How to Get Through Tough Times

How to Get Through Tough TimesLife transitions such as moving, change of job, retirement, personal changes in health, or death of a loved one opens an emotional can of uncertainty. 

Change can shake you to your core.  Feelings like anxiety, confusion, and sadness can paralyze your efforts to move forward.

Transitions dare you to adapt to change in new ways.  Fortunately, wisdom from past experiences help serve as your internal compass.  Change offers opportunities to learn new tricks with new tools – which open new doors to new opportunities.

“What you are is what you have been,” said Gautama Buddha. “What you will be is what you do now.”

Easier said than done.

It takes time for your emotional center to adapt to changes and rarely do internal changes occur at the speed of external changes.  When life transitions rattle your cage and force you to make changes, you adapt by making internal and external adjustments to the circumstances.

William Bridges, author of Managing Transitions: Making the Most of Change, explains that successful change takes place when you have “a clear purpose, a plan for, and a part to play” in the circumstances affecting your life. He describes three phases that allow you to successfully move through change:

  1. Release old ways of doing things. Old habits often feel comfortable.  When habits no longer serve you, it’s hard to let go of them because they are familiar.  Time is needed to grieve the loss of what was and to adjust to living your life in new ways.  
  2. Prepare for change during the in-between time.  Bridges calls this a “neutral time;” Jeff Bracken says this is a time to “creatively explore and discover new ways of doing things.”  Bracken adds that chaos of uncertainty provides opportunities to spark new interests and experiment with new tools.
  3. Adjust to new beginnings. When new ways of doing things replace old habits and common rituals, you forge a new identity.   You regain confidence when you learn new skills and new ways of adapting to the changes around you.  You begin to feel more optimistic.  This leads to a renewed sense of purpose.

“Sometimes to get from where we are to where we are going, we have to be willing to be in-between,” explains Melody Beattie, author of The Language of Letting Go.  “To prepare ourselves for the new, we need to first let go of the old.  This can be frightening.  We may feel empty and lost for a time.  We may feel all alone, wondering what is wrong with us for letting go of the proverbial bird-in-hand, when there is nothing in the bush.”

As you move through change, you will gradually regain your footing and find solid ground.  Circumstances that once seemed like roadblocks become important arrows that lead you in new directions and to new experiences.

You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have. - Bob MarleyClick To Tweet

Mike Dooley, author of Leveraging the Universe: 7 Steps to Engaging Life’s Magic , insists, “Our positive thoughts are at least 10,000 times more powerful than our negative thoughts.”  Positive thought motivates you to focus on positive outcomes and offers opportunities to explore new experiences you might not have previously considered.

Consider these proactive transition tips when you experience change:

* Begin a gratitude journal.  When you feel uncomfortable thoughts creeping into your consciousness, recall those things for which you feel grateful.  Gratitude shifts your focus from lack to optimism – even when it feels like there’s nothing that deserves your appreciation.

Melody Beattie offers reassurance and explains, “Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”

I began a gratitude journal when I lost my job.  I wanted to experience something new – even though I did not yet know what the next career move would be.  I committed to a daily writing practice of writing at least 3 statements of gratitude about positive blessings in my life.  Ann Voskamp’s book, One Thousand Gifts, provided wonderful gratitude journal guidance.

* Write positive affirmations.  Put the positive in your affirmations by focusing deliberate intention on what you believe is possible.  Affirmations are personal and specific.

A constructive affirmation such as “Lucrative opportunities always come my way” invites prosperity and celebrates abundance.  When I say “Spectacular ideas flow to me in a river of abundance,” I acknowledge creative opportunities are at my disposal whenever I am open to inspiration.

* Do something you love to do every day.  It may feel more comforting to withdraw from others or postpone the work of adapting to changes in your life, especially if you are experiencing multiple transitions.  Although it is important to take good care of yourself, especially during transitions.  Do things that make you feel confident, positive, and in control.

Transitions often make additional demands on your available time and financial resources.  Set aside as little as 15 minutes a day to do something you enjoy.  Focus on the time you have; not on the time you do not have available.

* Find support.  Find a group with members who are experiencing similar changes.  Many groups have well-organized and detailed directories that promote meetings, sponsor special events, and attract new members.  Local libraries, community centers, churches, and on-line networking groups provide information and resources that connect like-minded individuals in ways they can inspire and motivate one another.

Bob Marley once said, “You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have.”  Even when change leads to wonderful opportunities, it is often excruciatingly difficult to let go of what was.

