Opposites That Feed Each Other

Tips to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone and Be More Productive

Bring to mind your last off-the-grid, disconnected-style vacation. If you can’t think of one, you’re not alone. Even though we know (somewhere deep down!) that taking a complete break from work will increase our work productivity, we often resist.

I recently returned from a one-week vacation during which I fasted from email and social media. The urge to check-check-check was mighty. It reminded me of a chicken’s endless drive to peck-peck-peck its food. The problem was that my habit of continually checking was not nourishing me! Instead, I was doing a great job of sustaining a constant level of alertness mixed with anxiety, which was depleting my energy.

My coach wisely challenged me to leave my phone at home. I involuntarily gasped and wondered to myself, Could I do that? After negotiating, I agreed to take my phone so I could use the travel apps, and hide the email and social media apps so I wouldn’t check them for a week.

The Set-Up

Like any fasting program, it’s important to plan in advance for not checking email and social media. Here’s what I did:

  • Stopped 100% of the notifications on all my phone apps

  • Moved email and social media apps so they weren’t visible on my phone’s home screen (I hid them from myself!)

  • Notified clients with whom I had projects-in-the-works so they wouldn’t panic

  • Set an Out of Office message saying I was on an off-the-grid vacation and would return email starting on a specific date (I felt that saying I was on “vacation” wasn’t enough because we still expect people will respond even though they’re on vacation!)

At the end of my email/social media fast, I felt simultaneously wildly expansive in my business visions and grounded in my willingness to make tough decisions. Then I wondered, If the opposite of work can nourish our work, what other opposites feed each other?

OPPOSITES THAT FEED EACH OTHER

Courageous Yoga

Practicing yoga has taught me more about being courageous than I ever expected. Attempting to move my body into new poses, nuanced by energetic intentions, breathing, and sometimes flat-out guts has strengthened my ability to try new things at work.

Here’s what that looks like: I remember the first time the instructor asked us to do a handstand against the wall. I placed my hands on the yoga mat about a foot away from the wall, feet about hip distance wide, feet on the floor. My body was in a triangle shape. Then I tried to fling (my word, not the instructors!) my legs up so that my feet touched the wall. It was unexpectedly hard! I was scared. It took several tries until — wham! — I hit the wall.

There’s a direct correlation between stepping outside my body’s comfort zone in yoga and improving my skill of being innovative with clients. It’s all about getting more familiar and bolder outside my comfort zone.

What might you do to grow your courage for stepping outside your comfort zone?

Taking Breaks vs. Working Longer

I’m guilty of never taking breaks and even eating while working at my computer. When I started taking morning and afternoon breaks plus a whole lunch hour, I was surprised. I felt refreshed and produced better quality work!

To help yourself, set a reminder alarm or check out the The Pomodoro Technique in which the work day is broken down into intervals of working for 25 minutes then taking a break.

How can you take a baby step toward giving yourself breaks during the workday? Notice the results.

Letting Go vs. Over-Focus

The best ideas come racing in at times when we least expect them! I heard a poet’s story of catching poems as they came to her. She knew that she had to jot them down quickly or they’d be gone, on to the next poet willing to write them.

We could be in the shower, on a hike, or chatting with a friend and—zing!—in comes a great idea for a new product, service, or solution.

We could be working extremely hard on a project, focusing intensely, working for long hours with no viable results. Then suddenly, while we’re taking a break and NOT thinking about it, the perfect idea instantly materializes out of thin air.

Find your capture technique. I place the shiny new idea in my phone or on any piece of paper and then, transfer it to a “shiny ideas” folder in my organization system called Things.

How might you let go of the tight hold you have on a project and do something entirely different for a while?

When a bright idea comes, how will you capture it?

Unicorn Visions & Dog Strategies

I saved the wildest idea for last! This whacky exercise kicked my visions and strategies up a few notches!

Backstory: I read mostly nonfiction books so I asked my fiction-reading husband for a vacation book recommendation. He pulled a fantasy book from his collection called, The Last Unicorn. The unicorn theme followed me throughout our vacation! You know, like when you buy a new red car, all you see is red cars?

