Warning: Cannot modify header information - headers already sent by (output started at /home/content/u/p/s/upsidebook/html/blog/index.php:5) in /home/content/u/p/s/upsidebook/html/blog/wp-includes/feed-rss2.php on line 8 UPSIDE Blog
Mon, 12 Nov 2012 18:58:58 +0000enhourly1http://wordpress.org/?v=3.3.1Storm Sandy–the new normal
http://www.upsidethebook.com/blog/?p=333#commentsMon, 12 Nov 2012 18:58:58 +0000Allison Blankenshiphttp://www.upsidethebook.com/blog/?p=333After the recession, I wrote about the new norm in the book Upside: How to Zig When Life Zags.Now we are experiencing a new phenomenon associated with the new norm that newspapers are calling the new normal. (Examples: NY Times November 7, 2012 – By MIREYA NAVARRO, November 01, 2012 – By ANDREW C. REVKIN) The words are different but the effect on humans is the same. Individuals are facing more change and upheaval than ever before. There are fewer things we can count on–jobs, security, and now weather possibly associated with climate change.
How do you weather the new storms?
More than ever individuals must remove expectations and learn to be extremely resilient and flexible. Think about that ball on a string as it goes up and down. That is you going through difficult times and then times of stability. The challenge is to find new, different, and creative ways to be happy in spite of the difficult times.
Problem solving using innovative methods is the key to getting through the new normal. Multitasking can be an important skill to use but it is different now–it is being able to juggle emotions and practical actions at the same time. Dealing with loss while picking up your life, your belongings and moving forward.
Count your blessings instead of your losses.
Those blessings may be disguised in small things like a child’s hug or a friend’s message of love. We are still a free nation and people around you care what happens.
As I traveled the world this summer I was often reminded about the many institutions we have to help us during times of crises. There are few countries that have the resources, spirit, and volunteer organizations willing to help out.
The new normal is here to stay. Your willingness to push through and find a life that is meaningful and productive is your challenge. If you have lost a lot or a little, it is an opportunity for you to think over what was and is important and what you might want to do differently.
]]>http://www.upsidethebook.com/blog/?feed=rss2&p=3331Happy Countries—Happy People
http://www.upsidethebook.com/blog/?p=329#commentsMon, 09 Apr 2012 15:29:17 +0000Allison Blankenshiphttp://www.upsidethebook.com/blog/?p=329The first World Happiness Report was published this month and other good news is that this week the United Nations conference on happiness is being assembled. http://www.earthinstitute.columbia.edu/sitefiles/file/Sachs Writing/2012/World Happiness Report.pdf
Could this mean that governments will now pay more attention to the happiness of their people when they form their polices? We hope that this will be the beginning of a trend to create an awareness that deals with more than just income.
In the Happiness report the four happiest countries are Denmark, Norway, Finland and the Netherlands. The report describes that other factors such as social and personal are important for happiness–mental health, physical health, individual values (people who care about other people).
The report indicates that over the last 40 years, the measure of happiness has not increased in the United States despite sharply rising incomes. The problems of poverty, insecurity, corruption, loss of social trust are just a few factors that affect America’s sense of well-being. Source: John Helliwell, Richard Layard, Jeffrey D. Sachs.
We should begin to learn from the reports, conferences and new initiatives. Seattle’s happiness program is a great example in the US and is going strongly. Check out their questionnaire and program. http://www.sustainableseattle.org/sahi
Of course, happiness begins with you and your ability to understand the principles, practice them and set an example. It is the beginning of building a world with more joy and less sadness.
]]>http://www.upsidethebook.com/blog/?feed=rss2&p=3290No Job in the US—Look Beyond Your Borders
http://www.upsidethebook.com/blog/?p=317#commentsMon, 05 Mar 2012 16:38:51 +0000Allison Blankenshiphttp://www.upsidethebook.com/blog/?p=317Patricia Varley, consultant, speaker and contributor to our book, Upside: How to Zig When Life Zags, recently visited and spoke at a conference in Dubai. Here are some of her impressions regarding life and work.
What cultural differences stand out?
Dubai is like a melting pot similar to the USA in many ways.
80% of the population of Dubai is ex-pats from US, UK, Europe, Asia, Australia, etc.
20% are local Arab Emirates. You can experience the culture through their dress. Both women and men dress in local garb and all the women have Berkas covering everything but their faces.
There is no unemployment in UAE. You must have a work visa or work sponsor to stay in the country. Therefore, there is very little crime and minimal poverty compared to USA.
Dubai and Abu Dhabi are more conservative than US, especially around sex and advertising, clothes, women, etc.
If you bounce a check they can and do through people in jail!
What experiences were meaningful?
