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Rational vs. Irrational

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rational vs irrational

Today’s reflection stems from my thoughts regarding this past week’s emotional roller coaster.

With people getting attacked for their views, I believe it really emphasizes the idea behind the science of social and emotional intelligence education.

Personally, I have to admit that this past week was hard for me.  Even with all the training I have had in life coaching and emotional intelligence coaching, I unfortunately allowed the whole negative energy to get “in” and affect me in a negative manner.  I can’t remember being so exhausted.

That being said, each experience does broaden our own personal awareness in order for us to use the experience to make future changes to enhance our quality of life.

Based on my conversations with many people, very few seem to have awareness about social and emotional intelligence. I find it worthwhile for this article to focus on what it is and what it can do for individuals and corporate organizations going forward.

Social and Emotional Intelligence is a learned behavior which I believe is the root of individual behavior and our quality of life.

Social and Emotional Intelligence has been defined as:  The ability to be aware of our own emotions and those of others, in the moment, and to use that information to manage ourselves and manage our relationships.

I believe that having an individual strong Social and Emotional Intelligence is so important.

I also believe there is an appropriate level of behavior that people need to exhibit when reacting to any situation, whether personal or in a workplace.  I believe that reactions need to be one of rational expression where we need to consider the whole situation and that we need to consider the ramifications of our own personal behavior.  I believe our behavior and reactions positively or negatively impact our lives and our relationships.

For example, think about explosive behavior in a workplace.  If you have a boss that does not consider all sides to a situation, but just reacts in an explosive manner, how does that make you feel?

This can be applied to any circumstance or relationship including that between yourself and your spouse, your parent, your child, your coworker, a checkout clerk, or that of a person driving a car next to you.

Our reactions are truly important to consider, which brings me back to why I wrote this article which discusses the potential different perceptions of people regarding rational vs. irrational behavior.  I believe we need to become aware of, and have a need for, broad social and emotional intelligence coaching.

In today’s society, I personally do not think we have the filters we used to have for our behaviors.  I also believe we have, as a society, have come to accept less controlled reactions from others.  It has become commonplace for bullying, riots, road rage and mass shootings, and we seem to have become desensitized and have come to expect these occurrences.  Personally, as we are not a barbaric society, I believe that this is step in the wrong direction.

While I do believe self expression is important, I also believe it is necessary to consider the “whole” and that it is the responsibility for each of us to control our reactions to not impede the rights, health, or to negatively impact the lives of others.  Ever hear the idiom “it is a two-way street”?  It may be necessary to consider that compromise is a necessary consideration in our interactions with others.  The problem with this is that we have to recognize how our behaviors and reactions relate to compromise and finding solutions to situations in a manner that is best for all.

I believe a strong social and emotional intelligence is necessary to have a quality of life for not only an individual, but the whole.

The following is an excerpt from the book, Emotional Intelligence written by Daniel Goleman in 1995:   “The emotional lessons we learn as children at home and at school shape the emotional circuits, making us more adept – or inept – at the basics of emotional intelligence.  This means that childhood and adolescence are critical windows of opportunity for setting down the essential emotional habits that govern our lives”.  He noted that hazards await those who, in growing to maturity, fail to master the emotional realm.  He further noted that deficiencies in emotional intelligence heighten a spectrum of risks from depression or a life of violence to eating disorders and drug abuse, and how teaching children the emotional and social skills they need can keep their lives on track.  Mr. Goleman reported that a survey of parents and teachers showed a worldwide trend for the present generation of children to be more troubled emotionally than the last:  more lonely and depressed, more angry and unruly, more nervous and prone to worry, more impulsive and aggressive.

Again, acknowledging that social and emotional intelligence is learned behavior, I advocate for the need for us to learn these necessary skills. Emotional Intelligence is an important component of the Foundation’s PREinvent YOUR Life® program.

During my Social and Emotional Intelligence coaching education, I learned there were 26 competencies that affect our reactions and behaviors that include: Emotional self-awareness, accurate self-awareness, personal power, behavioral self-control, integrity, innovation and creativity, initiative and bias for action, achievement drive, realistic optimism, resilience, stress management, personal agility, intentionality, empathy, situational awareness, service orientation, communication, interpersonal effectiveness, powerful influencing skills, conflict management, inspirational leadership, catalyzing change, building bonds, teamwork and collaboration, coaching and mentoring others and building trust.

I believe that you can build on your emotional intelligence strengths and that, if you have vulnerability in any particular area, it will negatively impact your quality of life and the quality of life of those with whom you interact.

Please feel free to contact me at 631-331-2675 if you have questions regarding social and emotional intelligence.  I would be most willing to discuss your personal situation.

With the knowledge that we are only able to control ourselves, our behavior, our feelings and our actions, I believe it is necessary to start with ourselves to insure a better future.  I believe it is time for us to each be personally responsible for our ability to achieve quality of life.

Just imagine the possibilities.

After all, it is time to enjoy life. It is Time to Play.

