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Monthly Archives: April 2017

3 Questions for Healthy Backstep

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“In any given moment we have two options: to step forward into growth or step back into safety.”

-Abraham Maslow

There’s two different cuts we can take at stepping back.

The first is when we revert to the comfort zone in the face of the challenges and contortionisic stretches required to play bigger, express broader, and adventure into new territories.

The other is when we move away from the machine so as to get a bigger picture than the next rung on the rat wheel.

We can all fall prey to working in our career vs. on our career, in our business vs. on our business, awash in our life vs. perspective on our life.

For example, it’s great to have that current job or business, especially if you love it and feel your highest self-expression pouring forth. Yet, we all know that nothing is guaranteed and, according to standard business wisdom, if you’re not moving forward, you’re moving back—there is no standing still.

Also, there may be personal or business practices, tried and true, that we engage in without thinking anymore of whether they are working.

Therefore, stepping back from the activity to get the bigger picture is a wise, forward-focused practice.

The same goes for the progress forward of our relationships, health, finances, personal mission and overall sense of well-being. Nothing stands still. It’s forward or back.

Alexandra (my partner in Back Forty crime) and I recently took a 911 weekend away. We cancelled all appointments and booked a last-minute hotel and unplugged, unscheduled, and unwound. Yes, we relaxed, and yet we began some meaningful (but not significant) conversations about how we want to design our Back Forty from the long-view perspective.

That weekend, and the inquiry thus begun, has produced ongoing ripple effects which have shaped our consistently upgraded views on many aspects of our work, mission, and enjoyment of life. Good thing! We figure that, with us being the forerunners, scouts and pioneers of creating a radical second half of play, passion and purpose, we are to live it to prove it’s possible!

From the bigger picture, all of us can see what’s working and what’s not…and put in the pieces we don’t see when up close and personal.

Incorporating healthy backsteps into your dance, to catch that bigger perspective, can make for a far more workable final choreography.

Here’s a few questions to ask from our own exploration:

Sustainable?

Sometimes, it’s necessary to look at the State of the Personal Union to see if how we’re living, how we’re working, how we’re relating is actually sustainable over the long term.

Sure, there are some crunch times in everyone’s life. Yet, you can’t really sustain crunchtime. Over the long term, you tend to get crunched.

ReFrame-able?

Consider the impacts of machines running on High all the time – they wear out, burn out, or at least don’t perform at their highest productivity.

Is the career, business, life you’re running safe and sound at the pace or peace it’s going? Is it worthwhile to re-evaluate and re-frame what’s really important and what’s really working (and what’s not)?

Unchainable?

We may think, at first blush, that everything is tied with a bow as it is and there would just be too much upset caused by rethinking and reorganizing the pieces.

Yet, that’s simply not the case. Were something major to happen in your world today, truly, all bets are off. So, what can we let go, mix up, or do differently?

In the 80’s, there was a Fram Oil Filter commercial with a famous tagline: “You can pay me now, or you can pay me later.”

Today’s Back Forty question is: where can you step back from the trance to enhance the workability of your own dance?

“Often stepping back you see more, don’t you?”

-David Hockney

75 Simple Ways to Be More Happy with Life

Get Happy!

Today I want to inspire you to become happier. Everyone needs a little pick up every once and a while and today I am sharing with you 100 ways to make your day full of a little more happiness.

So, without further ado, let’s get happy!

