New Year’s Greetings for 2016

To all on my EmpowerChangeNow  Newsletter including clients and those that have received my writings over the past many years, I offer all the best for the New Year. As we approach 2016, it is a time for reflection on our accomplishments from the past as well as goals for the future. For me, I feel it is an appropriate marker to move from my current semi-retirement state to full retirement.

My company, Life Transformations, LLC was conceptualized from a need I saw to assist those in corporate America achieve balance based on what I had learned over many years as an IT/telecom project manager, a team leader and eventually a coach/mentor over other more junior project managers. I was always available to my teams and associates to help them move past their difficulties so that we could all meet our joint project goals. Out of this environment, I formed my semi-retirement business to help others overcome what I called their negative pattern to achieve their highest state possible. To this end, I studied since to teach, one must first learn, experience and become wise enough to work with others. There is always self-work to do prior to helping someone else. So I had a road of self-improvement myself. I studied many spiritual traditions, took classes on energy healing, became a Reiki Master, and eventually was ordained as an interfaith minister. Over the 12 years of my life coaching work I helped over 350 individuals work through career, relationship, financial and other personal issues, goals and challenges. I can honestly say that helping others has been a real blessing for me… to be of service, and to watch each person move through their difficulties to their own desired end.

Thanks to those of you who were my clients over the years for putting your faith in me and for allowing me to be of service. It was a joy to aid your positive growth.

And to those who just received my writings, thanks for allowing me into your life those my musings.

In future, I may write a bit here and there, so please let me know via return email to life_transformations@verizon.net if you wish to be part of a very select group of people to receive future blog postings which I will most likely merge with my other blog – Joanne’s Starteacher Blog. Feel free to check it out.

What will I do now? Like many retired people, I will move more to my hobbies of ballroom dancing, continue my spiritual studies, my world travels, jewelry making, and developing personal relationships. In addition, I’m working on getting as fit as I can be at this age!

This is a new stage in my life. I greatly look forward to it. Many blessings to you all! Happy new year..

Rev. Joanne Aaronson

 God Bless

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Sharing Resources Better for All

An issue popped up in my gym class today that really inspired me to write this article: I arrived right on time but didn’t get my weights prior to starting class. The first half of this class is aerobics and the second half involves use of some weights. After the initial exercises were finished, I went to retrieve the weights and all were taken. Then I noticed that one of the women had 3 sets – one set she’d brought from home plus 2 additional sets she planned to use in class. Now I assure you that for the 15 minutes we use weights these variations were totally unnecessary and extreme, so I asked her for one of the sets. Rather than simply comply she began to explain why she “required” these additional weights and if I didn’t have any, well that was my fault since I hadn’t “taken” them early enough. I was blown away by the arrogance and selfishness of this person which didn’t stop me from insisting that only one set per person was the allowance. Under extreme duress she gave in handing me one of the sets of weights to use for which I thanked her. Mind you, these weights belonged to the organization to which we were both paying the same fee to be in the class. I thought about the situation for a while and still was bothered by her attitude of “me and only me”, which is a totally foreign way of thinking in my world.

Wasn’t sharing one of those things we were supposed to learn in kindergarten? I can remember the teacher saying, “Now share your toys with the other kids….”, or your parents telling you to share with your brother or your sister. So why is it so unusual to share in the workplace? It seems to me that it should be a natural progression of a healthy personal development. If we learned to share when we were younger we found that others liked us and we were popular as a result. From there we had friends and so on. Can we also assume that when individuals don’t want to share that something went wrong in their upbringing? Perhaps they were an only child and their parents gave them so much that they just decided that the universe revolved around them; and, if they didn’t get what they wanted their parents got a lot of flak. So the tables were turned and these kids grew into bullies who believe that they should have whatever they want.

HappycareerpeopleOk, so why am I harping on this issue of sharing? Because anyone that has ever worked in an office knows that there are never enough resources to satisfy everyone. Thus, we have to share the resources available. So the next time someone asks you for something, think twice before you say “no, you didn’t get there first” since the tables might be turned next time. Always treat others as you want to be treated and in the end you will have support when you need it. One never knows when resources such as people, supplies or knowledge are required from another group, so be considerate and share what you have as much as possible. I’ve gotten new jobs, been asked to join other teams and gotten wonderful reviews for holding just this attitude. Let me know how it goes for you!

