Who’s Helping Who?

I’ve written before about parenting in a pandemic and how our kids are actually helping us (read: the adults) cope with the way life has become. I’ve noticed that younger kids, specifically, have seemingly slid into this new normal with relative ease.

For example, my youngest son (just shy of 18 months) is happy to wear his mask and often asks for it before we get out of the car (disclaimer: he still takes it off after a while but remembers to hand it to me so he doesn’t lose it. I consider this a big win).

My middle son remembers to grab an extra mask when we leave the house, “just in case I need a new one while we’re out.”

And my oldest son is quick to point out when people aren’t wearing masks and come a little too close, or if they aren’t wearing their masks properly (“Grampie, you should have your mask over your nose…”).

It makes me sad this is part of our normal behavior, but equally as proud that we don’t have an argument about this every time we leave the house.

In fact, we had a conversation this weekend about wearing masks and why some people “just don’t do it.” My oldest pointed out, “it’s so easy and really doesn’t make that much of a difference.”

Oh, my heart.

Kids are resilient little creatures. And they have so much to share to help us grown-ups learn how to develop our stamina and grit so we can show up smarter and ready to handle life’s challenges and changes.

Here are three things my sons have taught me about adjusting to change.

  1. It’s not really that different. Even if the change we’re experiencing is a big one, I’ve been amazed at the ease with which my kids seem to accept change (and they certainly don’t greet change with open arms). Big changes like when we grew from a family of 3 to 4, then to 5, or when we had to stay home because of the pandemic. Or even little changes like removing the big kid toys from the playroom until their little brother could be trusted to play with them. They just roll with it, accepting it as the new normal and seeing it as a thing that has to be done. This approach has taught me that even when you experience a change, even if it feels uncomfortable for a minute, it will just become normal to you if you let it. Acceptance of what is gives room to decide how to accommodate it. Fighting with what is just makes life tougher than it needs to be.
  2. Control yourself, especially if you can’t control the situation. Kids are basically instructed on what they can and can’t do; it’s part of growing up. They learn the rules of what constitutes acceptable behavior. But somewhere along the way of growing up, we forget these rules and often find ourselves angry and frazzled at the world when change is thrust on us. I previously wrote about one ER trip with my middle son: my boys couldn’t control the situation, but they could control themselves. Instead of being upset or angry that our routine was interrupted, they saw the trip to the ER as an adventure and were visibly vibrating with excitement. This constantly reminds me that despite whatever life shares with me, I will not always have control over the situation, but I will always have the requirement to manage how I think about it. The situation may not be mine to control, but my attitude about the situation will always be mine to control.
  3. Make it fun! Sometimes a change can be hard and, try as you might, things still feel uncomfortable. Without realizing it, I made a snide remark in front of my kids about my store-bought mask that kept slipping off my face. Their response: “why don’t you make one that looks like ours? Can you!? We can all match!!” Done, kids. Done. We are now a family of homemade mask wearers and, because I’m a mom of boys, we have matching construction, race car and Avengers masks (coming soon: Paw Patrol, Red Sox and general sports themes). Always ask, what could make this better? or what could make this fun? Even tough situations are hosts to new and fun things if we can learn to see them.

Life is what you make it. If you choose to fight against every change life shares with you, you’ll be miserable and uncomfortable. But if you allow yourself to see the opportunities that come from change, you’ll find the adjustment period doesn’t take long at all.

Take Action
Reflect on a recent change you experienced. How did you respond to the change? What worked? What didn’t work?

Recognize when you fight change because you feel like you have a lack of control and instead see how you can control yourself. The result will be a happier and, admittedly, a more relaxed version of you.

By Kristin Allaben

Consider reading Rebounding from Tough Times Starts With You

Return to the Blog

What if it Were Up to You?

My dad was a wise man. Of the many gems he shared over my lifetime, one remains with me clearer than all others. He said, “Your job is not to change the world, only the piece of it you touch.”

That line has been remarkably helpful as I am aware of the extreme number of things in our lives that need attention. Global warming, country unity, personal respect and acceptance, resilience in tough times, racial inequality, political division – the list is overwhelming.

With an agenda this great, it is easy to inspire feelings of helplessness and hopelessness, leading you to throw your hands up in the air and say, “Why bother?” At least until you remember my father’s guidance.