  1. Go for a walk
  2. Take a nap
  3. Clean something
  4. Call a friend you haven’t talked to in a while
  5. Read something inspirational (try this or this!)
  6. Sip on some tea or coffee
  7. Get a massage
  8. Say “Bubbles” in the angriest voice you can muster
  9. Plan a special dinner to look forward to
  10. Ignore your phone for a few hours
  11. Think of 3 things you’re grateful for
  12. Watch your favorite TV show
  13. Go for a drive
  14. Complete a random act of kindness for a stranger
  15. Do yoga
  16. Listen to your favorite band or singer
  17. Look through local Groupon deals for something to do this weekend
  18. Dance
  19. Bake cookies
  20. Pick 3 things you want to get done today and do them
  21. Go shopping
  22. Pretend you’re a kid again and just PLAY
  23. Pick up some flowers to brighten your home
  24. Read a new novel
  25. Quit a bad habit (if only for a day)
  26. Sing
  27. Buy your favorite sweet as a snack
  28. Find the nearest park, beach, or forest and explore
  29. Stop slouching
  30. Complete a DIY project
  31. Go to any store and pick up 5 items that make you happy
  32. Work on your personal To Do list
  33. Look through some of your old photos
  34. Schedule time to volunteer at an animal shelter
  35. Call your parents
  36. Go see a movie (or maybe even go to a drive-in theater)
  37. Make plans with a friend who you haven’t seen in a while
  38. Cook your favorite dinner
  39. Go window shopping downtown
  40. Pay it forward next time you’re in line to get food or coffee
  41. Are you mad at someone? Let it go
  42. Go to the Zoo
  43. Search for inspirational quotes, write one down, and put it somewhere you will see it regularly
  44. Meditate
  45. Stop thinking about where you are now and think about what is possible instead
  46. Draw a picture
  47. Drink a glass of water
  48. Pick a new sitcom you haven’t seen before and watch the first episode
  49. Download the app Happify
  50. Whisper “Boopity Boop” under your breath in 4 distinct voices
  51. Go to a gym class
  52. Take a bath
  53. Spend time with your significant other – without electronics
  54. Shake up your routine
  55. Play a board game with friends or family
  56. Have a firepit? Build a fire
  57. Make a list of 10 people in your life who inspire you. Then share your reasons why with them
  58. Make your favorite drink
  59. Start a home improvement project
  60. Set a new life goal and take the first step towards achieving it
  61. Snack on some fruits or veggies
  62. Switch up your commute. Leave early, take a new route, and try to enjoy the ride
  63. Find a funny article and laugh a little (I find that BuzzFeed is a good place to start)
  64. Spend some time alone to focus on you
  65. Go to bed early
  66. Jump and try to touch the ceiling
  67. Eat something healthy
  68. Do you have a pet? Go get a hug!
  69. Search for a “No Laugh Challenge” on YouTube
  70. Face something you fear
  71. Skip from one end of the room to the other
  72. Instead of thinking about everything that needs to be done, try to focus on one thing today
  73. Tell someone you love them
  74. Be spontaneous and do something RIGHT NOW
  75. Smile!

If all of these happiness-inducing ideas aren’t enough, I have decided to start giving you something a little extra each time I write a new post.

Did you know that there are almost 1,500 National Days throughout the year? Some of them inspire conversation, others promote change, and still others just make you laugh. Here are the National Days that fall on April 25, 2017:

  • DNA Day
  • East Meets West Day
  • Hug a Plumber Day
  • Telephone Day
  • Zucchini Bread Day

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3 Easy Ways to Make the World a Better Place on Earth Day

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Did you know today is Earth Day?

To be honest, I was completely oblivious to this until yesterday. Here at The Back Forty, we have been feverishly preparing for the California Women’s Conference to the point that May 10th and 11th are the only dates floating around my head (if you’re interested in learning more about the California Women’s Conference or want to attend, click here).

Anyway, back to the topic at hand. Earth Day.

Even though I forgot about Earth Day, it doesn’t mean that there is nothing I can do to make our world a better place and what day would be better than this beautiful Saturday to do just that. So without further ado, here are 3 easy ways to make the world a better place today!

1. Plant a Tree

field-858650_1920.pngThis is one of the easiest things you can do for the environment and it will probably take less than an hour. Decide to get in your car and drive to your local garden or hardware store and pick out a tree you like. It can be a baby tree (my local Lowes has trees in stock for as little as $8) or it can be a bigger tree, just go pick one out and bring it home. The next step is to plant it. Find a spot in your yard and give your tree a new home. This one tree can produce 260 pounds of oxygen each year! Beyond creating oxygen, your little tree cleans the air, cools your yard, and conserves energy in your home (if it offers shade to any windows), along with so many other things.

Can’t plant a tree? Do you live in a condo or apartment? No worries, contribute to The Canopy Project hosted by the Earth Day Network. Each dollar you donate plants one tree. It takes 500 trees a year to get rid of the carbon dioxide your car creates each year, so why not help combat that and give back? Donate here!

2. Reduce Your Footprintworld foot circle.png

We are consuming natural resources faster than the Earth can replenish them (1.5 planets’ worth of resources each year to be exact). Figure out exactly how much you are contributing to this problem by taking this Ecological Footprint Quiz.

