Archive for the ‘Stress Relief’ Category

How to Give a Damn in 3 Semi-Easy Steps

Wednesday, May 1st, 2019

Last week was one of those weeks. Two clients asked for extra material above and beyond the scope of our contract. My knee was hurting a little, which matters if you’re a runner and my wife was working hard and coming home tired and a little cranky. Hope she doesn’t read this article. Love you, babe!

I happily provided the material because it’s my job and my manager (me) likes to deliver more than what is expected.

I nursed my knee for two days and it began to feel normal again. Normal, is good.

My wife had a less stressful week and was full of energy and was not all zapped from her time at work.

The next morning, feeling good after a run, I went home to shower and then made my way to a popular coffee chain for a cup. I sat down to go over the next few hours of work I had planned for the day.

Enter John – John’s week, his days, are always stressful. His knees bother him, he could use glasses and he hasn’t seen a doctor in over 10 years! John is a soft spoken, sharp, homeless man who literally carries all his belongings in two trashcan-sized plastic bags. He has a phone, believes in God and is focused on improving his lot in life.

Sitting in the corner at a table for two with his ears encased in earbuds, I approached him, smiled and asked him if he’d like something to drink or eat. “A Frappuccino would be nice, thank you,” he replied.

I went and ordered his drink and he came up to meet me as the barista delivered a delicious looking concoction of cool-flavored delight. I noticed the corner of John’s mouth curve up.

I asked him how he could afford the phone. “Long story,” was his reply.
I asked him if he’d like to chat or be alone. “We can chat,” he said as we made our way to his corner table.

“How’s life?” I asked to break the silence. Stupid question I realized coming from a guy with credit cards in his pocket and a roof over his head. I waited for his reply. “It’s been tough lately, but I never give up!” replied John.

“So, how did you end up homeless?” I asked.

“Long story. God is seeing me through. I won’t give up. Many different things occurred to get me here. I’m working through it.”

“Cool,” I said, wondering if I should ask more questions as is often the case with me. I’m a curious person. I ask questions that some folks would be uncomfortable asking.

“John, I’m going to work on some things over there,” pointing to another table where my computer was resting. “Thanks for chatting.”

“Thank you for the drink, Scott,” he said.

That was it. I went to my table. John began to go through his belongings in a smaller bag.

When I first noticed John, I felt for him so I:

1-Walked up to him and began to talk while looking into his eyes. He was not invisible.
2-I offered something of value with no strings attached.
3-I listened, did not judge and felt for this man’s condition.

It wasn’t easy. I felt a bit awkward at first. His returning kindness made reaching out easier for me. I will do this again. It felt right. I didn’t change the world. Perhaps I made a small positive difference in one person’s life for a few hours. I’m good with that. I gave a damn.

It doesn’t need to be a homeless person. A co-worker, a friend, a family member or a complete stranger. How are you going to reach out? Who would benefit from spending time with you? Who is your John?

Facebook and LinkedIn and Snap Chat…Oh My!

Wednesday, October 31st, 2018

Just the other day, a friend of mine went off on a political rant. Not in person, although he has in the past. This was on Facebook.

Another attempted this on LinkedIn.

And yes, I’ve even received a political Snapchat too!

He was passionate, articulate and well informed. That’s nice because there’s nothing worse than someone spouting off political ideology with no clue of what they’re saying. Okay, that’s not totally correct. Going to the dentist can be worse. Your home team losing a game is no fun either. Well, you get my point.

Funny or not, these conversations are going on at work every day and they can be fun, funny or even intense. Good folks on one side trying to convince good folks on the other side that THEY’RE right and YOU are wrong!

You can depend on it. Energy turns to the shaking of heads. Voices begin to rise and opinions are changed all of the time. I mean, people actually change their political affiliation simply because your point was stated so eloquently, with such poise and indisputable fact!

That’s what my friend was attempting to do on FB.

And scholarly institutions around the globe have accumulated massive amounts of proof that entrenched political minds can be changed like that (snapping my fingers.) Really, they do……..NOT!

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Look, technology is relatively new. Political beliefs and ideologies are older than-well they go back a lot further. You’re not going to change many minds with a post or office chat. However, there is one way to get your way. It’s bold and requires a little effort as do many things that we truly value in life.

While you’re espousing your heart-held beliefs, ingrained into the fiber of your being and as you continue to discuss, rant the day away and change few minds if any –  I’m going old school. Not so much complaining. Not an essay on why I’m right and you are a political neophyte.

So, what CAN you do? What clear choice will allow you to champion your beliefs with clarity, passion and zest?

Get a megaphone? Perhaps. Public access TV? Okay. Write an op-ed article to a local paper? Sure.

I have a different plan. It’s political and it’s not.

I’m gunna VOTE! That’s right. You’ll make a bigger difference if you vote.
Are you with me? Yeah, I knew you were!

See you at the polls!

Leadership: 9 Ways to Successfully Navigate Changes, Tragedy and Triumph – Implementing the Never Give Up Perspective

Friday, March 23rd, 2018
My entry into the world of professional speaking came about when I wrote my first book Kidjacked: A Father’s Story. It told the true events that rocked my world to its foundation. You see, when my kids Jonathan and Alexandra were 4 and 2 years old they were kidnapped and taken to the Middle East by the person I trusted most- their mother, my wife Liza! Leadership was not foremost on my mind, But as it turns out, it needed to be.

Yeah, I was devastated, lost and emotionally trashed. And yet, I accomplished what few people said that could ever be done. I located them, came up with a less than fool proof plan and eventually was successful in getting them home to America! And, I had the honor and pleasure of raising them…except for a few moments in the teenage years!