Surprisingly, the city of Ashland, Oregon that we visited has a high ratio of unicorn stuff to buy so I spotted them everywhere. Then when I got home, I felt an urge to let this wild, unicorn energy into my planning.

Here’s what I did:

  • I drew a vertical line down the center of a flip chart page.

  • On one side I wrote my Unicorn Visions. I went so big it bordered on ridiculous.

  • On the other side, I wrote a corresponding Dog Strategy that was a down-to-earth action step for each Unicorn Vision.

I can be a bit too practical at times. This rather silly process stretched me into a much larger vision for my business. Plus, it was fun!

How might you shift your visioning and strategizing process to go bigger, bolder, and have fun?

WRAPPING IT UP

Fasting seems to be a trend these days. I say we add Email/Social Media Fast to the movement! Summertime is here in the Northern Hemisphere. Vacation time is upon us. Let go of your tight grasp on technology and open to what’s possible when opposites attract.


I help people lead themselves first so they can go all-in on doing what matters most.

Reach out to me and let’s talk about how I might support you and/or your business in getting what’s most important done.

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When to Emulate and When to Originate

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In school, we’re always told never to copy a fellow student’s work. That’s cheating! It’s a forbidden, punishable, no-no. But as you move through life, you may find that there are times when imitation can be a valuable technique, especially when you’re in the process of learning a new skill. However, you’ll soon find that to reach the next level of success, you must move from emulation to developing your own expertise. 

After 35 years of working for other companies, I decided to go out on my own almost two years ago. As I built my business, I earned several certifications, received challenge and support from my coach, and was inspired by many people along the way.

I’ve been climbing a steep learning curve. Recently, I hit a plateau. After taking stock of where I had been and where I envisioned going, I saw the next mountain to climb. It was time to stop emulating the people and programs I had learned from, and start refining my own voice and style.

Imagine your teachers, coaches, and mentors as training wheels on a bicycle. If you’re going to truly have fun and excel at riding, you need to lose the training wheels! Yes, you’re going to wobble. You’re going to fall down. Then, you’re going to feel the wind in your hair and have a blast riding!

Here are tips to move from mimicry to “my way:”

Do It Your Way

Use all the material you’ve learned and then, unlearn it, and do it your way.

Frank Boyden, a founder of the nearly 50-year-old Sitka Center for Art and Ecology, envisioned a place where artists could come unlearn all the stuff they had learned in the Masters of Fine Arts programs. He knew that while an education is important, eventually an artist must develop his or her own creative voice to truly be successful.

How can you inject a bit of your voice the next time you’re practicing a new skill? For example, in becoming a better leader. What idea have you held back from sharing with your team? Share it in your way at the next meeting.

Teach, Present, Write

The best way to learn something—and to find your own voice in it—is to teach it! Challenge yourself to teach a class, present an hour-long Lunch & Learn session, or write an article or blog post.

For example, you could learn about presentation skills by attending Toastmasters meetings or watching Ted Talks. After being inspired by people who do it well, find a place to practice speaking in your voice. Volunteer to present at your local Chamber of Commerce, Rotary organization, or other groups that interest you.

Good Theft vs. Bad Theft

Emulating another person’s style or work does not mean flat-out copying it and presenting it as your own. I believe it means paying attention to what you notice other people doing that sparks something inside you. For me, there’s an inner voice I sense that says something like, “Wow! That’s cool!” or “Ooooo, I’d love to learn how to do it like that,” or “Oh. I never thought of doing it that way. I like that.”

In Steal Like an Artist, Austin Kleon lays it out like this:

Good Theft                                        Bad Theft

Honor                                                 Degrade

Study                                                  Skim

Steal from many                                Steal from one

Credit                                                 Plagiarize

Transform                                          Imitate

Remix                                                 Rip off

Let’s be good thieves, not bad thieves!

You’ve Got It In You

Years ago, I said to my therapist, “My dad drives me crazy because he’s so judgmental!” To my horror, she said, “You know that when we notice something in someone else, it’s because we have it in us, too.” Nooooo! That was not what I wanted to hear, even though she was spot-on.

