Just Breathe: The science, facts, and health benefits behind our most vital physiological function.

As human beings, we have one predominant biological imperative: to keep breathing. Our next breath is always our most important.

In fact, we can go about 21 days without food and three days without water, but after only about three minutes without oxygen, our brains and organs start to shut down.

The ability to inhale and exhale defines the very spark of existence, so much so that the average person breathes in and out anywhere from 17,000 to 22,000 times per day. And yet all breathing is not deemed the same as you’ll read below. We can even improve our health, happiness, and quality of life just by focusing on our breathing.

First, let’s attempt to do the impossible: condense thousands of pages of medical research about human respiration into just a few paragraphs.

In particular, let’s talk about deep breathing.

Taking full, measured breaths triggers the vagus nerve system, named after the vagus nerve that runs from brain stem to abdomen, the longest nerve in your autonomic nervous system. The vagus nerve is also the largest part of your parasympathetic nervous system, which regulates the body’s rest, digestion, and other activities.

Triggering the vagus nerve and parasympathetic nervous system through deep breathing allows our diaphragm to become engaged, softens our abdomen, slows down our heart rate, and relaxes our muscles. We start to feel better, enter a state of calm, and even think more rationally.

This is important because that process essentially takes us out of fight or flight mode, a condition where our sympathetic nervous system is overactivated as a primal survival mechanism.

The problem arises when our sympathetic nervous system is triggered often and for prolonged periods, as is frequently the case with over-stimulated modern humans. That too-common state of fight or flight brings rapid, shallow breathing, elevated heart rate, irritability, higher blood pressure, anxiety, and tension in our bodies and muscles.

Our nervous system connects every tissue of our body, so when it’s overactivated, we suffer from acute stress. And stress impacts just about every aspect of our health, exacerbating any existing medical condition and fostering disease.

In fact, studies show that about 60-80% of all primary care doctor visits are related to stress or its side effects (and yet only 3% of patients ever receive stress management care).

So, simply by breathing deeply (correctly and with consistent practice), we can counteract the sympathetic nervous system, putting our bodies into a better state of health and higher function.

Did I lose you with all of that science-speak?

Well, to give you a few tangible examples, here are some of the health benefits of deep breathing:

  1. Reduces blood pressure.

    Studies prove that even a single session of deep breathing can significantly reduce blood pressure.
  1. Improves mental health.

    Psychologists have discovered that deep, meditative breathing can help fight depression, anxiety, and embolden our mental health.
  1. Lowers stress levels.

    When anxious or stressed, our brains release cortisol – the “stress hormone.” But when taking deep breaths, we release endorphins, also known as “feel good” chemicals, counteracting and easing the release of cortisol.
  1. Pain relief.

    I mentioned above that deep breathing signals the brain to release endorphins. Well, those same endorphins also facilitate the reduction of pain throughout the body.
  1. Detoxifies the body.

    Deep breathing stimulates our lymphatic system, which is useful in detoxifying the body. In fact, 70% of your body’s process of cleansing toxins is through breathing. (More on that later.)
  1. Improves immune function. 

    When we breathe deeply and correctly, our blood becomes fully oxygenated, ensuring that vital nutrients and vitamins are absorbed efficiently, strengthening the immune system.
  1. Boosts energy. 

    When our blood is enriched with oxygen, the systems and organs in our body can function optimally. Therefore, deep breathing helps improve energy levels as well as stamina.
  1. Lowers blood pressure. 

    When you take a big breath, oxygen reaches your muscles, allowing them to relax and dilating your blood vessels. That also increases circulation, slows and regulates your heart rate, and lowers blood pressure.
  1. Aids digestion. 

    Proper breathing also improves your digestive function, as healthier blood flow allows your stomach and intestines to operate efficiently.
  1. Deep breathing even improves posture!

    When you take a full breath, your spine automatically lengthens and straightens, pulling down your diaphragm down and allowing your lungs to expand fully. Yes, your posture also Improves with deep breathing!

Now that you understand some of the many health benefits of proper respiration, let’s look at a few interesting facts about breathing.

  • Our lungs contain about 300 to 500 million alveoli (air sacs) and almost 1,500 miles of airways! If spread out, the surface area of your lungs would cover about half of a tennis court.
  • The way we breathe affects the emotions we experience. Research shows that not only can our emotions – such as fear, anger, comfort, joy, etc. – alter our breathing patterns, but the corollary is true: by changing our breathing patterns, we can put ourselves in different emotional states.
  • The air we inhale contains about 21% oxygen and 79% nitrogen. But the air we exhale has only 16% oxygen, 5% carbon dioxide, and still 79% nitrogen. So, basically, our lungs swap about 5% oxygen for carbon dioxide with every breath.
  • When you exercise and get in shape, how does your body actually shed pounds? Most people think it’s through sweating, but that’s not the case, as we do (and should) rehydrate.

    Instead, we lose weight through breathing, as excess poundage is converted into carbon dioxide (through a complex biochemical process) and expelled from the lungs. So, when you break down a fat molecule (through exercise or calorie burn), about 84% of those atoms are exhaled as carbon dioxide, with the remaining 16% converted into water.
  • An athlete who trains at it can hold their breath for 1-2 minutes. But practicing controlled breathing can vastly improve our lung capacity, such as the case with free divers. In 2010, a Danish free diver named Stig Severinsen set the World Record by holding his breath for a full 22 minutes! That’s not a typo!
  • Did you know that your left and right lungs aren’t identical? In fact, the lung on your left side is segmented into two lobes, while your right lung is divided into three. Your left lung is also somewhat smaller, allowing space for your heart.
  • The air at higher altitudes contains fewer oxygen molecules, as well as being colder and less dense (lower atmospheric pressure). So, the higher up you go, the harder it is to get normal levels of oxygen and the more breaths you must take.
  • Acute Mountain Sickness occurs on average at only 8,000 feet above sea level, but it can be countered with a period of acclimation at progressively higher elevations.
  • If you fly often, you may be surprised to hear that standard air pressure in an airplane cabin is equivalent to the air at 5,000 to 8,000 feet above sea level!

The good news is that anyone can make a positive impact on their mood, health, and quality of life just by focusing on their breathing every day.

In an upcoming blog I’ll be sure to share some helpful tools and tips to help you breathe deeper…and change your life!

