Category Archives: Personal Transitions

It’s Difficult to Change

Sheryl Eldene, MA, MBA

A group of scientists and researchers put five monkeys in a cage, in the middle of the cage was a ladder.  On top of the ladder was a bunch of bananas. When a monkey climbed the ladder to catch the bananas and reached the top, a jet of cold water was thrown on the others who were on the ground.

After a certain time, when a monkey climbed to catch the bananas, the others took him off the lader and spanked him. Later on, no one climbed the ladder anymore, in spite of the temptation of the sweet treat at the top.

Next, one of them was replaced by a new monkey. The first thing he tried to do was to climb the ladder, but he was taken off by the others who spanked him. As he was not able to reach the top, the others did not receive the jet of cold water. After some spanking, the new member of the group stopped trying to reach the bananas anymore.

A second monkey was replaced in the cage and the same thing happened to him. The first one took part, with enthusiasm in the spanking of the new one. A third was replaced and the same thing happened. A fourth, and finally the last one of the members of the group was replaced.

The researchers, then, had in the cage a group of five monkeys who had never received a cold bath through were still spanking the one who tried to reach the bananas. If it were possible to ask any of them why they spanked the one who tried to climb the ladder, surely, among the answers the most frequent one would be:
“I don’t know, but things have always been like this around here.”

Are there actions that you are taking in your business or your life that originally had a life affirming reason for being part of you, but no longer serves you? For example:

  • What did you have for breakfast;
  • How you respond to survey calls;
  • How your respond to solicitation visits;
  • How you respond to requests for help;
  • How you ask for help.

During this week of transition, check out what is on auto-pilot, and why is the banana in your life still hanging there above the ladder?

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Filed under Image & Identity, Intentions, Intuition, Motivation, Personal Transitions, Social Media

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

Take it Out of High Gear

By Gail Z. Martin

How much time did you spend relaxing this summer?

Many entrepreneurs—in fact, I’d say most of us—get so busy building our businesses that we forget to take time off to nurture our souls.

The dog days of August are a good time to kick back for a few days and schedule yourself some free time.  You’ll be surprised at the payoff.

Busy people tend to look at downtime as a loss or a waste.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Downtime can be incredibly productive, but in a different way from the daily grind.  Here’s how I reap value from my downtime.

  • Strengthen your base.  Our jobs take a toll on our families, between long hours, travel schedules and distracted attention.  Use your downtime to nurture your bonds with the people you love most by switching off and unplugging to give them total attention.
  • Dream, vision and fantasize.  Are you too busy to daydream?  If so, you’re cheating yourself.  Skipping sleep?  You may be missing out on some of your brain’s best ideas.  I find then when I step away from the full-court press of daily business, I start to be aware of more intuitive things like ideas, connections, and possibilities.  When I relax, my subconscious kicks in and gives me my best ideas.  The same is true when we get deep, REM sleep.
  • Renew and restore.  No resource on Earth can give continually without taking in nutrition.  Your work requires physical and psychic energy that creates an enormous drain.  Without time to relax, renew and restore, you will eventually deplete your reserves.  How do you restore yourself?  Everyone is different, but I love periods of silence, good books, permission to do absolutely nothing for a while, good food, and the company of people I love.  Other people like to hike, dance the night away or do other activities.  Just make sure whatever you pick leaves you feeling renewed and restored and not just tired.

Give yourself permission to unplug and see the difference in yourself and your business!

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Filed under Gail Z. Martin, Personal Transitions

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


<div class=\"postavatar\">Civility</div>

by Gail Z. Martin

The whole civility topic has stayed with me.  All the anger spewed by talk radio and politicians, and all the fear that makes for news show ratings is making us sick—and I mean that literally.

We know that stress is a big contributor to disease.  Stress contributes to cancer, heart disease, inflammatory conditions, auto-immune disorders, sleep problems, overeating, substance abuse and domestic violence.  Life has unavoidable stresses, but we can choose to eliminate the phony ones by refusing to listen to radio and TV personalities shout at each other, by withdrawing support when politicians act like middle school bullies, and by being watchful of the tone of the conversation that is allowed in our minds and in our homes.

What does this have to do with marketing and business?  Everything.  When people are afraid, they spend less money on goods and services.  Businesses horde extra cash instead of hiring, “just in case.”  Investors pull out of markets.  Lenders refuse to lend.  It’s all based on a mindset of scarcity, the fear that there isn’t enough to go around.

What happens if we change the channel?  What happens when we focus on gratitude instead of fear, on building instead of scarcity?  It changes everything—personally and in business.

When you focus on gratitude, your intuition will feel like the volume has been turned up.  Suddenly, you’re highly receptive to other people—and they’re receptive to you.  Your intuition seems to speak to you more often when your mind isn’t blocked by anger and fear.  You’ll see new business opportunities, forge new partnerships and take risks to grow.  Not only that, but a business approach based on gratitude (with some intuitive hints along the way) will make you attractive to people who see you as an oasis of calm and confidence.

