10 Simple Things You Can Do During Crisis – Part 4

Be aware of your influence and others influence on you

Everybody notices the tendency of anxiety and negativity in the air as soon as you go out or watch the news. Especially now, being careful and staying positive is necessary to stay resilient. Are you aware of how you “vibrate”? Can you resist negativity? How do you stay positive and strong? Or do you feel too busy and too stressed to take care of such things?

Just like throwing a stone into a lake will cause ripples, your energy creates ripples around you. When someone who is in an intense mood – let’s say enthusiastic or euphoric, it is common, that other people in that room will notice the wave of that feeling. When someone who is intensely angry enters the room, you will probably feel that mood too. Energy works its way, wether you know about it, or consciously decide it, or not. You have a choice though how to deal with it.

2 Minutes to Remember your Power

Today you can dedicate only 2 minutes to contemplate on the energy that is moving within you, how it influences the field around you and what your part is in this play. Sit down in a comfortable chair and close your eyes. Feel inside. What emotion do you feel? Anger? Fear? Joy? Sadness? Maybe you feel several emotions.
What is the quality of your thoughts? Is you mind rather focused or all over the place?Is it easy for you to be present or are you?
Are there any tensions in the body? Where? Are you conscious about your own feelings and the impact you have on others just by being?
What is the quality of your breath? Shallow or deep?

Repeat the 2 minute consciously-feeling-your-energy experiment as often as you want in order to train your awareness muscle.

Benefits of the 2-Minutes-Experiment

The stronger your awareness-muscle gets, the more you get to be in your power. If you used to take on the ripples of others, you can now, stay in your own energy, just by deciding to do so. All it takes is being present and more and more aware of these subtle things.

Responsibility and Freedom

When you contemplate on the ripple effect that you have on others and others have on you, you will become aware of your own power, responsibility and choice. What do you want? How important is it for you to influence your co-workers, employees, boss or family in a constructive way? How much do you care about your own health and wellbeing and those of others? Do you feel in your power or helpless and hopeless?
What choices do you have in order to change the way you vibrate? Are you aware of your choices or do you need help?

Your impact on the world

Notice that I am not referring to changing the world around you, but being responsible for yourself and your impact in the world

These 2 minutes can bring a lot of clarity into the very moment. They can also help to be compassionate, first with yourself and with those around you who are not aware of their feelings and the impact they have. You no longer need to be mad at anybody, but take care of yourself, express yourself in a kind tone of voice and responsibly choose to relax your shoulders, breath deeply and get back into a positive vibration.

x x x

You can change the way you think, feel and act – please share with friends and colleagues at risk to get lost in hopelessness!

Loads of Love

Manuela


4 simple Steps to Better Time Management

Everything has changed. We are thrown into the unknown and many of us can’t just continue doing what they have always been doing. It is time to check if that, what used to work for us is still appropriate in terms of priorities and time management. A great moment to step out of the mouse-wheel and recalibrate!

“Time management” is the process of organizing and planning your time between specific activities. Good time management enables you to work smarter – not harder – so that you get more done in less time, even when time is tight and pressures are high. Failing to manage your time damages your effectiveness and causes stress.

You may feel resistance to spending time on planning your time. This might change your mind:

  • Greater productivity and efficiency.
  • A better professional reputation.
  • Less stress.
  • Increased opportunities for advancement.
  • Greater opportunities to achieve important life and career goals.

Lack of good planning can result in:

  • Missed deadlines.
  • Inefficient work flow.
  • Poor work quality.
  • A poor professional reputation and a stalled career.
  • Higher stress levels.

Here are 3 Time Management Basics everybody can apply easily:

1. Use Time Management Tools: Make a To-Do-List, Activity logs and an Action Plan to clarify what has to be done and the steps and time it takes to get it done.

2. Set personal smart goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely) – Where do you want to be in 6 months? We need a direction to go towards, not just “have-to’s” in order to thrive. Focus on the feeling you get when you visualize your goal. That’s what fuels the process.

3. Make an Action-Priority-Matrix and/ or an Urgent-Important-Matrix to focus on what matters most. The Urgent-Important-Matrix or Eisenhower-Matrix is a great tool to overcome procrastination!

3. Know Thyself – every day a little better

If you know that you are a procrastinator, that you thrive on (ineffective) busyness, or that you stress yourself out without knowing how to relax, act upon it and make continuous development and learning part of your personal goals.

  • When are you most productive? Plan your duties accordingly
  • What distracts you most? Focus on not giving it attention during the scheduled time
  • How much can you handle? Don’t take on too much. Don’t put more on your plate than you can handle. This demotivates and kills positive energy. Instead take on more, when you can do more.
  • Take regular breaks. The benefit of breaks are huge. Even it it is only 3-5 minutes every hour or two. If you have a hard time to do so, maybe Einstein is a motivation for you: it is said that he had his biggest ideas, when taking a break. Have a glass of water, take some deep breaths, move your body walking a bit. Then go back fresh and energized.
  • Make sure you are focused and concentrated? Improve by experimenting with simple exercises instead of thriving on stress and time pressure. Start meditation for free online!
  • Remember your “Why’s” – what do you want to engage your body, mind and feelings for? Why?

10 Simple Things You Can Do During Crisis – Part 3

Train your ability to be aware in the present moment

During challenging times it helps to keep focusing on useful and constructive matters rather than getting lost in loads of informations, we don’t even know if it is true or not. The latter can easily distracts us from the important things or even bring us down. If you are not yet totally focused and concentrated, you can start with a little mental exercise today:

Meditation is the one ritual that so many successful people practice that seems to make a huge difference in terms of success and contentment. These people have their aspirations clear and do not invest too much energy into distractions. They are aware of how their body-mind-emotion system operates and how to update it. They learned and keep training their ability to focus and concentrate on what is important to them and consciously engage their energy right there. In Europe, it is not common to be taught how to concentrate. Instead we practice distracting almost all day long, switching attention from one thing to another without consciously choosing to do so.

