Forum

Cashen: Why We Should Relax and Find Humor in Life

Ryan George

Director of Communications

Oct 27, 2015

Christine Cashen is a certified speaking professional, member of the National Speakers Association and the author of “THE GOOD STUFF: Quips & Tips on Life, Love, Work and Happiness.” Cashen, who was inducted into the National Speakers Association CPAE Speaker Hall of Fame®, specializes in inspiring new ideas, handling conflict, minimizing stress and energizing employees—topics she addressed at the 1st Global 2015 Eagles Executive Forum in Charleston, S.C.

I had the chance to sit down with her before she took the stage to discuss how perspective can change the way one lives.
cashen

Ryan George, Director of Communications at 1st Global: I’ve been reading posts on your blog and all of the interviews you’ve done. One of the things I really noticed quickly is that you have this really unique perspective on how people see things—kind of like a Jerry Seinfeld-esque way of viewing the world. Where does that come from?

Christine Cashen, Certified Speaking Professional: It’s Seinfeld but with education. I’ve always looked for the funny. I’m pretty much a hot mess, and so I’m always looking for the humor, otherwise I’d be in the fetal position—like most people, especially in your industry. You guys are work horses. You’ve got to find some sort of balance, so I always look at things with a humorous perspective, and it really has been a saver for me.

George: So, how do you do that? I mean, that’s the type of thing where I tend to get frustrated. You seem to turn it into kind of laughing at it or laughing at yourself.

Cashen: Yeah, and I do that on purpose. It’s a purposeful thing that I do because I have so many rules for people that they don’t follow, and I could go through the whole day being irritated. People aren’t thinking most of the time. You could get mad, or you could make it funny, and with all of the traveling I do, I have to make it funny so that I don’t commit a serious crime. Also, I feel like I find that I might not know the rules, and I want someone to give me a break, so one of my tips is to make up a story about the rule-breaker’s past. So, if someone doesn’t use their turn signal, I think they just don’t have enough money to get that option on their car. So, my whole thing is that people don’t need anger—they need more love and support because we’re all just trying to do the best we can.

George: You know, it’s funny, I was watching Good Morning, America this morning, and they had this montage of these commencement speeches from big celebrities, and they were all very theoretical and giving encouragement to go conquer the world and whatnot. What I see when we have new employees come in—especially young employees who are just out of college—is that their emotional quotient to work is there, but they don’t know how to handle the other stuff. Is there a shortcut to get people on the path of relaxing a little bit? I know I’m always looking for ways unwind some.

Cashen: I’ve been in the business a long time—this is my 18th year of being a professional speaker. One thing I find when you hear people say, “Oh, you can do it—set your goals,” is that I want specific things. Today I’m going to give 20 specific things that people can do right now that will help them, and people need to know. People will ask me, “Well, how do I know what my dreams are?”

One of my tips is to go on a secret mission. So, let’s say you’re in the office and need a break but don’t have time. You grab a folder, and then you walk briskly for three minutes to nowhere just to get the blood flowing. It’s so much fun! You have to have something in your hand. You walk really fast, you come back, you sit down—mission accomplished. You feel better, and you can focus. It’s just a quick little funny thing, but it works. You know, we need to work hard, but we also need to put things in perspective, and I think we lose that sometimes. We get overwhelmed with email. People are up at night, typing to people at midnight, and people are typing back. Everyone has become psycho because we’re so accessible 24 hours a day, and we’re kind of going crazy. We’re losing it a little bit.

George: I was reading one of your blog postings about saying “yes” and saying “no,” and that’s part of a leadership program I’m going through. One of the things they talked about is the power of a positive “no,” and that’s one thing I need to learn—how to tell people “no.” Do you have any tips for when to make those commitments and when to turn them down?

Cashen: Yes. One of my favorite acronyms is BOOGIE, which is “Be Outstanding, or Get Involved Elsewhere.” Unless something is bringing me joy and I am outstanding at it, I want to give someone else the opportunity. I reflect back what they want. I tell them my situation, and then I offer an alternative. Give people options—the one that includes you is the least desirable. I feel like I really only want to accept things that make my heart sing. I don’t want to say “yes” to be nice and then dread it the rest of the time. It’s like getting an invite to somewhere, and then you’re like, “Oh, I really don’t want to go to that?” Sometimes you go, and it’s good, and sometimes you’re like, “Why am I here?” I’d rather avoid that, and I try not to feel guilty about it. Women tend to do this more than men. I get asked all of the time to do leadership stuff in my speaking association, and I’ve got two small children, and that’s my priority. Every year I tell them, “I’d love to do it. Thank you for thinking of me. That’s really fantastic. Right now, all of my focus—all of my extra time—goes into raising two great human beings, so check back with me later.”