His statement is as much a statement of purpose as it is mindfulness. It is our job to pay attention on purpose, noticing where we are at this moment, and asking the question, “What could I do to make this (whatever is right in front of me) better?” Not the whole world, but just this piece, right here, right now.

Supporting my dad’s perspective is the wisdom of the Chinese Confucian philosopher, Mencius. He shared that we would like the world to be stable and predictable. That good things happen to good people. But in fact, the world is actually more unstable and capricious. Tough things happen. Bad things happen to good people. We can be disappointed by this, or we can realize that in the presence of tough times, there is the opportunity for us to improve what is right in front of us – to continually make things better. Not that we each have to be responsible for making everything better, but rather just the things that cross our paths. And these improvements can activate the performance and commitment of others.

So, improving the world (because there is always something needing improving) is not up to you. However, improving your piece of this world (your relationships with people who don’t agree with you, your use of power and natural resources, your acknowledgement of others’ greatness, your appreciation for others’ diversity) is up to you and can make a profound difference. The goal is not to be discouraged by the lack of large progress, but to focus on consistent, local, small progress. That is yours to see, own and do.

We have a lifetime to stop and notice the things around us and make a commitment to improve them. And, as the flame of one candle can light thousands of other candles, your work to make things better in the piece of the world you touch can activate the same spirit to make the larger and necessary global changes.

Take Action
See the value in doing your part. What can you do today, right now to make the piece of the world you touch better? How will you not look at the massive scope of our challenges and problems and get discouraged?

Stop and notice the areas that you can influence today. Start here. Make a commitment to stop and notice yourself and your world, and continually ask, “What could I do to make this better?” Then go do it.

By Jay Forte

Consider reading How to Make the Most of Tough Situations

Return to the Blog

Slow Down So You Can Speed Up

Can you sometimes be too focused? Can you be so fixated on something that you exclude other options and opportunities?

As a Coach, helping people set goals is just part of my day. Clarity about what people want and need in their work and lives is essential for knowing where to head and building a successful plan to get there. As Stephen Covey shared in Habit 2 of his Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, “Begin with the end in mind.” Great wisdom.

But I have seen this get taken too far. Some people’s stamina and grit to achieve what they have in their sights makes them miss even greater opportunities and options around them. With their eye on the prize, their intense focus makes them blind to all of the information circling around them. In a constantly changing world, it is critical to learn how to slow down, review what is present, adjust as necessary then get back on the road with greater and more effective speed and progress.

My guidance to all of us in this moment when we are regularly encouraged to be resilient, build our stamina and grind our way through tough times is to stop and notice, then consider, choose and act.

Stop means take a breath. Interrupt you habit approach to more intentionally Notice yourself and your world. What has changed in you? Does the goal you’re working toward still have the same meaning? What has changed around you? What new information is worth considering?

Interrupting what we always do allows us to take our blinders off and expose ourselves to a larger view of this moment. From that space, other options and opportunities present themselves. They are there for us to Consider.

Consider means to think about the new information shared with you and what you could do with it. How does it change your goal? How does it offer a new and more efficient approach to the goal? How does it provide something you had not previously thought about? In the moment of taking a breath, the view of the world could change, saving you from a difficult time or offering you something more dynamic. Slow down and let your world talk you.

Now with a greater number of things considered, Choose what you want to do and Act on it. This could look like where you were already headed with a little more clarity or focus, or it could be something entirely new. Regardless, you’ve gained greater clarity as you continue moving down your achievement path.

Take Action
Many of us have learned to just push through hard times. Though stamina and grit are great skills, they can distract you from a mindful and thoughtful approach to a changing world. As the ancient Greek philosophers told us, “nothing too much.” In other words, manage what and how you do things to be your most effective.

Interrupt your normal approach by implementing a daily or weekly Stop to create the time and space to Notice you and your world. Assess what is new or different. What information does it have for you? From an expanded view, Consider what new options or opportunities are available. Choose what makes sense then ramp back up and go Act to make progress.

Regularly slow down to review so that when you speed up, you are making each forward step count.