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End of the Year Blessings

 

As we end the year of 2014, it’s good to take time out for reflection. In this regard, I’d like to express appreciation and gratitude to all my clients both present and past for the opportunity to serve you. You have given me the chance to do what I love; that is, to help others overcome their negative patterns and achieve their highest good. In accomplishing our goals there are always a few steps forward as well as a few steps backward with the end result being a movement in the positive direction of personal growth. Such growth comes with hard won successes requiring the surmounting of challenges.

Again I thank you.

God Bless

For with each challenge that you have overcome, I have learned a lesson also. My clients are always my teachers as I have been to them. We learn from each other and move forward together, each in our own way, and in our own time along our path.

I’ve taken on a new challenge this past year to volunteer for Capital Caring doing Hospice. It’s not easy caring for those that are thought to only have six more months to live, but the result is very rewarding. I view it as a “pay it forward” activity since I might need the same services one day. And, if not, then it’s just being in abundance.

On a final note, I wish you all health, happiness, abundance, and most of all that you have love in your life.

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What do people gain from SPAMMING?

All of a sudden, my blog has come under attack.. This could be funny – why would anyone want to attack a blog about empowering one’s self? That being said, it’s still the case, I’m under attack. I know I shouldn’t take it personally, but somehow I am. After so many years of working hard to put out valuable articles, those that sell sexual performance enhancement drugs, insurance sales people and other similar “on the edge” products have been using SPAM to rock my website.

The result of all this SPAM is that it’s a waste of my time. When I should be thinking of something constructive to say to you all, I’m spending time clicking “spam”, “spam” for each of 30-40 useless comments daily. Why me? Then again, why not me? Why should I be spared?

Perhaps I was meant to write an article about how our society has degraded so that there is no concern for how one’s actions impact someone else. Apparently, those that are doing the Spamming, care little about others. What they certainly do not get, is that in their negative actions, they are merely creating negative energy that will eventually catch up with them. Perhaps their car will break down, someone will steal their wallet or a friend will not show up for plans. In the end, the circle of life completes and we all pay the consequences of our actions – now or later.

So, if any of you bump into any of them, give them a piece of your mind for me! Tell them how awful they are being. It’s so very mean! Ok, so there! I got it off my chest. Now I can go back to realizing that one must consider the source.

Have a great day and don’t let the Spammers get you down!

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Bless your bills

billsFrom time to time we all talk about how many bills we have to pay. There are bills related to many areas of our lives including the owning of a home that include maintenance, upkeep and or repair; the daily activities of our personal lives such as food, clothing, personal items as well as fun activities; then there is the buying of gifts for holidays… Well, the list can grow very quickly. There are always many items that draw our attention that we want to buy for just fun or personal entertainment or to just make our lives easier – but when is enough, really enough? When do we really need another tablet or the next cell phone or yet another steam cleaner for the wood floors? Of course, we have to watch how much goes out in payments versus how much we have for income. The concept is so simple yet it is so easy to be “overdrawn”. Needless to say we want to avoid being in a deficient situation. Perhaps our government can print money but most of us are not in this enviable position nor is it fiscally prudent to do so.

Yet, it is equally negative to be so frugal with ourselves and others that we walk around with torn wallets because we just don’t want to spend the money to buy a new one. Doing so sends out a message of scarcity as if to say that there isn’t enough to go around so we must be so very careful with how we spend money. There has to be a balance between the two extremes described – underspending is just as harmful to us as overspending. I once had a friend that didn’t own a television set and only had limited phone service in the house. All of a sudden he started to have many things break requiring expensive repairs. I recognized this repeating pattern for what it was – an indication of him being in scarcity. Let me explain – by being so frugal with himself, he was sending out a message of scarcity to the universe – so he was getting back the same energy. “Ok, if you think that there isn’t enough to go around, then we will create situations for you to spend money to prove to you that you can spend money”. It took me awhile, but I convinced him that if he bought a TV and regular phone service that his repair problems would stop – AND THEY DID when he acted as I suggested. The universe stopped all the ugly repairs and he’s never had such a run of issues again. He’s retained his abundance outlook and all has been well.

