I had planned to write about something entirely different this week, but the events of the past few days changed that. From the stories of chaos at Black Friday sales, to the untimely passing of Paul Walker, to the story this morning of a derailed train en route to NYC, I found my self thinking nonstop about priorities and how precious our time is on this earth. How we rank our priorities has a lot to do with how we use our energy while we are here. I'll tell you one thing, those who were trampling workers and getting into fights at 5am at Walmart this past Friday don't seem to place a high value on love and kindness.
What are your priorities and how do you rank them? Is it family? Love? Money? What gets you up in the morning excited to start another day? What weighs on your mind the most?
Are the priorities you truly want to make a focus in your life taking those top spots? What do you spend the majority of your resources (time, money, energy) trying to achieve?
Identifying, and sometimes rearranging, your priorities not only allows you to live a purposeful, intention driven life, but it also plays a large role in dating. Identifying what drives you at your core can help you figure out how committed you are to finding love AND exactly who you are looking for.
Take a few minutes before you start your week, and make a list of:
1. What it is that you truly value.
2. What you are spending the majority of your time working towards.
3. What traits you would value in a partner.
Compare numbers 1 and 2, are you working towards achieving that which you truly value? Looking at number 3, how do your potential partner's characteristic's fit into your life?
Understanding what we want and need at our core can be essential to getting what we want.
It's Thanksgiving week here in the US. As we all get ready to stuff ourselves silly on turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie (mmmmm....pumpkin pie), I am so grateful for the ever present and ever necessary reminder to give thanks. In our lives it is easy to run on autopilot, to focus on the things we want to change as opposed to the things that should stay the same, and to suffer from a case of the "only ifs". This week, to me, is about slowing down. It's about taking time to smell the roses (or pumpkin pie), and to count of all of my blessings. It's about taking account of every aspect of my life that makes me happy, and appreciating all of the massive gifts I have been given. Do I still want to do more, be more, and achieve more? Sure. However, I won't appreciate where I am going if I don't feel thankful for where I am.
What are you thankful for?
Who are you thankful for?
What can you do this week to slow down and take note of all the amazingness in your life?
I would love to encourage you to start a gratitude journal. Even if it is just for the week, spend 5 minutes every morning to make a list of the things you are thankful for. It could be as simple as a great cup of coffee, or as deep as your most meaningful relationship. Writing down what you are grateful for gives those feelings power. Keeping track of the things you are thankful for on a regular basis can help to give you perspective when you feel that your life would be amazing....only if ________.
Have an awesome Thanksgiving. Eat up that pumpkin pie, and give thanks.
PS - the TEDx talk I mentioned last week (yes, the one I said I totally screwed up here) is below. The Power of Kindness is even more important to remember as we step into this magical holiday season!
I had the honor of giving my first TED talk yesterday at TEDxYouth@Hewitt. It was an amazing experience that I will forever be grateful for. An auditorium filled with minds thirsty for inspiration. A group of speakers with so much passion for their life's work that you couldn't help but feel thankful just to be in their energy. I spoke about the Power of Kindness. I talked about how kindness changed the trajectory of my life. I shared how when I was bullied in elementary school for not being "good enough", kindness from others was what made the difference between despair and hope. I spoke about how being kind to others can lead to happiness, love, and success.
But I screwed up. Big time. While my talk focused on how kindness to others can change your world, I realized I missed a major point.
My talk should have been about being kind to yourself.
In my world, I hear intimate, personal, heartfelt stories on a daily basis. Clients, friends, and total strangers share things that they would never tell anyone else. I am so humbled by their openness, and heartbroken by an often common thread. There is a severe lack lack of kindness. Not to those around them, but to themselves.
"I'm not good enough."
"I don't deserve better."
"No one could love ME."
In so many words, these statements are often repeated. Why? Why are we so hard on ourselves, when we are so aware of the need to be kind to others? I may have lost an opportunity to share that message yesterday, but I am going to share it now.