After completing the quiz, you can explore different ways to reduce your footprint. Want a few simple actions you can take today? Buy a water bottle and stop buying bottled water, bring your own grocery bags to the store, or go through your mail and see which items you can choose to receive electronically.

3. Save Endangered Species from Your Own Backyard

The US Fish and Wildlife Service has an interactive map that shows you which species are endangered in your home state. Click here to explore the map!

After picking an endangered species to save, click here! This takes you to the World Wildlife Fund’s endangered species directory. Click “Ctrl+F” to pull up a search option and then simply type in the name of your chosen endangered animal (note that the WWF doesn’t include birds in their directory). I live in Colorado and chose the Black-Footed Ferret.Black-footed-Ferret-plush-z1.png Once you click on your animal you can learn more about it like why it matters, why it is threatened, and what the WWF is doing to help save it. Then, when you scroll to the bottom, you can choose to adopt your very own endangered animal. The adoption kits are $55 each and you get a 10′ plush of the animal you’re helping, a photo of the animal, an adoption certificate, a species card, and a gift bag.

adopt-a-lynx-plush.pngI admit that you can’t find all of your local endangered animals on the WWF website, but there are plenty of animals you can help! If you have your heart set on an animal the WWF isn’t currently raising money for, simply search for the name of your animal with the word donate and you can find an organization that is working to protect that specific animal. For example, the WWF isn’t currently accepting donations for the Canada Lynx which is currently threatened in Colorado. I searched “Canada Lynx donate” and found Defenders.org where I have the option to adopt a Lynx. Defenders.org has multiple adoption levels anywhere between $20 and $200 depending on the animal. If you want to scan through the different adoption options they offer, click here!

However you choose to help the Earth, you can feel good knowing that you’re making an impact. And think of the difference we could all make if everyone who read this picked even one of the above options to help save our global home!

Are you reading this late in the day on Earth Day, or even after the fact? Don’t worry, as the Earth Day Network says, “every day is Earth Day”. You can still help! And if you don’t want to participate in any of the above options, you can help the Earth Day Network reach their Global Environmental and Climate Literacy Campaign. Earth Day turns 50 in 2020 and the Earth Day Network is already planning to celebrate in a big way by dedicating to ensure that every student around the world graduates high school knowing the importance of environmental and climate change. Watch their video below, or learn more by clicking here!

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5efkV0dt4mc]

Want to hear what other “National Days” Earth Day shares April 22nd with this year? Girl Scout Leader’s DayRecord Store Day, and Jelly Bean Day!

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3 Thoughts to Help ReThink

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“Change can be frightening, and the temptation is often to resist it. But change almost always provides opportunities – to learn new things, to rethink tired processes, and to improve the way we work.”

-Klaus Schwab

What if A didn’t necessarily need to precede B…or what if there was a way to get to Z by circumventing the linear alphabetic song.

In other words, we often set up rules in our minds as to “the way things need to go” in order to get from A to Z. And, by establishing such rules — consciously or (for the most part) unconsciously — we create a reality. Change becomes prescribed to take place a certain way.

We often can’t imagine a result we’re committed to having in our life, our career, our business, our relationships simply showing up. That’s what’s called “magical thinking,” and we all know we have to work for it.

So says the industrial mindset, and we can all agree that simply saying it or waiting for it doesn’t have it appear.

And yet, somewhere within that rigid and calculated “truth”, if there were the slightest crack of radical possibility that things may not be so fixed as how we see them, what might have a chance to happen outside the rules?

There are philosophies that say the results that come to us are not so much a function of what we are doing as who we are BEING: the general outward expression of our most deeply held truths.

There are yet other philosophies which tell us that it is the thoughts that we hold predominate in our conscious mind which attract to us our experience. Plus, we all know that those thoughts we hold in our SUB-conscious mind are huge factors or culprits in our life, depending on what we’re attracting.  

Let’s not throw out our earnest-strategy babies with the bathwater. Coming up with our plans and directions to pursue are healthy and give us confidence (e.g., “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail”).

Yet, perhaps there’s value in making room for unexpected and unforeseen fortuitous factors to creep in.

