Category Archives: Newsletter

Money: A Lifelong Relationship Starts Early

by Chip DeLorenzo, M. Ed.

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Learning to manage money is a skill. It can be taught. Like most learning, experience is the best teacher (and maybe the only teacher)! We learn what we do, and we learn from our mistakes and our successes. To help children learn about money they need to experience successes and mistakes from an early age so they can develop lifelong decision making skills. To insure this, children need an environment where the consequences of their actions are manageable and developmentally appropriate. Waiting until after college to learn about money can lead to some unmanageable consequences!

A number of years ago a friend of mine and I were having a conversation about money at a baseball game. He told me that his parents had provided everything for him when he was growing up. He didn’t have to work, and his time off was spent traveling, playing sports and engaging in recreational activities. He went to camp in the summer, and was sent to college with a car and a credit card – all expenses paid- and lived close enough to home that he could bring home his laundry on the weekends!  After college he was hired for his first job and his parents helped him get set up in an apartment. Soon after starting his job he was informed by his parents that he was on his own, financially.  It was time. After a week or so of work my friend ran out of clean clothes, so he brought all his dirty clothes to the dry cleaners. You can imagine his surprise when he received the bill! He had begun a long journey to becoming financially responsible. Unfortunately, the stakes were much greater for his mistakes, and he was very overwhelmed at the prospect of learning how to make healthy decisions with money when the consequences were so high.

Don’t wait! The more that children learn about money from an early age the more likely they are to make sound and mature decisions as they get older, both at home and when they leave home. Allowances from an early age can really help children learn to manage money for the long haul, if used to teach life lessons. However, how allowances are used in the family makes all the difference in the world.

Before we discuss the “do’s”, let’s discuss a few “don’ts” when creating an allowance structure for your children. Allowances should not be used for punishments or rewards, or in connection with chores. Using allowances as leverage for behavior puts the adult in the position of being the judge and jury and creates an opening for arbitrary and inconsistent decision making, and this invites power struggles, arguing and manipulation. Chores are contributions to the family, and if children are paid to make basic contributions to the family, then they learn that they should be paid to pitch in (see opportunities for earning money below).  The purpose of an allowance is to teach a child how to manage money.

Here’s how an allowance can work to teach money management and develop decision making skills in children. Develop a plan to give an allowance to your children every week; the same amount at the same time. Give your children the responsibility for spending and saving it accordingly. (Some families structure the allowance so that a certain percentage of money comes off the top each week to save and to give to charity.) The children are responsible for bringing their money with them if they want to buy something, or putting it away in a “piggy bank” or a real bank to save.

Developing Money Management and Decision Making Skills with an Allowances

  1. Take time to show your child what happens to money when you save it.
  2. Teach your children about budgeting before they have difficulties.
  3. Avoid rescuing children when they run out of money. Allow them to experience the limits of their ability to spend (this is a lesson that many adults need to learn, no?). Life is filled with limits, and successful people learn to work within defined limits and then see beyond them.
  4. Don’t give advice! Just ask reflective questions when they run into problems (be truly curious). Examples: What happened? What caused that to happen? How are you feeling about that? What did you learn from this? What’s your plan for next time? What can you do differently to avoid this from happening again? and etc.
  5. Avoid giving loans, but if you do: Set clear terms for the loan, make a definite plan for repayment (deducting a certain portion of their allowance until repaid), be sure that the amount that you lend can be repaid successfully and only one loan at a time.
  6. Be careful not to confuse your priorities with theirs!  When we try to force our priorities on children they either rebel or become passively compliant. This does not make for teaching good problem solving skills – children need to make their own mistakes.
  7. Set a schedule for raises based on age.
  8. As children get older (adolescence), consider the areas in which you spend or budget money for your children. Create a budget for them and give them an according allowance. For instance, if you plan on spending $700 per year on clothing for your child, give them a clothing allowance for that amount, and help them develop a plan on how to spend it that year. Other areas to consider for these allowances are: Grooming (hair, nails, etc.), Activities (lessons, sports, etc.), and lunch money.

Saving Lessons

  1. Use a piggy bank with younger children and put a portion of their allowance in the bank each week.  From time to time count it together and discuss what is happening to the money.
  2. Make a list of things that a child might want to save for and help them create a plan to get it.
  3. When children hit their savings goals, take time to use reflective questioning (above) so they can learn from their successes.

Opportunities to Earn Money

Earning money is an incredibly important life lesson. The reason, again, that we don’t connect allowance to chores, is that chores are simply a contribution to the family. We do chores because we belong to the family and have an according responsibility, and the benefits from contributing are gaining a sense of social/familial responsibility, belonging and significance. However, learning to put in a day’s work and make a day’s pay is also rewarding and vital to developing autonomy and financial independence.

To help younger children learn to earn money, simply make a list of “extra jobs” around the house that you normally do, that they can do for money. Put the amount that you are willing to pay next to each item. When your child asks you for something that it beyond their ability to pay for, just ask them if they’ve checked the “extra job” chart to see what they can earn.

Finally, as your children are able to work consider eliminating allowance and encouraging them to find a part-time job or start their own business (lawn care, shoveling, house cleaning, elderly help, etc.). This can be the first step in developing true financial independence. Many businesses have found that hiring recent graduates who have worked while in school do not have to learn basic skills such as timeliness, time management, resilience (not calling in sick when they have a sniffle), ability to take constructive criticism, and responsibility to coworkers.  As an employer myself, I weigh work experience while in school even higher than grades or extra-curricular activities when making hiring decisions (I have learned this the hard way).