What are you grateful for in the New Year?  In your business?

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Filed under Gail Z. Martin, Intentions, Personal Transitions

Anger and the lizard brain.

<div class=\"postavatar\">Anger and the lizard brain.</div>

by Gail Z. Martin

I’ve told the story about the two warring wolves inside each of us—the light one that is brave and true and the dark one that is dangerous.  The wolf that wins is the wolf we feed.

I tackled my own “wolf problem” when it came to feeling angry.  Now I’ve already shared my reaction to the over-hyped, over-dramatized TV news.  But once I realized how much the doom-and-gloom drumbeat of the news affected my mood, I went looking for other culprits in order to take back my wolf.
A friend of mine who is a psychologist told me that the oldest part of the brain is focused on survival.  It’s programmed to fight, reproduce and grab all the resources for itself, because that’s how wild animals survive.  Interestingly enough, this old part of the brain is what lights up when we’re angry.  And even more interesting, when we’re angry, the body redirects blood from the more advanced parts of the brain (that control logic, reasoning and decision-making) to fuel the fight-or-flight old brain.

Do you realize what that means?  When we’re angry, we’re using our lizard brain, not the new improved frontal lobe reasoning brain.  In other words—and this is important—anger turns off the ability to think.

Now consider how angry our society has become.  Road rage. Politicians who barely avoid fist fights and call each other names. Flamers and trolls on the Internet who post nasty comments.  School bullying that makes kids commit suicide.  Talk radio. Anger turns off the ability to think.
What would happen if you pulled the plug on the anger-makers?  Skip the morning drive talk radio show that leaves you with an upset stomach and a bad mood.  Stop reading the Letters to the Editor and the comments on news blogs.  Look for a non-partisan source for news that tries its best to provide the facts and let you decide.  Take time to breathe.

Anger turns off the ability to think—and it also drowns out your intuition.  When you’re angry, there are too many survival chemicals flooding your system for you to hear the soft whisper of intuition and opportunity.

Make just one change this week to pull the plug on the anger-makers and let me know how it changes your life and awakens your intuition.

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Filed under Balance, Gail Z. Martin, Image & Identity, Inspiration, Passion & Potential, Personal Transitions

How are those resolutions coming?

by Gail Z. Martin

Just a month ago we watched the ball drop in Times Square and the new year looked like a bright, shiny penny.  Resolutions for a better 2011 seemed easy to make.

Now we’re one whole month into the year, and making some of those changes seems a little harder than it looked.  That’s why I asked—and I really want to know—are you making progress on your resolutions?

Here were my resolution list for 2011?

–Make this the year I actually lose the pounds I gained “birthing” my business and books (joined Weight Watchers and I’m down 4 pounds so far!)

–Set up speaking engagements in Montreal and Toronto (I don’t know where, when or for whom, but it’s on my vision board!)  (Not yet, but I’m going to Vancouver in April, which is also on my vision board.)

–Expand the size and type of organizations for which I present workshops and keynotes (it’s starting to happen)

–Spend more time on social media reconnecting (still struggling for time to hang out as much as I’d like).

The point is not to feel guilty if you’re not already done with your list.  Hey, it’s only a few weeks!  The important thing is to keep making progress—even if it’s only baby steps—in the right direction.

We get discouraged when we compare our progress to other people’s gains (we always see their wins but not the work or obstacles they overcome), or when we get impatient with steady progress.  But the truth is, every journey covers inches before it covers miles.  It’s better to see steady slow progress than to give up entirely because the goals didn’t happen fast enough.  Hang in there!

What are your resolutions—business or personal—this year?  I’d like to know.

***My new novel, The Sworn: Book One in the Fallen Kings Cycle, is now in stores!***

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Filed under Gail Z. Martin, Inspiration, Motivation, Personal Transitions

If it Matters, Write it Down


by Sheryl Eldene, MA, MBA

We know from a study from Yale in 1953 that the 3% of Yale graduates who had written goals had more wealth years later than the other 97% of the class combined. Also, in 1964, Harvard Business School did a similar study on the financial status of its students 10 years after graduation and found that:

  • 27% of them needed financial assistance
  • 60% of them were living paycheck to paycheck
  • 10% of them were living comfortably
  • 3% of them were financially independent.

The study also looked at goal setting and found these interesting correlations.

  • The 27% that needed financial assistance had absolutely no goal setting process in their lives
  • The 60% that were living paycheck to paycheck had basic survival goals;such as managing to live paycheck to paycheck
  • The 10% that were living comfortably had general goals. They thought they knew where they were going to be in the next five years
  • The 3% that were financially independent had written out their goals and the steps required to reach them.

What’s your goal setting process, and how does it work for you?  Leave your reply and let us know.

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Filed under Coaching, Personal Transitions