5 Affordable Beauty Tips for Summer

By: Tori Lutz

Everyone wants to look their best, particularly during summer months when you get to show some skin.

Fancy beauty treatments that help you get to that goal look can get quite expensive, though, if you don’t budget wisely and find some ways to save money with it all.

To help make sure you feel as confident as possible this summer without breaking the bank, here are a few affordable beauty tips to get you ready.

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At-Home Spa Treatments

One of the easiest ways to save money on beauty treatments is to do all of the pampering yourself at home!

This can help you save an enormous chunk of money when it comes to simpler spa treatments like doing your own nails, putting together a skincare routine that involves masks, scrubs and other necessities, setting up your own aromatherapy and more.

A good rule of thumb is really just asking yourself what all you can accomplish on your own. Some treatments and services may require an outside party (laser treatments, massages, elaborate hairstyling, etc.), but many don’t.

The best part about an at-home spa day is that it can be tailored to your exact specifications without dipping too deep into your wallet. Choice of treatment, brands and application methods are all up to you!

Research Affordable Beauty Providers and Products

Big price tags don’t always mean the best service or quality, and there are often plenty of affordable salons, med spas and other beauty providers that will provide excellent service and results.

This tip is something that will require basic amounts of research in your specific area, but making sure that you do this will help to guarantee that you aren’t overspending.

One general piece of advice is that if there is a beauty school in your area, they will often provide great service for a fraction of the price. Not only are the students almost always receiving advice and instruction from experienced professionals, they are also often meticulous with their work since they still have a lot to prove.

If choosing a beginner stresses you out a little, there are often tiered options to select more experienced students as well.

As far as products go, just remember that a brand name doesn’t inherently imply quality. If you have products that you love but feel are a little expensive, try to look into the specific ingredients or type of product it is and see if you can find a lesser known brand that accomplishes the same result for less.

Sunscreen Will Save You Headaches

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A big part of summer fun often involves much more sun exposure through days at the beach, strolls through the park or even just being out and about in the hotter weather.

A little goes a long way with sun protection, and this is definitely one of the least expensive parts of any skin routine!

By making sure you take care of your skin and keep it protected from UV rays, you will save yourself a lot of stress over things like sunburns, peeling skin, uneven pigmentation, advanced signs of aging, skin cancer and much more.

Treatments do exist for a number of the issues that sun damage can cause, but they can sometimes get expensive and it’s possible that not all of the damage can be undone.

The best thing you can do for your skin at any age is to make sure you invest in some good sunscreen this summer and skip the tanning oil!

Invest in Long-Term Solutions

If you do already have existing insecurities and want to invest in solutions that can leave you feeling more confident, the best way to go is looking into quality, long-term solutions that will leave you happier and healthier.

When it comes to beauty, medical spas, dermatologists and naturopathic physicians are often great resources. Many of them will also offer free consultations so you can get an expert opinion on what to look into.

Dr. Sarah Bennett, a naturopathic physician in Scottsdale, knows how pricey visits to a med spa can get if you don’t do the right research beforehand:

“I always want to make sure my clients get the best care for them, so I like to give free consultations to not only make sure that we are the right fit but also to make sure that they get all of the needed information firsthand. I know that I’m far from the only naturopathic physician who does this, so I definitely encourage anyone considering treatments like botox, laser hair removal or others to look around online and see who is available for a brief, informative conversation.”

If you have insecurities like body hair or skin problems, looking into a long-term solution can be affordable - you just have to make sure to do the proper research in your area and pick treatments that best serve you and your needs to make sure you don’t accidentally rack up a bill on things that you could otherwise handle in more affordable ways.

Clean Eating Goes a Long Way

Food can impact a great deal more than just your weight. It can also impact your skin, hair, mood, tone and more.

Clean eating can help to make sure that you avoid a lot of the toxins that can cause problems like acne and weight gain while also boosting your morale and helping with energy, motivation and overall mood.

