How Empathic People Can Set Effective, Loving Boundaries

You’re a highly empathic person. You fully and intently listen to others. You tend to focus on others’ emotions, often feeling them more so than your own. In fact, it’s like you feel someone else’s pain deep inside your bones. It’s that visceral.

And you frequently find yourself utterly exhausted because tending to others comes more naturally to you than tending to yourself, according to Joy Malek, a marriage and family therapist who specializes in working with people who are intuitive, empathic, creative and highly sensitive.

And this struggle includes setting boundaries. Your discomfort with boundary setting may stem from these three reasons, Malek said: You don’t know your needs in the first place—and only realize that a boundary was necessary after the fact. You fear that the validation you receive for being so caring and nurturing will disappear, and when you say no, others will no longer see your value. And many of the suggestions on boundary setting stress assertiveness, which to you might actually feel aggressive.

So you have a tough time ending conversations when you’re tired, or declining requests when you’re completely drained and desperately need downtime. So you remain silent when you’re uncomfortable, or don’t ask for help when you’re hurting, too.

When you do try to set boundaries, you might find yourself over-apologizing, and minimizing your concerns so you can again focus on the other person’s feelings, Malek said.Ultimately, you conclude that you’re just “bad at boundaries.” In reality, however, “you haven’t found a style that feels organic to your nature.”

Here, Malek shared invaluable insight for setting boundaries that protect your needs and boundaries you feel good about.

Identify your own needs. “Empathic people can especially benefit from boundaries that put limits around the amount of time and energy we give to others,” Malek said. “Without these limits, we often find that our needs are met last, or not at all.”

Take the time to think about your needs. How much space and solitude do you need to feel your best? What genuinely refreshes and recharges you? What tends to drain you? What people tend to drain you? When do you feel your best? When do you feel your worst?

Start creating boundaries around your responses, and check in with yourself regularly. Because our needs change and evolve. You might check in with yourself every hour or so for only a few minutes. Then you might do a more thoughtful check-in every evening, and journal about your thoughts and feelings for 15 minutes.

Pause before saying yes. When someone asks you to do something, you might blurt out, “yes, of course!” without even thinking about it. Your automatic response is to help—and you might feel awkward saying anything other than yes. Plus, sometimes the other person creates a sense of urgency that doesn’t exactly exist (or we somehow feel one).

However, Malek suggested simply pausing before committing. You can always say, “I’m not sure. I need some time to think about that,” or “I need to check my schedule, but I’ll definitely let you know tomorrow.” “In that pause, we can ask ourselves how we actually feel, and whether we have the time, energy and desire to accept the request.” Which means that it’s totally OK if you have the time and energy but simply don’t want to. Your wants count, too.

Shift your perspective. When you want or need to say no, think about how you’d like someone to decline your request, Malek said. For instance, this might include expressing empathy for the other person, and explaining that you’re unable to meet their request, she said. What does this actually look like?

For instance, Malek shared these examples of kind, empathic personal boundaries:

  • “I know you’re hurting and I really want to be there for you, but the truth is that I’m struggling right now, too. I’m looking forward to supporting you once I’m back on my own feet, emotionally.”
  • “I’ve really enjoyed this conversation, and part of me doesn’t want it to end! I’m noticing, though, that I’m getting really tired, so I’m going to head home.”

Malek also shared these examples of professional boundaries:

  • “I’d really like to take that project on, but I know I’d be compromising the quality of the projects that are already on my plate. It’s my priority to do a great job with what you’ve entrusted to me.”
  • “I’m in the office during business hours Monday through Friday, and I return calls, texts and emails during those times. If you reach out in the evening or on a weekend, I’ll look forward to following up with you during the next business day.”

See reactions as valuable signs. Pay attention to how others react to your boundaries. Do they push against them? Do they have a hard time taking no for an answer? Do they make you feel guilty or bad about yourself in some other way? Do they take you seriously or think your boundaries are unreasonable or don’t apply to them?

All of this is helpful information about the quality of that relationship, Malek said. Of course, it really hurts when the people we love and care for don’t have the same consideration for us.

