals as they reach the latter part of their careers. Although I don’t think malaise is restricted to that stage of life, it does seem to be more prevalent there.

I’m interested in learning how we might avoid long stretches of malaise and move more quickly to light a spark and find a path through to a more joyful and enthusiastic experience of life and work.

To that end, I’ve done a number of interviews on this issue, and just last week I released a survey to start gathering more input.

Here is the link to the survey:  https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/Malaise   I would be delighted if you could take five to ten minutes to respond to the survey.

I’ll be collecting replies up until the end of April. if there are other people in your circle whom you think may have an interest in sharing their thoughts on the issue of malaise, please share the access link as freely as you wish.

Although I haven’t reviewed all the 300 responses submitted so far, some of the early comments are showing that people are finding the questions intriguing and very helpful in guiding them to think about their own experiences with malaise in their lives and organizations.

I’ll keep in touch, and share more on this subject as my work unfolds.

Posted under Life Balance, Life in General, Wellness

This post was written by Pat Katz on April 21, 2015

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PAUSE – 15.10 – How Do You Know What’s Right For You?

Goldilocks 3 bears-wReflection: I expect you’re familiar with the story of Goldilocks.

You’ll recall Goldilocks entered the house of the three bears and set about finding what was right for her. Porridge: too hot, too cold, or just right. Chair: too big, too small, or just right. Bed: too hard, too soft, or just right.

Goldilocks’ search for the right fit makes her an interesting role model for balance (break and enter aside).

We’re all familiar with the ’too hot, too big, too hard’ side of this equation. That’s the world of overload and burnout where we find ourselves on fire, racing at top speed, flat out, overcommitted and overwhelmed.

We may be highly engaged, but we’re just as likely to be exhausted. Things are just not right. This overextended phenomenon of ‘too-much-ness’ gets a lot of attention.

From time to time, many of us also experience the ‘too cold, too small, too soft’ scenario. This is where we’ve outgrown one or more elements of our lives and our everyday patterns no longer fit as well as they once did.

We may feel restless, pinched, diminished, bored, joyless or adrift, suffering the dis-ease of finding ourselves under-challenged or under-engaged. Things are just not right. This malaise phenomenon gets much less attention even though it, too, causes distress.

 

Action: I’ve experienced malaise myself, more than once in my life. At those points, it’s not that things are all wrong, it’s more like they’re not all right any more.

It was a recent round of malaise that first pointed me in the direction of painting – as a way to light a spark in the areas of learning and creative expression. And, boy did it ever do that for me!

Rest easy! I’m not advocating painting as a panacea for everyone. But, I can suggest an approach that might help you find your way to a better place – or help you guide others who may find themselves stuck. Read More…

Posted under Life Balance, Life in General, Overload & Overwhelm, Pause E-zines, Wellness

PAUSE – 15.09 – Create New Ways To Carry On

Pick Yourself Up Orange-w

 

My Thoughts:

I love this image, because it’s so unexpected – just like many of life’s events that trip us up and bring us to our knees.

And, I love this image, because it’s so creative – just like some of the best reactions to challenging situations.

 

Your Thoughts:

How about bringing a little extra-orang-inary thinking to your world this week?

What’s been tripping you up lately?

And, what creative responses might help you pick yourself up and carry on?

 

News Notes:

The warmest of thanks to all of you who took part in the Pause Subscriber Challenge. I so appreciate your taking time to extend a special subscription invitation to your friends and colleagues.

From last year’s Pause readership survey, I learned that – next to having heard me speak at a conference or seminar – the most frequent way that people come to join our jolly band of readers is through an invitation and recommendation from a family member, friend, or colleague.

That’s the power of ‘word of mouth’. So thanks for valuing and speaking kindly of my work. Do keep forwarding the messages that resonate most to others who may appreciate them, too.

As promised, I’ve drawn a name from the list of those of you who let me know you invited others to subscribe in these last two weeks of March. A bundle of Pause goodies will soon be on its way to Tara Zrymiak, an engineer with SNC-Lavalin Inc.

 

Posted under Life Balance, Life in General, Overload & Overwhelm, Pause E-zines, Pause Poster Message, Wellness

Pause – 15.07 – Will You Leave Them Smiling?

Reason Someone Smiles-w

 

My Thoughts:

So many of our everyday exchanges are predictable, dull and matter of fact.

What if we made it our business to add a bit more warmth or life to our conversations?

A smile. A compliment. A light hearted remark. A genuine expression of concern.

Each effort on our part could make a huge difference to someone else.

 

Your Thoughts:

What could you do or say that might leave someone smiling today?

What will you do?

And who are those people with the goofy grins on their faces as you walk out the door?

 

News Notes:

One of the reasons that I write these weekly Pause messages is that I know they bring a touch of sanity to an overwhelming world.

Many of you tell me how much you value Pause as a breath of fresh air in the middle of your week.

I’m eager to extend the impact of Pause, and would appreciate your help in growing the list of subscribers. Read More…

Posted under Appreciation, Life in General, Overload & Overwhelm, Pause E-zines, Wellness

PAUSE – 15.06 – Cool Down To Calm Down

Yikes-wReflection: In a recent Pause message, Could You Be A More Reassuring Presence, I shared a few ideas for supporting others when things go sideways in their lives.