The power of thoughts to shape our reality: How self-talk manifests in our lives.

“It is important to have thought mastery if we are to live an extraordinary life.”
-Kelly Resendez, Big Voices: Increase Joy, Reduce Suffering, Think Differently

Every day, human beings have thousands and thousands of thoughts. Depending on how you define a thought, they could range from an average of 6,000 all the way upwards of 50,000 per day.

The problem for most people is that about 80 percent of those thoughts will be negative, and an alarming 95 percent will be repetitive.

Some of those thoughts are accurate and even necessary. (There’s a fire – run!) But far too many are conceived only out of our internal dialogue, or negative self-talk.

Whether positive or negative, our thoughts and internal conversations have wide-reaching implications, guiding the very flow of our lives.

In my book, Big Voices: Increase Joy, Reduce Suffering, Think Differently, I wrote extensively about this theme – and the process of consciously choosing to let our most beneficial thoughts shine through. I encourage you to read that book and take full advantage of the Thought Management Strategy I detail within.

In this blog, I’ll offer just a snapshot of the nature of self-talk, the mind-manifestation connection, and examine the incredible power to change your life just by changing your thoughts.

Little Voice vs. Big Voice

Inside your mind there’s a battle between your Little Voice and your Big Voice.

Our Little Voice is synonymous with our ego. It is the voice in our heads we have lived with for all of our lives, either consciously or unconsciously. It is also the cause of most of our internal suffering.

Our ego speaks to us through our Little Voice. It says hurtful things about us and about others. It is consumed with the past and the future and doesn’t want us to be present. Our ego creates disruptions by shifting our focus to perceptions and not facts. It creates opinions about past events and manufactures stories that may or may not be true.

Your Big Voice, however, presents action-oriented and purpose-driven thoughts that bring you closer to God and your goals. They come from deep within you and are aligned with your values and priorities.

After you understand your brain and mindfulness better, you will learn the difference between your Little Voice and your Big Voice.

What is self-talk?

Self-talk is the internal dialogue we all have, the stream of thoughts and, too often, critiques we have running through our minds – both our Little Voices and Big Voices.

These internal messages have a huge bearing on the lens through which we perceive the world and how we respond, therefore altering the very direction that our lives take.

Unfortunately, our self-talk is often negative. Studies show that for many people, unnecessarily pessimistic or “dark cloud” thoughts consume up to 80 percent of their internal dialogue. For other people, that percentage is much higher.

That’s because the frontal lobe within our brain is overactive and is constantly trying to make predictions to keep us safe and free from being hurt. Our ego uses this simulator to assess rejection, failure, and frustration in an effort to protect us from disappointment.

The seed of those messages often originated in early childhood, as we internalized and magnified the hurtful or limiting words our teachers, parents, peers, or, later, relationship partners told us.

As those negative messages replay in our heads throughout the years, they trigger a host of harmful emotions like anger, guilt, stress, and sadness.

Ruminating

Your brain is wired to think repetitively, called rumination. In essence, rumination means that it is difficult for your brain to move past something that causes anxiety or concern.

Unless you are mindful of this, it may take over. Our repetitive thoughts can control our choices and bring us real emotional distress. These thoughts are not a part of your true authentic self but rather are predictable patterns from your past.

Research shows that excessive ruminating and negative self-talk can manifest as:

·      Chronic stress
·      Anxiety, depression, and panic disorders
·      Low self-esteem
·      Poor sleep
·      Inability to connect with others
·      Failed relationships
·      Poor communication skills
·      Weight gain and bad eating habits
·      Abuse of drugs and alcohol
·      Falling short of your potential when it comes to your career or income

Of course, thinking through our problems and analyzing feedback is vital. But the problem comes when we focus only on the negative and put it on a continuous loop.

The benefits of positive self-talk

Just as negative self-talk has a profound effect on your mind, health, and, eventually, the very course of your life, so does tuning in more to your Big Voice and positive self-talk.

According to research, the tangible benefits of positive self-talk may include:

·      Helping to manage stress
·      Better mental health
·      A boost to the immune system
·      Reductions in pain
·      Improved cardiovascular health
·      Increased self-esteem
·      Higher levels of joy and fulfillment
·      Improved vitality and physical well-being 
·      A longer lifespan 
·      Improved interpersonal relationships

How our thoughts become reality

We tend to write the story of what our own lives will look like. We do this in many ways, but it all comes back to the self-image we’ve created and reinforced through self-talk – which voice we’re giving power to.

We filter all external stimuli and experiences in our lives based on those self-created narratives. In that way, they guide the very course of our actions.

For instance, if we expect rejection, our body language, energy, anxiety, tone, choice of words, and the actions we take may all drive us in that direction.

When we expect to struggle with our career and money, we lower our expectations and self-impose limitations that will only prove that to be true. When we expect relationships to fail from the start, they often fail – or we choose partners and take actions to ensure that outcome.

Each and every one of our choices create momentum, ushering us towards a self-fulfilling prophecy.

The mind-manifestation connection

Whatever we’re seeking in the world, we tend to find. We do so through a process called filtering where we are more apt to notice evidence from our environment that’s consistent with our belief system, or “priming.”

So, when the mind has a deeply entrenched belief, it seeks evidence from our environment that reinforces that belief. Incredibly, our brains will actually shut down competing neural networks that may hold evidence to the contrary!

This is the same reason why confirmation bias is such a powerful (and dangerous) phenomenon.

Final thoughts

You have the power to lead a far better life simply by changing your self-talk.

Start with the decision to write a new story, then your plan will begin to unfold. Tune into your Big Voice and turn the volume way down on your Little Voice.

You will need to be committed to change but not expect your old programming or thoughts to ever go away. You will learn instead how to overcome them and take away their power.

Consistently choosing the right thoughts, the thoughts that come to use from our Big Voice, is not as simple as flipping a switch. It takes practice and vigilance. But I promise that the results will be truly transformative!

***

Inside LinkedIn, the biggest business network in the world.

Do you use LinkedIn?

Officially launched in 2003, nine months before Facebook, the social media platform LinkedIn turned 19 years old earlier in 2022. While that makes it the oldest major social media network, it certainly isn’t antiquated, as LinkedIn is possibly the most utilitarian and practical site on the web, designed for business networking and geared towards connecting professionals and companies every day.