Change is not easy, but it can inspire you to do new things in new ways.  As you look back and examine the fabric of your life and recall how you adapted to change over time, you discover you actually are stronger and wiser in ways you never expected.

That is what growth is all about.

What new opportunities do you want to explore?

Use these tips and discover How to Feel Gratitude (Even When You Don’t Want To).

Find out How to Manage Change (Without Chaos).

Moving through change is easier when you have a system of support. Use these tips to Build Your Support System.

Need help expressing what you want to say? Check out How to Say What You Want & Need.

Change your direction by changing your thoughts. Read Escape the Scarcity Mentality Jungle.

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How to Write Powerful Vision & Mission Statements

How to Create Powerful Vision & Mission StatementsThe Dow Chemical Company wants the world to know they are “the largest, most profitable, most respected chemical company in the world.”

Prezi is a “presentation resource on a mission to reinvent how people share knowledge, tell stories, and inspire their audiences to act.”

The San Diego Zoo is “the world leader at connecting people to wildlife and conservation.”

Sony ‘”is a company that inspires and fulfills your curiosity.”

These are powerful vision statements.

Strong vision and mission statements can be the funnel through which you make decisions and select goals.  They make prioritizing tasks easier. 

Vision and mission statements will save you time.

vision statement is the big idea of what you are working towards as a goal.  Gordon D’Angelo, author of Vision: Your Pathway to Victory, describes a vision statement as “the definable intention from which preparation is formed.”  It is a mental image of what you believe is possible. 

Your vision expresses how you want to be perceived in the world and the legacy you want to share with others.  It is deeply connected to your core values.  Your vision is future-oriented.  It should be concise and easy to remember.

mission statement is an action statement that reflects your vision.  It clarifies (1) what you want to do, (2) who you do it for, and (3) how you do what you do.  It is a broad declaration of your purpose that distinguishes you from others.

Stephen Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, insisted that vision and mission statements are “more powerful, more significant, more influential than the baggage of the past or even the accumulated noise of the present.”  Strong vision and mission statements ground you with purpose and provide clear direction.

Tips to Create a Powerful Vision Statement

vision statement focuses your efforts.  It clarifies your identity and priorities.  It raises your standard of excellence, provides meaning to every task you want to accomplish, and strengthens your commitment as you move forward towards your goals.

James Kouzes and Barry Posner, authors of Envisioning Your Future: Imagining Ideal Scenarios, encourage you to consider the following questions as you write a vision statement:

  • Does your vision statement provide a powerful picture of what you you want to experience in 3 to 5 years?
  • Does your vision statement include a description of your future?
  • Does it represent a dream about what you think is possible?
  • Does it provide a larger sense of purpose?
  • Does it clarify your focus?
  • Does it create enthusiasm and inspire you?
  • Does it connect to your core values?

What words express your strengths, core values, and beliefs?  How can they be included in your vision statement?

How to Create a Mission Statement

A strong mission statement is directly tied to your vision.  It is action-oriented.  It describes how you plan to execute your vision.

The American Red Cross “prevents and alleviates human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors.”

ASPCA strives “to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States.”

UNICEF “fights for the survival and development of the world’s most vulnerable children and protects their basic human rights.”

These strong mission statements clearly state what they want to do to serve others and specifically defines who they want to serve.

Use these questions as you write your mission statement:

  • What are the needs of those you want to serve?
  • How are you or your organization uniquely qualified to meet those needs?
  • What values and principles are important to you?
  • How are your gifts and core values reflected in service to others?
  • What accomplishments do you want people to remember about you?
  • How would others describe what you do as a community or organization?
  • Is your mission statement rooted in your strengths, unique capabilities, resources, and assets?

How to Write Powerful Vision & Mission StatementsA powerful mission statement clearly defines what you do, how you do it, who you do it for, and the value you bring to those you serve.  Your mission statement will provide you and members of your organization with a framework and purpose for creating future goals.

Vision & Mission Statements: Your Directional Compass

When I meet with groups to create vision and mission statements, it is not uncommon for some individuals to protest, “Is this really necessary?”  They often want to charge into creating goals and posting tasks on the calendar without any clear direction or purpose.

Tasks without purpose often result in pointless discussions and unnecessary arguments.  Goals without a vision and mission are like arrows without a target.  Strong vision and mission statements become the filter through which future goals are created.  They make the planning process easier, reduce conflicts, and save time.