Love, Doreen

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Doreen Guma, MA, FACHE, CPC, CLC:

Doreen holds a Bachelor of Science in Management, a Masters in Business and Policy Studies, is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives, a Certified Social and Emotional Intelligence Coach, Certified Professional Coach, Certified Life Coach, and the author of the book, If I Knew Then What I Know Now, Our Quest for Quality of Life.

Doreen is the founder of the Time to Play Foundation, a 501c3 not for profit organization with the mission and purpose to enrich the lives of others through programs, public awareness outreach activities, events and learning opportunities that further the concept of enjoying life.  The Foundation’s website, www.TimetoPlayFoundation.org, has resources, events and articles for a person to learn what they need to know for a better life.

The Foundation offers an unconventional approach in a non-threatening manner to provide solutions for the life situations that people may encounter.  Working in healthcare since 1987, and with her background in quality improvement, she has followed statistics showing our society’s current evolution to be more “sick and sad”.   She developed the Time to Play Philosophy:  you have to be happy, healthy, have money and a work / life balance for quality of life and believes everyone has the ability to enjoy life.

Photo credit:  https://sophistics.wordpress.com

 

Don’t Put Off Till Tomorrow What You Can Do Today

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today is a giftWe hear about the stories every day.  Someone passed away unexpectantly, someone has an unexpected illness… you know what I’m talking about.

This morning I woke to a message from one of our Foundation’s team members that her brother-in-law was admitted to ICU and is on a respirator.

Today’s weekly reflection article is simple.  It’s a reminder to not put off till tomorrow what we could do today.

I’ve written about this before, and throughout my 50 years of life, have seen evidence of the precious gift of life being taken away in an instant.

So, today, I’m going to throw out there some simple reminders that came to mind:

  • Don’t live in fear. I’m one who absolutely has learned in life that fear does paralyze us and holds us back from achieving.
  • Don’t live with harbored negative feelings toward another person. This is truly a poison within OURSELVES and can overtake our precious moments of our life.
  • Don’t live in the past. Here’s a quote that is most appropriate for this bullet point:  “The clock is running.  Make the most of today. Time waits for no man. Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That’s why it is called the present.” – Alice Morse Earle, 1902
  • Don’t live with “Should”. Just do it. What do you need to do to make the “should” happen?
  • Don’t live with “Wish”. What do you need to do to make the “wish” happen?
  • Don’t live with “Someday”. That opportunity may not come if you don’t make that first step.
  • A super important one… Don’t ask permission. When you tell someone that you (for example) want to start a business, or take a trip, or get a motorcycle, they will surely talk you out of it with a ton of “what ifs” and reasons why you can’t.
  • With that, as I mentioned it, don’t live with “Can’t”. If you Google, you will see tons of stories about amazing people who, against all odds and obstacles, DID.

DO live to make you feel good about yourself.  DO choose your circumstances that cause you to wake up in the morning with excitement and expectation of the wonderful possibilities that may unfold during the new day.  People will tell you how they haven’t chosen their circumstances and how “bad” stuff has happened to them that got them there.  Hey, we all have a story, and we all have a choice on the actions we take.

I am a true believer that not only do we enable the circumstances to happen, but we do have a CHOICE to make them change, as well.  It’s the concept behind the Foundation’s PREinvent YOUR Life® project.

I believe there is so much power within each and every one of us, and I am a true believer that there is a solution to every “problem”.  The word is in quotes because a life event is just that, something that happens.  A life event does not have to be a problem, at all, but just something we have to work around.  I wrote in my book, If I Knew Then What I Know Now, how we make mountains out of molehills – not only personally, at times, but as a society.  I truly believe that, sometimes, if we take a step back a moment and really evaluate things, we will see the option for a small change or a simple thing we can put into place that will shift the issue.

I also believe that if we focus on the solution or the goal, we can make that happen, too.

So, maybe today is your “someday”, the day that you will make those dreams happen.

Remember, today is a precious gift that you have been given.  It is absolutely your choice how you will unwrap it, and your choice how to spend it – in happiness or in despair.

There will be a time when each of us will realize our mortality and lose new chances.  With that being said, I will end this article as I started it:  Don’t Put Off Till Tomorrow What You Can Do Today, and leave you with this really thought provoking quote: “Time and Tide wait for No Man,” – St. Marher, 1225.  It is so true that no one is so powerful that they can stop the march of time.

After all, it is time to enjoy life. It is Time to Play.

Love, Doreen

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Doreen Guma, MA, FACHE, CPC, CLC is a board certified healthcare executive, a certified professional life coach, the founder of the Time to Play Foundation, a 501c3 not for profit corporation inspiring everyone to enjoy life and author of If I Knew Then What I Know Now, Our Quest for Quality of Life.  The concept behind time to Play and the Time to Play Foundation was absolutely created out of LOVE. Please see http://www.timetoplay.com for more information.

