Managing Distraction to Better Work – and Live

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Book Review: Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World, By Cal Newport, 2016 photo Dustin Lee, Unspash Recently reading Cal Newport’s recent book, Digital Minimalism, I followed up by reading his previous book, Deep Work. How much … Continue reading

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Digital Overload? Try Digital Minimalism this summer

Book Review: Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World, by Cal Newport, 2019

As I was walking out of the rec center today after a morning swim, I observed a dad and his two kids walking in. The first kid was running ahead of his kin, looking very excited. Second kiddo was tagging along ready to join in on the joy. Dad… checking his phone, calling ahead, Wait son, wait for me…

The scene reminded me of this book’s main point – that life is going by but often the screen is getting all the attention. Relationships of all kinds suffer from the “furtive glances” and distractedness that the love of screen time creates. This urge to check what’s become our appendage, often takes advantage of human psychology, and not in a good way. To address this, Cal Newport applies the concept of minimalism – “the art of knowing how much is just enough” – to technology today.

Newport’s not the originator or the first adapter in this wave of digital minimalism, but he’s gone beyond the realm of hacks that suggest taking Sunday off media is enough. He studied success for years, first supporting student success (while he was one himself) in his 2007 blog Study Hacks. Perhaps due to this study, he himself does not really use social media and has developed great focusing habits. He does writes essays/blogs you can access on his website, calnewport.com.

A husband, father of three, and an associate professor of computer science at Georgetown University, Newport is the author of six books. After the most recent one, Deep Work, (see Soul Savvy review here) he started to hear from readers about their colossal trouble with focusing in the face of today’s digital options and demands.

Demands is one way to describe it. Dopamine-fueled behavioral addictions is another. Newport shares some accounts from Silicone Vally whistle-blowers. Continue reading

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Client Quotes from the Field

The last article in this series discussed that perfect storm at the outset of coaching, where you have your goals and what you hope to achieve, alongside those “other” challenges. You likely could guess these challenges will arise, but at first they may be in the shadows or sidelines. Soul Savvy is a holistic, or soul-based coaching / growth container that will address them, but this approach is less than common. It’s all connected, and the shadows are part of that wonderful complexity of transformation. These might be seen as the positive side effects to the big picture shift, when you are achieving your most important steps toward increasing meaning and purpose in life.

The thing that amazes me in report after report from coachees is how fast the shifts can happen once there is honesty and accountability. When procrastination has dominated, small steps change the landscape dramatically. When the way forward gets a wee bit more clarified, SHWOOM! Actions slay the deadwood. The path is clear, and weeks feel like years of progress.

One of the main ways movement and momentum are maintained in coaching programs is via email, and what was called a session prep form, or as I call it now, Report from the Field. There are actions to take between sessions, or exploration/awareness practices. Here are some words from a 2nd session after the clarifying start up work in session one. Listen to this transformation already taking hold by session two:

How are you doing? “…doing great. Lots of movement. Lots of discoveries. I feel ready to roll up my sleeves… I think I did a lot!” What you’re appreciative of/grateful for: “That if I do the work I get the rewards. Even small actions pay off big. The clarity I have received.”

The unique thing in the Soul Savvy programs are the ways that certain old fears get faced. Continue reading

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Coachee Rock Star Stories, part 1

There is a new and exciting cycle here at Soul Savvy this Spring of 2019. New programs offer cutting edge support for moving into more of the person you want to be. Developing the new program gave me a reason to review past programs. I wanted to share some of the transformations that happened to past clients – how they started, and how they left. This first article will be some general themes, and then we’ll look at individuals. See if you can relate to any of the situations here. (Note: If interested, take action by Thursday 6/20 midnight MST.)

Several things are apparent as people start out. Even if it’s a clear-cut issue or problem they want to solve, say the primary concern, there are likely a few more that are also challenging them. It’s kind of like a perfect storm of issues at first.

Someone comes in wanting to upgrade their work, and it is also true that they have health concerns. A person wants to increase their income; then it’s clear they need help communicating and generally standing up for themselves – for example, with those who owe them money! A lightworker is clear about their passion and what they want to create, but realizes they’re drinking too much or eating poorly. A bloke needs to speak up to his manager about his workload, and alas, there are also old grief issues that keep him harping on himself, and not completely present with loved ones.

Yes, the perfect storm. At first the goal for coaching may look simple, straightforward. That is true. And, there are often connected and relevant concerns that will also arise and need to be addressed. A holistic and integrative coaching approach won’t leave you stranded when these common areas accompany your path of change.

Another quality that you can start out with in coaching is usually a type of intuition Continue reading

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Best Support for the S-hero’s Journey

photo Ben White Unsplash

Recent research makes a big deal of social support. Could have guessed that, right? The research found that those with at least 3 confidants actually lived longer. Besides the health benefits, it’s just more fun isn’t it, to have these unconditional friends peppering our days.

In addition to your inner circle, at certain points you may need other types of support. These can include the following types: 1-1 support, group support, therapy, coaching, intuitive support and the less professional but important support of friends and family. Let’s review the options.

First, how do you know when it’s time to get more support or hire some? At these times, you keep getting stuck in some kind of rut. It can be bad moods – anxiety, depression, irritability – that keep coming up. It can look like fear that keeps you from Continue reading

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4 Common Blind Spots Coaching Can Clear

Photo Ronaldo de Oliveira, Unsplash

Recently I decided to get tested for food allergies. I just had this feeling that there might be some kind of blind spot that could be working against my lifestyle efforts. Guess what? My choice of what I thought was a reasonably clean alcohol, vodka, tested as very bad for me. I mean, through the roof! 15 on a scale of 1-10! There was my answer, along with some of the usual culprits (yeah, no wheat Denise, fare thee well pizza … ). I never would have guessed that this was it, but with some help identifying the problem, I easily cleared it.

