Understanding Change in Agriculture and Life

To avoid a global food shortage, changes may be coming to agriculture and food production. According to an article in the New York Times‘s environment section, “A Warming Planet Struggles to Feed Itself,” experts in food cultivation and farming warn of dwindling crops due to climate change.

The rise in temperature is hurting agriculture and causing a rise in food prices. Dwindling food stocks also threaten less fortunate countries with starvation. That is, unless the food business and the food itself change with the times.

Farmers and scientists are creating new innovations in developing crops that can handle the rising temperatures and the sudden changes in weather. (For example, the article examines one Indian farmer’s surprise success with a new variety of rice.) But they stress that our habits and our assumptions about how we eat must adapt to avoid high prices and low yields.

Sudden changes can be daunting, but keep in mind some of these coaching techniques:

  • Keep yourself in the loop regarding technology, the environment and the food we will be eating. Read newspapers and news websites to keep yourself current with what’s happening. Keeping current with today can help you prepare for tomorrow.
  • Plan ahead. If the price of food is higher, alter your budget and your shopping habits to meet those changes.
  • Don’t do anything drastic. Recall that in 1999, some were convinced that computers would go haywire on New Year’s Day 2000, sewing mass chaos. In the end, nothing happened to those who spent way too much buying needless supplies.
  • Understand that everything is subject to change. If you feel anxious about something you don’t understand, then research it for yourself. In the online age, there are countless resources dedicated to everything from basic biology to agriculture.
  • Don’t believe everything you read. Some resources are more objective and reliable than others.

Hero: Elizabeth Taylor

The most recent celebrity death had the silver lining of reminding us of their numerous social and community-oriented accomplishments. The star from the Golden Age of Hollywood Elizabeth Taylor died on March 23 at 79 years old from heart disease. A woman of supreme beauty and grace, Taylor also exhibited enormous philanthropic generosity throughout her life, and is commended as a Full Life Hero for her contributions to both film and society.

Elizabeth Taylor is especially notable for her contributions to AIDS charities, including co-founding the American Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR) and for raising more than $270 million for the cause. She was one of the first public figures to speak out against AIDS at a time when many people denied the existence of the disease, and hosting the first AIDS fundraiser in 1984. Taylor also devoted time and money to other philanthropic causes.

What can readers of the Full Life Amplifier Blog learn from Elizabeth Taylor’s life of philanthropy and selflessness?

  • Devote yourself to the causes that have not only personal meaning for you, but also a major impact on others. Taylor first became involved in the fight against AIDS after her friend and frequent costar Rock Hudson announced that he suffered from the disease, but her contributions from this relationship helped more people than she ever knew.
  • All causes deserve attention and effort. Elizabeth Taylor made substantial donations in 2009 to charities for religions other than her own in order to facilitate the education of less-fortunate children. She did not allow differences in religious beliefs to limit her contributions to great causes.
  • Investments and planning can continue your legacy even after your death. Some of Taylor’s jewelry—valued at approximately $150 million—is going to be auctioned off for AIDS charities, continuing her philanthropic streak even after she’s gone.
  • Pay no mind to what the critics may say. Taylor was no stranger to controversy, especially regarding her numerous marriages and extravagant lifestyle. Nevertheless, by all accounts Taylor was happy with her station in life even in her twilight years.

Elizabeth Taylor’s consistent concern with philanthropic endeavors demonstrates her selflessness. She made huge contributions to charities and nonprofits that undoubtedly raised the quality of countless lives. It is a pleasure to honor one of our greatest stars for both her acting and altruistic achievements.

What are your thoughts?

JS

Reacting to Negative Media Portrayals

A recent New York Times article called “The Disposable Woman” explores how the recent Charlie Sheen debacle reflects our culture’s view of women. Whereas it’s popular to view our society as progressive, with female empowerment and equality being touted, there is a marked discrepancy in how the media portrays women. Reality television often shows women as conniving and back-stabbing, and missing white woman syndrome mainstream media portrays women as helpless children. How can women truly be empowered if their media portrayals are so denigrating and insulting?

This dilemma isn’t unique to women. Many minority groups—i.e., racial, religious, or orientation—face the same sorts of discrimination. Using the current discussion of women as an example, here are some things a group receiving negative messages can do to maintain esteem:

  1. Speak out against casual antagonism. Don’t sit quietly while someone makes misogynistic, racist, or homophobic comments or implications. Avoid direct confrontation and calmly ask for explanation and respond maturely to everything they say. You may not change their mind, but you could change the mind of someone else listening.
  2. Question mainstream media coverage of minority groups. These tend to be broadcast through the lens of society in general, so they’re more than likely going to amplify the possibly harmful and disrespectful popular view.

