Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Managing Stress


By Julie Rahm
Are you feeling overwhelmed? The solution is to manage the effects of your problems, otherwise known as stress. Stress depletes your energy and keeps you stuck. Stress is simply the misinterpretation of everything that affects you. That may sound silly. But, most people don’t know the real reason for their stress. People hire me, because I get the right answer for them in their businesses and their lives. When you have the right answer, you know it, because you suddenly feel better. The right answer cures stress. Even if you don’t know what’s causing your stress, there are techniques you can use immediately for temporary relief of your symptoms.
The first technique is “holding your tongue”. Instead of letting co-workers or family members get to you, place the tip of your tongue gently against the roof of your mouth, about a quarter-inch behind your teeth. “Holding your tongue” keeps the energy flowing in your body, reducing stress and providing the boost you need to stay calm. And, you won’t be able to say something you’ll regret!
The second technique is breathing. Take five deep breaths before you speak. Find a private place and take five minutes to breathe. Count to four as you inhale, allowing the air to push your bellybutton out. Count to four as you exhale. Imagine exhaling whatever is causing stress. Breathing changes the physical response of your body, allowing negative energy to dissipate.
Another technique best done privately takes only two minutes. Close your eyes. Place your hand over your heart. As you inhale, imagine breathing in love and support.
Finally, learn from my dog, Tank. Shake it off. Like Tank after he gets wet, shake your body from head to toe. Shaking it off releases whatever negative energy is left in your body.
I use these techniques regularly for serious matters, and not-so-serious matters. For instance, early one morning I had only ten minutes to walk Tank. So, we turned his walk into a run. All was well until he found a huge mud puddle. Before I could say a word, Tank proceeded to push his chin and belly into the mud. Then, he rolled over and pushed the top of his head and back through the mud. When he finally emerged from the puddle, not one inch of him was clean. He looked like a canine Snickers bar just dipped in chocolate. And, he looked very pleased. I was substitute teaching that day and had to be at the school no later than 7:45AM. Bathing Tank would take at least seven minutes. “Holding my tongue”, Tank and I continued the run home. Managing the stress enabled me to maintain a good mood and work efficiently and effectively back home. I arrived at school at 7:44AM.
Ultimately, some stress is minor like the episode with Tank. Other stress is incapacitating. Either way, use these techniques to tune up your energy and tune out stress. Then, visit my website at http://AmericasMindsetMechanic.com. 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

A Sticky Situation


By Julie Rahm
     It was September 30, 2008. My husband John said the repair would take fifteen minutes. I knew the estimate was optimistic. Nothing associated with boats takes fifteen minutes. But, I deferred and John boarded our boat, tube of 3M 5200 adhesive in hand. When John unscrewed the cap, Pandora’s evil box was opened up. Because the tube was crushed, this white concoction from hell oozed onto the deck and John. Technical language ensued as John struggled to get the mess onto a rag. Unfortunately, some boomeranged off the rag and back onto John’s hands. When John stood up using his hands to push off the deck, Satan’s material was left behind. Unknowingly, John stepped into the mess leaving white footprints on the cabin top. Immediately, John sat down to remove his shoes. Now, 5200 stuck onto John’s butt. He quickly realized what had happened and stood back up. While struggling to remove the other shoe, a gust of wind caught the rag with its payload of 5200. The rag bounced across the deck and into the cockpit. It looked like some wild animal had tracked over our boat leaving white footprints. John briefly considered jumping into the water to break this catastrophic chain of events. But, the water was cold and sensibility prevailed. So, John stripped off his jeans and stepped quickly off the boat. He walked off the marina pier as nonchalantly as possible. Other people in the marina tried not to notice. But, it was an unfortunate decision to wear white briefs instead of colored boxers. It’s amazing how white underwear can look in bright sunlight!
     Weeks later, some of John’s leg hair was still cemented to his calves and thighs. I’m sure the 5200 spots in the car will be the lasting reminder once John grows new skin and hair. There is still 5200 all over the boat. The rag that blew into the cockpit is firmly glued in a good spot to wipe your feet. And, I failed to notice the 5200 when I washed John’s underwear. They are now firmly attached to the inside of our dryer, never to be removed. I’m wondering how many souls 3M had to sacrifice to bribe the 5200 recipe from the devil. This stuff is a remarkable product when used by the skilled. But be advised; when this wonder adhesive comes out of its tube, be on guard. Its molecular composition gives it a mind of it’s own. So my point this week, in addition to warning you about the perils of 3M 5200, is to remind you that even the small jobs can suddenly become a nightmare. When they do, stop what you’re doing. Take five deep breaths to center yourself. And then you can resolve the nightmare with a happy ending.
     Visit my website at www.AmericasMindsetMechanic.com. Also, be one of the first to visit The Pamlico News during Oriental’s Sprit of Christmas celebration and get a free America’s Mindset Mechanic tool set!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Partial Credit


