I’m thinking of changing jobs – should I do it?

I’m thinking of changing jobs. Should I do it? Now there’s a tough question. When it comes to our careers, it seems we have to consider the impact on so many other people.

  • What kinds of things might your parents or siblings say? “You went to college and got that degree in X. Wouldn’t you be throwing that away? Can’t you make it work with what you’re doing?”
  • What about the impact on your spouse or partner or kids? You think they could ask: “If you make a big change, what is that going to mean to our lifestyle? Isn’t your job okay for now?”
  • Friends? Of course they want you to be happy but they might voice concerns as well. “How can you make such a big change at this point in your life?”

Wow! Based on imagining all of this, why would anyone make a change?

I just want to point out a few things here.

  1. Notice that in each of those bullets, I indicated what people “could” or “might” say. How do you really know what people think until you talk to them about it? This is a consistent challenge for us – we think we know what people will say before we even ask them. People can and will surprise us. Direct conversation is the answer. You may find that you have avoided a change based on a story about others that wasn’t true.
  2. And what if they do say all of those things? There are two points here:    a) At the end of the day, who is living with the consequences of your staying at a job or moving on to something else? You are primarily. So how much concern do you have about what they are saying to you? A happier you will lead to more happiness everywhere.     b) Remember that the majority of what people say (this is true for us too) is about THEM and their fears and values. What they say is actually NOT ABOUT YOU. If you can remember this, it will allow you to assess the advice accordingly.
  3. Who made up the stories anyway? Here’s an interesting thought to consider: When those stories about what other people think were racing around in your head, who was telling them? YOU WERE. So, what’s that all about? Could it be that those are in fact your own fears being attributed to others? If so, that’s okay! Now you have a chance to investigate them as your own fears about making a change. It’s completely normal to be scared about big change.

So, I hope this helps you think about that change you are considering. If you would like to work on this in more detail, please check out my individual coaching page for information about coaching packages, as well as my new on-line seminar called “Should I Stay or Should I Go? Empowering your Career Decision.” Click here to find out more.

Video 4: Being at Choice

Hi it’s Lisa Baker of DeBrine Baker Coaching here, and today’s De-stress for Success Tip is: Being at choice.
I’m here to remind you that you ALWAYS have a choice. This is true about how you interact, what you think, or the role you play in a situation.
Every day as we go out into the world we get to choose how we respond to things that happen. Let’s say today I woke up to find that my cats had scratched up my favorite couch. Now as you hear that you might think, “I bet that made her mad.” The truth is I get to choose how I feel about it.
Choice 1: I could be really angry. That choice would set off a variety of physical and emotional reactions which might impact me for the entire day.
Choice 2: I could start to cry about the damage to an item I love.
Or Choice 3: I could think, “They don’t know any better, they’re cats.” For me, this option (rationalizing) is better, because it doesn’t result in a headache, a bad mood or injuries to my cats.
The truth in the moment is that there is damage to my couch and I will need to solve that somehow. How I respond does not change that reality. What it does change is my action, and perhaps how I feel physically and emotionally. I have also figured out that my problem-solving skills are better when I can be genuinely calm (not the stuffed-down calm).
This type of situation comes up on a daily basis at work too – comments in meetings, challenging emails, lost spreadsheets – There’s potential for big stress all around us.
So, how do I get to a place of choice, you might ask?
The first step is becoming aware of your reactions. Choice often requires us to interrupt old patterns. When you feel yourself start to tense up as a result of something that’s happened, it’s likely the work of a habit or a belief. When that comes up, try to get in the middle of what you’re experiencing to see what’s really going on. That moment of review will allow a gut check of how you really feel about whatever happened. Is anger the way you want to go on this? Or are you sad about it? Or can you write it off as no big deal and move on? By the way, it’s okay if you choose to feel mad or sad. The fact that you are choosing is what matters.
Once you start to be more aware, you can start the process of removing the automated responses that aren’t working for you. You can decide how you really feel about events, rather than what the habit or other people say you should feel about it. I know for me, some of those habits and beliefs are deeply ingrained, and they continue to be chipped away over time. Once you start responding in the way that allows for calm, you will be amazed at how everything changes.
Whether quick or slow, progress requires a level of conscious awareness and presence. If you have any triggers or habits that are causing you to be stressed, I would love to coach you through those.
As ever, I would love your feedback on how this worked, or didn’t work for you. You can reach me on my Facebook Page, DeBrine Baker Coaching, or my email, lisa@debrinebaker.com.