Transformational change expert, Michael Beckwith, insists, “You know it’s a good vision if it’s too big to accomplish on your own.”  When you and members of your organization align your goals and decisions with your vision and mission statements, it becomes clear who you are, the values you embrace, and the ways through which you want to serve others.  Strong vision and mission statements encourage collaboration and unite members of your group.

Your core values serve as your directional compass.  They guide your choices and goals for the future.

Mahatma Gandhi said, “Your beliefs become your thoughts.  Your thoughts become your words.  Your words become your actions.  Your actions become your habits.  Your habits become your values.  Your values become your destiny.”

When you have clear vision and mission statements, you do not need standards or principles dictated by someone else because you are grounded in your own sense of purpose.  As you align and prioritize your goals with your vision and mission statements, you possess a clear lens through which you choose to view – and serve – the world.

How can vision and mission statements be helpful to you or your organization?

 

Find more suggestions to create strong vision and mission statements in my goal-setting book, Dreams to Action Trailblazer’s Guide.

Use these tips and discover How to Write SMART Personal Goals.

Napoleon Hill explains Why You Need a Definite Chief Aim.

Do you struggle with negative thoughts?  Find out how to Escape the Scarcity Mentality Jungle and Replace Old Tapes with New Messages.

 

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Why Integrity Matters

Why Integrity MattersHonesty is Always the Best Policy.  At least that’s what the poster says.

But aren’t there exceptions to every rule? 

Zig Ziglar, author of Born to Win, doesn’t think so.  He insisted, “The most influential persuasion tool in your entire arsenal is your integrity.”

Your decisions reflect who you are and what you value.  Integrity is a Swiss army knife in your tool box of values.  Others may hear your words, but they believe your actions.

I value honesty.  Integrity was a quality that was shaped in childhood by less-than-comfortable circumstances and saved me from tripping over my own tongue on more than one occasion.

For example …

As a teacher, I loved the sounds of buzzing conversations and students engaged in active learning, but I also valued structure and organization.  The classroom was the only place many of my seventh grade urban students experienced structure and security.

I built time into the schedule to restore order in the room at the end of every class period.  On one particular afternoon, I was tired.  And cranky.  And I had a headache.  My grouchiness increased as I weaved between small groups of students while picking up carelessly-tossed wads of paper on the floor,

“Please use the trash can,” I thoughtlessly shouted.  “I am tired of picking your stuff off of the floor.”  I wish I had said “stuff.”

Silence.

I was more shocked than my students when I heard – we heard – a profanity fall out of my mouth.

The students leaned towards me.  Words on a black-and-white poster on the wall glared at me:  Honesty is Always the Best Policy.  

I had choices.  I could lie, say they misunderstood what I said, and accuse them of inciting an argument.  I could act like nothing happened.  I had five seconds to make a decision.

Integrity is a Swiss army knife in your tool box of values. Others may hear your words, but they believe your actions. Click To Tweet

I tried lying when I was in third grade.  It didn’t work out very well.  But I remembered the lesson.

When I was in third grade, the athletic club at my parochial elementary school sponsored an annual fundraiser.  Students sold paper stickers with the words “Proud Sponsor of the Corpus Christi Athletic Club” for one dollar.  The boy and girl who sold the most stickers received ten dollars.  I wanted to be the top-selling award-winning girl in the school.

I asked my teacher for ten stickers.  The following day, I asked for ten more stickers.

“Did you sell the ten stickers I gave you yesterday?” she inquired.

Well, I’m going to sell them, so …

“Yes, ma’am,” I replied.  “I sold the stickers.”

Two weeks later, I had a collection of 80 stickers hidden under my socks in a drawer.

On the last day of the fundraising drive, I cried and refused to go to school.  I told my mom what happened.  I thought I could sell them, but I couldn’t.  She pulled her checkbook out of her purse and began to write a check for ten dollars.

“What are you doing?” my father asked.

“I’m writing a check,” answered my mother, explaining what I’d done.

I tried to look pitiful and small.

“Absolutely not,” he insisted.

“But, why not?” my mom asked.

And then he spoke the words that changed my perspective about truth and truth-telling for the rest of my life.

“She got herself into this,” he replied.  “She can get herself out of it.”

I wanted to die.  Well, not die.  I wished I lived in another country.  On another planet. 

I didn’t know how to explain the truth to my teacher.  I was late for my first class because I trudged very slowly to school.  I didn’t want my teacher to know that I lied.  I think she already knew.

I crept into the classroom and quietly returned the stickers to my teacher.  All 80 of them.

“But didn’t you say you sold all of the stickers?” asked my teacher.

