Sunday, July 27, 2014

Part III: Stand Out…Don’t Just Be Outstanding (Section A); Be Out-Rage-Ous…Not Just “Out of the Box”: (Section B)

Section A:  Stand Out…Don’t Just Be Outstanding
As the first two essays of this four-part series – “Less Is More…More or Less and Play to Strengths” and “The New KISS:  Keep It Simple and Smart” – illustrated, leaders, really all communicators, more than ever need to consciously craft clear and concise yet also compelling messages.  (Clearly, the Stress Doc is still learning to “heal thyself.”)  The never ending digital/media bombardment, a) not only strains attention spans, and b) fosters ever-lurking “d and p” – distraction and procrastination, but c) can foster social isolation d) rigid fixation, and e) drain energy for even looking at another message, let alone thoughtfully ingesting and responding.  (And being so digitally sedentary and sedated is not good for the brain, back, or belly.)  Is today’s new mind-body mantra, Time to detox from your digital inbox?
In fact, with this ever-present “brain-body strain” and constant cacophony of data, dalliance, and diatribe, as one author succinctly asked:  Are You Being Heard or Are You Just Making Noise?
Designing the Pass in the Impasse
In a TNT – Time-Numbers-Technology – driven and distracted world, being “clear and concise” are increasingly necessary conditions for a message to be noticed.  However, these two message components may not be sufficient for your missive to be recognized and received, let alone engaged and embraced.  In a media jungle one must have distinctive verbals, visuals, and nonverbals (including body language, volume range, expressions, gestures, tone, pacing, etc.).  Even being loud or commanding may fall short.  One must project a message that radiates compelling contrast.  And my “Contrasting Message Mantra”:

Ø  Stand Out…Don’t Just Be Outstanding

Ø  Be Out-“Rage”-Ous…Not Just “Out of the Box”!
So let’s examine both components for fighting “digital distraction” and “in-box burnout”:
1. Stand Out…Don’t Just Be Outstanding.  Outstanding or exceptional knowledge and experience in a complex skill- and practice-based endeavor or field typically requires ten years and thousands of hours of trial and error learning and practice.  An extended apprenticeship is necessary for consistently performing consciously and skillfully and for improvising as needed.  High performance relies on both overt and implicit or “muscle memory.”
With this rite of passage, an insightful communicational leader develops well-honed “Substance and Style, Structure and Strategy” concepts and skills, tools, and techniques.  Such a conceptual-performance matrix is foundational for launching a truly meaningful and compelling – or “outstanding” – message and media platform.  And, once into a mutual engagement process…an authority’s savvy, integrity, and wisdom (or lack thereof) will often be affirmed (or exposed).
Finally, three key components of savvy, integrity, and wisdom:  a) a well spring of conscious and unconscious knowledge and memory along with comfort with uncertainty or complexity; at the same time, a drive to learn continuously, b) an ability to engage in both decisive action and judicious restraint, and c) a capacity for discerning the need for intimate involvement and emotional detachment; a recognition of the yin-yang nature of pain, partnership, and progress, i.e., to achieve “growing pains and evolving paths” wisdom.

The Challenge of Getting Started

However, there’s that start-up/engagement problem.  Let me provide an analogy.  Most of us know the time-honored adage:  “Don’t judge a book by its cover.”  Alas, these days that text/book may never be sighted, picked up, or downloaded, let alone evaluated, without an eye-catching and mind-grabbing verbal-visual or audio-video “brainbow”-colored jacket.  (Brainbow comes from 2013 Surfaces and Essences by Douglas Hofstadter and Emanuel Sander, a ground-breaking work on the power and omnipresence of analogical thinking.  A brainbow is an analogy that vividly connects diverse or distant minds).  When folks are in scan (or emotional stress) mode, they may not have the focus and persistence nor take the time to begin distinguishing foundational or underlying excellence from a seemingly hot, smoke and mirrors façade…unless you fight smoke by providing some brain fire.
The Triple “A” of Audience Engagement:  Attention-Anticipation-Action

Three steps for powerful engagement:
1) In multi-sensory fashion, your first task is to grab an actual or potential audience’s attention.

2) You want them on the edge of their seat in anticipation of your next communication or action.  (And being seen as edgy or quirky or deemed a “firecracker” – as personally dubbed by a Ft. Hood Senior Sergeant – is often a differentiating plus.)  So in addition to being eye-catching or “brilliant,” increasingly you must bring and trigger energy, illumination, and “heat.”  One must risk being provocative, even at times generate mind-challenging friction and conflict.  (Of course, a danger as a communicator is that your heat mostly morphs into message smog and “hot air”; e.g., while some may find her “hot,” I’m most aware of Fox News pundit Ann Coulter’s “light-weight” yet deceptively oppressive and often toxic “air quality” index.)
3) Finally, to solidify your connection with an audience, and to stimulate their sense of commitment and involvement, provide an opportunity for group’s to take meaningful problem-solving action.  I always introduce or illustrate a concept or skill with a “hands on” small group activity: buying-in to a new vision or viewpoints, skills and strategies, or tools and techniques requires applied knowledge.