Here are a few thoughts to consider:

Rules

Pick an area of your life where you’d like to see results you’re currently not experiencing.

Is it in the area of relationship? Maybe dating? Or how about the area of career?

Look to see what “rules” you’ve created about the way things need to go in order to have that result.

For example, I need to be on 4 dating sites and go out with 3 first dates each week.  Or, I need to get my resume in perfect shape and then start looking for openings by reviewing online job boards.

Just look beneath your assumptions and outline the steps and processes you believe must take place for it to happen.

What If?

Begin to ask yourself some simple questions that take you outside of those rules.

What if I were to get a call today from a friend who wanted me to meet someone? What if I actually looked around me today and created some casual conversations? What if I were to hear about a new company or meet a new person who turned me onto to a new opportunity?

Seems simple, but we don’t often just allow ourselves to ponder what it would feel like if what we seek were simply to come.

Allow

Allow yourself to keep doing what you think you need to do, yet allow yourself also to expect the unexpected.

Simply seeing how our rules have blocked us into a reality that must seemingly go a certain way can allow the unforeseen and unexpected to arise.

Here’s the big question: what do you have to lose by simply pondering some what ifs outside of your rules?

“Alice laughed. ‘There’s no use trying,’ she said: ‘one can’t believe impossible things.’

‘I daresay you haven’t had much practice,’ said the Queen. ‘When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.'”

-Lewis Carroll, Alice Through the Looking Glass

Conscious Agreements and Commitments within Organization

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“Commitment is what transforms a promise into reality.”

– Abraham Lincoln

What are you REALLY committed to?

A clue to answering this question can come from seeing what you are experiencing in life.  A wise man once said “If you want to know what you are committed to, look at what you’ve got.”

Are you more committed to being right than having fulfilling relationships?  Are you more committed to looking good than trying things on and being willing to fail?  Are you more committed to being in control than having an empowered and inspired team?

Of course, we proclaim that we are committed to all the “good stuff.”  But do our actions and results validate and support that claim?

As leaders, it’s always a good idea to review and revisit our commitments.  Even a better idea to look under the covers of what we say on the surface.

In revisiting your commitments, here is a great one to consider.  Are you committed to creating and leading a conscious organization?  And, are you willing to have your actions support this commitment, even if it gets uncomfortable, outside your comfort zone, and unpredictable?

I recently discussed this particular subject with Sharon Rich of ThinkBusinessGrowth. I’ll share with you a few highlights from our conversation.

One way to significantly impact your organization’s leadership consciousness is to become genuinely and wondrously curious about each leader’s vision for the future, their authenticity as a leader, their role (vs. title or position) in the organization, and their relationship with the leadership team as a whole and the people they are leading.  

A disconnect between what the leader says they are committed to and the level of consciousness actually expressed in the organization is common.  Good intentions, talent, and hard work abound, but leaders have limited awareness of their impact on others and exactly how to inspire conscious collaboration between individuals to produce results.

Expanding individual consciousness takes intention, effort, and work.  Yet, it’s worth it.  As leaders expand their awareness and consciousness, it becomes game-changing for them personally…which translates into the impact they have on their teams and the entire organization.

Once the organization makes a commitment to up-leveling consciousness, appropriate challenges arise.  Organizational Development leaders often report these types of challenges.

One organization reports working through agreements between the BOD and leadership team, including strategy and alignment around translating the vision into corporate goals.  Everyone understands the vision; the question to be answered is, how that vision translates into reality. Yet, this is a higher-level problem coming about only within a consciousness-focused organization.

Being at the gateway of transformation means stepping outside of what we already know, being uncomfortable, not knowing all the answers in advance, and doing things differently than we did before.   Who are we as an organization?  The space to answer this question begins to open up vs some pre-fab or past-based easy answer.  Now, the organization gets to write their own story in the present.  What is it going to be?

You may know of a monumental bestseller “The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom” by Don Miguel Ruiz.

In a similar vein, Sharon Rich is bringing out her own book “Your Hidden Game – Eight Invisible Agreements that Control Your Business” (available this Fall).   Sharon identifies the eight most important agreements that people in organizations make with each other unconsciously: without any awareness that we’ve made them.  Lacking awareness, these agreements unconsciously run our business.

Once we as leaders become aware and start making intentional agreements, our work, our results, and the difference we are making transforms.

