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Watch the third video of my six-part series where I teach you how to build resilience and face life’s challenges head-on. Did you miss the second video? Catch up here!

Part 3 focuses on changing the way you take mental breaks throughout the day to keep your brain functioning optimally.

In this video, I teach you how to perform what I call “mental push-ups” to strengthen your mindfulness muscle.

Try my strategy and let me know on FacebookTwitter, or Instagram if it’s working for you.

Stay tuned for part four!

Increase Resilience take Meg Soper's Mini Mindfulness Challenge | Part 3 - YouTube

The post Meg’s Vlog: Building Resilience Part 3 appeared first on MegSoper - Motivational Humorist Speaker.

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Resilience is a topic that both fascinates and puzzles. I mean, why is it that some people come back stronger than ever after tremendous hardship while others, who are blessed with love, support and promise, struggle to cope? If only resilience were something you could put in a bottle and take a swig of during life’s difficult moments.

“My barn having burned down, I can now see the moon.”

― Mizuta Masahide (17th century Japanese poet and samurai)

I think of resilience as the ability to bounce back from challenge and adversity.  It is what I consider to be one of life’s building blocks. The Swiss Army Knife of character traits.

I believe resilience, above all, determines who will succeed in life – more than education, experience, or training.  And while I am sure that some people are born with the resilience gene, I firmly believe that resilience is a skill that we can build up and bolster.  

Meg’s 4 Key Elements of Resilience

When it comes to personal resilience, I think of Alvin Law. Alvin was born without arms as a result of his mother taking thalidomide during pregnancy. In his words…

“The best thing that ever happened to me is being born without arms. It brought me to circumstances never thought possible.”

He learned to use his feet for hands, became an award-winning musician, has worked in advertising, PR, broadcasting, and helped raise millions for charity to which I say ‘WOW!’ no wonder he also thrives as a highly successful motivational speaker.

Alvin demonstrates the incredible power that our own beliefs and attitudes hold in helping us overcome obstacles and re-write our own narrative.

We can all be grateful for the people we know who inspire us to shift our perspective, breath deep, and bounce back when life dares us to complain.

Meg Soper offers engaging and funny keynote presentations and employee workshops about conflict management and resolution in the workplace. Get in touch with Meg today!

Why does Meg get booked for speaking events again and again? Find out!

More posts? Bring it on!

The post Meg’s Thoughts on Resilience appeared first on MegSoper - Motivational Humorist Speaker.

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Watch the second video of my six-part series where I teach you how to build resilience and face life’s challenges head-on. Did you miss the first video? Catch up here!

Part 2 focuses on identifying your intentions for the day, and how to start your day with a healthy, positive mindset.

One of the strategies I use to bolster my resilience and get my neurons firing is borrowed from Neil Pasricha, author of The Happiness Equation. I do it first thing in the morning because it helps set the tone for the day.

To begin, and just after my eyes flutter open, I focus on my breathing.

As I become centred on my breath, I think of three things:

  • Something I am grateful for. As an example, today I am grateful for having my millennial with us for the week.
  • Something I am willing to let go. It might be a thought you’ve been tangled up with or an issue from the past.
  • What my focus of the day is going to be – a task, challenge, or priority.

When you wake up tomorrow, I want you to pay attention to your breathing and try to focus on those three thoughts. Try these steps and let me know on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram if it’s working for you.

Stay tuned for part three!

Increase Resilience By Taking My Mindfulness Challenge | Meg Soper | Part 2 - YouTube

Meg Soper offers engaging and funny keynote presentations and employee workshops about conflict management and resolution in the workplace. Get in touch with Meg today!

Why does Meg get booked for speaking events again and again? Find out!

More posts? Bring it on!

The post Meg’s Vlog: Building Resilience Part 2 appeared first on MegSoper - Motivational Humorist Speaker.

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Why do some people bounce back from adversity and misfortune? Why do others fall apart? Would you like to be more resilient than you were one year ago?

Resilience is our ability to bounce back when faced with stress in our lives – be it stress from work or from our personal lives. While we often can’t avoid stress, what we can do is learn how to persevere when the going gets tough.

