Fear: Our Biggest Obstacle

What would you do with your life if fear didn’t play a role?

“Once there was a young warrior. Her teacher told her that she had to do battle with fear.   She didn’t want to do that. It seemed too aggressive; it was scary; it seemed unfriendly.    But the teacher said she had to do it and gave her the instructions for the battle.   

The day arrived. The student warrior stood on one side, and fear stood on the other. The warrior was feeling very small, and fear was looking big and wrathful. They both had their weapons.

The young warrior roused herself and went toward fear, prostrated three times, and asked, “May I have permission to go into battle with you?”

Fear said, “Thank you for showing me so much respect that you ask permission.”

Then the young warrior said, “How can I defeat you?”

Fear replied, “My weapons are that I talk fast, and I get very close to your face. Then you get completely unnerved, and you do whatever I say. If you don’t do what I tell you, I have no power. You can listen to me, and you can have respect for me. You can even be convinced by me. But if you don’t do what I say, I have no power.”

In that way, the student warrior learned how to defeat fear. ”

— Pema Chödrön (When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times)

Entering into a Career Transition?  We can help you jump the chasm and beat the fear.  WorkStrategies.com Terry Del Percio | 978.282.8900         

Steve Jobs: Career Advice for Tough Times (Guest Blog)

This is a guest post by Carmine Gallo, Author of The Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs: Insanely Different Principles for Breakthrough Success. It offers interesting insights into Steve Jobs’ history of success and new ideas about how you can approach your own career.

The global recession has forced many people to reconsider their careers and life choices. In these turbulent times, where does one turn for career advice? As I was researching the material for my new book, The Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs (McGraw Hill) I realized that many of the principles behind Jobs’ breakthrough success at Apple apply equally to the management of one’s career.

Jobs has had his share of setbacks and skeptics. He started what would become a multi-billion dollar brand by sharing his parents’ kitchen table, he was fired from the company he started, and he rebounded from two near-death experiences to become one of the most iconic business leaders in corporate history. He’s learned a lot along the way and he has a lot to teach the rest of us. Here are just a few ways Jobs can teach you to ‘think differently’ about professional and career success.

Put a dent in the universe. Steve Jobs has never underestimated the power of vision to move a brand forward. Vision inspires new ideas and attracts evangelists to your cause. In 1976, Steve Wozniak was captivated by Jobs’ vision to “put a computer in the hands of everyday people.” Wozniak was the engineering genius behind the Apple I and the Apple II, but it was Jobs’ vision that inspired Wozniak to focus his skills on building a computer for the masses.

Jobs’ vision was intoxicating because it had four components that all inspiring visions share: It was 1) bold, 2) specific, 3) concise and 4) consistently communicated.

In 1979, Jobs took a tour of the Xerox research facility in Palo Alto, California. There he saw a new technology that let users interact with the computer via graphical icons on the screen instead of entering complex line commands. It was called a “graphical user interface.”

In that moment, Jobs knew that this technology would allow him to fulfill his vision of putting a computer in the hands of everyday people. He went back to Apple and refocused his team’s effort on building the computer that would eventually become the Macintosh and forever change the way we talked to computers. Jobs later said that Xerox could have “dominated” the computer industry but instead its ‘vision’ was limited to building another copier.

Innovation — the kind with a big “I” that moves society forward — doesn’t happen without a bold vision.

Just as Jobs had a vision for his brand, you must have a vision for the most important brand of all — yourself. What vision do you have for your company or your career? Yes, you need to follow your gut and do something you are passionate about — doing what you love is Steve Jobs’ first principle for breakthrough success — but while passion gives you energy to overcome skeptics and obstacles, vision points you in the ultimate direction.

Kick-start your brain. There’s no dispute that Steve Jobs thinks differently than the rest of us. His creative ideas have transformed not one industry, but four — computing, music, entertainment, and telecommunications. 

Innovation — in products or careers — requires creativity and creativity requires that you think differently about…the way you think. Scientists who study the way the brain works have discovered that innovators like Steve Jobs do think differently but they use a technique available to all of us — they seek out “diverse experiences.”

This reminds me of the story behind Apple’s name. The idea fell from a tree, literally. Steve Jobs had returned from visiting a commune-like place in Oregon located in an apple orchard. Apple co-founder and Jobs’ pal, Steve Wozniak, picked him up from the airport. On the drive home, Jobs simply said, “I came up with a name for our company — Apple.” Wozniak said they could have tried to come up with more technical sounding names but their vision was to make computers approachable. Apple fit nicely. 

