Is Your Passion Getting in the Way of Your Promotion?

As Bond University Professor Cynthia Fisher, who studies emotions at work, has discovered, there are several negative emotions that could interfere not only with a promotion, but with your professional reputation. They include: anger or aggravation, worry or nervousness, disappointment or unhappiness; irritation or frustration, and dislike.

A lot of us contend with similar issues daily at our jobs or as owners of small businesses: We speak louder than others, we gesticulate too much, the passion just pours out of us and there’s nothing we can do about it. Or is there?

There is plenty we can do without sacrificing our personality or betraying our culture. The secret is to understand your audience.

Different audiences react differently. Ask any politician and they’ll tell you that they don’t deliver the same speech in New York that they do in Nebraska. If you are talking to a group of Latinos, they are more likely to expect and welcome your intensity. But when your audience is dominated by Anglos, keeping the volume of your passion at high, might not be as productive as you’d want. So what do you do to manage your passion in a strategic way?

Ask friends and colleagues for honest feedback. Sometimes, it works best if you ask via email, so people can “hide” behind their words. Simply ask: “Do you think I could benefit from toning down the passion with which I express myself? See what they say. Ask people you know will be honest with you.

• Practice at home or with a good friend. Communicate about an idea, product or point of view taking your passion down a notch. Don’t gesticulate that much, keep your tone a little lower, and place a little bit less emphasis on your statements. Pay attention at how it feels and ask your friend for feedback.

• Implement your new delivery to a group of Anglo colleagues and note their reaction. Are they more receptive to your ideas? Do they seem to engage more with you?

Your style is everything. It’s what is most particular about you so I would never suggest that you change it. Only that you recognize your strengths and manipulate them slightly to your advantage. If the results of keeping your passion at the highest volume are not as productive as you hope, then turn the volume down a bit. Sometimes, people are turned-off by those who have a different style and don’t bother to pay enough attention to see that behind it, there may just be someone they’d really like to get to know. Or that they might hear some brilliant ideas that could benefit them and their companies. You open up this possibility when you adjust the volume to your audience.

Passion in itself is not a negative trait to be discarded. On the contrary, it guides people towards what interests you and it makes you more attractive, which in turn makes people become more receptive to what you have to say.

This article was first published in Mamiverse.

Create New Traditions with Your Family

Food: Many of us who grew up in Latin America or Spain, are used to eating traditional foods, such as Pan Dulce, turrón and garrapiñadas, something not many Americans eat. But you can feed your cravings—and thanks to globalization—find these treats and numerous others in many local supermarkets or online at places such as Bringing back this tradition from when you, your parents or grandparents lived overseas can be a fun way to create a “new” tradition for the younger generation.

Home Video/Scrapbook Night: Celebrate the events from the past year by spending each New Year’s Eve bundled in front of the TV together watching home videos or by collecting the past year’s photos and putting them in a scrapbook together.

Time Capsule: Have each family member gather one or two items that reflect the past year, then put all of the items in a box. These items might include photos, drawings, the kids’ Christmas wish lists, tickets to a movie you saw or a journal. Seal the box, then open it on New Year’s Eve the following year to see how much has changed in the past year. Knowing that this is how they’ll be spending every December 31st, I bet your kids will start collecting things throughout the year to place in the box!

Game Night: Staying up until midnight is usually a struggle for tired moms and young kids, so pass the time on New Year’s Eve with a Monopoly marathon. Or let each family member choose one board or card game, then play the games back to back until midnight rolls around. There’s nothing like toasting the New Year right at midnight.

Obstacle Course: Have your kids help you create an obstacle course in the back yard (if you live in a warm climate) or a smaller one in the living room. It could be as simple as jumping over a stuffed animal, crawling through a cardboard box, tossing a ball or crumpled piece of paper into a bin or through a hoop and sprinting to the finish line. The family member with the best time gets to choose the movie the whole family will watch the next time you go to the theater.

The end of the year is like a hinge, something ends and something new begins. Adding some new traditions to your existing ones makes the process of ending a cycle and starting a new one that much more exciting.

This article was originally published on Mamiverse.

Charitable New Year’s Resolutions

Mentor a young person. Mentoring is a valuable way of guiding a child into adulthood. You have many personal and professional skills that are worth sharing. By mentoring an older child, you can pass on some of this knowledge and be a positive Latina role model to someone who might not have many role models to look up to. There are many local, state, and national organizations like Big Brothers Big Sisters, that are dedicated to pairing children and teens with mentors. Usually, there is a shortage of minority mentors. So if you can commit to spend at least six months with a child, you’ll surely make a meaningful impact.

Take a class with your child. What a great way to lead by example and show your child that education doesn’t end with high school or college; rather a lifelong worthwhile pursuit. Sign up to take a class with your child at the local community college or community center. Whether it’s a class that teaches pottery or a new language, the lesson is equally powerful. And the time you spend together? Priceless.

