“I feel overworked most of the time. I need to find a strategy to make my supervisor realize that I am not a doormat.” Sheila said quietly.
By that she meant the everything was being dumped on her – she had become a welcome place for all types of problems. She did not know how to say NO and could never prioritize. She felt undervalued and “taken advantage of”. She could feel the mental and emotional toll it had taken on her over the last year.
In my 20+ years of managing programs/people plus what research shows, this type of feeling from a staff manifest itself in various forms which can create hostile work environments. It is manifested in passive-agressive behaviours, low performance, constant “unspoken” battles, resentment, gossip, and lots of frustration. I have allowed others to treat me as a door mat and I learnt how to be more self-assertive. I coach people to discuss it instead of avoiding it because the problem is not just about you being treated like a door mat in the work environment. You are probably being treated as a door mat in your other relationships as well and most of it stems from a need to please others and to be liked. You can’t change your manager or team but you can take ownership for the situation and approach it sensitively.
Note that there is a difference between working hard and being treated as a door mat. Hard work which is aligned with your belief system fuels you to excel even greater!
Here is one approach that you can use if you feel overworked and feel treated as a door mat.
Have a conversation with your manager about setting a list of priorities for a week/month/year. Be calm, smile through the conversation and go prepared with a list of items that are already on your plate. At the end of your discussion, type it up, share it with your manager and put it where you can see it to keep you focused.
Try this script: (Use the word “I” and NOT “YOU”)
“I feel bit overworked over the last few months and my objective is to reduce my stress level so I can work more efficiently. I would like to work with you to help me identify our priorities over the next little while, so that I can be more effective with how I use my time and support you in meeting our team goals.”
By using this strategy, you are taking ownership. You demonstrate professionalism and can measure your progress based on your priorities. If new tasks pop up, you can negotiate what to give priority to, seek support from your manager in re-assigning some of your tasks and be in charge of your workload. You will gain respect and feel that you are taking control of the situation and not the situation controlling you. You can also take some other courses in self-assertiveness or try a sports program like kick boxing that help you bring out the assertive side of you.
TuneIn to what you have control over and have the courage to Stepup to create a good work/life balance. The first time you do this will be hard but eventually, you will master it and it will become second nature to you.
To know that even too much sunshine can burn and there is a difference between holding a hand and chaining a soul.
Thank you Jorge Luis Borgeshat
After a while you learn the subtle difference
Between holding a hand and chaining a soul,
And you learn that love doesn’t mean leaning
And company doesn’t mean security.
And you begin to learn that kisses aren’t contracts
And presents aren’t promises,
And you begin to accept your defeats
With your head up and your eyes open
With the grace of a woman, not the grief of a child,
And you learn to build all your roads on today
Because tomorrow’s ground is too uncertain for plans
And futures have a way of falling down in mid-flight.
After a while you learn…
That even sunshine burns if you get too much.
So you plant your garden and decorate your own soul,
Instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers.
And you learn that you really can endure…
That you really are strong…
And you really do have worth…
And you learn and learn…
With every good-bye you learn.
Jorge Luis Borges
“I had a bad dream last night” my dad told our neighbour the morning he was admitted to the hospital for a simple surgery. “In the dream, I was trying to push a drum of water over but the drum wouldn’t budge no matter how hard I tried. This is not a good dream.”
After the surgery, he got into a coma and died two days later. In retrospect, I believe that his dream was a sign alerting him to the fact that he would be fighting for his life and would lose the battle. It represented the struggle he faced while he was in a coma, trying to say something but could not get the words out. Based on several other small changes he made before leaving the house, such as leaving a new candle on the candle stand, arranging all his clothes neatly in the closet etc., I have a feeling that he intuitively knew that he was not going to return home. But how can one boldly say such a thing?
Do we know when we are going to die?
Prior to his death, I had a series of dreams which alerted me to expect his death and I tuned in to them quite quickly. For several weeks I dreamt of lots of food, cake and celebration, which are symbols I have come to associated with death. I dreamt of him looking younger and driving a car in several dreams (very similar to dreams I had of my mom driving a car weeks before she died). However, there were two compelling dreams that remained vivid in my mind and which has affirmed for me that there is a world beyond this physical space we occupy. About five weeks before his death, I dreamt that his deceased brother-in-law, Gaston, knocked on the door of my dad’s house and said to me “Go and call your father for me. I am here to get him… and when you come with him, bring a bottle of rum for us to celebrate.” In the dream, I got my dad and brought him to Uncle Gaston, with a bottle of rum.
