Posts tagged with ‘personal change’

21 sep

Technology vs. Instinct and Common Sense: Are Smart Phones Making Us Stupid?

Kerrigan2I live in New York–one of the most fast-paced and exciting places in the world. It can also be one of the most dangerous places too. You need to be on your toes here, and aware of your surroundings. Otherwise, the consequences could be severe, even fatal.

However, one thing I’m noticing more and more lately is the rising addiction to smart phones, and people looking down, when they should be looking up. Smart phones are called that because of their technical capabilities. But are they harming our human capabilities? Our instinct and common sense?

I realized that, in the last month alone, I’ve seen 5 people almost get hit by bikes, cars, or taxis as they cross the streets in midtown, oblivious to the world around them.  And, recently, I read that the number of teens who are dying or being injured as a result of texting while driving is skyrocketing. In fact, texting is now surpassing drinking and driving as the prime hazard among that age group. And from what I see on the road, I can imagine the numbers are rising in adult accidents and fatalities too.

Then there’s another, less life-threatening , more career-threatening habit: Employees texting and tweeting while their bosses or company CEOs are speaking.  Or commenting on facebook when they should be working.

There are also the people dining out and gathering at bars everywhere, glued to their tiny screens and unaware of the life-sized action around them.  And, how many of us are so busy focusing on capturing a photo for facebook instead of actually experiencing and enjoying the moment? Just think of the last concert or public event you attended—did your smart phone make a guest appearance?

All this has led me to wonder:

Is all this reliance on technology endangering our lives?

Are we losing our ability to read a room and read the street? To hold a face-to-face conversation?  To listen and comprehend? Are our natural instincts, common sense and early warning devices being jeopardized by our handheld devices? Are we letting social media replace social grace, and distraction replace engagement, costing us our jobs, our friends, our experiences and our lives?

In other words: are our smart phones making us stupid?

Maybe it’s time to put the phones down, look up, and find out.

Copyright 2013 Michelle Kerrigan

Michelle Kerrigan is an expert in workplace success who helps clients develop the practical skills and confidence they need for high performance and productivity.

Based on her 25 years’ leadership experience, Michelle provides an invaluable road map for conquering fear and doubt, navigating change and solving day-to-day challenges, resulting in higher efficiency, improved leadership and teamwork, and stronger professional and revenue growth. Michelle also writes and speaks on the impact self esteem has on success, and produces a series for public TV, entitled Workplace Confidence. More at and

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Michelle Kerrigan on September 21st, 2013 in Career, Global/Social Change, Health, Personal Stories, Technology | No comments Read related posts in , , , , , , , ,

04 sep

Problem Generating vs. Problem Solving: Choosing the Right Path to Confidence and Success

Kerrigan2Life is filled with change. It is also filled with choice. Success is largely based on the choices we make when facing change.

Many of the changes we face are not welcome and quite challenging, such as getting laid off; going through a restructuring; and doing more with less at work. And, many of us believe that if we worry enough, we can control the outcome.

Well, we can’t. No one can. The only thing we control is ourselves, and how we react to change: Our thoughts and actions. Confidence is all about self control.

When we face change, we come to a fork in the road, and choose from 2 paths: The problem generating path and the problem solving path.

The problem generating path is where we create problems by being too negative. We lose confidence on this path, and we lose our way. It’s where we:

  1. Dwell on the past
  2. Worry about the future
  3. Doubt ourselves
  4. Shut down
  5. Get stuck

“Dwell” is the operative word here. It’s natural to feel anxious and fearful at first. In fact, discomfort often drives change. But, when we dwell on the negative, we mentally go around and around and come out at the same place—nowhere.

Let’s take getting laid off and having to job hunt as an example. Dwelling on the negative may sound like this: “Eh—it’s still the summer—not a great time to look for a job. I really don’t feel like doing this. I really miss my old team. I hate interviewing. I hate networking. I’m not good at either. I’m still upset that they let me go. Is there something wrong with me? Can I really do this? What if I can’t find anything? What if I fail?”

Sound familiar? Doesn’t get us very far, does it?

Now, let’s look at the problem solving path. When we problem solve, we gain confidence. We move forward and succeed. It’s on this path that we:

  1. Acknowledge and accept our fears
  2. Take control—talk ourselves through it
  3. Begin to think positively
  4. Ask “What are our next steps?”
  5. Take action
  6. Turn fear and doubt into planning and action

This path helps us deal instead of dwell. We take control, think empowering thoughts, ask better questions and take action.