Coaching can help clear blind spots that keep you circling, that keep you confused, that keep recreating patterns you thought you were done with. Here are four of those common blind spots coaching can clear.

1) Being too hard on yourself
An early hurdle on your path to self development and expansion is the tendency to be hard on yourself. This common blind spot is not only a joy killer, it sabotages any momentum. You take a step and do something courageous, but you remember the challenges or flaws first. It’s like a beautiful day with a couple clouds, and you keep glancing back at the clouds, forgetting the brilliant blue sky. “Looks like rain”, you think.

Good news: Coaching enables you to keep a balanced perspective which you’re then better able to hold yourself. Meanwhile you keep moving and growing because you can better assess what does need to improve. Overall, you appreciate yourself for the awesome effort of extending yourself toward the dream. This is big courage, but easy to forget with the cloud cover. (**see resource to help with this blind spot)

2) Unrealistic expectations
Having high standards, or not-fully-informed expectations, is another blind spot. Going from an idea to the nitty gritty of creating it – Hell, a lot of unknown and surprising details arise with such experiments. At the end, you might think, “This didn’t work” or that it was a failure. Cloud cover again.

Another way this shows up Continue reading

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June 2019 Too Many Books Review

The June 2019 Too Many Books Review
photo Lacie Slezak, Unsplash

I’m glad to know the old earth library shows no sign of slowing down on book creation. I can’t keep up with it! And it’s bad Feng Shui to have a big pile at the bedside – yeah, I read that somewhere… Anywho, here is a roundup of some of the recent tomes threatening to disrupt my sleep as they topple over.

***Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking, Susan Cain 2012

If you didn’t guess from the title, Susan Cain is an introvert and HSP*. A former Wall Street lawyer, she takes her formidable intelligence, depth of articulation and focused research chops to the subject of introversion and sensitivity. She suggests that though extroversion is thought to be a key personality trait necessary to succeed, effectively conduct business and be happy, much of the background and supposed advantage of extroversion is not accurately based.

I read this by listening to a book on tape in the car. The reader was not the author, but she seemed to have her sensibilities. I struggled a bit with what felt at times like a laborious approach and overly detailed discussion of her points. But then again, if you are challenging long held perspectives regarding how business and society work, you might need some back up from the research Continue reading

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From Stuck to Chuckling – The Face of Transformation

Stuckness sucks. You can feel lost, confused, regretful, distracted to the point of frozenness, scared, angry, grief-stricken – basically, stuck in a yucky rut. When it appears to be more than a passing phase – stuckness can start to feel like it defines you. It begins to feel like home. This is common, but not ideal.

Let’s take anxiety as an example. These days, it’s said to be epidemic. Though the brain is usually working fine, it’s gotten stuck on overdrive with its alarm system. That alarm cycle reinforces itself, and a vicious cycle is born. Today’s digital dependence where downtime is constantly punctuated by blue light versus fading into the sunset, probably doesn’t help.

Along with the challenges of today’s changing landscape, good news also arises. One of these is discoveries in the neuroscience zone. Brain plasticity has been discovered. This lets us know that contrary to prior thought, big change and new learning is possible in the brain after young adulthood. For self-growth and healing areas, this reality is creating new options. Continue reading

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7 Signs That it’s Time to Change

Only the wisest and stupidest of men never change. -Confucius

There are a lot of reasons you can start to feel dissatisfaction with your life. Sometimes, a big change is beckoning. Other times, it can be a small change that’s afoot. Maybe an important area of your life’s been neglected, during the juggling that life requires, and it needs revisiting.

It can be hard to know the difference between the invitation to tweak or make a sea change. Whether tweaks or tidal waves, the good news is, the voice of change can lead to welcome makeovers and improvements that increase the excitement and fulfillment in life.

Anais Nin says it all: – Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.
– And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.

A shrunken life! That doesn’t sound good. It takes a lot to get here – don’t you get that sense? Taking that risk to change might be just the thing to move that satisfaction index up a few notches. First, see what signs of change are here, and how you might explore what they’re trying to tell you.

Here are seven signs that something might need to shift in your life – provided it’s not just a passing EEYORE mood.

1) More trouble with moods and crankiness Continue reading

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Eeyore Busting: How to Tell Passing Gloomy Weather from Climate

“It’s snowing still,” said Eeyore gloomily. “So it is.” “And freezing.” “Is it?” “Yes,” said Eeyore. “However,” he said, brightening up a little, “we haven’t had an earthquake lately.”

Remember Eeyore, the donkey from the Winnie the Pooh stories? Sarcastic, depressive, yet intelligent and backwardly humorous, Eeyore is often a favorite of readers. Not that you’d want to hang out with him for too long, but he’s fun to watch from a distance. Say, when reading Winnie the Pooh to youngsters.

Why might he be so loved? Well, we all have that Eeyore voice that takes over now and then. Most of the time, it’s temporary, right? And it can be useful to hear the voice of caution when testing the waters of risks to changing. But when the Eeyore voice starts to takes up more permanent residence in your mind, that’s when you might need to take stock of the thought chorus and regain perspective.

In my experience, Eeyore shows up Continue reading

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