This morning I sat down to write a blog post about new ways to create more momentum in your business, but all I could think about was the war in the Middle East, the ongoing suffering and the devastation to come.
So, to distract myself, I scrolled through my emails until I came to a short podcast by Mel Robbins, a motivational speaker who I like. The podcast was called “Renew Your Spirit: Five Ways I’m Finding Hope and Strength Right Now.”
I listened to the podcast and found it to be very helpful. The message was quite similar to a blog post I wrote nineteen months ago (in March of 2022) when Russia invaded Ukraine. Today, as the tragedy in the Middle East unfolds, these words resonate again. I hope they will bring you comfort and hope during these dreadful, challenging times.
As I began to write this piece I found myself in a state of avoidance: first doing the daily Wordle puzzle, then scrolling through Facebook, then walking into the kitchen.
I’m sure you’ve had a similar experience—distracting yourself in order to avoid what’s really going on….in this case the pain of watching the news about the Middle East and the feeling of sheer helplessness as an American living in comfort so far from the tragedies of war.
I’ve donated, meditated, cried, prayed, and ruminated about the situation. I’m sure you have too.
What else can we do?
Two different messages popped up in my emails this morning: One was titled “Being OK with Not Being OK” by Laurie Santos, Yale professor and creator of the Coursera course, “The Science of Wellbeing.” The other was called “Strategies for Cultivating Inner Calm” by Gretchen Rubin, author of “The Happiness Project.”
Both of these messages resonated. It’s OK to feel sad. It’s psychologically healthy to be honest about our feelings, to confront our sadness, and to express our emotions, whether by journaling or by sharing our feelings with a friend or family member.
And there are ways to cultivate peace within, to make us more resilient during these challenging, troubling times.
- As a coach, here are a few recommendations that I have made to clients and friends:
- Limit your consumption of the news. This is probably the most helpful tip, and may be the most difficult one for many people. It’s important to be aware of what’s going on, but a steady diet of news broadcasts and social media feeds is not going to help your inner state of being, nor can it change the situation.
- Connect with others. Call friends to whom you haven’t spoken in a while to say hello. Make lunch or dinner plans with others. Reach out to your clients to see how you can best help them. Social connection is one of the keys to happiness.
- Practice self-care. Meditate, pray, walk in nature, take long baths, get a massage, eat more salads. Only you know the best way to take care of yourself.
- Do something to help. Volunteer with a local organization; raise money for a humanitarian relief group; participate in a peace vigil. Each of these actions will be impactful and meaningful.
Yes, these are challenging times. We cannot distract ourselves from the pain, the sadness, and the suffering. And we owe it to ourselves to do whatever we can to cultivate peace within and to help in whatever ways we can.
Love, Work and Red Threads
“Do not get pulled into the darkness…and forget to love one another and help one another in need. Do what you can to help yourself and to help somebody else see the good in you and in them. If you really don’t know what to do, just smile at people.”
I recently read a new book by Marcus Buckingham entitled Love + Work: How to Find What You Love, Love What You Do, and Do It for the Rest of Your Life. Buckingham is one of the creators of the renowned StrengthsFinder assessment and a leading researcher on strengths and human performance.
I’m a business coach who often works with people seeking career changes and with entrepreneurs wanting to transform their businesses to regain the joy and passion they once had. In reading Love + Work I was struck by the author’s concept of “red threads.” These are activities that we love and that we are either mastering or have mastered. When we are engaged in them we disappear. We totally lose track of time. Red threads are our superpowers, and because they come so easily to us we often downplay their significance. But when we are performing red thread activities, we are in the flow.
This concept is fascinating to me, because, as Buckingham has found, if you are engaged in 20% red thread activities during your day, “you are far less likely to experience burnout…(and) if you have a chance to do something you love each and every day (even if you aren’t good at it yet), you are 3.6 times more likely to be highly resilient.”
It seems that finding love in what you do is the key to happiness at work.
Here are a few questions from Love + Work (p. 78) to answer to help you discover your own red threads:
“When was the last time…
- you lost track of time?
- you were singled out for praise?
- you found yourself actively looking forward to work?
- you came up with a new way of doing things?
- you wanted the activity to never end?”
From Love and Work: How to Find What You Love, Love What You Do, and Do It for the Rest of Your Life (hbr.org) by Marcus Buckingham. Harvard Business Review Press, 2022.
Once you’ve uncovered your red threads, see if you can incorporate them at work and at home. If there are no red threads at work, maybe it’s time to reassess your career.
One of my red threads is helping clients get to the essence of a situation or problem quickly. Another is helping people generate new, creative solutions in areas in which they’ve been stuck.
If you are ready for coaching, contact me. I’d love to have a conversation.Happy Summer
Many years ago I read about a woman who made a list of 40 things that she wanted to do one summer. I have no idea what they were, but the fact that she came up with 40 was very impressive to me.
Now that opportunities for travel, gatherings and socializing have opened up, it’s the perfect time to design the perfect summer.
This can be anything from making a list of places to visit (vacations, day trips, museums, restaurants and the like), to choosing friends to reconnect with, to taking on a special project such as beginning a Tai Chi or yoga practice, purging your closets and cabinets, or learning Italian.
You might also choose one or more words to represent themes you want to embody over the summer. Examples are: “celebration,” “fun,” “novelty,” and “adventure.”
If you are so inclined, take a few minutes and answer the following questions. Your answers just might inspire you to take new steps towards creating a spectacular summer!
List a theme for the summer:
List three new places to visit:
List five new experiences you want to have:
List three friends you want to reconnect with:
List three things to say “no” to:
I’d love to know what you’ve discovered! If you’re stuck, or if you’d like some coaching to help get you started, please contact me.
I’ll be picking flowers and tomatoes in the garden, eating fresh raspberries and peaches, checking out some of the markets in Santa Fe, and maybe even traveling again. Please contact me and let me know what you’re up to! I’d love to connect.
If you haven’t read Beyond the Sale for Real Estate Agents: How to Create a Great Business and a Life You Love now’s the time to pick up a copy and do the exercises. It’s a great project to work on this summer. It can change your business and your life.So, we didn’t win Mega Millions
If you’re like me, you probably don’t play the lottery regularly. But when the Mega Millions jackpot reached over 1.34 BILLION dollars last week, you might have jumped in with about 14,391,740 others and bought a few tickets. I certainly did!
It was so much fun fantasizing about winning…..The trips I would take, the friends I would surprise with money, the charities I would support in a huge way, and so on. And I promised a trip to Paris for the clerk who sold me the tickets.
I’m guessing you did something similar. Did you dream about quitting your job and moving to Portugal or Bali? Did you fantasize about starting a non-profit to combat a social issue or a rare medical condition? Did you dream about paying off your debts and those of your college classmates?
Needless to say, I didn’t win. Nor, most likely, did you.
But I think our fantasies are valuable. They point us in the direction of what needs to change in our lives — of what we need to quit, of what we need to add — and of who and what are most important to us — the people and the projects that we hold most dearly.
That said, take a moment and think about what you would have done had you won even a few million dollars. And see if you can make those changes now, without the lottery winnings. That might mean reevaluating how you spend your time or your money, adding more fun and adventure to your life, or even changing your career.
You may not have won a billion dollars, but these new insights can be priceless.