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Bring Nature Inside to Improve Performance

Bring Nature Inside to Improve Performance

    This week I went conference room shopping with a fellow speaker, Shirley T. Burke. Fortunately Shirley T. “gets” feng shui and understood that I would have some very specific requirements for the meeting room in which we’ll present our seminar, “Back on Track: Get More of What You Really Want From Life.” I speak best in spaces that feel good. And, I want the space to have a life-affirming energy that will complement our life-affirming message.

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    The first room was the right size and shape and was nicely appointed, but what really made it stand out from all the other meeting rooms we visited was it had windows with a view of green trees and shrubs. By comparison all the other spaces we saw seemed like lifeless boxes. Today’s experience reminded me of a similar experience I had several years ago. I attended an annual conference of the National Association of Professional Organizers in Reno, Nevada. It seemed like an odd location to have the annual conference of a group of left-brained, highly organized people, but I was willing to see what Reno had to offer us.

    As I moved through the hotel lobby I found myself repelled by the glitz of the decor. When I ventured into the casino I felt disoriented by the cave-like space with the mirrored ceiling, busy carpet pattern, and noise of the machines. I was told that casinos are deliberately designed to encourage people to gamble. They are intentionally designed to be disorienting. What a strange place! I was most struck by the lack of connection between people. All around people were sitting alone at machines or focused on games at tables. It all seemed incredibly sad to me. I couldn’t wait to get out of the casino each time I had to walk through that space.

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    What a contrast it was to go upstairs to the conference rooms! Gone was the noise and glitz. It seemed like any other conference center – pretty lifeless. We spent time in windowless rooms and ballrooms divided by partitions. Although those rooms were clean and functional, they lacked natural light, color and positive energy.

    After experiencing the casino and meeting rooms, two different types of impersonal and uncomfortable environments, both with no windows, both with no plants, it was such a relief to emerge into the lobby that offered beautiful views of the mountains in the distance through large picture windows. I stood at those windows and drank in the view. I felt like my soul was being nourished by the view. Never before had I been so struck by how depleting the man-made environment can be when it is devoid of elements of nature.

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    People can create all kinds of environments. Without having a consciousness awareness about how you are affected by those environments, you can spend enormous amounts of time in spaces that are not life-affirming. For most of us it’s not a casino, but our home or office. Spaces lacking views of nature or objects of nature are uncomfortable and will affect performance and productivity.

    The natural habitat of a human being is the out of doors. Therefore, when you bring the outdoors inside, in the form of plants, rocks, shells and water; you feel more comfortable. When you feel more comfortable, you perform better.

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    If you don’t have windows that give you a view of nature, one quick way to improve the energy of those spaces is to bring the outdoors inside by adding elements of nature. Add a print of a beautiful landscape. Add plants and water features like fountains and aquariums. I was in a windowless bathroom recently that came alive with shell prints, real shells and a silk plant. Nature feeds our souls in ways that man-made environments cannot.

    To bring the outdoors inside add:

    • Live or silk plants
    • Art with scenes of nature
    • Water fountains
    • Rocks
    • Shells
    • Driftwood
    • Fabrics with plant patterns
    • Blue and green colors
    • Fresh flowers

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    Last Updated on July 10, 2020

    How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

    How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

    We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

    We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

    So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

    Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

    What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

    Boundaries are limits

    —they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

    Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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    Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

    Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

    Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

    How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

    Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

    1. Self-Awareness Comes First

    Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

    You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

    To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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    You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

    • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
    • When do you feel disrespected?
    • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
    • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
    • When do you want to be alone?
    • How much space do you need?

    You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

    2. Clear Communication Is Essential

    Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

    Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

    3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

    Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

    That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

    Sample language:

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    • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
    • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
    • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
    • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
    • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
    • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
    • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

    Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

    4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

    Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

    Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

    Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

    We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

    It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

    It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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    Final Thoughts

    Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

    Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

    Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

    The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

    Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

    Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

    They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

    Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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