Be kind to yourself first. Focus on loving you before you think about loving someone else. Realize that you are good enough, deserve the best, and are so unbelievably lovable. Demand respect, and do not settle for being treated poorly.
In case no one else is telling you this, including yourself, I will - YOU ARE WORTH IT.
I love people, I really do. All of them. However, not everyone is created equal. Truth be told, some are easier to get along with than others. I was recently invited on Fox Business to chat about how to handle annoying co-workers (video here), but the segment made me realize how these issues affect far more than just your workplace. Everyone has their own style, their own quirks, and their own battles that they are fighting. Learning to deal with them without losing your mind can be a valuable skill.
So how do you deal with people in your life that aren't always the easiest to mesh with? Here are my top three survival methods:
1. Breathe. Do you know how many meltdowns can be avoided with 10 seconds of deep breathing? Me either, but if I conducted a study (maybe I will!), I guarantee a ton. There is power in your breath. If you are faced with someone that gets your blood boiling, and you have that instant desire to fight fire with fire, don't. Walk away and breathe for 10 seconds. Breathe deeply and focusing on bringing in peace, and releasing frustration.
2. Lead with Empathy. Empathy is a trait that I believe the world needs a lot more of! Empathy is having an understanding of the emotions of another. , and leading with empathy allows you to understand where the other person is coming from. Is there a reason they are being difficult? What is going on in their own life that is making them _________ (fill in the blank: angry, mean, frustrating, annoying)? There is often far more to the story. Understand that every difficult person is likely acting that way because of their own difficult life. That knowledge can take the sting out of the frustration you have with them.
3. Don't. Don't deal with them. If someone is consistently difficult, and you have found it impossible to prevent your own energy from being drained, limit the time you spend with this person. If it is a social friend, reconsider spending any time at all. A co-worker? Limit your interaction to the necessary. We are a combination of the five people we spend the most time with. Choose your inner circle carefully.
Have you had a situation with a difficult person that you would like to share? I'd love to hear about it!
Love can be elusive, but does it have to be? In an age of abundance, is it possible that you are overlooking those that could be your perfect match?
The older we are, the more established we become in our habits, routines, locations, likes and dislikes. You have an amazing career, a place to call home that you love, and a very comfortable routine. Where do you plan on fitting someone into that? What happens when you meet someone that may not think your home is their perfect sanctuary? What if they prefer a different routine or lifestyle? You love steak, how could you ever date a vegetarian?!
Instead of looking for someone to fit into your present, find someone you can build a future with.
Regardless of age, many of us are guilty of having blinders on when looking for love. If they don't "fit" into our current life, we move on. However, who are you leaving behind? There is an incredible benefit to embracing the openness that is often left behind in our 20's. Your perfect match may not fit your mold. They may break it all together. However, that love could last a lifetime.
So how do you redirect your focus and avoid the puzzle trap? Here are five ways to focus on the future, and prevent searching for that "missing" piece:
- Qualities are key. Focus on the qualities of the person, and create a connection based on mutual values and priorities. They may not share your love of skiing, but hold a high value of family. That value has the possibility of building a strong foundation for a lasting relationship. A hobby is transient.
- Be open to a change in scenery. Does it really matter where you live when you are in an amazing loving partnership? Sure, you can have a desire for a certain location, and compromise, but be open. Home is where the heart is.
- Reframe your thoughts. How many times do you hear a "buzzword" from a date, and all of a sudden your interest level drops? For example, you live to eat clean and your date professes his love of burgers and beer. So what? Does that change your compatibility on a deeper level? No. Have opposing views in politics? That doesn't mean you can't have a soulful relationship.
- Focus on the feelings. Anyone that works with me, knows I believe strongly in the energy of people. We all have a different "vibe" and someone that fits your "vibe" might not be exactly who you had in mind. Are you comfortable with them? Do you feel happier in their presence?
