Author Archives: Dr. Judith Briles

Money Fears … #6 The Fear of Creating and Sticking to a Plan

 

#6 The Fear of Creating and Sticking to a Plan

Twenty-five percent of the American population believes that they will fund their retirement years by winning the Lottery!  Fat chance. 

Your best bet is to create a plan.  Put it in writing for easier tracking.  Financial plans are guide tools that start you on a path that will lead you to your stated money goals.  They are not, though, set in granite.  Times and circumstances change.  So do investments and opportunities.  That means that you don’t create and stick it in the drawer.  Your plan should be reviewed annually.  It should be flexible.  Life changes. You change.

Over the next several weeks, I’ll continue to post the top fear factors for today … to overcome your fear, and get back on track, get your copy of Money Smarts for Turbulent Times by Judith Briles–available in paper and ebook format.

Money Fears …# 4 The Fear of Making Mistakes and Failing

# 4 … The Fear of Making Mistakes and Failing

Everyone makes mistakes.  I wished I had $10 for each one I’ve made over the past 50 years plus.  Mistakes that lead to a money loss can be personally and professionally crippling.

They happen.  You get to choose—will they handicap and paralyze you?  Or will you look at them as a learning and growth experience?

What you have to guard against is the reaction that the fear of failure and making mistakes can generate paralysis . . . getting stuck mentally.  Making money mistakes and experiencing failures won’t destroy you.  Your key to resurrecting yourself is determining—

  • What happened?
  • What factors could you control, influence or alter?
  • What factors could you not control?
  • What did you learn, the pros and cons?

Over the next several weeks, I’ll continue to post the top fear factors for today … to overcome your fear, and get back on track, get your copy of Money Smarts for Turbulent Times by Judith Briles–available in paper and ebook format.

Money Fears … #3 The Fear of Talking About Money

#3 … The Fear of Talking About Money

Upbringing is a key factor that shapes your money practices.  Most adults “wish” that they had had training and guidance about money and investing as they grew up.

If you grew up in a family that openly discussed money and its many facets, you’re in the minority.  Not all of your friends will be on the same wave link as you are in money matters.  Your awareness, and possibly non-intimidation to the topic, may actually intimidate them!

Over the next several weeks, I’ll continue to post the top fear factors for today … to overcome your fear, and get back on track, get your copy of Money Smarts for Turbulent Times by Judith Briles–available in paper and ebook format.

#2 Money Fear … The Fear of Losing Money

#2 Money Fear … The Fear of Losing Money

At some point, everyone loses money.  It can be from a bad investment, misplacing moneys, inflation erosion, failure to act or make a decision on your investments, making the wrong decision, losing a job or other resource of funds.  It happens.

One advantage that many men have over women deals with attitude—women are more likely to be fearful of not being able to “make up” lost money; men more often believe that they can make it up/replace it the next go around.  All is lost, it’s part of the “game.”

Over the next several weeks, I’ll continue to post the top fear factors for today … to overcome your fear, and get back on track, get your copy of Money Smarts for Turbulent Times by Judith Briles–available in paper and ebook format.

Money Fear #1 – The Fear of Being Broke

#1 … The Fear of Being Broke

At the top of the list is the fear of being broke, “Will I have enough to buy the foods I want, the medications I need or be able to pay for the things I want to do when I stop working?”

Years ago, a client had asked me if I would take the time to go visit his mother.  He told me that she had some investments, lived mostly off the dividends, interest and her monthly Social Security.  He asked that I just check in with to see if she was getting a decent return on her portfolio. 

I made the appointment and spent a pleasant two hours getting to know Martha.  She was in her early sixties at the time and healthy. She believed that she was a good steward of her money.  With financial data filled out, I promised to get back to her within the week with an update on several stocks and suggestions for any changes to her portfolio.  As I got up to leave, she said, “What about my stash?” 

She pointed the corner of her living room.  All I saw was a big green, over-stuffed chair.  “My stash . . . in the chair. . . and drapes.” 

My new client had stashed in excess of $30,000 over the years in her over stuffed green chair with matching draperies.  She had lived through the Depression—never again would she, or her family, be without food if bad times hit again.  It took me over a year to convince her to move her moneys to a money market fund that would earn her interest. 

Did she move the entire amount?  Nope, she insisted on a stash of $5,000 in the house, money that she could tap into for “whatever.”

The reality is that whether you are rich, poor, or in-between, the person that you are going to have to depend the most on to keep you from the poorhouse is you and your smarts.

Over the next several weeks, I’ll be posting the top fear factors for today … to overcome your fear, and get back on track, get your copy of Money Smarts for Turbulent Times by Judith Briles–available in paper and ebook format.