Learn to direct your awareness to here and now

In coaching I like to use this little metaphor of a torch as a simple way to train to direct your awareness to be here now (instead of allowing it to go all over the place like a wild horse…).

Imagine the mind as a vast space with many sections. The “torch of awareness” is a light that can light up any section you direct your focus on. If you keep the torch on that section longer, you concentrate on that section. Imagine you have this little torch and you can use it to light up certain sections within the the mind: light up the emotion section (focus on your emotions), change focus to the food section, turn over the light to the senses section, go back to the food section, etc.. Where your torch of awareness goes somewhere else, your focus, attention and energy leaves as well. In whatever you choose to engage longer, that’s what you concentrate on. That’s were you consciously or unconsciously keep focusing the torch. That area seems to become “bigger” in your world, both in you mind and in your perception.

The exercise

Here is a little mental exercise that can take you in a different state of awareness in only half a minute or so. I discovered this imaginative “trick” when I lived in the mountains of Lake Tahoe. Practicing regularly, it can take you in a different state of awareness instantly. Note: Do not exercise/ read on if you suffer from animal phobia!

In Lake Tahoe, you still find mountain lions. They are rare, but if you happen to see one, it is certainly an impressive encounter in wilderness. You don’t want to mess with this majestic animal. There were rumors, a mountain lion was in the area. Next thing you know, a neighbor saw the lion right behind our houses. Here is the exercise to learn to focus on here and now (versus getting lost in distractions):

Try this right here where you are: imagine there could be a wild animal anywhere hidden near you. Imagine all you have to do in order to not mess with the wild animal is to stay calm and be aware, then, there is no risk, you are and stay in your space, the lion stays in its space. There is space for all. Just be totally aware and stay calm.

You start being present, using your senses in a much more attentive way than before. You could use another animals as a trigger for this experiment, e.g. a scarred baby cat or an insect. Your senses (such as seeing or hearing) are totally tuned into here and now. You are present with all you senses.

You start looking more clearly. You start moving more consciously. You start breathing more consciously. The invitation is, to experiment with the imaginative situation to notice your own power to shift from allowing your attention go wild and distracted to being here now!

Once you managed to experiment with this exercise a few times, you can “install a trigger”, such as snipping your finger, to get you into this state of higher or clearer and awareness without having to imagine wild animals.

This may sound ridiculous or irrelevant at first. Yet, if you suffer from your attention going all over the place like a monkey, this can be a simple start to gain control over your ability to focus and concentrate.
This experiment is free of risk, has no cost and needs hardly any time. You will notice that it is your choice if you want to learn to chose what you focus on, or prefer to allow to be distracted.

Love

Manuela

10 Simple Things You Can Do During Crisis Part 2

Practicing habit #1 as part of daily life you will help you start feeling differently over time. If you missed it you find it here. In the current situation, there are many questions: How will your business survive? How will you pay your bills? How can you pay your employees? How can you proceed in general during this situation?

Inner peace and redefining your Important-Ugent-Matrix

Especially now, in a state of crisis, staying calm and redefining the Important-Urgent-Matrix is valuable in order to stay focused and concentrated.

Today you can start to do the things you do in or more mindful, meditative way and stay focused and concentrated, no matter what.

Changing the way you do the things you do

Selling vegetables on the street, running a business or teaching children at school; no work, fear to lose your business or too much work? Experiment with today’s exercise:

Habit #2 is about the way you do the things you do. Instead of getting lost in worries, you now first define what is really important and urgent, then, what is important and not urgent and start your chores as follows:

Consciously choose to do the things you do in a kind way

Today, first clarify what is important and what is urgent. Then, start doing what you do in a more conscious, attentive, mindful and kind way. One thing at a time. No multi-tasking.

Are you used to multitasking?

Even if you are used to the habit of dispersing your attention on different directions multi-tasking, today, you can make a conscious decision to start doing everything you do with full concentration and awareness in a kind, attentive way! Be here now with full attention while you do what you do. BTW this exercise is energy efficient.

It starts with brushing your teeth, cooking, cleaning, working in the office, having a meeting or driving to visit your customers: every little action is your meditation today. When you listen, you listen, you don’t prepare an answer while listening. When you clean you clean, you don’t plan ahead nor do you judge if you like cleaning or not. When you plan you plan, you don’t distract with checking emails in between. You put full focus on one activity at a time. The thing you do simultaneously is breathing 🙂

Relax! You don’t need to be good at it. It is good enough to keep practicing day by day and keep practicing.

Please don’t be hard on yourself. Act like a loving mom/dad observing her/his child. When you notice you get off track, you kindly get back on your chore and stay there. When you do a phone call, notice how you talk, the sound of your voice, the speed, your ability to really listen, tension in the body. Just notice and be a little kinder in what you are doing.

Be as kind and loving as you can be right in this moment

Important: Do not judge. Just make a decision to be as kind and loving to yourself and others as you can be. If this seems difficult for you, start by changing your facial expression: for no reason just decide to relax your face, your front, your jaw. Add a little interior smile. Relax your shoulders. Do it as an experiment for your own good and for the people around you. Nobody needs to know. It doesn’t cost extra energy, boosts your mental power and emotional balance.

Yes, the crisis around the virus won’t change directly. And yes, you won’t immediately influence the future of your business. And yes, you will change the very next reality that is in your power: create a small space of kindness within and around you, where you and the people around you can afford to detach from worries and boost their immune system while focusing on what has to be done in a positive way. You are creating a safe environment where yet to know possibilities can appear, grow and be nurtured. After some days or weeks you will experience an energizing flow feeling. The following blogposts will help you strengthen your ability to stay focused and concentrate even more for you to sharpen the saw and polish your inner diamond.

Do you have any comments, helping hints or suggestions for us? Please share!

With Love,

Manuela

10 Simple Things You Can Do During Crisis Part 1

The whole world is in fear, economic crisis. The scientific world is in controversy with many politicians. Nobody really knows what is going on and how to deal with it. The consequences are huge. A worldwide economic crisis leads to poverty consciousness, disease and deaths, not only/necessarily due to the virus, but also due to weakened immune systems, and hospitals not operating as usual. What can you do?

