Category Archives: HUMANITY

CONTRIBUTORS, HUMANITY, PERSONAL GROWTH

What It Takes to Go “All Out” in Running and Life

The next time you see someone staggering across a marathon finish line, barely able to walk, or carried by fellow runners because their legs have buckled, don’t feel sorry for them.

Envy them.*

These are people who know what it feels like to give it their all.

So many of us say “I did my best” or “I gave it 100%” but did we truly? Could we have done better, worked harder?

When I first started running in races, I just wanted to survive. I usually went hard enough that I was sore for days but right after the finish, I always felt like I could have run faster .

As I trained more and got in better shape both cardiovascularly and in strength, I did keep getting faster. I still thought I was running as hard as I could, but soon after finishing, I’d lament “I could have run faster.”

If you’re a perfectionist, this is probably the story of your life. “I could have done better, worked harder, put in more time…”

You probably could have. I don’t think hardly any of us have ever reached that extreme, whether athletically or professionally, where we could honestly say “I absolutely went to the limit. That was the best I could possibly do. Any more and I would have collapsed/passed out/won an award.”

It’s a goal of mine to reach that limit at some point, both professional and athletically.

I’m not talking about damaging yourself. Or ruining your health or relationships by being a workaholic.

I’m talking about going so hard, going all out, that there’s no doubt in your mind that you could have done better or gone harder.

Instead of giving a good presentation, you present like a boss.

Instead of covering the basics, you work out every detail.

Instead of running fast, you go so hard that you cross the finish line with your last possible step.

I’m getting closer, but I want that life experience of knowing I gave it my absolute all.

Here’s what it’s going to take:

Practice

In running fast or long, half the battle is getting used to feeling bad. I realize this doesn’t make much of a positive impression on people who are considering running as a sport …

It takes repetition to make the discomfort if not more comfortable, at least tolerable. You learn to keep going, adjust to that feeling, and recover.

This very much applies to business and life. Physical discomfort is sometimes easier to push through than mental discomfort.

We’ve been training ourselves to divide our focus or jump to the next interesting thing. Giving it your all in a writing project, business plan, or marketing campaign often takes long, sustained bouts of thinking and creating which can literally feel painful!

It takes practice to push through that initial desire to stop and do something more interesting or less mentally taxing.

Perception

The first time I ran a sub 80-second 400 meter, I didn’t have a watch on and my Coach didn’t call out splits. I just ran. Like a wild woman!

Maybe I’d never run that fast before because I “knew” I couldn’t run that fast. I would glance at my watch and think I was running as fast as I could.

You KNOW that if you think you can’t do something, you’re usually right. Your perception of yourself is going to influence your outcome.

Don’t measure yourself by your self perception. Sometimes you’ve got run without feedback, without knowing where you are, or measuring against previous performance.

Physiology

Laziness is a survival trait. Understanding that is half the battle.

Your mom was right. Hard work (almost) never killed anyone (it’s the unrelieved stress).

We evolved to do just enough to the get the result we needed. If you were “homo habilis” and you were threatened by a bear, you ran or fought just enough to get to safety.

You didn’t run until you dropped from exhaustion if you didn’t need to. You’d be killed by the next threat that came along because you wouldn’t have the energy to escape that new threat.

Today, most people on this planet are fortunate enough that their daily routine doesn’t include life or death flight or fight situations. If you’ve planned your day or weekend right, you could go to exhaustion Monday through Friday or on a Saturday morning and be safe in assuming you could lounge on the couch the rest of the weekend.

That physiological injunction against going to exhaustion is still very much hard-wired into our brains.

You may run until your brain says you’re “tired” or even “exhausted” but you really aren’t. Your body literally tricks your brain into thinking you’re more tired than you are so you’ll quit or slow down long before you’re completely spent.

Knowing about this mechanism helps you understand the lies your body and brain are telling you.

Jens Voigt, professional cyclist, is famous for his saying “Shut up legs.” He should add “Shut up brain.”

Passion

Whether it’s athletic or professional, stretching yourself that hard is probably going to hurt. You’ll suffer on the path to get there.

You’ve gotta want it badly. If it’s not your passion, your desire, your obsession … you’re just not going to want to go past that “danger signals” point.

This means that going all out is probably going to be limited to just a few things in your life. Maybe only one thing.