Money Fears … Most Have a Few, What’s Yours?

Most Have a Few . . . What’s Yours? 

The average person works 10,000 days during her career (that’s 40 years if you do the math).  How much time are you willing to commit to figuring out what to do with the money you make? Or how to make it grow? And what about determining what you need to support you when you step away from your nursing career?

No one is born with a fear or attitude about money, yet you have some.  Fears and attitudes—be they good, bad, or ugly—develop over time.  No doubt, your upbringing is a major contributing factor.  Past experiences—successes and failures—also play a critical role, as does society and your surroundings—the media, friends, family even how the government spends, creates and takes away moneys and programs are factors.

The Current Money Fiasco

Over the last few years, millions have felt some form of financial squeeze.  For some, it was an unbelievable financial disaster that caught then totally off guard.

 Thousands daily lost their jobs, their homes, their life savings—here yesterday, gone today.  Poof … it felt like it was an overnight happening.

 Fat 401(k) accounts were slashed to a fraction of what they were just months earlier; homes that many counted on to yield a hefty part of their retirement seed plummeted in value; and the credit markets turned venomous. The perfect storm. Financial scandals, scams and corruption fermented everywhere. And fear … unbelievable fear.

 The Fear Factors
Understanding your money personality, your spending habits, your needs and wants and what may be hindering you from achieving your goals are critical factors in creating financial independence.  Dealing with money fears that are blockers to success are a key ingredient to building assets.

Over the next several weeks, I’ll be posting the top fear factors for today … to overcome your fear, and get back on track, get your copy of Money Smarts for Turbulent Times by Judith Briles–available in paper and ebook format.

Calling All Authors …

Calling All Authors …

Does the Early Bird get the worm? … only if she is hungry!

  • Are you hungry for solid, non-hyped authoring and publishing information?
  • Do you prefer to learn in a workshop environment that includes interactive exercises and participants’ real situations to demonstrate problems/solutions?
  • Would you like to be able to have a one-on-one discussion with a seasoned publishing and publishing provider expert about your book?

Answering “yes” to any of the above shouts out that the Author U Extravaganza is where you should be on May 6th-7th. Two amazing days with nine amazing presenters.

There are 3 ways to attend:

1          In person
2          Live video streaming
3          Live audio streaming

Details and registration at www.AuthorU.org.  Register today and save $50.

If you are serious about your book … if you are committed to be successful in publishing … there is only one place to be on May 6th and 7th.

Author U … for Serious Authors who want to be seriously successful. 

Carefronting Employees in Your Midst …

Carefronting Employees in Your Midst …

 You’ve been recently promoted to manager of your department.  You loved being on staff, but the management role hasn’t been what you expected.  Your pre-management department friends seem to have new expectations from you (as you do from them).  The camaraderie you relished for the past two years has almost disappeared. 

 On top of that, Bertha, one of the best employees you’ve ever worked with seems to have had a personality transplant.  She routinely challenges your authority, grumbles about anything and everything, and appears to be the creator of some of the conflict your department is experiencing.

The quickest way to reduce red ink culpraits is to address them when inappropriate behavior surfaces. Your reward for resolution is increased retention, higher productivity, increased patient satisfaction and a less stressful workplace. 

Your solution cycle starts with observation, communication, confrontation and spelling out clearly what the consequence is if the behavior continues.

  1. Recognize that soft skills—effective communication and conflict resolution— are as critical as clinical skills.
  2. Make effective confronting a habit, not something that is done as a last resort.
  3. Teach communication and conflict resolution to everyone on staff.
  4. Identify Red Ink styles and behaviors and confront them immediately.
  5. Let marginal employees go.  Learn to de-hire.
  6. Create a no tolerance zone—bad behaviors are not tolerated or allowed.  Period.

 Don’t concentrate on being the “employer of choice.”  Instead, become the Employer of Choice of Choice Employees.  The real choice should be to keep the keepers and lose the losers.  The end result is a healthier workplace . . . a win-win for all.

Will Borders Pay Authors for Books?

