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Managing Stress

These days, it’s difficult not to become overwhelmed, whether it be variables within your daily bubble, family, friends, and interpersonal interactions. Or maybe it’s stressors from work, or perhaps it’s the pain and tragedy in the news. The human experience for all its remarkability is often stressful. Stress is an unavoidable part of life; the goal isn’t to eliminate it but to learn how to manage it. Managing your stress can be difficult, and it takes practice, but it is necessary in the end. 

Exercise

Exercising is a beautiful way to help manage and adjust to stress. Exercising releases endorphins, a feel-good chemical that improves your mood and can help your body relax post-workout. Focus on setting attainable fitness goals that can fit realistically into your schedule. Try some of the following options for your fitness goal:

  • Yoga
  • Running
  • Walking
  • Biking
  • HITT Workouts
  • Dance Workouts
  • Aerobics
  • Swimming

Deep Breathing

Deep breathing is a beautiful way to help calm you down in the moment. A life full of stress can often lead to panic when it comes to specific events. Follow and practice these steps the next time you’re hit with intense moments of stress. 

  1. Sit in a comfortable position. Either laying on the floor or sitting comfortably in a chair with your hands in your lap and your feet grounded on the floor. 
  2. Close your eyes
  3. Imagine yourself in a beautiful place. Either a constructed scene like the beach or in the woods. Or perhaps a location from your memory that brings you peace. 
  4. Slowly breathe in while counting to five
  5. Slowly breathe out to the count of three
  6. Repeat for 3-10 minutes, or until you feel sufficently relaxed. 

Talk to Someone

The worst thing you can do when you are stressed is keeping it bottled up inside. Don’t be afraid to talk to someone and open up when you feel overwhelmed by stress. Whether it’s your partner, parent, friend, or boss don’t be afraid to be transparent and honest. If you feel like you may need more professional help, seek out a counselor or therapist, they’re there to help you and improve your life.

Stress is an entirely natural part of life, but that doesn’t make it easy to deal with. Remember to practice the skills mentioned above. Sometimes we just need to take life one day at a time. Be kind to yourself. 

Making a New Employee Comfortable

Try to think back to a time when you were a new employee. Perhaps you were excited, with a mix of first day jitters. Maybe your experience wasn’t pleasant, and you didn’t feel welcome by your new coworkers. The good news is that as an employer, you have the opportunity to help make your employees comfortable, including your brand new ones. 

Show Them You’ve Been Expecting Their Arrival

Sometimes when you arrive at a new job, you find that most of your new coworkers had no idea that you were starting. Or they encounter their supervisors scrambling to find them a workstation or supplies for their first week. It can be extremely disheartening to an employee and make them wonder why they are even wanted in the first place. You can avoid that discomfort by trying a few of the following things:

  • Making sure their workstation is prepped and ready to go. 
  • Give them a welcome present, maybe a gift card or some company swag. 
  • Make sure the entire company is aware of the new-hire and encouraged to make them feel welcomed.
  • Clear your schedule and make intentional time to show the employee around and make them comfortable. 

Provide Competent Training

Naturally, you plan to train your employee, but make sure you teach them the little job things a seasoned employee may take for granted. Ask around your office and see if there are things that employees wish they knew when they started. Incorporate some of those aspects into your training. 

Ask For Feedback

One of the most mutually beneficial things you can do as a leader is asking for feedback. At some point during the end of their first week, genuinely ask how they are feeling and ask for honest feedback. Not only will it make them feel welcome, but it will also help you grow as a leader and as a company.

Starting at a new job can be incredibly difficult and stressful. Anything you do to make that process easier and smoother will not only help your new-hire but stretch you as a leader as well. 

Volunteering As A Family

Volunteering as a family can be a dynamic experience. Adults and children alike can grow from the enriching experience of volunteering together. There are a plethora of reasons to get involved as a family, from health benefits to better quality time as a cohesive unit. 

Transmitting Values

In this stage of life, children learn best through observation and experience. It’s a very “monkey see; monkey do” mindset for children and adolescents. The things they see people they trust or respect doing is behavior they will model. When older family members display compassion and a desire to help those around them, it gives them a higher chance of mimicking and valuing that behavior in their own lives. Backing up the values you distill in them verbally is more helpful than just telling them what to do. 