Personally, running is one of those things for me. I’ve had a few experiences where I crossed a finish line and could barely lift my legs to get off the track…. And I loved it!

Not the burning pain of lactic acid. Or the searing lungs.

But the feeling that I absolutely put it all out there. Did my best. Laid it on the line. Gave it my all.

I want to feel that feeling again and again and again.

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*They’re fine. They’re usually just glycogen depleted and just need rest and carbs. Gonna hurt the next few days though!

Cover photo courtesy of Juan Esparza Loera.

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HUMANITY

Change for Good: Playing and Praying for Texas

I first started blogging on Myspace. It was my initial experience with writing online and I fell in love with it — I found a voice that had been buried since college creative writing classes and I discovered new things about myself every time I hit publish. As social media grew and how I connected with the world changed as a result of social and mobile technologies, I changed. I became bold and an avid storyteller. I shifted my “creative writing” platform from Myspace to Facebook to RecruitingBlogs to Blogging4Jobs to Intrepid.Media – it has been a 15-year process of progress and I can’t say I have enjoyed ever minute of it, but I have evolved and changed. Which is what progress is, correct? Here’s to progress…

Writing for Change

As I consider all I have written about and all that has occurred in my life since 9/11 – change and growth has been a direct result. I was not in NYC on that day of death, destruction, hatred, and fear, but I can easily trace significant personal change back to that morning, while I sat with my four young children and we watched, as did the world, what looked like the end of the world as we knew it. It was the jolt I needed to wake up in my own life. Less than a month later, I ended my destructive marriage and it was time for me to do what America and New York City would have to do – slowly, embrace life again, rebuild, love, and triumph – rise like a phoenix from ashes of terror.

This Week’s Wrath

While Harvey and nature have been the terrorists this week in Texas, I am seeing similar stories as those revealed on 9/11 – stories of heroism and love, trust and glory rise higher than the waters. Destruction, death, and fear have pushed out hatred — hatred will not win this battle.

There have been those who have lost everything. We have seen stories of tragedy and survival – there are many more to come as Houston, Beaumont, and the many areas affected by the hurricane come to the next place, the place where the waters recede and life and livelihoods begin the clean-up and plan for the next phase of recovery.

We are, we will…

We are humanity. We will survive. We will rebuild and renew. And we will do this together. Many have come together to help – to rescue, to donate needed items, to raise fund, to assist. It is easy to feel helpless – those that feel that way should only be those still standing in water. Give where you can. 

But I am so far away

I live in Laguna Beach, nearly 1400 miles from the devastation. Last night, I sat on a cement bench and watched 6 individual musicians busk on a street corner to raise money for those affected. #PlayingForTexas Dozens of people passed by, dropping money in their bucket. You are not helpless to give back. Find a way — even if it is just through prayer or sending positivity and messages of love and compassion.

Every Little Bit Helps.

HUMANITY, PERSONAL GROWTH

He says, “It’s the Chance of a Lifetime” – The Passionate Chase

All My Experiences Have Brought Me Here

I’ve been involved with performing arts in one way or another since I was 3 years old. FYI: that’s 50 years ago, and I don’t mind saying it. I was raised in a home where regular church attendance was required and the church I grew up in allowed for 6-10 opportunities a year to perform or speak in front of a large congregation. By the time I had my first official stage play audition at the tender age of seven – there were no jitters, there was no nervousness. Being on stage felt completely natural to me and I even loved the long rehearsal hours that included staging and memorization, as well as the costume fittings, make-up techniques, and waiting in the wings.

My Favorite Place?

I think one of my favorite places in the world is “waiting in the wings” – it is also a place where nightmares loom if you’ve ever done any kind of performing. In my dreams or recurring nightmares, I have gotten caught in giant dusty curtains, forgotten my lines, missed entrance cues, and fallen off the stage while waiting in those precious wings.

My first lead was at the age of nine, when much to the chagrin of every boy who auditioned, I was cast as Rumplestiltskin in a summer drama class. With my buck teeth, short pixie haircut, sassy ‘tude, coupled with no fear, I would never be cast as the beautiful princess who could spin straw into gold. And I was glad. I felt powerful and I found a place where I was accepted for who I was and the crazy, rambunctious style of my tomboy self.