The most important thing to remember when you try to make a switch in your lifestyle like this is that it is just that: a lifestyle choice. Looking at it as a diet has a tone of impermanence while also carrying negative connotations that will make you think of suffering or “going without”.

Clean eating is just the opposite of that. It’s adding to your life by giving your body more of the nutrients it genuinely needs and less of the unnecessary chemicals, fats, sugars and other contents commonly found in more processed foods.

If grocery stores are a place of temptation for you that will make clean eating hard to stick with, try to only shop the perimeters of the store where you’ll find more natural and healthy essentials like produce, fresh meat, dairy needs and bread.

In Summary

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but it is more than possible to achieve the best version of yourself by making a conscious effort.

This effort doesn’t even need to break the bank. By pampering yourself at home, switching to more affordable providers and products, remembering sunscreen, investing in yourself and eating cleaner, you will already make all the difference.

For more money saving tips to avoid overspending in other areas of your life, be sure to check out our other great blog posts on this topic!


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Katherine (Tori) Lutz has made a career out of freelance work and published through a variety of outlets in many industries. Her work has been published on platforms like USAToday, the Tallahassee Democrat, Altitude Group Inc., and others. She has contributed a breaking news story that ranked as the top viewed article on USAToday for 3 days, served as the sole resource for the Tallahassee Democrat and USAToday network at the 2017 Richard Spencer event at the University of Florida, and stayed on top of on-going coverage of Hurricane Irma. In addition to over 175 published articles, she has also completed a collection of poetry, managed social media for numerous companies, worked at an independent newspaper as a writer, section editor, and Editor-in-Chief, and taken on a number of corporate copywriting and copyediting jobs.

How well do you receive money?

By: Liz Wolfe

I recently read a moving and insightful book called 365 Thank Yous: The Year a Simple Act of Daily Gratitude Changed My Life by John Kralik.  It’s a true story of a man who completely turned his life around when he decided to write a thank you note every day for one year.  This memoir is an example of how powerful gratitude can be.

The story that I remember most from the book, though, was one that Kralik tells in the beginning.  He describes how as a young boy his grandfather gave him a silver dollar, telling him that if he received a thank you note, he would send another one.  As long as Kralik sent him a thank you note, the silver dollars would keep coming.  In this way, his grandfather taught him a life lesson in etiquette, while simultaneously illustrating how gratitude generates more abundance.

As the story goes, Kralik did indeed send his grandfather a thank you note, and true to his grandfather’s word, a shiny new silver dollar came back to him in the mail.  Once again he wrote a thank you note, and in return another silver dollar.  By the third silver dollar, however, Kralik had lost enthusiasm for the exchange, and did not send another thank you note, and thus the flow of silver dollars stopped. 

My husband and I don’t give an allowance to our children, so one day my son Julian came to me asking if he could earn some money.  “Sure,” I told him, and he presented a list of activities and how much each was worth.  Getting out of bed when called in the morning and getting dressed was worth 25 cents.  Making a bottle of seltzer was worth 10 cents.  Doing a complete load of laundry, including folding and putting it away was worth $1, etc.

For two weeks, Julian enthusiastically completed tasks, and as he did I dropped quarters in to a cup for him.  I noticed, however, that I was the one reminding him that if he did certain things he would get the money, and I soon tired of that game.  One day I said to him, “When you complete a task, you let me know, and I’ll put the money in the cup.”  I figured if he really wanted the money, he would tell me, plus, I wanted him to be the one taking the initiative.

For a while, Julian accumulated a fair amount of money in his cup, and got to spend some of it.  However, once I told him that he was responsible for letting me know he had earned money, the rate at which he earned it dropped significantly.  In fact, for the past month, he hasn’t asked me for money at all.  He still makes seltzer, he still gets out of bed and gets dressed in the morning, and does a host of other items that we decided on -- but he doesn’t collect on them.