Steve Jobs creates new ideas precisely because he has spent a lifetime exploring new and unrelated things — seeking out diverse experiences. Jobs hired people from outside the computing profession, he studied the art of calligraphy in college (a study that found its way into the first Macintosh), meditated in an Indian ashram, and evaluated The Four Seasons hotel chain as he developed the customer service model for the Apple Stores.

Look outside your industry for inspiration. Bombard the brain with new experiences. Remove the shackles of past experiences.

Say no to 1,000 things. Steve Jobs once said the secret to innovation comes from “saying no to 1,000 things.” Steve Jobs is as proud of what Apple chooses not to do as he is about what Apple chooses to focus on. The lesson — don’t spread yourself too thin. 

Find the career that intersects your passion, skill and the ability to make money doing it. Once you find it, focus on it, work at it, and dedicate yourself to excellence in that area. Say “no” to anything else that will distract you from pursuing that career.

If you are looking for a work or frustrated with your current job, there will be plenty of friends, families and colleagues who offer unsolicited advice on what’s best for you. Filter out the ideas that might derail you from the career best matching your strengths and passion.

Master presentation skills. Steve Jobs is considered one of the greatest corporate storytellers in the world. His presentations inform, educate and entertain. By giving extraordinary presentations, Steve Jobs stands out as a leader and communicator.

You are being judged to a large degree on your ability to communicate what you do. The big difference between extraordinary communicators like Steve Jobs and the average leader is that people like Jobs use presentations to complement the message. The speaker is the storyteller; PowerPoint slides serve as a backdrop to the story. That means you must learn to avoid bullet points and to think visually about bringing a story to life. Read The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs (McGraw Hill, October 2009), for tips and techniques.

Don’t let bozos get you down. Steve Jobs knew he had the skills to build a computer that would be simple enough for the average person to enjoy. Few others shared his vision.

Ken Olsen, the founder of Digital Equipment, once told Jobs “There is no reason why anyone would want a computer in their home.” Thank goodness Jobs didn’t listen.

When Jobs returned to Apple in 1997 after a 12-year absence from the company he started, Apple was close to bankruptcy but Jobs rallied his employees, customers, and investors with the vision of what Apple could become. Millions of Apple fans have Jobs to thank for not listening to critics who believed Apple was destined to fail. If he had, consumers would not be enjoying Macs, iPods, iPads, and iPhones which popularized touch-screen technology.

Many people around you think they know what’s best for you. Only you can be true to your own heart and intuition.

Innovation sits in a lonely place because very, very few people have their courage of their convictions and the self-confidence to tune out negative voices. Perhaps the greatest lesson Steve Jobs teaches us is that risk-taking requires courage. Believe in yourself and your vision and be prepared to constantly defend those beliefs. Only then will you be able to lead an “insanely great” life and career.

© 2010 Carmine Gallo, author of The Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs: Insanely Different Principles for Breakthrough Success

Author Bio
Carmine Gallo, author of The Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs: Insanely Different Principles for Breakthrough Success, is a presentation, media-training, and communication-skills coach for the world’s most admired brands. He is an author and columnist for Businessweek.com and and a keynote speaker and seminar leader who has appeared on CNBC, NBC, CBS, MSNBC.com, BNET, RedBook, Forbes.com, and in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and Investor’s Business Daily, as well as many other media outlets. Gallo lives in the San Francisco Bay area and is a former vice president for a global, top-ten public relations firm.

For more information please visit www.carminegallo.com

Posted by Terry Del Percio, Career Transition Consultant: www.workstrategies.com

Follow me on Twitter: @WorkIntegrity

Does Anybody (Else) Care About My Career?

After reporting to eleven bosses in eleven years at the last organization I worked for as a communications director, I knew it was time for me to take control of my work life. The way I put it to myself was, “If anyone’s going to pilot my life, it’s going to be me.”

If you’re a boomer who’s facing your professional future with a frown, the tactics I used to resolve my situation, as well as the tips at the end of this post, can help you plan your own Great Escape.

The specific conditions that provoked my personal wake-up call and the exact career I embarked on might not be the same as yours. But if you know that what you’re doing with your life isn’t what you were meant to do, I hope that parts of the strategy I applied can offer you a path to your next career.

