Archive for April, 2009

Forced to work from home because of the flu?

Thursday, April 30th, 2009

Michelle LaBrosse, PMP

I’ve been working virtually for the past 20 years – by choice. I set up Cheetah Learning so everyone else can work from wherever too (we had an office and no one wanted to go to it so we got rid of it). We created a course two years ago to teach others what we have learned running our entire 200+ global company virtually – it is called Virtual Project Teams.

Faced with the prospects of area schools closing due to a flu scare, and other social distancing policies that will impact people’s abilities to go to work, it just makes good business sense to have a work from home strategy.

Flu Remedies – 7 Tips That Help You Heal

Tuesday, April 28th, 2009

Michelle LaBrosse, PMP

I had the lovely fortune to have the flu in late february. Several family members and I caught it after attending a cousin’s wedding in Philadelphia. Even the ones who had the “flu shot.” Since no medical personnel thought it was necessary to see what type of flu it was, it was just the “flu.” But it was the exact same symptoms as this latest ‘swine” flu – complete with the 5th day relapse after feeling fine on the 4th day.

I had recently finished reading a book called “Anti-Cancer” and did some of the same remedies suggested in that book plus several others I knew about. So here is how you can minimize the severity of the flu:

1. Medical Professionals tell you to drink plenty of fluids – but the type of fluids make a huge difference.

A. Avoid sugar – according to the Anti-Cancer book – sugar feeds cancer cells. I figured it might help feed the flu virus as well. I am not a medical professional or a researcher but I figured it couldn’t hurt me to avoid sugar and it didn’t.

B. Drink a LOT of ginger root tea. I slice up fresh ginger root and boil it in water. I made a large pot of this and drank at least a cup every hour. I mixed it with decaffeinated green tea. Ginger root is a natural anti-inflammatory. Since the flu virus causes inflammation as your immune system does battle with the virus – this is very good for helping your body cope with the flu.

2. Stay positive – watch funny movies. DO NOT WATCH THE NEWS. Stay away from the work stress too. If the flu could kill you what will the work stress matter anyhow. Your job with the flu bug is to survive to go back to work.

3. Get lots of sleep – if you have small children or pets – get someone else to watch them – this is very important. When I had the flu, I was on a trip back east so my pets were under someone else’s care out west and the children were on their own trip for school. I was supposed to travel to meet the kids on their trip but the doctor implored me to just stay put for at least two weeks to make sure I got over it. The night time cold and flu over the counter medicines do well to ease the coughing symptoms so you can sleep.

4. Eat chicken noodle soup. Yup there is something that is released when they are making the chicken broth from the bones of the chicken that is anti-viral. I make my own – it is very simple. You first roast the chicken. Then you take most of the meat off and refrigerate, and toss the carcass in a large pot of water. Put in several tablespoons of whole pepppercorns and a couple stalks of celery. Let it simmer all day (you’re home and sleeping anyhow). Strain out all the ingredients. Chop up the refrigerated meat, put in a whole chopped onion and a the top half of a stalk of celery coarsly chopped. Put in about a cup of whole wheat pasta noodles and salt to taste. Eat this several times a day.

5. Eat a fresh berry salad. Fresh berries are also recommended to prevent cancer so I figured these couldn’t hurt either. I mix up strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and toss in some chopped walnuts and sprinkle the whole thing with cinnamon. The cinnamon helps to regulate your blood sugar so you don’t feed those nasty flu viruses.

6. Go out for a short brisk walk in the fresh air (and stay away from other people). This might seem counter intuitive as all you want to do is sleep. But in the anti-cancer book he showed how a low level of exercise boosts your immune system. If it’s cold out, bundle up. And only walk for 15 to 20 minutes.

7. Take a hot bath – at least once a day. Put epsom salt in it as well. I had a friend who was trained as a medical professional in India and he recommended sitting in hot water to all his patients when they presented with a virus as it was his experience that elevating your temperature more helped kill the virus faster. This is what a fever is doing anyhow. I’m not sure if that works, but it does make you feel more relaxed.

