Archive for the ‘life balance’ Category

Are You Missing Out on Life?

IMG_2041I always knew that I wanted to speak and write about leadership and communication. The first step in that journey was to get an education. My first degree was a BA in Speech Communication from San Diego State University (Go Aztecs!). I was able to live in glorious San Diego, California for a few years. Today, as I visit San Diego to work with a client who wants to enhance their employee engagement through better communication, I am sitting on a balcony overlooking the Pacific Ocean. I am listening to the waves crash on the shore and watching the sunset surfers.

It is glorious. And, it also makes me think. Why didn’t I do more of the wonderful things San Diego has to offer when I lived here in college? The most obvious answer, I was broke! But, I don’t think I took advantage of all the marvelous and free things.  Why didn’t I walk on the beach more? Why didn’t I learn (or attempt) to surf? Why didn’t I spend more time listening to the ocean when I lived a scant 15 minutes away? The short answer is, I was too busy being a good student. I was too busy focusing on getting good grades. I was too busy. I missed it. I graduated and headed to graduate school in the midwest, far away from the sights, sounds, and smells of the ocean. And, I missed it.

What are you missing? What are you currently “too busy” to do and what might you miss when the opportunity is gone? As leaders we are often so focused on goal achievement that we forget to pause and enjoy the moment. Instead of always focusing on the next career step, let’s focus on enjoying where we are. Let’s savor the opportunities in the here and now. That way, when you get that promotion or take the next career step and things change, you won’t be looking back thinking “I missed it.”


If you don’t want to “miss out” on the holidays this year, learn to be more present by de-stressing with the practical tools described in this webinar.

Pamela Jett is a communication skills and leadership expert who knows that words matter! In her keynote presentations, workshops, books and online learning programs, she moves beyond communication theory into practical strategies that can be implemented immediately to create the kind of leadership, teamwork, and employee engagement results her clients want.

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Boost Leadership and Communication Skills with the Power of Perspective

Beyond Goal Setting 101

A Great Holiday Stress Buster

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A Powerful Assertiveness Secret

by Pamela Jett, CSP


I ran across an interesting research study this morning that posits reaffirming your core values helps you perform better.  People who thought deeply about their most important personal values committed 44% fewer errors in a button-pushing task than others, says a team led by Lisa Legault of Clarkson University. Self-affirmation appears to alert people to their mistakes, allowing them to improve performance. Past research has shown that self-affirmation also offsets the ill effects of mental depletion and boosts self-control.

I also believe that self-affirmation helps professionals be assertive, especially those who tend to struggle.  Here are a few thoughts on self-affirmation and assertiveness:

  • Assertive communication is communication which respects the rights of both parties.
  • Assertiveness is not aggressiveness (communication where one party disrespects the other.)
  • Assertiveness is not passiveness (communication where one party disrespects themselves to try and make others happy.)
  • Assertiveness is a choice.
  • Assertiveness is not always the best choice.  Sometimes it is wise to choose to let something slide or not say anything (passiveness) because it is simply not worth it.  Choosing to be passive on occasion doesn’t make you a passive person, it makes you wise. However, sometimes it is “worth it” and the cost of not rocking the boat or letting things slide can be too high.  That is when assertiveness is critical.
  • Assertiveness is often difficult or stressful because when we choose to stand up for our own thoughts, wants, feelings, and desires we run the risk that others may not “like us” very much – at least in the moment – and that can be scary for some people.
  • Personal Mission Statement can help us gather the courage to choose to be assertive.   One of my favorite thought leaders is the late-great Stephen R. Covey, the author of the best-selling 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and one of the things that he taught me was the power of a Personal Mission Statement.  A personal mission statement is a written representation of our highest values.  It is a written affirmation of what matters most to us.  When we take the time to write a Personal Mission Statement we are investing effort and energy in self-affirmation.  When we are crystal clear as to what matters most to us, it is easier to decide to be assertive, especially if what we are deciding to be assertive about is directly related to one of our highest values.  Stephen Covey taught me that my Personal Mission Statement can serve as a sort DNA upon which all future decisions can be based – even the decision regarding when to choose assertiveness, even when that choice is tough.
I have a Personal Mission Statement and I know it has helped when life has thrown me some tough decisions.  Or, when I’ve simply had to decide what communication approach to take.  Assertiveness is not always easy.  However, having a Personal Mission Statement can make choosing assertiveness easier.

