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How to Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions This Year




Last January, I resolved to lose my belly fat. Although my frame is thin, the fat around my waistline really bothers me. I went to the gym. I power walked. I did sit ups every now and then. But what I didn't do was the research to figure out how to lose belly fat, nor did I have a consistent routine. I just did what was convenient. 

This morning, I read an article in Time Magazine that is going to change the way I approach my resolution this year. In fact, it made me realize I can't blame my struggles to achieve work life balance as the reason I fall short on my making my resolution stick.

Art Markman, a Professor of Psychology and Marketing at The University of Texas, says the reason our resolutions fail is that we  don’t put in enough effort to allow them to succeed. The things we resolve to change in our lives are generally the systematic failures in our lives.

For instance, he says, "people often resolve to get in shape, stop smoking or drinking, or to get more serious about establishing a career. But even if you want to make a change, it is not easy to make systematic changes in your behavior. We have habits that get in the way of achieving our goals."

So according to Markman, what I need to differently in 2016 is focus on positive goals rather than negative ones. A positive goal is an action you want to perform; a negative goal is something you want to stop doing.

I want to take positive action to lose my belly fat. 

Markman says I need to make a realistic plan. For example, he says, "If you want to start going to the gym more often, it is not enough to say that you want to go to the gym three times a week. Where is that going to fit on your calendar? You need to pick specific days and add that to your agenda. Unless you get specific, you will have a hard time identifying all of the obstacles that will get in your way. Put the gym on your calendar Monday, Wednesday and Saturday. That is specific enough to give you a fighting chance of succeeding," he says.

This year, I am going to schedule my workouts rather than fitting them in whenever, wherever.

But that's just the first step I need to take.

The next step is to make changes to my environment. Markman says a big key to behavior change is to make desirable behaviors easy and undesirable behaviors hard. Take smoking for example. He points out that during the past 50 years, the successful public health campaign to get people to stop smoking has succeeded in part because it is now virtually impossible to smoke in public buildings. As a result, people in the workplace or in restaurants or bars can’t just pick up a cigarette and light it. They have to walk outside. The undesirable behavior has been made hard to do. 

For me, that means taking all the tempting junk food out of my home office and replace it with healthy snacks. 

Next, Markman says I need to be kind to myself.  Real behavior change is hard. "There are days when you will succeed and others when you will fail. On the days you fail, treat them as an opportunity to learn about what to do in the future rather than as a reason to give up."

Along with Markman, I am listening to advice from blogger Penelope Trunk. She says  Resolutions work best if you pick just one. And the best resolutions are those you can write in a simple way. For example: If you say, “I need to go to the gym more,” just forget it. It'll never happen. You need to break down the steps to defined tasks. You should say, “I need to drive to the gym at 4:30 every day and I cannot drive out of the parking lot until 5:30.”

Penelope also provides this good news: Your New Year's resolution really takes only three weeks to complete. Because if you force yourself to change your behavior for three weeks, your brain will start to develop more dopamine in response to the behavior that you are trying to change

So, I am being really specific about when I go to the gym. What I will do there and what I will add and take out of my diet.

Lastly, I am listening to advice from Austin Frakt, a health economist.

He says, "Contemplating a resolution, I start with two questions: “Why don’t I do this already?” and “Why do I feel the need to do this now?”

The first question is practical; it seeks the barrier. The second is emotional; it seeks the motivation necessary to sustain an effort to remove the barrier.Carrying around belly fat makes me  feeling unhealthy and that makes me unhappy. That is my emotional motivation to change. The barrier is I don't know what exactly will make a difference in eliminating belly fat and I don't have a specific plan of attack.

Here is how I am going to make my resolution happen: I'm doing research, talking to experts and understanding exactly what I need to do to reduce belly fat. Then, I'm making a three week plan and being very specific about how I will follow it. If I fall short, I am going to remind myself why I made the resolution and get right back on schedule. 

What is your resolution and your plan of attack? Have you set yourself up correctly to make your resolution stick?


The Work/Life Balancing Act

Why paternity leave is the hot topic this Father’s Day



As we head into Father's Day weekend, the topic du jour is paternity leave.

We are hearing about who offers it, who doesn't, who takes it, who doesn't take it and why we should care about it. 

