Taking Ownership

How many times have we all waited for someone to take care of something for us? How many times have we been stalled in a work project, waiting for someone to finish their part? The frustration and loss of time in doing this makes no sense. I say forget it! Let’s try a different strategy. It’s time to take ownership.

So, what does that mean? According to the Harvard Business Review, one of the most egregious momentum killers is waiting for someone else to act, take initiative, or take charge. Most of the time, no one is coming. So, why do we do it? If help isn’t coming, let’s liberate ourselves and take responsibility and move forward. Start believing in yourself as an individual and take stock of the fact that it is, in fact, your responsibility for the quality and timeliness of an outcome. This applies even when you are working with others. It doesn’t mean that you are always in charge of everything. It doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t collaborate with anyone. It just means that you take ownership of your part and the results.

The same article in the Harvard Business Review went on to discuss that there are a couple of basic things to understand about taking ownership. First, I think we need to be able to tell the difference between fault and responsibility. When we finger point at others or at ourselves when something is not getting done, the perception of fault gets in the way of taking ownership of a difficult problem. Then, the problem still doesn’t get solved. Get rid of the blame game and we will all be more successful. Second, taking ownership frees us up to move toward getting results or finishing a project. Last, we can actually help others not just ourselves by taking ownership. Sounds like a win win to me.

The bottom line is, taking ownership/accountability/responsibility for your part can only help yourself, others, and the project move forward. Blame and finger pointing does nothing but waste time and energy. Don’t waste the energy. Put your big girl panties on, take responsibility and forge ahead!

Sometimes you have to give yourself a pep talk!

You know, sometimes you just need a pep talk and there is no one else around. That happened to me this morning. My fibromyalgia was in a total flare. I was in pain. I was feeling tired and defeated. I was all alone in my car. I needed a pick me up just to face the day. What did I do? I gave myself one! I reminded myself that this fibro thing was nothing new and that I even had it before I was sick with cancer last year. I dealt with it before. I told myself in the third person, “Laura. You got this. You know what to do. Hydrate. Get mentally strong. Take an nsaid. Move forward!.” So, that’s what I did. You can too.

So, let’s talk about what a pep talk is. A pep talk is defined as a strong, encouraging, emotional talk to a person or a group, intended to arouse enthusiasm, and increase determination to move forward to succeed. They can build morale, refocus everybody and help to rebuild teams. Did you know that there are scientific studies looking at the phenomenon of pep talks everywhere from the workplace to the ball field. They all say the same thing. A pep talk is the key to bringing new energy to any situation or goal.

Well that sounds fantastic for a group setting, but how about a solo setting? Can you really give one to yourself? You can! I read this great article in Medium from Jan 2020 that describes science-backed strategies for self- boosting. Let’s talk about it.

Dr. Benjamin Rosenberg, a psychology professor at Dominican University, says that “giving oneself a pep talk (self-talk) actually has an advantage over getting a pep talk from someone else.” The advantage is that, for the most part, we trust ourselves over anyone else so who better to pump us up than ourselves? Self-talk has been scientifically proven to have a positive effect on self-confidence and self- efficacy. In other words, it helps us to believe that we have what it takes to get the goal at hand accomplished successfully.

So, how do we go about it? First step: take note of your symptoms. Talk silently to yourself. This can decrease the anxiety side effects that often creep up before we have to perform or do something. This helps us to decrease the cognitive anxiety, negative, or repetitive thoughts.

Second, dampen down the fear by separating it from your task. For example, tell yourself that if your hands are feeling clammy before a speech that you just have a little bit of stage fright. It does not mean that you are going to mess up the speech.

Third, get some distance for yourself. It sounds weird, but one of the best pep talk strategies for yourself is to talk about yourself in the third person. That sounds totally bizarre right? The logic behind it is that we are more comfortable thinking about other people than we are about analyzing ourselves. Therefore if we refer to ourselves in the third person, it helps us control our emotions better. There should be less emotional reactivity.

Fourth, make sure you have reviewed your own plan. This type of strategy breaks down into the motivational (“You’ve got this”) and the instructional (review all the necessary steps before doing them). Don’t let yourself get all jittery because you are not prepared.

Fifth, give yourself compliments and be generous with them! This is not the time to embrace your negative self-image. Tell yourself how qualified you are. Tell yourself that you are prepared. Apparently it works even better if you can do THIS in the third person as well. Honestly, I would just have a reserve of positive things to say about yourself that you can use any any time, for any situation.

