Overwhelmed? You don’t have to be.

Perhaps it gets worse during certain times of the year. Or, you have noticed that you are in a state of being overwhelmed more often than you are not feeling this way? It also may seem as if everyone else has their you know what together, and that they have somehow secretly tapped into figuring things out that are a mystery to you.

Don’t worry, you are not alone when it comes to feeling this way. Every day I hear this same sentiment expressed so often, I chose to share some of the suggestions I tell others who are experiencing this. However, I first want to talk about the reasons you might be feeling this way.

One of the reasons we feel overwhelmed is because we get caught up in thinking we have to do everything immediately. We don’t. As a matter of fact, when we take back control and realize this, it’s the first step to gaining back control of the sense you feel you don’t have any.

We are very fortunate to be living in a time period when we have so many choices. However, having so many choices can further add to being overwhelmed. Have you heard the concept that not making a decision is in fact a decision? Realizing this alone can help to notch down your sense of being overwhelmed. Conversely, when you do make a decision, it is in fact progress, and this can also help you to move forward.

Being overwhelmed can feel like you are stuck, either physically or mentally. Applying movement of any kind towards this feeling can in fact nudge you away from being in this situation. The sense that there is too much going on, can cause you to feel as if things are out of control. However, this is really only happening in your brain, and you do have the ability to change this narrative running through your mind.

Yes, in fact there may be a number of activities and choices for you to make, but when you step back and truly think of them and how to deal with them one at a time, you can in fact slow things down. Slowing things down also contributes to lessening the sensation of being overwhelmed.

Here are some other methods you can apply to reducing your sense of being overwhelmed to a much lower state. Or, perhaps feel this sense entirely evaporate for periods of time.

  • Turn your thinking around by looking at your life as a journey. Versus it being a sprint.
  • Get up, get out, and literally start moving your body around. It will take your mind off of obsessing what is contributing to the feeling of being overwhelmed.
  • Listening to music can instantly put you into a different state of mind. Which type makes you feel happy? Turn this type of music on and listen to it until you feel like you are back in charge and not as overwhelmed. If you are a procrastinator, limit your music listening time to 30 minutes. Think of this as a reward.
  • Do something which is creative, even if you don’t think you have a creative bone in your body. Actually, everyone is creative in some way. You may not have yet discovered what your creative outlet is yet. Now would be a good time to explore this.
  • Sometimes we need to do something I call social weeding. What I mean by this is actually thinking about people in our life who contribute to us being overwhelmed. It is not always possible, but there are people I am certain you can take out, or weed out from your “social garden”. There are in fact people who are toxic to us, and you know who they are. At a minimum, reduce your interaction with them.
  • Turn off your social media. Yes, all of it. Don’t listen to the news, and instead craft a list of the top things which are contributing to you being overwhelmed. Put the list aside, and come back to it in a few hours after you have done some of the other suggestions above.
  • When you return to your list of what is overwhelming you, tackle one item at a time, and come up with one solution to make this list item less overwhelming. Breaking down what overwhelms you into a list format, and then applying solutions to it is one of the best ways to tackle putting you on the path to being less stressed. If you can’t come up with solutions on your own, ask someone you trust to help you.
  • Rate each item on your list of what is overwhelming you on a scale of 1-10. Ten is off the charts. If half of your list ratings are over 5, work on the ones with a lower number first. Then tackle the higher number ones when your list amount is decreasing.
  • Set a goal of completing half your list in a realistic timeframe (e.g., 1-2 weeks). You will be amazed what can be done if you break down your tasks this way, and perhaps only deal with one of them a day. In two weeks, you can potentially have knocked off more than twelve items on the list of things that overwhelm you.

It is possible you might in fact be depressed, and this will contribute to your feeling of being overwhelmed. Statistically, the majority of our human population experiences some form of depression in their lifetime. However, if you have severe depression, being able to do the suggestions above might seem impossible. If this is the case, please consider talking to a mental health professional, as they can help you towards not having to feel this way.

My Mom has a saying I adopted many years ago. Every day you have a decision to make about how your day is going to be. You can choose to be happy, or not. You have the power to do this too, and my belief is that choosing to be happy is always the right choice.

Happy New Year, and thank you for your support and for following my writing in 2018. See you in 2019!

Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Performance Strategist and CEO of Market Me Too. Market Me Too has expertise in bridging teams and providing organizations techniques to accelerate their revenue numbers and market growth, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at. She is also the author of a newly published business book called Wisdom Whisperer which is available via Amazon, and has had numerous strong reviews.

Market Me Too also works with individuals from students to C-level executives. The individuals, corporate and sports teams we work with are coached on how to leverage and apply their peak performance strengths and talents on a daily basis, which produces repeatable, measurable and amazing results personally and professionally. Think of me as a “people are like diamonds – polisher”, or your very own Wisdom Whisperer.