The bottom line is that when fathers take time off when their babies are born, they establish a lifelong bond, according to research. That's not to say fathers who don't take paternity leave don't bond. It's just that when they do take it, a pattern is established that's good for fathers, mothers and babies. It sets the tone from day one that dad will be involved in childcare.

One of the interesting trends we are seeing around paternity leave is even as national efforts are underway to promote more businesses to offer paternity leave, men are admitting they often are afraid to take it even if it's offered. They fear being stigmatized as someone who is less committed to work.

So basically, fathers are fighting two battles. One to get family-friendly policies approved. A second one to be able to use those policies without being penalized.

Both are worth the attention media outlets are giving them. Paternity leave is a family friendly benefit that fathers can claim for themselves. It moves the conversation about balancing work and family from being a "mother's issue" to being a father's issue, too)

This morning, I heard a report on paternity leave on NPR. I've seen articles in Fortune, in USA Today, in TIME.

Even celebrity entrepreneur Richard Branson has hyped the topic by announcing Virgin will give new fathers up to 12 months paid time off (if they qualify). 

 Lifehacker has drawn up a list of companies with the best paternity leave policies

I expect the conversation will continue well after Father's Day has come and gone. I hope it will continue because what's good for fathers is good for families.

Unfortunately, only about 14% of private employers in the US offer paid paternity leave, according to a 2014 survey by the Families and Work Institute. Right now, offering paid paternity leave is useful in the war for talent, but that's assuming fathers covet such a benefit and plan to use it. 

We have a long way to go to make fathers part of the work life conversation, but the discussion has begun and we are moving in the right direction.

Happy Father's Day!


The Work/Life Balancing Act

Stressed out over who to tip this holiday season? Let me help

Next week I have an appointment to get my dog groomed. Already, I'm thinking about whether I need to give the groomer a larger than normal tip for the holidays. Deciding who to tip and how much is one of the most stressful parts of the holiday for me. 

I figured it was a good time to go back to a Miami Herald article I wrote several years ago where I created a guide to holiday tipping. Reading it over, I decided it was packed with such great info, I had to repost it. Keep it mind it was originally written more than five years ago but I think most of the suggested tips are still appropriate today.

Tips on tipping: A guide to holiday gratuities

You're grooving to the tunes at your holiday party and the D.J. plays the song you requested. Hand him a dollar bill.


You're having your hair put in an up-do for your company's holiday party. Slip your stylist 20 percent of the bill.

Your housekeeper is looking for a show of appreciation for Christmas. Give her at least a week's pay.

Yes, it's that time of year when you open your hearts — and your wallets to shell out tips. Make an etiquette blunder and it could cost you embarrassment. Tip too much and it could cost you a fortune. But tipping for a one-time service is different from showing appreciation for those you can't live without — such as the maid, nanny or dog groomer.

"There's nothing set in stone that says you have to give a certain amount," said Jacqueline Whitmore, owner of the Protocol School of Palm Beach. "Everyone has a different budget and there are a lot of factors that go into it."

Tipping is that rare occasion when you give away money. And yet most people don't have a clue. No one wants to commit a faux pas when it comes to doling out end-of-the-year cash encouragement to the person who keeps your house bug-free, your lawn looking good or your pool sparkling.

So what's an appropriate holiday tip?

An amount equal to a one-time service — about $ 15 to $ 20 for the exterminator, the pool cleaner and the lawn service, according to Whitmore, a protocol expert. She says sometimes a gift might be the better route — two tickets to a sporting event just might be your ticket to a cleaner pool.

Sometimes it may seem sticking a fistful of cash in someone's hand may offend them.

Bob Hale, the security/concierge at the Biltmore II condominiums in Coral Gables, Fla., says initially he was bothered when residents gave him cash for taking luggage up to their condo. He formerly had been a grocery-store manager and had to make the adjustment to a service profession. Now, eight years later, he says he's thrilled when he gets a little something extra to pocket.

Hale says people usually slip him anywhere from $ 25 to $ 40 as a holiday bonus — in excess of the money the building collects for a holiday fund that's divided among building personnel.

