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The Stress Doc Letter
Cybernotes from the Online Psychohumorist ™


APR 2008, No. I, Sec. I


Fight when you can
Take flight when you must
Flow like a dream
In the Phoenix we trust!


Table of Contents

Section I


Shrink Rap:  "Controlling the 'Inner' Control Freak"
Testimonials:  City of Gaithersburg, Cleveland Clinic, Montgomery County, MD/Parks and Planning/Meadowbrook Facility
, University of Maryland Inter-Sorority Event
Readers:  And the Sign Said, The Banana Test, Daffy-Nitions
Offerings:  Books, CDs, Training/Marketing Kit:  Email stressdoc@aol.com or go to www.stressdoc.com for more info.

Section II

Main Essay:  "Communicating Is Science...Connecting Is an Art"
 

Overview:

1) Shrink Rap:  "Controlling the 'Inner' Control Freak."  The Stress Doc's interview wih Jon Feld of Wells Fargo.  Warning signs and strategies for taming your inner CF.

2) Main Essay:  "Communicating Is Science...Connecting Is an Art."  It's only a stage if you don't engage...It's Simply Farce If You Won't PARSE!  When you have the courage to PARSE, that is, to (Be) Psyche-logical and Paraphrase, Ask (Questions) and Acknowledge, Respect and Reflect, Strategize and Summarize, and (Bring) Energy and Empathy, you are striving for exchange based on mutuality, diversity and integration.  The stage is set for connection and evolution.
 


Shrink Rap:


Controlling the "Inner" Control Freak

Jon Feld, Editor
Wells Fargo Small Business Roundup


It's your company and you're in the driver's seat. Unfortunately, that control can sometimes become overwhelming, actually working to slow or even stop your growth. "When you wear every hat, you're juggling a lot of different balls," observes Mark Gorkin, speaker and founder of Stress Doc Enterprises. "Multi-tasking is fine, but it's hard to sustain that unwieldy number of balls, and it can lead to control issues and setting rigid boundaries."

While being the person ultimately responsible for your business can cause control issues to emerge, your "Type A" personality can lead to another type of A. "It can stand for arrogance," Gorkin says, "as in 'I'm the only one who truly knows how to do what I'm doing, so I'm controlling the show. Period.'"

Control Freak Problems and Solutions


So how can being a control freak stunt your growth? Usually, it can come from two areas -- one external and one internal. On the external side, if you have employees, you'll see a marked lack of initiative and dropping morale. As you work harder to exert your control, it comes out as micro-management, which can lead to covert or even overt defiance, as people feel they have no stake or even power in their jobs.

Internally, the need to control can assert itself as rigidity. You've had success working one way, so you stop exploring opportunities that take you outside your knowledge base. And if you've explored new options and been burned, your reluctance to do it again is understandable. As a result, your desire to avoid surprises and duplicate past success keeps you locked in place. Gorkin refers to the static nature of relying on what you've already done as "mastery times monotony provides an index of misery."

In fact, growth itself can be a major contributor in keeping your fist tightly wrapped around the reins of your business. "Ironically, success is sometimes the enemy," opines Gorkin. "Undoubtedly, expanding a one-person shop or undergoing sudden and explosive small company growth is unnerving. While it usually signals an increasing demand for products or services, it also means profound change in the nature of in-house and customer/client relationships. Invariably, there needs to be more operational structure to minimize disarray and duplication, to share information and generate decisions effectively. In short, it can mean the need -- or the perceived need -- for even greater control."