This is a series of coaching tips to experiment with in order to create a strong and stable mindset and to meet the challenges in life that you don’t have direct control over such as the worldwide situation due to Covid-19.
These new habits are helping individuals to stay mentally and emotionally strong, calm and focused no matter what. They won’t change your financial situation immediately, nor change the Governmental restrictions during the worldwide state of crisis. However, they can change the way you deal with a situation: to stay clear, balanced, make wise decisions and have a positive impact on others.
I discovered these things during times of major crisis (see below) by continuously observing my mind, emotions and habits. These things are nothing new. If the way I communicate resonates with you, this may help you to apply these tips, knowing that when you practice something many times you create a new habit and your default reaction can change from fear or anger to calmness and clarity and keep you healthy.

What simple things can do for you

My intention is to contribute to the mission of the Early Birds Club, an organization teaching how to become balanced, stable and purposeful even during challenging times, driven by values such as kindness, compassion and unconditional love not bound to race, financial status or religion. Humans are healthy, resilient and purposeful by nature and it is a question of not getting out of balance, or trapped in limiting habitual reactions but practicing those resilience habits to be able to apply them in any situation.

Create a powerful habit

Tips can be helpful. Tips can be really powerful once you make them a habit in your daily life. If you want to maintain resilience, go ahead and contemplate, practice and experiment right away! Those 10 little things are strengthening your “resilience muscle”, so you have it, when you need it most.

Tip No 1

Appreciate the small stuff

This is a 5 minute exercise that can experimented with 1×5 minutes or 5×1 minutes. You can’t fail on this: all it takes is shifting attention and focus to something positive right here, right now. Anywhere. When you notice your mind is stuck in fearful thinking, that might be a great moment to give it a go!

Shift attention right here, right now

Even in the most difficult situation, you can find a small thing in your life right here, right now, that is positive: a plant, the rain, the air to breathe, a smile or your own potential to gift a smile to a stranger. Your thinking mind might say “nothing changes when I do that”, but I observed something does change: the way you vibrate is different when you focus on something positive.

The way you vibrate

Focusing on something positive right here and now keeps us from getting lost in negativity. And that’s it. That’s all. The exercise does not replace your responsibility to act appropriately. You can simply stay balanced, strong and focused!

Many talk about gratitude and affirmations. Memorizing and reciting somebody else’s lines is easy. Feeling what you say is not necessarily easy. When we say something without feeling it, the energy is moving into different directions. Appreciating the small stuff is about consciously keeping heart and mind open in order to detect, notice and appreciate the things around you in daily life that are positive. Instead of drinking (alcohol) to forget, we focus to remember. Instead of talking about what goes we suppose is wrong, we stay centered. You can shifting focus from what you judge as bad to what you recognize as positive in such a way that you may notice on a sensation of expansion in the heart: felt gratitude versus empty recited words. And that sensation is what fuels your power to stay balanced.

Count your blessings

What are you grateful about right now?

What does it take for you to invest 5 minutes a day to simply focus on something that you appreciate as positive, nurturing or helpful? You can exercise each time you have a cup of tea or water, when you walk to the car or bus, when you wake up or before you go to sleep! It doesn’t cost any more effort, just focus, maybe good will and a loving attitude towards yourself.

Here is an example:
Right now I can witness a beautiful landscape as I write this article. I feel rich.
To my left is a plant. You might see its beauty right away, but if you look closer, you can witness the magic behind it: it hardly needs any water, keeps staying green, strong and resistant. I am amazed and feel connected to this magic that I am part of.

If you find it difficult to discover small stuff around you, that you can appreciate, don’t hesitate to share. We are all here in the same planet, happy to assist each other to sharpen our tools.

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My story for those who like stories

I had the privilege to grow up in a middle class family in Germany. Good manners, discipline and respect were important values there. I find they are real virtues, if kept in balance: Applied without real kindness, compassion and love those values can be empty and manipulative.

In 2000 I experienced a persistent state of negativity within myself. I just couldn’t stop thinking about my work duties as a managing director since a long time and was lacking meaning. I felt alone in the marriage and guilty for not being with the children most of the day. I didn’t have the tools I have today. During the week I would be in the office or visit clients, on many weekends I would organize seminars and take the kids along.

I had created a no-win situation in the mind. I left the marriage, the job, the money and the “security”. The same year I was diagnosed with Stage IV malign melanoma. I believe my immune system was low from all the stress that I had created. Now that was a different story: it was no longer about doing the right thing and making good decisions. It was about living or dying. I don’t wish anybody this kind of a learning lesson.

What did I learn?

I realized that I had not appreciated my own life! I had taken the gift of life for granted, full of heavy expectations, duties, hard on myself without saying “No” or “Stop”, without personal boundaries. And that was without COVID-19. The thinking patterns I had unconsciously taken on did not allow a life at ease. My mind was setup to detect possible reasons in every day’s life to justify not feeling good about myself, never good enough, unconsciously. I learned that it is common that we have unconscious patterns running inside of us, programs that we took on somehow during childhood or otherwise. Those patterns can be cleansed and transformed, so we can live our true nature. That became my job.

Focus on the positive side of the story

Everything changed in 2000. I studied Coaching, NLP, presentation, mediation, communication and learned personal development tools with the idea in mind to help myself. Then an epiphany appeared and I became a “Walking Coach”. Soon after, my first client showed up out of the blue. During a trip volunteering for a children’s foster home I bumped into my Yoga Guru in India and learned about yogic lifestyle. Ever since I promote connecting with nature and coach people to change inner patterns and live a healthy lifestyle. I know that there is a power within me, a power that I am part of, that gives me free will how to respond to any situation.

Appreciate the small stuff

5 minutes a day can make the difference in your ability to keep focusing on what is truly important to you and how you want to show up in this world, no matter what.

You can do that too! It’s simple, more fun and effective.

