How to Keep your Sanity This Holiday Season

The holidays are coming. Are you ready?

Have you slowly seen the trickle of holiday shopping commercials on TV.

Are you ready?

I am not asking if you picked out the perfect gifts or if you have planned your feasts.


Are you ready for the people? Not the crowds of people but those wonderful relatives, friends, or coworkers!


Is Technology Killing Interpersonal Communication Skill?

I started reading Technopoly: The Surrender of Culture to Technology by Neil Postman, a professor and communication expert on identifying how technology changes how we communicate. Postman wrote most of his works in the late 80s and early 90s however as I am reading his views now, it as if he wrote the book yesterday.

Though Postman is accused of being a technophobe, one who fears technology, he really isn’t. He is the other voice to the technology enthusiasts. He points out one problem with technology is that while we herald it for the ways it will make our lives “better” we never stop to consider what problems it might cause. 


Profiles in BRAVERY: Tante Robinson...Putting An End to Bullying

"ProfilesInBRAVERY" is a segment that highlights everyday people using the communication skills they have to do amazing things. The world may not know their name but their bravery and skill has changed someone's world. If you know someone who should be featured, contact me. 

Tante Robinson,
Founder Girls Of Excellence Mentoring Program
Name: Tante Robinson

Title or position: Founder, Girls of Excellence Mentoring Program

Business/Agency: Girls of Excellence Mentoring Program

Online presence:

What is a misconception people have about bullying?
A lot of people think it’s just a game and that it’s not serious. People just shrug it off. But it is serious. Children kill themselves, they get depressed. They cut themselves. Words do hurt.


I Want To Be A Light Bulb

"It is not about shining so others can see you, it is about shining so others can see their beauty through you."  ~Shawne Duperon

I came across this quote on Facebook recently and fell in love. On a day when I was really examining what it will mean to take my business to the next level, I felt like my problem was that I was focusing too much on my shortcomings and flaws.

Have you ever felt like you don't have enough ____(fill in the blank)___ to help someone else? Talent? Resource? Life experience? Credentials?

In all honesty, I am a little afraid of the next level. With that level comes a certain amount of exposure that I am not sure I want. 

Understand, I want to help others. I have a heart for it and I am good at it. That isn't the issue.

My issue is one of misplaced focus. Duperon's quote helped me shift my thinking...a practice I help my clients do all the time. 


How to Beat Down Selfishness

photo credit: Profound Whatever via photopin cc
It is not about you all the time!

I know those are fighting words for a lot of us. But it is true nonetheless. We live in a self-centered, self-promoting society so much so that it is second nature to believe, either in theory or in practice, that life is all about ME.

Even if you have never said the words, “It’s all about me”, your actions probably “say it” multiple times a day.
Selfishness is so ingrained in us that we have to purposely decide NOT to act selfishly.


How To Respond To: Unwanted Friend Requests?

Courtesy of Microsoft Clip Art
With the birth of new media, comes the excitement of discovering how we can use it to benefit our lives. It also births a new set of communication challenges. How do we respond, interact and connect in healthy ways on social media?

Today, let's look at how to respond to unwanted friend requests on Facebook.

If someone sends you a Facebook friend request, you have two choices:  Confirm or not now.

You would think it would be simple enough to pick a button and keep it moving. But it can be a real headache depending on the way you use Facebook, your knowledge of how Facebook works, and let's be honest...your feelings towards that person.


Do I Provide Value?

Why is it we have a hard time detailing the steps or directions of how to do something that comes so easy to us?

Case in point: Try describing in detail how you breathe. Ready? Go!

If your like me, you'd have to stop to think about how you breathe. Where do you begin to in describing a process that happens so naturally? 

Did you know a lot people are breathing incorrectly? I didn't know that either. I just assumed that my being alive meant that I had this breathing thing under control. Not so. Breathing experts train the public on how to breathe correctly. They make Youtube videos about it that people like Chuck Norris comment on. Breathing exercises populate the web.

Our communication habits are a lot like breathing. We do them instinctively which makes it that much harder for us to see how we are doing them incorrectly.

We can be lulled into thinking that our communication habits are fine since after all no one has died as a result of them. Right? But why live on just half breaths or shallow breaths when we can tap into the restorative power of full breath.