In this part one of my series on LinkedIn, I’ll cover important facts, stats, and data about LinkedIn that are crucial for users, job seekers, companies, and recruiters alike.

And in part two coming soon, I’ll outline my list of little-known LinkedIn hacks so you can maximize your experience no matter what you’re looking for.

LinkedIn demographics

As of 2022, LinkedIn has more than 828.1 million users across the globe.

That means about 10.8% of the entire world population have a LinkedIn account today, or 14.9% of all people over 18 years old!

That includes members in 200 different countries (so, basically all of them!). Due to its international popularity, LinkedIn is offered in 24 different languages, including English, Spanish, French, Japanese, Russian, and Tagalog, among others.

In the United States alone, more than 190 million people use LinkedIn (so basically half the population!) That also means that about 75% of all LinkedIn users are from outside of the U.S.

40% of users are active on the platform on a daily basis, with more than one billion interactions, postings, and engagements every month.

Interestingly, most users are between 25 and 34 (millennials), with 60% of all users within this range – those most of any age demographic.

All of those millennials aren’t just starting their careers or a few years out of college, as it’s reported that 11 million of the 87 million millennials on LinkedIn hold decision-making positions within their companies or organizations.

LinkedIn is also more popular with men than women, with men comprising 56.9% of its users and women, 43% as of 2022.

The average LinkedIn user only spends about 17 minutes per month on the platform – far less than other social media sites. (LinkedIn users aren’t there to “browse” and kill time but mean business!)

LinkedIn boasts the highest income demographic of social media platform users, with 49% of users earning more than $75,000 per year, and a large number over $100,000 and beyond.

In fact, data shows that LinkedIn users hold twice the buying power compared to the average person surfing the internet or other social media.

More than one-third (37%) of all millionaires are LinkedIn members!

LinkedIn’s revenue

In 2021, LinkedIn’s revenue jumped to $11.5 billion, an eye-popping 43% increase from the previous year.

How does LinkedIn generate so much revenue?

There are two methods: paid ads by users and LinkedIn Premium with its paid monthly memberships.

While it’s free to log on and use LinkedIn, there are four paid plans to Premium: Career ($39.99/mo), Business ($55.99/mo), Sales Navigator Core ($99.99/mo), and Recruiter Lite ($199.995/mo). Each plan has additional features and benefits useful to those looking for jobs, companies and organizations, sales teams, and recruiters, respectively.

About 39% of LinkedIn users sign up for LinkedIn Premium and one of those four paid memberships.

Businesses and organizations on LinkedIn

Approximately 58 million businesses have accounts on LinkedIn.

That includes Fortune 500 companies, as more than 92% of the Fortune 500 have company LinkedIn accounts that they use regularly!

There are also 120,000 schools, colleges, and universities with a LinkedIn presence.

4 out of 5 LinkedIn users “drive business decisions,” according to Hootsuite.

Recruiting and hiring through LinkedIn

LinkedIn is invaluable as a de facto job board and conduit for companies to find new talent. Additionally, 87% of professional recruiters and corporate headhunters regularly use LinkedIn to attract new clients and help place them.

Companies and recruiters alike enjoy a near-endless pool of top-quality talent on LinkedIn. Hiring based on an introduction on the social media platform usually pays dividends,

For instance, research shows that the average employee sourced through LinkedIn is 40% less likely to leave the company within the first six months of working a new job.

LinkedIn is tailor-made for companies to attract a pool of potential employees, making it easy to create, share, and promote job postings.

It’s especially useful for engaging new managers, supervisors, or even those in the C-suite.

Searching for a job with LinkedIn

Every week, 49 million people use LinkedIn to search for jobs, and 210 million job applications are submitted through the platform monthly.

That equals about 77 job applications being submitted every single second, and 6 people are hired every minute through LinkedIn.

Add it all up, and about 6,000 LinkedIn users land a job using the platform each day!

One prominent study found that at least 122 million people have garnered at least one job interview through LinkedIn, and 35.5 million of those were hired by someone they first connected with through the online platform.

LinkedIn was also particularly useful over the last few years as more people worked from home, with a 600% increase in the number of job postings that offered remote or work-from-home positions.

Lead generation and sales via LinkedIn

Research by Hubspot found that LinkedIn is more effective than Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or any other social media in generating leads.

In fact, their data showed that LinkedIn is 277% more effective than Facebook or Twitter (the next two highest platforms) for lead generation.

For that reason and others, 79% of marketers say that LinkedIn is a very good source of new leads, and 43% of marketers say they’ve garnered at least one new customer or client through LinkedIn.

And for business-to-business (B2B) marketers, LinkedIn is a goldmine. B2B marketers report that 80% of their social media leads are born out of LinkedIn as opposed to other platforms, and 4 in 10 say that LinkedIn is their #1 most effective channel for high-quality new leads.

***

I hope that helps you understand the potential LinkedIn offers you a little better, and look for my little-known LinkedIn hacks coming soon!

Workplace wellness programs create happy, healthy employees…but do they improve the bottom line?

The average person will spend 90,000 hours at work during the course of their life, or about one-third of their total waking hours. 

With all that time spent at the office, cubicle, and desk, it’s no wonder why more employees are looking to improve their health, wellness, and lifestyle while on the clock.

And smart employers are catching on to this workplace wellness revolution, not only because of the holistic benefits to the people in their organization but because wellness programs and initiatives present a significant financial benefit.

At Microsoft, employees get a gym membership, clinic and healthcare visits, health food chefs and juice bars, and more wellness programs – all on-site and for free.

USAA, the leader in military community banking in the U.S., builds “energy zones” into their workplace where employees are encouraged to get up, move and exercise, as well as mental health resources and positive mantras printed across their headquarter’s walls.  

Hilton, one of the biggest global hoteliers, launched their “Thrive@Hilton” well-being partnership back in 2017, nurturing mind, body, and spirit of all employees. Hilton offers pop-up health screenings and clinics, yoga, meditation, fitness classes, and corporate health training to permeate a culture of wellness across their organization.

Facebook offers its employees ubiquitous bicycles around their campus, and Buffer offers its workers access to therapists along with free subscriptions to health and well-being apps.

And where I work at GoodLeap, the nation’s largest sustainable solar and home improvement marketplace, we offer mindset training and weekly yoga for our employees – just one of the many reasons we’ve been named one of the Best Places to Work numerous times.

