July/August 2008

A PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT NEWSLETTER FROM DR. RITA CAREY Take a Second Look: See what’s new at www.rcmassociates.com.

Career Enhancement

Dr. Rita Carey
Dr. Rita Carey, director of RCM Associates, is a Professional Development Coach with 15 years experience in Career Management. She has helped hundreds of individuals match their strengths, skills and abilities to their professional career choices. In her coaching practice, Rita assists clients with identifying those factors that influence career success and satisfaction. Her practice includes clients who want to improve career opportunities within their current organization by enhancing leadership skills, and clients who are considering a career change. Rita is a certified professional coach and has been described as warm, wise, smart and creative.

Sabbaticals for Everyone
here was a time when the word “sabbatical” was associated with professors taking a year off from their teaching duties to do research or write a book. Today, sabbaticals are for everyone: overworked corporate executives, stressed out entrepreneurs—just about anyone with the ingenuity to make it happen. The time off may help you find intellectual and spiritual renewal, allow you to transition to a new career, reenergize you for the work you already do or give you more time to bond with your family. In Escape 101: Sabbaticals Made Simple, Dan Clements and Tara Gignac tell us, “Your sabbatical is about living deliberately…. It’s about unlocking the part of you that you know is still there, but may have been afraid to acknowledge.” Get clear about what you really want to do with your time off and plan well so you get all you desire from it. Creative pursuits. Is it time to finally write that longcontemplated novel or take up the piano? Travel & adventure. How about a 3,000-mile bike trip across the U.S. or walking the Pacific Crest Trail? Educational. You might study French cuisine in Paris or Spanish poets in Guadalajara. Or stay home and pursue a new field of learning at your local college. Spiritual. Perhaps it’s an inner journey you’re after, a time of solitude, reflection and rejuvenation more easily found by camping out in the desert.

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Contribution. Volunteering for a group like Habitat for Humanity could be a life-changing form of service. Clearing the clutter. Is the backlog of clutter overwhelming you? How about catching up on the undone projects at home? Personal health. Maybe it’s time to deal with overdue health issues or get a handle on your diet and exercise.

The Big Buts
In Six Months Off—How to Plan, Negotiate, and Take the Break You Need Without Burning Bridges or Going Broke, Hope Dlugozima, James Scott and David Sharp identify the “Big Buts” that typically stop people from taking a sabbatical and offer ways to overcome them. Money. Get employers to foot the bill, find grants or eliminate monthly expenses. Time. Give up a bonus in exchange for a chunk of time off or plan your sabbatical to coincide with a slow business period or career crossroads. Objections from family and coworkers. Involve your family in sabbatical planning and be willing to compromise. Minimize the extra work coworkers fear taking on in your absence. Getting out of your comfort zone, courageously overcoming obstacles, honoring the parts of yourself that need attention and having new experiences are all sure to be highly rewarding and life-changing! ●

What Kind of Sabbatical Would You Like? fellowships, save money beforehand, and minimize or

Services Offered
Leadership Coaching: Assess behavioral strengths & challenges; identify & remove barriers to achieving business & career goals. Career Coaching: Assess skills & abilities; identify opportunities & develop a transition plan. Questions? Contact Rita for an “absolutely no obligation” conversation. Phone: 888-260-3173 rita@rcmassociates.com www.rcmassociates.com

Ways to Improve Your Work Environment
Our surroundings play an important role in how we feel and, consequently, how we perform. Here are 10 ways to make your work environment support your best work. 1. De-clutter. Do whatever it takes to bring order to your workspace. Clutter is the enemy of productivity. 2. Add flowers/plants. Living things help clean the air and clear the brain. Keep them within eyesight… and keep them fresh! 3. Focus on relationships. Unresolved conflicts with workmates can poison even the best workspace. 4. Eat healthy snacks. Forget the jelly beans, donuts and mochas. Bring fresh fruit, nuts and water to work, and watch your energy stay strong and level. 5. Take truly refreshing breaks. Walk outside, do some stretching, or sit quietly and breathe. 6. Get inspired. Keep artwork, great sayings or photos of loved ones nearby to keep you motivated. 7. Take ergonomics seriously. Make sure the alignment of your workstation and chair is optimal. 8. Examine your attitude. If you’re not enthusiastic about your work, see what needs changing: you or your work? 9. Exercise. Keep and use little things—such as small weights, stretch bands, etc.—in your office to break up your sitting and inactivity. 10. Set up systems. Whether for handling new clients, bookkeeping or taking phone messages, systems save time and help everything run smoothly. ●

