The Oreo Cookie Approach to Constructive Criticism

How do you feel when someone sends you an email thanking you for something you did and telling you what a great job you did? Feels good, right? Now think about how you feel when you get a curt email pointing out several small mistakes in a big project you spent hours working on. All of that warm positive emotion goes away in a hurry. You feel criticized and under appreciated. Unconstructive Criticism That's just what happened to me this morning when a colleague … [Read more...]

Awe-Inspiring Family Values – The Decorah Bald Eagles

Every day, with my cup of coffee in hand, I click on this website to say good morning to the family of Bald Eagles in Decorah, Iowa. Thanks to my friend Pam, I've been watching them for many weeks. I often check on them several times a day.  A webcam fastened to a tree nearby gives me (and anyone else who chooses to look) a birds eye view of this little family. Their good-sized nest is well constructed in the fork of a big tree not far from a walking and biking path. A … [Read more...]

Communicate Effectively with Email to Get the Results You Want

I was talking with my friend J. recently and she was super discouraged. Three of the people she had been trying to connect with for her organization  --  people she had been in close contact with  --  had not responded to several of her emails. She was getting ready to ask them for gifts and they were disappearing! “Is it me?” she moaned. “Did I do something wrong? Have they all decided that they don’t want to help me with this project?” “I feel like I’m on an … [Read more...]

Dance In the New Year

My friend M was diagnosed with breast cancer earlier this year. Among the many messages she received, one really stood out. You Will Dance Again. To dance is to give and take. To dance is to call and respond. To dance is to ebb and flow. To dance is to lead and to follow To dance is to be full of the life energy that makes you one with the world. My friend M. has already started dancing again. I hope you will dance your way into and through the New … [Read more...]

How to Handle Anger: Let Your Curiosity Lead the Way

Ever been so annoyed with someone that you know you’ll say things you regret if you’re not careful? You feel that chest full of irritation. Your throat is tight and you are having a hard time breathing? It feels awful. How to Handle Anger What can you do? Yell? Rant? Curse? (Cursing’s always a good one for me ‘cause it gets me laughing inside.) But in fact none of those responses are particularly helpful. They just doesn’t lead to constructive steps … [Read more...]

Six Tips for Writing Better Emails

Have you noticed that you seldom talk on the phone these days? That email and texting have just about replaced voice to voice altogether? For people of every age, that's what's happened. I'm a huge fan of email. I like getting it. I like writing it. I like it's quickness and informality and immediacy. And I love that I can delete an email without reading it and no one will be offended (for contrast, think of the problems caused by hanging up on someone!) Here are … [Read more...]