Archive for the ‘Business’ category

Learning new things: two webinars and a video

May 5, 2020

If you’re like me, you’ve been signing up for a lot of webinars recently. Many organizations and leaders are providing free training about new legislation, leading in times of crisis, coping with stress, parenting, working remotely, and more.

Webinars are a good way to feel connected to other people, learn something useful, and add meaning to my day. Sometimes I need that reminder that we are all facing the same challenges.

I’ve found that learning something new, or re-learning something I’ve stopped practicing, is a good way to start the day. It makes me feel prepared for any challenges that might come up.

Here are two webinars and a video that I found particularly compelling:

Appealing to my business side, VitalSmarts hosted a series of five webinars about “Crucial Skills for Crucial Times” with Joseph Grenny, Justin Hale, and Emily Gregory. Three highlights:

  1. Be Safe/Feel Safe. Especially in these uncertain times, customers and employees need to be safe physically and feel safe mentally and emotionally.
  2. Have the right conversation. To have honest conversations, we need to make people feel safe by communicating mutual respect and mutual purpose. This struck me because I am witnessing a mediation at work, and I could see that we were having the wrong conversations.
  3. Regain control of your job. For every action, choose to DO, DECLINE, or RENEGOTIATE. Otherwise, you may end up being busy without being productive.


For times of stress and overwhelm, certified life coach Deborah Shannon offered a free webinar “Tame the Stress Beast: How to Inoculate Yourself Against Stress.” Three truths about stress:

  1. Stress is a natural reaction to a perceived threat. It’s a neurochemical response. Physiologically, we experience stress the same way as if we were escaping a lion on the savannah.
  2. Stress is a formula, which means you formulate it! Stress is when pressure exceeds resources. Most stress is self-generated.
  3. Stress is a tool and a weapon. It is an evolutionary survival mechanism, it’s part of a healthy sense of urgency, and it’s part of the creative process (creative tension).


And something particularly helpful when most of us are wearing face masks outside our homes, Vanessa Van Edwards has a 14-minute video, “How to Read Faces… Even When Everyone is Wearing a Mask.” She gives tips us and tricks for decoding microexpressions in other people’s eyebrows, eyelids, and upper checks (and made me think about my own microexpressions under the mask).

If you are working at home, how do you keep active – physically and mentally? Have you decided to learn a new skill or take up an old hobby? What webinars have motivated, compelled, or entertained you?

Conflict resolution for superheroes

April 28, 2020

I’ve been thinking a lot about how to resolve personal conflicts recently.

The COVID-19 crisis is testing us in many ways – emotionally, physically, and financially. We are more isolated from others and yet closer to the people we live and work with.

Inevitably, personal conflicts will arise and relationships may be strained.

It’s a good time to remind ourselves that we can resolve conflicts peacefully.

When my son was in the third grade, he was a big fan of superhero movies, especially “Iron Man.” I found a free poster for kids about Superhero Conflict Resolution: I Messages.

The poster focuses on “I Messages” and gave us four easy tips to resolve conflict:

  1. Say the person’s name.
  2. Tell how you feel.
  3. Tell why.
  4. Tell what you want.

Here’s is my then 8-year old son’s idea for resolving conflict between Iron Man and Killian from “Iron Man 3:

Iron Man says, “Killian, I feel angry when you burn people up. Please stop burning people. Thank you.” Killian responds, “Iron Man, I’m sorry. I will roast marshmallows for people.”

We may disagree and we may argue, but Hawaii will get through this together.

Have you used “I Messages” to resolve disagreements? What are your tips for resolving conflicts?

How to cope with coronavirus anxiety

March 17, 2020

I hope that you are healthy and well.

Frank Herbert wrote, “What you cannot control, you must accept.” In this time of crisis, here are a few articles to help you cope with the anxiety and stress of the coronavirus.

For you: manage your anxiety. In “7 science-based strategies to cope with coronavirus anxiety” (3/10/20), an article posted on The Conversation, psychologist Jelena Kecmanovic reminds us that feeling anxiety is a normal human reaction, and offers suggestions to deal with our anxiety. One of the hardest science-based suggestions is to tackle the uncertainty paradox, allowing our anxious thoughts to wash over us and “accepting anxiety as an integral part of human experience.” One strategy that you can start right away is to strengthen your self-care. “Get adequate sleep, exercise regularly, practice mindfulness, spend time in nature and employ relaxation techniques when stressed.”

For kids: think like a life-long learner. With Hawaii public schools extending their spring break, think of it as a chance to start a project you are passionate about. You could film your own music video, read a book (or series) you’ve been waiting for, write a time travel story, finish a jigsaw puzzle, or conduct science experiments with household items (and parental supervision). To keep you organized, the Shining Mom blog has cheerful free printables, like a daily planner, reading list, and to-do list.


