Combining prosperous work lives and balanced personal lives
Welcome to the Fall 2008 edition of Susan Robison's free e-mail newsletter for women business
owners, executives, and professionals. Our goal is to bring you news, insights, and information
about leading a balanced and prosperous life while making a difference.
In this issue, you'll find:
- Sustainability: Beyond Recycling
- BossWoman coaching
- Up and coming workshops
1. Sustainability: Beyond Recycling
While the concept of sustainability is usually applied
in the context of saving the planet and global warming,
it is also a useful one to apply to the human side of
Sustainability is defined as meeting today’s needs
without sacrificing the ability to meet tomorrow’s
needs. The human side of sustainability is being
challenged by changes this fall in the U.S. and
worldwide. First, evidence from environmental studies
illustrates that the sustainability of the planet is
being compromised by human behaviors. For example,
if global warming melts the polar caps and raises
the ocean levels it will directly affect the two
billion people currently living within 60 miles of
seashore. Second, economic changes are challenging
the ability of the U.S. and other countries to sustain
viable economies that bring quality of life to its
citizens. Third, a change in federal administrations
challenges citizens in its own country and worldwide.
At a U.S. sponsored international conference of higher
education professors that I attended last month,
Australian educator, Dr. Erica McCormick said,
"We have been watching you." She got a huge round
of applause.She continued, "It is a time in the
U.S. of great hope and of great fear.”
A natural response to rapid change is to feel out
of control.You are not alone if you want to hide
away and ignore the whole business. In many ways
the above issues are out of your control. You are
probably familiar with variations on the Serenity
Prayer about “changing what I can change, accepting
what I can’t change, and being wise about the
differences between those two.” Consider that this
might be a good time to take appropriate control
of all this anxiety by working on the sustainability
of yourself, your relationships, and your immediate
environment. My hope for this issue of BossWoman
eNews is that readers might implement some of
suggestions below and forward this newsletter to
others to remind them of what they can do to
increase sustainability. The ripple effect of your
efforts might change the world.
Just like we can’t keep depleting tomorrow’s resources
without creating new supplies of energy and materials
for the survival of the planet and its inhabitants,
you can’t keep depleting your own human capital
resources. Health problems previously thought to
be associated with aging such as heart disease and
strokes are now known to be caused instead by the
cumulative effects of abuse and neglect. Treating
yourself like you are running in a sprint that will
soon end will prematurely wear out your body, mind,
and spirit. Instead imagine doing what long-distance
runners do – they pace themselves for the long haul.
While you don’t have control over Wall Street or the
new presidential administration, you can take control
in this challenging time by increasing your self-care
for your own body and mind.
- Get adequate rest. You can’t function at the high
level required for your work and your life if you are
dragging yourself through the day. How much sleep is
adequate? If you were on a relaxing vacation with
interesting non-pressured activities and you gave
yourself the first three nights to clear out your
sleep deficit, how much sleep would it take to wake on
the fourth day without an alarm and feeling refreshed?
That number is what you need to get every night.
- Eat a balanced diet with protein, fats, and carbs
in foods close to their sources, that is, foods that
have not been over-processed into frozen, canned or
dehydrated form. Your body needs the correct chemical
composition to sustain itself for building, repairing
and maintaining itself for the long term. To get the
right chemicals, include 8 glasses of water, 5-9
servings of fresh fruits and veggies, 2-4 servings
of non-processed whole grains, and 2-4 small servings
of meat, nuts, milk products, tofu, and other sources
of protein. Add a little olive oil to your salads and
your fat intake will be just about right. Avoid
processed sugar, flour, cereals and products made from
- Exercise regularly. Don’t try to find time for
exercise. It won’t work. Instead, make time for exercise.
Block your work and other obligations around that
- Aerobic. Get your heart rate up for 20 minutes by
running, walking, swimming, rowing, dancing or any other
activity that works for you. You may only need three
times a week to maintain good fitness but you need daily
aerobic exercise to lower your stress.
- Stretching. Yoga and other gentle non-bouncing
stretching will keep your muscles and connective tissue
working more efficiently.
- Weightlifting. Using light weights with many repetitions
will build your endurance and core strength so that your
whole body works in unison to support all of your activities.
- Keep up with your professional field by attending
conferences that update your knowledge and give you a
chance to network with interesting colleagues. Consider
trying a conference that you have not previously attended
to give you a fresh perspective.
- Choose media carefully. Limit exposure to bad news
that you can’t do anything about. Unless you’re a stock
broker, you don’t need to follow the market’s closing
number. If it’s good news, everyone will be talking about
it at the water cooler or on the commuter train the next
day. Instead, read uplifting materials. Subscribe to helpful
periodicals and eNews. Take media breaks; try two hours
of working at your desk without checking email or answering
the phone. Go to a “third place” like the library or
Café Joe’s to do think work without distractions.
- Worry well. Nope, I didn’t say, “Stop worrying.”