Video 3: No Mind-Reading

I don’t know for sure, but I’m going to go out on a limb to say that no one watching this video is actually a mind-reader. (If you are, you may want to skip this one)
Despite our lack of skill and training, the funny thing is that many of us ACT like mind readers when we’re in a meeting, reading an email, or otherwise interacting with someone. We THINK we know what another person is thinking when they do or say something. Today, I’m asking you to challenge that belief because you’re the one potentially using valuable energy being upset about what you believe you see.
There are a couple of things we all need to keep in mind when it comes to what we think we know about WHY other people do what they do.
The first thing to remember is just that: We THINK we know what causes people to do what they do and it’s just not true most of the time. For the majority of people we encounter, we don’t know how they arrive at their decisions. We don’t know their history, their filters, their beliefs, and so on. This is true even with people we’ve worked with forever. Sometimes, it’s even true of ourselves.
Second of all, and this is a great tip for teenagers in your life too, MOST things that people do around you, to you, for you, near you, HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH YOU. Back to the first point, people do the bulk of what they do because of their own messages and back story, NOT because they want to make you mad. In college, my friends and I would joke that when one of us was in a bad mood, random people around us were doing things “just to annoy me.” In fact, they were just doing their own thing and not paying attention to us in the slightest.
So, how do you practice NOT being a mind reader? Try it in traffic. Do you think the majority of people cut you off to make you angry? Probably not – They could have forgotten their exit was coming up or they are worried about something.
Let’s say you get an email and you immediately feel frustrated with the content. Ask yourself, “Did this person intentionally write this in a way that would make me mad?” What if you tried believing that they just did their own thing and communicated the only way they knew how? How would you feel? How might you treat the email and the person differently if you were coming from this perspective?
There are lots of other ways to try this. If mind-reading is an issue that gets in your way at work, get in touch with me. I can definitely help you.
So, just remember, before you use a lot of your energy getting upset about something going on in someone else’s mind, take a moment to consider that you may not actually know.
I’m Lisa Baker of DeBrine Baker Coaching and until next time, I’m wishing you the best as you DeStress for Success.

 

Video 2: Have 30 seconds of fun!

– My top tip for de-stressing for today is: Have some Fun!
– I heard a great joke today: “Two antennas met on a roof, fell in love and got married. The ceremony wasn’t much, but the reception was excellent.” Insert rim shot here
– Today my reminder is to lighten up.
– Have you been in this situation? You’re working on something with a group and the deadline was looming or the issue was so tense you could barely breathe. Everyone is feeling the pressure and stress of it. Suddenly someone makes a little joke and everyone is laughing – it’s as if the air in the room completely changed and the tension is released.
– We’ve all had those thoughts in our minds – if I don’t get this done, and done well, I’ll be (fill in the blank with your favorite scary thought – fired, laughed at, punished, whatever)
– When you feel yourself thinking that way, ask yourself this question –
o If what I’m working on doesn’t get done (on time, on budget, exactly perfectly, again fill in the blank) what will happen?
o If your answer is not “Someone will die” or “the world will be destroyed” I would suggest taking a deep breath, and then thinking how you might have some fun for at least 30 seconds. In this kind of situation, what you can benefit from is an interruption in the thought process which is creating the stress.
– So what can you do? I have a couple ideas to get you thinking, however, you know best what will help you have fun:
o Watch a YouTube video – kittens, music videos, or comedy sketch, anything on the planet is out there to divert you
o If there’s no way to do that, then close your eyes for a moment and think of the funniest thing you’ve seen or heard lately (maybe it was my awesome joke!)
o Visit someone else you work with and share a quick joke – do it as a fly-by so you don’t get more stressed because you stay for longer than you want – you may be helping them to get unstuck too! Here’s one you can try –
What time is the best time to visit the dentist? Tooth-hurty!
o Take a walk around your floor, building, whatever area you have time for and smile at people. This serves a number of purposes – giving to others always lifts our energy and it makes your co-workers wonder what’s up with you.
o What else are you thinking? Please share on my facebook or Linkedin page what ideas you’ve come up with. They will very likely help others.
– I hope you now have some thoughts for fun alternatives to feeling stressed.
– Until next time, this has been Lisa Baker from DeBrine Baker Coaching and I wish you all the best as you “DeStress for Success”

