|BossWoman eNews – December 2004
Combining prosperous work lives and balanced personal lives
Welcome to the December 2004 edition of Susan Robison's free
e-mail newsletter for women business owners, executives, and
Our goal is to bring you news, insights, and information about
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In this issue, you'll find:
- Peace on Earth
- BossWoman coaching
- Up and coming workshops
1. Peace on Earth
Throughout the winter holiday season you will find expressions
of the same sentiment, people wishing each other peace. It
seems like such a simple concept, that people not fight with
each other. Our grandson is in a mother’s morning out program
where part of the curriculum is on “good manners.” He is only
20 months old and can repeat the lessons: “take turns,”
“don’t hit,” “say, ‘Please’ and ‘Thank you.’” Easy lessons to
memorize, harder to implement. If you don’t see any progress
on the noble goal of peace on earth, it may be because most of
us don’t think about doing anything about it ourselves. In a
recent survey of 1000 Americans conducted by the American
Psychological Association on how people cope with holiday
stress, the survey found that 61% of the respondents say that
money was their biggest stressor. Thirty six percent say they
either eat or drink alcohol to cope with holiday stress.
Forty-five percent say they rely on exercise to relieve stress
while 44% turn to religious and spiritual activities. A small
number turn to massage and yoga. The researchers didn’t even
ask if anyone was concerned about peace on earth although
respondents did list national security as their second concern
(44% over 63% worrying about money). Job security was third
(31%) and concern over family issues was fourth (25%).
Promoting world peace seems too big and overwhelming so we
concentrate on our own worries and leave peace promotion to
others like non-profits and government and religious
What we can do instead is to start small in our own
interactions with fellow humans. If you aim at peacefulness
in all your personal and commercial interactions and pass the
word along that peace can be built in small ways, we might
all make a dent in the daunting task of bring about world
How to Increase Peacefulness in the Workplace
Sometimes to solve a social ill, you have to change the
question or redefine the problem. Shirley Barcase, R. N.
was interested in anger management in the workplace. While
working on an assignment on anger in the workplace for a
grad class that I teach at the College of Notre Dame, she
realized that decreasing anger wasn't enough. To change the
atmosphere in workplaces to friendlier and kinder, Shirley,
an occupational nurse at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics
Lab, has been working on some ways to increase civility into
the workplace. When she proposed a brief roundtable
presentation to a professional conference of occupational
nurses, the meeting planners were so interest in her creative
approach to a challenging problem, they asked her to expand
her proposal into a presentation for a larger group. The
audience loved her material because it answered the question
of why anger management programs don't seem to go far enough:
they don't help angry employees find alternatives for the
frustrations of the job.
I interviewed Shirley's this past week for some of her ideas
on how workers can promote peace at work. She said that
promoting peace while at work means holding oneself with
respect, appreciation and love of self while respecting and
appreciating others (although one may not always agree with
others). She offered the following suggestions for something
everyone, not just managers, can do.
If you are constantly cranky or the recipient of others’
crankiness, maybe Leslie Charles can help.
- Maintain open and honest communication. You don't have
to agree or pretend to agree with others but stay open minded
to others’ perspectives and appreciate them for their
contributions. Remaining open to others ideas and view points
fosters respect, builds trust and civility.
- Maintain intact work relationships by learning to accept
others the way they are. When we try to change someone we are
disrespecting and destroying who they really are. Diversity
is what makes the world go around. If we were all one way, if
we use ourselves as measuring rods, life would be boring and
- When conflicts arise, recognize how your input may have
contributed (intentionally or unintentionally) to the
confusion, and consider offering a conciliatory gesture. Try
some of the following conciliatory gestures at work
- owning responsibility for our part in a misunderstanding;
- apologizing for your part of the misunderstanding;
- expressing positive feelings for the other person;
- suggesting a both-gain approach to the problem.
I would add another element.
- Slow down your communication. Yes, I know we are all
instantly connected by cell phones and commuters and faxes
but if we would pause for a moment before we press send from
our phones or our mouths, we could increase our civility.
Often our first response is not our best. Next time someone
says something annoying, pause before responding. Maybe the
best response will be to do nothing. Maybe the best response
will be to respond with less annoyance than your colleague
Why Is Everyone So Cranky?
