Watch Workplace Confidence TV tonight!

A new episode of my Workplace Confidence TV show airs tonight at 8:30 pm, on Long Island, Channel 18 Cablevision, 28 Fios.

My guest is Marilyn A. Sauline, Home Care Management Specialist. We’re discussing courageous conversations everyone needs to have. This is contingency planning for your life, and it’s fascinating!

Come join us!!

(and look for clips coming soon to my youtube channel!)

Cheers,

Michelle

Step away today.

I recently celebrated a milestone birthday, and, as I adore jewelry shopping, was gifted money to go and splurge.

Looking at all the beautiful pieces in the gold and silver market usually gets me in the “zone”: happy, focused, relaxed.

However, this time, I began to stress over 2 different pieces. They both featured citrine, my birthstone. One was sleek and simple; the other was more ornate and in-your-face. I loved them both, but could only buy one.

After too much time debating over which piece to purchase, I decided to step away: To leave the jewelry counter and head home.

This was the best decision I made that day.

In stepping away, I distressed and gave my mind the space and time to reflect.

We need to do this in the workplace as well, where the decisions we make are much tougher, less reversible, and can have more serious consequences.

In stepping away, we give our minds time to rest from what has been described as “decision fatigue”: exhaustion from over-thinking.

The day after my jewelry hunt, I made a decision: Go with the simple, sleek piece that I can wear more often. And here it is:

Stepping away for better decision making

I’m thrilled with it! More importantly, I know I made the right decision.

So, give yourself that time when making a tough decision at work. Step away, refresh your mind, then come back stronger and more confident.

 

Copyright 2014 Michelle Kerrigan

 

 

Confident quote of the week.

“The worst thing to be is successful as someone else.” –Jay-Z

I was fascinated by Jay-Z on the television series, Oprah Presents Master Class. Many of his stories and words struck such a chord with me—this quote, in particular. This man definitely has master class that is all his own.

He made me wonder: How many people lose themselves in the struggle to become successful? If you’re not careful, you can find yourself playing too much to your audience—whether that audience is your company, your boss, your readers, your fans. When you let others totally dictate your voice and definition, you mold yourself too much to meet their expectations and demands.

It is then that you can let go of who you really are to reach out for those gold rings of fame and fortune.

And in the process, you can lose yourself forever.

Is this really success? Only you can decide.

 

Copyright 2014 Michelle Kerrigan

Quote by Jay-Z taken from Oprah Presents Master Class, copyright OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network

 

Organize U

an organized workspace

It’s difficult to feel like you’ve got it all together when your workspace is a mess. Organizing is about having a system you like and trust, along with a place that makes you feel good, where you can easily find what you’re looking for.

To kick off Organize U—here are 3 tips to make your working environment more productive:

  1. Keep everything you need at point of use. Files, pens, scissors—whatever you need—should be within easy reach. The more you have to get up to get things, the more time you waste. (And the more distracted you get!)
  2. Keep your hard copy and computer files organized in the same way. Use the same naming conventions for both. Organizing is about retrieval, so you want to keep your system simple and easy to use.
  3. Be as comfortable as possible in your space: Add personal touches that make you enjoy your workspace more. Remember: A happy you is a confident and productive you!

Copyright 2014 Michelle Kerrigan

How to Move Past a Blue Period

Pablo Picasso, Blue Period

During a recent trip to Barcelona, I visited the Picasso Museum, and was impressed by the amazing paintings he did as a teenager.

I was also affected by paintings from his Blue Period—a time of depression for this amazing artist.

These somber works reflect a time of sadness over the suicide of his friend, as well as the artist’s own poverty and desolation.  His monochromatic works in shades of blue of prisoners, beggars, of frail and social outcasts, represent a time of misery that would last for years.

Luckily, Picasso’s Blue Period passed into his Rose Period. His playfulness eventually began to reappear and happily remained for the rest of his life.

This got me thinking about those times in our lives when we experience our own blue periods. With the recession, high unemployment, and rising anxiety and stress at work, it can be easy to identify with Picasso.

Here are a few things I recommend to lift you out of your blue mood:

  • Understand that you are not alone. Just think of Picasso.
  • Reach out to people for help—those that lift you up, not push or put you down.
  • Be careful not to mistake feelings for facts. Understanding that feelings often lie is an important step in letting go of a blue mood.
  • Focus. Get in the here-and-now, and ask: “What’s the next positive step I need to take to move myself forward?” Then do it!
  • And most of all, know that the mood will pass. It did with Picasso. It will with you too.

Just knowing this will hopefully end your Blue Period and put you in the pink!

 

Copyright 2014 Michelle Kerrigan

Painting: Pablo Picasso, Femme aux Bras Croises (Woman with Folded Arms), 1901-1902

Ways You Give Your Power Away @Work.

So—we’re up to the next way you give your power away at work.

To refresh your memory, here are the first 4:

  1. You spend too much time and energy trying to change others.
  2. You put all your career eggs in one basket
  3. You allow other people to define you.
  4. You can’t disconnect and just be.

And here’s the 5th: You don’t take any, or all, of your vacation days.