I visited the Abu Dhabi which is the 5th largest and most beautiful mosque in the world. All the women entering had to cover up in the black Berkas. I felt very emotional the entire time I was wearing the Berka. I had a strong feeling of grief, suppression and repression of women. It was a very meaningful and intense experience for me.
I celebrated New Year’s Eve by going on a safari in the desert. What an experience to be among lots of camels! I also saw Dubai by water.
What were some impressions of women’s lives?
In some ways the local Emirate women are repressed because they must cover themselves with the black Berkas. The husbands can have up to 4 wives provided they are all equally taken care of. In other ways women seem more respected in UAE as they are not sexualized– unlike the US and other cultures.
Regarding careers and dress, the expat (non local) women are more like Europe and America. However it is still a more conservative environment.
Men and women unless they are married cannot show any signs of affection in public. Husbands and wives can only hold hands.
What can you expect to experience in Dubai?
It feels like NY meets Miami, meets Las Vegas, and meets Disney World. It is opulent, wealthy and very materialistic with expensive cars, shopping malls, skyscrapers, and 42 five-star hotels. It has a big city environment, yet, it is on the Gulf of Arabia in the desert.
The common languages are English and Arabic. The money exchange (AED,dhiram) is similar to the US dollar. Even though 80% of the people are not local it is a friendly and very diverse culture. (Many Americans) Transportation is easy with a large metro and taxis.
Are there business opportunities?
Yes. It is a growing business culture with lots of commerce. Making money is why people go there. In 15 years Dubai will be out of oil so they are growing other businesses such as retail, construction (everywhere!!), tourism, financial, sustainable energy, leadership, business, University education and women’s issues. There are many work opportunities.
Unlike Dubai, Abu Dhabi has 120 years of oil left. It also has more traditional Arabian culture and is very wealthy!
How safe did you feel?
Very safe—there is low crime and it is very clean. It is a police state though you rarely see police.
Did you encounter any anti-American sentiments?
No. It appears they were not only trying to be like America but working to “out do” America by having a multitude of buildings that are bigger and better. There are a multitude of American products and advertising.
]]>http://www.upsidethebook.com/blog/?feed=rss2&p=3170Finding a Job: Moving from Employment to Engagement
http://www.upsidethebook.com/blog/?p=315#commentsFri, 24 Feb 2012 16:28:31 +0000Allison Blankenshiphttp://www.upsidethebook.com/blog/?p=315Previously, we talked about the challenges of finding gainful employment and how the rules are changing when identifying and interviewing for an opportunity. Employers are savvy and know they can benefit from the amazing resources and talent available – so how do you make yourself standout from the crowd?
Consider the old way versus the new: employ vs. engage. Not only is this a different process, it’s also a mindset. Companies are looking for talent that is fresh, updated, are quick learners and who can take the ball and run with it. More of a “here’s what I can do for you” versus the old “here’s what I can do.”
Engagement is about getting people’s attention, offering something of value and then creating buy-in or participation. It’s not spouting your accomplishments or data dumping, waiting for the other person to be impressed.
As a Baby Boomer, your 30 years of stability aren’t necessarily a bonus – they may signal lack or creativity or innovation to a different generation. Don’t take that as a personal slight – it’s just one more way the employment process has changed. Instead, identify key successes, challenges resolved and obstacles you overcame to demonstrate your value and skills.
When writing UPSIDE, Bonnie and I were very aware of these shifts, so we dedicated an entire chapter on how to leverage your value by identifying your existing marketable skills. You can download one of the key exercises, the Power Core, to jumpstart the process for free (http://upsidethebook.com/downloads.html). Once you determine which skills are valuable in the current economy, you can then start identifying which industries need your abilities and offer opportunities.
]]>http://www.upsidethebook.com/blog/?feed=rss2&p=3150The Downside of Hard Times: Feeling Rejected and Discouraged
http://www.upsidethebook.com/blog/?p=312#commentsFri, 17 Feb 2012 15:47:44 +0000Allison Blankenshiphttp://www.upsidethebook.com/blog/?p=312Just the other day, Sharon Cohen of the Associated Press wrote a story of Baby Boomers aged 50+ looking for long-term work. The article expressed the despair and rejection qualified candidates feel while searching for gainful employment. It evoked tough memories for me as well, when I was laid off the first time in my career, almost 25 years ago.
Ms. Cohen’s article chronicled the efforts of the job seekers – looking online, scouring the classifieds and even networking groups of other unemployed. I ran into the same issues – sending 100s of resumes to blind ads, knocking on storefronts with help wanted signs – and like many of my Boomer colleagues, I was told more than once that my knowledge and skills made me “over-qualified” for a position. The frustration and rejection can be overwhelming.