Coaching     

Long before I abandoned my job, I put myself into the hands of a coach. I can still picture myself hunched over a yellow lined pad, feverishly writing down my coach’s tenets of success. A lot of them had to do with modifying my mental attitude. She convinced me that it was critical that I focus on success rather than stir up every thought of failure I could summon.

I finally realized that if I didn’t take the first few baby steps she outlined, I would never arrive at any grand goal I might have had in mind.

In my case, that meant that if I didn’t submit my writing for publication, 100% of it would be unpublished. So, while still at my old job, I submitted an essay to a national publication. From hundreds of applicants, I was among the 12 chosen to write a whole series of articles. That experience demonstrated for me that I had something valuable to offer.

Then my coach and I moved on to writing down simple steps I could take to begin a new career.

For example, I was to set up my home office to be effective for my new career (and the new me), rather than for the old ones. That helped me start seeing myself in a new light, and begin to take myself seriously.   

Strategies

I want to share some more of the strategies my coach taught me.

Keep your hand in. Even before you can leave or change your job and do what you like full time, take advantage of opportunities to do the work you want to do. It may be as a volunteer. Some people get new jobs based on work they did do or contacts they made through volunteer work.

Associate with others who are doing what you want to do. Seek out those who are in the field you want to be in. It’s easy to do that these days. If there’s no one in your community who shares your interests, join an online community through the groups on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn.com. Some of the people you “meet” online will live in your area, and after chatting online for a while, you can get together in person, if you chose to.

Carve out a physical space, no matter how small, where you will do your new work. It might be a corner of your kitchen or bedroom, a section of your attic, or even—weather permitting—your porch.

Take classes in the field you want to enter. That has the double benefit of making it possible to meet others with your interests.

Pay down your bills, in preparation for your new work—which might not pay as much as you’re used to earning.

Put a little money aside—even if it’s only a few dollars a week—and earmark it for your new career. (I left my job right at the beginning of this last recession, so it was pretty scary. But scarier still was the toll my job was taking on my health and well being.) 

Don’t wait for permission from anyone—not your husband, your family, your parents, or your employer. Of course, it’s better to have everyone’s cooperation. But remind yourself that you deserve to be fulfilled in your work. Your mind and body will thank you. And those close to you will see that you’re a lot more fun to be around when you’re doing work that’s meaningful to you.

Prepare yourself to take a risk. There’ll be some sleepless nights during your transition. But if you’re like most of us who have put off our passions in favor of a job we don’t feel suited for, you’re probably already doing some tossing and turning in the wee hours.  

As we get older, we begin to wonder how much longer we can afford to put off our dreams. What are we waiting for? A lottery win would be nice, but come on, what are the odds of that happening?

After my first meeting with my coach, I hung a quotation above my desk. It’s by the novelist Louis Auchincloss, a cousin of Jackie Onassis.

“One can spend one’s whole existence never learning the simple lesson that one has only one life and that if one fails to do what one wants with it, nobody really cares.”


————————————————————————————————————-

Lynette Benton is the author of the essays, “From Part Time to Parting Time” in Skirt! Magazine and “After Burnout, a New Career Helping Writers,” in More Magazine online.

She is also the author of Polish and Publish: The Indispensable Toolkit for Creative Writers to Get Started and Get Published. Her website is http://lynettebentonwriting.com.

Note: For more excellent strategies on making a career transition, check out the book Working Identity by Herminia Ibarra.

The Doorbell is Dead

This blog is an excerpt by Ed Muzio,
Author of Make Work Great: Supercharge Your Team, Reinvent the Culture, and Gain Influence — One Person at a Time

Literally, my doorbell is dead. It’s one of those battery operated wireless ones. I think it got some water in it, and it doesn’t work. Plus, my front door is fifteen feet behind a locked gate, so there’s no way to knock. Conventional wisdom says, if you drop by my house unannounced, you’re not getting in. It’s been this way for over a year and it has yet to be a problem.

I should perhaps be embarrassed by this, but I recently realized why it really doesn’t matter, while giving a friend a ride across town. When my car stopped in front of our destination — a relative’s house — my friend stepped out of the car, thanked me, and immediately initiated a cell phone call. As she was putting her phone away, the front door cracked open and she strolled in, carefree user of the new-age doorbell.

That’s why nobody has yet complained about mine: nobody uses it anyway! Figuratively as well, the doorbell is dead. And its death has bigger implications to our daily lives than many of us care to consider.