So the moral of the story is to be careful of what you think, how you act for what you send out in thoughts comes back to you in kind. Send out a message that there is plenty of everything – that you do have plenty of money to pay your bills (being reasonable of course) and the universe will cover them nicely. It’s really nice to have the money to pay bills. Bless your bills and your ability to pay them. Thank the universe or spirit for your ability to pay and all will be well.

 

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Want to be more creative? Dance!

Over the years, I’ve emphasized the importance of using one’s right brain as well as the left to facilitate successful professional traits such as creativity and innovation. In this article, I’m going to explain how dancing can move one into the right brain allowing a more creative flow that I refer to as slowing down to power up. So let’s review:

The left brain is all about the logical, data side of things. So for all you engineers, programmers, lawyers and project managers… that’s the book learning plus what you know to be fact. Whereas, the right brain deals more with the free flowing abstract part of the world that helps us find solutions to complex problems, keep stakeholders flexible, encourages awareness of potential risks as well as helping one to forecast into the future with greater accuracy. Of course, data points are necessary to feed into this creative flow. Thus the right brain as well as the left brain both must be engaged. I call this end result, balanced brain thinking. So how does one get to this great state of mind?

In the West, we are trained to use the left brain, so most of us have this part down fairly well unless you happen to be one of the rare birds who fly to the tune of dance, art, music or creative writing since these are the creative pursuits. People that are already creative types use the right brain normally and would need to work at getting into the left brain. This type of person would need to do order exercises, but that’s a different discussion. So back to where we were. In order for a left brained person to access their right brain, they need to do right brain activities like the ones just mentioned and dancing is one of them. Here’s what happens:

danceWhen we are to using the left brain, we are also in a state of mind where the brain waves emitted are at a very high frequency per minute. In other words, we are taking in a lot of data, trying to filter it, usually with not so good a result; that said, many people are used to making decisions at this distracted state of mind. Ok, that’s why bad decisions are so prevalent in our society in the workplace. People are trained to just use the left brain. And projects go south fairly often. By simply slowing down, we also slow down our brain wave functioning and in so doing, we actually are able to focus into a problem or situation much better. At a slower brain frequency (known as the alpha level), we actually have a greater power of the mind. Getting into an artistic pursuit helps you to do that. So in comes – or perhaps waltzes in – dancing.

Those who dance regularly know the wonderful calmness that comes over them when they get lost in the music, the rhythm of the dance. It is precisely during this type of activity that the mind is at its best to make decisions and deal with problems. So, yes, really; if you have problems put it before your mind and then go dancing allowing the solution to gel. Then, before you know it the answer will most likely appear to you or said another say, you might feel like you have known the answer all along. Try it and see what happens. Dance your way to a calmer state of mind, power up at work and be more successful in your career all at the same time!

 

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Job Tenuous? Give to Charity!

“I’m about to lose my job and you’re telling me to give money to charity?” the simple answer is “yes”! Exactly! When you are in a tenuous situation with your financial security, it’s best to create space for new opportunities to manifest. So what are the elements behind this “give away to get in return” concept?

First, we must start with the law of Abundance: What you give out comes back to you multiplied! In the example of an impending job loss, if you give to charity, you are setting up the energy of helping others so that you can be helped in return. The “help” can be in the form of networking leads, job opportunities that suddenly appear, recruiters that just “happen” to see your resume on an internet site, a sudden feeling to call a particular company, etc. other possibilities include unexpected money showing up in the form of rebate checks, payments, new personal clients, unusual investment returns, or money in your bank account. I’ve had almost all of these possibilities happen to me so I know they are real. Once I was laid off with 7,000 of my closest associates in the telecom abundancefield during the 2003 industry meltdown. I went through several months of turmoil until I wrote a check to the Smile Train for a complete operation for one of the cleft palate children that this organization helps save from a life of disfigurement. The following week, I received a payout check from my layoff company that was $800 more than expected. Wow! The $250 that I gave to the Smile Train in abundance turned into $800 within a week; not a bad return especially when I merely blessed the check sending it out into the universe with abundance energy. This is an example of the Law of Abundance at work.

It may seem counterintuitive to give money away when you’re not sure when you’ll have another job, but if you trust the process, stay positive, and give a reasonable amount away, you may just recreate your financial security a lot sooner than you thought possible. Good luck!

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Perfectionism? No Such Thing!

