Saturday, July 30, 2011

Pass the Salt

By Julie Rahm

Salt is big business. In 2007, the total world production of salt was estimated at 257 million metric tons, the top five producers being China (59.8 million tons), the United States (44.5), Germany (19.8), India (16.0), and Canada (11.8). Americans are responsible for most of the demand. We consume more than two-and-a-half times the recommended amount of salt. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that adults should consume less than 2,300 mg of sodium or about one teaspoon of salt per day. The Center for Disease Control found nearly 70 percent of U.S. adults are in high-risk groups that would benefit from a lower-salt diet of no more than 1,500 mg per day, yet most consume closer to 3,500 mg per day. Nearly everyone is aware of the risks. The Wall Street Journal reported that Pepsi is developing a “designer salt” that is slightly more powdery than the salt it regularly uses. The company hopes this new form of salt will cut sodium levels by 25-percent in its Lay’s potato chips. NestlĂ© prepared foods company, which produces frozen meals, announced that it will reduce sodium in its foods 10-percent by the year 2015. Also, General Mills announced that it will reduce the sodium content of 40-percent of its foods 20-percent by the year 2015.

It seems everyone is working toward lower salt consumption. But, salt is often consumed in a different way. Salt is sometimes rubbed into the wounds of others. And, even worse, some people rub salt into their own wounds. What do I mean? As an example, one of my clients, a tactless manager, was quick to point out the failures of others. He put salt in others’ wounds. His managerial style rendered him less effective than his counterparts. Instead of instructing, this manager would critique his employees in a harsh demeaning way. Productivity suffered until the manager was able to hear and feel the words he delivered. Once he stopped putting salt in wounds, productivity increased and the workplace environment improved dramatically. Most often, others know they have failed and don’t need to feel any additive pain.

Another misuse of salt is putting it in your own wounds. Self ridicule and negative self talk leads to underachieving. Your mind is your most powerful asset. Unfortunately, if you speak ill of yourself, your mind will believe what you tell it. What you focus on grows. The ability to turn a negative thought into a positive thought is the vital ingredient for a successful and fulfilling life. So, easy with the salt! Leave salt out of your wounds and be kind in what you say to yourself and others. Your mindset is the difference between achieving your desires and falling short.

Tune up your mindset and get your free 52-week online guided journal by joining the Mindset Mechanic Community at Listen to the Mindset Mechanic Radio Show, Saturdays and Sundays at 5PM on FM107.1 WTKF.

Saturday, July 23, 2011


By Julie Rahm

We all have favorite recipes. And, most of our favorite recipes have been in our families for generations. Some family recipes are guarded secrets. Family recipes are traded and given like a valuable commodity. A high watermark of friendship is when your friend gives you her grandmother’s favorite recipe. Everyone has a grandmother recipe for this or that.

When I was younger, attendance at my grandparent’s Sunday dinner was a required event. Grandma’s pot roast was the usual dish. I have always enjoyed my grandmother’s pot roast recipe. Her roast was always cooked with the ends cut off. Consequently, following Grandma’s example, I always cut off the ends before cooking any roast. One evening, with Grandma’s recipe roast (without ends) on our table, John asked why I always cut off the ends. I gave the obvious answer, “Grandma did it.” I realized my answer was unsatisfying. So, the next day I asked my mother why grandma cut the ends off the roasts. My mother answered, “So it would fit in her small pot.” True! I had been blindly cutting the ends off the roasts most of my adult life! John won’t let me live it down. But the good news is; I have stopped the legacy and ensured our daughters know they don’t have cut off the ends!

