The Day I Took A Technology Break

I remember the day well, Tuesday, January 26th. The day I logged off all social media sites. Why did I decide to log off? I was exhausted. 

I was smack in the middle (day 5 of 10) of my fourth round of antibiotics in four months. To say I was exhausted doesn’t actually convey the extent of my illness. I mean, this was beyond the typical levels of exhausted brought about by a life that involves too much coffee, not enough sleep and chasing small children. This was more than racing to meet deadlines, draft programs and get the holiday cheer wrapped and under the tree. This was a bona fide sick, and no matter what I did, I wasn’t getting any better. 

Yes, I know that might sound overly dramatic. Still, as I sat watching my child’s dance class I contemplated every angle of planning necessary for a childfree weekend on a secluded beach. 

The lynchpin of my fantasy: the elusive lack of any and all cell phone service. 

The notion of being ‘unreachable’ filled me with a blissful and giddy glee. Just meditation, barefoot walks on warm sand, uninterrupted, leisurely time with the love of my life and perhaps an exotic cocktail or two. Quickly (and sadly) I realized the beach weekend was a bust. However,  I also realized what I was truly longing for: the coveted ‘unreachable’ status. That was something I could do.  Yes, it was something I would do.

I was instantly at peace with the decision to unplug. I moved quickly and decisively – choosing a day with an already light schedule. Just a month before I had published my one word manifesto of 2016: Me! In the last days of 2015 I embraced the search for the word I would claim as a beacon for the New Year.  Me with a deliberately capitalized M – the Me of my higher, enlightened Self. I had pledged to practice radical self-care, to heal my body and spirit, exiting the antibiotic roller coaster once and for all. 

What could be more in line with beacon of Me? Unplugging Me was the first expression of radical self-care of 2016 and it went without a hitch. In a dark hour of illness I unplugged leaving this note on my social media pages: 

“They say everything will work better if you unplug it for a while. I’m unplugging Me for the next 24 hours. All sessions will commence as planned. Please call with any questions or to book an appointment.” 

On January 26th I embraced my first act of radical, unapologetic self-care. In the process I enjoyed a hot cup of coffee while it was still hot. Seems my coffee grew cold while I was scrolling through feeds and re-tweeting the profound wisdom of fellow coaches. No one complained, no clients balked, and I came back refreshed, invigorated and engaged.  

The lack of excess static was refreshing, so refreshing this unplugged day has become my monthly retreat and gift of self care to myself.


Jennifer Bellber is a Certified Professional Life Coach & Energy Leadership Index Master Practitioner. She's a wife, mother of a toddler, sometimes blogger, photographer for fun and charitable causes, slow runner and weight lifting enthusiast who reduced her physical self by 120 pounds a few years ago. 

Jennifer's passion is helping overwhelmed parents figure out who they want to be when their kids grow up, ditch the Mommy Guilt (or Daddy Guilt as the case may be) and live a connected, empowered, wickedly amazing sexy life of their own design.

To learn more about Jennifer, visit: www.jenniferbellber.com

Source: www.jenniferbellber.com

How to Fight Cyberbullying

From “The Karate Kid” to “How to Train Your Dragon” to “Little House on the Prairie,” bullying is a common theme that reflects the real issues children and young adults face when peers begin a campaign of hate. And because learning how to subdue a rare dragon or perform a threatening karate kick isn’t effective (or even realistic) in social settings, parents have struggled to find the best way to explain bullying and give their children the tools necessary to combat — or simply survive — the unwanted attention.

Even more confusing is the rise of cyberbullying — something most teachers, parents, or other adults have little experience with and may be unaware of as the exploitation occurs on private online networks or is hurled by anonymous users. This can’t be ignored, however. Nearly one in five children who use social networking sites is the victim of cyberbullying, according to a recent study by children’s charity NSCPP.

Hannah Smith, a 14-year-old girl living in England, was one victim of online bullying. Gabrielle Molina was teased and taunted online and in the classroom. Both of these young girls’ deaths have been linked to cyberbullying. Most recently, a 17-year-old boy living in Scotland took his life after communication with a person he believed to be a teenage girl turned out to be someone extorting money. Stalking and bullying online are serious threats to our children, and they require parents to remain vigilant in monitoring their children’s online habits.

Recognizing the Abuse 

The signs of cyberbullying are similar to those of “traditional” bullying. A bullied child will tend to be withdrawn, agitated, and reluctant to share conversation. He might suffer from loss of appetite, a decline in the quality of his schoolwork, general worry, or emotional upsets like crying for no apparent reason. 

Many times, the victim does not even know who the abuser is due to anonymous comments or user profiles. This leaves the child feeling paranoid, wondering who is making his life miserable and whether he knows the person in real life.

Unfortunately, the effects of cyberbullying aren’t limited to digital spaces. While the perpetrator might not attend the same school — or even be the same age — the child’s peers can read the comments online and bring them to life in the “real world.”

Why is cyberbullying so harmful? Many children have self-doubt, fear, and imposed beliefs that they are “no good,” and a few unkind words displayed on a message board can turn these common insecurities into total desperation. These messages can be reviewed again and again, and the hateful comments tend to be much harsher as abusers act more brazenly when sheltered by a screen.