- Give love a (second or third) chance. If you have any connection with a date, go out with them again. In an age where a new potential date is just a click away, we are quick to discard. However, first dates are often anxiety filled and don't give you a real picture of the person (not just their credentials). A second and third date let's you see the real person underneath, not the first date jitters.
Love is worth it. Give it a chance.
Soulmates...destiny....fate... Is there one person out in the universe that was made especially for you? Do you have a list of 15 qualities that you know your soulmate will possess? Are you convinced that if you keep looking, you will know them when you see them?
You see, these beliefs concern me as a dating coach and matchmaker. I was recently invited on Live from the Couch to discuss whether soulmates exist (video below), and the segment really got me thinking about how damaging believing in your one and only can be. I don't want you to remain single and looking for a unicorn, when there are amazing potential mates all around you. That doesn't mean I want you to abandon all of your needs, or force yourself to fall in love with the next person with a heartbeat. It does mean, that I want you to get real. Here are some things to keep in mind when you are out there looking for your "one":
1. Humans have a tremendous capacity for love - We have many (many!) "soul mates". There are an infinite number of people on this earth that you can connect with, build a fantastic relationship with, and call your soul mate. Anyone who has had more than one "great love" or has become a parent to more than one child, knows that the one love isn't any better or worse (or less soulful) than the other - they are just different.
2. The concept of "soulmate" is emotionally dangerous for singles. Those who believe that there is ONE person in the universe for them can lead a very lonely life. They will continue to disregard potential amazing partners in search of a unicorn. Once they realize unicorns (and their ideal "soulmate") don't exist, it is too late to salvage prior opportunities. Consider a young widow? Is she destined to be alone forever if she loses her soulmate?
4. Focus on the values. Date those that meet your core values, don't focus on the butterflies. Butterflies are a physical reaction to often a physical appearance or chemistry. Chemistry does not equal soul mate. Those butterflies can wane, but if you meet and marry someone with the same core values as you, your love will last.
5. Realize the power of your mind. If you believe that there is one person, and only one person that is meant to be your soulmate, no one else will ever match up. Those that are with amazing partners may not appreciate their relationship because of a fantasy that someone greater was out there, but they settled. Those thoughts could be subconsciously destroying an awesome relationship.
What do you think? Do you believe in soul mates? Are you committed to waiting for "the one"?
I just spent a weekend immersed in training to make me a better coach, listener, and guide for the people I work with. It was an amazing experience, not just for my clients, but for ME. A lot of the training helps me work through areas of my life that need improvement and redirection. I made some amazing breakthroughs personally, and am so grateful for the opportunity to do so.
The one thing that kept coming back to me (and I think is so important for you to hear) is that YOUR answer to a situation may be very different from mine, your friend's or your family's answer. Regardless of what an expert advises you to do (including me!), listen to yourself. Make sure the decisions you make resonate with YOU. We have an amazing sense of intuition that guides our decisions. Honor that intuition. Listen to rational advice, but trust your own instincts to guide you. Here is a quick four step technique to tap into what you already know:
This technique can help to guide you in any situation - dating, a stressful issue at work, or a decision you have to make. Every amazing breakthrough is within us already. We just have to be centered and focused enough to unleash it.
- Find a space where you will be uninterrupted. Turn off all distractions.
- Take a few minutes to center yourself. Close your eyes. Breathe in and out deeply. Focus on your breath and let your body relax.
- Imagine the situation you are seeking answers around, but picture it as if it has been solved. Feel the emotions, and embrace them.
- Open your eyes and reflect on what you envisioned and how you felt. Sit with it for a minute.
Speaking of decisions, yesterday I appeared on HLN's Weekend Express to chat about deciding to live together before marriage. It's a topic that I of course have an opinion about, but I would love to know yours! Check out the video and join the discussion on my Facebook page.
