Month: November 2013

Why Are You Thankful?

It’s Thanksgiving week here in the US. As we all get ready to stuff ourselves silly on turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie (mmmmm….pumpkin pie), I am so grateful for the ever present and ever necessary reminder to give thanks. In our lives it is easy to run on autopilot, to focus on the things we want to change as opposed to the things that should stay the same, and to suffer from a case of the “only ifs”. This week, to me, is about slowing down. It’s about taking time to smell the roses (or pumpkin pie) and to count of all of my blessings. It’s about taking account of every aspect of my life that makes me happy, and appreciating all of the massive gifts I have been given. Do I still want to do more, be more, and achieve more? Sure. However, I won’t appreciate where I am going if I don’t feel thankful for where I am.

What are you thankful for?

Who are you thankful for?

What can you do this week to slow down and take note of all the amazingness in your life?

I would love to encourage you to start a gratitude journal. Even if it is just for the week, spend 5 minutes every morning to make a list of the things you are thankful for. It could be as simple as a great cup of coffee, or as deep as your most meaningful relationship. Writing down what you are grateful for gives those feelings power. Keeping track of the things you are thankful for on a regular basis can help to give you perspective when you feel that your life would be amazing….only if ________.

Have an awesome Thanksgiving. Eat up that pumpkin pie, and give thanks.

What Are You Worth?

I had the honor of giving my first TED talk yesterday at TEDxYouth@Hewitt. It was an amazing experience that I will forever be grateful for. An auditorium filled with minds thirsty for inspiration. A group of speakers with so much passion for their life’s work that you couldn’t help but feel thankful just to be in their energy. I spoke about the Power of Kindness. I talked about how kindness changed the trajectory of my life. I shared how when I was bullied in elementary school for not being “good enough”, kindness from others was what made the difference between despair and hope. I spoke about how being kind to others can lead to happiness, love, and success.

But I screwed up. Big time. While my talk focused on how kindness to others can change your world, I realized I missed a major point.

My talk should have been about being kind to yourself.

In my world, I hear intimate, personal, heartfelt stories on a daily basis. Clients, friends, and total strangers share things that they would never tell anyone else. I am so humbled by their openness, and heartbroken by an often common thread. There is a severe lack lack of kindness. Not to those around them, but to themselves.

“I’m not good enough.”

“I don’t deserve better.”

“No one could love ME.”

In so many words, these statements are often repeated. Why? Why are we so hard on ourselves, when we are so aware of the need to be kind to others? I may have lost an opportunity to share that message yesterday, but I am going to share it now.

Be kind to yourself first. Focus on loving you before you think about loving someone else. Realize that you are good enough, deserve the best, and are so unbelievably lovable. Demand respect, and do not settle for being treated poorly.

In case no one else is telling you this, including yourself, I will – YOU ARE WORTH IT.


How to Deal with Difficult People

I love people, I really do. All of them. However, not everyone is created equal. Truth be told, some are easier to get along with than others. I was recently invited on Fox Business to chat about how to handle annoying co-workers (video here), but the segment made me realize how these issues affect far more than just your workplace. Everyone has their own style, their own quirks, and their own battles that they are fighting. Learning to deal with them without losing your mind can be a valuable skill.

So how do you deal with people in your life that aren’t always the easiest to mesh with? Here are my top three survival methods:

1. Breathe. Do you know how many meltdowns can be avoided with 10 seconds of deep breathing? Me either, but if I conducted a study (maybe I will!), I guarantee a ton. There is power in your breath. If you are faced with someone that gets your blood boiling, and you have that instant desire to fight fire with fire, don’t. Walk away and breathe for 10 seconds. Breathe deeply and focusing on bringing in peace, and releasing frustration.

2. Lead with Empathy. Empathy is a trait that I believe the world needs a lot more of! Empathy is having an understanding of the emotions of another. , and leading with empathy allows you to understand where the other person is coming from. Is there a reason they are being difficult? What is going on in their own life that is making them _________ (fill in the blank: angry, mean, frustrating, annoying)? There is often far more to the story. Understand that every difficult person is likely acting that way because of their own difficult life. That knowledge can take the sting out of the frustration you have with them.

3. Don’t. Don’t deal with them. If someone is consistently difficult, and you have found it impossible to prevent your own energy from being drained, limit the time you spend with this person. If it is a social friend, reconsider spending any time at all. A co-worker? Limit your interaction to the necessary. We are a combination of the five people we spend the most time with. Choose your inner circle carefully.

Have you had a situation with a difficult person that you would like to share? I’d love to hear about it!

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