The Desire of a Child

Up until I was 12 years old, my presumed adult destination and desired occupation was “movie star” – however, being no great beauty, I soon learned that I needed to find alternate paths to success. I read, I studied, I learned to love science, I ignored math as much as I could, but still continued my antics on stage. I knew Hollywood would never come knocking on my door, but my “passion” was always close by.

For many years, I trod the boards. I loved the romantic notion that perhaps the same dust on the stage where I stood had also been at the feet of Shakespeare, Chekhov, Stella Adler, or Uta Hagen. I often walk the dark empty stage pre-performance and before any other actors arrive. It’s an old school attempt at an ancient network connection. This is not unusual – those who embrace the romance of theater have all done this. I am not alone.

Few experiences have caused me more pride or shame. One role saw me delivering a 10-minute monologue in the beginning of the first act, only to never grace the stage again – until the final curtain call. I love the roar of a crowd who had forgotten all about me. Truly satisfying.

The shame?

Not so much fun. I once assistant directed a production of the dark and delightful musical Sweeney Todd. In a small independent theater, you wear many hats – I also coordinated costumes, washing the blood out of many pieces after each of the 25+ performances. I was also the prop mistress, setting props and providing bread dough at each show. On top of all of that, I ran sound during every single production in the dingy hidden tech booth behind the last row of seats at the very back of the theater. I had a business trip a few days before opening night and while I was gone, new CDs replaced those I had practiced with and used in every previous rehearsal. Songs were combined so the numbering of each was off from the notations in my script. 9 minutes in, the music I played no longer matched what was being sung on stage. Knowing my cast was adept at anything, I cut the supportive music until I came to a place where I knew I could sync back up with the cast. For 12 minutes of the show, there was music to back the actors actions or vocals. I was devastated and sorrowful, but the cast? They were furious. Many of them threw their costumes at me and spewed foul language, stating they would never work with me again. I received dirty looks and I think a few actually spit on me every night for the next six weeks, until the run of that particular production was complete. It was truly horrifying and what theater nightmares are made of.

Apparently, I am a glutton for punishment, because MANY productions followed – however, none brought me more pain than the Demon Barber of Fleet Street.
Live and Learn.

Where Experience Takes You

I’ve had an opportunity to use the skills learned on stage and in the wings in my professional presentations and speeches, the various podcasts I have produced, my 3-year stint on Top Recruiter as well as writing the content and moderating the docu-film, The Art of Recruiting, and a couple short films.

My friend, Walter DuRant and I played husband and wife sixteen years ago in a community theater production of Cheaper By The Dozen he contacted me last spring to play a role in a short film from a screenplay he had written called, “Just Another Meal“- a husband and wife meet to discuss their divorce in what turns out be anything but just another meal. We filmed in June, 2017 and the final edit was released this week. I loved every minute of filming in 95+ degree heat and interestingly enough. I can’t wait to do it again.

The Passionate Chase

Never stop following the passions of your youth or those you find along the way — they were and are planted in you for a reason. Don’t neglect them or forget to dust them off every once in a while. They are the slow fires that burn, they (re)ignite ideas and supercharge career momentum.

Imagine if every opportunity that came your way was viewed as a “chance of a lifetime.”
Just imagine.

*This first blog is the kick-off for my next series, “The Passionate Chase.”

Here’s the released version, which is being submitted to festivals.
Wish us luck!

HUMANITY

The Night of My Suicide…

When my time comes
Forget the wrong that I’ve done
Help me leave behind some reasons to be missed
And don’t resent me
And when you’re feeling empty
Keep me in your memory
Leave out all the rest – Linkin Park

…If you are reading this

suicide

The Words You Never Want to Hear or Read

That simple eloquent phrase can start the beginning of what would normally be news that you didn’t want to hear. I know, because I had the immense displeasure of reading these words once and have also had the phone ring only to hear a friend saying a person was gone; they had taken their own life. You take pause, you wince, you cry, you scream out loud, or in the deep recesses of your mind. The steps of grief begin.

Mental Illness is Taboo in this Country

The terms crazy, insane, delusional, etc. have been stamped out or are only whispered inside homes and hospitals. But we see mental illness everywhere and it is not the homeless I am talking about either, it’s the person sitting across the table from you, the family member that is lying to you when they say they are doing fine, or the pal that stopped taking your calls and you gave up calling.

THAT IS THE PROBLEM!

