Emotional Offenders: Taking Them on Giuliani Style.

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Back in the mid-nineties when New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani embarked on his lofty mission to clean up the Big Apple and tackle its infamously high crime rate, one might be surprised to learn that his strategy did not focus on going after the big time, hardened, or most dangerous criminals.

Instead, he began by literally cleaning up the city. He did this by installing thousands more public garbage cans, restoring many run down historical buildings, removing an exorbitant amount of graffiti, and cracking down hard on more minor violations and small time offenders. He also invested tens of millions into actually cleaning up and revamping the decaying and dangerous subway system, and because of all this was able to create a different expectation for New Yorkers.

Soon after her started ticketing and arresting these small time offenders he was successfully able to send a city wide message that these small offenses would not be tolerated. It didn’t take long before public and criminal behaviour began to drop dramatically.

As smaller offenses were dealt with, and the message was clear they would not be accepted, larger, more serious crime began to drop considerably without it being specifically targeted any more than before. Kind of like a trickle up effect, if you will. Absolutely brilliant.

After being totally awestruck with this story, I couldn’t help but think about how many of us commit our own offenses right within our own thoughts and minds by the assaulting, destructive, aggressive, and downright violating messages we repeat both silently and aloud to and about ourselves on a very regular basis. Small time offenses, if you will.

So what I propose is for us all to initiate and apply the acclaimed Giuliani Approach on ourselves.

By beginning to consciously address, deal with, and rehabilitate some of these more minute offenders – the destructive thoughts, beliefs, and behaviours we carelessly allow ourselves to think, believe, and act on a regular basis – we will be amazed to find that all of a sudden some of our bigger internal emotional and psychological offenders and mental violators start to hear our new ZERO TOLERANCE message and begin to back off.

Once we can successfully send the message and spread the word to every part of ourselves that our new personal culture is about cleaner, safer, and more welcoming, compassionate, understanding, thoughts, words, behaviours, and expectations to and about ourselves, the big guys will automatically get the message that they better shape up or ship out.

Influential People: How Do They Do It?

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In his runaway bestselling book TheTipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell writes about a certain type of person he calls “senders.”

These people, he writes, “Are those who are very good at expressing their emotions and feelings [in a positive and uplifting way], which means they are far more emotionally contagious than the rest of us.”

These are the types of people who, after spending some time in their presence, we can’t help but absorb, take on, and be influenced by the energy they are sending out.

Have you ever been feeling kind of blah and then happen to have an encounter with one of these types exuding all kinds of positive emotion and energy, and then find yourself all of a sudden feeling so much better as you walk away with a smile on your face and a spring in your step? I sure have.

It makes me think of a client I met with a short while ago who had come to me for some career counselling. This woman had recently been laid off because of corporate downsizing and was now trying to figure out what to do next with her career.

Although feeling quite frustrated, discouraged, and somewhat stressed out about her work situation she still seemed to have a sort of underlying positive energy or attitude…

I can’t quite describe it, but I found myself getting a strong sense that even within her challenging situation, she was ready, willing, and eager to get out there and get going on the next thing – whatever that was going to be – con mucho gusto! (With much gusto).

She was just one of those senders who’s optimism and determination, although in the midst of turmoil, was so absolutely contagious that I found myself feeling a real joy and excitement while in her presence.

Her energy and attitude was so infectious that as our session wrapped up I couldn’t help but say to her “I know you are going to be tremendously successful, and whoever you end up working for will be absolutely thrilled at their good luck for having nabbed you up first.”

My only lament was that I didn’t have a position to offer her.

It was so interesting for me to notice myself picking up on her positive energy, being influenced by it, taking it in, and feeling it myself – and then giving that optimism and confidence right back to her.

What a motivating feedback loop and lesson on the importance of fostering and focusing on having a more positive attitude. I’d say this is a huge ROI.

This also brings it back to a previous post about how we have a lot of influence on how others treat us.

Encountering people like this is a really special and very inspiring experience. I can’t wait to have more!

I’d love to hear if any of you have encountered someone like this in your life.

How to Ease Holiday Stress and Anxiety: 5 Great Strategies.

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Tis the season to often feel a little (re: a lot) overwhelmed, stressed, and anxious.

