July 2011 Link to Invisionaria website

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Message from Pat - Breaking the Downward Spiral

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Message from Pat - Breaking the Downward Spiral

"Don't lower your expectations to meet your performance. Raise your level of performance to meet your expectations. Expect the best of yourself, and then do what is necessary to make it a reality."

~Ralph Marston



As I continue my learning journey through the neuroscience of leadership, I am more and more in awe of the brain and its workings. To think that this mere three-pound organ has over 100 billion nerve cells that each makes thousands of connections. The more I learn about how we operate, the more it astonishes me.

As more and more brain research is done, we realize that there is so much more complexity in how we as humans operate.

I think I'm beginning to understand that my work throughout this learning journey is to recognize, modify and strengthen my own talents, skills and mindfulness. To do these to be able solve my own challenges and issues. In doing this, I can take transfer my learnings to those I work with.

I'm learning about regulating our emotions and how impactful this one skill can be. Emotional regulation just takes practice and time. How frequently do you operate on a downward spiral? When things just seem to continue down and out of control and you get the feeling that you just can't pull yourself out of it no matter how hard you try. It's like being in a vortex.

I know so many people that are almost constantly operating on the downward spiral and they are unable to see any way of changing the direction of this spiral.

Some of my learnings on how to counter the direction of the spiral, or even prevent a downward spiral are:

  • Just knowing what the different aspects of a downward spiral are and acknowledging you are on one can help one reappraise, reframe, or label this as something else.
  • Label them and find someone to talk to about your emotions during this time. Encourage others to talk and even encourage them to write about their given situation.
  • Take a look at the situation in the third person rather than in the first person. There is a technique I have learned from Organizational, Relationship and Systems Coaching that is called "Coaching the Third Entity™." Using this technique, the coach is able to help the client look at the situation as an entity outside of them. This helps bring to the situation an objectivity that was previously absent. It also helps in regulating the emotions around the situation.
  • Get out and be around others. This action will remind you that you are not alone.
  • Find something positive to look forward to. At times, the expectation of a reward could be more rewarding than the reward itself.
  • Practice of Fredrickson's broaden-and-build theory of positive emotions. This broadens one's awareness to encourage exploring ones thoughts and actions and learning that most of our downward spiral can be attributed to our thoughts. Over time, use of this technique can build the necessary skills and resources that can help us catch our downward spiral early on or prevent it all together.
  • Learn the importance of managing your own expectations by under promising and over delivering. Set clear and realistic goals. As the author of the Calvin and Hobbs comic strip, Bill Watterson states, "I find my life is a lot easier the lower I keep everyone's expectations."
  • Try mindfulness and loving-kindness meditation. This helps by staying in the present instead of worrying what may or may not happen in the future. "Be here now" has become something of a cliché. Still, when it comes to fear and anxiety, the recommendation holds true. If you are thinking anxiously or worrying, then you are by definition living outside the present moment and, in a sense, even ignoring reality itself.
  • When all else fails, breath, deeply and often.

"Being in control of your life and having realistic expectations about your day-to-day challenges are the keys to stress management, which is perhaps the most important ingredient to living a happy, healthy and rewarding life." ~ Marilu Henner

Step into leading and play a Bigger Game in your life...don't wait...model leadership...the World needs us to do this.

Lead strong!


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Until next time, I wish you joy and fun and ease and effortlessness!

Pat Obuchowski
CEO, Chief Empowerment Officer

Helping people step into their roles as leaders in their businesses, their communities and the world. Helping people and organizations find their "Bigger Game™".

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© 2011 Pat Obuchowski, All rights reserved. You are free to use material from the "Live with Intention" eZine in whole or in part, as long as you include complete attribution, including live Web site link. Please also notify me where the material will appear. The attribution should read:

"By Pat Obuchowski of inVisionaria."

Brief Biography:

Pat M. Obuchowski

Pat Obuchowski is the CEO (Chief Empowerment Officer) of inVisionaria. inVisionaria is a company devoted to helping people and organizations find and achieve their vision and their voice. She works with individuals and organizations that are looking for structure, focus and accountability to set and achieve their goals. She also works with people who are ready to make big changes in their businesses and their lives and step into the leaders they've been yearning to be. People who are ready, willing and able to begin playing their "Bigger Game." No kidding. Right now.

The approach to achieve this and create this alliance is individually based and is designed between Pat and each of her clients.



"Pat Obuchowski is a master of extracting an individual and a team vision. She assisted my VISION Statement with the passionate energy of her heart and a crystal clear mind that helped me synthesize my ideas and see the larger picture of my vision. I have clarity where there was none and am confident on the direction I must head into."

~Akasa Tseng, M. A.


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