A Mindset of Abundance

In this episode, Desiree and Chrissy take a deep dive into mental health and the importance of positive thoughts while chatting with brain researcher and therapist Phyllis Ginsberg. This touches on anxiety, depression, EFT tapping, and positive psychology. If you’re looking to take a step toward thinking of what’s possible, this is number one.

Phyllis Ginsberg is known and beloved by lots of happier, healthier, and less stressed working professionals as their Survival to Thrival Expert. She’s the author of two books:Brain Makeover – A Weekly Guide to a Happier, Healthier, and More Abundant Life,” andTired and Hungry No More – Not Your Ordinary Guide to Reclaiming Your Health and Happiness.” Her 30 years of experience as a marriage and family therapist, and expertise in positive psychology, brain research, and EFT tapping, give her clients an edge in making lasting, profound changes in their lives. Quickly, they shift their stressful thinking to achieve calm, clarity, and creativity. That means that the quality of their lives and work gets better – often in a moment. 

External Links:

Connect with Phyllis Ginsberg

Website

FREE GUIDE: Cope with Stress and Overwhelm in 5 Minutes or Less

The AKPsi Operations Plan

Dear Brothers,

Re: Academic year 20-21 plans and programs

Introduction

First, we’d like to express our well wishes to you and your families as we all continue to collectively navigate the Covid-19 outbreak.

For the AKPsi volunteer leadership and the professional staff, our challenge has been to determine a path ahead for our fraternity in this uncertainty.  Although this letter is somewhat lengthy, it sets a course for the fall academic term, provides transparency on several aspects, and outlines the resources available to achieve the plan. Several perspectives have been heard throughout the process, including those who represent the management team, the fraternity professional staff, current students, and the fraternity board of directors.

The main concern is our members health and well-being. With the coronavirus situation, there are many campuses being closed, or partially closed, and there will be a significant number of students who decide to forego the semester and wait until the situation starts to normalize.

Related to our focus for this semester, and perhaps the entire school year, AKPsi experience for most students will be virtual.  This will make it difficult for many chapters to keep brothers engaged and potentially impacts many chapters ability to survive.

Especially in times of uncertainly and crisis, it’s an opportunity for local chapters to rely more on the “AKPsi” to provide more resources and programs – to provide local brothers with reasons to stay engaged and to provide local chapter officers with tools for operational continuity. (“AKPsi” in this context is what many may sometimes call “international” or “national.”  “AKPsi” is the whole organization, including the vast network of volunteers and the professional staff.)

In order to better assist local chapters and student brothers, there are several items being rolled out or adjusted for this semester (and perhaps the entire school year):

  1. Brotherhood Unbounded – several programs and events to assist you in getting the most of your AKPsi membership through unique opportunities you can only access through AKPsi.
  2. Chapter Operations Resources
  3. Policy and Procedure Adjustments

The sections below will explain each item in more detail:

  1. Brotherhood Unbounded

AKPsi will be providing several new offerings to students for this academic year, thus reducing the burden on the local student chapter officers to deliver professional development opportunities in an ever-changing environment.

Many of these programs will be focused on the current challenges students are facing — stress management, career planning, time management, and include the following:

  • The Birkman Survey – access to the comprehensive tool utilized by many executive search firms to identify work styles, preferences, team dynamics, and stress behaviors. You will gain insight into the ways you process information, solve problems, manage stress, and work with others.
  • Birkman Small Groups – AKPsi will have dozens of volunteers and staff trained to lead small groups (groups will be based upon your ‘profile.’ (e.g., are you a second-year student looking for an internship, are you a 4th year student soon to be graduated, etc.). Groups will meet virtually but can also meet in-person if permitted.
  • Institute of Business Leadership – a virtual leadership development conference with speakers and panelists. Because the in-person PBLI will not be planned for this year, we will hold two virtual conferences.  The registration fee for these events will be free for dues-paying members.
  • Fraternity-wide virtual keynotes – one-hour Q&A with executives and leaders in business and other professions – the current plan is for these to be monthly events. The registration fee for these events will be free for dues-paying members.
  • The MyAKPsi app — available in the Apple and Google Play stores – provides access to the functions above through any handheld device. (More information on MyAKPsi is below.)
  • Principled Business Leadership Certificates – to be rolled out in MyAKPsi later this year, the certificates will be awarded to members as they achieve milestones along their principled business leadership journey through our Brotherhood Unbounded programs.
  1. Chapter Operations Resources