However, “It makes sense to invest more in relationships where our boundaries and needs are respected than in those where they are not.”

When you’re a highly empathic person, setting boundaries can feel impossible. But it can absolutely be done. The key is to find a style that works for you, and to keep practicing. Boundaries can be kind and loving—and remember, as Malek said, your needs are legitimate, too.

Also, don’t wait until you’re completely exhausted and overwhelmed to care for yourself and to protect your energy. Start setting boundaries that are respectful of yourself and your natural tendencies right now.

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The Future Of Sales And The Pervasiveness Of Technology

I was recently a guest speaker at the Sales Leadership Conference organized by Dr. Karen Peesker, Co-Founder of the Sales Leadership Institute, a department at the Toronto Metropolitan University (formally Ryerson University) in Toronto, Canada. The conference was hosted by IT World Canada, Microsoft, DHL, Rogers and other community leaders. The conference goals were to bring university professors, students, industry leaders, and academicians to share their learning programs, identify gaps and requirements to advance the sales profession and most importantly, tackle a vision for the future of sales.

The strongest theme of the conference was the business imperative for advancing digital literacy, data literacy and ensuring that technology was firmly embedded in all sales learning programs. Digital literacy is best defined as an individual’s ability to find, evaluate, and clearly communicate information and knowledge through using diverse digital platforms. It is best evaluated by an individual’s interaction skills with technology and includes: grammar, composition, typing skills and the ability to produce text, images, audio and designs using technology.

This point was acutely reinforced by Fawn Annan, the CEO of IT World Canada (ITWC), with her high impact video conference address, where she identified how pervasive technology is in shifting the global sales landscape. Her panoramic and rich perspectives highlighting how diverse technologies – AI, analytics, IoT, driverless cars – are collectively impacting the world of a sales professional at work, and in society.

Annan quoted Gartner Group’s research stating that “a seller’s decision making is now based more on data, analytics and AI, versus intuition and experience” – prior stable hallmarks of a sales professional. This means that sales professionals will need far more digital literacy and data literacy training to be able to function in a far more data centric world. Other key takeaways from this video included:

1.) Hyper automation is advancing a buyer’s sales journey, and that a seller only has 26 moments to engage and influence a buyer in his /her purchasing journey. In other words, finding the right moments is even more important in following the customer data crumbs.

2.) Consumers check their cell phones on average 47 times/day and these frequent check-in’s, according to Google, are referred to as micro-moments. Hence the increased value of AI driven advertising as well the increasing intrusion consumers feel in invading their privacy.

3.) Over 76% of consumers transact and ship on mobile devices, and this number is increasing year-over-year. Hence, sales professionals’ primary interaction devices must be mobile and portable.4.) Sales applications exist throughout the sales buyer’s journey and increasingly, they are AI applications. According to McKinsey, the fastest growing companies invest more in AI sales digital tools than slower growth companies. A major contributor of sales performance success is having a robust sales software infrastructure. Hence, companies must accelerate their investments in sales intelligence software toolkits for advancing competitive advantage.

5.) Annan profiled two companies in her video address: SalesChoice and RingCentral. SalesChoice’s focus is on accelerating the growth of sales professionals and is a comprehensive AI platform well known for its proven sales use cases. Solutions include:

· Predictive Opportunity Scoring (focusing on the best deals with highest probability of a win outcome),

· Predictive Sales Forecasting that are securing prediction levels of up to 95% accuracy,

· Monitoring your data to ensure the AI predictions are on solid foundations,

· Relationship intelligence, with their new alliance partner, IntroHive, to bring even more win or loss signals to the attention of sales professionals. Who would not want to buy software that can predict your future outcomes at the top of your funnel and predict a win or a loss on every sales deal outcome, and identify the depth and breadth of your customer relationships across your enterprise?

· Mood and Health Intelligence: SalesChoice is active in innovation research with the Ontario Center of Innovation (AVIN program) and Purolator, propagating the importance of health in advancing employee productivity, and reducing attrition. Did you know that according to Payscale, sales account management was ranked as the second most stressful job, with 73% of respondents rating the role as “highly stressful.” Salespeople are under a lot of pressure to meet quota, convert quickly, and keep approval rankings high.