“Yes, ma’am,” I replied.  “I lied.”

She said nothing.  I was grateful.

My classmates, however, were not as kind as my teacher.

“What happened?” they asked.  “I thought you said you sold all of the stickers?”

“I lied.”

“I lied” was a miserable mantra I repeated throughout the rest of the day.  At the end of the painfully long afternoon, I knew one truth:  My words and actions have consequences.

Fast-forward to this uncomfortable situation with my students.  Their eyes glistened.  I could tell by their trust-filled expressions that they expected a response from me.

“Something just happened, didn’t it?” I asked.

“Yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeessss!” they gleefully answered.

“I’m sure this wasn’t the case,” I continued, trying not to laugh.  “But there’s a chance I might have said something inappropriate.  Is that true?”

“Yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeessss!”

“I am so sorry,” I apologized.  “You deserve to be spoken to with respect.”

Why Integrity Matters

“Oh, don’t worry about it, Miss Connor,” Jordan laughed.  “We talk a lot worse than that!”

That was true.

“You could have lied,” said Toya.

“Yes, I could have lied,” I agreed.  “But we both would have known the truth.”

They nodded.  Our honesty with one another led us into a deeper relationship that was grounded in mutual trust and class continued.  Order had been restored.

Every time you honor and speak your truth, you inspire others to honor and speak their truth.

Later that afternoon, the principal advised me to be careful while I was driving home after school.

“It’s raining cats and dogs out there!” he warned.

Now, I knew better than to believe that.  Cats and dogs were not falling out of the sky. 

But, did I just hear thunder … or was it barking?

Do you value integrity?

 

These tips offer ways to Use Your Core Values to Make Moral Decisions.

Use these suggestions to Teach Youth How to Communicate & Resolve Conflict.

Integrity is an important attribute of leaders. 10 Top Tips to Be a Successful Leader describe important leadership attributes.

Norms set boundaries within groups that deepen communication. Find out how to Create Group Norms That Build Trust.

 

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Called to Be: Finding Your Purpose

Rev. Carla McClellanRev. Carla McClellan, a certified life coach, leadership expert, and speaker, empowers others with skills to develop self-awareness and discover their purpose.  In this article, guest blogger Carla explains how leaders can find balance and cultivate emotional intelligence.

To become is to answer a deep calling from within you.  It is a willingness to be open-minded and open-hearted in the face of all circumstances. 

We live in a fast-paced world.  Information bombards us constantly and we often find ourselves drained and overwhelmed by our to-do lists.  There are so many requests for our input in leadership that unless we are clear about our purpose and mission, we find ourselves spinning throughout our days.

We long for peace of mind and a sense of balance.  As leaders, life requires us to master specific skills in order to meet the demands of our organizations, families, and friends.  In order to be effective, we are called to demonstrate what has been termed Emotional Intelligence (EI) by Daniel Goleman, best-selling author of Altered Traits.  These skills determine the success of a leader.

Leaders aren’t born.  They practice learning how to skillfully communicate with others.  Leaders who are emotionally mature have developed deep listening skills.  They are confidant and decisive.  In difficult circumstances, they know what to say and how to say it without offending or upsetting others.  They are caring, considerate, and inspire people with hope and optimism.  We demonstrate emotional intelligence when we help others focus on possibilities. 

Hierarchical models of “top-down” leadership won’t work anymore.  We must work collaboratively for the purpose of making a difference in the world.

“People who want to be effective and create impact as leaders need to connect with an inexhaustible source of power,” explains Goleman.  Whether that work involves dismantling systems of racism, undoing the patriarchy or building power in community, the tools they learn to use go far beyond the ‘hard skills.’”  Goleman explains leaders must develop the “harder skills” of emotional intelligence, including mindfulness, self and community care, authenticity, and the capacity to do deep listening.

We must be clear about who we are, what our gifts are, what support we would like, and engage with others in new, creative ways.    - Rev. Carla McClellanClick To Tweet

I recommend throwing away the to-do list and develop your to-be list.  Life flows from the inside out.  Successful people demonstrate certain qualities which inspire greater levels of engagement from people.  With today’s uncertainty and diminishing resources, we are called to be more creative.  I am not talking about doing more but inspiring more engagement in relationships.  Without knowing our “why” to life and to our world, we get lost in all of our responsibilities.  We must be clear about who we are, what our gifts are, what support we would like, and engage with others in new, creative ways. 