Sinnead O’conner recently posted a video as a cry for help telling the world that mentally ill people are different; they need help. She is correct and sadly, I sat there and thought, I wonder if anyone will actually reach out to her. Will she become another statistic, another Kurt, Chris, Robin, or Chester? I sure hope not.

Are You Curious?

It makes me curious you know, this is a disease and it kills people, either by their own hand or because the drugs they take slowly eat away at their organs or deliver other horrific side effects. Diseases like Cancer or MS seem to get the best press out there. They get colored wrist bands, banners, full-page ads, athlete spokespersons, and Hollywood stars lining up for endorsement deals to express their anguish. I am not saying that these are not noble causes, for they are, but it seems that the things we can actually see, hear, and feel all around us we walk away from. Why?

Mental health or homelessness is just not sexy enough for people? No money in i, I suppose or does it hit a little too close to home for some people? I am not an expert on this subject but I have been there, I have ached inside – I have wondered at my own existence. And I know I am not alone…

My Story

My fiancée and I had broken up, I had lost my job, and my Great Uncle, a man I owe my success to and dearly loved, had just killed himself – these events all happened within thirty days. There was no safety net to catch me. As they say, “It’s not the fall that kills you, it’s that sudden stop at the end.” Depression set in: I didn’t know what that was and I had no one to turn to. I was too afraid to tell anyone I was hurting; I was wounded, alone, and afraid. After a fifth of whiskey and sitting in a chair alone in the dark with only the glow of the idiot box for warmth, thinking there is no promise of a better tomorrow – I crawled into bed with my choice. A choice.

I put the bottle to my temple, drunk, out of my mind, silence in the air, total quiet, a finger on the trigger, so to speak – ready to pull. Comfortable to go, ready to die, ready for it to end, to get to where I was going.

I didn’t. You know this because, well, you are reading this.

And I am thankful.

When You Have an Awakening

I often, too often, have to remind myself of my temper and that I, sometimes, let it get the best of me. It’s mine and I need to own it. And here I am,  making that turn in life where I do not want to be an adult and really wish that could go back to bing a ten year old, running through the sprinklers on a hot Arizona day, laughing uncontrollably with friends that left me all too soon. I sought help, started writing again, and realized that it is and was going to be ok.

After I sent this to two dear and close friends I chose to open up to one of my oldest friends, a man I have known for over thirty years and told him my story. He is a great man, better than most, better than me, that’s for sure. He asked me, in a soft tone, like he often does, “Why did you not reach out or call me?” My answer, I didn’t want to burden you with my problems, man. There is the rub, as Sherlock Homes would say. Here is a man, my closest confidante and in a time of need – a time of burden – and I felt too scared to reach out. In my addled mind, I felt like it was easier to let go.

Think About the Mind, as well

We are so interested in health care that we think only of the body, not the mind. We understand what we can see, you cannot see mental health issues until you know someone in the thick of the battle and then, in that moment – during that time, too many of us just walk away. We don’t know what to do, we whisper about them, we point or laugh, we make inappropriate jokes, and it only twists the dagger. Am I guilty of this? Yes, yes I am.

I know few who are not.

Sheer Will?

Something saved me that night, God, an Angel, the sheer will to live, as a human instinct? I don’t know, don’t want to either. I just know I am here and have chosen to continue, I know I received that chance – it was a gift. There will be many people who read this and say WTF? That’s ok, I am ok, I learned things and have found my peace. Sure, I have melt downs, we all do – but I am doing them the right way, venting the frustrations to the right people, and realizing that in 100 years, I will be not only not be remembered, read, or listened too, or even considered anything other than an insignificant ant in this cog of life. Or maybe my words here will have impact and save someone who is yet to be a grandma or great grandma. Maybe.

Yeah I am having a Gilgamesh moment.

I accept that. What I am concerned about is that we are losing the poets, the bards, and the dreamers – those who were turning this ship around. We failed them, all of us; we took and took and took, until there was nothing left for them to give.

When they are gone, we wail and cry, we set up support groups for them, instead of reaching out before that person is gone to say I am here, I want to help and if I cannot, then let me point the way.

Once again, why?

If you think someone is hurting, they most likely are. Let’s not allow all this social media BS to run our lives – be human and have empathy, I know it’s hard. Life can be hard, yet it is us, as the collective good, that can reach out and work to help each other. It’s ok to reach out, to speak, to shine the light on this seemingly taboo subject we seem too afraid to speak of. All is not lost yet, and maybe this is the manifesto of my pain, not exhausted but fueled by the anguish I see and feel. I don’t want to lose anyone else, do you? We can start, right now, making a difference.

