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Speaking of Success is Available for Sale! pdf

Patricia Clason's new book Speaking of Success is now available for sale. To see more info click on the link above.

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Taking It Lightly - course lectures ebook pdf

This ebook contains a summary of the Taking It Lightly lectures. It is designed for graduates to review the information from the weekend. However, it can be valuable, helpful information for anyone.

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Don't Give Up! pdf

Let me tell you some of my history, and perhaps you will begin to understand that I have learned first hand how important it is to not give-up! I never graduated from college! I left after a semester and a half because of a sprained ankle and the inability to make it from class to class on time, on crutches in the snow. I got a job and worked my way up from secretary to supervisor in my department of mortgage banking.

I left that job after several years and got a job as an executive secretary in plastics injection molding company. From there I went on to be a legal secretary, basically functioning as a paralegal without the compensatory salary.

Unhappy and frustrated, I went back into mortgage banking. I was fired from that job for the first time in my life because I refused to do something illegal. That lead to one and half years on unemployment and then working as a manager at Outpost Natural Foods. Can you begin to see that I have been all over the board when it comes to jobs? I didn't mention that I was a baker at one time and many times a waitress and bartender.

I enjoyed Outpost and it led me to my interest in martial arts, specifically Tai Chi, which then led to many other aspects of self improvement.
I helped to incorporate the Tai Chi Center of Milwaukee, and organized seminars for our Tai Chi instructor. He told someone in San Francisco of my success and I was invited there to do a seminar on how to organize seminars. That began a seven year stint of traveling nationwide doing seminars (who have ever thought???)

Traveling so much was burning me out, so I decided to stay here in Milwaukee and do seminars. I soon found out that in this conservative city, self improvement was not a big money maker! So I went corporate with time management seminars.

Here I am today, 15 years into the Center for Creative Learning - doing seminars for the general public and the business world. 25 years of teaching seminars, 25 years of self-employment. 25 years of ups and downs and every imaginable challenge.

In 1984, my father died. In 1985, I got divorced. In 1986 I remarried. In 1989, when my daughter was 3, I bought an office building and got a divorce. A year later, my mother committed suicide. If anyone could ever hit the top of the stress test scores, I had certainly rung the bell, if not gone over the top. Then a year later, I found out the building had underground heating oil tanks that had not been drained and had contaminated the soil under the building's parking lot. Forced to give up the building in foreclosure or lose everything I had ever gained, I filed bankruptcy and gave it all up.

Today I am a tenant in that same building. My daughter is now 11, beautiful and smart. I have remarried to a wonderful man, who brought with him a son, age 13. I am happier than I have ever been.

And yet, yesterday, I paid the business bills for the month and wondered once again where the money was coming from for the rest of the month. How would I meet payroll?

Every year I settle in more to the realization that it isn't any different any where else. Some businesses have more zeroes at the end of their bills and their income. They all go through cycles of prosperity and lack. We are accustomed to hearing that General Motors lost 2 million last quarter, yet the cars are still being made and they continue on.

Life is a series of changes and challenges, highs and lows. It is a process that never ends until we die. And some believe it continues on even after death.

To give in to the lows, to believe that is the way it will always be, to not love ourselves and the learning process, is a big mistake. I told you that my mother committed suicide. She was divorced, living alone on social security and her sewing business. She was scared about her ability to pay the bills and take care of herself. Her house was paid for, she had only taxes to pay and the utilities. Yet she was afraid. So afraid she quit. The next day Manpower called with a job for her - she wasn't there to answer the phone. It is important to remember, as cliche as it sounds, it is true, This Too Shall Pass - and it's even true about the good times. They too shall pass, sometimes to even better things and sometimes to the lows again.

I have also noticed that as time goes on, our ability to handle the lows grows stronger as we are refined in our faith and our skills. It is dependent on one thing however, that we live in gratitude. Gratitude for life itself. Gratitude for the challenges and the learning that comes with them. Gratitude for the friends and family and people around us that give us support and encouragement.

My friend Scott is blind. He has a life full of challenge. One of his greatest supporters is his grandmother. A wonderful woman of 83, who works at Jewel foods as a demonstrator of food products. I know where Scott gets his independence and his determination and ability to ride out the hard times. He wasn't always blind, he lost his sight in his twenties. Today he has rebuilt a life as a computer programmer. He lives alone. He didn't give up.

Colonel Sanders didn't give up and made a fortune on his chicken recipe in his sixties. Abraham Lincoln didn't give up and made it to president. Thomas Edison didn't give up and eventually created the light bulb. Yet if you read the first part of their life histories, you wouldn't have given them a loan for $10, cause they didn't seem to have much to show for their lives.
Many of the great women we respect today led lives of poverty, abuse, and other challenges - Anne Frank, Nazi Germany - Harriet Beecher Stowe, writer and abolitionist, fought slavery and racisim - Claire Boothe Luce, diplomat and politician, grew up in a time when women were considered very "unequal" - Oprah Winfrey, television star, millionaire, champion of many causes, grew up in poverty and suffered abuse as child, yet she didn't give up, look where her determination has taken her! And there are many, not so famous, who have lived through challenges and obstacles to simply do life well and with love. Their names do not carry instant recognition, however their legacy keeps the world together and harbors us in the storm.

Today, I can't get a new credit card. I couldn't get a loan for my computer. The bankruptcy still follows me - yet it hasn't stopped me. Everytime I look at the checkbook and see the balance close to zero, I don't quit. I have graduated over 5,000 people from the programs at the Center. I have been fortunate enough to touch the lives of millions of people over the last 25 years. I am not a millionaire. I don't travel to exotic places to do speeches. I do it quietly in the Midwest, often only several people at a time. And I make a difference. I make a difference to my daughter, because I'm there when she comes home from school. I take her with me often when I speak or teach, and she sees what it can mean to be a business woman and touch other people's lives. Somedays we don't have extra money to go to McDonalds, and somedays we can go on great vacations. All days, we have love, courage and persistence, and the joy of knowing that we can contribute to the world and each other.

Once upon a time there was a woman who was widowed, left with four small children and no life insurance to help pay the bills. Every night she would get on her knees and ask God to save her, specifically she asked to win a lottery or a sweepstakes so she could take care of her children. She was running out of money and patience. After a few months, she got angry at God for not coming through. She raged at him and then she heard a loud voice saying "OK you can win the lottery!" She was overjoyed, her problems were over. Every day she waited for the news that she had in fact won a lottery. Every day she was disappointed. Finally, one night, she got angry at God again. "You said I would win the lottery, yet I haven't gotten any money!" She heard another loud voice, this one was firm, and the voice said "You have to buy a ticket!"

You can't wait for someone, God, Prince Charming, Mom or Dad, anyone to save you. You have to take action to make your life different. You have to buy the ticket by learning a skill, being willing to do the simple jobs, the jobs no one else wants (you would be amazed how many envelopes I've stuffed and toilets I've cleaned in my days). Taking action, some action, opens the door to opportunity and possibility. Sitting at home feeling sorry for yourself and waiting for the savior never works.

Another once upon a time, a man was in his home, watching the flood waters rise. The water reached his porch and a boat went by. "Get in," said the people in the boat, "We have room for you." "No, thank you," the man replied. "God will save me." The waters continued to rise. The man was forced to the second floor of the house, and he saw another boat go by outside. They called to him, telling him they had room, please come with us.

The man said "No, God will save me." And the water continued to rise, forcing the man to the roof of the house. As he sat on the very top of his roof, a helicopter came by. They lowered a rope ladder and urged the man to climb up and get to safety. He said, "No, I know God will save me." Several hours later, the man had drowned. As he stood before St. Peter, he asked why God did not save him. St. Peter looked sternly at the man and said, "God sent you two rowboats and a helicopter, why did you not save yourself??"

Keep your eyes open for the opportunities and the possibilities. Watch for the rowboats and the helicopters. Remember that when we are at our lowest lows, we have to take action. It is easier to help someone who will take action, than to get apathy moving. When the help comes, let yourself receive and be supported. Many of you have been fortunate enough to have people who care, in your families and here at Interfaith. Love yourself enough to take in their love and assistance because we can't do it alone. Together we can do almost anything, including weather the most difficult of times and celebrate the most joyous.

Buy a ticket. Ride the roller coaster of life, and instead of hanging on with white knuckles, throw your hands up into the air, thank God for the adventure and enjoy the ride!!!!!!!!

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Ethics pdf

Recently I overheard a conversation about a person who attended a large (13,000 participants) motivational seminar event. At that event, this person passed around a clipboard asking people to sign up if they would like to be informed of future events. The purpose was actually to create a mailing list to market a similar, competitive business. Prior approval to do this was not obtained from the event promoter. Smart marketing? Or a breach of ethics?

How would you call it? We are faced with more and more gray areas as our world, personal and professional, grows at a pace more rapid than our ability to cope and process the changes. Ethics is becoming a buzz word in business, seen on the cover of national magazines, debated in news groups on the internet.

Just what is ethics? Let's start with a working definition. Ethics is a set of values that consistently guides our behaviors. These values are usually.....

  1. in alignment with the majority of society's definitions of correct and positive behavior;

  2. within legal parameters;

  3. balancing the good of the individual with the good of the whole.

One of the problems with "ethics" today is that we have so many different mores or values that guide our society. We have been through several major shifts in our societal standards of right and wrong. The most telling symptom of these shifts can be found in prime time television. We have shifted from the "Leave It To Beaver" fifties to the "Friends" nineties. Sexual innuendoes are abundant, and just about anyone is in bed with just about everyone. This is not a commentary on the right and wrong of these shifts. It is an important awareness "heads up" about the recognition that we do not any more have a "majority of society's definitions of correct and positive behavior." The Monica/Bill scandal has made it very clear. Dr. Laura, the country's fastest growing radio show, is about moral dilemmas, "What is right and wrong??" With major attrition from organized religion in the last half of this century, we have moved away from the strong Judeo-Christian ethic our country was based upon. In some instances, it has been replaced with "I'll do what I want, what gets me what I want NOW, and it makes no difference how it affects others, or even my own future."

A Roper Survey of more than 3,000 students between the ages of 12 and 19 asked them to identify the country's top societal woes from a list of 15. The top choice, by 56% of the students, was "selfishness." A third of those polled ranked "lack of morality/ethics" seventh. Combine selfishness and a lack of morality or ethics together and you have people who are untrustworthy. Add greed, whether personal or the corporate "bottom line" and you have a formula for difficulty in negotiations, broken agreements and failed events.

Diversity is a hot topic these days, and it comes up regarding ethics as well. By the year 2001, the racial and ethnic groups we now call the "minorities" will be the majority of the US population. The diversity in religious and cultural backgrounds brings with it a diversity in ethics. The values held in some groups are very different than what we have known as the majority values in our country in the past. We are often encouraged to understand gestures and actions and language nuances if we are working with diverse groups or international groups. We also need to understand that their values or ethics may be quite different than ours and then proceed accordingly.

One level of ethical virtuosity is "legally compliant" the one who believes that ethics and laws are the same. It is important to realize that ethics are not laws, yet can be guided by laws. Our laws are abundant, growing in numbers every day, in the courts' attempts to legislate protection from those without values or with values in opposition to what most of us would consider right and wrong. We have laws on the books that are no longer pertinent or valuable to these times. We have more laws than any one lawyer can ever know. And more and more lawyers seem to be necessary to handle the litigation that results from what seems to be a trend in "making others pay."

Did you know that in Wisconsin the law says that you must serve a slice of cheese with apple pie, or in Tucson, Arizona it is against the law for women to wear pants, or in Tampa Bay, Florida, it is illegal to eat cottage cheese on Sunday after 6pm. And if you attend a meeting in Milwaukee, there is a city ordinance that states the only persons allowed to dispense advice are clergy - Sounds like most motivational speakers and workshop leaders could be in trouble?!

