Tuesday, December 20, 2011

When is it a good idea to give coaching as a gift? Here are three important guidelines to make sure your recipient gets the most from your investment:

Almost everyone knows someone who could use a coach, but the key question when considering coaching as a gift, is will it be used?

Coaching can be the most positive and powerful gift you can give someone, because it can truly change a life. But it only works if the person receiving the coaching fully engages in the process. So, how can you be sure that your gift will be used well and truly provide a positive experience and great results?

Here are a few tips to help you decide whether coaching is the right gift for the person you have in mind, and if so what type of package would be the best fit for your budget and their situation:

1. Does the person you have in mind need to change, or want to change?

If they need to change, coaching may not help

This is an important distinction. Someone who complains a lot and maybe even asks for advice, but then doesn’t do anything with the help and advice they receive, could be stuck in a victim pattern where they simply don’t believe they have the power to change their life. You may really, really, really want them to see that they can make a change, but until they make the shift in their own mind and decide to take ownership of their situation, hiring them a coach will be just as useless as any other type of help.

Don’t despair though. One thing you can do in this case is continue to plant seeds by letting them know what has helped you without pushing it on them. If they complain about their situation, you can say something along the lines of, “I get how frustrating that can be and I used to feel that way too. Hiring a coach / reading this book / doing such and such program really helped me get my power back and take control of my life. I’d be happy to give you the information if it’s something you want to try”. Leave it at that and then set your own boundaries in your relationship with this person so the negative outlook doesn’t drag you down.

If they want to change, coaching may be the ideal gift

You will know that someone wants to change when you see them working at it. They may be trying a variety of things and failing miserably – but you see them taking enough ownership to keep getting back on their feet and trying something else. Also, when they talk about their situation, the language is less complaining and blaming and more introspective, asking themselves questions related to what they might try next, and you’ll notice a willingness to do the work, even if they are frustrated.

You can always slip in a question, “if you were able to have a coach or participate in a professional development program, do you think you would get a lot out of it?” and gauge their reaction. If they seem curious, intrigued, and positive, you have probably landed on the perfect gift!

2. Usually it takes three to six months to see the first transformational shifts.

You can purchase one or two coaching sessions as a gift, and what someone will most often get out of it is clarity. Clarity can be powerful because it can help you make a big decision, it can give you a new personal awareness, or it can help you get more clear on what you don’t want. But for long term change that lasts, the coaching process usually follows a pattern that enables someone to not only get momentary clarity on the frustration of the day, but also to learn what is behind the pattern of frustrations that keep coming back. The process is different for everyone, but a typical pattern is:

  • month one – excitement

  • month two – frustration

  • month three – glimpses of real change

  • months four and five – practice and application

  • month six – the first big shift

  • months seven and eight - more practice and solidifying the first shift

  • month nine - seeing the “next” level

With that in mind, when it comes to time-frame, the best gifts are:

(1) a clarity gift (one or two sessions)

(2) a taste of coaching (three to four months to make sure they’ve gotten past the first hurdle – then they can decide whether or not to continue on their own)

(3) a whole package or program (6-12 months – gets them through their first major shift and settled into it so they don’t lose it and go back to the old ways)

Whatever you do, keep in mind that getting someone two months of coaching is never a good idea because it only gets them to the point of frustration and they’ll leave feeling like they didn’t get anything out of it.

Deciding on a time frame is easy with Aspyrre because with the Aspyrre Community program you can do a longer term package even on a budget.

3. Feeling comfortable and safe with your coach is critical to success.

Sometimes one conversation can give someone the comfort level they need to talk freely with a new coach. At other times they need more time to build trust before getting to that comfort level. And, in some cases the relationship never gels. If I think my coach is a “sham” or has no genuine understanding of who I am as a person, I will never trust him or her enough to share the things I really feel vulnerable about. And those are usually the exact things that once shared, enable big changes that haven’t been possible before.

When gifting coaching usually it’s best to provide a “taste” of the coach first to see if the relationship develops and then decide how to proceed. There are several ways to do this. One is to gift a few sessions up front and then find out if the person wants to interview other coaches or stay with the one they have. Another way is to have the person enroll in a longer term group program or class that doesn’t require as much personal trust up front, but enables them to get enough of a feel of who the coach is to decide whether it’s a good fit for private coaching. With Aspyrre you have the option to do both.