If you are reading this and you need to vent, just find me, or find someone. There is help and there are people who want to help.

I will leave you with this quote, because it was the one that I found that made me say, “Yeah, with people like this in the world I think it might be a good thing to try and stick around and say I survived and so will you.” That is the reason I am coming forward – this is the reason I write this now.

Suicide is a serious thing. And if you know anyone who is suicidal, you need to get them help. No one should be in pain. Everyone should love themselves.” Gerard Way

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Call 1-800-273-8255

#peace #life

BUSINESS, HUMANITY, LEADERSHIP, PERSONAL GROWTH

Tommy Breedlove: You have a choice. And you should choose goodness.

Joined, on the New Business Mindset podcast, by Tommy Breedlove, the Founder and Chief Goodness Provider of Choose Goodness. You can learn more about Tommy below.

Discussion guide from today’s conversation with Tommy Breedlove:

Tommy Breedlove1. Are you missing significance?

2. Many business leaders get to a place where they might have financial success, but otherwise no meaning, no joy, and no truth in their lives.

3. “Unconscious living.”

4. How to go through a personal journey of self-discovery. What is the feeling inside?

5. Forget the idea that “it’s not personal, it’s business.” No, IT IS ALL PERSONAL!

6. “Don’t lose your humanity, for the profitability.”

7. You are allowed to have different evolutions in your life. You are allowed to make a decision to change direction and go down a different path.

8. The power of choice. You have power, because you can make choices.

9. Scarcity vs. abundance mindsets.

10. Taking a personal inventory.

This episode was originally published on Gareth Young’s podcast, A New Business Mindset!

About Tommy Breedlove:

Tommy founded the Choose Goodness movement to help individuals, leaders and organizations increase their positive impact on the world while gaining meaning and attaining financial success.

Tommy Chose to leave a lucrative international financial consulting career to create the Choose Goodness movement. At the time, he had achieved financial success and gained business notoriety and prestige. However, Tommy felt unfulfilled and had lost meaning and hope in his life. For 36 years, he felt he did not have permission to Choose, and the Choices he made were out of fear and the judgements of others instead of Goodness.

Prior to founding Choose Goodness, Tommy was on the Board of Directors, a shareholder, and the International Practice Leader for a large financial consulting and advisory firm where he advised large international and domestic companies on financial and operational strategies. Tommy and his international practice team won the 2012 Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce Global Impact Award.

Tommy enjoys traveling, reading, experiencing new cultures and food, continuous learning, all things outdoors, and strives each day to put his positive mark on the world. He and his wife, Heather (aka Mrs. Goodness), live in Atlanta with two adorable four-legged children.

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AUTHORS, BUSINESS, HUMANITY, LEADERSHIP, PERSONAL GROWTH

Stacey Hanke: How to achieve real influence, moving people to action long after the interaction is over

Joined in studio today by Stacey Hanke, Founder/Owner of Stacey Hanke Inc., and author of Influence Redefined: Be the Leader You Were Meant to Be, Monday to Monday.

Discussion guide from our conversation with Stacey Hanke:

Stacey Hanke1. How do you define influence? What are the myths of influence?

2. Why do most people believe they are more influential than they really are?

3. What do you mean by being influential, Monday to Monday?

4. What are the top challenges people face that prevent them from being as influential as they can be?

5. What are the three drivers of influence?

6. Explain the Influence Model you teach in the book. How, and why, does it work?

You can find Stacey Hanke’s book here:

About Stacey Hanke:

Stacey Hanke is author of the book; Influence Redefined…Be the Leader You Were Meant to Be, Monday to Monday®. She is also co-author of the book; Yes You Can! Everything You Need From A To Z To Influence Others To Take Action.

Stacey is founder of Stacey Hanke Inc. She has trained and presented to thousands to rid business leaders of bad body language habits and to choose words wisely in the financial industry to the healthcare industry to government and everyone in between. Her client list is vast from Coca-Cola, FedEx, Kohl’s, United States Army, Navy and Air Force, Publicis Media, Nationwide, US Cellular, Pfizer, GE, General Mills and Abbvie. Her team works with Directors up to the C-Suite. In addition to her client list, she has been the Emcee for Tedx. She has inspired thousands as a featured guest on media outlets including; The New York Times, Forbes, SmartMoney magazine, Business Week, Lifetime Network, Chicago WGN and WLS-AM. She is a Certified Speaking Professional—a valuable accreditation earned by less than 10% of speakers worldwide.