So how can you help put a lid on your inner control freak? Gorkin offers a few tips that can help:
* Delegate tasks --Certainly, this is the most logical way, but it shouldn't go without being stated. "I may be a one-man show," Gorkin says, "but I do plenty of work with contractors."
* Climb the learning curve -- According to Gorkin, every time he gives a presentation, he's preparing for his next one. He knows there's someplace he'll drop the ball, even when presenting on a similar subject. The issue is that, once we think we've mastered something, we'll always tend to do it the same way, which offers no opportunity to learn. It helps to look at what you think of as redundant tasks with a fresh eye every once in while and see how you might approach them differently. It's one way to cut loose of your own control.
* Find a "stress buddy" -- Look for a colleague who knows you and your business. It's someone who's on your side, but who has permission to tell you things straight (Gorkin calls it TLC, or "tender, loving criticism"). Getting good, honest feedback is what can help you build real solutions to your control and other problems.
*  Look objectively at your communication style -- "Communication can create breakthroughs," he says. "Resist using 'blaming you' messages. Let's say you're having a discussion with an employee, a customer or even a vendor. If you get frustrated, your first inclination might be to say 'you're wrong.' But it might be more helpful -- and keep discussions open -- to say 'I disagree.' It may seem like a subtle distinction, but the first statement is dismissive, while the second acknowledges that the person has a valid point of view, even if you don't share it. It won't stop things in their tracks."

No one expects radical change, but treating each of the points above as "pilot projects" can help you gradually let go of your control, or at least put it in perspective. "Make small changes and try them for a week at a time," advises Gorkin. "And try to do it with a sense of humor. Let people truly see a different side of you."
 


Testimonials:

The City of Gaithersburg's Humans Services Division

Two-Hour Stress, Humor & Team Building Retreat Workshop

Subject:  Thank You
Date:  4/24/2008
From:jfrazierbey@gaithersburgmd.gov

Greetings Beth & Company, Mark, Shirley, and Alyssa. I echo Crystal's sentiments; I was so moved by the retreat experience. For me this was a very spiritual experience and I truly believe that the seeds that were planted will manifest in our efforts to serve the vulnerable population that we are charged to serve.

Mark, you are just too much; I love you man. We need you in the real world. You are certainly gifted. I call your act the four "T"s:  Terrific, Turbulent, Tidy, and Top (of the line).
-------------

Cleveland Clinic/Organizational Learning and Performance
["Managing Stress and Change through Team Creativity and Humor"
Luncheon Keynote for 60 allied health professionals]

Date: 4/23/2008
From: DOLGANC@ccf.org
To: StressDoc@aol.com

Dear Mark,

Thank you for speaking to our Organizational Learning and Performance team on the topic of stress and change.  We sure have had a busy year and this session was just what the doctor ordered.  It was the right amount of mix of practical information and humor.  So many came up to me afterward and made a comment on how good it was to have you there.  We are all trainers, so it is nice to be able to sit back and have someone else be on stage. Plus, you were a very good role model for interactive skills.  I look forward to having you at other engagements and will highly recommend your work to others.  Best Wishes,

Colleen Dolgan, Sr. Director
Organizational Learning and Performance, Cleveland Clinic

main line (216) 448-0888
DOLGANC@ccf.org

CCAC Building 1 |  25875 Science Park Drive, mail code AC132
| Beachwood, Ohio 44122
-----------------

Montgomery County, MD/Parks and Planning/Meadowbrook Facility [Three-Part Managing Stress & Conflict and Team Building Series}

From: Judith.Cohall@mncppc-mc.org
To: StressDoc@aol.com
Sent: 3/24/2008
Subj: RE: Mark Gorkin Assessment of Meadowbrook Workshop Series

Thanks for the great work, Mark.  I regret missing the last session, but I was previously committed to participate on an interview panel.  I will ask John for a copy of the list of issues and will meet with Gene to discuss additional follow-up and other work sites.  We will be in touch.

Thanks again,

Judy

Human Resources Director
Parks and Planning
-------------------

March 23, 2008


University of Maryland Inter-Sorority Event
[Two-Hour Stress and Time Management Program]

Dear Mark,

I wanted to thank you again for bringing such enthusiasm and a wealth of information to the University of Maryland!  I was able to tell that all of the 85 people in attendance thoroughly enjoyed your presentation on stress and time management.  The information presented was full of facts and encouragement that every busy college student needs to hear!

