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So, what have you learned in taking the steps of Lesson 1 to stop, observe yourself and make a mental note on your findings?  Were there some surprises? When you ‘observed’ what was happening to you, did you find that your fists or teeth were clenched or that you were running a negative self-talk tape in your head?  Did some of your observations relate to a reaction you had to someone’s actions, words or presence? What comes next? Applying Life Lesson 2:

Decide what you can control or can’t control, know the difference and act accordingly

When you hear the word ‘Control,’ what comes to mind?  Based upon your life experiences, it might be positive or it might have a negative connotation…we’ll be delving into those differences in a later article.   For our purposes here, let me ask you: What can you REALLY control? Can you control the weather? Can you control traffic? Can you control the news? You might be able to control your dog, but can you control your cat?  As someone living with a cat…Kali…she holds most of the control in the house :). Can you control another person? If you’ve tried, how has that worked out for you? What is the ONLY thing you can control?

Say it together:   YOU are the only thing you can control!!!

Let’s say you ‘stopped and observed’ every day at 10 a.m.  All was great with the world except you’re noticing your stomach was flipping and gurgling.  UMMMM, interesting.

Recapping your morning:  By 10 a.m. each day you’ve consumed 5 cups of coffee and you’ve also met with ‘Mary,’ a team member.  

Thought:  The coffee could be causing irritation.

Action:  ‘change brands, cut back to 3 cups, switch to water or a green smoothie.’  


Thought:  Mary, whose nickname around the office is ‘Negative Nellie,’ might be a cause….UMMMM, is that possible?

Thought:   ‘I don’t ever want to speak or think unkindly of someone I work with.’

Fact:  Mary might well be an ‘Energy Vampire.’  Energy Vampires, don’t suck our blood, but they do ‘suck’ the life force (energy) out of us.  The stress ‘chain reaction’ continues by weakening our immune system as well as our spirit. The outcome is personal to you and you alone…stomach upset, headache, exhaustion or changing your usual positive attitude to negative… make a note of your personal physical or emotional reaction to stress (stomach ache, clenched jaws, headache, irritability.)

What to Do:  Take control of the interactions with Mary.  Establish boundaries that apply parameters and guidelines for your interactions.  Yes, you might have to have one of those ‘difficult conversations’ addressing what and how you’re feeling when she’s negative.  She might not realize how negatively she comes across. Ask her how you can constructively help her in reducing the negativity. If her negative comments are related to her personal life, you might have to ask her to ‘cease and desist’ sharing stories of her personal life (Welcome to the world of ‘difficult conversations’).  

This is one of the toughest yet most important situations to take ‘control’ of.  Yes, it’s a fact, Energy Vampires exist (they could be a neighbor or a friend who constantly complains and does nothing to help him/herself).  It’s more difficult when the Energy Vampire is a co-worker or relative, (spouses and in-laws are especially tricky). Most likely solution: limit time spent with them to your best ability.  Learn to trust your intuition when it comes to choosing people to spend your time with. If you’re positive, choose positive people to be with.

Positive breeds positive; there’s tremendous power in positivity.  

This brings us to Life Lesson 3:  Where the mind goes, the body follows…so let’s keep the mind positive.

Enjoy exploring your life related to what you can and can’t control.  You might find yourself saying ‘NO’ more often and that could be a good thing.  I’d love to hear about your experiences with implementing Life Lessons 1 & 2. Go to to send an email to tell me your story. ‘Til next time.



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