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CONTRIBUTORS, HUMANITY, LIFESTYLE, WINE

Hungry for This Wine: The Wine for Transitions: Donnafugata SurSur 2016

The Donnafugata SurSur is a transitional wine, and I do not mean that it’s the wine that’s in transition.

Donnafugata SurSurIt’s us who are transitioning, and this is the wine that is bridging us this week from one place to the next. Literally. We are moving houses, from one part of the city to another and, though we left most of our wine in the “old” house for now, this wine made the cut of the very few bottles that we hand-carried on our move.

Here’s why I’m that hungry for this wine.

We live in Atlanta, and it’s the month of July, and it is hot. As in, sweltering. In the midst of that heat is the physicality of moving heavy boxes and bulky furniture, and making 537 decisions about what needs to go where inside a new home that we don’t yet know.

It is all, in a word, exhausting, even for someone who enjoys the karmic shake-up and editing process of a move.

So I knew that, at the end of the day, I would want something cool and refreshing and, especially in these conditions, white and crisp.

That’s one reason that the Donnafugata SurSur made the cut.

The second reason has two parts: it’s from southwestern Sicily (Sicilian wines are all the rage right now, thanks to a major surge of interest in volcanic wines from Mount Etna), and it’s made from a native grape (Grillo) that is mostly unfamiliar to me.

Being Sicilian and unfamiliar raised the chances significantly that I would be interested in this wine even though I may have been too tired to be interested in much.

And then there were the bonus points. Its low alcohol (12.73% ABV), with just enough body without ill-timed weight or heft, and fruit and florals (which I love) on the nose. There is also a clever naming convention that, among my “tougher-minded” friends, I’d be embarrassed to admit that I find adorable. In addition to being the name of an ancient indigenous Sicilian grape, “Grillo” is also the name for the cricket, which brings good luck. “SurSur” means cricket in classical Arabic, which was once also spoken in Sicily.

That’s a lot going on for one bottle of wine that made our very short-list transitional cut.

I placed a bet that I would – still – be hungry for this wine, even in a time of transition. And that bet paid off.

This wine reminds me why I love wine. Which reminds me why I love living my life. Which reminds me of all the thousands of things I’m grateful for, including moving and fresh starts and the luxury of relishing a glass or two of thirst-quenching wine at the end of an exhausting experience.

CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THIS WINE!

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Find Cathy Huyghe’s book here:

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CONTRIBUTORS, HUMANITY, MARKETING

Things I learned from being nice on social media

A few months ago, I decided to ONLY be nice and positive on social media.

I made this decision for two reasons: One, I grew tired of spewing my own social media venom; and two, because I grew increasingly tired of observing others doing the same.

Online, all far too many people seem to know how to do is SCREAM all day long; bitching and venting about this and that. It never seems to end.

Personally, I no longer wanted to add to the noise.

In terms of my past online behavior, this largely manifested itself in two ways: One, I bitched, moaned, and complained when a brand or organization wronged me (at least in my opinion); and two, I injected my political opinion into the wider dialog around a specific political news event or policy discussion.

At the end of the day, this was getting me nowhere. I needed to stop. I was getting frustrated. And it was causing unnecessary stress and anxiety.

And the spiraling behavior could only be dealt with by feeding it more. And more. And more. The process would never stop.

In the end, I decided that I needed to model better behavior online, the kind of behavior I’d prefer to see online, at least from others in my various social networks. I realized that I cannot control the whole internet, but I can control what I do and whom I follow online.

So, in addition to my stopping my own venom, an important part of the work was also to distance myself from people doing specific things online, activities that would ultimately provoke me into responding, or at least commenting. This would usually be something not very nice. Or at least not optimistic or supportive.

I grew weary of people picking political fights just for the sake of picking fights (not because they had a legitimate or principled stand on any actual policy position). They just relished the fight and heated, angry debate.

I grew to dislike people who stirred up trouble and controversy, not because they believed strongly in the issue, but because they wanted to have 100 people comment on their post, and stir the pot within the comments. It was more about the action there.

