Fall Renewal

I love fall. Football games and frost in the air. Changing colors, festivals and cooler days. Even though it is preparation for winter, after a long hot summer, it is a great time for renewal. At the beginning of the year, goal setting is a big focus. As the year is winding down now is good time to review those commitments. It is not too late to make those dreams a reality. Here are some thought for the completion.

Continually re-evaluate. Maria Bartiromo is the voice of CNBC’s Closing Bell and a regular contributor to The Reader’s Digest. She says, “I constantly prioritize and reprioritize my daily schedule, which is broken into 10-minute intervals (emphasis mine). This exercise reminds me what’s important and what I still have left to do.”

Reprioritizes every ten minutes! That seems extreme to me. But then maybe I want to put a negative spin on those disciplines I am not willing to do. To make your 2009 goals a reality, first things must come first. Always.

Disturb the undisturbed. In January I mentioned my long-term strategy to de-clutter. I affixed markers that would indicate non-use, such as clothes hangers turned backward, safety pins attached to linens, post-it notes in files and duct tape reminders on select items. The goal was that if the marker was undisturbed after a set season, it indicated the item was no longer a viable space taker. I am boxing and pricing for an end-of-the month garage sale. What do you need to get rid of to free your energy field for productivity?

Be the best you possible. Within reason, go with you personal style. If your organization is piles of files, at least label and put in alphabetical ordered for easy retrieval. If you go for piles of piles, use decorative container as storage. Have a neat mess. A pleasant workspace pays great psychological dividends. When things are scattered it is messy; when in place it is neat and easily accessible that contributes to accomplishment.

Get emotionally honest. Are there things on your goals chart that you keep thinking about yet fail to do anything to bring it into fruition? And then you feel guilty about not doing it? There is true guilt and false guilt. True guilt is when you have harmed someone for your own selfish gain. False guilt is the failure to live up to expectations. Maybe it is time to determine what “I don’t intend to do” and remove the self-imposed drain.

Determine what you have done and feel good about it. In the fall of 2006 I lamented to my daughter of still unaccomplished yearly goals. She lovingly said, “But Mom, you really have done a lot.” And she was right. I had published my first book and was learning about Internet marketing. What a welcome relief that much had been completed and was acknowledged. With renewed vigor I embraced that winning feeling and preceded full steam ahead. Whether another notices or not, look at what all you really have done and embrace that feeling of accomplishment.

The holiday season is upon us: a time for family, friends and fun; a time to reflect on what is really important; a time to release old hurts and find humor in idiocy; a time of project completion and spiritual renewal. Enjoy.

We welcome reprinting of articles in your newsletter or magazine, providing credit is given as follows: “This article was written by Mona Dunkin, Motivational Speaker and Personal Success Coach, www.monadunkin.blogspot.com or www.monadunkin.com.” Contact her at mdunkin@flash.net. 30


Handling a Slob

At an Organization Seminars, a lady who had established a home business with her husband asked, “How do you live and work peaceably with a slob?” Although a Felix Unger and Oscar Madison combination is difficult, following are a few thoughts that may contribute to harmony.

State it, don’t stuff it. Rather than stuff your frustration, state your position in a positive manner and with a pleasant attitude. Use “I” statements. Focus on things that can be changed and do not stack attack. Have a resolve suggestion in mind before addressing.

Do not respond negatively to negativity. Relationship has a lot to do with maturity and a mark of maturity is emotional stability. See love as an action rather than an emotion. Responding pleasantly to another’s reaction lessens the impact of their actions on you.

Ask for change without demanding change. Demands engender defensiveness whereas asking lends to cooperation. Be specific. Do not beat around the bush and do not hint. Openly communicate. You cannot control another’s ambition nor lack thereof.

Assess the situation.
Is the mess a character flaw or lack of resources? Is there a need for file cabinets, or storage bins? Could a closet be added? In tight quarters, utilize wall space for shelves over existing furniture. Has the time come to move to a larger space? Do you need to hire office assistance or cleaning help?

Eliminate, simplify or be neat. Some have a knack for organization and others do not. Rather than berate his/her weakness, offer non-threatening ideas. Stack it neatly. Box it up. Put it in drawers or behind cabinet doors. Throw or give it away or recycle. Offer to help in the tidiness project.

Everything needs a home. If it doesn’t have a home, it is clutter. A lady come to me out of frustrated with her husband and children because they threw things down and the home was constantly cluttered. After assessing the situation, we purchased baskets and organization items. We labeled the baskets and placed them in strategically. A large basket by the den door and a coat-hanger strip became home to sports equipment. Baskets on the kitchen counter became home for mail, coupons, pens/scissors, keys and pocket change. A basket was placed on the fireplace with each child’s name. As the room became cluttered with shoes, books, or toys, the wayward items were temporarily placed in the child’s box for him/her to return to its original home. Even though the husband had been a major contributor to the clutter, he told his wife, “I am so glad you did this. All that junk made me nervous.” Go figure.

