The Jay Block Companies - Salem, MA | firstname.lastname@example.org
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Our quality of life is often in direct proportion
to the people we avoid
A lesson I learned from a coach many years ago
“What’s your philosophy about burning bridges?” he asked me.
“I try not to burn bridges, and repair the ones that are repairable, sir,”
“Well that’s a naïve way of thinking, don’t you think?” he said. “The lesson I am sharing
with you Mr. Block, is that you can never underestimate the power of influence; the
consequences, good and not-so-good, of your relationships. If you were to evaluate
those people who have had the major influences in your life and that have shaped the
kind of person you are, this has to be high on your list: the people and thoughts you
choose to allow into your life. And sometimes you have to burn a bridge or two to
distance yourself from negative and unhealthy influences.”
The quintessential nudge
Many times we don’t realize we’re being deeply affected by other people because
that influence is pretty-much established over an extended period of time –
months, years, and decades. Peer pressure is an especially powerful force
because it is so subtle. I recall spending a lot of time in Nashville many years ago,
and after a short while, many of my expressions came out in a southern tongue.
Imagine a Bostonian trying to speak with a southern accent. Not pretty.
My coach said, “If you spend a lot of time with people who spend more money than they earn, you’ll spend more
money than you earn as well. If you spend time with people who curse and swear constantly in their communications,
you’ll do the same. And if you hang out with people who read and grow professionally, you’ll grow professionally.
We tend to adapt and become part of our environment – whether we are aware of it or not.”
And you know, he was right.
We might refer to this phenomenon as the quintessential nudge. On the one hand, some people can keep nudging
us, over time, in a favorable manner as we pursuit our goals and our dreams. And this will be beneficial. On the
other hand, some people can keep nudging us in such a disastrous manner that this “negative energy” inevitably
sabotages or destroys any chance of achieving our goals and dreams. It’s these disaster-prone people we need to
avoid as best we can - or disassociate with.
It’s been my experience over the past three decades, that job seekers need to avoid or limit time with negative
influences as well. And to the degree that negative influences inhibit or outright block a happier and more fulfilling
life, and to the degree possible, we may have to resort to burning a bridge ort two along the way.
An honest analysis to free us from paralysis
When I was about half way through my first manuscript in 1995, I quite unexpectedly questioned myself and became
fearfully paralyzed. I had writer’s block and was unable to write for three months. Can I really get a book published,
I questioned? Am I even good enough?
A couple of close family members didn’t want to see me get hurt from rejections from publishers because they knew the law of averages was not in my favor. So they told me I had a better chance of winning the lottery than becoming a published author. I heard that repeatedly, though presented in a loving and well-intentioned manner. I understood—they were protecting me in their own limiting way.
But to my good fortune, most of my family and friends supported me unconditionally, even when they knew the odds were not in my favor. And it was this group of people that I can honestly say helped me get back on track. It took just a short analysis for me to realize I had to limit my discussions with two family members on the topic of getting published.
My coach taught me that I needed to evaluate the people I hang out with and those who influence me intellectually, emotionally, physically, and mentally. With regard to this key lesson, he taught me three important questions to ask myself. They may also help you to make a better analysis of those people you hang out with and the byproducts of those associations.
I suggest this is a valuable exercise to perform with job seekers, so they can assess who are helping and hurting them to achieve their workplace goals.
Here is the first question: “Who am I around?” We need to make a mental note of the people with whom we
most often associate. We have to evaluate everybody who is able to influence us in any way. If a good friend of ours
jogs every day, we’ll probably be doing a lot more jogging, as opposed to hanging around with friends who are
When I work with job seekers—I have them draw a big circle and ask them to place the names of all the people they
spend the most time with inside the circle. And you know, sometimes they are blown away with some of the people
the y spend the most time with but weren’t mindful of it.
The second question is: “What are these associations doing to me? What effect do they have on my life and my
ambitions?” This is a most powerful question we need to ask. What have they got us doing? What have they got us
listening to? What have they got us reading? What have they got us thinking? How have they got us feeling? We all
have to make a serious study of how others are influencing us both negatively and positively - because it matters!
Here’s the final question. “Is that OK?” Perhaps everyone you associate with has a positive energizing influence.
And maybe some job seekers you work with hang out primarily with top-shelve influencers. Then again, it’s been my
experience that most of us have a few bad apples in our apple cart. All I’m suggesting here is that we take a close
and objective look. And ask our clients and students to do the same.
This is not to judge others, it’s an exercise in evaluating
how other people are affecting us—catapulting us
towards our ambitions or thwarting our efforts,
consciously or subconsciously. Positivity can have an
incredible effect on our lives... but so can negativity.
Both will take us somewhere; subtly and over time will
take us out to right field—when all the while are goals
and dreams were to wind up in left field.
Perhaps you know the story of the frog and the
scorpion. But do you know what the frog said just
before he died?
The scorpion asked the frog to take him across the
river on his back. “You can’t be serious, dude. No way
I’m taking you across,” said the frog. “You’ll sting me in
the middle of the river, and I’ll die.”
“But I would die too,” said the scorpion, “So why would
I do that? That would be silly - suicidal.”
This made sense to the frog, so the scorpion hopped
on his back and off they went. And wouldn’t you know
it, in the middle of the crossing the scorpion stung the
frog. Staring at the scorpion in sheer disbelief, the frog
asked, “Why did you do that? Now we are both going
The scorpion answered, “I’m a scorpion and that’s what
scorpions do. We sting. I can’t help myself.”
As the frog took his final breath, he had a last thought
and said, “I should have done a better analysis on
scorpions before I agreed to this.”
In the final “analysis,” once we have made our
evaluations of those people that we spend the most
time with, and who influence us the most, we have a
number of options:
Spend more time with those people that align
with our best interests
Spend about the same time with people we
currently share time with
Spend less time with people we currently share
too much time with
Disassociate with people who are toxic—
and these are bridges we may have to burn
The take home message here is we all would be better
served if we spend more time with people who provide
positive support and influences, and less time with
people who drain our energy – you know, the drama
kings and queens of the world.
I am not a bridge burner—and don’t enjoy burning
bridges. But sometimes I have found it necessary
(for my own sanity, at times) to burn a bridge. After
doing all I could do to rectify a few toxic relationships
over my lifetime with a few people I spent a lot of time
with, I had no alternative. And I did it with as much
compassion, class, and dignity as possible.