The Management Team and the professional staff have been working on many tools and resources to assist chapter officers:

  • Virtual Chapter Operations Guide – A comprehensive guide providing student officers with the tools to plan for virtual operations. This guide can be found in the Knowledge Base in MyAKPsi
  • MyAKPsi Groups – Do you want to grow your network? In MyAKPsi, each chapter has a “group” for all members, including alumni and students. This gives generations of AKPsi brothers the opportunity to connect for mentorship, job-related opportunities, etc.
  • Groups also give you the opportunity to contact any AKPsi member (as long as they have registered in MyAKPsi) in any industry in any location in the world.
  • Knowledge Base – A library of professional development and chapter management resources.
  • Volunteer Central – Chapters can find volunteers who are willing to serve as speakers, panelists, judges, etc. Volunteers can sign up to serve in a variety of roles to advise students or other alumni.
  • Events – Local chapter events can now be organized and managed via MyAKPsi, including local chapter meetings (virtual or otherwise).
  • New MyAKPsi app – as mentioned above, this will give additional access to resources and opportunities for networking
  1. Policy, Procedure, and Operational Adjustments

This semester will be a challenge for student brothers and student chapters overall.  In addition to the items mentioned above, a comprehensive review of policies, procedures, and operations has been conducted.  There will be several changes for this term (and perhaps the year):

  • Chapter Minimum Expectations have been changed to reflect the current campus environment and the challenges of coronavirus – the expectations are designed to assist chapters in creating their goals for engagement and sustainability. Resources are provided for the chapters to achieve these goals (see sections above – Virtual Chapter Operations Guide).
  • Flexible payment plans – AKPsi will not charge late fees for chapters for billing through Nov. 30, 2020. This gives the chapters the flexibility to spread out member dues payments over 4 months (Aug-Nov, ~$15-20/month for insurance, dues, fees)
  • LOA-Extreme Hardship – many brothers are struggling financially, so even with the program opportunities coming this fall, there will be those who do not have the time or money to participate. Update your rosters as soon as you can in order to ensure billing is accurate. Please note your RD ask that any requests for LOA-Extreme Hardship include if it is due to Covid-19.
  • The professional fraternity staff costs have been reduced by 20-25% compared to last year, temporarily reducing expenses
  • In-person events and meetings will be substantially decreased, temporarily reducing cost for planning, facility, meal, and travel. This includes PBLI.  We will not plan PBLI for this year.  Instead, the Institute for Business Leadership will provide opportunities for brothers to connect with speakers and panelists in a virtual format.
  • The registration cost for the Institute for Business Leadership and the Virtual keynotes will be free for dues-paying members. Although ‘going virtual’ may imply the events can be conducted without costs, it is still necessary to budget for speaker, staffing, curriculum, & technology costs for these events; therefore, there will be a registration fee for any non-dues paying member.
  • Insurance and related expenses – The HC staff manages several insurance policies for the organization, including policies that protect chapters from embezzlement, provide liability coverage for student chapter officers and volunteers if an incident occurs outside of their control, and several other polices for events, governance, the HC building, and the Member Accident Protection Plan. These coverages must be maintained and managed. The current insurance charge is $30/student (annual), which is paid in the fall. For this year, we have negotiated a reduction of $3/student, which will temporarily lower the cost to $27.
  • Student member dues are currently $60 per semester per person. For the fall semester, member dues will be reduced by 10%, to $54 per person. 
  • The Convention Savings Plan was to be increased to $350 this term. That increase will be suspended for the fall semester. The Plan will remain $250 for fall term.  If the Convention currently planned for August 2021 is postponed, the pool will be suspended entirely for the 2021 winter/spring term.

Overall Fraternity Impact & Outlook

The reduction in dues and fees and the subsequent offering of additional programs and resources represent an investment in you and your chapters. The changes above will result in an overall budget shortfall for the organization of $700,000 for this fiscal year.

