One of the Most Important Life Lessons I’ve Learned

I'm old enough to know better. I assumed that when someone didn't follow through that it was a fluke. I gave him the benefit of the doubt. Only to find out that he didn't follow through again and again. A Cautionary Tale Recently a young, savvy guy in my fundraising field reached out to me to see if I'd open some doors for him.  I met with him in person and was impressed. Smart, articulate, energetic, informed.  All of the things I like.  Before we parted, I made a … [Read more...]

Are you Conscious and Competent? Or are You Creative?

I've been working out with a great trainer lately. He's determined to help this old crone get strong -- really strong. It's frustrating, exciting and fun.  Frustrating when I can't do what he asks. Exciting when I start to get the form. And serious fun when I can see how much better and stronger I'm getting. My excellent trainer at Crunch, Leonel Dias, introduced me to the Conscious Competence Learning Model. Conscious Competence Learning Model It goes like … [Read more...]

Do You Set Goals or Feel Your Way Through Life?

I confess, the question of setting goals has long puzzled me. How can you set goals if you're not sure where you're going? And how in heaven's name can you really know where you want to go? As you may guess, I'm not a goal setter -- mostly, that is. I confess that recently I did set myself a goal of losing 10 pounds. (Yes, I succeeded. :)) But that short-term simple goal stuff is not what I'm thinking about. I'm thinking about setting bigger goals in life and then … [Read more...]

Life’s Third Third

I've reached a milestone. Today is my seventieth birthday. I'm in the midst of what some people have called the "third third" of life. For me, this third third is the very best! The stresses and strains of growing up are over. The challenges of building lasting relationships have eased. The anxiety and responsibilities that come with raising children have receded. And, most wonderfully, the need to prove yourself mostly evaporates. In this third third, it's easier to be … [Read more...]

What Should You Do When You Don’t Feel Heard?

Do you ever feel as though people just don't seem to be hearing you? Have you ever rankled a bit when something you said just a few minutes earlier gets attributed to someone else? That happens to me sometimes, and it surprises me. I'm not shy. I don't tend to shrink. And I'm not usually quiet. So it's puzzling when people don't seem to hear what I say. Turning up the Volume One natural response to not being heard is to talk louder. You just turn up your volume. But … [Read more...]

Are You Afraid to Open the Doors of Possibility? Fear Not!

It's such fun to think about possibilities. You might do this or you might do that. Sometimes the opportunities seem endless and exciting. Many doors with well-oiled hinges are within your reach. All you have to do is to gently push on them and they open so you can get a glimpse of what's behind them. I think of these doors as the doors of possibility. A Doorway to Success... or Failure? When you select one door, push it open and stand at the edge looking through … [Read more...]

Good or Great: Is 80% Effort Good Enough?

Are you an 80 percenter? Are you confident that no matter what you take on, you'll do a good job... at least an 80% job? Most people I know do at least an 80% job of just about everything they do. That's just their baseline. Doing a good job is the norm. I expect it of my friends and acquaintances and they expect it of me. If 100% = "Great," then 80% = "Good" With that logic, 80% of excellent is a good job. What's Your Percentage of Excellence? If you were to … [Read more...]

A Good Reason to Celebrate Endings

Your memory of an event is shaped disproportionately by the most intense part of the experience and it's ending rather than the entire duration of the experience. That reality of how we remember experiences has been so well researched and documented that it even has a name! It's known as the Peak End Rule. Here's an example from Atul Gawande's remarkable book, Being Mortal... Have you ever watched a football game in which your team played wonderfully, but at very end … [Read more...]

Being “Okay” is a Fragile Thread

Do you have a sense of well-being? Does it seem that everything in your life is going along (mostly) the way you'd like it to? Perhaps you have a calm inside that all is as it should be. Particularly going into the holiday season, that feeling of contentedness is something we all hope for. But this week, I've had several powerful reminders that health and happiness are fleeting. Unwelcome Reminders I spent Thanksgiving with a close relative who was recently told … [Read more...]

My First Adventure with Miracle

Meet Miracle Edwards. Miracle is a beautiful 8-year-old girl I met over the summer with her father. She had never seen a ballet or anything like it before, and I thought it would be a wonderful idea to treat her to a performance. Preparing for the Big Day I called her father, Jeff, several times and left messages but didn't connect.  I let some days pass and was about to call again when my phone rang. It was Jeff, returning my call. He and Miracle had talked about … [Read more...]