By Julie Rahm
     About one-thousand years ago, I graduated from the University of Nebraska with a degree in physics and mathematics. The curriculum, to say the least, was extremely demanding. I was definitely a round peg in a square hole. Or more appropriately, I was a round person in a world full of squares! I had many classes with engineering students. As I said, I was not an engineering student. But, the physics and engineering majors took a lot of the same mathematics courses together. Of course, the physics majors did not like the engineering majors. My fellow “physicists” viewed the “engineers” as a bunch of recipe followers. In their view, physicists write the recipes and the lesser engineers only follow them. As with cooking, the truly great chefs create their own fantastic recipes. Anybody can cook well if they have the recipe the great chef created. So it was with the physicists and engineers. The physicists viewed themselves as the great chefs. The engineers were lesser beings only following the recipes. The dynamics were interesting and the classes were brutal.
     One brutal aspect of most classes was the scoring of tests. There was no partial credit for a wrong answer. The answer was either exactly correct or it was completely wrong. In other subjects, students got partial credit for using the correct methodology. Even though their answer was wrong, if they were on “the right path”, professors gave them some credit for being close. This was not my experience with the mathematics professors at the University of Nebraska. At Nebraska, you were either right or completely wrong. It was a harsh policy. However, I understand the professors’ point of view. When engineers are designing a bridge, close is not good enough. Picture the aerospace engineers designing airliners. There is no room for inexactness. Close is not good enough for any engineering discipline. In engineering, lives depend on exact answers. Engineers understand and willingly accept the responsibility for being correct.
     Sadly, I often coach clients who view their relationships as engineering endeavors. As such, they think everyone must be correct one-hundred percent of the time. Unfortunately, human sciences are not engineering. Relationships are not exact. And, here is my point this week. Unlike University of Nebraska mathematics, in relationships, partial credit must be given. For example, when my husband John decides, while baking my birthday cake, that baking soda is an acceptable substitute for baking powder I still give him partial credit for the attempt and effort. Partial credit is an essential ingredient for a successful and happy relationship. Partial credit must go both ways. As another example, when I get the trash to the curb on collection day and forget some from inside, John gives me partial credit without chastising.
You’ll get full credit for visiting my website at http://www.AmericasMindsetMechanic.com. Also, be among the first to visit The Pamlico News during Oriental’s Sprit of Christmas celebration and get a free America’s Mindset Mechanic tool set! 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Who Are You Towing?