In our home, another favorite recipe is Nana Rahm’s Chicken Squares. These Chicken Squares are my husband’s favorite. Really, the recipe is not that great. (Sorry Nana!) Even though the recipe is mediocre, my husband likes it above all others. I was slow to understand. I thought perhaps I had the recipe wrong. Then finally, I realized why these (average at best) Chicken Squares are the most requested meal in our household. It was so simple. The taste of the chicken squares returns John to his childhood and his adoring grandmother. Before he was a teen, John spent storybook summers with his grandparents in the Pocono Mountains in eastern Pennsylvania. The Chicken Squares flood his mind with those summer memories of lakes and bikes. We are all familiar with the magic of family recipes. The tastes return us to a sanctuary of memories. The familiar food provides medicine for the soul and bonds us to the past. The recipes are tangible ties to our family that has come and gone. Our literal taste of the past helps ease our concerns for the future. There is no mindset medicine stronger than your Grandmother’s favorite recipe. It is nearly impossible to be grumpy when you’re eating food the way your Grandmother fixed it. Comfort food can be a great way to turn your day around and improve your mindset. For Nana Rahm’s Chicken Square recipe, e-mail me at Let me know how you liked them.

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Thursday, July 14, 2011


By Julie Rahm

My coaching business makes me well traveled. I have wonderful experiences with a lot of different clients from all walks of life. As their Mindset Mechanic, I help them work through their challenges. One of the commonalities I see is worry.

Worry seems to be a common thread that runs through the fabric of all our personalities. It is inherent in the human species. This worry can be paralyzing. Some are unable to make decisions and move forward in their lives. The sum of their unknowns overcomes their ability to “get going”. Worry is an obstacle that can prevent people from achieving their dreams. It can stop people from taking even marginal risks that might better their lives. It is sad to witness individuals with so much potential that will not move forward because they are worried about consequences.

Dan Zadra says, “Worry is misuse of our imagination”. So, I use a simple imagination exercise to get my clients over their worry. Together we write down their major concerns. Then, we imagine the worst and all their worries happen. After they imagined all their worries came true, we discuss the “now what”. At the end of this simple exercise, my clients realize if their worries materialize, the consequences are really not that bad. They stop worrying and move forward with their lives. One client was reluctant to leave his employer and start his own business. He wouldn’t make the leap to entrepreneurship. He was worried about failure. He feared being judged if he failed and had to go back to a job. To help him through his dilemma, we discussed his fears. At the end of our session, he realized that whatever happened he could handle it. Then, he wrote detailed visions for his new thriving business and how he feels running a successful business, as if his wish was already fulfilled. Free from fear, he made the leap. Now, his new business is flourishing, reflecting his vision.

Fear is the largest component of worry. When you master your fears, worry disappears. My husband, John, is not a worrier. He doesn’t carry around a lot of fear. Yet, he is cautious. He tends to prepare for the worst and hope for the best. His time in the Marine Corps has served him well. He says being shot at provides a new perspective on fear. Really, you don’t have to be shot at to become the master of your worries. My metaphorical tools can help. When your level tilts, you are dwelling in worry. Use the flashlight to figure out why. Pluck those worries from your mind with the pliers. Use the hammer to pound in a positive vision of your wish fulfilled. Finally, the tape measures your progress toward a better mindset.

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Friday, July 8, 2011


By Julie Rahm

Humans are an interesting species. We are complex creatures who have created a complex world. The resulting human understanding of the universe is impressive. Each generation builds on the knowledge of the previous. It is astounding to think the first powered flight by the Wright brothers was only 108 years ago. Now, with the number at 135, Space Shuttle flights are so common they rarely get news coverage. Number 135 received some spotlight only because it was the final flight. Apathy seems to be an unintended by-product of technology. Still, the advancement of technology and understanding is truly amazing. But, it is impossible to have complete understanding of our surroundings at all times. Unfortunately, when our understanding stops, our assumptions begin. And, the slip from understanding to assumptions takes place in our minds. This simple process, from understanding to assumptions, happens by default. It takes place in our heads and causes complications in our lives. Our minds are not our friends. Our minds attempt to derail us. And, when understanding stops, assumptions kick in allowing our minds use the void to wreak havoc with us.