When I woke up, I pondered over this dream. I had heard from my mom (who was a dreamer and had prophetic dreams), that when the dead appears in your dreams to get the living, it is a sign that they will die. It was this dream that pushed me to visit him a week later, when I found out that he was sick. I shared this dream with him and he cocked his head to a side, in deep thought. We never spoke about the dream again but he was very pensive throughout my visit.
Are the deceased alive somewhere and are still connected with us? Why would they appear to some of us and not everyone?
During my two weeks with him, I felt the need to be of service. For each small task I did for him, I did it with all the love and gratitude my heart could feel. My intuition told me that these two weeks would be all the time I would have left with him and I heeded to this message. After my two-week visit, we held each other and both sobbed. My intuition told me that it would be the last time I would see him alive and I felt that we both understood this. We said goodbye.
As soon as I returned to Canada, I dreamt that a colleague pulled out one of my molars which disintegrated in the palm of my hands. I woke up and reflected on what I had heard from my mom – that when you dream of a molar being pulled out, it means that one of your parents will die. Prior to her death, I dreamt that I pulled out one of my molars as well. Again, I pondered over the dream and shared it with a few friends who all tried to comfort me by telling me not to take the dream seriously. But there was a knot in my stomach and the gut feeling that he would die. Yet, even knowing this information at an intuitive level is difficult to explain to others because dreams are open to such different interpretations and who are we to predict the future anyway?
My dad passed away a week later. One of my sisters mentioned that she too had a dream where our deceased Uncle Tony came to look for my dad but my dad was afraid to go with him. In the dream, she said that he was in a cardboard box at the bottom on a flight of stairs and was afraid to get out of the box to climb the stairs. Other family members and friends dreamt of lots of food and cake – signs that they have associated with death.
Looking back at the big and small signs leading to the deaths of several people I have known, I realize that even when the signs stare at me in the face and are so direct, I still hesitate to acknowledge the message in many cases. A few months ago, I also lost a best friend. A week before she died, I dreamt that her dog came looking for me and carried her pants to me in it’s mouth. After I took the pants from the dog, it signaled me to follow it and led me to a small cottage. At the door, it showed me a silver key on the ground and signaled for me to take it and open the door. When I woke up, I knew intuitively that my friend would die. And she died a few days later. She passed away as I was writing my last letter to her but even not being with her, I could feel her energy was being sapped out of her.
Why do I suppress my gift for dreaming and my intuition? Until now, I thought that I am not important enough to have such as gift. I have no formal training or education in this matter except tons and tons of experience and anecdotes which I am now more readily open to accept as an important part of who I am. I am now more open to embrace those gifts and not treat them as something to be skeptical or try to get approval from others or try to prove it to the logical mind. We are conditioned to think logically (which is also important) but I believe that we are slowly losing our natural instinct to listen to our intuition and dreams to guide our life paths or to give insights about things in our lives.
Are you a dreamer too?
Do share with us your experiences with your dreams.
TuneIn to your intuitive abilities and StepUp to decode what you feel and what you dream about. This knowledge has the power to lead you to a beautiful mystical path where your understanding of life flows with a knowingness that all things are as they should be.
Writing helped me to lose 10 lbs! How can this be so when I sit to write?
I accumulated 20 extra lbs. over the last 8 years which seemed impossible to get rid of no matter how many diets and exercise routines I kept on trying. During that time period, I felt overcommitted, overstretched and overwhelmed most of the time. I felt that I was constantly reacting to situations instead of being in control of my life.
With my LookGood!!!FeelGood!!! blog in 2011,writing provided a strong anchor for me to express my emotions and re-program my mind to some of the LookGood and FeelGood messages that I was writing about. I developed a habit to write each morning for about an hour and by the time I was done, I felt more grounded. I felt that I had touched a part of my soul that was longing to be nurtured. I paid more attention to what I ate, drank more water and added more fiber to my diet. I developed a consistent exercise routine of running and light weights at the gym at least 3 times a week. On days I could not go to the gym, I walked for at least half an hour a day. Over 6 months I actually lost 10 lbs. I still have 10 more to go but I am quite confident that it will go away as well. Now I am not on a rush to lose weight – I am just taking more mindful care of myself and it feels great!