With the speed of technology development and the internet, we begin to find ourselves in virtual realities that don't have clear rules or laws governing them.
The electronic world is shifting and changing before our eyes, faster than we can legislate or control. Privacy issues, boundary issues, ownership and copyright issues - all challenged by our instant ability to obtain information.

Balancing the good of the one with the good of whole is not as easy any more, either. The whole that we have to consider is the planetary whole - not just the competition down the block , across town or coast to coast. The word competition actually comes from the Latin, competere, which means "to seek together." Originally a cooperative search for the best, business competition now means survival of the fittest. After all, it's a jungle out there, isn't it?

Remembering that survival implies not enough for all and life itself is at stake, that kind of an attitude causes us to pay too much attention to the short-term bottom line, self-preservation or immediate gratification. We forget that true survival requires long-term, successful relationships with customers and suppliers, as well as co-workers and others within the company.

When people or businesses do not know or understand their inter-connectedness to the whole and are completely self and survival oriented, it throws the ethical system we once knew out of whack. Trust is not possible unless we see each other as equally valuable parts of the whole and recognize that hurting the other is hurting ourselves. When there is no trust, protection becomes the priority and fear rules the game.

The values that guide each individual and/or company can vary tremendously, therefore that individual or company may be "ethical" according to their values and not to yours or to the working definition stated above.

Most important is that you know your core life values and the values that your company stands for and then live and work congruently and consistently with those values. Then people will know you as a person of wholeness or integrity and they will trust you. You will be called "ethical" and you will be able to live with yourself honorably. Balancing the good of the one with the good of the whole is absolutely vital to long-term business success, and is easy to do when your ethicse (as in our working definition) are purposefully chosen.

The authentically ethical person would have gotten prior approval to pass around the clipboard at that seminar event, or simply arranged to buy the mailing list. While no law was broken, respect for the investment of the promoter and a cooperative, mutually prospering attitude would have been the ethical way to approach the situation.

Next time you face an ethical dilemma, look to your values, the law, the code of ethics for your profession and the future. Will you be able to walk with your head held high and pride in your honor if you take the course of action you are considering?

This country, your city, your neighborhood, your profession, the company you work for, all need integral, ethical leadership. Be a role model of integrity and ethics. Aim to live above reproach and you will prosper in the trust you create.

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Lighten Up Your Holidays! pdf

Lightening up your holidays doesn't mean adding more lights to your Christmas tree. It means easing the stress load that holidays seem to bring with them - reminders of holidays past, those we loved who aren't with us anymore, and reminders of holidays present, those we wish we didn't have to deal with again this year! Not to mention spending money on gifts, lots of temptations with food and sweets, and hectic schedules. You can lighten your load in all of these areas. There is hope for a holiday you'll want to remember for years to come.

HOLIDAYS PAST
Consider taking some time out to write about happy memories of those you loved who are no longer with you and then share them on the holiday. These written memories can also become a scrapbook for the family that you build upon every year. There is also a tradition in some cultures of setting an extra place at the table to welcome the "spirit" of those who are unable to be physically present, and actually serving up portions of food on their plate as an offering of our love.

HOLIDAYS PRESENT
A popular term these days in psychology and recovery circles is "Family-of-Choice," referring to the idea that we can choose who we honor as family and it is not necessarily our family-of-origin. Psychotherapist Laurie Ingraham of Milwaukee says that it only takes a few hours for us to hook into the family dysfunction dynamic when we are in their presence. So if the state of your family is such that you don't want to get hooked in, remember that you can choose where you go and who are with on the holidays and then make sure that you surround yourself with love. Respectfully tell those you don't want to be with that you have made other plans this year and you hope they will have a happy season.

MONEY, MONEY, MONEY
It's always tempting to spend more at the holidays, especially when charge cards are available. Decide in advance what you want to spend and then stay with your budget. Remember that there are plenty of options, from homemade gifts to a basket of surprises from the dollar store. Pick up a magazine at the grocery store and check out the many craft and inexpensive gift ideas. A special tip for next year - listen to what people say they wish they would have gotten, or other comments in conversation that let you know what is special to them and make a list when you get home. Start accumulating gifts during the year as you come across those special items and next year the stress on your budget and your time will be lighter.

Sooooooooo Much Food!
You've probably heard it all before... drink a lot of water (8-10 glasses a day) you'll feel full, don't take seconds, exercise more, etc. etc. etc. Well, here's a different perspective. With every bite, do a silent affirmation of loving yourself or taking care of yourself. Appreciate each bite more as you nurture your spirit as well as your body. You will probably eat less. And if you don't at least you won't be focusing on how bad all this food is for you and how hard it's going to be to lose weight later or talking to others about how you really shouldn't be doing this. All that negative self talk isn't supporting your holiday happiness or your mental health. So affirm your way through the holiday feasts!

“There's just not enough time!”
Time management is first a state of mind. If you're running around beating yourself up mentally for your disorganization or poor planning, you'll never see the light of peace of mind. Take a few minutes to look over your schedule and do some planning. Then be aware of your thoughts and statements about time and turn them in a positive direction. Make sure your schedule includes some self-nurturing, time-out for you. Those moments of respite, a ten minute break for a cup of coffee in the middle of shopping, a long bubble bath or shower after work to rejuvenate, or just a few minutes to sit and daydream, will energize you and remind you that you are important too. Your physical and mental health will both benefit greatly.

Above all, practice the attitude of gratitude. When we take time to count our blessings and see what is good in our lives, we become focused on the true spirit of the season - loving ourselves and sharing that love with others. And love always lightens the load!

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LIGHTEN UP! - Worry and Anger can be healthy pdf

As children we learn that it is important to block the flow of our e-motions (life energy in motion) in order to survive and avoid pain. We heard things like "Children should be seen and not heard", "Stop crying or I'll give you something to cry about", "Don't you every get angry or talk back to me that way", "Grow up, there's nothing to be scared about." So many messages that taught us to suppress and deny our feelings. And as we grow up, there are more messages about being polite and nice - "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all." It's not surprising that we eventually wear Happy face masks, hiding our true feelings.

As infants our emotional energy flowed freely, like a mountain stream. Each time some "Don't feel" message came in or we experienced pain when we expressed our emotions, we put a boulder in the stream. It wasn't long before there was a dam in the stream. The water (emotion) stopped flowing and the pressure built up behind the dam.

Sometimes the water splashes over the top of the dam. When we've had a bad day and the frustration has built up inside, and the mashed potatoes are lumpy, we blow up! Loudly complaining, screaming or crying, we direct all our anger at the cook. The cook, while perhaps needing a reminder to mash the potatoes more, didn't deserve the explosion we directed that way.

Or we keep it all bottled up inside and get upset stomachs, irritable colons, or colds - or sometimes it explodes inside us with more serious illnesses.

Dams are rivers are built with a special gate that allows the pressure to be revlived when it gets to be too much.

We need to build our own pressure relief gate so that we don't hurt ourselves or others. One way to do this is to have a specially designated "Worry Day" or "Angry Day."

On that day, we wear a button that says "This is my Angry Day/Worry Day" so that those around us know we are going to be expressing our emotions fully and freely - and they can give us the space to do it.

Usually when someone is angry around us, we either get angry back or try to fix it. On other's Angry Days, we can listen to the anger and be empathetic "Yeah, I know what you mean" "I can see why you are angry" "I'd be angry too if that happened to me" Most importantly, we listen and validate that it is safe to express anger.

On a Worry Day, we can listen to the person's fears or sadness, let them cry or talk it out - again without trying to fix it or give advice. "I can see why you are concerned" "Sounds like you are really worried about that" "I'd be worried too fi that was happening in my family" A simple empathic message lets the other person express their feelings safely.

Another fun way to let the feelings out is for everyone to have the same worry/angry day - or assign a special meeting for everyone to worry/be angry together. Then when the energy has run its course and the pressure is off, we can close the pressure gate again and get back to daily living.

I learned about worry days a long time ago in a seminar about money. It was suggested to us that we have one day a month that we worry about money, paying the bills, etc. Then we could spend the other 29 days a month creatively making money and enjoying life. So I took the teacher's advice.

I sat in my office on my worry day complaining out loud about how there never was enough money, I didn't know how I was going to make it, etc. I forgot that my house guest ws in the next room and could hear everything I was saying!

Later that day we went to a local burger shop for dinner. As I ordered, she said, "If you don't have enough money for dinner, I can loan you some." I was schocked and replied, "No way! My treat!" As we ate, I asked her why she thought I needed money. She quietly answered, "I heard you in your office. It sounded like things were really bad, so I thought I'd offer to help." I laughed and explained to her about worry days. We both laughed alot over our chocolate malts!

My money worry day allows me to focus on the positive, creative, playful part of my life on all the other days. I enjoy my worry days now and I find I spend less and less time in worry on those days.

Learning to express our emotions safely and fully eventually takes down much or all of the dam. The pressure then doesn't build up as much. Since for most people learning how to suppress, deny and mask emotion has been a lifelong process, dismantling the dam can be a long and challenging task. So in the meantime, worry days and agnry days are a valuable tool for maintaing mental and physical health.

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Making a Seminar Happen pdf

The business of seminars and conferences is a challenging one. In my career as a meeting planner and promoter, I have had the opportunity to work the full spectrum of small (20-25 people) to very large (2500+ people), from "in-house" programs to public seminars to annual conferences, both "open to the public" and association annual meetings/conventions. By far, the greatest challenge lies with the public event.

The target market is so much more diversified and changeable. With a corporate "in-house" seminar, there is a captive audience (sometimes much harder to please because it's not a matter of the audience wanting to be there). With the association annual event, there is at least a specific audience with a strong interest in attending. So in planning a public event, the work begins with a choice of topic and target market - deciding on feasibility first. If you are beginning a business of planning and promoting seminars, study the market carefully - find out who is doing similar seminars in your area or in a similar market. Obtain their brochures (subscribe to one or more business magazines and you'll get lots of mailings on business related seminars).

Study the brochures - what are they selling? for how much? what does the fee include? who are the speakers? And then, if you can, check out the hotel on the day of the seminar. Did it actually run? How many people attended? What were their comments as they stood in the halls during coffee breaks?

The larger nationwide seminar promoters send out millions of brochures, selling twenty seminar dates around the country (looks impressive and saves on separate printings for each city) for an average return of 1 to 2 percent. Can you afford those kinds of direct mail costs?

The more targeted your market, the higher the return on direct mail soliciting. Still, you will need to provide a stimulating topic, known or highly credentialed speakers and reasonable prices to get people to attend. The more personal your topic, the more personal contact will be required to enroll people in the seminar.

Personal growth seminars, especially the intensive weekends which often range in price from $250 to $400 and up, require one to one sales situations. In this case, person to person is more effective than telephone sales for the actual enrollment. Telemarketing is good for qualifying leads and free evening seminars are also good for introducing people to the concepts of personal growth.

Business seminars are more easily sold by direct mail. Although once again, if you are dealing in a higher ticket item, one to one sales and telemarketing are important to increasing your enrollment.

So, you've decided on a topic and target audience. It's six months out from the seminar date - there's a lot to be done NOW! Don't make the mistake of thinking you can do it all in a month or two. Last year, I coordinated the annual Woman to Woman Conference (over 2500 attendees with 200 workshops). We started in September of '83 to plan and prepare for the October '84 conference. The larger the event, the more advance work is required.