While these are traditional, classic methods, they are not the way most employers find great employees – the rules have changed and Boomers need to be aware of where to channel their time and energy.
In UPSIDE, we demonstrate how these rules of employment are changing to rules of engagement. Rather than look for stability through a 40-hour week job, we now must promote our most tangible assets, skills and strengths, and be able to tell a prospective boss how we can impact their results. This means taking a long hard look at your present skills and then researching what other industries or fields can benefit from your experience.
The next step is to get out there and network with people who have jobs in these fields. Volunteer on projects through their associations or join a group that you’ve always been interested in but didn’t have the time. Doing your homework gives you focus and direction while volunteering is a wonderful way to see past our own circumstances and woes.
The important factor here to remember is the definition of insanity – if it hasn’t worked for you in the past 6 -12 months, let it go. That mode or method is no longer effective and will only compound your frustration. Gratitude and a clear direction can be powerful motivators to alleviate despair!
]]>http://www.upsidethebook.com/blog/?feed=rss2&p=3120Expectations, Our Brain and Success
http://www.upsidethebook.com/blog/?p=307#commentsThu, 19 Jan 2012 21:23:35 +0000Allison Blankenshiphttp://www.upsidethebook.com/blog/?p=307We have been discussing expectations related to our happiness and success in our workshops for years. A recent book, Your Brain at Work, by David Rock (2009) puts some new light on the subject–There is a physiological reason we are disappointed when life does not meet our expectations. It has to do with dopamine. Alina Tugend explains this theory in an excellent article, What Did Your Expect? It Makes A Difference, on Jan 14, 2012 in the NY Times:
‘If we expect to get x and we get x, there is a slight rise in dopamine. If we expect to get x and we get 2x there is a greater rise. But if we expect to get x and get 0.9x, then we get a much bigger drop. Our brain doesn’t get slightly unhappy, it sends out a message of danger or threat.”
The conclusions from this research, as well as others, indicate that we must adapt to change and not to expect too much during this time of economic instability—especially when there are things out of our control.
In our book, Upside: How to Zig When Life Zags, we say the following:
“Feeling that you are entitled to a certain way of life, or expecting it to turn out a certain way, could be holding you back from success and happiness. Many of us were raised by parents who expected us to get an education, find a great job, buy a house and start a family. While that may have been possible for your parents, it set the bar for unrealistic expectations and feelings of entitlement for you today.”
If you can detect the source of your expectations, the upside is that it will be easier to move ahead on your journey to sustainable success. Holding on to what life should have will make deal with the not-known more difficult.
]]>http://www.upsidethebook.com/blog/?feed=rss2&p=3070Boomers, Happiness and the American Dream
http://www.upsidethebook.com/blog/?p=302#commentsTue, 10 Jan 2012 19:13:13 +0000Allison Blankenshiphttp://www.upsidethebook.com/blog/?p=302Can you develop your own American Dream?Can you accept that your lifestyle may be different than the last generation?Can you still be happy?
In our book, Upside:How to Zig When Life Zags, we discuss the meaning of happiness.Our premise is that even during a recession and hard times, it is possible to be happy.One of the core elements in the book is the idea that happiness comes from many things other than material possessions. We also emphasize the importance of reworking your American Dream to fit the new reality.
A new survey conducted by MetLife indicates that many are pursuing their own version of the American Dream.Beth Hirschhorn, executive vice president and chief marketing, says “people are adapting and pursuing their own American dream.” There is a de-emphasis on material values, even to the extent of accepting lower living standards.
“The American Dream for many – higher education, owning a home, a great career, providing a financial safety net and building retirement assets – is eitherunachievable or irrelevant.Posted on:Dream’s dark hour By GREGORY BRESIGER January 7, 2012
Survey spokeswoman Laura Adams, adds that the American Dream is less conventional and more personalized than previously defined. The average American wants to realize his own dream, not that of a group.
Wishing you a happy American dream and one that can be sustained.
]]>http://www.upsidethebook.com/blog/?feed=rss2&p=3020New Year’s Resolutions for Kids and Families
http://www.upsidethebook.com/blog/?p=297#commentsMon, 02 Jan 2012 16:32:06 +0000Allison Blankenshiphttp://www.upsidethebook.com/blog/?p=297Each year at this time, we make a list of things we want to change or improve. Some individuals make wishes—things they hope will occur in the new year.
At a recent winter Solstice celebration, we wrote on paper our passions—things that we can do in 2012 that make a difference in the world. We then shared them with the group.
My suggestion is to expand this idea is to include children in the process. My friend, Judy Chiss, former educational director of the Children’s Museum in Chicago, said she was making a “wish booklet” with her children and grandchildren.