Then there's the crowd that blatantly asks for tips: the waiter who tacks gratuity onto the tab, the masseur who attaches a small envelope to the bill, the personal trainer who sends a holiday card just begging for a bonus. In those cases, tipping remains discretionary, a reflection of the service you received, say etiquette mavens.

Gary Matzner of Miami ponders how much he should stick in the white envelope that his newspaper delivery person has inserted into his paper.

"I've never seen the guy, but I don't want my newspaper to end up in the bushes every morning," Matzner says.

Mike Acosta, assistant home delivery manager for The Miami Herald, says the envelopes are sent out from the carriers, not from the company. He says subscribers should take into consideration the service they've received and tip accordingly.

"Has your paper been delivered on time? Has it been placed in a dry location? Was it stopped when you went on vacation? Anywhere from $ 15 to $ 20 is considered generous. The average is about $ 10," Acosta said.

Linda DeMartino remembers how guests marveled over the delectables at her dinner party and admired the silver platters they appeared on. But she wasn't sure whether the whopping food bill included extra money for the servers. She now asks the caterer ahead of time for a suggested range. DeMartino says she usually gives the lead server 5 to 8 percent more than the others.

"You don't need to tip if it's a good caterer because I pay my staff well. Gratuity is not required but graciously accepted," said Elizabeth Silverman, owner of Catering by Lovables in Coral Gables. "If you feel the server has done an exceptional job and helped make your event a grand success, you may want to tip."

Silverman said general guidelines are $ 10 to $ 25 per staff member paid directly to them.

Partygoers face awkward tipping moments as well.

Anyone who's been to a company holiday party with an open bar has wondered what to do when the bartender mixes a martini or pours a glass of wine and hands it to you. Tip or assume the company is tipping?

Etiquette gurus say it depends on whether there's a tip jar out. If there is, stuff it with a dollar or two.

And when you pick up your car from the valet, shell out $ 1 to $ 2 or more if it's a fancy establishment. However, experts say you should tip on the front end if you plan to leave early and request your car be placed where it can be retrieved quickly.

Ada Holian of Coral Gables, Fla., struggles with another holiday dilemma. She remembers when she selected a giant Christmas tree from the lot, and watched as a teenage worker lugged it out for her. She wondered whether a $ 3 to $ 5 tip was sufficient.

"Although all our employees are paid, tipping is a nice gesture," said Capt. Paul Boutin, manager of the tree lot run by the Coral Gables Firefighters Benevolent Association. "We have about 40 high school boys and some college students trying to make some extra money for the holidays. Usually people give a dollar or two, but if it's a larger tree they give anywhere from $ 5 to $ 20."

Don't forget those service providers who make you look good for your holiday party and all year round — your hair dresser, manicurist, colorist.

Julie Hallman, a hairstylist at Salon Savvy in Plantation, Fla., said most of her clients are long-time customers who consider her a friend. She gets holiday tips of $ 25 in cash or gift certificates.

"It's really a personal thing," Hallman said. "It's a way for people to show their appreciation for service."

During the year, she said, people should tip 20 percent of the bill for a hair cut or color.

"It shows that you are pleased with the outcome," she said.

Is tipping the owner of a salon or any service business appropriate?

That depends on whom you ask. Whitmore says she's asked a variety of owners and has come to this conclusion: "If you go to a salon and see the prices and realize the owner charges more, don't tip because he or she has accounted for the fact that they will not get tips. But if he or she is not charging more than the others, tip that person at least 15 percent."

Having flowers, furniture or food delivered during the season?

Manny Gonzalez, creator of the Original Tipping Page at www.tipping.org, says give about $ 2 to the pizza delivery guy, from $ 5 to $ 10 per person to the furniture delivery people and $ 2 to $ 5 to the floral delivery person.

During the bustling season lines can get long at local restaurants, especially in South Florida as snowbirds flock to popular establishments.

Mark Brennen, author of "Tipping for Success" (Brenmark House, $ 12), says it's not how much you tip but how you conduct yourself that can help you get in. He applies that to getting a reservation in popular restaurants to catching a taxi on a crowded street, even to airline, hotel, or rental-car bookings and upgrades.

"To get in a situation you would normally be shut out of you can't throw money into someone's hands," Brennen said. "It could be demeaning. You give the tip afterward when there's a good-faith implied bargain between the patron and the service professional."