The similarity between these two stories is that in both cases, had the child simply taken the initiative to do the prescribed activity as directed, they would have received more money easily and abundantly.  It caused me to think about how often I “leave money on the table.”  For instance, I have a check for $100 sitting on my desk right now that I just haven’t taken to the bank.  I’ve written in previous blogs about various gift certificates that end up buried in piles on my desk.  I even occasionally delay in submitting invoices for work I’ve done.  People actively owe me money, but I don’t collect on it, just like Julian and his chore money.

If inadequate cash flow is a frequent theme in your life, take a look at how well you are RECEIVING the money that is already out there in the universe waiting to come your way.  While there is a common belief that receiving is easy, many of us could use practice in this area.  Receiving is an action that requires conscious attention.  You can practice receiving by being gracious when people give things to you – compliments, gifts, a seat on the subway, and of course, money. 

I have a personal practice whereby any time anyone offers me money, I take it.  I want to tell the universe that I want money, and that I am ready to gratefully receive it.  That way, like the author’s grandfather, it will send me more.


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Liz Wolfe is a skilled and energetic motivational speaker, coach and trainer. For more than 20 years she has inspired hundreds of people with her passionate stand of abundance: “There is plenty for everyone, including me.” As a coach for entrepreneurs, she empowers clients with her unique system: “A Clear Vision + Purposeful Action – Hidden Barriers = Breakthrough Results.” Lizwolfecoaching.com

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Liz Wolfe

Liz Wolfe has lead trainings professionally for over 20 years. She is originally from Western Pennsylvania where she grew up on a sheep farm. She began her public speaking career as a child, doing spinning and weaving demos at local festivals with her family. In her formative years, she was money poor but resource rich. Her days on the farm supplied her with a wonderful foundation to learn about the abundance of the universe.

She came to New York City in 1987. Since then she has created a successful business with her husband, Jon, that focuses on helping companies and individuals realize their full potential.

Money Talks - Get in on the Conversation

By: Liz Wolfe

A hot topic these days is why the “1%” have accumulated so much wealth.  Perhaps you’ve seen the video that went viral demonstrating, with impressive graphics and mind-boggling statistics the chasm between the nation’s wealthiest and the bottom 20 percent.

So how did 1% do so well?  Is it because they greedily and purposely hoard wealth to keep it away from the rest of us?  Are people poor because they are lazy or financially irresponsible, especially when on public assistance?  Does the government unfairly favor the rich and big business?

Here’s my question:  who cares?

How much money they have has nothing to do with how much money you have.  There is an unlimited amount of money available to all of us, and the key is not figuring out why they have more than you do, but rather why you don’t have as much as you want. 

Here are some common ideas about money that keep us from creating as much as we want:

#1 –Money is a “thing” or a fixed entity

Money is energy.  Dollar bills and coins are merely symbols of the life energy we exchange and use as a result of the service we provide to the universe and to each other.  Thinking of money as an object restricts our ability to create it freely.  By learning to acknowledge it as energy, you will have unlimited access to it.

#2 –There is a limited supply; if wealthy people have too much, it takes away from my supply.

Back to reason #1.  There can be no limit because money is not a fixed entity.  There is an unlimited supply.  How much someone else has does not affect how much you have now, or will have in the future.  Ever!

People from the poorest and most difficult backgrounds — Steve Jobs and J.K Rowling are two — have found great fiscal success.   The top 1% didn’t stop them.

#3 –Money is directly related to personal worth.

People have the mistaken notion that you have to "deserve" money.  Wealthy people, the argument goes, shouldn't have so much, because no one "deserves" that kind of money. Who came up with this idea of “deserving” anyway?  To say “all that I deserve” puts a limit on it.  How do you know if you deserve it? Who decides if you deserve it?

Money is neutral.  It doesn’t care if you deserve it or not.  You have as much money as you have created up until now. End of story.

#4 – It is more noble to be poor than rich, and rich people are selfish.