So increasing health approaches are critical to ensure sales talent don’t burn out or give up. Estimates of annual turnover among U.S. salespeople run as high as 27%—twice the rate in the overall labor force. In many industries, the average tenure of a sales professionals is less than two years. Given that the costs to recruit a sales professional is 20% and the time it takes to ramp up a sales professional is around 9 months, you can see how expensive it is to not retain your sales talent.

AI can act like a crystal ball. With good data, the mathematical genius in an AI algorithm and computational power is like the holy grail to guide sales professionals to greater deal outcome success and hopefully to happier behaviors and positive win outcomes as well.

The second company profiled was Ring Central, where Annan highlighted their collaboration and call center solutions, using AI methods to optimize building more productive customer interactions. Leaders like Sheevaun Thatcher, are advancing sales modernization programs at Ring Central, integrated diverse disciplines from: Adult Learning, Interactive Design, Strategic Planning, Collaborative Leadership, Diversity and Inclusiveness and always connecting the dots seamlessly. If there is a leader to watch advancing the field of sales and learning enablement, it is Sheevaun Thatcher.

Annan consistently highlighted that having advanced AI solutions can make a major difference to your digital conversion success, and reinforced that the old tools of looking in the rear view mirror are simply yesterday’s approaches. Due to the rapid speed of our world’s changing footprint, having smarter and forward looking (predictive AI analytics) toolkits is the only way that companies can grow faster, and more importantly, survive.

Increased AI Sales Toolkits Knowledge and Competency is Key.

Educating sales professionals to be ready for a smarter AI focused workplace will require skills, knowledge and proficiency in using modernized toolkits. So sales training must offer hands-on and practical skills development in universities to hit the ground running and bring value to a company immediately upon hiring.

Companies that use AI for sales in pre-sales have seen a 50% boost in leads, a 60-70% reduction in call time, and a 40-60% cost reduction. Numerous toolkits are in the market identifying the ideal buyer prospect and even knowing the propensity (density) of a buyer’s interest in your solution. Knowing where you customer is in their buyer journey is an inflection point for engaging in a micro-moment. Leading solutions advancing leads using AI are profiled in this blog.

In addition to pre-sales, other AI approaches can be used in opportunity scoring, predictive forecasting, and even mood / health indicator correlated to win rates. These are all areas that SalesChoice, a former ITWC Digital Transformation Award recipient, has been pioneering in.

According to the 2021 Buyer Experience Study, 80% of SaaS buyers report the buying process has too many steps and results in frustration for both the buyers and sellers. Hence, what this means for developing sales training programs is that skills not relevant to technology will need to be balanced with those that are. For example, empathy and two-way listening is key. Strong sales professionals understand that a buyer comes to solve a specific problem and not to buy your product. Understanding your buyer’s need is key in order to find a path for resolving it rapidly and reducing buyer and seller friction.

Research has shown that identifying the needs of your buyer can shorten sales cycle by as much as 65%. Customers (buyers) are coming into sales cycles far more informed from online sources. Hence, sales professionals need to learn more consultation skills to unravel the customer’s needs using relevant problem solving skills, enabled with as much prior information on the buyer as the buyer has on the seller.

Increase Training on Collaboration and Selling Virtually

With continued reliance on working virtually, the sales professionals will need to use a variety of online sales toolkits, ranging from a leading CRM (HubSpot, Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, etc.,), calendar management system, and collaboration system (like Zoom, or Microsoft Teams) etc. Expertise for effective collaboration will need to include skills in emotional intelligence, written skills, video presence (posture, smiling vs frowning), and voice skills (how you sound impacts how people want to listen). Other key skills like relationship development are increasingly valued in our network economy as building trust online must be mastered in seconds to capture a conversion in a micro-moment exchange.