Aspyrre 2012 Gift Packages

A Taste of the Aspyrre Community 2012 Coaching Program – Three months - $135

This gift gives three months of the Aspyrre Community with the coaching program included. This is great because it has them engage for three months – past the typical first hurdles, and long enough to earn their first private coaching session. If they are doing the work and enjoying the program, they have the option to start their own subscription when the gift package ends, which gives them a sense of full ownership. Even if they don’t choose to continue after the first three months, they will have gotten enough in terms of training, information, tools, and personal insights to make 2012 their best year to date! MORE INFO - CLICK HERE

A Taste of Private Coaching – One month - $650

This package provides two private coaching sessions, along with two optional bonus components: (1) an additional assessment or exercise that is specifically relevant to their situation (such as a business assessment, a self-discovery tool, a personal marketing plan, or a personal development program), and (2) an additional private coaching session to review the results of their work. This provides them with three coaching conversations (a $1050 value) and a solid plan to help them move to a new level in 2012. They will also have enough of an experience of working with me to see if working together long term would be a good fit and help them put their plans into action! MORE INFO - CLICK HERE

Aspyrre Community 2012 Coaching Program – Full year plus Bonus Coaching - $1490

This package provides one full year of the Aspyrre Community Coaching program – from January through December 2012, plus 5 private coaching sessions to be used anytime during the year. As a member of the Aspyrre Community coaching program – each participant has the opportunity to earn up to 4 private sessions per year, so this package gives them the opportunity to have nine private sessions total along with a full year of classes that they can participate in live or listen to as recordings, depending on their schedule. Please note, the private sessions can ONLY be taken in conjunction with full engagement and participation in the Aspyrre Community and packages must be purchased before January 15th 2012. MORE INFO CLICK HERE

Leadership Development – Individual Custom Package – One Year - $9500

This package is an ideal gift for someone in an organization who is poised for growth. As an ideal year- end bonus, or in conjunction with an annual evaluation, it shows your willingness to invest in your people and provide them with the tools and resources they need to shine and reach their next level professionally. It includes initial meetings with all involved to clarify objectives, review of evaluations and objectives, a “mini-360”, twelve full months of private coaching, and three progress “check-in” meetings with stakeholders. It’s everything you need to insure your employee gets full support throughout the year to rise to his or her highest level, and at the same time it allows you guide the process, provide regular feedback, and integrate what is learned into your team environment. This package can be purchased at any time during the year, and also can be modified to include additional assessments, workshops, or team programs as needed. MORE INFO CLICK HERE


Thursday, March 24, 2011

Dealing with Resistance to Change

Any time you try to make a big change in an organization you will experience resistance. As a leader, you can make a big difference in how effectively you move forward by being aware of how change impacts people emotionally, and spending more time “with them”, almost like a parent understands and handles the phase of temper tantrums in toddlers. People don’t mean to be unprofessional or uncooperative during periods of change. No matter how confident they are normally, organizational changes force them to grapple with real fears. As a leader, you can make it much easier for them to handle their fears and move forward. Here are some tips:

1. When you notice people you thought you could count on resisting the change – don’t take it personally. Keep in mind that everyone struggles when things change, no matter how much they want to support you. A good way to handle this is to say (once you are calm and NOT taking it personally), “I noticed X [insert behavior], and I’m wondering if you are struggling with this change?” Your goal is to get them to open up and articulate their fears – which may be irrational. Just having a safe space to talk themselves through their resistance with your encouragement could be all they need to buy in completely.

2. Keep your eyes open for individual fears of losing power, prestige, or value in a new role. We all have egos, and even though we know intellectually that the change is really about the organization functioning better as a whole, which should eventually offer more individual opportunities – it’s scary to “let go” of something you’ve been attaching your personal identity to. And, unfortunately most people attach their personal identity to their work, in the form of how many people they manage, how large of a budget they control, what title they have, who they get to report directly to, etc. We may be embarrassed about clinging to these things, but it’s normal to feel like we are losing everything that makes us valuable. As a leader you can break through a lot of resistance by taking as much time as needed to talk to constituents individually and validating their value and their role in the new order.

3. Articulate the vision clearly and repeatedly. Every day. Several times per day. It takes SO much energy to do things differently that sometimes the only thing that keeps people going is a sense of excitement over what is possible. If you can keep people focused on the light at the end of the tunnel – they will walk faster.

4. Leverage the power of habits. Do whatever it takes to get people actually behaving in the new way you need them to behave as soon as possible, and as consistently as possible. As soon as people are “in action” they are building habits that will be difficult to reverse later. As long as they are “anticipating the unknown” their resulting anxiety and negativity will slow you down.