With the lovely eFlirtExpert
This past week I was once again lucky enough to speak to the attendees at Shecky's Girls Night Out at their Girl Talk Workshops. I love these women! They are a blast, and always leave me with a full tank of happy. The focus of this week's workshops was how you can be your own matchmaker. As a matchmaker in the NYC and NJ area, I know exactly how tough it can be out there for singles. Matchmaking is great option, but it can be expensive! I wanted to show them what I do, so they could do it themselves, for FREE.
Here are the three steps I shared to becoming your own matchmaker:
1. Prepare to Match Yourself - In getting ready to find your match, the most important thing to do is to manage your own expectations, and get your attitude in check. What are you expecting from partner? Who are you expecting to meet? Keeping your expectations in check is essential for all daters. Do you have a 19 point list, or are you open to meeting anyone you could be compatible with? Every qualification you set on a potential mate limits the amount of people in your dating pool. Decide what you NEED, and eliminate the rest. In regards to your attidue, positiviity is key! No one is looking for someone miserable. Developing a pre-matching mindset of openness and positivity is so important. Feeling down on dating? Convinced that there are no good men/women out there? It may be time to take a detox and focus on you until your positivity returns.
2. Finding Your Match - I am asked daily, "where do I meet people?", and the answer is everywhere! However, the better question is, "where do I go to find the man/woman I am looking to meet?". As a matchmaker, I go out a LOT and meet a ton of people with the intent of finding potential matches for my clients. If my client is looking for a woman that is focused on health, I go to yoga classes and seminars on healthy eating. If my client is looking for a man in the financial industry, I head to Wall Street at happy hour. The goal is not to go where YOU want to go, but to go to the places that your match might be. Think of your perfect mate, and then ask yourself where he/she is spending time. Meetup.com is one of my favorite resources for opening up those possibilities. Looking for a guy that loves to hike? Join a hiking meetup. Want a woman that loves fine wines? There are hundreds of wine connoisseur meetups available.
3. Pacing the Relationship - Part of being a matchmaker is being on call when that budding relationship is the most fragile. You met your potential soul mate, but you are afraid of it burning out or cooling off too quickly. Pacing in a new relationship is key! As a matchmaker my goal isn't to find my client's their next fling, but their next life partner. This requires a foundation of love and trust - which doesn't develop overnight. So in order to pace yourself as your own matchmaker, you need to remind yourself of three things:
1) Sex cannot be reduced to an arbitrary "rule"
2) Let the guys lead
3) Just keep dating
Experts have hundreds of opposing opinions on sex in a new relationship. My "rule"? Get to know them first, and know yourself before you jump in bed. Sex can escalate a relationship from 0-60 before it is ready. Dating them for a bit before things heat up will prevent you from attaching artificial hormonal feelings (hello oxytocin!) to someone you have been on two dates with. Secondly, ladies - let the men lead! Men are biologically hunters, and when you are always the one texting, emailing, calling, and planning, you take that away from them (and often scare them away). Let the man set the pace, and don't one up him in the early stages. Third, until you are in an exclusive relationship, keep dating other people. This will keep the pressure off the budding relationship you are dying to work, and provide you with more than one egg in your proverbial basket.
Good luck, and let me know how you do!!
Fall is 100% my favorite time of the entire year. Jeans and a sweater weather, football, and the excuse to go on a soup cooking bender makes me happy. It is also a great time to reset your focus, and put some effort into finding love! When the weather cools down and the beaches are closed, many singles find themselves ready to find their match. Here are my tips for finding fall love as shared on The Couch this morning on CBS in NYC.
1. Embrace the season - Every season has its own unique opportunities to meet people, i.e., the beach in the summer, skiing in the winter, and the fall is no different! Its football season, and if you are a single female, you are doing yourself a disservice if you don't head to your local sports bar on Sundays. Find a pumpkin or apple picking event on Meetup.com. Join a hiking club. Create your own potluck supperclub - fall is all about comfort foods, have everyone bring a dish and single friend. The possibilities are endless.
