We Moved Our Blog!

October 15, 2012

We moved our blog to blog.launchinglives.biz.

All the content will remain here, but it’s also been migrated over to our new blog. We wanted to be able to keep our blog under our own domain.

Thank you! We’ll see you at the new page!


Release the Drowning Feeling of Overwhelm and Swim to Shore!

September 19, 2012

We moved our blog to our website at blog.launchinglives.biz. 
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In the final blog of the series on overwhelm, we’ve decided to include an interview with Sylvia about the challenges of overwhelm and how she can help!

In your experience with managers and executives, how often are professionals feeling overloaded and overwhelmed? Do you find that it’s a sporadic occurrence or an ongoing challenge?

Overload and overwhelm have become a way of “life” in America, especially over the last decade.  So for most people it is an ongoing, persistent challenge that’s like a noose around their necks.   Much of this has to do with the widespread—and expected—use of electronic devices that allow us to be accessible to others 24/7.  Further, professionals’ “to-do” lists are impossibly long, leaving them with the feeling that they are never done with anything.  That lack of closure creates high levels of stress that cause people to feel like they are suffocating.  Between the 24/7 access factor and the giant never ending “to-do” lists folks often experience an inability to truly relax.  And that’s a problem!

How can executive coaching help those who are feeling overloaded and overwhelmed?

During a coaching engagement I initially work with clients to identify their root causes of overload and overwhelm.  Then we look at their personal core values, personal and professional priorities, and their company’s values and priorities.  This leads to conversation around viable time management strategies.  As a coach, I guide people through various processes to get underneath the real issues and then help them to proactively create a “living calendar” that serves them, their families, and their employers more efficaciously.  Depending upon how long they are coaching with me, I hold clients accountable to the decisions they made.  Having an accountability partner makes everything stick.  When people get off track, the accountability partner facilitates the process for getting them back on the track they’ve chosen.  I have found that the accountability piece makes all the difference.

Tell us about the workbook. Why did you develop it and how can it be used?

Recently I created a downloadable, easy to digest workbook that reveals 10 strategies that can help people to gain some control over their pervasive feelings of overload and overwhelm.  I produced this product because I know that overwhelm is “killing” most of us today.  Completely inundated with obligations, demands, and tasks, folks feel like they are swimming upstream every single day—and many secretly believe they are drowning.  As a result, they are fatigued, angry, frustrated, bored, and sick.  Putting one foot in front of the other with no relief in sight isn’t a life.  It’s a painful existence. The strategies in the workbook and the exercises that correspond with each of them are designed to show people a way out of the craziness they’ve allowed to consume them.  The beauty of this workbook lies in its structure and format:  users can choose to work through it at their own pace:  over a weekend, a week, a month, or several months.  Whatever is appropriate for their schedules and whatever serves them best… Click here for more information.

Strategies for Reducing Overwhelm

September 12, 2012

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Feeling overloaded and overwhelmed? This YouTube clip provides a few strategies people can practice to reduce their sense of overwhelm.

We’ve also decided to reach out to a few alternative health providers to see if they can offer suggestions for releasing the emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual feeling of overwhelm. Below are their responses. We hope their solutions offer relief for those of you experiencing overwhelm.

Rickie Freedman, Reiki by Rickie

We have all experienced challenging times in our lives. It is helpful for me to remember to breathe deeply and take one moment at a time. I take a few deep breaths and say to myself “In this moment, I choose Peace.” Sometimes I need to repeat it several times. I know that I have a choice, and if I want to help other people and situations heal, I must be in a calm, Peaceful place myself.

I also try to remember that what may seem like an obstacle at the time can often turn out to launch our greatest growth. We gain strengths that we might not have otherwise. In retrospect, we realize that all our experiences lead to exactly where we are meant to be now. A helpful affirmation is “In this moment, all is well. I trust that all is exactly as it is meant to be.”