By Jay Forte

Consider reading Managing Your Self-Talk

Return to the Blog

Rebounding from Tough Times Starts With You

“You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think,” says the great author A. A. Milne. These aren’t just words. They are a reminder that the way out of any tough time starts with you.

Most of us have been led to believe that we don’t have what it takes to get up when the world pushes us down. We have been taught that we are weak and should therefore rely on others, our institutions or even our faith. But there’s a common denominator in all of this: any movement forward starts with you. For that, you must learn to know yourself and believe yourself capable, even in difficult times.

Most of my clients come to me not believing they have what it takes to achieve or address the thing that has brought them to me. They can’t see their way out of a challenge. They can’t achieve something that always seems out of reach.

My conversation with them starts by shifting their focus from the external (the thing they want to achieve or address) to the internal (the strengths, talents, passions and values that make them who they are).

A large part of why life seems so difficult for many people is they are unaware of how expansive they are – braver, stronger and smarter. We can’t rely on some of amazing attributes to help us through tough times if we don’t know them. That requires self-discovery and self-awareness. So, I guide my clients to start their work by developing a larger understanding of the abilities they have available to them at any moment, and to employ those abilities as needed. When they do this, they start to realize that many of life’s events that had been able to derail or distract them can be more easily handled.

Here are several of the activities I recommend to my clients to expand what they know of themselves.

  • Take a personality or abilities assessment to provide practical language of your abilities, including an introduction to abilities you may have been unaware you possess.
  • Journal your thoughts and feelings as events happen. Over time you will see your true nature and abilities come through in your thoughts.
  • Answer questions like
    • What do others applaud me for?
    • When I feel confident/successful, what am I doing?
    • When I am fully engaged and having a great time what am I doing?
    • When I make a difference that matters, what am I doing?
    • If you were to introduce yourself to someone new, what five of my attributes would I share?
  • When you find yourself avoiding or ignoring something, stop and notice why you are acting this way.
  • Ask a family member or friend to share their view of your greatest abilities and where they see you using them.

As you gather information, summarize it so you can start to see an expanding understanding of yourself. Now with greater personal awareness, look at a tough situation and ask yourself, “Which of my abilities will help me here?” This shift from feeling challenged about the situation to addressing it head-on by using your expanded abilities activates your energy, confidence and success.

Sure, there will be some extremely tough events in life – some larger than any of us. But most of what we feel are challenging situations take on this feeling because we fail to see that we are braver, stronger and smarter than we believe ourselves to be. We just need to know more about ourselves.

Take Action
It is up to you to navigate yourself through all of the situations in life, both the easy ones and the tough ones. The easy ones build your energy. The tough ones require your energy. Fuel yourself with knowledge about who you are (through self-discovery work) so that you have it ready to go when life asks more of you.

By Jay Forte

Consider reading Why Everyone Needs a Snapshot

Return to the Blog

Parents: Know When It’s Time to Take a Break

I’ve been burned out a lot in my career and nothing has compared to the pure burnout I’ve felt as a working parent over the past year. I think a lot of parents can relate. In fact, I’ve seen a slew of articles over the past few weeks that talk about parenting burnout and, in conversations I’ve had with friends and family, we’ve all come to the same conclusion: DUH.

Though it’s encouraging to know we’re not alone in these challenging times, it’s equally as frustrating. Why is it that parents are expected to do so much and take on even more now when the world is spinning backward and upside down?

I asked myself this question a lot recently and I realized something very important. I used the word expected. It made me ask another question: who is expecting me to do all of this?

The answer was surprising: me.

I expected to work full time, while having all three of my kids home and stuck inside during the cold winter months. I expected to be able to have a healthy, home cooked meal on the table every night and see all of my kids eat it every time. I expected to have every household chore done so there was no dust build up and no one had to look for clean underwear or a specific pair of pants. I expected my kids to work through their challenges without resulting in a brawl every time.

I set these expectations. And when I couldn’t achieve them, I felt deflated, defeated and angry. I got short with people – my kids and husband especially. I wouldn’t answer the phone with my family called because I didn’t want to end up in a fight with them about something dumb.

I was tired and I was burned out because I created unrealistic expectations. I expected myself to be supermom when even a true superhero couldn’t achieve the things I had on my daily to-do list.