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How to Develop Trust in an Organization

One of the most common problems in an organization and how to solve it

According to the PwC global CEO survey, 55% of CEOs think that a lack of trust is a threat to their organization’s growth. Can we “schedule” steps towards a goal such as to increase trust in an organization to level x ? How do we measure it? Trust is not delegable. Coaching assignments in Europe taught me that I cannot do the job (coaching) effectively without including the upper management in the process. We are in this together. Ultimately, a positive relationship to a superior, employee and to colleagues is a way stronger bond than what money could pay. When everything seems to be on the edge of breaking down, we can afford to invest in positive relationships to work at our best together. How do you invest in building trust?

A common misbelief about Happiness at Work

“Caring for our employees’ happiness is a luxury we cannot afford, especially in times of crisis”, I heard the other day. Leaders have to focus on reaching “hard” business goals, facts and numbers to make the party go on. The level of contentment of employees seems too far away from business goals. There might be a dangerous misconception about employees contentment at work and building trustworthy relationships: Many leaders still seem to believe that employees can be motivated by monetary incentives, exiting excursions or workshops at interesting destinations. Over here in Europe unoriginal traditional leadership techniques are still common: subtle types of intimidation, hidden threats of losing the job and tools such as positive-manipulative feedback techniques (the “sandwich technique”, saying something positive, expressing what you really want to say, saying something positive again). Yes, inducing fear creates a reaction, and business numbers might be reached short term, but as soon as another job possibility is in sight, the employee is gone. However, most people are loyal to trustworthy people. Good leaders can take their whole department with them to another company when they leave an organization. Fear of losing the job is stressful for employees. They may manage to reach those numbers but longterm stress can kill motivation, creativity and health. So let’s dig into the possibility of adding trust to the goals for business success.

How Trust Creates Joy

Trust creates joy, according to Paul J. Zak founder of the Center for Neuroeconomics Studies and a professor of economics, psychology, and management at Claremont Graduate University. Experiments have shown that having a sense of higher purpose stimulates oxytocin production, as does trust. Trust and purpose reinforce each other, which leads to extended oxytocin release, which translates to happiness.

“Joy on the job comes from doing purpose-driven work with a trusted team. In the nationally representative data set described in the main article, the correlation between (1) trust reinforced by purpose and (2) joy is very high: 0.77. It means that joy can be considered a “sufficient statistic” that reveals how effectively your company’s culture engages employees.”

How much do you enjoy your job on a typical day?

Therefor the answer to “How much do you enjoy your job on a typical day?” is also an indicator for the the level of engagement of an employee.

“The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank you. In between the two, the leader must become a servant.” said Max De Pree, former Herman Miller CEO.

It takes clarity, honesty, humility and respect to build trust in people. People need a clear direction and information transparency to see it through. And it takes getting out of they way so they can do their job. My father had been working for 50odd years in the same company and he was happy there, even during intense times of change and challenges. His former boss showed real leadership skills, real respect and real gratitude. No sweet talking. No manipulation. I once witnessed a scene and could clearly hear, see and feel this leader spoke in a serious and kind way. My father didn’t like everything about this boss, but he was trustworthy, he knew exactly what was going on and could dare to talk to him fearlessly about serious problems. Plus, he always knew what he had to do and when things changed quickly he could ask for support to learn the new system quicker.

It’s not at all about pampering your employees, being easy on them or expecting less from them. High-trust companies hold people accountable without controlling every of their steps. They treat people like responsible adults.

Communication is key

Communication skills is on top of the softs skill list. Understanding each other is necessary for successful trust building. Clear, transparent, fear-free communication, can be a game changer in terms of trust within an organization- e.g. by combining individual personal development and team-training. Here is a practical example: we train to do “reality checks” on the way we habitually interpret, assume, suppose, conclude and what really is. We train to communicate clearly and kind. We train how to get over the idea of “I don’t like this guy” or the idea “she doesn’t like me” etc.. What sounds almost insignificant can have a profound impact on the organizational culture and way beyond the professional scene. Imagine how you would feel, if you learned to let go of prejudices, judgments and preset ideas about the outturn of a situation?

Lead yourself first

Communication skills start with the communication in our own head and becoming clear about those messages, the emotional impact and our actual performance. Leaders who continuously do their homework are role models. They know that errors can be huge possibilities to improve processes significantly as long as they stay balanced, can forgive and communicate clearly. They can build trust, because they are trust-worthy: they are authentic and congruent in what they say, feel and do. They are human. They have active listening skills. They act upon their errors and insights: not only when things don’t turn out as planned there is room for continuous development beyond the comfort zone. It’s not easy and it’s not hard work either. Coaching and trainings of that type at some point takes leaving the comfort zone for most of us, yet in a healthy, rewarding and sustainable way. Nothing you do on a weekend. It rather becomes a lifestyle.

Isn’t that what we all crave for: growing in some way, contributing in some way and enjoying trustworthy relationships?

What is your opinion on trust within an organization?
Is it a luxury or a necessary goal to sustainably ensure success?
What’s the culture in your organization like?
Can you afford to tell the truth?
Is communication based on truth and trust or subtle manipulation?
How do you relate to your boss and colleagues?
Seriously, How do you like your job on an average day?

How to introduce positive habits effectively

What makes us change?

Before you start reading, let’s be honest. Reading, thinking and knowing doesn’t make us change our behavior. It takes specific regular practices to experiment with this information in order to ignite the spark to change.

Ignite your Spark

According to CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) our thoughts influence our feelings and our feelings influence our behavior. Any of you who have experimented trying to change with affirmations only might have made this experience: saying affirmations while feeling an opposing emotions feels like driving a car with full breaks on. “Yes, but….”. When we actually feel a positive sensation in the body, signaling the right direction, that’s when we let go of resistance. When mind and heart go together, we get an energetic boost. How can we make our mind to let go of negative thoughts about ourselves, others and the world and actually feel good about ourselves, others and the world (…without fooling ourselves sweet-talking situations)?

