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viernes, 23 de octubre de 2009

5 Strategies to Make Strong Decisions

5 Strategies to Make Strong Decisions
By Dwight Bain, Certified Life Coach

"Reprinted with permission from the LifeWorks Group eNews (Copyright, 2004-2009), receive this valuable coaching and counseling resource by subscribing at www.LifeWorksGroup.org "

One of my favorite sayings to share with people facing a major decision is "you always have options." Yet in challenging times people are often so frozen by fear from making a wrong decision that they don't make a decision at all and life passes them by. Think of how many events in life are complicated or missed completely because of the roadblock of being afraid to fail by making a decision and then making that decision work…

Marriages that didn't happen because of a shy guy with cold feet

Promotions that never occurred because of the fear of asking for it

Scholarships left on a table somewhere because someone was afraid to fill out the paperwork

Trips to exotic places that were always talked about but never taken because no one sat down to schedule it

Relationships that failed because someone didn't decide to work on issues and quietly let things 'slip, slide away'

Forgiveness that was never granted because someone never got past the fear of saying that they were sorry

I've noticed that people will fit into one of the following levels when facing a major decision. Think about where you are in the process.

FIVE LEVELS FOR MAJOR DECISIONS

Level 1 - Go Numb and Do Nothing
This level is where an individual is so paralyzed by fear that they can't take action and may experience major signs or symptoms of distress. When someone feels numb inside, they often describe their life as being in a 'fog' and often crash in the process. This may be the most dangerous level of all.

Level 2 - Passive Pleasing
This level is about pleasing others in a very non-assertive way. The people pleaser personality is passively trying to avoid a conflict, yet often their quietness of not dealing with issues is covering up an emotional explosion that can erupt at any time. This person looks quiet and pleasant on the outside, yet often is irritated and frustrated on the inside.

Level 3 - Mediocrity in the Middle of the Road
When people are trying to be politically correct, they often will just sit in the middle of the road on an issue. Are they conservative or liberal? Do they see things as white or black? You never know because this person refuses to take a stand - often because they either don't care about the situation to have an opinion about it, or are afraid to say it. The risk of sitting in the middle of the road is that you will eventually be run over by a more direct personality who knows where they are going.

Level 4 - Active and Assertive Expression
If you know what you believe and are able to express it, then you are in a situation of active and assertive expression. People know where you stand because you tell them, instead of trying to hint around for them to read your mind. This level may lead to some hurt feelings on occasion, but those are soon forgotten because positive action eventually leads to positive results.

Level 5 - Energetic - Do It All with Enthusiasm
This level is a joy to watch develop in a person's life when facing a major decision. They KNOW that it's the right person to marry, or the right college to attend, or the best time to move on to a better career. There is such a degree of personal power in energetic decision makers that people just want to be around them to gain insight and strength to face the decisions they need to make in their own lives with more confidence. Everyone loves to be around level 5 decision makers because even if the things that need to change aren't pleasant, this individual is able to communicate in such a way that it is just natural to follow their lead.

As you think through the five levels of decision making, I hope you saw most of your personal or professional life in either level 4 or 5, because that is where the action is. You can't get results if you are frozen by the fear of being indecisive. Life is changing fast, and you must be focused on how to rapidly change with it if you want to be more successful.

Here is a LifeWorks Group exercise designed to coach you through the decision process. Hopefully you can use it today to rapidly sort through your options to come up with a rock solid decision and build a better future. So take out your legal pad, or map it out in an e-mail to review with a coach, mentor, or friend as you move from being frozen by fear to growing forward in greater faith because you have mastered the secrets to making right decisions.

THE STRATEGIC COACHING DECISION MAKING PROCESS

Define a particular problem, question, or choice you are currently struggling with

List your options for resolving the question or choice

Write the possible outcomes for each option, both short term and long term

Write the benefits or risks of each option

Determine which option corresponds most closely with your overall values and goals

Determine which option is the healthiest choice for all involved

Is this a decision you can commit to for a specified period of time, and if so how long?

Talk with a supportive/trusted person about the options and write down useful
suggestions. (It may be tempting to skip this step, but this is one of the most valuable parts of gaining an objective perspective and to 'test' your ideas before you put them into practice).