Here, Sharon shares three of the eight agreements.

  1. Desired Outcome – Often people do not have a shared agreement of what they are wanting to achieve, both as a team and an organization.  If they are not aligned about how they will pursue it and what success looks like, it is impossible to produce a clear and aligned outcome.
  2. Roles – Who does what, what is each person’s role, and how does it interact with others?  We make assumptions, but usually don’t expressly discuss those assumptions.  Then, we have breakdowns and upsets about it.  We spend time talking about the upsets, but not about the assumed roles and agreements at their core.
  3. Decisions – How the organization makes decisions.  For example, unilaterally, “my home, my rules”, “do now, ask for forgiveness later”, by consensus so things move very slowly, etc. Everyone has a tacit agreement that this is how we do it…without expressed and aligned agreements about such decision-making processes.

It is time for us as committed and conscious leaders to start letting go of old ways and unconscious agreements. Let’s begin to make intentional agreements about how we work together at each, every and any level.

What agreements and commitments will empower your leadership right now?

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3 Deep Breaths to Address Disorder

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“In all chaos, there is a cosmos, in all disorder a secret order.”

-Carl Jung

“Waiting to exhale” is a phrase many are familiar with, if not from the movie of the same name, just the experience of life as lived.  Stressful events in our lives and the world can cause a virtual breathing disorder.

Big changes in our world or our own lives (e.g., career shift, relationship changes, “midlife crisis”, etc.) can have us almost holding our breath. Such feelings of personal or planetary chaos may attempt to deflect our attention and hope from what Thoreau calls our individual versions of “the direction of your dreams…the life you’ve imagined.”

Though any change is always, at first, discombobulating, in The Back Forty we offer that any “crisis” can also be seen as an opportunity.

Yet, while in the midst of the crisis-come-opportunity, we do need to stabilize and get grounded. In that process of getting back to basics, the most basic of basics is to remember to breathe…into the apparent disorder.

We don’t often regard the practice of breathing – whether it be literally, or figuratively (e.g., stepping away from everything to gain perspective) – as a first-blush consideration in living life. Yet, too often that invisible or unappreciated practice becomes highly regarded after a scare of one type or another.

I recently wrote about the opportunity to invent reasons to stop ourselves and breathe before something else stops us (health scare, relationship upheaval, financial sideswipe, etc.).

If we subscribe to The Back Forty belief that each of us has yet to do what we came here to do, then that means we want to take the long view…because we’re ideally going to be around for a very long time.

So, whatever it takes to focus on breathing – literally and figuratively – into whatever disorder we stir up in our purposeful pursuit of a second half of play, passion and purpose is worth every last minute it gives us…because it may be that last minute of this life when we accomplish what we came here to do.

Here’s some thoughts to help you take a breather from world or personal events, and be inspired (latin inspīrāre, to breathe upon or into ):

“True stability results when presumed order and presumed disorder are balanced. A truly stable system expects the unexpected, is prepared to be disrupted, waits to be transformed.”

-Tom Robbins

“One way to break up any kind of tension is good deep breathing.”

-Byron Nelson

“Smiling is very important. If we are not able to smile, then the world will not have peace. It is not by going out for a demonstration against nuclear missiles that we can bring about peace. It is with our capacity of smiling, breathing, and being peace that we can make peace.”

-Thich Nhat Hanh

“Whenever I feel blue, I start breathing again.”

-L. Frank Baum

“I wake up every day and I think, ‘I’m breathing! It’s a good day.'”

-Eve Ensler

“I’m convinced of this: Good done anywhere is good done everywhere. For a change, start by speaking to people rather than walking by them like they’re stones that don’t matter. As long as you’re breathing, it’s never too late to do some good.”

-Maya Angelou

“The only reason I would take up jogging is so that I could hear heavy breathing again.”

-Erma Bombeck

And here’s a few deep breaths to keep in mind as disorder may, for the moment, continue to wave its frazzled, fearful head:

Breathe

You can’t help anyone in any worthwhile way unless you have applied your own oxygen mask first.

First and foremost, be sure you’re getting the rest, nutrition and mental relaxation necessary to keep coming at your work, your life, your world with the highest functioning of your full faculties.

There’s a phrase that says, when things get a bit crazy, HALT: never get to Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired.