In some realms they call it divorce.
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Friday, June 5, 2020
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Three Short Stories
Julie spent a week preparing a cookout event for 18 people on Memorial Day and it poured all day. “The weather was unbelievable,” Julie sighed. “Cookout cancelled because it was impossible to properly distance inside.”
Meanwhile, about 800 miles south, the weather was better. Mark teed up his golf ball, stared down his target some 170 yards down-wind, and then proceeded to slice his ball deep into the woods, never to be found again. An ugly shot. “This is unbelievable,” he shouts as he tosses his club in disbelief. Not to mention his list of a dozen well- chosen R-rated phrases of frustration. Match lost.
Then there’s Tiffany and Andrew, who watched their 11-month old daughter successfully take her first steps; walking on her own for the first time. A memorable milestone for sure. They smiled to each other and Andrew said, “Isn’t this unbelievable?” And Tiffany, totally excited, agreed, “Yes, this is just unbelievable; she’s really walking on her own!”
The word, unbelievable, by definition means not able to be believed; unlikely to be true; too improbable for belief. “I put my cape on, attached my backpack and power pack - climbed on the roof of my house, jumped off and flew to my friends house for an overnight.” If I could fly, now this would properly fit the definition as “unbelievable.”
Let’s be honest
Julie lives in Rhode Island, where it rains 127 days a year on average. Google it. A rainy Memorial Day Monday (or any other day in Rhode Island) that nixes a cookout is not unbelievable. Mark’s golf buddies will tell you that Mark spends more time hunting down his golf balls in the
woods than he does in the fairway. So slicing a ball out of bounds is not unbelievable. And as much delight, pride, and excitement that parents get watching their baby walk for the first time, this process is a normal phenomenon. It is not unbelievable and would easily explain why most people walk.
The word unbelievable is the most overused and exaggerated word in the English language. If you were to stop and think about the words and phrases we use on a regular basis, you’d have to agree that most people treat language casually. Jim’s wife returns home from work and he can tell by the look on her face that she’s had a really tough day. “Hey, what’s the matter with you?” he asks when she enters the house. Perhaps a more appropriate set of words might be, “Honey, what’s troubling you?”
Maria says, “This lobster is to die for.” Now, I understand that Maria is simply making a point. From the lobster’s perspective, this statement might be true. It’s dead! But really Maria, good enough to die for? How about, “This is one of the best, tastiest lobsters I’ve ever had.” So yes, an excellent meal, but not quite good enough to die for.
Now this is unbelievable. The world shut down, economies collapsed, oil prices freefalling, and death... lots and lots of death and illness all around us – 100,000+ as of this writing alone in the US. Some people have self- isolated in impossibly small and crowded spaces. Others have dropped their loved ones off at hospital emergency rooms only to never see them again. Scores have lost their employment with no clear sense if their jobs will be waiting for them on the other side. For those who have kept their jobs, many (most often in vulnerable, disproportionately minority communities) have been forced to work without
adequate protections, risking both their lives and the lives of loved ones. Health care workers have also continued to work through the pandemic when they often did not have the basic supplies they needed; have held iPads up to patients so their families could say their last good- byes; and have had to witness the unimaginable deaths of young people, family members, and even their colleagues.
This is what unbelievable really looks like.
The “new normal” is also a phrase used far too casually I always associated “2020” with the word clarit—as in perfect eyesight. “Jay, you have 2020 vision, you see clearly, and don’t need eyeglasses, contacts, or surgery. Your eyesight is NORMAL.” Fast-forward to my AARP years, “Jay, you need eye glasses.” Welcome to the new normal.
But for the first six months, my eyeglasses were anything but normal. For me it was the new abnormal that would eventually become the new normal. Like TSA protocols after 9-11. I never thought I would have to take my shoes off and nearly disrobe before getting on a plane. In fact, I used to smoke cigarettes on a plane back in the day. And perhaps like you, I never go anywhere without my bottle of water. But today, I must go through TSA sans my water bottle or any liquids. The new abnormal was anything but normal. Now years later, the abnormal has become normal.
Words and phrases matter. As wordsmiths and marketing professionals—we need to be accurate and precise with language. I take offense to someone who tells me it’s normal to wear a mask while getting a haircut. It’s not! It’s abnormal. And now, 2020, once numbers signifying clarity, has a new meaning. Nebulousness. A thick fog into an uncertain future, and a present that includes chaos, fear, and anger. The nebulousness includes death, severe illness, masks, social distancing, a toilet paper shortage, hoarding, lines to get into stores. Anything but clarity.
The new normal is NOT normal. And it won’t be for a long, long time.
So how do we address the new abnormal in our profession?
The Coming Jobs War – we are in the midst of the PERFECT STORM:
“The coming world war is an all-out global war for good jobs. If you were to ask me, from all the world polling GALLUP has done for more than 75 years, what would fix the world – what would suddenly create worldwide peace, global wellbeing, and the next extraordinary advancements in human development, I would say the immediate appearance of 1.8 billion jobs – formal jobs. Nothing would change the current state of humankind more.”
The name of the book is, The Coming Jobs War – What every leader must know about the future of job creation. The author is Jim Clifton, Chairman of Gallop Corporation—the polling company. And this critically important book was released in 2011 following the Great Recession. It received a lot of attention. It was a warning shot across the bow of the American free enterprise system. It was a telling of things to come caused by a near perfect storm: high technology, outsourcing, and giant companies eating up small entrepreneurial ones—all leading to significant job losses.
With grit, determination, and courage, the American economy started to rev up again in 2014 and suddenly, the near perfect storm was ignored, and the warnings offered up by Clifton were viewed as overkill and unjustifiable. Once again, in the history of the human experience, humans passed on the facts. The earth is flat, the earth is the center of the universe, and climate change is a hoax. When will we face the facts, or is it the fear of facing the truth that is the issue? At any rate, as I continued to raise the alarm to leaders at all level of society over the past seven years, using Clifton’s polling statistics and analytics in the book to support the argument that we needed to create more and better jobs (even with a <4% unemployment rate), my perspective was not deemed relevant. Apparently, neither was Clifton’s.
With a soaring stock market, unemployment rates at historic low levels as 2019 ended, and a new year and
decade about to begin, hopes were high that 2020 would kick off the decade with a bang. And it did – with a fourth major economic knock-out punch that has caused a living hell. COVID-19. The final factor that created the Perfect Storm. A storm that closed the world!
