Ho Ho Ho or Humbug?

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Ho Ho Ho or Humbug?

Although the potential for a happy holiday is present for many of us there are any number of ways that it can go sideways and be highly stressful.

This blog post is for you. The few of you that have an easy holiday ahead, I applaud you and remind you to really appreciate how amazing that is, and likely, how rare.

The potential de-railers come in a number of forms: relatives that we find difficult to be around, a lack of control over our own schedule, too much time socializing (if you are more introverted), food that makes you feel gross but you eat anyway, lack of routine, disappointments around gifts, etc.

Over the years of therapy first, and now 15 years of coaching, I have come up with or adopted some sayings that help me make good decisions. Some of them are downright sassy. Sometimes I say these things out loud and sometimes they are in my head. Either way they help me set or guard boundaries or cope with stresses in less offensive ways when others are involved.

1. I’m the Boss of Me!

I have choices all day long. I’m not a small child with limited choices. I choose what I eat and I choose whether to give in to pressure from others on what to eat, subtle or overt. I choose when to go to bed, if I need a break, how often I sneak a little work in, if I want to exercise and how much alcohol I consume.

What kind of boss I’m going to be is also my choice. I don’t need to be an angry or defensive boss. I’d like to choose to be a confident boss, knowing what my best choices are and feeling comfortable making them without the need to justify or defend.

2. Ouch!

There are times when someone says or does something painful or disrespectful that don’t need a huge defensive or offensive response. Sometimes a one-word response such as “ouch” can make the point that a boundary has been crossed.

The effectiveness of this minimal response is that it draws immediate attention to the action and clearly lobbies the ball back in to the court of the one who initiated the harm originally.

3. Not My Monkey, Not My Circus!

All around us people are making poor choices with some troublesome consequences. I’m responsible for me. I’m happy to help other people. I choose to take time though to evaluate situations and decide when I’m crossing over from something that is within my area of responsibility or not.

Watching train wrecks about to happen is not fun. Overtaking the power of choice from someone else in order to “help” them often does the opposite. Even when it is not a choice I would make, respecting the power of others to make choices and live with their consequences is respectful. This is not about not offering support but refraining from interfering and rescuing.

So, my holiday wish for you is that you make the choices that will really give you a refreshing and life-giving holiday season!

Happy Holidays and Ho Ho Ho Y’all!


Marilyn Orr, CEC, PCC is an executive and leadership coach with Capacity Building Coaching, and training partner on EQ-i 2.0 with MHS. She is also co-owner of new Texas Hill Country eco event center and wellness retreat, The Cedars Ranch.

Marilyn provides professional coaching for executives and business leaders, mentor coaching for coaches, and leadership development support in the form of coaching skills training, soft-skills development, facilitation of key discussions and team coaching. Would you like to work with Marilyn? Reach out to her today.

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