Having a personal mission statement helps with assertiveness for one simple reason.  It isn’t always easy to be assertive.  Other people don’t always “like us” when we are assertive

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Communication and Goal Setting

by Pamela Jett, CSP

It’s that time of year again.  The time of year when we start to beat ourselves up because we may have given up on our New Year’s resolutions.   Research indicates that 80% of us will give up on our resolutions or goals within the month of January.  If you are one of the 80% who may have thrown in the towel, here are a few communication tips to get you back on track.

  • Monitor your self-talk. We all talk to ourselves and the vast majority of our self-talk tends to be negative.  We start to beat ourselves up because we have fallen off the “resolution bandwagon.”  The next time you start saying things to yourself  like “I really blew it” or “I should really be more self-disciplined” or even “I’m such a loser,” take a moment a moment to re-frame the internal conversation.  Replace the negative with things such as “I am re-committed” or “I am learning to have more self-discipline” or “I am human.”  When we can replace the negative self-talk with more positive, growth oriented communication to ourselves we are far more likely to stay the course, start again, or re-commit and thus increase our chances of success.
  • Replace “past” focused communication with “future” focused communication. If you are talking about the status of your goals and resolutions with others, resist the temptation to focus on what you didn’t do.  Avoid focusing on the past.  Avoid phrases such as “I didn’t exercise yesterday” or “I should have spoken up in yesterday’s meeting.”  Instead, commit out loud “I am headed to the gym this afternoon” or “I am asking to get on the meeting agenda next week.”  Stop focusing on the past and what you didn’t do or what you did wrong and instead keep your communication, both internal and external, future focused.
  • Press the “re-set” button. Go ahead, press it right now.  Stop saying to yourself, “I will start again Monday” or “next month.”  Go ahead and give yourself permission to start again immediately instead of waiting for some supposedly logical start point like tomorrow or the beginning of the week.  Recommit right now, this very instant.  Taking small strides towards your goals and objectives right now is far better than planning for a “big step” or change in the future.

We so often sabotage our success in many areas of our lives with our communication.  Use the power of positive, future focused communication both internally and externally to stay the course and achieve great things!  For more tools, tips, and communication techniques to help you achieve your goals and objectives, join my teleseminar “Beyond Goal Setting 101” on Thursday January 19, 2012. Register here.

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Beyond Goal Setting 101

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Assertive Communication – What it Really Takes

by Pamela Jett, CSP

Stephen Covey taught me that “inner victories precede outer victories.” Lately, I’ve been conducting several workshops and teleseminars on assertive communication skills and the truth of Dr. Covey’s notion has really been driven home.  In order to be assertive (not passive, aggressive, or passive-aggressive), we must have a strong sense of who we are and what matters most.  It is only with a clear understanding of our values, beliefs, and priorities that we can assertively communicate.  Essentially, we need to know on a deep level that some things are worth standing up for and that some things are not.  That way, we can make the choice to use our assertive communication skills (or not.)

Of course, this is easier said than done.  Especially if you were raised to be a “people pleaser” or if you have the habit of putting the needs of others ahead of yours.  It is difficult to communicate in a way that is consistent with what matters most to you if you don’t have a sense of what matters most.  It is hard to stand up for something or assertively communicate your wants and needs if you have not placed a priority on those wants and needs.

If you want to communicate with more confidence, if you want to master the art of assertive communication and reap the rewards of being seem as more capable and credible, I challenge you to spend some quality time figuring out what matters most to you.  I am a big fan of creating and using a personal mission statement.  A personal mission statement is a reflection of what matters most.  It is a written document that articulates your values and priorities.

It is so much easier to assertively communicate when you have a strong sense of “inner victory.”  You will be able to use your assertive communication tools to gain credibility, influence, and respect at work and at home.  If you would like more information on developing your assertive communication skills and developing the pre-requisite of “inner victory” click here .

If you have an example of when you were able to assertively communicate because you had a strong sense of what matters most, I would love to know your story.  Please post a comment.  And, feel free to past this blog post along via Twitter, Facebook, or simply tell a friend.

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Communicate and Minimize the Havoc of Interruptions

By Pamela Jett, CSP

Interruptions happen about seventy-three times a day!  They can eat up more than 2 hours of the work day.  And, the result is a cost to U.S. businesses of an estimated $588 billion a year.