Watch the first video of my six-part series where I teach you how to build resilience and face life’s challenges head on. This video focuses on mindfulness and how practicing it can help you start your day off right.

Stay tuned for part two!

Road to Building Resilience by Meg Soper, Motivational Keynote Speaker | Part 1 - YouTube

Meg Soper offers engaging and funny keynote presentations and employee workshops about conflict management and resolution in the workplace. Get in touch with Meg today!

Why does Meg get booked for speaking events again and again? Find out!

More posts? Bring it on!

The post Meg’s Vlog: Building Resilience appeared first on MegSoper - Motivational Humorist Speaker.

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I would like to share some exciting and powerful ideas on how to train our brains to be more positive and productive, with the hope of making 2019 your best year ever!

There have been some discoveries in neuroscience of late that hold amazing possibilities for all of us. And the great news is that you don’t have to be a brain surgeon to put some of these discoveries to see tangible improvements in your quality of life and overall happiness.

Let’s face it – these days it is easy to feel overwhelmed. Our brains have not evolved much over the last few thousand years, yet we are now called on to cope with non-stop demands on our time and attention that I couldn’t imagine even ten years ago. The cognitive overload we are experiencing comes at a cost – to our relationships, to our productivity, and to our health.

For me, this would play out in the form of headaches, neck and back problems, and low energy. I knew that I needed to take control and find a way that would help me deal with whatever comes my way with a sense of focus and calm.

What I have learned is that by using a few simple strategies, you can establish new neural pathways in your brain. Kind of like re-wiring your house without the bother of hiring an electrician!

The fact is that we humans naturally tend to focus more on the negative because our brains are wired to detect threats. The good news is that by using simple mindfulness techniques that help us feel centered we can bolster the very neural structures that will help us think more positively and be more effective when called upon to deal with difficulty or adversity.

Here’s How it Works

When you next have a good experience take pause to notice it. It could be a positive interaction with a stranger, noticing a brilliant sky on your commute, or a song playing on the radio that brings back a fond memory.

Making the effort to savour the moment can trigger a release of dopamine, which will serve to etch the moment firmly into your memory. It is during the moments when your positivity neurons fire that your brain re-wires.

When it happens:

Start Your Day the Right Way

One of the strategies I use to bolster my resilience and get my neurons firing is borrowed from Neil Pasricha, author of The Happiness Equation. I do it first thing in the morning because it helps set the tone for the day.

To begin, and just after my eyes flutter open, I focus on my breathing.

As I become centered on my breath, I think of three things:

  • Something I am grateful for. As an example, today I am grateful for having my millennial with us for the week.
  • Something I am willing to let go. It might be a thought you’ve been tangled up with or an issue from the past.
  • What my focus of the day is going to be – a task, challenge, or priority.

Being grateful strengthens our positive neural pathways by getting us to focus on what is RIGHT in our lives. By deciding to let go of something that holds us back – a concern, a worry, a fear – we are able to clear the mental clutter.

Choosing a focus for our day gives us purpose, flow, and energy.

Meg’s Re-Wire Challenge

Take ONE MINUTE at the start of your day to think of these three things and to commit to doing this exercise on for one week. See if you notice a difference! You may want to make it a permanent part of your routine. I did and I love the results!

Meg Soper offers engaging and funny keynote presentations and employee workshops about conflict management and resolution in the workplace. Get in touch with Meg today!

Why does Meg get booked for speaking events again and again? Find out!

More posts? Bring it on!

The post Rewire Your Brain and Inspire Yourself and Others in 2019! appeared first on MegSoper - Motivational Humorist Speaker.

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December arrives and suddenly the pressure amps up: “Okay… now I really have to get things done!”

It is a time of year where we can get hijacked by the busyness of it all, which is why I think it is a great time of year to practice mindfulness, and to take time to reflect and be grateful for what we have while we ready for the holidays.

Have you ever noticed how people’s greetings change in December?  Instead of “Hi Meg! How are you?” it switches to “So, are you ready for Christmas?” I am usually thinking “Now that you mention it… I should probably be shopping” but instead my response is a meek “I’m getting there.”

