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When being a little sideways is a good thing!

August 25, 2014

We did it! We made it to the final week of Summer of Well-Being! As I type these words, though, I’m reminded of one of my favorite song lyrics by Kenny Loggins (yes, I’m dating myself a bit!):

This is it! Make no mistake where you are! What’s left to provide?
You think that maybe it’s over .
Not if you don’t want it to be!

Here’s what I know for sure…our well-being is a daily, life-long process. And more than just a process, it’s a decision. A decision we make every moment of every day.

I’ve so enjoyed bringing you on this journey during our summer. Please know that the journey is not over! On Thursday, you’ll hear from our final guest blogger, Michelle Alva, who is an Energy Healer at Canyon Ranch Miami Beach. She’s going to wrap up our awareness program very nicely. And, I’m so excited to announce that on September 1st I’ll be sharing with you a way that you can continue on this journey with me and with many others, as I launch my new 6-Month Group Coaching Program: Journey to Well-Being! I can’t wait to share this opportunity with you, and I hope you will consider remaining in our community and growing in your well-being every day.

Today I want to write about one of my favorite things…creativity! One of my top 5 talent themes as defined by Gallup’s Strengths Finder is Ideation. I just LOVE ideating and getting new ideas going and growing! Because it’s one of my strengths, I know that leading with this strength each day, even if only a little bit, gives me so much energy! But even if it’s not a natural talent for you doesn’t mean that you can’t employ it to boost your well-being. They say that if we spend too much time nourishing our logical reasoning, we in fact starve our non-linear, right-brain functions. As a result, we only half live!! bigstock-Thinking-Smiling-Woman-With-Qu-46191085

Research shows that stimulating our right-brain helps to relax us, lower our blood pressure, reduce migraine headaches, and generally increase our harmony. Of course, this can be attained via activities such as mindfulness, or guided visualizations, which we’ve covered during Summer of Well-Being. They help to quiet the rational “thinking” brain. However, there are other ways to spark the right-brain and transform the way we think, learn and operate.

As an example, just this month our team had a retreat that was based in ideation. We wanted to get outside of our boxes and come up with as many innovative ideas as possible (without being logical!), so we used Improv techniques to help us do this. Not only was it a lot of fun, but it truly helped us to get comfortable with being uncomfortable, which often is a requirement to operating in a right-brain kinda way! If you had a chance to view our Summer of Well-Being guest blogger last week, David Suarez, then you know what I’m talking about.

To take it one step further, I want to share five tips for thinking laterally, as Edward DeBono, Ph.D., calls it, or as I like to call it, “Sideways” thinking!

1. Get Random Input: Instead of relying only on what we think or know, we can take our question somewhere else for input, like a mall, or museum, or neighbor, or random book, etc. DeBono says that “A random input from outside can serve to disrupt the old pattern and allow it to reform in a new way.”

2. Quotas: By imagining that there is only one right answer, we limit ourselves. By using quotas, we challenge ourselves to come up with a minimum number of alternatives. We can take this deeper by setting a deadline.

3. Rotation of Attention: Sometimes when we try to solve a problem we focus on just one aspect of the problem, thereby limiting our solutions. One example is losing weight. Perhaps we only focus on the diet and the specific food item we need to reduce or eliminate. Another way to look at it, thereby sparking our right-brain, is to make each factor in the problem (or question) the focus of attention and learn as much as we can by examining it as if it were the only factor in the problem.

4. Reversals: Turn a situation completely upside down! By doing this we are changing our point of view. For example, sometimes it’s hard to figure out what it is we want, but it may be interesting to ask ourselves what it is we don’t want! To determine what well-being is for us, we may learn a lot by asking ourselves what we know for sure that it is not.

5. Cross Fertilization:  It’s natural to avoid those opinions that are not like ours. It’s often uncomfortable to think and feel in a way that’s not natural to us. However, by forcing ourselves to get input from those who often see and feel things differently than we do, we are allowing ourselves to expand the possibilities. This is especially useful when we are stuck and can’t see a way out. When it comes to our health and decisions that we may need to make, this can be a great solution and opportunity.

When it comes to our well-being, sometimes we just need to get a little sideways! For some of us, activating our creative side can juice us up with lots of energy that we can apply to various aspects of our lives, and it can transform our relationships and environments by allowing us to be more open. And for others, thinking laterally can really help us make some important life and health decisions.

Give it a try and let me know what it does for you!

It’s your life. Lead it well!

Monique

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