Honestly, I don’t blame you…

Last time, I talked about a way to evaluate your day without creating a big ol’ Blame ‘n Shame.

Today, I want to give you another blameless tool for evaluating pretty much anything.

In my corporate job, we had a practice of doing post-mortems after projects or initiatives. Sounds pretty morbid, but it’s actually a pretty healthy practice. It just means that you take some time at the end of a project, task, or basically any major milestone, to reflect, evaluate and identify lessons learned. I always had one ground rule: no blaming. Some people like to look at what worked and what didn’t, but I think that you can get pretty caught up in what didn’t work and why. When you do that, you run the risk of missing the real value of the lessons learned.

I like to use a different tool, the Stop/Start/Keep/Tweak tool, or just Stop/Start for short.  It’s made up of four questions that are focused on identifying improvements and how to apply them in the future, not explaining the past. Here goes.

Based on what you’ve learned through your recent experience

  1. What would you stop doing?
  2. What would you start doing?
  3. What did you do that you would keep doing?
  4. What did you do that you would tweak a bit, or change up?

I love to repurpose business tools for personal benefit, and here’s how I use this tool. Whenever I finish a project, a mini-session, a coaching program or the like, I ask these questions. It’s especially useful for things that didn’t go perfectly, because I completely circumvent the part where I blame myself (or even occasionally blame someone else!) and get straight to the lessons learned. So much more productive, and it feels so much better.

It’s also useful for evaluating and diffusing difficult conversations and emotionally charged situations.

Give it a try and let me know how it goes.

And remember: in all things – progress, not perfection!

Love and light,

Signature

*****

Schedule a free mini session with me (here) and I can help you find a bite of peace, or see if the Tapas for Your Soul Weight Loss program is for you.

*****

Is there a topic you’d like me to address in a blog? Let me know and I’ll give it a go!

Was today a good day? Stacking the deck

Before you go to sleep at night, do you think over your day and evaluate it? Do you think about whether it was a good day or not? If it was a bad day, what do you do?

Here’s how I used to evaluate the day: What did I accomplish? What happened to me today? What did I do right? What did I screw up?  Of course, most of the attention went to the last question. I would then spin and relive all the negative stuff and try to figure out how much damage control I had to do tomorrow.

That process did not lead to a restful night’s sleep! It usually meant tossing and turning, worrying and fretting, and lots of mental to-do list activity. and the next morning I wasn’t really refreshed, which usually meant a rinse and repeat.

But we have an inner reset button that can stop this whole cycle. Here’s how:

I decide that today was a good day. Yes, decide. Because I’m in charge.

I stack the deck by changing everything up. I start by acknowledging that today was actually a good day, then I look for the things that were great and reasons to be grateful. Who did I connect with today? What do I want more of? I decide that everything was perfect because it was just how today was supposed to be. The things that didn’t go well are not failures, they are learning experiences. I don’t just rename them. I think “what did I learn today?” until I am grateful for the lesson. It’s experiential learning, not theoretical! There’s something about gratitude and a good night’s sleep…they’re connected…

It’s amazing to be present for the whole spectrum of experience. I can’t really be present if I’m busy berating myself, so I keep it to a minimum. I love to stack the deck in my favor!

And remember: in all things – progress, not perfection!

Love and light,

Signature

*****

Schedule a free mini session with me (here) and I can help you find a bite of peace, or see if the Tapas for Your Soul Weight Loss program is for you.

*****

Is there a topic you’d like me to address in a blog? Let me know and I’ll give it a go!

There’s gotta be a lesson in here somewhere

Last night in the wee hours of the morning, my dog started barking up a storm. He had wanted to stay outside last night, so I let him. His bark had a pretty serious quality to it, so I knew I had to get up and go out and find out what was up.

I got dressed – sorta – and put on flip flops and grabbed a flashlight. I went in the front yard, first, because I could tell that was the direction that Nic was barking. I didn’t see anything, but when I looked towards the back yard, I saw a bit of fur pushed into a corner of the fence. So I traipsed around to the back yard, into Nic’s kennel and saw that he had cornered a big possum.

