Sunday, January 9, 2022

Are You Feeling Challenged By Obstacles?

 Are you feeling challenged by obstacles? Are you clear as to what that "thing" is that is preventing or hindering your progress?

I view any obstacle that gets in my way as an opportunity to learn something new. It's not always an easy lesson. And sometimes the learning of the lesson takes time, patience, and reflection.

Changing the way we think about obstacles effects our success rate for as the Zen Buddhists say, "The obstacle is the path." To begin, we have to identify the type and source of the obstacle. Ask yourself: Do you view the obstacle metaphorically as a pebble, a rock, or a boulder? Is it external or internal?

External obstacles are those things outside of your control, such as environment, money, physical limitations. Yet, because they are external does not mean you should give up. What is always in your control is how you choose to respond (cognitively) not react (emotionally) to the challenge.

Internal obstacles are things such as fear, self-doubt, and what I call your Habitudes -- Patterns of thought and behavior affecting our attitudes towards life; habitual ways of thinking and acting that may or may not serve you.

Our beliefs and thoughts about a situation affect our reaction to it. The way we think about things can actually give things more meaning than they actually deserve. By giving meaning to things, we give them power in our lives. That's why I asked you to think metaphorically about the obstacle. What is its size? How easily, based on that size - pebble, rock, boulder -- can you remove it from your pathway?

"Obstacles don't have to stop you," said Michael Jordan. "If you run into a wall, don't turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it."

Monday, December 28, 2020

Looking Towards 2021


Who would have thought back in January, that the year 2020 would be fraught with so much angst, frustration and sorrow? So much loss. Some of you may recall that back in March I sent out a newsletter entitled Isn't it Ironic,looking at how this pandemic was happening in the year 2020 a number associated with vision. The Latin verb specere,which means to see, to look at, to observe, is the root of many words --speculate, perspective, introspection, to name a few.

I discussed the many ways in which the COVID-19 crisis has made many of us feel emotionally farsighted: things that are near to us, life as we know it, was now out of focus. And how this pandemic has also made us feel emotionally myopia: we cannot clearly see what our lives down the road will look like for we are living in the uncharted territory of unabated uncertainty. Even with the vaccine touching the horizon, life will not return to the normal we knew for quite some time as this virus continues to wends its way through the fabric of our lives.

Now the new year is upon us. What will this new year look like for you? What is your plan, your goal for 2021? A fresh start? A desire to make changes (personally and/or professionally) to live a more motivated and inspired life?

To plan for the new year it is important to look back at the past year and examine and make a list of what you've done and what you didn't do; what were your successes and what were your greatest challenges. Create a road map that details your 2020 journey. This map is vital to your success, to plotting the journey that lies ahead.

In creating your New Year goals, your "year in review roadmap" will show you the pattern of missteps and detours that derailed your 2020 goals, allowing you to challenge and change the greatest habits that do not serve you. For our lives are not determined by what happens to us, but by how we react to what happens. Not by what life brings to us, but by the attitude we bring to life. A positive attitude causes a chain reaction of positive thoughts, events, and outcomes. It is a catalyst, a spark that creates extraordinary results.

We've been living the restricted COVID life for nine months already and, at times, it is tiring and sometimes we may feel we want to rip off that mask and go hug our friends. I know I have felt that way. But we must be vigilant. The vaccine is not a magic bullet and so precautions are still necessary.

Aristotle wrote: The hardest victory is victory over self. I do think this pandemic has given us an invaluable opportunity to learn and to grow. Rather than allowing this crisis to drain your resolve, embrace this as an opportunity to change course. Resilient people know how to tap into that reservoir of determination that allows them to rise up strong and resolute.

"Calmness of mind, James Allen wrote, is one of the beautiful jewels of wisdom. It is the result of long and patient effort in self-control." Recognizing the difference between what we can and cannot change will help us live more peaceful and productive lives. Patience and perseverance lead to success.

Wishing you all a blessed New Year and the courage, wisdom, and tenacity to get back up when circumstances knock you down, to reach your 2021 goals. ~ Rita

Monday, April 27, 2020

Isn't It Ironic?

I find it somewhat ironic that this pandemic is happening in the year 2020. Think about this: 2020 is associated with vision. The Latin verb specere, which means to see, to look at, to observe, is the root of many words. Take spectacles, for example. I wear eyeglasses to correct my myopia, my nearsightedness. Without glasses I cannot clearly see things that are distant. Spectacles give me 2020 vision.

Those who wear glasses only when reading have hyperopia, farsightedness, which causes things near to them to be out of focus. Spectacles give farsighted people 2020 vision.