Without warning, almost everything in our global society came to a screeching halt - travel, vacations, entertainment, sports, graduations, weddings, funerals, work, factories, schools, elective medical procedures... stay at home! The world became paralyzed by COVID-19. And most of us are still numb. Totally not normal!
How do we adjust
to the new abnormal?
Economist Joseph Schumpeter was touted as one of the most powerful thinkers ever on innovation, entrepreneurship, and capitalism. A 20th century Harvard Business School professor, who described creative- destruction as the “process of industrial mutation that incessantly revolutionizes the economic structure from within, incessantly destroying the old one, incessantly creating a new one.”
Cell phones destroyed the payphone. Fuel injection destroyed carburetors. Cars replaced horses as the primary means of transportation. Just about everything that is new – destroyed just about everything that was old. Hey—would you invest thousands of dollars today in a set of encyclopedias? Google killed that. And how many jobs did it take to create, sell and distribute a full set of encyclopedias – jobs that were lost?
Jobs are created and jobs are lost because that is what the free enterprise system and kaizen is all about. And the creation-destruction process doesn’t always occur simultaneously. Since 2014, it’s been pretty-much a job seekers’ job market. But now, as a result of the perfect storm, it is an employers’ job market. And it will take years, if not decades, to recover. As of June 1, 2020, there are 38+ million people that need our help.
We need to begin planning for the new abnormal – the new creations – as the status quo suffers a rapid and painful death.
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Wednesday, May 6, 2020
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The first half of my life I struggled with my emotions. The second half of my life, I have conquered them.
I understand it’s not easy. If it were simple, no one would become depressed, overwhelmed, or fearful. And if it were easy, I wouldn’t have been a poor sport when I lost a game of anything the first half of my life. I wouldn’t have thrown golf clubs when I hit bad shots or thrown childish temper tantrums when things didn’t go my way. If it were easy, I would have managed my disappointments to achieve greater results. It’s not so simple, even in the best of times.
The truth is, I was very much aware of my emotional imbalance, and never liked that part of me. I always wanted to become a better person, but I never knew how. I did not need to be punished more. I needed to be taught how to avoid punishment in the first place. All my athletic coaches taught me how to utilize my skills to become a formidable athlete. But they did not teach me how to utilize my mindset to optimize my skill sets and, thus, I consistently underachieved. Until the age of 40. Then it all changed when I met people who taught me how to change me.
So yes, the evolution of CEMP began as a process to fix me. And once I learned and mastered the concepts and strategies, my life has never been the same. My emotions now empower me and no longer embarrass me. Now, almost 30 years later, I have taught these powerful and effective techniques to thousands of job seekers; and to hundreds of résumé writers and career coaches who now incorporate empowerment coaching into their repertoire. Emotional integrity optimizes skill set that result in desired outcomes. Always.
It wasn’t the résumés
When I began writing résumés in 1989, breaking all the so-called rules at the time, I quickly realized it wasn’t the
résumés I wrote that resulted in my clients’ success. It was how they felt about themselves once we had worked together – and once they had résumés they were proud of and confident in. This is what made all the difference.
It didn’t take long for me to realize that the fundamental problem with the entire job search process was that job seekers were not excited, engaged, or confident in the activity. Again I ask the question: how many job seekers have you run across who have told you that they have trouble falling asleep at night because they are so darn excited about waking in the morning to conduct thei
In the past few years, with a red hot economy and historically low unemployment, job seekers could not get excited about conducting a proactive and inspiring job search for their better futures. And now, with soaring unemployment, business closings, and death all around us, job seekers are even more unglued than ever. Mindset will surely determine skillset – and our destiny.
At this time, please allow me to introduce to you a fellow PARW/CC member. After successfully completing the CEMP program, Cathy Lanzalaco sent me the following – to share with you. At a time of unprecedented anxiety throughout the world... how well we manage our mindset – our thinking – individually and collectively, will surely determine our destiny. And this is no exaggeration.
Empowering our clients to build the lives and the careers of their dreams
by Cathy Lanzalaco
Inspire Careers, Cheektowaga, NY https://www.inspirecareers.com
As a career coach, I have always believed that success starts in the head. Yes, our clients need dynamic and accomplishment-driven résumés, cover letters that garner immediate attention, and LinkedIn profiles that help present their employment and “value” story. But we have all seen job seekers armed with the best tools and strategies struggle and fall short of their aspirations, while others, with average resources, triumphed. Some against all odds, right? So what is the root cause behind both triumph and coming up short? It’s mindset. A positive and empowering mindset, self-talk, and approach with others lead to success. A negative and inhibiting attitude create the opposite.
Coaches by definition are positive, affirming, supportive, and creative. We are forces of nature to be reckoned with as we shepherd our clients on the journey of career exploration and transition. Show me a despondent client recently fired from a job and I will have a list of their shining professional qualifications and top 5 career highlights within 30 minutes. But haven’t you noticed that we, more times than we’d like to admit, believe more in our clients than they do in themselves? As industry professionals, we help them articulate their value to employers and hiring professionals, despite not feeling comfortable or confident talking about themselves or their achievements. Isn’t it true that we are the ones to help celebrate their successes despite their conditioned, hard-wired need to downplay them?
I have always coached my clients from a position of mental strengthening and self-empowerment. And though I knew there was a great, almost universal need for combining job transition skills with a peak performing mindset, I was seeking a program or resource that would help me serve all my clients more fully.
Why I became a CEMP
When I heard Jay Block speak about PARW/CC’s latest certification program - CEMP (Certified Empowerment & Motivational Professional) at last year’s 2019 Conference
in Clearwater Beach, Florida, I was thrilled! This was exactly what I had been wanting to incorporate into my coaching model, to help my clients develop a stronger mindset. This was what our industry needs, specific techniques to help clients conquer the toughest part of job search... their emotional response to fear, rejection, and adversity.