5. Talk to people openly about the cycles of change. Let them know what to expect, how long it might last, how you can work as a team to accelerate progress, what behaviors will slow things down, and what you are willing to do to support them through the process. Then keep talking, keep listening, keep “being with” your team emotionally, because that lowers their fear level and helps them stay focused.

Don’t expect change to happen in an instant, and take ownership of your role in the process. As a leader, you can keep people focused on the vision, confident in their new roles, and “in-action”, while also understanding and being patient with their emotional and seemingly childish resistance. You can make a big difference in how smoothly the change goes, and how quickly your team passes through the “unproductive” stages and gets moving to the next level.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

How Important is the Truth, Really?

This is a scary topic for me to write about for two reasons: one, I don’t know the answer, and two, it messes with my strongest values. I was always taught that honesty and integrity are the most important guiding principles of life. When I was a teenager, I lied to my parents point blank one time, and cried afterwards for two hours because it felt so horrible. Now I read books that say all teenagers lie to their parents and I think, “Geez, what was wrong with me?” But that’s a different story.

This story is about success, and what it takes to become successful, given a definition of success that includes building a life around your core values.

It starts with one of the most powerful tools that I use with clients - a perspective-shifting tool that helps people move very quickly from being upset and angry about a situation to becoming positive or at least emotionally neutral. In their new emotional state, they handle the situation much more effectively and get better results. It’s amazing how much more powerful a person can be once they shift what they believe “the truth” about a situation is. I often speak about it in presentations and workshops, and I hear myself saying over and over again, “In fact, it doesn’t even matter what the real truth is – you could pick the truth that works best for you and operate from that perspective, and when you do, the principle of self-fulfilling prophecy kicks in, and you influence events to reflect the truth you chose.”

But in the back of my mind a question has been sitting for a very long time – just wondering how important the truth really is, and if my coaching tool works better without a real truth, what else in the world works better that way?

Today I got another example.

My eleven year old daughter is nervous about an upcoming dive meet. It’s an important event, in that the top six places move up to nationals, and she made it last year. But her chances this year are not good. The competition is tough, the dives are harder, and the way the scoring works puts her at a disadvantage. I don’t want my child to be stressed about this. I’ve been having conversations with her designed to take the pressure off, focusing on the fun we’ll have on the trip, and how no matter what the outcome is, we’ll find something to celebrate. But she has still been nervous.

Today, when I picked her up from practice, she said, “Dave said if I dive at the meet like I dove today, I will definitely make nationals.” And then she said, “I’m not nervous anymore – I’m actually kind of excited. I mean I’m a little nervous, but when I get into the water it all goes away.” And what I saw, for the first time, was confidence – the kind of confidence and belief in herself that will make this meet fun for her, no matter how she places. The kind of confidence and belief in herself that might even inspire her to perform better than she ever has before.

My daughter’s coach gave her a powerful gift. It wasn’t about truth or facts or mathematical probability; it was about belief. It was about faith and hope and confidence and belief in what’s possible. And it transformed everything.

I see this all the time with people in job transition, with people starting businesses, with people in professional organizations. It’s not the smartest, the most qualified, the hardest workers, or even the most charismatic that make things happen. The people who make things happen are the ones who believe they can make something happen. NOT just intellectually. There are many people who believe intellectually that they are capable of making something happen, or that something should be able to work conceptually. That’s not the kind of belief I’m talking about. I’m talking about an emotional belief: a confidence – the kind that helps you let go of that nervousness, the self-doubt, the pressure, the worry, the “what if’s”, and immerse yourself in confident, focused, and therapeutic action.

So, as I continue my own personal journey – still very much attached to the values of honesty, integrity, and searching for my “truth”, I sometimes wonder if I’m asking the wrong questions. Is it really my truth I should be searching for, or is it something else?

Would love to hear your thoughts…

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

What are “Needs” and why do they have everything to do with how things go at work?

Do you remember the last time someone pushed your buttons?

In that instant, did it seem like they crossed the line, almost intentionally?

What emotions got triggered, and how did you control your reaction?

That emotional reaction comes from having a need that isn’t being met, and this is important because almost every single ridiculous thing that happens between people at work, happens because someone has a need that isn’t being met. Most of us aren’t aware of our needs. We just experience spurts of annoyance and frustration with each other, but in a work environment, it’s an ongoing battle of unresolved animosity that undermines trust, communication, and productivity to the nth degree.