Ann Dennison, Advanced Physical Therapy and Fitness

One way to control the feelings of overwhelm so many of us experience is physical exercise. Exercise increases the body’s production of “feel good hormones” which help control the feelings associated with overwhelm, anxiety and depression.  The exercise doesn’t have to be prolonged or overly vigorous to be beneficial. A simple walk around the block or the office building can help.

Batbayar Damdin, L.Ac., Tian Shi Acupuncture

Regular acupuncture treatments can help you to deal with the day-to-day stresses of life which in turn can help to alleviate a state of being overwhelmed. Acupuncture treats the whole person – body, mind, and spirit and is a safe, natural, effective way to combat overwhelm.  Acupuncture can help you to achieve a general sense of calm and well-being. It can strengthen your body, and it leaves you feeling relaxed, refreshed, and energized.

What ways have you been able to reduce feelings of overwhelm?

Tired of Being Sick and Tired?

September 5, 2012

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Feeling overloaded and overwhelmed is a common experience for professionals today.  Most of my coaching clients are overwhelmed by both work related and personal demands too much of the time.  This leaves them fatigued, uninspired, bored, and stuck.  It also fills them with great anxiety and suspicions of inadequacy.

I, personally, have known periods of excruciating overwhelm in my life.  They were times of enormous struggle and fear.  Never again do I want to be in that place—and, if I find myself there, I have made the commitment to do whatever it takes to get out of it.

On a scale of one to ten, with ten representing the highest intensity of overwhelm, what number would you assign to your own circumstances over the last month or so?  Any score of eight or above means it’s time to pay attention to your situation.  It’s time to make some necessary changes.

Look at the list below and identify your personal reasons for feeling overwhelmed:

  • Trying to be everything to everybody
  • Being unclear about your core values and priorities
  • Striving to increase your value in your boss’s eyes
  • Needing to feel important
  • Attempting to forget painful situations or feelings of emptiness
  • Struggling to focus on too many things at once
  • Underestimating how much time it takes to do something
  • Jamming your calendar full of countless tasks and activities
  • Refusing to say “no” to anyone
  • Resisting the need to set appropriate boundaries
  • Failing to release other people’s agendas

Know that you don’t have to stay stuck in this frustrating place of anxiety and fear.  There is a way out.  Constant overwhelm is a choice—a vicious cycle that only YOU can interrupt or stop.

To help you break this cycle, I’ve developed a downloadable workbook, which provides ten strategies you can use immediately. You may work through these strategies at your own pace, but in order for them to work you must make change a priority and you must take action now. Relief from overwhelm is just a click away and for the low cost of only $29. Stay tuned – this workbook will be available in the coming weeks!

Tips to Release Stress and Reduce Overwhelm

August 29, 2012

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Have you noticed that many people are more overloaded and overwhelmed today than they were five years ago? In this YouTube clip, I reveal several factors that may be contributing to this sense of overwhelm.

Overwhelm may also be intrinsic. Some admit to being self-proclaimed workaholics; to feeling exhausted and burnt-out.

We live in an era that worships a treadmill way of life in the workplace. Professionals who aspire to climb the corporate ladder typically feel compelled to jump on the workaholic bandwagon. While it may start out rather innocently, those who engage in such craziness soon find themselves sucked into a big hole, paying a very big price.

You can incorporate certain choices and strategies into every work day right where you are.  Here are five tips to help you release stress and reduce overwhelm.

1. Start the work day by getting yourself grounded.
Determine what you need to do to quiet your body, mind, and spirit. Develop a little ritual that may, in total, take twenty minutes. Engage in yoga, meditation, prayer. Eat a healthful breakfast. Read a meaningful passage from a book. Exercise. Empty your head.

2. Be clear about your priorities.
While you may think you have fifty priorities before you collapse tonight, you actually have five or less. Identify them before you get out of bed each morning. To do this you have to get real with yourself. Cut to the chase. What three or five things absolutely have to happen today? What are the consequences if they don’t? Organize your day around those carefully chosen priorities.