SIX MONTHS OUT:

  1. Determine topic, audience and location

  2. Prepare a budget and determine break-even point and desired goals

  3. Find speakers (this may take several weeks to complete)

  4. Find and obtain mailing lists for your target audience

  5. Design brochure and begin work with artists and copywriters

  6. Plan your publicity - remember that magazines, trade journals, etc. have timelines three to four months before publication date
    Secure a hotel and negotiate a contract

  7. Prepare a detailed timeline for the next six months

  8. During the next three months, all the details related to the above steps will be handled. This includes everything from obtaining press kits from speakers, to writing press releases and negotiating articles and interviews - to getting a final layout and proof of the brochure so it's ready to print.


The details of planning a high quality, professional seminar are immense. Confirming speakers, their room set-up needs, their audio-visual needs and printing needs (hand-outs) can be a major task in itself.

Then there is the mailing. Do you have all the lists? Will you mail the same piece twice? (Multiple mailings to the same list can increase your return to 5% or more.) Or will you do an advance general program or notice of event followed by a full registration program? Will it include a cover letter or be a self-mailer? And be sure to allow enough time for the arrival of bulk mail.

Three to two months out from the event, the mailings begin. Logistics need to be confirmed with the hotel. Find out if any weddings, parties or other noisy events (like remodeling) are planned for areas near your meeting room.

THREE - TWO MONTHS OUT:
  1. Confirm hotel logistics, including menu, room set-ups, sleeping rooms

  2. Order name badges, ribbons, signs, etc.

  3. Order registration folders

  4. Confirm intervies with media and any arrange for paid advertising

  5. Confirm speakers, send brochure/program and verify all details

  6. Hire a photographer (if you want action shots for your next brochure)

  7. Reserve audio-visual equipment and learn how to use it or hire qualified people

  8. Perhaps one of the most important details is to plan for delays. Something always goes wrong! If you've started your work with plenty of lead time - an illness of the artist or information lost in the mail won't do you in.


Review your timeline regularly (at least weekly) to be sure you've got the details covered. Keep a log of registrations so you can see at a glance how you are doing. Your pre-registration date should be about three weeks prior. A discount on pre-registration should be substantial enough to encourage advance registration. The three weeks out timeline gives you a chance to revise your plan if registrations aren't surpassing your break-even point.

One month out from D-day. Detail is now of primary importance as all of the smaller and vital pieces fall into place.

ONE MONTH OUT:
  1. Confirm, confirm, confirm. Speakers, audio-visual staff and/or equipment, hotel logistics (finalize menu, room set-up, etc.)

  2. Prepare name badges, registration packets, hand-outs.

  3. Send confirmation notices or packets to attendees

  4. Implement plan B if necessary to increase registration (telemarketing, special mailing, whatever it takes to get attendance up)

  5. Prepare supplies box with all the miscellaneous supplies (see table 1)

  6. Assuming you have enough registrants to surpass your break-even point, now you need to focus on the 'day-of' details. Many of which will need to be confirmed the day before. Much of the detail at this point has to do with familiarizing yourself with the hotel room(s) - everything from lighting outlets to microphone and easels. Know who to call on the hotel staff for heating/cooling problems. Know the fire exits and emergency procedures. Hopefully you will never need them.


The big day has arrived. You arrive at least one hour or more prior to starting time. Make sure the hotel has your seminar properly posted on the marquee in the lobby. Put up your signs and set up the registration table. Double check the room set-up and test run the equipment. Try the sound system and get a level check.

Sit back, take five deep breaths and relax. Get in a cheerful mood to great registrants and speakers. Remember, something is bound to go wrong. However, you have done such a fantastic job of preparing this event that you can handle anything.

When the day is over, distribute evaluation forms, thank the attendees for being there and acknowledge the speakers. Then, when everyone is gone, go have a drink - you deserve it!

Good seminar planning involves evaluation by you, as well as by the participants. What when wrong, what went right. Do this in the next day or two and revise your timeline for the next event. Keep notes as you do along of what you can improve, add or delete from your plans.

If you are considering the busines of seminar promoting, keep in mind that it means running many events in a year and juggling the different stages of planning as you go. It's a difficult business and a very rewarding one. Knowing that you were responsible for making a difference in someone's life - because they received education through your event - is the best reward you can get. However, making a profit at it isn't a bad runner-up.

PATRICIA CLASON's experience spans ten years on both sides of the meeting world, as both a speaker and a meeting planner. She is the owner of Great Ideas! Speakers Bureau and Meeting Planning Consultants, as well as the Center for Creative Learning, a firm specializing in training and human resource development which produces professional and personal growth programs open to the general public.

SUPPLY BOX
  • Note paper (scratch pads and full size paper)

  • Message pads

  • Pens

  • Felt-tip markers (anme tags)

  • Thumb tacks

  • Stick pins

  • Paper clips

  • Masking tape

  • Cellophane tape

  • Scissors

  • Staples, stapler

  • Name tags (stick on or plastic with inserts)

  • Sign in sheets

  • Speakers name tags or plaques

  • Registration signs

  • Registration check list (preregistered)

  • Receipt book

  • Change slips

  • Evaluation sheets

  • Registration packets

  • Hand-outs

  • Books, tapes or other products for sale

  • Receipt book

  • Change and money box

  • inventory control sheet

  • charge slips

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office.com pdf

Training programs are a valuable way for companies to help their employees grow, and in turn, help the business grow. There are countless strategies for training employees, including Internet-based, classroom and hands-on approaches.

Online training services like The PricewaterhouseCooper Virtual University and The Employee Training Institute offer cutting-edge convenience to both employers and employees.

Patricia Clason, Director of The Center for Creative Learning, says allowing employees to learn at their own time and pace, rather than forcing them into a rigid schedule, can be the determining factor of whether or not an employee participates in a training program at all. "If Internet training utilizes as many learning intelligences as possible ... and teaches principles so that students can apply them to their unique situations, then Internet learning can and will work," she explains.

Experts say Internet-based training will not likely replace the classroom environment, but can act as an effective learning tool. Traditional classroom training continues to be the choice of many major U.S. corporations, and observers note that one key to success with this approach lies in continuing education. Clason suggests that ongoing classes, which allow employees to express feedback on the learning curve, are more effective than "one-shot" sessions. "Employees then have a chance to combine on-the-job experience and classroom feedback from peers and experts," she explains.

However, new research reveals personal experience wins hands down over seminars and workshops as the best way for employees to develop expertise and good judgment, say Barry Scheckley and Marijke Kehrhahn, professors of educational leadership at the University of Connecticut. They've spent 10 years studying how businesses can help employees grow, and say time and time again employees tell them that experience is the best teacher. Classroom sessions are useful, say Scheckley and Kehrhahn, but they normally don't provide the information employees need to do their jobs.

Clason agrees with the professors' theory. "Experience is the best teacher because it usually impacts a person on all learning levels," she says. "If you are comparing lectures to experience, experience wins hands down." Clason reminds, however, that the most effective training approach will vary from person to person.

Scheckley says he is still in the beginning stages of his research, and has had just enough time to indicate positive trends toward his discovery. "One of our major problems is that businesses tend to be in such a state of constant turmoil that we frequently find that our initiatives, though successful, have to be curtailed because one or more key players has been transferred, promoted or downsized," he explains. Training trends come and go, but Clason suggests a back-to-basics approach for most companies. "People learn best when informa-tion is logical, ethical and fun and when they can participate as much as possible in the learning experience," she explains. She also says success in training is dependent upon having a trainer who is willing to listen to the students and share wisdom specific to the employees' situations.

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Patience and the Moso Forest pdf

Wanting to fill his yard with the smell of lilacs, the man planted several bushes in his garden. After a few weeks, he was frustrated because they hadn't blossomed and he pulled them up and replanted them in another part of the garden. "Perhaps they'll get more sun here and then blossom," he thought. A month later, they still hadn't blossomed. So he pulled them up and replanted in another area of the garden, this time angrier than before. In the fall, the bushes still hadn't blossomed so he pulled them out and threw them away!

Immediate gratification. The American society is programmed for a pill to take away the headache, a candy bar for instant energy, a credit card so you can buy what you want right now (never mind that you have to pay for it for months or years to come!). We want what we want and we want it when we want it.

We forget that the world is made of cycles and processes. The lilac bushes needed a season to settle into the earth and send down roots. Nature gives us the wonderful example of seeds needing to build root systems before they sprout above ground and grow into the vegetable, herb, plant, or tree they were meant to be.

When you want to become more of Who You Were Meant To Be, have you been pulling up the roots, replanting in what you thought might be sunnier spots, only to find that you aren't getting the blossoms you yearn for? Perhaps it would be best if you want more of what you can be to take the time to nurture a root system.

Get grounded. Take quiet time in your life to be with yourself. Develop your own root system of knowing who you are, what you believe, what you want. Journal your thoughts and emotions so you can reflect on what you think and feel. Explore through books and seminars the possibilities and potentials available to you. Talk with friends.

Make sure that you are not operating out of anxiousness, frustration, anger, stress or fatigue. The choices we make at emotional times are often not thought out, well processed through our "root system" and therefore don't usually reflect Who We Were Meant To Be. They tend instead to reflect the chaos of the storm going on around us. Allow the storm front to move through and move on. Just notice the emotions, feel them at the moment. There is no need to take action, other than to protect yourself if necessary from the elements that might be dangerous to you. When the storm has passed, the calm settles in. Review what has happened.

Give it all time to process within you before making decisions to sprout into the new business, relationship, home or whatever new directions you are choosing. The Chinese bamboo, Moso, takes several years to build it's root system before ever appearing above ground. However, it's root system is so strong that it will grow to 60 to 75 feet tall in the five years following it's appearance. The bamboo will grow to eight inches in diameter and is a strong and powerful plant.

Gib Cooper is a bamboo gardner. He offers this old bamboo gardner's saying for us to ponder.... The first year they sleep. The second year they creep. The third year they leap!

When you approach a new beginning in your life, I believe you would do well to remember the wisdom of the Chinese gardner. Take the time to plant and nurture the seeds of your new beginning, choose wisely the plant you wish to become and then watch as your power and strength grow in proportion to the root system you have developed. Give up immediate gratification for the long term pleasure, satisfaction, and strength of the moso forest!

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POSITIVE POWER PLAYS: Negotiating without all the hassle pdf

A recent cartoon on Nickelodeaon portrayed two "Rug Rats" playing "Haggle." One was the store owner, the other was the customer. The customer wanted to buy a toy. "The price is $10," said the owner. The customer gave him $10. The owner gave it back and said, "No, you're supposed to haggle. Ask me to sell it to you for less. It's overpriced at $10!" A comment on our society and expectations?

An article on negotiations in another meetings publication offered information on how both sides sometimes pad the numbers. A salesperson might quote a rate higher so there is room for negotiation. This and other tactics are used between meeting planners and suppliers. Perhaps we have come to love the game "Haggle" so much that we have lost sight of the value of straight talk, setting accurate prices and paying what an item is worth. Paying the lowest possible price at anyone's expense has become the rule of the day.

Why do we feel the need to play negotiation games? The result of years of merchant/haggler interactions is a lack of trust on both sides. We have created an us versus them environment. Suppliers see meeting planners on one extreme as wanting something for nothing. Planners see suppliers on the other extreme as greedy and overpriced. Adversarial relationships seldom result in a win-win resolution. The upshot is usually two parties who have compromised, given up something they wanted, and now resent it. This resentment results in negative comments to others in the industry and a loss of future business. The score in the end? Lose-lose.

Granted, this is not the outcome of all negotiation situations. It is, however, a condition in much of society today. Fear, mistrust and selfishness are the attitudes of the day in far too many negotiations. Negotiation will always be a part of human interaction. Rarely does one's needs and desires match perfectly with another's ability or desire to provide them. What would happen if we simply approached a situation by telling the truth, asking for what we want and then being open to negotiation?