Volunteer locally. If volunteering conjures images of clearing tables at a soup kitchen, you haven’t looked at all of the opportunities that are out there, often right in your backyard. You can offer a few hours of your personal time each week to help tutor students at your local school, plant a community garden, or visit with a terminally ill patient. Particularly during these troubled economic times, many organizations are in dire need of unpaid help. VolunteerMatch can help you find opportunities within your community according to your area of interest.

Teach your kids healthy eating habits. Instead of making a diet for you to lose 20 pounds, why not make the resolution for your whole family to eat healthier? According to the Center for Disease Control, the obesity epidemic disproportionately affects Hispanic children. The good news is, you can prevent obesity in your children by purchasing and preparing healthier foods at home. Not only will this help ensure healthy kids, it will increase your consumption of these healthier options as well. You can adapt your favorite Latin recipes to have less fat and carbs, while still enjoying the authentic flavors.

Raise money for your favorite charitable cause. Is there a cause out there that you wish you could donate hundreds or even thousands of dollars to? Many charitable organizations, such as the Susan B. Komen foundation or March of Dimes, have annual walkathons or 5K road race in your area. You can raise money for any charity by telling friends and family that you intend to dedicate to the cause. Check your local rec centers or fitness clubs that may hold local fundraisers, such as Zumbathons. Sites like Charity Navigator, can guide you on your fundraising efforts or finding a charity to choose.

So why not make the New Year a charitable one? Weight usually gains back and money usually gets lost, but with these resolutions, you have a better chance of keeping them by helping others. And let satisfaction be your reward.

This article was originally published on Mamiverse.

5 Ways to Manage Your Stress During the Holidays

1. Delegate tasks and responsibilities. Even if you are the holiday hostess, you shouldn’t be burdened with all the preparations. Create a list of responsibilities and then assign them to other family members. These tasks can include gift wrapping, envelope licking, decorating, cooking and cleaning, or picking up your aunt from the airport. Make sure to let your relatives know their “assigned” task ahead of time with a warm phone call and convey the idea that you want to everyone to enjoy themselves and contribute.

2. Do as much shopping online as possible. This not only saves you time but it allows you to shop at night in your pajamas with a warm cup of tea. You save the energy that it takes to deal with mobs of shoppers at the stores, and you don’t have to drag the bags through the mall. Nowadays, most e-commerce sites offer great deals and even free shipping.

3. Set time limits. On your to-do list or on your daily calendar, mark the time you will dedicate to each activity. This way, you’re not rushing in and out of every store when you have a free minute. Accommodate your shopping trips to your work schedule, or when the kids are in school, or, as previously suggested, shop online.

4. Outsource the bigger tasks. Sure, we all know Latino families appreciate a home cooked meal, but the truth is we can’t be Wonder Woman all the time. If the notion of cooking is adding to your stress levels, seek professional help. Don’t feel embarrassed by ordering a pre-made cake, turkey, chicken or ham at from your favorite restaurant, bakery or grocery store. The same rule applies for cleaning your house: Consider it a Christmas gift to yourself and hire someone to do it.

5. Avoid shopping for yourself while shopping for others. This is a tough one. Every time I’m out shopping, I end up choosing more items for me than for my family and friends. But I’ve forced myself to leave those goodies behind; and so far, I’ve only bought a pair of sneakers that I really needed for Zumba. What I’ve learned is that if you don’t heed to this rule, you’ll be facing a much larger bill come January. If you really need something, why not wait until after the holidays and take advantage of the even deeper discounts?

The holidays are a beautiful time of year to spend time with our loved ones. It makes no sense to allow stress to ruin the occasion. With just a little bit of time management, you may actually get to chill during the holiday rush.

This article was originally published on Mamiverse.

How to Solve Conflicts Easily

What is true for Marta is not true for Lisa, and that is usually the case when the focus of our conversation is on who is right and who is wrong. What really matters is this: Is this type of communication producing a positive result for either one of these two women? If the answer is “no” then it behooves them to find a different approach, regardless of who is “right.”

This situation can be easily resolved if Marta and Lisa sit down and discuss what constitutes “frequently,” “constantly,” and “once in a while” for each one of them. Say that Marta considers being interrupted three times a day as “frequent” and anything over three times a day “constant,” and Lisa thought that only five interruptions a day would be considered “frequent” and anything over that as “constant.” Do you see how their differing standards (of which most of the times we are not aware) get in the way of producing positive results?

Once they sit down and clarify what each one of them means by these words, they can agree on new actions that help both of them achieve their goals: Lisa gets her answers, and Marta feels that she’s maintaining her relationship with a valued employee. They can now agree on a new course of action: Lisa will accumulate questions and come into her boss’ office twice a day to get her answers and Marta will stop work at specific times during the day to focus her attention on her assistant.

Think about how many of these situations you experience in your life daily and ask yourself if there are certain “behind the scenes” standards about which you and the other person need to talk. What is “late” for you and what is “late” for your boss? What is “a clean room” for you and what is “a clean room” for your teenage child? What is “too much” work, talk, food, travel, for you and for your partner?

The moment we start exploring these standards for ourselves and the people we interact with, a new realm of possibilities open up. I encourage you to use this approach with at least one person and see what happens.

This article was originally published in Mamiverse.