A Winter’s Day

The sun reached its nadir this morning at 5:44 AM EDT, for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, and began its 6-month march to its zenith at the next moment. It’s no wonder that we are built for resilience as nature showers her experiences of recovering from the depths of winter’s darkness towards the fullness of summer’s long days like the clock that she is in our lives. At our home on the Allegheny River, we always joke about the Two-Suns that we see most winter days. The sun low in the sky over Penn Hills and then the sun’s reflection on the River both brightens and warms our house. It’s a treat we only have in the winter, Read More

Uh, Oh

I’ve already made several mistakes by the time you’ve started reading this week’s memo. And there is a reasonable chance that I’ll have a failure sometime soon given my propensity to try out new ideas. Mistakes and failures are inevitable and developing greater comfort and skills in managing failure is critical for success. I’ve just recently completed a corporate workshop for a new client that we called “Raising Phoenix” for its emphasis on helping the company’s business leaders address failures with their teams. The greatest challenge to handling failures better is overcoming our tendency to look to blame someone or something as the reason why the failure occurred. Culpability can be appropriate if we’ve been careless or disregarded procedures such Read More

Dad’s Birthday

Today is Pearl Harbor Day, the 75th anniversary of that day that lives in infamy. It would also have been my father’s 101st birthday. On that fateful day, my mother was preparing a birthday party for her fiancée. It wasn’t going to be a surprise party but there were lots of friends and family attending. The party turned out to be anything but a celebration and my dad’s enlistment happened a few weeks later. After training he was sent to Pearl Harbor, on a classified mission, assigned to the cryptography team responsible for tracking the Japanese military code. While in Pearl Harbor, he regularly wrote letters to my mother. When she received the letters portions of them would be highly Read More

Using Your Superpowers

Our focus on resilience is not just about dealing with stress and challenges more effectively but ultimately creating more happiness and joy in our lives. Today, happiness is a highly researched area and there is no doubt a top 25 list of what we should do to be happy. But perhaps it might be useful to consider a simpler approach to happiness. While visiting family for Thanksgiving in Boston, we took time to check out the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum. Like all the Presidential libraries, we gained a great perspective of the challenges JFK faced during his time in office and more importantly the values he sough to share to “create a more perfect union.” One of Kennedy’s Read More

Crazy Thinking

A few weeks a client told me about leaving a sensitive document related to compensation on a copy machine. He found the document back on his desk with a note from his manager telling him he had found it and wanted to see him first thing in the morning. My client called me and told me he was “freaking out” about leaving this document on the copy machine and that he had made a terrible mistake. He kept imagining that everyone in the company knew of his blunder, he’d probably be fired on the spot, and maybe even sued by the people whose names and salaries were listed. I worked to settle him down and talked through the best way Read More

Helping Others Help

In a highly shared op-ed in the New York Times last week, the Dalai Lama suggested that much of our anxiety and frustration as a culture and individually relates to our feeling that we are not making a great enough contribution to our fellow men and women. We all need to be needed and we are lacking that in our current cultural milieu. He cites research that shows that older people who don’t feel they are giving back to society are 3 times more likely to die that those who do feel like they are benefiting others. His suggestion on how to remedy this, however, is what makes his point so powerful. He and his co-author, Arthur Brooks, suggest that Read More

Embracing Your Election Stress

The American Psychological Association asked participants in their annual 2016 “Stress in America” survey about “election stress.” Over half of the respondents indicated that this election cycle caused significant stress This, of course, got the media into a frenzy with psychologists defining a new disorder now know as “Election Stress Disorder.” Along with the diagnosis, are tips on how to manage it like turning off your TV or not looking at your Twitter feed. What hogwash! While the APA frames this as stress, from a resilience perspective, your passion and excitement is really about your love of country and belief in what is right. It should more properly be called “Election Excitement Healthiness.” If it didn’t matter to you so Read More

Standing Firm

Today, along with 350 civic and business leaders in Pittsburgh I will be attending a luncheon for STANDING FIRM, a local non-profit organization whose mission is to alert employees to the financial, safety and human cost of partner violence and how it impacts the workplace. Standing Firm promotes the business case that employers play a crucial role in protecting their employees and the workplace from violence that impacts both productivity and security. I am being honored this day for my volunteer efforts with STANDING FIRM as their Champion for 2016 along with the Pittsburgh Pirates who have been named the Employer of the Year for their efforts to address this issue with their players and staff. The issue of partner Read More