Pause Blog On Overload, Overwhelm & Life In General

Pause Gem #32 – You Can Laugh It Off To Lighten Up

Laughing ColorfulReflection & Action: I chose a poor day to renew my driver’s license. That day, problems with the phone lines made credit and debit card transactions impossible. Customers dug for checks, scrounged for spare change, or dashed down the block to the cash machine.

The cashiers did their best, but progress was slow. A fellow who arrived just moments after I’d entered the queue didn’t appreciate the delay. Like a bull in the paddock, he shifted from foot to foot, snorting and pawing the ground. Jingling the change in his pocket and rustling the papers in his hand did nothing to calm his jangling nerves. Neither the repeated checks of his wristwatch nor the disgusted glares he zinged at the cashiers brought him relief.

A few minutes after his arrival, a newcomer fell in line behind the restless rustler. In the loudest possible voice, the raging bull cautioned her that he hoped she’d brought a book and planned to spend the day because he’d been waiting in line all morning!

In less than five minutes, it was my turn at the counter. I leaned in close to the cashier and told her I hoped she had 911 on her speed dial; I thought our friend, the raging bull, was about to pop an artery. She chuckled and rolled her eyes, clearly relieved to connect with an understanding customer who showed a sense of humor.

Life is full of delays and detours. Read More…

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

Pause Gem #30 – Answer The Good News Question

Count Blessings-wReflection & Action: I caught a ride on a beautiful fall day with a cab driver who could easily have taken the grand prize for the world’s darkest outlook on life. In response to my comments on the freshness of the morning, the beauty of the autumn leaves, and the glassy calm of Wascana Lake, he responded in turn, “Frost last night – gonna make the harvest tough! Just reminds me winter’s coming! It’s never like that when I go fishing!”

I’m sure if he won a hundred thousand dollars in the lottery, he wouldn’t waste a minute celebrating. He would launch right into a litany of complaints about the uselessness of a prize that small!

Our mindset has a lot to do with our experience of the day.  It is possible to shift from pure pessimism to a more optimistic response to life. It’s a matter of attention. What do you notice? What do you hang on to? How do you start your conversations with yourself and others?

As day’s end nears, and you shut down your computer, pull on your coat, or jump in the car to head home, ask yourself this simple question: “What went well today?”

Ask the same question of colleagues as you close up shop, and of family members as you gather for the evening. Yes, you’ll eventually get to the complaints, but at least the good news of the day will hold center stage and pride of place. That’s all it takes to start the shift of focus. Read More…

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

Pause Gem #29 – The Gift Of Stopping

Stop Light-wReflection & Action: If you drive, you will be very familiar with red lights and stop signs. It’s a sign of our preoccupation with getting places fast, that those lights and signs often seem to be working against us and in favor of the opposing traffic.

When you are out on the highway, you are sure to find yourself stuck behind a slow moving vehicle of one sort or another. Slow, of course, is a relative concept. When you are in a rush, slow may mean that the unit ahead is ‘just’ driving the speed limit.

With more multi lane highways and passing lanes, slower moving traffic is less of a problem than it was during the days of single lane highways and Air Stream trailer convoys. Still, for most of us, patience is not a strong point in our high-speed non-stop world.

It doesn’t have to be that way. Read More…

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

PAUSE – 14.24 – Tune Out To Tune In

Reflection: I’ve been thinking recently that I wouldn’t mind being listless for a while. I don’t mean in the traditional sense of the word: lethargic, apathetic, or weary. Nor do I mean without a list of things to do – although that would be welcome on occasion.

What I’m actually referring to is the proliferation of lists that circulate on social media and grace the covers of books and magazines everywhere. Here are a few recent examples:

  • 14 Things You Should Do On Your Lunch Break Every Day
  • 17 Things Extremely Happy People Say Every Day
  • 18 Things Highly Creative People Do Differently
  • 22 Quick Habits to Add To Your Daily Morning Routine
  • 30 Things To Start Doing For Yourself – or its sister list: 30 Things To Stop Doing To Yourself

Add ‘em up. I’m exhausted just thinking about it.

I know these lists are published with the best of intentions – mostly to energize or inspire. And I grant you there is valuable advice in many of them. Heck, I’ve even created a few of these types of lists myself.

But here’s my challenge. When I spend too much time paying attention to these lists, I find myself in Tower of Pisa mode – tilted and off balance. I feel less effective and more inadequate because I’m not doing more or behaving differently.

You, too, might find yourself listing just a tad under the weight of what the advice aggregators believe we could or should be doing.

 

Action: With all these voices whispering instructions in your ear and putting ideas in your head, it’s hard to hear the one still quite voice that counts the most. That would be your own. Read More…

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

PAUSE – 14.21 – What Do You Want To Do As You Grow Old?

Spring On The Trail

Spring On The Trail

Reflection: We’re pretty quick to ask young people about their futures: “What do you want to be when you grow up? What will you do after graduation?”

However, once we step through that portal of adulthood and into a career, a family, and responsibilities of all shapes and sizes, those ‘imagine your future’ questions are often sidelined.

You make a choice. You set out on a path. You’re headed in the right direction. All is well. Or is it?

I recently delivered the closing keynote for a conference of career planners and employment counselors. My message focused on connecting them to the hidden value in what they do and how they are.

