How to avoid conflicts on a volunteer committee

Conflicts are less likely when everyone is focused on the goal, clear about how they can contribute and appreciated for their efforts

How to avoid conflicts on a volunteer committee“I'm so tired of being ordered around or dictated to – I’m done with this!” “I can't believe they didn’t even discuss this with me. If they want to make all the decisions, then they can do it themselves.” If you've ever been on a planning committee, condo board, conference committee or not-for-profit board, you've…

Puzzle of the middle-aged brain and other teasers

Don’t freak out; just laugh at life’s little quirks

Puzzle of the middle-aged brain and other teasersYou have a great idea as you are getting dressed in the morning. “Aha,” you think, “I’ll do something about that right away.” You walk from the bedroom to the kitchen for your first cup of coffee of the day and realize that the important thought you had has magically disappeared in the 15 feet…

Put the power of visualization to work to make success a reality

Visualization can eliminate some of the unknowns that create stress-induced anxiety in the average person, just as it does for elite athletes

Put the power of visualization to work to make success a realitySuccess can often be seen first in the mind's eye. The performance of most elite athletes is directly affected by their thoughts; they must master their inner emotions when the pressure is on. Learning to harness the power of the mind is an extraordinary gift, not just for athletes but for any of us who need…

Do personality tests serve any useful purpose?

The information you glean can often be put to good use

Do personality tests serve any useful purpose?If you have spent any time on Facebook, or inside an employee transition seminar, you have probably been exposed to personality quizzes. But what do you do with that information once you have it? You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out that you are likely happier, in your work and personal…

Step away from the clichés

Falling back on clichés to communicate makes us come across as superficial

Step away from the clichésThe next time you're going through a really tough time and some perky little twit says to you, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade,” or “It’s always darkest before the dawn,” try to resist the temptation to stuff a carrot muffin up his or her nose. That person probably has the best of intentions.…

A new social media approach: thoughtful, informed

Social media has become immersive entertainment. But it’s also ruthless and stressful for many people

A new social media approach: thoughtful, informedEach of us has an agenda (however fleeting) to influence people around us. We want them to agree with our perspective, our angst even. Sometimes we succeed in gaining momentum with a group – raising dissenting voices into a fevered pitch that results in others (the accidental audience members) being hooked into the current melee.…

Managing boundaries without emotion or nasty payback

We’re often reluctant to establish a line when dealing with others because we don’t want to be seen as difficult. So instead we stew in our anger and resentment

Managing boundaries without emotion or nasty paybackHave you ever lived near or worked with someone who seemed to have a problem respecting personal space? About 15 years ago, a neighbour decided he wanted to build a garage. There was a tree on his property line that he didn’t want to take down, so he figured he would just appropriate needed space…

How did we become so untrusting?

A look at the last 50 years shows a great deal of social change – and a great deal we should have misgivings about

How did we become so untrusting?I’ve been challenged by the content on social media (and televised news) of late. Several friends and colleagues are recoiling from it as well. It all feels so dramatic, so polarizing, so one-sided. How did we get here? How did we become those people? Did we stop trusting everyone suddenly or did the feeling creep…

What has all this togetherness done to your relationship?

Besides creating an economic crisis, COVID-19 is bringing conflict into some homes. Rate (and improve) your relationship

What has all this togetherness done to your relationship?Not all of us are living happily ever after. Are you surprised? I didn’t think so! If absence makes the heart grow fonder, the opposite might also be true about too much time spent together in close quarters. A former colleague recently told me that call volumes for domestic disputes are on the rise. This…

Taming the irrational beast called anger

When strong negative emotions kidnap the thinking brain, we become scarcely more coherent than a wild animal

Taming the irrational beast called angerYou may have seen a video recently of a man punching a fellow pedestrian who he felt took his photo without authorization. Once the video was released, the man came forward and apologized for what he called his uncharacteristic behaviour. Whether it’s a result of stress, the state of the world or a variety of…

Putting your nervous butterflies to work

When it comes to fear and anxiety, we tend to fight our feelings even though we would be better off using them

Putting your nervous butterflies to workWe all tell ourselves stories that cause us to behave in peculiar ways – even if our behaviour seems logical in the moment. We might not even be aware of how compromised our problem-solving mechanisms might be perceived by others (or ourselves if we were more objective). There’s an old joke about a fellow walking…

Living on the sunny side of the street

Optimism helps you stay healthy in mind and body – and it makes you a lot more fun to be around than life's pessimists

Living on the sunny side of the street“That silver lining in every cloud you’ve heard about? It’s sleet.” We've likely all run across people whose outlook on life can be summed up that way. And not just on a bad day – pretty much all the time. This pessimistic person is conditioned to focus on the down side of life. But is this the perspective you…

Is it time to start a ruckus and resist the fear?

How have we been so easily persuaded to abandon our livelihoods and embrace isolation with barely a question?

Is it time to start a ruckus and resist the fear?No one enjoys a holding pattern. Not when planes circle and wait to land and not today, while we wait for a virus to pass. Yet this is exactly the place most of us have found ourselves over the past six weeks. We’re restlessly awaiting the moment when health and political authorities loosen restrictions and…

Navigate change and treat it like an opportunity

If we don’t learn how to navigate change, we’re setting ourselves up for a lifetime of stress, anxiety, fear and doubt

Navigate change and treat it like an opportunityMy husband and I once headed out on a camping trip with some of our new Rotary friends. The weather was hot, we were supporting a great charity and the river was perfect for floating along. I cherish such chances to do something a little different and just be in the moment. When a group…

In a world of uncertainty, don’t let negative thoughts reign

Don’t let your concerns about COVID-19 create blind spots and unnaturally tighten your focus

In a world of uncertainty, don’t let negative thoughts reignPlenty of uncertainty is tugging on our thoughts these days. We’re distracted by social media rants, relentless death counts, conspiracy theories and challenging financial situations. During these days of sheltering in place, what’s compelling your focus? What’s increasing? The reality is there are some real threats related to COVID-19 to be concerned about. These threats…
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