We may be able to hold ourselves back from reacting in the moment, but then we vent like crazy to our friends, we “forget” to provide information that the “button pusher” needs, we go out of our way to avoid him or her, and our judgments of each other get harsher. Eventually we decide we simply can’t work together at all.

All it takes is one struggle like this on a team to undermine productivity, but most teams have several “button pushing incidents” going on in tandem, and repeating themselves regularly.

If you make it your business to understand how needs work, you have the power to break through the barriers and maintain a productive work environment, both for yourself and your team.

Here are a few tips to get started:

1. Keep a log of all of your “emotional reactions” at work. Write down the situation and ask yourself “what did I need in this moment?” Listen to the first word or phrase that comes up, and write it down – even if it seems silly.

2. Once your log gets long enough, see if you can find a pattern. If the same words or phrases repeat themselves, you may have nailed an important need. You will also notice that the same people or situations will serve as a trigger for the need, over and over again.

3. At first, it will seem like the only solution is to make the person who is “pushing your buttons” change their behavior and treat you differently. Often the person is someone you have to work with a lot, like your boss, team-mate or subordinate. Unfortunately, you have to start this process by accepting that the person in question will probably not change. BUT the good news is that as you do the needs work, focused on YOURSELF, your reactions to the person move to neutral, and as a result you are able to provide more effective feedback, and the person does change. You just have to be willing to take the indirect route, work on yourself first, and trust that things will end up changing as a result.

4. The person who really has control of getting your needs met is YOU, even though it seems like other people are the source of what you need. What you’ll realize once you do some thinking, is that you have more power than you think, and you’ll also begin to see what you can do to influence the world around you and get more of what you need.

5. An interesting paradox about needs is that we often close ourselves off to receiving what we most need from others. It’s like having trouble accepting compliments. One of the biggest things you have to learn is to graciously receive what you need when it comes to you, even if you don’t really care that much for the source.

6. You also have to learn to give YOURSELF a lot of what you need – listen to that inner voice, and notice what you say to yourself over and over again. If you need to be accepted, are you accepting yourself? If you need to be heard, are you ignoring yourself? It seems like an odd thing to check for, but you may be surprised when you start paying attention.

7. Once you get a feel for how needs play out in your own life, start observing other people and their interactions at work. Pay attention in meetings and notice when someone has an edge to their voice, a hint of sarcasm or resentment. You’ll begin to pick up on the dynamics of others on your team, and may even find subtle ways to intervene and facilitate better interactions across the whole team.

At work, whenever things start getting weird, one of the most powerful things you can ask is this: “are you getting everything you need in this situation?” If you are genuine, this question can dissipate emotion from people who aren’t even aware they are reacting, and give them an opportunity to articulate what they do need. Sometimes it’s as simple as clarity on priorities, extra time to finish a project, or appreciation for work they did that is no longer going to be used.

As independent and self-sufficient professionals, we don’t want to “have needs”. But whether we want to admit it or not, we all have this stuff going on underneath, and if it’s not dealt with directly, it shows up anyway – resulting in poor communication, inefficient team-work, and wasted time, which no organization can afford these days.

No matter what type of organization you work in, you can take yourself to the next level by learning about your own needs. Start with the seven tips above, or you can join the Aspyrre Community, an ongoing professional development program, that provides insight to help you see what’s really behind challenging situations at work, and tools to manage the situations effectively and get better results. For more information on the Aspyrre Community, click here.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Will you Really Change this Year?

If you could change anything, what would be different by the end of this year? It’s a question I often ask clients, but in January, it crosses almost everyone’s mind. The thing is, change doesn’t happen just by thinking about it, and that’s why most New Years Resolutions fail. Our brains and bodies like habits because they make life more efficient, but if your current habits are keeping you stuck, it will take more than a burst of commitment to change them. Here are five tips to help you make real and lasting change:

1. You need to know why it’s important to change, and your reason has to matter to YOU, at a deep emotional level.

Too many people resolve to quit smoking or go on a diet because they know they should for their health. The problem is they still feel ok, and the good feelings they get from smoking or eating are so much more positive, clear and strong than the concept in their mind of what it will feel like to be healthier. Those who succeed are either scared by a close call (powerfully emotional), or they are able to attach themselves to a clear, emotional, and positive vision of themselves in a healthier body. That clear vision and positive emotion is the thing that keeps them going as they develop new habits.