The conference planners asked me to also build in a message for those in their mid to late career years who might be faced with: waning interest, lagging energy, or a once raging fire in the belly now faded to glowing embers. And, so I did. Here are a few of the ideas I shared that I thought might also interest you. Read More…

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

PAUSE – 14.20 – Stop Trying So Hard

Don't Push-wReflection: Stop pushing. Stop forcing. Stop trying so hard. That’s the message I’m getting from a couple of activities I’m enjoying immensely these days: word play and painting.

I confess to a new addiction to solving the Jumble Puzzle in our daily newspaper. The challenge involves turning five sets of random letters into five words, extracting the circled letters from the solutions, and turning that subset of letters into the answer to a question posed in the accompanying comic vignette.

What I’ve learned from solving the Jumble is the value of soft focus. When I stare at those letters, trying to force them into the proper order, I’m frustrated. However, when I glance at the letters and let my gaze drift away, my brain plays with the possibilities and out pops the answers.

Same thing happens with my painting. When I stare intently at a scene trying to make sense of shapes and values, it’s a struggle. However, when I approach the challenge with a softer, more relaxed focus and less intensity, my mind makes sense of it much more quickly and surely.

 

Action: When you next meet a problem that tries your patience, try softening your focus. Start with an overview of what you know and what you see. Then step away. Back off.

Stop pushing for an answer. Cool your jets. Let your subconscious take over.

When you stop forcing an answer, and take a softer, calmer, more ease filled approach, you just might be surprised at how effortlessly solutions rise to the surface,

 

Quotes Of The Week: Flowers do not force their way with great strife. Flowers open to perfection slowly in the sun. – White Eagle

Trust in the inexhaustible character of the murmur. – Andre Breton

The quieter you become, the more you can hear. – Ram Dass

 

Resources Of The Week: Here are a couple of interesting reads for you.

Bethany Butzer shares a few idedas about effort and ease in her article, Stop Trying So Hard.

In the article, Ten Signs You Need To Stop Trying So Hard, Minda Zetlin writes about the pressure of pushing and forcing results in an article based on Todd Patkin’s book, Finding Happiness.

 

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

PAUSE – 14.19 – Five Ways to Perk Up Your Life

Sunny Smile With The Blues-wReflection: Back in January, a local TV station asked me to share a few ideas to help people cope with Blue Monday. That’s the Monday of the last full week in January – what is referred to by many as the most depressing day of the year.

While the Blue Monday pedigree is questionable, everyone has blue days and they don’t limit themselves to the month of January!

There’s no need to hold in reserve the strategies you can use to perk up your life when you’re feeling low.

 

Action: Here are five actions to perk up your life any time you need a boost: Read More…

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

PAUSE – 14.17 – Tune In Not Out

Focus road sign with dramatic blue sky and clouds.Reflection: Have you ever chatted with a companion whose eyes continually dart over your shoulder scanning the scene behind you?

You may have no idea what you are missing in the space behind you; but you know exactly what you’re missing in front of you. What’s absent is your companion’s full attention. It’s unnerving and disengaging.

Tracking background movement is not life’s only distraction. Mental preoccupation dilutes attention. So do computer screens, smart phones, televisions, and more.

Rapport suffers when one or both parties to a conversation are more absent than present. And a lack of attention from someone who is central to your life (boss, key colleague, mate or partner) can be especially problematic.

Participants in some of the sessions I facilitate tell me how powerful it can be when they set their multitasking habits aside and turn their full focus to the individual and issue at hand. Amazing things happen. Other people settle down, open up, and share what’s on their minds. People blossom under the warmth of their attention. Relationships flourish.

 

Action: Here’s what you can do to create a more conducive environment for some of the important conversations in your life. Read More…

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

This post was written by Pat Katz on April 30, 2014

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PAUSE – 14.16 – What Difference Will You Make Today?

Granville Island-72Reflection: While taking my morning walk along the riverbank trail, I came across a couple of staff from the Meewasin Valley Authority. They were working their way along the trail, emptying the garbage cans scattered throughout the park.

It’s a workplace setting that has a lot to offer especially on a warm spring day. You can’t beat the great outdoors with a river view.

Still, emptying trashcans can’t be the most pleasant job in the world. They’re jammed with sticky cans and bottles and the remnants of fast food lunches in the park. To top it off, they’re overflowing with stinky, leaky plastic bags of doggy do.

On my way past, I gave the fellas a wave of my hand. And then I thought, “I could do better than that!”

So I stopped in my tracks, turned around and said, “Hey, guys, thanks for all the work you do cleaning things up out here. It makes a big difference for all of us, and I really appreciate it!”

And they, in turn, stopped what they were doing, looked up, and rewarded me with two of the biggest grins I’ve seen in some time.

I smiled right back and carried on.

 

Action: And in that small exchange, I was reminded that it doesn’t take much to lift another’s spirits or make someone’s day. Read More…

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

Spring Special

Take A Bow CoverCropLooking for a tangible way to encourage and express your appreciation for others in your world?

The Take A Bow booklet (67 Ways To Pause For Applause, Celebrate Your Success, & Keep Your Spirits High) makes a great gift.

It has a much longer shelf life than flowers, and, unlike chocolate, it won’t add unwelcome pounds on the hips!

You’ve always been able to purchase individual copies and bundles of 30 or 100 at reduced prices.

For the month of April, you can take advantage of a Take A Bow Spring Special and pick up  bundles of 10 for 39.50.

Just click here to place your TAB Spring Special order.

PS – They make great gifts for Administrative Professional Day.

Posted under Appreciation

This post was written by Pat Katz on April 10, 2014

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