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Archive for December, 2017

The other day, an editor called me and said, “Doris, I feel crazy. I have so much to do, and I’m never going to get it all done.”

Clearly, this man wasn’t going crazy; but after listening to his schedule with all the deadlines that he had to meet, I could understand why he felt so anxious. It sounded as though he had about 200 hours of work and only about 130 hours left in which to complete the work.

After listening to him list in detail everything he had to do, I asked if he wanted any suggestions, or if I could do anything for him.

He said that just talking helped; and in the end he knew he would get it all done, or at least get done what was absolutely necessary.

So often I hear the same lament in therapy. The person feels that he has too much to do and that he doesn’t have enough time to do it all. His life is disorganized; and if something doesn’t give, he’s going to die of a heart attack.

Usually when someone starts feeling overwhelmed, and most everyone feels overwhelmed occasionally, all the person needs is a good listening ear. In the telling of his tasks, he gets to dissipate some of his anxious feelings. And sometimes in the telling he is able to figure out what absolutely needs to be done versus what he would like to get done.

So when your friend or mate or child tells you how overwhelmed he or she is feeling, give the person an ear. By re­viewing aloud what they have to do, people start to feel more organized because they are sorting through and listing their chores. They feel more in control as they see what they must finish versus what they can put on hold for another week or two.

Rarely do over-extended people need suggestions, but almost always they need someone who will listen.

Check out Doris’ latest books, “The Boy Whose Idea Could Feed the World” as well as, “The Parent Teacher Discussion Guide.” and “Thin Becomes You”.  Doris’ web page: www.doriswildhelmering.com

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Catherine who had a mastec­tomy several years ago and has been gaining weight ever since, has slowly been losing confidence in herself. Through most of her life, Catherine has liked herself. But since her cancer, her self-esteem has been shot. “I’m also poor now,” she says, “so I can’t go out and buy myself something so I can feel good about me.”

Mike, on the other hand, has never felt good about himself. As a child he was underweight and the littlest in the class. Although he’s average size now, he still doesn’t feel good about his looks. He also feels badly about his lack of a college education. “My parents didn’t go to college and they didn’t push us kids. No one in my family ever asked, what do you want to be when you grow up? What are your goals?”

Jim doesn’t respect himself because he repeatedly manipulates his expense account and takes advantage of his partner. He says, “I always have this gnawing feeling that I’m not a good person.”

Mary lost her self-esteem when her husband left her.

Sue lost hers when she had to get a job outside the home and found she had few saleable skills. She works as a teacher’s aide and hates every minute of it. “It’s humiliating having someone fresh out of college telling me what to do.”

All these people are seeking counseling because of their poor self-esteem.

What is this elusive concept of self-esteem? Most psychotherapists would agree that it’s a feeling a person has that he is valuable. He likes himself. He feels adequate.

Some people seem to have had high self-esteem most of their lives. As far back as they can remember they liked themselves. When others look back, all they can recall are only bad feelings about themselves.

For most of us, self-esteem goes up and down, depending on what’s happening in our life. Poor health, job loss, marital problems, inability to lose weight, and not being able to pay bills generally lowers self-esteem. A promotion, a happy marriage, a signed contract, a new hair-do, or a clean house may increase one’s self-esteem.

Most people can improve their self-esteem. The way to feeling better is to ask yourself, “What would make me feel more valuable?”

If you find that the answer is a college education, sign up now. Start with one class. If you believe the answer to your poor self-concept is to have a boyfriend, put yourself in more situations where you can meet someone. If your self-esteem has plummeted because of a job loss, set a goal of contacting fifteen possible employers per week. A person who is actively pursuing a goal automatically feels more self-esteem.

If you can’t get back something you’ve lost, such as health or a husband, come up with some substitutions in your life that will give you a feeling of self-worth. Become an expert on Matisse or Beethoven or mission furniture. Walk three miles a day. Visit your church once a week. When people set and pursue goals their self-esteem grows.

Check out Doris’ latest books, “The Boy Whose Idea Could Feed the World” as well as, “The Parent Teacher Discussion Guide.” and “Thin Becomes You”.  Doris’ web page: www.doriswildhelmering.com

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It’s sheer agony working for my boss,” a woman recently told me. “He’s unbelievable.”

She continued: “In conversation he always puts you on the defensive. He asks rude questions such as “How old are you anyway?” “Are you a natural blond?” “How much money does your boyfriend make?”

“When he wants to make a point, he puts his hands on your shoulders to let you know he’s serious.”

“He assigns you a project, but then checks up on you 25,000 times. He butts in, changes it. He won’t let you be responsible for it.”

“He comes up and picks lint off my suit. He straightens my collar or my scarf. I want to say ‘Buzz off, slime ball.'”

“He acts like I didn’t have a life before I started working for his company. He thinks he made me what I am.”

“He can’t sit down very long. In the middle of a brain-storming session someone will be talking and he keeps butting in and interrupting. After he says what he wants to say, he gets up and leaves. Or he leaves while someone else is talking. We think he’s gone to the John. He doesn’t come back. We say, ‘Where is Fred?'”