George: I saw your blog post today talking about you singing to your kids, singing “Let It Go,” and how they say it ruins the song for them.

Cashen: Yeah, it does ruin the song for them.

George: But, in the workplace and from a career standpoint, what tips or advice do you have for people to “let it go”? Some people just can’t let things go when they’re feeling like they’ve been wronged or when they’re feeling overwhelmed. How would you respond to that?

Cashen: Well, every day is a choice. You can be the fountain, or you can be the drain. Let’s say you’ve had a problem with a coworker. Some people don’t go to the coworker. They talk to everyone else about it, and they make a big drama thing about it. Either deal with it, or let it go. Those are your choices. Don’t drag everyone else into it. It’s just easy to catch mood poisoning from each other.

Some things you need to let go. Some things you don’t, but you’ve got to start making decisions. You can’t take everything on. I’ve let go of email. This is going to sound terrible. I can’t keep up, and I’ll tell you what: the important things always come back around. I try not to do it at night. I used to put the kids to bed, and from 9 [at night] to 1 in the morning, I would catch up on all of my email, and then I decided that it’s not going to be my priority. I’m not going to do the late-night emailing. I need sleep. I’m exhausted. We’re all tired. Well, go to bed. It’ll be there tomorrow. Even if I die, my inbox will still be full.

George: Yes, there’s the physical aspect of going to bed, and then there’s the mental aspect of going to bed. I can lie in bed and continue to work if my mind is still going forward. You’re still thinking, “Well, I didn’t do this, and I didn’t do that.”

Cashen: OK, everyone needs to create a sense of closure at the end of the day. What I do when I’m done is get everything out of my head that I think is unfinished, which is a big, long list—usually carrying over some of the things I didn’t get done during the day—and I literally close it up. I put it in a pile, and I say, “You stay over there. I’ll see you tomorrow.” I mentally close it out. Now the difficulty is not to go get into bed, set my alarm, start going through email to see what I might have missed between the time I got ready and the time I got into bed. Maybe you know people like this: they wake up in the morning, and first thing they look at all of the emails they have. Right away, they start the day in a panic mode. Have your breakfast, get your day started, get to work, and then start your day. There’s no downtime.

George: There isn’t any. It is our choice.

Cashen: It is a choice, though. I choose to make myself crazy, go to bed to this, wake up to this. I’m looking at all of the things I might have missed—social media, Facebook, who likes me, who doesn’t, who read this. I mean, I feel like this is bringing everyone close, but everyone close to us goes far away—meaning your family, your significant other, your friends whom you’re with out to dinner. It’s becoming a real problem.

George: What other advice would you give to professional services business owners, particularly those with fears? How can we help them?

Cashen: I know this sounds really soft, but I really believe in the law of attraction. I really do. You know, if you think you work with the best people, you will end up working with the best people. I’ve got this thing where I sit next to the best person on the plane. It’s the weirdest thing, but I will end up sitting next to the best person on the plane every time, and we start talking and having something in common. There’s one woman I’m communicating back and forth with, and it’s been two months now. She’s becoming a friend.

Negative things start to come in, so every day I go out there like I’m the luckiest person because I really think I’m super lucky. No one’s in charge of you. You are in charge of you. Don’t let the world be in charge of what happens to you. You’re in charge, and if you get knocked down, all you can do is get back up again. You can’t read about it. You just have to move forward and believe that all good things will happen. I really believe that.

George: It’s good advice. I think many of us don’t live every day like we should. We try to figure out why, and I think it’s because we don’t consciously either verbalize it or non-verbalize it, saying we are grateful for the things we have.

Cashen: I just think there are so many good things that are out there, and I just want to enjoy my life. I want to do good, have fun and make money. That’s what I want to do. What can I do to make those things happen? So, if someone asks me to do something, it’s got to fit into one of those three. If it doesn’t, then I’m not going to do it.


To find out more about Christine and incorporating her ideas into your business and daily life, visit her website at christinecashen.com. You can also follow her on Twitter @christinecashen.

Want to read more from 1st Global? Follow us on Twitter @1stGlobal or on LinkedIn. You can also watch videos on the company’s YouTube Channel.

Ryan George is director of communications at 1st Global. In this role, he works to connect financial advisors and wealth management assistants with information that will aid them in building thriving and efficient enterprises.

1st Global Capital Corp. is a member of FINRA and SIPC and is headquartered at 12750 Merit Drive, Suite 1200 in Dallas, Texas 75251; (214) 294-5000. Additional information about 1st Global is available via the Internet at www.1stGlobal.com.


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