Category Archives: Inner Coach

Avoiding Burn-Out

Sheryl Eldene, MA, MBA

We’ve all all had those days when there’s a small voice in the back of our heads that says, “Here’s a quarter, please go call someone who cares.” At that moment you get it that unconditional positive regard doesn’t live in your chair anymore. Here’s some tips to help recover your energy, your love of your work, and your own unconditional positive regard – for yourself.

Tip #1: Give your attention to your own physical well-being. Stretch between clients, jog in place. Try the Cat Response. You know, when the cat gets up from her chair where she’s been for a while, the first thing she does is yawn, stretch, not in any particular way, although there is a yoga stretch is called cat stretch and downward dog. You sit still for 6-8 hours a day, discover ways to move that just feels good.

Tip #2: Give your attention to your own emotional well-being. You’ve spent your day listening. A few minutes at the end of your day to practice mindfulness can be very powerful. Breathing to quiet your mind and your internal emotional cocktail. Take the names of each person you saw today, or any other person that comes to mind. In your imagination, see yourself standing near a brook. Write the name of that person on a leaf, if you have a prayer practice, invite the Divine to bless that particular person/problem, and with that blessing, release the leaf onto the water, and watch it float downstream. Continue with each person until all that concerns you has been released, just for now.

Tip #3: Give your attention to your own mental well-being. Many of us have a job that engages our mental acuity constantly. The tip here is to find things that suit you that either quiet that mental chatter, like a mindfullness, or puts it into a hypnotic state, like TV, computer games. Some folks also find release in hobby type experiences that bring them into flow, that state where time stops and the moment consumes your attention. I’ve inserted a 15-20 minutes island in my day when I first get home, before preparing my dinner when I just sit with a glass of  wonderful cup of tea and watch the clouds go by – my own puppy-on-the-couch moment when I intentionally accomplish nothing, think about nothing, solve nothing.

Tip #4: Give your attention to your own spiritual well-being.  If you have a religious or spiritual practice, make sure that daily (2-5 minutes, even as you fall asleep) you turn your attention toward that focus.  If you don’t have any particular practice, use a few minutes at the beginning or end of your day to do something that brings your focus outside of your inner world – enjoy a moment in nature, connect with a pet, close your eyes and list the parts of your day you are particularly grateful for, enjoy music.  Even just focusing on your breath can quiet the monkey mind and give you some peace.

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Filed under Balance, Inner Coach, Sheryl Eldene, Strategy

Good Grief

Sheryl Eldene, MA, MBA

This month is all about transition.  Many transitions need to move through a stage of grief.  What’s the difference between “good grief” and a pity party? As a business decision, I closed my massage practice of 17 years last week. I knew it was the right decision, but I’ve been grieving the loss of my connection to many wonderful people, and my chance to contribute to their lives.

I really wanted to avoid the pity party, but in doing so, I also ignored a very real emotion that was welling up, and I found myself with a lump in my throat that I even tried to imagine was a cold coming on!

“Good Grief” for me this week is self-care:

  1. Crying when I need to
  2. Sleeping when I want to
  3. Staying in meditation as long as I can
  4. Allowing a wound to heal

It made me think, that if I were cut, I’d take care of the wound, keep it clean, keep it safe from any further tearing, and spend very little time in a pity party. I’m learning a lot about good grief.

What resources do you use to give space for grief while honoring your own integrity and intention toward your future?

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Filed under Business Transitions, Inner Coach, Intentions, Personal Transitions, Sheryl Eldene

Got Your Big Girl Panties Game On?

Sheryl Eldene, MA, MBA

Put on your Big Girl panties and go for the gold. Women often do business “politics” with pull-up diapers and wonder why they aren’t achieving the goals they set out.
I’ve been wondering what the difference is between how men operate in the workplace and how women operate. In my corporate career, the most challenging job I had was managing a group of data entry employees, which were all women. [Of course, they were all women, it was one of the lowest paying jobs at the company!! – but that’s entirely an different discussion.]  The cat fighting for status was brutal and for years I’ve been trying to perceive what makes a team of men different than a team of women. Yes, it can be partly that we’re from Venus and we’ve been trained to listen to our emotions more than those Martians.

One thing I’ve understood from Games your Mother never Taught You, a book I read in the ‘70’s is that men, more often than women have been able to play team sports – football, basketball, soccer, although that that is gradually changing. They learn from that experience to rely on team-mates, that the team wins or the whole team loses and there is praise for the individual that made a game point for the team. They also learn that a single skirmish is just a single skirmish. It is an opportunity to learn more about how this specific game is played – about the opponents strengths and weaknesses. Without that bedrock perspective, a skirmish takes on an entirely new meaning.

