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If You Can Stay Calm Even in Hard Times, You Will Be Successful

If You Can Stay Calm Even in Hard Times, You Will Be Successful

Breathe in for a count of 5… breathe out for a count of 5… and breathe in… breathe out… Feeling calmer? You probably do feel calmer. Now tell me. Why don’t you do this when things are tough? Do you forget to do this when you feel the world is falling apart?

What is it that you need to do to take back control?

“When adversity strikes, that’s when you have to be the most calm. Take a step back, stay strong, stay grounded and press on.” – LL Cool J.

I believe we all have the strength to overcome any situation we find ourselves in. Research tells us there is a strong relationship between a calm mind and being successful. The result of what we do in that difficult moment makes the difference between success and no success. Below you will learn exactly what to do to stay calm. Some strategies will sound strange, others make obvious sense and just need to be implemented.

1. Stop Whining, Move Forward!

“The future rewards those who press on. I don’t have time to feel sorry for myself. I don’t have time to complain. I’m going to press on.” –
Barack Obama

An excellent way to stay calm and to get back control over the situation is to simply stop whining. Sound a little harsh? I’m sorry. But in your heart you know this works. When you continue to whine, you will not look at what happens. You will only be busy with the way you feel. This is not helping you move forward!

2. Stop Talking To Others

“The only thing to do with good advice is to pass it on. It is never of any use to oneself.” – Oscar Wilde

The moment you face hard times, you will probably receive a million thoughts, ideas and solutions from other people. They share them because you ask for them, or simply because they want to help you. But stop and have a really honest look inside. You know exactly why you are in this situation. Do what you feel it is you need to do next. It is probably the best advice you will use.

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3. Stop Thinking About What Happens And What Else Will Go Wrong

“Positive thinking will let you do everything better than negative thinking will.” – Zig Ziglar

This doom-filled thinking is not really helpful. Better to know what happened and understand your current situation. Then, start plotting your way towards your solution. As Will Smith said: “There’s no reason to have a plan B because it distracts from plan A.” Use all your energy to move away from the problem using one strategy at a time.

4. Stop Eating, Start Drinking

“Drinking water is like washing out your insides. The water will cleanse the system, fill you up, decrease your caloric load and improve the function of all your tissues.” – Kevin R. Stone

Yes, you read this correctly. No need to eat a little more (you don’t need comfort, you need to think straight). You need water, and lots of it! No coffee and no beer or any other alcohol. You need to flush your system. Drink slowly. Drink warm water… Slowly… Feel how the warm water goes into your system. Then start working again.

Continue to keep your brain and body hydrated. Doing that helps you think better. Aren’t we made of 60% water? Refresh!

5. Stop Doing What You Do

“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” – Albert Einstein

If you continue to go on the path you chose, you will only make things worse. The moment you find yourself in a difficult situation, you need to STOP and identify what is happening. The moment you do that, you can plot better actions. This will improve your situation. Always be aware of this. You need to be conscious of the things you do and what their results are.

6. Stop And Listen To Chuck Norris

“A lot of times people look at the negative side of what they feel they can’t do. I always look on the positive side of what I can do.” – Chuck Norris

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I told you that you should not listen to anyone and follow your own path, right? Perhaps this is the only exception to that rule. Chuck Norris is not just a really cool person. He also has many ideas about solving problems.

7. Stop Thinking, Start Feeling

“The whole point of being alive is to evolve into the complete person you were intended to be.” – Oprah Winfrey

I know that the moment you face problems, your emotions are running wild, right? What to do, what happens next, will I survive… Many thoughts and ideas are running through your mind.

What if you stop feeling stressed or scared? What if you start feeling blessed for this learning opportunity? What if you feel strong and inventive? What if you felt you have all the answers to resolve this? Would that change things?

Start feeling with ALL your emotions!

8. Stop Moving Forward

“We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” – Walt Disney

Huh… didn’t you just read that you have to move forward? You most certainly did! How does this tip help you then? Well… you have to stop identifying forward with the direction you were heading. Start thinking about forward as a way to move in the direction of a solution. Perhaps forward is sideways, or even backwards! Change your perspective and start moving again.

9. Stop Learning, Start Doing

“Do not wait; the time will never be ‘just right.’ Start where you stand, and work with whatever tools you may have at your command, and better tools will be found as you go along.” – George Herbert

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Some people want to know exactly what to do to get out of their difficult situation. They want A to Z, all the steps. Knowing what to do from the beginning till the end. Mastering those steps is great. But it won’t bring you in the place you want to be. You need to take ACTION! Do something. Do ONE thing. Think first, than act. Most people remain in a state of pain and thinking. They are afraid to take action. You know this now, so act on it!