 
The benefits of teaching children to manage money not only last a lifetime, but like most constructive parenting approaches, makes for a smoother ride as a parent, and children who are competent and confident. When children have predictable access to money and a home environment where they can learn from their mistakes and successes, then behaviors such as stealing, manipulation, lying and whining are greatly reduced. Had my friend been given these opportunities he would have saved a few hundred dollars in dry cleaning bills.

‘Whole Self’ Culture Key to Thriving Organizations

By Mike Robbins

How does a culture of healthy, high expectations, balanced by nurturance, enable individuals and organizations to achieve greater fulfillment, competitive advantage, and success? How can companies create an environment where their employees feel safe and encouraged to take risks, give more of themselves while maintaining balance, and deliver results? And, what does it mean to individuals to bring their ‘whole selves’ to their work?

My new book, Bring Your Whole Self to Work, is scheduled for release in May, 2018. In it, I examine what I’ve learned over seventeen years as a researcher, writer, and speaker regarding workplace dynamics and how an environment of authenticity, healthy risk-taking, and support helps both individuals and companies thrive. I gave a TED talk about this a few years ago.

When we enthusiastically challenge our employees to bring their best—their whole—selves to work, we and they reach new, higher levels of creativity and performance. Individuals’ passions and talents are engaged. They connect—with their own aspirations, and with others. As they do, teams and organizations push farther. Reach higher. Grow and succeed.

But, individuals need to feel safe to bring all of who they are—and that takes courage. My experience and research has shown that when we nurture and support employees, their fulfillment influences those around them to aim higher for the organization’s collective success.

Consider implementing these steps to help attract and retain employees committed to personal and organizational growth and success.

First:

1. Encourage your employees to embrace their vulnerability. We erroneously think being vulnerable is a sign of weakness. It’s not. Vulnerability can be scary, but it’s essential to encourage healthy risk, change, creativity, collaboration, growth, and results.

Dr. Brene Brown from the University of Houston says, “You can’t get to courage without walking through vulnerability.”

Next:

2. Encourage your employees to have ‘sweaty-palmed’ conversations. A mentor once said to me, “Mike, what stands between you and the kind of relationships you really want is probably a ten-minute, sweaty-palmed conversation you’re too afraid to have.”

Too often we avoid conflicts with others because we’re afraid of the consequences that come with speaking up. Yet, when we muster the courage to start those sweaty-palmed conversations we strengthen our ability to resolve differences while deepening our connections, building confidence, and contributing to collective success.

Remind your employees to:

3. Stop trying to survive. When we do things that truly matter to us, it’s tempting to hold back and play it safe. Don’t!

I learned this playing baseball over eighteen years at the college and professional levels. Some of the most disappointing moments I had weren’t when I failed, but when I held back—due to my fear of failing. Encourage your employees to let go of their obsession with survival and instead take risks. Go for what they—and the company—want and need to succeed. As one of my coaches pointed out: “Mike, you’re living your life as though you’re trying to survive it. You have to remember. No one ever has!”  

Whether you run a business, manage a team, or simply want people around you to feel safe and empowered to bring all of who they are to their work, there are two components to creating an atmosphere of authenticity that leads to greater levels of engagement, performance, and success:

  1. Healthy, High Expectations. High expectations are essential for people to thrive. We almost always get what we expect from others, but if we demand perfection many may fall short. Employees will feel they’re not set up to succeed. Healthy, high expectations challenge people to do their best, without pushing for insatiable, unhealthy perfection.
  2. High Level of Nurturance. People want to feel they’re seen, heard, and valued—not just for what they do, but for who they are. A high level of nurturance creates a safe space for employees to make mistakes, ask for help, speak up, and disagree. Nurturing environments are filled with compassion and empathy. People feel supported.

We often think in order to have a high bar we can’t be nurturing. Or, we think if we nurture people, we can’t expect a lot from them. The goal is to do both, and to do so passionately.

Asking our employees to bring their whole selves to work, and creating an environment that allows them to do so, is no small feat. It takes courage on everyone’s part and can, at times, go against conventional wisdom. However, technology companies must do all they can to attract, develop, and engage the best people in today’s competitive global economy.

Creating an environment where employees feel safe and encouraged to flourish will help your company attract individuals committed to your organization’s success.  

Mike Robbins authored the forthcoming book, Bring Your Whole Self to Work (May, 2018). He also wrote three previous titles: Focus on the Good Stuff; Nothing Changes Until You Do; and Be Yourself, Everyone Else is Already Taken. He’s an expert in teamwork, leadership, and culture. He delivers keynotes and seminars, and consults with top companies across the globe – including Google, Wells Fargo, Microsoft, Schwab, Genentech, Gap, eBay, State Farm, the NBA, the San Francisco Giants, and many others. www.Mike-Robbins.com  

 

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CONNECTION BEFORE CORRECTION

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When I first started teaching, almost 20 years ago, one of the “pearls of wisdom” that many new teachers heard was to never let the children see you smile before the holiday break. The intent, I’m sure, was to convey the importance of setting consistent and predictable limits with children, and establishing your roles as the adult in the classroom. This makes sense, as many new young teachers attempt to win children over by being their friend rather than their teacher. However, both approaches are incomplete. One lacks warmth and the other lacks firmness.

Decades of research in teaching and parenting styles have revealed that children thrive when the adults in their lives are both warm and firm at the same time. As a matter of fact, in direct contradiction to the advice I was given as a new teacher, children need a sense of connection with the adults in their lives before correction can be truly effective, long-term.

