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Because Each of Us Matters

Tuesday, 19. November 2013 15:02

Swallowtail Butterfly share flowersHave you ever thought about who makes up your “we”? Is it your family, your partner, your political party, or your work associates?  Or maybe it’s the human race, or all the creatures of the earth?  Perhaps your answer changes depending on the issue at stake.

The way you navigate between the needs of I, you and we in your life can be tricky. How do you meet your needs and the needs of others when they compete? For example, if your “I “ almost always comes second to your service to others in your life, how does that feel for you?  Alternatively, how does it feel if you almost always seek to meet your own needs before considering the needs of others?

Say these definitions to yourself:

Loving only you is self-less;

Loving only me is selfish and

Loving me and you is self–full.

And these:

Each of us is responsible for meeting our own needs; and

Your needs and my needs matter equally, not more or less.

How was that for you?

I find it empowering to know that our needs matter equally and that I can trust you to take care of yourself. It means I can care about others (you and we) in my life without abandoning me. It enhances my respect for both of us.

I can always choose to consider our needs together in my solution set.  That’s not an obligation, it’s a choice, and that encourages me to discover creative solutions that solve problems in ways that benefit more of us.

In this context, one of my favorite questions is this:

“What choices bring more love and abundance to me, to you and to us?”

Finding your way to meet the needs of I, with you and we, may fill a lifetime.  Hopefully, each of us seeks a balance that not only nurtures us, but also allows us to contribute to our community and to our world in meaningful ways.   Because each of us matters – and how we live this consciousness makes all the difference.




Category:Relationships, Self Actualization, Uncategorized, Wellness | Comment (0) | Autor:

“Born This Way” is Key to Your Success

Saturday, 18. February 2012 12:44

What’s the best thing about you? Do you know?  Are you a yarn spinner, a good listener, an idea person, perhaps good with your hands?

Knowing what you are good at and putting your talent to good use is one of the most important secrets to success and fulfillment. This assumes that whatever your natural gifts are, you feel good when you use them. Although that is not always the case, it usually is.

In short, the more you can find a way to match your abilities to the way you spend your time (both in and out of work); the more your joy quotient will rise.  It may not be easy – sometimes you may be in a job or a relationship that is just not a good fit for you.  For example, if you love people and work all day alone at a computer, you may need to reconsider your career choice or your job.  Or, perhaps you can find a way to add dimension to your work situation, by serving on a committee or acting as a liaison.  If you can’t employ your talents at work, can you find a sufficient outlet that fulfills you in your free time?   With some creative thinking, you can often find ways to interject the things that you love into your life.  And when you do this successfully, you’ll know.  You will feel more alive.

However, there are ways to get derailed.  Sometimes our assumptions about roles, should-do’s, and ought-to-do’s get in our way.  Until you can identify those negative thought patterns in yourself and work through them, you may limit your joy and your effectiveness.   If you feel stuck, try questioning your assumptions and your perspective.  If you spend all your time wondering, ‘How should I be acting,’ in any given situation, rather than enjoying how you are, it’s going to be hard to relax and flow.  Most of us are at our best, when we can be who we are –so how can you get there?

Here are some questions to help you get started thinking about this:

1) What is it that I am good at, and enjoy doing?

2) Do I currently employ those skills in my life, if so, where, when and with whom?

3) If not, why not?  What thoughts prevent me from doing so? (Some examples:   “I have to act like a boss,”  “I make more money doing this job than I would working at what I love,”  “My boyfriend doesn’t like it when I spend time doing my art,” “I better crack a joke to launch this speech even though I am the worst joke teller ever,”  and on and on.)

4) Then pick one small thing you are willing to change that will allow you to be more of yourself in any given situation.  (e.g., “I will try collaborating rather than giving direct orders at the next staff meeting,” or maybe, “I’ll use a touching quote to launch my talk rather than a joke.”  Maybe you need to take a class in something you love and start migrating toward a different career.)