Author/speaker Leslie Charles has done a beautiful job
researching and cataloguing some of the ills that prevent
us from being peaceful. They include:
Leslie suggests that all steps toward change begin with one
principle: you need to put more conscious thought into what
you want and how you plan to make it happen. In other words,
if you want world peace, bring peace into your world.
- Compressed time.
- Communication overload.
She had ten great suggestions. I picked a couple of my
favorite to summarize for you.
- Life a life of purpose. Know who you are and what you
need to live a meaningful life. Not just putting one foot
in front of the other to get through the day but having the
steps lead to a sense of fulfilling your unique mission.
The happiest people are those who seem the complex tapestry
of their lives as all one fabric. That means making choices
about your tasks and time related to a bigger picture than
just a set of to-do lists.
- Quit judging others and put your energy into someone you
can change – you.
- Replace negative emotions with positive ones. A measure
of your maturity is the ability to stop in the middle of a
bad mood and change the stinkin’ thinkin’ into new
perspectives that will cause a mood shift. How quickly can
you flip the switch?
- Choose compassion over crankiness. Maybe the waiter is
brand new or maybe he is having a bad day. You have some bad
days sometimes. Don’t you wish someone would be just a
little more patient with you?
How to Increase Peace in Your Family and Community
To increase peace in the world, increase your kindness in
the small world around you. In what ways can you practice
random acts of kindness?
Writer Margot Silk Forrest has written in her excellent
book, “A Short Course in Kindness,” that “Kindness is
natural. We need to unlearn the lessons that caused us to
ignore our natural impulse in the first place.” She
suggests that as each person becomes kinder, “There is not
telling how much the world can improve if a sweeping movement
of kindness provides a safe platform for change… Each act of
kindness we contribute inspires others.”
Several of her suggestions:
I’ll add a few of my own suggestions.
- Take time to really listen to someone without
- Accept the kindness of others. Allow the flow of
kindness to pass from others through you to others.
Don’t block its flow.
- Be kind to yourself. There is a difference in being
“nice” where you make huge sacrifices for others at
great cost to your own needs and being “kind” where you show
thoughtfulness to others while respecting your own needs.
- Encourage others when they are down.
- Expect nothing in return and you will receive much.
Researchers have found that kindness brings satisfaction
and good health to the giver.
- Consciously, purposefully look for opportunities to
ease someone’s pain through your small effort.
- Write down some of your examples of how you are
increasing in kindness. The next time you get discouraged
about world peace, get out your list and remind yourself
that you are doing your part.
- Practice the “Platinum Rule,” that is, instead of
doing unto others what you would want done unto you, do
to them what they really want. That might mean you ask them
what they want or with close friends and family, listen to
the clues of what they want to relieve stress or add to the
quality of their lives.
- Encourage children, employees, friends and anyone who
looks to you for example to increase their own efforts at
- Refuse to gossip.
- Come to the defense of someone being made fun of or
- Be generous with praise.
Be kind. Practice good manners. Pay it forward and pass
Peace to all,
C. Leslie Charles. (1999). Why is Everyone So Cranky?
New York: Hyperion.
Margot Silk Forrest. (2003). A Short Course in Kindness.
San Luis Obispo, CA.: L.M. Press.
2. BossWoman coaching
About the publisher: Susan Robison, Ph.D. is a
professional coach, speaker, author and seminar
leader. She loves to coach women who want
If you are feeling stuck on the way to your ideal
life, give Susan a call for a complementary
half-hour coaching session.
- work-life balance,
- career transitions,
- building your business or practice,
- time management,
- increasing productivity.
She provides keynotes and seminars to business
and organizations on the topics of:
She offers her audiences a follow-up coaching
session because she knows that workshops don’t
- leadership strategies for women,
- work-life balance,
Contact Susan for your coaching, speaking, or
seminar needs at Susan@BossWoman.org or at
3. Up and coming workshops
Leadership and Management in Non-profits for the
master’s program at the College of Notre Dame of Maryland.
January – May 2005.
Topic: The Four “P’s” of Powerful Presentations
Date: January 24, 2005, Dinner Meeting
Place: Snyder’s Willow Grove
Sponsor: National Association of Women Business Owners
– Baltimore Chapter
Contact: Grace Scott, 410-876-0502.
Other talks in 2005 on work, meaning, money, happiness,
leadership: to be announced
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