Video 1: Being present

– My top tip for de-stressing for today is: Be Present.
– Now you might be thinking, of course I’m going to work. I work all the time! Didn’t we just talk about that?
– I’m not talking about going to work, although you will have to be working in order to test this out! 
– Actually, I’m talking about “being present” as in being completely in the moment every second that you’re at work.
– I think everyone has seen some of these examples of ways that we avoid “being present” – such as:
o Knowing that there’s work to be done but our brain’s dwelling on something that happened a few months, days, or hours ago
o Looking at our phone or computer or generally thinking about other stuff while someone is talking
o Expressing fear about future events (I call that borrowing trouble!)
– Are any of those behaviors familiar to you? Guess what, it’s completely normal to do any or all of these, because we have so much going in in our lives every day.
– The challenge with those behaviors though is that they keep us from bringing our best into this moment. Think about it this way – When you consider the amount of brain power and energy we each have available, how much can we apply to the situation at hand if you are pulled to the past or the future? If you are dedicating 80% of your thought to an argument you had last week what’s left for solving an issue facing you today?
– So, can you see how the behaviors I’ve highlighted are keeping you from enjoying the now?
– Now the question is what to do! Okay, I’m going to give you a couple suggestions:
o A past event is keeping you from concentrating. If there’s something you need to be focusing on right now, and you can’t concentrate because your thoughts keep going back to something that happened in the past, I recommend writing it down on what I call a “parking lot” list. It’s a place to keep track of things that need to be addressed, just not right now. At the end of the day or week, you can go back to your “parking lot” list and see if the item needs to be dealt with or if you can just forget it. It’s been my experience that many of the items don’t seem so important after some time has passed.
o Take a deep breath. Another great way to get back to this moment is to focus on your breathing for just a few seconds. When you are going into a meeting or getting ready to make a call, you can bring your brain back to the now by just concentrating on this simple task.
o Consider what you’re gaining by anticipating a bad future. This is a little like the “getting caught on the past” situation except the thing you’re spending time on hasn’t even happened yet, and may never happen. You can ask yourself a few questions to get back to this moment: Does spending time on this now help me with the current situation? If not, table it. If it does, what is one thing I can do now to potentially create a better outcome in that future situation?
– So let me just summarize the three ways to be more present: Create your parking lot, Take a deep breath (or 5), and ask yourself a couple questions about that future event.
– After you tried some of these, I’d love to hear from you on my Linkedin page – DeBrine Baker Coaching. Please tell me how any or all of the tips worked for you.
– Until next time this has been Lisa Baker of DeBrine Baker Coaching and I wish you the best in your de-stressing.

Looking at Things from Another Person’s View

**Today’s story comes from a dear friend and highlights the possibilities of seeing a situation differently.

Arriving at the golf course, my friend Becky spotted another golfer, Jessica, getting into her car to leave. Becky thought it was odd that for the second week in a row, this solid player had suddenly opted to forego the event despite signing up in advance. When Becky met up with her friends, they indicated that Jessica left after seeing who she was partnered with for the day.

There was a significant amount of discussion about Jessica’s behavior in between golf shots. “Why doesn’t she like the women she’s supposed to play with?” “Does she think she’s too good for us?” “Seems like an attitude problem.”  Everyone seemed to have a theory about what was really going on and the stories put Jessica in a pretty bad light.