Brennen has strong feelings about end-of-year tips.

"I think you miss the boat when you wait once a year to give your doorman or your manicurist a tip. Take the opportunity during an off month like June or July and bring them a Starbuck coffee or a sandwich. It may be something modest but it says a lot. It sets you apart. You don't have to spend a lot of money to send the message to someone that they are important," he says.

Tipping guidelines

For those who provide a one-time service:

Bartender: 10 to 15 percent of total drink bill.

Shampoo tech: $ 1 to $ 2.

Hotel maid: $ 1 to $ 10, depending on how expensive your room is and how messy you are.

Taxi driver: 10 to 15 percent of the total fare.

Dog groomer: 15 percent of the bill, no less than $ 2 per dog.

For those providing an ongoing service:

Personal trainer: $ 50 or more.

Hairstylist: $ 25 or gift certificate.

Day-care worker: $ 15 to $ 25.

Custodian: $ 20 to $ 30.

Babysitter: Two nights pay or a gift.

Mail carrier: No more than $ 20.

Pest control, pool or lawn service: Equal to one-time service fee.

The Work/Life Balancing Act

Laugh without guilt this holiday season

Schweddy Balls on Saturday Night Live - Photo courtesy NBC

 (Photo courtesy NBC)



I LOVE the Saturday Night Life Holiday Special. I look forward to it every year. For me, it's a sacred hour of laughter.

I sit there, refuse to be interrupted, and I crack up. My favorite skit is one about dangerous toys with Candice Bergen and Dan Aykroyd. It makes me laugh out loud every time I see it. I also love Alec Baldwin in "Schweddy Balls" sketch. Hilarious.

Watching this special has become a holiday ritual I share with my kids. They know I love it and they look forward to it too. We sit together and laugh out loud. Last night, I was tempted to browse email while I watched it. But I stopped myself. 

Why is it so hard to let ourselves laugh and play without feeling guilty?

Sometimes in the frenzy to buy gifts, attend parties and send out cards, we forget that laughing and playing is part of the holiday season. Rather than getting tangled up in holiday anxiety, I'm reminding myself to make time to just play!

You also might want to consider building a snowman, playing a board game, or watching your favorite holiday special.  The act of playing or laughing will help you manage holiday stress.

If you missed the SNL Holiday Special, I'm sure you can watch it on demand or watch the highlights online. You might have your own holiday movie or show that you look forward to watching every year. Prop up your feet, sink into the couch and don't feel guilty about taking leisure time. It's the best way to balance your body and mind.


The Work/Life Balancing Act

Stressed Out? This Holiday Season Just Say “NO”


Holiday stress


It’s the holidays – the hardest time to say no to people demanding you do the gift shopping for your mother or stop by a holiday party that deep inside you don’t feel you want to do. It's a real skill to to learn to say 'no' tactfully, graciously, and without offense. 

Jill Brooke, author of The Need to Say "No", offers a few tips to resist the time demands that undermine your peace and happiness. I have a few of my own I've added.

It is OK to say "NO". The word no is baked into the word kNOwledge.  Assess a value system to everything about how much time it requires whether it’s a task outside of your job description or that chocolate éclair that requires an extra hour at the gym to work off. “No, not now but perhaps later”  is a perfectly fine response.

Hold to your boundaries.  Whether a relative or friend is bossing you around to create holiday parties or hosting doddering Dad for the week since “you’re so good at it”, bullies target empathetic people but don’t let yourself get used. “ Have boundaries of what you are comfortable doing and not doing. As long as you say your 'no' confidently and calmly, you will get results. Bullies then move on and target other people.

Assert your position, don't try to change theirs.  A colleague is suggesting a project that you see as futile and unproductive or you hear someone gossiping and wanting you to join in.  You can say “I see your position. I understand that is the way you are thinking. But no, I am not comfortable doing that.” Or , "I think we will have to agree to disagree on that position."