COVID-19: Fear, uncertainty, stress... unemployment
If timing is everything, CEMP couldn’t have come at a better time. The COVID-19 global health pandemic has changed daily life for all of us. While we need to be aware of what is happening around us, to better prepare for what lies ahead and ensure our family’s welfare, it is alarming to me how the media feeds on our fears. We have all seen the numbers: Over 22 million people filed for unemployment last month, and the numbers continue to rise across the nation. Maybe even Depression levels – 25 percent. So many people, including those displaced by the pandemic, are active on social media or glued to their television sets or devices. Consequently, most of us, whether we like it or not, are constantly ingesting negativity regarding the country’s economic downturn and the terrifying forecasts. Yes, we see tons and tons of good will, heart-warming acts of kindness, and feel-good stories. But most people live and breathe economics – personal finances. Our inability to leave our homes is one thing. But our inability to pay the mortgage/rent and monthly bills is quite another thing, entirely. And thus, fear, stress, and a million other negative emotions will sabotage the job search process. As Jay says, everything affects everything else.
When we help equip clients with résumés and job transition tools – along with integrating teachable strategies to successfully manage rejection, setbacks, and other adversities, wow... success is virtually assured! In the pursuit of a new job or workplace opportunity, I believe it is important that we teach clients HOW to see the silver lining - and HOW to turn lemons into lemonade.
Fifteen years in HR
Having worked in human resources for over 15 years, it is been my experience that mentally strong and positive employees are valuable assets to any company. Highly engaged employees are more resilient and resourceful
in times of challenge, change, and crisis. They are more likely to serve as role models and leaders among their peers. Behavioral questions posed during a job interview are meant to draw out how an individual thinks, reacts, and behaves in a given circumstance or event. A coach armed with the resources and actionable insights designed to improve a client’s mental and emotional well-being during an interview (or in any stressful or uncomfortable situation), provides them with a clear and undeniable advantage. To influence a positive decision in their favor.
Why do résumé writers and career coaches need CEMP certification?
In 2018, I became a CPCC which really helped define my value offering to my clients. CEMP builds on the coaching foundation of CPCC which is based on a “whole person theory,” that emphasizes that people are more than their
careers; that we work to love enriched lives. But often times, feelings and conflicting beliefs get in the way of success. In other words, job seekers have not been taught how to successfully ride the emotional roller coaster.
CEMP, including Jay’s 10 principles for success and 16 specific emotional channeling techniques, teaches us how to apply success principles to empower clients to control their own destinies. To enjoy the process. To learn and grow from the journey. Imagine an industry transformation where job seekers actually enjoy, and are engaged in, the process of designing and attaining their better futures. And the best part – it empowers us to live a higher quality life; a richer life... on a consistent basis.
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Friday, April 17, 2020
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Jay's Bi-Monthly Empowerment Newsletter
~ For Trainers, Coaches, and Educators ~
Proud to be...Panglossian
Am I Naïve?
Recently I was asked by a journalist if I was Panglossian. As a writer, I was embarrassed to admit I'd never heard of the word, so I replied, "It's complicated, let me get back to you."
"Fair enough," the reporter replied. I escaped professional discomfiture.
After the call, I Googled Panglossian and a few definitions indicated the word meant:foolishly optimistic.Am I foolishly optimistic?
Look, I understand the glass is half empty. I know we are addressing extremely difficult, surreal, and unprecedented (in our lifetime) events. I see the death. I see the pain. I worry about my family's and my friends' health. I very clearly see my own mortality. In fact, since I am home 24/7, I keep my safe open with my will easily accessible just in case.
I'm not naïve. But, am I Panglossian?
Think back to January
Overall, life was pretty good for most of us - as life goes, right? We had a good economy. Planes, trains and automobiles were operating at near-full capacity. Weddings, proms, graduations, vacations, and golf (for me in Boston) were just around the corner; as was the baseball season, basketball and hockey playoffs, and the NFL draft. Except for Brady leaving New England, everything was just rosy. And then, the Covid-19 hit the fan.
My wise yoga teacher
When the economy started to tank, when the deaths began to mount, and when life as we knew it came to an abrupt halt, I reflected back to what my first yoga teacher said to me. She said, "Everything you have experienced in life has brought you to this moment. The good, the bad and everything in-between. It was all necessary."
And if you stop and think about it, up until this past January, everything that happened in the past 2 and a half thousand years of recorded history, led us to where we all were in January. And this includes all the wars, plagues, and tragedies humankind experienced andovercameincluding:
- Antonine Plague: 165-180
- Great Plague of Marseille: 1720-1723
- Russian Plague: 1770-1772
- Philadelphia Yellow Fever Epidemic: 1793
- Spanish Flu: 1918-1920
- Polio - 1916-1954
- Asian Flu: 1957-1958
Based on historical fact
I have no illusion that there are challenging times ahead. But I know, based on historical fact and my own lifetime experiences, that in every adversity lies seeds of greater opportunities, that is, blessings in disguise, as I have written previously.
So I called the journalist back the following day and said,"If you define Panglossian as foolishly optimistic, the answer is no. But if you mean faithfully and expectantly optimistic... without a doubt, yes, I am Panglossian.
I acknowledge the problems we face - the half empty. But I invest 90% of my resources and attention on solutions and opportunities - the half full. And no, it's not always easy. But then again, anything in life that's worthwhile, is seldom easy to attain and maintain.
So now I am a proud card-carrying member of the Panglossian Club. It's not foolish to be optimistic. It's liberating, healthy, and the key to rapid success.
I invite you to join me - it's free (and freeing).
Excerpts below from the book,Kristallnacht, by Martin Gilbert (Winston Churchill's Biographer)
… in Hanover (Germany), a schoolgirl, Lore Pels, was walking to school with her brother, Erwin, when she passed a bedding store and was surprised to see policemen present. Windows were totally smashed, broken, Lore recalled, feathers were all over. My first thought was that a burglary was in progress!!The next block was our school.We were NOT able to go into the building; instead we were greeted by police, or Nazis. They told all the children upon arrival to go back home.
Lore said, Erwin and I had no idea what could have happened. Slowly word spread that our beautiful synagogue was burning… I remember being totally shocked, speechless, since we children spent so much time in the synagogue.
Returning home, Lore saw paper shreds - the burnt fragments of prayer books from the synagogue – flying in front of our windows.Her father Joseph Pels, switched on the radio, and turned the dial until he could hear a foreign radio station, something strictly forbidden for Jews. That was how her family found out that there was no burglary at the store and that the synagogue was burned, destroyed. A few days later, Lore, her parents and her brother were forced to vacate their apartment and to leave all their belongings behind. They were moved, with many other families, to a former Jewish school, with little more space than a bed for each person.