 

Source of quote: https://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20071130182336AA7qVmv

Source of image: http://quotesgram.com/kung-fu-panda-quotes-the-present-is-a-gift/#GM9z4waiEp

PREinvent YOUR Life® Survey Findings can put the Self-Help Industry Out of Business

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preinvent your lifeThere are many statistics and studies that show the effects of reactive education, counseling and treatment for those who experience a negative life experience, including those who participate in self destructive behaviors and/or who are suffering from depression.  Additionally, in light of the fact that the average life expectancy in the United States is currently 78.8 years, it seems imperative to address quality of life issues early in life in order to facilitate the longest possible quality of life experience.

An article published by the World Health Organization (WHO), “Depression, A Global Public Health Concern”,  confirms the work of the Time to Play Foundation, a not for profit organization that encourages everyone to enjoy life.  In the WHO report, it was noted that over 350 million people in the world suffer from depression, which, at its worst, could lead to suicide.  The article noted that almost 1 million lives are lost to suicide yearly, which equates to approximately 3,000 deaths by suicide per day.

It is our position that treatment, provided reactively after development of the symptoms of depression, is less effective than a proactive approach.

Further, the WHO article did emphasize that that the prevention of depression is an area that deserves attention.

In our society it is common knowledge that those in their mid to late life experience the proverbial “mid-life crisis” to search for their life purpose, quality of life and life enjoyment; but, today, it is evident that many of our youth are plagued with self-destructive behaviors, depression and /or suicidal ideation, translating to a painful and displeasing life experience.  In response to these, the self-help industry has exploded to an over $11 billion a year industry that preys on those experiencing a negative life experience.  For so many there is a need for counseling, encouragement, and education to assist them in recovery of their mental health status.

The Time to Play Foundation’s intention is to encourage people to enjoy life in a proactive manner, and believes in a proactive approach and the concept of PREinvention® vs. REcovery.

It is evident in our society today that the focus is more reactive than proactive and utilizes the practices of REinvention and REcovery vs. the concept of PREvention and PREinvention®.  In 1855 Frederick Douglass said, “It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men”.  While the background behind this statement was not solely in reference to creating a mentally healthy and stable population, it can be utilized to emphasize this proactive idea of PREinvention® that could be easily implemented into our population today.

Therefore, it may be emphasized that an enjoyable life experience starts with a healthy thought process and healthy self-perception.  In the reactive recovery process we utilize today through our current self-help industry, we hear over and again how people cannot let go of their past and see how self-destructive behaviors are developed in response to lack of life skills and coping skills. This thought process is what feeds our self-help industry, where we try to unravel past damage and unhealthy thoughts that cause the underlying motives behind self-destructive behaviors.

With this more proactive approach it seems to be possible to eliminate so many who spend much of their lives without life enjoyment and that we can facilitate a better life experience for a longer period of time.

The Time to Play Foundation’s team acknowledged the importance to look for a root cause that may provide insight as to why people are not enjoying or not able to enjoy life.  In April, 2015 the Foundation conducted a survey entitled PREinvent YOUR Life® to high school students in grades 9 – 12 at the Comsewogue High School in New York.  There were 727 voluntary, anonymous respondents out of 1131 students present, a statistically significant survey that represented the whole.  The findings were mind-blowing and provided valuable PREventive insight, as well as a “key” concept that may not only eliminate self destructive behaviors, but provide an opportunity for us to implement an easy strategy while raising our children that will provide them a lifetime of success and life enjoyment.

The findings showed that 90.65% of the respondents agreed or strongly agreed that “how to be happy as myself” was the most important “how to” in order to have an enjoyable life experience.

The survey was developed by Doreen Guma, an expert in quality improvement and the Founder of the Time to Play Foundation, who researched many reactive processes and experts in the self-help industry and compiled data for the survey over a 2 ½ year period.  The survey was developed by a team selected by Mrs. Guma to create a streamlined inquiry.

Following the survey, the insight gleaned was validated through discussion with students and young adults.  There was agreement supporting the idea that, if the students had learned preventive, positive coping skills, they may have chosen a different way with dealing with life situations they had encountered thus far in their lives.  It stands to reason that these positive skills, learned early, would have impact on overall life satisfaction throughout an entire lifetime.

The study findings were most telling, and potentially provide a KEY to quality of life.  Considering the implications behind the skill of “how to be happy as myself”, it is may be safe to summarize that, if a person is happy as themselves, and loves themselves, there is potential to eliminate self-destructive behaviors adopted to fill a void and/or hide some type of personal pain; for example, self-harm, suicide, or alcoholism.  Further, it could be deduced that if a person is happy as themselves, they may not adopt these types of hurtful actions.  It may be safe to go a little further to note that, if a person loved themselves, they will protect themselves.

Therefore, if we can encourage and educate our children in a proactive manner how to “be happy as myself”, we have the potential to create a population of persons with self-esteem, self-confidence, self-love, and self-worth.