The recent announcement that Borders will delaying paying some of its vendors means that Borders won’t be paying some of the very people who create the products—BOOKS—that Borders sells.

 http://detnews.com/article/20110101/BIZ/101010322/Borders-delays-vendor-payments

When the news first hit that Borders financial trouble had continued to deepen and that some vendors shouldn’t be expecting checks in the near future, Borders stock plunged 22% on the last day of trading for 2010 in the stock market.

 http://www.marketwatch.com/story/borders-stock-plunges-as-crisis-deepens-2010-12-31

 What’s this mean for authors and publishers? First, be bloody careful who you sell your books to on consignment. The great majority of bookstores sell books on consignment—you sell and send to them at a discounted rate; they, in turn, pay you if sold, eventually. If they don’t sell, they send your books back. Hopefully, in a re-sellable condition (the savvy author/publisher puts that in writing up front). The financial problems of Borders is not new news … it has been in the book news circuit for years … most of us thought they wouldn’t make it through 2010. But, in the consignment business, deaths can be prolonged. For small press publishers, who are using distributors and wholesalers to rep their books to the bookstore world, make sure you have a discussion about the viability of their key accounts—Borders is certainly one. Start doing some homework. Google bookstores and bookstore chains that carry your books—information is on the Internet, a click away. If you are selling direct to a book store, Google away. Shorten your payment schedules—none of this six-month nonsense for returns. Remember, if you, as an author/publisher, desire to have your books in the bookstores, it’s your job to drive buyers there to buy them. Check on inventories. Make sure you are getting paid. Will Borders pay authors/publishers for books? Time will tell.

Fed Up with Being Felt Up

Fed Up with Being Felt Up

As a member of the workforce and general population, it is impossible to escape the issue of sexual harassment and what it does to anyone encountering it: increased stress, lost productivity, mental and physical illness, even the fear of violence. As a parent, we teach our children to not let others touch their bodies. How then, did we allow Congress and TSA the ability to manually touch our bodies in its quest to out the bad guys? Personally, I’m fed up with being felt up.

TSA’s latest is a blatant encroachment on all things private—no longer a pat down … what’s being done bypasses any police “pat down” I’ve witnessed. Within the past two weeks, I’ve experienced the new system four times with some variation. Traveling as many do with artificial joints and implants, I’m one of those who sound the alarms. Being used to the “wanding,” I was stunned with the incredible invasiveness of what’s going on now.

Three children call me Gramma. I get, and enjoy countless letters from those who have heard me speak and who have read the many books that I’ve authored. I speak globally on them. I’m approaching my second million miles as a frequent flyer on United Airlines. On top of my head is a mop of silver hair. I don’t look like a terrorist; I don’t act like a terrorist; I don’t think like a terrorist … I am not a terrorist. What I am is a frequent traveler with double titanium knee implants. And, I’m mad as hell.

Sounding the security alarm after removing shoes, computers and passing through the sensors with less than five items on me, I’m told to stand on the pad and spread my feet. I’m asked if I want a private room, they do ask that—most of us frequent flyers just want to get through the damn line and to our boarding gate … declining, here’s what happened … Told to assume “the position,” two feet are placed on the mat, spread eagle and the TSA agent—same gender—gives you her verbiage drill that she will “feel” and no longer pat … blah, blah, blah. Arms out, palms up. Beginning at my neck, she feels all around my collar and under it … mind you I have no visible jewelry but small earrings and a wrist watch. I am not asked if there is anything that lurks hidden. I always say that I have double knee implants and bolts in my right shoulder as a courtesy to them.

She then proceeds along my arms, running both her hands along them from my armpits to the wrists. She then moves to my back and does a full feel over it … now moving her hands fully across my butt, moving them inside my waist band and then circles to my front side, readying for the frontal assault. Jeeze. Beginning with her hand flat on my chest under my chin, she begins her downward stroke between my breasts, and running her hand under each. I want to swat her away. She says, “If you want, you can have a private screening…” I’m thinking, “Yeah, to feel me up more – hey, hey TSA, how many boobs have your felt today …” I tell her, “Just get it over with …”

Hmmm, the procedure doesn’t move more swiftly. She then moves her hands, both of them, to my waist and belly. Hands move sideways across my belly, lifting my shirt, and feeling inside my waistband. I’m getting pissed … I don’t like strangers in my pants. The legs are next. Beginning at the ankle of each inner leg, she firmly moves the palm side of her hand up, all the way to my crotch, not once, but twice. Now, I’m really pissed … and feel incredibly violated. I want a shower … I want to get home … I don’t want to fly anymore … and I know I have my final roundtrip flight in two weeks for the year, then off the road for a month ….

The week before, the agent in Las Vegas wanted my passport number and name because the buzzer did the alarm thing and she did her search procedure—not once, but twice, forcing me into the private room. What was I wearing? … socks, black slacks, underwear, blouse with long sleeves. My usual. She threatened me that if I didn’t comply, I would be fined, etc., this supervisor–took my name, my passport #.