It may sound like this: “OK—I might not be thrilled with job hunting, but I’m not going to let that stop me. First, I’m going to educate myself about the companies that I like. Then, I’m going to brush up on my interview skills and reach out to my connections and ask ‘Who can help me?’”

See how it changes? Which path holds us back and which one takes us forward and closer to our goals?

Change is coming at all of us at breakneck speed, and the velocity is increasing. Who knows what the future will bring?

So, our ability to deal with change –by making better choices, and problem solving, not problem generating —will have a big impact on our confidence and success.

It’s time to take control–we are in for the ride of our lives!

Copyright 2013 Michelle Kerrigan

Michelle Kerrigan is an expert consultant and coach in workplace success who helps corporate and private clients develop the practical skills and confidence they need to improve their performance and productivity.

Based on her 25 years’ leadership experience, Michelle provides an invaluable road map for conquering fear and doubt, navigating change and solving day-to-day challenges. Michelle writes and speaks on the impact self esteem has on success, and produces a series for public TV, entitled Workplace Confidence. More at and

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Michelle Kerrigan on September 4th, 2013 in Career, Global/Social Change, New Directions | No comments Read related posts in , , , , , , ,

24 jul

Effort Is not a Dirty Word – Five Big Pay-offs that Make it Worth Your While

RenitaKalhorn“Lose 10 pounds in 10 days — without diet or exercise!” “Win the lottery, live a life of ease!” “Click here to meet the man of your dreams!

Poof! Just like that, we’re rich, thin, in love and, presumably, happy. Except, we’re not.

And yet, each time we fall for – or are at least tempted by — the lure of the quick fix because we want to believe that we can have it all, instantly, without breaking a sweat.

Why We Avoid Effort
Just like Charlie Brown believing that, this time, Lucy will hold the football so he can kick it, you’d think we’d know better by now. So why are we so attached to the illusion of gliding through life, no effort required?

Well, for one, changing the status quo means we have to leave the familiar comfort of inertia. We have to acknowledge that there is no quick fix and whatever we want to achieve is going to require time and energy.

Next, there’s the discomfort of uncertainty: the nature of effort requires that we persist without a guarantee of success or that we’ll even get the result we’re striving for. We might even, ugh, make mistakes. Not committing full effort provides a handy fall back: “Well, I could have done it if I had really been trying.”

Then there are those who believe in the power of talent — that you either have natural ability or you don’t and there’s not much point in making an effort if you’re not naturally gifted.

Finally, effort is not glamorous; typically, it involves the mundanity of repetition and attention to detail. And in our highly automated, consumerist culture, where the media depicts models looking vaguely bored and above it all, it’s simply not cool to look like you’re trying that hard.

Why Effort Is Worth It
Before you settle back into the couch with your remote though, let me point out a few things that make effort worthwhile.

Effort gives life meaning. In her book, Mindset: The Psychology of Success, psychologist Carol Dweck says: “Effort means you care about something, that something is important to you and you are willing to work for it. It would be an impoverished existence if you were not willing to value things and commit yourself to working toward them.” (For those of you wondering about the meaning of life, there it is.)

Effort forges connection. That’s what Boing Boing founder Mark Frauenfelder and his family thought. Suffering post dot-com bubble burnout, they set out to cut through the absurd chaos of materialistic modern life and find a path that was simple, direct, and clear. In his book Made by Hand: Searching for Meaning in a Throwaway World, Frauenfelder tells the story of keeping chickens in his own remote-controlled chicken coop, making a guitar out of a cigar box and keeping his own bees. The reward for their self-induced labors? Greater perceived value and lasting enjoyment.

Effort trumps talent. Benjamin Barber, an eminent sociologist, once said: “I don’t divide the world into the weak and the strong, or the successes and the failures… I divide the world into the learners and non-learners.”

A growth mindset – the commitment to stretching beyond where you currently are — is, in fact, what matters more than natural ability, says Daniel Coyle, author of The Talent Code. It’s what drives desire and creates “the energy that fuels the engine of skill acquisition.”

Effort is essential for mastery. Despite our cultural bias toward instant gratification, there’s no way to reach a high level of excellence — in anything — without hours of effort. Want an exact number? In his latest book Outliers: The Story of Success, Malcolm Gladwell says that “10,000 hours of practice is required to achieve the level of mastery associated with being a world-class expert. In study after study, of composers, basketball players, fiction writers, ice skaters, concert pianists, chess players, master criminals, and what have you, this number comes up again and again.”