As for all those who witnessed Kristallnacht (Night of Broken Glass), that night and day were a grim prelude. A cousin in the United States offered affidavits to Lore's father, Joseph, for all four of the family to emigrate. Her father refused, stating over and over, as Lore recalled, that he had served the Germans during World War One.One of his brothers, Ivan Pels, had been killed in action in that war, fighting for Germany. He and his family would be fine.
During the first heavy allied bombing raid on Hanover, Joseph had a heart attack. Unable to be taken to hospital because Jews were not treated at hospitals, Lore’s father died. A few months later, his wife and two children were deported to (the concentration camp), Riga. His wife and (Lore) survived; his son Irwin died shortly before the end of the war in (the death camp) Dachau, to which many of the surviving Riga deportees were taken.
Lore Pels, the schoolgirl who endured being uprooted from her home, who was relocated to Riga, a concentration camp, who saw death everyday wondering when she would be next, and who miraculously survived and eventually came to America after the war… was my 2nd cousin, my mother’s first cousin.
And here’s the thing. If Lore’s father, Joseph, had accepted the affidavits for all four of the family to emigrate, it would have been my mother who would have not emigrated with those affidavits.
The moral of the story
When I contrast my current situation with what my cousin Lore and her family had to endure, and what my mother (at age seven), her sister, and my grandparents had to endure escaping from Germany...I have "no problems."
Contrast Analysis does NOT make problems or challenges go away. But this technique does empower us to appreciate what we have, in contrast to others who have, or have had it worse than us. And from thisgratefulperspective, we can better navigate the problems we are faced with... to better manage and successfully overcome our challenges.
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Wednesday, April 15, 2020
Updated: Wednesday, April 8, 2020
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Jay's Bi-Monthly Empowerment Newsletter
~ For Trainers, Coaches, and Educators ~
to the new abnormal
We are all destined, like it or not, to learn new ways of inhabiting this planet and living our lives. For instance, I finally got a surgical mask to wear outside - the new abnormal. I wear eye glasses and when wearing my mask, my glasses fog up! I tried a bandanna - and still, my glasses fogged.
I called my brother, a cardiologist, and asked him how to wear a mask without fogging my glasses. "Pinch the bridge of your nose and put the mask on tight," he texted. What does that even mean? Four hours later, I am still fogging up.
I wear gloves
in the supermarket
Last Friday I finished my shopping, carefully and as instructed by the CDC. The new abnormal. When I got home, I was sent a YouTube video where a nurse was teaching how to shop - being mindful of cross contamination. Seriously... I have to now re-learn how to shop?
The Nurse placed PAINT (signifying the coronavirus) on her gloves - which provided a visual of the coronavirus getting on the gloves while we touch stuff throughout the store (Which is why we wear gloves). Then she showed what happens when we get an itch, or a text message from a family member who asks us to pick something up while we are still in the store.
In my case, I had an itch on my ear that required a quick scratch. I also picked up the phone, texted back - and then called to be sure I knew exactly what my son wanted. Long story short - watch the video. By the time I returned to my car, took the gloves off, and started the engine - I had paint (coronavirus) on my face, my ears, my nose, my steering wheel, my door handles and now, shit, I'm infected! I now have to learn a whole new way of shopping. Comfortable? Not yet!
I am becoming a hoarder
I am a Feng Shui kind of guy. I like order and avoid clutter at all costs. In my home, I also adhere to the "Just-In-Time" (JIT) inventory control philosophy that businesses use, that is, I buy items and pay for them just before I run out. Why tie up cash inventorying stuff, right?
I am now using "generic" facial tissue in place of toilet paper (and running low on that, too!). Forget gold, silver, or the US dollar. The new world currency is toilet paper.
Truthfully, I'd be grateful for toilet paper I once avoided like thePlague... you know, the kind that feels like sandpaper. Now, as a result of the coronavirusplague, I am learning how to become a hoarder. Totally, not comfortable.
And what's up with medical procedures done while in a car?
when we don't want to be taught
- Hand washing may save our life... but oh, what it does to our skin. Anyone old enough to remember Madge?
- No more handshakes or fist bumps. No more double or single cheek kissing, or high-fives. Easier said than done. Maybe ankle taps?
- A 70-seat restaurant will become a 35-seat restaurant. Large parties will need their cell phones to communicate with someone at the other end of the table (or Dixie Cups with a string?).
- Bidets aren't just for women anymore.
- We'll carry gloves or Kleenex with us (if you can find them) to press anything: ATM's, credit card machines, elevator buttons, the start button in your car,.
- Forget communal food. Remember just a few weeks ago when we had no problem sharing a bowl of chips, M&M's, or nuts? Now it's, "ne touche pas."
- "Stay in your lane, bro" will be be expanded to "don't mess with my space, dude. Move back 6 feet."
- We must re-learn how to use hand sanitizers. Using them too much may have dire consequences to ourmicrobiome,the “good” bacteria that keep our skin, and our bodies, healthy. David Coil, Ph.D., a microbiologist at the University of California, Davis Genome Center insists. “The stuff really does kill a lot of microbes. Hand sanitizer could wipe out the good bugs along with the bad." Seriously? Maybe I shouldn't try to learn so much. Perhaps I need to embrace the cliche, "ignorance is bliss."
- Forget the sport of people watching, always one of my favorite activities. With masks and facial coverings - the only thing we'll see now are 2 beady eyes peering through a tiny space. Oh, and also, who is wearing the latest and coolest designer n95's.
- Will we see the return of Flying Tigers? With a 2 trillion percent increase in online ordering (or was that a bailout number?), delivery companies like UPS, USPS, and Fed EX will be overwhelmed. Maybe we'll see the eye of the tiger again?
- Don't touch your face. Ya right. This morning I made it a goal to go 4 hours without touching any part of my face. I made it 12 minutes. Can this be re-learned?
I am always ready to learn... although today, with this global pandemic, I am do not always enjoy being taught.
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Posted By Administration,
Friday, April 3, 2020
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We were living in a short-attention-span society before the Coronavirus began consuming so much of our attention and emotional energy. And now, as the world takes an indefinite “timeout,” our attention span is even more compromised. Today, it seems that most people’s attention is focused on fear, uncertainty, social distancing, hand washing, and stocking up on toilet paper. The world is on hold – temporarily. And so with a rambling mind and lots and lots of time to think… what better time to ponder the meaning of life than right now – for this edition of the Spotlight?