This budget also includes a budgeted reduction in pledges of 20% compared to last year.  The overall pledge goal for this year is 6,100 compared to 7,500 in FY20, which heightens the importance of every chapter making a good faith effort to attempt virtual recruitment.

Because local chapter activities will be limited, it’s even more critical for AKPsi to provide the activities and experiences at the fraternity-wide level to provide brothers with the opportunities to continue their principled business leadership journey.

It would help decrease overall budget deficit for the organization if each chapter would make a good faith effort to utilize the Virtual Chapter Operations guide in order to keep AKPsi active on campus and to recruit potential members. 

From a programming and networking perspective, the vast opportunities in AKPsi are not replicated by any other student business organization in the US or beyond.

We are brothers because of our long line of commitment others have shown throughout the years. The challenges of Covid-19 are real, but we will remain the oldest and largest fraternal business network in the world for generations to come. Being part of something bigger than ourselves is what has drawn many of us to AKPsi from the beginning.

Finally, please see below a break-down (in a ‘typical’ year) of dues and fees.  Although the table below accounts for specific items, there are many other general activities dues and fees enable AKPsi to do:

  • To continue developing and delivering new business leadership development opportunities for AKPsi members.
  • To more broadly, through programs and communication, further the tenets of principled business leadership.
  • To maintain the organization as a professional entity with 501c7 non-profit status – legal, fiscal, regulatory.
  • To provide the infrastructure for chapters to be rejuvenated or restarted when circumstances cause a temporary ceasing of operations on a specific campus.
  • To actively manage the AKPsi brand as a symbol of integrity, longevity, and continuity.

Membership Dues and Fees- contributed to AKPsi by members – Cost Breakdown of Dues (student member dues and insurance) in a ‘Typical Year’ (from official audit documents)

The information below provides the percent breakdown of costs and a summary of the cost items in each category.  The categories and costs are examined and validated by an independent auditor, in compliance with the oversight set up by the AKPsi Board of Directions.

(The audit for 2020 (fiscal year) will not be completed until later this year; however, for FY19, the functional expenses were distributed within the following categories.)

Member Dues  $            60
Insurance (only charged in the fall semester)  $            30
Convention Savings Plan*  $              5
Total Dues & Fee per Student Member  $            95
* Convention Savings Plan = $350/semester, Avg Chap Size of 71
Fraternity Expenses Breakdown FY 19 Dues
Member Services
(ex: awards, certificates, membership database and technology – Salesforce, etc)
32.2%  $       30.57
PBLI, PAFAC, and Other Meetings
(ex: meeting space rental, meals, travel, material, A/V, technology-related costs, the Diary, insurance, etc)
32.1%  $       30.47
Volunteer Services
(ex: meeting space rental, meals, travel, material, A/V, curriculum design, technology-related costs, insurance, etc)
10.2%  $         9.68
Education
(ex: training for students, volunteers, & staff, incl. materials, curriculum design, dev., delivery, and assessment, partner fees, etc)
11.1%  $       10.63
Management and General
(ex: accounting, audit, legal, insurance, facilities, technology infrastructure, consultants, agents, CPAs, attorney, etc)
14.4%  $       13.67
Total $3.7M  $       95.02

Overall budget shortfall for the organization of $700,000 for this fiscal year (FY21).

Please feel free to send questions & clarifications for the items above (Brotherhood Unbounded, Chapter Operations, Policy & Procedure Adjustment, or the Fraternity Outlook) to communication@akpsi.org.

Again, thank you for taking the time to read the information above. With Covid-19, we hope you and your families are staying healthy and have been adjusting as well as can be expected at this time. We also hope you will continue to utilize the tools and resources AKPsi provides as a critical part of your personal life and your academic and professional careers.

 

In U – and I –,

 

Steve Hartman

CEO

Thomas Tran

Fraternity President

 

Alpha Kappa Psi Inclusivity Statement

Dear AKPsi Brothers,

As our fraternity celebrates the end of another academic year and the accomplishments of our members and chapters from across the world, there are those also experiencing the tough reality of lives lost to racially motivated violence. Recent incidents across the US have caused feelings of sadness, frustration, hopelessness, and anger throughout our membership and in our wider communities.