Since then I’ve learned that the opposite is also true. When I notice a leader who is willing to be authentic, to boldly say what he or she believes, and generously share to help others, I remind myself that I’m capable of that also.

Who are the people that inspire you? What exactly is it that you notice? Know that you also have that quality inside you. What would it look like to express it?

Create for the First Time

Does your work involve designing documents, presentations, videos, forms, systems, websites, etc.? Mine does. I deeply appreciate that building things like that takes a lot of time, energy, and expertise. (I feel the pain!) When people offer to share their work with me, I quickly say, “Yes! Thank you!”

For example, I have used another person’s PowerPoint presentation as a foundation and then customized it with my style. Often when I need to build a new system or process, I ask my Mastermind group members how they do it and then tweak it for myself. Website design inspiration comes from bookmarking websites I love so that when it’s time for me to make changes, I have fuel to stimulate my creative juices.

Wrapping It Up

Children imitate parents. Mentees mirror the style of mentors. Students regurgitate the right answers for exams. Emulation and education help us grow—to a point. Have the courage to kick off those training wheels and ride all-out! Ethically, honorably, and intentionally use the work of others and then, do it your way.


GROW • STEP OUT • LEAD • DO

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I help people grow, so they can step out of their comfort zones, take the lead, and do what matters most to them.

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Are You Hobbling or Helping Yourself?

Pre-blog note: Hi! I took a few months off from blog-posting to re-think what I’m sharing with you. Initially, I wrote short blogs weekly, then I made short videos weekly, and now, I’m experimenting with writing longer, more thoughtful posts monthly. Let me know what you think! Thank you for being here :)

And now…on with this month’s blog post…

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Remember the three-legged race popular at family reunions and field days? Racers pair up and stand side-by-side with their arms around each other. Then the two touching legs are bound together and the hobbled racers do their best to dash straight ahead to the finish line! It doesn’t take much for them to tumble over into a giggling heap.

Are your thoughts, feelings, and actions helping you move toward what’s most meaningful to you? Or are they hobbling you, causing you to stumble and perhaps fall just short of your goals?

It’s easy to unconsciously create devices that cause us to flounder and fall. The invisible rope we unintentionally tie around our legs makes it tougher (and a lot less fun!) for us to get anywhere. Recently, I’ve started noticing how I manufacture my own pesky hobbling devices.

I thought about the way I cause my body unnecessary hardship by waiting way too long to step away from the keyboard and stretch. The muscles in my neck, shoulders, and upper back form a Union, striking as one big knot of tension in a desperate attempt to get my attention, pleading with me to stretch them back into fully functional human form.

I also noticed the way I manufacture unhelpful, fearful feelings in my mind long before I begin a project. You know that sinking sensation we can get before stepping out of our comfort zones and taking on a new challenge? We can’t believe we said yes and wonder if we’re up for it. It might sound something like this:

“You’re not a writer/leader/speaker, so why do you think you can pull this off?”

“You’re not smart/experienced/creative enough.”

I even thought back to a time when I limited myself, working too long at a job that did not fit my strengths and passions. I tangled myself up with desk-ridden, rule-laden tasks when inside, my heart’s voice whispered my desire to be connecting more with people.

Seeing our own hobbling devices is tricky because we often aren’t aware that we’re doing it to ourselves. A coach, mentor, or friend’s insight can help us uncover what’s causing our stumbles. Once we see our concealed creations, we can dismantle them.

Dismantling Your Hobbling Devices

Body Comfort

Most of us these days are laboring over a computer keyboard and struggling to do it in a way that doesn’t cause too much discomfort.

In response to my knotted-up neck and shoulders, a clever massage therapist told me, “Jalene, Jalene, stretch your scalene!” You can feel your scalene muscles right now, along the side of your neck, if you tilt your ear toward your shoulder.

Here’s a simple stretch: Stand up. With your arms resting straight by the side of your body, gently lean your ear sideways toward your right shoulder, and hold. If you want more of a stretch, bend your left arm so your wrist is behind your lower back. Go gentle and slow. Listen to your body. Switch sides.

Experiment with ways to increase the comfort level of your body.