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July/August 2008

Self-Quiz

Are You An Effective Multitasker?
5. I rarely (if ever) feel as though I don’t know what I accomplished at the end of a busy day. 6. Rather than feeling overwhelmed, focusing on multiple tasks gives me a sense of accomplishment. 7. I recognize my limits and know when to say “no” to accepting more tasks until I’ve sufficiently dealt with what’s at hand. 8. My colleagues never complain that I’m “going off in all directions.” Rather, they often ask how I manage juggling multiple responsibilities at once. 9. I have the right equipment, work environment and supports that allow me to multitask. 10. I have agreement and support from staff, colleagues, family, partners and peers to respect my focused work time. 11. When unexpected tasks or distractions come my way, I don’t feel overwhelmed—I prioritize and deal with them easily.
If you answered false more often than true, you may wish to enlist the help of an effective multitasker to bring more efficiency and free time into your life. Please don’t hesitate to call if you’d like support creating and executing a plan for doing this. ●

Some people swear by the efficiency of multitasking. Recently, however, some suggest that, not only is multitasking inefficient, it’s counterproductive. Whatever theory you ascribe to, humans seem “wired” to try to accomplish multiple tasks—ever since that first Type “A” cave-dweller tossed a tuber on the fire next to the roasted woolly mammoth to cook meat and potatoes at the same time. Nowadays, you don’t have to look further than the car drivers next to you to see how multitasking has evolved, as they try to negotiate traffic, consume coffee, and work their PDAs all at the same time. Take this self quiz to see how your multitasking skills rate.
True False

1. At the end of the day, my “to do” list is smaller than when my day began. 2. When completing multiple tasks simultaneously, I don’t combine tasks that require similar levels of concentration. For instance, I don’t try to listen, read and talk at the same time. 3. When completing multiple tasks simultaneously, I choose one task that requires focused attention and one that is “mindless.” For example, I stuff envelopes while listening to a teleconference. 4. While I’m in the process of completing more than one task, interruptions don’t throw me off track.

Relevant Reading
The Nonverbal Advantage: Secrets and Science of Body Language at Work, by Carol Kinsey Goman Executive Warfare: How to Pick Your Battles with Bosses, Allies, and Enemies—and Live to Get Promoted Another Day, by David D’Alessandro The Age Curve: How to Profit from the Coming Demographic Storm, by Kenneth Gronbach The Back of the Napkin: Solving Problems and Selling Ideas with Pictures, by Dan Roam Executive Stamina: How to Optimize Time, Energy, and Productivity to Achieve Peak Performance, by Marty Seldman and Joshua Seldman Does being a “lone wolf” in your business truly serve you?
© 2008 Claire Communications

“Every blunder behind us is giving a cheer for us, and only for those who were willing to fail are the dangers and splendors of life.”
—Carl Sandburg, poet

July/August 2008

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Dealing with Change at Work

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he world of work is changing at an extraordinary pace. The old rules no longer apply, and new rules are being written and rewritten all the time. These changes can be unsettling, whether they’re potential or actual, positive or negative. You may be gearing up for a promotion, staring at a wide open field of new prospective clients or launching new products and services. Or you may be hunkering down in the face of outsourcing, downsizing, mergers, takeovers, and local and global competition.

How We Respond to Change
As soon as something nudges you out of your regular routine, or challenges your understanding of how the world works and where you fit into it, it will likely trigger a deluge of feelings, including fear, anxiety, overwhelm, excitement, distraction or denial. In turn, these feelings can manifest in your behavior. You may, unconsciously, act out with aggressive or passiveaggressive communication, both at work and home. You might feel compelled to push yourself and others to overwork, or take the opposite approach and procrastinate, avoiding the work that’s on your plate. On a personal level, your self-care may suffer. You may reach for unhealthy substances or behaviors, get less sleep, skip meals or overindulge. You might cut yourself off from friends and family and spend more time alone or with other people who have unhealthy habits.

reaction to change, these mental abilities are affected as well. When you’re preoccupied, worried, and focused on the future instead of the present, it’s much harder to concentrate and apply your brainpower to what’s in front of you. Great leaders are admired for their serenity and confidence even in the face of uncertainty and upheaval. For many of us, though, when change is afoot serenity is far from our reach. Instead, emotions are much closer to the surface and can flare up at the most inopportune times. Whether you lash out, cry, or pound on your desk behind closed doors, it’s incredibly uncomfortable to feel so out of control. Consider, also, the impact on the people around you. Emotional outbursts, whether at work or home, can irrevocably damage your effectiveness, your reputation and your relationships.