Incorporate Mini Mindfulness Breaks Into Your Day

This year I am committing to building in regular ‘Mini Mindfulness Breaks’ (‘MMBs’) to help me stay present and to keep from feeling overwhelmed.

Research has found that the biggest release of stress hormones takes place within minutes of waking. Apparently, thinking about the day ahead triggers our fight or flight response causing cortisol to be released into our blood.

To counter this, I have a technique for you to try: When you wake up, and even before you swing those legs over the edge, spend 2 extra minutes in your bed simply noticing your breath. Take deep breaths while counting 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 for the inhale and 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 – 6 – 7 for the exhale. When thoughts come into your mind, acknowledge them and then let them pass, in much the same way as if you were standing on the street corner watching cars go by.

Let the thoughts pass, and simply focus is on your breath.  The counting helps you stay centred on your breath.

Reframe and Refocus to Start Your Day on the Right Foot

Mini Mindfulness Breaks help us reframe and refocus, so we can start our day with a clear mind and be set up for success as we tackle all the demands that come at us t. During this MMB, your attention is all your own.

You can take these MMBs when opportunities arise through your day.

  • Take a 2-minute MMB at the start your work day – whether that be just before your shift, or when you sit at your desk right before you open your inbox. This will help you become centered and ’Boost your Brain’.
  • Take a quick MMB during the afternoon when you might start to feel a bit fatigued or on your commute home.

Take 2 – 3 minutes to focus your attention on your breathing – counting with each inhalation and exhalation. When you feel your mind wander, bring it back to the breath. Acknowledge the thoughts that come through your mind and then let them go.     

Mindfulness is not a relaxation technique, but ultimately it can help us calm our autonomic nervous system. It helps us reframe and refocus which is a definite benefit any time of year!

Meg Soper offers engaging and funny keynote presentations and employee workshops about conflict management and resolution in the workplace. Get in touch with Meg today!

Why does Meg get booked for speaking events again and again? Find out!

More posts? Bring it on!

 

The post A Merry Mindful Holiday appeared first on MegSoper - Motivational Humorist Speaker.

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I am often asked: Can you come and speak to our group about creating a positive work culture? It is a fascinating subject, and in previous blogs I have explored ideas about the ingredients of positive work culture and how individual diversity makes teams stronger. This piece centres on the “Secret Sauce” of high functioning teams. 

It Starts at the Top

My career as an operating room nurse was highly rewarding. I got to work in a fast-paced team environment where doing your job well made a big difference in patient outcomes. Looking back, I also remember that there were times of struggle – when a peer would habitually use her power and seniority to bully, when a surgeon would berate a nurse for the slightest mis-step, or when management made changes to policies while, on occasion, tuning out the input of frontline workers. At times like those, I did not exactly cherish the idea of putting on the scrubs!

So, when I watched a TEDx talk by Harvard Professor Amy Edmondson about a study into medication errors by hospital patient care teams, it was a bit of an AHA! moment. Her study looked at teams of nurses and doctors at eight hospitals over a six-month period and found that the teams ranked highest in effectiveness made more medication errors than the teams ranked lowest! This made no sense to Professor Edmondson, so she conducted further research and eventually determined that the stronger teams weren’t making more mistakes, but the nurses who belonged to the stronger teams felt more comfortable reporting their mistakes.

She concluded that the most effective teams were the ones where leaders encouraged people to speak up, where team members could voice their opinion and bring forward new ideas without fear of ridicule or rejection. In other words, the norms of behavior in the most effective teams created an atmosphere of psychological safety, where mistakes were viewed as learning opportunities rather than cause for punishment and people felt their voice was heard.

What is Your Recipe for Team Effectiveness?

Think of a team that you belong to: How does it make you feel to be part of it and how might your team be made more effective?

If you are a team leader, ask yourself what messages you are sending:

  • Are you encouraging people to speak out or just paying attention to the most outspoken group members?
  • Are you sensitive to what people think and feel or are you focused on just getting the job done?

It can be so tempting to cut off debate and move on to the next topic, but it may come at a cost of psychological safety and undermine your team’s effectiveness.

The best performing teams are ones where leaders give team members a measure of control and make them feel safe to take risks, ask questions, and  admit they don’t know.