Say "NO" kindly and mean it.  You can say no without a future yes. For example,  a friend or relative calls asking for yet another favor in your jam-packed holiday schedule. “Because I am a perfectionist, I want to always do a good job. No, I can’t commit to another project at this time but maybe later”, might be your response. Or you can say, "No, I can't at this time. Good luck with it. "


Understand that saying "NO" is a healthy decision. "No" is a choice not a scolding. Say it with a smile in a calm voice that won't invite debate. "No, that doesn't work for me" is not selfish but the construction of  a protective shield against the onslaught of countless requests that truly undermine our ability to focus on what is important such as meaningful friends, family and work.

The two biggest tips I can share about saying NO are these:

* Pause before you say yes. Giving yourself 24 hours to "think about it" will help you to figure out how much you really want to do something — or not do it. It also will give you time to think of a reasonable way out.

* The less you explain yourself the better. Just say NO without detailing why you can't pick up the cake for the office holiday party or why you can't come in and finish something the weekend before Christmas. "No, I can't do it" is a good enough explanation.


In his recent blog post, advertising guru Bruce Turkel points out: 

When you say “no” you establish who you are, what you stand for, and — most importantly — what you will and will not do in a given situation. And whether you’re an advertising agency desperately trying to make payroll; an unwilling young woman being offered another drink at a fraternity kegger; an elected official being told by their party leaders to change course on an issue that they promised to their constituency; or an artist debating changing a piece of artwork in order to have it hung in a gallery, getting the “yes” you want often comes down to your ability to say “no.”

Turkel says:  “No” might very well be the most powerful word in the English language… “What part of ‘no’ didn’t you understand?” says it all about as clearly and succinctly as any comeback you can employ.

I, like most of you, want to be agreeable and liked. I don’t like to say “no.” I makes me uncomfortable, especially during the holidays when everyone is supposed to be spreading cheer. But Turkel explains that saying no in the long run is actually a nicer way to go.  

"What’s nice about agreeing to a task that you already know you’re not going to be able to complete well or on time? What’s nice about saying “yes” to a social engagement that you don’t want to go to, don’t have time to attend, and will probably wind up blowing off? And even if you’re not concerned about being nice to the person asking you to do something, what’s nice about putting yourself under the pressure of doing something you don’t want to do?" Turkel asks.

Here's the point he makes that I really appreciate:  unless we’re willing to draw our line in the sand and say “no,” then we can’t really achieve the outcome we want. Ironically, sometimes the only way to get to “yes” is to start with “no.”

So, instead of driving yourself into a state of overwhelm over the holidays, you might want to try out your "NO!"  If you learn how to use it effectively now, you will be well positioned for a less stressful 2014.

The Work/Life Balancing Act

Is this all there is? How to find more fulfillment in life

Have you ever asked yourself, "Is this all this is?"

My guest blogger today, Gayle Carson, noticed that people hit their 50s and often start asking themselves that question. So, she began working with boomers on reinventing themselves from the inside out, in both their personal and business lives to help them feel more satisfied. She now has two different radio shows–"Women in Business" and "Living Regret Free." Her website is www.spunkyoldbroad.com.

If you find yourself asking "Is this all their is?" then Gayle has some advice that should help.


GCarsonwebAfter five decades of business success, I was hit with a 10-year span of unbelievable challenges. I had built a business from nothing to seven offices and 350 people. I sold that and embarked on a magical speaking and consulting career with 1,000 clients in 50 industries. I worked in 50 countries and 49 states. Then I co-founded an internet information marketing association and now, I am working with boomer women and beyond on the joy of living.

During this time, I raised three children, helped my husband develop a real estate business and volunteered and led many professional and community organizations.

I had a wonderful life. And then—-everything changed.

 In a 10-year period, I lost a son, a husband, had my third case of breast cancer, custody of a grandchild, and my 16th surgery. To make it even worse, almost to the day my husband died, the real estate market collapsed.

Yet, people kept remarking that I always seemed happy and had a smile on my face. They questioned why I wasn’t depressed or feeling sorry for myself.

To me, it was simple. You have choices in life, and mine was to be happy. 

But that's when I began to notice that women in the 50 to 65 age range were expressing emotions of being invisible and feeling incomparable stress from being responsible for elder care and having older children come back home to live.

I kept hearing thee phrase “Is that all there is?” over and over again and this was from homemakers, business women and society people. As I listened more and more, I realized this was a very common problem.