If you want better results with what you are doing, let’s talk. We know how to help you get them. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com or (339) 987-0195.

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Ten Reasons Being a Mature Worker Has Advantages

When I first began my business career, I rarely thought about what it might be like for me and where I would be working when I was 40 or older. I was so focused on what was directly in front of me, it was difficult to think too far ahead.

I knew I wanted to advance, but I did not have a vision for exactly what that meant. In speaking with many of today’s twenty- and thirty-somethings, I realized they have a better sense of having plotted out where they are headed.  Of course, this is not always the case.

In the last 20 years, society has put enormous pressure on younger people to know from an early age what they want to be doing in their careers. This is incredibly unfair and unrealistic. The decade immediately following college should be a time to explore various career options, travel, and obtain a better sense of your skill set as well as what you like and do not like to do.

By the time you reach your 30s, you have generally settled into an industry which you may or may not be satisfied with. You have also, by this time, hopefully have had an opportunity to work with people who are a variety of ages.

Unfortunately, if you are in the technology industry, you will not see too many people past the age of 50. Over 50, most are either a “C” level executive, or on the software development, testing, and customer support side of the business. Perhaps in non-technology industries you will have an opportunity to work with more mature colleagues. There is much to learn from them.

What most people do not realize is how valuable employees with years of experience are, or how to fully tap into their potential. Our society has done a decent job of on-boarding new and younger employees.  Where society has failed is knowing how best to leverage the talent of the workforce over 50.  Or 60.  Or 70.

Last week, I had an opportunity to witness an incredible team effort.  The average age of the people working together was around 70.  All of them were women. They worked for well over a month making homemade holiday gifts to be sold at a community fair. The proceeds were being donated to both the local school system, as well as the village church and community hall where the event was to take place.

When I walked in on the morning of the holiday event, where all of the incredible handmade items were on display, I felt as if I had been transported to a different and magical world. The sheer beauty of the handmade items was stunning. They were a testament to a team of people working together who had donated their skills and time.

Could a group of people who were younger have accomplished the same thing this group of women in their 70s, 80s and 90s did? Sure! Age should not be a limitation in either the workplace or in life if someone is determined to participate.

However, due to age discrimination, and this happens to younger people, too, many of our more mature workers are forced out of the work place. This is such a shame.

Here are ten reasons for why older workers rock, along with the benefits of being a more mature worker.

 

  1. Understanding what has been done in the past can be incredibly helpful in directing what the priorities should be. Mature employees have experience with knowing what has worked, and what has not. Knowing what not to focus on because it will waste time is an enormously valuable skill.

 

  1. Time is our most precious commodity. Due to experience, most mature workers have become exceptionally good at managing their time, and know how to maximize accomplishing goals with a more disciplined approach.

 

  1. Mature workers, in general, tend to be dependable, and have built up a work ethic which is both commendable, and the type of mindset and behavior that is great modeling for younger generations.

 

  1. Having experienced a number of failures already in their life, as people mature, they can be much less afraid of making mistakes and taking risks, contrary to other thinking.

 

  1. Communication skills generally improve over time, and because of this, mature workers do a better job of being able to articulate information relating to the work they are doing, the challenges they are experiencing, or interacting with customers who can sometimes be difficult to deal with.

 

  1. Focusing on tasks or on developing a longer-range strategy becomes much easier to accomplish as you mature. You tend to take more of a longer-term perspective when taking strategy into account, and this is very valuable.

 

  1. Knowing how to handle more interactions with both people and situations is something gained from being exposed to a variety of scenarios over one’s career.

 

  1. Having the ability to be retrospective on most matters can be quite beneficial in terms of getting beyond challenging matters sooner.

 

  1. Patience is generally a skill developed over time. Having the ability to be patient and not too quick to react, can help a company to remain on course and make small adjustments versus reactive decisions that typically do not serve companies well in the long term.

 

  1. Although there is a perception people only have high energy when they are younger, mature employees might in fact have more energy. Less of their focus is on concerns such as social pressure, college loans, raising young children, have passed.

Points to ponder:

  • Has your perspective on what it means to be a mature worker changed?
  • Are you willing and/or able to reduce ageism in the work place?
  • Are you ready to hire mature workers at your company?
  • Will you add them to your team, making it more balanced?

The best performing teams I have seen, are the ones that are generationally balanced. Is yours?

Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Performance Strategist and CEO of Market Me TooMarket Me Too has expertise in bridging teams and providing organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth and revenue numbers, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at. She is also the author of a newly published business book called Wisdom Whisperer which is available via Amazon, and has had numerous strong reviews.

Market Me Too also works with individuals from students to C-level executives. The individuals, business and sports teams we work with are coached on how to leverage and apply their peak performance talents on a daily basis, which produces repeatable, measurable and amazing results personally and professionally.