Many of you that think your business, career, team–all of the above–would collapse if you weren’t there to constantly keep an eye on things.

This is not handling business—and your health– right. It’s doing it all wrong.

This type of vigilance a sure sign of insecurity, and, over time, will zap your power.

To gain confidence, do the opposite of what your anxiety dictates (like avoiding vacation!)

Taking a much-needed break actually increases productivity and lowers your chances of burnout.

In fact, a Framingham Heart Study, discussed in Prevention magazine revealed that, “Men who take regular vacations are 32 percent less likely to die of heart attacks, and 21 percent less likely to die early. And women who go on vacation have a 50 percent lower risk of heart attack.*”

Talk about power!

When was the last time you took a vacation?

 

Copyright 2014 Michelle Kerrigan

*Excerpt taken from the Prevention magazine article, “4 Reasons to Take a Vacation” by Holly C. Corbett, copyright 2012

Taking Time to Slow Down

taking time to slow down

We just got back from a lovely vacation cruising in the Mediterranean. Each day brought a new port, with loads of museums, historical sites and excursions.

Even though we were on vacation, the threat of it becoming very exhausting was very real. I’ve always been the type who feared missing something important—a statue, a landmark, a gallery—you get the idea.

I’ve found that, if I let it, vacation can get overwhelming.

Luckily, I have learned a lot of great things from my husband, and one of them is this: It’s important to sit down, relax, enjoy a great meal, a glass of wine, some people-watching, and a few laughs.

That’s what we did here—in Marseilles.

Many of our cruise-mates scattered in a million directions once we docked, but we just sat in a teensy restaurant by the sea, with a bucket of mussels, some warm fresh baguette, and a carafe of wine.

It was heaven.

So, as you cruise into the weekend, keep this in mind.

Don’t cram too much into your day.

Take time to slow down. You’ll be grateful (and my husband will be pleased!)

 

Copyright 2014 Michelle Kerrigan

 

Quick Tips for More Confidence at Work:

This week’s tips are ways to give you more encouragement so you feel stronger and take more action:

  • No one is going to invest you if you don’t invest & believe in yourself. You’re worth it!
  • Always start your day with an attitude of “Yes”! Invite opportunity.
  • Focus on your goal, not your fear, and you’ll be fine.
  • Always use your power for the one person you can change: you.
  • Like weight training, confidence is a muscle you need to constantly exercise for it to grow stronger.
  • Confidence is about challenging yourself to do the things you never thought you could do, until you’re on the other side of doing them.
  • So, fear less, do more!

 

Copyright 2014 Michelle Kerrigan

30-Second Cure for Anxiety

30-second cure for anxiety

It’s the end of the week, and your brain is fried. You and your teammates have been running at full tilt all week on a project that has you frazzled.

You’re all tired, stressed, and terribly overwhelmed.

So–what do you do?

Dance!

Yup—right in the office. Get those feet going!

Silly? Yes, but don’t knock it till you try it!

Years ago, a few colleagues and I were discussing Monty Python’s “Fish-Slapping Dance.” If you’ve never seen it, here goes:

A week after this discussion, we were immersed in a tense project with a tight deadline. I was on my 8th Advil when all of a sudden, one guy yells, “We need the Fish-Slapping Dance!”

We decided to go for it!

We looked ridiculous, but it felt great!

The body in motion is a fantastic way to relieve stress, and if you’re enjoying yourself and laughing, all the better!

So—get up, get moving, and get silly.

Trust me, you’ll thank (and fish slap) me for it!

And, a Happy Halloween to all!!!

 

Copyright 2014 Michelle Kerrigan

Courageous Conversations

I recently published an article in Business Insider about courageous conversations every leader should have. It is also posted here.

I call these conversations “courageous” because they require a lot of care and confidence.

In business, these conversations are known as contingency planning and preventive actions for emergencies and for when things go wrong.

The same kind of planning is needed in your personal life as well.

You need to be able to ask: If this happens, then what?

I found my first conversation was with myself. I was going away to Rome, and realized I had no contingency plans in place—no documents or instructions in case of emergency.

I was a little freaked at first, but realized that a set of instructions is necessary—to protect me and my family.

Following is a brief description of what I call the essential 4: your will, power of attorney, health care proxy and living will.

The will: Is your directive upon your death–who is to carry out your instructions and how will your assets be distributed. It can include many things, especially beneficiaries for those assets.

Power of attorney:This document indicates who can act on your behalf in financial or other matters if you are unable to do so.

Health care proxy:This document appoints an individual—friend or family member– who can make medical decisions on your behalf.

Living will: These are your instructions for end-of-life decisions.

The first 2 documents require an attorney. The next 2 you can execute on your own.

They all sound scary, yes?

They can be, at first, but like all things, once you face them, you no longer fear them. Most people feel frightened having these conversations because they think it’s about losing control, but having these things in place is about gaining control.

I’ll be posting more about this topic–as well as clips from my TV show about courageous conversations–in the future.

For now, this is a courageous start!

 

Copyright 2014 Michelle Kerrigan