I also tired of people who spent twenty-four hours a day complaining about brands. Endlessly. It really came to a head for me when United Airlines had its unfortunate experience of dragging the poor fellow off the plane. It felt to me that people relished the chance to pile on to a brand who had done wrong…not to necessarily voice deeply-held, principled opinion, but rather, they loved the schadenfreude. That made me sick. I unfollowed more people after that incident than any day since. And have been a shadow of my former self on Facebook since that incident.

And when one controversy ends, they wait and pile on the next brand that does wrong.

On the occasion that I did offer my thoughts and opinion on a matter of political opinion, people would jump at the chance to shit on my opinion. No, these people never commented or engaged with anything else I did online, but jumped at the chance to smack me upside the head when I offered something political. It was almost like they were lurking in the shadows waiting for me to say something…

Finally, and most frustratingly, I no longer wanted to observe people complaining about their lives (and doing nothing about it).

All these behaviors combined, grew very, very tiresome. And I was tired of feeding it all with my own venom and vitriol.

So now, when someone acts in this way on any of my networks, I unfriend and unfollow, or disconnect however appropriately. It’s not personal, really, but I just don’t have time for it.

So, here are the basic guidelines I’ve made for myself:

1. I will no longer complain about brands online. I will contact the brand directly if I have a complaint that warrants further action.

2. I will not discuss religion or politics. I will conduct face-to-face, offline debates with people who are interested in understanding my point of view on an issue; not with people who just want to shout louder than I can.

3. I will not engage on someone’s post to disagree and debate. If I feel strongly enough to discuss it with them, I will do so offline.

4. When there is a big controversy that has got everyone commenting and offering their opinion, I will simply unplug, get offline, and read a book.

So what will my behavior look like? Well, I’m going to post lovely photos of my hometown, the food we eat, the travel I do, our crazy dogs, share music I am listening too, and document my marathon training (which is taking more and more of my time).

And of course, I will continue share the results of the work from my media company: Our interviews, client work, our business series, and other fascinating material generated on our platform from our collaborators.

Some of you might find that boring. But I make no apologies, because that’s my life. You’ll engage with it, or you won’t. I won’t lose any sleep over it.

So, how’s it going so far?

Well, for several months, I haven’t been negative, haven’t complained publicly to and about any brands, have ignored and/or unfollowed anyone who has been politically nasty, and disconnected from most people who spent all day long complaining about people, brands, and their life.

I will admit, it wasn’t always easy. In today’s crazy political climate, it wasn’t easy to keep silent, especially in the face of some pretty repellent behavior, commentary, and media coverage.

But I did it. And now, it’s like I’ve gone through detox. I no longer miss it. It’s easier and easier to disengage and not pay attention to all the childish antics and behavior.

Here are my key lessons learned and (sometimes surprising) observations:

1. Assholes have stopped picking fights with me. This alone was worth the effort.

2. I’ve literally stopped sending dozens and dozens of tweets complaining about things. Nothing ever really comes from doing this anyway. And I don’t even really feel better after doing it either.

3. When I do make a comment on something now, I have to put a positive spin on things. This changes how I react to situations, and that’s a good thing. I am more optimistic and positive, rather than negative. Big, positive mindset shift!

4. I have become more proactive on these channels, rather than always reacting to people stirring up trouble. This affords more control to my personal messaging.

5. Similarly, this has made me a better journalist myself, as I am no longer reacting to poor journalism. And I am learning what NOT to do myself.

6. I had long felt required to follow provocative people just to be able to react to them. Now, I can simply unfollow them, get their vitriol and poison out of my life, and stop wasting my precious time.

7. I’ve learned how to discern real news, rather than trying to count on untrustworthy sources to get their opinion on the day’s events.

8. When I personally stopped pouring gas on the fire, a lot of the negative crap went away, at least in my world (which saved me a lot of anger, time, and stress).

9. Instead of taking so much of this crap personally, I can now laugh at most people online, and realize how foolish they are acting. It now amuses me, rather than infuriates me. My blood pressure has gone down significantly.

10. I’ve learned how relatively unimportant social media is. For as a result of my decision, I spend a lot less time on social media, and much to my surprise, I really don’t miss it.

11. At first, the urge to go negative was strong. But over a couple of months, that same urge has largely gone away, and now, I couldn’t be bothered. I’ve got more important things to do.

