• Chemical Brain Freeze

Non-effective Listening – A Negative Default Behavior

 

Non-effective listening, did you ever think it was a major negative default behavior?  Working with Baby Boomers, I’ve found one very interesting characteristic of those retried or getting ready to retire.  It has to do with listening effectively.  Baby Boomers talk about their dreams and goals in retirement but (http://adventurejerky.com) sometimes they don’t express these ideas very distinctly with their partners.  Sometimes there is a fear of their goals not being accepted or even being rejected.  When this type of fear appears, we move into what we call “default behaviors.”  We actually avoid key conversations because we worry about what the outcome may be.  Maybe we worry the conversation may go in the wrong direction and we don’t get a chance to work on our goals.

Here is the key to having great conversations, it’s not about what we have to say.  That’s right, it’s not always about what we have to say.  But rather showing empathy and listening to what the other person has to say. It’s amazing what happens when empathy is applied to a conversation, especially key conversations.

So, what are the keys to really good listening?  First, we need to understand our default behavior when we have a conversation.  In most conversations, we don’t listen to understand but rather we listen in order to reply.  We actually wait for when there is a break in the conversation.  When our partner pauses for a breath, we jump in with our perspective or our bit of advice. We almost fear silence and jump in to squelch that silence.  This default behavior is believing the important part of communication is what we say.   When actually the listening step to hear what the other person has to say is most important.

It is fascinating to watch what happens when another person feels like they are being listened to effectively.  They open up and suddenly they are receptive to what you have to say.  All of a sudden goals and dreams get discussed in earnest and open, honest conversation takes place.

Think about the impact we could have with family members, friends and peers if we changed our listening skills.   Where we truly try to listen to what the other person is saying. If we listen with the intent to truly understand, people will share with us what their goals, wants and needs are.  They will also share the solutions they are looking for to possibly solve these needs.

Effective listening with the intent to understand, it takes practice but it is well worth the effort.

Be sure to tune into our new radio program “The Adventures of Unstructured Time” with your hosts Chuck Inman and Ron Hoesterey. We cover stories and concepts dealing with Baby Boomers plans for retirement. The program will be aired on 21.6 THE NET 11:00-12:00AM CST on Monday mornings and a repeat of the recorded program on Tuesdays from 7:00-8:00pm, Wednesdays 3:00-4:00PM, Thursdays 6:00-7:00PM and Fridays 11:00-12:00AM, again at 21.6 THE NET. You can also find the show as a podcast on Anchor.FM

Thanks for coming along

 

 

Emotional challenges for Baby Boomers

Baby boomers face many emotional challenges as they retire or get ready to retire. A simple but dynamic sentence isn’t it! When you examine the dynamics of the US population we see a shift in demographics that our country has never seen before.
Baby boomers, the generation of Americans born between 1946 and 1964 began reaching age 65 in 2011 and will continue until 2029. This generation makes up approximately 20% of the US population. The staggering fact is that there are 10,000 baby boomers reaching age 65 every single day. That is someone turning age 65 about every 7 seconds of every single day.

The focus of this particular sector of the population and its relationship to the subject of chemical brain freeze is very interesting. It deals with emotional challenges that baby boomer will have in retirement. Let’s reflect back on what a career provides for you besides just a paycheck. At work, you had an identity and were a contributor. You were respected for the work you did and people relied on you. You had a social network whether it was being a mentor or hanging with your favorite lunch cohorts. With the demands of your career, you also realized you provided value to your associates and customers. You exchanged feedback and advice, praise and criticism. You were part of something larger than just you.

Now with retirement just around the corner or already having taken place we have some new things to think about. For instance, what provides that feeling of purpose in your new phase of life being a baby boomer. The place to look for that feeling of purpose is within, whether it is adjusting your lifestyle or adjusting to a new career.