If you want better results with what you are doing, let’s talk. We know how to help you get them. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com or (339) 987-0195.

 

Busy, but not productive?

Anyone who knows me knows I do not enjoy wasting time, and I’ll admit that relaxing can be a challenge for me, and that I actually will schedule time to relax. This works for me, but certainly isn’t going to be a strategy that will work for everyone. I wouldn’t expect it to, but I do expect that if someone wants to be more productive versus being only busy, then you are in the majority of people I talk to.

In our society today, saying you’re busy is what others expect to hear you say. Seldom do you hear someone tell you they don’t have much going on, or that they are never busy. Busy is one of those words which is a way of politely expressing you have a great deal going on in your life, but that does not require you to explain what this means. This statement applies to both work and life, and you would almost never say at work that you are not busy. If you said this, it could be quite detrimental to your current employment.

So, when someone says they are busy at work, they typically will justify and explain how and why they are busy. They may not go into details about what constitutes making them busy, but essentially when they express this, it generally means their time is consumed by doing a number of things related to their job. However, if you are a manager and someone tells you they are busy, your job is to ask questions to see what the person working for you means by this expression, since there are multiple interpretations of this word.

If you are wondering how to determine if someone is busy versus being productive, here are some questions you can ask them to find out which one they are.

  1. Do you feel good about the list of priorities you are working on?
  2. How are the timelines on the projects you are focusing on progressing today/this week/month?
  3. Are your projects and the completion of them positively impacting others?
  4. Is the work you are doing and accomplishing being communicated to others well?
  5. Do you have a good sense the work you are doing is well focused, or does it need to be redefined to increase the productivity of the work?
  6. On a scale of 1-5, (5 being the highest level) are you feeling overwhelmed, or well supported to get your work done?
  7. With your workload, are you feeling that you need more resources to accomplish your work, or that you have the right amount of support?
  8. Do you ever feel like you are “spinning your wheels” on the work you are performing? If they answer ‘yes’ to this question, or do not give you a convincing response and tell you ‘no’, chances are they may be falling into the only keeping busy category.

Keeping busy for the sake of either not being bored or unchallenged is fine for some people. However, if you are running a business, then it’s not so fine. Having employees or teams who are only appearing to be busy, yet who are not actually productive can be the beginning to a serious engagement and management challenge. Taking on this challenge is not easy, and often requires an external perspective to help identify and determine where to start with fixing and then addressing the situation.

Knowing your team or company has a productivity issue should be addressed as soon as possible, as it should be obvious the situation will not improve upon by itself if it is ignored. The good news is that productivity can quickly come back. Just don’t fall into the trap of thinking you or others are too busy to address this matter.

Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Performance Strategist and CEO of Market Me TooMarket Me Too has expertise in bridging teams and providing organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth and revenue numbers, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at. She is also the author of a newly published business book called Wisdom Whisperer which is available via Amazon, and has had numerous strong reviews.

Market Me Too also works with individuals from students to C-level executives. The individuals, business and sports teams we work with are coached on how to leverage and apply their peak performance talents on a daily basis, which produces repeatable, measurable and amazing results personally and professionally.

If you want better results with what you are doing, let’s talk. We know how to help you get them. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com or (339) 987-0195.

 

(10) Reasons why we should all be daydreaming

When was the last time you caught yourself daydreaming? This is something I find myself doing regularly. It often serves as inspiration for the work I do.

Daydreaming can even be helpful in solving challenges – an extension of the thinking-through process. Some might refer to the act of daydreaming in other expressive ways.  This concept serves multiple purposes and results in more positive than negative outcomes.

No one would argue that time is one of our most precious resources, but they might tell you daydreaming is not a productive use of time. I disagree.

Let’s imagine if people did not daydream. Would they be more productive, happier, healthier, and ultimately more satisfied with their life? Probably not. Daydreaming is a form of natural therapy which can calm anxiety provide hope and inspiration to do and achieve what once seemed impossible.

I have found that when daydreaming, I am, in fact, architecting in my mind the potential outcome.

I use daydreaming to help me think through conundrums either for myself, my clients, friends, or family. Since most of us do not remember our overnight dreams, I am thankful we can remember our daydreams. We can leverage them to transport us to places we might not otherwise be able to go for any number of reasons – health, mobility issues, finances, fear . . .

Do you daydream?  If not, why not?  Is it because you think it is a waste of time? Is it because you do not have anything you think is worthy of daydreaming about? Or, does the possibility of seeing yourself in a better place seem too scary? Regardless of which camp you find yourself in on the debate of whether daydreaming is a worthwhile exercise, here are my ‘pro’ daydreaming reasons.