Because it’s so difficult to stop or monitor online activity, parents need to support, guide, and help their children develop skills to combat the abuse and deal with the psychological aftermath. 

How to Fight Back

For many parents, their first reaction to an instance of bullying is to take away the cell phone, the Facebook account, and any online privileges. No cyber life means no cyberbullying, right?

However, this tactic can actually make things worse. For many children and young teens, having hundreds or thousands of contacts, Facebook friends, or Twitter followers is a measure of popularity and self-worth. The phone is a portal to their world. While some negativity and abuse might be coming through, closing the door entirely is not the answer. Taking privileges away can feel like a punishment during a time when the child really needs trust, support, and open communication with his parents.

That said, there are some steps a parent can take to make a child’s digital world safer right away:

  • If the abuse is happening through SMS, change the child’s cell phone number or block the abuser’s number.
  • Shut down any profiles or accounts where users are anonymous, such as Ask.fm. These sites attract users who prey on youthful insecurities.
  • Have an honest conversation about how to respond to hateful messages and how to understand the other person’s motivations.

If Things Get Worse

Bullying can become an unmanageable issue, especially if a child’s abusers attend the same school or participate in the same activities. Often, a child being bullied is viewed by other bullies as an easy target, and this results in a vicious cycle of hateful comments, teasing, and threats, both online and at school.

Create a team to address the issue. Include teachers, other parents, and siblings. Provide a supportive environment where the child can talk openly about the abuse and how he feels. If a young adult is uncomfortable discussing these issues with a parent, a coach or therapist could help him work through the bullying, regain his confidence, and reaffirm his values.

If threats have been made, you should immediately contact the police — even if it’s an online issue. Technology has become more sophisticated, and police departments may have the ability to track down the abuser through his or her digital signature. Hiring a lawyer or working with social services are also options for families or children who have experienced serious disruptions because of a cyber bully.

Having an online presence is a natural part of a young adult’s life today, so the most important thing you can do for your child is to instill in him the belief that he can discuss anything with you — including mistakes made online. If you make discussing online behavior and interactions a regular event, you can build a relationship in which online teasing, bullying, or even coercion are issues you fight together. 


For more than 30 years, Rod Beau has been an internationally sought-after education and management consultant and keynote speaker. His practical, real-world business experience and career have been in educational leadership, relocation consulting and executive and leadership coaching. As a Senior Consultant and Master Executive Coach, Rod is also an Accredited ANLP Trainer - specializing in Executive and Leadership Coaching. To learn more about Rod Beau, please visit www.sherpanlp.com

Source: www.sherpanlp.com

Turning a Lopsided Loss into a Win-Win

 There was a recent youth sports story from Parker County in Texas that hit the news.  The story was about the mother of a high school football player who filed bullying charges against the coaching staff of the opposing team.  The mom made this claim because her son’s team lost  91-0.    The complaint suggests the coaches should have told the players to take it easy on the competition.  The irony to the complaint is she goes on to say the players from (Aledo High School) showed respect to her son and thanked them for the good sportsmanship.  So why even file the complaint in the first place?  She states she didn’t know what to say to my son on the ride home.  The issue with the filing of this complaint is that bullying is a problem in our school systems right now; it is a real epidemic with how freely kids can be targeted through social media and taunting at school.  Lives are being lost due to bullying and this complaint minimizes the legitimacy and severity of bullying.

 It’s the reality of sports that one team wins and one team losses.  It is certainly more difficult to be on the losing team, especially if it’s as lopsided as 91-0, but does this constitute bullying?  If the players played their best, displayed good sportsmanship, didn’t intentionally run up the score, how is this bullying?

 This game can be used to teach some life lessons, for both teams.  The winning team can foster discussions around; how do you continue to show respect for an opponent when it’s clear they are over-matched?  Is stopping at the goal line instead of scoring respectful or not?  What would they want the other team to do if they were on the other side?  If they were in another game like this, what would they do differently and still be respectful of the other team?  What did you learn from this experience and how can you use this lesson later on in life?

The discussions that can be had with the losing team could be; what did you learn about yourself by continuing to play hard even though you weren’t going to win?  What would you have wanted the other team do differently?  What would you have done if you had been the other team? How will being in a game like this help you later on in life?

When you play sports, the basic concept is one team wins and one team loses.  It is very unfortunate the Fort Worth’s Western Hills football team lost 91-0.  It is certainly not the way anyone ever wants a game to go, but it does happen and it appears the Aledo players did their best to limit the damage.   But I think it can be agreed that a lopsided score does not qualify as bullying.  Everyday we’re faced with obstacles, how we take on these challenges is what shapes who we are.  What we learn from these experiences helps us in how we will show up the next an issue arises.  Ultimately, it leads us to form what actions we will take.  There are opportunities in everything that happens to us, we just need to be able to have an open mind to take these win – loss experiences and shift them into a win-win.

Mandy Roczniak

Mandy Roczniak

 Mandy Roczniak has more than 23 years of experience in the field of coaching; 20 years as a collegiate softball coach (nine as a DI Head Coach) and three years as a certified life coach. She has mentored and coached high-level athletes throughout her career to help them reach their full potential and attain their athletic, academic, career,  and life goals.   To learn more about how Mandy can help you reach your full potential, visit www.coachmandy.com