About the author- Dwight Bain is dedicated to helping people achieve greater results. He is a best selling Author, Certified Life Coach, Nationally Certified Counselor and Certified Family Law Mediator in practice since 1984 with a primary focus on managing major change. He partners with media, major corporations and non-profit organizations to make a positive difference in our culture. Access more counseling and coaching resources designed to save you time by solving stressful situations by visiting his blog with almost 200 complimentary articles and special reports at www.LifeWorksGroup.org

jueves, 19 de marzo de 2009

Surviving Major Life Crisis
10 insights to guide you through stressful events with greater strength

"Reprinted with permission from the LifeWorks Group eNews, (Copyright 2004-2009"

by: C. Dwight Bain, Nationally Certified Counselor & Certified Life Coach

Life is harder than ever it seems, yet not everyone seems to be completely overwhelmed because of it. Why do some people face major life transitions like financial stress, death, divorce, health problems, job loss, or business problems with a hopeful attitude of rebuilding and recovery while others just want to hide in fear? Everyone will face times of major life crisis, but not everyone will know how to respond to move beyond the challenge today to build confidence tomorrow. Here are ten things about crisis that will help guide you through the process of managing stressful situations to come out stronger on the other side.

1) Crisis events are more common than you thinkEvery time you watch the evening news you are hearing about someone in crisis, but it doesn't really affect you as much because you probably don't know them. Accidents, fires, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, tsunamis, terrorist attacks, bank robberies, child abuse, sex scandals, corporate fraud, crime, corporate downsizing and on and on the list goes. It's like the only thing you ever hear about on the news is the bad news! Thankfully, these terrible events don't happen to all of us at the same time, which is why some people can hear about it and not really be affected. Their life is insulated from crisis at that moment, so they don't really think about it much, however, stressful events happen all the time and at some point will affect you as well. If your life is going well, be grateful as you count your blessings. If it's falling apart, know that it's part of life and won't go on forever, so hang on as you keep reading about more ways to deal with life crisis.

2) Crisis affects people of all ages and stages of lifeThere is an old saying that cancer doesn't care where you live, which is another way of saying that disease affects the rich and poor, young and old. Crisis is like that too because it's a common part of every stage of life, but impacts us differently at each stage. Not having a date for the prom can feel like a crisis to a high school student, while being fired from a job may seem like the end of the world to a man in the middle years of life. The level of stress and trauma is based on a lot of factors, including age, gender, personality, educational level, family connection, network of friends, emotional health, physical energy and spiritual maturity. The more life experiences you have gone through, the more likely you will view a major event with a hopeful perspective about the outcome instead of gloom and doom. Life is about growing and crisis events can often force us to change faster than we wanted to, yet with a positive end result if we learn to see it as a predictable part of the lifecycle. This is the process of moving from 'Why me?' to 'why not me?' and is a sign that you are growing beyond the simplistic view of the world as you want it to gain a greater awareness to see more of the real world with the real difficulties that people are forced to deal with every day.

3) There are no easy answers for traumatic events"I know how you feel," is one of the worst things that you could ever say to another human being. That is unless you really have walked in their shoes through the same type of life crisis. Everyone who hears about the challenge that you are facing will want to make it better in one way or another, but often there are no quick solutions or instant pop-psychology advice available. Sometimes bad things happen to good people and there just isn't anything to say to make it better, so don't even try to help with words. Rather, help with your presence, or just help with a meal, or arrange for childcare while an exhausted Mom gets a night off, or line up some gift certificates to help out, or pitch in to help pay for a needed car repair, or just remember to pray for someone you know in crisis. While you may not have any real answers, you may have some encouraging words of hope to someone feeling very scared and alone. Better to say, 'hang in there and I'm here to help if I can," than to retreat in silence and do nothing because you aren't sure of what to say. Take action to do something positive to get through the day right now instead of spending massive amounts of time and energy trying to figure out the answer to some of the questions that likely could never be answered anyway. Knowing that you have closed the door to all of the 'what ifs' will allow your mind to open up other doors of options and possibilities, even in the most challenging of situations.

