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Posted by on Oct 27, 2015 in Blog, Gratitude, Happiness | 0 comments

Gratitude Packs a Powerful Punch!

There are so many sweet, funny and encouraging quotes that inspire us, but I want to share with you one of my all-time favorites – from Mike Tyson (I know, you didn’t see that coming, did you!).  He said, “Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face.”  At first glance, maybe it doesn’t seem that inspiring, but it resonates with me in so many ways.

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Even if we don’t consider ourselves “planners”, we really DO have a plan.  We have expectations of how we think things should go: how our boss should handle a situation, how our children should behave, where our career will take us, when we will get married, how many kids we will have…you get the picture!

“When” and “if” our plans will come to fruition, are only part of the picture. The other part has to do with “when will I get punched in the face.”  “How many times and how hard will I get punched?”  And most importantly, “what will I do when it happens?”

This time of year seems to lend itself to the unexpected punches.  While this is an exciting and fun-filled time of year, it can also be stressed-filled, lonely and even disappointing.  So what do we do to not just survive the holidays, but enjoy them as well?

Science has identified some practical things proven to decrease the levels of cortisol in our brains (remember, that’s the stress hormone). These are actually habits we can create!

I know in the midst of too much to do and the stress of it all, the last thing we want to do is add more to the list.  But I know from personal experience, you really can change the way your brain deals with stress if you will make a few simple changes.  And by changing the way your brain works, you respond instead of react when you get punched!

It starts with Gratitude!

Gratitude packs a powerful punch of its own!

Most of us feel gratitude, but we don’t often express it.  Let’s start expressing it with three quick and easy daily adjustments:

  1. Say “thank you” as often as you can and really mean it!  You will be amazed at the results.
  2. Write down 3 very specific things you are grateful for each day.  The more specific the better – pumpkin spice lattes, the time you had riding in the car singing with your kids, the unsolicited help cleaning up the kitchen!
  3. Tell someone in your life how much you appreciate them and be specific!

The holidays can be both exciting and stressful, and can throw us some unexpected punches, but by taking just a few minutes each day to regroup, we can enjoy them so much more and be better prepared for those unexpected punches.  We can get more of every day… not just the holidays!

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Posted by on Oct 21, 2015 in Blog, Experience Life, Happiness | 0 comments

Are you Sleepwalking through Life?

Do you remember a time when you woke up after a great night’s sleep and you had this feeling it was going to be a good day!  You had  so much to look forward to – a well deserved vacation, a whole day with a special friend or your spouse, or it was your birthday! Maybe you haven’t had one of these mornings in a long time, maybe even since you were a kid…

Wouldn’t it be great if that’s how we approached every day!  So often our life circumstances can numb us and we don’t even know it. Maybe it is a job we dread, the staleness of a fruitless marriage, a painful divorce, the death of someone we cherish, or just our normal day-to-day routines!  Regardless, we can feel like we are just sleep-walking through life. Our goal is to just get through the day, but then we turn around and have to do it all again tomorrow.

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I am realizing that life is full of amazing wonder and surprise; we just have to wake up and look for it – expect it.  I have decided I don’t want to waste another minute!  No more sleep-walking or just getting through…I want to experience it all – the happy, the sad, the exciting, and yes, even the scary moments.  They remind me that I AM ALIVE.  It takes all the experiences in my life to grow me, stretch me and help me appreciate all that is good in my life.

I am waking up from my sleep, and I encourage you to do the same!  Experience where you are; let it show you all the good that is around you.  Don’t waste another day just getting by.  Take it all in!

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Posted by on Oct 14, 2015 in Blog, Leadership, Uncategorized | 1 comment

The Unexpected Leader

There is so much discussion about leadership … just search the topic on TED!  It continues to be a topic I muse about.  Can you say a person is a leader if they don’t actually have any followers?  What is the importance of a title, certificate, or letters after a person’s name?  After all this musing, I still don’t know much about leadership, but I have made some observations:

  • A leader has the fortitude to take a risk, stand out in the crowd and try something different.
  • A Title, certification or letters after a name, has nothing to do with whether the person is qualified to lead. Some of the greatest leaders lacked a formal education. (Richard Branson, Michael Dell, Bill Gates, Sean Connery, John D. Rockefeller, Rachel Ray click here for more.)
  • The 1st follower of this potential leader is crucial.
    • This 1st follower is actually a leader too … an underestimated one!
    • The 1st follower gives the leader credibility and transforms him from a lone risk-taker to a leader.
    • The 1st follower is the one who invites others to join in, and as more and more members join, a movement starts!

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If you have the grit to stand out in the crowd and take a stand, embrace your first follower!  Without them, you really can’t be a leader.  Embrace them as an equal, nurture them and watch what happens!

Don’t forget to have the courage to be the 1st follower too. You are important too! So, join that person who as stepped out there and taken a risk, and then watch as transformation happens!

Remember that our notion of leadership is really distorted.  We need LEADERS and FOLLOWERS!  We have to have both for change to happen! So, whichever it is you are, do it with confidence and enthusiasm!

 

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Posted by on Oct 8, 2015 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Review of the Morsels of Leadership

Welcome to our last blog of this Leadership Series!  Next week we will begin an exciting new topic!  In the meantime, there is so much more to say about what it means to be a good leader, but hopefully these morsels wet your appetite a bit and helped you begin to explore your own leadership journey!

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Let’s review the morsels:

1. The enemy of good is better.
We often waste time and energy perfecting something that already works good enough.
Remember the purpose of a suture – it is intended to hold tissue together to prevent bleeding and promote healing; that is its ONLY purpose. By trying to make things perfect, like sutures, that don’t need to be, you waste valuable time and energy. In fact, you can tear tissue and make things worse! Instead, spend your time wisely, and try to improve only the things that really do matter! If the suture in your life is good enough (laundry, dishes, housework, projects, paperwork, etc.) IT IS GOOD ENOUGH!

3. Leadership is not a commodity.
Leadership is not a course where you earn a certificate that proves you are qualified to be a leader. It is developed in the lab of life.
I bet you already know someone who has the skills you desire and would be happy to mentor you for free! You won’t earn a new certificate to hang on your wall or add to your resume, but you will have something far greater, the respect of those around you and the skills to meet the demands of your reality. And as a result, you too will leave a legacy!

5. Leadership is a simple recipe made up of Grit and Humility.
In the immortal words of Mike Tyson, everyone has a plan until they are punched in the face. That’s grit!
So how do we increase our grit? It might be simpler than you expect and directly tied to our happiness. Research shows that gratitude is a game changer…not just feeling gratitude but expressing gratitude! Tell a friend how much they mean to you; thank a colleague for the privilege of working with them; notice how unique your child is and tell them about it! Be intentionally thankful about even the littlest of things each and every day.

And what about humility?  Think about how much greater we could all be if we had a clear perspective of our situation and what was needed from us in that moment.  Maybe the most powerful thing we can do in a given moment is be quiet … recognize that maybe, just maybe, by letting some one else contribute, we are exhibiting humility and looking to the greater good – not just our individual greatness.

Maybe the most humble thing you can do is show great power with restraint. Recognize when it is you need others. Really listen to the contributions of others (I mean really listen – not just thinking about what you are going to say next!). Be aware of your own leadership potential and when you have something to contribute…do it with humility

7. Do what reality requires and nothing more.
Leadership does not seek personal gain.  Our preoccupation with individual greatness can really trip us up.  Instead, let’s focus on why we are here at this moment in time and what we can do to make tomorrow a better place for someone.

I want to leave you with this thought … you ARE good enough.  You have what it takes to be great leader!

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