I know that every parent is in the same yet very different situation. We’re all trying to navigate working and childcare and home life. It’s HARD. And when we have these heavy expectations on our shoulders, it feels harder.

I’m challenging every parent to try something new this week: TAKE A BREAK.

Working through burnout in the working world is so different from burnout as a parent. At work, you take a break, literally. You leave for a few days. You logout. You disconnect.

But how can you take a break when your kids need you all day every day? How can you take a break when you’re balancing work calls with the next Zoom call for your Kindergartener who really shouldn’t be left unattended at the laptop? How can you take a break when everything (*gestures vaguely*) needs to get done?

Start here: breathe.

Starting from that breath, consider these tips to give yourself the break you need to work through parenting burnout in a mindful way:

  1. Recognize Control. You cannot have complete control over every single person, event or situation in your life. Not possible. You can, however, control how you respond to those things. I like to think of it like this: you can’t control a situation, but you can control how you respond to it. The bickering from your kids. The double-booked Zoom meetings. The baskets of laundry waiting to be folded and put away. If you are able to control it, do something about it. If you can’t control it, change your attitude about it.
  2. Change Your Attitude. Oof. Writing that made my head spin. I can’t tell you how many times I heard that growing up and how many times I say it to my boys. But here’s the truth: your attitude in any situation inspires your actions. If you’re angry, I bet you’re more likely to yell than to have a calm conversation. If you’re exhausted and defeated, you’re probably going to be short and avoid talking or dealing with something. Check in with yourself to see what your attitude is like and notice why you have that attitude. What inspired it? How productive is it? Are you more interested in venting or solving? That attitude will influence your thoughts and actions. Choose wisely.
  3. Give Yourself Some Space. You know when you need to separate the kids to give them some space from each other? It’s time you do that for yourself. Create a time or place where you get your space. Whether it’s for 10 minutes or 4 hours, commit to this. This is time for you to intentionally recharge without worrying about who is fighting or what work isn’t getting done. This is for you. The only way you can get here, though, is to see yourself and this space as critical to your mental health. In that space, have a list of things you do to create a moment of rest, Zen, peace or joy. This could include a connection to a hobby, a call to a friend, a favorite snack or beverage, journaling or even some time in nature. Remember that this space is for you to reconnect and breathe, not to ruminate on the things that still need to be done. Remember, you are worth it.

Take Action
Parenting burnout is the most extreme level of tired I’ve ever experienced in my life, and finding time to take a much needed break is hard. But when you commit to checking in with yourself, you’ll find that the flame that you thought was long gone is actually still there, just waiting for some fuel to help it grow bigger.

By Kristin Allaben

Consider reading Your Check Engine Light

Return to the Blog

How to Rally in Tough Times

There are some events in life that seem to knock the wind out of us. Things like a bad performance review at work or an unexpected job termination. Things like a foreclosure, a divorce or a tough diagnosis. These events feel personal. When they happen, we feel like we have been punched in the gut.

But, as the sun rises each day, we must also rise up and keep moving, regardless of how we feel. As we have seen throughout the pandemic, those who succeed are the ones who learn how to develop the stamina to deal head-on with what life sends and the grit to find a solution, even in the toughest of times. They rally because they know how to move past the challenges and see the opportunities. This empowers and engages them to keep moving forward.

As a Coach, I regularly engage with clients who are trying to reconnect to their mojo – to rally in tough times. Here is some of the advice and guidance I share.

  1. Shift your attitude to one that is about rebounding and taking action. Regardless of how it feels, remember that tough times are not personal. Life doesn’t have you in its crosshairs; it is what it is. This is an important realization to be able to move past the feeling of being a victim and start to identify your feelings. Why do you feel the way you do? Try saying it out loud to help you better understand it. Feelings inspire your attitude, which then affects your thoughts and actions, so make time to understand and acknowledge your feelings to be able to move past them. Once you’re clear about what you are feeling, check in on your attitude. Optimistic attitudes create the space to feel energized to deal with what needs to be done. Pessimistic attitudes just hold you back. Shifting your attitude to something more productive will help you refocus your thoughts and actions to things that are more productive.
  2. Refocus on the goal. Now with a more positive attitude, refocus or recommit to the goal. Clarity about what you want and need to achieve can inspire you to get back up and keep moving. See the value in your goal. Imagine what it will feel like when it is achieved and use this energy to get excited and rally.
  3. Engage your support network. Since life and work are tough, develop and rely on your support network to help you manage your attitude, to see things clearly and support you as you work to make things happen. The phrase, “none of us is as smart as all of us,” should serve as a reminder to you to engage with others to solicit ideas and new approaches. Your support network will be more inclined to support and help the optimistic version of you instead of the complaining, pessimistic you.