I am not a fan of training habits for 3 weeks of hard work like an automat. Yes, willpower is absolutely necessary and excuses won’t make the change. A kind, loving attitude in my opinion is just as necessary in order to not just reach the goal, but make it an efficient lasting change and last not least be content during the process of life.

Think about it: How many people are actually content doing what they are doing? How is a loving, kind attitude translated in the business world? We are intelligent, sentient beings. Aren’t we missing the whole point of life when we are treating ourselves and others like an automat on our continuous journey to reach goals?

For me the word spark is helpful to remember what it takes to get you going towards a desired direction. Spark reminds to a bulb releasing energy, resulting in light and to the sensation in the heart that gives our bodily system a clear new physiological signal and energetic information. It takes feeling that spark to step from accumulating information to action, from being knowledgable to having wisdom, from studied theory to living practice. Yes, then, change in form of a physiological change in neurological connections can happen, and we can “just do it” over a long period of time and create that new habit. We are feeling that spark, without even having achieved the goal. Affirmations are empty words without that feeling. It takes more than knowing. It takes feeling that spark in the heart that motivates intrinsically. How do we get to feel that spark?

Making unconscious habits into Conscious Choices

This is how it does NOT work: Emotional reactions can’t be changed by “hard” work, nor can a boss working with pressure or intimidation help an employee to gain the ability to be self-motivated. Money can’t do it either. Unwanted reactions happen, without us choosing and deciding to do so. You did it again? You screamed at an employee or froze during a conflict like a slave of unwanted reactions?

Emotional Regulation for Leaders

The ability to regulate emotions and switch from unwanted emotional reacting to conscious choices is an essential requirement for leadership. (Torrence and Connell 2019) Training this skill is like training any other skill: you need to know what you are doing and keep doing it. There are many approaches such as therapy or coaching to learn this skill.

How do we train to change the old habitual reactions?

Here are some elements of my coaching approach and why I apply them.

  1. Coaching: gain clarity about where you stand right now, and which values are truly important for you. Learn and practice tools. Understand the mechanisms of body, mind and emotions, experiment with this new information, make it yours.
  2. Relaxation training: Relaxation is healthy because it increases the flow of blood around our body and gives us more energy. You get a calmer and clearer mind. It helps positive thinking, concentration, memory and decision. Distractions and drugs can’t do that. Relaxation slows our heart rate, reduces our blood pressure and relieves tension.
  3. Awareness training, mindfulness techniques and meditation help to focus on what really is, here and now: check in with the senses in the present moment. Trying to block sensations in the body as strategy to “function” doesn’t work efficiently, since it rather leads to stress, addictive or obsessive behavior. Change can happen once we are allowing, consciously acknowledging and appreciating whatever is first. Meditation practices helps to become resilient, powerful and positive. Meditation literally changes the mind physiologically. Studies show, that mindfulness meditation changes our actual brain structures (Alfonso Barrós-Loscertales, 2019).

Is meditation necessary to change?

The mechanism of change is creating new neurological chain reactions in the brain. Letting go of unwanted behavior, or introducing new behavoir and changing reactions such as freezing in fear, intimidating others aggressively, trying to “win a battle” by putting them down cynically, or manipulating otherwise can’t be done by coaching alone. Yes, some form of personal meditation practice is necessary. This is where you become your own guru.

A simple and effective Stepping Stone towards Positive Change

It can be frustrating to be in an environment that is not supportive. How many times have we heard: we can only change ourselves? There are hundreds of coaches, healing techniques and therapies. Here is a simple and effective stepping stone that helped me personally rise from the ashes: Walking in nature in a specifically attentive way. It can be done anywhere, and it is effective to keep body, heart and mind fit. Loads of studies and cultures suggest, walking in nature as a powerful practice to stay present, strong, and positive. It takes a combination of willpower, know-how and a loving attitude in order to be effective.

How do I know that this stuff works?

This article is influenced by personal experiments with meditation, studies of Yoga, mental health, healing- and medical workshops and trainings (Psychosomatic Primary Health Care, Hypnosis for Pain and Stress Relief). I read articles and books by Gregg Braden, Joe Dispenza, Simon Sinek, Tony Robbins, Louise Hay, Gabor Maté, Deepak Chopra, Stephen Covey and others. Since 2000, I accompany individuals and team as a coach. All this means nothing, really. If you want to benefit from this, it takes experimenting.

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Here is a coaching question to play with:
Would you want to hike to the top of the Himalayas or take a helicopter?
Why exactly?

Thanks!!! For staying tuned in. For sharing your gifts! For sharing!

Clarity. Focus. Direction

The Walking Guru

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Strategy: Love and Respect

Covid-19 seems to stop the world for a while. Who has time to contemplate on Love and Respect when the world is upside down?

Shouldn´t you better recalculate your pension plan, work on worse-case and worst-case scenarios?

What could be a tangible benefit in spending time contemplating on Love and Respect?

Hardly anybody would have believed that this was possible: the world economy is paused, the world is locked down. Many people are in fear of losing “everything” that they thought was theirs. Our health and wellbeing is at risk, not only due to the virus, but also due to fears, social distancing, lack of physical activity and lack of daylight leading to depression. Freedom is a value to be redefined. While sitting at home, locked-down in your 4 walls, you can get claustrophobic. Especially if you think about how much longer this will go…

If you are usually running in the “I-need-to-fix-this-NOW” mode, Love and Respect might feel a rather luxurious, everything other than prioritized topic to you, especially under current circumstances. I understand, when fear drives your thoughts, it is the most natural thing to focus on problem-solving and not in solution-thinking.

What could be a good argument to convince our ego-driven minds to let go of problem thinking and focus on values such as Love and Respect? Ego-driven, meaning our natural tendency to protect ourselves from damage. What would be the alternative to ego-driven and still being safe?

The truth is, what we thought was safe and sound is not as secure as we believed. Or would you have believed that the world would “shut down” for months some time ago? Our idea of security is still an idea. There is not such a thing as total security. We can calculate and provide statistics and argue for whatever we want to argue. And we can change the value of a “fact” by changing its relationship to other factors.