Effort leads to flow. Although a state of flow is often associated with a feeling of effortlessness, initially it requires focused effort to get there. But, once in the flow, you can enjoy an activity for its own sake, without regard for any external rewards it might bring. Daniel Chambliss, author of Champions: The Making of Olympic Swimmers, notes: “The very features of the sport that the “C” swimmer finds unpleasant, the top-level swimmer enjoys. What others see as boring — swimming back and forth over a black line for two hours, say — they find peaceful, even meditative, often challenging, or therapeutic.”

Growth, mastery and meaning: Sounds to me like an excellent return on investment.

For more information on Peak Performance and Flow, visit Renita’s website, In the Flow Coaching.

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Renita Kalhorn on July 24th, 2010 in New Directions | No comments Read related posts in , , , , , , ,

08 apr

“Let There Be Light”

SaskiaShakinIn the ancient wisdom of the Kabbalah, the mystic teachings of Judaism, it is said that God created the Universe by uttering the words, “Let there be light.” Kabbalah reveals that the world didn’t just appear. It was announced with those well-known words. What can we learn from this?

We learn that the act of creation—any creation—is set by intention, by words. In pronouncing “Let there be light,” God was also saying “Let there be language,” for it was through words that the cosmos took form.

Like God, man is distinguished by his ability to create with his word and with his thoughts. No other animal has the same capacity to create reality from abstraction.

Although other creatures communicate with each other, man alone uses intention as God did to create something new that had had no precedent.

Language, therefore, is a window into our soul. Just as a culture is reflected through its language, so, too, is man’s soul reflected through his use of words.

How we choose words, how we use words speaks volumes about us, about how we see the world and, thus, how the world we see is reflected back to us.

Like a two-way mirror, what we send forth with our words comes back as our reality, a reality that we’ve created as well as a reality that reflects back upon us. If we don’t like our present reality, all we need do is change our words.

Consider this:  If we live life with a mantra that says “I can’t,” then that becomes what we live—obstacles, frustration, doubt. And if we live life with “I can!” then that, too, is what life delivers—opportunities, possibilities, confidence.

Consider, too, that when we utter a put-down such as, “Oh, that’s just wishful thinking,” we demean, disprove or disavow a longing of the soul. Wishful thinking should never be put down! It should be embraced, honored, practiced night & day because our wishful thinking can change our world! Wishes are nothing but dreams unrealized.

If you let the naysayers guide your thinking to pragmatic, realistic thoughts, tied only to what the five senses can tell you, your wishful thinking will never show up in your life. And who among us would choose to live creating and recreating the same reality, day in and day out with no change, no improvement, no growth.

Words create. They create our world, our consciousness, our actions and our circumstances. They can be used as sacred tools or as weapons of mass destruction. Children chant, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names can never hurt me.” This refrain could not be further from the truth!

Broken bones mend. But words can harm for a lifetime—especially if they are hurtful words that we continuously hurl at ourselves.

Since words do create our universe, it pays to choose them wisely. Choose them lovingly. Choose them with care so they never come back to haunt you, and you won’t find yourself having to “eat your words.”

But there’s more.

Not only do words reveal our intentions, the tone in which they are spoken is even more revealing. How many arguments between spouses or partners might sound like: “I love you very much, BUT you’re driving me nuts!” Spoken in a certain tone, these words may reveal bemusement and acceptance. Spoken in a different tone, these become fighting words.

The French have a saying: ”C’est le ton qui fait la musique.” It’s the tone that creates the music. And just because tone is more covert and words more overt, don’t assume that our tone does not say more than our words.

Words convey meaning; tone conveys feeling. And when meaning and feeling are in conflict, we always believe the feeling and not the words. Perhaps it is because we listen more with our heart than our head. Perhaps our emotional intelligence is stronger than our intellect—despite the fact that we honor the intellect more in our culture.

Whatever the reason, we would do well to remember that people will often not remember what we’ve said, but they’ll always remember how we made them feel.

So, in keeping with the teachings of Kabbalah, let the light of your words illuminate the Universe, the larger one we all inhabit and the smaller one that belongs to you alone.

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Saskia Shakin on April 8th, 2010 in General, New Directions, Relationships, Spirituality | No comments Read related posts in ,

05 feb

Clutter and Muck Can Sabotage Your Efforts to Make Change

KathiBurnsAdding space and clearing the muck in your life can bring forth powerful changes. You might think the pile of papers on your kitchen counter is nothing more than a pile of papers.