Consider how different it would be if the interaction began from a win-win perspective. The meeting planner calls a hotel and says, "I guarantee a minimum of 10 rooms. We may need a maximum of 25 per night for four nights. Our budget is $35 per person per day for the meeting. We will have a minimum of 15 attendees and a maximum of 50. These are my dates. Can you do it within our budget?" This would be "telling the truth" and "asking for what you want." The salesperson now has the opportunity to look at the numbers and offer the hotel's best options within or as close to those parameters as possible or decline the business if it's just not possible. The hotel and the meeting planner both stand clear on what they want. If the group really wants this hotel, the planner can begin exploring options, changing requirements or schedules with the cooperation of the supplier. This can be done since the planner knows all along the supplier will continue to offer the best options in response to the planner's direct and honest requests. This relationship is bound for success. Even if the planner cannot use the facility because of budget restrictions, this planner will speak well of the cooperation and honesty of the salesperson. The praise may even possibly inspire business from other planners.

I can hear planners now, "How can I be sure the hotel won't charge me $85 for a $75 room if I tell them that's how much I have to spend?" Or the hotelier, "What is to keep them from 'nickel and dime-ing' me to death with little extra requests?"

A friend told me the story of selling a piece of real estate. He told the buyers that his bottom line price was $164,000 and nonnegotiable. They came back with and offer of $150,000. He told them, "No sale. You didn't listen to me. The price is $164,000 - not negotiable." He was ready to walk away from the deal. He was straight and honest with them up front, but they didn't believe him and tried to negotiate anyway. They ended up buying the real estate for $164,000.

One is never too young to learn how to see what is and is not negotiable. My daughter is none. Since she was very little, I would tell her what was negotiable and what was not. She has been taught to ask honestly and directly for what she wants. When I know there is no room for negotiation in discipline, boundaries or activities, I simply say to her, "It's not negotiable." She doesn't bring it up or ask again. She knows she has the bottom line of the situation and responds accordingly.

Perhaps if the other person was approached, whether it is planner or supplier, with the initial information of "I've put together my needs and options. This is what I want. This is what is open to negotiation. I want to trust that you will give me your best options to meet my needs. I don't want to play 'haggle' with you, but I do want to have clear and up front business with you," it just might work. It does work with the Saturn company. Saturn cars are sold under a "No haggle" policy. People who want Saturn cars know they pay the listed price and they know they are getting value they can trust at a fair price. Saturn researched what people wanted in buying cars and "no negotiation" was near the top of the list. Trust seems to be the name of the game because when there is trust, prices are not inflated and no one is "nickel and dimed" to death. When there is trust, there is cooperation, success and long-lasting business relationships. In Positive Power Plays (see below), I encourage direct, honest, clear communication with specific requests and answers in the negotiation process. A willingness for both parties to leave the interaction satisfied is also important. While there may be adjustments to the original requests and desires, there is not a sense of compromise. In our society, compromise often means giving up or trading off reluctantly - "Well, all right, if I have to, I guess I can....." Compromise of this kind always leaves us dissatisfied and can lead to resentment and revenge (sometimes overt and sometimes subtle sabotage). It is important to know your acceptable bottom line and stick to it so you don't sell yourself out in the negotiation or hurt yourself or others later. In fact, compromise, the verb, is defined as "endangering the reputation of." We need to go back to its root form which is "a mutual promise." If the compromise reached is one with which both parties are satisfied and they mutually promise to keep their part of the agreement, then relationships are nurtured instead of endangered.

More than any other factors involved in creating successful negotiations are the basics of honesty and integrity. People need to be able to trust that what a person says will match the intention and then the results. Combine that with a sincere desire for a win-win solution and cooperative communication and no one will lose. A healthy, long-term business relationship will then be established.

POSITIVE POWER PLAYS
Skills for conflict resolution and negotiation

  1. TELL THE TRUTH:
    1. Realize that there is no absolute truth about the circumstances - the problem is different positions of thinking and feeling = Your "truth" isn't their "truth" and doesn't have to be in order to resolve the problem
    2. See the situation from their position - understanding it doesn't necessarily mean you have to agree with it
    3. Use "I" statements instead of the generic "you" - Don't blame - that will prevent the other person from feeling attacked and attacking you in return
    4. Be aware of their feelings - don't react to emotional outbursts - Don't defend yourself. Take a deep breath and listen, then reflect back to them what you heard. IMPORTANT - keep reflecting back the message and ask them if that is what they meant. Be sure you understand the communication.
    5. Speak to be understood. This is not an argument or debate unless you make it so.
    6. Be willing to apologize. Apology does not mean admitting you were wrong or that you intended to hurt. Apology allows the other person
      to save face and it diffuses the emotions. Acknowledgement that there is a problem also diffuses emotion.
    7. Attack the problem - Support the person. This sets up "cognitive dissonance" which disassociates the person from the problem.

  2. ASK FOR WHAT YOU WANT:
    1. Decide ahead of time what you want. Know your best option and state it as an "I want" rather than an "I don't want" - be specific - be able to describe what it would look like to have what you want
    2. Be flexible - give yourself options
    3. Look for mutual gains and win/win solution
    4. Focus on the future and give up the past
      1. AVOID "make wrongs" (If you hadn't done this stupid whatever, we wouldn't have this problem....)
      2. AVOID "get evens" (sometimes we decide what we want based on a way to punish the other person)

    5. Tell the problem before the solution - then the other person will listen instead of developing their objections or counterattack
    6. Acknowledge their interests and needs when stating your solution/wants
    7. Decide on your bottom line and the least desirable option that is still acceptable to you - know your worst option
    8. Request, don't demand

  3. BE WILLING TO NEGOTIATE
    1. Recognize that a successful relationship is more important than winning the battle or getting your way
    2. Separate people from the problem - work together for a solution
    3. Focus first on the desired result, rather than how to achieve it - figure out the "how" after you agree on the result
    4. Explore options without judgment - be creative - be committed to mutual gain and win/win
    5. Be open to reason and closed to threats
    6. Determine objective criteria for making decisions - "I'll cut the cake, you choose your piece first"
      1. agree on standards that are mutually acceptable
      2. use a facilitator or objective third party if necessary

    7. Invite criticism and advice, and then LISTEN to it - don't defend
    8. Assume good will on their part
    9. Questions generate answers - statements generate resistance
    10. Be willing to give them what they want - that gives them room to feel that they can win, and makes them less defensive

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Putting Off Procrastination pdf

"Procrastinators are people with a wait problem -- they're always putting off until tomorrow what they could/should be doing today." I'm sure that you don't procrastinate, do you? Someone once referred to procras-tination as "the nature of the animal," as if it were a genetic trait in all of us. I'n not so sure. . . I've found it has more do to with upbringing, emotions and enthusiasm than our genes.

Many people approach procrastination like a cold, looking for the Vicks 44 or Contact as a quick fix. The most important question about procrastination is not how to fix it, but instead why do we do it? All of the fix it answers provide, at best, temporary solutions to the immediate symptons. Seldom do they cure the cause so it isn't a recurring disease.

Procrastination is a "dis-ease" in our lives in that it creates upset, frustration and anger. In some cases, it slowly eats away at self respect and confidence. In other cases, it is like a common cold, a mild discomfort and irritation that is accepted as a part of life. Fortunately, the causes of procrastination are not as evasive as the cause of the cold. First, let's separate the reasons from the causes.

The reasons we procrastinate are abundant:

  • the task is unpleasant or over whelming.

  • we really want someone else to do it (and if we wait long enough they will).

  • to gain sympathy for our position of overworked and underpaid (the more we don't do, the more we have to do, the more we have to complain about).

  • we're over-committed and can't do one more thing.

  • we operate better under pressure, so last minute deadlines get us moving

  • no one said when it had to be done, so whenever...

  • "I got so many phone calls, I just didn't have time."

  • and on, and on, and on...


Under all of these reasons are just two causes for the behavior of "putting off." The first is fear > Fear of what will happen after we complete the task, such as
  • they'll find out I'm not good enough for this job because my work isn't up to standards.

  • if I do it once, I just might be expected to repeat the results and I don't know if I can.

  • I'll be responsible for... following through, success, failure, etc... and I'm not sure I want the responsibility.


To find out if fear is the cause, simply ask yourself the question, "What will happen if I finish or acccomplish this task?" Listen and be honest with yourself about the answer. Then talk with someone about your concerns and get support and encouragement for handling the situation.

The second cause is anger. It is usually old anger at controlling parents or other authority figures who told us what to do, when to do it and how to do it when we were small or too intimidated to talk back. It felt like being out of control of our lives and resulted in anger, resentment and a determination not to let anyone ever control us once we grew up.

The question to ask here is "Who am I angry at?" Myself, for overcommitting? (That one can also be closely connected to a fear of saying no and getting disapproval.) Am I angry at my boss or spouse--who seems to always be telling me what to do, when to do it and how to do it?

Once again, an important part of the solution is to talk to someone about the feelings. Often, you'll realise that they have nothing to do with present time and the immediate task and your perception of the situation will change. Then your attitude toward the task will be one of enthusiasm or at least a willingness to get it done.

Many books have been written on this subject containing hundreds of fix it solutions. However, I believe that the key is uncovering the cause and communicating the feelings. Then, you can create your own fix it solution tailored to the situation. My experience has been that being aware of the cause allows me to catch the "cold" before it starts--and ounce of prevention is worth a pould of cure--by noticing the feeling I have when I take on a project or agree to an action. That's the time to tell the truth about what I feel and what I really want. Now that's a whole other article, "How to Tell the Boss NO!" P.S. If you are already in the throes of the procrastination "cold" and are looking for the "Contact" quick fix, here's a few suggestions: Take action--do something, anything to get you started, even if it is on something that seems unimportant. Get a sense of completion and accomplishment on something and let that gradually build up your enthusiasm or determination to tackle the biggie.

Eat the elephant one bite at a time--analyze the project and break it into small tasks which you can do, one at a time. This again builds a feeling of completion and success which builds determination and enthusiasm. Reward yourself for accomplishments--create a list of rewards, from free to expensive, all the things that you want to do for yourself. Give yourself one on the completion of a task you've been putting off.

Finally, stand in the middle of your office (warn those around you first) and yell NO, NO, NO, NO until you are exhausted. The sit down at your desk and do something you really want to do, i.e., take a five minute nap, read the paper, make a non-business call, stare out the window. The organize your tasks and projects to see what do to next. Remember, you can only do one things at a time. So do that one and enjoy it!

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Take Action in the Face of Fear pdf

My biggest challenge is procrastination. I am currently unemployed, looking for a job, and the days just seem to get away from me and I don't accomplish anything. Help!

One of the biggest challenges about time management for those who are unemployed, self-employed or self-directed, is the motivation to take action when faced with fear.

Procrastination is very often a result of fear of the result of what might or will happen when we take the action. Fear of interviewing or applying for a job - What if they don't like me? What if I am rejected again? What if I get hired and I can't really do the job? What if I don't make their standards of performance? We aren't used to identifying it because in business, we don't often talk about emotions. The bottom line is fear, somewhere on the spectrum of concern to worry to anxiety to terror.

The usual response to fear is flight, fight or freeze. Most often, when the fear comes from within, we flee or freeze. We don't usually fight against ourselves. We find something else to do, some other busyness to occupy our time, anything but the task we most need to do.

My best advice to the procrastinator is to ask the question "What am I afraid of?" and then tell a trusted advisor, your coach or a good friend what’s going on. They can help you walk through the fear by identifying it and the possible outcomes. Almost 95% of what we fear or worry about never comes to pass! When we know what we are avoiding and why, we can take simple, small steps to face it and accomplish our goals.