A tangible benefit is concrete, tactile or at least sensible, would you agree?

If you are somewhat limited in your free choices, forced to do things differently than usual, then, you might feel somewhat more irritated, angry, fearful or sad. Such situations produce certain feelings which come with sensible consequences in the body. Would you agree, that quality of life is notably affected by such sensations? Well, this could be an argument, why using the time to contemplate on Love and Respect is NOW: simply because you may free yourself from illusionary ideas that restrict your health and wellbeing and get back to one topic that even during COVID-19 times is interesting: Enjoy life despite fear, anxiety, sadness or limitations.

This is not about manipulating your mind to think positively about something that bothers you as if you were supposed to like what you dislike. We enter a completely different domain: beyond likes and dislikes. Fact is, that we are restricted now and we cannot control the situation ourselves. We even don’t really know what is the right thing to do – we just assume that latest research and decisions taken by politicians are what we have to do now. Knowledge changes everyday, once we research new aspects, old statistics become irrelevant. So let’s be real: Here and now is all we can influence and we can only change ourselves. Almost everybody at some point in their lives got to understand that intellectually. And still, we act as if we forgot, trapped in the “fix-it-NOW” mode.

So the Love and Respect strategy is not that dumb after all, even or especially if you are used to auto-react to situations.

The other day I was on a Zoom-Call with “Possibility Managers” (please google https://possibilitymanagement.org/ for more information).

People from around the globe gathered in order to learn, explore and experiment new possibilities together.
At one point we were asked to do an experiment: take a deep breath and look at one of the people in the chat window during half a minute or so. Once the mind calmed down to a state of non-judgement, (e.g. about the look of the person), a warm feeling around the heart occurred in most of the participants. We felt a sense of connection, appreciation, respect and love. We felt right here right now is the best place to be in order to live this precious moment of truly connecting and feeling that energy in the body.


Love is just a word, said the brain-worker, and still that indescribable feeling in every cell is nothing one can deny, unless you keep distracting yourself from calming down and feeling whatever you feel. And that is the tricky point: it might feel “uncomfortable” once you get quiet. The fear of feeling anxiety, sadness or serious fear kept us in the mouse-wheel too long. Now is the change to dare to face what is. Once we allow ourselves to accept any feeling in a non-judgemental way, we allow the flow of energy running through our body, without judging into good and bad. Then, real change can occur, because we no longer need to run away, fight or freeze, but free this intrinsic energy to use it mindfully instead of suppressing it.

What if anger was an incredible tool to set boundaries, so collect enough energy to finally change a longterm habit, to become clear about what you really want and what you no longer want to allow? I suggest to allow the energy to flow freely and still RESPOND mindfully to a situation. How that works? That’s food for another blogpost. (Shoot me an email and we can talk on whatsapp!)

What if sadness was a valuable testimony that reminds you that you care about a relationship?

What if you were open to become curious about the possibility of using fear a the source of creativity it can be? If you dared to feel the sensations to their full extend and realize the impact it has in the body without fighting it? Woohoo – so much energy.

Imagine you used your extra time at home to explore these sensations, trusting, that you won’t die. What is your instant reaction? Curiosity, appetite, aversion or shutting down? Imagine you would no longer be afraid of “negative” feelings but open to feel what you feel. Your unconscious habit would no longer focus on distracting, suppressing or fighting those feelings, but on love and respect towards yourself and the people around you.

If you start with including a little calm-your-mind habit such as a daily 5-10 minute meditation, chances are that you will notice a difference after 2 or 3 weeks of investing those daily 5-10 minutes. Imagine you could switch from Monkey Mindº to consciously being here and now with a calm mind and experience inner peace. Yes, nothing will change in the physical world, unless a type of action. And yes, the action of meditating with the goal of training to be calm and focused is a prerequisite to respond consciously to situations instead of auto-reacting with unconscious patterns from the past. Worth an investment?

There are loads of free guided meditations online available as well as phone apps to experiment with. At Chopracentermeditation.com you find a short and simple daily meditation guided by Oprah und Deepak Chopra.

Strategy Love and Respect starts with yourself: if you make your inner world priority by respectfully caring about what you really feel and switch from judging to unconditionally accepting it, that is a loving attitude towards yourself. Imagine how it would feel to totally love and accept yourself, no matter how you feel in the very moment! Imagine you could experiment this with others as well. What would change?

Maybe the way you live the very moment would change.
Maybe the outlook on life would change.
Maybe the level of energy that runs through your system would change.
Maybe your impact on the world would change. Not by manipulating, simply by vibrating differently.

º MONKEY MIND Mental Hygiene for more Joy every Day now available in English directly from the Author. (German Edition e.g. at Amazon)

Feeling Low or Thriving during COVID-19?

Life is a flow of ups and downs, isn’t it. If it wasn’t we were probably dead. Sometimes the movement is more, sometimes less. When it hits us hard and downs become intense over a long period of time, it is easy to fall into a depressed state of mind/emotion/action. Mind-slash-emotion-slash because you can’t really experience a clear division of mental state and emotional state, while being in the body. And the mental-emotional state can have huge impact on our spectrum of activities.

During COVID-19 times most of the world is locked down inside their homes. People who are used to a structured life, social interactions, professional sense of achievement, wether positive or rather a daily mouse-wheel scenario are now thrown out of their habitual life patterns.

We can’t deny the limitations we are facing. In many countries people are not allowed to go out at all, other than for existential needs. We are now also facing fears that we are not used to face consciously: what if – world economy collapses, what if I lose my job, my spouse, my house, my everything, etc.. Relationships are threatened: what if the person you share your life with turns out to be different than your dream about him or her? Or you turn out to be different than her or his illution of you?

Provoking: This is an opportunity!

Really? Taking advantage of the situation? Taking advantage can be positive and negative – like everything. A major international Sports Brand will not pay their rent, due to COVID-19, even though they made 23 Billion of turnover and 2 million profit last year. That’s not the type of taking advantage I refer to.