Learning

Kids volunteering helps them learn beyond the classroom. They learn critical skills like leadership and teamwork. Being around other people in a compassionate mindset also helps grow interpersonal skills and essential habits. Volunteering can also help reinforce the information they learn in the classroom. For example, if your child learns environmental and nature facts in class, volunteering at a community garden can reinforce what they’ve learned about the plant cycle. 

So Many Options

It may seem like volunteering with children may limit what you can do, but you don’t need to volunteer with a mega-organization and fly to different countries to make a difference. Task as simple as visiting elderly patients who are lonely to bring them joy and companionship can make a world of difference. Check out some of the following options for volunteering. 

  • Making cards for hospitalized children
  • Sending care packages or letters to soldiers
  • Prepare and serve meals
  • Assist in cleaning up parks and other littered areas. 
  • Teach them how to save and conserve and gift abundance to other people.

Volunteering is a beautiful way to show your kids the importance of compassion and philanthropy. Not only that, but it can strengthen your bond as a family and create memories that will last their whole lives. 

Philanthropy Spotlight: Doctors Without Borders

Doctors Without Borders(DWB) is an amazing organization that primarily focuses on providing care to those who need it most. In the late spring of 1968, a group of young doctors traveled to help victims of major diseases and wars. They invented a new brand of humanitarianism that had the potential to reinvent the concept of emergency aid. They became Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), known internationally as Doctors Without Borders.

MSF was officially founded on December 22, 1971. 300 volunteers made up the organization: doctors, nurses, and other staff, including the 13 founding doctors and a plethora of journalists. According to the official Doctors Without Borders Website,

MSF was created on the “belief that all people have the right to medical care regardless of gender, race, religion, creed, or political affiliation and that the needs of these people outweigh respect for national boundaries.”

After the french revolt of ’68 burst onto tv screens, the french pubic soon saw terrifying images that would set a new tone to empathy. They saw thousands of kids all over the world struggling from hunger and disease. In Nigeria, the southern region called Biafra seceded from the country. The Nigerian army surrounded the section, and the Biafran people were soon decimated by hunger. The Red Cross pleaded for assistance and help. The MSF realized that need was bigger than their neighbors or their country.

MSF’s first mission was to the Nicaraguan capital of Managua in 1971, when an earthquake decimated most of the city and killed between an estimated 10,000 and 30,000 people. In these first few missions, the weak points of MSF were soon realized. Members were going over without readily available support, and supply chains were fractured. The telltale signs were there; the movement was beginning to break. Soon it was hard to distinguish the MSF as a group of medical professionals or as a group of guerilla doctors. 

From this point, the new realist leadership of MSF would transform MSF into the professional organization it is today. Through various leaders and growing mains, the MSF has become a fantastic organization known as Doctors Without Borders. 

Tips for Re-Entry into the Workplace

Tips for Re-Entry Into the Workplace Jimmy Lustig

Since the coronavirus’ emergence in the United States in early 2020, life for many people has drastically changed. Very few businesses have been spared from the economic ravages of the virus, and after three months of sheltering at home, some offices are looking to finally reopen. While some are eager to return to work in what’s called “the new normal,” many others are rightfully concerned about what this means for their safety in an age of a highly contagious disease. Even with taking extra precautions to limit the spread of disease, psychological safety for employees is lacking. Workers are likely to be worried about more than just their health, but also about the financial stability of their company. 

To alleviate this fear, it’s a good idea to ease employees back into the workplace slowly. Employers can take a few tips from kindergarten teachers to help prepare their team for a successful transition. 

Early communication

Employers should reach out in advance before sending employees back into the office to work with information that tells them how they are going to maintain a safe environment. Even though communication has always been important, it is now crucial to be even more open than before. These messages should come from the company’s leadership, including the CEO and a direct manager. You can prepare your employees with pictures and descriptions of the updated environment to let them know how the workplace will look and feel. 

Re-onboarding

Use the first day back as a chance to rethink and reconnect the organization to the things that are most important. After a lengthy hiatus, it will be necessary to re-onboard and reorient everyone. We typically associate the onboarding process with new people, but remember that returning employees will be in a much different mental state now than they were three months ago. This is a great opportunity to reset expectations around the values and behavior of your company. 

Housekeeping 

In order to reopen safely, companies must implement new policies and protocols set forth by public health officials. It’s necessary to be conscious of these, but this needs to be integrated into the company culture. It doesn’t fall on the responsibility of just one individual to keep the whole company safe. By building a collective spirit, this holds everyone accountable. 

