As December 25th approaches, I can’t help but reflect on warm memories from holidays long gone, and encourage you to reach out to those around you regardless of whether or not they celebrate Christmas. It’s a time when everyone can give love!
Listen to S3 Mini Episode 15 and join me as I reminisce about my favorite holiday and what the season is about. I hope you’ll be inspired to give the greatest gift, which is the gift of connection, the gift of LOVE.
Wishing you a wonderful, safe and happy holiday filled with love and joy.
Was it my two front teeth?
What do you want this time of year? Do you still have your two front teeth? I am lucky enough, at the age of 69, still to have mine. They stand there like mini enamel tombstones, ready to sparkle my smile or bite into an ear of corn, my reliable chompers that I am grateful to have.
What do I really want for Christmas? What do you want? For Chanukah or whichever holiday you celebrate? I bet what you want is what every adult wants: peace, love, harmony. Paid bills. Good health. Boundless joy everywhere we look.
We have a new dog, since our beloved Ziggy died six months ago. Our new dog, Max, embodies boundless joy. He’s a rescue dog, picked up off of a dirt road in Alabama, a puppy, starving, cuts on his paws and ears, emaciated, just about dead, so they told us. Must have weighed 10 pounds if that. They fed him and treated his wounds and transported him up to Massachusetts where he went to a foster home for a while to get healthy. That’s when we met him.
He was about six weeks old then and weighed about 25 pounds. He had filled out from the emaciated pup on death’s door and had become the beginning of the full-blown personality we know today.
Today? Max, Maximus, Maximillion weighs around 70 pounds, looks for all the world like Scooby Doo, and is all legs and paws and mouth and 100% heart. He’s a beautiful, big, brown loping dog who bounds into a room like a crashing wave. If there’s a gate across the doorway, which we put up when he was smaller, now he simply leaps over it. Once in the room he jumps into whosever lap he sees first and immediately starts to lick that person or to take the person’s arm into his mouth, not to bite, but to massage the arm with his large, white teeth.
His size and smooth brown coat makes me think he might be part Great Dane or Dobermann or maybe a bit of Boxer. We’re going to send in a dog DNA test to find out for sure. Who knows what that will bring back! Maybe a trace of Chihuahua just to mess us up.
This boy is a true beauty. But he is still just a puppy, growing and quite out of control, despite our attempts with obedience classes and such. He loves to chew. . .everything. His favorites are shoes, hats, scarves, pillows, blankets, doormats, boxes, wallets, credit cards, and whatever he can snatch off of the kitchen counter. We love it, of course, when he will agree to chew one of the many chew toys we’ve bought for him.
But his greatest, most unavoidable quality is indeed his boundless joy. Max bounds. Boundlessly. Everywhere he goes, he bounds. Tail wagging, big brown eyes looking up ready to engage, paw ready to lift to shake, Max makes his rounds of our four story (including basement) house, until sleeping at night in our son Jack’s room. Jack is his official owner. Jack picked him out, along with our other son Tucker. Sue, my wife, cautioned them against a big dog, to no avail, and now, although she calls Max such a bad dog when he chews her favorite shoe, she loves him as much as all of us do. It is impossible not to love Max, as bad as he can be.
Boundless joy delivered by a being who destroys your favorite shoe, poops in middle of your living room floor, jumps up onto your guest’s lap, and wolfs down your dinner from the very plate you were about to eat it off of. Isn’t this the secret to finding the best in life?
That’s what I want for Christmas. Even more than my two front teeth, I want Max. Max. Maximus. And all that Max brings with him.
May your holidays be filled with Maxes of your own. Thank the Lord for Max and whoever bent over on that dirt road in Alabama to pick up that half dead pup who’s come to bring us joy.
Do you have difficulty learning? Learn how to “Uncover Your Learning Style,” with Dr. Hallowell and Jessica McCabe. In this episode, they discuss what helped them learn. Dr. Hallowell used flashcards to get him through medical school. Jessica learns better when she walks around while she’s reading. Do you know how you learn best?
In this special episode sponsored by Landmark College, Dr. Hallowell and the How to ADHD creator talk about the importance of listening to yourself to discover your unique learning style, and how that knowledge can help you achieve success in high school, college and beyond. LISTEN NOW!
by Rebecca Shafir, M.A.CCC Personal Development and Executive Functioning coach at the Hallowell Center MetroWest
Q: We have a very sensitive engineer who is key to our startup. My partner and I have to be very careful how we phrase anything regarding his work. I’m not even talking about constructive criticism; it may just be something said in passing. We try very hard not to say anything that may be misconstrued, but you just never know what is going to be misinterpreted. How do you suggest dealing with this employee?
For many, fear of feedback (including compliments) is a problem. The most common reason for someone to be this sensitive is that in their past they were severely and frequently criticized, so even the mildest suggestion is painful. They may express this fear of feedback in several self-sabotaging ways: denial, procrastination, rigidity, avoidance, jealousy, brooding etc. It’s extremely self-limiting burden to bear, personally and professionally. Any slight suggestion is interpreted as failure or rejection. An extreme fear of feedback is a condition called Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria (RSD) and improved only with medication.
Your employee’s sensitivity to feedback may require some outside coaching or some clinical help, but here are things you can do:
1) Increase trust. Schedule a short coffee break with him a couple times a week to talk about his interests or how the startup is moving along. Point out general areas of improvement that are needed within your startup (marketing, beta testing, quality control etc.) and share the remedial steps that others had to take.
2) Get his perspective on ways to make the company better, and how to implement those improvements. Let him know you appreciate the perspective sharing. This is a good way to model how positively feedback can be received and put to work.
3) Gradually, I would point out a change that he needs to make in order to make the company better and possibly to incentivize him. Use numbers and benchmarks. Avoid making any direct attacks on his performance; keep it more “big picture.” Break it down the change into do-able steps with opportunities for regular updates.
4) Verbally reinforce any progress made toward change.
If that fails, coaching is a good next step. As a coach, I would help him identify the emotion behind his reaction, and help him re-frame the criticism to loosen the grip of the negative association. Next, I would help him approach the needed change by breaking down the task to small, satisfying and manageable chunks. In my experience, this results in decreasing the fear of feedback, and in most cases, creating a healthier attitude around feedback.
If the fear of feedback prevents you from advancing in your career and in your relationships, let’s have a talk. Contact me at Rebecca@MindfulCommunication.com.