In many ways this COVID-19 crisis has made us feel both emotionally farsighted: things that are near to us, life as we know it, is now out of focus, and emotionally myopia: we cannot clearly see what our lives down the road will look like for we are living in the uncharted territory of unabated uncertainty. 

The word speculate also finds its root in that Latin verb. And there is a lot of speculation going on right row.
  • How long with our need to be physically distant from one another last?
  • When will the curve flatten?
  • When will we get back to work?
  • Could there be a second coronavirus outbreak if we move too soon?
While the uncertainty we are living with can be overwhelming, we do have a set of tools at our disposal: the skills and attitudes of resilience, which help us get through the difficult times in our lives. 

Our capacity for resilience is hard-wired in our brain, like the fight or flight response. But unlike the fight or flight response, it is not automatic. Our resilience is influenced by our life experiences, by what I call Habitudes, those patterns of thought and behavior affecting our attitudes towards life, and which may or may not serve you. 

We have a strong Mind-Body Connection. Our thoughts influence our bodies directly. COVID-19 is forcing us to change our perspective. Life will not return to normal we knew for quite some time. Our lives will have a new normal and what that new normal will look like is uncertain. However, we can prepare for this by strengthening our resiliency. 

The first weapon in our resilience arsenal is resilient optimism. You're probably familiar with the glass half empty/glass half full way of determining someone's attitude: optimists see it as half full; pessimists see it as half empty. Resilient optimists, however, see it as both, because that is how life’s events are. Resilient optimists take those half empty moments and bring to them other factors of resilience to 'raise the water level' so to speak.

One way this is done is through the resilience skill of flexibility. Being flexible means embracing a willingness to learn and to grow. Being willing to face your fears; to control your attitude, no matter what is going on around you. For our lives are not determined by what happens to us, but by how we react to what happens; not by what life brings to us, but by the attitude we bring to life. 

Another factor is our connectedness to others. This is so critical at this time when we are asked to be physically distant from one another. We need connection. We need to be communicating with one another, which is another aspect of resiliency, whether through social media, FaceTime, Skype, or Zoom. Or how about that old method of communicating: the telephone. True connection is physical. Texting and typing are not enough. 

Another resilience factor is the capacity to manage strong emotions and impulses. Situations happen that are out of our control, like this pandemic. Emotions are a reaction to how we're perceiving our experience. Learning to respond to them, rather than to react, is key. The capacity to manage strong emotions involves being able to take action without being impulsive; to put emotions to the side when clear thinking and action are required.

While it's important to stay informed as to what is going on, it is also crucially important to do so wisely. Avail yourself to those who are presenting the facts without agenda, people such as Dr. Anthony Fauci and Robert Redfield, Director of CDC. These are the people who are telling us the truth of the matter, who are giving us the facts, who are trying to keep everything as stable as possible by making us aware that we must take specific actions in order to flatten that curve and keep the number of cases from spiking up. 

Another factor of resilience is being able to make realistic plans and take action to carry them out. Tackle what I call the "Iwishihads." You know, "I wish I had the time to _______)." Well, folks, now you have the time. Don’t try to rush through the list or you won’t get things done. We all are going to have a lot of time on our hands the next few weeks, and let’s be realistic, most likely even longer.

I want to mention one more factor: Being able to find purpose and meaning in one's life, which leads me to another derivative of that Latin verb, and that is introspection. What are you learning about yourself and your purpose in life? How has this moment in time changed you? Changed your outlook? Hindsight is 2020.

Lastly, there is one more word derived from the Latin verb specere. Respect. COVID-19 has raised our level of respect for doctors, nurses, first responders, and all the unsung heroes who make a hospital function – including custodians, food preparers, laundry services providers. We have gained respect and gratitude for all people who leave their homes each and every day to provide essential services -- from assembly line workers to grocery store clerks to zookeepers. (Yes, zookeepers. Animals need to be cared for too.)

To sum up here are some strategies for managing stress:
  • listen to your body and remember to practice mindful breathing several times a day
  • remember that your greatest weapon against stress is your ability to choose one thought over another
  • acknowledge what you feel and don't deny your feelings
  • accept what you feel and don't judge yourself
Strategies for building resilience:
  • develop an attitude of optimism
  • establish and maintain connections
  • limit media coverage
  • accept change as part of life
  • engage in opportunities of self-discovery
Questions for reflection:
1. What steps will you take to manage your stress?
2. What is on your "Iwishihad" list? What 3 things from that list can you do now that time is more available to you?
3. What are some ways you can engage in opportunities of self-discovery?