Soular and Lunar Power
This engaging “Triple ‘A’” will help you reach your “stand out” goal:  achieving genuine and meaningful connection and contrast!   You must be the solar (and “soular”) power among the competing planetary platforms and programs.  And even if smaller, you can still be unpredictably lunar by possessing dimensional variability or bring a touch of divine lunacy; loom in the shadows, disappear and return, have ebb and flow (obvious and subtle) influence on the currents and characters of change; cast an indelible, luminous image on the waters, place events in a bewitching light or mysterious perspective, etc.  All of the above help you both exert a gravitational-motivational pull while out-shining other “stars” in that swirling and swarming social media galaxy.  Such an uncommon performance would truly be “outstanding.”
Mark Gorkin, MSW, LICSW, "The Stress Doc" ™, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, is a national keynote and webinar speaker and "Motivational Humorist & Team Communication Catalyst" known for his interactive, inspiring and FUN programs for both government agencies and major corporations.  A training and Critical Incident/Grief Intervention Consultant for the National EAP/Wellness Company, Business Health Services in Baltimore, MD, the Doc also leads “Stress, Team Building and Humor” programs for various branches of the Armed Services.  Mark, a former Stress and Violence Prevention Consultant for the US Postal Service, is the author of Resiliency Rap, Practice Safe Stress, and of The Four Faces of Anger.  See his award-winning, USA Today Online "HotSite" – called a "workplace resource" by National Public Radio (NPR).  For more info on the Doc's "Practice Safe Stress" programs or to receive his free e-newsletter, email or call 301-875-2567.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Natural SPEED: Stress Resiliency Shrink Rap ™ – Safe Stress Survival Strategies

Are you the “poster child” for stress and duress?
Should you try Prozac?  Is it time to confess
To Ebay shopping – which may be a warning
When you're clicking madly at three in the morning?

But relax, have no fear...
The Stress Doc is here. So lay worries to rest…
Now listen and learn to Practice Safe Stress!

As you sprint to the wire with blood pressure higher
Timeless mind-body tips to heed
For slowing down, getting feet on the ground
And building Natural SPEED – Sleep-Priority-Passion-Empathy-Exercise-Diet.

Now don't be cheap with your need for “Sleep.”
Maximum learning must be REM deep
To be a beauty with mental acuity
Not that snooze-button bashing BLEEP!

For when it comes to daily slumber
All night gaming is dumb and dumber.
You may call me a grouchy old toad:
“Pull the d_ _n plug on ‘just one more’ download.”

When it comes to stress – it’s a lock
Who you gonna get – the Stress Doc!

Did you know that sleep adversity
May be related to obesity?
Does sneaking and snacking mean values are lacking
Or a health issue needing attacking?
Forever “burning the candle” is not just a scandal –
More a waxy shellac that fuels brain-clogging plaque.

And who knew the “S”-word was also allied
With that tempting “S”-pair – a deadly Bonnie and Clyde.
Alas, “S and S” mania oft riddles "Sleep" criteria
As sly friends “Salt and Sugar” excite one’s insomnia
While Old Father Time and your family history
Weave deep-rooted drama and medical mystery –
Perhaps diabetic disorder, a staged trifecta:
First act, silent high blood pressure
Next, a warning: mini-stroke ischemia.
(Resist lifestyle changes…risk another seizure.)

And last, who can forget early onset dementia.
Tell me…have I finally captured your attentia???

So, can you get seven hours, at least
Without an Ambien or Bud-Lite feast?
(Or make one for the road a pie a la mode.)
Why not mind travel down a pine-scented road.
Or let sounds of the ocean sing a lullaby potion.
Slowly sway to the chords – “deep sleep of peace”
Fast food for thought brings no dreamy release…

When stress from your head still crawls into the bed
And virals as a nightmarish beast...
Despite what you think you’ll need more than a shrink:
How do you find – without losing your mind...?
Hey, it’s a snap, there must be an app
For a “multi-HYPER-texting ‘n tubeing-always on-Facebooking-
Virtual nutritionist-Skype-savvy” exorcist (just for the hell of it) Priest!

Ready to confess – join the flock
Who you gonna get – the Stress Doc!
"P" stands for "Priority"
You can't do it all every day.
Urgent means now but important can wait.
Do you know how to "N and N"? –
Just say "No and Negotiate!"
Now I hope you’ll pardon my asking:
“Must you always be multi-tasking?”
Oh, it’s just me, honey, your Energizer Bunny.
Running from quiet, your life is a riot.
Hmm…what is that “ADD” masking?
Is your life a mess? – you need a rock
Who you gonna get – the Stress Doc!

Another “P”-word is “Passion”
And we’re not talking sex, shoes, or fashion.
Don’t try to impress, better…
Learn to play chess
Or dig, dream, and dance in your garden.

"E" is for the "Empathy"
Found in a caring shoulder.
But all give without take is a big mistake
For now you shoulder a boulder.

Find a stress buddy who knows TLC
Someone honest and self-aware –
One who gives “Tender Loving Criticism”
Yet also takes “Tough Loving Care!”

Doing more with less – better take stock
Who you gonna get – the Stress Doc!

The second "E" is for "Exercise"
Start pumping iron or those thighs.
You may not need SSRIs.
Try thirty minutes of non-stop spin
For your mood uplifting endorphin.

Being fit physically
Goes beyond stress resiliency.
Try this new math for a more vital path:
Pumped up brain agility
Times emotive tranquility
Now equals mind-body integrity!
And, finally, "D" is for a healthy "Diet"
Alas, many would rather die than try it.
To manage foods so often craved
Grieve, "let go," and then be brave
Sending diet fads to an early grave.

So eat those fruits and veggies
Try omega fish and bean protein.
For too much fats and sugar
Excess alcohol and caffeine
Is a rollercoaster formula

For a brain-fogged and artery-clogged machine.

When it comes to stress – you’re on the clock
Who you gonna get – the Stress Doc!

It's time to end this Shrink Rap
With final tips for you –
"A firm 'No' a day keeps the ulcers away, and the hostilities too."
So to lessen daily woes, "Do know your limits; don't limit your 'No's

Ponder this Stress Doc wit and wisdom
Try to live it day after day:
Burnout is not a sign of failure
You simply gave yourself away

Remember, sometimes less is more
And more is really less.
Balance work and play, faith and love
And, of course...Practice Safe Stress!

© Mark Gorkin 2014
Shrink Rap ™ Productions