5) Once you try your one small action, assess and experiment. How did it go?  Do you need to correct for something and try it again?  Can you add-on or repeat your last action?  Keep building and see where it takes you.

6) Repeat as needed.

In short, get creative and ask yourself how you can use your talents as the cement that holds the bricks of your life together in a pleasing pattern that serves you.

Most of the time, no matter what your circumstances, you can find a way to bring your talents to bear, and you, and others will be glad you did.

With that, I leave you with inspiration from a popular Lady Gaga song, “Born This Way.”     Also at http://youtu.be/xG0wi1m-89o

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Tips for Making a Career Change in a Tough Economy

Friday, 7. October 2011 13:59

Maybe you have a job, but you don’t enjoy your career. On the other hand, maybe you’ve lost your job and you can’t bear the thought of going back to the same old stuff.  It’s a tough economy. Should you make a change now?  How?

Nicholas Lore

Nicholas Lore,  author of the bestseller Pathfinder: How to Choose or Change Your Career for a Lifetime of Satisfaction and Success shared his insights about this topic in a recent interview with me.  Take a listen to the interview to benefit from 30 years of his coaching experience.

Click here to download…

In the meantime, here are a few highlights from our discussion:

  • Don’t delay designing your future career just because of the economy. At the same time, it’s good to be practical. Keeping a job that pays the bills until you determine your best career fit is a smart idea.  If you’re out of work, you may need to seek another job in your current career area to earn income while you create your new path.  Regardless of your employment status, it can take two months or more to explore not only what you want to do, but also what fits well with your skills and abilities. If you prepare yourself, you’ll be ready to make a switch when the economy improves – or even sooner – when that great opportunity suddenly arises.
  • Face your fears. The biggest hurdle most career changers face is their own internal dialogue.  You have the power to manage your fears by investigating them and transforming them into actions.   Listen to the interview to hear more about Lore’s perspective on this.
  • Create a vision and become a career detective.  Use online resources and books  (my professional opinion is that Lore’s offerings are terrific) or a career coach to help you get insights and determine not only what you desire, but how your abilities fit in the world, and what actions you might need to take to enable your next move.
  • Don’t let circumstances rule your world.   For example, Lore finds age doesn’t matter. He has countless happy clients who prove that you are never too old to do what you love (within reason – after all, becoming a rock star at 60 may be possible, but it’s pretty unlikely).  Even if your intended field is shrinking, Lore says that when you really want something and you have talent for it, you can find a way to make it happen.
  • Build your network. One of the best ways to change careers is by developing relationships with decision makers who can possibly hire you into your new field.  Once you’ve decided what you want, creative marketing and networking can land you the job.
  • Go for it!  Lore contends that if you only have one life to live, don’t settle for a career that’s not as big as you are.

For more information and free resources, check out Lore’s awesome website www.therockportinstitute.com and his coaching company, The Rockport Institute, founded in 1981.  For a DIY approach, look into Lore’s two worthwhile books, Pathfinder and Now What?  The Young Person’s Guide to Choosing the Perfect Career. If you already own a copy of Pathfinder, take note, an updated edition is due out this winter.  Personally, I can’t wait.

In the meantime, best wishes for career happiness and much success.

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Interview Tips: How to Answer “Tell Me About Yourself”

Monday, 2. May 2011 3:57

“Tell me about yourself” is a typical job interview question that causes fear and loathing in many job candidates. In my experience, the underlying question that the interviewer really wants you to answer is, “Why should I hire you for this job?”  The “tell-me” question provides an excellent opportunity for you to craft an answer that illustrates how your skills and experience make you an excellent fit for the open position.