No one seemed to know how to deal with it.

It became my mission to work with this population to show them how to live a regret free life. I developed what I call “The 9 Secrets to Living Regret Free” and started speaking and writing about them wherever I could. 

Here's a glimpse at my nine secrets:

#1 Attitude and Spirit

We know that your mindset has to be right for you to live a life without regret.

#2 Fit and Fabulous

We are aware that the benefits to being healthy and a lifestyle of wellness pays off with big dividends.

#3 Uniqueness

Most people don’t think they’re unique. But I know you are. I know it sounds scary, but writing your own obituary will enlighten you.

#4 Energizing Your Life

I believe everyone should wake up with a smile on their face and go to sleep in peace. Discovering what you love to do will make all the difference in how you live your life.

#5 Power Relationships

I know you’re aware that everyone is supposed to be just six degrees away from Kevin Bacon. Well even if you don’t have a high level job or are the King or Queen of Society, you can have power relationships.

#6 Personal Growth

 Keeping your mind active and alert is important for your mental and spiritual growth

#7 Taking and Keeping Control

You must control your life if you want to change it.

#8 Balance

Everyone talks about balance, but how many people practice it. Are you one who does?

#9 Plan for Daily Living

It all comes down to having a plan. Whether it’s in business or your personal life, you need a plan.


If you are unhappy with your situation, you need to change it and live out your dreams. What have you done lately to move yourself in that direction?



The Work/Life Balancing Act

Groupon CEO Tweets Firing. Is this the new direction of departures?

(Andrew Mason)



If you got fired, would you tweet about it? 

Yesterday afternoon, Andrew Mason, founder and CEO of Groupon, tweeted a letter to his employees that he was fired as the head of the company. Groupon has been under scrutiny lately due to falling stock prices and meager results, and just yesterday released a quarterly statement outlining its poor performance.

Mason has publicly discussed the possibility of his removal, and his letter indicates that he was not surprised about being let go. Until now, CEO departures at public companies have been announced through a canned statement that gives little insight into the back story.

“This is likely the first Twitter response from a CEO regarding his removal,” said John Challenger, CEO of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. “Most CEOs leave their posts quietly without revealing the true nature of the departure. However, Mason was known for being outspoken leader and not one to shy away from the spotlight.”

To me, this the latest example of the new reality. As individuals we can't expect privacy and companies can't expect it either. Look how quickly Yahoo's internal HR memo about recalling its remote workers went public last week. 

"Today, we’re in a public era," Challenger  "Internal memos are not private anymore, nothing much is private anymore, everything is fair game."

Challenger believes that Mason, a tech savvy guy, saw an opportunity to use a public platform to tell his side of the story in his own words. The key is his letter wasn't bitter or emotional and he used it to accept responsibility for what had gone wrong. He controlled the message. Challenger believes others may follow his lead: "I think we may see them putting out something simple or minimal." He urges caution to anyone thinking of putting details of workplace happenings out on social media:  "You don't want your dirty laundry aired or to come across in way you will regret later."

Will other CEOs turn to social media to discuss succession changes? Should they?  Last year, 45 CEOs were removed/ousted. You can bet there are plenty more removals to come. I think this is just the beginning of graceful and not-so-graceful exits aired over social media. 

How do you think the new era of viral information sharing is affecting corporate and individual behavior? Do you think Mason handled his departure well?


The Work/Life Balancing Act

Men are from Mars, Women from Venus: How does this affect us at work?

Last week, I had the pleasure of speaking with John Gray, author of Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus. 

His new book is called WORK WITH ME:  The Blind
Spots between Men and Women in Business,
and it applies his expertise to
male/female relationships and interactions in the workplace.  His
co-author is Barbara Annis, Chair of the Women’s Leadership Board at Harvard’s
Kennedy School of Government, and a world-renowned expert on workplace gender
issues.  So as you can see, they’re the perfect pair to take on this

I was excited to talk to John about his new book that will be released in May. 

John-gray-118-headshotJohn and Barbara have been studying the way men and women behave in the workplace and they discovered that there are big differences that cause us to miscommunicate and send the wrong signals to each other.  A little gender intelligence can help you in your career.