12. And WOW the time I have saved from not getting dragged into useless, pointless debates with people whom I will NEVER convince otherwise. That time can now be spent on positive activities, at least for myself.

So, those are my key findings from being nice on social media for a couple of months.

As I’ve said before, I won’t judge people for how they act online. The beauty of these digital channels is that you can utilize them however you see fit. So, far be it from me to judge people on platforms such as these.

Do as you will, and as many have continued to do, do your worst. But for me, I’m over it. I don’t have time for that anymore.

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AUTHORS, BUSINESS, HUMANITY, PERSONAL GROWTH

Mark Youngblood: How to master and manage your emotions, and why that matters

Joined in studio today by Mark Youngblood, the founder and CEO of Inner Mastery Inc., and author of Dear Human, Master Your Emotions.

Discussion guide for our conversation with Mark Youngblood:

Mark Youngblood1. Understanding your emotional triggers.

2. Do you have an emotional vision?

3. Negative voices and negative emotions.

4. Understanding the roles of your conscious “Pilot” and sub-conscious “Autopilot.”

5. How to manage your emotional reactions in a healthy way.

6. How creating your reality can give you the power to create the life you want.

7. Separating fact from fiction about your emotions.

You can find Mark Youngblood’s book below:

About Mark Youngblood:

Mark is a lifelong student, and is a teacher and facilitator of Inner Mastery. His life purpose is to elevate human consciousness and promote spiritual growth, individually and collectively. He founded his company, Inner Mastery, Inc., 20+ years ago to promote personal and organizational transformation. His outreach presently includes executive coaching with top management, the Inner Mastery Community, Dear Human series of books, public speaking, and special workshops.

Mark is a Master Practitioner and Trainer of Neuro-Linguistic Programming who has read, studied, and practiced extensively in the art and science of personal transformation and spiritual growth for nearly two decades. His previous books are Eating the Chocolate Elephant: Take Charge of Change, and Life at the Edge of Chaos: Creating the Quantum Organization.
Mark is a proud father and stepfather and is married to his high school sweetheart after 30 years apart. He loves to travel and is an avid fine art photographer.

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AUTHORS, BUSINESS, HUMANITY

Dr. Jody Foster: How to deal with the schmuck in your office

Joined in studio today by Dr. Jody Foster, Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania, and author of The Schmuck In My Office: How To Deal Effectively With Difficult People At Work.

Discussion guide from our conversation with Dr. Jody Foster:

Jody Foster1. Tips for identifying difficult and disruptive behavior at work.

2. Why she believes people in general lack inherent malicious intent and don’t set out to be disruptive…yet are anyway.

3. Strategies for interactions and tips for interventions when dealing with the office “schmuck.”

4. Call out what you see, when you see or feel it: why early action is key when dealing with disruptive workplace behavior.

5. What to do if your boss turns out to be a “schmuck.”

6. Detailing characteristics of the difficult workplace personalities including Narcissus, the Venus Flytrap, the Bean Counter, the Robot and more!

7. And most importantly, if you cannot identify the schmuck in your office, YOU’RE THE SCHMUCK!

Find Jody Foster’s book below:

About Dr. Jody Foster:

JODY J. FOSTER, MD, MBA is a Clinical Professor of Psychiatry in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, Vice Chair of Clinical Operations for the Department of Psychiatry in the University of Pennsylvania Health System, and Chair of the Department of Psychiatry at Pennsylvania Hospital. Her clinical practice includes general psychiatry, with a special emphasis on treating acute inpatients, psychopharmacology, and corporate development that provides support and evaluation services to executives.

Dr. Foster completed both a residency and a chief residency in psychiatry and a fellowship in clinical psychopharmacology and mood disorders at The Institute of Pennsylvania Hospital. She also attained her masters of business administration, with a concentration in finance, from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Foster serves as the Executive Medical Director of Penn Behavioral Health Corporate Services and leads the Professionalism Committees at the member hospitals of the University of Pennsylvania Health System. She manages the Professionalism Program at Penn Medicine, a publicly offered consultation service, as the Executive Clinical Director.

Dr. Foster is a noted educator and has received numerous awards for clinical excellence and teaching at the University of Pennsylvania. She was elected to Penn Medicine’s inaugural class of the Academy of Master Clinicians and has been named a “Top Doc” by Philadelphia Magazine.

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