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Posted by on Nov 24, 2015 in Blog, Experience Life, Grit, Resilience | 0 comments

Let’s Talk Courage!

When I was 9 years old I decided to play little league baseball.  Being raised in a west side football family, I knew absolutely nothing about baseball but that I liked the cool uniform and glove.  My very first time at bat, I faced the fastest 12 year old pitcher in the league. I was terrified, and with good reason!  The first pitch was hurled at lightning speed and I could think of nothing except saving myself, so I did a duck and cover!  That baseball hit me right in the middle of the back!  I cried and limped my way to first base and then realized I was actually on base!  I made it to first base on my very first time at bat!!

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That experience taught me a few things:

  • Life throws things our way that require courage … and sometimes a little pain.  Life really is about the journey and experiencing the moment we are in. Too often we dwell on the one before or the one to come. By being present we will get the most out of the moment we are in!  I don’t remember if I even scored that at bat (or any other time at bat), but I do remember I had the courage to do it!
  • I don’t know if we won a game that year, but I know that summer taught me one thing–resilience is the ability to bounce back even when you have been smacked in the back!
  • I want more courage and resilience in my life.  And I know that I don’t want fear to stop me.

So I am committing to courage…
the courage to be kind no matter what I get in return.
the courage to get back up no matter how many times I fall down.
the courage to face my fear and never let it be an excuse!
the courage to connect with the people in my life and express my gratitude for them.

We are on this journey together!  Let’s be courageous together.  I would love to hear how you are going to show courage!

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Posted by on Nov 17, 2015 in Blog, Gratitude, Happiness, Resilience, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Work life balance? NO…that’s a unicorn!!!

People often ask me how to achieve a work life balance. What they really mean is how do they leave work at work and not bring it home.  My response is this question… “how do you leave being a mom, dad or spouse at home when you come to work?”  The answer is that YOU CAN’T!  Striving to balance work and life leads to disappointment and frustration – like spending your life looking for the unicorn or the pot at the end of the rainbow.

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The reality is – we are people – at work, at home, with friends.  And no matter where we are, we want the same things: to feel valued, to feel connected, to experience happiness. (Remember our expanded definition of happiness – human flourishing?)

I am realizing there are so many little things I can do – no matter where I am – to enrich my life, and the lives of those around me.

The powerful punch of gratitude.

  • It is amazing how you begin to view the world when you actively look for things to be grateful for.  TRY IT!  At the end of each day, commit to writing 3 very specific things that you are grateful for.  As you develop this habit, your brain actually begins looking for the positive in situations!

Mindfulness – Pay attention on purpose!

  • I can be so much more engaged in my work if I am actually paying attention to what I am doing in this moment.  The same is true of enjoying my family.  I can’t change what just happened and I can’t control what is going to happen, but I CAN be 100% present right now, right here – wherever here is!!

It can be difficult to leave work at the door – I know I can’t do it! Just like I can’t forget I am a mom while I am working.  Maybe balance really isn’t what we should be striving for.  Maybe we should start focusing on being in the moment – no matter where that moment takes place and no matter what it requires of us.

I never really like unicorns – they are pretty creepy – so I am going to stop chasing them and put my efforts into things that really matter!!

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Posted by on Nov 10, 2015 in Blog, Experience Life, Gratitude, Happiness | 2 comments

Life on the Wheel

Sometimes I feel just like a hamster on a wheel … running as fast as I can but going no where.  What am I trying to reach anyway?  Where am I going?  How will I know if I even get there?  And this time of year, I feel as if the wheel is spinning faster!

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In my reflection of my life on the wheel, I have discovered a few things:

  • I may live in a fast-paced, technology filled, consumer driven culture, but I don’t have to chase those things.
  • I am learning that my definition of happiness was very limited.  I have come to understand that happiness is something I have control over.  Pursuing one pleasurable experience after another is like running tirelessly on the hamster wheel because these experiences only make us happy for a few moments.
  • Consumerism sucks me in … especially this time of year!  The shiny catalogs in the mail, the flashy commercials, the families having a perfect holiday meal together!  There seems to be a lot of pressure to keep up and make it all perfect.

I have realized that my experience of happiness is not dependent whether I have the latest and greatest gadget, or buy the perfect gift for everyone on my list, or make the perfect turkey dinner!  All that is great but it makes up such a small part of happiness – only about 15%!  Chasing that is like staying on the hamster wheel and continuing to increase the speed!

My favorite definition of happiness is Aristotle’s: “human flourishing”!  The thought of flourishing is really enticing to me!  But how?  How do I move from the hamster wheel of seeking pleasurable experiences to true contentment? There are a couple ways we can get more bang for our buck, or happiness for our time!
Research about the brain has shown what we can do to actually increase our experience of happiness – to tap into that deeper experience of happiness.

Two weeks ago I talked about the powerful punch of gratitude!  Expressing gratitude really changes things – for you and the person you thank.  It makes such a huge difference in our brain and light up the happiness areas.

Just as important to me on this journey to experience more happiness is mindfulness.  After years of resistance to it (because of a lack of understanding and the notion it was some new-age trend people were falling for) I finally gave into the exploring it. What I discovered about mindfulness helps me stay off that hamster wheel.  It really is about paying attention on purpose!

Seems rather obvious – I mean we all pay attention to what we’re doing, right?  Well, let’s see. Have you ever asked yourself while at a stop light “how did I get here?” Or “did I close the garage door”?  Yep, me too!

Training my brain to really pay attention, to the little things as well as the big things, has gotten me off the wheel and really experiencing people, life, the good things and the hard things!

This is a great time of year to get yourself off the hamster wheel!  Pay attention: to your spouse, your kids, your friends, your co-workers.  It is amazing how much we learn when we really pay attention and how much more happiness we experience … the happiness that enables us to flourish and truly enjoy the holidays!!!

 

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Posted by on Nov 4, 2015 in Blog, Gratitude, Happiness | 0 comments

The Hustle Bustle Buster

The hustle and bustle of the holiday season …. anticipation, excitement, parties, to-do lists, shopping – you get it!  I can already feel myself ramping up for all there is to do.  As I think about all that is to come, I can’t help but wonder if there is a different way to do this.  What is this hustle and bustle all about anyway?

I don’t want to miss the important things in the midst of the busyness.  It really isn’t about all the stuff, is it?   No … it’s about the people attached to the stuff!  I want to go into this hustle bustle with that at the fore front of my mind … a constant reminder of why I am doing all this “stuff” anyway.

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I remember as a kid getting crocheted house slippers from my grandma every year at Christmas.  (As I got older, I graduated to the Kleenex box cover!).  Of course, I didn’t appreciate what I was getting at the time!  I realize now the time and love my grandma put into each pair of those crocheted house slippers.  I am taking a lesson from grandma this year and going to be intentional about what really matters … people.

I am putting action behind my words, and I challenge you to do the same, as we head full steam into the hustle and bustle season.  It’s called the 10/5 rule (Ritz Carlton has instituted it with all their employees).  Whenever you approach someone, whether you know them or not, at 10 feet you make eye contact with them and at 5 feet you speak.  What better way to show people they matter than to acknowledge them!  Just a heads up:  people may look strangely at you; some won’t make eye contact; some won’t speak; some will strike up a conversation and you will learn more than you care to know.  But none of that is really what matters … every person you come in contact will know they matter because at least one person acknowledged them.

Taking a few seconds to let people know they matter seems like the best way to bust the hustle and bustle!

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