July 27, 2010
Tip of the Week: November 1st, 2009

Stop Stress byExpanding Your "Circle of Nice"
By Winn Claybaugh

Remember when you were a kid and you couldn't wait for summer vacationto start? Now that you're an adult, vacations often mean standing inline, sitting in traffic, and dealing with economic stress. Instead ofletting stress get you down, remember that it's not the situation thatcauses stress but how you interpretthe situation.

In The 7 Habits of Highly EffectivePeople, Stephen Covey told aboutbeing on a crowded subway with a man whose children were out ofcontrol. Covey was getting irritated, until he learned that they werereturning from the hospital where the man's wife had just died. Covey'sattitude instantly shifted from stress to sympathy.

Avoiding stress can be as simple as changing your beliefs. Supposesomeone steals your cell phone while you're on a trip. You could rantabout the inconvenience, or you could choose to believe that your phonewas taken by a struggling waiter with five starving kids. When youdon't know the real story, why not choose one that makes you feel good?Wouldn't you rather think your phone helped to feed five hungrychildren?

In Be Nice (Or Else!) I wroteabout circles of influence. You have aninfluence on everyone you come in contact with. You can be waiting inline with perfect strangers, and your attitude and behavior can make orruin their day. I also talked about your circle of nice, which is aslightly different concept. This circle includes everyone you'vedecided to treat nicely. In a"be nice" world, the ultimate ambitionfor each of us is to include in our circle of nice the same exactindividuals as those in our circle of influence--both people we knowandmany we don't know.

To expand your circle of nice, take out four pieces of paper and createthe following lists:

1.Your current circle of influence.This will be a lengthy list ofanyone and everyone you come in contact with on a daily basis, even ifyou don't know their names or actually speak to them.

2.Yourcurrent circle of nice. These are the individuals to whom you'vealready made a conscious decision to be nice. Next to each of thesenames, list the specific actionsyou take to care for that person. Howdo you let them know they're included in your circle of nice?

3.Yourimmediate goals. These are the people you want to add to yourcircle of nice right now and they would be easy to add. Make aconscious decision to take actions toward including them in your circleof nice.

4.Yourlong-range goals: These are the people who are not in yourcircle of nice and you aren't quite sure how or even if you want to addthem yet. Choose one person from this list to begin moving into yourcircle of nice.

Can you imagine how different our society would be if everyone made thecommitment to expand their circle of nice? Instead of televisedshouting matches, town hall meetings would become courteous exchangesof opinions and ideas. Road rage would be a thing of the past. Travelwould be pleasant and enjoyable again. There's just no telling whatmight happen in our homes, our relationships, our workplaces, and ourhealth if we all agreed to expand our circle of nice!

Winn Claybaugh is the author of BeNice (Or Else!) and "one of the best motivational speakers inthe country," according to CNN's Larry King. A business owner for over25 years with over 8,000 people in his organization, Winn is theco-owner of hair care giant Paul Mitchell's school division. Winn hashelped thousands of businesses build their brands and create successfulworking cultures. His clients include Southwest Airlines, the IrvineCompany, Vidal Sassoon, Entertainment Tonight, Mattel, For Rentmagazine, Structure/Limited/Express, and others. Winn is a frequentguest on national radio and a regular contributor to onlinepublications. Visit www.beniceorelse.com to sign up for his freemonthly Be Nice (Or Else!) newsletter. Permission granted foruse on DrLaura.com.

Posted by Staff at 7:21 PM