So I thought to myself, “This Coronavirus is hijacking jobs, our freedoms, our retirement accounts, and our lives.” And then I thought about the word hijack. Many of you reading this article are writers and/or marketers. Words are important to us. We pay attention to words. Like willpower. That’s a captivating word, don’t you think? Willpower, the power to take action to attain our will, our desires. A good word especially during times like this. We all need a full tank of willpower!
But what about the word – jack?
Remember, I am social distancing and have some extra time on my sanitized hands. Somehow, my train of thought navigated me back to the beginning of time, to the Garden. The Garden of Eden. Is it possible, I thought to myself, that the storytellers got Adam’s name wrong? I suspect that Adam’s name was actually Jack. It was Jack and Eve, not Adam and Eve. Why do I think this? What other name has so many words attached to it? None.
I suspect that back in the Garden when Jack (not Adam) began checking things out for the first time, he felt compelled to name things after himself. For instance, when he first discovered a sharp instrument to cut stuff, he called it a jackknife (ever hear of an Adam-knife?). When Eve took the apple and gave it to Jack (not Adam), he reportedly cut it up and mixed it with three-grains of cereal and called it Apple Jacks (is there a cereal named Apple Adams?). And when Jack and Eve took their first bite of the Apple Jacks, life eternal came to a screeching halt. You see, it was the serpent that jacked them around.
When Jack and Eve first entered the Garden of Eden, they hit the jackpot: an endless existence of bliss. Word has it, unsubstantiated, that Jack advocated for the “Garden of Jack,” but was overruled by a higher power. Anyway, after the applejack episode… it was jacksh_t for these two. A blissful, endless existence was replaced with the Coronavirus, and life became not-eternal. We might say that Jack and Eve got jack hammered by the serpent.
Have you ever stopped to think about how many words contain the name jack? Carjack, skyjack, blackjack, phone jack, lo-jack, jackass, jack-o-lantern, jackrabbit, jumping jacks, Crackerjacks (comes with a toy), jackscrew, lumberjack… hey, the list is extensive.
Pet Peeves and Annoying Phrases
Once again, with way too much time on my hands, I found myself on a phone call with Michael, a long-time friend. Given the social distancing guidelines, the phone has been my savior. But after some 45 minutes on the phone with Michael, I began to become annoyed at two phrases he used on a habitual basis. “Jay, I am staying indoors and not going anywhere except when I have to buy food. See what I’m saying?”
First, how can I possibly see what he’s saying? I can hear what he’s saying. But come on, we’re on the phone. Not Skype. Not FaceTime. And even if we were to do a face-to-face video call, I would be able to see him, but how on earth would I be able to see what he’s saying? And mind you, he’s using this expression consistently. “I can hear you fine, Michael. No need to see what you’re saying.”
Then Michael says, “I have a few things I want to do today. I want to cook up a few meals for the week ahead, do some vacuuming, and stuff like that.”
Stuff like that? For whatever reason, when I hear the expression “stuff like that,” it reminds me, physically, of grade school when someone scratched their fingernails on a chalkboard. I cringe. And you know, maybe I should bring this up with Michael. If he wants to eradicate this phrase from his vocabulary it would be easy. It would simply require mindfulness, a desire to lose the phrase, discipline, and stuff like that.
So, like I’m coaching a recent college grad, Melissa. Hopefully, not a communications major. Anyway, without exaggerating, almost every two sentences began with the word “like.” Like, this is beyond annoying! In fact, this may be the most-hated of all my communication-related pet peeves. Have you ever noticed that when people use the word “like” to start a thought, and where the subject matter is less than impressive, eyes start to roll? I mean, really roll. Wally says, “Like, nothing is built in America today. I just bought a new TV and it said, ‘Built in antenna.’ Like, I don’t even know where the hell that is. Know what I mean?”
Know what I mean?
Here’s another conversational inquiry I loathe. How many times have you had conversations with people who incessantly ask, “do you know what I mean”, throughout their conversation? Do people think we’re stupid? Listen, if we all speak the same language (in this case, English), we all know what you mean! Honestly, you don’t have to keep asking us if we know what you mean.
Honestly, is this a necessary word?
Honestly, if anyone uses the word honestly to launch a sentence, don’t you think to yourself, hey, everything this guy said in the past must mean jack? Why is there ever a need to use the words: honestly, truthfully, frankly, or sincerely to begin a sentence? (Honestly, I’ve never washed my hands so much in my life, as I have the last three weeks.).
The Law of Ignoring and the delusion that ignorance is bliss!)
In some corners of the earth, many people are taught, and actually believe, that ignorance is bliss: that what they don’t know won’t hurt them. I find this fascinating. If this were true, why do we send kids to school? Wisdom is priceless, isn’t it? If I’m ignorant and don’t know what 6 feet means or how long 6 feet is, for social distancing purposes, how do I know what a safe distance is?
If I don’t know specifically what I have accomplished in past jobs or if I don’t know what I did in past positions to earn my paycheck, how do I create a résumé, prepare for an interview, prepare to negotiate a promotion, or even feel good about myself? How do I communicate my value if I am ignorant of my value? I can’t. And as a result, I have no leverage to land a better job or promotion… and I can never optimally honor and appreciate myself and my value.
Ah, but… did you ever think of this - my ignorance is my employer’s bliss? If I don’t know my value, I will forever be underpaid, undervalued, and probably overworked. And my employer will make out like a bandit. Blissfully.
Then there’s the Law of Ignoring. The Law of Ignoring says that whatever we ignore, will get worse in time (or will come back and bite us in the butt). Ignore the ants in the kitchen, they’ll penetrate the sandwich. Ignore the weeds in the garden, they’ll take over the plants. Ignore the worst case scenario and we’ll be totally unprepared for the worst case scenario – and who knows what consequences that will result in. The Law of Ignoring says that it's important to be wise to reality and consider the consequences of ignoring reality.
Wisdom ignored is opportunities wasted
The Coronavirus and all its side effects are serious life-altering events. There’s nothing funny about what it’s doing to people’s lives around the globe. We all need to stay informed, be mindful, remain optimistic (without being naïve), be patient, and stuff like that.
Humor: How we react and respond is 100 times more important than what we face
Discipline. Personal responsibility. Faith. Collaboration. Humor. All of these traits are important. But it’s the last one, humor, that is so important in maintaining emotional control and a positive attitude in the wake of the Coronavirus – or any crisis. Humor reduces the dramas. It calms the mind so we can better address and resolve the issues we face. Ever since the Coronavirus ramped up in the US, I have made it a goal to laugh - or crack a joke with someone, once an hour during waking hours.