Nic’s a big German Shepherd, and he hates possums. He really wanted to get at it. It took some maneuvering, but I finally got him away and in a crate. Then I went back to see what I could do about the possum. Took about 20 minutes, but I finally got it out from under the doghouse, where it was wedged, and chased it around the back yard until it went through the fence into the neighbor’s feral backyard.

But not before we had a very strange few moments together.

Possums are very, very ugly. And this one was really, really scared. Nic was upset because he couldn’t get the possum and tear it to bits. I was pretty mad at it for causing such a problem and waking me up. Then I caught it’s scared face (and it’s beady little eyes) in the flashlight beam and I saw how scared it was. Poor scared, butt-ugly creature. A creature who has a place on this planet.

So I used the stick to prod it out into the back yard where it waddled around (the possum version of running for it’s life, I guess) until it could make it’s escape to safety.

So yeah, I saved the possum. I don’t know what the lesson here is yet, but there was something in making that kind of eye contact that really struck me. I guess I have to look up what kind of spirit animal a frickin’ possum is.

And remember, in all things – progress, not perfection!

Love and light,

Signature

*****

Schedule a free mini session with me (here) and I can help you find a bite of peace, or see if the Tapas for Your Soul Weight Loss program is for you.

*****

Is there a topic you’d like me to address in a blog? Let me know and I’ll give it a go!

Kinda Missing Mom

Hello everyone. Hi Mom.

This is a bit of a self-indulgent blog today, but I’m okay with that.

It’s my mom’s birthday today (the day I’m writing the blog, not the day you’re reading it!)  My mom died 5 1/2 years ago, quite suddenly. There’s a whole amazing story about how and where she died, which I’ve covered before and will probably revisit again, because it’s that good.

I miss my mom. She was one of my bestest friends. In the first couple of years after she moved on, her birthday used to be  hard for me. It comes really close to Mother’s day, so it’s kind of a double whammy.

This morning, I got a text from my niece, reminding me that it’s Nonni’s birthday (her name for my mom, of course!). I said, somewhat flippantly, that I had wished my mom happy birthday, but hadn’t given her a present. She asked me if I usually did, and I said, “well, yes, up until about 5 years ago.” She said I could still give my mom a present.

And I thought about that. I could give her some flowers, I could burn some incense or sage, I could talk to her…but none of that felt quite right. Then I decided that what I wanted to do was to write this blog and tell you all a little bit about my mom’s greatest gifts to me. That feels right.

So here goes…

My mom loved me and supported me and thought I was the greatest ever. Well, equally as great as my brothers and sisters. When I sang, she thought I had the best voice. She always told me I was smart, and beautiful and successful and full of potential. And she got mad at me when I was an ass. It’s pretty amazing to be loved like that.

She told me I was too busy, and that I needed to slow down and take more time. She was absolutely right. I don’t need to do everything, and I certainly don’t need to do it right now.

When I went to her for advice, she never offered to fix things for me. I always thought it was because she didn’t know how or didn’t want to – but really, she knew that I needed to be able to do things for myself.

Every single weekend, she was disappointed because she didn’t get everything done that she had hoped to do. I wondered why at her age, she couldn’t just relax. I now understand that she knew how fulfilling it is to be productive, and to have things to look forward to and to be accountable to herself.

My mom was a connector. She wove spiderwebs between people to connect them. At her service, I was astounded by the number of people that came up to me to tell me stories of how she had connected them to someone who was now important to them. I just thought she was nosy. Boy, was I wrong.

When people in my family told me that I was beautiful, I thought that they were nuts. I look just like my mom. And now, when I really look in the mirror, I do see my mom. And I am so grateful to be able to see her beautiful face looking back at me through the mirror. And I don’t miss my mom nearly as much as I used to, because she’s there with me every single day.

I love you, mom.  I’ll see you later, when I brush my teeth.

And remember, in all things – progress, not perfection!

Love and light,

Signature

*****

Schedule a free mini session with me (here) and I can help you find a bite of peace, or see if the Tapas for Your Soul Weight Loss program is for you.

*****

Is there a topic you’d like me to address in a blog? Let me know and I’ll give it a go!