By Julie Rahm                                                  
The word tow is a verb. It means to draw or pull along behind. Generally, tow comes in two flavors. One flavor of tow is a transitive verb, for example, to tow a wagon. The other flavor of tow is intransitive, as in “the wagon is in tow”. Got that? I thought I understood all I needed to know about towing until my husband John earned a Towing Endorsement with his Captain’s License. In our home, when John is learning something, everyone gets a small dose. So, I learned a bit about towing boats.
As I understand it, there are four ways to tow another boat. The most straightforward is to pull from the front using a rope or cable called a hawser. A variation of that is when a barge is attached directly to the back of a tug without a hawser. After those two methods, there is pushing. And lastly, there is hip towing where the tug is alongside the barge. And, if I didn’t get all that exactly correct, my advance apologies to Captain Jim Holley at Oriental’s World Wide Marine Training Center. Please refer all towing questions to his school! Anyway, I begin with towing to tell you this.
In life, we are all tug boats. In some form, those closest to us become attached. It happens in a lot of different ways. Most common are marriage and parenthood. Our spouses and children are attached to us much like barges to a tug. The real question becomes how your barges are attached to you. And, how much energy are you using to move them along?
As a recent example, I have a new client whose husband has been out of work for years. Out in front, she has been the tug and he has been the barge trailing along behind. Adding more challenge to the relationship, he is verbally abusive. So, metaphorically, she tows him along with a long hawser so he doesn’t get too close. She pulls him at a distance without the intimacy found in a good relationship. She expends a lot of energy to keep him moving along behind her.
Another of my clients is a father who “tows” his adult children from behind. His grown children are firmly tied off in front. He is conducting a push tow for them. His children are perfectly content to expend no energy to move along in life. This father must operate his engine at maximum throttle to keep everyone moving. While his adult children ride comfortably in front of the tow, this father works three jobs to provide parental welfare.
Don’t misunderstand. Everyone needs a pull or a push once in awhile. But, towing should be an occupation not a lifestyle. So my point this week is to create a measure of awareness. Take some pause to see, as the tug, who is “hawsered” to you? And, if you are tired of towing, visit my website at http://www.AmericasMindsetMechanic.com. 

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Hula Hoops


By Julie Rahm
     Contrary to popular belief, Hula Hoops were not invented in the 1950s. Hula Hoops have been a part of exercise since the 1400s. Hoops were used for play and exercise in ancient Greece. Of course, the Greeks did not use plastic. Their hoops were made from dried up willow, rattan, grapevines, or stiff grasses. Even in 13th century Europe, the hoops were used for recreation and religious ceremonies. According to medical records from that era, doctors encouraged patients with dislocated backs and heart attack victims to use this winding exercise. In the early 19th century, the term “hula” was added to the toy name due to the experiences of British soldiers who travelled to the Hawaiian Islands. During their stay, the soldiers noticed the resemblance of the hip movement in the traditional hula dances to the movements of people that go hooping. Now you know the ancient history of Hula Hoops!
The new history of Hula Hoops began in the late 1950s when a plastic version was successfully marketed by California's Wham-O toy company. In 1957, Richard Knerr and Arthur "Spud" Melin, starting with the idea of Australian bamboo "exercise hoops", manufactured 42 in hoops with Marlex plastic. With national marketing and retailing, a fad was started in July 1958. Twenty-five million plastic hoops were sold in less than four months. In two years, sales reached more than 100-million units. Carlon Products Corporation was one of the first manufacturers of the Hula Hoop. During the 1950s when the Hula Hoop craze swept the country, Carlon was producing more than 50,000 Hula Hoops per day! The hoop was inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame in Rochester, New York, in 1999.
Even today, Hula Hoop record-setting continues to be popular. The record for the most hoops twirled simultaneously is 132, set by Paul "Dizzy Hips" Blair on November 11, 2009. The previous record was 107, set by Alesya Gulevich of Belarus on June 15, 2009. The current record for longest hooping is held by Bric Sorenson of the United States, who went 90 hours between April 2, and April 6, 1987. The largest hoop twirled was 45.55 ft in circumference, by Ashrita Furman of the United States in September, 2005. The record for simultaneous Hula Hooping is for 2,290 participants at Chung Cheng Stadium in Kaohsiung, Taiwan on October 28, 2000. And for the heaviest hoop, in 2000, Roman Schedler spun a 53-pound tractor tire for 71 seconds at the 5th Saxonia Record Festival in Bregenz, Austria. Now you know!
My point in all this is simple. If your life is so busy that you are constantly “jumping through hoops”, some prioritization is in order. Take a pause and determine your life’s priorities. Then, do the sort. Accomplish the important tasks first. If a task doesn’t contribute to your goals, perhaps it shouldn’t be accomplished.
To learn more prioritization and task management skills contact me through my website at http://www.AmericasMindsetMechanic.com. 
Top curve