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

That 4-letter "F" Word . . .

Do you sometimes find yourself spewing that 4-letter "F" word?

No, not THAT one . . . I'm talking about that other 4-letter "F" word -- FEAR.
Fear is a distressing negative emotion brought on by a perceived threat. It is a basic survival mechanism that triggers your 'fight or flight' response. Our fears, however, can often take on a life of their own and stop us dead in our tracks.

Rejection is an irrational fear that others will not accept us for who we are. Fear of rejection is one of those insidious, perceived threats that can hold you back, keep you from achieving your goals.

Fear of rejection pervades our minds, often rendering us incapable of doing or saying anything for fear of others' rejection, lack of acceptance, or disapproval.

Yes, there will be times in your life when you will face rejection. How will you handle rejection if it does happen?

To start, be prepared. Identify your limiting thoughts, such as...
  • People dislike me
  •  I am a failure
  • I am not worthy of their approval
. . . and then dismiss them one by one. To do so effectively you need to build your self-esteem. And you build self-esteem by understanding your self-worth. So make this list instead . . .
  • People like me because...
  • I have been successful in...
  • I am worthy of others' approval because...
Work on your self-worth list everyday by adding just one good trait about you. Remember my equation: Self-confidence + Self-worth = Self-esteem

Embrace joy, be mindful, live a flourishing life.
~ Rita

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Under-performing Employees . . . Bad For Business

Did you know . . .
  • Managers waste an average of 34 days per year dealing with under-performance. (Future Foundation)
  • Costs of lost productivity easily reach 150% of the annual compensation.
  • Average salary $35,000 per year; cost of turnover 150% of salary, is $52,500 per employee who leaves the company.
  • The cost will be significantly higher (200% to 250%) for managerial and sales positions. (Bliss & Associates Inc.)
  • The cost of hiring and training a new employee can vary from 25% to 200% of annual compensation. (American Management Association)
Employee Attitude Problems? I Can Help!
"Rita helped me identify areas of improvement and gave me guidance on how to develop better time management."
Most of us have been there . . . preparing a performance review for that employee who, on the one hand, is good at his/her job, but on the other hand, whose attitude causes undue disruption, lost time, and even the loss of good employees.
Managing staff comes with many challenges that can test even the most seasoned business professional. Difficult employees engage people in an emotional tug-of-war, which is stressful for the manager and employee alike. And the damage to office morale and overall productivity is great.
Strategic Coaching -- Right For Your Business
Employers and employees alike have discovered the added benefits of coaching:
  • increased job satisfaction
  • improved communication skills
  • improved relationships
By providing individual coaching, you send a powerful message to your employees: Your progress is valued and encouraged.
  • Coaching programs have been shown to increase employee retention and engagement, boost productivity, and overcome performance issues. (Zappos Insights)
  • Companies that have used professional coaching for business reasons have seen a median return on their investment of 7 times their initial investment. (PricewaterhouseCoopers and Association Resource Centre Inc.)
"Rita is wonderful. She has a way of explaining things and guiding us to understanding by using real-life examples we can grasp."
How Strategic Coaching Works
1. We begin the process by examining the current conflict(s) to uncover long-standing attitudes and habits that influence their reactive behavior.
2. Armed with this insight, we develop strategies to manage the challenges that come their way.
"Rita taught me to awaken positive traits I see in myself or have exhibited in the past. This insight will help me manage current and future stressors."
Personal coaching can focus on one or more of these areas:
  • Personal and professional development -- Focuses on helping you perform and execute better at work
  • Health and wellness -- Breaking down the habits that serve you and the habits that don't, understanding stress and its effects on your health, building resilience skills and attitudes
  • Interpersonal relationships -- Improving communication, conflict and emotional intelligence to enhance your relationship skills
  • Work/life balance -- Establishing healthy boundaries between work and personal life
  • Achieving success -- Developing the skills, mindsets and strategies needed to succeed and achieve their goals

Sessions held in person or via, Skype or Facetime

Sessions can be held at my office conveniently located at 511 Main St. in Sturbridge, or onsite at your business location. Sessions can also be held via, Skype or Facetime.

Don't Let Employee Difficulties Hurt Your Business

Contact Me Today!

Call Rita at 774-230-5670 or via e-mail: to discuss how Strategic Coaching may be right for your organization.
About Rita: As a personal strategic coach, Rita helps clients focus specifically on their most important goals, interests, challenges, and needs, offering insight and assistance that guides them towards actionable, positive changes. Rita received her Strategic Intervention Coaching Certificate from Robbins-Madanes Center for Strategic Intervention.