Journey to Being Present for Widows and Divorcees

In the January 2008 article, I wrote about becoming whole and what that can mean for you. In this article you will receive some of the tools needed to achieve your goal of wholeness. Being whole is really about living your life in balance. It is also about living your life in a state of “being” versus “doing.”

When working on becoming whole, taking baby steps allows you to avoid feeling overwhelmed. It is also good to appreciate your success and failures along the way. You don’t want to beat yourself up and run the risk of quitting. Babies fall down over and over again before they master walking.

The first step is to pay attention to what is in front of you – what is happening at this very moment in time. This lets you not only become familiar with your true emotions, but it also helps you to experience the present moment as it is. So many people live their lives thinking about what they must get done or what they didn’t do. They also think about what happened to them or what might happen. Such thoughts are endless. The fact is, doing all this thinking takes you away from “now.” I have a theory that accidents often happen because the person causing the accident isn’t really present. They are miles away in thought.

How many times have you gone on vacation and not been able to remember the small details of the trip? You looked at the photos of the trip when you got home and were surprised at what you saw. Maybe you didn’t remember the sun was setting or a flock of geese were flying over, and yet the photo shows this to be the case. You might have remembered these small details if you had been present.

Another reason for staying present is the issue of emotion. Emotions are the gauge we have to tell us how we are doing. It is also how your soul lets you know whether you are on track with your life, whether you are following your souls or God’s highest wish for you. If you are not living in the moment, you can miss these clues. This leads to the second step to becoming whole.

You must start paying attention to your emotions. As I stated above, they are your barometer of how you are doing at any given point in time. It is hard sometimes to feel certain emotions, but you must feel them to know what needs to be worked on. An example is the emotion of anger. If you are not willing to feel it, it will only come out in other ways. You might become passive aggressive with your boss or a friend. Maybe you will withdraw and get depressed. You may not be aware of your behavior, but the bottom line is that the emotion that started it all is anger.

So being in the moment allows you to feel the emotion and decide what, if anything, you want to do about it. If you are off balance, your emotions will let you know. If you feel off in some way and just can’t put your finger on what it is, let your emotions be your guide. If the emotion is joy, you’ll naturally want to keep doing whatever caused that emotion. If it is fear or anger, you may want to explore it with a friend or counselor.

The third step in becoming whole is to take action. This is vital. You must not only listen to your emotions, but you must take action in dealing with them. The action could be as simple as taking a walk in nature while reflecting on your feelings. It could be talking to a therapist or coach. It could be that writing your feelings in a journal is what you need to do. When you are journaling, it is a good idea to be very honest. After all, your journaling is supposed to help you. Also, make sure you not only write down the emotion and why it showed up, but also write down your action plan for dealing with it.

The goal is to effect change in your life. You want to live the life you dream of and one that is true to who you really are. To get this change you must start living your life in the present moment and take a hard look at where you are in this moment, including how you got here. Next, use your emotions as your measure of how well you are doing. Finally, take action. Bit by bit, you will start to notice changes in who you are and how you relate to the world and yourself. You are at a crossroad in your life: which way are you going to go? Will you take the road named “status quo,” or will it be” journey to being?”

Public Speaking – Three Surprising Tips to Improve Your Presentations

You’ve all heard the advice to get to know your audience, make eye contact, don’t say “um,” check your equipment, and similar public speaking techniques to make your presentations as powerful as they can be. These are great tips, and you’ll hear them over and over, but I’ve got some lesser-known suggestions for you today that will benefit you and your audience as much as more common advice.

Pointer 1: Take your medications

As an allergy sufferer, I can tell you that I am not at my best when giving a talk through sniffles and itchy eyes. Even if I’m not having a particular allergic day, I will be sure to take my prescription medication before I speak, to ensure that I don’t have a sudden unexpected reaction.

If your nervousness goes to your gut, by all means take your upset stomach medication. If you get tension headaches, head them off at the pass with your favorite pain reliever. Do what it takes to avoid the physical distractions that will disrupt your performance and keep you from doing your best.