As a personal example, my husband, John, is an “on-time” guy. He usually arrives everywhere 10 minutes early to avoid being late. He flew Close-Air Support missions in the Marine Corps where timing was critical. So, any late or soon-to-be late arrival will send John spinning. My assumption is: John will always be on time. So, when I am standing on the curb waiting to be picked up and John is late, my mind uses the assumption against me and I start believing he has had an accident. Understanding has stopped. Assumptions have intervened. My mind has decided to create havoc with my thoughts. I picture him crashed in a Pamlico County ditch and begin listening for the fire trucks. Really, John just had trouble starting his 1985 Toyota truck! My mind is not my friend. As another example, when I go to Yoga and John doesn’t see my car parked in front, his understanding stops. He assumes I’m not there. And, his unfriendly mind tells him I have played hooky from yoga and gone swimming at Brenna’s! Really, without a parking place in front, I parked the car down the side street.

So my message this week is to be aware when understanding wanes and you default to your assumptions. Usually, your unfriendly mind interjects to mess up your day. My metaphorical toolkit can help. The level tells you understanding has defaulted to assumptions and your mind is about to mess you up. The flashlight tells your pliers what unhealthy thoughts to extract. Then you can hammer in a mindset for seeking to understand. And, the measuring tape shows your progress toward a tuned-up mindset!

Get your free 52-week online guided journal by joining the Mindset Mechanic Community at Listen to the Mindset Mechanic Radio Show, Saturdays at 5PM on FM107.1 WTKF/AM1240 WJNC and

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Good Truth and Bad Truth

By Julie Rahm

My coaching business allows me insight into my client’s lives. My clients are professionals who hire me to improve themselves and their performance. All have challenges in their workplace with relationships they find particularly difficult. These dysfunctional relationships are often fueled with the intent to discredit each other. Like crabs in bucket, employees try to claw their way up by pushing those around them back down into the bucket. These unproductive and unhealthy relationships fill the workplace with tension. And surprisingly, the primary weapon in these employees’ interpersonal arsenal is often the truth. Yes indeed, workplace combatants use the truth as a weapon with the goal of making the adversary employee yield. Injustice is often administered by true words. But, truth does not vindicate one from bad intent. There is bad truth. Truth becomes bad when delivered with bad intent. One of my favorite quotes is by English poet William Blake who lived from 1757 to 1827. He wrote, “A truth that's told with bad intent beats all the lies you can invent.”

Well being demands that differences must be settled in a constructive fashion. I mediate differences by constructing a win-win situation. If everyone wins, everyone moves forward and the organization achieves its goals. And, if a win-win solution can’t be constructed, it is important for the loser to save face. Along those lines, another quote my husband likes is from Sun Tzu. Sun Tzu was an ancient Chinese military general, strategist and philosopher who lived from 544–496 BC. He stated, “To fight and conquer in all our battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting”. This is a good philosophy for business management as well as life. We could all use more diplomacy in our lives and homes.

My husband John and I have an enduring rule for our home. Our rule is, “Everything that is said must be true. But, everything that is true doesn’t need to be said”. As an example, when dinner is overcooked, we don’t belabor the point. No need to restate the obvious. Be forward focused. Some are the sportscasters of their relationships. They continually recap what happened or offer opinion. This is not good medicine for any relationship. If this sounds familiar, my Mindset Mechanic metaphorical tools can help. The level confirms you are sliding into an unhealthy mindset of bad intentions. The flashlight illuminates why. The pliers pull out those unproductive thoughts. Then, hammer in a new mindset framework for positive intent. Connect your positive intent with your actions by using the screwdriver. Finally, the measuring tape demonstrates your forward progress. And remember, there is both good and bad truth. Intent makes all the difference.

Uncover beliefs that keep you stuck. Get your free 52-week online guided journal by joining the Mindset Mechanic Community at Listen to the Mindset Mechanic Radio Show, Saturdays at 5PM on FM107.1 WTKF/AM1240 WJNC and via
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