Can your family boost your wellness at work?

Family sitting in front of the tv

Family walking together

By Sam Makhoul

I know what you’re thinking: how can my family possibly boost my wellness at work? They don’t work with me.

They don’t know the first thing about my job. How can they help me be more productive, enthusiastic, engaging and energetic at work?

The truth is, they can. When you are successful with your family first, their support, love and energy help you become a happier person and this becomes reflected in the work you do.

In the 70s and 80s, business people like you and I could neglect our family and still succeed at work. It came at a price, but we could do it.

However, in the 21st Century, the new entrepreneurs are more successful with their family first and ironically these same people outperform everyone else in their work life. Here are four tips I would like to share with you when it comes to family and boosting your wellness at work:

  1. Never Put Work Ahead Of Your Family – Especially Your Children:

This reminds me of a friend of mine who confided in me because he was very upset that his daughter was moving out of the home. He told me that she was going to university, she was moving into an apartment with some friends and she was really excited about it.

I told him “you should be very happy for her; it’s an exciting time in her life, think back to when you were starting uni?” He said, “yeah, I know, but when she loaded up the suitcase in the back of her car, I just felt that she wasn’t just excited about going to her new apartment, she was more thrilled to be leaving our soul-less home.”

My friend was heartbroken because he had no bond with his daughter to keep her coming back – they had no connection. Her permanent impression of him was the father who never arrived home in time to read her a story or tuck her into bed, or was too busy to go bike riding with her.

He is a very successful person with lots of money in the bank. But let me tell you, he would give it back just to have that connection with his daughter. Money can’t buy that!

Which leads me to the next tip:

  1. Give Family Your Time – Not Just Your Money:

Going shopping or watching TV does not count as quality time. Talking and really listening, is how you develop a bond.

If you have kids, have one-on-one time with each child. Spending one-on-one time with each of your kids lets them know you value them as a person and builds a bond.

If my friend had been spending quality time with his daughter over the years, do you think his daughter would have been more likely to come back and visit him? I spend Saturday afternoons with my daughter: it’s daddy-daughter time.

Do you think that when she’s older she’s not going to remember, Saturday afternoon: daddy-daughter time? It’s wired in her: I need to see my father.

Family sitting in front of the tv

  1. Turn Off The TV:

One thing we do in our family, instead of turning on the TV on a Sunday night and watching a movie, is we take turns to stand up in front of each other, in the lounge room and talk about something that happened to us during the week or something we are excited about that’s coming up. It’s a chance for each of our kids to stand up, boost their confidence and engage.

  1. Turn Off Your Phone When You Get Home:

A lot of people in sales fall into this trap. They feel that they must be on call 24/7. They don’t want to miss a call.

But customers do not expect that. They expect to deal with someone real. A sincere voicemail fixes that! Something along the lines of:

“You’ve called, Sam Makhoul. If my phone is off, it means I am spending time with my family or serving another customer. But rest assured when I do get your message I will call you back and give you my upmost attention.”

I guarantee that the person will leave a message because they will see that this person is real and he cares for his family, and they will respect that.

How To Love Your Life

Three girls in a sunflower field

Three girls standing and smiling in a sunflower field

By Sam Makhoul

I’ve been asked time and time again, what are some of the practical things people can employ to be happier and more successful on a day-to-day basis? To begin with, focussing on the below eight areas will provide you with an excellent foundation for personal and professional success. 

Here’s how:

1. Health:

Cherish your body. Nothing else matters more. Focus on the energy you have. Eat well, exercise and relax daily. Fill your daily life with purposeful activities that give your body a reason to manifest energy.

2. Love:

Love yourself by looking after your health and guarding your mind against negative images, negative thinking and negative associations. Look your best by wearing clothes that make you feel attractive. Have the courage to show and give love to your life partner, whether or not they give it back. Tell your partner daily what you love about them – these words are powerful. Work just as much on your love life as you do on your work.

Family cuddling

3. Family

Support your family at all times. Give them the confidence to pursue their goals and dreams. Help them overcome obstacles. Focus on their strengths and good qualities. Remind them daily of their worth. Tell them you love them no matter what happens – whether they succeed or fail at anything. Spend time developing a relationship with all family members.