Stories often portray the rich as unfeeling and stingy, and the poor as benevolent and generous.  While true that the working class gives more to charity proportionate to their income than wealthy people, it’s not true that all rich people are selfish.    

#5 – You have to have money to make money. 

Since money is energy, it can be created from nothing.  Don’t believe me?  Try this.  Just ask someone for money,   someone that you know will give it to you. You ask, they give, and you have it.  There!  Created from nothing!

#6 – Money is good – wait, no, it’s bad...

We’re told “Money makes the world go round” yet “money is the root of all evil.”  “Money can’t buy happiness”, but we’re convinced that we’d be happier if we had more of it.  No wonder money seems so perplexing.  We’ve received mixed messages about money that are confusing and incorrect!

#7 – We are not skilled at receiving money. 

Actually, we’re usually not skilled at receiving in general, but money in particular presents challenges for people.  It stems back to reason #3 (we don’t think we deserve it) and reason #4 (if we accept it we’re not good people.) 

I have a personal policy – whenever anyone ever offers me money, I take it.  I want the universe to know that I am open to receiving money at any time.  So, I always say yes!

It’s all about perspective

The makers of the video I mentioned before despair at the chasm between the top 1% and the bottom 20%.   However, if we took the bottom 20% of the US demographic and compared just that portion to the demographics of most "developing" nations, it would likely fall in, if not the top 1% then at least the top 10 or 20% of a graph of all those nations.

Think of it this way.  First, put yourself somewhere on this scale:

Affluent

Prosperous

Managing

Struggling

Impoverished

Destitute

Most "middle class" people put themselves somewhere around “managing” or “struggling”. Now, think about the photo of that child that UNICEF sends out when soliciting donations – the one that hasn't eaten for a month and has a distended stomach and two parents with AIDS. Now, compare yourself and your situation to that child, and place yourself on the scale. Compared to that child, you're affluent.

Back to my original point.  How much the 1% has, while certainly unbalanced, is irrelevant to how much money I have the OPPORTUNITY to create.  For that, we’re all on equal footing.


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Liz Wolfe is a skilled and energetic motivational speaker, coach and trainer. For more than 20 years she has inspired hundreds of people with her passionate stand of abundance: “There is plenty for everyone, including me.” As a coach for entrepreneurs, she empowers clients with her unique system: “A Clear Vision + Purposeful Action – Hidden Barriers = Breakthrough Results.” Lizwolfecoaching.com

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Liz Wolfe

Liz Wolfe has lead trainings professionally for over 20 years. She is originally from Western Pennsylvania where she grew up on a sheep farm. She began her public speaking career as a child, doing spinning and weaving demos at local festivals with her family. In her formative years, she was money poor but resource rich. Her days on the farm supplied her with a wonderful foundation to learn about the abundance of the universe.

She came to New York City in 1987. Since then she has created a successful business with her husband, Jon, that focuses on helping companies and individuals realize their full potential.

Worried About a Market Downturn? These 3 Yoga Principals Can Help

By: Manisha Thakor, CFP®, CFA

The late economist Hyman Minsky observed that cycles of risk-taking follow a consistent pattern. He found that stability and absence of crises encourage risk-taking, complacency, and lowered awareness to the possibility of problems ahead. Then a crisis occurs, resulting in people being shell-shocked and unprepared.

Indeed, we have seen this cycle play out in the way many investors behaved before and after the 2001 technology bust and 2008 global financial crisis. In tracking cash flows for fixed income and equity mutual funds over several decades, we observe that investors pile into risky assets following years of strong market performance and retrench into fixed income after suffering stinging losses—in effect, buying high and selling low.

As the current economic expansion enters its tenth year this June (now the second longest in modern history), and U.S. equity investors have enjoyed annualized investment returns of nearly 18 percent per year since March 2009 (the long-term average is 10 percent, dating back to 1926), it is timely that we call attention to George Santayana’s famous warning: those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. 

So there you have it. Like a game of musical chairs, the party is going to end with many losers. How can you increase your odds of being a “winner” in the next market downturn?