What I am suggesting is that you get more out of your
worrying by always worrying with paper and pencil so you
don’t have to repeat the worries over and over (we
psychologists call that obsessing) and so you can work
out some possible solutions on paper. Ask yourself:
- Is this bad thing really happening or is it a merely
- How bad is it or would it be if it really happened?
- What can I do to fix it, ignore it, or get help
about it? What action steps do I want to take?
- Think of three things you are grateful for each
Research by positive psychologists has shown this
gratitude exercise to be more effective in raising
your overall happiness level than any other single
intervention. In hard times, it is easy to focus on
what is not working but can you also think of what
is working well in your life?
- Don’t let the status of the economy discourage
you from good money habits such reducing your debt
and saving money for your future. Consult your
financial planner about keeping more of your savings
in low risk investments if it helps you sleep better.
- Do a good job at work but plan your next career
move just in case. Cut some surplus expenses on things
that aren’t essential and save six months income in
ready savings and save the maximum in your retirement
- Think long term. What can you do now or avoid
doing in your marriage, family of origin, and other
relationships if you want to keep each person’s long
term good will.
- Make your primary relationship sustainable by
giving it time and attention. What rituals and traditions
are inexpensive and non-demanding that you two can
do on a regular basis to keep the good feelings alive?
It is easy to get caught up in the day-to-day of life
and forget to make each other feel special. When my
husband and I first met we shared a dream to make
ballroom dancing a part of our life together. About
eight years into our marriage we started setting
aside time weekly to study and practice ballroom
dancing. We still keep up our skills with weekly
group lessons and practice sessions. Several times
a year we enjoy getting dressed up for elegant black
tie dances that are fun and romantic.
- Find easy, repeatable ways to sustain your circle
of the family members that you like but don’t see
regularly. Reunions are expensive; family blogs are not.
- Limit contact with toxic people, even if you
are related to them. They drain you and divert your
energy from spending time with quality people who
love and respect you. Pick your holiday activities
carefully according to your values instead of out
Yes, recycle, but in addition to the small things
like switching to the low energy light bulbs and
turning off lights when you leave the room, consider
some Big Change strategies as well to help your
immediate environment and the planet.
- Buy energy efficient products. Energy researchers
say the big energy saving comes with replacing cars
and household appliances with the more energy efficient
ones. It doesn’t mean you should rush out to do these
things. When we did some remodeling a few years ago,
we had a new energy efficient furnace and on-demand
water heater installed. Our next change will probably
be a washer/dryer set. Are there any new purchases that
you are going to do anyway but could do in a sustainable
- Reduce consumption. What do you really need to make
yourself happy? If you exchange holiday gifts, how can
you make them useful or relevant? Instead of stuff from
those “$15 or less” bins in the stores, consider giving
those close to you a gift certificate to the movies,
a restaurant, or department store so that the recipient
can make choices about how to enjoy your gift.
- Consider supporting your community’s efforts towards
sustainability by volunteering.
My best friend, Dr. Tracey Manning and her colleague
Dr. Barbara Shmeckpeper have create the Howard Legacy
Leadership Institute on the Environment in our county.
A training program for people 50 or better who are
retired or who just want to volunteer to help with
sustainability in their community, the program will
include presentations by top earth system scientists
from NASA, policy makers of environmental organizations,
and Chesapeake Bay experts. The nine-month long Institute
begins in January with twelve weeks of interesting
discussions, questions, and small action learning
groups followed by a volunteer assignment with one of the
partner organizations for six hours/week for six months.
Applications from Central Maryland residents are still
being accepted this week. If you wish to explore starting
a similar program in your community or to apply to this one,
check out their website http://sites.google.com/site/hollie09/
for a model of how to engage volunteers in work that
makes a difference. You may also contact coordinators
Dr. Barbara Schmeckpeper, 410-381-5279 or Cathy Hudson,
410-796-7232. Both can be reached at HocoLLIE@gmail.com.
Do simple, repeatable actions and occasionally some
special projects that increase sustainability on the
personal, interpersonal, and global levels.
Riscard, J.F. (2002). High noon: 20 global problems,
20 years to solve them. New York: Basic Books.
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 improvement in:
- work-life balance,
- career transitions,
- building your business or practice,
- time management,
- increasing productivity.
If you are feeling stuck on the way to your ideal life, give Susan
a call for a complementary half-hour coaching session.
She provides keynotes and seminars to business and organizations
on the topics of:
- leadership strategies for women,
- work-life balance,
She offers her audiences a follow-up coaching session because she
knows that workshops don’t work.
Contact Susan for your coaching, speaking, or seminar needs at
Susan@BossWoman.org or at 410-465-5892.
3. Up and coming workshops
I am currently accepting speaking invitations for work/life
balance and leadership workshops for the spring and summer
of 2009. Contact me if your group needs a speaker on any of
the topics listed above.
Title: “Facilitating Individual and Organizational Change in Environmental
Date: February 26, 2009
Place: Howard Legacy Leadership Institute on the Environment
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© Copyright 2008 Susan Robison. All rights reserved. The above
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