Based on the findings of the survey, Dr. John Salvarodos, a member of the Time to Play Foundation’s Business Advisory Board with 30 years experience as a school psychologist, educator, mental health therapist and crisis intervention counselor, noted that, “Creating programs that educate new parents and community workers to find common language that supports the development of critical reasoning and decision-making skills benefits all children.”  Further, he summarized that, “Efforts that promote healthy outcomes are fundamental in understanding ways that we can reduce the quantity and effects of adverse childhood experiences.”

In summary, based on the preliminary findings of the PREinvent YOUR Life® survey, it can be suggested that early intervention programs for ALL children, beginning with parents, support the possibility of the prevention of the development of depression, self-destructive behaviors and an adverse life experience.

The Time to Play Foundation is in final stages of development of the proactive PREinvent YOUR Life® programs for expectant parents and early childhood intervention programs and educators, spurring further research on the effectiveness of this approach.

Dr. Salvarodos’ essay overview of the findings from the PREinvent YOUR Life® survey, incorporating his years of direct observance of students entitled Developmentally Making the Right Choices, is available at Developmentally Making the Right Choices.  Dr. Salvarodos is also a founding member of the Gardner Massachusetts Suicide Prevention Task Force created in response to the per-capita rate of suicide in his area.  He is a strong supporter of the PREinvent YOUR Life™ concept.

The PREinvent YOUR Life® survey is available for your review in its entirety at http://timetoplay.com/preinvent-your-life-survey

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Doreen Guma, MA, FACHE, CPC, CLC is a board certified healthcare executive, a certified professional life coach, the founder of the Time to Play Foundation, a 501c3 not for profit corporation inspiring everyone to enjoy life and author of If I Knew Then What I Know Now, Our Quest for Quality of Life.  The concept behind time to Play and the Time to Play Foundation was absolutely created out of LOVE. Please see http://www.timetoplay.com/ for more information.

 

References:

http://www.who.int/mental_health/management/depression/who_paper_depression_wfmh_2012.pdf 

http://www.forbes.com/2009/01/15/self-help-industry-ent-sales-cx_ml_0115selfhelp.html

The effects of inconsiderate behavior on others

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Impact on othersLook around.  It’s everywhere. 

I like to learn and observe.  It’s how I understand things and how I grow.  Over and over again I have become more aware of examples of behaviors that completely adversely affect others.  I truly believe, deep down, that we might not actually realize our impact on another person and the effect it might have. 

I recognize the idea of cause and effect and know that something a person may experience may cause a domino affect in their behavior.  That domino affect can cause them to act inappropriately to another.  Again, sometimes we may just get caught up in the situation we are experiencing and might not even realize what our impact on another may be.

I believe this is a very hard topic to discuss without making someone angry.  I started thinking about this topic this morning after receiving a text from my son.  He was at work, and he texted that if he could not transfer stores he was quitting his job.  He is currently having a bad experience with a coworker.  I felt so bad for him because I can feel his pain.  We’ve all most likely been there and can all agree that it’s an experience that is so unnecessary.

That got me to thinking about a news report I saw only a few days ago on TV regarding people’s dissatisfaction at their jobs and the huge statistic that had been reported as part of the story regarding bullying in the workplace.  I did Google to try to find the report and came up with an article published on Forbes.com on 9/18/14: http://www.forbes.com/sites/kathryndill/2014/09/18/one-in-five-workers-has-left-their-job-because-of-bullying.  The article discussed that nearly 1/3 of people have experienced bullying, a statistic that crosses over gender and racial lines; men, women, Caucasian, Asian, African-American – it doesn’t matter.  The article also discussed that people in management positions were also experiencing bullying.  In the article a woman named Rosemary Haefner was quoted in a statement that, “Bullying impacts workers of all backgrounds regardless of race, education, income, and level of authority within an organization.” 

Just imagine how the behavior of one or more in a workplace affects others.  In a work situation, the unfortunate scenario is that many people cannot just quit a job because of family obligations.  The behaviors of others can significantly impact a person where they will be so affected and frustrated and stressed that they will not be able to let the feeling go; hence the domino effect.  How do you think they will interact with others if they have to deal with a situation that is disturbing to them?  A situation they know they cannot change and that is causing significant distress in their lives?  And, how does this effect the atmosphere in the workplace as a whole and, to go further, the lives of their family and friends?

The information in the article is not new.  Just Google bullying in the workplace – there are many articles available for you to read.  I’m sure there is also a lot of information in studies available, in general, about the impact of making others feel badly about themselves.

History will repeat itself if we let it.  This is something I wrote in my book, If I Knew then What I Know Now, Our Quest for Quality of Life (www.IfIKnewThenBook.com).  I also discussed the saying “Words Cut Like a Knife” in the book.  Both of these statements are, sadly, true.

I believe it is so important to really think about the impact we have on others – what we say, what we don’t say, and our actions.

Have you promised someone you would do something and then gone back on that promise?  If it’s your child, it could be something so simple like playing ball or going for ice cream – something so simple that can have a negative impact on them for years to come.

How about a spouse?  Have you promised something and not followed through?  How about something you promised a friend, or a co-worker?  Have you kept your promise or obligations? Have you returned that call, email or text???