Today, my kids are grown, I’ve remarried and with the extraordinary help of my fantastic wife Meg, we raised two wonderful adults.

Today’s world is filled with horrific stories.
It’s difficult to pick up a paper, read an article online or talk to a coworker without discussing a school shooting, another woman being harassed or worse at work or cyber or personal bullying.

Okay, the bury our head in the sand approach is not working. And, we complain, almost in unison that this and that must end. Today! Yet, it all continues, we feel helpless and there often appears to be no end in sight. It requires individual leadership.

Feeling like crap, are you? Well, happily there IS something you and I can do. I learned it many years ago and I call it The Never Give Up Perspective.

Here’s how it works.
Are you old enough to remember when seat belts were often not worn in cars? No laws required it. How about drinking and driving? Smoking on airplanes? Same sex marriage? Legalized Marijuana? Laws, laws and more laws! So, how does change professionally and personally take root and grow into a movement and more? Here’s how change works and keeps going:

  1. Communication
  2. Sharing information
  3. Getting mad
  4. Losing someone/something you loved
  5. Doing something. Speaking up/speaking out
  6. Be brave
  7. Realizing that whatever you’re aiming for takes time
  8. Building a base of support
  9. Never ever under any circumstances giving up!

You have something(s) you’re passionate about at work. Something that MUST change.

We all do. Be that voice. Be brave. Know that others feel the same way and are looking for a leader to support.
You’ve seen the ugly in life. You’ve seen the inappropriate in the workplace. The leader is you. The first move is yours.

Moms got MAD and driving while drunk laws changed.

People did not want others smoking on the plane and in restaurants/bars. Laws were enacted.

People wanted people to marry whomever they choose. Laws were changed.

Seatbelts-new laws

Inappropriate behavior in the workplace- laws, regulations and PEOPLE being brave and speaking up!

Kids kidnapped– Moved forward, fell down many times and never gave up. So, did all of the women and men who made the changes above.

Safer gun laws that protect our children and citizens… Perhaps closer then we think!

As humans we’re often quick to complain, quick to judge and slow to react.
History shows us that it is often the act of 1 person that begins to move a cause or action at work or in society forward. A brave woman in Selma. A brave man in San Francisco, a group of mothers and more!

Please, don’t wait for that women to come forward. Don’t watch to see which man will speak up. Instead, be that person that so many are waiting for. It always begins with a single voice. Perhaps yours.

#METOO, gun violence, workplace harassment, bullying, cyber shaming. How do you deal with these things? Do you speak out against this and more?
Are you willing to be THAT voice of change professionally and personally? We’re counting on you! We counting on your leadership, communications and guidance.

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Scott Lesnick is a popular keynote speaker, author and trainer.
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Violin Me!

Saturday, August 10th, 2013

My neighbor Sophie is 19 and plays the violin like an angel. A music major in college, she is home for the summer. I’ve known her since she began playing at age four.

Yesterday she had a lesson with a friend and a lady from the symphony. Windows wide open I received yet another in the magnificent series of Sophie’s “free” concerts.

A couple in their late 20’s was walking by, coffees in hand and pushing a stroller with two small boys. One was crying as they stopped in front of my house to calm him down. No luck!

As I watched the meltdown continue, I asked them to come and sit by me and listen to the music.

“It’s a free concert, you’ll love it.”

Three minutes later Josh stopped crying, everyone was smiling and no one was speaking. The power of music once again washed over ALL of us as we sat looking off in different directions.

When they left, the mom (Kate) turned, smiled and said softly “Thank you so much.”

Kids need music. Adults do too. It cuts through to our very core, releasing dopamine to the pleasure senses of our brain, making us feel great.

Next time you or one or more of your children are having “one of those moments” do what I do-sit outside and listen to Sophie play. If you don’t have a Sophie nearby, then put in those ear buds and get lost in some tunes as you watch the world unfold into a gentler place.

Finger Painting Can Reduce Stress?

Monday, July 16th, 2012

I’m busy revising my manuscript “Kidjacked- A Father’s Story while working full time. The entire process is akin to having bamboo shoots shoved between my finger nails without making much noise. Impossible!

I was venting to my friend Sandy who’s the mother of three and a wonderful painter. “Try finger painting”, she exclaimed. A teacher of hers in college liked to talk about the healing factors painting provided. Looking at her like a dog would his owner and tilting my head, I reminded her that I could barely paint a stick figure.

I needed to reduce my stress and was happy to drive to the hard to find local art supply store. As I walked in I immediately knew that I was in a foreign land surrounded by canvas, paint, easels and brushes as several content customers filled their carts. I found a large pad of paper and five colors of paint. I was tempted to buy brushes too, but my mission required I digress back to age three where my less- than- advanced skills in sketching came to an abrupt halt.

Back at home, I spread the newspaper from Sunday out on the table, opened my pad and paint jars and began to create absolutely nothing. Where the hell is the paper towel? I can’t mix the colors on my fingers! I located the roll on the counter and went through half of it in twenty minutes. Stress was building, not decreasing. I really suck at this, was all I could think until I decided to close my eyes.

That’s when it happened. A natural flowing of fingers creating art that was below an elephant’s artistic sense was occurring, but I was having fun. I stopped thinking and simply let it flow and as I did I began to physically feel stress release through my fingers. I smiled. I laughed. I mixed colors that had no right meeting each other and didn’t care.

Tonight, as I look back at four days of stress reducing art with a glass of Jack Daniels and ice, I can’t really decipher any figures. There are no bodies, buildings or monuments that pop out, but damn if it didn’t reduce my stress. Now, if I could just get the paint out from between my finger nails, life would be a fantastically painted bowl of fruit.