Take Action
On its best day, life and work are tough, even if we love what we do. Things happen that seem to sucker punch us or knock us down. It is in these exact moments that call on you to see that you have what it takes to understand, direct and respond in a way that makes the best out of what is happening. Stamina and grit are needed in today’s world. They are success skills.

Tune in to your feelings. Understand them. Shift your attitude to one that will support you. Get refocused on what you are trying to achieve and then engage others to help you rally and get back in the game. Then, as life sends other sucker punches (and it will), you will be more aware that you have what it takes to rally and persevere.

By Jay Forte

Consider reading Go Center Yourself

Return to the Blog

Stamina and Grit: What Does this Mean to You?

When you hear the words “stamina” and “grit,” what type of response does it elicit in you?

How does it make you feel?

What does it make you think?

Here’s what we think:

  • Stamina, for many of us, means you can last longer. As a recent spin-fanatic, stamina and endurance go hand-in-hand. I’ve done more than my fair share of interval workouts and every coach talks about building up your endurance so you can be stronger to last longer. This is based in your physical capacity.
  • Grit, for many of us, means fighting through it. To grin and bear it. To have the mental ability to push through. To shift your mind, driving toward the outcome you want. This is based in your mental capacity.

Stamina and grit are words that show up over and over when people find they are faced with challenges and obstacles. And based on where we are in the world today, we thought this would be a great theme for us to focus on over the next few weeks.

So, for the purpose of our Stamina & Grit theme, we’re defining Stamina as endurance in tough times and Grit as determination in tough times.

Perhaps the most surprising revelation we have for you today is this: you have stamina and grit. How does it show up for you? And how do you develop it so it is ready for when you need it?

Take Action
This week, if you find yourself faced with a challenge, however big or small, remind yourself you have the endurance and determination to work through it, to drive toward the outcome you want.

Follow these steps:

  1. Clearly define the challenge and what your desired outcome looks like.
  2. Define what this challenge needs from you – both physically and mentally (how do you need your stamina and grit to show up?).
  3. Assess your degree of each right now so you can determine how to move forward (do you need more stamina and grit? Less? A little of one and less of another?).
  4. Define your action steps to use these important skills in today’s challenging moments.

By Kristin Allaben

Consider reading Create Your Stopper

Return to the Blog

When the Bully Boss Intrudes at Home

A majority of the working world does their work from home. When we were all sent to the safety of our homes at the start of the COVID pandemic last year, organizations rushed to find a way to ensure the work would still get done. And a lot of them succeeded.

But there was an unforeseen consequence to the shift to the remote world: inviting the Bully Boss into your home.

A Bully Boss is one of the most challenging bullies people can face in their lives. They’re mean and ruthless, unafraid to point out a person’s flaws to the largest audience possible without offering any guidance into how improvements can be made. They’re loud, they scream and they’re quick to anger. They can be manipulative and love to point the finger instead of accepting blame or admitting mistakes.

Though this sounds like any type of bully, the big difference in a schoolyard bully and a Bully Boss is this: they have a direct impact on your ability to make a living.

For this reason, many people just grin and bear it, pushing through the mental beating day after day because they need the paycheck. And they look forward to the end of the day when they can escape to the restorative place they call home. Some would call this a hostile workplace.

When you work for a Bully Boss, your home becomes your safe haven, your sanctuary, the place where you can escape from their wrath and get refocused and re-energized before the next day.

But now that you work at home? Your Bully Boss has direct access to you any time they want. They’ve intruded into your safe space, erasing the line you precariously drew to keep work and life separate for your mental wellbeing.

So how do you manage the Bully Boss when your safe haven is now your workspace?

Here are 3 ways to shift your mindset to manage the presence of the Bully Boss in your home.