Inner Operating System

Our inner operating system is how I think of what we say to ourselves on the inside. We’re usually not aware of it, similar to the OS in our technology devices. An inner sound track loops with words, phrases, and sentences that have the power to take us down, or build us up. Pay attention to what you’re saying to yourself. Is it helping or hobbling you?

That hurtful, critical voice can be a gremlin or saboteur. A common reaction to that voice is to do battle with it, to convince it that it’s not right. That’s wrong. Rick Carson’s book, Taming Your Gremlin, implores people to simply notice. In doing this, Carson says that it taps into an age-old change process often called The Zen Theory of Change: “I free myself not by trying to be free, but by simply noticing how I am imprisoning myself in the very moment I am imprisoning myself.”

Listen to what you’re saying to yourself on the inside, and simply notice.

Draining vs. Energizing

Since we’re often unaware of the hobbling devices we’re building, it’s tough to know where they’re hiding out. The Emotional Intelligence skill of self-awareness can help us find them.

Pay attention to when you feel unreasonably drained, exhausted, or wiped out and, conversely, when you feel energized, excited, or invigorated. Begin making two lists. One for what drains you and one for what energizes you. Don’t be surprised if some things that energized you in the past are now draining you.

You can start by making your lists now. However, I encourage you to continue adding to them over a couple of weeks to see the whole picture.

Take a look at what’s draining you. Are there any hobbling devices there? What might you think, feel, or do to help yourself? What can you let go of doing?

Now, look at what energizes you. Are there any hobbling devices there? What might you think, feel, or do to help yourself? Consider each of these fabulous items. What does it bring you? How can you do more of it?

Holding ourselves back with invisible hobbling devices serves no one—not us or the people in our lives. Break free! By simply noticing, when and where we are tying ourselves up, we can see the devices we’ve created, dismantle them, and free ourselves.


Guiding Leaders & Teams to Connect & Grow

With a sense of adventure and heart, we work together at the edge of our comfort zones, so you can accomplish what’s most meaningful to you.

We all get to lead our own lives. Some of us get to lead others.

How do you want to grow as a leader, now? Let’s begin.

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Revive to Thrive

Hey there!

Are you feeling the urge to revive your spirt so you can thrive in the coming year? I sure am.

It’s full-on wintertime, snuggle in time, reflection, celebration, and envisioning time. Remember, I’m here for you if you want a Coach to walk with you toward those big, juicy dreams in 2019. Send me an email or schedule a complimentary Curious About Coaching Session.

In appreciation of the year-end swirl of activity, I’m signing-off until the new year.

Before I leave, I want to share five inspiring images I just found while reorganizing files on my laptop. They contributed to my digital Vision Board in 2017. I still love them! I hope one or more of them speak to the desires in your heart.

In the spirit of creating lives we love!

Jalene


2019 Creation Sessions

What are you doing to wrap up 2018 and hit the ground running in 2019?

I’ve been in my own deep-dive process of reviewing 2018, and designing a system for setting and tracking meaningful goals for 2019. I feel focused on what I want to create and excited to do it!

I’d love to be your partner in:

  • Reviewing your accomplishments from 2018

  • Designing a 2019 goal setting and tracking system that works for you

  • Tapping into the primal power of your values

  • Building a support system to inspire and nurture you

Reach out to me and we’ll customize a program for you.


Always Offering

Executive & Personal Coaching

I help powerful female leaders who are always improving (and sometimes anxious!) do what they want. Learn more.

Team Development

I help teams who want to be more potent, and are struggling to authentically communicate with each other so they can get the right work done. Learn more. 

Outside Our Comfort Zone

Hey there!

I’m guessing that you’re a person who dares to step outside your comfort zone, to challenge yourself, to expand what’s possible for you — personally and professionally.

What do you do when you stumble and fall, when reality doesn’t match the brilliant vision in your mind? It’s bound to happen. It happens to all of us who say, “Yes!” to doing something new because it excites us, even though it also scares the heck out of of us. Let’s talk about how we can support ourselves when (not if!) we stumble.

In the spirit of creating lives we love!

Jalene


2019 Creation Sessions

What are you doing to wrap up 2018 and hit the ground running in 2019?

Where are you heading in 2019?