Our actions, or non-actions, can make impacts others that we may not even consider.  You know how our brains work and how people sometimes dwell on things.  I hate to even go there, but, I believe that sometimes what we say, do, or don’t say to another can even cause a situation so significant that it can have a life or death impact.

I believe we’re here to encourage others, to embrace the dreams of others, to make things happen.  I believe we are people that are supposed to help people. 

I personally live by the mindset of people helping people and collaboration = success.

I believe that when we respect each other and when we work together magic WILL happen.

Stop fighting.  Stop blaming.  Stop finding fault.  Stop not following through.

What have you promised?

What will your actions do to another?  Will they help them or hinder them?

Think before you speak or act . . . something that may seem so simple or not important to you might really cause someone to hurt inside very deeply and impact their lives in a truly negative manner.

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Doreen Guma, MA, FACHE, CPC, CLC is the founder of the Time to Play Foundation, Inc., a 501c3 corporation with the mission and purpose to enrich the lives of others through programs, public awareness outreach activities, events and learning opportunities that further the concept of enjoying life. – See more at: www.TimetoPlayFoundation.org 

Remembering Those in Need

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Remember

Remember

This article was triggered by my frustration trying to help a lovely woman in need and my inability to rally people to help.  It breaks my heart how one person can give so much and can wind up so alone, fighting insurmountable obstacles. 

With this being Memorial Day, I started thinking broader about the silent plight of so many. 

I am a person who looks at an issue and sees the “big picture”, not just what directly affects me.  I continuously marvel about how today’s “problems”, in many cases, are not new.  Many of these issues are recurring in our society.  Time and again I marvel at how history repeats itself – it we let it – which I did go into greater detail in our book, “If I Knew Then What I Know Now, Our Quest for Quality of Life” (www.ifiknewthenbook.com).  

I continuously assume people will feel the same urgencies I do for certain things and about situations that affect us as a whole.  Time and again I wind up frustrated, disappointed or surprised.

With this being Memorial Day, I am reminded of a conversation I had with an elected official.  I asked him why we don’t hear daily reports about our military personnel or the plight of our veterans.  He told me that, unlike during the world wars when everyone was affected, only 1% of people in our country are currently connected to military personnel or situations. 

My family does not have anyone in the military, but I totally believe that we should care about the men and women who are protecting our freedoms, at home and abroad.  I believe we should know what they need, how to help, and how to care.  Not just on Memorial Day or Veterans Day, but every day. 

Did you know that 22 soldiers a day commit suicide?  http://www.forbes.com/sites/melaniehaiken/2013/02/05/22-the-number-of-veterans-who-now-commit-suicide-every-day  Did you know that many Veterans are homeless? There are many articles that gave a statistics that approximately 58,000 veterans were homeless in the year 2013.  It is so hard for me to believe that someone could fight for our freedoms and end up in this manner. Through my work experience in healthcare I have learned that many don’t know where to get help or the resources available.

If you look into history, these situations that currently affect our Veterans are not new.  We still hear the term “the forgotten war”, and many talk about our current Veterans fitting into this same category. 

Working in quality improvement for many years, I have learned that you cannot ignore issues – things will only continue to get worse.  I have learned that it is better to weigh your options and implement the best possible solution when first identifying the problem.  This can be applied to anything; for example a hole in a pipe will get larger and larger (it won’t go away), health problems will continue to compound, or a car that is in disrepair will eventually stop working. 

I am acutely aware that one person cannot be involved in and deal with everything, but I am also aware that many people might just say, “That’s too bad” and move along in their day.  I believe there are so many things that get put on the back burner without getting the proper attention that it should.  In the end, issues will just get larger and continue to reappear.  Just watch our nightly news and the stories that we hear over and over.  We see the same situations, on a daily basis, just reported on with different names and dates.

With this being Memorial Day, please take a moment today to reflect on our Veterans, their dedication and sacrifice.  Perhaps do a quick “Google” search to find one of the many organizations working to help our Veterans.  Perhaps there is something you can contribute.  If each one of us does one little thing to help, we can make things better.  That’s the concept behind “people helping people” and Time to Play (www.TimetoPlay.com).

I’ll even inappropriately venture out on this Memorial Day and ask you to stop a moment to consider the plight of others, those who may not be Veterans.

In reference to my dear friend, she has been going through a horrible health crisis for almost a year.  She’s just one of many who are going through a crisis in their lives or the lives of their loved ones.  I had believed she had a stronger support group than she actually does have.  Maybe I just want to believe that everyone has some type of support group or a person they can count on in their time of need.  The more I’ve been working on the Time to Play project, the more I realize that just isn’t so and how many people are out there truly out there on their own. 

In this particular case, I’ve been trying to do a fundraiser for her with not great results.  Maybe it’s because she is not a young child, maybe people just have too much of their own stuff that they are dealing with.  Through working on Time to Play, many have said to me that, unless something directly affects a person, it is hard for them to wrap their minds around the plight of another. 