Increase Digital Literacy Skills

There are many skills in digital literacy – from being able to use software, operate a digital device, to the ability to manage complex cognitive, social, emotional and motor skills to function effectively in digital high-tech environments. Key areas in digital literacy for a sales professional will need to include: the ability to understand reading instructions in digital environments, create or analyze simple to complex graphical displays in user interfaces, use diverse visualization methods, extract knowledge from non-linear, hypertextual navigation, and ascertain the quality and the validity of the information that is being presented.

Increase Data Science and AI Skills

In our data rich world, it is imperative for sales professionals to develop stronger data literacy skills. Data literacy skills include the ability of a sales professional to identify, understand, operate on, and use data effectively. Gartner Group defines data literacy as “the ability to read, write and communicate data in context, including an understanding of data sources and constructs, analytical methods and techniques applied, and the ability to describe the use case, application and resulting value.

Further, data literacy is an underlying component of digital dexterity — an employee’s ability and desire to use existing and emerging technology to drive better business outcomes.” Gartner Group is predicting that by 2023, data literacy will become essential in driving business value, demonstrated by its formal inclusion in over 80% of data and analytics strategies and change management programs.

However, traditionally sales professionals possess stronger skills in relationship building, listening and understanding people’s emotional states. A recent survey found that out of over 7M sales professionals on Linkedin, only 0.4% indicated they had studied math. This mirrors my experience as well leading sales teams or building software for sales professionals. Data literacy is a major gap in sales and to bridge this gap, companies will need to invest in training sales professionals in math, statistics and AI general concepts. This also will shift the hiring profile as increasing digital literacy and data skills are imperative to lead in the changing data rich world.

Conclusion

The Sales Leadership Institute and the leadership of Dr. Karen Peesker is an excellent initiative that requires government and industry support, as close to 5% of the North American labour population is comprised of sales professionals. Sales is an important profession focused on selling a company’s products or services, and also one that manages the customer’s relationship from an account management perspective.

Skill development in digital literacy, data literacy, relationship intelligence, and not losing sight of the softer skills (communication, written and oral, and listening) are all critical to advance the sales profession and be prepared to compete in a world that, as Annan shared in her video address, is increasingly technology centric.

SalesChoice, an AI SaaS company focused on Ending Revenue Uncertainty and brining more Humanity to Sales to avoid attention deficit disorder using AI and Cognitive Sciences. A former Accenture, Xerox and Citicorp executive, she bridges governance, strategy and operations in her AI initiatives. She is also a board advisor of the Forbes School of Business and Technology, and the AI Forum. She is passionate about modernizing innovation with disruptive technologies (SaaS/Cloud, Smart Apps, AI, IoT, Robots and Cobots), with 14 books in the market, with The AI Dilemma just released. Follow her on Linked In or on Twitter or her Website. You can also access her at The AI Directory.

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Source: The Future Of Sales And The Pervasiveness Of Technology

More contents:

Ways to Build Self-Esteem

Everybody experiences self-doubt from time to time. It’s a normal part of being human. When feelings of self-doubt last for long periods, however, you may have low self-esteem. “Low self-esteem is used to describe someone with a negative view of oneself, feelings of worthlessness and incompetence. Generally people fall on a continuum from low to high self-esteem, and this can vary from day to day and from situation to situation,” says Lori Ryland, a psychologist in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

Fortunately, low self-esteem doesn’t have to be permanent. Recognizing symptoms of low self-esteem, understanding its causes and learning steps to thwart it can go a long way toward making you feeling worthy, valuable and confident.

What Causes Low Self-Esteem?

Low self-esteem can have many triggers and begin at any time in life. Some experts say low self-esteem is more the result of negative or traumatic experiences.

Others say low self-esteem stems from a critical inner voice. “Although it seems that our emotions and motivations result directly from the events and circumstances we encounter, they are instead reactions to our self-talk – the internal monologue that streams through our waking consciousness, interpreting whatever we experience and creating our perspective,” notes John Tholen, an author and retired psychologist who practiced in Southern California for more than 40 years.

Symptoms of Low Self-Esteem

The symptoms of low self-esteem may be hard to recognize or admit to yourself.