Recently, before the national call to socially distance from one another, I went to a bar with a friend. (We sat a good seven feet away). He ordered a beer. I ordered a “Jack” on the rocks, know what I mean? We decided to split the jack mackerel sandwich. It was a big sucker. And like, once we plowed into our sandwiches, I pointed to two old drunks across from us and whispered, “Art, that’s us in ten years.” Art took a quick look and said, “That’s a mirror, you idiot.”
Laugh, it is the best medicine. And that’s my joke for this hour.
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Posted By Administration,
Thursday, March 26, 2020
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Far too many people major in minor things. Job seekers. Coaches. Managers. Elected officials. Just about everyone. The out-of-work individual who needs a job to ensure the financial well-being of his family has 50, 60, or even 70 hours
a week to plan and execute a rapid employment job campaign. So why is he only working three to four hours a day to land his next job? What is he doing with the rest of his time?
He’s majoring in minor things - rearranging furniture, watching reruns of CSI, and spending time (wasting time, actually) BS-ing on social media discussing everything except his job campaign.
It has been my experience that in life there are matters of great importance… and then there’s everything else – not very important. And it’s these important matters, whatever they may be, that are the ‘majors’ in life that require
our attention, discipline, effort and focus. But the seductive trap is letting those ‘minor things’, distract us and ultimately betray us. This is the root cause of failure and underachievement.
The key to success is avoiding minor activities and focusing on major priorities.
So how do we identify what is major and what is minor? My methodology is based on the 6-8/90 principle.
There are 6-8 things that make 90% of the difference in just about everything in life. You just need to determine what they are, and then invest 90% of your resources (time, money, and energy) on those 6-8 things.
So, there you have it. All you have to do is determine what the 6-8 things are that are most important to you in
achieving whatever goal or objective you have; whatever trouble you’re trying to navigate out of; or whatever successful pursuits you are undertaking. And once you have identified those 6-8 things, you then need to place them in a
hierarchy of importance. Why? Because not all of the 6-8 things have equal value. For instance, both your hearing and eyesight are important to you, but one is a little more important than the other. If I were to take away either
your eyesight or your hearing… what would you give up? You see, they are both very important to you, but one is a little more important than the other.
And here’s the thing… we want to live, consciously or subconsciously, aligned with that hierarchy. This is what determines whether we are happy or struggling.
And here’s another unfortunate fact. Most people are living their lives misaligned with their hierarchy of 6-8 things in almost every area of life. Author, Neale Donald Walsch, wrote: “Somewhere between the ages of 40 and 50, most
people have given up on their grandest dreams, set aside their highest hopes… and have settled for their lowest expectations or nothing at all.” So, to avoid doing what most other people are doing (according to Walsch), below is
a methodology so you and your clients can live life aligned with your highest ideals and expectations.
What is most important to me in my (blank) that makes me happy and enriches my entire life?
What’s most important to me in a job… RELATIONSHIP, VACATION, HEALTH, CHOOSING A COLLEGE… LIFE… YOU NAME IT - that makes me happy and enriches my whole life?
Important: Begin with a Big List
Brainstorm, or better yet, heart-storm. Perhaps when you ask the question, “What’s most important to me in my career that makes me happy and enriches my entire life,” you’ll come up with 15-25 things. Once the brainstorming/heartstorming
is completed and you have your list of 15-25 things, whittle them done to 6 to 8. And once you have the 6-8 things, place them in a hierarchy of importance. Then, invest 90% of your time, money, and energy on the 6-8 things. Finally
– the 6-8 things will be different for everyone. You need to identify for yourself what is most important to you… and then work on your list.
Using Jay Block as an Example
Personally, I work on my life and career values every year between Christmas and New Year’s. This way, I have a roadmap to success in 2020, to achieve the happiness
and fulfillment I aspire to. So, as an example, below are my hierarchy of values for my life and my career, and the process I used to compile this list.
I believe this is the best DECISION-MAKING model I have ever come across. Once I identify and prioritize my 6-8 life values, I can then ensure that my career values - and decisions about my career - are made to support my life. In other
words, I make career/workplace decisions so I can live the best life possible – inclusive of the adversities and setbacks I will inevitably face. And yes, this process works for anyone.
I begin by asking the question:
What’s most important to me in my LIFE that makes me happy and enriches my entire life?
I brainstorm (I write without thinking - allowing my heart to speak its mind): Wealth,
freedom, respect, family, friends, significance, health, peace, spirituality, adventure, legacy, high energy, my career, my condo, my Jeep, being creative, being resourceful, passion, comfort, power, love, contribution, growth, leadership,
Next – I identify my top 8:
(Notice I consolidated some as a single bullet)
1. Peace, gratitude, spirituality
2. Health – physical, mental, and emotional
5. My inner circle (family and friends)
6. Semi-retirement (3-day work week)
Control What You Can Control
One of the key elements to creating your list is to try and include only those things you can control. For instance, I know there is going to be political turmoil throughout the year – impeachment, elections, and unexpected political
chaos. Since peace is my #1 value… I will pay little attention to this because I cannot control any of this. Except for going to vote. So, I will remain aware of what is going on in the political arena, but I will not allow myself
to become part of the drama. If others want to argue about this, I will simply bow out of the conversation. I will not get caught up watching the news for hours on end. I will, instead, spend my time working on my list of 8.
Next: I ask the question:
And Help Your Clients Live
Extraordinary Lives as Well?
Again, I allow my feelings and emotions to have its say, letting the mind rest. When the will exposes itself, the mind’s job is to come up with the how… where there’s a will (heart) there’s a way (mind).
Freedom, creativity, program/curriculum development, promote empowerment programs, speaking, training, financial reward, 3-day a week schedule, work mainly with coaches and trainers, home-based, minimal travel, industry leadership,
collaboration, ongoing professional development, legacy, multiple streams of income, passive income, residual income, referral income, work with ideal clients
If, during 2020, I live a peaceful and spiritual year, am healthy, free, financially secure, enjoy family and friends, reduce my workday to three days a week, enjoy adventurous activities, and continue to build a lasting and positive
legacy, I will have lived a wholesome and extraordinary year – inclusive of all the bumps in the road along the way.