Surprisingly, the answer may be found in some ancient yoga principles.

Huh?

Let me explain. I recently came back from a yoga retreat in Nicaragua where I was introduced to the concepts of Dharma, Sankalpa, and Vikalpa. To keep things simple, I will define Dharma as “the way that you do everything”—in other words, your overarching approach to life. Your Sankalpa are the specific steps you will take over the next 12-18 months to bring you into closer alignment with your Dharma. Your Vikalpas are the behaviors that keep you from acting on your Sankalpa and ultimately embodying your Dharma.

What struck me as I was thinking about how to apply these three concepts to my own life was the beautiful overlap they have with the ideal way to manage one’s own money. In fact, these three ancient principals can be used to help you navigate through the next market downturn.

Your financial Dharma is akin to the overarching investment philosophy you choose. (I recommend following an evidenced-based approach, but to each their own). Your Sankalpa is similar to your asset allocation—have you set aside a portion of your portfolio to immunize your standard of living long enough to weather a bear market? Your financial Vikalpas are the human tendencies that get in the way of sticking to your financial Dharma and Sankalpa.

Here’s an example. John and Jane are nearing retirement. They are believers in efficient market theory and have chosen an evidenced-based portfolio that incorporates funds such as those from Dimensional Fund Advisors and Vanguard. This choice of investment philosophy is their financial Dharma; it’s the way they “do money.”

John and Jane have a detailed conversation with their wealth advisor and identify what money they’ll need from their portfolio over the next 10 years to maintain their minimum desired standard of living. As a rough baseline, 15 percent is a solid benchmark for this allocation to ensure a base level of a safety net. Next, you add in any expected annual withdrawals, either for recurring or one-time expenses. Then you take the net present value of those 10 years of cash flow and discount them back.

Your financial Sankalpa is to set up your finances such that, no matter what happens in the market over the next 10 years, you will not have to sell securities outside of your capital preservation bucket in a down market. This figure is a rolling one, which is why you want to revisit your Sankalpa regularly—every 6 to 12 months is ideal.

The third and final step is to acknowledge your financial Vikalpas, those pesky behavioral traits that can trip you up along your way to Dharma. Examples include a tendency to panic and sell in market downturns, to follow hot tips you hear at cocktail parties, or to keep too much (or too little) in cash out of greed (or fear).

Whenever I hear someone tell me 2007-2009 market “ruined my retirement,” I know that one of two scenarios happened. Either they didn’t have a Sankalpa or asset allocation that included an appropriate capital preservation bucket and were forced to sell securities at fire-sale prices. Alternatively, they had the right asset allocation but did not have an overarching financial Dharma—their investment philosophy—on which to fall back. They sold in a panic, acting on their Vikalpas.

As you work to maintain a sense of financial well-being during the next market downturn, spend some time making sure you are comfortable with your investment philosophy (financial Dharma) and asset allocation (financial Sankalpa) to ensure that natural human emotions like fear, panic, and terror (financial Vikalpas) don’t drive your decision-making.

Blending these mental well-being principals of yoga into your overarching life can enhance your financial well-being.

This article was originally published by Brighton Jones, nationally-recognized wealth management firm based in Seattle. You can follow Manisha on Twitter @ManishaThakor.  


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MANISHA THAKOR  is the Director of Wealth Strategies for Women at Buckingham Strategic Wealth and The Bam Alliance. Manisha is the co-author of On My Own Two Feet and Get Financially Naked. Manisha has been featured on CNN, PBS,NPR, The Today Show, Rachel Ray, The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The LA Times, Real Simple, Glamour, Essence, and more. Manisha is also the founder of moneyzen.com.

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Manisha Thakor

From Manisha's linkedin profile page:

Manisha Thakor is the Director of Wealth Strategies for Women at Buckingham Strategic Wealth and The BAM Alliance. 