4. Work:

Choose to love your work. Always do your best. Focus on the difference that your product or service is making to society. Have empathy for your customers. Value the privilege of serving them from the heart. Be grateful that you live in a society where there is the opportunity to work. At all times be honest in the execution of your work. Master your job by constantly learning and evolving. Always ask yourself, “can I do this job better?” Be impeccable in your conduct at work. Be fearless in your execution.

5. Friendship:

Let your words, laughter and charm bring a smile to others. Help your friends see the lighter side of life and not take themselves too seriously. Act with integrity and hold true to your standards and beliefs. Never compromise them to be popular. Never pre-judge others. Be open to new friendships. Always greet people with a smile and a friendly hello. How others respond is their own reality and has nothing to do with you.

Man reading a book and drinking coffee

6. Learning

Commit to 45 minutes of learning daily about every aspect of your life and not just your work and wealth. Limit watching TV and other popular media. Watch uplifting talks by great thinkers on TED.com. Read books from pioneering minds. Attend courses and seminars organised by people who care and have something unique to share. Listen twice as much you talk. Discover your talents by having self-awareness for your thoughts and feelings. Live a conscious life where you decide what you want to listen to, read and watch. Develop a growth mindset.

7. Wealth

Invest in yourself first before you invest your money. If you have a business invest in your own field of dreams first before investing with others on the stock market. Live a frugal lifestyle and reduce your dependence on money. Spend less, save more. Say no to consumerism and your addiction to buying more and more things that end up collecting dust or in the landfill. Spend money on experiences. But don’t skimp on things that improve your life like better quality food or better quality education for you and your children.

8. Charity:

Learn about the plight of others in need. Don’t shut yourself out to other people’s suffering. Help others by giving your time and/or money. Charity does not have to be grand. A simple kind word of support is sometimes all that someone needs. Help a team member at work.  Share an idea that can help a friend live a better life or simply listen to them without distraction.

The One Big Mistake Parents Make When Raising Children

Child running with fairy floss

By Dr. Guy Winch

Using fear and guilt to get your children to cooperate is perhaps the most damaging mistake parents can make. Parents don’t realise they are making this mistake until it is too late and their children start experiencing disorders such as anxiety, depression and obsessive compulsive behaviours. 

“Tom, get off your iPad or you will need glasses! Sally, stop eating cookies, you will get fat!”

Sound familiar? Yes, being on technology too long is bad for your eyes.

And yes, eating too much sugar is bad for your energy levels and weight. But do you know what’s far worse than that physical damage?

The emotional guilt and fear you are dumping on your children. Fear and guilt are a deadly combination of the human spirit.

Little girl eating a donut

They crush curiosity, creativity and zest for living a fun boundless life. Physical damage can almost always be reversed with diet and exercise, but emotional damage lasts a lifetime.

It is far more debilitating. Just ask anyone that suffers from anxiety or depression.

Rather than teaching our kids to do things out of love for self, we are teaching them to do things out of fear. Our own fears.

We think we are educating them when in truth we are terrifying them. As parents, we are much more experienced than our children and so we use Google knowledge to make sure that they do not get physically hurt.

But, the one thing children have over us is freedom from future fears. A pure absence of consequential fear, which is a beautiful human state.

Consequential fear is simply this: If you do this wrong now, you will suffer that in the future. Children, however, live in the present, (where we all should live).

But make no mistake, that does not make them stupid. Children from the age of five know how to avoid present and immediate danger.

“But I care for my child, I cannot let them eat junk food and be on technology all day, it is bad for them! I read books on the dangers of sugar. I watched this video on the dangers of social media and technology!” 

I get it. I am a parent too. It is difficult.

I am not contemplating you sit and do nothing. But you need to decide which psychology you want to use.

Positive or negative? You need to teach your children to do things out of self-love, not fear.

For example, “If you eat carrots you will have super eyesight”. If we go outside and play soccer you will get big muscles.”

Positive talk like this gets them to do things out of self-love. It builds self-confidence and makes them emotionally solid for life.

Sure they will make mistakes, but they are their mistakes to make and learn from. Don’t rob them of that basic human experience, even if it is painful and makes them vulnerable sometimes. What makes them vulnerable will make them beautiful as they grow older.