Name your fear - If I do this task, what I think will happen is....
And then what will happen is..... And then what will happen is.......
- until you hit the bottom line fear

  1. Do a reality check - What is the likelihood the last outcome will actually happen?

  2. Do a resourcefulness check - And if it did happen, what would I do then?

  3. Do a reference check - If it did happen, what would that really mean about me, if anything?

  4. Check the past - Has that outcome ever happened before? What impact did it have in the bigger picture of my life?

  5. Future pace three, five, ten years out - what impact would that outcome have on my life three, five, ten years from now? Would it truly make any difference?

  6. Present time - What one simple action could I take right now that would move me out of apathy or inaction into taking control of the situation?
    Do It!!!

  7. Still in that energy of action and after successfully completing one step, make a list of what you need to do next and when you will do it.

  8. Communicate that list to your coach, advisor or friend and set up accountability support for continuing to take action.


This process will move you into action and a sense of accomplishment, boosting your self-image and motivation. Many time management experts tell you to tackle the big steps first. I say take small steps first, establish a sense of accomplishment and sucess, which will feed a sense of momentum and power. Then you can face the fear with courage and confidence.

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There's More to Money than Dollars pdf

If money has got you looking for another job, or a promotion - or you are out of work and money is scarce and therefore on your mind alot - here are some helpful insights about money that can change your prosperity for life!

Andrew was a self-made Midwestern millionaire whose net worth when he died was over $30 million, yet he lived with a constant and urgent fear that at any given moment he could be poor again, so he lived in a one bedroom apartment, owned one car, and wore simple clothes, and rarely enjoyed the money he had.

A talented artist from St. Louis, Sue had trouble selling her work. She found that she could only sell just so many paintings and then not be able to sell anymore until she was almost broke. Her parents had come from Europe and worked as servants for a very wealthy, selfish, greedy family. Sue's father often talked about how money destroyed love and corrupted people. Subconsciously, Sue's beliefs about money prevented her from selling her work and accumulating wealth.

James has been employed at the same manufacturing company for 12 years. He is considered a dedicated, hard-working employee, often volunteering to work overtime. He earns a decent salary and three weeks of vacation a year. He and his wife work hard to save money to give themselves and their two children pleasures. However, in the last twelve years James has never taken his well-earned vacation. He gets so caught up in "earning a living" that he forgets to live!

Danny is a University of Wisconsin college student, living on her own, independent of her parents. She doesn't have a steady job, yet she manages to pay her rent and bills, feed herself, and still be able to buy and do many of the things she wants. She doesn't let money (or lack of it) get in her way. She believes that if she needs it, the money will somehow come.

Why is it that so much of our behavior revolves around our attitude toward money? Why is it that you could make $10,000 or $10 million a year and still not be content with your life, and yet others can live with the one dollar in their pocket and still seem to do everything they want? What is this stuff called money anyway, and why do we let it control our lives so much?

Leonard Orr is a California-based money seminar leader who focuses his advice on the premise that money problems are more a matter of attitude than of income or expenses. Orr defines prosperity consciousness as "the ability to function freely and effortlessly in the world, with or without money. It is confidence in our ability to provide value and negotiate for what we want." He says money is not the answer. It is only means of exchange, relative at best to our ability to provide time and talent and, at worst, relative to the greed of the person who has what we want. When we realize this, Orr says we are free to form a "prosperity consciousness."

In the United States, our money is simply a piece of paper that we exchange for goods and services. It is a well refined barter system that allows us to get what we need from those who don't directly want what we have to offer. Money is really just a symbol of our time, talent and energy, even though the amount of money one person earns compared to another may have nothing to do with those factors. In truth it is a very relative system, and not necessarily a good indicator of how much we are worth. It is also curious to note that money is printed on the whim of the Federal Reserve. There is more money in circulation than there has been gold mined in the history of the world; and, in and of itself, money has no value. All of the money you have today could be worthless tomorrow.

Those thoughts are particularly frightening when we realize that we have given money the power to represent our self esteem and our worth, and we judge ourselves and others by how much or how little we have. We allow it to affect our happiness and satisfaction in life. Which person would you rather be if the economy failed and the banking system went belly-up? The millionaire whose net worth is now zero and is watching his worst fear come true, or the person who is happy and satisfied, able to make her life pleasurable regardless of her income or net worth?

Orr claims that a "prosperity consciousness" will guarantee that we will enjoy life regardless of our financial position, and be able to create wealth just in the process of doing what we love to do, creatively for a profit. Orr gave definition to the "Four Laws of Wealth" for developing this prosperity consciousness.

Phil Laut, author of Money Is My Friend and international seminar leader, expands on Orr's ideas and offers practical ways to put the Four Laws of Wealth to work for you. Laut advises, "Practice these laws and you will find yourself in a better financial position, emotionally and in your checkbook."

The Earning Law
All human wealth is created by the human mind, so work smarter not harder to get ahead. We are only limited by our willingness to use our creativity and take risks to create value. The problem is that most of us limit our thinking and don't get outrageous enough to do what is different or new and create value for others. Or we're like Sue the artist, and our beliefs about the evils of money keep us poor. For many people in recovery, the Earning Law is the hardest of all to master because addictions destroy self-esteem which is the core of our ability to receive or earn. Laut reminds us that we also must do what we love, "It's not easy to prosper doing work you don't like. Even if you earn a lot of money from work you don't like, it won't seem like much compared to what you gave up!" He goes on to say, "When people start doing work they love, most discover that their expenses quickly and drastically decline. Their attitudes about earning and spending begin to change."

The Spending Law
The value of money is determined by the buyer and the seller in each transaction. Become aware of your thoughts and feelings as you spend. Notice how you limit your spending based on what you think you can afford, and then pay more than is asked for something you really want. Watch how it challenges your beliefs about lack and abundance. These beliefs affect your ability to negotiate and get what you want, with or without money, so confront them and then begin to change them. If you don't do something about your spending beliefs, you may end up like James, unable to enjoy the living you worked so hard to earn.

The Savings Law
Accumulate a surplus from your income so that you realize that there is an abundance and integrate the idea that a part of all you earn is yours to keep. If you insist on continuously spending 100% of your income, Laut predicts you will always be broke regardless of how much you earn. As part of the percentage budgeting system he recommends, he suggests that you open several savings accounts for specific purposes and get disciplined and committed to savings as part of your money plan. This discipline can be a challenge to those in recovery, however it is very rewarding and reinforcing of our personal value and worth.

The Investing Law
Investing goes beyond savings for increasing wealth. It means spending capital in your name for the purpose of increasing your income. "These days the best investment you can make is to start a business of your own doing work you love," claims Laut. That business can start small and teach us many money lessons as it grows. An important rule to remember is never to put all of your money at risk and to return some profits to re-investments, some to celebrate your success and some to your income.

The Cleansing Law
Another principle of prosperity could appropriately become the Fifth Law of Wealth. Catherine Ponder in the Dynamic Laws of Prosperity talks about the importance of making room for the new and good to enter our lives. The Cleansing Law is about cleaning up and cleaning out - because a cluttered life, physically or emotionally, leaves no room for new things or creative ideas to enter. Redefining your thoughts about money, clearing out the unwanted things in your life, handling resentments and upsets so they are resolved, are very important steps to getting the wealth you want in your life. Sound like some of the twelve steps? Those principles seem to work in many areas of life - why not apply them to money?

Next time you have month left at the end of your money, remember the Five Laws of Wealth. They make it clear that there really is more to money than dollars and that there is a larger picture to consider than just a paycheck when embarking upon the journey of creating prosperity.

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Tips for Ethics Training in Your Organization pdf

Six Components of Ethics Training

Ethics is the hot topic in business today, featured more in articles about ethics scandals than in what to do about ethics in business. Perhaps because we can’t teach ethics and we can’t legislate ethics. So how do we improve the ethical climate in our business environment?

We guide personal introspection and awareness. We teach reflective thinking and decision making skills. We set corporate values, define ethical behaviors and then walk the talk, being congruent models of how we want others to make decisions and take action. Ethics training requires that we approach the topic experientially, in multiple sessions and with on-going practice.

Steven Covey (author of Principle Centered Leadership and other business classics) has been telling us for years of the importance of identifying our values and finding the true north of our personal or corporate ethical compass. Yet very few people have consciously identified the values that make up their personal or business ethics. This may be a reason they shy away from training in ethics or confronting the topic in any way.

When exploring the question “How does one teach ethics?” several key elements came to mind. They are stated most concisely by Robert A. Giacalone, Surtman Distinguished Professor of Business Ethics at the Belk College of Business Administration and an active trainer in the area of ethics.

Component 1: Provide trainees with ethical judgment philosophies and heuristics*. Effectively training employees to use critical thinking skills to determine consistency of actions with values is essential. *principles or methods by which one makes assessments/judgments of probability simpler

Component 2: Provide trainees with organizational ethical expectations and rules.

Component 3: Provide the industry/profession specific areas of ethical concern.
Most industries and professions have ethical issues and dilemmas that are peculiar to them alone

Component 4: Provide trainees with an understanding of their own ethical tendencies. People have different perspectives on what is right and wrong. Measures of individual difference characteristics related to employee morality provides an understanding of proclivities toward particular ethical judgments.

Component 5: Elaborate on the monkey wrenches in ethical decisions. Often other factors enter the ethics picture that we call biasing factors. These are a result of the manager attributes (socialized gender roles, philosophies of punishment [deterrence, retribution, rehabilitation], or the impact of the unethical behavior on the manager). These may hamper an assessment and reaction to the unethical behavior.
Evaluators may take other things into account (attributes of the offender, including group membership [racial, ethnic, gender], the rarity of the offender's skills, the importance of person to organization, the political connections, the offender's ethical work history, and whether or not the offender is liked).
The attributes of the offense may also be taken into account (magnitude of the offense, the characteristics of the offense, who was hurt by the action and were the victims likable and the specificity of codes related to the action).

Component 6: Get the trainees to practice and return. Trainees need time to absorb the concepts.

After twelve years of providing ethics training to professionals, business leaders and the general public, I concur with Dr. Giancalone’s conclusions and encourage you to use them to guide you in formulating values and ethics training for your organization.

There are also excellent ethics assessment tools to assist participants in your training programs (component four). I encourage you to use them as self-discovery is the best way for individuals to un-cover their values. Keep in mind that values are formulated very early in life. Your job is to help people identify the values that they already have deeply ingrained in them, see how those values guide their decisions and actions and determine if those values are in alignment with the corporate values, as well as what, if anything, they want to change.

Robert A. Giacalone is the Surtman Distinguished Professor of Business Ethics at the Belk College of Business Administration. Dr. Giacalone is co-editor of three books, Antisocial Behavior in Organizations (Sage, 1997), Impression Management in the Organization (Erlbaum, 1989) and Applied Impression Management: How Image Making Affects Managerial Decisions (Sage, 1991), and co-author of Impression Management in Organizations: Theory, Measurement, Practice. He was Series Editor for the Sage Series in Business Ethics from 1992-1997. He can be reached at
.

Patricia Clason, Registered Corporate Coach, teaches ethics for professional continuing education requirements, at local universities and corporate in-house training programs. She is Director of the Center for Creative Learning, providing human resource development programs since 1975, and owner of Accountability Coaching Associates. Patricia can be reached at

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Business Training Brochure pdf

Click on the link above to see our professional development brochure, listing clients and topics available.

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Affirmations Article pdf

A reprint of Patricia's "The Affirmations Technique" - an article on how to utilize affirmations - is now available. Just click on the icon!!!

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Article on Ethics/Patricia Clason in News Graphic - March 2003

The wind chill is below zero, you're at the video store and everyone else has the same idea. It's so much easier to park in the drycleaner customer-only parking spot than walk all the way from the back of the parking lot. After all, you'll just be a minute.