Here’s one example of how you might answer the “tell-me” question. Let’s say you’re interviewing for a new products job with a company known for its creativity, you might say, “I’m a creative problem solver, and it seems that whatever I do – at work or at home, I brainstorm at least 10 different approaches to solving a problem.  Then I figure out which one will get me the best results.  So, for example, when I launched X product, my two top tactical choices were Blah 1 and Blah 2.  I ended up running with Blah 2 because, even though it had never been done before, after I ran some data, I believed it would reach the younger target users in meaningful way.  That approach increased sales 8%, well above the target 5%. I love getting results in new and different ways; it’s fun for me.”

Get the idea?  You can add more details or give another example of your creative problem solving style. In any event, be sure to answer with confidence and enthusiasm and prepare beforehand. Know as much about the company and with whom you will be interviewing prior to your meeting.

My second recommendation is to have a few different answers ready for this question and craft your answer according to the interviewer in the room and the company culture.  Please note that I am not suggesting that you make things up.  That is never acceptable!  However, you can vary your response based on your experiences.  Using the same answer with each interviewer is always an option, but consider that different people at the hiring company may have different interests and skill levels in your area. For example, if you are interviewing cross functionally (e.g. you are seeking a marketing position, but you are talking to all senior management), the CFO may be just as interested in your ability to be financially responsible as he or she is in your marketing expertise.  Or, if you are interviewing with a savvy tech person, versus an old-school banker, you may want to choose an illustration that speaks more directly to that person’s skills and interests.  Knowing your audience is not manipulation; it’s smart communication.

Want to be more memorable with your answer? Scott Ginsberg , aka “The Nametag Guy,” wrote an article on TheLadders.com website giving ten creative angles you can use to answer the “tell-me” question in a memorable way. He suggests:

  1. “I can summarize who I am in three words…”
  2. “The quotation I live my life by is…”
  3. “My personal philosophy is…”
  4. “People who know me best say that I’m…”
  5. “Well, I googled myself this morning, and here’s what I found…” (My note: This can be dangerous – make sure you know what the hiring company will find if they try it,  and that it illustrates what you want them to know!)
  6. “My passion is…”
  7. “When I was seven years old, I always wanted to be…”
  8. “If Hollywood made a movie about my life, it would be called…”
  9. “Can I show you, instead of tell you?” Then, pull something out of your pocket, or show a   portfolio that represents who you are.
  10. “The compliment people give me most frequently is…”

I like these openers if you feel comfortable using one of them and if the opener allows you to achieve your ultimate goal:  communicating effectively to your interviewer that you are a terrific fit for the position.

For more career resources, check out TheLadders.com.   Free registration gives you access to basic services and some good articles. Based in New York City, TheLadders.com, Inc. is a privately held company offering premier online job search destinations and content for the $100k+ sector of the employment market.

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A Simple Tip for Getting Unstuck

Saturday, 5. March 2011 3:37

Did you ever notice that it’s much easier to solve someone else’s problems than it is to solve your own?    In other words, you can give clear advice to your best friend or to your loved ones, but you don’t always have that same clarity when it comes to solving your own issues.   One of the key roadblocks I frequently encounter is that we don’t tend to offer ourselves as much compassion as we offer to others.  Additionally, it’s harder to get distance from our own stuff.

Here’s a simple Coaching Tool to help you get unstuck. Next time you face a baffling problem, pretend it’s your best friend, or someone else you care about who is having the problem.  Ask yourself what advice you would give that person. Imagine what you would tell them, and then see if you can apply that advice to yourself. 

A recent Boston Globe article  cites a new research study that supports the validity of this tool.  It says that getting distance from a problem increases your creative ability to solve that problem and that  “… when thinking about how to escape from a tower with a rope that is too short, people showed more insight about the problem after being instructed to imagine advising someone else about how to get out.”

Imagine that!

Category:Creativity & Fun Stuff, Self Actualization, Wellness | Comment (0) | Autor:

Resolutions Gone Wrong? Turn Obligation into Inspiration

Tuesday, 4. January 2011 20:12

Got your resolutions in hand? Ready to rock? If in about a week, you start to feel like a total failure because you didn’t meet your own expectations, your resolutions have gone wrong. Very wrong. Give yourself a virtual hug and please don’t give up in exasperation. It’s okay to start again. This time, start with a realistic view of what’s necessary, what’s achievable and most importantly, what sounds fun!