The flu is not to be taken lightly – no matter what the strain. Even the “normal” flu kills over 35,000 people every year in the US alone. I made the mistake the 4th day of thinking I was all over it and could gut out an aggressive work day. It set me back another two weeks. If you have a fever and a dry hacking cough – it might be the flu. It gets worse. You then get a headache that feels like your head is in a vice. Then on about the third day your eyes start to water like you’ve been chopping onions. As it moves into your lungs, you cough like you’ve smoked three packs of cigarettes a day for decades. And all you want to do is sleep. I was all alone when I had the flu on a trip back east. I was thankful for that as usually I have pets and children to care for. I was only supposed to be there for a week – I ended up just staying put for three weeks. I started to feel completely back to normal about a month after I first came down with the flu.

I had the good fortune of being alone and not having to take care of anyone but myself. If you live with other people and they come down with the flu – STAY AWAY FROM THEM. It’s not hard for people to take care of themselves with this. And the solitude is good for their recovery. You can drop off the essentials they need but the less you can be around someone who has the flu, the less likely you will be to catch it.

Positivity – how to flourish in life

Friday, April 24th, 2009

Michelle LaBrosse, PMP

My co-host of Power Learning, Scot Nichols sent me a link about a book called “Positivity.” The book details the research of Dr. Barbara Fredrickson that shows the ratio of positive to negative emotions of greater than 3 creates your own tipping point in life to flourish. You can participate in her research at

Cheers- to Earth’s Health

Tuesday, April 21st, 2009

by Kristen LaBrosse, CAPM
How do you celebrate Earth Day? To celebrate Earth Day, my roommate and I volunteered at the Citizens Climate Lobby booth at the annual Earth Fair held at Balboa Park in San Diego.

I became interested in the Citizens Climate Lobby last summer while I was a mentor for an intern at Cheetah Learning. One of my tasks included helping her write weekly articles that pertained to environmental issues, such as global warming, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and other horrifying and interesting realities that many people do not think about on a day to day basis.

During a summer of mentoring and being exposed to the calamities that were happening to the planet, I was simultaneously exposed to a group who was hell-bent on doing something about it: The Citizen’s Climate Lobby (CCL). A woman in my Toastmasters group heard me give a speech about the environment one evening, and invited me to a CCL meeting. I agreed to go and was immediately impressed by the breadth and dedication of the group.
CCL operates by training volunteers to speak with confidence to their local and national elected officials in order to get important environmental issues on the Congressional radar. Members of CCL can make a difference by meeting with Congress members, launching letter-writing campaigns (to Congress or letters to the editor), and create editorials that promote various issues regarding climate sustainability. If you are interested in starting your own CCL group in your community, click here.

I have become even more intrigued in how I can capitalize on becoming green for not only altruistic reasons, but financial reason as well, through the knowledge that I have gained as a co-researcher and writer the Cheetah Power Newsletter, which encourages individuals to “Take Power of Your Power” (that is, take power of your power usages and supply), and to use alternative energy in a way that makes sense both financially and environmentally.
So, how do you celebrate Earth Day? Wear green? Ride your bike? Start a sustainable energy lobbyist group? Take a shorter shower? Research your energy rights and options? Whatever you choose to do, remember that no effort is too small.

Thanks for reading, and Happy Earth Day.