Breathe

There are many phrases from many cultures which say the same basic truth: things will look different in the morning.

Realizing that, if we give ourselves the self-care to step back for a moment, a bit of rest and NOT thinking about the issue at hand can actually open up new perspectives from which can then be seen new actions to take.

Take a breather from the urgency of the moment. Step away from the machine.

Breathe

Actually realize the blessing of the fact that you are, right now, in this moment, breathing, with the health, and ability, and food in the fridge, and people who really do care all around you, and opportunities to contribute…all right now available in the present.

There is a next step. This is a life to be lived. There is something yet to unfold to have you be who you came to be and do what you came to do.  And you need to keep breathing to get there.

“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”

-Albert Einstein

What Would You Do If Your Future Held INFINITE Growth Potential?

Today I bring you another quote from The Back Forty archives. Take a moment to read it and then meet me on the other side as I unfold the meaning it holds.

The Back Forty

First and foremost, if you’re asking what the heck the “back forty” of the ranch is – check out my previous post on that topic by clicking here.

Great! Now that we have that out of the way, let’s look at the quote. It isn’t often that we think of our second half of life as being “uncultivated”, “full of possibility”, or holding “infinite growth potential”. After all, when we think of our second half of life we usually think of things like slowing down, predictability, and stability.

But, if you actually take the time to think about it, it is all of those things that we think it is not.

It is a new adventure waiting to unfold.

It is a chance to use all of your knowledge from your first half of life to create whatever you want for your future.

It is entirely in front of you.

In this way, your life IS uncultivated, full of possibility, and holding infinite growth potential. So take a moment to think about what adventure you want to work towards. After all, it’s all ahead of you!

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Conscious Whole, Piece by Piece

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Are you in?  Yes, these are trained professionals, and yet DO try this at home!

What is a conscious organization?  I hear that question all the time.

Merriam-Webster defines “conscious” as “the quality or state of being aware especially of something within oneself.”

Therefore, one might extrapolate that same definition to a “conscious organization”, with “oneself” being the whole of the parts.

For ages philosophers have struggled to understand what consciousness really is.  Individual consciousness is a hefty enough subject, and when we start to look at organizational consciousness, eyes begin to glaze.

How do you wrap all of that individual consciousness into a bigger whole of consciousness? Well, that question circles back to the idea of consciousness itself being a non-localized phenomena, something expressed through yet bigger than the sum of its outlets.

As described by John Renesch “the Conscious Organization is one that is continually examining itself, committed to becoming as self-aware and responsible as it can at any given time in its life.”

For sure, organizational consciousness means different things to different people.  Yet, as we engage in the inquiry as to what it is, ideas and direction begin to form.

I recently had an opportunity to chat with Bryan Ungard from The Decurion Corp. Harvard Business Review published an article in 2014 (see it here) naming The Decurion Corporation a deliberately developmental organization.”  

Bryan brought up what he believes is the pre-requisite of building a conscious organization.  In his view, it is making a deliberate choice to come from the mindset that there is no tradeoff in being a high performing organization producing high returns while also being an excellent place to work, committed to providing people a place to flourish.  

According to Bryan, flourishing includes several aspects.  

  1. Wholeness – only one part of a human being or only one part of an organization cannot flourish, so Bryan looks at what it means to be whole as both a person and as an organization.  
  2. Connection – nobody flourishes by themselves in isolation, so Bryan suggests looking at how we are related to other people, our authentic connections to others and the community.  
  3. Growth and Development – flourishing doesn’t happen without both.

The Decurion Corporation is a rare organization where doing intense and deep personal work – that means work on the whole of the person, not just their job – is not only encouraged but required.  

We all have opinions on how the world works – based on our individual wisdom and life experiences.  And yet, those views and opinions are based on our perceptions, not “the truth.”  Letting go of the way we think the world works, old ways of being in how we interact with people, and old ways of taking action to produce results can be very challenging…and there’s no way of knowing that you will succeed.  And yet, that is the only path to real growth.

At the Decurion Corporation, daily activities of getting work done are used as a “training ground” to create consciousness.  The idea is to have the entire organization operate on the foundation of mindfulness, consciousness and being present, and thus to enable the individuals in the workplace to do the same.