Is it unethical to take a spot earmarked for another business? After all, the owner of the drycleaner is trying to make it easier for his customers so he can make a living.

The answer depends on your own value system, according to Patricia Clason, director of the Center for Creative Learning. The center has been providing personal and professional development programs since 1983.

"What do we value? What is important to us?" Clason asks. She encourages people to, "identify what they really value and then live and work congruently with those values."

Clason uses an ethical type indicator as a personal assessment tool that reveals a person's ethical type. It helps people identify the underlying principles they use in confronting and resolving ethical or moral dilemmas.

Clason, who opened the center 25 years ago, has been teaching ethics for 12 years.

She offers a practical guide to business ethics seminar on Wednesday at the Center for Creative Learning.

She originally started teaching ethics to funeral directors who had a continuing education requirement that dictated they take ethics classes. She has since broadened her scope to include classes tailored to all kinds of professionals including social workers, insurance professionals, real estate agents and stockbrokers, among others.

Clason says there are several major factors, particularly on the Internet, that are causing us, as a society, to look closer at ethics today.

"We don't have a precedent for what our behavior should be. Over half of the Web sites are pornographic websites," Clason says. "Family values have changed in the last 50 years. We have changes in family structure - more single-parent families, blended families, teenage-parent families. We've had changes in diversity - the minority is fast becoming the majority.

"All the issues in corporate America are causing people to think more, talk more, about ethics. The terrorism issue has us asking ourselves what is important to us." Clason says.

Another factor influencing the increased discussion of ethics is the growing perception of a gap betwen morality and the law.

"We've attempted to regulate behavior with law. It's not law that governs behavior - it's our values or our ethics," Clason says. "We have insane laws, everybody is breaking laws all the time."

David Slicker, president of D.S. Solutions, Inc. an information technology consulting firm in Mequon, says strong ethics are the foundation of his business.

"As a consulting organization the only thing I have is my reputation," he says. "Also, as a smaller company most of my business is gained from referrals.

"I am in multiple companies that have the same products. As an outside consultant I have to have strong ethics; I'm privileged with confidential information," Slicker says.

Slicker believes that being ethical is not only the right thing to do; it also makes good business sense.

"Because of word-of-mouth referrals I don't have to rely on costly marketing and advertising," he says.

In addition to the ethics presentation, the Center for Creative Learning offers a variety of other workshops and classes. "Taking it Lightly" is a weekend course which encourages participants to "move out of survival, into aliveness" by accepting personal responsibility for their lives. "Positive power plays - dealing with difficult people" encourages participants to unlock success by redefining cooperation, telling the truth and learning to negotiate.

For more information and a class listing, contact the center at (414) 374-5433 or visit its Web site at www.lightly.com.

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Coaching Article featuring Patricia Clason

Coaches advise professionals, entrepreneurs
Robert Mullins

Professional career coaches don't quote Vince Lombardi, chew people out in the locker room, or make clients jump through an obstacle course of tires.

But they do help motivate people to win.

"She is a constant source of encouragement," said Milwaukee business owner Jennie Aiello of her coach, Patricia Clason.

Aiello hired Clason to coach her as she moved her home-based business, Custom Cuisine, into a storefront in December 1998. Custom Cuisine prepares a week's worth of healthy gourmet meals for people to reheat at home, one meal per evening.

Clason's business is to help Aiello's business prosper.

"They just want a different set of eyes," said Clason, owner of Accountability Coaching, Milwaukee, of her clients. "I become that objective third party who listens and can say, `Have you considered this, have you considered that?'"

Career coaching is catching on in the Milwaukee area and the nation as a form of business consulting. Coaches serve small business owners, middle managers, or top executives. They help clients succeed at their jobs or decide to quit them. They guide clients through the start of a small family business or give them advice on how to balance work and family.

Membership in the three-year old International Coach Federation, Angel Fire, N.M., has doubled every year to reach 1,800 members, said spokeswoman Amy Watson. She said there are an estimated 10,000 coaches worldwide.
Need advice

The coaching practice grew out of the corporate downsizing of the past decade that forced dislocated workers to review their career options, Watson and others said. Also, the growth of entrepreneurship is creating new small businesses whose owners need advice. Another group seeking coaches is young people moving into high technology jobs in new cities where ties to career mentors don't exist.

All those professionals need someone to turn to who will support them and prod them to excel. The sports coach analogy fits, said Clason.

"A coach evaluates the strengths and weaknesses of team members. He finds a way to have them complement each other. Helps them build a strategy for playing the game, critiques their mistakes, acknowledges their successes and urges them to continue," Clason said. "That is exactly what I end up doing with my people."

Clason meets face-to-face with her clients once every three months and talks by phone with them about once a week. She charges $250 a month. According to the International Coach Federation, fees range from $150 a month to $500 a month and beyond.

Coaching has been popular for a half dozen years in high tech areas in California, Arizona, Colorado, or Massachusetts, said Ginger Stuckemeyer, owner of ThunderCreek Coaching, Greendale. Milwaukeeans have picked up on coaching by reading about it in national newspapers and magazines.

"Milwaukee is just beginning to get the word on coaching," said Stuckemeyer.

The growing demand for coaches has prompted corporate trainers, consultants and other human resources professionals to adopt the "coach" approach.

"Everyone is calling themselves a coach," Stuckemeyer said. "But it requires a lot of hours of coaching to be a professional certified coach."
Attending Coach U

The Coach University is a virtual campus through which students can complete 36 courses in the field of career coaching, said the International Coach Federation's Watson. Course material is distributed by the university through telephone conference calls and the Internet, she said. The federation also has a certification program offered to coaches who have completed the course work and have worked a given number of hours in the profession. Certification applicants must submit detailed case studies of clients they have already coached, Watson said.

Clason serves as a sounding board for Aiello's fledgling catering business. Aiello is too busy making food and filling orders to take the long view of where she wants to take her venture.

"I'm busy running the business so I can't afford a staff and I can't afford a marketing person," Aiello said. "I don't know how to pull it all together. She is so smart in terms of knowing what to do next."

For example, a review of Aiello's client list revealed that a lot of them were health care professionals. She wanted to further penetrate the health care market and Clason gave Aiello the contact people at health care employee newsletters where she could advertise.

Clason's coaching role differs from that of a consultant, she said. First of all, consultants are typically hired by a corporation to provide a solution to an organizational problem. But a coach deals one-on-one with an employee or business owner. Also, a coach doesn't tell the client what to do, but guides them through the process of deciding for themselves what to do.

The coaching relationship also has a unique structure. After an initial assessment of the client's situation, the coach and client set specific goals for the client. In each subsequent meeting with the client, the coach determines what goals have been met and why other goals were not. A different set of goals is agreed upon for the following meeting. The coach prods the client to keep to the action plan.

"I'm an unfocused guy. She keeps me focused and on track," said Joe Schlidt, a small business banking consultant based at the Wauwatosa branch of M&I Bank.

Schlidt hired Clason to help him balance his bank job, a side public speaking business, and his young family.

Clason also is coach to Blue Rose Digital Graphics & Design, a Grafton graphic services firm. The business has four partners, all related to one another and in need of an outside voice.

"For a small business person, it helps to have an outside person to share goals and objectives with and keep an eye on the bigger picture," said Laurel Kashinn, founder and co-owner of Blue Rose. "(Clason) helped us achieve our goals when we had been involved in day-to-day fires you had to put out."

Jo Hawkins Donovan, president of Hawkins Donovan & Associates, Ltd., has been coaching in Milwaukee for five years. She sees her coaching role as building up the client's strengths rather than dwelling on their shortcomings.

"I'm not going to encourage someone who is 5-foot-2 to try out for the Bucks," she said.

Likewise, she will help a client assess their strengths and see how they can be used to improve their current job situation or find another.

Often clients are people who are muddling along in a job they've grown unhappy with. They come to her when they decide its time for a big change. Encouragement is often the greatest service the coach provides.

"I really believe in my clients and sometimes that is the greatest gift," Donovan said.


© 1999 American City Business Journals Inc.

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Coaching article featuring Patricia Clason 1/3/2003

Coaches advise professionals, entrepreneurs
Robert Mullins

Professional career coaches don't quote Vince Lombardi, chew people out in the locker room, or make clients jump through an obstacle course of tires.

But they do help motivate people to win.

"She is a constant source of encouragement," said Milwaukee business owner Jennie Aiello of her coach, Patricia Clason.

Aiello hired Clason to coach her as she moved her home-based business, Custom Cuisine, into a storefront in December 1998. Custom Cuisine prepares a week's worth of healthy gourmet meals for people to reheat at home, one meal per evening.

Clason's business is to help Aiello's business prosper.

"They just want a different set of eyes," said Clason, owner of Accountability Coaching, Milwaukee, of her clients. "I become that objective third party who listens and can say, `Have you considered this, have you considered that?'"

Career coaching is catching on in the Milwaukee area and the nation as a form of business consulting. Coaches serve small business owners, middle managers, or top executives. They help clients succeed at their jobs or decide to quit them. They guide clients through the start of a small family business or give them advice on how to balance work and family.

Membership in the three-year old International Coach Federation, Angel Fire, N.M., has doubled every year to reach 1,800 members, said spokeswoman Amy Watson. She said there are an estimated 10,000 coaches worldwide.
Need advice

The coaching practice grew out of the corporate downsizing of the past decade that forced dislocated workers to review their career options, Watson and others said. Also, the growth of entrepreneurship is creating new small businesses whose owners need advice. Another group seeking coaches is young people moving into high technology jobs in new cities where ties to career mentors don't exist.

All those professionals need someone to turn to who will support them and prod them to excel. The sports coach analogy fits, said Clason.

"A coach evaluates the strengths and weaknesses of team members. He finds a way to have them complement each other. Helps them build a strategy for playing the game, critiques their mistakes, acknowledges their successes and urges them to continue," Clason said. "That is exactly what I end up doing with my people."

Clason meets face-to-face with her clients once every three months and talks by phone with them about once a week. She charges $250 a month. According to the International Coach Federation, fees range from $150 a month to $500 a month and beyond.

Coaching has been popular for a half dozen years in high tech areas in California, Arizona, Colorado, or Massachusetts, said Ginger Stuckemeyer, owner of ThunderCreek Coaching, Greendale. Milwaukeeans have picked up on coaching by reading about it in national newspapers and magazines.

"Milwaukee is just beginning to get the word on coaching," said Stuckemeyer.

The growing demand for coaches has prompted corporate trainers, consultants and other human resources professionals to adopt the "coach" approach.

"Everyone is calling themselves a coach," Stuckemeyer said. "But it requires a lot of hours of coaching to be a professional certified coach."
Attending Coach U

The Coach University is a virtual campus through which students can complete 36 courses in the field of career coaching, said the International Coach Federation's Watson. Course material is distributed by the university through telephone conference calls and the Internet, she said. The federation also has a certification program offered to coaches who have completed the course work and have worked a given number of hours in the profession. Certification applicants must submit detailed case studies of clients they have already coached, Watson said.

Clason serves as a sounding board for Aiello's fledgling catering business. Aiello is too busy making food and filling orders to take the long view of where she wants to take her venture.

"I'm busy running the business so I can't afford a staff and I can't afford a marketing person," Aiello said. "I don't know how to pull it all together. She is so smart in terms of knowing what to do next."

For example, a review of Aiello's client list revealed that a lot of them were health care professionals. She wanted to further penetrate the health care market and Clason gave Aiello the contact people at health care employee newsletters where she could advertise.

Clason's coaching role differs from that of a consultant, she said. First of all, consultants are typically hired by a corporation to provide a solution to an organizational problem. But a coach deals one-on-one with an employee or business owner. Also, a coach doesn't tell the client what to do, but guides them through the process of deciding for themselves what to do.