Manisha and her colleagues provide both evidence-based wealth advisory services for high-net-worth households and core asset management solutions for women and families nationwide with $80,000 or more in investible assets. 

An ardent financial literacy advocate for women, Manisha is the co-author of two critically acclaimed personal finance books: ON MY OWN TWO FEET: a modern girl’s guide to personal finance and GET FINANCIALLY NAKED: how to talk money with your honey. She is on Faculty at The Omega Institute and serves as a Financial Fellow at Wellesley College. Manisha is also a member of The Wall Street Journal’s Wealth Experts Panel, a member of the 2015 CNBC Financial Advisor’s Council, and wearing her financial educator’s hat serves as a part of TIAA-CREF’s Women’s Initiative. 

Manisha's financial advice has been featured in a wide range of national media outlets including CNN, PBS, NPR, The Today Show, Rachel Ray, The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The LA Times, Real Simple, Women’s Day, Glamour, Essence, and MORE magazine.

Prior to joining the Buckingham team, Manisha spent over twenty years working in financial services. On the institutional side she worked as an analyst, portfolio manager and client relations executive at SG Warburg, Atalanta/Sosnoff Capital, Fayez Sarofim & Co., and Sands Capital Management. After this she moved to the retail side and ran her own independent registered investment advisory firm, MoneyZen Wealth Management. 

Manisha earned her MBA from Harvard Business School in 1997, her BA from Wellesley College in 1992 and is a CFA charterholder. She lives in Portland, OR where she delights in the amazing Third Wave coffee scene and stunning natural beauty of the Pacific NorthWest. Manisha’s website is MoneyZen.com.

Walking the Tightrope of Change: When Virtue Becomes Vice

By: Laura Berger

I was ‘Structured Laura’ before Glen and I moved to Costa Rica in 2006. I thrived in the corporate environment. So, when we embarked to Central America, I thought to myself, “If I can make it in fast-paced downtown Chicago, paradise will be a piece of cake!” Nonetheless, I prepared for the trip with what I do best--read every tourist guide I could get my hands on, researched extensively, and generated a meticulous daily to-do list to complete the “project” of getting settled as efficiently as possible.

To my dismay, there were heaps of surprises. To name just a couple, the critters were the size of tea saucers and more crawly than I thought, and the downpours were like nothing I had ever seen. But the most unnerving surprise was the slow-moving, carefree way of life for the locals called Ticos. It became quickly clear that jungles aren’t made for rigid and inflexible types like me. You’ve got to be ready for anything and just let misadventures roll off your shoulders. And the more I clamored for control, the more out of control my life became. Then one day, things got so bad that I decided letting go and having no control couldn’t be any worse.

My mantra became, “Let it go.” Realizing the very tendencies that helped me get ahead in the business world were now holding me back, I adopted a more supple, free-flowing mindset. I had to pivot to prevent my virtues from becoming vices.

Not only a mere change of setting or circumstance can force us to examine whether our virtues are working for or against us. Sometimes the stress of day-to-day living can create a dust storm that clouds our connection to our virtues and distorts how they show up in our daily lives. In other cases, one of our virtues might actually be closer to a vice.

• Humility, for example, is just a stone’s throw from insecurity or self-doubt, and, if we’re not careful, can morph into meekness of resignation. Think of an employee who always credits other colleagues for his own successes or who stays quiet rather than celebrating his wins on a big project. Those who remain too quiet or too resigned may miss opportunities for personal or professional growth. If you consider humility one of your personal virtues, know that owning and celebrating your victories is not the same as bragging about them, and be confident in your decision to go after what you want.

• On the flip side of the coin, passion, though beneficial in some settings, can hamper others and compromise relationships if not controlled. If you are an enthusiastic advocate for a humanitarian cause, political ideology, or even your own career, recognize how you come across when voicing your opinions. Now, this doesn’t mean you should never speak up about your viewpoints. In fact, speaking up about what’s morally right is always admirable. However, it’s one thing to objectively stand up to sexism or racism, for example, and another thing to talk politics on a conference call. That said, even in a situation where debate is accepted—say, for example, at a dinner with friends—don’t let your passion overshadow compassion and common human decency. Simply strike a balance between voicing your own perspective and allowing those around you to do the same.