You received many compliments and a strong sense of appreciation from each and every member of the audience, and many of the Delta Gammas either went to the gym or went home to take a nap afterwards, and all said that they owed it to your "knocking some sense into them" about de-stressing!  Many noticed that you were incredibly engaging and made a strong effort to involve each audience member, which is something that we definitely do not see in large lecture halls during class.

We hope that you will come back to the University of Maryland at some point in time and "wow" us with yet another humorous and informative appearance.  I will continue to highly recommend you to other areas of campus and we hope to see you again!

Best Wishes,
Carly Smith
Vice President Member Education
Beta Sigma Chapter, Delta Gamma
University of Maryland, College Park
--------------------

Readers' Submissions

Subj:  And the Sign Said...
From:  MDodick


Anesthesiologist business card:
When you care enough to sleep with the very best.
**************************************

Sign over a Gynecologist's Office:
"Dr. Jones, at your cervix."
**************************

In a Podiatrist's office:
"Time wounds all heels."
**************************

On a Septic Tank Truck:
Yesterday's Meals on Wheels
**************************

At a Proctologist's door:
"To expedite your visit please back in."
**************************

On a Plumber's truck:
"We repair what your husband fixed."
**************************
 
On another Plumber's truck:
"Don't sleep with a drip. Call your plumber.."
**************************

On a Church's Billboard:
"7 days without God makes one weak."
**************************

At a Tire Shop in Milwaukee :
"Invite us to your next blowout."
**************************

At a Towing company:
"We don't charge an arm and a leg. We want tows."
**************************

On an Electrician's truck:
"Let us remove your shorts."
**************************

In a Nonsmoking Area:
"If we see smoke, we will assume you are on fire and take appropriate action."
**************************

On a Maternity Room door:
"Push. Push. Push."
**************************

At an Optometrist's Office:
"If you don't see what you're looking for, you've come to the right place."
**************************

On a Taxidermist's window:
"We really know our stuff."
**************************

On a Fence:
"Salesmen welcome! Dog food is expensive!"
**************************

At a Car Dealership:
"The best way to get back on your feet - miss a car payment."
**************************

Outside a Muffler Shop:
"No appointment necessary. We hear you coming."
**************************

In a Veterinarian's waiting room:
"Be back in 5 minutes. Sit! Stay!"
**************************

At the Electric Company
"We would be delighted if you send in your payment.
However, if you don't, you will be"
**************************

In a Restaurant window:
"Don't stand there and be hungry, Come on in and get fed up."
**************************

In the front yard of a Funeral Home:
"Drive carefully. We'll wait."
**************************

At a Propane Filling Station:
"Thank heaven for little grills."
**************************

And don't forget the sign at a
Chicago Radiator Shop:

"Best place in town to take a leak."
--------------------------------

Subj:  The Banana Test
From:  Tereza@comcast.net

There is a very, very tall coconut tree and there are 4 animals, a Lion, a Chimpanzee, a Giraffe, and a Squirrel, who pass by. They decide to compete to see who is the fastest to get a banana off the tree.

Who do you guess will win?
Your answer will reflect your personality.
So think carefully . . . Try and answer within 30 seconds
Got your answer?

Now scroll down to see the analysis.




If your answer is:

Lion = you're dull.

Chimpanzee = you're a moron.

Giraffe = you're a complete idiot.

Squirrel = you're just hopelessly stupid.

A COCONUT TREE DOESN'T HAVE BANANAS.

Obviously you're stressed and overworked.  You should take some time off and relax!
Try again next year.
 


Subj: Daffy-nitions
From: Pcorell@hopsteiner.com

Here is the Washington Post's Mensa Invitational which once again asked readers to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting, or changing one letter -and supply a new definition.