It is up to all of us to advocate for positive change in the workplace, from all of us on the front line to those in leadership roles. What are you doing to make change?

 Meg Soper offers engaging and funny keynote presentations and employee workshops about conflict management and resolution in the workplace. Get in touch with Meg today!

Why does Meg get booked for speaking events again and again? Find out!

More posts? Bring it on!

 

The post The Secret Sauce of Effective Teams appeared first on MegSoper - Motivational Humorist Speaker.

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You might say home-cooked meals are an endangered species. Over 50 percent of meals are eaten outside of the home in North America, and less than 33 percent of families sit down for a meal with each other more than twice a week.

Even when we do manage to get our family together for a meal, we’re often parked in front of the tv, distracted by our phones, or rushing to the next item on the calendar.

In the process, we find ourselves eating more food that isn’t good for us and spending less quality time with the people we love.

Take 30 Minutes Out of Your Day to Cook and Taste the Benefits

As a motivational speaker, I talk a lot about managing stress, finding work-life balance, practicing mindfulness, and working to create a happier and healthier you! For me, taking some ‘Me’ time each day gives me something to look forward to, especially when it is one of those days when my back and neck start to tighten, and my breathing becomes shallow. I call this the “30 Minute Rule.”

Your 30 minutes may not look like my 30 minutes – and that’s okay! You need to do the things that help you de-stress, refocus, and revitalize. So, for the month of October, I want to encourage you to take your 30 minutes making a home-cooked meal and sitting down with your loved ones.

The Cook Every Day in October Challenge

I want to challenge you to cook at least one meal every day in October. Using the hashtag #CEDOChallenge, share a recipe or a photo of your home-cooked meal, and I’ll choose a winner at random at the end of the month. The more you share, the better chance you’ll have to win!

Bonus points for whoever also uses the hashtag #BringItOn along with #CEDOChallenge.

The lucky winner will receive a 30-minute private coaching call with me about any topic you’d like! We can talk about managing stress, work-life balance, practicing mindfulness, or whatever you feel like chatting about.

I can’t wait to share this experience with you – let’s get cooking!

Meg Soper offers engaging and funny keynote presentations and employee workshops about conflict management and resolution in the workplace. Get in touch with Meg today!

Why does Meg get booked for speaking events again and again? Find out!

More posts? Bring it on!

    The post Can Home-Cooked Meals Reduce Stress and Improve Health and Happiness? Take the #CEDOChallenge to Find Out! appeared first on MegSoper - Motivational Humorist Speaker.

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    Here is an interesting statistic… the average person has about 50,000 thoughts each day. Wow! We are much busier than even I imagined!

    Every day each of us are called upon to deal with issues:

    Not to mention making sure that the 50,000 thoughts popping into our heads don’t derail our forward progress.

    So, how are you spending your mental energy? Are you in control of your thoughts, or are your thoughts controlling you?

    Mindfulness is the Key to Building Resilience

    Being mindful of where we direct our mental energy can help us direct our attention to productive thoughts and ideas, which will make all the difference in building our resilience and enhancing our state of mind. This is particularly important in today’s hyper connected, always on world.

    The Power of Positive Thinking

    Just be positive. Seems simple, right? Well, no.

    Life is not so simple that turning on the flow of positive thoughts will make all our daily challenges disappear. We need something more. This brings me to habit number one from Steven Covey’s the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Be Proactive.

    Proactive people take responsibility for their life – and choose to focus their attention on ALL the things they do have influence over. Reactive people, on the other hand, focus more of their time and mental energy on things they can’t control or influence. I think Covey really brought this concept home when he described the habit of being proactive, with what he calls the Circle of Concern and the Circle of Influence.

    Circle of Control vs. Circle of Influence

    We have a choice! We can let things within our Circle of Concern dominate our thinking:

    • I am so bored these days!
    • My pants don’t fit anymore!
    • Why is traffic so bad?
    • How am I going to make ends meet?
    • How will I ever meet the project deadline?
    • My partner is surly! What is their problem?

    All these concerns sap our mental energy. But no matter how much we worry, worry itself won’t make them go away.