• Lastly, forward thinking, though highly effective in challenging work environments, can otherwise turn into over-planning and rigidity, as it did for me in Costa Rica. While people usually plan and schedule their lives to gain control, the amount of control we truly have is quite limited. As a result, these virtues can foment, rather than assuage, anxiety. While meticulously scheduling, prioritizing and planning tasks might serve you in the workplace, attempting to maintain that structure at home, with your spouse or kids, or on vacation, can freeze spontaneity and the joy that arises from simply enjoying whatever the present moment brings.

While flexibility is what saved me in Costa Rica, embracing versatility can help you no matter what virtue or vice you are dealing with. But, it’s about more than just going with the flow. It’s about attuning your own thoughts and actions to match the situation. This requires an awareness of yourself, the people around you, and your circumstances.

Now that you are aware of the potential dark side of some key virtues, how can you act to channel them in the right way? Check in with yourself regularly, whether through meditation, journaling, or simply stepping away for a moment of reflection. Ask yourself if what you’re doing, how you’re doing it, and why you’re doing it is still serving you. If the answer is no, know that in releasing a mode of being that no longer serves you, you create space for something new—something better. After all, versatility brings great value to your life. Your ability to adapt to different situations will benefit you no matter where you work, what you do, or who you want to become.

This article originally appeared on www.psychologytoday.com


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Featured on ABC News, CNBC, Yahoo Finance, Redbook, Self, and the Miami Herald, Laura Berger is a certified executive coach and co-founder of the Berdeo Group. Her clients include leaders at JP Morgan Chase, The Walt Disney World Company, Financial Solutions Advisory Group, and Big Brothers Big Sisters. She is the co-author of two books: Fall in Love Again Every Day and Radical Sabbatical.

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Laura Berger

Featured on ABC News, in CNBC, Yahoo Finance, and in Redbook, Self, and the Miami Herald, Laura Berger is a certified executive coach and co-founder of the Berdéo Group. She has counseled leaders for 15 years, maximizing their potential in the areas of Evidence based leadership, global operations management, and strategic change management. Her clients include leaders at JP Morgan Chase, Leo Burnett Worldwide, American Hospital Association, Starcom MediaVest Group, The Walt Disney World Company, Financial Solutions Advisory Group, World Business Chicago, and Big Brothers Big Sisters. She is an in-demand speaker and co-author of two books: Fall in Love Again Every Day and Radical Sabbatical: Could You Say Goodbye to Everything You Know to Get Everything You Want?.

Rewire Your Brain For Success

By: Laura Berger

Do you feel like bad habits and negative thought patterns are holding you back at work? The good news is that you can eliminate them by activating your brain’s delete button. Using neuroplasticity, you can rewire your brain by changing your behavior, thinking and emotions. This means that no one is doomed to be a control freak, conflict avoider or bad listener. Alas, we all have the power to reprogram how we lead and work through problems with focus, commitment and self-compassion.

But, you must first recognize and identify the unwanted thoughts linked to your negative behaviors and as they show up, remind yourself that they are false messages sent by your brain. Like any skill needing development, they can be improved when you take actionable steps to adopt positive behaviors and patterns.

Here are a few of those actionable steps, along with some of my clients' insights in their own words and suggestions for reaching your full potential:

Be less controlling. If you demand perfect results and believe that your way of doing things is the only way, it's time you started letting go. Not only does this mindset increase your workload (Hello, stress!), but it also damages relationships with colleagues and can ultimately hinder your organization's success. Ironically, the more you relinquish the need to control, the more in control you will feel (Goodbye, stress!). As one client described it in a coaching session:

“The more I relinquish control, the more I’m in control because when I do that, I am more serene, and the serenity is where my greatest power and influence resides. When I’m in that zone, I know that what I say has meaning, is relevant and is the right thing for whatever I’m dealing with. If I’m not there, what I say and how I behave is probably driven more reactively or impulsively …”

Start by challenging yourself to relinquish your need for perfection, remembering that the 80/20 rule not only applies to what your organization does, but what you do as well. By relaxing your standards on certain things, you will become open to alternative ways of doing things and will likely learn something in the process: a win-win.