Recently, I asked my oldest son to get his younger brothers and sisters for dinner. I had just finished making some macaroni and cheese, and had it ready for the children at the kitchen counter/bar. In a few minutes, my son was back downstairs and engaged in something other than eating the macaroni and cheese; and his brothers and sister were still upstairs. My instinct was to reprimand him, or guilt him into getting his siblings so they could eat and appreciate all my hard work. However, what I did was to approach him and give him a big hug, tell him how much I loved him, and then asked kindly, with a smile, where his siblings were. His response was, “Oh, they didn’t come down, let me go get them.” And he did.

Why does this work? In simple terms, children (and adults) do better when they feel better. They do worse when the feel worse, or are under stress. One school of thought tells us that people will be motivated to do better when they experience the consequences for their actions (meaning negative consequences). However, what we have learned from recent brain research is something very different. When people are under stress (angry, afraid, upset, frustrated, etc.), they are functioning from the right brain and limbic system. The limbic system is responsible for regulating memory and emotion. However, reasoning, using logic, or learning a life lesson happens on the other side of the brain, and the use of the per-frontal cortex is needed for such activity. So, in order for children to learn from their mistakes, they need to be using the left side of their brain. Here’s the rub: the left side of the brain doesn’t work well until the right side is is calmed down. And, one of the primary ways for the right brain to calm down is through a sense of connection, especially if the connection is non-verbal (the left side of the brain is responsible for verbal processing). The non-verbal connection can come from a knowing and loving smile, a hug, or warm eye contact. After the connection, the left brain and pre-frontal cortex begin firing on all cylinders and children can then process what your guidance and correction.

When I gave my son a hug, it helped both him and me. I was reminded, too, of how much I loved him and how important he is to me. He was able to feel a sense of connection, and his left brain was able to process my message to him. In this instance, I was able to simply give him a gentle reminder through a question, and he was able to absorb the subtle cue, and make his own decision, keeping his dignity in-tact. Now, I will freely admit, that in the moment, not all of this information was running through my mind. I simply used or took a principle that I knew to be effective for my son and for me, and I employed it in order to get the kids to the table and to maintain peace in my relationship with my son.

This principle of connecting before correcting can be used in many ways. With older children, it may take the form of a conversation where a parent sits down with their child and asks them questions to truly understand where their child or adolescent is really coming from, truly seeking to understand their point of view. Of course, this means starting by putting aside the adults agenda, so it is critical that the adult is calm and open themselves before engaging in this conversation. Many adults find that after such a conversation, both the adult and the child have a deeper sense of connection with one another. The adult has a better understanding of the child’s perspective (even if that perspective is not completely accurate, as may be the case with teens), and the child feels understood – and isn’t that what most older children and teens really want! When this has occurred, real problem solving can take place.

With younger children, a key element to developing connection is the adults physical approach to the child. Adults are sometimes 4 to 5 times the size of a young child. That size difference can be intimidating, especially if the adult has an angry or frustrated expression. Intimidation might get short term results, but long-term this only invites rebellion or submission. So, crouching down, giving a hug, and letting a young child know how much you love them before you correct them is key to being effective long-term, and will help them learn the important life-lessons that parents, who have the wisdom, teach.

Photo Credit:  Brookie

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50,000 Mentors (What I’ve learned about life from the humble honeybee)

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Let me preface this article by stating that it is not meant to represent a political, emotional or agricultural/food agenda. It is merely meant as an observation of life and what we can learn from the social functioning of another species.

I’ve been working with mentors the past several years — about 50,000 of them…well actually more like 100,000. My mentors are small but have much to teach and I’ve been doing my best to pay attention to the learning experience. If you haven’t guessed by now, I’m a beekeeper and my little mentors are of the species apis mellifera or the European Honeybee.

The honeybee has a long history. Ancestors of the honeybee have been around for 50 million years. The honeybee, in its current form, has been around for 30 million years. In comparison, we modern humans, members of the genus Homo, have been on this planet for a mere 1.9-2.4 million years. This indicates that the bees, with the wisdom they have garnered over time, have a few things to teach us… if we take the time to pay attention. Wisdom lies in the details. I’d like to share with you what I’ve learned and continue to learn from the bees and leave for you the questions arise about us, as humans, in contrast.

Honeybees, like humans, are social creatures. Honeybees work together and communicate in a variety of ways using dance, pheromones and other behaviors to interact with each other. Honeybees however, work together to benefit of the common mission, which is to support and sustain the future of the hive. Bees collaborate to allow a colony of 10-50-100,000 individuals to function as a superorganism. Taking on different roles as they mature, bees work together to, nurture their young, maintain a constant temperature in the hive that is conducive to a healthy environment for growth, organize the hive in efficiently by utilizing resources where and when they are needed. Bees cooperate to help the organism survive and thrive. In winter, cluster, shiver to stay warm and rotate position from the outside of the cluster to the interior.

Every effort each bee engages in each day of its life directly circles back to, in some way, answer the question, “What are you doing today to sustain the health and longevity of the hive?”

Bees give back and promote the sustainability of others. Bees support the growth of plants in their work to collect pollen and nectar – by pollinating plants to ensure robust production. Bee’s pollination services directly impact the food supply of the planet. As humans, we should appreciate the fact that one-third of our food production relies directly on the pollination services of bees.

Bees make use of available resources. Honeybees are one of the few, if not only creature, that does not destroy or kill anything in order to survive.

Young bees have a mechanism in their bodies to make wax from nectar. It takes eight pounds of sugar or nectar to create one pound of wax, so beeswax is extremely valuable. They will re-use and re-build comb, if necessary. Bees also collect nectar to make honey which they use as a food supply. The life’s work of one bee equals 1/12th of a teaspoon of honey. Bees collect pollen to make “bee bread”. Bee bread is pollen combined with honey and an enzymatic solution excreted from glands near the bee’s mouth which ferments to break down the shell of the pollen and form one of the most efficient food supplies on the planet. Bees also collect resin from trees to use as propolis. Propolis, a resin, contains the following properties: it seals cracks in a hive, it is anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, anti-cancer.