So, why are these (and many, many more) organizations investing in the health and wellness of their employees? Today we’ll look at some of those compelling reasons, as well as stats, research, and the financial accounting behind wellness at the workplace.

Here is a summary of the benefits to employers and organizations:

            1.         Wellness programs help recruit top talent.

            2.         They also vastly improve your chances of retaining current employees and keeping talent within the organization.

            3.         Wellness programs are proven to reduce absenteeism.

            4.         Just as important, they reduce presenteeism (more on that later).

            5.         These programs improve company goodwill and morale.

            6.         Studies show they foster better communication and teamwork.

            7.         Wellness programs significantly reduce company healthcare costs, both directly and indirectly.

            8.         Of course, wellness programs benefit employees by improving medical conditions, overall health, weight loss and fitness, sleep, mental health, and reducing stress! 

These are the most popular wellness programs and initiatives in corporate America right now:

·      On-site gyms, free gym memberships, fitness programs

·      Programs to help people stop smoking

·      Weight-loss initiatives

·      Yoga

·      Meditation

·      Pet-friendly workplaces!

·      Financial management, advising, and debt counseling

·      Stress management and sleep enhancement programs

·      On-site clinics, medical care, and routine health screenings 

Facts and stats that demonstrate the need for company wellness programs

  • 63% of companies with effective wellness programs report improved financial growth and sustainability.
  • On average, employees who participate in holistic wellness at work take 56% fewer sick days and companies with wellness programs see a 27% decrease in sick days.
  • 62% of employees who take part in company wellness programs experience lower healthcare costs (which are often passed on to employers, both directly and indirectly).
  • 55% of employees would be interested in working for an employer with a wellness benefit program, and 53% of professionals say they would remain loyal to their organization if such a program was offered.
  • The American Psychological Association notes that 77% of polled say that company fitness programs and gyms positively affect morale and culture.
  • Promoting workplace wellness benefits individuals and the entire organization on a holistic level. For instance, they’ve been proven to reduce stress among workers, an important landmark since stress accounts for about 20% of all company direct expenses.
  • That includes high turnover among employees and the associated costs, absenteeism, presenteeism, and even strikes or work stoppages. It’s estimated that the cost of stress in the workplace adds up to $300 billion annually!

What’s the ROI on workplace wellness programs?

There are plenty of studies that delve into the return on investment when companies institute wellness programs and healthcare initiatives.

One prominent research project at Harvard University aggregated all of that data, concluding that the average return on investment was 3.27 – or $3.27 saved for every $1 invested.

The same Harvard research found that every dollar invested in corporate wellness programs yielded $2.73 in a reduction in absenteeism. 

Even better, an Indiana Department of Health report found that for every dollar spent on health and wellness, the company saved an average of $5.82 in costs stemming from employee absenteeism.

The bottom line $$$

Research shows that an efficient health and wellness program can reduce a company’s healthcare expenses by up to 26%, as well as a 30% reduction in employee compensation and disability management claims.

Furthermore, health and wellness programs in the workplace also lead to indirect benefits when workers are more committed and “buy in.” Those benefits include a 37% reduction in absenteeism and a 65% lower employee turnover rate. 

And reductions in presenteeism (the focus and productivity of employees when at work) save organizations two to three times more than direct healthcare expenses!

So, what does this all mean for leaders and business owners?

If your company doesn’t currently offer a wellness program, it’s essential that you initiate one now – or ignore at your own detriment.

With the job market as tight as it is, workplace wellness is a major consideration for the employees and talent you’re trying to hire. Furthermore, the benefits and savings to your organization will be both tangible and significant. 

Your employees will thank you – and your bottom line will reflect that!  

Stop the self-sabotage!

Tactics to help you break through your Upper Limit Problems and live the life you truly deserve.

Why does the average person fall woefully short when it comes to maximizing their potential and living the life they truly deserve?

Is it because of external circumstances or plain ‘old bad luck? Bad choices along the way? Wrong spouse or friends? Can we blame it on upbringing and childhood traumas?

While all of those are valid and serious obstacles along our life’s journey, they don’t slam the door shut on our fully-happy, self-actualized existence.

Instead, self-sabotage holds most people back from their dream life. Yes, we are our own worst enemies in many cases, especially when everything we want is right within reach.

This psychological phenomenon even has a name – Upper Limit Problems, made famous by author Gay Hendricks in his book, The Big Leap.

In my recent blog, I thoroughly examined Upper Limit Problems and introduced their most common (and destructive) manifestation by which we derail our lives just when things are going well: self-sabotage.

Today, we’ll delve into how to overcome our negative belief mechanisms that kick in right when we have the potential to be truly happy, successful, or fulfilled.

With these six simple (but far from easy) six steps below, you’ll be able to smash through self-sabotage forever, allowing you to live the life you truly deserve.

1. Awareness.

Like any behavioral change, the first step is awareness. If we don’t know when, where, and why our self-sabotage manifests, we have little chance of addressing it.

Notice when upper limit problems occur in your life. Observe your thoughts, feelings, anxieties, and beliefs that circulate around those issues. You’ll start noticing things very quickly, like patterns of negative thoughts when something comes up in your life, like relationships, money, or self-worth.

Kelly’s Tip: Observation and self-awareness are great, but it’s vital that you start writing these things down. Take notes in a journal every time you run into these limiting beliefs and the emotions or thoughts that revolve around them. The clarity of putting pen to paper will be invaluable!

2. Understand those triggers – and where they come from.

Many of our beliefs that lead to upper limit problems and self-sabotage are deeply ingrained, going back to our childhood and even past traumas. While you shouldn’t expect to just flip a switch and resolve all of these issues, you can identify where your present-day self-sabotage comes from. Just understanding these origins will allow you to separate from the root of your self-sabotage, de-personalize the causes, and, eventually, move on.

3. Change the narrative = change your life.

This is an incredibly powerful tactic. Many of our psychological processes and how we navigate through life accordingly, are based on the stories we tell ourselves.

While one person may think:

I am a winner.

I will end up happily married.

Money easily flows to me.

Another person may have thoughts playing in a continuous loop like:

I always have bad luck and bad things happen to me.

 I’m just waiting for my relationship to fail, and I’m destined to be alone.

