Thursday, January 24, 2019

Why You Should Bring Work Home

Someone once asked me, "You know all that stuff you do for your employees? How much of that do you bring home and do with your family?"

To be completely honest, this question totally threw me.

Bring home HR and Leadership Development and apply it to my family? It was such a foreign concept, and then I was like, "Well, why don't I?"

It was an interesting proposition, but the more I thought about it, the more it made sense. Around the same time, I saw a presentation by Marc Koehler, President at Lead with Purpose, where he proposed a Family Vision Board. And I guess the rest is history.

Last January, my family and I sat down with a giant Sticky Note Flip Chart and asked ourselves, "What does our family stand for? What does it mean to be a 'Kropp'?"

I added a few photos of us. Brought out the colorful markers, and we began a great discussion. At the time, my daughter was 4, but she LOVED having input and coming up with her very own personal goal.

I did have to let go of the poster and goal writing being perfect. Instead, I embraced it as not only a great family bonding activity, but a chance to talk about things that really matter.

We wrote down things we believed in, some hopes and dreams as a family, and then we each wrote personal goals down.

And the best part, I let my 4 year old daughter choose where the poster would be hung. She was so proud and felt so important. And all through last year, we referred back to it. If she was not eating her vegetables, we looked at the poster and referenced her personal goal, "I want to be BIG."

It is so much more powerful to say, "Remember your goal about wanting to be big? Did you know that if you eat your vegetables that will actually help you achieve your goal?" Having this vision board totally changed our dynamics. Our conversations did not feel as combative anymore.

There would be times we would be talking at dinner, and my daughter would jump up and say, "Mom, we should add that to the calendar!" Lol. That's what she called the vision board - a calendar.

So fast forward to this year. Right after the first of the month, I had planned to tackle our new 2019 poster. There was such a feeling of excitement and joy around creating our new Family Vision Board. I broke out the markers, and a family picture (literally cut up from our Holiday Card), and some poster board. My daughter was on her iPad on the couch at the time, but she quickly threw it aside and got down on the floor with me where I had laid everything out.

We started coloring and called my husband downstairs to join us. The 3 of us were just going to town. With last year under our belts, we were pros. It was really cool to look at last year's poster and see how far we had come in a year. You could really tell just from my daughter's handwriting. We reviewed our goals and wrote new ones. We realized our focus for this year had changed a little, and so we wrote some new family mottos.

For instance, a few were:

  • We always talk about how we're feeling. 
  • We adapt to new or changing situations and focus on moving forward with a positive attitude. 
  • We respect each other. 
  • We take good care of our things. 
  • We clean up after ourselves.

I highly recommend this activity. I think the next evolution of this will be to revisit our vision board quarterly. I also plan to start having one to ones with my daughter to discuss what is going well in her life, what hurdles might be getting in her way, and to provide guidance and help in any way that I can. Managers do this with their employees all the time.

Why not do this with one of the most important people in my life?

My last HR team used to do "good news check-ins," where we would share one piece of good news from work and one piece of good news from our personal lives. I would love to integrate this into our family dinners. We also used to do weekly "high fives" where we would share specific and detailed feedback with each teammate on something we observed them do that week. I thought this would be so cool to apply at home.

I want to give my daughter all the tools I give my employees.

There is so much that I never even thought to share with her, and it really doesn't take that much effort to do. The possibilities are endless!

You might be laughing to yourself right now and thinking, "Raina, that does not sound fun at all. You're just a little bit weird."

So true! I don't even deny it, but what I have discovered is that a little bit weird can be A LOT AWESOME. And I truly believe that having a family vision board this past year was a game-changer for my family and the individual relationships I have with my husband and daughter. It's enriched them and made our family stronger.

So dare to be a little different, and bring your work home ;)

Monday, January 1, 2018

Top 10 Things I Learned in 2017


Workplace Lessons for success

1. Find Your Coalition of the Willing

There are always going to be critics and haters. Instead seek out those that want to make the world a better place and give them your love and focus.

2. Code Names and Alliteration Make Mundane Projects Way More Fun

Work made fun gets done. Operations Golden Arrow and Mighty Eagle are way more fun to tackle than an “informational request from Sales or Accounting.”

3. Always Assume Positive Intent

It’s easy to villainize someone with a different view. If you purposefully assume positive intent, you'll be able to listen with an open mind and stay focused on the common goal.

4. Hide Your Goat

People can only affect you as much as you let them. The idea is that your goat is a metaphor for your state of peacefulness. When your goat is protected and hidden, you are calm and collected. When your goat is stolen, you become angry and upset. “No one gets Billy!”

5. Own Your Actions – It’s Never Too Late for an Apology

Acknowledge when you don’t show up in a way you would be proud of. Don’t offer excuses or explanation, just simply apologize and mean it.

6. Shine a Light on What’s Right – What You Focus On Expands

Focus on what’s going right. The more you seek the good stuff out, the more of it you will find.

7. Vulnerability Can Change the World

Too often we only share our highlight reel. It’s really important to normalize and help others realize they are not alone. Share your story and watch how many lives you can change.

8. You Are Not Anything Definitively. 

I am not concretely any defining characteristic, I am just in the habit of doing something that makes it deceptively seem so. I am not good at making healthy choices. No, I’m just in the habit of making un-healthy choices. Great news is I can change a habit. It is not who I am.

9. Know Yourself and Your “In the Grip” Tendencies.

Conversely, know how you personally recharge and give yourself grace.

10. Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

You really do not have to go it alone. The group will always be better than the individual.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

How Long Does It Take To Heal From Sciatica (Pinched Nerve)?

pain relief from sciatica
So how long does it take to really heal from sciatica? The short answer is about a year. For the long answer...keep reading.

