Jackie Kellso

Posts Tagged ‘brain’

Need Help Managing Emotions at Work? Use “Cushion Words.”

In anger management, avoiding arguments, communication, coping with pressure at work, Cushion Words, Detach & Breathe, emotions management, manage stress at work, managing emotions at work, Uncategorized on November 27, 2018 at 6:13 pm

For managing emotions at work, here’s a tip: Use “Cushion Words” as you feel your stomach or neck or head or back tighten or hurt. This is your body saying “Warning! I’m about to lose my cool!” Cushion words are short phrases that engage the executive or “thinking” brain right away and give you the cushion between your emotions and your reactions. Cushion word examples: “Detach & Breathe.” “Pause & Think.” “I got this.” “Recalibrate.” “I’m in control.” “I’m okay. ”

You pick the word or phrase that suits you and write these words down on post its everywhere so that your brain remembers to use them. After awhile, it will become second nature.

Keep cool!


Copyright, PointMaker Communications, Inc., 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jackie Kellso and PointMaker Communications, Inc., with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


Why are You so Negative? I’ll Tell You Why, and it’s Not Your Fault.

In brain, brain-based, brain-based coach, brain-based coaching, coping with pressure at work, corporate life, cortisol, dealing with a difficult coworker, disagreements, emotional baggage, emotional brain, executive brain, fight, fight or flight, limbic system, manage stress at work, managing conflict, managing emotions at work, negativity, negativity at work, neural pathways, neuroscience, Norman Vincent Peale, office politics, passive-aggressive, pre-frontal cortex, problem-solve, profesional boundaries, professional behavior, Professional Reputation, self-defensiveness, self-improvement, stress and worry, stress hormones, work-related problems, work-related stress on October 2, 2017 at 3:22 pm

Do you find yourself focusing on how disorganized your manager is, or how your colleague can’t run a meeting, or how your team can’t come up with the right idea, or how disgusted you are by your CEO’s poor communication skills?

Well, if you are criticizing just about everyone and everything, guess what?  You have lost perspective, objectivity and healthy, personal boundaries.  In fact, you are unwittingly creating your own hell and it’s keeping your brain from its executive powers to think, problem-solve and be most effective.

In this state, some of us will bully, become passive-aggressive, withdraw, gossip, cry, or beat the hell out of ourselves and eat five chocolate bars to get a kick of serotonin. You get the idea.  When we are unable to cope, we start moving into old-fashioned self-defense. There’s no resolution in this state, only more frustration and pain.

Being in a constant hypercritical mode doesn’t take that much these days, with so much pressure on us to deliver.  But, there’s usually another factor — unclaimed emotional baggage that we’ve carried into the present day.  Here’s why:  our brains will respond with whatever we give them.  As Norman Vincent Peale said, “Dwelling on negative thoughts is like fertilizing weeds.”  The chronic re-injury to the brain from negative thinking literally changes our brains.

These weeds are neural pathways that have been constructed around negative thinking.  Think of highways and how they connect to one another to move traffic along. In the brain, these are called synapses. When fired-up they will stimulate the release of stress hormones, which set the stage for unwanted reactions of the mind and body. In fact, over time we can see how the stress takes a toll on our health: migraines, depression, chronic fatigue, etc. This is why being negative is not your fault; your brain has been bred for it. The good news is, we can get help from our executive (or thinking) brains.

The key is to recognize the symptoms. Are you waking up and going to sleep (if you’re sleeping, that is) with anger, rage, vitriol, depression, etc? If this is the case, even if you’re not openly complaining, your body language, facial expressions, tone of voice, and attitude are most certainly giving you away.  You’re not hiding from anyone.  So, you’re also negatively impacting your reputation.