How would you like you and your team to better manage interruptions so that they don™t take such a terrible toll every day?  During Pamela™s informative 60 minute teleseminar learn how to communicate more effectively and either prevent interruptions or minimize the negative impact of interruptions.

  • Discover the key role communication plays in keeping time wasting interruptions at bay.
  • Learn how to let others know that œnow is not a good time without appearing disinterested or uncooperative.
  • Master the œacknowledge and reschedule technique to stay on task while still being a team-player.
  • Enhance your ability to get things done by communicating effectively and manage interruptions with tact and finesse.

Pamela I want to let you know how much we here at the International Monetary Fund enjoyed your teleseminar.  Your presentation was crisp, clear and strong–a real inspiration for how we all need to be communicating!Paula D., PhD

Learn how to manage interruptions with tact and finesse and watch your productivity soar!  Register for Pamela™s 60 minute teleseminar here (March 8, 2010 noon pacific time.)

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Vision for 2010


By Pamela Jett, CSP

As promised in my my last blog, I’ve attached a picture of one of my vision boards for 2010.  It has been my practice for several years to create two vision boards; one for my personal life and one for my professional life.  The picture is of my personal vision board.

For 2010 I replaced last year’s theme of “joy, balance, and abundance” with a new theme of “clarity, action, and connection”.  It is my vision that 2010 will be year when I not only have a clear vision of what I want to do, but that I also focus on taking action with the end result being greater connection spiritually, socially, physically, and mentally.

It is not too late to create your own vision of what you want your life to be like in the up-coming year.  Creating a vision board not only helps you discover what you want your life to be like, it serves as a visual reminder all year long. There is no right or wrong way to create a vision board.  Many people use pictures from magazines and create a collage.  Others create a combination of words and pictures.  This year, my vision boards are completely free of pictures and just have key words and phrases arranged in a way that makes sense to me.  They are both hanging prominently in my office as I write this blog.

I would love to see your vision boards or learn what is working for you.  Leave a comment and let me know what your vision is for 2010.  I wish all my readers a very happy and prosperous new year!

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2010 – RESOLVED!

By Pamela Jett, CSP

It’s that time of year again.  The time when most of us, myself included, engage in introspection, goal-setting, and making resolutions for the new year.  As I was watching the morning news today I noticed there were numerous segments focusing on creating a better physical self in 2010.  And while losing weight, getting in shape, and improving nutrition are certainly worthwhile goals (they are part of my vision for 2010), I also believe it is worthwhile to focus on the other parts of ourselves, specifically our heart and head.

So, while I certainly want to drop a few of the pounds I somehow managed to gather in 2009 (OK, it’s not a big mystery – I didn’t move enough to counter the calories), I also want to work on dropping some of the emotional weight I accumulated.  I am spending some time this week examining my heart to determine if there is any guilt, fear, or anger that might be weighing me down that I can process through and eliminate in 2010.

Just as many people resolve to begin more healthy habits such as healthier eating and a fitness regime, I want to examine my mental habits.  Where am I spending my time?  Am I engaging in any counter-productive habits (too much watching silly television shows when I could be feeding my brain interesting and useful information for example?) Are there time-wasting behaviors I can eliminate just like many of us eliminate junk food?  Can I replace these habits with new more mind-healthy behaviors?  Who am I spending my time with?  Are they people from whom I can learn and grow?  These are the types of questions I am asking myself this week.

What about you?  As you resolve to be a better version of yourself in 2010, I challenge you to not only focus on your physical self, but to focus on your “whole self”.  Look for ways to grow and improve physically, mentally, spiritually.  Once you have clarity on what you want to achieve, you can use the tried and true goal-setting techniques and vision board approaches.

I’ll spend this week in introspection and then I will create my vision boards for 2010.  I’ll blog about that process soon and post pictures as well.

I would love to know what heart and head resolutions you are making this new year.  Leave a comment and let me know.  Here’s to an abundant and prosperous 2010!

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Are You Suffering From B.S.O. Syndrome?

By Pamela Jett

Just in case you are wondering, I made it up. Despite that fact, you might still be suffering from B.S.O. Syndrome, otherwise known as “Bright Shiny Object” Syndrome. I know that I suffer from it on a somewhat regular basis. If you answer yes to any of the following questions, you too, might find that B.S.O. Syndrome is impacting your success.