Remember that insecurity lies at the root of most judgments. What are you insecure about? Who can you stop judging?

What are your thoughts?

JS

Get It Going

Today I feel like talking about MOMENTUM.

In the blog series introduction I described momentum as:

MOMENTUM: What allows us to get unstuck? How can you become a person who sees what’s next and JUMPS into the opportunity with full force? We will discuss the Full Life Achilles® Plan which gives you a method to advance your goals in an organized, energized, and incremental fashion.

It is a pleasure for me to see a new coaching client who comes in determined to start planning and implementing the next phase of their career or life.

I think people turn to coaching when they have had it with feeling “stuck” in some aspect of career or life. “Hitting bottom” is when they are finally determined to move forward in their life. Bottom, however, is different for each person. One person’s bottom is not enough for another person to engage. Another common situation I see is when a client knows exactly what they want to do and they can’t seem to implement their next step goals (which I call their Achilles Plan). So we try to figure out what is blocking their pursuit of their vision. Together, we investigate what is holding them back. Is it fear of the unfamiliar or the new? Or just unexplainable inertia…? Sometimes they find it difficult to implement their vision of the career they deeply want; dating with the intention of a great relationship; or making a relationship a vibrant one instead of a mediocre one. One of my clients told me to add that sometimes there is resistance because one is not sure getting their goal is really going to make a big difference anyway. Pessimism she says needs to be managed as well, if it is a bad habit.

Once we make a hypothesis regarding why a client is blocked from reaching his or her next step, we use the Achilles plan to invigorate their goal implementation by:

1. Changing some environmental factor which gets them to go for new goals. For example, sometimes a 3-day vacation can inspire someone to move forward;

2. We break all goals down to smaller doable goals;

3. We simply wait for the client to go for the next step and encourage him or her to reach out for the goal they seek.

When I need more momentum in some area of work or life, I think about what is holding me back, and then make a plan to stimulate my pressing onward. It could be talking to a friend, a mentor, taking a course, reading a book, going for a bike ride, watching a great movie, working out, or putting something in place that encourages me to move forward. For example, an accountability step, like telling someone I know what I seek to do and asking them to follow-up with me and see if I did it. Another client mentioned that they find brief goal list left on the breakfast table and in the car are really helpful ways of staying focused on what you want.

OK…so take action right now in charging up your momentum with one of the tips discussed here.

How about you? In what ways do you create or maintain momentum that you can share below with others?

JS

You Can’t Prevent Disappointment

Nobody likes being disappointed. It sucks. Whether at work or in life.

During the past few days, Tony Robbins, the virtual god of coaching, was suddenly dropped by NBC, canceling his new television show after only 2 episodes. The news was unexpected for a man who takes pride in his effectiveness in helping others be successful. Suddenly, many American people were not interested in viewing the show. Yet he models resilience by still taking pride in the show: “I am grateful for the reach and experience that the specials created.”NYTimes

If you bravely open your eyes, disappointment strikes multiple times every day. It can be when you are let down by a colleague, a customer, a vendor, or yourself. It can be a sale that doesn’t close; a business plan that does not pan; a talk you give that fails to inspire.

I get disappointed all the time as an entrepreneur. For example, when my book was published this past year, with the launch parties and press, I thought that EVERYONE would get interested in coaching. Instead I found that the smaller but steady flow of clients still allowed Full Life to thrive. Also, when I opened the center 8 years ago, I thought thousands would come for coaching. Many did, but it is common for a business person to think huge things may happen right away. My experience is that usually incremental steps do occur. I never like disappointments, but I have learned to see and feel them, and then go on with a great attitude.

Many clients wonder how to develop a thicker skin. You might consider the following steps of how to modify your thinking in order to build resilience:

1. Expect disappointments and failures so you are not surprised when they occur;

2. Pursue life balance so your confidence is not based only at work;

3. Live for your passion and do the things at work you love;

4. Let the warrior in you come out so no one can bring you down; and

5. Persist, persist, persist.

So remember to take pride in all you do and weather the disappointments with courage and conviction. Don’t try to control everything. Keep going and dare to be disappointed and sometimes fail multiple times, tomorrow, and every day.

Let me know your thoughts about disappointment and share this with friends and colleagues who would be interested in this dialogue.

JS

Announcing the beginning of a fresh new version of Full Life’s Amplifier™ Blog!

From now on, you will see frequent interactive blogs focusing on 6 Key Themes:

1) Business
2) Balance
3) Momentum
4) Possibility
5) Habits
6) Love

The new edition of the Amplifier Blog will broadcast ideas about our lives, our careers, and the world around us. Together, we will reflect on how we can bring our own unique vision to life and then actually implement and achieve our goals.