I'll start by saying that I did not really know adversity and pain until last year. It was humbling. Up until that point, I was the type of person who when I set my mind to it, I accomplished it. No question. I did not know how to fail. In February 2016, I suffered a pinched sciatic nerve. It was debilitating. I literally could not walk for a couple weeks. I shed silent tears just trying to stand and brush my teeth. I had to ask my husband to help me put on my pants. I would sit in the shower with the water running over my face at night and just cry from exhaustion and pain. At first, I had that fighting spirit. I did everything. From personal affirmations, to yoga, acupuncture, chiropractic, pain killers, physical therapy, steroid shots in my back, rolling, using a tens machine, heating pads, icing, massage, cycling, stretching, homeopathic herbs, creams, oils, you name it, I tried it. And not one time but religiously every day, every other day. I would give it a fair shot. And yet the pain persisted. And persisted. Day by day. Month after month. And slowly it beat me down. It crushed my spirit, until I all but gave up. I gave up trying to be a great Mom. I gave up trying to be a good wife. I gave up trying to be the best employee. The best friend. The best sister. The best daughter. The best me. I gave up and ate my emotions. Even though I had been an avid health and motivational coach. I ate my feelings. Even though I knew better. I lived for those few seconds where I could forget the pain and the food provided me seconds of momentary happiness. I withdrew from social media and into myself. I went from a size 4/6 to a size 14/16. I felt lethargic, ugly, and completely un-me. Fast forward to August/September 2016 when my husband was dealt his own health related blow. He would end up with a blood staph infection, be admitted to the hospital and be on an IV for 8 weeks, culminating in surgery to remove the titanium hardware in his leg. He was my rock. My everything, and now he too was swept away. In pain. There was no other choice but to get better. It was a switch. I just had to. I had a 4 year old daughter counting on me. At this point, I was the best option. I was the hope for our family. And so, we are recovering. I went to see Celine Dion in Vegas a few weeks ago. It was a birthday present from my sister and me to my Mom. She sang a tear filled song that went straight to my heart. It was called “Recovering.” Pink actually wrote it for Celine after she lost her husband. If you get the chance to listen to it, please do. It's amazing. Celine said it's the greatest gift when an artist writes a song for you. There's nothing else like it. And that's what it is. It's a gift. Recovering is a process. It doesn’t happen all at once. There are many lessons to be learned along the way, and I learned a lot. One that I focus on is remembering that “Comparison is the thief of happiness.” I used to think that meant comparison to others. I’m learning that can also apply to the comparison of who you used to be. It's not fair to look back and compare yourself to who you used to be. That person doesn't really exist anyway. You exist. Today. In this moment. And you are amazing. Worthwhile. And awesome. So keep on keepin’ on. You are stronger than you think. You are not the first, nor are you the last to suffer adversity. You might get knocked down. You might even be out for the count. You might lose yourself. But it’s never too late to get back up and start fighting again. "I ain't as good as I once was, but I’m as good once as I ever was." Haha ;) I seem to be in a lyrics kind of mood. Music can be therapy too though. Whatever works right! Find your jam…and then eat it. With peanut butter. And don’t apologize for your journey. Share it. Others will connect to your story and to you. I hope you connect with a piece of mine. I hope it lets you know that you are not alone. It’s normal to feel low. It’s normal to have bad days, bad weeks, bad months even. It’s normal to feel lost, angry, less than proud about your actions or words. BUT there is hope. Don’t give up. I'll leave you with this. When things get bad. Go through this check list of questions. One or two of these might be true, but never all three: 1. Is this permanent? 2. Is this personal? 3. And when they record the history of mankind…will this be in there?

I don't think so. So at the end of the day, it’s not really that big of a deal. Get over yourself. I mean that in the nicest way. Take a dose of humility. Find the humor. And keep going. You can do it. I believe in you. The collage I included starts with the most recent and goes backward left to right. On top, my husband has just gotten out of his surgery. As I write this, we're both at home and he is currently recovering. Then on the bottom, right to left you can see my family and me before everything happened, then a rare pic of me showing my weight gain (I didn't take a lot of pics during this period), then me finally getting back into the groove of things taking a spin class, and finally a pic of us as a family from this past Easter. We're on the mend. It's life. I have faith we'll be okay 😏

If you are suffering from nerve pain, here are 3 things I bought during my journey this past year that really helped:


1. AccuRelief Dual Channel TENS Electrotherapy Pain Relief System


2. Everlasting Comfort 100% Pure Memory Foam Luxury Seat Cushion



3. Lock Laces (Elastic Shoelace and Fastening System)

Which TENS Machine Should I Buy on Amazon for a Pinched Nerve (Sciatica)?

So which TENS Machine should you buy on Amazon?  There are so many to choose from.  It's confusing.  I personally was suffering from sciatica over a year ago, a pinched nerve in my lower back.  In my case, I could not walk for a couple weeks.  I was literally crawling everywhere.  The pain was debilitating, and I am just now starting to feel like myself again more than 14 months later.

how long does it take for a pinched nerve to heal how to get relief from sciatica
Best TENS Machine for Sciatica Nerve Pain
I tried everything under the sun from yoga for sciatica, acupuncture, chiropractic, physical therapy, steroid shots, rolling, massage, cycling, stretching, homeopathic herbs, creams, oils, heat therapy, icing, and FINALLY a tens machine.

I found the most relief from the tens machine.  To the left is the exact one my doctor recommended.  You can order it from Amazon by clicking HERE.

My husband would help me administer the tens machine on my lower back each night.  I would lie on an ice pack in bed with a thin towel between the ice pack and my back for 10-15 minutes.  It was heaven.  I highly recommend it!

If you have not tried a tens machine yet, and you are suffering from lower back pain, then I would try this out at least once.
Best $25-$35 dollars you can spend in my opinion.

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What I Believe

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