Read About Dr Guy Winch Here.

7 Fearless Qualities We Can Learn From Kids

Four children standing in gumboots

Family wearing gumboots in the rain

By Sam Makhoul

Kids see the world through different eyes. Eyes that do not (or prefer not to) perceive limitation or fear.

Kids tackle life with a sense of curiosity, imagination and fun. Here are seven pretty cool things you can learn from kids that will help you live outside the square and get noticed at work (in a good way):

1. Kids Have No Limits:

They think BIG. Progress is only ever made when you challenge the limits. So go ahead and ask “what if we do this?” at the next meeting.

2. Kids Are Fearless:

Little boy showing off his biceps

Get a bunch of kids in a group and ask them for ideas on anything and they will go nuts. Their eyes light up with enthusiasm and they get animated. Compare that with adults who sit there deliberating on everything they say for fear of sounding stupid.

3. Kids Like To Have Fun:

Otherwise, they start to yawn and get tired. Their energy does not go to waste. It is expended completely. Having fun does not mean frivolous fun at the expense of getting stuff done. Get creative about what you do. Ask yourself, “what can I do differently to grab people’s attention?”

4. Adults Ask “Why?” Kids Ask “Why Not!”

They don’t take no for an answer. If kids are enthusiastic about an idea, it’s hard to dissuade them.

5. Kids Don’t Hold Back:

If they don’t like something they will let you know. So speak truthfully at work. Say what’s on your mind. Do not agree with ideas just to be popular. Pull someone up who is doing the wrong thing.

6. Kids Get Over It Pretty Quickly:

Children playing and laughing

They wake the next morning and don’t even remember what they did wrong or what upset them the previous day. They forgive quickly and don’t hold grudges. They are wired to say “next”.

7. Kids Love Their Imagination And Use It To Daydream:

Adults learn to steer away from their imagination as they grow older because they start to use it to imagine the worst. So, it scares them. It makes them feel uneasy and they retreat from using this amazing faculty. Compare this with kids who use it to think of the best ideas ever.

So, here’s a BIG idea. Hire more kids at heart. And remember that there is a difference between being child-like and being childish.

You want the former not the latter. Every organisation that is serious about innovation and business transformation has to have enthusiastic and imaginative people in their talent pool.

More importantly, they have to nurture and promote such talent to positions of influence and not just for transient amusement or the fake appearance of being a cool company. Your creative imagination is the most important human quality.

Just like the sense of taste or smell or touch, it is there for a very good evolutionary reason. It is there so you can imagine a compelling future.

Humans are the only ones in the animal kingdom to have this faculty. Why? So we can materialise what we visualise.

The problem is that this superpower did not come with a handbook. As children, we could tap into it at will but as adults, we do not understand it and know how to use it.

How To Avoid Spoiling Your Child

How to avoid spoiling your child

By Dr. Jenn Mann

Practising psychology out of my office in the affluent city of Beverly Hills, you may imagine that I see many children that have been spoiled. While that is true, I have discovered that money had very little to do with it.

I have seen families with ex-traditional amounts of money that have unspoiled children and families with money problems who are difficult and entitled. One thing that unifies all of these parents, however, is that none of them set out to create a monster who believes that his or her every desire should be met, and in a timely fashion.

The majority of these well-meaning parents just want their children to have the advantages that they never had and save them from pain. While that is a noble cause, the disappointment, frustration and pain, from delaying gratification is part of one’s lessons which help to build character and moral and ethical values along with qualities like patience, determination and adaptability.

Children who are spared the ordinary difficulties of day-to-day life end up with emotional disadvantages. In fact, spoiling your child is more dangerous for their well being than you might imagine.

According to a nationwide study of over one thousand families, girls who describe themselves as very spoiled are three times as likely to have driven drunk and twice as likely to have had smoked marijuana. They are also at high risk of poor grades, bulimia, smoking and cheating on tests and skipping school.

According to that same study, boys who considered themselves spoiled were found to be at a higher risk of behavioural problems like lying, cheating, anxiety, depression, skipping school, underachieving academically, musing creatine or steroids and drink driving. In order to raise children with self-worth is not based on the brand of jeans they wear, here are eight important things every parent should understand in order to raise down to earth children.