There’s a reason we call this the information age, and it’s not because we’re all so much smarter. It’s because we all have access to so much information, at our fingertips, all the time. I can track my package, check the status of my flight, and monitor my stock portfolio or my company’s financial status, all in a second, all with a click. I’m more informed than anyone in my position in history has ever been. And yet, being so informed has not made my life easier. If anything, I think I’m probably busier than a counterpart in my position would have been 20 years ago.

For one thing, I’m constantly doing things like checking the status of my packages and my flights! That didn’t used to be an option, but now that it is, it seems foolish not to avail myself of it. Why in the world would I choose to be uninformed, when it’s so easy to rectify my ignorance by learning exactly which city my all-important box is traversing at the moment?

Worse yet, everyone now has the expectation of immediacy. At times it feels like I’m fielding client questions and queries day and night, all of whom expect an instant answer. I pride myself on customer service, but it can be a challenge! If you supplement “client” with “customer,” “manager,” or “stockholder,” I’ve probably described your job too.

And it’s not just business contacts. Some loved ones have also come to expect an instantaneous reply when they call. I vividly recall a time when I returned calls to friends and family after I got home for the evening, or if it was a particularly long day, the following evening. Now, the calls come into my cell phone at all hours. If I don’t respond within a few hours, I end up on the receiving end of a concerned and vaguely annoyed follow-up call: “didn’t you get my message? I thought you would call me back over lunch.”

The problem is, my capacity for handling information has not expanded commensurately with the information explosion. I still have only two hands, only two ears, only two eyes, and only one brain. I may read a few hundred more emails per day than I used to, but I don’t read them a few hundred times faster. And my decision-making capacities still have limits as to how much information they can incorporate. For better or worse, I’m still just human.

And you, my friend, are in the same boat as I am. Admit it! You haven’t grown four extra hands or two extra brains either.

That’s why it’s crucial for all of us to walk around with a well rehearsed script of what’s we’re trying to do, what I call a Verbalized Summary Objective Statement, or VSO. The VSO is a script that you play to others, and to yourself, as a reminder of what you’re working on.

It’s also a filter that helps you turn on — or turn off — your most important sources of information. And, it’s a statement of your output that you can use at the end of the day to check that you’re making progress. If you are, you can feel satisfaction. If you’re not, you can make an adjustment. Either of those options is preferable to just going home exhausted, vaguely wondering when you started working so hard, and why you can’t seem to stop.

Tomorrow morning, when you first get to your desk and before you start doing anything, see if you can articulate your purpose for the day, or maybe the week, in about 90 seconds. Try writing it down, or better yet, say it to yourself a few times until you’ve memorized it. Then, use your little infomercial as your blueprint for the day. Whenever you’re about to engage with information — either a source of it, or a request for it — first check the contents of your VSO, and see how that source or request aligns with what you really want to be doing. In other words, pay attention to where you invest your mental and physical effort.

Probably, like me, you’ll find that not all of what is clamoring for your attention is in line with your own priorities. Although saying “no” is never easy, it is much easier when you have a burning “yes” to focus upon instead. Now that you know where you’re trying to head, you can begin to make the difficult decisions about what not to do. From here, the rest is up to you.

Actually, I do have one more suggestion. As you go through the day sorting through information, take a moment to check your calendar. If your evening plans include a visit to my house, be sure to take my cell phone number with you.
© 2010 Ed Muzio, author of Make Work Great: Supercharge Your Team, Reinvent the Culture, and Gain Influence — One Person at a Time

Author Bio
Edward G. Muzio
is president and CEO of Group Harmonics and is the award-winning author of Four Secrets to Liking Your Work: You May Not Need to Quit to Get the Job You Want. An expert in workplace improvement and its relationship to individual enjoyment, Muzio has been featured on Fox Business Network, CBS, and other national media, and he has been cited in many publications including the New York Post, the Austin American Statesman, and Spirit magazine. He lives in Albuquerque, NM.

For more information visit www.makeworkgreat.com and follow the author on Facebook.

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Is Overcommitment the New Badge of Honor?

When was the last time you laid in the grass on a beautiful summer day and looked up at the clouds?

I attended a lecture tonight. The speaker was an American monk – Sumati Marut (aka Brian Smith). It was sponsored by the Asian Classics Institute on Cape Ann.