We will “amplify” ideas so you can optimize your approach to living and then experience the joy of a fulfilled life. This is so you can gain a crystal clear picture of what you WANT which will then in turn “drive” your life design.

The 6 Full Life Blog Themes:

BUSINESS: We will focus on what success means to YOU and how you can further enhance your career or business performance. In this competitive time of economic challenges and downsizing, as an executive, entrepreneur, or student, you will learn tips to avoid burnout, become more resilient, and achieve HIGH-ENERGY goals. You will also get practical tips and strategies for igniting and planning the “next phase” of your business or career.

BALANCE: Living a full life is about balance, which means that you have to pay attention to all or most of the key areas of your life. Using Full Life’s Spheres of Life® Coaching, we apply a matrix of 11 key spheres and make sure you are making desired progress in each area, without letting one area become dominant at the expense of others.

MOMENTUM: What allows us to get unstuck? How can you become a person who sees what’s next and JUMPS into the opportunity with full force? We will discuss the Full Life Achilles® Plan which gives you a method to advance your goals in an organized, energized, and incremental fashion.

POSSIBILITY: You will examine your vision of what lies ahead so you can build your ideal future. Also, how can communities and nations harness innovation in relationships and in technology to build a safer and healthier world?

HABITS: How addictions and bad habits, such as excessive use of alcohol or drugs, procrastinating, hoarding, spending, disorganization, and anything that takes away our time and functioning – actually inhibits progress in one’s life and career. We will not only look at how to overcome bad habits, but we will also explore how we can create positive habits that support us and the people in our lives.

LOVE: Whether single, dating, or in a relationship, we will examine love and how intimacy can be heightened in our lives. What are ways we can magnify our satisfaction in whatever state of love we find ourselves?

***

With the new Amplifier Blog experience, we hope that you will bring your perspectives into the conversation.

Your responses will be a crucial part of helping yourself and others learn and be more satisfied with life! Enjoy and as always we appreciate your interest and contributions.

JS

Spinning Out of Control: Michael Jackson and Intervention

In the continuing fall-out from Michael Jackson’s abrupt death, it is apparently becoming clearer that there were a number of warning signs about his behavior.

In the New York Times article linked above, Sarah Kershaw looks at various types of intervention strategy and asks if either could have helped avoid the tragedy that ended Jackson’s life. As a psychiatrist and coach I agree that both “classic” intervention and “motivational interviewing” can sometimes be powerful tools in correcting self-destructive behaviors. However, there ultimately has to be “buy-in” from the person in trouble.

The news lately seems to be full of instances of powerful celebrities and business people whose lives have suddenly and drastically spun out of control. In many cases, it is that very success that can make them difficult to reach; there is sometimes an illusion around such people that they have everything under control.

Coaching teaches us that while a support network of close family and friends is a key factor in a well-rounded life, self-management is also a key component. We have to conduct an honest investigation into our lives and see if we are open enough with those around us to let them know when we are in trouble. One also has to truly see an addiction-free lifestyle as part of our vision for an ideal life. Only in those cases can intervention and support happen early enough, and truly be effective.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts on the issue.

JS

Full Life Heroes: Sonia Sotomayor

Sonia Sotomayor has been officially sworn in as the nation’s first Hispanic Supreme Court Judge. Judge Sotomayor’s story is one that truly epitomizes the meaning of striving for greatness.

Judge Sotomayor’s rise from a single-parent home in a Bronx-housing project to the highest judicial position in the land is a testament to the power or hard work, tenacity, and striving for success regardless of the obstacles in one’s way. Her confirmation (she was approved on Thursday by 68 votes to 31) has bolstered the notion that organizations, institutions, governments, and nations function best when they embrace diversity. Regardless of whether or not she will serve as a “wise Latina” on the bench, it is the recognition of her long record of public service above all other considerations that truly serves the cause of diversity. Roughly 15 percent of the US population (1) is classed as Hispanic , and Sotomayor’s confirmation is a concrete recognition of their vital contribution to this nation.

I look forward to seeing what Judge Sotomayor will bring to the bench, and hope that future appointment at the highest levels of government continue to make the case for diversity.

JS

1: Source U.S. Census Bureau: State and Country Quickfacts.

Full Life Heroes: Lucia Whalen

Lucia Whalen, the woman who placed the 911 call that led to the arrest of Henry Louis Gates, has made a public statement about her involvement in the incident.

With all the controversy and misunderstanding surrounding the racially charged incident, it is good to see that Ms. Whalen has been given an opportunity to exonerate herself. Initially characterized as a prejudiced busybody, it now turns out–thanks to the recently released tape of the 911 call–that Ms Whalen’s call did in fact display the height of sensitivity and neighborly concern.

For her public-minded spirit and calm, considered response to the ensuing furor, I applaud Ms. Whalen.

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