Archive for creativity

Take Your Dog to Work Day

Take Your Dog to Work Day is, for some reason, the first Friday after Father’s Day. And this year, that’s today, June 24th.

This day isn’t such a big deal for me, since I work mainly from home and occasionally at my farm. For others, the people and their dogs, this is a real treat.* For one thing, the dog doesn’t have to stay behind, left to fend for itself without the pack. And, when the people go to work, they get to enjoy the same, loving companionship they have available at home. It’s a win-win!

In fact, many companies today are permitting – and even inviting – their employees to bring their dogs to work every day. Research, and evidence from those forward-thinking organizations, tells us that instead of being distracting and disruptive, the presence of dogs in the workplace decreases the amount of stress and the number of sick days, and increases creativity and productivity. Really, with those results, why would business owners ever do it any other way?

If you work for one of those companies, I’m truly happy for you. If you don’t, my question for you is this: What can you bring to work every day that increases both the quantity and quality of your work, while making it easier for you to go your job every day?

This thing could be something tangible like having your favorite iTunes playlist readily available. Or, it could be something intangible – but extremely important – like knowing your values and remembering to honor them with your actions.

Either way, I highly recommend this practice. Since our places of work are where we spend the majority of our time, it makes sense to me that we do whatever we can to find joy and meaning there.

I’d love to hear the thing or things that you take with you that make the work portion of your life more pleasurable. I’m sure I could learn some new (dog) tricks from you!

PS For more information on this topic, check out American Express’ article here.

 

*Or, as we say at my house when say treat but don’t want Little Bit (pictured above) to know that, the word is T-R-E-A-T.

 

 

Are You Playing the Tapes All the Way Through?

Last night, as crazy as it sounds, I set my alarm for 4:00 am, and actually I got up when it went off. You may remember, in a previous post, I wrote about how, even though I hate getting up early in the morning, I love being up while most of the rest of this part of the world is sleeping.

But today was different.

You see, once I got up, had my steaming hazelnut coffee in hand, and sat down in the (not at all sunny) sun room, suddenly all I could think of was going back to the comfort of my bed instead. I felt as though it was calling to me in that ghostly-yet-angelic-singing kind of way, “Laaaaaura… Laaaaaaaaaura…”

I was conflicted.

On one hand, I could imagine how nice the bed would feel: the sheets so cool, the mattress so welcoming, the blanket so soft. And, of course, there was the additional three and a half hours of sleep to consider…

The name-calling got louder.

Then, instead of marching right back up those stairs, as though to the tune of a pied piper, I paused. Aware that I had at least two choices here, I leaned in for a moment to the idea of writing and meditating in my favorite chair, Dogberry loyally lying by my side, and the pitch black of not-yet-morning surrounding us, just past the many windows on three sides of the room.

First, I imagined how good it would feel to do what I had set out to do, and the reward I’d get from honoring the promise I’d made to myself. I also thought about why I wanted to be up in the first place: to honor my desire for quiet time (while awake) and to connect with myself in a way that I so seldom do in the light of day.

Ahhh.

Then, I thought of how I’d feel when I got up from having gone back to bed, and having not followed through on my promise to myself.

Ick.

You see, after I had thought through the choices to their likely conclusions, I knew what to do. I knew what I wanted for myself. I knew how I wanted to look back on this seemingly small yet pivotal moment. I also knew how I didn’t want to look back on it – as yet another time when I said I wanted to do something, made a promise to myself to do it, and then let myself down by not doing it after all.

So, how did I come to this decision, especially with the bed was calling to me like a beautiful Siren, singing her mesmerizing songs and luring me toward the rocks?

I “played the tapes all the way through.”

(I know, we rarely listen to tapes anymore, but bear with me. Instead of the looking at the literal meaning of the practically obsolete words, let’s explore their metaphorical meaning.)

I see the concept of “playing the tapes all the way through” as similar to how I might view an invitation from a friend, or narrow down what activities I might take on over the weekend, or on any particular work day. It’s an opportunity to fully consider my options, and to make the best decision for myself at that time.

How exactly do we do this?

There are just three steps:

1. We accept the opportunity presented to us as an invitation to create our lives more consciously rather than doing so by default.
2. We take a breath or two, and ponder the action or actions we’re contemplating taking.
3. We consider – and this is key – the likely eventual outcomes for the choices before us, and how we expect we might feel about those choices once we’ve acted on them.

It’s that simple!

Sure, in some instances, we can’t possibly know what the outcome of each choice might be. Most of the time, however, when we’re honest with ourselves, we can make a pretty darned good guess. And that was the case for me with this morning.

After I “played the tapes all the way through,” it was clear what the better choice was. As I said, I chose to stay up. It’s not that going back to bed was a bad choice. There were certainly benefits to follow the call of the bed. But staying up was right for me in that particular set of circumstances. How can I be so sure?

Our Values are Our True Divining Rods™

Our Values are Our True Divining Rods™

I was honoring my values.

By staying up and writing, dreaming, thinking, and feeling, I was aligned with my values of authenticity, connection, contribution, courage, creativity, integrity, and spirituality. Frankly, it’s not very often that all of my top values meet in one decision, but here they did,  hence the relative ease of this decision. More often, my values are separate from each other, and in an order of priority. It’s my job, then, to figure out what that order is. And sometimes, they are in direct conflict with each other. “Playing the tapes all the way through” is an excellent tool for me to use in that particular situation, too.

Can you see how remembering to “play the tapes all the way through” can be helpful to you, too? I hope so. And my assignment to you is to use this tool right away, no matter how large or small the decision. This way, it can become a habit, and eventually, even be second nature to you. And won’t that be nice?

But what if I don’t know what my values are?