I will never be able to accept that. 

We all need to care. 

People Helping People.  Collaboration = Success.

Ask Rebecca Anything

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Dear Rebecca,

I’m totally overwhelmed by the state of my life. We had a huge financial setback ($500k) because of a poorly thought-out investment that my husband wanted and then held onto for way too long, despite all the signs and my urging. So, now we need to reevaluate and rebuild. Moreover, since I was rear-ended in January, I’ve been in physical therapy, etc., and on the mend. I’m slow to get around and tire easily. I’m trying to put the pieces back together, for the most part alone, and it is sucking up all my time. My spouse has moved on to his next pet project, has not been very approachable, and takes on almost no responsibility. He is fairly clueless and believes that my workload should be manageable, and that I just take on too many personal projects. I’ve been trying to talk to him for years but he is not approachable.  

This is not the life I had envisioned. Once upon a time, I faced each day with excitement, filled with creative ideas. Nowadays, I wake up each day and almost dread the relentless amount of work before me. From the time I open my eyes until the time I crawl to bed. I am working on resolving my children’s health issues and also home-school my teenage son, who has a disability. Sometimes I feel like I have to be both mother and father to my son to give him the guidance he needs, since my spouse acts more like a babysitter than a loving parent. I’m feeling less and less like there is much hope that things will improve, even though there is much in my life to be grateful for. A sense of gratitude does help keep me going day to day. What else am I missing here? How can I make this marriage work? What steps do I need to take to find deeper happiness and satisfaction?
Signed,
Questions
 
Dear Questions,
Your letter is filled with a lot of personal questions and life challenges that are daily subtracting from your happiness. Believe me when I say that I can understand your feelings of being overwhelmed with life. You listed several circumstances and issues that I will address one by one. As always, my intention is to (1) find the truth, and then (2) assist you with finding peace.

One of the most obvious themes in your letter is your focus on what’s wrong with your life instead of focusing on what’s right with your life. I read and re-read what you wrote. Your letter is laced with criticism, dissatisfaction, frustration, gloom, misery, sadness, and unhappiness. I’m not using those words to be mean and/or unsympathetic. I’m using those descriptive words to make a point. There isn’t one person, including myself, who hasn’t felt like you are feeling at more than one time in our lives. You are not alone. Life is filled with up and downs, challenges, and bumpy roads. You cannot escape what life brings. You cannot control what life unfolds. You cannot escape the journey. What you can do is change your perspective about your reality. Your perspectives have to change for your life to change.

360 Choices
There are 360 degrees in a complete circle. There is no beginning or ending to a circle. And there is no beginning or ending to Energy. You are Energy. You are conscious Energy. Because you are conscious Energy you have the ability to choose what to focus on. This is a mandatory concept to understand if you want to be happy. At any given moment, we have 360 different ways to respond and/or label any circumstance we experience. Let me be clear: it’s not easy to choose another perspective, but it is possible to shift your focus with (1) intention and (2) practice.

Intention and Commitment
You must have the intention and the commitment to focus on what’s good in your life during every moment. You can verbalize your intention as soon as you wake up. It’s simple and easy. All you need to do is say out loud, before you get out of bed, “My intention for this day is to focus on what’s good in my life.” In fact, you can practice saying that as many times as you want during the day. In the beginning this practice might not seem to be effective and you probably will continue to focus on what’s wrong for awhile; however, as with any new skill, you will get better and better at changing your focus. Also, know that when you make an intention, the Universe always listens. 

I want to also say that whatever is happening in your life is supposed to be happening for a reason that you might not be able to comprehend right now. Yes, everything happens for a reason. When I’m challenged by life, I know without a doubt that the challenge is needed and the challenge is here for me to elevate to a higher level of growth and understanding. All challenges are good—regardless of how they might make you feel. All challenges bring an opportunity for personal and spiritual growth.  All challenges bring an opportunity for you to shine brighter. You mentioned you have children.  How do you want your children to face challenges? Do you want your children to focus on what’s wrong with their lives? Or do you want your children to find peace and happiness with whatever life brings them? Do you want your children to be able to meet every challenge life brings them with gratitude and acceptance? Your children are watching you, and more importantly, your children are feeling your energy. Be the living example of how to navigate through life! 

Your Husband and Making Marriage Work
Your words are screaming a limited perspective.
“My spouse has moved on to his next pet project, has not been very approachable, and takes on almost no responsibility. He is fairly clueless …”
“I’ve been trying to talk to him for years, but he is not approachable …”
“My spouse acts more like a babysitter than a loving parent.”
“How can I make this marriage work?”