Make a Magical Moment

I have a magic trick for you. Stop what you’re doing! Oh wait, you’re reading this blog post. Okay, keep going. I’ll tell you when to pause.

When was the last time you stopped to take a moment to congratulate yourself? Or to really take stock of all that you’ve accomplished? The small things, the day to day things as well as the big things? Where were you six weeks ago? Three month ago? One year? Five years? When I put it like that, I bet you can see some big changes, right? Some major progress in some areas?

Now stop it…because I know that you probably started out being positive and then went right to beating yourself up for what you haven’t achieved. Or where you’ve missed your goals. Or started feeling guilty for what you should have done. So stop what you’re doing. No beating, wailing or whomping.

Now while you’ve taken a break from criticizing yourself, go back to the original question. Think about the things that you HAVE accomplished, no matter how small.

Here’s why – it’s the magic trick.

When you were thinking all the thoughts that you use to beat yourself up with, how did you feel? Oh, like shit? What a surprise.  And when you feel like shit, how do you show up? How much positive action do you take? How much progress do you make? Jackshit? Gee, another surprise. So contrary to what your brain would like to tell you is a good belief, beating yourself up will NOT cause you to get your ass in gear and get going. It just won’t.

Okay, now go back to thinking about your accomplishments. How do you feel when you think those thoughts? Pretty different, right? Some shade of good, proud, energized, confident, happy, etc.? How do you think you’re going to show up when you feel like that? Pretty awesome, right?

Here’s the secret behind the magic: what you think determines how you feel. How you feel determines how you’re going to show up, how you’re going to behave and how you take action.

It’s pretty simple, really. Thinking things that make you feel good about yourself will help you be the person you want to be.

So make the time to stop and truly recognize what you have already accomplished. It’s fuel for the future.

And remember: in all things – progress, not perfection!

Love and light,

Signature

*****

Schedule a free mini session with me (here) and I can help you find a bite of peace, or see if the Tapas for Your Soul Weight Loss program is for you.

*****

Is there a topic you’d like me to address in a blog? Let me know and I’ll give it a go!

How Big is Your World?

Just how big is your world?

You know what? You get to decide. I’m serious. I don’t know when I discovered this, but when I did, it changed how I felt about my life and my life’s work.

Here’s a quote from my first book, Whoops, I Forgot to Achieve My Potential. I could find another way to say it, but that would be more work and I wouldn’t get to put in a shameless mention of my book, right?

How big is your world? Most of us want to make a difference. Maybe we’ve been told that we were given great gifts and talents and we have an obligation to do something really big with them. Maybe we want to “save the world,” but when we find out how hard that is or how much we have to sacrifice to do it, we suddenly feel very small and question our worth. We might even we feel guilty for not living up to our intellectual potential – or our athletic or artistic or other specific gifts. The reality is that you are one person with one life. One of the most liberating choices we can make is to decide how big our world is. We can set the boundaries on our world, and unleash the full force of all of our gifts and talents on that world. And we can rest assured, knowing that there are other worlds in our universe – and other talented people going about the business of saving them.

I do have something I want to add to it, though. There’s a bit of a dual-edged sword thing going on here (apologies for the weapon imagery, but two-sided butter knife doesn’t quite convey the meaning).  Maybe two-sided coin… anyway. The point is that you get to decide how big your world is, yes, so you don’t have to be paralyzed by the enormity of the earth and just how much work it takes to make an impact. But once you’ve decided on your right-sized world, you then have an obligation to get to work making an impact. The difference is that you are just right for your Goldilocks-sized world, and vice versa. A perfect match.

It feels really, really good to know that you are making a difference. For real. For good.

And remember, in all things – progress, not perfection!

Love and light,

Signature

*****

Schedule a free mini session with me (here) and I can help you find a bite of peace, or see if the Tapas for Your Soul Weight Loss program is for you.

*****

Is there a topic you’d like me to address in a blog? Let me know and I’ll give it a go!

Compare and Despair

I was just in a coaching session, getting coached – yes, I get coached! – and I heard the most useful phrase I’ve heard in a while. I grabbed on to it right away, and I want to share it – and what I learned.