I’ve always struggled with money, and I’ll never be successful.

Those negative thought loops turn into self-fulfilling prophecies through a spectrum of decisions, how we perceive and interpret what happens to us, and the inevitable self-sabotage if our narratives are threatened (even with good stuff).

So, if we consciously set a new story about our life, our thought patterns start expanding in positive ways to conform to that new narrative.

4. Stop the negative self-talk.

Based on those stories we tell ourselves, our brains create self-talk. These internal messages are ongoing, with up to 60,000 thoughts a day for the average person. However, about 95% of those thoughts are serially repetitive, on a loop. The problem is that if we have upper limit problems, up to 80% of those thoughts will be negative or limiting!

Can you imagine the dire psychological and even physiological impact of tens of thousands of negative thoughts popping in our heads every day, regardless of external circumstances?!

It’s not easy to change your thoughts and stem the flow of negative self-talk, but every single person can do it with some self-awareness, dedication, and practice. Soon, those tens of thousands of daily thoughts can be positive, working for you – not against you!

5. Make a plan

With anything ambitious or difficult we want to accomplish in our lives, we need to start with a plan. I’ve created a three-part plan that worked fantastic for me in the past when I was trying to smash the self-sabotage habit.

Part 1:

Identify the upper limit problems and barriers that emerge whenever you have a clear path to growth or success. I highly suggest writing them down, such as in a daily journal. Just through this process of clarification, you’ll be empowered to address and deal with them.

Part 2:

Enlist the help of an accountability partner (or partners) by sharing the specifics of your upper limit problems, limiting beliefs, and how you’re self-sabotaging. The psychology of goal setting shows us that having someone hold us accountable vastly increases your success rates of following through and achieving that change.

Part 3:

They say that knowledge is power, and that’s our next stage of reversing the predilection to self-sabotage. Now that you’ve gained clarity on what you’re doing, when, and why – even writing it down and enlisting an accountability partner – it’s time for due diligence. Research every article, blog, video, and book you can, tapping into the universal knowledge of experts in the field. In short order, soon you’ll have a brand-new tool kit of strategies to face your past habits – and change them.

6. Implement your new plan

The final step in our journey to cease self-sabotaging is to craft new behaviors. Ideally, those behaviors will turn into habits, becoming so ingrained that they completely rewire your brain.

Based on what you’ve learned and the plan you drafted, there are many ways to do that. So, this is somewhat of an oversimplification to put it all in one step or stage.

 It’s a very personal and varied process, and it all depends on why and how you’re self-sabotaging.

I will tell you that no matter what your plan or mechanism for change, it will be a process. At first, it will all feel foreign, overwhelming, and uncomfortable. It may even stir up more of the deep-seated emotions or traumas at the root of your sabotaging behaviors.

It’s crucial that as you deconstruct and then reshape your internal narrative, you also work on building up your self-esteem. Release intrinsic guilt and anger, forgiving those in your life who caused you trauma.

Like any process, it will take time. Be patient and don’t compare yourself to others or focus on the outcome – just try to be better today than you were yesterday. And stick to your plan.

A final note:

Remain conscious of what you do or when you backtrack. At the same time, suspend judgment about it – setbacks are part of the process, too, and compltely understandable.

Be gentle with yourself and laugh along the way, as you’re about to unlock a bright, wonderful new future where you’re no longer holding yourself back from the life you truly deserve!

Kelly Resendez appears as a guest on The Mark Haney Show podcast.

I wanted to share a recent podcast interview where Kelly Resendez was a guest on the Mark Haney Show, speaking about creating a life of abundance.

You can watch the interview on YouTube.

Or listen as a podcast here.

The Mark Haney Show is the business leadership platform focused on igniting the entrepreneurial revolution in Sacramento. Since its debut in 2015, it’s garnered widespread acclaim, attracting some of Northern California’s most notable billionaires, millionaires, and start-up founders as guests.

(Find out more about The Mark Haney Show.)

In this fun, personal, and interactive nearly-one-hour podcast, we spoke about many topics, including the benefits of joining masterminds – small groups that help you “advance the ball” in business and life, as Mark put it.

Basically, mastermind groups put you in a position to win by surrounding you with the right people. The people in your circle that you interact with are a huge part of where you’ll end up in life; as Tony Robbins says, “Proximity is power!”

Kelly Resendez has long been an advocate and big believer in the power of mastermind groups to transform your life, and she now actively participates in two such groups.

One is M-10 with Rock Thomas, a “tribe of whole-life millionaires who don’t apologize for leading epic lives,” where this group of men and women level-up their network, net worth, and life.

(Find out more about M-10.)

The other mastermind is GoBundance, an exclusive gathering (there are only about 100 members or so across the country now) with separate men’s and women’s divisions. Within the women’s mastermind, GoBundance is a “unique gathering of badass, successful and heart-centered women. This is a place to learn, grow and play together as we celebrate each other’s successes, catch blind spots, challenge and support each other.”

(Find out more about GoBundance.)

Whether you’re interested in M-10, GoBundance, or another mastermind group, there are some inherent advantages to membership and participation that Kelly points out.

Benefits to joining a mastermind group:

1.    Gain a new perspective.
2.    Accountability. (This is a big one!)
3.    Break the isolation and solitude that comes with being an entrepreneur.
4.    THING BIGGER! Rise to a new level…
5.    And therefore, be equipped to SERVE on a new level!
6.    Wonderful relationships and even friendships.
7.    Trusted advisors to bounce ideas off of.
8.    Access to experts in different fields.
9.    Clarify your vision and make sure your intentions are in alignment.
10. Be with people who give you permission to feel joy!

Kelly also shared with Mark her huge awakening in 2004, when she realized that there was more to life than just achieving and success. She made the conscious shift to living an existence filled with more mindfulness, joy, and balance.

Now, aside from her role as an executive at GoodLeap, she’s a writer and speaker, guiding others through the same process of how to reduce self-suffering and live a more joyful, positive life – her way of giving back.

A few notable quotes from this podcast interview between Mark Haney and Kelly Resendez:

“It’s about creating a life success plan, not just a business success plan.”

“Success is worthless without joy and celebration.”

“Balance joy and celebration while continuing to create new desires.”

“I want to feel alive and vibrant and radiant every day. I want to live an inspired life and help others do the same.”