This concept has great merit for introducing the idea of goal setting to young adults and children. It also offers the opportunity for a dialogue between family members. It creates opportunities for expression and learning more about each other. Imagine your child setting a goal to finish homework on time or not fighting with a sibling. This intention offers opportunities for self-managing and awareness.
Parents, too, can set goals such as no email, texts or phones after work thus creating more chances for face to face communication with family members. Once these goals are said out loud, the family has a responsibility to work together to reach their goals.
New Year’s goals, intentions, and wishes can be an excellent way to achieve something important, especially when they are shared. Make a wish list with your family today and see how your family system can improve.
In addition check out our book, Upside: How to Zig When Life Zags to increase the probability of your success.
]]>http://www.upsidethebook.com/blog/?feed=rss2&p=2970Create a New Holiday Experience—One that Fits the Times
http://www.upsidethebook.com/blog/?p=293#commentsMon, 12 Dec 2011 21:27:27 +0000Allison Blankenshiphttp://www.upsidethebook.com/blog/?p=293Make a new holiday experience—one that fits in with today’s reality. Wipe the slate clean and do something different. The last blog included the following suggestions: Define what holiday means to you (and your family) and keep it simple. Other suggestions are detailed below:
Give to others in greater need
A good case study comes from a woman and her son that volunteer for the homeless by bringing blankets and food donations. She reflects that the experience gives her joy, resilience and strength in countless ways and it is an excellent way to educate children. She says, “It’s what the holiday is all about.”
Bring people together
Use your creative self to hold gatherings of friends and family and plan something unique—games, song fests, sharing memories and old photos of holidays. Make it a potluck so you aren’t responsible for all the food.
Stay out of the malls
My advice is that it is too tempting with all the hype, music, and sale signs. Go shopping for what you absolutely need, or better still, find it online. The need vs. want syndrome can be addictive. (See exercises in Upside: How to Zig When Life Zags, www.upsidethebook.com)
The Center for a New American Dream, suggests giving oneself—providing gifts of time or experiences that will be remembered. Examples: give a friend her dream, sign her up for a class, purchase a gift certificate for a spa, or give tickets to a community theater.
Attitude, attitude, attitude
Bring your best attitude to the season. It will affect all members of your family. If you are showing more doom and gloom about your current circumstances, it will affect everyone you care about. It is difficult to remain upbeat in these difficult times but the upside is that you have a choice on how to react. Your willingness to be motivated and have fun despite your circumstances will strengthen you in the long run.
Look forward and not behind
It’s not what you don’t have but what you do have. It is a time for being grateful for everything we do have. Asking family members what they are grateful for is an excellent way to bring people together. After all, the greatest gift is that you have family and friends.
Have a Happy and Meaningful Holiday!
]]>http://www.upsidethebook.com/blog/?feed=rss2&p=2930Your Life As Art
http://www.upsidethebook.com/blog/?p=291#commentsMon, 12 Dec 2011 00:43:05 +0000Allison Blankenshiphttp://www.upsidethebook.com/blog/?p=291Whitney Ferre believes that each of us in an artist, actively creating art called “life.” Despite that fact that Whitney is not some who could paint or draw as a trained artist, she opened two Creative Fitness Centers that do just that – show people how to create change in their lives through art.
According to Whitney, natural talent is not the driving factor behind creativity. Instead, it is the art making that creates the bridge from your logical, analytical left brain to the infinite, intuitive, miracle creating right brain. Her results have been so exciting that her art classes led to a published book, The Artist Within, and also an online Creatively Fit program. (www.creativelyfit.com)
The journey has not been without setbacks. Amidst opening two art centers, having three children and publishing two books, Whitney also opened and operated two wine bars with a partner. Unfortunately, the wine bars ended up in the red, which created much self-doubt. Whitney recognized the power of experiencing such kind of failure and refocused her vision on Creatively Fit. She now coaches and has an entire team of Creatively Fit Coaches across the United States, Africa, Europe and Australia.
For Whitney, there is no greater joy than creating joy in others. When her clients transform from “I can’t even draw a straight line” to creating their own art, her purpose is proven. Whitney believes that art making is a portal to your higher, infinitely creative self and there is no greater reward that helping individuals experience this.
This eight-part blog series, exclusively for www.UpsideTheBook.com, highlights the Every Woman Visionary. Each of these women, along with myself, are featured in the first-ever Spirited Woman 2012 Directory: Resources For An Inspired Life! (www.thespiritedwoman.com) set to launch tomorrow on 12/12/11. It is an exciting time for women, and the FREE magazine-style digital directory – rich with inspirational stories, resources and more – is our gift to you. Women from six countries and over 25 states participated in the directory.