Look, this isn’t the moment now to start berating yourself.  It’s the time to take charge of your brain.  The pre-frontal cortex is the thinking brain and can be used to manage the limbic or emotional brain that is controlling your moods. So to get on top of this, it’s important to feed your brain thoughts like, I can’t control other people or outside things so I’m going to accept what is. In other words, I’m going to let it go, surrender, and move on. We have the power to clear out our thoughts about what went wrong during the day and leave room to start with a fresh outlook the next day.  This is the beginning of re-wiring the brain and creating new neural pathways.  The brain has enormous plasticity!

So, take the current work situation and use it wisely.  How is it reinforcing your negative thinking?  Who is triggering you into a self-defensive posture? By examining our current relationships and challenges, we have the opportunity to use our executive brains to keep our histories where they belong — in the past. (This is why I decided to become certified in brain-based coaching; the brain is fascinating, our current experiences are usable, and with focus, we can emerge enlightened.)

Lastly, sleep matters.  The brain cleanses what it has taken in during the day, while we sleep. So, to manage the hamster wheel of obsessive thinking and  make room for a new day, with a fresh start, we need ample sleep.  If not possible nightly, a daily 20 minute nap can do wonders too!

In the end, please don’t blame yourself (or others) for how you feel but do take responsibility for what you do. Go home tonight, leave the challenges of the day behind you, and enjoy your well-deserved rest.  Your brain will love you for it!

Happy thinking,


Copyright, PointMaker Communications, Inc., 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jackie Kellso and PointMaker Communications, Inc., with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Transformation, Mindfulness and other “Woo-Woo”​ Terms Define Successful Talent Development

In authenticity, C-Level Executives, consciousness, enlightenment, leadership, Learning and Development, life skills, life's path, mindfulness, people skills, performance improvement, professional development, professional development coaches and trainers, professional development training, progressive companies, ROI, self-awareness, self-improvement, skill-building, spirituality, talent development, transformation, Uncategorized, Woo-Woo on March 5, 2017 at 4:43 pm

Woo-Woo Terms: Transformation. Mindfulness. Enlightenment. Self-Improvement. Consciousness Shift. Self-awareness. Insight. Empowerment. Authenticity. Inspiration. Courage. Individuality. Perspective. Human potential. Humility. Truth-Seeking. Clarity. Connectivity. Life’s Path. Awakening.

Skill-Building Terms: Increase Sales. Achieve Success. Get Results. Build Leaders. Develop Managers. Improve Team-Work. Cultivate Communication, Presentation, Human Relations, Time-Management, Change Management and Conflict Management Skills, etc.

Corporate professionals all over the world are flocking to places like Esalen, Kripalu and Omega Institutes; showing up to workshops defined by their ‘woo-wooness’. Yet, and understandably, L&D Professionals and C-Level Executives involved in talent development must serve corporate objectives and assign training budgets that will meet the mandates of success and ROI. Still, the list of aforementioned ‘woo-woo’ terms don’t generally get companies to write checks to coaches and trainers. (Yes, there are progressive companies that invest in employee wellness programs, and that is a growing phenomenon, but mainly, no one can quantify ‘woo-woo’ with ROI.)

To help people discover their potential, wake-up to themselves, understand how their brains (and others’ brains) function in ways that help or hinder; make it safe for professionals to hold themselves accountable for their thinking and the way they communicate and lead, those ‘woo-woo’ terms actually mean everything to creating permanent change and performance improvement. They are the underlying keys that create those professional ‘success and ROI’ goals. The reason is that the more someone is accessible to his or her real self, the more he or she can influence others and navigate the dysfunctions and difficulties of corporate life. Not I, nor any person in service to others as a coach and/or trainer, can make people perform up to assessment testing levels without putting the value of the human being before the skill-set. There is nothing superficial about the work to cultivate talent.

Of course, unless individuals being coached want to evolve (while being given practical tools that improve their skills, work and home lives) no method of development, regardless of how it’s worded, will yield lasting results.

As a final thought, I am of the opinion that coaches and trainers who have not pursued their own ‘woo-woo’ journey (and these paths are as unique as are people) have the heart, the clarity, the compassion and the skill to inspire, to challenge and hold their clients accountable on the ascension to that ROI.