Guess what the Honorable Marut talked about?  (He’s a very practical guy)  

Problems and solutions.

What’s the problem? We want to be happy, yet our lives are consumed with work, stress, and overcommitment.

Our lives are consumed by ‘busy-ness’ (sounds like business, eh?)

Marut shared statistics with us that you have probably heard before:

  • 80% of workers are stressed on the job
  • 34% of employees rush eating their lunch – if they have lunch at all
  • 460 Million vacation days per year are turned back in and not used

How did American society get to the point where it is prestigious to be so busy?When did it start being okay to expect that workers should work 50, 60, 70 hours per week?

When did it become acceptable to push people to be so “productive” on the job that they suffer from exponential amounts of stress related illnesses – mental and physical?  

Where did we acquire this compulsion of having to do something every minute of the day? Is it socially desirable to be so busy and stressed?

Has our self worth become so attached to our ‘busy-ness’ that we are afraid to stop the insanity?

Do we keep so busy so we don’t have to look at the meaninglessness of what we are doing? Do we even notice how busy we are?

When did we start the habit of coming home from work only to begin turning everyone “on” around us (again)?  We walk in the door only to turn on our computer, our televisions, iPods, iPads, Wii, etc. These are all stimulants.

We’re exhausted, fall into bed later than we should and then begin it all again. Is that happiness?

When does it all stop? When do we make different choices?

How do we find happiness?

Some of these can be tough questions if you want to dig into them. A happier life requires some radical shifts, yet Marut offers us some suggestions that don’t seem so radical at all.

Will we stop to listen or relinquish the joy of our lives to busy-ness?

  • Get enough sleep. There is medical evidence that less than 8 hours sleep impacts our health negatively. How much sleep do you get each night?
  • Don’t wake up to a jarring alarm clock sound. This is not a peaceful way to start your day.
  • Stop the cycle of buying stuff for the sake of buying stuff. Simplify your life, reduce the need to earn more and more money. Stop.
  • Practice this mantra. “I have enough”. Repeat. “I have enough”.
  • Stop thinking about yourself and focus on helping someone else.

If you are unhappy, you cannot blame the job or your boss or the bills or your kids. The responsibility and the power to be happy is yours, and yours alone.

Take one step towards creating a discipline for a simple meditation practice every day. Meditation is actually quite simple and there are many different ways to practice it. The key is the word “practice”.

Are you committed to your own happiness?

MYOB: Mind Your Own Boundaries

I grew up learning this lesson:

If someone is in need, don’t ask if you can help – just do it.

Try this approach in your job search or your career transition. Give back more than you get.

Not that you will keep score, but it’s an attitude that might just make you a happier person. Giving back tends to bring its rewards quietly and when you least expect it. Months later doors might be opened that you never knew existed.

People tend to mirror the way they are treated. If you show an interest in sharing information and helping others to achieve their goals, it is likely that those people will want to support your goals in return.

Do we know this already? Of course we do.

But for some crazy reason, we all need reminders about simple things.

The key to all of this is to be an active participant. Look for opportunities to help others and connect people with each other. Look for the chance to cooperate with colleagues or coworkers. Look for the chance to help colleagues that are seeking employment or mentor a young person. Seek out these opportunities.

The truth of the matter is that if you support others, you will seldom experience a shortage of having that favor returned.

One caution: Understand and honor your own boundaries.

What the heck are boundaries anyway? It’s a tricky concept to define. The online dictionary definition from About.com is

The emotional and physical space that we place between others and ourselves. Setting proper boundaries is important to our mental health. When appropriate boundaries are not set, we run the risk of becoming either too detached from or too dependent upon others.

We must always consider both our own boundaries and the boundaries of others in order to establish positive relationships. This is not an easy task, since each person’s definition of an appropriate boundary may differ.

When researching information for this post, I came across a wild story about boundaries. You may already be familiar with it. It was a surprise to me.

Have you heard of Penelope Trunk?

She runs a social networking site for managing careers called The Brazen Careerist, and writes a terrific blog with half a million visitors a month. Yes – half a million…(I highly recommend her blog)

In late 2009, Penelope updated her Twitter feed about having a miscarriage during a business meeting. It read like this:

I’m in a board meeting. Having a miscarriage. Thank goodness, because there’s a fucked-up three-week hoop-jump to have an abortion in Wisconsin.