2. Get clear on what actions you are willing to take, for how long, and how you will decide whether it’s worth it to keep acting if you aren’t getting results.

The sad thing about most goals is that it takes longer to get results than what you would expect. When you don’t get results, it’s easy to get into a slump of not working as hard, which slows you down even more. One thing that helps is rewarding yourself for effort as opposed to results. When you know you are putting in your best effort, it’s hard to get down on yourself, and easier to keep going until you’ve gathered enough momentum to start seeing results.

3. Detach yourself emotionally from failure, get used to it, and learn from it.

While it’s powerful to be emotionally attached to the vision that drives you forward, it’s painful to be emotionally attached to the little failures along the way. You have to get over being embarrassed about looking like a dork, or comparing yourself to others who seem to be doing it better or faster. The successful people in this world have failed many more times than the failures. Who do you want to be?

4. Develop habits that support your success.

Habits and routines can form a strong foundation for success, helping you maintain consistent behaviors that build on themselves over time. Your brain likes habits, and if you do the same thing enough times in a row it will become automatic. Habits can work for you or against you, and the more habits you can develop to work for you, the easier it will be for you to create lasting and permanent change. This works with meals, exercise routines, sales calls, building your network, managing people, running meetings, and just about anything else.

5. Adopt a mindset that matches your change.

Your mind is powerful. It dictates what you notice in the world, what you decide it means, how you respond, and ultimately what shows up for you. It’s almost lucky that it takes awhile to make most changes on the outside, because if your mind doesn’t catch up, you can easily spiral right back to where you started. The way to prevent this is NOTICE that running commentary in your head and THINK about how that running commentary might be different if you succeed. Instead of “I need a smoke” every time things get stressful, it might be “I need a walk” or “a break” or “ten minutes to think with my door closed and a cup of tea”. Start playing with new ways to think that match the way you want to be thinking about the world once you have succeeded.

6. BONUS - Get a support system!

Studies show that people are three times as likely to make a change when they have a support system in place – usually a group of people who are in it together. You can put together a mastermind group, or join a support group, or even get a buddy to work with you, and the natural synergy and support will propel you forward. I have to make a sales pitch here – JOIN the Aspyrre Community and as long as you show up on the phone calls it’s almost inevitable that you will change. We are continuously learning and working with tools that help you move yourself to the next level, and hearing other people with similar challenges talk about their experiences is invaluable.

It all comes down to this. Do you really want things to change this year? If you do, you will need to do something different. Something that moves you out of your current habitual way of living. It can be as small as joining the community and showing up on calls or as big as moving to a brand new place physically and developing a whole new living routine. But do SOMETHING different – and lay the foundation for real and lasting change.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Organize to Higher Revenue

I first hired an organizer in 2003, wrote this article 2 years later, and still pull it out every few years and re-post it. Even now, 7 years later, I still have most of the systems in place that my original organizer set up for me - and I stand by the claim that having great organizational systems has a direct impact on revenue!

So, here it is again:


One day about two years ago, I decided to find out how much the clutter in my office was costing me. The answer amazed me. After a few days working with a professional organizer, I immediately increased my monthly income by about 50%. And if you can imagine anything better than that – my stress level dropped to almost nothing. What I learned about organizing has made a huge impact in my business and my life. Here are five things I learned about the value and process of organizing that were key to achieving such amazing results:

1. Organizing, weeding, and taking care of open issues are distinctly separate activities. Try to do them at the same time, and you run into trouble.

If you’ve ever hired a housecleaning service, you may have noticed how quickly they get the job done. This is because all they do is clean. They don’t get distracted picking up clutter, or fixing broken things, or deciding if something should go to Goodwill.

The problem with organizing our own stuff is that everything we own requires a decision or reminds us of something we intended to do. So, instead of “getting through the box”, we spend our time taking care of what we find in the box. This approach takes a lot of time – it’s common to end up with the box still full hours later. Working this way is frustrating and overwhelming.

The professional organizer sees things differently. She sorts through an entire box in 20 minutes, easily. She has no emotional attachment to the items in the box – to her they are simply objects with a use, size, shape, and category attached to them. Her job is to get them into piles and find homes for them. All the things that need to be taken care of get put in a “take care of” pile and can be addressed once the organizing part of the job is done.