Next – I identify my top 8:
1. 3-day work week
2. Freedom (work from home office; work own hours)
3. Work with coaches and trainers (“ideal clients”)
4. Promote CEMP and CEIP
5. Promote to associations and organizations
6. Multiple streams of income – passive income included
The Take-home Message
When I invest my time, money, and energy on the eight career values above, and approach my work/career aligned with all eight values, this will provide the foundation, economically and personally, for having a fulfilling 2020. Below
are a few examples as to how this process can be used in other areas of our lives. So, if you want to live a joyous and rewarding life in 2020… and help your clients/ students do the same, all you have to do is identify the 6-8
things in key areas of your life… and then spend 90% of your resources on them. Warning: Do not major in minor things!
1. Rest and relaxation
2. No passport required
3. No more than a 3-hour flight
4. 7 days and 6 nights
5. Not to exceed $2,500
6. Good restaurants
Water sports including scuba diving
8. Plentiful activities – rain or shine
1. Must share top 8 life values
2. Between 45 and 55 years of age
3. Self-supporting financially
4. Comfortable in own skin
7. Values differences – not combative
8. Manages problems in a classy, dignified manner
1. Off-road capable; 4-wheel drive
2. Sway bar and tire locking capabilities
3. $35k - $40K max
4. Lease – no more than $375 a month
5. 2-door vehicle
6. Blue or silver
7. Automatic transmission
8. New or certified pre-owned
1. Weight between 175-180 pounds
2. Exercise at gym 4 times a week
3. Eat healthy – don’t overeat
4. Meditate daily 20-30 minutes
5. Hang out with positive people
6. Avoid negative people
7. Get a massage once a month
8. Reduce TV time and replace with reading time
If you don’t know what you want, you’ll
end up settling for what you get.
That’s usually underwhelming.
As you and your clients/student begin 2020, identify the 6-8 things that make 90% of the difference in landing a great new job - or whatever you or your clients are seeking to achieve – and then invest most of your resources on those
6-8 things. This way you give yourself and your clients/ students the best chances of ensuring that the first year of the new decade is… simply marvelous.
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Posted By Jay Block,
Thursday, March 19, 2020
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The Coronavirus from a sailor's perspective
Don't rock the boat? Yeah, right. Go tell that to the Coronavirus, a pop quiz that is rocking the world's boat in ways we've never experienced, at least in our lifetime. Honestly, there are some pop quizzes I could do without... and this would be one of them!
A pop quiz is a test that arrives totally unexpectedly. Out of left field. For example, I am an excellent driver; my dad taught me well. I've never been in a car crash... 50 years of driving, mind you. Yet, when I turned 16 and a half and took my road test to get my driver's license, I was so nervous that I went up a one-way street and flunked. Suicide seemed like a reasonable option at the time.
I was an assistant scuba diving instructor in college. In order to qualify to take students out on open water dives, I had to take an open water test for instructors. No problem, right? Well, not until my instructor pointed out that I had put my wet suit on backwards. Pop quizzes, they rock my boat.
Unexpected tests are pop quizzes
The truly unexpected pop quizzes are the worst. Remember getting those suckers back in school? The teacher arrives in class, you believe it will be an easy class, and then WHAM - with a devious smile, the teacher hands out the pop quiz. What a great way to ruin a day. Pop quizzes, they rock all our boats!
- Flunking my driver's license test was totally unexpected. A pop quiz.
- Putting on my wet suit backwards was totally unexpected. A pop quiz.
- And the Coronavirus pandemic was totally unexpected. A pop quiz.
The seasoned sailor knows empowerment is not for wimps
Any idiot can make it through a good day. Actually, that's the name of one of my audio-books. But isn't this true? It doesn't require any special skill, mind-set, or discipline to make it through a cream-puff day. But when the sea gets rough and the wind blows as if the universe was taking its last deep breath... it's not the rough seas and unrelenting winds that matter most. What matters most is the set of the sail: how masterfully we navigate stormy seas - like a seasoned sailor.
When a pandemic storm, like the Coronavirus, impacts the globe and our very lives, we need to muster an impenetrable resolve that creates a force-to-be-reckoned-with "character." And it's the make-up of one's character" that is the building block for maintaining an empowered mindset. And the seasoned sailor knows an empowered mindset optimizes his skill set - the set of the sail. He knows he must keep his wits about him. He must stay calm, in control, and 100% determined to weather the storm. He is resilient.
- The Sailor is resourceful. Facing calamity, he is calm because when one is calm, one comes up with near-miraculous options, the backbone of solutions. The sailor knows that it's NOT a lack of resources that poses problems navigating out of the storm. The real culprit is a lack of resourcefulness. Resourcefulness, it is one of the greatest gifts human beings have. A seasoned sailor - he is resourceful under pressure.
- The sailor has faith. Faith in a higher power. Or, perhaps in her skills. Maybe in her crew members or the vessel itself. Hey, maybe it's in the great sea god, Poseidon. Perhaps, all of the above. When we dial up our faith (whatever that means, individually) and actually have faith, our faith will produce the results we seek - and we'll defeat the Coronavirus.
- The sailor is a funny guy. It's a medical fact. Humor IS the best medicine. The Coronavirus is no joke, and the havoc it's causing is certainly not funny. But we have to use our force-to-be-reckoned-with "character" to seek out pockets of laughter and humor. Watch the comedy channel 5 times more than you do the news. Watch funny and wacky movies, not Love Story or Fatal Attraction. Seek out the humor and funny moments even in the midst of chaos and uncertainty... Laugh!
- The sailor controls what she can control. She reasserts a sense of control over fear and uncertainty, without overreacting and risking panic. She stays informed, mindful, observant, and fully engaged without overdoing it. In the case of the Coronavirus, we need to focus our attention on what we have control over. We have control over social distancing, monitoring our temperature if we get sick, and carrying and using hand sanitizers. We have control over our hygiene, who we avoid, and our attitudes. When we control what we can control - tough times get easier.
- The sailor focuses on calm seas when he's in stormy seas. It's been said hundreds of ways. "Focus on what you want, not what you have." "Begin with the end in mind." "Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, you can achieve." The Law of Attraction states that "whatever we focus on, we attract." When we invest our time visualizing and planning for a better future, a better future will appear sooner rather than later. When we're ill, it's better to have healing thoughts than to rehash the illness over and over again in the theater of our minds. So focus on healing thoughts.
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