Monthly Archives: November 2010


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um-113010-emailAs you settle into December, it may be a good time to take some energy medicine so you’re present and connected with your family, friends, and the spirit of the holidays, as well as with your own health and vitality.

Here’s my prescription!

1) Notice how you’re using your energy, and invest it into what matters most. People notice your energy. That’s why they’ll ask you, what’s wrong. And why they’ll also say, wow you’re full of energy today. It’s noticeable and contagious. Thoughts have energy. Where could you invest that energy that makes a difference?

2) Take a break from normal. Fast one day from worrying about your future. Worrying uses your energy. Instead stop worrying, and take a little action in the direction of your interests. For example, sign up for a class that you’ve wanted to learn about, even if it’s out of character for you. Meditation, toning, yoga, finance, cooking, nutrition, a foreign language. Why? Because it may be just the thing to shake your energy loose. read more


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um-112310-emailI seem to have an uncanny ability to have people tell me what they want. I’ve noticed a big difference between those whose words declare what will happen, and others whose words declare doubt that what they want could move beyond a good idea.

What causes one to be different from another? It’s not power over conditions that give you the ability to make a difference. It’s an unqualified commitment to do what it takes each day, and not give up on yourself or your ideas. That’s my definition of personal power.

The difference between a good idea and getting it done is doing what’s hard to do. The hard part is not coming up with a good idea! The hard part is doing what it takes to make it happen. I’ve had numerous people tell me about the things they don’t like to do that prevent them from going forward on a new idea. Can you guess what those things are? read more


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um-11.16.10-emailThink about going through any day without having a conversation. It’s practically impossible.Yet it may be that having a meaningful conversation is becoming a lost art.You know you missed an opportunity to say what you mean when you leave a conversation still talking about it to yourself and others. Why is it so hard to have a conversation?
  • Do you try to figure out what the other person wants you to say instead of just saying what you mean?
  • Do you have to convince someone else of your opinion no matter what he or she thinks?
  • Do you judge the other person, even slightly, as unimportant?
  • Email (I’ll get to this later!)

I was talking to a corporate executive who asked me why a manager in her company wouldn’t talk to her when there were problems in production. I asked her how she listened to him the last few times he brought a problem to her attention. When she started to reflect on her approach it became clear why he stopped talking to her.

How many times does someone want to be yelled at before they decide they can’t have a conversation with you? Angry people often tell me they are just passionate. I think that’s a cover up for an inability to have a conversation that makes a difference in the relationship as well as the result. It happens when you make how you feel more important than having a conversation that leaves someone in action to make a difference. The question to ask yourself is would you rather be right than have a meaningful conversation? A conversation comes from the ability to converse. The origin of the word comes from an old French verb, converser, and means to keep company with. If the outcome of each conversation was enhancing your ability to keep company with the other person, then every conversation would have an intention of deepening your connection with the people you talk to, as well as getting stuff done. read more


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um-110910-emailYou know you have mental traffic when it robs you of your rest as you get into bed at night. Instead of the delicious sensation of wriggling deep into your covers, a strange alertness happens. Then you replay the events of the day, review unfinished (or put off) projects, go over self-criticism or rebukes from others, and make a mental list of what you need to do the next day.

So how do you create the space to get some rest? Trade mental traffic for mental training that prevents blame, anger, retaliation, imbalance, procrastination, and unhappiness. Following these 10 practices will help you make the exchange for peace of mind!

  1. Release all blame. This one act can get rid of the mental traffic that has followed you around for days or weeks or a lifetime. Once blame is started it can cause an avalanche of mental traffic with no beneficial outcome. If blame could do anything to resolve an issue, all issues would be resolved! Having the mental discipline to release blame, also releases thoughts of retaliation or the need for a gotcha moment.
  2. Discipline yourself to not speak or act out of anger. Give yourself a cooling off period so you can discover what’s precipitating your response. If the anger is directed at you, you can call a time out, and come back together at a pre-determined time to discuss the specific problem with the intention to resolve it. You may find that when you engage the cooling off period, the anger disappears, and all that’s left is the problem to solve.
  3. Contextualize your work so you’re doing what you love. You know the song, If you can’t be with the one you love, love the one your with? Apply that great line to your work situation, and work will transform from intensifying your metal traffic (concerns) to creating mental space (peace). If you’re thinking about leaving the one you’re with you can still apply this practice while you’re there. Everyone benefits … the job, the people you work with, and you!
  4. Stop complaining. Catch yourself in the act of complaining, and instead be grateful. Actively cultivate an attitude of gratitude. I was running down the road finishing the last mile of my half-marathon race, and was filled with gratitude for my health, family, opportunities, network of friends, and the freedom to enjoy life. What are you grateful for? There’s nothing for me like a long run to clear out the mental traffic caused by complaining.
  5. Bring compassion to your conversations. Keep an open heart that knows that there but for the grace of God go I … be quick to listen and slow to judge.
  6. Finish what you start today, or bring it to a point of completion where you can say, I am complete for today!
  7. Instead of thinking about what you need to do … just do it. Pick up the phone, or send the email. If you are reading your emails, and you haven’t filed, deleted, or acted upon them, they will still be sitting in your email box. Mental traffic increases with statements like I’ll do that later, trade that for the mental training that comes when you become a do it now person.
  8. Prioritize and do what’s important first. This is so simple. You do know what’s most important that if left undone will hound you into the night! Take everything off your mental list or workspace except what’s important, and focus on that.
  9. Don’t replace your health giving practices because demands on your time have increased. Notice what you do to relax. Is it maximizing your health? Or is it suppressing unhappiness? Don’t separate from your happiness, it’s what makes you a unique expression in this world.
  10. Take some risks. Most often people want protection from unhappiness, rather than risking being happy. You don’t have to go to extremes. Find the balance … not overly aggressive with risk, nor overly passive. Find what brings you happiness, and the space to be creative and feel good.

When your mental traffic slows down, you will touch your lightheartedness, and find an inner stillness in the midst of your busy day. Then when you lay your head down on your pillow, a good night’s sleep will follow. read more


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um-110210-emailMy husband recently attended a meditation where the teacher was asked what he had to give up to become a Buddhist. He answered in a way that was both thought provoking and instructing. He said he didn’t give up family or friends. What he and other students of this practice gave up was negativity.

This struck me as such a wise practice, because it’s so easy to edge into negative thinking. Maybe it’s in the daily commute to work, or when you’re standing in line at the store, and the checker is going so slow, you just shake your head and wonder where they get these people! Then you’re at work and someone asks you a question, and you think why would they ask such a stupid question. Of course you never have negative thoughts about anyone in your family! Maybe just the one about how thoughtless they are because they don’t pick up their socks. read more