10. STOP

“If you want a happy ending, that depends, of course, on where you stop your story.” – Orson Welles

Stop doing anything and everything. Remember the breathing from the beginning? Do that. Learn to breath slowly, consciously. Stop doing what you do. Stop doing anything but breathing. After you did that for 10, 20, 30 seconds… you start doing something. Getting to a calm state of mind is not something you do by running around and by having negative feelings. Calm = Stop. Stop is the beginning of your new start. Calm can only starts when you are in control of your state. It is exactly that calm start of mind that will transform your difficult situation in a success.

11. START

“Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.” – Francis of Assisi

Practice being calm. Start your days with it. Remind yourself to remain calm during the day. Calm is a great place to start moving forward, left, right or even back. Start is however the thing you have to do to move from difficult to calm to progress.

There you go. 11 practical ideas to create calmness in your life. Some are really focused on becoming calm again. Others can be used to move away from the difficult situation at hand and focus your mind.

A calm mind is a mind which is in control.  A stressed mind takes control over you. A calm mind is there to serve you.

ACTION POINTS:

Now for the most important part. How can you use this today to improve your calmness no matter what the circumstances.

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Learn to stay conscious of what you think, do and feel. This is hard in the beginning. Still, you have to remind yourself about this. The easiest way is to add little reminders around you in your environment. Sticky notes on your computer, reminders on your phone. Looking at your children or your co-workers. Associating items in the office to look at how you feel. When you do that, you will become more aware of what you do and how you feel.

Then the main point. You will run into situations where calmness might not feel like your first priority. Needless to say, and you obviously know this already… these are exactly the situations where you need to stay calm. How you act that moment has a huge impact on whether or not you will be or feel successful.

Pick one idea, or perhaps two ideas from the list above. Use them as your backup strategy to create calmness in your life again.

And if nothing else works…

Breathe in… breathe out… breathe in… breathe out…

Featured photo credit: http://pixabay.com via pixabay.com

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Last Updated on September 30, 2019

How To Write Effective Meeting Minutes (with Examples)

How To Write Effective Meeting Minutes (with Examples)

Minutes are a written record of a board, company, or organizational meeting. Meeting minutes are considered a legal document, so when writing them, strive for clarity and consistency of tone.

Because minutes are a permanent record of the meeting, be sure to proofread them well before sending. It is a good idea to run them by a supervisor or seasoned attendee to make sure statements and information are accurately captured.

The best meeting minutes takers are careful listeners, quick typists, and are adequately familiar with the meeting topics and attendees. The note taker must have a firm enough grasp of the subject matter to be able to separate the important points from the noise in what can be long, drawn-out discussions. And, importantly, the note taker should not simultaneously lead and take notes. (If you’re ever asked to do so, decline.)

Following, are some step-by-step hints to effectively write meeting minutes:

1. Develop an Agenda

Work with the Chairperson or Board President to develop a detailed agenda.

Meetings occur for a reason, and the issues to be addressed and decided upon need to be listed to alert attendees. Work with the convener to draft an agenda that assigns times to each topic to keep the meeting moving and to make sure the group has enough time to consider all items.

The agenda will serve as your outline for the meeting minutes. Keep the minutes’ headings consistent with the agenda topics for continuity.

2. Follow a Template from Former Minutes Taken

If you are new to a Board or organization, and are writing minutes for the first time, ask to see the past meeting minutes so that you can maintain the same format.

Generally, the organization name or the name of the group that is meeting goes at the top: “Meeting of the Board of Directors of XYZ,” with the date on the next line. After the date, include both the time the meeting came to order and the time the meeting ended.

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Most groups who meet do so regularly, with set agenda items at each meeting. Some groups include a Next Steps heading at the end of the minutes that lists projects to follow up on and assigns responsibility.

A template from a former meeting will also help determine whether or not the group records if a quorum was met, and other items specific to the organization’s meeting minutes.

3. Record Attendance

On most boards, the Board Secretary is the person responsible for taking the meeting minutes. In organizational meetings, the minutes taker may be a project coordinator or assistant to a manager or CEO. She or he should arrive a few minutes before the meeting begins and pass around an attendance sheet with all members’ names and contact information.

Meeting attendees will need to check off their names and make edits to any changes in their information. This will help as both a back-up document of attendees and ensure that information goes out to the most up-to-date email addresses.

All attendees’ names should be listed directly below the meeting name and date, under a subheading that says “Present.” List first and last names of all attendees, along with title or affiliation, separated by a comma or semi-colon.

If a member of the Board could not attend the meeting, cite his or her name after the phrase: “Copied To:” There may be other designations in the participants’ list. For example, if several of the meeting attendees are members of the staff while everyone else is a volunteer, you may want to write (Staff) after each staff member.

As a general rule, attendees are listed alphabetically by their last names. However, in some organizations, it’s a best practice to list the leadership of the Board first. In that case, the President or Co-Presidents would be listed first, followed by the Vice President, followed by the Secretary, and then by the Treasurer. Then all other names of attendees would be alphabetized by last name.