Develop Mentally Yours,


Copyright, PointMaker Communications, Inc., 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jackie Kellso and PointMaker Communications, Inc., with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Do Your Co-Workers Like You?

In arguments, avoiding arguments, being different at work, breakdown in communication, bullies at work, bullies in the office, bullies in the workplace, business relationships, career-related problems, communication skills, compassion, conflict resolution, feeling accepted, feeling safe at work, impress, Insults, keep negativity to yourself, Liked by coworkers, professional behavior, professional boundaries, Respect, respect by coworkers, self-worth, Uncategorized, work relationships, work-related problems, work-related stress on January 2, 2017 at 4:28 pm

Hey, who doesn’t want to be liked? The problem is we can’t be liked by everyone and that’s a hard concept to take in. In fact, some people get so stressed about how much they’re liked that they’ll go out of their way to be part of the group: hanging out after work even if they’d rather be alone; going along with someone else’s idea (even if they think it’s a bad one), and being ingratiating and over-complimentary (while being insincere). It’s all an attempt to feel accepted, included and made to feel a-okay. It’s so understandable.

Eleanor Roosevelt said, “People cannot make you feel inferior without your permission.” Think about that. Are you giving away your power to someone else’s judgment of you? True that it’s demoralizing to be ostracized by a colleague with a strong personality or by a team of followers. But, any act that undermines one’s self-worth to fit in is not the route to being liked, anyway.

So, are you actually liked? In truth, people generally think mostly about themselves and gauge others on how safe they are around them. When I say ‘safe’ I mean that the brain is checking every 12 seconds or so to see if we are safe. If you, for whatever reason, are not safe in another person’s mind, you are probably not liked. It may have nothing to do with anything you’ve done to that person, it could be because you are confident and assertive, or are generating more revenue than your colleague, or you’re thinner, or you’re up for a promotion…whatever the trigger is for that person, decides how safe you are. However, if you are not a trigger (meaning, not perceived as a threat) you are probably liked. It’s such a subjective thing. While being liked might feel safe to you, it doesn’t necessarily mean you are respected, especially if you are going out of your way to be liked!

My advice to you: go for being respected. Respect goes a lot further in helping you, your team and the company. Here’s how to gain respect:

  1. Always be sincere and diplomatic in your honesty. So, instead of saying, “No, I don’t like your idea,” you say, “I like your courage to change the program and think that the idea itself needs more flushing out.”
  2. Don’t get pulled down into others’ fear, anger, or jealousy. Say someone’s trying to undermine you; is talking behind your back and condemning you. Don’t Energize. Rise! Don’t try to mollify or ingratiate yourself. Don’t try to retaliate. Don’t gossip about it. Look within. What about you might be causing this reaction to you? What can you do to improve? What about him/her would create such jealousy or fear? Let your insights help you become stronger. Focus on being the best you. Yes, it’s unfair! But remember that you are being shown how to separate yourself from negativity – you are learning to set boundaries and keep your emotions in check. (Now, this is very different from hearing that a co-worker is upset and doesn’t know how to address you. In this case, you gently work to improve communication and ask that person what you may have done. Sincerely look to patch things up. Be accountable and work to compromise. That action gains respect.)
  3. Avoid being argumentative. State your opinion only after you’ve made sure that others feel heard and validated. You can even agree to a point of their opinion without actually agreeing to something that goes against your beliefs. Instead of “I don’t think we should just hike our fees next year by 35%.” You say, “I can agree that we should initiate a new fee structure; it protects our company. If we do this incrementally, clients will be more apt to go along with it. I hope we can figure this out together.”
  4. See things through others’ eyes. Judgment is being placed upon you, yes. But, you can stay above the negativity by not judging others. People are where they are in their level of conscious understanding and awareness. You be the one with the high awareness and objectivity. When you can free yourself from judging others, you can climb to a place of compassion.