2. Enlist your friends - Tell them you are single and looking! This should be done seasonally. Some of those close to you may not want to overstep their boundaries, so let them know that you are open to meeting anyone they think you could click with. No expectations, but it is great to get the energy out there!
3. Create a calendar - You will never meet anyone sitting home. Create a calendar where are you are twice a week at events, groups, or drinks with friends. You don't need to focus on dating related activities, even business networking events work! The goal is to grow your love tree. The more people you know, the more options/branches you have.
4. Put pen to paper - Describing where you see yourself in 6 months or a year is a power packed activity! Write it down with a real pen and paper (no typing!) and describe what your life looks like, who your partner is, where you spend time, and how you feel. Be as detailed as possible. Visualizing what you want, who you want, and how you'll feel when you get it is seriously powerful.
5. It's all about attitude - Regardless of the season, your attitude matters most. Embrace the possibilities, keep your expectations in check and realize that not everyone is for you, but they are still great people. Positivity is an intoxicating trait, and one that is often desired by my clients, and sometimes difficult to find. You attract what you put out there.
What are your plans to find love this fall? Keep me posted! If you want to check out the segment, click here:
Is there tension in your workplace? Are you constantly fighting with your loved ones? Conflict is a natural element of the human condition. We are not identically wired. Each of us maintain unique triggers of stress and anxiety, and a method of communication that works for one person, may not be effective with another.
Unfortunately, conflict can become expensive and unproductive, especially in the workplace. Research shows that conflict in the workplace is on the rise and will continue to go up. A typical manager spends 25-40% of his or her time dealing with workplace conflicts. That’s one to two days of every work week. Conflicts in your personal life are similarly detrimental and can lead to stress, constant circles of arguments, and even divorce.
So how do we resolve conflict, or better yet, avoid it? Here are some ways to help to reduce conflict - whether it is at work, or at home:
1. Breathe. Have you ever forced a room full of angry frustrated employees to stop talking and just breathe? I have. It's transformative. When you clear the noise and focus on your breath for even a few minutes, you have the ability to change your perspective and tackle issues from a logical base, as opposed to an emotionally charged exchange. In an argument with your partner? Stop talking and take that moment to re-center. It will avoid the pitfalls of saying something you will regret.
2. Question the motive. Every person you work with is inherently different. Your friends, partner, and family members are all inherently different. As we all have different personalities, stressors, and communication styles, it is important to put yourself in their place before creating assumptions. Instead of responding to a conflict in kind, reframe your thoughts. Are they really upset with you? Could they possibly have outside stresses that are causing them to lash out at you? Recognizing that the issues may stem far from you can lead to empathy and resolution.
3. Question the aggressor. No, this isn't a deposition, but asking open ended questions that empower can diffuse the situation significantly. Ask the aggressor (calmly) questions, such as "What steps can we take together to finish this project?" or "How would you envision this process?" or "Why do you believe that x is ineffective?" in a workplace scenario. In a personal setting, asking them questions such as "Why do you feel that way about x?" or "Where do you think we could make changes to compromise on this issue?"can make an enormous impact in the level of hostility. Empowering questions let the frustrated party become part of the resolution.
4. Walk away. Never engage in a heated discussion in the workplace. If you cannot breathe and refocus, step away from the situation until you can. Do not engage the other party if they are becoming aggressive. Even if they are the one seen as hostile, you will be viewed as a willing participant if you fail to diffuse by exiting. Similarly, in a personal argument, if there is no line of communication open, it is better to take 5, 10, 100 minutes away from one another to gather your thoughts as opposed of continuing for the sake of it.
5. Engage in Active Listening . Often times, conflicts result in a severe lessening of actually hearing what the other party has to say. Active listening requires you to pay attention to the "why's" of the conflict, and respond with an understanding of their position. Most people simply want to be heard.
What conflicts have you encountered in the workplace? How was it resolved? I would love to hear from you. For more information on my workshops on conflict resolution, click here.