Propolis is one of the elements bees utilize in their form of socialized medicine. Bees also groom each other, removing mites (which suck blood and induce disease) and help to maintain individual health. Bees also allow the queen to “rest” two times during the year. During this time the bees “clean” the hive by creating an environment that is inhospitable to mites.

Bees share resources with other species. Bees work side by side with other pollinators such as bumble bees and other native bees to share resources. Even as a human works a garden, bees will passively continue to forage, taking only what it needs.

Bees promote from within. Newly hatched bees immediately clean, groom, feed the queen. Nurse bees feed and care for young. Other bees make wax, build comb, accept food from foragers, pack comb with honey and pollen. Older bees guard the entrance of the hive, forage for food, water and medicine, and scout for new home during swarm activity.

Bees are democratic. Decision making is accomplished by consensus. This is evidenced during the swarm process. Once the swarm leaves the hive and clusters on a branch or other structure, the older forager bees take on the role of scout bees to find a new home. They return and dance distance, desirability and direction of the new home. Other bees check out the locations danced for and return to “cast their vote” for the best location. A decision is reached and the bees, leave, en mass for their new home.

Bees eliminate what doesn’t work. In their efforts to maintain a healthy environment, they remove and discard sick eggs, their dead, mites, ants, wax moth, as well as small foreign objects a beekeeper might leave in the hive. If a mouse enters the hive during the winter, it is killed by the bees surrounding it, vibrating their bodies, thereby raising the heat around the mouse until it dies. Since the mouse is too large for the bees to remove, they surround the mouse with propolis so that it is sterile and its rotting corpse cannot negatively impact the health of the colony.

Bees are prudent in a show of force. They have a built in mechanism that insures this – a honeybee knows she will sacrifice her life when she chooses to use her stinger.

Any bee, with proper care, feeding and attention, can become queen. If the queen becomes infertile or ill or aged and needs to be replaced, any female egg, between one and three days old, can be reared to become queen. The difference between a queen bee and a worker bee hinges on the quality of nutrition provided.

Bees replicate what is successful. In spring, a strong over-wintered colony that has the proven genetics to survive seasonal weather extremes, local available food sources and other environmental forces build up their numbers. Half of the colony and the existing queen then swarm to form a second successful colony. The remaining bees are left with queen cells, which will hatch, mate and continue the original colony’s life cycle.

Along with the lessons discussed, as a beekeeper I’ve also learned to respect the small things, appreciate the wisdom of others, be mindful in my actions, be patient, inclusive, and attentive to change. When I open a hive I always have a plan, work my plan, and know I may need to be flexible and willing to change my plan if the bees inform me today is not a good day to work the hive. If the bees are cranky, it may be that they have lost their queen, the weather is about to change, their young have been disrupted or threatened in some way (by raccoons or skunks or bears). I follow-up on my plan and take notes about what I’ve learned. I’ve learned that every winter is different. I’ve also learned it is not always important to “see the queen”. What is important is to know the signs of a healthy and vibrant colony and to do my part to sustain the health and longevity of the hive.

I’m the founder and president of a small beekeeping association that serves four counties in the Central Sierra foothills of California. What I’ve learned from other beekeepers is this:

We humans tend to be presumptuous and possessive. Rather than accepting the role and responsibility of being a steward for bees, we beekeepers talk about “my bees”, when, in reality honeybees cannot be domesticated as pets.

When taking classes, we learn at a different rate or not at all based on our background, experiences and the filters we put in place to acquiring wisdom.

We often make decisions or develop emotional opinions based on incomplete information without considering the impact of those decisions. Well-meaning, but misguided reporters often write articles that contain incomplete or incorrect information. Others write articles pushing a particular political, emotional or biased agenda. It is our responsibility to research and learn before jumping on any bandwagon that promotes misguided activities or promulgates misinformation.

We don’t pay attention to the effects our actions might cause. On a beekeeping level, sometimes the actions we choose to execute can set back or kill a hive.

New beekeepers need active participatory mentors. Well-intentioned newbees kill hives. It happens. The guidance and wisdom an experienced mentor can provide will advance the knowledge of a new beekeeper exponentially.

Nature and the honeybee will survive despite our misguided efforts.

On a more positive note…
Wouldn’t it be nice to have the product of your life’s work be something as sweet as honey?
…as sustaining as bee bread?
…as valuable as beeswax?
…as beneficial as propolis?

Wouldn’t it be nice to know the outcome of your life’s work provides value to your colony and to other species?

I believe that no matter what damage we inflict on the planet, bees will continue to find a way to survive another 50 million years. Maybe, if we pay attention, are mindful, attentive, have a plan, can cooperate in a democratic fashion, eliminate what doesn’t work, be prudent in a show of force, make good use of and share resources; we can, together, support the future health and growth of our colony of human beings on this planet.

Lorinda ForrestLorinda Forrest is President and Founder of the Sierra Foothill Beekeepers Association. She is a business start-up consultant and works with community colleges in the California Central Valley and Mother Lode to help improve small business and entrepreneurial studies programs so that college students are prepared to meet the needs of business or begin their own enterprise. As a beekeeper, she considers herself a steward for bees. Lorinda also gardens, enjoys fly fishing, skiing, cycling and hiking. She lives in Sonora, California.

