• September 2011

Laura Berger Asks, "Is Your Glass Half Full?"

By Laura Berger
Executive Coach and Principal,
The Berdéo Group

Have you ever been called a Pollyanna? Someone who only sees the glass half full?

If not, then pessimism, stress, and fatigue may be guiding you—and holding you back from the life you want to lead. The good news is that there is a way to shift your perception toward optimism. Here’s how.

1. Take a moment to look around at the beauty that surrounds you.

It may simply be a goldfish swimming around in a bowl near your desk, a pet sitting by your feet, or the warmth you feel from the sun on your face. Just focus on whatever catches your eye and makes you appreciate the fact that you are alive. Now close your eyes and breathe in and out, deeply and slowly, and let this beauty come over you.

Open your eyes. Feel better?

Still, you may be thinking, “that was fun—but these moments of taking in the beautiful treasures that surround me are fleeting compared to the stresses and disappointments that I am experiencing.”

2. Know that you aren’t alone.

Adult life is stressful, and especially in tough economic times, it’s difficult for most people. If you own your business, and are working daily to stay afloat, the stress can be even more intense.

But remember this: There is another way to view the world—one that may make you not only feel less stressed, but make your business and life more successful and effective.

Ask yourself this question: Can you find brief moments of pleasure or are you constantly overshadowed by daily stress?

Surely, your pet, a loved one, the sun, a blue sky, and other factors that make life good are present as well in the midst of your stress. Through what lens do you view your world—courage or fear, abundance or scarcity, assumptions or truth?

3. To rid yourself of stress, change your point of view.

Does that seem impossible? As an executive coaching client, you will constantly be challenged to create a shift in your perception of the world. Be it a situation, an image of another person, or of yourself—having the ability to shift from fear to courage, or scarcity to abundance, is empowering for any individual.

Imagine looking through a kaleidoscope and continuing to shift the lens to see what new shapes and patterns form. How do you feel while looking into a kaleidoscope when it is completely black?

Now move the lens several degrees and see what you have created—a rainbow of beautiful colors and patterns. You have moved from darkness to beauty.

4. Try this simple exercise.

1. Pick a question that relates to happiness, gratitude, courage, freedom, or other positive aspects of your life.

2. Take no more than 10 minutes to respond to the question. It is important to describe the way you are feeling as you are writing. Sometimes, I use a metaphor—a color, texture, or temperature—to express my feelings.

3. Read it quietly to yourself. Smile and recognize how life is great.

5. Know the value of writing it down.

Despite life throwing us curve balls every now and then, this exercise keeps your lens focused on how good life is. The beauty of it all is that you control the kaleidoscope, so take the lead.

Ask yourself, through what lens do you intend to view your world? Then put it into practice.

About Laura Berger

An executive advisor and founder of The Berdéo Group, Laura Berger has 15 years of experience as a consultant advising leadership in the areas of global operations management and strategy, project and change management, and solution development and implementation. She is a confidant of CEOs and senior executives who consistently realize their potential as leaders by seeing their companies flourish.

Having worked with many Fortune 500 companies, her clients include leaders at JPMorgan Chase, State Farm Insurance, United Airlines, General Motors, Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company, McDonald’s Corporation, American Hospital Association, Leo Burnett Worldwide, Starcom MediaVest Group, and Walt Disney World.

Her ease and zeal for building lasting relationships, acquaintances, and productive introductions between people is her personal trademark. She has stretched her own spirit and will to combine her passions with her professional pursuits, and she shows others how to live true to their core.

Berger exemplifies this commitment to the life path in a book she is co-writing with her husband, Glen Tibaldeo. The book chronicles the humorous side of the successes and challenges they experienced living in the remote jungles of Costa Rica.

For more information, visit www.berdeogroup.com.