What if we take that one piece of advice and make it inherent in how we lead?  My bet is that this alone is sure to set us on the course to produce some truly amazing results, and thereby building truly amazing – and conscious – organizations.

Who’s in?

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4 Pointers to Help Dig Relaxspiration

4 Pointers to Help Digg Relaxspiration (4-5-17) - Take Twoeclectic

“Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are.”

-Chinese Proverb

The tendency is to do, and do, and do…and keep doing until done.

Our cultural work ethic values pressing forward and figuring it out, whatever it takes.

There’s a lot to be said for pressing forward, yet especially with an easy touch.

When the chips are down, we often go head down, nose to the grindstone and get so tight that we only breathe in.

We forget that tight means no openings for entry…for new ideas, innovative approaches and, God forbid, playfulness.

Literally, I can see myself having two completely contrary personalities at times. When in a relaxed state of playfulness and connection, I can attract play partners like the biggest magnet on the planet. Yet, when I’m tightly wound, trying to figure out through smarts or strategy the best ways to go, often the flow stops…as well as those wanting to be around me.

Winston Churchill, a man with the fate of the world on his shoulders, painted to open his mental creative faculties for battle.

Thomas Edison, one of the greatest inventors of all time, was an avid fisherman–with no bait because he wanted solitude and inspiration, not fish.

Researchers have discovered that people exhibiting relaxed playfulness appear to be better at coping with stress, can easily see things from new perspectives, and are more likely to report leading active lifestyles.

It’s in those moments where it really counts that our exhibiting such playfulness has its greatest impact. Yet, in those moments, a playful attitude just doesn’t make logical sense.

The gold is in the contrary action.

In our second half, we can become rigid in how we have forced things to happen in the past. As Monty Python says, “and now for something completely different”—becoming playful—can feel different, and yet far better for our long run of doing what we came here to do.

So, the next time the tight wad of forcing an outcome wraps you up, contrary action such as loosening your grip may save the color in your knuckles and even incite some chuckles.

Laughing and relaxing in the face of challenges and tribulations may be the smartest strategy to play.

Here’s a few pointers on how to dig on relaxspiration.

Distinguish

First, you have to get really good at noticing the tightness.

Start feeling your body when you’re doing what seems relaxing and easy and then compare it to times when you’re in the heat of forcing something to happen.

If you’re so tight most of the time that a piece of charcoal could turn to diamond in your presence, it will be hard to for you to see it yourself. Do a tightness survey with your friends. Find out how they’d rate you on a scale of 1 to 10 in terms of diamond mining.

Ignore

Notice the worldly weight of the moment, when everything seems to hinge on the answer, the path, the route to take absolutely needing to be on the table hours before.

When there’s no time to waste and every slight delay or challenge meets with irritability and a few choice expletives, just ignore the logic…and step away from the critical-importance machine.

It’s really not worth all that tension in your body.  Your health and well-being are of much greater long-term importance.

Give

Give it up! Don’t take yes for an answer. The answer at this moment is no: no to working harder, no to figuring it out, no to breaking necks and backs to force a result.

Don’t give up, but do give up the struggle. This isn’t the way to the peaceful, playful and purposeful person you choose to be.  Accept that you have the right to take a contrary action for the health and well-being of everyone.

Guffaw

Just laugh all over yourself. Find something to do that breaks the rigid, clenched jaw. Getting into the practice of laughing in the face of your moments of all-importance could be the best habit to bring into a Back Forty of contribution. And a good laugh is always a contribution to everyone.

“Your mind will answer most questions if you learn to relax and wait for the answer.”

-William S. Burroughs

We re-did our first broadcast because the first version has poor sound quality since I was out of the office with low bandwidth. If you’re still intrigued, watch the original version below, you’ll be able to handle the sound quality!

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ui3VtQuh7dk]

6 of the Best Ways to Fill Your Relationship with Happiness

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As we grow older it sometimes gets easier to focus on our significant other’s faults instead of their virtues. Pet peeves slowly become intolerable and your relationship becomes more routine and boring.

Where did all that happiness go?

It’s not that the happiness is gone, but rather that you have stopped nurturing the happiness. When was the last time you did something special for your significant other just to show them how much they are loved? Chances are, all of us could do special things for those we love more often.

But what am I supposed to do? I hear you asking. Look no further because I have compiled my list of the top six ways to fill your relationship with happiness by showing your love.