Words will not and cannot reconcile these emotions, but at the same time, we do not feel it’s right or just to remain silent. We feel it is important to affirm publicly that all humans have value and that we must stand in solidarity against injustice, racism, and violence at all times, but especially when our fellow brothers and families are suffering.

We must acknowledge and respond to the negative effects which injustice, racism and violence have on our organization, on our brothers, on our families, and on society as a whole.  In AKPsi, we aspire to be principled business leaders. In order to be true to our values – brotherhood, integrity, unity, knowledge, service – we must find ways to enact those values at this critical time.

To this end, we are organizing a task force to develop a plan of action for our fraternity to be a model of inclusivity and equality. By doing so, we will aim to be a model for other organizations who aspire to spurn injustice, discrimination in any of its many forms, and violence.  The work will begin immediately and the initial draft plan of action will be released within the next 30 days.

We understand our words and our call to action may not lessen the current emotions; however, we are committed to taking the first step toward long-term change in our organization on behalf of our members and beyond.

If you are interested in sitting on the task force or being kept up to date on progress being made, please sign into the MyAKPsi Community and apply through Volunteer Central (https://akpsi.force.com/myAKPsi/s/volunteer-central). Please choose the preferred vacancy “Inclusivity, Equality and Diversity Taskforce member” and complete the information requested. You can mark the “I am interested in learning and leadership development positions” checkbox of Special Interest Project.

Gratitude vs Gratification

When something makes us feel good, we want more of it. From the late-night snack of a pint of ice cream to the planned week of vacation, we want to feel good. And we usually want it right away! Two of the main ways that we have of feeling good right away are the feelings of gratitude and gratification.

They can both be addicting, but the difference between them is like “the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning” as Mark Twain once said. One makes an earthshaking difference and the other creates a fairy twinkle that we all chase from time to time.

That may be a little exaggerated. Let’s look at some hard definitions and see how gratitude vs. gratification actually plays out in the world that we live in today.

The Definitions

Simply put, gratitude is the good feeling we get or the expressions of appreciation that we make when something good happens to us. Most of the time, when we feel thankful, we feel good. It’s not that complicated.

Webster’s dictionary states that it is a “state of being thankful.” Think of the joy that a small child experiences when they get something that they have been wanting for a long time, the look on a loved one’s face when a crisis is averted, or the quiet peace radiating from a completely contented couple in love. In most cases, Psychology Today states that gratitude wants to be shared–you want other people to be just as happy as you are

On the other side of the coin, the state of being gratified is “a source of satisfaction or pleasure.” Remember the feeling as you get a second helping of your favorite dessert? How about the look on a teenager’s face when they level up in their video game of choice? Gratification wants more and more, particularly when you are able to have the feeling extended immediately. This leads to instant gratification, which, as stated by Positive Psychology, can become a real problem.

It’s important to realize that gratification in and of itself is not bad

Practically Speaking

What does this look like in the workplace and at home? Examples abound of both of these happiness generators in action. You may have noticed that someone really likes to fill the printer at work or deeply enjoys watching the coffee brew. These are examples of instant gratification.

At home, similar patterns can play out. Coming home to a clean home that your significant other has just gotten ready for you can spark a large amount of gratitude. When shared between both the cleaner and the one who came home, the evening could be full of happiness and peace.

On the other hand, instant gratification can take the form of a fun night out, an extra dessert, a spontaneous trip and much more. Other forms of gratification include buying a new dress or suit, splurging on something that you’ve been saving up for and so on and so forth.

Think of the days that nothing seems to get done. Sometimes, gratification (in the form of social media, longer lunches, and corridor chatter) gets in the way of getting things done. How about the coworker who loves to bring in tasty homemade goodies to share? They want to please you and themselves, but it is best? Sometimes, it can be trying if you’re on a diet and they insist that you take some of their goodies.

It’s a balancing act that can feel equivalent to walking (and falling) off a tightrope. How can you keep everything together?