Once you create order and clear them away, you might begin to realize that your bills are being paid more promptly or perhaps, your arguments with your spouse have suddenly subsided. With less late fees or more martial harmony, you will feel more confidant to pursue a new hobby or career.

Clutter and muck are sneaky saboteurs. Making one seemingly small and insignificant change in your life can bring about a profound shift that will benefit your life in ways you can never imagine. You will inevitably change your relationship with change.

Whatever you happen to be stuck in, there are tried, tested and true methods that you can use to get unstuck. Take action and clear some clutter from any area in your life.

With every small change I know that you will become more inspired and your creativity will blossom. You will flourish and find the time to do the things in your life that you really want to do. When you clear your muck and develop systems, you will have more time to see your priorities clearly and create the change towards a life that truly fulfills and inspires you.

Posted by Kathi Burns on February 5th, 2010 in Career, General, New Directions | No comments Read related posts in , , , , , , ,

03 jan

Add More ~ing to Your Life

GrabrielleBernsteinMake Your New Year’s Resolutions Stick with Three Steps in 30 Days

It’s January 1st, and the party’s over. The holiday binge expires, our hangovers wear off, and we’re left without excuses for gluttonous behavior. Consequently, we turn to the resolution bandwagon. New Year’s is traditionally considered to be the perfect time to create change. Unfortunately, real change rarely lasts.

Making change stick requires more than eight-minute abs, Nicorette gum or the South Beach Diet. True change doesn’t allow for shortcuts. It calls for willingness, commitment and ~ing! Your ~ing is your inner guide, your inspiration, your intuition. It’s the loving voice in the back of your mind that keeps you connected to an infinite source of positivity.

You might be thinking, “If everyone has ~ing, then where’s mine been hiding?” It’s actually not hiding at all. Your ~ing lives inside you and never expires. You’ve just been unable to receive it. What’s blocked you from ~ing’s presence is fear, negative thought, resentment and self-destructive behavior. In order to clear these blocks, follow my fun, three-step process designed to help you clear up the darker areas of life and create permanent change.

I’ll guide you through a process I’ve dubbed The ~ing Equation: Rethinking + Moving + Receiving x 30 days = Changing. The ~ing Equation is a 30-day repetition of physical activity, deliberate positive affirmations, and creative visualization. You will bulldoze negative thought patterns and create positive change so you can move forward and live an awesome life. The beauty of the ~ing Equation is that you can apply it to any life challenge.

Below are the step-by-step ingstructions to the ~ing Equation:

Step One: Rethinking
The process of rethinking is all about retelling your story. The unhealed areas of your life are the ego’s playground for nasty thoughts. (The ego is the voice of fear.) In order to change these patterns, you will actively replace your negative thoughts with loving ideas. These loving ideas are called “affirmations.” The process of rethinking allows you to turn every negative thought into a positive one by choosing to change your mind. For instance, if your fearful thoughts repeat, “I’m off balance and anxious,” reverse it and recite the affirmation, “I am calm and balanced.” Each conscious decision to change your mind takes you one step closer to reconditioning your brain and changing your life.

Step Two: Rethinking + Moving
In step two of the ~ing Equation, you add Moving. By layering your affirmations with physical activities you will shift the way your body responds to your mind. The ego’s negative stories from the past live deeper than your thoughts; they inhabit your mind and body. This step matches up specific physical activities with the different areas of life to allow you to create these changes. For example, if you need to let go of an old fearful belief, you can use dancing to move it through you. Or if your life is off-balance, I suggest jumping on a trampoline. However, there are many activities that apply to different issues and the ~ing Equation is not limited to my suggestions. If you have a certain interest in a specific activity that you dig, then by all means ~ing with it. The key is to find activities that guide you to release and empower you to change. Bring your new affirmation into your physical activity. This is when the energy of your mind and body flow together. You’ll receive a wonderful endorphin-charged feeling very much like the one you might have experienced after a great run.

Step Three: Receiving
The final step of the ~ing Equation is Receiving. This step is focused on meditating, to clear space in your mind and hear the voice of your inner guide. When your mind is clear you can receive truthful thoughts, inspiring ideas and honor your intuition. If you’re a meditation virgin, I’ve made it super-easy for you. All you have to do is download my guided meditations off of iTunes, and allow me to guide you. Alternatively, simply turn on some of your favorite mellow music in the background (preferably without lyrics). We’re going to go on a journey through your subconscious brain. This step is to allow you to let go of your left brain’s practicality and welcome your right brain’s intuition and creativity. The intuitive right brain says stuff like, “you don’t like your job, so it’s time to start following your passion.” Or, “you’re ready to let go of that old pattern of X, Y or Z.” Meditation is a great way to allow your right brain to speak up and be heard. Thanks to the physical and mental work of steps one and two, thoughts that were in the way have been silenced allowing you to hear your inner guide. The meditation in step three is crucial because it is an opportunity for you to slow down enough to receive guidance from within.