I now dislike/hate air travel, where I used to embrace it … and I have to do it with my work. I find myself resisting going to the airport. I detest all things TSA and wonder just how many billions/trillions are sucked into this government wasteland. I’m amused when I hear others say that they make travel safer. To the professional traveler, that statement in itself is a joke.

Frankly, I don’t want anyone feeling me up and down unless I invite them to do it. Does TSA have a “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy like the Military in its hiring? Are their agents certified that they aren’t pedophiles, stalkers, etc.? Could there be stalking and undercover men and women enjoying this new opportunity?

With the full ankle to crotch “feels,” how do the guys like it as the hand moves up to the base of the crotch, touching their dangling parts? Hmmm, has one of the TSA male agents ever wanted to say, “Cough”?

Why has Congress approved this outrageous, personally humiliating “search” that screams sexual harassment? I was told by the TSA supervisor in Phoenix that Congress approved the new procedure. We have laws against inappropriate behavior. I want to know which members voted for it. Where is the ALCU in its outrage on the assault of the innocent flyer? How about the ABA? Why aren’t the airlines shouting, “enough of this nonsense”? Is this why TSA agents now where blue uniforms similar to what many cops have worn, so they look more “official/threatening”? If men and women are opting for the “private” screening, are their two agents there vs. one?—after all, I didn’t sign anything that I gave written permission to have my body touched and handled.

Every member of Congress, the Senate, the President, his wife, his daughters, the head of Home Land Security — EVERYONE, should have to go through this–not just us chosen because we ring the bloody bell … and then there’s the radiation machines … what is the government going to do when cancer starts popping because of the increased doses too many are receiving–not to mention the TSA agents who stand, unprotected, close to them?

My daughter came by this AM, the mother of my amazing 5-year-old granddaughter. I told her I don’t want her traveling … I don’t want her groped … we do the car thing, even check out train options.

Stop this insanity NOW. Contact your Congressperson, Senator, all your friends, the media … be outraged for your neighbors, colleagues, friends and family members who may encounter the “grope of a third kind”. Send this blog to everyone you know. Share your comments. None of us can afford to be complacent.

A full body massage when you are in the buff has more integrity. Yep, I’m fed up with being felt up. I will do everything to curtail travel until this nonsense and violation of our personal liberties is stopped.

The Wrong Fit

 Have you ever been in a situation where you know that it could have been avoided? It usually comes from a wrong fit.

 People often ask what groups I speak for. My response is always—it’s better to ask what groups I don’t speak for. Puzzled with my response, I continued—I don’t speak for Teachers, Attorneys, Government … and Men After Dark. Simple.

 Teachers often talk when speakers speak; it just too much work proving one’s self to the legal beagles; government has a couple of strikes—sometimes it’s a challenge to get paid and the energy level that is generated from a government employee is rarely higher than a stair step; and the men, will the men are best having a humorist or sports celebrity speak during evening hours versus someone what wants to delete conflict in the workplace like yours truly.

 Too many times, things don’t work out because you may be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Don’t say yes, when in your heart, no is the better answer.

Bullying Behavior Is Still in the Air … Clear It Out

Nasty and demeaning behavior is alive and well in the workplace today. It’s not exclusive to gender and breeds easily. In fact, the bad economy acts as a breeder.The Susans (and Sams) of the workplace who practice the art of being pit bulls, bullies and jerks are the latest topic of author and management consultant Robert Sutton. In his best-selling book, The No #$%hole Rule (Warner Business Books), he identifies his “dirty dozen”—common, everyday actions that #$%holes typically use:

 Personal insults
 Invading one’s “personal territory”
 Uninvited physical contact
 Threats and intimidation—either verbal and/or non-verbal
 Sarcastic jokes and teasing used to insult
 Withering e-mail flames
 Status slaps intended to humiliate the recipient
 Public shaming or “status degradation” rituals
 Rude interruptions
 Two-faced attacks
 Dirty looks
 Treating people as if they are invisible

So, what do you do with a Susan or a Sam—who may be a boss or a co-worker?

If you are a manager, and not the pit bull, start quantifying what the behavior is costing you. How much time do you spend dealing with the employee that is an outcome of their behavior? How much is spent with staff that is the recipient of the bully’s output? Have HR professionals been called in—what’s their time worth? Have you had to interact with those senior to you? Is overtime paid out that could be tied to last minute demands or not getting things done? Has counseling been required? Have others quit because of the bully—what are your recruitment, replacement, and retraining costs? Could this person’s behavior contribute to lower productivity among other workers, even causing some to toss in the towel and transfer or quit?

The moneys mount up. Just replacing someone can cost you between one to three times an annual salary! Loss productivity factors in both reduced output, the need for overtime or temp help and added stress to staff. Few people say that the reason they are terminating is because of a specific person, it’s usually “a better opportunity,” “more pay” (even if it’s a nickel an hour more), or “less of a commute.”