Bees Image Credit:  vastateparksstaff

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16 Tips to Lower Your Risk of Breast Cancer

ChristineHornerheadshot02As a plastic surgeon, I witnessed the horrors of breast cancer almost everyday while caring for my breast reconstruction patients. In 1994, this disease became too personal when it claimed the life of my own mother. I vowed to go after her killer. My goal was to see if this disease could be prevented. I searched the collection of medical research to determine what caused cancer to start growing and threw fuel on its flames. I discovered thousands of studies that pointed out exactly why we have a breast cancer epidemic. These studies revealed that breast, prostate and colon cancers are similar tumors and our diet and lifestyle play the most important role in most cases.

The recently released third-edition of my award-winning book, Waking the Warrior Goddess: Dr. Christine Horner’s Program to Protect Against and Fight Breast Cancer, describes every natural approach scientifically shown to help drastically lower a woman’s risk of developing this disease. For women who have breast cancer, these approaches increase the likelihood that they will live a long healthy life.

This information is really for everyone, because everything that influences the risk of breast cancer also influences the risk of most other chronic diseases. Therefore if you follow the recommendations, your likelihood of developing any chronic disease will be low and your chances of experiencing robust health will be high.

Here are a few tips:

Tip #1: Eat fresh, organically grown fruits and vegetables every day—especially cruciferous vegetables.

These plants—particularly those in the cruciferous family (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale)–are filled with a variety nutrients, vitamins, and plant chemicals that act as powerful natural medicines against breast cancer.

Tip #2: Eat organic whole grains every day.

Whole grains are rich in cancer-fighting antioxidants, vitamins, trace minerals, fiber, and lignans.

Tip #3: Avoid all health-destroying fats. Consume health-promoting fats every day.

Saturated animal fats, trans fats, partially hydrogenated fats, and hydrogenated fats fuel breast cancer, whereas healthy fats—especially omega-3 fatty acids found in flaxseeds—offer protection.

Tip #4: Eat 2–3 tablespoons of ground flaxseeds every day.

Flaxseeds are the richest plant source of omega-3 fatty acid, are high in fiber, and contain one hundred times more cancer-fighting lignans than any other known edible plant.

Tip #5: Eat mushrooms or a supplement.

Medicinal mushrooms, such as Maitake or AHCC, stimulate the immune system, stop tumor growth, cause tumors to shrink, and prevent them from spreading areas of the body.

Tip #6: Drink green tea every day or take it as a supplement.

Women who drink green tea have a much lower risk of breast cancer—and if they get breast cancer, their chances of surviving are much greater.

Tip #7: Consume turmeric every day.

Turmeric, a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, is considered the #1 anticancer spice.

Tip #8: Eat at least one clove of garlic several times a week.

Garlic is extremely high in antioxidants and selenium, boosts the immune system, lessens the formation of carcinogens in the breast, prevents toxins from damaging our DNA, and stops breast tumors from growing and dividing.

Tip #9: Avoid red meat

Woman who eat the most red meat have an 88 to 330 percent higher risk of breast cancer.

Tip #10: Avoid refined sugar—instead use a natural sweetener such as Stevia.

Sugar is cancer’s favorite food. The more of it you eat, the faster cancer will grow.

Tip #11: Keep your body-fat low.

Fat cells manufacture estrogen, notably after menopause. That’s why obesity is thought to be responsible for 20 to 30 percent of all post-menopausal breast cancers.

Tip #12: Rarely, if ever, drink alcohol.

Even half a glass of alcohol a day increases your risk of breast cancer; so it’s best to avoid this dangerous beverage completely.

Tip #13: Keep your home as toxin-free as possible.

Toxins are everywhere. Assume that everything is toxic unless labeled otherwise and choose a nontoxic solution instead.

Tip #14: Once or twice a year, purify your body for one to two weeks.

Detoxing works! Just one five-day series of the Ayurvedic purification procedures known as panchakarma has been shown to decrease toxins by half.

Tip #15: Go to bed by 10:00 P.M. and rise before 6:00 A.M.

Melatonin, the sleep hormone, is a powerful antioxidant that arrests and deters breast cancer. Your body will not produce enough melatonin to be protective if you stay up past 10:00 P.M.

Tip #16: Embrace thirty minutes of aerobic activity every day.

Regular moderate exercise lowers your risk of breast cancer by 30 to 50 percent. Those who enjoy a rigorous routine can have up to and 80% reduction!

About the Author: Christine Horner, MD is a board certified and nationally recognized surgeon, author, professional speaker and relentless champion for women’s health. She spearheaded legislation in the 1990s mandating that insurance companies pay for breast reconstruction following mastectomy. She is the author of, Waking the Warrior Goddess: Dr Christine Horner’s Program to Protect Against and Fight Breast Cancer, winner of the Independent Publisher Book Award “Best book of 2006 for health/medicine/nutrition.” For more information visit www.drchristinehorner.com

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AN INTERESTING MISTAKE

screens-amagillIn our house we limit screen time to weekends when the children are allowed to watch one movie per weekend day. If you limit screen time in your house, you may have a child like mine who will go to any lengths to get just a few minutes in front of a screen, even if it means breaking the house ground rules. We use a logical consequence when one of the children sneak screen time, and that consequence is “If you abuse it you lose it.” The child who sneaks it will lose screen time on one of the weekend days. We joke that my oldest son has forfeited more screen time than he has actually experienced because of his proclivity to smuggle electronic devices into his room for his personal, unauthorized, viewing pleasure.

Recently, my oldest son was caught with my wife’s Kindle in his room. She went looking for it and found it under his covers. (You may ask, how did she know to look in his bed? In our home, his room is the second place you would look after looking in the place you thought you’d left it.) So, accordingly, he lost a day of screen time for the upcoming weekend. And just like I did when I was his age, he tested the limits, and smuggled screen time again, not too long afterward.