4) Crisis events reveal your biggest fears and deepest beliefsThousands of years ago the Psalmist wrote, "God is a very present help in times of trouble," and that's more true today than ever. Critical incidents will instantly reveal more about you than you ever thought possible. What you believe about life, money, love, family, honesty, courage, hope, faith and a whole lot more will come out when everything that you thought that you believed in is suddenly shaken. Know that a crisis may take you straight to the very thing that you fear the most, which will be hard, but ultimately good because you don't have any choice but to face it and get through it the best way you can. None of this is easy, but the character and maturity you develop while struggling to just get through the day will last for years. It is helpful to journal out those fears and spend some time writing down what you believe during times like this because the insights you generate about your own identity can help you get through future events faster and stronger than you ever imagined. This is the process of removing fear to replace it with a deeper faith.

5) Some very good people may give you some very bad adviceThe Biblical story of Job tells of a man who loses everything. Kids, money, power, career, big house, company, employees, marital connection to his wife and every single material possession. His health was destroyed and as he scraped his skin to lance the boils the only thing he could hear was the bad advice and judgmental questioning of his three friends. While it is good that they can to be with him during his time of crisis, their efforts at 'helping' seemed to turn toward putting more pressure on Job than actually making his life any more bearable. When helping people through a time of crisis I often remind them of the first rule in a crisis, which is 'don't make a bad situation worse.' No matter what you are facing today, keep in mind that while someone has it worse than you, there are a truck load of people who don't even have a clue! If someone gives you bad advice because they have been blessed to not have experienced the level of pain and suffering that you have, cut them some slack because of their naive view of life, or try to avoid them. In a crisis you don't have time or energy to try to change someone who doesn't understand painful trauma, so sometimes it really would be preferable to just try to avoid that person. Better to seek out others who have walked on the same road of grief that you are on so that you can learn from their insights instead of feeling misunderstood by the lectures of those who haven't been tested in those areas of character development. At some point there is a time to move on to learn the lesson that Job did so long ago. God is always faithful, even when your closest friends let you down.

6) Major world events like terrorism or natural disasters can magnify the stress and pressure you are already facingWhatever you are going through is intensified by other factors, like terrorism or a community wide disaster. If your marriage is breaking up while you are trying to deal with finding ice or gasoline to run a generator it will feel overwhelming all the time. We can only deal with a certain amount of stress and pressure from crisis events, no matter where they are coming from. If you are totally focused on tuning in to see if the London terrorists are being brought to justice while trying to care for your aged parents who are facing huge financial challenges, you will run out of emotional energy to cope really, really fast. Better to just pray for those people in London and then turn all of your energy toward dealing with what's on your plate right here and right now. Unless you have to watch the video footage from other world events for your job, turn the TV off to turn toward reducing the amount of painful issues on your plate for today. You will make it through seasons of crisis a lot better if you remove any outside source that you don't have to deal with today. This includes things like being overwhelmed by future events like funding your three year old daughters college tuition or if you will keep your job until the next Presidential election. You must manage your emotional energy wisely today by not worrying about things too far down the road during a time of crisis. Stabilize the crisis today so that you can see clearly to deal with the future events when you are at a stronger and more focused place.

7) Strength, confidence and character come on the other side of life crisis Someone once said that hard times will make you bitter or they will make you better and that is especially true during seasons of trials and discouragement. We know that the difficult challenges can make us prone to anxiety, depression, fears, doubts, resentfulness, hatefulness and bitterness. What we fail to think about is that those very same crisis events can push us to stretch and grow into a more disciplined and focused human being. Here's an insight though, it's either one or the other. It's been my experience that people either allow the circumstances of life to shape them into stronger people, or they spend their life whining about how unfair life is to them. Hey, a lot of the good things in life are dramatically affected by how you look at it. Some people view being fired from a job that they really didn't like as a blessing, while others may think that it spells out financial ruin and bankruptcy. Learn to see crisis events for what they are-an event. They are not usually the end of life, however they may spell out the beginning of a major change, which will greatly impact life. It's sort of like sweating in the gym while exercising your body to achieve a healthier result. The painful process of pushing your body with weights and aerobic gradually activity brings a better result. St. James said it this way, "The testing of your faith builds patience and maturity." To have deep inner faith and personal power you have to press on through the trials of life, instead of just avoiding them or asking others to sort it all out for you. No one can take action to get confidence for you, but you! Get up as you can and move forward so that you can make positive growth in the days ahead.