GREAT POST Kristen!!!!!!!   When thinking about being “earth friendly” do what makes sense in multiple realms.  When I started Cheetah Learning, I didn’t like how when you went to conventional training, you got these huge binders filled with the instructor’s power point presentation.   First off, presenting a presentation off power point slides is not teaching and not much learning happens, second off, it’s a tremendous waste of paper and binders to hand out those presentations that were extremely low on content.   I set up the courses at Cheetah learning so people left with the actual skills they needed to accomplish their goals – whether it be to pass the PMP exam or to launch and run a successful project.   No binder full of paper ever helped anyone do either of those two things.   And surprise, surprise, surprise, my solutions were earth friendly too.   Most if not all the time, the right solution is the earth friendly solution as well.
Michelle LaBrosse, PMP

The Reason for the Global Economic Crisis – Lack of Sun Spots

Thursday, April 2nd, 2009

by Michelle LaBrosse, PMP

Lack of Sun Spots is the Cause of All Our Current Woes

Lack of Sun Spots is the Cause of All Our Current Woes

In Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s book – The Black Swan – he points out that most catastrophic events are completely random – yet we are compelled to find causal relationships. Being an “empiricist” he shows how most of what we consider rational explanations for events are completely random and that our intuition on what should happen in a future state is more often than not completely wrong.

In Jonathon Jarvis’ presentation “Visualizing the Credit Crisis” he shows the dynamics that caused the banks to lose their shirts on sub-prime mortgages which is being implicated as the main reason for the global economic crisis. I would like to propose an alternative theory – the global economic crisis is being caused by the lack of sun spots. I’ll go out on a limb here and blame it for the global climatic crisis as well. Also, it might be what is to blame for the global rash in terrorism. Research shows that sun spot activity has a significant impact on human behavior. Lack of sunspots specifically makes us more susceptible to repressive regimes – EXACTLY what has been being put in place “protecting” us from all these global calamities.

Now the million dollar question – being the self-flagellating ego centric beings that we are – how are we responsible for the lack of sun spots on the sun? And if it’s not us who are responsible for the lack of sun spots, then who is to blame and how can we hang them out to dry for the lack of sun spots causing all of our modern day problems? Is it Tim Geitner’s inability to use Turbotax that has caused the most recent decrease in sunspot activity?

Liviing in Your Circle of Influence Is the Best Way to Deal with the Lack of Sunspots

Liviing in Your Circle of Influence Is the Best Way to Deal with the Lack of Sunspots

I have noticed that my own creativity has been stymied lately. I am usually a prolific blogger posting my ramblings in two locations. On this blog and for those postings related to my drive to become energy self-sufficient – on But for the last month, I just have lost my zest for blog postings. I was trying to establish the cause for this. I had thought that it was due to the fact that I was getting too angry about the global economic crisis and the apparently inept leadership (but who am I to make that assessment about the quality of leadership?). I then remembered this circle of influence vs. circle of concern concept that I describe in my science of success talk. The concept is that when you focus on your circle of influence instead of wasting your time on those things that concern you but that you can’t do anything about, you find much more personal success in life. I was living in my circle of concern instead of my circle of influence. And just why was I doing this? Now I know – lack of sunspots. Well now that I know the source of my ennui, I can go about fixing it. I certainly can do NOTHING about the lack of sun spots, so I’m going back to what it is I can influence and living there. At least I’m much happier and more productive living in my circle of influence.

Visualizing the Credit Crisis

Wednesday, April 1st, 2009

by Michelle LaBrosse, PMP

Like most Americans, I am pretty riled up by the greed of Wall Street and how this whole situation has been handled by the US Government. I am on a group on Linkedin called the Global Economic Crisis to better understand the current climate and how to best help project managers capitalize on the times. I came across this ten minute video presentation, on the Linkedin group, by Jonathon Jarvis. It is an exceptionally good visual presentation on how the credit crisis was created.

Project managers are in a fantastic position because they are the people who help others get things done. What I have found in my travels and interactions with other project managers is that as a group, we have been uniformly conservative with our own credit management and were exceptionally good at risk management. As a group, we have lived by the “new” rules that others who lived by the ‘old” rules are just learning how to adopt.

Old Rules Driven by Greed and Inflation

Old Rules Driven by Greed and Inflation

New Rules - Create Value

New Rules - Create Value