Quick Tips

I am not afraid!

A very dear friend of mine is wading through a morass of self-doubt and fear. Not the fear that one experiences in an abusive relationship or living in an area where violence is prevalent, but that other kind of fear that keeps us from living to our fullest potential. The fear of failure. The fear of criticism. The fear of disappointment. The fear of losing love. As I observe and listen to my friend, I …

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Whose expectations?

There are important lessons at every twist and turn in my life, and often these are lessons I have been ignoring for years. Most recently, I have been focusing on expectations – how they affect me every day, and what I can learn from them. I have previously written posts about managing other people’s expectations* and about managing our own expectations** of what we believe we can or should do in a particular situation. There …

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Invisible Hoops

My dear friend Emma* is making a career switch and has been interviewing for jobs in fields that have long interested her. In describing the process, she told me that one perspective employer had her “jumping through hoops” with continually changing requirements. After our call, I thought a lot about Emma’s use of that particular expression and about how most people I know, including me, are jumping through hoops on a daily basis. Often, we …

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Learning to Say “No”…AGAIN!

Early in my career, I worked with an abrasive man who was almost always angry at me. He was angry at everything I represented as a woman in the workplace, and furious enough to raise his voice whenever he spoke to me. But it is not his anger that made a lasting impression on me, it is a simple expression of his, one that has served me well since. In a meeting with this man, …

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"No, no, I can manage"

A recent interaction with a young mom has me thinking a great deal about our reflexive reluctance to accept even the simplest form of help when it is offered. My brief exchange with this woman made a lasting impression. Dave and I had walked into town for lunch and as we approached our destination, I noticed a young woman pushing an old-fashioned, larger-than-usual baby carriage. The woman was walking towards us and when she was …

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The New Year’s Resolution You Need in 2017

Most of us welcome a New Year and the opportunity to focus on what we love about our life and also on what could be better. New Year’s resolutions offer a tool to begin re-creating our life by defining and pursuing what we truly want and deserve. In some aspects of our life, all we need is a bit of fine-tuning, while other aspects may require major revamping. Much has been written about how effective …

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The Life We Create In Telling Our Story

We create and re-create our life in the stories we tell others about ourselves and in the stories we tell ourselves. Several years ago I heard Ben Zander, conductor of The Boston Philharmonic Orchestra, speak about the impact of our answer to a simple question most of us are asked many times each day – “How are you?” As we reply to this question from others, we also signal to ourselves how we feel about …

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Choose YOU!

I have had the very good fortune over the past month to meet or to reconnect with several women who inspire me and from whom I have learned (and continue to learn) a great deal. And while I was not searching for a unifying theme for my conversations with these wonderful women, one eventually did emerge. Each of these women is facing the decision to end a relationship – a friendship, a job, a family …

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Quieting Our Inner Critic

I recently met a young woman who is making a significant difference in her community, a woman who is helping people transform their lives. If you had been listening to our conversation, it is unlikely you would have known how amazing Anna is. Hearing her describe herself and her work, you might have been underwhelmed. But I knew something about Anna before meeting her, and in our conversation it was clear that her inner-critic was …

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Feeling Good About "No"

Recent conversations with four friends from different walks of life left me wondering what happened to our collective ability to utter that very simple, two-letter word that could help make life so much less complicated. Anyone who has been around a toddler for even a few moments understands the effectiveness of an emphatic, fully-committed “no.” So how have we lost this reflexive response when faced with a request for which we have little time or …

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What color is the elephant in your room?

In recent weeks I have been watching as two very dear friends navigate the emotions that result from deceit, betrayal, and destruction of the deep trust they shared. It is painful to observe their drama play out and, most obviously, extremely painful for them to live it each day. Everyone one of us has experienced betrayal of some kind, and the very word often evokes a physical response in our gut. Memories can flood back …

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2015: Truly Your Best Year Yet

I was very happy to kiss 2014 goodbye. It was a year of many lessons, some that I would have opted to skip had I had the chance. Like all years, it was full of joys and sorrows (including the loss of a much beloved aunt), and many wonderful “new beginnings.” All in all, it was a very good year. There were situations I could have handled better, of course, and 2015 offers another opportunity …

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Our Openness to Receiving

If life were a college curriculum, you would probably earn an A+ in the course called “Giving to Others.” You willingly and generously share your love, time, and energy with family, friends, colleagues, and others. It’s a wonderful thing to do, and surely they are all very grateful. For many, the last six weeks of the year are hectic, a mix of joy, pressure, delights, deadlines and wondering where the year has gone. It is …

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Was that a real conversation?