Pit bulls (with and without lipstick) and bullies are key causes of good people exiting a workplace. Keeping them can have staggering costs. In the multiple worklace studies that I’ve done for my books (the latest is in Stabotage! How to Deal with the Pit Bulls, Skunks, Snakes, Scorpions & Slugs in the Health Care Workplace), over 51% reported that they had quit jobs because of the toxic behavior of their co-workers and bosses.

Unless their contributions are worth mega millions to your workplace and it would vaporize without them, it’s time to end it. The sooner, the better

Sutton advises, “Don’t hire #$%holes and don’t let them get away with it.”

For employees, he encourages them to change the “norms”—what’s acceptable and non-acceptable among co-workers; to get out; or create an attitude of indifference toward them.

In my own research and work with organizations, I know that the more confidence you display (even faking it), the less likely these creeps will attack you. Why?—it becomes too much work on their part to bug and/or pull you down.

When a company allows and enables rotten behavior, they support bad business practices and tell their workers they don’t count. Dumb.

Limping Leadership

What happens when a team, a group, a company or an organization loses its vision, its organization, it energy, its leadership and/or its passion? Simply, it dies.

Some deaths are sudden. Most are prolonged, and can be agonizing.

Gumblings and complaints about the leadership or management (people who don’t care–people who don’t appear or seem to be invested in the company or group–people who really lack organization experience–people who fail to connect–or people who don’t know that they are the wrong fit).

Concerns about apparent visual declines in surroundings or methods of communication (magazines or newsletters decline in quality, or disappear; emails are nothing more than a bunch of words without some type of catchy graphic; management/leadership fades into the background; physical surroundings begin to look worn or tired; or sponsored events become a minor reflection of yesteryear).

Too many leaders within the company or organization don’t really lead; they act as parking attendants.

If you are a member of a group or organization that appears to be limping along, what should you do? Nothing is not your answer. If this is your employment–dusting your resume is a good idea; re-evaluating what you do and where you want to do it; IDing what other companies employ people like you or produce the product or services that you are so good at creating; go to the CEO and let them know you’ve got a killer strategy (if you do) to add to the value and profitability of the company; move on.

Association–profits and non-profits typically die or limp along for years when a powerhouse leader or board moves on. These organizations usually have a high degree of turnover–their bylaws mandate it. And that’s the problem. Unless each new team of leadership is as strong, as visionary and as organized as its predecesor, the limp factor becomes engaged. If you are a member of such a group, you are going to have to have a serious discussion with yourself. Ask: are you getting anything out to belonging to the group … hanging with the members, any benefits that it has that you can’t get elsewhere, what? If you really can’t think of any, than it’s time to move on as well. Don’t renew your membership.

It is painful to watch a company or organization that you care for or have been deeply vested in begin to implode. Painful.
With that said, when it’s over, it’s over. Grieve, but move on and find new life. Don’t become a parking attendant.

And that, is a very good thing.

What’s Working for You?

Sometimes, it pays to not pay attention. That is, the intensity of the news, the media, all the outside “forces” can distract from your vision, your mission.

It’s oh so easy to be sucked down into the abyss of negative news that you get pulled off track. Your energy and drive gets dampened,even destroyed.

2010 could be the most amazing year. Yes, things are messy everywhere. No one needs a PhD to know that politics are as messy, and as screwed up, as ever; no one needs a PhD to know that the economy isn’t spectaular; and no one needs a PhD to know that people are still doing amazingly stupid things.

With said, What’s working for you? (Hey–waking up and breathing could be the big one today.)
What brings you energy? (My daughter has a new puppy–can you spell energy?)
What do you get excited about? (A new book, movie, seeing a friend, meeting friends for dinner, just having a day off could be #1 today.)
What would you like to start doing right now, if you had a magic wand? (Read that book you got for Christmas, take a trip, hunker down and start that project that has been beckoning for two years, have someone ring your doorbell and announce that they will keep your refrigerator clean for the next year.)
What would you like to stop doing right now, if you had a magic wand? (My job, going to useless meetings, faking it around people I don’t like, wasting time.)

You get the picture. Now, look again at the 5 questions I just asked. Seriously.
What would you like to stop doing right now?
What would you like to start doing right now?
What do you really get excited about?
Whata brings you energy?
What’s working for you?

It’s a New Year. It’s Winter and you know Spring is coming. The time for the birthing of the new you. I’m excitied, I plan on 2010 to be anamazing and fantastic experience! How about you?