Those are the basics according to Dr. Rosenberg. I think they are really on point plus now you have a legitimate excuse any time anyone catches you talking to yourself! Lol. Just kidding. Bottom line is that pep talk really do work. They are not just the fabrication of inspirational movies. They work in real life too and if no one else is around, just do one for yourself! You got this!

Dr. Katz

I think I’m addicted to giving compliments.

I really think that this is true. I love saying something nice to somebody. On top of that, if there is an extra challenge factor and the person is grumpy that day, I try even harder! Compliments are great to give and receive. They let us show our appreciation for each other and how much we think things are worth. They help us work together and face challenges productively. One would think you couldn’t go wrong with them. However, there are some fine points to consider.

What does it take to give a good compliment? Well, first of all, you have to actually mean it. Otherwise your facial expression, body language, and tone will give you away. If someone has a shirt on that you think is hideous and you try to say how much you like it, you are gonna flinch somehow. Most people are able to tell when a compliment isn’t sincere. You can avoid this scenario easily. Everyone has some quality to be noticed and complimented on. Just pay a little more attention and pick something else. The genuine compliment will go much farther.

Another key component of a good compliment is paying attention. Give your focus to the details of your surroundings and the people around you. It will allow you to say something nice that is specific enough to really mean something to the other person.

Let’s talk about specificity for a minute. Truly, the best compliments are specific. They zero in on specific characteristics or traits that are individual to that person. When you mention something specific, it shows that you are really paying attention. For example, you could tell anyone that they are pretty. That could apply to a lot of people. However, if you told someone that their gorgeous brunette hair was really flattering, that would probably mean a lot more.

Let the compliments flow when you are making them. You don’t have to stick to just one, unless the other person is visibly uncomfortable.

Last but not least is the thing that I suck at the most. Learn how to receive compliments well! I really stink at this. Somebody says something nice to me and ten reasons why it’s not true come word vomiting out of my mouth. Why God why do I do that? It’s like don’t want anything to interfere with my preconceived negative self-image! No good can come of this! I will simplify it for you. Here is the one time I am going to go against the former “be genuine” advice. Even if you are cringing inside thinking of how it is not true, just smile and say THANKYOU!

Have a great day guys!

Dr. Katz

“I thought the dog was just twerking.”

We had a very full weekend over Labor Day: a house full of kids and grandkids with a side of plenty of mayhem and fun, even though the weather took a crapper. We have always used the no tech at grandma and grandpa’s rule so no tablets, phones, tv, YouTube, etc to allow us more time to talk, bond with each other and PLAY OUTSIDE! It’s a marvelous idea in theory. It encourages ten times more interaction than we would normally have. It is a double-edged sword however, because YOU also have to be willing to put tech aside, pay attention, and engage because you have just assigned yourself the role of main entertainment, which was formerly handed off to a barrage of impersonal, widely variable, non-censored electronic input.

So, now that the kids have your full attention and you have theirs, get ready for some unpredictable fun. When you are fully engaged, you can really get a sense of the full extent of their childhood innocence in some areas, and where they have had way too much exposure to the world in others.

We were sitting around the living room the other day and one of our dogs begins unceremoniously humping the other one. They seem to always wait until we have a full complement of company before they do this. Of course, we yell stop like we have never seen it before. Then my granddaughter says. “You know, I used to think the dogs were just twerking when they did that.” At first I am relieved that her first thoughts at 11 didn’t go to sex as a possibility. But, then I realized wait? She thought they were twerking? Where did she see that? How does she know what twerking is? Maybe her childhood innocence is not so intact after all.

What is childhood innocence anyway? This refers to the simplicity of children, their lack of knowledge and a purity that is not spoiled by the world just yet. They are ignorant of life and death. They are ignorant of sexual relationships, etc. They believe that anything is possible because their imaginations soar unchecked. It is heartbreaking in a way because once it is gone, they can never go back. It is a quality of ignorance that we visciously eschew as adults. We tell ourselves that we must have infinite knowledge and awareness of everything, which leads to depression and anxiety, overthinking and over analyzing.

So, if we know this is the ultimate outcome, why are we in such a hurry to overexpose our kids to the world at such a young age? Without supervision, they can access things on social media that would shock me even now! Stuff on TV or in movies is full of violence, drugs and sex. It is a totally un-censored barrage. We need to pay attention to what is filling our kids’ minds. The importance of this cannot be overemphasized. So, let’s all put down our phones, turn off the tv, and put the tablets away at least for a little bit every day. You won’t regret it.

Dr. Katz