The Balance

At the end of the day, gratitude and gratification should not be at war with each other. Rather, they should be balanced to suit you and your individual lifestyle. Sometimes that will lean one way and sometimes it will lean the other way.

The important thing to remember is that gratitude is internal and gratification is external. You need both in order to have the richest experience available to you. After all, both gratitude and gratification are about maximizing your happiness and the happiness of those about you. This is a very good thing indeed.

What Is Gratitude?

Of all the characteristics we value here at Alpha Kappa Psi, perhaps the most rewarding one is gratitude. The concept of gratitude extends much further than simply saying “Thank you.” Rather, it is a state of constant gratefulness for the good things in one’s life, both big and small. Not only is it a virtuous trait to let people know your appreciation when they have helped you in some way, but staying alert and aware of all positives in your life can be beneficial for the self. Robert Emmons, a Professor of Psychology at UC Davis, said that gratitude is both an affirmation of goodness and the acknowledgment that the sources of goodness are external, coming from sources outside ourselves. What does this mean for our daily lives, especially when it’s easy to get bogged down by stresses and nagging deadlines? Let’s take a look at how gratitude can be expressed in the workplace, with friends, and with family.

Gratitude in the Workplace

In a workplace setting, demonstrating gratitude can go a long way towards motivation and a positive environment. A study performed by Glassdoor found that four in five employees said they were motivated to work harder when a boss showed them appreciation for their work. While this kind of positive reinforcement often comes from management, any employee can foster this kind of gracious culture by taking time to make others’ efforts feel appreciated. A survey conducted by the John Templeton Foundation revealed that people are least likely to express gratitude in the workplaceFor example, your coworker may have worked diligently to put together an updated list of company vendors. While they may have done this after being asked by a manager, their efforts mean less work for you and your peers when you need to find the contact info for one of these third-party companies. Let others around you know that their work is noticed and appreciated. It might also be helpful to take time out of your day to take note of the things you’re grateful for at work, as a study performed by Robert Emmons found that keeping a gratitude journal improves mental health and well-being.

Gratitude with Friends

Expressing gratitude to your close companions is not only a kind thing to do, but also beneficial for your relationship. A study by UC Berkley found that gratitude can make people feel more invested in friendships, meaning that when you show gratitude it can encourage those helpful gestures by your friends and even jump start good deeds of your own. Our friends are usually the people we turn to when we’re looking for help. In fact, they can sometimes be reassuring to us even without us expressing that need for assistance. How often has a funny text from a friend or a relaxing group lunch been just the thing you needed to get through a particularly hectic work week? Even if you’re not in need of anything, your pals validate your feelings and add joy to your daily life. Letting your friends know your gratitude for the things they do can make them feel more valued. You can do it by letting them know how they help you throughout the day; you can also show it by returning the favor. If a friend is often giving you rides to concerts, maybe offer to pay for the tickets. If they took you out for dinner, you could cook for them. Whatever you choose, being genuine with your emotions and making an effort is an excellent way to keep developing your friendships.

Gratitude with Family

When we consider the link between gratitude and family, it’s hard to not think of Thanksgiving. This holiday often brings together family from all over to eat, catch up, and – of course – say thanks to one another. While this yearly event is certainly convenient, it doesn’t need to be the only time you express gratitude to your family. Instead, consider trying to schedule monthly or even weekly conversations with those in your extended family. Even if you don’t have time for a full-blown catch-up session, you can still reach out to them with emails, video chats, or even letters. Not only is this a great way to make relatives feel important, but it can also be vitally important for your older family members. A study from the University of California, San Francisco found that 40 percent of seniors regularly experience loneliness. Another study by the Association for Psychological Science said that loneliness among the elderly can increase the chance of mortality by a whopping 26 percent. Letting these folks know that you’re grateful for them, whether it’s for a specific act, or just in general, can go a long way in making them feel and live better. Gratitude can be expressed in many ways, but in the end it’s truly about remaining aware of all the goodness that comes from those around you. That goodness might come in the form a helpful document from a coworker, a night out with a friend or a caring chat with a loved family member. Whatever it may be, showing your gratitude is a great way to build relationships and improve your own sense of well-being.