For many women, losing a skirmish is devastating, shameful and cause for revenge or escape. When you lose a bid for a position, especially to another woman, or lose a contract to another firm, even one that played “dirty”, or are assigned to work under an incompetent, annoying boss, what do you do? It seems to be a girl’s response to attempt to sabotage the person who got the job you wanted, post nasty stories about the dirty company on your facebook page or blog, and mean gossip talk your new boss. All those responses are responses of a victim acting from a place of powerlessness. Yes, we live in a male dominated society where the male way of doing things and being in the world is the standard, but what is the female standard that we want to create – that acknowledges our access to feelings and visions and proceeds from knowing that we are powerful business women?

What skirmishes in your life have you allowed to derail you and take you out of the game? If those skirmishes were a long time ago, you might be able to see a bigger picture by now. That’s what those Martian boys have that helps them get a different perspective on each skirmish – they are in the game to win, and losing a skirmish can, if you let it, teach you how to play with more skill, more resources, and more power —if we can remember not to sweat the small stuff, and on the journey to our vision, it’s all small stuff, just minor course corrections as we stay on track toward our life passion to those Big Dreams of yours.  (Check out for more ideas on how women do and can play the business game.)

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Filed under Business Planning, Image & Identity, Inner Coach, Motivation, Sheryl Eldene, Uncategorized

Learning to breathe

By Gail Z. Martin

I’ve heard a lot lately about being mindful so that one doesn’t spend more time working IN the business than ON the business.  Meaning that it’s possible to get so caught up in the daily grind that we stop doing the things that help our businesses grow.  One of these important, but often overlooked, items is, I believe, taking time to breathe.

Sure, you breathe, or you wouldn’t be alive to read this.  But did you know that most Americans take short, shallow breaths that contribute to the feeling of tenseness and panic?  We rarely stop to take deep breaths, breaths that begin in the belly and then expand through the chest.  We seldom take even a few moments to focus on the act of breathing, feeling the air fill us, and then letting go of the breath in a slow, calm way.

In Tai Chi, as with most martial arts and with disciplines like Yoga, breath is everything.  But you don’t have to be a martial arts master to get a sixty-second vacation by taking a moment out of your hectic, stress-filled day to savor a few calm breaths.

The next time you feel your neck growing tight, your temples beginning to throb and your back starting to clench, take a few moments and breathe.  Close your eyes and pay attention to the rhythm of your breath.  Is it fast and shallow?  If so, slow down your breathing by taking breaths that begin in your abdomen and then fill you all the way through your chest.  Hold it for a second and then try to let it go just as slowly, listening to it rush through the nose.  Even five or six deep, slow breaths make an amazing difference in the perceived stress.  After a few deep, slow breaths, it becomes easier to relax your shoulders, unclench your jaw, relax your lower back.  If your heart is pounding after a distressing phone call or office confrontation, deep, slow breaths can help you bring your mind and body back into a calm, rational state where you can make better decisions and think more clearly.

The next time stress gets to you, put the miracle of breath to work and notice how clear your thoughts become, how much faster you recover, and how much better you feel.

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Filed under Gail Z. Martin, Inner Coach, Marketing

Flash your · · · — — — · · ·

By Sheryl Eldene, MBA, MA

Before the era of 911, everyone knew the Morse Code for SOS, (· · · — — — · · ·).  Since we don’t use that anymore, I’m giving SOS a new meaning:


Master these 7 Signs of Strength and the help can come in the form of improved relationships, greater joy and connection with yourself, better self-care, enhanced communication, and greater success toward your goal.  Over there on the left under “Author Audios” you’ll find an exercise to help you identify your own unique character strengths, be sure to give that a listen today.