8) The greater the crisis, the greater you need others to get through itYou can get through a bad hair day alone, but you can't get through a loved one's cancer treatments without major levels of support. We need others to make it through life and that is particularly true during crisis events. The bigger the challenge you are facing, the more supports, coping skills and healthy behaviors are required to move through it. Obviously this issue takes every positive resource that you can find, while avoiding the negatives. So begin to seek out the counselors, pastors, social workers, psychologists, physicians, nurses, attorneys, law enforcement, chiropractors or support groups that will be needed to challenge the process and bring about change. In many regions of the country there are hotline telephone numbers linked to community resource agencies that offer all kinds of help and guidance, much of which is free. (In central Florida where I live it's accessed by dialing '211' from any telephone, which links to a live operator who has a listing of thousands of people and places to address every issue from Adoption to Alzheimer's. Another great resource on managing crisis events is through the writings of June Hunt at www.HopefortheHeart.com ). You and I need others and would likely go out of our way to help others if the roles were reversed, so don't be afraid to ask for help if you find yourself in the position to need it. Letting other people help you can unlock a whole new world of service and insight into how others are dealing and coping to grow to a stronger place on the other side of crisis.

9) Stressful or traumatic events don't go on foreverSomeone once said that the often quoted phrase, 'things come to pass' would be better stated as, 'things come to pass, but they don't come to stay.' Keeping your focus on getting through the day and moving past the past to move toward a better place ahead is essential if you want to get to a better place after a life crisis. There are seasons in life and they are constantly changing, even when we don't realize it. Consider an event like a college student moving out of their parents home to their first apartment. If that young person is prepared for the road ahead, this will be one of their most exciting and fulfilling times. If they aren't, then they may find every excuse to avoid dealing the logical progression of reality that will force them to grow up anyway, or over-invest in pushing their Mom to build the nest bigger to keep them from feeling the stress of changing roles, (letting go of their mommy to gain her back as a mentor). Change is hard on everyone, but change is the most common part of life, so when you hear someone tell you that the present trends will continue and that the sky is actually going to fall one day, please ignore them. Nothing lasts forever, including times of life crisis. If you are in a time of testing and trial, know that it won't go on forever, nor will the calmness of those who haven't had a real crisis event in their entire life. To that person I say 'buckle up' because it may be that God will one day take them to some steep places to show that what they said they believed is really true. Oh yes and to show a better way to view maintaining balance in life when you don't have to stay in control of everything that you really couldn't control anyway.

10) Crisis events prove true the promises of GodFor well over twenty years I've been honored to work as a counselor with wonderful people who often were at the hardest part of their life because of major crisis or painful trauma. The bad news is that they had been knocked down and thrown off course from the life that they wanted by various critical incidents and crisis events. Someone told me once that 'there is no testimony with out a test' and I believe that is true because I believe that God allows every thing to happen for a reason. However, the good news is that they were able to get through it and became stronger in the process of moving through the crisis, instead of running away from it. I've seen it thousands of times, regular people facing horrible circumstances became more balanced and focused in every area of life because of it. The crisis was hard, but in the process of just getting through the day they discovered more about what they believed and how much better life could be than they ever before could have imagined. Life takes on a new meaning when what you believe has gone through the fire, because something in the fire burns away the impurities and the wastefulness to plainly reveal what matters most. I've watched people who didn't believe in anything spiritual become filled with a sense of direction and purpose to make a positive difference in the world with God's help. The crisis revealed what they could be, as well as what would have to change to grow to a new level of success. The hard lessons that come from crisis have long lasting and life-changing results. I've seen people change in more ways than you could imagine because of having a season of carrying the crucible of a crisis. Things like daddy's who were too busy to spend five minutes playing catch with a child become 'father of the year' candidates after an emergency room experience. Mother's who were obsessed with shopping become budget-minded financial managers while rebuilding their life after their husband died. Men who loved their careers more than they ever would love a wife become softened and surrendered to view that woman as the most important person in their world. Women who placed their children above all else become insightful and aware of their own insecurities and need for control to release those kids to become who they were supposed to be, instead of being stuck in the shadows of their mother's expectations. Young people who moved from meaningless relationships and empty jobs to connected friendships and purpose-driven careers.

