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What If??

2022 jamie hansen what if Feb 20, 2022

What If?? by Jamie Hansen

One of the things I find most magical about movies is that every once in a while, one comes along with a concept that stretches our thinking and makes us ask, "What If?" Whether it's a drama, romance, comedy, or action film -- the genre doesn't really matter to me -- I find myself captivated with the ability of these movies to help us see things that we didn't notice before, or envision things that haven't yet come to be. From a psychological perspective, I'm a true believer in, "once you see something, you can't un-see it." As for horror movies, they may have us seeing things we don't ever want to see or experience, so let's count that category out for the sake of discussion. Rather, it's those movies that take us on a two- to three-hour journey and leave us asking questions we've never asked before, or envisioning things we've never seen before, that I find particularly compelling.

One movie that comes to mind (especially this month) with this captivating...

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Peace on Earth

Peace on Earth. As 2021 draws to a close, I think of these three words as so much more than a phrase scripted across a beautiful holiday card. With all that's going on in the world, it's a more thought-provoking phrase for many than it was even a few years ago. Peace is certainly something our world could use much more of, and maybe even our own corners of the world. Many people are saying 2021 presented surprisingly more challenges than 2020. Here at Alloy, requests for support on the topics of resilience, healthy management of conflict, leading through change, and understanding the mental health impacts of a crisis were at an all-time high, and it doesn't appear that will be abating soon. Here we offer three year-end exercises to glean everything you need from 2021 to look forward to a more peaceful 2022 -- at least in your corner of the world:

Make Peace with Your Past Year. I have long loved to use the photos on my phone at the end of the year to make calendars, notecards,...

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Finding the Sacred Amidst the Crazy

Happy Fall, Y'all! How has yours been so far? For that matter, how was your summer? When I look back on mine, and when I inquire of friends and colleagues about theirs, the word that routinely comes up is, "Crazy." Unpredictable. Protracted. Exhausting. Demanding. Confusing. Irrational. Tentative. Mad. Unbalanced. Erratic. Just a few synonyms for this frequently used word. As I heard one commentator say recently, "Wow, this two weeks of shut down sure has felt like an eternity." Tounge in cheek, of course, but can't we all relate?

So how do you stay positive, energized, find the good, and lead well when it feels like you don't know what's coming next? Or where it's coming from? John Maxwell has a great teaching on how to maximize a positive situation. A meeting with a mentor, an opportunity, a new venture, or any situation that you want to make the most of. And in his simple but profound style, he exhorts us to 1) Prepare thoroughly before the event, and 2) Reflect deeply afterward....

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Work-Life Balance: Mountaintop or Moving Target?

Work-Life Balance: Mountaintop or Moving Target? by Jamie Hansen

This post was originally part of our Finish Strong Challenge, which emphasized components of modern resilience to help participants finish the year on a high note and build positive momentum for 2021. Be sure to subscribe to our newsletter for the latest on future challenges and updates from Alloy!

When I think about work/life balance, I’m reminded of the message license plate of a friend of mine whose husband has had multiple cross-country relocations with his company:  It reads, “HERE4NOW”. I was taken aback when I first saw that because it felt a little bleak – too brief, too short term. But there’s wisdom in the brevity of its sentiment:  acknowledging the present moment and that it won’t last forever can lead to a sense of clarity in making the most of the time we have. I know we may not be in this place for long, but we’re going to have the best time while we...

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Leadership, Grief, and COVID-19

Leadership, Grief, and COVID-19, by Jamie Hansen, M.S., LPC

We are truly living in history. As the COVID-19 situation continues to unfold around the globe, circumstances are changing every day and the leaders among us have been called to sort out how we move forward through these unprecedented times.

After 20 years as a counselor (I still maintain my license), I cannot help but watch the local and global reactions to this crisis through the lens of a mental health professional. I spent years watching people deal with all sorts of situations in their personal and professional lives, and it occurred to me this week that I recognize what's happening on a local and global level. This is grief.

 Swiss psychiatrist Elisabeth Kubler-Ross first outlined her five stages of grief in 1969. More than fifty years later, the Kubler-Ross model is still playing out in front of our eyes. Let's take a look at how these stages of grief are presenting themselves through this...