When obligation meets inspiration, you hit your sweet spot. Example: When you not only know that you want to get fit, but you also look forward to your fitness activity, you are inspired to make it happen. If obligation (the “I must”, “I should”) is all that’s driving you, the gas tank in your soul may hit EMPTY. Look to inspiration and fun to keep you going.

TWO STRATEGIES FOR Creating Inspiration:

1. FIND A WAY TO MAKE IT PLAY: Get creative about your approach. If you HATE and DREAD doing your activity, guess what, you probably won’t do it. So design an activity that sounds fun (or at least palatable) to you. If you hate working out alone, find a partner. If you don’t enjoy the gym, start dancing, walking, or try martial arts. Need to change jobs, but can’t even think about it? Ask a trusted friend to help, or seek professional assistance. There are countless ways to get to your goal in an inspiring way; try one! If it doesn’t suit, try another!

2. SMALL IS BETTER THAN NOTHING IS AT ALL: Whatever your ambition, look for a way to make it achievable. If need be, take very small steps. Remember the story of the tortoise and the hare? Small steps often work better than biting off more than you can chew, getting frustrated, and giving up altogether.

The key is, set yourself up for success. Pick any amount of time that allows your gut to respond enthusiastically with, “I CAN DO THAT!” Don’t let your brain convince your gut that you need to add more time. You can always do more IF YOU WANT TO! The idea of small “turtle” steps is you commit to a minimum amount of time that you know you can achieve. Remember, no amount of time is too small! For me, it’s been writing my book for 10 minutes a day, three days a week and adding more time as it feels right. Guess what? Its’ working!

In short: To achieve more  success, find creative ways to change obligation into inspiration.

Class Notes: There are many tools available to you to get projects and goals completed. If you think more support will help you  achieve your fitness and wellness goals, check out my new group class Kick Start Wellness Coaching Workshop starting January 19th and learn how to get it done.

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Ten Tips to Make Holidays Happy Days

Sunday, 21. November 2010 21:14

Judy Osborne, Director, Stepfamily Associates

While there’s an expectation of joy at the holidays, it’s often accompanied by dread.  Is it just the stress of having twice as many things to do, or are some of us anxious about family gatherings? I asked Judy Osborne, Counselor, Marriage and Family therapist and Director of Stepfamily Associates, to share her tips for handling difficult holiday family situations, including managing stepfamily issues, substance abusers and just plain old family tension. You can listen to all her insights and suggestions in the interview below.  

MP3 File

If you’re in a rush (after all, it’s the holidays!) Here are my top ten highlights: 

1)    Manage Your Expectations.Don’t judge your situation by what you see in the media. There is no perfect holiday celebration. Don’t expect your holiday to look or feel like a movie, a Courier and Ives greeting card or a holiday TV show.  That’s make-believe. 

2)    Create your own joy. Know what makes a happy holiday for you. Make a list of the things that you want to do (caroling, spending time with a friend, or working out) for yourself to create a festive holiday and make them happen. Create time outside of family activities if necessary. 

3)    Prepare for, and use an ally in tense family situations.  When we spend time with our family, we often fall back into old patterns and roles.  Before the event, consider pitfalls you may encounter: the old argument with the sister, the drunken uncle, the nasty in-law, whatever it is. Then, ask a friend, a spouse or someone you trust to either come with you or be available for a call if you need a moment to get perspective should that situation arise. Take a time out and talk with your ally. That person knows and respects you as the adult you are, separate from the family, so ask him or her to help you regain your bearings if the going gets tough. 

4)    Watch your attitude. If you bring a bad attitude and expect the worst, you may affect others, who then may bring your concerns to fruition. Instead, be curious.  Act like a scientist and allow yourself to enter with an open mind.  Should the worst actually happen, ask yourself, can you interrupt your usual response and creatively consider the situation? Can you call your ally? 