It is also common practice to note if a participant joined the meeting via conference call. This can be indicated by writing: “By Phone” and listing the participants who called in.

4. Naming Convention

Generally, the first time someone speaks in the meeting will include his or her name and often the title.

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For example, “President of the XYZ Board, Roger McGowan, called the meeting to order.” The next time Roger McGowan speaks, though, you can simply refer to him as “Roger.” If there are two Rogers in the meeting, use an initial for their last names to separate the two. “Roger M. called for a vote. Roger T. abstained.”

5. What, and What Not, to Include

Depending on the nature of the meeting, it could last from one to several hours. The attendees will be asked to review and then approve the meeting minutes. Therefore, you don’t want the minutes to extend into a lengthy document.

Capturing everything that people say verbatim is not only unnecessary, but annoying to reviewers.

For each agenda item, you ultimately want to summarize only the relevant points of the discussion along with any decisions made. After the meeting, cull through your notes, making sure to edit out any circular or repetitive arguments and only leave in the relevant points made.

6. Maintain a Neutral Tone

Minutes are a legal document. They are used to establish an organization’s historical record of activity. It is essential to maintain an even, professional tone. Never put inflammatory language in the minutes, even if the language of the meeting becomes heated.

You want to record the gist of the discussion objectively, which means mentioning the key points covered without assigning blame. For example, “The staff addressed board members’ questions regarding the vendor’s professionalism.”

Picture a lawyer ten years down the road reading the minutes to find evidence of potential wrongdoing. You wouldn’t want an embellishment in the form of a colorful adverb or a quip to cloud any account of what took place. Here’s a list of neutral sounding words to get started with.

7. Record Votes

The primary purpose of minutes is to record any votes a board or organization takes. Solid record-keeping requires mentioning which participant makes a motion — and what the motion states verbatim — and which participant seconds the motion.

For example, “Vice President Cindy Jacobsen made a motion to dedicate 50 percent, or $50,000, of the proceeds from the ZZZ Foundation gift to the CCC scholarship fund. President Roger McGowan seconded the motion.”

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This vote tabulation should be expressed in neutral language as well. “The Board voted unanimously to amend the charter in the following way,” or “The decision to provide $1,000 to the tree-planting effort passed 4 to 1, with Board President McGowan opposing.”

Most Boards try to get a vote passed unanimously. Sometimes in order to help the Board attain a more cohesive outcome, a Board member may abstain from voting. “The motion passed 17 to 1 with one absension.”

8. Pare down Notes Post-Meeting

Following the meeting, read through your notes while all the discussions remain fresh in your mind, and make any needed revisions. Then, pare the meeting minutes down to their essentials, providing a brief account of the discussion that summarizes arguments made for and against a decision.

People often speak colloquially or in idioms, as in: “This isn’t even in the ballpark” or “You’re beginning to sound like a broken record.” While you may be tempted to keep the exact language in the minutes to add color, resist.

Additionally, if any presentations are part of the meeting, do not include information from the Powerpoint in the minutes. However, you will want to record the key points from the post-presentation discussion.

9. Proofread with Care

Make sure that you spelled all names correctly, inserted the correct date of the meeting, and that your minutes read clearly.

Spell out acronyms the first time they’re used. Remember that the notes may be reviewed by others for whom the acronyms are unfamiliar. Stay consistent in headings, punctuation, and formatting. The minutes should be polished and professional.

10. Distribute Broadly

Once approved, email minutes to the full board — not just the attendees — for review. Your minutes will help keep those who were absent apprised of important actions and decisions.

At the start of the next meeting, call for the approval of the minutes. Note any revisions. Try to work out the agreed-upon changes in the meeting, so that you don’t spend a huge amount of time on revisions.

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Ask for a motion to approve the minutes with the agreed-upon changes. Once an attendee offers a motion, ask for another person in the meeting to “second” the motion. They say, “All approved.” Always ask if there is anyone who does not approve. Assuming not, then say: “The minutes from our last meeting are approved once the agreed-upon changes have been made.”

11. File Meticulously

Since minutes are a legal document, take care when filing them. Make sure the file name of the document is consistent with the file names of previously filed minutes.

Occasionally, members of the organization may want to review past minutes. Know where the minutes are filed!

One Caveat

In this day and age of high technology, you may ask yourself: Wouldn’t it be simpler to record the meeting? This depends on the protocols of the organization, but probably not.

Be sure to ask what the rules are at the organization where you are taking minutes. Remember that the minutes are a record of what was done at the meeting, not what was said at the meeting.

The minutes reflect decisions not discussions. In spite of their name, “minutes,” the minutes are not a minute-by-minute transcript.

Bottom Line

Becoming an expert minutes-taker requires a keen ear, a willingness to learn, and some practice, but by following these tips you will soon become proficient.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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