As you can imagine, this tweet caused an uproar. You may have read the article in the the Guardian. It is a fascinating read if you have a few minutes.

In the article, Penelope states that she was shocked that her statement created such an uproar.

Really? Shocked? I was surprised to hear that. Penelope is in no uncertain terms a very sophisticated and intelligent business woman. Why would she be shocked?

It seems to me this is an issue about boundaries. There is no true right or wrong, and I am not making any judgments. But we all need to be accountable for our public statements and consider how others will react to them. Penelope didn’t seem concerned. Would you be?

Some boundary basics:

  1. It is crucial to always respect boundaries – both your own and others’. Honoring boundaries is a major component of trust. And without that, you have nothing.
  2. If you feel fatigued when you are interacting with someone, it’s time to reassess whether boundaries need to be clarified. (It’s very easy to convince yourself to ignore this – don’t do it)
  3. If someone becomes so dependent upon you that it begins to feel uncomfortable, it means that they are overstepping your boundaries. Likewise, be careful not to overstep the boundaries of others. Pay attention to cues that your behavior or your language may be making another uncomfortable. It doesn’t matter why.

An example: A colleague, Jason (not his real name) asked me to introduce him to one of my LinkedIn contacts (Joe).  Jason was trying to expand and build his consulting practice. I offered to connect him with two other business contacts, but I told him it wasn’t a good time for me to approach Joe because he had just done me another favor and I knew this was a chaotic time in his company.

Unfortunately, Jason wouldn’t take “no” for an answer. He wrote me at least 3 emails within 1 week, rationalizing why I should introduce him to Joe ASAP.  Jason showed complete disregard for my reasoning.

Needless to say, I was taken aback by Jason’s lack of respect for my clearly stated boundaries. Jason overstepped them. Another surprise was when Jason contacted me again a few months later and repeated the same request.

Can you guess how likely I am to help out Jason next time around?

Has someone you tried to help overstepped his/her boundaries? Have you overstepped yours?

Your Mobile Phone: A Tool for Mindfulness

I am sure you have heard the term ‘mindfulness’. It is tossed about frequently these days. I’m glad of that, since it seems the idea is making its way into the mainstream. That’s a good thing, in my humble eyes.

Mindfulness refers to being completely in touch with the present moment, as well as taking a non-evaluative and non-judgmental approach to your inner experience.

For example, a mindful approach to one’s inner experience is simply viewing “thoughts as thoughts” as opposed to evaluating thoughts as positive or negative. http://bit.ly/9rxspw

Mindfulness plays a central role in the teaching of Buddhist meditation. Buddhism is a philosophy that began in India in the 6th century and is becoming increasingly accepted in western culture.

Although Dr. David Rock wrote in Psychology Today that he has a problem with mindfulness being linked to any religion, because he worries that people will ignore it simply for that reason, his piece is full of useful information and I encourage you to take a peek.

Dr. Rock believes that as we get older, we resist learning new things. I’m not sure I agree, but his blog is definitely worth reading, especially if you are interested in the health benefits of mindfulness.

The best statement in Dr. Rock’s post is that ‘even the most cynical, anti-self-awareness agitator can’t help but see that they will be better off practicing this skill (mindfulness)’.

Okay – since I believe that we become more open-minded as we get older, let me briefly introduce the idea of Buddhism. Are you with me?

The Buddha, many centuries ago, identified Four Noble Truths as the foundation of this spiritual practice.

See if you can relate to any of these Four Noble Truths.

1. Life is full of suffering

2. Craving and desire is the cause of suffering.

3. Craving and desire can come to an end, therefore ending our suffering

4. The way to end suffering is to follow the Noble Eightfold Path: Right View, Right Intention, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness and Right Concentration

This is a lot to digest at one sitting. So let’s just focus on one small aspect.

To practice Right Livelihood means to use the practice of mindfulness to address the problems of daily life, including work.

Take telephone meditation, for example.  This can be a very important practice for you, if you’ll try it.

When the phone rings (yes, even your mobile phone), try hearing it as a bell of mindfulness. Are you giggling yet? Experiencing some discomfort at the thought of a new perspective?

Stop what you are doing and breathe in and out deeply and consciously three times before you pick up the phone.

Alert: I bet this will be very difficult for you to do. Please tell me if you can do it the next time the phone rings.

If you choose to practice this, I wonder if your phone calls will take on a different tone. What do you think?

I’m curious to hear how you do.