“Inspiration comes from challenge, from growth, from new and exciting things – creating intentional adventure.”

“Become a self-care master.”

“Life is very simple…if you don’t judge other people and you stay focused on what you desire, you’ll get whatever you want.

It’s when we judge and when we focus on what’s not working when we get off track and end up attracting more of that”

“Dedicate more time to creating the right mindset.”

“Challenge the beliefs; challenge the standards you’ve set for yourself.”

“We are the creators of our own reality by the steps we take every day.

I welcome you to listen to this podcast with Kelly Resendez, check out M-10 with Rock Thomas or GoBundance mastermind groups, and get in touch with Kelly Resendez.

You can experience her vision and even enlist her help to change your life at KellyResendez.com or BigVoicesRise.com.

And if you’d like Kelly to be a guest on your podcast or speak at your corporate event or seminar, you can contact her here.

From The Mark Haney podcast show notes:

Kelly Resendez, EVP of Talent Acquisition and Development at GoodLeap, Speaker, and Best-Selling Author, shares a little about her philosophies on life, parenting, and professional success with a notable focus on cultivating an abundance mindset and putting the right people in your life. 

She talks specifically about how Masterminds, which offer a curated peer group experience, can fuel personal and professional growth by providing a level of accountability, unique learning experiences, and a forum to develop deep and meaningful relationships. 

Tune in for this engaging and inspiring discussion that speaks to all areas of our lives.

Upper Limit Problems

Why we self-sabotage when happiness, love, and success are finally within reach.

Deep down, there’s a part of us that’s scared senseless by the thought of being truly happy, successful, or fulfilled. For many of us, whenever we get close to achieving something new and great in our lives, our negative belief mechanism kicks in overdrive, often leading to self-sabotage. If the lightbulb just went off, you may be suffering from “Upper Limit Problems” without even realizing it.

One of the best primers we’ll find on the concept of Upper Limit Problems is the book, The Big Leap by author Gay Hendricks. I read it several years ago and had many eureka moments throughout. It was so revealing and powerful that I’ve actually reread it or referred to it several more times over the years.

Hendricks, author, psychologist, and respected teacher in the field of relationships and personal growth, best describes the premise of The Big Leap.

“I’ve worked with hundreds of extremely talented, capable executives and professionals over the past 45 years,” says Hendricks. “Yet even with their awesome skills, there were still areas of their lives in which they kept hitting upper limits and then sabotaging themselves.

In my work, we identify the underlying issues that trigger the Upper Limit Problem, so that people can rise smoothly to higher and higher levels of their potential without bumping their heads against the false ceilings that are held in place by negative belief systems.”

That inner voice that insists only trouble, pain, and disappointment lie ahead if we don’t “play it safe” is like an intrinsic thermostat. Usually programmed since early childhood, it gauges just how much happiness, love, or wealth we’ll allow ourselves.

There are several reasons why we often set upper limits, effectively boxing ourselves into a prison of our own design.

This may hit home – it seems that human beings are hard wired to seek out comfort in life, not happiness. So, happiness – which comes from striving to maximize our potential or chase our dreams, and the risk associated with it, is contrary to the comfort of being stable and safe.

It turns out that we’re programmed to stay in our “safe zone,” however we interpret and perceive that on a primal level.

For that reason, we’re often really uncomfortable with greater happiness, love, success, or wealth because it’s unfamiliar. Achieving those things at previously unfathomable levels and for prolonged states might shatter our self-beliefs that have become deeply ingrained. Our minds, therefore, see these new states as foreign and psychologically threatening, even though they are positive.

A good example of this is why it’s so easy to accept and internalize criticism but way more unnerving for us to deal with praise or compliments.

There’s another good reason why our minds self-sabotage us with upper limits whenever we start achieving good things in life: the more we have, the more we have to lose. In fact, the psychological pain of loss is far greater than that of not gaining that thing in the first place, whether that is money, love, a prize, etc.

So, when we have a new relationship that’s going great, for instance, we may feel more vulnerable and scared of losing it to the point that we don’t even enjoy it, and therefore do something to sabotage it because that feels safer.

This is also a function of human beings as creatures of habit. Once you’ve been fighting and clawing to survive, serially disappointed by relationships, and basically form a vision of life as always a struggle, it doesn’t feel real or sustainable when things start rolling your way.

Think of it as a deep-sea diver who comes up to the surface too quickly and becomes disoriented!

There are many ways that deeply ingrained Upper Limit Problems may manifest in our lives, but they mostly show up in two ways: with irrational fear (in all its forms, such as anxiety) and when we self-sabotage.

Think of those as the one-two punch to make sure we revert back to a more comfortable (but not happier) and baseline state that’s familiar. Since fear is largely ego-driven, it signals a questionable decision-making process that ensures we sabotage the new, scary, and way-too-big change in our life.

According to Hendricks and other psychologists, experiencing these emotions are often signs that you have Upper Limit Problems, especially if you hold several of them or they are exceedingly intense.

You may have Upper Limit Problems if…

  1. You feel like you’re fundamentally flawed in some way or less than normal.
  2. You’re overly anxious and worry all the time.
  3. You tend to project blame and criticism on others.
  4. You’re overcome with feelings of guilt, even though they aren’t warranted.
  5. You experience incessant negative self-talk and doubt.
  6. You literally make yourself sick with negative thoughts and feelings (due to the very powerful mind-body connection).
  7. You feel like achieving success means you are being disloyal, abandoning others, or will lead you to end up alone.
  8. You believe that unprecedented wealth or success will “change you” and become a burden or negative drag in your life.
  9. You’re worried about outshining your friends, coworkers, or those in your life.

If some of these are all-too-familiar, you probably are suffering from Upper Limit Problems. But that’s not reason for dismay, as the first step to reversing that psychological phenomenon is identifying that it actually exists in you.

And with a little consciousness, introspection, and mindful practice, you can actually “solve” these Upper Limit Problems for good, unleashing your potential.

Unimagined new levels of happiness, wealth, and incredibly fulfilling relationships are waiting for you on the other side! 

Inside the Great Resignation

There is a definitive trend taking place in the American workforce, with large numbers of employees quitting their jobs.