I was the first born child and so more was expected of me than my brothers. Why, you might ask? Well, for one thing my parents were following the Dr. Spock rule book in those days and so were trying to do everything right, including expecting me to behave. Next came my brother. He received all the expectations of what my father wasn’t able to accomplish in his life, such as wanting to become a doctor. You see, my grandparents couldn’t afford to send my father to medical school so having to pay for his own education, Daddy took the lower road to pharmacy school. Now there isn’t anything wrong with a pharmacist profession; in fact he paid for my family’s welfare over the years with his working in a drug store, and then owning one. Don’t get me wrong, my father did well in his life. That said, he was determined that my brother would become a doctor. So brother number one had his path laid out for him from the moment of birth and luckily, he had the constitution to work for it and become a doctor.

Family portrait in kitchen.Then came brother number two who arrived five years after me. At this point, already having two other children, my parents got a bit tired. And, being the “baby”, this brother was the rebel. Brother number two was determined to live his own life and didn’t want any part of the grand entrance that his sister and older brother were making. So he’s the farthest thing from a perfectionist. In fact, he’s operating in his own world. Back to my other brother and myself.

Coming into the world as child number one, my parents didn’t want me to be behind, so they put me ahead in school. Figure that one out? I was put into first grade seven months early making me quite young in the class rather than the alternative of being one of the oldest. That was their thinking at the time and it made sense to them. However, for me it meant spending almost six years trying to catch up. What it did do was teach me how to study because school work didn’t come easily to me. In the end, this bit of learning became quite handy when the other kids, who were having an easy time, didn’t learn the same skills finally hit the wall when they arrived in college. Meanwhile, I was really prepared since I already knew how to study what I didn’t understand.

Brother number two spends most of his early years trying to live up to my good example until he actually becomes a doctor and then moves way ahead of me. I was totally ok with that because I really understood that he was satisfying my father’s unspoken but clearly known objective. And, of course, although he went through great trials to reach his stride, he eventually began to make lots of money in a profession where being detail-oriented is very important. He’s at the far end of perfectionism also, so much so that when things aren’t working he buries his head in the sand as it’s too much for him to deal with. If it ain’t perfect, he can’t handle it. Sad really.  But also as we know, money isn’t everything.

Now I did well in my life as I realized too that money doesn’t buy happiness when I tried to be perfect in my marriage and nothing I did would ever be enough. My ex-husband just wasn’t nice to me. It’s a long story and quite karmic. Lots of lessons were learned, one of which is that there is no such thing as perfection. No matter how hard you try, the holy grail of perfection just cannot be reached. If one is at work, the 80/20 rule normally applies – which is that about 80% is normally enough with the extra 20% taking way too long to reach and not adding that much more to the mix, unless we’re dealing with brain surgery or a lunar landing.

So whether we are trying to learn a dance, a sport, or comparing ourselves to someone else, we can never be perfect. We should never try to be perfect since it’s a losing battle, fraught with anxiety, grief, despair and self-doubt. If only I could dance better… if only I were thinner, if only I could keep the house cleaner….. I would be loved, prettier, better in some way and that would make me ok. If you don’t like yourself as you are now, then the bit more that you do won’t make any difference. Sure, there’s always room for study, improvement, learning more stuff; but not agonizing over it.

So here’s the punch line: When I go out and meet someone that cannot enjoy what they are doing because they are stuck in perfectionism, I can only feel sorry for them. If only one can love oneself for whom they/we are now and allow room to grow spiritually in all ways, then we are talking about personal development which is healthy. This is a lesson that many of us have had to learn in one way or another and to one degree or another. Let go of perfectionism and embrace the joy of just being you.

 

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Uncovering Career Patterns & Resolutions

Life is full of patterns that can be seen as swirls, circles, dots, dashes, lines, squares, etc. We learn to recognize these shapes fairly early in life and associate meaning to them based on context. If they repeat, we associate other meanings to them. A repeating dot could mean to continue as was previously. But the meaning of other shapes that repeat may have a more secluded meaning – such as repeating squares for example. If we saw repeating circles in front of our eyes it could mean that we were seeing double and needed to sit down! Ok, a bit of pattern humor. Let’s move the discussion down to the human level.

starsWhen events or situations repeat in our lives there is also meaning but it may be more subtle. Perhaps you’re in a job that you dislike because your team isn’t friendly to you. Eventually you move on to a different organization thinking it will be better only to find the same situation arising. At some point you realize there is a repeating pattern – you’re not popular. Is it them or you?