Ryland says signs can include:

Or perhaps you may recognize certain habits of low self-esteem, such as being unable to set boundaries. “Letting others have their way and failing to stand up for oneself can occur,” Ryland says.

Ways to Build Self-Esteem

You can build self-esteem with many techniques. Here are 17 to get you started.

  • Get some perspective. Realize that many people experience low self-esteem, and you’re not alone. “Self-esteem issues are much more common than you might think,” says Noam Dinovitz, a therapist in Philadelphia. “It’s one of those issues that frankly is easy to hide.”
  • Give yourself a break. “Maybe you are ‘just right’ how you are. Maybe this is a learning time. Maybe this is how it is all supposed to be. Be kind to others, and be kind to yourself. It is OK if you take a break today,” says Lynn Zakeri, a therapist in Chicago.
  • Be aware of self-criticism. “Take note of what you are saying to yourself,” says Alyssa Friedman-Yan, a therapist in Wilton, Connecticut. “Demand proof for these harsh statements.”
  • Get a second opinion. “First, list a few people in your life whom you value, and the reasons why you value them. Next, when appropriate, ask them why they value you. Then compare the list,” says Aaron Weiner, a psychologist in Chicago. “Is there any overlap? Do you agree with their judgment of you?”

  • Redirect negative thoughts.Reframe that critical voice into a more supportive one. Did you make a mistake? Well, instead of, ‘I’m so stupid,’ how about saying, ‘I learned what not to do,’” says Natalie Bernstein, a psychologist in Pittsburgh.
  • Change your expectations. “Unrealistic expectations can set one up for failure and diminish self-worth,” says Dr. Rahul Gupta, a psychiatrist in Atlanta. “It is important to tell oneself that not meeting certain goals and expectations is permissible.”
  • Write down your definition of worth. Be specific. “When we use general phrases, it’s easy to say we don’t feel good, because we can’t even truly define what we’re saying,” Dinovitz points out. “Furthermore, make sure that the worth is coming from a healthy place. If all of our worth is coming from a source like our jobs or how many followers we have on social media, that’s not healthy.”
  • Set realistic goals. “Start small and start simple. Be proud of even the smallest accomplishments. Change is best when it’s gradual and not abrupt. I like to tell my clients, ‘We cannot get from point A to Z without traveling through the alphabet, so please stop trying to skip B and C. Leave a trail of breadcrumbs so you can see your accomplishment and feel it and find pride in it,’” Friedman-Yan says.
  • Take control of negative experiences. “If we’re able to find purpose in the negative things that have happened to us, then we are able to use our negative experiences to our advantage and are able to feel like we have more control over what happened to us,” notes Brooke Aymes, a therapist in Haddon Township, New Jersey.
  • Take stock of successes. If you’ve succeeded before, you can do it again. “Make a list of all your accomplishments and keep this handy. Review it and add to it often, especially when you’re feeling low,” Ryland advises.
  • Try being assertive in conversation. “Say something that takes courage. It may just be chiming in or an opinion, but assertiveness can help you walk taller,” Zakeri suggests.

  • Challenge Yourself. “Maybe you’ve always wanted to hike a mountain, sleep in a tent or go kayaking, yet you’ve never made time for the experience. The more we challenge ourselves to try new things, the more we see what we are truly capable of and it helps us to build self confidence in ourselves,” Aymes says.
  • Surround yourself with healthy relationships. “Individuals that make up a social support system provide a mirror for one’s positive image. Healthy relationships and social support systems also provide an example of positive values that one can strive to embrace,” Gupta explains.
  • Avoid social media. Many studies suggest that social media is harmful to self-esteem. For example, a review of 49 studies of college students or teens, published online Aug. 27, 2019, by Media Psychology found that comparing oneself to others on social media was often associated with lower self-esteem. “Whether what we see is accurate or not, it’s very difficult to see what everybody else is up to or accomplishing and then not compare that to ourselves,” Dinovitz says.
  • Be in service to others. Aymes advises clients to volunteer or perform random acts of kindness, such as paying for the road or bridge toll of a person behind you in traffic. “Being in service to others helps us to naturally feel like good humans and also makes the world a better place,” she notes.
  • Use affirmations. “Think of how easily you believe critical ones of yourself. Instead, try to choose a phrase or two that you want to believe about yourself. Write it down on a piece of paper and keep it in your pocket, or note it on your phone. When saying it, try to tap into the feeling of the affirmation, imagine what your life would be like if this were to be true. Practice is important here, so set a timer on your phone if you need help remembering throughout the day,” Bernstein recommends.
  • Seek professional help. Consider reaching out to a professional such as a therapist, psychologist or psychiatrist. An expert can guide you through a number of types of talk therapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, which utilizes many of the same strategies in this article, including identifying dysfunctional thoughts and refocusing them to be more positive. “We can improve both our outcomes and our state of mind by identifying – and shifting our attention to – reasonable alternative ideas that are more likely to inspire constructive action or hope,” Tholen says.