The context was a group coaching session. Four different people were coached over an hour. We had surprisingly related topics, because, you know, “coincidence”. We were each able to build on what the others had said. Our coach mentioned that she saw a lot of “compare and despair” thinking going on. Bingo!

The phrase “compare and despair” is super useful, because it nailed what was going on in our brains. We were all comparing ourselves to others and feeling despair because we didn’t measure up.

I have to point out a couple of things.

First, each of us was comparing ourselves to people who are in radically different places in their lives, have very different goals and are completely different people. So the comparisons weren’t valid in any way, shape or form – yet we still compared.

Second, each of us was comparing our insides to other people’s outsides. Anyone who spends 5 minutes on Facebook or Instagram knows what happens when you do that, right? There’s no way you’re going to feel adequate, because you know what’s really going on inside your head. You know where the messes are hidden, even if no one else can see them. Thing is, we’re all like that. It would be fairer to compare insides to insides…oh, except #1 above…we’re still going to be different people!

Finally, while compare and despair is a useful phrase, actually comparing is not useful at all. It triggers thoughts that are not at all helpful. The good news is that they are totally optional. I don’t have to compare at all.  Instead, I can choose to observe others and learn from their successes and failures, but no comparing.

One of the things I learned today was to stay in my own lane. It really is where I belong. It’s not limiting at all, quite the opposite. When I am doing things my way – at my pace and to achieve my goals – I am being me. There’s no need for comparison. Who’s a better me than me? No one!

And remember, in all things – progress, not perfection!

Love and light,

Signature

*****

Schedule a free mini session with me (here) and I can help you find a bite of peace, or see if the Tapas for Your Soul Weight Loss program is for you.

*****

Is there a topic you’d like me to address in a blog? Let me know and I’ll give it a go!

Why Do I Keep Picking Fights?

Has this ever happened to you? To find yourself in the middle of an argument with no idea how you got there? You had no conscious intention of starting or even getting involved in a fight, let alone let it escalate into the knock down drag out that you have going.  And you certainly didn’t intend to GO THERE…to say the dangerously hurtful things you said.

Why? Why did I do that?

I can’t tell you why, but I can tell you how to find out.

If you really want to see why you keep fighting, don’t go back over the fight and figure out who started it and what it was about. Not helpful. Let’s find out what was going on inside your head at the time. Ask yourself these 3 questions, and answer them with thought and honesty.  You’ll find out why.

  1. What was going on before and what was I thinking leading up to the fight? What was I making it mean about me? This is not about looking for the reasons you were right (or wrong) because that’s not helpful. It’s about identifying YOUR thoughts to see how they led to the escalation. Then you can work on your thinking – because that’s your most powerful option.
  2. What was I feeling BEFORE the fight, and how did that influence my behavior? Everything we do is based on our feelings. If you look at the thoughts you were thinking and how those thoughts make you feel, you’ll understand what was really going on. It’s so tempting to say that the person you were arguing made you feel something. But that’s just not true.  No one can make you feel anything – it’s your thoughts about what they say and do that cause your emotions.
  3. What do I get out of fighting? How does it serve me?  This is a different approach, I know, but if you can answer this question, you can find a different way to get it – other than fighting. For example, you might crave the closeness that comes with making up. Your brain has learned that fighting is a way to get it. You can teach it that fighting is not the only (nor the ideal) way to feel closeness. Or you might be bored. Or you might be stuffing your emotions and this is your (current) way to relieve the pressure. These are examples, but how does it serve YOU?

Now, if you want to STOP fighting, you’re going to have to do something new with the information you just found. You need to manage your thinking so that your feelings put you in a space where you can show up as the person who doesn’t pick or escalate fights.  You can be love, to whatever extent you choose. It’s not as hard as it sounds!

And remember, in all things – progress, not perfection!

Love and light,

Signature

*****

Schedule a free mini session with me (here) and I can help you find a bite of peace, or see if the Tapas for Your Soul Weight Loss program is for you.

*****

Is there a topic you’d like me to address in a blog? Let me know and I’ll give it a go!