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Posted by on Feb 17, 2016 in Blog, Experience Life, Happiness, Resilience, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Is Eeyore Happy too?

I have always thought Tigger was a pretty good representation of what happiness is supposed to look like.  He is exuberant, has a zest for life, and is even impulsive at times. I have actually been proud to be called Tigger by many!

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I will be honest in saying that some days I feel more like Eeyore. Does that mean I am not happy?  After all, Eeyore is usually viewed as pessimistic, gloomy and an old stuffy donkey.

I think that depends on our definition of happiness, and I am learning that happiness is so much more than I thought it was.

Tigger does represent a part of what happiness is…but so does Eeyore!  He shows up everyday; he is persistent and honest; he never gives up!

That’s just as much a part of happiness… Being resilient!  So on those days when we feel more like Eeyore than Tigger, let’s give ourselves a break.  Be proud that we are showing up and not giving up!  That’s happiness too.

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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 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!

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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! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humility).

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

GRIT

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.

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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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