Life requires us to be more adaptable to change and more open to support.  It is not about saying more, but deeply listening to others.  Saying “yes” to change is uncomfortable for all of us even when the change is pleasurable because it calls us to grow and be even more present and engaged in life.  We no longer can ignore what we don’t want to face.  Change show us we are not really in control.

Through change and collaboration, new possibilities emerge.  We must allow more conversations to take place within the groups we serve.  The wisdom of the group is more important than our particular insight.  We allow this wisdom to emerge by being more present to our principles and each other.  Relationships are our mirror and reflect where we are being called to grow.  Our principles practiced together produce certainty in uncertain times.

Relationships are our mirror and reflect where we are being called to grow.  - Rev. Carla McClellanClick To Tweet

Principles are simple. We must learn to integrate our principles into every aspect of our being.  We must demonstrate them so people recognize what we stand for and on.  As successful leaders, our role is to inspire, empower, and serve.  We are called to model how to show our love and compassion in difficult times and act from that compassion.  Principles are statements of truth upon which we base our beliefs and our behavior. 

When we answer the call to life, we embody our best selves.  My coaching tip for purposeful living is to ask yourself these questions as you begin each day:

  • Am I willing to be empathetic, aware, present, expansive, resilient, authentic, and empowering today in order to produce an extraordinary result?
  • Am I willing to observe rather than analyze?
  • Am I willing to tell the truth even if it’s uncomfortable?
  • Am I willing to ask for support?
  • Am I willing to let go of having to be in control?
  • Am I willing to learn the lesson right before me?

We have been called to be leaders at this time, so rest assured that what is wanting to emerge is a new way of doing it.  One that calls for cooperation and collaboration.  Let’s have fun!

Let us find the answers together because our truth tells us it is already done in consciousness.  Let’s vibrate our energy harmoniously while we discover what lies ahead. 

And remember to ask for support.  We are here for each other.

Rev. Carla McClellan is a PCC certified coach/trainer/speaker. She loves developing leadership skills and supporting people who want to live lives filled with passion, purpose and possibilities. She offers practical ways of using universal principles. She is a featured Life Coach for a local TV show and her alternative ministry, Unity Pause for Renewal, supports ministers taking time for self-care.  Visit www.LifeCoachCarla.com to learn more.

 

Are you a leader?  Use these suggestions from 10 Top Tips to Be a Successful Leader to inspire others.

A successful leader knows How to Inspire Teamwork and Collaboration with these skills.

Show others How to Write SMART Personal Goals.

Build collaboration and trust in your group with tips from Create Group Norms That Build Trust.

Get specific and clear about your direction.  Write a Personal Purpose Statement.

 

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Mental Illness at Work: Tips for Employers & Employees

When Someone at Work Has a Mood DisorderIt is hard to ignore a co-worker whose eyes fill with tears during a meeting for no apparent reason.  A colleague may angrily explode without provocation.  A responsible colleague who was a model of timeliness arrives increasingly late to work or struggles to meet deadlines.

A mood disorder can alter an individual’s physical, mental, and emotional state and, if left untreated, may interfere with one’s ability to function.  Mood disorders include depression, seasonal affect disorder (SAD), and bipolar disorder.

It is often excruciatingly difficult for someone wrestling with mental illness to admit when they are struggling – to themselves or to anyone else.  Author, Jane Austen, once wrote, “Sometimes I have kept my feelings to myself because I could find no language to describe them.”  When an employee at work struggles with a mood disorder, it can create stress within the work environment.

How do you recognize when someone at work is wrestling with a mood disorder?

One in five U.S. adults struggle with some form of mental illness every year [National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), 2015].  Mental illness contributes to the leading cause of workplace absenteeism [World Health Organization (WHO), 2017].

People struggle with memory, concentration, organization, and making decisions for a variety of reasons.  It is not uncommon to experience a lack energy and or a desire to withdraw from others from time to time.  However, someone who may have a mood disorder exhibits symptoms that last for an extended period of time.

What can employees do when someone at work has a mood disorder?

WHO (2017) reports, “A person may have the skills to complete tasks, but they may have too few resources to do what is required, or there may be unsupportive managerial or organizational practices.”  To complicate matters, bullying and harassment at work add greater psychological and physical stress to individuals struggling with a mood disorder.  Challenges that arise when someone at work has a mood disorder often leads to reduced productivity and increased staff turnover.

