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Breathing Space: Living and Working at a Comfortable Pace

Is the crushing burden of information and communication overload dragging you down? By day's end, do you feel overworked, overwhelmed, stressed, and exhausted? Would you like to be more focused, productive, and competitive, while remaining balanced and in control?

Author Jeff Davidson says, "If you're continually facing too much information, too much paper, too many commitments, and too many demands, you need Breathing Space."

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Recommended Reading
Jeff Davidson: Simpler Living

Jeff Davidson: Breathing Space

Jeff Davidson: Complete Idiot's Guide to Getting Things Done

Jeff Davidson: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Managing Your Time

Larry Rosen and Michelle Weil: Technostress

Mark Victor Hansen: Chicken Soup for the Parent's Soul

Sam Horn: Conzentrate

Patricia O'Gorman: Dancing Backwards In High Heels

James Davison Hunter: The Death of Character

John D. Drake: Downshifting

David Md Viscott: Emotional Resilience

Alan Lakein: How to Get Control of Your Time and Your Life

Scott Adams: The Joy of Work

Don Aslett: Keeping Work Simple

Jeff Davidson: The 60 Second Organizer

Jeff Davidson: The 60 Second Self-Starter

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Breathing Space Blog

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Motivation is the Key to Success - Breathing Space Blog

On Friday, October 15, 2010, I had the unique opportunity to meet with Anson Dorrance, the legendary coach of the University of North Carolina women’s soccer team. My daughter had attended his wife’s ballet school for 14 years, so I was thoroughly familiar with him as a Chapel Hill resident.

On this evening, which was the basketball tip off night for UNC, NC State, and Duke, thus compelling tens of thousands of fans to stay on campus, Dorrance and Tim Crothers were to appear at Quail Ridge Bookstore to discuss the second edition of their book The Man Watching.

Instead of droves of people attending, only nine people populated the audience. So, what might have been a formal author presentation followed by a question and answer session turned into a rather brief author discussion followed by an extended interpersonal give and take. What’s more, both Dorrance and Crothers stayed for more than an hour. This was a rare night indeed.

I was able to ask them about the UNC women’s soccer team on a level that most fans can never even approach. For example, I posed questions about the health status of several key players who are currently on the injured roster, and others such as whether losses still hurt. I asked what losses really meant when he said, for example, that losing three times in 2009 didn’t prevent the team from becoming the national champions.

Dorrance discussed at length his fundamental belief that men and women are primarily different, a primary reason why he has been successful as a coach. He knows how to reach his players in a way that other coaches cannot because they are treating male and female athletes as essentially the same. I mentally noted that Geno Auriemma of the University of Connecticut shares the feeling: that women are different. Both coaches believe that women want to please others and play for a coach who has confidence in them. Coaches who harness these dual desires can propel their teams faster and further toward their goals.

I learned that Dorrance does not take a regimented approach to coaching. He is not a disciplinarian. The team doesn’t run extra laps when something goes wrong. Rather, while making sure that his team is in top physical shape, he is a constant strategist and motivator. He is constantly talking to his team members, offering them philosophical quotes and insightful observations.

The title of the book about Dorrance, The Man Watching, refers to a poem which he reads to the team at the start of each season. Freshmen and sophomores never quite understand it, but the juniors and seniors assure their underclassmen that by the time they’ve heard the poem three or four times, they’ll get it.

The team engages in a variety of bonding rituals. Any time it’s someone’s birthday, cake will be served, whether it’s after practice or a game. Surprisingly, no utensils are ever passed out. Everyone grabs their portion with their fist and eats it like cave dwellers might do.

Each team develops its own personality as the season goes on. Players often get to games on time by themselves when the games are in driving distance, such as at Duke in Durham, or NC State in Raleigh. When the team does go by bus, sometimes they don’t arrive until a few minutes beforehand. In one celebrated incident, the team left Chapel Hill at 7:15 p.m. for a game against NC State to be held in Cary at 8:00. The team had about 90 seconds to warm up on the field before the game began.

Dorrance was an unlikely candidate for the job he now holds. Self described as a “loose cannon,” he attended UNC studying to be a lawyer following his undergraduate days. He began coaching the men’s soccer team for the extra income, and was asked to take on the women’s team as well. Success came to him quickly. He won the AIA Championship – at the time the equivalent of the national championship. From that point on, his teams won 20 of 28 NCAA championships. This team represents a dynasty virtually unprecedented in college sports. What’s more, the team has had the same coach the whole way through as well as two very long term assistants.

Dorrance’s attitude towards sports is unique. He was always undersized as a high school and college soccer player, so he decided to put in the extra effort to make himself a winner. His attitude is conveyed to his players who, even when behind or not playing up to their best, still know in the back of their minds that they are going to win.

