Making Meetings Meaningful

One of my clients had to laugh last week when I pointed out I knew his schedule for the day so I was only going to meet with him for 45 minutes so that he had enough time to hit the restroom before his next meeting started up. He agreed and with a chagrined look, thanked me for the extra time and told me he would use it to check emails! There is just not enough time to get everything done but if would could do some things more efficiently, that would be a good start. Ineffective meetings are big drainers of time and lost energy. Starting late, lacking structure, not making meetings relevant are all low hanging fruit in Read More

Happy Birthday to Me

I have a birthday this weekend on May 19th. I have a bit of a tradition in that I like to celebrate my birthday during the whole week leading up to that day. Each day this week, I’ve been doing something special to help me appreciate my world a bit more. For example, on Monday I posted on my Facebook page that I’ve recently joined the Board of the Women’s Center and Shelter here in Pittsburgh and so to acknowledge their great effort, I’ve created a birthday fundraiser. Today, I thought I would share a bit of my gratitude list for my birthday. I always think that moms should be celebrated on their children’s birthday since they did all the Read More

The Kissing Cousins of Resilience and Adaptability

I just presented to a group of senior staff members on being adaptable and resilient. Their organization is going through a number of significant changes including new leadership, high demand for their products, and needing to bring in new staff to help grow the business. They told me that coming to work every day not knowing what new demands might be put on them, hearing from colleagues that work is “crazy”, and finding the responsibility for growing the business has been unbelievably challenging. As we explored ways to strengthen their leadership, we came back to the idea of mindset as a key aspect for adaptability and resilience. As we discussed these, we agreed on the following 5 mindsets as being Read More

Whose Reality Is It?

One popular phrase I disdain is when people tell me… “the reality is…” It’s as if the speaker wants me to know that there is just one explanation for an event or phenomenon and not surprisingly, the speakers’ perspective is the correct one. I always think to myself, “No, that is not the reality, it is your reality” Anna Devere-Smith, the acclaimed actress and McArthur “genius” was in town last week bringing her unique approach to dealing with multiple realities, to the August Wilson Center. Her performances, which have created a new genre in American theater, are based on interviews she conducts with people who have experienced an event from various different points of view; a prisoner, a guard, a Read More

The Sling Shot

An exercise I did during a Resilience Advantage presentation at the Million Dollar Consulting® Conference in Boston last week led to an observation by the audience that they generally just don’t bounce back from adversity or even bounce forward but that for many of them, the change had a sling-shot effect propelling them out of trouble and into something exponentially better. Our discussion was around their careers and they found that when they had a downturn (loss of job, failed success on a project, or working for the wrong company) that negative situation focused their energy, motivated their intentions, and gave them a quick kick in their butt for action. As we discussed the successes they had in their careers, Read More

Accountant Resilience

I received my income tax returns from my accountant, Michele, over the weekend and am getting a small refund. Whew. As a practical joke this year, I came to her office to deliver my well organized material but instead of sharing that with her, I told her I did not have time to categorize material and was instead just dropping off a legal box of papers hoping she would have time to go through everything…Not funny I’m sure she thought! Accountants report a high degree of stress in their work with over 50% reporting increasingly higher levels over the past 5 years. Predictably these relate to workload volume, time deadlines, and changing rules and requirements from the IRS, not to Read More

Strengthening Others

Everybody is resilient. Resilience is hardwired into us but sometimes the software is corrupted and our brain and heart are out of sync. This is where community and friends make a difference. If you believe in the inherent strength of resilience, then it is easy to support someone who is in a shaky place by helping them discover their own inner gifts. The key to that is to be a good listener. Allowing others to explore their own thinking and receiving validation or affirmation of their ideas usually leads them to the wisdom of the best solution for them. Here are some reminders on how you can be an amazing listener who makes a real difference in people’s lives. First Read More

The Shifty Mindset

At the Art and Science of Health Promotion Conference I spoke at last week, an important topic of conversation was about re-setting mindset. Mindset is generally considered to be a set of ideas or beliefs that we establish that guide much of our behavior. I brought this topic up in my session as a way of helping peoples change the way they currently think about stress so that they can create more of a resilient framework upon facing challenges. One woman in the group shared that prior to her decision to get a divorce, all she could think about was how her life would be over and that she would not know how to deal with her life challenges. After Read More

Wellness and Resilience

I’m attending the 28th annual Art and Science of Health Promotion Conference in San Diego where I will be speaking on the Resilience Advantage. Conference participants are leaders in the area of health promotion. They come from business, health systems, insurance companies, and academic settings. Their commonality is a deep belief in helping people to create healthy workplaces and personal lifestyles. In my presentation, people will want me to tell them how to develop resilience in their lives but instead I’ll be sharing with them the importance of understanding and recognizing the resilience they already have built into them. Resilience is always framed against stress and that orientation creates the immediate victim mentality of “I’m so stressed.” I hope to Read More

Flipping Risk

I was talking with a group of educators last week about how we address risk taking at work and at home. Someone pointed out that there are very clear formulas for taking risks around financial planning but not so much in other areas. Someone else laughingly mentioned that even when you are planning how to invest your retirement savings, financial planners talk about “financial risk tolerance,” which they often determine by how you sleep when the stock market goes down 500 points. While we can’t often determine how much risk we should take in other areas such as speaking up with a new idea at work, increasing a curfew for a teenager, or deciding where to stay on this summer’s Read More