One thing they discuss in particular is how men and women
deal with workplace stress differently.  And of course, how this bleeds
over in to our personal lives.  John explained to me there are biological reasons why women respond to stress by releasing their
feelings and bonding with loved ones, while men either have tunnel vision until
they solve their problem, or just ignore it if it’s beyond their control.

Here are a few findings in his book that John shared with me: 

* Solving problems and achieving goals in the workplace takes a greater toll on women. Women lack testerone that naturally lowers cortisol levels. When women are stressed, they tend to take on more responsiblities. What they need to do instead, is find ways to de-stress. John suggests women up their romance quotient by planning an evening out. If they don’t’ have partner, he recommends creating an opportunity to feel they are being treated in special way, such as getting a massage.

John explained to me that gender blind spots are ways of unknowingly putting off the opposite sex in the workplace. Here is how to be more attuned to them: 

* Questions. Men think women ask too many questions. Men are annoyed by this. Women don't realize men think this way. Sometimes a woman may be making a point with her questions and have no idea she is agitated a male co-worker.

* Appreciation. Women don't feel appreciated in the workplace. Men think they are making a woman feel appreciated, but the women doesn't feel that way. Men need to more effectively communicate a female worker is valued and appreciated. Men need to understand little gestures of
consideration make a huge difference to women.

* Exclusion. Women often feel excluded in the workplace when they aren't invited to attend a lunch or join in a conversation. Men don't feel excluded. They don't need an invitation. The concept of being left out does not exist from a man’s perspective. In a conversation, instead of a woman asking, "Can I say something?" just join in.

* Attention. If a man is focused on a computer screen or a project and can't shift attention, women feel offended if he ignores them. Don't. Men don't. Just ask again. A woman might even ask, "Can I have one minute of your time?" Any
man will give one minute. . 

* Emotion. John and Barbara asked men whether women are too emotional in the workplace. About 90 percent said yes. They asked women if they thought women were too emotional and 80 percent said no. They found when they pointed this difference out, people said it made sense but there are lots of people in academia trying to disprove the obvious truth. Men try to avoid an emotional response but must realize that validating a woman’s
perspective is more important than simply agreeing with her or avoiding

* Internalizing. Many times men will say something and women take it personally. They may feel a man is picking on them. Men don't take anything personally. For example, 80 percent of the people who go online for porn are
men. Men are turned on by the impersonal. Women want personal. A man's fear of offending female colleagues can jeopardize fruitful working relationships.

John is convinced that with a little gender insight, men and women can find ways to get what they need from each other in the workplace. 

John's website is Marsvenus.com. He says he is available online on weekday mornings from 9 to 10:30 a.m. to answer questions on gender
differences. Visit the community board on his website to submit questions. 


Work with me


The Work/Life Balancing Act

Guess what American workers and bosses fear most this Halloween?

As we head into the final quarter of 2012, I'm sensing a lot of angst. People are fearful about the economy and they're uncertain about whether things are getting better. I asked American workers, small business owners and top execs about their biggest concerns and shared them with readers in my column today…..


I'd love to hear what concerns are on your mind!


Workplace fright grips South Florida workers

We asked South Floridians what scares them the most about the workplace and we asked experts how to manage those fears.

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 Rosie DeRosa and Alice Roque, owners of myCottera.com

Attorney Detra P. Shaw-Wilder

By Cindy Krischer Goodman


            Behind the masks and scary costumes this Halloween are American workers with real fear about what the last few months of the year will bring.

Workplace fright has gripped everyone from top executives to desk clerks. It ranges from fear of being fired to concerns about hitting performance goals or losing business to a competitor.

“There’s a lot of uncertainty out there in this business climate and that has created a lot of fear,” says Ryan Skubis, Florida district director for staffing agency Robert Half International.     

      A new survey by Accountemps, a Robert Half company, shows it is not ghosts, goblins or even public speaking that scare workers most — it’s making a mistake on the job. This angst stems from scaled down workplaces where workers now do the job of two, three or four workers. “People are putting so much pressure on themselves,” Skubis says. “They have a lot on their plates and they don’t see a lot of hope for slowing down.”