Originally published on JimmyLustig.com

Mutual Aid

Mutual Aid Jimmy Lustig

Often times, philanthropy is synonymous with charity. Those who are able to contribute will typically donate money to a cause, which usually takes the form of a non-profit organization. Did you know, however, that there are other ways to get involved that deviate from this framework? This is where mutual aid comes in. 

Mutual aid puts power in the hands of the people. In times of need, communities take on the responsibility for caring for one another rather than requiring individuals to fend for themselves. This form of organization is volunteer-run, transparent, and driven by the needs of the community members. Mutual aid is a symbiotic relationship where all people offer material goods or assistance to one another.

It’s important to distinguish mutual aid from charity. Under charity, a centralized organization serves as an intermediary between the giving and receiving parties where the recipient is often dependent on a relationship negotiating their access to access to resources. Many charities are funded in part by grants, which, in a sense is money with conditions attached. This money, often coming from wealthy individuals or corporations, comes with the intention to address social problems and serve the needy. As a result, however, it is these same entities that decide what strategies should be funded. 

While both charity and mutual aid seek to provide help to those that need it, key differences lie in the underlying structure of both frameworks. Mutual aid builds solidarity by allowing people to work together and participate in shared political education programming. By creating a space where people can come together based on shared need and work closely with those whose experiences differ from their own, mutual aid helps to cultivate solidarity. 

Collective care has existed throughout the history of humanity, but in modern times, this is a radical act. Most recently amid America’s climate of political unrest and the coronavirus pandemic, we’ve seen examples of mutual aid in action. Mutual aid funds have been circulating to secure donations and redistribute that money to populations made vulnerable by the economic closures resulting from COVID-19. Communities have organized aid groups by collecting and distributing supplies to at-risk populations such as the homeless and minority communities. As one organizer says, “What we need people to understand is that direct outreach and mutual aid is going to keep you safe.” 

Originally published on JimmyLustig.org

The Art of Encouragement

Encouragement is one of the most effective and positive ways to spur others forward. Whether you’re leading a business, instructing volunteers, or just showing up to work every day, knowing how to encourage others is incredibly important. Encouragement is the act of giving someone hope, confidence, or support. 

The Benefits

Positivity improves the ways our brains function. While negative emotions can slow down our concentration and harm our cognitive abilities, positive emotions can do the opposite. When we are feeling happy or upbeat, it can improve our overall outlook on life, our mental processing ability, and our cognitive flexibility. 

Encouragement isn’t just about what you say but involves how you say it. The tone of how we speak also affects others. Coworkers are more likely to respond positively to a pleasant tone than to a discouraging tone. Offering encouragement in a positive tone directly correlated to how positively they interrupt your message

The Implementation  

The English word Encourage stems from the French word encoragier, which means to “make strong or harken.” The goal of encouragement is to lift someone in confidence and support. You can encourage those around you in the following ways:

  • When you notice something positive about a coworker, say something.
  • Learn how your coworkers receive encouragement and meet them where they are. 
  • When you introduce someone, add in a few positive words to describe them. 
  • Send notes or letters containing positive comments and reminders.
  • Celebrate great accomplishments!
  • Be an active listener. Pay attention to what the people are saying and try to remember what they say. 
  • When you see people making positive growth, let them know that you notice their effort.

Encouragement is a great way to improve your relationships and the environment around you. Think positive, and the difference will be noticeable.

How Entrepreneurs Can Impact Their Community

If you have an entrepreneurial spirit, you should consider opening your business with the intention of making a positive impact on your local community. You don’t have to have a brick and mortar business, either. It doesn’t matter if you decide that your business will be a purely online venture; you will still need the support of local communities to grow and prosper. You can impact your community by investing in it in various ways.

 

Donate a Portion of Your Profits

If you can demonstrate to your local community that you care, you will truly reap the rewards of it. For starters, if you keep a record of the amounts you have given to charity, you can claim this as a tax deduction. Many businesses do this for this very purpose. You will be killing two birds with one stone. Find a charitable organization like a homeless shelter or struggling rehab institution and give them a hand. You don’t have to donate money; you can donate things like furniture, supplies, etc.