Fast forward, three weeks later: my son hasn’t watched a movie since the initial Kindle incident because of continued smuggling. Then his birthday arrived, and I was feeling sorry for him because he couldn’t watch a movie with his brothers. I knew what to do – I should hold the limits firmly, even if it was his birthday. But, I caved and let him watch the move as a “birthday treat”.

Almost immediately I began to regret my decision. My son responded to my act of mercy by pushing the limits around screen time even more; trying to watch things that he wasn’t allowed to, taking control of the programming from his brothers, etc. I wanted to be angry, but I knew what was happening. My son, like all children, want to know that the adults in his life will be consistent and do what we say we’re going to do much more than they want to watch television. My son was saying, in his own way, that he preferred the limits. And I know, that limits are meant to be tested, otherwise how would we know where they really are.

Shortly after his birthday, my son asked me if he could have his screen time back, even though he had three more weekend days of screen time to forgo. My response to him was, “What would I be teaching you by eliminating the consequence for your choices?” He thought for a moment and said, “Good point.” Inside I laughed knowingly. Children are our best teachers.

Louis CK, one of my favorite comics, was on the Conan O’Brien Show recently. During his interview he began talking about parenting, which is part of his schtick. Sardonically, yet prophetically, he mused that his job was not to make his children happy. He said, “I’m not raising children. I’m raising the grown-ups they’re going to be.”

As I began to reflect on this discussion, I thought about my decision to remove the no screen time consequences for my son’s birthday. I made a mistake – one that I learned from, but a mistake nonetheless. I asked myself the same question that I asked him. What was I teaching him be removing that consequence? In attempting to make him happy by rescuing him, I was actually setting him up for disappointment and dependence upon me for his happiness. When do I want him to learn that he can be happy despite his circumstances, and that he can accept responsibility for his actions and learn to make better decisions by himself?

So, on this Thanksgiving of 2013, I am grateful for my children and for lessons that they continue to teach me, as I continue on the road to becoming a better parent.

Photo Credit:  AMagill

November Lead

Kolbe Technology and EQ – Making a Difference

November Lead

In June of 1992, Kathy Kolbe inscribed a message to me in her book “The Conative Connection”. It said “To Art, thanks for having a belief in individual talents. It’s a joy to know you.” Kathy Kolbe. Actually, the reverse is more accurate. It is has been a pleasure to get to know this dynamic and inspiring woman of science. She and her organization have taken a small family owned business into a world-wide entity that is making a difference in the lives of thousands of people.

Exactly what is her claim to fame? It is her fascination and belief that conation has a lot to do with how comfortable we proceed through a day. Conation n. Conation is the area of one’s active mentality that has to do with desire, volition, and striving. The related conatus is the resulting effort or striving itself, or the natural tendency or force in one’s mental makeup that produces an effort. Conative is the term in psychology that describes anything to do with conation. Scottish philosopher William Hamilton (1788-1856) considered conation to be one of the three divisions of the mind.

Kathy Kolbe has a presentation piece entitled “Three Parts of the Mind Summary” whereby the three are illustrated.

Cognitive – IQ, Skills, Reason, Knowledge, Experience, Thought, Education, & Training

Affective – Desires, Motivation, Attitudes, Preferences, Emotions, Values, & Beliefs

Conative – Drive, Instinct, Necessity, Mental Energy, Innate Force, & Talents

There is also an Action Mode descriptive that describes 4 of of striving instincts.

Fact Finder – which is our best way of gathering and sharing information

Follow Thru – which is our best way of arranging and designing

Quick Star – which is our best way of dealing with risk and uncertainty

Implementor – which is our best way of handling space and tangibles

Within each column is a further descriptive which depicts how we would act within it.

Fact Finder – 1 to 3 like to Simplify, 4 to 6 like to Explain, & 7 to 10 like to Specify

Follow Thru – 1 to 3 like to Adapt, 4 to 6 like to Maintain, and 7 to 10 like to Systematize

Quick Start – 1 to 3 like to Stabilize, 4 to 6 like to Modify, and 7 to 10 like to Improvise

Implementor – 1 to 3 like to Imagine, 4 to 6 like to Restore, and 7 to 10 like to Build

In language we can all relate to, this means the following:

Folks who have a score of 1 to 3 in any category WON’T, those with a score of 4 to 6 are WILLING, and those with a score of 7 to 10 WILL.

My Kolbe A Index or my MO (modus operendi) is 4 5 7 4 . What this means to me is that I am most comfortable when I am allowed to use my MO the way my natural striving instinct leads me. With a modest amount of Fact Finder, I am most comfortable when someone else does the math or research as I am more than happy to edit the details someone else has crafted. With my Follow Thru just a smidgen higher, I am most comfortable when I can coordinate the schedules someone else has designed in sequential order. With my high Quick Start score I am most comfortable when I can ad lib, create slogans, and initiate innovation. And with my modest score in Implementor, I am most comfortable when I can reproduce models that others build.

The Damariscotta Montessori School in Newcastle Maine just had all of their Head Teachers and Assistant Teachers complete their Kolbe A Indexes and after putting all of the scores up on a white board, the group could see for themselves where their strengths and opportunities were. It also opened up a chance for them to recognize how they each felt comfortable solving problems, clearing hurdles, attaining goals THEIR WAY. As long as the students were supported, the teachers were free to be themselves in offering that support. Were there similarities? Yes, but there were stark differences as well and with the Kolbe A to A Index, they can now see for themselves how to talk to each other when their Kolbe A Indexes were similar or different.