3. Reduce your “open door policy” time.
If you are supervising staff and feel you need to be accessible to them all day long, revise your thinking on this one. While you do need to be available as a resource, you can set boundaries around it. Decide to close your door tightly for half an hour each day, and let employees know that, unless there’s an emergency, you don’t want to be interrupted during that time.

4. Limit the number of interruptions.
Although this is not always possible, it is more possible than you may imagine. Schedule brief intervals throughout the day when people may interrupt you to get their needs met. Publicize those times. As a result of “planning” your interruptions, you will get more work done more effectively.

5. Delegate tasks other people can handle.
Our egos tell us we have to do everything ourselves. That is simply not true. Learn to identify what you absolutely must take care of yourself, and look for opportunities to delegate the rest of it to others who are capable of handling it. Make a list of everything currently on your plate, then mark the tasks that staff or peers can easily do.

Consider how YOU can reduce overwhelm and take action today!

Investing in Staff Development: Maximizing Your Potential & Optimizing Your SUCCESS!

August 22, 2012

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Lisa Heintzelman

Let’s recall the wise words of Stephen Covey, “Begin with the End in Mind.”  To plan, facilitate, and implement effective staff development, we need to know WHY we are investing and engaging in development, so we can decide HOW we are going to facilitate it for maximum results and outcomes.

Staff development is not an event . . . it’s a process . . . it’s action-oriented!  Ensure that participants are actively exploring, thinking, assessing, reflecting, challenging, innovating, etc.  Buy-in and engagement lead to appropriate application and implementation, so individuals, teams, and organizations can achieve the results and outcomes they desire!

Within a success process, individuals are empowered to engage in lifelong learning.  Consider that training is the process of teaching someone new skills; however, development is the process of getting people to use the skills they already have – more effectively.  Successful staff development maximizes individual and team potential to enhance effectiveness, efficiency, and productivity that will generate a return on investment (ROI).  ROI is essential and is measured by impact, results, and outcomes that are determined by beginning with the end in mind.  I just realized while typing this that results, outcomes, and impact also create the acronym ROI!

To facilitate successful individual, team, and organizational development . . .

  • Provide the opportunity for individuals and teams to explore and reflect upon content such as leadership, teaming, communication, motivation, confidence, decision making, and problem solving, WHILE setting, achieving, and celebrating individual, team, and organizational goals
  • Apply concepts, plan and implement strategies, celebrate goal achievement, and most importantly, demonstrate accountability
  • Share progress, accomplishments, challenges, data, and outcomes
  • Engage in ongoing discussions, questions, comments, feedback, ideas, and reflections to support sustained application, implementation, and results
  • Offer additional resources and tools to focus on and support next steps

What’s your staff development WHY?  What’s keeping you up at night?  What problem would you like to solve?  Where’s your pain . . . in your planning, timing, systems, and/or bottom-line?  To address your WHY – Plan, Set Goals, Make it HAPPEN!  Know that often we spend more time planning a 2-week vacation than planning for our individual, team, and organizational success.

Human Capital Investment

One of the most important and profitable organizational investments . . .

Planning > People > Process > Productivity > Profits

Applied Knowledge is POWER!

Work Smart . . . Achieve Results . . . Celebrate Often!

How are you investing your time and energy to enhance your efficiency, effectiveness, and productivity to achieve the results and outcomes YOU desire?

Lisa L. Heintzelman, M.Ed. is the President of Illuminations Consulting, founded in April 2000.  She is a facilitator with a focus on achieving success through lifelong learning and continuous quality improvement.  After graduating on the Dean’s list from Harrisburg Area Community College in Early Childhood Education, Cum Laude from Elizabethtown College with a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary and Early Childhood Education, Lisa obtained her Master’s degree in Educational Administration from Temple University.  In 1999, she was named the Sallie Mae First Class Teacher of the Year for Pennsylvania.  Lisa has been on the adjunct faculty of Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania, Elizabethtown College, Harrisburg Area Community College, and Penn State University. You can learn more about Illuminations Consulting by going to the website and the Facebook fan page.

