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5 intentions to start ... and finish 2015

What if, instead of all the tough love, feelings of being stuck, and regrets at the end of the year, we could have a lighter touch and just set a few positive intentions to get the ball rolling in a positive way this year and make 2015 a better year?

Here are 5 thoughts

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4 tips: Gossip "better"

I write about all of us: you, me, and the guy whose office is across the hall; from the office messenger to the Executive Director/CEO.

We all know that engaging with gossip is not what we should do and yet, it happens. 

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Concerned about your “small” project? A common misconception

I was talking to a young professional who was "worried" about the small size project he is managing.

When humanitarian or development workers working in big organizations decide to step away and either start a project of their own or work in a small organization, I often hear "I am not helping a lot of people", "the project is small",...

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1 way to tell the truth

Bravo!!! Several of my clients have moved from very dissatisfactory professional situations to new exciting ones. Even though they are physically in a new and better professional context, sometimes they remain mentally caught up with the past – how their previous supervisors treated them, the poor/dysfunctional  management of their previous team, the time they wasted, the potential that was squandered. 

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FOCUSED ON BENEFICIARIES AND BENEFICIARY COMMUNITIES?

Whether a humanitarian or development worker, how many times have we experienced that awful feeling that we are spending too much time...

-   in meetings? 

-   preparing or reviewing reports on communities and beneficiaries that we rarely see and interact with?

-   responding to HQ queries, feeding its bureaucracy and other bureaucracies

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Are you too emotional?

Do you feel too emotional?  Like you are the ONLY person who works in international aid that actually feels anything!  Well then, I write this to you.

I am doing research on the painful/difficult emotional experiences of men and women working in international aid.

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Help is on the way

I have been on the phone these two weeks A LOT – connecting with clients, colleagues, and with aid workers who volunteered to do “emotional interviews” with me.  While I finalize my work on these emotional interviews, I wanted to give you a light surprise-outcome from these conversations.

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6 F’s for her

We know that we have been out of touch the last couple of months - no, our coaching schedule has not been on “vacation” but rather full AND we have been designing our new website. (We cannot wait to share it with you!).

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4 steps to heal Soul-Burn; I use #2 the most.

I have been thinking and thinking about the emotional interviews (done last month with many of you).  I was waiting for the right word to POP in my head to describe the whole experience. 

 “SOUL BURN”

is the word which best describes what the emotional interviews were about. 

It is not the actual work, the difficult and sometimes depressing working conditions that hurts people the most.  IT IS WHAT HAPPENS (or does not happen) IN RELATIONSHIPS that leaves the biggest mark.

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Outhouse Effect

I have been on the phone these two weeks A LOT – connecting with clients, colleagues, and with aid workers who volunteered to do “emotional interviews” with me. While I finalize my work on these emotional interviews, I wanted to give you a light surprise-outcome from these conversations.Three concrete self-care strategies have emerged and they are good.

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Aid architecture crushing young aid workers?

In response to my last post about interviewing aid workers who have, or are confronting strong emotional stress in their personal and/or professional life (if you missed it, click HERE to read), besides the interviews I received many powerful written responses. 

One letter made me catch my breath because it is so right on the mark.  My first thought when I read it was “I wish I had gotten this letter when I started aid work” because it felt so truthful.  It speaks about how the aid environment strongly impacts the emotional experience of aid workers. 

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What is your loneliness budget?

Two sentences:

 When you work in international aid loneliness arises.  Loneliness feels painful. 

 Okay two more sentences:

 Loneliness and anxiety arrive, too often, together.  Loneliness feels really painful and the pain comes and goes in waves.

 Loneliness = normal emotional response to lack of connection or community.

In this post, I will write about loneliness and then a quick fix that might help you not stay too long in its grips.

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Assess if you are Compassion Fatigued

Following my last post, many people have written to me telling me they valued the article.  Self-care, or the absence of it, is such an easy mistake to make.  If you missed the post of 4 top mistakes in 2013 on work-life balance, click here to read it.

I am going to write about self-care and compassion fatigue.  I also offer you an self-care action plan but first, I want to share something that inspired me. 

Over the holiday break, I facilitated a workshop about compassion fatigue and self-care in Phnom Penh for a Cambodian human rights team.  

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4 big mistakes in 2013: work/life balance

As we end 2013, if I could wish one thing for you it would be that you find the work/life balance you long for, and need, in 2014. 

I want to share with you the 4 mistakes that clients made in 2013 and give you a few tips that will support you.

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Top 5 potential mistakes / 5 lessons when interviewing

by Charles Vincent, President, DPPD.

The regret over a missed job opportunity stays like a bad taste in the mouth.  Even worse when you leave the interview knowing that you missed your mark, that you really could have done better.

Mistakes can be made during the actual interview.  However, most mistakes are often the result of what you did not do prior to the interview. 

 When I am working one-to-one with a client on preparing for an interview, I focus on this top 5 list.

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Do your favorite jeans fit? Oh..Nairobi

By Kenden Alfond

This week I got an email from a former colleague in Nairobi asking me if I was available to do remote psycho-therapy for people suffering after the recent terrorist incident there.  I said yes.  That same day, I had been thinking about writing this blog about humanitarian and development professionals and weight gain.  After theNairobi email – I wondered if this blog was relevant.  When there are colleagues suffering from traumatic experiences – are any of your personal preferences for wellness important?  Who cares if your favorite jeans fit?

YES- even with the world suffering, your personal wellness is important to you and others.  You are not helping anyone by suffering in your own body.   

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Bad Situations following you around?

Bad situations following you around? 

Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.  Notice how you tend to repeat things that you like; AND situations that you don’t like also seem to repeat again, again and again in your life.

Concrete example:

A former female client working for the UN was one of two females on a mostly male team. During her two years on this team, she felt overlooked and sometimes “put down” by her colleagues and supervisor.  Her overall feeling was that she was somehow cast in a smaller role than her work merited.  It seemed to her that the other team members got more positive feedback for their work, more interesting assignments, and were treated with more respect. 

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Can women have it all in the UN, NGOs and IOs?

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Can women have it all in the UN, NGOs and IOs?

By Kenden Alfond

I have had many clients focused on creating a way to fit together their work and their life: both men and women.  From this I am drawing a composite picture of a client, a 35 year old female working with the UN, let’s call her “Dana”. 

Major topic: Work-life balance; specifically how to blend international career with family life. 

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Does a cigarette break count as self-care?

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Does a cigarette break count as self-care?

This is a quick one - just to stimulate your thoughts about self care.  This has been a hot topic with clients lately.  The bottom line is that there are no well-being freebies.  I know, I know...we all wish we could do nothing positive to maintain/or improve our health and still feel refreshed mentally and physically.

As far as I know and have experienced, you have got to actively take care of yourself if you want to maintain good mental/physical health or improve your mental/physical health. 

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Vision: Pushed or Pulled

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Vision: Pushed or Pulled

Vision is one of many topics in the international workspace that is slippery and grey. 

This article is not a critique of organizational vision as an abstract topic. This article is about the importance of having a vision as an international worker. This vision must incorporate both personal and professional realities, preferences, and dreams.

In this short article you will find:  guidelines and powerful questions to help you achieve greater clarity of your personal vision today. 

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