This is just the beginning as the Kolbe Corp also offers a Kolbe B Index which allows the taker to see how they perceive their job, a Kolbe C Index, which is competed by a supervisor when it is important to know how they see the job. And a Kolbe “Right Fit” which allows for assistance when assessing the person that is in the position or when a new person is needed for an existing or newly created position.

Having an entity that is building infrastructure replete with EQ training and with the Kolbe technology supporting that initiative is an amazing one / two combination.

Next month we will have a guest author writing about her newly reengineered book entitled Waking the Warrior Goddess. Her name is Dr. Christine Horner. Look for her book on newsstands beginning in November and catch a glimpse of it here in early December.

My best and call if you wish,

Art

Photo Credit:  Andrew Fysh

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Should EQ be Taught to Children?

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Perceptions are learned from watching and observing others. They are not inherited and we do not come pre-wired with automatic perceptions. That’s why when we are told to believe something and the teller behaves differently, we learn what we see not what we hear. As leaders of families or units of followers in large organizations or the leaders of significant portions of the organization, if not the leader of the whole organization, we are the star of the show. Everyone can be influenced by our behavior.

The Big Three ———- Denial, Doubt, & Acceptance

In the past we have made the case that paradigm shifts do not come easy. Galileo was branded a heretic for suggesting that the world was not the center of the universe. With the aid of his invention of the telescope, he made his case that the sun was the center of the universe and the scream of denial from the scientists in the early 1600’s was huge. How dare he challenge what had been known throughout what I call the “knowledge world” at the time. What hubris!! When they challenged Galileo he simply pulled out his evidence and he erased any doubt that he was incorrect. The scientists and esteemed teachers and intellectuals tucked their tails between their legs and accepted the new paradigm. Within short order, the new paradigm was in place and the world moved on with this new learning. As an aside, here we are 300 years later and the heavens are being explored to greater and greater depths. Will it be our time to discover that the sun is not the center of the universe? Maybe.

Albert Einstein brought a paradigm shift to the attention of his esteemed professor in 1905 and the indignation shown was just as you might expect. Who was this “student” to challenge what had been taught for 50 years? Go to Google and look up Luminiferous Ether to get the whole story. Well, Einstein had heard all he needed in a previous class and so he went to his lab and discovered on his own that there was no such thing as Luminiferous Ether. When he presented his evidence, the doubt ebbed and acceptance flowed in. There was no more teaching this oddball reason for light being in a vacuum when you attach positive and negative electrodes to the opposite ends.

In the 1980’s, John Mayer at the University of New Hampshire and Peter Salovey at Yale conspired to discover the impact that emotions had when communicating information and why some people seemed more capable of absorbing the exchange of information. In the mid 1990’s, Daniel Goleman wrote his legendary book Emotional intelligence. I have the book and it has been on my bookshelf for almost 20 years. I never got past chapter 1. However, in 1999, thanks to my then SVP, Mike Woodward, I read Goleman’s new book “Working with Emotional intelligence” from cover to cover in three days and I have been through it at least a dozen times since then. So here comes a new paradigm for the world to experience but unlike the instantaneous impact that Galileo and Einstein had on the world, Mindfulness and EQ until recently has been more subtly making an impact.

In the past two years, there has been an accelerated trajectory of the principles behind Mindfulness and EQ. Earlier this year, CNBC hosted a number of people in a half hour round table before the markets opened and the theme was the aforementioned topic. Arianna Huffington of the Huffington Post, and Mike Bertolini, the CEO of Aetna, both spoke of the efforts in their workplace they were employing to support their people. Last Thursday and Friday they both were featured at the Wisdom 2.0 conference in NYC where an audience of about 200 heard the same message, but with more details. Using Malcolm Gladwell’s term “Outliers”, they were stunning in their belief that this is where our resources need to be focused. This is where the investment needs to be made to take us to the next level of productivity. Eleven-hour days are crushing our people and there is no more physical capacity left. Fatigue, sleep deprivation, and burn-out can no longer carry the load.

“If we always do what we have always done we will get what we have always got” I believe is attributable to Stephen Covey and it is “wake-up” time for our entity leaders to recognize that there is no more capacity in the tank.

Can EQ be taught in schools?

Here is a link to a NY Times article entitled “Reading, Writing, and Emotional Intelligence” that happened to come out on the Sunday after the Wisdom 2.0 conference. It makes a compelling case that EQ needs to be incorporated into our school systems and that where this has been done, significant progress is being made.

If you are a parent or grandparent, please read this from start to finish, as it may alter your paradigm as to why this work is so desperately needed.

What Mayer, Salovey, Goleman, et al have demonstrated is that unlike IQ – which is mostly maxed out by the time we are in our teens – EQ is something we can increase whenever we wish. Short on Self-Awareness, it can be expanded. Short on Social Skills, such as the teacher in the above article, it can be refined. Is Stress Management an issue for you?  Tai Chi, Yoga, and a myriad of other skills can be learned to give your heart the break it needs to provide you with a hale and hardy old age.

A New Paradigm Shift?

Well, hang onto your hats because we have a new one for everyone to gasp at. Before we spread the news that emerged last week, ask yourself this question: What do you know about DNA? I asked that question to a number of executives at Ameriprise Financial Services on September 19th and they responded in the same manner. DNA is unique to us individually.

According to Alexander Urban, a geneticist at Stanford University, this may not be the case, and that, in fact, many of us have multiple genomes. It appears that the whispers heard a few years ago that this may be true are now fact. Here we go again. We are faced with another opportunity to see denial, doubt and ultimately acceptance in play. It seems that those of us solidly planted in the idea that stability, routine, and “the same old, same old” will just have to get used to the pace of change being thrust upon us at a faster and faster pace. Bummer!!