If we believe the media’s common neat-and-tidy narrative, this “record” exodus from the office is mainly due to younger workers who are fed up and walking away, rejecting the core concept of being dutifully employed. They’ve even dubbed it the ‘Great Resignation’ in the news. (You may have also heard plenty of spin-offs such as ‘The Big Quit,’ ‘The Turnover Tsunami,’ and the less catchy ‘The Attrition Super-Cycle.’

However, like most things, if we dive a little deeper, we see that the Great Resignation is far more complex, with a host of push-and-pull factors that span every generation throughout the labor market.

So, today I wanted to present a more comprehensive look at the Great Resignation.

At the time of this writing, the latest data reveals that in November 2021, 4.5 million people left their positions voluntarily according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which is being reported as an “all-time high.” That’s a full 3% of the entire non-farm labor force that walked away in one month, which is also touted as a record.

(Each month, the BLS surveys about 20,000 businesses and government agencies to gather their data. It’s also worth noting that most employment statistics are looking at non-farm jobs only.)

In fact, 33 million people have quit their jobs in roughly the last year (since spring of 2021). Through November 2021, we saw an average of 3.9 million workers give their notice each month. That much is true.

The only issue with calling this a record and all-time high is that the BLS has only tracked that data for about two decades. Perhaps there have been other times throughout modern U.S. history when employment numbers were hemorrhaging, too.

We can assume that workers punching out for the last time were just as rampant – if not more – during the dotcom bubble in the late 1990s and early 2000s. To that point, the BLS only started tracking this data in January 2001. That month, 2.4% of workers left their jobs, so it wouldn’t be a stretch to think earlier months rivaled what we’re experiencing now.

Another such epoch in American history that saw a diaspora from jobs was post-war WWII, when the troops came home, people were moving to the suburbs and starting families like never before, and the economy boomed.

Although the Bureau of Labor Statistics didn’t start keeping formal data across all (non-farm) sectors until 2021, it did keep close tabs on manufacturing jobs from 1930 to 1979. So, in 1945, at the height of the post-WWII economy, the monthly average number of job losses reached 6.1%. Considering that manufacturing jobs made up about one-third of our economy back in 1945, we can reason that the job losses were actually might higher than our current numbers.

We’re still awaiting December’s job loss data but forecast that, for the year, we may see about 33% of the non-farm workforce quit their job in 2021. That seems (and is) high, but remember that even in pre-pandemic 2019, 28% of the U.S. workforce quit their jobs.

And even though our 3.9 million average per month so far in 2021 is indisputably high, we may be tracking a trend that had its nascent roots even before the pandemic. For instance, in 2019, workers quit at an average of 3.5 million per month, which is only about 11% lower than 2021’s numbers, despite all the buzz.

What else can we glean from our current Great Resignation?

Not all industries and sectors are created equal when it comes to employees quitting. The highest rate (6.9%) of November 2021’s “record” resignations were in accommodation and food services, such as restaurant, bar, hotel, motel, and other service workers. (In that single month, more than one million food service, leisure & hospitality workers didn’t show up for work.)

That is high without a doubt, but that’s also the nature of that work (younger employees, lower pay, seasonal, etc.) in an industry that has been battered by various pandemic-era shifts.

The second-highest quit rate across all industries was in retail, with 4.4% of workers leaving. Together with accommodation and food services, those two sectors accounted for about one-third of all voluntary job losses that month.

Conversely, the quit rates across construction (2.7%), finance and insurance (1.7%), government (1%), information (2%), and even real estate are still relatively low.

November’s lofty job loss numbers also reflect clear lines along age demographics. According to ADP’s monthly report, the majority of turnover in November was among 16-24-year-olds (who often occupy those low-pay service and retail jobs), who quit at almost three times the national average.

But that age split was not consistent throughout the pandemic. Back in July 2021, resignations rates were greatest among employees in the middle of their careers, who tended to be 30 to 45-years-old instead of 16 to 24. Those mid-career employees actually resigned 20% more from July 2020 to July 2021, while resignations among workers aged 20 to 25 actually decreased slightly.

And while the media narrative around the Great Resignation also says that large numbers of seasoned workers are being pushed into early retirement, resignation rates for 60-to-70-year-olds actually fell.

Likewise, different industries were suffering from employee shortages and high quit rates in mid-2021 versus late 2021. Back in July, the technology (4.5%) and healthcare (3.6%) sectors saw the greatest number of job losses compared to food service and accommodation losses with our latest data.

Others who crunch the numbers and look past the neat and tidy narrative are questioning whether it’s a Great Resignation at all or if a ‘Great Reassessment’ or ‘Great Renegotiation’ is more apropos, a moniker coined by NPR’s Planet Money.

In an upcoming blog, I’ll delve into the motivations and factors that are driving this Great Resignation, and what employers can do to adjust and keep – or attract – quality staff.

***

Conversations on Leadership w/ Kelly Resendez: #2 The age gap, leadership training, and are great leaders born or made?

“Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.”
—Jack Welch

There are many definitions of leadership, as well as checklists that attempt to define what makes a good (or bad) leader.

And yet, a crystal-clear concept of leadership still alludes us in many facets of life, from relationships to self-achievement and certainly at work.

So, I decided to create a series of blog posts for you, each one taking a few smaller – but just as important – parts of the leadership phenomenon and examining them thoroughly before giving you some sound advice.

Last month, we delved into three important aspects of leadership: the stakes for businesses and companies, leadership development, and identifying potential leaders.

Today, we’re going to continue our deep dive into leadership by talking about the age gap in leadership positions, leadership training, and answering the critical question, are good leaders made or born?

I hope you enjoy it and get something substantive to take away – and I’m already looking forward to our next conversation!

The age gap and Millennials in leadership

One of the biggest challenges to U.S. business and commerce over the next ten years is the exodus of experienced supervisors, managers, and leaders from the workforce.
This issue stems from the changing demographic of the American (as well as global) workforce. Put simply, there is a massive swell of younger workers while, at the same time, older generations are aging-out and retiring from their well-entrenched positions.

In fact, by 2025, 75% of the U.S. workforce will consist of millennials, a trend that’s rapidly accelerating due to pandemic-era early retirements and Boomers walking away from their leadership roles.

Why does the fact that millennials will make up about three-quarters of the workforce by 2025 create such a pressing challenge? In surveys, 77% of that age cohort described their company’s leadership development as “weak,” and 63% said their leadership skills were not being developed. Few firms get sterling reviews when it comes to developing young leaders.

