Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Power of Passion

A true story.

Rick and I are selling our home. Several weeks ago, we readied ourselves to interview several realtors. Still, we knew our tendency—to go with the first person we met. That was Bob. Nice guy. After hellos, we sat at our dining table and Bob took us through his glossy brochure. He described his brokerage, his sales strategies, and selling philosophy. Then we paged through the contracts. After an hour, we were ready for a walk-thru. As we pointed out improvements and made excuses for eccentricities, Bob said little. We moved quickly from room to room, shook hands, and Bob left.

“So, he seems ok, right?” Rick knew our busy schedules and how much we both hated this interviewing process.

I shrugged. I wanted to go with Bob so we could be done with interviews, but his silence felt like disinterest, or worse. How could he sell our home if he was apathetic (or appalled)?

I arranged another interview. Denise came over the next evening, while Rick was at a Cubs game.

She shook my hand and launched into the living room. Denise had worked designing new homes. I feared she would detest my unconventional art and my “unusual” design choices. But Denise wasn’t a snob. She immediately began talking about what she saw-the furniture, the colors, the architecture. She “got” my style and offered helpful suggestions to make our home more “mainstream.” We spent two hours, going from room to room.

It was now 9 pm. Denise was in heels, but she impulsively began moving my furniture. I grabbed the other end of a couch so it wouldn’t drag on the oak floors.

“Do you always do this on your first visit?” I teased.

“Only with clients who will let me.”

Denise and I had never sat down. She had never formally pitched herself or her company, but here she was, at the end of a long day, moving furniture throughout my home. Her passion for real estate was palpable.

Rick came home from the game to a newly staged living room.

While Bob seemed competent, ethical and kind, Denise’s incredible zeal closed the deal. From the minute she entered the room, it was clear we would employ her talents and enthusiasm. In all lines of work, there is no substitute for passion.

What are you passionate about? Is there a way to bring your passions to your work?

© 2009 Laura Lewis-Barr all rights reserved

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The "violence" of being too busy

"There is a pervasive form of contemporary violence…overwork. The rush and pressure of modern life are a form, perhaps the most common form of innate violence. To allow
oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many demands, to commit oneself to too many projects, to want to help everyone and everything, is to succumb to violence. The frenzy...destroys our own inner capacity for peace. It destroys the fruitfulness of our own work because it kills the root of inner wisdom which makes work fruitful.” Thomas Merton

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Symptoms of Inner Peace

Some Signs of Inner Peace:
• A tendency to think and act spontaneously rather than on fears based on past experiences.

• An unmistakable ability to enjoy each moment.

• A loss of interest in judging other people and in interpreting their actions.

• A loss of interest in conflict.

• A loss of the ability to worry (very Serious Symptom!)

• Frequent, overwhelming episodes of appreciation.

• Frequent attacks of smiling (Also very Serious).

• An increasing tendency to let things happen, rather than to make them happen.

• An increased susceptibility to the love extended by others and the uncontrollable urge to extend it.

Saskia Davis, author

for more symptoms and info on the author visit here.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Time to Take A Break?

The Chinese word for busy consists of two characters “heart” & “killing.”

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Bringing Nemo to Work

Bought my friend a fish for her desk at work. Fishy has brought some peacefulness into her stressful workplace. What could help you feel saner and more yourself at your workplace?

© 2009 Laura Lewis-Barr all rights reserved

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Time Management is like Poker

If you pick a new card, you must discard another. © 2009 Laura Lewis-Barr all rights reserved

Friday, August 14, 2009

Dealing with Conflict

Be hard on the problem

Be soft on the person

Focus on needs, not positions

Emphasise common ground

Be inventive about options

Make clear agreements

These reminders are from the Confict Resolution Network.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Guaranteed to make you smile.

For pure unadulterated joy, check out this musical comedy moment in a train station.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Time Management Secret Weapon

Begin that daunting task!

When facing my messy basement or planning a big seminar, the project can seem overwhelming-- until I plunge in.

So pick a place to begin. You can start anywhere. I choose a corner of my basement, take a breath and.... go!

Begin. Your genius will soon join you. © 2009 Laura Lewis-Barr all rights reserved

Monday, August 10, 2009

Powerful Unseen Forces at Work

Does this scenario sound familiar? A manager perpetuates inefficient policies to protect his departmental “turf.” “Greg” wants assurances that all “his” numbers are credited to him. He is afraid to share credit on any project for fear of budget or position cuts. So Greg duplicates the work of other departments and won’t streamline processes. But as Greg works diligently to protect his own fiefdom, he frustrates his staff and colleagues.

Ironically, if Greg made choices that benefited the greater good, his position would be more secure. Greg’s staff would be more motivated and his colleagues would recognize the value he adds to their division. But Greg doesn’t believe this. He is driven by fears of unseen number-crunchers. His paranoid conversations with the accounting department never go well. As he realizes (unconsciously) that his work lacks value, Greg may become more afraid and even create a self-fulfilling prophecy of what he most fears.

Greg may survive in the short-term but his refusal to face his real motivations will send a cognitive dissonance throughout his small department. His staff, colleagues and superiors will sense his hidden agendas, even if they cannot name them. These invisible drives, based on unconscious fears, will continue to undermine all work and Greg’s ability to inspire and lead.
© 2009 Laura Lewis-Barr all rights reserved

Friday, August 7, 2009

Monday, August 3, 2009

Email Addiction and Time Management

Thank you to for these fascinating factoids.
  • Compulsive checking of emails and being continuously available to incoming text messages, etc., is considered by some experts to be driven by the same impulses that are experienced by gamblers, i.e., following the principle of unpredictable occasional reward, and similar descriptions of such behaviour.

  • Surveys regularly find vast amounts of wasted time spent by workers dealing with emails and email interruptions. A 2008 report in the Guardian newspaper staggeringly calculated that a worker who checks/responds to email interruptions every five minutes wastes 8.5 hours a week, given the recovery time required after each interruption.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Can You Be Happy Anywhere?

As I study the research on happiness (for my training workshops), one idea dominates: happiness is a state of mind. This probably sounds overly obvious (in the abstract) but applying this to my daily life is a struggle.
We all have dreams and goals. These are vital to life. But if dreams slip into "when _____ happens, I'll be happy," it's time to question these thoughts.
Lately I've become obsessed (again) with living on Lake Michigan. I long to move north-some quiet beaches in Wisconsin are the most peaceful and spiritual places I know. Since I believe in the power of intention, and prayer, and hard work, I approach this desire with energy and optimism. But even with my best creative thinking, I can't find a way to make this dream happen soon.
Today I've felt a shriller inner voice pleading, "Come on God, I really want this! I'll pray so hard you'll have to make this happen!" (Here I'm like my puppy who begs and begs until I give her what she wants).
But then I remember happiness research. If I got the home on Lake Michigan, would it really make me happier? I find a deep inner peacefulness at the lake but isn't there a way to create that peacefulness anywhere? Happiness research says yes. Our thoughts, not our circumstances create happiness. Certain daily disciplines, (like meditating and practicing gratitude) can even change the brain toward a happier state.
Can I really create the same peaceful feelings in my urban backyard as those that envelop me when I sit on an empty beach, listening to the waves? I will try. And even now, as I shift from the desperate need for something in the future to the quiet acceptance of the Now, I know greater peace.
I'm a passionate person with many goals and desires. It is a challenge to balance my enthusiasms and ambitions with an acceptance of Life's limits. Today I make a new goal--to keep practicing both gratitude and acceptance of the limits of today. © 2009 Laura Lewis-Barr all rights reserved