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Unless you’ve had your head buried in the sand for the past year or so (and who would blame you?) you’ve probably felt the effects of the big black cloud of negativity that’s looming about. I see it hovering in the buildings of the organizations I work with, reflected in the grim expressions of people on the street, and bolstered by the politicians and pundits we hear every…single…day. Even Pollyanna might have difficulty finding something to be glad about today.

So what are we to do? Give in to the negativity? No! Despite what’s going on around you, you have a choice as to how you respond to it, just like in this Native American legend.

One evening an old Cherokee was teaching his grandson about life. "A fight is going on inside me," he said to the boy. "It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil - he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego."

"The other is good - he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you - and inside every other person, too."

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, "Which wolf will win?"

The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."

I’m here to suggest that you feed the right wolf. Make a conscious effort to focus on the positive, and increase what Shirzad Chamine calls your “positive intelligence” (PQ). Not only will you be happier, you’ll improve your relationships, increase your success at work, and, let’s face it, be a lot more fun to be around!

Here are some ideas for feeding the right wolf.

-Think about one thing that is causing you a lot of stress. Now think of three ways you can turn that into an opportunity.
-Practice saying “Yes, and…” instead of “Yes, but…”
-Keep a gratitude journal. Each day, write down something positive about the day.
-Surround yourself with positive people.
-Turn off the news and turn on a comedy.
-Get away from your computer and go for a walk, a hike, a run or some other activity OUTSIDE.
-Play.
-Watch kids at play.
-Meditate.

And check out my latest podcast: Please and Thank You - words that are very easy to use.

Let’s make positivity (and politeness!) “trending…”

“You cannot have a positive life and a negative mind.” – Joyce Meyer

Till next time,
Karen

Kindness, Life, People, Stress, wellness

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Feeding the Right Wolf – The Power of Positivity

May 12th, 2016

By: Karen Colligan

Unless you’ve had your head buried in the sand for the past nine months or so (and who would blame you?) you’ve probably felt the effects of the big black cloud of negativity that’s looming about. I see it hovering in the buildings of the organizations I work with, reflected in the grim expressions of people on the street, and bolstered by the politicians and pundits we hear every…single…day. Even Pollyanna might have difficulty finding something to be glad about today.

So what are we to do? Give in to the negativity? No! Despite what’s going on around you, you have a choice as to how you respond to it, just like in this Native American legend.

One evening an old Cherokee was teaching his grandson about life. "A fight is going on inside me," he said to the boy. "It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil - he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego."

"The other is good - he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you - and inside every other person, too."

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, "Which wolf will win?"

The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."

I’m here to suggest that you feed the right wolf. Make a conscious effort to focus on the positive, and increase what Shirzad Chamine calls your “positive intelligence” (PQ). Not only will you be happier, you’ll improve your relationships, increase your success at work, and, let’s face it, be a lot more fun to be around!

Here are some ideas for feeding the right wolf.

• Think about one thing that is causing you a lot of stress. Now think of three ways you can turn that into an opportunity.
• Practice saying “Yes, and…” instead of “Yes, but…”
• Keep a gratitude journal. Every day, write down something positive about the day.
• Surround yourself with positive people.
• Turn off the news and turn on a comedy.
• Get away from your computer and go for a walk, a hike, a run or some other activity OUTSIDE.
• Play.
• Watch kids at play.
• Meditate.

Let’s make positivity “trending…”

“You cannot have a positive life and a negative mind.” – Joyce Meyer

Till next time,
Karen

Gratitude, Health, Kindness, Relationships, success

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Laughter Really IS the Best Medicine

January 21st, 2015

By: Karen Colligan

Charlie Chaplin once said, “A day without laughter is a day wasted.” I couldn’t agree more. In this often oh-so-serious world, we need to find opportunities to take things (at the very least, ourselves) a little less seriously.  Laughter is good for the heart. It’s good for the head. It’s good for the soul.

Here’s what research tells us:


  • Laughter relaxes the whole body. A good, hearty laugh (I like to call it a “belly laugh”) relieves physical tension and stress, leaving your muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes.

  • Laughter boosts the immune system. Laughter decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, thus improving your resistance to disease.

  • Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. Endorphins promote an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain.

  • Laughter protects the heart. Laughter improves the function of blood vessels and increases blood flow, which can help protect you against a heart attack and other cardiovascular problems.


  • In addition to these physical and emotional benefits of laughter, there are also cognitive and social benefits.  Humor and laughter contribute to increased creativity, improved problem solving, enhanced memory and increased ability to deal with stress.  They also strengthen bonds with family and friends, increase attractiveness to others, and contribute to happier marriages and closer relationships.

    And you might also be interested to know that while you are laughing you are burning calories! A researcher from Vanderbilt University conducted a small study in which he measured the amount of calories expended in laughing. It turned out that 10-15 minutes of laughter burned 50 calories.

