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Feng Shui Dilemmas: Put Empowerment First

Feng Shui Dilemmas: Put Empowerment First

    In feng shui the goal is to create environments that are utterly comfortable, spaces with a predominance of positive energy and few sources of negative energy. There are times when environments present insurmountable energy challenges and a choice must be made between two options, neither of which is optimal. It’s then a matter of determining which solution has the least negative effects.

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    This past weekend I ran into that type of situation in a meeting room in a hotel. “You won’t believe what this room looked like when I got here,” said Mark LeBlanc of Small Business Success, the presenter. “There was a sofa bed and large black chairs in here. It looked like a storage room.” In Mark’s new arrangement the chairs were arranged in a U with Mark’s flip chart positioned at the open end of the U. He was immediately visible upon entering the room.

    “It looks nice,” I said, “unfortunately you’re not in the power position.” When he looked at me quizzically I explained, “To be fully empowered, you need to have a solid wall behind you and a full view of the door. In your current position you are facing into the room, not toward the door. And, the energy coming through the door just slams right into you. You would be more empowered if we flipped the U and had you present from the other end of the room.”

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    “That’s how I initially had it set up, but then I noticed that the large light fixture is at this end of the room. The only light sources at the other end are those two side table lamps. Do you think that would be enough light?” Mark responded. I agreed with Mark that the light was rather dim. So, now we were at a choice point. Was it more important that Mark be well lit? After all, light would stimulate his thinking, inspiration and energy. Or, was it more important that he be speaking from the power position?

    “Well, you could speak from this end today and then tomorrow we can rearrange the room for you to speak at the other end. That way you can compare and decide which works best for you,” I suggested.

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    Mark agreed to that plan. The next morning we rearranged the room and Mark spoke from the other end of the room for the next day and a half. As I was driving Mark to the airport I asked him whether moving him to the power position in the more dimly lit end of the room had been a good decision. He said, “I definitely felt better at that end of the room, away from all the distractions near the door. And, though the light was dim, it was preferable to the light at the other end. That light was just too bright (it was lit by a high power fluorescent fixture). At the end of the first day (3 hours of presenting), I was exhausted!”

    We talked about the fact that in some circumstances you just cannot get a perfect feng shui solution and must make choices. In this case Mark and I decided that putting him in the power position was the priority with lighting being a secondary concern. Though the lighting in the power position was not optimal, as it turned out, it was preferable to being in the path of energy coming from the door, the noise and distractions at the door end of the room, and being drained of energy from the bright light of a fluorescent fixture. Mark and I also noted that he is a strong, compelling speaker with a powerful message whose inner light of passion for his message was bright enough to offset the light deficit.

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    When you find yourself at a feng shui choice point when no solution is ideal, remember to look for the arrangement that has the least negative impact on the people that will be affected by it. When ever possible, place yourself in the most empowered position possible and minimize other sources of negative energy.

    Image: Ben Tanabata

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    The Gentle Art of Saying No

    The Gentle Art of Saying No

    No!

    It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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    But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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    What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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    But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

    1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
    2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
    3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
    4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
    5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
    6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
    7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
    8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
    9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
    10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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