The coaching relationship also has a unique structure. After an initial assessment of the client's situation, the coach and client set specific goals for the client. In each subsequent meeting with the client, the coach determines what goals have been met and why other goals were not. A different set of goals is agreed upon for the following meeting. The coach prods the client to keep to the action plan.

"I'm an unfocused guy. She keeps me focused and on track," said Joe Schlidt, a small business banking consultant based at the Wauwatosa branch of M&I Bank.

Schlidt hired Clason to help him balance his bank job, a side public speaking business, and his young family.

Clason also is coach to Blue Rose Digital Graphics & Design, a Grafton graphic services firm. The business has four partners, all related to one another and in need of an outside voice.

"For a small business person, it helps to have an outside person to share goals and objectives with and keep an eye on the bigger picture," said Laurel Kashinn, founder and co-owner of Blue Rose. "(Clason) helped us achieve our goals when we had been involved in day-to-day fires you had to put out."

Jo Hawkins Donovan, president of Hawkins Donovan & Associates, Ltd., has been coaching in Milwaukee for five years. She sees her coaching role as building up the client's strengths rather than dwelling on their shortcomings.

"I'm not going to encourage someone who is 5-foot-2 to try out for the Bucks," she said.

Likewise, she will help a client assess their strengths and see how they can be used to improve their current job situation or find another.

Often clients are people who are muddling along in a job they've grown unhappy with. They come to her when they decide its time for a big change. Encouragement is often the greatest service the coach provides.

"I really believe in my clients and sometimes that is the greatest gift," Donovan said.


© 1999 American City Business Journals Inc.

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Dealing with Difficult People - Racine Journal Times

Are you a difficult person?
BY JEFF WILFORD, Journal Times, 9/30/02

You want to talk about difficult people? Sandy Greil knows difficult people.

Be it the machine operators who ignore her quality control suggestions at the factory where she works; or the people who jostle her for position, cut in front of her or bump into her at the grocery store where she shops; or the customer who angrily throws down a bag of beans at the vegetable stand she runs in Waterford because they're more expensive than when he bought them a day before, Greil is confronted with difficult people all the time.

All Greil, 37, of Waterford, can do is grit her teeth, bite her tongue and wish them a good day, then wonder what made them so difficult to begin with.

"I don't think most people are like that all the time. I hope not," Greil says. "I don't know. I probably can be difficult myself at times."

Can't we all?

Experts say yes.

As frustrating as it may be for you to deal with someone who's difficult, and as often as you may wish they would just lighten up, chances are you, too, are difficult. Maybe not all of the time, but some of the time. Maybe not to everybody, but to somebody. And, experts agree, many people may not realize they are actually being difficult. Some of them might not even care.

Let's take a look at what it means to be difficult.

"There are people who are rude," says Garry Libster, a Racine psychologist. "There are people who are insensitive. There are people who put their needs above everybody else's. There are people who are unliked."

Add to that list: Hotheads with short fuses, people who try to blame others for their own mistakes, people who try to take credit for somebody else's ideas, people who don't listen, people who talk too much, people who volunteer for extra work and then complain about it. Add to that list just about any characteristic or behavior that irritates you.

Because assigning the label "difficult" to a person is a very subjective thing, Libster says. One person may think you're rude, another may think you're unfailingly polite. Somebody's sweetheart is somebody else's jerk.

Vincent Van Gogh was a brilliant artist, but was considered difficult. Thomas Jefferson is revered as one of our country's founding fathers, but was probably a difficult person to King George III of England. And Ralph Nader may be the consummate consumer watchdog, but corporate America might find his style a bit, well, difficult.

"My personal perception is the people we tend to title as difficult are the people who are on the edge of the norm, on either edge of the norm," says Patricia Clason, director of the Center for Creative Learning in Milwaukee, and the teacher of "Dealing with Difficult People" seminars.

For instance, people in the Midwest expect core pleasantries, Clason says. They're not overly friendly, but they're not rude. They're cooperative. Someone who exhibits Southern hospitality, or New York brusqueness, or the laid-back Southern California style, would be "on the edge of the norm."

"It's the expectation that people are supposed to do it the way we do," Clason says.

People can be difficult for any number of reasons. Maybe they're having problems at home or at work. Maybe they got up on the wrong side of bed. Maybe they're even too happy.

"There are some people who don't like to be around really happy people because it reminds them of how miserable they are," Clason says. "They always poke at them: 'What's wrong with them? They're always smiling.' "

Clason offers a somewhat scientific explanation.

The first factor is something she calls the Fundamental Attribution Bias. This means that, when you interact with somebody else, you almost immediately assign a motive and intention to that person, based on your mood, your personal experiences and how you perceive the other person.

"As human beings, we tend to communicate and process information ... by our unique personal perspective and through our life history and experience filters ... so we are never completely objective," Clason says. "That's just how brains and beings process information."

We can thank our Reticular Activation System for that, Clason says. The RAS is a part of the brain that used to play an important role for ancient man -- it catalogued negative experiences and used them as a reference for other dangerous, or potentially dangerous, situations.

Mankind has since outgrown the RAS, Clason says, but the RAS is still there, cataloguing and keeping vigil. Instead of warning us away from poison berries, however, it now alerts us to people who remind us of our jerk boss.

It's not a problem finding advice on how to deal with difficult people. The subject has given birth to a whole cottage industry of books, articles and seminars. But all of that advice deals with ways you can adjust to difficult people. Can't difficult people, if they're so inclined, do something to modify their own behavior?

"They can start by listening and paying attention; being aware of what's happening in their interactions with people around them," says Rosanne K. Poe, a psychologist in Burlington and Racine.

"It takes some feedback for a difficult person to be able to change," Poe says. "It usually happens from the outside to the inside."

For that to happen, people can either offer their opinion -- "You're being really difficult today." -- or solicit an opinion -- "Am I being difficult?"

The latter rarely happens. It's too confrontational and people aren't generally comforting asking for -- or giving -- that kind of opinion, Libster says.

"I find it interesting that people described as difficult don't seek out that information," Libster says. "Maybe that's what makes them that way."

People can also take an introspective moment and look for the characteristics that might be causing them problems -- sort of a self-test for being difficult.

"I know," says Sandy Greil. "The biggest time I'm in a difficult mood is when I get up late and I feel like I'm rushed all day."

But even knowing what makes you difficult doesn't mean you will change. People usually need a compelling reason to change.

Human beings, by nature, are loathe to change, Clason says. "We'd rather move along status quo, which is why difficult people, the ones most of use would probably call difficult, are probably going to stay difficult."

Being difficult isn't always a bad thing, Libster says. Look at it this way: If people consider you difficult, take pride in knowing you may be filling a vital role in social development.

"If there were not persons who were difficult in certain ways, we would be condemned to social stagnation," Libster says. "We would be content; comfortable."

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Discovery Channel - Emotional Health

How to Create Emotional Health
By Bobbie Lieberman

The intimate connection between body, mind and spirit has been known and honored in Eastern medicine for millennia. But only relatively recently have we begun to see that emotional health is directly connected to physical heath. Now we know: Neglect your emotional and spiritual health, and sooner or later it will take a toll on your physical body.

Thousands of studies (demanded by the Western cultural paradigm) have proven the mind-body connection. The human body is no longer seen as a machine whose breakdowns are random events. Depression is a risk factor for heart attack (and vice versa); anxiety can provoke digestive and skin disorders; self-centeredness may increase your risk of stroke or heart disease.

Your emotional health also shapes your ability to succeed "out there." According to researcher Daniel Goleman, author of the groundbreaking book "Emotional Intelligence," your "EQ" is a more accurate predictor of your ability to "succeed" in life than your IQ, a phenomenon he refers to as "emotional literacy."

Detoxify your body of toxic emotions
Beyond physical vitality and personal security, there is an even deeper imperative calling us to pay attention to our emotional health: ultimately, the deepest satisfaction—or greatest misery—comes from our ability to live authentically, deeply and intimately with others. If we neglect our emotional development, we run the risk of isolation as we grind ourselves ever more deeply into cyclic patterns of blame/guilt, hostility/shame, anger/self-hate and other toxic emotions. As a wise friend of mine once remarked, "It is difficult to walk through doorways with a chip on one's shoulder."

Four Myths About Emotional Health

* "We're only supposed to feel good."
* "I'm the only one who feels this way."
* "Most people don't have problems."
* "I can work through it on my own."

"We take life very seriously, and get hung up in our dramas," notes Patricia Clason, founder of the Center for Creative Living and a personal-development workshop leader for the last 17 years. Her weekend course, "Taking It Lightly," helps people identify their "unfinished emotional work," and move through it to a place in which natural joy and lightness of being can re-emerge.

What You Can Learn from War Veterans
For war veterans in particular, emotions of guilt, shame, grief and inadequacy come up as "old wounds," observes Christan Kramer, director of the Bamboo Bridge, a weekend emotional-healing workshop for Vietnam and other war veterans.

Most participants show up carrying their baggage of skepticism and cynicism, wrapped around the belief that our country has discounted the value of the service they gave and, in some cases, reviled them upon their return. In the workshop, they are able to purge a great deal of the pain and emotional distress they've been carrying, reports Kramer.

Bamboo Bridge, whose courses are offered to veterans free of charge in eight Midwestern cities, is a three-step process: First, recognize the need for change; second, take action; third, recognize that change itself is a process; emotional transformation doesn't always happen overnight. There's still more work to do.

Coaching as a Vehicle for "Courageous Conversations"
While self-awareness is often accelerated in a group environment, often the next step toward greater emotional clarity is to continue into a more focused, one-on-one relationship with a counselor, teacher, mentor or coach. In recent years, this specialized way of furthering one's career, relationship and spiritual development has come to be known as coaching.

Kevin Buck, M.F.T., a founding member of Partnership, Garden Grove, Calif., describes coaching as an ongoing relationship designed to help people produce more fulfilling results in their personal and professional lives. It is not psychotherapy. "In most therapy, the starting point is dysfunction. Therapy focuses on fixing a problem. In coaching, the starting point is the client's desire to better oneself personally and professionally. What it's really about is having courageous conversations."

What Are the Possibilities When You Work with a Coach?

* You take yourself more seriously.
* You take more effective and focused action immediately.
* You stop putting up with what is dragging you down.
* You create momentum so it's easier to get results.
* You set goals that you might not have done without your coach.

What happens as you gain emotional intelligence? You learn to identify your emotional "triggers." Perhaps the most toxic of all emotions are anger and hostility, for they rob us of peace of mind and the ability to think and act clearly. Hostility can literally kill you by repeatedly stressing your cardiovascular system with a flood of stress hormones designed for brief "fight or flight" encounters.

How Can You Overcome Your Anger?
One way is to "reframe" your anger. Get to know it. Do some inner research, and find out the real "story" behind it. Perhaps, as a child, you were never allowed to go somewhere that was dear to you, and you are still holding deep anger for your father or mother. Your cells hold the memory, and every time a similar incident comes up, you get triggered. You may need to go back and, as Kramer says, "collapse the dysfunctional belief system" that is limiting your possibilities. This may mean letting go of your long-standing resentment and forgiving your parents. Remember, forgiveness is letting go of the need or desire for someone else to apologize for the hurt we suppose they caused us.

Paul Gard's participation in the ManKind Project (formerly known as New Warrior's group) in Indianapolis, helped him "see how my lack of understanding of my feelings put me in situations that I did not deal with in a healthy way, both in day-to-day life and in my relationships. For instance, if I was angry, I might blame you for my anger, whereas now I realize that you may be tapping something for me that is historical, or you may be breaching a boundary I have not set."