A Blueprint for Artful Management

August 15, 2012

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Managers frequently make this mistake over and over again! Make sure you’re not one of them by following this blueprint for managing employees. The content of this article focuses on twelve components of an approach to management that really gets you the results you want:

1. Develop the entire person.

Individuals are the sum of many parts. As you grow your staff, keep in mind that they are more than machines cranking out technical skills. They function within a framework of relationships and responsibilities outside of the workplace. They have feelings. They carry burdens. They have hobbies. They get hungry and fatigued. They have spirits that need fed and egos that require stroking. Create a development plan that pays attention to all of these.

2. Coach people according to their individual needs.

Avoid a cookie cutter approach to internal coaching. Know your people, and create coaching plans that are relevant to their unique selves. Establish goals and corresponding time lines. Then hold folks accountable to these goals and dates. Conduct periodic check-ins to ensure that progress is being made—or to find out how you can be a resource when they get stuck.

3. Explore possibilities.

Invite your staff to share ideas, opinions, and feedback on a regular basis. Be open to hearing things you wouldn’t have considered on your own. Inspire people to get their creative juices flowing. The key to making this work is YOU demonstrating an eagerness to collect a variety of possibilities without judging them initially.

4. Jump-start staff energy.

Proactively ask people what energizes them. Find out specifically what makes them excited, inspired, interested, and engaged. Don’t assume you know the answers to that question. You’ve got to talk with individuals personally, and create a safe environment for them to get real with you.

5. Instruct when necessary.

There are times when you as the supervisor must provide some instruction to staff. Whether it happens individually or in a group, situations arise when this is most appropriate. If you see somebody about to make a huge mistake, it’s your job to take the person aside and turn the next ten minutes into a “teachable moment”. Be sure to do this in a way that acknowledges that person’s intelligence and experience.

6. Stretch staff beyond their comfort zone.

By nature human beings want to feel comfortable and safe. One of your responsibilities as a supervisor is to nudge people out of that cozy box they’ve put themselves into and encourage them to take even tiny steps in a new direction. When they experience success along the way, they discover an increase in self-confidence. That in itself is a great reward for venturing into new territory.

7. Establish a partnership with your employees.

This doesn’t mean that staff run the whole show or tell you as the boss what to do. It means that everybody gets clear about what each person brings to the workplace table and then others rely on a particular individual for a certain skill or piece of knowledge. Partnership here refers to identifying everybody’s major talents (including yours) and tapping into them so projects get completed as effortlessly as possible.

8. Demonstrate empathy.

Supervisors can have an impressive technical skill set, but if they lack empathy for their people, they usually fail. You have to show empathy to the folks you manage. This isn’t about making excuses for bad behavior or chronically missed deadlines. It’s about telling Tom that you really appreciate how he got the project done on time despite his child being sick all week. It’s about taking a moment to talk with Susan after you learn that her mother just died.

9. Share the big picture.

People perform better when they understand precisely how they fit into the larger picture. Talk about the company’s vision during both individual and team meetings. Explain to folks what their role is in the overall scheme of delivering services or producing goods. Show them how THEY matter. Talk often about the value of their unique contribution.

10. Motivate staff so they can’t wait to get to work.

This is more than lighting a fire under people to meet a deadline. This is about turning people on to exploring what is possible. It’s about helping each and every one to find his inner “juice.” Did you ever consider what it would be like to electrify your staff? What would it take to do that and what would the outcome be?

11. Create a culture that develops healthy relationships among employees.

Such relationships make room for celebrating each person’s strengths, encouraging reliance upon each person’s contributions, and allowing different people to function as leaders in various circumstances. But these relationships also invite staff to question each other, disagree with each other, and challenge each other in respectful ways.

12. Permit staff to outshine the boss.

Ouch! Many individuals in supervisory roles cannot deal with this. Their egos resist it. You’ll know you’ve really matured as a manager when you not only allow some outshining but actually set the stage for it to happen. Keep in mind that you are not at all diminished if an employee does something more effectively—more brilliantly– than you. If you’re truly grounded and secure in your own gifts, you can actually applaud the staffer who glitters.