Yesterday, as I browsed through various mailers, I came across a store ad featuring a woman clad in a skimpy fitness outfit. Inside the flyer were various specials for fitness equipment. I found myself shaking my head at the irony of this ad; given less than a week ago mailers were featuring glutinous amounts of food (and toys). New Year’s resolution season has officially hit. As discussed in a precious blog. I am not big on the all or nothing mentality of New Year’s resolutions, as they often set us up for failure. As I was contemplating the year of resolutions, I came across this article The Only Way to Keep Your Resolutions which has a completely different way of looking at how we make resolutions. After decades of being told to practice self control (eat less, spend less, exercise more) we have failed miserably. The article goes on to say the way we have viewed self-control is wrong. The real key? Social emotions. “Unlike reason and willpower, they naturally incline us to be patient and persevere. When you are experiencing these emotions, self-control is no longer a battle, for they work not by squashing our desires for pleasure in the moment but by increasing how much we value the future.”
My recommendation for a resolution this year? Read this article and as the author states “reflect on what you’re grateful to have been given. Allow your mind to step into the shoes of those in need and feel for them. Take pride in the small achievements on the path to your goals. Doing so will help ensure that every future New Year’s Eve will have more to celebrate than to regret.”
Humans are (still) social creatures wired to connect. It’s true.
And since in addition to loving food, we love people and serving others, we will always keep the conversation going about how to have a better conversation: one that leaves you and the other person feeling inspired, engaged, and basically — really good.
Watch this short TED Talk: 10 ways to have a better conversation
(It’s not just about eye contact…as she says: there’s no reason to show you are paying attention…if, in fact…you are paying attention!)
1. Don’t multi-task (physically or mentally). Be present.
2. Don’t pontificate: if you want to state opinions without discussion, write a blog! Enter every conversation assuming you have something to learn.
3. Use open-ended questions: what was that like, how did that feel, what do you think.
4. Go with the flow – meaning, let thoughts come as you are listening but let them go. Don’t check out of listening because you’re cueing up that random thought or story you want to share.
5. If you don’t know, say you don’t know.
6. Don’t equate your experience with theirs. All experiences are individual.
7. Try not to repeat yourself, it’s condescending and boring.
8. Stay out of the weeds. That detail you are trying to remember (exact year or place) really isn’t that important to others.
9. Listen. This is the most important skill humans can develop. No man ever listened himself out of a job (quoting Calvin Coolidge).
10. Be brief.
Do all of these and be prepared to be amazed.
For a company that is wild about wildly important goals…say what?!?
You need a goal (or two, but not more than 3!) and it needs to be measurable. The process of identifying and agreeing upon a goal (what can be even better, cleaner, tastier, safer) brings focus…to everyone. And, by the way…”focus” is the single word to which both Warren Buffet and Bill Gates attribute their success — not determination, not smarts, not courage, not creativity — but focus.
BUT, to achieve your goal? Spend your time focusing on your “systems”.
“If you’re a coach, your goal is to win a championship. Your system is what your team does at practice each day…When you focus on the practice instead of the performance, you can enjoy the present moment and improve at the same time. None of this is to say that goals are useless…goals are good for planning your progress, while systems are good for actually making progress.”
So, you have a goal…pulse-check…what are your systems for achieving it and maintaining the desired result? Focus, focus and refocus on that.
As we go from zero (or slow-ish) to full speed ahead, everywhere (yay, back to school!), your time is at a premium and time management is critical. So, before you lose your cool (and who wants to spend time looking for that), here are some tips:
1. Preventative maintenance.
Fuel up with the right stuff. Eat a real breakfast…one with nutritional value. You’re in the food business, you KNOW what that looks like. Just do it.
2. Take 5.
Commit to taking mental breaks. Step outside, take three deep breaths, look at the horizon – the sky – anything growing from the earth, close your eyes, stretch, re-center. And then get back in there…they need your energy and your leadership!
3. Know your hot buttons and manage them.
What really sets you off? Guess what…it might happen today! What are you going to do when it does? Remember, you are in control of how you react. Spare yourself (and those around you) the stress and breathe through the things that push your buttons.
1 prepared pizza crust or oval flatbread
2 T olive oil
2-3 peaches, peel on, sliced ⅓”
¼-½ Ib brie cheese, rind removed, sliced
¼ c basil leaves, torn
1. Pre-heat grill to medium
2. Drizzle peach slices with 2T olive oil, toss to coat
3. Grill peaches, 2 mins per side, remove
4. Coat both sides of crust with cooking spray
5. Grill each side, 1-2 mins
6. Top crust with peaches & brie
7. Put pizza on grill rack or pizza stone, cook 3-5 more mins
8. Remove to cutting board, sprinkle with basil, slice
Note: can do final cooking of whole pizza in a 400 ̊ oven.