If you’ve ever been on a ranch, you’ve probably seen a cattle panel (check out the picture above). Not something you want to run into, especially head first.  That’s what I did recently when there were several panels in the bed of my husband’s truck, at just my height.  I jumped out of my side of the truck and was headed around the back when, bam!  A sharp corner of the panel banged my forehead and jammed into my sunglasses.  I was lucky that I only ended up with a few scrapes and bruises.

Although you may assume that I’m generally clumsy (no comment), I would tell you that this happened because:

  • I was looking at the ground
  • I forgot the panel was there
  • I was in a hurry

After I had some time to reflect on my good fortune, I asked myself if there were any lessons to be learned that might apply to my work with leaders and teams, such as:

  • Are we missing a signal that we aren’t communicating effectively with someone because we aren’t looking for it?
  • Are we failing to change a non-productive behavior because we forget about the negative impact it has?
  • Have we overlooked an opportunity to create an effective team environment because we are in a hurry to get results?

I invite you to raise your head and look around at the things you may be missing that could derail your or your team.  If you need someone to help you figure out how to avoid the bumps and bruises, contact me

My day began with a cranky computer and missing emails that couldn’t be restored.  I wish I could tell you how well I handled this stressful situation, but the truth is that I could have done better.  Managing stress is one of my ongoing challenges – how about you?

The Mayo clinic suggests that we first assess how we typically react to stress and then find healthier ways to respond.  Do any of these unhealthy reactions sound familiar?

  • Pain – from clenching jaws or fists, upset stomach, shortness of breath, back pain, headaches or insomnia.
  • Eating – too much or too little.
  • Anger  – at the wrong people at the wrong time.
  • Crying – about things unrelated to the source of stress.
  • Depression – when the stress is too much to take.
  • Negativity – expecting the worst in every situation.
  • Smoking or Drinking – stress is one of the main reasons that smokers who quit start smoking again. Alcohol is also a common stress reliever.

Once we identify our unhealthy reactions to stress, we can choose one of Mayo’s recommended strategies to manage it more effectively:

  • Scale back on obligations or delegate work.
  • Prepare for meetings well in advance.
  • Reach out and make or renew connections with others
  • Enjoy a calming hobby.
  • Relax through physical activity, meditation or yoga.
  • Get enough sleep – seven to eight hours a night.
  • Get professional help if things don’t get better.

I invite you to choose one new approach to stress management and resolve to try it for 90 days.