Did you set goals, make resolutions, or create a vision board for 2009 only to find yourself two weeks later (and yes, it has only been two weeks) no further along than when you started?

Do you have a few “unpleasant tasks” that you keep putting off in favor of doing something else? By the way, most of the time the “something else” is something we can justify.

Do you often reach the end of the day and wonder where the time went and why you don’t feel a great sense of accomplishment?

Are you easily distracted by things that are fun or enjoyable? (the bright shiny object)

Do you engage in any “compulsive” type behavior? (like constantly checking e-mail, or surfing the net with no real purpose)

If you answered “yes” to even one of the above questions, you just might be suffering from a bit of “B.S.O. Syndrome”. When we are easily distracted from those things that will lead to our success by things that are appealing or fun, our productivity can suffer. Now, of course, I am all in favor of having fun and enjoying a few bright, shiny objects from time to time. However, that comes with a price and when the price is too great, it is time to focus. Here are a few focus tips to help overcome B.S.O. Syndrome in 2009.

1. Post your goals or vision boards where you see them regularly. This serves as a visual reminder of what matters most to you.

2. Ask yourself is making this decision moving me closer to or further away from the person I want to become?

3. Ask yourself what do I want and what am I willing to give up to get it?

4. Declare yourself publicly. Let a few trusted people know what you are trying to accomplish and have them help hold you accountable.

5. Be gentle on yourself. The way we communicate to ourselves is very powerful. If you beat yourself up or are extremely hard on yourself for not accomplishing things as quickly as you would like or with the amazing results you wanted, you only serve to discourage yourself from moving forward. Essentially, you are saying to yourself that whatever success you had wasn’t good enough, so why bother trying. Be kind to yourself. Cut yourself some slack. If you have a day where you lose focus, try to be better the next day. Don’t beat yourself up. I am currently working with a business coach on a few issues and every session starts with a re-cap of what I’ve accomplished since my last session. I’ve learned that I am pretty hard on myself and one of the wonderful “ah-has” I’ve experienced is that it is OK to not always be going as hard or as fast as I would like and that any movement forward is a reason to smile. Success builds on success. Be gentle on yourself.

Pamela Jett is a communication skills expert who teaches remarkable communication skills for remarkable results to professionals worldwide. She can be reached at Many of her remarkable tools are available on audio cd and can be found at the success store at If you would like to bring Pamela to your organization to share her remarkable communication tools, call Aimee at 866.726.5388. And, of course, you can reach Pamela directly at

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What’s Your 2009 Vision?

By Pamela Jett

If you were to look at the floor of my office over the last few days you would see evidence of my New Year’s ritual, creating vision boards. For the last several years I have not made any resolutions or set goals. Instead I have created two vision boards. One is for my personal life and the other is for my professional life.

Vision boards are a visual representation of the life I want to lead in the up-coming year. I just e-mailed a picture of my completed vision boards to a good friend. He promptly e-mailed me back and expressed a bit of surprise because my vision boards are not made with a lot of magazine pictures. Most people use magazine or other pictures to create some sort of collage. I believe that is a valid way of creating a vision board and I know many successful people who have that as their approach. I take a slightly diffferent approach.

I don™t really use a lot of pictures because my œvision is not really about œthings like cars, houses, etc¦ (although those things are nice and worthy of visualization). My vision is more about how I want my lifeBold to unfold during the year. For example, one of the things that I envision for 2009 is to continue to lead a life full of meaningful relationships. So, I have words and phrases on my vision board to support those relationships. Also represented are things I want to do more of like dancing, finding new venues to hear live music, and travel to some specific locations such as Spain. They are on my board because they are related to one of my priorities which is discovering joy. I also have a few commitments to health and fitness represented because that is part of living a balanced life. Every year I have a theme for the year. This year’s theme is the same as last year’s theme (I liked it so much that I’m not ready to make a change.) My theme for 2009 is Discover Joy, Practice Balance, Live in Abundance. So, there are large scale action items such as “say yes” on my vision board.

You can see a picture of this year’s vision board here. I thought I would share it in hopes of inspiring you to create your own vision board. Make it your own, use your creativity, use pictures if that works for you, and post your board where you can see it every day. Mine is in my office. I’ve been using vision boards of some sort or another for about 10 years. It is a practice that helps keep me focused on what I want and, the great news is, when I look back on the past several years, much of my “vision” has come to fruition. Happy New Year!

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