Friday, June 29, 2012

Think and Grow a Better You from Dr. Stephanie McGencey

Today we have a guest post from one of my new blogger friends, Dr. Stephanie McGencey from The Sister Source.

Several years ago I had an executive coach to help me make the transition to a new leadership position. She was instrumental in helping me put all of my experiences together to queue up a good start in my new role. There isn’t one thing that I needed to know, but there is one thing I needed to DO to be successful—THINK. 
Now I know this might seem obvious, but it is harder than you might imagine. My weekly assignment was to get into what she called ‘ED Land’. In ‘ED Land’ I was supposed to get from behind my desk, put away pen/paper, put my feet up and simply THINK about what I was doing. I was supposed to do this for only an hour a week and report to her what I ‘experienced’ during this time.

Would it surprise you to know that this was the hardest assignment anyone had ever given me?  My ‘go getter’ nature felt like I was wasting time and that I needed to be DOING something. But this time was, and still is, critical to my success in work and in life.

Instead of shooting from the hip and always reacting to what is happening around us, I have learned that it is critical to THINK about where you are going and what you want to do.

For example, are you in a relationship with someone that is just not working for you? Do you often wonder why you put up with the foolishness for little real benefit? I’m guessing that the answer is yes, and if you’re anything like me, your thoughts are occupied trying to anticipate their next move or reacting to something they’ve done. What a waste of time!

Before calling the girlfriend tribunal together to plot how to take out the troublesome person, THINK about what you want and why. Are your needs being met? Does this person act a certain way when say he’s had too many beers? Is it possible that she is jealous of you or something you have? Can you predict when the bad behavior will begin? I submit to you that most of the time we simply REACT to what is going on and don’t do enough to avoid the drama in the first place!

I know you’re probably thinking to yourself, when do I have time to think? If you’re honest with yourself, you’ll realize that you do have time to think. In fact we do tons of things to make sure we can’t hear our own thoughts. For me it is shopping, watching TV or surfing the web looking for nothing in particular. I can putz around the house for hours and not get anything done.

Of course putzing never solved any problems. How can we be successful at anything if we don’t THINK about what we want to do, how we want to do it, who we want to do it with, and why? Give yourself a gift and try this THINKing exercise.

At least once a week spend 30 minutes alone with your thoughts. No you can’t have the TV on in the background or have your cell phone in hand so you don’t miss an important text. Remember, no paper/pen/laptop/iPad—nothing to take notes. Simply be alone with your thoughts! The first few times will be very hard. But after a while, you’ll come to treasure this THINK time. As you THINK and grow and learn more about yourself the pathway to a better, healthier you will become clearer. You can do it!


Stephanie McGencey is reaching out to women on her blog  The Sister Source.  Her goal is to engage, educate and empower women to strengthen families and communities. Sister Stephanie invites you to participate in her efforts to make sure women are heard in the 2012 Presidential Election.


  1. This is difficult to do sometimes but so important!

  2. What a great strategy. I am definitely guilty of using shopping, watching TV, and surfing the net get in the way of my think time. I'm gonna try this starting tomorrow.


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