My Dear Questions, how do you expect to “make this marriage work” when you harbor feelings of resentment and disdain for your husband? It sounds like (at least in this letter) that you share none of the responsibility for the state of your marriage. To begin with, you are extremely critical of your husband. It’s interesting because there was a time in my life where I too was extremely critical of my ex-husband along with everybody else I knew.  Criticizing others was a daily habit of mine. There is one huge problem with criticizing anyone and that is, you are subtracting from your happiness when you do. Secondly, when you criticize anyone the words you use are actually meant for you! Ouch! So ask YOURSELF:

Am I ever non-approachable? When does this happen, and why?
Are there times or specific occasions when I take on almost no responsibility? When does this happen, and why?
Are there times when I am or act fairly clueless? When does this happen, and why?
Are there times when I act more like a babysitter than a loving parent? When does this happen, and why?
Are there times when I act more like a babysitter than a loving partner? When does this happen, and why?
Now, when are YOU going to change? 

Gratitude
There are 7.2 billion people on this planet, and I’m sure that more than one person would love to trade places with you. Why? You have a home. You have food. You have children. You physically survived a car accident with the ability to walk again. (I have a dear friend who has been paralyzed since high school). You have a husband who is his own person. I could go on, but I’m sure you get my point.

Another Perspective
Let me share two real-life stories. I have a girlfriend who at 36-years-old attracted breast cancer. Her reaction? According to her own words, contracting cancer was a “gift from God to her and her family.” Why? Because before the cancer, she took her own existence for granted. She let small things bother her. She was easy to anger. She found fault with her life and her family. She was living without feelings of gratitude and appreciation for life itself. Her diagnosis changed her life
. Her diagnosis changed her perspective. She chose to view her diagnosis as a gift. 


I met a blind man on the bus last year. I purposely sat next to him and asked him how did he become blind? He told me he was hit on the back of the head with a baseball bat and lost his sight. He was 21 at the time. He then went on to tell me that he was grateful for losing his sight! He told me being blind saved his life! He told me being blind was a gift from God. How could this be possible I asked?  His story was not unique. As a young man, he was a member of a street gang. His daily “to-do” list consisted of gangbanging, stealing and murder. He even admitted to participating in dismembering and disposing of bodies. The blind man told me he would have surely been in prison or dead if he hadn’t stopped his behavior. The baseball bat to the back of his head saved his life, and more importantly, he was grateful and appreciative. Now he shares his story with young men that are in gangs or at risk of following in his footsteps.

You commented that your husband says you take on too many personal projects? Is this true? What are they? Do they conflict with the time you need to focus on your priorities? What are your priorities? What can YOU do to create a livable, sustainable balance between your priorities and your personal projects? I support you and understand that we all need something that’s just for us, especially when we give of ourselves to others on a daily basis? Please continue to engage in whatever nourishes your soul.

Lastly, you wrote, “This is not the life I had envisioned.” Life is never about what we envision my dear Question. Life is what the Universe envisions for us. After decades of suffering due to resisting reality, I’ve finally surrendered and realized that I do not have control over what happens to me. Because if I did, I would have designed my life a whole lot differently than how it has unfolded. What I do have control over is my perspective, my attitude, my focus, my intentions, my words, my beliefs, and my behavior. Finally, I trust and surrender to whatever the Universe has in store for me. The Universe knows what each of us needs to experience. Know this and trust it. 

Do you want to be happy and at peace? Let go, be grateful for your life, and start living.

Jumping to Conclusions

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No matter how much I read, am educated, or grow older, I find myself continuing to do this.  How many of us jump to conclusions because something “seems” like _____________ — you fill in the blank.

“She does not like me”, “My boss picks on me”, “The store clerk did this on purpose”….. you get the idea.

Guess what. Have you ever heard this saying, “Sometimes things aren’t always what they seem” – unknown  

Yes, this is true.  The trick is for us to remind ourselves of this fact when our mind starts fabricating the “what if’s” or jumping to conclusions.

The key, I believe, is to ASK the person what they mean, their intention behind their behavior, etc. versus jumping to our own conclusions because, in my experience, I continuously find that what I think is the exact opposite of what is actually occurring.

Our homework for today – reach out.  Maybe your mom or your friend hasn’t called not because she’s mad at you but because she’s just busy. Maybe your boss gave a responsibility to someone else not because he “hates” you or is going to fire you but because there is something more important you will need to do for the organization where you work. 

Let’s look at the positive instead of the negative.  Let’s find out motives behind actions instead of jumping to conclusions.  I believe it is much healthier that way.

Just to be fair, when I was looking for who said, “sometimes things aren’t always what they seem” I did find an additional part that someone wrote.  I found it to be both encouraging and discouraging and I thought I’d include it and discuss it.  You’ve heard the saying “life isn’t always a bed of roses”, right? Sometimes we need to deal with things that happen and move on.