1. Find your voice.
Up until now, actively trying to avoid the Bully Boss, especially if they were having a particularly bad day, became almost an office game. Just like buzzword bingo, the game created a sense of unity with those you worked with. People would tell you where the Bully Boss was headed or where they were so you could take the long way around. You knew to keep your head down and avoid eye contact.

But now, when the Bully Boss wants you, there’s no hiding. They have direct access to you. They can email you repeatedly, ping you on a messenger app or use Zoom for face-to-face discussions. There’s little escape here. This may seem particularly daunting, especially when you lose your squad; no one has insight into who the Bully Boss will zoom in on next.

But when you’re at home, you’re able to tap into a unique strength: your space. You can decide how you will and won’t be treated in your own home. Use this as your launching pad to decide the type of language and behavior you expect in your home and embody it. Use it to find your voice.

This doesn’t necessarily mean telling them off. Start small. Recognize the tone you’re using and the words you choose to use. Keep your language positive and upbeat. Lean into that restorative energy your home provides to use your voice in a productive way. Sometimes, that positive shift in your voice unintentionally boosts your confidence and can easily rub off on those around you.

2. Take control of your image.
I mean this literally. Since so many organizations rely on Zoom and other video chat options to engage with each other face-to-face, take control of the image you want your Bully Boss – and other colleagues – to see. When you dial into a video call, you know everyone looks at the image behind you, so think ahead: what do you want them to see? Whether it’s your home office organized or decorated a certain way, or even just a personalized background image, take control of the image you project. Similar to your word choice and tone, knowing you control your image can also create a confidence boost, letting you show up stronger and more engaged, regardless of what the Bully Boss might be throwing your way.

3. You don’t live with them.
At the end of the day, it’s all about perspective. Yes, they are still your boss and yes, they have intruded on your private space. But here’s the great silver lining: you don’t live with them. You can log off and walk away from your desk with the peace of mind that they don’t live there. If nothing else, this should give you an instant boost in morale and confidence that you can control just how much they see of your space and how much you’re willing to let their behavior impact you in your own home.

Though these tips are helpful to manage your response and approach to dealing with a Bully Boss, sometimes, your physical and mental health are threatened and you requires an intentional next step: be prepared to make a change if necessary. It all comes down to your physical, mental and emotional health. Remember the adage, “people quit people before they quit companies.” If you like working at your company, determine if you can transfer to a different department or team. If you’re looking for a completely fresh start, create a list of potential organizations that would be a fit for you and start exploring new options.

You are worth the support, care and encouragement of a great boss. You never should put up with a bully – anywhere in life – but particularly in the workplace.

Do you work for a Bully Boss? Take our quiz to find out.

By Kristin Allaben

Consider reading How You Act Won’t Influence How I Show Up

Return to the Blog

The Rush of it All

The alarm goes off at 5 a.m.
It’s time to get up to exercise.
It may just seem trivial to some
That I try manage these wide family thighs.

Then off to the shower to get ready for the day
Before the kids start to yell for me,
I’ll be lucky if I’m dressed with my hair all brushed
Before the first one barges in to go pee.

Ok, where are your clothes? It’s time to get dressed!
It’s like a new game every day.
They travel to each other’s rooms
Leaving toys in their wake as they play.

Into the kitchen for some breakfast
Quick! Before the hangry sets in.
Bickering over what to eat and who eats first
As I sidestep toys ejected from the toy bin

Then it’s off to the races! We’re late again.
How did it take so long to put on your shoes?
The car, at least, is warm this very cold morning
Oh great, the baby just went poo.

Back into the house for a quick diaper change
The other two yell “it’s time to go, hurry up!”
Oh dear, they’re sounding more like me every day
And in the exit rush I forget my fragrant coffee cup.

The ride to school is uneventful
Not usually the norm.
Then we get there and, oh geez, what did you forget?
I swear, one day, they will take this world by storm.

Then a shift of the mindset
As I set off on my way to work,
But incessant reminders of what to do at home
In my mind it all lurks.

And just like that, it’s time to go home
The day goes by in a flash.
The to do list for work is somehow longer now
Things in work and in life do nothing but clash.