Listed below are ways employees can offer support to someone struggling with a mood disorder at work:

  1. Respect their privacy and avoid discussing their diagnosis (or suspected diagnosis) with others in the workplace.  Internal gossip is not good for anyone.  Gossip destroys trust and damages relationships.
  2. Learn to recognize symptoms of mood disorders.  The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), NAMI, and many local mental health organizations offer free resources.
  3. Report concerns about an individual you suspect has a clinical mood disorder to your employer. Be specific.  Describe behaviors you’ve seen and heard from the individual (not what you suspect), particularly if concerns are work-related issues or if the individual is at risk of injuring themselves or others.
  4. Strategize a plan of action with specific tasks when working together on team projects.
  5. Set appropriate boundaries.  Never make excuses for someone who demonstrates abusive behavior.  A mood disorder may be at the root of inappropriate behavior, but it is never an excuse.

What can employers do when someone at work has a mood disorder?

An employee with a mood disorder may need workplace accommodations to do their jobs under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  The ADA requires employers to “provide reasonable accommodation to qualified individuals with disabilities” unless doing so would present undue hardship.  Adequate accommodations (i.e.: permission to listen to music, adjustments within the workspace, time off for appointments, etc.) create the least restrictive environment and should not interfere with other employees or the work environment.

These suggestions offer ways employers can offer support to someone struggling with a mood disorder at work:

  1. Contact HR or department within your organization to share concerns about someone with a mood disorder and to create a conversation plan.
  2. Discuss your concerns with an individual you suspect has a mood disorder.  Include them in the discussion to create a plan of support.
  3. Create a plan to meet goals to ensure the individual with a mood disorder experiences success.
  4. Offer support and resources to members within your organization.  Many local and national mental health organizations [including many local mental health organizations including the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and NAMI] offer free resources.
  5. Provide behavioral health training and professional development for all employees.  Everyone can benefit from training that enhances the quality of life.  Professional development topics can include communication and conflict resolution skills, stress management, work/life balance, teamwork, and organization/productivity.
  6. Set appropriate boundaries. Never give permission or make excuses for someone who demonstrates abusive behavior.  A mood disorder may be at the root of inappropriate behavior, but it is never an excuse.

Use these suggestion to create workplace boundaries that protect everyone:

  1. Establish workplace norms that reflect mutual respect and hold all employees accountable for their behaviors.
  2. Do not tolerate bullying or inappropriate behaviors in the workplace.  Establish work-related policies, procedures, and boundaries that protect all employees.
  3. Provide communication and conflict resolution skill training for all staff members.
  4. Focus on finding solutions (not problems).
  5. Create a system of documentation and means through which employees may report bullying or behaviors that raise concerns.
  6. Identify a system of reporting information to the appropriate parties.

When Someone at Work Has a Mental IllnessWhat do you do when someone with a mood disorder expresses a desire to share confidential information?

You may choose to listen if a fellow employee with a mood disorder chooses to confide in you, but it is important to establish appropriate boundaries.  Set time limits.  Allow discussion before or after work or during breaks.  Do not take sides or become overly-involved in the individual’s personal life. Remember you are an employee – not a therapist.

“You don’t have to fix me,” said Sarah Jane, a young woman struggling with depression at work.  “Ask me how I’m doing.”  She added, “I am doing the best I can and I know you are, too.  You show your support when you don’t act ashamed of me.  Be kind.  That’s more than enough.”

Mental illness need not prevent employees from quality performance or contributions to a positive work environment.  When employers and employees work together to provide support for an employee with a mood disorder, it is not uncommon for relationships within organizations to strengthen, trust deepens, and their commitment to teamwork increases over time.  Joint efforts to support employees may be especially helpful to those who are struggling and have not yet found the courage to ask for help.

When there are collaborative efforts at work to support one another, everyone wins.

What can you do to support colleagues and contribute to a positive work environment? 
Do you feel alone and isolated?  Build Your Support System and surround yourself with a positive network.

Replace Old Tapes with New Messages if you are struggling with negative self-talk.

A mood disorder may lie beneath the behavior of a bully, but it is never an excuse. These suggestions explain How to Stand Up to Bullies.

Open channels of discussion with a child or teen with these tips from Teach Youth How to Communicate and Resolve Conflict.

 
Once crippled with depression and agoraphobia (a debilitating anxiety disorder), Julie Connor, Ed.D. empowers businesses, schools, churches, and nonprofit organizations with training and resources to recognize and successfully interact with employees and colleagues with mood disorders. 

Julie specializes in communication, conflict resolution, and empowers others with skills and tools to transform challenges into opportunities.  Dr. Connor is the author of an award-winning personal goal-setting book, Dreams to Action Trailblazer’s Guide.

 

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