My goal on this blog is to make you aware that your communication habits, though they have sustained you thus far, might be limiting your growth.

Communication is not about being right or wrong. It is about a valuable free flow of exchange. Like breathing, there is a way to optimize that exchange so that everyone involved gets the most value out of the interaction. 

So how can you assess if your communication habits are providing value?  

1. Ask. 
Ask the people in your circle of influence if your communication habits are helping or hindering them. This is similar to checking in and helps builds rapport and mutual community of trust.

2. Observe. 
Observe responses. Look for what they are NOT saying as well as what they are saying. Look for the outcomes. When you said that statement with that tone of voice, what was the result? Did you physically see the person tune out or shut down?

So I am going to be practicing these techniques with you today.

I need to HEAR from YOU!

I was talking to a business coach the other day. She was asking me to describe the value that I add to my clients...not the services I offer but the value that I provide. In all transparency this was a tough question to answer, not because I didn't have an answer but because it was hard to put into words. 

Like the analogy of breathing, it is hard for me to describe the value of what I do because I just... do it...but that doesn't mean I am doing it the best way I can.

She asked me:

  • What do clients walk away with after having worked with me? 
  • What problem do I solve for my clients? 
  • What pain do I alleviate?

I have an answer to these questions but I need to hear from YOU. I am much more interested in your answer than the ones I come up with. 

I have worked with some of you directly. And for others of you, I have only had the pleasure of interacting with you on my blog. Either way, I'd like your feedback. Sooo I am asking...

What is the value that my coaching, training, or blog provides to you?

If you have worked with me one on one, help me identify the value my coaching or training has provided. To help you get started here a fill in the blank:

Julia's coaching or training helped me____________so I could________________ which resulted in ____________.

If you have been a regular reader of my blog, help me identify the value my blogging has provided. To help you get started here is your fill in the blank:

Julia's blog helps me__________________________ so I can___________________ which results in_____________.

Please take the time to comment. Go back to the home page and review the Popular Post section to refresh your memory. Answer in your own words... but I need you to answer. 

We all have to take sometime to assess our inherent abilities from time to time to see how we can improve. Let me know if and how I am providing value to your life. Thanks for it!


Do You Check In?

Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net
Do you use your phone to check in at restaurants, establishments, events?

Foursquare, Facebook, Twitter, or Yelp all let you check in using your mobile GPS device. 

In our digital age, we check in to let people know where we are and what we are doing. 

We also check in to invite people to join us right now. Knowing your BFF is right the down street at the cafe makes it more likely that you'll join her in person. 

Checking in also is a way of giving a suggestion. By publicizing your check-in you are suggesting others go to the event or business to see if they like it.

Checking in has its benefits for social media and it has it benefits in person to person communication too.


How Do You Respond To: Inappropriate Comments At Work?

People say some dumb stuff sometimes, don't they? Have you ever been so shocked you were rendered absolutely speechless?

If you ever walked away and later thought, "I should have said something!"... this post is for you! How do you respond when someones makes an offensive or degrading comment?

There are times to confront it and there are times to let it go. You have to decide which time it is. Most people default to letting it go because they don't know what to say. Or they underestimate the danger of letting things fester. 

The truth is, NOT dealing with it is dangerous. By not dealing with it, you allow your imagination to exert so much energy coming up with witty comebacks, or imagining what his face would look like after you hit it, or how you are just going to avoid dealing with him all together.

Why put yourself through that when you can just respond in a way that respectfully builds bridges and sets boundaries?


How Do You Respond To: Asinine Comments About Your Parenting?

Intelligent and unintelligent people are equally capable of making asinine comments. The question isn't "if" you'll encounter one, but how do you respond to them when they come.

While perusing my Facebook feed last week, I saw this status update from a friend of mine.

 While playing at the park, I was asked the million dollar question " are they triplets?". I replied "yes, they are". She then said "that's awful". Seriously I had to walk away because I would have told her off.

We have all had someone say something really stupid, or insensitive to us. Right? How do you respond to comments like this?


Communication Tips From Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte was the first book on my summer reading list. Somehow I had never read it before and I was curious. I found myself equally frustrated and fascinated, a desirable combination I must say, with Miss Eyre and her cast of characters. 

Along with the angst and longing, the story is filled with lessons. Two of my favorites quotes provide great tips about communication.