The key element in the Equation is Repeating. It’s this 30-day repetition that will allow you truly to make your desired change stick. Indeed, neurobiological studies show that 30 days of repeating new behavior reprograms your brain by reversing neural pathways. It’s this reversal that changes your patterns and behaviors, and therefore your life.

I’m Gabrielle Bernstein. If you’re inspired to create permanent change, test-drive the ~ing Equation for the next 30 days. To further your ~ing transformation you can pick up a copy of my new book, Add More ~ing to Your Life – A Hip Guide to Happiness.

Posted by First 30 Days on January 3rd, 2010 in Global/Social Change | 1 comment Read related posts in

24 nov

5 Tips to Rock the Recession and Break the Body Blues

LauraFenamoreWhen I finished my E-book, Inventing Change from the Inside Out, earlier this year, I KNEW that one important thing it provided was good, loving advice to weather life’s ups and downs. As a mentor in body image mastery, I hear every single day about the struggles my clients face prioritizing healthy food and movement in their lives. You can do something to change this now!

Investing wisely in yourself is the one place you cannot lose right now. I want nothing more than to support my friends and clients in their effort to practice the very best self-care possible at this time and be empowered to handle the rest of the world, no matter what circumstances may be around them.

You CAN begin your own new life and ensure that the recession stays OUTSIDE your door. You can use this time to take courageous steps and focus on your INSIDE life and your body’s health. You can buy the one thing truly worth having. TIME.

The election: Empowerment
The recession: Wisdom
The banks: Inner Peace
The war: Good Health

It can be almost impossible to prevent the barrage of the world “out there” from eating us alive. Remember though, the one thing you can and must control is taking good care of yourself. We all know intellectually that during scary times like this, we need to take care of ourselves – more than ever! Yet what we tend to do is seek numbness through unhealthy distractions. Today, what do YOU choose? Here’s five tips to survive and THRIVE right now.

  1. Can’t afford to eat out? Stay at home and eat great living food. (In fact, EAT LESS!)
  2. Can’t afford the gym? RUN (or speedwalk) everywhere.
  3. Can’t afford your cleaning lady? Clean everything yourself – a great workout!
  4. Can’t afford gas? Spend ONCE and learn to maximize movement every day.
  5. Can’t afford new clothes? Do the above and fit into the old ones!

Listen, we all know the one thing that is abundant in our economy right now: fear. Refuse to give into that fear. Remember, how you feel is an inside job. Do anything you can to be empowered, inspired and open to opportunity right now. Stand outside and drink in the changing seasons. Welcome the new life happening all around you. This is a period of rebirth, and you can watch the fears literally melt away like clouds floating by or leaves falling to the ground. The world is revolving and it will be next week and next year and for a long time to come. What YOU do with YOUR life RIGHT NOW is where you need to be.

Stand right in this moment and breath. Invite the universe into you. Feel its abundance awaken your cells and fill them with life. Feel your breath fill you with inspiration and faith. Today I can live a healthy, empowered life. Today I choose to LIVE fully and to honor my body and soul.

And today, you have an army behind you. I am here, praying for your well being and supporting you. Reach out for encouragement and inspiration to embody your health and your highest efforts in self-care. It is available for free in any given moment. Email me and I will let you know how to find it.

To you!
Laura Fenamore, Body Image Mastery Mentor

Posted by Laura Fenamore on November 24th, 2009 in General | No comments Read related posts in

23 jun

How’s Your Follow Through?

I was interviewed recently on XM Satellite Radio and the discussion was all about what makes someone follow through on their goals — and why so many of us don’t. Last week, I wrote about the difference between being interested in making a change, and actually committing to that change.
Here are some common characteristics of people who follow through. Some require internal motivation, and one in particular results from what we allow ourselves to receive and benefit from via the outside world (read: you can’t be successful at change in a vacuum). As you read through these, think about which ones you feel confident about, and which might need a bit more reinforcement, work or getting outside your comfort zone.

Posted by First 30 Days on June 23rd, 2008 in New Directions | No comments Read related posts in