A review of the day with each of the kids
And a snack, or two or three
Then I make a healthy dinner
That, realistically, the only one who will eat is me.

A quick clean up as I clear the table
And the kids all set off to play.
I cringe as I hear the sound of things crashing
Knowing I’ll find toys left where they lay.

We clean the playroom together
Then it’s time for tubbies, our prayers and books.
They ask for one more story
And exchange mischievous looks.

I see through their ploy, I know this game!
I was a kid once, too.
I kiss each of them on their heads
And tell them “I love you.”

I close the door behind me,
Running through what still needs to get done.
Then I power through the must-dos
So I can try to get in a late run.

Ok, the run won’t happen,
I have to get back to work.
I open the laptop and find 25 new emails!?
“Pretend you don’t see them,” I think with a smirk.

But the responsible side of me wins out
Just like it always seems to do.
Then work is all done and I’m finally in bed,
When a little voice yells, “Mommy, I need you!”

I shuffle to his room to see what I can do
To help him get back to sleep.
And though I’m exhausted and can barely think,
Him snuggled up against me is a treasure I will always keep.

As I lay there,  a list of things to do swirl in my mind
And some, I know, just can’t wait.
So at 2:30 a.m., I head downstairs
To throw in some cookies to bake.

Might as well get some laundry done, too
I think to myself as I wait.
Oh my God, did I just make cookies?
I think I promised them cupcakes!

Tasks are done, I’ve read for a bit.
Now I head back upstairs to bed.
My alarm starts to ding, it’s 5 a.m. already?
I sigh, “Let’s go,” I say to myself in my head.

Though busy and sometimes crazy
At this moment, this is just the way.
There is always so much to do
But I wouldn’t change a single moment from any of our days.

So the lesson for you is that in the rush of all,
Don’t forget to stop and notice the little things that make up your day.
The kids who lovingly call you Mom,
And the way they still ask you to come play.

The chores will always be there,
The laundry, the dishes and the toys to be picked up.
But you can get caught up in the rush of it all
If you don’t remember to look up.

 

Be the Problem-Finder

“Don’t go looking for problems that don’t exist.”

“Don’t make a mountain out of mole hill.”

How many times have we been told in our lives to not make an issue bigger than it needs to be? And sure, this is great when you’re working through a challenge, you’re stuck in a rut or you’re just working through big emotions. The reminder that a specific event doesn’t need to be your mountain to climb can help you get through it.

But consider this: the problem-finders are often the greatest innovators in the world.

I read an article recently that highlighted that the combination of technology, innovators and the coronavirus has created a seismic shift in the way we work, learn and live. We were challenged to finding ways to work from home, to learn from home and to navigate challenges of life all at the same time.

And we found a way.

This is because, at our core, we can all be problem solvers.

The people, however, who take this to the next level, who seek out the problems waiting to happen, are the innovators.

So let’s imagine that instead of telling our children to stop looking for problems, to stop asking questions or to stop looking for trouble, what if we let them do it? What if we encouraged our kids to not only call out a problem, but learn to be accountable to at least start to solve it? Stop and notice what is going on in your world, consider what could improve it, then act to make it better.

I bet we’d inspire a new generation of problem-finders and problem solvers – some call these entrepreneurs – ready to create a product or service for something we never knew we needed but now can’t live without.

What if we encouraged our kids to find that mountain to climb and challenged them to keep asking questions?

Imagine what a world this could be.

Take Action
The next time you find yourself helping your kid(s) find a solution to a problem, ask yourself why. Are you doing it because they are struggling? Or is it because they’re taking too long?

If you’re honest with yourself, you’ll probably find the answer is that they are taking too long. Give them space and time to seek out their own answers and they’ll most likely surprise you with what they come up with. It helps them develop their self-belief, a skill that will serve them well throughout life.

Try doing this for yourself, too. Don’t get frustrated when you can’t figure something out. Try various mindful practices. Go for a walk. Journal. Shift your brain entirely. When you aren’t forcing a solution to show up in a specific amount of time, you just might find the game changer.

By Kristin Allaben

Consider reading How to Solve Any Challenge You Face (Really!)

Return to the Blog

1 2 3 26
RSS feed
Connect with us on Facebook
TWITTER
Follow Me
Connect with us on LinkedIn