I’ve been in my own deep-dive process of reviewing 2018, and designing a system for setting and tracking my most meaningful goals for 2019. I feel focused on what I want to create and excited to do it!

I’d love to be your partner to coach you in:

  • Reviewing your accomplishments from 2018

  • Designing a 2019 goal setting and tracking system that works for you

  • Tapping into the primal power of your values

  • Building a support system to inspire and nurture you

Reach out to me and we’ll customize a program for you.


Always Offering

Executive & Personal Coaching

I help powerful female leaders who are always improving (and sometimes anxious!) do what they want. Learn more.

Team Development

I help teams who want to be more potent, and are struggling to authentically communicate with each other so they can get the right work done. Learn more. 

To Break or Not To Break

Hey there!

When you’re exhausted — not “if” but “when” — and you want to get more work done, there’s a moment when you have a chance to decide whether to give yourself a break or not.

I believe that giving ourselves a break, no matter how small, will lead to better quality work, reduce the risk of burnout, AND bring us more joy.

In the spirit of creating lives we love!

Jalene


Offering

Executive & Personal Coaching

I help powerful female leaders who are always improving (and sometimes anxious!) do what they want. Learn more.

Professional Development

I help teams who want to be more potent, and are struggling with communication, goal setting, collaboration, accountability, decision making, and participation. Learn more. 

Being Your Own Wise Cheerleader

Hey there!

Do you ever feel like you could use a pep talk?

Rather relying on someone else — a boss, colleague, partner, or friend — to tell you what you need to hear, try being your own wise cheerleader. Learn more about what that sounds like…

In the spirit of creating lives we love!

Jalene

P.S. Are you beginning to think about 2019 goals? I sure am and will have lots to share ;)


Offering

Executive & Personal Coaching

I help powerful female leaders who are always improving (and sometimes anxious!) do what they want. Learn more.

Professional Development

I help teams who want to be more potent, and are struggling with communication, goal setting, collaboration, accountability, decision making, and participation. Learn more. 

What lights you up?

Hey there!

What’s lighting you up these days? I’m not talking about the minor thrill of checking off a To Do List item. I’m talking about noticing when you say things to yourself like, “it would be a dream come true to…” I heard those words this week. The idea scares and excites me!

If you have a big dream that you really want to make progress on consider this:

Pilot Women’s Mastermind Group

Three to five women will meet 6 times from November-January via Zoom video.

You’re Invited…

To unlock your potential and take empowered action to reach your goals with the continued support of a mastermind group.

You could benefit from a mastermind group if:

  • You want to expand your vision of what’s possible and be held gently, yet firmly accountable in taking action.

  • You often feel isolated and alone in working toward your goals.

  • You have a desire to gather with other women who are ready to go all-in on making their dreams come true.

Does this sound like you? If you’re feeling an excited (yet slightly scared!) yes, I invite you to consider joining.

The group will be 3-5 women meeting 6 times from November to January via Zoom video.

Why Join a Mastermind Group?

Napoleon Hill wrote about the mastermind group principle as: “The coordination of knowledge and effort of two or more people, who work toward a definite purpose, in the spirit of harmony.”

At the core, a mastermind group helps all members achieve success and be better versions of themselves:

Better Humans = Better World!

I believe that desires are divine and that the dream that’s been whispering to you is yours to do. It is your positive contribution to a better world for all of us. Doing it alone is the hard way! In our mastermind group, we empower each other to transform our dreams into realities, one baby step at a time.

Send me a message and I'll send you all the details so you can sign-up by October 23. There’s only room for 5 women — don’t wait!

In the spirit of creating lives we love!

Jalene


Offering

Executive & Personal Coaching

I help powerful female leaders who are always improving (and sometimes anxious!) do what they want. Learn more.

Professional Development

I help teams who want to be more potent, and are struggling with communication, goal setting, collaboration, accountability, decision making, and participation. Learn more. 

Cleaning & Choosing

How the heck are cleaning and choosing connected? Cleaning and organizing my home, office, and laptop led me to a surprising realization involving choice.

Get rid of clutter and you may just find that it was blocking the door you’ve been looking for.” – Katrina Mayer