For parents: help children cope. Rachel Ehmke’s article, “Talking to kids about the coronavirus” on the Child Mind Institute website, offers 8 tips for reassuring kids and helping them work through their anxiety. Don’t be afraid to talk about it, Ehmke says, because “Not talking about something can actually make kids worry more.” One of the first things to do is deal with your own anxiety before having a conversation with a child.

For businesses: keep the doors open. The US Chamber of Commerce offers resources and guidelines for businesses to protect their customers, employees, and partners, and prepare for the impacts of the coronavirus. The Business Preparedness Checklist identifies five action items: prioritize critical operations, create a communication plan, establish possible teleworking policies, prepare for school closings, and coordinate with state and local health officials. There’s also a free Coronavirus Response Toolkit that includes social media graphics and a customizable flyer.

For nonprofits: continue serving clients. Businesses and schools may be closing, but nonprofits still have clients and patients who need their services. In the Network for Good article, “Coronavirus Impacting Your Nonprofit? Here’s What to Do” (3/12/20), Kimberly O’Donnell offers 6 ideas to help nonprofits keep their operations running and their fundraising on track. The most intriguing suggestion is “Dinner with a twist,” a virtual event where gala-dressed volunteers deliver meals to local ticket holders.

For investors: deal with stock market volatility. In the article, “7 Essential Investor Coping Strategies for the Coronavirus Market” (3/13/20), Barnet Sherman and Intelligent Investing remind us that sometimes the best thing to do is to do nothing. “The value of your portfolio has already declined,” Barnet writes. “Don’t convert those paper losses to real losses by selling.” The best tip: remember that you cannot pick the market bottom – or the market peak.

“Instead of shaking each other’s hands, we can look each other in the eye and send loving-kindness—wishing each other health, safety and peace,” writes Kelly Barron in an article on

Be healthy and be compassionate to one another.

Have you changed the way that you interact socially? What is your best advice for coping with anxiety during an emergency?

Asking what the world needs

March 3, 2020

In 130 seconds, Daniel Pink and author Tom Rath gave me a new perspective on a question I’ve been struggling with for two years.

This was my dilemma: When I started working at a local nonprofit, I didn’t have any experience with the mental health field.

I took one psychology class in college. I didn’t have a lot of experience with therapy, mental illness, or healthcare in general. And I felt like someone else could do things better.

Added to that was the knowledge that this job wasn’t where I wanted to be.

There’s a big emphasis on following your passion in life and work, in finding what you would do even if you weren’t getting paid to do it. My passions were taking me towards writing, art, and education.

Daniel Pink’s Pinkcast 3.18, “This is the most important question to ask yourself” with Tom Rath, turned everything around.

Asking yourself “What’s my passion?” puts yourself at the center of the world, said Rath, author of “Life’s Great Question: Discover How You Contribute to the World” (2020).

The better question is, “What’s my greatest contribution?” When you start with what the people around you need, you can work back to who you are and your natural talents, and you’re focused on doing something that makes a real difference.

All night, I kept thinking about what I can contribute to the world.

There are many other people more knowledgeable about mental health and more experienced about healthcare administration. But I can help this nonprofit make a difference in Hawaii today.

It made me realize that maybe I’m exactly where I need to be – where I am needed.

What can you contribute to your neighborhood, to Hawaii, and to the world? What does the world need from you?

Making un-resolutions

February 11, 2020

I thought that I don’t make new year’s resolutions anymore. Looking back, I realized that I do make resolutions… I just don’t call them resolutions.

Resolutions are for legal contracts or board meetings.

You might call it a lifestyle change, but that sounds too extensive. You might call it a change of habit, but that sounds too defined.

Instead, think of them as “un-resolutions,” choices that are informal and easy-going. A big part of it is practicing mindfulness, bringing my attention to a choice and not judging myself if things don’t work out.

There are no goals or measurements of success. I don’t really hold myself accountable. And “un-resolutions” don’t need to have an end-date.

Two years ago, without my realizing it, my un-resolution was to take a risk on a new job that I wasn’t sure I was ready for. It’s a job that still challenges me and often takes me out of my comfort zone.

One year ago, my un-resolution was to say “yes” to more invitations and opportunities. I made a conscious choice to do it, but I don’t try to reach a specific number of opportunities, and I don’t feel guilty when I turn something down.

It’s only February, but I already know my un-resolution for this year, and it’s a little different from the previous years: I want to strengthen my language skills. My foreign language skills.

(Really, we need a better word than “foreign.” World language? International language?)

I tried Hawaiian in middle school, Japanese in high school, and Spanish in college. It was always a struggle for me and I retained very little, a few words here and there. My mind was like a foreign language sieve, not a sponge.

Maybe, without the anxiety of grades, I can let myself learn without pressure or expectations.

I’m not sharing this because I want someone to hold me accountable. I don’t have any expectations for myself, no milestones, no time-limits. It’s an “un-resolution” that’s attentive, forgiving, and on-going.

What were your new year’s resolutions? Or if you don’t make resolutions, what choices have you made this year?