Don’t worry! I’ll be writing soon about what values are (and aren’t) and even more about how we can use them in our lives. For now, though, know that I’ll be back tomorrow with seven more strategies for arriving at the best choice for ourselves in situations of internal conflict.

Until then, don’t forget to imagine that we still use tapes, and then “play them all the way through!”

A Post Script of Two More Things to Remember:

1. This is just one example of how our world, our circumstances, our thoughts, and feelings offer us friendly invitations. They invite us to  to dip below the surface of the actions we take without thinking. And thus, by taking this deep dive, we can live fuller, more meaningful lives.

In the example above, I had a choice to make. It wasn’t a life or death situation, but I answered the invitation to go deeper. As a result of that process, and of doing what was revealed to me as the right course of action, I know myself better. In addition, I felt rewarded by my decision to listen to myself and for my motives, and raised my levels of self-trust and self-esteem.

2. And finally, know that these invitations do not demand our attention, nor are we expected to answer them. There’s no need to put that kind of pressure on ourselves. They’re there for us, however, should we choose to remember the age-old adage of  “watch, look, and listen,” and then step out into the world more confident, knowing that we are aligned with authentic selves.

I look forward to hearing what you think, and to seeing you tomorrow!

Laura Spills It

Hey – remember me? It’s been a while, I know. Why? Because I was afraid  of what you’d think of me if I came clean.

That’s right! I, Laura Biering – the RiskADay Coach, the one who works with people on their courage, self-esteem, and confidence, the one who leads and teaches using the Brené Brown texts, “The Gifts of Imperfection” and “Daring Greatly,” and the one who is soon to be a Certified Daring Way Facilitator – was afraid. And, instead of using the fear to propel me forward, I reverted back to an old, bad habit, and I let the fear stop me from engaging in one of the things I most believe in – authentic communication and connection.

This habit, by the way, the one we have of letting fear stop us, isn’t one I recommend cultivating.

When I look back on the fact that not writing you on a regular basis is a way of not walking my talk, a way of not honoring my values of authenticity, connection, contribution, creativity, vulnerability, and integrity (to name a few), the feeling I get is just this side of excruciating…

… except for when I “protected” myself from those feelings. I put the word protected in quotation marks because, I assure you,  any reprieve I got from choosing not to think about my fear and the associated inaction was always short-lived. And the agony was always worse when the period of attempting to protect myself was over.

(Note: My translation of “protection” here roughly like this: engaging in some form self-distancing, self-destructive behavior such as isolating, overeating, hiding my real feelings, judging myself unkindly, playing too many computer games, and otherwise procrastinating on doing important tasks or having important conversations.)

Again, as much fun as all of that sounds, it’s still not recommended.

You see, I’m super excited about the work I’m doing with Brené Brown and her team – working on, and getting closer to, becoming fully certified to deliver her program, The Daring Way™, by the end of the year (fingers crossed).

And, I’m super excited about offering this amazing work, which is somehow simultaneously deeply powerful and user-friendly. I’m looking forward to sharing it with more of my individual clients, as well as with groups (both in-person and via webinar) and retreat participants at my farm in Southeast Georgia. And who knows where else!

So what’s the catch???

Well, in the midst of all this super excitement, there’s something I’m not excited about. That is the fact that that in order to actually do any of this work, and for there to be actual people with me while I’m doing it, those people have to know about it. And this means I have to promote it.

Ugh.

Here’s the thing, though. This challenge affords me the opportunity to apply for myself what I’ll be facilitating others to do for themselves.

And isn’t that what we want in our teachers, leaders, and mentors? To have been there, to have survived, and to have found their way back to share with us what they learned while on the other side, the side of the muck and confusion, of desperation and fear?

It’s what I want. It’s who I want to be.

What about you? Is there a way you know you want to be, but haven’t yet been able to muster the courage? I’ll bet you won’t have to look too far to find at least one thing that falls in that category. I know I didn’t.

So, I forge ahead, writing this blog post, and committing to you to write even more – and more consistently – in the future.

And now, for another reason why writing this post was so scary to me  (drum roll, please…): I am posting a *picture of me with Brené. Why is this so scary? When you see it, you’ll know. It’s a darling picture of her, and a, well, let’s just say less than darling picture of me. And, I’m posting the picture here anyway.

Laura_and_Brene_during_the_hottest_summer_in_Houston_ever_Sept._2011_optimized-001Laura Biering and Brené Brown, in September of 2011, at the National Connections Training in Houston Texas, during one of the hottest summers on record there – the hottest since 1892!

Hey – you’re still here – that picture didn’t run you off.  Thank you!

Thanks, in fact, for being a part of my world – no matter what part of our world you live in. And thanks for being someone I can be honest with, which includes “spilling it” about the fact that I, too, get afraid, and sometimes I let that fear hold me back.

I’m grateful there are also times when I use the fear to propel me forward. May we all have more of those moments.

Amen.

PS Speaking of being propelled forward, here’s another risk: Please check out the cool groups and retreats I have coming up. All the details are at this link: – Creating a Wholehearted Life – The Daring Way™ – and of course. you can call me to can chat about it, if you have questions.

The bottom line is that if any of what I’ve said here or what I say on the Creating a Wholehearted Life – The Daring Way™ web page resonates with you, it would be my honor to have you join me and others like us on The Daring Way™ journey (and for you to get a bargain by bringing a friend, too).

Sure, stepping more fulling into being your authentic self more of the time, in more places, and with more people may be scary, but, at least for me, it’s a heck of a lot less scary than living in the aforementioned muck and confusion, desperation and fear.

So, won’t you join me?

*My sincere thanks goes out to Indrani Goradia for taking this photo.