Most impressive about the evening was that Dorrance and Crothers had no notion of stopping. They would have continued to answer questions and chew the lean about soccer, their book, and UNC sports for as long as the handful of us would have listened. The bookstore staff finally came around and told us that we needed to wind it up in the next couple of minutes. So, for that reason alone, the evening with one of the greatest coaches in world history ended.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Stay in Control - Breathing Space Blog

A reader laments: Many days I am in control for most of the morning and part of the afternoon, but then all of the sudden, like a train derailment, everything seems scattered and out of control.

I suggest that you take mental pauses throughout the day, particularly as new developments occur. The best laid plans often go astray and those people who are able to maintain control know when to let go of one activity and redirect their focus towards another.

Remember as well that being in control is more related to how you feel about the situation than the presence of evidence. Keep reminding yourself that you are, in fact, in control. Ten minutes before the end of the day if your boss springs a one-hour assignment on you that must be done immediately, you can regard this as a major intrusion in your day or you can see it as a professional challenge or an opportunity to demonstrate your overall value to your company. Make a note of the times you have taken on such challenges and bring them up particularly at raise times.

Before, during, and after handling the late assignment thrown on your lap, keep considering the many benefits of completing it. These include learning something new, practicing maintaining grace under fire, and serving as a reminder for you to discuss this type of situation with your boss so that it doesn't happen too frequently.

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Sunday, February 04, 2018

Book: "When You Can You Will" - Breathing Space Blog

Notes from When You Can You Will by Lynne Bernfield, Berkley Books

▪ Subtitle: Why you Can't Always do What You Want to do.. and What to do about it.

▪ You can't hurry change. In our instant soup society you're encouraged to do more, be more, have more, and achieve more. Technology enables us to accomplish more faster. No matter how quickly society moves however, human beings still have to be ready before they can make certain changes.

▪ Human change is evolutionary. You might have to try on the change several times before you're accustomed to the way it feels.

Easy or Hard?
▪ Even if you don't know you're ready to change, your subconscious will know. It will help you to change the easy way or the hard way.

▪ Changes made the easy way are effortless. You often find yourself thinking, saying, and doing things that would have been unthinkable even the day before.

▪ Changes made the hard way can be difficult, unpleasant, and even frightening. You might feel as if you're breaking down or disintegrating, when in fact this will lead to the changes you need to make.

Your Cover Story
▪ Everyone has a cover story, a detailed explanation of who they are and who they are not. Once you discover your cover story, you're free to move on from it.

▪ Pretending to be something you're not means denying something you are. Human beings all come well-equipped with the capacity for denial.

▪ When you ask yourself the question, "What will happen if I make this change?", the answers may tell you exactly what is blocking your path to change. Being more successful might require you to perform better, take more risks, live up to your reputation or say no.

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Tuesday, January 30, 2018

No Breathing Space, Literally - Breathing Space Blog

A grim tale:

The Cigarette Century: The Rise, Fall, and Deadly Persistence of the Product That Defined America
by Allan M. Brandt

“Nearly 60 years after a link between smoking and cancer was first established, more people worldwide smoke cigarettes than ever before. Though smoking in America has decreased in recent decades, "said Harvard Medical School professor Alan Brandt, a century of cigarette sales had already exacted a terrible toll.

By the "the late 1990s, more Americans died of tobacco-related illnesses than the combined total of those who died from alcohol, AIDS, road accidents, fire, murder, suicide, and illegal drugs. And the future looks 'bright' only for tobacco sellers. The World Health Organization estimates that 10 times as many people will die from using tobacco products this century as died during the last.”

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Friday, January 19, 2018

Your Noisy Neighbors - Breathing Space Blog

The U.S. Census Bureau once reported that Americans cite noise – more than crime, litter, traffic, or inefficient government – as the biggest problem affecting their neighborhoods. And why not? More than 138,000,000 people are regularly exposed to noise levels labeled as excessive by the Environmental Protection Agency.

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Thursday, January 11, 2018

Partnerships Worth Exploring: - Breathing Space Blog

Have you ever thought about teaming up with a coach to receive the big-picture type of guidance that you might not otherwise be getting on the job? Considering the kinds of things you want to achieve on the job and throughout your career, could a coach be helpful for you? The late Psychologist Harry Olson said that virtually all professional and Olympic athletes have personal coaches to help them perform to their maximum potential and deal with competition.

The better such athletes become, and the more elite their status, the more they need and rely on coaches. Why? Because the higher they rise in their fields, the more critical their moves become, and the more vital personal feedback becomes in avoiding mistakes. A personal coach offers the competitive edge! And, the enhanced potential to achieve Breathing Space.

Many high-achieving career professionals, with the aid of coaches, mentors, or other advisors devise strategies to ensure success and to capitalize on new opportunities. Olson said that a career coach can help "diagnose and sort out your situation and opportunities, offer new strategies for dealing with office politics and competition, and help you with vital stress management skills."

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Wednesday, January 03, 2018

A Timeless Insight for a New Year - Breathing Space Blog

When you stop trying to "prove yourself" to others... everything, even your appearance, changes after that!

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