5)    Make amends later.  It’s usually not the end of the world if things do get out of control. Don’t beat yourself up. You can repair later after you’ve regained your composure. 

6)    Be inventive about traditions.  Chances are, your family make-up has changed over the years and the celebrations can’t look the way they did when you were a kid. There may be step-kids or new relatives, so allow for creative, inventive solutions and talk about them openly with others in the family.  They may not like it at first, but not talking may be worse. 

7)    Incorporate inclusive, new traditions.  As a host, ask each event attendee the one thing that you could do or serve that helps it feel like a holiday for them.  At Thanksgiving, maybe it’s a special dish for each person, or at Christmas, it’s displaying two different religious symbols to accommodate everyone. Whatever it is, don’t overwhelm yourself trying to please everyone, but see if you can include something small that stimulates happy memories for all. 

8)    Don’t focus on the substance abuser. If there is a substance abuser present, prepare (with at least one ally in the group) how you might handle a problem if one occurs.  According to Osborne, it’s not productive to try to reason with the person once they are drunk or high, so see if you can take the focus away from that person and instead find a way to enjoy the people who came to celebrate together.  

9)    Give yourself space. If you have an extended stay and there’s a lot of tension, see if you can sleep somewhere else, like a motel or another friend’s home to give yourself some space. 

10)  Listen to the interview. Osborne offers more ideas and more details about how to cope with difficult family holidays.    

 For more information on dealing with substance abusers in your family, Al-Anon  is a terrific resource.   Osborne also recommends a book called “The High Functioning Alcoholic.”   Also, Osborne’s website   is an excellent resource. Look for her book, Wisdom for Separated Parents expected spring 2011! 

 Much joy to you for your holidays!

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Smart Lessons from a Successful Entrepreneur

Sunday, 16. May 2010 17:29

Loved this article from Women Entrepreneur!  The three lessons I take away for the budding entrepreneur (male or female)  are these:

1) Get support from friends and partners;

 2) Pick up new skills and education if you need them; and 

3) Be FLEXIBLE!  If your original plan has flaws or gets offtrack (oh yes, it will!) rethink, replan, reconsider, restrategize.  You may need to redesign your business approach, but you may not need to abandon it entirely.  This is a key lesson for success! Be creative. You can do it.   Here’s the article and the link:

Entrepreneur Succeeds With Wit and Grit

‘It’s all about being creative,’ says Tina Aldatz, who faced her now-or-never moment and landed on her feet.

By: Eve Gumpel   |   05/12/2010

URL: http://www.womenentrepreneur.com/2010/05/entrepreneur-vanquishes-obstacles-with-wit-and-grit.html

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Shake Up Your Fitness Routine with Nia

Saturday, 27. March 2010 19:08

On Thursday night in Cambridge, Massachusetts, some 150 women and one man (one brave man) crowded into a Masonic Hall and flowed, stomped and joyfully expressed themselves for two hours doing a form of aerobic exercise called Nia (pronounced “Knee-ah”). It was so much fun I forgot that I was exercising until the next day when some previously unused muscles decided to speak to me.

According to Wikipedia  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nia_(fitness)  Nia stands for Neuromuscular Integrative Action and it’s a physical conditioning program based on the idea that movement is a pathway for self-discovery and personal transformation.  Created in 1983 by Debbie Rosas (now Debbie Rosas Stewart) and Carlos Rosas (now Carlos AyaRosas), it’s also terrific for whole-body conditioning.   

Actually, it’s fun.  The session I attended was two hour Nia master class led by founder AyaRosas and it kicked my butt.  Taking the class from one of the founders was a blast because his passion and commitment are palpable. In a typical one-hour class, a certified Nia instructor plays music and leads you through rhythmic movements that combine principles from yoga, martial arts and dance.  There is also time given to free-form creative movement, singing, and other vocalizations. 