One can argue that I did physical exercise to lose the lbs and it is definitely true. But I think that the most important thing that led to better self-care was being able to ground myself emotionally through writing. That led to being consistent about changing a few of my daily habits. What I have learnt from this experience is that my soul needs creative expression. Actually, consistency matters when we are trying to change something in our lives. I had to push myself to blog several days a week, go to the gym, prepare my lunch and stop comforting myself with chocolate when I am anxious, until those things became a consistent part of my daily routine. It is harder than it looks but I know that it works and I am more proactive in making choices for my life and less reactive.
What nourishes your soul and gives you a strong anchor? It doesn’t have to be something grand – sometimes it is just the simplest things you do that leaves you feeling “Wow! This felt really good!” TuneIn to that feeling and Step up to do more of it.
If you are interested in writing as a daily activity, Julia Cameron’s book, “The Artists Way” provides some really good techniques. She too lost weight from size 16 to size 10, through writing.
Write your way to an amazing life!!!
The Dalai Lama, when asked what surprised him most about humanity, he said: “Man. Because he sacrifices his health to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then he dies having never really lived.”
How true! TuneIn to what you think you need to do in this this lifetime to expand your soul and StepUp to bless someone, something, somewhere with the gifts you have been blessed with.
Coming up, on February 9th, 2013, I will be hosting the first TuneIn and StepUp Event in Ottawa with 8 – 10 women. I have TunedIn to the need of a family I have been sponsoring for the last 10 years. They are working on setting up a small ice-cream business to create financial independence. What is unique about this family, is that the mom is totally blind and her husband is visually impaired. They have two beautiful children and they work at helping themselves with very limited resources. The ice-cream business has the potential to support them – my goal is to raise a bit of awareness around blindness and their particular situation and to bring together people who can support them in achieving their goals.
1st TuneIn and StepUp Event in Ottawa
Open to only 8 – 10women who:
– want to have fun
– share in soul-ful conversation
– are open to sharing experiences and learning from others
– want to connect with others who are on their TuneIn and StepUp journey
Date: February 9th, 2013
Time: 2 – 6p.m
RSVP: Magdalene_Cooman@sympatico.ca / or inbox me on my blog or facebook.
Enjoy: Healthy food, A photo shoot of you, A Bread-baking and Soul-ful Art Experience
Cost: A contribution of your choice towards helping a family to set up a small business to sell ice-cream.
Let’s make it happen! Look forward to hearing from you!
TuneIn to the powerful intuition within you… Your body, mind and soul already know the answer!
“Sometimes I am broke, but God always sends a miracle.”
One of my inspiring moments in 2012 was a conversation with a young woman I met only once in the sauna who shared part of her life journey with me. She was vibrant and had an incredible warmth around her and a captivating smile – the kind of person you are drawn to immediately.
She is a single mother of 4 kids, one with a disability. She works in the evening as a cleaner. With her earnings, she supports 43 people in her home country by sending $600 to her home country every month, which provides food and basic needs for each one. These 43 people are mostly the elderly whom she left back after the war in her country.
It is amazing how $600 provides enough food and comfort to 43 people because the cost of living is so much lower and lifestyle is simple. The most important need is food. It is even more amazing that with her humble earnings, she is able to make this money multiply to feed her family and those extra 43 people.
We spoke about the challenges of meeting this commitment each month and she must have realized that I was calculating to see how it is possible to do so much with so little, based on her own family needs.
“It is not about calculating money like this, it is about having the courage to do the right thing.” She responded to my unasked question. “Sometimes I am broke, but God always sends a miracle. I believe that I am doing what I am here to do. If I die today, I will die in peace and that is what is important.”
I felt very humbled as I listened to her story and we exchanged life experiences in the warmth of the sauna. I felt ashamed of myself for complaining about the things I think that I cannot do because I think I don’t have enough. Here was this young woman saying to me “Life is bigger than our calculations. Have the courage to be. Decide what you can do for others and stick to the commitment.”
There are angels walking among us all the time. Sometimes, their wings touch us and inspires a change in our hearts. They are not necessarily popular or rich or super stars. They are just ordinary people who can fly because they are in alignment to their purpose…and all things work in perfection because they have faith and their vision is bigger than what we see with our naked eyes.
They are free to be and that freedom comes from within.
Are we lacking money or courage?
I would love to hear of the angels whose wings have brushed against yours. Do share your experiences with us.
TuneIn to the angels around you and StepUp to be an angel for someone. There is a beautiful angel is each of us, longing to be found.