2. Everything has a home, absolutely everything.

You can’t put something away if you don’t know where it goes. If you look at a pile of clutter, in most cases it exists because 80% of the contents either don’t have a home, or the home is not easily accessible. Anything that will reside in your space, even temporarily, needs a home. This includes keys, borrowed books, business cards, thank you notes, and single sheets of paper with scribbled notes on them.

The “home” is specifically designed around ease of use. It’s located where the item is most often used, and it has a container or hook that fits. The containers and hooks are critical. They make it easy to retrieve items and easy to put them back where they belong. They also reduce the chance of items getting in the way of each other.

The biggest benefit of assigning homes to everything is that a mess that used to take three hours to clean only takes ten minutes. Why? Because you grab the stuff and put it where it belongs. You don’t even have to think. I thought that when my office got organized, I would have to file a few minutes every day to keep everything looking perfect. What I found is that even if I let my filing stack up for an entire month, I could get caught up on it in less than 20 minutes. What a relief!

3. Create decision criteria, so you know immediately what to keep and what to throw away

If you don’t decide what to keep and what to throw away you have a lot of items taking up space that don’t have homes (because you aren’t sure you’ll keep them) and aren’t in the trash (because you haven’t decided to let them go).

Here’s where my organizer really helped me. She gave me a simple over-riding guideline, and asked really good questions whenever I was confused. It went something like this:

The over-riding guideline: You only keep something if you use it regularly, or you love it.

Then, every time I wasn’t sure about something, she would ask me a series of great questions:

a. What situation are you keeping it for?
b. How often does that situation occur?
c. What will you do if that situation occurs and you don’t have it?

Inevitably we would find a lot of things I was keeping because they were “too good” to throw away. Now all these items get donated to places where they will be used.

Once I had created my rules, everything went much more quickly. I would “weed” first, by throwing out or donating everything that didn’t fall into the “keep” criteria. Then once I got to the organizing, it was simply a matter of sorting and finding homes for everything that was left.

4. I wouldn’t have done it myself.

If I pay close attention, this is what happens when I organize alone: I get frustrated because it’s taking too long; I get bored because it’s not interesting work; I get distracted because I think of other important “revenue producing” activities I should be focusing on; I get angry when I discover something I intended to do that fell through the cracks; I stop and try to solve problems as I uncover them. All these negative thoughts and emotions drain my energy and pull me away from the task at hand.

With my organizer the experience is quite different: She sorts quickly and easily because she has no emotional connection to my stuff. As issues come up, we discuss them, and because she has lots of experience with similar situations, decisions come quickly. There is a sense of teamwork, forward movement, and the relief of having someone experienced to lean on who will insure that the project continues to move forward, even when I’m lagging behind.

5. The return on investment is enormous.

For me it was several thousand dollars. It started with about four extra hours per week. On top of that I had a more powerful presence that came from knowing I had everything under control. I was more prepared when I gave presentations, I had a better follow up system, I put more thought into my writing, because I was more relaxed about taking the time to think. That translated into more powerful personal interactions, which translated into more business. My monthly revenue immediately increased by about 50% after the initial organizing effort, and never dipped back.

It’s been about two years now since my first experience with an organizer. Since then I’ve continued to use an organizer periodically, to replace systems as they become obsolete, or to save me if I’ve let things go for more than a few months. Even though it’s a smaller, more intense effort, I consistently experience more confidence, more time, and increased business in the weeks following the visit.

Copyright @2005 - 2010 Nahid Casazza

Monday, May 03, 2010

The Quick "Pick Me Up" Exercise

Most of the people I work with are used to being very successful, and when they find themselves in transition for a long period of time, they start having scary moments of self-doubt, where they truly wonder if they've lost themselves forever.

When you feel like curling up in a ball and hiding from the world, but you know you have to get moving in order to change things, this tool can help.

The exercise below can be done in five minutes and is specifically designed to counteract thinking patterns associated with sadness. If you focus and answer each question honestly and introspectively, you should experience a subtle shift in your frame of mind that can serve as a mental and emotional "pick me up", when you need one. Have fun with it!

The Quick “Pick Me Up” Exercise

You can do this exercise for an emotional “pick me up” when you are feeling really down. Answer the questions below with effort and honesty:

1. List five things you are grateful for in this moment:

2. List five people you know and respect. For each person list at least one specific thing that you do better than they do:

3. List five people who love and respect you for who you are:

4. List five things you have accomplished in the last three weeks that you are proud of:

5. List five things you could do right now that take 20 minutes or less, and would make you feel really good about yourself:

6. Choose one of the five things on your list, and do it now.