But what if it’s an event in your own life that’s giving you grief? How can you avoid getting unnecessarily bent out of shape when life sends a mind-bending challenge your way? How do you handle your own reactions when things go wrong?

 

Action: Here’s a five-step approach to bring relief and help you find your way back to a more even keel. Read More…

Posted under Appreciation, Life Balance, Overload & Overwhelm, Pause E-zines, Wellness

PAUSE – 15.05 – What’s Waiting For You?

Goodbye Hello-300w

 

My Thoughts: This week I’m saying goodbye to the self-created expectation (and 14 year practice) of publishing a ‘full featured’ Pause message every single week.

Every second week, I’ll be alternating the traditional version with a simpler more visual message like this. Makes me wonder what’s around the corner waiting to greet me.

 

Your Thoughts:

What do you think about Coelho’s observation?

To what might you be ready to say goodbye? 

What might be lingering around the corner waiting for you to make more space for it in your life?

 

News Notes: I’ve had a couple of clients ask me recently, “Pat, with all the traveling and painting that you are doing these days, are you still speaking?” Read More…

Posted under Appreciation, Life Balance, Life in General, Pause E-zines, Pause Poster Message

PAUSE – 15.03– Could You Be A More Reassuring Presence?

Sails At Sea-wReflection: Skinned knees, broken hearts, failing health, cancelled projects, empty coffers. It’s always something, and in this world of ours there’s no shortage of ‘somethings’. So, how to help?

A toddler who falls and scrapes his knee needs a band-aid and a hug, and our reassurance that things are going to be all right.

A friend who is reeling from a challenging health diagnosis needs us to hold steady in the moment of crisis, acknowledge the fear and uncertainty, and reassure her that we’re there for the long haul.

In the face of excessive loads, overwhelm and setbacks, our colleagues at work need reassurance, too – just not in a hug and band-aid sort of way.

They need us to acknowledge their distress and express confidence that somehow we’ll get through this together – that we’ll be all right.

All right doesn’t mean perfect or stress-free. The present may well be painful, the road forward rocky, and the outcome less than ideal. All right means that we trust we’ll have the resilience to make it through, and the strength to deal with whatever comes up.

The most helpful form of reassurance is far more than a blithe and condescending: “There there, you poor thing. It’ll all be better soon.” Instead, it comes from a deep sense of presence, a genuine feeling of care and understanding, and compassionate expression.

 

Action: There are many ways to be a more reassuring presence in the lives of others at work and at home. Here are four to get you started: Read More…

Posted under Appreciation, Life Balance, Overload & Overwhelm, Pause E-zines, Wellness

PAUSE – 15.03 – Are You Bringing Your True Self to The Table?

Key West Tower-wReflection: On our recent cruise vacation, Dave and I shared dinner each evening with the same three couples.

All came from different parts of the world, all were congenial and good humored, and all had interesting backstories to their lives.

Over the course of the trip, we looked forward to the nightly connection – swapping tales about our day’s excursions and life in general.

As our adventure drew to a close, I wondered how best to let them know how much we appreciated their company. In the end, I sketched a postcard for each couple. Each sketch was different and each one represented a unique aspect of that couple’s interests.

I signed them, added a personal note to the back of each card, and presented them at our last dinner together. The postcards were a colossal hit.

I was actually surprised at how deeply they were appreciated. To me, the ideas for the cards came easily, and I enjoyed making them. It felt like no big deal. I found myself curious about what prompted the strength of their reactions.

It occurred to me that one of the reasons could be that creating and sharing the cards was a direct expression of a few of my strengths: appreciation, creativity, and thoughtfulness. There seems to be an authenticity, an ease, and a deep connection that arises when we’re acting from the core of who we are.

 

Action: So what’s to be gleaned from this experience at sea? Read More…

Posted under Appreciation, Artwork, Life in General, Overload & Overwhelm, Pause E-zines, Travel

PAUSE – 15.02 – Sharpen Your Pencils Today

Sharp Pencil-wReflection: My grandson, Ethan, loves to draw. Inspired by video games and animations, he creates delightfully quirky characters all his own.

Last year we gifted him with a box of drawing pencils, a new sketchpad and a cool pencil sharpener. He was thrilled.

When I recently asked him how he liked the pencils, he told me he hadn’t used them yet. He is saving them up to draw something really good. He doesn’t want to waste them, to sharpen them down, and use them up too fast.

I encouraged him to crack that box open now, and promised that when they were all used up I’d buy him another set. No special occasion required.

At nearly eight years of age, he seems already to have adopted a ‘save the good things for later’ mindset.

It’s the same kind of thinking that causes us as adults to keep the good china safely in the cabinet, a vintage car locked in the garage, a special dress or a tux under plastic in the closet, and a fine bottle of wine tucked away in the dark of the basement.

That kind of thinking can also lead us to keep our best talents – our light and our uniqueness – hidden under a proverbial bushel basket.

What are we waiting for? Why are we robbing ourselves of the joy of using these fine and beautiful things?

 

Action: Do something daring today. Read More…

Posted under Appreciation, Life in General, Pause E-zines