Improve your listening. Listening well is critical to effective communication, fostering high performance, strong relationships and greater employee engagement. Becoming a good listener requires proactive practice in conversations and meetings. So, the next time a situation demands your attention, maintain eye contact with the speaker. As you listen to their points, remain attentive and open-minded, as judgment detracts from your listening. Do not interrupt, but rather wait for a pause to ask any clarifying questions. Share any feedback while mirroring the speaker’s sentiments and demeanor. This ensures conversational counterparts know they were heard and their thoughts are valued.

Embrace conflict. Too many of us allow our egos to cloud our judgment in workplace conflict. And we all know that running away from workplace problems only spirals already undesirable situations further south. In his book, The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom, Don Miguel Ruiz asserts the importance of taking nothing personally. Instead, respect others’ subjective opinions, realizing that their views don’t necessarily define us accurately. To effectively create separation between the conflict and yourself, adopt the belief, "It's not about me." As one client described it in a coaching session:

“It’s not about me. It’s not just me. I have a team … There is a bit of mindset shift that’s happening, and I want to make the best of it. The only way that’s going to happen is if I take charge and stop feeling like things are happening to me. It’s not going to be perfect and that’s okay … There are limits to how much I am going to stress myself out because of what other people may comment on or say. I am taking more control of my day-to-day and my interactions and not fearing the consequences from my boss. They are my choices, and it’s about making them in a way that honors my needs.”

With this mindset, you quickly realize just how rational, assertive and positive you can be during confrontation. So, the next time conflict knocks, leave your ego at the door, and allow growth and learning to take flight.

Be confident. Don’t waste your brain cycles on false messages that only lower your confidence. Instead, replace the negative self-perception with a positive one and focus on the skills you do have. If you’re constantly telling yourself, “I’m not deserving of a promotion,” change this belief by making a list of the work you put in every day that qualifies you for a promotion or raise. This will culminate in what I call a promotion résumé that will be ready to hand to your superiors at annual review time. If you feel you are still undeserving, think outside the box and ask your boss if you can take on new projects.

A saying credited to Thomas Edison says, “Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is to try just one more time.” To create lasting change within yourself and never look back, stay optimistic. Get excited about how empowered you will feel when you successfully act in more positive and constructive ways.

This article originally appeared on www.forbes.com


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Featured on ABC News, CNBC, Yahoo Finance, Redbook, Self, and the Miami Herald, Laura Berger is a certified executive coach and co-founder of the Berdeo Group. Her clients include leaders at JP Morgan Chase, The Walt Disney World Company, Financial Solutions Advisory Group, and Big Brothers Big Sisters. She is the co-author of two books: Fall in Love Again Every Day and Radical Sabbatical.

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Laura Berger

Featured on ABC News, in CNBC, Yahoo Finance, and in Redbook, Self, and the Miami Herald, Laura Berger is a certified executive coach and co-founder of the Berdéo Group. She has counseled leaders for 15 years, maximizing their potential in the areas of Evidence based leadership, global operations management, and strategic change management. Her clients include leaders at JP Morgan Chase, Leo Burnett Worldwide, American Hospital Association, Starcom MediaVest Group, The Walt Disney World Company, Financial Solutions Advisory Group, World Business Chicago, and Big Brothers Big Sisters. She is an in-demand speaker and co-author of two books: Fall in Love Again Every Day and Radical Sabbatical: Could You Say Goodbye to Everything You Know to Get Everything You Want?.