Listening to the discussion, Becky was troubled. She and her cart partner briefly discussed other possibilities for Jessica’s actions. What if she had a physical injury or illness? Could she be getting to the course and realizing that she was not feeling up to playing? Maybe she was uncomfortable sharing that she had some “real” problem. Maybe she just didn’t want to play. What would be wrong with any of those things? (Allow)

As the round wore on, the other golfers debated about sending a group-wide email explaining the appropriate etiquette on golf day. While addressed to all, it would clearly be directed toward Jessica. The view was that this would solve the “problem.” Becky was wondering why people would want to “call out” someone who didn’t want to participate – making them wrong. She also wondered about the amount of time being spent on this matter. (Accept and Release)

This story raises a number of questions: How often do we assume that someone has a hurtful motive, and then find it is the furthest thing from the truth? What does it do to us and our relationships with others when we jump to believing the worst about people? How much energy do we expend judging someone’s actions when we could be savoring the weather, the activity and our friends? What other solutions could we find to be more compassionate to someone like Jessica?

*** Consider this quote:  “The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts: therefore, guard accordingly, and take care that you entertain no notions unsuitable to virtue and reasonable nature.”     — Marcus Aurelius (121-180 AD)

AAR at a Hockey Game

My husband and I go to the majority of the home games for the Carolina Hurricanes hockey team, and I would say we are big fans of the squad. Unfortunately, this past season, for all of its potential, ended with lots of losses and lots of available seats. By the end of the season, the fans of the visiting teams were there in large numbers to cheer their players on. In fact, at the last game we attended, the number of supporters for the opposing team seemed much larger than that for the locals.

As a result of this, there was a big change for us for the last two contests. Instead of sitting with a big bunch of Canes’ fans, we were seated next to supporters of the visiting players. I felt some apprehension about being “outnumbered.”

What was driving my nerves? I took a moment to consider my experience: I have seen many verbal altercations when fans got overzealous regarding their team versus another person’s favorite. Then there is the fighting that takes place on the ice. Additionally, I have seen people hauled off by police for altercations at a professional football game. So, I guess there is a reason for my concern.

Despite all this, I still had an opportunity to choose how to show up. I decided to see if I could not only avoid confrontation but maybe find some common ground with my neighbors.

During the first outing, the interaction was basically neutral. No real conversations, positive or negative took place. My goal was to keep my energies focused on cheering the good things the Hurricanes achieved and that worked.

On the second outing however, I was ultimately able to find something in common with the opposing team’s fans. Although we were cheering at opposite outcomes, we agreed that no one was satisfied with the referees’ calls. Once we settled on that, we had plenty to talk about and laugh over together. By the end of the game, while one of us was disappointed by the end result, we were able to part company with smiles.

You always get to choose how you show up. Here’s hoping you show up allowing.

Can Customer Service Ruin Your Day?

As you have seen in a previous post, a challenging customer service experience at the bank threw me for a loop. That’s not the case for a close family friend who shared this story.

Karen* was excited to be celebrating the upcoming birth of her eldest daughter’s first child at a shower that she and her younger daughter were throwing later that day. The soon-to-be grandmother was responsible for ordering and delivering the cakes. Based on others’ experiences with a new shop, Karen had ordered from an unfamiliar place and was looking forward to seeing what they had created.

When she arrived at the shop and shared what she was there for, the person at the counter went to find Karen’s pre-ordered cakes. The cakes were not in the usual spot. The employee then went to a secondary refrigerator – no cakes. The increasingly frazzled woman went back to the office to look for a clue as to where the order might be stored.

While the search was in progress, Karen very quickly surmised that, for whatever reason, the cakes had not been prepared, although she had ordered them for this date. She had a choice: She could get upset about the error or she could figure out a solution and get on with her day.

When the counter person returned from turning the office upside down, she had news. The order had been scheduled for the following Saturday. She was clearly braced for a strong reaction from her customer.

Instead of blasting her, Karen pointed out already-prepared cakes in the case. “Could I take these two?” When the clerk realized that Karen was not going to rip her apart about the error, she was able to brainstorm ways to get these cakes to look just as nice as the ones that were ordered originally. Karen walked away from the store with 2 cakes, decorations and peace of mind.