  1. Daydreaming can be like taking a mini mental vacation each and every day.
  2. Daydreaming can encourage you to do more than you think you can.
  3. Daydreaming allows you to place (or imagine) yourself in different scenarios and can help you to prepare to step up or in when the actual time comes. It is similar to the concept of visualization.
  4. Daydreaming can provide your mind and body with a way to decrease stress by thinking about things that are more positive.
  5. Creative minds need time to relax and capture mental power from various sources. Daydreaming is often a source that fuels those with creative minds.
  6. Inspiration can come from daydreaming, which in turn allows you to continue, to pursue or to embark upon something you want to achieve.
  7. Numerous inventions have been inspired by daydreaming as the catalyst for the idea to come to fruition.
  8. Problem solvers, or people who have to figure out solutions to challenges will often apply the act of daydreaming to help their minds switch gears and develop methods and solutions.
  9. Healing can take place when our minds have an opportunity to check-out from reality and go to a happier place, which in turn can release natural healing chemicals in our brains.
  10. Those who are dealing with physical or mental issues can apply the pros of daydreaming to help them see themselves in a better and more positive situation than the one they are currently in.

In other words, daydreaming can offer people hope. On days it may be in short supply. Since daydreaming does not cost anything, and is easy to do, why not give it a try? See if you change your mind, or reinforce your beliefs, about the benefits and positive aspects of this practice after you have given it a try for a week or two.

Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Performance Strategist and CMO of Market Me TooMarket Me Too has expertise in bridging teams and providing organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth and revenue numbers, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at. She is also the author of a newly published business book called Wisdom Whisperer which is available via Amazon.

Market Me Too also works with individuals from students to C-level executives. The individuals, business and sports teams we work with are coached on how to leverage and apply their peak performance talents on a daily basis. Our coaching takes place individually, or via customized workshops.

If you want better results, let’s talk. We know how to help you get them. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com or (339) 987-0195.

It’s all about the now.  Or is it?

I’ll admit that patience is probably not one of my super powers.  To my credit, I do practice being patient, and many people who have worked with me actually think I am patient.

Perhaps I come across as patient, but if I were a duck, you would likely see my feet paddling extremely fast underneath the calm surface of the water. Being, or appearing to be patient can have advantages. In many business situations, it is imperative to come across as steady, yet able to make swift and well thought-through decisions when necessary.

There have been numerous articles written about the power of now, and a book with that very title by Eckhart Tolle extols the virtues of spiritual enlightenment, living in the moment, and not concerning yourself with thoughts from the past.

In the business world, we are trained to both look in our rearview mirror and to leverage this information to inform our decisions. This knowledge will make us more competitive.

When we take the time to slow down and leverage analysis to help with strategic planning, we go against the concept of instant gratification. However, this is absolutely required and usually takes years of experience to do well, or without guidance.

Being strategic about decisions can be a challenge, especially if you’re a newcomer to the business world. It can also be frustrating to those who are driven by our instant gratification society.

We are fortunate to have technology to rely upon to help provide insights into data that even five years ago would have been difficult to obtain or analyze. Reading and interpreting the numbers is skill that is best developed over time. Having instant access can be enormously beneficial, but taking the time to review the information with others more experienced will serve you well.

An example of this would be reviewing your social media marketing investments to determine if they are providing you with the expected results you desire or forecasted. Fortunately, social media is one of the marketing investment areas which can be adjusted in “real time” if the results are not suitable, and this is one example of appealing to instant gratification.

Not all business disciplines are driven by instant gratification, but sales and marketing teams often are. This is fueled by expectations from senior management who either report to a board of directors or potentially to venture capitalists who have extremely high expectations. In both of these instances, time is not on the side of the teams who are on the front lines of performance. There is a great deal of pressure on these teams to perform well, and in the spirit of now.

Depending on how the powers that be manage their team, employees working for them will be captured by a great sense of urgency and potentially a feeling of being under a performance microscope. It is critical that upper management know how to minimize these emotions, as this type of pressure is not sustainable.

Seasoned managers know how to guide their teams through bursts of pressure and show them how to embrace the power of instant gratification in smaller doses. Since marketing and sales teams are typically quarterly driven, they should pace themselves through their performance journeys.

Some people are naturally adept at pacing themselves, but most people need a bit of guidance or coaching, and over sustained periods of time. Having superior time management skills will contribute to making the marathon pace seem less daunting, and allow the team to embrace the concept of slowing down enough to realize they do not need to have instant gratification for every aspect of their work.

Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Performance Strategist and CMO of Market Me TooMarket Me Too has expertise in bridging teams and providing organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth and revenue numbers, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at. She is also the author of a newly published business book called Wisdom Whisperer which is available via Amazon.

Market Me Too also works with individuals from students to C-level executives. The individuals, business and sports teams we work with are coached on how to leverage and apply their peak performance talents on a daily basis.

If you want better results, let’s talk. We know how to help you get them. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com or (339) 987-0195.