An effective fear buster is open communication with a manager or client. Instead of hiding mistakes, a worker should feel it is okay to fess up, suggest ways to correct the situation or ask for guidance, he says. “Mistakes happen all the time. Even leaders make mistakes. It is how we go about fixing them that matters.”

At the top levels, executives say they fear falling short of year-end projections. In some businesses, profits in prior years came from cost-cutting. Now, with little left to cut, revenue increases depend on growth and in some cases, it’s not there. Alex Trujillo, a senior manager at a wireless company, says the year has been more volatile for sales than expected. Now, he’s worried people won’t spend in the traditionally stronger fourth quarter and shareholders will be disappointed. “It’s a realistic and widespread concern.”

Trujillo’s fear of disappointing numbers trickles down to managers at all levels in businesses, says Kathi Elster, a management consultant and executive coach. They are afraid of new management coming in and making changes. As companies try to rebound, some workers are concerned about a younger person with specific technological skills replacing them, Elster says.

Elster suggests managing this fear by staying ahead. “Get active in your industries, attend conferences find out what’s coming in your field and get trained in it.” You may have to spend your own time and money doing this, she says. “It’s your insurance policy. That’s the world we’re in today.”


Read more….

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/10/30/3074830/facing-workplace-fears.html#storylink=cpy

The Work/Life Balancing Act

Intern Queen tells how to hire an intern this fall

These days most of us could use an extra set of hands around the office — even better if that set of hands costs you nothing and allows you to mold the next generation of worker. Think intern! 

With school about to start, now is a great time to reach out and find an intern that can add value to your business. Today, my guest blogger is going to tell you just how to hire an intern and make the experience a good one for all. 

Berger_Lauren c. Felicity MurphyLauren Berger is known as "The Intern Queen" and author of ALL WORK NO PAY: Finding An Internship, Building Your Resume, Making Connections, and Gaining Job Experience. Berger specializes in internship, career, and entrepreneurship advice for young people. She personally work with employers and help them find interns and entry-level candidates. You can contact her HERE. Another great resource is the career centers at colleges and universities in their area.

We read often about what students need to know. But what about employers? How do they know how to structure their programs and provide beneficial experiences for their interns? Here are 5 ways employers can improve their internship programs:

1. Structure Your Program. When a student starts an internship at your company they should have a clear agenda. A start date, end date, mid-way evaluation, and exit interview should be on the calendar and both parties must be aware. The intern should fully understand the time requirement and days/nights he or she is required to stay late or work events outside of typical office hours. 


2. What Perks Can You Add? An employer should always be thinking about value. The student is using the experience to determine if this is the right industry and company for them. How can you help them figure that out? Perhaps you can add a speakers series or a weekly lunch with executives. 


3. Understand the intern's goals. In the initial interview, establish an understanding of the students you hire. What do they want to do? Is your company a place where they can really figure out if their "dream job" is their "dream job"? Think about what you can do to help them learn more about themselves and their personal and professional goals. By asking the students about what they want to do (throughout the course of the internship) you will create more valuable work for them. For example, I have an intern this semester who told me during our mid-way evaluation that she was interested in sales. Since we've had that conversation, I've made sure to include her in several sales calls so that she can listen in and take notes. 


4. Evaluate, Evaluate, Evaluate. The mid-way evaluation is a crucial part of the internship. At this point, you can sit down with your team for 30 minutes and make a list of things the interns are excelling at and a list of things they can improve upon. Just having this brainstorm session with your staff will make them more attentive to the internship program as a whole. Once you've created your lists, have a group meeting with your interns. Explain to them the purpose of the evaluation – to give them a better understanding of what they are doing well and what they can improve upon. The idea is for them to acknowledge these problem areas now rather than at their first job post-college.


5. Stay In Touch. I always tell students to stay in touch with their professional contacts – of course. However, we all under estimate the value these students will play in our professional lives. In a few years, these interns are going to have jobs at your company and at companies similar to yours. Some of them will work with you, some will work for you, and you might find yourself working for one of them someday. It's just as important for you to keep the relationship as it is for them to stay in touch. I've had several interns graduate, land jobs, and call me with business proposals or pitch me ideas. If these students are interning with you – its a sign they have potential – the potential to be very successful. Make sure you stay in touch. 


The Work/Life Balancing Act