The following questions are designed to broaden perspectives, to open vistas, to widen the lens. There is no one right way to approach them. You can journal about them, talk to friends, create art, ponder them while driving or working out, dance them—whatever helps you explore “outside the box.” 1. How does your ideal sabbatical look and feel? 2. What are you making more important than giving yourself needed time off? 3. What is your “Big But”? 4. How productive is your multitasking? 5. What does it cost you to multitask? 6. What would life be like if you did only one thing at a time? 7. What impact is your work environment having on you? What needs to change? 8. What is your relationship to change, be it positive or negative change? 9. What perspective would best serve you during times of change? 10. What would a life without change be like? 11. What can you do to take better care of yourself? 12. What would help you cultivate greater serenity? 13. What’s the relationship between serenity and surrender? 14. How do you know when it’s time to let go?

Strategies for Success
Here are five strategies to help you remain flexible, resilient and serene in the face of change: 1. Take care of your body. Eat well, sleep well and refrain from harmful habits like smoking, excessive drinking, recreational drugs or other risky behavior. 2. Take care of your mind. Stay in the present moment by practicing deep breathing and/or meditation. Challenge your negative thinking and keep things in perspective; when the doom and gloom sets in, ask, “How important is this, really?” 3. Keep your emotions in check. Find reasons to smile and laugh, even when you don’t feel like it—especially when you don’t feel like it! Funny movies, blogs or videos can help. Vent your negative feelings by exercising, banging on a drum or pounding on a pillow. 4. Treat others well. Strengthen your good relationships so you can draw on their support and work at your challenging relationships so they don’t add to your stress. 5. Take charge. Be proactive and prepare the best you can for the changes that might come, but then accept the reality of the moment. Think back to other challenges that you’ve come through and remind yourself that everything will work out okay this time, too. ●

The Impact
Both positive and negative stress can have immediate and long-term detrimental effects. Stress inhibits proper digestion and the absorption of nutrients, impairs your body’s ability to ward off germs and illness, can cause insomnia, and is guaranteed to worsen any preexisting health conditions. If you’re also engaging in unhealthy behaviors and poor self-care, you’re at an even higher risk for serious illness and injury. Dealing with change requires flexibility, resilience and an ability to think on your feet. Unfortunately, when you’re caught up in your

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July/August 2008

Cultivating Serenity in the Workplace and Beyond
he serenity prayer of Alcoholics Anonymous says that the key to serenity is accepting what you cannot change, changing what you can, and possessing the wisdom to know the difference. It’s a good prayer that covers a lot of ground, but how do you tell the difference between what you can and cannot change? Here are some things you DO have control over. Your actions. No one can “make” you do anything. If you’re unhappy with your behavior at work or at home, change it, make amends if necessary, chart a new course. Your words. Spoken or written, the words you choose impact your life and the lives of others. Choose your words carefully with workmates, colleagues, bosses, and clients, and quickly acknowledge any harm. Your beliefs. If you believe that others should take care of your needs, then you will be frustrated when they don’t. If you believe things must be a certain way, you’ll surely face disappointment. Your values. What’s important to you is your choice. No one else should tell you what to value. Spend some time clarifying your values and then aligning your work and life with them. Your work. No one else can contribute to the world in the same way as you. Do whatever it takes to find your work. Your friends. Those you associate with say a lot about what you

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think about yourself. You can choose friends who support you or those who bring you down. Your input. Select your sources of news and entertainment. If you feel adversely affected, turn off the computer, the TV, and/or ignore advertising. Fill downtime from work with other activities, such as leisurely walks, gardening (weeding can be especially helpful in managing anxiety), and cooking, or other creative pursuits. Your time. Though it may not always feel this way, you do choose every day how to use its 24 hours. Fill those hours with more of what you truly want, and watch your contentment rise. Your basic health. While you can’t control your genetic makeup, you can choose to exercise, sleep enough, eat healthy food, and get routine check-ups. While you’re at it, don’t forget your mental health. Treat yourself a little better; trust a little more that things will work out for you; if you need professional help don’t let pride stop you from asking. Your legacy. All that you choose while alive—your actions and words—will become the gift you leave when you die. What will be your legacy? ●

Rita Carey, Ed.D., CPCC

RCM Associates
Professional Development Coaching P.O. Box 175 Victor, NY 14564 888-260-3173 rita@rcmassociates.com www.rcmassociates.com To love what you do and feel that it matters, how could anything be more fun?
—Katherine Graham

“In the business world, the rearview mirror is always clearer than the windshield.”
—Warren Buffett, American investor, businessman and philanthropist

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