1. Plan a Special Night (without you!)

This might sound counterproductive but let me explain.

Does your husband love watching a certain sport? Does you wife have a favorite TV show? Chances are, there is something on TV that you hate as much as your significant other loves. Well, I’m here to tell you that there is a way to turn these experiences into loving gestures.

Order your significant other’s favorite delivery food (Pizza? Chinese? Mexican?) and schedule to have it delivered right before your husband or wife’s show starts. About 30 minutes before their show begins, say that you are going to bed, or another room, or whatever you normally do to avoid watching this show. Once you leave, send your significant other a text telling them that their favorite food is on the way, to enjoy their show, and that you love them.

Tah-dah! Suddenly, avoiding something you hate has been turned into a romantic gesture.

2. Clean

Do you get home from work before your significant other? Maybe you wake up earlier than them? Go to bed after them? Chances are, you are “alone” at home at one point or another throughout the week.

Turn this into a chance to show your love. What part of the house gets messy the fastest? The kitchen? The living room? Pick a room, and clean it before your significant other gets home. Not only will they notice, chances are they will also appreciate it and feel the need to reciprocate at some point.

3. Turn an Obligation into a Surprise

This one is my favorite idea by far. Think about something that you request from your significant other on a regular basis. Do you ask them to stop at the store on their way home? Grab you something from the other room? Cook dinner? Walk the dog? Now’s the fun part, you get to turn that mundane obligation into an exciting surprise.

Ask them to do the obligation and then surprise them with a fun activity. Ask them to grab some cheese from the grocery store and then surprise them in the cheese isle with plans to go on a hike and have a picnic. Or ask them to grab your glasses from the other room and then have tickets to the movies or a museum next to your glasses. Ask them to cook some pasta for dinner and then have a giftcard or reservations for their favorite restaurant waiting for them next to the pasta.

It is entirely up to you on how simple or extravagent these surprises are. The important part is that you are turning something they don’t enjoy doing into a fun experience for both of you.

4. Plan a Date

This might seem like a relatively simple concept, but when was the last time you actively planned a date on your own? I’m not talking about deciding that you need a night away from the kids and planning something together or deciding that neither of you want to cook and going out for dinner. I’m talking about taking at least 30 minutes on your own to choose something to do together and booking the neccessary tickets/activities. Plan to take a weekend getaway, go to the zoo, or even just make a dinner reservation.

It’s not the extravagance of the date that is important. It’s that you took the time to plan to do something together because you enjoy spending time with your significant other. It’s a great way to say I love you, which brings me to my next point…

5. Say “I Love You”

Have you ever heard of the “magic ratio” discovered by psycholigist John Gottman? He says that there is actually a ratio of positive to negative comments in a relationship that can pretty much guarantee a stable relationship. What is this ratio?

5:1.

For every negative comment you make to your significant other, you should make five positive comments. So think about it, what is your current ratio? How often are you saying “I love you”? How often do you tell your significant other that you appreciate them? Now, how often are you complaining? The longer we are in a relationship, the easier it is to take the positives for granted and become more frustrated with the negatives. This can cause our ratios to get completely out of whack.

So what am I suggesting you do? Figure out what your current ratio currently is, and then work towards that 5:1 ratio. Start with just a week and see the difference that it makes in your daily interactions when you try to stick to the ratio. Chances are, you will both become happier.

6. Reverse Your Bad Habits (if only for a day)

Pet peeves. We all have them. And we all have pet peeves about our significant other. Maybe they leave the toilet seat up, or they leave their clothes all over the bedroom floor. Chances are, by this point you are thinking about your biggest pet peeves about your significant other. Well, stop!

Think about your significant other’s pet peeves about you instead. You know what they are. Now, actively try to stop all of those habits. Start with just a day and see how long you can make it last. I’m not saying that you change forever, but make an effort and your significant other will notice.

With all of these new ideas, I know you can actively bring happiness into your relationship. Because, after all, who doesn’t want to be happier? Your relationship is important and worth the time it will take to strengthen it. Even if your relationship is already stable and relatively happy – these six tips can bring even more happiness into your relationship.

Do you have any other examples of special things you do for your significant other to bring more happiness into your relationship? Tell me your favorites in the comments below!

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