Add it all up, and there’s no doubt that we’re facing a profound void in leadership, in large part since 10,000 Baby Boomers are retiring every single day.

To that point, 55% of CEOs say that developing the next generation of leaders is their #1 challenge and 47% predict a leadership shortage in the near future.

Leadership training

As we covered in our last blog, developing leaders is an incredibly vibrant industry, adding up to $165.3 billion in the U.S. and Canada in 2020.

However, the capacity to properly train our emerging leaders still falls short. Too often, strong or dominant personalities or recognition dictate who ends up in the C-suite or management positions, but the skills to lead others to success are still lacking. According to industry surveys, only 14% of CEOs have the leadership talent they need to put their company on a path to survive and flourish.

Likewise, 30% of Fortune 500 companies don’t create effective internal leadership development programs at all. That’s nearly one in three major firms that fall flat when it comes to identifying and fostering the people who will be leading their organizations in the not-so-distant future.

To that point, an alarming 42% of managers develop their leadership methods by observation alone instead of benefiting from formal training.

Looking at it from the perspective of age and the emerging demographic chasm, 63% of Millennial workers surveyed said that their company wasn’t developing their leadership capabilities or encouraging their talents. Even more profound, 77% called their company’s leadership training “weak,” a telling indictment of our collective capacity to train and develop tomorrow’s leaders.

Are great leaders born or made?

We often embrace the archetype of the natural leader, who appears to possess the inherent qualities to motivate men and women in their DNA. However, that’s far from the reality.

Instead, it’s estimated that only 10% of people have natural leadership ability. That’s about one in ten who have the talent to lead people to success without formal or conscious training. And according to Gallup polls, another 20% of the population have some sort of talent or potential for leadership, which can be brought out with proper development.

Far from that myth of the bold, born leader, our CEOs, VPs, board members, and managers are usually nurtured into the role (or should be).

Of course, it’s possible that someone has some innate leadership potential or talent, but that only emerges and is honed by training as well as experience.

Add it all up, and researchers estimate that the quality of effective leadership is about one-third naturally-born and two-thirds made. That’s encouraging for those who are looking to climb the corporate ladder but don’t feel strongly that their natural gifts alone can get them there.

So, in our next conversation, we’ll talk about the important qualities and personality traits – both born and developed – for leadership.

Until then, lead on!

-Kelly

***

Conversations on Leadership w/ Kelly Resendez: #1 The truth, leadership development, and identifying potential

As I sat down to write a few thoughts on leadership for my blog this month, my notes quickly grew past the confines of a single post (that someone would actually take the time to read!).

That’s fitting for the topic of leadership, as it’s not something we can define, illuminate, and nurture with a few paragraphs or a top-10 list. Instead, leadership is one of the most fundamentally imperative qualities in many areas of our life, from relationships to self-achievement and certainly at work.

So, I decided to create a series of blog posts for you, each one taking a few smaller – but just as important – parts of the leadership phenomenon and examining them thoroughly before giving you some sound advice.

To begin today, I will delve into three important aspects of leadership: the stakes for businesses and companies, leadership development, and identifying potential leaders.

I hope you enjoy it and get something substantive to take away – and I’m already looking forward to our next conversation!

-Kelly Resendez

The truth about corporate leadership today

The stakes have never been higher for companies, businesses, and organizations when it comes to finding, hiring, and nurturing leaders. It’s as vital to their future success as any other enterprise.

According to a recent report by the 2021 Global Leadership Forecast, companies and businesses are facing a dire leadership shortage. Only 11% of survey respondents feel they have “very strong” or “strong” leadership in place, which is the lowest benchmark in the last ten years.

And a paltry 10% of CEOs believe that the leadership development programs their company has in place are even making a clear impact on the bottom line.

In fact, 79% of employees will quit after feeling underappreciated by their managers and company leaders.

Putting the wrong people in positions of leadership can be catastrophic to an organization. We just have to follow the news cycle to see leaders fall from grace, whether it’s the CEO of a company, a politician, or other notable people.

Leadership does not just affect those in the boardroom or the C-suite but impacts all the way through the organizational ranks.

Leadership development

Training and developing leaders is big business. Leadership training was a $357.7 billion industry worldwide in 2020 and topped $165.3 billion in the U.S. and Canada alone.

It’s no mystery why companies and organizations invest huge sums into hiring and developing their captains.

But despite these impressive sums, the push to groom tomorrow’s leaders still isn’t resonating with most organizations. As of 2019, 77% of all organizations polled report that they face a leadership gap.

Looking under the hood, it’s not hard to see why. A mere 5% of companies have integrated leadership development into their organization, and 58% of managers say that they received NO management training on the way to their job or even in their current role of leadership. (Sources: GoRemotely.net and Linkedin Pulse – see below for links.)

More than three-quarters of organizations (77%) now report that leadership is insufficient within their ranks, and 83% of companies now report developing future leaders is crucial.

Identifying leadership potential

Now the hard part: how can we identify natural leaders or those with leadership potential? It’s not enough to take current CEOs and leaders and reverse engineer their qualities. Instead, we’re tasked with identifying those who may blossom into those roles early on.

According to Psychology Today, most successful leaders have these inherent traits:

  1. Score high marks on social intelligence scales.
  2. Highly adaptable and embrace – not fear or resist – change.
  3. Self-awareness and the capacity to step out of themselves and their situation.
  4. Discipline.
  5. A high level of focus to stay on track with the most important tasks and issues that truly warrant their attention.

Other industrial psychology studies posit that some of the most important qualities in young, new, or under-utilized employees include:

  • Natural communicators, which includes great listening skills.
  • Humility and self-awareness while at the same time having inner confidence.
  • They want to take on responsibility but have no issues being held accountable or responding to constructive criticism.
  • They’re engaged, energetic, and focused on their work – and that attitude spreads to others.
  • They show initiative and always are looking to learn or improve.
  • Their co-workers, their team, and the organization always come first.

Granted, that’s an ambitious list and incredibly difficult to spot from the other side of a cubicle, at the company picnic, or in passing in the hallways.

But, as we’ll learn in future conversations, there are ways businesses of any size (and budget) can reaffirm their leadership development efforts, allowing them to find and nurture the CEOs, managers, and visionaries of tomorrow.

***