Monday, December 3, 2018

Treat the Disease to Please

Blog by Tracy Butz, CSP - Speaker, Author, Influencer

With this month being extremely busy due to the continued holiday season, I thought I’d share some strategies that have helped me to conquer the chaos a bit so I can enjoy my time with family and friends more. For me, maintaining healthy personal boundaries can help reduce stress a lot. 

I believe it starts by knowing what you like, need, want, and don’t want, and then making choices which are aligned with those needs and wants. That doesn’t mean you live your life without compromise or flexibility; you just don’t give into the demands and unrealistic expectations of others. Following are some thoughts and actions that lead to healthier boundaries: 
  • Develop a strong sense of personal identity. Realize and take pride in what makes you unique.
  • Respect yourself. Feel an inner confidence and assurance, independent of praise from others.
  • Be respectful of others. Look for positive and honorable qualities in others.
  • Forgive. Forgive others and yourself. Move on from past mistakes and difficult situations.
  • Accept accountability. When things go wrong, be accountable for your mistakes without pointing fingers at others.
  • Teach your lips to say no.  Understand that you are free to say yes or no. And, when appropriate, you should do so without feelings of guilt, anger or fear.
  • Expect mutual benefit in relationships. Whether at work or at home, healthy relationships should provide value and benefit for both parties. It likely won’t be the same for each of you, but it should be a shared venture.
  • Welcome feedback. Some feedback is positive, and some is constructive. Understand the intent of the other person, and try to look past how it was delivered. Choose to learn and grow from feedback you receive.  
  • Refuse to take on the problems of others. It is admirable to help others through difficult situations; however, there is a big difference between offering assistance and accepting another person’s problem as your own.
  • Celebrate successes. Celebrate personal accomplishments by treating yourself to a movie, taking a vacation day to do what you want, indulging in a small treat, etc. Additionally, get in the habit of noticing and applauding the success of others. By recognizing another person’s achievements, you are demonstrating value and appreciation for their effort and results. 
I realize that treating the disease to please and making brave choices in the process isn’t easy. Putting your needs first and teaching others how to treat us can be very difficult. Actually admitting how you feel to yourself may be one of the hardest things you’ll ever do. Yet I have found that after feeling a little guilty at first, you likely will have less chaos in your life—eventually feeling and being much happier, more liberated, less stressed, and a lot stronger. You will be a better you.

It's About Progress Not Perfection

Blog by Tracy Butz, CSP - Speaker, Author, Influencer

Often times, people avoid making changes in their life because they just don’t know what steps to take. The process can seem overwhelming; they may feel they don’t have the time or resources to get “there.” And if where to start is unclear, either excuses are made or people become stuck and unable to take even one step forward. These realities occur when unrealistic expectations are set and we believe that if we’re not perfect in our pursuit; we’re a failure. The truth is, because we are human, we are unable to attain perfection. Being imperfect is what makes each of us unique. And that’s a good thing.

Perfection should never be the goal because the outcome will almost always be failure. This doesn’t mean we don’t set the bar high, because we absolutely should. But we need to focus on progress, not perfection; target the process we are experiencing now and the steps we are taking, not on the outcome.

So where should you start? In order to make a lasting change, the change itself needs to be meaningful to you. It can’t feel imposed upon you, rather than chosen by you. For example, let’s say you want to spend more time reading interesting and insightful books. In order to carve out the necessary time in your schedule, you choose to reduce your Facebook interaction time by two hours per week. If someone told you that you had to make that change, you probably wouldn’t take kindly to that demand. Furthermore, if someone took it upon themselves to limit your Facebook involvement two hours per week in some way, you would likely loathe it more…primarily because you just encountered a change being done to you. No one likes change forced on them. No one.

In addition to the change being meaningful to you, it also has to be something that you believe in, that you value, that you want to get behind and commit to. You have to know the work ahead of you will be worth it. So what habit or behavior are you wanting to change in your life and why do you want to do it?

Do you want to go back to school and earn a diploma or degree?

Do you want to feel happier?

Do you want a job you enjoy going to?

Do you want to make more money?

Do you want to lose weight?

Do you want to find love?

Do you want to stop smoking?

Do you want to be more confident?

Do you want to say “no” more often?

Do you want to find your passion?

Do you want to laugh more?

Do you want to be a better spouse?

You are one decision away from totally transforming your life. Imagine that!?! And just know, I am with you on this journey, and I am a work in progress, too! I continue to make changes in my life so I keep growing and propelling myself forward in a positive directionbecoming better and better. In fact, the question I ask myself before deciding to alter a habit or behavior is, “Will this one choice to change, help me get one step closer to becoming my greatest self?” If the answer is, “Yes,” I know I am on the right track.

Aim for awesomeness. Strive for spectacular. Just allow wiggle room for slips and trips.