Carlos Rosas teaching Nia

Rosas teaching Nia

For me it’s perfect because I love to dance but I rarely get out to clubs anymore and I can’t remember a dance routine to save my life.  Two other good reasons to do Nia are that you don’t have to be a great dancer and you don’t need a partner. Basically, you can be as goofy and as free as you wish – because everyone else is! Moving like this made me remember how good it feels to move with total freedom and abandon.  It was like being a carefree kid again.

If you think this might be an interesting addition to your fitness routine, check out the official Nia website http://www.nianow.com/  for more information and local opportunities. Many gyms and yoga studios also offer classes.

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Bobby McFerrin: Playing with Genius

Monday, 22. March 2010 18:47

Genius & Joyful Bobby McFerrin

Yesterday, I had the privilege of seeing genius at work: Bobby McFerrin’s matinee performance at the Boston Symphony Hall on March 21 was amazing.

McFerrin created contagious joy as he shared his vocal inventions and invited us, the audience, to collaborate in the role of back-up orchestra.  In a way, McFerrin, well-known singer and conductor really didn’t sing as much as he played.  And we, as if we were all talented and obedient children, gleefully played with him, enjoying the simplicity of our own voices.

You may remember him as the guy who sings “Don’t Worry – Be Happy” as I did before attending this performance.  I knew that he used his voice, his microphone and his body as his primary instruments – but I did not know that he would so completely engage and entertain a few thousand people for two full hours doing just that!   I highly recommend that you visit his YouTube postings and his site bobbymcferrin.com to get a glimpse of what he offers – because I can’t find right enough words do justice to the experience.

However, I do want to comment on the inspirational lessons I learned by observing a creative craftsman at work.  McFerrin has transformed the art of vocal improvisation to a renowned art form.  Because he was generous enough to answer audience questions post performance, I was able to ask him how he discovered his art.  I was fully expecting that he had accidentally happened upon it.  But no – first he conceived of it and then he spent six years transforming his vision into action.  I am paraphrasing, but essentially, McFerrin said that at the age of 27, when he decided to go from pianist to singer  – he had a vision that he wanted to be able to improvise vocally in a similar way to what he had seen Keith Jarrett, composer and pianist, achieve on the piano.  He told us that he learned to listen and observe very carefully, and after working at it for six years, he was able to craft a vocal performance skill that began to meet his expectations.

Lesson number one for me:  Great accomplishments and art, (even if you have some genetic talent) often takes work and vision!  Serendipitous that also that same day, the New York Times reviewed a book called “The Genius in All of Us” by David Shenk. Reviewer Annie Murphy Paul sums up the book’s concept, “…think of talent not as a thing, but as a process; not as something we have, but as something we do.”  Further support for this principle is also evidenced in Daniel Coyle’s book “The Talent Code.”  The book’s subhead says it all, “Greatness Isn’t Born.  It’s Grown. Here’s How.”

I find these are thought provoking resources for those of us who dream of doing great things.

Lesson number two for me:  To allow maximum creative flow, I believe one is best served by being completely present and comfortable in one’s own skin.  McFerrin’s improvisations and connection with the audience are astounding.  Imagine how different that experience might have been had McFerrin been consumed by fear or worry?   I don’t believe he could have delivered.  I also don’t believe that the audience would have felt the joy that radiated through our hearts had that been the case.  Such a state of relaxed being can be learned and there are many paths to get there.  Any mindfulness practices, such as meditation or yoga are often helpful.  In some cases, therapy or life coaching may also assist.  Check out this link http://www.umassmed.edu/cfm/home/index.aspx for additional information about mindfulness.

While I may never be a genius and my mindfulness is a work in progress, many thanks to Bobby McFerrin for providing a great afternoon and the inspiration to keep practicing my way toward greatness.  And in the meantime, per his direction, I won’t worry – and neither should you.

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