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Healthy Tips for Tumultuous Times

Healthy Tips for Tumultuous Times, by Jamie Hansen

“Mama said there’d be days like this,” sang The Shirelles in 1961. While no one could possibly have predicted the mass emergency declarations, corporate policy changes, and major event cancellations that we’ve seen nationwide this week, those words do ring true. Times of major change and uncertainty do, and will, continue to come upon us. While the breadth and depth of all of these changes at once may have us in unchartered waters, dealing with change itself is not new territory. In fact, there are learnings we can apply from the seas of change we’ve sailed before. Here are a few strategies to keep your physical and mental health boat afloat as we head into some choppy and sometimes scary - though not completely unchartered - seas.

1. When you can't do something about the situation, do something with it.

Let’s face it – there’s a significant feeling of loss of control in this...

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Leadership Toolbox: Communication Part 3

Communicating Like a Leader (Part III), by Jamie Hansen

This is the third and final piece in a series from Jamie Hansen, focused on how a new leader must develop his or her communication skills in order to maximize their impact. You can find the first installment here, the second installment here, and receive the rest of the series in your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter.

Welcome back to the Leadership Toolbox! This series focuses on skills that leaders should develop in order to maximize their effectiveness. Whether you are a new or experienced leader, these skills will increase your influence as you connect with the people around you. We have highlighted four critical skills already, and we have two more to complete this list:

5. Connecting with Curiosity

Great communicators have learned, often the hard way, how assumptions can throw a conversation into a downward spiral. Our desire for efficient conversation, combined with past experience with...

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Leadership Toolbox: Communication Part 2

Communicating Like a Leader (Part II), by Jamie Hansen

This is the second piece in a series from Jamie Hansen, focused on how a new leader must develop his or her communication skills in order to maximize their impact. You can find the first installment here, and receive the rest of the series in your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter.

Welcome back to the Leadership Toolbox! Today, we are focusing on two additional communication skills that leaders must develop to effectively lead the people and teams around them. If you have already read Part I of this series, you know that the first two skills are Assertiveness and Listening. Leaders absolutely must possess the courage to say what needs to be said, and the patience to hear what must be heard. Next, let's examine two more communication skills for leaders:

3. Proof in Paraphrasing

I call this the drive-thru skill. Anyone can "phone it in" or act like they're listening while their mind wanders. Most of us have...

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Leadership Toolbox: Communication Part 1

Communicating Like a Leader, by Jamie Hansen

This is the first piece in a series from Jamie Hansen, focused on how a new leader must develop his or her communication skills in order to maximize their impact. You can get the rest of the series in your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter.

Many of us have seen this play out time and time again: A supervisory position opens up in the organization, and an internal team member gets promoted into the leadership position. They are a great strategic choice because they’ve been a high-performer in their individual role, they know the company and the culture, and it seems the natural next step in their career. The stars have aligned and it’s all systems GO, right? Well . . . maybe, or maybe not. Whether this individual has 30 years or 3 years with the company, they are essentially moving from a position of working through processes, managing operating systems, or overseeing machines, to leading people and teams....

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Vision 2020 - Your Best Year Yet!

Vision 2020 - Your Best Year Yet! by Jamie Hansen

So here we are in the fourth quarter of 2019. My year so far has been full of adventures, small victories, setbacks, curveballs, and new connections and ideas. The novel and unfamiliar seems to have become the new routine. Whether your 2019 has been a handful like mine or a little more predictable, it's worthwhile to consider what we've learned and what we wish to prepare for in 2020.

Whatever your 2019 has held, my wish for you would be to head into 2020 as strong, confident, and capable as ever. Sounds great, you say, but how is that possible? Here are a few thoughts for your consideration:

  1. Make a list of five remarkable moments from 2019. What's on your list? AN unexpected setback? Something you accomplished that you never guessed you would? Perhaps a life lesson learned the hard way? Write down the moments that come to mind.

  2. Consider how these moments may have been connected. Were you using your strengths? Were you falling...
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