The situation implies the need to restructure daily habits for many people. Being thrown out of the mouse-wheel can be a chance to take time and dare to investigate your true nature, beyond all inherited and conditioned masks and habits. Free yourself from “self-imposed” limitations, even if these might not feel like self-imposed at all… If you were living a very happy and balanced lifestyle before, now is a challenge to expand your know-how. Experiment with those external limitations and how to use your inner freedom to constructively respond to them. And possibly share your insights to the benefit of others.

Some have a habit of balancing out emotional discomfort, nasty neighbors or nagging thoughts with intense sports activities, letting the produced endorphins fight the low. A strategy that requires balance. Now, locked in, you can explore this balance: What else does it really take for you to feel good about yourself and the world?

Some have a habit of getting busy in what they believe “very important” work morning to night and have a glass of wine or two at night to “unwind”. A strategy that requires honesty and courage to face the truth.

Some smoke Ganga first thing in the morning to last at night which may be medically recommended. A strategy that requires moderation. What exactly are you feeling without smoking weed all day long threatening? Something may lead to another and reveal itself just by daring to feel instead of distracting.

Some spend their time complaining about others, themselves, life, past or future while engaging in actions they enjoy, don’t care about, or complain about as well. A strategy to ignoring own needs, wishes, potentials. If you have a period of complaining about others, then this is a chance now to explore what’s behind that habit. What do you really want? What do you really need?

A Chance to liberate your strength

Let’s say: this is a chance to get into your own power. If this sounds ridiculous or too provoking, you may say: no more excuses, no more distractions, facing the truth. Let’s be honest! And act upon the insights.

Time to get back to Inner Peace

Inner Peace? Yes!!!

Most people are aware that we are social beings who create the movie of how they experience life in our own minds. Thinking habits, feeling habits and possibly intuition may create that picture. Or we create that picture consciously, with awareness. Wether with vision boards and mission statements, honest talks with trustworthy people or simply meditating.

Everybody else around serves as a co-actor in our movie. Who doesn’t know the scenarios in the mind before something actually happens to occur in the “real” material world, or at least, how you experience it?

Inner peace is not the same as the state you are in when ignoring the truth or distracting from it… Whatever threatens our inner peace can be a learning chance, to inspire us to keep growing.

It is also obvious, that you are probably not a monk who meditates 5 years on Love and Peace, you wouldn’t sit here now, reading this. It is obvious, that most people can’t or don’t want to spend 5 years of their lives meditating at a remote spot on earth in order to find inner peace. The exiting detail is this: you don’t need to meditate years and years. It is enough if you slowly and kindly add a few daily habits into your life that will overwrite some unnecessary habitual pattern in order to find inner peace. These habits may seem insignificant at first and may have a severe impact on your level of awareness and quality of life.

Facing the Truth

Many people unconsciously draw worst case scenarios. I tend to draw scenarios in pink, no matter what, in order to see the best in people and ignore the fact that we are all human… Both approaches have their pros and cons as long as you don’t lack being here now – missing awareness you risk to misinterpret facts and your subconscious (survival) programme keeps writing the movie you experience like it has been in the past.

Life is Continuous Improv Theater

There are certain rules or tricks to make this either an exiting adventure, a never-ending nightmare, or a series of boring repetitive scenes, lacking YOUR creativity and zest. In improvisation theater one rule is: “yes and” instead of “yes, but” or “no”…

These rules and tricks are mostly about getting beyond the own ego, becoming aware that (local-brain) knowledge is and will be always limited and that there is a field, that we are all part of, that has all the answers. We are all the same, made out of the same stuff, have the same deep-down needs and wishes, no matter what nationality and the mix of genes. We come from the same place and go back there. The variety of us together is, what makes life playful, colorful, interesting.

We are free to make choices, once we are aware, that we can do so:
We cannot control life around us, even though we might try possibly almost all the time. We can control and choose the way we respond to a situation, once we are aware and train to do so.

How do you benefit from this situation?

What do you do with this situation? How do you respond? What chance is there for you to grow?

How do you feel during this time? Can you dare to be honest? Do you share your feelings with somebody or just process them in your own mind?

Being honest takes the courage to become bigger than humanity’s habitual ego-defense-systems such as running away, hiding, hitting back aggressively or passive aggressively to whatever comes up, neglecting how you feel (with or without help of distraction strategies) or putting yourself down to stay in the habitual discomfort of the comfort zone. You get the idea: probe your inner workings and face the truth.

BTW don’t get me wrong: distraction strategies can be super-helpful at times, when things get totally out of balance.

Are you brave enough to state your Status Quo to yourself? Do you have the courage, courage and courage to be honest to yourself?

If you feel low now, examine what it is, that you are actually feeling. Feeling low is not a feeling it is more of a description that your joy-level is low. What do you feel, fear, anger, sadness? Examine your inner world and communicate about it or write it down in a diary. What thoughts come up?

This is the perfect time to add a tiny brief morning meditation. Let it be 5 or 10 minutes daily. This is to explore and find out more about yourself and life.

This is the perfect time to start doing whatever you do more consciously:

When you brush your teeth, you take your time, brushing your teeth consciously from side to side, smoothly, front, inside, upper jaw, lower jaw versus a mechanical automized movement.
When you eat, eat consciously and taste how the flavor of the food changes while you jew. Train your awareness by focusing on whatever you do, right here, right now! Now is the perfect time to train to do so.

Discover, welcome and make friend with old patterns

Now is also the time to acknowledge and accept old unconscious and especially unwanted habitual reactions come up more easily. Sounds annoying or scary? Let go of resistance. Agree with what is. That frees from fighting against it and liberates so much energy.

Play with Attitude

What if you decided to – just for the experiment – not judge anything, whatever there is, whatever comes up. When you are annoyed by something, you just acknowledge what is. When something you like happens, you just acknowledge it, without putting a good or bad label on. As if there was no “good” and “bad”.

Imagine yourself experimenting, just for a day or a week, to change your attitude towards yourself! You could treat yourself like you would treat your baby, or your puppy – you would give yourself what you really need and not more and not less, because you are aware that well-being is about balance, quality, love and kindness.