    Or we can let things within our Circle of Influence dominate our behavior:

    • I’m going to learn a new skill.
    • I’m going to commit to exercise 5 days a week.
    • I’m going to start listening to talking books on my commute.
    • I am going to do a personal budget.
    • I’m going to ask my associate to help me with the project.
    • I’m going to schedule time to have a heart to heart with my partner.

    So, if we accept those things in our Circle of Concern as fact and decide to bring a mindset of action, rather than worry, our Circle of Influence will get larger while our Circle of Concern will get smaller!

    I often catch myself drifting off into the Circle of Concern and spending my mental energy on things that are out of my control. I remind myself to step back into my Circle of Influence.

    Focus Your Attention of What You Have Control Over

    We can choose to bolster our resilience by focusing our attention on all the things we do have control over, rather than dwelling on what we don’t.

    Be mindful of which circle you are focusing your attention on. Catch yourself when you get stuck worrying about things you cannot control. Think about what you can do to build your resilience.

    Here are some strategies to stay within your Circle of Influence:

    • Take Your 30 Minutes Every Day.
    • Take 1 or 2 minute breaks at work every hour or two to deep breathe and become present. Stand up, pull your shoulders back and stretch out your neck muscles. You can even do this behind the wheel.
    • Shut off all devices at least an hour before bed and clear those daytime thoughts away with daytime clothes. Remember that what you think about right before bed you will marinade in for the course of the night.
    • Set yourself up for the big sleep by avoiding caffeine or alcohol long before bedtime.

    Finally, when you find yourself getting wound up with worry, ask yourself: “Am I in my Circle of Concern right now?”

    If the answer is yes, decide what you can do to shut down that thought loop and replace it with an action that will move you back into your Circle of Influence.

    Meg Soper offers engaging and funny keynote presentations and employee workshops about conflict management and resolution in the workplace. Get in touch with Meg today!

    Why does Meg get booked for speaking events again and again? Find out!

    More posts? Bring it on!

    The post Taking Charge of Your Mental Energy appeared first on MegSoper - Motivational Humorist Speaker.

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    You might say home-cooked meals are an endangered species. Over 50 percent of meals are eaten outside of the home in North America, and less than 33 percent of families sit down for a meal with each other more than twice a week. Even when we do manage to get our family together for a meal, we’re often parked in front of the tv, distracted by our phones, or rushing to the next item on the calendar.

    In the process, we find ourselves eating more food that isn’t good for us and spending less quality time with the people we love.

    Take 30 Minutes Out of Your Day to Cook and Taste the Benefits

    As a motivational speaker, I talk a lot about managing stress, finding work-life balance, practicing mindfulness, and working to create a happier and healthier you! For me, taking some ‘Me’ time each day gives me something to look forward to, especially when it is one of those days when my back and neck start to tighten, and my breathing becomes shallow. I call this the “30 Minute Rule.”

    Your 30 minutes may not look like my 30 minutes – and that’s okay! You need to do the things that help you de-stress, refocus, and revitalize. So, for the month of October, I want to encourage you to take your 30 minutes making a home-cooked meal and sitting down with your loved ones.

    The Cook Every Day in October Challenge

    I want to challenge you to cook at least one meal every day in October. Using the hashtag #CEDOChallenge, share a recipe or a photo of your home-cooked 

    meal, and I’ll choose a winner at random at the end of the month. The more you share, the better chance you’ll have to win!

    Bonus points for whoever also uses the hashtag #BringItOn along with #CEDOChallenge.

    The lucky winner will receive a 30-minute private coaching call with me about any topic you’d like! We can talk about managing stress, work-life balance, practicing mindfulness, or whatever you feel like chatting about.

    I can’t wait to share this experience with you – let’s get cooking!

    Meg Soper offers engaging and funny keynote presentations and employee workshops about conflict management and resolution in the workplace. Get in touch with Meg today!

    Why does Meg get booked for speaking events again and again? Find out!

    More posts? Bring it on!

    4 Small Steps to Help Educators Achieve Better Work-Life Balance

    The post Can Home-Cooked Meals Reduce Stress and Improve Health and Happiness? Take the #CEDOChallenge to Find Out! appeared first on MegSoper - Motivational Humorist Speaker.

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