My best, and keep us in mind when you consider expanding your EQ.

Art

Photo Credit:  the UMF

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Are Our Hearts Intelligent? Can We Learn from Baseball?

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One of the fundamental connection’s we make in our EQ Not IQ: Basics Presentations is that our minds influence our brains and subsequently our hearts. To illustrate how this can be either harmful or helpful, we made up a silly dialogue between the mind and the brain. In essence, the mind is focused on a specific situation. Maybe it is meeting another deadline after a long string of previous deadlines. That would not be uncommon in this fast paced world we live in today. So, in the dialogue between the mind and the brain, the mind says something like this: “Hey, get things revved up so that we can get some adrenalin into our system.” Of course, to make this occur the heart has to be a willing contributor, as that’s the pumping station that gets the needed ingredients where they need to be. On cue, the process is completed and the messaging element called cortisol triggers the production of adrenalin and glucocorticoid and we get revved up to meet the deadline. Unfortunately, this process which has been around for 10,000 years causes some damage to the heart if repeated over and over again with little relief. Once that starts to happen the heart starts to have a part in the dialogue. It starts muttering that it cannot keep up this pace. In simple terms, it needs more space between the jolts of cortisol it is experiencing. Finally, the occasional muttering turns into more consistent muttering and then finally in an attempt to get the brain to influence the mind to change the pattern it says “If you do not slow down this pace I am going on strike;” and, “If I go on strike the whole show is going to come to a close.”

Well, we know what he heart is implying. Keep up this chronic stress parade and this bandleader is checking out. That checking out is significant if you smoke. If you do not smoke you will probably survive the heart attack but you may be compromised physically thereafter. And if you are lucky to get back to work, because you are so special, you will get a job without any stress. Bzzzz. Wrong answer!!

In their book “The HeartMath Solution”, the authors, Doc Childre & Howard Martin make a compelling case that our hearts are quite intelligent in their own right.

We’ve all been told, at one time or another, to follow our hearts. And it sounds like a great idea, in principle. But the problem is that actually following our hearts —and loving people, including ourselves — is much easier said than done. Over the past 20 years, scientists have discovered new information about the heart that makes us realize it’s far more complex than we’d ever imagined. We now have scientific evidence that the heart sends us emotional and intuitive signals to help govern our lives. Instead of simply pumping blood, it directs and aligns many systems in the body so that they can function in harmony with one another. And although the heart is in constant communication with the brain, we now know that it makes many of its own decisions.

Unknowing of their work, our silly story seems to make sense.

Here is another view that you may find fascinating, and if you are a baseball fan it will resonate with you rather quickly. When college pitchers finish their seasons (a lot shorter than professional seasons), they usually pitch anywhere between 120 to 140 innings. Once they make it into the professional level, they are gradually stretched further and further making stops at 150 to 175 innings and then hopefully to the 200 level. In listening to a sports program on WFAN recently, I heard two hosts discussing the stress that pitching 200+ innings per year has on pitchers, and that in just over a handful of years they have noticed the effectiveness of the pitchers decreasing as they maintained this lofty goal. In theorizing the impact on the pitchers career and ultimately the team, they suggested that both would benefit from a “managed” pitching load that required fewer innings and thus more reserves for a longer career.

Regular working people do not have the same playing field that professional baseball players have, but nonetheless, the work we do has an impact on the people we serve. Our customers or clients depend on us 52 weeks out of the playing year. The stress that this puts on us is challenging. And it is different than just 100 years ago when hunting and gathering was the norm for the majority of the world. The stress levels were lower substantially, and what stress did exist, was partially neutralized by the physical exertion that was normal for the work at hand. A great cortisol remedy to be sure. Today, physical exercise has to be scheduled and it can easily be sidestepped because of the stress of another deadline that has to be reached.

So, what is the remedy and who really benefits from a different approach? Well according to our friends at HeartMath, their Cut-Thru Worksheet process was able to reduce cortisol by 23% and they also had an increase of DHEA by 100%. Here is the definition of DHEA:

DHEA is an essential hormone produced by the adrenal glands and known as the “vitality hormone” because of its anti-aging properties. As the body’s natural antagonist of the glucocorticoid hormones – a family that includes cortisol – DHEA reverses many of the unfavorable physiological effects of excessive stress. It’s the precursor of the sex hormones estrogen and testosterone, and its varied functions include stimulation of the immune system, lowering of cholesterol, levels, and promotion of bone and muscle deposition. Low DHEA levels have been reported in patients of many major diseases.

Step 5 of their remedy asks us to “soak and relax any disturbed or perplexing feelings in the compassion of the heart – dissolving the significance a little at a time. Remember it’s not the problem that causes energy drain as much as the significance you assign to the problem.”

Clearly this EQ stuff helps us individually, but let’s consider who else benefits from you being more mindful. Your family members might be at the top of the list as they are the ones you are going to work to support. Then there are your work colleagues who have a more cheerful ally to emulate. And then there are those who serve us every day at the gas station or the restaurant – they too might enjoy a little more face-to-face gratitude from you for what they do for you. Lastly, how about that total stranger whom you help out of the blue? Their life could be forever changed because of your incidental acknowledgement that they exist.

Enjoy September and call if you wish,

Art

Photo Credit:  theseanster93
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It is hammock time!!!

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August will be a rest month for our lead article and positive discipline articles. Check back in early September for our efforts to share cutting edge research in the field of EQ, the rapidly growing awareness of the brain and how we can use it to our advantage, and for those raising children, more on how to use positive discipline to assist them in that growth.