One caveat to this advice: Avoid psychiatric anti-anxiety medications before speaking; you will not be as sharp as you could be. There are non-pharmaceutical ways of dealing with nervousness and anxiety that will not interfere with your ability to think on your feet and interact with your audience.

Pointer 2: Start on time

How many times have you arrived on time for a presentation, even early, and ended up sitting there for an extra fifteen minutes while stragglers made their way to the seats in the back of the room? Then, because the presentation started late, it ends late, but you’ve had to miss the end because you have other commitments on your schedule.

Waiting for latecomers rewards latecomers, but it punishes those who were on time for your presentation. Latecomers may be a distraction when then enter the room after the presentation has started, but what’s worse: a little disruption by laggards or being responsible for annoying the half of your audience who made the effort to be on time and now might miss the end if you go over?

Take charge of the room, take charge of your time, and make the decision to reward the people who are committed and punctual.

Pointer 3: Give the end of your sentences the same energy you give to the beginning of your sentences

This is a simple tool but an effective one. Some people’s voices trail off at the ends of sentences, making it hard to hear the last few words they’ve said. As a speaker, trailing off at the ends of sentences means that your audience might miss something important. Make sure you are emphasizing both ends of your sentences, and your audience will never miss a crucial point or valuable tip!

Stick with the tried-and-true public speaking advice you’ve heard before, but in addition, try adding these three tricks to your bag the next time you have a speaking engagement. See if you don’t feel more confident and pulled together on stage and more successful in connecting with the audience.

The Art of Negotiating Deals

Do we pass any single day without negotiating for something or the other, with someone or the other? No. Everyday we parley and bargain for things, big and small. Similarly, negotiating deals is almost an everyday affair for entrepreneurs too. The art of deal negotiation is a very old one and can be equally lucrative, if done properly. Contrary to common belief, far more is negotiable than entrepreneurs think; they just have to know how to do it and how not to. Mostly the ploy of the representative lawyers is to say that the deal presented is final, and to take it or leave it. However, this even after this it is possible to negotiate a deal further to suit one’s needs and demands.

Roger Fisher and William Ury in their book Getting to Yes define negotiation as a “back-and-forth communication designed to reach an agreement when you and the other side have some interests that are shared and others that are opposed.” It is but natural that in a deal negotiation, both parties would want to forward certain self-interests without compromising too much. Negotiating deals is not a process of quibbling over what each party wants or one where either side is a runaway winner. One cannot stubbornly stick to his ground without giving any breathing space to other players. Most likely such a deal will not come through, apart from the fact that it will be an unfair one even if it does.

A successful deal negotiation is one where both parties leave the table satisfied and believe that they have made the best of deal. In this, neither party wins or loses. Such deals are definitely possible to negotiate. Fisher and Ury focus on a method known as ‘principled negotiation’, a method developed at the Harvard Negotiation Project. ‘Principled negotiation’ asserts that the purpose of negotiations is “to decide issues on their merits rather than through a haggling process focused on what each side says it will and won’t do. It suggests that you look for mutual gains wherever possible, and that where your interests conflict, you should insist that the result be based on some fair standards independent of the will of either side.”

To this effect, the following points should be kept in mind while negotiating deals:

1. The people are separate from the problem.

2. Focus should be on interests, not positions.

3. Generating a variety of possibilities and options before deciding what to do is a good idea.

4. The result of negotiation should be based on some objective standard.

The idea is that neither side should be pushed on the defensive; both party would want to work with each other. During negotiations each side is sizing up the other. They will evaluate negotiating skills, intelligence and maturity demonstrated by each other. If the entrepreneur somehow gives an impression that shakes the confidence or trust of the investors, they will withdraw from the deal. Similarly, if the investors show arrogance, rigidity in seeing the entrepreneurs’ needs and points of view and deals with them in a high-handed manner, the entrepreneur will do well to opt out of the deal. The point is that if each side treats the other in which they would want to be treated, most likely each will be successful.