1. You Cannot Spoil A Child With Too Much Love:

Family loving each other

Giving your child attention, love and affection do not create a bratty child, Giving your every child every material object they desire does.

2. Tending To A Baby’s Needs Creates Secure Attachment, Not A Brat:

In my own practice, I frequently get calls from new mothers who have been told by some well-meaning relative or childcare provider that they shouldn’t pick up their crying infant because it will spoil him or her. That is simply not true.

Studies have shown that babies who are responded to more quickly and held more often tend to cry less and the parents are faster at reading their baby’s cues. This results in more securely attached babies,

3. Give Your Child Rules And Boundaries To Live By:

Setting boundaries for children

Giving your child rules shows them you care about their well being and safety. Imagine living in a world where there were no laws; it would be chaotic and scary.

Children need boundaries to feel safe. Without rules to live by and the ability to follow the “laws” of the family, children grow up to be disrespectful and believe it is permissible to behave however they choose.

4. Be Consistent With Punishment And Follow Through:

When children know the consequences of their actions, they make better behaviour decisions. Many parents want to be their child’s friend and as a result, have a hard time following through on punishments they set.

To be consistent with consequences is a very important lesson to teach your child. Without that, children have no reason to be respectful towards you, much less be law-abiding citizens when they are older.

5. Give Your Child Something To Work Towards:

Child running through a sprinkler

Even if you can afford to give your child everything they want, you should not. Give your child something to work towards.

The children that I have seen who have been given everything they want, never learn the value of a dollar, grow up to have a poor work ethic and are often depressed. These children feel there is no reason to have goals or even work because they can always ask mum or dad to give them what they want.

6. Don’t Always Rescue Your Child:

This is the hardest parenting skill to learn. We all want to spare our children pain and give them the best that life has to offer but pain teaches kids about life.

While undue suffering is not the goal, emotional pain teaches empathy and should not be avoided. Trying to protect all children from pain usually backfires and the children become avoidant and are poorly equipped to handle life’s challenges.

7. Help Your Child To Find Meaning And Focus:

Baby learning to walk

Studies have shown that people who do volunteer work, it increases self-esteem and a sense of self-efficacy. Helping others can empower your children by showing them that they can make a difference in the world, while at the same time showing them that not everyone lives like they do or have all of the advantages that they have.

In addition, children can benefit from finding activities that they enjoy and in which they can excel. When children participate in an activity they love, they get into a psychological state called flow.

This is a state of mind when we are devoid of self-consciousness when we are unaware of time passing, energy flows, effortlessly, and we are at peace with what we are doing. Children who experience this are likely to continue to seek it out in other healthy places throughout their lives.

8. Eating Dinner Together:

Psychologist and author Dan Kildon found that eating dinner together was like a vaccination against behavioural problems with children. According to Kildon, children who eat dinner with their families at least a few times per week tend to be less depressed, be less permissive about sex, are less likely to use drugs, and are more likely to achieve well academically.

Copyright Dr. Jenn Mann.

7 Ways To Make Your Family A Priority

Family standing holding hands

By Dr. Jenn Mann

More than ever, people realise the importance of spending time with their families. But the realities of life have not changed.

More than 50% of households have two working parents, household chores are still endless, bosses remain demanding and normal work-weeks have grown to 50-plus-hours. So, how do we find time for our families?

Here are seven suggestions:

1. Where Did The Time Go:

Limit the use of things that gobble up time. Try to cut back on your use of the internet and watching television.

It is misleading to think of TV time as family time. You probably are groaning right now but each hour online or in front of the television is one less you spend interacting with your family.

2. Spend Time Together:

Family spending time together

The best family time often is simply spending time together. For example, many parents and children look forward to a bedtime story.

According to one busy father, “we have given up a lot of evening activities we enjoy in order to put our children to bed. My wife reads a story to our son, and I read one to our daughter.”

3. Fun And Games:

Many parents find that they are able to turn household chores into fun games with their young children. Better, a single mum, recalls doing this with her son Jared.

“We sorted the laundry together, took out the trash, did all sorts of housework together. Everything was an event which we turned into something fun,” she explained.