Another take on the job environment is when your boss doesn’t appreciate your work even though the customer rates you highly and you put in extra time getting things done over and above the call of duty. Again, you decide to move on thinking the grass will be greener elsewhere only to find your new boss acting the same way. Wow, why? Again another pattern emerges.

In each of these cases, we find that it takes a lot of time and effort to recognize that we are part of a repeating pattern. Often, it’s easier to see it happening when someone else is involved and there is less emotional involvement. Standing back a bit we can see the pieces of the puzzle and then recognize what kind of pattern is emerging.

Once we “get” that there is a pattern, the next step is to decide what it means and then to work through the next steps.

It’s important to understand the following concept: Once can be serendipity – it just happened. Twice is interesting and most likely not a coincidence, but the third time is a definite pattern. We need to become more sensitive to the events surrounding the stuff that happens to us so that we can take it apart and then understand it better. Often, we get lost in the details. Think of it as root cause analysis – what is the ultimate reason that this is happening?

So let’s go over each of the above examples:

(1)     You’re not popular among your peer group at work. Do you have your head down so much just staying afloat that you neglect the niceties of interacting with others? We get rated on how well we work within a team (usually) so don’t forget to play nice with others even when you’re in a competitive environment.

(2)     Your boss doesn’t appreciate you. This one can be a double-edged sword. Are you doing so much for so long that you’re taken for granted? I once had a client who worked for a company for 15 years and was indispensable. So I told her to do less, she listened, and was then recognized. She had been afraid to leave them, then she realized that she could live without this company; that her workmates were not her family, and she moved on to her dream job. It was a wonderful transition to watch and for her to experience.

We’re really talking about life lessons here. Each scenario had learning experiences. There is always a reason that challenges present themselves and if you do your work, in the end, you will not only get over your negative pattern, you will achieve your goals.

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Winning with Heart-based Communications

I recently did a presentation regarding the advantages of using one’s heart as well as the head in discourse. The program was well-received by the local community audience and in particular, greatly helped an attendee who later came to me for private coaching. Although it took several months to put together the slides and prepare, my volunteer effort – using my own heart energy- paid off for me professionally as well as personally. In some circles, this is called “pay it forward”.

heart-based communicationsI covered a lot of ground in my two hour mini-workshop. Over my next few blog articles, I’ll pull out some of the critical points for your consideration. Hopefully you’ll find a tidbit of two to help move your career and even your life forward.

First, what is meant by using one’s heart vs. one’s head in any circumstance? The head is all about left-brain data, analytical and logical thinking. So when we say, “Use your head” it refers to this left-brain way of looking at things. Describing just the facts Mam, just the facts would be an example. If you saw a traffic accident and calmly explained the details, or you read through and performed a recipe to bake a cake, you’d be using your head. Also, if you were out in the desert feeling lost and after getting out your map, went through the list of things you’d been taught as a Boy or Girl Scout, you’d also be using your head. In the world of business, doing things by route action is using the left-brain and is all about the head. This way of acting can be useful in certain everyday common activities. But when things get out of the ordinary, just using your head may not be adequate.

Another approach is using your heart. The heart is all about right-brain abstract, free flowing, and more intuitive thinking. If you saw a traffic accident, and not knowing exactly who was at fault, expressed an inner feeling about what happened, you’d be using your heart. When you are working with clients who have conflicting views, to try to figure out how to satisfy their needs, wants, and desires you might get creative; this would be using your heart or right-brain. Using the heart can be very useful when creative, more complex situations occur that are not part of the daily grind. That said, just working with the right-brain or heart and not considering the facts (head) can equally cause issues.

Let’s look more closely at the stakeholder management example. If in the course of dealings, one considers the facts of the situation (using the head) and then applies the intuitive knowing about what to do to bring in the creative solution (using the heart), it’s been my experience over many years of successful corporate management that a more progressive answer will be found. There are so many considerations when dealing with people that showing all the perturbations of possibilities is not possible; but hopefully, you’re getting the idea.

In our rather left-brained society, being more careful to engage the heart as well as the head can lead to more positive human resource interactions on many fronts, whether in negotiations, sales, business development or employee/management situations. Try it and see.

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