This is where the personal leadership and emotional intelligence comes into play in your changing world. A simple example, is a married couple who both retire within a few years of each other. For the first time in their marriage they are both home at the same time roughly 24/7. They seem to get in each other’s way trying to figure what to do with this next stage of life. One of the spouse’s may be operating a small business out of the home and can’t seem to get the privacy needed for conference calls and business calls. Default behaviors, those automatic responses you have to specific stimuli, come into play and tempers get short. It doesn’t take too much conversation to anger either spouse because they don’t feel like they are being heard or understood properly. Sharp words are exchanged in a heated argument and then silence because someone doesn’t feel valued.

This isn’t quite the ideal mood that was anticipated for this stage of life. Everything was supposed to be relaxing, calm and tranquil. These are the golden years but they don’t feel too golden in a lot of cases. This is where the emotional intelligence and personal leadership material can have an impact. You now have the time to work on those difficult conversations. So how do you make those conversations happen?

One of the key subject areas in the Chemical Brain Freeze- How to Stay in the Game During Difficulty and Stress book, is understanding how the body works when the brain responds to stimuli. You’ve heard of the fight or flight syndrome, right? Where our brain gets ready to fight or flee it sends some chemicals to different parts of the body so we respond appropriately when we feel threatened. There are times when even a question is asked in a certain way which can cause us to get defensive in a matter of seconds.

Have you noticed there are times in our everyday lives where we feel stuck in a rut and we can’t move in the direction we want to go? When we question why we aren’t moving forward and reaching our goals, we realize there are default behaviors holding us back. Look at some of the issues baby boomers will be experiencing in the next several years:

o Caring for their elderly parents
o Health Issues
o Being Able to Afford Retirement
o 2nd career
o What to do with time
o Finding a sense of purpose
o Boredom
o Depression
Default behaviors will definitely have an impact in dealing with these issues because there are numerous emotions centered around baby boomers in a changing world.
You can click on the Chemical Brain Freeze book and buy a copy at the on-line store. You will be transferred to the Adventure Jerky website where the on-line store is located. Adventure Jerky – Fuel for the Journey, provides fuel for the body and fuel for the mind. The book “Be Your Best on Your Next Journey” will help you find your sense of purpose and passion. You will then be able to pick your adventure and ignite your activity.
In going through the stages of finding your passion, picking your adventure and igniting your activity, a little bit of personal leadership and emotional intelligence goes a long way!
Thanks for coming along!
Chemical Brain Freeze

Conquering Fears

What scares us?CBF
It’s interesting to watch some of the cable shows about ghost hunters, big-foot hunters and other things that go bump in the night.  We all have fears of different kinds but what is interesting to note is that we are only born with two fears.  Do you know what those are?  Take a moment to think about it, what two fears would we be born with that would help us survive?  The two fears are the fear of falling and the fear of loud noises.  Every other fear we have is a learned fear.  Amazing isn’t it?  However our brain will respond to our learned fears exactly the same way it will respond to the fears we are born with as a species.
Think of the fear of falling and the fear of loud noises.  One occupation that comes to mind where they have to deal with this combination of fears on a daily basis is a dental practice.  What is one of the first things that is done to you as you sit in a dental chair?  You are lowered backwards in the chair, fear of falling.  One of the other things if you’re having work done on your teeth is that a noisy instrument is placed inside your mouth about as close to your eardrum as you can get, the fear of loud noises.  Dental practices struggle with patient retention and sometimes just the factor of dealing with the two born fears have can a major impact.

Most of our learned fears come from other people and what scares them.  We learn from watching them behave when they encounter a spider, snake or even a difficult discussion.  Talk around a campfire with a group of people about ghost stories and people will scare themselves silly.  You never see a couple of homicide detectives standing looking at a corpse and proclaiming, “It looks like another ghost murder.”  Do you know of anyone who has ever been killed by a ghost?  Me either.
There is a part of our brain called the amygdala that deals with our fears, whether they are the 2 born fears or the learned fears we have. We are going to explore how the amygdala responds to these threats, whether real or perceptive in the next several blogs.  We’ll also put it into perspective on how exceptional leaders deal with conquering fears.
Thanks for coming along.