 

Participate in Holiday Food Drives

So many people are in need these days, especially during the holidays, and you can help make a difference. Contact your local food banks or food pantries and ask them about the kinds of food items they accept. You can enlist the help of your employees, or you can ask your friends and family for help. Be sure you communicate with the organizations you plan on helping. They just might help you with collection boxes, posters and other equipment that will make your food drive a success.

 

Sponsor Local Events

Using your time and some of your money to sponsor an event will give your business the exposure it needs. Look at it as a low-budget, but effective, way of building your brand and acquiring more customers. Free advertising for your small business is almost always one of the end results of sponsoring a trade show.

 

Be sure that there is some kind of way for those who come to the event to know your business is sponsoring it. These could be posters, online advertising or even paid time on radio shows. Remember that organizations and causes you sponsor will truly appreciate you and spread positive words about you and your business.

Originally published on JimmyLustig.net

Show Your Employees Appreciation with These Tips

Employers have to focus on different things at work. Because of this, they may sometimes forget to show appreciation towards employees. When employees don’t feel appreciated, they may lose motivation and others may seek employment elsewhere. If you show them appreciation, then they will work hard and stay. Keep these tips in mind to show your employees appreciation.

 

Always Say Thank You

Some managers forget to say thank you to employees. It’s a simple gesture, but it shows that you appreciate your employees’ contributions. Some give a monotone thanks to their employees – avoid doing that. People can tell when you’re genuine, so make sure to give them an honest thanks.

This will show that you care and they will appreciate that you recognize their work. People who feel appreciated work harder and want to continue to impress or assist the one who thanked them. Furthermore, employees that feel genuinely appreciated will pass this feeling forward through their work and interaction with other employees.

 

Share Success Stories

If your employee does something that goes the extra mile, share that success with others. This will show that you care, allow you to express that appreciation, and encourage other employees to work hard. However, keep in mind that if you do it too often or for only one employee, then others may get mad or feel discouraged.

Find the right balance. As you do so, you can show appreciation while continuing to motivate other employees to work hard.

 

Speak Highly Of Employees Behind Their Backs

Some people speak badly about others, but you can speak highly of others instead. As you interact with employees, tell them something you appreciate about another employee. The person you talked to will inevitably inform the employee you complimented and they will appreciate what you said.

Just as gossip or mean words go around the office, kind words will eventually reach the ears of others. It shows your employees that you think highly of them and appreciate the work that they do around the office. This sets a good example for the entire workplace as well and promotes a healthy culture.

 

When you show employees appreciation, they will want to continue to receive that appreciation. They do so by continuing to work and completing tasks that you request. This will help you to create a positive work environment and keep your employees happy.

Originally published on JimmyLustig.com

What is Impact Investing?

What is Impact Investing_ James Lustig.png

Investors have the power to improve the world and turn a profit at the same time, they merely need to find the right methods for doing so. Impact investing is one such technique, one that is growing in popularity as more and more people take an interest in corporate responsibility.

How it Works

Impact investing is an investment strategy that focuses on businesses that have a positive impact on the world. Investors look for companies or small businesses that have good environmental policies, provide opportunities to underprivileged communities, or offer other benefits to society. However, they still also look for businesses that can turn a profit.

Both aspects are important because companies need to make money and stay in business in order to provide societal benefits. Investors who turn a profit can dedicate even more money to impact investing or general philanthropy. A talented investor can turn impact investing into a virtuous cycle that provides both social and financial benefits to everyone.

Myths and Misconceptions

There are quite a few myths surrounding income investing. Many of them deal with the potential for profits. For example, some investors believe that impact investing necessarily has lower rates of return than other methods. That is not the case. Investors have reported internal rates of return as high as 34% on their investments, which demonstrates the potential for profit.

Other investors worry that they will need to tie their money down for long periods to see a reasonable return. The average holding period for income investors is roughly five years, which is on par with that of venture capital firms. Investors can expect a reasonably rapid return on their investment as long as they choose their investments wisely.

The Results of Impact Investing

Impact investing really can make a big difference for a community. Businesses that operate in developing nations often need relatively small investments of capital in order to thrive. Those that get the investments provide livelihoods for their workers, who can go on to spend their wages in the local economy. That fuels more growth and encourages development.

Impact investors can also encourage companies to focus on protecting the environment, such as by providing alternative jobs to people who work in destructive industries. Impact investing is getting more popular over time, so it is likely that the positive impact will likewise continue to increase.

Originally published on JimmyLustig.org