Part of the reason for this is because often times the Christmas Season comes with a whole lot of obligations, commitments, invitations, and engagements. There are presents to buy, parties to attend, open houses to show up at, baking to get done, guests to house, travelling to do and many, many other unspoken expectations to fulfill.

It can be enough to make anyone lose their cool and have a freak out. Or 2. Or 10.

Although it feels like you have to do everything and be everywhere at once. You don’t. It’s okay to say no. It’s okay to decline an invitation because you have another commitment (that commitment being sitting at home in your PJ’s drinking hot apple cider and watching A Charlie Brown Christmas).

There are so many things that are actually okay for us to do if we allow ourselves to let go of the SHOULDS, OUGHTS, HAVE TO’S and MUSTS typically only fabricated and clung to in our own minds.

Actually, I take it back. Not only are they okay for us to do, they are GREAT for us to do. Because if we can take care of and consider ourselves, our boundaries, limits, preferences and needs we are able to be MUCH better friends, parents, children, and colleagues.

Feeling worn out, stressed, anxious, and overwhelmed typically (read: always) goes hand and hand with being more irritable, impatient, touchy, short-tempered, and not so nice, and let’s face it, that doesn’t do any good for anyone.

So here are 5 more things that are GREAT for you to allow yourself to do over this Christmas Season.

1. It’s great to tell relatives or friends they are welcome to come and stay with you for a maximum of 4 days – because as we know, both fish and house guests begin to smell after 4 days. And vice versa – you’re allowed to say you can only stay with them for 4 days if that’s as you can do.

For the sake of your relationship and for the sake of your sanity, honestly ask yourself what you can handle, and stick to that. No one needs to be a hero. Oh, and no one will really notice or care if you try to be.

2. It’s great to buy gift cards – especially to a spa. I’ve yet to meet a woman who doesn’t love receiving a gift card for a mani or pedi or both! Or a guy who doesn’t like being gifted with one from an electronics or hardware store.

Keep it simple because the only person who will actually be disappointed you spent your hard earned money on a gift (card) for them is someone who probably doesn’t need or deserve the gift in the first place. Have we talked about gratitude lately?

3. It’s great to check in with yourself regularly and see how you’re doing, and if you’re feeling stressed, anxious or overwhelmed it’s important to take a step back and sit. And breathe. And live.

If you need a break from an all day or all evening family gathering, there’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, it’s great. That’s what you need, so take it.

You can find a less trafficked bathroom and play a few rounds of Words with Friends (which is also a great way to see who else is needing a celebration ‘break’ at the moment), or get out for a short walk and get some air, or go for a drive around the neighborhood. It doesn’t matter what it is as long as it gives you a bit of a re-fill.

And if anyone gives you grief about it, just tell them you need a little time to digest (just don’t tell them they are the ones causing your indigestion).

4. It’s great to let go of the idea of the perfect Christmas where you settle in to that big cozy chair under a plaid flannel blanket beside a crackling fire, with a cup of eggnog in hand while the rest of your family sits comfortably together and has a lovely, light, and easy conversation interrupted only by the whole room breaking into a perfectly melodious and especially bouncy version of ‘Here We Go A Wassailing.’

Oh, and then the impeccable Christmas meal magically appears beautifully spread out on the meticulously decorated table while the host(s) (including you, if you are the host) is perfectly relaxed and put together. Even if you think that’s the way it happen for everyone else’s family – I can promise you right now – it doesn’t.

5. If you can take #4 seriously and let go of how Christmas “should” go, then you might actually find moments of joy, happiness, and fun during the season (which is great too!!).

If family dynamics are becoming to be a lot, take a step back and try to laugh. Have fun with them and try to put past issues and transgressions aside – at least for now. You likely won’t be able to change challenging relationships at this time and one of the best ways to cope with something we can’t change is to learn to develop a sense of humour about it.

This is your nutty family and you are stuck with them, so if you are able, you may as well make the best of the short time you’ll all be together.

If traffic or crowds are causing you to feel crazy, stop for an eggnog latte and enjoy sipping it as you sit in traffic, or crawl your way through a crowd. Try and slow it down and do what you need to do to find your place of solace among the chaos.

The Christmas Season doesn’t have to be as intense, stressful, and exhausting as we seem to like to make it.

But many of us have become well versed at making things more complicated than they need to be. And of course, like most things, it’s a choice. And let this be the year you chose to do things that are GREAT for you and allow yourself enjoy the goodness that comes with this special time of year.