  1. Respond instead of react. When we react, we are usually acting from defense and from weakness.  If you respond from your strength, the response is very different.  For example, one of my character strengths is curiosity.  When my husband lands on my for leaving dirty dishes in the sink, my reaction is to recount all the time he leaves hairs in the shower AND junk in the garage, I’ve pretty much launched WWIII and have no idea what any sign of strength might be.  However, if I can respond from my strength of curiosity, wondering why this particular afternoon, those dishes where a difficulty, then I have launched a discussion that might not be all lovey-dovey, but can result in my putting those dishes on the counter on Monday’s so he has space to prepare for his evening with his buddies with the munchies he promised to bring.
  2. Identify and learn from your judgemnts. Judgments are often a reflection or our own inner needs and values. Really, when I judge you as negligent and rude when you use the merge lane to jump in from on ME, I’m acting from my own value of patience, of order, and of structure.  It’s a lot easier to talk to myself as you try to cut in front of the line by saying that “Yes, structure and order are important to me – not so much to you, and I see that fast and me-first is more important to you.  I wonder what part of my life would benefit from more order – my kitchen counters, probably”.
  3. Reach out when you need it. Asking for help is not a weakness.  Although our country is build on independence, and that is a strength, you can also use the strength of community, sharing, and mutual support.  That support must go both ways for each party to feel strong.
  4. Keep your word – especially to yourself. Any strength put on like a coat just for company isn’t really a strength, it’s a show.  If you have a value to keeping your word to others, but fail to exercise, avoid sugar, go to bed early, whatever, because when you cheat on you no one knows, then your word is just for show, and your heart suffers.
  5. Take time for yourself. This isn’t narcissistic or indulgent – it’s absolutely necessary.  The airlines got it right when they tell you to put on your own oxygen mask before putting on your child’s – because if you don’t, the child and you might not make it.  Caring for yourself helps you care for others better, and models for those around you what a healthy lifestyle looks like.
  6. Know what you want. While meandering through life is fun, without knowing what you want, you’ll just get more of what you have today, which might be just fine.  Take time to figure out what floats your boat, not what should float your boat, but what really does.
  7. Don’t take things personally, even if it sounds personal, it usually isn’t.  As a matter of fact, I believe that we are simply not capable of judging others.  If I tell you you’re beautiful, I’m really saying that you have a feature, or a manner, or a style of dressing that I’d like – which is about me, not you.  If I tell you that you’re fat, I’m really saying that I have a value of slim-ness that I haven’t achieved and I’m afraid that I won’t achieve that – otherwise your shape wouldn’t even get my attention, let alone get energy for me to say something.

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Filed under Balance, Image & Identity, Inner Coach, Personal Transitions, Sheryl Eldene, Uncategorized

Too busy to notice

By Gail Z. Martin

I do a lot of signings in bookstores.  My table is always right up at the door, and I try to greet everyone who comes in with a smile, a free bookmark and a 10 second question to connect with people who like to read my kind of book.

It works well for about 75% of the people who come in.  And the rest?  They’re too busy to notice.  Many of them are talking on their cell phones.  They’re so busy talking to people who aren’t there, they have no time to meet someone who’s standing right in front of them.

Others are in a hurry.  They brush past you without making eye contact like they’re afraid you’re going to spray perfume on them or ask for a buck.  Sometimes, they cut me off before I can finish my “Did you get a bookmark?” question with a curt “Don’t want one.”  How would they know?  They have no idea what I’m offering them  or who I am, or why I’m there.

So what did they miss?  Well, they missed meeting an honest-to-goodness author, which for some people counts as sorta cool.  They missed finding out about a book they or someone they know might have liked.  But they could have missed out on a million dollars, the love of their life, or their next job for all they know, because they were in too much of a hurry to find out what was being offered because they were too busy.

What are you missing out on because you’re too busy to notice?  Flowers in the garden?  Kids who won’t stay the age they are forever?  A spouse who is trying to talk to you?  Neighbors who might turn into friends?  Acquaintances who might become clients?  You’ll never know until you slow down enough to listen.

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Filed under Gail Z. Martin, Inner Coach, Marketing

Finding your Sasha Fierce

By Gail Z. Martin

If you’re a Beyonce fan, then you know  that according to the star, she’s actually not as “out there” as her stage persona.  In fact, Beyonce psyches herself up for performances by mentally playing a role, a character she calls Sasha Fierce.

I think that’s brilliant, and it got me wondering—have you found your own Sasha Fierce?

There are so many times in business that you have to go public when inside, you’re thinking “I’m not ready yet!”  And yet, you have to go.  It may be doing a presentation that you wish you had another month to practice, or making a sales pitch to a prospect that is a big opportunity.  Maybe it’s rolling out a product that is as good as you can make it but not perfect.  You focus on the maybes and the fear, instead of strutting your stuff.

Time to find your Sasha Fierce.

Pretend you have an alter-ego (all the superheroes do, why not you?).  This alter-ego is whatever you think you’re not—extroverted, comfortable on stage, never at a loss for words, quick on her feet, good at closing a sale, etc.  Imagine you’re writing a play with the alter-ego as a character.  Describe him/her in detail.  Make it like a real person.  And when you’re done, try on your “secret identity” for size, like a suit of clothes.  (Ever notice that superheroes always change clothes when they go from alter-ego to hero?)  You don’t even need a phone booth (what does Superman do now that everyone has cell phones?).

Step into your version of Sasha Fierce, and pretend you’re the actor playing the role.  No one needs to know except you.  In the role, could you be bold?  Could you take charge of the situation?  Make the sale? Close the deal?  Could you get on stage without shaking?  If so, then you’ve learned what Beyonce already knows—everyone needs a Sasha Fierce.

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Filed under Gail Z. Martin, Inner Coach, Sales