The winners are:

1. Cashtration (n.):  The act of buying (or building) a house, which renders the subject financially impotent for an indefinite period of time.

2. Ignoranus:  A person who's both stupid and an asshole.

3 Intaxication:  Euphoria at getting a tax refund, which lasts until you realize that it was your money to start with.

4. Reintarnation:  Coming back to life as a hillbilly.

5. Bozone (n.):  The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer, unfortunately, shows little sign of breaking down in the near future.

6. Foreploy:  Any misrepresentation about yourself for the purpose of getting laid.

7. Giraffiti:  Vandalism spray-painted very, very high.

8. Sarchasm:  The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it.

9. Inoculatte:  To take coffee intravenously when you are running late.

10. Hipatitis:   Terminal coolness.

11. Osteopornosis:  A degenerate disease.  (This one got extra credit.)

12. Karmageddon:  It's when everybody is sending off all these really bad vibes, and then the Earth explodes and it's a serious bummer.

13. Decafalon (n.):  The grueling event of getting through the day consuming only things that are good for you.

14. Glibido:  All talk and no action.

15. Dopeler effect:  The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly.

16. Arachnoleptic fit (n.):  The frantic dance performed just after you've accidentally walked through a spider web.

17. Beelzebug (n.):  Satan in the form of a mosquito, that gets into your bedroom at three in the morning and cannot be cast out.

18. Caterpallor (n.):  The color you turn after finding half a worm in the fruit you're eating.

The Washington Post has also published the winning submissions to its yearly contest, in which readers are asked to supply alternate meanings for common words.

And the winners are:

1. Coffee, n.  The person upon whom one coughs.

2. Flabbergasted , adj.  Appalled by discovering how much weight one has gained.

3. Abdicate, v.  To give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach.

4. Esplanade , v.  To attempt an explanation while drunk.

5. Willy-Nilly, adj.  Impotent.

6. Negligent , adj.  Absentmindedly answering the door when wearing only a nightgown.

7. Lymph, v.  To walk with a lisp.

8. Gargoyle , n.  Olive-flavored mouthwash.

9. Flatulence , n.  Emergency vehicle that picks up someone who has been run over by a steamroller.

10. Balderdash , n.  A rapidly receding hairline.

11. Testicle, n.  A humorous question on an exam.

12. Rectitude , n.  The formal, dignified bearing adopted by proctologists.

13. Pokemon, n.  A Rastafarian proctologist.

14. Oyster , n.  A person who sprinkles his conversation with Yiddishisms.

15. Frisbeetarianism, n.  The belief that, after death, the soul flies up onto the roof and gets stuck there.

16. Circumvent , n.  An opening in the front of boxer shorts worn by Jewish men.
 


Mark Gorkin, LICSW, "The Stress Doc" ™, is a psychotherapist and "Motivational Humorist" whose Interactive Keynotes and Kickoffs draw wide and "amazing" acclaim -- from Fortune 100s and Federal Agencies to around the world with Celebrity Cruise Lines.   An OD/Team Building Consultant, Mark is the author of Practice Safe Stress:  Healing and Laughing in the Face of Stress, Burnout & Depression and of The Four Faces of Anger: Transforming Anger, Rage, and Conflict Into Inspiring Attitude and Behavior.  Also, the Doc is AOL's "Online Psychohumorist" ™ running his weekly "Shrink Rap ™ and Group Chat."  See his award winning, USA Today Online "HotSite" -- www.stressdoc.com -- cited as a workplace resource by National Public Radio (NPR).  Email for his monthly newsletter showcased on List-a-Day.com.  For more info on the Doc's speaking and training programs, call or email the "Stress Doc":  301-946-0865 or stressdoc@aol.com .  And to view web video highlights of a Stress Doc Keynote, go to http://www.stressdoc.com/media_downloads.htm .

(c)  Mark Gorkin  2008

Shrink Rap™ Productions