“When decisions are made after one of these brainstorming sessions, he’s mad if we don’t use all his ideas.”

“When he’s with a client, he promises them the world. And then he reneges.”

“He is unbelievably tight when he negotiates salary. He uses every tactic in the book to intimidate you and make you feel insecure. He tells you that earnings are down. Times are hard. He’s doing you a favor by keeping you on the payroll. No one else would want you anyway. He, on the other hand, lives in a million-dollar house and drives a Jag.”

“He talks of being friends and thinks nothing of asking you to stay late or to come in early or give up a weekend. He says, ‘Friends do that for each other.’ But he never says thank-you or rewards you with a bonus.”

‘He takes your ideas and somehow in a week or two they become his ideas.’

“He starts a conversation in the middle of what he’s thinking about and you are always trying to play catch-up and figure out what he’s talking about.”

“He makes lewd remarks about other women.

“He makes lewd remarks to your boyfriend about you.”

“He never asks any follow-up questions about your life. You could say, ‘I broke my knee last night’ and he wouldn’t ask you how you did it.”

“Almost everyone thinks he’s a jerk. Doesn’t he get it?”

Check out Doris’ latest books, “The Boy Whose Idea Could Feed the World” as well as, “The Parent Teacher Discussion Guide.” and “Thin Becomes You”.  Doris’ web page: www.doriswildhelmering.com

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What happens when you have to give a briefing to the big boss or to a client, or a speech to a roomful of people? What goes through your mind in the weeks and days preceding the presentation?

To find the answers, I asked a number of successful people in various fields.

“The thing that goes through my mind,” says one successful entrepreneur, is “Can I pull it off? Will the contractor see the advantages of doing it the way I think it should be done? How can I make enough of an impact for this person to run with our ideas? I may have only 20 minutes to make my point.”

As soon as possible, he makes a written outline. “I’m always concerned about the organization of my presentation because it’s so technical. I go through days of preparation in my head,” he says. “I keep thinking, ‘Am I giving them enough background information, enough detail, too much detail?

“I try to find out who else is scheduled to be at the meeting and their present and past jobs in the organization. I make a lot of phone calls. What objections will they raise? How will I handle them?”

Once this man is speaking to the group, he continues to tailor his presentation based on the interaction in the room. If someone raises a concern, he immediately adds material that will address the issue. He then shortens other information in order to stay within the time frame. His preparation is not over until the talk is over.

A successful account executive had this to say. “For me, it’s sort of easy to present to clients. I see it as simply a matter of doing my homework. I first find out what they need, what the goal of the meeting is. Am I doing a capabilities presentation or do they want me to bid on something specific?”

If the client wants a what-can-you-do-for-our-company presentation, this woman finds out about the company before making her pitch. If they want a bid on something specific, she finds out as much as possible about the whole project and how her part of the work will fit in.

Before the meeting, she outlines her presentation. “When I walk in, I know the steps I’m going through,” she says.

When a top compensations expert is asked to make a presentation about his products, he immediately starts asking questions such as, Who will be at the meeting? What do you want to hear? He talks to as many people as possible within the company before outlining his plan.

“If the CEO is going to be there, I figure I have about 20 minutes, and I focus on the financial implications and impact to the company,” he says.

If he’s making the presentation to the people from the human resource department, the focus changes to benefits that the individual and company will derive.

He outlines with a co-worker what he will try to get across and decides what printed materials to take with him.

“Once I organize, I spend a lot of time playing it out in my head. I put myself in the client’s shoes. By the time I make the presentation, it’s sort of anticlimactic,” he says. “How well it goes is usually determined by my preparation.”

A woman who gives successful talks throughout the country says, “As soon as I make the commitment to give the talk, I’m nervous. I immediately start thinking about what I’m going to present. I start arranging topics to cover in my head.”

Before preparing her talk she gets information about who her audience will be -how many people are expected to attend, their occupations, ages, the ratio of men to women.

She says the worst day for her is the day she actually sits down to write out the presentation. She does an extensive outline of what she wants to cover. She inserts examples that she thinks will be meaningful to her audience. “No matter how many times I talk on a particular subject, I always start from scratch. I think this keeps my talks fresh and focused,” she asserts.

After outlining the material, she starts practicing in her head. How many times does she run through her speech? About 15 or 20 times in her head and about five times aloud.

She decides far in advance what she’ll wear. Then she uses a visualization technique. In her mind’s eye she sees herself giving the talk in the outfit she plans to wear. She also sees the audience smiling and laughing.

The day of her talk she gets to the auditorium 15 to 20 minutes before she’s scheduled to go on. This allows her to check out the room. Is the mike working? Is the projection computer set up? Will she stand in front of her audience or behind the lectern?

“Once I start the talk, it’s a piece of cake,” she says.

Success is no accident. People who are successful prepare and prepare and prepare.

Check out Doris’ latest books, “The Boy Whose Idea Could Feed the World” as well as, “The Parent Teacher Discussion Guide.” and “Thin Becomes You”.  Doris’ web page: www.doriswildhelmering.com

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