    But perhaps the best testimony for laughing comes from those who have spent their lives helping us derive the benefits of a chuckle, a chortle, a guffaw, a giggle, a cackle, a crack up, a smile, and a big ol’ belly laugh.  Here’s what a few of them have said….

    “Laughter is an instant vacation.” – Milton Berle

    “We need more kindness, more compassion, more joy, more laughter. I definitely want to contribute to that.” – Ellen DeGeneres

    “If love is the treasure, laughter is the key.” Yakov Smirnoff

    “The human race has one really effective weapon, and that is laughter.” – Mark Twain

    “If Heaven exists, to know that there’s laughter, that would be a great thing.” – Robin Williams

    “A wonderful thing about true laughter is that it just destroys any kind of system of dividing people.” – John Cleese

    “Live by this credo: have a little laugh at life and look around you for happiness instead of sadness. Laughter has always brought me out of unhappy situations.” – Red Skelton

    Till next time…keep laughing,

    Karen

    Health, Life, Work-life balance

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Show Stoppers

October 15th, 2012

By: Karen Colligan

As I sit here trying to write my blog about Show Stoppers – those things that stop us in our tracks and keep us one step from achieving what we want to achieve – I think…what is stopping me from writing this blog? Oh…that’s right…I have to be creative, provide substance and most of all give the reader a reason to read. Just a little bit of pressure, wouldn’t you say? At this moment, my preference would be to stop thinking and do almost anything else instead of sitting at my computer. Maybe I’ll go do laundry. Now, that is a sad state of affairs! With that said, the important element is to “push through” the negative self-talk and write something meaningful. I’ll try my best.

Yes, we all have that little person sitting on our shoulder that says to us “are you crazy, you can’t do that” or “you do not have the guts to pull that one off” or “you’ve never done that before, what makes you think you can do it now?” There is not a human being alive who does not have doubts about something they want to achieve. For some, those doubts will fuel us. For others, those voices will stop us in our tracks and paralyze us. It is easier to go do the wash. Yes, indeed this is true.

Stand tall, be confident, provide the reasons you are the right fit and candidate for the position and push through that F-E-A-R. Own it, make it yours and get that new job.

Fear is an overwhelming emotion. Susan Jeffers says – “Feel the fear and do it anyway.” Well, that’s very easy to say; however, making it a reality is taking it to another level. What we have to do is really think through what our personal Show Stoppers are. What stops us in our tracks and prevents us from getting that next work assignment? What stops us in our tracks and prevents us from taking the leap and becoming an entrepreneur, going back to school for something we’ve always wanted to learn – doing whatever will help us fulfill our dreams? It’s that darn four letter word – F-E-A-R.

As I began to write The Get Real Guide, I realized that in a lot of my personal career development work the focus was on accomplishments, skills, etc. No one was asking me, “what is preventing you from doing what you want to do?” Now, I did all types of work around what I wanted; however, I wasn’t answering that dreaded question – What gets in your way? I realized that I was very similar to others, yes, I was confident, yes, I wanted more and yes, I had “stuff” that kept messing with my head. I had to address that “stuff.” UGH…is just about all I had to say.

So, yep, if you have read or worked with me, you know what is coming next…ya gotta get stuff down on paper. If you can see it, you can own it and then you can do something about it. So, what’s on your list? Write down 5 Show Stoppers that have gotten in your way in the past. The reason I say 5 is because we don’t want you to get carried away and then completely get overwhelmed by what you think you have to “fix.” Five is plenty. This can be tough because you have to own what you don’t do well. Here are some Show Stoppers from The Get Real Guide. Do any of these resonate for you – argumentative; arrogant; closed-minded; defensive; fear of success (it ain’t just failure some of us are afraid of); insecure, lack of goal setting; perfectionist (yep, I said it – are you a perfectionist?); timid.

Now, take a look at your list. As you look at your list of Show Stoppers, think about specific times when they have impacted your life, your decisions, your career. Why and how did they make an impact? As you look at each one, write down next to it what you are going to do the next time it rears its ugly little head. An example – fear of success. As crazy at it sounds, a lot of people are afraid of success. If this is on your list, how are you going to overcome it? What success are you afraid of? When did it impact you? What do you want next for yourself where you believe it will show up? What measures are you going to take to squash it? You want to be thinking about this prior to ‘it’ showing up. If you have an opportunity for a job promotion, or you have an opportunity to interview for a new job in a new company, be prepared and show ‘em what you are made of. Stand tall, be confident, provide the reasons you are the right fit and candidate for the position and push through that F-E-A-R. Own it, make it yours and get that new job.

Doesn’t that all sound so easy? Hardly! It takes work. It takes confidence in yourself and it takes a plan. And, you know what, you are worth it!

Till the next time… Don’t Stop Believing!!!