On a stage II you can also play with attitude towards your biggest “enemies”: Apply a higher level of wider awareness.

Everything is energy and vibration.
And we are aware of it.
Now more than before.

Let’s play!

HOPE in Uncertain Times

Would you agree: Hope is a double-edged sword.

What is hope? According to Wikipedia “Hope is an optimistic state of mind that is based on an expectation of positive outcomes with respect to events and circumstances in one’s life or the world at large. As a verb, its definitions include: “expect with confidence” and “to cherish a desire with anticipation.”

Why do I consider hope a double-edged?

  1. Someone who has no hope at all is at risk to expect a negative outcome to a situation. The way you think is the way you vibrate, the way life force moves your system. Between a non-optimistic state of mind and a negative mindset is space for a realistic outlook of life: everything changes all the time and your influence in your world is limited to the way you think, feel and act.
  2. Someone who has lots of hope and doesn’t come up with adequate actions is at risk to get stuck in a unsatisfying situation, talking him or herself into dreams without ever going for them, lying or ignoring the truth.

Where are you on a scale from 1 to 10 in terms of HOPE?

If you are aware that your ability to stay calm and peaceful to allow unknown possibilities and situations appear on your inner and outer horizon is somewhat limited, check this out:

Deepak Chopra and Oprah are offering during a limited time a FREE 21-Day Meditation online for you to expand your ability to stay positive!

Here is the link: https://chopracentermeditation.com/experience


Feel free to share your comments about HOPE below!
http://theWalkingGuru.org – Joy is not a luxury Good

How to Stay Strong and Healthy!

How do you boost your immune system? Here is an idea: In order to make use of your gifts during times of crisis instead of freaking out with worries, weakening your immune system, contemplate on how you can nourish positive vibes within and around you! Besides eating healthy, living disciplined exercising, maintaining positive sleeping habits and all this, focus on how you vibrate: your quality of thoughts and emotions. How do you do that? By training your awareness, you act as if you would look down on you from a wider perspective with a torch and observe your thoughts and observe your emotions. Some call this meditation. I refer to practicing this habit on a regular basis, not just when you have time to retreat yourself to sit down quietly.

My job since 19 years has been to coach people towards healthy mental, emotional and physical habits. Inspiring people to reconnect with their inner core, essence, nature, through Walking Meditation, daily awareness experiments and learning to build simple healthy habits is my passion.

During these times of total chaos, worries, disease and deaths all over the world, there is one thing you can do: be respons-able for the way you vibrate! If fear seems to weaken your well-being, become aware of it, act upon it or get support! This is your freedom, choice and responsibility. This is a time where Love and Care is the way to conquer the ill-ness of our time. Love all emotions unconditionally and use them positively as a source of energy.

You might ask HOW?

Here are some ideas:

Talk with your loved ones and people you trust
Sharen -what bugs you and what you care about most
Don’t hold back
Get support from Professionals

Ask and you shall receive

You can reach out to me right now by whatsapp to +34661682888!
Allow me to support you find solutions that suit your needs and possibilities!
Check in your community for support!
Go online and do some research!
Decide and act!

If you want some positive vibes these days, follow and share your own positive input to the Facebook page The Walking Guru. Share your insights, experiences and support!


Learn to use fear as a resource and use the energy to create something productive!
Learn how to switch from unconscious reaction to conscious choice knowing how your brain works
Train the ability to choose instead of react habitually
Learn to forgive yourself
Be happy with who you are

Lots of Love

Manuela

Photo: the amazing hen, that gave me eggs to eat. Also thanks to her “owner”♥️

How to Use a Challenge as a Chance

Spend and hour or half a day or a whole day without focusing on the crisis!

A day to nurture yourself with positive thoughts, feelings, habits

Spend some time to focus on what is really important to you, now, that you have a wider perspective of things. Spend a day to have the luxury to just be, feel, listen inside, without distractions. A day to remember priorities. A day to become aware of what is really important for you in life. OBSERVE: how your thoughts and feelings run your perceived reality. How unrecognized fears or anxieties can keep you trapped. Get curious, how to play the mind-game with new rules.

A challenge has the potential for growth by kicking you out of your comfort zone. If we are willing to accept the kick-ass situation as a chance, we can find a growth opportunity. This is an opportunity to become aware and responsible to grow out of our limitations by detecting and updating our habitual reactions. You can call this possibility natural evolution, fitness training by nature, survival of the fittest or grace of God.

Personally, I believe that it is not due to our smartness and goodheartedness, that we succeed and evolve. It does take these ingredients as well, yet, what really makes the cake, devides the cells, let’s the sun rise every day is a miraculous force much bigger than we can imagine. Scientists know, since they study what exists and develop great things from that knowledge to help the world become a better place. They also know, that nobody really knows, what force is behind all this. The magic behind all there is.

Religions help many people to focus on a system that guides them. Religions seem to be separating the world as well, when human egos come into play and egos fight about who is right and who is wrong. Personally, I see the benefit of guidance and the sense of community, yet installing fear and fighting “wrong-believers” for me is a no go.

A challenge or a crisis is a chance to become humble and grateful and truly remember the gift of life. This sounds like a quote from spiritual book, yet it is simply an observation. Discovering and sharing our gifts and talents for the benefit of all while enjoying the journey sounds like a good plan to me.

Now we have a chance to surrender ego for the benefit of growth and evolution. Now, it is easy to get out of those mouse-wheel habits and trust. There is almost no other way due to new social rules, restrictions and laws. This is a time to realize our miniature size and importance and at the same time appreciate our own power of decision, how we deal with a situation, how we respond, how we use our free will, potential and influence constructively.

What are your biggest questions, fears, hopes and heartfelt dreams?

Now is a great time to ask:

What are your biggest questions, fears, hopes and truly significant dreams?

World activities slow down. You can chose resistance, surrender, delve into creativity, love or fear. Free will, free choice. This is a chance.

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