Here is what I had found:  “Sometimes things aren’t always what they seem. Sometimes people who you trust the most in the world will stab you in the back, your best friend betrays you, and the person you thought would never hurt you..will. Life is full of disappointments, but life itself isn’t a disappointment. Life is hard, and would be easier if things were just easy and nobody ever hurt us, but things don’t work that way. Life is a mountain waited to be climbed, with help…or alone. And it’s not impossible, i mean…someone climbed Everest…didn’t they?” – Unknown

So, what is this saying to us?  Sometimes things don’t go as we planned. Sometimes “sh**” happens.  The author of this definitely had a disappointment. Sometimes we each have something that does not go our way, but we need to move forward. We need to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and find a way around the “obstacle” to move forward.  We recently published a book, If I Knew Then What I Know Now, Our Quest for Quality of Life. (www.IfIknewThenBook.com), which talks about just that.  We all have undesirable experiences, but we have a choice of how we act / react. We either stay where we are and wallow in self-despair, or we move forward. We can use our experience to be sad and depressed and waste our days, years, and lives, or we can become stronger and move mountains.  

In the end, each minute, hour, and day, it is up to us on how we act and react. It is up to us whether we let things stand in our way or achieve.

I know it is hard to not jump to conclusions, but the trick is to stop and evaluate and then act. We are all smart. We just have to apply our smartness sometimes. Not sure if smartness is a word, but you get what I mean.

I’d love to hear from you. Email me anytime at doreen@timetoplay.com or call our office, 631-331-2675 if you have suggestions, something you want to see on Time to Play, or something you can add to www.TimetoPlay.com.  My goal? To bring resources together to help each of us learn what we need to know so we can enjoy life. Together we can do amazing things.

The Time to Play Philosophy:  You have to be happy, healthy, have money and a work / life balance to have quality of life.  Learn what you need to know so you can enjoy life.  www.TimetoPlay.com = Resources for a better life.  It’s time to Enjoy YOUR Life!

Love, 

Doreen

What is a Life Coach and Why Would I Pursue Such Education?

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In today’s society I’ve personally noticed a decline in happiness amongst many people, both young and old.  Today I saw an article that my brother Jonathan referenced about a poll that showed 2/3 of Americans are not “very happy”. This is quite disturbing to me.  After all, I am a person who truly believes we live in the most amazing country and we should all have an opportunity to be happy, healthy, have money and a work life balance — the Time to Play Philosophy.

I am a research junkie, which you can read further about in Jonathan’s chapter in our newly published book, If I Knew Then What I Know Now, Our Quest for Quality of Life (seewww.IfIKnewThenBook.com for more info). Jonathan’s chapter is about his experience with the tabu topic of depression and suicide.  I honestly did not know how significant a problem this was, and was horrified when I read statistics published by  the National Institute of Health: “Suicide is a major, preventable public health problem. In 2007, it was the tenth leading cause of death in the U.S., accounting for 34,598 deaths. The overall rate was 11.3 suicide deaths per 100,000 people.  An estimated 11 attempted suicides occur per every suicide death(1).  Additionally, it was noted that suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death in young people ages 15 – 24, which really upset me.  After all, life is just beginning for these young people. I also foundthat mental illness affects approximately 20% of our population, which may create a higher suicidal ideation in some component of our population(2).

I became further interested in learning about the statistics of suicide after a discussion I had with my daughter Jacquelyn, who is 18.  She recently spoke to me about many of her friends who felt lost or who have given up and had a “what’s the use” attitude.  Additionally, my 21 year old son, a Psychology Major at Baruch College in New York City, spoke of the same when I asked his opinion of Jacquelyn’s statements.  So, I started to investigate this topic and found the incredible numbers of suicide and depression that affect our people.  Even in today’s society, while it is more visible, it is my opinion that the topic of suicide and depression is still quite tabu and hidden.  The pains of the great numbers of our society are truly something that the general population needs to be aware of in order to make changes. 

It pains me that such a young person could feel so lost.  While other situations may come into play, the discussion with my children brought to light that, with the troubled economy, the kids may feel their future is questionable regarding getting a job or “making it”.  Perhaps they’ve lost the American Dream feeling, where anything in our Country is possible if you put your mind to it.  Instead, maybe, they have become poisoned by news reports and feel that they have a questionable future, that the middle class is shrinking, that they have to deal with college debt, and that it will be difficult to find a job to survive.  These are not just my opinions, but opinions of college students I asked as a result of the conversations sparked by my children.

So… I decided to continue my education to learn more so I can help more.  I believe education is power. I chose to become a life coach to guide people in their discovery of how to live a life of passion and to help people identify what they want in life.  Life coaches help people that may be lost in their life path to identify and create goals and set strategies so they could develop a successful vision, relationships, values, time management, or to identify whatever else is obscuring their future happiness and success.  It is important to emphasize that Life Coaches are not therapists. 

Perhaps helping people identify their passion, develop a vision, and create life goals will help others live a fulfilled life.  A Life Coach may enable them to see past what they perceive to be negative odds.  When we, as a people, put our mind to something, nothing is impossible.  It is my hope that, with the proper direction, they will find a path and not give up.

That is what drove me to obtain this education.  So I can be better prepared to help guide others in their path of discovery.  To have insight that may enable me to provide just what a person needs to see past negative thinking and be able to live a fulfilled life to achieve happiness.  After all, in the end, don’t we all just want to be happy? 

References:

  1. National Institute of Health
  2. National Alliance on Mental Illness