I love REAL conversations. Over the past few weeks I have been extremely fortunate to experience intensely positive reconnections with five women I know, all a result of having real conversations with them. In each case, we did not talk about the weather or international news headlines or great food, we discussed the experiences, feelings, and decisions that are foundational in our lives. All women inspire me as I navigate the steps (and missteps) of …

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Whose Drama Is This?

I recently made a commitment to notice when I create drama in my life or when I get pulled into other people’s dramas. It happens more often than I care to admit and I ask myself why that is still true. In the most recent example, two friends were disagreeing over something that did not seem very important, and as I observed their anger flare, I could feel tension building in my body. As their …

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Help is Always There When We Need It

I am convinced there should be a mandatory course for totally responsible, self-sufficient women (and men). The course title would be: “How Asking for Help Can Significantly Improve Your Life.” So few of the women I know ask for help and, even worse, many actually refuse help when it is offered — “No, thanks. I can handle it.” (or some variation on that theme). I recognize the condition because I suffered from it for many …

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Nine Words That Are Changing My Life

I often arrive at the end of my day having accomplished a lot, although rarely all that I had hoped. I’ve tried many approaches to setting and resetting priorities, and confess to being a nearly obsessive list-maker. While lists remind me of what I want to do throughout my day (and sometimes my evening), they do not help determine how much time to spend on any one activity or project. By now you may be …

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Will You Be Your Valentine?

The words “I love you” have great significance in our lives and in some cultures Valentine’s Day is a day devoted to this and many other of expressions of love. It is a beautiful tradition with one significant drawback – Valentine’s Day is focused entirely on our love for others. Last year I suggested finding time to write “an old-fashioned, straight-from-the-heart, love-letter to yourself.” The response was fascinating. A number of women posted comments on …

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Forgive Yourself

I listened closely as my friend told me that she was letting her family down. Her eyes filled with tears and then, as her story continued, she began to cry. “Letting them down?” I asked softly and in disbelief. Knowing how much time and energy she devotes to her family, I could not believe what I was hearing. How could she believe there was more she should be doing? We talked for a long time, …

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Before You Kiss 2012 Goodbye

During the past few weeks many of us prepared for and happily celebrated holidays, traveled to visit family and friends, closed out work projects, and juggled the other wonderful December activities that sometimes seemed overwhelming. At least they did to me. How, then, dare I suggest one more thing for you to do in the remaining hours of 2012? The answer is simple…I believe this brief exercise will help you let go of this year …

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Giving Thanks

In conversations over the past few weeks, I have heard a number of people comment that Thanksgiving is their favorite holiday. My Dad said this often when I was growing up but I did not understand. My favorite holiday then was Christmas. I used to think that Dad preferred Thanksgiving because he is shy and does not feel comfortable receiving gifts, or because he does not like the fanfare often associated with celebrating the Christmas …

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Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

The best advice I have received over the course of my life has come from my mom and dad, much of it in my early years – important lessons like listening carefully while others speak, treating everyone the way I wish to be treated, and their precious words “remember that no one is better than you and you are better than no one.” My parents taught my brother and me invaluable lessons about trust, unconditional …

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The Burden of Unfinished Business

I sat at a departure gate at Newark airport, watching a woman struggle with more bags than she could possibly take onto the plane. She looked around and the only open seat in the waiting area was directly across from me. She sat and immediately began to unpack and repack the contents of four bags, trying to rearrange her belongings to meet the airline’s carry-on limit of two. Within a few minutes, this woman seemed …

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Asking “Do I really, really want to do this?”

For years I spent most of my waking hours doing what was expected of me rather than what I truly wanted to do. I like to think of myself as a strong and independent woman, but somehow I was driving my life following the roadmap of others’ requirements rather than my own. Was I alone in this? I know I was not. Over time I learned to check in with myself more often, to do …

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Saying Goodbye to the Little Red Hen

I am reluctant to admit that one of my very favorite stories as a child was the tale of The Little Red Hen. Many times over the years I remembered two of the lines repeated throughout the tale — “Then I’ll do it myself“, said the Little Red Hen. And she did. And so did I! Like so many women I know, I needed to prove that I could handle everything that came my way, …

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Our First Thought of the Day

Many of us skip our first important decision of the morning, one that we make before we open our eyes and get out of bed. It is the decision concerning how we feel about this new day. Our first thoughts upon waking shape our experience of the rest of the day. Will we be calm or harried? Happy or frustrated? Will we feel confident and comfortable about what lies ahead, or worried about how the …

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What if we didn't call it meditation?

One of the most effective ways of connecting with the deepest part of who we are, our true self, is to meditate. Mediation is also an excellent tool for reducing stress and for improving overall health and well-being.  Most of us know this, or at least have heard it, so a simple question comes to mind — if meditation can be very helpful, why don’t more of us meditate?   “I can’t do it,” a …

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