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Posted by on Feb 29, 2016 in Blog, Gratitude, Grit, Happiness, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Setbacks, Curve Balls, and Sucker Punches

As I continue on this journey called life, I am often surprised to discover how much more there is to happiness than I realized.   A game changer for me has been the ability to bounce back after a set back.  I have been naive in thinking that “someday” things will settle down – when I get my kids’ college paid for; when I get through this divorce; when I make “enough” money … the list goes on and on.

The reality is that life is full of setbacks, curve balls, and even sucker punches!   One of the greatest things about practicing the habits of happiness is the ability to bounce back.  After two years of committing to finding a “better” way, I have seen the power of a few simple changes.


I encourage you to start today ….
DO gratitude.  It is so easy when life is coming at you full steam to only see the negative.
I write down 3 things I am grateful for each day – no matter how I feel.   I will be honest, some days it is a bit of a struggle.  But I keep looking – a beautiful sunrise on the way to work, a text message from a friend, a great cup of coffee!
I say “Thank you” as often as I can, even for the small things!
I take 10-20 minutes each day to “shut down” and “re-boot.”  Some would call this meditation; it doesn’t matter what you call it, just do it.  Give your brain a chance to recover from the hundreds of stressors thrown at you each day!

Life will always hand us surprises, but we can control how we handle them.  And increase our experience of happiness in the process!!

Join me in increasing your bounce back time!



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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!!


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 Sep 23, 2015 in Blog, Grit, Happiness, Leadership, Resilience, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Leadership takes Humility

I can’t believe we are to Morsel 7 of our Leadership Series! If you didn’t catch the previous morsels, you can click here to view Morsel 1 and Morsel 3.

Last week we looked at the importance of grit (Morsel 5) and how to build it: if you are expressing more gratitude, then you are building grit!!

This week, we are going to discuss the other key element of Leadership: Humility. You see, leadership is actually pretty simple; it just takes grit and humility.  “What?” you ask. “How can that be? But if it is just made up of two things, then that sounds easy?”

Yes, I know, we can be pretty skeptical of simple, but it is because we are confusing “simple” with “easy”!  They are not synonyms!


Let me take a moment to differentiate between the two…Weight loss is a pretty simple concept made up of primarily two things- 1) eat less, 2) move more.  I don’t know about you, but when my alarm goes off at 5:00AM, it is far from easy to crawl out of bed and head to the gym.  That’s simple but is definitely not easy!  Keep that in mind as we continue our discussion on leadership.

Now let’s talk about humility.  I have been contemplating humility a lot lately and stumbled on this definition: “humility is a clear perspective and respect of one’s position in context” (Thanks, wikipedia!

Another way to say that might be that humility is the power and strength 1) to consider some one else’s idea or position AND to consider that you might actually be wrong and 2) take a clear look at your role and rise to the occasion.

True leaders, or leaders with humility understand that there is a start and stopping place to how much they know and can do and that in fact, they NEED others around them to help. Humility then, is not a weakness, but a strength. It is actually power under restraint.  Read that again…POWER UNDER RESTRAINT. When I think about power under restraint, people like Rosa Parks, Gandhi, and Martin Luther King, Jr. all exhibited true humility.  They understood what was required of them in the moment (whether that was refusing to give up a seat on the bus, committing to deal with injustice through non-violent demonstrations, or deliver a speech that would be heard literally around the world.)  But at some point, even they needed others. Without other civil rights supporters, Rosa Park’s action would have been in vain and a speech isn’t a speech if no one is listening.

I also can’t help but notice that they did NOT have a preoccupation with their individual greatness. In fact, all three of these leaders were more concerned about the welfare of others than their individual greatness.  I wonder if that is what trips us up so much … our cultural is obsessed with individual greatness. Isn’t that what motivates stars on reality shows? Aren’t they looking for fame and recognition or some sort of individual greatness?

How much greater could we 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 you have yet to recognize your leadership potential. Sure, maybe your title doesn’t say leader, but think about the effect you have on your tribe (the people in your inner circle at work and/or home).

Beginning TODAY…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!

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Posted by on Sep 16, 2015 in Blog, Grit, Happiness, Leadership, Resilience, Uncategorized | 0 comments


Three weeks ago we began a Leadership Series. Last week we covered the third morsel: Leadership is not a Commodity. Did you take time to think about how to develop the leadership skills you need for your reality?

This week we are moving on to the fifth morsel: GRIT.

wordle 3

In the immortal words of Mike Tyson, “Everybody has a plan until you get punched in the face!”

How true is that? Don’t some of our biggest disappointments truly hurt? Don’t these disappointment have a physical affect on us?

I love riding! No, not a bicycle, a HARLEY! No matter what kind of bike you prefer, you know there are only 2 kinds of riders … Those who have been down and those who are going down.  It’s just part of it!

Life is kind of like riding.  You have just been punched in the face and are down, or you WILL be punched in the face and WILL go down.   Now, before you get all depressed, there is good news!!!

You can get back up, but it takes GRIT! (Use this worksheet developed by researchers at UPENN to determine your GRIT level). Unlike personality measures that can’t really be changed, the good news is, you CAN change the amount of GRIT you have!  How you ask? You find it in a place you might not expect … happiness! “Ahhh, wow,” you say? Yep, pretty cool…

But, when I say happiness, I am not talking about the emotional experience of happiness (smiling and laughing).  There is so much more to happiness.  Aristotle’s definition describes it best: human flourishing!  What does this have to do with grit?  Happiness and resilience(grit) are actually 2 sides of the same coin.  As we become more aware of what true happiness is, and we develop the habits to experience more of it, our grit increases at the same time!

So how do we increase our happiness and grit?  It might be simpler than you expect. 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.

Do it today and start increasing your grit! Remember, Happy…Matters!

See you next week!

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