What if they will not cooperate? First, assess your options. Is the mess unbearable or just not up to your standards? Is the disorderly situation new, or have you failed to set boundaries and now have had your fill? What is more important, neatness or the relationship? Is the clutter contributing to lost sales? Secondly, assess the locos of control. Being pleasant in a difficult situation is more about you than them. I love the Catholic prayer, “For the sake of Your passion, grant us grace.” Grace is giving undeserved leniency. As an aside, being a peacemaker sometimes involves making waves.

Relationships are difficult. Handle with love.

We welcome reprinting of articles in your newsletter or magazine, providing credit is given as follows: “This article was written by Mona Dunkin, Motivational Speaker and Personal Success Coach, www.monadunkin.blogspot.com or www.monadunkin.com.” Contact her at mdunkin@flash.net.


Stress and Significance

All of us are searching for identity, position, purpose and significance. Often in the process we encounter stress.

I was in Jersey City on the Hudson to attend and to present at the International Conference of the William Glasser Institute. The vendors were nearly finished setting up when I arrived at the book room to display my materials. Only I did not have the books with me as I had previously shipped them to the hotel and they were still in storage. The vendor room attendant was ready to lock up and agreed to wait if I would quickly go to the Concierge and retrieve the books.

The conference was held at the Hyatt Regency and the personnel’s helpfulness and attitudes were exemplary. The young lady graciously took my request and assured me the books would soon arrive. I waited. I went back to the vendor room to give a progress report to the attendant. I waited some more. I checked with the Concierge again. She made a phone call. I waited some more.

I did not set my stopwatch but I am certain that the actual wait time was not as long as it seemed. Choosing to not stress, I breathed deeply and turned to enjoy the beautiful scenery. The Hyatt Regency is located on the Hudson River directly across from New York City’s financial district and the vacant twin-towers lot. I had visited the site earlier. It is a sobering experience.

As I stood there I reflected on the Chinese Proverb, “Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are.” I realized my stress was not over a slight delay in retrieving books but in my over exaggerated sense of self-importance.

In the book , The Camel Knows the Way, Lorna Kelly recounts being overwhelmed with Calcutta’s mass filth and poverty-stricken humanity. Lorna commented to Mother Theresa that all of her work was like a drop of water in a bucket. Mother Theresa countered. “No, my child. All our work is like a drop of water in the ocean.”

When I feel stressed over lack of quick acknowledgement, I realize my priorities are out of order. The more I am in touch with the vastness of the universe and the widespread wounds of the world, the more I realize the significance of each human being and the importance of every act of kindness. And the more content I am with who I am.

Humility is a do-it-yourself job. Humility is not thinking less of yourself but thinking of yourself less. We overcome the stress of self-importance by adopting humility, and in the process we find significance. Have a great Thanksgiving.

Mona Dunkin is a Motivational Speaker, Corporate Trainer and Personal Success Coach. Read past articles at www.monadunkin.blogspot.com. Contact her at mdunkin@flash.net. -30-


Creative Problem Solving

Creativity is a matter of perspective. It is the ability to look at the ordinary and see the extra-ordinary. When face with problems, we can take the low road of pain, frustration, and unhappiness or we can take the high road of information, value, and happiness. Your choose.

Learn to develop your creativity. Work puzzles. Engage in something artistic like paints or clay. Turn on the music and do impression dancing. Play games or rhymes or tongue-twisters with a child. Rearrange furniture. Prepare an exotic cru sine. Go camping. Make do. Giving freedom to your innate creativity lends itself to solutions.

Live life in pencil. There is usually more than one answer to a problem, or at least many sections to the overall answer. You are continually choosing from many possibilities. Try, fail, learn and try again. Brainstorm and come up with many possibilities, then focus on the most plausible without ruling out the absurd. Photo Journalist Dewitt Jones of National Geographic uses 400 roles of film and 14,000 pictures taken per assignment with the results of 30 photos per issue.

Ask pertinent questions. Reframe problems into possibilities.
* what factors/causes/variables are we ignoring?
* what information do you still need?
* whom do you need to consult?
* for clarity, define the problem in writing
* what is the worst that could happen?
* what good could come even if the worst happened?

Do not be afraid to make mistakes. Lighten up; a mistake is a behavior that does not get what you want. Break the pattern. If you continue in a habit long enough, it becomes organized behavior performed by habit and never improved. Summons the courage to make the hard decisions.

Train your techniques. Until you own your new behavior, when pressure comes, you revert back to the old pattern. Set up a safe environment in which to change and to practice. Practice becomes permanent as you practice correctly. Remember, you are always practicing. That is how habits are formed – or broken.

Accept problems as a passage of life. Once you realize that life is difficult, you transcend the difficulty and can creatively concentrate on problem solving.