With this compassion, you awaken to the point that you don’t NEED them to like you. You will stop seeking acceptance from people who can only project who they think you are through a lens that is foggy, at best. Instead, you will be liked – and admired – by people who see who you truly are; those who are self-contained, aware and compassionate, and not threatened by your greatness or your differences. The best news is that the more you become the detached, respected professional, the more you will find yourself surrounded by people just like you!

Do your co-workers respect you? That’s the real question and the thing most worthy of your focus.



Copyright, PointMaker Communications, Inc., 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jackie Kellso and PointMaker Communications, Inc., with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Dear Millennials: Protect Your Brain from your Heart

In brain, connections, friends with co-workers, friends with colleagues, heart, millennials, personal life at work, professional boundaries, work relationships, workplace connections, young professionals on May 9, 2016 at 3:52 pm

On the tail of Mother’s Day, I was thinking back to what I was like at age 27, the year my mother died.  I was already a successful and ambitious sales person in the media business when this happened, and it shook my whole world.  I was thinking about how vulnerable I felt at the time and what I did to fill the void.  And, since I was single and work was my primary focus at the time, filling the void meant forging strong relationships with colleagues.

A year after my mother died I landed my biggest and most important job to that point, a hot hot hot cable network!  No gig was cooler than that place in the 1980s, when I got this job. (MTV, folks!) I was great at what I did and managed to succeed even with my personal grief.  But inside I felt deeply alone and was trying to live my life without my mother in it.  Well, the woman who had hired me was a bright, lively, warm person, a few years older than me, and reached out her hand in friendship.  I couldn’t have been more thrilled!  We became good friends.  I went to her house, she went to my house, we talked on the phone, we cried to each other, shared secrets, the whole shmeer.  The professional boundary had been smashed.  I was in heaven because I worked for the coolest company, and had me the strong, comforting, female, authority figure for which I longed.

A year passed.  Suddenly, this boss moved over to a new department, gained a higher status in the company, and I got a new boss — this one, not so warm and friendly.  But it didn’t matter because I still had this great relationship that would support me and be there for me, just from a different department.  So I thought.  I soon realized that she wanted to cut me loose, and move beyond me.  I was crushed, I tell you, to my core.  I wrote her letters, I called her, I tried to understand the sudden disinterest in being my friend.  I never got a straight answer.

It took me awhile to heal.  I had let my heart shoot my brain, basically!  I now know it’s because the hormone oxytocin (which acts as a neuro-transmitter in the brain) is released when there’s a powerful connection.  It’s what we all seek, of course, especially when we are in need.  Work is a sea of opportunity to connect. The danger in this is that many people in corporate life are in it to win it; ambitious to the point of using people along the way.  And, even if they aren’t trying to use people, they have to recover and protect their own boundaries, in order to be most effective and have the best chances of success.  I can’t say to this day what her motive was to befriend and then unfriend me. Once she broke my trust, I felt I never really knew her in the first place. But, in hindsight, if she’d known how to handle it better she would have.

I’ll never forget this powerful lesson. No matter what is going on in your personal life, work is a dangerous place to become vulnerable to others.  Sure, I made some very nice friends throughout the years, some of whom are reading this right now, but the difference is having a friend vs. trying to find healing through a co-worker.

I wanted to write this to you from the perspective of someone now approaching 57, who has made lots of mistakes and has learned from each one of them. Your work life is different in many ways than mine was at your age.  But still, people are people, and as nice as they may be, your best bet is to keep a professional boundary so that your personal life doesn’t encroach on all of the amazing opportunities and business relationships that await you.