Finally, don’t beat yourself up if change doesn’t happen overnight. “A path to self-acceptance is often a long one and has many peaks and valleys,” Friedman-Yan says. “It takes effort and adaptation, and requires us to be mindful in our interactions with self and our world around us.”

By

Heidi Godman reports on health for U.S. News, with a focus on middle and older age. She has over two decades of experience and her work has appeared in dozens of publications, including the Harvard Health Letter (where she serves as executive editor), the Chicago Tribune, Orlando Sentinel and Cleveland Clinic Heart Advisor.

Source: Ways to Build Self-Esteem | US News

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6 Tips For Conducting a Digital Literacy Assessment

Digital literacy is a skill that is a fundamental need for most institutions, especially with the amount of technology used in the world. Unfortunately, many companies and institutions are not investing enough time or money to cultivate this skill.

One way this could be addressed is by conducting what some people call digital literacy assessments. These are tests and surveys that measure an individual’s digital literacy level.

By understanding where these individuals stand, the institutions and companies will be able to craft and plan for learning programs to heighten this skill. There are a few tips to conducting these assessments that can help them go smoother and be more efficient, and below we will look at some of these.

Get Buy-In

Whenever you institute a new program, the first important thing is to get the senior members of the staff or group to get on board. This may be challenging in some cases because these senior individuals may be worried that they won’t score well.

To get that buy-in, though, it is merely a matter of having a meeting or sit down with them and showing them all the numbers that help put your new stance in digital literacy in perspective.

Show Don’t Tell

Like with anything, it is best to show these individuals how the digital literacy assessment will benefit them and their team. This means explaining to them that the more literacy they have in the digital world, the more their lives will be impacted in a good way. This can even extend to the home.

Consistency Matters

Once the assessments begin, to keep these individuals’ buy-in and make it a part of your institution’s culture, you will need to make sure they are consistently executed. Pick a schedule and use it religiously to take away your team’s stress and discomfort taking these assessments.

Cybersecurity Is Important

There are a lot of areas to cover when it comes to digital literacy. When creating your assessment, one of the most important to include is cybersecurity. Things like how to spot suspicious emails and such are essential to keep your personal info and the institution’s computer system safe. Therefore it is a vital piece of digital literacy.

Barriers to Adoption

When rolling out your digital literacy assessment, make sure to answer any push back you may get. This means sitting down and considering the barriers that individuals will put up to avoid these assessments.

Employee Resistance

The last tip we have is to go into this process expecting there to be pushed back. By expecting it, you will be able to pivot when confronted with it or pleasantly surprised when there isn’t any.

Concluding Thoughts

Having a digital literacy assessment in place is becoming a necessity if you want to run your institution at its highest efficiency and productivity. Hopefully, these six tips have helped you in your planning process.

By Matthew Lynch

Source: 6 Tips for Conducting a Digital Literacy Assessment – The Tech Edvocate

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Life Settlements: A Hidden Source Of Cash For Seniors

From a financial perspective, this is an interesting time for seniors, many of whom are retired. Equity markets have delivered historically strong returns for the past several years, which has boosted savings. However, between low fixed-income yields and rising inflation, many are wondering whether their assets will provide all the cash flow they need to maintain their lifestyles.