People give up spending money on drugs, gambling, pornography or alcohol to let go of the addictions and grab hold of a stable life with careful financial management leading them to be free from debt forever. I've seen miracles through crisis situations so many times that I can tell you that prayer is real and essential to experience peace during the stormy trials of life. I know that God's promises to comfort, protect, guide, cover and bless his children are real. I know it because of what I've seen in walking through crisis with people from every culture, every age group and every background. They got better as they prayerfully moved toward truth and allowed others to help them get back on track to a better quality of life in spite of the difficulties of their painful past.

They got better and I'm glad, yet I have one last question, "so how about you?" When is it your turn to have a better quality of life in spite of difficulty? My hope is that you will turn the corner right now to boldly move in a new direction away from the stress and pressure to move toward the strength and purpose that only comes because of a life-changing word...Crisis.


About the author- C. Dwight Bain is dedicated to helping people achieve greater results. He is a Nationally Certified Counselor, Certified Life Coach and Certified Family Law Mediator in practice since 1984 with a primary focus on solving crisis events and managing major change. He is a member of the National Speakers Association and partners with media, major corporations and non-profit organizations to make a positive difference in our culture.

Subscribe to this valuable weekly counseling and coaching resource at www.LifeWorksGroup.org or call 407-647-7005"

jueves, 22 de enero de 2009

women & worry

"Reprinted with permission from the LifeWorks Group weekly eNews (Copyright, 2004-2009),

The psychological dynamics behind women & worry
By Dwight Bain, Nationally Certified Counselor & Certified Life Coach


Women worry about many different topics, from men to body image to relationships to their mother's approval; yet the same psychological drive is fueling this stressful emotion no matter what triggers it. I believe the real source behind the worry most women feel is control.

Not control in the sense of being a manipulative monster, (like Jane Fonda's character in the film "Monster-in-Law"), rather it's the need to know what's happening around her so she can feel empowered and in control of her emotions and environment.

Think of it this way.
The Cure for Worry is Control
When control goes up, worry goes down because the more a woman can understand the more she will automatically feel a sense of security and confidence inside. However, as a situation begins to feel out of control, worry dramatically increases, leading to more serious conditions like

· Social Phobia
· Stress disorders with physical symptoms like migraines
· Generalized Anxiety Disorders or
· Panic Attacks

Women process information verbally which is why they need to talk through so many issues to feel comfortable. When a woman feels connected through communication she feels confident and alive, instead of afraid.

Listen don’t Lecture
Men would do well to figure out that they could make rapid improvement in their relationships with women simply by listening, instead of lecturing the women in their life. She doesn’t want a quick ‘Mr. Fix-it” answer usually, she wants you to listen and allow them to sort through their fears, worries and concerns. When a woman feels safe in the relationship, her worries fade and psychological energy can be spent on living life, instead of living in fear of what might happen next.

There is a biblical principle that says, “Cast all of your worries on God, because He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7). Learn to give your worries to God through prayer, that way even if the people in your life don’t listen you can rest safe knowing that God always will be there for you.

About the author- Dwight Bain is dedicated to helping people achieve greater results. He is a Nationally Certified Counselor, Certified Life Coach and Certified Family Law Mediator in practice since 1984 with a primary focus on solving crisis events and managing major change. He is a member of the National Speakers Association and partners with media, major corporations and non-profit organizations to make a positive difference in our culture.

Reprint Permission- If this article was helpful you are invited to share it with your own list at work, church, forward it to friends and family or post it on your own site or blog. Just leave it intact and do not alter it in any way. Any links must remain in the article. Please include the following in your reprint.

"Reprinted with permission from the LifeWorks Group weekly eNews (Copyright, 2004-2009), subscribe to this valuable counseling and coaching resource at www.LifeWorksGroup.org "

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Mi foto
I was born once in my dear city of Mayagüez, Puerto Rico, where I now live once more, after living 18 years in the state of Massachusetts where I was born again.