Always learning and growing,


Copyright, PointMaker Communications, Inc., 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jackie Kellso and PointMaker Communications, Inc., with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

You’re Dead to Us: Getting Edged out of a Job

In career, career change, career opportunities, Compassionate universe, create a new career, discover your passion, Getting Edged out of a Job, getting fired, getting laid off, keep negativity to yourself, leadership, life changes, life mirrors our inner beliefs, live your passion, living a dream, mission, moving forward in life, Mr. Wonderful, opportunity for change, Shark Tank, You're Dead to Me, You're Dead to Us on February 13, 2016 at 5:59 pm

Many professionals hit a certain point in their careers when suddenly they are fired or laid off (aka FIRED) or (and this is the sneakier one) moved from leadership positions to those of ‘special projects directors.’ This former non-position; now a quasi-unspecified position, is a little closer to the door — but management chose to sit you by the door rather than push you out of it.  They’re 1. Hoping you will find a new job and resign, or 2. Just resign, or 3. Waiting until some HR time-frame comes into play to actually cut you loose.

There are many ways we can find ourselves being pushed out. We are not invited to key meetings.  Our opinions are no longer being requested.  We are offered less and less opportunities to generate some form of work or income.  This is especially hard when we’re not told anything, rather just that the changes are being made and we find ourselves in a career and/or financial crisis.

So, as someone who has experienced the “You’re Dead to Us” phenomenon in 35 years of professional life, I thought I’d share how I made it beyond this type of situation to thrive, hoping this will help those who are going through what feels insulting, denigrating and unjust.

1. Curse!  Cursing is hugely cathartic. Cry. Mourn. Be enraged. Do this for as long as you need (this stage will end, by the way).  HOWEVER, do not display this behavior or say anything negative or share your personal feelings with any of your colleagues!  This is a private matter! Stay neutral around people and show that you’re going with the flow, outwardly.

2. Actions to take (with options):  a. If you can trust your boss, ask him/her “Why the changes? and “What caused these changes?” (NOT, “What did I do wrong?”).  You may receive information that will help you gain some valuable insight, or sadly, to use for legal action. b. If you do not trust your boss, you can go to HR, but they will report your query back to your boss. c. This is really really really really really really really hard to do, but this is the one I recommend: Ask yourself how moving on will support your vision for your career and life.

3. Life mirrors our inner beliefs. I have a theory that when things fall away (like jobs or relationships) it’s a signal that the little gnawing whisper in our heads that has been begging us to listen to it, is actually getting its secret wish, despite our mental control to stay put.  Ever hear yourself say, “Geez, I want to be a pirate, if only…” or “I want to discover the first sponges that don’t smell!” or “My passion isn’t here, it’s in rescuing elephants and I want to be in Africa doing that right now!”  So, if you’re being pushed out, you must ask, “Why is this happening now and how does this SUPPORT me?”

4. Create an interim plan of action.  This might mean going to recruiters or taking a job at Starbucks (actually that could be a cool job!) while you go back to school, or begin marketing a consultancy and get busy on social media looking for freelance work. Ask friends for leads. Or, take that vacation and luxuriate on the Riviera! It’s rare that we feel we are in our dream job when it falls away.  There is usually a dream yet unfulfilled.  The key is to remember that what is happening is meant to cut the apron strings so we are free to move forward.

5. Be excited! The use of our energy at this critical time will produce what happens next.  Yes, if you feel immobilized you must get help – go see a counselor, therapist or coach.  But once you can move through the pain, it’s so important to use your creativity and positivity to define a mission for your career and take the very next step towards that. After all, in the big picture of life, it’s never about defining who we are based on the job, but rather, on what we do with our dreams.

My belief is that the Universe is compassionate and that it juggles us around to put us on the right paths. Many spiritual teachers talk about how true compassion is ruthless. Is Mr. Wonderful (Kevin O’Leary of “Shark Tank”) compassionate when he says, “You’re dead to me?”  Was Tony Soprano?  Well, maybe not.  But I wouldn’t exactly consider them spiritual teachers! The bottom line is that it’s our job to look at the big picture when we are being edged out and perhaps say (silently) to the boss:  “Thanks for setting me free.”



Copyright, PointMaker Communications, Inc., 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jackie Kellso and PointMaker Communications, Inc., with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.