In the past, "I might have engaged in shaming behavior—punishing you with my anger—believing you were the perpetrator and I was the victim," he says. His work with the ManKind Project has changed his ability to respond. "Now I can contain my anger, bring it somewhere else, maybe to my men's circle, and sit and talk about what needs to happen. That, for me, is emotional literacy."

You Stop Buying into Media Messages.
Harold H. Bloomfield, M.D., physician and author of Making Peace With Your Past: The Six Essential Steps to Enjoying a Great Future, says "We all live in a hierarchy of competition and comparison; we are never smart enough, successful enough, handsome enough. We hold on to painful fantasies of our sexual and romantic histories. We judge ourselves, and the media reinforces it, causing a deep sense of unworthiness. And it's all an illusion. The truth is, each of us is a child of the universe, and we can make our way through the cultural conditioning and discover a new passion for living."

The dominant cultural story for American men is that of competition. "Men are taught not to share—that's vulnerability," notes Buck. "For women, it's the issue of accommodating others, of always being the caretaker. If you want to stop a conversation, ask a woman what she wants, and ask a man what he needs," says Buck.

Christiane Northrup, M.D., author of "Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom" and editor of Health Wisdom for Women, maintains that cultural and media messages often set unhealthy ideals. The impossibly thin image of a model, who looks more like a "prepubescent boy with breasts" than anyone we know, would be so unreal as to be almost laughable, if we didn't take it so seriously.

You Become Aware of Your "Narratives,"
timeworn scripts that may be guiding you to repeat past actions, even if they are counterproductive or painful. Do any of these narratives ring true for you?

* "I'm not good enough."
* "I'm not smart/pretty/handsome/tall/thin enough."
* "I screwed up again! I can't do anything right."
* "I know my schedule is busy, but when I'm alone, I feel depressed."
* "Men need to be strong at all times and never reveal their weakness."
* "If I don't risk being vulnerable, at least I won't get hurt again..."

The common narrative, "I'm a bad person," is rooted in shame, which leads to sham—"when our outer presentation doesn't match our inner feelings," notes Bloomfield. To recapture joy, we must "let go of the slow drip of guilt and regret...the pain of punishment." His advice: Make a list of "if onlys" or "what ifs," then release them, recognizing that "This is the nature of the universe—to regenerate the ashes of the Phoenix."

You Acquire the Capacity to Shift Your Mood.
Many people seem to be "possessed" by their mood. Once you have done some "emotional reconstruction" and have gained a new sense of awareness in action, you may discover that you are less prone to mood swings. You can enhance your progress through deep breathing, meditation and prayer.

Bloomfield wants us to "turn on the light" by tapping into our "quintessential peace. Start by finding the deep peace, then embark on the journey." His vision for us is to move beyond fight-or-flight to a place he calls "stay and play." Meditation is an age-old tool for experiencing quintessential peace. "There is a great deal of haphazard advice in the marketplace," he cautions. "I urge people to find a qualified instructor rather than trying to learn from a book or tape."

Emotional health has long been undervalued in our "continuing education" as human beings. Historically, there has been no "owner's manual" for emotional literacy. It can only benefit every one of us to know that its value is rapidly being recognized in our society.

Could You Benefit from Emotional Coaching?
Would you benefit from coaching or a group study course? If you answer "True" to three or more of the statements below, emotional coaching might be of benefit to you.

1. I sense that I could be happier or more successful than I am now.

2. I sometimes feel that life is passing me by.

3. I find myself repeating old mistakes, suffering frequent setbacks or "bad luck," or reliving/remaining in unhealthy relationships with significant others or authority figures.

4. I often think about or talk about unfortunate experiences in the past (for example, losses, missed opportunities, choices made, handicaps, etc.)

5. I experienced a lot of pain as a child or adolescent, or I cannot recall much from that period in my life.

6. I experience outbursts of anger if I get frustrated by other people, inanimate objects, pets, children, or when I accidentally hurt myself.

7. I sometimes feel that I am not safe to express my emotions to others.

8. I would like my relationships with family, friends, coworkers or neighbors to be closer, more harmonious, positive and/or productive.

9. I am ready to take responsibility for my future and realize a significant next step in my personal and professional growth.

Source: Center for Creative Living, www.lightly.com

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Handling Holiday Stress - Catholic Herald 12/2002

Here's to a peace-filled Christmas season
Experience the holiday with childlike wonder, not adult-induced stress
Lisa Holewa
Special to Parenting

Home Base

It used to be so simple. The kids would mark up the Sears Toy Book catalog, carefully cross-referencing their lists to Santa Claus with the exact page number and catalog order number of each request. The parents would somehow buy and wrap the gifts, prepare the feast and voila, everyone had a merry Christmas.
photo of child looking out frosted window

So what changed?

Well, the biggest thing probably is now we're the parents -- and everything looks a lot more complicated from this end. There's a bit more pressure when you're the one orchestrating the holiday rather than simply sitting back and taking it all for granted.

And it seems, too, that there's a lot more to orchestrate.

Do we really want our kids spending hours sitting with the Toys R Us newspaper flier, becoming needier and greedier with every turn of the page? Shouldn't we be emphasizing the simpler joys of Christmas, coupled with a spirit of compassion and giving?

How do we best convey the importance of family -- by creating our own holiday traditions with Mass and a family meal, or by joining the feast at our parents' house and then heading across town to meet our in-laws for Christmas Mass?

And most important, how do we convey to our children the true meaning of the season, especially when we can barely figure out the simple logistics of it all?
Welcome to the season of peace, joy

Welcome to the holiday season, season of peace and joy. Or perhaps more accurately, guilt, stress and, if we're totally honest, perhaps even the tiniest little noodge of resentment.

"Why doesn't he do this? Why can't she help with that? Don't they appreciate me and everything I'm doing? These types of 'victim' thoughts are usually a pretty good sign that something is up, we're under a little too much stress and we need to do something differently," explained Patricia Clason, director of the Center for Creative Learning.

Clason, a member of SS. Peter and Paul Parish, presents seminars this time of year on handling holiday stress.

"Thoughts like: 'I feel so tired,' 'I'm not having any fun,' or any kind of 'What about me?' thoughts are also an indication that we're not taking care of ourselves, we've let things get out of whack. They're a sign that it's time to stop, slow down, look at what's going on."

Stop. Slow down. Look at what's going on.

Many parishes offer handouts and workshops on reclaiming the meaning of the season. Take advantage of them. Talk to your children's religious education teachers about ways they've found to convey the spirit of the holiday.

That's easy enough to say. But the reality is: someone does have to buy all those gifts. Someone has to hide them and wrap them and get them under the beautifully-decorated Christmas tree. Someone has to bake the cookies and plan the holiday meal. Someone has to make this all happen without blowing the year's budget.

And someone really should coordinate volunteer projects so the kids understand the spirit of the holiday. Someone has to balance the getting with the giving. And now that someone has to slow down and bring some peace to the season, too? That's not fair.

No, but it's true. And it's not impossible. And really, it will make the season happier for everyone, that someone included.
Force yourself to step back

"You do need at some point to force yourself to take a step back," Clason explained. "When you're in the middle of it, the best and most important thing to do is stop and take a deep breath. Then look at it in the here and now. When you get angry or resentful about some little thing, ask yourself: 'If I didn't have all this stress, would this particular thing be bothering me now?'

"Nine times out of 10, the answer will be no. If I find myself resenting doing something, at that moment I need to stop and say: 'If I weren't carrying all this weight on my shoulders, would I still be angry or would I want to be doing this?' Be in the here and now. Make a choice. Realize that what you're doing at that moment is a choice, and you could choose differently. Bring yourself into the present moment."
Balance spiritual, commercial sides of holiday

And once you take that step back, it's important to realize you're not in this alone. Yes, it's difficult finding ways to balance the spiritual aspects of holiday with the gimme spirit of the commercial side. Yes, it's hard finding ways to explain Jesus to preschoolers who just want to talk about toys. And yes, it seems impossible at times to find any peace or joy in the season that brings with it so much pressure and responsibility.

But, fortunately for us, others have found ways to make it happen -- or at least come close. And many of them have shared their secrets in the form of many, many resources available for easing holiday stress. You don't have to reinvent this wheel. Take advantage of available resources, including the Web sites listed on this page [print edition only].

In addition, many parishes offer handouts and workshops on reclaiming the meaning of the season. Take advantage of them. Talk to your children's religious education teachers about ways they've found to convey the spirit of the holiday. And rather than dealing with the stress of trying to explain the Christmas story yourself, look into some of the Christmas books available on tape; your family can sit quietly together listening to them one evening when everyone needs a break.

And, perhaps most importantly, realize that none of this is going to happen if you don't take care of yourself.

"During the holiday time, it becomes even more crucial to have 'Be still' time, 'Talk to God' time, quiet time with the family," Clason says.

Now, just how do you prevent "Taking care of myself" from becoming one more thing to worry about on your endless holiday to-do list? That could be tricky. But generally, the same simple rules that apply to day-to-day living also apply here.
Lists take the stress off your memory

For starters, Clason advises that you keep lists.

"Our brains are extremely capable and have this amazing potential," she says. "But the fact is, our brains function very much like a computer -- both have a limited amount of random access memory. If you're using up all your memory on remembering these tasks, there's nothing available for creativity."

So just write it down, in whatever format works best for you.

Next, adopt healthy eating habits -- or at least give it a shot. After all, you'll probably be making a New Year's resolution to eat healthier and take better care of your body, so why not start now, when doing so can alleviate some of the holiday stress. Be aware of what you're eating and how it might affect your moods. And don't forget to drink plenty of water.

Thirdly -- and this one isn't fun, either -- set a budget and stick to it. You know it's important. And there are plenty of suggestions out there for making it happen. For instance, you can put everyone's allotted dollar amount into a separate envelope so that before you can overspend on one person's gift, you have to decide whose envelope to tear open and raid for the extra.

And when it comes to gift-giving, Clason recommends diverting the focus from the dollar value of gifts.

"If we tell our kids: 'Write down all the things you want for Christmas. Make a list for Santa Claus,' at some level, we're setting up the expectation they're going to get all that. We're encouraging this expectation and setting them up for disappointment," she said.
Focus on gifts from the heart

"Don't do it. Focus not on people's wish lists, but on gifts from the heart."

In the future, you might want to consider shopping for Christmas all year long. When you find a gift that says 'This is you,' you can buy it and drop it into a box or closet designated for that purpose. Such a system also takes some of the financial stress out of the season, Clason said.

Finally, when it comes to family, Clason says there are dysfunctional ones. And if yours is one of them, it's OK not to visit them at all.

"It's important to give yourself that permission," she said. "And if you do go, if you choose to be in an environment that's stressful, prepare yourself. Get enough sleep. You do not want to be hungry, lonely, angry or tired, because if you are it's just going to be more difficult. On the other hand, if you are in a resourceful place, you won't automatically turn into your 5-year-old self the minute you walk into the door."

Even if your family isn't seriously dysfunctional but just the normal garden variety kind, it still doesn't hurt to go into the celebrations well-rested and fed.

Stop. Slow down. Look at what's going on.

But most of all, remember: It's Christmas. And that gives us all permission to be a little bit of a kid again. So go out there and have some fun.

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Patricia and Emotional Intelligence make the news! pdf

A thorough article on Emotional Intelligence in business, featuring Patricia and the Center appeared in the Ozaukee News Graphic and the Waukesha Freeman. Download the pdf to read (best read at 137 - 200%).

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Patricia contributes to Event Planning Guide pdf

Patricia's "How to Use a Professional Speaker and Meeting Box Essentials" checklists are in the Mequon Theinsville Chamber of Commerce Event Planning Guide. Download the pdf for the Guide.

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