These factors are forcing many seniors, who are often solely dependent on cash flow from their investments and social security payments, to seek out additional sources of cash. Most do not know that something called “life settlements” may be the solution they need.

What Is A Life Settlement?

A life settlement is the sale of a life insurance policy to a third party. In a life settlement transaction, policyholders will sell their life insurance for more than the cash value, if any, and less than the death benefit.

Policyholders (also referred to in this post as owners) who sell their life insurance achieve two sought-after goals: (1) they stop the cash outflow needed for future insurance premiums that keep the policy in force; and (2) they provide cash from the sale of the policy. In almost every instance, selling the policy will result in more cash than simply letting it lapse.

Of course, when selling a policy, the beneficiaries will no longer receive the death benefit. Rather, the buyer of the life insurance policy, who will also pay the policy’s premiums, will receive the death benefit.

Many seniors own life insurance policies they no longer need or can no longer afford. For example, they may be in a situation where the need for the policy has changed, such as when a mortgage is paid off or when beneficiaries no longer need financial support.

Unfortunately, most people are not even aware that there may be an option to sell a policy. With a few exceptions, insurance carriers, which benefit from lapses in life insurance policies, don’t inform policy holders of the life settlement option.Best Practices For Selling A Policy

Before selling a policy, policyholders need to consider whether it makes sense to do so. In doing so, a policyholder should answer these questions:

1. To what extent do my beneficiaries need the death benefit from the policy?

2. Are the policy’s premium payments affordable?

3. Is there cash value in the policy that I could use to make the premium payments?

4. If the premium payments are not affordable, do my beneficiaries want to pay the premiums so that they can keep the death benefit?

How Much Is The Policy Worth?

There are many factors that determine what a buyer will pay for a policy. These factors include:

·  The death benefit

·  The age and health of the insured (in general, life settlements buyers are interested in buying policies where the insured’s life expectancy is less than 15 years)

·  The premium payments

·  The amount of loans taken out under the policy, if any

Selling an insurance policy may give rise to taxable income, which would reduce the net proceeds to the policyholder.

How To Sell A Policy

There are different types of buyers of life settlements ranging from individual investors to institutions. In general, a policyholder can sell a policy to these investors directly or via a life settlement broker.

Life settlement brokers have a fiduciary responsibility to get the best price for the policy owner. However, life settlement brokers take a percentage of the selling price (up to 30%) or a percentage of the death benefit (between 6% and 8%).

Some life settlement investors will buy policies directly from policyholders. While this may eliminate the broker’s fee, these investors do not have a responsibility to ensure that the policy is sold at the best price.

It’s a good idea for policyholders to speak with more than one broker or investor to ensure they’re getting a top dollar for their policy. Keep in mind that “online calculators”and estimates provided by brokers or investors are, at best, a rough guess as to what the policy is worth and are not to be relied upon.

A life insurance salesperson can be of assistance in selling a policy as well. Note that some life insurance salespeople are more familiar with life settlements than others.

Note that some states regulate life settlements and those states’ department of insurance may provide important additional information that sellers should know.

The life settlement process can take two to five months during which period the policy must be kept in-force. Also, the life settlement process requires the policyholder to provide information about the policy and access to the insured’s medical records.

When Is A Life Settlement The Right Option?

On the one hand, a life settlement improves cash flow by providing a lump sum payment and eliminating future premium payments. On the other hand, selling an insurance policy means that the beneficiaries will not receive the death benefit.

As the baby boomer population has been going into retirement and the awareness of life settlements has increased over the past few years, tens of thousands of policy holders have sold their policies. The decision to sell a life insurance policy is typically a difficult one. However, with the knowledge of life settlements, policyholders have an additional option to consider to help meet cash needs.

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Rob Levin is the Managing Member of the Oasis Strategy Group, a company specializing in life settlements. Read Rob Levin’s full executive profile here.

Source: Life Settlements: A Hidden Source Of Cash For Seniors

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