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A collection of thoughts through
personal stories, experiences and shared content.

The iQ Ally Program

Have you ever just needed someone to talk to? Someone to listen with no judgment? Someone to listen as you sort out your thoughts? Someone to help you get to a next step? Someone who will keep your conversation to themselves?

Luckily for iQers, that someone could just be an iQ Ally.

In this interview with two of the iQ Allies (Kris and Barry) you'll hear more about how the iQ Ally program started, what it is intended to offer to iQers, when to recognize when you (or a colleague) might find an iQ Ally useful, how to get in touch with an iQ Ally... and more!

The iQ Ally Program (19:29)

About iQ Allies: The iQ Allies are a select group of iQers that are trained to provide sustainable support and advocacy services, focusing on listening and empathizing, and in some cases directly providing avenues of active support.

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Permission to Lose Your Mind and How to Get it Back

“How are you?”

“I’m okay!“

You offer a smile but it can’t quite make it to your eyes. You are trying to be okay.

But every once in a while you feel the weight of the stress. For a moment, maybe more, it feels like too much. Everything you’ve been told and raised to believe means those emotions are a sign of weakness, that you shouldn’t have them.
Research now shows this just isn’t true.

Ignoring the emotional burden of stress has a dramatic affect on mental health, and mental health is the critical component for productivity, creativity, fulfilling relationships and overall life satisfaction. Ignoring that emotional burden
can dramatically impact your own success, not to mention it can also lead to physical symptoms of stress.

So maybe you’ve been told that acknowledging the emotional burden isn’t what professionals do, but it turns out it’s actually what the most successful professionals do.

In this talk, we...

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Looking Ahead to a New Normal

I’ve seen a lot of memes, inspirational posts and some general ridiculousness spreading around social media as we work our way through COVID-19 induced isolation and physical distancing. While I’ve had more than a few needed laughs at the witty people out there, the one post that has stood out the most to me is a simple message of reflection and hope attributed to Dave Hollis. It simply says, “In the rush to return to normal, use this time to consider which parts of normal are worth rushing back to.”

What criteria exactly does a person use to decide what is “worth it” for our new normal?

As I think about what the new normal will look like, whenever that might be, I have to admit that I am a little excited about the idea that the new normal is not just cramming everything back into a packed calendar. I have hope that I’ll be clearer about what I want to prioritize and why I reintroduce, add new or remove things to my new normal. And each part...

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Overwhelmed is a Choice

Lots of talk about taking a break from our news-feed, creating a mindfulness practice or simply pushing back from our work, hey? I like this post from Seth Godin.

Over-flowing amounts of information are common-place now. It's been that way for a long time, but collectively, we've all been thrown off-balance recently.

Godin's objective look at the experience of being overwhelmed was refreshing. He also offers simple, somewhat clinical solutions. He suggests we "intentionally make ourselves unaware."

-ND

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*If you liked this blog, you may also enjoy the iQU Podcast 'Power of Choice' by Derek Pang

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Focus: 20 Minutes at a Time

With such uncertain times around us, it’s easy to find ourselves paralyzed, like a deer in headlights by the changes, the adjustment and the new routines we need to establish. The best thing we can do for ourselves is to be mindful. Instead of wandering down a rabbit hole of Slack channel conversations, catch yourself and ask “is this what I need to be doing right now.”

Instead of jumping from screen to screen, set a 20 minute timer and write on a sticky note what you are going to get done in the next 20 minutes. Put the sticky note on your monitor and do the thing. Each time you find your attention wanders, catch yourself, don’t be harsh about it, just chuckle at the auto-pilot response our brains slip in to with such chaos and move your attention back to that goal.

A simple check in to slow things down, focus on a single outcome for a short-period of time can move a swirling world into baby steps of little accomplishments. The outcome? A feel good day.

This...

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Increasing Mindfulness

The words come out before your brain has a chance to kick in and the momentum of that reactive energy takes hold.

In times of uncertainty, our amygdalas are already on high alert making us more sensitive to triggering events.

There is no better time to check in to your own experience, practice some reflection and increase self-awareness.

I really loved this article on Fear and Uncertainty - it simplifies the concepts from dozens of books on emotional and social intelligence into a perspective that can be easily implemented with increased mindfulness.

The approach I have taught as a communications and emotional intelligence coach:

  • Awareness - What is that feeling in my body? Practice frequent body scans to become aware of where tension is living.
  • Acceptance - When you find tension, don't fight it or try to pretend it's not there. Sit with it and give it space. Be curious about what it's trying to tell you.
  • Pause - Take 4 slow, deep breaths to force the nervous system to slow down....
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Look In A Book!

If you're already an avid reader, good for you! You're doing more good for yourself than you likely even realize. If you're looking for motivation to crack into a new book, maybe the Inc.com article Why Reading Books Should Be Your Priority, According to Science is just what you need!

I used to read a TON of books when I was younger, but not so much in recent years. I made a conscious effort last year to read more for fun and I'm hooked again with six books completed in 2020 already!

What are you reading these days? What books would you recommend for people getting into reading?

-JF

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Why Gratitude?

Practicing gratitude is simple. Jot down 3 – 5 things daily that you are grateful for. You are trying to find joy in everyday occurrences on a regular basis. The benefits are outlined in 7 Scientifically Proven Benefits of Gratitude That Will Motivate You to Give Thanks Year-Round.

Raising two daughters, there were a few days along the way that were a little daunting. And by a few days, I mean a few years. The issues felt overwhelming, it was easy to turn to the negative, and I would often wonder how things became so awful. It was practicing gratitude that helped me survive and ultimately thrive.

Today I’m grateful for:

  • Birds coming to my feeders
  • Hot soup
  • Folks who don’t come to work when they are sick
  • Dinner plans with a friend
  • Puppy snuggles with morning coffee

-RC

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I'm Soooo Tired

A badge of honour. That’s the phrase this article from DailyMail.com about sleep hacking uses to describe how people seem to be treating their lack of sleep. Being busy is where it’s at, even if it means less and less sleep, right?! I’m definitely guilty.

I don’t think anything in this article was completely new information for me, but I think that a gentle reminder of facts, at just the right moment when you need to see it, can also be important learning. I was reminded of why I need to get more sleep. You probably need more sleep too. We all deserve more sleep! Let’s go get some zzzzzz…

-JF

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