4. One On One Time:

One on one time with a mum and son

Set aside time each day when your children know they have your undivided attention. This gives them structure and assures them they will be heard.

Cynthia, a successful make-up artist, spends the first half-hour when she gets home talking with her three-year-old son. We talk about his day, what he liked about it and what he didn’t like about it. Now he asks me,”how was your day mum?”

5. It’s Not Just Food:

Many families find it helpful to have a consistent dinner time, where everyone attends. It is estimated that fewer than 50% of families eat together every night.

To make this happen, families must stop other activities (phone calls, emails etc.) during dinner. One working mum says, “we eat dinner at 6 pm year-around.” This was important when the kids were young as well as through their teenage years.

6. Vacations:

Family ope a holiday

Give your family something to look forward to. Travelling together is exciting for children and gives families time to unwind together.

Plan family vacations and weekends away. If money is an issue, save up air miles or visit a relative.

7. New Year Resolutions:

This year, my husband and I made family resolutions to get out of work early Friday nights, attend religious services at least once a month and commit Friday night to family time. We have found that these commitments have deepened our bond.

Copyright, Dr. Jenn Mann. Read all about her here.

18 Tips To Change Your Family Dynamic

Family flying a kite

By Sam Makhoul

Family life is very important to our wellness and work performance. Try being effective at work if you show up with family burdens on your shoulders, if your children are sick or out of control, or if you and your partner are arguing at home.

The biggest lie that most busy people tell themselves is that one day they will make enough money, slow down and have time for their family. The truth is that no one can ever be successful in life or business if they do not have the support and love of their family.

Have you ever noticed how the best and most successful athletes in the world always have their family in the crowd watching? Why?

It’s because the unconditional love and support of our family give us the courage to do and try anything without fearing failure and this is critical to our sense of security and order. The challenge of modern-day living has brought dysfunction into family life.

In some cases, family life has become toxic and a source of emotional stress and anxiety. Parents are struggling with pressure at work, lack of sleep, poor nutrition, financial pressure from over-consumption, and too much exposure to digital and social media.

Unique Challenges To Raising A 21st Century Family:

Family eating dinner

  • Feeling rushed with no time to communicate effectively.
  • Feeling confused about what parenting tools to use.
  • Over-parenting to compensate.
  • Projecting what we want onto our children instead of honouring their uniqueness.
  • Using fear and guilt to get them to cooperate. For example, did you know that “scaring” our children into eating well or making them feel guilty for eating junk food does more emotional harm than physical good?

These challenges have brought dysfunction into families; in some cases, family life has become toxic and a source of emotional stress and anxiety. As a result, the family unit is breaking down, the emotional bond between parents and children is now rare and children cannot wait to “grow up” and “leave home”.

18 Practical Tips You Can Use To Change Your Family Dynamic:

Family with their pet dog

  1. Remove the TV from living areas.
  2. Do not use technology and television to keep your kids occupied. This is tantamount to neglect, that’s the hard truth. The damage of over-exposure to technology presents more harm than smoking.
  3. Put phones and tablets on charge and out of hands 90 minutes before bedtime.
  4. Don’t structure their play. Structure is a prison for the creative mind; innovators of the future think in a non-linear way.
  5. Teach them to swim.
  6. Allow them to get messy sometimes.
  7. Help them play dress-ups.
  8. Read to them and let them read to you.
  9. Share a hobby as they get older. This will keep you feeling connected.
  10. Have one-on-one alone time with each child once a week.
  11. Encourage them to ask questions. Asking questions without fear of ridicule is absolutely essential to keep their sense of curiosity.
  12. Go on school excursions with them as a guest parent. They will love it and research shows that children feel more confident at school when they see their parents there.
  13. Show them how to save money. This is an essential life skill that you need to lead by example; break your addiction to retail therapy.
  14. Get them to do chores around the house. This gives them a sense of self-worth. Praise them for completing the task but do not accept mediocrity either. If you want a certain standard, do the chore with them and show them that standard. They will know for next time.
  15. Visit grandparents and relatives together.
  16. Get them to help you cook.
  17. Spend time on Sunday nights and take turns to talk about what you did last week and/or what you’re going to do next week.
  18. Ask them daily: “What are you happy about?” “What are you excited about?” Ask yourself the same questions!
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