Karen had realized that by getting mad about the situation, not only would she potentially have put the store employee in an unhelpful frame of mind, but she would have also had to carry that anger around with her for some portion of the rest of the day. She might have had to travel to another shop to get her cakes, wasting time on a day that she really wanted to share with her daughters.

She was able to allow, accept and release.

A Fun AAR Outcome

Over the last year, it seems like my parents have received a large number of incorrect bills from companies. Chasing down fixes has resulted in lost time for my mom, who has many other things she would rather do. While she has had some moments of anger along the path, in general she has done a good job of staying neutral. Her second career (in customer service) allows her to remember that issues usually arise from the process, not the person on the phone.

This leads us to last week when my parents received an invoice that didn’t make sense. On first review, it appeared that there was a mistake, however it wasn’t clear. Because of my mom’s recently honed skills in resolving errors, she volunteered to handle the situation. Plus, she had the unique opportunity to go to the company’s local office to talk it through.

When she was in front of the manager, she made her intentions clear. “I am here only to understand. I am not looking for any credits – I just want to learn.” From there, the manager proceeded to walk her through the process, step by step, until she understood every component of the bill. The charge was, in fact, accurate. The manager conceded as well that the billing was confusing, even for his own employees. As she was leaving, my mother thanked him for taking time out of his day to go through this with her.

The manager then did something completely unexpected: He offered her a credit on her account. She asked, “Did you do that because I was nice?” The response was a firm “Yes.”

What if we were to follow this example and go into situations with no preconceived ideas and focused on understanding? Could we treat every customer service person with respect and kindness while resolving our issue? How about starting each conversation with the goal of maintaining or building a positive relationship? Before calling in, can we release the anger associated with mistakes or inaccuracies that lead to “wasted” time?

I can’t guarantee that you will get free money by trying a new approach. I can say confidently that you will feel better coming out of a constructive discussion than you will emerging from a fight. You might even make someone’s day by pointing out something you don’t understand. Food for thought for all of us.

Waiting in Line Without AAR

Okay, so I will admit that I have not always been good about waiting in lines – stores, banks, amusement park rides – not my favorite thing to do. My thoughts recently though have been about how standing in lines really gives you the chance to consider Allow Accept and Release. I can think of a number of stories around this, however I will give you one where I did NOT practice AAR, and what impacts that had.

In this story, I went to a nearby branch of a regional bank for a personal transaction. I stepped into the line at the teller counter, where I waited for a few people to complete what seemed like the most complex business deals known to man. I guess you might say I was annoyed fairly quickly.

When I reached the counter, one of the tellers asked me how she could help. It was obvious that she either currently or recently had a cold. That did not stop me from being “snippy” with her in that moment. I explained what I needed and was advised that this was not done at the teller window but rather had to be done by one of the bankers over in the offices. I said “really?” in a sarcastic tone and stomped off to wait for one of the bankers.

The banker came out within a couple of minutes and asked how she could help. I explained what I needed. I sat in her office (with an attitude) for probably 3 minutes while she completed the form as needed. At that point she sweetly sent me BACK TO THE TELLER COUNTER to complete the transaction. As you can imagine, now I was ticked.

When I arrived back to the same teller, she advised me of my options, I selected one and she completed the paperwork. I was on my way after spending a grand total of 15 minutes on a non-standard transaction. Not an outrageous amount of my time.

So, what did I get out of that? My pulse was up, my head was hurting, and within a few minutes of leaving the bank I was embarrassed about my behavior. I have actually not been back there because I felt like I was a big jerk to people who were just doing their jobs the way they were instructed.

What will I do next time? I will be intentional. Since I know that waiting is a hot button for me, I will remember AAR.
– Allow that the others in the bank have important transactions just like I do.
– Allow that the employees have many responsibilities to complete each day.
– Accept that I may arrive at the bank when others are there needing help from the employees.
– Release my need to be in a hurry.
– Release blaming myself when I get mad sometimes.

Next time, I’ll be ready